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Full text of "Johnny Gibb of Gushetneuk in the Parish of Pyketillim, with glimpses of the parish politics about A.D. 1843"

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Printed by R. &> R. Clark 











of tjje part*!) Politics afcout &M 1843 










FOLLOWING on the successive publication of several editions 
of Johnny GM, in a cheap and popular form, a fine edition 
in royal octavo was published at the commencement of 1880. 
The feature of the work, as thus issued, was the series of 
illustrations executed by Mr. George Reid, RS.A. By all 
competent judges these have been admitted to be, not only 
admirable as samples of art, but strikingly characteristic and 
truthful as visible embodiments, by the pencil, of the life 
and its surroundings sought to be portrayed by the pen. 
The portrait sketches, while eminently felicitous interpreta 
tions of the characters in the text, are, at same time, 
" genuine typical Aberdeenshire faces," such as, at the date 
of the story, were to be found, without difficulty, among the 
dwellers in many a quiet rural scene. And the charming 
vignette illustrations from actual localities, of which the 
larger part are mentioned in their literal connection in the 
text, need no word of commendation. 

In the previous edition, which ran speedily out of print, 
the illustrations were most successfully engraved by M. 
Durand, Paris, and their present careful reproduction in 
lithographic form will, it is believed, be appreciated by those 
who have not been able to possess themselves of the more 
expensive volume. 

ABERDEEN, October 1881. 





in. RUSTIC COURTSHIP . . . . . .13 


v. LIFE AT THE WELLS ...... 26 

vi. MRS. BIRSE OF CLINKSTYLE . . . . .32 

vn. BACK FROM THE WELLS . . . . .38 

vm. TAM MEERISON FLITS . . . . . .45 

ix. PEDAGOGICAL ....... 54 


xi. THE KIRK ROAD . . . .* .68 






xvi. A START IN LIFE 102 

xvii. SANDY PETERKIN is WARNED . . . .109 


xix. MEG RAFFAN, THE HENWIFE . . . .128 










xxvi. SANDY PETERKIN'S FORTUNE . ' . . .173 


xxvni. THE FREE KIRK OF PYKETILLIM . . . .185 

xxix. A CHANGE OF TIME . . . . . .192 




xxxiii. THE MERCHANT'S SHOP . . . . .214 



xxxvi. THE SETTIN' OF GUSHETNEUK . . . .234 


xxxvin. MEG EAFFAN GOES TO THE SHOP . . .246 

xxxix. PATIE'S WEDDING . . . . . .253 


XLI. THE MANSE SCHEME . . . . . .265 
















To face page 4 






























" HEELY, heely, Tarn, ye glaiket stirk ye hinna on the hin 
shelvin o' the cairt. Fat hae ye been haiverin at, min ? 
That cauff saick 11 be tint owre the back door afore we win 
a mile fae hame. See 't yer belly-ban' be ticht aneuch noo. 
Woo, lassie ! Man, ye been makin' a hantle mair adee 
aboot blaikin that graith o' yours, an kaimin the mear's tail, 
nor balancin' yer cairt, an' gettin' the things packit in till 't." 

" Sang, that 's nae vera easy deen, I can tell ye, wi' sic 
a mengyie o' them. Faur 11 aw pit the puckle girss to the 
mear ?" 

" Ou, fat 's the eese o' that lang stoups ahin, aw wud 
like tae ken ? Lay that bit bauk across, an' syne tak' the 
aul' pleuch ryn there, an' wup it ticht atween the stays ; 
we canna hae the beast's maet trachel't amo' their feet. 
Foo muckle corn pat ye in ? " 

" Four lippies gweed mizzour will that dee ? " 

" We 'se lat it be deein. Is their trock a* in noo, aw 
won'er ?" 

" Nyod, seerly it is. " 

It was in the latter part of June 1839, and Johnny 
Gibb was preparing to set out on his annual journey to 
the " Walls " at Macduff. He was, at the moment of the 
reader's introduction to him, employed, with the assistance 
of his servant man, Tarn Meerison, in yokin the cairt, 
preparatory to starting en route. The time was 4.30 A.M. 



Johnny Gibb was the tacksman of Gushetneuk, a two- 
horse haudin on the property of Sir Simon Frissal of Glen- 
snicker ; and he and his wife had spent the greater part of a 
very industrious lifetime on the place. 

Mrs. Gibb, in personal appearance, looked to be a 
woman somewhere approaching sixty, in an exceedingly 
good state of preservation. Dumpy in figure, inclining 
slightly to obesity in condition, and with cheeks of the 
exact hue of a high-coloured apple, she was, nevertheless, 
understood to be far fae stoot; she was, indeed, nervish, 
and apt to take drows. Hence this yearly resort to the 
Wells at Macduff, renowned for their restorative and 
invigorating virtues, had come to be a necessity for her. 
When Johnny Gibb had got the neeps doon, he took his 
carts to the mill-dam, had them backed into the water, 
where they were first well soaked and then scrubbed clean, 
after the defilement of driving out the neep muck. And 
then one of the first things, ordinarily, was to prepare for 
the usual journey to the Wells. 

In the district where Johnny Gibb lived, they believed 
in the Walls, old and young of them. Elderly people, male 
and female, went to Macduff to benefit by the bracing effects 
of sea-bathing, combined with a course more or less rigorous 
of sea water taken internally, followed up by the mineral 
water of Tarlair ; sturdy bairns were taken thither in troops 
for the cure of scabbit faces and sic like; youths and 
maidens, whose complaints seemed often not of a deadly 
nature, went to the Walls as they could contrive to get ; 
Jamie Hogg went there for the benefit of his sair een ; Peter 
Tough to mitigate the rheumatics ; Mains of Yawal, when 
he had occasion to gae doun throu on business, actually 
drove his square wooden-looking gig five miles out of his 
direct route in order that he might have the opportunity of 
merely once dookin at Macduff. He lows't the gig and put 
his horse in to rest and feed, and I recollect distinctly seeing 
his tall gaunt %ure in bottle-green surtout, as, despising 
ceremony, he strode away straight down from the fisher 
town, or rather the ropery, through hillocks of slippery ware 


and knablick stanes till he found water enough to dook in ; 
and a tedious walk he had, for the tide was out. The modus 
operandi of Mains's dookin was, that he first laid aside his 
hat and the bottle-green surtout, and, by the aid of a good 
handful of sea-ware scrubbed the upper part of his person. 
He then resumed the hat and surtout, and divesting himself 
of the remaining part of his garments, completed the opera 
tion in the like fashion. The farm servants even were fain 
to follow the prevailing custom ; and this, their belief, had 
not been discouraged by the physician in ordinary, the elder 
Dr. Drogemweal. The doctor had a semi-military reputa 
tion, inasmuch as, when the first Bonaparte was disturbing 
people by threats of invading our Island and so on, the 
doctor had been attached to the local militia ; and he was 
wont to accompany the fencibles to Fraserburgh at the time 
of their annual drill. It was related of him how he would 
make the delinquent soldier drink a quart-bottle of sea water 
by way of punishment, believing that, while the thing had 
a penal effect, it also conserved the man's constitution. To 
his latest day, when a chap went to him for advice, he would 
prescribe twa unce o' salts, and, if the case were grave, 
would take out his lance and bleed him ; winding up by a 
general exhortation to go to the Wells the first opportunity. 
And thus, in the very year before that of which I am about 
to write, when Johnny Gibb went over to Pitmachie to fee 
a man, he encountered a stoot young folia, from the Upper 
Garioch, who would suit his purpose admirably well, but 
was determined to have sax poun ten of fee. Johnny 
offered sax poun and a shilling of arles, after much threepin, 
as his ultimatum. They tuggit and ruggit to no purpose, 
till at last a compromise was reached, and the bargain con 
cluded, on the chap throwing in this stipulation, " Weel, 
weel, than, aw '11 tak' the siller ; but ye maun gie 's an ouk 
at the Walls aifter the neep seed." 

Such was the repute of the Wells at Macduff in my 
day, but that is long ago ; and to me the modern Macduff 
is a place all but totally unknown. 

" Come awa', noo ; come awa', an' nae loss the mornin'," 


continued Johnny Gibb, in an impatient tone patience 
was not Johnny's prime virtue, when he had satisfied 
himself that the cart was properly packed and adjusted. 
His words were addressed, in the first place, to Mrs. Gibb, 
who had been hoverin' between the door and the kitchen for 
some time, one part of her thoughts resting on Johnny and 
the cart, and another on Jinse Deans, the servant girl, to 
whom she continued still to address another and another 
exhortation, to be sure " an* plot 'er milk dishes weel, in 
this byous weather ; an' get the kye pitten oot ear'," so that 
they might "get a caller mou'fu', an' win in afore they ran 
a-heat;" to see that "the caufies warna negleckit," and give 
due heed to sundry other matters that concerned the proper 
ongoing of the place during the absence of its mistress. 

Mrs. Gibb was dressed in a home-made gray wincey 
gown, a very precisely made up and very well starched close 
mutch (they were old-fashioned people the Gibbs), and a 
tartan plaid that had been in the family for at least a genera 
tion. She was assisted into the cart with due ceremony, 
and with the help of a chair Jinse, the trusty, bare-headed, 
bare-armed maid, handing up after her a reticule basket, 
crammed with provisions for consumption by the way, and 
a big blue umbrella. 

"Faur's the lassie noo ?" quoth Johnny. 

" Ou, I gart 'er rin roun' the neuk o' the wood a filie 
syne, to Smiddyward, to see 'at Eppie was up, and nae 
keep 's wytin." 

"That'll dee. Go on, Jess," and Johnny pulled the 
whip from the britchen as he spoke. " Ye may be leukin 
for me hame afore sindoon the morn's nicht." 

" Weel, weel, tak' care o' yersel's," replied Tarn Meeri- 
son, as he turned leisurely away to complete his stable 
operations, and tie his points, before he and the servant 
loon, who was not yet out of bed, should call on Jinse for 
their pottage. 

I have not yet described Johnny Gibb's personal appear 
ance, and, if the reader in the least cares to know, let me 
say that he was a short, thick-set man, or mannie rather, 


with broad, sun -tanned countenance, whereof the shaggy 
eyebrows, and somewhat large, but well-set mouth, were not 
the least prominent features. He was slightly bow-legged, 
which rather added to the stability of his appearance ; his 
dress was blue home-spun, crowned with a blue bonnet, for 
though Johnny was not a man who would altogether ignore 
the deference due to the conventionalities of society, he 
averred " that hats is a perfect mertyreesin to the heid, 
oonless them 't 's wearin' them daily day." And so it came 
to pass that, except on the occasion of a funeral, or the 
Communion Sunday, Johnny's hat was seldom to be seen. 
And my private opinion is that, even on these occasions, it 
had been better left in its usual limbo. It was such an 
uncouthly shaped, brown, and hairy structure, that Johnny 
was hardly recognisable under it ; he certainly looked much 
better and more gatefarrin in his blue bonnet 

As Johnny strode stoutly on alongside of his bonny bay 
mare, Jess, ilka blade o' grass tipped with its ain drap o' 
dew, and the orient sun just beginning to struggle through 
masses of gray cloud, and to gild the tree tops with occa 
sional glimpses of his face, while the lark poured forth his 
song overhead in streams of rich melody, and a stray hare 
now and then hirpled up the dykeside the scene was, un 
doubtedly, one fresh enough, and lovely enough to stir the 
blood of any but the most mouldy and ungrateful of human 

Kound the corner of the wood from Gushetneuk, and a 
little beyond where a trotting burnie came down the hollow, 
there stood a small hamlet, consisting of about half-a-dozen 
unpretending edifices, scattered here and there, and includ 
ing the smith's and shoemaker's places of abode and work 
shops, with an old-fashioned toon loan fringed by a few 
large ash and plane trees. At the top of the loan there was 
a very rustic -looking schoolhouse, and one or two small 
rape-thackit cottages. This was Smiddyward. By the 
roadside here, there stood waiting the arrival of the cart, 
Eppie Will, a widow 'oman, and friend of Mrs. Gibb, and her 
only son, Jock, a fite-heidet youth of fourteen or thereby, 


tender eyed, with a bandage round his head longitudinally, 
and tightly encased from head to foot in a suit of gray 
moleskin, garnished with abundance of brass buttons. With 
them stood a girl of about Jock's age, dressed almost as 
quaintly as Jock, though with feminine tact, she had set off 
her primitive gingham frock for the occasion with a fresh 
nosegay pinned in the front. In point of physical features, 
too, she had the advantage of him. In contrast to Jock's 
rather flabby face and sheepish look, " the lassie," as Johnny 
and Mrs. Gibb invariably called her, had a face which, 
though somewhat high in point of colour, possessed that 
regularity of feature and pleasantness of contour, which, in 
a different rank of life, would have been held to give pro 
mise of ultimately maturing into unmistakable womanly 
beauty. The lassie, whose name was Mary Howie, was the 
niece of Mrs. Gibb ; and being the daughter of parents 
whose poverty, if not their wills, could very well consent to 
spare her, she had become, in a sort, the adopted child of 
the Gibbs, who had no family of their own. 

Johnny Gibb stopped Jess, got the whole hypothec into 
the cart ; and then, mounting the forebreist himself, started 
again, fairly under way for the Wells. 



IF need were, I could describe the entire course of the 
journey from Gushetneuk to the Wells at Macduff. But 
perhaps to do so would be an undue trifling with a busy 
public, whose manner of travelling, for health and pleasure, 
as well as for business, is so different now. The railway 
system had not penetrated to Aberdeen even, then. Long 
strings of carriers' carts, jogging on night and day, each 
with its creel atop, and here and there a jolly carrier lying 
in the same half or wholly asleep, and perhaps, a more 
watchful mastiff under the axletree these did the heavy 
and slow part of the business ; and then there was the mail 
coach, and the rattling Defiance ; and now and again such 
a vehicle as the Tallyho, for speedy conveyance of passengers, 
at the average rate of eight miles an hour, stoppages not 
always included ; also the " Flyboat," or " Swift Gig Boat," 
plying on the Aberdeenshire Canal, whose sideway draught, 
to the unfortunate horses that ran on the bank, with a 
laddie rider, dexterously joukin inward and downward at 
every villanously low bridge under which they went, was 
the extreme of cruelty to animals. 

These things are not only obsolete, but almost com 
pletely forgotten, and the idlest, laziest man in the shire 
grumbles loudly at the unconscionably slow rate of those 
trains that do not run faster than twenty miles an hour. 

Such is the progress of the human race ; not to speak of 


the electric telegraph, which threatens to land us in a material 
millennium before we have had time to abrogate the Ten 
Commandments, and do whatever else advanced minds may 
think needful to getting our moral equilibrium steadied at a 
point commensurate with the advance of natural science. 

However, I must return to Johnny Gibb, who, in taking 
a near cut at the outset, had guided his cart and its freight 
through one or two yetts, the bars of which he took pain 
fully out, and put as painfully in again, and after gaining 
the high road, had received the salutations of sundry servant 
lads, early out either on their way to the peat moss, or from 
which they were already returning with loaded carts. By 
and by, the voyagers had passed out of kent bounds bounds 
kent to the junior passengers, that is to say, for to Johnny 
Gibb the whole way was as familiar as his oxter pouch ; 
and great was the delight of the lassie and Jock Will, as 
the scene changed and changed, and first one gentleman's 
seat and then another, came in view. And Johnny would 
tell the name of each, and, in sententious phrase, give a 
brief sketch of the owner. 

"Ay, ay, the fader o' 'im was a lang-heidit schaimin 
carle, an' weel fells the sin for that," was the remark in one 
case ; and in the next, " A braw hoose that, isnint ? But, 
an' ilka ane hed their nain, I wudna say nor the laird wud 
hae to forhoo 's bit bonny nest." 

" Eh, sirs : sic a weary wardle," said Eppie Will. " Fa 
cud 'a thocht it?" 

" The tae half o' oor lairds is owre the lugs in a bag o' 
debt. I wud hae them roupit oot at the door, and set to 
some eesefu trade." 

" Na, sirs," ejaculated Eppie ; and Mrs. Gibb put in a 
deprecatory " Hoot man !" 

"Stechin up a kwintra side wi' them, wi' their peer 
stinkin' pride," pursued Johnny, " an' them nedder able to 
manage their awcres themsel's, nor can get ither fowk that 
can dee 't for them. Ye 're leukin, Jock ; gin ever ye be a 
factor, loon, see an' leern the eese o' the grun, an' keep 
baith laird an' tenan' straucht i' the theets." 


" Eh, John Gibb ; for shame to the laddie," quoth Eppie 
Will. Jock himself gave a soft laugh, looked askance, and 
rubbed the chaff sack with the palm of his hand. 

And thus they moved on mile after mile. 

" Gi'e the bairns a bit piece noo, 'oman," continued 
Johnny, changing the theme, when they had journeyed for 
a matter of three hours ; " the like o' them 's aye yap, an* 
it '11 be twall o'clock ere we win doon to Turra to lowse." 

"Hear ye that noo, Eppie ?" said Mrs. Gibb, affecting 
the jocular. " That 's to lat 'imsel' get a gnap no !" 

" Aweel, sae be 't. It 's an ill servan' 't 's nae worth 's 
maet. Here 's a bit coblie o' fine clear caller water ; we '11 
gie the beast a drink, an' lat 'er get a mou'fu' o' girss till we 
see fat 's i' that bit basketie." 

And so Jess was set to the grassy bank, with a wisp 
of half-dried hay strewn before her, and the bearing reins 
thrown loose. Mrs. Gibb produced an abundant store of 
cakes and butter ready spread, and the cakes placed face to 
face, with several kneevlics of tempting blue cheese. The 
party regaled themselves sumptuously on their wholesome 
fare, and drank of the caller water to which Jess had been 

And, verily, he hath but an imperfect acquaintance with 
the true philosophy of locomotion, who shall affect to sneer 
at the mode in which Johnny Gibb and his charge journeyed. 
Grant but fitting company, favourable weather, and a fair 
allowance of fresh straw, and the art of man hath not yet 
devised a more rational and truly enjoyable method of 
" voyaging " by land than by the use of a common cart, 
drawn by a willing and intelligent cart horse. Of this truth 
all practised visitors to the Wells had an intuitive percep 
tion ; if reliance on it was not, indeed, essential to the 
integrity of their belief in the entire institution. And how 
well they could furnish out the cart for the comfortable 
accommodation and sustenance of those who journeyed 
therein ! Time would fail me to speak of the compendious 
outfit they could stow away within and about the vehicle. 
I recollect well seeing one arrival of a large family, the 


head of which had boxed up the sides of his cart with rough 
boards till he had achieved a kind of two storeys, the ground 
floor containing sundry kitchen utensils, and the upper one 
the live passengers ; and he had actually built in a fixed 
stair in the hind part of the cart ! But this was an extreme 
experiment, and the usual mode was simply to pack well on 
the basis of the cart itself. 

Eesuming their journey, the party plodded on through 
the romantic den of Gask, and down on the handsome little 
town of Turriff, with its bleachfield along the quiet burn 
side, and its common herd, who touted his horn as he 
wended along, and gradually gathered out the town's kine 
to feed on the pleasant haughs adjoining. 

At Turriff Johnny lows't the mare, and put up for 
refreshment at the Black Bull Inn, where he and the hostler 
discussed a gill of the national liquor, very amicably, between 
them. As the gentlest drink for the ladies, he called a 
bottle of mulled porter; and, leaving them to sip and sip 
of the same in the little back parlour of the Inn, with its 
sanded floor and crockery-shop statuary, he sallied forth to 
exhibit the lions of the place to the youngsters, not omitting 
to point out to them the Toon's Hoose, and the Cross, the 
geographical position of which he took care to explain, as 
equally distant from Aberdeen and Elgin. As saith the 
popular distich 

" Choose ye, choise ye, at the Cross o' Turra, 
Either gang to Aberdeen, or Elgin o' Moray." 

That was a delightsome road down by Knockiemill, and 
along the pleasant banks of the Deveron, in full view of 
Forglen House, Denlugas, and so forth. This Johnny Gibb 
knew, and he preferred it to the turnpike road accordingly. 
I do not know that he escaped a toll by adopting this route, 
for there was a passport system in force in those days, 
whereby the man who went through the Turriff bar was 
armed with a ticket that gave him the privilege of passing 
the next bar without pecuniary mulct. However that may 
be, the water-side road was chosen as the more picturesque 


legitimate consideration surely with those who 
travelled for health and pleasure. Up they came again 
near by Eden, along the turnpike road for some miles, and 
again diverging to the right, on Johnny and his cart went 
under the westering sun, till the hill-top was reached ; when, 
lo ! there lay before them the calm blue sea, with slight 
ripples of white here and there, and here and there on its 
bosom a brave schooner scudding along the Firth, with fully 
spread canvas, or a boat, with brown sail newly hoisted, 
speeding away from the harbour mouth ; wherein lay sundry 
craft, the top-masts of which were fully visible as the eye 
wandered inward over the irregular field of red-tiled roofs, 
and settled on the vista afforded by the long steep street 
leading down to the shore. 

" Eh, that 's the sea !" exclaimed the lassie, in a rapture 
of admiration. 

"Is't the sea, mither?" said Jock, not quite assured. 
It's surely nae that colour?" 

"Deed an* it's jist the saut sea, whaur mony ane's 
gotten a watery shrood." 

* Divnin ye see the ships sailin on 't ?" said the lassie. 
" Weel, they 're nae vera muckle anes," replied Jock. 

" But they're maybe hyne awa.'" 

"Ho! but a muckle ship sud hae three masts," said 
Jock, desirous of vindicating his nautical knowledge, "an 
nane o' that has mair nor twa." 

a Will we get a sail on 't ?" was the lassie's next question. 

* 'Serve 's, lassie, ye little ken fat ye 're speakin o'. Lat 
alane the fear o' the boat coupin an' you gyaun to the 
boddom o' the sea, ye wud seen be as deid 's a door nail 
wi' sea-sickness." And Mrs. Gibb, as a warning to the 
young people to beware of trusting themselves on the 
bosom of the heaving deep, related how, long ago, when 
Johnny and she were young, and Johnny headstrong and 
reckless, he would have himself and his wife conveyed from 
Macduff to Banff by water ; and what of peril and fright 
the voyage involved, the boat rising up and down on its 
very ends, and leaning over till the spray actually skirpit 


her face, while, to crown all, the monster of a skipper sat 
coolly at his helm laughing at her terror. 

As this crack went on in the cart, Johnny stumped 
along by Jess's head, scanning the countenances of those he 
met, in search of any stray kent face. By and by his eye 
caught a formal inscription, in the usual street-corner style, 
"Duff Street." "Fat whigmaleerie 's this noo ?" quoth 
Johnny. " The fowk o' this place wud ca' their vera tykes 
aifter the Yerl o' Fife. This is fat we hed ees't to ca' the 
' Main Street ' Duff Street ; fat sorra ither." 

The explanation was that, since Johnny's last journey 
to the Wells, the good people of Macduff had adopted the 
modern practice of systematically naming and numbering 
their streets. It was then in the region of Market Street, 
I do not say that it was in that particular thoroughfare 
itself, that Johnny found a lodging-house for his charge. 
Their landlord was Donald M'Craw, a blind old pensioner, 
who had followed the gallant Abercromby into Egypt, and 
whose industrious helpmeet occupied her leisure time in 
keeping a dame's school in the kitchen of their habitation. 
And while she energetically pursued her pedagogical duties 
among her noisy charge, the blind Donald was wont to sit 
in his arm chair in the corner, a not uninterested listener to 
what was going on, and always ready at an emergency to 
come in full shout with his military word of command to 
enforce obedience or silence, as the case might be. 



TAM MEERISON had been servant to Johnny Gibb only from 
the term of Whitsunday, that is to say for about three 
weeks previous to the date of which I have been writing. 
He was a stout fellow of six or seven and twenty, with a 
broad, good-natured face, and straggling, but very promising 
whiskers of light complexion fringing his cheeks. On his 
head he wore a sort of nondescript blue bonnet, and going 
downward on his person you found a remarkably substantial 
sleeved vest of moleskin and a pair of cord trousers, narrow 
at the knees, and spreading somewhat about the ankles, 
with about half-a-dozen buttons at bottom overhanging the 
heavy beetikin on either foot. The servant lass, Jinse 
Deans, a sedate-looking, red-haired damsel of fully Tarn's 
age, had been a resident at Gushetneuk for a couple of 
twelvemonths bygone ; and when Johnny had set out for 
the Wells the two were master and mistress of the place for 
the time being. Tarn pursued his work industriously afield 
during the day, along with the orra man, Willy M'Aul, a 
youth of sixteen or seventeen, and son of the souter of 
Smiddyward. When six o'clock p.m. had come, Tarn incon 
tinently lows't. Then came supper of kail and kail brose, 
of which the three partook in company, amid no little 
badinage, consisting mainly of equivocal compliments to 
Jinse on her housekeeping capabilities, from Willy M'Aul, or 
as he was more commonly designated, the loon, who was of 


that particular character fitly described as a roy't nickum. 
Tarn next lighted his pipe and blew clouds of smoke to the 
kitchen roof, as he watched Jinse " washing up " her dishes, 
an operation which Jinse invariably performed with an 
amount of clattering and noise that made the beholder 
marvel how it happened that she did not break at least one 
half of the crockery as it passed through her hands. 
Whether Tarn was admiring Jinse's dexterity and vigour 
in going through her work or not I cannot say ; I rather 
think, at any rate, that Jinse was not altogether unconscious 
that she was making a considerable display of these qualities 
before the new ploughman. At last she had finished, when, 
addressing the loon, she said 

" Gae 'wa', ye haveril, an' fesh hame the kye, till I get 
them milket." 

" An' fat 11 aw get for that, Jinse ?" 

" Gin ye get fat ye deserve, ye winna braig aboot it." 

" Wud ye gi'e 's a kiss gin aw war to dee 't ?" 

" Ye 're a bonny ablich to seek a kiss. I 'se rug yer lugs 
t' ye gin ye dinna gae this minit." 

" Hoot man, ye Ve nae pluck ava," exclaimed Tarn, as the 
loon retreated towards the door to escape from Jinse, who 
had shown a distinct intention of suiting the action to the 
word. " Canna ye tak' a grip o' 'er ? " 

" I wudna advise you to dee that, Tarn, or ye '11 maybe 
fin' 't she 's a sauter," replied Willy, as he marched off for 
the cows. 

Later in the evening, when the cows had been milked, 
the calves properly attended to, and the work of the day 
fully concluded, Johnny Gibb's three servants were to be 
seen loitering about the kitchen door, and talking over the 
countra clatter. Tarn, who was seated on the big beetlin 
stone by the door cheek, had spoken once and again of going 
to bed, and had given the loon emphatic warning of the 
expediency of his immediately seeking repose, as he might 
depend on it that he, Tarn, would pull him out of the 
blankets by the heels if he were not astir by five o'clock 
next morning. Notwithstanding his urgency with the loon, 


Tarn did not himself give any distinct indication of hurrying 
to bed. But as the loon failed to " obtemper " his repeated 
hints, he at last started to his feet, and went clanking across 
the causeway and up the trap stair to the chaumer over the 
stable. And while the loon proceeded to undress, Tarn 
yawned once and again portentously. He then, very deliber 
ately, wound up his watch, and, seating himself on his kist 
began, by and by, to sowff over " My love she 's but a lassie 
yet." When he had got Willy fairly into bed, Tarn next 
rose, and under pretence of going to the stable, slipped down 
the trap and out by the door, which he quietly locked, to 
make sure that Willy M'Aul would not follow him. In 
somewhat less than two minutes thereafter, Tarn Meerison 
and Jinse Deans were seated side by side on the deece in 
Johnny Gibb's kitchen. 

I don't know all what Tarn Meerison said to Jinse Deans 
that summer gloamin. How should I ? The whispers of 
lovers are hard to catch. Nor am I able to say how far 
Johnny Gibb would have approved of the sort of sederunt 
that took place on this occasion, in his absence, between his 
servant maid and his servant man. But certain it is that 
this was not the first time that Jinse had been wooed in a 
similar manner, and in that same place. Not by the 
same wooer, certainly, for until three weeks ago she had 
been utterly unaware that such a man as Tarn Meerison 

At any rate, if Jinse saw no harm in receiving a little 
attention from an additional sweetheart, Tarn evidently 
found her company the reverse of disagreeable. The time 
fled swiftly past, as it is wont to do in such circumstances. 
It had " worn on " to twelve o'clock ; to one o'clock ; and 
the lonely corncraik, which had so long kept up its rasping, 
yet cheery, note, to break the stillness of the summer twi 
light, had at last ceased its cry, and gone to sleep. It was 
still and quiet as quiet could be, when footsteps were surely 
heard approaching the house of Gushetneuk. 

" Wheesht ! " exclaimed Jinse, in a low whisper. " Fat 's 
that? I hear a fit." 


" Nonsense," said Tarn ; " it 's some o' the horse f the 
park at the back o' the hoose." 

" It 's naething o' the kin'. Here, I say there 's some 
body comin' up the close ! In aneth the deece wi' ye this 
minit ! " whispered Jinse, in great excitement. 

Tarn felt there was nothing for it but to do as he was 
bid ; not that he liked the idea of doing it, or that his judg 
ment was fully convinced of the propriety of the course 
prescribed, but he failed in getting up any valid negative to 
oppose to Jinse's urgency ; and so, giving way to the force 
of her exhortation, Tarn proceeded to squeeze his incon 
veniently-bulky person under the deece, among a horde of 
old shoes, dilapidated brooms, and sic like, with all the 
celerity he could achieve. And he was not a moment too 
soon, for the head and shoulders of some person were already 
dimly discernible at the front window. The deece stood 
opposite to this window, at the back wall. A tap or two 
on the pane were immediately heard, followed by a loudly- 
whispered " Jinse ! " 

Now, Jinse's position at the moment was a little awk 
ward. With womanly tact she had remained by the deece 
to cover Tarn's retreat> which had been accomplished with 
tolerable success ; but here there were one, if not two pairs 
of eyes staring through the uncurtained window, and there 
was yet light enough to enable the owners of those eyes to 
follow the movements of any one inside, and even to 
discover their whereabouts, if they happened to be fully in 
view of the window, which the occupant of the deece 
unluckily was. She hesitated, yet remained still ; but the 
call was persistently kept up, " Jinse ! I 'm sayin, Jinse ! " 
Jinse's wits could scarcely have been calmed to the point 
of keeping continued silence under the increasingly- violent 
demand of the assailants of the window to have audience of 
her ; to pretend that she was in bed was hopeless ; and so, 
starting up in a fashion to knock over one or two chairs 
and stools not a bad feint either Jinse advanced to the 
window, and indignantly demanded what the midnight 
brawlers wanted. 


" Ou, Jinsie, 'oman, dinna tak' the huff nae fear o' the 
aul* cock the iiicht. We ken brawly that Gushets an' 's 
wife tee 's awa' fae hame." 

" Father they be awa' fae hame or no, ye hae nae bizness 
comin here at this time o* nicht disturbin fowk." 

" Wus ye sleepin terrible soun', Jinse ? " 

" Sleepin ! " exclaimed a second voice ; " the fowk o' 
Gushetneuk sleeps noo oot o' their beds, an' wi' a' their 
claes on ! " And at this sally of wit the two men laughed 

" Gae wa' this minit, I tell ye," exclaimed Jinse, with 
increased vehemence. 

" I wauger she has a man wi' 'er, the jaud," was the only 
reply that proceeded from the first speaker. 

Jinse, who either did not hear, or pretended not to hear, 
this remark, then, in a rather less indignant tone, asked, 
" Fat are ye wuntin here, I 'm sayin ? " 

" Fat are we wuiitin ! Wuntin in tae see ye, Jinse ; fat 
ither," said the voice that had spoken most. 

" Gae awa' hame, I tell ye." 

But, at this juncture, Jinse to her great horror, heard 
the latch of the door softly lifted, and the door itself, which 
of course had never been locked, evidently opening a 
doubtful illustration, I daresay, of the saying that " love 
laughs at locksmiths." Before she could hinder it the two 


men were inside, and advancing towards the kitchen. They 
were quite well known to Jinse to be two of the servants 
at the farm of Mains of Yawal one of them, indeed, 
averred that he had been " here afore "- but, for all this, it 
was decidedly inconvenient to have them in the house with 
the avowed intention of searching out the man who, as they 
asserted, was there before them, and all to see " fat like " 
he was. 

" Faur hae ye pitten 'im noo, Jinsie ? " exclaimed the 
more demonstrative of the two; "jist tell's, 'oman we 
winna hurt 'im." 

" I say ! " cried Jinse, excitedly, endeavouring to push 
him back. 



" Jock, min," continued the man, addressing his friend, 
who had not yet emerged from the trance ; " Jock, canna 
ye come ben an' gi'e Jinse the fawvour o' yer company. 
Oh-ho ! he '11 be i' the bed, I wauger," and the fellow darted 
across, and opened the doors of the bun bed in which 
Johnny Gibb's servant maid slept. Partly through vexation 
and excitement, partly perhaps as a stroke of policy, Jinse 
had resort now to a woman's last defence her tears. Her 
tormentor, failing to find the man he groped for in the bed, 
and with his compunctions slightly stirred, perhaps, seized 
her round the neck. 

" Weel-a-wuns, than, Jinsie," exclaimed the equivocal 
comforter," we 'se lat 'im rest 's banes in peace an quaetness;" 
saying which he swung Jinse round, and they both together 
came down on the deece with ponderous force. Now, 
Johnny Gibb's deece, though a substantial piece of furniture 
on the whole, did yield slightly, perhaps, under severe 
pressure ; and, moreover, in the process of pushing himself 
under it, Tarn had unsettled the deece from the two frag 
ments of thin slate on which its front legs stood. The 
result of this was that, inasmuch as Tarn Meerison was bulky 
enough to require in any case all the accommodation he 
could find between the deece seat and the floor, the doosht 
of the two persons falling on it had the effect of bringing 
his person into such violent contact with a three-cornered 
ironing heater, which happened to be under him, that Tarn 
uttered an involuntary "Go-ch !" with considerable emphasis. 
The general noise going on fortunately prevented this 
exclamation being heard; but, as Tarn lay there a very 
close prisoner indeed, without the power of stirring a hair's- 
breadth, the sweat gathered on his brow plentifully, and he 
began seriously to reflect what was to be the end of it, for 
the second man had now also taken his seat on the deece, 
and horrible pictures of being squeezed as flat as a skate 
rose in his mind; still he hoped the deece would hold 
out, and so long as it did so, he might hold out too, seeing 
he certainly had not more than half the superimposed burden 
to sustain. 


No doubt it was a weary lie for Tarn, for a full hour and 
a half had elapsed before Jinse managed to get rid of the 
two intruders. In the course of the conversation overhead 
of him, Tarn had the pleasure of hearing his sweetheart 
questioned in a very direct and unceremonious fashion about 
himself, under the title of " Gushets* new man," the inter 
rogator adding, as his own private opinion, " He 's a queer- 
leukin hurb, at ony rate." It need hardly be said that 
Jinse answered discreetly in the circumstances. 

When the unsought visitors had left, I daresay she and 
her companion exchanged some words of mutual congratula 
tion and comfort; but daylight was already showing itself, 
and the feelings of both Tarn and Jinse had been too rudely 
disturbed to admit of their settling down again at that time 
to a quiet and loving conference. Tarn hung about for a 
little after he had risen from below the deece, and spoke 
widely of giving the two disturbers of his enjoyment their 
" kail throu' the reek some day," and then he slipped out to 
the stable, and crept cannily up the chaumer stair. Tarn 
had hoped to get quietly to bed, at any rate ; but, just as 
he had deposited the last article of his removable garments 
on his kist lid, and stood in nocturnal attire, ready to creep 
in amongst the plaids, his bed-fellow, Willy M'Aul, turned 
himself with a drowsy grane, and muttered, " Ay, ay \ ye 're 
a gey boy, comin to yer bed at three o'clock i' the mornin." 

" Haud yer jaw, min !" was Tarn's abrupt response. 



THE reader who has followed me thus far has, I hope, 
obtained a sort of general notion of Johnny Gibb's character ; 
but, while the worthy farmer of Gushetneuk is jogging 
leisurely home from Macduff in the cart all alone, leaving 
his charge to enjoy their eight-days' bathing till he should 
return again for them, I may be allowed to indicate a little 
further the stamp of man that Johnny was. 

In point of worldly circumstances the goodman of 
Gushetneuk, by dint of honest industry and the possession 
of a reasonably-conditioned old tack, had come long ago to 
be very comfortable. He had the repute, indeed, of being 
rich ; but to what figure his wealth really reached nobody 
could exactly say, or even very definitely guess, because he 
and his goodwife belonged to that worthy and unsophisti 
cated order of people, now becoming rare, I fear, with whom 
increase of wealth brings no change either in tastes or 
habits of life. Johnny's table was not, in any noticeable 
degree, more sumptuously furnished than it had been thirty 
years before, when he began life on little beyond the mere 
lawbour o' his han's. He still duly every morning sat down 
by the little back table on the kitchen deece, whereof I 
have already spoken, and having put aside his bonnet and 
said grace, took up his horn spoon and suppit his porridge 
from a dainty wooden caup, the milk that seasoned it being 
contained in a smaller timmer luggie. The only difference 


between him and the lads at the front dresser was, that 
Johnny had tea, and oat cakes and butter daily, whereas the 
lads got butter an' breid only on Sabbath mornings. At 
Klyack, Yule, and other festivals, master and servant feasted 
royally together at the same table, along with sundry invited 
guests, usually from among the residenters at Smiddyward. 
Johnny's clothing, moreover, was of exactly the same type 
as it had ever been ; indeed, some pieces of it still extant 
and in use had been worn since he was a young man. 
What is yet more wonderful, when we think of the general 
habit of the prosperous part of society in this particular, 
Johnny had never once dreamed of " cutting " an old 
acquaintance because of the stigma attaching to him on 
account of his poverty. There was he, a man perfectly 
"independent" in pecuniary matters (and not less inde 
pendent in his opinions and feelings), who certainly had a 
very good balance at his banker's, and, as was pretty broadly 
hinted, had, under a strong appeal, at one time actually lent 
money to his laird, and who yet, at kirk or market, would 
accost any dyker or ditcher in the parish on terms of per 
fect equality. The odd thing, too, was that all this did 
not seem in the least to lower Johnny in the respect of these 
poor folks, who accepted his opinions with greater deference 
than they were sometimes disposed to accord to those of 
people making much higher pretensions. 

In politics, Johnny Gibb was what would be called an 
advanced Liberal, only the term, I rather think, had not 
been invented then. When the first Eeform Bill was 
under discussion he became conspicuous by his vehement 
declarations in its favour. The smith and the souter of 
Smiddyward had been wont to meet and discuss the subject, 
and to read, for mutual edification, all the Eadical opinions 
they could find in print in the serial literature of the time. 
Johnny became a casual hearer, and, by and by, a not inapt 
pupil. And thus, when the Bill had passed and a contested 
election had come, Johnny went down to the polling place 
at the " Broch," and threw up his blue bonnet among the 
excited burghal crowd, who had rigged out the toon's 


drummer to head their scattered procession and beat for 
victory. He stoutly shouted " Brace for ever ! Gordon 
never !" and, in place of accepting, like the other newly- 
enfranchised tenants in the Ian', the directions of his laird, 
Sir Simon Frissal of Glensnicker, to vote for Captain Gordon, 
he resented the hint given, and at the polling place reminded 
Sir Simon, in very plain terms, that they two stood now, 
politically, on an equality. 

"Step forward, John," said the rather pompous laird, 
when they met at the front of the polling-table. Sir Simon 
was inclined to hang on and see whether his presence 
would not overawe his refractory tenant even at the eleventh 

" Savin yer presence, sir," said Johnny, " I wud raither 
gi'e you the prefairence." 

" Step forward," said the laird,, severely. 
"Weel, weel, sir," was the reply, "to please you. 
We 're a' voters alike noo, ye ken, Sir Seemon ay, ay, 
we 're a' alike noo. Fa is 't, said ye ? Sir Mykaeal 
Breece ! " shouted Johnny, in the ears of his astonished 
neighbours, and under the nose of his frowning laird. 
Then Johnny clapt on his bonnet, and strode away out 

Johnny Gibb's political opinions undoubtedly damaged 
his ecclesiastical prospects. The eldership in the parish, 
apart from Jonathan Tawse, the schoolmaster, had got worn 
down to two members, whereof one was much incapacitated 
by old age and deafness, and the other was but an unstable 
pillar at best, seeing that he not unfrequently got publicly 
tipsy on the market-day, and had been known to ride his 
pony belly-deep in a neighbour's dunghill on his way home, 
and then, when the animal could get no farther on, sit up in 
the saddle and shout to some supposed waitress, " Anither 
half-mutchkin, lassie ! " The necessity of recruiting the 
eldership was patent, and the eyes of not a few were 
directed to Johnny Gibb as one fit and suitable person for 
the office. Others hinted at Eoderick M'Aul, the souter; 
but, in those days, in the parish of Pyketillim, we liked to 


select men of substance for the eldership. Besides, the 
souter was reckoned very wild in his religious opinions, in 
asmuch as he had agitated the question of a Sunday-School, 
and was believed to maintain family worship in his house 

The parish minister, the Eev. Andrew Sleekaboot, was 
a very peaceable man in the main, albeit a man that liked 
extremely well to have his own way, which, indeed, he 
generally got among his parishioners. The idea had been 
suggested to him before by Jonathan Tawse that, in order 
to keep Johnny Gibb docile and submissively attached to 
the Kirk, he should have him made an elder; and Mr. 
Sleekaboot was not indisposed to think that this might have 
prevented certain aberrations on the part of Johnny, who 
had been guilty of the irregularity of hearing and even 
entertaining as his guest a " missionar" minister, that came 
to the quarter occasionally on the invitation of the souter 
a thing which no elder, so far as known in that region, had 
ever presumed to do. But now the daring course taken by 
Gushetneuk in setting his laird's political opinions and 
wishes at defiance fairly staggered Mr. Sleekaboot, and he 
determined to try the effect of indirect discipline in the 
matter. So he preached a sermon ostensibly on the 
qualities of those fitted to hold office in the Church, but 
in which his main strength was expended in picturing the 
dreadful offence of which they were guilty who refused in 
any manner of way to be subject to the powers that be. 
The allusions, though rather laboriously roundabout in their 
putting, were clear enough to the meanest capacity. The 
laird, Sir Simon Frissal, who, being in the quarter, had 
come to countenance the occasion, and who, from his 
boxed -in, or pumphel seat, as it was called by the irre 
verent youth of the parish, had nodded approval frequently 
during the delivery of the sermon, pronounced it " an excel 
lent discourse," and spoke vaguely of getting it published. 
The general remark among the parishioners was of this 
sort, " Nyod, didnin he tak a gey fling at the 'lectioneerin' the 
day ?" "Aw doot Gushetneuk cam in for a bit scaad yon'er." 


Johnny Gibb met Mr. Sleekaboot in a day or two after 
the delivery of this famous discourse, when Johnny bluntly 
accosted him thus : 

" Weel, I daursay ye thocht ye hed me o' the steel o' 
repentance on Sunday, sir ? " 

" John ! John ! what do you mean by that ? " 

" Ou, brawly ken ye that, sir ; ye 're nae so blate yer 
discoorse was mair like a hash o' Tory poleetics, nor an ex- 
poondin' o' the Gospel." 

" John ! let me warn you, these Eadical and irreverent 
notions of yours can end in no good." 

"That's preceesely fat ye taul me fae the poopit on 
Sunday, sir." 

" I simply deduced from the passages of Scripture founded 
upon those general principles that ought to guide men in 
certain relations of life." 

" Maybe ; but I think, wi' a' respeck, it cudna be coontit 
muckle short o' a wrestin' o' the Word o' Gweed to apply 
some o' the remarks as ye did." 

" Mr. Gibb," said the Eev. Mr. Sleekaboot, with some 
severity, " that 's a style of remark I have not been accus 
tomed to from any parishioner." 

" Sae rnuckle the waur for ye, maybe," was the un 
daunted reply. 

" Will you be kind enough to condescend upon any 
remarks of mine that were not warranted by the Scripture?" 
added the minister. 

" Weel, sir," replied Johnny, " ye made a hantle o' the 
poo'ers that be, an' the duty o' absolute subjection to them. 
Noo, sir, lat me tell ye that the Apos'le never inten'et to 
set up either the laird or the minaister as ane o' the poo'ers 
ordeen't to bear rowle owre 's i' the fashion that ye seem't 
to approve so muckle o'. The laird jist sets me a bit grun, 
an' as lang as I keep my bargain an' pay my rent, he has 
nae bizness wi' maitters o' conscience, temporal or spiritooal. 
As for the minaister, I gi'e him a' due deference as my 
spiritooal instructor, gin he pruv 'imsel worthy o 't ; but fat 
mak' ye o' the text that he s'all be ' servant of all ' ? " 


Mr. Sleekaboot did not stay to make much of it one way 
or another, at that time at any rate. He mumbled out 
something about people being " opinionative " and " im 
practicable," and with a face expressive of a good deal more 
than he said, bade Johnny Gibb Good day. 

A few Sundays thereafter it was announced from the 
pulpit that a batch of three new elders had been chosen ; 
by whom was not stated, but the electing body was believed 
to consist of Mr. Sleekaboot and the office-bearers already 
referred to. Anyhow the batch did not include the name 
of John Gibb. The new pillars of the church were our old 
friend Mains of Yawal, Braeside (who was the brother-in-law 
of Peter Birse of Clinkstyle, hereafter to be introduced), and 
Teuchitsmyre. They were all men of reputable substance, 
and gifted with the minimum of liability to do or say any 
thing original or remarkable. 

As was fully to be anticipated, several expectant elders 
(and their wives) were highly exasperated at being passed 
over, and canvassed the gifts of the newly-ordained with 
some asperity. Johnny Gibb said nothing, though his un 
expected exclusion caused more talk in the parish than even 
Mr. Sleekaboot altogether liked. And thus it came about, 
by and by, that, in quarters in amicable affinity with the 
manse, the confidentially -whispered averment was freely 
circulated that the unhappy tenant of Gushetneuk, greatly 
to the distress of his excellent pastor, had been found to be 
a good way from soun' on various fundamental points of 
doctrine ; indeed, a man of violent and somewhat dangerous 
opinions generally. 



MY last note of Johnny Gibb's excursion to the Wells left 
Johnny and his good mare Jess plodding on their way 
homeward. They reached Gushetneuk in due time, safe 
and sound ; and there we shall leave them meantime, while 
I describe shortly the habits of the bather and water- 

The daily round was uniform and systematic. You were 
expected to drink the salt water as an aperient once in two 
days at least, and to bathe every day. The water was 
drunk in the morning the patients helping themselves out 
of the Moray Firth at such spots as they found most con 
venient, and then walking along the bare, bluff beach to the 
valley of Tarlair, where they supplemented the salt water 
by drinking of the mineral stream that discharged itself at 
the little well-house, covered with several large Caithness 
flags, that stood there. There was a little house, too, at the 
foot of the north bank, where a drop of whisky could be got 
somehow in cases of emergency, as when the patient got 
hoven with the liberal libations of salt water previously 
swallowed, or where the taste lay strongly in that direction ; 
but this was no part of the recognised regimen. 

Then about midday was the season for bathing. The 
women perhaps I should say ladies bathed at the part 
nearest the town, and the men farther eastward ; and, on 
the whole, very excellent and safe bathing ground it is ; 


with, I rather think, the addition of baths built for public 
accommodation since the date of which I write. But I 
speak of the old fashion of things. Bathing served to whet 
the appetite for dinner, as water-drinking may be supposed 
to have whetted the appetite for breakfast ! and the former 
important meal over, the bathers spent the latter part of the 
day in pleasure ; daundering about the quays, observing the 
operations going on there amongst the gallant tars and hardy 
fishermen, at the risk of having an uncomplimentary desig 
nation referring to their present mode of life occasionally 
applied to them; sauntering out to the hill of Doune to 
watch the ceaseless breakers on the bar of Banff, and wonder 
how the waters of the Deveron ever managed to make their 
way into the sea through the sandy deposits that all but shut 
up its mouth ; or perhaps an excursion would be undertaken 
to Banff or beyond it : and, in those days everybody made 
a specialty of visiting Duff House, wandering about the fine 
grounds at pleasure, and, if ill luck forbade it not, contriving 
to get some good-natured domestic to guide them over the 
interior of that noble mansion. 

The circumstances being as I have said, Widow Will 
set herself to find out a prudent and experienced person of 
the male sex to whose care she might entrust Jock, her son, 
for, at any rate, the bathing part of the course. 

" An' deed tat '11 no be ill to get," quoth Mrs. M'Craw, 
"for there 's a vera discreet, weel-livin' man fae the parish 
o' Marnoch bidin at my gweedbreeder's sister's, near the 
Buchan toll yett." 

" Eh, but aw cudna think o' tribblin a body that kens 
nae mair aboot me an' mine nor the man o' France," said 
the widow. 

" Och, an' he '11 be muckle waur o' tat ! Maister Saun'ers 
'11 no be so easy fash't, I 'se warran. For a won'er he '11 be 
in for a crack wi' Donal', an' we 'se see." 

" He 's an acquantens o' your goodrnan's, than ? " 

"Fat ither," said Mrs. M'Craw. "An' a weel-leern't 
man he is. There'll be few as I've seen cud haud the 
can'le to Doual' at argifyin aboot Kirk maitters ; but I 


b'lieve ye he'll no loup the stank so easy wi' Maister 

" Na, sirs ! " sagely observed Widow Will. 

" An' aw b'lieve he 's here o' ta vera word," added the 
good woman, as a ruddy-cheeked, well-conditioned man of 
middle age, dressed in a comfortable suit of gray, and a cloth 
cap of large dimensions on his head, passed the window and 
entered. The stranger, who proved to be in reality Maister 
Saun'ers from Marnoch, at once agreed to take charge of 
Jock, both for water-drinking and dookin ; and, finding 
that his friend Donald had crept out to the garden to enjoy 
the soft air of a fine summer evening, and feel the declining 
beams of that sun which he had long ceased to see, he went 
in search of him ; no doubt to hold high debate on some of 
their favourite topics, in preference to wasting his time with 
mere women's chatter. 

And thus Jock was entrusted to the responsible care of 
the gentleman from Marnoch. 

Maister Saun'ers, as the Celtic landlady had called him, 
had enjoined on the lad the necessity of being out of bed 
betimes to accompany him. By six o'clock next morning, 
accordingly, the two were stalking leisurely along the beach 
on the east side of the town. At a convenient point they 
picked their steps down, as other people of both sexes were 
doing, to where the tide was washing fresh and clear into 
sundry irregular rocky pools. At the margin of one of these 
Jock's guide, philosopher, and friend, stooped down, filled a 
tin jug of the salt water, and then, standing bolt upright, 
solemnly drank off the whole quantity. The jug contained 
a pint, ample measure ; and when Maister Saun'ers had 
emptied it, he observed to Jock " Noo, laddie, I'm easy 
physicket. I '11 need no more ; but an ordinar' dose for a 
stoot healthy man 's aboot half as muckle again as I Ve 
ta'en. Here noo, I'll full the juggie to you." And, suiting 
the action to the word, he filled the tin jug and presented 
it to Jock, who lifted the vessel to his head with a dubious 
and tardy sort of movement. 

" Drink hardy, noo ! " cried Maister Saun'ers, as Jock 


made a gruesome face, and threatened to withdraw the jug 
from his lips. 

He made a fresh attempt, but could get no farther with 
the process of drinking. 

" Hoot, toot, laddie, that '11 never do. That wud hardly 
be aneuch for a sookin bairn." 

The jug was hardly half emptied. 

" But it 's terrible coorse," pleaded Jock, with a piteous 
and imploring look. 

" Coorse ! awa' wi' ye, min ! Gweed, clean saut water. 
Ye sud gae at it hardier, an' ye wud never think aboot the 
taste o' 't. Come noo ! " 

Jock made another and not much more successful at 

" Hoot, min ! Dinna spull the gweed, clean, halesome 
water skowff 't oot ! " 

" Weel, but aw canna it '11 gar me spue," said Jock in 
a tone approaching the greetin. 

" An' altho', fat maitter ? " argued his more experienced 
friend ; " that 11 help to redd your stamack, at ony rate. 
Lat me see ye tak' jist ae ither gweed waucht o"t, and 
syne we 'se be deein for a day till we see. But min' ye it 's 
nae jeesty to tak' owre little speeshally to begin wi'." 

Jock made a portentous and demonstrative gulp, which, 
I fear, had more show than effect, so far as swallowing the 
remaining contents of the tin jug was concerned. How 
ever, he was reluctantly allowed to spill the remainder. 

" Come awa' noo, an' pluck a gweed han'fu o' caller dilse, 
an' tak' a bite o' them they 're a prime thing for the con 
stitution," continued Jock Will's new guardian. 

This order was more grateful than the former had been, 
and Jock floundered over the slippery tide- washed boulders 
with alacrity, to gather dulse. " Tak' the shally anes aye 
fan ye can get them noo," said Maister Saun'ers, as Jock 
ame up towards him with a bundle of rather rank-looking 
material. " They 're a vera halesome thing ta'en wi' the 
water. Leuk at that noo ! " And he exhibited a bunch of 
short, crisp dulse, powdered about the root ends with clusters 


of tiny shells of the mussel species. " That's the richt 
thing ;" and Maister Saun'ers, after dipping the dulse afresh 
in a little briny pool, swung them into his mouth. As the 
shells cracked and crunched away between his excellent 
grinders, he added, " That shalls has a poo'erfu effeck o' the 
stamack. We '11 awa' roon to Tarlair noo." 

When they had walked on to Tarlair, Jock was ex 
horted to drink as much of the mineral water as he could 
be persuaded to have thirst for, and to "gyang aboot 
plenty," but to " tak' care an' keep awa' fae the edges o 7 
that ooncanny banks." 

The scene at Tarlair was pretty much what I daresay it 
often was. About the Well-house were gathered a cluster 
of visitors, male and female, of various ages, mostly country 
people, but including a couple of well-dressed sailors, who 
had evidently been out the night previous on the spree, and 
had come there to shake off the effects of their debauch, if 
one might judge from the disjointed exclamations of one 
of them, who lay stretched at full length on his face on 
a long stone seat, occasionally complaining of the physical 
discomfort he was suffering, cursing the day of his re 
turn to Macduff, and cursing himself as an unmitigated 
fool. At a little distance along the valley was a group of 
sturdy water-drinkers of the male sex, with their coats off, 
exercising themselves at putting the stone ; others, male 
and female, were to be encountered walking hither and 
thither, or returning to the Well for another drink ; and 
some lay sluggishly on the brow of the steep grassy banks 
that shut in Tarlair on the landward side, enjoying the plea 
sant morning sun, watching any craft that might happen to 
be in view, or trying to make out as much as they could of 
the blue hills of Caithness across the Firth. And thus it 
went on till the several water-drinkers found themselves 
ready to go home to breakfast. 

Of Jock Will's bathing experiences, I daresay, I need 
say nothing. His guardian was admitted by his compeers 
to be himself a "hardy dooker," a quality in which, not 
withstanding his utmost exhortations, Jock continued to be 


rather deficient, I fear. The first gluff of the cold water, 
when it crept up on his person, was a trial which his nerves 
could hardly withstand ; and the oft-repeated injunction to 
" plype doon fan the jaw 's coming " embodied a lesson 
which Jock invariably shrank from, unless the iron grasp of 
his preceptor happened to be on his shoulder. Truth to 
say, Jock had always the feeling that the reflux of the wave 
would carry him away into some deep unfathomed cave of 
the Moray Firth. Nevertheless, there are hundreds of nice 
convenient baylets about the Macduff bathing ground, where 
even the most inexperienced may safely take a dip ; and at 
any rate no harm came to Jock Will during the period of 
his stay at the Wells. 



IN the quiet region about Gushetneuk, comparatively unim 
portant events attracted no inconsiderable amount of public 
attention; and furnished topics of news that would circulate 
for a wonderful length of time. And thus the annual visit 
of Johnny Gibb's family to the Wells was naturally known 
to the neighbourhood, and formed the topic of conversation 
for the time being. It was also a means of getting a certain 
amount of useful news direct from " the Shore." 

And so it came about that, on the evening after his 
return from Macduff alone, Johnny had a visit from his 
neighbour, Peter Birse, the farmer of Clinkstyle. Peter's 
errand was partly one of friendship, and partly one of 
business. But here it will be proper shortly to define, 
somewhat more exactly, who Mr. Peter Birse was. 

Clinkstyle, next to Mains of Yawal, which lay on the 
west as it did on the east side of the road, and a little 
nearer to the Kirktown of Pyketillim, was the largest farm 
in the vicinity. The tenant of Clinkstyle kept two pairs of 
horses and a stout shalt, or orra beast, which " ran in the 
gig," the latter being a recently -added voucher for the 
respectability of Peter Birse, or rather, I should say, the 
respectability of his wife. She was a managing woman, 
Mrs. Birse, a very managing woman ; extremely desirous of 
being accounted " genteel ;" moreover, for thrift none in 
the parish could beat her. Perhaps it would be wrong to 


say that she boasted of her thrift; but at any rate the 
unapproachable sums she realised off her cows every summer 
in the shape of butter and cheese, in addition to fostering 
the calves, were no secret. Yet it was understood that Mr. 
Andrew Langchafts, the new merchan' at the Kirktown, 
who, with the intention of distancing all his rivals in the 
district, and securing the lion's share of the custom going, 
had prominently avowed his intention of giving the highest 
prices for butter and eggs, did not altogether admire her 
mode of transacting business. When the sturdy sunburnt 
servant damsel from Clinkstyle, in chack apron and calico 
wrapper, came to his shop deeply freighted with a basket of 
butter weighing thirty-six pounds, for which he paid at the 
rate of eightpence a pound (a halfpenny in excess of the 
other shops) and when Mrs. Birse, by her messenger, 
bought in return " an unce o' spice, a pennyworth o' whitet 
broons, half a peck o' saut, an' a stane o' whitenin," one 
can easily imagine that the merchan' did not deem it 
encouraging. And it would be difficult to believe that he 
could feel greatly flattered when the girl, having got her 
erran's and her goodly nugget of shillings in her hand, 
added, " The mistress bad 's seek some preens fae ye. Ye 
gy anna's neen last she says she never saw a merchan' 't 
cudna affoord to gie 's customers preens." 

" Well," quoth Andrew Langchafts, gravely, " I have 
really no margin I 'm afraid I '11 have loss, for the butter 's 

" That 's fat she said at ony rate," answered the damsel ; 
" an' she said she expeckit there wud be some ootgang o' 
the butter, forbye 't ye sud say 't it 's scrimp wecht." 

" I tell you, young woman, if I press the buttermilk out 
of each of these lumps, I would lack well nigh a pound 

" Weel, weel, ye better come awa' wi' oor preens at ony 
rate, an' lat 's be gyaun, or I '11 get up my fit for bidin sae 

The merchant, a stiff gousty-lookin' stock, who had but 
recently begun business in the shop at Pyketillim, whose 



experience heretofore had, it was understood, been mainly in 
a tolerably populous back street in Aberdeen, and who was 
thus not quite conversant with the peculiarities of thrifty 
country life, had no help for it but comply with the 

Mrs. Birse had a family of three sons and one daughter, 
whose ages ran from ten to seventeen, and she had already 
begun to lay plans for their future establishment in life. 
The eldest son, Peter junior, was destined to succeed his 
father as farmer of Clinkstyle ; the second, Eob, must be 
provided with a farm as soon as he was ready for it ; the 
youngest, Benjamin, was to get leernin : and the daughter 
would, of course, be married off in due season to the best 

Well, as I have said, Peter Birse called at Gushetneuk 
on the gloamin after Johnny Gibb's return. Along with 
him came his collie dog, and his eldest son; and Peter's 
conversation took somewhat of 'this turn 

" Weel, Gushets, ye 've wun redd o' the goodwife noo, 
hae ye ?" 

" I' the meantime, Clinkies mithna ye try something o' 
the kin' to get on the breeks yersel' for a fyou days, jist for 
a cheenge ?" 

Clinkies did not altogether relish the retort seemingly, 
so he gave up the jocular vein and continued 

"Weel, foo's the crap leukin doon the wye o' Turra?" 

" Ou brawly ; bits o' the corn wud be neen waur o' a 
gweed shooer, but the feck o' Vs settin' for a gey fair 

" D' ye think that, though, Gushets ? it 's blate, blate, a 
hantle o' 't, hereabout." 

" Ou ay, ye 've a gey puckle i' the laft, an' twa 'r three 
aul' rucks to thrash oot, Peter ; but I wudna advise you to 
keep up, expeckin an ondeemas price for 't the corn 's 
comin' doon," said Johnny. 

" Eh, man, is 't ? " exclaimed Peter Birse. " An' fat are 
they gi'ein at the Shore ? " 

" Four-an'-twenty for gweed, weel-colour't stuff ; an' 



gettin' slack at that," said Johnny Gibb. " There 's sic 
cairns o' 't pourin' in sin' the neep seed was finish't." 

Peter Birse senior could scarcely conceal his chagrin at 
this announcement, the truth being that he had been sent 
over by Mrs. Birse to find out from Johnny what was being 
paid for the quarter of oats at Macduff ; and also what was 
being charged for the boll of lime and coals, the object of 
these inquiries being to obtain the necessary data for decid 
ing whether it would be prudent and advantageous to send 
off a couple of cart-loads of grain from Clinkstyle, for sale 
at that port, and to bring the carts home laden with either 
of the articles just named. 

" An' divnin ye think four-an'-twenty a terrible little 
simmer price, Gushets ?" pleaded Peter. 

" 'Deed, Peter, it 's aboot daar aneuch for them that 
has't to buy. Dinna ye be keepin' up, lippenin till a 
muckle price afore hairst, ye may get a less, an nae blessin' 
wi' 't." 

" Aweel, a' the toosht about our toon '11 mak' little odds. 
We wusna jist seer gin we wud thrash oot the bit huickie 
or twa 't we hae, or no. Is there mony fowk at the Walls 
this sizzon ? " 

" Muckle aboot the ordinar'." 

" There '11 be mair neist month, I daursay, the water 
winna be at its strength till near aboot Lammas, ye ken. 
Fan div ye gae doon again to fesh hame the good wife ? " 
" This day ouk." 

"An' ye '11 tak' a day or twa o' the water yersel', 

" Fae Wednesday till Saturday lickly, we '11 come hame 
on Saturday." 

" Jist that. They '11 be begun to the herrin' gin than ?" 
" I kenna." 

" Sawna ye nae appearance o' the fishers gettin the 
muckle boats hurl't doon to the water aff o' the chingle, or 
the nets rankit oot ?" 

" Weel, I really tyeuk little notice, Peter ; but I 'se keep 
my een apen fan I gae back." 


" Jist that," added Peter. " It's a sturrin place Mac- 
duff : speeshally aboot the time o' the herrinV' 

Peter had an object in all the questions he had put. 
He had got a commission of inquiry from his spouse, and his 
business when he had fulfilled it was to go home and report 
to her. When he had done so faithfully, Mrs. Birse pro 
nounced, almost with indignation, against the idea of selling 
corn at twenty -four shillings a quarter; and more than 
hinted that if Johnny Gibb's granary and stackyard had 
not been pretty well emptied, he would not have been so 
communicative of the sort of advice he had tendered to the 
goodman of Clinkstyle. " Man, ye 're a saft breet ; cudna 
ye 'a speer't fat he wad tak' for a dizzen o' quarters oot o' 
the bing on his barn laft ? " added Mrs. Birse, in the way of 
personal compliment to Peter ; and having delivered herself 
of her sentiments on the grain question, she next heard 
Mr. Birse's statement about the general run of things at 
Macduff, and the fishing in particular. 

The truth was, Mrs. Birse contemplated troubling 
Johnny Gibb with a small order when he returned to the 
seaport just named to fetch home his own. And on the 
evening before Johnny set forth on that journey, the lad 
Eob Birse was entrusted with the delivery of this order 
to the person who was to be honoured with its execution. 
Eob came across to Gushetneuk accordingly,^ and, having 
found Johnny, discharged his trust in these words 

" My mither bad 's tell ye gin ye wad be good aneuch 
fan ye gang to Macduff, to fesh hame till her fan yer 
comin back twa dizzen o' fresh herrin'. An* gin there 
binna herrin', gin ye cud get a gweed chape skate till her, 
an* twa-three bawbee partans." 

"An' is that a', laddie has she nae ither bits o' 
erran's ?" asked Johnny, with a slight tinge of sarcasm, 
which the youthful Birse hardly appreciated. 

" No, aw dinna think it," answered the lad. " She was 
gyaun to bid ye fesh half-a-gallon o* dog-oil till her, but she 
hedna a pig teem that wud haud it." 

During these eight days of temporary celibacy, while 


his wife was absent at the Wells, Johnny Gibb persisted in 
taking most of his meals witli his three servants. He par 
took along with Tarn Meerison and the loon of whatever 
Jinse Deans saw fit to make ready ; and when Jinse 
ventured to ask his advice about some part of her house 
hold work, Johnny got something very like crusty, and said 
he " kent nedder aucht nor ocht about it ;" and that if she 
" didna ken better aboot hoosewifeskip " than he did, she 
" wad mak' a peer bargain " to the man that got her ; at 
which Jinse giggled, tossed her head slightly, and professed 
that there " was fyou seekin' 'er." 

But Jinse was a competent servant as well as a gate- 
farrin damsel ; and, though she had consulted Johnny once 
out of deference to him, she was quite capable of discharging 
her household duties satisfactorily without special guidance; 
and, in point of fact, she did so discharge them at this time, 
in so far as both Johnny and the other members of the 
household were concerned. 



JOHNNY GIBE'S return visit to the Wells, in 1839, was to him 
a somewhat memorable one ; not for any remarkable events 
by which it was distinguished, but in this wise. Johnny 
had the fortune then to make the incidental acquaintance 
of two men, each in his way not a little after his own heart. 
These were Donald M'Craw, and the gentleman from Mar- 
noch, of whom the reader has already heard somewhat. 
Donald, like many another Celt, was a keen hand in the 
discussion of all questions of a theologico-polemical cast, 
and a staunch upholder of the Church's exclusive jurisdic 
tion in matters spiritual. And while the Marnoch man 
held similar sentiments with Donald theoretically, the pro 
gress of events was just then bringing to his own door the 
opportunity of illustrating his theory by a practical testi 

And thus it was that when Johnny Gibb, Donald 
M'Craw, and " Maister Saun'ers," as Mrs. M'Craw called 
him, had got fairly yokit on the subject of the Kirk, a 
lengthened and engrossing confabulation was the result. 
When general principles had beeen sufficiently expounded 
Donald and the Marnoch man being so thoroughly well 
up in the subject that Johnny was reduced to the position 
very much of a listener and learner Maister Saun'ers 
entered on the history of the Marnoch case with all the 
exactitude of personal knowledge. Johnny had heard of it 


in a general way before, and sympathised with the protest 
ing parishioners, but as his information grew through the 
mm mu 11 {rations of Maister Saun'ers, his sympathy also 
\\;t\rl in intensity, till it merited the name of righteous 
indignation against those who had sought to deprive them 
it' their rights and privileges. 

" Ay," said Maister Saun'ers, " faur 's the richts o' con 
science there, I wud like to ken ? A man wi' nae gifts 
fittin' 'im for the wark forc't upon an unwillin' people i' the 
vera teeth o' the Veto Act." 

"An* was there naebody in fawvour o' this Edwards?" 
asked Johnny. 

"Judge ye, Maister Gibb oot o' three hunner heids 
o' faimilies, members o' the congregation, nae less nor twa 
hunner an' sixty-one protestit against his bein' sattl't." 

"An' the lave sign't for 'im ?" 

" 'Deed no I dinna like to speak oot o' boun's : but 
I'm seer there's nae half-a-dizzen, that hae ony richt to 
meddle i' the maitter, in fawvour o' him leavin' oot Peter 
Taylor, the innkeeper at Foggieloan, I ken hardly ane." 

" Dear me, man : but lat yer Presbytery be fat they like, 
the Assembly '11 never thole sic ongaeus." 

"Ay, Maister Gibb, but that's jist faur the creesis lies. 
The Assembly o' last year thirty-aucht, ye ken ordeen't 
the Presbytery to throw the presentee oot : aweel, that 's 
been deen sinsyne. But nae doot ye Ve heard o' the Auch- 
terarder case, faur the Coort o' Session was call't into play, 
an* the vera Presbytery o' Dunkeld brocht till its bar in 
person it 's aneuch to gar ane's bleed boil to think o' 't, 
aifter the noble struggles an' sufferin's o' oor covenantin' 
forebears to mainteen spiritooal independence." 

" It leuks like a joodgment o' ta Ian 1 for oor oonfaith- 
fu'ness," said Donald. 

"Aweel," continued Maister Saun'ers, "the Apos'le says, 
' evil communications corrupt good menners,' an' so although 
the Presbytery hae been prohibitet fae takin' ony forder 
steps fatsomever to induck this ' stranger ' that the flock will 
never follow, fa sud hin'er him to gae to the Coort o' Session 


neist an' seek a decree authoreesin the Presbytery to gae on 
wi' the sattlement ? " 

" I' the vera teeth o' the Assembly ?" exclaimed Johnny. 

" Ay, Maister Gibb, that 's the pass we 're brocht till at 
Marnoch noo." 

"An' has the airm o' ta secular poo'er raelly been 
streetch't oot to touch ta ark o' ta Kirk's spiritooal inde 
pendence ?" asked Donald, with an air of solemnity. 

"Judge ye, Donal' This vera ouk this Edwards has 
gotten a legal dockiment fae the shoopreme ceevil Coort, 
requarin the Presbytery forthwith to tak' 'im on his 

" Alas ! alas !" said the blind pensioner, shaking his 
head, " sic unhallow't wark bodes ill for oor coontra. We 
may some o' us leeve to see ta day when the faithfu' people 
o' God maun worship on the hill-sides again." 

" But," interposed Johnny, " your Presbytery they '11 
see you richtit. They winna daur to disobey the Assembly." 

" Oor Presbytery ! Jist wait ye," said Maister Saun'ers. 
" We Ve hed owre gweed preef o' their quality in the times 
bygane. They Ve deen ocht but befrien'et the people ; an' 
I '11 gi'e the lugs fae my heid gin they dinna gae on noo, 
neck-or-naething, to cairry out this sattlement that 's to say, 
the majority ; for aiven in Stra'bogie we Ve a faithfu' 
minority protestin' against sic iniquity." 

" An' will ye stan' to hae this man Edwards forc't upo' 
ye, neck an' heels ?" said Johnny Gibb, warmly. 

" Never ! I tell ye the fowk o' Marnoch '11 never sub 
mit to that, come fat will. They '11 leave the kirk wa's to 
the owls an' the bats seener, an' gae forth oonder the firma 
ment o' heaven to worship." 

" Praise to Him that rules ta hearts o' men that we hae 
faithfu' witnesses i' the Ian' ! " quoth Donald M'Craw, with 
something of the fervour of an old Covenanter. 

" Ay," replied Johnny ; " it wud be a gran' sicht to see 
a congregation mairch oot, an' leave the bare wa's o' the 
desecratit kirk, raither nor bide still, un'er the minaistry o' 
ane that hed nae better call till 's office nor fat the poo'ers 


o' this earth can gi'e 'im by dent o' the strong airm o' the 
l aw owreridin' the saacred richts o' men's consciences." 

" Mark my words weel," said Maister Saun'ers ; " if ye 
dinna see sic a sicht as fat ye speak o' in Marnoch, afore 
ony o' 's is muckle auTer, I 'm far mista'en." 

" Wae, wae, to ta men that forder sic unsanctifiet wark," 
said Donald ; " an' may ta Christian people nae be foun' 
faint-hertit i' the day o' trial." 

" Never fear," exclaimed Maister Saun'ers stoutly ; " we 
hae stood to oor prenciples as yet, an' we' 11 dee 't still, i' 
maugre o' an Erastian Presbytery, wha ken nae heicher hom 
age nor renderin' to Caesar the things that are God's." 

"Ay, ay, man," said Johnny, reflectively, and I rather 
think the image of Mr. Sleekaboot crossed his mind. 
" There 's owre mony o' them tarr't wi' the same stick 
war'dly, time-servin' characters ; mair concern't aboot pleasin' 
the lairds nor sairin their Maister." 

"Weel, weel," added Maister Saun'ers, "depen' ye 
upon 't, though it may begin at hiz, it canna en* there. 
There maun be a clearin' oot, an' an establishment o' the 
true prenciples that oor forefaders focht an' suffer't for, 
afore the Kirk o' Scotlan' can be set on her richt foonda- 

" Ah, but ye 're speakin' ta Gospel truth noo," exclaimed 
Donald M'Craw, who delighted in sombre prediction. " ' I 
will overturn, overturn, overturn,' saith ta prophet. An' ta 
Kirk has been too lang sattl't on her lees her day o' 
joodgment must come." 

As may be imagined, the spirit of Johnny Gibb was not 
a little stirred within him by the discourse he had held with 
Maister Saun'ers and Donald M'Craw. For the day or two 
that he remained at Macduff, Maister Saun'ers was his con 
stant companion. They took their walks together, and Jock 
Will trotted behind ; they sat on the braes in the sun, and 
talked together, and Jock traversed the pebbly part of the 
beach in search of bonny buckies, half of which Jock had 
destined for the adornment of his mother's mantelpiece at 
home ; the other half well, Jock was gallant enough to 


meditate a surprise for the lassie, by presenting to her, 
should a favourable opportunity occur, as they journeyed 
home, a choice collection of the finest shells that the Macduff 
beach afforded. When the two new-made friends parted 
there was a vigorous handshaking, and Johnny Gibb avowed, 
as indeed turned out to be the case, that from that day 
forward his zeal in the Non-intrusion cause would be quick 
ened in a degree that should bear no relation to his previous 
state of hazy, half-informed rebellion against Moderate 
domination, as it had been attempted to be exercised by 
Mr. Sleekaboot. 

The journey home from the Wells was necessarily very 
much of the character of the journey thither ; only that the 
patients were a little more tanned, if possible, by the sun, 
and the stores they now carried were chiefly of a maritime 
nature a few dried cod ; herrings ; partans ; dulse, and a 
bottle of sea water taken along by Widow Will to perfect 
her son's cure. In due course they arrived at Gushetneuk. 

" Hae, lassie," quoth Johnny Gibb, handing out a 
decrepit-looking wicker basket, "that's the wife o' Clink- 
style's herrin'. Ye '11 better tak' them owre at ance, or 
we 11 be hearin' aboot it." 

" Wudna ye sen' a puckle o' the dilse to the goodwife, 
man an' a partan ? " 

" Please yersel', 'oman ; but I sud partan neen wi' 'er. 
They war owre dear bocht till agree wi' her constiteetion." 

" Hoot, ye sudna be sae nabal wi' fowk," answered the 

Johnny gave an expressive pech, and proceeded with 
the dismantling of the cart. 

The compromise made was to send along with Mrs. 
Birse's parcel of herrings a goodly bundle of dulse ; and the 
lassie went off to Clinkstyle freighted accordingly. 

" An' that 's my herrin' is 't, Mary ? " said Mrs. Birse, 
on seeing the basket. " An' dilse, nae less ? Na, sirs, but 
ye '11 be a far-traivell't 'oman noo. Did the wifie Wull 
come hame wi' yer aunt an' you, no ? " 

" Ay." 


" An' Jock, nae doot Is his sair chafts better noo ? " 

" I think they are," said the lassie. 

" An' ye 've bidden a' thegither at Macduff, I 'so 
warran' ? " 

" Na ; auntie an* me bidet oor lanes in ae hoose, an' 
Widow Wull at anither." 

" Ou yea, I thocht ye wud 'a maetit a' throu' ither 't 
wud 'a made it chaeper for Jock an"s mither, maybe. 
They cam' in files to see you, an' bade throu' the aifterneen ? " 

" Ay, files." 

" An' fa did yer aunt an' you bide wi', syne ? " 

" They ca'd them Mr. and Mrs. M'Craw." 

" A muckle house, I wauger, an' braw fowk ? brawer 
nor the fowk that Jock Wull an' 's mither bade wi' ? " 

" Ay, it was middlin' muckle." 

" It wusna neen o' the fisher tribe 't ye bade wi,' than ?" 

" Na, the man was an aul' sojer." 

" An aul' sojer ! He 's keepit ye in order, no ? " 

" But he was blin'." 

" An' 's wife made a livin* by keepin' lodgers slie wud 
hae mair nor you ? " 

" Na ; she keepit a skweel for little littleanes." 

" An' lodg't you i' the room en' ? jist that. She wud 
mak* a gweed penny i' the coorse o' the sizzon that wye, 
I 'se warran'." 

As the goodwife of Clinkstyle leisurely undid the basket, 
she plied the girl with these and sundry other queries, 
marked by the like laudable intention of finding out the 
inner history of the journey to the Wells ; and in particular 
whether Widow Will had not only been conveyed to and 
fro by the Gushetneuk folks, but had also shared in their 
bounty while at Macduff. At last the basket was emptied 
and its contents scrutinised. 

" Ay, lassie, an' that 's my twa dizzen ? They 're some 
saft, an' nae gryte sizes, weel-a-wat Hoot, lassie, there 's 
only sax an' twenty there ! Keep me, there sud 'a been 
foorteen to the dizzen I never tyeuk less nor foorteen fae 
aul' Skairey the cadger, lat aleen Macduff itsel'. Aweel, 


tak' ye hame yer creelie noo. I sanna be speerin' the price 
o' them eenoo, but fan I see yer uncle I sail lant him the 
richt gate. He's a het buyer o' fish nae to ken the 
cadger's dizzen ! " 

It is not quite certain that Mrs. Birse had any matured 
intention of ever asking the price of the herrings, if no one 
else stirred the question. Anyhow she deemed it politic to 
let it rest meanwhile ; and politic also, in a wider sense, to 
dismiss the lassie graciously. 

" Na, Mary, but ye are growin' a lang lassie. Oor 'Liza 
an' you ees't to be heid-y-peers, but ye 're tynin her a' the- 
gither. I dinna believe but ye 're near as heich's Peter 
there. Come 'ere, min," continued Mrs. Birse, addressing 
the young gentleman in question, who had applied himself 
industriously to the mastication of the dulse. " Awat, but 
ye mak' a winsome pair. Gae ? wa' noo, Patie, an' convoy 
Mary a bit ; tak' 'er basket i' yer han', and see 't ye help 
her owre the stank afore ye turn." 

Peter, a thriving but on the whole slightly softish-looking 
lad, hirsled off his seat with rather evident reluctance, and 
after groping about for his bonnet, proceeded to do as his 
mother had ordered him. And with this lesson in gallantry 
to her eldest born, the goodwife of Clinkstyle turned her to 
the continued prosecution of her domestic duties. 



THE style of life that prevails at such places as Gushetneuk 
would not, I can well believe, suit the taste of the sensa 
tional story-teller. He might wait a very long time for 
" thrilling incidents " of any sort, and wait in vain ; and the 
sober realities of every-day life, as there exemplified, would 
be certain so to conflict with his spasmodic conceptions of 
human existence as to drive him to distraction. Neverthe 
less, I am prepared, after full trial, to deny that such a style 
of life is in reality, or necessarily, either dull or uninterest 
ing. But, what is more to the point, it is just the very 
thing that suits my present purpose, inasmuch as I can take 
my narrative in the most leisurely way, and jump over 
twelve months or so, which I now do, with the bare remark 
that I have performed that exploit, fully trusting to pick up 
my characters in statu quo just as I left them. 

When the Martinmas term of 1840 was drawing near, 
Johnny Gibb wanted to know of Tarn Meerison whether he 
was disposed to remain as his servant through the winter. 
Tarn's answer to this question, addressed to him while he 
was busy currying the bay mare, was not decisive either way. 

" Aw cudria say," quoth Tarn, drily ; " aw wudna care a 
great heap, gin we can 'gree aboot the waages, an' a' ither 
thing confeerm." 

" Confeerin or no confeerin," said Johnny, testily, " I wunt 
a mair direck answer fat siller are ye seekin' ?" 


" It depen's a gweed hautle on a body's neebours tee," 
continued Tarn. 

" Ou ay, I ken the loon an' you 's been aye liaein bits 
o' sharries noo and than ; but he 's a weel-workin', weel- 
conduckit loon, an' ye winna pit an aul' heid upo' young 

" WiU he be bidin ?" asked Tarn. 

" Lickly, though he hasna been speer't at yet ; an' Jinse 's 
bidin hae ye ony faut to fin' wi' her ?" 

" I Ve naething adee wi' women's wark, an' never meddles 
wi' 't," said Tarn, pursuing his grooming very industriously. 
"Koun', Jess wo still, you thing." The latter part of 
the sentence was of course addressed to the animal, then 
undergoing its daily trimming. 

" Weel, weel, but tell me, ay or no, an' fat fee yer 
seekin','' insisted Johnny Gibb. 

" I cudna say foo the fees '11 be rinnin this term ; an' aw 
wudna like to name siller till the mornin' o' the market." 

" A puddin' lug, min," exclaimed Johnny. " That 's aye 
the gate wi' you chiels ; tum'le aboot a haill kwintra side, 
sax month or so here, sax month or so there, for half o' 
your life -time, an never save a saxpence to bless yoursel's 

" I cudna dee 't. though," said Tarn, who still carried in 
his mind Johnny's demand to know what fee he wanted. 

Johnny at once turned him about and left the stable. 

Now the truth of the matter was that Tarn Meerison did 
not wish to leave Gushetneuk. The loon, of whom the 
reader has formerly heard, and who was still Tarn's fellow- 
servant, was just a little of a thorn in his side occasionally, 
by his lack of reticence in speech on certain subjects ; but 
then there was much seemingly to balance this very partial 
grievance. If Johnny Gibb was occasionally a little hasty, 
he was on the whole a kind and indulgent master. The 
horses Tarn drove were handsome, well appointed, and well 
fed an important consideration, and properly so, with every 
man in Tarn's position. Tain admitted that the servants 
were "weel ees't" in the way of food; and then the 


presence of Jinse Deans had come to be something that 
seemed to be essential to Tarn's perfect serenity of mind. 
But for all that Tarn was so far the slave of habit that 
he could not clearly see his way to departing one jot 
from what, among his compeers, had come to be considered 
the correct mode of bargain-making in covenanting for their 
services ; lie had a kind of general idea that it was on the 
whole an effeminate sort of thing to " bide owre lang i' the 
same place," and he had now been eighteen months at 

On the morning of the feeing market day, Johnny Gibb 
no doubt asked, once more, what wages Tarn required, but 
evidently Johnny was in a decidedly more indifferent mood 
than when he had previously mooted the subject. And, 
accordingly, when Tarn, who by that time had begun 
seriously to doubt his previous policy, " socht," he somewhat 
curtly " bade " ten shillings less than the sum Tarn men 
tioned. With few more words they separated, and each went 
away to the market in his own interest, but with a vague 
notion on Tarn's part that they " wud lickly meet afore they 
were lang there." Early in the day, however, Johnny had 
a stoot gudge, anxious to " work a pair o' horse," pressed on 
his notice, and easily arranged with him. Tarn hung in the 
market for good part of the day, receiving only indifferent 
offers, and the upshot was, that he at last, reluctantly enough, 
engaged himself to be foreman at Clinkstyle. Peter Birse, 
as was not an unusual case with him, was about to make 
.what is understood by " a clean toon " of his servants, and, 
according to his invariable practice, had been endeavouring 
to fill up the vacancies in his establishment at the cheapest 
rate; so he managed to pick up Tarn Meerison at an 
advanced period of the market, at a crown less fee than 
Johnny Gibb had offered Tarn on the morning of the same 

The change from Gushetneuk to Clinkstyle was one that 
Tarn Meerison did not find exactly conducive to his comfort. 
In explaining his reasons for making the change, Tarn, to 
put the best face upon it, told his friends that he was 


desirous of getting to a " muckler toon " than Gushetneuk, 
where he would have more " company " and so on. But, 
poor lad, the company he got were a cause of no little trouble 
to him. It so happened that Mrs. Birse's notions about the 
proper mode of feeding servants were not such as to command 
the approval generally, of those servants who had had 
practical experience of them, or to procure for Mrs. Birse 
herself a favourable reputation among that class where she 
was known. The new servants second horseman, orra 
man, and cow bailie were disposed not merely to grumble 
but to break out into open insurrection, on the ground of 
the unsatisfactory character of the victuals supplied to them. 
And they expected Tarn to vindicate their rights in the 
matter; a duty which he found by no means easy or 
pleasant. So far as mere inarticulate growling, or the 
utterance of an incidental anathema against the victuals in 
the hearing of the servant maid went, Tarn found no diffi 
culty in going fully along with his companions. But a 
crisis came by and by. The goodwife, in her thrifty way, 
had for a good many nights in succession supplied boiled 
turnips and turnip brose to the lads as the staple of their 
supper. And in testimony of their appreciation of the fare 
thus furnished, they latterly had no sooner smelt the odour 
thereof as they entered the kitchen night after night, than 
they duly commenced to low like as many oxen. Then it 
was that Mrs. Birse seized the occasion to catch them flag- 
rante delicto> by bursting into the kitchen as they were 
bellowing away ; and a very stiff onset she gave them about 
this unbecoming behaviour. 

" An' fat hae ye to say against gweed sweet neeps to yer 
sipper, I sud like to ken ?" demanded the irate matron. 

" Oh weel, it 's owre af en to hae them ilka night 'cep 
Sunday for a haill ouk>" said Tarn. 

" Owre af en ! Birst the stamacks o' ye ; fat wud ye 

" A cheenge files/' 

" For fat, no ? There 's fowk maybe 't kens their place 
better nor set their servan's doon at the same table wi' 


themsel's ; and gin ye hinna leern't that muckle gweed 
breedin' yet, the seener ye 're taucht it the better ; fat sorra 
div ye wunt ?" 

" We wunt naething but a fair diet," answered Tarn. 

" A fair diet ! An' weel 't sets ye aw wud thank ye to 
tell me fan your fader, the roch dyker," and here Mrs. 
Birse looked directly in Tarn Meerison's face " was able to 
gi'e 's faimily aneuch o' onything to ate. But that 's aye 
the gate ; them that 's brocht up like beggars 's aye warst to 

This outburst took the wind so considerably out of Tarn 
that he utterly failed to make any reply ; and Mrs. Birse, 
after a brief pause, went on, " 'Deed, they 're but ower gweed 
for ye wi' weel hir't brose, an' plenty o' as gweed milk to 
yer kyaaks as ever cam' oot o' a byre." 

" Sang, it needs 't a' near aucht days aul', an' as blue 
as blae worts ; but it's nae the milk 't we 're compleenin o' 
eenoo," said the second horseman, after another pause. 

" Na, an' ye wud be baul' to compleen, ye ill-menner't 
pack ; but ye '11 jist tak' yer neeps there, an' nae anither 
cheep oot o' the heids o' ye ; or gin ye dhma, we '11 ken fat 
wye to tak' an order o' ye." 

" Tak' an order o' the aul' Smith, an' ye like ; neeps sax 
nichts oot o' the seyven winna stan' law at ony rate," said 
the former speaker. 

" An' it 's muckle ye ken aboot law," replied the good- 
wife, scornfully. "Jist gae ye on till I need to gar yer maister 
tak' ye afore the Shirra, an' ye '11 maybe hae some diffeek- 
walty in stannin yer grim for refeesin a gweed halesome diet." 

With this deliverance, and unheeding the rejoinder, 
" Aweel, aw daursay ye 've hed the chance o' hearin' the 
Shirra afore noo," Mrs. Birse turned, and bounced away ben 
to the parlour, where she proceeded to make tea for her 
husband and hopeful progeny, now gathered round the table, 
at the same time letting the unspent balance of her wrath 
blow off in a general way, to ease her mind ; the head of 
the household getting a slight incidental scorching, when 
he happened to come in the way. 



" I 'm sure, man, I 'm jist keepit in a fry wi' ae coorse 
pack aifter anither ; ye seerly wile the vera warst that ye 
can get fan ye gae to the market." 

" Hoot, 'oman, ye sudna vex yersel' aboot them." 

" Easy to ye ; but an' ye had the maetin o' them 's I 
hae, ye wud tell anither story. A vulgar, ill-fashion't set." 

"Fat's been adee eenoo ?" 

" Adee ! refeesin their neeps, an' makin' a din like as 
mony nowte fan they cam' in." 

" Hoot awa'." 

" Yes," interjected Miss Eliza Birse, " an' I heard the 
second horseman cursin' about the kitchie cakes." 

" An' fat did he say, my dear ? " asked Mrs. Birse. 

" He bann't at Betty, an' said they werena fit for swine 
to eat." 

"An' fat did Betty say, 'Liza ?" 

" She said 't hoo 't she cudna help it ; that it was your 
orders to mak' them weet i' the hert to keep the men fae 
eatin' owre muckle." 

"The dooble limmer !" exclaimed Mrs. Birse. "An' her 
leukin a' the time't a bodie speaks till 'er as gin butter 
wudna melt in her cheek." 

" Weel, I heard 'er at ony rate ; for I was jist gaen up 
the stair, an' stoppit and hearken't at the back o' the inner 
kitchie floor." 

"The oongratefu ill-menner't jaud't she is," continued 
Mrs. Birse. " But I '11 sort 'er for that. She 11 be expeckin 
to get some leavin's i' the teapot, to be a cup till 'er fan 
the men gae oot to sipper the beasts, as eeswal; but she 
'11 leuk wi' clear een ere she see that again, I doot. 
That 's the reward 't fowk gets for their kin'ness to the 
like o' 'er." 

While this conversation was going on, the tea was pro 
ceeding apace. The three young Masters Birse and Miss 
Birse, with their respected parents, were seated round a 
somewhat clumsily set out table, containing in the way of 
solids, an ample store of bread, oatcakes, cheese, and butter. 
The olive plants were all at school, except Peter junior, who, 


l>eing designed for agriculture, was understood to have the 
literary part of his education about finished, and was taking 
to farming operations, including some minor attempts at 
cattle-dealing, at which he had been allowed to try his hand, 
very kindly. Suddenly Peter senior called across the table 
to his youngest born, Benjamin 

" Benjie ! fat are ye deein pirlin aboot at yer breid that 
gate ?" 

" Weel," answered Benjie, sulkily, " 'Liza 's gi'en 's a nae 
gweed bit, an' winna hae 't 'ersel'." 

" The breid 's a' perfeckly gweed ate it this moment, 
sir !" said Peter Birse senior, severely. 

Benjie put on a look more dour and dolorous than before, 
but failed to fulfil the parental mandate. 

"Fat is 't, my pet ?" asked Mrs. Birse, in her most sym 
pathising tones, addressing Master Benjamin. 

" Weel, it 's nae gweed," answered Benjie, proffering his 
mamma the unacceptable bit of cakes a thick, rather 
sodden-looking piece. The worthy lady examined it for a 
second, and said, " 'Liza ! that 's a bit o' the kitchie kyaaks 
fat wye has that come here ?" 

" I dinna know," answered Miss Birse ; " it was upo' the 

" Is there mair o' 't ? Eh ay here 's twa korters ! 
Betty cudna but 'a kent that she was pittin't upo' oor 
maun'. I sudna won'er nor she's stown as muckle o' the 
parlour breid till hersel'. Sic creatures wi' oonhonesty. Lay 
that twa korters by, 'Liza, till we see better in till 't. I 'se 
be at the boddom o' that, though it sud cost her 'er place." 
The careful mother added, " There 's a better bittie to ye, 
my dautie," and as she said this, she handed to Benjie a full 
half of one of the quarters of parlour cakes, which bore about 
the same relation to the kitchie kyaaks that a well-browned 
biscuit does to a lump of dough. 

" Hoot, 'om an," Peter Birse had commenced to utter, 
in the way of deprecation of this proceeding, when Mrs. 
Birse cut him short by tossing the lump of kitchie kyaaks 
towards him, and exclaiming 


" Weel, weel, try 't yersel', gin ye hae onything to say. 
But ye canna expeck the bairn's stamackie to be able to 
disjeest the like o' that." 

" Humph, I cud ate it brawly," said Peter Birse senior ; 
and in proof of the truth of his assertion he did eat it. Only 
his next helping was taken, not from the remaining bit of 
kitchie kyaaks, but from the parlour cakes. 

The result of the turnip controversy was that Tarn 
Meerison and his companions did get an occasional supper 
of kail, very purely prepared with salt and water ; only as 
the three lads coincided in holding decidedly that Tarn ought 
to have " stuck'n up better to the auF soo," his influence and 
authority as foreman were correspondingly diminished. And 
the less Tarn was disposed to renew the quarrel with his 
mistress, the more did the others swear " at lairge " when 
they happened to be about the kitchen. Not seldom was 
this done, with the evident intention of provoking warfare, 
as well as of manifesting the slight degree of respect they 
entertained for Tarn, and for everbody else connected with 
Clinkstyle; the general result being that Tarn would sit, 
mainly dumb, a good part of the evening, hearing no end of 
jibes indirectly launched at himself; while Betty, the hard- 
worked bedraggled kitchen damsel, would at one time giggle 
and laugh with the rough fellows, and be at next turn 
coarsely tormented till she was in a state of the highest 
wrath; or be made the butt of their oaths and obscene 
allusions. As for Mrs. Birse, bauld woman as she was, 
even she found it to her comfort to make as few errands to 
the kitchen as might be, while " the boys," as her husband 
termed them, were about. 

And here, good reader, I bethought me of giving utter 
ance to a few moral reflections on the degraded character of 
our farm-servant class ; and how blameworthy they are for 
being such immoral and unmannerly boors. But somehow 
my line of vision came always to be obstructed by a full- 
figure image of Mrs. Birse of Clinkstyle, who, you will per 
ceive, is a very particular and intimate acquaintance of mine. 
Mrs. Birse would come into the forefront, and her husband, 


Peter, was vaguely discernible in the background. So I gave 
up the attempt. You may make it on your own account ; 
but I doubt whether you will be able to search thoroughly 
into the causes of this social evil without being also troubled 
with the image of Mrs. Birse of Clinkstyle. 



THE parish which forms the theatre of the principal scenes 
in this history, if not amply furnished with the means of 
education, had, at any rate, the advantage of a couple of 
schools. There was, first of all, the parochial school ; a 
sample of that noble institution which is understood to have 
done so much for the enlightenment of our native country. 
And I should be the last to depreciate the value of the 
parochial school, though I have a strong impression that the 
statutory dominies of a quarter of a century ago, up and 
down, were, as a rule, highly inefficient for educational pur 
poses. The improvement in the general style of teaching 
since that time is, I also believe, much greater than is ima 
gined by many people. 

The Rev. Jonathan Tawse, of the parochial school of 
Pyketillim, whose name has been previously mentioned, was 
considered, on the whole, a superior educationist, as com 
pared with his brethren throughout the Presbytery. What 
the parishioners said about him in the early part of his 
career was, that his ambition lay too much toward the 
pulpit to admit of an efficient discharge of his duties as a 
teacher. And certain it is that the Rev. Jonathan Tawse 
was not destitute of a desire to wag his pow in some parti 
cular poopit which he could call his own, as his prompt 
readiness to officiate for any absent or sick brother of the 
Presbytery testified. And he usually sought opportunity to 


air his gifts still farther afield about the time of the annual 
vacation. It had even been bruited that he made bold, on 
one occasion, to offer himself in this way to the suffrages of 
a vacant town's congregation. But whether it was that the 
people were inappreciative, or patrons unaccommodating to 
the influence that he could command, the Kev. Jonathan 
Tawse settled down as a dominie, and a confirmed old 
bachelor, and took rather kindly and freely to toddy and 
snuff. I don't think that the Church lost much in respect 
of the Kev. Jonathan Tawse's failure to reach the dignity of 
formal ordination. For even in my time he preached at rare 
intervals in Mr. Sleekaboot's absence ; and we juniors liked 
him ; only it was for reasons which I greatly fear did not 
tend to edification. Firstly, his sneeshinie habits were a 
sort of pulpit novelty that tended to liveliness as contrasted 
with the stiff and demure solemnity of the usual minister. 
And then Mr. Tawse's services were short as compared with 
those of Mr. Sleekaboot. Not that he said less, either in 
prayer or in the sermon, but he had remarkable rapidity of 
utterance. There are religionists, I believe, in the East at 
any rate, who pray by machinery. Now, the Rev. Jonathan 
Tawse, in prayer, behaved exactly like an instrument which 
had been wound up, and must run down. With an exacti 
tude that was remarkable, the well-worn phrases fell in in 
rapid succession to each other, each in its own due order, as 
cog answers to cog in the mill wheel and pinion. Thus 
were daily mercies, and the weekly returning day of rest 
with gratitude acknowledged ; thus was our beloved Queen 
(a recent change from his Majesty the King) prayed for, 
with the high court of Parliament, the Assemblies of our 
national Zion, and all judges and magistrates of the land, 
that we (the parishioners of Pyketillim) under them might 
lead quiet and peaceable lives, that they might be a terror 
to evil doers, and a praise and protection to such as do well. 
Then, when Mr. Tawse came to the sermon, he tackled it 
with corresponding impetus. They were not new sermons 
that he used, but productions of a long bygone time, when 
he had considered himself a probationer, and they were 


framed after the manner of Blair, though marked by an 
occasional juvenile efflorescence of style that was rather out 
of keeping with the now mature age of the preacher. Such 
as they were, Mr. Tawse read them off with a monotonous 
rapidity that did great violence to all those principles of 
elocution and punctuation which he was wont to exemplify 
with impressive emphasis in the audience of his pupils. 
The only breaks in the discourse were when he made a halt 
to take snuff, or when the exigencies of the case compelled 
him to lift his head for the purpose of blowing his nose 
with his speckled silk handkerchief. 

But, as I have said, Mr. Tawse was reckoned an able 
teacher ; and he laboured away in his vocation with toler 
able assiduity, the monotony of the ordinary routine being 
broken by occasional outbursts of a rather irritable temper, 
and the less frequent coruscations of a sort of dry humour 
that lay within him. He had usually a class of two or 
three "Laitiners," on whom he bestowed much pains, and 
a good deal of chastisement. These were intended to be 
the parsons and lawyers of the future ; only the results did 
not always fulfil the expectations cherished, for I could 
point to sundry of the Latiners of my time who, at this day, 
are even less reverend and learned than myself, which is say 
ing a good deal. As to his classes generally, Mr. Tawse had 
not much that deserved the name of method in their manage 
ment ; and still less was there of thoroughness in the little 
that he had. English grammar was one of the modern im 
provements which he prided himself on having introduced, 
and against which not a few of the more practical sort of 
parents loudly protested, as implying an unwarranted cur-, 
tailment of the time that should have been devoted to the 
more useful branches, particularly coontin. And I know of 
one pupil at any rate, who, being much more earnestly bent 
on play than work at that period of his life, managed to main 
tain a decent grammatical reputation and a respectable 
position in the class, without his having ever possessed 
a copy of any Grammar whatever of his own, or ever looked 
in the most cursory way at the day's lesson out of the im- 

f V*^T 


perative school hours. The mode adopted was to keep one's 
acquirements modestly in subordination, and of set purpose 
avoid being inconveniently near the top of the class. Then 
when lesson time drew near, one could ordinarily manage 
to obtain a furtive glance of some other body's beuk, and 
hastily scan the lesson. With the thing very fresh on the 
mind, and a deft calculation, based on the number between 
you and the top, of the particular bit you would have to 
repeat, you stood a fair chance of getting over the first 
round creditably ; and that accomplished, it was your own 
fault if you could not get sufficiently up in the subject by 
the time the whole class had been gone over to enable you 
to meet with impunity any further demands on your erudi 
tion at the hands of the dominie. This was a practicable 
course with both the Grammar and " Catechis;" and in the 
arithmetic department it was quite possible, by judicious 
guess-work, and " copyin" from others as opportunity offered, 
to have gone well through the inevitable " Gray," rule by 
rule, and yet be unable to face a very plain question in Pro 
portion or Practice without heartfelt dread, if it happened 
to lie outside of Mr. Gray's " examples." The annual 
Presbytery examination has been said to be very much of 
a farce. In my day it was felt to be anything but that ; 
for we had one vehement member of Presbytery who broke 
freely out in scolding fits, which were much dreaded ; while 
another had an appalling facility in scribbling down arith 
metical problems that made the hair stand on end to think 
of, much more to face in the way of attempting their solu 
tion ; and thus the yearly appearances of the " minaisters " 
came to be the most formidable ordeal to which we were 
subjected. In the ordinary course we dozed away very 
comfortably, and the pupil who was alive to the current 
dodges of the time might have as much trifling and remain 
about as ignorant as he chose, for there was no real system 
of testing his acquirements, and he only needed to dread 
being " brought to the scratch " when some extreme aberra 
tion on his part had put Mr. Tawse in a thorough rage. 
Then he might expect a severe overhaul, with a certain 


amount of punishment by having his lugs ruggit, the sides 
of his head cuffed, or a few strokes with the tawrds im 
planted on his palms ;' and thereafter things settled down 
again to the ordinary routine. 

Now, as I have indicated, it had been felt by many 
judicious parishioners that the parochial school of Pyke- 
tillim, under Mr. Tawse, was too much of a mere high-class 
academy. The complaint was not that Mr. Tawse's system, 
as administered, was lacking in general efficiency and 
thoroughness, but that he " took up his heid owre muckle 
wi' that Laitin and Gremmar, an' ither beuk leernin a 
mixter-rnaxter o' figures wi' the letters o' the ABC, aneuch 
to turn the creaturs' heids." And indeed it was cautiously 
averred by some, that the dominie had really driven one 
pupil doited by the distance he had endeavoured to lead 
him into the abstruse region of Mathematics. Mr. Tawse 
himself said the lad was a natural born dunce ; that he had 
hoped to make a decent scholar of him by dint of hard 
drilling, but that his harns, after deducting the outer case, 
might have been contained in an eggshell, and that his own 
muddled stupidity was the only disaster of an intellectual 
kind that was ever likely to befall him. The boy was the 
elder son of Mains of Yawal. Of course, Mains did not 
relish the insinuation, and complained to Mr. Sleekaboot of 
Jonathan's rude style of speech. 

" Oh, well, you know his temper is a little hasty ; but 
he is a man of sterling principle, and a very competent 
teacher," said Mr. Sleekaboot. 

" Still an' on," replied Mains, " it's nae ceevil eesage to 
speak that wye aifter he gat 's nain gate wi' the laddie." 

" In what branches has the boy failed ?" 

"Weel, aw cudna say; he hisna been makin naething 
o' 't ; he 's jist a kin' o' daumer't i' the heid like." 

" He has perhaps increased his tasks too much for the 
boy's capacity?" 

" I cudna say aboot 's capacity ye canna pit an aul' 
heid upo' young shou'ders, ye ken. I suppose he 's jist like 
ither laddies." 


" H m, yes ; well, I '11 speak to Mr. Tawse, and get him 
to modify his tasks." 

" My rael opingan is," said Mains of Yawal, resolved to 
have a hit at Mr. Tawse, " that the dominie 's nae gryte 
deykn at the common coontin 'imsel' ; an' that mak's 'im 
sae fond to get them on to some o' that rowles, that works 
by a kin' o' slicht o' han'." 

" Sleight of hand ! " said Mr. Sleekaboot, with a smile, 
" what works by sleight of hand ?" 

" Weel, I '11 tell ye, sir," answered Mains, pulling up ; 
" fan I wuntit him to gi'e Sawney a raith at Ian' mizzourin, 
to qualify 'im for a Ian' steward or siclike, gin it ever 
happen't sae there 's naebody wud ken, ye ken he begood 
aboot deein 't by Algaibra an' Jiggonometry, an' threepit 
owre me 't it was sic an advantage to dee 't that gate. Noo, 
I 'm seer fan Dawvid Hadden, the grun offisher an' there 's 
nae a capitaller mizzourer o' grun in a plain wye i' the seyven 
pairis'es cam' owre to lay aff a bit o' oor ootfeedles last 
year, he not naething but jist the chyne an' 's poles, an' a 
bit sclaittie an' skaillie. An' him an' me keest it up in a 
han' clap." 

Mr. Sleekaboot perceived that Mains was rather gratified 
by his own success in the delivery of this speech. So, in 
stead of attempting further elaborate argument with him, 
he crept up his soft side by ostensibly deferring to Mains's 
opinions on the practical question of land measuring ; and 
then promising that he would talk the whole matter over 
with Jonathan Tawse, and bring him to a right frame of 
mind toward the younger Mains of Yawal. And Mr. Sleek 
aboot, without much difficulty, succeeded in healing this 
breach. But he failed in eradicating the opinion that ob 
tained, especially in the west side of the parish, that it was 
desirable to have a school better adapted to meeting the 
wants of those who were bent on a purely practical educa 
tion the modern side in their view, in short. 

And thus it came about that the side school of Siniddy- 
ward was established. Sandy Peterkin was one of those 
original geniuses who seem born with an extremely good 


capacity for acquiring knowledge, and no capacity whatever 
for turning the knowledge so acquired to any noticeable 
account, so far as bettering their own position, or benefiting 
other people connected with them, is concerned. In his 
boyhood he had sucked in knowledge with a sort of good- 
natured ease and avidity ; and then, when he came within 
sight of a practical application of the. same, Sandy dis 
appointed the hopes of his friends by changing his mind, 
and turning out a kind of " sticket doctor." I really don't 
think that Sandy could ever have had sufficient nerve for the 
medical profession. Then, in an equally erratic fashion, he 
had gone abroad to seek his fortune, and after twenty years, 
returned without finding it. In a general way, then, Sandy 
had again made his appearance in the locality, willing to 
settle down, but without any particular vocation, or well- 
defined idea as to what he would desire to apply himself to. 
Luckily for Sandy, the agitation on the subject of Mr. 
Tawse's shortcomings was at that particular time pretty keen, 
and the notion of another school rather popular. I would 
not insinuate that it was because Mr. Sleekaboot opposed 
the project that Johnny Gibb lent his aid so zealously in 
patching up the old maltbarn at Smiddyward which they 
pierced with two windows of four panes each, at the same 
time converting the ingle into a hearth in order to adapt 
the place as a school. But Johnny certainly did take an 
active part in planning the structural works, and defraying 
the cost of material and workmanship, as well as in recom 
mending the new teacher as a " byous clever chiel, a feerious 
gweed coonter, an' a prencipal han' at mizzourin grun." 

At the date of my story, Sandy Peterkin had conducted 
his school for only a few years, the usual winter attendance 
numbering about thirty pupils. In summer it naturally 
decreased, and in order to eke out his stipend for that part 
of the year, Mr. Peterkin was wont, when the " hairst play" 
came, to hire himself out as a raker, or general errand man, 
to some of the neighbouring farmers. 

Such were the two schools and schoolmasters of Pyke- 



IT was to Jonathan Tawse, such as I have described him, 
that the goodwife of Clinkstyle took her youngest son, 
Benjie, with the view of his addicting himself to the pro 
fession of the law. She had unfolded to the dominie her 
plans regarding the future of the young man, and wished 
his advice as to the requisite curriculum of study. 

" Ou, weel," said Jonathan, " we '11 jist hae to set him 
on for the regular coorse in classics." 

" I wudna won'er/' answered the goodwife. " An' foo 
mony classes will he hae to gae throu* syne ? ye ken he 's 
i' the foort class, an' complete maister o' the muckle spell- 
beuk, 'cep some unco kittle words 't 's nain fader can mak 1 
naething o'." 

" Hoot-toot-toot, ye 're wrang i' the up-tak' it 's classics 
nae classes. Mair plainly, an' he war a wee thing better 
grun'it in English through Mason's Collection may be 
we maun pit him to Latin an' so on." 

" Dis lawvyers need muckle o' 't, noo ? " 

" The mair the better, whan they want to bamboozle 
simple fowk," said the dominie. " Like Davie Lindsay's 
carman, that gat 's gray mare droon't whan he ran to the 
coort : 

They gave me first ane thing they call citandum, 
Within aucht days I gat but Itbellandum ; 
Within ane month I gat ad oppenendum ; 


In half ane year I gat inter loquendum, 

An' syne I gat how call you it ? ad replicandum ; 

But I cud never ane word yet understand him." 

" Keep me, Maister Tawse ! ye Ve sic a heid o' leernin' 
yersel'. I dinna believe but ye cud mak' up a prent beuk 
an' ye war to try. But mithnin he dee wi' the less 
coontin ? " 

" JSTo ; certainly not ; he maun hae Mathematics con- 

" An' that be the gate o' 't, the seener he 's begun the 
better, I wud think, to nae loss time. Cudna ye begin 'im 
at ance wi' a bit lesson ? ' Leern ear', leern fair/ they say, 
an' Benjie's a gran' scholar o' 's size. He wud bleck 's 
breeder that 's twa year aul'er nor him, ony day." 

" Aweel, lat me see," said Mr. Tawse, who, having at the 
time no Latin class, had begun to cast about as to the possi 
bility of setting one agoing for the winter, " I '11 see if I can 
get anither ane or twa, an' try them wi' the Eudiments 
ye may jist get a Euddiman i' the meanwhile, till we see." 

" That 's the beuk that they get the Latin oot o', is 't ? " 

" No, no ; jist the grammar the rules o' the language." 

" It cudna be deen wuntin, cud it ? I dinna care aboot 
owre muckle o' that gremmar, 's ye ca' 't." 

" Care or no care, it 's quite indispensable ; an' it 's utter 
nonsense to speak o' wantin 't," said Mr. Tawse, in an irri 
tated tone. 

" They 're sic a herrial, that beuks," pursued Mrs. Birse. 
" Aye, aye needin' new beuks ; but maybe ye mith hae an 
aul' Kroodymans lyin' aboot ? I'm seer Benjie wudna blaud 
it he 's richt carefu' o' 's beuks, peer thing." 

" No, no, Mrs. Birse. I 'm nae a dealer in aul' beuks " 

" Eh, forbid 't I sud mint at that, Maister Tawse ; but 
an' ye hed hed ane 't ye cud 'a len'it the laddie, I 'm seer we 
wud ; a been richt muckle obleeg't." 

" If ye dinna value yer son's edication sufficiently to 
think it worth yer while to pay for the necessary beuks, 
jist train 'im for the pleuch stilts at ance." 

" 'Deed, Maister Tawse, I '11 dee naething o' the kin'. 


Tli ere 's neen o' 's fader's faimily requarin to work wi' their 
ban's for a liveliheid, an' it cam' to that, no. Peter '11 get 
the tack at hanie, 's breeder Robbie '11 be pittin in till a 
place, an' his sister sanna wunt 'er providin' ; an' gin that 
war't a' we cud manage to plenish the best fairm i' the 
1 uinl's aucht for Benjie ; but fan craiturs has pairts for 
leernin, it 's a temp'in o' Providence to keep them back." 

" Oh, rara avis in terris ! " 

* Fat said ye ? " 

" Oh, that 's only the Latin way o' expressin' my admir 
ation o' the boy's pairts," said Mr. Tawse, " an' it shows ye 
vera weel what a comprehensive an' elegant tongue it is. 
It wud be a perfect delight to ye to hear Benjie rattlin' aff 
sentences fae Latin authors I 'm sure it wud." 

" Is that Kroodymans a dear beuk, Maister Tawse ? " 

" A mere trifle a maitter o' twa shillin's or half-a- 

" Weel, I think ye mith jist get it the first time 't ye 're 
sen'in to the toon they '11 maybe gi'e some discoont to the 
like o' you an' we can coont aboot the price o' 't at the 
en' o' the raith." 

Ruddiman was procured in due course, and Benjie set to 
the study of it, along with a lad whom Mr. Tawse had got 
as a boarder, and who was understood to be the natural son 
of nobody knew exactly who. He was an idle boy, but 
quick enough when he chose to apply himself. And thus 
he and Benjie made, as Mr. Tawse confessed, an extremely 
bad team. For if the truth must be told, notwithstanding 
Mrs. Birse's eulogistic estimate of Benjie's literary capacity, 
as compared with that of his paternal parent and elder 
brothers, none of the Messrs. Birse junior had manifested 
exactly brilliant intellectual parts ; and any capacity or 
predilection they had shown had been very distinctly in the 
direction of intermeddling with cattle and horses, and con 
cerning themselves with the affairs of the farm. I don't 
think that Mr. Birse senior was in the least disappointed at 
this, though of course he had long ago reconciled himself to 
the idea that Benjie was somehow to be the great and 


learned man of the family. Howbeit Euddiman agreed but 
ill with Benjie's tastes, and the consequence was that when 
the first raith was almost ended, he had scarcely got past 
Ego Amo, Tu Amas, and certainly had not the remotest 
conception of what it was all about. But this was not all. 
The effect of Benjie's studies had been to drive him home 
from school, over and over again, and with growing fre 
quency, in a shattered state of health. Now it was his 
head that was in a dreadful state, and next his wyme, and 
Benjie shed many salt tears over his deplorable condition. 

This state of things could not go on. Clinkstyle growled, 
and averred that his youngest son would be killed by too 
much learning ; and the goodwife coaxed and coddled with 
no beneficial result. Then she went to Mr. Tawse to ascer 
tain whether he was not tasking the excellent youth too 
severely, as it was alleged he had done in the case of Mains 
of Yawal's eldest son and heir ; and she came back in a 
great rage, for Mr. Tawse had been curt and uncompliment 
ary, and had hinted very plainly something about Benjie 
" shamming," after which he abruptly left Mrs. Birse stand 
ing outside the door, and proceeded to the interior of the 
school to finish his day's labours. 

" Weel, weel, 'oman," said Peter Birse senior, " they wud 
need a heid o' iron 't could gae throu' that stuff ; ye '11 need 
to pit a stop till't some gate." 

" Gae 'wa' wi' yer buff ; it 's muckle 't ye ken aboot it," 
answered Peter's dutiful spouse, determined not to be con 
vinced by him at any rate. 

" Jist wyte than till ye see the upshot. I sudna won'er 
nor he mak' the laddie an' objeck for life min' fat naar 
happen't wi' Mains's laddie." 

" Mains's laddie ! Humph ! An' my son hinna some 
mair smeddum aboot 'm nor the like o' that gawkie trypal, 
it 's time 't he war set to herd the laird's geese instead o' 
followin' aifter edication. Ye micht hae some regaird for 
ither fowk's feelin's, man, gin ye hae neen for yer nain ! " 

" But I 'm nae sayin' 't Benjie hisna a better uptak' nor 
the like o' him," pleaded Peter, apologetically. 


" Better uptak' !" exclaimed Mrs. Birse. " Sma* thanks 
t' ye for that ! Foo af en hiv I seen 'im, peer innocent, 
Mrck v<ni ;m"s breeders tee, readin' namie chapters oot o' 
the Word o' Gweed. An' that 's fat he gets for 's pains ! 
I 'm seer he sets an example to aul'er fowk." 

" Hoot, 'omau ! I wusna meanin' to misca' oor nain 

"An* foo did ye dee't than, Peter Birse? Tell me 
that ? " 

Peter had not an answer ready in time at any rate 
and Mrs. Birse went on, " I'm seer ye ken brawly fat wye 
my uncle, 't deet Can'lesmas was a year, wan in to be a 
lawvyer aboot Aiberdeen, an' made jist an ondeemas thing 
o' siller as the feck o' them does. Awat he len'it a hantle 
to the toonship, an' leeft a vast o' property forbye. Peer 
man, he did little gweed wi' 't i' the hin'er en' ; or some 
o' 's mith 'a been in a vera different seetivation fae slavin' 
on till ony ane, takin' chairge o' bestial, and milkness, an' a 
pack o' vulgar trag o' fairm servan's. But 's wife's freens 
raive a heap o' 't aff o' 'im fan he was livin', an* manag't to 
get the muckle feck o' fat was leeft fan he weer awa'." 

" But aw doot he hed a hantle o' enfluence, or he wudna 
come on sae weel," said Peter. 

" Aw won'er to hear ye speak, man. Fat enfluence cud 
he hed ; fan he gaed to the toon, as I've heard 'im tellin' a 
dizzen o' times, a laddie wi' a tartan plaid aboot 's shou'ders, 
an' a' 's spare claise i' the neuk o' 't ? Forbye, isna there 
Maister Pettiphog't fell into my uncle's biziness, an' was 
oor awgent fan ye pat awa' yer second horseman fernyear 
for stravaigin fae the toon o' the Sabbath nicht, an' gyaun 
in owre 's bed wi' 's sharnie beets on a vera respectable 
man didna he begin, as he taul's himsel', upo' the 
'sweepin's o' the Shirra Court'?" 

" True, true," said Peter, in a half-bewildered tone. 

" Aweel, aw think it would be ill 's pairt, an' he wudna 
tak' Benjie for a 'prentice at ance, an' pit 'im o' the road to 
mak' a wye o' deein for 'imsel'. He made a braw penny aff 
o' you at ony rate." 



It was impossible for Peter to answer such powerful and 
voluble reasoning ; and he had virtually succumbed before 
Mrs. Birse reached the concluding and more practical por 
tion of her discourse, which revealed a part of the plan of 
Benjie's future of which he had not hitherto got the faintest 
glimpse, although as now presented it rather commended 
itself to him. The effect upon Mrs. Birse herself of so fully 
expressing her sentiments, was, on the whole, soothing. But 
on one thing she was fully resolved, come what would to 
give Jonathan Tawse a snubbing. So, in addressing our 
promising young gentleman next morning, she said, " Ye '11 
tak' my compliments to Maister Tawse, noo, Benjie, an' tell 
'im to sen' his accoont wi' ye the raith's oot at the en' o' 
this ouk at ony rate an' gin he canna manage to behave 
wi' common ceevility to them 't he 's makin' 's breid aff o', 
and teach their bairns withoot brakin' their health, maybe 
anither will. Will ye min' that, noo ?" 

What this threat signified exactly, in the mind of the 
person who uttered it, it would perhaps be difficult to guess. 
At any rate, when Benjie brought the account, Mrs. Birse's 
thoughts took quite a practical shape. Jonathan Tawse's 
fee for the ordinary curriculum of the school was 3s. 6d. a 
quarter ; when Latin was included he made it two shillings 
more ; and when Mrs. Birse saw the enormous charge of 5s. 
6d., followed by 2s. 6d. for a half-bound Euddiman, it was 
some little time before she could give adequate expression to 
her feelings. She declared first that she would never pay 
such an " extortion ;" and next that ere she did pay she would 
certainly make Peter Birse senior face the unconscionable 
dominie before the Shirra, where the account would be 
rigorously taxed, and the iniquity of its author exposed in 
the face of the world. The actual result as regards the 
account itself was that after a while Peter Birse senior was 
sent to pay it, with orders to deliver certain sarcastic re 
marks bearing on the combined greed and professional in 
capacity of Mr. Tawse ; and which orders Peter, as is usual 
in such circumstances, did not carry out to the letter ; but, 
indeed, mumbled some sort of awkward apology for the 


withdrawal of Benjie from the school; for, of course, he 
had been instantly removed a result which Benjie seemed 
in no wise to regret during the interregnum that occurred 
until it should be determined what should be done with 
him next. 



How shall I describe the Kirk Road of Pyketillim ? Of 
course it is the Kirk Road when the parishioners are assem 
bling for public worship that I mean. 

It is a beautiful spring Sunday morning of the year 
1842. Samuel Pikshule has duly tolled his eight o'clock 
bell, which sends its billows of pleasant melody rolling over 
bank and hollow to the farthest end of the parish, amid the 
still, dewy sunlight; then he has gone and deliberately dis 
cussed his breakfast, and shaved off his beard, and washed 
his face, before he would ring ten o'clock and turn the key 
in the kirk door. 

It was at a quarter to twelve that Sarnie began to ring 
the people in. But for good part of an hour before that 
they were to be seen wending slowly onward in twos and 
threes by this and that side path into the 'commodation 
road, which winds along by Smiddyward, Gushetneuk, and 
Clinkstyle, and so on over the Knowe and down upon the 
Kirktown. As they met on the main road they resolved 
themselves into groups, larger or smaller, according to taste 
and other circumstances. Here is a knot of three or four 
women, including one sturdy old dame, with close mutch, 
ancient shawl of faded hue, and big umbrella planted firmly 
under her arm, fine as the day is ; there another couple, one 
of indefinitely goodwifely aspect, the other evidently a 
thrifty spinster, and a lassie clanking on in heavy tacketie 


shoes at their skirts, anxious to get what comprehension she 
may of the semi-prophetic gossip, and to discover the indivi 
dualities referred to in the confidentially-breathed " she says, 
says she," that occupy the tongues of her seniors. There 
Dawvid Hadden, ground-officer to Sir Simon Frissal, pulls 
up, takes off his hat, wipes his brow, lets his wife forgather 
with whom she may, and the bairns scatter on in front, 
while he hooks his one thumb in his waistcoat armhole, and 
puts the other hand below his coat tail to wait for Hairry 
Muggart, the wright, and get the news as they jog socially 
on, picking up a fit companion or two by the way. At 
other points we have knots of sturdy chaps, free from the 
plough for one day, and done up according to taste in rough 
gray tweeds, and with the ends of their brilliant necker 
chiefs flying loose, tramping along by themselves ; and skweel 
loons, on the alert for idle pranks, and fully conscious that 
Jonathan Tawse's rule is intermitted for the time, now 
loitering and next scampering on with utmost speed. 

When the journey is about accomplished, we have no 
end of friendly inquiries to make as we cluster about the 
kirkyard yett; then slowly filter inward to re-group our 
selves on the open space in front of the kirk-door ; to sit 
down with a few cronies on the green slope under the vener 
able trees, or it may be on a lair stane in God's acre itself, 
to take snuff, and see how far our notes about the weather 
and the crops agree. Sarnie begins to ring at the quarter, 
but we let him ring on; and it is only when Mr. Sleekaboot 
is seen coming up the long walk in full canonicals (we had 
no vestry in those days) that we betake ourselves to the 
interior of the kirk, crushing in in a somewhat ram-shackle 
and irreverent fashion it must be allowed, and planting 
ourselves in attitude to sleep, or observe, as the case may be. 
But I will not describe the church services farther than 
has been already done. Our profiting usually was pretty 
much, I presume, what might have been expected. At the 
close Mr. Sleekaboot sat down composedly, and the elders 
seized the ladles substantially built ladles they were, and 
had served their purpose for generations past and peram- 


bulated the kirk. We gave our bawbees like loyal Presby 
terians ; that is to say, the head of the family always gave 
one, and sometimes his wife another, or one of the elder 
bairns a habit and practice which have been most faith 
fully adhered to in most congregations, town and country, 
till this day; insomuch that hundreds of worthy people of 
fair wealth and position, who would be ashamed to offer less 
than sixpence to any other good object, proclaim their vene 
ration for the usages of these ancient Christians by carefully 
abstaining from ever dropping into the brod aught else than 
a copper counterfeit presentment of Her Majesty. Well, we 
did this in the parish church of Pyketillim ; and I do not 
recollect more than once seeing a man it was up i' the 
laft put a penny into the brod as it was pushed round, and 
then adjust his offering to the statutory amount by taking 
out a bawbee. 

When the kirk skail't, the scene was different from the 
gathering. To be sure, if Sarnie Pikshule had a roup to 
scry, or a strayed stirk to " adverteese," there was a general 
and eager clustering about him at the kirk gable, as Sarnie 
yabbled out the particulars. But otherwise we put on double 
steam to what was in use when we were daundering up to 
the " courts of the sanctuary," as Mr. Sleekaboot phrased it. 
Before we were clear of the Kirktown some half-dozen of 
the male parishioners (usually elderly ones, familiar with the 
dwellers in the Kirktown, and who cared not to carry fleerish 
and flint in their Sunday claes) had availed themselves of a 
het sod to light their pipes ; and the result was seen in a 
cloudlet of blue smoke rising here and there over the streams 
of people as they moved on in steady flow east and west ; 
everybody now marching onward with something of the air 
of those who have serious business on hand. 

Now, it so happened that on the particular Sunday 
morning to which I have made reference, Peter Birse had 
living with him over the day, as a visitor, a particular friend 
from up-throu,' an ardent agriculturist like himself. The 
two had been out betimes in the morning and had enjoyed 
a saunter over Clinkstyle's fields, discussing matters relative 



thereto as they went. After the ten o'clock bell had run-_j 
in, and long after breakfast, it occurred to Peter as they 
stood at the top of the garden walk, not knowing well how 
to occupy themselves further, that a profitable use might be 
made of the spare time yet between them and the hour of 
public worship. 

" Nyod, fat wud ye say to takin a stap roon b' the back 
o' the wuds gyaun to the kirk. The laird has a puckle 
fine stirks i' the Upper Holm park 't the grieve 's aye blawin' 

" Got already ? " 

" Ou ay. They war some scant o' strae, ye see ; they 
keep sae mony horse beasts aboot the place. But they 're 
fine lythe parks, an' ear' tee ; beasts mith live i' them throu' 
the winter naar." 

" I wud like freely weel to see them, man," said the 

" Weel, jist heely till I gi'e a cry in 't we 're awa'." 

And they went by the back of the woods it was a long 
way round where the stirks were duly seen, criticised, and 
admired. Then they stumbled on a field of the laird's 
which the grieve was preparing to be laid down in turnips, 
and took a skance of what was going on there. 

" It's easy deen for them 't yauchts the grun to try 
protticks wi* 't," observed Peter. 

" He 's been trenchin seerly," said his friend. 

" Ou na ; but they hed a gryte stren'th o' beasts rivin' 't 
up wi' fat they ca' a subsoil pleuch." 

" The stibble Ian', likein ?" 

" Ay, ay, stibbles." 

" Weel, I cudna say ; aw wud be some dootfu' aboot it. 
A bit faugh across the rig i' the en' o' the year, an' syne a 
gweed deep fur 's better nor turnin' up the caul' boddom." 

" Oh, loshie, ay, man," said Peter Birse. " But than 
ye see it's a' ae thing to him fat he pit into the grun gin 
he can raise a crap ; an' he '11 hand on the manure to the 
mast-heid, fatever it may cost. They war sayin' he hed 
gotten a curn o' that ga-ano stuff 't they speak aboot." 


" Yea, man ! " replied the stranger in a wondering tone. 

They approached the corner of a field off the road, and 
stood up on the top of the backit dyke, when Mr. Birse ex 
claimed, " Aw div not believe but here 's a hillockie o' that 
ga-ano i' the neuk o' the park." 

Peter was right. Guano was then a newly-introduced 
manure, which he and his friend, who understood the 
virtues of bone dust perfectly, had not yet seen. The 
grieve had got a consignment of the Ichaboe variety, 
whereof he had deposited a small parcel in the corner of 
the field to await turnip sowing. In a twinkling our two 
worthies had leapt off the dyke and were busy examining 
the guano. 

"Eh, man, but it's fushionless-like stuff!" said Peter 
Birse's friend, after inquiringly crushing a sample or two 
between his finger and thumb. 

" Isnin 't a mervel fat wye that cud gar onything grow ? " 
was Peter's reply. 

" But does 't raelly dee 't, man ? " 

" Weel, I 've nae rizzon to misdoot the grieve's word ; an' 
he tauT me that it sent up some cabbage kail 't he try 't it 
on fernyear like the very shot o' a gun." 

" Man, aw wud like richt weel to try a pucklie o' 't. 
Mithna a body gae the length o' takin' the fu' o' a sneeshin 
pen ? " 

" Awat ye may tak' a nievefu' on-been miss't," said 

" Gin they wudna think it greedy-like, an 't were kent." 

" Feint a fears o' that," answered Peter Birse. " But fat 
wye '11 we cairry't ?" 

" Ou, that 11 be easy deen," said Peter's visitor, shaking 
out his crumpled cotton pocket handkerchief ; " the dud '11 
haud it fine." 

" Weel, its keerious I didna think o' that, no." 

" But wunnin ye tak a starn yersel' ? " asked the 

" Weel aw dinna differ. I 'se tell the grieve 't we wus 
tryin' the quality o' 's ga-ano." 


And so Peter next spread out his handkerchief, into 
which he too put a handful of guano. The samples were 
duly bestowed in the coat pockets of the two friends, who 
then resumed their journey to the kirk, at which they 
arrived in due time, highly pleased with their experiences 
by the way. 

I do not know how far the suggestion may be necessary 
that the olfactory nerves of Peter Birse and his friend would 
not seem to have been particularly sensitive. But had the 
fact been otherwise, it would appear to me highly probable 
that the two gentlemen would have had some indications 
before they entered the kirk of the likelihood of a perfume 
rather more powerful than pleasant proceeding from their 
pockets. It would appear, however, that nothing of the 
sort had disturbed their reflections ; at any rate, the two had 
entered and gravely seated themselves before the guano had 
cost them a second thought. Things did not remain long in 
this quiescent state, however. Mrs. Birse, who seldom came 
early, entered next, with Miss Birse. Peter and the 
stranger did not rise to put the ladies into the pew, but, 
according to use and wont, simply hirsled yont, and made 
room for them at the end of it. Miss Eliza Birse seated 
herself and sniffed ; then her mother sniffed, and looked first 
at the floor and then at her husband. And all at once the 
situation flashed upon poor Peter's mind ! Yes ! He did 
feel the odour of the guano ; and the man in front of him, 
who had turned half round and looked into Peter's pew, 
evidently felt it too. Sarnie Pikshule, who was going along 
the pass to shut the door, felt it, and stopped short with an 
inquiring glance around him ; and it was said by those near 
him that Samuel uttered something about "some chiel 
comin' there wi' a foumart in 's pouch, stechin up the kirk." 
But what could Clinkstyle do ? There he was, shut into 
the top of the pew, and the service going on. To rise and 
force his way out would be to proclaim his predicament 
more widely ; for he would without fail perform the function 
of censer to the congregation all the way to the door. And 
then it would be of no use unless he took his friend with him. 


I have no real delight in cruelty to animals, and will 
not enlarge upon the agony endured by Peter Birse during 
the sermon. He had no doubt whatever that Mrs. Birse 
knew him to be guilty his own imploring look had be 
trayed him there. He fancied that the eyes of the whole 
congregation were fixed upon him, and he verily believed 
that Mr. Sleekaboot was directing part of his observations 
towards him personally. The stranger, who seemed to be a 
placid man, sat perfectly unmoved. On the whole, the 
incident, which, of course, got abroad pretty generally among 
the people of Pyketillim, did not tend to secure increased 
respect for Peter ; and it may be added that he was once or 
twice thereafter judiciously reminded of it by his spouse, as 
an illustration of the necessity for a more discreet head than 
his own to decide in, at any rate, all matters of breeding and 
etiquette. Thus far on the social aspect of the question. 
Peter's sole defence when put to it was, that he never for a 
moment supposed he could be wrong in following the 
example of his visitor, who, moreover, was a distant relative 
of Mrs. Birse ; and that neither of them dreamt that " the 
ga-ano cud hae hed sic a rank kneggum." 

To his surprise Mrs. Birse replied, with not a little 
solemnity, " Weel-a-wat, ye needna be surpris't nor it be a 
jeedgment o' ye for brakin' the Sabbath." 



EVER since the time of his visit to the Wells in 1839, 
Johnny Gibb had been applying his mind more actively 
than before to current ecclesiastical questions. The con 
versation of his Marnoch friend had given him an impetus 
in that direction, which occasional epistolary communications 
from the same quarter, with accounts of the exciting intrusion- 
ist scenes enacted there, as recorded in the newspapers, had 
served to prolong and intensify. And whereas Johnny's 
burden against a jolly and ease-loving clergy had previously 
partaken very much of the nature of a general denunciation 
of them as " dumb dogs who cannot bark," he had now 
learnt clearly to distinguish between Moderates and Evan 
gelicals, and these words were frequently on his lips. In 
the person of Mr. Sleekaboot, moreover, Johnny deemed that 
he found the very incarnation of Moderatism. This fact set 
the worthy man terribly on edge, and as the sounds of con 
troversy in the Church courts fell ever and anon on his 
wakeful ears, he felt it only the more incumbent on him to 
stand boldly up for the good cause. His right-hand man in 
this crisis was Eoderick M'Aul, the souter at Smiddyward, 
and it so happened that about the date now reached in my 
narrative, the Eev. Alister Macrory, whom the souter had 
known in his youth, and of whose gifts and piety he had a 
good opinion, but who, by some mischance, had hitherto 
failed in getting tied to any parish in particular, was passing 


through the region, and felt that he could not do less than 
call upon his old acquaintance, by whom he was hospitably 
entertained. ^ Johnny Gibb, of course, was asked over to 
enjoy the visitor's conversation ; and it then occurred to the 
two friends that, as the Eev. Alister Macrory was not par 
ticularly pressed for time, they might retain his services for 
a few weeks, and give the parishioners of Pyketillim the 
opportunity for once of hearing the Gospel preached. It 
was an easy matter to secure the use of Sandy Peterkin's 
school for the purpose, and it was secured accordingly. 

The school at Smiddyward was not an imposing struc 
ture, either as regards external appearance or interior 
decoration. It was straw-thatched, with the door halved 
transversely, and not longitudinally ; and inside there were 
desks and seats of a very plain sort for about forty pupils. 
The roof was an "open" one, with the "wood- work" quite 
" visible " (so far as the accumulation of soot thereon 
admitted), and not less so the divots that overlaid it. 
There Sandy Peterkin bore rule. His school, let me say, 
was thriving in a way that fully equalled Sandy's most 
sanguine expectations. I don't think, however, that these 
were very extravagant. The first of Mr. Macrory's services 
had been held in the school on a week-day evening, with 
an audience that half filled the place ; and the event had 
caused no little talk in the parish. Johnny Gibb precented, 
a service which the older parishioners could recollect his 
having occasionally performed, on emergencies, in the parish 
kirk, many long years ago ; and the energetic oratory of 
Mr. Macrory, without any " paper " to aid him therein, was 
fitted to startle, apart altogether from the matter, by the 
very contrast it presented to the perfectly unimpassioned 
performance of Mr. Sleekaboot, as he read over once more 
the well-thumbed MS., which the more attentive parish 
ioners knew so well by head-mark that they could give you 
day and date of its last preaching, and also predict, with 
tolerable accuracy, the next time it would be put to the 
same use. But the Rev. Alister Macrory, albeit a little 
uncouth and violent in his manner, and given to shaking 


his fist and staring directly forward at a particular point in 
his audience, as if he wanted to single you out individually 
to be preached at, was, to all appearance, a man really in 
earnest, and the general impression made by his discourses 
was something new in the quarter. 

Now, it so happened that at the very time Mrs. Birse 
withdrew her hopeful younger son, Benjie, from the peda 
gogic rule of Jonathan Tawse, one or two little incidents 
had occurred fitted to stagger that eminently prudent 
matron, and even to some extent to shake her belief in the 
human race generally. Miss Birse had spent the winter in 
Aberdeen, in attendance at a fashionable ladies' seminary ; 
and, let me say it, had been wonderfully successful in 
picking up that uneasy polish and those stilted conven 
tional phrases that lend such a charm to the manner of 
our proper and properly-trained young ladies. She was 
coming home " finished " in a style that should make her an 
acquisition in the best society in the parish. So thought 
her mamma; and the idea had occurred to her, that, as 
Eliza had boarded with a distant relative whose hospitality 
was deemed amply repaid by the presentation of a half- 
stane kebbuckie, once for all, with a dozen of eggs and a 
pound or two of butter every month, when fresh linen was 
despatched to the interesting young lady, Benjie might be 
sent to some school of classic repute, and fill his sister's 
vacated place as a lodger on the same terms. Mrs. Birse 
was scandalised when the ungrateful people made it known 
that they " cudna tak' a countra loon on nae accoont they 
hed owre many mou's to fill o' their nain ;" and she was 
more than scandalised at the " dryness " exhibited by them 
towards Eliza at parting, when the goodman of the house, 
as it seemed, had had to carry her things past Kittybrewster 
to the Flyboat house, and to supplement for Miss Birse the 
sixpence she was short of her fare homeward by that admir 
able medium of communication. 

" I 'm seer fowk wudna ken fat to dee to keep doon the 
ill crap o* some creaturs. Fan they war onfeelin aneuch to 
try a pawrent's hert b' refeesin the laddie, peer innocent, 


they notna 'a latten oot their breath upo' her'; mony a 
bare aneuch day has she kent wi' them ; an' weel may 
seem her vera frocks needin' takin' in to keep them 
onfa'en aff o' her body. An' she hedna hed bawbees to 
get pieces till 'ersel files, oot o' sicht o' their bairns, aw div 
not believe but she wud 'a gotten a mischief o' hunger." 

So said Mrs. Birse in her indignation. 

However, as Benjie could not be transferred to Aberdeen, 
a dilemma had occurred ; and during its continuance Master 
Benjamin, as has been said, seemed in nowise indisposed to 
enjoy rural life; in such forms as, for example, those of walking 
with Tarn Meerison at the plough for hours, and riding the 
pony to water and back, and grooming it, despite the warn 
ings of his mother as to the degrading tendency of such 
occupations on a young man destined to learned pursuits. 
His next elder brother being intended for the farm, it 
mattered less how his education was picked up. So things 
had gone on for some weeks, when all of a sudden Mrs. 
Birse announced that Benjie was to be sent to Sandy 
Peterkin to continue his studies. Peter Birse senior shook 
his head dubiously and protested. But Mrs. Birse was 
firm. Finding sundry other arguments unavailing, Peter 

"But, ye ken, Sandy disna preten' to be claer o' the 
Laitin 'imsel', 'oman; an' ye cudna expeck him to leern 
't weel till ithers." 

" An' fat for no ? There 's fowk preten's to be claer 
upon 't that mak's but a peer shot at leernin ithers." 

" Ou, but ye ken Maister Tawse hedna Benjie lang." 

"An' hedna he Jock Ogg, the ganger's loon, haill twa 
year at it; an' aifter a' his peer fader was forced to pack 
'im awa' to the sea. The fient a flee hed he leern't but a 
lot o' ill tricks an' lees ; for 's nain gweed-mither taul' me 
oot o' 'er ain mou. An' that aul', greedy, sneeshinie howfnn 
gaen on chairgin' an ondeemas soom for skweel fees a* the 
time. A bonnie story to say that the peer innocent was 
feingyin fan he tyeuk a drow ! Jist his nain strunge 
mainner an' ill natur' 't flegs the creaturs." 


" Weel, I 'm maist seer the minaister '11 be ill pleas't," 
continued Peter." 

" An' fat raiks ? It '11 be lang ere ye be made fat aff 
o' him ! I 'm seer they gat twa as gweed hens as ever 
swally't black dist fae this toon at AuT Yeel ; but I b'lieve, 
though they hed a' the upsettin' trash i' the pairis' at the 
Manse i' the coorse o' the winter, we never braik breid wi' 

" But it wudna dee to offen' the minaister, ye ken gin 
fowk war in tribble or onything "- 

" Peter Birse, fat are ye raelly thinkin' aboot ? Fat has 
that to dee wi' the edication o' fowk's bairns ? Maister 
Sleekaboot may be a gweed aneuch man in 's ain place, an' 
he war latt'n aleen b' 's nain 't ocht to ken better. Leddies ! 
they wud need it ! But the peer man 's siclike led, 't 
aw raelly believe it's the trowth that Gushetneuk says that 
he does not preach the GospeL" 

"Keep me, 'oman, I won'er at ye speakin' that gate. 
His preachin' 's a hantle better nor we practeese." 

" Ou, I daursay some fowk 's but speakin' the trowth fan 
they say that ; but he 's a rael wor'dly-min'et person." 

" Hoot, I 'm seer ye ken he 's a weel-meanin' man, an' a 

" Aweel, gin he get's nain cronies a' richt, he winna care 
fat the affcasts dee ! hm ! So ye '11 jist gae doon wi' me 
the nicht to the skweel at Smiddyward. We can see Sandy 
Peterkin aboot Benjie ; and there 's to be a preachin' i' the 
skweel i' the evenin', by ane Macrory fae the wast kwintra. 
They say he 's weel worth the hearin, an' we 'se jist bide an' 
get a word fae 'im." 

It was in vain for Peter to remonstrate. Mrs. Birse had 
found cause of offence in both Mr. Sleekaboot and Jonathan 
Tawse, and she was resolved to open a campaign against 
both. Jonathan would be punished by the conclusive 
withdrawal of her sons from his school, and sending them 
to that of his rival ; and she knew that by their going to 
hear an itinerant preacher Mr. Sleekaboot would be at once 
incensed in a high degree, which would be likely to give 


opportunity for at least reminding him, as she knew how, of 
his shortcomings in tending his flock. 

It was on the evening appointed for the second sermon 
or address that the goodwife of Clinkstyle led her reluctant 
spouse down to Smiddyward. Their business with Sandy 
Peterkin was easily despatched, Sandy, who honestly con 
fessed that his classics were a little rusted, undertaking to 
do the best he could with Benjie ; and they were then free 
to attend the meeting. 

" Ou, ay, it 's a prayer meetin' the nicht," said Sandy 
Peterkin, when Mrs. Birse had announced her intention. 
" I 'm gaen awa' to pit up the lichts they '11 be gedderin 
eenoo. Ye 11 jist sit still at the fireside here. I winna be 
a minute in bein' back." 

Sandy groped in his aumry till he got hold of two penny 
candles, one of which he put in a tin candlestick, while he 
stuck the lower end of the other into a turnip suitably 
excavated. He lighted one of them, and when he had 
sidled away out, endeavouring to keep the wind from it 
until he should reach the school, Peter Birse made a last 
despairing appeal to his wife. 

" Keep 's, 'oman, did ye hear that ? " 

"Hear fat?" 

" Sandy says it 's a prayer meetin', an' nae a preachin'." 

"Weel; an' fat for no?" 

" Ye seerly winna gang till 't, than ? " 

" There '11 naebody tak' a bite o' 's though we dee." 

" Hoot, 'oman, it 's owre sairious for jokin'. It 's as ill 's 
the vera missionars. There wus never the like heard o' in 
this pairis'." 

" This pairis' ! humph ! This pairis' is some mark or 
than no." 

" Fat will the minaister say, an' my ain gweed-breeder 
ane o' his el'ers?" 

Peter's remonstrances were cut short by the return of 
Sandy Peterkin, who announced that they were now " feckly 
gedder't." So at his goodwife's beck and bidding, and in the 
circumstances, as to public facts and general feeling, which 


lie had accurately described, Clinkstyle had to do his con 
science the direct violence involved in attending a prayer 

When they entered, the audience was found to consist 
mainly of women and young people, though, as far as might 
be seen by the dim candle-light, there were six or eight 
grown-up men present. 

Mr. Macrory conducted the opening services, and then 
read and expounded a chapter, making sundry very pointed 
applications ; and leaving it to be clearly understood that 
the cold morality which was droned into the ears of the 
people from Sabbath to Sabbath was of no avail to save 
either the teacher or the taught from everlasting perdition. 
The sort of direct onslaught, both in word and look, in which 
the speaker indulged, made Peter Birse feel a good way 
short of perfectly comfortable ; and, judging by appearances, 
others of his neighbours could have dispensed with some 
small part of Mr. Macrory's energy, without complaining. 
As for Mrs. Birse, she at once adopted an air of edifying 
demureness ; and took care to sidle up far enough to be full 
in sight of Johnny and Mrs. Gibb, who were seated near by 
the preacher, their servants, Jinse Deans and Willy M'Aul, 
with the lassie, occupying the seat next behind them. Mr. 
Macrory had finished his exposition ; he gave out a psalm 
to be sung, and then, when the singing was concluded, in a 
very audible and deliberate tone announced that " Our 
brother, Mr. M'Aul, will engage in prayer." There was a 
sort of electric start among a considerable part of the audience 
at this intimation, as much as to say, " The souter engage in 
prayer!" And, no doubt, if they had known the ancient 
adage primarily applying to men of his calling, they would 
have mentally repeated it. All the same, they felt the senti 
ment therein expressed. It had beforetime been bruited 
abroad that Koderick M'Aul kept up family worship daily, 
and two or three customers who had at sundry times acci 
dentally stumbled in when he was about to commence, had 
gone through sensations which they were shy of attempting 
to describe, on being asked by Koderick to join in the 



devotions. But that Eoderick M'Aul should stand up 
before a public audience, and offer up prayer Eoderick 
M'Aul, who was just a souter, and with not a shred of 
clerical character about him the thing was so utterly 
beyond the scope of the most fervid imagination among the 
general body of the parishioners of Pyketillim, that not only 
did several of the audience at the meeting, besides Peter 
Birse, feel in some doubt whether they stood with their 
heads or their heels uppermost, but the news of what had 
occurred spread rapidly through the parish next day. The 
deed was declared by several to be " daurin'," and by quite 
as great a number to be " blaspheemous." 

Nevertheless, the example set by the souter did not, I 
think, fail in having its effects. If the simple and fervent, 
albeit slightly ungrammatical utterance of the devotional 
feelings within him had the effect of dumfoundering and 
scandalising some, there were others of his audience that 
were impressed in a more wholesome way ; and among these 
was Johnny Gibb, who went home with the honest convic 
tion in his breast that Eoderick M'Aul was a better man 
than himself. "For," said Johnny, "he's ready to confess 
Christ afore men aifter a fashion that I hae never mintit 
to dee yet." 



OF course, Mr. Sleekaboot was speedily made acquainted with 
the operations of the Rev. Alister Macrory at Smiddyward ; 
but he took it all very coolly. There had been ranting 
fanatics in the world long before now, and there would no 
doubt be so till the end of time, said the Rev. Mr. Sleekaboot. 

At the quarterly Distribution, when all the bawbees 
gathered by the brod for the bygone three months were to 
be fully reckoned and apportioned, the elders met at the 
Manse ; and each got his share to pay over to the various 
recipients quiet, and not particularly uncomfortable old 
bodies of both sexes ; real old residenters ; not your modern 
paupers of the clamorous, thriftless, and unsatisfied sort. 
And this part of their duty the Session discharged with 
creditable assiduity, and even more than creditable humanity. 
Have I not seen Mains of Yawal, who lived farthest from 
the kirk, time after time, carrying home his portion of the 
offering, all too bulky to go into any pouch he had, carefully 
enclosed in his blue-spotted "pocket-napkin," and dangling 
in his hand with solid weight ? And he would thereafter 
go his round, be it fair night or foul, to see Saun'ers Tapp, 
and Lizzy Glegg, and their ancient contemporaries, and all 
to give to each his or her due share of the offering bawbees. 

But, meanwhile, I am not concerned with the details of 
the distribution. Sometimes when the elders met to arrange 
for it at the Manse though, I daresay, this formed no part 


of the res gestce to be minuted by Jonathan Tawse the 
sederunt would be wound up by a quiet glass of toddy. 
Such was the case at the distribution meeting that occurred 
just two nights after Mr. Macrory's meeting at Smiddyward. 
And the elders were all present, with the exception of 
Clinkstyle's sister's husband, Braeside. Of course the sub 
ject of the prayer meeting came up. 

"An' fa div ye think sud' 'a been there hearin' this 
ranter but Clinkstyle an' 's wife ? " said Mains of Yawal. 

"Poor man, poor man," answered Mr. Sleekaboot, with 
a smile. " I fancy he had hardly been left to the freedom 
of his own will in the matter." 

" Deed, I can believe ye 're richt there, sir," said Mr. 
Tawse, taking a heavy pinch of snuff. " That wife o' his is 
a perfect Xantippe." 

" Oh I presume she heckled you when she withdrew 
her precious son from the school." 

" For that maitter I can usually gi'e as gweed as I get," 
said Mr. Tawse. " But she 's a rude vulgar hizzie, natheless ; 
an' for the loon, I never ruggit the lugs o' a more complete 

" Did you venture to tell that in the audience of the 
maternal ears, Jonathan ?" asked the minister, the jocularity 
of the query being shared in by only the dominie and him 
self, as the rest of the company failed to catch its flavour, 
couched in such refined English. 

" Deed, I believe I fell little short o' 't. But what was 
that ye was sayin', Mains, aboot this fanatic, Macrory, 
settin the souter to gi'e a prayer at the meetin' in Sawney 
Peterkin's hovel ?" 

" Oh, it was fat they ca' a prayer meetin' ; an' aifter he 
hed roar't on for a file 'imsel', he cries oot ' Some broder '11 
engaige noo ;' fan up startit the souter an' gya them a screed 
o' 't by ordinar'. Several o' them hed been sair pitt'n oot 
aboot it, aw 'm thinkin'." 

" An' little won'er," quoth Teuchitsmyre, the other new 
elder, who was a fat, red-nosed man with a very thick neck. 
" Ta'en a fup to them wud 'a sair't them richt." 


"And heard you who all were present?" asked Mr. 

" Weel, aw 'm thinkin' Gushetneuk an' 's wife, forbye, 's I 
was sayin', the fowk o' Clinkstyle. The lave wud be feckly 
the aul' wives aboot the Ward, an' maybe a fyou young 

"Did John Gibb take any part ?" 

" Eh aw didna hear that said ; but he 's been ane o' the 
heid deesters aboot feshin this Macrory to the pairt." 

" A fractious, heidstrong creatur," said Jonathan Tawse. 
" But there's some brains in 'im tee ; that was aye my 

" He 's too anxious to make himself and his opinions pro 
minent," answered Mr. Sleekaboot. 

" It was a great mistak' in you, Mr. Sleekaboot savin* 
the presence o' Mains an' Teuchitsmyre to keep Gushets 
an' the souter oot o' the el'ership." 

" How, how men who act thus ?" 

" Ou ay, but an' they had been made pillars i' the kirk, 
like the lave o' 's, ye wud hae heard less o' any sic divisive 
coorses, depen' ye upon 't," said the dominie. 

" I don't know ; we 

" My dear sir, fan did ye ever hear o' an el'er in the 
parish o' Pyketillim gaen aboot a kwintra side cantin' an' 
prayin', as this souter does, it seems ? An', tak' ye my word 
for 't, ye '11 hae Gushetneuk followin' 's example neist." 

"Well, but, Mr. Tawse," said the minister, evidently 
disposed to get very serious on the point, " as I was saying, 
and as you know, we must take good care for the order of 
the Church. There can be nothing more perilous to the peace 
of our Zion than the presence of unbridled spirits in office 
within her bosom. And I, in the position of spiritual 
head of this parish, T being responsible alike to the Presby 
tery and the patron Sir Simon Frissal, I would never for a 
moment brook the revolutionary opinions held by those 

" Ye 're vera richt, Maister Sleekaboot vera richt," said 
Mains, with great emphasis. He was getting hot and red 


in the face ; and I think had by this time based his opinion 
on a tolerably wide induction, when, suddenly changing the 
theme, and emptying his glass, he added, " Nyod, that 's 
capital fusky." 

Teuchitsmyre nodded approvingly, and said, " It 's the 
rael Glendronach, seerly." 

" Weel, weel, as ye please, sir," replied Mr. Tawse. " I 
was half jokin', ye ken. But ye canna won'er though a sair- 
dung dominie sud try to save 's nain credit by sayin' that it 
mitha been worth while, as a stroke o' policy, till hae latt'n 
Clinkstyle on to the el'ership." 

" He would have been in nowise a more efficient member 
of session than his excellent relative, Braeside." 

" Neen, neen jist sax i' the ane an' half-a-dizzen i' the 
ither. Baith hairmless breets. But ye see Braeside hisna 
an ambitious wife D' ye see my drift ? Hooever, to pass 
fae that point, I think ye really ocht, in some way, to tak' 
an order o' these fanatics." 

"Of Gibb andM'Aul?" 

" N~a, na ; ye had better lat ill aleen there. But it 
mithna be difficult to frichten Peterkin fae gi'ein' that bit 
hole to lat them meet in." 

" Well ; it 11 die out. There has been in all ages of the 
Christian Church, as I have said, an ever-recurring tendency, 
especially among the unlearned, to lapse into fanaticism ; 
though the admirable organisation and discipline of our 
own Church have effectually repressed serious outbreaks at 
all times." 

"An' may it be for ever sae," said Jonathan Tawse. 
" But fat are ye to mak' o' a' this uncanny steer o' the Non 
intrusion pairty i' the Kirk ? Ye'll hae some difficulty, 
cceteris paribus, in disciplinin' the major pairt o' the Kirk 

" Ay, Mr. Tawse," said the minister, with a half chuckle, 
" but it 's not a case of cceteris paribus, my good friend. 
There is such a thing as the law of the land, and the civil 
power. With that at our back we need never fear the hot 
headed party in the Church. Keep yourself easy." 


" Ou, it wiinm l>ruk' my rest, sir. But I dinna muckle 
like the leuk o' these bits o' collisions atween the spiritual 
poo'er as they ca 't, an' the civil : siclike as in the bygone 
case o' Lethendy ; an' syne, nearer han' hame, at Marnoch ; 
\vliaur, in the first case, the Coort o' Session steps in to 
interdict a sattleraent by a Presbytery ; an* in the neist its 
aid is requir't to force an unacceptable presentee on a con 
gregation. An', of coorse, I needna speak o' the starshie 
sinsyne still nearer oor ain door, at Culsalmond, wi' the 
goodman o' Teetaboutie." 

" Well, I have you there, Jonathan. General arguments 
are never so convincing as special facts. I'm glad that the 
brethren in Strathbogie had the firmness to endeavour to 
vindicate the just rights of presentees. Here you have an 
instance in my own case. When I had the honour of 
receiving a presentation from Sir Simon to the Parish of 
Pyketillim, I met a very cold reception, let me tell you, 
from the people. I don't believe that, but for the personal 
presence of Sir Simon with whom, though I say it myself, 
I stood high from the first half-a-dozen people in the 
parish would have signed the call then. Now, I 'm sure, 
there's not half-a-dozen in the whole parish who would not 
sign it." 

" I 'm seer o' that, sir," said Mains of Yawal ; and 
Teuchitsmyre's whole body gave a confirmatory hitch. 

" So much for the popular voice nothing could be more 
delusive," added Mr. Sleekaboot, with an air of something 
like triumph. 

I do not know that the Rev. Jonathan Tawse would have 
disputed this last sentiment at any rate ; but inasmuch as he 
in his own case had not been so fortunate as Mr. Sleekaboot 
in finding a backer to enable him to get over the initial 
unpopularity incidental to him as a preacher, there was not 
exactly identity of feeling between him and his respected 
minister on this particular point. Therefore Jonathan took 
snuff afresh, refilled his tumbler, and incontinently turned 
the conversation to topics more congenial to Mains and 
Teuchitsmyre, who, being unable to follow the high argument 


that the two divines had got into, had contented themselves 
by listening with as much of an elderlike and interested air 
as they could manage to assume. 

The weather, and the markets for grain and live stock, 
subjects of common interest, and on which the whole party 
could speak with practical intelligence, were discussed ad 
longam, during the latter part of the evening. 

The case put by Mr. Sleekaboot, and which had brought 
the ecclesiastical part of the conversation to a close, had been, 
all through the early part at least of the Ten Years' Conflict, 
his standing illustration of the utter fallaciousness of the 
Non-intrusion principle. He had quoted it repeatedly to 
his brethren, as well as to outsiders, and had even ventured 
to direct the attention of Sir Simon Frissal to it. Sir 
Simon had signified his approval. " Yes, yes, your style 
was . very poor indeed," added the baronet ; and Mr. 
Sleekaboot felt as much gratified as the circumstances 

Now, it so happened in course of this very spring of 
1842, and not many weeks after the distribution, that 
Johnny G-ibb was jogging home on a market night on his 
trusty gray pony, and whom should he overtake but the 
Rev. Andrew Sleekaboot, jogging home too, from the Presby 
tery. Johnny's principle of action, as it concerned differences 
between himself and others, was always to dunt it oot as he 
went along. Consequently, when he and Mr. Sleekaboot 
met, Johnny hailed the minister as freely and frankly as if 
they had never cas'en oot in their lives. And Mr. Sleek 
aboot, who had a lingering suspicion that it might be other 
wise, felt once more somewhat warmed towards his 
parishioner, of whom he, under the mild impulse of the 
moment, almost thought there might be hope even yet. 
Johnny was keen on ecclesiastical matters, at any rate, and 
perhaps his disposition toward debate had not been lessened 
by his share in a friendly gill with a neighbour at the stabler's 
before he took out his shalt. His questions about what the 
Presbytery had been doing did not elicit much information, 
but Mr. Sleekaboot could not help being dragged into a 


discussion on the general Church question, when it became 
more and more evident to him that Johnny Gibb was a 
very distinct and confirmed specimen of the Non-intrusionist. 
So he determined for once to floor Johnny. They had just 
got to the point where their roads separated, and they and 
their shalts paused in the gloamin light. 

" I tell you it 's the greatest delusion in the world. A 
veto law against a presentee involves the greatest fallacy as 
well as the greatest injustice ;" and then Mr. Sleekaboot 
began the irrefutable illustration, " When I was settled at 
Pyketillim I don't believe that I would have got almost any 
of the parishioners to have signed the call " 

But here Johnny broke in abruptly 

" An' ye kent it weel, sir ; feint a vera mony wud ye get 

Mr. Sleekaboot was grievously taken aback. In place 
of finishing the statement of his favourite illustration, he said 
something about the "insolence of ignorant uneducated 
persons," whereat Johnny, who had at least equalled his 
pastor in the rapidity with which he managed to get up his 
temper, retorted in words perhaps more vehement than 

And so they parted ; Mr. Sleekaboot riding off toward 
the Manse, while Johnny turned the head of the gray shalt 
in the direction of Gushetneuk. 



Six months after the date of his removal from Gushetneuk, 
Tarn Meerison had once more to decide on the question of 
renewing his engagement with his master, or seeking a new 
one. His experiences at Clinkstyle had not been altogether 
of the most pleasant sort, whether as regards his master or 
mistress or his fellow-servants, and the natural conclusion 
would have been that Tarn certainly would not stay longer 
there. But conclusions in such cases are sometimes affected 
by circumstances which it is not so easy to guess at. A 
day or two before the feeing market day it had leaked out 
that Tarn was bidin, and the fact considerably intensified 
the feeling of contempt which his fellow-servants had been 
in the habit of occasionally exhibiting towards him. They 
had hoped to leave Clinkstyle with a clean toon again, and 
they were angry at being disappointed. While Peter Birse 
manifested his satisfaction by talking more than usual to 
Tarn, or stalking along for a bit with him at the plough, 
the lads lost no opportunity of throwing out a taunt at his 
craven resolution ; or reminding him of those bygone inter 
ludes when Mrs. Birse had chosen to express her private 
opinion of him and his. Doubtless these taunts were not 
pleasant ; but I don't know that they weighed most on 
Tarn's mind at that particular juncture. In point of fact, 
the state of Tarn's affections, combined with the adverse 
influences that seemed to be arraying themselves against 


him, kept him in a condition of no little anxiety. Tarn 
now bitterly regretted that pig-headed sense of self-import 
ance on his part, which had made him, without the shadow 
of a valid reason, decline Johnny Gibb's first overture to re 
engage him at the previous term ; and thus had earned for 
him a bad situation in place of a good one precisely the 
course that I have seen many more of Tarn's class follow, to 
reach exactly the same end. But this was not all. Tarn 
was seriously in love with Jinse Deans. Whether Jinse 
had hitherto reciprocated his passion in any true sense, I 
would be loth to venture an opinion. It was certain she 
received Tarn as a suitor ; but it was equally certain that 
Tarn was not the only person so favoured. Tarn knew this. 
Nay more, while he had over and over again met with what 
he reckoned " slichts " at the hands of his enchantress, he 
had an agonising suspicion that Johnny Gibb's new man, 
his own successor, and whom Johnny had described as a 
" stoot gudge an' a gatefarrin," was also stickin' up to Jinse. 
Ah ! poor Tarn, thou wert truly out of the frying-pan into 
the fire ! Tarn had writhed under and sought to resent 
the slight scorchings he had to endure from the youth Willy 
M'Aul on the subject of his courtship ; next he had assumed 
the high horse with Johnny Gibb, and then left Gushetneuk 
a half-repentant man, allowing his successor to come in and 
court his sweetheart at leisure. Whereas, had he remained 
there still, he would have had opportunities for baulking 
competitors which none other could have had. It was like 
abandoning a strongly defensive position in face of the 

So thought Tarn Meerison, and his meditations were not 
sweet. When the next term approached, Tarn accordingly 
contrived to get early information about Johnny Gibb's 
arrangements. Unhappily for him, his successor at Gushet 
neuk was bidin. " Jist like 'im ; inhaudin scoonrel," 
thought Tarn. However that might be, Tarn had got a little 
bocht wit on the subject ; and he felt that, if he stood at a 
certain disadvantage with Johnny Gibb's stoot gudge, inas 
much as the gudge, being at Gushetneuk, had so much 


readier access to Jinse than he had, being at Clinkstyle ; 
then if he left Clinkstyle, and ran the risk of having to 
transport himself several miles farther off, his position and 
prospects would be yet further damaged in proportion to 
the increased distance. 

Therefore it was that Tarn Meerison made up his mind 
to bear the ills he had, and to remain at Clinkstyle. 

Another six months had passed and left his courtship 
much in the same state ; but by that time Tarn had put his 
foot in it, by talking disrespectfully of Master Benjamin 
Birse. It was in the kitchen, and, though Tarn was not 
aware of it, Miss Birse was behind the inner door, where 
we have heard of her being before. What Tarn had said 
was to the effect that " Benjie was an orpiet, peeakin, little 
sinner;" and that "he was fitter to be a dog-dirder, or a 
flunkey, nor to gae to the college ;" sentiments which 
although they seemed to meet with a rather hearty response 
from the audience immediately before him when retailed 
to Benjie's mother, were productive of a storm, that there 
after burst with no little fury about Tarn's ears. Tarn's 
mood, I fear, had been desperate at any rate, and he now 
retorted on Mrs. Birse by somewhat bluntly telling her she 
" mith be prood to see 'er loon wi' a pair o' yallow breeks 
an' a strippet waistcoat on ; it wud be ten-faul better nor 
bein a muckle goodman, wi' a wife that wudna lat 'im ca' 's 
niz his ain." Mrs. Birse took this as personal. And when 
the term came, Tarn left Clinkstyle, half reckless, as it 
seemed, of his fate ; for surely Jinse's heart was too hard to 
win, and what else need he care for ! 

Tarn Meerison had gone off to a distance of over a dozen 
miles, and for the next twelve months the region of Pyke- 
tillim saw nothing, and I really believe heard very little of, 
and still less from, him. For Tarn was not a man of the pen. 
He had, indeed, learnt to write a sort of decent small text 
at school, but the accomplishment was of wondrous little 
use to him. He never wrote letters, except on very press 
ing emergencies, and not more than three or four of these 
had occurred since he became a man. It was not the mere 


writing that dismayed him ; it was the composition foo to 
begin and the backin'. These were the grand obstacles ; 
and Tain's chief exercise in penmanship had been the occa 
sional copying of some approved receipt for the composition 
of blacking for horse harness, in the way of friendly inter 
change with a cronie. 

At the Martinmas of 1841, Johnny Gibb changed his 
principal man-servant. The gudge, whose ambition it was 
to rise, was leaving on a friendly understanding, with a view 
to go to school for a quarter with Sandy Peterkin, to rub 
the rust off his literary and arithmetical acquirements, and 
then learn the business of a mole-catcher when spring came, 
and Johnny promoted Willy M'Aul, now grown a stout lad 
of over nineteen, to his place. The gudge had been at the 
feeing market, from which he came home at a pretty late 
hour, and in high spirits, with sweeties in his pockets, not 
merely for Jinse, but for Mrs. Gibb as well, when fit oppor 
tunity should occur for presenting them. 

"An' fat's the news o' the market, min ?" asked Jinse of 
the gudge, who had seated himself at the top of the deece 
to eat his supper. 

" Little o' 't ; slack feein' ; an' plenty o' drunk fowk." 

" The waages doon ? 

" Doon ! Ay are they. Gweed men feein' at seyven- 
pun-ten ; an* women for oot-wark hardly winnin abeen a 
poun' note. An' dizzens never got an offer." 

" It's braw wardles wi' them 't disna need to fee," 
said Jinse, with a sly reference to the gudge's hopeful 

" Weel, Jinse, fat encouragement is there to the like o' 
me to bide on an' loss my time at fairm wark ? Ye may 
be the best han' 't ever gaed atween the pleuch stilts, 
but ye can never get an ondependent or sattlet wye o' 

" Div ye mean a place o' yer nain ? " 

" Weel, gin a body cud hae the chance o' gettin' a bit 
craftie. But I'll appel to yersel', Jinse Fat comes o' 
maist ilka fairm servan' 't gets a wife ?" (and the gudge 


looked sweetly on Jinse) "they're forc't to tak' to the 
dargin, an gae awa' an' bide aboot the Broch, or some gate 

" But hinna ye nae mair news ? " said Jinse, desirous of 
turning the conversation. 

" In fack, there 's nae chance but slave on to the en' o 
the chapter; oonless ye win in to some ither wye o' deein 
in time," continued the gudge, whose own scheme naturally 
occupied a favourable place in his thoughts at the time. 

" Hoot, min, gi'e 's the news o' the market," said Jinse. 

" Weel, fat news wud ye like ?" 

"Fa's bidin or flittin' ?" 

" Weel, I didna hear particular. Ye see I was oot o' the 
throng a gey file arreengin some things o' my nain." 

" Gweeshtens, ye Ve seerly been sair ta'en up. Didna 
ye traffike neen wi' common fowk the day ?" 

" Ou weel, ye see, fan a body has some buzness o' their 
nain to atten' till they 're nae sae sair ta'en up wi' fat 's 
gaen on in general." 

" Sawna ye nae bargains made ava ?" 

" Weel, the only bargain 't aw cud say 't aw saw was 
Mains o' Yawal feein' a third horseman. I was in 'o 
Kirkie's tent gettin' a share o' a gill wi' a cheelie 't I was 
ance aboot the toon wi', fan Mains cam' in, skirpit wi' 
dubs to the vera neck o' 's kwite. I didna ken the chap, 
naething aboot 'im, but fan they war jist aboot bargain't 
Mains leuks owre an' refars to me. ' That 's an auT servan' 
o' mine,' says he to the chap, 'an' ye can speir at him 
aboot the place.' They hed threepit on a lang time ; but 
an coorse wus comin' nearer 't afore Mains socht the drink, 
an' at length he bargain't wi' 'im for a croon oot o' seyven 
poun' to ca' 's third pair ; an' that was the only bargain 't I 

" Did ye see ony o' oor fowk or hear onything about 

" I didna see neen o' yer breeders." 

" I wud like richt to ken gin they be flittin' or no. 
Neen o' Clinkstyle's fowk bidin', aw reckon ?" asked Jinse. 


" That 's weel min'et," exclaimed the gudge, with some 
vivacity. " Bidin' ! na, nae lickly ; but fa div ye think 's 
comin' there again ?" 

" Comin' there again ? Fa cud tell that somebody 
hard up for a place, seerly ? " 

" Jist guess." 

" Ha ! fa cud guess that ? Like aneuch somebody 't I 
rain' naething aboot fowk 't 's cheengin the feck 't they 
hae at ilka term." 

" Weel," said the gudge, deliberately, " it 's jist Tarn 
Meerison !" 

The light of Johnny Gibb's old iron lamp, with its one 
rush wick, was not brilliant at best; and it had been getting 
worse in consequence of the protracted sederunt in which 
the gudge had indulged. Therefore, though I rather think 
Jinse did start slightly, and colour a little at the intimation 
just made by the gudge, I don't think the gudge observed 
it ; and, truth to say, the gudge himself was a very little 

" Gae 'wa' to yer bed, than, this minit," said Jinse ; " see, 
ye Ve keepit me sittin' wytein ye till the vera nethmost 
shall o' the lamp 's dry." 

And the gudge went to bed accordingly. 



THE occasion of a muckle scholar coining to the Smiddy- 
ward school was an event of some importance. And, 
therefore, when the embryo mole-catcher presented himself 
on a Monday morning to meet the scrutiny of the thirty 
odd urchins under Sandy Peterkin's charge, there was a 
good deal of commotion and whispering. He wore a pair 
of moleskin leggings, which extended up to the very thigh ' 
tops, and were there suspended by a little tag of the same 
cloth to the side button of his trousers. When he took off 
his bonnet his head was seen to be huddry ; that is, notice 
ably huddry for such a civilised place as the inside of a 
school. He had been to Andrew Langchafts' shop at the 
Kirktown, and had there furnished himself with a sclate 
and skallie, a pennyworth of lang sheet paper, unruled, and 
two quills for pens. These, with an old copy of " the 
Gray," were the furnishings for the ensuing scholastic cam 
paign that was to fit him for entering on the practical study 
of mole-catching. 

" Weel," said the new scholar, laying down his equip 
ments on the side of the maister's desk, " aw'm jist gyaun 
to be the raith ; an' aw wud like to win as far throu' 's aw 

" Coontin', ye mean ?" 

" Oh ay ; in fack a body canna weel hae owre muckle o' 
it at ony rate." 


"Fat progress liae ye made in arithmetic ?" asked Sandy 

Tlie gudge scratched his head for a little ; and then, 
wetting his thumb, proceeded to turn over the dog-eared 
leaves of his Gray. " Fack, I dinna jist min' richt. It 's 
half-a-dizzen o' year sin' I was at the skweeL That was 
wi' Maister Tawse ; an' I daursay your wye winna be the 
same 's his wi' the coontin, mair nor ither things ; so it 
winna maitter muckle." 

" Ye Ve been through the simple rules at ony rate," 
suggested Sandy. 

" Hoot ay ; aw 'm seer aw was that. Nyod, I think it 
was hereaboot," and the aspirant mole-catcher pointed to the 
place on the book. 

" Compound Division?" said the maister, looking at the 

" Ay," said the scholar, with a sort of chuckle ; " but 
aw'm nae sayin' 't aw cud work it noo aw wud better 
begin nearer the beginnin'." 

" Weel maybe Eeduction." 

" That wud dee fine. It 's an ill-to-work rowle, an' I 
never oon'ersteed it richt wi' Maister Tawse. Aw won'er 
gin aw cud win as far through 's wud mak' oot to mizzour 
aff an awcre or twa o' grun, or cast up the wecht o' a hay soo ?" 

" That '11 depen' on your ain diligence," said Sandy 
Peterkin, with a smile. 

" Weel, I ance was neepours wi' a chap 't cud 'a deen that 
as exact 's ye like ; an' he not nae leems till 't, nedderin, 
but jist a mason's tape line 't he lied i' the locker o' 's kist." 

" It 's quite possible to dee that wi' a marked line," 
answered the dominie. 

" It 's richt eesefu' the like o' that," said the gudge ; 
" an' fan a body 's gyaun aboot like, they wud aye be gettin' 
't adee noo an' than, and cudna hardly foryet the wye. Noo, 
Maister Tawse wud never lat 's try naething o' that kin', 
'cep we hed first gane throu' a great heap o' muckle rowles ; 
an' that disna dee wi' the like o' hiz 't hisna lang time at a 


" An fat ither lessons wud you like to tak' ? " asked the 

" Ye ken best ; only it was for the coontin 't I cam' ; an' 
leernin' to raak oot accoonts maybe." 

"We hae a grammar class noo wud you try it?" 

" N"a, na ; aw winna fash wi' 't," said the gudge, with a 
decisive shake of the head. " It 's nae for common fowk 
ava that gremmar." 

" Maybe geography than. I Ve a gweed chart on the 
wa' here 't ye cud get a skance o' the principal countries 
upon vera shortly." 

"Weel, but is 't ony eese to the like o' me, that geo 
graphy ? I wunna lickly be gyaun to forrin pairts." 

If there was one branch more than another on which 
Sandy Peterkin set a high value, and on which, as a tra 
velled man, he loved to descant, it was geography. So he 
pressed its importance, and a dubious consent was given to 
trying an hour at it once a week, it being understood that 
the future mole-catcher would not be subject to the catechis 
lesson on Saturdays. Then, as he had a suspicion that his 
new pupil was not too well up in his general literature, 
Sandy suggested the propriety of his taking a reading 

" Na ; aw hardly think 't I '11 fash wi' that edder," was 
the reply. " I was never that deen ill at the readin', an' I 
was i' the muckle Bible class afore aw leeft the skweel." 

" But ye maybe hinna read muckle sinsyne ; an' ye wud 
get a lot o' usefu' information i' the Collection lesson." 

" But the like o' me 's nae needin' to read like the 
minaister," said the muckle scholar, with a laugh, " an' it 
wud gar 's loss a hantle o' time fae the coontin. An 'oor 
at that, an' syne the vreetin the day wud be deen in a 
han'-clap, afore a body cud get oot mair nor a question or 

However, Sandy succeeded in persuading him to take the 
Collection lesson. When the lesson came, he did not like to 
bid him stand up among a dozen urchins so much smaller 
than himself. The muckle scholar sat with his sturdy legs 


crowded in below the incommodious desk. He floundered 
through his turn at reading in a style at which his junior 
class-fellows did not always conceal their mirth. But he 
was too self-centred to be particularly thin-skinned, and 
Sandy Peterkin was indulgent, even to the extent of taking 
care that the graceless young rapscallions should spell every 
hard word in the muckle scholar's hearing, while Sandy 
spared him such trials : albeit he improved the time when 
the gudge's turn came by a short homily on the importance 
of attention to correct spelling. Then would our mature 
class-fellow seize his sclate, and gravely set on to the piece 
meal solution of " the Gray," from which occupation it was 
found that none of the ordinary devices would distract him. 
And at writing time, when the dominie sat in his desk, 
knife in hand, with a chevaux de /rise of quill feathers, held 
in idle or mischief-loving hands, surrounding his nose as he 
diligently mended, or new-made, pens for a score of writers, 
the muckle scholar spread himself to his task, and grimly 
performed his writing exercise. He would also at times 
stay after the school was dismissed, and get the benefit of 
Sandy Peterkin's private instructions for an hour or so. 

In short, there could be no doubt that the gudge would 
pass into the world again accomplished beyond many of his 
contemporaries ; and thereafter he could hardly fail of at 
taining something of distinction in his destined walk, and 
with that distinction the attendant emoluments. 

As Johnny Gibb's late servant moved about Smiddyward 
(he had got boarded and lodged, for the time, with Widow 
Will), he could not help reflecting on these things ; and it 
occurred to him that in his own person he presented a very 
eligible matrimonial bargain for any well-disposed young 
woman. And why should he not look over occasionally to 
Gushetneuk to keep up his friendly relations with Johnny 
and Mrs. Gibb, and let Jinse Deans know how expansive a 
place the world was to men of enterprise ? I rather think 
that Jinse still needed a little contrivance now and then to 
prevent undesirable rencontres between certain of her sweet 
hearts. And this was the real explanation which the gudge, 


who was a simple soul, and still loved to indulge in late 
sittings, ought to have got to account for the peremptoriness 
with which he had been once or twice ordered to his home. 
But Jinse condescended to no explanations on what seemed 
her capricious treatment of the lad. And, of course, Jinse 
could not help what might emerge beyond the range of her 

So it happened that, on a certain evening, when the gudge 
had got himself comfortably fixed up on the smiddy hearth, 
and was talking away full swing in a half-oracular sort of 
style to several other lads, his old rival, Tarn Meerison, came 
in with a long stack of plough irons on his shoulder to be 
sharpened. Tarn first threw off his burden with a heavy 
clank ; then, after saluting the smith, lifted it into the glow 
ing light of the fire at the edge of the hearth, and, with a 
hammer he had laid hold of, proceeded to knock the piled 
coulters and socks out of connection with each other. He 
next glanced across the hearth, and without addressing any 
body very directly, exclaimed " 'Wa' oot o' that ; ye Ve 
been birslin yer shins lang aneuch there." The gudge's 
lessons probably required his attention about that particular 
period of the evening. At any rate, he soon found that his 
time would not permit further loitering in the smiddy just 
then. Tarn took the vacated place on the hearth, and lighted 
his pipe with every appearance of satisfaction. He had just 
done so when the smith, who was not unaware apparently 
of the relations between the two, wickedly endeavoured to 
blow the flame of jealousy, by waggishly informing Tarn of 
the hopeful prospects of his rival. 

" Tak' moles ! " quoth Tarn, whose manner had evidently 
progressed of late in the direction of brusqueness. " I wud 
as seen ca' stinkin' fish wi' a horse worth auchteenpence." 

" Hoot, min, but he 's gyaun to get Jinse Deans for 's 
wife fanever his apprenticeship's throu'," said the smith. 

" Hah, hah, ha-a-a," roared Tarn, with a loud laugh. " It 's 
been to help 'im wi' that that he heeld in wi' Johnny Gibb 
sae lang." 

" I wudna won'er," said the smith. " But she 's a 


muckle thocht o' 'oman, Jinse. They speak o' lads comin' 
back to the place aifter they 've gane hyne awa', jist for her 
sake that 's a greater ferlie, seerly. Fat wud ye say to 
that ?" 

" Fat ! That they 're great geese. Na, na, smith, ' The 
back o' ane 's the face o' twa ;' that 's the style for me. 
Hah, hah, ha ! " 

"An' ye hinna been at Gushetneuk than, sin' ye cam 
back to the quarter ? " 

" Nane o' yer jaw, min. Min' yer wark there, an' gi'e 
that sock a grippie o' yird. Clinkies likes his stibbles weel 
riven up ; an* the set 't he hed hed wi' 'im afore the term 's 
been makin' bonny wark till 'im i' the backfaulds." 

" Ou, I thocht young Peter an' him atween them wud 'a 
manag't to keep them richt nae to speak o' yer aul freen 
the mistress." 

" I wuss ye hed jist seen the place, than. Nae the vera 
pattle shafts but was broken, an' the harness gray an' green 
for wunt o' cleanin'. I b'lieve the wife was at them aboot 
that, an' got jist a richt nizzin for ance i' the wye o' ill 

" Ye wudna dee the like o' that, Tarn ? " 

" Sang, she '11 better nae try 't, though. But a body 's 
mad to see the wye 't they hed been guidin' the beasts. 
Yon 's a snippit horsie 't was i' the secont pair yon young 
beastie jist clean spoil't. He was some skittish at ony 
rate, an' the chap hed laid upon 'im an' twistet 'im wi' the 
ryne till he 's a' spoil't i' the mou' completely ; an' I 'm seer 
he hed latt'n 'im oot amon' 's han's i' the theets, for ye 
cudna lippen till 'im as lang 's ye wud turn yer fit. Clinkies 
gar't me tak' 'im an' pit 'im on to the muckle broon horse, 
to try and steady 'im. But I can tell ye it 's nae gryte job 
haein' to dee wi' ither fowk's botch't wark." 

" 'Deed no, Tarn ; but I Ve nae doot ye '11 dee yer best 
wi' 't. I' the meanwhile ye mith gi'e me a chap to tak' 
doon the point o' the coulter a bit." 

Tarn put his pipe in his waistcoat pocket, and started to 
the foreharnmer with the greatest promptitude. 



ON a certain afternoon, about a week before the Whitsunday 
term of 1842, Johnny Gibb, who had been busy afield, 
came toddling home when the afternoon was wearing on, 
and went into the mid house, to look out sundry blue-checked 
cotton bags with turnip seed, for he meditated sowing of that 
valued root. He was hot and tired, and his spouse invited 
him to rest for a little on the deece. Would he take a drink 
of ale ? 

" Ay will aw, 'oman," said Johnny, " an' ye hae 't at han'. 
Lat 's see the caup there." 

Mrs. Gibb obeyed the command, and Johnny drank of 
the reaming liquor with evident satisfaction. 

" Eest ye a minit, than, an' drink oot the drap ; for 
ye 've never devall't the haill day," said Mrs. Gibb ; and 
saying so, she lean't her doon, with some intention appa 
rently of entering on a confab with her husband. 

"Are ye thinkin' o' gyaun doon to the market on 
Wednesday ? " asked she, with that kind of air which seems 
directly to provoke an interrogatory answer ; and Johnny 
at once exclaimed 

" No ; foo are ye speerin that ? Ye ken 't baith the boys 
is bidin : I've nae erran'." 

" Ye never think o' speerin aboot Jinse," replied Mrs. 
Gibb, still in the key that suggested the necessity for an 
explanatory note. 


" Jinse Deans ! " exclaimed Johnny. " Fat 's the eese o' 
speerin at her ? An* she binna pleas't wi' 'er waages she 
wud seerly 'a tell't ye lang ere noo." 

"I doot it's nae the waages a'thegither, peer 'oman. 
But Jinse's needin' awa'." 

Mrs. Gibb had evidently made up her mind now to give 
some further explanation about this new movement, when, 
as Fate would have it, the colloquy was broken in upon by 
Jinse (who had been unaware of her master's presence there) 
herself at the moment stumbling into the kitchen, from 
which she had been temporarily absent. 

" Fat haiver 's this 't yeVe ta'en i' yer heid noo ?" demanded 
Johnny, addressing Jinse. " Are ye gyaun clean gyte to 
speak o* leavin yer place ; and it only an ouk fae the term 
tee ? Faur wud ye gae till ? " 

" Hame to my mither's," answered Jinse, exhibiting 
somewhat of discomposure at Johnny's vehemence. 

Jinse's mother lived not far off Benachie, in a very 
unpretentious residence. 

" An' fat on the face o' the creation wud ye dee gyaun 
hame ? Yer mither's but a peer 'oman ; she has little need 
o' you wi' 'er," said Johnny. 

Jinse, who was making, on the whole, an uneasy defence, 
averred that her mother " wasna vera stoot." 

" But is she wuntin you hame ? " was Johnny's demand. 
" TeU me that." 

Here Jinse gave symptoms of breaking into tears, and 
Mrs. Gibb interposed with a " Hoot, man ! ye 're aye sae 
ramsh wi' fowk." 

" Weel, weel," quoth Johnny, as he seized his bonnet 
and marched toward the door ; " ye 're a' alike. Fa wud ken 
fat ye wud be at ! " 

I don't know that Johnny Gibb meant to include his 
wife. The reference was rather to the class to which Jinse 
belonged, though, no doubt, he went away with the con 
viction that women -kind in general are absurdly impracti 
cable in their ways. But be that as it it may, Johnny 
found that he had to provide a new servant lass. 


In private audience Jinse Deans had revealed to Mrs. 
Gibb, with many sighs and tears, that Tarn Meerison had 
" promis't to mairry her." What more I don't know ; but 
the worthy goodwife, after scolding Jinse as severely as it 
was in her nature to do, told her to " wash her face, an' nae 
mair o' that snifterin. An' gae awa' and get ready the 
sowens. I 'se say naething mair aboot it till the term day 's 
by. Nae doot ye 11 be i' yer tribbles seen aneuch wuntin 

Poor Jinse ; the prospect of marriage did not seem a 
cheerful one for her, notwithstanding the number of candi 
dates there had been for her hand. Of her reputed sweet 
hearts, Tam Meerison was the one for whom she had at any 
rate affected to care the least ; and since the time Tam had 
begun seriously to court her, his jealousy had been again and 
again roused by the undisguised . preference given to others, 
his rivals. And yet Tam Meerison was to have her to wife. 
It would be wrong to say that Tam had not a certain feeling 
of satisfaction in the thought of this; for, notwithstanding his 
adoption latterly of a more seeming -reckless style, Tam had 
been from an early date severely smitten by Jinse's charms. 
Indeed his . satisfaction was presumably considerable, else he 
had probably not formed the laudable resolution to marry. 
But then there were counterbalancing considerations. The 
idea of marriage as an actual event had been forced upon 
him with a kind of staggering suddenness, which caused the 
approach of the reality itself to awaken a rather uncomfort 
able feeling of responsibility. Tam began to see that it would 
be troublesome to go about, and he had but a dim notion 
of the indispensable technicalities. Then there was the 
question of a house and home for his wife ; and here Tarn's 
case no doubt merited commiseration. There was no house 
whatever available within a circuit of several miles ; for the 
lairds in the locality, in the plenitude of their wisdom, and 
foreseeing the incidence of a poor law, had, as a rule, deter 
mined that there should be no possibility of paupers seeing 
the light on their properties. They would rather pull down 
every cottage on their estates. What could poor Tam do ? 


Jinsc said she would go to her mother's. Where Jinse's 
mother lived was three miles off; and with her mother 
Jinse could only get what share she might of a hovel that 
very barely afforded room for two beds in its dark and 
diminutive but and ben. And there, also, an unmarried 
sister and two brothers, all in farm service, claimed to have 
the only home they possessed. It was not greatly to be 
wondered at if Tarn felt perplexed, and began to consider 
marrying really a stiff business. It was under this feeling 
of perplexity that he succumbed once again to Clinkstyle's 
offer of a renewed engagement, and in order to get one foot 
at least planted down without more trouble, agreed to bide 
with Peter Birse for another six months. 

Tarn had ventured across to Gushetneuk at a suitable 
hour on the night of which we have been speaking, to talk 
over with his affianced what most nearly concerned him and 

The two sat on the deece again ; and this time nobody 
disturbed them. Jinse was sobbing. Tarn put his arm 
about her ; and there was genuine feeling in the poor chap's 
words, I have not the least doubt, as he said in his tenderest 
tones, " Dinna noo, Jinse Ye 'se never wunt a peck o' meal 
nor a pun* o' butter as lang 's I 'm able to work for V 

By and by Jinse's emotion moderated, and they got into 
a more business strain ; and then Tarn asked 

" Does Gushets ken yet ? " 

" Eh, aw dinna ken richt ; aw never got sic a gast 's aw 
got the nicht i' the aifterneen, fan aw haumer't into the 
kitchie upo' the mistress an' him speakin' something or 
anither aboot me gyaun awa'." 

" But an' coorse she kent aboot it afore ? " 

" She jist kent the streen 't I wudna be here aifter the 
term ; I gyauna 'er muckle audiscence fan she speer't foo 
I was leavin'. But an' ye hed heard the maister fan he 
brak oot I cudna 'a haud'n up my heid, Tarn, nor been 
ongrutt'n, deen fat I hed liket ! " 

" An' did ye tell him onything mair, than ? " 

" Geyan lickly ! Fa wud 'a deen that, noo ? But I 



tell't her aifter he was awa' it was rael sair, Tarn," and 
Jinse threatened greetin again. 

" Did she say ony ill upo' me ? " asked Tarn. 

" No ; but though the maister was in a terrible ill teen, 
jist aboot 's gyaun awa' an' that, I was waur, gin waur cud 
win, fan she scault's an' gya's sae muckle gweed advice, 

" Ou weel, Jinse, we 're nae waur nor ither fowk, nor 
yet sae ill's plenty." 

With this comforting reflection the conversation turned, 
and Jinse asked 

" But fat are ye gyaun tae dee a' simmer ? " 

" I 'm bidin' again." 

" Bidin' at Clinkstyle ? " 


" But it's a coorse place to bide in, isnin 't ? " 

" Weel," answered Tarn, slowly, and not quite willing, 
in the circumstances, to make that admission, "the wife's 
some roch an' near b'gyaun, but there 's little tribble wi' the 
maister 'imsel." 

"Didna ye hear o' nae ither place at the market ?" 

" But I wasna there. I bargain't the day afore, and 
didna seek to gyang. Ye see I tauT the maister 't I wud 
tak' a day for 't fan the neeps is laid doon." 

Tarn evidently considered this a stroke of management, 
and Jinse, brightening up a little, asked 

" An' fan wud it need to be ?" 

" Jist as seen 's things can be sattl't. We maun be cried 
on twa Sundays, at ony rate." 

" Twa Sundays ?" 

" Ay, there 's nane but puckles o' the gentry gets 't deen 
in ae Sunday, aw b'lieve." 

" Weel, ye maun come up to my mither's on Saturday's 

"Ou ay, an' we can speak aboot it better than. Your 
mither '11 ken a' aboot the wye o' % I 'se warran'. But I 
doot she '11 be pitt'n aboot wi' 's bidin' there. I wuss we 
cud 'a gotten a hoose ony wye." 


" Weel, we maun jist pit up wi' things like ither fowk, I 

" But it'll mak' sic a steer in her hoose, ye ken." 
" Oh, we '11 manage fine for that maitter. There 's her 
but bed, it 's nae vera sair in order eenoo ; but I 've twa 
fedder pillows o' my nain, an' a patch't coverin', forbye a pair 
o' blankets 't the mistress helpit 's to spin, an' gya 's the feck 
o' the W. There '11 be plenty o' room for my kist i' the 
but, an' ye maun hae yer ain kist aside ye, ye ken." 

" But yer mither winna hae gweed sparin' 'er room con 
stant ; it 's nae 's gin 't war only a fyou ouks. She winna 
get nae eese o' 't hersel'." 

" Ou, but ye ken there 's nane o' oor fowk comes name 
eenoo, 'cep Eob, an' Nelly at an antrin time ; Jamie's owre 
far awa'. An' ony nicht 't Eob 's there, gin ye chanc't to 
be the same nicht, you twa cud sleep thegither, seerly ; an* 
I cud sleep wi' my mither, an' Nelly tee, for that maitter." 
"Too af'en does Eob come ?" 
" Aboot ance i' the fortnicht or three ouks." 
" I think I'll win near as af'en 's that mysel'," said Tarn, 
upon whose mind the general effect of this conversation had 
been rather exhilarating than otherwise. His sweetheart 
had not merely contrivance; she had also foresight and 
thrift, evidently, as the general inventory given of her pro- 
vidin' testified. Still he hankered after a house that he 
could call his own. It was not that Tarn's ambition on this 
point was extravagant. If he could get one end of a but an' 
a ben cottage, about such a place as Smiddyward, with a 
cannas-breid of a garden, and the chance of going to see his 
wife once a week, he would have been well content. 

But this Tarn found to be impracticable. He made full 
inquiry ; and even invoked the aid of his acquaintance the 
smith, whose banter was turned into hearty sympathy with 
the statement of the case now laid before him. The smith 
tackled Dawvid Hadden, the ground-officer, and urged the 
reparation of part of the old erections of which Sandy 
Peterkin's school formed the main wing, as a dwelling for 
Tarn. As the manner of sycophants dressed in a little 


delegated authority is, Dawvid's answer was a kind of echo 
of what he imagined Sir Simon would have said, " Na, na, 
smith, it 's a very fallawshus prenciple in fat they ca' 
poleetical ecomony to encourage the doonsittin' o' the like 
o' them in a place. Ou, it 's nae the expense. Na, na ; the 
biggin o' a score o' hooses wud be a mere triffle, gin Sir 
Simon thocht it richt in prenciple a mere triffle. But there 
they sit doon, an' fesh up faimilies till they wud thraten to 
full a destrick wf peer fowk the Brod cud never keep the 
tae half o' them. No ; I 'm weel seer they 11 get nae hoose 
i' the pairis' o' Pyketillim." 

It was not a kindly speech that of Dawvid Hadden; 
albeit it expressed, firstly, the newest view of political 
economy in the locality, which was just then beginning to 
be practically carried out; and, secondly, an accurate state 
ment of Tarn Meerison's chances of getting a house within 
the parish. In this particular, Tarn had his strong wish and 
reasonable desire completely defeated. It may be difficult 
for the man who lives in a comfortable home with his 
family about him to estimate with precision either the keen 
ness of feeling, or the deteriorating effects involved in such 
disappointment. I don't think it should be difficult for any 
man to make up his mind as to giving a hearty condemna 
tion to the too common land policy which has entailed the 
like cruel hardship upon hundreds of honest hard-working 
men in the class to which Tarn belonged. 

But my business is not to moralise, I daresay ; and I 
have only to add to this chapter that, as better could not be, 
Tarn Meerison and Jinse Deans had no help for it but get 
married, and commence their career of wedded bliss under 
the slenderly-equipped conditions already indicated. 



WHETHER the unceremonious home-thrust administered to 
the Kev. Andrew Sleekaboot by Johnny Gibb had anything 
to do with the matter or not, I am not prepared to say, but 
so it was, that very speedily after that occurrence, the 
patron of the parish and lord of the manor " had his atten 
tion directed" to the current state of opinion, and recent 
ongoings at Smiddyward School. Sir Simon was one of 
those lofty individuals whose attention requires to be directed 
to this or that ; or they might for long overlook many 
commonplace events transacting themselves before their 
view ; and in the present case, it was surmised, rightly or 
wrongly, that the Kev. Mr. Sleekaboot, in his own quiet way, 
had, on second thoughts, taken means to stir up the dignified 
baronet. Anyhow, Sir Simon was stirred up ; and he made 
it known, through his ground-officer, Dawvid Hadden, that 
the " conventicle " held in Sandy Peterkin's school must 
forthwith cease and determine. 

It would not have been in accordance with Sandy 
Peterkin's antecedents had he exhibited as much worldly 
prudence and policy as to jouk an' lat the jaw of Sir Simon's 
wrath gae owre. So, although the Rev. Alister Macrory 
was just about finishing a second spell of preaching in the 
school, and there was no immediate prospect of the place 
being further occupied in the same way, Sandy chose to 
return an abrupt and rebellious answer to Sir Simon's order 


to have the conventicle stopped. Sandy, without consulting 
any one, replied that he was a citizen of a free country, and 
would give the use of the school to anybody he pleased. 

" Yea, Saun'ers, man," answered Dawvid Hadden. 
"Ye '11 better ca' canny; aw wuss that bit mou'fu' dinna 
craw i' yer crap or a' be deen." 

" We '11 tak' oor risk o' that, Mr. Hadden ; for even Sir 
Simon hasna the poo'er o' pot an' gallows noo." 

" Maybe no ; but it '11 be cheeng't wardles an he binna 
able to haud 's nain wi' them 't 's obleeg't till 's leenity for 
ha'ein a reef o' ony kin' abeen their heids. I 'se jist warn ye 
ance mair to be cowshus ; or ye '11 hear mair aboot it." 

Along with an abundance of toadyism towards those he 
reckoned above him, Dawvid Hadden exhibited not a little 
of the spirit of the petty tyrant on the side seen by the 
people who, he imagined, came fairly within the compass ot 
his particular authority, and it is not to be supposed that 
the version given to Sir Simon of Sandy Peterkin's behaviour 
toward Dawvid as Sir Simon's representative, suffered that 
behaviour to lose anything of its offensiveness. At any 
rate, Dawvid very speedily began to let mysterious hints 
drop about the general connection between attendance at the 
Smiddyward services and brevity of tenure on the lands of 
Sir Simon Frissal, and he did not scruple to let it be under 
stood that Sandy Peterkin had put himself entirely at his, 
Dawvid's, mercy. 

I don't know that either the souter or the smith, if they 
had been consulted, would have advised Sandy Peterkin to 
do the rash thing he did in contemning Dawvid Hadden ; 
nevertheless, they were both roused at the idea that " the 
creatur" should insult a man who was so much his superior, 
as they agreed in considering the dominie of the Ward to 
be. Probably, however, their indignation would have sub 
sided without any particular result, had it not been that just 
about the time when it was hottest, Johnny Gibb, who had 
been advised of Dawvid's general ongoings, but not of this 
particular act, came across to the smiddy on some lawful 
errand. The smith was going on at the hearth, for Hairry 


Muggart, the wright, had come across from the Toon-en, 
carrying on his shoulder a plough beam, which he wanted 
the smith to strap. Hairry was a ponderously built man, 
with feet much bigger than they were shapely, and a bluish 
tint in the red with which his face was amply splashed. 
He was deliberate in his movements, and delivered himself 
of what he had to say with a certain copious and opinion- 
ative egotism which was rather enjoyable to listen to when 
Hairry was going on full swing. The strappin of Hairry's 
beam had been completed, when a breathing space occurred, 
during which the conversation turned upon Dawvid Hadden 
and his proceedings. 

"Fat div ye say?" quoth Johnny Gibb. "Did the 
creatur raelly gae the length o' thraetenin' the maister ?" 

" Or, to dee 'im nae oonjustice, we sail suppose that he 
only deliver 't the laird's orders," said the smith. 

" Laird or nae laird, he ocht to keep a ceevil tongue in 'a 

" Weel, I winna say but Sandy spak back in a wye 't 
was lickly to gar the body cantle up. Ye ken we 've a' 
oor weyknesses, Gushets ! " 

" I maun see Sandy aboot this at ance. I'll tell ye fat it 
is, smith, things are comin' till a heid in this countra, 't fowk 
can-not pit up wi'. I 'se be at the boddom o' this, though 
I sud gae to the Place an' see Sir Seemon 'imsel' the morn." 

"Aw'm dootin' ye winna fin' 'inr- there, John," said 
Hairry Muggart, in an oracular way. 

"An' fat for no?" 

" He 's awa' to the Sooth yesterday. Dawvid cam' up 
to me afore sax o'clock i* the mornin'. She was jist up an' 
the bar aff o' the door, an' was o' the road oot wi' the aise- 
backet, an' her nicht mutch nae aff, fan he comes roon by 
the stack mou' like a man gyaun to redd fire. 'Is the 
vricht up?' says Dawvid. ''Serve me, fat are ye on sic a 
chase for at this oor i' the mornin'?' says my wife. I 
heard the clatter o' them, an' throws on my waistcoat an' 
staps my feet in'o my sheen, an' gin that time he was at 
the door. ' Ou, ye 've wun oot owre yer bed,' says he. 


'Fan did ever ye get me i' my bed at this time i' the 
mornin'?" says I, an' wud 'a ta'en a bit fun wi' 'im, ye see. 
But Dawvid rebats, an' says he, ' That 's nedder here nor 
there, Hairry, man ; ye '11 need to get your sma' borin' brace 
an' a fyou ither teels this moment an' ca' a bit framie the- 
gidder, 't 's wuntit to keep the loggage steady o' the cairt.' " 

" An' heard ye onything aboot Sandy Peterkin an' the 
skweel?" asked Johnny Gibb, who had listened not too 
patiently to Hairry. 

" I 'm comin' to that eenoo, Gushets. Ye see, they sud 
'a been at me the nicht afore. Hooever, the butler forgat 
a' aboot it, an' the cairt hed to be awa' at aucht o'clock i' 
the mornin.' But I b'lieve gin Dawvid didna soun' them 
aboot it for ance. Weel, as aw was sayin', the cairt was a' 
in order in fine time. An' Dawvid was i' the gran'est 
humour 't cud be. Oh, he wud hae nae na-say, but 1 wud 
gae up by the Wast Lodge, faur Meg Eaffan the henwife 
bides, an' tak' my brakfist wi' 'im. Aweel, this fares on, 
an' we hed oor dram thegidder, like ony twa lairds ; an* 
syne Dawvid got rael crackie aboot this an' that. An' it 
was than 't he taul me that the laird was gyaun awa' to the 
Sooth aboot some faimily affairs, an' 't he wudna lickly be 
hame for a puckle months at ony rate." 

"An' Dawvid was to reign in's stead, nae doot !" sug 
gested the smith. 

" Weel, he was gey lairge upo' that. ' Ye see it 's nae 
a licht responsibility at nae time,' says he, ' till conduck the 
buzness o' an estate like this. An' it 's aiven mair seriouser 
at a time like this ; for Sir Simon has naebody but mysel'. 
But I hae full poo'er to ack accordin' to my nain joodg- 
ment.' " 

"But he saidna naething aboot the skweel than ?" 

" He jist did that, John. Says he, ' They 've been haein' 
a gey on-cairry doon at the Ward, wi' that non-intrusion 
meetin's. An' that creatur Peterkin gya me the grytest o' 
ensolence the tither nicht. But jist bide still, till I get 'im 
richt i' my poo'er, gin I dinna gi'e 'im a grip that he hisna 
gotten the like o' 't for some time.' " 


" An' ye didna tell Dawvid 't ye lied been a regular 
hearer at the meetin's yersel' ? " said the smith, who was 
now going on at the light and easy job of sharpening the 
prongs of a graip for Johnny Gibb. 

" Ou na," replied Hairry, with a fozy laugh. " Fan he 
didna appear to ken, I keepit my thoom upo' that. But 
I'm maist seer that he has nae orders fae Sir Simon to 
meddle wi j Sandy Peterkin, fatever he may thraeten." 

"That wud only mak' maitters waur an' waur," said 
Johnny Gibb. " But at ony rate it 's high time to tak' 
some decidet step to lat oor opingans be kent, an' tak' 
mizzours for gettin' the commoonity instruckit aboot the 
richts an' preevileges. o' the Kirk o' Scotland, as weel 's fat 
belongs to the ceevil poo'er. That 's gaen on in a hantle o' 
places throu' the kwintra." 

" At public meetin's ? Weel, foo sudna we hae a public 
meetin' ?" asked Hairry. 

The smith and Johnny seemed a little taken aback at 
the novelty of the idea. At last the smith said 

" We 're nae vera public kin' o' characters, Hairry, an* 
mith mak' but a peer job o' 't Wud ye tak' the cheer 
yersel' ?" 

" Eh weel, failin' a better, aw dinna differ." 

" Cudnin we get Sandy an' the souter in aboot, an' try 
an' sattle upo' something, as lang 's we 're thegither ?" asked 
Johnny Gibb. 

" Naething easier nor that, at ony rate," answered the 
smith, who speedily had a juvenile messenger despatched 
for the worthies named. 

And so they resolved to have a public meeting. It was 
the opinion of Koderick M'Aul, the souter, that they should 
follow up the Kev. Alister Macrory's evangelical services by 
inviting some prominent members of the non- intrusion 
section of the clergy to address them on the principles in 
volved in the great controversy now going on within the 
Church of Scotland. But while there was a general agree 
ment that this ought to be kept in view as an ultimate 
object, Johnny Gibb expressed a strong opinion in favour of 


some more immediate demonstration on their own account, 
as a sort of embodiment of their protest against tyranny and 
oppression, in whatever shape, or from whatever quarter. 
Hairry, as in consistency bound, supported his own idea of 
a public meeting. Of course, the only place where it had 
entered anybody's head that it could be held, was in Sandy 
Peterkin's school. The souter and the smith, in view of 
what had occurred, indirectly suggested a little caution on 
that point. This the other two deemed quite out of place 
in the circumstances (Johnny, in his heat, even defined 
Dawvid Hadden as a " pushion't ted,") the only point was, 
would Sandy Peterkin be willing to give them the use of 
the school ? 

" Weel-a-wat ye winna hae 't twice to seek," said Sandy, 
cheerfully. " I 'm only sorry that my dask 'a nae a bit wider 
an' heicher. It does fine wi' me ; but for a public speaker 
it 's unco crampit ; an' Mr. Macrory compleen't wiT ill upon 
't. Only there 's great principles at stake, an' nae doot the 
man that feels their importance '11 mak' nae words to speak 
in a gey hameo'er place. I '11 be richt prood to think that 
I can accommodat' a meetin' for sic a gweed purpose." 

So there only remained the duty of " adverteesin " the 
meeting, as Hairry phrased it, which was to be done by 
every man personally inviting those within his own circle, 
to attend at the proper time, when the day and hour had 
been finally agreed upon. 



IT would not be correct to say that the promoters of the 
Smiddyward meeting omitted preliminary consultation as to 
the order of business that should be observed when they 
had got the public assembled in the school ; they deliberated 
and debated much thereanent, only their ideas on the sub 
ject were not very definite. 

"We maun get the prenciples for which the Kirk o' 
Scotlan' 's conten'in' expoon'it in a wye 't they can oon'er- 
stan," said Johnny Gibb. " It 's a sair pity that Maister 
Macrory 's awa' ; but ye Ve heard a hantle o' 's discoorse, an 
ye Ve a gweed memory, souter, mithna ye try an' rin owre 
theheids o"t ?" 

" I wud be richt willin', Gushets, to dee onything within 
my poo'er ; but ye ken I 'm nae gremmarian, an' cudna 
conneck it nae gate nor ither 't the fowk cud follow me," 
said the souter. 

" Get Sandy Peterkin 'imsel' to pit a bit narrative 
thegither," interposed the smith. " He 's weel acquant wi' 
the subjec' an' aiven though he war to jot doon bits an' 

" I 'm nae in wi' that ava," answered Hairry Muggart. 
" Fat expairience cud he hae ? never oot owre 's skweel 
door to ken fat's been gyaun on. 'Seein"s believin',' as 
they say. Lat some ane 't 's been a wntness to the ootrages 
o' the ceevil poo'er, as Gushets says, tak' up the leems. 


Gushets, I Ve seen you at vawrious Presbytery meetin's ; 
forbye't ye was up at Culsalmon', tee, at the fawmous 
intrusion case. Ay, yon knowe-heid saw a sicht that day 
't I wunna foryet in a hurry. Fat for sudna ye gie 's a 

" 'Wa' wi' ye, Hairry ; fa' i' the wardle wud ever think 
o' me makin' a speech ? I mith hand in a back chap till 
anither ; but to attemp' a discoorse I wud be owre the 
theets ere we got weel streiket." 

" Bless me ; fat are we argle-barglin aboot, Eory ? " said 
the smith, who saw the drift of things at a glance. 

As the smith spoke, Hairry Muggart hirsled half round 

" There 's Hairry, 't 's to be oor cheerman. It fa's to 
him o' richt to apen the subject ; an' fa fitter to gae owre 
the haill heids an' partic'lars ?" 

" Weel no, I mith try a fyou remarks aboot fat I Ve 
seen ; but I wunna promise to gae owre the haill subject." 

" Never min', Gushets '11 tak' up fat ye leave oot," said 
the smith. 

The truth was, Hairry desired the opportunity of figuring 
as a public speaker, and had kept that enviable distinction 
clearly in view from the outset. 

So the meeting was called. Johnny Gibb and all his 
household were there, with the souter, the smith, Sandy 
Peterkin, and other residenters at Smiddyward, including 
Widow Will, her son Jock, now developing into a long, 
lanky loon, and her lodger, the mole-catcher, who had gone 
through his first campaign, and become a fully-qualified 
practitioner ; also, Andrew Langchafts, the merchan', and a 
few people from the Kirktown. Mrs. Birse was there, and 
Miss Birse, with Peter junior. Peter Birse senior was 
absent, and the fact was sufficiently remarkable to warrant 
a sentence in explanation thereof; so Mrs. Birse, with 
affable frankness, informed Johnny Gibb that he "hedna 
been vera stoot, an' was compleenin war nor eeswal the 

As was fit and proper, the meeting was opened with 
devotional exercises, the souter taking the chief part, and 



Johnny Gibb precenting with edifying birr. Then a 
slightly embarrassing silence ensued, which came to an end 
when the smith whispered something to Sandy Peterkin, 
and Sandy, with his wonted readiness to oblige, stood up, 
and said he had much pleasure in moving that their 
respected friend Mr. Muggart take the chair. 

Hairry, who was encumbered with his bonnet and a big 
stick, laid these articles aside, and, with some trouble, forced 
his way into the maister's dask. He did not seem to be 
very certain whether it was the right thing to sit or to 
stand, and ended by a sort of compromise in leaning over 
the desk. Without the usual prefatory acknowledgment of 
the honour conferred upon him " in asking him to preside," 
Hairry went into the heart of his subject at once " As ye 
a' ken we Ve met this evenin' to be instrucket aboot the 
veto law an' the non-intrusion pairty, as far as oor nain 
expairience, an' the proceeding o' the kirk coorts '11 cairry 
's; all which it behoves this countra to lay to hert." 
Hairry then proceeded to give what summary he could of 
the principles involved in the " Ten Years' Conflict," refer 
ring, more or less lucidly, to the cases of Auchterarder, 
Lethendy, and Marnoch. " An' noo," he continued, " the 
conflick 's comin' nearer oor ain door ; the Garioch 's seen 
the veto law trampl't oonder fut. My fader was an upper 
Garioch man, an' I 've heard him tell o' a minaister o' Cul- 
salmon' i' the aul' time 't gaed oot o' the Sunday aifterneens 
wi' a fup in 's han', an' fuppit the fowk up to the kirk ; fan 
they wud 'a be sittin' in bourachs aboot the lan'stells o' the 
brig. Hooever, things maybe hedna gane far i' the wye o' 
men's. An' fat kin' o' a state o' haethen ignorance cud 
they but be in wi' sic a man as Ferdie Ellis i' the poopit ? 
Ou weel, as I was sayin', the creesis cam', as ye a' ken', i' the 
en' o' the year ; fan the Presbytery made a fashion o' 
sattlin' this Maister Middleton, that lied been helpener afore 
to Ferdie. But I 'm occupyin' owre muckle o' your time, 
an' wud request John Gibb to fawvour the meetin' wi' his 
expairience o' that oonhallow't proceedin'." 

" Ye '11 dee 't better yersel', Hairry," said Johnny Gibb. 


" Ye was there as weel 's me, an' kent a hantle mair o' the 
held deesters. Say awa', an' I 'se gi'e ony sma' help 't I 
can i j the wye o' ekein' 't oot." 

" Weel," answered Hairry, deliberately wiping his 
spectacles and putting them on, and thereafter pulling a 
somewhat crumpled piece of paper from the tail pocket of 
his coat. Up to this time the chairman had endeavoured to 
keep up a sort of didactic style ; but he now, despite his 
notes, merged himself in what was more natural to him, 
and, I humbly think, more entertaining to his audience 
whether more instructive or not the direct narrative style. 
" Weel, ye see," continued Hairry, " there 's naething, as the 
Presbytery-clark said, ' like dockimentary preef ' fan ye come 
to particulars- I leern't that muckle fae the Presbytery 
meetin' on the twenty-aucht o' October last past. It was 
than that they met first i' the kirk o' Culsalmon', an' resolv't 
to gae on wi' the sattlement o' this bodie, Middleton; an' 
they carriet it, seyven to five. Hooever, I markit doon a 
fyou particulars aifterhin, to be siccar wi' 't aw'm nae 
gyaun to read them, but jist keep the heids afore me. 
Aweel, this fares on, an' fan the day cam' Gushetneuk an' 
mysel' hed hed the maitter throu' han' says John to me, 
' Mithna we tak' a stap owre to the kirk o' Culsalmon', man, 
an' see wi' oor ain een fat wye the bools '11 row ?' It was a 
slack sizzon, an' I hed promis't to gae up to Colpy to see 
some aul' acquantances at ony rate. Oot we sets. Awat 
it was a snell mornin' ; Benachie as fite 's a washen fleece, 
an' oorlich shoo'ers o' drift an' hail scoorin' across the 
kwintra. We wusna weel past the neuk o' the wuds o' 
Newton till we sees the fowk gedderin fae here an' there, 
some gyaun up the Huntly road afore 's, some comin' fae the 
Glens, an' some hyne doon as far's we cud see, comin' fae 
the Ba'dyfash wan. They war feckly o' their feet, though 
there wus twa-three ridin' an' siclike ; I kenna gin they war 
minaisters (by their wye o' sittin' their beasts some o' them 
leukit fell like it no) or gin they war lawvyers, or shirras, 
or fat. But I doot I 'm wan'erin' fae the pint immedantly 
oon'er consideration. Amnin aw, John ? " 


" Gae on, gae on, Hairry ; they '11 cry oot fan they tire 
o' ye," answered Johnny Gibb. 

" Allow me to speak for the general owdience," answered 
Andrew Langchafts, in a solemn key. " We 're vera deeply 
interestit in the whole subjeck, Maister Cheerman. Ye 
canna be owre minute in the details, lat me assure you. 
We 're arriv't at a creesis, as ye Ve weel observ't, in the 
Church's history ; an' the facts o' the case canna be too 
strongly imprentit on the min's o' the risin' generation 

Previous to the night of meeting, it had hardly been 
known on which side the sympathies of Mr. Langchafts, who 
was not a talkative man, lay ; and this explicit declaration 
raised him not a little in the estimation of Johnny Gibb, 
who exclaimed, " I 'm glaid to hear ye, merchan'. Gae on 
noo, Hairry." 

" Aweel, 's aw was sayin', we wus steppin' on as eident 's 
we cud. It was ill road, an' we hed a gweed stoot stick the 
piece ; but John was gey soople for me, an' the strap o' ane 
o* my queetikins brak, an' was like to trachel me waur. 
' Heely, Gushets, draw bridle a minit,' says I ; an' wi' that I 
lootit doon to fes'n my spat wi' a bit twine. That an' coorse 
tyeuk 's up a fyou minits ; an' fan we 're settin' to the road 
again there comes up a bit gey kibble, fersell mannie, wi' 
blue claes an' a braid bonnet, gyaun at an unco flaucht. 
' Weel, ye 're for the hill-heid !' says he. ' Ou, ay. There '11 
be twa-three there the day Is there to be ony din ? ' ' Gin 
there binna, nae thanks to them for 't,' says the mannie, 
meanin' the Presbytery like, an' wi' that he daccles a bit, an' 
keeps on wi' Gushets an' me. ' An' will they raelly gae on 
till a sattlement wi' this Middleton ? ' says Gushets. ' An* 
they dinna their han'iwark winna be confeerin wi' their 
teels,' quo' he. 'Ye mean the Presbytery?' The mannie 
gi'es a lauch, ' Ay, the Presbytery's ill aneuch their leens. 
But bide ye still till we win up to the kirk. Gin ye dinna 
see a turn oot o' the ceevil poo'er the day 't the Garioch hisna 
seen the like o' 't i' the memory o' leevin' man, or aiven fae 
the days o' Black Jock o' Pittodrie, it 's a ferlie to me. The 


Sliirra o' the coonty, Maister Murray, they tell me 's been 
there sin' yesterday, an' the Fiscal, Maister Simpson, 's there ; 
forbye Shirra Lumsdell, fae Pitcaple, an' I believe the 
Captain, fae Logie, tee. Of coorse, the Presbytery's legal 
awgent 's up fae Cromwellside, an' they say anither lawvyer 
or twa. An' mair nor a' that, there 's a batch o' that new 
rural constaabulary, as they ca' them, up the road, nae fyouer 
nor aboot foifteen o' them oon'er their captain, ane An'erson, 
a muckle blawn-up red-fac't-like chiel, wi' a besom o' black 
hair aboot 's mou', 't hed been i' the airmy, they say ; an' 
fudder or no he said it, some o' them was lattin 't licht 't he 
did say 't he sud sattle the minaister to them at the point o* 
the baignet.' Isna that aboot the rinnins o' fat the Cul- 
salmon' mannie taul's, Gushets ?" 

" Ye 're weel within boun's, Hairry, man ; an' fat we saw 
aifterhin clench't the feck o' 't to the ootside." 

" Ye maun aye keep in min', my freen's," continued the 
Chairman, inspecting his MS., " that fan the Presbytery 
met on the twenty-aucht o' October to moderat the Call 
an' a lang meetin' it was : fat wi' objections and interjec 
tions, they war aff an' on at it for aboot a haill roun' o' the 
knock fan they met ye maun recolleck 't a' the names 
pitten to the Call in fawvour o' the presentee wus only forty- 
five ; an' nae fyouer nor auchty-nine heids o' faimilies 
exercees't their veto against 'im. Thase were the circum 
stances oonder whuch the sattlement was forc't on wi' a' this 
mengyie o' shin-as, an' lawvyers, an' constables. It 's a vera 
stiff brae, an' ere we wan up to the kirk, it was gyaun 
upon eleyven o'clock. ' Hooever/ says the mannie, ' we 're 
in braw time ; it 's twal ere the sattlement begin, an' I 'se 
warran they sanna apen the kirk doors till 's till than.' So 
we tak's a leuk roun' for ony kent fowk. They war stannin' 
aboot a' gate roun' aboot the kirk, in scores an' hunners, 
fowk fae a' the pairis'es roun' aboot, an' some fae hyne awa' 
as far doon 's Marnoch o' the tae han' an Kintore o' the tither, 
aw b'lieve ; some war stampin' their feet an' slappin' their 
airms like the yauws o' a win'mill to keep them a-heat; 
puckles wus sittin' o' the kirkyard dyke, smokin' an' gyaun 


on wi' a kin' o' orra jaw aboot the minaisters, an' aye mair 
gedderin in aboot it was thocht there wus weel on to twa 
thoosan' there ere a' was deen. An' aye a bit fudder was 
comin' up fae the manse aboot fat the Presbytery was deein 
they war chaumer't there, ye see, wi' the lawvyers an' so 
on. ' Nyod, they maun be sattlin 'im i' the manse,' says 
ane; ' we '11 need 'a gae doon an' see gin we can win in.' 'Na> 
na,' says anither, ' a bit mair bather aboot their dissents an' 
appales bein' ta'en ; muckle need they care, wi' sic a Presby 
tery, fat they try. But here's Johnny Florence, the bellman, 
at the lang length ; I 'se be at the boddom o' fat they 're at 
noo.' An' wi' that he pints till a carlie comin' across the 
green, wi' a bit paper in 's han,' an' a gryte squad o' them 't 
hed been hingin' aboot the manse door at 's tail. ' Oo, it 's 
Johnny gyaun to read the edick,' cries a gey stoot chap, an' 
twa three o' them gya a roar o' a lauch. It seems Johnny's 
nae particular scholar, so the Presbytery hed been in some 
doots aboot the edick. ' Noo,' says they, ' ye '11 read that at 
the most patentest door o' the church the wast door.' 
'Yes,' says he. 'Can ye read vrite?' 'An' it be geyan 
plain,' says John; so the edick was read owre and owre 
again till 'im, an' Johnny harkenin' 's gin he uner'steed it 
(We heard aboot a' this aifterhin, ye ken). But they 
gae 'im a gey time wi' 's readin' o' 't. Johnny was far fae 
clear upon 's lesson. 'Speak oot, min !' cries ane. 'I 
think ye mith pronunce some better nor that, Johnny,' 
says anither; an' they interrupit 'im fan he was tryin' to 
read wi' a' kin' o' haivers, takin' the words oot o' 's mou, 
an' makin' the uncoest styte o' 't 't cud be. ' Weel, hae ye 
ony speeshal objections to Maister Middleton ?' cries Johnny, 
fairly dung wi' the paper. ' Haena we than ! A hunner o' 
them, an' mair !' roars severals. Wi' ae put an* row, Johnny 
wan throu' the edick in 's nain fashion, an' syne cuts awa' 
back to the manse, wi' a lot o' them aifter 'im, leavin' 's 
faur we wus afore. Sae far o' the edick," continued the 
Chairman, pausing to gather himself again. " Gin that 
was to be ca'd readin"t, jeedge ye. Hooever, aw b'lieve 
the Presbytery wus content wi' the bellman's endeavour, 


and pat it upo' their beuks that ' objections were called for 
an' none offer't.' The multiteed wus tynin patience gey 
sair fan the sough gat up 't they war ' comin' !' The Shirra 
o' the coonty, Murray, Shirra Lumsdell, the Fiscal, an' neen 
there hed a mair maroonjous face that day Captain 
Da'rymple, an' this An'erson, the heid o' the constaabulary, 
cam up wi' them, ackin' as a body-guard appearandly, to 
defen' the shepherds fae the flock oon'er their chairge. An 
auncient poet hath said 

The hurly burly noo began, 
Was richt weel worth the seein'. 

An' gin it war lawfu' to be vyokie ower sairious maitters o' 
that kin', it 's a rael true wye o' descryvin the thing. Oh, 
they war a roch an' richt set gey puckles o' them, and a sad 
ongae they made o' 't ; only they war but ignorant kwintra 
fowk, an' little to be expeckit fae them, by'se fae the set o' 
leern't men 't hed ta'en 't upo' them to provoke them to 
mischief, tramplin' the richts o' the people oon'erneath their 
feet. They war makin' for the wast door; but several 
hunners hed congregat there, an' puckles at the tither door, 
a' ettlin for into the kirk fanever the doors sud be apen't. 
This Captain An'erson, wi' 's constaabulary, an' a fyou shirra's- 
offishers, triet to birze throu' an' mak' an apenin. ' Stan' 
back noo, my men : stan' back noo.' But, instead o' that, 
they 're jammin tee at their heels, wi' cairns o' them rinkin 
up upo' the dyke. The Presbytery wus stoitin here an' 
there : ane gat 's hat ca'd owre 's een, an' Maister Middleton, 
though the Shirra was takin' speeshal care o' his safe-aty, 
gat a bit clink or twa, it was said, wi' bits o' snaw ba's ; an' 
there 's a story, though I sanna vooch for 't, that fan they 
war fairly stuck'n for a minit or twa, a lang airm was rax't 
owre atweesh the shou'ders o' twa three o' them, an' a ban' 
that naebody kent fa 't belang't till gat a grip o' the nose o' 
ane o' the heid deesters an' gya 't sic a thraw that it didna 
tyne the purpie colour nor come back to the auT set for a 
file. But the trowth o' the maitter was, naebody wud 'a 
kent sair fat was deem or fa was maist to blame. Some o' 


the ceevil authorities hegood to repree an* thraten, but a 
chap or twa, naar grippit braid i' the crood themsel's, spak' 
back, ' Fat wye can we help it ? ' an' ithers, maybe nae 
owre weel inten'it, roar't, ' Fat are we deein ? ' ' We 're nae 
touchin' naebody; we're nae brakin' the law;' an* some 
o' them 't cudna see speer't gin the ' police hed strucken 
yet r But aw wat they keepit their temper byous weel : 
though it was said that some gey roch and win'y words 
pass't atween ane o' the heid deesters an' some orra chiels 
ere a' was deen. Hoosomever, ae chiel wi' the key wins at 
the door in coorse, an' apens 't, an' in they gaed, jist like 
the jaws o' the sea, cairryin minaisters, shirras, an' a', like 
as muckle wrack, alang wi' them. I tint sicht o' Gushets 
in a minit, an' hed muckle adee to haud o' my fit ava. An' 
fan I 'm jist at the door cheek, fa sud be dirdit into the neuk 
fair afore me but Geordie Wobster, the shirra's offisher, fae 
Mel'rum. Ye '11 min' upo' him, some o' ye, sin' the time 't 
he hed sic a pilgit huntin' up aul' Lindsay for stealin' bees. 
The raither him nor me, for he gat a yafu yark against the 
door cheek. Wobster gi'es a guller oot o' 'im, and some ane 
cries, ' Ye 're killin' a man !' But fa cud help it ? ye mith 
as weel try't to stop the north win' comin' throu' the Glens 
o' Foudland ; an' in they gaed. Only the like o' 'im 's so 
weel ees't wi' sharries 't they 're nae easy fell't they say 
he gat a broken rib, or siclike. Aweel, in we gets to the 
kirk, an' I'se asseer ye I was blythe to edge into the first 
seat 't I cud win at. The shirras an' the fiscal manag't to 
win up to the laft, an' in o' the heritors' seat i' the fore- 
breist ; the Presbytery wus seatit at the fit o' the poopit. 
But sic a noise ye heard never in a kirk nor oot o' 't. Some 
ane said the moderawtor wud preach that was Maister 
Peter, o' Kemnay, a weel-faur't young chap but aw b'lieve 
he never wan in'o the poopit yet, nae mair nor he wud 'a 
heard 's nain word gin he hed wun. ' Keep 'im oot, the 
Tory !' cries ane ; some wud 'a jokit wi' this Captain 
An'erson to ' gae up an' preach,' 'cause he wud ' dee 't 
better,' an 1 there was a gryte lauch that nane o' them hed 
brocht a Bible wi' them ; and fan the shirras, first ane an' 


syne ane, deman'it quaetness, they only cried oot, ' Hoot, 
never min' 'im ; keep up the din ;' an' a' the time they war 
flingin' aboot bits o' skelbs o' stickies and siclike. Weel, 
this gaes on for I 'se warran' an oor, fan Captain Da'rymple 
he 's an el'er, aw b'lieve he stan's up an' says, ' I noo 
claim the protection o' the shirra, the Presbytery being 
deforc't in its duty/ An* oot they forces the haill body o' 
them, awa' back to the manse, faur it was said a sermon 
was preach't fae the words, ' I have planted, and Apollos 
watered ' (a mannie says to me, ' Ay, he tyeuk the words 
oot o' Paul's mou', but Paul hed naething adee wi' sic 
planting he sud 'a said Peter plantit at ance'--'t wusna 
that oonwutty o' the carlie). Weel, the din gaed on i' the 
kirk ; oh, there was a set o' roch-like breets up aboot the 
poopit, an' ane in 't haudin a terrible hyse ; an' aw b'lieve 
ere a' was deen they war singin' sangs an' smokin' their 
pipes intill't. Ane cries oot o' 't, 'Will ye hae Culsalmon' 
psalms?' an' anither mak's answer, 'Gie's Holy Willie's 
Prayer.' Of coorse the Presbytery an' the lawvyers con- 
cludit the sattlement i' the manse again' a' sponsible objec 
tions ; an,' syne they drappit aff hame ane an' ane, some 
ca'in i' their gigs, some ridin'; but though bourachs o' fowk 
wus stanin aboot the place, nae a tell wud they tell gin it 
was a' deen or no. The fowk i' the kirk bade still ; some 
thocht they wud come back ; some said that they be J t a pit 
the minaister throu' the kirk afore twal at nicht, or he 
wudna be richt sattl't ; some said ae thing, some anither, 
but aye the reerie gaed on wi' a' kin' o' orra jaw. Fan it 
was beginnin' to gloam they war jowin' the bell like a' 
thing, an' declarin' they wud see the en' o' 't tho' 't sud 
be three o'clock i' the mornin'. An' aw b'lieve some o' 
them raelly bade till aboot midnicht an' nail't up the kirk 
doors ere they leeft; the gey feck o' the lozens i' the 
windows hed been broken ere that time; an' fa sud be 
brakin' amo' the lave but ane o' the bellman's ain loons 
so they said. But we thocht it time to be stappin hame- 
wuth afore we tint the daylicht a'thegither, an' that wye 
sawna the hin'er en' o' 't." 


At this point the Chairman again paused ; and gathering 
his MS., attempted an enforcement of the " moral reflec 
tions " to be drawn from what he had so fully stated. It 
will not be a very serious loss to omit this part. He then 
called upon Johnny Gibb to follow up his speech; and 
Johnny did so in a brief address, wherein he recounted how 
the Justices called a great meeting at Pitmachie, at which 
Sir Eobert presided, and how the Captain reported, ad 
longam, all the horrors of the day at Culsalmond; and that 
not only windows were broken, and seats torn up, but that 
the " rioters " had made considerable progress towards 
toppling down the gallery, body bulk ! " Jist like 'im to 
tell that," exclaimed Johnny, with vehemence. And how 
the Justices gravely agreed that " a riot " did take place ; 
that " a spirit of resistance to the law " had been gaining 
ground in that unhappy region ; and that the Justices con 
sidered it their duty to intimate all this to " Her Majesty's 
Secretary of State for the Home Department," and a host 
of other high dignitaries, including the Lord Advocate ; and 
to request that " such measures should immediately be 
taken as will lead to the detection and punishment of the 
offenders, and the effectual prevention of similar outrages in 
future ; as otherwise, the powers and influence of the 
Magistrates will be completely set at defiance, and the ex 
pensive establishment of the rural police, into which the 
county has lately entered, will be rendered worse than use 
less." "An* that 's the bonny upshot o' a meetin' o' a score 
o' Sirs, an' Generals, an' Captains, an' common lairds, heeld 
in Maister Cooper's on the thirti'et day o' November last 
past," said Johnny, throwing down a sadly chafed news 
paper, from which he had been endeavouring to read. " A 
set o' brave birkies they are I 'se asseer ye ! Einnin 
peeakin to the heid authorities o' the kwintra, like as mony 
chuckens 't hed tint their mither ; an' a' for a bit stramash 
't their nain deeins had brocht aboot. Jist jeedge ye noo 
fat kin' o' spiritooal guidance ye may expeck fae that 
quarter, fan ye see foo they ack wi' them that comes oon'er 
their merciment in ceevil maitters. Nae less nor five fowk 


't was there that day wus ta'en to Edinboro', to gang afore 
the Lords, as ye 're a' weel awaar. Of coorse, they wudna 
miss oot Dr. Eobison o' Williamston, he hed come owre sair 
forrat o' the non-intrusion side, but the ither four, they 
mith 'a as weel ta'en up Hairry or me, I suppose. An* 
aiven at the trial afore this Lord Joostice Clark, the doctor, 
as ye a' ken, was pruv't Not Guilty; the lads Walker and 
Spence wan aff unproven, an' the tither twa, they war fley't 
till try ava. That 's the wye that yer joostices an' kirk 
pawtrons wud rowle the kwintra a bonny set or than no. 
But fat syne; gin the law o' the Ian' alloo 't, little to them 
wud jail ilka ane o' 's at their nain pleesour ! That 's nae 
maitter o' guess wark, but fairly pruv't by fat they've deen 
ere this time. Noo afore we sin'er, I Ve nae mair to say, 
but jist this, that it 's vera necessar' for ane an' a' o' 's to 
tak' a side, the side o' richt prenciple, an' be ready to main- 
teen 't till the Kirk o' Scotlan' establish her richts owre the 
croon o' 'er oppressors." 

When Johnny Gibb had ended, there was a silence of 
some duration, till first Andrew Langchafts, and next Sandy 
Peterkin, expressed their sense of the high value of the 
Speeches delivered. Very little more was said, and the 
meeting closed with the understanding that another would 
be called when circumstances seemed to demand it. 

I may have occasion hereafter to note other results of 
this meeting. Meantime let me say that it served in reality 
as a sort of basis to such non-intrusion movement as dis 
tinguished the parish of Pyketillim. A few months pre 
viously the local newspapers had had the benefit of a very 
long advertisement, containing the names of a great many 
farmers in the Formartine district, and a few lairds, all 
zealous and godly churchmen, addressed in sympathetic 
terms to the noble brethren who formed the majority of the 
Presbytery of Strathbogie, and setting forth how the "Scrip 
ture " enjoins obedience to the law, and so on. Several of 
the leading men in Pyketillim, including Mains of Yawal 
and Teuchitsmyre, had thought it would be a creditable 
thing to follow this example ; and they had spoken thereof 



to Jonathan Tawse. Jonathan, being in ill-temper at the 
time, gave them little audiscence, and so the thing fell flat. 
But now this whole section of the community seized the 
occasion of the Smiddyward public meeting to turn the 
public laugh and scorn, as far as might be, against those 
who had attended it. And, in particular, every individual 
who had been there, young or old, had attached to him or 
her the designation of a " Non," which, of course, signified 
non-intrusionist, but was understood to carry with it a deal 
of rustic wit or sarcasm, inasmuch as the Non was accepted 
as a sort of weak fanatic, whom it was right and proper to 
sneer at, or affect to pity, according to circumstances. 



ON the lands of Sir Simon Frissal it had been the practice 
from time immemorial to bind every tenant to pay yearly 
to the laird a " reek hen." In former days, however, 
the fowl in question had never been really exacted ; it 
was merely a symbol of vassalage, as it were. But in the 
modernised form of lease to which the tenants who had 
renewed their tenure within a score of years bygone had 
been made subject, the figurative reek hen had, by the 
practical sagacity of Sir Simon's agents, been converted into 
half-a-dozen, nine, or a dozen " properly fed fowls," accord 
ing to the size of the holding. These had to be paid over 
at the barn-yards in full tale ; and when the damsels went 
thither with their arm-baskets, covered with such convenient 
piece of calico as they could fit on the heads of the 
imprisoned birds bobbing up and down under the limp roof 
it was seldom that Dawvid Hadden failed to be present to 
see their freights delivered. It was no part of Dawvid's 
duty to be there. Meg Eaffan, the henwife, was quite fit to 
attend to her own business. But then Dawvid was a 
zealously diligent official; and a man's zeal maybe expected 
to exhibit itself in the direction of that which is congenial 
to his nature. So it was that notwithstanding the uncom 
plimentary sneers of Meg Rafifan, Dawvid would stand and 
not only count the fowls as they were discharged from the 
creels, but in so far as he could catch sight of them, 


scrutinise every separate fowl with the eye of a connoisseur. 
His observations on the birds were oftener of a disparaging 
sort than otherwise ; and he had incurred the lasting enmity 
of Mrs. Birse, by remarking to her servant, on one occasion, 
in the audience of the henwife " Nyod, lassie, the tae half 
o' that creaturs 's never seen meal's corn seerly sin' they war 
oot o' the egg shall ; an' the lave, gin they ever laid ava, 
maun be poverees't wi' sax ouks clockin'; an' some o' them 
actually leuks as gin they lied been in Tod Lowrie's cleuks, 
an' wun awa' wi' the half o' their claes aff. We maun 
raelly tell the laird about that." 

It was an insolent speech that of Dawvid, to be sure, 
though the last sentence was uttered in a half jocular tone ; 
and when the servant damsel rehearsed it in the ears of 
Mrs. Birse, on her return to Clinkstyle, Mrs. Birse was 
naturally much incensed ; but it readily occurred to her 
that Meg Kaffan, the henwife, was a much higher authority 
on gallinaceous matters than Dawvid Hadden, and her com 
munications with Meg had hitherto been of a friendly nature. 
So, as Lowrin Fair was at hand, when Peter Birse senior, 
Peter Birse junior, and others including Dawvid Hadden 
himself would naturally be drafted off to the market, why 
not have Meg Kaffan down to tea in a quiet way, and at 
any rate take hostages against any possible hostile operations 
on the part of Dawvid ? Only Miss Birse and herself would 
be privy to the transaction, and as secrecy was known to be 
an integral part of Meg's very nature, there was no risk of 
Clinkstyle gentility being tarnished by any sinister report 
going abroad; and then the possible advantages to be de 
rived from the interview were obvious. 

" Mrs. Birse's compliments," etc., and would Meg Raffan 
come to tea ? Eh, Meg would be delighted ; and Meg came 

How hospitable Mrs. Birse of Clinkstyle and her amiable 
and accomplished daughter were, it needs not my pen to set 
forth. The henwife felt, and declared it to be " rael affec- 
Kin ;" and how could she but indignantly rebut the aforesaid 
vile insinuations of Dawvid Hadden ? " Awat they war a' 



riclit snod, sizeable foolies," quoth Meg. " But he 's jist a 
sneevlin, ill-fashion't creatur, 't maun be meddlin' wi' a'thing. 
'Serve me, d' ye think 't the laird wud hear ony o' his ill- 
win' aboot respectable fowk ; Sir Simon 's mair o' a gentle 
man nor dee onything o' the kin'. Jist leuk sic an ongae 's 
he's been haudin' aboot the Nons, an' that meetin"t was 
doon i' the skweel at the Ward aw 'm seer that was nane 
o' his bizziness." 

"Weel, Mistress Kaffan, fat kin' o' a conscience can he 
hae, fleein' i' the face o' the vera word o' Gweed ?" 

" The word o' Gweed ! It 's muckle 't he '11 care for that, 
gin he -cud get haud'n in wi' gryte fowk." 

"Sir Seemon hed gi'en 'im orders to thraeten Sandy 
Peterkin, than ?" suggested Mrs. Birse. 

" Weel, aw 'm nae thinkin' 't he hed not mony orders, 
no. But the vera nicht aifter the meetin' (aw div not 
believe but the creatur hed been lyin' at the back o' the 
dyke seein' them gedder) faur 's my gentleman awa' till, 
think ye?" 

" Eh, but aw cudna say ; ony wye but faur respectable 
fowk wud gae." 

" Faur but dominie Tawse's ! Ye see," continued Meg, 
attuning her voice to the very confidential pitch, " I gat a' 
this fae her hersel'. Eh, she has a sad life o' 't wi' 'im, the 
tyrannical, naisty, ill-livin' creatur ; an' that vera nicht he 
cam' hame fae the dominie's bleezin he 's takin' sair to the 
drink, an' isna't a rael scunnerfu' thing to see the like o' 
Maister Tawse, a man o' leernin' an' pairts, colleagin wi' sic 
company ?" 

"Jonathan Tawse! an auT sneeshinie, drucken slype. 
Leernin' or than no!" said Mrs. Birse, scornfully. "It's 
jist sic mannie sic horsie atween the twa for that maitter." 

" 'Deed, awat an' ye never spak a truer word," answered 
Meg, bethinking herself. "I 'm weel seer Maister Peterkin's 
a inuckle mair discreet man to hae chairge o' onybody's bairns." 

" He 's seen a great deal more of the wordle ; and been 
in better society than Tawse," interposed Miss Birse. 

" Weel, 's aw was sayin'," continued Meg Eaffan, " Mrs. 


Hadden says to me at the time, says she, ' Dawvid was up 
b' cairts the streen, wusnin he V ' But fan was Dawvid 
onything else wi' his tale ?' says I. 'Gin we war to believe 
a' 't we hear, there 's some fowk wud never mak' nor mell 
wi' naething less nor gentry.' I wudna lat 'er aff wi' och 
nor flee 't aw cud help ; for they 're that upsettin', baith o' 
them. ' Ay but,' says she, ' that was nane o' yer dog-dirders 
an' ostlers forgedderin to get a bit boose, fan they gat their 
maister oot o' the road.' This was lattin at me, ye ken, for 
inveetin the coachman an' the gamekeeper up bye, aifter Sir 
Simon gaed awa' ; aw 'm seer decenter or mair neebourly 
fowk ye wudna get i' the seyven pairis'es. But, aw b'lieve, 
I hed 'er there no. ' Keep me, Kirsty,' says I, ' ye dinn 
mean to say 't Dawvid actually was fou at this braw pairty 
than? There was fowk 't ye ken weel i' the Lodge this 
vera nicht, 't wud 'a threepit owre me that they saw Dawvid 
stoiterin as he gaed hame the streen. But I wud not latt'n 
them say 't.' Gin that didna tak' the stiffin oot o' Kirsty' 
cockernony, I 'se lea'e 't." 

" I 'm rael glaid 't ye chappit 'er in aboot the richt gate," 
said Mrs. Birse. " Settin' up their noses that wye, they wud 
need it vulgar pack." 

" Wi' that she pits 'er apron till 'er een, an' shak's 'er 
heid ' Oh, Meggy,' says she, ' aw kent ye was aye my true 
freen ; dinna mention 't to nae leevin. But Dawvid, though 
he was weel to live, was richt gweed company, an' was not 
nabal wi' me the streen.' 'It hed been a humoursome 
pairty, than, as weel 's a braw ane ?' says I. ' Weel, an' it 
was a' that,' says she ; ' an' Dawvid was that newsie aifter 
he cam' hame 't I thocht never to get 'im till 's bed.' An* 
foo that she sud say that Mains o' Yawal was there, an' 
Teuchitsmyre, an' severals o' the muckle fairmers." 

" An' that was Dawvid's braw fowk I wuss 'im luck o' 
sic mennerly company Han' up the kyaak basket wi' the 
short-breid, Eliza," said Mrs. Birse. 

"They're stupid and ignorant people," observed Miss 
Birse ; " and if Jonathan Tawse were accustomed to good 
company, he wudna ask them till 's hoose." 


" Na nae mair, aw thank ye," quoth Meg. " I 've deen 
byous weel. 1 11 jist drink oot my drap at leasure. The 
third cup sudna be the warst, ye ken ; an' awat ye 've 
gi'en 's 't richt gweed." 

Meg Kaffan paused ; and, with the facts as they actually 
were, Mrs. Birse was too shrewd a woman not to compre 
hend the significance of the last remark. 

" Noo, Mrs. Birse, ye wull not pit fusky in amo' my tae ; 
na nae the fu' o' that gryte muckle gless ; ye wull mak' 
me licht-heidit gin ever a body was 5 t." 

It was evidently worth doing, however; and, truth to 
say, Meg Eaffan offered no very strenuous resistance to the 
emptying of the glass into her cup. Neither did the empty 
ing of the cup itself seem to produce very much of the effect 
she had dreaded. Meg only got more talkative, and went 
on to describe fully how she had pumped out of Mrs. 
Dawvid Hadden all that had been transacted at Jonathan 
Tawse's party concerning which Dawvid had been so 
mightily uplifted. It appeared that in addition to Pyke- 
tillim people, there had been present Jonathan's friend, the 
younger Dr. Drogemweal, who had settled doon throu', so 
as to be beyond the limits of his father's sucken ; and that 
Dawvid had enumerated to the company the entire list of 
those who had been present at the Smiddyward meeting, the 
result thus far being a sort of critical analysis of each indi 
vidual's character and position. Johnny Gibb, the smith, 
and the souter, had been classed together as hopeless incor- 
rigibles, compounded in pretty nearly equal parts of the 
fanatic and the radical; and it was deemed prudent to say 
little more about them. Sandy Peterkin was denounced 
very severely ; and it seemed that Dawvid, in his elevation, 
had freely avowed his intention, and even boasted of the 
power he possessed, to " sort him, at ony rate." And not 
less was Dawvid incensed at that " f air- tongue' t howffin, 
Hairry Muggart," by whom the zealous ground-officer all but 
confessed he had been fairly led on the ice, and on whom he 
declared his intention to be revenged. And then they had 
come nearer home. 


" Noo, Mrs. Birse, aw wudna tell 't to my nain sister for 
warl's gear ; but aw 'm seer she '11 never ken that it cam' fae 
me ;" and Meg looked inquiringly toward Miss Birse, and 
next toward her mother, as much as to say, " Would it not 
be wise to remove her at any rate ?" 

" Eliza 's been taucht breediu' owre weel to cairry clypes," 
said Mrs. Birse, a little haughtily. 

" Eh, forbid 't I sud mint at onything o' the kin', Mrs. 
Birse. She wudna be your dother to dee onything like 
that weel the mair shame to them that sud speak aifter 
sic a fashion. 'An' hed they naething to say aboot the 
goodwife o' Clinkstyle ?' says I to Kirsty, in a careless-like 
mainner. ' Weel, Meggy/ says she, speakin' aneth 'er breath 
an' she gart my vera flesh creep fan she pat up 'er han' 
like a distrackit person ' I ken I can lippen onything to 
you,' says she, ' but Dawvid wud fell me gin he thocht 't I 
war to apen my lips aboot it to my nain mither Maister 
Tawse sud say to Dawvid, " Weel, Davie, fat are ye to dee 
wi' that randy o' a wife o' Clinkstyle ?" ' noo, Mrs. Birse, 
it 's a Gweed's trowth 't aw 'm tellin' ye. Eh, he 's a haive- 
less man; nae won'er nor ye was obleeg't to tak' yer inno 
cent bairns awa' fae's skweel." 

" Mamma," exclaimed Miss Birse, in great excitement, " I 
wud gar papa prosecute him." 

" 'Liza, gae an* see that Betty's nae mislippenin' 'er jots 
i' the kitchie," said Mrs. Birse, addressing her daughter with 
unwonted peremptoriness. Miss Birse, with very evident 
reluctance, obeyed, so far, at any rate, as to leave the 
parlour ; and her mother continued, " I'm nae su'pris't at 
onything 't that creatur wud say; but fowk maun hae 
regaird for the edification an' richt upfeshin o' their affspring, 
as Mr. Macrory taul 's weel-a-wat ; an' I cudna lat the lassie 
sit an' hear 'er nain pawrents wilipen'it wi' the like o' 'im. 

" ' Oh/ says Dawvid, ' aw 'm thinkin' nedder you nor 
Mr. Sleekaboot made yer plack a bawbee by tiggin wi' her. 
So I'se lat sleepin' tykes lie there.' An' trow ye me, 
Dawvid thocht lie hed gi'en them a gey clever cut wi' that 


impident smatchet that he is. An' maister Tawse sud 
'a said some rael roch words, rebattin on 'im like. Eh, but 
aw cudna come owre them, Mrs. Birse, on nae accoont." 

" Far be 't fae me to hear their coorse langige," said 
Mrs. Birse, " but it 's richt that fowk sud ken fat kin' o' 
characters they are." 

" 'Deed, awat that 's richt true ; for as sair 's it is to 
mention 't. ' Weel,' says they, ' an' fat comes o' a' your 
blawin aboot fat ye cud dee 't nae ither man cud dee ? ' 
' Oh/ says Dawvid, ' Peter 'imsel' 's a saft breet ; he made 
oot to win free o' the meetin' by feingyin a drow. Jist 
bide ye still, fan the neist meetin' comes, gin I dinna mak' 
oot to fesh back 's drow till 'im as ill 's ever.' An' wi' that 
they hed haud'n the saddest hyse 't cud be. Tawse an' this 
young doctor he was aye a weirdless blackguard i' the 
lang rin o' 't, made o' Dawvid, an' swall't the creatur's heid, 
till he was as prood 's oor aul' turkey cock, an' blawin at the 
rate o' nae allooance aboot fat he cud and sud dee. An' 
I 'm seer, fae fat I gat oot o' Kirsty, that they hed eikit 'im 
up till as muckle mischief aboot this kirk wark 's they cud." 

" I dinna doot that neen," said Mrs. Birse, with an air of 
grave self-satisfaction. " An' fat ither cud we expeck fae 
sic a weirdless mengyie makin' a teel o' an oonprencipl't 
drucken creatur ? " 

" Eh, he 's a coorse ill-gate't ablich," continued Meg. 
" Hooever, that 's the rinnin's o' the haill affair ; an' aw 'm 
seer I cudna hed a licht conscience to keep it oot o' yer 
sicht ; though I was jist richt sair owrecome ere I cud 
mak' up my min' aboot tellin' ye 't." 

Here Meg Eaffan exhibited outward tokens of owrecome- 
ness, for which, happily, Mrs. Birse knew the practical 
remedy, and applied it. And on the whole she concluded 
that her trouble as the entertainer had been tolerably well 
repaid by the henwife's visit. The glimpse of Jonathan 
Tawse's party, and the sort of estimate she had been enabled 
to form of Dawvid Hadden's position in relation to matters 
polemical, had put her in possession of information which she 
did not doubt of being able to use with good effect afterwards. 



IT was a fact incapable, I fear, of being successfully disputed, 
that Peter Birse senior had never profited as he ought by 
the exhortations of his wife, ably seconded of late years by 
her accomplished daughter, Miss Eliza Birse, in respect to 
the necessity of cultivating the virtue of gentility, and 
taking care to be select in the choice of his company; At 
any rate, had Peter been sufficiently perspicacious he would 
certainly not have given Mrs. Birse the too candid narrative 
he did of his ongoings at Lowrin Fair. Peter had gone to 
the Fair accompanied by his promising elder son. He had 
first visited the nowt market at the top of the brae, and 
cheapened several stirks ; then he had come down to the 
fit market, and perambulated the same from Barreldykes 
to the Cross ; and whereas he wanted a bandster for the 
harvest, he and Peter junior had, after due selection, set on 
to a regular haggle with an ancient-looking man, in thread 
bare blue, with a green head of oat-straw stuck within the 
band of his old stuff hat, signifying that he was a candidate 
for harvest -work. And by and by he had engaged the 
ancient man for thirty -two shillings and sixpence of fee, 
and given him a penny of arles. This done, Peter had no 
other business on hand; but he would, of course, have a 
look at the horse market, before he would go home, were it 
only to give Peter junior the opportunity of increasing his 
knowledge of the equine race, and of those who traffic therein. 


It was then that Peter Birse met Dawvid Hadden, with 
whom he had long been on terms of somewhat close and 
confidential intimacy; and that Dawvid being in an uncom 
monly genial and hospitable humour, they two resolved to 
be social together, while Peter Birse junior forgathered with 
certain young men of his own age, and went off to see life 
for a little in the thick of men and animals. 

But why should Peter Birse senior be so very soft as to 
tell out baldly to his wife, on the morning after the market, 
how Dawvid Hadden and he went away together into that 
canvas erection by the roadside, with the sign-board, 



how Dawvid should have no sooner called out, "A half- 
mutchkin here, lassie," than they discovered Mains of Yawal 
and one or two acquaintances in a corner; and how they 
forthwith beckoned Mains over to bear them company, to 
which invitation Mains, who was settled down in the tent 
for the afternoon, affably responded ? It was all very proper 
and necessary to tell Mrs. Birse, as he was in duty bound, 
about the character of the market and the terms of the 
engagement made with the bandster; but why not keep to 
safe generalities about his own movements thereafter ? Of 
course Peter Birse wanted to bring out with impressive 
effect the gist of certain warnings delivered by Dawvid 
Hadden, in presence of Mains, as aforesaid, for behoof of all 
who were in danger of following divisive courses in kirk 
affairs at that juncture ; but, poor man, he did not perceive 
that he was taking the very method to prevent his having 
the slightest chance of a respectful hearing. 

" Man, aw div won'er to hear ye speak o' takin' drams 
fae the like o' that creatur !" 

" Hoot, 'oman, ye wudna hed me to pay 't myself wud 
ye ?" said Peter. 

" Peter Birse ; will ye ever leern to conduck yersel' as 
ony weel-menner't person wud ? Gin ye hae nae regaird 
for yersel', ye mith hae some for yer faimily, peer things." 



" I wusna deein nae ill, I 'm seer," replied Peter, in a 
bewildered way. 

" Nae ill ! gaen awa' sittin' doon drinkin' in a hovel o' a 
tent, wi' a leein', ill-win'et creatur like that, an' a drucken 
slype like Mains o' Yawal. A bonny example 't ye set to 
the risin' generation ; an' your ain son tee Faur was Patie 
a' the time't ye was blebbin an' drinkin' at this rate ?" 

" Peter ? Ou weel, he mitha been wi' 's an' he hed 
like't, but he gaed aff up the horse market fanever Dawvid 
an' me begood to speak." 

" Mitha been wi' ye ! A fine wye o' deein, leernin ony 
young creatur sic drucken haibits ! An' ye sat still there 
the feck o' the aifterneen ?" 

" Ou, na, we satna nae time. There was only the half- 
mutchkin 't Dawvid got, an' the boddom o' a gill 't Mains 
feish owre in 's han' i' the stoup. I wudna lat 'im ca' nae 
mair, though he threepit owre an' owre again 't he wud 
dee 't." 

" Humph ; an' ye never leukit owre yer shooder for 
Peter, to fesh him hame wi' ye, but cam' awa' wi' this low- 
life't creatur." 

" Oh, 'oman, dinna speak that gate. Dawvid 's a rael 
perjink, weel-leern't body; we Ve been obleeg't till 'im 
mony a time, an' may be 't again ; an' he has a gweed 
hantle o' poo'er fae the laird ; I 'se asseer ye." 

" Haud yer tongue, Peter Birse ! Poo'er or than no a 
grun-offisher glaid to gae aboot an' tell fowk fan to pay their 
hens to the laird ; the thing that the vera flunkey wud scorn 
to dee. That 's his poo'er ; an' he rnak's 'imsel' a muckle 
man meddlin' wi' the henwife's wark ; an' syne comin' hame 
ilka ither nicht fae this an' the neist orra company as fou 's 
a piper." 

" Weel, I never saw the man hae drink upon 'im, an' 
aw 'm seer he was freely sober o' the market nicht." 

" Dinna ye tell me ; the tae corbie winna pyke oot the 
tither's e'e. Fan fowk comes hame wi' a face like a Hallow- 
even fire, there's rizzons for 't. Fat kin' o' a pawrent's hert 
can ye hae, to come oot o' a market wi' the like o' him, an' 


leave them 't 's sibbest t' ye to be prann't, or ill-guidet ony 

" Keep me, 'oman, Peter 's nae a littleane noo ; fat wud 
come owre him ? " 

"Ay, ye may speer that noo. Gin ye hed been atten'in' 
till a fader's duty, ye wudna hed nae sic questions to speer. 
I suppose yer freen was needin' a' the help that ye cud gi'e 
'im gin that time to get him hame." 

" Forbye that, Dawvid an' me ca'd up an' doon the fit 
market for naar an 'oor leukin' for Peter I'se warran' he 
hedna been seekin' to come hame wi' 's." 

" An' little won'er ; nae gryte heartnin till 'im, peer man, 
to see 's nain fader takin' up wi' sic company." 

Now, this last remark of Mrs. Birse was scarcely fair. 
For she very well knew what, she was fully aware, Peter 
Birse senior at that moment did not know, namely, that his 
eldest son, Peter Birse junior, had come home on the previ 
ous evening, not only at a late hour, but, furthermore, with 
a broken nose ; which, on being caught by his mother as he 
was unobtrusively slipping away to bed without showing 
himself in the parlour, he accounted for by saying it had 
been caused by " something fleein up an' strikin' 's face " as 
he left the market. The rational theory on the subject was, 
that Peter had got into a quarrel, more or less, as young 
men of gallant and amatory disposition will sometimes do 
on such occasions, and that he bore the marks of his chival 
rous daring on his countenance. A very few particulars in 
support of this theory were, with difficulty, extracted from 
him by his fond mother, when she had returned a second 
time to the charge ; whereupon her reflections took this 
shape : That, it being evident that Peter had got into a 
vulgar fight with two or three farm -servant lads, and all 
about a farm-servant girl whom Peter had desired, but had 
not been permitted, to accompany to her home, it was also 
evident that she must forthwith charge herself even more 
directly than hitherto with the duty of developing and 
directing the young man's matrimonial intentions. In her 
maternal solicitude she had not overlooked this part of her 


duty, and had, indeed, been fondly hoping that the little 
scheme of affection she had endeavoured to promote between 
Mrs. Gibb's niece, Mary Howie, and her own son, Peter, 
had been gradually ripening all this while. But the facts 
that had now partly emerged rather staggered her. 

Mrs. Birse thought on the subject for days, with much 
frequency, turning it in her mind first in one shape, then in 
another. If she had known who the girl was, but this Peter 
stubbornly refused to tell and, indeed, generally remained 
in a sulky state of mind her feelings would certainly have 
carried her the length of seeking the damsel out on set 
purpose to upbraid and snub her for the audacious imperti 
nence which, in such a sphere of life, could allow itself to be 
the object of admiration on the part of a wealthy and genteel 
farmer's son. Then would her thoughts revert, with a sort 
of angry feeling, to Peter Birse senior, as she remembered 
all his vulgarities ; and I fear she sometimes audibly hinted 
at his baleful responsibility in this whole matter ; and Peter 
slunk silently away to escape the heinous imputation. To- 
wams Peter Birse junior her feelings had nothing of acri 
mony or heat in them. The notion of evil existing in her 
excellent son, otherwise than as it might have come by in 
evitable inheritance from his father, had not, in the least, 
entered her head. How, then, could she be angry with 

The general result of these Lowrin Fair transactions 
then, was, first, to leave Mrs. Birse in a state of some dubiety 
about her son. That dubiety, however, she had made up 
her mind should be removed before long. Only a little 
more of explicitness on the part of Peter junior was needed 
to enable her to institute whatever proceedings the case 
might demand ; and she knew a little time was required to 
allow the amiable young man to get over his present sullen 
mood. When he had so far relaxed, she knew it would 
require only a little tycein to induce him to pour forth all 
that was in his heart. So she would bide her time. Then, 
in so far as her husband was concerned, she had got, as she 
believed, most righteous cause for putting her ban on any 


further intercourse of a friendly nature between him and 
Dawvid Hadden. Peter had, as he imagined, been working 
up to the point when he could, with telling practical effect, 
bring in Dawvid Hadden's authority to impose a check on 
the headlong course his wife seemed determined on following 
in kirk matters. But, lo, his hopes were blasted at once 
and conclusively ; for, slow i' the uptak as Peter was, he 
could not but feel that, after the recent morning's overhaul, 
the quotation of Dawvid's name in support of his position 
must be a good deal worse than useless. Poor Peter ! 
his state of mind was far from a comfortable one. How 
willingly would he have given vent to his perplexities and 
regrets to Mains of Yawal, to Mr. Sleekaboot, even to 
Jonathan Tawse, or anybody who could sympathise in his 
sentiments, and concurrently deplore with him what was 
likely to happen if things went on in the direction in 
which his non-intrusion neighbours were driving them. 
But then the thought that Mrs. Birse might find it all out, 
haunted him, and he could only obtain a solace for his 
troubled mind by turning to his own servant, Tarn Meerison, 
now a staid married man, and, as opportunity offered, dis 
closing to Tarn the burdened state of his feelings. 



THE uniform and deep interest which Mrs. Birse of Clink- 
style manifested in the welfare of her family was clearly 
seen in her anxious desire to reach a full acquaintance with 
those causes that had led to her eldest son, Peter, coming 
home from Lowrin Fair slightly damaged in person, and 
considerably soured in spirit; and not less so in the course 
she adopted with a view to setting the young man up again, 
and inducing him to go on in the path chalked out for him 
by maternal wisdom and solicitude. In the first place, with 
a view to stimulate in Peter that sentiment of grateful con 
fidence which was likely to lead to a full disclosure of the 
troubles that had been weighing on his spirit, she resolved 
to surprise him with a very handsome present. About that 
date, plush waistcoats were an object of strong desire with 
many young men of Peter's years and tastes : plush waist 
coats, double-breasted, and with many pearl buttons on 
them. Such a waistcoat of blue plush was a garment of 
high attractions, but one of red plush fairly outdid it, and 
put its owner in a position of singular distinction. There 
was just a little doubt in Mrs. Birse's mind whether a plush 
vest was to be reckoned genteel. Miss Birse had pro 
nounced it vulgar ; but then it was well enough understood 
that the heart of Peter Birse junior was set upon having 
that very article of clothing, and it was not to be expected 
that Peter should change his mind for anything his sister 


might say ; indeed, the contrary effect was certain to be 
produced. Therefore, to gratify his wish now was very 
much in the nature of making a virtue of necessity not to 
speak of the object to be directly attained in so doing. Mrs. 
Birse went to the Kirktown, and ascertained through Jock 
Will, now promoted to the dignity of apprentice to Andrew 
Langchafts, that the merchan' had on his shelves a piece of 
red plush, which he might be concussed into selling on very 
reasonable terms, inasmuch as it had proved hitherto to be 
dead stock, being an article quite beyond the mark of the 
ordinary beaux of Pyketillim. 

" The merchan' 's nae in, is he, laddie ? " asked Mrs. Birse, 
turning over the pieces of plush on the counter. 

" No, nae eenoo," was Jock's reply. 

" But ye say the reid bit 's never been price' t ?" 

" I heard 'im sayin' that." 

" Weel, aw dinna won'er at it lyin' tooshtin aboot there 
till it 's fooshtit and half ate'n wi' the mochs. Cut ye aff a 
yaird an' a finger-length than, an' gi'e me a dizzen o' pearl 
buttons, an' we'll sattle aboot the price wi' 'imsel' Na, Jock, 
but ye are a braw man noo," continued Mrs. Birse, as Jock 
went on to fulfil her orders in a business-like style. " Nae 
less nor cairryin a shears i' yer waistcoat pouch already; 
aw wudna won'er to see ye wi' a chop o' yer nain yet." 

Jock laughed his own quiet laugh, and went on with 
his work. 

The announcement of the red plush vest had a highly 
salutary effect upon Peter Birse junior. He now relaxed 
with a suddenness that made the muscles of his face feel 
the thaw almost uncomfortably ; he would have desired that 
the severity of his countenance should have disappeared 
more gradually, but the sight of the red plush was too much 
for him his mother had taken care to bring the unmade 
piece home with the pearl buttons to display them before 
his eyes. 

It was in the parlour, and they two were alone by them 

" Noo, Patie, man," said Mrs. Birse, with affecting em- 


phasis ; " fa '11 dee as muckle for ye as yer nain mither ? 
Gin her held war caul i' the mools, aw doot there 's fyou 
wud leuk aifter ye as she wud dee." 

Mrs. Birse endeavoured to look pathetic. Peter cer 
tainly did look sheepish for some minutes ; and, in so far as 
he was able to distract his eye and his consciousness from 
the piece of red plush, he let his thoughts dwell next on 
what his mother had said, as he blurted out " Hoot, fat 's 
the eese o' speakin' that gate ? I 'm sure I 'm nae afen in 
an ill teen." And then Peter became confidential, and in 
formed his mother how, failing to find his attentions duly 
reciprocated by Mary Howie, he had gone to Lowrin Fair 
in a somewhat desperate mood ; how, at an advanced period 
of the fair, the determination had seized him to exhibit his 
gallantry independently, by walking home with a servant 
girl who was a mere casual acquaintance ; so Peter said, the 
truth being that the girl was a former servant of Mrs. 
Birse's own; and how, as she happened to have another 
beau, certain little unpleasantnesses had occurred, and Peter, 
in addition to the slight amount of damage he had sustained, 
writhed greatly under the idea that he had been laughed at, 
a sort of ordeal he greatly disliked. 

" Ay weel, weel, Patie, man : that 's jist a bit lesson to 
ye," said Mrs. Birse, who had now dismissed her charnel- 
house tone. "Them 't sets to coortin the lasses maun 
temper their nose to the east win' as weel 's the south." 

" I wasna wuntin her /" quoth Peter, bluntly. 

" Na, I 'm richt weel seer 't ye wud never leuk owre yer 
shooder at nae servan' quine. But, my laddie, min' ye 're 
nae to be bauch an' chucken-hertit though Mary Howie sud 
gie her heid a bit cast files at the first. That 's nae mark ; 
she may be rael prood to be name't to ye. An' min' ye that 
Mary 's grown a strappin, weel-faur't lass : an' though she 
hisna the menners nor edication o' yer sister " 

" Hah ! I dinna care a tinkler's curse for menners," ex 
claimed Peter, candidly, "gin aw cud get 'er." 

" An' she 's a richt servan'," continued his mamma, not 
heeding the interruption ; " an' fan the auF fowk wears awa' 


ye wud be seer to get the muckle feck o' fat they hae gin 
ye play'd yer cairts the richt gate ; for Gushets has nae near 
freens o' 's nain. An' ye mith aiven, in coorse o' naitur, 
come into Gushetneuk itsel', tee. It 's a likeable spot, an' 
richt weel-in-hert kin'ly grun'ie." 

" But fat wud aw dee wi' Gushetneuk ? Aw thocht I 
was to get oor ain toon ; amnin aw ?" 

" Seerly ; but hear me oot. Ye cud manage baith pairts, 
brawly. Though fowk grows aul' in coorse o' time, yer fader 
an' me maun hae some gate to bide. An' wi' Eobbie intill 
anither place, an' Benjie at's buzness, we cud live there fine; 
awat it 's a richt gweed hoose, gin it hed but a back chimley 
bigget ; only there 's little eese o' that as lang's the like o' 
Mr. an' Mrs. Gibb has 't. Your fader cud trock aboot at 's 
leasure on a placie like Gushetneuk ; he wud be aye worth 's 
breid ; an' lat you tak' chairge an' mak' market for baith 

"Weel, that wud dee fine," said Peter Birse junior, 
brightening up at the brilliant prospect thus opened up to 
him. His countenance fell, however, as he added, " But I 
dinna ken gin she cares for 's ava." 

"Care for ye ? Fat wud pit that styte i' yer head?" 

" Weel, at ony rate, ye ken, I bocht sweeties at St. Saar's 
Fair an' fuish till 'er " 

"Weel, an' didna she tak' them ?" 

" Ou ay, but I 'm maist sure 't she hed taul' Jock Wull, 
for they war lauchin' at 's aboot the chop, upo' Saiterday's 

"Lat them lauch that wins, Peter, man. Jock Wull 
wud need it. Fat's he the sin o' a peer nace nyaukit 
beggar creatur, 't hisna passin' a gweed barrow load o' 
wardle's gear to bless 'ersel wi' ! Set JiimseV up wi' the 
like o' you, though ye warna my son ! The impidence o' 
creaturs is a perfect scunner. But never ye min' Jock 
Wull ; an' he gae far that road they '11 seen get their sairin 
o' him, an' 's mither tee ; an' little maitter, weel-a-wat. Gin 
I hed bit kent that afore I gaed to the chop, no !" added 
Mrs. Birse, in a subdued key. 


" But he gaes hame wi' 'er mony a time ; an' fan I try't 
to get her to come hame wi' me fae the Ward at Yeel, she 
made fun o' 's a file, an' syne, aifter aw thocht she wud 
dee 't, gaed aff wi' aul' marriet fowk." 

" ' Fant hert never wan fair dame,' Peter," said Mrs. 
Birse, with a half scornful laugh. " That 's been the gate 
wi' mair nor Mary Howie, as yer nain fader cud tell, an' he 
war willin'. Mony was the 'put an' row' wi' him ere he gat 
muckle audiscence, I can tell ye. But though he wusna the 
young man o' a braw fairm than, he made it oot at the lang 
len'th, by dent o' patience an' perseverance." 

" Weel, but gin she like Jock Wull better," argued Peter, 
upon whom the green-eyed monster was operating so sensibly 
that the image of his, as he believed, more successful rival 
would not leave his mind. 

" Gae 'wa' wi' ye !" exclaimed his mother, with some 
impatience. "Fear't at Jock "Wull, an apprentice loon in 
a bit orra choppie, an' you as weel plenish't a fairmer's sin 
as there is i' the pairis' ! For shame to ye, Peter, man, 't 
ye hae so little spunk." 

"Cudna ye fesh't aboot nae wye to Mrs. Gibb than?" 
asked the gallant youth. 

Mrs. Birse, after a moment's reflection, assented to this 
suggestion, and agreed to do her best with both Johnny and 
Mrs. Gibb, to pave the way more directly for Peter's matri 
monial campaign. Meanwhile, she further exhorted Peter 
to pursue the same resolutely on his own account. 



To Johnny Gibb the summer of 1842 was a season of 
unusual mental activity. The great Kirk controversy was 
waxing hotter and hotter, and a crisis, in some shape, 
seemed certain at no distant date. The spring of that year 
had seen the settlement of a minister in a Strathbogie 
parish, in anticipation of which it had been deemed prudent, 
after what had occurred at Culsalmond, actually to have 
a company of soldiers conveyed from Aberdeen to the 
neighbourhood. The settlement took place quietly enough, 
but the fact that the moderatism of the Church had indi 
cated its temper in this militant fashion could not fail to 
arouse still more deeply the belligerent element in a nature 
like that of Johnny Gibb. He declared that things could 
not stop short of a rebellion, which would put that of the 
Forty-five in the shade. Then, at the General Assembly, 
the deposed ministers of Strathbogie both presented com 
missions for those of their own number whom they chose to 
send up, and also offered at the bar of that right reverend 
house a Court of Session interdict against those of the 
minority of their brethren from the Presbytery, who had 
been elected commissioners, and who, according to the 
Assembly's own previous decision, were the only true repre 
sentatives of the Presbytery. When the news of this had 
travelled north to Gushetneuk, through the medium, in the 
latter part of its journey, of a steady-going Aberdeen news- 


paper, which Johnny Gibb, notwithstanding that its opinions 
differed toto ccelo from his own, continued to peruse with 
regularity, Johnny hastened down in the gloamin to Smiddy- 
ward to relieve his overwrought mind by some conversation 
with the souter and the smith. 

" I tell ye fat it is," said Johnny, " they winna halt till 
the earth open an' swallow up a batch o' them like Korah, 
Dathan, an' Abiram." 

" Nae doot we 're comin' upo' times o' trial," answered 
the souter, " but it chaets me sair gin a' this heemlin creen- 
gin to the Coort o' Session binna jist i' the wye o' plantin' 
a saplin' to grow the stick that '11 brak their nain heids some 
day yet." 

" That means 't punishment winna owretak' the Moderates 
in a han'-clap, as it cam' upo' Korah an' 's company," said 
the smith. "But hae the Stra'bogie Moderates actually 
been alloo't to tak' their seats i' the Assembly, you that's 
seen the papers ?" 

" Na, man : I hinna wull o' 't. Ill that we are, we 're 
nae come to that yet," said Johnny. " But nae fyour nor 
eighty-five votit for them, an' twa hunner an* fifteen against; 
an' their enterdick to keep oot Maister Dewar, Maister Leith, 
an' this Mawjor Stewart, the rowlin el'er, was cas'n by a 
hunner an' seventy-three voters to seventy-sax." 

" Gweed fair majorities that, Gushets ; they 're sair i' the 
backgrun, ye see." 

"Ay, but leuk at oor parliamenters, the heid deesters 
amo' them ken so little aboot richt prenciples in kirk 
matters. This Graham 's nae sair to ride the water on wi' 
that nor nae ither thing ; an' Lord Aiberdeen's bit milk- 
and-water schaime 's far fae the richt thing." 

" Jist like ither half-an'-half mizzours," said the souter. 
" It '11 dee mair ill nor gweed i' the lang rin. Ye canna 
serve God an' mammon, aiven wi' a bull oot o' Parliament. 
But ye 're comin' unco near't there, Gushets. The fattal 
thing 's nae that there 's a camp o' Moderates to conten' 
against : lat them stan upo' their nain shee soles, an' they 
wud be scatter't like cauff afore the win' ; but dinna ye see 


that they 're playin' into the han's o' a set o' men that hae 
poo'er o' their side, an' owre af en but little o' the fear o' 
Gweed afore their een ? " 

" The Government, ye mean ? " said the smith. 

" An' the Coort o' Session," added Johnny. 

" Ay," continued the souter, " an' the pawtrons." 

" True, true," interposed Johnny Gibb, " the thing 's 
rotten, reet an' crap." 

" Nae doot o' that ; but leuk at this," and the souter 
took up a newspaper containing a report of the General 
Assembly, which he had carefully conned. "Here's the 
debate on pawtronage ' Mr. Cunningham moved that the 
Assembly resolve and declare that patronage is a grievance, 
has been attended with much injury to the cause of true 
religion in the Church and kingdom, is the main cause of 
the difficulties in which the Church is at present involved, 
and that it ought to be abolished ; ' that was sec-ondit by 
ane Mr. Buchan o' Kelloe, an extensive lan'it proprietor i' 
the Border coonty o' Berwickshire, Mr. Macrory tauT me. 
Too cu,d ony richt-thinkin' man back-speak a motion like 
that noo ? " 

" I daursay Gushets winna dee't, but aw b'lieve him 
an' Maister Sleekaboot raither differs aboot the benefits 
o' pawtronage," said the smith, with a sly twinkle in his 

" I see 'brawly fat ye 're lattin at," answered Johnny. 
" An' nae thanks to Maister Sleekaboot to fawvour paw 
tronage, 't wud 'a never gotten a kirk ava haud awa' fae 't. 
But I'se gae nae farrer nor 'imsel' for preef o' the evils 
o' that system ; an ill -less, gweed-less creatur, ye may tell 
me, but nae mair fit to be minaister o' a pairis' nor a blin' 
man is to herd sheep. An' syne fat d'ye mak' o' sic oot- 
rages as Marnoch an' Culsalmon', to keep near han' hame ? " 

" Weel, takin' a' that 's come an' gane intill accoont, fat 
sud actually happen noo, but that nae less nor a hunner an' 
forty -seyven members o' Assembly sud vote against Mr. 
Cunningham's motion ; an' some nae far fae oor ain quarter 
spak' their warst against it ? " said the souter. 



" It was cairriet, though ? " queried the smith. 

" Ou ay, by a sma' majority : twa hunner and fifteen 
votit for 't. But see sic a han'le as that state o' maitters 
gi'es to them that's but owre weel-will't to be lords owre 
God's spiritual heritage, fan they can say, ' Oh, the tae half 
o' the kirk wants pawtronage.' But the rowle obteens 
throu' a' ' whatsoever a man soweth, that also shall he 
reap.' An' tak' ye my word for 't, the day '11 come yet that 
this pawtronage '11 be a bane that '11 stick i' the thrapple o' 
the Moderate pairty o' the Kirk o' Scotlan', seein' that they 
hed it in their poo'er to sweep it clean aff the face o' the 
Ian', but refees't to len' their assistance. An' it 's waefu' 
to see the num'er o' men that better things micht hae been 
expeckit o' takin' that time-sairin coorse. To them, also, 
may the words be appliet that oor freen sae af'en quotit : 

' The sons of Ephraim, who nor bows 

Nor other arms did lack ; 

When as the day of battle was, 

They faintly turned back/ 

Hooever, the Kirk's coorse has been made perfectly clear. 
Her ' Claim o' Eights,' mov't by Dr. Chalmers, an' sec-ondit 
by Dr. Gordon, 's been cairriet by twa hunner an' forty-one 
to a hunner an' ten ; an' we '11 see ane o' twa things the 
true Kirk o' Scotlan' restor't till her richtfu' claims, or leavin' 
her manses, kirks, an' stipen's for the sake o' her spiritual 

" It 's a perfeck trowth, souter ! " exclaimed Johnny 
Gibb. " Ye never spak' mair to the pint i' yer life. 
There '11 be a winnowin' o' the cauff fae the corn yet, wi' a 

When Johnny Gibb took his yearly journey to the 
Wells at Macduff, he could not fail to visit his friend, 
Maister Saunders, at Marnoch, who gave him a spirit- 
stirring narrative of how the miniature Disruption there 
had been carried through ; how they had worshipped in 
a quarry for a time ; how about twelve months previous 
to the date of Johnny Gibb's visit they had commenced 


to build a church and manse, to cost, together, well on to 
2000 ; and how subscriptions had come to them from east 
and west, from north and south, some even from across the 
Atlantic, insomuch that they had a goodly surplus, which 
they had trusted to invest as a partial endowment for their 
minister, who was now about to be inducted. On one point 
Johnny and Maister Saunders were quite clear that there 
must now be a separation of the wheat from the chaff ; that 
is to say, of the non-intrusion, or rather the evangelical, from 
the moderate element. Johnny returned, indeed, fully of 
opinion that the Kirk throughout would be rent in two, 
even after the manner of that which he had now seen with 
his own eyes on a small scale. " Lat it come," said Johnny; 
" onything to roose the countra fae the caul' morality o' a 
deid moderatism." Of course Johnny spoke strongly ; but 
in that particular he was not singular ; strong language was 
common on both sides. Even able editors on the side to 
which he was opposed, as Johnny heard and read, designated 
the leaders and clerical party in whom he believed by such 
choice designations as "Edinburgh popes," "Candlish & Co.," 
" highflyers," " wild men," " agitators," " reckless disturbers 
of the peace of the Church," and so on ; and in point of 
warmth and " personality " the addresses of the fathers and 
brethren when they met were at times rather well worth 
hearing by those who relished anything in that vein. At 
the meeting of the Synod of Aberdeen, in October of this 
year, the moderate party had the upper hand they carried 
their candidate for the moderatorship, Mr. Watt, Foveran, by 
79 votes to 58 for Mr. Simpson, Trinity Church, Aberdeen, 
proposed by the other side ; and also, after a fair amount of 
rather pointed talk, carried a resolution to admit to the 
sittings of the Synod the ministers of the Garioch Presby 
tery, who had been suspended for their part in the Cul- 
salmond business. In a subsequent discussion one rev. 
brother observed that, " the blighting influence of modera 
tism had been thrown over all their institutions ; and even 
its corrupting hand had been thrown over their colleges 
and universities, rendering them rather the schools of hell 



than of heaven ; " whereupon two other rev. brethren sug 
gested whether the speaker's words should not be taken 
down, with a view to ulterior proceedings, while a third 
rather thought it might " be better to hear them with silent 



WITH the November "Convocation" of 1842, the ferment 
within the Kirk of Scotland reached about as great a pitch 
of intensity as it was possible for it to attain. While on 
the one hand the results of the gathering of over 400 minis 
ters of the evangelical section in Edinburgh was held to 
give great encouragement to the non-intrusion party, it was 
predicted on the other " that the reign of fanaticism was 
near an end, and the triumph of moderatism and rational 
religion at hand." In a few weeks thereafter meetings 
began to be held here and there in the interest of the non 
intrusion party, for the purpose of giving all who were de 
sirous of receiving it, information " on the present state of 
the Church ; " and affording to the people the opportunity 
of subscribing papers declaring their adherence to the resolu 
tions of the Convocation. The attempt to hold such meet 
ings in parishes where the ministers leant to the moderate 
side was denounced in language more vehement than polite. 
Jonathan Tawse was only re-echoing in a strictly literal way 
what he had read in very legible print in a Tory newspaper, 
when he characterised it as " a dirty and disgusting " pro 
ceeding. " But," added Jonathan, " the fanatics winna try 
that here they '11 never come this length." 

" Cudna they be ta'en an order o' gin they war to dee't ?" 
asked Mains of Yawal, to whom Jonathan had addressed the 
foregoing remark, as they walked amicably home, one Sunday 
afternoon, after counting the bawbees. 


" Nae doot o' 't," answered Jonathan, promptly. " It 's 
against baith ecclesiastical an' statute law." 

" An' wud it be a fine or jilein, than ?" 

" That depen's o' the form o' trial ; there micht be 
discipline, inferrin' censure, an' deprivation o' status an' 
privileges ; or a process i' the ceevil coorts." 

" An' filk o' them wud be warst likein ?" inquired Mains, 
who was anxious to be informed, but rather bewildered by 
Jonathan's learned deliverance. 

" Ou, that 's jist as ye set maist store o' yer pride or yer 
purse ; a bit canny joukin to lat the jaw gae owre 's nae 
thrown awa' wi' presbyteries eeswally ; nor heritors either," 
added Jonathan, with a slight tinge of bitterness, as he 
thought how scantily his own merits had been appreciated 
by that class. 

" Weel, aw dinna ken : it 's an unco time," said Mains, 
" 't peaceable fowk canna be latt'n aleen. I kenna fat they 
wud hae ; there 's been nae ane meddlin' wi' the kirk cep 
some o' that Edinboro' fowk, an' noo they 're begun aboot 
Aiberdeen tee, they say." 

The truth was that Mains had suffered one or two 
assaults from Johnny Gibb on this subject ; when, being an 
elder, it was, of course, needful to be able to give a reason 
for the faith that was in him. There was no want of will 
on his part to do so, but while Mains's zeal in defence of 
rational religion had been growing, his stock of polemical 
argument had not correspondingly increased, so that he had 
felt a little hard pressed in the matter ; and he therefore 
desired to avail himself as far as might be of the dominie's 
superior knowledge. Mains had now, as he believed, got 
such an insight into the law of the case as ought to stand 
him in some stead, if he could only bear in mind the phrases 
" ecclesiastical " and " statute " law. As his question indi 
cated, he was not quite so confident as Jonathan that the 
" ^ild men " might not even invade Pyketillim, if they were 
not frightened off betimes ; and he now articulately expressed 
his apprehensions on that head. 

" Fat !" exclaimed Jonathan Tawse ; " tell me that that 


ettercap, Gushetneuk, 's been thraet'nin' that the faces o' 
some o' them '11 be seen here ere lang ?" 

" I 'm nae biddin' ye tak' my word for 't, Maister Tawse, 
though he fell upo' me comin' oot o' An'ersmas Fair like a 
thoosan' o' divots, an' misca'd the minaister, an' said that he 
sud seen hae ane here that wud lat the fowk ken fat like he 
was ; but speir ye at Dawvid Hadden." 

" I 'm nae misdootin yer word, Mains ; he 's a disaffeckit 
creatur, an' likes to be i' the heid o' things. An' fan the 
like o' 'im 's amo' them that canna keep 'im in aboot, they '11 
gae gryte len'ths." 

The last remark was not exactly complimentary to Mains, 
who did not see its application clearly, however, but went 
on, " Ou weel, ye see, I wud 'a fun't wi' 'im a bit ; only he 
wudna haud a word o' me ; but was up i' my witters like a 
fechtin cock." 

" Was Dawvid wi' ye ?" 

" Na, na ; sin' ever that skweel meetin' i' the spring, 
Dawvid 's been i' the black beuks wi' 'im, an' wudna gae 
within a rig-len'th o' Gushets an' he cud help it." 

" Hoo cud he ken o' 's projecks than ?" 

" Weel, ye 11 min' o' the cheelie that was wi' me fern- 
year was a year, that leern't to be a mole-catcher." 

" Brawly a settril, braid-fac't chappie." 

" Ay, ay, jist that. He was at Gushetneuk a' hairst, 
an' 's been takin' moles i' the neebourheid throu' the en' o' 
the year. Weel, Gushet's pitten him as heich's himsel' 
aboot this non-intrusion wark. He 's aye eikin 'im up, an' 
Dawvid, fan he 's on 's roun's, lats at him fanever they 
meet, aboot the kirk ; an' syne Molie canna hae 't an' haud 
it, ye ken." 

" Ou ay, an' Dawvid acks the moudiewort wi' Mm /" 

" Weel, ye ken, Molie 's a simple cheelie, an' Dawvid 
gets onything that 's gyaun on wi' Gushets, aw b'lieve, seener 
throu' him nor he cud dee ony ither gate." 

" Vera like Dawvid's sneck-drawin'; he was aye a 
straucht-oot-the-gate callant !" said Jonathan, with a very 
obvious sneer at the zealous ground-officer's proclivities. 


But although Jonathan could be sarcastic about Dawvid 
Hadden in friendly conference with his brother elder, he 
was far from being averse to availing himself, as opportunity 
served, of Dawvid's gossip about the local feeling in kirk 
matters. Jonathan had, in fact, begun to regard himself as 
a sort of guardian of " rational religion " in the parish. The 
Eev. Andrew Sleekaboot held opinions more orthodox than 
his own, probably, anent the sacred rights of the patron, 
and the pernicious fanaticism which would question the 
powers of the Civil Court ; but what then, if the Rev. 
Andrew Sleekaboot with the exception of a quiet thrust 
from the pulpit occasionally was rather studious to avoid 
collision, than desirous of enforcing his authority upon those 
of his parishioners who were manifesting a tendency to 
follow divisive courses ? Mr. Sleekaboot believed in patient 
waiting ; the spirit of fanaticism, he still said, would die 
out. But even although the whirligig of time might bring 
about a properly sobered state of mind among these people, 
the process was altogether too tedious for the Rev. Jonathan 
Tawse's temper. And he had become fully determined to 
strike a blow for Kirk and State, whenever and wherever 
occasion offered. 

Therefore it was that, when, on a certain evening not 
many days after the occurrence of the foregoing conversation, 
Jonathan Tawse caught sight of Dawvid Hadden passing 
the end of the school homeward, he hailed him with the 
utmost frankness, and invited Dawvid in to take sneeshin 
and a drink of ale. 

" An' fan saw ye Gushetneuk ?" asked Jonathan. 

" Weel, I foryet noo," said Dawvid, thoughtfully. " It 's 
nae time syne ; but I 'm seein' sae mony daily day." 

" Is he as keen o' the kirk sin' ye gae 'im sic a fleg aboot 
Hairry Muggart's meetin' ? " 

" Weel, they 've never daur't to try the like o' 't again ; 
an' I gar't Hairry 'imsel' shak' in 's sheen aboot that at ony 

" An' Gushets I 've nae doot he wud be o' the steel o 
repentance aboot it tee ?" 


" Hairry was a kin' o' heid deester there, ye see, an' it 
wusna worth my pains min'in' the lave." 

" 0-oh ! I thocht ye gae Gushets up 's fit Fat's this 't 
he 's been bullyraggin Mains aboot than ; anither meetin' 
that he 's to hand at the Ward wi' some o' the highflyers ?" 

" I cud maybe tell ye that tee, Maister Tawse," said 
Dawvid with an air of some consequence. 

" I dinna doot it, Dawvid ; I dinna doot it. Ye 've a 
gran' scent for fin'in' oot the like o' that, man." 

" It maitters-na fat wye I fan 't oot ; but I'm quite awaar 
't they've set the nicht for a meetin' wi' ane o' the rovin' 
commission, doon at Peterkin's hole o' a skweel." 

" So the mole-catcher creatur was sayin', I believe," 
remarked Jonathan, wickedly. 

" Maybe," said Dawvid, in a half offended tone ; " an' 
nae doot he wud tell ye a hantle mair nor the like o' me 
cud dee aboot it." 

" Na, na ; he only said that Gushets sud say that he was 
quite prepar't to set the laird's delegate, Dawvid Hadden, at 

" An' did he tell ye fat authority the ' laird's delegate ' 
hed fae Sir Simon 'imsel' to enterdick ony sic meetin', an' 
fat mizzours he hed ta'en ere noo to pit a stop till't?" 
asked Dawvid, promptly. 

These were points that Jonathan really desired to know 
definitely about, so he gave up the bantering tone, and by a 
little judicious flattery induced Dawvid to explain to him 
how, on the evening of next Friday, which was fixed for 
the meeting, he proposed being down with a body of men 
and some dogs absolutely to prevent the assembling of a 
non-intrusion meeting in the Smiddyward school. A letter 
he had received from Sir Simon gave him full authority to 
adopt that course (as Dawvid interpreted it) ; and Jonathan 
Tawse, who, as the conversation went on, had latterly waxed 
warm on the subject, not merely approved of the scheme, 
but declared he would be present himself, along with some 
of his trusty personal friends, to give what aid might be 



"Friday nicht at seven o'clock we'se gi'e Gushets 
an' 's non-intrusionists as snell a nizzen as they Ve gotten 
yet. Gweed nicht, Dawvid," said the dominie. 

" Gweed nicht, sir : an' I '11 be stappin," answered 

And so they parted. 



WHEN the Eev. Jonathan Tawse was to have a dinner party, 
the laddies at the school were sure to become quite aware 
of what was about to take place. The external symptoms 
of the coming event were visible in Jonathan's person and 
movements. He sowffed more to himself than usual, in an 
abstracted way, on these days ; one or other of the lessons 
was sure to be curtailed, and more of them were slurred 
over, for Jonathan had to go out repeatedly to the kitchen 
through the middle door to confer with Baubie, his house 
keeper ; then, though we might be taken into school sharp 
at the end of the play hour, we knew that this would be 
more than made up by the promptitude with which we 
should be dismissed at a quarter after three, in place of an 
hour later. And above all just as it was wont to be in the 
years before, on the days when Lord Kintore, and that great 
hero of our youthful imagination, Joe Grant, the huntsman, 
came round on a fox hunt we knew perfectly well there 
would be no risk of lickin', unless for offences of the most 
outrageous kind. 

On this side of it, Jonathan's character called forth my 
warmest admiration at the time ; and, indeed, I don't know 
that I am called upon to qualify that admiration in any 
material degree even yet. At any rate, that he was a jovial 
and kindly host on those occasions was not to be doubted. 
It was testified by the very countenances of his visitors as 


they were sometimes seen by us assembling about the entry 
door, ere we began to take our loitering departure homeward. 

It was on the afternoon of the Friday on which, as 
Dawvid Hadden had informed Jonathan Tawse, Johnny 
Gibb and his non- intrusion friends were to have their 
evening meeting, that Jonathan's pupils were set agog by 
symptoms of the nature of those referred to. Jonathan was 
fully bent on carrying out the resolution he had announced 
to Dawvid, of going down to Smiddyward school, and inter 
posing an authoritative check to the proceedings of the 
fanatics, against whom his gorge had been gradually rising 
for many months. And he deemed it suitable to assemble 
a few of his friends, staunch and true champions of moderate 
religion, who should accompany him in the guise of faithful 
witnesses. The company included Mains of Yawal, Teuchits- 
myre, and Braeside, who, of course, as his fellow-elders, could 
not be omitted, and Dr. Drogemweal junior, to whom he 
had written a note, specially explaining the object of the 
meeting. The doctor, as may be here said, was a great 
fleshy-looking fellow, about thirty, or a few years beyond it. 
He was not to be termed brilliant as a professional man. 
His grand characteristics seemed to be the enjoyment of 
robust animal health, and love of good fellowship ; and ' his 
present zeal for the Kirk of Scotland was somewhat difficult 
to account for, seeing his attendance at church on Sundays 
did not average much over once in twelve months. 

The dinner was a capital dinner, for Baubie's capabilities 
as a cook were unimpeachable, and she waited no less 
efficiently than she cooked. Her master spoke familiarly 
to her, and Baubie, in turn, spoke just as familiarly to the 
guests. And thus, as Braeside sat masticating, long and 
seriously, with his knife and fork in either hand, set in a 
perpendicular attitude on the table, she would coaxingly urge 
him to " see an' mak' a denner o' 't, noo ; an' nae min' fowk 't 
eats as gin they war on a waager ;" while to Drogemweal's 
mock profession of his sense of obligation to her for the 
numerous good dinners she had provided for him, she retorted 
promptly, " Oh, it 's weel kent that at'en maet 's ill to pay." 


" Ye hae 'im there, Bauble, at ony rate," quoth the 
dominie. " If ye had been wise, doctor, ye wud 'a keepit 
by the aul' proverb that says, 'Dit your mou' wi' your 
meat.' Isna that the wye o' 't, Mains ?" 

Mains, who had been acting on the proverb by keeping 
perfect silence, and attending to his dinner, declared his 
belief that the dominie was quite right, and added something 
about Jonathan's "leernin" giving him such an advantage, 
in a wide comprehension of these " aul', auncient byewords." 

When the dinner was finished, they had their toddy. 
There were yet two hours to the time of meeting ; and in 
the interval they would discuss the general aspect of affairs. 
So, after they had concocted the first tumbler, and duly 
pledged each other, Jonathan took up an Aberdeen news 
paper, wherein were recorded certain of the proceedings 
of the evangelical ministers, who were visiting different 
parishes, for the purpose of holding meetings. First he put 
on his "specs," and next he selected and read out several 
paragraphs, with such headings as "THE SCHISMATICS IN 
A ;" " THE FIRE-RAISERS IN B ," and so on, wind 
ing up this part with the concluding words of one such 
paragraph, which were these " So ended this compound of 
vain, false, and seditious statements on the position of the 
Church, and which must have been most offensive to every 
friend of truth, peace, or loyalty who heard it." 

" I say Amen to ilka word o' that," said Dr. Drogemweal. 
" Sneevellin hypocrites. That 's your non-intrusion meetin's. 
It concerns every loyal subject to hae them pitten doon." 

" Here 's fat the editor says in a weel-reason't, an vera 
calm an' temperate article," continued Jonathan " he 's 
speakin' o' the fire-raisers c How much reliance could be 
placed on the kind of information communicated by these 
reverend gentlemen will be readily imagined by such of our 
readers as have read or listened to any of the harangues 
which the schismatics are so liberally dealing forth. If 
simple laymen, in pursuing objects of interest or ambition, 
were to be guilty of half the misrepresentation of facts and 
concealment of the truth which are now, it would seem, 


thought not unbecoming on the part of Evangelical ministers, 
they would be justly scouted from society.' That 's fat I 
ca' sen'in' the airrow straucht to the mark." 

" Seerly," interposed Mains, who had been listening with 
much gravity. 

" A weel-feather't shaft tee," said Dr. DrogemweaL 
" An' it 's perfectly true, ilka word o' 't. They 're nae 
better o' the ae han' nor incendiaries, wan'erin' here an' 
there to raise strife amo' peaceable fowk ; and syne their 
harangues a clean perversion o' the constitutional law, an' 
veelirit abuse o' the institutions o' the countra." 

" Did ye hear sic a rouse as they hed wi' them doon in 
Fintray last week ?" asked the doctor. 

" No ; the paper disna come till the morn," answered 

" I wud 'a gi'en a bottle o' black strap till 'a been there ; 
an' it was jist the barest chance that I didna hear o' 't in 
time," said Dr. DrogemweaL 
" Was there a row ? " 

" Row ! ay was there. An' maugre the leather lungs o' 
them, the fowk roar't them doon whan they try't to get up 
a meetin' in a mannie Knicht's barn ; an', fan they saw 't it 
was like to be a case o' physical force, they war fore 't to 
skulk oot o' the pairish, like as mony tykes wi' their tails 
atween their legs. That 's the style for the non-intrusion 
fanatics, Mr. Tawse." 

" Weel, I never thocht they wud be ill to beat at argu 
ment ; but they dinna deserve a hearin', it maun be alloo't. 
They hinna a fit to stan' upon i' the licht o' logic and 
common sense, lat alane statute law." 

" Na, na ; a < staffy-nevel job,' 's aul' Skinner has 't," 
exclaimed the doctor, with emphasis, refilling his tumbler. 
" Physical force is the argument for them." 

Mains and his fellow-elders had been rather thrown out 
in this conversation, and while it still went on, Braeside, 
whose attitude had been purely that of a listener, now vent 
ured to ask his neighbour, quietly, " Fat dis he mean, Mains, 
by aye speakin' o' ' feesikle force ' Is 't ony kin' o' drogs ?" 



"Na, na," answered Mains, who was gratified to find 
himself in a position to give instruction on this occasion. 
" ( Feesikle force ' jist means to lay fae ye a' 't ye 're able." 

" Keep 's an' guide 's," said Braeside, " that seerly canna 
be fat he means ; there 's never been nae ill neepourheid 
amo' the fowk roon hereaboot." 

" Weel, it 's their nain blame/' answered Mains, vaguely. 

"Fat is't, boys?" shouted Drogemweal. "Keep the 
bottle gaen there thank ye. Ye '11 need to lat the fanatics 
see that they winna come here for naething." 

" We wus jist speakin' aboot ' feesikle force/ doctor," 
answered Mains, confidently. 

" Ou ay ; physical force, if it be necessary. Mr. 
Tawse '11 gi'e them jaw ; an' I think for wecht at the ither 
style o' argument, 'we three' sud haud our ain. But 
they 're to hae nae meetin' here at ony rate." 

"Dawvid Hadden'll dee that pairt o' 't, dootless," said 
Jonathan, " if he be as gweed 's his word." 

" Yon bit pernicketty wallydraggle ! He'll dee some 
service, or than no." 

" He 's airm't wi' poo'er fae the laird, though so I 
b'lieve to keep them oot o' their conventicle. But jist 
pit roun' the kettlie there, an' haud gaen. We '11 need to 
start in a few minutes/' 

" My certie, ye 're richt ; it 's the quarter past six," 
said Dr. Drogemweal, looking up at Jonathan's eight-day 
clock. " We maun start at ance, or they may be a' gaither't 
afore we win there." 

The doctor then gulped down the remaining contents of 
his tumbler, and Jonathan having given Baubie orders to 
have a haddock ready by the time Dr. Drogemweal and he 
should return, an hour and a half or so thereafter, the 
valiant Church defenders set out for Smiddyward school, 
Jonathan and the doctor marching in front, the latter with 
a big stick in his hand, and Mains, Teuchitsmyre, and Brae- 
side, who had begun to be a little uncertain of the part they 
were expected to play, following behind. 



WHILE Jonathan Tawse and his friends plodded down 
towards the hamlet of Smiddyward, they had, as I have 
indicated, separated into two groups, Jonathan and Dr. 
Drogemweal going in front, while Mains of Yawal and the 
other elders gradually fell behind, to the distance of about 
ten yards. It was a cloudy evening in February, though 
partial moonlight helped somewhat to lighten the darkness 
of the way. When they had reached to within about a 
furlong of the Ward, at the point where the road leading 
from the hamlet joined the kirk road, some one passed them 
going in the opposite direction. 

" Eh, man !" exclaimed Braeside, after stopping and 
looking for a second or two in the direction in which the 
figure had gone, " an* that binna Dawvid Hadden, it 's seerly 
his wraith." 

" It canna be Dawvid," answered Mains, " for we ken 't 
he '11 be doon at the Ward skweel afore 's." 

" That 's as lucky at ony rate," said Braeside, " for I 'm 
nae jist vera keerious about that doctor's protticks, an' 
Dawvid 's hed a hantle o' expairience 'serve 's, it wud 
be an unco thing to gar fowk get ill-willers amo' their 

" Weel, but ye see they 're brakin the staito law o' the 
kwintra," replied Mains ; " speer ye at Maister Tawse an* 
he '11 tell ye the same." 


" It 's a terrible daurin thing to gae on in sic a menner," 
said Teuchitsmyre. 

" Ou, aw 'm nae misdootin' 't ; but it disna weel to mak' 
fash amo' kent fowk," replied Braeside. 

In short, Braeside only deprecated conflict the more the 
nearer he and his friends came to the scene of action. They 
had passed Widow Will's cottage, and also the cottages of 
the smith and souter, where the lights, were burning cheerily 
inside. They had met two or three more people, but there 
was no great appearance of a meeting gathering. When 
they got up to the school, the windows were quite dark, and 
the door still fastened. 

" Owre early, ye see," said Jonathan. " We hed better 
step oot the loan a few yairds." 

" Countra fowk 's aye late," replied the doctor ; " but 
faur 's your advanc't guard wi' 's dogs ? He mitha been 
here at ony rate, by this time." 

" Nae fear ; he 's owre croose o' the subject nae to be 
here in time," said Jonathan. 

"Was that Dawvid Hadden ?" inquired Mains, after a 
pause of some duration. " 'Cause Braeside threepit owre 
hiz that yon was him 't we met at the glack o' the roads." 

" Dawvid Hadden ! " exclaimed the dominie, " Dawvid 
Hadden gyaun the center gate ?" 

" I 'm fell seer it was him, at ony rate," said Braeside. 

" Ye 've mista'en the hour ; an' we 're here afore the 
time," said Dr. Drogemweal. " What 's to be done ?" 

" Mithna we speer some gate ? " suggested Mains. 

Sandy Peterkin's school remained suspiciously dark and 
silent, and so, for that matter, did Sandy's house, too ; for 
when Dr. Drogemweal, who had gone off to ask about the 
meeting, came to the front of it, Sandy's modest window had 
the blind down, and there was no appearance of light within. 
The doctor rapped loudly on the door with his cudgel, and 
was in the act of rapping again, when " a fit " was heard 
coming down the loan, by the doctor's companions, who 
stood a little way back. The new arrival, who was walking 
rapidly, slackened his pace; and, as he approached the 


group, seemed to hesitate whether or not to stop. Stop he 
did, and a voice asked, " Is that you, Mains ?" 

"Ay" answered Mains, with that tone of dry reserve 
which a man adopts when he is in doubt about the identity 
or respectability of his questioner. 

" Aw doot ye 're mista'en, as weel 's some mair." 

" Ou, it 's you is 't, Molie," said Mains, in a mightily 
altered, and more human tone. 

" Ay, it 's a' 't 's for me," answered our old friend the 
gudge, cheerfully. " Ye wud be gyaun to the meetin' ? " 

"Weel," replied Mains, speaking very slowly, "Weel, 
Maister Tawse an* ane or twa o' 's jist tyeuk a stap doon 
the howe i' the gloamin' it 's a fine nicht." 

" It wus till 'a been i' the skweel, but they cheeng't it, 
ye ken," said the simple-minded gudge, not heeding Mains's 
rather obvious attempt at finesse. 

"Cheeng't it?" exclaimed Jonathan Tawse; "an' that 
creatur Hadden never to hint at sic a thing to me !" 

" But aw doot Dawvid's gotten 's nain leg drawn a wee 
bittie;" and the gudge laughed quietly. "It was only the 
streen that the meetin' was cheeng't ; an' I tyeuk a rin roun' 
to tell some o' the fowk aifter aw was laid bye for the day. 
Dawvid was doon in gran' time, aw b'lieve, as big 's the vera 
Sir 'imsel* ye've seerly met 'im. He's hame nae time 
syne in a terrible bung." 

The gudge's information was rather more copious than 
palatable. But while Jonathan Tawse and his other friends 
were endeavouring to ruminate thereon, Dr. Drogemweal, 
who had returned from his ineffectual assault on Sandy 
Peterkin's door, asked, in a peremptory tone, " An' when 's 
the meetin' to be held, noo ?" 

" Ou, the nicht, the nicht," said the gudge. 

"An' where's it to be?" 

" I' the bam at Gushetneuk. There cudna be a better 
place. Aw 'm seer ye ken, Mains, sic scouth 's there is i' 
the strae en' ahin the thrashin' mull. An' ye mitha seen 
's fae yer nain toon biggin oot the strae i' the aifterneen." 
The gudge paused ; and, there being no reply, he continued, 


" Weel, 1 11 need to be stappin' ; for aw hinna wull 't aw 
war late, an' they 're feckly a' up fae this side a filie syne. 
Aw 'm sure it 11 be a capital meetin'." 

And the mole-catcher moved briskly on his way. 

It was not altogether a pleasant predicament into which 
Jonathan Tawse and his friends had been led. The way in 
which things had taken the turn that had brought them 
into it was this. During the week, Dawvid Hadden had 
been unusually demonstrative not only in letting it be 
known what he was to do in the way of stopping the 
meeting, but also the authority by which he was to do it. 
Dawvid's object, of course, was to frighten the timid and 
wavering from showing face at the school. So far he had 
been successful, for not only was Peter Birse in a state of 
helpless agony, but even Hairry Muggart, when down at 
the Ward on some professional business, had left the impres 
sion on the souter and smith that there were really ground 
for Dawvid's boast that he had made Hairry " shak' in his 
sheen." The two friends, therefore, had begun to have 
some fears that the meeting might be spoilt in this way ; 
and, moreover, the souter raised the question strongly 
whether it was altogether fair to Sandy Peterkin to make 
him voluntarily invite ejection from his school by holding 
the meeting there. He would go to Johnny Gibb, and 
suggest to him the propriety of transferring the meeting to 
his own barn. At first blush of the proposal Johnny got 
hot, and denounced it as mere truckling to petty tyranny, 
but he speedily saw the matter in a different light, and set 
zealously about reddin' up the barn as a place to meet in. 

The change in the place of meeting had been intimated 
during the day as widely as possible, and probably none of 
the well-affected, who were likely to attend, had been left 
in ignorance of it. Nor was there any desire to keep others 
in the dark on the subject. Dawvid Hadden, even, had 
been indirectly informed very early in the afternoon ; but 
unhappily for himself, Dawvid had concluded it to be a 
ruse to throw him off the scent ; so Dawvid had observed 
that he was " owre aul' a sparrow to be ta'en wi' cauff." 


And the meeting in Johnny Gibb's barn was highly 
successful. Thither came the majority of the residenters 
at Smiddyward, including the souter, the smith, and Sandy 
Peterkin ; Andrew Langchafts, the merchan/ was there, and 
his apprentice, Jock Will. And Mrs. Birse brought with 
her Miss Birse, along with Peter senior and Peter junior ; 
Hairry Muggart, too, under the feeling that Dawvid Hadden 
was likely to keep at a respectable distance from Gushet- 
neuk, also put in ah appearance ; and the zeal of the mole- 
catcher had operated to the bringing out of a considerable 
number of farm servants, including his old rival Tarn 
Meerison, so that the available space in the barn was fully 
occupied. It had been intended to reinstate Hairry Muggart 
in the chair, but Hairry being rather shy of the honour on 
this occasion, the smith proposed Johnny Gibb as the fittest 
person to be chairman in his own barn, and the proposal 
was " carried by acclamation." 

This point had just been settled when the door was 
pushed open, and the head and shoulders of Dr. Drogemweal 
thrust in. " Come awa' an' tak' seats, we 're jist gaen to 
begin," said the chairman in a somewhat emphatic tone. 
" Ou, that 's you, Maister Tawse ; a sicht o' you here 's gweed 
for sair een. See, there 's a bit bole ahin the shakker '11 
haud you ; ye 're nae gryte bouk mair nor mysel'. Mains 
an* the lave o' ye '11 get edge't in aboot the en' o' the 

After the mole -catcher had left the gentlemen just 
referred to, they had debated among themselves what was 
to be done. Jonathan Tawse, who had managed to get into 
a great rage, and did not know exactly upon whom to vent 
his anger, would have turned and gone home in disgust, and 
it need hardly be said that his fellow-elders would have 
been extremely happy to follow that example ; but, as Mains 
of Yawal thereafter averred, Dr. Drogemweal "bann't 
feerious " at this proposal, and hinted that the zeal of the 
Pyketillim eldership must really be at a low ebb if it did 
not incite to pursuit of the fanatics wherever they went. 
In short, he persuaded Jonathan to go along with him to 


the meeting, albeit his temper continued in a ruffled state ; 
and, on the whole, it was not improved by the reception he 
met with from Johnny Gibb on entering the barn. 

The meeting was formally opened by singing part of 
a psalm, which Johnny Gibb precented, and prayer ; a 
proceeding the like of which not a few of the rustics there 
assembled had not before dreamt of as possible in a barn; 
and they felt correspondingly queer in the circumstances. 
The chairman then abruptly announced that " We 're to get 
addresses fae twa respeckit minaisters fae a distance, settin' 
forth the prenciples o' the evangelical pairty. As ye a' see, 
the skweelmaister o' the pairis' is here tee ; an' he 11 be 
waur nor 's word an' he binna wuntin' to mak' a speech to 
defen' the Coort o' Session Kirk. "We '11 hae nae objection 
to gi'e 'im a hearin' ; but lat me tell ye ane an' a', that 1 11 
keep order i' my nain hoose ; an' gin ony horse-coupin 
doctor, or ony ither ane, try to mak' disturbance here, we 11 
lat 'im see the bonny side o' the door raither seener nor he 
wud like maybe." 

The chairman's remarks naturally drew rather more 
attention to Jonathan Tawse and Dr. Drogemweal than 
those gentlemen seemed to relish, but without allowing time 
for either of them to put in a word, he continued, " Noo, 
ye '11 get an address fae the Eev. Mr. Nonern come forret 
aside me here, sir." The platform consisted of a wooden 
threshing-floor, on which had been placed the chairman's 
seat and a small table with a lighted candle on it and a pair 
of snuffers. The rev. gentleman announced, at once com 
menced an earnest, though, perhaps, somewhat verbose 
address, wherein he dwelt at length on " the doctrine of the 
headship ;" and then proceeded to expound the rights of the 
Christian people in the choice of their ministers, calling 
upon his auditors, with much emphasis, to say whether they 
were prepared to hand over their consciences to patrons who 
might be prelatists, or papists, or worse, and let the Judges 
of the Court of Session in the last resort decide all such 
questions for them, for that was the pass things were coming 
to now ? 



During the delivery of this address there was marked 
attention generally ; the parishioners of Pyketillim had not 
yet learnt the mode of giving expression to their approval 
hy "ruffing" with their feet, or otherwise, and the one 
demonstrative individual in that direction was the chairman, 
who once and again very audibly emphasised the sentiments 
of the speaker by such utterances as " Owre true, sir ; " 
" We a' ken fat kin' o' caul' morality we get fae your law- 
made minaisters," and so on. It was evident that Dr. 
Drogemweal and Jonathan Tawse were on edge ; and the 
doctor had once or twice attempted an interruption by such 
exclamations as " Not true, Nonem," and " Question ;" but 
getting no support from the meeting, he had found himself 
uncomfortably individualised by the chairman's " Seelence, 
sir ! " and " Wheesht, sir ! " and had given up these 

" Noo, Maister Tawse, we '11 hear ye," exclaimed Johnny 
Gibb, " an' dinna deteen 's owre lang." Jonathan Tawse 
started to his feet, and curtly declared, " I did not want to 
speak." " Dinna dee 't, than," quoth the chairman, promptly. 
But Jonathan continued, " An there 's been vera little said 
here this nicht that deserves a reply." " Hear, hear," cried 
Dr. Drogemweal. What were they to think, Jonathan pro 
ceeded to ask, of men like those of the present deputation, 
who had vowed to uphold the Established Kirk, and were 
now trying to pull it down ? What were they to think of 
men who had trampled an interdict of the Court of Session 
under foot ? Could temerity further go ? And why all 
this insensate hubbub about the interference of the civil 
magistrate ? Had the civil magistrate ever sought to enter 
their pulpits* he would like to know that ? Had he ever 
done aught but his duty in controlling the actings of a set 
of hot-headed zealots, who set all law, civil and ecclesiastical, 
at defiance, whose language was seditious, and whose actings 
directly tended to anarchy and insurrection ? 

During his speech Jonathan not merely waxed warm 
himself; he also roused the feelings of the audience. The 
chairman once and again abruptly expressed himself in a 


fashion somewhat short of chairman-like calmness and im 
partiality; his excitement infected the mole -catcher, who 
also cried, " Keep to the pint ; " " Nane o' yer ill-naitur'," 
and so on ; and when Dr. Drogemweal cheered Jonathan 011 
by thumping with his stick on the edge of the " furm " and 
shouting " Hear, hear," " Good," " That 's it," and so forth, 
Andrew Langchafts, seconded by Sandy Peterkin, very 
audibly suggested to " Pit 'im oot ! " 

Jonathan finished abruptly, and, while the " steam " was 
still fully up, the second deputy rose, and endeavoured, by 
a few sensible words, to recall the audience to a state of 
calmness. It so happened that this gentleman had not 
only been an old college companion of Drogemweal, but the 
medical practitioner in question had for a short time been 
a parishioner of his. And so, Drogemweal's blood being 
now up, he forthwith commenced a somewhat coarse per 
sonal attack, charging the minister with habitually neglect 
ing his own pastoral duties, while he, forsooth, had the 
presumption to invade the parishes of better men than him 
self. " I lived in his parish more than a year, and he 
never once visited me that 's the man to tell other men 
their duty !" exclaimed the doctor. " Yes, my friend," was 
the reply, " and there may be parishioners whose faces we 
have little chance of getting familiar with, except in the 
way of private inquiry." Dr. Drogemweal was about to 
attempt a retort, when Andrew Langchafts stood up and 
solemnly protested against any one being allowed to inter 
rupt a speaker ; and the chairman, with an emphatic shout, 
ordered " Seelence, sir, this moment, or I '11 get ye pitten 
oot!" What might have happened in this way had not 
become apparent, when Jonathan Tawse got to- his feet, hat 
in hand, and unceremoniously made for the door. Dr. 
Drogemweal, with a muttered malediction, and a great 
amount of noise, caused by his stick and feet, as he pushed 
past some of his neighbours, followed. Mains of Yawal and 
his brother elders looked as if they would have liked to go 
too ; but, their presence of mind failing them at the 
moment, they had not moved when their friends were clean 


gone ; and then, as they did not like to be conspicuous, they 
kept their seats. 

" A gweed reddance ; a gweed reddance, weel-a-wat," 
said the chairman, as he snuffed the candle beside him, 
after the barn door had been once more closed. " Noo, sir, 
we '11 tak' the lave o' yer discoorse." The speaker resumed 
accordingly, and spoke at length, and with a force and 
seriousness that evidently told on the more intelligent part 
of his audience, after which opportunity was given for 
persons present to signify adherence to non-intrusion prin 
ciples, by signing their names to a paper to that effect. 

Johnny Gibb was in his most exalted mood as he 
marshalled the forces to this part of the business, which 
seemed to him a process very nigh akin to signing the 
Solemn League and Covenant. Mains of Yawal and his 
brethren, who saw that the case was getting desperate, 
now rose and slipped to the door, while Johnny shouted, 
" Gweed nicht, men ; we 're muckle obleeg't for your peace 
able company." Some of the younger people had left while 
the preparations for signing were going on ; but most of the 
prominent members of the meeting were still there, includ 
ing Mrs. Birse, who now sat on the front form, with her 
husband close at hand. 

" It 's nae a thing to be lichtly deen, sirs. Ye 're pittin 
your names till a dockiment that concerns oor ceevil an' 
religious liberty. Come awa', souter, ye 're weel fit to set 's 
a' an example ; ye winna pit yer han' to the pleuch an' leuk 
back." The souter had no choice but do as he was bid, 
though the suggestion was made that the chairman's name 
ought to go first. " It '11 be lang to the day that I 'm fit to 
step afore Eoderick M'Aul," said Johnny Gibb. Johnny 
had an appropriate word for each several adherent as he 
came up ; and I don't think there was the least shade of 
conscious irony in the remark he addressed to Peter Birse, 
when Peter rose from his wife's side, and came slowly up 
to the table, " Come awa', Clinkstyle ; I 'm glaid to see ye 
takin' pairt for defence o' the trowth set afore 's this nicht. 
I 'm weel seer ye 11 never see rizzon to be o' a different 


min' fae fat yer in eenoo, about fat yer deein here afore 

Peter signed with very much of the feeling that might 
have been supposed to animate the traditional " John," when 
his wife desired him to put his neck into the mink to please 
the laird. Then Mrs. Birse, with a becomingly solemn 
countenance, rose, and after doing her best at a curtsey, and 
addressing an impressive " Good nicht, sir," to each of the 
deputies, left for home. 

When men get into the position of public characters, they 
have, in some cases, as it appears to me, a considerable 
reluctance to allowing that aspect of their lives to get 
obscured, or be lost sight of. With Johnny Gibb this was 
not by any means the case ; for although the barn meeting 
had brought Gushetneuk greatly more into prominence than 
before, while his handling of Jonathan Tawse and Dr. Drog- 
emweal junior had made all Pyketillim "ring from side 
to side " with his fame as chairman, nothing more readily 
nettled Johnny than any allusion to the proceedings above 
narrated in the light of his own share in them. He was 
rather pleased that Dawvid Hadden had been, as it were, 
snuffed out for the time, and that the other two just named 
had been driven from the field, but the question before which 
they had succumbed was a question of great principles, in 
relation to which he, Johnny Gibb, was a mere entity of 
only the smallest dimensions, and not once to be named as 
a power in the case at all. In short, he was Johnny Gibb 
of Gushetneuk, as he had been for the last thirty and odd 
years ; an inconsiderable person, speaking and acting as the 
impulse moved him, in accordance with what he believed at 
the time to be right. It was in Church affairs as it was in 
other things ; Johnny followed his own path of duty, quite 
irrespective of the state of opinion round about him, and 
he was honestly unconscious of any claim to merit in so 


IN the parish of Pyketillim the great event of the Disruption 
was not seen in any of its grand or striking features. Inas 
much as the Rev. Andrew Sleekaboot was a firm supporter 
of the authority of the powers that be, there was there no 
exodus from the Manse ; the minister, for conscience' sake, 
leaving the comfortable home of bygone years, where his 
children had grown up about him ; sending his family away 
many miles, and himself finding the home where he was to 
spend solitary months on months in a poor cottage, which 
afforded him the accommodation of only an indifferent but 
and ben. And, of course, if the entire body of the 
parishioners of Pyketillim would only have been guided by 
his advice, the Disruption, so far as Pyketillim was con 
cerned, would have been a nonentity. It was curious to 
note how the three men of highest learning and position 
connected with the parish viz., the Rev. Andrew Sleek 
aboot, the Rev. Jonathan Tawse, and Sir Simon Frissal in 
their several ways, denounced the approaching event, or 
prophesied evil, and evil only, as its result, while they pre 
dicted disaster to all who might be aiding and abetting in 
bringing about its accomplishment. Nevertheless, I doubt 
very much whether it would have been for the advantage of 
Pyketillim, even at this day, that the event referred to had 
remained unaccomplished. 

As it was, there was a small knot of the parishioners, 


most of whom have been introduced to the reader, who had 
committed themselves definitely to the other side, on. the 
question at issue. As to the varying degrees of intelligence 
and sincerity with which they had done so, I need not here 
speak ; one thing is certain, that they had all more or less 
to learn from the circumstances under which they were 
placed ; only we need not hastily call them slow in the 
uptak', for if I mistake not there are such singular examples 
in existence still, as people who took the same side as they 
did in 1843, and in 1870 have not more than half learnt 
the significance of the lesson taught by their own pro 
fessed principles, and the stand they took twenty -seven 
years ago. 

But to iny story It was on a Saturday afternoon in 
the last week of April 1843 that Dawvid Hadden came 
down to Smiddyward, evidently on business. He was 
accompanied by a man with bare cheeks, wearing a long- 
bodied waistcoat, and trousers tight about the ankles, 
betokening that his function lay in dealing with horses. 
Dawvid strode away past the smiddy without deigning to 
stop and converse with the smith, who was shovelling up a 
load of coals that had just been emptied for use. "Fine 
nicht, Dawvid," said the smith, and Dawvid gravely replied 
"Fine nicht," but did not "brak his pace." Of course, 
Dawvid did not hear the smith's semi-audible ejaculation, as 
he resumed his shovelling, " Fat's f the creatur's noddle noo 

Dawvid went straight up to Sandy Peterkin's, and without 
stopping to knock, thrust the door fully open. " Ony body 
here ?" shouted Dawvid. 

" Ou, ay, I 'm here," answered Sandy Peterkin. Sandy 
lived mainly alone, the kindly matrons in the hamlet taking 
a general oversight of his domestic arrangements. He had 
been enjoying a quiet cup of tea by himself, and rose up to 
open his inner door, as he asked, " Is that you, Dawvid ? 
Come awa' ben. I 'm some tribble't wi' reek, but fan yer 
lootit doon it 's nae sae ill." 

" Na, na ; I canna pit aff time, fan I Ve buzness adee." 


"Hoot, ye mith jist tak' a seat a minit," said Sandy. 
" It 's nae af en 't we see you here." 

Dawvid made no reply, but fumbled in his breast pocket 
for a bundle of papers. 

"I'm owthereest, as awgent for Sir Simon Frissal, to 
summons you, ' Alexander Peterkin, residenter, furth of the 
dwelling-house and adjoining premises at Smiddyward, and 
to quit the same at the ensuing term of Whitsunday.' " 

Dawvid held conspicuously in his hand an official-looking 
letter, with a seal upon it, and he read from another of his 
bundle of papers. And as Sandy stood and looked with an 
uncertain stare, he waved the letter toward him with a sort 
of flourish, and added, " Ye thocht-na muckle o' oor words, 
Saun'ers, man, fan we gya ye a bit warning but that 's vreet 
upon 't noo ; foo does that please ye ? " 

" Ou, weel, an' it come to that, I 've haen to flit afore 
noo," said Sandy, complacently. 

" Weel, ye '11 tak' notice 't ye 've been regular summons't 
i' the presence o' a lethal wutness, Peter M'Cabe, to remuv 
at the proper time. Ye may go noo, Peter," said Dawvid, 
turning to the horsey-looking man, whose company he did 
not seem to be desirous of having longer than duty required. 

" I 'm obleeg't to ye, Dawvid, for your great pains i' the 
maitter," replied Sandy Peterkin. 

" Ay, Saun'ers, man, an' ye may be thankfu' that ye Ve 
gotten so lang warnin'. It wasna necessar' to gi'e a day's 
notice. Ye ocht to ken that ye Ve been at oor merciment 
ilka minit sin' ever ye sat doon here. Ye Ve nae proper 
possession o' the premises, accordin' to law; an' cud be 
turn't oot at ony time. But Sir Simon Frissal's mair o' a 
gentleman nor tak' advantage o' the vera peerest incomer 
on 's estates." 

" Muckle obleeg't to Sir Simon ; he '11 nae doubt be 
turnin' the place till a better purpose ance he war redd 

" It maitters-na to you ; he 's enteetl't to hae 's wull 
respeckit by them't's behaud'n till 'im for a biel' to pit 
their heid in. An' nae less to see 't the premises on's nain 


property sanna be ees't to herbour malcontents, an' gi'e 
encouragement to oonlawfu' gedderins. That 's fat yer non 
intrusion comes till ; ye mitha leern't mair wut ere noo, 
man, an' ye cud a' ta'en a tellin' fae fowk wi' mair gumption 
nor yersel'." 

" Oh, weel, gin Sir Simon be to clear aff a' the non- 
intrusionists upo' the place, I'll suffer in gweed company. 
Ye '11 be gyaun owre bye to summons Gushets neist, nae 
doot ?" 

" Jist leern ye to keep a ceevil tongue i' yer heid, 
Saun'ers, man. That 's nedder here nor there : but I Ve 
something ither adee nor waste time nyatterin on wi' the 
like o' you ;" and with this the ground-officer turned and 
passed away, and Sandy Peterkin shut the door and pro 
ceeded to finish his tea. 

On his homeward route Dawvid Hadden took care to 
make a call at the shop of Hairry Muggart, the wright ; 
where, in an " overly " way, as Hairry said, he turned out 
the famous summons he had just professed to serve on 
Sandy Peterkin. 

" An' will he raelly be pitten oot ?" asked Hairry, with 
some earnestness. 

" Pitten oot !" exclaimed Dawvid. " Div ye mean to 
say that Sir Simon Erissal wud mak' a feel o' 'imsel' or gae 
back o' 's word, aifter sen'in' 's nain awgent to summons ony 
ane oot ? Ay, Hairry, man, that 's but the beginnin' o' 't," 
said Dawvid, pocketing his papers. "The langest livers 
sees maist ferlies. Aw wudna won'er nor there may be 
mair summonses ere lang. gyang." 

On that very evening, after droppin' time, Hairry 
Muggart was away to Smiddyward to see the smith and the 
souter. Hairry's statement was the first intimation they 
had received of what Dawvid Hadden had really been 
about ; and the question naturally enough arose what had 
become of Sandy himself that he had not been down with 
the intelligence. The readiest way to solve this question 
seemed to be to call on Sandy ; and the trio accordingly 
went up to his house, where they found the honest dominie 


deeply engrossed in the perusal of a newspaper, which, he 
at once informed his visitors, contained a deal " o' vera 
interaistin " intelligence about current ecclesiastical affairs. 
It was this, in fact, that accounted for his not having got 
down to tell the souter and the smith of his fate. The 
proceedings recorded were of some length, and Sandy had 
read the speeches made by several popular divines with 
extraordinary satisfaction and edification, as he now pro 
ceeded to set forth. When he had got round to the less 
lofty but more practical subject of Dawvid Hadden's visit, 
he narrated the circumstances much as they have been set 
forth, and seemed rather pleased that he had been able to 
keep Dawvid tolerably well " in aboot " in the long run. 

It was evident that Dawvid Hadden's visit was seriously 
meant. Sandy Peterkin's three friends felt it to be so ; and 
I am verily persuaded, in full view of the somewhat awk 
ward consequences it involved to him personally, Sandy was 
the least deeply concerned of the group. When Johnny 
Gibb had been told of it he stormed fiercely, and talked of 
employing a lawyer to set at defiance Dawvid Hadden's 
irregular summons. But of course this passed off, though 
Johnny retained his determination to give Sir Simon a few 
lines of his mind, so soon as he should return to the quarter. 
The settled conviction of the smith, in which the others 
concurred, was that the ejection of Sandy Peterkin was the 
joint performance of the Eev. Mr. Sleekaboot, Jonathan 
Tawse, and Dawvid Hadden ; that is to say, their united 
wisdom had settled it as the judicious and proper thing to 
be done, with the view of striking terror into the fanatics, 
it being evident that things were coming to a head ; and 
this once agreed upon, there was no difficulty in obtaining 
Sir Simon Frissal's authority for carrying it out in the 
fashion adopted by Dawvid Hadden. 

The result was that, when Whitsunday came, the humble 
school door was locked for good and all. Sandy Peterkin's 
scholars took their several ways homeward, after a parting 
advice and much kindly clappin on his side, and not a few 
tears on theirs ; and Sandy Peterkin was once more a 



gentleman at large in the world, a proposal to engage him 
as private tutor to his classical pupil, Benjie Birse, having 
fallen through, not because Sandy would have asked un 
reasonable terms, but because Mrs. Birse felt there was some 
force in Miss Birse's objection to admitting a person like 
him to the parlour society and parlour fare of Clinkstyle, 
while it would have been at the same time degrading to 
Benjie to have his tutor herding with the farm servants. 



BY the time that Sandy Peterkin had been summoned out 
of the school, Johnny Gibb was quite prepared for seeing 
the venerable Kirk of Scotland rent asunder. One thing 
that had strongly excited his feelings was the meeting of the 
Aberdeen Synod. Hitherto in the parish of Pyketillim, 
apart from the gathering and distribution of the offering, 
the office of the ruling elder, as already stated, had been 
very much of a sinecure. The Kev. Andrew Sleekaboot 
rode to the Presbytery meetings with great regularity, but 
he had not up to this time felt it necessary to have the 
intelligent laity of the parish represented in the rev. court. 
Now, however, great questions were at stake, and votes had 
come to be of importance. So, by the unanimous voice of 
the Session, Mains of Yawal was appointed ruling elder for 
Pyketillim. Mains went to a meeting of Presbytery, and 
sat out the affair in a wearied sort of way, but as the ait 
seed was just beginning, he loudly grudged the waste of 
time which his new dignity had entailed on him. The 
Synod met in the second week of April, and at the kirk 
next Sunday, Mains had an onset from the minister and the 
dominie, as to the absolute necessity of his accompanying 
the former to the meeting of Synod. 

" Hoot, I haena been in Aiberdeen this three towmons ; 
an' forbye, I cud be o' nae eese at Kirk maitters," urged 


" Buff an' nonsense," said Jonathan Tawse. " Ye can 
seerly say ' Ay ' or ' No/ whichever the minister bids ye." 

" An' it 's jist the heid hurry o' the sizzon ; I 've byous 
ill winnin awa'. Fegs, an' I hed kent, I sud 'a latt'n some 
ither ane be rowlin' el'yer, I can tell ye." 

Mains's objections were speedily overborne; and the 
next point to settle was the mode of transit to Aberdeen. 
As the newspapers had just announced, the Aberdeenshire 
Canal was " again open for navigation," after some temporary 
stoppage, and Mains was decidedly favourable to going by 
the " swift gig boat," as the cheapest means of conveyance. 
So next day he had his old-fashioned gig a-yoke to convey 
himself and the minister to the " Canal Head," in time for 
the leaving of the boat for Aberdeen ; one of Mains's lads 
had been sent on an hour before on foot to bring back the 
gig. Eev. Andrew Sleekaboot, as became his dignity, took 
his passage in the cabin of the " flyboat ;" but this course 
his ruling elder resolutely declined to follow. He could 
save a shilling by going in the steerage, and why should he 
not do so ? Then, as was his wont, the minister would put 
up at that well-reputed hostelry, the Lemon Tree. Mains 
demurred somewhat at the idea of going thither, being con 
vinced that they might be accommodated at some stabler's 
at less cost. But, as his knowledge of " the City " had got 
rusted, he was unable to specify the particular inn where he 
would desire to take his ease, and, under a sort of protest, 
he agreed at last to go with the minister, provided Mr. 
Sleekaboot would undertake to devote part of next morning 
to assisting him in looking up certain shops where he wanted 
to make safe purchases, including that of Coutts, the cutler, 
in Gallowgate, who, as Mains believed, was unequalled in 
the production of a reliable pocket gullie. 

The great question in which the services of Mains of 
Yawal and his lay brethren were called into requisition at 
the Synod was, whether the ministers of quoad sacra 
churches should be allowed to sit as members of the rev. 
court. There was long debate on the point, during which 
a well-known leader declared that he objected to the 


General Assembly admitting the quoad sacra brethren to 
sit in the church courts, " not only on civil, but on religious 
grounds likewise;" and another less prominent member, no 
doubt feeling acutely where the shoe pinched him, observed 
that protesting against their admission " had cost him many 
a shilling." When the grand division was taken, it carried by 
101 votes to 55, that the quoad sacra brethren should not be 
recognised as members of the Synod ; whereat, amid no little 
noise and excitement, the whole evangelical party left the 
Synod House, viz. the West Kirk, and thereafter met in 
Melville Church. Of this sweeping majority, close upon 
one-half were elders, the Moderate party having succeeded 
in rallying a force of these zealous gentlemen from the 
country of rather more than double the number of elders 
who came up to vote for their opponents. As a very 
natural result, Mains of Yawal returned from the Synod 
somewhat elated at the part he had played. The ait seed 
had gone on favourably in his absence ; he had furnished him 
self with a trusty Coutts' gullie, had hunted up, in inconceiv 
able places, sundry remarkable bargains, including fully half 
a hundredweight of iron goods, consisting chiefly of a parcel 
of second-hand sells and thrammels, one or two back chynes, 
and similar chain work, got at a mere wanworth ; all of which 
he brought with him by way of luggage. Above all, he had 
done his duty by Church and State, and for once had seen 
his name printed in the newspapers. 

Mains had his weak points like other people.; and though 
the least like it, of all men, there was not altogether want 
ing a slight touch of vanity in his composition. He had, 
some little time after his return, related his experiences of 
this his first grand ecclesiastical campaign to Braeside and 
Dawvid Hadden, and by both had been eulogised for his 
unflinching faithfulness, in as high terms as their respective 
natures allowed, Braeside remarking, " Goshie, man ! " while 
Dawvid Hadden, with a proper allusion to his own recent 
doings, observed, " Weel, it 's jist as I Ve aye said. Fowk 't 's 
in a public an' 'sponsible wye maun tak' the lead an' ack o' 
their nain heids, but ithers canna be on-taen pairt accordin' 


to their capacity ye sud be prood o' bein' alloo't to vote, 
Mains. I sanna foryet to mak' mention o' 't fan I vreet to 
Sir Simon." And fortified by all this, Mains felt that a 
man who had buckled on his armour and gone forth at the 
call of duty amid the gathered hosts, could afford to be 
aggressive in some degree against disaffected stragglers. It 
was with some dim notion of this sort that, when he was 
next down at the smiddy, he fell on to the smith with 

" Nyod, aw b'lieve we sortit yer Nons at the Seenit." 

" Maybe that," said the smith, with great gravity. " An' 
fat did ye wi' them syne ? Fowk canna believe a' 't they 
hear ; far less a' 't they see i' the newspapers. But fan ye 
hed a han' in 't yersel', ye 11 be able to tell 's a' aboot it." 

" Ou weel, it was jist to keep oot that quod saccra min- 
aisters they Ve nae bizzness there." 

" Oh, aw thocht it wus the rion-intrusionists 't ye wus 
settin' doon." 

"Weel, an' arena they the vera warst kin' o' them ?" 

" Na, Mains ; some o' them 's as gweed ' constitutional ' 
kirk men as yersel'." 

" Hoot, dinna ye try to gar me believe that. Too wud 
they be pitten oot, than ? An' they war pitten oot, an' a 
bonny din yon Aiberdeen Nons made cryin' a' kin' o' orra 
jaw i' the vera kirk ; stan'in' up o' the seats, an' aiven 
brakin' some o' the timmer wark." 

" Ay, man, it 's a sairious case it 's like. But I was -taul' 
that the day aifter ye had fleggit them awa', ane o' the 
Seenit inform't the meetin' that he hed that nicht offer't up 
his ' sincere prayers ' for the misguidit fowk. Nae doot 
ye 've a' been as min'fu' at yer private devotions." 

The smith spoke this very deliberately, and when he 
paused, Mains merely said, " Ou, ay, they heeld a prayer 
fan they met, an' the blessin' ere they brak up." 

" Jist that; an' though we canna hae Seenits sittin''aye, 
fowk 't 's been there '11 be able to gi'e 's a word in sizzon as 
weel 's the benefit o' their prayers, gin we be lickly to gae 
owre the bows." 

Mains did not altogether relish this train of remark, and 



would not unwillingly have allowed kirk matters to drop 
again. But unhappily for him, Johnny Gibb entered the 
smiddy at that moment. It was not necessary for the; 
flMith to apply his match to the tinder in Johnny's breast ; 
and ^faiTM JihuiMilf iM^tncH to have an uncomfortable dread 
of an explosion. He tried, net very skilfully or successfully, 
to be cheery, and to lead a conversation on other subjects. 
The smith simply did not hack him, and Johnny Gibb was 
something "very Kfa* HMUHHEK At 1*3t he pot to Mains the 

' Hae ye repentit o' that oonrichteous vote yet ? Or is 
your conscience as sear't as though the smith hed scaum't 
it wf that reid-het sock plate ?" 

" Hoot, Gushets, ye tak* a'thing owre sair in eernest," 
replied Main^ who was disposed rather to be amicable than 

"Owre muckle in eernest !" exclaimed Johnny, " owre 
muckle in eernest ! An 1 you gyaun an* makin' a teel o* 
jumf to sair the purposes o' a set o' carnal, wor' Jly-minet 
rascals ; gTein' your vote at the biddin' o' a peer seecophant, 
to deprive ten times better men nor him or the like o' him 
o' the preevfleges that belang to them, gin there be ony 
trowth f the Word o' Gweed, or ony vailue i' the conten'in's 
o' oor forefaders." 

"Ou weel, it wunna hairm nae ane i this pairt o' the 
kwintra, at ony rate," said Mains, with hardly an attempt to 
defend his position. 

"Dinna tell me, min. It's accurs't, reet an' brainch. 
There's yersel', 't kens nae mair aboot the principles o 1 the 
nor that turkis F the smith's sheein box, gyaun 
to Aiberdeen like a wull chucken, an' preten'in' to 
tak* pairt in decidin* thp. question, fan ye 're jist han'in' 
yersel' owre, sowl an' body, to dee mischief That* s 
the tae pairt o' 't ; an' we see the tither fan that vicious, 
ffl-gatet ablkh, Hadden, male's 'imsel 1 the wfllin' enstrument 

to cairry oot the tyranny o' yer kirk pa wtrons an' 

Mains had got very hot in the face and even angry 


by the time Johnny had finished this extremely violent 
speech. He did not give any formal reply, however, but in 
a rather loud tone declared that he " wudna stan' that fae 
nae man." 

" Stan' 't or no 's ye like, it 's the trowth," said Johnny 
Gibb, as he turned away to direct the smith about some bit 
of work. 

After this passage, the Kirk question was allowed to 
rest for the time being. But from that date onward Mains 
of Yawal entertained a pretty distinct grudge against his 
neighbour Gushetneuk. 

A month thereafter the Disruption had occurred, and 
Johnny Gibb had, at no little expenditure of energy, got 
arrangements made for a Free Kirk service in his barn to 
be kept up, if not regularly, as frequently as " supply " could 
be obtained. 



IT was not Johnny Gibb's intention to be a Disruption 
leader, yet he had become so de facto. The small body of 
Pyketillim non-intrusionists not merely conceded that posi 
tion to him, but without him it may be doubted whether 
they would have gathered into any compacted form at all. 
To say that he felt his leadership to be an onerous burden 
would not be true, because Johnny did not feel it in one 
way or another ; did not indeed know that he was leader. 
When he prepared his barn as a place of meeting, when he 
travelled on foot six or seven weary miles to a Presbytery 
of the " Free Presbyterian Church of Scotland," to negotiate 
for a supply of preachers, and, to promote that, boldly 
undertook to raise a certain sum in contributions though 
Johnny in all this was carrying out a work which very 
likely no one else among his friends could or would have 
carried out, he was simply doing what seemed to lie natur 
ally to his hand to do. Of course Johnny had all the time 
the firmest possible conviction that he was doing what was 
right, while, perhaps, his patience was not very ample with 
those who had less decided opinions than his own. And I 
daresay it would have tended greatly to the comfort of 
Peter Birse senior if he could have been inspired with a 
tithe of Johnny's belief in, and fervency for, the " cause." 
Peter had, perforce, been riven away from the auld kirk ; 
and, as he accompanied Mrs. Birse and family, Sabbath after 


Sabbath, to "the conventicle," as Jonathan Tawse wittily 
called it, at Gushetneuk, many a wistful glance did he cast 
in the direction of the kirk road, along which the forms. of 
his old familiar friends were to be seen wending in the dis 
tance. As a last despairing effort, Peter had pleaded 

" Keep 's, 'oman, it wud be a byous thing to brak' aff fae 
the hoose o' Gweed freely mithna I gae up bye files ?" 

" To gae yer leen, no ?" 

" Weel, it wudna leuk sae glaurin like, ye ken." 

" An' muckle better ye wud be o' that ; it '11 be lang ere 
ye hear the Gospel there," said Mrs. Birse. 

" Weel, but ye ken Hairry, 't was sic a han', 's been 
gyaun maist pairt sin' there was word o' Sir Seemon comin' 

" Humph, Hairry ! He 's some mark, or than no. An' 
ye wud lat Dawvid Hadden fley you back to the hoose o' 
bondage neist ?" 

" Ou, it's nae him ; but ye ken Hairry Muggart gaed 
a hantle forder a-len'th nor ever I did aboot that kirk wark." 

"Ah, weel, ae turnkwite's aneuch," said Mrs. Birse, 

Peter's statement was mainly correct in point of fact. 
It was true that Hairry Muggart, in a sore strait how to 
carry out his convictions, and at the same time avoid calling 
down on his head the wrath of Sir Simon Frissal, had come 
to the conclusion that the Disruption was rather a hasty 
and ill-considered step. His principles? Oh yes, they 
were as staunchly held by as ever so Hairry loudly 
a,verred but why not keep within the walls of the national 
Zion, and at same time stoutly assail the citadel of 
Erastianism ? it would be gained " come time." So said 
Hairry : and I am not sure whether a similar proposal was 
not also mooted in much higher quarters, at the last meet 
ing of the " Convocation," by some who have since laid 
claim to being distinctively the true representatives of Free 
Church principles. Besides, Hairry was an adept in theol 
ogy, and those fledgling parsons of Johnny Gibb's, while he 
was pleased to hear the lads at a chance time doing their 


best, were hardly prepared to supply the strong meat that 
he desiderated. Accordingly, Hairry left it to be understood 
that he, in his own person, was a sort of concrete embodi 
ment of the establishment principle combined with the 
theory of independent spiritual jurisdiction. So he generally 
countenanced the Rev. Andrew Sleekaboot at the delivery of 
his hebdomadal discourse, and then, in an unofficial way, 
would step quietly down to .Gushetneuk to hear a sermon 
preached in the barn at such irregular hour as might happen, 
week-day or Sunday. 

Johnny Gibb's other friends stuck together wonderfully ; 
and thus it came to pass that after a summer of preaching 
in the barn, Johnny took it in his head that a permanent 
place of worship must be had. It was autumn ; Sir Simon 
was now at home, and wherefore should he not be called 
upon to give a site ? It was argued, in reply, that the man 
who had sanctioned the turning out of their teacher, because 
he was, in his estimation, a schismatic, was not in the least 
likely, in this practical way, to promote the establishment of 
a congregation of schismatics. " He ocht to be taul's duty 
at ony rate ; an' lat oor consciences be clear't," said Johnny 
Gibb, and the sentiment was re-echoed by none more 
warmly than by the gudge, and Sandy Peterkin, whose 
season's labour, in default of anything in the pedagogue way, 
had consisted chiefly in hoeing turnips at Gushetneuk, and 
officiating as raker during harvest. 

So Johnny Gibb and the souter were deputed to wait 
upon Sir Simon. This they did without loss of time, and 
were received by the stately baronet in his library, with 
great dignity. 

" We 're here, Sir Seemon, to see gin we can get a bit 
seet ony gate." 

"A what, John ?" asked Sir Simon, severely. 

" A reed or twa o' grun to be a stance for a place o' 
worship," answered Johnny. 

"John Gibb, let me tell you, once for all, that the 
course you have been following for some time past has my 
strongest disapprobation. I understand, on credible infor- 


mation, that you have been a ringleader in this most mis 
chievous and schismatical movement 

" It 's been that craetur, Dawvid Hadden, 't 's taul ye 
that, Sir Seemon. Only that 's nedder here nor there." 

" I'll allow no interruptions, sir ! Disturbing the peace 
and good order of a quiet, well-conducted parish, by bring 
ing a set of fanatics into it, to delude ignorant people." 

"We've been deein fat we -cud to get them taucht, Sir 
Seemon, baith in beuk leernin an* the prenciples o' the 

" You teach them !" 

"Na, na; dinna tak' me up till I fa,' Sir Seemon," said 
Johnny, who was now fighting his way to a broader issue 
than he had at first meant to raise. " But we hed set up a 
gweed skweel ; a thing that there was muckle need for, as 
a' the pairis' kens ; though maybe naebody 's been kin' aneuch 
to tell ye that ; an' that aisp never haltit wi' 's ill win' an' 's 
clypes, till he gat the man turn't oot that was o' mair eese 
ten times owre nor the pairis' dominie ever was speer at 
ony ane 't ye like." 

" I cannot argue with you, sir, about the management of 
my property," said Sir Simon. 

" Weel, weel ; it 's but richt 't ye sud ken the haill heids 
an' particulars for ance, fan we 're at it. An' aw 'm thinkin' 
ye 're nae lickly to get owre correct news fae them 't ye 
lippen maist till here." 

" I suppose your business with me is at an end ? " said 
Sir Simon, with dignity, rising as if to show his visitors, 
who had been standing in the library floor all the while, out. 

" Deed, it doesna leuk like bein' weel begun, Sir Seemon," 
answered Johnny Gibb, in no way abashed. "We've gotten 
nae answer, mair or less." 

"Answer to what, sir ?" 

"We made a ceevil request, Sir Seemon, for a stance at 
ony convainient spot to big a bit kirk upon." 

" Build a church ? What do you mean, sir ? Do you 
suppose that I '11 allow people following fanatical and 
divisive courses to erect a meeting-place within the parish? 


I would as soon forfeit my allegiance to Her Majesty the 

"Ou weel," answered Johnny Gibb, "there's aye been 
persecutors o' the trowth fae the days o' Herod an' afore 't. 
But it winna be pitten doon wi' you nor nae ither ane, ye 
needna think it, Sir Seemon. A good day." 

And so Johnny and the souter who had found no oppor 
tunity to open his lips during the interview made their 
obeisance, which called forth no response whatever from Sir 
Simon Frissal, and withdrew. 

The deputation had thus no favourable report to give ; 
and it would have been a hopeless case with the Pyketillim 
non-intrusionists had it not so happened that at the very 
extreme corner of the parish there was a bit of land of no 
very great extent, but on which there were a few houses, that 
belonged to a laird of more plebeian extraction than Sir 
Simon, and who lived at some distance. The plebeian laird 
had at one time made advances to Sir Simon, and been 
snubbed for his pains. He therefore bore the baronet no 
great goodwill ; and on learning the position of affairs, was 
not sorry to find that, by ceding to the Free Church folks a 
little bit of barren ground with some old buildings upon it, 
he could have the opportunity of materially annoying Sir 
Simon Frissal. It was not that he loved the Free Kirk 
more, but that he loved Sir Simon less, and therefore he 
gave the site on reasonable enough terms. Upon this very 
inconvenient spot, which was nearly two miles distant from 
Gushetneuk, it was resolved to build. Next spring the 
building was set about, the goodman of Gushetneuk devot 
ing a deal of time and trouble to the completion of the 
kirk, the design of which was a good deal less elaborate and 
costly than has become usual since. The incidents of the 
kirk building were very much of the kind common at the 

Sir Simon Frissal, the lord of the Manor, had again left 
the locality before it was known that a site had been got, 
and Dawvid Hadden naturally felt the responsibility that 
lay upon him of looking after the ongoings of the Nons. In 


the plenitude of his good nature, Braeside, though an elder 
of the national kirk, had gone to Gushetneuk, and offered to 
give a yokin of his horses and carts to assist in the heavy 
business of driving material : " For," said Braeside, " the 
fowk 's been aye richt gweed neebours." And the offer had 
been accepted with great frankness by Johnny Gibb, who 
added, " I wudna won'er to see you in oor kirk yet, man," 
at which Braeside shrugged his shoulders and leuch. No 
sooner had Braeside's friendly deed become public, than 
Dawvid Hadden, rousing himself to a sense of duty in the 
matter, communicated with Mains of Yawal. Mains, who, 
from about the date of the Synod, had, as already mentioned, 
remained in a state of considerable sourness towards his 
Free Kirk neighbours, agreed that the act was extremely 
unprincipled on the part of Braeside, and readily undertook 
to speak about it quietly to his brother elder, Jonathan 
Tawse, who, he had no doubt, would "sort" Braeside in 
proper style for what he had been about. But the greatest 
explosion on Dawvid's part occurred when he discovered 
that Johnny Gibb's carting force was actually employed 
driving sand for the masons from a heap of that material, 
the accumulation of spates in the march burn between Sir 
Simon's property and that of the laird aforesaid. He now 
boldly went and ordered them to stop. It was Tarn Meeri- 
son, who still remained Clinkstyle's foreman, who was loading 
his carts at the time ; and Tarn said 

" Na, sang aw, Dawvid. As lang 's I 've Gushetneuk's 
orders to full san', it 's nae you 't '11 stop me, nor a' the grun- 
offishers i' the kingdom." 

It was in vain that Dawvid vapoured about an " enter- 
dick." Tarn said he might get a " dizzen o' enterdicks," if 
his taste lay that way, but he would take his loads of sand 
in the meantime. The result was that Dawvid at once 
wrote Sir Simon, and, as Jock Will, from his public position, 
was able to say, put on the outside of his letter the word 
" Hast 1" Jock was observant, and could put this and that 
together pretty shrewdly, and his conclusion by-and-by was 
that the answer Dawvid received from Sir Simon was some- 


tiling in the nature of telling him to mind his own business, 
and not be perpetually meddling with what did not lie in 
his way. At any rate, nothing more was heard of Dawvid's 
interdict, and the new kirk was finished and occupied in due 
course, as will be noticed in its proper place. 



A PERIOD of three years had elapsed without bringing any 
very material alteration in the general aspect of affairs, 
although Pyketillim had seen one or two changes in its 
peaceful community. Our old acquaintance, Andrew Lang- 
chafts, had disappeared from the locality. The truth was 
that Andrew had not found the business of merchan' at the 
Kirktown altogether such a lucrative one as he had at one 
time anticipated it might be. Probably the people of the 
place were too staid and sober to appreciate the enlightened 
commercial principles on which his business was conducted, 
or to avail themselves sufficiently of the resources of his 
" entrepot/' though they had been in the habit, some of them, 
besides Mrs. Birse, of setting on somewhat resolutely on the 
leading articles which Andrew offered at a manifest " sacri 
fice." The misfortune was that he never succeeded in 
leading them far in that department of superior soft goods 
which he had endeavoured to cultivate. The primitive 
character of their wants, as well as their practical and 
economic habits, forbade it. And so this department came 
in course to be more replete than fashionable. Jock Will, 
too, who had reached the status of a fully matriculated 
shopman, had left Andrew, to push his way farther south, 
which was a great blow to the merchan', seeing Jock had 
acquired an aptitude for business considerably greater than 
his own. In short, Andrew Langchafts, finding that things 


did not meet his expectations, had been gradually tending to 
greater slovenliness in his habits. He took a deal of snuff, 
and, it was said, a little whisky sometimes, though nobody 
ever saw Andrew drunk ; and he was apt to let the shop 
run out of this or the other commodity. Mrs. Birse, with her 
wonted sagacity, had a clear comprehension of the situation, 
and in a quiet communing with Miss Eliza Birse she 
expressed herself thus : 

" Ah, weel, they may say fat they like ; but I'se warran' 
that- loon Wull hed ta'en 's nain o' the peer stock afore he 
leeft 'im." 

"Mamma! Fat makes ye think that?" asked Miss 

" Speer at Widow Wull fat wye she paid for that braw 
French merino 't she 's been skyrin in this towmon noo ; an* 
a velvet bonnet she wud need it !" 

" But he was shopman, an' would get them at prime 

" Weel, weel, I 'm seer he 's weel oot o' the road at ony 
rate ; for that saft breet, Peter, wud 'a never made it oot 
wi' Mary Howie as lang 's he was i' the gate wi' 's sleekit 

" Oh, mamma, don't be always speakin' of Peter in that 

" Lat that gang than. At ony rate, Meg Eaffan taul me 
nae langer syne nor the nicht afore the streen that An'ro 
Langchafts was jist at the gae-lattin, and wud lickly need to 
gi'e up the chop a'thegither ere lang. Noo, ye ken, he has 
a hantle o' rael gweed claith upo' yon back skelfs ; an' I 'se 
warran' gin a body war to gae in wi' a poun' note or twa i' 
their han' he sudna be that mealy mou't about the best that 's 
yon'er, gin he gat the offer o' siller." 

" But fat wud be the use o' buyin' pieces o' cloth ?" 

" Ou, ye ken, yer breeders 's never oot o' the need o' new 
claes. There 's Benjie, noo that he 's livin' i' the toon, 
leernin a genteel buzness, maun hae a spare stan' or twa ; 
an' forbye I Ve been thinkin' 't that gray fer-nothing o' yer 
fader's, that the tailor docket the tails o' the ither year, 's 



jist growin' some aul' fashion't, aiven for him ; ye see genteel 
fowk notices the like o' that. Awat it 's been a richt thrifty 
coat, for it was bocht the vera winter that Benjie was spean't ; 
and though there 's little eese o' a gweed thing for the like 
o' him it 's jist eenoo 't fowk 's lickly to get a rug o' some 
thing that wud answer the purpose." 

There is no reason to doubt that Mrs. Birse had at any 
rate attempted to carry out the proposal here outlined. But 
what took her, as well as sundry others of the people of 
Pyketillim by surprise, was to learn in a few months that 
Andrew Langchafts had come to terms for his whole stock- 
in-trade and the goodwill of his business, the purchaser 
being none other than his old apprentice, Jock "Will. And 
Jock, something smartened in manner since he left the 
locality, but still retaining his undemonstrative aspect, and 
his quiet, soft chuckle as of old, was speedily settled as 
the merchan' of the Kirktown. How it was, nobody could 
have told probably, but from the day Jock Will commenced 
business and Andrew Langchafts retired, the shop had more 
of the aspect of business about it ; and very soon the public 
were compelled to recognise in Jock, who had "flitted" 
his mother to the Kirktown as the head of his domestic 
establishment, a capable, obliging, and thriving business 

At Gushetneuk, too, some changes had taken place. 
Willy M'Aul had acted as Johnny Gibb's principal servant 
for several years, and then, as Johnny averred, he had got 
to the stage that he " wud nedder baud nor bin' wi' tryin' 
new protticks," in the way of farming and farm implements. 

" Ou, weel, man, an' foo sudna he get an iron pleuch as 
weel's anither ?" asked Mrs. Gibb. 

" A timmer ane 's sair't me for therty year an' mair ; 
an' Hairry Muggart's as gweed a pleuch-vricht 's there is i' 
the kwintra side," replied Johnny. 

" Ou ay, but it 's the fashion, ye ken ; an' Hairry an' you 
tee 's grown some aul' style, maybe." 

"Weel, weel; I '11 be naething but deav't aboot it," 
. said Johnny ; " you an' the lassie 's jist as ill 's he is. It 's 


a keerious thing that ye sud baith tak' 's side to argue me 
oot o' V 

This meant that Johnny had conceded the iron plough, 
just as he had been induced to concede other things under 
the same combined influence. But while Johnny would 
not yield a point in this way without something very like a 
grumble, he was secretly not ill-pleased to witness the spirit 
of enterprise manifested by his servant, who really conducted 
things very much according to his own mind. In due course, 
however, Willy M'Aul announced his intention of seeking 
enlarged experience in husbandry by obtaining an engage 
ment with a leading farmer in another locality. 

" An' fa '11 I get i' yer place, laddie ? " asked Johnny 

" Ou, Tarn, maybe ? " said Willy M'Aul, tentatively. 

" Tarn Meerison, ye mean wud he be willin' to come, 
noo ? " 

" Willin' ! jist gi'e 'im the chance, an' ye '11 see." 

" Weel, we 've seen Tarn saucy aneuch aboot bidin' here 
ere noo." 

" Oh ay, but Tarn's turn't owre anither leaf sin' him an' 
me sleepit i' the aul' chaumerie thegither, an' Jinse aboot the 

" Faur is he ? " asked Johnny. 

" Dargin, an' livin' in a bit hoosie near the fit o' the hill 
I '11 speak aboot it till 'im gin ye like." 

Tarn Meerison and Jinse, his wife, were liftit in no 
ordinary degree, at the prospect of Tarn getting back to 
Gushetneuk, for which they were indebted to Tarn's old 
tormentor. And thus the matter had been set'tled. Willy 
M'Aul had left on amicable terms to push his way in life, 
and his place had been supplied by Tarn Meerison, who was 
now the father of a family of three. Tarn was a really 
affectionate husband, and esteemed Jinse just as highly as 
the day she became his wife. Therefore it seemed to him 
to be in a measure Paradise regained, when he had the 
kind of work day by day which he liked and was fully 
competent to do, and when Johny Gibb not merely did not 


grudge his going once a week to see his family, but made 
Jinse Deans and her offspring heartily welcome to spend 
a day at Gushetneuk at all times when they chose to 
do so. 

It came about after this that a certain portion of the 
tacks on Sir Simon Frissal's property ran out ; and amongst 
these was the farm at Gushetneuk. Conjecture, therefore, 
was naturally rife on the subject of Johnny Gibb's haudin'. 
Some wondered whether Johnny Gibb would wish to retake 
it, some whether Johnny, in that case, would have the 
hardihood, after what had come and gone, to moot the 
subject to Sir Simon. At any rate, it did not seem likely 
that Sir Simon would have much difficulty, in the circum 
stances, in deciding how to deal with such a troublesome 



To say that Mrs. Peter Birse was a careful and far-seeing 
matron is perhaps hardly necessary at this stage of affairs. 
Her capacity fox management was felt to some extent in 
connection with the Free Kirk congregation of Pyketillim, 
for had she not once and again got the dog-cart sent from 
Clinkstyle to bring forward the preacher when they had only 
chance " supply ; " had not certain of the supplies obtained 
been privileged to pass a night or more under her roof; and 
now that the congregation had the stated services of a promis 
ing and well-favoured young probationer, the Eev. Nathaniel 
MacCassock, was not Miss Birse, with the concurrence of 
her sagacious mother, the first to come forward and give her 
aid as a zealous lady collector ? Mrs. Birse made much of 
Mr. MacCassock, the probationer, and failed not, as she felt 
moved thereto, to remind the people that they were highly 
privileged in having amongst them a man of such gifts. But 
it was in the more private or domestic phase of her life that 
Mrs. Birse's talent for diplomacy was best seen. It is known 
to the attentive reader, that she had some years ago contem 
plated a very judicious arrangement for the establishment in 
life of her eldest son, Peter, and, as subsidiary to that, 
the virtual retirement from active life of herself and her 
husband. The plan involved, too, the retirement of Johnny 
Gibb from his possession at Gushetneuk. And now that 
Johnny's lease was about to expire, the time to carry out the 
scheme was at hand. 



So thought the goodwife of Clinkstyle, and she considered 
it right to take measures accordingly. 

A little before the Lammas rent time, Meg Kaffan had once 
again the pleasure of drinking a quiet cup of tea with Mrs. 
Birse, and on the evening of the day when the rents were 
intimated as payable, Dawvid Hadden, as he passed on his 
way homeward, found Meg's hospitality so cordial and 
pressing that, before he well knew what he was about, he 
occupied the rather unwonted position of guest to the hen- 
wife, sitting in the arm-chair in the farthest ben corner of 
her house, while Meg busied herself in ministering to his 
physical comfort. 

" Yer health aw wuss, Dawvid," said Meg, when she had 
emptied a bottle of reaming home-brewed ale into a couple 
of tumblers, whereof she lifted one in her hand, having set 
the other handy for Dawvid Hadden ; " aw 'm richt glaid to 
see ye. I 'm seer ye hinna faul't yer fit i' my hoose this 
towmon," continued the henwife. 

" Weel, it 's but seldom that I gae ony gate cep faur 
buzness tak's me. Yer vera good health, Mrs. Kaffan, an' 
luck to the fools. N-ay ! " quoth Dawvid, after a goodly 
pull at the ale ; " that 's worth ca'in' ale that gars a body's 
lugs crack." 

" Weel, ye see, I can nedder dee wi' a jilp o' treacle bree, 
nor yet wi' that brewery stuff that some fowk mak's eese o'. 
There 's naething like a starn gweed maut, maskit i' yer nain 
bowie, an' a bunchie o' wormit to gi'e 't a bit grip tak' oot 
yer drap noo. Aw 'in seer ye maun be thristy as weel's 
tir't toitin aboot amo' that rent fowk a' day. Ye raelly wud 
need a bit shalt to cairry you no." 

" It' s nae little traivel that tak's a body owre the grun, 
I 'se asseer ye," said Dawvid. " I Ve nae fyouer nor twa- 
an'-foorty entimations to gi'e ilka time." 

" Eh, ay ; that's weel min'et," replied the henwife, " an' 
foo mony o' yer tacks rins oot at this turn ? " 

" Lat me see a'thegither there's only aboot half-a- 
dizzen, encloodin' Hairry Muggart's craft an' the smith's an' 


" Dear me, aw thocht the crafts hedna tacks, but jist gaed 
on supenniiiuat like ?" 

" Ay, but that 's oon'er nae lethal obligation," answered 
Dawvid, drily. 

" An' fat '11 ye be deein wi' the bodie Gibb's placie at 
Gushetneuk ? " pursued Meg. " It 's oot, aw b'lieve." 

" Weel, I hinna jist leuket at the maitter vera particular 
yet, I've hed so muckle on han'. But an the crap war aff 
o' the grun, I '11 need 'a be at the road wi' the chyne to 
mizzour aff some o' that bits o' places, an' lat Sir Simon ken 
fat to dee." 

" It 's sic a noughty little bit haudin'. Sudna ye jist 
pit it tee to the like o' Clinkstyle, an' mak' a richt fairm at 
ance ?" 

" Weel, ov coorse there '11 be a cheenge at it at ony rate 
but there 's a fyou year o' Clinkstyle to rin yet ; an' fat 
eese wud Peter Birse hae for mair grun ? The man's lang 
past 's best." 

" Keep me, Dawvid, ye 're foryettin that he has twa 
strappin' lads o' sins at hame." 

" Ou, weel, lat them leuk oot some ither gate. To tell 
the trowth, Meg, though I ees't to think Peter Birse a saft, 
weel-dispos't breet an' wud 'a been owre bye to hae a 
newse wi' 'im ilka ither gloamin that wife o' his has sic a 
swye owre 'im an' 's so coutermin't, that I hinna been naar 
the place for years, cep fan my buzness tyeuk me." 

" Na, Dawvid, to hear ye say 't !" exclaimed Meg Raffan, 
shaking her head with much solemnity. " That 's the wye 
that ill-will begins. Dear me ; didna I jist hear her the 
tither nicht oot o' 'er nain mou' speakin' about you, and 
remorsin sair that they sud never see ye owre bye. ' Ay,' 
says she, ' he 's a richt able creatur, Maister Hadden, an' a 
richt humoursome. There 's fyou o' yer beuk-leern't fowk 
like him,' says she. An' fa 's a better jeedge, Dawvid, nor 
Mrs. Birse ye winna say that black 's the fite o' her e'e." 

" Ou weel," said Dawvid, whose vanity was visibly 
flattered, " I never hed nae ill-wull at the 'oman. But ye 
ken foo they gaed on aboot that non-intrusion " 


" Hoot, Dawvid, fowk sudna keep up um'rage. ' Them 
that buys beef buys banes/ as the aul' by-word says." 

" Ou ay ; but I 'm perfeckly seer Sir Simon 11 gi'e nae 
fawvour to nane o' that Free Kirk fowk. Ye ken foo he 
order't that creatur Peterkin to be turn't aff, 't 's been gaen 
aboot like a supplicant sin' syne ; an' there 's severals '11 hae 
to gae yet ; lat me tell ye that ; or than my name 's nae 

" Hear ye me, Dawvid Hadden," said the henwife, with 
the air of one who has something important to communicate, 
and drawing a little nearer as she spoke. " Ye maunna lat 
licht that I taul ye. But it 's true that ye say that Peter 
Birse's growin' an aul' fail't stock. Noo, Mrs. Birse mintit 
to me as muckle 's that they sud be thinkin' o gi'en owre the 
place to the aul'est sin, Peter yon stoot chap, wi' the fite 
fuskers an' themsel's gyaun to some lesser wye o' deein, or 
a genteel hoose wi' a bit craft, for easedom i' their aul' age. 
'Awat, fat needs fowk forfecht themsel's fan they hae 
plenty ?' says she. An' for that maitter, the sin's nae a 
Free Kirker ava." 

" Ou nae !" exclaimed Dawvid, incredulously. 

" ISTa, weel-a-wat no. He 's never been a commeenicant 
at nae kirk, though the Miss is a gryte Non, an' 's said to 
be weel on wi' that fair-hair't chappie, MacCassock, that 
preaches to them." 

" Ou yea ; a bonny bargain the like o' 'im wud be. 
Better till 'er tak' ane o' 'er fader's pleughmen." 

" Weel, weel, Dawvid. Ye ken ' an 'oman's wut 's in 
her foreheid,' " said Meg, jocularly. " Ye maunna be owre 
hard on 's ; we 're a' feelish mair or less fan men fowk comes 
i' the wye;" and Meg bridled up like any other interest 
ing female. 

When Dawvid Hadden had left for his home, Meg 
Eaffan thought with herself that she had succeeded in 
serving the ends of her friend, Mrs. Birse, pretty fairly. 
She had not, perhaps, convinced Dawvid of the propriety of 
attaching the possession of Gushetneuk to the farm of 
Clinkstyle, but she had a shrewd notion that she had 


brought Dawvid into that state of mind in which he was 
not unlikely to yield himself to the furtherance of Mrs. 
Birse's design so soon as that astute matron might have 
opportunity of more directly operating upon him, and that 
she would in due season find such opportunity there was 
not the least reason to doubt. 

Meanwhile, Johnny Gibb plodded on in his wonted style, 
unconscious of the arrangement that was in contemplation 
to relieve him from the cares of active life as farmer of 



WHEN the Free Kirk congregation of Pyketillim had got in 
a measure consolidated, and had begun to think of calling a 
pastor, it was considered desirable to form a regular kirk- 
session, for hitherto they had merely had the services of 
two elders as occasion required, one of these being the souter, 
Eoderick M'Aul, who had been ordained at a bygone time 
before he came to Pyketillim, and whose " orders " had quite 
safely been accepted as "indelible," and another elder 
belonging to a neighbouring parish, who had turned Free 
Churchman. So Mr. MacCassock, the probationer, ex 
changed pulpits for a Sunday with the moderator of the 
Free Presbytery, who read " the edict " for the election of 
three new elders and five deacons, and invited the congrega 
tion to meet on the succeeding evening to nominate fit and 
proper persons. 

The election was a new experience in the quarter, and 
it caused a good deal of speculation. Jonathan Tawse 
declared that it would be a very ludicrous farce if it were 
not that the thing so nearly bordered on profanity, and his 
friend, Dr. Drogemweal, swore at this aspect of it even in 
presence of the Eev. Mr. Sleekaboot, under whose hospitable 
roof the two friends were at the time. Nevertheless, there 
was a goodly turn-out of the congregation at the nomination 
meeting, females as well as males. Mrs. Birse was there, 
and Peter Birse senior along with her. There had evidently 


been some pains bestowed on Peter's toilet ; he was arrayed 
in what was understood to be ecclesiastical black, and, in 
particular, the upper part of his person was uncommonly 
carefully done up, with a shirt " neck " of formidable dimen 
sions and stiffness threatening his ears, and his hair combed 
into a sort of clerical flatness very different from its ordinary 
ragged state. The only other member of the Clinkstyle 
family present was the second son, Rob Birse, who has 
simply been mentioned in this history previously. Indeed, 
it would be difficult to say anything more of Eob than 
simply mention his existence. He was a lad who was con 
tent to vegetate on in an entirely undemonstrative way at 
Clinkstyle a sort of new and somewhat duller edition of 
his father, so far as he had hitherto exhibited any character 
whatever. He was rarely stirred into anything like mental 
activity, except it might be through the aggressive action of 
his mother and sister. It was by their orders that he came 
to the congregational meeting, grumbling somewhat at the 
hardship of being obliged to do so. 

Mrs. Birse maintained a demonstratively devout attitude 
during the opening exercises. She and her husband sat in 
a pew well to the front, and behind them sat Hairry 
Muggart who had come up to the meeting in their com 
pany and the mole-catcher. 

The Moderator, in opening the business, pointed out the 
duties required of the elders, and the qualities that fit a man 
for that office, and then asked the meeting to nominate such 
as they deemed suitable. Forthwith, the smith rose and 
nominated Johnny Gibb, then somebody nominated the 
smith himself, and both the nominations were duly seconded. 
Then there was a pause ; and the Moderator invited further 
nominations of men of known piety and zeal, and of un 
blemished life, no matter how poor they might be, or how 
humble their station. Another pause; and Mrs. Birse 
sighed with impressive solemnity, and laid her head on one 
side. Then the mole-catcher started up, and with a pre 
liminary " hem," said " Maister Moderawtor, there 's ane 
that I think 't we canna pass owre fae eleckin to be an 


el'yer. He 's vera weel kent to a' here present ; an' weel- 
wordy o' siccan a office though he 's nae ane that wud pit 
'imsel forrit. But my opingan is that he 's been aye owre 
bauch in 's nain beheef." (Here Mrs. Birse kicked Peter, 
who had been looking very uneasy, in the ribs with her 
elbow, making him sit upright and show himself.) " But 
ae wye or ither," pursued the mole-catcher, " though he 
hasna ta'en inuckle direck pairt, he 's been a great freen to 
the cause in this neebourheid." (Mrs. Birse modestly looked 
to the floor, and shook her head.) " Moderawtor, aw 'm sure 
I needna mak' a speech, though aw cud dee 't ; ye a' ken 
Maister Peterkin as weel 's me I beg till propose Maister 
Alexir Peterkin." 

At this announcement Mrs. Birse drew herself up with 
a severity approaching to violence, and Peter, who had kept 
watching her movements with the "tail" of his eye, looked 
more uncomfortable than before. The general audience 
signified their approbation of the mole-catcher's proposal, 
and Johnny Gibb starting to his feet said, " I sec-ond the 

Then there was another pause ; and the Moderator re 
minded the meeting that though the number of elders abso 
lutely required had now been nominated, yet it was quite 
open to anybody to propose one or more additional candi 
dates ; and he had no doubt there were other members of 
the congregation well qualified to discharge the duties of the 
eldership. Upon this, Hairry Muggart, who for some short 
space back had evidently been meditating a speech, swung 
himself to his feet by the aid of the pew desk, and said : 
"Maister Moderawtor, I perfeckly agree wi' your opingan 
that there ocht to be ane or twa owre an' abeen, to wale 
amon' ; or else fat 's the eese o' the prenciples o' spiritooal 
oondependence, whuch I Ve aye mainteen't an' for whuch 
oor forefaders conten'it? Moderawtor, I beg hereby to 
exerceese the preevilege wherewith you have inveetit every 
one present to be a partaker ; an' in doin' so I have to bring 
one oonder the fawvourable attention o' this meetin' ; for 
the vaeluable service render't to this congregation, which 


speaks for itsel' ; an' also his excellent partner in life." 
Hairry, who had found it more difficult than he had ex 
pected to face his rather unsympathetic audience, and speak, 
ended abruptly with, " I will add no more at present, but 
muv that Maister Peter Birse, fairmer at Clinkstyle, be 

They waited a little, but nobody seconded. But the 
Moderator said this was not necessary; so the name of 
Peter Birse was added to the list of elders elect. The next 
business was to nominate deacons, which was speedily done, 
the name of Jock Will coming first, and that of the mole- 
catcher second in order ; and in all some seven or eight, 
chiefly of the younger men, were named. When all this 
was done, the meeting was brought to a close in the usual 
way, after the Moderator had conducted another " exercise," 
in which the souter, who at his request took part, prayed 
earnestly that He who knew the hearts of all might show 
them which of these men He had chosen ; and that there 
might be close dealing with conscience on the part of the 
elders elect, to make sure that the carnal man had no place 
in moving them toward this spiritual office. 

" An' that 's yer meetin' no !" exclaimed Mrs. Birse, 
addressing Hairry Muggart, who had kept as close by her 
as his ponderous style of locomotion would allow whilst the 
goodwife flung through the people as they loiteringly dis 
persed from the door of the place of meeting. " I wud like 
to ken fat kin' o' a moderawtor he is ; or foo they sud 'a 
pitten him into Maister MacCassock's place. A man that 
kens nae ane there fae the orraest creatur i' the congregation!" 

" Weel," said Hairry, " aw b'lieve they maun hae ane 't 
's been ordeen't to be moderawtor, accordin' to the rowles o' 
the Kirk. But he 's nae gryte deykn at it, weel-a-wat." 

" Humph ! deykn at it ! It was seerly his duty as a 
minaister o' the gospel to warn them to leuk oot for fowk o' 
respectable character, instead o' gaen oot o' 's gate to tell 
them that they mith eleck ony wil' ranegill, or ca'd aboot 
ne'er-do-weel, though he hinna three bawbees i* the wardle 
to bless 'imsel' wi'." 


" Nae doot," said Hairry, " nae doot. But ye ken they 're 
nae eleckit yet. Fan the votin' comes that '11 turn the guise 
wi' them, or than I won'er at it. Ye see I hed it weel i' 
my min' till objeck to Sandy Peterkin, an' request the 
meetin' to exerceese the veto on 'im at ance. But, as I was 
sayin', fan ye cam' owre the streen i' the gloamin to see her, 
an spak' aboot it, I hed my nain doots father or no aw wud 
be latt'n nominat' Peter Maister Birse, ye ken. An' it 
was jist as weel 't the moderawtor didna ken 't aw wasna a 
regular maimber; but gin I hed latt'n at Sandy, Gushets or 
the souter wud 'a been seer to hae their horn i' my hip, an' 
they mith 'a refees't 's a hearin' a'thegither syne, ye see." 

" Weel, seerly Gushetneuk mith 'a latt'n aleen there no ; 
fan he hedna the menners to apen 's mou' for 's nearest 
neebour nor nane belangin' 'im fowk 't 's lickly to be near 
conneckit wi' 'imsel' I kenna fat he hed adee speakin' for 
ony ane." 

" I thocht Gushets unco dry the nicht," replied Hairry. 

"An' a bonny smiddy they wud mak' o' 't," continued 
Mrs. Birse. " Mak' an el'yer o' the like o' Sandy Peterkin, 
't 's livin' fae han' to mou' o' the wull o' Providence, an' a 
deacon o' that peer simple vulgar creatur o' a mole-catcher; 
it's really nae fair to Maister MacCassock to bid 'im sit 
doon wi' the like o' them." 

"Weel, no," said Hairry. "The like o' the merchan', 
Jock Wull, mith dee, but " 

" An' aw wud like to ken fat Jock Wull 's deen to gi'e 
him ony preevilege," exclaimed Mrs. Birse. "Aw'm seer 
Gushetneuk kens weel that oor Robbie hed a muckle better 
richt to be nominat', oot o' regaird for fat's sister's deen. 
Peer thing, mony a sair fit has she traivell't for the gw^eed 
o' the Free Kirk, and that 's fowk's thank." 

Hairry could only express concurrence in this sentiment. 
But as he and Mrs. Birse had now reached the point where 
their roads separated, they pulled up to wait for Peter Birse 
senior, who had fallen some little way into the rear, he 
having actually stayed to converse for a minute or two with 
the mole-catcher and some of his friends. When he came 

HO'^W Wi-jGf-r, 


up, Hairry assumed the jocular vein, and begged to con 
gratulate Peter on his personal appearance in his "stan' o' 
blacks," so very suitable to the new dignity that awaited him. 

" Ah, aw dinna ken, Hairry," said Peter, glancing towards 
his wife. '*The lave 's seer to be eleckit, an' Sandy Peterkin 
may aiven be pitten on afore me." 

" Hoot, Clinkies, that winna bide a hearin', man," said 
Hairry, confidently. 

" Bless me, man, keep yer han's oot o' yer breek pouches ; 
dinna ye see 't yer rivin' that black claith doon the seam ? 
There 's naething would leern ye menners," said Mrs. Birse. 

Peter withdrew his hands from the pockets of his ecclesi 
astical unmentionables accordingly. Then they bade each 
other good night, and went on their separate ways home 



IN the autumn of 1846 Dawvid Hadden was laboriously at 
work on certain parts of the lands of Sir Simon Frissal, 
with his measuring chain and sundry poles, one of which 
had a small bit of square board nailed on the top of it. 
A rough-looking gurk ov a loon carried the end of the 
chain, and fulfilled Dawvid's orders in running here and 
there as Dawvid took a sight over the square-headed pole, 
and then shouted and waved his hand to the loon. This 
process was what Dawvid called "layin' aff the awcres." 
The results, it was understood, were all to be laid before Sir 
Simon ; but in what particular shape it might be hazardous 
to guess, for there is reason to believe that Dawvid could do 
nothing whatever in the way of making a plan, and though 
he was great at " castin up " the contents of a piece of 
land, that operation did not seem of very essential import 
ance in the reletting of the farms, seeing Sir Simon had 
their various sizes all carefully booked already. However, 
it was enough that Dawvid deemed the layin aff of conse 

His operations at this time included, of course, the 
farm of Gushetneuk, and on the day that Dawvid was 
expected to be at work there, Mrs. Birse addressed her 
husband in this wise : 

" Noo, man, yell jist mak' an erran' owre bye to the 
smiddy, an' cast yersel' in Dawvid's road fan he 's aboot the 


held o' the faul'ies ; an' see an' get 'im to come owre edder 
till 's denner, or than afore he lowse." 

" I was jist gyaun awa' to tirr that bit huickie that we 
wus takin' into the barn to thrash," said Peter, not over 
anxious to undertake the mission. " Cudnin some o' the 
boys gae ?" 

" Peter Birse, will ye dee 's ye 're bidden ? A het invita 
tion that wud be to ony ane ackin oon'er yer laird. Sen' 
a laddie, an' you gyaun aboot the toon the neist thing to 

"Weel, gin Dawvid'll come. But we're nae needin' 
the smiddy. I was there the streen. I '11 raither gae owre 
to Gushets wi' the probang that we hed the tither nicht fan 
the yalla feeder worriet on a neep. Aw 'se warran' the 
fowk '11 be needin' V 

" Geyan lickly gae to Gushets ! As muckle 's ye wud 
gi'e Dawvid to oon'erstan' that we 're as gryte 's creel heids 
wi' them. Some eese o' seekin' 'im at that rate. Fan will 
ye leern rumgumption, man ? " 

Peter did not see it clearly even yet. Only he knew 
it was needless to maintain further debate. So he went 
away and searched out a hayfork that had got lamed of one 
prong, and started for the smiddy. It was only after he 
had been there and was on his way home again that he 
found Dawvid Hadden at a point where he could be con 
veniently approached. Eather to Peter's surprise, Dawvid 
proved to be affable in a high degree. Mrs. Birse could 
have given Peter a probable reason for this ; but it was not 
to be expected that Mrs. Birse would feel it in the least 
necessary to do anything of the sort. Dawvid could not 
by any " menner o' means " come to Clinkstyle that day ; 
for he had got to finish his layin' aff, and then go home and 
write Sir Simon ; and he even hinted that that might not 
exhaust the buzness before him ; but Peter was authorised 
to give Mrs. Birse assurance that he would be " athort the 
morn's gloamin," without fail. 

Dawvid Hadden was essentially a man of his word in so 
far as fulfilment of his engagements was concerned, and 




accordingly he duly made appearance at Clinkstyle as he 
had promised. I rather think that Mrs. Birse was not dis 
appointed at his putting the visit off for a day. It gave her 
leisure to mature things more fully. It was just a fort 
night after the meeting for the nomination of elders ; the 
election had taken place in the interim, and Peter Birse 
senior had stood at the bottom of the poll. On this occasion 
(it was on a Wednesday evening) Peter, who had no clerical 
character now to maintain, had been instructed to wash his 
face and shave (which he sometimes did, if anything 
happened to be going, when the week was only half run), 
and then to put on his gray journey claes, and step up the 
loan and meet Dawvid. All this he did, and then he, with 
due ceremony, conducted the ground-officer round by the 
" entry " door and into the best parlour. The room in 
question was finished much in the usual style, the front 
wall carrying oil portraits of the master and mistress of the 
house, done at a former date by an itinerating artist, when 
Peter Birse was assumed to be a sprightly young man, given 
to sticking his hand into the breast of his black vest, and 
Mrs. Birse, a blushing beauty, who manipulated a rose in 
her slender fingers ; the other pictorial decorations of the 
parlour were the framed print of a man who was either Sir 
William Wallace or Eob Eoy, attitudinising with a sword 
and shield, and the traditional sampler. It was laid out 
for tea. An enormous old-fashioned urn, which lay under 
the disadvantage of leaking so badly as to compel its pre 
sence there to be purely ornamental, occupied the centre of 
the table, while the multiplicity of crockery of all sorts 
surrounding it was enough to bewilder any ordinary mortal. 
Mrs. Birse was dressed in her black silk, with a collar 
spreading over her shoulders, and a most formidable black 
lace cap, perfectly ablaze with branches of "gum -flowers" 
of very pronounced colours and uncertain botanical character. 
She met Dawvid Hadden at the half-opened parlour door 
with a gracious, yet not too familiar, " I howp yer weel the 
nicht, Maister Hadden. Jist leave yer hat i' the lobby an' 
step in alloo me." When Dawvid had stepped in he was 


a little taken aback, and would perhaps have felt slightly 
embarrassed, as Peter Birse, who had shuffled in at his heels, 
had stopped his discourse, and seemed to feel the need of 
walking gingerly till the introduction should be over ; but 
Mrs. Birse came to the rescue. 

" My daachter ; Maister Hadden, an aul' freen." 

Miss Eliza Birse, who had sat stiffly in the corner of the 
room till that moment, rose, and, with the air of a polished 
lady, bowed to Dawvid Hadden. " Glad to see you," said 
Miss Birse. 

Dawvid Hadden was not easily put out ; but he did not 
expect all this, so much in advance of what he had been 
wont to see aforetime at Clinkstyle ; and by the time that 
he had been duly introduced to Miss Birse, and had got 
seated on the chair placed for him, he almost fancied that 
his face did manifest a slight tendency toward perspiration. 
Dawvid had not quite understood that he came there to tea, 
but tea was ordered in at once. The want of a bell to call 
the servant was a great defect in the appurtenances of the 
house at Clinkstyle, against which Miss Birse had repeatedly 
protested. Mrs. Birse's device in lieu of the bell was to 
open the parlour door half-way, cough in an incidental sort 
of tone, and then shut the door with a sharp snap. To 
" cry ben " was so horribly vulgar that it could not be once 
thought of. 

So the damsel brought the tea in a huge, ancient, china 
tea-pot. Miss Birse dispensed it with infinite grace, and 
Mrs. Birse showed no end of attentions to her guest Even 
Peter Birse had latterly got to be demonstrative in that 
way, and urged Dawvid to take several more of the small 
biscuits, for the reason that " ane o' that 's but a bite, man," 
at the un-gentility of which saying Miss Birse looked 
shocked ; only her father was too pleasantly occupied at the 
time to observe this very particularly. 

When tea was over, Miss Birse, according to arrangement 
or otherwise, left the party, as she had to go and make some 

" Ye see she 's jist like yersel' there, Maister Haddon 



though there be a gryte differ atween a man o' lang expairi- 
ence an' a lassie for she has aye some bizziness or anider 
on han'. Oor youngest laddie, Benjie, 's been i' the toon, 
's ye've maybe heard, for several year ?" 

"I wusna awaar," said Dawvid. 

" Ou ay ; he 's wi' a Maister Pettiphog, ane o' the heid 
lawvyers o' Aiberdeen I 've nae doot ye '11 ken him ? " 

" Weel, no, aw cud hardly say that we 're jist speak- 
able acquant." 

" Aweel, at ony rate he 's an aul' servan' o' my uncle's 
that was the lawvyer, and has a braw bizziness o' 's nain 
noo. An' Benjie 's been wi' 'im for mair nor twa year, 
leernin the law; an' aw'm seer aw canna but think that 
he lippens owre muckle till sic a young creatur actooally 
vreetin o' dockiments an' fat they ca' progresses. Fat was 
that't he said, man, fan we hed him and Mrs. Pettiphog oot 
here veesitin for an ouk fernyear ? Ou ay, says he, ' Lat 
ye Maister Benjamin alone ; it 's a sharp client that 11 tak' 
mair nor the worth o' 's siller oot o' him.' Weel, as aw 
was sayin', Maister Pettiphog hed gotten chairge o' that 
peer breet An'ro Langchafts' maitters ; an' ye wud raelly 
won'er, Dawvid. An'ro hed len'it oot triffles here an there 
't 's nae paid till this day's date." 

" Ye dinna mean siller o' 's nain ? " 

" So it wud appear ; though a'body thocht vera different 
An' fat does Maister Pettiphog dee, but get Benjie to vrite 
oot here to mak' inquaries." 

" Ye see he thocht we mith 'a kent something aboot it," 
observed Peter Birse. 

"Noo dinna ye begin to speak aboot things 't ye ken 
naething aboot, man," said Mrs. Birse. " Ye see, though we be 
tellin' Maister Hadden, 't 's sic an aul' freen, a' this, fat 's deein 
in a lawvyer's office mauna be claickit aboot to ilka body. 
So 'Liza wudna pit aff nae langer, but jist vrote back to 
Benjie the nicht, an' nae doot we '11 hear mair aboot it." 

Dawvid Hadden's curiosity, it must be owned, was not 
a little aroused by the dose of information so judiciously 
and skilfully administered by Mrs. Birse, and which seemed 


to give good promise of something more yet to come. From 
the point now gained, the conversation flowed on easily and 
naturally to a discussion of the character and credit of the 
neighbourhood generally. Johnny Gibb came in for some 
notice, Mrs. Birse purposely letting fall the remark that 
Johnny had not treated them altogether in the way they were 
entitled to expect. " He 's jist owre bitter no," said the 
goodwife, " an* I 'm thinkin' that oor nain fatie 's nae sae 
far wrang," added she, with a laugh. " It 's a pity that he 's 
nae at hame the nicht; but he's sic a bricht fairmer that 
he 's aye o' the ootleuk for bargains, an' he 's awa' at the 
Hawkha' market, faur he bocht a byous chape coo fernyear, 
an' half-a-dizzen o' stirks for he has af 'en naar dooble the 
beasts 't oor boun's '11 keep. Patie 's a stainch Aul' Kirk 
man, ye ken, an' says he till 's sister, ' Ah, Lizzie,' says he, 
' the Free Kirk may dee for women creaturs, but ye needna 
think that rnony men, at ony rate young chaps, wi' ony 
spunk i' them, wud thole yer psalmin' lang.' Peer 'Liza 
tyeuk it unco het, but fient a flee care't Patie." 

When Mrs. Birse had repeated these sentiments of her 
son approvingly, Peter Birse senior brightened up, and 
showed some disposition to pursue the same line of thought 
on his own account, but his better half promptly and 
adroitly turned the conversation, and the rest of the evening 
was passed chiefly in the narration of examples of the 
prudence, sagacity, and administrative capability of Peter 
Birse junior, his father, Peter Birse senior, being freely used 
in illustration as a sort of foil to set off the young man's 
merits. At parting, Mrs. Birse ventured to say, "Weel, 
weel, Maister Hadden ; it 's a gryte feast to see you for an 
evenin' ; an' ye maun come back shortly an' see Patie, for 
he 's to be at ye to gi'e 'im mair grun noo, fan some o' yer 
tacks is oot. Him an' you can sattl 't atween ye. We 
sanna enterfere aul' fowk, ye see, maun gae oot o' the gate o' 
the young. It 's their pairt to be thinkin' aboot ither things." 

" Aweel, I '11 be thinkin' aboot the new arreengements, 
an' aw '11 lat ye ken fat a' 's to be done vera shortly," said 
Dawvid Hadden. 



JOCK WILL'S career as merchant in the Kirktown of Pyke- 
tillim, although every way creditable to Jock himself as a 
man of enterprise and business habits, furnished in so far an 
illustration of the saying that a prophet has no honour in 
his own country. There were people in Pyketillim who 
had not been able to make up their minds as to the how 
and wherefore of Jock's position, and who manifested a dis 
position to treat him in his mercantile capacity accordingly. 
They had failed quite in finding out how Jock Will ob 
tained the pecuniary means that had enabled him to become 
successor to Andrew Langchafts; and it was a natural 
solace to hint a doubt now and then as to the bona fides 
of particular transactions, or the soundness of the foot 
ing on which his business was conducted generally. No 
matter though Jock was steady, pushing, and obliging to 
all; what business had Tie to be reticent on what concerned 
himself, and did not concern other people ? And if he 
would have his own way of it, he must not take it amiss if 
some of those whose natural curiosity he chose so unfeel 
ingly to baffle should also use his shop simply in the way 
of a secondary convenience ; that when they had a pretty 
large order they should go to " the Broch " or elsewhere for 
it, and apply at the Kirktown shop only in a casual way, 
for any temporary eke that was needed to complete their 
supplies. And all under the implied belief that Jock's 


goods were not exactly of the highest character; or else 
that his prices were open to question. It was somewhat in 
this way that Mains of Yawal had been affected when taking 
in his stock of spring seeds. Jock had advertised the 
neighbourhood of his readiness to supply all these of 
guaranteed quality at the best prices going, and had soli 
cited early orders to enable him to select his quantities. 
" Na na," quoth Mains, " aw 'm nae keerious aboot lippenin 
muckle to the like o' 'im Fa kens but he may be at the 
gae-lattin ? We '11 maybe get a starn clivver seed to mak' 
up, gin we rin oot, for convainience ; but we'll get better 
an* chaeper seed fae ither fowk." And Mains did run out; 
and he came to Jock Will's shop and not merely insisted 
on having his deficiency in clover seed supplied, much to 
Jock's inconvenience, who feared falling short of the 
quantity that customers of a less suspicious turn had 
ordered, but threepit hard to induce Jock to let him have 
it at a halfpenny per pound less than he had paid for his 
stock elsewhere. 

Mrs. Birse, it must be owned, had never been quite at 
ease on the subject of the inner history of Jock Will's start 
in business ; and the letter from her son Benjie, to which 
reference has been made, seemed unexpectedly to open the 
way to light on the subject. She instructed Miss Birse how 
to frame a reply to her brother, the young lawyer, accord 
ingly ; and the epistle addressed to Benjamin took the 
following shape : 

" DEAR BROTHER Your welcome letter was duly received, and 
we are glad to hear that you are quite well. This leaves us all the 
same at present. Your letter is very interesting, particularly about 
Andrew Langchafts* money, which he loaned to Dr. Drogemweal, by 
signing a bill for him, and getting it to pay. Mamma bids you tell 
Mr. Pettiphog that he is always in a bag of debt, and always promises 
to pay his debt, and never does it. So there is no use of craving him, 
she says, except a sheriff -officer do it, and reest his horse, which he 
cannot want, having so long roads to travel. Mamma would like 
if you can tell us more about anybody that has not paid ; and the 
most particular, to know if Mr. Will got all the shop things on credit, 


and has paid any of them yet. Mamma thinks he is in debt, because 
he had no money at the first ; and I would like to know as well as 
her. Don't tell Mr. Pettiphog that we was asking this. But the shop 
is so nice now, and everbody says that Mr. Will is a good business man. 

" Father was not elected an elder, but Mr. Will was the highest 
among the deacons. Mamma was very angry when father lost ; but 
says he has himself to thank for it. Last Sabbath, Peter and him 
was both at the parish church. Mamma said he could go, but I was 
grieved. She thinks we must not offend Sir Simon too much, and 
it is father's own conscience that will accuse him if he does not do 
right. But she would not give him a halfpenny to give to the brod, 
because the Established Kirk has no right to that now, when it is 

" Just fancy they elected Sandy Peterkin to be an elder ; and 
him is not doing nothing but living mostly upon charity ! Mr. Mac- 
Cassock could not be pleased about it. He is to be called for our 
minister soon. 

" With kind love from all 

" Your affectionate sister, 


" P.S. Write soon, and tell me all the Aberdeen news, and 
especially if you have got any new acquaintances, and been at any 

With this note in her bag, Miss Birse, leaving the 
" party " at which Dawvid Hadden was guest, had set out 
to make some calls as collector, and to post the note at 
Jock Will's shop at Kirktown of Pyketillim. 

To the news-gizzened rustic, a lounge about the mer 
chant's shop door of a gloamin, as he purchases his ounce 
of tobacco, or other needful commodity, is inexpressibly 
grateful. He can see and hear as much as will furnish 
topics to keep himself and his cronies newsin for several 
days. And thus it was that when Miss Birse got to the 
post-office, she found good part of the available space in 
Jock Will's shop occupied by customers of the class of farm 
servants, and amongst them Tarn Meerison, Gushetneuk's 
man and ex-foreman at Clinkstyle. She could have posted 
the letter at the customary slit in the window, but Miss 


Birse chose to take it inside. At the counter was Jock 
himself, with bland countenance, attending to the more im 
portant orders, while the apprentice, dight in an ample white 
apron, measured out tobacco, whipcord, and siclike. And 
could she believe it at the desk sat Sandy Peterkin, pen in 
hand, and with a long narrow day-book before him ! Miss 
Birse tripped through the parting group of rustics, and, with 
extended arm, gracefully dropped the note from between the 
tips of her gloved fingers into Mr. Will's hand. 

" D'ye do to-night ?" asked Miss Birse, with an engaging 

" Vera weel, thank ye : hoo d' ye do ? " answered the 
merchant, politely. 

Then she asked particularly after the welfare of his 
" mamma ; " and then she seemed at a loss whether she 
should recognise Sandy Peterkin or not ; but Sandy put an 
end to the dilemma, thus far, by nodding familiarly to her 
as he lifted down the merchant's big ledger. He could not 
speak at the moment, because he held the quill pen with 
which he had been writing in his lips in a horizontal posi 
tion. Miss Birse smiled graciously in return to Sandy's nod. 
Jock Will invited her into his dwelling to see his mother 
and as the apprentice was adequate to any business now 
going, he opened the counter gateway, stepped out, and 
gallantly escorted her from the shop to the house. 

" She disna ken you nor me the nicht, Tarn," said a red- 
haired chap with a very freckled face, and an enormously 
ample sleeved moleskin waistcoat, as soon as Miss Birse and 
the merchant had gone out. 

" Na, na, Archie," answered Tarn ; " fat wye cud a leddy 
ken a Jock Muck like you ?" 

" Weel, weel, Tarn, you an' me tee kens fat kin' o* gentry 
bides at Clinkstyle ; an' faur '11 ye get a rocher, coorser breet 
nor young Peter, 'er breeder ? " 

" Sang, ye may say 't," answered Tarn. " Div ye min', 
fan we wus aboot the toon thegither there, twa year syne, 
oor needin* to fesh 'im name ae nicht late, that drunk that 
he didna ken faur he was ?" 


" Ou, ay ; that was the nicht was \ 't we fell in wi' 'im 
stoitin aboot o' the road atween this an' Clinkstyle, plaister't 
wi' dubs to the vera croon o' 's heid. Weel, man, I thocht 
aw wud rive my yirnin lauchin at 'im that nicht, fan he 
begood an' grat an' taul 's aboot that deemie that they said 
hed the bairn till 'im." 

" Weel ; it was keerious. He hed aye a terrible notion 
o' you, Archie ; an' leet ye win fafrer ben wi' 'im aboot 's 
lasses nor ony o' the lave o' 's." 

" Ou, ay," said our red-haired friend ; " ye see the wye 't 
I was orra man, I wasna never fess't wi' beasts at even ; an' 
cud tak' a roun' amo' the deems ony nicht ; an' I ees't to lat 
'im gae wi' 's files. Mony a roun' han' did the jauds play 
'im he 's a saft gype but Peter was jist as redd to gae 
back 's ever for a' that." 

" Noo lads, noo lads, min' ye that 's nae discoorse to 
yoke till here," interposed Sandy Peterkin, suspending his 
operations at the ledger for a moment, and trying to look 

" Hoot, never ye min', Sandy," answered Archie, " though 
ye be made a el'yer ye maunna be owre snappus wi' fowk. 
Weel, man, he was an awfu' munsie that nicht. We 
hed to lay 'im doon upon a puckle strae i' the chaum'er 
for a file, an' skirp water in 's face till he cam* some till 

" Ay, an' d' ye min' foo fear't he was 't we sud tell ony o' 
the neepours sic a feel 's he hed made o' 'imsel'." 

" Weel, it wasna the first time, though he was never freely 
so ill 's that nicht. But they say he 's gyaun to get your 
maiden yon'er, and that Gushetneuk 's to be pitten tee to 
Clinkstyle to mak' a richt fairm to them." 

" Aw dinna believe a word o' 't," said Tarn, decisively. 

" Divnin ye ? " asked Archie. " Man, ye wudna ken. 
She 's a terrible wife yon." 

" Ay, she 's a coorse ane," interjected another of the 

" Coorse !" exclaimed Archie. " That 's a' that ye ken 
aboot it, min. An' ye hed been wi' 'er, like Tarn an' me, 


ye wudna not till 'a been taul' that there 's nae the marrow 
o' 'er atween this an' Tamintoul, for an unhang't limmer, 
wi' a' kin' o' greed, an' twa-fac't chaetry." 

Sandy Peterkin looked up again with a remonstrating 
look, but, not heeding this, Archie went on 

" An' yon peer, simple idiot o' a man o' hers ; she canna 
haud fae ill-guidin* an' makin' a feel o' 'im afore fowk's 
faces, though for that maitter he 's far owre gweed for 'er." 

" The dother 's nae far aliin the niither in some things," 
said Tarn Meerison. 

" Ho, there she goes !" said Archie, as he happened to 
glance outside. " My certie, the merchan' '11 better tak' care 
o' 'imsel' wi' 'er Weel, are ye gyaun to be stappin, boys ? " 

These last words were uttered as Jock Will re-entered 
the shop. Jock bade his customers good-night very affably 
as they left, and then proceeded to arrange for closing his 
place of business. 

The reader has not been informed how it came to pass 
that Sandy Peterkin had come to occupy a position in Jock 
Will's establishment. It came about very simply in this 
wise. That Sandy Peterkin was in need of some suitable 
employment was a fact patent to anybody, and it weighed 
particularly on the minds of his three friends, the souter, 
the smith, and Johnny Gibb. Johnny even declared that 
the idea of a man of Sandy's pairts an' leernin hoeing neeps, 
or raiking in hairst to him, was degraadin, which Sandy did 
not in the least seem to feel, but did the work contentedly. 
They did not, like Job's friends and others, proceed to 
comfort him in a critical way, but having met and con 
sidered his case " Weel," said the smith, " I canna think 
o' onything better nor tryin' the merchan' to set him to dee 
his clarkin ; he has owre muckle adee till 'imsel', an' Sandy 
winna be ill to say till wi' the waages/' 

" Man, that's the vera thing ; aw'm seerly dottl't or I 
wud 'a thocht o' that ere noo," exclaimed Johnny Gibb. 

" He vreets a bonny han'," said the souter. 

" Bonny ! its like the vera copper-plate," added Johnny 


Johnny at once undertook to see Jock Will in Sandy 
Peterkin's interest. Jock, like a sensible man, readily fell 
in with the proposal of his seniors, and Sandy was forthwith 
put on trial as clerk, much to his own satisfaction, and with 
no disappointment to the expectations of his friends. 



IF Johnny Gibb's farm of Gushetneuk was to be reft from 
him, and he, Johnny, sent adrift from the lands of Sir Simon 
Frissal, as an incorrigible disturber of the peace, civil and 
ecclesiastical, it was very evident that the prospect before 
him gave Johnny no manner of trouble or anxiety whatever. 
When Dawvid Hadden, in the plenitude of his power as 
ground-officer, had deliberately stalked about for a day or 
two on the possession of Gushetneuk, climbing over fences, 
and sten'in through turnip and potato drills, or kicking up 
hillocks among new girse stibbles as he went on layin' aff 
the awcres, it had seemed to Dawvid a settled matter that 
the obstinate bodie would feel the necessity of making up 
to him in a somewhat more deferential spirit than that 
which had marked their later intercourse about the date of 
the Disruption. But in this Dawvid was disappointed. 
Johnny was to be seen jogging leisurely about, snodding up 
the corn yard, turning out his young stock to pick up the 
natur' girse by the margins of the now cleared fields, or 
directing the operations of Tarn Meerison and the orra man 
as they laid on a substantial coat of top-dressing on the old 
lea that was to be broken up ; but he heeded Dawvid just 
as much and no more than if Dawvid had been some insig 
nificant interloper whom it was not worth while to turn off 
the land. 

" Fat 's that preen-heidit ablich deein there, Tarn ?" said 


Johnny Gibb, as he saw Dawvid Hadden cross the fence, with 
his attendant carrying the measuring chain. 

" Ou, he 's been at it yesterday an' the day baith, layin' 
aff the grim/' answered Tarn Meerison. 

" Humph !" quoth Johnny, as he turned away homeward, 
" a bonny layin' aff, or than no ; he mith 'a sav't himsel' 
that tribble at ony rate." 

" The maister has a richt ill-wull at that mannie," said 
the orra man, when Johnny Gibb had got beyond earshot. 

" Ill-wull !" answered Tarn Meerison. " Man, he disna 
think 'im worth haein an ill-wull at : peer win'y smatchet, 
gyaun aboot preten'in that he's Sir Seemon's awgent. Little 
to me wud set the dog at 'im : ye wud shortly see foo he 
wud tak' owre the dyke, chyne an' a' thegither." 

Tarn did not set on the dog, however, but pursued his 

"Nabal vratch," soliloquised Dawvid Hadden within 
himself. It was not that he had heard the sentiments 
uttered by Johnny Gibb, for the two were a couple of 
hundred yards distant from each other at the time that 
Johnny had spoken; but, as Dawvid fixed his squaring 
pole, he had allowed the " tail " of one eye to wander toward 
Johnny in the hope that, in place of going away in con 
temptuous disregard of his, Dawvid's, presence, he would 
come towards him, if not in a supplicating, then in a belli 
cose spirit ; and Dawvid flattered himself that he knew the 
precise attitude which, as a man in authority, it was becom 
ing to assume in either case. Johnny simply turned in the 
other direction to attend to some trifling concern affecting 
the temporary convenience of his stirks. " Nabal vratch ; 
hooever, they gae far aboot that disna meet ae day Fat 
can he mean cairnin on the tap-dressin' that gate ? He 
winna get the gweed o' that in ae crap, nor twa. Ou weel, 
it '11 pit the grun in gweed hert for somebody, ony wye." 

In this mood had Dawvid Hadden begun his layin' 
aff: in this mood he continued it. It has been already 
narrated how Dawvid paid a friendly visit to Clinkstyle, 
and what communings took place on that occasion. There- 


after, the ground-officer set about the onerous duty of report 
ing to Sir Simon Frissal the result of his land-surveying 
labours. The statement was fully more verbose than lucid ; 
yet Dawvid contrived to make it abundantly apparent what 
he conceived should be done with the farm of Gushetneuk, 
at least Of it Dawvid reported thus : 

" The pleace is two small and John Gibb has not led it owt accord 
ing to plan which is all ways very disrespectfull to supperiors and 
obstinat small farms is bad for increasing pauppers under the new poor 
law i have been applied too by severals but told them the new plan 
had not been decided which it was likely you would not need no new 
tenant when you could get quiet well behaved people among the old 
tenants the supperficies off the new farm is 173 acres arrable encloodin 
the commodation road and the smal belt which is not more nor an acre 
and a half, the fire howse at Gushetneuk would stand and with im 
provements which they is willing to do at their own coast would be 
shootable for Mr. and Mrs. Birse. there sun which is also called Peter 
is to be the farmer and is a remarkable good marketman and steady 
and is much respected by Mr. Sleekaboot and considers him one of the 
best disposed young men that comes to the parish church and never a 
sunday out of it I also noes off tenants for the smith's and shoemaker's 
crofts, no more at present." 

To the ground-officer's laboured production Sir Simon's 
reply was brief ; and these were its terms : 

" DAVID I intend coming home per mail coach on 23d inst. 
Please give the gardener your assistance in making the approach tidy 
and clearing it of dead leaves and rubbish. Also intimate to the 
people whose holdings are out, that Mr. Greenspex, my agent, and I 
will meet them on 25th. John Gibb, the smith, and shoemaker, are 
to wait on me the previous night. S. FRISSAL. 

"October 10th." 

With the contents of this note Dawvid Hadden was 
highly pleased. It was now past doubt that his plan of 
re-letting was approved, and he carried in his pocket a 
warrant of expatriation, as it were, against the three men, 
who of all Sir Simon's tenantry had set most lightly by his 
authority. Yet Dawvid was not void of magnanimity. 


" Weel, Hairry, man," said he, addressing our friend the 
wright, " I 'm a kin' o' sorry for the souter an' the smith 
the smith in particular he 's a gweed tradesman, an' a 
humoursome chiel though he hae a gey sharp tongue in 's 
heid files but ye see they hedna ither till expeck. I warn't 
them weel fat it wud come till lang syne." 

" Ou ay ; they war baith owre heidie, ye see. Pren- 
ciple 's ae thing, but jist to rin yersel' clean intill a snorl 
disna dee." 

" Ye was a wise man that drew in yer horns a bit, aw 
can tell ye, Hairry." 

" "Weel, weel," said Hairry, with a somewhat forced laugh, 
" it disna dee to bide at Eoom, an' strive wi' the Pape. An' 
I 'm a kin' o' mair oonder the Sir nor aiven the like o' them." 

" Be thankfu' 't ye are 's ye are, Hairry ; for Sir Simon 
was onything but pleas't aboot you gaen aboot makin' 
speeches at some o' that non-intrusion meetin's, I can tell 
ye. An' though I say 't mysel', that maybe sudna say 't, it 
wud 'a requar't only twa scraips o' the pen fae me fan aw 
was makin' oot my report to gar Sir Simon tak' a vizzy 
backar't ; an' syne I wudna gi'en a goupenfu' o' sheelocks 
for yer chance." 

" Muckle obleeg't to ye, Dawvid," said Hairry, in a tone 
indicative of earnestness, not unmixed with anxiety. " It 's 
nae fae you 't I Ve kent sae lang 't I wud 'a dreadit an ill 
turn, though I ken weel ye Ve a hantle i' yer poo'er." 

" Ay," continued Dawvid, quite observant of Hairry's 
state of feeling, " fan ye was gaen clampin doon to that bit 
hole o' a skweel ilka ither nicht, an jawin awa' amo' yer 
nons, Sir Simon says to me, ' Dawvid,' says he, ' do you 
know that that fellow Muggart's been repeatedly down 
haranguin thaese poor ignorant fanatics ?' ' I 'm not awaar 
hoo af en, sir,' says I, tryin' to mak' as licht o' 't 's aw cud. 
' Well,' says he, 'keep your eye upon him, an' let me k-now.'" 

" Eh, did he raelly say that, Dawvid ? Weel ye ken, 
I never tyeuk nae active pairt, 'cepin twice. I was in 
fawvour o' the prenciple, ye see ; but the like o' Gushetneuk 
an' them carrie't things owre gryte a len'th." 


" Weel, weel, Hairry, ye better lat sleepin* tykes lie noo. 
The places is to be set aboot the twenty-foift, so ye '11 need-a 
be owre l-\. My plan's been afore Sir Simon this audit 
days, an' I hed 's letter the streen, fully approvin' o' 't ; so 
there '11 be little adee but get the lawyer to tak' oor enstruc- 
tions, and vreet oot the dockiments." 

"An' will there be ony cheenge than, Dawvid, forbye 
fat ye 've mention't ? " asked Hairry. 

" Ye '11 see ; ye '11 see. We maunna cairry clypes oot 
o' the skweel. Hooever, aw'm gaen up to the Manse to 
call upo' Maister Sleekaboot, an' converse wi' 'im aboot ane 
that he was recommen'in' to me. Gweed nicht wi' ye." 

Dawvid went on to the Manse accordingly, and knocked 
at the front door. 

" Ou, jist say it 's Maister Hadden that wunts 'im for a 
minute," said Dawvid, in answer to the inquiry of the damsel 
who opened the door to him. Mr. Sleekaboot came down 
from his study, and found Dawvid seated in the parlour, 
dangling his hat between his knees. 

" I 'm glad to see you, David ; your wife is quite well, 
I hope ; and the children ? " said Mr. Sleekaboot. 

" We 're a' vera muckle aboot the ordinar', sir," answered 
Dawvid. " Gweed be thankit. I 've call't up aboot yon 
that ye mentiou't the settin' o' the crafts, ye ken." 

" Oh ! Sir Simon returns this month ?" 

" We 've arreeng't things jist is I taul ye, an' ye can lat 
me ken whuch craft, the smith's or the souter's, it would be 
maist agreeable to get for this person that ye 're interaistit in." 

" Indeed !" exclaimed Mr. Sleekaboot. " I 'm really 
much obliged to you, David." 

" Dinna mention 't, sir." 

" It 's not that I would desire to dispossess any man ; 
far from it ; but as you said Sir Simon could not allow 
these people to remain after what had come and gone, I 
thought I might as well recommend a most respectable man 
to you a most respectable man." 

" Fat 's his name, sir ? aw'll better book it at once," said 
Dawvid, putting down his hat on the carpet, and pulling 



out a crumpled book of the penny diary order, together with 
a bit of black lead pencil, the point of which he dipped into 
his mouth, in preparation for writing. 

Mr. Sleekaboot gave Dawvid the name of some unknown 
person, a sister's daughter's husband of Jonathan Tawse, and 
Dawvid booked it in proper style. " It will be a particular 
favour," added the minister, " and he will be entirely in 
debted to yourself for it, David." 

" Ou, I 'm aye willin' to dee a fawvour to them that 's 
enteetl't till onything o' the kin'. Ye '11 maybe adverteese 
'im to leuk in aboot upo' me at's convainience." 

"And don't mention my name, you know, David, in 
connection with the matter ; being of a secular nature, my 
motives might be misunderstood." 

" I un'erstan' ye perfeckly, sir," said Dawvid ; then he 
again put up his diary and black lead pencil ; and soon 
thereafter bade the minister a formal good night, and went 
away home. 



THE settlement of the Kev. Nathaniel MacCassock, as Free 
Kirk Minister at Pyketillim, was an event that afforded an 
altogether new experience in the place. To the younger 
people the placin of a minister was something which they 
had never witnessed in any shape. Their seniors could 
remember the time when Mr. Sleekaboot was ordained as 
minister of the parish. But that was a different style of 
thing altogether. Sir Simon Frissal had, of his own good 
will and pleasure, " presented " the Rev. Andrew Sleekaboot, 
without consulting any individual more or less ; and the 
Presbytery had mainly carried the matter through, without 
anybody in the parish being a bit the wiser. When the 
ordination " trials " were completed, and the settlement was 
to take place, they fixed it, as the use and wont is, for a 
week day, whereat certain of the parishioners grumbled, 
because the Presbytery had been unmindful of the fact 
that the neeps were pressing for hoeing at the time. And 
one or two doubted whether a week-day service was con 

" Aw 'm fell dootfu' aboot gyaun naar them ava, fader," 
said Mains of Yawal, then a promising young man, address 
ing his male parent ; " the neeps is spin'lin' up till they '11 
be connach't ; an' they 've nae poo'er to gar fowk gae to the 
kirk on ouk days, 'cepin o' the fast-day." 

" It '11 be siccarer to gae, loon," said the judicious senior 


" Ye wudna ken fat mitli happen. Sir Seemon '11 be there 
'imsel', an' the factor wi' 'im, nae doot, an' they wud seen 
see gin oor seat war freely teem. Tak' ye a stap owre bye 
an' see fat like a birk he is. As the aul' by- word says, ' It 's 
aye gweed to hae yer cog oot fan it dings on kail.' " 

Like an obedient son, Mains of Yawal had obeyed his 
father's injunctions, and patiently witnessed the ordination 
services. Then the Presbytery had the ordination dinner, 
from which, it was said, every individual member of the 
reverend court departed in a more or less " glorious " state. 
Mains of Yawal did not say this, but on that very evening 
he had occasion to witness a part of the tail of the ordina 
tion programme for which he had not bargained. The old 
man, as his custom was, before retiring to rest, went out in 
the quiet summer gloamin to the hillock at the western end 
of his cosy stob-thacket house, and cast his eyes abroad over 
as much of the farm of Mains of Yawal as they could take 
in from that point of vantage. He gazed and gazed again 
in the direction of the lower part of the farm, past which 
the road from the Kirktown of Pyketillim led. 

" Jamie !" cried he, " fat 's that makin' sic a reerie amo' 
the stirks doon i' the Shallhowe ? Seerly the tod, or a set 
o' cairds rinkin aboot the pumphel. Ein awa' doon, man, 
an' see fat 's oonsattlin the beasts fae their lair." 

He was a notionate old fellow the elder Mains of Yawal, 
and would be obeyed. So when Jamie went down till he 
had full command of a point a little beyond where his father 
could see to, what should he behold but a gentleman in 
white neckcloth, with his hat far back on his head, and 
seated on horseback, completely locked into the corner of 
the lower field among the growing corn. He had deliberately 
ridden off the road, in at the yett ; there could be no doubt 
that the rider was responsible for that aberration and not 
the horse ; and after traversing the field in various directions 
to the infinite astonishment of Mains of Yawal's stirks, which 
had some dim notion, evidently, that the proceeding was not 
in proper ecclesiastical form, he had got, as it were, jammed 
into the neuk of the field. There the rider, who, on finding 


further progress impossible, had been thrown back on the 
previous proceedings, was hilariously reciting part of a 
speech lie hud di-livcn-d in the manse that day, and the 
horse was occupying his time by nibbling grass off the top 
of the feal-dyke. Our young farmer, who knew perfectly 
\vrll the name and local habitation of the reverend brother 
of the Presbytery who had been caught straying in this 
odd fashion, was naturally incensed, and rated his obfuscated 
reverence severely for " blaudin the corn " in such an un 
warrantable fashion. And his reverence, in tones of serene 
contentment, replied, "Ho-ot, man, hoot; jist lead ye my 
horsie oot ; I '11 pay all damages. We hae-na or-dination 
dinner every day, min' ye." 

I fear this digression is hardly to be justified ; only let 
the indulgent reader bear in mind that the habits of Pyke- 
tillim are to me of perennial interest, whether the date be a 
quarter or half a century ago, or more. 

Well, while the scheme, of which the reader knows, rela 
tive to the possession of Gushetneuk had been maturing, the 
subject that specially occupied Johnny Gibb's thoughts was 
not the renewal of his lease, but the settlement of Mr. Mac- 
Cassock. Johnny had been at pains to stir up the people 
of the Free Kirk to a sense of their privilege in electing a 
minister; and he had had the satisfaction of seeing a full 
meeting present on the day of election, when Mr. MacCas- 
sock was unanimously chosen. Then Mr. MacCassock had 
his " trials," and, albeit the souter was Presbytery elder at 
the time, Johnny felt it incumbent upon him too to travel 
to the Presbytery's place of meeting, and sit through a five 
hours' "sederunt," in order that he might lose nothing in 
the procedure that was fitted to edify. Some parts of the 
exercises to which Mr. MacCassock was subjected were con 
fessedly beyond Johnny Gibb's intelligent comprehension ; 
yet he and the souter returned from the Presbytery with 
the steadfast conviction that he was a " gran' scholar," and 
" poo'erfu' i' the original langiges ;" and the congregation 
readily accepted their report on this point. That Mr. Mac- 
Cassock was an able preacher they all knew of their own 


knowledge. Mr. MacCassock had now passed his " trials " 
with approbation, and following on that they had next 
settled the details of the ordination. They did not reckon 
brevity the soul of wit, nor attribute to it any desirable 
character whatever in such a matter, and so Johnny Gibb 
and the souter, who had got a remit on this head from the 
congregation, had pleaded it almost on the ground of a per 
sonal favour that three of the fathers and brethren should 
take part in the services ; the moderator to preach the 
sermon, then one brother to "address the newly -ordained 
pastor," and another to "address the people." This was 
all agreed to, and the 23d of October was fixed for the 

"The vera day 't Sir Seemon comes hameS" exclaimed 
Mrs. Birse, addressing her daughter, who had just returned 
from some piece of visiting. " I' the face o' fortune fa said 
that, 'Liza?" 

"I heard it at the shop." 

" The chop ! Fowk 11 get a' ca'd aboot clypes there ; I 
think they mith get something ither adee nor turnin' owre 
a' the claicks i' the kwintra." 

"Well, mamma, if it please ye any better, it was Mr. 
Gibb himself that told me." 

" Gushetneuk 'imsel' ? It wud set him better to bide at 
hame, an' leuk aifter that sweer fangs o' servan' chiels o' 

" An' he bade me say that there '11 be a great turnoot, for 
the ablest speakers i' the Presbytery's all to tak' part; an' 
he wud expect to see every one o' us there that day." 

" To see 's a' there ! Weel, weel ! Easy till 'im that 
has naething to loss or win. But it 's jist aye the gate wi' 
them 't hisna faimilies o' their nain ; there 's nae en' to their 
selfitness. Fat wye cud ye expeck Patie an' yer fader there 
fan the tacks is to be set immedantly aifter ?" 

" Well, mamma, ye know well aneuch that if Peter offeri' 
Mr. Gibb, he needna think to get Mary Howie to be 's wife. 
An' ye 've helpit a' 't ye cud to get 'er till 'im yourself." 

" Peter ! Peer man, aw doot he hisna sol't 's beets wi' 's 


transack amo' the lasses. But an' he war goodman o' 
' Newtoon,' 's Dawvid ca's 't, an' Mary Howie needin' to gae 
awa' to the frem't, she maybe winna be sae saucy, aiven 
though an inhaudin, unedicat taupie chiel in a kwintra chop 
sud be garrin 'er troo that he 's wuntin' 'er Fat sorra wud 
he wunt 'er for but to get 's han's o' the siller that Gushet 's 
len'it 'im, or I 'm sair mista'en ?" 

" Mamma !" exclaimed Miss Birse, with vehement emo 
tion. " That 's not a proper way to speak of Mr. Will ; and 
him one o' the deacons too. I 'm sure he don't deserve that 
fae no one belongin' to the Free Church," and Miss Birse 
flung herself on the parlour couch in a state midway between 
sobbing and sulking. 

" Hoot, 'Liza," said Mrs. Birse, in a cooler tone, " I wasna 
meanin* to lichtlifie him Gweed forbid. We a' ken weel 
fat kin' o' an upfeshin he gat ; an' gin he be able to hae a chop 
noo it 's the mair till 's credit ; only, ye ken, the like o' 'im 
canna hae the same respeck 's a man o' edication like Maister 
MacCassock, 't 's been weel brocht up a* 's days, an' gane 
throu' the College, like yer nain broder, Benjamin. But aw 
was provokit at that bodie Gushets gaen on that gate, 's gin 
he war enteetl't to rowle the roast owre a'body." 

"He only wantit's a' to be there, because there'll be 
gran' preachers ; and Gushets' ain people '11 hae some 
strangers wi' them," said Miss Birse. 

"Weel, ye ken, Patie has a gryte prefairrance for the 
Pairis' Kirk, an' it winna dee to swye nae creatur's con 
science, 'Liza, ye ken that yersel'. An' yer fader is not 
stoot. I was thinkin' 'im leukin jist rael wainish't-like 
aboot the queets the tither day ; it 's raelly a gryte harass 
ment to the like o' 'im to be gar't shave an' cheenge his 
claes on an ouk day." 

Of course Mrs. Birse had it her own way; although, 
with the exception of Peter Birse senior and Peter Birse 
junior, the members of the family at Clinks tyle did attend 
the ordination services. The Free Kirk of Pyketillim was 
crammed on the occasion; and Johnny Gibb looked alto 
gether like one who reckoned it a high day. There had 


been a promise of long standing on the part of his friend 
" Maister Saun'ers " at Marnoch to pay him a visit, and now 
Johnny had pressed fulfilment of the promise. Mrs. Gibb 
was not improved in pedestrian powers, so Johnny made 
Tarn Meerison yoke the cart, and in that useful vehicle Mrs. 
Gibb, himself, Maister Saun'ers, and Jock Will's mother, rode 
pleasantly enough to the Free Kirk. The merchan', care 
fully done up in a stan o' blacks, came on behind in the 
company of Mrs. Gibb's niece, Mary Howie, who was also 
escorted by Willy M'Aul, whose muscular frame, and ruddy, 
open face, formed a good contrast to the merchant's careful 
style and semi-demure air. Willy, who had been for a time 
a stranger in Pyketillim, was there to hit at least two dogs 
with one bone, if he might, by visiting his home, and at the 
same time attending the ordination services. And if one 
might judge, it was no unpleasant experience for him again 
to meet certain of his old acquaintances, in whose company 
he now found himself. He had moreover been specially 
invited to take tea at Gushetneuk with his old master and 
mistress, and in company with the perspicacious Maister 
Saun'ers from Marnoch. 

It is needless to say how impressive the ordination 
services were ; how closely, for three long hours, they were 
listened to by a crowded congregation ; and how the psalm 
ody swelled up beyond its wonted volume. It was the 
mole -catcher who now occupied the precentor's desk, but 
the mole-catcher was a modest man, and on great occasions 
he would always have Johnny Gibb in the lateran also, to 
give him assurance, for Johnny's presence of mind never 
deserted him. And Johnny's voice had a grip in it. At 
the points in the metre he could ring out with a pene 
trating " birr " that set straggling elements in the general 
body of sound at defiance, and when occasion required, over 
bore in its prolonged twang even the shrill piercing note of 
the principal female voice. When the service had ended, 
and Mr. MacCassock had received the usual " cordial wel 
come," the congregation betook themselves to their several 
homes. Mr. MacCassock having as yet no manse, and 


there being no other suitable accommodation available, 
it had been found necessary, reluctantly, to give up for 
the present the idea of " entertaining " the brethren of the 

As the congregation were in process of gradual dis-- 
persion by the various routes leading to and from the Kirk, 
the carriage of Sir Simon Frissal came along the highway 
with that dignified baronet, who had just arrived on his 
autumn visit to the locality, in the interior. Johnny Gibb's 
mare, Jess, which was already under way, manifested an 
evident disposition to keep pace with Sir Simon's fleeter 
steeds as they passed, and Johnny, who was in command of 
Jess at the time, did his best simultaneously to check the 
vivacity of the animal, and accord the customary recognition 
to his laird by lifting his hat. Whether Sir Simon deigned 
to return the salute of the tenant of Gushetneuk was not 
clearly determinable ; at any rate, Jess by her capers made 
very sure that the baronet should not pass without having 
his special attention fixed on her master. 



IT was an honourable feature in the policy of the Frissal 
family that within the memory of living man or woman no 
old tenant had ever been turned off the property. No 
matter that adverse fortune had overtaken a man, nor even 
that his own sloth or mismanagement had reduced him to 
straits ; if unable to continue in his existing haudin, some 
smaller place, or at least a bield to put his head in, was 
found for him, and he was allowed to end his days with the 
centre of his wonted orbit as little disturbed as might be. 
Though Sir Simon had been from his youth upward what 
would have been rightly described as a " hard-up " laird, 
and though the more industrious of his tenants evidently 
made a very comfortable living, the rents remained easy, 
and no foreign influences had hitherto been permitted to in 
flame them. Perhaps the system had its drawbacks. I 
recollect one or two tenants, for example, of a type that 
could certainly never be developed under the more modern 
system, by which the lands, erstwhile of Sir Simon, as well 
as other properties, are now regulated. Their laziness and 
capability of mismanagement were positively of the nature 
of genius at anyrate in so far as genius can achieve results 
without effort. Here was Ga'in Tamson now Who could 
have told from Ga'in's pastures that Italian ryegrass was a 
plant known to the British farmer ; or said with certainty 
from his green crop that the turnip was other than an exotic 


of doubtful growth in our severe climate ? In point of fact, 
Ga'in allowed a large screed oftener than once, to "lay" 
itself " out," without his troubling it with anything in the 
shape of clover or grass seeds ; and he objected to " bone 
manure" on principle. His patches of corn bloomed a 
bright yellow with the ancient skellach, and the aspect of 
his kine and of his old " brown " mare did not belie the fare 
on which it was their fortune to be sustained. Ga'in was a 
" fine stock," with a fluent and compendious power of new- 
sin ; yet he got into difficulties, and latterly ceased to pay 
rent. But even Ga'in Tamson was not sent adrift. He 
merely roupit aff at Claybogs, and being transferred to a 
croft near by, placidly cultivated the same, or refrained 
from cultivating it, as he had a mind, for the remaining 
period of his life. Well ; if Sir Simon's system had its 
drawbacks, I am not sure that the system which has suc 
ceeded it is quite faultless. 

Anyhow, things being thus, the report that Johnny Gibb, 
the souter, and the smith were to be turned off, caused no 
little sensation in the neighbourhood, as the 25th October 
1846, being the day of letting, approached. 

" Na ; but it 's keerious no, that Dawvid sudna been 
owre bye ere this time to gi'e 's the rinnins o' the maitter." 

The speaker was Mrs. Birse, and she addressed her 
husband and her eldest son, Peter, when they had finished 
their breakfast on the morning in question. 

" Hooever, he has sae mony things to deteen 'im ; ye '11 
baith rank yersel's eenoo an' be ready in richt time to gae 
up to the Hoose." 

" Fat wud be the eese o' that ? we '11 be in gweed time 
this twa 'oors," quoth Peter junior, rising and making his 
way towards the parlour door. "Aw'm gyaun awa* to 
lat oot the stirks an' ca' them to the Backhill, faur Mains's 
orra man 's reddin oot the mairch stank, till aw see foo he 's 
gettin' on." 

" Noo, Patie, fat eese has the like o' you to be gyauu 
treeshin an' ca'in' aboot at nowte beasts eenoo ?" 

Peter went, however; and, as Mrs. Birse could do no 


better, she called after him, " Min', noo, and nae bide owre 
lang. Ye ken Sir Seemon 's vera punctooal, an' 's nain words 
to Dawvid wus to bid ' every one be there by twel' o'clock.' 
Na, man, but aw mitha bidden you pit on yer claith 
breeks i' the mornin' ! There ye hae them skaikit wi' skirps 
o' sharn bree to the vera waistban'." 

" Hoot, 'oman, it 's neathing o' the kin' ; ye ken they 've 
hed that marks o' them this three towmons," and Peter 
Birse senior wetted his thumb and proceeded to rub at 
certain spots on the rather shrivelled-looking rusty-black 
unmentionables in w r hich the lower part of his person was 

" Noo, min' yer nae to gae throu' yer gremmar gin Sir 
Seemon speer onything aboot the Free Kirk at ye, fan ye 're 
sattlin aboot Gushetneuk ; as it 's nait'ral that he will." 

" Weel, gin he speer, aw maun jist tell 'im the trowth ; 
ye ken brawly that I never was a weel-wuller till gyaun 
awa' fae the Pairis' Kirk." 

" There 's mair wyes o' tellin' the trowth nor ane, man ; 
ye 're seerly aul' aneuch to ken that ere noo. Sir Seemon 
kens fae ithers nor you that Maister MacCassock 's come o' 
genteel, respectable, weel-livin' fowk, an' that he's vera 
intimat' in oor faimily. An' gin he speer aboot ony ither 
transack that there 's been, there 's nae occasion for you to 
say ocht or flee, but jist, ' Weel, Sir Seemon, the best wye 's 
joost to refar ye to yer nown awgent, Maister Hadden.' " 
" But foo sud aw dee that ?" 

" Foo sud ye dee that ! Foo sudna ye dee 't fan yer 
bidden ?" 

" Dawvid hisna naething adee wi' 't." 
" An' fat for hisna Dawvid naething adee wi' 't ? He 
gya you a braw fleg aboot it af'ener nor ance. Jist hear ye 
fat I say ' It wusna for naething that the cat licket the 
stane,' 's the fowk says ; an' aw think it wud be ill Dawvid 
Hadden's pairt nae to dee a' that he cud for them that 's 
coontenanc't him as we 've deen." 

" Hoot, but ye lippen owre muckle to Dawvid," argued 
Peter ; but Mrs. Birse, who had begun to give her atten- 


tioii to some household matters, did not think it worth 
\\liile to keep up the discussion, knowing, as sho did, that 
though Peter was disposed to rc-anl the occasion as one on 
which he might not inopportunely remind Mrs. Birse, in a 
friendly way, of his own safe instincts in matters ecclesi 
astical, he would undoubtedly fall in with, and act according 
to his instructions. 

In due course, Messrs. Birse, senior and junior, set forth 
on their important errand. I rather think there had been 
some slight qualms of conscience in the case of the former ; 
else he need not have proposed to his son that, in place of 
taking the straight road, they should go along the dykeside 
through the field, and round by the Backhill, so as to steer 
quite clear of Gushetneuk. At any rate, they reached the 
precincts of the great house in good time. Then they were 
puzzled somewhat. The prefatorial part, as it were, had 
been solely intrusted to Dawvid Hadden, and Dawvid they 
had not seen ; and notwithstanding they had hung about 
where it seemed likely they might catch the vigilant 
ground-officer's eye, there had been no sign of his appearing. 
So they would go past his house. Oh ! that very morning 
Dawvid had had to leave post haste for " doon throu'," on 
business of Sir Simon's. There was nothing for it then but 
walk up to the Hoose alone. And when they had done so 
the butler told them that Sir Simon and Mr. Greenspex had 
been going on for a while. 

" The parson 's been here, no less, for the last half- 
hour," quoth the functionary aforesaid. 

" We wus expeckin to see Dawvid Hadden ; will there 
be ony chance o' 's bein' in aboot shortly ? " asked Peter 
Birse senior. 

" Davie ? " said the butler. " Not if he 's a wise man ; 
there 's been a awful kick-up about some promise he had 
made to his reverence to give the smith's croft to a prodigee 
of his." 

" Raelly !" answered Peter. 

" And the upshot 's like to be to unship poor Muggart." 

"Eh, fat wye, man?" 


" Well, you see/' said the butler, who was a not much 
less important official in his own way than Dawvid Hadden, 
" so far as I gather, Sir Simon, at the preliminary audience 
last night, settled to give both the smith and shoemaker 
their crofts so I gathered from the conversation of the 
agent when we had a glass of wine together. Sir Simon 
put on his most severest look and he can do it in style 
when he heckled them about the Free Church. But, as 
you Scotch say, he gave them ' the bit and the buffet with 
it ' and quite right, quite right, they 're both very good 
tradesmen. Ah ! but his reverence comes up with this 
prodigee of his ; a parson 's not to be denied, you know ; 
besides, Sir Simon was very angry at Muggart for making 
such a botch of that new gate at the bottom of the lawn ; 
and I gather that Hairry 's to get the sack to make way for 
this person." 

" Isnin that byous !" said Peter Birse senior. "Ye see 
we cam' up aboot Gushetneuk." 

" Gushetnook ! what about it ?" said the butler. 

" Weel, we wus thinkin' o' takin' it tee to oor pairt for 
him here ;" and Clinkstyle canted his hat half-way over in 
the direction of his son. 

" Takin' Gushetnook ! Bless your 'art, didn't you hear 
that it 's took already ? Old Gibb was here last night ; 
sich a row wi' Sir Simon and he ; might 'a heard them half 
way down the lawn not Sir Simon, of course, he 's too 
much of a gentleman to speak loud. But Gushetnook 's let 
not to old Gibb, mind ye, but to some friend o' his, I 
didn't gather who. Excuse me, gentlemen," continued the 
butler, who was also discharging the office of footman. 
" His reverence is just going." 

The butler went to open the door, and Peter Birse senior 
looked at Peter Birse junior uneasily. 

" Nyod, I dinna think 't we sud bide langer, laddie." 

" Please yersel'," said Peter Birse junior. " Fat '11 my 
mither say to ye, gin ye gae hame onseen the laird ?" 

" We canna be nae better o' seein' 'im noo, fan it 's ta'en 
oot amo' oor vera fingers." 


" This way, gentlemen leave your hats," said the butler, 
returning with a pompous swing. 

"Weel, \\v wusim tliinkin' <>' triM>lin' Sir Seemon aifter 
fat ye 've taul 's," said Peter Birse senior. 

" I Ve announced you please don't keep Sir Simon 
waiting," was the response, uttered with some sharpness. 

So the Messrs. Birse were ushered into the presence of 
Sir Simon Frissal and Mr. Greenspex. The interview was 
not a long one, yet Peter Birse senior, I am sure, could have 
honestly said he did not want it further protracted. He 
had only endeavoured to perform his " boo," in answer to 
Sir Simon's " Well, Birse, what do you wish ? " and got a 
sentence or two muttered to the effect that " We wus gaen 
to speer aifter Gushetneuk," when the lawyer interposed, 
" Oh, yes, yes ; supposing that it might be in the market. 
Very natural. Anything about your own farm ? No ; 
that 's right. Well, I suppose this finishes allow me " 
and Mr. Greenspex opened the door to give him the oppor 
tunity of whispering to Peter Birse, " That 's another piece 
of Dawvid Hadden's han'iwork, I presume. Oh, Dawvid, 
Dawvid ! Ye- may thank your stars that I 've ta'en you 
oot without wakenin' the old gentleman's wrath again. 
Good day." 

When the tenant of Clinkstyle and his son left the 
Hoose, after a voluble good-bye from their friend the butler, 
there was an aspect of considerable blankness on both their 
faces ; and had the senior of the two been asked at that 
moment in what shape he was to report proceedings to his 
wife, I do believe that he would have been a good deal at 
a loss for a reply. 



As Messrs. Birse, senior and junior, pursued their way home 
ward to Clinkstyle, the conversation between them could 
hardly be described as animated. The elder Peter moralised 
in his own way on the " keeriousness " of the whole thing : 
how it should have come about that Dawvid Hadden's plan 
so elaborately got up should have gone for nothing ; how 
Dawvid himself should have been to seek of all times at 
the very time that the possessions which he had so labori 
ously laid out were a -letting; and how, above all things, 
Gushetneuk could have been let to any friend of Johnny 
Gibb a man of such unconstitutional opinions. Peter 
junior was not less sulky than his wont in addressing his 
father ; so he merely said 

" Humph ! ye was near as ill 's him yersel'." 

" Ou na, Peter, man, I never votit against the laird," said 
Peter Birse senior. 

" Hoot, that 's lang syne ; an' aw 'm seer ye jist conter't 
'im as muckle aboot the kirk, though ye dinna mak' oot to 
be pitten on for a Free Kirk el'yer." 

" Weel, Peter, it was maybe as lucky for 's a' 't yer 
mither didna get 'er nain gate there. It 's cost me mony 
an 'oor's sleep that wark." 

" Ye '11 needa get a pairt till 's some wye at ony rate," 
said Peter Birse junior. 

" A pairt ? Ye ken ye '11 get oor nain pairt in coorse 


but it wud 'a made a hantle better a place gin Daw v id's 
plan bed been carrie't oot There wud 'a been richt scouth 
for the sax shift gin we bed bed a swype across a' the braes, 
an' doon to the burn side yon'er." 

" That 's nae fat I 'm speakin' aboot, ony wye." 
" Ou, weel, ye ken, your name '11 be in'o the neist tack 
o' Clinkstyle ; and that 's only four year come the time." 

" Ye needna think that I '11 wyte the half o' that time," 
replied the amiable Peter junior. 

Peter Birse senior looked at his son inquiringly. He 
would have liked to get at the young man's mind with a 
little more of definiteness; but was far from clear about the 
proper method of reaching that end. The thought, however, 
occurred to him that if Johnny Gibb himself was to leave 
Gushetneuk, the lassie, Mary Howie, Peter's future wife, 
would have to leave it too, and naturally enough Peter's 
chivalrous nature might lead him to desire that his marriage 
and settlement in life should be then, so that Mary might 
be saved the hardship of going to the frem't, which had been 
hinted at in a quarter not unknown to Peter, as a possi 
bility. Peter Birse senior regarded this conception of his 
brain as an unusually happy inspiration ; and he answered 
with spirit 

" Weel, weel, Patie, man, we '11 see fat yer mither says ; 
only I wud not like to be chaumer't up in a toon. Eh, 
man fa '11 that be gyaun aboot wi' Gushets there at the 
back faul'ies ?" and Peter Birse senior put his hand over his 
brow to get a better view of three figures who were discern 
ible in one of Johnny Gibb's fields. 

" Fa cud ken fowk mair nor half a mile awa' ?" inquired 
Peter Birse junior. 

" Weel, but I '11 waager something it 's that mannie fae 
Marnoch ane o' them wud he hae onything adee wi' the 
takin' o' the place ?" 

" Lickly aneuch. Fat ither wud he be wuntin here, 
trailin' a' the road fae that." 

" Fa cud that tither ane be ava ? " said Peter Birse 
senior, stopping to fix his eyes as steadily as possible on the 



objects of his scrutiny. In this his example was followed 
by Peter Birse junior, who incontinently exclaimed, with a 
sort of sneer, "Hah! it 's Willy M'Aul, the souter's sin. He's 
doon here eenoo, an' preten's till hae leern't fairmin' at some 
o' that muckle places 't he 's been sairin aboot." 

" An' wud this new man raelly be takin' 's advice b' wye 
o' ? " queried Peter Birse senior. 

The father and son passed on, till Clinkstyle was full in 
view, when the former suggested 

" Nyod, Peter, ye mith jist gae in aboot, an' tell yer 
mither siclike speed 's we 've come ; an' aw '11 gae roon an' 
see Hairry Muggart, peer stock ; he 's lickly heard some 
sleumin o' fa it is that has raelly gotten Gushetneuk tell 
'er 't aw '11 be name in nae time." 

There is no reason to doubt that Peter Birse senior 
looked upon this as a happy mode, so far as he was con 
cerned, of getting the news broken to Mrs. Birse. 

When Peter Birse junior had reached home he was met 
at the door by his mamma, who was in the mood described 
as " vokie." 

" Weel, Newtoon," exclaimed Mrs. Birse, with affable 
jocularity, " fat 's the rent o' yer fairm no ? " 

" Stoit, mither ; fat needs ye aye gae on that gate ? " 
answered Peter Birse junior, with some emphasis. 

" Noo, noo, Patie, that winna dee to be so short i' the 
trot. Gin ance ye war mairriet, an' hed a muckle chairge o' 
yer heid, as ye 11 seen hae, ye '11 need 'a leern to hae mair 
patience wi' fowk." 

" Weel, aw hinna gotten Gushetneuk, ony wye." 

" Hinna gotten 't ! Fat <T ye mean ? " 

" It 's ta'en till some freen* o' Gushets's nain." 

" Freen o' Gushets's nain ! Fat wye o' the face o' the 
wardle's earth 's that ? Did yer fader speak in a discreet 
menner till Sir Seemon ? " 

" He didna say hardly naething ava." 

" Tchuck-tchuck ! Was ever an 'oman triet this gate ? 
I mitha socht till arreenge things an' expeck that he wudna 
ca 't a' to the gowff i' the hin'er en' ! Faur is he ? " 


Peter Birse junior had just answered this question, :m<l 
informed his mother of thu position Hairry Muggart stood 
in, when that gentleman and Mr. Birse senior passed the 
window outside. As they came in, Peter Birse junior 
stalked away out to attend to his " beasts," merely remark 
ing to Hairry Muggart, " Weel, Hairry, aw b'lieve ye 're oot 
o' the craftie." 

A fellow feeling makes us wondrous kind, 'tis said ; and 
it so happened that while Peter Birse senior was on his way 
to seek out Hairry Muggart for the purpose of mutual con 
dolence, Hairry was pursuing his way to Clinkstyle with the 
like object in view ; and so they had met midway. 

" Come awa', Maister Muggart, aw'm vera glaid to see ye 
foo 's yer goodwife the nicht ? " said Mrs. Birse. 

" Thank ye, muckle aboot the ordinar'," said Hairry. 

" Isna this fine apen weather ?" 

" Kaelly, it is so." 

" It lats fowk get the young beasts keepit thereoot ; an' 
that's an unco hainin o' the strae at the beginnin' o' the 
sizzon." After a pause, during which Hairry sat in a pen 
sive attitude with his hands on his knees, Mrs. Birse went 
on in a calm and cheerful tone, " Ay ; an fat 's the news 
aboot your gate en', no ? " 

" Nae muckle 't 's gweed," said Hairry. " There 's some 
o' 's gettin' the bag, aw b'lieve." 

" Eh ! " exclaimed Mrs. Birse, " an wusnin Patie jist 
tellin' me something that he hed heard aboot that aw 
never was mair vex't i' my life nor to hear 't ye was to be 
oot o' yer craft." 

" We've a' been sair't oot o' the same caup " Peter 
Birse was about to say, in a half dolorous tone ; but Mrs. 
Birse, by a glance which Peter sufficiently comprehended, 
checked the sentence, and herself went on 

" Eaelly, Maister Muggart, it 's a heemlin thing to think 
fat wye fowk sud be pitten upon in sic a menner. There 
was that bodie Hadden trailin' here ilka ither nicht aboot 
the time 't they were plannin' oot the grun ; an' he never 
haltit till he sud say that we would be willin' to tak' tee 


Guslietneuk till oor place. Aw b'lieve I begood funnin' wi' 
'im aboot it mysel' first fowk wud needa tak' care o' the 
frivolousest word that they speak to the like o' 'im, weel-a- 
wat. Aweel, this fares on, till Dawvid sud come here an* 
tell them that Sir Seemon hed sattl't to gi'e them't; an' disna 
they gae up to the Hoose the day ; but my lad 's awa' fae 
hame, an' nae a cheep aboot Gushetneuk." 

" Weel," said Hairry, " I never thocht Dawvid Hadden a 
man o' prenciple, but aw did not expeck this o' 'im." 

" Ah, weel," replied the goodwife, " it was only their 
traivel. Forbid 't it sud be said that we socht to pit ony 
ane oot o' their pairt." 

" But Gushets is lea'in 't ony wye," said Peter Birse 

" Ay," added Hairry, " that 's the keerious pairt o' 't. 
Depen' ye upon 't there 's been mair joukry-pawkry wi' 
Dawvid nor ye 're awaar o'." 

"An' fa's gettin' 't syne ?" asked the goodwife. 

"Weel," answered Hairry, "some say it'll be that 
mannie 't 's been wi' them fae Marnoch. I cudna say." 

"Tat ither," said Mrs. Birse, with a complacent nod. 
"Ah, weel, weel, I'll hae a craw to pluck wi' Maister 
Hadden for this, noo. Trystin' fowk to tak 's places to 
fawvour him, an' syne lea'in them wuntin hae or haud- 
again." She said this with a forced laugh; and then 
recollecting the impropriety of merriment in Hairry's 
depressed circumstances, she continued, "But aw'm richt 
sorry, Hairry, man, to think aboot sic a gweed neebour's 
yersel' bein' pitten aboot fa 's been hertless aneuch to tak' 
your craft owre yer heid ? " 

" Some ane 't the minaister recommen'it, we wus taul," 
blurted out Peter Birse senior, without reflecting on the im 
plications of the remark. 

" Ou ay !" said Mrs. Birse in an impressive tone. 
" This wordle has an unco haud faur there 's an Erastian 

Neither Hairry nor Peter Birse senior had any observa 
tion to offer on this statement of a principle; and the 



interview ended with little beyond a general condemnation 
of Dawvid Hadden, whose conduct it was unanimously 
agreed called loudly for explanation. 

Peter Birse junior had gone away in the gloamin to 
discuss the question with his old friend the red-haired orra 
man, at this time in service at Mains of Yawal ; and his 
doubts about the new tenant of Gushetneuk were solved 

"Gosh -be -here, man," said the red-haired orra man, 
" Tarn Meerison taul hiz the streen that it was ta'en to the 
chap M'Aul ye mitha been seer he wasna there for nae- 

" Dozen 't, min, I never thocht o' that," said Peter Birse 
junior. "Fat ither but that's fesh'n 'im here? But the 
like o' 'im '11 never be able to pay the inveetor, forbye to pit 
a cover upo' the place." 



" DAWVID HADDEN Fat 's come o' 'im, said ye ? Ou, didna 
ye hear that Dawvid 's been a perfect laimiter wi' a sair fit, 
sin ever the day that the tacks wus settin'?" 

It was Meg Kaffan who spoke. She had gone across to 
the Kirktown to do some needful business at the shop, and 
was in conversation with Sandy Peterkin, who had asked 
how it came to pass that Dawvid, who was wont to be a 
frequent caller, had not been seen there for over a week. 

" That 's nae sae gweed," said Sandy. " Tat 's come 
owre 's fit ? naething sairious, I houp ? " 

"Dear only kens," answered Meg; "aw sudna won'er 
nor it '11 be a fit till 'im a' 's days ! " 

" Hoot, fye ! " 

" Ou ay ! " answered the waggish hen wife. " But fat 
better cud ye expeck ? Fat 's this that you Free Kirk 
fowk 's been deein till 'im, aifter he hed ye a' pitten oot o' 
the Ian'?" 

" Weel," said Sandy, " he ettl't sair to get some o' 's awa'. 
But aw'm seer I wuss 'im weel." 

" The mair credit to ye, Sandy, man. But, weel-a-wat, 
it sair't 'im richt, puchil, upsettin' smatchet, 't things sud 
gae the gate 't they Ve gane." 

" Was 't a hurt ; or fat ? " 

" Auch ! A hurt or than no ! Gin a' bools hed row't 
richt wi' 'im we wud 'a never heard a word o' a' this 

Mi;., i:\ITAN (iOKS TO TIIK SHOP. 247 

scronadi aboot a strain't queet, an' liini nae able to gae fau 

"We wus missin' 'im, ye see; he af'en calls for the 
letters, fan the dog-dirder chappie's occupiet," said Sandy 

" Ay, ay ; but ye see gin he cam' this len'th he beed 'a 
be thocht unco saucy gin he didna ca' on's freen's at Clink- 
style i' the bye gaein," said Meg, with a cackling laugh. 
" An' Mrs. Birse mithna be jist sae couthy eenoo 's gin 
Dawvid 's gryte promises hed come true, an' a' ither thing 
gane richt wi' 'er, peer 'oman. The best fun wi' Dawvid 
was wi' Sir Simon 'imsel' the tither day. He sees Dawvid 
comin' for 's orders, clenchin awa' wi' a bit staffie in 's ban'. 
Sir Simon was o' the Greens at the side o' the braid walk 
an' says he, ' What 's the matter now, Hadden ?' says he. 
' Ou, sir,' says Dawvid, ' I've strained my quiyte. ' Your 
what ?' says Sir Simon. ' One o' my cootes,' says Dawvid, 
turnin' up the side o' 's fit. ' Oh/ says Sir Simon, ' sprained 
your ankle How did that come about ? ' ' Weel, sir/ says 
Dawvid, ' I cudna richtly tell ; it was the day 't aw was 
doon throu', it cam' o' me a* at ance jist a kin' o' income'. 
' I wanted to send you some errands, but I must get some 
one else you '11 not be able to go.' * I mith manage, keep 
'aff o' braes an' kittle road, siclike 's owre by the Kirktoon/ 
says Dawvid ; an* fan my lad kent that it was to the Broch 
disna he set oot like a five-year-aul' ; nae word o' the strain t, 
queet syne, fan he cud win awa' doon an' get a boose wi' 
some o' 's cronies." 

It was the temporary absence of Jock Will himself from 
the shop, and the fact that Meg was being served by the 
'prentice, aided by Sandy Peterkin, that had given her full 
scope for indulging in all this pleasant gossip. 

" Is that a' noo ? " asked Sandy, in the usual business way. 

" Weel, I dinna min' upo' naething mair, but my puckle 
preens, an' a stan' o' wheelin' weer; the lang eveuin's's 
dra win' on noo, an' it's tiresome nae to hae a bit shank to 
lak' i' yer han' files. An' I've a pair or twa o' stoot 
moggans 't aw think '11 be worth fittin." 


Meg got her preens gratis, and closed a bargain about 
the stan' o' wires accordingly. This concluded her pur 
chases, but she was not quite spent of talk, and as no other 
customer had happened to come in, she held the good- 
natured Sandy Peterkin a little longer with her tongue. 

" Ay," said Meg, " leanin " herself leisurely " doon " on a 
seat by the side of the counter, " an' -so ye 11 be haein' 
nae ordinar' o' mairriages amo' ye in a han'-clap." 

" Aw dinna ken," said Sandy Peterkin, blandly. 

" Dinna ken ! Hoot, fye. Ye are a peer set, you an' 
the merchan' baith. Fat sud 'a gar't him lat the chappie 
M'Aul rin awa' wi' Mrs. Gibb's lassie ? Aw 'm seer there 's 
nae a blyther, better-leukin lass i' the pairis'." 

" I 'in weel seer o' that, Mistress Eaffan ; an' gin she get 
Willy M'Aul she '11 get a richt clever, weel-deein lad, an' 
a weel-faurt." 

" Ou, aw dinna misdoot that ; an' he '11 get a braw doon- 
sit at Gushetneuk likely Maister Gibb '11 be lea'in 't an' 
biggin a bit cottage till himsel' aboot the Broch, or siclike. 
But wudna 't 'a been unco handy for Johnny Wull to get 
her, an' the bit clossach that '11 come fan 'er aunt wears 
awa' ? " 

" It was raither thocht that young Peter Birse was to get 
Mary, wasna 't ? " said Sandy in his own simple way. 

"Na, Sandy Peterkin, man," exclaimed Meg Eaffan 
lifting both her hands ; " an' that 's a' that ye ken aboot it ! 
"We expeck to get the news fan we come to the merchan's 
chop ; ye mith lea' 't to the like o' me to be speerin aboot 
Peter Birse he 's wun intill a bonny snorl, aw doot, peer 

" Hoot awa' ; his fowk '11 be vex't aboot that." 

"Weel, ye may jist say that, Sandy. His mither hed 
inveetit me owre by to get the news, the gloamin aifter a' 
the places wus set. She's a byous aul' acquantance o' 
mine, ye see ; an' awat I 've been aye vera fawvourable till 
'er, an' never loot on aboot 'er fools, though she 's sent them, 
owre an' owre again, half-nyaukit, stairv't creaturs, 't ye 
wudna fin' i yer han', forbye to sen' them in to Tibby, the 


kyeuk, for the table. Aweel, nae wottin o' fat bed been 
brewin', though I was weel awaar that Dawvid hen gi'en 
them a* a begeck, I steps my wa's up by to Clinks tyle. 
The goodman 'imsel' was pirlin aboot the byre doors wi' 
a bit graipie in 's ban', an' 's breeks row't up, and cryin' at 
the men. He was unco dry like, fan I leet at 'im in a 
nienner, nae meanin' nae ill, ye ken, ' Na, Clinkies, ye Ve 
seerly younger fowk,' says I, ' to leuk aifter the beasts fat 
needs ye be aye hingin i' the heid o' things ? ' Wi' that he 
mum'l't oot something aboot fowk makin' themsel's eesefu' 
as lang 's they not the bit an' the dud. Only he was aye 
a sauchen, saurless breet ; an' I thocht little o' that, but 
gaed awa into the hoose, an' meets hersel at the vera door. 
' Weel, Mistress Kaffan,' says she, ' I 'm glaid to see ye ; na, 
but foo the ouks rins by, I didna think that it was near the 
time o' gi'ein' in the fools ; ye '11 be haein' mair company 
wi' the laird bein' at hame.' 'Deed no, Mistress Birse,' 
says I, * it 's nae upo' that precunnance 't I cam' here the 
nicht, at ony rate ; I 'm nae sae dottl't 's that, though some 
fowk's memories is nae vera gweed.' ' Keep me, Marget,' 
quo' she, ' fat am aw speakin' aboot ? my heid 's in a creel, 
seerly; come awa' in an' rest ye/ An* wi' that she tak's 
me awa' ben to their hole o' a parlour ; they 've gotten a 
secont-han' rickle o' a piano in o' 't noo for Miss Birse, an' 
twa three bits o' beuks laid doon here an' there. The 
dother was there 'ersel', a vera proper Miss, nae doot 
' Will ye take a seat, please ? ' says she, an' wi' that her 
mither says, ''Liza, wud ye gae to the kitchie an' tell 
Eppie' that wud be the servan' lass, nae doot 'to pit 
in jist a jimp full o' the timmer ladle o' yesterday's morn- 
in's milk an' a starn meal amo' the kail to the men's sipper 
I canna win ben eenoo.' Wi' a' this, no, I notices 
brawly that the quine bed been greetin'. An' thinks I, for 
as sharp 's ye are, ye hinua hodd'n that, no. Aweel, Mrs. 
Birse begood wi' a fraise aboot foo aw lied been keepin', an' 
this an' that,' sittin' as stiff 's a clockin hen upon a dizzen 
o' turkey's eggs. But brawly kent I that a' this was but 
a scoug to keep some ither thing oot o' sicht. Aw cndna 


think that the lossin' o' Gushetneuk was the occasion o' 
't a' ; but she was nae mair like fat she hed been afore nor 
caul' sowens is like het aleberry. Hooever, thinks I, 
' Madam, I 'se be at the boddom o' this, no.' I sits awa' 
a fyou minutes, nae to leuk oonceevil like for a' this I 
hed lows't the strings o' my mutch an' ta'en the preen oot 
o' my shawl. ' Ye 're het,' says she. ' Deed awat, I am 
that,' says I, ' it 's jist a feerious fortiggan road atween oor 
place an' this.' But, wud ye believe 't, Sandy Peterkin, 
an' 't hedna been 't aw socht a drink o' water, I wud 'a gaen 
oot o' that hoose on-been bidden kiss a caup ! ' Eh,' says 
she, ' aw 'm richt sorry 't oor ale is not drinkable, it 's jist 
new aff o' the barm.' ' Ou, weel, Mistress Birse,' says I, 
' we 're nae ill aff wi' a drap clean water. We Ve kent ither 
fowk ere noo 't hedna mony choises.' Wi' that she gya 'er 
heid a bit cast. ' We 're nae jist come to that yet, no,' 
quo' she ; an' oot wi' twa three o' that bits o' braid- 
boddom't bottlies fae the aumry their sideboard, nae less 
an' pooers a drap in'o a wee shall o' a glessie. 'This 
is a vera nice cordial, recommen'it by Maister Pettiphog, 
that 's a streck teetotaller an' a byous gweed man,' says she. 
Aweel, aw cudna but drink it for ceevility's sake a jilp 
o' fushionless, tasteless trash ; it is not gweed for a body's 
inside, they may say fat they like aboot it. Hooever, there 
wasna as muckle o' 't 's dee naebody gryte skaith ; an' I 
tribbletna them wi' lang o' my company, aw can tell ye." 

Meg Eafian had gone on all this while with only a 
barely audible ejaculation now and again from Sandy, who 
on the whole felt rather embarrassed at being made the 
depository of her narrative, and flitted backward and for 
ward in the short space between his desk and the counter ; 
while the apprentice, with his elbows on the counter, his 
cheeks and chin resting on the palms of his hands, and his 
check -sleeved forearms forming a support between, hung 
rather than stood, a fixed and interested auditor. After a 
pause Meg proceeded 

" Weel, weel, I gat it a' gin four-an-twenty 'oors, no." 

" Raelly," said Sandy Peterkin, vaguely. 


" She 's idulees't that faiinily o' hers aneuch to fesli a 
jeedgment o' them. Aw 'in seer for a file back it was aye 
' oor Patie 's ' this ; an' ' oor Patie 's ' that, till it wud 'a 
scunner't a tyke ; but she '11 maybe hae less to braig aboot 
Patie for the neist towmon." 

" Has Patie deen ony ill ?" queried Sandy. 

" Ou, na, na ; naething but fat was to be expeckit o' 'im. 
I Ir's lurii aye a naisty lowlif't kin' o' a slype, wi' a' 's 
fader's gawketness, an' a gey gweed share o' 's mither's 
greed. Ye 've heard, nae doot, that a creatur o' a deemie 
that was wi' them twa three year syne hed a bairn till 

" Eh, but it seerly wasna true !" exclaimed Sandy. " It 
wasna heard o' hardly." 

" True ! 'Wa' wi' ye ! Gin 't hed been a peer servan' lad, 
a' the pairis' wud 'a kent o' 't in an ouk's time. That 's the 
wye 't your walthy fairmers an' fairmers' sins keeps their 
bastards oot o' sicht sen' the mithers o' them "awa' oot o' 
the pairt ; an' you that 's el'yers never sees their faces i' 
the session : till aifter-hin, fan they've marriet i' their nain 
set, an' grow douce el'yers themsel's, like aneuch ! 

Sandy Peterkin could not stand this, and protested 
eloquently against the Free Kirk being chargeable with any 
such laxity of discipline. 

" Ah weel, we '11 see," said Meg Kaffan. " Hooever, Mrs. 
Birse's Patie 's throu' 't again. The same deemie 's i' the 
faimily wye till 'im ance mair. Patie, it wud appear, made 
oot to keep it a' quaet, expeckin' to get Gushetneuk, an* 
pit 's fader an' mither there to lat 'im mairry the creatur. 
Fan that gaed owre them, he grew as sulky 's a wil' bear ; 
the pooder was oot immedaiitly ; an* Patie bann't 's sister 
fat was her bizness ; the creatur o' a deemie has an unco 
poo'er owre 'im, it seems, an' they're to be marriet at the term." 

" An' fat 's the lassie's fowk ?" 

" Weel, but aw canna tell ye that," answered Meg ; " only 
aw ken that the aul' cadger mannie that ees't to ca' fish up 
this gate fae Collieston, wi' a gray horsie an' a cover't cairtie 
was 'er gran'fader, an' fuish 'er up feckly. So ye n, 


that the gentry o' Clinkstyle winna be jist owre prood o' 
their new freens." 

That any formal assurance should be necessary to certify 
the accuracy of the intelligence conveyed to Sandy Peterkin 
by Meg Raffan was not once to be thought of. Meg had 
an incisive and unerring instinct in such matters. Where, 
or how, she obtained the information which formed the 
subject matter of her gossip it would often have been in vain 
to inquire; but on this you might. rely, that in matters of 
domestic history in the neighbourhood, and particularly if 
the subject approached the borders of scandal, Meg was 
certain to be informed ; and, moreover, if you were pleased 
to accept a statement of the case in hand more Raffanico, 
you obtained a narrative with such collateral references as 
carrried its authenticity home to the weakest capacity. 
Poor Sandy Peterkin was at a loss what to think about it. 
He doubted whether he should have allowed Meg to go on, 
and after she had left the shop he began to wonder whether 
it was favourable to the morals of Jock Will's apprentice 
that he had been allowed to stand by and hear Meg gossip 
ing away as she had done. But it was past and gone now ; 
the apprentice did not seem, personally, to have either com 
punctions or apprehensions on the subject, and he certainly 
failed to show the like interest in the region of polemics 
into which Sandy, with a view to fortify his mind, endeav 
oured incontinently to lead him by an easy transition. 

Sandy Peterkin took the subject of the two marriages to 
avizandum. In three days after it was noised abroad in the 
general community of Pyketillim that Willy M'Aul, the son 
of the humble souter, was to marry Mary Howie, and be 
farmer of Gushetneuk, vice Johnny Gibb ; as also that Peter 
Birse junior, farmer's son, Clinkstyle, was to be married to 
the granddaughter of a fish cadger, and that the aid of Mr. 
Pettiphog, the celebrated lawyer, had been invoked to get a 
settlement legally made, whereby the said Peter Birse junior 
would be deprived of his right as heir of the tack of Clinkstyle, 
and sent adrift to somewhere undetermined, to follow fortune 
on his own account, with his low-caste wife. 



IT was a natural enough result of the maternal policy 
adopted in his case that Peter Birse junior should, in a sort 
of reckless wudden dream, determine that his marriage 
should not pass over otherwise than in the form of a regular 
out-and-out demonstration. The news fell on Mrs. Birse 
with a shock that made her hardy frame vibrate from head 
to heel. She had hoped that it might be smuggled through 
in a way that would hardly admit of its attaining the 
dimensions of a public event at all. But to be told that 
Peter and his bride had actually invited a company of fully 
thirty persons, consisting chiefly of farm servants, male and 
female, and residents in the Kirk town, whose gentility was 
more than questionable ; and that, of all places in the world, 
the marriage was to come off' at the house of Samuel 
Pikshule, the bellman of Pyketillim, was more than the 
heart - broken mother could well be expected to bear up 

Peter was deaf to all entreaty, however. In the matter 
of the recent settlement, forced on by his mother, he had 
shown himself a man of safe instincts, inasmuch as, despite 
the legal acumen of Mr. Pettiphog, he had stubbornly 
refused to sign a renunciation of the lease of Clinkstyle 
until he had got formally awarded to him what he considered 
a sufficient equivalent in the shape of a good round sum of 
money. With the capital thus provided in store, Peter felt 


as independent and confident as a man would naturally do 
in the circumstances, his purpose being, as his father phrased 
it, " to lay moyen for a placie come time ; an' gin naething 
dinna turn up ere simmer, tak' a girse parkie or twa, an' 
trock aboot amo' nowte beasts." And as the marriage 
festivities were frowned down and ignored at Clinkstyle, 
what more appropriate than that they should receive their 
legitimate development under the hospitable roof of Sarnie 
Pikshule, who had been discovered to be a remote relative 
of the bride, and had accordingly readily given her a 
sheltering bield when he heard of her excellent prospects. 

In carrying out his arrangements, Peter Birse junior 
went to work in quite a business-like style True, he was 
a little perplexed as to form ; but in this Samuel Pikshule 
was able to post him up in a very satisfactory measure ; and 
Peter had called on Tarn Meerison, in a friendly way, with a 
" Hoot, min, ye Ve gaen throu' 't a' yersel' nae lang syne ; 
an' you an' Jinse maun come an' help 's to keep up the 
spree." The invitation was not to be resisted, and the mole- 
catcher was pressed into the service, it being left to him and 
the red-haired orra man, who has been mentioned as an old 
friend of Peter's, to settle who should be best, and who 
warst young man ; and they drew cuts, whereby it was 
decided that the mole-catcher was not to have the higher 
post of honour. Peter had gone to Jonathan Tawse with 
his best young man on the beukin nicht, and got the pub 
lication of banns duly arranged. Jonathan, to encourage 
him, had remarked, " Ye '11 better come an' get yersel's 
session't the Sunday aifter the marriage." Peter did not 
seem to see the propriety of this, and demurred, whereat the 
dominie went on to say, " Ah-wa, man, it winna hin'er ye 
lang. Fan ance fowk 's pitten their necks aneth the yoke 
thegither, fat 's the eese o' a lang say-awa'. I wat I 'm 
muckle o' aul' Mr. Keith's wye o' thinkin'. Mony was the 
pair that cam' up to him to be rebukit that he made man 
an' wife afore they wan owre the kirk door again, though 
they had nae mair thocht o' mairryin fan they cam' there 
nor I hae o' gaen to Botany Bay the morn. She '11 be an 


uncommon suitable wit'<\ an yer faimily '11 be weel at the 
road shortly, Peter, man." 

The bridegroom's party mainly assembled at Hairry Mug- 
gart's. Clinkstyle was forbidden ; yet Hairry lent the 
occasion his countenance on the calculation that Mrs. Birse 
would in due course soften down, and it would then be a 
pleasing recollection to have befriended Peter in his need. 
Peter Birse senior had been absolutely forbidden to attend 
the marriage ; but Eob, who had so recently become, as it 
were, heir-apparent, and who had been taking counsel with 
the red-haired orra man, sadly to the disgust of Mrs. and 
Miss Birse, was not only determined to attend the marriage, 
but highly up in spirits at the thought of it. And lucky it 
was that this proved to be the case. For, as it turned out, 
the unsophisticated mole -catcher had failed altogether to 
realise the extent of the responsibilities laid upon him as 
warst young man. When the red-haired orra man called 
him quietly aside at the end of Hainy's peat-stack to ar 
range for the proper performance of their duties, it was 
found that Molie had made no provision for doing anything 
beyond the part of a simple layman on the occasion. 

"Bleezes, min!" exclaimed the red -haired orra man, 
" wasnin ye never at a mairriage i' yer life ? Nae fusky, 
nor a pistill nedderin !" 

The red-haired orra man hitched half-way round, and 
exhibited the necks of a couple of quart bottles ; one peep 
ing from under the ample flap of each of his goodly coat 
pouches ; and he dragged from the interior of the same gar 
ment a formidable flintlock horse pistol, considerably the 
worse for wear, which he not quite accurately designated his 
" holster." The mole-catcher, whose sole attention had been 
given to the decoration of his own person, and who did not 
feel quite at ease in his high shirt neck and long hat, looked 
foolish, and said 

" But I never cud sheet neen ony wye." 

" Buff an' nonsense, min ! Aw say, Rob !" shouted the 
red-haired orra man, stretching forward, and addressing Rob 
Birse round the corner of the peat-stack ; " man, ye '11 need-a 


gi'e Molie yon bottle 't I gied you to cairry ; he hisna fesh'n 
a drap wi' 'im !" 

Rob did not seem quite willing to comply with this sug 
gestion ; and the mole-catcher by a happy thought at once 
extricated them from all difficulty. 

"Mithna he dee 't 'imsel'?" 

" Ay wull aw," said Rob, brightening up and fumbling 
in his pocket to show that he was not behind in the matter 
of firearms. 

" Dozen 't ; it lea'es us terrible bare o' the stuff," said the 
best young man. 

Now the red-haired orra man had given Rob the third 
bottle to carry simply as a reserve for him, seeing he had 
not three available pouches. So the thought was a natural 
one. But he was a man of prompt action. 

"Weel, weel, we canna better dee, aw suppose. Come 
on, Rob ;" and away they went full swing, leaving the mole- 
catcher alone at the stack mou'. 

Ten minutes after, and the party was marshalled, Peter 
Birse junior being consigned pro tern, to the care of a couple 
of sturdy bridesmaids, set out in the loudest rustic 

" Noo, heelie, till we wun awa' twa-three rig-len'ths at 
ony rate," said the red-haired orra man. And he and Rob 
set off in the character of sen's to Sainie Pikshule's, duly to 
inquire if there was a bride here. "Are ye load ?" queried 
the orra man. " We needna pit in primin' till we hear some 
o' them sheetin." They were directly opposite Clinkstyle at 
the moment, and just heaving in sight of Mains of Yawal. 
Mains's "boys" had determined to give them a regular 
fusilade, and the words had scarcely escaped the red-haired 
orra man's lips when a faint crack was heard in that direc 
tion. The orra man stopped, pulled the powder horn from 
his breek pouch, seized the cork in his teeth, primed his 
holster, and handed the horn to Rob, with a nod to follow 
his example quickly. Then they fired ; then they marched 
again, reloading as they went. 

" Sang, we winna lat them far awa' wi' 't," said the red- 


haired orra man, and Rob, with a loud laugh, declared it 
was " first-rate." 

Had they been in the interior of the parlour at Clink- 
style at that moment, they would have heard these words 
faintly uttered 

" Ah, 'Liza, 'Liza, that sheetin will be the deeth o' me. 
Mony 's the trial 't we maun endure fan we 're i' the path 
o' duty. Maister MacCassock never spak' a truer word." 

"My certie, hiv aw tint my gless ?" exclaimed the red- 
haired orra man. "Na, na; it's here i' my oxter pouch. 
Tak' care an' nae brak yours : we 're seer to meet somebody 
in a han'-clap ; an' 't wud never dee nae to be ready wi' the 
leems for oor first fit. An' some o' Mains's boys 's sure to 
be within cry." 

The orra man was perfectly right in his forecast; for 
they had not gone over a hundred yards farther, when, 
turning a corner, whom should they encounter but the 
excellent hen wife, proceeding homeward from the Kirktown. 

"Hilloa, Meg!" roared the red-haired orra man. "Heth, 
that 's capital. Fa wud 'a thocht it ! Oh, Meg, Meg, aw 
thocht you an' me wud mak' something o' 't aye." 

" 'Serve me the sen's ! " exclaimed Meg, lifting her 
hands very high. 

" Haud my holster here noo, Bob," said the best young 
man, in a thoroughly business key. He pulled out one of 
his bottles ; then drew the glass from the recesses of his 
oxter pouch, and after shaking out the de*bris of dust and 
cauff that had lodged therein, and blowing into the interior 
to insure its being perfectly clean, poured out till the whisky 
ran over the edge and over his fingers. 

Meg wished them " muckle joy," primly kissed the glass, 
and offered it back. 

" Oot wi' 't !" shouted both the sen's. 

" Eh, my laddies ; it wud gar me tine my feet a'thegither 
I wud seen be o' my braid back amo' the gutters." 

"Feint a fears o' ye," said the red -haired orra man. 
" Wheep it oot ; yer garrin hiz loss time." 

" Weel, aw 'm seer I wuss ye a' weel," said Meg, as she 



demurely returned the glass to her lips and took it empty 

" See, I kent ye wudna thraw yer face at it," said our 
energetic friend. 

Then they made Meg promise, as first fit, to turn and 
walk back a space when she met the marriage party, which 
Meg assured them she would do. The sen's hurried on ; 
and, after the next volley, they made a detour through a bit 
of red Ian' to meet Mains of Yawal's men half-way, and give 
them their dram. The orra man did not do things by 
halves, and not a single wayfarer that they met but had the 
hospitalities of the bottle thrust on him or her ; and in very 
few instances would less than emptying the glass, as in Meg 
Eaffan's case, suffice. No wonder if the orra man should 
say, " We 11 need-a see an' get a drap mair at the Kir' ton ; 
aw never was naarer nicket i' my life nor wi' that creatur, 
Molie. It disna maitter, we 're a hantle better wuntin 'im." 

And thus they went on to Sarnie Pikshule's. 

Meg Eaffan pursued her onward way, passing the mar 
riage party with many hilarious exclamations on both sides. 

" Na, Hairry, but ye are a feel aul' breet," said Meg to 
our friend the wright, who was bringing up the rear in his 
own ponderous style, with a blooming young damsel by his 
side. " Aw thocht your daft days wus deen as weel 's mine. 
Ye've leeft Mistress Muggart at hame, no. But bide ye 
still, gin I dinna tell 'er fat wye ye cairry on fan ye win 
awa' oot aboot amo' the young lasses !" 

In point of fact, Meg had already made up her mind to 
be across next night, and have a hyse with Hairry on the 
subject generally, when she would, without the least trouble 
get the full details of the wedding at first hand. 



" Ou ay, Hairry, man ! This is a bonny wye o' gyaun on ! 
Dinna ye gar me troo 't ye wasna dancin' the hielan' walloch 
the streen. Fa wad 'a thocht 't ye wud 'a been needin' a 
file o' an aul' day to rest yer banes aifter the mairriage ?" 

Such was the form of salutation adopted by Meg Kaffan 
as she entered the dwelling of Hairry Muggart early in the 
afternoon of the day after Patie's wedding, and found Hairry 
stretched at full length on the deece. 

" Deed, an' ye may jist say 't, Hennie," answered Hairry 
Muggart's wife. " Come awa' ben an' lean ye doon. Fat 
time, think ye, came he hame, noo ? " 

" Weel, but it 's a lang road atween this an* the Broch, 
min' ye," said Hairry. " An' ye cudna expeck fowk hame 
fae a mairriage afore it war weel gloam't." 

"Weel gloam't!" exclaimed Mrs. Muggart. " I 'se jist 
haud my tongue, than. Better to ye speak o' gray daylicht 
i' the mornin'." 

" Hoot, fye ! " answered Hairry. " The souter's lamp 
wasna oot at Smiddyward fan I cam' in'o sicht o' 't fae the 
toll road." 

" Ou, weel-a-wat, ye Ve deen won'erfu', Hairry," said the 
henwife. "Ye hed been hame ere cock -craw at ony rate. 
An' nae doot it wud be throu' the aifterneen afore ye gat 
them made siccar an' wan awa' fae the Kir 'ton." 

" Ay, an' dennerin' an' ae thing or ither." 


" Hoot, noo ; aw mith 'a min'et upo' that. An' coorse 
the like o' young Peter Birse wudna pit 's fowk aff wi' nae- 
thing shabby. Hed they a set denner, said ye ? " 

"Weel, an they hedna, I'se hand my tongue. Aw 
b'lieve Sarnie's wife was fell sweer to fash wi' the kyeukin 
o' 't. Jist fan they war i' the deid thraw aboot it the tither 
day, I chanc't to leuk in. ' Weel, I 'se pit it to you, Hairry,' 
says she. ' Fan Sarnie an' me was mairriet there was a 
byowtifu' brakfist set doon sax-an'-therty blue-lippet 
plates (as mony plates as mony fowk) nately full't o' milk 
pottage wi' a braw dossie of gweed broon succar i' the middle 
o' ilka dish, an' as protty horn speens as ever Caird Young 
turn't oot o' 's caums lyin' aside the plates, ready for the 
fowk to fa' tee. Eh, but it was a bonny sicht ; I min' 't 
as weel 's gin it hed been fernyear. An' the denner ! fan 
my lucky deddy fell't a hielan' sheep, an' ilka ane o' the 
bucks cam' there wi' 's knife in 's pouch to cut an ha'ver the 
roast an' boil't, an' han' 't roun' amo' the pairty. He was 
a walthy up-throu' fairmer, but fat need the like o' that 
young loon gae sic len'ths ? ' says she. ' Ou, never ye min', 
Mrs. Pikshule,' says I, ' gin there be a sheep a-gyaun, it '11 
be hard gin ye dinna get a shank o' 't It 11 only be the 
borrowin' o' a muckle kail pot to gae o' the tither en' o' yer 
rantle-tree.' " 

" Na, there would be a richt denner Nelly Pikshule 
wasna far wrang, it wudna be easy gettin' knives an' forks 
for sic a multiteed." 

" N , weel, ye see, puckles o' the young fowk wudna 
kent sair foo to mak' eese o' them, though they hed hed 
them. Sarnie 'imsel' cuttit feckly, bit aifter bit, on a muckle 
ashet wi' 's fir gullie, 't I pat an edge on till 'im for the vera 
purpose ; ithers o' 's han't it roun' ; an' they cam' a braw 
speed, weel-a-wat, twa three o' them files at the same plate, 
an' feint a flee but their fingers a tatie i' the tae han' an' 
something to kitchie 't wi' i' the tither." 

" Eh, wasnin 't a pity that the bridegreem's mither an' 
's sister wusna there to see the enterteenment," said Meg, 
rather wickedly. " Weel, ye wud start for the Broch syne ? " 


" Aifter we bed gotten a dram ; an' wuss't them luck. 
But jist as we wus settin' to the road, sic a reerie 's gat up 
ye heard never i' yer born days ! Aw 'm seer an' there was 
ane sheetin' there was a score wi' pistills an' guns o' a' 
kin kin'. The young men hed been oot gi'ein draps o' 
drams ; an' they hed their pistills, an* severals forbye ; an* 
the tae side was sheetin, an' the tither sheetin back upo' 
them, till it was for a' the earth like a vera battle ; an' syne 
they begood fungin' an' throwin' aul sheen, ding-dang, like a 
shoo'er o' hailstanes." 

" Na, sirs ; but ye hed been merry. Sic a pity that ye 
hedna meesic. Gin ye hed hed Piper Huljets at the heid o' 
ye, ye wud 'a been fairly in order." 

" Hoot, Meg, fat are ye speakin' aboot ? Isna Sarnie 
Pikshule 'imsel' jist a prenciple han' at the pipes fan he 
likes ? Aweel, it was arreeng't that Sarnie sud ride upon 's 
bit gray shaltie, an' play the pipes a' the road, a wee bittie 
afore he 's ill at gyaun, ye ken, an' eeswally rides upon a 
bit timmer kin' o' a saiddlie wi' an aul' saick in aneth 't. 
But aul' an' crazy though the beastie be, I 'se asseer ye it 
was aweers o' foalin' Sarnie i' the gutters, pipes an a', fan a 
chap fires his pistill crack ! roun' the nyeuk o' the hoose 
a gryte, blunt shot, fair afore the shaltie's niz ! Sarnie hed 
jist begun to blaw, an' ye cud 'a heard the drones gruntin' 
awa', fan the shaltie gya a swarve to the tae side, the blower 
skytit oot o' Sarnie's mou', an' he hed muckle adee to keep 
fae coupin owre 'imsel'." 

" Na ; but that wusna canny ! " exclaimed both Hairry's 
auditors simultaneously. 

" Sarnie was fell ill-pleas't, I can tell ye," continued 
Hairry Muggart. " ' Seelence that shottin this moment ! ' 
says he, ' or I '11 not play anoder stroke for no man livinV " 

" Eh, but it wusna mowse," said Mrs. Muggart. 

" Awat Sarnie was on 's maijesty. ' Ye seerly don't k-now 
the danger o' fat ye 're aboot,' says he. * It 's the merest 
chance i' the wordle that that shot didna rive my chanter 
wi' the reboon o' 't.' An' wi' that he thooms the chanter a' 
up an' doon, an' leuks at it wi' 's heid to the tae side. ' Ye 


dinna seem to be awaar o' fat ye 're aboot. I once got as 
gweed a stan' o' pipes as ony man ever tyeuk in's oxter 
clean connacht the vera same gate/ says Sarnie." 

" Weel ? " queried Meg. 

" Hoot ! Fa sud hin'er Sarnie to hae the pipes a' fine 
muntit wi' red an' blue ribbons. An' ov coorse it was naitral 
that he sud like to be ta'en some notice o'. Nae fear o' rivin 
the chanter. "Weel, awa' we gaes wi' Sarnie o' the shaltie, 
noddle-noddlin aneth 'im, 's feet naar doon at the grun' an' 
the pipes scraichin like onything. For a wee filie the chaps 
keepit fell weel in order; jist gi'ein a bit 'hooch,' an' a caper 
o' a dance ahin Sarnie's they cud win at it for their pairtners; 
for ye see the muckle feck o' the young chaps hed lasses, an' 
wus gyaun airm-in-airm. But aw b'lieve ere we wan to 
the fit o' the Kirktoon rigs they war brakin' oot an' at the 
sheetin again. Mains's chiels wus lowst gin that time, an' 
we wus nae seener clear o' the Kirktoon nor they war at it 
bleezin awa'; an' forbye guns, fat hed the nickums deen but 
pitten naar a pun' o' blastin' pooder in'o the bush o' an aul' 
cairt wheel, syne culf t it, an' laid it doon aneth the briggie 
at the fit o' the Clinkstyle road, wi' a match at it. Owre 
the briggie we gaes wi' Sarnie's pipes skirlin' at the heid o' 
's, an pistills crackin' awa' hyne back ahin, fan the terriblest 
platoon gaes aff, garrin the vera road shak' aneth oor feet ! ' 

" Keep 's and guide 's ! " said Meg. " Aw houp there 
wasna naebody hurtit." 

" Ou, feint ane; only Sarnie's shaltie snappert an' pat 'im 
in a byous ill teen again. But I 'm seer ye mitha heard the 
noise o' 's sheetin an' pipin', lat aleen the blast, naar three 
mile awa'." 

" Weel, aw was jist comin' up i' the early gloamin' fae 
lockin' my bits o' doories, an' seem' that neen o' the creaturs 
wasna reestin the furth, fan aw heard a feerious lood rum'le 
an't hed been Whitsunday as it's Mairti'mas aw wud a raelly 
said it was thunner. But wi' that there comes up o' the 
win' a squallachiri o' fowk by ordinar', an' the skirl o' the 
pipes abeen a'. That was the marriage Heard you! Awat, 
aw heard ye ! " 


" Oh, but fan they wan gey lies oot o' kent boun's they 
\var vera quate only it disna dee nae to be cheery at a 
mairriage, ye ken." 

" An' fat time wan ye there ? " 

" Weel, it was gyaun upo' seyven o'clock" 

" An' ye wud a' be yap aneuch gin than ! " 

" Nyod, I was freely hungry, ony wye. But awat there 
was a gran' tae wytin 's. An aunt o' the bride's was there 
to welcome the fowk ; a richt jellie wife in a close mutch, 
but unco braid spoken ; aw 'm thinkin' she inaun be fae the 
coast side, i' the Collieston wan, or some wye. The tables 
wus jist heapit at ony rate ; an' as moriy yalla fish set doon 
as wud 'a full't a box barrow, onlee't." 

" An' was Peter 'imsel' ony hearty, noo ?" 

" Wusnin 'e jist ! Aw wuss ye hed seen 'im ; an' Eob 
his breeder tee, fan the dancin' begood. It wudna dee to 
say 't, ye ken, but Kobbie hed been tastin' draps, as weel 's 
some o' the lave, an' nae doot the gless o' punch 't they gat 
o' the back o' their tae hed ta'en o' the loon ; but an he 
didna tak' it oot o' twa three o' the lasses, forbye the aul' 
fishwife, 't was bobbin awa' anent 'im b' wye o' pairtner, 
wi' 'er han's in 'er sides an' the strings o' 'er mutch fleein' 
lowse. It 's but a little placie, a kin' o' a but an' a ben, 
an' it wusna lang till it grew feerious het. I 'se asseer ye 
dancin' wusna jeestie to them that try't it." 

" Weel, Mistress Muggart, isna yer man a feel aul' breet 
to be cairryin on that gate arnon' a puckle daft young 

" Deed is 'e, Hennie ; but as the sayin' is, ' there 's nae 
feel like an aul' feel.' " 

" Ou, but ye wud 'a baith been blythe to be there, noo," 
said Hairry, " an' wud 'a danc't brawly gin ye hed been 

" An' Sarnie ga'e ye the meesic ? " 

" Maist pairt. They got a haud o' a fiddle there was a 
cheelie there 't cud play some but the treble string brak, so 
that wudna dee. An' files, fan they were takin' a kin' o' 
breathin', he wud sowff a spring to twa three o' them ; or 



bess till 'imsel' singin', wi' the fiddle, siclike as it was. 
Only Samie eeswally sat i' the tither en' to be oot o' their 
road, an' mak' mair room for the dancers, an' dirl't up the 
pipes wi' a fyou o' 's that wusna carin' aboot the steer takin' 
a smoke aside 'im." 

" Na, but ye hed been makin' yersel's richt comfortable. 
Hedna ye the sweetie wives ? " 

" Hoot ay ; hoot ay ; till they war forc't to gi'e them 
maet an' drink an' get them packit awa' that was aboot 
ten o'clock. An' gin than," continued Hairry, " I was 
beginnin' to min' 't I hed a bit traivel afore me. Aw 
kent there was nae eese o' wytin for the young fowk to be 
company till 's, for they wud be seer to dance on for a file, 
an' than there wud lickly be a ploy i' the hin'er en' at the 
beddin' o' the new-marriet fowk ; so Tarn Meerison an' me 
forgaither't and crap awa' oot, sin'ry like, aifter sayin' good 
nicht to the bride in a quate wye Peter was gey noisy gin 
that time, so we loot him be. We made 's gin we hed been 
wuntin a gluff o' the caller air; but wi' that, fan ance we 
wus thereoot, we tyeuk the road hame thegither like gweed 



LIKE most events of a similar character, the marriage of 
Peter Birse junior served as a nine days' wonder to the 
people of Pyketillim neither more nor less than that. 
Yet to the diplomatic mind of Mrs. Birse, the nine days 
had not expired, when it seemed good that means should be 
taken to certify the world of the fact that, despite the 
untowardness of recent events, the family of Clinkstyle had 
suffered neither in social status nor ecclesiastical character. 
It was not very long before this that that " big beggar man/' 
the Kev. Thomas Guthrie, had perambulated Scotland in 
behalf of the Free Church Manse Scheme. In the course of 
his travels he had visited the Broch, and addressed a public 
meeting in the recently erected Free Kirk there. To that 
meeting Johnny Gibb, the souter, and the smith had tramped 
all the way from Pyketillim. They had listened with pro 
found interest to the speaker's graphic story of parish kirks 
in the Highlands, where the scant handful of worshippers 
sat "like crows in the mist;" kirks through which at their 
fullest you might not merely fire a cannon ball, as some one 
had said, but " a cart-load of whins," without hurting any 
body. Their indignation had burned keenly as there was 
set before them the picture of the minister's family forced 
to leave the comfortable manse, the pleasant home of many 
years, and go away, the mother and children to the distant 
town, while the persecuted minister himself was fain to take 


up his abode in some miserable out-of-the-way hut that the 
laird had no power to keep him out of; a hut so miserable 
that summer rains and winter frosts and snows alike visited 
him through the roof and sides, till the poor man had almost, 
or altogether, sunk physically under the discomforts of his 
cheerless abode. After all this, set forth with mingled 
humour and pathos, while the deep, eloquent tones of the 
speaker told with hardly greater force on the ear than the 
gleam of his singularly expressive face did on the eye, it 
needed but the faintest indication in the way of direct 
appeal . to make Johnny Gibb determine to put down his 
name as a subscriber of 5 to the Manse Fund. The sub 
scriptions asked were payable in one year, or in five yearly 
instalments, and Johnny Gibb said, " Ou, we 'se pay't aff at 
the nail ; fa kens fat may happen ere five year come an' gae ?" 

It was not that Johnny made a boast of his subscription 
to the Manse Fund ; far from it. As he knew that the 
souter and smith had other claims which emphatically for 
bade their following his example, he was at pains to make 
it appear to them that the sum he gave was in a manner a 
representative contribution from the Free Kirk in Pyketillim. 

"Ye see we'll need a manse oorsel's," said Johnny. 
" Nae doot we '11 get it a' back, an' mair wi' 't ; an' still an' 
on there '11 be a hantle adee till 's a'. But fa cud hear the 
like o' yon onbeen roos't to the vera itmost ? Oh, but he 's 
a gran' speaker, Maister Guthrie ; keepin' awa ' fae 's droll 
stories, he 's like some o' the aul' ancient woorthies 't we 
read o' ; an' aw was vera glaid to hear 'im crackin wi' oor 
nain minaister, an' speerin aboot the kirk an' siclike." 

Nevertheless, Johnny Gibb's subscription to the great 
Manse Scheme became the subject of talk among the Free 
Kirk folks in Pyketillim, and of laudatory talk, too ; inas 
much as it was deemed a very liberal act, following on 
sundry other very liberal acts done by Johnny in the build 
ing of the kirk. Would any one else do the like ? was the 
question asked by various people at various other people ; 
and these latter doubted it, although they could give no 
conclusive reply. 


A few days after the events recorded in the last two 
chapters, Miss Birse had raised the question with her 
mother, when Mrs. Birse took occasion to enlarge on the 
merits of Mr. MacCassock, and not less on the zealous 
services already rendered in the interest of the Free Kirk 
and that of the minister by the family at Clinkstyle. A 
manse Mr. MacCassock should have ; but, while anybody 
might gain a certain ecldt by a " supperscription till an 
Edinboro Fond," Mrs. Birse desired to give her valuable 
services in the shape of a social meeting to be held at Clink- 
style, in direct promotion of the local Manse Scheme. 

The proposal was one that, on the whole, commended 
itself to Miss Birse. Both mother and daughter felt that 
the intended soiree, to give it the correct designation, could 
not fail, from its novelty and splendour, to excite attention, 
and dazzle the intellect of Pyketillim in a way that would 
tend, among other things, to wipe out all recollection of 
Patie's unhappy wedding. 

The success of the soiree for inauguration of the pro 
posal to erect a manse to the Kev. Mr. MacCassock was, 
on the whole, gratifying. The persons invited to attend it 
included Johnny Gibb, the souter, the smith, the merchan', 
and Sandy Peterkin, even. The mole -catcher was not 
asked. It was necessary to stop somewhere in the social 
scale, and Mrs. Birse resolved to draw the line just over the 
head of the mole-catcher. 

" It 's nae 't we wud wuss to lichtlifie the creatur," said 
Mrs. Birse. " He 's gweed aneuch in 's nain place ; an' sma' 
blame till 'im though he ken little aboot menners; fowk 
wud need to min' 't 's upfeshin wasna vera lordlifu' Willna 
we seek Hairry Muggart ? Deed, we '11 dee naething o' the 
kin', 'Liza. That 's jist like ane o' yer fader's senseless pro- 
jecks. He may be never so aul' a neebour, an' never so 
weel-will't to mak* 'imsel' eesefu' noo; but yer fader sud 
ken brawly that he hisna been gryte spyauck for him ony 
wye. He 's jist been a rael constable man, though he has 
aye a fair tongue in 's heid ; an he 's been owre ready to be 
goy't owre wi' 'im little won'er nor he was defate o' bein' 


made an el'yer. The fowk kent owre weel fa it was 't was 
proposin him; a man't hed made 'imsel' sae kenspeckle at 
the first ootset, an' syne for love o' the wordle turn 't aside 
in sic a Judas-like menner." 

In point of fact, Hairry Muggart had no claim to an 
invitation to the soiree on the ground of principle; and 
although Hairry, after he knew his fate in so far as his croft 
was concerned, had once more pronounced himself an 
adherent of the Free Kirk, it was a weak thing in Peter 
Birse to suggest that he should be invited. Peter, for his 
own part, would have felt Hairry's presence comforting, and 
he urged that his friend was a " gran' speaker." He was 
reminded that his chief care ought to be to improve the 
occasion in the way of re-establishing his own somewhat 
obscured ecclesiastical reputation. 

The exclusion of Hairry Muggart was unlucky in this 
wise. Our old friend Dawvid Hadden, in returning from 
one of his business journeys in the late gloamin, and in 
excellent spirits, had observed the unusual brilliancy of the 
lights at Clinkstyle, and jalousin that something must be 
going on, Dawvid, as he passed the henwife's door, with a 
levity of tone meant to arouse sore recollections in the hen- 
wife's breast, but which he speedily had reason to repent, 
cried in 

" Fat 's been adee wi' yer braw bohsom freen the wife o' 
Clinkstyle, the nicht ava ? Is she gettin' 'er dother marriet 
neist ?" 

"Dear be here, Dawvid, fat wud gar the like o' you 
speer a question o' that kin' ?" said Meg Eaffan. 

" Ou," answered Dawvid, " ilka window o' their hoose 
is bleezin o' licht like a new gless booet. There maun 'a 
been fowk there." 

" Fowk there !" exclaimed Meg. " Weel, an' there hinna 
been that, ye 're nae mark. Oh, Dawvid, Dawvid, it 's a 
gweed thing for some o' 's to hae the markness o' nicht to 
fesh us hame files. Nae doot fan fowk meets in wi' com 
pany moderate things is exkeesable, but seerly it 's gyaun 
owre the bows to foryet faur ye've been." 


"Fat div ye mean?" said Dawvid, sharply; "I wasna 
there, I tell you, woman !" 

" Hoot, noo," answered Meg, with provoking persistency, 
"I'm nae refleckin o' ye, Dawvid, man; mony ane plays 
waur mistak's, an' lies doon i' the gutters, or tynes their 
road a'thegither, comin' fae their freen's hoose." 

" They 're no freens o' mine ; an' I 'm not i' the haibit o' 
goin' there," said Dawvid, with rising dignity. 

" Dinna be sayin' 't npo, Dawvid. Fa sud be inveetit 
to Clinkstyle but Maister Hadden, Sir Simon's awgent ; fan 
fairms has to be mizzour't aff an' arreeng't for them 't 's to get 
them, fa can dee 't but him ? Wow, sirs wasna there !" 

"It's a lie, I tell ye !" roared Dawvid, and as he roared 
he marched abruptly off, shutting Meg Kaffan's door with 
a snap. 

" There maun hae been something or ither gyaun on, 
that's seer aneuch; the creatur has a drap in, or he wudna 
been tiggin wi' 's. But he 's nae sae far on but he wud 'a 
notic't onything oot o' the ordinar' as he cam' bye." So 
mused Meg Eaffan with herself. And Meg resolved to find 
out all about it on the morrow. Her first movement was 
to catch Hairry Muggart as he went past in the morning to 
his work, but all Hairry could tell was that there had been 
a " pairty some kin' o' a kirk affair," whereupon Meg sug 
gested that, all things considered, it was extreme ill-usage to 
Hairry to have failed to invite him; and Hairry hardly 
denied that he was disappointed, seeing he had some services 
to speak of, not the least considerable of which were the 
friendly lift he had endeavoured, against his better judgment, 
to give Peter Birse senior when he wanted to be made an 
elder; and the element of respectability thrown into the 
initial stage of Peter Birse junior's wedded life by his pre 
sence at his marriage. However, Hairry bore it with what 
resignation he could. 

The same afternoon found Meg Eaffan at the Kirktown 
shop. Her object this time was to gather news, not to dis 
tribute. It did not tend to promote success in this operation 
that Jock Will was in the shop along with Sandy Peterkin. 


Had Sandy been alone, Meg felt confident she could have 
pumped him to the extent of his knowledge. With Jock 
Will present, Sandy was not accessible, and to pump Jock 
himself was a different matter. Jock was bland and civil, 
and his replies to Meg were candid and literal ; but he could 
not be drawn out by leading questions, and as little would 
indirect thrusts in a bantering style serve to betray him into 
inadvertent admissions. Meg was somewhat nonplussed. 
She had got very little beyond the point to which Hairry had 
been able to advance her, and now, with her artillery almost 
exhausted, and Jock Will giving distinct indication that his 
time and patience also were exhausted, she felt the difficulty 
of hanging on longer. 

" An' yer mither is keepin' middlin' stoot ? " asked Meg, 
as she made to leave, with an emphasis indicative of special 
concern for Mrs. Will's state of health. 

" Ou, she 's fine," answered Jock, who was unaware of 
any cause that Meg had to doubt a previous assurance she 
had got on entering that Mrs. Will was " vera weel, thank 


" I thocht she was leukin warsh like fan I got a went 
o' 'er the tither ouk ; but 't 's so seldom 't we see ither noo- 

Meg's drift thus far was obvious ; and Jock Will could 
not do less than invite her in to see his mother. Once into 
the house, Meg lean't her doon for a crack. The merchan' 
naturally had to return to his business, and so soon as he 
was gone the henwife came to the point at once, with the 

" Ou, they war tellin' 's there was a feerious interaistin 
meetin' about the kirk at Clinkstyle the tither nicht. An' it 
's nae ca'd aboot clypes, Mistress Wull, fan aw say 't yer 
nain sin was richt muckle thocht o', an' '11 seen be ane o' 
the heid deesters. Awat he needna wunt the maiden of 
Clinkstyle, an' he wulls to tak' 'er." 

With this preface, Meg speedily got out of the unsuspect 
ing widow every particular that she knew about the Clink- 
style manse meeting, and had asked several searching 


questions bearing on the subject collaterally, to which Mrs. 
"Will had been unable to give any answer whatever, when 
Jock, who had been scarcely ten minutes absent, looked in 

" Noo, merchan'," exclaimed Meg, with an air of perfect 
satisfaction, " ye 're fear't that we sit owre lang gin ance we 
begin an' clatter aboot oor nain transacks. But we 're aul' 
acquantances, min' ye, an mony 's the cheenge 't we 've seen 
sin' we kent ither. I was jist o' my fit fan ye cam' in 
Eh na, aw cuclna bide langer; nae the nicht." 

That same gloamin, as Hairry Muggart plodded on his 
way homeward, after finishing his day's work for Sir Simon, 
Meg Eaffan, by the purest accident, turned up in his way, 
as he passed between the offices and the Lodge gate. Dawvid 
Hadden was walking alongside Hairry, newsin, the two being 
now, as Hairry put it, only " freens fae the teeth outwuth." 
Hairry stopped at once to converse with Meg, and Dawvid 
made a sort of broken halt too, though his disposition evi 
dently was to step on. 

" Na, Dawvid," said Meg, " ye gaed aff in a bung the 
streen fan I wuntit ye to tell 's aboot yer pairty at Glink- 
style. Fa wud 'a thocht it o' ye, noo ? a braw new hoose 
to be biggit for a manse till this lad MacCassock. Nae word 
o' enterdickin them noo. Na, na ; they '11 be gettin' a stance 
for 't at the boddom o' the Greens, gin they like, a' throu' faw- 
vour, an' haein a freen i' the coort. That is cheeng't wardles." 

Dawvid was taken aback by the audacity of Meg's 
address; but in the presence of Hairry Muggart it was 
necessary to assume an air of nonchalant knowingness, and 
so Dawvid replied 

" Weel, Meg, ye 're the ae best han' at gedderin a' the 
claicks o' the kwintra side 't I ken. Fat for sudna the man 
get a manse, gin 's fowk be willin' to big it till 'im ? That 's 
nae buzness o' yours nor mine nedderin, seerly ?" 

" Keep 's an' guide 's, Dawvid, ye 're dottlin a'thegither. 
Hinna we a' seen fowk lang ere noo rinnin aboot preten'in' 
to hae buzness, layin' doon the law to a' kin' o' kirk fowk, 
bun' an' Free alike?" 


" Is Sir Simon raelly gi'ein a stance than ?" asked Hairry, 
with a good deal of earnestness. 

" Speer at Dawvid there," said Meg. " He 's aye the 
fountain-heid o' buzness." 

Dawvid looked somewhat embarrassed, when Hairry 
turned to him inquiringly ; but recovering his composure 
and dignity, he said, with some asperity, " Gin ye be edder 
to gi'e heid to a' the idle jaw't ye hear, Hairry, or till 
imawgine that I Ve naething adee but reel aff to you aboot 
fat Sir Simon inten's to do ; an' mair sae gin ye think that 
I wud dee onything o' the kin' withoot ony regaird to fa 
mith be in oor company at the time, ye maun be sair leeft 
to yersel', man ; that 's a' that I 'se say aboot it." 

" Ou, dinna be sae sanshach, Dawvid," said Meg, with 
great equanimity. " Hairry disna need me to tell 'im aboot 
the begeck that the guidwife o' Clinkstyle gat aboot the 
fairm o' 'Newtoon;' an' nedder o' 's wud coont 'er sic a 
saunt as to think that she cud a forgi'en you for that yet; 
forbye 't it leet the haill kwintra ken foo kin' she was to be, 
leukin oot for some o' 'er neebours ; only 't they war raither 
farrer ben wi' the laird nor some fowk 't we ken wus awaar 
o'. Hooever, she 's managin' to coort the fawvour o' this 
minaister lad wi' makin' a fraise aboot a manse till 'im. 
An' fat think ye has she garr't Peter dee, but pit 's han' i' 
the moggan, an' gi'e a five poun' note, nae to be ahin your 
freens, Gushetneuk an' the merchan'. An' the Miss is to 
be at it colleckin amo' them, to gi'e something a' owre heid. 
Jist bide ye still noo, an' gin ye dinna see a manse biggit 
ere this time towmon, an' the minaister lad waddit till the 
quine Birse or some ither ane, my name 's nae KafFan. 

Good part of this was certainly meant to be heard by 
Dawvid Hadden, but by the time the last sentence was 
uttered, Dawvid had gradually moved on till he was almost 
beyond earshot, when Meg, lowering her key, and in a con 
siderably altered tone, said 

" Ye see we canna dee ither nor lat at 'im files ; an' 
there 's naething nettles Dawvid waur nor to be lickened 
wi' the wife o' Clinkstyle Was he there ? Ah-wa', Hairry. 



As seen speak o' 'im bein' socht to dine wi' Sir Simon. Na, 
na ; they Ve bed their sairin o' ither an' chaep o' them. 
But awat ye loss't-na muckle yersel' o' nae bein' there. 
It's a gweed thing fan near-b'gyaunness an* gentility rins 
thegither ; but aw 'm thinkin' Gushetneuk hedna miss't 'er 
for settin' the fowk 't she inveetit doon a' roun ' the parlour' 
fat ither like as mony born dummies. The wife 'ersel' 
was bleezin' in a mutch an' gum floo'ers, makin' oot the tae, 
in gryte style, an' the Miss sailin' aboot like a vera duchess 
amo' them. Aul' Peter bed been set on to mak' a speech ; 
but did little, peer stock, but swat an' pech't, till some o' 
the lave tyeuk up the sticks. Hooever, a manse they 're to 
hae ; that 's the short an' the lang o' 't. Noo be toddlin, 
Hairry, for Dawvid 's wytein ye oot at the yett there ; nae 
doot he '11 be sayin' we 're speakin' aboot 'im Gweed nicht." 



WHEN Sir Simon Frissal was about to leave his ancestral 
seat at Glensnicker for a two months' sojourn in Edinburgh, 
during the dead of winter, he called for his ground-officer, 
Dawvid Hadden, to give him such instructions as he con 
sidered needful for the guidance of that zealous functionary 
during his absence. The footman had carried down the 
message that Sir Simon wished to see him next morning at 
ten o'clock, and Dawvid manifested his wonted enlarged 
desire to fulfil his patron's behests. 

" Aw 'm sayin', 'oman, ye 've seerly been lattin that 
bairns lay tee their han' to my vreetin dask : that '11 never 
do. There 's the cork o' the ink-bottle oot ; an' aw div not 
believe but the lid o' the penner 's been amo' the aise, an' 
my vera memorandum book blottit oot o' ken. Ye sud be 
awaar gin this time that I 'm nae responsible to gae afore 
Sir Simon onhed my papers upo' me." 

Dawvid Hadden's wife had heard similar addresses 
before ; and, despite the pleasing haze which connubial 
fidelity interposes between the wife and her husband in such 
cases, was able to apprehend, with tolerable distinctness, 
what it all meant. Dawvid, it was clear, was too well 
pleased with himself meanwhile to be really angry ; so she 
did not even think it necessary to express regret for the raid 
made on the dask by the band of junior Haddens, but said, 
" Weel, man, I canna hae the bairns aye preen't to my tail." 


Dawvid got the memorandum book stowed away in his 
oxter pouch, after duly scanning the more recent part of its 
contents and gravely adding one or two pencil jottings. 
Then he started for the appointed interview with Sir Simon 

" You are quite aware, then, Hadden, of the changes that 
take place during the ensuing season among tenants ? " said 
Sir Simon. 

" They 're a' vrote doon here, sir," answered Dawvid, 
tapping the board of his memorandum book. 

" There What do you mean by that ?" 

" My book, sir ; they 're reg'lar enter't." 

" H m. There's a change in the occupation of Gushet- 
neuk, and a new tenant comes to the Wright's croft. Then 
the old house, occupied as a side school at Smiddyward, is 
still vacant ?" 

" They 're all here, sir ; with the full heids an' parti 
culars," said Dawvid, again tapping the memorandum book. 

" That is the only vacant cottage at the hamlet ?" 

" The only one 't can be said to be clean vawcant. 
There 's been nobody there sin' the creatur Peterkin was 
turn't oot. Hooever, there's only a fairm servan', John 
Gibb's ploughman, i' the hoose that Widow Will hed he 
needna stan' i' the road gif the place be wuntit for anoder." 

" I wish you to bear in mind, with respect to the farm 
and croft, that you will get written instructions hereafter 
from the factor, Mr. Greenspex, about getting some reliable 
person to take all necessary measurements of the extent of 
land in new grass, and other things ; but I want you, in 
the first place, to attend to one or two other matters. 
Have you seen Birse at Clinkstyle recently ?" 

" No, sir ; but I was hearin', on gweed authority, that 
he's fairly owre to the non-intrusions noo, as weel's his 
wife an' daachter. They 're proposin' byuldin a hoose for a 
manse to the Free Kirk minaister chappie." 

"Who told you that?" 

" It was a vera parteeclar acquantance 't hed it fae some 
o' themsel's." 


" I want you then to ascertain certain particulars without 
any loss of time." 

" I do k-now a good dale already, sir ; but nae jist sae 
authentic maybe as gin it war a maitter o' buzness but 
I 'm quite awaar hoo I can get first-han' information." 

" Taking the house first " 

" 1 11 jist mak' a' bit memorandum at once," said Dawvid, 
pulling out his black-lead pencil. 

" Put that aside your memory may serve for once," 
said Sir Simon, in a tone that made Dawvid look blank. 
" The labour and expense of putting a fresh roof on this 
school-cottage and other repairs, were borne, you told me at 
the time, by John Gibb. Is that so ?" 

" Ou, certaintly, sir, certaintly," answered Dawvid in a 
perplexed sort of way. 

" Well, as it seems very likely the house will be required 
for occupation again ; you'll go and ascertain from Gibb 
what he would consider an equivalent for his outlay get 
it from himself personally." 

" Yes, sir. An' wud it need to be shortly ? " 

" At once. The other matter, about which you have to 
see Birse, is the march at the lower end of his farm between 
Clinkstyle and Gushetneuk. The old bauk there is very 
crooked and runs off from the Clinkstyle side with a long 
point into the other farm, does it not ?" 

" You 're quite richt, sir," said Dawvid, brightening up 
at the idea of his topographical knowledge being consulted. 
" I k-now the spot perfeckly ; Clinkstyle's wastmost intoon 
shift rins in wi' a lang nib, an' a gushetie o' finer Ian' there 
is not upo' the place." 

" The extent, I am told, is about an acre and a half ?" 

" Fully that, sir, fully that. I never pat the chyne 
till 't, but b' guess o' e'e I 'm sure it 's aboot an awcre an' 
three reed, forbye the bit o' naitur girss at the burn- 

" Well, it 's very awkward to have a pendicle of that 
sort belonging to one farm and lying into another it goes 
against good husbandry. And now, when a new lease is to 


be entered on, I intend to have the march straightened 
you will inform Birse of this." 

" An' wud ye gi'e 'm an excamb like ? I doot he winna 
be keen aboot lossin* the grip o' that piece for the same 
breid farrer up the brae." 

" He '11 get an equivalent reduction of rent, fixed by 
competent valuers tell him so. Mr. Greenspex agrees with 
myself in holding that the march ought to be straightened, 
and as Gushetneuk is the smaller farm of the two, it is 
advantageous otherwise to make the addition to it." 

" Weel, sir," said Dawvid, who was beginning to see 
rather more than he desired of somewhat unpleasant work 
cut out for him, " I wud hae raither a different idea aboot 
the squarin' aff o* that nyeuk " 

" I daresay," answered Sir Simon, drily. 

" An' wudna it be better to pit aff for a little, till it 
cud be gotten mizzour't, afore ye proceedit feenally ? I 
cud " 

" It may be measured as well after as before. Go you 
to Birse, and tell him my mind, and make sure that you 
adhere literally to your instructions tell him the valuation 
will be fairly made for this acre and a half or two acres 
that are to be cut off his farm, and put to Gushetneuk, 
and that he will be allowed a deduction of rent per acre 
according to valuation." 

" Will Mr. Greenspex vrite 'im to that effeck, sir ?" 

" No ; certainly not, at this stage. Attend to what I 
say I want you to go first, without loss of time, and in 
form him of my wish, and get his formal consent. Then 
Mr. Greenspex will carry out the arrangement. You under 
stand, then, that what you have to do is to ascertain from 
John Gibb the amount of his outlay on this house, and then 
to get Birse's consent to cede this bit of ground ?" 

" Perfeckly weel, sir," said Dawvid, in a slightly dubious 

" Well, see that you lose no time about it. You may go 
now. If I 've got anything else to say, I '11 leave a message 
for you with Piggies the butler." 


There were various thoughts coining and going in the 
mind of Dawvid Hadden when he left the presence of Sir 
Simon Frissal, at the close of the interview briefly narrated. 
He asked himself what in the name of wonder Sir Simon 
intended to do with Sandy Peterkin's old cottage and school ? 
He did not half relish the idea of going to Johnny Gibb 
even for the purpose of offering him the prospect of pay 
ment for his outlay on these structures. He felt morally 
certain that Johnny would not omit calling up reminiscences 
of his, Dawvid's, previous connection with the school build 
ings, and that not for the purpose of complimenting him on 
the part he had taken. And then Dawvid saw for the first 
time that he had committed a strategic mistake when he got 
Sandy Peterkin turned out, in not also getting his premises 
levelled with the ground. But the most ticklish business 
was that of the Clinkstyle march. It is known to the 
reader how Dawvid contrived to plan a notable addition to 
the farm of Clinkstyle ; how that scheme gained him high 
favour and repute with Mrs. Birse and her husband ; how 
it disastrously fell through ; and how Dawvid had, since that 
date, fought shy of Clinkstyle, and those who dwelt there. 
And now here was an imperative command to face Peter 
Birse Dawvid would have been glad if he could have felt 
assured that facing Peter would be all with a direct pro 
posal not to enlarge, but to curtail, his farm. Dawvid was 
very keenly alive to all the difficulties and adverse con 
tingencies of the case. He came at once to the conclusion 
that the hand of Mr. Greenspex was to be traced in it all, 
and the indignation to which the thought of the lawyer's 
unwarranted intrusion on what he felt to be his own domain 
gave rise, afforded a temporary diversion to his feelings. 
But the reflection soon came up again that in any case, Sir 
Simon's instructions must be carried out. And because, 
when he returned to his home, he found his eldest son em 
ployed quite harmlessly sketching a flight of crows on the 
slate on which he used to cast up land-measuring operations, 
and siclike, he gave the lad a very vigorously laid -on 
sclaffert on " the side o' the heid." 



" Canna ye baud the ban's o' ye ?" said Dawvid. " It 's 
a keerious thing that creaturs winna keep fae meddlin' wi' 
fat disna lie i' their gate. Aw think aw wud need-a get 
every article belangin' me lockit up fanever aw gae owre 
the door." 



SIR SIMON FRISSAL'S instructions were a subject of engross 
ing cogitation with Dawvid Hadden, or rather the adverse 
reception he was likely to meet in carrying them out was 
so. " But," thought Dawvid with himself, " it 's joost fat 
we maun expeck. There 's naebody that 's in a public wye 
need think to please cC body. Upo' the tae han' we 're nae 
accoontable gin we dinna tak' an order wi' them that's 
owre-gyaun the laws o' the Ian', an fleein' i' the vera face 
o' Parliament itsel', lat aleen the grytest nobility i' the 
kwintra ; an' syne the best that is canna dee mair nor they 
may. Sir Simon may prefar the advice o' an Aiberdeen 
lawvyer, that never tyeuk a squarin' pole in 's han', aboot 
the layin' oot o' 's Ian', to the advice o' them that k-nows 
the contents o' every feedle upo' the estate, ta'en aff wi' 's 
nown chyne, but he '11 maybe ken i' the lang rin fa 's 
cawpable o' layin' oot a place in a gatefarran wye an' fa's 

Thus far of Dawvid's cogitations; but though Dawvid 
knew perfectly that under a broad and enlightened view 
it would be found that his sagacity and prudence had been 
unimpeachable, and his principles of action unassailable, 
he knew also, that it behoved him to proceed without loss 
of time to carry out Sir Simon's orders. And he could not 
get rid of the reflection that the petty details of the thing 
would, it was more than likely, turn out to be a little 


annoying. In the case of Johnny Gibb of Gushetneuk, it 
was true Dawvid had nothing in the shape of unpalatable 
proposals to make, yet he could not avoid having a slightly 
uncomfortable feeling at the thought of the explosion that 
might occur when he took up the subject of the old school- 
house. However, the offer of an addition to the farm of 
Gushetneuk could hardly fail, as Dawvid Hadden sought to 
persuade himself, of mollifying Johnny Gibb's temper, and the 
happy idea occurred to Dawvid of smoothing his way by play 
ing that card first. And on the whole he felt rather pleased 
at the prospect in this case. With the Birses of Clinkstyle 
his task was entirely different. What he had to com 
municate there would undoubtedly awaken feelings the 
reverse of pleasant ; and in the remembrance of what had 
occurred so recently in connection with his plan for re 
modelling the farm of Clinkstyle, Dawvid was to be excused 
if he did not see clearly how he was to get through the 
business comfortably. While Dawvid was perplexing him 
self by turning the question over and over in his mind, he 
felt a very strong tendency to get confidential on the sub 
ject with Meg Kaffan. They had had their small encounters ; 
but Dawvid knew that Meg meanwhile was really incensed 
against her friend, Mrs. Birse, and he somehow felt that her 
sympathy was worth having. 

"Aweel, Dawvid," said Meg, cheerfully, when she had 
got the ground-officer's gloss on the matter in hand, " we Ve 
baith been weel aneuch ta'en in-owre wi' that carline o' a 
wife o' Clinkstyle ; but ye hae the chance o' bein' upsides 
wi' 'er this time at ony rate. Na, sirs, but she will be in 
a rampauge fan she hears Sir Simon's projeck aboot takin' 
aff a piece o' their grun. Aw wauger onything she '11 come 
doon upo' aul' Peter's heid aboot it ; as gin he cud help it, 
peer gype. Noo, dinna be mealy mou't, Dawvid, man, fan 
ye tell them. Aw declare aw wud gi'e my best brodmil o' 
Mairch chuckens naarhan' to be aside an' hear foo she '11 
brak oot aboot it wi' that rauchle tongue o' hers." 

Dawvid thought within himself that he could forego 
this coveted opportunity for a slighter consideration than 


that mentioned by Meg ; yet, under the inspiriting words 
of the henwife, he felt his courage sensibly rising, as he 
said, " Ou, weel, I winna flench a hair's breid for nedder 
man nor 'oman ; that 's ae thing seer aneuch. I Ve stan't 
mony a roch hotter afore noo i' the wye o' duty, as ye ken 
brawly, Meg." 

"Weel-a-wat ye never spak' a truer word, Dawvid. 
Mony 's the body that 's hed their gullie i' ye aboot yer bits 
o' transacks ; but gin' I war you I sud set up my bonnet a 
hack fan I gaed owre to Clinkstyle this time." 

" Ou, weel, aw 'm seer she 's been at your merciment as 
weel 's mine, mony a day ere noo," said Dawvid. 

" Nae doot aboot it," said Meg. " An fowk hed wuntit 
to sclaive 'er throu' the kwintra they wud 'a not nae mair 
nor the wye 't she 's been gyaun . on wi' that peer simple 
minaister lad to get 'im insnorl't wi' 'er dother. An' fat 
sud be upo' go noo, but a braw new ' viackle,' 's she was 
ca'in 't we sanna say fa till. But it's order't fae the 
coachmakker's, no jist bide ye still till the spring day 
comes in again, gin ye dinna see a braivity at Clinkstyle 
that hardly beseems fowk 't 's sib to fish cadgers an' siclike ! 
Eh, but she has muckle need o' something to lay the pride 
o' 'er the richt gate ! " 

" An' dinna ye min' o' the fools ? " interjected Dawvid. 
" Eat like trag she 's sent here owre an* owre again. Awat, 
she was ill deservin' o' oor leenity for that." 

" Ay, but bide ye still, I hae the hank i' my nain han' 
for that maybe." 

" Hae ye gotten this sizzon's hens yet ? " 

"Eeint a feather, no; though the time's lang owre-gane; 
an' aw was that ill aff ere the laird gaed awa' that I hed to 
fell some bonny yearocks 't aw was keepin', an' 't wud 'a 
been layin' haill on the feck o' the winter." 

" I must see aboot that, though," said Dawvid, in a lofty 
and half magisterial tone of voice. 

"Weel, will ye jist gi'e 'er my remem'rances," added 
Meg, " an' say 't though we canna be but sair obleeg't to 
them that tak's sic lang pains feedin' the laird's fools, I 'm 


raelly fley't that they may rin 'er oot o' black dist an* 
potawto skins ? I wud be unco fain to pit my thooms 
across their craps an* gin they binna freely at the point o* 
perfection, I '11 sen' them back till 'er for a fortnicht o' her 
raffy keep wi' the grytest pleesour." 

" Weel, Meg, it does raelly set ye to speak," said Dawvid, 

It was after he had been thus instructed and fortified 
that Dawvid Hadden set out on his important mission of 
carrying out the orders of Sir Simon Frissal at Gushetneuk 
and Clinkstyle. 



To Johnny Gibb, the autumn of 1847 had been a season 
of varied and engrossing business. There was first the 
erection of Mr. MacCassock's new manse. So long as the 
project had remained a matter merely to be talked about 
and resolved upon, there had been no lack of people to 
express their ideas and give their advice, but when it had 
assumed the practical aspect of settling contracts for the 
building, some of those who had talked most fluently be 
came remarkably vague, and did not seem in haste to 
commit themselves to any specific action. Johnny Gibb's 
course was precisely the reverse of this ; the erection of the 
manse was not his proposal, but once it had been resolved 
upon, Johnny declared that it must be carried out forthwith. 
" We maun hae the wa's up an' the reef on JTYiTne.rla.nt1y, 
an' lat 'im get marriet, an' win in till 't fan simmer comes 
roon again." Everybody admitted that this was expedient 
and desirable, and everybody felt how naturally it fell to 
Johnny Gibb to push the necessary operations on. And 
Johnny pushed them accordingly, taking no end of pains in 
getting materials driven, and kept to the hands of the work 
men. Then there were the private arrangements at Gushet- 
neuk, in view of Johnny Gibb ceasing to be tacksman. The 
general belief was that Johnny would flit down to the 
Broch, buy half-a-dozen acres of the unfeued land, and 
settle down in a sort of permanent attitude as a small laird, 


cultivating his own land. Johnny meditated much on the 
point but said little, until one day, addressing his wife on 
the question of their future arrangements, he ran over one 
or two points that had come up to him, and, without in 
dicating any opinion, abruptly finished with the query, " Fat 
think ye, 'oman ? " 

" Hoot, man," replied Mrs. Gibb, " fat need ye speer at 
me ? I've toitit aboot wi' you upo' this place naar foorty 
year noo, an' never tribbl't my heid the day aboot fat ye 
micht think it richt to dee the morn ; an' aw sanna begin 
to mislippen ye noo at the tail o' the day." 

"Weel," said Johnny, with an air of more than his 
ordinary gravity, " I've been thinkin' 't owre a' up an' doon. 
It 's a queer thing fan ye begin to leuk back owre a' the 
time byegane. The Apos'le speaks o' the life o' man as 
a ' vawpour that appeareth for a little, and than vainisheth 
awa' ;' an' seerly there cudna be a mair nait'ral resem'lance. 
Fan we begood the pilget here thegither, wi' three stirks, an' 
a bran'it coo, 't cam' wi' your providin', the tae side o' the 
place was ta'en up wi' breem busses an' heather knaps half 
doon the faul'ies, an' the tither was feckly a quaakin' bog, 
growin' little but sprots an' rashes. It leuks like yesterday 
fan we hed the new hooses biggit, an' the grun a' oon'er the 
pleuch, though that 's a gweed therty year syne. I min' as 
bricht's a paintet pictur' fat like ilka knablich an' ilka 
sheugh an' en' rig was." 

"An' ye weel may, man, for there's hardly a cannas 
breid upo' the place but 's been lawbour't wi' yer nain han's 
owre an' owre again to mak' it." 

"That's fat aw was comin' till. Takin"t as it is, 
there's been grun made oot o' fat wasna grun ava ; an' there 
it is, growin' craps for the eese o' man an' beast Ou ay, 
aw ken we 've made weel aneuch oot upon 't ; but it 's nae 
i' the naitur' o' man to gyang on year aifter year plewin, an' 
del'in', an' earin, an' shearin the bits o' howes an' knowes, 
seein' the vera yird, obaidient till 's care, takin' shape, an' 
sen'in' up the bonny caller blade in its sizzon, an' aifter that 
the ' fu' corn i* the ear,' as the Scriptur' says, onbeen a kin' 
o' thirl't to the vera rigs themsel's." 


" Weel, a bodie is wae tae think o' lea'in' 't." 

" Ay, ay ; but that 's nae a'. Gin fowk war tae leuk at 
things ae gate we wud be wae to pairt wi' onything 't we 
hae i' the wardle. But here 's oorsel's noo 't 's toil't awa' 
upo' this place fae youth-heid to aul' age, an' wi' the lawbour 
o' oor nain han's made it 's ye may say Gushetneuk the 
day 's nae mair fat Gushetneuk was fan we cam' here nor 
my fit 's a han' saw. Sir Seemon ca's 'imsel' laird o' 't ; but 
Sir Seemon 's deen nae mair to the place nor the man o' 
France. Noo, you an' me can gae roun' an' roun' aboot it, 
an' wi' a' honesty say o' this an' that ' Here 's the fruit 
o' oor lawbour that '11 bide upo' the face o' the earth for 
the eese o' ithers aifter we're deid an' gane.' Noo, this 
is fat I canna win at the boddom o' ava. I 'm weel seer 
it was never the arreengement o' Providence that the man 
that tills the grun an' spen's the strength o' 's days upon 't 
sud be at the merciment o' a man that never laid a han' 
till 't, nor hardly wair't a shillin' upon 't, to bid 'im bide or 

" Hoot, man, ye 're foryettin seerly 't Sir Seemon gae ye 
an offer o' the tack yersel', an' that it 's ta'en to oor young 
fowk," said Mrs. Gibb. 

" Vera true," answered Johnny. " Sir Seemon, peer man, 
's made little o' 't, ae gate nor anither. He 's jist as sair 
in wunt o' siller the day as he was fan the aul' factor gat 
the first hunner poun' 't ever we scraipit thegither to len' 
till 'im in a quate wye. But it's nae oorsel's nor Sir 
Seemon 't aw 'm compleenin aboot in particular. It 's the 
general run o' the thing. Fat for sudna lawbourin the rigs 
in an honest wye for beheef o' the countra at lairge gi'e 
a man a richt to sit still an' keep the grip, raither nor lat 
the hail poo'er o' traffikein wi' the grun, for gweed or ill, be 
leeft wi' a set o' men that nae only never laid a han' till 't, 
but maybe never hardly leet their een see 't ? " 

" Is that the lairds ? " 

" Ay, ay." 

" Eh, but ye ken they gat it fae their forebears." 

" An' fat aboot it ? Fa gya 't to their forebears, aw wud 


like to ken ? A set o' reivin' scoonrels that tyeuk it wi' 
the strong han', and syne preten't to han' 't doon fae ane till 
anither, an' buy 't and sell 't wi' lawvyers' vreetin on a bit 
sheep's skin. Na, na; there's something clean vrang at 
the boddom o' 't. We 're taul that the ' earth is for the use 
o* all ; the king 'imsel' is served by the field.' The Govern 
ment o' the countra sud tak' the thing i' their nain han' an' 
see richt deen ; an' the best teetle to the grun sud be the 
man's willin'ness to lawbour 't, and grow corn an' cattle for 
the susteenance o' man." 

In this high flight Mrs. Gibb did not attempt to follow 
Johnny. She merely smiled and said, "Weel, aw'm seer, 
man, ye div tak' unco notions i' yer heid. Hairry Muggart 
wud be naething to ye for a politician." 

" Ou, weel, aw daursay Hairry wudna differ wi' me aboot 
that. But that's nedder here nor there. Fowk canna 
mak' owre seer that there 's a richt an' a vrang in a'thing ; 
an* lang eesage'll never gar oonjustice be right nae mair 
nor it '11 mak' black fite, say fat they like. Only we wus 
speakin' aboot oor nain sma' affair I div not think that 
there would be muckle thrift in you an' me gyaun awa' 
buyin' a twa three rigs o' grun' an' sittin' doon wi' a'thing, 
unco aboot 's to fecht upon 't for a fyou years. Fan ance 
fowk 's at oor time o' life they sud be willin' to lat the 
theets slack a bit ; an' gin they Ve ta'en up their yokin' 
straucht an' fair, they can leuk back wi' a kin' o' content 
ment upo' the wark that 's deen, min'in' a' the time that 
ithers sud be layin' their shooders to the draucht, raither nor 
themsel's hingin' i' the heid o' things as gin this wardle 
wud laist only as lang as they keepit fit wi' 't. Noo, I 'm 
fell sweer to think o' a cheenge fae this place, an' I '11 tell 
ye foo." 

" Loshtie man, ye 're seerly gyaun gyte " 

" Na, na. I see fat ye 're ettlin at. I 'm nae foryettin 't 
the place is set to the young fowk, 's ye ca' them ; nedder 
wud I wunt to stan' i' their road a single hair's-breid, nor 
to meddle wi' them ae gate nor anither. For ance they 're 
waddit we 're supperannuat, that 's a doonlaid rowle. But 


there sudna be nae gryte diffeekwalty aboot gettin' hoose- 
room for twa aul' fowk. The hoose is a byous size for 
len'th ; an' yer neebour 'oman, ye ken, 's taul ye a dizzen 
o' times owre that it wud be a spawcious hoose for a genteel 
faimily gin it hed a back kitchie wi' a lang chimley biggit. 
It winna be in oor day that Willy M'Aul an' the lassie '11 
be so far up b' cairts as be needin' a castell to hand their 
braw company, an' wi' little contrivance an' nae muckle 
biggin' we mith get a snod aneuch beil' by partitionin' aff 
the wast en' an' makin' a sin'ry door to oorsel's." 

" Weel, fa wud 'a minet upo' that but yersel', noo ? " 
exclaimed Mrs. Gibb, lost in admiration of her husband's 
inventive genius. She was not in the habit of ever seriously 
disputing his will, yet Johnny was evidently gratified to find 
that his project was not merely acceptable to Mrs. Gibb, but 
that the prospect it opened up, as the good woman phrased 
it, " liftit a birn aff o' her min'," and would, she was sure, be 
welcomed by all concerned. 

" Weel, we '11 see," said Johnny ; " we maun jist a' leern 
to ken that the wardle can dee wuntin 's. We a' get oor 
day, an* oor day's wark ; the time slips by like the mist 
creepin' seelently up the howe. ' What thy hand findeth 
to do, do with thy might/ is the lesson we ocht aye to 
bear in min', though we af 'en, af 'en foryet it ; an' fan we 
leuk back fae a point like this o' the lang track o' years 
streetchin into the saffc mornin' licht o' oor days, an' a* 
croon't wi' blessin's, it 's like a dream, but a pleasant dream 
tee, an' foreshaidowin' a better time to come to them that 's 
faithfu' to their trust. But, ye ken, an aul' tree disna seen 
tak' reet again, nor yet haud the grun weel fan it's liftit. 
An' aw 'm thinkin' gin they 're to get ony mair gweed o' me, 
they '11 hae maist chance o' 't by lattin' 's stick faur we are. 
An' though Sir Seemon may ca' the rigs o' Gushetneuk his, 
I 'm maistly seer, gin the rigs themsel's cud speak, they wud 
ca' me maister raither nor him. But it mak's na muckle 
back or fore. They'll be mine to the sicht o' my een maybe 
as lang 's I 'm able to see the sproutin' blade or the yalla 
corn sheaf; an' Sir Seemon's lairdskip canna gie 'im mair." 



I think Johnny Gibb had about finished his moralising, 
but he had scarcely ceased speaking when the lassie, Mary 
Howie, opened the room door, in which Johnny and Mrs. 
Gibb had been seated all the while, and, under the impres 
sion apparently that she had interrupted their conference, 
asked, " Was ye speakin', uncle ?" 

" Ou ay, lassie, but never heed. Fat was ye needin' ?" 
asked Johnny. 

" Naething," said Mary, with a comical side glance toward 
her aunt. "It's only Dawvid Hadden that's wuntin to 
speak to ye." 

" Faur is he ?" asked Johnny, with a hard, abrupt sort 
of snap that contrasted very oddly with his previous tone 
of voice. 

" Oh, he 's at the door, but he canna come in on nae 
accoont ; he 's in a hurry he has ' more calls to makV " 

Johnny Gibb rose with a kind of half grunt, and went 
away toward the door to speak with Dawvid Hadden. 



" THERE 's a fine nicht, Maister Gibb," said Dawvid Hadden, 
in a tone of much affability, on Johnny Gibb showing him 
self at the door of the house of Gushetneuk at the time 
already mentioned. " No aw canna bide to come in. I Ve 
forder to gae, ye see. Aw was jist wuntin a fyou minutes' 
discoorse on a maitter o' buzness." 

" Weel, ye 11 jist sit as chaep 's stan'," said Johnny, sen- 
tentiously. " But please yersel'." 

" A y," exclaimed Dawvid, with a prolonged sound, and 
searching his breast pocket deep down. " That 's vera keeri- 
ous. Aw thocht aw hed a' my material here. Hooever, ye 
can maybe gi'e 's pen an' ink gin we requar 't an' as ye 
say, Maister Gibb, we '11 sit as chaep 's stan'." 

With this Dawvid went inside without more ado. After 
graciously saluting Mrs. Gibb, and making some further 
demonstrations in the way of professing to produce papers, 
Dawvid said 

" Weel, I joost cam' owre bye as seen 's aw cud get some 
oder things arreeng't aifter Sir Simon leeft, to forquant ye 
that we had resolv't to straucht the mairch atween you an* 
Clinkstyle, clippin aff that lang heugh an' the bit burnside 
fae him, an' pittin 't tee to Gushetneuk. There 's jist lat 
me see, I hae 't here till an ell twa awcre an' aboot half a 
reed It 's prime intoon grun, ye ken." 

Dawvid had not been so definite about the measurement 


with Sir Simon ; but it would not do to indicate weakness 
on that point to a mere tenant. He would have gone on to 
descant on the advantages that would accrue to the farmer of 
Gushetneuk from the proposed addition, but at this stage, 
Johnny Gibb, who had been a little taciturn hitherto, broke in 

" An' ye 're nae tir't yet meddlin' wi' fat ye ca' the layin' 
oot o' fowk's grun ? I thocht ye hed gotten aboot as muckle, 
short syne, as wud 'a sair't maist fowk at that trade. Hoo- 
ever, it maksna futher ye be leein' or tellin' the trowth this 
time ; a' that I hae to say is, that I 'm nae tacksman langer 
nor the term, an' hae naething adee wi' 't. An' I 'se only 
tell ye that ye mith be a hantle better employ 't nor makin' 
dispeace amo' neebour fowk feint ane '11 thank ye for 
cheengin the mairch." 

Dawvid evidently had not expected this style of retort. 
He was put out accordingly, and only managed to blurt out 

" It 's Sir Simon's enstructions to me at ony rate." 

" Maybe," said Johnny, curtly. " We 've heard fowk 
speak o' ' Sir Seemon's enstructions ' lang ere noo, fan Sir 
Seemon beheev't to be haud'n on the ill gate that he was 
gyaun b' them that ackit the pairt o' mere seecophants till 
'im, or tyeuk a pride in rinnin Sawtan's erran's onbidden." 

" Weel, Maister Gibb," said Dawvid, with a forced at 
tempt at hilarity, " we sanna cast oot aboot auT scores ; 
fowk sudna keep up um'rage aifter things is ance past, ye 
ken. Sir Simon 's mair o' a gentleman ' 

" It 's nae Sir Seemon 't we 're speakin' aboot eenoo," 
interjected Johnny, abruptly. 

" Weel, Gushets, I 'm only Sir Seemon's servan'," pur 
sued Dawvid, in a nonplussed sort of way. 

" I 'm weel awaar o' that ; an' gin ye hed been aye con 
tent to dee an honest servan's pairt ye wud 'a been a rnuckle 
mair respeckit man nor ye are this day." 

Whether it was in accordance with proper etiquette in 
Johnny Gibb to invite Dawvid Hadden into his house, and 
then heckle him after this fashion, I shall not pretend to 
say; but of this I am certain, that the proceeding was in 
entire accordance with the whole tenor of Johnny's general 


procedure, and could not be construed into anything of the 
nature of intentional rudeness. That it was rudeness at all 
could be admitted only on the principle that it is rude in a 
man to utter his honest opinion in plain words. Anyhow, 
the collapse on Dawvid Hadden's part was somewhat marked. 
Fairly dismounted from his high horse, he found refuge for 
once in the literal truth. 

" I 'm nae here o' wull, I 'se asseer ye ; but to cairry oot 
Sir Simon's doon-laid orders. He wuntit to ken immed- 
antly fat was auchtin you for fat ye laid oot upo' that 
place at the Ward." 

" Fat place ? The skweel ? Little won'er nor ye think 
shame to mak' mention o' 't, man. Haud'n you an' the like 
o' ye awa', it mith 'a been a blessin' to the pairt at this day, 
an' for generations to come. Tell Sir Seemon that it stan's 
there the reproach o' 's estate, an' '11 rise up in jeedgment yet 
against them 't has the swick o' makin' 't a desolation." 

" I must go, ony wye," said Dawvid, rising to his feet, 
and taking out his memorandum book. " Will ye obleege 
b' jist gi'en's the figure o' fat ye laid oot on 't ?" 

" I nedder can nor wull," replied Johnny, in a decisive 
tone. " Fan ye carriet things 's ye did, the black gate, that 's 
a sma' affair, an' the tow may gae wi' the bucket. It '11 be 
time aneuch to speak o' that fan anither tenan' comes till 't" 

" There '11 be no oder tenan' there ; it '11 be knockit doon ; 
but Sir Simon wunts to vrang no man o' 's money ye better 
mention a soorn." 

" I '11 dee naething o' the kin'. Gin ye gi'e Sir Seemon 
a true accoont o' fat I Ve said to ye this minit, I 'se be 

When Dawvid Hadden had left Gushetneuk, and had 
got time to glance calmly at the situation, the temper of 
mind in which he found himself was the reverse of amiable. 
He had an uncomfortable impression that the representative 
of law and authority had after all come off not exactly first 
best in the interview that had just ended, and then what was 
he to report to Sir Simon ? That Johnny Gibb had snubbed 
him, and sent him away without any proper answer to the 


inquiry that had brought him there ? Dawvid felt irritated 
in a high degree ; and I daresay there was a certain advan 
tage in this, after all, for as he toddled across the fields 
towards Clinkstyle, the feeling of irritation merged into a sort 
of savage resolution to march right on, and fearlessly beard 
the Birses in their own den. This thought carried Dawvid 
on rather briskly for a space ; yet I think he was on the 
whole somewhat relieved mentally when he suddenly 
stumbled upon Peter Birse senior stalking along the end rig 
of one of his fields, at the distance of nearly a couple of 
hundred yards from the steading. Dawvid strode firmly 
up to Peter, with the intention of at once announcing Sir 
Simon's proposal, and securing Clinkstyle's assent to it. 

" There 's a mochie nicht, Clinkies," said Dawvid, gravely. 

" A mochie nicht, Dawvid," answered Peter, in an uncer 
tain kind of tone. 

" I 've gotten a bit dockiment here to get yer percurrence 
till, than," continued Dawvid, thrusting his hand into his 

" I houp it 's nae neen o' that duty papers aboot rinnin 
horse, coach kin' o' viackles, nor naething ? " asked Peter 
Birse, uneasily. 

" No, no," said Dawvid. " I dinna interfere wi' fat 's 
nae buzness o' mine. I Ve to do only wi' the Ian*. Sir 
Simon's resolv't to rectify the boondary atween you an* 
Gushetneuk. Leuk here (and he pointed down the brae) 
takin' a swype clean doon fae that bit elbuck at the back 
o' your infeedle, to the burn side, an' cuttin' aff twa awcre 
odds o' the lang point." 

" Nae the ootwuth nyeuk o' fat we ca' the Pardes park 
we hinna grun like it upo' the place ? " 

" That 's the spot," said Dawvid, decisively. 

" An' fat wud he be gi'ein 's b' wye o' excamb like ? " 

" Nothing, nothing," said Dawvid. " Ov coorse there '11 
be an allooance ta'en aff o' the rent fan we get it calculat." 

" Man, that 's sair," exclaimed Peter Birse, in a pitiful voice. 

" Weel, it 's not my arreengement, ye k-now," said Dawvid 
Hadden, " but that 's fat I 've to get yer consent till. So 


ye'll better jist say that ye 're agreeable at ance, an' nae 
deteen me nae langer." 

" Na na ; aw cudna dee 't upon nae accoont," and Peter 
began to move away as he spoke. " Ye wud need to come 
in aboot to the toon at ony rate, Dawvid, man, afore we cud 
speak aboot onything o' the kin'." 

" Oh, I 've nothing ado gaen to yer toon," said Dawvid, 
as he slowly followed his retreating interlocutor. "It's 
you that I hae to sattle wi' as fairmer o' the place, that 's 
the short an' the lang o' 't. Fat am I to say to Sir Simon, 
than ? " added Dawvid, in a louder and more imperious tone. 

" She 's jist at han' ; it winna hin'er ye nae time," replied 
Peter, moving on rather faster than before. 

Dawvid Hadden knew perfectly well what it all meant ; 
only if Mrs. Birse had to be faced why he was just the 
man to do it. " It 's a keerious thing," said Dawvid, " that 
some fowk cudna ca' the niz o' their face their nain withoot 
speerin leave." 

To this sarcasm Peter Birse made no reply. 

Mrs. Birse had happily observed the approach of her 
husband and Dawvid Hadden from the parlour window, and 
it was but the work of a moment to call her servant maid and 
say, " Gae to the door there, an' gar yer maister tak' that 
person to the kitchie !" 

It was in the kitchie, then, that the present interview 
between Dawvid Hadden and Mrs. Birse took place. When 
the lady was sent for she sailed majestically ben to that 
apartment, took her stand near the door, and with a becoming 
toss of the head, uttered the monosyllable " Weel ?" 

Dawvid Hadden had succeeded this time in restraining 
his impulse to mention the state of the weather ; and in so 
doing, left himself barren of a topic for the moment. 

" Noo, ye better jist say awa', Dawvid, an' tell her fat ye 
was speakin' aboot," remarked Peter Birse. 

With a sort of bravado air, Dawvid then repeated Sir 
Simon's proposed " rectification of the frontier" of Clinkstyle. 

" Onything mair, no ?" asked Mrs. Birse, with a look that 
would like enough have withered Dawvid, had that process 


not been pretty effectively performed on his hard skinny 
person previously. " Ye 're seerly owre modest the nicht i' 
yer thiggin !" 

" Gin there 's onything mair ye '11 lickly hear o' 't in 't's 
nain time," answered Dawvid, sharply. " Lat the thing that 
we cam' here aboot be sattl't i' the first place." 

" Indeed ! I sud think I ken my place better nor be 
forespoken by ony oon'er servan' at ony rate." 

" I dinna k-now fa ye refar till," said Dawvid ; " but gin 
ye gae muckle forder a-len'th ye '11 maybe gar me lowse o' ye 
the richt gate ; that 's a'." 

" Noo noo, dinna come to heich words, sirs," interposed 
Peter Birse. 

" I 'm only wuntin a plain, ceevil answer till a vera legible 
question to tak' back to my maister," continued Dawvid, 
"an' that I'llhae." 

" My compliments to yer maister, than," said Mrs. Birse, 
" an' tell him that there 's people that k-nows their richts, 
an' foo far the law o' the Ian' '11 cairry him or the like o' 
'im ; or than the best lawvyers in Aiberdeen '11 be sair mis- 
ta'en. We 're nae at that yet that we 're needin' to be 
trampit upon aiven b' them that ca' themsel's nobility." 

Having uttered this speech, Mrs. Birse turned and sailed 
away to the parlour again in even a more stately style than 
before. Dawvid, who had just been getting up steam, and 
who felt that, with the hints afforded him by Meg Raffan, 
he would speedily get into good trim for sustaining a con 
tinued onset with Mrs. Birse, was thus suddenly left high 
and dry, with only Peter Birse senior in a powerless, half- 
frightened state before him. He could get no approach to a 
definite reply, of course, from Peter, who was able only in a 
faint way to deplore and deprecate a rupture with the laird, 
which seemed so imminent. And Dawvid departed with 
the terrible threat to Peter Birse senior, " Weel, weel, ye '11 
jist hae to stan' the consequences," but otherwise little 
enough satisfied with the results of his visit, and slightly at 
a loss as to the terms in which he was to report to Sir 


It was in vain that Dawvid Hadden, on his way home, 
bothered his brains to devise a mode of avoiding Meg Baffan 
till the events of his afternoon's journey should be stale 
news, or at least until he had fully collected his thoughts on 
the subject. What mattered it that he stole quietly up to 
his house through the old fir-trees, so as to steer clear of 
the Lodge where Meg dwelt? He had barely been five 
minutes under his own roof when Meg, with leisurely step, 
entered, conscious of her right on this occasion to get the 
news in full tale. And Dawvid, when fairly put to it, gave 
a narrative, the distinguishing characteristic of which, as 
Meg Eaffan herself would have expressed it, was the dis 
position indicated to " mak' a' face that wud be face." 

"H m, weel, Gushets was fell nabal at the ootset 
mair sae nor ye wud 'a leukit for, aw daursay. But i' the 
lang rin, aifter I hed latt'n 'im get oot's breath a bittie, 
he cam' tee won'erfu' ; an' fan I cam' to the prencipal thing 
fat was yawin 'im for the reef o' the skweel, he ackit like 
a gentleman. ' Naething, Dawvid,' says he, ' naething ; 
mak' yer best o' 't.' Nothing, cud be mair rizzonable in a 
menner nor that. Na, 's ye say, 't 's nae lang till Gushets 
gi'e ye edder alms or answer. Ou, weel, Birse was jist like 
'imsel'. I hed hardly apen't my mou' till 'im, fan we for- 
gedder't at the fit o' the loan, till he was hingin' 's lugs like 
ony supplicant. To the hoose he wud be, an' to the hoose 
he gaed. No, no, it was i' the kitchie 't I saw 'er I wasna 
wuntin naar their parlour, I 'se asseer ye. Weel, gin she 
wasna ensolent, my name 's nae Dawvid Hadden. Hooever, 
't 's Sir Simon 't she '11 hae to be answerable till for that. 
But gin I didna grip 'er in aboot, I did naething to the pur 
pose, that 's a'. Aw b'lieve she sochtna lang o' my company, 
at ony rate." 

Meg's advice to Dawvid was to report very adversely of 
the Birses to Sir Simon Frissal, and Dawvid was nothing 
loth, merely adding the remark that of course one could not 
give so full and effective a narrative as might be wished in 
a " vrutten dockiment." 



WHEN " the spring day " came round, it found Johnny Gibb 
still occupied in attending to the completion of the fabric of 
Mr. MacCassock's new manse ; and then he had begun to 
carry out his idea of preparing a separate habitation for 
himself at Gushetneuk. It had been suggested to Johnny 
that this operation would be in good time, as he need not 
be disturbed in his occupancy of the whole house as tenant 
till Whitsunday. Johnny's reply was that " the thing that 
's deen the day winna be adee the morn, an' I may be deid 
an' buriet gin Whitsunday." In short, Johnny had resolved 
to push forward the arrangements connected with his quit 
ting the position of tenant. 

Hairry Muggart was architect-in-chief in the adjustment 
of Johnny Gibb's residence. It was Hairry's practice to 
season the dry details of labour with abundance of wholesome 
discourse, and he accordingly expatiated amply to both 
Johnny and Mrs. Gibb on the various conveniences that 
might be combined in their new dwelling. And then 
Hairry's thoughts reverted to his own pitiful prospect of 
being out of his house and croft at Whitsunday. 

" Man, gin I could get but the four wa's an' a bit reef 
ony wye i' the neibourheid !" said Hairry. 

"An' fat sud hin'er ye ?" asked Johnny Gibb. " There's 
the aul' skweel roun at the Ward 's stan't teem till a gweed 
hoose'll be connach't." 


" Ou, but they wudna gie 't to nae ane, Gushets. It 's 
gyaun to be dung doon." 

" Fa taul ye that, Hairry ? " 

" Weel, it 's nae ca'ed aboot story/' answered Hairry. 
" It was jist Dawvid Hadden 'imsel'." 

" An' foo muckle dee ye b'lieve o' fat he says ? " said 
Johnny. "Win'y, leein' bodie." 

" Weel, I hae kent Dawvid slide a bittie files. An' 
aw'm seer I'm neen obleeg't till him." 

" Slide, Hairry, man ! It 's i' the vera natur o' 'im to lee 
b' word o' mou', an' haudin' 'imsel' oot to be fat he 's nae 
dinna ye think the tane jist as ill 's the tither ? " 

The result of Johnny Gibb's advice was that Hairry 
Muggart took coach next morning for Aberdeen to see Mr. 
Greenspex, the factor. And Hairry returned in great spirits, 
inasmuch as the factor, without once mentioning the name 
of Dawvid Hadden, had said if Johnny Gibb, the only man 
who had any claim on the fabric of the old schoolhouse, 
agreed to the arrangement, Hairry was at full liberty to 
occupy it from Whitsunday onward ; indeed his acceptance 
of it would fall in opportunely with a proposal of Mr. 
Greenspex's own, and would relieve both the factor and Sir 
Simon from the uncomfortable thought of turning an old 
tenant off the estate. Then Hairry had a perfect budget of 
general news to unfold ; but as Johnny Gibb was not a 
patient listener, except on certain subjects, he did not get 
his " crap " fully cleared until a favourable opportunity 
occurred when Johnny was absent. With Mrs. Gibb and 
Mary Howie for his auditors, Hairry, who had set himself 
down on the deece for a rest, proceeded 

" Ay, but I wauger ye winna guess, Mary, fa I met i' the 
toon, the vera first kent face ? Na, it wasna the minaister, 
though I gat a went o' him tee Weel, it was jist aul' Peter 
Birse, o' Clinkstyle. As I cam' up the Green, fa sud be 
stannin there gowpin an' leukin at the antic mannie o' the 
Wall, but Peter. ' Loshtie me, Hairry, man,' says he, ' fan 
cam' ye in?' 'Jist fan the coach lichtit,' says I 'Fan 
cam ye ? ' Ou weel, Peter begood to tell 's that they hed 



been in sin' the streen. ' Is the goodwife wi' ye ? ' says I. 
' Ou ay, an' they 're awa' eenoo leukin aboot some furniture 
an' things.' I didna like to catecheese 'im forder, 'cause aw 
saw 't he was some bauch kin' o' the subjeck. Hooever, 
him an' me staps aboot i' the market a filie, an' syne I tyeuk 
'im in an' gya 'im the half o' a bottle o' ale, an' he grew a 
gweed hantle crackier. ' We 're in aboot a new viackle kin' 
o' a thing, Hairry,' says Peter. ' Oor aul' gig was some sair 
awa' wi' 't, an' noo fan the creaturs is growin' up an' ae thing 
or anither, she thocht it wud be better to get it niffer't for a 
kin' o' box't-in concern ye mith come up to the coach- 
makkers an' see 't.' So awa' we goes, an' jist 's we cam' up 
to Union Street fa sud we meet fair i' the chafts, but Mrs. 
Birse paraudin awa', an' an aul' doowager wi' 'er, haudin a 
curryborum 's gin they hed been sisters awat she was 
stickin' to the doowager ; an' a wee bittie awa I sees the 
loon Benjie Birse, dress't like a laird, hingin' in to Maister 
MacCassock, airm-in-airm wi' 'im. Peter gya a kin' o' skair't 
glent, an' daccl't, an' says he, 'Na, that 's her an' oor Benjie, 
tee they hinna notic't 's.' ' Nae lickly,' says I, but wi' 
that I saw brawly that Madam was takin' a vizzy o' Peter 
an' me wi' the tail o' 'er e'e a' the time Ou na, aw daursay 
the minaister sawna 's ; the loon Birse 't was atweesh him 
an' hiz strade past 's fader an' me like a bubblyjock wi' 's 
tail up, -onwinkit 's e'e. Hooever, aw got oot o' Peter that 
this doowager sud be some aunt, or siclike, o' the minaister's 
't bides i' the toon ; an' ' her an' her,' 's Peter said, wus 
wylin furniture to Mr. MacCassock. Awa' up we gaes to 
the coachmakkers an' sees the new 'viackle.' Fat like is't ? 
Weel, Mary, it wud bleck an unctioneer to tell you that. 
It 's a kin' o' muckle box-barrow i' the boddom pairt, set on 
upo' four wheels, an' syne it has a closin'-in heid-piece con 
cern that min's me, for a' the earth, upon a mutch that my 
wife hed ance wi' a byous muckle squar' kell awat it 's a 
close carriage, wi' a dickey for the driver. Jist bide ye noo, 
fan there 's nae ither body to ca', aul' Peter 'imsel' '11 be set 
up o' the dickey. Oh, it 's nae new, an' the man hed ta'en 
back the aul' gig for pairt paymen'. ' It cost a gey penny, 


I can tell ye/ says Peter. ' Ay, but ye see fat it is to be 
braw i' yer aul' age/ says I. Peter an' me toddl't aboot a 
lang time ; an', at len'th, fan we wus wearin' up the wye o' 
the stabler's, i' the Back Wynd, up comes Mrs. Birse wi' a 
byous fraise ' Keep me Hairry/ says she, ' fa wud 'a ex- 
peckit to see you in Aiberdeen ? ' ' Weel, we 're nae vera 
easy seen files, though we 're nae jist a mote a'thegither/ 
says I. ' I 'm jist worn aff o' my feet gyaun o' the hard 
stanes/ says she. ' Ye see we tint him there i' the foraneen, 
an' I Ve been seekin' 'im this file, an' was growin' rael eargh 
aboot 'im, Hairry ; for there 's sae mony mishanters 't we 
hear o' happenin' wi' the like o' 'im 't 's kent to be fae the 
kwintra, wi' ill company an' that, gowin' them owre, an' 
takin' siller aff o' them.' An' wi' this she cheenges her key 
Ou ay, the loon Benjie was wi' 'er, an' as frank 's frank, 
noo. Ye see we wus aff o' the prencipal street wi' the 
braw fowk on 't, an' naebody but a fyou ostlers an' cabmen, 
an' a man wi' a san' cairt seein' 's. ' "Weel, Maister Mug- 
gart/ says she, ' it 's not an easy thing to hae the upfeshin 
o' a faimily fan fowk tries to dee their duty an' get them 
sattl't i' the wordle Oh, it's nae you Benjamin, your 
buzness requares a muckle ootlay (the loon hed scowl't at 
her, ye ken) but though I say 't mysel', Hairry, his nain 
maister says he wudna pairt wi' 'im for goold. It 's 'Liza, 
peer thing, that I was mintin at ; she '11 hae a solemn 
chairge on 'er heid, nae doot. But ye winna differ wi' me, 
Hairry, fan aw say 't wudna 'a leukit weel to lat her come 
in eenoo. An' fan Maister MacCassock loot licht that he 
was thinkin' o' buyin' the furniture to the manse, I cudna 
dee less nor offer to come wi' 'im.' This was as muckle 's 
lattin oot the pooder aboot the mairriage to me, ye see ; so I 
tak's 'er up, an' says I, ' Aw 'm vera glaid 't yer dother 's 
gettin' sic a bargain ; we wus leukin at the new T viackle ; 
it '11 jist be ooncommon weel confeerin to the new connection.' 
Foo cud aw say that ? Gae awa' wi' ye, Mary, 'oman ; yer 
nain waddin '11 be here in a crack, an' aw 'm seer ye wudna 
like to hae neen o' the bucklin's mislippen't. ' Weel, Hairry, 
it 's been a muckle thocht to me/ says she. ' For ye see it 's 



a Gweed's trowth that we 're nae the rowlers o' oor nain 
acks oon'er Providence ; an' fan fowk 's call't till occupee a 
parteeclar spear ('s we 've been af 'en taul oot o' the poolpit) 
they maun tak' the responsibility alang wi' 't ; aiven though 
they sud become a mark for the envious speeches o' the 
people o' this wordle.' ' Vera true, Mrs. Birse,' says I, ' but 
that 's a spawcious machine ; an' I '11 be boun' Sir Seemon 
'imsel' canna turn oot ane wi' a mair jinniprous heid-piece.' 
So she gya a bit keckle o' a lauch, an' says she, ' Ah weel, 
Hairry, it beheeves ither fowk to ken fat belangs them as 
weel 's Sir Seemon.' By this it was vera naar coach time, 
so I staps awa' doon, nae to loss my seat. Peter an' her 
tee wud 'a fain made oot fat I was deem' i' the toon ; but 
aw b'lieve I made-na them muckle wiser. Ou weel, aw 
dinna doot nor they '11 be come hame i' the new viackle by 
this time. An' jist bide ye still, gin ye dinna see a turn-oot 
worth the pains I sanna bid ye believe my word again." 

It was not long before Hairry Muggart had permitted his 
journey to Aberdeen to become publicly known in its main 
features. What had previously been little more than vague 
conjecture concerning the marriage of Mr. Mac Cassock to 
Miss Birse, seemed then to have grown into a matter of 
certainty, and the community of Pyketillim speculated and 
criticised accordingly. 



THE new domiciliary arrangements at Gushetneuk had barely 
been completed when Johnny Gibb's health began to give 
way. For many years Johnny had not had a single day's 
sickness, but now he had, to use his own expression, " grown 
as dwebble an' fushionless as a wallant leaf." What the 
precise nature of his complaint was nobody knew ; unless 
the doctor did, which was doubtful ; but certain it was that 
Johnny was not thriving physically, and he felt it his duty 
to put his house fully in order. He hastened on the mar 
riage of his wife's niece, Mary Howie, to enable him to 
quit the active management of the farm of Gushetneuk; 
and he then set about the settlement of his worldly affairs 

" Ou, we winna dee a single day seener o' haein' ony bit 
tes'ment that we 're needin' made," said Johnny, in discussing 
the point with Mrs. Gibb. " Ye 11 get the souter an' the 
smith owre bye an' Sandy Peterkin. Sandy 's gweed at 
the pen ; an' they '11 be the executors Hoot, 'ooman, dinna 
be snifterin that gate, aw'm nae awa' yet. But there's 
nane o' 's has a siccar tack o' life, ye ken ; an' aw 'm seer 
it 's a gryte comfort to you an' me tee, to hae fowk so weel 
wordy o' bein' lippen't till in oor sma' affairs." 

" An' the merchan'," suggested Mrs. Gibb, who found 
some difficulty in maintaining her composure, as Johnny 
wished her, " wudnin he be ta'en in ? " 


"Ye 're foryettin the triffle that's lyin' wi' 'im," said 
Johnny. " There 's him an' Willy M'Aul baith weel aneuch 
fit to be trustit. But it 's aye best to keep clear accoonts, 
aiven wi' yer nearest freens. Noo, ye ken, the tae half o' 
the savin's o' oor time's lyin' oot wi' the merchan' an' 

" But ye wudna seek to tak' it up ! " 

" Never, never. Fat better eese cud ye mak' o' 't ? But 
nedder the tane nor the tither o' them wud wunt to be 
trustee owre fat 's i' their nain han'." 

" An' ye wud need the minaister tee." 

" The minaister ! " exclaimed Johnny Gibb. " Aw' 
won 'er to hear ye, 'oman. Only fat need aw say that ? 
It 's the thing that we wus a' brocht up wi'. The 
minaister to mak' yer tes'ment an' 'say a prayer,' fan it 
comes to the push an' ye canna better dee. An' syne tak' 
an oonwillin' fareweel o' the wardle. That min's me upo' 
aul' Sprottie, fan he was makin' 'a will ; tes'mentin' this, an' 
tes'mentin' that, ' an' syne there 's the twal-owsen pleuch ; ' 
but aye he pat aff say in' fa wud get it sweer to think 
aboot pairtin wi' 't. An' at the lang len'th, fan a'thing 
else was will't awa', an' the minaister speer't again, ' Weel, 
there 's the ploo now ? ' an' says Sprottie, ' Ou weel, Doctor, 
aw think aw '11 keep the pleuchie to mysel' aifter a'.' " 

" Hoot man," said Mrs. Gibb, half shocked at Johnny's 
apparent levity in the circumstances. 

" Weel, weel, a body canna help a bit idle thocht rinmn 
i' their heid. There 's nae ill o' speakin' o' the aul' man 
peer ignorant stock. He 's awa' mony a day sin' syne ; but 
there 's mony ane jist as oonwillin to tyne the grip 's him, 
till this day. Hooever, that 's nedder here nor there, we 're 
nae to coontenance settin' the minaister on to ony sic thing. 
He 's oor spiritooal guide, an' ochtna to be made a mere con- 
vainience for the sattlement o' oor war'dly affairs. Fat cud 
that be but tryin' to entangle him wi' the things o' this life 
wastin' 's time, that sud be gi'en to the office o' the 
minaistry ? I won'er fat the Apos'le Paul wud hae said to 
be socht to dee the buzness o' a screevener or lawvyer, vreetin 


oot papers fa was to get this an' fa was to get the tither thing ? 
Wudnin he taul the man that spak' o' sic a thing that his 
ministry o' the gospel deman'it ither things o' 'im ? Ah, 
weel, weel, I daursay there 's twa three points o' difference 
atween Paul an' a time-servin' moderate like Maister Sleek- 
aboot; an' a body cud weel believe that the like o' oor 
pairis' minaister wud be the best han' o' the twa to seek in 
aboot fan a puckle gear hed to be tes'mentit." 

Johnny Gibb then had his own way in the making of 
his will. Sandy Peterkin, who modestly rated his legal 
knowledge and clerkly capabilities a good deal lower than 
Johnny did, was diffident of undertaking the duty asked 
of him ; but Johnny would have no na-say. So the will 
was made out, Johnny taking care to make Mrs. Gibb's 
comfort secure in the first place. He then did by every 
relative he had according to his own idea of justice ; and 
in every case Johnny took into account the use that had 
been made of such previous assistance as he had given 
them. " It 's nae eese to gi'e siller till a man gin it be only 
to gar 'im grow lazier ; or gae awa' an' mak' ill bargains," 
said Johnny. " We sud try to keep it rinnin faur it '11 be 
paymen' for honest, eesefu' wark, an' gi'e industrious fowk 
the means o' makin' a liveliheid; aye keepin' in min' the 
claims o' charity an' the gospel." And on these principles 
Johnny Gibb based the ultimate settlement of his worldly 
affairs, the Free Church of Pyketillim being set down for a 
future special donation ; as well as the general funds of the 
Free Church. 

The making of Johnny Gibb's will was an event that 
cast a sombre shade over the small community amongst 
whom Johnny moved ; and all the more that after it had 
been done, Johnny's state of health worsened considerably, 
so that he was unable to make his appearance at church, or 
indeed leave his home at Gushetneuk to go anywhere. 

" Eh, but he '11 be a sair-miss't man, Maister Peterkin," 
said Meg Eaffan, addressing our old friend, whom she had 
been fortunate enough to catch in Mr. Will's shop alone. 
" Fat he 's deen for your Free Kirk ae gate or anither ! An' 


nae doot a gweed man like him winna foryet ye i' the 

" He 's been a vera upricht, honest man, an' an eesefu'," 
replied Sandy. "There 's fyou like 'im, I can tell ye, 
Mistress Kaffan." 

" Fowk will speak, ye ken," pursued Meg, " an' there was 
that bodie Dawvid Hadden gabbin awa', as though he sud 
ken that Gushets 's lost sae muckle wi' len'in triffles to peer 
kin' o' fowk, an' muckler sooms to them that it wudna be 
easy to uplift it fae again, that the good wife '11 be leeft 
a hantle barer nor fowk wud think. But though I be 
sayin' that to you, Maister Peterkin, aw wudna for the 
wardle turn owre a word that mith pass atween 's ootside o' 
this chop door ; Eh, forbid it ! but I was jist richt ill 
pay't to hear onything o' the kin' gyaun aboot fowk 't aw 
respeckit sae weel." 

" Ou na, it wudna dee to speak aboot ither fowk's affairs," 
said Sandy, with the utmost simplicity. " We 've naething 
adee wi' that, ye ken, ava." 

" Na, but aw wudna mention't it till a leevin creatur but 
yersel', that Gushets hed aye sic a reliance till." 

" I 'm muckle obleeg't ; but I was ill wordy o' bein' 
lippen't till b' sic a man It '11 be a sair loss to the pairt 
fan it losses John Gibb." 

" Weel, weel, that 's the stories that 's gyaun," said Meg, 
baffled in her purpose of drawing information from Sandy 
Peterkin. " But aw 'm richt glaid to hear ye say that the 
goodwife 's stan'in oot sae weel ; for I was byous anxious to 
hear aboot 'er, aifter aw kent that Gushets was thocht to be 



WHEN Peter Birse senior went down to the Broch at the 
January market, in 1848, it being a sort of feeing-market, 
and Peter being in want of a man to fill a vacancy in his 
staff of servants, caused by a recent quarrel and dismissal, 
he had received this instruction 

" Noo, ye '11 see an' get a smairt, genteel lad ; an' tell 'im 
that he '11 be expeckit, gin the spring day war in, to drive 
a fawmily convaiyance to the kirk every Sabbath ; an' to be 
providit wi' a silk hat o' 's nain, an' claith breeks ; he 11 get 
glives an' a licht neckcloth fae 's employers." 

In short, Mrs. Birse, acting with her usual foresight, 
wished to arrange, by anticipation, for the proper driving of 
the new vehicle. What she aimed at was a servant set out 
in a sort of subdued livery. 

Peter Birse diligently endeavoured to carry out his 
wife's behest, but received from several likely-looking chaps 
whom he sounded an unceremonious rebuff. " Na, sang ; 
gin we work sax days i' the ouk we dee brawly ; ye can ca' 
yersel' to the kirk, laird. Ye 11 need-a try some ither ane 
to be a flunkey to ye ; we 're nae come to that yet freely." 
So said number one ; and numbers two and three repeated 
it with slight variations. The day was wearing on, and 
Peter getting the reverse of hopeful, when he encountered 
the red-haired orra man who had officiated as best young 
man at the marriage of Peter Birse junior. The red-haired 


orra man, who had been offering himself to fee in a free and 
easy sort of way, but had not encountered anybody who met 
his terms, was approaching the state known as " bleezin." 
Peter Birse senior averred that he, personally, was " chilpy 
stan'in' aboot amo' the gutters," whereupon the red-haired 
orra man declared they ought to go inside, and they did so. 
As they sat in Kirkie's tent, and refreshed themselves with 
the gill which the orra man had called, Peter proceeded to 
lay out the difficulties of the mission he had presently in 
hand. It was not that he thought of asking the red-haired 
orra man to undertake the duties of the situation, but that 
the latter, in his somewhat elevated condition, conceived the 
notion that it would be a good " rig " to engage himself to 
Peter as the genteel lad wanted. Peter Birse senior had some 
hazy doubts, which, however, a second gill dispelled, and the 
red-haired orra man was engaged to return once again to 
Clinkstyle, and there to officiate as coachman as required. 

Naturally the announcement that Peter Birse senior had 
to make as to the result of his efforts in the market en 
sured for him a somewhat snell reception on his return. 
However, there was no use in declaiming against accomplished 
facts. All that could be done was to make the best of 
things as they were. And Mrs. Birse was fully determined 
that this should be done. 

She had made sundry tentative excursions here and 
there in the new viackle, but it was only when Sir Simon 
Frissal had returned to the locality in the beginning of the 
month of April that she resolved to turn out in full style. 
Sir Simon, as was well known, drove along to the parish 
kirk at the same hour precisely, every Sabbath day that he 
was at home and in health ; and the modest scheme devised 
was to time the departure of the Clinkstyle carriage, so as 
that it should at any rate cross Sir Simon's carriage at a 
favourable spot, if it were not found possible even to drive 
half alongside the laird a little space where the two kirk 
routes concurred. To accomplish all this Mrs. Birse judi 
ciously coaxed and flattered the red-haired orra man, giving 
him assurance how well he looked when properly " cleaned," 


and his coat buttoned. She would fain have had a sight 
of his Sunday wardrobe, but had to be content with the 
general statement that it was " spleet new fae the nap o' 
the bonnet to the point o' the taebit." Sunday came, the 
carriage was trundled out, and it was with a kind of digni 
fied satisfaction that Mrs. Birse saw the red-haired orra 
man bustling about, minus his coat and hat, yokin' the 
carriage horse. The family had taken their seats, not with 
out a kind of protest from Miss Birse, who, to her mother's 
great disappointment, had as yet failed to exhibit any 
symptoms of satisfaction with the carriage scheme. They 
were ready to start, when Mrs. Birse was horrified by seeing 
the red-haired orra man mount the dickey with an unmis 
takable sample of the broad blue bonnet on his head. It 
was one of those substantial bonnets that were wont to be 
manufactured on big knitting wires, and the nap, or top, 
was formed of a huge bunch of worsted, wrought up right 
in the centre of the bonnet. The orra man spoke truly in 
saying it was " spleet new," for the bonnet had evidently 
been purchased for that very occasion, as its extraordinary 
circumference and bulk testified. Mrs. Birse started indig 
nantly, and uttered an exclamation which was a sort of 
half protest against the orra man, and half reproach to Peter 
Birse senior, who had crammed himself into one of the back 
corners of the viackle, and wore an extremely uncomfortable 
look. But the carriage was already in motion, and the 
driver seemed noway disposed to interrupt his progress for 
any mere incidental utterance. He rattled on mercilessly 
over the roughly-causewayed road leading out from the 
steading of Clinkstyle to the highway proper. Then in a 
trice they were into the head of the stream of kirk-going 
people, many of whom the red-haired orra man saluted with 
great familiarity, nodding his portentous bonnet, and 
nourishing his whip, while once and again he called out to 
an old cronie, " Hilloa, lad ; there 's the style for you ! " 
Attempts at remonstrating and checking this reckless course 
were, it need not be said, utterly out of the question in the 
circumstances. Mrs. Birse strove hard to cover her wrath 


with an air of sanctimonious resignation, while Peter Birse, 
who timidly watched her face with a lively apprehension of 
the after consequences, looked increasingly ill at ease, and 
Miss Birse and her brother Kob, in so far as they could 
make themselves heard, concurred, though on different 
grounds, in the folly of ever setting a fellow like the red- 
haired orra man to drive. Rob, who kept his equanimity 
better than any of the others, seized the opportunity of 
reminding his mother that he had been perfectly willing to 
act as driver, adding, with a feeling of satisfaction, that he 
" kent a hantle better aboot ca'in' horse nor that gype did. 
An' here 's the laird's carriage," added Rob, as sure enough 
it was. And the orra man rattled on. To cross Sir 
Simon's carriage in proper style had been Mrs. Birse's 
highest ambition. But the vision of that horrible braid 
bonnet, with its big nap passing in view of the dignified 
baronet lying back on his velvet cushion was enough to 
make one faint away, without the addition of those deplor 
able vulgarities on the part of the red-haired orra man in 
cracking his whip, and shouting to Sir Simon's coachman to 
" Ca' awa', min, or gae oot o' ither fowk's road." 

Mrs. Birse did not faint away ; but when the viackle 
reached the church, and pulled up in the midst of many 
loitering, eagerly-gazing onlookers, she threw open the door 
and preceded her daughter into the church with a severely 
devotional air. 

Next day the duty devolved on Peter Birse of informing 
the red-haired orra man that his services were no longer 
required at Clinkstyle. The orra man did not much mind. 
He swore a little, and demanded wages for the time he had 
laboured, which was conceded, and Peter Birse, in filling his 
place, was not asked to look out for another coachman. 

" Eh, but that was a precious discoorse 't we got on 
Sabbath," said Mrs. Birse, addressing her daughter two days 
after the incidents last recorded. " There 's naething to be 
leukit for in this wordle but cheenges an' disappointments. 
Sic a blessin' 's it is to be near conneckit wi' a man like 
Maister MacCassock. Aw cud not 'a been onmin'et upo' 


Gushetneuk, peer man, .fan he spak' so edifyin aboot foo 
little wor'dly riches cud dee for 's fan the day o' affliction 
or the oor o' deeth cam'." 

" Mr. Gibb 's not dyin', he 's some better," said Miss 

" Eh, 'Liza, fat cud gar ye think that ? the man 's been 
gi'en owre this aucht days near. An' forbye that, didna ye 
hear 'im pray't for wi' yer nain ears ?" 

" Weel ; the minister pray't for his recovery. 

" Oh, 'Liza, 'oman, fan did ever ye hear a person pray't 
for that wusna dyin' ; tell me that ? " 

Miss Birse was evidently unconvinced of the futility of 
prayer for the sick except when the subject of it was, as 
the doctors say, in articulo mortis, or certainly entering on 
that state. As little was her mother to be shaken in her 
belief on the point, which, indeed, was the popular belief in 
Pyketillim. But Mrs. Birse had a lingering suspicion of the 
quarter from which her daughter's information had come, 
and she had just put the question, " Did ye see Mrs. Wull 
i' yer roun's the streen ?" when the servant girl knocked at 
the parlour door, and handed in a letter, with the remark, 
" That 's a letter to the Mistress, 't the merchan's laddie 
fuish jist eenoo." 

" Letter to me, 'Liza ! It 's fae yer nown broder Ben 
jamin. Foo i' the wordle hisna he vrutten to you as eeswal. 
I houp he 's weel aneuch See read it, there I hinna my 

The latter sentence was a sort of euphemism which, 
literally explained, would have helped to account for Ben 
jamin Birse ordinarily addressing his sister directly in place 
of his mother. Miss Birse broke open the note, and read 
as follows : 

DEAR MOTHER I hope father and you will open this not Eliza. 
What a precious ass you 've made of me, saying that MacCassock was 
to marry Eliza ; and me going toadying them like this till yesterday, 
when his aunt offered to introduce me to a Miss Catchbands, " her 
nephew's intended wife." The old hag says it 's all settled to be in a 



That 's what I call doing the greenhorn, and no mistake. How 
ever, it's easy enough to cut them here ; and just shave my head if 
you catch me at Clinkstyle, till this idiotic affair blows over. 

Your affectionate son, 


P.S. MacCassock 's not a goose no more than the rest of your 
parsons she has plenty of tin. 

Mrs. Birse managed somehow to hear out Master Ben 
jamin's note to the last word. She then expanded her 
arms, and with a huge screech went off in what was meant 
for hysterics. 



THE first thought struggling in the mind of Mrs. Birse was, 
whether etiquette demanded that she should faint and give 
way to utter unconsciousness under the blow which Benjie's 
letter had inflicted upon her, or whether grief, in a more 
demonstrative form, could be properly exhibited. But human 
nature quickly asserted its sway, and, rising to the occasion 
at once, she exclaimed 

" The Judas-like person ! Ea in this wordle cud 'a 
believ't onything o' the kin'. Eh, but it 's aneuch to fesh 
the vera jeedgment o' Gweed upo' the place. Aifter fat 
we've deen for 'im, late an' ear' ! An' you, my peer innocent 
lamb ! But 1 11 gar 'im swate for 't no, as lang 's there 's 
gweed lawvyers in Aiberdeen. Get your vritein dask, this 
minute, 'Liza." 

Miss Birse, who had maintained her equanimity in a 
wonderful manner, obeyed her mother's injunction without 
uttering a single word. 

" Noo, ye '11 jist vreet aff at ance to your broder, Benjamin, 
an' tell him to forquant Maister Pettiphog wi' a' the haill 
rinnins o' the maitter ; an' I 'm sair mista'en gin he binna as 
weel up to the quirks o' the law as can vreet a letter that 11 
gi'e 'im a fleg that he hisna gotten the like o' sin' he leeft 's 
mither's awpron-strings." 

To Mrs. Birse's utter surprise, her daughter, with perfect 
composure and equal explicitness, answered, " No, mother, 
1 11 do nothing o' the kin'." 


" 'Liza ! are ye i' yer senses ? " exclaimed Mrs. Birse. 

"Mr. MacCassock never asked me to marry him; an' 
though he had I didna want him. It 's all been a plan o' 
your own. I am sure he was not wantin' to deceive 

The explosion that ensued was violent, and the sound 
of Mrs. Birse's voice could be heard even outside the parlour 
in a higher key than well accorded with the rules of genteel 
society. It was soon over, however, and at the close Miss 
Birse had retreated to her bedroom in tears, but without 
having written, or consented to write, the letter to her lawyer 
brother. Mrs. Birse stalked out of the parlour and to the 
kitchen with a face that spoke of combustion, and a sensa 
tion in her breast of groping after the proper object on which 
she might expend her feelings. " Fat 's come o' yer maister ?" 
said she, addressing the servant girl. " That was his fit that 
aw heard nae mony minutes syne." 

" Ou, he cam' into the kitchie, an* aifter hoverin' a minute 
makin* to gae ben, turn't, rael swyppirt, an' said he wud 
awa' to the back faul's an' see foo the mole-catcher was 
comin' on." 

Peter's instinct was quite correct ; but the reader, who 
should imagine that this sudden elopement saved him his 
full share in the stormy ebullition that followed the collapse 
of the MacCassock matrimonial project, would have formed 
even yet but an imperfect idea of his astute spouse's 
character and views of duty. Those who have really under 
stood that amiable matron, as she lived and moved, will 
have no difficulty whatever in realising for themselves the 
agonising ordeal through which Peter Birse senior had to 
pass on this subject. 

It was even as Mr. Benjamin Birse had written ; and 
Mr. MacCassock's marriage had speedily to be numbered 
among accomplished events. Who could wonder that the 
succeeding Sabbath should see the Clinkstyle viackle on its 
way to the Free Kirk at the Broch, and not to the Free 
Kirk of Pyketillim ? It was occupied by Mrs. Birse and 
Peter Birse senior, and Eob Birse was the driver. For 


several succeeding Sabbaths the viackle pursued the same 

" Aw div not won'er nor ye canna be edifiet wi' sic a 
man," said Meg Kaffan, on whom Mrs. Birse had conferred 
the unexpected honour of a visit at the Lodge. But Meg 
Eaffan checked her utterance, for she had an impression 
that Mrs. Birse and her daughter were not of one mind on 
this question. Therefore Meg confined herself to the safe 
ground of a moral and social dissection of the newly-arrived 
Mrs. MacCassock, and to discreetly answering the leading 
questions put by Mrs. Birse with a view to find out what 
was being said of herself in connection with recent events. 
"Eh, Mrs. Birse, ye needna gi'e yersel' twa thochts aboot 
that," said Meg ; " ye 're owre weel kent i' the pairt. It 's 
nae orra claicks that '11 blaud your character." 

But Meg Kaffan was rather at a loss now for news con 
cerning the Free Kirk and sundry other matters. Whit 
sunday had come and gone, and Hairry Muggart, who had 
flittit down to Smiddyward, was no longer available as a 
regular medium, seeing he had ceased to be the laird's vricht. 
and had no occasion to pass the Wast Lodge statedly. The 
claims of her feathered charge at that season multiplied 
in number by a succession of brodmils of young turkeys, 
ducks, and other poultry absolutely prevented Meg leaving 
home for more than a very short space of time. Yet when 
one is gizzen't for want of news some shift must be made, 
and she had at last taken a rin owre to see Hairry Muggart 
in his new abode. 

" Ou ay," said Hairry, who was in the highest spirits 
on the subject of his change of residence. " We live here 
like prences, wi' oor kailyard for a kingdom. Gin we wunt 
the rigs, we 're free o' the cost an' tribble o' earin' them. 
Hoot, fye ! is Dawvid gyaun throu' 't wi' the new vricht 
already ? Weel, weel, lat 'im drink 's he 's brew't ; gin the 
man binna cawpable o' 's wark the laird '11 ken fa he 's 
obleeg't till." 

" Weel-a-wat, Dawvid an' him was at the knag an' the 
wuddie ere he was an ouk there ; an' Dawvid keest up till 


'im that he was only an incomer, a peer freen o' the dominie's, 
an' mair nor muckle obleeg't to the minaister for winnin there 
ava aw div not believe but they '11 hae the creatur afore 
the session for 's ill win'. ' But,' says Dawvid, ' ye '11 k-now 
that, dominie or no dominie, it 's only at my merciment gin 
ye be lang here.' " 

" Aye the aul' man, Hennie," said Hairry. " He hed 
been roun' aboot the Kirktoon, it wud seem, lattin licht foo 
that he sud be instrucket to ' lay aff ' Clinkstyle in coorse 
afore the tack rin oot, 'cause Sir Seemon 's to pit Peter Birse 

" Weel, weel ; lat them b'lieve 'im that 's nae better 
employ't," said Meg ; " but fat 's this that you Free Kirkers 
's been deein' mairryin yer minaister by the maiden o' Clink- 

" Keep me, Meg ; an' that 's a' 't ye ken aboot it. That 's 
piper's news ! Speer at Lucky Birse hersel' fat gar't the 
Miss leave the toon last ouk aifter a throu'-the-muir that 
dreeve aul' Peter naarhan' dementit, an' refeese ever to lat 
'er face be seen there again oonless the viackle saw ye ever 
sic a moniment o' a thing, Meg ? sud be sent back faur it 
cam' fae, or pittin o' the hen-reist, never to be ta'en doon 

" Na, Hairry, but ye dee gar me ferlie ; an' me hed 'er in 
aboot at the Lodge nae passin' aucht days syne. Tat 
neist ?' thinks I. ' The gryte good wife callin o' oorsel', a 
peer indwaller i' the hirehouse ! ' Hooever, she camna 
wuntin' 'er erran'. She thocht to get me to tak' half-a- 
dizzen o' peer stilperts o' cock chuckens at the price o' 
grown fools ; but I beheeld 'er ; an' than she lows't the 
richt gate aboot the minaister an' a' 's ation. But wi' a' 
'er ootbearin' an' pride, aw cud see 't she was jist a kin' o' 
made like, an' wud 'a unco fain hed a bodie's * sempathy/ 
's yer freen Dawvid, wi' 's muckle words, wud say. But 
the Miss daurin' to flee in 'er mither's witters that gate ! 
Na, sirs !" 

" Ah," said Hairry, with a sage smile. " It 's a' a 
maitter o' sympathy, Meg ; nae doot ye 11 oon'erstan' 't 


perfeckly. Your mither's wull wud be a law to ye sae lang, 
i' yer bairnheid ; but fan ye cam' fae lassie to lass, maybe 
ye wud come to hae a bit o' a saftness an' a drawin' oot to 
some ither ane nor yer mammy, an' a wull fae the tither 
side o' the hoose wud begin to hae swye wi' ye. Ou, ye 
needna leuk, 'oman," said Hairry, addressing his wife. 

"For shame to ye, Hairry Muggart," exclaimed Meg 
Kaffan, assuming as much of the affronted-maiden air as she 

" Deed, ye may say 't ; isnin he a feel aul' man, Hennie?" 
said Mrs. Muggart, in her usual fashion. 

" That 's mair nor lickly," answered Hairry, with great 
composure. " Hooever, the Miss 's oot o' 'er mither's leadin- 
strings, aw' doot ; an' it chaets me sair gin the peer lassie 
hedna a man body wi' a wull o' 's nain at the back o' 't, ere 
she cud mak' it a doon-laid rowle that the curricle sud be 
disabolish't. There 's to be nae mair ca'in' awa' to hyne 
awa' kirks ; an' forby that, 'er fader 's to be latt'n gae to see 
his gweed-dother young Peter's wife, ye ken an' 'er 
bairns o' the market days." 

" Na, sirs, an' the Miss 's gotten some ane to help 'er to 
coup the creels o' the aul' 'oman ?" 

"Aw sudna won'er," said Hairry, with a half -careless, 
half-mysterious air. 

" Cud it be the merchan', no ?" asked the hen wife, with 
growing interest. 

" Weel, I Ve seen fowk blater at guessin, Meg," answered 
Hairry ; " we '11 see, come time." 

" Na, but didna I tell 's nain mither that, near twa 
towmons syne ?" said Meg Kaffan. 

"Noo, man," said Mrs. Muggart, putting in her word 
with something of decision in her tone, "ye winna need to 
sit there a' aifterneen lyaugin wi' fowk, an' negleckin yer 
erran'. It's time that ye war owreby to meet Gushet- 

" Eh, but that 's weel min'et," said Meg. " Peer man ; 
an' Gushets 's aye to the fore, is he ? Aw was dreamin' 
aboot 'im the tither nicht richt sair." 


'.-- ' 



" Ye live at the back o' the wardle, seerly, noo, Meg. 
Dinna ye ken that Johnny Gibb 's fairly cantl't up again ?" 

" Eh, but aw'm richt blythe to hear 't. Aw heard that 
he was feerious far gane in a swarf the tither day, an' hardly 
expeckit to come a-list again ? But he's winnin to the gate 
a bittie ?" 

" Hoot ; he was able to be doon at the kirk last Sunday, 
on 's nain feet, an' I 'm jist gyaun awa' owrebye that gate to 
see 'im aboot some jots o' wark at the Manse offices, that 's 
been lyin' owre sin' he fell bye ; and nae ither ane cud gi'e 
me orders aboot them. Ou ay, he 's gotten a bit o' a shak'; 
but he 's nae that oonfersell again growin'. He has a free 
han* noo, like the lave o' 's, an' young fowk aboot him as 
prood o' atten'in' 's comman's as gin he war the laird. Na, 
na, Gushets is courin up fine; an' him an' the goodwife 's 
makin' ready to gae doon to the Walls for an aucht days or 
siclike ; an' that 's a hantle better for the constiteetion nor 
a' the doctor's drogs that ye can pit in'o yer inside." 


[THE purpose of a Glossary being simply to facilitate intelligent reading, it 
has not been sought either to trace the words explained below to their etymo 
logical sources, or to give all the meanings that may be attached to some of 

The dialect of Aberdeenshire is so peculiar that many of its words will 
hardly be intelligible even to the inhabitant of the southern and western districts 
of Scotland. It is, however, tolerably consistent in its peculiarities ; and, there 
fore, while the Glossary presents the meanings, a remark or two may be allowed 
with the view of enabling the reader to arrive at the pronunciation of the 

In certain present participles, and participial nouns, the only difference be 
tween them and the same words in English is the dropping of the terminal g ; 
thus, workin' for working; and therefore it has not been thought necessary to 
cumber the Glossary by the insertion of such words. In many of the words the 
digraph ch has been substituted for gh in the spelling, in order to indicate the 
guttural sound ; thus, nicht for night. Wh is changed into /, to express the 
actual pronunciation ; thus, wha (who), fa ; whip, fup. 

Oo in the south of Scotland has the sound of the French u ; as, in shoon, 
moon, spoon, but, by the time he has crossed the Dee, the philologist will find 
the oo changed into ee, sounded precisely as in the name of that beautiful river, 
and thus we get sheen, meen, speen. There are, however, various exceptions to 
this rule ; look, for example, becomes leuk, not leek ; and book, beuk, not beek. 
Th gets changed into d ; as fader for father ; breeder for brother, and so on. 
The change of wh into /, and of th into d, both find illustration in one word, 
fudder (sometimes futher), whether. 

Diminutives, in which Aberdeenshire Scotch is peculiarly rich, are generally 
formed by adding ie to the noun, as lass, lassie ; dog, doggie. Ock, supposed by 
some to represent the Gaelic og, young, is not, however, uncommon, as la*s, 
lassock. And, frequently, as indicating a still greater degree of diminution, both 
are employed, thus : lass, lassock, lassockie. But, not satisfied with this, the 
natives carry the diminution yet farther, by two or three degrees. And so we 
have a bit lassockie, a wee bit lassockie ; and lastly, a little wee bit lassockie, in 
the fifth degree of comparison. Examples of such kindly diminution occur in 
the lines 

There was a -we, bit vnfockie, an' she gaed to the fair, 
She gat a wee bit drappockie that bred her muckle care. 

D, t, and I (at the end of words are often dropped : thus, respect becomes 
respeck ; wind, win* ; and wall, wa\ The omission of final d after I is uniform, 
and distinguishes the dialect from classical Scottish. Thus aul, baul, faul, (pi. 
fauls), for avid, baidd, fauld ; English old, etc. V is also frequently omitted 
wherever it occurs : thus have becomes hae, and harvest, hairst. 



In the spelling of certain words y or e has been introduced to indicate, as near 
as might be, the veritable pronunciation ; as gyaun, neuk, leuk. G and k are 
always pronounced before n, as in German, thus gnash, p'nap, /fcnife. 

The greater part of the words will be found in Jamieson's Scottish Dictionary, 
though by no means the whole. It has not been thought necessary to adhere to 
Jamieson's spelling, the author taking it upon him to believe that neither in 
Jamieson nor elsewhere is authoritative or perfectly satisfactory guidance to be 
got in determining the correct orthography of the Aberdeenshire dialect. In the 
circumstances, while taking care to make his characters speak with idiomatical 
accuracy in the text, he has endeavoured there and in the Glossary to present 
their speech to the eye with as little departure from relative Saxon or other 
forms as might be, and yet with such regard to phonetic considerations as seemed 
likely to give a measure of guidance in pronunciation.] 

Ablich or ablach, an insignificant person 

Aboot, about. 

Adee, ado. 

A/, off. 

Ahin, behind. 

Aifter, after. 

Aifterneen, afternoon. 

Ain, own. 

Airm, arm. 

Airt, quarter of the heaven ; point of 

the compass. 
Aise, ashes. 

Aise-backet, a box for ashes. 
Aisp, asp. 
Aiven, even. 
Aleberry, oatmeal boiled in beer and 

sweetened with sugar. 
Aleen, alone. 
Amnin aw ? am not I ? 
Amo\ among. 
Anersmas, St. Andrew's Day, the last 

day of November. 
Aneth, beneath. 
Aneuch, enough. 
Anidder, another. 
Antrin, occasional ; accidental. 
Argle-bargle, to chaffer ; to haggle. 
Aries, the earnest given in striking a 


Arreenge, to arrange. 
Asseer, to assure. 
A ten, eaten. 
A'thegither, altogether. 
Athort, athwart. 

Ation, generation ; family connections. 
Atween, between. 
Audit) property. 
Aucht, to owe ; auchtin, due. 
Aucht nor oucht, nothing at all ; neither 

one thing nor the other. 
Audiscence, audience ; encouragement 

to speak ; a hearing. 

Aught, eight. 

Aul, old ; auVer, older. 

Aumry, cupboard ; ambry. 

Ava, at all. 

Aw, I. 

Awa, away. 

Awat, I wot. 

A were, acre. 

Aweel, well ! 

Aweers o', on the point of. 


Sack, to address a letter. 

Back -chap, back -stroke; to hand in 

[interpose] a back-chap; to back one. 
Backin, the address on a letter. 
Bairn, child. 
Bairnheid, childhood. 
Bandster, one who binds sheaves. 
Basketie, small basket. 
Bather, trouble ; teasing conduct. 
Bauch, sheepish ; backward through 

Bauk, balk ; (1) uncultivated strip of 

land between fields ; (2) cross beam 

uniting the rafters of a roof. 
Baul, bold. 
Bawbee, a halfpenny. 
Behaud'n, beholding or beholden ; be- 

haud'n to, beholden to ; under obli 
gation to. 
Beheef, behoof. 

Bess, to play or sing bass (in music). 
Bet, behoved. 

Beetikin, bootikin ; half-boot. 
Beetle, to beat clothes with a heavy 

wooden mallet. 
Beetlin-stane, the stone on which clothes 

are beetled. 
Begeck, disappointment ; to disappoint. 

[Comp. English geek, a dupe. ] 
Begood, began ; pret. of begin. 



Ben and t>u(, the two cuds of a cottage 

[see But-f-i(]. 
Bestial, cattle. 

Beuk, book. 

Beukiti '-nicht, the night on which the 
names of the persons about to be 
married are booked, or given in to 
the Session-Clerk to have the banns 

Bield, shelter ; a house. 

Billie, a companion ; comrade. 

Bing, a heap. 

Binna, be not. 

Birkie, a smart roguish fellow. 

Birn, a burden. 

Birr, force ; energy. 

Birsle, to toast ; birslin, toasting ; com 
pletely dry so as to be rustling. 

Birst, to burst. 

Birze, to press ; to push forward as in 
an opposing crowd ; the- southern 
form is Brlzz, e.g., We 'II brizz yont; 
a phrase attributed to the titled 
owner of an extensive Highland pro 
perty, when remonstrated with on 
the apparent folly of building his 
castle at a point closely touching 
the marches of certain feebler neigh 

Blaewort, the blue-bell. 

Hlnik, to blacken. 

Blate, sheepish ; bashful. 

Blaud, to spoil ; to deteriorate. 

Blaw, to boast ; to speak ostentatiously. 

Bleb, to sip freely or continuously ; to 

Bleck, to puzzle ; to surpass. 

Bleed, blood. 

Bleezes, blazes ! used as an expletive. 

Bleezin (literally), blazing ; convention 
ally) hilariously tipsy. 

Blythe, glad ; cheerful ; happy. 

Boddom, bottom. 

Booet, a lantern. 

Bools, bowls. 

Boose, a bout of drinking ; to drink 

Bonn's, bounds ; limits. 

Bourach, knot or group as of people. 

Bow, an arch ; the part of the harness 
bent under the neck of the draught- 
ox in the old-fashioned team to fasten 
the yoke : wore the bows signifies 
acting in an obstreperous or irregular 

Bowie, a cask. 

Brae, sloping ground ; acclivity. 

Braig, to brag ; to boast. 

Braivity, show ; splendour ; finery. 

Brakfist, breakfast. 

Braw, fine ; elegant : in braw time, in 
good time. 

Brawly, bravely ; finely ; prosperously. 

Breeder, brother. 

Breeks, breeches. 

Breem, broom. 

Breet, brute ; wonderfully attenuated 
in signification when applied to a 
person : peer breet, poor fellow. 

Breid, bread ; breadth. 

Britchen, breeching ; harness on breech 
of horses. 

Broch, burgh ; the Broch, emphatically 
applied to the nearest burgh. 

Brocht, brought. 

Brod, the collecting-box in church ; the 

Brodmil, brood of chickens. 

Bruik, broke. 

Bubblyjock, turkey cock. 

Buckies, univalve whorled shells. 

Bucklin's, marriage paraphernalia, or 
other outfit. 

Buff, idle talk ; nonsense. 

Bull, bill. 

Bullyrag, to treat in a bullying manner. 

Bun, bound : bun-bed, a wooden bed 
shut in with folding or sliding doors. 

Bunchie, dim. of bunch j a small quan 

Bung, ill-humour ; pet ; huff. 

Burn, a small stream : dim. burnie. 

But-bed, a cottage is divided into two 
apartments, the but and the ben, 
properly the outer and inner rooms ; 
the but bed, therefore, is the bed in 
the but, or semi-parlour end. 

Byous, out of the common ; extra 
ordinary ; exceedingly. 

Byoutifu, beautiful. 

Byre, a cow-house. 

By'se, besides. 


Caimin\ laying on in cairns or heaps ; 
spreading thickly. 

Cairt, cart. 

Caller, cool ; fresh. 

Can'lesmas, Candlemas. 

?anna, can't ; cannot. 

Cannas, canvas ; especially that used 

in winnowing grain : cannas breid, 

the breadth or size of such a piece of 


'anny, prudent ; cautious ; sly ; skilful. 

Cantte-up, to brighten up, as on regain 
ing health. 



Carle, churl : dim. carlie. 

Carline, fern, of carl ; a rough, voci 
ferous woman. 

Catechis, Catechism. 

Cauf, calf; dim. caujie. 

Cauff, chaff. 

Caums, moulds for balls, horn spoons, 

Caup, a bowl turned out of a single 
piece of wood. 

Cept, or cep, except. 

Chack, blue and white chequered linen 
or calico cloth. 

Chafts, chops ; jaws (used contemptu 

Chanter, the flute-like part of the bag 
pipes on which the tune is played. 

CJiap, a young fellow ; to knock ; to 
strike with a hammer. 

Chaep, cheap. 

Chamber, a chamber, applied to sleep 
ing place for farm servants in out 
houses ; to shut up in a chamber. 

Cheenge, to change. 

Cheer, chair. . 

Chiel, a proper fellow ; dim. chielie. 

Chimley, chimney. 

Chop, shop. 

Chuckens, chickens. 

Chyne, chain. 

Claer, correct ; distinct ; ready. 

Claes, clothes. 

Claikit, idly tattled. 

Claiks, clacks ; gossip. 

Clampin, walking noisily, as with hob 
nailed shoes. 

Clench, to limp 

Cleuk, a claw or talon ; the hand (con 

Clivver, clover. 

Clossach, a mass ; sum of hoarded money. 

Clype, to carry tales. 

Clypes, tattle ; tell-tale gossip. 

Coblie, dim. of coble ; a wayside 

Cockernony, the starched kell or crown 
of a woman's cap. 

Confeerin, suitable ; corresponding. 

Connach, to spoil ; to destroy. 

Confer, contrary ; to oppose. 

Contermin't, countermiuded ; contra 

Coont, to count. 

Coontin, arithmetic. 

Coorse, coarse ; harsh ; course. 

Coort, court. 

Coup, to upset ; to tilt up ; to over 
turn : to coup the creels, meta.. 
completely to upset a plan or project. 

Cour, to recover (said of health). 

Cowshus, cautious. 

Crackie, talkative ; pleasingly com 

Craft, croft ; dim. era/tie. 

Crap, crop, particularly of cereals ; 
dim. crappie ; also the crop of a 

Craw, to crow : to craw in your crap, 
to prove indigestible, used meta. of 
what will give trouble afterwards. 

Creelie, dim. of creel, an osier basket. 

Creengin, cringing ; obsequious. 

Cronies, familiar companions. 

Croon, crown. 

Cudna, couldn't ; could not. 

Culph, culph't, to drive home the 
wadding, or culphin. 

Curryborum, confidential conversation, 
of a quiet, earnest, and semi-gossip 
ing sort. 


Daar, dear ; expensive. 
Daccle, to slacken one's pace. 
Daily-day, every day ; continually. 
Dargin, working as a day labourer. 
Daumer't, stunned ; stupefied. 
Daurin, daring. 
Daursay, daresay. 
Dawtie, a pet. 

Deave, to deafen ; to annoy by impor 

Dee, to do ; to die. 
Deece, a long wooden seat in the form 

of a sofa, with panelled back, and no 

Deed, indeed. 

Deem, dame ; lass : dim. deemie. 
Deen, done ; used in a secondary sense, 

thus : nae that deen ill, not so very 

Deesters, doers ; actors ; promoters ; 

Deeth, death. 
Deid, dead. 
DeVin, delving ; cultivating with the 


Dementit, mad ; unreasonable. 
Dennerin, providing or serving dinner. 
Descryve, to describe. 
Deval, to cease. 
Deykn, deacon ; one who excels in his 


Didnin, didn't ; did not. 
Diffeekwalty, difficulty, accented on the 

second syllable. 
Dilse, dulse. 



to ruin or snow. 
I tin mi, don't ; do not. 
/>//>/, to drive or cast violently. 
JUxiihuIisli, to abolish. 
Discoont, discount. 

Dittjeest, digest. 

JJixf, dust ; the pollen of oats detached 

in grinding, used for feeding poultry, 


Dit, to close ; to fill. 

Div, do j fan div ye gae ? when do you 

Divnin, do not ? 

Divot, a flat turf. 

Dizzen, dozen. 

Dog-dirder, whipper-in ; kennel atten 

Dog-oil, oil extracted from the livers of 

Doitit, stupid ; stupefied. 

Dominie, a schoolmaster (from domine). 

Dook, to bathe. 

Dooker, one who ducks, or bathes. 

Doon, down. 

Doosht, a soft heavy blow. 

Doot, doubt : nae doot, no doubt. 

Dossie, a small quantity in the form of 
a knot or cluster. 

Dottier, daughter. 

Dottl't, forgetful (chiefly through age) : 
dottlin, becoming stupid or forgetful. 

Dozen't, exclamation equivalent to con 
found it ! stupefy it ! 

Drap, drop : dim. drappie. 

Dreeve, drove. 

Drogs, drugs. 

Draw, fit of sickness. 

Dud, cloth : duds, clothes. 

Dummie, one who is dumb ; a mute. 

Dunt, to knock ; strike with a hollow 
sound : to dunt it oot, to settle a dis 
pute by a stand-up encounter. 

Dwebble, feeble ; bending with weak 

Dyker, a builder of rough stone fences 
or dykes. 

Ear or air, early. 

Eargh, frightened ; superstitiously 


Easedom, ease ; relief. 
Edder, either. 
Edick, an edict. 
Een, eyes. 

Eenoo, even now ; just now. 
Eese, use ; to use. 

EesefiC useful. 

Eeswal, usual : war nor eeswal, worse 
than usual. 

Kill i- nt, industrious ; diligent. 

Eik, to make an addition : to eik him 
up, to egg him on. 

EVers or dyers, elders (in the Presby 
terian Church). 

Errant, errand ; message. 

Ettercap, a poisonous spider ; a person 
of a crabbed and troublesome or irrit 
able disposition. 

Ettle, to endeavour ; to aim at. 

Excamb, one piece of ground exchanged 
for another. 

Exkeesable, excusable. 

Expeckit, expected. 

Expoon t expound. 

Fa, who. 

Fa', fall. 

Fader, father. 

Foe, from. 

Fan, when. 

Fangs, louts ; lumpish fellows. 

Fant, faint. 

Fash, trouble. 

Fat, what. 

Fatsomever, whatsoever. 

Faugh, to plough stubble land in wide, 
shallow furrows. 

FauP, fold : to foul your fit, to sit 

Faulies, dim. offaulds; orig. folds for 
cattle or sheep, applied to the fields 
where these had been. 

Faur, where. 

Faiovour, favour. 

Feal-dyke, a fence made of turf. 

Feck, the greater part ; the majority. 

Feckly, chiefly ; for the most part. 

Fedder, feather. 

Feedle, field. 

Feelish, foolish ; thoughtless. 

Feerious, furious ; but used in a curi 
ously softened sense, as feerious het, 
exceedingly or very hot ; feerious 
gweed natur't, very good-natured. 

Fegs, a minced oath, presumably for 

Feingyin, fejgning. 

Feint, exclusively used in strong nega 
tives : feint ane, never a one. 

Ferlie, wonder ; oddity. 

Fer - nothing, fear - nothing ; dread 



Fernyear, last year. 

Fersell, forceful ; energetic. 

Fesh, to fetch. 

Fess't, fast ; engaged. 

File, while : dim. filie, a little while. 

Filk, which ? 

First-fit, the first person that meets a 
marriage party or other procession. 

Fit, foot ; to give one up his fit, to 
reprove one. 

Fite, white. 

Flaucht, flight ; hurried walk or run. 

Flee, fly : nae a flee, not a particle. 

Fleerish, a steel for striking fire from 
flint, by which match, or touch paper 
is kindled. 

Fleg, to frighten. 

Fley, to frighten. 

Foifteen, fifteen. 

Folia, fellow. 

Fond, fund. 

Fools, fowls : dim. foolies. 

Foort, fourth. 

Fooshtit, fusted. 

Foraneen, forenoon. 

Forbears, or forebears, ancestors. 

Forder, further. 

Forebreist, front of a church or other 
gallery ; front of a cart. 

Forfecht, overdo ; overtask. 

Forgather, to meet together. 

Forhoo, forsake ; spoken of a mother 
bird deserting its nest during in 

Forquant, to acquaint ; to intimate. 

Forrit, forward. 

Fortiggan, fatiguing ; tiresome. 

Foryet, to forget. 

Fou, full ; drunk. 

Foumart, polecat. 

Fowk, folk ; people. 

Fozy, spongy (as a turnip) ; hollow (as 
a laugh). 

Fraise, to use phrases; to speak flat 
teringly, with a desire to ingratiate. 

Fremt, strangers ; those not related by 

Freely, very : freely fine, very or re 
markably fine. 

Fudder, whether ; alsofuther. 

Fuish, pret. of fesh, fetched ; brought ; 
I fuish, I brought. 

Full, to fill. 

Fung, to throw with a jerking motion. 

Fup, whip. 

Furm, form, a long seat or bench 
without a back. 

Fusion, power ; strength. 

Fusionless, powerless ; weak. 

Fuskers, whiskers. 
Fusky, whisky. 
Futher, whether. 
Fyou, few : comp. fyouer. 


Gae, gave ; pret. of gie. 

Gae, to go ; pr. part, gyauin (going), 

or gaen. 
Gae-lattin, letting go ; meta. at the 

gae-lattin, on the eve of bankruptcy. 
Gain, Gavin, proper name. 
Gang, to go ; to walk. 
Gar, to force ; oblige. 
Gast, fright ; what takes one suddenly 

Gatefarrin, presentable ; fit to be seen 

on the road. 

Gawkie, a silly, loutish person. 
Gawkitness, uncouth silliness. 
Gedder, to gather ; to collect. 
Gey, considerable. 
Geyan, rather ; somewhat : geyan stoot, 

rather stout. 
Geylies, pretty well. 
Gie, to give : giein, giving. 
Gin, if. 
Girss, grass. 

Gizzen't, shrunk through drought. 
Glack, ravine ; point where two ways 

separate or branch off. 
Glaid, glad ; happy. 
Glaiket, idle ; thoughtless. 
Olives, gloves. 
Gloamin, evening twilight. 
Gluff, a sudden gust of air ; sensation 

experienced on plunging into cold 


Gnap, a morsel of anything eatable. 
Go-och, oh ! 

Goshie, an expression of surprise. 
Goupenfu', the fill of the two hands 

hollowed and placed side by side. 
Gow, to talk over ; to gull ; to decoy. 
Gow/, ruin ; destruction. 
Graip, three -pronged dung fork. 
Graith, harness. 
Grain, groan. 
Grat, wept. 

Greet, to cry ; to weep. 
Grieve, farm overseer. 
Grippie, inclined to greed ; also dim. 

of grip : a grippie o' yird, bending 

the point of the sock slightly to the 

yird or earth. 

Gruesome, frightful ; horrible. 
Grun, ground j land : grunie, dim. of 



Gryte, great. 

('in/:/!; a stout, thick-set fellow. 

Gutter, sound in the throat, as of 

(ulli'f, knife, commonly of large size. 

Gumption, common-sense. 

Gurk, stout lad. 

Gushet, anything shaped like a gusset ; 
triangular bit of land. 

Gioeed, good ; God. 

Gieeed-breeder, good-brother ; brother- 

Gweeshtens, exclamation expressive of 

Gya, gave. 

Gyana, gave not. 

Gyaun, going. 

Gype, simpleton ; a stupid fellow. 

Gyte, mad ; demented. 

Hack, a notch. 

ffae, to have ; imperative, hae, take it. 

Haill, whole. 

Hain, to save ; to husband. 

Hairst, harvest. 

Haiveless, unmannerly ; reckless. 

Haiver, to talk foolishly, incoherently, 
or nonsensically. 

Haivril, a person that talks foolishly ; 
half-witted (from haiver). 

Hallach, light-witted and noisy. 

ffamewuth, homeward. 

Han'/u 1 , handful. 

Hantle, a considerable quantity or 
number ; a deal. 

Harass-merit, fatigue. 

Harns, brains : harn pan, the skull. 

Haud, hold. 

Haudin, holding ; possession. 

Haugh, alluvial ground on the margin 
of a stream. 

Haumer, to walk clumsily. 

Ild'ver, to halve ; to lay open. 

Hay-soo, haystack. 

Heeld, held. 

lleely, cautiously ; used as an exclama 
tion, it is equivalent to Stop ! take 
care ! Heely, heely, Tarn I Stop, 
stop, Tarn ! 

Heemlin, humbling ; fitted to humble. 

Heich, high : comp. heicher, higher. 

Heid, head. 

Heidie, headstrong ; opinionative. 

//- i'l i/ -peers, persons of equal height. 

Helpener, minister's assistant. 

II cuttle, familiar appellation for hen- 

Henwife, woman who has charge of 

Hi-rriiil, means of harrying ; ruin : 

perfect herrial, perfectly ruinous. 
Het, hot. 

Heth, exclamation equivalent to faith f 
Heugh, a crag ; a rugged steep. 
Hillockie, dim. of hillock: an instance 

of double formation hill, hillock, 


Hin\ at the end, or behind. 
Hinna, have not. 
Hirehoose, place of servitude. 
Hirsle, to draw oneself along as on 

a seat, without rising : hirsle yont, 

move a little farther off. 
Hir't (lit. hired), seasoned, made palat 
able by the addition of butter, etc. : 

weel hirt, well seasoned. 
Hisna, has not. 
Hiz, us. 
Hizzie, hussy. 
Hodd'n, hid or hidden. 
Hoo, how. 
Hoose, house. 

Hoosewifeskip, housewifery. 
Hoot, interj. expressive of surprise, 

irritation, or sometimes doubt ; also 

implying remonstrance : Hoot, min 1 

Why, man ! 
Horsie, dim. of horse. 
Hotter, a rough shake. 
Hoven, heaved, swollen. 
Howffin, a clumsy, senseless fellow. 
Howp, hope. 

Huddry, towsy ; disordered. 
Huickie, small rick or stack. 
Humoursome, affably disposed ; merry. 
Hunner, hundred. 
Hurb, clumsy, awkward person. 
Hurl, to be driven in any soil of 

carriage ; also to drive. 
Hyne, afar : hyne awa\ far off. 
Hyse, banter ; boisterous play or frolic. 

Ilka, each ; every. 

Ill-win', coarse or abusive language. 

Immedantly, immediately. 

Income, an ailment whose cause is un 

Induck, to induct. 

Insnorl, to entrap. 

IntilVt, into it. 

Intoon, originally the land nearest 
adjoining the toon or farm-house ; 
the best land on the farm. 



Inveetor, inventory ; value of goods 


Isnint, is not it ? or, is it not ? 
Ither, other. 
Ihnost, utmost ; to the greatest degree. 

Jalouse, to suspect ; to surmise. 

Jaud, jade. 

Jaw, a wave ; pert, or ill-considered 
and abusive talk ; to talk continu 
ously and idly. 

Jeedge, to judge. 

Jeesty, matter for jest ; used ordinarily 
in the negative form : ifs nae jeesty, 
it is not to be trifled with. 

Jelly, jolly ; buxom. 

Jilin', jailing ; putting into jail. 

Jilp, an indefinite small quantity of 
any liquid, applied contemptuously, 
e.g. to inferior liquor. 

Jinniprom, ingenious ; natty. 

Jinse, Janet. 

Jist, just ; merely. 

Jouk, to stoop ; to joule an* lat the 
jaw gae owre, to yield to circum 

Joulcry -pawkry, underhand dealing ; 
trickery ; deception. 

Jow, to move from side to side ; to 
ring (said of a bell). 

Juggie, dim. of jug. 

Kail, colewort (greens). 

Kaim, to comb ; a comb. 

Kebbuck, a cheese : dim. kebbuckie. 

Keepit, kept. 

Keerious, curious ; strange. 

Keest, cast. 

Kelt, caul ; the puckered part of a 

woman's mutch that rises over the 

back part of the head. 
Ken, to know ; to recognise ; kenna, 

know not. 

Kenspeckle, easily recognisable. 
Kettlie, dim. of kettle. 
Kibble, strong and active ; compactly 

Kirktoon, hamlet near or around the 

parish church. 
Kiss a caup, lit. to put a vessel with 

drink to the lips : onbeen bidden kiss 

a caup, without being asked to take 

liquid refreshment. 

Kist, chest. 

Ritchie, kitchen ; whatever seasons 


Kittle, difficult ; critical. 
Klyack, the conclusion of reaping : 

klyack supper, the harvest - home 

Knablick, an irregularly-formed loose 


Knag, a knob or pin. 
Kneevlick, a roundish piece of any 
thing that may be cut or broken, 

as cheese. 
Kneggum, sharp or disagreeable smell 

or flavour. 

Kneif, well in health ; intimate. 
Knoweheid, top of a hillock. 
Korter, quarter of an oat cake. 
Kwintra, country. 
Kwite, coat. 
Kyaaks, oatmeal cakes. 
Kye, cows. 
Kyeuk, cook. 

Laddie, dim. of lad ; a boy. 

Ladle (kirk ladle), small oblong box 
attached to a long handle for the 
purpose of collecting the offering ; 
otherwise the brod. 

Laft, the gallery in a church. 

Laimiter, one who has been lamed ; a 

Lair, place of repose ; bed ; grave. 

Laird, squire ; proprietor of land. 

Lairdskip, lordship ; right as pro 

Lairstane, table or altar-shaped grave 

Lane or leen, lone ; alone : yer leen, 
by yourself. 

Lang, long. 

Langheidit, long-headed ; knowing ; 

Langiges, languages. 

Lanstells, parapets of a bridge. 

Lant, to jeer or taunt. 

Lassie, dim. of lass ; a girl. 

Lat, to let ; to permit. 

Lave, the rest ; the remainder. 

Lauwyers, lawyers. 

Lee, a lie ; to lie. 

Leeft, left. 

Leems, implements ; apparatus ; also 
any kind of vessel over a somewhat 
wide range, e.g. the jovial laird of 
Balnamoon, We inaun hae a leem 


V 7J ArtwZ in, spoken of his carriage 

after he hail been unluckily .spilt 


7>wi, to learn ; also to teach. 
Leemiii, learning : leenit, learned. 
Lcet, let ; allowed : leet at him, struck 

or assailed him. 

Leevin, living (being) ; a person. 
Legible, intelligible, according to Dawvid 

Lethal, legal. Dawvid misapplies the 

word in the display of his learning. 
Leuch, laughed. 
Leiik or litik, to look. 
Licht, to alight. 
Lichtlifie, to undervalue. 
LicTdy, likely ; probably. 
Li fill, elevated ; overjoyed. 
Liki'in, like as ; for example. 
Li miner, a worthless -woman ; a term of 


Lippen, to trust ; to put confidence in. 
Lippie, the quarter of a peck. 
Littleanes, little ones ; children : little 

littleanes, small children. 
Liveliheid, livelihood. 
Loan, a piece of uncultivated land about 

a town or homestead. 
Locker, a small compartment in the end 

of a chest. 
Loon, a lad ; a boy. 
Loot, let ; to stoop. 

Lordifu\ lordly ; bountiful to lavish- 

Loshie, interj. expressive of wonder. 
Loss, to lose. 
Loup, to leap ; to jump. 
Lowrin Fair, Lawrence Fair ; the 

annual fair referred to in the ballad 

where the fates of a hapless maiden's 

two lovers are described : 

" The tane was killed in a Lowrin Fair, 
An" the tither was droont in Dee." 

Lowse, to loose or loosen ; to leave off 


Lozen, pane of glass. 
Luggie, a small wooden vessel for table 

use, with lugs or handles on the 


Lugs, the ears ; handles. 
Lyaug, to talk idly and copiously. 
Lythe, shelter'; sheltered. 

Maet, meat ; victuals. 

.]/,n'tifiTn, to maintain. 

Mnir, more. 

M'n'iT/1, march ; boundary. 

Mnixt-'r, master. 

M uitters, matters ; affairs. 

Maksna, makes not ; matters not. 

Miiiiuny, mamma; mother. 

Afannie, dim. of man : siv mannie sic 
horsie, like master like man. 

Maronjus, harshly stern. 

Marrow, equal ; companion. 

Mask, to infuse. 

Maugre, despite : V maugre o' my neck, 
in spite of all I could do. 

Meaty-mou't, nice ; squeamish. 

Mear, mare. 

Meesic, music. 

Mell, to meddle. 

Mengyie, a multitude ; a huddled mass. 

Menners, manners. 

Merciment, mercy ; tolerance. 

Mertyreese, to torture one as a martyr. 

Milkness, the business of caring for and 
preparing milk ; milk. 

Min\ to mind ; to care for ; to remem 

Min, man ; used chiefly in the vocative. 

Minit, minute. 

Mink, a noose ; the noose of a hang 
man's halter. 

Mint, to endeavour feebly ; to insinuate ; 
to allude to. 

Misca\ to miscall ; to vilify. 

Misdoot, distrust ; doubt : apparently 
intensified by mis. 

Mishanter, accident : contracted form 
of misadventure. 

Mislippen, to neglect. 

Missionar, missionary : derisively ap 
plied to the early congregational 
preachers and their followers. 

Mith, might : mithna, might not. 

Mither, mother. 

Mithnin, might not ? 

Mixter-maxter, confusion ; a confused 

Mizzour, measure. 

Mochie, misty, the idea of moistnesa 
and warmth being implied. 

Mochs, moths. 

Moderate. Prior to and at the Disrup 
tion the two parties in the Church of 
Scotland were known as Moderates 
and Evangelicals. In the Presbyterian 
Church, to moderate in a call is to 
hold a meeting of Presbytery, at 
which the congregation sign the call to 
a preacher to become their minister. 

Moggans, stockings without feet. 



Molie, familiar designation of mole- 

Moniment, anything conspicuous by its 

Moots, moulds ; earth cast out of a 

Morn, the, to-morrow. 

Mou\ mouth. 

Moudiewort, mole. 

Moufu* mouthful. 

Mows, jests ; but used in the negative 
form : nae mows, that may not be 
treated jestingly ; dangerous. 

Moyen, influence ; means: tolaymoyen, 
to use means. 

Muckle-boukit, large-sized. 

Multiteed, multitude. 

Munsie, one who has been made, or has 
made himself, a spectacle, as by ill- 

Mutch, a woman's cap. 

Mutchkin, a liquid measure of four 


Na, no ; nay : direct negative. 

Nabal, ill-natured ; churlish (1 Sam. 

Nace, destitute ; threadbare. 

Nae, no : as nae sense, no sense. 

Naething, nothing. 

Nain, own : nown is an ostensibly more 
refined pronunciation. 

Naitral, natural. 

Naitur-girss, natural herbage. 

Na-say, nay-say ; refusal. 

Near-Ugyaunness, niggardliness. 

Nedder, Nedderin, neither. 

Neen, none. 

Neeps, turnips. 

Negleck, to neglect . negleckit, ne 

Neibourheid, neighbourhood. 

Neist, next. 

Nervish, nervous. 

Neuk or nyeuk, nook ; corner. 

Newse, to talk or gossip. 

Newsie, full of news ; communicative. 

Nickel, disappointed ; put in a dilemma. 

Nickum, mischievous or roystering boy. 

Nievefu', handful. 

Niffer, to exchange. 

Niz, nose. 

Nizzin, nosing ; a sharp reception ; a 

No, now, at the end of sentences, 
especially when interrogative. 

Non-intrusion, not intruding a minister 
on a reclaiming congregation. 

Noo, now. 

Nor, than (after a comparative). 

Not, needed ; required. 

Notionate, opinionative ; obstinate. 

Nowte, nolt ; cattle. 

Ny alter, to talk peevishly ; to grumble. 

Nyod, semi-profane exclamation, equi 
valent to ods or od, with the character 
istic negative prefixed. 

Ochtna, ought not. 

On-been, without being. 

On-cairry, ongoing. 

Ondeemas, enormous ; extraordinary. 

Onfeelin\ unfeeling. 

Ongaens, ongoings ; transactions ; pro 

Ongrutt'n, lit. uncried ; without shed 
ding tears : cudna been ongrutt'n, 
could not have refrained from crying. 

Oo', wool : a' ae oo, all one wool. 

Ooncanny, uncanny ; mischievous ; 

Oor, our : oor nain, our own. 

'Oor, hour. 

Oorlich, shivering with cold and rain : 
oorlich nicht, a cold, raw night. 

Ootfeedles, outfields. 

Ootgang, outgo ; excess over weight or 

Ootwulh, outwardly ; fully. 

Opingan, opinion. 

Ordeen, to ordain. 

Orpiet, peevish ; querulous. 

Orra, unappropriated : orra man, one 
who does odd jobs not appropriated 
to the other servants. 

Ouk, week. 

Overly, incidental ; incidentally. 

Owdience, audience. 

Ourre, over. 

Owsen, oxen ; applied specially to those 
trained for the dratight. 

Oxter, the arm-pit ; the bosom. 

Pairis\ parish. 

Pairts, parts ; abilities. 

Pape, the Pope. 

Parkie, dim. of park ; a small enclosed 

Parian, crab. 



Pass, passage. 

Peek, forcible emission of the breath ; 
something between a sigh and a 

Peeak, to complain peevishly; to cry 
like a chicken. 

Peer, poor. 

Penner, penholder ; wooden 
or tin case for holding quill pens. 

Percurrence. Dawvid meant concur 

Perjink, precise. 

Pernickity, precise ; fastidious. 

Piece, a bit of oatcake, etc., given as 
extemporised lunch. 

Pig, a jar. 

PUgit, contest ; struggle. . 

Pirl, to stir gently ; to move anything 
.from its place by slow degrees. 

Pit, to put : pitten, put. 

Place, the laird's residence, by emi 

Placie, dim. of place ; a small farm, 
croft, etc. 

Plaids, blankets. 

Pleuch, plough ; dim. pleuchie. 

Plype, to plump, or fall into water ; to 
dabble in any liquid. 

Points, shoe-strings or shoe-ties. 

Poleetics, politics : politician is applied 
to one given to discussion or the ex 
pression of opinion, whether political 
or not. 

Pooder, powder: lattin' oot the pooder, 
divulging the secret. 

Poo'er, power ; poo'er 0' pot an* gal 
lows, the old feudal power to hang 
or drown. 

Poopit, pulpit. 

Pow, poll ; head ; wag his pow in a 
poopit, periphrasis for to preach. 

Pran, to crush ; to hurt. 

Preceesely, precisely ; exactly. 

Precent, to lead the psalmody in a 
Presbyterian kirk. 

Precunnance, footing ; understood con 
ditions ; upo 1 that precunnance, upon 
that footing or understanding. 

Preen, pin. 

Preen-heidit, pin-headed ; of diminutive 
mental calibre. 

Prent, print. 

Progresses, processes ; Mrs. Birse meant 
the legal means of bringing the de 
fendant into court. 

Protticks, rash or idle experiments. 

Puchil, self-important ; consequential ; 
a puchil mannie, a conceited little 

Puckle, a quantity or number: dim. 

Pumphel, enclosure or pen for cattle ; 
the laird's seat being " boxed in," by 
the greater elevation of the panelling, 
suggested the comparison to " irreve 
rent youth." 

Pun' and poun', a pound ; when used 
for weight, pronounced pun', but for 
money poun'. 

Put an' row (wC a), with difficulty : 
possibly from putting the stone, 
where the goal is reached only by 
the stone rolling after it falls. 

Purpie, purple. 

Quaetness, quietness ; peace. 

Queetikins, gaiters. 

Queets, ankles. 

Quine, quean ; sometimes implying 

moral delinquency, and sometimes 

not. . . 


Raffy, abundant ; liberal ; generous. 

Raik, to reck; to care.: what raikst 
what does it signify ? 

Raith, quarter of a year. 

Raither, rather. 

Rampauge, fury ; rage. 

Ramsh, hasty ; rash. 

Ramshackle, thoughtless ; also loose- 
jointed or crazy, as applied to any 
kind of framework. 

Randy, a scold ; a loose - tongued 

Ranigill, renegade. 

Rantletree, the beam across the chim 
ney from which the crook is sus 

Rape, a rope, especially one made of 

Rauchle, noisy ; clamorous. 

Rave, pret. of rive ; synon. with rievc. 

Reamin', creaming ; mantling ; foam 

Rebat, to retort ; to speak again. 

Redd, to clear out ; redd up, to put in 

Reed, rood ; land measure. 

Reef, roof. 

Reek, smoke ; to give one his kail 
through the reek, is to punish him, as 
by fisticuffs. 



Reek-hen, a hen exacted for every reek 
ing chimney or inhabited house ; later, 
hens were exacted in proportion to 
rent of farm. 

Reerie, uproar ; clamour. 

Reest, to arrest ; to put an arrest upon ; 
to roost. 

Reet, root. 

Refeese, to refuse. 

Reive, pret. of rive; tore. 

Remorsin' ', expressing regret. 

Repree, to reprove. 

Requair, to require. 

Richt, to right ; richtet, righted. 

Rickle, a structure put loosely together, 
or getting dilapidated. 

Rig, a ridge ; a practical joke or frolic. 

Rin, to run ; rinnin\ running. 

Rink, to scramble, as over a fence. 

Rinnins, outlines ; principal points ; 

Robbie, dim. of Eobert. 

Roch, rough ; coarse. 

Roon, round. 

Roose, to rouse ; to stir up. 

Row, to roll. 

Rowle, rule. 

Royt, wild ; full of rough frolic. 

Ruck, a corn-stack ; dim. ruckie. 

Rug, to pull. 

Rumgumption, common-sense ; mother- 

Ryn, rein. 

&ae, so. 

Saick, sack. 

Sair, to serve ; sairin, serving. 

Sair, sore ; painful ; oppressive. 

Sang, expletive, possibly from sanguis, 


Sanna, shall not. 
Sanshach, saucy ; disdainful. 
Sattle, to settle ; satWt, settled. 
Sauchen, still and unsociable in manner. 
Saunters, Alexander. 
Saurless, tasteless, or spiritless. 
Saut, salt. 
Sauter, salter ; one who can do sharp or 

severe things. 
Sawna, saw not. 
Sax, six. 
Scaad, scald. 
Scabbit, scabbed. 
Scaum, to scorch ; to burn or heat 

Scaup, hard, thin soil. 

Scla/ert, a stroke with the palm of the 

Sclaittie, dim. of sclate, a slate. 

Sclaive, to proclaim sinister reports 

Scoon'rel, scoundrel. 

Scoug, a shelter ; a pretence. 

Scouth, room ; accommodation. 

Scraichin, screaming; screeching. 

Scronach, a querulous outcry. 

Scry, to cry ; to proclaim as an ad 

Scunner, disgust. 

Scunnerfu\ disgusting ; loathsome. 

Seelent, silent. 

Seen, soon : seener t sooner. 

Seenit, Synod. 

Seerly, surely. 

Seet, site ; ground on which to build. 

Seetivation, situation. 

Selfitncss, selfishness. 

Sells an thrammels, the fastenings of 
cattle. The sell goes round the neck. 
The thrammel is a chain with swivel 
in it for attaching the .sell to the 

Sen's, those sent as forerunners. 

'Serve 's, contraction of preserve us. 

Settril, slightly stunted in growth. 

Seyven, seven. 

Shall, shell : shally, shelly, abounding 
in shells. 

Shalt, a pony. 

Shakker, the part of a threshing-mill 
which shakes out the straw. 

Shank, a stocking in process of being 
knitted ; the leg. 

Sharger, one who is stunted in growth. 

Sharnie, besmeared with sharn or cow's 

Sharries, contentions ; quarrels. 

Sheelocks, the shells or husks of ground 

Sheen, shoes. 

Sheet, to shoot. 

Shelvins, slipboards to put on the top- 
sides of a cart. 

Sheugh, a ditch ; a small ravine. 

Shirra, sheriff. 

Shooter, shower. 

Shoulders or shooders, shoulders. 

Shrood, shroud. 

Sib, allied by blood. 

Sic, such. 

Siccan, such. 

Siccar, sure ; secure. 

Siclike, such -like. 

Siller, silver ; money in general. 

Simmer, summer. 



>'/'//', since. 

Sindoon, sundown. 

Sin'er, to sunder ; to separate. 

Sin'ry, separate ; apart. 

Sinsyne, since that tiiue. 

Sipper, supper. 

Sizzon, season. 

Skaikit, bedaubed ; besmeared. 

,SM, to break up or dismiss, as a con 

Skaillie, slate-pencil. 

Skair't, frightened. 

Skance, glance ; cursory examination. 

Skelbs, splinters ; broken pieces. 

Skelf, shelf. 

Skellack, charlock, wild mustard. 

Skirp, to splash; to throw water, or 
any liquid matter, in drops or small 
quantities : skirpit, splashed. 

Skowff, to quaff ; to drink off. 

Skweel, school. 

Skyrin, shining glaringly, obtrusively, 
or ostentatiously. 

Sleicht, sleight. 

Sleumin, hint ; surmise ; faint intima 

Slichts, slights. 

Slype, contemptible fellow ; a peculiarly 
opprobrious epithet. 

Smatchet, a wilful or impertinent child ; 
a pert and insignificant person. 

Smeddum, shrewdness ; intelligence. 

Snapper, to stumble, as a horse. 

Snappus, snappish. 

Sneeshinie, snuffy : from sneeshin, snuff. 

Snell, keen ; piercing. 

Snifterin, drawing air through the 
nose ; breathing in a lachrymose 

Snippet, having a white streak down 
the face. 

Snod, neat. 

Snorl, a difficulty ; a scrape. 

Soo, sow. 

Sook, suck. 

Sorra, sorrow; the devil in semi -pro 
fane exclamations, as, Sorra tak* you. 

Sough, an indistinct sound ; a rumour. 

Soun\ sound ; in religion, orthodox. 

Souter, shoemaker. 

Sowens, oatmeal flummery. 

Spats, abbreviation of spatterdashes; 

Spean, to wean. 

Speer, to ask ; to question. 

Spin' I in', to spindle ; to grow up as a 

Sprots, coarse grass. 

Spull, spill. 

, example ; guide. 

&l<i<illaehin t clamorous noise; squeal 

Sta/y-nevel, staff- in-hand ; staffy-nevel 
job, fight with cudgels. 

Stainch, staunch. 

Staito, statue. 

Sta-mack, stomach : dim. stamackie. 

Stan, a set. 

Stance, a station, or site. 

Stfine, steen, stone. 

Stank, a ditch. 

Starn, a star ; a very small quantity. 

Starshie, uproar ; quarrel. 

Stappin\ stepping. 

Steadin', farm-house and its appurten- 

Stech, to cram ; to satiate ; to gorge ; 
also to fill any given space uncom 
fortably, as with hot or bad air. 

Steel, stool. 

Sten'in, standing ; walking with long 

Stibble, stubble. 

Sticket, stuck ; unsuccessful ; sticket 
minister, one who, after a certain 
extent of study, has failed to get 
licence as a preacher. 

Stickie, dim. of stick, a piece of wood. 

Sti/en, stiffening ; starch. 

Stilperts, stilts ; meagre, long-legged 

Stob-thacket, thatched by driving in the 
straw with a stob. 

Stock, a good-natured fellow. 

Stoit, or style, nonsense : stoit, to walk 
jerkingly or staggeringly. 

Stoot, stout ; healthy. 

Stoups, props ; supports ; the two pieces 
of the frame of a cart that project 
beyond the body, and support it when 
tilted up. 

Stramash, disorder ; broil. 

Strae, straw. 

Strap, to bind as with an iron plate. 

Strappin, tall, handsome, and agile. 

Straucht, straight ; to straighten. 

Stravaig, to wander about idly. 

Streck, strict. 

Streek, to stretch : streekit, stretched ; 
begun, applied primarily to ploughing. 

Streen, yesternight. 

Streetch, to stretch. 

Strunge, sour ; surly. 

Stur, stir : sturrin, stirring. 

Succar, sugar. 

Sucken, the district thirled to a mill ; 
generally the district in which any 
one carries on business. 



Superannuat, annually, according to 
Mrs. Raffan. 

Suppit, eaten with a spoon. 

Supplicant, a beggar. 

Swarf, fainting-fit ; swoon. 

Sweer, lazy ; indolent. 

Sweetie-wives, women who attend mar 
riages to sell confections. 

Swick, blame. 

Swye, sway ; influence. 

Swype, sweep. 

Swyvpirt, swift j sudden j abrupt. 

Syne, since. 

Tack, the lease of a farm ; the farm so 

Tacket, a hobnail : tacketie, full of 


Tae, tea ; toe : tabit, toepiece. 
Tak\ to take 
Tatie, potato. 
Taul, told. 

Taupie, simpleton ; a slatternly female. 
Ted, toad ; a term of contempt, as 

applied to a man : the dim. teddie, 

is used as a term of endearment, 

however, as ye bonnie teddie, 

addressed to a child. 
Tee, too ; likewise. 
Teds, tools ; implements. 
Teem, empty. 

Teen, tune ; humour ; temper. 
Terrible, this word is very frequently 

used in the sense of exceedingly, as 

terrible little, or terrible bonnie. 
Tes'ment, testament. 
Thack, thatch. 
That, used instead of so: that drunk, 

so drunk, etc. : nae that ill, not so 

bad (haud ita male). 
Theets, the traces by which cattle draw 

in a plough, etc. : oot o' theet, or owre 

the theets, is acting disorderly or out 

of rule. 

Thegither, together. 
Thereoot, outside ; in the open air. 
Thig, to beg ; generally applied to 

the olden practice of begging seed 

oats to sow first crop on entering a 


Thirl, to astrict or bind. 
Thole, to suffer ; to endure ; to permit. 
Thoom, thumb : to keep one's thoom 

upon, to conceal. 
Threep, to insist pertinaciously. 
Throu-the-muir, quarrel ; contention. 

Ticht, tight. 

Tig, to touch lightly ; to dally ; to 

meddle playfully. 
Tine, to lose : past part, tint, lost. 
Tinkler, tinker : tinkler's curse, some 
thing of no consideration or value. 
Toitin', moving about ploddingly, or 

without energetic action. 
Toon, a town ; a farm steading. 
Tout, to sound as a horn. 
Toosht, a small undefined quantity of 

anything : to toosh't aboot, to handle 

carelessly, or be subject to such 

Tow, rope. 

Towmon, twelvemonths. 
Trachel, to draggle ; to abuse through 

Trag, persons of mean character ; trash ; 

worthless stuff. . 
Trance, the entrance ; the lobby or 


Transack, transaction ; affair. 
Treeshin, calling cattle. 
Tribble, trouble ; distress ; affliction ; 

to trouble. 
Troch, small ware ; goods of little 

value ; to exchange ; to trade in a 

small way. 
Truncher, trencher. 

Trypal, tall ; lank, or slovenly person. 
Tryst, to appoint a time or place of 

meeting ; an engagement. 
Tyeuk, took. 

Turkis, nippers or pincers. 
Turnkwite, turncoat ; backslider. 
Turra, Turriff, the name of a town. 
Twa, two. 
Twall, twelve. 
Tycein, enticing ; treating in a kindly 

wheedling manner. 


Umbrage, umbrage. 

Unce, ounce. 

Unco, strange ; uncommon : an unco 

man, a stranger. 
Un'ersteed, understood. 
Upfeshin, upbringing ; training. 
Upsetting pretentious. 
Uptak, apprehension. 
Up-throu\ upper part of the country. 

Veelent, violent. 



Veto-law, Scotch ecclesiastical term, 
signifying a law to empower a con 
gregation to object to the ordination 
of u ii i in 1st IT over them, should tlu-y 
consider him unsuit:il>le. 

V tackle, vehicle ; conveyance. 

Vizzy, look : vizzy backart, retrospect. 

Vokie, jocular ; in exultant spirits. 

Vrang, wrong. 

Vratch, wretch. 

Vreet, vreetin, writing. 

Vrote, wrote ; written. 

I >"".'/ a woman of coarse or unruly 


like, van ished- like ; thin; 

Wale, to select. 
Wdttoch, a characteristic Highland 


Walls, wells. 
Wallydraggle, an insignificant, untidy 

person ; an ill-grown animal. 
Walthy, wealthy. 
Wan, way ; direction : Ba'dy-fash wan 

in the direction of Baldyfash. 
Wanworth, unworth : an insignificant 


Warna, were not. 

Warsh or warsh-like, insipid ; sickly. 
Wa's, walls. 
Waucht, draught. 
Wauger, to wager ; to bet. 
Waur, worse. 

Wear-awa\ to wear away ; to die. 
Wecht, weight. 
Wed, well. 
Weel-a-wuns, exclamation expressive 

of soothing and endearment. 
Weel-faur't, well-favoured ; comely. 
Weer, wire ; knitting-needles. 
Weet, wet. 

Weirdies* worthless; thriftless. 
Went, glance ; blink. 
Weesht, whist I silence. 
\Yhiiimaleerie, whim ; fancy. 
Whitet or whitie-broons, unbleached 

lint thread. 

Wi\ with. 

II '/>, a little woman, whether a wife 

or not. 

Wil\ wild or wildly. 
Wile, wyle, to wale ; to select. 
Wilificn, vilipend ; vilify ; to defame. 
Winsome, attractive ; comely. 
Win'y, windy ; boastful. 
Witter, barb of a dart or hook : witters 

(withers), the throat. 
Won'er, wonder. 

Woo, call to a horse to stand still. 
Wordle, world. 
Wordy, worthy ; deserving. 
Wormit, wormwood. 
Wraith, apparition of a person supposed 

to be seen immediately before or after 

his death. 

Wud, would : wudna, would not. 
Wud, mad. 
Wudden, wild ; mad. 
Wuddie, withe, i.e. the withe by which 

the criminal is hanged ; hence the 

word is popularly used for the gibbet 


Wunt, to want ; to seek. 
Wup, to bind round, as with thread, etc. 
Wusna, was not. 
Wiiss, to wish. 
Wye, way ; manner. 
Wyme, stomach ; belly. 
Wyte, to wait ; blame. 

YabUe, to speak loudly and rapidly 

with indistinct utterance. 
Yatta, yellow. 
Yap, hungry. 
Yaucht, to own. 

Yauws, arms, e.g. of a windmill. 
Yawfu\ awful. 
Yearock, a hen not exceeding a year 

old ; a pullet. 
Yer, your. 
Yerl, earl. 
Yett, a gate. 

Yirnin, rennet ; the stomach of a calf. 
Yokit, yoked. 
Yule and Yeel, Christmas. 


Printed by K. & R. CLARK, Edinburgh. 

umm mm 
$&* ..,;:-. 




-V r :* :*. >^ 




Alexander, William 

Johnny Gibb of 
Gushetneuk in the Parish 
of Pyketillim 7th ed.