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The Annals of the Parish by John Galt

Part 3 out of 4

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Scotland, with her sober presbyterian simplicity, should borrow,
either in word or in deed, from the language of the prelatic
hierarchy of England. Nevertheless, the younger part of the
congregation were loud in his praise, saying, there had not been
heard before such a style of language in our side of the country.
As for Mrs Malcolm, his mother, when I spoke to her anent the same,
she said but little, expressing only her hope that his example would
be worthy of his precepts; so that, upon the whole, it was a
satisfaction to us all, that he was likely to prove a stoop and
upholding pillar to the Kirk of Scotland. And his mother had the
satisfaction, before she died, to see him a placed minister, and his
name among the authors of his country; for he published at Edinburgh
a volume of Moral Essays, of which he sent me a pretty bound copy,
and they were greatly creditable to his pen, though lacking somewhat
of that birr and smeddum that is the juice and flavour of books of
that sort.


The features of this Ann. Dom. partook of the character of its
predecessor. Several new houses were added to the clachan;
Cayenneville was spreading out with weavers' shops, and growing up
fast into a town. In some respects it got the start of ours; for
one day, when I was going to dine with Mr Cayenne at Wheatrig House,
not a little to my amazement, did I behold a bookseller's shop
opened there, with sticks of red and black wax, pouncet-boxes, pens,
pocket-books, and new publications, in the window, such as the like
of was only to be seen in cities and borough towns. And it was
lighted at night by a patent lamp, which shed a wonderful beam,
burning oil, and having no smoke. The man sold likewise perfumery,
powder-puffs, trinkets, and Dublin dolls, besides penknives, Castile
soap, and walking-sticks, together with a prodigy of other luxuries
too tedious to mention.

Upon conversing with the man, for I was enchanted to go into this
phenomenon, for as no less could I regard it, he told me that he had
a correspondence with London, and could get me down any book
published there within the same month in which it came out; and he
showed me divers of the newest come out, of which I did not read
even in the Scots Magazine till more than three months after,
although I had till then always considered that work as most
interesting for its early intelligence. But what I was most
surprised to hear, was, that he took in a daily London newspaper for
the spinners and weavers, who paid him a penny a-week a-piece for
the same; they being all greatly taken up with what, at the time,
was going on in France.

This bookseller in the end, however, proved a whawp in our nest, for
he was in league with some of the English reformers; and when the
story took wind three years after, concerning the plots and treasons
of the corresponding societies and democrats, he was fain to make a
moonlight flitting, leaving his wife for a time to manage his
affairs. I could not, however, think any ill of the man
notwithstanding; for he had very correct notions of right and
justice, in a political sense, and when he came into the parish he
was as orderly and well-behaved as any other body; and conduct is a
test that I have always found as good for a man's principles as
professions. Nor, at the time of which I am speaking, was there any
of that dread or fear of reforming the government that has since
been occasioned by the wild and wasteful hand which the French
employed in their revolution.

But, among other improvements, I should mention that a Doctor
Marigold came and settled in Cayenneville, a small, round, happy-
tempered man, whose funny stories were far better liked than his
drugs. There was a doubt among some of the weavers if he was a
skilful Esculapian; and this doubt led to their holding out an
inducement to another medical man, Dr. Tanzey, to settle there
likewise, by which it grew into a saying, that at Cayenneville there
was a doctor for health as well as sickness; for Dr. Marigold was
one of the best hands in the country at a pleasant punch-bowl, while
Dr. Tanzey had all the requisite knowledge for the faculty for the

It was in this year that the hour-plate and hand on the kirk steeple
were renewed, as indeed, may yet be seen by the date, though it be
again greatly in want of fresh gilding; for it was by my advice that
the figures of the Ann. Dom. were placed one in each corner. In
this year, likewise, the bridge over the Brawl burn was built--a
great convenience, in the winter time, to the parishioners that
lived on the north side; for when there happened to be a spait on
the Sunday, it kept them from the kirk; but I did not find that the
bridge mended the matter, till after the conclusion of the war
against the democrats, and the beginning of that which we are now
waging with Boney, their child and champion. It is, indeed,
wonderful to think of the occultation of grace that was taking place
about this time, throughout the whole bound of Christendom; for I
could mark a visible darkness of infidelity spreading in the corner
of the vineyard committed to my keeping, and a falling away of the
vines from their wonted props and confidence in the truths of
Revelation. But I said nothing. I knew that the faith could not be
lost, and that it would be found purer and purer the more it was
tried; and this I have lived to see, many now being zealous members
of the church, that were abundantly lukewarm at the period of which
I am now speaking.


In the spring of this year, I took my son Gilbert into Glasgow, to
place him in a counting-house. As he had no inclination for any of
the learned professions, and not having been there from the time
when I was sent to the General Assembly, I cannot express my
astonishment at the great improvements, surpassing far all that was
done in our part of the country, which I thought was not to be
paralleled. When I came afterwards to reflect on my simplicity in
this, it was clear to me that we should not judge of the rest of the
world by what we see going on around ourselves, but walk abroad into
other parts, and thereby enlarge our sphere of observation, as well
as ripen our judgment of things.

But although there was no doubt a great and visible increase of the
city, loftier buildings on all sides, and streets that spread their
arms far into the embraces of the country, I thought the looks of
the population were impaired, and that there was a greater
proportion of long white faces in the Trongate, than when I attended
the Divinity class. These, I was told, were the weavers and others
concerned in the cotton trade, which I could well believe, for they
were very like in their looks to the men of Cayenneville; but from
living in a crowded town, and not breathing a wholesome country air
between their tasks, they had a stronger cast of unhealthy
melancholy. I was therefore very glad that Providence had placed in
my hand the pastoral staff of a country parish; for it cut me to the
heart to see so many young men, in the rising prime of life, already
in the arms of a pale consumption. "If, therefore," said I to Mrs
Balwhidder, when I returned home to the manse, "we live, as it were,
within the narrow circle of ignorance, we are spared from the pain
of knowing many an evil; and, surely, in much knowledge there is
sadness of heart."

But the main effect of this was to make me do all in my power to
keep my people contented with their lowly estate; for in that same
spirit of improvement, which was so busy every where, I could
discern something like a shadow, that showed it was not altogether
of that pure advantage which avarice led all so eagerly to believe.
Accordingly, I began a series of sermons on the evil and vanity of
riches, and, for the most part of the year, pointed out in what
manner they led the possessor to indulge in sinful luxuries, and how
indulgence begat desire, and desire betrayed integrity and corrupted
the heart; making it evident that the rich man was liable to forget
his unmerited obligations to God, and to oppress the laborious and
the needful when he required their services.

Little did I imagine, in thus striving to keep aloof the ravenous
wolf Ambition from my guileless flock, that I was giving cause for
many to think me an enemy to the king and government, and a
perverter of Christianity, to suit levelling doctrines. But so it
was. Many of the heritors considered me a blackneb, though I knew
it not, but went on in the course of my duty, thinking only how best
to preserve peace on earth and goodwill towards men. I saw,
however, an altered manner in the deportment of several, with whom I
had long lived in friendly terms. It was not marked enough to make
me inquire the cause, but sufficiently plain to affect my ease of
mind. Accordingly, about the end of this year, I fell into a dull
way: my spirit was subdued, and at times I was aweary of the day,
and longed for the night, when I might close my eyes in peaceful
slumbers. I missed my son Gilbert, who had been a companion to me
in the long nights, while his mother was busy with the lasses, and
their ceaseless wheels and cardings, in the kitchen. Often could I
have found it in my heart to have banned that never-ceasing
industry, and to tell Mrs Balwhidder, that the married state was
made for something else than to make napery and beetle blankets; but
it was her happiness to keep all at work, and she had no pleasure in
any other way of life, so I sat many a night by the fireside with
resignation; sometimes in the study, and sometimes in the parlour,
and, as I was doing nothing, Mrs Balwhidder said it was needless to
light the candle. Our daughter Janet was in this time at a
boarding-school in Ayr, so that I was really a most solitary married


When the spring in this year began to brighten on the brae, the
cloud of dulness that had darkened and oppressed me all the winter
somewhat melted away, and I could now and then joke again at the
never-ending toil and trouble of that busiest of all bees, the
second Mrs Balwhidder. But still I was far from being right: a
small matter affected me, and I was overly given to walking by
myself, and musing on things that I could tell nothing about--my
thoughts were just the rack of a dream without form, and driving
witlessly as the smoke that mounteth up, and is lost in the airy
heights of the sky.

Heeding little of what was going on in the clachan, and taking no
interest in the concerns of any body, I would have been contented to
die, but I had no ail about me. An accident, however, fell out,
that, by calling on me for an effort, had the blessed influence of
clearing my vapours almost entirely away.

One morning as I was walking on the sunny side of the road, where
the footpath was in the next year made to the cotton-mill, I fell in
with Mr Cayenne, who was seemingly much fashed--a small matter could
do that at any time; and he came up to me with a red face and an
angry eye. It was not my intent to speak to him; for I was grown
loth to enter into conversation with any body, so I bowed and passed
on. "What," cried Mr Cayenne, "and will you not speak to me?" I
turned round, and said meekly, "Mr Cayenne, I have no objections to
speak to you; but having nothing particular to say, it did not seem
necessary just now."

He looked at me like a gled, and in a minute exclaimed, "Mad, by
Jupiter! as mad as a March hare!" He then entered into conversation
with me, and said, that he had noticed me an altered man, and was
just so far on his way to the manse, to enquire what had befallen
me. So, from less to more, we entered into the marrow of my case;
and I told him how I had observed the estranged countenances of some
of the heritors; at which he swore an oath, that they were a parcel
of the damn'dest boobies in the country, and told me how they had
taken it into their heads that I was a leveller. "But I know you
better," said Mr Cayenne, "and have stood up for you as an honest
conscientious man, though I don't much like your humdrum preaching.
However, let that pass; I insist upon your dining with me to-day,
when some of these arrant fools are to be with us, and the devil's
in't if I don't make you friends with them." I did not think Mr
Cayenne, however, very well qualified for peacemaker, but,
nevertheless, I consented to go; and having thus got an inkling of
the cause of that cold back-turning which had distressed me so much,
I made such an effort to remove the error that was entertained
against me, that some of the heritors, before we separated, shook me
by the hands with the cordiality of renewed friendship; and, as if
to make amends for past neglect, there was no end to their
invitations to dinner which had the effect of putting me again on my
mettle, and removing the thick and muddy melancholious humour out of
my blood.

But what confirmed my cure was the coming home of my daughter Janet
from the Ayr boarding-school, where she had learnt to play on the
spinnet, and was become a conversible lassie, with a competent
knowledge, for a woman of geography and history; so that when her
mother was busy with the weariful booming wheel, she entertained me
sometimes with a tune, and sometimes with her tongue, which made the
winter nights fly cantily by.

Whether it was owing to the malady of my imagination throughout the
greatest part of this year, or that really nothing particular did
happen to interest me, I cannot say; but it is very remarkable that
I have nothing remarkable to record--further, than I was at the
expense myself of getting the manse rough-case, and the window
cheeks painted, with roans put up, rather than apply to the
heritors; for they were always sorely fashed when called upon for


On the first night of this year I dreamt a very remarkable dream,
which, when I now recall to mind at this distance of time, I cannot
but think that there was a case of prophecy in it. I thought that I
stood on the tower of an old popish kirk, looking out at the window
upon the kirkyard, where I beheld ancient tombs, with effigies and
coats-of-arms on the wall thereof, and a great gate at the one side,
and a door that led into a dark and dismal vault at the other. I
thought all the dead that were lying in the common graves, rose out
of their coffins; at the same time, from the old and grand
monuments, with the effigies and coats-of-arms, came the great men,
and the kings of the earth with crowns on their heads, and globes
and sceptres in their hands.

I stood wondering what was to ensue, when presently I heard the
noise of drums and trumpets, and anon I beheld an army with banners
entering in at the gate; upon which the kings and the great men came
also forth in their power and array, and a dreadful battle was
foughten; but the multitude that had risen from the common graves,
stood afar off, and were but lookers-on.

The kings and their host were utterly discomfited. They were driven
within the doors of their monuments, their coats-of-arms were broken
off, and their effigies cast down, and the victors triumphed over
them with the flourishes of trumpets and the waving of banners. But
while I looked, the vision was changed, and I then beheld a wide and
a dreary waste, and afar off the steeples of a great city, and a
tower in the midst, like the tower of Babel, and on it I could
discern, written in characters of fire, "Public Opinion." While I
was pondering at the same, I heard a great shout, and presently the
conquerors made their appearance, coming over the desolate moor.
They were going in great pride and might towards the city; but an
awful burning rose, afar as it were in the darkness, and the flames
stood like a tower of fire that reached unto the heavens. And I saw
a dreadful hand and an arm stretched from out of the cloud, and in
its hold was a besom made of the hail and the storm, and it swept
the fugitives like dust; and in their place I saw the churchyard, as
it were, cleared and spread around, the graves closed, and the
ancient tombs, with their coats-of-arms and their effigies of stone,
all as they were in the beginning. I then awoke, and behold it was
a dream.

This vision perplexed me for many days, and when the news came that
the King of France was beheaded by the hands of his people, I
received, as it were, a token in confirmation of the vision that had
been disclosed to me in my sleep, and I preached a discourse on the
same, and against the French Revolution, that was thought one of the
greatest and soundest sermons that I had ever delivered in my

On the Monday following, Mr Cayenne, who had been some time before
appointed a justice of the peace, came over from Wheatrig House to
the Cross-Keys, where he sent for me and divers other respectable
inhabitants of the clachan, and told us that he was to have a sad
business, for a warrant was out to bring before him two democratical
weaver lads, on a suspicion of high treason. Scarcely were the
words uttered when they were brought in, and he began to ask them
how they dared to think of dividing, with their liberty and equality
of principles, his and every other man's property in the country.
The men answered him in a calm manner, and told him they sought no
man's property, but only their own natural rights; upon which he
called them traitors and reformers. They denied they were traitors,
but confessed they were reformers, and said they knew not how that
should be imputed to them as a fault, for that the greatest men of
all times had been reformers,--"Was not," they said, "our Lord Jesus
Christ a reformer?"--"And what the devil did he make of it?" cried
Mr Cayenne, bursting with passion; "Was he not crucified?"

I thought, when I heard these words, that the pillars of the earth
sank beneath me, and that the roof of the house was carried away in
a whirlwind. The drums of my ears crackit, blue starns danced
before my sight, and I was fain to leave the house and hie me home
to the manse, where I sat down in my study, like a stupified
creature, awaiting what would betide. Nothing, however, was found
against the weaver lads; but I never from that day could look on Mr
Cayenne as a Christian, though surely he was a true government-man.

Soon after this affair, there was a pleasant re-edification of a
gospel-spirit among the heritors, especially when they heard how I
had handled the regicides in France; and on the following Sunday, I
had the comfortable satisfaction to see many a gentleman in their
pews, that had not been for years within a kirk-door. The
democrats, who took a world of trouble to misrepresent the actions
of the gentry, insinuated that all this was not from any new sense
of grace, but in fear of their being reported as suspected persons
to the king's government. But I could not think so, and considered
their renewal of communion with the church as a swearing of
allegiance to the King of kings, against that host of French
atheists, who had torn the mortcloth from the coffin, and made it a
banner, with which they were gone forth to war against the Lamb.
The whole year was, however, spent in great uneasiness, and the
proclamation of the war was followed by an appalling stop in trade.
We heard of nothing but failures on all hands; and among others that
grieved me, was that of Mr Maitland of Glasgow, who had befriended
Mrs Malcolm in the days of her affliction, and gave her son Robert
his fine ship. It was a sore thing to hear of so many breakings,
especially of old respected merchants like him, who had been a Lord
Provost, and was far declined into the afternoon of life. He did
not, however, long survive the mutation of his fortune; but bending
his aged head in sorrow, sank down beneath the stroke, to rise no


This year had opened into all the leafiness of midsummer before
anything memorable happened in the parish, further than that the sad
division of my people into government-men and jacobins was
perfected. This calamity, for I never could consider such
heartburning among neighbours as any thing less than a very heavy
calamity, was assuredly occasioned by faults on both sides; but it
must be confessed that the gentry did nothing to win the commonality
from the errors of their way. A little more condescension on their
part would not have made things worse, and might have made them
better; but pride interposed, and caused them to think that any show
of affability from them would be construed by the democrats into a
terror of their power; while the democrats were no less to blame;
for hearing how their compeers were thriving in France, and
demolishing every obstacle to their ascendency, they were crouse and
really insolent, evidencing none of that temperance in prosperity
that proves the possessors worthy of their good fortune.

As for me, my duty in these circumstances was plain and simple. The
Christian religion was attempted to be brought into disrepute; the
rising generation were taught to gibe at its holiest ordinances; and
the kirk was more frequented as a place to while away the time on a
rainy Sunday, than for any insight of the admonitions and
revelations in the sacred book. Knowing this, I perceived that it
would be of no effect to handle much the mysteries of the faith; but
as there was at the time a bruit and a sound about universal
benevolence, philanthropy, utility, and all the other disguises with
which an infidel philosophy appropriated to itself the charity,
brotherly love, and welldoing inculcated by our holy religion, I set
myself to task upon these heads, and thought it no robbery to use a
little of the stratagem employed against Christ's kingdom, to
promote the interests thereof in the hearts and understandings of
those whose ears would have been sealed against me, had I attempted
to expound higher things. Accordingly, on one day it was my
practice to show what the nature of Christian charity was, comparing
it to the light and warmth of the sun, that shines impartially on
the just and the unjust--showing that man, without the sense of it
as a duty, was as the beasts that perish, and that every feeling of
his nature was intimately selfish, but then when actuated by this
divine impulse, he rose out of himself, and became as a god, zealous
to abate the sufferings of all things that live; and, on the next
day, I demonstrated that the new benevolence which had come so much
into vogue, was but another version of this Christian virtue. In
like manner, I dealt with brotherly love, bringing it home to the
business and bosoms of my hearers, that the Christianity of it was
neither enlarged nor bettered by being baptized with the Greek name
of philanthropy. With welldoing, however, I went more roundly to
work, I told my people that I thought they had more sense than to
secede from Christianity to become Utilitarians; for that it would
be a confession of ignorance of the faith they deserved, seeing that
it was the main duty inculcated by our religion to do all in morals
and manners to which the newfangled doctrine of utility pretended.

These discourses, which I continued for sometime, had no great
effect on the men; but being prepared in a familiar household
manner, they took the fancies of the young women, which was to me an
assurance that the seed I had planted would in time shoot forth; for
I reasoned with myself, that if the gudeman of the immediate
generation should continue free-thinkers, their wives will take care
that those of the next shall not lack that spunk of grace; so I was
cheered under that obscurity which fell upon Christianity at this
time, with a vista beyond, in which I saw, as it were, the children
unborn, walking on the bright green, and in the unclouded splendour
of the faith.

But what with the decay of trade, and the temptation of the king's
bounty, and, over all, the witlessness that was in the spirit of man
at this time, the number that enlisted in the course for the year
from the parish was prodigious. In one week no less than three
weavers and two cotton-spinners went over to Ayr, and took the
bounty of the Royal Artillery. But I could not help remarking to
myself, that the people were grown so used to changes and
extraordinary adventures, that the single enlistment of Thomas
Wilson, at the beginning of the American war, occasioned a far
greater grief and work among us, than all the swarms that went off
week after week in the months of November and December of this year.


The present Ann. Dom. was ushered in with an event that I had never
dreaded to see in my day, in our once sober and religious country
parish. The number of lads that had gone over to Ayr to be soldiers
from among the spinners and weavers of Cayenneville had been so
great, that the government got note of it, and sent a recruiting
party to be quartered in the town; for the term clachan was
beginning by this time to wear out of fashion: indeed, the place
itself was outgrowing the fitness of that title. Never shall I
forget the dunt that the first tap of the drum gied to my heart, as
I was sitting on Hansel Monday by myself at the parlour fireside,
Mrs Balwhidder being throng with the lassies looking out a washing,
and my daughter at Ayr, spending a few days with her old comrades of
the boarding school. I thought it was the enemy; and then anon the
sound of the fife came shrill to the ear, for the night was lown and
peaceful. My wife and all the lassies came flying in upon me,
crying all in the name of heaven, what could it be? by which I was
obligated to put on my big-coat, and, with my hat and staff, go out
to enquire. The whole town was aloof, the aged at the doors in
clusters, and the bairns following the tattoo, as it was called, and
at every doubling beat of the drum, shouting as if they had been in
the face of their foemen.

Mr Archibald Dozendale, one of my elders, was saying to several
persons around him, just as I came up, "Hech, sirs! but the battle
draws near our gates," upon which there was a heavy sigh from all
that heard him; and then they told me of the sergeant's business;
and we had a serious communing together anent the same. But while
we were thus standing discoursing on the causey, Mrs Balwhidder and
the servant lassies could thole no longer, but in a troop came in
quest of me, to hear what was doing. In short, it was a night both
of sorrow and anxiety. Mr Dozendale walked back to the manse with
us, and we had a sober tumbler of toddy together; marvelling
exceedingly where these fearful portents and changes would stop,
both of us being of opinion that the end of the world was drawing
nearer and nearer.

Whether it was, however, that the lads belonging to the place did
not like to show themselves with the enlistment cockades among their
acquaintance, or that there was any other reason, I cannot take it
upon me to say; but certain it is, the recruiting party came no
speed, and, in consequence, were removed about the end of March.

Another thing happened in this year, too remarkable for me to
neglect to put on record, as it strangely and strikingly marked the
rapid revolutions that were going on. In the month of August at the
time of the fair, a gang of playactors came, and hired Thomas
Thacklan's barn for their enactments. They were the first of that
clanjamfrey who had ever been in the parish; and there was a
wonderful excitement caused by the rumours concerning them. Their
first performance was DOUGLAS TRAGEDY and the GENTLE SHEPHERD: and
the general opinion was, that the lad who played Norval in the play,
and Patie in the farce, was an English lord's son, who had run away
from his parents rather than marry an old cracket lady with a great
portion. But, whatever truth there might be in this notion, certain
it is, the whole pack was in a state of perfect beggary; and yet,
for all that, they not only in their parts, as I was told, laughed
most heartily, but made others do the same; for I was constrained to
let my daughter go to see them, with some of her acquaintance; and
she gave me such an account of what they did, that I thought I would
have liked to have gotten a keek at them myself. At the same time,
I must own this was a sinful curiosity, and I stifled it to the best
of my ability. Among other plays that they did, was one called
MACBETH AND THE WITCHES, which the Miss Cayennes had seen performed
in London, when they were there in the winter time with their
father, for three months, seeing the world, after coming from the
boarding-school. But it was no more like the true play of
Shakespeare the poet, according to their account, than a duddy
betheral, set up to fright the sparrows from the peas, is like a
living gentleman. The hungry players, instead of behaving like
guests at the royal banquet, were voracious on the needful feast of
bread, and the strong ale, that served for wine in decanters. But
the greatest sport of all was about a kail-pot, that acted the part
of a caldron, and which should have sunk with thunder and lightning
into the earth; however, it did quite as well, for it made its exit,
as Miss Virginia said, by walking quietly off, being pulled by a
string fastened to one of its feet. No scene of the play was so
much applauded as this one; and the actor who did the part of King
Macbeth made a most polite bow of thankfulness to the audience, for
the approbation with which they had received the performance of the

We had likewise, shortly after the "Omnes exeunt" of the players, an
exhibition of a different sort in the same barn. This was by two
English quakers, and a quaker lady, tanners of Kendal, who had been
at Ayr on some leather business, where they preached, but made no
proselytes. The travellers were all three in a whisky, drawn by one
of the best-ordered horses, as the hostler at the Cross-Keys told
me, ever seen. They came to the Inn to their dinner, and meaning to
stay all night, sent round, to let it be known that they would hold
a meeting in Friend Thacklan's barn; but Thomas denied they were
either kith or kin to him: this, however, was their way of

In the evening, owing to the notice, a great congregation was
assembled in the barn, and I myself, along with Mr Archibald
Dozendale, went there likewise, to keep the people in awe; for we
feared the strangers might be jeered and insulted. The three were
seated aloft on a high stage, prepared on purpose, with two mares
and scaffold-deals, borrowed from Mr Trowel the mason. They sat
long, and silent; but at last the spirit moved the woman, and she
rose, and delivered a very sensible exposition of Christianity. I
was really surprised to hear such sound doctrine; and Mr Dozendale
said, justly, that it was more to the purpose than some that my
younger brethren from Edinburgh endeavoured to teach. So, that
those who went to laugh at the sincere simplicity of the pious
quakers, were rebuked by a very edifying discourse on the moral
duties of a Christian's life.

Upon the whole, however, this, to the best of my recollection, was
another unsatisfactory year. In this we were, doubtless, brought
more into the world; but we had a greater variety of temptation set
before us, and there was still jealousy and estrangement in the
dispositions of the gentry, and the lower orders, particularly the
manufacturers. I cannot say, indeed, that there was any increase of
corruption among the rural portion of my people; for their vocation
calling them to work apart, in the purity of the free air of heaven,
they were kept uncontaminated by that seditious infection which
fevered the minds of the sedentary weavers, and working like
flatulence in the stomachs of the cotton-spinners, sent up into
their heads a vain and diseased fume of infidel philosophy.


The prosperity of fortune is like the blossoms of spring, or the
golden hue of the evening cloud. It delighteth the spirit, and
passeth away,

In the month of February my second wife was gathered to the Lord.
She had been very ill for some time with an income in her side,
which no medicine could remove. I had the best doctors in the
country side to her; but their skill was of no avail, their opinions
being that her ail was caused by an internal abscess, for which
physic has provided no cure. Her death was to me a great sorrow;
for she was a most excellent wife, industrious to a degree, and
managed every thing with so brisk a hand, that nothing went wrong
that she put it to. With her I had grown richer than any other
minister in the presbytery; but, above all, she was the mother of my
bairns, which gave her a double claim upon me.

I laid her by the side of my first love, Betty Lanshaw, my own
cousin that was, and I inscribed her name upon the same headstone;
but time had drained my poetical vein, and I have not yet been able
to indite an epitaph on her merits and virtues, for she had an
eminent share of both. Her greatest fault--the best have their
faults--was an over-earnestness to gather gear; in the doing of
which I thought she sometimes sacrificed the comforts of a pleasant
fireside; for she was never in her element but when she was keeping
the servants eident at their work. But, if by this she subtracted
something from the quietude that was most consonant to my nature,
she has left cause, both in bank and bond, for me and her bairns to
bless her great household activity.

She was not long deposited in her place of rest till I had occasion
to find her loss. All my things were kept by her in a most perjink
and excellent order; but they soon fell into an amazing confusion;
for, as she often said to me, I had a turn for heedlessness;
insomuch, that although my daughter Janet was grown up, and able to
keep the house, I saw that it would be necessary, as soon as decency
would allow, for me to take another wife. I was moved to this
chiefly by foreseeing that my daughter would in time be married, and
taken away from me, but more on account of the servant lasses, who
grew out of all bounds, verifying the proverb, "Well kens the mouse
when the cat's out of the house." Besides this, I was now far down
in the vale of years, and could not expect to be long without
feeling some of the penalties of old age, although I was still a
hail and sound man. It therefore behoved me to look in time for a
helpmate, to tend me in my approaching infirmities.

Upon this important concern I reflected, as I may say, in the
watches of the night; and, considering the circumstances of my
situation, I saw it would not do for me to look out for an overly
young woman, nor yet would it do for one of my ways to take an
elderly maiden, ladies of that sort being liable to possess strong-
set particularities. I therefore resolved that my choice should lie
among widows of a discreet age; and I had a glimmer in my mind of
speaking to Mrs Malcolm; but when I reflected on the saintly
steadiness of her character, I was satisfied it would be of no use
to think of her. Accordingly, I bent my brows, and looked towards
Irville, which is an abundant trone for widows and other single
women; and I fixed my purpose on Mrs Nugent, the relic of a
professor in the university of Glasgow, both because she was a well-
bred woman, without any children to plea about the interest of my
own two, and likewise because she was held in great estimation by
all who knew her, as a lady of a Christian principle.

It was some time in the summer, however, before I made up my mind to
speak to her on the subject; but one afternoon, in the month of
August, I resolved to do so, and with that intent walked leisurely
over to Irville; and after calling on the Rev. Dr. Dinwiddie, the
minister, I stepped in, as if by chance, to Mrs Nugent's. I could
see that she was a little surprised at my visit; however, she
treated me with every possible civility, and her servant lass
bringing in the tea-things in a most orderly manner, as punctually
as the clock was striking, she invited me to sit still, and drink my
tea with her; which I did, being none displeased to get such
encouragement. However, I said nothing that time, but returned to
the manse, very well content with what I had observed, which made me
fain to repeat my visit. So, in the course of the week, taking
Janet my daughter with me, we walked over in the forenoon, and
called at Mrs Nugent's first, before going to any other house; and
Janet saying, as we came out to go to the minister's, that she
thought Mrs Nugent an agreeable woman, I determined to knock the
nail on the head without further delay.

Accordingly, I invited the minister and his wife to dine with us on
the Thursday following; and before leaving the town, I made Janet,
while the minister and me were handling a subject, as a sort of
thing in common civility, go to Mrs Nugent, and invite her also.
Dr. Dinwiddie was a gleg man, of a jocose nature; and he, guessing
something of what I was ettling at, was very mirthful with me; but I
kept my own counsel till a meet season.

On the Thursday, the company as invited came, and nothing
extraordinary was seen; but in cutting up and helping a hen, Dr.
Dinwiddie put one wing on Mrs Nugent's plate, and the other wing on
my plate, and said, there have been greater miracles than these two
wings flying together, which was a sharp joke, that caused no little
merriment at the expense of Mrs Nugent and me. I, however, to show
that I was none daunted, laid a leg also on her plate, and took
another on my own, saying, in the words of the reverend doctor,
there have been greater miracles than that these two legs should lie
in the same nest, which was thought a very clever come off; and, at
the same time, I gave Mrs Nugent a kindly nip on her sonsy arm,
which was breaking the ice in as pleasant a way as could be. In
short, before anything passed between ourselves on the subject, we
were set down for a trysted pair; and this being the case, we were
married as soon as a twelvemonth and a day had passed from the death
of the second Mrs Balwhidder; and neither of us have had occasion to
rue the bargain. It is, however, but a piece of justice due to my
second wife to say, that this was not a little owing to her good
management; for she had left such a well-plenished house, that her
successor said, we had nothing to do but to contribute to one
another's happiness.

In this year nothing more memorable happened in the parish, saving
that the cotton-mill dam burst about the time of the Lammas flood,
and the waters went forth like a deluge of destruction, carrying off
much victual, and causing a vast of damage to the mills that are
lower down the stream. It was just a prodigy to see how calmly Mr
Cayenne acted on that occasion; for, being at other times as crabbed
as a wud terrier, folk were afraid to tell him, till he came out
himself in the morning and saw the devastation; at the sight of
which he gave only a shrill whistle, and began to laugh at the idea
of the men fearing to take him the news, as if he had not fortune
and philosophy enough, as he called it, to withstand much greater


When I have seen in my walks the irrational creatures of God, the
birds and the beasts, governed by a kindly instinct in attendance on
their young, often has it come into my head that love and charity,
far more than reason or justice, formed the tie that holds the
world, with all its jarring wants and woes, in social dependence and
obligation together; and, in this year, a strong verification of the
soundness of this notion was exemplified in the conduct of the poor
haverel lassie Meg Gaffaw, whose naturality on the occasion of her
mother's death I have related at length in this chronicle.

In the course of the summer, Mr Henry Melcomb, who was a nephew to
Mr Cayenne, came down from England to see his uncle. He had just
completed his education at the college of Christ Church, in Oxford,
and was the most perfect young gentleman that had ever been seen in
this part of the country.

In his appearance he was a very paragon, with a fine manly
countenance, frank-hearted, blithe, and, in many points of
character, very like my old friend the Lord Eaglesham, who was shot.
Indeed, in some respects, he was even above his lordship; for he had
a great turn at ready wit, and could joke and banter in a most
agreeable manner. He came very often to the manse to see me, and
took great pleasure in my company, and really used a freedom that
was so droll, I could scarcely keep my composity and decorum with
him. Among others that shared in his attention, was daft Meg
Gaffaw, whom he had forgathered with one day in coming to see me;
and after conversing with her for some time, he handed her, as she
told me herself, over the kirk-stile like a lady of high degree, and
came with her to the manse door linking by the arm.

From the ill-timed daffin of that hour, poor Meg fell deep in love
with Mr Melcomb; and it was just a playacting to see the arts and
antics she put in practice to win his attention. In her garb, she
had never any sense of a proper propriety, but went about the
country asking for shapings of silks and satins, with which she
patched her duds, calling them by the divers names of robes and
negligees. All hitherto, however, had been moderation, compared to
the daffadile of vanity which she was now seen, when she had
searched, as she said, to the bottom of her coffer. I cannot take
it upon me to describe her; but she kythed in such a variety of
cuffs and ruffles, feathers, old gumflowers, painted paper knots,
ribbons, and furs, and laces, and went about gecking and simpering
with an old fan in her hand, that it was not in the power of nature
to look at her with sobriety.

Her first appearance in this masquerading was at the kirk on the
Sunday following her adventure with Mr Melcomb, and it was with a
sore difficulty that I could keep my eyes off her, even in prayer;
and when the kirk skailed, she walked before him, spreading all her
grandeur to catch his eye, in such a manner as had not been seen or
heard of since the prank that Lady Macadam played Miss Betty

Any other but Mr Melcomb would have been provoked by the fool's
folly; but he humoured her wit, and, to the amazement of the whole
people, presented her his hand, and allemanded her along in a manner
that should not have been seen in any street out of a king's court,
and far less on the Lord's day. But, alas! this sport did not last
long. Mr Melcomb had come from England to be 'married' to his
cousin, Miss Virginia Cayenne, and poor daft Meg never heard of it
till the banns for their purpose of marriage was read out by Mr
Lorimore on the Sabbath after. The words were scarcely out of his
mouth, when the simple and innocent natural gave a loud shriek, that
terrified the whole congregation, and ran out of the kirk demented.
There was no more finery for poor Meg; but she went and sat opposite
to the windows of Mr Cayenne's house, where Mr Melcomb was, with
clasped hands and beseeching eyes, like a monumental statue in
alabaster, and no entreaty could drive her away. Mr Melcomb sent
her money, and the bride many a fine thing; but Meg flung them from
her, and clasped her hands again, and still sat. Mr Cayenne would
have let loose the house-dog on her, but was not permitted.

In the evening it began to rain, and they thought that and the
coming darkness would drive her away; but when the servants looked
out before barring the doors, there she was in the same posture. I
was to perform the marriage ceremony at seven o'clock in the
morning, for the young pair were to go that night to Edinburgh; and
when I went, there was Meg sitting looking at the windows with her
hands clasped. When she saw me she gave a shrill cry, and took me
by the hand, and wised me to go back, crying out in a heart-breaking
voice, "O, Sir! No yet--no yet! He'll maybe draw back, and think
of a far truer bride." I was wae for her and very angry with the
servants for laughing at the fond folly of the ill-less thing.

When the marriage was over, and the carriage at the door, the
bridegroom handed in the bride. Poor Meg saw this, and jumping up
from where she sat, was at his side like a spirit, as he was
stepping in, and, taking him by the hand, she looked in his face so
piteously, that every heart was sorrowful, for she could say
nothing. When he pulled away his hand, and the door was shut, she
stood as if she had been charmed to the spot, and saw the chaise
drive away. All that were about the door then spoke to her, but she
heard us not. At last she gave a deep sigh, and the water coming
into her eye, she said, "The worm--the worm is my bonny bridegroom,
and Jenny with the many-feet my bridal maid. The mill-dam water's
the wine o' the wedding, and the clay and the clod shall be my
bedding. A lang night is meet for a bridal, but none shall be
langer than mine." In saying which words, she fled from among us,
with heels like the wind. The servants pursued; but long before
they could stop her, she was past redemption in the deepest plumb of
the cotton-mill dam.

Few deaths had for many a day happened in the parish, to cause so
much sorrow as that of this poor silly creature. She was a sort of
household familiar among us, and there was much like the inner side
of wisdom in the pattern of her sayings, many of which are still
preserved as proverbs.


This was one of the heaviest years in the whole course of my
ministry. The spring was slow of coming, and cold and wet when it
did come; the dibs were full, the roads foul, and the ground that
should have been dry at the seed-time, was as claggy as clay, and
clung to the harrow. The labour of man and beast was thereby
augmented; and all nature being in a state of sluggish
indisposition, it was evident to every eye of experience that there
would be a great disappointment to the hopes of the husbandman.

Foreseeing this, I gathered the opinion of all the most sagacious of
my parishioners, and consulted with them for a provision against the
evil day, and we spoke to Mr Cayenne on the subject, for he had a
talent by common in matters of mercantile management. It was
amazing, considering his hot temper, with what patience he heard the
grounds of our apprehension, and how he questioned and sifted the
experience of the old farmers, till he was thoroughly convinced that
all similar seed-times were ever followed by a short crop. He then
said, that he would prove himself a better friend to the parish than
he was thought. Accordingly, as he afterwards told me himself, he
wrote off that very night to his correspondents in America, to buy
for his account all the wheat and flour they could get, and ship it
to arrive early in the fall; and he bought up likewise in countries
round the Baltic great store of victual, and brought in two cargoes
to Irville on purpose for the parish, against the time of need,
making for the occasion a garnel of one of the warehouses of the

The event came to pass as had been foretold: the harvest fell
short, and Mr Cayenne's cargoes from America and the Baltic came
home in due season, by which he made a terrible power of money,
clearing thousands on thousands by post after post--making more
profit, as he said himself, in the course of one month, he believed,
than ever was made by any individual within the kingdom of Scotland
in the course of a year.--He said, however that he might have made
more if he had bought up the corn at home; but being convinced by us
that there would be a scarcity, he thought it his duty as an honest
man to draw from the stores and granaries of foreign countries, by
which he was sure he would serve his country, and be abundantly
rewarded. In short, we all reckoned him another Joseph when he
opened his garnels at the cotton-mill, and, after distributing a
liberal portion to the poor and needy, selling the remainder at an
easy rate to the generality of the people. Some of the neighbouring
parishes, however, were angry that he would not serve them likewise,
and called him a wicked and extortionate forestaller; but he made it
plain to the meanest capacity, that if he did not circumscribe his
dispensation to our own bounds it would be as nothing. So that,
although he brought a wonderful prosperity in by the cotton-mill,
and a plenteous supply of corn in a time of famine, doing more in
these things for the people than all the other heritors had done
from the beginning of time, he was much reviled; even his bounty was
little esteemed by my people, because he took a moderate profit on
what he sold to them. Perhaps, however, these prejudices might be
partly owing to their dislike of his hasty temper, at least I am
willing to think so; for it would grieve me if they were really
ungrateful for a benefit that made the pressure of the time lie but
lightly on them.

The alarm of the Irish rebellion in this year was likewise another
source of affliction to us; for many of the gentry coming over in
great straits, especially ladies and their children, and some of
them in the hurry of their flight having but little ready money,
were very ill off. Some four or five families came to the Cross-
Keys in this situation, and the conduct of Mr Cayenne to them was
most exemplary. He remembered his own haste with his family from
Virginia, when the Americans rebelled; and immediately on hearing of
these Irish refugees, he waited on them with his wife and daughter,
supplied them with money, invited them to his house, made ploys to
keep up their spirits, while the other gentry stood back till they
knew something of the strangers.

Among these destitute ladies was a Mrs Desmond and her two
daughters, a woman of most august presence, being indeed more like
one ordained to reign over a kingdom, than for household purposes.
The Miss Desmonds were only entering their teens, but they also had
no ordinary stamp upon them. What made this party the more
particular, was on account of Mr Desmond, who was supposed to be a
united man with the rebels, and it was known his son was deep in
their plots; yet although this was all told to Mr Cayenne, by some
of the other Irish ladies who were of the loyal connexion, it made
no difference with him, but, on the contrary, he acted as if he
thought the Desmonds the most of all the refugees entitled to his
hospitable civilities. This was a wonderment to our strait-laced
narrow lairds, as there was not a man of such strict government
principles in the whole country side as Mr Cayenne: but he said he
carried his political principles only to the camp and the council.
"To the hospital and the prison," said he, "I take those of a man"--
which was almost a Christian doctrine, and from that declaration Mr
Cayenne and me began again to draw a little more cordially together;
although he had still a very imperfect sense of religion, which I
attributed to his being born in America, where even as yet, I am
told, they have but a scanty sprinkling of grace.

But before concluding this year, I should tell the upshot of the
visitation of the Irish, although it did not take place until some
time after the peace with France.

In the putting down of the rebels Mr Desmond and his son made their
escape to Paris, where they stayed till the treaty was signed, by
which, for several years after the return to Ireland of the grand
lady and her daughters, as Mrs Desmond was called by our commonalty,
we heard nothing of them. The other refugees repaid Mr Cayenne his
money with thankfulness, and, on their restoration to their homes,
could not sufficiently express their sense of his kindness. But the
silence and seeming ingratitude of the Desmonds vexed him; and he
could not abide to hear the Irish rebellion mentioned without flying
into a passion against the rebels, which every body knew was owing
to the ill return he had received from that family. However, one
afternoon, just about half an hour before his wonted dinner hour, a
grand equipage, with four horses and outriders, stopped at his door,
and who was in it but Mrs Desmond and an elderly man, and a young
gentleman with an aspect like a lord. It was her husband and son.
They had come from Ireland in all their state on purpose to repay
with interest the money Mr Cayenne had counted so long lost, and to
express in person the perpetual obligation which he had conferred
upon the Desmond family, in all time coming. The lady then told
him, that she had been so straitened in helping the poor ladies,
that it was not in her power to make repayment till Desmond, as she
called her husband, came home; and not choosing to assign the true
reason, lest it might cause trouble, she rather submitted to be
suspected of ingratitude than to an improper thing.

Mr Cayenne was transported with this unexpected return, and a
friendship grew up between the families, which was afterwards
cemented into relationship by the marriage of the young Desmond with
Miss Caroline Cayenne. Some in the parish objected to this match,
Mrs Desmond being a papist: but as Miss Caroline had received an
episcopalian education, I thought it of no consequence, and married
them after their family chaplain from Ireland, as a young couple
both by beauty and fortune well matched, and deserving of all
conjugal felicity.


There are but two things to make me remember this year; the first
was the marriage of my daughter Janet with the reverend Dr.
Kittlewood of Swappington, a match in every way commendable; and on
the advice of the third Mrs Balwhidder, I settled a thousand pounds
down, and promised five hundred more at my death if I died before my
spouse, and a thousand at her death if she survived me; which was
the greatest portion ever minister's daughter had in our country
side. In this year likewise I advanced fifteen hundred pounds for
my son in a concern in Glasgow,--all was the gathering of that
indefatigable engine of industry the second Mrs Balwhidder, whose
talents her successor said were a wonder, when she considered the
circumstances in which I had been left at her death, and made out of
a narrow stipend.

The other memorable was the death of Mrs Malcolm. If ever there was
a saint on this earth, she was surely one. She had been for some
time bedfast, having all her days from the date of her widowhood
been a tender woman; but no change made any alteration on the
Christian contentment of her mind. She bore adversity with an
honest pride; she toiled in the day of penury and affliction with
thankfulness for her earnings, although ever so little. She bent
her head to the Lord in resignation when her first-born fell in
battle; nor was she puffed up with vanity when her daughters were
married, as it was said, so far above their degree, though they
showed it was but into their proper sphere by their demeanour after.
She lived to see her second son, the captain, rise into affluence,
married, and with a thriving young family; and she had the very
great satisfaction, on the last day she was able to go to church, to
see her youngest son the clergyman standing in my pulpit, a doctor
of divinity, and the placed minister of a richer parish than mine.
Well indeed might she have said on that day, "Lord, let thy servant
depart in peace, for mine eyes have seen thy salvation."

For some time it had been manifest to all who saw her, that her
latter end was drawing nigh; and therefore, as I had kept up a
correspondence with her daughters, Mrs Macadam and Mrs Howard, I
wrote them a particular account of her case, which brought them to
the clachan. They both came in their own carriages; for Colonel
Macadam was now a general, and had succeeded to a great property by
an English uncle, his mother's brother; and Captain Howard, by the
death of his father, was also a man, as it was said, with a lord's
living. Robert Malcolm, her son the captain, was in the West Indies
at the time; but his wife came on the first summons, as did William
the minister.

They all arrived about four o'clock in the afternoon, and at seven a
message came for me and Mrs Balwhidder to go over to them, which we
did, and found the strangers seated by the heavenly patient's
bedside. On my entering, she turned her eyes towards me, and said,
"Bear witness, sir, that I die thankful for an extraordinary portion
of temporal mercies. The heart of my youth was withered like the
leaf that is scared with the lightning; but in my children I have
received a great indemnification for the sorrows of that trial."
She then requested me to pray, saying, "No; let it be a
thanksgiving. My term is out, and I have nothing more to hope or
fear from the good or evil of this world. But I have had much to
make me grateful; therefore, sir, return thanks for the time I have
been spared, for the goodness granted so long unto me, and the
gentle hand with which the way from this world is smoothed for my

There was something so sweet and consolatory in the way she said
this, that although it moved all present to tears, they were tears
without the wonted bitterness of grief. Accordingly, I knelt down
and did as she had required, and there was a great stillness while I
prayed. At the conclusion we looked to the bed, but the spirit had,
in the mean time, departed, and there was nothing remaining but the
clay tenement.

It was expected by the parish, considering the vast affluence of the
daughters, that there would have been a grand funeral, and Mrs
Howard thought it was necessary; but her sister, who had from her
youth upward a superior discernment of propriety, said, "No, as my
mother has lived, so shall be her end." Accordingly, everybody of
any respect in the clachan was invited to the funeral; but none of
the gentry, saving only such as had been numbered among the
acquaintance of the deceased. But Mr Cayenne came unbidden, saying
to me, that although he did not know Mrs Malcolm personally, he had
often heard she was an amiable woman, and therefore he thought it a
proper compliment to her family, who were out of the parish, to show
in what respect she was held among us; for he was a man that would
take his own way, and do what he thought was right, heedless alike
of blame or approbation.

If, however, the funeral was plain, though respectable, the ladies
distributed a liberal sum among the poor families; but before they
went away, a silent token of their mother's virtue came to light,
which was at once a source of sorrow and pleasure. Mrs Malcolm was
first well provided by the Macadams, afterwards the Howards settled
on her an equal annuity, by which she spent her latter days in great
comfort. Many a year before, she had repaid Provost Maitland the
money he sent her in the day of her utmost distress; and at this
period he was long dead, having died of a broken heart at the time
of his failure. From that time his widow and her daughters had been
in very straitened circumstances; but unknown to all but herself,
and Him from whom nothing is hid, Mrs Malcolm from time to time had
sent them, in a blank letter, an occasional note to the young ladies
to buy a gown. After her death, a bank-bill for a sum of money, her
own savings, was found in her scrutoire, with a note of her own
writing pinned to the same, stating, that the amount being more than
she had needed for herself, belonged of right to those who had so
generously provided for her; but as they were not in want of such a
trifle, it would be a token of respect to her memory, if they would
give the bill to Mrs Maitland and her daughters, which was done with
the most glad alacrity; and, in the doing of it, the private
kindness was brought to light.

Thus ended the history of Mrs Malcolm, as connected with our Parish
Annals. Her house was sold, and is the same now inhabited by the
millwright, Mr Periffery; and a neat house it still is, for the
possessor is an Englishman, and the English have an uncommon taste
for snod houses and trim gardens; but at the time it was built,
there was not a better in the town, though it's now but of the
second class. Yearly we hear both from Mrs Macadam and her sister,
with a five-pound note from each to the poor of the parish, as a
token of their remembrance; but they are far off, and, were any
thing ailing me, I suppose the gift will not be continued. As for
Captain Malcolm, he has proved, in many ways, a friend to such of
our young men as have gone to sea. He has now left it off himself,
and settled at London, where he latterly sailed from, and, I
understand, is in a great way as a shipowner. These things I have
thought it fitting to record, and will now resume my historical


The same quietude and regularity that marked the progress of the
last year, continued throughout the whole of this. We sowed and
reaped in tranquillity, though the sough of distant war came heavily
from a distance. The cotton-mill did well for the company, and
there was a sobriety in the minds of the spinners and weavers, which
showed that the crisis of their political distemperature was over;--
there was something more of the old prudence in men's reflections;
and it was plain to see that the elements of reconciliation were
coming together throughout the world. The conflagration of the
French Revolution was indeed not extinguished, but it was evidently
burning out; and their old reverence for the Grand Monarque was
beginning to revive among them, though they only called him a
consul. Upon the king's fast I preached on this subject; and when
the peace was concluded, I got great credit for my foresight, but
there was no merit in't. I had only lived longer than the most of
those around me, and had been all my days a close observer of the
signs of the times; so that what was lightly called prophecy and
prediction, were but a probability that experience had taught me to

In the affairs of the parish, the most remarkable generality (for we
had no particular catastrophe) was a great death of old people in
the spring. Among others, Miss Sabrina, the school mistress, paid
the debt of nature, but we could now better spare her than we did
her predecessor; for at Cayenneville there was a broken
manufacturer's wife, an excellent teacher, and a genteel and
modernised woman, who took the better order of children; and Miss
Sabrina having been long frail (for she was never stout), a decent
and discreet carlin, Mrs M'Caffie, the widow of a custom-house
officer, that was a native of the parish, set up another for plainer
work. Her opposition Miss Sabrina did not mind, but she was sorely
displeased at the interloping of Mrs Pirn at Cayenneville, and some
said it helped to kill her--of that, however, I am not so certain;
for Dr. Tanzey had told me in the winter, that he thought the sharp
winds in March would blow out her candle, as it was burnt to the
snuff; accordingly, she took her departure from this life, on the
twenty-fifth day of that month, after there had, for some days
prior, been a most cold and piercing east wind.

Miss Sabrina, who was always an oddity and aping grandeur, it was
found, had made a will, leaving her gatherings to her favourites,
with all regular formality. To one she bequeathed a gown, to
another this, and a third that, and to me a pair of black silk
stockings. I was amazed when I heard this; but judge what I felt,
when a pair of old marrowless stockings, darned in the heel, and not
whole enough in the legs to make a pair of mittens to Mrs
Balwhidder, were delivered to me by her executor, Mr Caption, the
lawyer. Saving, however, this kind of flummery, Miss Sabrina was a
harmless creature, and could quote poetry in discourse more glibly
than texts of Scripture--her father having spared no pains on her
mind: as for her body, it could not be mended; but that was not her

After her death, the session held a consultation, and we agreed to
give the same salary that Miss Sabrina enjoyed to Mrs M'Caffie,
which angered Mr Cayenne, who thought it should have been given to
the head mistress; and it made him give Mrs Pirn, out of his own
pocket, double the sum. But we considered that the parish funds
were for the poor of the parish, and therefore it was our duty to
provide for the instruction of the poor children. Saving,
therefore, those few notations, I have nothing further to say
concerning the topics and progress of this Ann. Dom.


It is often to me very curious food for meditation, that as the
parish increased in population, there should have been less cause
for matter to record. Things that in former days would have
occasioned great discourse and cogitation, are forgotten with the
day in which they happen; and there is no longer that searching into
personalities which was so much in vogue during the first epoch of
my ministry, which I reckon the period before the American war; nor
has there been any such germinal changes among us, as those which
took place in the second epoch, counting backward from the building
of the cotton-mill that gave rise to the town of Cayenneville. But
still we were not, even at this era, of which this Ann. Dom. is the
beginning, without occasional personality, or an event that deserved
to be called a germinal.

Some years before, I had noted among the callans at Mr Lorimore's
school a long soople laddie, who, like all bairns that grow fast and
tall, had but little smeddum. He could not be called a dolt, for he
was observant and thoughtful, and giving to asking sagacious
questions; but there was a sleepiness about him, especially in the
kirk, and he gave, as the master said, but little application to his
lessons, so that folk thought he would turn out a sort of gaunt-at-
the-door, more mindful of meat than work. He was, however, a good-
natured lad; and, when I was taking my solitary walks of meditation,
I sometimes fell in with him sitting alone on the brae by the water-
side, and sometimes lying on the grass, with his hands under his
head, on the sunny green knolls where Mr Cylinder, the English
engineer belonging to the cotton-work, has built the bonny house
that he calls Diryhill Cottage. This was when Colin Mavis was a
laddie at the school, and when I spoke to him, I was surprised at
the discretion of his answers; so that gradually I began to think
and say, that there was more about Colin than the neighbours knew.
Nothing, however, for many a day, came out to his advantage; so that
his mother, who was by this time a widow woman, did not well know
what to do with him, and folk pitied her heavy handful of such a

By-and-by, however, it happened that one of the young clerks at the
cotton-mill shattered his right-hand thumb by a gun bursting; and,
being no longer able to write, was sent into the army to be an
ensign, which caused a vacancy in the office; and, through the help
of Mr Cayenne, I got Colin Mavis into the place, where, to the
surprise of everybody, he proved a wonderful eident and active lad,
and, from less to more, has come at the head of all the clerks, and
deep in the confidentials of his employers. But although this was a
great satisfaction to me, and to the widow woman his mother, it
somehow was not so much so to the rest of the parish, who seemed, as
it were, angry that poor Colin had not proved himself such a dolt as
they had expected and foretold.

Among other ways that Colin had of spending his leisure, was that of
playing music on an instrument, in which it was said he made a
wonderful proficiency; but being long and thin, and of a delicate
habit of body, he was obligated to refrain from this recreation; so
he betook himself to books, and from reading he began to try
writing; but, as this was done in a corner, nobody jealoused what he
was about, till one evening in this year he came to the manse, and
asked a word in private with me. I thought that perhaps he had
fallen in with a lass, and was come to consult me anent matrimony;
but when we were by ourselves, in my study, he took out of his
pocket a number of the Scots Magazine, and said, "Sir, you have been
long pleased to notice me more than any other body, and when I got
this, I could not refrain from bringing it, to let you see't. Ye
maun ken, sir, that I have been long in secret given to trying my
hand at rhyme; and, wishing to ascertain what others thought of my
power in that way, I sent by the post twa three verses to the Scots
Magazine, and they have not only inserted them, but placed them in
the body of the book, in such a way that I kenna what to think." So
I looked at the Magazine, and read his verses, which were certainly
very well-made verses for one who had no regular education. But I
said to him, as the Greenock magistrates said to John Wilson, the
author of "Clyde," when they stipulated with him to give up the art,
that poem-making was a profane and unprofitable trade, and he would
do well to turn his talent to something of more solidity, which he
promised to do; but he has since put out a book, whereby he has
angered all those that had foretold he would be a do-nae-gude. Thus
has our parish walked sidy for sidy with all the national
improvements, having an author of its own, and getting a literary
character in the ancient and famous republic of letters.


"Experience teaches fools," was the first moral apothegm that I
wrote in small text, when learning to write at the school, and I
have ever since thought it was a very sensible reflection. For
assuredly, as year after year has flown away on the swift wings of
time, I have found my experience mellowing, and my discernment
improving; by which I have, in the afternoon of life, been enabled
to foresee what kings and nations would do, by the symptoms
manifested within the bounds of the society around me. Therefore,
at the beginning of the spring in this Ann. Dom., I had misgivings
at the heart, a fluttering in my thoughts, and altogether a strange
uneasiness as to the stability of the peace and harmony that was
supposed to be founded upon a steadfast foundation between us and
the French people. What my fears principally took their rise from,
was a sort of compliancy, on the part of those in power and
authority, to cultivate the old relations and parts between them and
the commonalty. It did not appear to me that this proceeded from
any known or decided event, for I read the papers at this period
daily; but from some general dread and fear, that was begotten, like
a vapour out of the fermentation of all sorts of opinions; most
people of any sagacity thinking that the state of things in France
being so much of an antic, poetical, and playactor-like guise, that
it would never obtain that respect, far less that reverence from the
world, which is necessary to the maintenance of all beneficial
government. The consequence of this was a great distrust between
man and man, and an aching restlessness among those who had their
bread to bake in the world; persons possessing the power to provide
for their kindred, forcing them, as it were, down the throats of
those who were dependent on them in business, a bitter morsel.

But the pith of these remarks chiefly applies to the manufacturing
concerns of the new town of Cayenneville; for in the clachan we
lived in the lea of the dike, and were more taken up with our own
natural rural affairs, and the markets for victual, than the craft
of merchandise. The only man interested in business, who walked in
a steady manner at his old pace, though he sometimes was seen, being
of a spunkie temper, grinding the teeth of vexation, was Mr Cayenne

One day, however, he came to me at the manse. "Doctor," says he,
for so he always called me, "I want your advice. I never choose to
trouble others with my private affairs; but there are times when the
word of an honest man may do good. I need not tell you, that when I
declared myself a Royalist in America, it was at a considerable
sacrifice. I have, however, nothing to complain of against
government on that score; but I think it damn'd hard that those
personal connexions, whose interests I preserved to the detriment of
my own, should in my old age make such an ungrateful return. By the
steps I took prior to quitting America, I saved the property of a
great mercantile concern in London. In return for that, they took a
share with me, and for me, in the cotton-mill; and being here on the
spot, as manager, I have both made and saved them money. I have, no
doubt, bettered my own fortune in the mean time. Would you believe
it, doctor, they have written a letter to me, saying that they wish
to provide for a relation, and requiring me to give up to him a
portion of my share in the concern--a pretty sort of providing this,
at another man's expense! But I'll be damn'd if I do any such
thing! If they want to provide for their friend, let them do so
from themselves, and not at my cost--What is your opinion?"

This appeared to me a very weighty concern, and, not being versed in
mercantile dealing, I did not well know what to say; but I reflected
for some time, and then I replied, "As far, Mr Cayenne, as my
observation has gone in this world, I think that the giffs and the
gaffs nearly balance one another; and when they do not, there is a
moral defect on the failing side. If a man long gives his labour to
his employer, and is paid for that labour, it might be said that
both are equal; but I say no. For it's in human nature to be prompt
to change; and the employer, having always more in his power than
his servant or agent, it seems to me a clear case, that in the
course of a number of years, the master of the old servant is the
obligated of the two; and therefore I say, in the first place, in
your case there is no tie or claim, by which you may, in a moral
sense, be called upon to submit to the dictates of your London
correspondents; but there is a reason, in the nature of the thing
and case, by which you may ask a favour from them--So, the advice I
would give you would be this: write an answer to their letter, and
tell them that you have no objection to the taking in of a new
partner, but you think it would be proper to revise all the
copartnery, especially as you have, considering the manner in which
you have advanced the business, been of opinion, that your share
should be considerably enlarged."

I thought Mr Cayenne would have louped out of his skin with mirth at
this notion; and, being a prompt man, he sat down at my scrutoire,
and answered the letter which gave him so much uneasiness. No
notice was taken of it for some time; but in the course of a month
he was informed, that it was not considered expedient at that time
to make any change in the company. I thought the old man was gone
by himself when he got this letter. He came over instantly in his
chariot, from the cotton-mill office to the manse, and swore an
oath, by some dreadful name, that I was a Solomon. However, I only
mention this to show how experience had instructed me, and as a
sample of that sinister provisioning of friends that was going on in
the world at this time--all owing, as I do verily believe, to the
uncertain state of governments and national affairs.

Besides these generalities, I observed another thing working to
effect--mankind read more, and the spirit of reflection and
reasoning was more awake than at any time within my remembrance.
Not only was there a handsome bookseller's shop in Cayenneville,
with a London newspaper daily, but magazines, and reviews, and other
new publications.

Till this year, when a chaise was wanted we had to send to Irville;
but Mr Toddy of the Cross-Keys being in at Glasgow, he bought an
excellent one at the second-hand, a portion of the effects of a
broken merchant, by which, from that period, we had one of our own,
and it proved a great convenience; for I, who never but twice in my
life before hired that kind of commodity, had it thrice during the
summer, for a bit jaunt with Mrs Balwhidder to divers places and
curiosities in the county that I had not seen before, by which our
ideas were greatly enlarged; indeed, I have always had a partiality
for travelling, as one of the best means of opening the faculty of
the mind, and giving clear and correct notions of men and things.


During the tempestuous times that ensued, from the death of the King
of France by the hands of the executioner in 1793, there had been a
political schism among my people that often made me very uneasy.
The folk belonging to the cotton-mill, and the muslin-weavers in
Cayenneville, were afflicted with the itch of jacobinism, but those
of the village were stanch and true to king and country; and some of
the heritors were desirous to make volunteers of the young men of
them, in case of anything like the French anarchy and confusion
rising on the side of the manufacturers. I, however, set myself, at
that time, against this, for I foresaw that the French business was
but a fever which would soon pass off; but no man could tell the
consequence of putting arms in the hands of neighbour against
neighbour, though it was but in the way of policy.

But when Bonaparte gathered his host fornent the English coast, and
the government at London were in terror of their lives for an
invasion, all in the country saw that there was danger, and I was
not backward in sounding the trumpet to battle. For a time,
however, there was a diffidence among us somewhere. The gentry had
a distrust of the manufacturers, and the farming lads were wud with
impatience, that those who should be their leaders would not come
forth. I, knowing this, prepared a sermon suitable to the occasion,
giving out from the pulpit myself, the Sabbath before preaching it,
that it was my intent, on the next Lord's day, to deliver a
religious and political exhortation on the present posture of public
affairs. This drew a vast congregation of all ranks.

I trow that the stoor had no peace in the stuffing of the pulpit in
that day; and the effect was very great and speedy: for next
morning the weavers and cotton-mill folk held a meeting, and they,
being skilled in the ways of committees and associating together,
had certain resolutions prepared, by which a select few was
appointed to take an enrolment of all willing in the parish to serve
as volunteers in defence of their king and country, and to concert
with certain gentlemen named therein, about the formation of a
corps, of which, it was an understood thing, the said gentlemen were
to be the officers. The whole of this business was managed with the
height of discretion; and the weavers, and spinners, and farming
lads, vied with one another who should be first on the list. But
that which the most surprised me, was the wonderful sagacity of the
committee in naming the gentlemen that should be the officers. I
could not have made a better choice myself; for they were the best
built, the best bred, and the best natured, in the parish. In
short, when I saw the bravery that was in my people, and the spirit
of wisdom by which it was directed, I said in my heart, the Lord of
Hosts is with us, and the adversary shall not prevail.

The number of valiant men which at that time placed themselves
around the banners of their country was so great, that the
government would not accept of all who offered; so, like as in other
parishes, we were obligated to make a selection, which was likewise
done in a most judicious manner, all men above a certain age being
reserved for the defence of the parish, in the day when the young
might be called to England to fight the enemy.

When the corps was formed, and the officers named, they made me
their chaplain, and Dr. Marigold their doctor. He was a little man
with a big belly, and was as crouse as a bantam cock; but it was not
thought he could do so well in field exercises, on which account he
was made the doctor, although he had no repute in that capacity in
comparison with Dr. Tanzey, who was not, however, liked, being a
stiff-mannered man, with a sharp temper.

All things having come to a proper head, the young ladies of the
parish resolved to present the corps with a stand of colours, which
they embroidered themselves, and a day was fixed for the
presentation of the same. Never was such a day seen in Dalmailing.
The sun shone brightly on that scene of bravery and grandeur, and
far and near the country folk came flocking in; and we had the
regimental band of music hired from the soldiers that were in Ayr
barracks. The very first sound o't made the hair on my old grey
head to prickle up, and my blood to rise and glow as if youth was
coming again into my veins.

Sir Hugh Montgomerie was the commandant; and he came in all the
glory of war, on his best horse, and marched at the head of the men
to the green-head. The doctor and me were the rearguard: not being
able, on account of my age and his fatness, to walk so fast as the
quick-step of the corps. On the field, we took our place in front,
near Sir Hugh and the ladies with the colours; and after some
salutations, according to the fashion of the army, Sir Hugh made a
speech to the men, and then Miss Maria Montgomerie came forward,
with her sister Miss Eliza, and the other ladies, and the banners
were unfurled, all glittering with gold, and the king's arms in
needlework. Miss Maria then made a speech, which she had got by
heart; but she was so agitated that it was said she forgot the best
part of it: however, it was very well considering. When this was
done, I then stepped forward, and laying my hat on the ground, every
man and boy taking off theirs, I said a prayer, which I had conned
most carefully, and which I thought the most suitable I could
devise, in unison with Christian principles, which are averse to the
shedding of blood; and I particularly dwelt upon some of the
specialities of our situation.

When I had concluded, the volunteers gave three great shouts, and
the multitude answered them to the same tune, and all the
instruments of music sounded, making such a bruit as could not be
surpassed for grandeur--a long, and very circumstantial account of
all which, may be read in the newspapers of that time.

The volunteers, at the word of command, then showed us the way they
were to fight with the French, in the doing of which a sad disaster
happened; for when they were charging bayonets, they came towards us
like a flood, and all the spectators ran; and I ran, and the doctor
ran; but being laden with his belly, he could not run fast enough,
so he lay down, and being just before me at the time, I tumbled over
him, and such a shout of laughter shook the field as was never

When the fatigues of the day were at an end, we marched to the
cotton-mill, where, in one of the ware-houses, a vast table was
spread, and a dinner, prepared at Mr Cayenne's own expense, sent in
from the Cross-Keys, and the whole corps, with many of the gentry of
the neighbourhood, dined with great jollity, the band of music
playing beautiful airs all the time. At night there was a universal
dance, gentle and semple mingled together. All which made it plain
to me, that the Lord, by this unison of spirit, had decreed our
national preservation; but I kept this in my own breast, lest it
might have the effect to relax the vigilance of the kingdom. And I
should note that Colin Mavis, the poetical lad, of whom I have
spoken in another part, made a song for this occasion that was very
mightily thought of, having in it a nerve of valiant genius, that
kindled the very souls of those that heard it.


In conformity with the altered fashions of the age, in this year the
session came to an understanding with me, that we should not inflict
the common church censures for such as made themselves liable
thereto; but we did not formally promulge our resolution as to this,
wishing as long as possible to keep the deterring rod over the heads
of the young and thoughtless. Our motive, on the one hand, was the
disregard of the manufacturers in Cayenneville, who were, without
the breach of truth, an irreligious people; and, on the other, a
desire to preserve the ancient and wholesome admonitory and
censorian jurisdiction of the minister and elders. We therefore
laid it down as a rule to ourselves, that, in the case of
transgressions on the part of the inhabitants of the new district of
Cayenneville, we should subject them rigorously to a fine; but that
for the farming-lads, we would put it in their option to pay the
fine, or stand in the kirk.

We conformed also in another matter to the times, by consenting to
baptize occasionally in private houses. Hitherto it had been a
strict rule with me only to baptize from the pulpit. Other
parishes, however, had long been in the practice of this relaxation
of ancient discipline.

But all this on my part, was not done without compunction of spirit;
for I was of opinion, that the principle of Presbyterian integrity
should have been maintained to the uttermost. Seeing, however, the
elders set on an alteration, I distrusted my own judgment, and
yielded myself to the considerations that weighed with them; for
they were true men, and of a godly honesty, and took the part of the
poor in all contentions with the heritors, often to the hazard and
damage of their own temporal welfare.

I have now to note a curious thing, not on account of its
importance, but to show to what lengths a correspondence had been
opened in the parish with the farthest parts of the earth. Mr
Cayenne got a turtle-fish sent to him from a Glasgow merchant, and
it was living when it came to the Wheatrig House, and was one of the
most remarkable beasts that had ever been seen in our country side.
It weighed as much as a well-fed calf, and had three kinds of meat
in its body, fish, flesh, and fowl, and it had four water-wings, for
they could not be properly called fins; but what was little short of
a miracle about the creature, happened after the head was cutted
off, when, if a finger was offered to it, it would open its mouth
and snap at it, and all this after the carcass was divided for

Mr Cayenne made a feast on the occasion to many of the neighbouring
gentry, to the which I was invited; and we drank lime-punch as we
ate the turtle, which, as I understand, is the fashion in practice
among the Glasgow West Indy merchants, who are famed as great hands
with turtles and lime-punch. But it is a sort of food that I should
not like to fare long upon. I was not right the next day; and I
have heard it said, that when eaten too often, it has a tendency to
harden the heart and make it crave for greater luxuries.

But the story of the turtle is nothing to that of the Mass, which,
with all its mummeries and abominations, was brought into
Cayenneville by an Irish priest of the name of Father O'Grady, who
was confessor to some of the poor deluded Irish labourers about the
new houses and the cotton-mill. How he had the impudence to set up
that memento of Satan, the crucifix, within my parish and
jurisdiction, was what I never could get to the bottom of; but the
soul was shaken within me, when, on the Monday after, one of the
elders came to the manse, and told me that the old dragon of Popery,
with its seven heads and ten horns, had been triumphing in
Cayenneville on the foregoing Lord's day! I lost no time in
convening the session to see what was to be done; much, however, to
my surprise, the elders recommended no step to be taken, but only a
zealous endeavour to greater Christian excellence on our part, by
which we should put the beast and his worshippers to shame and
flight. I am free to confess, that, at the time, I did not think
this the wisest counsel which they might have given; for, in the
heat of my alarm, I was for attacking the enemy in his camp. But
they prudently observed, that the days of religious persecution were
past, and it was a comfort to see mankind cherishing any sense of
religion at all, after the vehement infidelity that had been sent
abroad by the French Republicans; and to this opinion, now that I
have had years to sift its wisdom, I own myself a convert and

Fortunately, however, for my peace of mind, there proved to be but
five Roman Catholics in Cayenneville; and Father O'Grady not being
able to make a living there, packed up his Virgin Marys, saints, and
painted Agneses in a portmanteau, and went off in the Ayr fly one
morning for Glasgow, where I hear he has since met with all the
encouragement that might be expected from the ignorant and
idolatrous inhabitants of that great city.

Scarcely were we well rid of Father O'Grady, when another interloper
entered the parish. He was more dangerous, in the opinion of the
session, than even the Pope of Rome himself; for he came to teach
the flagrant heresy of Universal Redemption, a most consolatory
doctrine to the sinner that is loth to repent, and who loves to
troll his iniquity like a sweet morsel under his tongue. Mr Martin
Siftwell, who was the last ta'en on elder, and who had received a
liberal and judicious education, and was, moreover, naturally
possessed of a quick penetration, observed, in speaking of this new
doctrine, that the grossest papist sinner might have some qualms of
fear after he had bought the Pope's pardon, and might thereby be led
to a reformation of life; but that the doctrine of universal
redemption was a bribe to commit sin, the wickedest mortal,
according to it, being only liable to a few thousand years, more or
less, of suffering, which, compared with eternity, was but a
momentary pang, like having a tooth drawn for the toothache. Mr
Siftwell is a shrewd and clear-seeing man in points of theology, and
I would trust a great deal to what he says, as I have not, at my
advanced age, such a mind for the kittle crudities of polemical
investigation that I had in my younger years, especially when I was
a student in the Divinity Hall of Glasgow.

It will be seen from all I have herein recorded, that, in the course
of this year, there was a general resuscitation of religious
sentiments; for what happened in my parish was but a type and index
to the rest of the world. We had, however, one memorable that must
stand by itself; for although neither death nor bloodshed happened,
yet was it cause of the fear of both.

A rumour reached us from the Clyde, that a French man-of-war had
appeared in a Highland loch, and that all the Greenock volunteers
had embarked in merchant vessels to bring her in for a prize. Our
volunteers were just jumping and yowling, like chained dogs, to be
at her too; but the colonel, Sir Hugh, would do nothing without
orders from his superiors. Mr Cayenne, though an aged man above
seventy, was as bold as a lion, and came forth in the old garb of an
American huntsman, like, as I was told, a Robin Hood in the play is;
and it was just a sport to see him, feckless man, trying to march so
crousely with his lean, shaking hands. But the whole affair proved
a false alarm, and our men, when they heard it, were as well pleased
that they had been constrained to sleep in their warm beds at home,
instead of lying on coils of cables, like the gallant Greenock


For some time I had meditated a reformation in the parish, and this
year I carried the same into effect. I had often noticed with
concern, that, out of a mistaken notion of paying respect to the
dead, my people were wont to go to great lengths at their burials,
and dealt round short-bread and sugar-biscuit, with wine and other
confections, as if there had been no ha'd in their hands; which
straitened many a poor family, making the dispensation of the Lord a
heavier temporal calamity than it should naturally have been.
Accordingly, on consulting with Mrs Balwhidder, who has a most
judicious judgment, it was thought that my interference would go a
great way to lighten the evil. I therefore advised with those whose
friends were taken from them, not to make that amplitude of
preparation which used to be the fashion, nor to continue handing
about as long as the folk would take, but only at the very most to
go no more than three times round with the service. Objections were
made to this, as if it would be thought mean; but I put on a stern
visage, and told them, that if they did more I would rise up, and
rebuke and forbid the extravagance. So three services became the
uttermost modicum at all burials. This was doing much, but it was
not all that I wished to do.

I considered that the best reformations are those which proceed step
by step, and stop at that point where the consent to what has been
established becomes general; and so I governed myself, and therefore
interfered no farther; but I was determined to set an example.
Accordingly, at the very next dregy, after I partook of one service,
I made a bow to the servitors and they passed on, but all before me
had partaken of the second service; some, however, of those after me
did as I did, so I foresaw that in a quiet canny way I would bring
in the fashion of being satisfied with one service. I therefore,
from that time, always took my place as near as possible to the
door, where the chief mourner sat, and made a point of nodding away
the second service, which has now grown into a custom, to the great
advantage of surviving relations.

But in this reforming business I was not altogether pleased with our
poet; for he took a pawkie view of my endeavours, and indited a
ballad on the subject, in the which he makes a clattering carlin
describe what took place, so as to turn a very solemn matter into a
kind of derision. When he brought his verse and read it to me, I
told him that I thought it was overly natural; for I could not find
another term to designate the cause of the dissatisfaction that I
had with it; but Mrs Balwhidder said that it might help my plan if
it were made public; so upon her advice we got some of Mr Lorimore's
best writers to make copies of it for distribution, which was not
without fruit and influence. But a sore thing happened at the very
next burial. As soon as the nodding away of the second service
began, I could see that the gravity of the whole meeting was
discomposed; and some of the irreverent young chiels almost broke
out into even-down laughter, which vexed me exceedingly. Mrs
Balwhidder, howsoever, comforted me by saying, that custom in time
would make it familiar, and by-and-by the thing would pass as a
matter of course, until one service would be all that folk would
offer; and truly the thing is coming to that, for only two services
are now handed round, and the second is regularly nodded by.


Mr Cayenne of Wheatrig having for several years been in a declining
way, partly brought on by the consuming fire of his furious passion,
and partly by the decay of old age, sent for me on the evening of
the first Sabbath of March in this year. I was surprised at the
message, and went to the Wheatrig House directly, where, by the
lights in the windows as I gaed up through the policy to the door, I
saw something extraordinary was going on. Sambo, the blackamoor
servant, opened the door, and, without speaking, shook his head; for
it was an affectionate creature, and as fond of his master as if he
had been his own father. By this sign I guessed that the old
gentleman was thought to be drawing near his latter end; so I walked
softly after Sambo up the stair, and was shown into the chamber
where Mr Cayenne, since he had been confined to the house, usually
sat. His wife had been dead some years before.

Mr Cayenne was sitting in his easy chair, with a white cotton
nightcap on his head, and a pillow at his shoulders to keep him
straight. But his head had fallen down on his breast, and he
breathed like a panting baby. His legs were swelled, and his feet
rested on a footstool. His face, which was wont to be the colour of
a peony rose, was of a yellow hue, with a patch of red on each cheek
like a wafer; and his nose was shirpit and sharp, and of an
unnatural purple. Death was evidently fighting with nature for the
possession of the body. "Heaven have mercy on his soul!" said I to
myself, as I sat down beside him.

When I had been seated some time, the power was given him to raise
his head as it were a-jee; and he looked at me with the tail of his
eye, which I saw was glittering and glassy. "Doctor," for he always
called me doctor, though I am not of that degree, "I am glad to see
you," were his words, uttered with some difficulty.

"How do you find yourself, sir?" I replied, in a sympathising

"Damned bad," said he, as if I had been the cause of his suffering.
I was daunted to the very heart to hear him in such an unregenerate
state; but after a short pause I addressed myself to him again,
saying, that "I hoped he would soon be more at ease; and he should
bear in mind that the Lord chasteneth whom he loveth."

"The devil take such love!" was his awful answer, which was to me as
a blow on the forehead with a mell. However, I was resolved to do
my duty to the miserable sinner, let him say what he would.
Accordingly, I stooped towards him with my hands on my knees, and
said in a compassionate voice, "It's very true, sir, that you are in
great agony; but the goodness of God is without bound."

"Curse me if I think so, doctor!" replied the dying uncircumcised
Philistine. But he added at whiles, his breathlessness being
grievous, and often broken by a sore hiccup, "I am, however, no
saint, as you know, doctor; so I wish you to put in a word for me,
doctor; for you know that in these times, doctor, it is the duty of
every good subject to die a Christian."

This was a poor account of the state of his soul; but it was plain I
could make no better o't, by entering into any religious discourse
or controversy with him, he being then in the last gasp; so I knelt
down and prayed for him with great sincerity, imploring the Lord, as
an awakening sense of grace to the dying man, that it would please
him to lift up, though it were but for the season of a minute, the
chastening hand which was laid so heavily upon his aged servant; at
which Mr Cayenne, as if, indeed, the hand had been then lifted,
cried out, "None of that stuff, doctor; you know that I cannot call
myself his servant."

Was ever a minister in his prayer so broken in upon by a perishing
sinner! However, I had the weight of a duty upon me, and made no
reply, but continued, "Thou hearest, O Lord, how he confesses his
unworthiness! Let not thy compassion, therefore, be withheld, but
verify to him the words that I have spoken in faith, of the
boundlessness of thy goodness, and the infinite multitude of thy
tender mercies." I then calmly, but sadly, sat down, and presently,
as if my prayer had been heard, relief was granted; for Mr Cayenne
raised his head, and giving me a queer look, said, "That last clause
of your petition, doctor, was well put, and I think, too, it has
been granted, for I am easier"--adding, "I have no doubt, doctor,
given much offence in the world, and oftenest when I meant to do
good; but I have wilfully injured no man; and as God is my judge,
and his goodness, you say, is so great, he may, perhaps, take my
soul into his holy keeping." In saying which words, Mr Cayenne
dropped his head upon his breast, his breathing ceased, and he was
wafted away out of this world with as little trouble as a blameless

This event soon led to a change among us. In the settling of Mr
Cayenne's affairs in the Cotton-mill Company, it was found that he
had left such a power of money, that it was needful to the concern,
in order that they might settle with the doers under his testament,
to take in other partners. By this Mr Speckle came to be a resident
in the parish, he having taken up a portion of Mr Cayenne's share.
He likewise took a tack of the house and policy of Wheatrig. But
although Mr Speckle was a far more conversible man than his
predecessor, and had a wonderful plausibility in business, the
affairs of the company did not thrive in his hands. Some said this
was owing to his having owre many irons in the fire; others, to the
circumstances of the times: in my judgment, however, both helped;
but the issue belongs to the events of another year. In the
meanwhile, I should here note, that in the course of this current
Ann. Dom. it pleased Heaven to visit me with a severe trial; the
nature of which I will here record at length--the upshot I will make
known hereafter.

From the planting of inhabitants in the cotton-mill town of
Cayenneville, or as the country folk, not used to used to such lang-
nebbit words, now call it, Canaille, there had come in upon the
parish various sectarians among the weavers, some of whom were not
satisfied with the gospel as I preached it, and endeavoured to
practise it in my walk and conversation; and they began to speak of
building a kirk for themselves, and of getting a minster that would
give them the gospel more to their own ignorant fancies. I was
exceedingly wroth and disturbed when the thing was first mentioned
to me; and I very earnestly, from the pulpit, next Lord's day,
lectured on the growth of newfangled doctrines; which, however,
instead of having the wonted effect of my discourses, set up the
theological weavers in a bleeze, and the very Monday following they
named a committee, to raise money by subscription to build a
meeting-house. This was the first overt act of insubordination,
collectively manifested, in the parish; and it was conducted with
all that crafty dexterity with which the infidel and jacobin spirit
of the French Revolution had corrupted the honest simplicity of our
good old hameward fashions. In the course of a very short time, the
Canaille folk had raised a large sum, and seduced not a few of my
people into their schism, by which they were enabled to set about
building their kirk; the foundations thereof were not, however, laid
till the following year, but their proceedings gave me a het heart,
for they were like an open rebellion to my authority, and a
contemptuous disregard of that religious allegiance which is due
from the flock to the pastor.

On Christmas-day the wind broke off the main arm of our Adam and Eve
pear-tree; and I grieved for it more as a type and sign of the
threatened partition, than on account of the damage, though the
fruit was the juiciest in all the country side.


This was a year to me of satisfaction in many points; for a greater
number of my younger flock married in it, than had done for any one
of ten years prior. They were chiefly the offspring of the
marriages that took place at the close of the American war; and I
was pleased to see the duplification of well-doing, as I think
marrying is, having always considered the command to increase and
multiply, a holy ordinance, which the circumstances of this world
but too often interfere to prevent.

It was also made manifest to me, that in this year there was a very
general renewal in the hearts of men, of a sense of the utility,
even in earthly affairs, of a religious life: in some, I trust it
was more than prudence, and really a birth of grace. Whether this
was owing to the upshot of the French Revolution, all men being
pretty well satisfied in their minds, that uproar and rebellion make
but an ill way of righting wrongs, or that the swarm of unruly youth
the offspring, as I have said, of the marriages after the American
war, had grown sobered from their follies, and saw things in a
better light, I cannot take upon me to say. But it was very
edifying to me, their minister, to see several lads who had been
both wild and free in their principles, marrying with sobriety, and
taking their wives to the kirk with the comely decorum of heads of

But I was now growing old, and could go seldomer out among my people
than in former days; so that I was less a partaker of their ploys
and banquets, either at birth, bridal, or burial. I heard, however,
all that went on at them, and I made it a rule, after giving the
blessing at the end of the ceremony, to admonish the bride and
bridegroom to ca' canny, and join trembling with their mirth. It
behoved me on one occasion, however, to break through a rule that
age and frailty had imposed upon me, and to go to the wedding of
Tibby Banes, the daughter of the betheral, because she had once been
a servant in the manse, besides the obligation upon me, from her
father's part both in the kirk and kirkyard. Mrs Balwhidder went
with me, for she liked to countenance the pleasantries of my people;
and, over and above all, it was a pay-wedding, in order to set up
the bridegroom in a shop.

There was, to be sure, a great multitude, gentle and semple, of all
denominations, with two fiddles and a bass, and the volunteers' fife
and drum; and the jollity that went on was a perfect feast of
itself, though the wedding-supper was a prodigy of abundance. The
auld carles kecklet with fainness as they saw the young dancers; and
the carlins sat on forms, as mim as May puddocks, with their shawls
pinned apart, to show their muslin napkins. But, after supper, when
they had got a glass of the punch, their heels showed their mettle,
and grannies danced with their oyes, holding out their hands as if
they had been spinning with two rocks. I told Colin Mavis, the
poet, than an INFARE was a fine subject for his muse; and soon after
he indited an excellent ballad under that title, which he projects
to publish, with other ditties, by subscription; and I have no doubt
a liberal and discerning public will give him all manner of
encouragement, for that is the food of talent of every kind; and
without cheering, no one can say what an author's faculty naturally


Through all the wars that have raged from the time of the King's
accession to the throne, there has been a gradually coming nearer
and nearer to our gates, which is a very alarming thing to think of.
In the first, at the time he came to the crown, we suffered nothing.
Not one belonging to the parish was engaged in the battles thereof;
and the news of victories, before they reached us, which was
generally by word of mouth, were old tales. In the American war, as
I have related at length, we had an immediate participation; but
those that suffered were only a few individuals, and the evil was
done at a distance, and reached us not until the worst of its
effects were spent. And during the first term of the present just
and necessary contest for all that is dear to us as a people,
although, by the offswarming of some of our restless youth, we had
our part and portion in common with the rest of the Christian world;
yet still there was at home a great augmentation of prosperity, and
every thing had thriven in a surprising manner; somewhat, however,
to the detriment of our country simplicity. By the building of the
cotton-mill, and the rising up of the new town of Cayenneville, we
had intromitted so much with concerns of trade, that we were become
a part of the great web of commercial reciprocities, and felt in our
corner and extremity, every touch or stir that was made on any part
of the texture. The consequence of this I have now to relate.

Various rumours had been floating about the business of the cotton
manufacturers not being so lucrative as it had been; and Bonaparte,
as it is well known, was a perfect limb of Satan against our
prosperity, having recourse to the most wicked means and purposes to
bring ruin upon us as a nation. His cantrips, in this year, began
to have a dreadful effect.

For some time it had been observed in the parish, that Mr Specle of
the cotton-mill, went very often to Glasgow, and was sometimes off
at a few minutes' warning to London; and the neighbours began to
guess and wonder at what could be the cause of all this running
here, and riding there, as if the little-gude was at his heels.
Sober folk augured ill o't; and it was remarked, likewise, that
there was a haste and confusion in his mind, which betokened a
foretaste of some change of fortune. At last, in the fulness of
time, the babe was born.

On a Saturday night, Mr Speckle came out late from Glasgow; on the
Sabbath he was with all his family at the kirk, looking as a man
that had changed his way of life; and on the Monday, when the
spinners went to the mill, they were told that the company had
stopped payment. Never did a thunder-clap daunt the heart like this
news; for the bread in a moment was snatched from more than a
thousand mouths. It was a scene not to be described, to see the
cotton-spinners and the weavers, with their wives and children,
standing in bands along the road, all looking and speaking as if
they had lost a dear friend or parent. For my part, I could not
bear the sight, but hid myself in my closet, and prayed to the Lord
to mitigate a calamity which seemed to me past the capacity of man
to remedy; for what could our parish fund do in the way of helping a
whole town, thus suddenly thrown out of bread?

In the evening, however, I was strengthened, and convened the elders
at the manse to consult with them on what was best to be done; for
it was well known that the sufferers had made no provision for a
sore foot. But all our gathered judgments could determine nothing;
and therefore we resolved to wait the issue, not doubting but that
He who sends the night, would bring the day in His good and gracious
time, which so fell out. Some of them who had the largest
experience of such vicissitudes, immediately began to pack up their
ends and their awls, and to hie them into Glasgow and Paisley in
quest of employ; but those who trusted to the hopes that Mr Speckle
himself still cherished, lingered long, and were obligated to submit
to sore distress. After a time, however, it was found that the
company was ruined; and the mill being sold for the benefit of the
creditors, it was bought by another Glasgow company, who, by getting
a good bargain, and managing well, have it still, and have made it
again a blessing to the country. At the time of the stoppage,
however, we saw that commercial prosperity, flush as it might be,
was but a perishable commodity, and from thence, both by public
discourse and private exhortation, I have recommended to the workmen
to lay up something for a reverse; and showed that, by doing with
their bawbees and pennies what the great do with their pounds, they
might in time get a pose to help them in the day of need. This
advice they have followed, and made up a Savings Bank, which is a
pillow of comfort to many an industrious head of a family.

But I should not close this account of the disaster that befell Mr
Speckle, and the cotton-mill company, without relating a very
melancholy case that was the consequence. Among the overseers there
was a Mr Dwining, an Englishman from Manchester, where he had seen
better days, having had himself there of his own property, once as
large a mill, according to report, as the Cayenneville mill. He was
certainly a man above the common, and his wife was a lady in every
point; but they held themselves by themselves, and shunned all
manner of civility, giving up their whole attention to their two
little boys, who were really like creatures of a better race than
the callans of our clachan.

On the failure of the company, Mr Dwining was observed by those who
were present to be particularly distressed: his salary being his
all; but he said little, and went thoughtfully home. Some days
after he was seen walking by himself with a pale face, a heavy eye,
and slow step--all tokens of a sorrowful heart. Soon after, he was
missed altogether; nobody saw him. The door of his house was
however open, and his two pretty boys were as lively as usual, on
the green before the door. I happened to pass when they were there,
and I asked them how their father and mother were. They said they
were still in bed, and would not waken, and the innocent lambs took
me by the hand, to make me waken their parents. I know not what was
in it, but I trembled from head to foot, and I was led in by the
babies, as if I had not the power to resist. Never shall I forget
what I saw in that bed.

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