The Ayrshire Legatees (Chapter 1, page 1 of 6)

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Chapter 1


On New Year's day Dr. Pringle received a letter from India, informing him
that his cousin, Colonel Armour, had died at Hydrabad, and left him his
residuary legatee. The same post brought other letters on the same
subject from the agent of the deceased in London, by which it was evident
to the whole family that no time should be lost in looking after their
interests in the hands of such brief and abrupt correspondents.

"To say the least of it," as the Doctor himself sedately remarked, "considering
the greatness of the forth-coming property, Messieurs Richard Argent and
Company, of New Broad Street, might have given a notion as to the
particulars of the residue." It was therefore determined that, as soon
as the requisite arrangements could be made, the Doctor and Mrs. Pringle
should set out for the metropolis, to obtain a speedy settlement with the
agents, and, as Rachel had now, to use an expression of her mother's, "a
prospect before her," that she also should accompany them: Andrew, who
had just been called to the Bar, and who had come to the manse to spend a
few days after attaining that distinction, modestly suggested, that,
considering the various professional points which might be involved in
the objects of his father's journey, and considering also the retired
life which his father had led in the rural village of Garnock, it might
be of importance to have the advantage of legal advice.

Mrs. Pringle interrupted this harangue, by saying, "We see what you would
be at, Andrew; ye're just wanting to come with us, and on this occasion
I'm no for making step-bairns, so we'll a' gang thegither."

The Doctor had been for many years the incumbent of Garnock, which is
pleasantly situated between Irvine and Kilwinning, and, on account of the
benevolence of his disposition, was much beloved by his parishioners.
Some of the pawkie among them used indeed to say, in answer to the godly
of Kilmarnock, and other admirers of the late great John Russel, of that
formerly orthodox town, by whom Dr. Pringle's powers as a preacher were
held in no particular estimation,--"He kens our pu'pit's frail, and
spar'st to save outlay to the heritors." As for Mrs. Pringle, there is
not such another minister's wife, both for economy and management, within
the jurisdiction of the Synod of Glasgow and Ayr, and to this fact the
following letter to Miss Mally Glencairn, a maiden lady residing in the
Kirkgate of Irvine, a street that has been likened unto the Kingdom of
Heaven, where there is neither marriage nor giving in marriage, will
abundantly testify.

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