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COMMUNICATION FROM COL. MUDGE.

inquiry ‘now abroad, and which bids set up the pendulum, and the ord. fair to place our country among the nance zenith sector, the workmanship first where such studies have been suc of the late celebrated Mr Ramsden. cessfully cultivated. While we thus Thus, while the experiments are car·bestow praise where it is due, we can- rying on to ascertain the force of gra-not-refrain from tendering our mite to vity in that quarter, the observations the Geological Society of London, will be made on proper stars near to :which has done so much towards elu- the zenith, hereafter to be also oba 'cïdating the internal structure of Eng- served, in finding the amplitude of the land. Sincerely must it be wished, by whole meridional arc. The base, now 'every true lover of science, that these nearly completed in its measurement two societies may cordially

co-operate by Captain Thomas Colby of the Royal in their common objects. Let this be Engineers, in the vicinity of Aberthe case, and we shall anxiously apply deen, will verify the sides of the tri"to them the spirit of the dying address angles towards the northern part of of Father Paul to his country—“ Es our arc, connecting the Orkney Islands tote perpetuæ.”

with the main land. It is probable that M. Biot and myself will leave this quarter for Inverness (where the ordnance sector is now deposited) a

bout the end of this month, and we Addressed to the Publisher.)

think it likely, if the weather should Edinburgh, 7th June, 1817. be fair, that our operations in the Ork. SIR,

neys will be finished early in August. M. Bior and myself are extremely When these observations shall be comobliged to you, and thank you for pleted, we shall proceed to Yarmouth, your politeness.

on the coast of Norfolk, which lies nearIn compliance with your wish to ly on the meridian of Formentera pro"be made acquainted with the business duced, and there we hope to be joined by which has brought us to this place, M. Arago, member of the Institute of "I have the honour to inform you, that France, and one of the Commissioners in consequence of the trigonometrical of the Board of Longitude. By this survey, carried on under my direction, co-operation, having accurately ascere having

g been brought on so far into tained the latitude of this place, a nothe north as to admit of the descrip- table addition will be made to the tion of the longest meridional line pas- arc, running south from Formentera sing through Great Britain, M. Biot, to Dunkirk, independent of the great under the authority of both the French one running north to the Orkneys; and English Governments, is arrived for we hope that the difference of in England for the purpose of doing, longitude (being only a few degrees) in the several parts of our arc, the same

will not have sufficient influence to in series of experiments that had been terfere with the importance of this last formerly done by himself and the Com- connexion. We will repeat the experimission of the Board of Longitude, ments of the pendulum at Yarmouth, at Formentera, one of the Balearic and afterwards proceed to Blackislands in the Mediterranean, and o- down, near Weymouth, to the merither stations on the French meridian, dional limit of the English arc, where, proceeding from thence to Dunkirk. having again observed the pendu

The object of these experiments lum, and made observations with the is, to ascertain the force of gravity at zenith sector on the same stars as certain parts of our meridian, as con are to be observed in the Orkneys, nected with that of France and Spain. our united operations will close with

The pendulum is now erecting in Messrs Biot and Arago erecting their Leith Fort, where every convenience clock at the Royal Observatory at offers itself for the experiment, and Greenwich.

It was

to be always every wish has been anticipated by the expected, that whenever peace should chief engineer, Sir Howard Elphinstone. arrive, the science of France and EngWhen the operations shall be complete land would affiliate, and by the united, we propose to proceed to Kirkwalled operations, in this particular, dein the Orkneys, and near that place, termine the magnitude and figure of or some more convenient situation, if the earth, by experiments carried on on any such can be found, we shall again a greater scale than could be done in,

dividually, and with the utmost nice. vidual alluded to, which bear the ty and exactness. The whole arc, Reviewer's story out, as far as facts: from Formentera to the Orkneys, will go, and correct it where exaggeration, contain nearly 22° of the earth's me seems to have led astray-I here prown ridian ; and thence the quadrantal pose to lay them before your readerss. arc of the whole meridian, extending whom they may perhaps serve to intes from the equator to the pole, being terest or amuse. ascertained, will afford the best of

David Ritchie, for such was the all possible standards of length and name of this real dwarf, lived for capacity, whenever it shall be deter- many years in a small cottage on the mined by the Legislatures of both farm of Woodhouse, parish of Manor, countries to equalize their weights and Peeblesshire, and was very generally measures by the same common stand- known in that part of the country, by ard. The great are deduced from the name of " Bowed Davie o the these operations will be found to pass Wuduse, ---a name given to him from over a part of Spain, all France and his remarkable personal deformity,Great Britain : Belgium has already his stature being short his body thick followed the example of France, and -and his legs awkwardly bent-and has taken the standard from the same although not altogether possessed of natural source : thus, if by this parti- that spheroidal form which is given to cipation, the three nations, from their the Black Dwarf, yet evidently affordunited meridian, should agree to take ing us, in his personal appearance, an the same standard derived from it, there imperfect prototype of that mysterious seems little reason to doubt, the rest

personage. He also resembled Elshie of the world, without loss of time or in his temper, which was quite sour difficulty, would follow their example. and misanthropical. This was parti

M. Biot and myself beg to return cularly displayed in his conduct to a thanks to Mr Bain for his book on “sister of his own, who resided many the variation of the compass, and with years in a neighbouring cottage, but his compliments to yourself, I have from whom he was completely estrangthe honour to remain, sir, your most ed. This cottage was erected for him obedient humble servant,

by Sir James Nasmyth, and was given

W. MUDGE. to him rent-free. It was remarkable Wm Blackwood, Esq.

for the lowness of the door, which was made proportionate to the size of the

inhabitant. The cottage was surroundSOME ACCOUNT OF BOWED DAVIE,' ed by a garden, which was cultivated THE SUPPOSED ORIGINAL OF THE by Dávie himself, and was long the

admiration of every passenger who BLACK DWARF.'

came through the sequestered vale in MR EDITOR.

which it lay. It was, in fact, the THERE is an evident propensity in richest garden for verdure and beauty man, to confer the stamp of reality or which the surrounding country could past existence on even the most ima- display; its wall was nearly seven feet ginary characters that come before him, high-(a height uncommon in that whether from the pen of the dramatist, part of the country)—and included novelist, or incidental story-teller. Ac- some very large stones, which the cordingly, in conformity with this dwarf himself was said to have lifted. principle, I find the Quarterly Review. The late Dr Adam Ferguson, who reers, in an article just published on sided in the neighbouring mansion of the " Tales of my Landlord,” point- Hallyards, used sometimes to visit ing out an individual as the probable Davie, as an amusement, in this retired prototype and original of the Black spot; but I never heard that any thing Dwarf-or Cannie Elshie,' of the remarkable occurred on those occasions. ingenious and far-famed novelist. Mr Walter Scott was also a frequent Now, sir, with a laudable regard to visitor of Davie's, and was said to have facts, thé Reviewer has referred us held long communings with him.-So to the actual spot where this sup- far the Reviewer's account of · Bowed posed original is said to have resid- Davie' is consistent with facts ; but ed. He has thus rendered inquiry I believe it may be affirmed, that he practicable ; and as I happen to know was never much remarked for his insome particulars regarding the indi- tellectual superiority, and that the

6

son.

OATH OF BREAD AND SALT.

EPISTLE OF A HIGHLAND CHEF.

history of his mysterious appearance, clene wyt his shelle, and gave yt back; and hasty rearing of the cottage, rests but noo all is changytt forr ye waur; on no better grounds than the mere and a ye platters was sylver of wate; exaggerations of vulgar report. He and a ye quaigs was glashes. Ye wulí lived to the advanced age of 76 years, here newes orr lang bee. I luk forr and, rendered more dwarf-like by in no goot of yis changys. I hav sent ye firmity, died 6th December 1811, a stott* pt. my lad Donill going southe, utterly unconscious, I dare say, that and houp al is wel w! y? ladie and ye his name and story would ever come barns.-Yr. trystie friend, before the public. He was interred in

LOCHIEL. the parish church-yard-although he (Address.) himself had expressed a wish that he To my worthie and honourab! freend, might be interred on a particular hil Mister James Campbell, advocat, lock in the neighbourhood of his cot own brother to ye Laird off Arkintage. The following not inappropriate less, at his lodgin in Edin?, wy! epitaph was proposed by some pseudo ane black beest by Donill M-Pherpoet, to mark his remains : “ Here lies D. Ritchie's singular banes, Stretched on the light red gravel stanes. In yon queer cave on Woodhouse croft, A little garden he had wrought, "Twas there, through life, his way he

MR EDITOR, fought."

You have already furnished your June 6, 1817.

J. A. readers with two learned dissertations

on the expression of “ Sitting below the Salt,” and it seems we are to be favoured with more of them. With

out wishing to divert them from this [The following article, purporting to be inquiry, or to prevent an answer to the “ Copy of a letter of Sir Ewan Cameron of Lochiel,” was given to us for insertion

the very edifying questions of P. F.Antiquarian Repertory,' by a very may I request, from some of your anworthy gentleman, who had allowed him- tiquarian correspondents, information self to be bronzed by a facetious correspon

on an ancient practice, which bears dent. We insert it, however, as a curiosity some affinity to that which has enin its kind.]

gaged their attention. In the Records (Probable date about 1709.”)

of the Presbytery of Edinburgh, Sept. DEAR JAMES,-Yt is a grete losse 20, 1586, the following account is that ye plee is takin this turne, forr given of an oath required from Scots ye Min? * cd gang of certy his alone,

merchants trading to the Baltic, when but I wull se mysell richtit iff ye wull they passed the Sound:not, on that poore sillie callont which

“ Čertan merchantis passing to Dankens not his bettirs. What forr wull skerne, and cuming neir-elsinnure, chus

șing out ane quhen they accompted for the ye nivir com doon in the vacins tull se

payment of the toill of the goods. And that us a-butt ye heelans is sore changitt be depositioun of ane othe in forme follow, syn ye sa yem. Yt is amashing hoo ing, viz. Thei present and offer breid and ye are changyt forr ye warse. salt to the deponer of the othe, whereon he at dener on Satirday at ye Duke's, and layis his hand, and deponis his conscience, yt is a sore changet hous. I mynd in and sweiris.” my you! whan I was a younge litil

I shall be glad to learn the origin callont, I dynt on a day at ye Duke's and precise meaning of this rite, and wy! meny nobillities, and ithers of a the extent to which it prevailed. Proa degris; and behynt ilk chair or stul, vided I obtain satisfaction on these as we hadde yem, was a red-leggit heads, I am not very anxious to know loone, wyt! a clapadhut shelle; and all whether the bread was presented on a ye dyshes was timmer; and whan I platter, and the salt in a vat; and if was dune I pitet my dysh our my so, of what materials these were come shouther to the ladie, and he scartet yt posed, &c. &c. ;-but your corres

pondents, notwithstanding, may com* Sir Ewan seems to have been engaged municate their own information in in some lawsuit, wherein the law of death their own way.--I am, yours, &c. bed was concerned. The letter is to his

Y. Z. counsel.

+ I believe this is the large rock-mussel. * Query-Was this Mr Campbell's fee?

in our

I was

ANCIENT SONGS.

mour.

REMARKS ON THE HUMOUR OF OUR is still more striking ;* in particular,

the serio-comic way that prevails in MR EDITOR,

both, of relating the most extravagant I was pleased to see in your first incidents, which, above all other things, Number, an old ballad introduced has the effect of heightening the huwhich was always my greatest favour- mour. In short, sir, if either you or item" The Wyfe of Auchtermuch- any of your correspondents can adduce tie.” It is singular that this song, or farther proof that this ballad was inrather poem, should have been so often deed written by the redoubted“Gudeoverlooked by our late collectors of man of Ballangeich," I will account ballads, though, in many instances, myself much beholden to you; and they have raked them up to the very though my evidence may appear frail, lees. I wish you could have afforded us still I will hang by the tradition; and some key to the author, either drawn unless some of my opponents can adfrom record or probability, for I have vance something more conclusive on heard some violent disputes about this the other side, I will retain my in. since it appeared. I cannot now tell tegrity, and refuse to pay the dinner how it is, but ever since I remember, I and drink that I betted on the issue of have been impressed with the belief the research. that it was the production of King I cannot help remarking here, while James. V.; that I have heard this as I am on this subject, how wonderful serted a hundred times I know, but it is that no regular collection has been yet I can scarcely believe that it was made of our humorous songs by themfrom tradition alone that I at first had selves. If these were well selected, ara this intimation. So thoroughly was I ranged, and set to their own old ranta convinced of the truth of it, that I had ing tunes, they could not fail of being nearly quarrelled outright with a very highly acceptable to the lovers of inintimate friend, for saying that there nocent frolic and social glee. The was no proof nor insinuation in any best of our old songs are those of huwork extant that warranted such a be

That class, at the head of lief ; and after a good deal of research, which we may place “ The Wyfe of to my great disappointment, I confess Auchtermuchtie," “Fy let us a' to the that I can discover none, excepting the Br 21,” “ Rob's Jock," and “ Muire resemblance between this ballad and land Willie," are greatly superior to those that are usually supposed to have the Damons and Phillises of the same been written by that prince. This age. Our forefathers had one peculia likeness may be chimerical, for fancy arity in song-writing, which their is powerful in modelling images that children seem to have lost; it was the she believes or wishes to exist, but to art of picking up an occurrence, of all me it seems fully apparent. The same possible ones the most unfeasible, disposition to depict the manners of whereon to found a song. This adds low life, and of the country people, greatly to the comic effect. The folwith their blunders and perplexities, lowing song, entitled, “Simon Brodie,” predominates in them all. As one in as it is short, and rarely to be met stance it may be noted, that the insur- with, may be given as an instance. mountable difficulties of the Gudeman Och ! mine honest Simon Brodie, of Auchtermuchtie,-the perplexity of Stupit, auld, doitit bodie! the Gudewife in the ballad of “ T'he I'll awa to the north coontrye Gaberlunzie-man," when she found And see mine honest Simon Brodie. that her daughter had eloped,--and Simon Brodie had ane wyfe, the utter despair of the lass in « The And wow but she was braw and bonny! Jolly Beggar," when she discovered He teuk the dish-clout aff the bink, that she had lain beside “ the puir And preen'd it till her cockernonny, auld bodie," bear all strong evidences Simon Brodie had ane cow,

Och ! mine honest Simon Brodie, &c. of the same mind and the same mode The cow was tint, he couldna find her! of thinking. Poets have generally but Quhen he had done what man could dow, a few situations in which they nat The cow cam hame wi' her tail behind her. urally incline to place their principal Och ! mine honest Simon Brodie, &c. characters. The favourite one of James was that of a ludicrous perplexity. * " Christ's Kirk on the Green" is com

The resemblance between this bal- monly, and we believe justly, ascribed to lad and “ Christ's Kirk on the Green," King James I.

EDITOR. VOL. I.

2 H

An'

And here our song ends we have were three Scotch noblemen present, no more. Perhaps an acute observer who were quite convulsed with laugh might infer from this, that in some ter, and the rest perceiving that there northern country, no body knows was something extremely droll in it where, there lived in some age or ge- which they could but very imperfecto neration a good-natured extremely ly comprehend, requested the author stupid fellow, called Simon Brodie, to sing it again. This he positively and this is all; still the shrewd idea declined. Some persons of very high of pretending to define a character rank were present, who appearing from two such bald and weather- much disappointed by this refusal, a beaten incidents has something in it few noblemen, valuing themselves on extremely droll. I may mention ano their knowledge of Scotsmen's propenther of the same cast—"A mile aboon sities, went up to this northern laird, Dundee.”

and offered him a piece of plate of an

hundred guineas value, if he would The auld man's mare's dead;

sing the song over again; but he, senThe poor body's mare's dead;

sible that his song would not bear the The auld man's mare's dead;

most minute investigation by the comA mile aboon Dundee.

pany

in which he then was, persisted There was hay to ca', an' lint to lead,

in his refusal, putting them off with An hunder hotts o' muck to spread,

an old proverb, which cannot be inpeats and tur's an' a' to lead ;

serted here. He seems to have been What mean'd the beast to dee? The auld man's mare's dead, &c.

precisely of the same opinion with an

author of our own day, between whom She had the cauld, but an' the cruik,

and his friend the following dialogue The wheezloch an' the wanton yeuk ;

took place in a bookseller's shop in this On ilka knee she had a breuk; An' yet the jade to dee!

town, to the no small amusement of The auld man's mare's dead, &c.

the bystanders :She was lang-tooth’d, and blench-lippit,

Let me entreat you,for God's sake, Haem-houghed, an' haggis-fitted,

to make the language of this ballad so Lang-neckit, chaunler-chaftit,

as that we can understand it." An' yet the jade to dee !

I carena whether ye understand it The auld man's mare's dead, &c. or no, min; I dinna aye understand it

very weel mysel'.' No poet now alive would ever think • It is not for what you or I, or of writing a ditty on such an old any Scotsmen may understand ; but miserable jade as this that died above remember this must be a sealed book Dundee, far less of holding it out as to the English. so wonderful that she should have died, 0, it's a' the better for that_thae while, in the mean time, every line English folk like aye best what they shows that it was impossible the beast dinna understand.” could live. Haply these songs may I know that many old songs of much exist in some collection, but as I never genuine humour still survive in the saw them in any, and write them down country, which have never been colfrom recollection, as I heard them lected into any reputable work, merely sung, I cannot assert that they are because they contain some expressions given in full.

that were inadmissible. A difficult The confusion of characters and question arises here. Whether is it dishes that are all blent together in better to lose these brilliant effusions

Fy let us a' to the Bridal,” is a mase altogether, or to soften down and moterpiece of drollery. It is a pity that dify such expressions so as to suit the there should be one or two expressions taste of an age so notorious for its in it that are rather too coarse to be scrupulous and superficial delicacy? I sung in every company; for wherever certainly would give my vote for the it is sung

with any degree of spirit, it latter. It is delicate ground; for it never misses the effect of affording high would scarcely be possible to do always amusement. The first man whom I just enough and not too much. But heard sing this song, accompanied it though I would not recommend the always with an anecdote of the author garbling of original songs as Allan (who was a Scotch laird, whose name I Ramsay did, so as quite to change have forgot) singing it once in a large their character, nor the forging a new private assembly at London. There volume of old songs off at the ground

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