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An essay by John Brown

The Black Dwarf's Bones

Title:     The Black Dwarf's Bones
Author: John Brown [More Titles by Brown]

... "If thou wert grim,
Lame, ugly, crooked, swart, prodigious."


These gnarled, stunted, useless old bones, were all that David Ritchie, the original of the Black Dwarf, had for left _femur_ and _tibia_, and we have merely to look at them and add poverty, to know the misery summed up in their possession. They seem to have been blighted and rickety. The thigh-bone is very short and slight, and singularly loose in texture; the leg-bone is dwarfed, but dense and stout. They were given to me many years ago by the late Andrew Ballantyne, Esq. of Woodhouse (the Wudess, as they call it on Tweedside), and their genuineness is unquestionable.

As anything must be interesting about one once so forlorn and miserable, and whom our great wizard has made immortal, I make no apology for printing the following letters from my old friend Mr. Craig, long surgeon in Peebles, and who is now spending his evening, after a long, hard, and useful day's work, in the quiet vale of Manor, within a mile or two of "Cannie Elshie's" cottage. The picture he gives is very affecting, and should make us all thankful that we are "wiselike." There is much that is additional to Sir Walter's account, in his "Author's Edition" of the Waverley Novels.

"HALL MANOR, Thursday, May 20, 1858.

"MY DEAR SIR,--David Ritchie, _alias_ Bowed Davie, was born at Easter Happrew, in the parish of Stobo, in the year 1741. He was brought to Woodhouse, in the parish of Manor, when very young. His father was a laborer, and occupied a cottage on that farm; his mother, Anabel Niven, was a delicate woman, severely afflicted with rheumatism, and could not take care of him when an infant. To this cause he attributed his deformity, and this, if added to imperfect clothing, and bad food, and poverty, will account for the grotesque figure which he became. He never was at school, but could read tolerably; had many books; was fond of poetry, especially Allan Ramsay; he hated Burns. His father and mother both died early, and poor Davie became a homeless wanderer; he was two years at Broughton Mill, employed in stirring the husks of oats, which were used for drying the corn on the kiln, and required to be kept constantly in motion; he boasted, with a sort of rapture, of his doings there. From thence he went to Lyne's Mill, near his birth-place, where he continued one year at the same employment, and from thence he was sent to Edinburgh to learn brush-making, but made no progress in his education there; was annoyed by the wicked boys, or _keelies_, as he called them, and found his way back to Manor and Woodhouse. The farm now possessed by Mr. Ballantyne, was then occupied by four tenants, among whom he lived; but his house was at Old Woodhouse, where the late Sir James Nasmyth built him a house with two apartments, and separate outer doors, one for himself exactly his own height when standing upright in it; and this stands as it was built, exactly four feet. A Mr. Ritchie, the father of the late minister of Athelstaneford, was then tenant; his wife and Davie could not agree, and she repeatedly asked her husband to put him away, by making the highest stone of his house the lowest. Ritchie left, his house was pulled down, and Davie triumphed in having the stones of his chimney-top made a step to his door, when this new house was built. He was not a little vindictive at times when irritated, especially when any allusion was made to his deformity. On one occasion, he and some other boys were stealing pease in Mr. Gibson's field, who then occupied Woodhouse; all the others took _leg-bail_, but Davie's locomotion being tardy, he was caught, shaken, and scolded by Gibson for all the rest. This he never forgot, and vowed to be avenged on the "auld sinner and deevil;" and one day when Gibson was working about his own door, Davie crept up to the top of the house, which was low, and threw a large stone down on his head, which brought the old man to the ground. Davie crept down the other side of the house, got into bed beside his mother, and it was never known where the stone came from, till he boasted of it long afterwards. He only prayed that it might sink down through his "_harn-pan_" (his skull). His personal appearance seems to have been almost indescribable, not bearing any likeness to anything in this upper world. But as near as I can learn, his forehead was very narrow and low, sloping upwards and backward, something of the hatchet shape; his eyes deep set, small, and piercing; his nose straight, thin as the end of a cut of cheese, sharp at the point, nearly touching his fearfully projecting chin; and his mouth formed nearly a straight line; his shoulders rather high, but his body otherwise the size of ordinary men; his arms were remarkably strong. With very little aid he built a high garden wall, which still stands, many of the stones of huge size; these the shepherds laid to his directions. His legs beat all power of description; they were bent in every direction, so that Mungo Park, then a surgeon at Peebles, who was called to operate on him for strangulated hernia, said he could compare them to nothing but a pair of corkscrews; but the principal turn they took was from the knee outwards, so that he rested on his inner ankles, and the lower part of his tibias.

'An' his knotted knees play'd aye knoit between.'

"He had never a shoe on his feet; the parts on which he walked were rolled in rags, old stockings, &c.;, but the toes always bare, even in the most severe weather. His mode of progressing was as extraordinary as his shape. He carried a long pole, or 'kent,' like the Alpenstock, tolerably polished, with a turned top on it, on which he rested, placed it before him, he then lifted one leg, something in the manner that the oar of a boat is worked, and then the other, next advanced his staff, and repeated the operation, by diligently doing which he was able to make not very slow progress. He frequently walked to Peebles, four miles, and back again, in one day. His arms had no motion at the elbow-joints, but were active enough otherwise. He was not generally ill-tempered, but furious when roused.


"HALL MANOR, June 15, 1858.

"MY DEAR SIR,--I have delayed till now to finish Bowed Davie, in the hope of getting more information, and to very little purpose. His contemporaries are now so few, old, and widely scattered, that they are difficult to be got at, and when come at, their memories are failed, like their bodies. I have forgotten at what stage of his history I left off; but if I repeat, you can omit the repetitions. Sir James Nasmyth, late of Posso, took compassion on the houseless, homeless _lusus naturae_, and had a house built for him to his own directions; the door, window, and everything to suit his diminished, grotesque form; the door four feet high, the window twelve by eighteen inches, without glass, closed by a wooden board, hung on leathern hinges, which he used to keep shut. Through it he reconnoitred all visitors, and only admitted ladies and particular favorites; he was very superstitious; ghosts, fairies, and robbers he dreaded most. I have forgotten if I mentioned how he contrived to be fed and warmed. He had a small allowance from the parish poor-box, about fifty shillings; this was eked out by an annual peregrination through the parish, when some gave him food, others money, wool, &c.;, which he hoarded most miserly. How he cooked his food I have not been able to learn, for his sister, who lived in the same cottage with him, was separated by a stone and lime wall, and had a separate door of the usual size, and window to match, and was never allowed to enter his dwelling; but he brought home such loads, that the shepherds had to be on the lookout for him, when on his annual eleemosynary expeditions, to carry home part of his spoil. On one occasion a servant was ordered to give him some salt, for containing which he carried a long stocking; he thought the damsel had scrimped him in quantity, and he sat and distended the stocking till it appeared less than half full, by pressing down the salt, and then called for the gudewife, showed it her, and asked if she had ordered Jenny only to give him that wee pickle saut; the maid was scolded, and the stocking filled. He spent all his evenings at the back of the Woodhouse kitchen fire, and got at least one meal every day, where he used to make the rustics gape and stare at the many ghost, fairy, and robber stories which he had either heard of or invented, and poured out with unceasing volubility, and so often that he believed them all true. But the Ballantyne family had no great faith in his veracity, when it suited his convenience to fib, exaggerate, or prevaricate, particularly when excited by his own lucubrations, or the waggery of his more intellectual neighbors and companions. He had a seat in the centre, which he always occupied, and a stool for his deformed feet and legs; they all rose at times, asking Davie to do likewise, and when he got upon his pins, he was shorter than when sitting, his body being of the ordinary length, and the deficiency all in his legs. On one occasion, a wag named Elder put up a log of wood opposite his loophole, made a noise, and told Davie that the robbers he dreaded so much were now at his house, and would not go away; he peeped out, and saw the log, exclaimed, 'So he is, by the Lord God and my soul; Willie Elder, gi'e me the gun, and see that she is weel charged.' Elder put in a very large supply of powder without shot, rammed it hard, got a stool, which Davie mounted, Elder handing him the gun, charging him to take time, and aim fair, for if he missed him, he would be mad at being shot at, be sure to come in, take everything in the house, cut their throats, and burn the house after. Davie tremblingly obeyed, presented the gun slowly and cautiously, drew the trigger; off went the shot, the musket rebounded, and back went Davie with a rattle on the floor. Some accomplice tumbled the log; Davie at length was encouraged to look out, and actually believed that he had shot the robber; said he had done for him now, 'that ane wad plague him nae mair at ony rate.' He took it into his head at one time that he ought to be married, and having got the consent of a haverel wench to yoke with him in the silken bonds of matrimony, went to the minister several times, and asked him to perform the ceremony. At length the minister sent him away, saying that he could not and would not accommodate him in the matter. Davie swung himself out at the door on his kent, much crestfallen, and in great wrath, shutting the door with a bang behind him, but opening it again, he shook his clenched fist in the parson's face, and said, 'Weel, weel, ye'll no let decent, honest folk marry; but, 'od, lad, I'se plenish your parish wi' bastards, to see what ye'll mak o' that,' and away he went. He read Hooke's _Pantheon_, and made great use of the heathen deities. He railed sadly at the taxes; some one observed that he need not grumble at them as he had none to pay. 'Hae I no'?' he replied, 'I can neither get a pickle snuff to my neb, nor a pickle tea to my mouth, but they maun tax 't.' His sister and he were on very unfriendly terms. She was ill on one occasion; Miss Ballantyne asked how she was to-day. He replied, 'I dinna ken, I ha'na been in, for I hate folk that are aye gaun to dee and never do't,' In 1811 he was seized with obstruction of the bowels and consequent inflammation; blisters and various remedies were applied for three days without effect. Some one came to Mrs. Ballantyne and said that it was 'just about a' owre wi' Davie noo.' She went, and he breathed his last almost immediately. His sister without any delay, got his keys, and went to his secret repository, Mrs. Ballantyne thought to get dead-clothes, but instead, to the amazement of all present, she threw three money-bags, one after another, into Mrs. Ballantyne's lap, telling her to count that, and that, and that. Mrs. B. was annoyed and astonished at the multitude of half-crowns and shillings, all arranged according to value. He hated sixpences, and had none, but the third contained four guineas in gold. Mrs. B. was disgusted with the woman's greed, and put them all up, saying, what would anybody think if they came in and found them counting the man's money and his breath scarcely out,--took it all home to her husband, who made out L4 2_s._ in gold, L10 in a bank receipt, and L7 18_s._ in shillings and half-crowns, in all L22. How did he get this? He had many visitors, the better class of whom gave him half-crowns, others shillings and sixpences; the latter he never kept, but converted them into shillings and half-crowns whenever he got an opportunity. I asked the wright how he got him into a coffin. He replied, 'Easily; they made it deeper than ordinary, and wider, so as to let in his distorted legs, as it was impossible to streek him like others.' He often expressed a resolve to be buried on the Woodhill top, three miles up the water from the church-yard, as he could never 'lie amang the common trash;' however, this was not accomplished, as his friend, Sir James Nasmyth, who had promised to carry this wish into effect, was on the Continent at the time. When Sir James returned, he spoke of having his remains lifted and buried where he had wished; but this was never done, and the expense of a railing and plantation of rowan-trees (mountain ash), his favorite prophylactic against the spells of witches and fairies, was abandoned. The Woodhill is a romantic, green little mount, situated at the west side of the Manor, which washes its base on the east, and separates it from Langhaugh heights, part of a lofty, rocky, and heathery mountain range, and on the west is the ruin of the ancient peel-house of old Posso, long the residence of the Nasmyth family. And now that we have the Dwarf dead and buried, comes the history of his resurrection in 1821. His sister died exactly ten years after him. A report had been spread that he had been lifted and taken to dissecting-rooms in Glasgow, which at that period was the fate of many a more seemly corpse than Davie's; and the young men--for Manor had no sexton--who dug the sister's grave in the vicinity of her brother's, stimulated by curiosity to see if his body had really been carried off, and if still there what his bones were like, lifted them up, and carried them to Woodhouse, where they lay a considerable time, till they were sent to Mr. Ballantyne, then in Glasgow. Miss Ballantyne thinks the skull was taken away with the other bones, but put back again. I have thus given you all the information I can gather about the Black Dwarf that I think worth narrating. It is reported that he sometimes sold a gill, but if this is true the Ballantynes never knew it. Miss Ballantyne says that he was not ill-tempered, but on the contrary, kind, especially to children. She and her brother were very young when she went to Woodhouse, and her father objected to resetting the farm from Sir James, on account of the fearful accounts of his horrid temper and barbarous deeds, and Sir James said if he ever troubled them that he would immediately put him away; but he was very fond of the younger ones, played with them, and amused them, though when roused and provoked by grown-up people, he raged, stormed, swore terrifically, and struck with anything that was near him, in short, he had an irritable but not a sulky, sour, misanthropic temper. The Messrs. Chambers wrote a book about him and his doings at a very early period of their literary history. Did I tell you of a female relative, Niven (whom he would never see), saying that she would come and streek him after he died? He sent word, 'that if she offered to touch his corpse he would rive the thrapple oot o' her--he would raither be streekit by Auld Clootie's ain red-het hands.'--Yours, truly obliged,

R. C."

This poor, vindictive, solitary, and powerful creature, was a philocalist: he had a singular love of flowers and of beautiful women. He was a sort of Paris, to whom the blushing Aphrodites of the glen used to come, and his judgment is said to have been as good, as the world generally thinks that of Oenone's handsome and faithless mate. His garden was full of the finest flowers, and it was his pleasure, when the young beauties

"Who bore the blue sky intermixed with flame
In their fair eyes,"

came to him for their competitive examination, to scan them well, and then, without one word, present each with a flower, which was of a certain fixed and well-known value in Davie's standard _calimeter_.

I have heard that there was one kind of rose, his {kallisteion}, which he was known to have given only to three, and I remember seeing one of the three, when she was past seventy. Margaret Murray, or Morra, was her maiden name, and this fine old lady, whom an Oxonian would call a Double First, grave and silent, and bent with "the pains," when asked by us children, would, with some reluctance, and a curious grave smile, produce out of her Bible, Bowed Davie's withered and flattened rose; and from her looks, even then, I was inclined to affirm the decision of the connoisseur of Manor Water. One can fancy the scene in that sweet solitary valley, informed like its sister Yarrow with pastoral melancholy, with a young May, bashful and eager, presenting herself for honors, encountering from under that penthouse of eyebrows the steady gaze of the strange eldritch creature; and then his making up his mind, and proceeding to pluck his award and present it to her, "herself a fairer flower," and then turning with a scowl, crossed with a look of tenderness, crawl into his den. Poor "gloomy Dis," slinking in alone.

They say, that when the candidate came, he surveyed her from his window, his eyes gleaming out of the darkness, and if he liked her not he disappeared; if he would entertain her, he beckoned her into the garden.

I have often thought that the _Brownie_, of whom the south country legends are so full, must have been some such misshapen creature, strong, willing, and forlorn, conscious of his hideous forbidding looks, and ready to purchase affection at any cost of labor, with a kindly heart, and a longing for human sympathy and intercourse. Such a being looks like the prototype of the Aiken-Drum of our infancy, and of that "drudging goblin," of whom we all know how he

"... Sweat
To earn his cream-bowl daily set,
When in one night, ere glimpse of morn,
His shadowy flail hath thresh'd the corn,
That ten day lab'rers could not end;
Then lies him down, the lubber[1] fiend,
And stretch'd out all the chimney's length,
Basks at the fire his hairy strength,
And cropful out of doors he flings,
Ere the first cock his matin rings."

[Footnote 1: Lob-lye-by-the-fire.]

My readers will, I am sure, more than pardon me for giving them the following poem on Aiken-Drum, for the pleasure of first reading which, many years ago, I am indebted to Mr. R. Chambers's _Popular Rhymes of Scotland_, where its "extraordinary merit" is generously acknowledged.


There cam' a strange wicht to our town-en',
An' the fient a body did him ken;
He tirl'd na lang, but he glided ben
Wi' a dreary, dreary hum.

His face did glow like the glow o' the west,
When the drumlie cloud has it half o'ercast;
Or the struggling moon when she's sair distrest,
O sirs! 'twas Aiken-drum.

I trow the bauldest stood aback,
Wi' a gape an' a glow'r till their lugs did crack,
As the shapeless phantom mum'ling spak,
Hae ye wark for Aiken-drum!

O! had ye seen the bairns' fricht,
As they stared at this wild and unyirthly wicht,
As they skulkit in 'tween the dark an' the licht,
An' graned out, Aiken-drum!

"Sauf us!" quoth Jock, "d'ye see sick e'en?"
Cries Kate, "There's a hole where a nose should ha' been;
An' the mouth's like a gash that a horn had ri'en;
Wow! keep's frae Aiken-drum!"

The black dog growlin' cow'red his tail,
The lassie swarf'd, loot fa' the pail;
Rob's lingle brack as he mendit the flail,
At the sicht o' Aiken-drum.

His matted head on his breast did rest,
A lang blue beard wan'ered down like a vest;
But the glare o' his e'e hath nae bard exprest,
Nor the skimes o' Aiken-drum.

Roun' his hairy form there was naething seen,
But a philabeg o' the rashes green,
An' his knotted knees play'd aye knoit between;
What a sicht was Aiken-drum!

On his wauchie arms three claws did meet,
As they trail'd on the grim' by his taeless feet;
E'en the auld gudeman himsel' did sweat,
To look at Aiken-drum.

But he drew a score, himsel' did sain,
The auld wife tried, but her tongue was gane;
While the young ane closer clespit her wean,
And turn'd frae Aiken-drum.

But the canty auld wife cam till her braith,
And she thocht the Bible micht ward aif scaith;
Be it benshee, bogle, ghaist, or wraith--
But it fear'd na Aiken-drum.

"His presence protect us!" quoth the auld gudeman;
"What wad ye, whare won ye,--by sea or by lan'?
I conjure ye--speak--by the Beuk in my han'!"
What a grane gae Aiken-drum!

"I lived in a lan' whare we saw nae sky,
I dwalt in a spot whare a burn rins na by;
But I'se dwall noo wi' you if ye like to try--
Hae ye wark for Aiken drum?

"I'll shiel a' your sheep i' the mornin' sune,[2]
I'll berry your crap by the licht o' the moon,
An' ba the bairns wi' an unkenn'd tune,
If ye'll keep puir Aiken-drum.

"I'll loup the linn when ye canna wade,
I'll kirn the kirn, an' I'll turn the bread;
An' the wildest fillie that e'er ran rede
I'se tame't,' quoth Aiken-drum!

"To wear the tod frae the flock on the fell--
To gather the dew frae the heather-bell--
An' to look at my face in your clear crystal well,
Micht gie pleasure to Aiken-drum.

"I'se seek nae guids, gear, bond, nor mark;
I use nae beddin', shoon, nor sark;
But a cogfu' o' brose 'tween the licht an' the dark
Is the wage o' Aiken-drum."

Quoth the wylie auld wife, "The thing speaks weel;
Our workers are scant--we hae routh o' meal;
Giff he'll do as he says--be he man, be he de'il,
Wow! we'll try this Aiken-drum."

But the wenches skirl'd, "He's no' be here!
His eldritch look gars us swarf wi' fear;
An' the feint a ane will the house come near,
If they think but o' Aiken-drum.

"For a foul and a stalwart ghaist is he,
Despair sits broodin' aboon his e'e-bree,
And unchancie to light o' a maiden's e'e,
Is the glower o' Aiken-drum."

"Puir clipmalabors! ye hae little wit;
Is't na hallowmas noo, an' the crap out yet?"
Sae she seelenc'd them a' wi' a stamp o' her fit,
"Sit-yer-wa's-down, Aiken-drum."

Roun' a' that side what wark was dune,
By the streamer's gleam, or the glance o' the moon;
A word, or a wish--an' the Brownie cam sune,
Sae helpfu' was Aiken-drum.

But he slade aye awa or the sun was up,
He ne'er could look straught on Macmillan's cup;[3]
They watch'd--but nane saw him his brose ever sup
Nor a spune sought Aiken-drum.

On Blednoch banks, an' on crystal Cree,
For mony a day a toil'd wicht was he;
And the bairns they play'd harmless roun' his knee,
Sae social was Aiken-drum.

But a new-made wife, fu' o' rippish freaks,
Fond o' a things feat for the five first weeks,
Laid a mouldy pair o her ain man's breeks
By the brose o' Aiken-drum.

Let the learn'd decide when they convene,
What spell was him an' the breeks between;
For frae that day forth he was nae mair seen,
An' sair miss'd was Aiken-drum.

He was heard by a herd gaun by the Thrieve,
Crying, "Lang, lang now may I greet an' grieve;
For alas! I hae gotten baith fee an' leave,
O luckless Aiken-drum!"

Awa! ye wrangling sceptic tribe,
Wi' your pro's an' your con's wad ye decide
'Gainst the 'sponsible voice o' a hale country-side
On the facts 'bout Aiken-drum?

Tho' the "Brownie o' Blednoch" lang be gane,
The mark o' his feet's left on mony a stane;
An' mony a wife an' mony a wean
Tell the feats o' Aiken-drum.

E'en now, licht loons that jibe an' sneer
At spiritual guests an' a' sic gear,
At the Glasnock mill hae swat wi' fear,
An' look'd roun' for Aiken-drum.

An' guidly folks hae gotten a fricht,
When the moon was set, an' the stars gaed nac licht,
At the roaring linn in the howe o' the nicht,
Wi' sughs like Aiken-drum.


2: On one occasion, Brownie had undertaken to gather the sheep into the bught by an early hour, and so zealously did he perform his task, that not only was there not one sheep left on the hill, but he had also collected a number of hares, which were found fairly penned along with them. Upon being congratulated on his extraordinary success, Brownie exclaimed, "Confound thae wee gray anes! they cost me mair trouble than a' the lave o' them."

3: A communion cup, belonging to M'Millan, the well-known ousted minister of Balmaghie, and founder of the sect of Covenanters of his name. This cup was treasured by a zealous disciple in the parish of Kirkcowan, and long used as a test by which to ascertain the orthodoxy of suspected persons. If, on taking it into his hand, the person trembled, or gave other symptoms of agitation, he was denounced as having bowed the knee to Baal, and sacrificed at the altar of idolatry.]

We would rather have written these lines than any amount of Aurora Leighs, Festuses, or such like, with all their mighty "somethingness," as Mr. Bailey would say. For they, are they not the "native wood-notes wild" of one of nature's darlings? Here is the indescribable, inestimable, unmistakable impress of genius. Chaucer, had he been a Galloway man, might have written it, only he would have been more garrulous, and less compact and stern. It is like Tam o' Shanter, in its living union of the comic, the pathetic, and the terrible. Shrewdness, tenderness, imagination, fancy, humor, word-music, dramatic power, even wit--all are here. I have often read it aloud to children, and it is worth any one's while to do it. You will find them repeating all over the house for days such lines as take their heart and tongue.

The author of this noble ballad was William Nicholson, the Galloway poet, as he was, and is still called in his own district. He was born at Tanimaus, in the parish of Borgue, in August 1783; he died _circa_ 1848, unseen, like a bird. Being extremely short-sighted, he was unfitted for being a shepherd or ploughman, and began life as a packman, like the hero of "the Excursion;" and is still remembered in that region for his humor, his music, his verse, and his ginghams; and also, alas! for his misery and his sin. After travelling the country for thirty years, he became a packless pedler, and fell into "a way of drinking;" this led from bad to worse, and the grave closed in gloom over the ruins of a man of true genius. Mr. M'Diarmid of Dumfries prefixed a memoir of him to the Second Edition of his _Tales in Verse and Miscellaneous Poems_. These are scarcely known out of Galloway, but they are worth the knowing; none of them have the concentration and nerve of the Brownie, but they are from the same brain and heart. "The Country Lass," a long poem, is excellent; with much of Crabbe's power and compression. This, and the greater part of the volume, is in the Scottish dialect, but there is a Fable--the Butterfly and Bee--the English and sense, the fine, delicate humor and turn of which might have been Cowper's; and there is a bit of rugged sarcasm called "Siller," which Burns need not have been ashamed of. Poor Nicholson, besides his turn for verse, was an exquisite musician, and sang with a powerful and sweet voice. One may imagine the delight of a lonely town-end, when Willie the packman and the piper made his appearance, with his stories, and jokes, and ballads, his songs, and reels, and "wanton wiles."

There is one story about him which has always appeared to me quite perfect. A farmer, in a remote part of Galloway, one June morning before sunrise, was awakened by music; he had been dreaming of heaven, and when he found himself awake, he still heard the strains. He looked out, and saw no one, but at the corner of a grass-field he saw his cattle, and young colts and fillies, huddled together, and looking intently down into what he knew was an old quarry. He put on his clothes, and walked across the field, everything but that strange wild melody, still and silent in this the "sweet hour of prime." As he got nearer the "beasts," the sound was louder; the colts with their long manes, and the nowt with their wondering stare, took no notice of him, straining their necks forward entranced. There, in the old quarry, the young sun "glintin" on his face, and resting on his pack, which had been his pillow, was our Wandering Willie, playing and singing like an angel--"an Orpheus; an Orpheus." What a picture! When reproved for wasting his health and time by the prosaic farmer, the poor fellow said: "Me and this quarry are lang acquant, and I've mair pleasure in pipin to thae daft cowts, than if the best leddies in the land were figurin away afore me."

[The end]
John Brown's essay: Black Dwarf's Bones