The Annals of the Parish
John Galt

Part 2 out of 4

however, a tractable and homely beast; and after some confabulation,
as my lady herself told Mrs Balwhidder, it was received into
fellowship by her other ducks and poultry. It is not, however, so
much on account of the rarity of the creature, that I have
introduced it here, as for the purpose of relating a wonderful
operation that was performed on it by Miss Sabrina, the

There happened to be a sack of beans in our stable, and Lady
Macadam's hens and fowls, which were not overly fed at home through
the inattention of her servants, being great stravaigers for their
meat, in passing the door went in to pick, and the Muscovy, seeing a
hole in the bean-sack, dabbled out a crapful before she was
disturbed. The beans swelled on the poor bird's stomach, and her
crap bellied out like the kyte of a Glasgow magistrate, until it was
just a sight to be seen with its head back on its shoulders. The
bairns of the clachan followed it up and down, crying, the lady's
muckle jock's aye growing bigger, till every heart was wae for the
creature. Some thought it was afflicted with a tympathy, and
others, that it was the natural way for such-like ducks to cleck
their young. In short, we were all concerned; and my lady, having a
great opinion of Miss Sabrina's skill, had a consultation with her
on the case, at which Miss Sabrina advised, that what she called the
Caesarean operation should be tried, which she herself performed
accordingly, by opening the creature's crap, and taking out as many
beans as filled a mutchkin stoup, after which she sewed it up, and
the Muscovy went its way to the water-side, and began to swim, and
was as jocund as ever; insomuch, that in three days after it was
quite cured of all the consequences of its surfeit.

I had at one time a notion to send an account of this to the Scots
Magazine, but something always came in the way to prevent me; so
that it has been reserved for a place in this chronicle, being,
after Mr Heckletext's affair, the most memorable thing in our
history of this year.


In this Ann. Dom. there was something like a plea getting to a head,
between the session and some of the heritors, about a new school-
house; the thatch having been torn from the rigging of the old one
by a blast of wind, on the first Monday of February, by which a
great snow storm got admission, and the school was rendered utterly
uninhabitable. The smaller sort of lairds were very willing to come
into the plan with an extra contribution, because they respected the
master, and their bairns were at the school; but the gentlemen, who
had tutors in their own houses, were not so manageable; and some of
them even went so far as to say, that the kirk, being only wanted on
Sunday, would do very well for a school all the rest of the week,
which was a very profane way of speaking; and I was resolved to set
myself against any such thing, and to labour, according to the power
and efficacy of my station, to get a new school built.

Many a meeting the session had on the subject; and the heritors
debated, and discussed, and revised their proceedings, and still no
money for the needful work was forthcoming. Whereupon it happened
one morning, as I was rummaging in my scrutoire, that I laid my hand
on the Lord Eaglesham's letter anent Charles Malcolm; and it was put
into my head at that moment, that if I was to write to his lordship,
who was the greatest heritor, and owned now the major part of the
parish, that by his help and influence I might be an instrument to
the building of a comfortable new school. Accordingly, I sat down
and wrote my lord all about the accident, and the state of the
school-house, and the divisions and seditions among the heritors,
and sent the letter to him at London by the post the same day,
without saying a word to any living soul on the subject.

This in me was an advised thought; for, by the return of post, his
lordship with his own hand, in a most kind manner, authorized me to
say that he would build a new school at his own cost, and bade me go
over and consult about it with his steward at the castle, to whom he
had written by the same post the necessary instructions. Nothing
could exceed the gladness which the news gave to the whole parish,
and none said more in behalf of his lordship's bounty and liberality
than the heritors; especially those gentry who grudged the
undertaking, when it was thought that it would have to come out of
their own pock-nook.

In the course of the summer, just as the roof was closing in of the
school-house, my lord came to the castle with a great company, and
was not there a day till he sent for me to come over, on the next
Sunday, to dine with him; but I sent him word that I could not do
so, for it would be a transgression of the Sabbath, which made him
send his own gentleman, to make his apology for having taken so
great a liberty with me, and to beg me to come on the Monday, which
I accordingly did, and nothing could be better than the discretion
with which I was used. There was a vast company of English ladies
and gentlemen, and his lordship, in a most jocose manner, told them
all how he had fallen on the midden, and how I had clad him in my
clothes, and there was a wonder of laughing and diversion; but the
most particular thing in the company, was a large, round-faced man,
with a wig, that was a dignitary in some great Episcopalian church
in London, who was extraordinary condescending towards me, drinking
wine with me at the table, and saying weighty sentences, in a fine
style of language, about the becoming grace of simplicity and
innocence of heart, in the clergy of all denominations of
Christians, which I was pleased to hear; for really he had a proud
red countenance, and I could not have thought he was so mortified to
humility within, had I not heard with what sincerity he delivered
himself, and seen how much reverence and attention was paid to him
by all present, particularly by my lord's chaplain, who was a pious
and pleasant young divine, though educated at Oxford for the
Episcopalian persuasion.

One day, soon after, as I was sitting in my closet conning a sermon
for the next Sunday, I was surprised by a visit from the dean, as
the dignitary was called. He had come, he said, to wait on me as
rector of the parish--for so, it seems, they call a pastor in
England--and to say, that, if it was agreeable, he would take a
family dinner with us before he left the castle. I could make no
objection to this kindness; but said I hoped my lord would come with
him, and that we would do our best to entertain them with all
suitable hospitality. About an hour or so after he had returned to
the castle, one of the flunkeys brought a letter from his lordship,
to say, that not only he would come with the dean, but that they
would bring his other guests with them; and that, as they could only
drink London wine, the butler would send me a hamper in the morning,
assured, as he was pleased to say, that Mrs Balwhidder would
otherwise provide good cheer.

This notification, however, was a great trouble to my wife, who was
only used to manufacture the produce of our glebe and yard to a
profitable purpose, and not used to the treatment of deans and
lords, and other persons of quality. However, she was determined to
stretch a point on this occasion; and we had, as all present
declared, a charming dinner; for fortunately one of the sows had a
litter of pigs a few days before, and in addition to a goose, that
is but a boss bird, we had a roasted pig with an apple in its mouth,
which was just a curiosity to see; and my lord called it a tithe
pig; but I told him it was one of Mrs Balwhidder's own clecking,
which saying of mine made no little sport when expounded to the

But, och how! this was the last happy summer that we had for many a
year in the parish; and an omen of the dule that ensued, was in a
sacrilegious theft that a daft woman, Jenny Gaffaw, and her idiot
daughter, did in the kirk, by tearing off and stealing the green
serge lining of my lord's pew, to make, as they said, a hap for
their shoulders in the cold weather--saving, however, the sin, we
paid no attention at the time to the mischief and tribulation that
so unheard-of a trespass boded to us all. It took place about Yule,
when the weather was cold and frosty, and poor Jenny was not very
able to go about seeking her meat as usual. The deed, however, was
mainly done by her daughter, who, when brought before me, said, "her
poor mother's back had mair need of claes than the kirk-boards;"
which was so true a thing, that I could not punish her, but wrote
anent it to my lord, who not only overlooked the offence, but sent
orders to the servants at the castle to be kind to the poor woman,
and the natural, her daughter.


When I look back on this year, and compare what happened therein
with the things that had gone before, I am grieved to the heart, and
pressed down with an afflicted spirit. We had, as may be read,
trials and tribulations in the days that were past; and in the rank
and boisterous times of the smuggling there was much sin and blemish
among us, but nothing so dark and awful as what fell out in the
course of this unhappy year. The evil omen of daft Jenny Gaffaw and
her daughter's sacrilege, had soon a bloody verification.

About the beginning of the month of March in this year, the war in
America was kindling so fast that the government was obligated to
send soldiers over the sea, in the hope to quell the rebellious
temper of the plantations; and a party of a regiment that was
quartered at Ayr was ordered to march to Greenock, to be there
shipped off. The men were wild and wicked profligates, without the
fear of the Lord before their eyes; and some of them had drawn up
with light women in Ayr, who followed them on their march. This the
soldiers did not like, not wishing to be troubled with such gear in
America; so the women, when they got the length of Kilmarnock, were
ordered to retreat and go home, which they all did but one Jean
Glaikit, who persisted in her intent to follow her joe, Patrick
O'Neil, a Catholic Irish corporal. The man did, as he said, all in
his capacity to persuade her to return, but she was a contumacious
limmer, and would not listen to reason; so that, in passing along
our toll-road, from less to more, the miserable wretches fell out,
and fought, and the soldier put an end to her with a hasty knock on
the head with his firelock, and marched on after his comrades.

The body of the woman was, about half an hour after, found by the
scholars of Mr Lorimore's school, who had got the play to see the
marching, and to hear the drums of the soldiers. Dreadful was the
shout and the cry throughout the parish at this foul work. Some of
the farmer lads followed the soldiers on horseback, and others ran
to Sir Hugh, who was a justice of the peace, for his advice.--Such a
day as that was!

However, the murderer was taken, and, with his arms tied behind him
with a cord, he was brought back to the parish, where he confessed
before Sir Hugh the deed, and how it happened. He was then put in a
cart, and, being well guarded by six of the lads, was taken to Ayr

It was not long after this that the murderer was brought to trial,
and, being found guilty on his own confession, he was sentenced to
be executed, and his body to be hung in chains near the spot where
the deed was done. I thought that all in the parish would have run
to desperation with horror when the news of this came, and I wrote
immediately to the Lord Eaglesham to get this done away by the
merciful power of the government, which he did, to our great solace
and relief.

In the autumn, the young Laird Macadam, being ordered with his
regiment for the Americas, got leave from the king to come and see
his lady mother, before his departure. But it was not to see her
only, as will presently appear.

Knowing how much her ladyship was averse to the notion he had of
Kate Malcolm, he did not write of his coming, lest she would send
Kate out of the way, but came in upon them at a late hour, as they
were wasting their precious time, as was the nightly wont of my
lady, with a pack of cards; and so far was she from being pleased to
see him, that no sooner did she behold his face, but, like a tap of
tow, she kindled upon both him and Kate, and ordered them out of her
sight and house. The young folk had discretion: Kate went home to
her mother, and the laird came to the manse, and begged us to take
him in. He then told me what had happened; and that, having bought
a captain's commission, he was resolved to marry Kate, and hoped I
would perform the ceremony, if her mother would consent. "As for
mine," said he, "she will never agree; but, when the thing is done,
her pardon will not be difficult to get; for, with all her whims and
caprice, she is generous and affectionate." In short, he so wiled
and beguiled me, that I consented to marry them, if Mrs Malcolm was
agreeable. "I will not disobey my mother," said he, "by asking her
consent, which I know she will refuse; and, therefore, the sooner it
is done the better." So we then stepped over to Mrs Malcolm's
house, where we found that saintly woman, with Kate and Effie, and
Willie, sitting peacefully at their fireside, preparing to read
their Bibles for the night. When we went in, and when I saw Kate,
that was so ladylike there, with the decent humility of her parent's
dwelling, I could not but think she was destined for a better
station; and when I looked at the captain, a handsome youth, I
thought surely their marriage is made in heaven; and so I said to
Mrs Malcolm, who after a time consented, and likewise agreed that
her daughter should go with the captain to America; for her faith
and trust in the goodness of Providence was great and boundless,
striving, as it were, to be even with its tender mercies.
Accordingly, the captain's man was sent to bid the chaise wait that
had taken him to the lady's, and the marriage was sanctified by me
before we left Mrs Malcolm's. No doubt, they ought to have been
proclaimed three several Sabbaths; but I satisfied the session, at
our first meeting, on account of the necessity of the case. The
young couple went in the chaise travelling to Glasgow, authorising
me to break the matter to Lady Macadam, which was a sore task; but I
was spared from the performance. For her ladyship had come to
herself, and thinking on her own rashness in sending away Kate and
the captain in the way she had done, she was like one by herself.
All the servants were scattered out and abroad in quest of the
lovers; and some of them, seeing the chaise drive from Mrs Malcolm's
door with them in it, and me coming out, jealoused what had been
done, and told their mistress outright of the marriage, which was to
her like a clap of thunder; insomuch that she flung herself back in
her settee, and was beating and drumming with her heels on the
floor, like a madwoman in Bedlam, when I entered the room. For some
time she took no notice of me, but continued her din; but, by-and-
by, she began to turn her eyes in fiery glances upon me, till I was
terrified lest she would fly at me with her claws in her fury. At
last she stopped all at once, and in a calm voice, said, "But it
cannot now be helped, where are the vagabonds?"--"They are gone,"
replied I.--"Gone?" cried she, "gone where?"--"To America, I
suppose," was my answer; upon which she again threw herself back in
the settee, and began again to drum and beat with her feet as
before. But not to dwell on small particularities, let it suffice
to say, that she sent her coachman on one of her coach horses,
which, being old and stiff, did not overtake the fugitives till they
were in their bed at Kilmarnock, where they stopped that night; but
when they came back to the lady's in the morning, she was as cagey
and meikle taken up with them, as if they had gotten her full
consent and privilege to marry from the first. Thus was the first
of Mrs Malcolm's children well and creditably settled. I have only
now to conclude with observing, that my son Gilbert was seized with
the smallpox about the beginning of December, and was blinded by
them for seventeen days; for the inoculation was not in practice yet
among us, saving only in the genteel families that went into
Edinburgh for the education of their children, where it was
performed by the faculty there.


The regular course of nature is calm and orderly, and tempests and
troubles are but lapses from the accustomed sobriety with which
Providence works out the destined end of all things. From Yule till
Pace-Monday there had been a gradual subsidence of our personal and
parochial tribulations, and the spring, though late, set in bright
and beautiful, and was accompanied with the spirit of contentment;
so that, excepting the great concern that we all began to take in
the American rebellion, especially on account of Charles Malcolm
that was in the man-of-war, and of Captain Macadam that had married
Kate, we had throughout the better half of the year but little
molestation of any sort. I should, however, note the upshot of the

By some cause that I do not recollect, if I ever had it properly
told, the regiment wherein the captain had bought his commission was
not sent to the plantations, but only over to Ireland, by which the
captain and his lady were allowed to prolong their stay in the
parish with his mother; and he, coming of age while he was among us,
in making a settlement on his wife, bought the house at the
Braehead, which was then just built by Thomas Shivers the mason, and
he gave that house, with a judicious income, to Mrs Malcolm, telling
her that it was not becoming, he having it in his power to do the
contrary, that she should any longer be dependent on her own
industry. For this the young man got a name like a sweet odour in
all the country side; but that whimsical and prelatic lady his
mother, just went out of all bounds, and played such pranks for an
old woman, as cannot be told. To her daughter-in-law, however, she
was wonderful kind; and, in fitting her out for going with the
captain to Dublin, it was extraordinary to hear what a paraphernalia
she provided her with. But who could have thought that in this
kindness a sore trial was brewing for me!

It happened that Miss Betty Wudrife, the daughter of an heritor, had
been on a visit to some of her friends in Edinburgh; and being in at
Edinburgh, she came out with a fine mantle, decked and adorned with
many a ribbon-knot, such as had never been seen in the parish. The
Lady Macadam, hearing of this grand mantle, sent to beg Miss Betty
to lend it to her, to make a copy for young Mrs Macadam. But Miss
Betty was so vogie with her gay mantle, that she sent back word, it
would be making it o'er common; which so nettled the old courtly
lady, that she vowed revenge, and said the mantle would not be long
seen on Miss Betty. Nobody knew the meaning of her words; but she
sent privately for Miss Sabrina, the schoolmistress, who was aye
proud of being invited to my lady's, where she went on the Sabbath
night to drink tea, and read Thomson's SEASONS and Hervey's
MEDITATIONS for her ladyship's recreation. Between the two, a
secret plot was laid against Miss Betty and her Edinburgh mantle;
and Miss Sabrina, in a very treacherous manner, for the which I
afterwards chided her severely, went to Miss Betty, and got a sight
of the mantle, and how it was made, and all about it, until she was
in a capacity to make another like it; by which my lady and her,
from old silk and satin negligees which her ladyship had worn at the
French court, made up two mantles of the selfsame fashion as Miss
Betty's, and, if possible, more sumptuously garnished, but in a
flagrant fool way. On the Sunday morning after, her ladyship sent
for Jenny Gaffaw, and her daft daughter Meg, and showed them the
mantles, and said she would give then half-a-crown if they would go
with them to the kirk, and take their place in the bench beside the
elders, and, after worship, walk home before Miss Betty Wudrife.
The two poor natural things were just transported with the sight of
such bravery, and needed no other bribe; so, over their bits of
ragged duds, they put on the pageantry, and walked away to the kirk
like peacocks, and took their place on the bench, to the great
diversion of the whole congregation.

I had no suspicion of this, and had prepared an affecting discourse
about the horrors of war, in which I touched, with a tender hand, on
the troubles that threatened families and kindred in America; but
all the time I was preaching, doing my best, and expatiating till
the tears came into my eyes, I could not divine what was the cause
of the inattention of my people. But the two vain haverels were on
the bench under me, and I could not see them; where they sat,
spreading their feathers and picking their wings, stroking down and
setting right their finery; with such an air as no living soul could
see and withstand; while every eye in the kirk was now on them, and
now at Miss Betty Wudrife, who was in a worse situation than if she
had been on the stool of repentance.

Greatly grieved with the little heed that was paid to my discourse,
I left the pulpit with a heavy heart; but when I came out into the
kirkyard, and saw the two antics linking like ladies, and aye
keeping in the way before Miss Betty, and looking back and around in
their pride and admiration, with high heads and a wonderful pomp, I
was really overcome, and could not keep my gravity, but laughed loud
out among the graves, and in the face of all my people; who, seeing
how I was vanquished in that unguarded moment by my enemy, made a
universal and most unreverent breach of all decorum, at which Miss
Betty, who had been the cause of all, ran into the first open door,
and almost fainted away with mortification.

This affair was regarded by the elders as a sinful trespass on the
orderlyness that was needful in the Lord's house; and they called on
me at the manse that night, and said it would be a guilty connivance
if I did not rebuke and admonish Lady Macadam of the evil of her
way; for they had questioned daft Jenny, and had got at the bottom
of the whole plot and mischief. But I, who knew her ladyship's
light way, would fain have had the elders to overlook it, rather
than expose myself to her tantrums; but they considered the thing as
a great scandal, so I was obligated to conform to their wishes. I
might, however, have as well stayed at home, for her ladyship was in
one of her jocose humours when I went to speak to her on the
subject; and it was so far from my power to make a proper impression
on her of the enormity that had been committed, that she made me
laugh, in spite of my reason, at the fantastical drollery of her
malicious prank on Miss Betty Wudrife.

It, however, did not end here; for the session, knowing that it was
profitless to speak to the daft mother and daughter, who had been
the instruments, gave orders to Willy Howking, the betheral, not to
let them again so far into the kirk; and Willy, having scarcely more
sense than them both, thought proper to keep them out next Sunday
altogether. The twa said nothing at the time, but the adversary was
busy with them; for, on the Wednesday following, there being a
meeting of the synod at Ayr, to my utter amazement the mother and
daughter made their appearance there in all their finery, and raised
a complaint against me and the session, for debarring them from
church privileges. No stage play could have produced such an
effect. I was perfectly dumfoundered; and every member of the synod
might have been tied with a straw, they were so overcome with this
new device of that endless woman, when bent on provocation--the Lady
Macadam; in whom the saying was verified, that old folk are twice
bairns; for in such plays, pranks, and projects, she was as playrife
as a very lassie at her sampler; and this is but a swatch to what
lengths she would go. The complaint was dismissed, by which the
session and me were assoilzied; but I'll never forget till the day
of my death what I suffered on that occasion, to be so put to the
wall by two born idiots.


It belongs to the chroniclers of the realm to describe the damage
and detriment which fell on the power and prosperity of the kingdom,
by reason of the rebellion, that was fired into open war, against
the name and authority of the king in the plantations of America;
for my task is to describe what happened within the narrow bound of
the pasturage of the Lord's flock, of which, in his bounty and
mercy, he made me the humble, willing, but alas! the weak and
ineffectual shepherd.

About the month of February, a recruiting party came to our
neighbour town of Irville, to beat up for men to be soldiers against
the rebels; and thus the battle was brought, as it were, to our
gates; for the very first man that took on with them was one Thomas
Wilson, a cottar in our clachan, who, up to that time, had been a
decent and creditable character. He was at first a farmer lad, but
had forgathered with a doited tawpy, whom he married, and had
offspring three or four. For some time it was noticed that he had a
down and thoughtful look, that his cleeding was growing bare, and
that his wife kept an untrig house, which, it was feared by many,
was the cause of Thomas going o'er often to the change-house; he
was, in short, during the greater part of the winter, evidently a
man foregone in the pleasures of this world, which made all that
knew him compassionate his situation.

No doubt, it was his household ills that burdened him past bearing,
and made him go into Irville, when he heard of the recruiting, and
take on to be a soldier. Such a wally-wallying as the news of this
caused at every door; for the red-coats--from the persecuting days,
when the black-cuffs rampaged through the country--soldiers that
fought for hire were held in dread and as a horror among us, and
terrible were the stories that were told of their cruelty and
sinfulness; indeed, there had not been wanting in our time a sample
of what they were, as witness the murder of Jean Glaikit by Patrick
O'Neil, the Irish corporal, anent which I have treated at large in
the memorables of the year 1774.

A meeting of the session was forthwith held; for here was Thomas
Wilson's wife and all his weans, an awful cess, thrown upon the
parish; and it was settled outright among us, that Mr Docken, who
was then an elder, but is since dead, a worthy man, with a soft
tongue and a pleasing manner, should go to Irville, and get Thomas,
if possible, released from the recruiters. But it was all in vain;
the sergeant would not listen to him, for Thomas was a strapping
lad; nor would the poor infatuated man himself agree to go back, but
cursed like a cadger, and swore that, if he stayed any longer among
his plagues, he would commit some rash act; so we were saddled with
his family, which was the first taste and preeing of what war is
when it comes into our hearths, and among the breadwinners.

The evil, however, did not stop here. Thomas, when he was dressed
out in the king's clothes, came over to see his bairns, and take a
farewell of his friends, and he looked so gallant, that the very
next market-day another lad of the parish listed with him; but he
was a ramplor, roving sort of a creature, and, upon the whole, it
was thought he did well for the parish when he went to serve the

The listing was a catching distemper. Before the summer was over,
the other three of the farming lads went off with the drum, and
there was a wailing in the parish, which made me preach a touching
discourse. I likened the parish to a widow woman with a small
family, sitting in her cottage by the fireside, herself spinning
with an eident wheel, ettling her best to get them a bit and a brat,
and the poor weans all canty about the hearthstane--the little ones
at their playocks, and the elder at their tasks--the callans working
with hooks and lines to catch them a meal of fish in the morning--
and the lassies working stockings to sell at the next Marymas fair.-
-And then I likened war to a calamity coming among them--the callans
drowned at their fishing--the lassies led to a misdoing--and the
feckless wee bairns laid on the bed of sickness, and their poor
forlorn mother sitting by herself at the embers of a cauldrife fire;
her tow done, and no a bodle to buy more; drooping a silent and salt
tear for her babies, and thinking of days that war gone, and, like
Rachel weeping for her children, she would not be comforted. With
this I concluded, for my own heart filled full with the thought, and
there was a deep sob in the Church; verily it was Rachel weeping for
her children.

In the latter end of the year, the man-of-war, with Charles Malcolm
in her, came to the tail of the Bank at Greenock, to press men as it
was thought, and Charles got leave from his captain to come and see
his mother; and he brought with him Mr Howard, another midshipman,
the son of a great parliament man in London, which, as we have
tasted the sorrow, gave us some insight into the pomp of war,
Charles was now grown up into a fine young man, rattling, light-
hearted, and just a cordial of gladness, and his companion was every
bit like him. They were dressed in their fine gold-laced garbs and
nobody knew Charles when he came to the clachan, but all wondered,
for they were on horseback, and rode to the house where his mother
lived when he went away, but which was then occupied by Miss Sabrina
and her school. Miss Sabrina had never seen Charles, but she had
heard of him; and when he enquired for his mother, she guessed who
he was, and showed him the way to the new house that the captain had
bought for her.

Miss Sabrina, who was a little overly perjink at times, behaved
herself on this occasion with a true spirit, and gave her lassies
the play immediately; so that the news of Charles's return was
spread by them like wildfire, and there was a wonderful joy in the
whole town. When Charles had seen his mother, and his sister Effie,
with that douce and well-mannered lad William, his brother--for of
their meeting I cannot speak, not being present--he then came with
his friend to see me at the manse, and was most jocose with me, and,
in a way of great pleasance, got Mrs Balwhidder to ask his friend to
sleep at the manse. In short, we had just a ploy the whole two days
they stayed with us, and I got leave from Lord Eaglesham's steward
to let them shoot on my lord's land; and I believe every laddie wean
in the parish attended them to the field. As for old Lady Macadam,
Charles being, as she said, a near relation, and she having likewise
some knowledge of his comrade's family, she was just in her element
with them, though they were but youths; for she a woman naturally of
a fantastical, and, as I have narrated, given to comical devices,
and pranks to a degree. She made for them a ball, to which she
invited all the bonniest lassies, far and near, in the parish, and
was out of the body with mirth, and had a fiddler from Irville; and
it was thought by those that were there, that had she not been
crippled with the rheumatics, she would have danced herself. But I
was concerned to hear both Charles and his friend, like hungry
hawks, rejoicing at the prospect of the war, hoping thereby, as soon
as their midship term was out, to be made lieutenants; saving this,
there was no allay in the happiness they brought with them to the
parish, and it was a delight to see how auld and young of all
degrees made of Charles; for we were proud of him, and none more
than myself, though he began to take liberties with me, calling me
old governor; it was, however, in a warm-hearted manner, only I did
not like it when any of the elders heard. As for his mother, she
deported herself like a saint on the occasion. There was a
temperance in the pleasure of her heart, and in her thankfulness,
that is past the compass of words to describe. Even Lady Macadam,
who never could think a serious thought all her days, said, in her
wild way that the gods had bestowed more care in the making of Mrs
Malcolm's temper, than on the bodies and souls of all the saints in
the calendar. On the Sunday the strangers attended divine worship,
and I preached a sermon purposely for them, and enlarged at great
length and fulness on how David overcame Goliath; and they both told
me that they had never heard such a good discourse; but I do not
think they were great judges of preachings. How, indeed, could Mr
Howard know anything of sound doctrine, being educated, as he told
me, at Eton school, a prelatic establishment! Nevertheless, he was
a fine lad; and though a little given to frolic and diversion, he
had a principle of integrity, that afterwards kythed into much
virtue; for, during this visit, he took a notion of Effie Malcolm,
and the lassie of him, then a sprightly and blooming creature, fair
to look upon, and blithe to see; and he kept up a correspondence
with her till the war was over, when being a captain of a frigate,
he came down among us, and they were married by me, as shall be
related in its proper place.


This may well be called the year of the heavy heart, for we had sad
tidings of the lads that went away as soldiers to America. First,
there was a boding in the minds of all their friends that they were
never to see them more; and their sadness, like a mist spreading
from the waters and covering the fields, darkened the spirit of the
neighbours. Secondly, a sound was bruited about that the king's
forces would have a hot and a sore struggle before the rebels were
put down, if they were ever put down. Then came the cruel truth of
all that the poor lads' friends had feared. But it is fit and
proper that I should relate at length, under their several heads,
the sorrows and afflictions as they came to pass.

One evening, as I was taking my walk alone, meditating my discourse
for the next Sabbath--it was shortly after Candlemas--it was a fine
clear frosty evening, just as the sun was setting. Taking my walk
alone, and thinking of the dreadfulness of Almighty power, and how
that, if it was not tempered and restrained by infinite goodness,
and wisdom, and mercy, the miserable sinner, man, and all things
that live, would be in a woeful state, I drew near the beild where
old Widow Mirkland lived by herself, who was grand-mother to Jock
Hempy, the ramplor lad, that was the second who took on for a
soldier. I did mind of this at the time; but, passing the house, I
heard the croon, as it were, of a laden soul busy with the Lord,
and, not to disturb the holy workings of grace, I paused and
listened. It was old Mizy Mirkland herself, sitting at the gable of
the house, looking at the sun setting in all his glory behind the
Arran hills; but she was not praying--only moaning to herself--an
oozing out, as it might be called, of the spirit from her heart,
then grievously oppressed with sorrow, and heavy bodements of grey
hairs and poverty.--"Yonder it slips awa'," she was saying, "and my
poor bairn, that's o'er the seas in America, is maybe looking on its
bright face, thinking of his hame, and aiblins of me, that did my
best to breed him up in the fear of the Lord; but I couldna warsle
wi' what was ordained. Ay, Jock! as ye look at the sun gaun down,
as many a time, when ye were a wee innocent laddie at my knee here,
I hae bade ye look at him as a type of your Maker, ye will hae a
sore heart; for ye hae left me in my need, when ye should hae been
near at hand to help me, for the hard labour and industry with which
I brought you up. But it's the Lord's will. Blessed be the name of
the Lord, that makes us to thole the tribulations of this world, and
will reward us, through the mediation of Jesus, hereafter." She
wept bitterly as she said this, for her heart was tried, but the
blessing of a religious contentment was shed upon her; and I stepped
up to her, and asked about her concerns, for, saving as a
parishioner, and a decent old woman, I knew little of her. Brief
was her story; but it was one of misfortune.--"But I will not
complain," she said, "of the measure that has been meted unto me. I
was left myself an orphan; when I grew up, and was married to my
gude-man, I had known but scant and want. Our days of felicity were
few; and he was ta'en awa' from me shortly after my Mary was born.
A wailing baby, and a widow's heart, was a' he left me. I nursed
her with my salt tears, and bred her in straits; but the favour of
God was with us, and she grew up to womanhood as lovely as the rose,
and as blameless as the lily. In her time she was married to a
farming lad. There never was a brawer pair in the kirk, than on
that day when they gaed there first as man and wife. My heart was
proud, and it pleased the Lord to chastise my pride--to nip my
happiness, even in the bud. The very next day he got his arm
crushed. It never got well again; and he fell into a decay, and
died in the winter, leaving my Mary far on in the road to be a

"When her time drew near, we both happened to be working in the
yard. She was delving to plant potatoes, and I told her it would do
her hurt; but she was eager to provide something, as she said, for
what might happen. Oh! it was an ill-omened word. The same night
her trouble came on, and before the morning she was a cauld corpse,
and another wee wee fatherless baby was greeting at my bosom--it was
him that's noo awa' in America. He grew up to be a fine bairn, with
a warm heart, but a light head, and, wanting the rein of a father's
power upon him, was no sa douce as I could have wished; but he was
no man's foe save his own. I thought, and hoped, as he grew to
years of discretion, he would have sobered, and been a consolation
to my old age; but he's gone, and he'll never come back--
disappointment is my portion in this world, and I have no hope;
while I can do, I will seek no help, but threescore and fifteen can
do little, and a small ail is a great evil to an aged woman, who has
but the distaff for her breadwinner."

I did all that I could to bid her be of good cheer, but the comfort
of a hopeful spirit was dead within her; and she told me, that by
many tokens she was assured her bairn was already slain.--"Thrice,"
said she, "I have seen his wraith--the first time he was in the
pride of his young manhood, the next he was pale and wan, with a
bloody and gashy wound in his side, and the third time there was a
smoke, and, when it cleared away, I saw him in a grave, with neither
winding-sheet nor coffin."

The tale of this pious and resigned spirit dwelt in mine ear, and,
when I went home, Mrs Balwhidder thought that I had met with an
o'ercome, and was very uneasy; so she got the tea soon ready to make
me better; but scarcely had we tasted the first cup when a loud
lamentation was heard in the kitchen. This was from that tawpy the
wife of Thomas Wilson, with her three weans. They had been seeking
their meat among the farmer houses, and, in coming home, forgathered
on the road with the Glasgow carrier, who told them that news had
come, in the London Gazette, of a battle, in which the regiment that
Thomas had listed in was engaged, and had suffered loss both in rank
and file; none doubting that their head was in the number of the
slain, the whole family grat aloud, and came to the manse, bewailing
him as no more; and it afterwards turned out to be the case, making
it plain to me that there is a farseeing discernment in the spirit,
that reaches beyond the scope of our incarnate senses.

But the weight of the war did not end with these afflictions; for,
instead of the sorrow that the listing caused, and the anxiety
after, and the grief of the bloody tidings, operating as wholesome
admonition to our young men, the natural perversity of the human
heart was more and more manifested. A wonderful interest was raised
among us all to hear of what was going on in the world; insomuch,
that I myself was no longer contented with the relation of the news
of the month in the Scots Magazine, but joined with my father-in-
law, Mr Kibbock, to get a newspaper twice a-week from Edinburgh. As
for Lady Macadam, who being naturally an impatient woman, she had
one sent to her three times a-week from London, so that we had
something fresh five times every week; and the old papers were lent
out to the families who had friends in the wars. This was done on
my suggestion, hoping it would make all content with their peaceable
lot; but dominion for a time had been given to the power of
contrariness, and it had quite an opposite effect. It begot a
curiosity, egging on to enterprise; and, greatly to my sorrow, three
of the brawest lads in the parish, or in any parish, all in one day
took on with a party of the Scots Greys that were then lying in Ayr;
and nothing would satisfy the callans at Mr Lorimore's school, but,
instead of their innocent plays with girs, and shinties, and
sicklike, they must go ranking like soldiers, and fight sham-fights
in bodies. In short, things grew to a perfect hostility, for a
swarm of weans came out from the schools of Irville on a Saturday
afternoon, and, forgathering with ours, they had a battle with
stones on the toll-road, such as was dreadful to hear of; for many a
one got a mark that day he will take to the grave with him.

It was not, however, by accidents of the field only, that we were
afflicted; those of the flood, too, were sent likewise against us.
In the month of October, when the corn was yet in the holms, and on
the cold land by the river side, the water of Irville swelled to a
great spait, from bank to brae, sweeping all before it, and roaring,
in its might, like an agent of divine displeasure, sent forth to
punish the inhabitants of the earth. The loss of the victual was a
thing reparable, and those that suffered did not greatly complain;
for, in other respects, their harvest had been plenteous: but the
river, in its fury, not content with overflowing the lands, burst
through the sandy hills with a raging force, and a riving asunder of
the solid ground, as when the fountains of the great deep were
broken up. All in the parish was a-foot, and on the hills, some
weeping and wringing their hands, not knowing what would happen,
when they beheld the landmarks of the waters deserted, and the river
breaking away through the country, like the war-horse set loose in
his pasture, and glorying in his might. By this change in the way
and channel of the river, all the mills in our parish were left more
than half a mile from dam or lade; and the farmers through the whole
winter, till the new mills were built, had to travel through a heavy
road with their victual, which was a great grievance, and added not
a little to the afflictions of this unhappy year, which to me were
not without a particularity, by the death of a full cousin of Mrs
Balwhidder, my first wife; she was grievously burnt by looting over
a candle. Her mutch, which was of the high structure then in vogue,
took fire, and being fastened with corking-pins to a great toupee,
it could not be got off until she had sustained a deadly injury, of
which, after lingering long, she was kindly eased by her removal
from trouble. This sore accident was to me a matter of deep concern
and cogitation; but as it happened in Tarbolton, and no in our
parish, I have only alluded to it to show, that when my people were
chastised by the hand of Providence, their pastor was not spared,
but had a drop from the same vial.


This year was as the shadow of the bygane: there was less actual
suffering, but what we came through cast a gloom among us, and we
did not get up our spirits till the spring was far advanced; the
corn was in the ear, and the sun far towards midsummer height,
before there was any regular show of gladness in the parish.

It was clear to me that the wars were not to be soon over; for I
noticed, in the course of this year, that there was a greater
christening of lad bairns than had ever been in any year during my
incumbency; and grave and wise persons, observant of the signs of
the times, said, that it had been long held as a sure
prognostication of war, when the births of male children outnumbered
that of females.

Our chief misfortune in this year was a revival of that wicked
mother of many mischiefs, the smuggling trade, which concerned me
greatly; but it was not allowed to it to make any thing like a
permanent stay among us, though in some of the neighbouring
parishes, its ravages, both in morals and property, were very
distressing, and many a mailing was sold to pay for the triumphs of
the cutters and gaugers; for the government was by this time grown
more eager, and the war caused the king's ships to be out and about,
which increased the trouble of the smugglers, whose wits in their
turn were thereby much sharpened.

After Mrs Malcolm, by the settlement of Captain Macadam, had given
up her dealing, two maiden women, that were sisters, Betty and Janet
Pawkie, came in among us from Ayr, where they had friends in league
with some of the laigh land folk, that carried on the contraband
with the Isle of Man, which was the very eye of the smuggling. They
took up the tea-selling, which Mrs Malcolm had dropped, and did
business on a larger scale, having a general huxtry, with
parliament-cakes, and candles, and pincushions, as well as other
groceries, in their window. Whether they had any contraband
dealings, or were only back-bitten, I cannot take it upon me to say;
but it was jealoused in the parish that the meal in the sacks, that
came to their door at night, and was sent to the Glasgow market in
the morning, was not made of corn. They were, however, decent
women, both sedate and orderly; the eldest, Betty Pawkie, was of a
manly stature, and had a long beard, which made her have a coarse
look; but she was, nevertheless, a worthy, well-doing creature, and
at her death she left ten pounds to the poor of the parish, as may
be seen in the mortification board that the session put up in the
kirk as a testification and an example.

Shortly after the revival of the smuggling, an exciseman was put
among us, and the first was Robin Bicker, a very civil lad that had
been a flunkey with Sir Hugh Montgomerie, when he was a residenter
in Edinburgh, before the old Sir Hugh's death. He was a queer
fellow, and had a coothy way of getting in about folk, the which was
very serviceable to him in his vocation; nor was he overly gleg:
but when a job was ill done, and he was obliged to notice it, he
would often break out on the smugglers for being so stupid, so that
for an exciseman he was wonderful well liked, and did not object to
a waught of brandy at a time; when the auld wives ca'd it well-
water. It happened, however, that some unneighbourly person sent
him notice of a clecking of tea chests, or brandy kegs, at which
both Jenny and Betty Pawkie were the howdies. Robin could not but
therefore enter their house; however, before going in, he just cried
at the door to somebody on the road, so as to let the twa
industrious lassies hear he was at hand. They were not slack in
closing the trance-door, and putting stoups and stools behind it, so
as to cause trouble, and give time before any body could get in.
They then emptied their chaff-bed, and filled the tikeing with tea,
and Betty went in on the top, covering herself with the blanket, and
graining like a woman in labour. It was thought that Robin Bicker
himself would not have been overly particular in searching the
house, considering there was a woman seemingly in the death-thraws;
but a sorner, an incomer from the east country, and that hung about
the change-house as a divor hostler, that would rather gang a day's
journey in the dark than turn a spade in day-light, came to him as
he stood at the door, and went in with him to see the sport. Robin,
for some reason, could not bid him go away, and both Betty and Janet
were sure he was in the plot against them; indeed, it was always
thought he was an informer, and no doubt he was something not canny,
for he had a down look.

It was some time before the doorway was cleared of the stoups and
stools, and Jenny was in great concern, and flustered, as she said,
for her poor sister, who was taken with a heart-colic. "I'm sorry
for her," said Robin, "but I'll be as quiet as possible;" and so he
searched all the house, but found nothing; at the which his
companion, the divor east country hostler, swore an oath that could
not be misunderstood; so, without more ado, but as all thought
against the grain, Robin went up to sympathize with Betty in the
bed, whose groans were loud and vehement. "Let me feel your pulse,"
said Robin, and he looted down as she put forth her arm from aneath
the clothes, and laying his hand on the bed, cried, "Hey! what's
this? this is a costly filling." Upon which Betty jumpet up quite
recovered, and Jenny fell to the wailing and railing, while the
hostler from the east country took the bed of tea on his back, to
carry it to the change-house, till a cart was gotten to take it into
the custom-house at Irville.

Betty Pawkie being thus suddenly cured, and grudging the loss of
property, took a knife in her hand, and as the divor was crossing
the burn at the stepping-stones that lead to the back of the change-
house, she ran after him and ripped up the tikeing, and sent all the
tea floating away on the burn, which was thought a brave action of
Betty, and the story not a little helped to lighten our melancholy

Robin Bicker was soon after this affair removed to another district,
and we got in his place one Mungo Argyle, who was as proud as a
provost, being come of Highland parentage. Black was the hour he
came among my people; for he was needy and greedy, and rode on the
top of his commission. Of all the manifold ills in the train of
smuggling, surely the excisemen are the worst, and the setting of
this rabiator over us was a severe judgment for our sins. But he
suffered for't, and peace be with him in the grave, where the wicked
cease from troubling!

Willie Malcolm, the youngest son of his mother, had by this time
learned all that Mr Lorimore, the schoolmaster, could teach; and as
it was evidenced to every body, by his mild manners and saintliness
of demeanour, that he was a chosen vessel, his mother longed to
fulfil his own wish, which was doubtless the natural working of the
act of grace that had been shed upon him; but she had not the
wherewithal to send him to the college of Glasgow, where he was
desirous to study, and her just pride would not allow her to cess
his brother-in-law, the Captain Macadam, whom, I should now mention,
was raised in the end of this year, as we read in the newspapers, to
be a major. I thought her in this somewhat unreasonable, for she
would not be persuaded to let me write to the captain; but when I
reflected on the good that Willie Malcolm might in time do as a
preacher, I said nothing more to her, but indited a letter to the
Lord Eaglesham, setting forth the lad's parts, telling who he was
and all about his mother's scruples; and, by the retour of the post
from London his lordship sent me an order on his steward, to pay me
twenty pounds towards equipping my protegee, as he called Willie,
with a promise to pay for his education, which was such a great
thing for his lordship to do off-hand on my recommendation, that it
won much affection throughout the country side; and folks began to
wonder, rehearsing the great things, as was said, that I had gotten
my lord at different times, and on divers occasions, to do, which
had a vast of influence among my brethren of the presbytery, and
they grew into a state of greater cordiality with me, looking on me
as a man having authority; but I was none thereat lifted up, for not
being gifted with the power of a kirk-filling eloquence, I was but
little sought for at sacraments, and fasts, and solemn days, which
was doubtless well ordained; for I had no motive to seek fame in
foreign pulpits, but was left to walk in the paths of simplicity
within my own parish. To eschew evil myself, and to teach others to
do the same, I thought the main duties of the pastoral office, and
with a sincere heart endeavoured what in me lay to perform them with
meekness, sobriety, and a spirit wakeful to the inroads of sin and
Satan. But oh, the sordiness of human nature!--The kindness of the
Lord Eaglesham's own disposition was ascribed to my influence, and
many a dry answer I was obliged to give to applicants that would
have me trouble his lordship, as if I had a claim upon him. In the
ensuing year, the notion of my cordiality with him came to a great
head, and brought about an event, that could not have been
forethought by me as a thing within the compass of possibility to
bring to pass.


I was named in this year for the General Assembly, and Mrs
Balwhidder, by her continual thrift, having made our purse able to
stand a shake against the wind, we resolved to go into Edinburgh in
a creditable manner. Accordingly, in conjunct with Mrs Dalrymple,
the lady of a major of that name, we hired the Irville chaise, and
we put up in Glasgow, at the Black Boy, where we stayed all night.
Next morning, by seven o'clock, we got into a fly-coach for the
capital of Scotland, which we reached after a heavy journey about
the same hour in the evening, and put up at the public where it
stopped till the next day; for really both me and Mrs Balwhidder
were worn out with the undertaking, and found a cup of tea a vast

Betimes, in the morning, having taken our breakfast, we got a caddy
to guide us and our wallise to Widow M'Vicar's, at the head of the
Covenanters' Close. She was a relation to my first wife, Betty
Lanshaw, my own full cousin that was, and we had advised her, by
course of post, of our coming, and intendment to lodge with her as
uncos and strangers. But Mrs M'Vicar kept a cloth shop, and sold
plaidings and flannels, besides Yorkshire superfines, and was used
to the sudden incoming of strangers, especially visitants, both from
the West and the North Highlands, and was withal a gawsy furthy
woman, taking great pleasure in hospitality, and every sort of
kindliness and discretion. She would not allow of such a thing as
our being lodgers in her house, but was so cagey to see us, and to
have it in her power to be civil to a minister, as she was pleased
to say, of such repute, that nothing less would content her but that
we must live upon her, and partake of all the best that could be
gotten for us within the walls of "the gude town."

When we found ourselves so comfortable, Mrs Balwhidder and me waited
on my patron's family that was, the young ladies, and the laird, who
had been my pupil, but was now an advocate high in the law. They
likewise were kind also. In short, every body in Edinburgh were in
a manner wearisome kind, and we could scarcely find time to see the
Castle and the palace of Holyrood-house, and that more sanctified
place, where the Maccabeus of the Kirk of Scotland, John Knox, was
wont to live.

Upon my introduction to his grace the Commissioner, I was delighted
and surprised to find the Lord Eaglesham at the levee, and his
lordship was so glad on seeing me, that he made me more kenspeckle
than I could have wished to have been in his grace's presence; for,
owing to the same, I was required to preach before his grace, upon a
jocose recommendation of his lordship; the which gave me great
concern, and daunted me so that in the interim I was almost bereft
of all peace and studious composure of mind. Fain would I have
eschewed the honour that was thus thrust upon me; but both my wife
and Mrs M'Vicar were just lifted out of themselves with the thought.

When the day came, I thought all things in this world were loosened
from their hold, and that the sure and steadfast earth itself was
grown coggly beneath my feet, as I mounted the pulpit. With what
sincerity I prayed for help that day! and never stood man more in
need of it; for through all my prayer the congregation was so
watchful and still, doubtless to note if my doctrine was orthodox,
that the beating of my heart might have been heard to the uttermost
corners of the kirk.

I had chosen as my text, from Second Samuel, xixth chapter and 35th
verse, these words--"Can I hear any more the voice of singing men
and singing women? Wherefore, then, should thy servant be yet a
burden to the king?" And hardly had I with a trembling voice read
the words, when I perceived an awful stir in the congregation; for
all applied the words to the state of the church, and the
appointment of his grace the Commissioner. Having paused after
giving out the text, the same fearful and critical silence again
ensued, and every eye was so fixed upon me, that I was for a time
deprived of courage to look about; but heaven was pleased to
compassionate my infirmity, and as I proceeded, I began to warm as
in my own pulpit. I described the gorgeous Babylonian harlot riding
forth in her chariots of gold and silver, with trampling steeds and
a hurricane of followers, drunk with the cup of abominations, all
shouting with revelry, and glorying in her triumph, treading down in
their career those precious pearls, the saints and martyrs, into the
mire beneath their swinish feet. "Before her you may behold
Wantonness playing the tinkling cymbal, Insolence beating the drum,
and Pride blowing the trumpet. Every vice is there with his
emblems; and the seller of pardons, with his crucifix and triple
crown, is distributing his largess of perdition. The voices of men
shout to set wide the gates, to give entrance to the queen of
nations, and the gates are set wide, and they all enter. The
avenging gates close on them--they are all shut up in hell."

There was a sough in the kirk as I said these words; for the vision
I described seemed to be passing before me as I spoke, and I felt as
if I had witnessed the everlasting destruction of Antichrist, and
the worshippers of the Beast. But soon recovering myself, I said in
a soft and gentle manner, "Look at yon lovely creature in virgin-
raiment, with the Bible in her hand. See how mildly she walks
along, giving alms to the poor as she passes on towards the door of
that lowly dwelling--Let us follow her in--She takes her seat in the
chair at the bedside of the poor old dying sinner; and as he tosses
in the height of penitence and despair, she reads to him the promise
of the Saviour--'This night thou shalt be with me in Paradise;' and
he embraces her with transports, and, falling back on his pillow,
calmly closes his eyes in peace. She is the true religion; and when
I see what she can do even in the last moments of the guilty, well
may we exclaim, when we think of the symbols and pageantry of the
departed superstition, Can I hear any more the voice of singing men
and singing women? No; let us cling to the simplicity of the Truth
that is now established in our native land."

At the conclusion of this clause of my discourse, the congregation,
which had been all so still and so solemn, never coughing, as was
often the case among my people, gave a great rustle, changing their
positions, by which I was almost overcome; however, I took heart and
ventured on, and pointed out that, with our Bible and an orthodox
priesthood, we stood in no need of the king's authority, however
bound we were, in temporal things, to respect it; and I showed this
at some length, crying out in the words of my text, "Wherefore,
then, should thy servant be yet a burden to the king?" in the saying
of which I happened to turn my eyes towards his grace the
Commissioner, as he sat on the throne, and I thought his countenance
was troubled, which made me add, that he might not think I meant him
any offence, "That the King of the Church was one before whom the
great, and the wise, and the good--all doomed and sentenced
convicts--implore his mercy." "It is true," said I, "that in the
days of his tribulation he was wounded for our iniquities, and died
to save us; but, at his death, his greatness was proclaimed by the
quick and the dead. There was sorrow, and there was wonder, and
there was rage, and there was remorse; but there was no shame there-
-none blushed on that day at that sight but yon glorious luminary."
The congregation rose, and looked round, as the sun that I pointed
at shone in at the window. I was disconcerted by their movement,
and my spirit was spent, so that I could say no more.

When I came down from the pulpit, there was a great pressing in of
acquaintance and ministers, who lauded me exceedingly; but I thought
it could be only in derision, therefore I slipped home to Mrs
M'Vicar's as fast as I could.

Mrs M'Vicar, who was a clever, hearing-all sort of a neighbour, said
my sermon was greatly thought of, and that I had surprised
everybody; but I was fearful there was something of jocularity at
the bottom of this, for she was a flaunty woman, and liked well to
give a good-humoured gibe or jeer. However, his grace the
Commissioner was very thankful for the discourse, and complimented
me on what he called my apostolical earnestness; but he was a
courteous man, and I could not trust to him, especially as my lord
Eaglesham had told me in secrecy before--it's true, it was in his
gallanting way--that, in speaking of the king's servant as I had
done, I had rather gone beyond the bounds of modern moderation.
Altogether, I found neither pleasure nor profit in what was thought
so great an honour, but longed for the privacy of my own narrow
pasture, and little flock.

It was in this visit to Edinburgh that Mrs Balwhidder bought her
silver teapot, and other ornamental articles; but this was not done,
as she assured me, in a vain spirit of bravery, which I could not
have abided, but because it was well known that tea draws better in
a silver pot, and drinks pleasanter in a china cup, than out of any
other kind of cup or teapot.

By the time I got home to the manse, I had been three whole weeks
and five days absent, which was more than all my absences together,
from the time of my placing; and my people were glowing with
satisfaction when they saw us driving in a Glasgow chaise through
the clachan to the manse.

The rest of the year was merely a quiet succession of small
incidents, none of which are worthy of notation, though they were
all severally, no doubt, of aught somewhere, as they took us both
time and place in the coming to pass, and nothing comes to pass
without helping onwards to some great end; each particular little
thing that happens in the world being a seed sown by the hand of
Providence to yield an increase, which increase is destined, in its
turn, to minister to some higher purpose, until at last the issue
affects the whole earth. There is nothing in all the world that
doth not advance the cause of goodness; no, not even the sins of the
wicked, though, through the dim casement of her mortal tabernacle,
the soul of man cannot discern the method thereof.


This was, among ourselves, another year of few events. A sound, it
is true, came among us of a design, on the part of the government in
London, to bring back the old harlotry of papistry; but we spent our
time in the lea of the hedge, and the lown of the hill. Some there
were that a panic seized upon when they heard of Lord George Gordon,
that zealous Protestant, being committed to the Tower; but for my
part, I had no terror upon me, for I saw all things around me going
forward improving; and I said to myself, it is not so when
Providence permits scathe and sorrow to fall upon a nation. Civil
troubles, and the casting down of thrones, is always forewarned by
want and poverty striking the people. What I have, therefore,
chiefly to record as the memorables of this year, are things of
small import--the main of which are, that some of the neighbouring
lairds, taking example by Mr Kibbock, my father-in-law that was,
began in this fall to plant the tops of their hills with mounts of
fir-trees; and Mungo Argyle, the exciseman, just herried the poor
smugglers to death, and made a power of prize-money, which, however,
had not the wonted effect of riches, for it brought him no honour;
and he lived in the parish like a leper, or any other kind of
excommunicated person.

But I should not forget a most droll thing that took place with
Jenny Gaffaw, and her daughter. They had been missed from the
parish for some days, and folk began to be uneasy about what could
have become of the two silly creatures; till one night, at the dead
hour, a strange light was seen beaming and burning at the window of
the bit hole where they lived. It was first observed by Lady
Macadam, who never went to bed at any Christian hour, but sat up
reading her new French novels and play-books with Miss Sabrina, the
schoolmistress. She gave the alarm, thinking that such a great and
continuous light from a lone house, where never candle had been seen
before, could be nothing less than the flame of a burning. And
sending Miss Sabrina and the servants to see what was the matter,
they beheld daft Jenny, and her as daft daughter, with a score of
candle doups, (Heaven only knows where they got them!) placed in the
window, and the twa fools dancing, and linking, and admiring before
the door. "What's all this about, Jenny," said Miss Sabrina.--"Awa'
wi' you, awa' wi' you--ye wicked pope, ye whore of Babylon--is na it
for the glory of God, and the Protestant religion? d'ye think I will
be a pope as long as light can put out darkness?"--And with that the
mother and daughter began again to leap and dance as madly as

It seems that poor Jenny, having heard of the luminations that were
lighted up through the country on the ending of the Popish Bill,
had, with Meg, travelled by themselves into Glasgow, where they had
gathered or begged a stock of candles, and coming back under the
cloud of night, had surprised and alarmed the whole clachan, by
lighting up their window in the manner that I have described. Poor
Miss Sabrina, at Jenny's uncivil salutation, went back to my lady
with her heart full, and would fain have had the idiots brought to
task before the session, for what they had said to her. But I would
not hear tell of such a thing, for which Miss Sabrina owed me a
grudge that was not soon given up. At the same time, I was grieved
to see the testimonies of joyfulness for a holy victory, brought
into such disrepute by the ill-timed demonstrations of the two
irreclaimable naturals, that had not a true conception of the cause
for which they were triumphing.


If the two last years passed o'er the heads of me and my people
without any manifest dolour, which is a great thing to say for so
long a period in this world, we had our own trials and tribulations
in the one of which I have now to make mention. Mungo Argyle, the
exciseman, waxing rich, grew proud and petulant, and would have
ruled the country side with a rod of iron. Nothing less would serve
him than a fine horse to ride on, and a world of other conveniences
and luxuries, as if he had been on an equality with gentlemen. And
he bought a grand gun, which was called a fowling-piece; and he had
two pointer dogs, the like of which had not been seen in the parish
since the planting of the Eaglesham-wood on the moorland, which was
four years before I got the call. Every body said the man was fey;
and truly, when I remarked him so gallant and gay on the Sabbath at
the kirk, and noted his glowing face and gleg een, I thought at
times there was something no canny about him. It was indeed clear
to be seen, that the man was hurried out of himself; but nobody
could have thought that the death he was to dree would have been
what it was.

About the end of summer my Lord Eaglesham came to the castle,
bringing with him an English madam, that was his Miss. Some days
after he came down from London, as he was riding past the manse, his
lordship stopped to enquire for my health, and I went to the door to
speak to him. I thought that he did not meet me with that blithe
countenance he was wont, and in going away, he said with a blush, "I
fear I dare not ask you to come to the castle." I had heard of his
concubine, and I said, "In saying so, my lord, you show a spark of
grace; for it would not become me to see what I have heard; and I am
surprised, my lord, you will not rather take a lady of your own."
He looked kindly, but confused, saying, he did not know where to get
one; so seeing his shame, and not wishing to put him out of conceit
entirely with himself, I replied, "Na, na, my lord, there's nobody
will believe that, for there never was a silly Jock, but there was
as silly a Jenny," at which he laughed heartily, and rode away. But
I know not what was in't; I was troubled in mind about him, and
thought, as he was riding away, that I would never see him again;
and sure enough it so happened; for the next day, being airing in
his coach with Miss Spangle, the lady he had brought, he happened to
see Mungo Argyle with his dogs and his gun, and my lord being as
particular about his game as the other was about boxes of tea and
kegs of brandy, he jumped out of the carriage, and ran to take the
gun. Words passed, and the exciseman shot my lord. Never shall I
forget that day; such riding, such running, the whole country side
afoot; but the same night my lord breathed his last; and the mad and
wild reprobate that did the deed was taken up and sent off to
Edinburgh. This was a woeful riddance of that oppressor, for my
lord was a good landlord and a kind-hearted man; and albeit, though
a little thoughtless, was aye ready to make his power, when the way
was pointed out, minister to good works. The whole parish mourned
for him, and there was not a sorer heart in all its bounds than my
own. Never was such a sight seen as his burial: the whole country
side was there, and all as solemn as if they had been assembled in
the valley of Jehoshaphat in the latter day. The hedges where the
funeral was to pass were clad with weans, like bunches of hips and
haws, and the kirkyard was as if all its own dead were risen.
Never, do I think, was such a multitude gathered together. Some
thought there could not be less than three thousand grown men,
besides women and children.

Scarcely was this great public calamity past, for it could be
reckoned no less, when one Saturday afternoon, as Miss Sabrina, the
schoolmistress, was dining with Lady Macadam, her ladyship was
stricken with the paralytics, and her face so thrown in the course
of a few minutes, that Miss Sabrina came flying to the manse for the
help and advice of Mrs Balwhidder. A doctor was gotten with all
speed by express; but her ladyship was smitten beyond the reach of
medicine. She lived, however, some time after; but oh! she was such
an object, that it was a grief to see her. She could only mutter
when she tried to speak, and was as helpless as a baby. Though she
never liked me, nor could I say there was many things in her
demeanour that pleased me; yet she was a free-handed woman to the
needful, and when she died she was more missed than it was thought
she could have been.

Shortly after her funeral, which was managed by a gentleman sent
from her friends in Edinburgh, that I wrote to about her condition,
the Major, her son, with his lady, Kate Malcolm, and two pretty
bairns, came and stayed in her house for a time, and they were a
great happiness to us all, both in the way of drinking tea, and
sometimes taking a bit of dinner, their only mother now, the worthy
and pious Mrs Malcolm, being regularly of the company.

Before the end of the year, I should mention, that the fortune of
Mrs Malcolm's family got another shove upwards, by the promotion of
her second son, Robert Malcolm, who, being grown an expert and
careful mariner, was made captain of a grand ship, whereof Provost
Maitland of Glasgow, that was kind to his mother in her distresses,
was the owner. But that douce lad Willie, her youngest son, who was
at the university of Glasgow under the Lord Eaglesham's patronage,
was like to have suffered a blight. However, Major Macadam, when I
spoke to him anent the young man's loss of his patron, said, with a
pleasant generosity, he should not be stickit; and, accordingly, he
made up, as far as money could, for the loss of his lordship; but
there was none that made up for the great power and influence,
which, I have no doubt, the Earl would have exerted in his behalf,
when he was ripened for the church. So that, although in time
William came out a sound and heart-searching preacher, he was long
obliged, like many another unfriended saint, to cultivate sand, and
wash Ethiopians in the shape of an east country gentleman's
camstrairy weans; than which, as he wrote me himself, there cannot
be on earth a greater trial of temper. However, in the end he was
rewarded, and is not only now a placed minister, but a doctor of

The death of Lady Macadam was followed by another parochial
misfortune; for, considering the time when it happened, we could
count it as nothing less. Auld Thomas Howkings, the betheral, fell
sick, and died in the course of a week's illness, about the end of
November; and the measles coming at that time upon the parish, there
was such a smashery of the poor weans as had not been known for an
age; insomuch that James Banes, the lad who was Thomas Howkings'
helper, rose in open rebellion against the session during his
superior's illness; and we were constrained to augment his pay, and
to promise him the place if Thomas did not recover, which it was
then thought he could not do. On the day this happened, there were
three dead children in the clachan, and a panic and consternation
spread about the burial of them when James Bane's insurrection was
known, which made both me and the session glad to hush up the
affair, that the heart of the public might have no more than the
sufferings of individuals to hurt it.--Thus ended a year, on many
accounts, heavy to be remembered.


Although I have not been particular in noticing it, from time to
time, there had been an occasional going off, at fairs and on
market-days, of the lads of the parish as soldiers, and when Captain
Malcolm got the command of his ship, no less than four young men
sailed with him from the clachan; so that we were deeper and deeper
interested in the proceedings of the doleful war that was raging in
the plantations. By one post we heard of no less than three brave
fellows belonging to us being slain in one battle, for which there
was a loud and general lamentation.

Shortly after this, I got a letter from Charles Malcolm, a very
pretty letter it indeed was: he had heard of my Lord Eaglesham's
murder, and grieved for the loss, both because his lordship was a
good man, and because he had been such a friend to him and his
family. "But," said Charles, "the best way I can show my gratitude
for his patronage, is to prove myself a good officer to my king and
country." Which I thought a brave sentiment, and was pleased
thereat; for somehow Charles, from the time he brought me the limes
to make a bowl of punch, in his pocket from Jamaica, had built a
nest of affection in my heart. But, oh! the wicked wastry of life
in war. In less than a month after, the news came of a victory over
the French fleet, and by the same post I got a letter from Mr
Howard, that was the midshipman who came to see us with Charles,
telling me that poor Charles had been mortally wounded in the
action, and had afterwards died of his wounds. "He was a hero in
the engagement," said Mr Howard, "and he died as a good and a brave
man should."--These tidings gave me one of the sorest hearts I ever
suffered, and it was long before I could gather fortitude to
disclose the tidings to poor Charles's mother. But the callants of
the school had heard of the victory, and were going shouting about,
and had set the steeple bell a-ringing, by which Mrs Malcolm heard
the news; and knowing that Charles's ship was with the fleet, she
came over to the manse in great anxiety to hear the particulars,
somebody telling her that there had been a foreign letter to me by
the postman.

When I saw her I could not speak, but looked at her in pity, and,
the tear fleeing up into my eyes, she guessed what had happened.
After giving a deep and sore sigh, she enquired, "How did he behave?
I hope well, for he was aye a gallant laddie!"--and then she wept
very bitterly. However, growing calmer, I read to her the letter;
and, when I had done, she begged me to give it to her to keep,
saying, "It's all that I have now left of my pretty boy; but it's
mair precious to me than the wealth of the Indies;" and she begged
me to return thanks to the Lord for all the comforts and manifold
mercies with which her lot had been blessed, since the hour she put
her trust in him alone; and that was when she was left a penniless
widow, with her five fatherless bairns.

It was just an edification of the spirit to see the Christian
resignation of this worthy woman. Mrs Balwhidder was confounded,
and said, there was more sorrow in seeing the deep grief of her
fortitude than tongue could tell.

Having taken a glass of wine with her, I walked out to conduct her
to her own house; but in the way we met with a severe trial. All
the weans were out parading with napkins and kail-blades on sticks,
rejoicing and triumphing in the glad tidings of victory. But when
they saw me and Mrs Malcolm coming slowly along, they guessed what
had happened, and threw away their banners of joy; and standing all
up in a row, with silence and sadness, along the kirkyard wall as we
passed, showed an instinct of compassion that penetrated to my very
soul. The poor mother burst into fresh affliction, and some of the
bairns into an audible weeping; and, taking one another by the hand,
they followed us to her door, like mourners at a funeral. Never was
such a sight seen in any town before. The neighbours came to look
at it as we walked along, and the men turned aside to hide their
faces; while the mothers pressed their babies fondlier to their
bosoms, and watered their innocent faces with their tears.

I prepared a suitable sermon, taking as the words of my text, "Howl,
ye ships of Tarshish, for your strength is laid waste." But when I
saw around me so many of my people clad in complimentary mourning
for the gallant Charles Malcolm, and that even poor daft Jenny
Gaffaw, and her daughter, had on an old black riband; and when I
thought of him, the spirited laddie, coming home from Jamaica with
his parrot on his shoulder, and his limes for me, my heart filled
full, and I was obliged to sit down in the pulpit, and drop a tear.

After a pause, and the Lord having vouchsafed to compose me, I rose
up, and gave out that anthem of triumph, the 124th psalm, the
singing of which brought the congregation round to themselves; but
still I felt that I could not preach as I had meant to do; therefore
I only said a few words of prayer, and singing another psalm,
dismissed the congregation.


This was another Sabbath year of my ministry. It has left me
nothing to record but a silent increase of prosperity in the parish.
I myself had now in the bank more than a thousand pounds, and every
thing was thriving around. My two bairns, Gilbert, that is now the
merchant in Glasgow, was grown into a sturdy ramplor laddie, and
Janet, that is married upon Dr. Kittleword, the minister of
Swappington, was as fine a lassie for her years as the eyes of a
parent could desire to see.

Shortly after the news of the peace, an event at which all gave
themselves up to joy, a thing happened among us that at the time
caused much talk; but although very dreadful, was yet not so
serious, some how or other, as such an awsome doing should have
been. Poor Jenny Gaffaw happened to take a heavy cold, and soon
thereafter died. Meg went about from house to house, begging dead-
clothes, and got the body straighted in a wonderful decent manner,
with a plate of earth and salt placed upon it--an admonitory type of
mortality and eternal life that has ill-advisedly gone out of
fashion. When I heard of this, I could not but go to see how a
creature that was not thought possessed of a grain of understanding,
could have done so much herself. On entering the door, I beheld Meg
sitting with two or three of the neighbouring kimmers, and the
corpse laid out on a bed. "Come awa', sir," said Meg; "this is an
altered house. They're gane that keepit it bein; but, sir, we maun
a' come to this--we maun pay the debt o' nature--death is a grim
creditor, and a doctor but brittle bail when the hour of reckoning's
at han'! What a pity it is, mother, that you're now dead, for
here's the minister come to see you. Oh, sir! but she would have
had a proud heart to see you in her dwelling, for she had a genteel
turn, and would not let me, her only daughter, mess or mell wi' the
lathron lasses of the clachan. Ay, ay, she brought me up with care,
and edicated me for a lady: nae coarse wark darkened my lily-white
hands. But I maun work now; I maun dree the penalty of man."

Having stopped some time, listening to the curious maunnering of
Meg, I rose to come away; but she laid her hand on my arm, saying,
"No, sir, ye maun taste before ye gang! My mother had aye plenty in
her life, nor shall her latter day be needy."

Accordingly, Meg, with all the due formality common on such
occasions, produced a bottle of water, and a dram-glass, which she
filled and tasted, then presented to me, at the same time offering
me a bit of bread on a slate. It was a consternation to everybody
how the daft creature had learnt all the ceremonies, which she
performed in a manner past the power of pen to describe, making the
solemnity of death, by her strange mockery, a kind of merriment,
that was more painful than sorrow; but some spirits are gifted with
a faculty of observation, that, by the strength of a little fancy,
enables them to make a wonderful and truthlike semblance of things
and events, which they never saw, and poor Meg seemed to have this

The same night, the session having provided a coffin, the body was
put in, and removed to Mr Mutchkin's brewhouse, where the lads and
lassies kept the late-wake.

Saving this, the year flowed in a calm, and we floated on in the
stream of time towards the great ocean of eternity, like ducks and
geese in the river's tide, that are carried down without being
sensible of the speed of the current. Alas! we have not wings like
them, to fly back to the place we set out from.


I have ever thought that this was a bright year, truly an Ann. Dom.,
for in it many of the lads came home that had listed to be soldiers;
and Mr Howard, that was the midshipman, being now a captain of a
man-of-war, came down from England and married Effie Malcolm, and
took her up with him to London, where she wrote to her mother, that
she found his family people of great note, and more kind to her than
she could write. By this time, also, Major Macadam was made a
colonel, and lived with his lady in Edinburgh, where they were much
respected by the genteeler classes, Mrs Macadam being considered a
great unco among them for all manner of ladylike ornaments, she
having been taught every sort of perfection in that way by the old
lady, who was educated at the court of France, and was, from her
birth, a person of quality. In this year, also, Captain Malcolm,
her brother, married a daughter of a Glasgow merchant, so that Mrs
Malcolm, in her declining years, had the prospect of a bright
setting; but nothing could change the sober Christianity of her
settled mind; and although she was strongly invited, both by the
Macadams and the Howards, to see their felicity, she ever declined
the same, saying--"No! I have been long out of the world, or
rather, I have never been in it; my ways are not as theirs; and
although I ken their hearts would be glad to be kind to me, I might
fash their servants, or their friends might think me unlike other
folk, by which, instead of causing pleasure, mortification might
ensue; so I will remain in my own house, trusting that, when they
can spare the time, they will come and see me."

There was a spirit of true wisdom in this resolution, for it
required a forbearance that in weaker minds would have relaxed; but
though a person of a most slender and delicate frame of body, she
was a Judith in fortitude; and in all the fortune that seemed now
smiling upon her, she never was lifted up, but bore always that pale
and meek look, which gave a saintliness to her endeavours in the
days of her suffering and poverty.

But when we enjoy most, we have least to tell. I look back on this
year as on a sunny spot in the valley, amidst the shadows of the
clouds of time; and I have nothing to record, save the remembrance
of welcomings and weddings, and a meeting of bairns and parents,
that the wars and the waters had long raged between. Contentment
within the bosom, lent a livelier grace to the countenance of
Nature; and everybody said, that in this year the hedges were
greener than common, the gowans brighter on the brae, and the heads
of the statelier trees adorned with a richer coronal of leaves and
blossoms. All things were animated with the gladness of
thankfulness, and testified to the goodness of their Maker.


Well may we say, in the pious words of my old friend and neighbour,
the Reverend Mr Keekie of Loupinton, that the world is such a wheel-
carriage, that it might very properly be called the WHIRL'D. This
reflection was brought home to me in a very striking manner, while I
was preparing a discourse for my people, to be preached on the
anniversary day of my placing, in which I took a view of what had
passed in the parish during the five-and-twenty years that I had
been, by the grace of God, the pastor thereof. The bairns, that
were bairns when I came among my people, were ripened unto parents,
and a new generation was swelling in the bud around me. But it is
what happened that I have to give an account of.

This year the Lady Macadam's jointure-house that was, having been
long without a tenant, a Mr Cayenne and his family, American
loyalists, came and took it, and settled among us for a time. His
wife was a clever woman, and they had two daughters, Miss Virginia
and Miss Carolina; but he was himself an ettercap, a perfect spunkie
of passion, as ever was known in town or country. His wife had a
terrible time o't with him, and yet the unhappy man had a great
share of common sense, and, saving the exploits of his unmanageable
temper, was an honest and creditable gentleman. Of his humour we
soon had a sample, as I shall relate at length all about it.

Shortly after he came to the parish, Mrs Balwhidder and me waited
upon the family to pay our respects, and Mr Cayenne, in a free and
hearty manner, insisted on us staying to dinner. His wife, I could
see, was not satisfied with this, not being, as I discerned
afterwards, prepared to give an entertainment to strangers; however,
we fell into the misfortune of staying, and nothing could exceed the
happiness of Mr Cayenne. I thought him one of the blithest bodies I
had ever seen, and had no notion that he was such a tap of tow as in
the sequel he proved himself.

As there was something extra to prepare, the dinner was a little
longer of being on the table than usual, at which he began to fash,
and every now and then took a turn up and down the room, with his
hands behind his back, giving a short melancholious whistle. At
length the dinner was served, but it was more scanty than he had
expected, and this upset his good-humour altogether. Scarcely had I
asked the blessing when he began to storm at his blackamoor servant,
who was, however, used to his way, and did his work without minding
him; but by some neglect there was no mustard down, which Mr Cayenne
called for in the voice of a tempest, and one of the servant lassies
came in with the pot, trembling. It happened that, as it had not
been used for a day or two before, the lid was clagged, and, as it
were, glued in, so that Mr Cayenne could not get it out, which put
him quite wud, and he attempted to fling it at Sambo, the black
lad's head, but it stottit against the wall, and the lid flying
open, the whole mustard flew in his own face, which made him a sight
not to be spoken of. However it calmed him; but really, as I had
never seen such a man before, I could not but consider the accident
as a providential reproof, and trembled to think what greater evil
might fall out in the hands of a man so left to himself in the
intemperance of passion.

But the worst thing about Mr Cayenne was his meddling with matters
in which he had no concern; for he had a most irksome nature, and
could not be at rest, so that he was truly a thorn in our side.
Among other of his strange doings, was the part he took in the
proceedings of the session, with which he had as little to do, in a
manner, as the man in the moon; but having no business on his hands,
he attended every sederunt, and from less to more, having no self-
government, he began to give his opinion in our deliberations; and
often bred us trouble, by causing strife to arise.

It happened, as the time of the summer occasion was drawing near,
that it behoved us to make arrangements about the assistance; and
upon the suggestion of the elders, to which I paid always the
greatest deference, I invited Mr Keekie of Loupinton, who was a
sound preacher, and a great expounder of the kittle parts of the Old
Testament, being a man well versed in the Hebrew and etymologies,
for which he was much reverenced by the old people that delighted to
search the Scriptures. I had also written to Mr Sprose of Annock, a
preacher of another sort, being a vehement and powerful thresher of
the word, making the chaff and vain babbling of corrupt commentators
to fly from his hand. He was not, however, so well liked, as he
wanted that connect method which is needful to the enforcing of
doctrine. But he had never been among us, and it was thought it
would be a godly treat to the parish to let the people hear him.
Besides Mr Sprose, Mr Waikle of Gowanry, a quiet hewer out of the
image of holiness in the heart, was likewise invited, all in
addition to our old stoops from the adjacent parishes.

None of these three preachers were in any estimation with Mr
Cayenne, who had only heard each of them once; and he, happening to
be present in the session-house at the time, enquired how we had
settled. I thought this not a very orderly question, but I gave him
a civil answer, saying, that, Mr Keekie of Loupinton would preach on
the morning of the fast-day, Mr Sprose of Annock in the afternoon,
and Mr Waikle of Gowanry on the Saturday. Never shall I or the
elders, while the breath of life is in our bodies, forget the reply.
Mr Cayenne struck the table like a clap of thunder, and cried, "Mr
Keekie of Loupinton, and Mr Sprose of Annock, and Mr Waikle of
Gowanry, and all suck trash, may go to--and be -!" and out of the
house he bounced, like a hand-ball stotting on a stone.

The elders and me were confounded, and for some time we could not
speak, but looked at each other, doubtful if our ears heard aright.
At long and length I came to myself; and, in the strength of God,
took my place at the table, and said, this was an outrageous impiety
not to be borne, which all the elders agreed to; and we thereupon
came to a resolve, which I dictated myself, wherein we debarred Mr
Cayenne from ever after entering, unless summoned, the session-
house, the which resolve we directed the session-clerk to send to
him direct, and thus we vindicated the insulted privileges of the

Mr Cayenne had cooled before he got home, and our paper coming to
him in his appeased blood, he immediately came to the manse, and
made a contrite apology for his hasty temper, which I reported in
due time and form, to the session, and there the matter ended. But
here was an example plain to be seen of the truth of the old
proverb, that as one door shuts another opens; for scarcely were we
in quietness by the decease of that old light-headed woman, the Lady
Macadam, till a full equivalent for her was given in this hot and
fiery Mr Cayenne.


From the day of my settlement, I had resolved, in order to win the
affections of my people, and to promote unison among the heritors,
to be of as little expense to the parish as possible; but by this
time the manse had fallen into a sore state of decay--the doors were
wormed on the hinges--the casements of the windows chattered all the
winter, like the teeth of a person perishing with cold, so that we
had no comfort in the house; by which, at the urgent instigations of
Mrs Balwhidder, I was obligated to represent our situation to the
session. I would rather, having so much saved money in the bank,
paid the needful repairs myself, than have done this, but she said
it would be a rank injustice to our own family; and her father, Mr
Kibbock, who was very long-headed, with more than a common man's
portion of understanding, pointed out to me, that, as my life was
but in my lip, it would be a wrong thing towards whomsoever was
ordained to be my successor, to use the heritors to the custom of
the minister paying for the reparations of the manse, as it might
happen he might not be so well able to afford it as me. So in a
manner, by their persuasion, and the constraint of the justice of
the case, I made a report of the infirmities both of doors and
windows, as well as of the rotten state of the floors, which were
constantly in want of cobbling. Over and above all, I told them of
the sarking of the roof, which was as frush as a puddock-stool;
insomuch, that in every blast some of the pins lost their grip, and
the slates came hurling off.

The heritors were accordingly convened, and, after some
deliberation, they proposed that the house should be seen to, and
whitewashed and painted; and I thought this might do, for I saw they
were terrified at the expense of a thorough repair; but when I went
home and repeated to Mrs Balwhidder what had been said at the
meeting, and my thankfulness at getting the heritors' consent to do
so much, she was excessively angry, and told me, that all the
painting and whitewashing in the world would avail nothing, for that
the house was as a sepulchre full of rottenness; and she sent for Mr
Kibbock, her father, to confer with him on the way of getting the
matter put to rights.

Mr Kibbock came, and hearing of what had passed, pondered for some
time, and then said, "All was very right! the minister (meaning me)
has just to get tradesmen to look at the house, and write out their
opinion of what it needs. There will be plaster to mend; so, before
painting, he will get a plasterer. There will be a slater wanted;
he has just to get a slater's estimate, and a wright's, and so
forth, and when all is done, he will lay them before the session and
the heritors, who, no doubt, will direct the reparations to go

This was very pawkie, counselling, of Mr Kibbock, and I did not see
through it at the time, but did as he recommended, and took all the
different estimates, when they came in, to the session. The elders
commended my prudence exceedingly for so doing, before going to
work; and one of them asked me what the amount of the whole would
be, but I had not cast it up. Some of the heritors thought that a
hundred pounds would be sufficient for the outlay; but judge of our
consternation, when, in counting up all the sums of the different
estimates together, we found them well on towards a thousand pounds.
"Better big a new house at once, than do this!" cried all the
elders, by which I then perceived the draughtiness of Mr Kibbock's
advice. Accordingly, another meeting of the heritors was summoned,
and after a great deal of controversy, it was agreed that a new
manse should be erected; and, shortly after, we contracted with
Thomas Trowel, the mason to build one for six hundred pounds, with
all the requisite appurtenances, by which a clear gain was saved to
the parish, by the foresight of Mr Kibbock, to the amount of nearly
four hundred pounds. But the heritors did not mean to have allowed
the sort of repair that his plan comprehended. He was, however, a
far forecasting man; the like of him for natural parts not being in
our country side; and nobody could get the whip-hand of him, either
in a bargain or an improvement, when he once was sensible of the
advantage. He was, indeed, a blessing to the shire, both by his
example as a farmer, and by his sound and discreet advice in the
contentions of his neighbours, being a man, as was a saying among
the commonality, "wiser than the law and the fifteen Lords of

The building of the new manse occasioned a heavy cess on the
heritors, which made them overly ready to pick holes in the coats of
me and the elders; so that, out of my forbearance and delicacy in
time past, grew a lordliness on their part, that was an ill return
for the years that I had endured no little inconveniency for their
sake. It was not in my heart or principles to harm the hair of a
dog; but when I discerned the austerity with which they were
disposed to treat their minister, I bethought me that, for the
preservation of what was due to the establishment and the upholding
of the decent administration of religion, I ought to set my face
against the sordid intolerance by which they were actuated. This
notion I weighed well before divulging it to any person; but when I
had assured myself as to the rectitude thereof, I rode over one day
to Mr Kibbock's, and broke my mind to him about claiming out of the
teinds an augmentation of my stipend, not because I needed it, but
in case, after me, some bare and hungry gorbie of the Lord should be
sent upon the parish, in no such condition to plea with the heritors
as I was. Mr Kibbock highly approved of my intent; and by his help,
after much tribulation, I got an augmentation both in glebe and
income; and to mark my reason for what I did, I took upon me to keep
and clothe the wives and orphans of the parish, who lost their
breadwinners in the American war. But for all that, the heritors
spoke of me as an avaricious Jew, and made the hard-won fruits of
Mrs Balwhidder's great thrift and good management a matter of
reproach against me. Few of them would come to the church, but
stayed away, to the detriment of their own souls hereafter, in
order, as they thought, to punish me; so that, in the course of this
year, there was a visible decay of the sense of religion among the
better orders of the parish, and, as will be seen in the sequel,
their evil example infected the minds of many of the rising

It was in this year that Mr Cayenne bought the mailing of the
Wheatrigs, but did not begin to build his house till the following
spring; for being ill to please with a plan, he fell out with the
builders, and on one occasion got into such a passion with Mr
Trowel, the mason, that he struck him a blow on the face, for which
he was obligated to make atonement. It was thought the matter would
have been carried before the Lords; but, by the mediation of Mr
Kibbock, with my helping hand, a reconciliation was brought about,
Mr Cayenne indemnifying the mason with a sum of money to say no more
anent it; after which, he employed him to build his house, a thing
that no man could have thought possible, who reflected on the enmity
between them.


There had been, as I have frequently observed, a visible improvement
going on in the parish. From the time of the making of the toll-
road, every new house that was built in the clachan was built along
that road. Among other changes hereby caused, the Lady Macadam's
jointure-house that was, which stood in a pleasant parterre,
inclosed within a stone wall and an iron gate, having a pillar with
a pineapple head on each side, came to be in the middle of the town.
While Mr Cayenne inhabited the same, it was maintained in good
order; but on his flitting to his own new house on the Wheatrigs,
the parterre was soon overrun with weeds, and it began to wear the
look of a waste place. Robert Toddy, who then kept the change-
house, and who had, from the lady's death, rented the coach-house
for stabling, in this juncture thought of it for an inn; so he set
his own house to Thomas Treddles the weaver, whose son, William, is
now the great Glasgow manufacturer, that has cotton-mills and steam-
engines, and took, "the Place," as it was called, and had a fine
sign, THE CROSS-KEYS, painted and put up in golden characters, by
which it became one of the most noted inns anywhere to be seen; and
the civility of Mrs Toddy was commended by all strangers. But
although this transmutation from a change-house to an inn was a vast
amendment, in a manner, to the parish, there was little amendment of
manners thereby; for the farmer lads began to hold dancings and
other riotous proceedings there, and to bring, as it were, the evil
practices of towns into the heart of the country. All sort of
licence was allowed as to drink and hours; and the edifying example
of Mr Mutchkins and his pious family, was no longer held up to the
imitation of the wayfaring man.

Saving the mutation of "the Place" into an inn, nothing very
remarkable happened in this year. We got into our new manse about
the middle of March; but it was rather damp, being new plastered,
and it caused me to have a severe attack of the rheumatics in the
fall of the year.

I should not, in my notations, forget to mark a new luxury that got
in among the commonality at this time. By the opening of new roads,
and the traffic thereon with carts and carriers, and by our young
men that were sailors going to the Clyde, and sailing to Jamaica and
the West Indies, heaps of sugar and coffee-beans were brought home,
while many, among the kail-stocks and cabbages in their yards, had
planted groset and berry bushes; which two things happening
together, the fashion to make jam and jelly, which hitherto had been
only known in the kitchens and confectionaries of the gentry, came
to be introduced into the clachan. All this, however, was not
without a plausible pretext; for it was found that jelly was an
excellent medicine for a sore throat, and jam a remedy as good as
London candy for a cough, or a cold, or a shortness of breath. I
could not, however, say that this gave me so much concern as the
smuggling trade, only it occasioned a great fasherie to Mrs
Balwhidder; for, in the berry time, there was no end to the
borrowing of her brass-pan to make jelly and jam, till Mrs Toddy of
the Cross-Keys bought one, which, in its turn, came into request,
and saved ours.

It was in the Martinmas quarter of this year that I got the first
payment of my augmentation. Having no desire to rip up old sores, I
shall say no more anent it, the worst being anticipated in my
chronicle of the last year; but there was a thing happened in the
payment that occasioned a vexation at the time, of a very
disagreeable nature. Daft Meg Gaffaw, who, from the tragical death
of her mother, was a privileged subject, used to come to the manse
on the Saturdays for a meal of meat; and so it fell out that as, by
some neglect of mine, no steps had been taken to regulate the
disposal of the victual that constituted the means of the
augmentation, some of the heritors, in an ungracious temper, sent
what they called the tithe-ball (the Lord knows it was not the
fiftieth!) to the manse, where I had no place to put it. This fell
out on a Saturday night, when I was busy with my sermon, thinking
not of silver or gold, but of much better; so that I was greatly
molested and disturbed thereby. Daft Meg, who sat by the kitchen
chimley-lug, hearing a', said nothing for a time; but when she saw
how Mrs Balwhidder and me were put to, she cried out with a loud
voice, like a soul under the inspiration of prophecy--"When the
widow's cruse had filled all the vessels in the house, the Lord
stopped the increase. Verily, verily, I say unto you, if your barns
be filled, and your girnell-kists can hold no more, seek till ye
shall find the tume basins of the poor, and therein pour the corn,
and the oil, and the wine of your abundance; so shall ye be blessed
of the Lord." The which words I took for an admonition, and
directing the sacks to be brought into the dining-room and other
chambers of the manse, I sent off the heritors' servants, that had
done me this prejudice, with an unexpected thankfulness. But this,
as I afterwards was informed, both them and their masters attributed
to the greedy grasp of avarice, with which they considered me as
misled; and having said so, nothing could exceed their mortification
on Monday, when they heard (for they were of those who had deserted
the kirk) that I had given by the precentor notice to every widow in
the parish that was in need, to come to the manse and she would
receive her portion of the partitioning of the augmentation. Thus,
without any offence on my part, saving the strictness of justice,
was a division made between me and the heritors; but the people were
with me; and my own conscience was with me; and though the fronts of
the lofts and the pews of the heritors were but thinly filled, I
trusted that a good time was coming, when the gentry would see the
error of their way. So I bent the head of resignation to the Lord,
and, assisted by the wisdom of Mr Kibbock, adhered to the course I
had adopted; but at the close of the year my heart was sorrowful for
the schism; and my prayer on Hogmanay was one of great bitterness of
soul, that such an evil had come to pass.


It had been often remarked by ingenious men, that the Brawl burn,
which ran through the parish, though a small, was yet a rapid
stream, and had a wonderful capability for damming, and to turn
mills. From the time that the Irville water deserted its channel
this brook grew into repute, and several mills and dams had been
erected on its course. In this year a proposal came from Glasgow to
build a cotton-mill on its banks, beneath the Witch-linn, which
being on a corner of the Wheatrig, the property of Mr Cayenne, he
not only consented thereto, but took a part in the profit or loss
therein; and, being a man of great activity, though we thought him,
for many a day, a serpent-plague sent upon the parish, he proved
thereby one of our greatest benefactors. The cotton-mill was built,
and a spacious fabric it was--nothing like it had been seen before
in our day and generation--and, for the people that were brought to
work in it, a new town was built in the vicinity, which Mr Cayenne,
the same being founded on his land, called Cayenneville, the name of
the plantation in Virginia that had been taken from him by the
rebellious Americans. From that day Fortune was lavish of her
favours upon him; his property swelled, and grew in the most
extraordinary manner, and the whole country side was stirring with a
new life. For, when the mill was set a-going, he got weavers of
muslin established in Cayenneville; and shortly after, but that did
not take place till the year following, he brought women all the way
from the neighbourhood of Manchester, in England, to teach the
lassie bairns in our old clachan tambouring.

Some of the ancient families, in their turreted houses, were not
pleased with this innovation, especially when they saw the handsome
dwellings that were built for the weavers of the mills, and the
unstinted hand that supplied the wealth required for the carrying on
of the business. It sank their pride into insignificance, and many
of them would almost rather have wanted the rise that took place in
the value of their lands, than have seen this incoming of what they
called o'er-sea speculation. But, saving the building of the
cotton-mill, and the beginning of Cayenneville, nothing more
memorable happened in this year, still it was nevertheless a year of
a great activity. The minds of men were excited to new enterprises;
a new genius, as it were, had descended upon the earth, and there
was an erect and outlooking spirit abroad that was not to be
satisfied with the taciturn regularity of ancient affairs. Even
Miss Sabrina Hooky, the schoolmistress, though now waned from her
meridian, was touched with the enlivening rod, and set herself to
learn and to teach tambouring, in such a manner as to supersede by
precept and example that old time-honoured functionary, as she
herself called it, the spinning-wheel, proving, as she did one night
to Mr Kibbock and me, that, if more money could be made by a woman
tambouring than by spinning, it was better for her to tambour than
to spin.

But, in the midst of all this commercing and manufacturing, I began
to discover signs of decay in the wonted simplicity of our country
ways. Among the cotton-spinners and muslin weavers of Cayenneville
were several unsatisfied and ambitious spirits, who clubbed
together, and got a London newspaper to the Cross-Keys, where they
were nightly in the habit of meeting and debating about the affairs
of the French, which were then gathering towards a head. They were
represented to me as lads by common in capacity, but with unsettled
notions of religion. They were, however, quiet and orderly; and
some of them since, at Glasgow, Paisley, and Manchester, even, I am
told, in London, have grown into a topping way.

It seems they did not like my manner of preaching, and on that
account absented themselves from public worship; which, when I
heard, I sent for some of them, to convince them of their error with
regard to the truth of divers points of doctrine; but they
confounded me with their objections, and used my arguments, which
were the old and orthodox proven opinions of the Divinity Hall, as
if they had been the light sayings of a vain man. So that I was
troubled, fearing that some change would ensue to my people, who had
hitherto lived amidst the boughs and branches of the gospel
unmolested by the fowler's snare, and I set myself to watch
narrowly, and with a vigilant eye, what would come to pass.

There was a visible increase among us of worldly prosperity in the
course of this year; insomuch that some of the farmers, who were in
the custom of taking their vendibles to the neighbouring towns on
the Tuesdays, the Wednesdays, and Fridays, were led to open a market
on the Saturdays in our own clachan, the which proved a great
convenience. But I cannot take it upon me to say, whether this can
be said to have well begun in the present Ann. Dom., although I know
that in the summer of the ensuing year it was grown into a settled
custom; which I well recollect by the Macadams coming with their
bairns to see Mrs Malcolm, their mother, suddenly on a Saturday
afternoon; on which occasion me and Mrs Balwhidder were invited to
dine with them, and Mrs Malcolm bought in the market for the dinner
that day, both mutton and fowls, such as twenty years before could
not have been got for love or money on such a pinch. Besides, she
had two bottles of red and white wine from the Cross-Keys, luxuries
which, saving in the Breadland House in its best days, could not
have been had in the whole parish, but must have been brought from a
borough town; for Eaglesham Castle is not within the bounds of
Dalmailing, and my observe does not apply to the stock and stores of
that honourable mansion, but only to the dwellings of our own
heritors, who were in general straitened in their circumstances,
partly with upsetting, and partly by the eating rust of family
pride, which hurt the edge of many a clever fellow among them, that
would have done well in the way of trade, but sunk into divors for
the sake of their genteelity.


This I have always reflected upon as one of our blessed years. It
was not remarkable for any extraordinary occurrence; but there was a
hopefulness in the minds of men, and a planning of new undertakings,
of which, whatever may be the upshot, the devising is ever rich in
the cheerful anticipations of good.

Another new line of road was planned, for a shorter cut to the
cotton-mill, from the main road to Glasgow, and a public-house was
opened in Cayenneville: the latter, however, was not an event that
gave me much satisfaction; but it was a convenience to the
inhabitants, and the carriers that brought the cotton-bags and took
away the yarn twice a-week, needed a place of refreshment. And
there was a stage-coach set up thrice every week from Ayr, that
passed through the town, by which it was possible to travel to
Glasgow between breakfast and dinner time, a thing that could not,
when I came to the parish, have been thought within the compass of

This stage-coach I thought one of the greatest conveniences that had
been established among us; and it enabled Mrs Balwhidder to send a
basket of her fresh butter into the Glasgow market, by which, in the
spring and the fall of the year, she got a great price; for the
Glasgow merchants are fond of excellent eatables, and the payment
was aye ready money--Tam Whirlit the driver paying for the one
basket when he took up the other.

In this year William Malcolm, the youngest son of the widow, having
been some time a tutor in a family in the east country, came to see
his mother, as indeed he had done every year from the time he went
to the college; but this occasion was made remarkable by his
preaching in my pulpit. His old acquaintance were curious to hear
him; and I myself had a sort of a wish likewise, being desirous to
know how far he was orthodox; so I thought fit, on the suggestion of
one of the elders, to ask him to preach one day for me, which, after
some fleeching, he consented to do. I think, however, there was a
true modesty in his diffidence, although his reason was a weak one,
being lest he might not satisfy his mother, who had as yet never
heard him. Accordingly, on the Sabbath after, he did preach, and
the kirk was well packed, and I was not one of the least attentive
of the congregation. His sermon assuredly was well put together and
there was nothing to object to in his doctrine; but the elderly
people thought his language rather too Englified, which I thought
likewise; for I never could abide that the plain auld Kirk of


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