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Noctes Ambrosianae.

No. XXX.

ΧΡΗ ΔΕΝ ΣΥΜΠΟΣΙΩ ΚΥΛΙΚΩΝ ΠΕΡΙΝΙΣΣΟΜΕΝΑΩΝ
ΗΔΕΑ ΚΩΤΙΛΛΟΝΤΑ ΚΑΘΗΜΕΝΟΝ ΟΙΝΟΠΟΤΑΖΕΙΝ. .

PHOC. ap.

Ath. [This is a distich by wise old Phocylides, An ancient who wrote crabbed Greek in no silly days ; Meaning, “'Tis right for GOOD WINEBIBBING PEOPLE, “ Not To LET THE JUG PACE ROUND THE BOARD LIKE A CRIPPLE; “ BUT GAILY TO CHAT WHILE DISCUSSING THEIR TIPPLE.” An excellent rule of the hearty old cock lism And a very fit moito to put to our Noctes.]

C. N. ap. Ambr.

Scene-AMBROSE's Hotel, Picardy Place, Paper Parlour.

NORTH AND THE SHEPHERD.

SHEPHERD.

What a fire! That mixtur o' English and Scotch coals makes a winter nicht glorious. Staun' yont, Mr North, sir, till wi' this twa-haunded poker I smash the centre lump, as Mordecai Mullion has smashed the us frontis o' M‘Culloch.

NORTH.

SHEPHERD.

James, you cannot imagine what a noble figure you reflect in the mirror. I should like vastly to have your portrait taken in that very attitude.

Mercy on us! there's a tongue o' flame loupt out upon the carpet. Whare's the shool? Nae shool-nae shool! Let's up wi't in my twa loofs. Whew, whew, whew! That's gude for frost- bitten fingers. There the Turkey's no a whit singed. Do you fin' the smell o'burnin', sir?

Look at your right hand, my dear Shepherd !

NORTH.

SHEPHERD.

It's a' lowin'. Whew-whew-whew!—That comes o' haein' hairy hauns. Belyve the blisters 'll be risin' like foam-bells; but de’il may care. Oh, sir ! but I'm real happy to see you out again ; and to think that we're to hae a twa-handed crack, without Tickler or ony oʻthe rest kennin' that we're at Awmrose's. Gic's your haun' again, my dear sir. Noo, what shall we hae?

NORTH

SHEPHERD.

NORTH.

A single jug, James, of Glenlivet-not very strong, if you please ; for

A single jug o' Glenleevit—no very strang! My dear sir, hae you lost your judgment ? You ken my reçate for toddy, and you never saw't fail yet. In wi' a' the sugar, and a’ the whusky, whatever they chance to be, intil the jug about half fu' o' water-just say three minutes to get aff' the boil—and then the King's health in a bumper.

You can twist the old man, like a silk-thread, round your finger, James. But remember, I'm on a regimen.

Sae am 1-five shaves o’toasted butter and bread—twa eggs-a pound o? kipper sea-trout or sawmon, be it mair or less—and three of the big cups o’ tea to breakfast ;--ae platefu'o' corned-beef, and potatoes and greens--the leg and the wing o' a howtowdy-wi' some tongue or ham—a cut o'ploom-pruddin', and cheese and brcad, to dinner--and ony wee trifle afore bed-time

SHEPHERD.

SHEPHERD.

NORTH

That's the regimen, sir, that I'm on the noo, as far as regards the victualling department; and I canna but say, that, moderate as it is, I thrive on't des cently aneuch, and haena fun' mysel' stouter or stranger, either in mind or body, sin' the King's visit to Scotland. I hae made nae change on my lickor sin' the Queen's Wake, and the time you first dined wi' me in Ann Street, only I hae gi’en up porter, which is swallin' drink, and lays on nuething but fat and foziness.

NORTH.
I forget if you are a great dreamer, James ?
Sleepin' or waukin'?
Sleeping-and on a heavy supper.

Oh! sir, I not only pity but despise the coof, that aff wi' his clacs, on wi’ his nichtcap, into the sheets, doun wi' his head on the bowster, and then afore anither man could hae weel taken aff his breeks, snorin' awa' wi' a great open mouth, without a single dream ever travellin' through his fancy! What wud be the harm o' pittin' him to death?

What! murder a man for not dreaming, James ?

Na-but for no dreaming, and for snorin' at the same time. What for blaw a trumpet through the hais house at the dead o' nicht, just to tell that you've lost your soul and your senses, and become a breathin'clod? What a blow it maun be to a man, to marry a snorin' woman! Think o'her during the hail hinny-moon, resting her head, with a long gurgling snorting snore, on her husband's bosom!

SHEPHERD.

NORTH.

SHEPHERD.

NORTH

Snoring runs in families; and, like other hereditary complaints, occasionally leaps over one generation, and descends on the next. But my son, I have no doubt, will snore like a trooper.

SHEPHERD.

NORTH.

SHEPHERD.

Your son ?! Try the toddy, sir. Your son ? !

The jug is a most excellent one, James. Edinburgh is supplied with very fine water.

Gie me the real Glenlivet-such as Awmrose aye has in the hoose-and I weel believe that I could mak drinkable toddy out o' sea-water. The human mind never tires o' Glenlivet, ony mair than o' cauler air. If a body could just find out the exack proper proportion o' quantity that ought to be drank every day, and keep to that, I verily trow that he micht leeve for ever, without dying at a', and that doctors and kirkyards would go out of fashion.

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Only some skirrin' sleets-no aneuch to track a hare. But, safe us a', what a storm was yon, thus early in the season too, in the Highlands! I wush I had been in Tamantowl that nicht. No a wilder region for a snowstorm on a' the yearth. Let the wun' come frae what airt it likes, right doon Glen-Aven, or up frae Grantown, or across frae the woods o' Abernethy, or far aff frae the forests at the Head o' Dee, you wad think that it was the Deevil himsel howlin' wi' a' his legions. A black thunder-storm's no balf sae fearsome to me as a white snaw ane. There's an ocular grandeur in it, wi' the opening heavens sending forth the flashes o’lichtnin', that bring out the burnished woods frae the distance close upon you where you staun, a' the time the hills rattling like stanes on the o' a house, and the rai) either descending in a universal deluge, or here and there pouring down in straths, till the thunder can scarcely quell the roar o' a thousand cataracts.

NORTU. Poussin-Poussin-Poussin !

SHEPHERD.

NORTH.

SHEPHERD.

The heart quakes, but the imagination even in its awe is elevated. You still have a hold on the external warld, and a lurid beauty mixes with the magnificence till there is an austere joy in terror.

Burke Burke Burke-Edmund Burke!

But in a nicht snaw-storm the ragin' world o' elements is at war with life. Within twenty yards o' a human dwelling, you may be remote from succour as at the Pole. The drift is the drift of death. Your eyes are extinguished in your head your ears frozen--your tongue dumb. Mountains and glens are all alike—so is the middle air eddying with Hakes and the glimmerin' heavens. An army would be stopt on its march-and what then is the tread o’ae puir solitary wretch, man or woman, struggling on by theirsell, or sittin down, ower despairing even to pray, and fast congealin',' in a sort o' dwam o’deli. rious stupefaction, into a lump o’icy and rustling snaw! Wae's me, wae's me! for that auld woman and her wee grand-dauchter, the bonniest lamb, folk said, in a'the Highlands, that left Tamantowl that nicht, after the merry Strathspeys were over, and were never seen again till after the snaw, lying no five hunder yards out o' the town, the bairn wrapt round and round in the crone's plaid as weel as in her ain, but for a' that, dead as a flower-stalk that has been forgotten to be taken into the house at nicht, and in the mornin brittle as glass in its beauty, although, till you come to tuuch it, it would seemn to be alive!

NORTH.

SHEPHERD.

NORTH.

SHEPHERD.

With what very different feelings one would read an account of the death of a brace of Bagmen in the snow! How is that to be explained, James ?

You see the imagination pictures the twa Bagmen ag Cockneys. As the snaw was getting dour at them, and giein' them sair flaffs and dads on their faces, spittin in their vera een, rugging their noses, and blawin upon their blubbery lips, till they blistered, the Cockneys wad be waxing half feared and half angry, and dammin' the “ Heelans," as the cursedest kintra that ever was kittled. But wait awee, my gentlemen, and you'll keep a louner sugh or you get half

way from Dainacardoch to Dalwhinnie. A wild district, for ever whirring, even in mist snow, with the gorcock's wing.

Whisht-haud your tongue, till I finish the account o' the death of the twa Bagmen in the snaw. Ane o' their horses for the creturs are no ill mounted-slidders awa' down a bank, and gets jammed into a snaw-stall, where there's no room for turnin'. The other horse grows obstinate wi' the sharp stour in his face, and proposes retreating to Dalnacardloch, tail foremost; but no being sae weel up to the walkin' or the trottin' backwards, as that English chiel Townsend, the pedestrian, he cloits doun first on his hurdies, and then on his tac side, the girths burst, and the saddle hangs only by a tack to the crupper.

Do you know, James, that though you are manifestly drawing a picture intended to be ludicrous, it is to me extremely pathetic ?

The twa Cockneys are now forced to act as dismounted cavalry through the rest of the campaign, and sit down and cry--pretty babes o’the wood-in each ither's arms! John Frost decks their noses and their ears with icicles and each vulgar physiognimy partakes of the pathetic character of a turnip, making an appeal to the feelings on Hallow-een.- Dinna sneeze that way when ane's speakin', sir!

You ought rather to have cried, “ God bless you."

NORTH

SHEPHERD.

NORTH.

SHEPHERD.

A' this while neither the snaw nor the wund has been ide-and baith

Cockneys are sitting up to the middle, poor crcturs, no that verra cauld, for driftin' snaw sune begins to fin' warm and comfortable, but, wac's me! unco, unco sleepy-and not a word do they speak! and now the snaw is up to their verra chins; and the bit bonny, braw, stiff, fause shirt-collars, that they were sae proud o' sticking at their chafts, are as hard as ir'n, for they've gotten a sair Scotch starchin',—and the fierce North cares naething for their towsy hair a smellin' wi' Kalydor and Macassar, no it indeed, but twurls it a' into ra. velled hanks, till the frozen mops bear nae earthly resemblance to the ordinary heads o' Cockneys—and hoo indeed should they, lying in sic an unnatural and out-o'-the-way place for them, as the moors atween Dalnacardoch and Dalwhinnie ?

NORTH.

SHEPHERD.

O James-say not they perished !

Yes, sir, they perished ; under such circumstances, it would have been too nach to expect of the vital spark that it should not have flei. It did soand a pair of more interesting Bagmen never slept the sleep of death. Gi'e me the lend o' your handkercher, sir, for I agree wi' you that the picture's verra pathetic.

NORTH.

NORTH.

SHEPHERD.

NORTH.

Did you read, James, in one of Maga's Leading Articles, calleil“ Glance over Selby's Ornithology," an account of the Red Tarn Raven Club devouring the corpse of a Quaker on the dark brow of the mighty Helvellyn?

SHEPHERD.
Ay,—what about it? I could hae dune't as weel mysel.
Do you know, James, that it gave great offence ?

I hae nae doubt that the birds o' prey, that keep gorging themsells for weeks after a great battle, gie great offence to thousanıls o'the wounded,,picking out their een, and itherwise hurting their feelings. Here a bluidy straight beak tweakin' a general officer by the nose, and there a no less bluidy crooked ane tearing aff the ee-broos o' a drummer, and happin' aff to eat them on the hollow round o' his ain drum,-on which never will tattoo be beaten ony mair, for a musket ball has gone through the parchment, and the “stormy music,” as Cammel ca's it, is hushed for ever. What need a description o' the dreadfu field, when it has been crappit and fallowed year after year, gie offence to ony rational reader? Surely no; and, therefore, why shudder at a joke about the death o' ae Quaker?_Tuts, tuts, it's a' nonsense.

Drinking, dancing, swearing, and quarrelling, going on all the time in Tamantoul, James, for a fair there is a wild rendezvous, as we both know, summer or winter; and thither flock the wildest spirits of the wildest clans, old soldiers, poachers, outlaws, bankrupt tradesmen from small towns, and banka rupt farmers from large farms, horse-coupers, cattle-dealers, sticket ministers, schoolmasters without scholars, land-measurers, supervisors and excisemen, tinkers, trampers, sportsmen, stray poets, contributors to Magazines perhaps an editor-people of no profession, and men literally without a name, except it be recorded in the Hue and Cry, all imprisoned in a snow-storm, James! What matter if the whole body of them were dug out dead in the morning from the drift, a hundred feet high?

Ma faith, North, you've ta’en the word out o' my mouth ; but hooly, hooly - let's get back frae Tamantoul to Embro. Onything gude in lecierature, sir, syne Lammas Fair ?

NORTH. Why, my dear James, I live so entirely out of the world now, that you could not apply, for information of that kind, to a person less likely to afford it. I live on the Past.

Rather spare diet, sir, and apt to get musty. I prefer the Present--na, even the verra Future itsel-to the Past. But the Three a' mixed thegither, li'

SHEPHERD.

SHEPHERD.

rumbletethumps, makes a gran' head-clish at denner, or sooper either; and I never eat it onywhere in sic perfection as at Mr Awmrose's.

NORTH. Have you heard, James, that we are absolutely going to have some war again ? A furious Army of Refugees have invaded Portugal, and threaten to overthrow the Constitution.

SHEPHERD.

NORTH.

SHEPHERD.

I fear the plook o'war 'll no come to a head. There's a want o' maitter. Leave the Portugals to fecht the collyshangy out by theirsels, and there may be some cracked crowus. But twa three regiments o' our red coats 'll put out the fire o' civil war afore it's weel kindled --whilk'll be a great pity. Is na there something rather ridiculous like in the soun'o'an Army o' Refugees ? It's only next best to an Army of Runaways.

NORTH. Britain, James, and France -- what think you of a war between them, James ?

SHEPHERD. For Godsake, dinna let us begin wi' politics, for under them I aye fin' my nature stupitied within me-as if I were tawkin' no frae my ain thochts, but out o’a newspaper. A' I say is, that the times are wersh without bloodshed.

Did you read Canning's speech ?

Na—but I'm gaun up to London in Feberwar, to hear him in the House o' Commons. Think ye, that the best discourse“ by Cameron thundered, or by Renwick poured," of old, to a congregation of Covenanters, in a sky-roofed kirk o'cliffs in the wilderness, would have done to be read in Awmrose's here, wi’ twa caundles on the table, and twa on the brace-piece helpin' the fire to illuminate a board o' oysters, or ashet o’rizzard haddies, or a trencher o' toasted cheese? Nae doubt the discourse wad hae been a gude discourse onywhere—but where the hands uplifted to heaven, the bair of the preacher streaming in the wind, his eyes penetrating the clouds, the awful sound o' one voice, and one voice only, heard in the hush o the desert ? Where the fixed faces o' the congregation, intent as if but one soul animated the whole mass, a' armed even on the Sabbath-day, and forgettin' when harkenin’ to the tidings o' salvation, o'the soun' o' the hoofs o' bluidy Claverse's dragoons ? Just sae in their ain way wi' Cannin's orations. You maun see the man himsell—and they say he has a'the outward powers and graces o’a great speaker; and as for his inwards, there can be nae doubt that his brain has a hari o'strong bricht thochts like fire-flaughts enlichtenin', or, as needs be, witherin' and consumin' a'opposition, like chaff, or stubble, or heather a-bleeze on the hills.

NORTH.
You will also have an opportunity, James, of hearing Hume.

SHEPHERD. O man ! but he maun be an impident cretur that Hume, to lowse his tinkler jaw in the Hoose, afore three hunder British and Eerish gentlemen, wi' the sum of fifty-four punds seven shillings and eightpence three farthings, one doit in his breeches pocket, diddled in interest frae the funns o' the Greek Pawtriots, fechtin in their poverty for the freedom o' their native land. He offered to refer the affair to arbitration, you know, James.

SHEPHERD. And what for didna he fix on three arbitrawtors ? Does he think folk are to coine forward o' their ain accord ? He seems to think it a great feather in his cap that he didna commit even-down cheatery and thievery on the Greeks. Grant that, which is mair than doubtful, hasna he proved himsel a greedy greedy fallow, and fonder far to hear the clink o' his ain cash than the shouts o liberty frae that ance glorious country, whare genius and valour were native to the soil, and whare yet they are not dead but sleepin', and may-ay, will arise frae the bluidy dust, and tear out the Turkish crescent from the sky, ance mair free to the silver feet of their ain Diana !

NORTH.

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