Permanent link to this item
THE CHIMNEY CORNER., Ashburton Guardian, Volume 1, Issue 132, 29 July 1880
THE CHIMNEY CORNER.
THE DISRUPTION: A TALE OP TRYING TIMES. CHAPTER I -continued-. She had made preparations for her neohew and his companion, on the supposition that the latter would be some fellow-student, or, still better, a licensed minister —a real minister of the Kirk of Scotland. The tea-table was set forth in the parlor, with a display of all her wellhoarded china and silverplate, and a goodly supply of rich cakes, honey, and preserves. The little green-painted parlor, too, was unusually tidy, and everything about the house was, to use her own phrase, “in wyse-like order. She herself _ a full-bodied, ruddy-faced, masculine looking woman, apparently nigh to fifty years of age—was bedecked showily and with uncommon care. A world of lace and ribbons surrounded the ample screw curls of her coal-black hair, and her fingers were ornamented with a profusion of rings of ail patterns but the plain broad hoop (most coveted of all), which she had long sighed for in vain. “Ay, and it’s true, then, that Jimes has been thinkin’ less o’ his learning than the lasses ! ” thus ran the cogitations of Mistress Deborah Renshaw, after she heard the report of Robin Afleck. “ The Kirk has been getting less o’ his concern, I trow, than this upsettin’ cutty. And she’s bonnie, they say, and as prim as if butter wadna melt in her mooth. Bonnie on her beauty ! I’m thinking I wasna that ill fa’ured mysel’ ance in a day ; but I ne’er got a young minister to forget his books for me.” Here the lady took a peep into her gilt-framed mirror, and could not help wondering that mankind — especially of the clerical profession, whose good opinion she had always cultivated — could have been so blind. A sigh escaped her, but it was not purely an expression of regret. There was a touch of anger in it, which portended rather a stormy reception to poor James Duncanson. ‘ ‘ Had he keepit himsel’ free till he had a kirk o’ his ain—a manse, glebe, and stipend—l wad ne’er grudge a’ the siller I’ve spent on him or might yet need to spend ; for I wad be weel paid in the pleesure o’ seein’ him up the brae, a credit to a’ belanging till him, and maybe marrit, wha kens, into a family o’ real landed gentry. But wha’s to tak’ him by the hand noo, I wonder? Wha’s to gie him a presentation after he has engaged himsel’ to a penniless beauty ? Na, na, it’s no my well-saved pickle siller that’s to keep him up ony langer, to play the fule in sic a■ _manner. I’ll let him find his ain weight if he’ll no hearken to reason, and he maun just try how far beauty will gang in makin’ a way for him in the worl’, if naething will serve him but he maun hae his fancy. ” With these and similar reflections did Mistress Deborah occupy the time till the arrival of the young folks, whom she received with much ceremony and stateliness, and well-feigned surprise. Miss Montgomery required no introduction, for she belonged to the neighborhood, and had some previous acquaintance with the mistress of Whinnyside. It had, indeed, been at a rustic party there the previous autumn, that she had first met James Duncanson.
The student received a cold and constrained welcome from his aunt, who was evidently bridling in her wrath for another occasion. To the young lady she was rather too polite to be cordial, but said nothing positively rude. She could not help, however, remarking, with more of a sneer than a smile, that she was not before aware that they were so intimate as to keep trysts with each other. “But,” she*added, rather tartly, “ I guess, Miss Montgomery, ye’re the only prize Jimes has ta’en this session.”
Agnes only blushed in reply to this remark, but James felt bound to vindicate his scholarship as well as bis tender passion. “ The prize you speak of, aunt,” said he, “ is indeed one I value far above all others ; but 1 have gained some prizes in the classes too, so you must not suppose I have been neglecting my studies. When my trunk comes home, I will show you as many books that have been awarded to me, as will prove that I have not been idle.”
Mistress Deborah, however, waived the subject dryly by saying, “Well, aweel, it may be sae, but I just think it’s unpossible the heart and hand can baith rin owre at ance. ”
Janies saw that a storm was brewing that might wreck his dearest hopes, and his heart sank within him at the prospect; but he was thankful that no immediate outbreak took place to affront the gentle being whom he had rather inconsiderately exposed to the danger of having her feelings hurt. Agnes, however, sat under the mustering cloud without being aware of its existence, or having the brightness of her radiant countenance for a moment dimmed by any passing suspicion. She received the overdone attentions of Deborah with such perfect simplicity and good faith as made her appear more angelic than ever in the eyes of her admirer.
In due time she took her departure, and James, in escorting her home, expressed his regret at his aunt’s want of cordiality, but excused it on grounds which did not satisfy his own mind. ‘ ‘ She has been put out of humour some way or other,” said he, “ but you must not think for a moment that her displeasure had any reference to you ; even if it had, however, you need not vex yourself, for it will blow over.” This he said without believing it himself, but rather to sound the feelings of Agnes, and to soothe her in case she really felt the treatment of his aunt.
“If she was displeased, James,” said the artless girl, “I did not observe it; and if she was displeased with me, or with you on my account, I can only say I am very sorry. But though she should be ever so angry with us, I shall not vex myself if you can bear her anger, and continue unshaken in your love to me. ” Ho words could fully reciprocate such an expression of confiding affection, and so felt James Duncanson. He only answered in a language which lovers well understand, and which none but lovers are privileged to use. He saw her safely to her father’s house, and then turned with a heavy heart to meet the impending storm at Whinnyside.
CHAPTER H. This is no a home for me, I’ll tarry here nae longer, THE WEE BIRD. What took place in the little parlour of Whinnyside after the return of James Duncanson has not been recorded, but may be quessed by the results. James retired to his bed-room, but not to sleep. After passing a night of feverish agitation, he wrote by the light of the first peep of morning a few lines, addressed to his aunt, of which the following is a copy : “ Whinnyside, Saturday morning. “ April, 1842.
“Dear Aunt, —As it is impossible for me to submit to the condition you insisted on last night, I feel that it would be improper to remain longer dependent on your bounty. But do*not, I beseech you, be so unjust as to suppose for one moment that I am forgetful of your goodness. Ho, my dear aunt ; though I cannot sacrifice my freedom even to you, I am not ungrateful. The education which you have afforded me the means of acquiring f is, thanks to the kindness of Providence and you, sufficient to enable me to et through the world in a humble way, and for more I care not. Please to excuse this abrupt leave-taking, as any further conversation between us at present tyoi|hl
be painful to both. I have no other favour to ask, except that you would have the kindness to allow Robin to bring ray luggage back to my old lodgings the first time ho goes to Edinburgh with the cart. I remain, dear aunt, under a deep sense of my obligations to you, and with the most fervent prayer for your welfare, your grateiul and affectionate nephew, “James Duncanson.'’
This note James left on his dressingtable ; and shoes in hand, at an earl}'' hour ho stole down stairs, careful to make no noise lest his aunt should awaken, or any of the inmates of the house observe his departure. He reached the outer door without hearing or seeing any one astir, but immediately on getting out he found he had no chance of escaping observation. Right before him, in a green which he could not avoid passing, was Jean Brown, the house servant, tripping barefooted among the dewy grass, and busily engaged in bleaching clothes. James being on familiar terms with all the household, was immediately accosted by the light-hearted, out-spoken girl.
“ Preserve’s a’, Mr. Jimes, but ye’re early up !” exclaimed Jean ; and added, in a half-protesting, half-inquiring manner, “Ye’re surely no guan far at this time o’ the mornin’ withoot your breakfast, and your shoes no brushed ?” She looked hard at him as she spoke, and seemed to gather from his perplexed and excited appearance some idea of his real intentions, though he evaded her scrutiny with as much dexterity as he could command.
Under cover of some jocular remark, he made a hurried retreat, though, in escaping from Jean’s concerned inquisitiveness, he did not by any means get clear off. In passing the end of the house, he was intercepted by Robert Afleck, who was at the moment employed in yoking a horse to take a load of grain to the mill. Robin was as much astonished as his fellow-servant to see the student afoot at such an hour, and equally forward to express his surprise. “0 ho! Maister Jimes! what sets you astir sae early, I wonder ? ”
“ The morning is pleasant, Robin, and I feel inclined for a walk ; surely there is nothing wonderful in that 1 ” “ Weel, aweel, sir, ye ken best; it’s no for me to dispute wi’ the like o’ you ; but I can tell you it wad be a gay bonnie mornin’ that wad bring me oot frae among the blankets at this hour if I hadna better reasons to gar me steer my feathers.” “ Ay, Robin, what may be the weighty reasons you allude to ?” “Deed, sir, I’m thinkin’ they’re no unlike your ain, if a body may use the freedom o’ sayin’ sae. It’s partly needcesity and partly for the sake o’ a bonnie lass that I got up this mornin’ wi’ the break o’ day.” James felt a little nettled at the rustic’s freedom, but could not resist asking some further explanations of his meaning. “My meaning’s plain eneuch. It’s haflins* necessar for this corn to be at the mill as sune as possible, andit’a a’thegither necessar for servants to keep to their mettle under the e’e o’ si a mistress as that auntie o’ yours—beggin’ your pardon, as she happens to be your auntie. Then again, ye see it’s worth a body’s while to be up at ony hour to see sic a trig lass as Jean Broun there at her wark like a lintie. If onybody thinks me a fule for that, I’m no sure, Maister Jimes, but they might ca’ you my neebour.” “ Well, I don’t know if they would be far wrong,” replied the student, half offended and half amused with Robin’s freedom of speech, and at the same time turning to move away as if impatient of being detained. But it was not so easy to escape from the honest ploughman, for he had at once surmised Mr. Duncanson’s purpose in getting up so early, and was not by any means satisfied of its prudence, or disposed to let it bo carried into effect. “Stop a wee, sir, if you please,” he said, “ what for need ye be in sic a fell hurry % I’m sure ye aye before used to gie us your crack and hear oors as freely as gin ye had been ane o’ oorsel’s. I houp ye hae na begun to despise us noo, though you be cornin’ nearer the pu’pit, and may sune be preachin’ like a duststorm.”
“ Really, my good fellow,” replied the student, “ I would rather hoar your crack some other time, for I am more inclined for a walk at present than for conversation. ”
“ Weel, Maister Jimes, justalloo me to tell you ye rnaunna tak’ yon owre sair to heart. I can see weel eneuch ye’re doun i’ the mooth about it. But ye’re wrang to fash your thoora.”t “What is it you allude to, Robin? What is it you mean by yon “Oh, Maister Jimes, it’s needless to gang aboot the buss. The fack is, everybody aboot the hoose kens o’ the row that the mistress raised on you yestreen for takin’ up wi’ Miss Migummery. Ye see whan your auntie’s in an ill key, she gars folk hear that’s no hearknin’ ; an’ ye ken yersel’, if she did nae gi’e you your kail through the reek,+ Maister Jimes.” “ Well Robin what if she did? ”
“ Na, sir, there’s nae if i’ the matter. She cow’d you like a colly, that’s beyond a’ doot. But ye sudna heed her, man.Just joox || and let the jaw gae by and tak your ain way after a’. Fegs, Maister Junes, if I had the guid-will o’ a lass like yon, I wad ne’er be driven demented or gang by my mind for the gloomin’ or flytin’ o’ a randy auntie—not to say that oor mistress is a randy, as she happens to be your auntie.” “Robin, I cannot permit you to speak of my aunt in that manner. She is entitled, as your mistress, to respect, and it would ill become me to countenance you or anyone else in treating her otherwise. ”
“ I grant it, Maister Jimes, I grant it; so I’ll no say a word against her; but this I’ll say—though I’m but her puir plewman—l would neither hang nor droon mysel’, nor rin awa’, nor yet do her biddin’, if her wull was that I sude forsake the lass I like. Jean Broun, the cutty, mak’s fun o’ me, and if I hang or droon mysel’, ava, ye’ll ken wha to blame; but, man,if she wad blink on me as I saw' Miss Migummery do on you yonder whan you tuk down by the burn, there wad ne’er an auntie but whist ! there she’s —there’s oor mistress.” And Mistress Deborah it was, indeed who at this moment made her appearance at the door, muffled in her morning dress, and wearing a look of alarm. Jean Brown had slipped into the house unnoticed, while the dialogue w T e have detailed above was proceeding, and aroused her mistress with an intimation conveyed in the form of a question—“ Mistress, div ye ken that Maister Jimes is takin’ the road at this time o’ mornin’ ? ” “Takin’ the road is he?—what for is he iakin the road ? —what road is he takin’ ” All these questions Mrs. Deborah put in a breath as she hurriedly got out of bed.
Without waiting for an answer to any of them, she ran into the student’s vacated chamber to see if he had left any of his equipments, that she might thereby judge whether or not there was any occasion to be alarmed at his absence. Here she found the letter he had left for her. To tear it open and read its contents was but the work of a moment. In another moment she bolted out of the house, and was in in time, as we have seen, to prevent the departure of her nephew. She impatiently beckoned him to return, which he did at once, though in an agitated and reluctant manner. When she had him fairly within the door, and seated in her lecture-room—the little green parlor already mentioned—she burst
* Partly, fTo trouble yourself. } Soup through the smoke—an unpleasant dish. |( Just stoop and let the wave pass over you.
into a flood of mixed reproach, entreaty, and remonstrance.
“What is this you mean noo, dimes? Are ye mad, or div yc want to drive mo oot o’ my senses ? I’m sure I hav’na said onything to gar ye breck lowso in this way, and fling up your heels at me. If ye’ll no hearken to reason on the subject we spoke o’ last night, ye may just please yoursel’, and coont the profit. But ye canna bring yoursel’ through the college without mair help frae mo. It’s no possible, and ye need never try’t. Hoo could you get the means o’ payin’ class fees and buird wages, no to speak ’o cleedin and pocket money ? ” “ you raistaka me, aunt. I know my inability to accomplish what you speak of, but 1 shall be content with a more humble lot. I have made up my mind to abandon, for the present, at least, my preparation for the ministry, and do what I can to obtain a living by teaching. ” “Made up your mind to gie up the ministry ! dimes Duncanson, are ye daft? Is a’ the gude siller that’s been laid oot on your yedication to be lest, and am I no to see ye a minister o’ the Kirk ’o Scotland, after the expense and trouble ye ha’e cost me ? ”
“ Why, aunt, the education I have got already, through your kindness, will not be lost, though I should never obtain a preacher’s license, or be another day at college. It will carry me decently through the world, if I make a good use of it ; for teaching is an honorable profession, and is sometimes a pretty lucrative one. I can, therefore, perfectly well reconcile myself to become a teacher.” “A teacher ! a scheulemaister! a dominie ? Na na, Jamie lad, it wasna to mak ye a dominie that I spent mony a pound, that might ha’e been lying in the bank gathering interest, and sent mony an ora cheese and pickle meal to ye whan the cart gaed to Embro’ forbye keepin’ ye up in stockings, sarks, and pocket napkins. Wad I ha’e done a’ that to mak ye a dominie ? Na, truly ! It was a minister I spent my gear for, and a minister ye maun be—a minister of the ancient Kirk o’ Scotland. Ye may be as daft as ye like in a’ ither matters —but in this ye maun act like a wyse man, for I’m no to be cheated oot o’ my part o’ the bargain, and that ye ken was just to be the pleesure o’ seein’ ye a parish minister.” “Well, aunt, you certainly have done a great deal for me, and you shall ever have my warmest gratitude for it. But though you should be willing to assist me further, and I should continue to receive your aid till I have completed the regular course of study, and obtain a license, still it is quite possible-—perhaps I may say probable—that I shall never be a minister of the-Established Church.”
“ What do you tell me ? Get a license, and yet ne’er be a minister ! What is it ye mean, Jimes ? Are ye expeckin, to turn oot a trimmer preacher then, or what for should ye no be a minister ? ” “A minister of the Established Church, I mean, aunt.” “ Weel, then, so do I. But what wad hinder ye frae gettin’ a parish if ye had ance the license.”
“Why, you know, aunt, there are disputes going on at present regarding the rights of the Church, and the difference between the opposing parties is every day becoming wider, and I fear can never be adjusted. It is contended, on the one hand, that the Church is, or ought to be, secured in certain privileges by the law of the land, and that unless she is allowed the free exercise of these, her Christian freedom is gone, and her character is dishonored. I confess I lean a good deal to this side, though I have not yet fully made up my mind on the subject. On the other hand, what is called the moderate party in the Church, and almost all the sects who are not within her pale, declare that she has not, never had, and ought never to have, the privileges of Non-intrusion and Spiritual Independence. They maintain that the Church can only claim the advantages of an Establishment by having her freedom hampered in the appointment of ministers, and in other matters in which Dissenters are under no restriction. Now the Government have been appealed to on the subject, and given no satisfaction to those who stand up for the Church’s freedom. Another effort is to be made to induce our rulers to grant the privileges demanded. If that fail, there will be nothing for it but for all who are conscientiously attached to the principles of Non-intrusion and Spiritual Independence to leave the Establishment, and I may perhaps feel it my duty to take that course myself; indeed, I rather think I shall. ”
[to be continued. 1
“ TRADE IS A LITTLE DULL.”
It has hardly got dull enough yet, though, for some people to make jokes about, as is witnessed by the following little story which is stumping the round of the American commercial press. It appears that in spite of all their genius and perseverance the Yankee “ drummers,” or commercial travellers, are finding their results continually diminishing. One of these gentlemen, who had just returned from a trip for Thistle Brothers & Co., of Boston, did not show a very large exhibit of orders to balance the liberal expense account allowed him by the firm, and Mr. Thistle, after looking over the return said—“Mr, Rataplan, I am afraid you do not approach the dealers in the right way ; I used to be very successful in this line. Now just suppose me to be Mr. Bigher, of Sellout, Illinois, and show me the way you introduce the house.” Accordingly, Rataplan stepped out of the counting-room and re-entered, hat in hand, inquiring, “ Is Mr. Bigher in ?” “ That is my name,” answered Thistle urbanely. “ My name is Rataplan, sir ; I represent the house of Thistle Brothers & Co., of Boston.” Thistle, in his character of Western merchant, here rose, offered the salesman a chair, and expressed his pleasure at seeing him. “ 1 am stopping with Overcharge, at the Stickem House, and have a fine unbroken lot of samples, which I should like to show you ; think we can show you some special advantages, etc.,” And Rataplan delivered himself of a neat speech in professional style. “ Yory well, very well,” said Thistle ; ‘ ‘ I don’t see but that you understand the way to get at customers.” “ Excuse me, Mr. Thistle,” said Rataplan, “I am afraid you do not understand the style of Western merchants just now : suppose you exchange places with me, and we repeat this rehearsal.” “ Certainly,” said Thistle, and picking up his hat, he stepped out. Returning, he found Rataplan with his chair tipped i back, hat cocked fiercely over his right eye, his heels planted on Thistle’s polished desk, and a lighted cigar between his teeth. Thistle looked a little staggered, but nevertheless commenced—“ls Mr. Bigher in ? ” “Yes, he is,” responded Rataplan, blowing a cloud of pure Connecticut into Thistle’s eye ; “ Who on earth are you ? ” “ I represent the house of Thistle Brothers and C 0.,” said the astonished employer, coughing out a quart of smoke from his throat.
“ The blazes you do 1 Are you one of that concern?” “Ho, sir, 1 am not,” said Thistle.
“ Well, it’s very lucky for you that you are not, for I’ve had two drummers to one customer in my store for the last two months, and if I could get hold of one of the stupid fools that send ’em here at this time I’m blessed if I wouldn’t hoot him clean out of the town of Sellout.”
“ That’ll do, that’ll do, Mr. Eataplan,” said Thistle ; “ I have no doubt you did the best you could for the interest of the house. Trade is a little dull. ”
THE CHIMNEY CORNER., Ashburton Guardian, Volume 1, Issue 132, 29 July 1880
See our copyright guide for information on how you may use this title.
Papers Past now contains more than just newspapers. Use these links to navigate to other kinds of materials.
These links will always show you how deep you are in the collection. Click them to get a broader view of the items you're currently viewing.
Enter names, places, or other keywords that you're curious about here. We'll look for them in the fulltext of millions of articles.
Browsed to an interesting page? Click here to search within the item you're currently viewing, or start a new search.
Use these buttons to limit your searches to particular dates, titles, and more.
Switch between images of the original document and text transcriptions and outlines you can cut and paste.
Print, save, zoom in and more.
If you'd rather just browse through documents, click here to find titles and issues from particular dates and geographic regions.
The "Help" link will show you different tips for each page on the site, so click here often as you explore the site.