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POPULAR REPROACHES. 75
mucli at a loss how to arrang-e this aiFair with a man of so
much consequence ; at last, it was agreed that the provost
should only flourish the emblem three times before his
mouth, and then present it to be similarly treated by the
prince ; all of which was done according'ly, and passed off
well. For some inexplicable reason, the above couplet
is opprobrious to the people of Selkirk ; and if any of my
readers will parade the main street of the old burgh,
crying- it at a moderate pitch of voice, he may depend
upon receiving' as comfortable a lapidation as his heart
could desire.
It is said that the burg-h of Lanark was, till very recent
times, so poor, that the single butcher of the town, who also
exercised the calling of a weaver, in order to till up his spare
time, would never venture upon so great a speculation as that
of killing a sheep till every part of the animal was bespoken.
When he felt disposed to engage in such an enterprise, he
usually prevailed upon the minister, the provost, and the
town-council to take shares; but when no person came
forward to order the fourth quarter, the sheep received a
respite till better times. The bellman, or skcUi/man, as he is
there called, used to go through the streets of Lanark with
advertisements, such as are embodied in the following popu-
lar rhyme : —
Bell-eU-eU!
There's a fat sheep to kill ! —
A leg for the provost,
Another for the priest,
Tlie bailies and deacons
Thefn tak the neist ;
And if the fourth leg we cannot sell,
The sheep it maun live, and gae back to the hill !
This rhyme, which is well known over all Clydesdale,
may excite the ridicule of people who live in large cities,
and have the command of plentiful markets; and the
respectable little town of Lanark may thereby suffer in the
estimation of its more fortunate neighbours. Yet it is not,
or was not, alone in this occasion of reproach. In many
small towns beef is unheard of, except once a-week ; and
in such cases the ceremony of advertisement is still gone

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