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ters or their friends; and many an honest brute, with galled sides, and with pounds of hair at each fetlock, had the honour to be bestridden at Leith Races, who all the rest of the year toiled at the most homely drudgery.
Early on the morning of the race the Lists were called about by that most respectable body, the flying-stationers, (which included almost all the lame beggars of Edinburgh,) in these terms:- "Here you have a list of all the names of the noblemen and gentlemen, riders and riders' livery, who is to ride over the Sands of Leith this day, for his Majesty's purse of a hunder guineas o' value.' An hour before starting, the procession of the Purse, which was elevated on a pole decorated with ribbons, and carried by a city officer, attended by a drum and fife, (Archy Campbell, what a great man wast thou then!) marched from the City Chambers, and proclaimed to all as it went along the doings that were to be at Leith Sands. Numberless boys attended the procession in its course, and children were held up by their mothers and servants-and country people stared and wonderedto see the gaudy shadow of a purse, the contents of which were such an object of ambition to so many noblemen and gentlemen. Eh! I wonder if the haill hunder gowd guineas be there," I once heard a peasant say, as he stood, and with open mouth looked as if he could have swallowed
it up, pole and all." Hoot, ye stupid haverel!" answered one who was near; "man, there's naething in't but some ill bawbees, wiggies or Brummagems, to keep it frae flightering in the wind. The siller's paid after-hend, out o' the Council Chamber."-" An do they no get that braw pock to haud it in "replied the countryman."Na, na! we keep a' our siller here intil the banks, honest man," said the citizen." It's wonderfu' !" continued the countryman, as the purse receded from his eye; "it's very wonderfu'! we have nae sie braw things at the Kirktown o' Auldnaigs, except it be the minister's wife's red satin prin-cod." Recruiting parties, from all quarters, also attended the races, and at an early hour marched in martial array, and with military music, down to the scene of action. In one party might
be seen our native Highlanders, in
The cry of " Fine Findhorn speldings," by a woman with a basket, now attracted my rustic friend's attention, and he purchased a bunch of these teeth-trying morsels, to keep his chops going on his road to Leith. As he was turning the corner of the Bridge at the Theatre, a young man, in the usual Lowland country costume, viz. blue coat and vest, corduroy breeches, and blue stockings, tied with red garters under the knee, with the additional ornament of a peacock-feather twisted round his hatband, came quickly across the street, and accosted him
with, "Eh, Johnny Knotgrass, is that
Leith Walk, at this period, was the resort of all the beggars whom disease or disinclination prevented from calling the Lists; and these were stationed so closely on both sides of the road, and were so very importunate, that one does not regret the regulation which prohibits their appearance within the bounds of police. So many "poor blind boys," 66 puir lassies, fatherless children, and mothers without husbands so many blind fiddlers, and lame musicians of every description, were plying their different arts in the crowded thoroughfare, that it required å more than common share of philosophy to pass along without emptying one's pockets of their small change. I have often thought what a fine Essay on the Gradations of Human Misery could have been written from a view of this living picture of congregated wretchedness. Here might be seen the idiot soliciting, with ineffective stare, "just ae baubee to buy a row;" the blind appealing with orbless eyes to the humanity of the passers by; and the mariner on wooden leg, or with fragments of arms, roaring out, with stentorian voice, "the dangers of the seas," and the fatalities of battle.
"Chuck a poor devil a halfpenny, if you please," said one of these last, on wooden stumps as a substitute for legs, to the two friends as they went along;-"lost both my precious limbs on the glorious first of June;" and he held out a piece of a greasy hat covered with canvas. John stopped,
and fumbled in his breeches-pocket. "I had a nevoy, a tittie's son o' ma wife's, in the seafaring line, was killed, puir fallow, in that bloody battle; ye maybe kent him; he took on at Leith here; they ca'd him Robbie;" and he seemed undecided whether to give a halfpenny or a penny to the veteran. "What! Bob Gimmer was it?
my messmate, Bob? I knew him well; he was popp'd off by the bursting of a gun, wa'n't he?""Troth, ye're no far wrang; and did ye lose your legs there? Eh, man, it was a sair dispensation that. There's a saxpence till ye," said John, putting the coppers aside; and if ever ye come by Auldnaigs, speer for me, and ye's no want a meltith o' meat and a night's quarters. How glad ma gudewife wad be to hear how ye handled the mounzies that day, for she hates them because they're a' Papists."-"God bless you!-thank you!" said this mutilated remains of a man, as he pocketed the sixpence and stumped off.
A tall blind man, much pitted by the small-pox, (from which cause probably he had lost his sight,) with uncovered head, and long tied hair, accompanied by a woman, was now singing how he had been struck blind by lightning. "That's nae trouble o' his ain bringing on; that's a sinless infirmity," said John, and he rolled out a halfpenny from the intricacies of his shamoy purse. Three little children who were crying beside their mother, who had a fourth in her arms, now arrested him. "What's the matter wi' you, puir wee raggit things?"“ Eh gie's a halfpenny to buy a piece; we haena tasted meat the day!-Eh do't." This appeal was irresistible; and Mr John, placing a halfpenny in the hand of each, and clapping their unprotected heads, said, "God help us, ye're young thrown on the world; ye canna want a piece; but mind ye're no to buy sweeties wi't.”
"John, ye're ower simple," said Sandy; "gifye gang on at this rate, ye'll no leave as mony bawbees as get a chappin o' ale when we come to the tents. I ne'er gie thae bodies ony thing, for the maist o' them, I've been told, are just impostors, and shuldna be encouraged." "Buy ballants! buy ballants!" cried an old man with a basket, containing a perfect library of such articles, their title-pages all dis
played to view. That's weel mindit," said John; "I promised to tak a ballant out to Peggy Morison. Hae you Sir James the Rose, honest man?" "I think you'll find it here," answered he, presenting a parcel of alluring histories. "Jamie of Yarmouth's Garland?" said John, as he put on his spectacles to assist him in his choice; "that's no it. Loudon Tam-That's no it either. George Buchanan; ay, he was the king's fule; what tak ye for this?"-" Threepence."-" I wadna grudge ye the siller, wad ye mak it bigger print," continued John." Barbara Allan, The Babes o' the Wood, Sir James the Rose-ay, here it's now;" and he treated for an addition to his library to the amount of sixpence.
While John was thus engaged, Sandy, attracted by the cry of " Fine ripe berries, twa dips and a wallop," remarked, they "wadna be the waur o' a wee pickle groserts," and received the stipulated measure of this commodity into his hat, to share them with his friend. The coaches were now rattling down the road in every variety of colour and livery. 66 See," said Sandy, as a well-known equipage was passing; "See to that, Johnny! there's a braw coach for you." John turned his head towards the road, and answered, "Ay, ay, that's very grand, indeed-a yearl, or a duke, aiblins; sax horses, and twa flunkies on the back o' the coach, and twa callants bobbing on the horses, to the bargain! sic luxury !-The folk there, I'se warrant, dinna ken what it's to want ony thing, and never do a hand's turn, nor need to set their foot to the ground unless they like. That's the way o' the gentry, God help us!" Na, na, ye're wrang there, Johnny; the folk there are nae mair gentle than you or me, man. That's the magistrates and provost; just bits o' trading bodies in the town. It's lang since the gentry hae gi'en up being "a terror to evil doers, and a praise to them that do weel,' as it is said. in the Scriptures. The provost o' our ain burgh o' Clayknows is a better gentleman than ony o' them. The provost, ma lord, as they ca' him, is just a stockin'-weaver; and ane o' the baillies sells ingans; and that's just ane o' the street coaches they're in. "Weel, that's very strange,
and gay and comical! But they may be very gude and worthy men, for a that they haena been born to titles. We're a o' ae stock, ye ken, Sandy, and I wad never despise a fellow-creature that "But see," again interrupted Sandy, "see that coach, and the flunkies in green livery-that's the Duke of Buccleuch's, a real nobleman, and a blessing to a' the country round, for he stays at hame, and spends his siller amang_ourselves."Ay! and is that the Duke's carriage? If he saw me, he wad speak to me, for I never met his Grace (God bless him) in our country-side, but he says to me, 'John,' says he, how are you? and how's the gudewife and family?" and bid me, in his hamely way, if ever I cam to Dalkeith, to gang and take my dinner in his hall. I wish a' the nobles o' the land were like him."
At the bottom of Leith-Walk there were congregated, during the time of the races, a number of caravans of wild beasts, horses of knowledge, tumblers and harlequins. My friends had reached this spot, when John's attention was strongly attracted by a woman twisting melodious sounds out of an organ, and a clown making grimaces to the crowd." Walk in, walk in, ladies and gentlemen, the performance is just going to begin-only twopence -walk in, walk in."-" He's a comical fallow that fule, I'se warrant him, Sandy; it takes a wise man to be a fule," remarked John; "but those madams that gang wi' them, and dance on wires, wi' trowsers on, it's no very becoming in a Christian land. They canna be gude, though they look weel; and I'm inclined to think, though we shouldna judge harshly, that they're just painted Jezebels."- "But see that wee body sittin' on the man's shouther,"-his attention being attracted by a pipe and tabor in an opposite direction," how auld he looks-puir wee fallow, he's dressed like a sodger,
too."- "That's a puggy, man," said Sandy; " and it can gang through the exercise, and shoot a pistol, for as wee as it is, as weel's ony o' them. But come awa'-we'll be ower late to see the race."
Mr John reluctantly left sights so new to him, and followed in the stream of horse and foot, chariot and cart,
* Gentle reader, see the note at the end of chapter seventeenth.
In the front of the tents, at a little distance, were stationed those who sold gooseberries, gingerbread, speldins (dried haddocks,) and all the little eatables which custom had taught them were in demand when a promiscuous multitude were gathered together; and, at intervals, among these were placed wheels of fortune, puppetshows, tables with dice, a wooden dish with an octagonal brass ball, lotteries for sleeve-buttons and trinkets, and numberless other temptations to those who wished to adventure in vulgar gambling; while, on the sands, and occupying a larger space, the players at rowley-powley cleared an avenue for 1 the path of the stick, thrown at pegs topped with penny-cakes of gingerbread. The sight of three or four of these said cakes, which might be all knocked off at one lucky throw, and at the trifling expence of a single penny, was too much for the philosophy of Mr John, who already devoured the sandy morsels by anticipation. "Let me try a throw, for ance,” said John, handing his penny to the master of ceremonies; "I'm sure I canna miss the haill sax. John threw, but the end of the stick, striking the ground, went off at a tangent, without displacing a single cake. A loud laugh from the bye-standers, at John's expence, provoked him to a second attempt. See the clodhopper again," said one, as John, with teeth set, and eyes fixed upon the regimented pegs, balanced the stick in his hand for another throw. John threw, and knocked off one."Weel dune !-ye're getting the gate o't now," said Sandy; "let me tryde'il be in't, gif I dinna gar them coup, or the shins will pay for't."
A crowd at a little distance, and the report of a gentleman having been thrown from his horse, attracted my attention, and I left the friends playing at rowleypowley, to see if the accident was a serious one. On going up to the crowd, I asked a boy what had happened,"Ou! naething at a', sir, but Abraham fa'en into the Prawn Dub." Abraham in the Prawn Dub, thought I; this must be some poor Jew pedlar, whom his beard, country, or language, have incited the boys to abuse, and I pressed forward, with the intention of rendering him assistance. But what was my astonishment to find that it was Mr Abraham Gooseiron, the stay-maker, who, in enacting the dandy on horseback, had tumbled from his elevation into the said Prawn Dub. Abraham was quite well known to all the boys, from his dressing in a more gay and fantastic manner than his compeers, and he met with little commiseration, from having filled his new boots, and destroyed his new coat, by a soaking in salt water. To an inquiry as to the manner of the accident, I received for answer that "the horse funkit him aff into the dub, as a doggie was rinnin' across."-" But he can easily cabbage as muckle claith as mak' him anither
pair o' breeks," said a second. horse has mair sense than him,-he had nae business there, he might hae been on his feet, as weel as his betters," remarked a third. "Pride aye gets a downcome, some time or ither,' was very solemnly repeated by a fourth. I never saw a horse smile, though there are such things as horse-laughs; but the expression of Abraham's hackney's face, at this moment, seemed to me to assume an appearance, as, were
it not for the dread of whip and spurs, it could have laughed heartily. Abraham, however, dirty as he was, was soon reinstated in his seat, though the attempts to help him, and the compliments of condolence, were given in that wicked spirit, which seemed rather to enjoy than pity the misfortune of the unlucky horseman. A shout from the boys, and the application of a switch from some of the spectators, as Abraham rode off, made the animal once more restive; and I was much of the opinion expressed by a person at my side, who exclaimed, "That man kens naething about managing a horse. Dod, he'll get anither clyty afore he taks hame the beast."
I now returned to my friends, who were still at the rowley-powley, not playing, however, but eating the gingerbread which they had acquired. The approach of the hour for starting drew the crowd to the places which commanded a view of the course; and the two countrymen, remarking" that it was na every day that they were there," paid their penny, and mounted the scaffolding on the top of the tents. That part of the course from the starting to the distance-post was roped in, and a guard attended at this place, (ye Town-Guard veterans, it was hard and trying duty for you!) to prevent the crowd from bursting over the cord, and narrowing the space. The more distant part of the round was marked by poles and red flags, stuck in at intervals along the wet sands. The stewards of the race, and magistrates, occupied a platform, or stand, erected at the starting-post, and covered in by an awning, and in the front of this was affixed the pole and purse, bedizened with ribbons. A roll of the drum in attendance warned the riders to prepare; a second announced that the horses were ready; and a third was the signal for their starting with arrow-speed for the three-mile-heat. The coaches and crowd were at this time chiefly ranged along the line which inclosed the course; and when any unlucky dogs ventured to enter the protected space, in spite of the proclamation of the stewards to the contrary, the halloos, and repulses, and kicks on every side, as they sought an exit, gave them often a very good excuse for running mad in revenge.
"There!-they're off now!" said Sandy to John, as they stood on the
front of a crowded scaffold -"the
weel done, ma wee man!-skelp it up!-Sandy, I'd wad the price o the brown cow he gains it!-that's it!-whip him up !" How natural it is to bet on occasions like these, thought I, as Mr Knotgrass held out his brown cow on the issue; there must be something more in the prac tice than the warped ideas and confirmed gambling of a man of fashion, when the same passion even agitates the bosom of a rustic. The horses now came thundering on to finish the first heat; all eyes were directed in eager anxiety to the termination of the race at the wooden stand; and those who were deficient in the neces sary height, added to their elevation by standing on tip-toe, and stretching their necks to their utmost length.
At this moment the press from behind forwards on the scaffolding, where John and his companion stood, was so great, that those in the front only kept their places by holding together for mutual support. It was the misfortune of John, however, in his eagerness to project his head beyond those on each side of him, to lose his balance, and tumble over. An honest fish-woman, who stood immediately