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out the blessing of the Almighty, which certainly never was or will be given
along with the profits of knavery, what could all the riches on earth avail
“I hope I am not indulging either superstitious notions or slanderous
feelings and opinions respecting the conduct or fate of others, when I assure
you, my dear boy, that I have for many †. looked upon Jacob Gray's
fate and state in this world, in spite of all his uncommon talents, vigorously
and industriously exerted, as a very striking instance of the retributive
justice of God. He labours literally night and day, has always o wages,
enjoys good health, is perfectly sober. But the blessing of the Most High
is not in his gains,— he scarcely has clothes to cover him, - his wife is like
a beggar, his children, starved, squalid, unwashed, melancholy-looking ob-
jects, hanging over with dirty o ; and when or how his money goes, is
a mystery I can no how unravel. In short, Jacob Gray's abilities, life,
character, and situation, and the situation of his family—like many other
realities in this world—are so inconsistent with each other, and seem to
hang so ill together, that were we to meet in a work of fiction with the
truest and simplest statement of the mere facts that could be written — we
would fling it away in disgust, from their apparent absurdity and the ab-
sence of truth and nature.” “Does his wife not drink?” said I. “So has
been asked by many a one, his situation is so unaccountable,” replied
Simon. “And there are people who have said she did. But never did I
see or find any one who could say they had seen her in such a state. She
does indeed tipple at tea, which by our good and wise friend, John Turner's
wife, was considered only second to whiskey in its baneful influences on a
poor man's comfort. Still many a thriving workman's wife indulges oc-
casionally in tea — and nothing that I know respecting them in any way
explains their abject state, except what I have said — that in vain we rise
up early, and late take rest, and eat from day to day the bread of careful-
ness, unless we obtain the blessing of God upon our means, whether these
means be small or great. Without that blessing, the man who is the
ossessor of millions may not only be wretched, but actually poor. That
}. has long ceased to implore that blessing—at least in church—where
God has more especially promised to bestow it — I am certain. For so
surely do sins and crimes and vices herd together, that the commission of
one, by a sort of necessity, involves the commission of another, probably two,
which include other four, and so on until the whole conduct and character
are depraved and lost. Thus Jacob deceived and misled an innocent girl
by false promises and pretences. Possibly he did not purpose to perjure
himself at the time he swore how entirely he loved her and would make
her his wife; but, when he had led her into guilt, and was become guilty
himself, both himself and his victim were degraded in his eyes, and he hated
her as the cause of the wretched feelings in his own heart. Instead of
turning to God by repentance, and healing the deadly wound he had in-
flicted, by fulfilling his vows to the unfortunate young creature who believed
them; misled by the devil, the cruel wretch forsook her, and forsook the
district where she lived; thinking, by changing his place, to escape from
the serpent in his own breast. From that time all went wrong. In his new
lace, his chest was robbed of all its contents, including a quantity of excel-
ent clothes and a large sum in gold, the savings of wages. He cursed and
swore, but that did not bring back his treasure, neither did it make him
think how small the loss which made him outrageous was in comparison of
hers whom his ruthless robbery had bereaved of virtue and peace and good
name, and left in penury and despair, to brook the scorn of the world, and to
bring up her offspring of sin and shame as she best might. To me it has
always seemed that her ban was upon him. He became reckless and riotous
for a time, and, by way of settling, married Sarah. She was in those days a

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decent respectable young woman—as a wife, you have just seen what she is . Poverty soon ensued on his marriage. He got into debt, and took to aching to eke out his means. That led to falsehood, cunning, and navery, under many aspects. Up at nights in his nefarious quest for game, and wandering among his master's property, the temptations to pilfer were too numerous and too powerful for his weak and depraved principles to withstand. The more and the more he robbed his excellent, kind, and trusting old master— who } many useful gifts tried to keep him somewhat decent in his dress— still the poorer and poorer he grew. His Sunday suit, bit by bit became a working dress; he had not the means to replace it. He bought old clothes to cover his bare skin, but had scarcely ever the blessing of a whole shirt to his back; so the power of going to church, from .#. he had profited so little, was lost. And he has long been what you saw him just now, more like a poor Irish beggar than a highly gifted Scotch ploughman What is to be the end of all this, I pretend not to guess. He may yet have a long tack of this world; though his constitution has been sorely shattered by the life of penury and labour he has passed, and especially by a grievous injury from the bursting of a gun at midnight, which had nearly blown his head to pieces. . But he is not yet forty years of age, whatever his broken-down look and care-worn countenance may lead you to suppose.”


“Come, my lad,” said Simon one day, “we must go a little out of our way to look in upon the good bodies in yon bit cottage É. the trees; they’re worthy people, laborious and contented. If all in the same rank were as sober and well disposed, we would hear less growling and less rout about bad times and low wages.” The family received us most joyously, and after all the usual mutual inquiries as to the health and number of their respective households, Simon put his wonted question, “Have you sent your children to school 7” Both father and mother answered promptly, that they had, and, in spite of the number of their little ones, and their very slender means, they had, by the united influence of industry and frugality, not only sent all their older ones to school, but the eldest boy had shown such a talent for learning, that he was always dux of his class. And with .# looks they added that, whatever struggles it might cost them, as soon as he had acquired English reading, writing, and arithmetic, they would set him to the Latin and Greek, that he might in time become student of divinity. “Oh,” cried the mother, scarcely able to articulate from the fulness of her heart, “oh, but it wad be a proud day for me were the Lord to spare me to see our wee Geordie wag his bit curly head in a pulpit—and teach His word amang us.” Simon's sunny face, which had been bright with benevolent joy at the first part of this intelligence, was crossed by a cloud, and there was a painful contraction at the top of his nose, before the good woman ceased to speak. He was silent for a moment or two, and then said, “May heaven bless your worthy intentions towards your children, my good friends; and I hope you may be guided to choose the fittest way to ensure your own and their well-being. But you must think well, and consult some experienced friend, before you involve yourselves and your son, and all the rest of your family in such a course of cares and troubles as this plan would bring you into.” “O Simon,” said the wife, “we will think naething a trouble that we can do for Geordie, and as for care, we’ve been used to care a' our days : that will be naething new to us.” “Indeed,” said Simon, “that is a mistake. The care you have hitherto had, is only what belongs to your own station in life. And every station, from the king upon the throne to the meanest of his subjects, has its own peculiar care—and, my word for it, the smallest share right seldom falls to the highest station. But, let us think a little what will be your situation should you follow up this scheme. What do you pay for the schooling of the children?”, “The wee things,” replied the mother, “that only learn to read and shoo, they cost three bawbees in the week. Johnie learns readin’ and writin', and we pay as muckle for him. But Geordie costs us tippence, for he learns counting, and a grand scholar he is — at least the maister's aye sayin' sae.” “So then,” said Simon, “you get four o children taught those useful branches for five shillings a-quarter. And what will it cost to teach the boy Latin and Greek 7" “No muckle,” replied the father, “I canna just say preceesely — about eighteen pence i' the quarter for each, I reckon.” “I dare say you are right,” said Simon, “and to teach him Latin and Greek, which will take him four or five long years to learn, will cost as much, and far more, than to teach four or five of your boys and girls to read and write, and count, and sew, which can all be acquired in a third of the time. But that is not all, a Latin and Greek scholar must have Latin and Greek books, grammars, dictionaries, with fifty other clags and claims you know nothing about. A Greek, and Latin scholar must be clad like a scholar. He will then be a big lad, and, though he should not be gaining a penny in the week, you can't send him skelping bare-leggit and barefooted to school. After he has been all that dreary time at school, then he must go to the college, far from home, far from your porridge and milk, goodwise; far from your cozie peat fire, from your great pot of wholesome potatoes, from his share of your great oat cakes and pease bannocks,— your kind care cannot reach him there. After you have toiled and spun, and exerted soul and strength to furnish him with shoes and stockings, you must still go to the market, the tailor, the shoemaker, the hatter, for the rest of his cleeding, and think—count, if you can, what money it will cost to fit him out in one of the plainest suits; and how long, think you, will one of these suits last him, since it must be in every-day use? Your husband's Sunday hat and clothes are kept for Sundays, and may serve him for five or six years, with your good care. But, at college, your son's must be worn from early in the morning till night, and who, there, will mend a broken stitch, or darn a hole? Who will carefully wash or mend his little store ot shirts He will be obliged to pay a washerwoman twopence a piece every time they are out, and she, instead of washing them like you, will beetle and daud them to rags upon a stone at some burn side. He must go to college in the winter, and, besides paying four guineas for admission into each of the classes, which he must pass through before he can get a license to preach, – there are the endless claims of servants and porters, and all the other hangers-on about a college; and he must pay double the rent of your cottage, barn, byre, and kail-yard, for getting leave to sleep and starve in some dark and dirty garret in a foul and smoky lane. He can do nothing without constant .. study; and he can't study without food and light and fire—all which must be bought at a dear rate—so that, depend upon it, the bringing up of ome son for the church, will not only ...i. up the means of educating your other children, but will involve you all in |. rinths of want and wo. For, rely upon it, your utmost efforts will scarce be able to do more than plunge the unfortunate lad into circumstances, where, to get himself even half-taught, he will soon be but “half-fed, halfclad, half-mad, half-sarkit.' “Should his health and his reason outlive all the distracting cares and

mortifications he must expect to encounter in a university, where he is doomed to come into comparison and competition with giddy, or, it may be, insolent and cruel lads of rank and fortune, and to bide their jeers and their scorn, besides the grief a good son must feel at all the hardships his kind parents are enduring on his account, what will he have when all’s done? Supposing him taught by your good schoolmaster here, and then, he has passed through his three or four winters of study and starvation at college, and come back to you with his license in his pocket, what then, what richer is he? or what is he to do to make himself richer or to procure the means of existence? There are a thousand parish churches in Scotland, and there are more than fifteen hundred licensed, unprovided preach£rs. So that, supposing the destroying angel should pass, over our poor land this night, and leave a dead minister in every manse, there would still remain five hundred young men to provide for But as, thank God, there is no probability of such a miserable miracle being wrought for feeding young preachers, we must conclude that your son would be placed in competition with fifteen hundred others. Now, what interest have you? To whom could you or your son apply for a church 7”, “Qch hon, oh Gude kens!” said the father with a groan. “But surely, Maister Simon, my puir bit callan's merit would win him some frien’.” “I hope it would,” said Simon; “but whatever his merits might be, to be useful to himself in a worldly way, they must be known, not only to you or me, but to those who can reward them; and, to get into situations where his merit can be discovered, though he were as good as an angel, here he is in this evil world, and to the customs and prejudices of this evil world he must submit, for the world will not submit to him 1, - “If you choose a gentleman's profession for your son, he must wear the dress of a gentleman, and be fit, in his outward appearance, for a gentleman's companion. And what, think you, will one dress for a gentleman cost?, nine or ten guineas, my friend; and your son could make small use of either his learning or his license without it: yet, to procure it, he must either run into debt or you must pay it. For, never forget that, by making your son a preacher of the gospel, you have rendered it unfit, and you have rendered it impossible for ; to delve and plough. His labours, thenceforward, are in the vineyard of the Lord; earthly tools and weapons wielded by the arm of flesh he must relinquish.” “Och hon, wae's me!” cried the mother; “this has grown an unco warl’ since the days when Peter and John were called frae their boats and their nets, and Matthew from the receipt o' custom, to preach the holy gospel ! What Latin and Greek did they learn, or what college had they to gang and starve at?” “O gudewife,” cried the husband, “what's that ye’re sayin’? Ha'eye forgotten your Bible, and forgotten yoursel' at the same minute?” The poor woman started Trocollected herself a momentand then with a solemn “Lord forgi'e me!” added, “Forgot mysel'indeed! They wha, had Him that's the way, and the truth, and the life, to teach them, needed nae college! and they that had the gift o' tongues needed nae master! Gude, wise Maister Simon, ye’ve saved my son, ye’ve cured me o' my silly, pridefu' wish. My noblé bairn shall ne'er be sent by his mother to stint and starve, a half-learned mongrel object, neither a decent warkman nor gentleman : Ye needna blame the bits o' thoughtless young lords and rich folk's sons for jibing at sic ill-red-up countryfied stirks for coming amang them. I reckon they wad jibe name at them in their ain places, either in a workshop or ahint a pleugh; and, my word, wha wad be mair likely to gie them a snap or a jeer than just the town-ward lads o' their ain rank 7 Och, och, I needna forget mysel', when I was a bit young lass, what I thought o' a puir pykit-like lad, wi' a threadbare, roosty black coat, the sleeves o’’t the breadth o' my hand, owne short for his lang lean

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arms; and his puir sma' neck but o covered wi' a sair-worn black silk napkin' Mony a time I compared him in my mind wi' my ain John there, strong, and hale, and happy, wi' his coarse jacket and trousers as stout as himsel', and his spade out owre his shouther, gavn singin' to his wark, and garring the very grun' shake wi' the weight o' his tramp. I think shame o' mysel' now, but I canna deny that there was as muckle scorn as pity in what I felt for the puir stranger; and gin't had na been for the sight o' his lean, yellow, mournful face, and hollow een, I mony a time, like a cruel young wretch as I was, wad ha'e laught at seeing him wandering on his sma'shanks awa amang the braes, just to sit there frae morning till night, as the herd-callans telt us, readin’ some sma’ bit book, and whiles writing, but maistly just glowrin' at the grun' as silent and motionless as if he had been dead. Gude help us, puir young man maybe he was the son o’ some puir, vain, silly mother like me, that wudna be content wi' seein’ her precious bairn well and happy, but, whether she could or no, behooved to ha'e him a minister.” “I don’t doubt it—I don’t doubt it,” said Simon, “there are too, too many such “I dare say you have all seen the poor forlorn daft man, John Philips, who used to go about the country dressed sometimes in petticoats, sometimes in breeches, but always with such a strange motley mass of duds clanging about him, that it was difficult to guess whether he was man or 'woman till the evidence of his long matted beard settled the doubt.” “I mind him weel,” cried both man and wife, “puir, harmless object. He was aye asserting that he was like St. Paul, for too much learning had made him mad.” “Too true, too true indeed,” said Simon, with a tear glittering in his eyes. “Too much learning did make admirable John Philips mad! There was not a cleverer nor a better lad in Scotland than he, and he might have raised himself to any office in the kingdom by taking the right course, so splendid were his talents, so delightful his disposition,-but nothing would satisfy his mother unless John would be a minister. He obeyed her,- and so came of it. After having learned reading, and writing, and arithmetic, and read more books than half the boys of his rank read in a life-time, – his character for ability, . , and sound sense, was such, that when only thirteen years old, he might have been taken by a respectable and thriving merchant as under-clerk. With this gentleman he was sure to rise, and he would, in all human probability, have raised every member of his family along with him, so kind, so dutiful, so good was he ; but all that would not do for his mother, so to Latin he went. For a while the increased industry of father and mother sufficed to meet the ever increasing expense: but, by the time he got to college, the younger children began to be abridged of their teaching. First the girls got no arithmetic, -then the boys, – next the youngest girl was not taught to write and the youngest boy could hardly read, and could neither write nor speii when he was taken from school. ‘John would mak” up a that to them, and mair, when he cam' hame,’ was their mother's consolation for their and her privations. The children's and the father's Sunday clothes became their every-day wear, and no new, hardy, home-made jackets and trousers supplied their place. Mirth and glee no longer resounded in the cottage, but long toil, long fasts, and scrimpit fare came in their stead. “Meanwhile John at college laboured day and night, pinched himself of food and fire, and saved his poor mother's hard-earned pittance to the very uttermost. During the vacations he saw the ruin at home, and a voice seemed constantly sounding in his heart, ‘This is all for me!’ Instead of spending his time in his studies, he laboured with his hands, and did his uttermost at every vacant hour to bring on the education of the brothers and sisters who had been sacrificed for him. His eldest sister went out to service, and also to harvest work, and when he was ready to depart for col

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