Note I. p. l4.--DAVID RAMSAY
David Ramsay, watchmaker and horologer to James I., was a real person,
though the author has taken the liberty of pressing him into the
service of fiction. Although his profession led him to cultivate the
exact sciences, like many at this period he mingled them with pursuits
which were mystical and fantastic. The truth was, that the boundaries
between truth and falsehood in mathematics, astronomy, and similar
pursuits, were not exactly known, and there existed a sort of _terra
incognita_ between them, in which the wisest men bewildered
themselves. David Ramsay risked his money on the success of the
vaticinations which his researches led him to form, since he sold
clocks and watches under condition, that their value should not become
payable till King James was crowned in the Pope's chair at Rome. Such
wagers were common in that day, as may be seen by looking at Jonson's
Every Man out of his Humour.
David Ramsay was also an actor in another singular scene, in which the
notorious astrologer Lilly was a performer, and had no small
expectation on the occasion, since he brought with him a half-quartern
sack to put the treasure in.
"David Ramsay, his Majesty's clock-maker, had been informed that there
was a great quantity of treasure buried in the cloister of Westminster
Abbey. He acquaints Dean Withnam therewith, who was also then Bishop
of Lincoln. The Dean gave him liberty to search after it, with this
proviso, that if any was discovered, his church should have a share of
it. Davy Ramsay finds out one John Scott, who pretended the use of the
Mosaical rods, to assist him herein. [Footnote: The same now called, I
believe, the Divining Rod, and applied to the discovery of water not
obvious to the eye.] I was desired to join with him, unto which I
consented. One winter's night, Davy Ramsay, with several gentlemen,
myself, and Scott, entered the cloisters. We played the hazel rods
round about the cloisters. Upon the west end of the cloisters the rods
turned one over another, an argument that the treasure was there. The
labourers digged at least six feet deep, and then we met with a
coffin; but which, in regard it was not heavy, we did not open, which
we afterwards much repented.
"From the cloisters we went into the abbey church, where, upon a
sudden, (there being no wind when we began,) so fierce and so high, so
blustering and loud a wind did rise, that we verily believed the west
end of the church would have fallen upon us. Our rods would not move
at all; the candles and torches, also, but one were extinguished, or
burned very dimly. John Scott, my partner, was amazed, looked pale,
knew not what to think or do, until I gave directions and command to
dismiss the demons; which, when done, all was quiet again, and each
man returned unto his lodging late, about twelve o'clock at night. I
could never since be induced to join with any such like actions.
"The true miscarriage of the business was by reason of so many people
being present at the operation; for there was about thirty, some
laughing, others deriding us; so that, if we had not dismissed the
demons, I believe most part of the abbey church would have been blown
down. Secrecy and intelligent operators, with a strong confidence and
knowledge of what they are doing, are best for the work."--LILLY'S
_Life and Times_, p. 46.
David Ramsay had a son called William Ramsay, who appears to have
possessed all his father's credulity. He became an astrologer, and in
1651-2 published "_Vox Stellarum_, an Introduction to the Judgment of
Eclipses and the Annual Revolutions of the World." The edition of 1652
is inscribed, to his father. It would appear, as indeed it might be
argued from his mode of disposing of his goods, that the old horologer
had omitted to make hay while the sun shone; for his son, in his
dedication, has this exception to the paternal virtues, "It's true
your carelessness in laying up while the sun shone for the tempests of
a stormy day, hath given occasion to some inferior spirited people not
to value you according to what you are by nature and in yourself, for
such look not to a man longer than he is in prosperity, esteeming none
but for their wealth, not wisdom, power, nor virtue." From these
expressions, it is to be apprehended that while old David Ramsay, a
follower of the Stewarts, sunk under the Parliamentary government, his
son, William, had advanced from being a dupe to astrology to the
dignity of being himself a cheat.
Note II. p. 27.-GEORGE HERIOT
This excellent person was but little known by his actions when alive,
but we may well use, in this particular, the striking phrase of
Scripture, "that being dead he yet speaketh." We have already
mentioned, in the Introduction, the splendid charity of which he was
the founder; the few notices of his personal history are slight and
George Heriot was born at Trabroun, in the parish of Gladsmuir; he was
the eldest son of a goldsmith in Edinburgh, descended from a family of
some consequence in East Lothian. His father enjoyed the confidence of
his fellow-citizens, and was their representative in Parliament. He
was, besides, one of the deputies sent by the inhabitants of the city
to propitiate the King, when he had left Edinburgh abruptly, after the
riot of 17th December, 1596.
George Heriot, the son, pursued his father's occupation of a
goldsmith, then peculiarly lucrative, and much connected with that of
a money-broker. He enjoyed the favour and protection of James, and of
his consort, Anne of Denmark. He married, for his first wife, a maiden
of his own rank, named Christian Marjoribanks, daughter of a
respectable burgess. This was in 1586. He was afterwards named
jeweller to the Queen, whose account to him for a space of ten years
amounted to nearly L40,000. George Heriot, having lost his wife,
connected himself with the distinguished house of Rosebery, by
marrying a daughter of James Primrose, Clerk to the Privy Council. Of
this lady he was deprived by her dying in child-birth in 1612, before
attaining her twenty-first year. After a life spent in honourable and
successful industry, George Heriot died in London, to which city he
had followed his royal master, on the 12th February, 1624, at the age
of sixty-one years. His picture, (copied by Scougal from a lost
original,) in which he is represented in the prime of life, is thus
described: "His fair hair, which overshades the thoughtful brow and
calm calculating eye, with the cast of humour on the lower part of the
countenance, are all indicative of the genuine Scottish character, and
well distinguish a person fitted to move steadily and wisely through
the world, with a strength of resolution to ensure success, and a
disposition to enjoy it."--_Historical and Descriptive Account of
Heriot's Hospital, with a Memoir of the Founder, by Messrs James and
John Johnstone._ Edinburgh, 1827.
I may add, as every thing concerning George Heriot is interesting,
that his second wife, Alison Primrose, was interred in Saint Gregory's
Church, from the register of which parish the Rev. Mr. Barham, Rector,
has, in the kindest manner, sent me the following extract:--"Mrs.
Alison, the wife of Mr. George Heriot, gentleman, 2Oth April, 1612."
Saint Gregory's, before the Great Fire of London which consumed the
Cathedral, formed one of the towers of old Saint Paul's, and occupied
the space of ground now filled by Queen Anne's statue. In the south
aisle of the choir Mrs. Heriot reposed under a handsome monument,
bearing the following inscription:--
_"Sanctissimae et charissimae conjugi ALISONAE HERIOT, Jacobi
Primrosii, Regia Majestatis in Sanctiori Concilio Regni Scotia
Amanuensis, filiae, fernina omnibus turn animi turn corporis dotibus,
ac pio cultu instructissimae, maestissimus ipsius maritus GEORGIUS
HERIOT, ARMIGER, Regis, Reginae, Principum Henrici et Caroli
Gemmarius, bene merenti, non sine lachrymis, hoc Monumentum pie
"Obiit Mensis Aprilis die 16, anno salutis 1612, aetatis 20, in ipso
flore juventae, et mihi, parentibus, et amicis tristissimum sui
Hic Alicia Primrosa
Jacet crudo abruta fato,
Ut rosa pressa manus.
Annorum impleverat orbes,
Patris delicium atque viri:
Quum gravida, heu! Nunquam
Mater, decessit, et inde
Cura dolorq: Patri,
Cura dolorq: viro.
Non sublata tamen
Tantum translata recessit;
Nunc Rosa prima Poli
Quae fuit antea soli."_
The loss of a young, beautiful, and amiable partner, at a period so
interesting, was the probable reason of her husband devoting his
fortune to a charitable institution. The epitaph occurs in Strype's
edition of _Stewe's Survey of London_, Book iii., page 228.
Note III. p. 39.--PROCLAMATION AGAINST THE SCOTS COMING TO ENGLAND
The English agreed in nothing more unanimously than in censuring James
on account of the beggarly rabble which not only attended the King at
his coming first out of Scotland, "but," says Osborne, "which, through
his whole reign, like a fluent spring, were found still crossing the
Tweed." Yet it is certain, from the number of proclamations published
by the Privy Council in Scotland, and bearing marks of the King's own
diction, that he was sensible of the whole inconveniences and
unpopularity attending the importunate crowd of disrespectable
suitors, and as desirous to get rid of them as his Southern subjects
could be. But it was in vain that his Majesty argued with his Scottish
subjects on the disrespect they were bringing on their native country
and sovereign, by causing the English to suppose there were no well-
nurtured or independent gentry in Scotland, they who presented
themselves being, in the opinion and conceit of all beholders, "but
idle rascals, and poor miserable bodies." It was even in vain that the
vessels which brought up this unwelcome cargo of petitioners were
threatened with fine and confiscation; the undaunted suitors continued
to press forward, and, as one of the proclamations says, many of them
under pretence of requiring payment of "auld debts due to them by the
King," which, it is observed with great _naivete_, "is, of all kinds
of importunity, most unpleasing to his Majesty." The expressions in
the text are selected from these curious proclamations.
NOTE IV. p. 59.--KING JAMES
The dress of this monarch, together with his personal appearance, is
thus described by a contemporary:--
"He was of a middle stature, more corpulent through [i.e. by means of]
his clothes than in his body, yet fat enough. His legs were very weak,
having had, as was thought, some foul play in his youth, or rather
before he was born, that he was not able to stand at seven years of
age. That weakness made him ever leaning on other men's shoulders. His
walk was even circular; his hands are in that walk ever fiddling
about----[a part of dress now laid aside]. He would make a great deal
too bold with God in his passion, both with cursing and swearing, and
a strain higher verging on blasphemy; but would, in his better temper,
say, he hoped God would not impute them as sins, and lay them to his
charge, seeing they proceeded from passion. He had need of great
assistance, rather than hope, that would daily make thus bold with
God."--DALZELL'S _Sketches of Scottish History _, p. 86.
NOTE V. p. 78.--SIR MUNGO MALAGROWTHER
It will perhaps be recognised by some of my countrymen, that the
caustic Scottish knight, as described in the preceding chapter,
borrowed some of his attributes from a most worthy and respectable
baronet, who was to be met with in Edinburgh society about twenty-five
or thirty years ago. It is not by any means to be inferred, that the
living person resembled the imaginary one in the course of life
ascribed to him, or in his personal attributes. But his fortune was
little adequate to his rank and the antiquity of his family; and, to
avenge himself of this disparity, the worthy baronet lost no
opportunity of making the more avowed sons of fortune feel the edge of
his satire. This he had the art of disguising under the personal
infirmity of deafness, and usually introduced his most severe things
by an affected mistake of what was said around him. For example, at a
public meeting of a certain county, this worthy gentleman had chosen
to display a laced coat, of such a pattern as had not been seen in
society for the better part of a century. The young men who were
present amused themselves with rallying him on his taste, when he
suddenly singled out one of the party:--"Auld d'ye think my coat--
auld-fashioned?--indeed it canna be new; but it was the wark of a braw
tailor, and that was your grandfather, who was at the head of the
trade in Edinburgh about the beginning of last century." Upon another
occasion, when this type of Sir Mungo Malagrowther happened to hear a
nobleman, the high chief of one of those Border clans who were accused
of paying very little attention in ancient times to the distinctions
of _Meum_ and _Tuum,_ addressing a gentleman of the same name, as if
conjecturing there should be some relationship between them, he
volunteered to ascertain the nature of the connexion by saying, that
the "chief's ancestors had _stolen_ the cows, and the other
gentleman's ancestors had _killed_ them,"--fame ascribing the origin
of the latter family to a butcher. It may be well imagined, that among
a people that have been always punctilious about genealogy, such a
person, who had a general acquaintance with all the flaws and specks
in the shields of the proud, the pretending, and the nouveaux riches,
must have had the same scope for amusement as a monkey in a china
Note VI. p. 98.--MRS. ANNE TURNER
Mrs. Anne Turner was a dame somewhat of the occupation of Mrs.
Suddlechop in the text; that is, half milliner half procuress, and
secret agent in all manner of proceedings. She was a trafficker in the
poisoning of Sir Thomas Overbury, for which so many subordinate agents
lost their lives, while, to the great scandal of justice, the Earl of
Somerset and his Countess were suffered to escape, upon a threat of
Somerset to make public some secret which nearly affected his master,
King James. Mrs. Turner introduced into England a French custom of
using yellow starch in getting up bands and cuffs, and, by Lord Coke's
orders, she appeared in that fashion at the place of execution. She
was the widow of a physician, and had been eminently beautiful, as
appears from the description of her in the poem called Overbury's
Vision. There was produced in court a parcel of dolls or puppets
belonging to this lady, some naked, some dressed, and which she used
for exhibiting fashions upon. But, greatly to the horror of the
spectators, who accounted these figures to be magical devices, there
was, on their being shown, "heard a crack from the scaffold, which
caused great fear, tumult, and confusion, among the spectators and
throughout the hall, every one fearing hurt, as if the devil had been
present, and grown angry to have his workmanship showed to such as
were not his own scholars." Compare this curious passage in the
History of King James for the First Fourteen Years, 1651, with the
Aulicus Coquinarius of Dr. Heylin. Both works are published in the
Secret History of King James.
Note VII. p. 110.--LORD HUNTINGLEN
The credit of having rescued James I. from the dagger of Alexander
Ruthven, is here fictitiously ascribed to an imaginary Lord
Huntinglen. In reality, as may be read in every history, his preserver
was John Ramsay, afterwards created Earl of Holderness, who stabbed
the younger Ruthven with his dagger while he was struggling with the
King. Sir Anthony Weldon informs us, that, upon the annual return of
the day, the King's deliverance was commemorated by an anniversary
feast. The time was the fifth of August, "upon which," proceeds the
satirical historian, "Sir John Ramsay, for his good service in that
preservation, was the principal guest, and so did the King grant him
any boon he would ask that day. But he had such limitation made to his
asking, as made his suit as unprofitable, as the action for which he
asked it for was unserviceable to the King."
Note VIII. p. 115.--BUCKINGHAM
Buckingham, who had a frankness in his high and irascible ambition,
was always ready to bid defiance to those by whom he was thwarted or
opposed. He aspired to be created Prince of Tipperary in Ireland, and
Lord High Constable of England. Coventry, then Lord Keeper, opposed
what seemed such an unreasonable extent of power as was annexed to the
office of Constable. On this opposition, according to Sir Anthony
Weldon, "the Duke peremptorily accosted Coventry, 'Who made you Lord
Keeper, Coventry?' He replied, 'The King.' Buckingham replied, 'It's
false; 'twas I did make you, and you shall know that I, who made you,
can, and will, unmake you.' Coventry thus answered him, 'Did I
conceive that I held my place by your favour, I would presently unmake
myself, by rendering up the seals to his Majesty.' Then Buckingham, in
a scorn and fury, flung from him, saying, 'You shall not keep it
long;' and surely, had not Felton prevented him, he had made good his
word."--WELDON'S _Court of King James and Charles._
Note IX. p. 134.--PAGES IN THE SEVENTEENTH CENTURY
About this time the ancient customs arising from the long prevalence
of chivalry, began to be grossly varied from the original purposes of
the institution. None was more remarkable than the change which took
place in the breeding and occupation of pages. This peculiar species
of menial originally consisted of youths of noble birth, who, that
they might be trained to the exercise of arms, were early removed from
their paternal homes, where too much indulgence might have been
expected, to be placed in the family of some prince or man of rank and
military renown, where they served, as it were, an apprenticeship to
the duties of chivalry and courtesy. Their education was severely
moral, and pursued with great strictness in respect to useful
exercises, and what were deemed elegant accomplishments. From being
pages, they were advanced to the next gradation of squires; from
squires, these candidates for the honours of knighthood were
frequently made knights.
But in the sixteenth century the page had become, in many instances, a
mere domestic, who sometimes, by the splendour of his address and
appearance, was expected to make up in show for the absence of a whole
band of retainers with swords and bucklers. We have Sir John's
authority when he cashiers part of his train.
"Falstaff will learn the humour of the age,
French thrift, you rogues, myself and skirted page."
Jonson, in a high tone of moral indignation, thus reprobated the
change. The Host of the New Inn replies to Lord Lovel, who asks to
have his son for a page, that he would, with his own hands hang him,
"Than damn him to this desperate course of life.
_LOVEL._ Call you that desperate, which, by a line
Of institution, from our ancestors
Hath been derived down to us, and received
In a succession, for the noblest way
Of brushing up our youth, in letters, arms,
Fair mien, discourses civil, exercise,
And all the blazon of a gentleman?
Where can he learn to vault, to ride, to fence,
To move his body gracefully, to speak
The language pure, or to turn his mind
Or manners more to the harmony of nature,
Than in these nurseries of nobility?
_HOST._ Ay, that was when the nursery's self was noble,
And only virtue made it, not the market,
That titles were not vended at the drum
And common outcry; goodness gave the greatness,
And greatness worship; every house became
An academy, and those parts
We see departed in the practice now
Quite from the institution.
_LOVEL._ Why do you say so,
Or think so enviously? do they not still
Learn us the Centaur's skill, the art of Thrace,
To ride? or Pollux' mystery, to fence?
The Pyrrhick gestures, both to stand and spring
In armour; to be active for the wars;
To study figures, numbers and proportions,
May yield them great in counsels and the art;
To make their English sweet upon their tongue?
As reverend Chaucer says.
_HOST._ Sir, you mistake;
To play Sir Pandarus, my copy hath it,
And carry messages to Madam Cressid;
Instead of backing the brave steed o'mornings.
To kiss the chambermaid, and for a leap
O' the vaulting horse, to ply the vaulting house;
For exercise of arms a bale of dice,
And two or three packs of cards to show the cheat
And nimbleness of hand; mistake a cloak
From my lord's back, and pawn it; ease his pockets
Of a superfluous watch, or geld a jewel
Of an odd stone or so; twinge three or four buttons
From off my lady's gown: These are the arts,
Or seven liberal deadly sciences,
Of pagery, or rather paganism,
As the tides run; to which, if he apply him,
He may, perhaps, take a degree at Tyburn,
A year the earlier come to read a lecture
Upon Aquinas, at Saint Thomas-a-Watering's
And so go forth a laureate in hemp-circle."
The New Inn, Act I.
Note X. p. 135.--LORD HENRY HOWARD
Lord Henry Howard was the second son of the poetical Earl of Surrey,
and possessed considerable parts and learning. He wrote, in the year
1583, a book called, _A Defensative against the Poison of supposed
Prophecies._ He gained the favour of Queen Elizabeth, by having, he
says, directed his battery against a sect of prophets and pretended
soothsayers, whom he accounted _infesti regibus,_ as he expresses it.
In the last years of the Queen, he became James's most ardent
partisan, and conducted with great pedantry, but much intrigue, the
correspondence betwixt the Scottish King and the younger Cecil. Upon
James's accession, he was created Earl of Northampton, and Lord Privy
Seal. According to De Beaumont the French Ambassador, Lord Henry
Howard, was one of the greatest flatterers and calumniators that ever
Note XI. p. 136.--SKIRMISHES IN THE PUBLIC STREETS
Edinburgh appears to have been one of the most disorderly towns in
Europe, during the sixteenth and beginning of the seventeenth century.
The Diary of the honest citizen Birrel, repeatedly records such
incidents as the following: "The 24 of November , at two
afternoon, the Laird of Airth and the Laird of Weems met on the High
Gate of Edinburgh, and they and their followers fought a very bloody
skirmish, where there were many hurt on both sides with shot of
pistol." These skirmishes also took place in London itself. In
Shadwell's play of _The Scowrers,_ an old rake thus boasts of his
early exploits:--"I knew the Hectors, and before them the Muns, and
the Tityretu's; they were brave fellows indeed! In these days, a man
could not go from the Rose Garden to the Piazza once, but he must
venture his life twice, my dear Sir Willie." But it appears that the
affrays, which, in the Scottish capital, arose out of hereditary
quarrels and ancient feuds, were in London the growth of the
licentiousness and arrogance of young debauchees.
Note XII. p. 144.--FRENCH COOKERY
The exertion of French ingenuity mentioned in the text is noticed by
some authorities of the period; the siege of Leith was also
distinguished by the protracted obstinacy of the besieged, in which
was displayed all that the age possessed of defensive war, so that
Brantome records that those who witnessed this siege, had, from that
very circumstance, a degree of consequence yielded to their persons
and opinions. He tells a story of Strozzi himself, from which it
appears that his jests lay a good deal in the line of the cuisine. He
caused a mule to be stolen from one Brusquet, on whom he wished to
play a trick, and served up the flesh of that unclean animal so well
disguised, that it passed with Brusquet for venison.
Note XIII. p. 145.--CUCKOO'S NEST
The quarrel in this chapter between the pretended captain and the
citizen of London, is taken from a burlesque poem called The Counter
Scuffle, that is, the Scuffle in the Prison at Wood street, so called.
It is a piece of low humour, which had at the time very considerable
vogue. The prisoners, it seems, had fallen into a dispute amongst
themselves "which calling was of most repute," and a lawyer put in his
claim to be most highly considered. The man of war repelled his
pretence with much arrogance.
"'Wer't not for us, thou swad,' quoth he,
'Where wouldst thou fay to get a fee?
But to defend such things as thee
For such as you esteem us least,
Who ever have been ready prest
To guard you and your cuckoo's nest,
The offence is no sooner given than it is caught up by a gallant
citizen, a goldsmith, named Ellis.
"'Of London city I am free,
And there I first my wife did see,
And for that very cause,' said he,
'I love it.
And he that calls it cuckoo's nest,
Except he say he speaks in jest,
He is a villain and a beast,--
'I'll prove it!
For though I am a man of trade,
And free of London city made,
Yet can I use gun, bill, and blade,
And citizens, if need require,
Themselves can force the foe retire,
Whatever this low country squire
The dispute terminates in the scuffle, which is the subject of the
poem. The whole may be found in the second edition of Dryden's
_Miscellany,_ 12mo, vol. iii. 1716.
Note XIV. p. 150.--BURBAGE
Burbage, whom Camden terms another Roscius, was probably the original
representative of Richard III., and seems to have been early almost
identified with his prototype. Bishop Corbet, in his Iter Boreale,
tells us that mine host of Market Bosworth was full of ale and
"Hear him, See you yon wood? there Richard lay
With his whole army; look the other way,
And lo, where Richmond, in a field of gorse,
Encamp'd himself in might and all his force.
Upon this hill they met. Why, he could tell
The inch where Richmond stood, where Richard fell;
Besides, what of his knowledge he could say,
He had authentic notice from the play,
Which I might guess by's mustering up the ghosts
And policies not incident to hosts;
But chiefly by that one perspicuous thing,
Where he mistook a player for a king,
For when he would have said, that Richard died,
And call'd, a horse! a horse! he Burbage cried."
RICHARD CORBET'S _Poems, Edition 1815,_ p. 193.
Note XV. p. 323.--MHIC-ALLASTAR-MORE
This is the Highland patronymic of the late gallant Chief of
Glengarry. The allusion in the text is to an unnecessary alarm taken
by some lady, at the ceremonial of the coronation of George IV., at
the sight of the pistols which the Chief wore as a part of his
Highland dress. The circumstance produced some confusion, which was
talked of at the time. All who knew Glengarry (and the author knew him
well) were aware that his principles were of devoted loyalty to the
person of his sovereign.
Note XVI. p. 323.--KING JAMES'S HUNTING BOTTLE
Roger Coke, in his Detection of the Court and State of England,
London, 1697, p.70, observes of James I., "The king was excessively
addicted to hunting, and drinking, not ordinary French and Spanish
wines, but strong Greek wines, and thought he would compound his
hunting with these wines; and to that purpose, he was attended by a
special officer, who was, as much as he could be, always at hand to
fill the King's cup in hunting when he called for it. I have heard my
father say, that, hunting with the King, after the King had drank of
the wine, he also drank of it; and though he was young, and of a
healthful disposition, it so deranged his head that it spoiled his
pleasure and disordered him for three days after. Whether it was from
drinking these wines, or from some other cause, the King became so
lazy and so unwieldy, that he was trussed on horseback, and as he was
set, so would he ride, without stirring himself in the saddle; nay,
when his hat was set upon his head he would not take the trouble to
alter it, but it sate as it was put on."
The trussing, for which the demipique saddle of the day afforded
particular facility, is alluded to in the text; and the author, among
other nickcnacks of antiquity, possesses a leathern flask, like those
carried by sportsmen, which is labelled, "King James's Hunting
Bottle," with what authenticity is uncertain. Coke seems to have
exaggerated the King's taste for the bottle. Welldon says James was
not intemperate in his drinking; "However, in his old age,
Buckingham's jovial suppers, when he had any turn to do with him, made
him sometimes overtaken, which he would the next day remember, and
repent with tears. It is true he drank very often, which was rather
out of a custom than any delight; and his drinks were of that kind for
strength, as Frontiniack, Canary, high country wine, tent wine, and
Scottish ale, that had he not had a very strong brain, he might have
been daily overtaken, though he seldom drank at any one time above
four spoonfuls, many times not above one or two."--_Secret History of
King James,_ vol. ii., p. 3. Edin. 1811.
Note XVII. p. 325.--SCENE IN GREENWICH PARK
I cannot here omit mentioning, that a painting of the old school is in
existence, having a remarkable resemblance to the scene described in
the foregoing chapter, although it be nevertheless true that the
similarity is in all respects casual, and that the author knew not of
the existence of the painting till it was sold, amongst others, with
the following description attached to it in a well-drawn-up catalogue:
_"Scene as represented in the Fortunes of Nigel, by Frederigo
Zucchero, the King's painter._
"This extraordinary picture, which, independent of its pictorial
merit, has been esteemed a great literary curiosity, represents most
faithfully the meeting, in Greenwich Park, between King James and
Nigel Oliphaunt, as described in the Fortunes of Nigel, showing that
the author must have taken the anecdote from authenticated facts. In
the centre of the picture sits King James on horseback, very erect and
stiffly. Between the King and Prince Charles, who is on the left of
the picture, the Duke of Buckingham is represented riding a black
horse, and pointing eagerly towards the culprit, Nigel Olifaunt, who
is standing on the right side of the picture. He grasps with his right
hand a gun, or crossbow, and looks angrily towards the King, who seems
somewhat confused and alarmed. Behind Nigel, his servant is
restraining two dogs which are barking fiercely. Nigel and his servant
are both clothed in red, the livery of the Oliphaunt family in which,
to this day, the town-officers of Perth are clothed, there being an
old charter, granting to the Oliphaunt family, the privilege of
dressing the public officers of Perth in their livery. The Duke of
Buckingham is in all respects equal in magnificence of dress to the
King or the Prince. The only difference that is marked between him and
royalty is, that his head is uncovered. The King and the Prince wear
their hats. In Letitia Aikin's Memoirs of the Reign of King James,
will be found a letter from Sir Thomas Howard to Lord L. Harrington,
in which he recommends the latter to come to court, mentioning that
his Majesty has spoken favourably of him. He then proceeds to give him
some advice, by which he is likely to find favour in the King's eyes.
He tells him to wear a bushy ruff, well starched; and after various
other directions as to his dress, he concludes, 'but above all things
fail not to praise the roan jennet whereon the King doth daily ride.'
In this picture King James is represented on the identical roan
jennet. In the background of the picture are seen two or three
suspicious-looking figures, as if watching the success of some plot.
These may have been put in by the painter, to flatter the King, by
making it be supposed that he had actually escaped, or successfully
combated, some serious plot. The King is attended by a numerous band
of courtiers and attendants, all of whom seem moving forward to arrest
the defaulter. The painting of this picture is extremely good, but the
drawing is very Gothic, and there is no attempt at the keeping of
perspective. The picture is very dark and obscure, which considerably
adds to the interest of the scene."
Note XVIII. p. 325.--KING JAMES'S TIMIDITY
The fears of James for his personal safety were often excited without
serious grounds. On one occasion, having been induced to visit a coal-
pit on the coast of Fife, he was conducted a little way under the sea,
and brought to daylight again on a small island, or what was such at
full tide, down which a shaft had been sunk. James, who conceived his
life or liberty aimed at, when he found himself on an islet surrounded
by the sea, instead of admiring, as his cicerone hoped, the unexpected
change of scene, cried TREASON with all his might, and could not be
pacified till he was rowed ashore. At Lockmaben he took an equally
causeless alarm from a still slighter circumstance. Some vendisses, a
fish peculiar to the Loch, were presented to the royal table as a
delicacy; but the King, who was not familiar with their appearance,
concluded they were poisoned, and broke up the banquet "with most
Note XIX. p. 328.--TRAITOR'S GATE
Traitor's Gate, which opens from the Tower of London to the Thames,
was, as its name implies, that by which persons accused of state
offences were conveyed to their prison. When the tide is making, and
the ancient gate is beheld from within the buildings, it used to be a
most striking part of the old fortress; but it is now much injured in
appearance, being half built up with masonry to support a steam-
engine, or something of that sort.
Note XX. p. 361.--PUNISHMENT OF STUBBS BY MUTILATION
This execution, which so captivated the imagination of Sir Mungo
Malagrowther, was really a striking one. The criminal, a furious and
bigoted Puritan, had published a book in very violent terms against
the match of Elizabeth with the Duke of Alencon, which he termed an
union of a daughter of God with a son of antichrist. Queen Elizabeth
was greatly incensed at the freedom assumed in this work, and caused
the author Stubbs, with Page the publisher, and one Singleton the
printer, to be tried on an act passed by Philip and Mary against the
writers and dispersers of seditious publications. They were convicted,
and although there was an opinion strongly entertained by the lawyers,
that the act was only temporary, and expired with Queen Mary, Stubbs
and Page received sentence to have their right hands struck off. They
accordingly suffered the punishment, the wrist being divided by a
cleaver driven through the joint by force of a mallet. The printer was
pardoned. "I remember," says the historian Camden, "being then
present, that Stubbs, when his right hand was cut off, plucked off his
hat with the left, and said, with a loud voice, 'God save the Queen!'
The multitude standing about was deeply silent, either out of horror
of this new and unwonted kind of punishment, or out of commiseration
towards the man, as being of an honest and unblamable repute, or else
out of hatred to the marriage, which most men presaged would be the
overthrow of religion."-CAMDBN'S _Annals for the Year_ 1581.
Note XXI. p. 375.--RlCHIE MONIPLIES BEHIND THE ARRAS
The practical jest of Richie Moniplies going behind the arras to get
an opportunity of teasing Heriot, was a pleasantry such as James might
be supposed to approve of. It was customary for those who knew his
humour to contrive jests of this kind for his amusement. The
celebrated Archie Armstrong, and another jester called Drummond,
mounted on other people's backs, used to charge each other like
knights in the tilt-yard, to the monarch's great amusement. The
following is an instance of the same kind, taken from Webster upon
Witchcraft. The author is speaking of the faculty called
But to make this more plain and certain, we shall add a story of a
notable impostor, or ventriloquist, from the testimony of Mr. Ady,
which we have had confirmed from the mouth of some courtiers, that
both saw and knew him, and is this:--It hath been (saith he) credibly
reported, that there was a man in the court of King James his days,
that could act this imposture so lively, that he could call the King
by name, and cause the King to look round about him, wondering who it
was that called him, whereas he that called him stood before him in
his presence, with his face towards him. But after this imposture was
known, the King, in his merriment, would sometimes take occasionally
this impostor to make sport upon some of his courtiers, as, for
"There was a knight belonging to the court, whom the King caused to
come before him in his private room, (where no man was but the King,
and this knight and the impostor,) and feigned some occasion of
serious discourse with the knight; but when the King began to speak
and the knight bending his attention to the King, suddenly there came
a voice as out of another room, calling the knight by name, 'Sir John,
Sir John; come away, Sir John;' at which the knight began to frown
that any man should be unmannerly as to molest the King and him; and
still listening to the King's discourse, the voice came again, 'Sir
John, Sir John; come away and drink off your sack.' At that Sir John
began to swell with anger, and looked into the next room to see who it
was that dared to call him so importunately, and could not find out
who it was, and having chid with whomsoever he found, he returned
again to the King. The King had no sooner begun to speak as formerly,
but the voice came again, 'Sir John, come away, your sack stayeth for
you.' At that Sir John began to stamp with madness, and looked out and
returned several times to the King, but could not be quiet in his
discourse with the King, because of the voice that so often troubled
him, till the king had sported enough."--WEBSTER _on Witchcraft_, p.
Note XXII. p. 393.--LADY LAKE.
Whether out of a meddling propensity common to all who have a
gossiping disposition, or from the love of justice, which ought to
make part of a prince's character, James was very fond of enquiring
personally into the causes _celebres_ which occurred during his reign.
In the imposture of the Boy of Bilson, who pretended to be possessed,
and of one Richard Haydock, a poor scholar, who pretended to preach
during his sleep, the King, to use the historian Wilson's expression,
took delight in sounding with the line of his understanding, the
depths of these brutish impositions, and in doing so, showed the
acuteness with which he was endowed by Nature. Lady Lake's story
consisted in a clamorous complaint against the Countess of Exeter,
whom she accused of a purpose to put to death Lady Lake herself, and
her daughter, Lady Ross, the wife of the Countess's own son-in-law,
Lord Ross; and a forged letter was produced, in which Lady Exeter was
made to acknowledge such a purpose. The account given of the occasion
of obtaining this letter, was, that it had been written by the
Countess at Wimbledon, in presence of Lady Lake and her daughter, Lady
Ross, being designed to procure their forgiveness for her mischievous
intention. The King remained still unsatisfied, the writing, in his
opinion, bearing some marks of forgery. Lady Lake and her daughter
then alleged, that, besides their own attestation, and that of a
confidential domestic, named Diego, in whose presence Lady Exeter had
written the confession, their story might also be supported by the
oath of their waiting-maid, who had been placed behind the hangings at
the time the letter was written, and heard the Countess of Exeter read
over the confession after she had signed it. Determined to be at the
bottom of this accusation, James, while hunting one day near
Wimbledon, the scene of the alleged confession, suddenly left his
sport, and, galloping hastily to Wimbledon, in order to examine
personally the room, discovered, from the size of the apartment, that
the alleged conversation could not have taken place in the manner
sworn to; and that the tapestry of the chamber, which had remained in
the same state for thirty years, was too short by two feet, and,
therefore, could not have concealed any one behind it. This matter was
accounted an exclusive discovery of the King by his own spirit of
shrewd investigation. The parties were punished in the Star Chamber by
fine and imprisonment.
_A,' all. BELDAM, ugly old woman.
ABYE, suffer for. BELIVE, by-and-by, presently.
ACCIDENS, grammar. BENEVOLENCES, taxes illegally
AIGRE, sour, ill-natured. exacted by the Kings of
AIN GATE, own way. England.
A' LEEVING, all living. BIDE, keep, remain.
AMBLE, a peculiar gait of a BIELDY BIT, sheltered spot.
horse, in which both legs on BIGGING, building.
one side are moved forward BILBOE, sword, rapier.
at the same time. BILLIES, brothers.
ANCE, once. BIRKIE, lively young fellow.
ANENT, concerning. BLACK-JACK, leathern drinking-
ANGEL, an ancient English gold cup.
coin, worth about 10s., and BLADES, dashing fellows, rakes.
bearing the figure of an angel. BLATE, modest, bashful.
ARRAS, tapestry. BLETHERING, foolish, silly.
AUGHT, owe. BLITHE, BLYTHE, glad.
AULD, old. BLUE-COATS, lackeys.
AULD REEKIE, Edinburgh, in BODDLE, a copper coin, value
allusion to its smoke. the sixth part of an English
AVISEMENT, counsel. penny.
AW, all. BODE, bid, offer.
AWMOUS, alms, a gift. BOOKIE, book.
BRAE, hill, hill-side. BANGED,
BRAVE PIECE, fine thing.
BARNACLES, spectacles. BRAW, fine, handsome.
BARNS-BREAKING, idle frolics. BREAKING, kneading.
BAWBEE, halfpenny. BREEKS, breeches, trousers.
BAXTER, baker. BROCHES, kitchen spits.
BEAR-BANNOCKS, barley cakes. BROSE, pottage of mean and
BECKING, curtseying. water.
BECKS, nods. BROWNIE, domestic goblin.
BEECHEN BICKERS, dishes of BUCKET, cheat.
beechwood. BUNEMOST, uppermost.
CALF-WARD, place where calves are kept in the field.
CALLAN, CALLANT, lad.
CANNILY, cautiously, skilfully.
CANTLE, crown of the head.
CARLE-HEMPIE, the strongest stalk of hemp.
CA'T, call it.
CERTIE, faith, in truth.
CHANGE-HOUSE, roadside inn where horses are changed on a journey.
CHEEK-BY-JOWL, CHEEK-BY-CHOWL, side by side.
CHOPINES, high shoes or clogs.
CHUCKS, chuck-stones, as played by children.
CHUFFS, clowns, simpletons.
CLAPPED LOOFS, crossed palms.
CLAVERING, idle talking.
COCK-A-LEEKIE, COCK-A-LEEKY, leek soup in which a cock has been
COIF, linen covering for the head.
COMPLOTS, plots, intrigues.
COMPT, list, account, particulars.
COSHERING, being familiar and intimate.
COUP THE CRANS, go to wreck and ruin.
CRAIG, rock; also neck.
CRAW'D SAE CROUSE, crowed so proudly.
CULLY, one easily deceived, a dupe.
CUTTY-QUEAN, a loose woman.
DAFT, silly, mad.
DAIKERING, jogging or toiling along.
DANG, driven, knocked.
DEUTEROSCOPY, a meaning beyond the original sense.
DIDNA, did not.
DIKE-LOUPER, a debauchee.
DIRDUM, uproar, tumult. DIRKED, stabbed with a dirk.
DOOMS, very, absolutely.
DOUCE, quiet, respectable, sober.
DOVER, neither asleep nor awake.
DRAB, illicit sexual intercourse.
DRAFF, drains given to cows; also the wash given to pigs.
DRAFF-POKE, bag of grains.
DREDGING-BOX, a box with holes for sprinkling flour in cookery.
DUKE OF EXETER'S DAUGHTER, a species of rack in the Tower of London.
DUMMALAFONG, a common prey to all comers.
ENOW, just now.
FALCHION, a short broadsword with a slightly curved point.
FASHIOUS, troublesome, annoying.
FENCE-LOUPER, rakish fellow.
FEBRIFUGE, a medicine to subdue a fever.
FLATCAPS, citizens, civilians.
FOOD FOR FAGGOTS, martyrs for their religious opinions.
FOOT-CLOTH, horse-cloth reaching almost to the ground.
FULHAM, loaded dice.
GAGE, pledge, trust.
GANG A' AE GATE, go all one way.
GAR, make, force.
GARR'D, made, compelled.
GATE, way, road; also kind of.
GIFF-GAFF, give and take, tit for tat.
GIE THE GLAIKS, to befool, deceive.
GILLIE-WHITE-FOOT, running footman.
GLEED, awry, all wrong.
GRAMERCY, great thanks.
GRANDAM, old woman, grandmother.
GREEN GEESE, parrots.
GRIPS, handshakings, greetings.
GROSART, GROSSART, goose-berry.
GULL, one easily befooled,
GULLEY, large knife.
GUTTERBLOOD, one meanly bred.
GYNOCRACY, petticoat government.
HAFFITS, sides of the head.
HAIRBOURED, resided, sojourned.
HAMESUCKEN, assaulting a man on his own premises.
HARLE, drag, trail.
HARMAN BECK, constable.
HECK AND MANGER, in comfortable quarters.
HIRPLING, limping, walking lame.
HOWFF, rendezvous, place of resort.
ILK ANE, each one.
ILL REDD-UP, very untidy.
INGOTS, masses of unwrought metal.
INGRATE, an ungrateful person.
IRON CARLES, iron figures of men.
JEDDART-STAFF, a species of battle-axe peculiar to Jedburgh.
JENNET, a small Spanish horse.
JOUP, dip, stoop down.
KIMMER, gossip, neighbour.
KITTLE, ticklish, difficult, precarious.
KYTHED, seemed, appeared.
LAMB'S-WOOL, a beverage made of the pulp of roasted apples.
LANDLOUPER, adventurer, runagate.
LANG SYNE, long ago.
LATTEN, plated iron or brass.
LEASING-MAKING, uttering treasonable language.
LEASINGS, falsehoods, treason.
LEGLIN-GIRTH, the lowest hoop on a leglin, or milk-pail.
LICK, a beating.
LIEFEST, most beloved.
LIGHT O' LOVE, mistress, wanton woman.
LINKBOYS, juvenile torch-bearers.
LOOF, palm of the hand.
LOON, LOUN, rascal.
LUG, LUGG, ear.
MAIR THAN ANCE, more than once.
MARLE, wonder, marvel.
MAGGOT, whim, fancy.
MENSEFUL, modest, mannerly.
MERK, a Scottish coin, value 13s 4d.
MESS-BOOK, mass-book, Catholic prayer-book.
MICKLE, MUCKLE, much, great, large.
MUCKLE v. MICKLE.
MUSKETOON, a species of musket.
MY GERTIE, my goodness! gracious!
NEB, nose, point.
NEEDSNA, need not.
NOBLE, a gold coin, value 6s. 8d. sterling.
NOWTE, black cattle.
NUNCHION, luncheon, food taken between meals.
OTHER GATE, other kind of.
OWER SICKER, too careful.
PAIK, fight, chastise.
PEASE-BOGLE, scarecrow among the pease growing.
PENNY-WEDDING, a wedding where all who attend contribute a trifle
expenses of the merrymaking.
PICKTHANK, a parasitical informer.
PIG, earthen pot, vessel, or pitcher.
PINK, stab, pierce holes into.
PLACK, a copper coin, value the third part of an English
POCK-END, empty pocket or purse.
POCK-PUDDING, bag pudding.
PORK-GRISKINS, sucking-pigs; also broiled loin of pork.
PULLET, a young hen.
QUEAN, wench, young woman.
RAMPALLIONS, low women.
REDD-UP, tidy, put in order.
RED WUD, stark mad.
REMEID, resource, remedy.
ROOPIT, croupy, hoarse.
ROSE-NOBLE, a gold coin, value 6s. 8d., impressed with a rose.
ROUT, ROWT, to roar or bellow.
RUDAS, wild, forward, bold.
SACK, sherry or canary wine, warmed and spiced.
SCAT, tribute, tax.
SCAUR, scare, frighten.
SCRIVENER, one who draws up contracts.
SICLIKE, just so.
SILLER, money, silver.
SKELDER, plunder, snatch.
SMAIK, mean, paltry fellow.
SPEERINGS, information, inquiries.
SPRAIKLE, to get on with difficulty.
STOT, a bullock between two and three years old.
STURDIED, afflicted with the sturdy, a sheep disease.
STYPIC, astringent, something to arrest haemorrhage.
SUCCORY-WATER, sugar water.
SUMPTER HORSE, pack-horse.
SWITH, begone! be off!
TANE, the one.
TAWSE, leather strap used for chastisement.
TIKE v. TYKE.
TITHER, the other.
TOUT, blast on the horn.
TROW, believe, guess.
TYKE, TIKE, dog, cur.
TWIRING, coquetting, making eyes at.
UMQUHILE, late, deceased.
WADNA, would not.
WASTRIFE, waste, extravagance.
WEEL KEND, well known.
WHEEN, few, a number of.
WHIGMALEERY, trinkets, nicknacks.
WHINGER, cutlass, long knife.
WIMPLED, wrapped up.
WINNA, will not.
WITHY, gallows rope.
WYND, street, alley.
YESTREEN, last night
Sorry, no summary available yet.