[Table of Contents]
[all the stuff is taken from Bibliomania]

THE LEGEND OF SCOTLAND

BEING a true and terrible report touching the rooms of Auckland Castell, called Scotland, and of the things there endured by Matthew Dixon, Chaffer, and of a certain Ladye, called Gaunless of some, there apparent, and how that none durst in these days sleep therein (belike through fear), all which things fell out in ye days of Bishop Bec, of chearfull memorie, and were writ down by mee in the Yeere One Thousand Three Hundred and Twenty Five, in the Month February, on a certayn Tuesday and other days.

EDGAR   CUTHWELLIS.

Now the said Matthew Dixon, having fetched wares unto that place, my Loords commended the same, and bade that hee should be entertained for that night, (which in sooth hee was, supping with a grete Appetite), and sleep in a certayn roome of that apartment now called Scotland -- From whence at Midnight hee rushed forth with so grete a Screem, as awaked all men, and hastily running into those Passages, and meeting him so screeming, hee presentlie faynted away.

Whereon they hadde hym into my Loorde's parlour, and with much ado set hym on a Chaire, wherefrom hee three several times split even to the grounde, to the grete admiration of all men.

But being stayed with divers Strong Liquors, (and, chifest, wyth Gin), he after a whyle gave foorth in a lamentable tone these following particulars, all which were presentlie sworn to by nine painful and stout farmers, who lived hard by, which witness I will here orderlie set downe.

Witness of Matthew Dixon, Chaffer, being in my right minde, and more than Fortie Yeeres of Age, though sore affrighted by reason of Sightes and Sounds in This Castell endured by mee, as touching the Vision of Scotland, and the Ghosts, all two of them, therein contayned, and of A certayn straunge Ladye, and of the lamentable thyngs by her uttered, with other sad tunes and songs, by her and by other Ghosts devised, and of the coldness and shakyng of my Bones (through sore grete feer), and of other things very pleasant to knowe, cheefly of a Picture hereafter suddenlie to bee taken, and of what shall befall thereon, (as trulie foreshowne by Ghosts), and of Darkness, with other things more terrible than Woordes and of that which Men call Chimera.

Matthew Dixon, Chaffer, deposeth: `that hee, having supped well over Night on a Green Goose, a Pasty, and other Condiments of the Bishop's grete bountie provided, (looking, as he spake, at my Loorde, and essaying toe pull offe hys hatte untoe hym, but missed soe doing, for that hee hadde yt not on hys hedde), soe went untoe hys bedde, where of a lang tyme hee was exercysed with sharp and horrible Dreems. That hee saw yn hys Dreem a young Ladye, habited, not (as yt seemed) yn a Gaun, but yn a certayn sorte of Wrapper, perchance a Wrap-Rascal.' (Hereon a Mayde of the House affirmed that noe Ladye woold weare such a thing, and hee answered, `I stand corrected,' and indeed rose from hys chaire, yet fayled to stand.)

Witness continued: `that ye sayde Ladye waved toe and froe a Grete Torche, whereat a thin Voyce shreeked "Gaunless! Gaunless!" and Shee standyng yn the midst of the flor, a grete Chaunge befell her, her Countenance waxing ever more and more Aged, and her Hayr grayer, shee all that tyme saying yn a most sad Voyce, "Gaunless, now, as Ladyes bee: yet yn yeeres toe come they shall not lacke for Gauns." At whych her Wrapper seemed slowlie toe melte, chaunging into a gaun of sylk, which puckered up and down, yes, and flounced itself out not a lyttle': (at thys mye Loorde, waxing impatient, smote hym roundlie onne the hedde, bydding hym finish hys tale anon.)

Witness continued; `that the sayd Gaun thenne chaunged ytself into divers fashyons whych shall hereafter bee, loopyng ytself uppe yn thys place and yn that, soe gyving toe View ane pettycote of a most fiery hue, even Crimson toe looke upon, at whych dismal and blodethirstie sight he both groned and wepte. That at the laste the skyrt swelled unto a Vastness beyond Man's power toe tell ayded (as hee judged), bye Hoops, Cartwheels, Balloons, and the lyke, bearing yt uppe within. That yt fylled alle that Chamber, crushing hym flat untoe hys bedde, tylle such as she appeared toe depart, fryzzling hys Hayre with her Torche as she went.

`That hee, awakyng from such Dreems, herd thereon a Rush, and saw a Light.' (Hereon a Mayde interrupted hym, crying out that there was yndeed a Rush-Light burning yn that same room, and woulde have sayde more, but that my Loorde checkt her, and sharplie bade her stow that, meening thereby, that she shoulde holde her peece.)

Witness continued: `that being muche affrited thereat, whereby hys Bones were (as hee sayde), all of a dramble, hee essayed to leep from hys bedde, and soe quit. Yet tarried hee some whyle, not, as might bee thought from being stout of Harte, but rather of Bodye; whych tyme she chaunted snatches of old lays, as Maister Wil Shakespeare hath yt.'

Hereon my Loorde questioned what lays, bydding hym syng the same, and saying hee knew but of two lays: `'Twas yn Trafalgar's bay wee saw the Frenchmen lay', and `There wee lay all that day yn the Bay of Biscay-O', whych hee forthwyth hummed aloud, yet out of tune, at whych somme smyled.

Witness continued: `that hee perchaunce coulde chaunt the sayde lays wyth Music, but unaccompanied hee durst not.' On thys they hadde hym to the Schoolroom, where was a Musical Instrument, called a Paean-o-Forty (meaning that yt hadde forty Notes, and was a Paean or Triumph of Art), whereon two young ladyes, Nieces of my Loorde, that abode there (lerning, as they deemed, Lessons; but, I wot, idlynge not a lyttle), did wyth much thumpyng playe certyn Music wyth hys synging, as best they mighte, seeing that the Tunes were such as noe Man had herde before.

Lorenzo dwelt at Heighington,
   (Hys cote was made of Dimity,)
Least-ways yf not exactly there,
   Yet yn yts close proximity.
Hee called on mee -- hee stayed to tee --
   Yet not a word he ut-tered,
Untyl I sayd, `D'ye lyke your bread
   Dry?' and hee answered `But-tered'.

(Chorus whereyn all present joyned with fervour.)

   Noodle dumb
   Has a noodle-head,
I hate such noodles, I do.

Witness continued: `that shee then appeared unto hym habited yn the same loose Wrapper, whereyn hee first saw her yn hys Dreem, and yn a stayd and piercing tone gave forth her History as followeth.'

THE LADYE'S HISTORY

`On a dewie autumn evening, mighte have been seen, pacing yn the grounds harde by Aucklande Castell, a yong Ladye of a stiff and perky manner, yet not ill to look on, nay, one mighte saye, faire to a degree, save that haply that hadde been untrue.

`That yong Ladye, O miserable Man, was I' (whereon I demanded on what score shee held mee miserable, and shee replied, yt mattered not). `I plumed myself yn those tymes on my exceeding not soe much beauty as loftiness of Figure, and gretely desired that some Painter might paint my picture; but they ever were too hight, not yn skyll I trow, but yn charges.' (At thys I most humbly enquired at what charge the then Painters wrought, but shee loftily affirmed that money-matters were vulgar and that shee knew not, no, nor cared.)

`Now yt chaunced that a certyn Artist, hight Lorenzo, came toe that Quarter, having wyth hym a merveillous machine called by men a Chimera (that ys, a fabulous and wholly incredible thing); where wyth hee took manie pictures, each yn a single stroke of Tyme, whiles that a Man might name "John, the son of Robin" (I asked her, what might a stroke of Tyme bee, but shee, frowning, answered not).

`He yt was that undertook my Picture: yn which I mainly required one thyng, that yt shoulde bee at full-length, for yn none other way mighte my Loftiness bee trulie set forth. Nevertheless, though hee took manie Pictures, yet all fayled yn thys: for some, beginning at the Hedde reeched not toe the Feet; others, takyng yn the Feet, yet left out the Hedde; whereof the former were a grief unto myself, and the latter a Laughing-Stocke unto others.

`At these thyngs I justly fumed, having at the first been frendly unto hym (though yn sooth hee was dull), and oft smote hym gretely on the Eares, rending from hys Hedde certyn Locks, whereat crying out hee was wont toe saye that I made hys lyfe a burden untoe hym, whych thyng I not so much doubted as highlie rejoyced yn.

`At the last hee counselled thys, that a Picture shoulde bee made, showing so much skyrt as mighte reasonably bee gotte yn, and a Notice set below toe thys effect: "Item, two yards and a Half Ditto, and then the Feet." But thys no Whit contented mee, and thereon I shut hym ynto the Cellar, where hee remaned three Weeks, growing dayly thinner and thinner, till at the last hee floted up and downe like a Feather.

`Now yt fell at thys tyme, as I questioned hym on a certyn Day, yf hee woulde nowe take mee at full-length, and hee replying untoe mee, yn a little moning Voyce, lyke a Gnat, one chaunced to open the Door: whereat the Draft before hym uppe ynto a Cracke of the Ceiling, and I remaned awaytyng hym, holding uppe my Torche, until such time as I also faded ynto a Ghost, yet stickyng untoe the Wall.'

Then did my Loorde and the Companie haste down ynto the Cellar, for to see thys straunge sight, to whych place when they came, my Loorde bravely drew hys sword, loudly crying `Death!' (though to whom or what he explained not); then some went yn, but the more part hung back, urging on those yn front, not soe largely bye example, as Words of cheer; yet at last all entered, my Loorde last.

Then they removed from the wall the Casks and other stuff, and founde the sayd Ghost, dredful toe relate, yet extant on the Wall, at which horrid sight such screems were raysed as yn these days are seldom or never herde; some faynted, others bye large drafts of Beer saved themselves from that Extremity, yet were they scarcely alive for Feer.

Then dyd the Ladye speak unto them yn suchwise:

`Here I bee, and here I byde,
Till such tyme as yt betyde
That a Ladye of thys place,
Lyke to mee yn name and face,
(Though my name bee never known,
My initials shall bee shown),
Shall be fotograffed aright --
Hedde and Feet bee both yn sight --
Then my face shall disappear,
Nor agayn affrite you heer.'

Then sayd Matthew Dixon unto her, `Wherefore holdest thou uppe that Torche?' to whych shee answered, `Candles Gyve Light': but none understood her.

After thys a thyn Voyce sayd from overhedde:

`Yn the Auckland Castell cellar,
   Long, long ago,
I was shut -- a brisk young feller --
   Woe, woe, ah woe!

   To take her at full-lengthe
   I never hadde the strengthe
Tempore (and soe I tell her)
   Practerito!'

(Yn thys Chorus they durst none joyn, seeing that Latyn was untoe them a Tongue unknown.)

`She was hard -- oh, she was cruel --
   Long, long ago,
Starved mee here -- not even gruel --
   No, believe mee, no! --

Frae Scotland could I flee,
   I'd gie my last bawbee, --
Arrah, bhoys, fair play's a jhewel,
   Lave me, darlints, goe!'

Then my Loorde, putting bye hys Sworde (whych was layd up thereafter, yn memory of soe grete Bravery), bade hys Butler fetch hym presentlie a Vessel of Beer, whych when yt was brought at hys nod (nor, as hee merrily sayd, hys `nod, and Bec, and wreathed smyle'), hee drank hugelie thereof: `for why?' quoth hee, `surely a Bec ys no longer a Bec, when yt ys Dry.'