23rd March 1813

Some riotous vagabonds broke severall of the public Lamps and the Windows of the Grammar School and the English School taught  by Mr Bell besides the windows of severall private people and have hitherto escaped detection.

The weather wet and cold.

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4 thoughts on “23rd March 1813

  1. My Dear Lucas,

    Well I remember the Town building the new school up Castle Hill. Twenty-five years ago it must be now. I remember, too, the noisy games of football the lads played on the land opposite. Whether the rules of the game were strictly followed was another matter altogether.

    I fear this open space attracted many a rough character lounging with mischievous intent of an evening, and recall numerous instances of broken panes of glass in the school. I have heard rumour since that the Town got heartily sick of the expense incurred through replacement, and finally left it to the masters themselves to shoulder the burden.

    Christopher Bell must have served the Town well-nigh forty-odd years now. My recollection is that he came from Campsie in 1771, and eventually became headmaster and a man of some standing and popularity in the town. The poet Burns enjoyed his company, too, when he visited the town, noting – “Bell, a joyous fellow, who sings a good song.”

    He was not so complimentary in his opinion of the rector of the Grammar School, Dr Doig. If you recall, Lucas, Burns thought him ‘a queerish figure and something of a pedant’. Perhaps Doig was ill-afflicted on the occasion they met, as I recall he was otherwise held in high regard.

    Speaking of ill-afflictions, the laudanum and wine seem to have dissipated the ague, and have been discontinued. Strangely enough, the world now appears a shade more bleak. I suspect it is the time of year, together with this infernal weather.

    Yours, etc.,
    Nathaniel Blyss.

    • Nathaniel Bliss

      Dear Sir,

      Burns, a man of opinion and wit – one recalls his ‘Stirling Lines’ of 1787, written on the window of his room with a diamond pen, no less:

      “Here Stewarts once in triumph reigned, And laws for Scotland’s weal ordained; But now unroofed their palace stands, Their sceptre’s swayed by other hands; Fallen, indeed, and to the earth Whence grovelling reptiles take their birth, The injured Stewart line is gone. A race outlandish fills their throne; An idiot race, to honour lost; Who knows them best despite them most!”

      though it is said he realised his lines gave offence and broke the window to erase them.

      Aye, infernal weather indeed – it would be all too easy to become forfochen with it. However the peezies are back, the hawthorn leaves are bursting and the hares are boxing on the carse, so despite the blowing snow and snell easterly wind, spring must be on the way, albeit slowly….

      Kind regards, Stirling Council Archive

      • My Dear Sirs,

        Should you find yourself truly forfochen, may I suggest liberal amounts of tonic wine? Perhaps the ladies would prefer some gentle needlework, or a nap in the afternoon.

        Your humble servant,
        Nathaniel Blyss.

      • Dear Bliss,

        A sensible suggestion, dear Sir.

        Naps are always useful.

        I shall ring the servants to bring my robe and shall retire and find a chaise lounge for the aforementioned nap.

        Kind regards,

        Stirling Archive

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