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The Laird o' Coul's Ghost   By:

The Laird o' Coul's Ghost by Anonymous

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The Laird o' Coul's Ghost.


The Laird o' Coul's Ghost.




The MS. of Coul's Ghost was found among the Papers of Collector Hamilton, of Dalzell (pronounced Dëëll ), who died in the summer of 1788, aged 91 years. This incident made him 25 years old when this Story was fledged, which was in 1722. In 1733 Lady Anne Spencer, Duchess of Hamilton, came to Hamilton Palace, and the Collector gave to Her Grace this Story to read. The Duke, to play a practical joke on the Collector, caused one of his servants to whisper to him while at supper, that there was a Gentleman calling, who desired to see him immediately. Being asked Who he was, the valet answered, " The Laird o' Coul ." The Guests were all amused at the Collector's embarrassment, who sat still and allowed the "Gentleman" to await in the Hall!

The Laird o' Coul's Ghost first appeared in type in 1750, and was eagerly bought by all and sundry from the Flying Stationers who hawked it about the country. Mrs. Ogilvie delivered it to Watkins, the King's Printer, which was Published from Newcastle. In 1788 a fanatical character, Mrs. Elizabeth Steuart, of Coltness, termed "Aunt Betty," became a convert to the Halcyon notions of Emmanuel Swedenborg, founder of "the New Jerusalem Sect." This personage was related to Henry Erskine, Lord Advocate for Scotland, and was enraptured with the Penny Chap Book: so much so that she embodied it in her "Remarks and Illustrations of the World of Spirits," which she strictly enjoined her Nephew to print after her decease. Not a Copy of this Brochure of 206 pages is in any of our University Libraries; and a few weeks ago £3 3s. were paid for a soiled copy. "Aunt Betty" does not miss to note one point in The Laird o' Coul's Ghost that may insinuate her imaginations about Angels and the Unseen; while she adverts to the Ghosts of Lord Clarendon, Sir George Villiars, the father of the Duke of Buckingham, and to the Dialogue of Dives and Lazarus, in that remarkable Parable. She ferreted out from Mrs. Henrietta Hog, Edinburgh, daughter of the Rev. Mr. Ogilvie, Innerwick, that the Sequel was undoubtedly the genuine Copy in her father's handwriting. No declaration has been given how the MS. came into Collector Hamilton's possession. Mr. Ogilvie died soon after the Conference.

J. F. S. G.


The First Conference

An Account of Mr. Maxwell Laird of Coul his Appearance after Death to Mr. Ogilvie a Minister of the present Establishment at Innerwick, 3 Miles East from Dunbar.

Upon the 3d Day of February, 1722, at seven a clock at Night after I had parted with Thurston [his Name Cant], and was coming up the Burial Road, one came riding up after me: upon hearing the Noise of his Horse's feet, I took it to be Thurston, but upon looking back, and seeing the Horse of a greyish Colour, I called "Who is there?" The Answer was, "The Laird of Coul [his Name Maxwell], be not afraid." Then looking to him by the Help of the dark Light which the Moon afforded, I took him to be Collector Castellow designing to put a Trick upon me, and immediately I struck at him with all my Force, with my Cane, thinking I mould leave upon him a Mark, to make him remember his Presumption; but being sensible I aimed as well as ever I did in my Life, yet my Cane finding no Resistance, but flying out of my Hand the Distance of about 60 Feet, and observing it by its white Head, I dismounted and took it up, and had some Difficulty in mounting again, what by the ramping of my Horse, and what by Reason of a certain Kind of Trembling throughout my whole Joints; Something likewise of Anger had its share in the Confusion; for, as I thought, he laughed when my Staff flew away; Coming up with him again, who halted all the Time I sought my Staff, I asked once more, "Who he was?" He answered, "The Laird of Coul... Continue reading book >>

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