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wages consisted of sheep, instead of money. For example, William Gladstone was hired for a year to “had (hold) the plough” for“ five sheep's gress, and 31. 1os.” Walter Hoom was to herd the nolt for a lam and five sheep's gress ;” and James Anderson was engaged for “a pair of shoes, and an ell of linsey, and il. 35." Among other curious entries is the following :-“ Anne Heaslop gets her house free this year because she biggit (built) it last year.” The houses were built of turf; and it seems they were constructed by the families, who got them free of rent for one year on that account. The kind of fare on which these Border families lived will appear from the following entry, in 1752 :—“The meel that served Walter Hyslop's family a year is 3 bolls and a half of oat meel, and 23 pecks of bear meal, and a boll and a half of bear, and half a boll of peas." Among other items there appears now and again, “Skins given to my wife for the use of the house." The wool of those skins was, doubtless, used for the manufacture of home-spun cloth, as we find numerous entries of wages paid for spinning, and we know from other sources that the tenants of those days wore cloth made of waulked plaiding, very coarse, and rarely dyed, but having a picturesque appearance from the mixture of black and white wool. The same process may still be seen among the outlying Hebrides. What stockings or hose were in use consisted of white plaiding cloth sewed together. The ordinary dress of clergymen was a blue coat, corduroy knee-breeches, and black stockings. The household expenses must have been very trifling, for the grocer's account is as follows :—“Paid John Elliot, in Castleton, for merchant goods gotten from him betwixt WhitSunday, 1748, and Martinmas, 1749, 41. 29. 3d.” This must have been the grocer's account for eighteen months. In the accounts there is mention of beer, but nothing about whisky, which had not then come into common use except among the upper classes. There is nothing said about tea ; and, indeed, a number of farmers in Ayrshire had only a very few years previously subscribed the following :-“We, being all farmers by profession, think it needless to restrain ourselves formally from indulging in that foreign and consumptive beverage called tea : for when we consider the slender constitutions of many of higher rank, amongst whom it is used, we conclude that it would be but an improper diet to qualify us for the more robust and manly parts of our business; and, therefore, we shall only give our testimony against it, and leave the enjoyment of it altogether to those who can afford to be weak, indolent, and useless."
Forty years after the date of these extracts, a son of Robert Elliot was visited by Walter Scott, and was one of the living embodiments of Dandie Dinmont, the rough but hospitable and generous Liddesdale farmer who forms so prominent a figure in “Guy Mannering.” In the autumn of 1792, Scott, then a young advocate, was at Jedburgh, in attendance on the circuit court of justiciary; and then he entered Liddesdale for the first time in quest of those ballads which were afterwards published as the Border Minstrelsy. It was literally a “raid,” for no wheeled conveyance had ever entered that pastoral region; and all the traffic was on the backs of ponies. Scott was accompanied by Robert Shortreed, sheriff of Roxburghshire, who was well-known in the whole
county, and the first evening they alighted at Millburnholm, the abode of Willie Elliot, with whom Shortreed was well acquainted. When informed that the stranger was an advocate from Edinburgh, Willie was in some trepidation ; but was relieved when he saw Scott making himself friendly with half a dozen dogs of all degrees which had gathered round the wayfarers. He then whispered to Shortreed, “Weel, Robin, deil hae me if I'se be a bit feared for him now ; he's just a chield like ourselves, I think.” Willie Elliot and Scott very speedily became great friends over the punch-bowl ; for whisky punch had found its way into Liddesdale within the previous forty years; and till his death, many years afterwards, Willie was frank and generous in his convivial hospitality. According to Mr. Shortreed, Willie was the great original of Dandie Dinmont; and this opinion is adopted by Lockhart, to the extent that “ As he seems to have been the first of these upland sheep-farmers that Scott ever visited, there can be little doubt that he sat for some parts of that inimitable portraiture.” To this day the description of the locality of Dandie would almost literally apply. “There's mair hares than sheep on my farm ; and as for grey fowl, they are as thick as doos in a dookit.” Eight years ago, the house where Willie Elliot entertained Walter Scott was still standing ; and it was a fair specimen of the antique Scottish farm-house. It had a thatched roof, a chimney of rushes, and, at the door, a stone-and-turf erection known as the “loupin-on-stane." There were no wheeled vehicles; and the ordinary mode of transit was for the wife to ride on horseback behind her husband. The good dame ascended the “loupinon-stane,” which had three or four steps, and thence transferred herself to the “pad” behind her husband. It was, therefore, a necessary appendage to every farm-house, and to every kirk and ale-house. The house of Millburnholm had only two moderate-sized rooms, a very small parlour opening off one of the others, and two attic rooms so low in the roof that a man of ordinary size could not stand upright. Here Willie Elliot had a visit from Scott every year, for six or seven years, at the close of the last century; and here he spent a quiet, hospitable, patriarchal sort of life for many years. After his death the farm was joined to another, and Millburnholm became a shepherd's house.
J. T. Kelso, March, 1870.
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