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the confinement, to which she had not been accustomed, and so impatient of the labour of spinning, although she span well, that she attempted suicide, by opening her veins with the point of a pair of scissors. In compassion for her state of mind, she was set at liberty by the magistrate ; but she had not travelled farther than Yair bridge-end, being about four miles from Selkirk, when she thought proper to steal a watch from a cottage, and being taken with it in her possession, was restored to her place of confinement, just about four hours after she had been dismissed from it. She was afterwards banished the country.
Old Jean Gordon of Yetholm, who had great sway among her tribe, was quite a Meg Merrilies, and possessed the savage virtue of fidelity in the same perfection. Having been often hospitably received at the farm-house of Lochside, near Yetholm, she had carefully abstained from committing any depredations on the farmers' property. But her sons (nine in number) had not, it seems, the same delicacy, and stole a broodsow from their kind entertainer. Jean was so much mortified at this ungrateful conduct, and so much ashamed at it, that she absented herself from Lochside for several years. At length, in consequence of some temporary pecuniary necessity, the Goodman of Lochside was obliged to go to Newcastle to get some money to pay his rent. Returning through the mountains of Cheviot, he was benighted, and lost his way. A light glimmering through the window of a large waste barn, which had survived the farm-house to which it had once belonged, guided him to a place of shelter; and when he knocked at the door, it was opened by Jean Gordon. Her very remarkable figure, for she was nearly six feet high, and her equally remarkable features and dress, rendered it impossible to mistake her for a moment; and to meet with such a character in so solitary a place, and probably at no great distance from her clan, was a terrible surprise to the poor man, whose rent (to lose
which would have been ruin to him) was about his per-'
Jean set up a loud shout of joyful recognition“Eh, sir! the winsome gude man of Lochside! Light down, light down ; for ye manna gang farther the night, and a friend's house sae near. The farmer was obliged to dismount, and accept of the gipsy's offer of supper and a bed. There was plenty of meat in the barn, however it might be come by, and preparations were going on for a plentiful supper, which the farmer, to the great increase of his anxiety, observed was calculated for ten or twelve guests of the same description, no doubt, with his landlady. Jean left him in no doubt on the subject. She brought up the story of the stolen sow, and noticed how much pain and vexation it had given her. Like other philosophers, she remarked that the world grows worse daily; and, like other parents, that the bairns got out of her guiding, and neglected the old gipsy regulations, which commanded them to respect, in their depredations, the property of their benefactors. The end of all this was, an inquiry what money the farmer had about him, and an urgent request, that he would make her his purse-keeper, as the bairns, so she called her sons, would be soon home. The poor farmer made a virtue of necessity, told his story, and surrendered his gold into Jean's custody. She made him put a few shillings in his pocket, observing it would excite suspicion should he be found travelling altogether pennyless. This arrangement being made, the farmer lay down on a sort of shake-down, as the Scotch call it, upon some straw, but, as will easily be believed, slept not. About midnight the gang returned with various articles of plunder, and talked over their exploits in language which made the farmer tremble. They were not long in discovering their guest, and demanded of Jean whom she had got there? “ E'en the winsome gudeman of Lochside, poor body,” replied Jean : “ he's been at Newcastle seeking for siller to pay
rent, honest man, but deil-be-licket he's been able to gather in, and sae he's gaun e'en hame wi' a toom purse and a sair heart.” “ That may be, Jean,” replied
one of the banditti ; “ but we maun ripe his pouches a bit, and see if it be true or no.' Jean set up her throat in exclamations against this breach of hospitality, but without producing any change of their determination. The farmer soon heard their stifled whispers and light steps by his bedside, and understood they were rummaging his clothes. When they found the money which the providence of Jean Gordon had made him retain, they held a consultation if they should take it or
but the smallness of the booty, and the vehemence of Jean's remonstrances, determined them in the negative. They caroused, and went to rest. So soon as day dawned, Jean roused her guest, produced his horse, which she had accommodated behind the hallan, and guided him for some miles till he was on the high road to Lochside. She then restored his whole property, nor could his earnest entreaties prevail on her to accept so much as a single guinea.
I have heard the old people of Jedburgh say, that all Jean's sons were condemned to die there on the same day. It is said that the jury were equally divided ; but that a friend to justice, who had slept during the whole discussion, waked suddenly, and gave his vote for condemnation, in the emphatic words, “ Hang them a'.” Jean was present, and only said, “The Lord help the innocent in a day like this !” Her own death was accompanied with circumstances of brutal outrage, of which poor Jean was in many respects wholly undeserving. Jean had among other demerits, or merits, as you may choose to rank it, that of being a stanch Jacobite. She chanced to be at Carlisle upon a fair or market day, soon after the year 1746, where she gave vent to her political partiality, to the great offence of the rabble of that city. Being zealous in their loyalty when there was no danger, in proportion to the tameness with which they had surrendered to the Highlanders in 1745, they inflicted upon poor Jean Gordon no slighter penalty than that of ducking her to death in the Eden. It was an operation of some time, for Jean was a stout woman, and, struggling with her murderers, often got
her head above water; and while she had voice left, continued to exclaim at such intervals,—“Charlie yet ! Charlie yet!” —When a child, and among the scenes which she frequented, I have often heard these stories, and cried piteously for poor Jean Gordon.
Before quitting the border gipsies, I may mention, that my grandfather riding over Charterhouse-moor, then a very extensive common, fell suddenly among a large band of them, who were carousing in a hollow of the moor, surrounded by bushes. They instantly seized on his horse's bridle, with many shouts of welcome, exclaiming (for he was well known to most of them), that they had often dined at his expense, and he must now stay and share their good cheer. My ancestor was a little alarmed, for, like the gudeman of Lochside, he had more money about his person than he cared to venture with into such society. However, being naturally a bold lively man, he entered into the humour of the thing, and sat down to the feast, which consisted of all the varieties of game, poultry, pigs, and so forth, that could be collected by a wide and indiscriminate system of plunder. The feast was a very merry one, but my relative got a hint from some of the older gipsies to retire just when
“ The mirth and fun grew fast and furious;" and mounting his horse accordingly, he took a French leave of his entertainers, but without experiencing the least breach of hospitality.
The late Madge Gordon was at that time accounted the queen of the Yetholm clans. She was, we believe, a grand-daughter of the celebrated Jean Gordon, and was said to have much resembled her in appearance. The following account of her is extracted from the letter of a friend, who for many years enjoyed frequent and favourable opportunities of observing the characteristic peculiarities of the Yetholm tribes."Madge Gordon was descended from the Faas by the mother's
side, and was married to a Young.–She was rather a remarkable personage—of a very commanding presence and high stature, being nearly six feet high. She had a large aquiline nose-penetrating eyes, even in her old age-bushy hair that hung around her shoulders from beneath a gipsy bonnet of straw-a short cloak of a peculiar fashion, and a long staff nearly as tall as herself. I remember her well ;-every week she paid my father a visit for her almous, when I was a little boy, and I looked upon Madge with no common degree of awe and terror. When she spoke vehemently (for she had many complaints), she used to strike her staff upon the floor, and throw herself into an attitude which it was impossible to regard with indifference. She used
say, that she could bring from the remotest parts of the island friends to revenge her quarrel, while she sat motionless in her cottage ; and she frequently boasted that there was a time when she was of considerable importance, for there were at her wedding fifty saddled asses, and unsaddled asses without number. If Jean Gordon was the prototype of the character of Meg Merrilies, I imagine Madge must have sat to the unknown author as the representative of her
person." Blackwood's Magazine,
A BENEVOLENT FROLIC. The Duke of Montague was no less remarkable for his wit and humour than for his whims and frolics, which he conducted with a dexterity and address peculiar to himself; as will appear from the following adventure:-Soon after the conclusion of the peace in 1748, he had observed, that a middle-aged man, in something like a military dress, of which the lace was much tarnished, and the cloth worn thread-bare, ap
d, at a certain hour, in the Park, walking to and fro in the Mall, with a kind of mournful solemnity, or ruminating by himself on one of the benches, without