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The Ayrshire Legatees by John Galt

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Mr. Snodgrass was obliged to walk into Irvine one evening, to get
rid of a raging tooth, which had tormented him for more than a week.
The operation was so delicately and cleverly performed by the
surgeon to whom he applied--one of those young medical gentlemen,
who, after having been educated for the army or navy, are obliged,
in this weak piping time of peace, to glean what practice they can
amid their native shades--that the amiable divine found himself in a
condition to call on Miss Isabella Tod.

During this visit, Saunders Dickie, the postman, brought a London
letter to the door, for Miss Isabella; and Mr. Snodgrass having
desired the servant to inquire if there were any for him, had the
good fortune to get the following from Mr. Andrew Pringle:-


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

My Dear Friend--I never receive a letter from you without
experiencing a strong emotion of regret, that talents like yours
should be wilfully consigned to the sequestered vegetation of a
country pastor's life. But we have so often discussed this point,
that I shall only offend your delicacy if I now revert to it more
particularly. I cannot, however, but remark, that although a
private station may be the happiest, a public is the proper sphere
of virtue and talent, so clear, superior, and decided as yours. I
say this with the more confidence, as I have really, from your
letter, obtained a better conception of the queen's case, than from
all that I have been able to read and hear upon the subject in
London. The rule you lay down is excellent. Public safety is
certainly the only principle which can justify mankind in agreeing
to observe and enforce penal statutes; and, therefore, I think with
you, that unless it could be proved in a very simple manner, that it
was requisite for the public safety to institute proceedings against
the queen--her sins or indiscretions should have been allowed to
remain in the obscurity of her private circle.

I have attended the trial several times. For a judicial proceeding,
it seems to me too long--and for a legislative, too technical.
Brougham, it is allowed, has displayed even greater talent than was
expected; but he is too sharp; he seems to me more anxious to gain a
triumph, than to establish truth. I do not like the tone of his
proceedings, while I cannot sufficiently admire his dexterity. The
style of Denman is more lofty, and impressed with stronger
lineaments of sincerity. As for their opponents, I really cannot
endure the Attorney-General as an orator; his whole mind consists,
as it were, of a number of little hands and claws--each of which
holds some scrap or portion of his subject; but you might as well
expect to get an idea of the form and character of a tree, by
looking at the fallen leaves, the fruit, the seeds, and the
blossoms, as anything like a comprehensive view of a subject, from
an intellect so constituted as that of Sir Robert Gifford. He is a
man of application, but of meagre abilities, and seems never to have
read a book of travels in his life. The Solicitor-General is
somewhat better; but he is one of those who think a certain
artificial gravity requisite to professional consequence; and which
renders him somewhat obtuse in the tact of propriety.

Within the bar, the talent is superior to what it is without; and I
have been often delighted with the amazing fineness, if I may use
the expression, with which the Chancellor discriminates the shades
of difference in the various points on which he is called to deliver
his opinion. I consider his mind as a curiosity of no ordinary
kind. It deceives itself by its own acuteness. The edge is too
sharp; and, instead of cutting straight through, it often diverges--
alarming his conscience with the dread of doing wrong. This
singular subtlety has the effect of impairing the reverence which
the endowments and high professional accomplishments of this great
man are otherwise calculated to inspire. His eloquence is not
effective--it touches no feeling nor affects any passion; but still
it affords wonderful displays of a lucid intellect. I can compare
it to nothing but a pencil of sunshine; in which, although one sees
countless motes flickering and fluctuating, it yet illuminates, and
steadily brings into the most satisfactory distinctness, every
object on which it directly falls.

Lord Erskine is a character of another class, and whatever
difference of opinion may exist with respect to their professional
abilities and attainments, it will be allowed by those who contend
that Eldon is the better lawyer--that Erskine is the greater genius.
Nature herself, with a constellation in her hand, playfully
illuminates his path to the temple of reasonable justice; while
Precedence with her guide-book, and Study with a lantern, cautiously
show the road in which the Chancellor warily plods his weary way to
that of legal Equity. The sedateness of Eldon is so remarkable,
that it is difficult to conceive that he was ever young; but Erskine
cannot grow old; his spirit is still glowing and flushed with the
enthusiasm of youth. When impassioned, his voice acquires a
singularly elevated and pathetic accent; and I can easily conceive
the irresistible effect he must have had on the minds of a jury,
when he was in the vigour of his physical powers, and the case
required appeals of tenderness or generosity. As a parliamentary
orator, Earl Grey is undoubtedly his superior; but there is
something much less popular and conciliating in his manner. His
eloquence is heard to most advantage when he is contemptuous; and he
is then certainly dignified, ardent, and emphatic; but it is apt, I
should think, to impress those who hear him, for the first time,
with an idea that he is a very supercilious personage, and this
unfavourable impression is liable to be strengthened by the elegant
aristocratic languor of his appearance.

I think that you once told me you had some knowledge of the Marquis
of Lansdowne, when he was Lord Henry Petty. I can hardly hope that,
after an interval of so many years, you will recognise him in the
following sketch:- His appearance is much more that of a Whig than
Lord Grey--stout and sturdy--but still withal gentlemanly; and there
is a pleasing simplicity, with somewhat of good-nature, in the
expression of his countenance, that renders him, in a quiescent
state, the more agreeable character of the two. He speaks
exceedingly well--clear, methodical, and argumentative; but his
eloquence, like himself, is not so graceful as it is upon the whole
manly; and there is a little tendency to verbosity in his language,
as there is to corpulency in his figure; but nothing turgid, while
it is entirely free from affectation. The character of respectable
is very legibly impressed, in everything about the mind and manner
of his lordship. I should, now that I have seen and heard him, be
astonished to hear such a man represented as capable of being

I should say something about Lord Liverpool, not only on account of
his rank as a minister, but also on account of the talents which
have qualified him for that high situation. The greatest objection
that I have to him as a speaker, is owing to the loudness of his
voice--in other respects, what he does say is well digested. But I
do not think that he embraces his subject with so much power and
comprehension as some of his opponents; and he has evidently less
actual experience of the world. This may doubtless be attributed to
his having been almost constantly in office since he came into
public life; than which nothing is more detrimental to the unfolding
of natural ability, while it induces a sort of artificial talent,
connected with forms and technicalities, which, though useful in
business, is but of minor consequence in a comparative estimate of
moral and intellectual qualities. I am told that in his manner he
resembles Mr. Pitt; be this, however, as it may, he is evidently a
speaker, formed more by habit and imitation, than one whom nature
prompts to be eloquent. He lacks that occasional accent of passion,
the melody of oratory; and I doubt if, on any occasion, he could at
all approximate to that magnificent intrepidity which was admired as
one of the noblest characteristics of his master's style.

But all the display of learning and eloquence, and intellectual
power and majesty of the House of Lords, shrinks into insignificance
when compared with the moral attitude which the people have taken on
this occasion. You know how much I have ever admired the attributes
of the English national character--that boundless generosity, which
can only be compared to the impartial benevolence of the sunshine--
that heroic magnanimity, which makes the hand ever ready to succour
a fallen foe; and that sublime courage, which rises with the energy
of a conflagration roused by a tempest, at every insult or menace of
an enemy. The compassionate interest taken by the populace in the
future condition of the queen is worthy of this extraordinary
people. There may be many among them actuated by what is called the
radical spirit; but malignity alone would dare to ascribe the
bravery of their compassion to a less noble feeling than that which
has placed the kingdom so proudly in the van of all modern nations.
There may be an amiable delusion, as my Lord Castlereagh has said,
in the popular sentiments with respect to the queen. Upon that, as
upon her case, I offer no opinion. It is enough for me to have
seen, with the admiration of a worshipper, the manner in which the
multitude have espoused her cause.

But my paper is filled, and I must conclude. I should, however,
mention that my sister's marriage is appointed to take place to-
morrow, and that I accompany the happy pair to France.--Yours truly,

"This is a dry letter," said Mr. Snodgrass, and he handed it to Miss
Isabella, who, in exchange, presented the one which she had herself
at the same time received; but just as Mr. Snodgrass was on the
point of reading it, Miss Becky Glibbans was announced. "How lucky
this is," exclaimed Miss Becky, "to find you both thegither! Now
you maun tell me all the particulars; for Miss Mally Glencairn is no
in, and her letter lies unopened. I am just gasping to hear how
Rachel conducted herself at being married in the kirk before all the
folk--married to the hussar captain, too, after all! who would have
thought it?"

"How, have you heard of the marriage already?" said Miss Isabella.
"Oh, it's in the newspapers," replied the amiable inquisitant,--
"Like ony tailor or weaver's--a' weddings maun nowadays gang into
the papers. The whole toun, by this time, has got it; and I wouldna
wonder if Rachel Pringle's marriage ding the queen's divorce out of
folk's heads for the next nine days to come. But only to think of
her being married in a public kirk. Surely her father would never
submit to hae't done by a bishop? And then to put it in the London
paper, as if Rachel Pringle had been somebody of distinction.
Perhaps it might have been more to the purpose, considering what
dragoon officers are, if she had got the doited Doctor, her father,
to publish the intended marriage in the papers beforehand."

"Haud that condumacious tongue of yours," cried a voice, panting
with haste as the door opened, and Mrs. Glibbans entered. "Becky,
will you never devawl wi' your backbiting. I wonder frae whom the
misleart lassie takes a' this passion of clashing."

The authority of her parent's tongue silenced Miss Becky, and Mrs.
Glibbans having seated herself, continued,--"Is it your opinion, Mr.
Snodgrass, that this marriage can hold good, contracted, as I am
told it is mentioned in the papers to hae been, at the horns of the
altar of Episcopalian apostacy?"

"I can set you right as to that," said Miss Isabella. "Rachel
mentions, that, after returning from the church, the Doctor himself
performed the ceremony anew, according to the Presbyterian usage."
"I am glad to heart, very glad indeed," said Mrs. Glibbans. "It
would have been a judgment-like thing, had a bairn of Dr. Pringle's-
-than whom, although there may be abler, there is not a sounder man
in a' the West of Scotland--been sacrificed to Moloch, like the
victims of prelatic idolatry."

At this juncture, Miss Mally Glencairn was announced: she entered,
holding a letter from Mrs. Pringle in her hand, with the seal
unbroken. Having heard of the marriage from an acquaintance in the
street, she had hurried home, in the well-founded expectation of
hearing from her friend and well-wisher, and taking up the letter,
which she found on her table, came with all speed to Miss Isabella
Tod to commune with her on the tidings.

Never was any confluence of visitors more remarkable than on this
occasion. Before Miss Mally had well explained the cause of her
abrupt intrusion, Mr. Micklewham made his appearance. He had come
to Irvine to be measured for a new coat, and meeting by accident
with Saunders Dickie, got the Doctor's letter from him, which, after
reading, he thought he could do no less than call at Mrs. Tod's, to
let Miss Isabella know the change which had taken place in the
condition of her friend.

Thus were all the correspondents of the Pringles assembled, by the
merest chance, like the dramatis personae at the end of a play.
After a little harmless bantering, it was agreed that Miss Mally
should read her communication first--as all the others were
previously acquainted with the contents of their respective letters,
and Miss Mally read as follows:-


Mrs. Pringle to Miss Mally Glencairn

Dear Miss Mally--I hav a cro to pik with you conserning yoor
comishon aboot the partickels for your friends. You can hav no
noshon what the Doctor and me suffert on the head of the flooring
shrubs. We took your Nota Beny as it was spilt, and went from shop
to shop enquirin in a most partiklar manner for "a Gardner's Bell,
or the least of all flowering plants"; but sorrow a gardner in the
whole tot here in London ever had heard of sic a thing; so we gave
the porshoot up in despare. Howsomever, one of Andrew's
acquaintance--a decent lad, who is only son to a saddler in a been
way, that keeps his own carriage, and his son a coryikel, happent to
call, and the Doctor told him what ill socsess we had in our serch
for the gardner's bell; upon which he sought a sight of your
yepissle, and read it as a thing that was just wonderful for its
whorsogroffie; and then he sayid, that looking at the prinsipol of
your spilling, he thought we should reed, "a gardner's bill, or a
list of all flooring plants"; whilk being no doot your intent, I
have proqurt the same, and it is included heerin. But, Miss Mally,
I would advize you to be more exac in your inditing, that no sic
torbolashon may hippen on a future okashon.

What I hav to say for the present is, that you will, by a smak, get
a bocks of kumoddities, whilk you will destraboot as derekit on
every on of them, and you will before have resievit by the post-
offis, an account of what has been don. I need say no forther at
this time, knowin your discreshon and prooduns, septs that our
Rachel and Captain Sabor will, if it pleese the Lord, be off to
Parish, by way of Bryton, as man and wife, the morn's morning. What
her father the Doctor gives for tocher, what is settlt on her for
jontor, I will tell you all aboot when we meet; for it's our dishire
noo to lose no tim in retorning to the manse, this being the last of
our diplomaticals in London, where we have found the Argents a most
discrit family, payin to the last farding the Cornal's legacy, and
most seevil, and well bred to us.

As I am naterally gretly okypt with this matteromoneal afair, you
cannot expect ony news; but the queen is going on with a dreadful
rat, by which the pesents hav falen more than a whole entirr pesent.
I wish our fonds were well oot of them, and in yird and stane, which
is a constansie. But what is to become of the poor donsie woman, no
one can expound. Some think she will be pot in the Toor of London,
and her head chappit off; others think she will raise sic a
stramash, that she will send the whole government into the air, like
peelings of ingons, by a gunpoother plot. But it's my opinion, and
I have weighed the matter well in my understanding, that she will
hav to fight with sword in hand, be she ill, or be she good. How
els can she hop to get the better of more than two hundred lords, as
the Doctor, who has seen them, tells me, with princes of the blood-
royal, and the prelatic bishops, whom, I need not tell you, are the
worst of all.

But the thing I grudge most, is to be so long in Lundon, and no to
see the king. Is it not a hard thing to come to London, and no to
see the king? I am not pleesed with him, I assure you, becose he
does not set himself out to public view, like ony other curiosity,
but stays in his palis, they say, like one of the anshent wooden
images of idolatry, the which is a great peety, he beeing, as I am
told, a beautiful man, and more the gentleman than all the coortiers
of his court.

The Doctor has been minting to me that there is an address from
Irvine to the queen; and he, being so near a neighbour to your toun,
has been thinking to pay his respecs with it, to see her near at
hand. But I will say nothing; he may take his own way in matters of
gospel and spiritualety; yet I have my scroopols of conshence, how
this may not turn out a rebellyon against the king; and I would hav
him to sift and see who are at the address, before he pits his han
to it. For, if it's a radikol job, as I jealoos it is, what will
the Doctor then say? who is an orthodox man, as the world nose.

In the maitre of our dumesticks, no new axsident has cast up; but I
have seen such a wonder as could not have been forethocht. Having a
washin, I went down to see how the lassies were doing; but judge of
my feelings, when I saw them triomphing on the top of pattons,
standing upright before the boyns on chairs, rubbin the clothes to
juggins between their hands, above the sapples, with their gouns and
stays on, and round-cared mutches. What would you think of such a
miracle at the washing-house in the Goffields, or the Gallows-knows
of Irvine? The cook, howsomever, has shown me a way to make rice-
puddings without eggs, by putting in a bit of shoohet, which is as
good--and this you will tell Miss Nanny Eydent; likewise, that the
most fashionable way of boiling green pis, is to pit a blade of
spearmint in the pot, which gives a fine flavour. But this is a
long letter, and my pepper is done; so no more, but remains your
friend and well-wisher, JANET PRINGLE.

"A great legacy, and her dochtir married, in ae journey to London,
is doing business," said Mrs. Glibbans, with a sigh, as she looked
to her only get, Miss Becky; "but the Lord's will is to be done in
a' thing;--sooner or later something of the same kind will come, I
trust, to all our families." "Ay," replied Miss Mally Glencairn,
"marriage is like death--it's what we are a' to come to."

"I have my doubts of that," said Miss Becky with a sneer. "Ye have
been lang spair't from it, Miss Mally."

"Ye're a spiteful puddock; and if the men hae the e'en and lugs they
used to hae, gude pity him whose lot is cast with thine, Becky
Glibbans," replied the elderly maiden ornament of the Kirkgate,
somewhat tartly.

Here Mr. Snodgrass interposed, and said, he would read to them the
letter which Miss Isabella had received from the bride; and without
waiting for their concurrence, opened and read as follows:-


Mrs. Sabre to Miss Isabella Tod

My Dearest Bell--Rachel Pringle is no more! My heart flutters as I
write the fatal words. This morning, at nine o'clock precisely, she
was conducted in bridal array to the new church of Mary-le-bone; and
there, with ring and book, sacrificed to the Minotaur, Matrimony,
who devours so many of our bravest youths and fairest maidens.

My mind is too agitated to allow me to describe the scene. The
office of handmaid to the victim, which, in our young simplicity, we
had fondly thought one of us would perform for the other, was
gracefully sustained by Miss Argent.

On returning from church to my father's residence in Baker Street,
where we breakfasted, he declared himself not satisfied with the
formalities of the English ritual, and obliged us to undergo a
second ceremony from himself, according to the wonted forms of the
Scottish Church. All the advantages and pleasures of which, my dear
Bell, I hope you will soon enjoy.

But I have no time to enter into particulars. The captain and his
lady, by themselves, in their own carriage, set off for Brighton in
the course of less than an hour. On Friday they are to be followed
by a large party of their friends and relations; and, after spending
a few days in that emporium of salt-water pleasures, they embark,
accompanied with their beloved brother, Mr. Andrew Pringle, for
Paris; where they are afterwards to be joined by the Argents. It is
our intention to remain about a month in the French capital; whether
we shall extend our tour, will depend on subsequent circumstances:
in the meantime, however, you will hear frequently from me.

My mother, who has a thousand times during these important
transactions wished for the assistance of Nanny Eydent, transmits to
Miss Mally Glencairn a box containing all the requisite bridal
recognisances for our Irvine friends. I need not say that the best
is for the faithful companion of my happiest years. As I had made a
vow in my heart that Becky Glibbans should never wear gloves for my
marriage, I was averse to sending her any at all, but my mother
insisted that no exceptions should be made. I secretly took care,
however, to mark a pair for her, so much too large, that I am sure
she will never put them on. The asp will be not a little vexed at
the disappointment. Adieu for a time, and believe that, although
your affectionate Rachel Pringle be gone that way in which she hopes
you will soon follow, one not less sincerely attached to you, though
it be the first time she has so subscribed herself, remains in

Before the ladies had time to say a word on the subject, the prudent
young clergyman called immediately on Mr. Micklewham to read the
letter which he had received from the Doctor; and which the worthy
dominie did without delay, in that rich and full voice with which he
is accustomed to teach his scholars elocution by example.


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

Dear Sir--I have been much longer of replying to your letter of the
3rd of last month, than I ought in civility to have been, but really
time, in this town of London, runs at a fast rate, and the day
passes before the dark's done. What with Mrs. Pringle and her
daughter's concernments, anent the marriage to Captain Sabre, and
the trouble I felt myself obliged to take in the queen's affair, I
assure you, Mr. Micklewham, that it's no to be expressed how I have
been occupied for the last four weeks. But all things must come to
a conclusion in this world. Rachel Pringle is married, and the
queen's weary trial is brought to an end--upon the subject and
motion of the same, I offer no opinion, for I made it a point never
to read the evidence, being resolved to stand by THE WORD from the
first, which is clearly and plainly written in the queen's favour,
and it does not do in a case of conscience to stand on trifles;
putting, therefore, out of consideration the fact libelled, and
looking both at the head and the tail of the proceeding, I was of a
firm persuasion, that all the sculduddery of the business might have
been well spared from the eye of the public, which is of itself
sufficiently prone to keek and kook, in every possible way, for a
glimpse of a black story; and, therefore, I thought it my duty to
stand up in all places against the trafficking that was attempted
with a divine institution. And I think, when my people read how
their prelatic enemies, the bishops (the heavens defend the poor
Church of Scotland from being subjected to the weight of their
paws), have been visited with a constipation of the understanding on
that point, it must to them be a great satisfaction to know how
clear and collected their minister was on this fundamental of
society. For it has turned out, as I said to Mrs. Pringle, as well
as others, it would do, that a sense of grace and religion would be
manifested in some quarter before all was done, by which the devices
for an unsanctified repudiation or divorce would be set at nought.

As often as I could, deeming it my duty as a minister of the word
and gospel, I got into the House of Lords, and heard the trial; and
I cannot think how ever it was expected that justice could be done
yonder; for although no man could be more attentive than I was,
every time I came away I was more confounded than when I went; and
when the trial was done, it seemed to me just to be clearing up for
a proper beginning--all which is a proof that there was a foul
conspiracy. Indeed, when I saw Duke Hamilton's daughter coming out
of the coach with the queen, I never could think after, that a lady
of her degree would have countenanced the queen had the matter laid
to her charge been as it was said. Not but in any circumstance it
behoved a lady of that ancient and royal blood, to be seen beside
the queen in such a great historical case as a trial.

I hope, in the part I have taken, my people will be satisfied; but
whether they are satisfied or not, my own conscience is content with
me. I was in the House of Lords when her majesty came down for the
last time, and saw her handed up the stairs by the usher of the
black-rod, a little stumpy man, wonderful particular about the rules
of the House, insomuch that he was almost angry with me for stopping
at the stair-head. The afflicted woman was then in great spirits,
and I saw no symptoms of the swelled legs that Lord Lauderdale, that
jooking man, spoke about, for she skippit up the steps like a
lassie. But my heart was wae for her when all was over, for she
came out like an astonished creature, with a wild steadfast look,
and a sort of something in the face that was as if the rational
spirit had fled away; and she went down to her coach as if she had
submitted to be led to a doleful destiny. Then the shouting of the
people began, and I saw and shouted too in spite of my decorum,
which I marvel at sometimes, thinking it could be nothing less than
an involuntary testification of the spirit within me.

Anent the marriage of Rachel Pringle, it may be needful in me to
state, for the satisfaction of my people, that although by stress of
law we were obligated to conform to the practice of the
Episcopalians, by taking out a bishop's license, and going to their
church, and vowing, in a pagan fashion, before their altars, which
are an abomination to the Lord; yet, when the young folk came home,
I made them stand up, and be married again before me, according to
all regular marriages in our national Church. For this I had two
reasons: first, to satisfy myself that there had been a true and
real marriage; and, secondly, to remove the doubt of the former
ceremony being sufficient; for marriage being of divine appointment,
and the English form and ritual being a thing established by Act of
Parliament, which is of human ordination, I was not sure that
marriage performed according to a human enactment could be a
fulfilment of a divine ordinance. I therefore hope that my people
will approve what I have done; and in order that there may be a
sympathising with me, you will go over to Banker M-y, and get what
he will give you, as ordered by me, and distribute it among the
poorest of the parish, according to the best of your discretion, my
long absence having taken from me the power of judgment in a matter
of this sort. I wish indeed for the glad sympathy of my people, for
I think that our Saviour turning water into wine at the wedding, was
an example set that we should rejoice and be merry at the fulfilment
of one of the great obligations imposed on us as social creatures;
and I have ever regarded the unhonoured treatment of a marriage
occasion as a thing of evil bodement, betokening heavy hearts and
light purses to the lot of the bride and bridegroom. You will hear
more from me by and by; in the meantime, all I can say is, that when
we have taken our leave of the young folks, who are going to France,
it is Mrs. Pringle's intent, as well as mine, to turn our horses'
heads northward, and make our way with what speed we can, for our
own quiet home, among you. So no more at present from your friend
and pastor,


Mrs. Tod, the mother of Miss Isabella, a respectable widow lady, who
had quiescently joined the company, proposed that they should now
drink health, happiness, and all manner of prosperity, to the young
couple; and that nothing might be wanting to secure the favourable
auspices of good omens to the toast, she desired Miss Isabella to
draw fresh bottles of white and red. When all manner of felicity
was duly wished in wine to the captain and his lady, the party rose
to seek their respective homes. But a bustle at the street-door
occasioned a pause. Mrs. Tod inquired the matter; and three or four
voices at once replied, that an express had come from Garnock for
Nanse Swaddle the midwife, Mrs. Craig being taken with her pains.
"Mr. Snodgrass," said Mrs. Glibbans, instantly and emphatically, "ye
maun let me go with you, and we can spiritualise on the road; for I
hae promis't Mrs. Craig to be wi' her at the crying, to see the
upshot--so I hope you will come awa."

It would be impossible in us to suppose, that Mr. Snodgrass had any
objections to spiritualise with Mrs. Glibbans on the road between
Irvine and Garnock; but, notwithstanding her urgency, he excused
himself from going with her; however, he recommended her to the
special care and protection of Mr. Micklewham, who was at that time
on his legs to return home. "Oh! Mr. Snodgrass," said the lady,
looking slyly, as she adjusted her cloak, at him and Miss Isabella,
"there will be marrying and giving in marriage till the day of
judgment." And with these oracular words she took her departure.


On Friday, Miss Mally Glencairn received a brief note from Mrs.
Pringle, informing her, that she and the Doctor would reach the
manse, "God willing," in time for tea on Saturday; and begging her,
therefore, to go over from Irvine, and see that the house was in
order for their reception. This note was written from Glasgow,
where they had arrived, in their own carriage, from Carlisle on the
preceding day, after encountering, as Mrs. Pringle said, "more
hardships and extorshoning than all the dangers of the sea which
they met with in the smack of Leith that took them to London."

As soon as Miss Mally received this intelligence, she went to Miss
Isabella Tod, and requested her company for the next day to Garnock,
where they arrived betimes to dine with Mr. Snodgrass. Mrs.
Glibbans and her daughter Becky were then on a consolatory visit to
Mr. Craig. We mentioned in the last chapter, that the crying of
Mrs. Craig had come on; and that Mrs. Glibbans, according to
promise, and with the most anxious solicitude, had gone to wait the
upshot. The upshot was most melancholy,--Mrs. Craig was soon no
more;--she was taken, as Mrs. Glibbans observed on the occasion,
from the earthly arms of her husband, to the spiritual bosom of
Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, which was far better. But the baby
survived; so that, what with getting a nurse, and the burial, and
all the work and handling that a birth and death in one house at the
same time causes, Mr. Craig declared, that he could not do without
Mrs. Glibbans; and she, with all that Christianity by which she was
so zealously distinguished, sent for Miss Becky, and took up her
abode with him till it would please Him, without whom there is no
comfort, to wipe the eyes of the pious elder. In a word, she staid
so long, that a rumour began to spread that Mr. Craig would need a
wife to look after his bairn; and that Mrs. Glibbans was destined to
supply the desideratum.

Mr. Snodgrass, after enjoying his dinner society with Miss Mally and
Miss Isabella, thought it necessary to dispatch a courier, in the
shape of a barefooted servant lass, to Mr. Micklewham, to inform the
elders that the Doctor was expected home in time for tea, leaving it
to their discretion either to greet his safe return at the manse, or
in any other form or manner that would be most agreeable to
themselves. These important news were soon diffused through the
clachan. Mr. Micklewham dismissed his school an hour before the
wonted time, and there was a universal interest and curiosity
excited, to see the Doctor coming home in his own coach. All the
boys of Garnock assembled at the braehead which commands an
extensive view of the Kilmarnock road, the only one from Glasgow
that runs through the parish; the wives with their sucklings were
seated on the large stones at their respective door-cheeks; while
their cats were calmly reclining on the window soles. The lassie
weans, like clustering bees, were mounted on the carts that stood
before Thomas Birlpenny the vintner's door, churming with
anticipated delight; the old men took their stations on the dike
that incloses the side of the vintner's kail-yard, and "a batch of
wabster lads," with green aprons and thin yellow faces, planted
themselves at the gable of the malt kiln, where they were wont, when
trade was better, to play at the hand-ball; but, poor fellows, since
the trade fell off, they have had no heart for the game, and the
vintner's half-mutchkin stoups glitter in empty splendour unrequired
on the shelf below the brazen sconce above the bracepiece, amidst
the idle pewter pepper-boxes, the bright copper tea-kettle, the
coffee-pot that has never been in use, and lids of saucepans that
have survived their principals,--the wonted ornaments of every trig
change-house kitchen.

The season was far advanced; but the sun shone at his setting with a
glorious composure, and the birds in the hedges and on the boughs
were again gladdened into song. The leaves had fallen thickly, and
the stubble-fields were bare, but Autumn, in a many-coloured tartan
plaid, was seen still walking with matronly composure in the
woodlands, along the brow of the neighbouring hills.

About half-past four o'clock, a movement was seen among the callans
at the braehead, and a shout announced that a carriage was in sight.
It was answered by a murmuring response of satisfaction from the
whole village. In the course of a few minutes the carriage reached
the turnpike--it was of the darkest green and the gravest fashion,--
a large trunk, covered with Russian matting, and fastened on with
cords, prevented from chafing it by knots of straw rope, occupied
the front,--behind, other two were fixed in the same manner, the
lesser of course uppermost; and deep beyond a pile of light bundles
and bandboxes, that occupied a large portion of the interior, the
blithe faces of the Doctor and Mrs. Pringle were discovered. The
boys huzzaed, the Doctor flung them penny-pieces, and the mistress

As the carriage drove along, the old men on the dike stood up and
reverently took off their hats and bonnets. The weaver lads gazed
with a melancholy smile; the lassies on the carts clapped their
hands with joy; the women on both sides of the street acknowledged
the recognising nods; while all the village dogs, surprised by the
sound of chariot wheels, came baying and barking forth, and sent off
the cats that were so doucely sitting on the window soles,
clambering and scampering over the roofs in terror of their lives.

When the carriage reached the manse door, Mr. Snodgrass, the two
ladies, with Mr. Micklewham, and all the elders except Mr. Craig,
were there ready to receive the travellers. But over this joy of
welcoming we must draw a veil; for the first thing that the Doctor
did, on entering the parlour and before sitting down, was to return
thanks for his safe restoration to his home and people.

The carriage was then unloaded, and as package, bale, box, and
bundle were successively brought in, Miss Mally Glencairn expressed
her admiration at the great capacity of the chaise. "Ay," said Mrs.
Pringle, "but you know not what we have suffert for't in coming
through among the English taverns on the road; some of them would
not take us forward when there was a hill to pass, unless we would
take four horses, and every one after another reviled us for having
no mercy in loading the carriage like a waggon,--and then the
drivers were so gleg and impudent, that it was worse than martyrdom
to come with them. Had the Doctor taken my advice, he would have
brought our own civil London coachman, whom we hired with his own
horses by the job; but he said it behoved us to gi'e our ain fish
guts to our ain sea-maws, and that he designed to fee Thomas
Birlpenny's hostler for our coachman, being a lad of the parish.
This obliged us to post it from London; but, oh! Miss Mally, what an
outlay it has been!"

The Doctor, in the meantime, had entered into conversation with the
gentlemen, and was inquiring, in the most particular manner,
respecting all his parishioners, and expressing his surprise that
Mr. Craig had not been at the manse with the rest of the elders.
"It does not look well," said the Doctor. Mr. Daff, however,
offered the best apology for his absence that could be made. "He
has had a gentle dispensation, sir--Mrs. Craig has won awa' out of
this sinful world, poor woman, she had a large experience o't; but
the bairns to the fore, and Mrs. Glibbans, that has such a cast of
grace, has ta'en charge of the house since before the interment.
It's thought, considering what's by gane, Mr. Craig may do waur than
make her mistress, and I hope, sir, your exhortation will no be
wanting to egg the honest man to think o't seriously."

Mr. Snodgrass, before delivering the household keys, ordered two
bottles of wine, with glasses and biscuit, to be set upon the table,
while Mrs. Pringle produced from a paper package, that had helped to
stuff one of the pockets of the carriage, a piece of rich plum-cake,
brought all the way from a confectioner's in Cockspur Street,
London, not only for the purpose of being eaten, but, as she said,
to let Miss Nanny Eydent pree, in order to direct the Irvine bakers
how to bake others like it.

Tea was then brought in; and, as it was making, the Doctor talked
aside to the elders, while Mrs. Pringle recounted to Miss Mally and
Miss Isabella the different incidents of her adventures subsequent
to the marriage of Miss Rachel.

"The young folk," said she, "having gone to Brighton, we followed
them in a few days, for we were told it was a curiosity, and that
the king has a palace there, just a warld's wonder! and, truly, Miss
Mally, it is certainly not like a house for a creature of this
world, but for some Grand Turk or Chinaman. The Doctor said, it put
him in mind of Miss Jenny Macbride's sideboard in the Stockwell of
Glasgow; where all the pepper-boxes, poories, and teapots, punch-
bowls, and china-candlesticks of her progenitors are set out for a
show, that tells her visitors, they are but seldom put to use. As
for the town of Brighton, it's what I would call a gawky piece of
London. I could see nothing in it but a wheen idlers, hearing twa
lads, at night, crying, "Five, six, seven for a shilling," in the
booksellers' shops, with a play-actor lady singing in a corner,
because her voice would not do for the players' stage. Therefore,
having seen the Captain and Mrs. Sabre off to France, we came home
to London; but it's not to be told what we had to pay at the hotel
where we staid in Brighton. Howsomever, having come back to London,
we settled our counts,--and, buying a few necessars, we prepared for
Scotland,--and here we are. But travelling has surely a fine effect
in enlarging the understanding; for both the Doctor and me thought,
as we came along, that everything had a smaller and poorer look than
when we went away; and I dinna think this room is just what it used
to be. What think ye o't, Miss Isabella? How would ye like to
spend your days in't?"

Miss Isabella reddened at this question; but Mrs. Pringle, who was
as prudent as she was observant, affecting not to notice this,
turned round to Miss Mally Glencairn, and said softly in her ear,--
"Rachel was Bell's confidante, and has told us all about what's
going on between her and Mr. Snodgrass. We have agreed no to stand
in their way, as soon as the Doctor can get a mailing or two to
secure his money upon."

Meantime, the Doctor received from the elders a very satisfactory
account of all that had happened among his people, both in and out
of the Session, during his absence; and he was vastly pleased to
find there had been no inordinate increase of wickedness; at the
same time, he was grieved for the condition in which the poor
weavers still continued, saying, that among other things of which he
had been of late meditating, was the setting up of a lending bank in
the parish for the labouring classes, where, when they were out of
work, "bits of loans for a house-rent, or a brat of claes, or sic
like, might be granted, to be repaid when trade grew better, and
thereby take away the objection that an honest pride had to
receiving help from the Session."

Then some lighter general conversation ensued, in which the Doctor
gave his worthy counsellors a very jocose description of many of the
lesser sort of adventures which he had met with; and the ladies
having retired to inspect the great bargains that Mrs. Pringle had
got, and the splendid additions she had made to her wardrobe, out of
what she denominated the dividends of the present portion of the
legacy, the Doctor ordered in the second biggest toddy-bowl, the
guardevine with the old rum, and told the lassie to see if the tea-
kettle was still boiling. "Ye maun drink our welcome hame," said he
to the elders; "it would nae otherwise be canny. But I'm sorry Mr.
Craig has nae come." At these words the door opened, and the absent
elder entered, with a long face and a deep sigh. "Ha!" cried Mr.
Daff, "this is very droll. Speak of the Evil One, and he'll
appear";--which words dinted on the heart of Mr. Craig, who thought
his marriage in December had been the subject of their discourse.
The Doctor, however, went up and shook him cordially by the hand,
and said, "Now I take this very kind, Mr. Craig; for I could not
have expected you, considering ye have got, as I am told, your jo in
the house"; at which words the Doctor winked paukily to Mr. Daff,
who rubbed his hands with fainness, and gave a good-humoured sort of
keckling laugh. This facetious stroke of policy was a great relief
to the afflicted elder, for he saw by it that the Doctor did not
mean to trouble him with any inquiries respecting his deceased wife;
and, in consequence, he put on a blither face, and really affected
to have forgotten her already more than he had done in sincerity.

Thus the night passed in decent temperance and a happy decorum;
insomuch, that the elders when they went away, either by the
influence of the toddy-bowl, or the Doctor's funny stories about the
Englishers, declared that he was an excellent man, and, being none
lifted up, was worthy of his rich legacy.

At supper, the party, besides the minister and Mrs. Pringle,
consisted of the two Irvine ladies, and Mr. Snodgrass. Miss Becky
Glibbans came in when it was about half over, to express her
mother's sorrow at not being able to call that night, "Mr. Craig's
bairn having taken an ill turn." The truth, however, was, that the
worthy elder had been rendered somewhat tozy by the minister's
toddy, and wanted an opportunity to inform the old lady of the joke
that had been played upon him by the Doctor calling her his jo, and
to see how she would relish it. So by a little address Miss Becky
was sent out of the way, with the excuse we have noticed; at the
same time, as the night was rather sharp, it is not to be supposed
that she would have been the bearer of any such message, had her own
curiosity not enticed her.

During supper the conversation was very lively. Many "pickant
jokes," as Miss Becky described them, were cracked by the Doctor;
but, soon after the table was cleared, he touched Mr. Snodgrass on
the arm, and, taking up one of the candles, went with him to his
study, where he then told him, that Rachel Pringle, now Mrs. Sabre,
had informed him of a way in which he could do him a service. "I
understand, sir," said the Doctor, "that you have a notion of Miss
Bell Tod, but that until ye get a kirk there can be no marriage.
But the auld horse may die waiting for the new grass; and,
therefore, as the Lord has put it in my power to do a good action
both to you and my people,--whom I am glad to hear you have pleased
so well,--if it can be brought about that you could be made helper
and successor, I'll no object to give up to you the whole stipend,
and, by and by, maybe the manse to the bargain. But that is if you
marry Miss Bell; for it was a promise that Rachel gar't me make to
her on her wedding morning. Ye know she was a forcasting lassie,
and, I have reason to believe, has said nothing anent this to Miss
Bell herself; so that if you have no partiality for Miss Bell,
things will just rest on their own footing; but if you have a
notion, it must be a satisfaction to you to know this, as it will be
a pleasure to me to carry it as soon as possible into effect."

Mr. Snodgrass was a good deal agitated; he was taken by surprise,
and without words the Doctor might have guessed his sentiments; he,
however, frankly confessed that he did entertain a very high opinion
of Miss Bell, but that he was not sure if a country parish would
exactly suit him. "Never mind that," said the Doctor; "if it does
not fit at first, you will get used to it; and if a better casts up,
it will be no obstacle."

The two gentlemen then rejoined the ladies, and, after a short
conversation, Miss Becky Glibbans was admonished to depart, by the
servants bringing in the Bibles for the worship of the evening.
This was usually performed before supper, but, owing to the bowl
being on the table, and the company jocose, it had been postponed
till all the guests who were not to sleep in the house had departed.

The Sunday morning was fine and bright for the season; the
hoarfrost, till about an hour after sunrise, lay white on the grass
and tombstones in the churchyard; but before the bell rung for the
congregation to assemble, it was exhaled away, and a freshness, that
was only known to be autumnal by the fallen and yellow leaves that
strewed the church-way path from the ash and plane trees in the
avenue, encouraged the spirits to sympathise with the universal
cheerfulness of all nature.

The return of the Doctor had been bruited through the parish with so
much expedition, that, when the bell rung for public worship, none
of those who were in the practice of stopping in the churchyard to
talk about the weather were so ignorant as not to have heard of this
important fact. In consequence, before the time at which the Doctor
was wont to come from the back-gate which opened from the manse-
garden into the churchyard, a great majority of his people were
assembled to receive him.

At the last jingle of the bell, the back-gate was usually opened,
and the Doctor was wont to come forth as punctually as a cuckoo of a
clock at the striking of the hour; but a deviation was observed on
this occasion. Formerly, Mrs. Pringle and the rest of the family
came first, and a few minutes were allowed to elapse before the
Doctor, laden with grace, made his appearance. But at this time,
either because it had been settled that Mr. Snodgrass was to
officiate, or for some other reason, there was a breach in the
observance of this time-honoured custom.

As the ringing of the bell ceased, the gate unclosed, and the Doctor
came forth. He was of that easy sort of feather-bed corpulency of
form that betokens good-nature, and had none of that smooth, red,
well-filled protuberancy, which indicates a choleric humour and a
testy temper. He was in fact what Mrs. Glibbans denominated "a man
of a gausy external." And some little change had taken place during
his absence in his visible equipage. His stockings, which were wont
to be of worsted, had undergone a translation into silk; his waist-
coat, instead--of the venerable Presbyterian flap-covers to the
pockets, which were of Johnsonian magnitude, was become plain--his
coat in all times single-breasted, with no collar, still, however,
maintained its ancient characteristics; instead, however, of the
former bright black cast horn, the buttons were covered with cloth.
But the chief alteration was discernible in the furniture of the
head. He had exchanged the simplicity of his own respectable grey
hairs for the cauliflower hoariness of a PARRISH {3} wig, on which
he wore a broad-brimmed hat, turned up a little at each side behind,
in a portentous manner, indicatory of Episcopalian predilections.
This, however, was not justified by any alteration in his
principles, being merely an innocent variation of fashion, the
natural result of a Doctor of Divinity buying a hat and wig in

The moment that the Doctor made his appearance, his greeting and
salutation was quite delightful; it was that of a father returned to
his children, and a king to his people.

Almost immediately after the Doctor, Mrs. Pringle, followed by Miss
Mally Glencairn and Miss Isabella Tod, also debouched from the gate,
and the assembled females remarked, with no less instinct, the
transmutation which she had undergone. She was dressed in a dark
blue cloth pelisse, trimmed with a dyed fur, which, as she told Miss
Mally, "looked quite as well as sable, without costing a third of
the money." A most matronly muff, that, without being of sable, was
of an excellent quality, contained her hands; and a very large
Leghorn straw bonnet, decorated richly, but far from excess, with a
most substantial band and bow of a broad crimson satin ribbon around
her head.

If the Doctor was gratified to see his people so gladly thronging
around him, Mrs. Pringle had no less pleasure also in her thrice-
welcome reception. It was an understood thing, that she had been
mainly instrumental in enabling the minister to get his great Indian
legacy; and in whatever estimation she may have been previously held
for her economy and management, she was now looked up to as a
personage skilled in the law, and particularly versed in
testamentary erudition. Accordingly, in the customary testimonials
of homage with which she was saluted in her passage to the church
door, there was evidently a sentiment of veneration mingled, such as
had never been evinced before, and which was neither unobserved nor
unappreciated by that acute and perspicacious lady.

The Doctor himself did not preach, but sat in the minister's pew
till Mr. Snodgrass had concluded an eloquent and truly an affecting
sermon; at the end of which, the Doctor rose and went up into the
pulpit, where he publicly returned thanks for the favours and
blessings he had obtained during his absence, and for the safety in
which he had been restored, after many dangers and tribulations, to
the affections of his parishioners.

Such were the principal circumstances that marked the return of the
family. In the course of the week after, the estate of Moneypennies
being for sale, it was bought for the Doctor as a great bargain. It
was not, however, on account of the advantageous nature of the
purchase that our friend valued this acquisition, but entirely
because it was situated in his own parish, and part of the lands
marching with the Glebe.

The previous owner of Moneypennies had built an elegant house on the
estate, to which Mrs. Pringle is at present actively preparing to
remove from the manse; and it is understood, that, as Mr. Snodgrass
was last week declared helper, and successor to the Doctor, his
marriage with Miss Isabella Tod will take place with all convenient
expedition. There is also reason to believe, that, as soon as
decorum will permit, any scruple which Mrs. Glibbans had to a second
marriage is now removed, and that she will soon again grace the
happy circle of wives by the name of Mrs. Craig. Indeed, we are
assured that Miss Nanny Eydent is actually at this time employed in
making up her wedding garments; for, last week, that worthy and
respectable young person was known to have visited Bailie Delap's
shop, at a very early hour in the morning, and to have priced many
things of a bridal character, besides getting swatches; after which
she was seen to go to Mrs. Glibbans's house, where she remained a
very considerable time, and to return straight therefrom to the
shop, and purchase divers of the articles which she had priced and
inspected; all of which constitute sufficient grounds for the
general opinion in Irvine, that the union of Mr. Craig with Mrs.
Glibbans is a happy event drawing near to consummation.


{1} The administration of the Sacrament.

{2} The honest Doctor's version of this bon mot of her majesty is
not quite correct; her expression was, "I mean to take a chop at the
King's Head when I get to London."

{3} See the Edinburgh Review, for an account of our old friend, Dr.
Parr's wig, and Spital Sermon.

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