The Ayrshire Legatees (Chapter 8, page 1 of 12)

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Chapter 8

As the spring advanced, the beauty of the country around Garnock was
gradually unfolded; the blossom was unclosed, while the church was
embraced within the foliage of more umbrageous boughs. The schoolboys
from the adjacent villages were, on the Saturday afternoons, frequently
seen angling along the banks of the Lugton, which ran clearer beneath the
churchyard wall, and the hedge of the minister's glebe; and the evenings
were so much lengthened, that the occasional visitors at the manse could
prolong their walk after tea. These, however, were less numerous than
when the family were at home; but still Mr. Snodgrass, when the weather
was fine, had no reason to deplore the loneliness of his bachelor's

It happened that, one fair and sunny afternoon, Miss Mally Glencairn and
Miss Isabella Tod came to the manse. Mrs. Glibbans and her daughter
Becky were the same day paying their first ceremonious visit, as the
matron called it, to Mr. and Mrs. Craig, with whom the whole party were
invited to take tea; and, for lack of more amusing chit-chat, the
Reverend young gentleman read to them the last letter which he had
received from Mr. Andrew Pringle. It was conjured naturally enough out
of his pocket, by an observation of Miss Mally's "Nothing surprises me,"
said that amiable maiden lady, "so much as the health and good-humour of
the commonality. It is a joyous refutation of the opinion, that the
comfort and happiness of this life depends on the wealth of worldly

"It is so," replied Mr. Snodgrass, "and I do often wonder, when I see the
blithe and hearty children of the cottars, frolicking in the abundance of
health and hilarity, where the means come from to enable their poor
industrious parents to supply their wants."

"How can you wonder at ony sic things, Mr. Snodgrass? Do they not come
from on high," said Mrs. Glibbans, "whence cometh every good and perfect
gift? Is there not the flowers of the field, which neither card nor
spin, and yet Solomon, in all his glory, was not arrayed like one of

"I was not speaking in a spiritual sense," interrupted the other, "but
merely made the remark, as introductory to a letter which I have received
from Mr. Andrew Pringle, respecting some of the ways of living in

Mrs. Craig, who had been so recently translated from the kitchen to the
parlour, pricked up her ears at this, not doubting that the letter would
contain something very grand and wonderful, and exclaimed, "Gude safe's,
let's hear't--I'm unco fond to ken about London, and the king and the
queen; but I believe they are baith dead noo."

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