Page images

given in by Forrest, was referred to the Superintendent of Lothian and the kirk of Edinburgh. In describing the infant church of the Reformers, in 1558, Calderwood makes mention of one David Forrest, who, with Erskine of Dun, and others, sometimes exhorted the congregation. This is probably the person referred to above; but whether he was unwilling to accept the higher office of the Ministry, or what was his answer to the Assembly, does not appear. In this last session, John Douglas of Pumfrestone, in the name of the kirk of Calder, complained, that since their Minister had been made Superintendent of Lothian, the word was not regularly preached to them; and desired, that either the said Superintendent should be restored to them, or some other qualified Minister appointed. The Assembly admitted the reasonableness of the request, but added, that in the present scarcity of Ministers, the general advantage of the church could not be sacrificed to that of a single parish.

[ocr errors]

Being informed that Mr David Spence gave Institution, be vertue of the Pope's Bulles, to Mr Robert Auchinmoutie of the Prebendrie of Russell, the 22d of June last by past, the Assemblie ordained, that the Superintendents of Fyfe and Lowthian take order respective with the forsaids persons, and to informe the Justice-Clerk to call them to particular dietts, for breaking of the Quein's acts, if they find the mater cleerlie tried; and that the Superintendent of Lothian signifie the mater to the Duke." In the Parliament 1560, it was ordained, that the "Bishope of Rome, called the Pape, have no jurisdiction nor authoritie within this realme in any time coming;" and all were discharged from desiring or holding title or office from him, under pain of barratry: so that the transaction referred to above was obviously illegal; and as the Ministers at this

time were under strong apprehensions of the re-establishment of Popery, they could not have passed it over. When they next proceeded to consider the general state of the country and the church, it was concluded, that Supplication should be made to the Queen for removing idolatry and suppressing vice. It was also agreed, that suit should be made to the Justice-Clerk, that order may be taken with those who are disobedient to Superintendents, and to the Privy Council for assistance and support to the visitors of Aberdeen and Banff. With regard to questions of divorce, it was agreed, that the decision of them should either be transferred to the kirk, or that persons of reputation and judgment should be established for the purpose.

The form of the Supplication to the Queen and Council was drawn up by Knox, and is inserted in his History, p. 311. In addition to the points specially mentioned above, it contains very earnest pleadings for stipends to the Ministers, and for provision to the poor. Calderwood says, that this draught of the Supplication was read in the Assembly, and generally approved of. He even adds, that some of the Members wished that "more sharpness had been used." But Lethington and the Court-party regarded it as, in many particulars, harsh and uncalled for. He ridiculed the fear of Popery being again introduced,—a fear which this Supplication very strongly expressed, and prevailed so far, that he was permitted to draw up another form of the Supplication, with the understanding that he should retain the substance.

"And swa dissolves this Assemblie, and appoint it to convene agane the 25th of December nixt te cum, in Edinburgh.

"Sic subscribitur,



Ir is always a disagreeable task to tell an old friend that you are not pleased with him, and it is peculiarly embarrassing when you are conscious that the ground of complaint consists, less of any tangible offence, than of a crowd of petty grievances and microscopic vexations, each of them very ensignificant in itself, but altogether amounting to a pretty formidable quantum of annoyance. Now, this is exactly the situation in which we stand with our old friend Geoffrey Crayon. Here is a new work, by the author of the Sketch Book and Bracebridge Hall, and one precisely similar in kind; possessing, to a certain extent, every characteristic of those beautiful works, and yet so evidently inferior in degree-so much less delicate and refined in its humorous parts-so much less touching in the pathetic (by-the-bye, there is little of the latter)-so nearly approaching to common-place, in some of its remarks on life and manners, and to prosing in the conduct of some of its tales, that we feel occasionally inclined to ask ourselves, whether we are not perusing a successful imitation of the author's style, rather than an original work? In one point only does it appear to us that the Tales of a Traveller are equal to their predecessors, and that is, the peculiar elegance of style, and happy quaintness of verbal expression in subjects of a comic cast, which are so characteristic of Mr Irving's writings. These the present work possesses in perfection, but in almost every other point we feel conscious, sometimes without being able to assign any good reason for the feeling, of a deficiency -of a certain coldness and constraint-of an inartificial and languid tone in the longer tales, and an abruptness and want of point in some of the shorter, for which we were not altogether prepared. In particular, the more lengthy and elaborate tales in the present work, such as the story of the Young Italian, and the Narrative of Buckthorne, are extremely deficient in interest; and the denouement of the first is so obviously inadequate to account for the consequences it is supposed to produce, that the reader immediately thinks of the awkward windings up and lame explanations of Mrs Radcliff's romances. In Buckthorne, again, where the author has obviously ventured ultra crepidam, in an attempt to exhibit some varied and enlarged views of life, the same want of sequence in the incidents, with a good deal of feebleness in the execution, is visible. Invention, in fact, seems to be the quality in which he is most deficient. Give him the most insignificant legend, and he contrives to throw over it a wonderful interest, by that tone of quiet, subdued humour, and that admirable command of corresponding language, which he possesses; but the creation of the incidents of a Tale, and indeed any prolonged or continuous painting of character, seem to be beyond his powers. His characters, like his jokes, disclose themselves only in hints and insinuations; and his Tales seem rather to consist of a number of lively or graceful descriptions, than of a series of scenes bearing on any definite or preconceived end. But—trève de critique; it is time our readers should see what they have to expect.

The work is divided into four parts, entitled, Strange Storics by a Nervous Gentleman-Buckthorne and his Friends-The Italian Banditti—and the Money-Diggers. Each of these parts serves as the frame-work for several narratives; and of the four, the first, which consists principally of serio-comic ghost stories, and the last consisting of some Dutch legends, relating to the subject of hidden treasure, are decidedly the best. The Nervous Gentleman's Tales are preceded by an extremely well-written Introduction, abounding with delicate humour, and happy sketches of a convivial party assembled at the seat of an old fox-hunting Baronet in the country. Indeed the author has a trick of wasting his powers on his Introductions, to the manifest injury and damage of the Tales, to which they serve as a Preface; just as we have sometimes seen an unlucky urchin, in preparing for are joicing day, blow away his whole magazine of combus

tibles in preliminary explosions, before the important moment when they were to be made use of. Of the legends which follow, the Irishman's Tale is a very fair specimen.

The Bold Bragoon,


The Adventures of my Grandfather.

My grandfather was a bold Dragoon, for it's a profession, d'ye see, that has run in the family. All my forefathers have been Dragoons, and died on the field of honour, except myself, and I hope my posterity may be able to say the same; however, I don't mean to be vain-glorious.-Well, my grandfather, as I said, was a bold Dragoon, and had served in the Low Countries. In fact, he was one of that very army which, according to my uncle Toby, swore so terribly in Flanders. He could swear a good stick himself; and, moreover, was the very man that introduced the doctrine Corporal Trim mentions, of radical heat and radical moisture; or, in other words, the mode of keeping out the damps of ditch-water by burnt brandy. Be that as it may, it's nothing to the purport of my story. I only tell it to show you that my grandfather was a man not easily to be humbugged. He had seen service, or, according to his own phrase, he had seen the devil-and that's saying every thing.

Well, gentlemen, my grandfather was on his way to England, for which he intended to embark from Ostend-bad luck to the place!-for one where I was kept by storms and head-winds for three long days, and the devil of a jolly companion or pretty face to comfort me. Well, as I was saying, my grandfather was on his way to England, or rather to Ostend-no matter which, it's all the same. So one evening, towards night-fall, he rode jollily into Bruges.-Very like you all know Bruges, gentlemen; a queer, old-fashioned Flemish town, once, they say, a great place for trade and money-making in old times, when the Mynheers were in their glory; but almost as large and as empty as an Irishman's pocket at the present day. Well, gentlemen, it was at the time of the annual fair. All Bruges was crowded; and the canals swarmed with Dutch boats, and the streets swarmed with Dutch merchants; and there was hardly any getting along, for goods, wares, and merchandizes, and peasants in big breeches, and women in half a score of petticoats.

My grandfather rode jollily along, in his easy slashing way, for he was a saucy sun-shiny fellow-staring about him at the motley crowd, and the old houses with gable-ends to the street, and storks' nests on the chimneys; winking at the yafrows who showed their faces at the windows, and joking the women right and left in the street; all of whom laughed, and took it in amazing good part; for though he did not know a word of the language, yet he had always a knack of making himself understood among the women.

Well, gentlemen, it being the time of the annual fair, all the town was crowded, every inn and tavern full, and my grandfather applied in vain from one to the other for admittance. At length he rode up to an old rackety inn that looked ready to fall to pieces, and which all the rats would have run away from, if they could have found room in any other house to put their heads. It was just such a queer building as you see in Dutch pictures, with a tall roof that reached up into the clouds, and as many garrets one over the other as the seven heavens of Mahomet. Nothing had saved it from tumbling down but a stork's nest on the chimney, which always brings good luck to a house in the Low Countries; and at the very time of my grandfather's ar rival, there were two of these long-legged birds of grace standing like ghosts on the chimney top. Faith, but they've kept the house on its legs to this very day, for you may see it any time you pass through Bruges, as it stands there yet, only it is turned into a brewery of strong Flemish beer, at least it was so when I came that way after the battle of Waterloo.

My grandfather eyed the house curiously as he approached. It might not have altogether struck his fancy, had he not seen in large letters over the door,


My grandfather had learnt enough of the language to know that the sign promised good liquor. "This is the house for me," said he, stopping short before the door. The sudden appearance of a dashing Dragoon was an event in an old inn, frequented only by the peaceful sons of traffic. A rich burgher of Antwerp, a stately ample man,

in a broad Flemish hat, and who was the great man, and great patron of the estab lishment, sat smoking a clean long pipe on one side of the door; a fat little distiller of Geneva, from Schiedam, sat smoking on the other; and the bottle-nosed host stood in the door, and the comely hostess, in crimped cap, beside him; and the hostess's daughter, a plump Flanders lass, with long gold pendants in her ears, was at a sidewindow.

“Humph!” said the rich burgher of Antwerp, with a sulky glance at the stranger. "Der duyvel!" said the fat little distiller of Schiedam.

The landlord saw, with the quick glance of a publican, that the new guest was not at all, at all to the taste of the old ones; and, to tell the truth, he did not himself like my grandfather's saucy eye. He shook his head. "Not a garret in the house but was full."

"Not a garret !" echoed the landlady.

"Not a garret !" echoed the daughter.

The burgher of Antwerp, and the little distiller of Schiedam, continued to smoke their pipes sullenly, eyeing the enemy askance from under their broad hats, but said nothing.

My grandfather was not a man to be brow-beaten. He threw the reins on his horse's neck, cocked his head on one side, stuck one arm akimbo, "Faith and troth!" said he, "but I'll sleep in this house this very night."—As he said this, he gave a slap on his thigh, by way of emphasis-the slap went to the landlady's heart. He followed up the vow by jumping off his horse, and making his way past the staring Mynheers, into the public-room-May be you've been in the bar-room of an old Flemish inn-faith, but a handsome chamber it was as you'd wish to see; with a brick floor, and a great fire-place, with the whole Bible history in glazed tiles; and then the mantel-piece, pitching itself head-foremost out of the wall, with a whole regiment of cracked teapots and earthen jugs paraded on it; not to mention half-adozen great Delft platters, hung about the room by way of pictures; and the little bar in one corner, and the bouncing bar-maid aside of it, with a red calico cap and yellow ear-drops.

My grandfather snapped his fingers over his head, as he cast an eye round the room-"Faith this is the very house I've been looking after," said he.

There was some further show of resistance on the part of the garrison; but my grandfather was an old soldier, and an Irishman to boot, and not easily repulsed, especially after he had got into the fortress. So he blarneyed the landlord, kissed the landlord's wife, tickled the landlord's daughter, chucked the bar-maid under the chin: and it was agreed on all hands that it would be a thousand pities, and a burning shame into the bargain, to turn such a bold Dragoon into the streets. So they laid their heads together, that is to say, my grandfather and the landlady, and it was at length agreed to accommodate him with an old chamber that had been for some time shut up.

"Some say it's haunted," whispered the landlord's daughter; "but you are a bold Dragcon, and I dare say don't fear ghosts."

"The divil a bit!" said my grandfather, pinching her plump cheek.

"But if I

should be troubled by ghosts, I've been to the Red Sea in my time, and have a pleasant way of laying them, my darling."

And then he whispered something to the girl which made her laugh, and give him a good-humoured box on the ear. In short, there was nobody knew better how to make his way among the petticoats than my grandfather.

In a little while, as was his usual way, he took complete possession of the house, swaggering all over it; into the stable to look after his horse, into the kitchen to look after his supper. He had something to say or do with every one; smoked with the Dutchmen, drank with the Germans, slapped the landlord on the shoulder, romped with his daughter and the bar-maid :-never since the days of Alley Croaker had such a rattling blade been seen. The landlord stared at him with astonishment; the landlord's daughter hung her head and giggled whenever he came near; and as he swaggered along the corridor, with his sword trailing by his side, the maids looked after him, and whispered to one another, "What a proper man!"

At supper, my grandfather took command of the table-d'hôte as though he had been at home; helped every body, not forgetting himself; talked with every one, whether he understood their language or not; and made his way into the intimacy of the rich burger of Antwerp, who had never been known to be sociable with any one during his life. In fact, he revolutionized the whole establishment, and gave it such a rouse, that the very house reeled with it. He outsat every one at table excepting the little fat distiller of Schiedam, who sat soaking a long time before he broke forth;

but when he did, he was a very devil incarnate. He took a violent affection for my grandfather; so they sat drinking, and smoking, and telling stories, and singing Dutch and Irish songs, without understanding a word each other said, until the little Hollander was fairly swamped with his own gin and water, and carried off to bed, whooping and hiccuping, and trolling the burthen of a low Dutch love song.

Well, gentlemen, my grandfather was shown to his quarters up a large staircase, composed of loads of hewn timber; and through long rigmarole passages, hung with blackened paintings of fish, and fruit, and game, and country frolics, and huge kitchens, and portly Burgomasters, such as you see about old-fashioned Flemish inns, till at length he arrived at his room.

An old-times chamber it was, sure enough, and crowded with all kinds of trumpery. It looked like an infirmary for decayed and superannuated furniture, where every thing diseased or disabled was sent to nurse or to be forgotten. Or rather, it might be taken for a general congress of old legitimate moveables, where every kind and country had a representative. No two chairs were alike. Such high backs and low backs, and leather bottoms, and worsted bottoms, and straw bottoms, and no bottoms; and cracked marbles with curiously-carved legs, holding balls in their claws, as though they were going to play at nine-pins.

My grandfather made a bow to the motley assemblage as he entered, and, having undressed himself, placed his light in the fire-place, asking pardon of the tongs, which seemed to be making love to the shovel in the chimney-corner, and whispering soft nonsense in its ear.

The rest of the guests were by this time sound asleep, for your Mynheers are huge sleepers. The house-maids, one by one, crept up yawning to their attics, and not a female head in the inn was laid on a pillow that night without dreaming of the bold dragoon.

My grandfather, for his part, got into bed, and drew over him one of those great bags of down, under which they smother a man in the Low Countries; and there he lay melting, between two feather beds, like an anchovy sandwich between two slices of toast and butter. He was a warm-complexioned man, and this smothering played the very deuce with him. So, sure enough, in a little time it seemed as if a legion of imps were twitching at him, and all the blood in his veins was in a fever heat.

He lay still, however, until all the house was quiet, except the snoring of the Mynheers from the different chambers, who answered one another in all kinds of tones and cadences, like so many bullfrogs in a swamp. The quieter the house became, the more unquiet became my grandfather. He waxed warmer and warmer, until at length the bed became too hot to hold him.

66 May be the maid had warmed it too much?" said the curious gentleman, in. quiringly.

“I rather think the contrary," replied the Irishman. grew too hot for my grandfather."

"But, be that as it may, it

"Faith, there's no standing this any longer," says he. So he jumped out of bed, and went strolling about the house.

"What for?" said the inquisitive gentleman. "Why, to cool himself, to be sure -or perhaps to find a more comfortable bed-or perhaps-But no matter what he went for he never mentioned—and there's no use in taking up our time in conjecturing."

Well, my grandfather had been for some time absent from his room, and was returning, perfectly cool, when, just as he reached the door, he heard a strange noise within. He paused and listened. It seemed as if some one were trying to hum a tune in defiance of the asthma. He recollected the report of the room being haunted; but he was no believer in ghosts, so he pushed the door gently open and peeped in.

Egad, gentlemen, there was a gambol carrying on within, enough to have astonished St. Anthony himself. By the light of the fire, he saw a pale, weazen-faced fellow in a long flannel gown, and a tall white night-cap with a tassel to it, who sat by the fire with a bellows under his arm by way of bagpipe, from which he forced the asthmatical music that had bothered my grandfather. As he played, too, he kept twitching about with a thousand queer contortions, nodding his head, and bobbing about his tasselled night-cap.

My grandfather thought this very odd, and mighty presumptuous, and was about to demand what business he had to play his wind-instrument in another gentleman's quarters, when a new cause of astonishment met his eye. From the opposite side of the room, a long-backed, bandy-legged chair, covered with leather, and studded all over in a coxcombical fashion, with little brass nails, got suddenly into motion, thrust out first a claw-foot, then a crooked arm, and at length, making a leg, slided grace

« PreviousContinue »