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neighbouring country parishes, and, so far as my recollection extends, had been filled by men of character. Two of them I knew; the other was but a sort of far-off memory. Yet he was the greatest of the three. Rev. Dr. Rothes was his name; he was a man of great piety and skill in dealing with his rustic flock, a leader in the local presbytery, and a powerful debater in the general assembly of the National Kirk. It was seldom that one small out-of-the-way presbytery in the Highlands could boast of having in its numbers two men who had within a short space filled the high post of moderator of that august body. Our presbytery of Aberkeith had, however, that honour, for Dr. Rothes of Carglen and Dr. Longbeard of Aberkeith were both ex-Moderators of the General Assembly. Mr. Saunders Macdonald was the successor of Dr. Rothes. His spiritual reign was uneventful. It was the good man's exit, if I may so say, which was startling. But as I have referred to that in another paper I will not repeat the reference here. He was a great scholar; "he can spaik seeven langijis, fac as death," said the men of Carglen. When he died and went to his last bed in the upland kirkyard, there was a great "roup," or auction, at the manse. For three mortal days did it rage, and all the parish were there, either to see, buy, or drink, for there was a liberal supply of whisky, strong, fiery, undiluted, to be had free, gratis, and for nothing. Auld Robbie Jamieson from Kail, the auctioneer, was a busy man. His rough jokes, smart sayings, variety of intonations, which seemed exhaustless during one day's work, were fairly run out before the three days were over. It was a treat to witness and to hear Auld Robbie trying to dispose of the dead minister's books. Saunders Macdonald had an enormous library, consisting of works in many languages, particularly in Dutch, and these, more especially, the old auctioneer could not tackle with any proper assurance. "A jumble-tamble-quamble frae Rotherdam by a great man, a vera great man [here the spectacles were properly adjusted, and he gazed]; dash me gif I can tell ye wha he was, though; buy it an' than ye'll see ; wha'll bid five shillins? Dirt cheap at that; buy it an' than ye'll be wiser than mysel'"; whereupon Robbie took a pinch of snuff and looked the throng defiantly in their faces, with a sly twinkle, as much as to say, "I'll quaiesten if ye dae." The consequence of all this was that the dead man's valuable library went for a mere nothing. One single enterprising second-hand bookseller from Edinburgh would gladly have given twice or thrice the amount for the whole stock, on a private valuation. And yet they are said to be "lang-headit chiels " in the North! Perhaps they are; but then it is not every day they have to tackle queer heathenish

names in Dutch, and Greek, and Portuguese. I was but a youngster at the time, and the whole scene was a piece of the wildest frolic to me; yet I had read "Uncle Tom's Cabin," and been roundly upbraided for wasting my time on "thae vain and freevilous trash," and I had even been bold enough to take an interest in the great Sir Walter.

"What's that ye've got behind the desk, sir?" cried Patrick Spens one day in the school.

"A dictionary," I was going to say, but the word stuck in my throat. "A book, sir," quoth I.

"Bring it here," roared the dominie. I took it up; it was "Guy Mannering; or, the Astrologer."

Patrick Spens glared with wrath, and his voice fairly choked with suppressed vexation and chagrin. “To think that a lad who may one day wag his head in the pu'pit should give his mind to such freevolity!" was no doubt the sort of reflection passing through the worthy man's mind.

"See here, lad," said he. Mr. Patrick Spens had a habit, when he was in a towering rage, either of speaking in English prose of startling precision and politeness, or of fairly and contrarily relapsing into homebred Scotch-it was the latter now-"the buik is noo bleezin' on the fiehr; nae mair will ye see it; an' what's gae true, the neist time ye gae yer atteintion inside o' these walls to trash like this (sic!) pack outside ye shall gae. No that I blame Sir Walter; it's you, sir!" he shrieked, and shook his hand at me with menacing gesture. My blood was up, but I went quietly to my place and betook myself to Virgil and a dictionary in grim earnest. That threat of expulsion was a terrible one in North-country ears. Of course a parent could generally make it all right with the dominie, but it involved a kind of social ostracism, all the same. I worked with a heart and a will for some time, but the net result of the honest man's threat was, I fear, to make me think more and more of Sir Walter and less and less of the Latin. It was all my fault, I make no doubt, but the persistence of the disease scarcely justifies the wisdom of the course of treatment. So that I wandered through the rooms in the grey manse, littered with all the bookish treasures of a man learned in "seeven langijis," ever thinking of a certain Dominie Sampson, who gloated over the printed riches of a learned defunct bishop; of an amateur librarian who stood for hours on the library steps engrossed in the contents of an ancient tome, and whose feelings, in the presence of unimagined literary treasures, could only find vent in the exclamation "prodigious." It was a sight to see the bucolic

Cargleners gazing on the many score volumes, and their remarks were highly characteristic.

"Eh, sirs, an' this is what learnin' brings a man tae," said Jock Watt from the Knowhead.

"I wadna gie ane o' auld Saunders's sermons for the hail trash," cried Belnabreich, douce, sober chief elder.

"Dang't gif they're warth a single mutchkin o' the critur," was the verdict of graceless George McQueben.

"He was aye a dry stick," said Mary Dey; "an' nae wunder, for wha cud hae preychit the real milk o' the Ward whase mind was pooshint by thae heethenish stuff?"

The books went, therefore, in the monetary sense, "like the sough o' an auld sang." And the auction, too, as a whole was a dismal financial failure. Conscience was at a discount among the Carglen farmers, and there seemed to be a tacit understanding that they would not bid against one another.

"Saunders Macdonald did mair guid dead nor alive," said Sandy from the Claypots, most of the late minister's valuable ploughs, harrows, cows, horses, and general agricultural stock having been knocked down under the hammer for a fraction of their real worth. It was the Cargleners' way, perhaps, of showing gratitude for years of spiritual consolation and advice.

The mention of spiritual matters brings us back to the Sunday and the kirk in the leafy shade. It brings us to where we were before we were tempted into a lengthy digression at the mere mention of the manse and its many attractions. Our position was, or ought to have been, a sitting one on the dyke surrounding the "little wuid"; the time about five minutes before the stroke of twelve, the hour of service in the parish kirk. We are watching for the first peep of the crown of the minister's capacious black hat as he slowly climbs the steep brae intervening between the manse and the kirk. If ever "Sunday" was written on anything in letters plain as a well-printed book, the word was clear and distinct upon that broad-brimmed glossy hat. It fairly shone in honour of the hallowed day. And the countenance beneath it was a veritable sermon in itself.

"It maks ye guid even to look on't," said little Pat frae the mill. "It gars ye aye feel 'We're a' different men the day frae what we'll be the morn's mornin'.'"

Few people in Carglen were above the suspicion of liking a glass o' the critur ("ou, ay, at speecial times, an' what for no?") and the parson himself was not an exception ("no that he was ever seen the waur o't, ye ken "); but you may be sure Mr. Saunders Macdonald

would be guiltless of tasting strong drink on the holy Sabbath, at any rate until a decent interval had elapsed from the close of the religious exercises. He was the ambassador of heaven to sinful, worldly Cargleners, and every step told that he knew it, as he mounted the brae, and walked round by the school to the schoolmaster's house, where he was accustomed to robe himself in his wide-flowing Geneva gown. At this period of the history of my parish there was no vestry or retiring-room in the big kirk, only two large, lumbering, draughty porches.

Meanwhile the country folks are arriving, and so have they been for the last half-hour, though only a mere handful are as yet inside the building. Again we fly from the kirk, and this time to the very top of one of the biggest trees in all the "Auld Wuid." That was my nest on a Sunday, times more than one, when I ought to have been in the Sabbath-school. It was pleasant to be rocked in the tree-top, to feel the cool breeze, and to listen to the sound of its rush and rustle as it swept over the wood. It was a stolen pleasure, and it was sweet accordingly. But it was not the joy of swaying in the many-voiced tree-top, keen though that was, which brought me to the airy altitude. It was to escape the dreariness of a Sunday task, and to witness, with a youth's queer appreciation, the moving lines of a really wonderful picture. The country folks were setting out for the kirk from far and near, and the sombre animation which gave to the country-side a really interesting aspect was a sight worth beholding. I knew all the farms; I knew every field, dingle, and bosky dell of the scattered parish; I took a pride in knowing every individual, whether dwelling in the upland or the lowland strath; I even flattered myself that I could identify each person by his or her characteristic dress; and so my occupation on the summit of the ample fir, in the big wuid on the sides of Ben Ulen, was both to witness a spacious panorama, and to distinguish individuals like John Mill of the Tam from Souter Sandy o' the Gorbals, or Meg Lownie o' the Craighead from Eppie Young o' the Calterneuch. I have wild, weird sketches of these scenes in a greasy old penny exercise book to this very day-sketches, I shame to say, which would disgrace the talent of a very youthful scholar of tenth-rate genius-but yet I would not part with them for a lump sum, for tree-top winds seem to blow from them, sunny skies smile down upon their black faces, many-coloured quivering leaves are their framework, squirrels with long, sweeping, bushy tails peep from them, and, above all, a thousand indescribable memories, ever sweet and fair, of early days, full of manifold joys and scarce a sorrow, VOL. CCLXX. NO. 1921.


awake at the very sight of their suggestive imbecility. It is a far cry to Loch Awe, they say; it is a far cry from smoky London to that breezy tree-top; but, oh! to be there once more with the same heart and the same hope! All loved things in this cold world vanish, fade into the unknown before they are really prized; and I make no doubt that my stalwart tree-stem has long ago become a prey to some woodman's ruthless axe. What a time it would take to describe all that I saw from my coign of vantage! It would occupy a chapter of ordinary length by itself. A keener eye than mine has seen it, or something like it, though not from a tree-top, and not in the far loved Highlands. Mr. Robert Louis Stevenson has written of "A Lowden Sabbath Morn" in a picture akin to mine, and of which he sings a great deal more than I may quote. But this I cannot pass by :-

The lasses clean frac tap to tacs,

Are busked in crumplin underclaes.

The gartered hose, the weel-filled stays,
The nakit shift,

A' bleeched on bonnie greens for days,

An' white's the drift.

Our Marg'et aye sae keen to crack,

Douce stappin' in the stoury track,
Her emeralt goun a'kiltit back,

Frae snawy coats.

White ankled leads the kirkyard pack,

Wi' Dauvit Groats.

And aye an' while we nearer draw
To whaur the Kirkton lies alaw,
Mair neebours comin' saft and slaw
Frae here an' there;

The thicker thrang the gate an' caw

The stour in air.

But hark! the bells frae nearer clang,

To rowst the slaw their sides they bang;

An' see black coats a'ready thrang,

The green kirkyaird.

And at the yett, the chestnuts spang,

That brocht the laird.

It is the clang of this bell, short, sharp, and clamorous in its notethe ringin'-in, as it is known-that is the sound of warning to descend from the airy seat and race with might and main to the door of the kirk. You will please understand that a weekly palaver, wherein have been discussed countless things, great and small, has been going on outside the church walls for at least half an hour; but as the "ringin'in" is already nearing a close, we must pass it over, leaving its good

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