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The Ayrshire Legatees by John Galt

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How far the information which it contains may be deemed exactly
suitable to the circumstances in which Miss Nanny's lot is cast, our
readers may judge for themselves; but we are happy to state, that it
has proved of no small advantage to her: for since it has been
known that she had received a full, true, and particular account, of
all manner of London fashions, from so managing and notable a woman
as the minister's wife of Garnock, her consideration has been so
augmented in the opinion of the neighbouring gentlewomen, that she
is not only consulted as to funerals, but is often called in to
assist in the decoration and arrangement of wedding-dinners, and
other occasions of sumptuous banqueting; by which she is enabled,
during the suspension of the flowering trade, to earn a lowly but a
respected livelihood.


Mrs. Pringle to Miss Nanny Eydent, Mantua-maker, Seagate Head,

Dear Miss Nanny--Miss Mally Glencairn would tell you all how it
happent that I was disabled, by our misfortunes in the ship, from
riting to you konserning the London fashons as I promist; for I
wantit to be partikylor, and to say nothing but what I saw with my
own eyes, that it might be servisable to you in your bizness--so now
I will begin with the old king's burial, as you have sometimes
okashon to lend a helping hand in that way at Irvine, and nothing
could be more genteeler of the kind than a royal obsakew for a
patron; but no living sole can give a distink account of this
matter, for you know the old king was the father of his piple, and
the croud was so great. Howsomever we got into our oun hired shaze
at daylight; and when we were let out at the castel yett of Windsor,
we went into the mob, and by and by we got within the castel walls,
when great was the lamentation for the purdition of shawls and
shoos, and the Doctor's coat pouch was clippit off by a pocket-
picker. We then ran to a wicket-gate, and up an old timber-stair
with a rope ravel, and then we got to a great pentit chamber called
King George's Hall: After that we were allowt to go into another
room full of guns and guards, that told us all to be silent: so
then we all went like sawlies, holding our tongues in an awful
manner, into a dysmal room hung with black cloth, and lighted with
dum wax-candles in silver skonses, and men in a row all in
mulancholic posters. At length and at last we came to the coffin;
but although I was as partikylar as possoble, I could see nothing
that I would recommend. As for the interment, there was nothing but
even-down wastrie--wax-candles blowing away in the wind, and
flunkies as fou as pipers, and an unreverent mob that scarsely could
demean themselves with decency as the body was going by; only the
Duke of York, who carrit the head, had on no hat, which I think was
the newest identical thing in the affair: but really there was
nothing that could be recommended. Howsomever I understood that
there was no draigie, which was a saving; for the bread and wine for
such a multitude would have been a destruction to a lord's living:
and this is the only point that the fashon set in the king's
feunoral may be follot in Irvine.

Since the burial, we have been to see the play, where the leddies
were all in deep murning; but excepting that some had black gum-
floors on their heads, I saw leetil for admiration--only that
bugles, I can ashure you, are not worn at all this season; and
surely this murning must be a vast detrimint to bizness--for where
there is no verietie, there can be but leetil to do in your line.
But one thing I should not forget, and that is, that in the vera
best houses, after tea and coffee after dinner, a cordial dram is
handed about; but likewise I could observe, that the fruit is not
set on with the cheese, as in our part of the country, but comes,
after the cloth is drawn, with the wine; and no such a thing as a
punch-bowl is to be heard of within the four walls of London.
Howsomever, what I principally notised was, that the tea and coffee
is not made by the lady of the house, but out of the room, and
brought in without sugar or milk, on servors, every one helping
himself, and only plain flimsy loaf and butter is served--no such
thing as shortbread, seed-cake, bun, marmlet, or jeelly to be seen,
which is an okonomical plan, and well worthy of adaptation in
ginteel families with narrow incomes, in Irvine or elsewhere.

But when I tell you what I am now going to say, you will not be
surprizt at the great wealth in London. I paid for a bumbeseen
gown, not a bit better than the one that was made by you that the
sore calamity befell, and no so fine neither, more than three times
the price; so you see, Miss Nanny, if you were going to pouse your
fortune, you could not do better than pack up your ends and your
awls and come to London. But ye're far better at home--for this is
not a town for any creditable young woman like you, to live in by
herself, and I am wearying to be back, though it's hard to say when
the Doctor will get his counts settlet. I wish you, howsomever, to
mind the patches for the bed-cover that I was going to patch, for a
licht afternoon seam, as the murning for the king will no be so
general with you, and the spring fashons will be coming on to help
my gathering--so no more at present from your friend and well-


On Sunday morning, before going to church, Mr. Micklewham called at
the manse, and said that he wished particularly to speak to Mr.
Snodgrass. Upon being admitted, he found the young helper engaged
at breakfast, with a book lying on his table, very like a volume of
a new novel called Ivanhoe, in its appearance, but of course it must
have been sermons done up in that manner to attract fashionable
readers. As soon, however, as Mr. Snodgrass saw his visitor, he
hastily removed the book, and put it into the table-drawer.

The precentor having taken a seat at the opposite side of the fire,
began somewhat diffidently to mention, that he had received a letter
from the Doctor, that made him at a loss whether or not he ought to
read it to the elders, as usual, after worship, and therefore was
desirous of consulting Mr. Snodgrass on the subject, for it
recorded, among other things, that the Doctor had been at the
playhouse, and Mr. Micklewham was quite sure that Mr. Craig would be
neither to bind nor to hold when he heard that, although the
transgression was certainly mollified by the nature of the
performance. As the clergyman, however, could offer no opinion
until he saw the letter, the precentor took it out of his pocket,
and Mr. Snodgrass found the contents as follows:-


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

Dear Sir--You will recollect that, about twenty years ago, there was
a great sound throughout all the West that a playhouse in Glasgow
had been converted into a tabernacle of religion. I remember it was
glad tidings to our ears in the parish of Garnock; and that Mr.
Craig, who had just been ta'en on for an elder that fall, was for
having a thanksgiving-day on the account thereof, holding it to be a
signal manifestation of a new birth in the of-old-godly town of
Glasgow, which had become slack in the way of well-doing, and the
church therein lukewarm, like that of Laodicea. It was then said,
as I well remember, that when the Tabernacle was opened, there had
not been seen, since the Kaimslang wark, such a congregation as was
there assembled, which was a great proof that it's the matter
handled, and not the place, that maketh pure; so that when you and
the elders hear that I have been at the theatre of Drury Lane, in
London, you must not think that I was there to see a carnal stage
play, whether tragical or comical, or that I would so far demean
myself and my cloth, as to be a witness to the chambering and
wantonness of ne'er-du-weel play-actors. No, Mr. Micklewham, what I
went to see was an Oratorio, a most edifying exercise of psalmody
and prayer, under the management of a pious gentleman, of the name
of Sir George Smart, who is, as I am informed, at the greatest pains
to instruct the exhibitioners, they being, for the most part, before
they get into his hands, poor uncultivated creatures, from Italy,
France, and Germany, and other atheistical and popish countries.

They first sung a hymn together very decently, and really with as
much civilised harmony as could be expected from novices; indeed so
well, that I thought them almost as melodious as your own singing
class of the trades lads from Kilwinning. Then there was one Mr.
Braham, a Jewish proselyte, that was set forth to show us a specimen
of his proficiency. In the praying part, what he said was no
objectionable as to the matter; but he drawled in his manner to such
a pitch, that I thought he would have broken out into an even-down
song, as I sometimes think of yourself when you spin out the last
word in reading out the line in a warm summer afternoon. In the
hymn by himself, he did better; he was, however, sometimes like to
lose the tune, but the people gave him great encouragement when he
got back again. Upon the whole, I had no notion that there was any
such Christianity in practice among the Londoners, and I am happy to
tell you, that the house was very well filled, and the congregation
wonderful attentive. No doubt that excellent man, Mr. W-, has a
hand in these public strainings after grace, but he was not there
that night; for I have seen him; and surely at the sight I could not
but say to myself, that it's beyond the compass of the understanding
of man to see what great things Providence worketh with small means,
for Mr. W- is a small creature. When I beheld his diminutive
stature, and thought of what he had achieved for the poor negroes
and others in the house of bondage, I said to myself, that here the
hand of Wisdom is visible, for the load of perishable mortality is
laid lightly on his spirit, by which it is enabled to clap its wings
and crow so crously on the dunghill top of this world; yea even in
the House of Parliament.

I was taken last Thursday morning to breakfast with him his house at
Kensington, by an East India man, who is likewise surely a great
saint. It was a heart-healing meeting of many of the godly, which
he holds weekly in the season; and we had such a warsle of the
spirit among us that the like cannot be told. I was called upon to
pray, and a worthy gentleman said, when I was done, that he never
had met with more apostolic simplicity--indeed, I could see with the
tail of my eye, while I was praying, that the chief saint himself
was listening with a curious pleasant satisfaction.

As for our doings here anent the legacy, things are going forward in
the regular manner; but the expense is terrible, and I have been
obliged to take up money on account; but, as it was freely given by
the agents, I am in hopes all will end well; for, considering that
we are but strangers to them, they would not have assisted us in
this matter had they not been sure of the means of payment in their
own hands.

The people of London are surprising kind to us; we need not, if we
thought proper ourselves, eat a dinner in our own lodgings; but it
would ill become me, at my time of life, and with the character for
sobriety that I have maintained, to show an example in my latter
days of riotous living; therefore, Mrs. Pringle, and her daughter,
and me, have made a point of going nowhere three times in the week;
but as for Andrew Pringle, my son, he has forgathered with some
acquaintance, and I fancy we will be obliged to let him take the
length of his tether for a while. But not altogether without a curb
neither, for the agent's son, young Mr. Argent, had almost persuaded
him to become a member of Parliament, which he said he could get him
made, for more than a thousand pounds less than the common price--
the state of the new king's health having lowered the commodity of
seats. But this I would by no means hear of; he is not yet come to
years of discretion enough to sit in council; and, moreover, he has
not been tried; and no man, till he has out of doors shown something
of what he is, should be entitled to power and honour within. Mrs.
Pringle, however, thought he might do as well as young Dunure; but
Andrew Pringle, my son, has not the solidity of head that Mr. K-dy
has, and is over free and outspoken, and cannot take such pains to
make his little go a great way, like that well-behaved young
gentleman. But you will be grieved to hear that Mr. K-dy is in
opposition to the government; and truly I am at a loss to understand
how a man of Whig principles can be an adversary to the House of
Hanover. But I never meddled much in politick affairs, except at
this time, when I prohibited Andrew Pringle, my son, from offering
to be a member of Parliament, notwithstanding the great bargain that
he would have had of the place.

And since we are on public concerns, I should tell you, that I was
minded to send you a newspaper at the second-hand, every day when we
were done with it. But when we came to inquire, we found that we
could get the newspaper for a shilling a week every morning but
Sunday, to our breakfast, which was so much cheaper than buying a
whole paper, that Mrs. Pringle thought it would be a great
extravagance; and, indeed, when I came to think of the loss of time
a newspaper every day would occasion to my people, I considered it
would be very wrong of me to send you any at all. For I do think
that honest folks in a far-off country parish should not make or
meddle with the things that pertain to government,--the more
especially, as it is well known, that there is as much falsehood as
truth in newspapers, and they have not the means of testing their
statements. Not, however, that I am an advocate for passive
obedience; God forbid. On the contrary, if ever the time should
come, in my day, of a saint-slaying tyrant attempting to bind the
burden of prelatic abominations on our backs, such a blast of the
gospel trumpet would be heard in Garnock, as it does not become me
to say, but I leave it to you and others, who have experienced my
capacity as a soldier of the word so long, to think what it would
then be. Meanwhile, I remain, my dear sir, your friend and pastor,

When Mr. Snodgrass had perused this epistle, he paused some time,
seemingly in doubt, and then he said to Mr. Micklewham, that,
considering the view which the Doctor had taken of the matter, and
that he had not gone to the playhouse for the motives which usually
take bad people to such places, he thought there could be no
possible harm in reading the letter to the elders, and that Mr.
Craig, so far from being displeased, would doubtless be exceedingly
rejoiced to learn that the playhouses of London were occasionally so
well employed as on the night when the Doctor was there.

Mr. Micklewham then inquired if Mr. Snodgrass had heard from Mr.
Andrew, and was answered in the affirmative; but the letter was not
read. Why it was withheld our readers must guess for themselves;
but we have been fortunate enough to obtain the following copy.


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

My Dear Friend--As the season advances, London gradually unfolds,
like Nature, all the variety of her powers and pleasures. By the
Argents we have been introduced effectually into society, and have
now only to choose our acquaintance among those whom we like best.
I should employ another word than choose, for I am convinced that
there is no choice in the matter. In his friendships and
affections, man is subject to some inscrutable moral law, similar in
its effects to what the chemists call affinity. While under the
blind influence of this sympathy, we, forsooth, suppose ourselves
free agents! But a truce with philosophy.

The amount of the legacy is now ascertained. The stock, however, in
which a great part of the money is vested being shut, the transfer
to my father cannot be made for some time; and till this is done, my
mother cannot be persuaded that we have yet got anything to trust
to--an unfortunate notion which renders her very unhappy. The old
gentleman himself takes no interest now in the business. He has got
his mind at ease by the payment of all the legacies; and having
fallen in with some of the members of that political junto, the
Saints, who are worldly enough to link, as often as they can, into
their association, the powerful by wealth or talent, his whole time
is occupied in assisting to promote their humbug; and he has
absolutely taken it into his head, that the attention he receives
from them for his subscriptions is on account of his eloquence as a
preacher, and that hitherto he has been altogether in an error with
respect to his own abilities. The effect of this is abundantly
amusing; but the source of it is very evident. Like most people who
pass a sequestered life, he had formed an exaggerated opinion of
public characters; and on seeing them in reality so little superior
to the generality of mankind, he imagines that he was all the time
nearer to their level than he had ventured to suppose; and the
discovery has placed him on the happiest terms with himself. It is
impossible that I can respect his manifold excellent qualities and
goodness of heart more than I do; but there is an innocency in this
simplicity, which, while it often compels me to smile, makes me feel
towards him a degree of tenderness, somewhat too familiar for that
filial reverence that is due from a son.

Perhaps, however, you will think me scarcely less under the
influence of a similar delusion when I tell you, that I have been
somehow or other drawn also into an association, not indeed so
public or potent as that of the Saints, but equally persevering in
the objects for which it has been formed. The drift of the Saints,
as far as I can comprehend the matter, is to procure the advancement
to political power of men distinguished for the purity of their
lives, and the integrity of their conduct; and in that way, I
presume, they expect to effect the accomplishment of that blessed
epoch, the Millennium, when the Saints are to rule the whole earth.
I do not mean to say that this is their decided and determined
object; I only infer, that it is the necessary tendency of their
proceedings; and I say it with all possible respect and sincerity,
that, as a public party, the Saints are not only perhaps the most
powerful, but the party which, at present, best deserves power.

The association, however, with which I have happened to become
connected, is of a very different description. Their object is, to
pass through life with as much pleasure as they can obtain, without
doing anything unbecoming the rank of gentlemen, and the character
of men of honour. We do not assemble such numerous meetings as the
Saints, the Whigs, or the Radicals, nor are our speeches delivered
with so much vehemence. We even, I think, tacitly exclude oratory.
In a word, our meetings seldom exceed the perfect number of the
muses; and our object on these occasions is not so much to
deliberate on plans of prospective benefits to mankind, as to enjoy
the present time for ourselves, under the temperate inspiration of a
well-cooked dinner, flavoured with elegant wine, and just so much of
mind as suits the fleeting topics of the day. T-, whom I formerly
mentioned, introduced me to this delightful society. The members
consist of about fifty gentlemen, who dine occasionally at each
other's houses; the company being chiefly selected from the
brotherhood, if that term can be applied to a circle of
acquaintance, who, without any formal institution of rules, have
gradually acquired a consistency that approximates to organisation.
But the universe of this vast city contains a plurality of systems;
and the one into which I have been attracted may be described as
that of the idle intellects. In general society, the members of our
party are looked up to as men of taste and refinement, and are
received with a degree of deference that bears some resemblance to
the respect paid to the hereditary endowment of rank. They consist
either of young men who have acquired distinction at college, or
gentlemen of fortune who have a relish for intellectual pleasures,
free from the acerbities of politics, or the dull formalities which
so many of the pious think essential to their religious pretensions.
The wealthy furnish the entertainments, which are always in a
superior style, and the ingredient of birth is not requisite in the
qualifications of a member, although some jealousy is entertained of
professional men, and not a little of merchants. T-, to whom I am
also indebted for this view of that circle of which he is the
brightest ornament, gives a felicitous explanation of the reason.
He says, professional men, who are worth anything at all, are always
ambitious, and endeavour to make their acquaintance subservient to
their own advancement; while merchants are liable to such
casualties, that their friends are constantly exposed to the risk of
being obliged to sink them below their wonted equality, by granting
them favours in times of difficulty, or, what is worse, by refusing
to grant them.

I am much indebted to you for the introduction to your friend G-.
He is one of us; or rather, he moves in an eccentric sphere of his
own, which crosses, I believe, almost all the orbits of all the
classed and classifiable systems of London. I found him exactly
what you described; and we were on the frankest footing of old
friends in the course of the first quarter of an hour. He did me
the honour to fancy that I belonged, as a matter of course, to some
one of the literary fraternities of Edinburgh, and that I would be
curious to see the associations of the learned here. What he said
respecting them was highly characteristic of the man. "They are,"
said he, "the dullest things possible. On my return from abroad, I
visited them all, expecting to find something of that easy
disengaged mind which constitutes the charm of those of France and
Italy. But in London, among those who have a character to keep up,
there is such a vigilant circumspection, that I should as soon
expect to find nature in the ballets of the Opera-house, as genius
at the established haunts of authors, artists, and men of science.
Bankes gives, I suppose officially, a public breakfast weekly, and
opens his house for conversations on the Sundays. I found at his
breakfasts, tea and coffee, with hot rolls, and men of celebrity
afraid to speak. At the conversations, there was something even
worse. A few plausible talking fellows created a buzz in the room,
and the merits of some paltry nick-nack of mechanism or science was
discussed. The party consisted undoubtedly of the most eminent men
of their respective lines in the world; but they were each and all
so apprehensive of having their ideas purloined, that they took the
most guarded care never to speak of anything that they deemed of the
slightest consequence, or to hazard an opinion that might be called
in question. The man who either wishes to augment his knowledge, or
to pass his time agreeably, will never expose himself to a
repetition of the fastidious exhibitions of engineers and artists
who have their talents at market. But such things are among the
curiosities of London; and if you have any inclination to undergo
the initiating mortification of being treated as a young man who may
be likely to interfere with their professional interests, I can
easily get you introduced."

I do not know whether to ascribe these strictures of your friend to
humour or misanthropy; but they were said without bitterness; indeed
so much as matters of course, that, at the moment, I could not but
feel persuaded they were just. I spoke of them to T-, who says,
that undoubtedly G-'s account of the exhibitions is true in
substance, but that it is his own sharp-sightedness which causes him
to see them so offensively; for that ninety-nine out of the hundred
in the world would deem an evening spent at the conversations of Sir
Joseph Bankes a very high intellectual treat.

G- has invited me to dinner, and I expect some amusement; for T-,
who is acquainted with him, says, that it is his fault to employ his
mind too much on all occasions; and that, in all probability, there
will be something, either in the fare or the company, that I shall
remember as long as I live. However, you shall hear all about it in
my next.--Yours,


On the same Sunday on which Mr. Micklewham consulted Mr. Snodgrass
as to the propriety of reading the Doctor's letter to the elders,
the following epistle reached the post-office of Irvine, and was
delivered by Saunders Dickie himself, at the door of Mrs. Glibbans
to her servan lassie, who, as her mistress had gone to the Relief
Church, told him, that he would have to come for the postage the
morn's morning. "Oh," said Saunders, "there's naething to pay but
my ain trouble, for it's frankit; but aiblins the mistress will gie
me a bit drappie, and so I'll come betimes i' the morning."


Mrs. Pringle to Mrs. Glibbans--LONDON.

My Dear Mrs. Glibbans--The breking up of the old Parlament has been
the cause why I did not right you before, it having taken it out of
my poor to get a frank for my letter till yesterday; and I do ashure
you, that I was most extraordinar uneasy at the great delay, wishing
much to let you know the decayt state of the Gospel in thir perts,
which is the pleasure of your life to study by day, and meditate on
in the watches of the night.

There is no want of going to church, and, if that was a sign of
grease and peese in the kingdom of Christ, the toun of London might
hold a high head in the tabernacles of the faithful and true
witnesses. But saving Dr. Nichol of Swallo-Street, and Dr. Manuel
of London-Wall, there is nothing sound in the way of preaching here;
and when I tell you that Mr. John Gant, your friend, and some other
flea-lugged fallows, have set up a Heelon congregation, and got a
young man to preach Erse to the English, ye maun think in what a
state sinful souls are left in London. But what I have been the
most consarned about is the state of the dead. I am no meaning
those who are dead in trespasses and sins, but the true dead. Ye
will hardly think, that they are buried in a popish-like manner,
with prayers, and white gowns, and ministers, and spadefuls of yerd
cast upon them, and laid in vauts, like kists of orangers in a
grocery seller--and I am told that, after a time, they are taken out
when the vaut is shurfeeted, and their bones brunt, if they are no
made into lamp-black by a secret wark--which is a clean proof to me
that a right doctrine cannot be established in this land--there
being so little respec shone to the dead.

The worst point, howsomever, of all is, what is done with the
prayers--and I have heard you say, that although there was nothing
more to objec to the wonderful Doctor Chammers of Glasgou, that his
reading of his sermons was testimony against him in the great
controversy of sound doctrine; but what will you say to reading of
prayers, and no only reading of prayers, but printed prayers, as if
the contreet heart of the sinner had no more to say to the Lord in
the hour of fasting and humiliation, than what a bishop can indite,
and a book-seller make profit o'. "Verily," as I may say, in a word
of scripter, I doobt if the glad tidings of salvation have yet been
preeched in this land of London; but the ministers have good
stipends, and where the ground is well manured, it may in time bring
forth fruit meet for repentance.

There is another thing that behoves me to mention, and that is, that
an elder is not to be seen in the churches of London, which is a
sore signal that the piple are left to themselves; and in what state
the morality can be, you may guess with an eye of pity. But on the
Sabbath nights, there is such a going and coming, that it's more
like a cried fair than the Lord's night--all sorts of poor people,
instead of meditating on their bygane toil and misery of the week,
making the Sunday their own day, as if they had not a greater Master
to serve on that day, than the earthly man whom they served in the
week-days. It is, howsomever, past the poor of nature to tell you
of the sinfulness of London; and you may we think what is to be the
end of all things, when I ashure you, that there is a newspaper sold
every Sabbath morning, and read by those that never look at their
Bibles. Our landlady asked us if we would take one; but I thought
the Doctor would have fired the house, and you know it is not a
small thing that kindles his passion. In short, London is not a
place to come to hear the tidings of salvation preeched,--no that I
mean to deny that there is not herine more than five righteous
persons in it, and I trust the cornal's hagent is one; for if he is
not, we are undone, having been obligated to take on already more
than a hundred pounds of debt, to the account of our living, and the
legacy yet in the dead thraws. But as I mean this for a spiritual
letter, I will say no more about the root of all evil, as it is
called in the words of truth and holiness; so referring you to what
I have told Miss Mally Glencairn about the legacy and other things
nearest my heart, I remain, my dear Mrs. Glibbans, your fellou
Christian and sinner, JANET PRINGLE.

Mrs. Glibbans received this letter between the preachings, and it
was observed by all her acquaintance during the afternoon service,
that she was a laden woman. Instead of standing up at the prayers,
as her wont was, she kept her seat, sitting with downcast eyes, and
ever and anon her left hand, which was laid over her book on the
reading-board of the pew, was raised and allowed to drop with a
particular moral emphasis, bespeaking the mournful cogitations of
her spirit. On leaving the church, somebody whispered to the
minister, that surely Mrs. Glibbans had heard some sore news; upon
which that meek, mild, and modest good soul hastened towards her,
and inquired, with more than his usual kindness, How she was? Her
answer was brief and mysterious; and she shook her head in such a
manner that showed him all was not right. "Have you heard lately of
your friends the Pringles?" said he, in his sedate manner--"when do
they think of leaving London?'

"I wish they may ever get out o't," was the agitated reply of the
afflicted lady.

"I am very sorry to hear you say so," responded the minister. "I
thought all was in a fair way to an issue of the settlement. I'm
very sorry to hear this."

"Oh, sir," said the mourner, "don't think that I am grieved for them
and their legacy--filthy lucre--no, sir; but I have had a letter
that has made my hair stand on end. Be none surprised if you hear
of the earth opening, and London swallowed up, and a voice crying in
the wilderness, 'Woe, woe.'"

The gentle priest was much surprised by this information; it was
evident that Mrs. Glibbans had received a terrible account of the
wickedness of London; and that the weight upon her pious spirit was
owing to that cause. He, therefore, accompanied her home, and
administered all the consolation he was able to give; assuring her,
that it was in the power of Omnipotence to convert the stony heart
into one of flesh and tenderness, and to raise the British
metropolis out of the miry clay, and place it on a hill, as a city
that could not be hid; which Mrs. Glibbans was so thankful to hear,
that, as soon as he had left her, she took her tea in a satisfactory
frame of mind, and went the same night to Miss Mally Glencairn to
hear what Mrs. Pringle had said to her. No visit ever happened more
opportunely; for just as Mrs. Glibbans knocked at the door, Miss
Isabella Tod made her appearance. She had also received a letter
from Rachel, in which it will be seen that reference was made
likewise to Mrs. Pringle's epistle to Miss Mally.


Miss Rachel Pringle to Miss Isabella Tod--LONDON.

My Dear Bell--How delusive are the flatteries of fortune! The
wealth that has been showered upon us, beyond all our hopes, has
brought no pleasure to my heart, and I pour my unavailing sighs for
your absence, when I would communicate the cause of my unhappiness.
Captain Sabre has been most assiduous in his attentions, and I must
confess to your sympathising bosom, that I do begin to find that he
has an interest in mine. But my mother will not listen to his
proposals, nor allow me to give him any encouragement, till the
fatal legacy is settled. What can be her motive for this, I am
unable to divine; for the captain's fortune is far beyond what I
could ever have expected without the legacy, and equal to all I
could hope for with it. If, therefore, there is any doubt of the
legacy being paid, she should allow me to accept him; and if there
is none, what can I do better? In the meantime, we are going about
seeing the sights; but the general mourning is a great drawback on
the splendour of gaiety. It ends, however, next Sunday; and then
the ladies, like the spring flowers, will be all in full blossom. I
was with the Argents at the opera on Saturday last, and it far
surpassed my ideas of grandeur. But the singing was not good--I
never could make out the end or the beginning of a song, and it was
drowned with the violins; the scenery, however, was lovely; but I
must not say a word about the dancers, only that the females behaved
in a manner so shocking, that I could scarcely believe it was
possible for the delicacy of our sex to do. They are, however, all
foreigners, who are, you know, naturally of a licentious character,
especially the French women.

We have taken an elegant house in Baker Street, where we go on
Monday next, and our own new carriage is to be home in the course of
the week. All this, which has been done by the advice of Mrs.
Argent, gives my mother great uneasiness, in case anything should
yet happen to the legacy. My brother, however, who knows the law
better than her, only laughs at her fears, and my father has found
such a wonderful deal to do in religion here, that he is quite
delighted, and is busy from morning to night in writing letters, and
giving charitable donations. I am soon to be no less busy, but in
another manner. Mrs. Argent has advised us to get in accomplished
masters for me, so that, as soon as we are removed into our own
local habitation, I am to begin with drawing and music, and the
foreign languages. I am not, however, to learn much of the piano;
Mrs. A. thinks it would take up more time than I can now afford; but
I am to be cultivated in my singing, and she is to try if the master
that taught Miss Stephens has an hour to spare--and to use her
influence to persuade him to give it to me, although he only
receives pupils for perfectioning, except they belong to families of

My brother had a hankering to be made a member of Parliament, and
got Mr. Charles Argent to speak to my father about it, but neither
he nor my mother would hear of such a thing, which I was very sorry
for, as it would have been so convenient to me for getting franks;
and I wonder my mother did not think of that, as she grudges nothing
so much as the price of postage. But nothing do I grudge so little,
especially when it is a letter from you. Why do you not write me
oftener, and tell me what is saying about us, particularly by that
spiteful toad, Becky Glibbans, who never could hear of any good
happening to her acquaintance, without being as angry as if it was
obtained at her own expense?

I do not like Miss Argent so well on acquaintance as I did at first;
not that she is not a very fine lassie, but she gives herself such
airs at the harp and piano--because she can play every sort of music
at the first sight, and sing, by looking at the notes, any song,
although she never heard it, which may be very well in a play-actor,
or a governess, that has to win her bread by music; but I think the
education of a modest young lady might have been better conducted.

Through the civility of the Argents, we have been introduced to a
great number of families, and been much invited; but all the parties
are so ceremonious, that I am never at my ease, which my brother
says is owing to my rustic education, which I cannot understand;
for, although the people are finer dressed, and the dinners and
rooms grander than what I have seen, either at Irvine or Kilmarnock,
the company are no wiser; and I have not met with a single literary
character among them. And what are ladies and gentlemen without
mind, but a well-dressed mob! It is to mind alone that I am at all
disposed to pay the homage of diffidence.

The acquaintance of the Argents are all of the first circle, and we
have got an invitation to a route from the Countess of J-y, in
consequence of meeting her with them. She is a charming woman, and
I anticipate great pleasure. Miss Argent says, however, she is
ignorant and presuming; but how is it possible that she can be so,
as she was an earl's daughter, and bred up for distinction? Miss
Argent may be presuming, but a countess is necessarily above that,
at least it would only become a duchess or marchioness to say so.
This, however, is not the only occasion in which I have seen the
detractive disposition of that young lady, who, with all her
simplicity of manners and great accomplishments, is, you will
perceive, just like ourselves, rustic as she doubtless thinks our
breeding has been.

I have observed that nobody in London inquires about who another is;
and that in company everyone is treated on an equality, unless when
there is some remarkable personal peculiarity, so that one really
knows nothing of those whom one meets. But my paper is full, and I
must not take another sheet, as my mother has a letter to send in
the same frank to Miss Mally Glencairn. Believe me, ever
affectionately yours, RACHEL PRINGLE.

The three ladies knew not very well what to make of this letter.
They thought there was a change in Rachel's ideas, and that it was
not for the better; and Miss Isabella expressed, with a sentiment of
sincere sorrow, that the acquisition of fortune seemed to have
brought out some unamiable traits in her character, which, perhaps,
had she not been exposed to the companions and temptations of the
great world, would have slumbered, unfelt by herself, and unknown to
her friends.

Mrs. Glibbans declared, that it was a waking of original sin, which
the iniquity of London was bringing forth, as the heat of summer
causes the rosin and sap to issue from the bark of the tree. In the
meantime, Miss Mally had opened her letter, of which we subjoin a


Mrs Pringle to Miss Mally Glencairn--LONDON.

Dear Miss Mally--I greatly stand in need of your advise and counsel
at this time. The Doctor's affair comes on at a fearful slow rate,
and the money goes like snow off a dyke. It is not to be told what
has been paid for legacy-duty, and no legacy yet in hand; and we
have been obligated to lift a whole hundred pounds out of the
residue, and what that is to be the Lord only knows. But Miss Jenny
Macbride, she has got her thousand pound, all in one bank bill, sent
to her; Thomas Bowie, the doctor in Ayr, he has got his five hundred
pounds; and auld Nanse Sorrel, that was nurse to the cornal, she has
got the first year of her twenty pounds a year; but we have gotten
nothing, and I jealouse, that if things go on at this rate, there
will be nothing to get; and what will become of us then, after all
the trubble and outlay that we have been pot too by this coming to

Howsomever, this is the black side of the story; for Mr. Charles
Argent, in a jocose way, proposed to get Andrew made a Parliament
member for three thousand pounds, which he said was cheap; and
surely he would not have thought of such a thing, had he not known
that Andrew would have the money to pay for't; and, over and above
this, Mrs. Argent has been recommending Captain Sabre to me for
Rachel, and she says he is a stated gentleman, with two thousand
pounds rental, and her nephew; and surely she would not think Rachel
a match for him, unless she had an inkling from her gudeman of what
Rachel's to get. But I have told her that we would think of nothing
of the sort till the counts war settled, which she may tell to her
gudeman, and if he approves the match, it will make him hasten on
the settlement, for really I am growing tired of this London, whar I
am just like a fish out of the water. The Englishers are sae
obstinate in their own way, that I can get them to do nothing like
Christians; and, what is most provoking of all, their ways are very
good when you know them; but they have no instink to teach a body
how to learn them. Just this very morning, I told the lass to get a
jiggot of mutton for the morn's dinner, and she said there was not
such a thing to be had in London, and threeppit it till I couldna
stand her; and, had it not been that Mr. Argent's French servan' man
happened to come with a cart, inviting us to a ball, and who
understood what a jiggot was, I might have reasoned till the day of
doom without redress. As for the Doctor, I declare he's like an
enchantit person, for he has falling in with a party of the elect
here, as he says, and they have a kilfud yoking every Thursday at
the house of Mr. W-, where the Doctor has been, and was asked to
pray, and did it with great effec, which has made him so up in the
buckle, that he does nothing but go to Bible soceeyetis, and
mishonary meetings, and cherity sarmons, which cost a poor of money.

But what consarns me more than all is, that the temptations of this
vanity fair have turnt the head of Andrew, and he has bought two
horses, with an English man-servan', which you know is an eating
moth. But how he payt for them, and whar he is to keep them, is
past the compass of my understanding. In short, if the legacy does
not cast up soon, I see nothing left for us but to leave the world
as a legacy to you all, for my heart will be broken--and I often
wish that the cornel hadna made us his residees, but only given us a
clean scorn, like Miss Jenny Macbride, although it had been no more;
for, my dear Miss Mally, it does not doo for a woman of my time of
life to be taken out of her element, and, instead of looking after
her family with a thrifty eye, to be sitting dressed all day seeing
the money fleeing like sclate stanes. But what I have to tell is
worse than all this; we have been persuaded to take a furnisht
house, where we go on Monday; and we are to pay for it, for three
months, no less than a hundred and fifty pounds, which is more than
the half of the Doctor's whole stipend is, when the meal is twenty-
pence the peck; and we are to have three servan' lassies, besides
Andrew's man, and the coachman that we have hired altogether for
ourselves, having been persuaded to trist a new carriage of our own
by the Argents, which I trust the Argents will find money to pay
for; and masters are to come in to teach Rachel the fasionable
accomplishments, Mrs. Argent thinking she was rather old now to be
sent to a boarding-school. But what I am to get to do for so many
vorashous servants, is dreadful to think, there being no such thing
as a wheel within the four walls of London; and, if there was, the
Englishers no nothing about spinning. In short, Miss Mally, I am
driven dimentit, and I wish I could get the Doctor to come home with
me to our manse, and leave all to Andrew and Rachel, with kurators;
but, as I said, he's as mickle bye himself as onybody, and says that
his candle has been hidden under a bushel at Garnock more than
thirty years, which looks as if the poor man was fey; howsomever,
he's happy in his delooshon, for if he was afflictit with that
forethought and wisdom that I have, I know not what would be the
upshot of all this calamity. But we maun hope for the best; and,
happen what will, I am, dear Miss Mally, your sincere friend, JANET

Miss Mally sighed as she concluded, and said, "Riches do not always
bring happiness, and poor Mrs. Pringle would have been far better
looking after her cows and her butter, and keeping her lassies at
their wark, than with all this galravitching and grandeur." "Ah!"
added Mrs. Glibbans, "she's now a testifyer to the truth--she's now
a testifyer; happy it will be for her if she's enabled to make a
sanctified use of the dispensation."


One evening as Mr. Snodgrass was taking a solitary walk towards
Irvine, for the purpose of calling on Miss Mally Glencairn, to
inquire what had been her latest accounts from their mutual friends
in London, and to read to her a letter, which he had received two
days before, from Mr. Andrew Pringle, he met, near Eglintoun Gates,
that pious woman, Mrs. Glibbans, coming to Garnock, brimful of some
most extraordinary intelligence. The air was raw and humid, and the
ways were deep and foul; she was, however, protected without, and
tempered within, against the dangers of both. Over her venerable
satin mantle, lined with cat-skin, she wore a scarlet duffle Bath
cloak, with which she was wont to attend the tent sermons of the
Kilwinning and Dreghorn preachings in cold and inclement weather.
Her black silk petticoat was pinned up, that it might not receive
injury from the nimble paddling of her short steps in the mire; and
she carried her best shoes and stockings in a handkerchief to be
changed at the manse, and had fortified her feet for the road in
coarse worsted hose, and thick plain-soled leather shoes.

Mr. Snodgrass proposed to turn back with her, but she would not
permit him. "No, sir," said she, "what I am about you cannot meddle
in. You are here but a stranger--come to-day, and gane to-morrow;--
and it does not pertain to you to sift into the doings that have
been done before your time. Oh dear; but this is a sad thing--
nothing like it since the silencing of M'Auly of Greenock. What
will the worthy Doctor say when he hears tell o't? Had it fa'n out
with that neighering body, James Daff, I wouldna hae car't a snuff
of tobacco, but wi' Mr. Craig, a man so gifted wi' the power of the
Spirit, as I hae often had a delightful experience! Ay, ay, Mr.
Snodgrass, take heed lest ye fall; we maun all lay it to heart; but
I hope the trooper is still within the jurisdiction of church
censures. She shouldna be spairt. Nae doubt, the fault lies with
her, and it is that I am going to search; yea, as with a lighted

Mr. Snodgrass expressed his inability to understand to what Mrs.
Glibbans alluded, and a very long and interesting disclosure took
place, the substance of which may be gathered from the following
letter; the immediate and instigating cause of the lady's journey to
Garnock being the alarming intelligence which she had that day
received of Mr. Craig's servant-damsel Betty having, by the style
and title of Mrs. Craig, sent for Nanse Swaddle, the midwife, to
come to her in her own case, which seemed to Mrs. Glibbans nothing
short of a miracle, Betty having, the very Sunday before, helped the
kettle when she drank tea with Mr. Craig, and sat at the room door,
on a buffet-stool brought from the kitchen, while he performed
family worship, to the great solace and edification of his visitor.


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

Dear Sir--I have received your letter of the 24th, which has given
me a great surprise to hear, that Mr. Craig was married as far back
as Christmas, to his own servant lass Betty, and me to know nothing
of it, nor you neither, until it was time to be speaking to the
midwife. To be sure, Mr. Craig, who is an elder, and a very rigid
man, in his animadversions on the immoralities that come before the
session, must have had his own good reasons for keeping his marriage
so long a secret. Tell him, however, from me, that I wish both him
and Mrs. Craig much joy and felicity; but he should be milder for
the future on the thoughtlessness of youth and headstrong passions.
Not that I insinuate that there has been any occasion in the conduct
of such a godly man to cause a suspicion; but it's wonderful how he
was married in December, and I cannot say that I am altogether so
proud to hear it as I am at all times of the well-doing of my
people. Really the way that Mr. Daff has comported himself in this
matter is greatly to his credit; and I doubt if the thing had
happened with him, that Mr. Craig would have sifted with a sharp eye
how he came to be married in December, and without bridal and
banquet. For my part, I could not have thought it of Mr. Craig, but
it's done now, and the less we say about it the better; so I think
with Mr. Daff, that it must be looked over; but when I return, I
will speak both to the husband and wife, and not without letting
them have an inkling of what I think about their being married in
December, which was a great shame, even if there was no sin in it.
But I will say no more; for truly, Mr. Micklewham, the longer we
live in this world, and the farther we go, and the better we know
ourselves, the less reason have we to think slightingly of our
neighbours; but the more to convince our hearts and understandings,
that we are all prone to evil, and desperately wicked. For where
does hypocrisy not abound? and I have had my own experience here,
that what a man is to the world, and to his own heart, is a very
different thing.

In my last letter, I gave you a pleasing notification of the growth,
as I thought, of spirituality in this Babylon of deceitfulness,
thinking that you and my people would be gladdened with the tidings
of the repute and estimation in which your minister was held, and I
have dealt largely in the way of public charity. But I doubt that I
have been governed by a spirit of ostentation, and not with that
lowly-mindedness, without which all almsgiving is but a serving of
the altars of Belzebub; for the chastening hand has been laid upon
me, but with the kindness and pity which a tender father hath for
his dear children.

I was requested by those who come so cordially to me with their
subscription papers, for schools and suffering worth, to preach a
sermon to get a collection. I have no occasion to tell you, that
when I exert myself, what effect I can produce; and I never made so
great an exertion before, which in itself was a proof that it was
with the two bladders, pomp and vanity, that I had committed myself
to swim on the uncertain waters of London; for surely my best
exertions were due to my people. But when the Sabbath came upon
which I was to hold forth, how were my hopes withered, and my
expectations frustrated. Oh, Mr. Micklewham, what an inattentive
congregation was yonder! many slumbered and slept, and I sowed the
words of truth and holiness in vain upon their barren and stoney
hearts. There is no true grace among some that I shall not name,
for I saw them whispering and smiling like the scorners, and
altogether heedless unto the precious things of my discourse, which
could not have been the case had they been sincere in their
professions, for I never preached more to my own satisfaction on any
occasion whatsoever--and, when I return to my own parish, you shall
hear what I said, as I will preach the same sermon over again, for I
am not going now to print it, as I did once think of doing, and to
have dedicated it to Mr. W-.

We are going about in an easy way, seeing what is to be seen in the
shape of curiosities; but the whole town is in a state of ferment
with the election of members to Parliament. I have been to see't,
both in the Guildhall and at Covent Garden, and it's a frightful
thing to see how the Radicals roar like bulls of Bashan, and put
down the speakers in behalf of the government. I hope no harm will
come of yon, but I must say, that I prefer our own quiet canny
Scotch way at Irvine. Well do I remember, for it happened in the
year I was licensed, that the town council, the Lord Eglinton that
was shot being then provost, took in the late Thomas Bowet to be a
counsellor; and Thomas, not being versed in election matters, yet
minding to please his lordship (for, like the rest of the council,
he had always a proper veneration for those in power), he, as I was
saying, consulted Joseph Boyd the weaver, who was then Dean of
Guild, as to the way of voting; whereupon Joseph, who was a discreet
man, said to him, "Ye'll just say as I say, and I'll say what Bailie
Shaw says, for he will do what my lord bids him"; which was as
peaceful a way of sending up a member to Parliament as could well be

But you know that politics are far from my hand--they belong to the
temporalities of the community; and the ministers of peace and
goodwill to man should neither make nor meddle with them. I wish,
however, that these tumultuous elections were well over, for they
have had an effect on the per cents, where our bit legacy is funded;
and it would terrify you to hear what we have thereby already lost.
We have not, however, lost so much but that I can spare a little to
the poor among my people; so you will, in the dry weather, after the
seed-time, hire two-three thackers to mend the thack on the roofs of
such of the cottars' houses as stand in need of mending, and banker
M-y will pay the expense; and I beg you to go to him on receipt
hereof, for he has a line for yourself, which you will be sure to
accept as a testimony from me for the great trouble that my absence
from the parish has given to you among my people, and I am, dear
sir, your friend and pastor, Z. PRINGLE.

As Mrs. Glibbans would not permit Mr. Snodgrass to return with her
to the manse, he pursued his journey alone to the Kirkgate of
Irvine, where he found Miss Mally Glencairn on the eve of sitting
down to her solitary tea. On seeing her visitor enter, after the
first compliments on the state of health and weather were over, she
expressed her hopes that he had not drank tea; and, on receiving a
negative, which she did not quite expect, as she thought he had been
perhaps invited by some of her neighbours, she put in an additional
spoonful on his account; and brought from her corner cupboard with
the glass door, an ancient French pickle-bottle, in which she had
preserved, since the great tea-drinking formerly mentioned, the
remainder of the two ounces of carvey, the best, Mrs. Nanse bought
for that memorable occasion. A short conversation then took place
relative to the Pringles; and, while the tea was masking, for Miss
Mally said it took a long time to draw, she read to him the
following letter:-


Mrs. Pringle to Miss Mally Glencairn

My Dear Miss Mally--Trully, it may be said, that the croun of
England is upon the downfal, and surely we are all seething in the
pot of revolution, for the scum is mounting uppermost. Last week,
no farther gone than on Mononday, we came to our new house heer in
Baker Street, but it's nather to be bakit nor brewt what I hav sin
syne suffert. You no my way, and that I like a been house, but no
wastrie, and so I needna tell yoo, that we hav had good diners; to
be sure, there was not a meerakle left to fill five baskets every
day, but an abundance, with a proper kitchen of breed, to fill the
bellies of four dumasticks. Howsomever, lo and behold, what was
clecking downstairs. On Saturday morning, as we were sitting at our
breakfast, the Doctor reading the newspapers, who shoud corn intil
the room but Andrew's grum, follo't by the rest, to give us warning
that they were all going to quat our sairvice, becas they were
starvit. I thocht that I would hav fentit cauld deed, but the
Doctor, who is a consiederat man, inquairt what made them starve,
and then there was such an opprobrious cry about cold meet and bare
bones, and no beer. It was an evendoun resurection--a rebellion
waur than the forty-five. In short, Miss Mally, to make a leettle
of a lang tail, they would have a hot joint day and day about, and a
tree of yill to stand on the gauntress for their draw and drink,
with a cock and a pail; and we were obligated to evacuate to their
terms, and to let them go to their wark with flying colors; so you
see how dangerous it is to live among this piple, and their noshans
of liberty.

You will see by the newspapers that ther's a lection going on for
parliament. It maks my corruption to rise to hear of such doings,
and if I was a government as I'm but a woman, I woud put them doon
with the strong hand, just to be revenged on the proud stomaks of
these het and fou English.

We have gotten our money in the pesents put into our name; but I
have had no peese since, for they have fallen in price three eight
parts, which is very near a half, and if they go at this rate, where
will all our legacy soon be? I have no goo of the pesents; so we
are on the look-out for a landed estate, being a shure thing.

Captain Saber is still sneking after Rachel, and if she were awee
perfited in her accomplugments, it's no saying what might happen,
for he's a fine lad, but she's o'er young to be the heed of a
family. Howsomever, the Lord's will maun be done, and if there is
to be a match, she'll no have to fight for gentility with a
straitent circumstance.

As for Andrew, I wish he was weel settlt, and we have our hopes that
he's beginning to draw up with Miss Argent, who will have, no doobt,
a great fortune, and is a treasure of a creeture in herself, being
just as simple as a lamb; but, to be sure, she has had every
advantage of edication, being brought up in a most fashonible

I hope you have got the box I sent by the smak, and that you like
the patron of the goon. So no more at present, but remains, dear
Miss Mally, your sinsaire friend,


"The box," said Miss Mally, "that Mrs. Pringle speaks about came
last night. It contains a very handsome present to me and to Miss
Bell Tod. The gift to me is from Mrs. P. herself, and Miss Bell's
from Rachel; but that ettercap, Becky Glibbans, is flying through
the town like a spunky, mislikening the one and misca'ing the other:
everybody, however, kens that it's only spite that gars her speak.
It's a great pity that she cou'dna be brought to a sense of religion
like her mother, who, in her younger days, they say, wasna to seek
at a clashing."

Mr. Snodgrass expressed his surprise at this account of the faults
of that exemplary lady's youth; but he thought of her holy anxiety
to sift into the circumstances of Betty, the elder's servant,
becoming in one day Mrs. Craig, and the same afternoon sending for
the midwife, and he prudently made no other comment; for the
characters of all preachers were in her hands, and he had the good
fortune to stand high in her favour, as a young man of great
promise. In order, therefore, to avoid any discussion respecting
moral merits, he read the following letter from Andrew Pringle:-


Andrew Pringle, Esq., to the Reverend Charles Snodgrass

My Dear Friend--London undoubtedly affords the best and the worst
specimens of the British character; but there is a certain townish
something about the inhabitants in general, of which I find it
extremely difficult to convey any idea. Compared with the English
of the country, there is apparently very little difference between
them; but still there is a difference, and of no small importance in
a moral point of view. The country peculiarity is like the bloom of
the plumb, or the down of the peach, which the fingers of infancy
cannot touch without injuring; but this felt but not describable
quality of the town character, is as the varnish which brings out
more vividly the colours of a picture, and which may be freely and
even rudely handled. The women, for example, although as chaste in
principle as those of any other community, possess none of that
innocent untempted simplicity, which is more than half the grace of
virtue; many of them, and even young ones too, "in the first
freshness of their virgin beauty," speak of the conduct and vocation
of "the erring sisters of the sex," in a manner that often amazes
me, and has, in more than one instance, excited unpleasant feelings
towards the fair satirists. This moral taint, for I can consider it
as nothing less, I have heard defended, but only by men who are
supposed to have had a large experience of the world, and who,
perhaps, on that account, are not the best judges of female
delicacy. "Every woman," as Pope says, "may be at heart a rake";
but it is for the interests of the domestic affections, which are
the very elements of virtue, to cherish the notion, that women, as
they are physically more delicate than men, are also so morally.

But the absence of delicacy, the bloom of virtue, is not peculiar to
the females, it is characteristic of all the varieties of the
metropolitan mind. The artifices of the medical quacks are things
of universal ridicule; but the sin, though in a less gross form,
pervades the whole of that sinister system by which much of the
superiority of this vast metropolis is supported. The state of the
periodical press, that great organ of political instruction--the
unruly tongue of liberty, strikingly confirms the justice of this
misanthropic remark.

G- had the kindness, by way of a treat to me, to collect, the other
day, at dinner, some of the most eminent editors of the London
journals. I found them men of talent, certainly, and much more men
of the world, than "the cloistered student from his paling lamp";
but I was astonished to find it considered, tacitly, as a sort of
maxim among them, that an intermediate party was not bound by any
obligation of honour to withhold, farther than his own discretion
suggested, any information of which he was the accidental
depositary, whatever the consequences might be to his informant, or
to those affected by the communication. In a word, they seemed all
to care less about what might be true than what would produce
effect, and that effect for their own particular advantage. It is
impossible to deny, that if interest is made the criterion by which
the confidences of social intercourse are to be respected, the
persons who admit this doctrine will have but little respect for the
use of names, or deem it any reprehensible delinquency to suppress
truth, or to blazon falsehood. In a word, man in London is not
quite so good a creature as he is out of it. The rivalry of
interests is here too intense; it impairs the affections, and
occasions speculations both in morals and politics, which, I much
suspect, it would puzzle a casuist to prove blameless. Can
anything, for example, be more offensive to the calm spectator, than
the elections which are now going on? Is it possible that this
country, so much smaller in geographical extent than France, and so
inferior in natural resources, restricted too by those ties and
obligations which were thrown off as fetters by that country during
the late war, could have attained, in despite of her, such a lofty
pre-eminence--become the foremost of all the world--had it not been
governed in a manner congenial to the spirit of the people, and with
great practical wisdom? It is absurd to assert, that there are no
corruptions in the various modifications by which the affairs of the
British empire are administered; but it would be difficult to show,
that, in the present state of morals and interests among mankind,
corruption is not a necessary evil. I do not mean necessary, as
evolved from those morals and interests, but necessary to the
management of political trusts. I am afraid, however, to insist on
this, as the natural integrity of your own heart, and the dignity of
your vocation, will alike induce you to condemn it as Machiavellian.
It is, however, an observation forced on me by what I have seen

It would be invidious, perhaps, to criticise the different
candidates for the representation of London and Westminster very
severely. I think it must be granted, that they are as sincere in
their professions as their opponents, which at least bleaches away
much of that turpitude of which their political conduct is accused
by those who are of a different way of thinking. But it is quite
evident, at least to me, that no government could exist a week,
managed with that subjection to public opinion to which Sir Francis
Burdett and Mr. Hobhouse apparently submit; and it is no less
certain, that no government ought to exist a single day that would
act in complete defiance of public opinion.

I was surprised to find Sir Francis Burdett an uncommonly mild and
gentlemanly-looking man. I had pictured somehow to my imagination a
dark and morose character; but, on the contrary, in his appearance,
deportment, and manner of speaking, he is eminently qualified to
attract popular applause. His style of speaking is not particularly
oratorical, but he has the art of saying bitter things in a sweet
way. In his language, however, although pungent, and sometimes even
eloquent, he is singularly incorrect. He cannot utter a sequence of
three sentences without violating common grammar in the most
atrocious way; and his tropes and figures are so distorted, hashed,
and broken--such a patchwork of different patterns, that you are
bewildered if you attempt to make them out; but the earnestness of
his manner, and a certain fitness of character, in his observations
a kind of Shaksperian pithiness, redeem all this. Besides, his
manifold blunders of syntax do not offend the taste of those
audiences where he is heard with the most approbation.

Hobhouse speaks more correctly, but he lacks in the conciliatory
advantages of personal appearance; and his physiognomy, though
indicating considerable strength of mind, is not so prepossessing.
He is evidently a man of more education than his friend, that is, of
more reading, perhaps also of more various observation, but he has
less genius. His tact is coarser, and though he speaks with more
vehemence, he seldomer touches the sensibilities of his auditors.
He may have observed mankind in general more extensively than Sir
Francis, but he is far less acquainted with the feelings and
associations of the English mind. There is also a wariness about
him, which I do not like so well as the imprudent ingenuousness of
the baronet. He seems to me to have a cause in hand--Hobhouse
versus Existing Circumstances--and that he considers the multitude
as the jurors, on whose decision his advancement in life depends.
But in this I may be uncharitable. I should, however, think more
highly of his sincerity as a patriot, if his stake in the country
were greater; and yet I doubt, if his stake were greater, if he is
that sort of man who would have cultivated popularity in
Westminster. He seems to me to have qualified himself for
Parliament as others do for the bar, and that he will probably be
considered in the House for some time merely as a political
adventurer. But if he has the talent and prudence requisite to
ensure distinction in the line of his profession, the mediocrity of
his original condition will reflect honour on his success, should he
hereafter acquire influence and consideration as a statesman. Of
his literary talents I know you do not think very highly, nor am I
inclined to rank the powers of his mind much beyond those of any
common well-educated English gentleman. But it will soon be
ascertained whether his pretensions to represent Westminster be
justified by a sense of conscious superiority, or only prompted by
that ambition which overleaps itself.

Of Wood, who was twice Lord Mayor, I know not what to say. There is
a queer and wily cast in his pale countenance, that puzzles me
exceedingly. In common parlance I would call him an empty vain
creature; but when I look at that indescribable spirit, which
indicates a strange and out-of-the-way manner of thinking, I humbly
confess that he is no common man. He is evidently a person of no
intellectual accomplishments; he has neither the language nor the
deportment of a gentleman, in the usual understanding of the term;
and yet there is something that I would almost call genius about
him. It is not cunning, it is not wisdom, it is far from being
prudence, and yet it is something as wary as prudence, as effectual
as wisdom, and not less sinister than cunning. I would call it
intuitive skill, a sort of instinct, by which he is enabled to
attain his ends in defiance of a capacity naturally narrow, a
judgment that topples with vanity, and an address at once mean and
repulsive. To call him a great man, in any possible approximation
of the word, would be ridiculous; that he is a good one, will be
denied by those who envy his success, or hate his politics; but
nothing, save the blindness of fanaticism, can call in question his
possession of a rare and singular species of ability, let it be
exerted in what cause it may. But my paper is full, and I have only
room to subscribe myself, faithfully, yours, A. PRINGLE.

"It appears to us," said Mr. Snodgrass, as he folded up the letter
to return it to his pocket, "that the Londoners, with all their
advantages of information, are neither purer nor better than their
fellow-subjects in the country." "As to their betterness," replied
Miss Mally, "I have a notion that they are far waur; and I hope you
do not think that earthly knowledge of any sort has a tendency to
make mankind, or womankind either, any better; for was not Solomon,
who had more of it than any other man, a type and testification,
that knowledge without grace is but vanity?" The young clergyman
was somewhat startled at this application of a remark on which he
laid no particular stress, and was thankful in his heart that Mrs.
Glibbans was not present. He was not aware that Miss Mally had an
orthodox corn, or bunyan, that could as little bear a touch from the
royne-slippers of philosophy, as the inflamed gout of polemical
controversy, which had gumfiated every mental joint and member of
that zealous prop of the Relief Kirk. This was indeed the tender
point of Miss Mally's character; for she was left unplucked on the
stalk of single blessedness, owing entirely to a conversation on
this very subject with the only lover she ever had, Mr. Dalgliesh,
formerly helper in the neighbouring parish of Dintonknow. He
happened incidentally to observe, that education was requisite to
promote the interests of religion. But Miss Mally, on that
occasion, jocularly maintained, that education had only a tendency
to promote the sale of books. This, Mr. Dalgliesh thought, was a
sneer at himself, he having some time before unfortunately published
a short tract, entitled, "The moral union of our temporal and
eternal interests considered, with respect to the establishment of
parochial seminaries," and which fell still-born from the press. He
therefore retorted with some acrimony, until, from less to more,
Miss Mally ordered him to keep his distance; upon which he bounced
out of the room, and they were never afterwards on speaking terms.
Saving, however, and excepting this particular dogma, Miss Mally was
on all other topics as liberal and beneficent as could be expected
from a maiden lady, who was obliged to eke out her stinted income
with a nimble needle and a close-clipping economy. The conversation
with Mr. Snodgrass was not, however, lengthened into acrimony; for
immediately after the remark which we have noticed, she proposed
that they should call on Miss Isabella Tod to see Rachel's letter;
indeed, this was rendered necessary by the state of the fire, for
after boiling the kettle she had allowed it to fall low. It was her
nightly practice after tea to take her evening seam, in a friendly
way, to some of her neighbours' houses, by which she saved both coal
and candle, while she acquired the news of the day, and was
occasionally invited to stay supper.

On their arrival at Mrs. Tod's, Miss Isabella understood the purport
of their visit, and immediately produced her letter, receiving, at
the same time, a perusal of Mr. Andrew Pringle's. Mrs. Pringle's to
Miss Mally she had previously seen.


Miss Rachel Pringle to Miss Isabella Tod

My Dear Bell--Since my last, we have undergone great changes and
vicissitudes. Last week we removed to our present house, which is
exceedingly handsome and elegantly furnished; and on Saturday there
was an insurrection of the servants, on account of my mother not
allowing them to have their dinners served up at the usual hour for
servants at other genteel houses. We have also had the legacy in
the funds transferred to my father, and only now wait the settling
of the final accounts, which will yet take some time. On the day
that the transfer took place, my mother made me a present of a
twenty pound note, to lay out in any way I thought fit, and in so
doing, I could not but think of you; I have, therefore, in a box
which she is sending to Miss Mally Glencairn, sent you an evening
dress from Mrs. Bean's, one of the most fashionable and tasteful
dressmakers in town, which I hope you will wear with pleasure for my
sake. I have got one exactly like it, so that when you see yourself
in the glass, you will behold in what state I appeared at Lady -'s

Ah! my dear Bell, how much are our expectations disappointed! How
often have we, with admiration and longing wonder, read the
descriptions in the newspapers of the fashionable parties in this
great metropolis, and thought of the Grecian lamps, the ottomans,
the promenades, the ornamented floors, the cut glass, the coup
d'oeil, and the tout ensemble. "Alas!" as Young the poet says, "the
things unseen do not deceive us." I have seen more beauty at an
Irvine ball, than all the fashionable world could bring to market at
my Lady -'s emporium for the disposal of young ladies, for indeed I
can consider it as nothing else.

I went with the Argents. The hall door was open, and filled with
the servants in their state liveries; but although the door was
open, the porter, as each carriage came up, rung a peal upon the
knocker, to announce to all the square the successive arrival of the
guests. We were shown upstairs to the drawing-rooms. They were
very well, but neither so grand nor so great as I expected. As for
the company, it was a suffocating crowd of fat elderly gentlewomen,
and misses that stood in need of all the charms of their fortunes.
One thing I could notice--for the press was so great, little could
be seen--it was, that the old ladies wore rouge. The white satin
sleeve of my dress was entirely ruined by coming in contact with a
little round, dumpling duchess's cheek--as vulgar a body as could
well be. She seemed to me to have spent all her days behind a
counter, smirking thankfulness to bawbee customers.

When we had been shown in the drawing-rooms to the men for some
time, we then adjourned to the lower apartments, where the
refreshments were set out. This, I suppose, is arranged to afford
an opportunity to the beaux to be civil to the belles, and thereby
to scrape acquaintance with those whom they approve, by assisting
them to the delicacies. Altogether, it was a very dull well-dressed
affair, and yet I ought to have been in good spirits, for Sir
Marmaduke Towler, a great Yorkshire baronet, was most particular in
his attentions to me; indeed so much so, that I saw it made poor
Sabre very uneasy. I do not know why it should, for I have given
him no positive encouragement to hope for anything; not that I have
the least idea that the baronet's attentions were more than
commonplace politeness, but he has since called. I cannot, however,
say that my vanity is at all flattered by this circumstance. At the
same time, there surely could be no harm in Sir Marmaduke making me
an offer, for you know I am not bound to accept it. Besides, my
father does not like him, and my mother thinks he's a fortune-
hunter; but I cannot conceive how that may be, for, on the contrary,
he is said to be rather extravagant.

Before we return to Scotland, it is intended that we shall visit
some of the watering-places; and, perhaps, if Andrew can manage it
with my father, we may even take a trip to Paris. The Doctor
himself is not averse to it, but my mother is afraid that a new war
may break out, and that we may be detained prisoners. This
fantastical fear we shall, however, try to overcome. But I am
interrupted. Sir Marmaduke is in the drawing-room, and I am
summoned.--Yours truly,


When Mr. Snodgrass had read this letter, he paused for a moment, and
then said dryly, in handing it to Miss Isabella, "Miss Pringle is
improving in the ways of the world."

The evening by this time was far advanced, and the young clergyman
was not desirous to renew the conversation; he therefore almost
immediately took his leave, and walked sedately towards Garnock,
debating with himself as he went along, whether Dr. Pringle's family
were likely to be benefited by their legacy. But he had scarcely
passed the minister's carse, when he met with Mrs. Glibbans
returning. "Mr. Snodgrass! Mr. Snodgrass!" cried that ardent
matron from her side of the road to the other where he was walking,
and he obeyed her call; "yon's no sic a black story as I thought.
Mrs. Craig is to be sure far gane! but they were married in
December; and it was only because she was his servan' lass that the
worthy man didna like to own her at first for his wife. It would
have been dreadful had the matter been jealoused at the first. She
gaed to Glasgow to see an auntie that she has there, and he gaed in
to fetch her out, and it was then the marriage was made up, which I
was glad to hear; for, oh, Mr. Snodgrass, it would have been an
awfu' judgment had a man like Mr. Craig turn't out no better than a
Tam Pain or a Major Weir. But a's for the best; and Him that has
the power of salvation can blot out all our iniquities. So good-
night--ye'll have a lang walk."


As the spring advanced, the beauty of the country around Garnock was
gradually unfolded; the blossom was unclosed, while the church was
embraced within the foliage of more umbrageous boughs. The
schoolboys from the adjacent villages were, on the Saturday
afternoons, frequently seen angling along the banks of the Lugton,
which ran clearer beneath the churchyard wall, and the hedge of the
minister's glebe; and the evenings were so much lengthened, that the
occasional visitors at the manse could prolong their walk after tea.
These, however, were less numerous than when the family were at
home; but still Mr. Snodgrass, when the weather was fine, had no
reason to deplore the loneliness of his bachelor's court.

It happened that, one fair and sunny afternoon, Miss Mally Glencairn
and Miss Isabella Tod came to the manse. Mrs. Glibbans and her
daughter Becky were the same day paying their first ceremonious
visit, as the matron called it, to Mr. and Mrs. Craig, with whom the
whole party were invited to take tea; and, for lack of more amusing
chit-chat, the Reverend young gentleman read to them the last letter
which he had received from Mr. Andrew Pringle. It was conjured
naturally enough out of his pocket, by an observation of Miss
Mally's "Nothing surprises me," said that amiable maiden lady, "so
much as the health and good-humour of the commonality. It is a
joyous refutation of the opinion, that the comfort and happiness of
this life depends on the wealth of worldly possessions."

"It is so," replied Mr. Snodgrass, "and I do often wonder, when I
see the blithe and hearty children of the cottars, frolicking in the
abundance of health and hilarity, where the means come from to
enable their poor industrious parents to supply their wants."

"How can you wonder at ony sic things, Mr. Snodgrass? Do they not
come from on high," said Mrs. Glibbans, "whence cometh every good
and perfect gift? Is there not the flowers of the field, which
neither card nor spin, and yet Solomon, in all his glory, was not
arrayed like one of these?"

"I was not speaking in a spiritual sense," interrupted the other,
"but merely made the remark, as introductory to a letter which I
have received from Mr. Andrew Pringle, respecting some of the ways
of living in London."

Mrs. Craig, who had been so recently translated from the kitchen to
the parlour, pricked up her ears at this, not doubting that the
letter would contain something very grand and wonderful, and
exclaimed, "Gude safe's, let's hear't--I'm unco fond to ken about
London, and the king and the queen; but I believe they are baith
dead noo."

Miss Becky Glibbans gave a satirical keckle at this, and showed her
superior learning, by explaining to Mrs. Craig the unbroken nature
of the kingly office. Mr. Snodgrass then read as follows:-


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

My Dear Friend--You are not aware of the task you impose, when you
request me to send you some account of the general way of living in
London. Unless you come here, and actually experience yourself what
I would call the London ache, it is impossible to supply you with
any adequate idea of the necessity that exists in this wilderness of
mankind, to seek refuge in society, without being over fastidious
with respect to the intellectual qualifications of your occasional
associates. In a remote desart, the solitary traveller is subject
to apprehensions of danger; but still he is the most important thing
"within the circle of that lonely waste"; and the sense of his own
dignity enables him to sustain the shock of considerable hazard with
spirit and fortitude. But, in London, the feeling of self-
importance is totally lost and suppressed in the bosom of a
stranger. A painful conviction of insignificance--of nothingness, I
may say--is sunk upon his heart, and murmured in his ear by the
million, who divide with him that consequence which he unconsciously
before supposed he possessed in a general estimate of the world.
While elbowing my way through the unknown multitude that flows
between Charing Cross and the Royal Exchange, this mortifying sense
of my own insignificance has often come upon me with the energy of a
pang; and I have thought, that, after all we can say of any man, the
effect of the greatest influence of an individual on society at
large, is but as that of a pebble thrown into the sea.
Mathematically speaking, the undulations which the pebble causes,
continue until the whole mass of the ocean has been disturbed to the
bottom of its most secret depths and farthest shores; and, perhaps,
with equal truth it may be affirmed, that the sentiments of the man
of genius are also infinitely propagated; but how soon is the
physical impression of the one lost to every sensible perception,
and the moral impulse of the other swallowed up from all practical

But though London, in the general, may be justly compared to the
vast and restless ocean, or to any other thing that is either
sublime, incomprehensible, or affecting, it loses all its influence
over the solemn associations of the mind when it is examined in its
details. For example, living on the town, as it is slangishly
called, the most friendless and isolated condition possible, is yet
fraught with an amazing diversity of enjoyment. Thousands of
gentlemen, who have survived the relish of active fashionable
pursuits, pass their life in that state without tasting the delight
of one new sensation. They rise in the morning merely because
Nature will not allow them to remain longer in bed. They begin the
day without motive or purpose, and close it after having performed
the same unvaried round as the most thoroughbred domestic animal
that ever dwelt in manse or manor-house. If you ask them at three
o'clock where they are to dine, they cannot tell you; but about the
wonted dinner-hour, batches of these forlorn bachelors find
themselves diurnally congregated, as if by instinct, around a cozy
table in some snug coffee-house, where, after inspecting the
contents of the bill of fare, they discuss the news of the day,
reserving the scandal, by way of dessert, for their wine. Day after
day their respective political opinions give rise to keen
encounters, but without producing the slightest shade of change in
any of their old ingrained and particular sentiments.

Some of their haunts, I mean those frequented by the elderly race,
are shabby enough in their appearance and circumstances, except
perhaps in the quality of the wine. Everything in them is regulated
by an ancient and precise economy, and you perceive, at the first
glance, that all is calculated on the principle of the house giving
as much for the money as it can possibly afford, without infringing
those little etiquettes which persons of gentlemanly habits regard
as essentials. At half price the junior members of these
unorganised or natural clubs retire to the theatres, while the elder
brethren mend their potations till it is time to go home. This
seems a very comfortless way of life, but I have no doubt it is the
preferred result of a long experience of the world, and that the
parties, upon the whole, find it superior, according to their early
formed habits of dissipation and gaiety, to the sedate but not more
regular course of a domestic circle.

The chief pleasure, however, of living on the town, consists in
accidentally falling in with persons whom it might be otherwise
difficult to meet in private life. I have several times enjoyed
this. The other day I fell in with an old gentleman, evidently a
man of some consequence, for he came to the coffee-house in his own
carriage. It happened that we were the only guests, and he proposed
that we should therefore dine together. In the course of
conversation it came out, that he had been familiarly acquainted
with Garrick, and had frequented the Literary Club in the days of
Johnson and Goldsmith. In his youth, I conceive, he must have been
an amusing companion; for his fancy was exceedingly lively, and his
manners altogether afforded a very favourable specimen of the old,
the gentlemanly school. At an appointed hour his carriage came for
him, and we parted, perhaps never to meet again.

Such agreeable incidents, however, are not common, as the
frequenters of the coffee-houses are, I think, usually taciturn
characters, and averse to conversation. I may, however, be myself
in fault. Our countrymen in general, whatever may be their address
in improving acquaintance to the promotion of their own interests,
have not the best way, in the first instance, of introducing
themselves. A raw Scotchman, contrasted with a sharp Londoner, is
very inadroit and awkward, be his talents what they may; and I
suspect, that even the most brilliant of your old class-fellows
have, in their professional visits to this metropolis, had some
experience of what I mean.


When Mr. Snodgrass paused, and was folding up the letter, Mrs.
Craig, bending with her hands on her knees, said, emphatically,
"Noo, sir, what think you of that?" He was not, however, quite
prepared to give an answer to a question so abruptly propounded, nor
indeed did he exactly understand to what particular the lady
referred. "For my part," she resumed, recovering her previous
posture--"for my part, it's a very caldrife way of life to dine
every day on coffee; broth and beef would put mair smeddum in the
men; they're just a whin auld fogies that Mr. Andrew describes, an'
no wurth a single woman's pains." "Wheesht, wheesht, mistress,"
cried Mr. Craig; "ye mauna let your tongue rin awa with your sense
in that gait." "It has but a light load," said Miss Becky,
whispering Isabella Tod. In this juncture, Mr. Micklewham happened
to come in, and Mrs. Craig, on seeing him, cried out, "I hope, Mr.
Micklewham, ye have brought the Doctor's letter. He's such a funny
man! and touches off the Londoners to the nines."

"He's a good man," said Mrs. Glibbans, in a tone calculated to
repress the forwardness of Mrs. Craig; but Miss Mally Glencairn
having, in the meanwhile, taken from her pocket an epistle which she
had received the preceding day from Mrs. Pringle, Mr. Snodgrass
silenced all controversy on that score by requesting her to proceed
with the reading. "She's a clever woman, Mrs. Pringle," said Mrs.
Craig, who was resolved to cut a figure in the conversation in her
own house. "She's a discreet woman, and may be as godly, too, as
some that make mair wark about the elect." Whether Mrs. Glibbans
thought this had any allusion to herself is not susceptible of legal
proof; but she turned round and looked at their "most kind hostess"
with a sneer that might almost merit the appellation of a snort.
Mrs. Craig, however, pacified her, by proposing, "that, before
hearing the letter, they should take a dram of wine, or pree her
cherry bounce"--adding, "our maister likes a been house, and ye a'
ken that we are providing for a handling." The wine was accordingly
served, and, in due time, Miss Mally Glencairn edified and
instructed the party with the contents of Mrs. Pringle's letter.


Mrs. Pringle to Miss Mally Glencairn

Dear Miss Mally--You will have heard, by the peppers, of the gret
hobbleshow heer aboot the queen's coming over contrary to the will
of the nation; and, that the king and parlement are so angry with
her, that they are going to put her away by giving to her a bill of
divorce. The Doctor, who has been searchin the Scriptures on the
okashon, says this is not in their poor, although she was found
guilty of the fact; but I tell him, that as the king and parlement
of old took upon them to change our religion, I do not see how they
will be hampered now by the word of God.

You may well wonder that I have no ritten to you about the king, and
what he is like, but we have never got a sight of him at all, whilk
is a gret shame, paying so dear as we do for a king, who shurely
should be a publik man. But, we have seen her majesty, who stays
not far from our house heer in Baker Street, in dry lodgings, which,
I am creditably informed, she is obligated to pay for by the week,
for nobody will trust her; so you see what it is, Miss Mally, to
have a light character. Poor woman, they say she might have been
going from door to door, with a staff and a meal pock, but for ane
Mr. Wood, who is a baillie of London, that has ta'en her by the
hand. She's a woman advanced in life, with a short neck, and a
pentit face; housomever, that, I suppose, she canno help, being a
queen, and obligated to set the fashons to the court, where it is
necessar to hide their faces with pent, our Andrew says, that their
looks may not betray them--there being no shurer thing than a false-
hearted courtier.

But what concerns me the most, in all this, is, that there will be
no coronashon till the queen is put out of the way--and nobody can
take upon them to say when that will be, as the law is so dootful
and endless--which I am verra sorry for, as it was my intent to rite
Miss Nanny Eydent a true account of the coronashon, in case there
had been any partiklars that might be servisable to her in her

The Doctor and me, by ourselves, since we have been settlt, go about
at our convenience, and have seen far mae farlies than baith Andrew
and Rachel, with all the acquaintance they have forgathert with--but
you no old heeds canno be expectit on young shouthers, and they have
not had the experience of the world that we have had.

The lamps in the streets here are lighted with gauze, and not with
crusies, like those that have lately been put up in your toun; and
it is brought in pips aneath the ground from the manufactors, which
the Doctor and me have been to see--an awful place--and they say as
fey to a spark as poother, which made us glad to get out o't when we
heard so;--and we have been to see a brew-house, where they mak the
London porter, but it is a sight not to be told. In it we saw a
barrel, whilk the Doctor said was by gauging bigger than the Irvine
muckle kirk, and a masking fat, like a barn for mugnited. But all
thae were as nothing to a curiosity of a steam-ingine, that minches
minch collops as natural as life--and stuffs the sosogees itself, in
a manner past the poor of nature to consiv. They have, to be shure,
in London, many things to help work--for in our kitchen there is a
smoking-jack to roast the meat, that gangs of its oun free will, and
the brisker the fire, the faster it runs; but a potatoe-beetle is
not to be had within the four walls of London, which is a great want
in a house; Mrs. Argent never hard of sic a thing.

Me and the Doctor have likewise been in the Houses of Parliament,
and the Doctor since has been again to heer the argol-bargoling
aboot the queen. But, cepting the king's throne, which is all gold
and velvet, with a croun on the top, and stars all round, there was
nothing worth the looking at in them baith. Howsomever, I sat in
the king's seat, and in the preses chair of the House of Commons,
which, you no, is something for me to say; and we have been to see
the printing of books, where the very smallest dividual syllib is
taken up by itself and made into words by the hand, so as to be
quite confounding how it could ever read sense. But there is ane
piece of industry and froughgalaty I should not forget, whilk is
wives going about with whirl-barrows, selling horses' flesh to the
cats and dogs by weight, and the cats and dogs know them very well
by their voices. In short, Miss Mally, there is nothing heer that
the hand is not turnt to; and there is, I can see, a better order
and method really among the Londoners than among our Scotch folks,
notwithstanding their advantages of edicashion, but my pepper will
hold no more at present, from your true friend,


There was a considerable diversity of opinion among the commentators
on this epistle. Mrs. Craig was the first who broke silence, and
displayed a great deal of erudition on the minch-collop-engine, and
the potatoe-beetle, in which she was interrupted by the indignant
Mrs. Glibbans, who exclaimed, "I am surprised to hear you, Mrs.
Craig, speak of sic baubles, when the word of God's in danger of
being controverted by an Act of Parliament. But, Mr. Snodgrass,
dinna ye think that this painting of the queen's face is a
Jezebitical testification against her?" Mr. Snodgrass replied, with
an unwonted sobriety of manner, and with an emphasis that showed he
intended to make some impression on his auditors--"It is impossible
to judge correctly of strangers by measuring them according to our
own notions of propriety. It has certainly long been a practice in
courts to disfigure the beauty of the human countenance with paint;
but what, in itself, may have been originally assumed for a mask or
disguise, may, by usage, have grown into a very harmless custom. I
am not, therefore, disposed to attach any criminal importance to the
circumstance of her majesty wearing paint. Her late majesty did so
herself." "I do not say it was criminal," said Mrs. Glibbans; "I
only meant it was sinful, and I think it is." The accent of
authority in which this was said, prevented Mr. Snodgrass from
offering any reply; and, a brief pause ensuing, Miss Molly Glencairn
observed, that it was a surprising thing how the Doctor and Mrs.
Pringle managed their matters so well. "Ay," said Mrs. Craig, "but
we a' ken what a manager the mistress is--she's the bee that mak's
the hincy--she does not gang bizzing aboot, like a thriftless wasp,
through her neighbours' houses." "I tell you, Betty, my dear,"
cried Mr. Craig, "that you shouldna make comparisons--what's past is
gane--and Mrs. Glibbans and you maun now be friends." "They're a'
friends to me that's no faes, and am very glad to see Mrs. Glibbans
sociable in my house; but she needna hae made sae light of me when
she was here before." And, in saying this, the amiable hostess
burst into a loud sob of sorrow, which induced Mr. Snodgrass to beg
Mr. Micklewham to read the Doctor's letter, by which a happy stop
was put to the further manifestation of the grudge which Mrs. Craig
harboured against Mrs. Glibbans for the lecture she had received, on
what the latter called "the incarnated effect of a more than
Potipharian claught o' the godly Mr. Craig."


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

Dear Sir--I had a great satisfaction in hearing that Mr. Snodgrass,
in my place, prays for the queen on the Lord's Day, which liberty,
to do in our national church, is a thing to be upholden with a
fearless spirit, even with the spirit of martyrdom, that we may not
bow down in Scotland to the prelatic Baal of an order in Council,
whereof the Archbishop of Canterbury, that is cousin-german to the
Pope of Rome, is art and part. Verily, the sending forth of that
order to the General Assembly was treachery to the solemn oath of
the new king, whereby he took the vows upon him, conform to the
Articles of the Union, to maintain the Church of Scotland as by law
established, so that for the Archbishop of Canterbury to meddle
therein was a shooting out of the horns of aggressive domination.

I think it is right of me to testify thus much, through you, to the
Session, that the elders may stand on their posts to bar all such
breaking in of the Episcopalian boar into our corner of the

Anent the queen's case and condition, I say nothing; for be she
guilty, or be she innocent, we all know that she was born in sin,
and brought forth in iniquity--prone to evil, as the sparks fly
upwards--and desperately wicked, like you and me, or any other poor
Christian sinner, which is reason enough to make us think of her in
the remembering prayer.

Since she came over, there has been a wonderful work doing here; and
it is thought that the crown will be taken off her head by a strong
handling of the Parliament; and really, when I think of the bishops
sitting high in the peerage, like owls and rooks in the bartisans of
an old tower, I have my fears that they can bode her no good. I
have seen them in the House of Lords, clothed in their idolatrous
robes; and when I looked at them so proudly placed at the right hand
of the king's throne, and on the side of the powerful, egging on, as
I saw one of them doing in a whisper, the Lord Liverpool, before he
rose to speak against the queen, the blood ran cold in my veins, and
I thought of their woeful persecutions of our national church, and
prayed inwardly that I might be keepit in the humility of a zealous
presbyter, and that the corruption of the frail human nature within
me might never be tempted by the pampered whoredoms of prelacy.

Saving the Lord Chancellor, all the other temporal peers were just
as they had come in from the crown of the causeway--none of them
having a judicial garment, which was a shame; and as for the
Chancellor's long robe, it was not so good as my own gown; but he is
said to be a very narrow man. What he spoke, however, was no doubt
sound law; yet I could observe he has a bad custom of taking the
name of God in vain, which I wonder at, considering he has such a
kittle conscience, which, on less occasions, causes him often to
shed tears.

Mrs. Pringle and me, by ourselves, had a fine quiet canny sight of
the queen, out of the window of a pastry baxter's shop, opposite to
where her majesty stays. She seems to be a plump and jocose little
woman; gleg, blithe, and throwgaun for her years, and on an easy
footing with the lower orders--coming to the window when they call
for her, and becking to them, which is very civil of her, and gets
them to take her part against the government.

The baxter in whose shop we saw this told us that her majesty said,
on being invited to take her dinner at an inn on the road from
Dover, that she would be content with a mutton-chop at the King's
Arms in London, {2} which shows that she is a lady of a very hamely
disposition. Mrs. Pringle thought her not big enough for a queen;
but we cannot expect every one to be like that bright accidental
star, Queen Elizabeth, whose effigy we have seen preserved in armour
in the Tower of London, and in wax in Westminster Abbey, where they
have a living-like likeness of Lord Nelson, in the very identical
regimentals that he was killed in. They are both wonderful places,
but it costs a power of money to get through them, and all the folk
about them think of nothing but money; for when I inquired, with a
reverent spirit, seeing around me the tombs of great and famous men,
the mighty and wise of their day, what department it was of the
Abbey--"It's the eighteenpence department," said an uncircumcised
Philistine, with as little respect as if we had been treading the
courts of the darling Dagon.

Our concerns here are now drawing to a close; but before we return,
we are going for a short time to a town on the seaside, which they
call Brighton. We had a notion of taking a trip to Paris, but that
we must leave to Andrew Pringle, my son, and his sister Rachel, if
the bit lassie could get a decent gudeman, which maybe will cast up
for her before we leave London. Nothing, however, is settled as yet
upon that head, so I can say no more at present anent the same.

Since the affair of the sermon, I have withdrawn myself from
trafficking so much as I did in the missionary and charitable ploys
that are so in vogue with the pious here, which will be all the
better for my own people, as I will keep for them what I was giving
to the unknown; and it is my design to write a book on almsgiving,
to show in what manner that Christian duty may be best fulfilled,
which I doubt not will have the effect of opening the eyes of many
in London to the true nature of the thing by which I was myself
beguiled in this Vanity Fair, like a bird ensnared by the fowler.

I was concerned to hear of poor Mr. Witherspoon's accident, in
falling from his horse in coming from the Dalmailing occasion. How
thankful he must be, that the Lord made his head of a durability to
withstand the shock, which might otherwise have fractured his skull.
What you say about the promise of the braird gives me pleasure on
account of the poor; but what will be done with the farmers and
their high rents, if the harvest turn out so abundant? Great reason
have I to be thankful that the legacy has put me out of the
reverence of my stipend; for when the meal was cheap, I own to you
that I felt my carnality grudging the horn of abundance that the
Lord was then pouring into the lap of the earth. In short, Mr.
Micklewham, I doubt it is o'er true with us all, that the less we
are tempted, the better we are; so with my sincere prayers that you
may be delivered from all evil, and led out of the paths of
temptation, whether it is on the highway, or on the footpaths, or
beneath the hedges, I remain, dear sir, your friend and pastor,

"The Doctor," said Mrs. Glibbans, as the schoolmaster concluded, "is
there like himself--a true orthodox Christian, standing up for the
word, and overflowing with charity even for the sinner. But, Mr.
Snodgrass, I did not ken before that the bishops had a hand in the
making of the Acts of the Parliament; I think, Mr. Snodgrass, if
that be the case, there should be some doubt in Scotland about
obeying them. However that may be, sure am I that the queen, though
she was a perfect Deliah, has nothing to fear from them; for have we
not read in the Book of Martyrs, and other church histories, of
their concubines and indulgences, in the papist times, to all manner
of carnal iniquity? But if she be that noghty woman that they say"-
-"Gude safe's," cried Mrs. Craig, "if she be a noghty woman, awa'
wi' her, awa' wi' her--wha kens the cantrips she may play us?"

Here Miss Mally Glencairn interposed, and informed Mrs. Craig, that
a noghty woman was not, as she seemed to think, a witch wife. "I am
sure," said Miss Becky Glibbans, "that Mrs. Craig might have known
that." "Oh, ye're a spiteful deevil," whispered Miss Mally, with a
smile to her; and turning in the same moment to Miss Isabella Tod,
begged her to read Miss Pringle's letter--a motion which Mr.
Snodgrass seconded chiefly to abridge the conversation, during
which, though he wore a serene countenance, he often suffered much.


Miss Rachel Pringle to Miss Isabella Tod

My Dear Bell--I am much obliged by your kind expressions for my
little present. I hope soon to send you something better, and
gloves at the same time; for Sabre has been brought to the point by
an alarm for the Yorkshire baronet that I mentioned, as showing
symptoms of the tender passion for my fortune. The friends on both
sides being satisfied with the match, it will take place as soon as
some preliminary arrangements are made. When we are settled, I hope
your mother will allow you to come and spend some time with us at
our country-seat in Berkshire; and I shall be happy to repay all the
expenses of your journey, as a jaunt to England is what your mother
would, I know, never consent to pay for.

It is proposed that, immediately after the ceremony, we shall set
out for France, accompanied by my brother, where we are to be soon
after joined at Paris by some of the Argents, who, I can see, think
Andrew worth the catching for Miss. My father and mother will then
return to Scotland; but whether the Doctor will continue to keep his
parish, or give it up to Mr. Snodgrass, will depend greatly on the
circumstances in which he finds his parishioners. This is all the
domestic intelligence I have got to give, but its importance will
make up for other deficiencies.

As to the continuance of our discoveries in London, I know not well
what to say. Every day brings something new, but we lose the sense
of novelty. Were a fire in the same street where we live, it would
no longer alarm me. A few nights ago, as we were sitting in the
parlour after supper, the noise of an engine passing startled us
all; we ran to the windows--there was haste and torches, and the
sound of other engines, and all the horrors of a conflagration
reddening the skies. My father sent out the footboy to inquire
where it was; and when the boy came back, he made us laugh, by
snapping his fingers, and saying the fire was not worth so much--
although, upon further inquiry, we learnt that the house in which it
originated was burnt to the ground. You see, therefore, how the
bustle of this great world hardens the sensibilities, but I trust
its influence will never extend to my heart.

The principal topic of conversation at present is about the queen.
The Argents, who are our main instructors in the proprieties of
London life, say that it would be very vulgar in me to go to look at
her, which I am sorry for, as I wish above all things to see a
personage so illustrious by birth, and renowned by misfortune. The
Doctor and my mother, who are less scrupulous, and who, in
consequence, somehow, by themselves, contrive to see, and get into
places that are inaccessible to all gentility, have had a full view
of her majesty. My father has since become her declared partisan,
and my mother too has acquired a leaning likewise towards her side
of the question; but neither of them will permit the subject to be
spoken of before me, as they consider it detrimental to good morals.
I, however, read the newspapers.

What my brother thinks of her majesty's case is not easy to divine;
but Sabre is convinced of the queen's guilt, upon some private and
authentic information which a friend of his, who has returned from
Italy, heard when travelling in that country. This information he
has not, however, repeated to me, so that it must be very bad. We
shall know all when the trial comes on. In the meantime, his
majesty, who has lived in dignified retirement since he came to the
throne, has taken up his abode, with rural felicity, in a cottage in
Windsor Forest; where he now, contemning all the pomp and follies of
his youth, and this metropolis, passes his days amidst his cabbages,
like Dioclesian, with innocence and tranquillity, far from the
intrigues of courtiers, and insensible to the murmuring waves of the
fluctuating populace, that set in with so strong a current towards
"the mob-led queen," as the divine Shakespeare has so beautifully
expressed it.

You ask me about Vauxhall Gardens;--I have not seen them--they are
no longer in fashion--the theatres are quite vulgar--even the opera-
house has sunk into a second-rate place of resort. Almack's balls,
the Argyle-rooms, and the Philharmonic concerts, are the only public
entertainments frequented by people of fashion; and this high
superiority they owe entirely to the difficulty of gaining
admission. London, as my brother says, is too rich, and grown too
luxurious, to have any exclusive place of fashionable resort, where
price alone is the obstacle. Hence, the institution of these select
aristocratic assemblies. The Philharmonic concerts, however, are
rather professional than fashionable entertainments; but everybody
is fond of music, and, therefore, everybody, that can be called
anybody, is anxious to get tickets to them; and this anxiety has
given them a degree of eclat, which I am persuaded the performance
would never have excited had the tickets been purchasable at any
price. The great thing here is, either to be somebody, or to be
patronised by a person that is a somebody; without this, though you
were as rich as Croesus, your golden chariots, like the comets of a
season, blazing and amazing, would speedily roll away into the
obscurity from which they came, and be remembered no more.

At first when we came here, and when the amount of our legacy was
first promulgated, we were in a terrible flutter. Andrew became a
man of fashion, with all the haste that tailors, and horses, and
dinners, could make him. My father, honest man, was equally
inspired with lofty ideas, and began a career that promised a
liberal benefaction of good things to the poor--and my mother was
almost distracted with calculations about laying out the money to
the best advantage, and the sum she would allow to be spent. I
alone preserved my natural equanimity; and foreseeing the necessity
of new accomplishments to suit my altered circumstances, applied
myself to the instructions of my masters, with an assiduity that won
their applause. The advantages of this I now experience--my brother
is sobered from his champaign fumes--my father has found out that
charity begins at home--and my mother, though her establishment is
enlarged, finds her happiness, notwithstanding the legacy, still
lies within the little circle of her household cares. Thus, my dear
Bell, have I proved the sweets of a true philosophy; and, unseduced
by the blandishments of rank, rejected Sir Marmaduke Towler, and
accepted the humbler but more disinterested swain, Captain Sabre,
who requests me to send you his compliments, not altogether content
that you should occupy so much of the bosom of your affectionate

"Rachel had ay a gude roose of hersel'," said Becky Glibbans, as
Miss Isabella concluded. In the same moment, Mr. Snodgrass took his
leave, saying to Mr. Micklewham, that he had something particular to
mention to him. "What can it be about?" inquired Mrs. Glibbans at
Mr. Craig, as soon as the helper and schoolmaster had left the room:
"Do you think it can be concerning the Doctor's resignation of the
parish in his favour?" "I'm sure," interposed Mrs. Craig, before
her husband could reply, "it winna be wi' my gudewill that he shall
come in upon us--a pridefu' wight, whose saft words, and a' his
politeness, are but lip-deep; na, na, Mrs. Glibbans, we maun hae
another on the leet forbye him."

"And wha would ye put on the leet noo, Mrs. Craig, you that's sic a
judge?" said Mrs. Glibbans, with the most ineffable

"I'll be for young Mr. Dirlton, who is baith a sappy preacher of the
word, and a substantial hand at every kind of civility."

"Young Dirlton!--young Deevilton!" cried the orthodox Deborah of
Irvine; "a fallow that knows no more of a gospel dispensation than I
do of the Arian heresy, which I hold in utter abomination. No, Mrs.
Craig, you have a godly man for your husband--a sound and true
follower; tread ye in his footsteps, and no try to set up yoursel'
on points of doctrine. But it's time, Miss Mally, that we were
taking the road; Becky and Miss Isabella, make yourselves ready.
Noo, Mrs. Craig, ye'll no be a stranger; you see I have no been lang
of coming to give you my countenance; but, my leddy, ca' canny, it's
no easy to carry a fu' cup; ye hae gotten a great gift in your
gudeman. Mr. Craig, I wish you a good-night; I would fain have
stopped for your evening exercise, but Miss Mally was beginning, I
saw, to weary--so good-night; and, Mrs. Craig, ye'll take tent of
what I have said--it's for your gude." So exeunt Mrs. Glibbans,
Miss Mally, and the two young ladies. "Her bark's waur than her
bite," said Mrs. Craig, as she returned to her husband, who felt
already some of the ourie symptoms of a henpecked destiny.

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