Page images


the emperor was convinced that the solemn waters through which he was no impostor, and the con- our vessel was ettling her weary sideration of the pains he had al- way towards the Renfrew ferry; ready suffered induced him to for by this time we had left pardon the criminal.

Dumbarton castle far behind, Don Diego Osarius, a noble and had passed Dunotter, that Spaniard, being in love with a ancient ruin, of which I have young lady of the court, obtain- never been able to get any fured of her a private meeting, ther account, than that it is supwithin a grove in the king's posed to have been bigget by the gardens, which a capital Picts, and, doubtless, has had crime. Nor did they long enjoy the curse of God pronounced the pleasure they ran such dan- against its owners, since they are gers in procuring; they were all utterly perished from off the discovered by the unfortunate face of the earth. However, to barking of a little dog: the noble- return to Mr. Gauze. man was seized, committed to prison, and condemned to die.

King Charles and the Witches. After hearing his sentence, he

- Once on

a time,” said he, became, in one and the same “ when the funny king Charles night, in appearance, both young was in great straits and jeopardy and old, his hair having turned

of fortune, as he was sitting in of that silver grey that decorates the midst of his courtiers and the heads of the aged. The counsellors after supper, in his gaoler repaired early in the morn- palace, heavy and worn out in ing to the palace, and related spirit, he declared, on his honour this action, as a prodigy, to the as a prince, that he felt himself king, who was pleased to pardon so oppressed and weighed down, the prisoner, saying, he had been he would grant to any one of sufficiently punished for his them the first reasonable petition fault.

he might have occasion to present, who would lighten his fancy that night. Whereupon, all the courtiers and counsellors began

to strive with one another to diMr. Gauze, of Paisley, who vert his majesty, every one was of our company, a well read telling something that was to be paukie carl, that kens more than more comical than the tales he lets on, seeing the frame of which had gone before, But our reflections, began, in a far their endeavours were all in

to cast about his vain; the more tribulation they cantrips, with the which I leave put themselves to in order to the courteous reader to guess make the king laugh, and grow what he did, by the rehearsal of again jocose, the more they sadthe following story; in the dened his royal spirit, till he telling of which, it is not to be said, in the words of Solomondescribed what he effected, not «Vanity of vanities, all is vanity.' only by his awsome look and “ But it happened, that there voice, but the aids and helps he was that night in the presence, got from the scene of night, and a learned discreet doctor of di





off way,

vinity, from the west country, the witches, when they take the on some concern of the kirk shape of hares, charm away the which required a canny handling power of powder and lead; so to bring to a proper issue ; and that, unless the gun be loaded he, seeing the weak and feckless with silver, it will not go off ; or, striving of the lords and gentle- if it does go off, it will not kill, men, said May it please your especially in the hands of a young majesty, I would do the part of sportsman-and that the best a loyal subject in this matter; antidote to their charm, is for but the stories I have to tell the sportsman, when he is an exare not so wonderful as those perienced hand, to put a pair of which your majesty has gracious- silver sleeve-buttons into his fowlly endeavoured to endure. The ing-piece. When he does this, words of which address, so drew and fires with effect, it is said, the king's attention, that he de- and the fact is often well attestsired the doctor (Halket, I be- ed, the hare will never be seen lieve was his name) to tell him again. But, beyond the next one of his tales.

hedge, some dubious carlin will, “ I doubt, most dread mo- in all human probability, be narch,” replied the doctor, “ that found riddled in the hips, saying what I have to tell will obtain her prayers backwards. What I little credit here; but as your have to tell is an undoubted majesty is well known to be, in proof of this, for it happened to the words of the prayer-book, a myself, in the presence of the most religious sovereign, perhaps late Logan of that ilk, a man of it may be blessed on your majes- singular piety, and one of the ty's frame of mind, with a salu- best shots in the shire of Ayr. tary impression and effect. What “ Being staying with him, we I have to say, is of an adventure one day went out to shoot. It that befel myself, when I was a was in the afternoon. We startlad, before going to the college ed nothing, and we staid late, of Glasgow

not easily content, as your maYour majesty has, belike, jesty may well think, with such heard that there are certain mys- profitless sport. But I trow we tical women in the world called have both had cause to rememwitches. In the shire of Ren- ber long that afternoon ; for in frew, we have had, both in time the gloaming, as we were courspast and at present, no small ing with our dejected dogs, the trouble with their pranks ; and which were as disappointed as it is as thoroughly believed ourselves, we started, as among the country folks as the thought, a hare out of a whin gospel, that the witches are in bush. It ran before us, in every the practice of gallanting over gesture, lith and limb, just like field and food, after sun-set, in a hare, and the dogs pursued it the shape of cats and mawkins, as if it had been nothing less to dance the La Volta, with a natural. We followed,

never certain potentate, that I shall doubting that it was a hare. not offend your majesty by nam- “ A fine har'st evening had set ing

in, and the new moon, the sickle “I should here explain, that of time, betokened, in the west

we or

ern heavens, that nature was pulling down a piece of the wall binding up the sheaves of our to help to mend a dike, he found days; but, nevertheless, we fol- the skeleton of a human hand lowed our game, never suspect- built in with the stones. What ing that it was any thing else more he discovered he never than but a poor terrified mawkin. would reveal, but from that day Logan took a vizy, and fired, but he was an altered man. Howhis gun flashed in the pan. I, ever, to return from this digreslikewise, presented, and, in the sion, please your majesty, the same moment, my hand was moon and twilight shone bright smitten with the cramp, on the abbey walls, and we saw something no canny; but nei- the hare as we thought, as perther of us, for all that, entertain- fect as possible, cowering along ed any doubt of the hare being the bottom of the wall. I would what it appeared-a hare. have fired, but Logan stopped

"Well, sir, please your majes- me. He was a worthy pious ty, Logan primed again, and I, man. having beated the life into my Lend me your sleeve butfingers, followed the game, and tons,” said he. They were Brisfired, but missed.This set Lo- tol stones set in silver. The gan foremost, and he, shortly manner in which he spoke was after, also fired. He might as very solemn. It made the flesh well have whistled: what we crawl on my bones, and my hair had at first thought a hare con- to rise. I said nothing, but took tinued to scamper on unhurt.

the buttons from my shirt* By this time I had loaded sleeves, keeping my eye steadagain, and again, after running fast on the hare, as we both

some twenty paces in the thought it was. He did the track of the beast, confident I


The buttons out of

my had a hare in view. I fired a right sleeve he put into his gun. second time. It was of no avail. « Put the others in yours," said Logan having in the meanwhile he. I did so. “ In the name of loaded, came up to me.

the Lord,” cried he,“ take aim." “ In the pursuit, we had fol- We presented together : we both lowed the hare, as we thought it fired in the same moment, and was, to the walls of an old ran to the spot where we thought abbey. It had been a sanctified a hare had been. " And what place in the times of popery, but the devil was it?" cried the it had been burnt down when king. “ Please your majesty," Glencairn, at the reformation, replied the doctor, “ It was just herrit the monks' nests through- a fine fat hare." out Conyngham. Many a sad During the time of this recital, story was told of that place. It one Mrs. M-Freat, a decent carlin would credule the royal blood in of Oban, was particularly attenyour majesty's sacred veins, were tive ; but at the end, when we I to relate what is told and be- were all laughing at king lieved concerning the deeds done Charles's disappointment, she by the popish friars in that ruin- said, with a very serious counous monastery. One day when tenance, that we were no doubt a farmer, whom I knew, was free to guff awa as we pleased;


" the

but for her part, she had reason my sweet lamb ?" I said, scarceto know and ken that there was ly kennan what I said, for a many a thing in this world that power was upon my spirit, and I required an explanation ; and trembled at every limb. then she proceeded and told us “He's just like Jamie Camphow, one morning in the last bell Lorn," quo' the ghastly summer-but I will relate what lassie, “ only he has no flesh on she said, at full length, in her his legs, and his belly's a' banes, own words.

just like a creel,—and he looked

at me wi' holes in his head, The Wraith.

where he should have een.” A fine morning it was,” said “ Gude guide us,” said both she, “ the lift clear, and the air the gudeman and me, brisk, every thing without young bairn's surely seen a wraith, or and fresh, and quickened, as it gota waff o'the second sight. And were, with the sense of a living what did he say to you Flora ?” power. My youngest dochter, a “ He said nothing," quo' she, bairn o'ten years and three “ but walked before me, looking months, but a thougthful lassie round at me. O he was a dreadfor her time o' life, could na restful like thing !" in her bed; she was eirie and “ When we heard this, we said unco, and fain and fu,' under the

no more, but thought wi, seriousconstraint and pushing on of an ness that it couldna but betoken invisible hand, --in short, she something; and the gudeman could na be mastered, and we put it down in his book, wi' day were obligated to let her run her and date, and think what was race ; so up she rose out of her the outcome. About a week afbed, and putting on her clothes, ter, we heard frae Greenock that went out to the kail-yard to play poor Jamie, on the same day, hersel, and by hersel; she had and at the same hour, fell frae a na been there long, when back scaffold in Scott's yard, on the she came, crying that she had dry dock, and was killed dead on seen a bonny wee white lambie the spot.” in the eye of the morning, but To this nobody made reply, that when she went to touch but all sat silent, and I canna say him, he vanished awa.

1.There I was comfortable ; for, in the was something like daftness in meantime, while Mrs. M-Freat this, and I canna tell the effect was speaking, I saw before us a it had on me, that was her mo- tall white figure, standing high ther. I thought the poor bairn on the deck--higher than the was sairly gane by herself.—Then sons of men; and the lights at she went out again, and back the Broomielaw, to which we she came, wi' a face o terrifica- were now drawing near, shone tion, pale and wan, her een dimly through the apparition. standing in her head, and her O, but I was glad when the veslooks raised, and no canny, sel stoppit, for I kent na what to

“ What's the matter, Flora, mak o' the spectacle, till, lo and my dear," quo' I.

behold, it was nothing but a “O, I hae seen death," quo' fizzing fume of the boiler. There she. “ And what was he like, ne'er, however, was any thing


seen liker to a true ghost, in a fresh ships, men, and ammuni. winding sheet, than it was ; so I tion. So that, between three in was exceedingly rejoiced when I the afternoon and day-light next found myself once more safely morning, this single ship mainon the dry land, and treading tained a close fight with fifteen the ground o’ Glasgow. Mrs. of the stoutest vessels in the M'Lecket, when I reached the Spanish fleet, sunk some of them, house, was wearying and won- particularly one of the great galdering what could have detained leons, and the admiral of the me, and had a bit o' nice supper hulks, and obliged all of them to waiting my partaking. Thus sheer off. ended my second voyage ; the

This brave officer, though which, however, although more wounded in the beginning of the abundant in personalities of ad- close fight, about three in the venture towards myself, was not, afternoon, kept the upper deck upon the whole, as pleasant as till an hour before midnight ; the first; so that my thirst of when receiving a wound in his travelling to see foreign sights body by a musket-ball, he went was, in a manner, cooled ; and down to have it dressed ; and for the remainder of the season, there, while he was under the I comforted myself dousely in surgeon's hands, he received the Saltmarket.

another shot in his head : the surgeon was also killed.

By this time, his bravest men

being killed, his ship much disCaptain Greenville, in the Re- abled, the mast split, the deck venge, in 1591, was so unfortu- covered with dead and wounded, nale as to be pent up between and his powder spent to the very the island of Flores and the last barrel, he would have perSpanish fleet. In this desperate suaded the officers to sink the situation he resolutely attempted ship with all in her; and though to break through ; and, notwith- he could not bring them into standing he had ninety sick men this mind, they resolved to die in on board, maintained a gallant their own defence, rather than fight with the best of the Spanish submit to dishonourable conships, for fifteen hours together. ditions; and, in their wretched

During this engagement he state, obliged the Spaniards to was laid a-board at one and the grant them their liberties. At same time by the St. Philip, a which time this wreck had six ship of 1,500, tons and 78 guns, feet water in the hold, three shot and by four more of the largest under water poorly stopped, all ships in that fleet, filled, some her masts carried by the board, with 200, others with 500, and her tackle quite ruined, her upper others with 800 soldiers, besides works and the whole vessel laid seamen, who several times board- almost with the water : ed him, but were as often repuls- having been engaged, not only ed and driven over-board. He ne- with the fifteen ships that boardver had less than two large gal- ed her, but in reality, by turns, leons by his side, which were, with the whole fleet of fifty-three from time to time, relieved by ships ; and had received, upon a


« PreviousContinue »