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alas! a stranger appeared in place of their own little one. Yet the stranger seemed to them like an angel. Her cheeks had a beautiful bloom, and long flaxen hair fell in curls upon her shoulders. She brought to them bread, and a small basket of other provisions. Your girl," she said, ' will not come back perhaps to-day; but keep up your spirits ! See what she has sent you !' After these encouraging words, the young messenger of good put into the hands of the father five francs, and then, turning round to cast a look of pity and satisfaction on the poor family, who were dumb with emotion, she disappeared.
The history of these five francs is the most remark. able part of this affair. This little benevolent fairy was, it is almost unnecessary to say, the same pitying spectator who had been addressed by the abstractor of the loaf at the police-office. As soon as she had heard what was said there, she had gone away, resolved to take some meat to the poor family. But she remembered that her mamma was from home that day, and was at a loss how to procure money or food, until she bethought herself of a resource of a strange kind. She recollected that a hairdresser, who lived near her mother's house, and who knew her family, had often commended her beautiful hair, and had told her to come to him whenever she wished to have it cut, and he would give her a louis for it. This used to make her proud and pleased, but she now thought of it in a different way. In order to procure money for the assistance of the starving family, she went straight to the hairdressers, put him in mind of his promise, and offered to let him cut off all her pretty locks for what he thought them worth.
Naturally surprised by such an application, the hairdresser, who was a kind and intelligent man, made inquiry into the cause of his young friend's visit. Her secret was easily drawn from her, and it caused the hairdresser almost to shed tears of pleasure. He feigned to comply with the conditions proposed, and gave the bargainer fifteen francs, promising to come and claim his purchase at some future day. The little girl then got a basket, bought provisions, and set out on her errand of mercy, Before she returned, the hairdresser had gone to her mother's, found that lady come home, and related to her the whole circumstances ; so that, when the possessor of the golden tresses came back, she was gratified by being received into the open arms of her pleased and praising parent.
When the story was told at the police-office by the hairdresser, the abstraction of the loaf was visited by no severe punishment. The singular circumstances connected with the case, raised many friends to the artisan and his family, and he was soon restored to health and comfort.
LATEWA KE ENTERTAINMENTS.
IDLE and extravagant as some of our funeral customs continue to be, they bear no comparison with what prevailed some sixty or eighty years ago ; even within the last thirty years, a very great improvement has taken place in this branch of our domestic economy. The most remarkable thing about the old Scotch funeral customs, was the high degree of jovialty which prevailed. The interval of a few days which elapsed between the death and burial of an individual, was little else than a period of continual feasting, and the house bore more resemblance to a tavern in the height of business, than to a dwelling of sorrow and lamentation.
We are old enough to remember some of these remarkable ongoings, and their gradual subsidence into comparative decency and sobriety. First in the series of entertainments, came the ' dressing of the corpse, which was attended by all the female acquaintances of the family, and also some of the more intimate male friends at a later period of the evening. In every town there was at least one old lady who followed the profession of making cerements, and she, of course, on occasions of this nature, figured as mistress of the ceremonies. The body of the defunct, under her directions, was now, seen laid out in a sort of state, with the pure white habiliments spreading in all their amplitude around the sides of the bed, and hanging from the top in tastefully disposed festoons.
Next in the order of ceremonies was the chesting,' or laying of the body of the deceased in the coffin ; and this generally took place, in the midst of a great number of friends, on the evening previous to the day appointed for the funeral. The chesting, being an assemblage rather more of a private than of a public nature, was immediately followed by the “ latewake;' a lengthy entertainment, or series of entertainments, at which perhaps some hundreds of persons attended by invitation. The latewake was in fact a regular carousal, lasting the greater part of the night. Inasmuch as some prim old female fashioner had superintended the ceremony of laying out the corpse, so now the undertaker, who was some douce old carpenter, reputed for his skill in coffin-making and grace-saying, acted as master of the revels. If the number of the acquaintances of the family was considerable, the duties of this most respectable functionary were by no means trifling. In order to serve all equally, so many guests were invited at one hour, and so many at another, by which there was a fresh company every hour, and to each the same attentions were shewn. Yet it rarely happened that the whole of each company was cleared out; there was always a remnant, composed of a few drouthy neebours,' who felt themselves particularly comfortable both in respect of drink and conversation, so that a leavening of the same individuals may be said to have been kept up from first to last through the entire latewake. Now, to meet such contingencies as these, and keeping in view that each new service required a new benediction, it was of importance that the undertaker should be a man possessed of a considerable number of graces : the same over and over again would have been intolerable to the remnant of drouthy neebours aforesaid. Well do we remember old Laird Grieve, a worthy famous alike for his coffins, his jests, and his latewake graces ; and we daresay many of our readers whose remembrance carries them back to the period to which we refer, must have similar recollections of the class of undertakers of which the laird was a sample.
At these latewakes, which were universal through the country, an immense deal of viands was consumed. The staple articles of entertainment were generally whisky, beer, cheese, bread, and tobacco — producing oceans of punch, mountains of bread and cheese, and clouds of smoke. To shew to what wasteful extravagance these carousals were sometimes carried, we need only mention, that, at the latewake and other funeral entertainments of the great-grandfather of the present writer-a person moving in a respectable but comparatively humble rank of life, who died between seventy and ninety years since -sixteen stones of cheese and a stone of tobacco, with a number of gallons of whisky and beer, were consumed. A game, of which we do not know the exact nature, but which was called Dishyloof, was played, and the feast continued for upwards of two days.
On other occasions, we have heard, the young people of both sexes would engage in games of forfeits, which raised the merry-making to a pitch still more removed from the decorum which seems to a rational mind proper to the occasion. Sometimes the house would be so full, that parties were fain to sit on the front of the very bed containing the corpse.
The following strange story connected with a latewake was related in the Scots Magazine, a few years before it terminated :—Mr William Craighead, author of a popular system of arithmetic, was parish schoolmaster of Monifieth, situate upon the estuary of the Tay, about six miles east from Dundee. It would appear that Mr Craighead was
then a young man, fond of a frolic, without being very scrupulous about the means, or calculating the consequences. There was a latewake in the neighbourhood, attended by a number of his acquaintance, according to the custom of the times; Craighead procured a confederate, with whom he concerted a plan to draw the watchers from the house, or at least from the room where the corpse lay. Having succeeded in this, he dexterously removed the dead body to an outer-house, while his companion occupied the place of the corpse in the bed where it had lain. It was agreed upon between the confederates, that when the company was reassembled, Craighead was to join them, and at a concerted signal the impostor was to rise shrouded like the dead man, while the two were to enjoy the terror and alarm of their companions. Mr Craighead came in, and after being some time seated, the signal was made, but met no attention—he was rather surprised: it was repeated, and still neglected. Mr Craighead in his turn now became alarmed, for he conceived it impossible that his companion could have fallen asleep in that situation-his uneasiness became insupportable-he went to the bed—and found his companion lifeless! Mr Craighead's feelings, as may well be imagined, now entirely overpowered him, and the dreadful fact was disclosed. Their agitation was extreme, and it was far from being alleviated when every attempt to restore animation to the thoughtless young man proved abortive. As soon as their confusion would permit, an inquiry was made after the original corpse : Mr Craighead and another went to fetch it, but—it was not to be found! The alarm and consternation of the company was now redoubled; that of Mrs Craighead was little short of distraction. Daylight came without relieving their agitation; no trace of the corpse could be discovered, and Mr Craighead was accused as the primum mobile of all that had happened. He was incapable of sleeping, and wandered several days and nights in search of the body, which was at last discovered in the parish of Tealing, deposited in a field about six miles distant from the place from whence it was removed. It