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The Private Memoirs and Confessions of A Justified Sinner James Hogg

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All his clothes that were sewed with linen yam were lying in separate portions, the thread having rotten; but such as were sewed with worsted remained perfectly firm and sound. Among such a confusion, we had hard work to find out all his pockets, and our guide supposed that, after all, we did not find above the half of them. In his vest pocket was a long clasp-knife, very sharp; the haft was thin, and the scales shone as if there had been silver inside. Mr. Sc--t took it with him, and presented it to his neighbour, Mr. R--n, of W--n L--e, who still has it in his possession. We found a comb, a gimblet, a vial, a small neat square board, a pair of plated knee-buckles, and several samples of cloth of different kinds, rolled neatly up within one another. At length, while we were busy on the search, Mr. L--t picked up a leathern case, which seemed to have been wrapped round and round by some ribbon, or cord, that had been rotten from it, for the swaddling marks still remained. Both L--w and B--e called out that "it was the tobacco spleuchan, and a well-filled ane too"; but, on opening it out, we found, to our great astonishment, that it contained a printed pamphlet. We were all curious to see what sort of a pamphlet such a person would read; what it could contain that he seemed to have had such a care about. For the slough in which it was rolled was fine chamois leather; what colour it had been could not be known. But the pamphlet was wrapped so close together, and so damp, rotten, and yellow that it seemed one solid piece. We all concluded from some words that we could make out that it was a religious tract, but that it would be impossible to make anything of it. Mr. L--w remarked marked that it was a great pity if a few sentences could not be made out, for that it was a question what might be contained in that little book; and then he requested Mr. L--t to give it to me, as he had so many things of literature and law to attend to that he would never think more of it. He replied that either of us were heartily welcome to it, for that he had thought of returning it into the grave, if he could have made out but a line or two, to have seen what was its tendency.

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"Grave, man!" exclaimed L--w, who speaks excellent strong broad Scotch. "My truly, but ye grave weel! I wad esteem the contents o' that spleuchan as the most precious treasure. I'll tell you what it is, sir: I hae often wondered how it was that this man's corpse has been miraculously preserved frae decay, a hunder times langer than any other body's, or than ever a tanner's. But now I could wager a guinea it has been for the preservation o' that little book. And Lord kens what may be in't! It will maybe reveal some mystery that mankind disna ken naething about yet."

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The Private Memoirs and Confessions of A Justified Sinner
James Hogg

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