The Ayrshire Legatees (Chapter 3, page 1 of 6)


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Chapter 3

Soon after the receipt of the letters which we had the pleasure of
communicating in the foregoing chapter, the following was received from
Mrs. Pringle, and the intelligence it contains is so interesting and
important, that we hasten to lay it before our readers:-

LETTER VI

Mrs. Pringle to Miss Mally Glencairn
LONDON.

MY DEAR MISS MALLY--You must not expect no particulars from me of our
journey; but as Rachel is writing all the calamities that befell us to
Bell Tod, you will, no doubt, hear of them. But all is nothing to my
losses. I bought from the first hand, Mr. Treddles the manufacturer, two
pieces of muslin, at Glasgow, such a thing not being to be had on any
reasonable terms here, where they get all their fine muslins from Glasgow
and Paisley; and in the same bocks with them I packit a small crock of
our ain excellent poudered butter, with a delap cheese, for I was told
that such commodities are not to be had genuine in London. I likewise
had in it a pot of marmlet, which Miss Jenny Macbride gave me at Glasgow,
assuring me that it was not only dentice, but a curiosity among the
English, and my best new bumbeseen goun in peper. Howsomever, in the
nailing of the bocks, which I did carefully with my oun hands, one of the
nails gaed in ajee, and broke the pot of marmlet, which, by the jolting
of the ship, ruined the muslin, rottened the peper round the goun, which
the shivers cut into more than twenty great holes. Over and above all,
the crock with the butter was, no one can tell how, crackit, and the
pickle lecking out, and mixing with the seerip of the marmlet, spoilt the
cheese. In short, at the object I beheld, when the bocks was opened, I
could have ta'en to the greeting; but I behaved with more composity on
the occasion, than the Doctor thought it was in the power of nature to
do. Howsomever, till I get a new goun and other things, I am obliged to
be a prisoner; and as the Doctor does not like to go to the
counting-house of the agents without me, I know not what is yet to be the
consequence of our journey. But it would need to be something; for we
pay four guineas and a half a week for our dry lodgings, which is at a
degree more than the Doctor's whole stipend. As yet, for the cause of
these misfortunes, I can give you no account of London; but there is, as
everybody kens, little thrift in their housekeeping. We just buy our tea
by the quarter a pound, and our loaf sugar, broken in a peper bag, by the
pound, which would be a disgrace to a decent family in Scotland; and when
we order dinner, we get no more than just serves, so that we have no cold
meat if a stranger were coming by chance, which makes an unco bare house.
The servan lasses I cannot abide; they dress better at their wark than
ever I did on an ordinaire week-day at the manse; and this very morning I
saw madam, the kitchen lass, mounted on a pair of pattens, washing the
plain stenes before the door; na, for that matter, a bare foot is not to
be seen within the four walls of London, at the least I have na seen no
such thing.

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