« ForrigeFortsæt »
eration that he was only enforcing the fian pulled him out by the hair, draggypsey subordination.
ged him into the middle of the floor, The crimes that were committed and ran him through the body with among this hapless race were often his dirk. The piper never asked for atrocious. Incest and murder were mercy, but cursed the other as long frequent among them. In our recol. as he had breath. The girl was struck lection, an individual was tried for a motionless with horror, but the murtheft of considerable magnitude, and derer told her never to heed or regard acquitted, owing to the absence of one it, for no ill should happen to her. It witness, a girl belonging to the gang, was this woman's daughter, Isabel who had spoken freely out at the pre- Scott, who told me the story, which cognition. This young woman was she had often heard related with all afterwards found in a well near Corn- the minute particulars. If she had hill, with her head downwards, and been still alive, I think she would have there was little doubt that she had been bordering upon ninety years of been murdered by her companions. age ;-her mother, when this happen
We extract the following anecdotes ed, was a young unmarried womanfrom an interesting communication on fit, it seems to be a kitchen-maid in a this subject, with which we have been farm-house,
,--so that this must have favoured by Mr Hogg, author of "The taken place about 100 years ago.By Queen's Wake.'-' It was in the the time the breath was well out of month of May that a gang of gypsies the unfortunate musician, some more came up Ettrick ;-one party of them of the gang arrived, bringing with lodged at a farm-house called Scob- them a horse, on which they carried Cleugh, and the rest went forward to back the body, and buried it on the Cossarhill
, another farm about a mile spot where they first quarrelled. His farther on. Among the latter was one grave is marked by one stone at the who played on the pipes and violin, head, and another at the foot, which delighting all that heard him; and the the gypsies themselves placed ; and it gang, principally on his account; were is still looked upon by the rustics, as a very civilly treated. Next day the dangerous place for a walking ghost to two parties again joined, and proceed- this day. There was no cognizance ed westward in a body. There were taken of the affair, that any of the old about thirty souls in all, and they had people ever heard of-but God forbid five horses. On a sloping grassy spot, that every amorous minstrel should be which I know very well, on the farm so sharply taken to task in these days ! of Brockhoprig, they halted to rest. “ There is a similar story, of later Here the hapless musician quarrelled date, of a murder committed at Lowwith another of the tribe, about a girl, rie’s-den, on Soutra Hill, by one gypwho, I think, was sister to the latter. sey on another: but I do not rememWeapons were instantly drawni, and ber the particulars farther, than that the piper losing courage, or knowing it was before many witnesses ;-that that he was not a match for his anta- they fought for a considerable time gonist, fled, -the other pursuing close most fiuriously with their fists, till at at his heels. For a full mile and a half last one getting the other down, drew they continued to strain most violent a knife, and stabbed him to the heart ly,--the one running for life, and the when he pulled the weapon out, the other thirsting for blood,- until they blood sprung to the ceiling, where it came again to Cossarhill, the place they remained as long as that house stood; had left. The family were all gone and that though there were many of out, either to the sheep or the peats, the gang present, none of them offered save one servant girl, who was baking to separate the combatants, or made bread at the kitchen table, when the any observation on the issue, farther piper rushed breathless into the house. than one saying Gude faith, ye She screamed, and asked what was the hae done for him now, Rob!” The matter ? He answered, “ Nae skaith story bears, that the assassin fled, but to you-nae skaith to you—for God'in
was pursued by some travellers who heaven's sake hide me !"-With that came up at the time, and after a hot he essayed to hide himself behind a chace, was taken, and afterwards hangsalt barrel that stood in a corner-but ed.” his ruthless pursuer instantly entering, The travellers here mentioned, we his panting betrayed him. The ruf- happen to know, were the late Mr
Walter Scott, writer to the signet, then Ellick Kennedy, feeding six horses on a very young man, and Mr Fairbairn, the Coomb-loan, the best piece of grass long afterwards innkeeper at Black- on the farm, and which he was careshiels, who chanced to pass about the fully haining for winter fodder. A time this murder was committed, and desperate combat ensued—but there being shocked at the indifference with was no man a match for Will-he. which the bystanders seemed to re threshed the tinkler to his heart's congard what had passed, pursued, and tent, cut the girthing and sunks off with the assistance of a neighbouring the horses, and hunted them out of 1 blacksmith, who joined in the chase, the country. A warfare of five years succeeded in apprehending the mur- duration ensued between Will and the derer, whose name, it is believed, was gypsies. They nearly ruined him ; and Robert Keith. The blacksmith judged at the end of that period he was glad to it prudent, however, to emigrate soon make up matters with his old friends, after to another part of the country, and shelter them as formerly. He in order to escape the threatened ven- said, 'He could maistly hae hauden his geance of the murderer's clan.
ain wi' them, an' it hadna been for “In my parents' early years," con- their warlockry, but the deil-be-licket tinues Mr Hogg, “the Faas and the he could keep fra their kenning--they Bailleys used to traverse the country ance fand out his purse, though he in bodies of from twenty to thirty in had gart Meg dibble't into the kailnumber, among whom were many yaird.'-Lochmaben is now one of stout, handsome, and athletic men. their great resorts—being nearly stockThey generally cleared the waters and ed with them. The redoubted Rachel burns of fish, the farmers' out-houses Bailley, noted for her high honour, is of poultry and eggs, and the lums of all viewed as the queen of the tribe.” superfluous and moveable stuff, such A woman of the name of Rachel Bailas hams, &c. that hung there for ley, (but not the same person, we bethe purpose of reisting. It was like lieve, that our correspondent alludes to) wise well known, that they never a few years ago, in Selkirkshire, afford scrupled killing a lamb or a wether ed a remarkable evidence of the force occasionally; but they always man- of her gypsey habits and propensities. aged matters so dexterously, that no This woman, having been guilty of reone could ever ascertain from whom peated acts of theft, was condemned these were taken. The gypsies were by Mr W. Scott, sheriff of that counotherwise civil, full of humour and ty, to imprisonment in the bridewell merriment, and the country people there, on hard labour, for six months. did not dislike them. They fought She became so excessively wearied of desperately with one another, but were the confinement, to which she had not e seldom the aggressors in any dispute been accustomed, and so impatient of
or quarrel with others.--Old Will of the labour of spinning, although she Phaup, a well-known character at the span well, that she attempted suicide, head of Ettrick, was wont to shelter by opening her veins with the point of them for many years;~they asked no a pair of scissors. In compassion for thing but house-room and grass for her state of mind, she was set at libertheir horses; and though they some ty by the magistrate; but she had not times remained for several days, he travelled farther than Yair Bridge-end, could have left every chest and press being about four miles from Selkirk, about the house open, with the cer when she thought proper to steal a tainty that nothing would be missing; watch from a cottage, and being taken for he said, ' he aye ken'd fu’ weel that with it in her possession, was restored the tod wad keep his ain hole clean.' to her place of confinement just about But times altered sadly with honest four hours after she had been disWill—which happened as follows : missed from it. She was afterwards The gypsies (or tinklers, as they then banished the county. began to be called) were lodged at a The unabashed hardihood of the gypplace called Potburn, and the farmer sies in the face of suspicion, or even of either having bad grass about his open conviction, is not less characterhouse, or not choosing to have it eaten istic than the facility with which they up, had made the gypsies turn their commit crimes, or their address in conhorses over the water to Phaup ground. cealing them. A gypsey of note, still One morning about break of day, Will alive (an acquaintance of ours), was, found the stoutest man of the gang, about twenty years ago, tried for a
theft of a considerable sum of money at way; and the proscribed family, heara Dalkeith market. The proof seemed ing of the unanimous resolution to opto the judge fully sufficient, but the ju- pose their passage, went more southerrý being of a different opinion, brought ly by the heads of Tyne, and I never in the verdict Not Proven , on which heard more of them, but have little occasion, the presiding judge, when he doubt they are all hanged. dismissed the prisoner from the bar, “ Will Allan, mentioned by the informed him, in his own characteristic Reedwater Minstrel,* I did not know, language, “That he had rubbit shouth- but was well acquainted with his son, ers wi' the gallows that morning;” and Jamie, a most excellent piper, and at warned him not again to appear there one time in the household of the with a similar body of proof against Northumberland family ; but being him, as it seemed scarce possible he an utterly unprincipled vagabond, he should meet with another jury who wearied the benevolence of all his prowould construe it as favourably. Upon tectors, who were numerous and powerthe same occasion, the prisoner's coun- ful, and saved him from the gallows sel, a gentleman now deceased, thought more than once. Upon one occasion, it proper also to say something to his being closely pursued, when surprised client on the risk he had run, and the in some villany, he dropped from the necessity of future propriety of con- top of a very high wall, not without duct; to which the gypsey replied, to receiving a severe cut upon the fingers the great entertainment of all around, with a hanger from one of his pursus “ That he was proven an innocent man, ers, who came up at the moment he and that naebody had ony right to use hung suspended for descent. Allan siccan language to him.”
exclaimed, with minstrel pride, “Ye We have much satisfaction in being hae spoiled the best pipe hand in Brienabled to relate the following char- tain.' Latterly, he became an absoacteristic anecdotes, in the words of lute mendicant, and I saw him refu. another correspondent of the highest sed quarters at the house of my uncle, respectability :
Mr at (himself a most ex“A garg, of the name of Winters, cellent Border piper.) I begged hard long inhabited the wastes of Northum- to have him let in, but my uncle was berland, and committed many crimes; inexorable, alleging his depredations among others, a murder upon a poor on former occasions. He died, I bewoman, with singular atrocity, for lieve, in jail, at Morpeth. which one of them was hung in chains, “ My father remembered old Jean near Tone-pitt, in Reedsdale. His Gordon of Yetholm, who had great mortal reliques having decayed, the sway among her tribe. She was quite lord of the manor has replaced them a Meg Merrilies, and possessed the by a wooden effigy, and still maintains savage virtue of fidelity in the same the gibbet. The remnant of this gang perfection. Having been often hospicame to Scotland about fifteen years tably received at the farm-house of ago, and assumed the Roxburghshire name of Winterip, as they found their • • A stalwart Tinkler wight was he, own something odious. They settled An' weel could mend a pot or pan, at a cottage within about four miles of An' deftly Wull could thraw a flee, Earlston, and became great plagues to An’ neatly weave the willow wan’; the country, until they were secured, “ An’ sweetly wild were Allan's strains, after a tight battle, tried before the An' mony a jig an' reel he blew, circuit court at Jedburgh, and ba Wi' merry lilts he charm'd the swains, nished back to their native country of Wi' barbed spear the otter slew," &c. England. The dalesmen of Reed
Lay of the Reedwater Minstrelo water shewed great reluctance to re
Newcastle, 1809. ceive these returned emigrants. After In a note upon a preceding passage of the the Sunday service at a little chapel same poem, the author (whose name was near Otterbourne, one of the squires George Rokesby) says, rose, and, addressing the congregation,
“ Here was the rendezvous of the va. told them they would be accounted no grant train of Faas, tinklers, fc. The celonger Reedsdale men, but Reedsdale
lebrated Wull Allan frequently sojoured women, if they permitted this marked here, in the progress of his fishing and ot
ter-hunting expeditions ; and here often reand atrocious family to enter their dis- sounded the drones of his no less celebrated trict. The people answered, that they son, Jamie Allan, the Northumberland would not permit them to come that piper.”
Lochside, near Yetholm, she had care and an urgent request, that he would fully abstained from committing any make her his purse-keeper, as the depredations on the farmer's property: bairns, so she called her sons, would But her sons (nine in number) had be soon home. The poor farmer made not, it seems, the same delicacy, and a virtue of necessity, told his story, stole a brood-sow from their kind en and surrendered his gold into Jane's tertainer. Jean was so much morti- custody. She made him put a few fied at this ungrateful conduct, and so shillings in his pocket, observing it much ashamed at it, that she absented would excite suspicion should he be herself from Lochside for several years. found travelling altogether pennyless. At length, in consequence of some This arrangement being made, the temporary pecuniary necessity, the farmer lay down on a sort of shakeGoodman of Lochside was obliged to down, as the Scotch call it, upon some go to Newcastle to get some money to straw, but, as will easily be believed, pay his rent. Returning through the slept not. About midnight the gang mountains of Cheviot, he was benight- returned with various articles of pluned, and lost his way. A light, glim- der, and talked over their exploits in mering through the window of a large language which made the farmer tremwaste barn, which had survived the ble. They were not long in discoverfarm-house to which it had once being their guest, and demanded of Jane longed, guided him to a place of shel- whom she had got there?
“ E'en the ter; and when he knocked at the door, winsome gudeman of Lochside, poor it was opened by Jean Gordon. Her body,” replied Jane: “ he's been at very remarkable figure, for she was Newcastle seeking for siller to pay his nearly six feet high, and her equally rent, honest man, but deil-be-licket remarkable features and dress, render he's been able to gather in, and sae he's ed it impossible to mistake her for a gaun e'en hame wi' a toom purse and moment; and to meet with such a a sair heart." “ That may be, Jane," character in so solitary a place, and replied one of the banditti; probably at no great distance from her maun ripe his pouches a bit, and see clan, was a terrible surprise to the if it be true or no." Jean set up her poor man, whose rent (to lose which throat in exclamations against this would have been ruin to him) was breach of hospitality, but without proabout his person. Jean set up a loud ducing any change of their determishout of joyful recognition - Eh, nation. The farmer soon heard their sirs ! the winsome gudeman of Loch- stifled whispers and light steps by his side! Light down, light down; for bedside, and understood they were ye manna gang farther the night, and rummaging his clothes. When they a friend's house sae near.' The farm- found the money which the providence er was obliged to dismount, and ac of Jean Gordon had made him retain, cept of the gypsey's offer of supper and they held a consultation if they should a bed. There was plenty of meat in take it or no, but the smallness of the the barn, however it might be come booty, and the vehemence of Jean's by, and preparations were going on for remonstrances, determined them in the a plentiful supper, which the farmer, negative. They caroused and went to the great increase of his anxiety, to rest. So soon as day dawned, Jean observed, was calculated for ten or roused her guest, produced his horse, twelve guests, of the same description which she had accommodated behind no doubt with his landlady. Jean left the hallan, and guided him for some him in no doubt on the subject. She miles till he was on the high road to brought up the story of the stolen Lochside. She then restored his whole sow, and noticed how much pain and property, nor could his earnest invexation it had given her. Like other treaties prevail on her to accept so philosophers, she remarked that the much as a single guinea. world grows worse daily ; and, like “I have heard the old people at Jedother parents, that the bairns got out burgh say, that all Jean's son's were of her guiding, and neglected the old condemned to die there on the same gypsey regulations, which command- day. It is said the jury were equally ed them to respect, in their depreda- divided ; but that a friend to justice, tions, the property of their benefactors who had slept during the whole disThe end of all this was, an inquiry cussion, waked suddenly, and gave his what
money the farmer had about him, vote for condemnation, in the emphat
ic words, “ Hang them a'." Jean was Jean Gordon was at this festival.
Making good the proverb odd, with her murderers, often got her head
Near the church and far from God. above water; and while she had voice left, continued to exclaim at such in. A list of their surnames would be very tervals, “ Charlie yet! Charlie yet!" desirable. The following are among
- When a child, and among the scenes the principal clans : Faas, Bailleys, which she frequented, I have often Gordons, Shaws, Browns, Keiths, heard these stories, and cried piteously Kennedies, Ruthvens, Youngs, Taits, for poor Jean Gordon.
Douglasses, Blythes, Allans, Mont“Before quitting the border gypsies, gomeries." I may mention, that my grandfather Many of the preceding stories were riding over Charterhouse-moor, then a familiar to us in our schoolboy days, very extensive common, fell suddenly and we well remember the peculiar among a large band of them, who were feelings of curiosity and apprehension carousing in a hollow of the moor, with which we sometimes encountered surrounded by bushes. They instant- the formidable bands of this roaming ly seized on his horse's bridle, with people, in our rambles among the Bormany shouts of welcome, exclaiming der hills, or when fishing for perch in (for he was well known to most of the picturesque little lake at Lochside. them) that they had often dined at his The late Madge Gordon was at that time expense, and he must now stay and accounted the queen of the Yetholm share their good cheer. My ancestor clans. She was, we believe, a grande was a little alarmed, for, like the gude- daughter of the celebrated Jean Gorman of Lochside, he had more money don, and was said to have much reabout his person than he cared to ven sembled her in appearance. The folture with into such society. However, lowing account of her is extracted being naturally a bold lively man, he from the letter of a friend, who for entered into the humour of the thing, many years enjoyed frequent and faand sate down to the feast, which con vourable opportunities of observing sisted of all the varieties of game, the characteristic peculiarities of the poultry, pigs, and so forth, that could Yetholm tribes. — " Madge Gordon be collected by a wide and indiscrimi was descended from the Faas by the nate system of plunder. The feast mother's side, and was married to a was a very merry one, but my relative Young. She was rather a remarkable got a hint from some of the older gyp- personage of a very commanding presies to retire just when
sence and high stature, being nearly • The mirth and fun grew fast and furious,' six feet high. She had a large aquiline and mounting his horse accordingly, nose-penetrating, eyes, even in her he took a French leave of his enter- old age-bushy hair that hung around tainers, but without experiencing the her shoulders from beneath a gypsey least breach of hospitality. I believe bonnet of straw-a short cloak of a