The History of John Cheap the chapman (1810s)

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Above an Hundred merry Exploits done by him and his Fellow Traveller. Drouthy Tom, a ſticked ſhaver.


Printed by M. ANGUS & SON, Newcaſtle:





The Chapman.



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 choſe 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 baubee. 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 neither cheat nor be cheated, but rather cheat, &c.

He gave bad council 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 wifes' 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 Highlandman, 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 boggles in barns, bangſter wives and weet ſacks; and what comfort is it, to ly in a cows oxter, 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 getting up to go into the houſe, out comes the goodwife, as I ſupposed her to be, and ſat down at the end the ſtone I being at the other, there ſhe began to make oft her water 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 haſt, 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, ourſels twa, and the twa bits o' little anes, Willie and Jenny lies in ane, the twa lads our twa ſervant men, Willie Black and Tom, lie in anither, and auld Maggs my mither, and the lass Jean Tirram lie the gither, and that fills them awe." O but ſays I, goodman, there is ſome of them fuller than others, you may let me lie with your mother and the laſs; I ſhall lie heads and thraws wi' them, and keep on my breeks. A good keep me, quo' the laſs, fra a' temptations to ſin, although thou be but a callan heth I'll rather lie wi' Sannock Garner: hute awa', quo the auld wife, the poor lad may lie 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 hinder me to go where I pleaſe: ay, ay, ſaid ſhe, gae where you like, then I got 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, goodwife; but, an the ill thief be a friend of your's you'll have room for him too. Ye thief-like widdyfu', ſaid ſhe, are ye evening me to be ſib to the foul thief; 'tis 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 ſhuts 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 he 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 Lanark: where, on a cold ſtormy night, I came to a little town with four or five houſes in it; I went twice through it, but none of them would give me credit to ſtand all night among their horſes, or yet to lie 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 barn door 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 midded dib, I ſhould get no quarters from him that night; a wheen lazy idle villains turns a' to be chapmen, comes thro' the country faſhion fouks, ay ſeeking quarters' the next day ye'll be gaun wi' a powder'd perriwig and a watch at your arſe, and winna let fouk ſtand before your chapdoors, ye'll be ſae ſaucy." I hearing thus my ſentence from the goodman, expected no relief but to ly without, yet I perceived when he came out of the barn, he only drew to the door behind him: ſo when he was gone, I ſlips 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 ſuppoſing he had ſeen the d---l, or ſomething as ill, gave a roar as if he had been ſticked, and out at the door he runs; the other following after him crying, wa' Johnny man, what did you ſee! O! Sandy, Sandy the d---l's on the top o' the mou', ſheavling his mouth at me me; I'll no be ſae well this month man, my heart's out o' it's hule, wou but yon be a fearful like face indeed, it wou'd fright any living creature out o' their ſenſes.

I hearing the fear they were in, cried to 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 Sir, 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, its 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 came 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, 'tis a little enough to fair my ain family: ye that's chapmen may drink water, ye dinna work fair. Ay, but goodwife, ſaid I, I hae been at Temple bar, where I was ſworn ne'er to drink water, if I could get better: what do ye ſay, ſaid ſhe about Temple-bar? a town juſt about twa-three miles and a bittock fra this: a thief a an was to ſwear ye there, an it waſna auld Willie Miller the cobler, the ill thief a neither miniſter nor magiſtrate ever was in it a'.

O but ſays the other lad, the Temple-bar he means by is at London. Yea, yea, lad, an ye be com'd fra 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 fra? all the way fra Italy where the Pope o' 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 you ſhall know, thou hard harted 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, 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 of 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 cautrips, 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 cows good health and her own, not forgetting her huſband's and the bull's, 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 laſſes, which we wae 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 were 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 their feet was ſwelling with the hard travelling, being ſo wet 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, 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 through 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 ſober, and wiſe 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 halfpenny, which we lovingly divided amongſt us, but only three baubees a piece, and as Drouthy Tom's ſtock and mine was conjunct, we gave the quack again his ſhi———g ſtuff and ſtinking mugs, and he gave us our goods and pickles of hair, which we equally divided betwixt us, the whole of it only came to eighteen ſhillings and ſixpence prime coſt, and ſo we parted; I went for Eaſt Lothian, and Tom for the Weſt; but my ſorting of goods being very unſuitable 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 came 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 (wa 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-ſtye 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 gruzling 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, which cauſed me to beat them off with my ſtaff, which made them to make a terrible noiſe, ſo that their old mother came 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 roar out murder, in her own language, that 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 ſows oxter, who is a fitter companion for a devil than any human creature; the moſt abominable brute upon 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 anew of them; but an ye will not take off my beard. ye's get nae meat here to day; then ſaid I, if ye will not give me meat and drink for money, until the Sabbath be paſt, I'll tak 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 your 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 no ſound being afraid of miſtreſs ſow's coming to revenge 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, bed 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 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 bread to buy in all the country, for all the ſtores and ſtacks you have in it; what, ſaid he, were 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? eat and drink all yourſelves? better burſt your bellies than 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 hide and tallow. Here I bought the weaver's dinner for two pence 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 ſhake-down 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 whirl'd 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 duſt 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 arſes 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, an' fien't a hair I care. On the morning the old matron got up firſt, and ordered up the houſe, then told me to riſe now, for chapmen and every body was up; then ſhe aſked me if I had any 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 Pentland 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 makes 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 thro' the middle of them, burnt her feet, and threw them all to the ground, ran thro' 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 were upon me in all quarters, the wife hung in my hair, while the twa 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 cut a long bramble full of prickles, which I carried in my left hand with a ſturdy ſtaff in the right; and as 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 griped 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 yowling, 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 briar had bitten him; they then called him in, and fell to picking the pricks out of his tongue.

On the Saturday night hereafter, I was like to be badly off 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, nameing twenty fine things which I never had, and then aſked for quarters, which they very freely granted, thinking I was some gentle packman with a rich pack, but I being weary with travelling, could take but little or no ſupper! being permitted to ly in ſpence beſide the goodman's bed, the goodwife being very hard of hearing, ſhe thought that every body was ſo, when ſhe when to bed, ſhe cried out, "A how hearie, is na yon a brave moderate chapmen 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, an' 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 in o' the middle of the kirk, but could ſee no empty ſeats but one big furm, whare none ſat But one woman by herſelf, and ſo I ſet myſelf down beſide her, non 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 yonl 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 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, 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 off a piece of a peaſe bread to his broth, I was ſure to break as much of the oat cake below, and when we came to eat the fleſh I did the ſame, so he ate the courſe 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 the goodman and his mother, he being a young man and 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? Indead 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 trow 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, he took a great cag full of water and put it into the pot amongſt the ſowens, and 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, thought fit 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 and comes about a mile farther that night, leaving the honeſt woman and her ſon, to ſup their wa-tery 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 boulhorn'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 knews, ay chapman, what's that, ſaid ſhe? Indeed my feet is very cauld, ſaid I, whereat they all laught but but the goodwife, ſhe gloom'd until the reſt were done, and then took a laugh at it herſelf: So the goodman ordered all the Johnies Jamies and Jennies with their wheels to ſet 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 goodwife order'd one of the lads to take a pair of old blankets, and two ſacks, and ſhew me where I was to lay 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 chapman's riſing time when the 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, an ye be coming by ony time, ye's be welcome to a night of 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 away wi' a barn on his back, I wonder ye let it ſtand out all night: "Hute awa' ye daft body, how can we get it in, ge 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's ſo many thieves and robbers gawn thort the country, and our goodman's no at hame; art 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? "Nay, a wat well no, ſaid ſhe." Then, ſaid I, I'm ſure I did not take away your barn on my back the laſt time I was here. 'Yea lad, ſaid ſhe, are ye the chapman that cracked 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 ſtir, 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 gave 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; raged out o' the pot, belling and bizzing like barm, I thought they wad run out to the barn to you, ſee how they fill'd up my milk-tub, and a' the diſhes in the houſe is fu' o' them." Dear goodwife, 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 are not witcht, but a bleſſing in them, when they are ſo multiplied. 'Gae awa', cryed 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, and breakfaſt, and for a night of your barn, I'll pay it when I come back: "Ay, ay, ſaid ſhe, you need not thank me for what ye did not get." That no my fault goodleſs-goodwife, ſaid I, proſperity to you and your witch'd ſowens.

The next little town I came to, and the firſt houſe which I entered, the wife cryed out, 'Plague on your ſnout ſir, ye filthy black-guard chapman like b---h is are, the laſt time ye came here, ye gard our Sandy burn the good bane kame it I gaide a sax-pence for in Falkirk, ay did ye ay, ſae did ye een, and ſaid ye wou'd gie him a muckle clear button to do it: Me, ſaid I, I never had ado with you a' the days of my life, and do not ſay that Sandy is mine: "A wae worth the body, am I ſaying ye had ado wi' me. I wadna hae ado wi' the like o' you, nor I am ſure, wi' them I never ſaw." But what about the button and the bane kame goodwife? Sannock is nae this the man! Ay is't cried the boy, gie me my button, for I burnt the kame, 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 who it is now, 'tis ane juſt like me, when ye ſee the tane ye ſee the tither, they ca' him Jock Jimpether. A wae worth him, quo' the wife, if I winna thrapple him for my good bane kame. Now, ſaid I, goodwife. be good, bridle your paſſion, and buy a bane came and a colour'd napkin, I'll gie you a whaken pennyworth will gar you ſing in your bed, if I ſhould ſell you the tae 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 fellow, and I hae need o' a' theſe things, for our Sannock's head is a hotchen, and our John's is little better, for an let them alane but ae eight days, they'll grow as grit as groſets. And here I ſold a bane kame 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 ſhewed him one paper after another, he looking their eyes and trying their nebs in his ſleeve, dropt the ones he thought 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 theiving dog till I gether up my needles, gethers up ten of them; come, said he, I'll buy twal penny's worth of them, frae I troubled you sae muckle; 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 a poor taylor, and 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 as a bundle, until I came about 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 who ſaw the battle, alarmed the taylor, and he ſallied out like a great champion with his elwand 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 be not to be conny, for this morning they were making ropes of cold ſowens to crown up their ſtacks wi': Gae awa, cried the wife, I canna believe it; if ye will not believe it, die in your ignorance for me the wife ſet away her ſon 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 a 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 crabbed 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 backs; they ca't a cuſſer ſir, a well then goode'en to you maſter cuſſar. He rides a little bit, then turns back in a rage, ſaying I ſay ſir, your laſt words are war then your firſt, he came 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, I 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 ourſeles and mak naething 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 ſhears for three half pence, 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 tippany for two nights and a day; and when we ſet out for Fife, on the hair order, by the way of Toryburn 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 miſteard filthy fallow, ye put your hand a tween my feet, mair need anither thing ſud be there ill chance on your picture cried an old wife, for mony a ane has tane me be there in daffing, and I 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 twa', cried the laſs, he, filthy body at he is, the laſt chapman that kiſt me had a horſe-pack, but he'll hae naething in his but a wiſp of ſtrae, ſome auld breeks, hair-ſkins, mauking-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' linen 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.


Lucas Printing

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