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pg 187Editor’s NoteChapter Eight

  • ——And this Doctor,
  • Your sooty smoky-bearded compeer, he
  • Will close you so much gold in a bolt's head,
  • And, on a turn, convey in the stead another
  • With sublimed mercury, that shall burst i' the heat,
  • Editor’s NoteAnd all fly out in fumo——

The Alchemist       

"How do you do, goot Mr Oldenbuck? and I do hope your young gentleman, Captain MacIntyre, is getting better again?—Ach! it is a bat business when young gentlemens will put lead balls into each other's body."

"Lead adventures of all kinds are very precarious, Mr Douster-swivel; but I am happy to learn," continued the Antiquary, "from my friend, Sir Arthur, that you have taken up a better trade, and become a discoverer of gold."

"Ach, Mr Oldenbuck, mine goot and honoured patron should not have told a word about dat little matter; for, though I have all the reliance—yes, indeed, on goot Mr Oldenbuck's prudence and dis-Critical Apparatuscretion, and his great friendship for Sir Arthurs Wardour—yet, my heavens! it is an great ponderous secret."

"More ponderous than any of the metal we shall make by it, I fear," answered Oldbuck.

"Dat is just as you shall have de faith and de patience for de grand Critical Apparatusexperiment—If you join wid Sir Arthur, as he is put in one hundred Editor’s Noteand fifty—see here is one fifty in your dirty Fairport bank-note—you put one other hundred and fifty in de dirty notes, and you shall have de pure gold and silver, I cannot tell how much."

"Nor any one for you, I believe," said the Antiquary. "But hark you, Mr Dousterswivel, suppose, without troubling this same sneezing Critical Apparatusspirit with any further fumigations, we should go in a body, and having fair day-light and our good consciences to befriend us, using no other conjuring implements than good substantial pick-axes and shovels, fairly trench the area of the chancel in the ruins of St Ruth, from one Editor’s NoteCritical Apparatusend to t'other, and so ascertain the existence of this supposed treasure, without putting ourselves to any farther expence: the ruins belong to Sir Arthur himself, so there can be no objection. Do you think we shall succeed in this way of managing the matter?"

"Bah!—you will not find one copper thimble—But Sir Arthur will Critical Apparatusdo his pleashure—I have shewed him how it is possible—very possible to have de great sum of money for his occasions—I have shewed him pg 188de real experiment—If he likes not to believe, goot Mr Oldenbuck, it is nothing to Herman Dousterswivel—he only loses de money and de Critical Apparatusgold and de silvers—dat is all."

Critical ApparatusSir Arthur Wardour cast an intimidated glance at Mr Oldbuck, who, especially when present, held, notwithstanding their frequent difference of opinion, no ordinary influence over his sentiments. In truth, the Baronet felt what he would not willingly have acknow-Editor’s Noteledged, that his genius stood rebuked before that of the Antiquary. He respected him as a shrewd, penetrating, sarcastic character, feared his satire, and had some confidence in the general soundness of his opinions. He therefore looked at him as if desiring his leave before indulging his credulity. Dousterswivel saw he was in danger of losing his dupe, unless he could make some favourable impression on the adviser.

"I know, my goot Mr Oldenbuck, it is one vanity to speak to you about de spirit and de goblin. But look at this curious horn; I know you Editor’s Noteknow de curiosity of all de countries, and how de great Oldenburgh horn, as they keep still in de Museum at Copenhagen, was given to de Duke of Oldenburgh by one female spirit of de wood. Now I could not put one trick on you if I were willing, you who know all de curiosity so well, and dere it is de horn full of coins—if it had been a box, or case, I would have said nothing."

"Being a horn," said Oldbuck, "does indeed strengthen your argu-ment. It was an implement of nature's fashioning, and therefore much Editor’s Noteused among rude nations, although it may be the metaphorical horn is more frequent in proportion to the progress of civilization. And this present horn," he continued, rubbing it upon his sleeve, "is a curious Critical Apparatusand venerable relique, and no doubt was intended to prove a cornuco-pia, or horn of plenty, to some one or other, but whether to the adept or his patron may be justly doubted."

Critical Apparatus"Well, Mr Oldenbook, I see you still hard of belief—but let me assure you, de monksh understood de magisterium."

"Let us leave talking of the magisterium, Mr Dousterswivel, and think a little about the magistrate. Are you aware that this occupation of yours is against the law of Scotland, and that both Sir Arthur and Editor’s Notemyself are in the commission of the peace?"

"Mine Heaven! and what is dat to de purpose when I am doing you all de goot I can?"

Editor’s Note"Why, you must know, that when the legislature abolished the cruel laws against witchcraft, they had no hope of destroying the superstitious feelings of humanity on which such chimeras had Critical Apparatusbeen founded, and to prevent these feelings being tampered with Critical Apparatusby artful and designing persons, it is enacted by the Ninth of pg 189George the Second, chap. 5. that whosoever shall pretend, by his alleged skill, in any occult or crafty science, to discover such goods as are lost, stolen, or concealed, he shall suffer punishment by pillory and imprisonment as a common cheat and impostor."

Editor’s Note"And is dat de laws?" asked Dousterswivel, with some agitation.

"Thyself shall see the act," replied the Antiquary.

Critical Apparatus"Den, gentlemens, I shall take my leave of you—dat is all—I do not like to stand on your what you call pillory—it is very bad way to take de air, I think; and I do not like your prisons no more, where one cannot take de air at all."

"If such be your taste, Mr Dousterswivel, I advise you to stay where you are, for I cannot let you go, unless it be in the society of a con-stable; and, moreover, I expect you will attend us just now to the ruins of St Ruth, and point out the place where you propose to find this treasure."

"Mine heaven! Mr Oldenbuck, what usage is this to your old friend, when I tell you so plain as I can speak, dat if you go now, you will get not so much treasure as one poor shabby sixpence?"

"I will try the experiment, however, and you shall be dealt with according to its success,—always with Sir Arthur's permission."

Sir Arthur, during this investigation, had looked extremely embar-Editor’s Noterassed, and, to use a vulgar but expressive phrase, chop-fallen. Old-buck's obstinate disbelief led him strongly to suspect the imposture of Dousterswivel, and the adept's mode of keeping his ground was less resolute than he had expected. Yet he did not entirely give him up.

"Mr Oldbuck," said the Baronet, "you do Mr Dousterswivel less than justice. He has undertaken to make this discovery by the use of Editor’s Notehis art, and by applying characters descriptive of the Intelligences presiding over the planetary hour in which the experiment is to be made; and you require him to proceed, under pain of punishment, without allowing him the use of any of the preliminaries which he considers as the means of procuring success."

"I did not say that exactly—I only required him to be present when we make the search, and not to leave us during the interval. I fear he may have some intelligence with the Intelligences you talk of, and that whatever may be now hidden at Saint Ruth may disappear before we get there."

"Well, gentlemens," said Dousterswivel sullenly, "I will make no Critical Apparatusobjection to go with you; but I tell you beforehand, you shall not find so much of any thing as shall be worth your going twenty yard from your own gate."

"We will put that to a fair trial," said the Antiquary; and the Bar-onet's equipage being ordered, Miss Wardour received an intimation pg 190from her father, that she was to remain at Monkbarns until his return from an airing. The young lady was somewhat at a loss how to recon-cile this direction with the communication which she supposed must have passed between Sir Arthur and the Antiquary, but she was com-pelled, for the present, to remain in a most unpleasant state of sus-pense.

The journey of the treasure-seekers was melancholy enough. Dousterswivel maintained a sulky silence, brooding at once over dis-appointed expectation and the risk of punishment; Sir Arthur, whose golden dreams had been gradually fading away, surveyed, in gloomy prospect, the impending difficulties of his situation; and Oldbuck, who perceived that his having so far interfered in his neighbour's affairs gave him a right to expect some actual and efficient assistance, sadly pondered to what extent it would be necessary to draw open the strings of his purse. Thus each being wrapped in his own unpleasant ruminations, there was hardly a word said on either side, until they reached the Four Horse-shoes, by which sign the little inn was distin-guished. They procured at this place the necessary assistance and implements for digging, and, while they were busy about these pre-parations, were suddenly joined by the old beggar, Edie Ochiltree.

Editor’s Note"Aha, old true-penny!" said Oldbuck, when he had heard "The Lord bless your honour, and long life to you—weel pleased am I to hear that young Captain MacIntyre is like to be on his legs again suneCritical Apparatus—think on your poor beadsman the day."

"Why, thou hast never come to Monkbarns since thy perils by rock and flood—here's something for thee to buy snuff,"—and, fumbling for his purse, he pulled out at the same time the horn which inclosed the coins.

"Aye, and there's something to pit it in," said the mendicant, eyeing the ram's horn—"that loom's an auld acquaintance o' mine. I could take my aith to that sneeshing-mull amang a thousand—I carried it for mony a year, till I niffered it for this tin ane wi' auld George Glen, the dammer and sinker, when he took a fancy till't doun at Glen-Wither-shins yonder."

"Aye! indeed?" said Oldbuck,—"so you exchanged it with a miner? but I presume you never saw it so well filled before?"—and, opening it, he showed the coins.

Critical Apparatus"Troth, ye may swear that, Monkbarns, when it was mine it ne'er Critical Apparatushad abune the like o' saxpenny worth o' black rappee in't at anes; but I reckon ye'll be gaun to make an antic o't, as ye hae dune wi' mony an Critical Apparatusorra thing besides. Odd, I wish ony body wad mak an antic o' me; but mony ane will find worth in auld bits o' capper and horn and airn, that Critical Apparatuscare unco little about an auld carle o' their ain kintra and kind."

pg 191"You may now guess," said Oldbuck, turning to Sir Arthur, "to whose good offices you were indebted the other night. To trace this cornucopia of yours to a miner is bringing it pretty near a friend of ours—I hope we shall be as successful this morning without paying for it."

"And whare is your honours gaun the day," said the mendicant, "wi' a' your picks and shools?—Odd, this will be some o' your tricks, Monkbarns; ye'll be for whirling some o' the auld monks down by Editor’s Noteyonder out o' their graves afore they hear the last call—but I'se follow ye at ony rate, and see what ye make o't."

The party soon arrived at the ruins of the priory, and, having gained the chancel, stood still to consider what course they were to pursue next. The Antiquary, mean time, addressed the adept.

"Pray, Mr Dousterswivel, what is your advice in this matter?—Shall we have most likelihood of success if we dig from east to west, or from Editor’s NoteCritical Apparatuswest to east?—or will you assist us with your triangular vial of May-dew, or with your divining-rod of witches-hazel? Or will you have the Critical Apparatuskindness to supply us with a few thumping blustering terms of art, which, if they fail in our present service, may be useful to those who have not the happiness to be bachelors, to still their brawling children withal?"

"Mr Oldenbuck," said Dousterswivel doggedly, "I have told you already you will make no good work at all, and I will find some way of mine own to thank you for your civilities to me—yes, indeed."

"If your honours are thinking of tirling the floor," said old Edie, "and wad but tak a puir body's advice, I would begin below that muckle stane that has the man there streekit out upon his back in the midst o't."

"I have some reason for thinking favourably of that plan myself," said the Baronet.

"And I have nothing to say against it," said Oldbuck; "it was not unusual to hide treasure in the tombs of the deceased—many Editor’s Noteinstances might be quoted of that from Bartholinus and others."

The tomb-stone, the same beneath which the coins had been found by Sir Arthur and the German, was once more forced aside, and the earth gave easy way to the spade.

Editor’s NoteCritical Apparatus"It's travell'd earth that," said Edie, "it houks sae eithly—I ken't Critical Apparatusweel, for anes I wrought a simmer wi' auld Will Winnett, the bedral, and howkit mair graves than ane in my day; but I left him in winter, for Editor’s NoteCritical Apparatusit was unco cauld wark; and than it came a green Yule, and the folk Editor’s NoteCritical Apparatusdied thick and fast—for ye ken a green Yule maks a fat kirk-yard—and I never dowed to bide a hard turn o' wark in my life—sae aff I gaed, Editor’s Noteand left Will to delve his last dwellings by himsel for Edie."

pg 192Critical ApparatusThe diggers were now so far advanced in their labour as to discover that the sides of the grave which they were clearing out had been Critical Apparatusoriginally secured by four walls of freestone, forming a parallelogram, for the reception, probably, of the coffin.

"It is worth while proceeding in our labours," said the Antiquary to Sir Arthur, "were it but for curiosity's sake. I wonder on whose sepul-chre they have bestowed such uncommon pains."

"The arms on the shield," said Sir Arthur, and sighed as he spoke it, "are the same with those on Misticot's tower, supposed to have been built by Malcolm the usurper. No man knew where he was buried, and there is an old prophecy in our family, that bodes us no good when his grave shall be discovered."

Critical Apparatus"Well I wot," said the beggar, "I have often heard that when I was a bairn,

  • If Malcolm the Misticot's grave were fun',
  • The lands of Knockwinnock are lost and won."

Oldbuck, with his spectacles on his nose, had already knelt down on the monument, and was tracing, partly with his eye, partly with his finger, the mouldered devices upon the effigy of the deceased warrior. "It is the Knockwinnock arms sure enough," he exclaimed, "quarterly with the coat of Wardour."

"Richard, called the Red-handed Wardour, married Sybil Knock-winnock, the heiress of the Saxon family, and by that alliance," said Sir Arthur, "brought the castle and estate into the name of Wardour, in the year of God 1150."

"Very true, Sir Arthur, and here is the baton-sinister, the mark of illegitimacy, extended diagonally through both coats upon the shield. Where can our eyes have been, that they did not see this curious monument before?"

"Na, whare was the through-stane, that it didna come before our Editor’s Noteeen till e'now?" said Ochiltree; "for I hae ken'd this auld kirk, man and bairn, for saxty lang years, and I ne'er noticed it afore, and it's nae Editor’s Notesic mote neither but what ane might see it in their parritch."

All were now induced to tax their memory as to the former state of the ruins in that corner of the chancel, and all agreed in recollecting a considerable pile of rubbish which must have been removed and spread abroad in order to make the tomb visible. Sir Arthur might, indeed, have remembered seeing the monument on the former occa-Critical Apparatussion, but his mind was then too much agitated to attend to the circum-stance as a novelty.

While the assistants were engaged in these recollections and dis-cussions, the workmen proceeded with their labour. They had already dug to the depth of nearly five feet, and as the flinging out the soil pg 193became more and more difficult, they began at length to tire of the job.

"We're down to the till now," said one of them, "and the ne'er a coffin or ony thing else is here—some cunninger chiel's been afore us, I reckon;" and the labourer scrambled out of the grave.

"Hout, lad," said Edie, getting down in his room, "let me try my Editor’s Notehand for an auld bedral—ye're gude seekers but ill finders."

So soon as he got into the grave he struck his pike-staff forcibly down—it encountered resistance in its descent, and the beggar Editor’s Noteexclaimed, like a Scotch school-boy when he finds any thing, "Nae Critical Apparatushalves and quarters—hale o' mine ain and nane o' my neighbour's."

Every body, from the dejected Baronet to the sullen adept, now caught the spirit of curiosity, crowded round the grave, and would have jumped into it could its space have contained them. The labourers, who had begun to flag in their monotonous and apparently hopeless task, now resumed their tools, and plied them with all the ardour of expectation. Their shovels soon grated upon a hard wooden surface, which, as the earth was cleared away, assumed the distinct form of a chest, but greatly smaller than a coffin. Now all hands were at work to heave it out of the grave, and all voices, as it was raised, proclaimed its weight and augured its value. They were not mistaken.

When the chest or box was placed on the surface, and the lid forced up by a pick-axe, there was displayed first a coarse canvas cover, then a quantity of oakum, and beneath that a quantity of ingots of silver. A general exclamation hailed a discovery so surprising and unexpected. The Baronet threw his hands and eyes up to Heaven, with the silent rapture of one who is delivered from inexpressible distress of mind. Oldbuck, almost unable to credit his eyes, lifted one piece of silver after another. There was neither inscription nor stamp upon them, excepting one, which seemed to be Spanish. He could have no doubt of the purity and great value of the treasure before him. Still, however, removing piece by piece, he examined row by row, expecting to dis-cover that the lower layers were of inferior value; but he could per-ceive no difference in this respect, and found himself compelled to Critical Apparatusadmit, that Sir Arthur had possessed himself of bullion to the value of perhaps a thousand pounds sterling. Sir Arthur now promised the assistants a handsome recompense for their trouble, and began to Critical Apparatusbusy himself about the mode of conveying this rich windfall to the Castle of Knockwinnock, when the adept, recovering from his sur-Critical Apparatusprise, which had at least equalled that exhibited by any other indi-vidual of the party, twitched his sleeve, and having offered his humble congratulations, turned next to Oldbuck with an air of triumph.

"I did tell you, my goot friend, Mr Oldenbuck, dat I was to seek opportunity to thank you for your civility; now do you not think I have pg 194Editor’s Notefound out vary goot way to return thank?"

"Why, Mr Dousterswivel, do you pretend to have had any hand in our good success?—You forget you refused us all aid of your science, man. And you are here without your weapons that should have fought the battle which you pretend to have gained in our behalf. You have used neither charm, lamen, sigil, talisman, spell, chrystal, pentacle, magic mirror, or geomantic figure. Where be your periapts, and your abracadabras, man? your May-fearn, your vervain,

  • Editor’s NoteYour toad, your crow, your dragon, and your panther,
  • Your sun, your moon, your firmament, your adrop,
  • Your Lato, Azoch, Zernich, Chibrit, Heautarit,
  • With all your broths, your menstrues, your materials,
  • Would burst a man to name?—

Editor’s NoteAh! rare Ben Jonson! long peace to thy ashes for a scourge of the quacks of thy day!—who looked to see them revive in our own?"

The answer of the adept to the Antiquary's tirade we must defer to our next chapter.

Notes Settings


Editor’s Note
187    motto    Ben Jonson, The Alchemist (performed 1610, published 1612), 4.6.40–45.
Editor’s Note
187.7    in fumo    Latin in smoke.
Critical Apparatus
187.20    Arthurs (ms) / Arthur
Critical Apparatus
187.25    put in one (ms) / put one
Editor’s Note
187.26    Fairport bank-note    the Scottish banks had (and retain) the right to issue their own bank notes, which were used in Scotland with more confidence than similar notes issued by English banks. Many of the smaller towns in Scotland originally had their own banks.
Critical Apparatus
187.31    further (ms) / farther
Critical Apparatus
187.35    t'other (ms) / the other
Editor’s Note
187.35    supposed treasure    see 'Historical Note', 449–50.
Critical Apparatus
187.40    possible to (ms) / possible—to
Critical Apparatus
188.3    dat (Ed2*) / that
Critical Apparatus
188.4    at Oldbuck (ms) / at Oldbuck
Editor’s Note
188.8    genius stood rebuked    see Macbeth, 3.1.55.
Editor’s Note
188.17–18    Oldenburgh horn    made around 1465 for Christian I of Denmark, who was originally Duke of Oldenburg in Germany, it is of silver gilt and elaborately decorated with mythological animals. Legend suggested that the horn was given to an ancestor of Christian I by a nymph in a wood who promised wealth if he drank from it, and misery if he did not; he suspected it to be a magic potion, refused the drink, but kept the horn. In 1794 the horn was in the Royal Kunstkammer in Copenhagen, and was transferred to Rosenberg Castle in 1824.
Editor’s Note
188.25    metaphorical horn    probably the cuckold's horn.
Critical Apparatus
188.28    cornucopia (ms) / cornucopia
Critical Apparatus
188.31    Oldenbook (ms) / Oldenbuck
188.31    see (ms) / find
Editor’s Note
188.36    commission of the peace    i.e. both are Justices of the Peace, magistrates who may be called upon to preside at trials for minor offences.
Editor’s Note
188.39–40    abolished the cruel laws against witchcraft    an act of 1735 abolished witchcraft as a criminal offence in Scotland, but, as Oldbuck says allowed the prosecution for imposture of those pretending to locate lost, stolen or concealed goods by means of the occult.
Critical Apparatus
188.42    these feelings being (ms) / those feelings from being
Critical Apparatus
188.43    ninth (ms) ninth
Editor’s Note
189.5–6    And is dat de laws … Thyself shall see the act    see The Merchant of Venice, 4.1.309.
Critical Apparatus
189.7    you—dat is all—I (ms) / you, dat is all; I
Editor’s Note
189.22    chop-fallen    Hamlet, 5.1.187.
Editor’s Note
189.28–29    Intelligences … planetary hour    see note to 171.17–18.
Critical Apparatus
189.39    objection (ms) / objections
Editor’s Note
190.21    Aha, old true-penny    see Hamlet, 1.5.150. A 'true-penny' is a trusty, genuine person.
Critical Apparatus
190.24    think (ms) / Think
Critical Apparatus
190.38    Monkbarns, when (ms Monkbarns when) / Monkbarns—when
Critical Apparatus
190.39    anes (ms) / ance
Critical Apparatus
190.41    mak (ms) / make
Critical Apparatus
190.43    their ain kintra (ms) / their country
Editor’s Note
191.9    the last call    the final summons of God for all to appear before him the day of judgment.
Critical Apparatus
191.16    May-dew
Editor’s Note
191.16    triangular vial of May-dew    dew gathered in the month of May supposed to have medicinal and other properties; compare the entry for 10 May 1667 in Pepys's Diary.
Critical Apparatus
191.18    kindness (ms) / goodness
Editor’s Note
191.33    Bartholinus    Thomas Bartholinus, author of Antiquitates Danicae (1689): CLA, 99.
Critical Apparatus
191.37    ken't (ms) / ken it
Editor’s Note
191.37    travell'd earth    already dug over.
Critical Apparatus
191.38    anes (ms) / ance
Critical Apparatus
191.40    than (ms) / then
Editor’s Note
191.40    green Yule    warm Christmas.
Critical Apparatus
191.41    maks (ms) / makes
Editor’s Note
191.41    a green Yule makes a fat kirk-yard    proverbial: see Ray, 36; Kelly, 30; ODEP, 337.
Editor’s Note
191.43    for Edie    on account of Edie.
Critical Apparatus
192.1    labour (ms) / labours
Critical Apparatus
192.3    parallelogram (8vo 1822) / parallellogram
In the ms Scott wrote 'paralellogram'.
Critical Apparatus
192.13    "Well I (ms) / "I
Editor’s Note
192.31–32    man and bairn    as a man and as a child ; i.e. for a lifetime.
Editor’s Note
192.33    it's nae sic mote neither but what ane might see it in their parritch    it's not such a speck of dust that one can't see it in one's porridge
Critical Apparatus
192.39    was then too (ms) / was too
Editor’s Note
193.6    for an auld bedral    as an old beadle (i.e. sexton).
Editor’s Note
193.9–10    Nae halvers and quarters—hale o' my ain and nane o' my neighbours    no halves and quarters—all my own and none for my neighbours. Although this sounds proverbial it is not recorded as a proverb except Andrew Cheviot who cites this sentence (Proverbs, Proverbial Expressions and Popular Rhymes of Scotland (1896), 259).
Critical Apparatus
193.10    halves (ms) / halvers
193.10    neighbour's (ISet) / neighbours
Critical Apparatus
193.34    of perhaps (ms) / perhaps of
Critical Apparatus
193.37    windfall (ms) / windfal
Critical Apparatus
193.39    had at least equalled (ms) / had equalled
Editor’s Note
194    motto    see John Fletcher and Philip Massinger, The Beggar's Bush (performed 1622, published 1647), 3.2.
Editor’s Note
194.9–13    Your toad … name    Ben Jonson, The Alchemist (performed 1610, published 1612), 2.3.189–191, 193, 198.
Editor’s Note
194.14    Ah! rare Ben Jonson    see Jonson's tombstone in Westminster Abbey.
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