The History of John Cheap the chapman

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The Chapman.

Containing Above ahundred merry Exploits done by Him and his Fellow Traveller, Drouthy Tom, a sticked Shaver.


JOHN CHEAP the Chapman, was a very comical short thick fellow, with a broad face and a long nose; both lame and lazy, and something leacherous among the lasses: He chused rather to sit idle than work at any time, as he was a hater of hard labour. No man needed to offer him cheese and bread after he curst he would not have it; for he would blush at bread and milk, when hungry, as a beggar doth at a babee. He got the name of John Cheap the Chapman, by his selling twenty needles for a penny, and twa leather laces for a farthing.

He swore no oaths but one, which was, let me never sin.

He used no imprecations, But let me never cheat nor be cheated, but rather cheat, &c.

He gave bad counsel to none but children, to burn the bone combs, that their mother might buy another when he came again.

He never fought with any but dogs, and the good wives daughters in their daffing, and that's not dangerous.




The following Relation is taken from his own Mouth Verbatim.

I JOHN CHEAP by chance, at some certain time doubtless against my will, was born at the Hottom near habertehoy mill: My father was a Scots highland man, and my mother a Yorkshire Wench, but honest, which causes me to be of a mongrel kind. I made myself a chapman when very young, in great hopes of being rich when I became old but fortune was fickle and so was I; for I had not been a chapman above two days, until I began to consider the danger of deep ditches, midden dubs, biting dogs and bogles in barns, bangster wives and wiet sacks; And what comfort is it, to ly in a cows ouxter, the length of a cold winter night; to sit behind backs, till the kail be a cuttied up, then to lick colley's leavings.

My first journey was thro' Old Kilpatrick, all the day long I got no meat nor money until the evening I began to ask for lodging, then every wife to get me away, would either give me a cogful of kail, or a piece of cake. Well, says I to myself, If this be the way, I shall begin in the morning to ask for lodging or any time when I am hungry. Thus I continued going from house to house, until my belly, was like to burst, and my pockets could hold no more at last I came to a farmer's house, but thinking it not dark enough to prevail for lodging, I sat down upon a stone at the end of the house, till day-light would go away out of the west; and as I was going to get up to go into the house, out comes the goodwife, as I supposed her to be, and sat down at the end of the stone, I being at the other, there she begun to make off her with full force, which I bore with, very modestly, till near an end; then she made the wind follow with such force' as made (as I thought) the very stone I leaned upon to move, which made me burst out into laughter; then up gets the wife, and runs for it; I followed hard after into the house, and as I entered the door, I hard the goodman saying, Ay, ay goodwife What's the haste, you run so?

No more passed, until I addressed myself to the goodman for quarters, which he answered, "Indeed lad, we hae nae beds but three, my wife and I, our sells twa, aud the twa bits o little anes, Willie and Jenny lies in ane, the twa-lads our twa servant men, Willie Black and Tam, lies in anither, and auld Maggs my mither, and the lass Jean Tirram lies thegither, and that fills them a." O but says I, Goodman, there is some of them fuller than others, you may let me ly with your mother and the lass; I shall lie heads and thraws wi' them, and keep on my breeks A good keep me frae a' temptations to sin, although thou be but a callan, heth, I'll rather ly wi Sannock Garner: Hute awa', quo the auld wife, the poor lad may ly on a battle of strae beyond the fire: No, no, cries the goodwife, he's no be here the night or I'se no be here: Dear goodwife, said I, what ails you at me? If you will not let me stay you'll not hidenr to go where I please: Ay, ay, said she, gae where you like, then I gat in beyond the fire, beside the goodman: Now, said I, goodwife, I like to be here: a d---l be here, an' ye be here the night, said she; ho, ho, said I, but I'm here first, and first com'd first serv'd, good-wife; but, an' the ill thief be a friend of your's you'll have room for him to. Ye thief like widdyfu', said she, are ye evening me to be sib to the foul thief; it is well kend I am come of good honest fouks: It may be so goodwife, said I, but ye look rather the other way, when you would lodge the d---l in your house and ca out a poor chapman to die, such a stormy night as this. What do ye say! says she, there was na a bonnier night since winter came in nor this. O goodwife, what are you saying! Do ye not mind, when you and I was at the east end of the house, such a noise of wind and water was then; a wae worth the filthy body, said she, is not that in every part! What said the goodman, a wat well there was nae rain when I came in: the wife then shoots me out, and bolted the door behind me: Well said I, but I shall be through between thy mouth and thy nose or the morrow. It being now so dark, and I a stranger, could see no place to go to, went into the corn yard, but finding no loose straw I fell a drawing one of their stacks, sheaf by sheaf, until I pulled out a threave or two, and got into the hole myself, where I lay as warm as a pie; but the goodman in the morning, perceiving the heap of corn sheaves, came running to carry it away, and stop up the hole in the stack wherein I lay, with some of the sheaves, so with the steighling of the straw, and him talking to others, cursing the thieves who had done it; swearing they had stole six threaves of it; I then skipping out of the hole, ho, ho, said I, goodman, you're not to bury me alive in your stack: he then began to chide me, vowing he would keep my pack for the damage I had done: whereupon, I took his servants witnesses he had robbed me; when hearing me urge him so, he gave me my pack again, and off I came to the next house, where I told the whole of the story.

My next exploit was near Carluke, between Hamiltown and Lanerk: Where on a cold stormy night, I came to a little town with four or five horses in it; I went twice through it, but none of them would give me credit to stand among their horse, or yet to let me ly in their cow's oxter: At last I prevailed with a wife, if her husband was willing, to let me stay, she would, and sent me to the barn to ask him and I meeting him at the barndoor carrying in strae for his horses; I told him, his wife had granted to let me stay; if he was not against it, to which he answered, "If I should ly in his midden dib, I should get no quarters from him that night; a wheen lazy idle villans rins a' to be chapmen, comes thro' the country fashing fouks, ay seeking quarters: the next day ye'll be gaun wi' a powder'd pirrewig, and a watch at your arse, and winna let fowk stand afore your chapdoors, ye'll be sae saucy." I hearing thus my sentence from the goodman, expecting no relief but to ly without, yet I perceived when he came out of the barn, he only drew too the door behind him: So when he was gone, I slipt into the barn, and by the help of one of the kipples, climbs up the mou, and there dives down among the sheaves and happed myself all over, so that I lay as warm as the goodman himself. But in the morning long before day, two fellows came into the barn, and fell a threshing, that by their disturbance I could sleep no more; at last I got up with all my hair hanging over my face, and when he that stood on the opposite side perceived me, I made my eyes to roll, and wrayed my face in a frightful manner, so that the poor fellow supposed he had seen the d---l, or something as ill, gave a roar as if he had been sticked, aud out at the door he runs; the other following after him, crying Wa' Johnny man, what did you see? O! Sandy Sandy the d---ls on the top o' the mou', sheavling his mouth at me me; I'll not be so well this month man my heart's out o' it's hule, wou but yon be a fearfu' like face indeed, it wou'd fright any living creature out o' their senses.

I hearing the fear they were in, cried unto them not to be frighted, for I was not the d---l, but a poor chapman who could not get quarters last night; a foul fa' thy carcase stir, for our Jock is through the midden dib, dirt and a' the gither; he who went last came again, but the other ran into the house, and told what he had seen: the goodman and his wife came running, he with a grape in his hand, and her with a Bible, the one crying Sandy, Sandy, is't true that the d---l was in the barn; Na, na, said he, it's but a chapman, but poor Jock had gotten a fright wi' him. They laughed heartily at the sport, took me in to my breakfast, and by this time poor Johnny was gone to bed very sick.

After this I travelled up by the water of Clyde, near the foot of Tintock-hill, where I met with a sweet companion, who was an older traveller then I, who gave me more information how to blow the goodwife, and sleek the goodman, with him I kept company for two months. and as we travelled down Tweed towards the border, we being both hungry, and could get nothing to buy for the belly, we come unto a wife who had been kirning, but she would give us nothing, nor sell so much as one halfpenny's worth of her sour milk; Na, Na, said she, I'll neither sell butter, bread nor milk, it's a little enough to fair my ain family: ye that's chapmen may drink water, ye dinna wurk fair. Ay, but goodwife, said I, I hae been at Temple-bar, where I was sworn near to drink water, if I could get better; what do ye say, said she about Temple bar? A town just about twa-three mile and a bittock frae this: thief a an was to swear him there, an it was na auld Willie Miller the cobler, the ill thief a neither minister nor magistrate ever was in't a'.

O but says the other lad, the Temple-bar he means by is at London. Yea, lad, an ye be com'd frae London, ye're little worth. London, said he, is but at home to the place he comes from: a dear man, quoth she, and whar in a' the warld comes he frae? all the way frae Italy where the Pope a Rome dwells, says he; a sweet be wi' us, quoth she, for the fouks there awa, is a witches and warlocks, deels, brownies and faries. Well a wat that is true, said I, and that thou shalt know, thou hard hearted wretch, who would have people to starve or provoke them to steal. With that I rose and lifts twa or three long straws, and casting knots on them, into the byre I went and throws a knotted straw to every cow's stake, saying, thy days shall not be long: The wife followed, wringing her hands, earnestly prayed for herself and all that was hers. I then came out at the door, and lifted a stone running three times round about and threw it over the house, muttering some words, which I knew not myself, and concluding with these words, "Thou Monsieur Diable, brother ro Beelzebub god of Ekron, take this wife's kirn, butter and milk, sap and substance, without and within, so that she may die in misery, as she would have others to live"

The wife hearing the aforesaid sentence, clapt her hands, and called out another old woman as foolish as herself, who came crying after us to come back, back we went, where she made us eat heartily of butter and cheese; then she earnestly pleaded with me to go and lift my cantrups, which I did, upon her promising never to deny a hungry traveller meat nor drink, whether they had money to pay for't or not; and never to serve the poor with the old proverb, 'Go home to your own parish,' but give them less or more as ye see them in need. This she faithfully promised to do while she lived, and with milk, we drank towards her cow's good health and her own, not forgetting her husband's and the bulls, as the one was goodman of the house, and the other of the byre; and away we came in all haste, lest some of a more understanding nature should come to hear of it, and follow after us.

In a few days thereafter we came to an ale-house in a muir, far distant from any other, it being a sore day of wind and rain, we could not travel, we was obliged to stay there, and the house being very throng, we could get no bed but the servant-lass's, which we was to have for a penny-worth of pins and needles, and she was to ly with her master and mistress: But as we were going to bed, in comes three Highland drovers on their way home from England; the landlord told them that the beds were all taken up but one that two chapmen was to ly in; one of them swore his broad sword should fail him, if a chapman lay there that night. They took our bed, and made us sit by the fire all night: I put on a great many peats and when the drovers were fast asleep, I put on a big brass pan full of water, and boiled their brogs therein for the space of half an hour; then lays them as they were, every pair by themselves, so when they rose every one began to chide another, saying, "Hup pup ye sheing a brog:" for not one of them would serve a child of ten years old, being so boiled in the landlord persuaded them that there feet was swelled with the hard travelling, being so wett the last night, and they would go on well enough if they had travelled a mile or two Now the Highlandmen laught at me the night before, when they lay down in the bed I was to have; but I laught as much to see them all three trot away in the morning with their boil'd brogs in their hands.


WE again came to a place near Sutry hill, where the ale was good, and very civil usage, and our draught being very great, the more we drank, the better we lov'd it: and here we fell in company with a quack-doctor, who bragged us with bottle about, for two days and two nights, only when one fell drunk, we pushed and pricked him up with a big pin, to keep him from sleeping: he bought of our hair, and we of his pills and drugs, he having as much knowledge of the one as we had of the other: only I was sure, I had as much as would set a whole parish to the midden or mug, all at once: but the profit, tho' all to come, went to the landlady to make up her loss of having the lime pish'd off her door-cheeks, and what we did not pish, we scyth'd thro' our teeth, and gave the dogs the girt bits.

But at last our money ran short, and the landlady had no chalk nor faith to credit us, seeing by our coats, courage and conduct, that we would little mind performance against the day of payment; so then we began to turn wise and sober, behind the hand, every one of us to seek supply, from another, and when we collected all the money we had amongst us, on the table, it was fourpence halfpeny, which we lovingly divided among us, but only three babees a piece and as Drouthy Tom's stock and mine was conjunct, we gave the quack again his sh———g stuff and stinking mugs, and he gave us our goods and pickles of hair, which we equaly divided betwixt us, the whole of it only came to eighteen shillings and six pence prime cost, and so we parted; I went for East Lothian, and Tom for the West; but my sorting of goods being very unsuitably for that country, I got but little or no money, which caused me to apply to the goodman for to get lodging, and it being upon a Saturday's night was hard to be found till late in the night, I prevailed to get staying in a great farmer's house, about two miles from Haddington: they were all at supper when I went in; I was ordered to sit down behind their backs, the goodwife then took a dish, went round the servants, and collected a soup out of every cog, which was sufficient to have served three men, the goodwife ordered me to be laid in the barn, all night for my bed, but the bully fac'd goodman swore he had too much stuff in it, to venture me there; the goodwife said, I should not ly within the house, for I would be o'er near the lasses bed. then the lads swore I should not go with them, for I was a forjesket like fellow, and (wha kens whether I was honest or not) he may fill his wallet wi' our cloaths and gang his wa' or day light. At last I was conducted out to the swine's sty to sleep with an old sow, and seven pigs, and there I lay for two nights. Here now I began to reflect on the sour fruits of drinking, and own all the misery just that was come upon me. In the night the young pigs came gruzeling about me very kindly, thinking I was some friend of their mother's come to visit them; they gave me but little rest always coming kissing me with their cold noses, that caused me to beat them off with my staff, which made them to make a terrible noise, so that their old mother came up to argue the matter, running upon me with open mouth, but I gave her such a rout over her long snout, that caused her to rore out murder in her own language and alarmed the servants where they lay, who came to see what was the matter, I told them their old sow was going to swallow me up alive bid them to go and bring her meat, which they did, and the brute became peaceable.

On the Sabbath morning I came into the house, the goodman asked me if I could shave any, yes, said I, but never did on the Sabbath-day, I fancy, said he, you are some Westland Whig? Sir; said I, you may suppose me to be what you think proper to day, but yesternight you used me like a Tory, when you sent me into a stye to ly in your sow's oxter, which is a fitter companion for a devil than any human creature; the most abominable brute on the earth, said I, which was forbidden to be eaten under the law and cursed under the gospel: be they curs'd or be they bless'd, said he, I wish I had a-new of them' but' an' ye will not take off my beard, ye's get nae meat here the day; then, said I, if ye will not give me meat and drink for money until the Sabbath be past, I'll take on my wallet and go along with you to the kirk and tell your minister how you used me as a hog; no said the goodwife, you shall not want yonr crowdie man. But my heart being full of sorrow and revenge, a few of them sufficed me, whereon I past over that long day, and at night went to sleep with my old companions, which was not sound being afraid of Mrs. Sow's coming to avenge the quarrel we had the night before.

On the morning I went into the house, the goodman ordered me the pottage pot to lick, for, says he it is an old property to chapmen. Well I had no sooner begun to it, then out came a great big mastiff dog from below the bed, and grips me by the breast, then turns me over upon my back, and takes the pot himself: ay, ay, said the goodman, I think your brother pot-licker and you cannot agree about your breakfast? A well, said I, goodman ye said that pot licking was a chapman's property, but your dog proves the contrary: so away I comes, and meeting the goodwife at the door, bids her farewell forever, but what, said I, is your husband's name? to which she answered, John Swine, I was thinking so, said I, he has such dirty fashions, but whether was yon his mother or his sister I lay with these two nights.

All that day I travelled the country west from Haddington, but could get no meat; when I asked if they had any to sell, they told me, they never did sell any bread, and I found by sad experience, they had none to give for nothing. I came into a little country village, and went through it all, house after house, and could get neither bread nor ale to buy: At last I came into a poor weaver's house, and asked him if he would lend me a hammer? Yes, said he, what are you going to do with it? Indeed said I, I am going to knock out all my teeth with it, for I can get no broad to buy in this country, for all the stores and stacks you have in it; What, said he, was you in the minister's? I know not, said I, does he keep an ale-house? O na, said he, he preaches every Sunday; and what does he preach, said I? is it to harden your hearts? haud well together? have no charity? hate strangers? hunger the poor? cat and drink all yourselves? better burst your bellies then give it to beggars, or let good meat spoil: If your minister be as naughty as his people, I'm positive he'll drive a louse to London for the hyde and tallow. Here I bought the weaver's dinner for twopence and then set out again, keeping my course westward. It being now night, I came to a farmer's house south from Dalkeith; the goodman being very civil, and desirous of news, I related the whole passages of the two days and nights by-past; whereat he was greatly diverted, and said, I was the first he hard of, that ever that man gave quarters to before, though he was an elder of the parish. So the goodman and I fell so thick, that he ordered me to be laid on a shakdown bed beyond the fire, where I lay more snug than among the swine. Now there was three women lying in a bed in the same apartment, and they not minding that I was there; first one of them rose and let her water go in below the chimney grate, where I had a perfect view of her bonny-thing, as the coal fire burnt so clearly all the night; then another rose and did she same; last of all got up the old matron, as she appear'd to be, like a second handed goodwife or a whirld o'er maiden, six times overturned, and as she let her dam go, she also with full force, when done, let a fart like a blast of a trumpet, which made the dust on the hearth stone to fly up like mist about her buttocks, whereat I was forced to laugh out, which made her to run for it, but to smother the laughter I stapt the blankets in my mouth, she went to bed and waken'd the other two, saying O dole! what will I tell you? yon chapman body has seen a our a--ses the night; shame fa him, said they, for we had nae mind he was there: I wat well, says one of them, I'se no rise till he be awa', but said the old woman, gin he has seen mine I cannot help it, it's just like other fouks, and fin't a hair I care. On the morning the old matron got up first and ordered up the house, then told one to rise now, for chapmen and every body was up; then she asked me if I had an use of laughing in my sleep? Yes, said I, when I see any daft like thing, I can look and laugh at it, as well sleeping as waking: A good preserve, us, said she ye're an unco body; but ye need nae wait on our porrage time, I'se gie you cheese and bread in your pouch, which I willingly accepted, and away I came.

Then I kept my course west by the foot of Pendland hills, where I got plenty of hair, good and cheap besides a great quantity of old brass, which was an excellent article to make my little pack seem big and weighty. Then I came into a little country village, and going in by the side of a house, there was a great big cat sitting in a weaver's window, beiking herself in the sun, and washing her face with her feet: I takes her a civil knap on the nose, which made her turn back in through the window, and the weaver having a plate full of hot pottage in the innerside to cool, poor badrons ran through the middle of them, burnt her feet, and threw them all to the ground, ran through the house crying fire and murder in her own language, which caused the weary wicked webster to come running to the door, where he attacked me in a furious rage, and I to avoid the first shock, fled to the top of the midden, where endeavouring to give me a kick, I catched him by the foot, and tumbled him back over into the dirty midden-dub, where both his head and shoulders went under dirt and water; but before I could recover my elwand or arms, the wicked wife and her twa sons was upon me in all quarters, the wife hung in my hair, while the two sons boxed me about and before, and being thus overpowered by numbers, I was fairly beat by this wicked webster, his troops being so numerous.

The same day as I was going up to a country-house, I met on the way a poor beggar with a boy, who was both of them bitten in different places by a big mastiff dog; they persuaded me to turn back; but I said that I should first see him: so up I goes to the side of a hedge, and cuts a long bramble full of prickles, which I carried in my left hand with my sturdy staff in the right; and I came near the house, Mr. Youffer came roaring upon me like a lion, he being a tyke of such a monstrous size, frighted me so that I ran back; but he pursued me so hard, I was forced to face about, and holding out the briar to him, which he gripped in his mouth, and then I stripped it through his teeth, and gave him a hearty blow upon his ear with my rung, which made him go tumbling towards his master's door, and when he got up, he could not fight any, his mouth being so full of prickles by the biting of the briar, which caused him go about yuliug and rubbing his mouth with his foot; the people of the house came running out to see what was the matter, I then shewed them the briar, and telling them their dog came running to bite me, but my brier had bitten him; they then called him in, and fell to picking the pricks out of his tongue.

On the Saturday night thereafter, I was like to be badly of for quarters, I travelled until many people were gone to bed, but at last I came to a farmer's house, asked what they would buy, naming twenty fine things which I never had, and then asked for quarters, which they very freely granted, thinking I was some gentle chapman with a rich pack, but I being weary with travel, could take but little or no supper; being permitted to ly in the spence beside the goodman's bed, the goodwife being very hard of hearing, she thought that every body was so, for when she went to bed, she cried out, "A how hearie, is nae yon a brave moderate chapman we hae here the night? he took just seven soups o' our sowens, and that fill'd him fu'; a dear Andrew man, turn ye about, and tak my cauld a--se in your warm lunchoch." On the morrow I went to the kirk with the goodman, and I missing him about the door, went into the middle of the kirk, but could see no empty seats but one big furm, whare nane sat but one woman by herself, and so I set myself down beside her, not knowing where I was, until sermon was over, when the minister began to rebuke her for using her Merry-bit; against law or licence; and then she began to whinge and yule like a dog which made me to run out cursing, before the minister had given the blessing: I then came home to my lodging house, and then went to dinner with the goodman, and it being the custom in that place to eat pease bread to their broth, and corn cakes to their flesh, so the goodwife laid down a corn scone, and a pease scone to the goodman, and the same to me, the pease one for the broth and the corn one for the beef; and as the goodman and I sat together, when he brake as much of the oat cake below, and when we came to eat the flesh I did the same, so he ate the coarse and I the fine.



I Travelled, then west by Falkirk; by the foot of the great hills; and one night after I had got lodging in a farmer's house, there happened a contest between the goodman and his mother, he being a young man unmarried, as I understood, and formerly their sowens had been too thin; so the goodman being a sworn birly man of that barony, came to survey the sowens before they went on the fire, and actually swore they were o'er thin, and she swore by her conscience they would be thick enough if ill hands and ill een baed awa' frae them: A sweet be here mither, said he, do ye think that I'm a witch? Witch here or witch there, said the wife, swearing by her saul, and that was nae banning, she said, they'll be good substantial meat, a' what say ye chapman? indeed goodwife, said I sowens is but saft meat at the best but if ye make them thick enough and put a good lump of butter in them they'll do very well for a supper; I true sae lad, said she, ye hae some sense; so the old woman put on the pot with her sowens, and went to milk her cows, leaving me to steer; the goodman her son, as soon as she went out, took a great cog full of water and put it into the pot among the sowens, an then went out of the house, and left me alone: I considered what sort of a pish-the-bed supper I was to get if I staid there, I thought to set out, but takes up a pitcher with water, and fills up the pot until it was running over, and then takes up my pack aud comes about a mile farther that night, leaving the honest woman and her son, to sup their wantry witcht sowens, at their own leisure.

I then turned towards the east, through a place called Slamannen, and was lodged one night near a place called Tod's Bughts, where there was a boul-horn'd goodwife, but a very civil goodman; when I went in, she took up a dish from the dog wherein was a few he had left, and with a collection more from other cogs, she offered them to me, which I refused, 'm said she, ye're a lordly sort of a chapman indeed; so I began to divert the goodman, by telling him a deal of fine stories to make him laugh, but could not get near the fire; at last I said, O goodwife, I'll tell you news, ay chapman, what's that, said she? indeed my feet's very cauld, said I, whereat they all laught but but the goodwife, she gloom'd until the rest was done, and then took a laugh at it herself. So the goodman ordered all the Johnies, Jamies and Jennies with their wheels to sit about; then I was set beyond the fire, and preferred to steer their sowens, but when they were ready and put up in dishes, the good wife order'd one of the lads to take a pair of old blankets and two sacks, and shew me where I was to ly in the barn: Ho, ho, thinks I, there's no supper for me, but I'll remember this, to pay her stock and annual. So I went to the barn and lay till next morning, about Chapmans rising time when pottage was ready, and then gives the wife a fine cotton lace and a few pins, which pleased her so well, that she went thro' the cogs and collected about a mutchkin of pottage for me, for which I thanked her: "A wat well lad, said she, an ye be coming by ony time, ye's be welcome to a night o' our barn, frae ye hae nae steal'd naething;" thanks to you goodwife, said I that's very fair: "Indeed lad 'tis no every ane we'll trust wi' our new barn, farfore sud we?" O goodwife it would be a great thief that wad run awa' wi' a barn on his back, I wonder ye let it stand out all night; "Hute awa' ye daft body, how can we get in, ke awa' chapman ye're joking me now." I then took a turn round the country for two weeks, and then came back to be avenged on the naughty wife and her sowens; it being very dark or I came in, the goodwife did not know me, but made her speech as follows: "Indeed says she, ye's no be here; for there is so mony thieves and robbers gawn athort the kintry, and our goodman's no at hame; is thou honest enough?" I can want nothing of my honesty goodwife; but did you ever see any people gawn thro' the country, telling they were thieves? "Na, a wat well no said she:" Then, said I'm sure I did not take away your barn on my back the last time I was here "Yee lad, said she, are ye the chapman that cracket sae well to our goodman? come in by ye's get a night o' our barn yet;" thanks to you goodwife an we sud get nae mair. I then being preferred to my old seat, and got the sowens to steer, until they were near ready, when the goodwife ordered the lad to take the old blankets, and shew me to my bed in the barn; I then give the sowens the last turn, and having about the bigness of a nut of C--l S--p, drops it into the pot, then went off to bed in the barn as fast as I could and made fast both the doors within, lest the bewitched sowens out of the pot should attack me in my sleep next morning when I came in, the goodwife began to pray for herself, and all that she had, saying, "it's Wednesday thro' a' the warld, and good be between you and me chapman, for ye're either a witch or a warlock or something that's no canny, for ye witcht our sowens last night, for they gaed mad; rag'd out o' the pot, bizing like barm, I thought they wad run out to the barn to you, see how they filled up my milk-tub, and a' the dishes in the house is fu' o' them." Dear gudewife, said I, they were very good when I left them, tho' I did not prie them, and I wish'd them as much good of them as I got, but certainly they're not witcht, but a blessing in them, when they are so multiplied. "Gae awa, cried she in a passion, ye're no canny, ye's ne're be here again:" I need not value that said I, for I have nothing to thank you for, but my dinner, supper breakfast and a night of your barn I'll pay it when I come back: Ay, ay, said she, ye need nae thank me for what ye did næ get;" that no my fault goodless-goodwife, said I, prosperity to you and your witcht sowens.

The next little town I came to, and the first house which I entered, the wife cried out, "plague on your snout stir, ye filthy black guard chapman like bitch ye are, the last time ye came here ye gard our Sandy burn the good bæne came it I gide a sax pence for in Falkirk, ay did ye, and sæ did ye een, and said, ye wa gie him a muckle clear button to do it:" Me, said I, I never had ado with you a' the days of my life, an do not say that Sandy is mine; "a wæ wirth the body am I saying ye had ado wi' me, I wad hae ado wi' the like o' you nor I am sure wi' them I never saw. But what about the button and the bæne cæme goodwife? Sannock is no this the man? Ay is't cried the boy, gie me my button, for I burnt the cæme, and she paid me for't; gae awa sir, said I, your mother and you is but mocking me; it was either you, or ane like you, or some other body. O goodwife, I mind wha it is now, it's an jest like me, when ye see the tane ye see the tither, they ca' him Jock Jimpether a wæ worth him, quo' the wife, if I winna thrapple him for my good bæne cæme. Now, said I, goodwife, be good, briddle your passion, and buy a bæne cæme and colour'd napkin, I'll gie you a whaken pennyworth will gar you sing in your bed, if I should sell you the tæ half, and gift you the tither, and gar you pay for every inch o't sweetly or a be done: hech man, said she, ye're a hearty fallow an' I hæ need o' an thæ things, for our Sannock's head is a' hotchen, and our John's is little better, for an let them alane but ae eught days, they'll grow as grit as grosets. And here I sold a bone comb and a napkin, for she believed such a douse lad as I, had no hand in making her boy burn the bone comb.

The next house I came into, there was a very little taylor, sitting on a table like a t--d on a truncher, with his legs plet over other, made me imagine he was a sucking three footed taylor; first I sold him a thimble, and then he wanted needles, which I showed him one paper after another, he looking their eyes & trying their nebs in his sleeve, dropt the ones he though proper on the ground between his feet, where he sat in a dark corner near the fire, thinking I would not perceive him: O, said he, them needles of yours is not good man, I'll not buy any of them. I do not think you need, said I, taking them out of his hand, and lights a candle was standing near by, come, said I, sit about you thieving dog till I gather up my needles, gathers up ten of them; come, said he, I'll buy twal-penny's worth of them, frae I troubled you sae; no, said I, you lousie dog, I'll sell you none, if there's any on the ground, seek them up, and stap them in a beast's a--se; but if ye were a man I would burn you in the fire, tho' it be in your own house, but as you are neither man nor boy, I'll do nothing but expose you for what you are. O dear honest chapman, cried his wife, ye manna do that and I'se gie you cheese and bread. No, no, you theives, I'm for nothing but vengeance; no bribes for such: so as I was lifting my pack, there was a pretty black cat which I spread my napkin over, took the four corners in my hand, carrying her to the middle of the town, then provoking the dogs to an engagement with me, so that there came upon me four or five collies, then I threw the poor taylor's cat in the midst of them, there a terrible battle ensued for some time, and badrons had certainly died on the field had I not interposed, and got her off mortally wounded the people saw the battle, alarmed the taylor, and he sallied out like a great champion with his ell-wand in his hand, go back, said I, you lousie dog, or I'll tell about the needles, at which word he turned about. I went into an ale-house to get some breakfast, there they asked me where I was all night, as it was usual in that country for chapmen to get meat where they lodged, I told where it was, but would take none of their meat, because, said I, they seem to me not to be canny, for this morning they were making rops of cold sowens to crown up their stacks wi': Gae awa, cried the wife, I cannot believe it; if ye will not believe it die in your ignorance for me: the wife sent away her son to see to see if it was so, but or he came back I set out and travelled down the side of a water called Evan: and as I was coming past a mill-dam, there was a big clownish fellow lifting a pitcher of water out of the dam, so as he dipt it full and set it down on the ground, staring at me he tumbled in himself out of sight o'er head and ears, and as soon as he got out I said, Yo ho friend, Did you get the fish? What an a fish ye b--h, O said I, I thought ye had seen a fish when you jumped in to make it jump out: What d---l sir, are you mocking me? runs round his pitcher, and gives me a kick on the a-se, so that I fell designedly on his pitcher, and it tumbled down the bank, and went to pieces, his master and another man looking and laughing at us, the poor fellow complained of me to him, but got no satisfaction.

The same evening, as I was going towards the town of Linlithgow, meets an old crabet fellow riding upon an old glaid mare, which he always a threshing upon with his stick. Goode'en to you goodman, said I, are you going to the bull wi' your mare? What do you say sir, they gang to the bull wi' a cow ye brute. O yes goodman, ye are right, said I, but how do they call that he-beast that rides on the mare's back; they ca't a cusser sir a well then goode'en to you master cusser.

He rides a little, then turns back in a rage, saying I say sir, your last words are waur nor your first he comes then at the flight; to ride me down, but I struck his beast on the face, and in the short turn about it fell, yet or I could get my pack to the ground he cutted me on the head at the first stroke, and then getting clear of the pack, played it away for some time, till by blows on the face, I made him blood at both mouth and nose, then he cried out, chapman, we are baith daft, for we'll kill oursells and make nothing o't, we had better gree, with all my heart, said I, and what will ye buy? nothing but a pair of beard shears, said he, and give me them cheap, so I sold him a pair of P sheers for 3 halfpence and gave him a needle, then parted good friends after the battle was over.

So I went to Linlithgow that night, where I met with Drouthy Tom my sweet and dear companion, and here we had a most terrible encounter with the tippeny for two nights and a day; and then we set out for Fife on the hair order, by the way of Tory burn and Culross, and coming up to a parcel of women washing by a water side, I buys one of their hairs, the time I was cutting it off, Tom fell a courting and kissing a girl among them, who was one of the haveral sort; what happened I know not, but she cried out, ye misleard filthy fallow, ye put your hand atween my feet, mair need anither thing sud be there a ill chance be on your picture cried an old wife, for mony a ane has tane me be there in daffing, and ne'er said a word about it, a wheen daft jades canna ye had your tongues whan it's to your shame ye speak gae wa', cried the lass, he, filthy body at he is, the last chapman that kist me had a horse-pack, but he hae naething in his but a wisp of strae, some auld breeks, hare skins, maukin skins, ony thing that fills the bag and bears bouk, and yet he would kiss and handle me, hech I was made for a better fallow; ane of them came by ae day, and sell'd our Meg twa ell and a quarter o' linnen to be her bridal sark, for he had nae mair, and when she made it, and put it on it wadna hide her hech, hech, hech, he.


This work was published before January 1, 1925, and is in the public domain worldwide because the author died at least 100 years ago.