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THE CHIMNEY CORNER., Ashburton Guardian, Volume 1, Issue 140, 17 August 1880
THE CHIMNEY CORNER.
THE DISRUPTION: A TALE OF TRYING TIMES. CHAPTER IX — continued. He had met Mr. M‘Quirkie and learnt from him as much as he Anew of the. deception that had been practised upon him. The old man was almost delirious with anger when he heard the story; but when he got home and learnt that Agnes had just left the house with a stranger girl whom none of the family knew, and that she had spoken of going to the manse, the current of his passion was checked for a moment by the surmise which this information suggested. The tempest, however, fell with unmitigated violence on the head of poor “ Sourocks,” who about this time returned from her clandestine interview with the spaewife, and could give no account of herself, or of what had happened in the house during the evening. Miss Montgomery was received with all their wonted kindness by Mr. and Mrs. Calmsough, and when she besought their protection, and in general terras explained that she feared she had offended her father beyond forgiveness, their sympathy for her was strongly excited, for they knew that she had been subjected recently to very harsh treatment. They at once offered her the shelter of their roof till a reconciliation with her father should be affected. The offer was gratefully accepted, and Mr. Calmsough sallied forth, late as it was in the evening, to allay the uneasiness which, despite of all his disquieted the mind of Mr. Montgomery on account of his daughter.
Jean Brown having seen matters brought into this satisfactory train at Burncrook, took the way with nimble feet to Whinnyside, for she was absent without leave and was afraid of the consequences. But her ready wit soon hit upon a method of putting her mistress into good humor. She conceived that nothing could serve her purpose so well as to give a candid account of the business she had been engaged in; and she was right. Mrs. Renshaw was surprised and indignant when she heard the first part of the story, the message from her nephew to Miss Montgomery, and the stratagem Jean had resorted to to obtain access to the voung lady. But when shejheard the sequel—the presence of Mr. M'Quirkie, as a wooer of Miss Montgomery, and the dexterous manner in which he had been outwitted —she relaxed not merely into good humor, but into an unusual flow of high spirits and complacency. She felt herself compensated in M'Quirkie’s humiliation for the disappointment and mortification he had caused her, and Jean was immediately admitted into higher favor than ever. Even towards James Duncanson Mrs. Renshaw experienced a re-awakening of kindly feeling; and Miss Montgomery also was thought of more favorably than formerly —though the lady of Whinnyside had too much pride to let these changes appear very markedly, as yet, in her words. With great glee, Jean wrote an account of all these matters to Robin Afleck, and enclosed in her letter the unfinished one of Miss Montgomery to Mr. Duncanson. In due course she received the following reply :
“embro £d Jewly 18402
“ deer Jean, —if i Didna before think you The cleverest lass eer Was borne i think it Now as shure as irn leevin ye might Be ane o the play Ackers and keep baith yoursel and Me without Doing a ban’s turn of Wark ye have just Maid one mistake That i can sea and that was in letting Mr Mack wurkie Away from winnyside soe easily what for had ye no the tup at hand that beast is Surely no right Managed now or hee Would be for More use but ye sortit mack wurkie fine At Burncrook and ye pland the ploy with the spae Wife as weel as i could doo mysel yere a Droll yane jean and i’ra no sure if Sitch a trickle little cuttie could be risket for a wyfe but Wee can speek About that again ye Needna think to fricht Me about the new plewman ye speake far ower fair about him to make me oneezy i got naething from you but jeering and the warst names ye could ca me when ye were deeing on your feet About race can ye deny that jean —mind the sang ye ay liltit at when ye were thought i didna hear you ‘ Robin is my only jo ’ but Whether ye have Maid me oneezy or No ye have maid mr Duncanson a knew man the letter ye gott from miss Miggummery to send to him maid him as gleg as a puddock after a shour it was pityful to see him before your letter kara hee sat With books in his hand but He seldom read a word and When he did read he Did not know whatt it was about he tried to teech Me mair than yae kind of learnin’ but he had forgotten a the lessons himsel soe ye May ken i could come But little spead then he Began to growkareless about himself and Would hardly goe out of the ludgings though The noise of the smiddy and the mangle Would deave a miller let abee a stewdent and when he happent To gee out hee Never thought of cummin in to mails But thot maid little difference for all he eat would Not feed a sparrow. But hee is a Changed man now And lyke whatt Hee used to be and good luck As they say Never cums single this very Morning mr jiras gott A line from Sum grand gentleman about a bowy hee wants to teech & am thinking this Will be the Best gob hee has gotten heer i wish it may turn Out soe for i Am shure he must be needin Money but he is soe proud he Will not let me no Nor taik the lend of a shilling from me Hopping jean that the next time ye put on silk and lace to meet a lad the lad May be neither mr makwurkie nor the New plewman but just your ain honest “ Robert Afleck.” CHAPTER X. O that estates, degrees and offices Were not derived corruptly ! and that clear honour Were purchased by the merit of the wearer ! How many, then, should cover, that stand bare ? How many*be commanded, that command ? How much low peasantry would then be gleaned From the true seed of honour? and how much honour, Picked from the chaff and ruin of the times. To be new varnished ?
Shortly after Mr. Duncanson returned to Edinburgh, he called on several of the Professors under whom he had studied, to intimate his wish to obtain employment in private teaching,
and solicit their .influence in furtherance of this object. They all promised to do the utmost in their power to assist him, though they gave him little hope of being able to do him much service. One of them, however, with whom he had been a favourite pupil, did not put him off with mere expressions of goodwill, but kindly inquired into his reasons for returning during the vacation and
being so anxious to obtain employment. To him James made a frank disclosure of the circumstance in which he was placed, which the Professor listened to with deep interest, but with many expressions of regret that his young friend had committed himself so decidedly to what he considered an imprudent course. “ I am exceedingly sorry for it, Mr. Duncanson.” he said, “exceedingly sorry indeed. ' I am afraid you have rashly entered on a path which may lead you into difficulties. But perhaps you have gone too far to turn.” “ I have no wish to turn, sir,” was the reply of our hero. “ I cannot say that I had considered the matter much before I took my resolution—l admit that it was hurried and in some degree accidental. But on reflection Ido not repent of it. On the contrary, I feel great satisfaction in the belief that I have made a proper choice, whatever hardships it may involve.” “ Well, that is a good spirit at any rate. But remember, Mr. Duncanson, romantic notions of duty and principle, though very excellent in their way, will not enable you to get through the world respectably. You must look at the ways and means with a practical eye, and never count on climbing without solid footing.” “ I am not ambitious of high station, and can be very well content to hold a humble place, if I can do so with a good conscience.” - . . “ A good conscience ! why, ay, that is a very capital thing ; but I don’t see how you may not climb pretty high, and yet carry a good conscience too, if you would consider well every step you take, and not let your feelings run away with you. This Non-intrusion mania, I suspect, is much more a matter of sentiment than of sound reason. Still, if you are committed deeply, you must stick to it with consistency, and at any rate I will do what I can to obtain a few pupils for you.” On retiring from this interview, Mr. Duncanson was met at the Professor’s door by an elderly gentlemen of portly figure and rubicund complexion, shovelhatted and attired in black. This personage, whose appearance bespoke him as a dignitary at the Episcopal Church, entered the house exactly as Mr. Duncanson left it, and was immediately ushered into the presence of the Professor, who recognised him at once as an old acquaintance who had studied along with him at Cambridge. After mutual expressions of pleasure at the meeting were exchanged, and many friendly inquiries as to health and family matters had been reciprocated, the immediate objects which Dr. Crimp (for that was the reverend gentleman’s name) had in visiting Scotland came to be talked of.
“ I have come,” said he, “ partly on a pleasure excursion with my youngest boy to see Edinburgh and some of the fine old Abbeys and Cathedrals of Scotland, and partly out of curiosity to see with my own eyes how matters are going with the Kirk.” “ Oho ! a kind of half-professional tour, I suppose ?” “ Precisely. Don’t you think I have hit the time pretty well to witness the breaking up of the infamous old sectarion corporation ?” “ Indeed, I daresay you have,” replied the professor. “ You have every chance to witness either the breaking up or the patching up of the crazy old fabric, for it cannot stand long in its present condition. I have just had a new proof of this in a conversation with a fine young fellow who left me as you came in. He has attended my classes for several sessions, and distinguished himself very much as a scholar; but I never knew till now that he had any decided opinions on the eclesiastical controversy on which the Kirk is divided. I, however, find that he has adopted what they call the Non-intrusion principles with great zeal, and committed himself to them irrevocably. He seems quite prepared to forego his prospects in connection with the Establishment for the sake of these principles; and the truth is, he has already made a very serious sacrifice in the cause, by quarrelling on account of it with relative on whom he depended for his education.” “Indeed, indeed ! A capital fellow, I must say. Wouldn’t it be possible to get him to come over to us ? A young man in such a perilous situation may be glad enough to find shelter in such a secure haven as the English Church ; and from what you say of him, and judging from his appearance (for I observed him at the door as I came in) he would be an acquisition to us.” “ He would certainly be an acquisition to any church, but he is far too high spirited to be managed. No consideration, I am convinced, would induce him to abandon his attachment to Presbyterianism. Like most other Scotsman, he has sucked it in with his mother’s milk, and will never give it up but with life.” “ Well, well, perhaps so, but there can be no harm in trying. The truth is, part of my ertand north is to secure, if possible, a few of the better class Scottish probationers to our communion. Many of them must be cast loose in the present crisis of the Kirk’s affairs, and I apprehend that this is a a very favorable opportunity for strengthening the Church of England, and recovering for her the ground she lost here two centuries ago.” “ Aha, Doctor that is a fond delusion. The Scotch will never submit to Episcopacy, you may take my word for it. Their hatred of it has not abated, but rather increased during the long period which has intervened since Charles the First attempted to force the Prayer Book on them. The unfortunate severities that were inflicted on the Presbyterians, under the reigns of his two sons, have never been forgiven and never will. Let us regret it as we may, the people of this country are irrevocably lost to our communion. The uniformity in the religion which the Jameses and the Charleses strove so much to enforce is for ever impracticable more so now, indeed, than it was in their day; and if you make an attempt at
proselytising here, either among clergy or laity, you will only expose yourself to obloquy and mortification.” “Why? How? Upon my word, Reginald, you seem to have become half Presbyterian yourself. How in the world can you speak so coolly of the pestilent sectarianism which has threatened the safety of our beloved Church these two centuries past, and kept alive the spirit of schism even among our own people ? You know very well, my dear friend, that this ugly monster, Presbyterianism, was spawned in the filth and slime of the Reformation, before the elements had time to settle into order, and that it has only been suffered to exist all this time for lack of power in the Church to crush it.”
“All very true; but Tdon’t see how she is able to crush it yet, or how she is ever to have the power,” “ Don’t you. Well, my dear fellow, I do. The Kirk is perishing of itself —by the fundamental vice of its constitution. There is no authority within it to preserve order, and it is distracted by conflicting parties who, you admit, are just about -to tear it in pieces. Well, then, nothing but the interference of the Legislature will suffice to patch her up again, and I know, to a certainty, there will be no such interference. No, no ; our rulers know too well what a pernicious thing it is to have an institution in the land that all popular humors and passions can operate on and make a tool of; an institution which, from its very, nature, is democratic and turbulent; that has cost one sovereign bis head, and kept all his successors in trouble; that has nursed plebeian arrogance and dangerous ideas of equality—they know all this too well to put forward a finger to help her in her extremity. Down then she must go, and it is surely a wise thing to take care in the first place that all the talent and character among her youthful clergy be secured in the bosom of the Episcopal Church before they be absorbed by the pernicious little • peddling Dissenting sects. We must deal with the clergy first, and then with the laity. “ You will find both equally intractable, if lam not mistaken. The Kirk may go down, but if she should you will not be a bit nearer your object than before. Remember that though the Kirk is Presbyterian, she is not Presbyterian Aw, and you will find the ism indestructable.”
“ Never fear, Reginald. Events are working for us, and a very Jsmall share of management on our part will suffice to place the ecclesiastical affairs of Scotland under the decorous rule of Episcopacy. In the meantime, it will be something gained if we can drain off the most promising of the young clergy and probationers into the bosom of our own Church. They may be of great use to us at the present in stemming the. tide of Puseyism ; for I believe they may be counted on to a man as deadly enemies of everything savoring of Popery.” “And of Episcopacy.”
“ I know they entertain deep prejudices against our glorious and venerable system of Church government; but so many tolerably educated men can’t be all idiots. Ignorant clodpoles, and mechanics, and narrowsouled shopkeepers may unfeignedly hate Ihe yoke which their fathers stubbornly resisted, but I can’t be persuaded that the clergy are obdurate and blind to their own interests. Indeed, let me tell you, Reginald, I know they are not. Some of them, at any rate—and those not the least distinguished—have avowed their favor for a mild Episcopacy; and the only objection they make to it is the difficulty of reconciling the people to a system which they have been taught to hate and traduce.” “ I have no doubt, Doctor, you may prevail with a few of the clergy and clerical stndents to renounce their Presbyterianism for the sake of snug livings in the Church of England; but I am sure you will never prevail with those of the best class —such as Mr. Duncanson, the young man you saw when coming in.” . [to be continued. ]
THE CHIMNEY CORNER., Ashburton Guardian, Volume 1, Issue 140, 17 August 1880
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