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"Sae to conclude, auld frien' an' neebor,
Whose soun' shall reach ayont the Tiber
To compare this epistle with Burns's reply is of course to set pottery and porcelain side by side; but it is not amiss to allude to a mere technical particular-the awkwardness and falseness of Sillar's rhymes -for the purpose of remarking the master-power of Burns as a rhymster. We have heard English readers remark, that the rhymes of Burns are frequently false; but they are seldom or never so, if the words be properly pronounced. Indeed, nothing is more remarkable than the wonderful command over mere jingle shown by the Ayrshire ploughman, even when writing in the most difficult metres.
The publication of the poems was unfortunate in more than one way. In the anxiety of preparing the work for the press, he neglected his business. Directly he had failed as a poet, he failed as a grocer. Bankrupt for the sum of five pounds, poor Daintie Davie was pulled off to prison. He came forth a changed man-a wiser if not a better one. Henceforth, though he continued occasionally to rhyme in secret, he never again courted publicity. He betook himself to his old profession of schoolmaster, throve tolerably in it, married, and had offspring. One morning he awoke and found himself rich. The property of a brother, who had become wealthy abroad and died childless, became Davie's heritage; and a large share of the property of another, who also died abroad, was speedily added. To remain a Dominie any longer was out of the question. Respectability claimed Davie as her own. The man was no longer our old friend Daintie Davie. His very fiddle must have blushed for him. Lost to all sense of shame, deaf to all the remonstrances of Memory, the man who had drunk and made love with Burns, and over whose fiddle all the vagabond tunes of his country had met in glorious harmony, became a town councillor of Irvine. Daintie Davie, the breaker of laws, the harumscarum minstrel of the rockings," transformed into a Bailie! what a falling off was there! The worst has yet to be told. He who had sung the praises of water, now, in the heyday of his prosperity, discarded the honest devil-may-care Fiddle for the flimsy, egotistic, lisping, Dulcimer. Utterly and miserably lost! We will contemplate the wreck no more, but turn away with an anecdote showing what
Daintie Davie had come to. Years after the first dawn of his prosperity, Davie was asked to subscribe to Burns's Monument. "I canna weel do so!" he replied; "you starve us when leeving, and ye canna wi' grace erect monuments to us when dead!"
The rest of Sillar's career is unimportant. Enough has been said to show that we owe a debt of gratitude to this first bosom friend of the great Ploughman. Therefore, when true Scots next meet for the anniversary of Burns's Birthday, let this toast be drunk among the others which pass with honours yearly
DAINTIE DAVIE SILLAR AND HIS FIDDLE!
The Name in the Book.
I GAVE him all that I had to give,
My heart and my whole heart's love,
And he called me his joy and the pride of his life,
And his fair-haired, meek-eyed dove;
But all that is left is here-you may look
His name in full in this dear old book.
Why not a dear old book? it is
He was only untrue to me;
I love him as well and as much as I did,
Before he went over the sea,
And left me alone in this lonesome nook,
With nought but his name in this dear old book.
You see he wanted a richer wife,
Though he thought not of that at first;
And I thought my poor heart would burst,
With nothing of him, but his name in the book.
He return and be wiser! you say:
Ah! yes, perchance he may;
My woman's heart would forgive him, I know-
Yet he maddened me nearly that day by the brook,
How we Inaugurated Ensign M'Nish.
BY CAPTAIN LAURENCE LOCKHART.
MRS. M'ALISTER'S TEA-PARTY.
AN effort had been made to transform an officer's quarter into as close as possible a resemblance to a lady's drawing-room-an effort which I cannot say had been crowned with any great success. In this apartment, clothed (by the benevolence of Soosie M'Whirter, the barrack-master's daughter, who was a confidant) in a very tight sky-blue silk dress, my poverty of hair disguised by an umbrageous wreath, and my wealth of fleshy finger concealed as much as possible by the tightest of white kid gloves, I took up my position, and awaited the arrival of my guests. Nor had I long to wait; for soon the sound of the heralding bagpipes warned me of their approach. Nearer and nearer came the strain, "Fie! let us a' to the bridal"-till, the door opening, its "interpreter" entered. He was a real bona fide piper, who, profoundly ignorant of all save his art, and speaking no language but what our pipe-major used to call "the langidge," was considered, and justly so, as safe. He stalked in, blowing like a whale, and "halting" and "fronting" to let the guests pass him, as if he were playing a returning regiment on to parade.
The Colonel, arm-in-arm with the Viscount, entered first. They moved to the music-the Viscount high and undisposedly, the Colonel, with less vigour, confining his gambols to a perpetual "change-step." After them came the Snorter, with M'Nish still in tow, the latter much discomposed by the jerkings and jibbings of his companion, who was pretending to try to dance. After them came the oi rooi, from whom my supposed husband-one M'Alister-immediately disengaged himself; and taking up his position beside my sofa, prepared to assist me in doing the honours.
"Selina, my love," he said, when the Colonel and Peaugout had halted opposite my seat, and commenced a series of genuflexions and handkissings, the fossil relics of a darker age-"let me present to you our revered Chief, Colonel M'Alpine, and oblige me for the future by looking on him as a father; he has proved so to me. Colonel M'Alpine, this is my wife; favour me by being to her the father you have been to me.'
"Mrs. M'Alister," said the Colonel, "this is a moment when I may truly say that I am proud to command the Strathbungos; proud that any officer in my regiment should have been able to conquer so beautiful, so accomplished, so-a-a-pardon me-a partner, and in so doing to enlist so eligible a recruit. Honour me, as he suggests, by looking on me as a father. My age and my misfortunes preclude the hope that any one can ever have a legal claim to do so. Be, then, the child of my old age, the consoler of my deprived existence. Let us seal the compact by a-a-—." He advanced, spread-eagle fashion; but I had no mind to sustain an embrace from my friend M'Diarmid, 30 I extended a large No. 10 kid-gloved hand, which he reverentially mumbled.
"Take a father's blessing," he said, "and a father's caution. This is a libertine age. The Strathbungos are brave fellows and stout, but hey are libertine to the core; keep them at arm's length, mum!"
All this time the Viscount had been ogling me in the most extravagant manner, furtively kissing the tips of his fingers, and doing everything to excite the jealousy of my supposed husband. I could see that the eyes of the novice were upon him, and indeed he took good care that they should be.
"Now, Mrs. M'Alister," continued the Colonel, "let me present Viscount Peaugout, the eminent leonicide, whose reputation is indeed European. Seventy-eight lions, sixteen ostriches, nineteen alligators, and several thousand wild boar, are, you will admit, no trifling bag for a month's work-hein! hein! Ha! ha! ha!-Let me present him.”
The Viscount shot into the air like a jack-in-the-box, airily lighting again, like a ballet-girl, on one knee, and seizing my hand, proceeded to operate on the No. 10 kids in the most rapturous manner.
"Madame," he said, "I hav' no warts."
("I wuss oor Kirsty could say the same," muttered the Snorter.) "I hav' no warts for say en Eengleash ow mauch I am at your serrveece. Ef you could heer zees harrt speak, it voad perhaps be faund to say vaat I can-not. I am domb. Veal you laaf to your
I certainly complied with his request, and went into fits of laughter, which I could no longer repress; and all the rest seized the opportunity of giving vent to their long pent-up mirth.
The Viscount rose from his knees indignant, and gazed ruefully around.
"Een Frrance," he said, "ven Angleesh mack bêtise vee laugh not;
vee say, 'goot, goot, vell sed! bettayre zan ze ole way!' Heer eet ees aal, 'Haw, haw, haw! how absaurd.' Sauvages!"
I tried to explain to the Viscount that he had committed no bêtise, and that my mirth had been caused by the appearance of the Snorter. He (the S.) was then presented, and conducted himself after his kind. Ma wumman, yer're jist the verra eamage o' auld Hookey Doodle, yer faither; yer're a bonnie lass, tho', and ye hae flesh on yer banes, whereas the laird, honest man, had nane o' that to spare. 'Fricht-thedoos,' the callants aye gied him. Ye'll tak' the flesh frae yer mither, I jalouse"
The Snorter was getting well away into one of his yarns, which it became expedient to stop, so M'Alister, in a loud voice, introduced the rest. "Selina, the officers-the officers, my wife." General prostra
tion and genuflexions ensued.
"Keep them at arm's length," murmured the Colonel-"libertines all of them."
Refreshments were now handed round; and they being disposed of, M'Alister asked the Colonel what he would like to do. "Well, suppose we have a little singing and dancing," was the reply.
"But there is only one lady," objected our host.
"That is immaterial," said the Colonel; "the gentlemen can dance with her one by one, and we shall have thus all an opportunity of studying your wife's appearance in action as well as in repose. Waltzing is scarcely comme il faut in a young married lady; but as there are at least twenty pair of eyes on her, she is not likely to commit herself on this occasion, and I think I may sanction it."
"Then the music," cried M'Alister.
'Oh, M'Duff can play anything," said the Colonel.
Before I knew where I was, I was surrounded by candidates for partnership, and in a moment after was being hauled round the room at the rate of twenty miles an hour by the Viscount. This nobleman behaved most obstreperously, throwing, from time to time, a sidelong leg into the air, and enlivening the proceedings by the emission of those cries which in the hippodrome are supposed to exhilarate the performing horse.
The guests meanwhile crowded round, and audibly criticised me and my paces, like a horse being trotted out at Tattersalls'. "Goes a little short, I think," said one. "Groggy on the off-hind," said another. "Overreaches, too," growled a third. "Don't like the forehand," said a fourth. "Detestable quarters," urged a fifth. "But,"