Imatges de pÓgina

Of the burning of old Major Weir and to secure? He answered, none. His sis. his sister on the Gallows Hill, near Edin- ter said there was, wherenpon, to the value burgh, in 1670, traditions still exist. of five dollars, in parcels here and there,

Mr. Sinclair, a fatuous professor of philo- were found in several clouts. His sister sophy at Glasgow University, thus de- advised the two magistrates to secure his scribes the event :

staff especially; for she also went to prison. “Major Thomas Weir was born in Clyds- After he was secured in the Tolbooth, the daile, near to Lanerk, and he had been a bailies returned, and went into a tavern near lieutenant in Ireland long since. What to Weir's house, in the West Bow, a street way he came to get some publick command so called there. The money was put into in the city of Edinburgh, in the year ’49 a bag, and the clouts thrown into the fire and ’53, we know not, but it seems he had by the master of the house and his wife, always been called Major Weir since that which, after an unusual manner, made å time. It seems he had some charge over circling and dancing in the fire. There the waiters at the ports of the city, being, was another clout found, with some bard as it were, a check to them. Coming one thing in it, which they threw into the fire day, as his custome was, he found some of likewise; it being a certain root which them in a cellar, taking a cup of ale, neglect-circled and sparkled like gunpowder, and ing their charge. After a gentle reproof, passing from the tunnel of the chimney, it one of them replyed that, some of their gave a crack like a little cannon, to the number being on duty, the rest had retired amazement of all that were present. to drink with their old friend and acquaint- “The money aforesaid was taken by one ance Mr. Burn. At which word he started of the two bailies to his own house, and back, and, casting an eye upon him, re- laid by in his closet. After family prayer peated the word Burn four or five times; was ended, he retired into the same closet and, going home, he never any more came (where I have been), during which time abroad till a few weeks after he had dis- his wife (who is yet living) and the rest covered his impieties. It was observed by of the family were affrighted with a tersome that, going to Liberton, he sometimes rible noise within the study, like the falling shunned to step over Liberton-burn, and of an house, about three times together. went about to shun it. Some have conjec- His wife, knocking, gave a fearful cry: tured that he had advise to beware of a “My dear, are you alive ?' The bailie came burn or some other thing which this equi- out unafrayed, having (as he said) heard vocal word might mean. If so, he had nothing. The money was presently sent foreseen his day approaching. A year be- away to the other bailie's house, a great fore he discovered himself he took a sore distance from Weir's, where, as was resickness, during which time he spake to all ported, there was some disturbance, but who visited him like an angel, and came in broken expressions. frequently abroad again.

During the time of his imprisonment “This man, taking some dreadful tortures Weir was never willing to be spoken to, of conscience, and the terrours of the Al- and when the ministers of the city offered mighty being upon his spirit, confessed to to pray for him he would cry out in fury, several neighbours in hisown house, and that Torment me no more, for I am tormented most willingly, his particular sins which he already.' One minister (now asleep), askwas guilty of, which bred amazement to ing him if he should pray for him, was all

persons, they coming from a man of so answered, “Not at all.' The other rehigh a repute of religion and piety. He plied in a kind of holy anger, 'Sir, I will ended with this remarkable expresssion : pray for yon in spite of your teeth, and the * Before God,' says he, “I have not told devil your master too, who did pray, you the hundred part of that I can say making him at least to hear him; but the more and am guilty of.' These same abo- other, staring wildly, was senseless as a minations he confessed before the judges brute. Another, who is likewise at rest, likewise. But after this he would never demanded if he thought there was a God. to his dying hour confess any more, which Said the man, 'I know not.' That other might have been for the glorifying of God smartly replied, 'Oh, man, the argument and the edification of others, but remained that moveth me to think there is a God is stupid, having no confidence to look any thyself, for what else moved thee to inform man in the face, or to open


eyes. the world of thy wicked life.' But Weir “When two of the magistrates came to answered, “Let me alone.' When he his house in the night time, to carry him peremptorily forbade one of his own parish to prison, they asked if he had any money | ministers (ģet alive) to pray, one demanded

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if he would have any of the Presbyterian on, if by the lanthorn they could see what persuasion to pray. He answered, “Sir, she was; but haste what they could, this you are now all alike to me. Then said long-legged spectre was still before them, the minister to him, 'I will pray with moving her body with a vehement cachinyou.' 'Do it not,' said the other, “upon nation a great unmeasurable laughter. your peril,' looking up to the beams of the At this rate the two strove for place, till house. But prayer was offered up so much the giantess came to a narrow lane in the the more heartily, because the company Bow, commonly called the Stinking Closs, about expected some vision. It is ob- into which she turned ; and the gentleservable that, in things common, he was woman looking after her, perceived the pertinent enough; but when anything about Closs full of flaming torches (she could Almighty God and his soul's condition give them no other name), and as it had came about, he would shrug and rub his been a great multitude of people, stencoat and breast, saying to them, “Torment toriously laughing and gapping with takies me not before the time. When he was at of laughter.” the stake to be burnt, the city minister The major's poor old half-crazed sister called to a churchman there looking on, came next to the gallows. She confessed being one of that persuasion whereof Weir various horrible crimes, which most prowas formerly deemed to be, to speak to bably had never been committed. She also him; but no sooner he opened his mouth, owned that the Queen of the Fairies had than he made a sign with his hand and his helped her in spinning, and that her brother head to be silent. When the rope was and friend, soon after the battle of about his neck to prepare him for the fire, Worcester, had driven to Dalkeith in a he was bid say, 'Lord be merciful to me!' (most uncomfortable !) fiery chariot. On But he answered, “Let me alone, I will the scaffold the poor wretch tried to strip not; I have lived as a beast, and I must off her clothes, in order to die with the die as a beast.' The fire being kindled, greatest shame possible, and the rough both he and his staff, a little after, fell into executioner had at last to fling her by force the flames. Whatever incantation was in from the ladder. Her last words were his staff is not for me to discuss. He could true to the sect to which her brother had not officiate in any holy duty without this claimed to belong : rod in his hand, and leaning upon it, which Many,” she said, “weep and lament made those who heard him pray admire for a poor old wretch like me, but, alas ! his fluency in prayers. Its falling into the few are weeping for a broken covenant.” fire with him (let others search out the Sir Walter Scott, in his Demonology and disparity) minds me of this passage. In Witchcraft, describes Major Weir's house, Shetland a few years ago a judge having at the head of the West Bow, as then in the condemned an old woman and her daughter, course of being destroyed. It was a gloomy, called Helen Stewart, for witchcraft, sent high-storied structure, with the usual outthem to be burned. The maid was so side stairs of the Old Town fortresses of stupid that she was thought to be pos- poverty, and it had been alternately a sessed. When she had hung some little brazier's shop and a magazine for lint. In time on the gibbet a black, pitchy-like ball his High School days, Sir Walter Scott foamed out of her mouth ; and after the says, no family would inhabit the haunted fire was kindled it grew to the bigness of house, and bold was the urchin who dared a walnut, and then flew up like squibs into approach the gloomy ruin, at the risk of the air, which the judge, yet living, attests. seeing the major's enchanted staff parading It was taken to be a visible sign that the through the old apartments, or hearing the devil was gone out of her.

hum of his sister's necromantic wheel." "Some few days before he discovered him- In 1727, the last witch was burnt in self, a gentlewoman coming from the Castle Scotland. She was a poor, half imbecile Hill

, where her husband's niece was lay- old Highland woman, near Littledean, in ing-in of a child, about midnight perceived Sutherland, who was accused of having inabout the Bow-head three women in win- duced the devil to shoe her lame daughter, dows, shouting, laughing, and clapping to serve as a horse on which to ride to their hands. The gentlewoman went for witches' meetings. The poor old crone ward, till just at Major Weir's door there and how pathetic the picture is !) is said arose, as from the street, a woman above to have sat by the fire prepared for her the length of two ordinary females, and death warming herself calmly, while the stepped forward. The gentlewoman, not wood was being heaped ready for the exeas yet excessively feared, bid her maid step cution. In 1736, the cruel witchcraft Act

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(April 13, 1872.)


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was repealed, much to the anger of the alley, crowded thickly on either side with more zealous Presbyterians.

butchers' sbops. “Buy! buy! what'e buy?" The last authentic witch-trial in Eng- is the word. Brisk acolytes skirmish land, according to Mrs. Linton, who has around us, brandishing formidable knives studied the subject, and written a most in- and truculent-looking cleavers. Joints, teresting book upon it, was in 1712, when prime, middle, and common, hang about Jane Wenham, of Walkerne, a little village in sanguinary profusion; while a brisk in the north of Hertfordshire, was sen- business is going on in smaller pieces, tenced to death, but eventually, thanks to scrag, sticking-piece, or those mysterious a humane judge, obtained a pardon. Yet morsels 'of meat popularly known as still this wise and over self-satisfied cen- “ block ornaments.” Hither come the protury must remember that so conservative prietors of dingy restaurants scattered are folly and superstition, that only the about Soho, where melancholy imitations other day an English labourer was brought of French dishes – alas ! how different from before a magistrate for trying to disen. the divine originals—are vended, at infinichant himself by scoring a supposed witch tesimal prices, to seedy men in strange “ above the breath.”

attire-men full of schemes for the regene

ration of mankind, but inappreciative of ONLY A PASSING THOUGHT.

the virtues of clean linen-men skilled 'Twas only a passing thought, my friend,

in many sciences and learned in various Only a passing thought,

tongues, but ignorant, it would seem, of
That came o'er my mind like a ray of the sun the chemical operation of soap and water

In the ripple of waters caught;
As it seemed to me, as I say to thee,

when briskly applied to the human body.
That sorrow, and shame, and sin

Hither, too, at the stroke of noon, comes
Migbt disappear from our happy sphere, the British artisan in quest of his simple,

If we knew but to begin,
If we knew but how to profit

but wholesome, strength-giving dinner.
By wisdom dearly bought:

Tom Painter walks up to the shop he most
'Twas only a passing thought, my friend, affects, and with a scornful glance at the
Only a passing thought.

odds and ends-heart, liver, and other
Why should the nations fight, my friend,
Why should not warfare cease,

“innards ”—with an impatient push past
And all the beautiful world repose

leathern-faced old hags chaffering for block
In innocence and peace

ornaments, turning over with unwashed
It seems to me, as I say to thee,
The weak may yet be strong;

hands, and even testing by the evidence
There needs but the breath of love and faith of their olfactory organs the freshness of a
To right the weary wrong,

doubtful morsel—T. P. selects a prime piece
To right the weary wrong, my friend,
Throughout the world mistaught:

of beef, commands the butcher to cut him
'Twas only a passing thought, my friend, his half-pound of steak from that piece, and
Only a passing thought.

“just there,” indicating with his finger the
But though only a passing thought, my friend,
You know as well as I

favoured spot. Having carefully wrapped
That thoughts have a fashion to grow to deeds

his steak in a fresh cabbage-leaf, T. P. Under the ripening sky.

now hies him to the “pub” he“
So pass it on; let it walk or run,

Ordering his pint of beer, and handing
Or fly on the wings of the wind,
Or, better still, on the wings of the press,

over his meat to the attendant sprite, Tom
For the service of mankind;

whiles away the time with the Morning
For the service of mankind, my friend,

Advertiser till his steak arrives bissing
That needs but to be taught :
'Twas only a passing thought, my friend,

hot, and falling to with relish, the honest
Only a passing thought.
fellow heartily enjoys his well-earned meal


Our friend Tom has probably consumed

as much, if not in actual weight, certainly
in money value, as would, laid ont to bet-

ter advantage, and aided by a little decent Let us stroll along Coventry-street, and cookery, have provided a meal for his enacross Leicester-square, that spot dear to tire family; but Tom has an honest and the heart of the refugee-famous for its re- thoroughly English horror of any piece of gular production of dead cats as some un- meat not distinctly traceable to the animal worthy fields are for their regular crops of and portion of the animal whence it was stones—and turning up a narrow court to hewed. “Likes to know,


“whether our left, we shall find ourselves all at once it's dog or whether it's horse,' and abhors in Newport Market.

all messes and kickshaws as only fit for Struggling through a chaos of vege- Frenchmen, who being brought up, and tables, we are in a long, narrow, paved even weaned on frogs, of course know no


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better. If his work be not too far off, of “the double,” dined gloriously upon the T. P. indulges in “a pipe and half a screw,' same, assisted only by a lump of bread, a and during his dinner-hour is a happy man. pinch of salt, and a pint of “aff-naff.” Perhaps the only comfortable hour out of Late on certain evenings the nostrils of his twenty-four is the one spent on the the wanderer in Newport Market are assanded floor of the Cantankerous Croco- sailed by an odour of exceeding savouridile, for his home is not a very cheerful ness. This hunger-compelling scent proone, poor fellow. The "missis” does her ceeds from a singular dish called "faggots," best, good soul, but the "kids" are always all hot-round lumps compounded, it is teething or having the measles, and as soon believed, chiefly of the interior organs of as Tommy gets over the croup, Jenny is animals, highly seasoned; the faggot is, inbarking her

poor little heart out with the deed, a sort of degenerate Southron imitahooping-cough.

tion of the Scottish national dish, haggis. Large baskets, resting on the stalwart Hungry children crowd round the steaming arms of stout Frenchwomen, come to New- dishes of brown and savoury spheres, greeport Market, and are certain to be stored dily inhaling the delightful odour, while with the cheaper pieces of meat, not for those happy in the accidental possession of getting bones for soup-making, eggs, and browns," rush to gratify their appetites endless onions, mighty carrots, and crisp in more substantial fashion. Under the heads of celery, peering cunningly from faring gas-lights slipshod girls, carrying beneath the half-opened basket lid. All basins hidden under their pinafores, bear this carefully assorted vegetable matter will off triumphantly their supper to the poor ponvert the humble shin of beef into the home, where probably even such slender savoury dishes denounced by our friend meals as “faggots” afford are somewhat T. P. as “messes."

The swine-savoury food of the Saxon- Hidden away in the dingy regions of Finsis well represented in Newport Market. bury is a small market, the site whereof is For roasting or boiling, either to be served now advertised for sale. The huge board brown and crisp with toothsome crackling, announcing the approaching sale and deor seethed to serve as an humble hand-molition of the entire institution would in maiden to the delicate capon or lordly itself produce a depressing effect were it turkey. Sausages in endless rows tempt not at once evident that the market has prothose admirers within whom faith is not bably nearly abolished itself. If any busidead; tripe, and eke cow-heel, excite the ness were ever done there it must have all gastronomic propensities of the boys who been done with long ago. There appears hail from "Brummagem.”

Brummagem.” On Wednes- to be very little meat for sale at Finsbury days and Fridays there is a brisk trade Market, the wealth of its wares seeming doing in tripe. Wholesome and tender rather to consist of stray bunches of attripe is a decided favourite, owing, possibly, tenuated-looking carrots, forlorn turnips, to its elastic properties. Deftly prepared pale with rage at their excessive distance with onions and milk, it yields to no from anything resembling a leg of mutton, food in the world for lightness and digesti- and hopeless potatoes, evidently wishing bility; fried in batter, it makes a more that the sack were closed over their eyes, ostentatious dish, while, if cheapness be weary with looking for the customers who the main object to be attained, it can be never come.. On mature reflection I have eaten, by a hungry man, cold, as pur- come to the conclusion that the market chased in the tripe-seller's shop. Many is only kept open through downright years ago, I knew a foreign gentleman English adherence to obsolete forms, that (slightly at issue with the powers reigning the merchants expose a few vegetables for on the continent of Europe at that time, form's sake only, and then consume the in consequence of a benevolent project he dusty carrots, forlorn turnips, and gritty had once entertained for blowing the Ger- salads themselves. The whole neighbourmanic Diet into the air), who generally hood has a weary and seedy air, as if it commenced the day (about two P.M.) with were tired of the sham, and would be a light repast consisting of a cup of coffee, heartily glad of the advent of some newer a cigarette, and a game of chess at a and stronger organisation. neighbouring cigar-shop, preserving, by Let us go on through some sleepy-looking this temperate breakfast, an unimpaired streets till Curtain-road is at last reached, appetite for dinner. On tripe days, at the and here it seems at the first blush as if canonical hour of six P.M., he visited the the entire population were about to undertripe-shop, and selecting a choice morsel | take the operation known as “shooting

the moon.” Furniture in the roads, fur- brawny throat, hitched his much-enduring niture in the pathways, furniture in pas- donkey to his barrow, and proclaimed the sages. Everywhere nothing but chairs and excellence of his wares in londer and hoarser sofas, ready packed for travelling. On closer tones than ever. Meanwhile the designs inspection, however, it turns out that all for the market assumed grander proporthis furniture is entirely new, and that tions, and a stately structure astonished the furniture is the staple product of this re- eyes of the natives of Shoreditch and Bethmote region. Shoreditch Church now nal Green. heaves in sight, and a little beyond it is a The original benevolent purpose of the very imposing pile of building in the noble founder being rendered abortive, the Italian Gothic style. This is Columbia building was continued on a more ambiMarket, built at an immense expense by tious scale than had been intended, and the the Baroness Burdett Coutts, and by that present handsome structure was opened as munificent lady presented a few weeks a general market, on April the 28th, 1869. since to the corporation of the City of A large quadrangle for the wholesale dealers London.

was enclosed by handsome Gothic houses, London is famous for its surprises: ele- shops for retailers, and pretty arched colongant churches buried in reeking slums, nades, with abundant stone benches, proand ambitious mausoleums rearing their bably for the accommodation of " loafers” heads in the back yards of dismal, gaunt- generally: The market was opened, it is looking warehouses, are common enough, true, and only required two elements to but the traveller is scarcely prepared for insure success, that is, buyers and sellers. so rich an architectural apparition as Co- Nobody took anything there to sell

, and if lumbia Market in the dreary regions of he had done so nobody would have gone Shoreditch. Its construction came about there to buy it; the costermonger preferred, in this wise. Some few years ago, during as an astute man of business, his regular the reign of Sir Richard Mayne, that auto- beat, regular customers, and certain procrat issued a ukase, decreeing the virtual fits; the few adventurous spirits who had abolition of the costermonger. The kerb- speculated to the extent of taking shops or stone business was henceforth to cease. The stands, gave it up as a bad job, and in too coster himself was to share the fate of the many cases skedaddled," in defiance of Charley,"

.” and such like old world entities, the laws of landlord and tenant. he, his fur cap, his highlows, his plush waist- Proving an utter failure, as a retail coat, glittering with pearl buttons, his market, the Columbia building was reshort-pipe, his “ kingsman,” his “ White- opened as a wholesale fish market, on chapel brougham” and his “ Jerusalem February the 21st, 1870, and dragged on a pony,” were to be relegated to the limbo of languid existence till a short time ago, extinct institutions. The Baroness Burs when the generous baroness handed over dett Coutts at once extended her warmest the entire property, costing little less than sympathy to the poor fellows who were to three hundred thousand pounds, to the corbe suddenly deprived of the only liveli- poration, engaging herself to build, at a hood they were capable of earning. further cost of sixty thousand pounds, a

Much marvelling “where the poor don- tramway to the terminus of the Eastern keys lived,” this charitable lady decided Counties Railway. It is not altogether imon building a market, which should, by possible that when the tramway is comremoving the kerbstone traffic to one pleted (within two years hence), Columbia central spot, enable the poor itinerant Market, in the hands of the City authoretailer to sell his little stock of abbits, rities, will become a formidable rival, if not fish, or vegetables without falling under the absolute successor of Billingsgate. The the ban of the police. The present site railway connexion with Harwich being made was selected, a network of dirty streets perfect, fishing-sloops will be able to disand noisome alleys disappeared as if by charge their cargoes at that port into railmagic, and the new market was commenced way cars running straight from Harwich in earnest. No sooner was that market into the market itself, thus saving all the fairly begun than, with the consistency and time occupied in the tedious voyage up the steadiness of purpose so eminently charac- Thames. The great bogy, Vested Interest, teristic of our police magnates, the late will rear his head on high, fight his hardest czar rescinded his severe edict, and the to defeat this project, and raise innumercostermonger, endowed with a fresh lease able difficulties, according to custom, but of life, knotted his kingsman round his the direct communication with Harwich


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