Gauger in a Pit.
An Account of a Gauger's Travels betwixt Edinburgh and Gilmerton, after Smuggled
Whisky. His meeting with a party of Colliers, who conveyed him to the bottom of
a Coal Pit ; the awful Dream he had while in the pit : with the curious Trial, and Sen-
tence given by the Colliers.
IT is an old proverb, that two is better than one; that only one takes when both follow the same pur-
suit, a proof of this you shall have in the tragic story of a Gauger going a smuggler hunting; it being
in winter, and the night very cold and frosty, he considered it his duty to take a confident along with
him, for which he chose a bottle of good whisky, but unfortunately for the Gauger, he never consulted
the bottle to see if it was of the same mind as himself, for if the guager was on the pursuit for smugglers,
it appeared that the bottle was on the pursuit of gaugers. At this time he was stationed in the neigh-
bourhood of Edinburgh, and had received information of a party of smugglers who were coming from
Gilmerton with a cargo of spirits, the expectation of the seizure enticed this member of excise a few
miles in the country, and as I have mentloned, he took his companion the bottle of whisky, and when they
arrived at their destination they hide themselves for some time at the back of a ditch, when the gauger
found himself beginning to shiver, and thought it prudent to take advice from the mouth of his com-
rade, whether they would walk on or not ; but the bottle was content any way, so after he had receiv-
ed the cordial advice from the bottle he laid himself down, ' And as he lay, he lov'd the treacherous
friend that every sence remov'd' So I have before mentioned, the night was extremely cold, which
made the mind of the Exciseman uncommon fickle and he took many advices from the bottle, whether he
would nor would not go forward and meet the Smugglers, but the many advices, had turned the Gau-
ger's brains, for when he rose he took the countrary road, which lead to a coal work near Gilmerton, but
did not advance a great way till he fell, and not being able to rise he fell fast asleep, and there he lay ex-
posed to every evil of the night and drunkenness, but providence, who is kind to the unthankful cast
him in the way of some collier houses, who, as they were going to their work, found the unfortunate
wretch sound asleep, and almost dead with cold, and having a guess of their stranger, for curiosity they
lifted the guager, and put him inio'a creel, and carried him down the pit and laid him in a corner, and
went to their work, leaving the Guager to take his nap.
As the whisky began to deaden, he began to dream that he was hanging over a precipic with a river
running under him, from which he made many attempts to drink ; but as he got to the river, flashes of
fire struck between him and the water the torment of which was insufferable; but at last he awaked
finding himself in a land of darkness; for after he had felt all arround him, and found nothing but rocks,
he uttered some tremendous roars, at the hearing of which, the colliers came to see what was wrong ;
and as they approached him with their lamps in their hands, he considered them devils, and that he was
in hell; and the colliers asked him what made him roar so loud ??Gauger, Because I am dead. Collier,
Did you die ? Gauger, I do not know. Collier, Had you any trouble ? Gauger, The last thing that
I mind of was being druuk. Collier, And what brought you here ? Gauger, I do not know. Collier,
Do you know who's speaking to you ? Gauger, It is your honour, Mr. Devil.?Collier, What was you I
' Gauger, I was an officer of Excise in the last world, but God knows what I'm to be in this?Bad en-
ough, said the collier. But you have committed some crimes in the other world, for no person comes
here without crimes, and of yours we have a list, but we mean to extort confession from your own mouth '
at the hearing of the confession, the gauger clawed his head; but the collier told him that if he should
conceal the truth, or equivocate, they would station him on labour never to end; at the hearing of
which the gauger proceeded as follows :? May it please your Devilship, I have been a great sinner, for in
my youth I got a lass with child, and swore her out of it, I then married, and to the marriage-bed, I
have been dishonourable ; besides I was in the habit of taking bribes from smugglers ; and about a fort-
night back I went to the house of a poor man and seized a still ; and after seizing it I made a present of
. it to his wife for a kiss ; and after getting my will I seat another gauger and seized it' At hearing the
confession, the colliers held a court upon the offender, when it was considered, that the punishment
would to be send him back to the other world ; 1st, To father the child 2d. To be chase to the marriage
bed. 3d. Restore the value of the Still to the woman, and give up the excise. So, after they imposed
the oaths necessary, they sent him up in the bucket, and he was glad to see the creation again; but soon.
forgot his Promiser.
Printed for ROBERT MARTIN.
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Date of publication:
1830-1850 shelfmark: L.C.1268
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