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small, permanent, thatched alehouses, kept by decent widow-women, whose husbands perished many years ago by the shooting of quarries, or other accidents, and who were then set up in a way of doing by subscription. With the snecks of the doors of such houses they are as familiar as with their own firesides. They enter the humble quiet abode, and in an easy friendly way step into the family apartment, where they find the widow compounding between God and Mammon (being unable to leave the house for church), by sitting in front of an extinct fire, with a large Bible open upon her knees, which she reads with one of the eyes of her spirit, while the other is cast backward and benward, in reflection upon a reckoning there in progress.
"Well, Mrs Simpson, how are you the day? Very warm weather. When did you hear from your son William? And how is John getting on now?"
Oh, sir," answers the widow, "William's still with the army in Holland; but I heard frae him lately, and, thank heaven, he keeps his health. John has been in the Hielands for mair than a year, and he's now gardener to Mr M Scandlish of Dronas candlish-some gait about Badenoch, I think they ca' it."
And is your dochter Jean still in her place with Mr Smith, in Edinburgh ?"
Ou ay, sir; and she has got an addition of ten shillings a-year to her wages."
After some chat of this kind, the result of a sincere interest which the Messrs Turners take in the affairs of the widow once a-week, some undertoned communications pass amongst them-whispers, and mutterings, and unsyllabled sounds concerning neither they nor any other body knows what, but which at last take shape and language—“ Ay, a little spirits and water;" their minds, be it remarked, having been all alike made up upon the subject, without communication, for the last two miles of the road, though nobody likes to pronounce the exact words till a certain
the hum of discussion.
trace of the general wish is mutually perceived through Ay," at last says one aloud, after the sounds have been advancing gradually to speech for a quarter of a minute, "a little spirits and water." The widow parades the desired liquor, which is no sooner set upon the table than they commence with renewed vehemence to wipe their dewy foreheads, and remark upon the heat of the day, although they had ceased to do so almost immediately after entering the house. As there is only a single tumbler, one who assumes the office of high priest of the stoup, presents a little of the fluid to his neighbour. who says, however, with a disinterested air and hurried tone, " Be doing yoursel', Mr be doing yoursel'I'm in nae hurry"-though in secret he is all the time absolutely burning to be at it; and then, taking up the water, he says, "Tell me when to stop," and so pours the proper modicum of that less generous fluid upon the spirits already in the glass, 'Hech, that's refreshing!" is the exclamation of each, as he sets down the empty rummer. "We've had a long walk. I dinna ken the time when I was so thirsty before." "Good whisky that," says one; 66 Clemie's Wells, I suppose." "A wee thocht of a goo,' says another, "but good whisky." "I thought," says a third, tasting a little of it raw, with a very knowing air, and a peculiar compression of the lips, and shutting of the eyes, "I thought it had a kind o' took.† Where d'ye get this, mistress ?" 66 Ou, I deal wi' Mr G, i' the Bow-fit. We juist get aye the twa gallons as ither twa's dune. He's an extrornar decent man, Mr G." They then enter into extensive conversation with the widow about the improvements of the country-side, and the late deaths and marriages among the inhabitants. "That's a fine new gate Mortonha' is building." Or, "that's an excellent crop of beare behind the house, Mrs Simpson," Or, "Mrs H. of
This word, we suspect, is beyond even Dr Jamieson.
C. has had a son lately, I hear." Or whatever else. The object is to keep up an apparently interested talk, or what Haggart would have styled gammon, for the landlady, till they are fully gratified with liquor. Afterwards they stroll back to town in a cool light way, with their sticks at the advance, and their lapels drifting far over their shoulders in the wind.
Sometimes turners are very much annoyed by the weather. At setting out, they are by no means critical about the sky. They hope for good weather so fondly, that they will hardly permit themselves to suppose that it can be any thing but fair. If either the sky, however, is overcast, or a few straggling drops from some passing cloud are felt upon the cheeks, then it is curious to observe how they coax, as it were, the powers of the air, and extract, like true philosophers, good out of evil. "A little dull, I think: clouds high, though." "Draw to heat, I think." "Likely clear up about twelve o'clock." Only a few drops: good to lay the dust." "Too much wind to be much rain." "A little rain do much good: help to lay the wind." Sometimes it is "the rain to lay the wind," sometimes "the wind to lay the rain," but there is always some consolation always some shelter, at least from the dread of a deluge. If the rain come seriously on when they are perhaps one mile out of town, "Oh, never mind; soon be at Mrs Thomson's." Sometimes, however, a traitor to the cause of turning remarks, as he contemplates the soaking of his clothes, "It would have been better, perhaps, if we had been all at church;" a sentiment that falls upon the poor company like ten additional bucketfuls. Another, however, chancing to look up, says, cheerfully," Clearing in the west!-we'll have a fine day yet;" when again all is joy; and Mrs Thomson's door is passed, that not being "the house." "A mere skiff, after all: nothing to speak of. The folk at Pennycuik are getting it, though." There is a certain class of turners who have a particular penchant for Leith Pier, as the object and goal of a
walk. "A turn to the end of Leith Pier" used to be a nice neat thing, just sufficient to give a keener relish for the jigot of mutton done to a turn at home, and to be partaken of at five. They used to drop down Leith Walk or the Easter Road, at the rate of two knots and a half in the hour; and when they had reached the end of the pier, they would stand listlessly for a quarter of an hour, gazing over the parapet, and casting their minds, as it were, abroad upon the waters. This has long been a favourite walk, we suspect, among the turners; for in the acts passed in the reign of King William against Sabbath-breaking, the Castlehill, the King's Park, and Leith Pier, are the promenades particularly pointed out as most frequented by the public. Judge, then, how the race and order of turners have felt of late at seeing the end of the pier, or what had been the end from time immemorial, converted into a middle, by the elongation of the mole towards the Martello Tower! Was not that a matter for despair? A friend, who enters fully into the feelings and associations of "the turners," is of belief that they have not yet acknowledged the wooden addition as a part of the pier proper; just as some stately old government of the east of Europe might refuse to sanction a new-set-up country made out of a province in the west, and which pretended to have a king of its own. They cannot away with this unseemly upstart thing, or piece of work, which has disturbed their souls with new and untoward ideas. In short, the novelty of the lengthened pier has destroyed all their comfort in this walk; and while the managers of the work are congratulating themselves and the public on its advantages for the harbour, they little think how much mischief it has occasioned among the Turners.*
The English and provincial reader will, it is hoped, make some allowance for the locality of this article: there is little reason to doubt that corresponding characters are to be found standing in the same relation to corresponding places in and about every large town in the empire. The Editors
"By the bye, do you know who that genteel-looking young man is, that I see constantly hanging about the Wilsons? Go where I will, I am sure to see him along with one or other of the young ladies. Last Wednesday night, having occasion to call on Mrs Wilson about the character of a servant, whom did I see stuck up in a corner of the sofa but this same young gentleman, discussing with Miss Jessy, if I understood it rightly, the merits of a patent threadpaper? I next night saw him with them in the pit of the Theatre, the third seat from the orchestra; and I am positive that he is ten times oftener in their seat at church than in his own, wherever that may be." Such is the sort of question that some well-meaning but curious female controller-general of society puts on observing a dangler in high practice. The danglers are a class of young men belonging to some idle profession, who are never happy unless they be on terms of intimate acquaintance in families having one or two daughters come to a marriageable time of life. Having effected an introduction, it is impossible to tell how-most likely at a soiree, where he made quite a sensation by dancing the Lancers in a first-rate style, or through means of another dangler or friend of the family, or, what is more likely still, through acquaintance with a brother of the young ladies, picked up at a fencing school-the dangler falls into a habit of dropping in at all seasons; and in a short time, from being a good-looking young man, and of tolerable address, becomes a privileged person in the household. If there be any dinner, tea, or supper party, Mr Brown is sure to be put down first in the list, or is there of his own accord; and from his fre
at the same time hope that the burlesque which lurks at the bottom of the article will be obvious enough to satisfy those who consider the trespasses of the turners in their more serious light.