ページの画像
PDF
ePub

long as he could exercise a parent's authority over his daughters, neither of them should be allowed to go so far out of the duties she owed herself and her family, as to marry a cousin. The conduct of the laird, in refusing ever to converse with Mon. Villejuive on the subject, was firm and resolute; and, though neither blabbed out the circumstances to his friends or family, it was well known that if the Laird St. Clyde died without heirs male, bis estate would descend to his eldest daughter's eldest son; but in the event of no issue, it would diverge from the family, without any prospect of reverting to any branch of Mon. Villejuive's family. But Mon. Villejuive was resolved to try his efforts with the dominie, Mr Maclean, who was universally known to have the most absolute sway over the Laird St. Clyde. Mon. Villejuive argued, if he made friends with the dominie, he would finally succeed with the laird; for though the laird was impenetrable to a direct application for his consent to the addresses of Louis being paid to Norah, he might not be invulnerable to the entreaties of Mr. Maclean, who could not be supposed to have any interest in undertaking such a task; and in order the better to effect his purpose with Mr. Maclean, Mon. Villejuive employed the dominie to do several jobs in writing for him. The dominie was not the richest man of his cloth; his income was small; he took snuff; he drank his ale and his whisky like other men; he gave alms; he lived as well as he could. On a Sunday afternoon, after the labour of officiating as precentor in the kirk, he ate a good dinner, but he drank not to become intoxicated : “ if he sipped a drop of the creature, 'twas because his stomach required it; speaking all day to boys was very fatiguing; the breathing of corrupt air in his school nine hours every day was very bad ; and" (rubbing his forehead with the palm of his hand, to feel if it were moist or not)“ the heat of a summer's day required a glass of grog to break the perspiration; the morning and evening fogs were very dangerous; the wet weather in the spring and the fall of the year required something to fortify the constitution against its pernicious effects; the transitions from rain to fair weather, from heat to cold, and from thick fogs to a serene sky and a salubrious atmosphere, and the pinching cold of winter, needed a glass of snaps twice a day, to keep the cold out, or warm the heart, if the climate should offer to assail his auld constitution”. Now these were some of the arguments the do. . minie used for the use of spirituous liquors: and“ reading, and thinking, and

puzzling calculations required the solace of a pinch of black rapee;" it was not as luxury the dominie carried a snuff-box; “ he could be sixty times refreshed in the sensitive faculties for a bawbee; it was a cheap way of enjoying one of the simplest refreshments Providence gave man: there was nothing superfluous in nature; one man used hair powder, another carried a staff, a third cut off his hair and wore a wig; a toupee was no more a sign of wisdom, than large whiskers of personal courage; the man who rated Mr. MacJean for taking snuff, should not eat spices in the seasoning of his food; there was not a whit of difference between a luxury of one kind and that of another: the time employed in opening and shutting the snuff-box, the interval occupied in raising one's hand to his nose, might be worse employed ; it might be spent in defaming one's neighbours : people might quarrel with snuff, who would be extravagant in dress, in diet, in household furniture; in short, meddling bodies would not let a harmless pinch of snuff be taken, because they could distinguish themselves by crying down what they wanted sense and virtue to appreciate and applaud :" but these were the fewest in number, and weakest in carrying conviction, of all the arguments the dominie used. He would not defend his practice by the high conclusion of the force of habit, and the examples of the great. The dominie gave alms, not because he was richer than his brethren, and more independent than those who received his alms, but it was following the example of a great personage to give alms, and pray; and though a “goupen-fow of meal would never be missed, there was nae kenning wha might be a hallan-shaker, things

« 前へ次へ »