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Waverly
Notes - Volume I

by Sir Walter Scott

NOTE 1

LONG the oracle of the country gentlemen of the high Tory party. The ancient News-Letter was written in manuscript and copied by clerks, who addressed the copies to the subscribers. The politician by whom they were compiled picked up his intelligence at coffee-houses, and often pleaded for an additional gratuity in consideration of the extra expense attached to frequenting such places of fashionable resort.

NOTE 2

There is a family legend to this purpose, belonging to the knightly family of Bradshaigh, the proprietors of Haigh Hall, in Lancashire, where, I have been told, the event is recorded on a painted glass window. The German ballad of the Noble Moringer turns upon a similar topic. But undoubtedly many such incidents may have taken place, where, the distance being great and the intercourse infrequent, false reports concerning the fate of the absent Crusaders must have been commonly circulated, and sometimes perhaps rather hastily credited at home.

NOTE 3

The attachment to this classic was, it is said, actually displayed in the manner mentioned in the text by an unfortunate Jacobite in that unhappy period. He escaped from the jail in which he was confined for a hasty trial and certain condemnation, and was retaken as he hovered around the place in which he had been imprisoned, for which he could give no better reason than the hope of recovering his favourite Titus Livius. I am sorry to add that the simplicity of such a character was found to form no apology for his guilt as a rebel, and that he was condemned and executed.

NOTE 4

Nicholas Amhurst, a noted political writer, who conducted for many years a paper called the Craftsman, under the assumed name of Caleb D'Anvers. He was devoted to the Tory interest, and seconded with much ability the attacks of Pulteney on Sir Robert Walpole. He died in 1742, neglected by his great patrons and in the most miserable circumstances.

'Amhurst survived the downfall of Walpole's power, and had reason to expect a reward for his labours. If we excuse Bolingbroke, who had only saved the shipwreck of his fortunes, we shall be at a loss to justify Pulteney, who could with ease have given this man a considerable income. The utmost of his generosity to Amhurst that I ever heard of was a hogshead of claret! He died, it is supposed, of a broken heart; and was buried at the charge of his honest printer, Richard Francklin.'—Lord Chesterfield's Characters Reviewed, p. 42.

NOTE 5

I have now given in the text the full name of this gallant and excellent man, and proceed to copy the account of his remarkable conversion, as related by Doctor Doddridge.

'This memorable event,' says the pious writer, 'happened towards the middle of July 1719. The major had spent the evening (and, if I mistake not, it was the Sabbath) in some gay company, and had an unhappy assignation with a married woman, whom he was to attend exactly at twelve. The company broke up about eleven, and, not judging it convenient to anticipate the time appointed, he went into his chamber to kill the tedious hour, perhaps with some amusing book, or some other way. But it very accidentally happened that he took up a religious book, which his good mother or aunt had, without his knowledge, slipped into his portmanteau. It was called, if I remember the title exactly, The Christian Soldier, or Heaven taken by Storm, and it was written by Mr. Thomas Watson. Guessing by the title of it that he would find some phrases of his own profession spiritualised in a manner which he thought might afford him some diversion, he resolved to dip into it, but he took no serious notice of anything it had in it; and yet, while this book was in his hand, an impression was made upon his mind (perhaps God only knows how) which drew after it a train of the most important and happy consequences. He thought he saw an unusual blaze of light fall upon the book which he was reading, which he at first imagined might happen by some accident in the candle, but, lifting up his eyes, he apprehended to his extreme amazement that there was before him, as it were suspended in the air, a visible representation of the Lord Jesus Christ upon the cross, surrounded on all sides with a glory; and was impressed as if a voice, or something equivalent to a voice, had come to him, to this effect (for he was not confident as to the words), "Oh, sinner! did I suffer this for thee, and are these thy returns?" Struck with so amazing a phenomenon as this, there remained hardly any life in him, so that he sunk down in the arm-chair in which he sat, and continued, he knew not how long, insensible.'

'With regard to this vision,' says the ingenious Dr. Hibbert, 'the appearance of our Saviour on the cross, and the awful words repeated, can be considered in no other light than as so many recollected images of the mind, which probably had their origin in the language of some urgent appeal to repentance that the colonel might have casually read or heard delivered. From what cause, however, such ideas were rendered as vivid as actual impressions, we have no information to be depended upon. This vision was certainly attended with one of the most important of consequences connected with the Christian dispensation—the conversion of a sinner. And hence no single narrative has, perhaps, done more to confirm the superstitious opinion that apparitions of this awful kind cannot arise without a divine fiat.' Doctor Hibbert adds in a note—'A short time before the vision, Colonel Gardiner had received a severe fall from his horse. Did the brain receive some slight degree of injury from the accident, so as to predispose him to this spiritual illusion?'—Hibbert's Philosophy of Apparitions, Edinburgh, 1824, p. 190.

NOTE 6

The courtesy of an invitation to partake a traveller's meal, or at least that of being invited to share whatever liquor the guest called for, was expected by certain old landlords in Scotland even in the youth of the author. In requital mine host was always furnished with the news of the country, and was probably a little of a humorist to boot. The devolution of the whole actual business and drudgery of the inn upon the poor gudewife was very common among the Scottish Bonifaces. There was in ancient times, in the city of Edinburgh, a gentleman of good family who condescended, in order to gain a livelihood, to become the nominal keeper of a coffee-house, one of the first places of the kind which had been opened in the Scottish metropolis. As usual, it was entirely managed by the careful and industrious Mrs. B—; while her husband amused himself with field sports, without troubling his head about the matter. Once upon a time, the premises having taken fire, the husband was met walking up the High Street loaded with his guns and fishing-rods, and replied calmly to someone who inquired after his wife, 'that the poor woman was trying to save a parcel of crockery and some trumpery books'; the last being those which served her to conduct the business of the house.

There were many elderly gentlemen in the author's younger days who still held it part of the amusement of a journey 'to parley with mine host,' who often resembled, in his quaint humour, mine Host of the Garter in the Merry Wives of Windsor; or Blague of the George in the Merry Devil of Edmonton. Sometimes the landlady took her share of entertaining the company. In either case the omitting to pay them due attention gave displeasure, and perhaps brought down a smart jest, as on the following occasion:

A jolly dame who, not 'Sixty Years Since,' kept the principal caravansary at Greenlaw, in Berwickshire, had the honour to receive under her roof a very worthy clergyman, with three sons of the same profession, each having a cure of souls; be it said in passing, none of the reverend party were reckoned powerful in the pulpit. After dinner was over, the worthy senior, in the pride of his heart, asked Mrs. Buchan whether she ever had had such a party in her house before. 'Here sit I,' he said, 'a placed minister of the Kirk of Scotland, and here sit my three sons, each a placed minister of the same kirk. Confess, Luckie Buchan, you never had such a party in your house before.' The question was not premised by any invitation to sit down and take a glass of wine or the like, so Mrs. B. answered drily, 'Indeed, sir, I cannot just say that ever I had such a party in my house before, except once in the forty-five, when I had a Highland piper here, with his three sons, all Highland pipers; and deil a spring they could play amang them.'

NOTE 7

There is no particular mansion described under the name of Tully-Veolan; but the peculiarities of the description occur in various old Scottish seats. The House of Warrender upon Bruntsfield Links and that of Old Ravelston, belonging, the former to Sir George Warrender, the latter to Sir Alexander Keith, have both contributed several hints to the description in the text. The House of Dean, near Edinburgh, has also some points of resemblance with Tully-Veolan. The author has, however, been informed that the House of Grandtully resembles that of the Baron of Bradwardine still more than any of the above.

NOTE 8

I am ignorant how long the ancient and established custom of keeping fools has been disused in England. Swift writes an epitaph on the Earl of Suffolk's fool—

Whose name was Dickie Pearce

In Scotland, the custom subsisted till late in the last century; at Glamis Castle is preserved the dress of one of the jesters, very handsome, and ornamented with many bells. It is not above thirty years since such a character stood by the sideboard of a nobleman of the first rank in Scotland, and occasionally mixed in the conversation, till he carried the joke rather too far, in making proposals to one of the young ladies of the family, and publishing the bans betwixt her and himself in the public church.

NOTE 9

After the Revolution of 1688, and on some occasions when the spirit of the Presbyterians had been unusually animated against their opponents, the Episcopal clergymen, who were chiefly nonjurors, were exposed to be mobbed, as we should now say, or rabbled, as the phrase then went, to expiate their political heresies. But notwithstanding that the Presbyterians had the persecution in Charles II and his brother's time to exasperate them, there was little mischief done beyond the kind of petty violence mentioned in the text.

NOTE 10

I may here mention that the fashion of compotation described in the text was still occasionally practised in Scotland in the author's youth. A company, after having taken leave of their host, often went to finish the evening at the clachan or village, in 'womb of tavern.' Their entertainer always accompanied them to take the stirrup-cup, which often occasioned a long and late revel.

The poculum potatorium of the valiant Baron, his blessed Bear, has a prototype at the fine old Castle of Glamis, so rich in memorials of ancient times; it is a massive beaker of silver, double gilt, moulded into the shape of a lion, and holding about an English pint of wine. The form alludes to the family name of Strathmore, which is Lyon, and, when exhibited, the cup must necessarily be emptied to the Earl's health. The author ought perhaps to be ashamed of recording that he has had the honour of swallowing the contents of the Lion; and the recollection of the feat served to suggest the story of the Bear of Bradwardine. In the family of Scott of Thirlestane (not Thirlestane in the Forest, but the place of the same name in Roxburghshire) was long preserved a cup of the same kind, in the form of a jack-boot. Each guest was obliged to empty this at his departure. If the guest's name was Scott, the necessity was doubly imperative.

When the landlord of an inn presented his guests with deoch an doruis, that is, the drink at the door, or the stirrup-cup, the draught was not charged in the reckoning. On this point a learned bailie of the town of Forfar pronounced a very sound judgment.

A., an ale-wife in Forfar, had brewed her 'peck of malt' and set the liquor out of doors to cool; the cow of B., a neighbour of A., chanced to come by, and seeing the good beverage, was allured to taste it, and finally to drink it up. When A. came to take in her liquor, she found her tub empty, and from the cow's staggering and staring, so as to betray her intemperance, she easily divined the mode in which her 'browst' had disappeared. To take vengeance on Crummie's ribs with a stick was her first effort. The roaring of the cow brought B., her master, who remonstrated with his angry neighbour, and received in reply a demand for the value of the ale which Crummie had drunk up. B. refused payment, and was conveyed before C., the bailie, or sitting magistrate. He heard the case patiently; and then demanded of the plaintiff A. whether the cow had sat down to her potation or taken it standing. The plaintiff answered, she had not seen the deed committed, but she supposed the cow drank the ale while standing on her feet, adding, that had she been near she would have made her use them to some purpose. The bailie, on this admission, solemnly adjudged the cow's drink to be deoch an doruis, a stirrup-cup, for which no charge could be made without violating the ancient hospitality of Scotland.

NOTE 11

The story last told was said to have happened in the south of Scotland; but cedant arma togae and let the gown have its dues. It was an old clergyman, who had wisdom and firmness enough to resist the panic which seized his brethren, who was the means of rescuing a poor insane creature from the cruel fate which would otherwise have overtaken her. The accounts of the trials for witchcraft form one of the most deplorable chapters in Scottish story.

NOTE 12

Although canting heraldry is generally reprobated, it seems nevertheless to have been adopted in the arms and mottos of many honourable families. Thus the motto of the Vernons, Ver non semper viret, is a perfect pun, and so is that of the Onslows, Festina lente. The Periissem ni per-iissem of the Anstruthers is liable to a similar objection. One of that ancient race, finding that an antagonist, with whom he had fixed a friendly meeting, was determined to take the opportunity of assassinating him, prevented the hazard by dashing out his brains with a battle-axe. Two sturdy arms, brandishing such a weapon, form the usual crest of the family, with the above motto, Periissem ni per-iissem—I had died, unless I had gone through with it.

NOTE 13

Mac-Donald of Barrisdale, one of the very last Highland gentlemen who carried on the plundering system to any great extent, was a scholar and a well-bred gentleman. He engraved on his broadswords the well-known lines—

Hae tibi erunt artes pacisque imponere morem, Parcere subjectis, et debellare superbos.

Indeed, the levying of black-mail was, before 1745, practised by several chiefs of very high rank, who, in doing so, contended that they were lending the laws the assistance of their arms and swords, and affording a protection which could not be obtained from the magistracy in the disturbed state of the country. The author has seen a Memoir of Mac-Pherson of Cluny, chief of that ancient clan, from which it appears that he levied protection-money to a very large amount, which was willingly paid even by some of his most powerful neighbours. A gentleman of this clan, hearing a clergyman hold forth to his congregation on the crime of theft, interrupted the preacher to assure him, he might leave the enforcement of such doctrines to Cluny Mac-Pherson, whose broadsword would put a stop to theft sooner than all the sermons of all the ministers of the synod.

NOTE 14

The Town-guard of Edinburgh were, till a late period, armed with this weapon when on their police-duty. There was a hook at the back of the axe, which the ancient Highlanders used to assist them to climb over walls, fixing the hook upon it and raising themselves by the handle. The axe, which was also much used by the natives of Ireland, is supposed to have been introduced into both countries from Scandinavia.

NOTE 15

An adventure very similar to what is here stated actually befell the late Mr. Abercromby of Tullibody, grandfather of the present Lord Abercromby, and father of the celebrated Sir Ralph. When this gentleman, who lived to a very advanced period of life, first settled in Stirlingshire, his cattle were repeatedly driven off by the celebrated Rob Roy, or some of his gang; and at length he was obliged, after obtaining a proper safe-conduct, to make the cateran such a visit as that of Waverley to Bean Lean in the text. Rob received him with much courtesy, and made many apologies for the accident, which must have happened, he said, through some mistake. Mr. Abercromby was regaled with collops from two of his own cattle, which were hung up by the heels in the cavern, and was dismissed in perfect safety, after having agreed to pay in future a small sum of black-mail, in consideration of which Rob Roy not only undertook to forbear his herds in future, but to replace any that should be stolen from him by other freebooters. Mr. Abercromby said Rob Roy affected to consider him as a friend to the Jacobite interest and a sincere enemy to the Union. Neither of these circumstances were true; but the laird thought it quite unnecessary to undeceive his Highland host at the risk of bringing on a political dispute in such a situation. This anecdote I received many years since (about 1792) from the mouth of the venerable gentleman who was concerned in it.

NOTE 16

This celebrated gibbet was, in the memory of the last generation, still standing at the western end of the town of Crieff, in Perthshire. Why it was called the kind gallows we are unable to inform the reader with certainty; but it is alleged that the Highlanders used to touch their bonnets as they passed a place which had been fatal to many of their countrymen, with the ejaculation 'God bless her nain sell, and the Teil tamn you!' It may therefore have been called kind, as being a sort of native or kindred place of doom to those who suffered there, as in fulfilment of a natural destiny.

NOTE 17

The story of the bridegroom carried off by caterans on his bridal-day is taken from one which was told to the author by the late Laird of Mac-Nab many years since. To carry off persons from the Lowlands, and to put them to ransom, was a common practice with the wild Highlanders, as it is said to be at the present day with the banditti in the south of Italy. Upon the occasion alluded to, a party of caterans carried off the bridegroom and secreted him in some cave near the mountain of Schiehallion. The young man caught the small-pox before his ransom could be agreed on; and whether it was the fine cool air of the place, or the want of medical attendance, Mac-Nab did not pretend to be positive; but so it was, that the prisoner recovered, his ransom was paid, and he was restored to his friends and bride, but always considered the Highland robbers as having saved his life by their treatment of his malady.

NOTE 18

This happened on many occasions. Indeed, it was not till after the total destruction of the clan influence, after 1745, that purchasers could be found who offered a fair price for the estates forfeited in 1715, which were then brought to sale by the creditors of the York Buildings Company, who had purchased the whole, or greater part, from government at a very small price. Even so late as the period first mentioned, the prejudices of the public in favour of the heirs of the forfeited families threw various impediments in the way of intending purchasers of such property.

NOTE 19

This sort of political game ascribed to Mac-Ivor was in reality played by several Highland chiefs, the celebrated Lord Lovat in particular, who used that kind of finesse to the uttermost. The Laird of Mac—-was also captain of an independent company, but valued the sweets of present pay too well to incur the risk of losing them in the Jacobite cause. His martial consort raised his clan and headed it in 1745. But the chief himself would have nothing to do with king-making, declaring himself for that monarch, and no other, who gave the Laird of Mac —— 'half-a-guinea the day and half-a-guinea the morn.'

NOTE 20

In explanation of the military exercise observed at the Castle of Glennaquoich, the author begs to remark that the Highlanders were not only well practised in the use of the broadsword, firelock, and most of the manly sports and trials of strength common throughout Scotland, but also used a peculiar sort of drill, suited to their own dress and mode of warfare. There were, for instance, different modes of disposing the plaid, one when on a peaceful journey, another when danger was apprehended; one way of enveloping themselves in it when expecting undisturbed repose, and another which enabled them to start up with sword and pistol in hand on the slightest alarm.

Previous to 1720 or thereabouts, the belted plaid was universally worn, in which the portion which surrounded the middle of the wearer and that which was flung around his shoulders were all of the same piece of tartan. In a desperate onset all was thrown away, and the clan charged bare beneath the doublet, save for an artificial arrangement of the shirt, which, like that of the Irish, was always ample, and for the sporran-mollach, or goat's-skin purse.

The manner of handling the pistol and dirk was also part of the Highland manual exercise, which the author has seen gone through by men who had learned it in their youth.

NOTE 21

Pork or swine's flesh, in any shape, was, till of late years, much abominated by the Scotch, nor is it yet a favourite food amongst them. King Jamie carried this prejudice to England, and is known to have abhorred pork almost as much as he did tobacco. Ben Jonson has recorded this peculiarity, where the gipsy in a masque, examining the king's hand, says—

You should, by this line,

Love a horse and a hound, but no part of a swine.

The Gipsies Metamorphosed.

James's own proposed banquet for the Devil was a loin of pork and a poll of ling, with a pipe of tobacco for digestion.

NOTE 22

In the number of persons of all ranks who assembled at the same table, though by no means to discuss the same fare, the Highland chiefs only retained a custom which had been formerly universally observed throughout Scotland. 'I myself,' says the traveller, Fynes Morrison, in the end of Queen Elizabeth's reign, the scene being the Lowlands of Scotland, 'was at a knight's house, who had many servants to attend him, that brought in his meat with their heads covered with blue caps, the table being more than half furnished with great platters of porridge, each having a little piece of sodden meat. And when the table was served, the servants did sit down with us; but the upper mess, instead of porridge, had a pullet, with some prunes in the broth.'—Travels, p. 155.

Till within this last century the farmers, even of a respectable condition, dined with their work-people. The difference betwixt those of high degree was ascertained by the place of the party above or below the salt, or sometimes by a line drawn with chalk on the dining-table. Lord Lovat, who knew well how to feed the vanity and restrain the appetites of his clansmen, allowed each sturdy Fraser who had the slightest pretensions to be a Duinhewassel the full honour of the sitting, but at the same time took care that his young kinsmen did not acquire at his table any taste for outlandish luxuries. His lordship was always ready with some honourable apology why foreign wines and French brandy, delicacies which he conceived might sap the hardy habits of his cousins, should not circulate past an assigned point on the table.

NOTE 23

In the Irish ballads relating to Fion (the Fingal of Mac-Pherson) there occurs, as in the primitive poetry of most nations, a cycle of heroes, each of whom has some distinguishing attribute; upon these qualities, and the adventures of those possessing them, many proverbs are formed, which are still current in the Highlands. Among other characters, Conan is distinguished as in some respects a kind of Thersites, but brave and daring even to rashness. He had made a vow that he would never take a blow without returning it; and having, like other heroes of antiquity, descended to the infernal regions, he received a cuff from the Arch-fiend who presided there, which he instantly returned, using the expression in the text. Sometimes the proverb is worded thus—'Claw for claw, and the devil take the shortest nails, as Conan said to the devil.'

NOTE 24

The description of the waterfall mentioned in this chapter is taken from that of Ledeard, at the farm so called, on the northern side of Lochard, and near the head of the lake, four or five miles from Aberfoyle. It is upon a small scale, but otherwise one of the most exquisite cascades it is possible to behold. The appearance of Flora with the harp, as described, has been justly censured as too theatrical and affected for the lady-like simplicity of her character. But something may be allowed to her French education, in which point and striking effect always make a considerable object.

NOTE 25

The author has been sometimes accused of confounding fiction with reality. He therefore thinks it necessary to state that the circumstance of the hunting described in the text as preparatory to the insurrection of 1745 is, so far as he knows, entirely imaginary. But it is well known such a great hunting was held in the Forest of Brae-Mar, under the auspices of the Earl of Mar, as preparatory to the Rebellion of 1715; and most of the Highland chieftains who afterwards engaged in that civil commotion were present on this occasion.
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