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The Ayrshire Legatees by John Galt

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The Ayrshire Legatees


On New Year's day Dr. Pringle received a letter from India,
informing him that his cousin, Colonel Armour, had died at Hydrabad,
and left him his residuary legatee. The same post brought other
letters on the same subject from the agent of the deceased in
London, by which it was evident to the whole family that no time
should be lost in looking after their interests in the hands of such
brief and abrupt correspondents. "To say the least of it," as the
Doctor himself sedately remarked, "considering the greatness of the
forth-coming property, Messieurs Richard Argent and Company, of New
Broad Street, might have given a notion as to the particulars of the
residue." It was therefore determined that, as soon as the
requisite arrangements could be made, the Doctor and Mrs. Pringle
should set out for the metropolis, to obtain a speedy settlement
with the agents, and, as Rachel had now, to use an expression of her
mother's, "a prospect before her," that she also should accompany
them: Andrew, who had just been called to the Bar, and who had come
to the manse to spend a few days after attaining that distinction,
modestly suggested, that, considering the various professional
points which might be involved in the objects of his father's
journey, and considering also the retired life which his father had
led in the rural village of Garnock, it might be of importance to
have the advantage of legal advice.

Mrs. Pringle interrupted this harangue, by saying, "We see what you
would be at, Andrew; ye're just wanting to come with us, and on this
occasion I'm no for making step-bairns, so we'll a' gang thegither."

The Doctor had been for many years the incumbent of Garnock, which
is pleasantly situated between Irvine and Kilwinning, and, on
account of the benevolence of his disposition, was much beloved by
his parishioners. Some of the pawkie among them used indeed to say,
in answer to the godly of Kilmarnock, and other admirers of the late
great John Russel, of that formerly orthodox town, by whom Dr.
Pringle's powers as a preacher were held in no particular
estimation,--"He kens our pu'pit's frail, and spar'st to save outlay
to the heritors." As for Mrs. Pringle, there is not such another
minister's wife, both for economy and management, within the
jurisdiction of the Synod of Glasgow and Ayr, and to this fact the
following letter to Miss Mally Glencairn, a maiden lady residing in
the Kirkgate of Irvine, a street that has been likened unto the
Kingdom of Heaven, where there is neither marriage nor giving in
marriage, will abundantly testify.


Mrs. Pringle to Miss Mally Glencairn--GARNOCK MANSE.

Dear Miss Mally--The Doctor has had extraordinar news from India and
London, where we are all going, as soon as me and Rachel can get
ourselves in order, so I beg you will go to Bailie Delap's shop, and
get swatches of his best black bombaseen, and crape, and muslin, and
bring them over to the manse the morn's morning. If you cannot come
yourself, and the day should be wat, send Nanny Eydent, the mantua-
maker, with them; you'll be sure to send Nanny, onyhow, and I
requeesht that, on this okasion, ye'll get the very best the Bailie
has, and I'll tell you all about it when you come. You will get,
likewise, swatches of mourning print, with the lowest prices. I'll
no be so particular about them, as they are for the servan lasses,
and there's no need, for all the greatness of God's gifts, that we
should be wasterful. Let Mrs. Glibbans know, that the Doctor's
second cousin, the colonel, that was in the East Indies, is no
more;--I am sure she will sympatheese with our loss on this
melancholy okasion. Tell her, as I'll no be out till our mournings
are made, I would take it kind if she would come over and eate a bit
of dinner on Sunday. The Doctor will no preach himself, but there's
to be an excellent young man, an acquaintance of Andrew's, that has
the repute of being both sound and hellaquaint. But no more at
present, and looking for you and Nanny Eydent, with the swatches,--I
am, dear Miss Mally, your sinsare friend,


The Doctor being of opinion that, until they had something in hand
from the legacy, they should walk in the paths of moderation, it was
resolved to proceed by the coach from Irvine to Greenock, there
embark in a steam-boat for Glasgow, and, crossing the country to
Edinburgh, take their passage at Leith in one of the smacks for
London. But we must let the parties speak for themselves.


Miss Rachel Pringle to Miss Isabella Tod--GREENOCK.

My Dear Isabella--I know not why the dejection with which I parted
from you still hangs upon my heart, and grows heavier as I am drawn
farther and farther away. The uncertainty of the future--the
dangers of the sea--all combine to sadden my too sensitive spirit.
Still, however, I will exert myself, and try to give you some
account of our momentous journey.

The morning on which we bade farewell for a time--alas! it was to me
as if for ever, to my native shades of Garnock--the weather was
cold, bleak, and boisterous, and the waves came rolling in majestic
fury towards the shore, when we arrived at the Tontine Inn of
Ardrossan. What a monument has the late Earl of Eglinton left there
of his public spirit! It should embalm his memory in the hearts of
future ages, as I doubt not but in time Ardrossan will become a
grand emporium; but the people of Saltcoats, a sordid race, complain
that it will be their ruin; and the Paisley subscribers to his
lordship's canal grow pale when they think of profit.

The road, after leaving Ardrossan, lies along the shore. The blast
came dark from the waters, and the clouds lay piled in every form of
grandeur on the lofty peaks of Arran. The view on the right hand is
limited to the foot of a range of abrupt mean hills, and on the left
it meets the sea--as we were obliged to keep the glasses up, our
drive for several miles was objectless and dreary. When we had
ascended a hill, leaving Kilbride on the left, we passed under the
walls of an ancient tower. What delightful ideas are associated
with the sight of such venerable remains of antiquity!

Leaving that lofty relic of our warlike ancestors, we descended
again towards the shore. On the one side lay the Cumbra Islands,
and Bute, dear to departed royalty. Afar beyond them, in the hoary
magnificence of nature, rise the mountains of Argyllshire; the
cairns, as my brother says, of a former world. On the other side of
the road, we saw the cloistered ruins of the religious house of
Southenan, a nunnery in those days of romantic adventure, when to
live was to enjoy a poetical element. In such a sweet sequestered
retreat, how much more pleasing to the soul it would have been, for
you and I, like two captive birds in one cage, to have sung away our
hours in innocence, than for me to be thus torn from you by fate,
and all on account of that mercenary legacy, perchance the spoils of
some unfortunate Hindoo Rajah!

At Largs we halted to change horses, and saw the barrows of those
who fell in the great battle. We then continued our journey along
the foot of stupendous precipices; and high, sublime, and darkened
with the shadow of antiquity, we saw, upon its lofty station, the
ancient Castle of Skelmorlie, where the Montgomeries of other days
held their gorgeous banquets, and that brave knight who fell at
Chevy-Chace came pricking forth on his milk-white steed, as Sir
Walter Scott would have described him. But the age of chivalry is
past, and the glory of Europe departed for ever!

When we crossed the stream that divides the counties of Ayr and
Renfrew, we beheld, in all the apart and consequentiality of pride,
the house of Kelly overlooking the social villas of Wemyss Bay. My
brother compared it to a sugar hogshead, and them to cotton-bags;
for the lofty thane of Kelly is but a West India planter, and the
inhabitants of the villas on the shore are Glasgow manufacturers.

To this succeeded a dull drive of about two miles, and then at once
we entered the pretty village of Inverkip. A slight snow-shower had
given to the landscape a sort of copperplate effect, but still the
forms of things, though but sketched, as it were, with China ink,
were calculated to produce interesting impressions. After
ascending, by a gentle acclivity, into a picturesque and romantic
pass, we entered a spacious valley, and, in the course of little
more than half an hour, reached this town; the largest, the most
populous, and the most superb that I have yet seen. But what are
all its warehouses, ships, and smell of tar, and other odoriferous
circumstances of fishery and the sea, compared with the green
swelling hills, the fragrant bean-fields, and the peaceful groves of
my native Garnock!

The people of this town are a very busy and clever race, but much
given to litigation. My brother says, that they are the greatest
benefactors to the Outer House, and that their lawsuits are the most
amusing and profitable before the courts, being less for the purpose
of determining what is right than what is lawful. The chambermaid
of the inn where we lodge pointed out to me, on the opposite side of
the street, a magnificent edifice erected for balls; but the
subscribers have resolved not to allow any dancing till it is
determined by the Court of Session to whom the seats and chairs
belong, as they were brought from another house where the assemblies
were formerly held. I have heard a lawsuit compared to a country-
dance, in which, after a great bustle and regular confusion, the
parties stand still, all tired, just on the spot where they began;
but this is the first time that the judges of the land have been
called on to decide when a dance may begin.

We arrived too late for the steam-boat, and are obliged to wait till
Monday morning; but to-morrow we shall go to church, where I expect
to see what sort of creatures the beaux are. The Greenock ladies
have a great name for beauty, but those that I have seen are perfect
frights. Such of the gentlemen as I have observed passing the
windows of the inn may do, but I declare the ladies have nothing of
which any woman ought to be proud. Had we known that we ran a risk
of not getting a steam-boat, my mother would have provided an
introductory letter or two from some of her Irvine friends; but here
we are almost entire strangers: my father, however, is acquainted
with one of the magistrates, and has gone to see him. I hope he
will be civil enough to ask us to his house, for an inn is a
shocking place to live in, and my mother is terrified at the
expense. My brother, however, has great confidence in our
prospects, and orders and directs with a high hand. But my paper is
full, and I am compelled to conclude with scarcely room to say how
affectionately I am yours,



The Rev. Dr Pringle to Mr. Micklewham, Schoolmaster and Session-
Clerk, Garnock--EDINBURGH.

Dear Sir--We have got this length through many difficulties, both in
the travel by land to, and by sea and land from Greenock, where we
were obligated, by reason of no conveyance, to stop the Sabbath, but
not without edification; for we went to hear Dr. Drystour in the
forenoon, who had a most weighty sermon on the tenth chapter of
Nehemiah. He is surely a great orthodox divine, but rather costive
in his delivery. In the afternoon we heard a correct moral lecture
on good works, in another church, from Dr. Eastlight--a plain man,
with a genteel congregation. The same night we took supper with a
wealthy family, where we had much pleasant communion together,
although the bringing in of the toddy-bowl after supper is a fashion
that has a tendency to lengthen the sederunt to unseasonable hours.

On the following morning, by the break of day, we took shipping in
the steam-boat for Glasgow. I had misgivings about the engine,
which is really a thing of great docility; but saving my concern for
the boiler, we all found the place surprising comfortable. The day
was bleak and cold; but we had a good fire in a carron grate in the
middle of the floor, and books to read, so that both body and mind
are therein provided for.

Among the books, I fell in with a History of the Rebellion, anent
the hand that an English gentleman of the name of Waverley had in
it. I was grieved that I had not time to read it through, for it
was wonderful interesting, and far more particular, in many points,
than any other account of that affair I have yet met with; but it's
no so friendly to Protestant principles as I could have wished.
However, if I get my legacy well settled, I will buy the book, and
lend it to you on my return, please God, to the manse.

We were put on shore at Glasgow by breakfast-time, and there we
tarried all day, as I had a power of attorney to get from Miss Jenny
Macbride, my cousin, to whom the colonel left the thousand pound
legacy. Miss Jenny thought the legacy should have been more, and
made some obstacle to signing the power; but both her lawyer and
Andrew Pringle, my son, convinced her, that, as it was specified in
the testament, she could not help it by standing out; so at long and
last Miss Jenny was persuaded to put her name to the paper.

Next day we all four got into a fly coach, and, without damage or
detriment, reached this city in good time for dinner in Macgregor's
hotel, a remarkable decent inn, next door to one Mr. Blackwood, a
civil and discreet man in the bookselling line.

Really the changes in Edinburgh since I was here, thirty years ago,
are not to be told. I am confounded; for although I have both heard
and read of the New Town in the Edinburgh Advertiser, and the Scots
Magazine, I had no notion of what has come to pass. It's surprising
to think wherein the decay of the nation is; for at Greenock I saw
nothing but shipping and building; at Glasgow, streets spreading as
if they were one of the branches of cotton-spinning; and here, the
houses grown up as if they were sown in the seed-time with the corn,
by a drill-machine, or dibbled in rigs and furrows like beans and

To-morrow, God willing, we embark in a smack at Leith, so that you
will not hear from me again till it please Him to take us in the
hollow of His hand to London. In the meantime, I have only to add,
that, when the Session meets, I wish you would speak to the elders,
particularly to Mr. Craig, no to be overly hard on that poor donsie
thing, Meg Milliken, about her bairn; and tell Tam Glen, the father
o't, from me, that it would have been a sore heart to that pious
woman, his mother, had she been living, to have witnessed such a
thing; and therefore I hope and trust, he will yet confess a fault,
and own Meg for his wife, though she is but something of a tawpie.
However, you need not diminish her to Tam. I hope Mr. Snodgrass
will give as much satisfaction to the parish as can reasonably be
expected in my absence; and I remain, dear sir, your friend and


Mr. Micklewham received the Doctor's letter about an hour before the
Session met on the case of Tam Glen and Meg Milliken, and took it
with him to the session-house, to read it to the elders before going
into the investigation. Such a long and particular letter from the
Doctor was, as they all justly remarked, kind and dutiful to his
people, and a great pleasure to them.

Mr. Daff observed, "Truly the Doctor's a vera funny man, and
wonderfu' jocose about the toddy-bowl." But Mr. Craig said, that
"sic a thing on the Lord's night gi'es me no pleasure; and I am for
setting my face against Waverley's History of the Rebellion, whilk I
hae heard spoken of among the ungodly, both at Kilwinning and Dalry;
and if it has no respect to Protestant principles, I doubt it's but
another dose o' the radical poison in a new guise." Mr. Icenor,
however, thought that "the observe on the great Doctor Drystour was
very edifying; and that they should see about getting him to help at
the summer Occasion." {1}

While they were thus reviewing, in their way, the first epistle of
the Doctor, the betherel came in to say that Meg and Tam were at the
door. "Oh, man," said Mr. Daff, slyly, "ye shouldna hae left them
at the door by themselves." Mr. Craig looked at him austerely, and
muttered something about the growing immorality of this backsliding
age; but before the smoke of his indignation had kindled into
eloquence, the delinquents were admitted. However, as we have
nothing to do with the business, we shall leave them to their own


On the fourteenth day after the departure of the family from the
manse, the Rev. Mr. Charles Snodgrass, who was appointed to
officiate during the absence of the Doctor, received the following
letter from his old chum, Mr. Andrew Pringle. It would appear that
the young advocate is not so solid in the head as some of his elder
brethren at the Bar; and therefore many of his flights and
observations must be taken with an allowance on the score of his


Andrew Pringle, Esq., Advocate, to the Rev. Charles Snodgrass--

My Dear Friend--We have at last reached London, after a stormy
passage of seven days. The accommodation in the smacks looks
extremely inviting in port, and in fine weather, I doubt not, is
comfortable, even at sea; but in February, and in such visitations
of the powers of the air as we have endured, a balloon must be a far
better vehicle than all the vessels that have been constructed for
passengers since the time of Noah. In the first place, the waves of
the atmosphere cannot be so dangerous as those of the ocean, being
but "thin air"; and I am sure they are not so disagreeable; then the
speed of the balloon is so much greater,--and it would puzzle
Professor Leslie to demonstrate that its motions are more unsteady;
besides, who ever heard of sea-sickness in a balloon? the
consideration of which alone would, to any reasonable person
actually suffering under the pains of that calamity, be deemed more
than an equivalent for all the little fractional difference of
danger between the two modes of travelling. I shall henceforth
regard it as a fine characteristic trait of our national prudence,
that, in their journies to France and Flanders, the Scottish witches
always went by air on broom-sticks and benweeds, instead of
venturing by water in sieves, like those of England. But the
English are under the influence of a maritime genius.

When we had got as far up the Thames as Gravesend, the wind and tide
came against us, so that the vessel was obliged to anchor, and I
availed myself of the circumstance, to induce the family to
disembark and go to London by LAND; and I esteem it a fortunate
circumstance that we did so, the day, for the season, being
uncommonly fine. After we had taken some refreshment, I procured
places in a stage-coach for my mother and sister, and, with the
Doctor, mounted myself on the outside. My father's old-fashioned
notions boggled a little at first to this arrangement, which he
thought somewhat derogatory to his ministerial dignity; but his
scruples were in the end overruled.

The country in this season is, of course, seen to disadvantage, but
still it exhibits beauty enough to convince us what England must be
when in leaf. The old gentleman's admiration of the increasing
signs of what he called civilisation, as we approached London,
became quite eloquent; but the first view of the city from
Blackheath (which, by the bye, is a fine common, surrounded with
villas and handsome houses) overpowered his faculties, and I shall
never forget the impression it made on myself. The sun was declined
towards the horizon; vast masses of dark low-hung clouds were
mingled with the smoky canopy, and the dome of St. Paul's, like the
enormous idol of some terrible deity, throned amidst the smoke of
sacrifices and magnificence, darkness, and mystery, presented
altogether an object of vast sublimity. I felt touched with
reverence, as if I was indeed approaching the city of THE HUMAN

The distant view of Edinburgh is picturesque and romantic, but it
affects a lower class of our associations. It is, compared to that
of London, what the poem of the Seasons is with respect to Paradise
Lost--the castellated descriptions of Walter Scott to the Darkness
of Byron--the Sabbath of Grahame to the Robbers of Schiller. In the
approach to Edinburgh, leisure and cheerfulness are on the road;
large spaces of rural and pastoral nature are spread openly around,
and mountains, and seas, and headlands, and vessels passing beyond
them, going like those that die, we know not whither, while the sun
is bright on their sails, and hope with them; but, in coming to this
Babylon, there is an eager haste and a hurrying on from all
quarters, towards that stupendous pile of gloom, through which no
eye can penetrate; an unceasing sound, like the enginery of an
earthquake at work, rolls from the heart of that profound and
indefinable obscurity--sometimes a faint and yellow beam of the sun
strikes here and there on the vast expanse of edifices; and
churches, and holy asylums, are dimly seen lifting up their
countless steeples and spires, like so many lightning rods to avert
the wrath of Heaven.

The entrance to Edinburgh also awakens feelings of a more pleasing
character. The rugged veteran aspect of the Old Town is agreeably
contrasted with the bright smooth forehead of the New, and there is
not such an overwhelming torrent of animal life, as to make you
pause before venturing to stem it; the noises are not so deafening,
and the occasional sound of a ballad-singer, or a Highland piper,
varies and enriches the discords; but here, a multitudinous
assemblage of harsh alarms, of selfish contentions, and of furious
carriages, driven by a fierce and insolent race, shatter the very
hearing, till you partake of the activity with which all seem as
much possessed as if a general apprehension prevailed, that the
great clock of Time would strike the doom-hour before their tasks
were done. But I must stop, for the postman with his bell, like the
betherel of some ancient "borough's town" summoning to a burial, is
in the street, and warns me to conclude.



The Rev. Dr. Pringle to Mr. Micklewham, Schoolmaster and Session-
Clerk, Garnock


Dear Sir--On the first Sunday forthcoming after the receiving
hereof, you will not fail to recollect in the remembering prayer,
that we return thanks for our safe arrival in London, after a
dangerous voyage. Well, indeed, is it ordained that we should pray
for those who go down to the sea in ships, and do business on the
great deep; for what me and mine have come through is unspeakable,
and the hand of Providence was visibly manifested.

On the day of our embarkation at Leith, a fair wind took us onward
at a blithe rate for some time; but in the course of that night the
bridle of the tempest was slackened, and the curb of the billows
loosened, and the ship reeled to and fro like a drunken man, and no
one could stand therein. My wife and daughter lay at the point of
death; Andrew Pringle, my son, also was prostrated with the grievous
affliction; and the very soul within me was as if it would have been
cast out of the body.

On the following day the storm abated, and the wind blew favourable;
but towards the heel of the evening it again came vehement, and
there was no help unto our distress. About midnight, however, it
pleased HIM, whose breath is the tempest, to be more sparing with
the whip of His displeasure on our poor bark, as she hirpled on in
her toilsome journey through the waters; and I was enabled, through
His strength, to lift my head from the pillow of sickness, and
ascend the deck, where I thought of Noah looking out of the window
in the ark, upon the face of the desolate flood, and of Peter
walking on the sea; and I said to myself, it matters not where we
are, for we can be in no place where Jehovah is not there likewise,
whether it be on the waves of the ocean, or the mountain tops, or in
the valley and shadow of death.

The third day the wind came contrary, and in the fourth, and the
fifth, and the sixth, we were also sorely buffeted; but on the night
of the sixth we entered the mouth of the river Thames, and on the
morning of the seventh day of our departure, we cast anchor near a
town called Gravesend, where, to our exceeding great joy, it pleased
Him, in whom alone there is salvation, to allow us once more to put
our foot on the dry land.

When we had partaken of a repast, the first blessed with the
blessing of an appetite, from the day of our leaving our native
land, we got two vacancies in a stage-coach for my wife and
daughter; but with Andrew Pringle, my son, I was obligated to mount
aloft on the outside. I had some scruple of conscience about this,
for I was afraid of my decorum. I met, however, with nothing but
the height of discretion from the other outside passengers, although
I jealoused that one of them was a light woman. Really I had no
notion that the English were so civilised; they were so well bred,
and the very duddiest of them spoke such a fine style of language,
that when I looked around on the country, I thought myself in the
land of Canaan. But it's extraordinary what a power of drink the
coachmen drink, stopping and going into every change-house, and yet
behaving themselves with the greatest sobriety. And then they are
all so well dressed, which is no doubt owing to the poor rates. I
am thinking, however, that for all they cry against them, the poor
rates are but a small evil, since they keep the poor folk in such
food and raiment, and out of the temptations to thievery; indeed,
such a thing as a common beggar is not to be seen in this land,
excepting here and there a sorner or a ne'er-do-weel.

When we had got to the outskirts of London, I began to be ashamed of
the sin of high places, and would gladly have got into the inside of
the coach, for fear of anybody knowing me; but although the
multitude of by-goers was like the kirk scailing at the Sacrament, I
saw not a kent face, nor one that took the least notice of my
situation. At last we got to an inn, called The White Horse,
Fetter-Lane, where we hired a hackney to take us to the lodgings
provided for us here in Norfolk Street, by Mr. Pawkie, the Scotch
solicitor, a friend of Andrew Pringle, my son. Now it was that we
began to experience the sharpers of London; for it seems that there
are divers Norfolk Streets. Ours was in the Strand (mind that when
you direct), not very far from Fetter-Lane; but the hackney driver
took us away to one afar off, and when we knocked at the number we
thought was ours, we found ourselves at a house that should not be
told. I was so mortified, that I did not know what to say; and when
Andrew Pringle, my son, rebuked the man for the mistake, he only
gave a cunning laugh, and said we should have told him whatna
Norfolk Street we wanted. Andrew stormed at this--but I discerned
it was all owing to our own inexperience, and put an end to the
contention, by telling the man to take us to Norfolk Street in the
Strand, which was the direction we had got. But when we got to the
door, the coachman was so extortionate, that another hobbleshaw
arose. Mrs. Pringle had been told that, in such disputes, the best
way of getting redress was to take the number of the coach; but, in
trying to do so, we found it fastened on, and I thought the
hackneyman would have gone by himself with laughter. Andrew, who
had not observed what we were doing, when he saw us trying to take
off the number, went like one demented, and paid the man, I cannot
tell what, to get us out, and into the house, for fear we should
have been mobbit.

I have not yet seen the colonel's agents, so can say nothing as to
the business of our coming; for, landing at Gravesend, we did not
bring our trunks with us, and Andrew has gone to the wharf this
morning to get them, and, until we get them, we can go nowhere,
which is the occasion of my writing so soon, knowing also how you
and the whole parish would be anxious to hear what had become of us;
and I remain, dear sir, your friend and pastor,


On Saturday evening, Saunders Dickie, the Irvine postman, suspecting
that this letter was from the Doctor, went with it himself, on his
own feet, to Mr. Micklewham, although the distance is more than two
miles, but Saunders, in addition to the customary TWAL PENNIES on
the postage, had a dram for his pains. The next morning being wet,
Mr. Micklewham had not an opportunity of telling any of the
parishioners in the churchyard of the Doctor's safe arrival, so that
when he read out the request to return thanks (for he was not only
school-master and session-clerk, but also precentor), there was a
murmur of pleasure diffused throughout the congregation, and the
greatest curiosity was excited to know what the dangers were, from
which their worthy pastor and his whole family had so thankfully
escaped in their voyage to London; so that, when the service was
over, the elders adjourned to the session-house to hear the letter
read; and many of the heads of families, and other respectable
parishioners, were admitted to the honours of the sitting, who all
sympathised, with the greatest sincerity, in the sufferings which
their minister and his family had endured. Mr. Daff, however, was
justly chided by Mr. Craig, for rubbing his hands, and giving a sort
of sniggering laugh, at the Doctor's sitting on high with a light
woman. But even Mr. Snodgrass was seen to smile at the incident of
taking the number off the coach, the meaning of which none but
himself seemed to understand.

When the epistle had been thus duly read, Mr. Micklewham promised,
for the satisfaction of some of the congregation, that he would get
two or three copies made by the best writers in his school, to be
handed about the parish, and Mr. Icenor remarked, that truly it was
a thing to be held in remembrance, for he had not heard of greater
tribulation by the waters since the shipwreck of the Apostle Paul.


Soon after the receipt of the letters which we had the pleasure of
communicating in the foregoing chapter, the following was received
from Mrs. Pringle, and the intelligence it contains is so
interesting and important, that we hasten to lay it before our


Mrs. Pringle to Miss Mally Glencairn--LONDON.

My Dear Miss Mally--You must not expect no particulars from me of
our journey; but as Rachel is writing all the calamities that befell
us to Bell Tod, you will, no doubt, hear of them. But all is
nothing to my losses. I bought from the first hand, Mr. Treddles
the manufacturer, two pieces of muslin, at Glasgow, such a thing not
being to be had on any reasonable terms here, where they get all
their fine muslins from Glasgow and Paisley; and in the same bocks
with them I packit a small crock of our ain excellent poudered
butter, with a delap cheese, for I was told that such commodities
are not to be had genuine in London. I likewise had in it a pot of
marmlet, which Miss Jenny Macbride gave me at Glasgow, assuring me
that it was not only dentice, but a curiosity among the English, and
my best new bumbeseen goun in peper. Howsomever, in the nailing of
the bocks, which I did carefully with my oun hands, one of the nails
gaed in ajee, and broke the pot of marmlet, which, by the jolting of
the ship, ruined the muslin, rottened the peper round the goun,
which the shivers cut into more than twenty great holes. Over and
above all, the crock with the butter was, no one can tell how,
crackit, and the pickle lecking out, and mixing with the seerip of
the marmlet, spoilt the cheese. In short, at the object I beheld,
when the bocks was opened, I could have ta'en to the greeting; but I
behaved with more composity on the occasion, than the Doctor thought
it was in the power of nature to do. Howsomever, till I get a new
goun and other things, I am obliged to be a prisoner; and as the
Doctor does not like to go to the counting-house of the agents
without me, I know not what is yet to be the consequence of our
journey. But it would need to be something; for we pay four guineas
and a half a week for our dry lodgings, which is at a degree more
than the Doctor's whole stipend. As yet, for the cause of these
misfortunes, I can give you no account of London; but there is, as
everybody kens, little thrift in their housekeeping. We just buy
our tea by the quarter a pound, and our loaf sugar, broken in a
peper bag, by the pound, which would be a disgrace to a decent
family in Scotland; and when we order dinner, we get no more than
just serves, so that we have no cold meat if a stranger were coming
by chance, which makes an unco bare house. The servan lasses I
cannot abide; they dress better at their wark than ever I did on an
ordinaire week-day at the manse; and this very morning I saw madam,
the kitchen lass, mounted on a pair of pattens, washing the plain
stenes before the door; na, for that matter, a bare foot is not to
be seen within the four walls of London, at the least I have na seen
no such thing.

In the way of marketing, things are very good here, and considering,
not dear; but all is sold by the licht weight, only the fish are
awful; half a guinea for a cod's head, and no bigger than the drouds
the cadgers bring from Ayr, at a shilling and eighteenpence apiece.

Tell Miss Nanny Eydent that I have seen none of the fashions as yet;
but we are going to the burial of the auld king next week, and I'll
write her a particular account how the leddies are dressed; but
everybody is in deep mourning. Howsomever I have seen but little,
and that only in a manner from the window; but I could not miss the
opportunity of a frank that Andrew has got, and as he's waiting for
the pen, you must excuse haste. From your sincere friend,



Andrew Pringle, Esq., to the Rev. Charles Snodgrass--LONDON.

My Dear Friend--It will give you pleasure to hear that my father is
likely to get his business speedily settled without any
equivocation; and that all those prudential considerations which
brought us to London were but the phantasms of our own inexperience.
I use the plural, for I really share in the shame of having called
in question the high character of the agents: it ought to have been
warrantry enough that everything would be fairly adjusted. But I
must give you some account of what has taken place, to illustrate
our provincialism, and to give you some idea of the way of doing
business in London.

After having recovered from the effects, and repaired some of the
accidents of our voyage, we yesterday morning sallied forth, the
Doctor, my mother, and your humble servant, in a hackney coach, to
Broad Street, where the agents have their counting-house, and were
ushered into a room among other legatees or clients, waiting for an
audience of Mr. Argent, the principal of the house.

I know not how it is, that the little personal peculiarities, so
amusing to strangers, should be painful when we see them in those
whom we love and esteem; but I own to you, that there was a
something in the demeanour of the old folks on this occasion, that
would have been exceedingly diverting to me, had my filial reverence
been less sincere for them.

The establishment of Messrs. Argent and Company is of vast extent,
and has in it something even of a public magnitude; the number of
the clerks, the assiduity of all, and the order that obviously
prevails throughout, give at the first sight, an impression that
bespeaks respect for the stability and integrity of the concern.
When we had been seated about ten minutes, and my father's name
taken to Mr. Argent, an answer was brought, that he would see us as
soon as possible; but we were obliged to wait at least half an hour
more. Upon our being at last admitted, Mr. Argent received us
standing, and in an easy gentlemanly manner said to my father, "You
are the residuary legatee of the late Colonel Armour. I am sorry
that you did not apprise me of this visit, that I might have been
prepared to give the information you naturally desire; but if you
will call here to-morrow at 12 o'clock, I shall then be able to
satisfy you on the subject. Your lady, I presume?" he added,
turning to my mother; "Mrs. Argent will have the honour of waiting
on you; may I therefore beg the favour of your address?"
Fortunately I was provided with cards, and having given him one, we
found ourselves constrained, as it were, to take our leave. The
whole interview did not last two minutes, and I never was less
satisfied with myself. The Doctor and my mother were in the
greatest anguish; and when we were again seated in the coach, loudly
expressed their apprehensions. They were convinced that some
stratagem was meditated; they feared that their journey to London
would prove as little satisfactory as that of the Wrongheads, and
that they had been throwing away good money in building castles in
the air.

It had been previously arranged, that we were to return for my
sister, and afterwards visit some of the sights; but the clouded
visages of her father and mother darkened the very spirit of Rachel,
and she largely shared in their fears. This, however, was not the
gravest part of the business; for, instead of going to St. Paul's
and the Tower, as we had intended, my mother declared, that not one
farthing would they spend more till they were satisfied that the
expenses already incurred were likely to be reimbursed; and a
Chancery suit, with all the horrors of wig and gown, floated in
spectral haziness before their imagination.

We sat down to a frugal meal, and although the remainder of a bottle
of wine, saved from the preceding day, hardly afforded a glass
apiece, the Doctor absolutely prohibited me from opening another.

This morning, faithful to the hour, we were again in Broad Street,
with hearts knit up into the most peremptory courage; and, on being
announced, were immediately admitted to Mr. Argent. He received us
with the same ease as in the first interview, and, after requesting
us to be seated (which, by the way, he did not do yesterday, a
circumstance that was ominously remarked), he began to talk on
indifferent matters. I could see that a question, big with law and
fortune, was gathering in the breasts both of the Doctor and my
mother, and that they were in a state far from that of the blessed.
But one of the clerks, before they had time to express their
indignant suspicions, entered with a paper, and Mr. Argent, having
glanced it over, said to the Doctor--"I congratulate you, sir, on
the amount of the colonel's fortune. I was not indeed aware before
that he had died so rich. He has left about 120,000 pounds;
seventy-five thousand of which is in the five per cents; the
remainder in India bonds and other securities. The legacies appear
to be inconsiderable, so that the residue to you, after paying them
and the expenses of Doctors' Commons, will exceed a hundred thousand

My father turned his eyes upwards in thankfulness. "But," continued
Mr. Argent, "before the property can be transferred, it will be
necessary for you to provide about four thousand pounds to pay the
duty and other requisite expenses." This was a thunderclap. "Where
can I get such a sum?" exclaimed my father, in a tone of pathetic
simplicity. Mr. Argent smiled and said, "We shall manage that for
you"; and having in the same moment pulled a bell, a fine young man
entered, whom he introduced to us as his son, and desired him to
explain what steps it was necessary for the Doctor to take. We
accordingly followed Mr. Charles Argent to his own room.

Thus, in less time than I have been in writing it, were we put in
possession of all the information we required, and found those whom
we feared might be interested to withhold the settlement, alert and
prompt to assist us.

Mr. Charles Argent is naturally more familiar than his father. He
has a little dash of pleasantry in his manner, with a shrewd good-
humoured fashionable air, that renders him soon an agreeable
acquaintance. He entered with singular felicity at once into the
character of the Doctor and my mother, and waggishly drolled, as if
he did not understand them, in order, I could perceive, to draw out
the simplicity of their apprehensions. He quite won the old lady's
economical heart, by offering to frank her letters, for he is in
Parliament. "You have probably," said he slyly, "friends in the
country, to whom you may be desirous of communicating the result of
your journey to London; send your letters to me, and I will forward
them, and any that you expect may also come under cover to my
address, for postage is very expensive."

As we were taking our leave, after being fully instructed in all the
preliminary steps to be taken before the transfers of the funded
property can be made, he asked me, in a friendly manner, to dine
with him this evening, and I never accepted an invitation with more
pleasure. I consider his acquaintance a most agreeable acquisition,
and not one of the least of those advantages which this new opulence
has put it in my power to attain. The incidents, indeed, of this
day, have been all highly gratifying, and the new and brighter phase
in which I have seen the mercantile character, as it is connected
with the greatness and glory of my country--is in itself equivalent
to an accession of useful knowledge. I can no longer wonder at the
vast power which the British Government wielded during the late war,
when I reflect that the method and promptitude of the house of
Messrs. Argent and Company is common to all the great commercial
concerns from which the statesmen derived, as from so many
reservoirs, those immense pecuniary supplies, which enabled them to
beggar all the resources of a political despotism, the most
unbounded, both in power and principle, of any tyranny that ever
existed so long.--Yours, etc., ANDREW PRINGLE.


There was a great tea-drinking held in the Kirkgate of Irvine, at
the house of Miss Mally Glencairn; and at that assemblage of rank,
beauty, and fashion, among other delicacies of the season, several
new-come-home Clyde skippers, roaring from Greenock and Port-
Glasgow, were served up--but nothing contributed more to the
entertainment of the evening than a proposal, on the part of Miss
Mally, that those present who had received letters from the Pringles
should read them for the benefit of the company. This was, no
doubt, a preconcerted scheme between her and Miss Isabella Tod, to
hear what Mr. Andrew Pringle had said to his friend Mr. Snodgrass,
and likewise what the Doctor himself had indited to Mr. Micklewham;
some rumour having spread of the wonderful escapes and adventures of
the family in their journey and voyage to London. Had there not
been some prethought of this kind, it was not indeed probable, that
both the helper and session-clerk of Garnock could have been there
together, in a party, where it was an understood thing, that not
only Whist and Catch Honours were to be played, but even
obstreperous Birky itself, for the diversion of such of the company
as were not used to gambling games. It was in consequence of what
took place at this Irvine route, that we were originally led to
think of collecting the letters.


Miss Rachel Pringle to Miss Isabella Tod--LONDON.

My Dear Bell--It was my heartfelt intention to keep a regular
journal of all our proceedings, from the sad day on which I bade a
long adieu to my native shades--and I persevered with a constancy
becoming our dear and youthful friendship, in writing down
everything that I saw, either rare or beautiful, till the hour of
our departure from Leith. In that faithful register of my feelings
and reflections as a traveller, I described our embarkation at
Greenock, on board the steam-boat,--our sailing past Port-Glasgow,
an insignificant town, with a steeple;--the stupendous rock of
Dumbarton Castle, that Gibraltar of antiquity;--our landing at
Glasgow;--my astonishment at the magnificence of that opulent
metropolis of the muslin manufacturers; my brother's remark, that
the punch-bowls on the roofs of the Infirmary, the Museum, and the
Trades Hall, were emblematic of the universal estimation in which
that celebrated mixture is held by all ranks and degrees--learned,
commercial, and even medical, of the inhabitants;--our arrival at
Edinburgh--my emotion on beholding the Castle, and the visionary
lake which may be nightly seen from the windows of Princes Street,
between the Old and New Town, reflecting the lights of the lofty
city beyond--with a thousand other delightful and romantic
circumstances, which render it no longer surprising that the
Edinburgh folk should be, as they think themselves, the most
accomplished people in the world. But, alas! from the moment I
placed my foot on board that cruel vessel, of which the very idea is
anguish, all thoughts were swallowed up in suffering-swallowed, did
I say? Ah, my dear Bell, it was the odious reverse--but imagination
alone can do justice to the subject. Not, however, to dwell on what
is past, during the whole time of our passage from Leith, I was
unable to think, far less to write; and, although there was a
handsome young Hussar officer also a passenger, I could not even
listen to the elegant compliments which he seemed disposed to offer
by way of consolation, when he had got the better of his own
sickness. Neither love nor valour can withstand the influence of
that sea-demon. The interruption thus occasioned to my observations
made me destroy my journal, and I have now to write to you only
about London--only about London! What an expression for this human
universe, as my brother calls it, as if my weak feminine pen were
equal to the stupendous theme!

But, before entering on the subject, let me first satisfy the
anxiety of your faithful bosom with respect to my father's legacy.
All the accounts, I am happy to tell you, are likely to be amicably
settled; but the exact amount is not known as yet, only I can see,
by my brother's manner, that it is not less than we expected, and my
mother speaks about sending me to a boarding-school to learn
accomplishments. Nothing, however, is to be done until something is
actually in hand. But what does it all avail to me? Here am I, a
solitary being in the midst of this wilderness of mankind, far from
your sympathising affection, with the dismal prospect before me of
going a second time to school, and without the prospect of enjoying,
with my own sweet companions, that light and bounding gaiety we were
wont to share, in skipping from tomb to tomb in the breezy
churchyard of Irvine, like butterflies in spring flying from flower
to flower, as a Wordsworth or a Wilson would express it.

We have got elegant lodgings at present in Norfolk Street, but my
brother is trying, with all his address, to get us removed to a more
fashionable part of the town, which, if the accounts were once
settled, I think will take place; and he proposes to hire a carriage
for a whole month. Indeed, he has given hints about the saving that
might be made by buying one of our own; but my mother shakes her
head, and says, "Andrew, dinna be carri't." From all which it is
very plain, though they don't allow me to know their secrets, that
the legacy is worth the coming for. But to return to the lodgings;-
-we have what is called a first and second floor, a drawing-room,
and three handsome bedchambers. The drawing-room is very elegant;
and the carpet is the exact same pattern of the one in the dress-
drawing-room of Eglintoun Castle. Our landlady is indeed a lady,
and I am surprised how she should think of letting lodgings, for she
dresses better, and wears finer lace, than ever I saw in Irvine.
But I am interrupted. -

I now resume my pen. We have just had a call from Mrs. and Miss
Argent, the wife and daughter of the colonel's man of business.
They seem great people, and came in their own chariot, with two
grand footmen behind; but they are pleasant and easy, and the object
of their visit was to invite us to a family dinner to-morrow,
Sunday. I hope we may become better acquainted; but the two livery
servants make such a difference in our degrees, that I fear this is
a vain expectation. Miss Argent was, however, very frank, and told
me that she was herself only just come to London for the first time
since she was a child, having been for the last seven years at a
school in the country. I shall, however, be better able to say more
about her in my next letter. Do not, however, be afraid that she
shall ever supplant you in my heart. No, my dear friend, companion
of my days of innocence,--that can never be. But this call from
such persons of fashion looks as if the legacy had given us some
consideration; so that I think my father and mother may as well let
me know at once what my prospects are, that I might show you how
disinterestedly and truly I am, my dear Bell, yours,


When Miss Isabella Tod had read the letter, there was a solemn pause
for some time--all present knew something, more or less, of the fair
writer; but a carriage, a carpet like the best at Eglintoun, a
Hussar officer, and two footmen in livery, were phantoms of such
high import, that no one could distinctly express the feelings with
which the intelligence affected them. It was, however, unanimously
agreed, that the Doctor's legacy had every symptom of being equal to
what it was at first expected to be, namely, twenty thousand
pounds;--a sum which, by some occult or recondite moral influence of
the Lottery, is the common maximum, in popular estimation, of any
extraordinary and indefinite windfall of fortune. Miss Becky
Glibbans, from the purest motives of charity, devoutly wished that
poor Rachel might be able to carry her full cup with a steady hand;
and the Rev. Mr. Snodgrass, that so commendable an expression might
not lose its edifying effect by any lighter talk, requested Mr.
Micklewham to read his letter from the Doctor.


The Rev. Z. Pringle, D.D., to Mr. Micklewham, Schoolmaster and
Session-Clerk of Garnock--LONDON.

Dear Sir--I have written by the post that will take this to hand, a
letter to Banker M-y, at Irvine, concerning some small matters of
money that I may stand in need of his opinion anent; and as there is
a prospect now of a settlement of the legacy business, I wish you to
take a step over to the banker, and he will give you ten pounds,
which you will administer to the poor, by putting a twenty-shilling
note in the plate on Sunday, as a public testimony from me of
thankfulness for the hope that is before us; the other nine pounds
you will quietly, and in your own canny way, divide after the
following manner, letting none of the partakers thereof know from
what other hand than the Lord's the help comes, for, indeed, from
whom but HIS does any good befall us!

You will give to auld Mizy Eccles ten shillings. She's a careful
creature, and it will go as far with her thrift as twenty will do
with Effy Hopkirk; so you will give Effy twenty. Mrs. Binnacle, who
lost her husband, the sailor, last winter, is, I am sure, with her
two sickly bairns, very ill off; I would therefore like if you will
lend her a note, and ye may put half-a-crown in the hand of each of
the poor weans for a playock, for she's a proud spirit, and will
bear much before she complain. Thomas Dowy has been long unable to
do a turn of work, so you may give him a note too. I promised that
donsie body, Willy Shachle, the betherel, that when I got my legacy,
he should get a guinea, which would be more to him than if the
colonel had died at home, and he had had the howking of his grave;
you may therefore, in the meantime, give Willy a crown, and be sure
to warn him well no to get fou with it, for I'll be very angry if he
does. But what in this matter will need all your skill, is the
giving of the remaining five pounds to auld Miss Betty Peerie; being
a gentlewoman both by blood and education, she's a very slimmer
affair to handle in a doing of this kind. But I am persuaded she's
in as great necessity as many that seem far poorer, especially since
the muslin flowering has gone so down. Her bits of brats are sairly
worn, though she keeps out an apparition of gentility. Now, for all
this trouble, I will give you an account of what we have been doing
since my last.

When we had gotten ourselves made up in order, we went, with Andrew
Pringle, my son, to the counting-house, and had a satisfactory vista
of the residue; but it will be some time before things can be
settled--indeed, I fear, not for months to come--so that I have been
thinking, if the parish was pleased with Mr. Snodgrass, it might be
my duty to my people to give up to him my stipend, and let him be
appointed not only helper, but successor likewise. It would not be
right of me to give the manse, both because he's a young and
inexperienced man, and cannot, in the course of nature, have got
into the way of visiting the sick-beds of the frail, which is the
main part of a pastor's duty, and likewise, because I wish to die,
as I have lived, among my people. But, when all's settled, I will
know better what to do.

When we had got an inkling from Mr. Argent of what the colonel has
left,--and I do assure you, that money is not to be got, even in the
way of legacy, without anxiety,--Mrs. Pringle and I consulted
together, and resolved, that it was our first duty, as a token of
our gratitude to the Giver of all Good, to make our first outlay to
the poor. So, without saying a word either to Rachel, or to Andrew
Pringle, my son, knowing that there was a daily worship in the
Church of England, we slipped out of the house by ourselves, and,
hiring a hackney conveyance, told the driver thereof to drive us to
the high church of St. Paul's. This was out of no respect to the
pomp and pride of prelacy, but to Him before whom both pope and
presbyter are equal, as they are seen through the merits of Christ
Jesus. We had taken a gold guinea in our hand, but there was no
broad at the door; and, instead of a venerable elder, lending
sanctity to his office by reason of his age, such as we see in the
effectual institutions of our own national church--the door was kept
by a young man, much more like a writer's whipper-snapper-clerk,
than one qualified to fill that station, which good King David would
have preferred to dwelling in tents of sin. However, we were not
come to spy the nakedness of the land, so we went up the outside
stairs, and I asked at him for the plate; "Plate!" says he; "why,
it's on the altar!" I should have known this--the custom of old
being to lay the offerings on the altar, but I had forgot; such is
the force, you see, of habit, that the Church of England is not so
well reformed and purged as ours is from the abominations of the
leaven of idolatry. We were then stepping forward, when he said to
me, as sharply as if I was going to take an advantage, "You must pay
here." "Very well, wherever it is customary," said I, in a meek
manner, and gave him the guinea. Mrs. Pringle did the same. "I
cannot give you change," cried he, with as little decorum as if we
had been paying at a playhouse. "It makes no odds," said I; "keep
it all." Whereupon he was so converted by the mammon of iniquity,
that he could not be civil enough, he thought--but conducted us in,
and showed us the marble monuments, and the French colours that were
taken in the war, till the time of worship--nothing could surpass
his discretion.

At last the organ began to sound, and we went into the place of
worship; but oh, Mr. Micklewham, yon is a thin kirk. There was not
a hearer forby Mrs. Pringle and me, saving and excepting the relics
of popery that assisted at the service. What was said, I must,
however, in verity confess, was not far from the point. But it's
still a comfort to see that prelatical usurpations are on the
downfall; no wonder that there is no broad at the door to receive
the collection for the poor, when no congregation entereth in. You
may, therefore, tell Mr. Craig, and it will gladden his heart to
hear the tidings, that the great Babylonian madam is now, indeed,
but a very little cutty.

On our return home to our lodgings, we found Andrew Pringle, my son,
and Rachel, in great consternation about our absence. When we told
them that we had been at worship, I saw they were both deeply
affected; and I was pleased with my children, the more so, as you
know I have had my doubts that Andrew Pringle's principles have not
been strengthened by the reading of the Edinburgh Review. Nothing
more passed at that time, for we were disturbed by a Captain Sabre
that came up with us in the smack, calling to see how we were after
our journey; and as he was a civil well-bred young man, which I
marvel at, considering he's a Hussar dragoon, we took a coach, and
went to see the lions, as he said; but, instead of taking us to the
Tower of London, as I expected, he ordered the man to drive us round
the town. In our way through the city he showed us the Temple Bar,
where Lord Kilmarnock's head was placed after the Rebellion, and
pointed out the Bank of England and Royal Exchange. He said the
steeple of the Exchange was taken down shortly ago--and that the
late improvements at the Bank were very grand. I remembered having
read in the Edinburgh Advertiser, some years past, that there was a
great deal said in Parliament about the state of the Exchange, and
the condition of the Bank, which I could never thoroughly
understand. And, no doubt, the taking own of an old building, and
the building up of a new one so near together, must, in such a
crowded city as this, be not only a great detriment to business, but
dangerous to the community at large.

After we had driven about for more than two hours, and neither seen
lions nor any other curiosity, but only the outside of houses, we
returned home, where we found a copperplate card left by Mr. Argent,
the colonel's agent, with the name of his private dwelling-house.
Both me and Mrs. Pringle were confounded at the sight of this thing,
and could not but think that it prognosticated no good; for we had
seen the gentleman himself in the forenoon. Andrew Pringle, my son,
could give no satisfactory reason for such an extraordinary
manifestation of anxiety to see us; so that, after sitting on thorns
at our dinner, I thought that we should see to the bottom of the
business. Accordingly, a hackney was summoned to the door, and me
and Andrew Pringle, my son, got into it, and told the man to drive
to second in the street where Mr. Argent lived, and which was the
number of his house. The man got up, and away we went; but, after
he had driven an awful time, and stopping and inquiring at different
places, he said there was no such house as Second's in the street;
whereupon Andrew Pringle, my son, asked him what he meant, and the
man said that he supposed it was one Second's Hotel, or Coffee-
house, that we wanted. Now, only think of the craftiness of the
ne'er-da-weel; it was with some difficulty that I could get him to
understand, that second was just as good as number two; for Andrew
Pringle, my son, would not interfere, but lay back in the coach, and
was like to split his sides at my confabulating with the hackney
man. At long and length we got to the house, and were admitted to
Mr. Argent, who was sitting by himself in his library reading, with
a plate of oranges, and two decanters with wine before him. I
explained to him, as well as I could, my surprise and anxiety at
seeing his card, at which he smiled, and said, it was merely a sort
of practice that had come into fashion of late years, and that,
although we had been at his counting-house in the morning, he
considered it requisite that he should call on his return from the
city. I made the best excuse I could for the mistake; and the
servant having placed glasses on the table, we were invited to take
wine. But I was grieved to think that so respectable a man should
have had the bottles before him by himself, the more especially as
he said his wife and daughters had gone to a party, and that he did
not much like such sort of things. But for all that, we found him a
wonderful conversible man; and Andrew Pringle, my son, having read
all the new books put out at Edinburgh, could speak with him on any
subject. In the course of conversation they touched upon politick
economy, and Andrew Pringle, my son, in speaking about cash in the
Bank of England, told him what I had said concerning the alterations
of the Royal Exchange steeple, with which Mr. Argent seemed greatly
pleased, and jocosely proposed as a toast,--"May the country never
suffer more from the alterations in the Exchange, than the taking
down of the steeple." But as Mrs. Pringle is wanting to send a bit
line under the same frank to her cousin, Miss Mally Glencairn, I
must draw to a conclusion, assuring you, that I am, dear sir, your
sincere friend and pastor,


The impression which this letter made on the auditors of Mr.
Micklewham was highly favourable to the Doctor--all bore testimony
to his benevolence and piety; and Mrs. Glibbans expressed, in very
loquacious terms, her satisfaction at the neglect to which prelacy
was consigned. The only person who seemed to be affected by other
than the most sedate feelings on the occasion was the Rev. Mr.
Snodgrass, who was observed to smile in a very unbecoming manner at
some parts of the Doctor's account of his reception at St. Paul's.
Indeed, it was apparently with the utmost difficulty that the young
clergyman could restrain himself from giving liberty to his risible
faculties. It is really surprising how differently the same thing
affects different people. "The Doctor and Mrs. Pringle giving a
guinea at the door of St. Paul's for the poor need not make folk
laugh," said Mrs. Glibbans; "for is it not written, that whosoever
giveth to the poor lendeth to the Lord?" "True, my dear madam,"
replied Mr. Snodgrass, "but the Lord to whom our friends in this
case gave their money is the Lord Bishop of London; all the
collection made at the doors of St. Paul's Cathedral is, I
understand, a perquisite of the Bishop's." In this the reverend
gentleman was not very correctly informed, for, in the first place,
it is not a collection, but an exaction; and, in the second place,
it is only sanctioned by the Bishop, who allows the inferior clergy
to share the gains among themselves. Mrs. Glibbans, however, on
hearing his explanation, exclaimed, "Gude be about us!" and pushing
back her chair with a bounce, streaking down her gown at the same
time with both her hands, added, "No wonder that a judgment is upon
the land, when we hear of money-changers in the temple." Miss Mally
Glencairn, to appease her gathering wrath and holy indignation, said
facetiously, "Na, na, Mrs. Glibbans, ye forget, there was nae
changing of money there. The man took the whole guineas. But not
to make a controversy on the subject, Mr. Snodgrass will now let us
hear what Andrew Pringle, 'my son,' has said to him":- And the
reverend gentleman read the following letter with due
circumspection, and in his best manner:-


Andrew Pringle, Esq., to the Reverend Charles Snodgrass

My Dear Friend--I have heard it alleged, as the observation of a
great traveller, that the manners of the higher classes of society
throughout Christendom are so much alike, that national
peculiarities among them are scarcely perceptible. This is not
correct; the differences between those of London and Edinburgh are
to me very striking. It is not that they talk and perform the
little etiquettes of social intercourse differently; for, in these
respects, they are apparently as similar as it is possible for
imitation to make them; but the difference to which I refer is an
indescribable something, which can only be compared to peculiarities
of accent. They both speak the same language; perhaps in classical
purity of phraseology the fashionable Scotchman is even superior to
the Englishman; but there is a flatness of tone in his accent--a
lack of what the musicians call expression, which gives a local and
provincial effect to his conversation, however, in other respects,
learned and intelligent. It is so with his manners; he conducts
himself with equal ease, self-possession, and discernment, but the
flavour of the metropolitan style is wanting.

I have been led to make these remarks by what I noticed in the
guests whom I met on Friday at young Argent's. It was a small
party, only five strangers; but they seemed to be all particular
friends of our host, and yet none of them appeared to be on any
terms of intimacy with each other. In Edinburgh, such a party would
have been at first a little cold; each of the guests would there
have paused to estimate the characters of the several strangers
before committing himself with any topic of conversation. But here,
the circumstance of being brought together by a mutual friend,
produced at once the purest gentlemanly confidence; each, as it
were, took it for granted, that the persons whom he had come among
were men of education and good-breeding, and, without deeming it at
all necessary that he should know something of their respective
political and philosophical principles, before venturing to speak on
such subjects, discussed frankly, and as things unconnected with
party feelings, incidental occurrences which, in Edinburgh, would
have been avoided as calculated to awaken animosities.

But the most remarkable feature of the company, small as it was,
consisted of the difference in the condition and character of the
guests. In Edinburgh the landlord, with the scrupulous care of a
herald or genealogist, would, for a party, previously unacquainted
with each other, have chosen his guests as nearly as possible from
the same rank of life; the London host had paid no respect to any
such consideration--all the strangers were as dissimilar in fortune,
profession, connections, and politics, as any four men in the class
of gentlemen could well be. I never spent a more delightful

The ablest, the most eloquent, and the most elegant man present,
without question, was the son of a saddler. No expense had been
spared on his education. His father, proud of his talents, had
intended him for a seat in Parliament; but Mr. T- himself prefers
the easy enjoyments of private life, and has kept himself aloof from
politics and parties. Were I to form an estimate of his
qualifications to excel in public speaking, by the clearness and
beautiful propriety of his colloquial language, I should conclude
that he was still destined to perform a distinguished part. But he
is content with the liberty of a private station, as a spectator
only, and, perhaps, in that he shows his wisdom; for undoubtedly
such men are not cordially received among hereditary statesmen,
unless they evince a certain suppleness of principle, such as we
have seen in the conduct of more than one political adventurer.

The next in point of effect was young C- G-. He evidently
languished under the influence of indisposition, which, while it
added to the natural gentleness of his manners, diminished the
impression his accomplishments would otherwise have made. I was
greatly struck with the modesty with which he offered his opinions,
and could scarcely credit that he was the same individual whose
eloquence in Parliament is by many compared even to Mr. Canning's,
and whose firmness of principle is so universally acknowledged, that
no one ever suspects him of being liable to change. You may have
heard of his poem "On the Restoration of Learning in the East," the
most magnificent prize essay that the English Universities have
produced for many years. The passage in which he describes the
talents, the researches, and learning of Sir William Jones, is
worthy of the imagination of Burke; and yet, with all this oriental
splendour of fancy, he has the reputation of being a patient and
methodical man of business. He looks, however, much more like a
poet or a student, than an orator and a statesman; and were
statesmen the sort of personages which the spirit of the age
attempts to represent them, I, for one, should lament that a young
man, possessed of so many amiable qualities, all so tinted with the
bright lights of a fine enthusiasm, should ever have been removed
from the moon-lighted groves and peaceful cloisters of Magdalen
College, to the lamp-smelling passages and factious debates of St.
Stephen's Chapel. Mr. G- certainly belongs to that high class of
gifted men who, to the honour of the age, have redeemed the literary
character from the charge of unfitness for the concerns of public
business; and he has shown that talents for affairs of state,
connected with literary predilections, are not limited to mere
reviewers, as some of your old class-fellows would have the world to
believe. When I contrast the quiet unobtrusive development of Mr.
G-'s character with that bustling and obstreperous elbowing into
notice of some of those to whom the Edinburgh Review owes half its
fame, and compare the pure and steady lustre of his elevation, to
the rocket-like aberrations and perturbed blaze of their still
uncertain course, I cannot but think that we have overrated, if not
their ability, at least their wisdom in the management of public

The third of the party was a little Yorkshire baronet. He was
formerly in Parliament, but left it, as he says, on account of its
irregularities, and the bad hours it kept. He is a Whig, I
understand, in politics, and indeed one might guess as much by
looking at him; for I have always remarked, that your Whigs have
something odd and particular about them. On making the same sort of
remark to Argent, who, by the way, is a high ministerial man, he
observed, the thing was not to be wondered at, considering that the
Whigs are exceptions to the generality of mankind, which naturally
accounts for their being always in the minority. Mr. T-, the
saddler's son, who overheard us, said slyly, "That it might be so;
but if it be true that the wise are few compared to the multitude of
the foolish, things would be better managed by the minority than as
they are at present."

The fourth guest was a stock-broker, a shrewd compound, with all
charity be it spoken, of knavery and humour. He is by profession an
epicure, but I suspect his accomplishments in that capacity are not
very well founded; I would almost say, judging by the evident traces
of craft and dissimulation in his physiognomy, that they have been
assumed as part of the means of getting into good company, to drive
the more earnest trade of money-making. Argent evidently understood
his true character, though he treated him with jocular familiarity.
I thought it a fine example of the intellectual tact and superiority
of T-, that he seemed to view him with dislike and contempt. But I
must not give you my reasons for so thinking, as you set no value on
my own particular philosophy; besides, my paper tells me, that I
have only room left to say, that it would be difficult in Edinburgh
to bring such a party together; and yet they affect there to have a
metropolitan character. In saying this, I mean only with reference
to manners; the methods of behaviour in each of the company were
precisely similar--there was no eccentricity, but only that distinct
and decided individuality which nature gives, and which no acquired
habits can change. Each, however, was the representative of a
class; and Edinburgh has no classes exactly of the same kind as
those to which they belonged.--Yours truly,


Just as Mr. Snodgrass concluded the last sentence, one of the Clyde
skippers, who had fallen asleep, gave such an extravagant snore,
followed by a groan, that it set the whole company a-laughing, and
interrupted the critical strictures which would otherwise have been
made on Mr. Andrew Pringle's epistle. "Damn it," said he, "I
thought myself in a fog, and could not tell whether the land ahead
was Plada or the Lady Isle." Some of the company thought the
observation not inapplicable to what they had been hearing.

Miss Isabella Tod then begged that Miss Mally, their hostess, would
favour the company with Mrs. Pringle's communication. To this
request that considerate maiden ornament of the Kirkgate deemed it
necessary, by way of preface to the letter, to say, "Ye a' ken that
Mrs. Pringle's a managing woman, and ye maunna expect any
metaphysical philosophy from her." In the meantime, having taken
the letter from her pocket, and placed her spectacles on that
functionary of the face which was destined to wear spectacles, she
began as follows:-


Mrs. Pringle to Miss Mally Glencairn

My Dear Miss Mally--We have been at the counting-house, and gotten a
sort of a satisfaction; what the upshot may be, I canna take it upon
myself to prognosticate; but when the waur comes to the worst, I
think that baith Rachel and Andrew will have a nest egg, and the
Doctor and me may sleep sound on their account, if the nation doesna
break, as the argle-barglers in the House of Parliament have been
threatening: for all the cornal's fortune is sunk at present in the
pesents. Howsomever, it's our notion, when the legacies are paid
off, to lift the money out of the funds, and place it at good
interest on hairetable securitie. But ye will hear aften from us,
before things come to that, for the delays, and the goings, and the
comings in this town of London are past all expreshon.

As yet, we have been to see no fairlies, except going in a coach
from one part of the toun to another; but the Doctor and me was at
the he-kirk of Saint Paul's for a purpose that I need not tell you,
as it was adoing with the right hand what the left should not know.
I couldna say that I had there great pleasure, for the preacher was
very cauldrife, and read every word, and then there was such a
beggary of popish prelacy, that it was compassionate to a Christian
to see.

We are to dine at Mr. Argent's, the cornal's hadgint, on Sunday, and
me and Rachel have been getting something for the okasion. Our
landlady, Mrs. Sharkly, has recommended us to ane of the most
fashionable millinders in London, who keeps a grand shop in Cranburn
Alla, and she has brought us arteecles to look at; but I was
surprised they were not finer, for I thought them of a very inferior
quality, which she said was because they were not made for no
costomer, but for the public.

The Argents seem as if they would be discreet people, which, to us
who are here in the jaws of jeopardy, would be a great confort--for
I am no overly satisfeet with many things. What would ye think of
buying coals by the stimpert, for anything that I know, and then
setting up the poker afore the ribs, instead of blowing with the
bellies to make the fire burn? I was of a pinion that the
Englishers were naturally masterful; but I can ashure you this is no
the case at all--and I am beginning to think that the way of leeving
from hand to mouth is great frugality, when ye consider that all is
left in the logive hands of uncercumseezed servans.

But what gives me the most concern at this time is one Captain Sabre
of the Dragoon Hozars, who come up in the smak with us from Leith,
and is looking more after our Rachel than I could wish, now that she
might set her cap to another sort of object. But he's of a
respectit family, and the young lad himself is no to be despisid;
howsomever, I never likit officir-men of any description, and yet
the thing that makes me look down on the captain is all owing to the
cornal, who was an officer of the native poors of India, where the
pay must indeed have been extraordinar, for who ever heard either of
a cornal, or any officer whomsoever, making a hundred thousand
pounds in our regiments? no that I say the cornal has left so meikle
to us.

Tell Mrs. Glibbans that I have not heard of no sound preacher as yet
in London--the want of which is no doubt the great cause of the
crying sins of the place. What would she think to hear of
newspapers selling by tout of horn on the Lord's day? and on the
Sabbath night, the change-houses are more throng than on the
Saturday! I am told, but as yet I cannot say that I have seen the
evil myself with my own eyes, that in the summer time there are tea-
gardens, where the tradesmen go to smoke their pipes of tobacco, and
to entertain their wives and children, which can be nothing less
than a bringing of them to an untimely end. But you will be
surprised to hear, that no such thing as whusky is to be had in the
public-houses, where they drink only a dead sort of beer; and that a
bottle of true jennyinn London porter is rarely to be seen in the
whole town--all kinds of piple getting their porter in pewter cans,
and a laddie calls for in the morning to take away what has been
yoused over night. But what I most miss is the want of creem. The
milk here is just skimm, and I doot not, likewise well watered--as
for the water, a drink of clear wholesome good water is not within
the bounds of London; and truly, now may I say, that I have learnt
what the blessing of a cup of cold water is.

Tell Miss Nanny Eydent, that the day of the burial is now settled,
when we are going to Windsor Castle to see the precesson--and that,
by the end of the wick, she may expect the fashions from me, with
all the particulars. Till then, I am, my dear Miss Mally, your
friend and well-wisher,


NOTO BENY.--Give my kind compliments to Mrs. Glibbans, and let her
know, that I will, after Sunday, give her an account of the state of
the Gospel in London.

Miss Mally paused when she had read the letter, and it was
unanimously agreed, that Mrs. Pringle gave a more full account of
London than either father, son, or daughter.

By this time the night was far advanced, and Mrs. Glibbans was
rising to go away, apprehensive, as she observed, that they were
going to bring "the carts" into the room. Upon Miss Mally, however,
assuring her that no such transgression was meditated, but that she
intended to treat them with a bit nice Highland mutton ham, and
eggs, of her own laying, that worthy pillar of the Relief Kirk
consented to remain.

It was past eleven o'clock when the party broke up; Mr. Snodgrass
and Mr. Micklewham walked home together, and as they were crossing
the Red Burn Bridge, at the entrance of Eglintoun Wood,--a place
well noted from ancient times for preternatural appearances, Mr.
Micklewham declared that he thought he heard something purring among
the bushes; upon which Mr. Snodgrass made a jocose observation,
stating, that it could be nothing but the effect of Lord North's
strong ale in his head; and we should add, by way of explanation,
that the Lord North here spoken of was Willy Grieve, celebrated in
Irvine for the strength and flavour of his brewing, and that, in
addition to a plentiful supply of his best, Miss Mally had
entertained them with tamarind punch, constituting a natural cause
adequate to produce all the preternatural purring that terrified the


Tam Glen having, in consequence of the exhortations of Mr.
Micklewham, and the earnest entreaties of Mr. Daff, backed by the
pious animadversions of the rigidly righteous Mr. Craig, confessed a
fault, and acknowledged an irregular marriage with Meg Milliken,
their child was admitted to church privileges. But before the day
of baptism, Mr. Daff, who thought Tam had given but sullen symptoms
of penitence, said, to put him in better humour with his fate,--
"Noo, Tam, since ye hae beguiled us of the infare, we maun mak up
for't at the christening; so I'll speak to Mr. Snodgrass to bid the
Doctor's friens and acquaintance to the ploy, that we may get as
meikle amang us as will pay for the bairn's baptismal frock."

Mr. Craig, who was present, and who never lost an opportunity of
testifying, as he said, his "discountenance of the crying iniquity,"
remonstrated with Mr. Daff on the unchristian nature of the
proposal, stigmatising it with good emphasis "as a sinful nourishing
of carnality in his day and generation." Mr. Micklewham, however,
interfered, and said, "It was a matter of weight and concernment,
and therefore it behoves you to consult Mr. Snodgrass on the fitness
of the thing. For if the thing itself is not fit and proper, it
cannot expect his countenance; and, on that account, before we
reckon on his compliance with what Mr. Daff has propounded, we
should first learn whether he approves of it at all." Whereupon the
two elders and the session-clerk adjourned to the manse, in which
Mr. Snodgrass, during the absence of the incumbent, had taken up his

The heads of the previous conversation were recapitulated by Mr.
Micklewham, with as much brevity as was consistent with perspicuity;
and the matter being duly digested by Mr. Snodgrass, that orthodox
young man--as Mrs. Glibbans denominated him, on hearing him for the
first time--declared that the notion of a pay-christening was a
benevolent and kind thought: "For, is not the order to increase and
multiply one of the first commands in the Scriptures of truth?" said
Mr. Snodgrass, addressing himself to Mr. Craig. "Surely, then, when
children are brought into the world, a great law of our nature has
been fulfilled, and there is cause for rejoicing and gladness! And
is it not an obligation imposed upon all Christians, to welcome the
stranger, and to feed the hungry, and to clothe the naked; and what
greater stranger can there be than a helpless babe? Who more in
need of sustenance than the infant, that knows not the way even to
its mother's bosom? And whom shall we clothe, if we do not the
wailing innocent, that the hand of Providence places in poverty and
nakedness before us, to try, as it were, the depth of our Christian
principles, and to awaken the sympathy of our humane feelings?"

Mr. Craig replied, "It's a' very true and sound what Mr. Snodgrass
has observed; but Tam Glen's wean is neither a stranger, nor hungry,
nor naked, but a sturdy brat, that has been rinning its lane for
mair than sax weeks." "Ah!" said Mr. Snodgrass familiarly, "I fear,
Mr. Craig, ye're a Malthusian in your heart." The sanctimonious
elder was thunderstruck at the word. Of many a various shade and
modification of sectarianism he had heard, but the Malthusian heresy
was new to his ears, and awful to his conscience, and he begged Mr.
Snodgrass to tell him in what it chiefly consisted, protesting his
innocence of that, and of every erroneous doctrine.

Mr. Snodgrass happened to regard the opinions of Malthus on
Population as equally contrary to religion and nature, and not at
all founded in truth. "It is evident, that the reproductive
principle in the earth and vegetables, and all things and animals
which constitute the means of subsistence, is much more vigorous
than in man. It may be therefore affirmed, that the multiplication
of the means of subsistence is an effect of the multiplication of
population, for the one is augmented in quantity, by the skill and
care of the other," said Mr. Snodgrass, seizing with avidity this
opportunity of stating what he thought on the subject, although his
auditors were but the session-clerk, and two elders of a country
parish. We cannot pursue the train of his argument, but we should
do injustice to the philosophy of Malthus, if we suppressed the
observation which Mr. Daff made at the conclusion. "Gude safe's!"
said the good-natured elder, "if it's true that we breed faster than
the Lord provides for us, we maun drown the poor folks' weans like
kittlings." "Na, na!" exclaimed Mr. Craig, "ye're a' out,
neighbour; I see now the utility of church-censures." "True!" said
Mr. Micklewham; "and the ordination of the stool of repentance, the
horrors of which, in the opinion of the fifteen Lords at Edinburgh,
palliated child-murder, is doubtless a Malthusian institution." But
Mr. Snodgrass put an end to the controversy, by fixing a day for the
christening, and telling he would do his best to procure a good
collection, according to the benevolent suggestion of Mr. Daff. To
this cause we are indebted for the next series of the Pringle
correspondence; for, on the day appointed, Miss Mally Glencairn,
Miss Isabella Tod, Mrs. Glibbans and her daughter Becky, with Miss
Nanny Eydent, together with other friends of the minister's family,
dined at the manse, and the conversation being chiefly about the
concerns of the family, the letters were produced and read.


Andrew Pringle, Esq., to the Rev. Charles Snodgrass--WINDSOR,

My Dear Friend--I have all my life been strangely susceptible of
pleasing impressions from public spectacles where great crowds are
assembled. This, perhaps, you will say, is but another way of
confessing, that, like the common vulgar, I am fond of sights and
shows. It may be so, but it is not from the pageants that I derive
my enjoyment. A multitude, in fact, is to me as it were a strain of
music, which, with an irresistible and magical influence, calls up
from the unknown abyss of the feelings new combinations of fancy,
which, though vague and obscure, as those nebulae of light that
astronomers have supposed to be the rudiments of unformed stars,
afterwards become distinct and brilliant acquisitions. In a crowd,
I am like the somnambulist in the highest degree of the luminous
crisis, when it is said a new world is unfolded to his
contemplation, wherein all things have an intimate affinity with the
state of man, and yet bear no resemblance to the objects that
address themselves to his corporeal faculties. This delightful
experience, as it may be called, I have enjoyed this evening, to an
exquisite degree, at the funeral of the king; but, although the
whole succession of incidents is indelibly imprinted on my
recollection, I am still so much affected by the emotion excited, as
to be incapable of conveying to you any intelligible description of
what I saw. It was indeed a scene witnessed through the medium of
the feelings, and the effect partakes of the nature of a dream.

I was within the walls of an ancient castle,

"So old as if they had for ever stood,
So strong as if they would for ever stand,"

and it was almost midnight. The towers, like the vast spectres of
departed ages, raised their embattled heads to the skies, monumental
witnesses of the strength and antiquity of a great monarchy. A
prodigious multitude filled the courts of that venerable edifice,
surrounding on all sides a dark embossed structure, the sarcophagus,
as it seemed to me at the moment, of the heroism of chivalry.

"A change came o'er the spirit of my dream," and I beheld the scene
suddenly illuminated, and the blaze of torches, the glimmering of
arms, and warriors and horses, while a mosaic of human faces covered
like a pavement the courts. A deep low under sound pealed from a
distance; in the same moment, a trumpet answered with a single
mournful note from the stateliest and darkest portion of the fabric,
and it was whispered in every ear, "It is coming." Then an awful
cadence of solemn music, that affected the heart like silence, was
heard at intervals, and a numerous retinue of grave and venerable

"The fathers of their time,
Those mighty master spirits, that withstood
The fall of monarchies, and high upheld
Their country's standard, glorious in the storm,"

passed slowly before me, bearing the emblems and trophies of a king.
They were as a series of great historical events, and I beheld
behind them, following and followed, an awful and indistinct image,
like the vision of Job. It moved on, and I could not discern the
form thereof, but there were honours and heraldries, and sorrow, and
silence, and I heard the stir of a profound homage performing within
the breasts of all the witnesses. But I must not indulge myself
farther on this subject. I cannot hope to excite in you the
emotions with which I was so profoundly affected. In the visible
objects of the funeral of George the Third there was but little
magnificence; all its sublimity was derived from the trains of
thought and currents of feeling, which the sight of so many
illustrious characters, surrounded by circumstances associated with
the greatness and antiquity of the kingdom, was necessarily
calculated to call forth. In this respect, however, it was perhaps
the sublimest spectacle ever witnessed in this island; and I am
sure, that I cannot live so long as ever again to behold another,
that will equally interest me to the same depth and extent.-- Yours,

We should ill perform the part of faithful historians, did we omit
to record the sentiments expressed by the company on this occasion.
Mrs. Glibbans, whose knowledge of the points of orthodoxy had not
their equal in the three adjacent parishes, roundly declared, that
Mr. Andrew Pringle's letter was nothing but a peesemeal of
clishmaclavers; that there was no sense in it; and that it was just
like the writer, a canary idiot, a touch here and a touch there,
without anything in the shape of cordiality or satisfaction.

Miss Isabella Tod answered this objection with that sweetness of
manner and virgin diffidence, which so well becomes a youthful
member of the establishment, controverting the dogmas of a stoop of
the Relief persuasion, by saying, that she thought Mr. Andrew had
shown a fine sensibility. "What is sensibility without judgment,"
cried her adversary, "but a thrashing in the water, and a raising of
bells? Couldna the fallow, without a' his parleyvoos, have said,
that such and such was the case, and that the Lord giveth and the
Lord taketh away?--but his clouds, and his spectres, and his visions
of Job!--Oh, an he could but think like Job!--Oh, an he would but
think like the patient man!--and was obliged to claut his flesh with
a bit of a broken crock, we might have some hope of repentance unto
life. But Andrew Pringle, he's a gone dick; I never had comfort or
expectation of the free-thinker, since I heard that he was infected
with the blue and yellow calamity of the Edinburgh Review; in which,
I am credibly told, it is set forth, that women have nae souls, but
only a gut, and a gaw, and a gizzard, like a pigeon-dove, or a
raven-crow, or any other outcast and abominated quadruped."

Here Miss Mally Glencairn interposed her effectual mediation, and
said, "It is very true that Andrew deals in the diplomatics of
obscurity; but it's well known that he has a nerve for genius, and
that, in his own way, he kens the loan from the crown of the
causeway, as well as the duck does the midden from the adle dib."
To this proverb, which we never heard before, a learned friend, whom
we consulted on the subject, has enabled us to state, that middens
were formerly of great magnitude, and often of no less antiquity in
the west of Scotland; in so much, that the Trongate of Glasgow owes
all its spacious grandeur to them. It being within the recollection
of persons yet living, that the said magnificent street was at one
time an open road, or highway, leading to the Trone, or market-
cross, with thatched houses on each side, such as may still be seen
in the pure and immaculate royal borough of Rutherglen; and that
before each house stood a luxuriant midden, by the removal of which,
in the progress of modern degeneracy, the stately architecture of
Argyle Street was formed. But not to insist at too great a length
on such topics of antiquarian lore, we shall now insert Dr.
Pringle's account of the funeral, and which, patly enough, follows
our digression concerning the middens and magnificence of Glasgow,
as it contains an authentic anecdote of a manufacturer from that
city, drinking champaign at the king's dirgie.


The Rev. Z. Pringle, D.D., to Mr. Micklewham, Schoolmaster and
Session-Clerk of Garnock--LONDON.

Dear Sir--I have received your letter, and it is a great pleasure to
me to hear that my people were all so much concerned at our distress
in the Leith smack; but what gave me the most contentment was the
repentance of Tam Glen. I hope, poor fellow, he will prove a good
husband; but I have my doubts; for the wife has really but a small
share of common sense, and no married man can do well unless his
wife will let him. I am, however, not overly pleased with Mr. Craig
on the occasion, for he should have considered frail human nature,
and accepted of poor Tam's confession of a fault, and allowed the
bairn to be baptized without any more ado. I think honest Mr. Daff
has acted like himself, and I trust and hope there will be a great
gathering at the christening, and, that my mite may not be wanting,
you will slip in a guinea note when the dish goes round, but in such
a manner, that it may not be jealoused from whose hand it comes.

Since my last letter, we have been very thrang in the way of seeing
the curiosities of London; but I must go on regular, and tell you
all, which, I think, it is my duty to do, that you may let my people
know. First, then, we have been at Windsor Castle, to see the king
lying in state, and, afterwards, his interment; and sorry am I to
say, it was not a sight that could satisfy any godly mind on such an
occasion. We went in a coach of our own, by ourselves, and found
the town of Windsor like a cried fair. We were then directed to the
Castle gate, where a terrible crowd was gathered together; and we
had not been long in that crowd, till a pocket-picker, as I thought,
cutted off the tail of my coat, with my pocket-book in my pocket,
which I never missed at the time. But it seems the coat tail was
found, and a policeman got it, and held it up on the end of his
stick, and cried, whose pocket is this? showing the book that was
therein in his hand. I was confounded to see my pocket-book there,
and could scarcely believe my own eyes; but Mrs. Pringle knew it at
the first glance, and said, "It's my gudeman's"; at the which, there
was a great shout of derision among the multitude, and we would
baith have then been glad to disown the pocket-book, but it was
returned to us, I may almost say, against our will; but the
scorners, when they saw our confusion, behaved with great civility
towards us, so that we got into the Castle-yard with no other damage
than the loss of the flap of my coat tail.

Being in the Castle-yard, we followed the crowd into another gate,
and up a stair, and saw the king lying in state, which was a very
dismal sight--and I thought of Solomon in all his glory, when I saw
the coffin, and the mutes, and the mourners; and reflecting on the
long infirmity of mind of the good old king, I said to myself, in
the words of the book of Job, "Doth not their excellency which is in
them go away? they die even without wisdom!'

When we had seen the sight, we came out of the Castle, and went to
an inn to get a chack of dinner; but there was such a crowd, that no
resting-place could for a time be found for us. Gentle and semple
were there, all mingled, and no respect of persons; only there was,
at a table nigh unto ours, a fat Glasgow manufacturer, who ordered a
bottle of champaign wine, and did all he could in the drinking of it
by himself, to show that he was a man in well-doing circumstances.
While he was talking over his wine, a great peer of the realm, with
a star on his breast, came into the room, and ordered a glass of
brandy and water; and I could see, when he saw the Glasgow
manufacturer drinking champaign wine on that occasion, that he
greatly marvelled thereat.

When we had taken our dinner, we went out to walk and see the town
of Windsor; but there was such a mob of coaches going and coming,
and men and horses, that we left the streets, and went to inspect
the king's policy, which is of great compass, but in a careless
order, though it costs a world of money to keep it up. Afterwards,
we went back to the inns, to get tea for Mrs. Pringle and her
daughter, while Andrew Pringle, my son, was seeing if he could get
tickets to buy, to let us into the inside of the Castle, to see the
burial--but he came back without luck, and I went out myself, being
more experienced in the world, and I saw a gentleman's servant with
a ticket in his hand, and I asked him to sell it to me, which the
man did with thankfulness, for five shillings, although the price
was said to be golden guineas. But as this ticket admitted only one
person, it was hard to say what should be done with it when I got
back to my family. However, as by this time we were all very much
fatigued, I gave it to Andrew Pringle, my son, and Mrs. Pringle, and
her daughter Rachel, agreed to bide with me in the inns.

Andrew Pringle, my son, having got the ticket, left us sitting, when
shortly after in came a nobleman, high in the cabinet, as I think he
must have been, and he having politely asked leave to take his tea
at our table, because of the great throng in the house, we fell into
a conversation together, and he, understanding thereby that I was a
minister of the Church of Scotland, said he thought he could help us
into a place to see the funeral; so, after he had drank his tea, he
took us with him, and got us into the Castle-yard, where we had an
excellent place, near to the Glasgow manufacturer that drank the
champaign. The drink by this time, however, had got into that poor
man's head, and he talked so loud, and so little to the purpose,
that the soldiers who were guarding were obliged to make him hold
his peace, at which he was not a little nettled, and told the
soldiers that he had himself been a soldier, and served the king
without pay, having been a volunteer officer. But this had no more
effect than to make the soldiers laugh at him, which was not a
decent thing at the interment of their master, our most gracious
Sovereign that was.

However, in this situation we saw all; and I can assure you it was a
very edifying sight; and the people demeaned themselves with so much
propriety, that there was no need for any guards at all; indeed, for
that matter, of the two, the guards, who had eaten the king's bread,
were the only ones there, saving and excepting the Glasgow
manufacturer, that manifested an irreverent spirit towards the royal
obsequies. But they are men familiar with the king of terrors on
the field of battle, and it was not to be expected that their hearts
would be daunted like those of others by a doing of a civil

When all was over, we returned to the inns, to get our chaise, to go
back to London that night, for beds were not to be had for love or
money at Windsor, and we reached our temporary home in Norfolk
Street about four o'clock in the morning, well satisfied with what
we had seen,--but all the meantime I had forgotten the loss of the
flap of my coat, which caused no little sport when I came to
recollect what a pookit like body I must have been, walking about in
the king's policy like a peacock without my tail. But I must
conclude, for Mrs. Pringle has a letter to put in the frank for Miss
Nanny Eydent, which you will send to her by one of your scholars, as
it contains information that may be serviceable to Miss Nanny in her
business, both as a mantua-maker and a superintendent of the
genteeler sort of burials at Irvine and our vicinity. So that this
is all from your friend and pastor,


"I think," said Miss Isabella Tod, as Mr. Micklewham finished the
reading of the Doctor's epistle, "that my friend Rachel might have
given me some account of the ceremony; but Captain Sabre seems to
have been a much more interesting object to her than the pride and
pomp to her brother, or even the Glasgow manufacturer to her
father." In saying these words, the young lady took the following
letter from her pocket, and was on the point of beginning to read
it, when Miss Becky Glibbans exclaimed, "I had aye my fears that
Rachel was but light-headed, and I'll no be surprised to hear more
about her and the dragoon or a's done." Mr. Snodgrass looked at
Becky, as if he had been afflicted at the moment with unpleasant
ideas; and perhaps he would have rebuked the spitefulness of her
insinuations, had not her mother sharply snubbed the uncongenial
maiden, in terms at least as pungent as any which the reverend
gentleman would have employed. "I'm sure," replied Miss Becky,
pertly, "I meant no ill; but if Rachel Pringle can write about
nothing but this Captain Sabre, she might as well let it alone, and
her letter canna be worth the hearing." "Upon that," said the
clergyman, "we can form a judgment when we have heard it, and I beg
that Miss Isabella may proceed,"--which she did accordingly.


Miss Rachel Pringle to Miss Isabella Tod--LONDON.

My Dear Bell--I take up my pen with a feeling of disappointment such
as I never felt before. Yesterday was the day appointed for the
funeral of the good old king, and it was agreed that we should go to
Windsor, to pour the tribute of our tears upon the royal hearse.
Captain Sabre promised to go with us, as he is well acquainted with
the town, and the interesting objects around the Castle, so dear to
chivalry, and embalmed by the genius of Shakespeare and many a minor
bard, and I promised myself a day of unclouded felicity--but the
captain was ordered to be on duty,--and the crowd was so rude and
riotous, that I had no enjoyment whatever; but, pining with chagrin
at the little respect paid by the rabble to the virtues of the
departed monarch, I would fainly have retired into some solemn and
sequestered grove, and breathed my sorrows to the listening waste.
Nor was the loss of the captain, to explain and illuminate the
different baronial circumstances around the Castle, the only thing I
had to regret in this ever-memorable excursion--my tender and
affectionate mother was so desirous to see everything in the most
particular manner, in order that she might give an account of the
funeral to Nanny Eydent, that she had no mercy either upon me or my
father, but obliged us to go with her to the most difficult and
inaccessible places. How vain was all this meritorious assiduity!
for of what avail can the ceremonies of a royal funeral be to Miss
Nanny, at Irvine, where kings never die, and where, if they did, it
is not at all probable that Miss Nanny would be employed to direct
their solemn obsequies? As for my brother, he was so entranced with
his own enthusiasm, that he paid but little attention to us, which
made me the more sensible of the want we suffered from the absence
of Captain Sabre. In a word, my dear Bell, never did I pass a more
unsatisfactory day, and I wish it blotted for ever from my
remembrance. Let it therefore be consigned to the abysses of
oblivion, while I recall the more pleasing incidents that have
happened since I wrote you last.

On Sunday, according to invitation, as I told you, we dined with the
Argents--and were entertained by them in a style at once most
splendid, and on the most easy footing. I shall not attempt to
describe the consumable materials of the table, but call your
attention, my dear friend, to the intellectual portion of the
entertainment, a subject much more congenial to your delicate and
refined character.

Mrs. Argent is a lady of considerable personal magnitude, of an open
and affable disposition. In this respect, indeed, she bears a
striking resemblance to her nephew, Captain Sabre, with whose
relationship to her we were unacquainted before that day. She
received us as friends in whom she felt a peculiar interest; for
when she heard that my mother had got her dress and mine from
Cranbury Alley, she expressed the greatest astonishment, and told
us, that it was not at all a place where persons of fashion could
expect to be properly served. Nor can I disguise the fact, that the
flounced and gorgeous garniture of our dresses was in shocking
contrast to the amiable simplicity of hers and the fair Arabella,
her daughter, a charming girl, who, notwithstanding the fashionable
splendour in which she has been educated, displays a delightful
sprightliness of manner, that, I have some notion, has not been
altogether lost on the heart of my brother.

When we returned upstairs to the drawing-room, after dinner, Miss
Arabella took her harp, and was on the point of favouring us with a
Mozart; but her mother, recollecting that we were Presbyterians,
thought it might not be agreeable, and she desisted, which I was
sinful enough to regret; but my mother was so evidently alarmed at
the idea of playing on the harp on a Sunday night, that I suppressed
my own wishes, in filial veneration for those of that respected
parent. Indeed, fortunate it was that the music was not performed;
for, when we returned home, my father remarked with great solemnity,
that such a way of passing the Lord's night as we had passed it,
would have been a great sin in Scotland.

Captain Sabre, who called on us next morning, was so delighted when
he understood that we were acquainted with his aunt, that he
lamented he had not happened to know it before, as he would, in that
case, have met us there. He is indeed very attentive, but I assure
you that I feel no particular interest about him; for although he is
certainly a very handsome young man, he is not such a genius as my
brother, and has no literary partialities. But literary
accomplishments are, you know, foreign to the military profession,
and if the captain has not distinguished himself by cutting up
authors in the reviews, he has acquired an honourable medal, by
overcoming the enemies of the civilised world at Waterloo.

To-night the playhouses open again, and we are going to the
Oratorio, and the captain goes with us, a circumstance which I am
the more pleased at, as we are strangers, and he will tell us the
names of the performers. My father made some scruple of consenting
to be of the party; but when he heard that an Oratorio was a concert
of sacred music, he thought it would be only a sinless deviation if
he did, so he goes likewise. The captain, therefore, takes an early
dinner with us at five o'clock. Alas! to what changes am I doomed,-
-that was the tea hour at the manse of Garnock. Oh, when shall I
revisit the primitive simplicities of my native scenes again! But
neither time nor distance, my dear Bell, can change the affection
with which I subscribe myself, ever affectionately, yours,


At the conclusion of this letter, the countenance of Mrs. Glibbans
was evidently so darkened, that it daunted the company, like an
eclipse of the sun, when all nature is saddened. "What think you,
Mr. Snodgrass," said that spirit-stricken lady,--"what think you of
this dining on the Lord's day,--this playing on the harp; the carnal
Mozarting of that ungodly family, with whom the corrupt human nature
of our friends has been chambering?" Mr. Snodgrass was at some loss
for an answer, and hesitated, but Miss Mally Glencairn relieved him
from his embarrassment, by remarking, that "the harp was a holy
instrument," which somewhat troubled the settled orthodoxy of Mrs.
Glibbans's visage. "Had it been an organ," said Mr. Snodgrass,
dryly, "there might have been, perhaps, more reason to doubt; but,
as Miss Mally justly remarks, the harp has been used from the days
of King David in the performances of sacred music, together with the
psalter, the timbrel, the sackbut, and the cymbal." The wrath of
the polemical Deborah of the Relief-Kirk was somewhat appeased by
this explanation, and she inquired in a more diffident tone, whether
a Mozart was not a metrical paraphrase of the song of Moses after
the overthrow of the Egyptians in the Red Sea; "in which case, I
must own," she observed, "that the sin and guilt of the thing is
less grievous in the sight of HIM before whom all the actions of men
are abominations." Miss Isabella Tod, availing herself of this
break in the conversation, turned round to Miss Nanny Eydent, and
begged that she would read her letter from Mrs. Pringle. We should
do injustice, however, to honest worth and patient industry were we,
in thus introducing Miss Nanny to our readers, not to give them some
account of her lowly and virtuous character.

Miss Nanny was the eldest of three sisters, the daughters of a
shipmaster, who was lost at sea when they were very young; and his
all having perished with him, they were indeed, as their mother
said, the children of Poverty and Sorrow. By the help of a little
credit, the widow contrived, in a small shop, to eke out her days
till Nanny was able to assist her. It was the intention of the poor
woman to take up a girl's school for reading and knitting, and Nanny
was destined to instruct the pupils in that higher branch of
accomplishment--the different stitches of the sampler. But about
the time that Nanny was advancing to the requisite degree of
perfection in chain-steek and pie-holes--indeed had made some
progress in the Lord's prayer between two yew trees--tambouring was
introduced at Irvine, and Nanny was sent to acquire a competent
knowledge of that classic art, honoured by the fair hands of the
beautiful Helen and the chaste and domestic Andromache. In this she
instructed her sisters; and such was the fruit of their application
and constant industry, that her mother abandoned the design of
keeping school, and continued to ply her little huxtry in more easy
circumstances. The fluctuations of trade in time taught them that
it would not be wise to trust to the loom, and accordingly Nanny was
at some pains to learn mantua-making; and it was fortunate that she
did so--for the tambouring gradually went out of fashion, and the
flowering which followed suited less the infirm constitution of poor
Nanny. The making of gowns for ordinary occasions led to the making
of mournings, and the making of mournings naturally often caused
Nanny to be called in at deaths, which, in process of time, promoted
her to have the management of burials; and in this line of business
she has now a large proportion of the genteelest in Irvine and its
vicinity; and in all her various engagements her behaviour has been
as blameless and obliging as her assiduity has been uniform;
insomuch, that the numerous ladies to whom she is known take a
particular pleasure in supplying her with the newest patterns, and
earliest information, respecting the varieties and changes of
fashions; and to the influence of the same good feelings in the
breast of Mrs. Pringle, Nanny was indebted for the following letter.

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