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The Ayrshire Legatees

by John Galt

Chapter 7

Discoveries and Rebellions

 

 
 

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 candle."

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.

LETTER XXI

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 devised.

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:-

LETTER XXII

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 boarding-school.

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,

JANET PRINGLE.

"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:-

LETTER XXIII

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 here.

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.

LETTER XXIV

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 route.

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,

RACHEL PRINGLE.

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."

 

 

 

 

 
 

 

 
 

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