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The Travels and Adventures of a Watkingsiat
THE TRAVELS AND ADVENTURES OF
The trees went forth on a time to anoiut a king over them; and they spake.
TO THE EDITOR.
Sir, By the assistance of an Amanuensis, I take the liberty to lay before you an epitome of my sojournings in this country; and as I have always acted in the character of a servant, I may sometimes be obliged to relate an incident to account for my change of masters; and I trust that any such digressions will meet with your indulgence.
It is now half a century since five of my brethren and I in a rude state, were imported into this country by a wealthy mer. chant of Glasgow, with a view to be distributed as presents an mongst his particular friends. It would be uninteresting to give an account of our genealogy: suffice it to say, we are of a singular tribe-very hardy-rather of a stout make—(then) three feet six inches high—and our colour black. On our arrival, he committed us to the charge of a Mr. Rigger to get a polish, and fit us to appear in genteel company:- and by the art and taste of this connoisseur, we were made smooth and transparent as a mirror ; our leads elegantly mounted with gold-our eyes en circled with the same precious metalshod with brass—and black silk tassels hung gracefully down to the middle of our bodies. After we were thus equipped, and lodged in his niansion house, one day a select party had dined with him, viz. his confidential friend, a master of the Grammar School, (who had been his tutor;) a physician, and a lawyer; to each of whom, le presented one of my brethren. Shortly after this he was united in the bands of Hymen, to a young lady; and the day on which the marriage was solemnized, he gave my remaining brother to his father-in-law; and the officiativg clergyman (froin the country,) was presented with your hunble servant. My brethren and I were thus all separated and placed in respectable service, and we never all met again.
My aged, and reverend master, wlio was an ornament to his profession, and a blessing to the neighbourhood, took me with
The Travels and Adventures of a Walkingstatt.
him wherever he went, as a body servant, support
and companion; and I frequently attracted particular notice, on account of my stately and elegant appearance: I will not say he was proud or vain of me, but I certainly was a great favourite ; notwithstanding he never admitted me into the pulpit. At marriage ceremonies, when visiting the sick and dying, and at funerals, while exhorting or praying, he always rested with one of his hands upon my head. After we had tottered about together for more than ten years, he died lamented : and I became the property of his eldest son, a surgeon in a neighbouring town; who, out of respect to his father, took me to accompany him in all his excursions: but being a devotee to Bacchus seldom in his sober senses, and very dogmatical, he was often involved in quarrels, and as often employed me to settle them. In one of these engagements I was so severely wounded that an amputa tion of three inches at my under extremity took place. After being newly shod however, I was again fitted for service; and continued with him in unceasing warfare, till he terminated his wretched career; a few days previous to which, while able to walk about by my assistance, I was detained as security by the hostess of an inn for five shillings of a reckoning.
About this time there was a procession by the sons of Crispan to his memory in the same town, when a good looking, stately, shrewd fellow, of that craft, styled by his companions, macaroni, was appointed to walk in the character of Lord Mayor, and it was proper he should have a genteel well mounted walkingstaff. By interest and solicitation I was procured; and both of us made a conspicuous figure on that occasion. As he was deep in debt to his landlady, to a merchant, and to his master, next morning ere daylight he set off, and took me with him for a tramping-mate. We reached the city of Glasgow, and lodged at the head inn, announcing himself to the waiter at entrance, to be Capt. Hamilton! He ate and drank like a gentleman, dashed out and in with me, taking every opportunity to exhibit the beauties of my head-piece ; and after a few days enjoyment, we took our departure, without troubling the house to make out the bill.
Having taken our route, two days after this we appeared respectable at a fair in a town about twenty miles distant. In the evening he made up to a recruiting serjeant and his party, who were sauntering in front of a tavern ; and with all the confidence and consequence of a man of note, said, he was Capt. Killen ;
The Travels and Adventures of a Walkingstat.
and to reward him for his zeal in the recruiting service, which he had witnessed, he would treat him and his party with a beef steak. They all entered the house ; supper was ordered, and brought in for twelve, of which they liberally partook :--porter, whisky, and punch followed :-he abounded in loyal toasts, and talked about generals, battles, sieges, and duels—while he dandled me between his knees, with my glancing helmet in full view, twirling the tassels carelessly with his fingers, and looked big. When they were all well to live, he begged to retire a few
We got safe out—and the Serjeant had the honour to“ pay the piper." Though nigh midnight we took the road, and came up to a farmer with a horse and cart
, and some of his neighbour passengers returning from the fair. My master requested to be admitted into their society, which was readily granted. When seated in the vehicle, I was laid by his side, and he, engaging in conversation, and in the mean, time heedless of me, by the jostling of the cart, i unperceived fell; and lay on the road, till early in the morning I was found by a yoụng shepherd, who took me along with him, admiring iny rich decorations. When arrived at his home, which was considerably distant, among heath-covered hills, he gave me as a present to his father. After I was minutely inspected by him, and the inmates of the family, he was congratulated by them on the receipt o'sic a braw, ganisey, gentle kent to gang to the kirk wi' --when he replied,
wad set him better.” I was then locked up in a closet, where I lay several years, except when sometimes shewn as a curiosity to neighbours.
"This good old shepherd had never travelled farther from his native hills than the neighbouring parishes ; and though unacquainted with the glare and bustle of the city and busy world, by reading he was intelligent, conversed fuently on various subjects; was of a quick recollection and had the knack of quoting from authors passages to the point in matters of reasoning and debate. His house at the game-seasons was the abode of several gentleman from Glasgow, about thirty miles distant, to whom he paid every attention ; and on their part was liberally rewarded, and pressingly invited every year to pay them a visit and see the city. He accordingly complied with their request, and by the solicitation of his wife and daughters took me to support and accompany him on his journey: and so free was he of vanity, that when passing by, or mixing among people, he
a hazle rung
The Travels and Adventures of a Wallingstat:
endeavoured to conceal all my embellishments indeed he was even ashamed of me. The first evening after he arrived in town he supped with the gentlemen in one of their houses. After he was kindly and sumptuously entertained, and having at their entreaties drank freely of wine negus, he left them at a late hour to go to a relation's house to bed. He had never before this felt the effects of generous liquor: and on coming out to the fresh air the negus operated powerfully: every thing was wonderful to his view—the towering buildings—the rows of beaming lamps--his mind elevated, and his head giddy; he was in a new world and he was happy! While passing along the street swaggering, and causing me thump on the stones, the pa. trole* came up, consisting of six or eight soldiers : one of them calling out “ Who's there?” He made a reply that gave offence, and was taken prisoner. I made a bold appearance in his defence, but did no execution-and in the bustle was seized by one of the party, and concealed under bis watch-coat. They escorted my master to the guard-house, who when entering, perceiving several beings in red fiery garments, (as he supposed) fying on platforms, or guard-beds--groupes of them reeling about, quarrelling, cursing and swearing--and a large fire burning: he conceived at once he was now in the world of spirits, and conducted by devils to the fiery regions, into which he thought himself entered; when instantly recollecting the words of Satani
, in Milton's Paradise Lost, taking possession of his place of torment, exclaimed with an audible voice, and solemn tone,
Hail horrors! hail
Receive thy new possessor. After several queries by the officer of the guard, and satisface, tory answers by him, he was safely conducted back from his imaginary Pandemonium, to the mansion of happiness he had left, where he found his friends still enjoying themselves. They received him again with pleasure, and were amused till an early hour, with his rustic manners, and eccentricities; accompanied with an uncommon flow of spirits occassioned by the inspiring draught they had given him, and joy at his deliverance from captivity and the place of the wicked.
* Previous to the Police establishment.
The Travels and Adventures of a Walkingstatt.
The agitation my master was in while in custody, made him forget me. After
he was gone from the guard-house, the rascal who had seized me in the scuffle slipped out and entered a low tavern, frequented by thieves and pickpockets. Having shown me to one of the gang, I was immediately tried, and condemned to have my eyes tom out, and to be beheaded with a saw! But the last part of the sentence was remitted—I was only dismantled of all
rich ornaments. The gold was sold to the landlord. The faithless soldier
drunk—the additional crime of being off duty, and the fear of inquiry respecting me, made him be easily persuaded to desert, and join the gang, who were just setting out on a high-way expeditior.. With them he took the road, and I was now the villain's sei
A few miles from town they came up to a carrier-ore shot his dog~I knocked the man down, and another took his pocket-book, containing a quantity of bank notes. Getting clear off, two days after this, in the neighbourhood of Edinburgh, about midnight, my master and another of the band, attempted to rob a surgeon of the Royal Navy, while entering a gentleman's gate. Our companion presented a pistol to his breast, and vociferated, “ Your money, Sir, or death!" On refusal, the trigger was drawn—but missed fire; I was next making the attack, when the Surgeon thrust a clagger through my master's arm, while I fell among some long grass, and the robbers fled. I lay there concealed till next afternoon, when I was found by a labourer, who that evening, under cloud of night, being Saturday, was returning home with his week's wages-his spade on his shoulder, and I by his side. When nigh the head of Leith Walk, a fuot pad belonging to another gang, seized him by the collar, took me prisoner, and laid me at his feet---then pulling the spade from his hand, demanded his money, or he would thrust it down and chop off one of his feet! The labourer with a trembling hand delivered up his all, viz. eight shillings; and with a piteous tone, begged a trifle back to preserve his wife and children from starving. His life was threatened if he spoke another word—but one of his accomplices who stood behind, with a volley of oaths, said, there's threepence to ye.
The poor man went home in a dejected state, and told his wife the mournful event, giving her the coppers, (provincial half-pence were then in circulation) " and probably, said she, they may be all bad," stooping down to examine them