The Ayrshire Legatees (Chapter 7, page 1 of 10)

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Chapter 7


One evening as Mr. Snodgrass was taking a solitary walk towards Irvine,
for the purpose of calling on Miss Mally Glencairn, to inquire what had
been her latest accounts from their mutual friends in London, and to read
to her a letter, which he had received two days before, from Mr. Andrew
Pringle, he met, near Eglintoun Gates, that pious woman, Mrs. Glibbans,
coming to Garnock, brimful of some most extraordinary intelligence. The
air was raw and humid, and the ways were deep and foul; she was, however,
protected without, and tempered within, against the dangers of both.
Over her venerable satin mantle, lined with cat-skin, she wore a scarlet
duffle Bath cloak, with which she was wont to attend the tent sermons of
the Kilwinning and Dreghorn preachings in cold and inclement weather.
Her black silk petticoat was pinned up, that it might not receive injury
from the nimble paddling of her short steps in the mire; and she carried
her best shoes and stockings in a handkerchief to be changed at the
manse, and had fortified her feet for the road in coarse worsted hose,
and thick plain-soled leather shoes.

Mr. Snodgrass proposed to turn back with her, but she would not permit
him. "No, sir," said she, "what I am about you cannot meddle in. You
are here but a stranger--come to-day, and gane to-morrow;--and it does
not pertain to you to sift into the doings that have been done before
your time. Oh dear; but this is a sad thing--nothing like it since the
silencing of M'Auly of Greenock. What will the worthy Doctor say when he
hears tell o't? Had it fa'n out with that neighering body, James Daff, I
wouldna hae car't a snuff of tobacco, but wi' Mr. Craig, a man so gifted
wi' the power of the Spirit, as I hae often had a delightful experience!
Ay, ay, Mr. Snodgrass, take heed lest ye fall; we maun all lay it to
heart; but I hope the trooper is still within the jurisdiction of church
censures. She shouldna be spairt. Nae doubt, the fault lies with her,
and it is that I am going to search; yea, as with a lighted candle."

Mr. Snodgrass expressed his inability to understand to what Mrs. Glibbans
alluded, and a very long and interesting disclosure took place, the
substance of which may be gathered from the following letter; the
immediate and instigating cause of the lady's journey to Garnock being
the alarming intelligence which she had that day received of Mr. Craig's
servant-damsel Betty having, by the style and title of Mrs. Craig, sent
for Nanse Swaddle, the midwife, to come to her in her own case, which
seemed to Mrs. Glibbans nothing short of a miracle, Betty having, the
very Sunday before, helped the kettle when she drank tea with Mr. Craig,
and sat at the room door, on a buffet-stool brought from the kitchen,
while he performed family worship, to the great solace and edification of
his visitor.

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