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THE PIPEE OF MUCKLEBROWST.



353



various parts of fisherman, sailor, soldier, and
pedlar, none of which professions are peculiarly
likely to teach a man temperance; and having
procured his discharge in consequence of a
wound in his head, which carried away a small
fraction of his brain-pan, about the sober age
of fifty-seven he settled down into a roistering
and carousing town-piper. As he had a good
deal of those rambling, mischief-loving, satiri-
cal characters, called in Scotland hallen-shakers
and blether- sky 'tea, and his strangest tricks were
played, and his fun was ever the most furious
when the malt was over the meal, all who knew
him declared that "he certainly had a bee in
his bonnet, puirman! ever sin' he gat that sair
paik on his pow in the wars." Rory himself,
however, was wont to assert that " he was as
gude a man as ever;" which, perhaps, might
be true in one sense, as he never was very
celebrated for either his prudence or his so-
briety.

So much for his person and character ; and
for his talents as a piper, he could most merrily
" blaw up the chanter," as the old song says,
with some skill and "richt gude will," untired,
even through a long night of active dancing
and loud carousal; which, with his mirth and
bold demeanour, made him a special favourite
throughout Mucklebrowst and its vicinity.
Without at all underrating his own knowledge
of music, he was fond of attributing some part
of his popularity to his instrument, which, he
was accustomed to relate, had been found in
one of the holy wells of St. Fillan, in Perth-
shire; thereby inheriting a finer tone and easier
breath than any mere mortal pipes could ever
boast of, beside the power of resisting all kinds
of glamour or witchcraft. The truth of this
was never rightly known, though it was whis-
pered that, if the pipes had belonged even to
St. Fillan himself, Rory Blare had employed
them so differently, that if they ever possessed
any virtue it had long since departed.

As the worthy town-piper was always ready
to be foremost in any kind of sport, or to be-
stow his counsel in any case of courtship,
marriage, or witchcraft, which occupied the
go.ssips, that is to say, all the inhabitants of
Mucklebrowst he was everywhere welcome.
But, though he distributed his patronage pretty
equally, he appeared to be most merry, and to
make himself most at home at the Maggie
Lauder's Head, a little public kept by one
Bauldie Quech, whose jovial and careless dis-
position matched exactly with his own. They
would frequently sit till "the sma' hours,"
driving away time by glass after glass, rant
after rant, and song after song, until the de-

VOL. iv.



cease of Katie Quech, Bauldie's contentious
spouse ; when, though all expected to see him
take a younger and more agreeable partner,
and had even settled who it was to be, he sud-
denly sank into a dismal and melancholy mood,
under the influence of which he drank twice
as much as before, though he never laughed
at all. Rory Blare, however, did not desert
his old companion; for indeed the warmth of
his friendship very frequently led him to sit
piping and drinking with him throughout the
whole night; and one dark and windy evening
in autumn they were thus engaged, with a
single sedate-looking stranger habited in pale
gray, who had come in about night-fall.

"Hout, tout, man!" exclaimed Rory, find-
ing that even St. Fillan's blessed pipes had
no effect upon his host, "ye" re unco hard to
please, I trow; and yet yere lugs used to ken
whan they heard gude music: but I daur say
the deil's cussen his cloak owre ye, as King
Jamie said o' his bairn. Ye' 11 no think now,
honest frien'" continued he, addressing himself
to the guest, "that the gudeman was ance ane-
o' the merriest men o' Mucklebrowst, though
ever sin' Luckie Quech died he's no had &.
word for a dog, let alone a blythe lad or a.
bonnie lassie."

"Let him look for another Luckie, then,,
and the sooner the better," answered the stran-
ger, "take heart, man, there's as good fish in.
the sea as ever came out of it."

"And that's true too, though the deil him-
sel' spak it," rejoined the piper, " I'm thinkin',.
Bauldie, that I'll hae to play 'Fy, let us a' to-
the bridal,' before ye yet. And wha shall it
be, gudeman? wha shall it be? for ye ken
there's a haritle o' bonnie lassies in Muckle-
browst, to speak naething o' them o* Leven,
or the limmers o' Largo. But ye'll look to
the tocher, billie, and see that the lass has a
quick lug for the music, and a light fit for
the dance."

"They may hae what they will for me," at
length answered the host, with a deep sigh,
"and they may be as bonnie as they will for
me ; but they can nane o' them be either less
or mair to me."

" Think again, friend," said the guest, "and
you will think better of it, for I've often known
as broken a ship come to land. What say ye
now to Sibbie Carloups, of Gouks-haven, with
golden hair on her head, and gold coin in her
pouch ; I promise you now, that she'd be the
girl for me. "

" She was no that unsonsie a lassie, but she
was nae muckle better than wud, or a witch,
when she leevet there," returned the piper,
93



354



THE PIPER OF MUCKLEBROWST.



"but that's fu' twenty years agone, for she
suddenly gaed awa' and no ane kenned where,
though folk said she went mad, or was carried
awa' to be the deil's jo, some gate about For-
far or Glammis."

"It's a' true!" exclaimed Bauldie Quech, in
voice of great distress, "it's an ower true tale,
as I ken fu' weel, and fu' sadly, though I didna
think to hae tauld what I ken o't to ony ane
but the minister: but Rory, ye're a fearless and
lang-headed chiel at a hard pass, and as ever
ye did gude to a puir body at their wits' ends,
ye maun e'en help me now."

"Say awa' then wi' yere story, neebor,"
returned the piper, "and if it be in the skeel
o' man, and I dinna stand by you, may the
deil burst the bag o' my pipes, and split the
drone and chanter!"

"Weel, weel," answered the host, with more
composure, "I'm no misdoubting ye, though
I trow it's past your art; but at ony rate it will
gie some ease to my mind; so I'll e'en mak a
clean breast, and tell ye a' about it. About
.twenty years back, as ye said, Sibbie Carloups
was the wale o' the lassies o' this coast, though
.a wild tawpie, and I was no then a bad look-
ing lad mysel'; and as we foregathered thegither
mair than ance, I e'en tell'd her my mind, and
. she listened to me, and sae at last we brak a
.saxpence in twa for a true-love token: but frae
that hour I saw her nae mair, for the vera next
time I went to Gouks-haven, she was departed."
"And did you no follow her, man?" de-
manded Rory Blare, " ye suld hae followed
her ower land and lea till ye met again; I'se
warrant she wadna hae 'scaped me like the
tblink o' a sunbeam."

" I .did follow her," said Bauldie Quech,
"and that for mony a lang and weary mile,
.and speir'd at every ane that I cam nigh, but
I ne'er saw her again ; and sae, when I heard
some auld carlines say that belike the witches
had carried her awa', I e'en gied her up; for
naebody can find out what they dinna like to
ishow. Weel, I cam back to Mucklebrowst,
and years passed awa', and I thought nae mair
,o' the matter: and at last I weddit Luckie
Links, o' St. Monan's; and then, as ye ken,
she went to a better warl', and left me to get
through this as I could. Weel, man, wad ye

think it, she hadna been gane a week or mair,
when an auld, ill-fa'ard, grewsome, gyre-car-

.line cam up to the door ae muckle dark and
windy even, when I was my lane, and called
'.me her ain gudeman, and said she was Sibbie

Carloups, come to claim my promise o' mar-
riage! 'And where hae ye been a' this time,
Sibbie?' says I, when I could speak for won-



der, and some little o' fear; 'Troth, lad,' said
she, ' I canna just tell ye where I hae been ; a
frien' o' mine has taken me to see the warl',
and made me gay rich, but ye see I dinna for-
get auld acquaintance ; here's the half o' the
saxpence we brak, and as yere first jo's dead,
we'll e'en be marry it when ye will.' 'Marry
thee!' thought I, Til suner see thee linkit to
a tar-barrel!' But I was fain to speak her
fairly, and so I askit her to come ben; but she
tauld me that there was sic a bush at my door
that there was nae getting by it. 'Oh, ho!
Luckie!' thought I again, 'it's the rowan-tree
branch, is it? there it shall hing then for me:'
so I drew me back a wee, and then said bauldly,
' I'll e'en tell ye the truth, cummer; folk say
ye've been made a witch of, and I'm judging
it's true; but for byganes' sake ye'll get nae
harm frae me, only tak up yere pipes and be-
gone ; but first gie me back my siller, for I'll
hae naething mair to do wi' you.' 'Aha,
billie,' then said the auld carline, 'there are
twa words to that; if ye're fause and ungratefu',
that's yere ain fault ; but while I've the broken
saxpence I can weel hinder yere marrying ony
body without my leave, and may be do a little
mair; sae think o' that, and be wiser in yere
passion.' To mak the least o' a lang story, at
last she sae put up my bluid that I rushed out
o' the house to lay haud on her, when, fizz !
she was gane like the whup o' a whirlwin", and
the night was too dark to see whilk way the
deil had carried her! And after a' I haena
done wi' the auld jaud, for in the darkest and
wildest nights she comes rattling at the win-
dow-bole, and crying out that she's my ain jo,
and has our broken saxpence; but when I gae
out I can tak haud o' nought, and see naething
but a flisk o' her fiery eyes as she mounts up
owre the house-rigging into the clouds on the
nightmare. And now ye hae heard my story,
I hae nae mair to say, than that I wad gae
half my gudes to onybody wha wad get me
back the half saxpence, and send Sibbie Car-
loups to be brunt at the Witches' Howe at
Forfar."

" Baith o' whilk I wad do blithely," said
the piper, "gin ye could tell me where I could
find thewitch-carline; forl wadna think muckle
o' meeting her and her haill clanjamfray wi'
St. Fillan's pipes; I trow I'd gae them sic
music as they ne'er dancit to before."

" Waes me! then," exclaimed Bauldie Quech
in reply, ' ' for there's nae findi ng a witch against
her will ; sae there's nae help for me in this
warld. "

"But there may be some in another," said
the stranger-guest, "and I think I can show



THE PIPER OF MUCKLEBROWST.



it, if your piper-friend be only as stout and
fearless as he seems ; I promise you that his
{access is certain, and that the only danger
will be in shrinking back when the work is
begun."

"Deil doubt me then," said Rory, "there's
my thumb on't: and ye ken I'm no vera sune
daunted."

"Then," answered the stranger, "the sooner
you set out the better, since you may have a
long journey before you ; so mount my horse,
for he knows the way you're going; ride out of
the town towards Glammis, and you will meet
a number of persons, with whom Sibbie Car-
loups will certainly be. Ask them for Gossip
Paddock ; and say to her, that you come from
Melchior the comptroller, who commands her
to give up Bauldie Quech's token ; but take
heed that you have no other intercouse with
them, and, above all, that you bring nothing
else away with you."

With these instructions and his blessed pipes
Rory Blare departed, followed by the anxious
hopes and good wishes of the host. He was
nothing dismayed at the cheerless appearance
of the night, which was overclouded; whilst a
violent storm of wind roared round him, seem-
ing as if it raged purposely to impede his pro-
gress. He rode on at a rapid pace; but the way
looked wilder and more lonely than usual, no
person appearing of whom he might make his
mystic inquiries. The features, too, of that
well - known road seemed altogether altered,
since the piper missed the little towns and
change-houses with which he knew it to be
studded ; though he failed not to recognize,
with increased terror, the spots which had been
rendered famous by any fearful circumstances.
At length, however, he entered a deep and
spacious glen, covered with dark heather, which
was wholly unknown to him; so that he was
now assured that he had missed his way alto-
gether.

As the wind still continued to blow furiously,
and the rain to fall with violence between the
gusts, Rory Blare was rejoiced to see the dim
outline of a building appear in the glen before
him, one part of which was glowing with
lights, and resounding with the loudest notes of
merriment. He made up to it, if it were only
in the hope of getting some information of his
way and a temporary shelter; and arriving at
a little stone portal, which was half open, be-
neath the lighted chambers, he rang, and
knocked, and shouted for some time, without
procuring any reply. Alighting from the
stranger's horse, therefore, and fastening him
to the door, he went in and ascended a flight



of narrow winding stairs, which terminated in
a suite of state-chambers, decorated in the style,
however, of three centuries before. The room
which he first entered was richly illuminated,
and in the centre appeared a table, round which
several tall powerful men were seated, playing
at cards. They were all habited in the most
costly and antique dresses; for there were pall
and velvet, steel armour and two-handed swords,
and robes of ermine and minever. They swore
and stamped at each other, raged and shouted
in the most fearful manner, as they won or
lost the broad gold pieces which lay on the
table before them ; but the most furious of all
was one old hard-featured baron who sat at the
head of the chamber, distinguished from the
rest by an immensely long beard. He lost
much and repeatedly, tore the cards and dashed
his clenched hands passionately on the board,
then called for wine, and again engaged in the
game, swearing in the wildest manner that he
would play on till doomsday.

The terrific features of this scene made even
the piper desirous of exchanging it for the
stormy night and dark glen without; but upon
looking round for the door by which he entered,
he found that it had closed, and was covered
by hangings similar to the rest of the room,
so that it could nowhere be seen. Whilst he
was gazing about him for some other passage,
he was accosted by the long-bearded nobleman,
who demanded of him in a thundering tone
"what he wanted, and who sent him there?"
Rory felt his blood rather chilled whilst he
answered that he had missed his way to Glam-
mis, on the road to which one Master Melchior
the comptroller had sent him to inquire for
Gossip Paddock, to recover a token from her.

"The fiend take Melchior the comptroller!"
exclaimed the ancient baron, "he'll ruin the
trade of us a', if he gae on at this rate. And
what base carle are ye, whom he has sent on
sic a fule's errand?"

"I'm Rory Blare, the town-piper o' Muckle-
browst, if it like your honour," was the reply;
"I hae the blessed pipes o' St. Fillan wi' me,
and I'll gie ye ane of the Saunt's ain sangs by
which he drave awa' the deil on the chanter,
an ye wad like to listen till it."

There was something in this proposal not
very pleasing to the long-bearded baron, since
he ground his teeth and grinned fearfully upon
the piper, and roared out fiercely to Nickie
Deilstyke to take the canting dog down to the
revel in the court-yard, and show him where
Cummer Paddock hung her curch whilst she
danced. Rory Blare followed the servitor
through several winding passages, into what



356



THE PIPEE OF MUCKLEBROWST.



seemed to him a churchyard, surrounded by a
ruined cloister, and part of an ancient chapel,
with a running stream forming the lower
boundary. Both the building itself, which
appeared to be illuminated, and the grassy
cemetery, were crowded with a host of females,
young and old, fair and foul, dancing furiously
to the sound of the deepest and shrillest pipes
Rory had ever heard. The tune in general
was a loud and continued rant, held on in the
same clamorous key, though it often swelled
suddenly into a positive howl of wild merri-
ment, increased by the shouts and shrieks of
enraptured dancers ; which, however, sounded
in the piper's ears more like cries of pain than
those hearty halloos of pleasure which distin-
guish the native dances of Scotland.

Rory's guide stopped at a whin-bush beside
a fallen column, and pointing to a dark-col-
oured hood hanging upon it, directed the
piper to seize it, and when the owner came
up to make his own terms for its restoration,
since she would never be able to quit that
place without it. He had scarcely laid hold
of it, and thrust it into his bosom under the
Saint's pipes, when a woman, bent almost
double, and with features nearly resembling
those of a toad, came up to him, and in a whin-
ing nattering voice entreated him to give it
back ; adding, that she would give him many
gifts, and specially teach him to play as never
piper played before. All her entreaties, how-
ever, availing nothing until she produced
Bauldie Quech's troth-pledge, the witch in a
rage flung the broken coin upon the ground,
exclaiming, "There, you suspicious tyke, will
ye no gie me my curch now?"

"Let's see if a' be right first, Luckie," an-
swered the invincible piper, "all's not gowd
that glitters, ye ken ;" and having taken the
pledge from the ground, and satisfied himself
that there was no deception, he thrust it into
his breast, and approaching the running stream,
drew out the witch's hood and hurled it in,
saying, "There, cummer, as the gudeman at
Mucklebrowst wants nae mair o' yere visits,
we'll e'en tak awa' yere power o' making them ! "

The witch gave a wild shriek as she saw her
magic curch sink down, with a dark flash of
fire, in a place where she had no power to
follow it ; knowing also that the loss of it in-
volved her own instant destruction. A loud
shout of exultation immediately arose from
the wizard crowd, which came pouring down
and whirled away the unfortunate Sibbie Car-
loups, after which she was never more seen on
earth.

The music then changed to a brisk and



sprightly tune, still frequently played in Scot-
land, though formerly condemned as an un-
hallowed spring called "Whistle o'er the lave
o't." This was a strain in which Rory was con-
sidered to have extraordinary skill; and being
animated by the well-known notes, and elated
by his recent victory, he at once forgot his
hazardous situation and the saintly character
of his pipes ; and leaping up on the broken
pillar he cried out, "Lilt awa'! cummers, lilt
awa'! yon birkie blaws the chanter unco weel;
but I'd play that spring wi' Auld Clootie him-
sel, sae here goes till ye;" but with the very
first notes the bag of his instrument suddenly
burst, and the pipes split from top to bottom!
" Deil's in't!" exclaimed the alarmed Rory
Blare, "if there's no an end o' the blessed pipes
o' St. Fillan ! God hae us in his keeping !
what are we to do now?" but scarcely had
he uttered the holy name when the whole
scene was swept off in a howling -whirlwind,
and he saw no more till he found himself, at
daybreak, lying with the broken pipes and the
love-token, under the ancient walls of Glammis
Castle, upwards of thirty miles distant from
Mucklebrowst.

Having made the best of his way back to
Bauldie Quech, he found him quite another
man, and joyfully preparing for his marriage
with Janet Blythegilpie, of the East Green, it
being already known that Sibbie Carloups had
been carried away in a fearful storm of wind,
on Hallowe'en, at midnight; which the piper's
story and the production of the broken six-
pence were supposed entirely to confirm. It
was never very clearly made out how long Rory
Blare had been gone, where he had been, or
who was the stranger by whose advice he went;
for, whilst the piper affirmed that he was absent
but a single night, all Mucklebrowst declared
that his office had been vacant for a week; and
that he was certainly away at the fearful season
of Hallowe'en. As to the second point, it was
agreed that he had wandered to Forfar, or
Glammis Castle, or perhaps had a drunken
vision in the ruins of Restennet Priory. The
howling of the wind through the arches, and
his imagination, familiar with the superstitions
of those places, might have supplied the witches,
music, and revelry; together with the revelation
ef that secret chamber, wherein Alexander,
surnamed Beardie, third Earl of Crawford, is
supposed to be playing at cards until the day
of judgment. And lastly, the person by whose
counsel he went on the journey was very gene-
rally considered to be a famous white wizard,
or benevolent magician, who used his art to
counteract the powers of darkness.



PETER KLAUS.



357



Bauldie Quech became a person of conse-
quence in Mucklebrowst, being made treasurer;
and his name yet lives in its traditions for
having kept the municipal moneys in a manner
worthy of the most primitive ages of the world.
His depositories were nothing less than two
large jack-boots, which hung beside his fire-
place ; into one of which he threw all sums
received, and into the other all his vouchers
for payments. At the end of the year both
were emptied and a balance struck, though it
is reported that, as there was some deficiency
in the debtor-boot, it was thought more pru-
dent to transfer the trust to other hands; not-
withstanding which, the ex-treasurer always
asserted that it was the best way possible of
keeping the accounts, since every one in his
dwelling was of indubitable honesty, and "it
saved a wheen hantle o' perplexing buiks and
skarts o' writing." The good town also gave
Kory Blare a new stand of pipes, by the first
maker of his time, but they were never thought
to be equal to those of St. Fillan ; and to his
dying hour he could never be prevailed upon i
to play the 'witching tune of "Whistle o'er .
the lave o't."



POWER AND GENTLENESS.

BY LEIGH HUNT. 1

I've thought, at gentle and ungentle hour,

Of many an act and giant shape of power;

Of the old kings with high exacting looks,

Sceptred and globed ; of eagles on their rocks

With straining feet, and that fierce mouth and drear

Answering the strain with downward drag austere;

Of the rich-headed lion, whose huge frown,

All his great nature gathering, seems to crown;

Then of cathedral, with its priestly height,

Seen from below, at superstitious night ;

Of ghastly castle, that eternally

Holds its blind visage out to the lone sea ;

And of all sunless, subterraneous dee, a

The creature makes, who listens while he sleeps,



Avarice ; and then of those old earthly cones,

That stride, they say, over heroic liones;

And those stone heaps Egyptian, whose small doors

Look like low dens under precipitous shores;

And him, great Meninon, that long sitting by

In seeming idleness, with stony eye,

Saijg at the morning's touch, like poetry;

And then of all the fierce and bitter fruit

Of the proud planting of a tyrannous foot

Of bruised rights, and flourishing bad men;

And virtue wasting heavenwards from a den;

Brute force and fury; and the devilish drouth

Of the fool cannon's ever-gaping mouth;

And the bride-widowing sword ; and the harsh bray

The sneering trumpet sends across the fray;

And all which lights the people thinning star

That selfishness invokes, the horsed war,

Panting along with many a bloody mane.

I've thought of all this pride and all this pain,
And all the insolent plenitudes of power,
And I declare by this most quiet hour,
Which holds in different tasks, by the fire-light,
Me and my friends here this delightful night,
That Power itself has not one half the might
Of Gentleness. 'Tis want to all true wealth ;
The uneasy madman's force, to the wise health;
Blind downward beating, to the eyes that see;
Noise to persuasion, doubt to certainty ;
The consciousness of strength in enemies,
Who must be strain'd upon, or else they rise ;
The battle, to the moon, who all the while.
High out of hearing, passes with her smile;
The tempest, trampling in his scanty run,
To the whole globe, that basks about the sun,
Or as all shriekt and clangs, with which a sphere,
Undone and fired, could rake the midnight ear,
Compared with that vast dumbness nature keeps
Throughout her many million-starred deeps;
Most old, and mild, and awful, and unbroken,
Which tells a tale of f ea.ce, beyond whate'er was spoken.



l See Library, vol. i. page 341. In his Sl-ttches of
Poetical Literature, D. M. Moirsaid: "With acute powers
of conception, a sparkling and lively fancy, and a
quaintly curious felicity of diction, the grand charac- I



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