Tuesday, August 31, 2010

John Bunyan

John Bunyan died on August 31, 1688.  The author of "Pilgrim's Progress" was known for his profanity during his early years.  After serving in the Parliamentarian army against the king in 1645, his conscience bothered him, and moved him toward more religious thinking.  Bunyan was a gifted public speaker, and became a popular preacher; except with the authorities.  At the Restoration, in 1660, he was jailed and later convicted for not attending church, and for holding unlawful meetings.  Bunyan gained full liberty from jail twelve years later. 

Bunyan died a few months before the Revolution of 1688.  He is buried in Bunhill Fields, which also bears the remains of Daniel Defoe, William Blake and others.

Walter Scott references Bunyan and phrases from "Pilgrim's Progress" several times in his journal and works.  Below is a reference from "The Fortunes of Nigel".

And withal (as John Bunyan says,) as they went on their way, he sung—

" Oj do ye ken Elsie Marley, honey—
The wife that sells the barley, honey ?
For Elsie Marley's grown sae fine,
She winna get up to feed the swine.—
O, do ye ken n i."

Monday, August 30, 2010


August 30.—The weather scarce permitted us more licence than yesterday, yet we went down to Lochore, and Walter and I perambulated the property, and discussed the necessity of a new road from the south-west, also that of planting some willows along the ditches in the low grounds. Returned to Blair-Adam to dinner.

Lochore, visited by Sir Walter Scott on this summer day in 1826, is in Fife, Scotland.  Per Rampant Scotland, the noble Duncan de Lochore built a castle there in 1160 AD.  The castle is in ruins now.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Sinking of the Royal George

October 28 (1831).—But the wind is as unfavourable as ever and I take a hobbling morning walk upon the rampart, where I am edified by a good-natured officer who shows me the place, marked by a buoy, where the Royal George went down "with twice four hundred men." Its hull forms a shoal which is still in existence, a neglect scarcely reconcilable with the splendour of our proceedings where our navy is concerned. Saw a battle on the rampart between two sailor boys, who fought like game-cocks. Returned to "The Fountain," to a voluminous breakfast. Captain Pigot calls, with little hope of sailing to-day. I made my civil affidavit yesterday to a master extraordinary in Chancery, which I gave to Sophia last night.

The HMS Royal George, which Sir Walter Scott passes one October night, and records in his Journal, was the largest ship in the British Royal Navy when it was launched in 1756.  The Royal George sank not as a result of battle, but due to freak circumstances.  Royal George was readying to sail to Gibraltar, and was keeled slightly, undergoing repairs, when a supply vessel arrived to load provisions.  The added weight, combined with an untimely breeze, tipped the Royal George too far, and the sea rushed in.  The date was August 29, 1782.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Ragman Roll

" If you mean the observation as a sneer at my ancestry," said the knight with an assumption of dignified superiority and composure, " I nave the pleasure to inform you, that the name of my ancestor, Gamelyn de Guardover, Miles, is written fairly with his own hand in the earliest copy of the Ragman-roll."


" Right, right, that's right too—I should like to see the son of Sir Gamelyn de Guardover on dry land myself—I have a notion he would sign the abjuration oath, and the Ragman-roll to boot, and acknowledge Queen Mary to be nothing better than she should be, to get alongside my bottle of old port that he ran away from, and left scarce begun. But he's safe now, and here a comes—(for the chair was again lowered, and Sir Arthur made fast in it, without much consciousness on his own part)—here a comes—bowse away, my boys—canny wi' him—a pedigree of a hundred links is hanging on a tenpenny tow—the whole barony of Knockwinnock depends on three piles of hemp—respice finem, respice funerrv—look to your end —look to a rope's end.—Welcome, welcome, my good old friend, to firm land, though I cannot say to warm land or to dry land—a cord for ever against fifty fathom of water, though not in the sense of the base proverb—a fico for the phrase—better sus. per funein, than sus. per coll."

The text above is from Walter Scott's "The Antiquary".

On August 28, 1296, Edward I of England held a Parliament at Berwick, where he heard cases presented by Scottish nobles, as to who should wear the crown of Scotland. Edward had the nobles sign oaths of loyalty to him. Signings such as these began by 1291, and were used by Edward to manipulate the nobles to his advantage. These signed papers became known as the Ragman Rolls. From the Encyclopedia Britannica, the term may derive from the Statute of Rageman, referring to reporting required of clerics by a legate named Rageman. John Balliol was the temporary beneficiary of Edward's maneuverings.

Friday, August 27, 2010

Literary Characters

Walter Scott had James Boswell's example of a journal before he started his own.  Scott was, of course, very familiar with the characters of the Boswell/Johnson circles.  The begining of today's entry comes from Boswell's "Life of Johnson", in which Johnson writes to Boswell of Hester Thrale's interest in his journal.


'DEAR SIR,--I am returned from the annual ramble into the middle counties. Having seen nothing I had not seen before, I have nothing to relate. Time has left that part of the island few antiquities; and commerce has left the people no singularities. I was glad to go abroad, and, perhaps, glad to come home; which is, in other words, I was, I am afraid, weary of being at home, and weary of being abroad. Is not this the state of life? But, if we confess this weariness, let us not lament it, for all the wise and all the good say, that we may cure it. . . .
'Mrs. Thrale was so entertained with your Journal,* that she almost read herself blind. She has a great regard for you... I am, Sir, your affectionate humble servant,


'London, Aug. 27, 1775.'
The second part of today's entry comes from Scott's Journal, in which he references Mrs. Thrale:
November 18 (1826)...Dr. Burney was at Streatham soon after the publication (of Mad. D'Arblay's Evelina), where he found Mrs. Thrale recovering from her confinement, low at the moment, and out of spirits. While they were talking together, Johnson, who sat beside in a kind of reverie, suddenly broke out, "You should read this new work, madam—you should read Evelina; every one says it is excellent, and they are right." The delighted father obtained a commission from Mrs. Thrale to purchase his daughter's work, and retired the happiest of men. Mad. D'Arblay said she was wild with joy at this decisive evidence of her literary success, and that she could only give vent to her rapture by dancing and skipping round a mulberry-tree in the garden. She was very young at this time. I trust I shall see this lady again. She has simple and apparently amiable manners, with quick feelings.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Walter Scott Biographer John Buchan Born

The 1st Lord Tweedsmuir, John Buchan, was born on August 26, 1875.  Buchan's contributions to Walter Scott study have been noted in a post on his date of death.  Buchan was born in Perth, Scotland, and included much of Scotland in his works.  In particular, the Upper Tweed Valley/Borderlands that inspired Sir Walter Scott. 

The John Buchan society site is worth a visit, at: http://www.johnbuchansociety.co.uk/index.html.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

A Light Dims

David Hume (picture linked to source) was covered in an earlier post.  On August 25, 1776, the great philosopher died.  Hume is thought to have died of cancer.  As related by James Boswell in this snippet of conversation with the incredulous Samuel Johnson (from "Life of Johnson"), Hume may not have feared his death.  'BOSWELL: When we were alone, I introduced the subject of death, and endeavoured to maintain that the fear of it might be got over. I told him that David Hume said to me, he was no more uneasy to think he should NOT BE after this life, than that he HAD NOT BEEN before he began to exist. JOHNSON. Sir, if he really thinks so, his perceptions are disturbed; he is mad: if he does not think so, he lies. He may tell you, he holds his finger in the flame of a candle, without feeling pain; would you believe him? When he dies, he at least gives up all he has.'

Walter Scott records passing Hume's grave in his Journal (January 24, 1826): '...Went to the funeral of Chevalier Yelin, the literary foreigner mentioned on 22d. How many and how various are the ways of affliction! Here is this poor man dying at a distance from home, his proud heart broken, his wife and family anxiously expecting letters, and doomed only to learn they have lost a husband and father for ever. He lies buried on the Calton Hill, near learned and scientific dust--the graves of David Hume and John Playfair being side by side.'

Tuesday, August 24, 2010


August 24 (1826).—This morning lunched at Parkgate under a very heavy shower, and then pushed on to Drumlanrig, where I was pleased to see the old Castle, and old servants solicitous and anxious to be civil. What visions does not this magnificent old house bring back to me! The exterior is much improved since I first knew it. It was then in the state of dilapidation to which it had been abandoned by the celebrated old Q.,[324] and was indeed scarce wind and water tight. Then the whole wood had been felled, and the outraged castle stood in the midst of waste and desolation, excepting a few scattered old stumps, not judged worth the cutting. Now, the whole has been, ten or twelve years since, completely replanted, and the scattered seniors look as graceful as fathers surrounded by their children. The face of this immense estate has been scarcely less wonderfully changed. The scrambling tenants, who held a precarious tenure of lease under the Duke of Queensberry, at the risk (as actually took place) of losing their possession at his death, have given room to skilful and labouring men, working their farms regularly, and enjoying comfortable houses and their farms at a fair rent, which is enough to forbid idleness, but not enough to overpower industry.

From Walter Scott's Journal.  Drumlanrig was a Douglas stronghold, now in the hands of the Duke and Duchess of Buccleuch and Queensberry.  Building commenced around 1684.  Click on picture for link to source.

Monday, August 23, 2010

William Wallace's Execution

Walter Scott wrote about William Wallace's life in "Exploits and death of William Wallace, the Hero of Scotland".  On this, the 705th anniversary of Wallace's execution (August 23, 1305), this text from Scott's work:

'...But what Edward prized more than the surrender of the last fortress which resisted his arms in Scotland was the captivity of her last patriot. He had found in a Scottish nobleman, Sir John Monteith, a person willing to become his agent in searching for Wallace among the wilds where he was driven to find refuge. Wallace was finally betrayed to the English by his unworthy and apostate countryman, who obtained an opportunity of seizing him at Robroyston, near Glasgow, by the treachery of a servant.

Sir William Wallace was instantly transferred to London, where he was brought to trial in Westminster Hall, with as much apparatus of infamy as the ingenuity of his enemies could devise. He was crowned with a garland of oak, to intimate that he had been king of outlaws. The arraignment charged him with high treason, in respect that he had stormed and taken towns and castles, and shed much blood. "Traitor," said Wallace, "was I never." The rest of the charges he confessed and proceeded to justify them. He was condemned, and executed by decapitation, 1305. His head was placed on a pinnacle on London bridge, and his quarters were distributed over the kingdom.

Thus died this courageous patriot, leaving a remembrance which will be immortal in the hearts of his countrymen. This steady champion of independence having been removed, and a bloody example held out to all who should venture to tread in his footsteps, Edward proceeded to form a species of constitution for the country, which, at the cost of so much labor, policy, and bloodshed, he had at length, as he conceived, united forever with the English crown. ...'

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Raid of Ruthven

'..."Ay! " said the King, " say ye sae, man ? — Lord Glenvarloch, that was his name indeed — Justus et tenax propositi — A just man, but as obstinate as a baited bull. He stood whiles against us, that Lord Randal Olifaunt of Glenvarloch, but he was a loving and a leal subject in the main. But this supplicator maun be his son — Randal has been long gone where king and lord must go, Geordie, as weel as the like of you — and what does his son want with us ?"

" The settlement," answered the citizen, " of a large debt due by your Majesty's treasury, for money advanced to your Majesty in great state emergency, about the time of the Raid of Ruthven."

" I mind the thing weel," said King James — " Od's death, man, I was just out of the clutches of the Master of Glamis and his complices, and there was never siller mair welcome to a born Prince, — the mair the shame and pity that crowned King should need sic a petty sum. But what need he dun us for it, man, like a baxter at the breaking ? We aught him the siller, and will pay him wi' our convenience, or make it otherwise up to him, whilk is enow between prince and subject — We are not in meditationc fugce, man, to be arrested thus peremptorily."...'
The raid of Ruthen occurred on August 22, 1582.  The Earl of Gowrie, William Ruthven, along with other Presbyterian nobles abducted James VI of Scotland.  Walter Scott's text (above) from "The Fortunes of Nigel" references this raid, which is further explained in a note to the text:
'p. 93. "The Raid of Ruthven." The object of this Raid (1582) was to separate James from his favourites, Lennox and Arran. The King was near Perth ; Lennox, at Dalkeith, near Edinburgh ; Arran, at Kinneil. Gowrie, Mar, and others caught James at Cowrie's own castle of Ruthven, removed his guard, and held him prisoner. " Better bairns weep than bearded men," said Glammis, when James burst into tears. The Kirk abetted the Raid, and en joyed a temporary triumph.'

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Battle of Dunkeld

'Donohoe Bertram, with somewhat of an Irish name and somewhat of an Irish temper, succeeded to the diminished property of Ellangowan. He turned out of doors the Reverend Aaron Macbriar, his mother's chaplain (it is said they quarrelled about the good graces of a milkmaid); drank himself daily drunk with brimming healths to the king, council, and bishops; held orgies with the Laird of Lagg, Theophilus Oglethorpe, and Sir James Turner; and lastly, took his grey gelding and joined Clavers at Killiecrankie. At the skirmish of Dunkeld, 1689, he was shot dead by a Cameronian with a silver button (being supposed to have proof from the Evil One against lead and steel), and his grave is still called the Wicked Laird's Lair...'

The Battle of Dunkeld occurred on August 21, 1689, in which Jacobites, supporting Catholic King JamesVII fought against Cameronian Royalists.  William Cleland led the Cameronian forces to a major victory that came at the cost of his own life.

The Jacobite forces were mainly highland clans, with some Irish troops.  Donahoe Bertram in the passage from "Guy Mannering" above has an Irish temper.  The silver button may be playing to the feeling that diabolical powers were at work in the fierce battle that only a silver bullet could slay.

Friday, August 20, 2010

Saint Bernard

'...but of the Monks, and especially of the Monks Benedictine, reformed on the rule of Saint Bernard of Clairvaux, thence called Cistercian, of which Monks, Christian brethren—sister I would say—great is the happiness and glory of the country in possessing the holy ministers of Saint Mary's, whereof I, though an unworthy brother, may say it hath produced more saints, more bishops, more popes—may our patrons make us thankful!—than any holy foundation in Scotland...'

References to Saint Bernard appear in several of Walter Scott's works, including "The Monastery" (above).  Bernard was known for his eloquence and his discipline, and at the behest of King Louis VI, helped decide that Innocent II would succeed Pope Honorius II after Honorius died rather than the alternative candiidate Anacletus II.  Bernard of Clairvaux died in 1153.  His feast is celebrated on August 20,

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Charles Edward Stuart at Glenfinnan

The following verses convey but little idea of the feelings with which, so sung and accompanied, they were heard by Waverley:--

There is mist on the mountain, and night on the vale,
But more dark is the sleep of the sons of the Gael.
A stranger commanded--it sunk on the land,
It has frozen each heart, and benumb'd every hand!

The dirk and the target lie sordid with dust,
The bloodless claymore is but redden'd with rust;
On the hill or the glen if a gun should appear,
It is only to war with the heath-cock or deer.

The deeds of our sires if our bards should rehearse,
Let a blush or a blow be the meed of their verse!
Be mute every string, and be hush'd every tone,
That shall bid us remember the fame that is flown.

But the dark hours of night and of slumber are past,
The morn on our mountains is dawning at last;
Glenaladale's peaks are illumined with the rays,
And the streams of Glenfinnan leap bright in the blaze.

[Footnote: The young and daring adventurer, Charles Edward, landed at Glenaladale, in Moidart, and displayed his standard in the valley of Glenfinnan, mustering around it the Mac-Donalds, the Camerons, and other less numerous clans, whom he had prevailed on to join him. There is a monument erected on the spot, with a Latin inscription by the late Doctor Gregory.]

As Edward Waverley learns, in Walter Scott's Waverley, Charles Edward Stuart raised his standard at Glenfinnan at the start of the Jacobite Rising of 1745.  This occurred on August 19, of that year.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Execution of Earl Kilmarnock and Lord Balmerino

On August 18, 1746, as an outcome of their participation in the '45, the Earl of Kilmarnock and Lord Balmerino were executed at Tower Hill in London.  Lord Balmerino, in particular, distinguished himself for embracing his impending death on behalf of the Jacobite cause.  Sir Walter Scott covers the trial and execution in his "Scottish History":

'...It was understood that one of the two Earls who had submitted themselves to the clemency of the sovereign, was about to be spared. The friends of both solicited anxiously which should obtain preference on the occasion. The circumstance of his large family, and the situation of his lady, it is believed, influenced the decision which was made in Lord Cromarty's favour. When the Countess of Cromarty was delivered of the child which she had borne in her womb, while the horrible doubt of her husband's fate was impending, it was found to be marked on the neck with an impression resembling a broad axe; a striking instance of one of those mysteries of nature which are beyond the knowledge of philosophy.

While King George the Second was perplexed and overwhelmed with personal applications for mercy, in behalf of Lords Cromarty and Kilmarnock, he is said to have exclaimed, with natural feeling, Heaven help me, will no one say a word in behalf of Lord Balmerino !" The spirit of the time was, however, adverse to this generous sentiment; nor would it have been consistent to have spared a criminal, who boldly avowed and vindicated his political offences, while exercising the severity of the law towards others, who expressed penitence for their guilt. The Earl of Cromarty being, as we have said, reprieved, the Earl of Kilmarnock and Lord Balmerino remained under sentence, with an intimation that they must prepare for death. The King, however, commuted the mode of execution into decapitation.

The behaviour of both noblemen, during the short interval they had now to live, was of a piece with their conduct on the trial. Lord Kilmarnock was composed, though penitent, and prepared himself with decency for the terrible exit. Balmerino, on the contrary, with a bold military frankness, seemed disposed to meet death on the scaffold with the same defiance as in a field of battle. His lady was with him at the moment the death warrant arrived. They were at dinner: Lady Balmerino fainted at the awful tidings. " Do you not see," said her husband to the officer who had intimated (he news, "you have spoiled my lady's dinner with your foolish warrant?"

On the 18ih of August, 1746, the prisoners were delivered over by the Governor of the Tower to the custody of the Sheriffs; on which occasion, the officers closed the words of form by the emphatic prayer, "God save King George I" Kilmarnock answered with a deep "Amen." Lord Balmerino replied, in a loud and firm tone, "God save King James!"

Having been transported in a carriage to an apartment on Tower-hill provided for the purpose, the companions in suffering were allowed a momentary interview, in which Balmerino seemed chiefly anxious to vindicate the Prince from the report, that there had been orders issued at the battle of Culloden to give no quarter. Kilmarnock confessed he had heard of such an order, signed George Murray, but it was only after he was made prisoner. They parted with mutual affection. "I would," said Lord Balmerino, "that I could pay this debt for us both." Lord Kilmarnock acknowledged his kindness. The Earl had the sad precedence in the execution. When he reached the spot, and beheld the fatal scaffold covered with black cloth; the executioner with his axe and his assistants; the sawdust which was soon to be drenched with his blood; the coffin prepared to receive the limbs which were yet warm with life; above all the immense display of human countenances which surrounded the scaffold like a sea, all eyes being bent on the sad object of the preparation, his natural feelings broke forth in a whisper to the friend on whose arm he leaned, "Home, this is terrible!" No sign of indecent timidity, however, affected his behaviour; he prayed for the reigning King and family; knelt calmly to the block, and submitted to The fatal blow. Lord Balmerino was next summoned to enter on the fatal scene. "1 suppose," he said "my Lord Kilmarnock is now no more; I will not detain you longer, for I desire not to protract my life." His lordship then taking a glass of wine, desired the bystanders to drink ane agrae tad hairan" that is, an ascent to Heaven. He took the axe out of the hand of the executioner, and run his finger along the edge, while a momentary thrill went through the spectators, at seeing so daring a man in the possession of such a weapon. Balmerino did not, however, meditate such desperate folly as would have been implied in an attempt at resistance; he returned the axe to the executioner, and hid him strike boldly, "for in that," he said, "my friend will consist thy mercy." "There may be some," he said, "who think my behaviour bold. Remember what I tell you," addressing a bystander, " it arises from a confidence in God and a clear conscience."
With the same intrepid countenance, Balmerino knelt to the block, prayed for King James and his family, entreated forgiveness of his own sins, petitioned for the welfare of his friends and pardon to his enemies. These brief prayers finished, he gave the signal to the executioner; but the man was so surprised at the undaunted intrepidity of his victim, that he struck the first blow irresolutely, and it required two to despatch the bloody work...'

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

George IV of England Visits Scotland

On August 17, 1822, King George IV of England visited Edinburgh.  George's festivities were managed by Sir Walter Scott, who, according to Writing Scotland,  encouraged George's choice of outfit; highland dress with pink leggings.  All part of the tartan pageant that Scott organized.

George's visit was the first by a reiging monarch since 1650, and was viewed as a success by most.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Eugene Aram

From “The Book of Days”, and the "Newgate Calendar" (source of image), comes the story of Eugene Aram who was hanged at Tyburn, per these sources, on August 16, 1759. Aram was noteworthy firstly for being a scholar, having a noted facility for languages. Unfortunately, what gained him a historical note was his conviction for murdering a man named Daniel Clarke.

The murder may have been simply for gain, or he may have suspected his wife of having an affair with Clarke, which he claimed after conviction, and before his execution. The contrast between Aram’s extraordinary self-developed language skills and this act of violence has inspired several literary works. Among those is Thomas Hood’s “The Dream of Eugene Aram”, and Edward Lytton Bulwer’s “Eugene Aram, a Tale”.

It is Bulwer’s work that provides the link to Sir Walter Scott. Bulwer dedicated his work to Scott:



IT has long been the high and cherished hope of my ambition to add my humble tribute to the rich and numberless offerings that toe been laid upon the shrine of your genius. At each succeeding book that I have given to the world, I have paused to consider, if it were worthy of being inscribed with your great name, and at each I have played the procrastinator, and hoped for that morrow of better desert which never came. Having now arrived at a work which closes the series I contemplated from the first, it is possible that this may be the only opportunity afforded me of expressing that high, that just, that affectionate admiration with which you hare inspired me in common with all your cotemporaries, and which a French writer has not ungracefully termed " the happiest prerogative of genius." I seize this occasion, then, not as the best, but lest I should lose the last. As a Poet, and as a Novelist, your fame has attained to that height in which praise has become superfluous; but in the character of the writer, there seems to me a yet higher claim to veneration than in that of the writings. The example your genius sets us, who can emulate?—the example your moderation bequeaths to us, who shall forget? It is a great lesson to all cultivators of letters, to behold one who, in winning renown, has at last conquered envy, and who is at once without an equal and without a detractor.

You have left us for a while; but what heart does not, from that very absence, and from its reported cause, follow you to a southern shore, with feelings that make remembrance a duty scarcely less than a delight? What Scotchman can ever forget that you have immortalised his country — or what Englishman that you have bestowed an equal gift upon his language? Whatever the honours that await you abroad, you have left the gratitude, the homage, the very hearts of two mighty Nations to watch over your fame at home.

You, I feel assured, will not deem it presumptuous in one, who, to that bright and undying flame which now streams from the gray hills of Scotland,—the last halo with which you have crowned her literary glories, — has turned from his first childhood with a deep and unrelaxing devotion; — you, I feel assured, will not deem it presumptuous in him to inscribe an idle work with your illustrious name: — a work which, however worthless in itself, assumes something of value in his eyes when thus rendered a tribute of respect to you.


London, December 22, 1831

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Walter Scott's Birthday

Walter Scott shared a birthday with one of his major subjects, Napoleon Bonaparte.  Napoleon (1769) was born two years before Scott (1771), but died 11 years before him.  It is 239 years since Sir Walter Scott's birth.  In 1825, Scott is reminiscing on the age he has achieved (54), in this journal entry from November 30:

'I am come to the time when those who look out of the windows shall be darkened. I must now wear spectacles constantly in reading and writing, though till this winter I have made a shift by using only their occasional assistance. Although my health cannot be better, I feel my lameness becomes sometimes painful, and often inconvenient. Walking on the pavement or causeway gives me trouble, and I am glad when I have accomplished my return on foot from the Parliament House to Castle Street, though I can (taking a competent time, as old Braxie[48] said on another occasion) walk five or six miles in the country with pleasure. Well—such things must come, and be received with cheerful submission. My early lameness considered, it was impossible for a man labouring under a bodily impediment to have been stronger or more active than I have been, and that for twenty or thirty years. Seams will slit, and elbows will out, quoth the tailor; and as I was fifty-four on 15th August last, my mortal vestments are none of the newest. Then Walter, Charles, and Lockhart are as active and handsome young fellows as you can see; and while they enjoy strength and activity I can hardly be said to want it. I have perhaps all my life set an undue value on these gifts. Yet it does appear to me that high and independent feelings are naturally, though not uniformly or inseparably, connected with bodily advantages. Strong men are usually good-humoured, and active men often display the same elasticity of mind as of body. These are superiorities, however, that are often misused. But even for these things God shall call us to judgment...'

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Duncan I of Scotland

Duncan the sick, who Shakespeare famously offed through the ill-work of Macbeth, died on August 14, 1040.  It was in reality Macbeth, or his men, who killed Duncan, after Duncan took an army into Macbeth's home territory of Moray.

Sir Walter Scott wrote of Duncan and Macbeth in his "History of "Scotland":

"Duncan, by his mother Beatrice a grandson of Malcolm II, succeeded to the throne on his grandfather's death, in 1033: he reigned only six years. Macbeth, his near relation, also a grandchild of Malcolm II, though by the mother's side, was stirred up by ambition to contest the throne with the possessor. The Lady of Macbeth also, whose real name was Graoch, had deadly injuries to avenge on the reigning prince. She was the granddaughter of Kenneth IV, killed 1003, fighting against Malcolm II, and other causes for revenge animated the mind of her who has been since painted as the sternest of women. The old annalists add some instigations of a supernatural kind to the influence of a vindictive woman over an ambitious husband. Three women, of more than human stature and beauty, appeared to Macbeth in a dream or vision, and hailed him successively by the titles of Thane of Cromarty, Thane of Moray, which the king afterwards bestowed on him, and finally by that of King of Scots; this dream, it is said, inspired him with the seductive hopes so well expressed in the drama.

"Macbeth broke no law of hospitality in his attempt on Duncan's life. He attacked and slew the king at a place called Bothgowan, or the Smith's House, near Elgin, in 1039, and not, as has been supposed, in his own castle of Inverness. The act was bloody, as was the complexion of the times; but, in very truth, the claim of Macbeth to the throne, according to the rule of Scottish succession, was better than that of Duncan. As a king, the tyrant so much exclaimed against was, in reality, a firm, just, and equitable prince. Apprehensions of danger from a party which Malcolm, the eldest son of the slaughtered Duncan, had set on foot in Northumberland, and still maintained in Scotland, seem, in process of time, to have soured the temper of Macbeth, and rendered him formidable to his nobility. Against Macduff, in particular, the powerful Maormor of Fife, he had uttered some threats which occasioned that chief to fly from the court of Scotland. Urged by this new counsellor, Siward, the Danish Earl of Northumberland, invaded Scotland in the year 1054, displaying his banner in behalf of the banished Malcolm. Macbeth engaged the foe in the neighbourhood of his celebrated castle of Dunsinane. He was defeated, but escaped from the battle, and was slain at Lumphanan in 1056."

Friday, August 13, 2010

Louis XVI of France Arrested

On August 13, 1792, France's National Tribunal formally arrested Louis XVI.  The arrest was the tail-end of an insurrection which occurred on August 10th.  Walter Scott covers much of Louis' travails in his "Life of Napoleon Buonaparte".  About the insurrection:

Early on the morning of the 10th of August, the tocsin rung out its alarm-peal over the terrified city of Paris, and announced that the long-menaced insurrection was at length on foot. In many parishes the Constitutional party resisted those who came to sound this awful signal; but the well prepared Jacobins were found every where victorious, and the prolonged mournful sound was soon tolled out from every steeple in the metropolis.

Thus imitated by the dramatist Lee, from the historian Darila:—
" Have you not heard—the King, preventing day,
Received the guards within the city Rates ;
The jolly Swisses marching to their pipes,
The crowd stood gaping heedless and amazed,
Shrunk to their shops, and left the passage free."—S

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Battle of Dupplin Moor

Soon after Robert Bruce passed away (June 7, 1329), Edward Balliol, the son of former King John Balliol determined to take advantage of the fact that Bruce's son David was only 4 years old, and unfit to rule.  Balliol, who had been living in France, returned to Scotland in 1332, and joined Henry Beaumont to take Scotland from the Bruce faction.  The Balliols and Beaumonts had lost much in terms of estates and status by opposing Robert Bruce at Bannockburn and elsewhere.  Beaumont arranged for English forces to join with them in the invasion.

The two sides met at Dupplin Moor on August 12, 1332, the battle representing part of the continuing Wars of Scottish Independence.  The outcome was a horrendous defeat for the Bruce forces.  Beaumont and Balliol introduced a formation of archers and ground troops that helped the English become dominant in warfare for some time.

Sir Walter Scott writes of this battle in his "History of Scotland":

'...Such were the pretexts; but in reality Baliol possessed no interest whatever in Scotland; he was a mere stipendiary and pensioner of England, and Edward was now desirous to be rid of him, and either to acquire the crown of Scotland to himself directly by virtue of Baliol's cession in his favour, or, if that project should fail, to achieve the same object by making some composition with the imprisoned David, whom he found not indisposed to agree to a settlement of the crown on a son of the king of England, in exchange for his own liberty. In guerdon of his pliancy, Baliol, when retiring into private life, was to be endowed by Edward III. with a sum of five thousand marks, and a stipend or annuity of two thousand pounds sterling a year. With this splendid income Edward Baliol retired into privacy and obscurity, and is never again mentioned in history. The spirit of enterprise which dictated the invasion of Scotland in 1332 and the adventurous attack upon the Scottish encampment at Dupplin-moor, shows itself in no other part of his conduct, which may lead us to think that an attempt so daring was no suggestion of his own mind, but breathed into it by the councils of some masterspirit among his counsellors. In battle he showed the bravery of a soldier ; but in other respects he never seems to have displayed talents whether for war or peace. He died childless in the year 136'3 ; and thus ended in his person the line of Baliol, whose pretensions had cost Scotland so dear.

The campaign which Edward designed should be decisive of the fate of Scotland now approached. The Scottish nobles, more wise in calamity than success, taught and convinced by experience of the danger of encountering the enemy in pitched battle and in the open field, resolved to practise the lessons of defensive war which had been bequeathed to them by their deliverer, king Robert. Time was, however, required to lay the country waste, to withdraw the inhabitants, and take the other precautions necessary for this stern and desolating species of resistance. For this purpose earl Douglas was sent to king Edward to protract time as long as he could with offers of negotiation. He succeeded in obtaining a truce of ten days, during the greater part of which he remained in the English camp, and then left it, exulting in having obtained the necessary space for defensive preparations, of which his countrymen had made excellent use.

Scotland was now somewhat in the same condition as when invaded in 1322, but thus far worse situated, that as Edward III. was an heroical character a hundred times more formidable than his father, so the chiefs whom Scotland had now to oppose against the victor, at whose name France trembled, were as far inferior in talents to the Bruce. They were imbued, however, with his sentiments, and were determined to act upon them ; and thus being dead, king Robert might be said still to direct the Scottish army...'

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Battle of Dalrigh

'...Hitherto Bruce and his companions in wandering appear to have experienced neither favour nor opposition from the inhabitants of the districts through which they rambled; but most part of the shire of Argyle, which they now approached, was under the command of a powerful chief called Macdougal, or John of Lorn. This prince had married an aunt of the slaughtered John Comyn, and desired nothing with more ardour than an opportunity to revenge the death of his ally upon the homicide. Accordingly, when Bruce attempted to penetrate into Argyleshire at the head of his company, he was opposed by John of Lorn, who encountered him at a place called Dalry (i. e. the king's field), near the head of Strathfillan. The Highlandmen being on foot, and armed with long pole-axes, called Lochaber-axes, attacked the little band of Bruce where the knights had no room to manage their horses, and did them much injury. Bruce, compelled to turn back, placed himself in the rear of his followers, and protected their retreat with the utmost gallantry. Three Highlanders, a father and two sons, assaulted him at once; but Bruce, completely armed, and excellent at the use of his weapon, rid himself of them by despatching them one after another. " Look at him," said John of Lorn, in unwilling admiration; " he guards his men from us as Gaul, the son of Morni, protected his host from the fury of Fingal...'

The Battle of Dalrigh, which Walter Scott covers in his "History of Scotland", was a defeat for Robert Bruce.  John MacDougall led Clan MacDougall, and the two adversaries would once have fought on the same side, but this became impossible after Bruce slayed his nephew John Comyn at Dumfries.  This episode in the Wars of Scottish Independence occured on August 11, 1306.  Bruce managed to escape from Dalrigh, and was on the run for about half a year.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

George Canning

August 10 (1827)...The death of the Premier is announced. Late George Canning, the witty, the accomplished, the ambitious; he who had toiled thirty years, and involved himself in the most harassing discussions to attain this dizzy height; he who had held it for three months of intrigue and obloquy—and now a heap of dust, and that is all. He was an early and familiar friend of mine, through my intimacy with George Ellis. No man possessed a gayer and more playful wit in society; no one, since Pitt's time, had more commanding sarcasm in debate; in the House of Commons he was the terror of that species of orators called the Yelpers. His lash fetched away both skin and flesh, and would have penetrated the hide of a rhinoceros. In his conduct as a statesman he had a great fault: he lent himself too willingly to intrigue. Thus he got into his quarrel with Lord Castlereagh,[20] and lost credit with the country for want of openness. Thus too, he got involved with the Queen's party to such an extent that it fettered him upon that memorable quarrel, and obliged him to butter Sir Robert Wilson with dear friend, and gallant general, and so forth. The last composition with the Whigs was a sacrifice of principle on both sides. I have some reason to think they counted on getting rid of him in two or three years. To me Canning was always personally most kind. I saw, with pain, a great change in his health when I met him at Colonel Bolton's at Stors in 1825. In London I thought him looking better.

George Canning actually died on August 8th, but apparently news reached Walter Scott on the 10th - as recorded in his Journal.  Canning came from relatively humble origins to eventually lead Great Britain as Prime Minister.  Ministership came by appointment from George IV, after Lord Liverpool was disabled by a stroke.  Canning's appointment caused dissension, as seven members of Liverpool's Cabinet refused to serve under him.  Canning died a mere 119 days after becoming Premier.

Monday, August 9, 2010

The Caledonian Canal

'The military road connecting the chains of forts, as it is called, and running in the general line of the present Caledonian Canal, has now completely opened the great glen, or chasm, extending almost across the whole island, once doubtless filled by the sea, and still affording basins for that long line of lakes, by means of which modern art has united the German and Atlantic Oceans. The paths or tracks by which the natives traversed this extensive valley, were, in 1645-6, in the same situation as when they awaked the strain of an Irish engineer officer, who had been employed in converting them into practicable military roads, and whose eulogium begins, and, for aught I know, ends, as follows:

Had you seen but these roads before they were made,
You would have held up your hands and bless'd General Wade.'

The Caledonian Canal, built by Thomas Telford, makes an appearance in Walter Scott's "A Legend of Montrose".  The canal itself covers about 60 miles, from Inverness on the eastmost end to Corpach on the west.  The canal makes use of four lochs along the way, including Loch Ness.

Work officially began in 1803, and in part, this project represented a jobs program for the Highlands after the Clearances had depleted the area of so many inhabitants.  Scott's text above describes previous usage along the line the canal system took.

The engineer Thomas Telford was born on August 9, 1757.

Sunday, August 8, 2010


August_ 8 (1826).--Wrote my task this morning, and now for walk. Dine to-day at Chiefswood; have company to-morrow. Why, this is dissipation! But no matter, Mrs. Duty, if the task is done. "Ay, but," says she, "you ought to do something extra--provide against a rainy day." Not I, I'll make a rainy day provide against a fair one, Mrs. Duty. I write twice as much in bad weather. Seriously, I write fully as much as I ought. I do not like this dull aching in the chest and the back, and its giving way to exercise shows that it originates in remaining too long in a sitting posture. So I'll take the field, while the day is good.

From Scott's Journal.  Chiefswood was a name Scott gave to a cottage that John Smith built for Scott's daughter and son-in-law; the Lochharts.  Scott was fond of visiting, as there are several references in his journal to meals there.  Thomas Carlyle, in "On Walter Scott", also mentions that Scott met many people at Chiefswood.

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Caroline of Brunswick

Poor Queen Caroline, who died on August 7, 1821.  If ever there was an argument against arranged marriage, this was it.  Caroline was married to her cousin, the future George IV of England, in 1795.  George is said to have required a glass of brandy upon first meeting Caroline,  who was not considered attractive, and is said to have been coarse and ill-kempt.  George married her, but locked her out of his coronation ceremony.  That occasion is described by Sir Walter Scott as recorded in William John Loftie's "Westminster Abbey":

'Sir Walter Scott, whose poems and romances did so much in the same direction, himself wrote a description of the scene.

The King's bed was removed from Carlton House to the Speaker's official residence, and he slept on the night of the 18th, we are told, ' in the Tapestry-room, looking out over the Thames,' the last time the old Palace was inhabited by a king. The King arrived at half-past eight and supped with his host. The next morning was as fine as the day which saw the Queen's Jubilee in 1887. The King entered Westminster Hall at ten, and already ' appeared to be somewhat fatigued.' He, however, himself superintended the arrangements, and gave each of the grand functionaries the piece of the regalia which he was to carry. The Dean and Chapter had brought them all over from the Abbey. When he handed the crown to Lord Anglesey he graciously dispensed with his walking backwards in retiring, as the Marquis had lost a leg at Waterloo six years before.

The heat in the Abbey is described as intense. The King in his heavy robes appeared, even at the commencement of the ceremony, to be ' distressed almost to fainting.' He was by no means young, very fat and in bad health. It is strange that he should have been willing to take part in so long a service. But he went through with it to the end, with a personal pluck and courage which showed that even George IV. could sometimes rise to the occasion. At the recognition he stood by his chair ; and he listened to the sermon with his head uncovered. After the coronation he retired for ten minutes into St. Edward's Chapel, and when he came out the church was already half empty, everybody either tired out or anxious to see the procession back. He is described as much encumbered with his splendid attire, but he moved forward and shook hands with his sister the Duchess of Gloucester, before he left the Abbey. The banquet in the Hall took place at five, the procession having only left the Abbey at four. When all was over the King returned to Carlton House in the twilight of the summer evening.

The effect of this pageant on the art and literature of the succeeding period was immense. The revival of a mediaeval ceremonial necessitated the revival of mediaeval art. Heraldry and architecture received the strongest stimulus. Historical novels became the rage ; and, no doubt, a great deal of the hold which the Gothic style took on the building genius of the day must be ascribed to the coronation of George IV. It was as nearly as possible one hundred years since the last Gothic touches were put, under Wren's supervision, to the north transept of the Abbey. During that time the Palladian tradition of Inigo Jones and Wren had died out, and was succeeded by the supposed Greek taste which put the portico to Apsley House and supplied us with the National Gallery, Euston Station, and St. Paneras Church. But the Grecian architecture did not flourish. The best things—the British Museum and St. George's Hall—are conspicuous for their rarity ; and it may be conceded that, only for the wretched ' restoration ' craze which so closely attended it, the Gothic revival was a benefit to architecture...'

Friday, August 6, 2010

Ben Jonson

Ben Jonson is believed to be of Scottish descent, through the Johnstones of Annandale, though he was born and grew up in London.  Jonson's career as a playwright was marked by controversy, and his plays sometimes garnered him an arrest warrant.  Jonson died on August 6, 1637.  A note in Sir Walter Scott's "Life of Dryden" describes him thus:

'Jonson is described as wearing a loose coachman's coat, frequenting the Mermaid tavern, where he drunk seas of Canary, then reeling home to bed, and, after a profuse perspiration, arising to his dramatic studies. Shadwell appears, from the slight traits which remain concerning him, to have followed, as closely as possible, the same course of pleasure and of study. He was brutal in his conversation, and much addicted to the use of opium, to which, indeed, he is said finally to have fallen a victim.

I observe, the ingenious editor of the late excellent edition of Jonson's Works, expresses some indignation at the charge brought against that eminent author in this note, and denies the authority of the letter-writer, who characterises Jonson as indulging in vulgar excess. Few men have more sincere Admiration for Jonson's talents than the present writer. But surely that coarseness of taste, which tainted his powerful mind, is proved from his writings. Many authors of that age are indecent, but Jonson is filthy and gross in his pleasantry, and indulges himself in using the language of scavengers and night-men. His Bartholomew-fair furnishes many examples of this unhappy predilection, and his " Famous Voyage" seems to have disgusted even the zeal of his editor. But, in marking these faults, I was far from meaning to assail the well-earned reputation of " Rare Ben Jonson," who could well afford to be guilty of these sins against decorum, while his writings afford so strong and masculine a support to the cause of virtue and religion. [Sir Walter Scott argues this question with Mr Gilford more at length in his Essay on Hawthornden, in the "Provincial Antiquities." '

Thursday, August 5, 2010

The Summer Tour Reaches Holland

In the wake of Napoleon's defeat at Waterloo (June 18, 1815), Walter Scott's 1815 Tour of Waterloo and Paris (published in John Scott's journal of that name) reached the shores of Helvoet, sailing up the Maes en route to Bergen-op-zoom.

A few words from Walter Scott on first visiting the Antwerp Gate reveal something of what he kept in his memory:

'Thence we proceeded to the Antwerp gate, between which and the water-port gate, an attack was made by the column under General Cooke; and were shown the place, near the former, where Colonel Macdonald fell. A demolished garden, in which part of Cooke's division had sustained severe loss, and the spot where General Skerret was wounded, were also pointed out to us.

While we walked along the ramparts, on which we remarked several of the trees riddled with musket shot, the sky was frequently illuminated with flashes of sheet lightning ; and I well recollect the solemn feelings with which the scene impressed us, when listening to the melancholy details given us of this bold, though unfortunate attempt; " and heard," as Sir W. Scott relates, " from below the hollow roll of the drums announcing the setting of the watch, and the deep and sullen ' Wer da' of the sentinels, as they challenged those who passed their station." *
* See Paul's Letters, letter ii...'

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Battle of Evesham

A part of the Second Barons' War, the Battle of Eesham took place on August 4, 1265.  The battle pitted Prince Edward - later Edward I of England - against Simon de Montfort, the Earl of Leicester. 

Leicester in 1265 was the most powerful person in England.  He had defeated King Henry III in 1264 at the Battle of Lewes, and held Henry and his sons Edward and Richard as captives.  Edward escaped in May 1265, with the aid of Gilbert de Clare, a former ally of Leicester's. 

Edward soon displayed some of the military prowess, and ruthlessness that marked his reign.  He gathered Royalist forces, and made a surprise attack on Kenilworth Castle, where Simon de Montfort's son Simon was in charge.

The elder Simon was en route to Kenilworth at the time, reaching Evesham on August 3rd.  The battle the following day was one-sided, with Edward having the advantage in terms of position and numbers.  Leicester and his son Henry were slaughtered on the field of battle, along with most of their forces.

Walter Scott set his novel "Kenilworth" in the historical Kenilworth Castle, with this description from the text:

'At length the princely Castle appeared, upon improving which, and the domains around, the Earl of Leicester had, it is said, expended sixty thousand pounds sterling, a sum equal to half a million of our present money.

The outer wall of this splendid and gigantic structure enclosed seven acres, a part of which was occupied by extensive stables, and by a pleasure garden, with its trim arbours and parterres, and the rest formed the large base-court or outer yard of the noble Castle. The lordly structure itself, which rose near the centre of this spacious enclosure, was composed of a huge pile of magnificent castellated buildings, apparently of different ages, surrounding an inner court, and bearing in the names attached to each portion of the magnificent mass, and in the armorial bearings which were there blazoned, the emblems of mighty chiefs who had long passed away, and whose history, could Ambition have lent ear to it, might have read a lesson to the haughty favourite who had now acquired and was augmenting the fair domain. A large and massive Keep, which formed the citadel of the Castle, was of uncertain though great antiquity. It bore the name of Caesar, perhaps from its resemblance to that in the Tower of London so called. Some antiquaries ascribe its foundation to the time of Kenelph, from whom the Castle had its name, a Saxon King of Mercia, and others to an early era after the Norman Conquest. On the exterior walls frowned the scutcheon of the Clintons, by whom they were founded in the reign of Henry I.; and of the yet more redoubted Simon de Montfort, by whom, during the Barons' wars, Kenilworth was long held out against Henry III...'

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Wallace Betrayed

'There is something singularly doubtful about the mode in which Wallace was taken. That he was betrayed to the English is indubitable ; and popular fame charges Sir John Menteith with the indelible infamy. " Accursed," says Arnold Blair, " be the day of nativity of John de Menteith, and may " his name be struck out of the book of life." But John de Menteith was all along a zealous favourer of the English interest, and was governor of Dumbarton Castle by commission from Edward the First; and therefore, as the accurate Lord Hailes has observed, could not be the friend and confidant of Wallace, as tradition states him to be. The truth seems to be, that Menteith thoroughly engaged in the English interest, pursued Wallace closely, and made him prisoner through the treachery of an attendant, whom Peter Langtoft calls Jack Short.

" WilliamWaleis is noinen that master was of theves,
Tiding to the King is comen that robbery mischeivs,
Sir John of Menetest sued William so nigh,
He tok him when he ween'd least, on night, his leman him by,
That was through treason of Jack Short his man,
He was the encheson that Sir John so him ran,
Jack's brother had he slain, the Walleis that is said,
The more Jack was fain to do William that braid."

From this it would appear that the infamy of seizing Wallace, must rest between a degenerate Scottish nobleman, the vassal of England, and a domestic, the obscure agent of his treachery ; between Sir John Menteith, son of Walter, Earl of Menteith, and the traitor Jack Short.'
History has ascribed guilt to John de Menteith for betraying William Wallace to the English.  This deed occurred on August 3, 1305.  Menteith was Scottish, but loyal to King Edward I, who'd appointed him Governor of Dunbarton Castle.  Walter Scott includes one Jack Short as a facilitator, based on the chronicle of Peter Langtoft, who was a canon of the Augustinian Priory in Bridlington.  The text above is included in the notes to Canto Second of "The Lord of the Isles", published in "The Poetical Works of Sir Walter Scott".

Monday, August 2, 2010

Battle of the Nile

The Battle of the Nile took place on August 2, 1798.  In this battle, Napoleon's navy under Vice Admiral Francois-Paul Brueys D'Aigalliers was defeated by the British Royal Navy under Admiral Horatio Nelson.  The British navy gained the upper hand in the Napoleonic Wars with this victory.

Walter Scott references this battle in the line 'On Egypt...' in his poem Marmion.

'Nor mourn ye less his perished worth,
Who bade the conqueror go forth,
And launch'd that thunderbolt of war
On Egypt, Hafnia, Trafalgar;
Who, born to guide such high emprize,
For Britain's weal was early wise;
Alas! to whom the Almighty gave,
For Britain's sins, an early grave!
His worth, who, in his mightiest hour,
A bauble held the pride of power,
Spum'd at the sordid lust of pelf,
And served his Albion for herself;
Who, when the frantic crowd amain
Strain'd at subjection's bursting rein,
O'er their wild mood full conquest gain'd,
The pride, he would not crush, restrain'd,
Show'd their fierce zeal a worthier cause,
And brought the freeman's arm, to aid the freeman's laws...'

Sunday, August 1, 2010


From "The Battle of Otterbourne", collected in "The Minstrelsy of the Scottish Border".

It fell about the Lammas tide,

When yeomen win their hay,
The dochty Douglas 'gan to ride,
In England to take a prey.'"
" Out then spoke a bonny boy,
That serv'd ane o' Earl Douglas' kin—
' Methinks I see an English host,
A coming branking us upon.'

" ' If this be true, thou little foot page,
If this be true thou tells to me,
The brawest bower in Otterbourne
Shall be thy morning's fee.

" ' But if it be false, thou little boy !
But and a lie thou tells to me,
On the highest tree in Otterbourne,
Wi' my ain hands, I'll hang the hie! '
'' The boy has ta'en out his little penknife,
That hung right low down by his gare,
And he gave Lord Douglas a deadly wound,
I wot a deep wound and a sare.

" Earl Douglas to the Montgomery said,
' Take thou the vanguard of the three ;
And bury me by the braken bush,
That grows upon yon lilye lee.'"
Lammas, or loaf-mass day, occurs on August 1st, and is one of the four main pagan festivals of the year.  The Gule of August, as the day is also known was practiced in Lothian into the middle of the eighteenth century, a generation before Scott was born.
From the Book of Days, this description of Lammas Day activities: From the unenclosed state of the country, the tending of cattle then employed a great number of hands, and the cow-boys, being more than half idle, were much disposed to unite in seeking and creating amusement. In each little district, a group of them built, against Lammas-day, a tower of stones and sods in some conspicuous place. On Lammas-morning, they assembled here, bearing flags, and blowing cow-horns—breakfasted together on bread and cheese, or other provisions—then set out on a march or procession, which usually ended in a foot-race for some trifling prize. The most remarkable feature of these rustic fetes was a practice of each party trying, before or on the day, to demolish the sod fortalice of some other party near by. This, of course, led to great fights and brawls, in which blood was occasionally spilt.