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The little minister


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Title:TheLittleMinister
Author:J.M.Barrie

ReleaseDate:February,2004[EBook#5093][Yes,wearemorethanoneyear
aheadofschedule][ThisfilewasfirstpostedonApril24,2002]
Edition:10
Language:English
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THELITTLEMINISTER


BY
J.M.BARRIE


AUTHOROF
“WINDOWINTHRUMS,”“AULDLIGHTIDYLLS,”“WHENAMAN’S
SINGLE.”ETC.

CONTENTS.
CHAPTERI.TheLove-LightII.RunsAlongsidetheMakingofaMinisterIII.
TheNight-WatchersIV.FirstComingoftheEgyptianWomanV.AWarlike
Chapter,CulminatingintheFloutingoftheMinisterbytheWomanVI.Inwhich
theSoldiersMeettheAmazonsofThrumsVII.HastheFollyofLookingintoa
Woman’sEyesbyWayofTextVIII.3A.M.—MonstrousAudacityofthe
WomanIX.TheWomanConsideredinAbsence—AdventuresofaMilitary
CloakX.FirstSermonagainstWomenXI.TellsinaWhisperofMan’sFall
duringtheCurlingSeasonXII.TragedyofaMudHouseXIII.SecondComing
oftheEgyptianWomanXIV.TheMinisterDancestotheWoman’sPipingXV.
TheMinisterBewitched—SecondSermonagainstWomenXVI.Continued
MisbehavioroftheEgyptianWomanXVII.IntrusionofHaggartintothese
PagesagainsttheAuthor’sWishXVIII.Caddam—LoveLeadingtoaRupture
XIX.CircumstancesLeadingtotheFirstSermoninApprovalofWomenXX.


EndoftheStateofIndecisionXXI.Night—Margaret—FlashingofaLantern
XXII.LoversXXIII.ContainsaBirth,WhichisSufficientforOneChapter
XXIV.TheNewWorld,andtheWomenwhomaynotDwellthereinXXV.
BeginningoftheTwenty-fourHoursXXVI.SceneattheSpittalXXVII.First
JourneyoftheDominietoThrumsduringtheTwenty-fourHoursXXVIII.The
HillbeforeDarknessFell—SceneoftheImpendingCatastropheXXIX.Storyof
theEgyptianXXX.TheMeetingforRainXXXI.VariousBodiesConvergingon
theHillXXXII.LeadingSwiftlytotheAppallingMarriageXXXIII.Whilethe
Teno’ClockBellwasRingingXXXIV.TheGreatRainXXXV.TheGlenat
BreakofDayXXXVI.StoryoftheDominieXXXVII.SecondJourneyofthe
DominietoThrumsduringtheTwenty-fourHoursXXXVIII.Thrumsduringthe
Twenty-fourHours—DefenceoftheManseXXXIX.HowBabbieSpentthe
NightofAugustFourthXL.BabbieandMargaret—DefenceoftheManse
continuedXLI.RintouiandBabbie—Break-downoftheDefenceoftheManse
XLII.Margaret,thePrecentor,andGodbetweenXLIII.Rain—Mist—TheJaws
XLIV.EndoftheTwenty-fourHoursXLV.TalkofaLittleMaidsinceGrown


Tall

CHAPTERI.
THELOVE-LIGHT.

Longago,inthedayswhenourcagedblackbirdsneversawaking’ssoldier
withoutwhistlingimpudently,“ComeowerthewatertoCharlie,”aministerof
Thrumswastobemarried,butsomethinghappened,andheremainedabachelor.
Then,whenhewasold,hepassedinoursquaretheladywhowastohavebeen
hiswife,andherhairwaswhite,butshe,too,wasstillunmarried.Themeeting
hadonlyonewitness,aweaver,andhesaidsolemnlyafterwards,“Theydidna
speak,buttheyjustgaveoneanotheralook,andIsawthelove-lightintheir
een.”Nomoreisrememberedofthesetwo,nobeingnowlivingeversawthem,
butthepoetrythatwasinthesoulofabatteredweavermakesthemhumantous
forever.
ItisofanotherministerIamtotell,butonlytothosewhoknowthatlightwhen
theyseeit.Iamnotbiddinggood-byetomanyreaders,forthoughitistruethat
somemen,ofwhomLordRintoulwasone,livetoanoldagewithoutknowing
love,fewofuscanhavemetthem,andofwomensoincompleteIneverheard.
GavinDishartwasbarelytwenty-onewhenheandhismothercametoThrums,
light-heartedlikethetravellerwhoknowsnotwhatawaitshimatthebendofthe
road.Itwasthetimeofyearwhenthegroundiscarpetedbeneaththefirswith
brownneedles,whensplit-nutspatteralldayfromthebeech,andchildrenlay
yellowcornonthedominie’sdesktoremindhimthatnowtheyareneededinthe
fields.Thedaywassosilentthatcartscouldbeheardrumblingamileaway.All
Thrumswasoutinitswyndsandcloses—afewoftheweaversstillinkneebreeches—tolookatthenewAuldLichtminister.Iwastheretoo,thedominieof
GlenQuharity,whichisfourmilesfromThrums;andheavywasmyheartasI
stoodafaroffsothatGavin’smothermightnothavethepainofseeingme.Iwas
theonlyoneinthecrowdwholookedathermorethanatherson.
Eighteenyearshadpassedsinceweparted.Alreadyherhairhadlostthe
brightnessofitsyouth,andsheseemedtomesmallerandmorefragile;andthe


facethatIlovedwhenIwasahobbledehoy,andlovedwhenIlookedoncemore
uponitinThrums,andalwaysshalllovetillIdie,wassoftandworn.Margaret
wasanoldwoman,andshewasonlyforty-three:andIamthemanwhomade
herold.AsGavinputhiseagerboyishfaceoutatthecarriagewindow,many
sawthathewasholdingherhand,butnonecouldbegladatthesightasthe
dominiewasglad,lookingonatahappinessinwhichhedarednotmingle.
Margaretwascryingbecauseshewassoproudofherboy.Womendothat.Poor
sonstobeproudof,goodmothers,butIwouldnothaveyoudrythosetears.
Whenthelittleministerlookedoutatthecarriagewindow,manyofthepeople
drewbackhumbly,butalittleboyinaredfrockwithblackspotspressed
forwardandofferedhimastickyparly,whichGavinaccepted,thoughnot
withoutatremor,forchildrenweremoreterribletohimthenthanbeardedmen.
Theboy’smother,tryingnottolookelated,borehimaway,butherfacesaidthat
hewasmadeforlife.WiththislittleincidentGavin’scareerinThrumsbegan.I
remembereditsuddenlytheotherdaywhenwadingacrossthewyndwhereit
tookplace.Manyscenesinthelittleminister’slifecomebacktomeinthisway.
ThefirsttimeIeverthoughtofwritinghislovestoryasanoldman’sgifttoa
littlemaidsincegrowntall,wasonenightwhileIsataloneintheschoolhouse;
onmykneesafiddlethathasbeenmyonlylivingcompanionsinceIsoldmy
hens.MymindhaddriftedbacktothefirsttimeIsawGavinandtheEgyptian
together,andwhatsetitwanderingtothatmidnightmeetingwasmygardengate
shakinginthewind.AtagateonthehillIhadfirstencounteredthesetwo.It
rattledinhishand,andIlookedupandsawthem,andneitherknewwhyIhad
suchcausetostartatthesight.Thenthegateswungto.Ithadjustsuchaclickas
mine.
Thesetwofiguresonthehillaremorerealtomethanthingsthathappened
yesterday,butIdonotknowthatIcanmakethemlivetoothers.Aghost-show
usedtocomeyearlytoThrumsonthemerryMuckleFriday,inwhichthe
illusionwascontrivedbyhangingaglassbetweentheonlookersandthestage.I
cannotdenythatthecomingsandgoingsoftheghostwerehighlydiverting,yet
thefarmerofT’nowheadonlylaughedbecausehehadpaidhismoneyatthe
holeinthedoorliketherestofus.T’nowheadsatattheendofaformwherehe
sawroundtheglassandsosawnoghost.Ifearmypublicmaybeinthesame
predicament.Iseethelittleministerashewasatone-and-twenty,andthelittle
girltowhomthisstoryistobelongseeshim,thoughthethingsIhavetotell
happenedbeforeshecameintotheworld.Buttherearereasonswhysheshould
see;andIdonotknowthatIcanprovidetheglassforothers.Iftheyseeroundit,


theywillneitherlaughnorcrywithGavinandBabbie.
WhenGavincametoThrumshewasasIamnow,forthepageslaybeforehim
onwhichhewastowritehislife.YethewasnotquiteasIam.Thelifeofevery
manisadiaryinwhichhemeanstowriteonestory,andwritesanother;andhis
humblesthouriswhenhecomparesthevolumeasitiswithwhathevowedto
makeit.Butthebiographerseesthelastchapterwhileheisstillatthefirst,andI
haveonlytowriteoverwithinkwhatGavinhaswritteninpencil.
Howoftenisitaphantonwomanwhodrawsthemanfromthewayhemeantto
go?Sowasmancreated,tohungerfortheidealthatisabovehimself,untilone
daythereismagicintheair,andtheeyesofagirlrestuponhim.Hedoesnot
knowthatitishehimselfwhocrownedher,andifthegirlisaspureashe,their
loveistheoneformofidolatrythatisnotquiteignoble.Itisthejoiningoftwo
soulsontheirwaytoGod.Butifthewomanbebad,thetestofthemaniswhen
hewakensfromhisdream.Thenoblerhisideal,thefurtherwillhehavebeen
hurrieddownthewrongway,forthosewhoonlyrunafterlittlethingswillnot
gofar.Hislovemaynowsinkintopassion,perhapsonlytostainitswingsand
riseagain,perhapstodrown.
Babbie,whatshallIsayofyouwhomakemewritethesethings?Iamnotyour
judge.Shallwenotlaughatthestudentwhochafeswhenbetweenhimandhis
bookcomesthesongofthethrushes,withwhom,onthemadnightyoudanced
intoGavin’slife,youhadmoreincommonthanwithAuldLichtministers?The
gladnessoflivingwasinyourstep,yourvoicewasmelody,andhewas
wonderingwhatlovemightbe.
Youwerethedaughterofasummernight,bornwhereallthebirdsarefree,and
themoonchristenedyouwithhersoftlighttodazzletheeyesofman.Notour
littleministeralonewasstrickenbyyouintohissecondchildhood.Tolookupon
youwastorejoicethatsofairathingcouldbe;tothinkofyouisstilltobe
young.Eventhosewhocalledyoualittledevil,ofwhomIhavebeenone,
admittedthatintheendyouhadasoul,thoughnotthatyouhadbeenbornwith
one.Theysaidyoustoleit,andsomadeawomanofyourself.ButagainIsayI
amnotyourjudge,andwhenIpictureyouasGavinsawyoufirst,abare-legged
witchdancingupWindyghoul,rowanberriesinyourblackhair,andonyour
fingerajewelthelittleministercouldnothaveboughtwithfiveyearsoftoil,the
shadowsonmypageslift,andIcannotwonderthatGavinlovedyou.


OftenIsaytomyselfthatthisistobeGavin’sstory,notmine.Yetmustitbe
minetoo,inamanner,andofmyselfIshallsometimeshavetospeak;not
willingly,foritistimemylittletragedyhaddiedofoldage.Ihavekeptitto
myselfsolongthatnowIwouldstandatitsgravealone.ItistruethatwhenI
heardwhowastobethenewministerIhopedforadaythatthelifebrokenin
HarviemightbemendedinThrums,buttwominutes’talkwithGavinshowed
methatMargarethadkeptfromhimthesecretwhichwashersandmineandso
knockedthebottomoutofmyvainhopes.Ididnotblameherthen,nordoI
blamehernow,norshallanyonewhoblameshereverbecalledfriendbyme;
butitwasbittertolookatthewhitemanseamongthetreesandknowthatImust
neverenterit.ForMargaret’ssakeIhadtokeepaloof,yetthisnewtrialcame
uponmelikeourpartingatHarvie.Ithoughtthatinthoseeighteenyearsmy
passionshadburnedlikeashiptilltheysank,butIsufferedagainasonthat
awfulnightwhenAdamDishartcameback,nearlykillingMargaretandtearing
upallmyambitionsbytherootinasinglehour.IwaitedinThrumsuntilIhad
lookedagainonMargaret,whothoughtmedead,andGavin,whohadnever
heardofme,andthenItrudgedbacktotheschoolhouse.SomethingIheardof
themfromtimetotimeduringthewinter—forinthegossipofThrumsIwas
wellposted—butmuchofwhatistobetoldhereIonlylearnedafterwardsfrom
thosewhoknewitbest.Gavinheardofmeattimesasthedominieintheglen
whohadceasedtoattendtheAuldLichtkirk,andMargaretdidnotevenhearof
me.ItwasallIcoulddoforthem.

CHAPTERII.
RUNSALONGSIDETHEMAKINGOFAMINISTER.

OntheeastcoastofScotland,hidden,asifinaquarry,atthefootofcliffsthat
mayonedayfallforward,isavillagecalledHarvie.Sohasitshrunksincethe
daywhenIskulkedfromitthatIhearofatraveller’saskinglatelyatoneofits
doorshowfarhewasfromavillage;yetHarviethroveonceandwascelebrated
evenindistantThrumsforitsfish.Mostofourweaverswouldhavethoughtitas
unnaturalnottobuyharviesinthesquareontheMuckleFriday,astolet
Saturdaynightpasswithoutlayinginasufficientstockofhalfpenniestogo
roundthefamilytwice.


GavinwasborninHarvie,butleftitatsuchanearlyagethathecouldonly
recallthatchedhouseswithnetsdryingontheroofs,andasandyshoreinwhich
coarsegrassgrew.Inthepicturehecouldnotpickoutthehouseofhisbirth,
thoughhemighthavebeenabletogotoithadheeverreturnedtothevillage.
SoonhelearnedthathismotherdidnotcaretospeakofHarvie,andperhapshe
thoughtthatshehadforgottenittoo,allsaveonescenetowhichhismemorystill
guidedhim.WhenhismindwanderedtoHarvie,Gavinsawthedoorofhis
homeopenandafishermanenter,whoscratchedhisheadandthensaid,“Your
man’sdrowned,missis.”Gavinseemedtoseemanywomencrying,andhis
motherstaringatthemwithafacesuddenlypaintedwhite,andnexttoheara
voicethatwashisownsaying,“Nevermind,mother;I’llbeamantoyounow,
andI’llneedbreeksfortheburial.”ButAdamrequirednofuneral,forhisbody
laydeepinthesea.
Gavinthoughtthatthiswasthetragedyofhismother’slife,andthemost
memorableeventofhisownchildhood.Butitwasneither.WhenMargaret,even
aftershecametoThrums,thoughtofHarvie,itwasnotatAdam’sdeathshe
shuddered,butattherecollectionofme.
ItwouldillbecomemetotakealaterevengeonAdamDishartnowbysaying
whatisnottrueofhim.Thoughhediedafishermanhewasasailorforagreat
partofhislife,anddoubtlesshisrecklessnesswaswashedintohimonthehigh
seas,whereinhistimemenmadeacronyofdeath,anddrankmerrilyover
dodgingitforanothernight.Tomehisroarsoflaughterwithoutcausewereas
repellentasaboy’sdrum;yetmanyfacesthatwerelonginmycompany
brightenedathiscoming,andwomen,withwhom,despitemyyearning,Iwasin
nowiseafavorite,rantotheirdoorstolistentohimasreadilyastothebellman.Childrenscurriedfromhimifhismoodwassavage,buttohimatallother
times,whilemetheymerelydisregarded.Therewasalwaysasmellofthesea
abouthim.Hehadarollinggait,unlesshewasdrunk,whenhewalkedvery
straight,andbeforebothsexesheboastedthatanywomanwouldtakehimfor
hisbeardalone.Ofthisbeardhetookprodigiouscare,thoughotherwisethinking
littleofhisappearance,andInowseethatheunderstoodwomenbetterthanI
did,whohadneverthelessreflectedmuchaboutthem.Itcannotbesaidthathe
wasvain,forthoughhethoughtheattractedwomenstrangely,that,Imaintain,is
aweaknesscommontoallmen,andsonomoretobemarvelledatthanastake
inafence.Foreignoathswerethenailswithwhichheheldhistalktogether,yetI
doubtnottheywereacuriositygatheredatsea,likehischainsofshells,morefor
hisownpleasurethanforothers’pain.Hisfriendsgavethemnoweight,and


whenhewantedtotalkemphaticallyhekeptthemback,thoughtheywerethen
astroublesometohimaseggstothebird-nestingboywhohastospeakwithhis
spoilinhismouth.
AdamwasdrownedonGavin’sfourthbirthday,ayearafterIhadtoleave
Harvie.Hewasblownoffhissmackinastorm,andcouldnotreachtheropehis
partnerflunghim.“It’snogo,lad,”heshouted;“solong,Jim,”andsank.
AmonthafterwardsMargaretsoldhershareinthesmack,whichwasallAdam
lefther,andthefurnitureofthehousewasrouped.ShetookGavintoGlasgow,
whereheronlybrotherneededahousekeeper,andtheremotherandson
remaineduntilGavingothiscalltoThrums.DuringthoseseventeenyearsIlost
knowledgeofthemascompletelyasMargarethadlostknowledgeofme.On
hearingofAdam’sdeathIwentbacktoHarvietotrytotraceher,butshehad
fearedthis,andsotoldnoonewhereshewasgoing.
AccordingtoMargaret,Gavin’sgeniusshoweditselfwhilehewasstillachild.
Hewasbornwithabrowwhosenobilityimpressedherfromthefirst.Itwasa
minister’sbrow,andthoughMargaretherselfwasnoscholar,beingasslowto
readasshewasquickatturningbannocksonthegirdle,shedecided,whenhis
agewasstillcountedbymonths,thattheministryhadneedofhim.Inthosedays
thefirstquestionaskedofachildwasnot,“Tellmeyourname,”but“Whatare
youtobe?”andonechildineveryfamilyreplied,“Aminister.”Hewassetapart
fortheChurchasdoggedlyastheshillingaweekfortherent,andtheruleheld
goodthoughthefamilyconsistedofonlyoneboy.FromhisearliestdaysGavin
thoughthehadbeenfashionedfortheministryascertainlyasaspadefor
digging,andMargaretrejoicedandmarvelledthereat,thoughshehadmadeher
ownpuzzle.Anenthusiasticmothermaybendherson’smindasshechoosesif
shebeginsitonce;nay,shemaydostrangerthings.IknowamotherinThrums
wholoves“features,”andhadachildbornwithnochintospeakof.The
neighborsexpectedthistobringhertothedust,butitonlyshowedwhata
mothercando.Inafewmonthsthatchildhadachinwiththebestofthem.
Margaret’sbrotherdied,butsheremainedinhissingleroom,and,everwitha
pictureofhersoninapulpittorepayher,contrivedtokeepGavinatschool.
Everythingawoman’sfingerscandoMargaret’sdidbetterthanmost,and
amongthewealthypeoplewhoemployedher—wouldthatIcouldhavethe
teachingofthesonsofsuchasweregoodtoherinthoseharddays!—hergentle
mannerwasspokenof.ForthoughMargarethadnoschooling,shewasaladyat


heart,movingandalmostspeakingasoneeveninHarvie,wheretheydidnot
perhapslikeherthebetterforit.
AtsixGavinhitanotherboyhardforbelongingtotheEstablishedChurch,and
atsevenhecouldnotlosehimselfintheShorterCatechism.Hismother
expoundedtheScripturestohimtillhewaseight,whenhebegantoexpound
themtoher.Bythistimehewasstudyingthepracticalworkofthepulpitas
enthusiasticallyasevermedicalstudentcutoffaleg.Fromafrontpewinthe
galleryGavinwatchedtheminister’severymovement,notingthatthefirstthing
todoonascendingthepulpitistocoveryourfacewithyourhands,asifthe
exaltedpositionaffectedyoulikeastronglight,andthesecondtomovethebig
Bibleslightly,toshowthatthekirkofficer,nothavinghadauniversity
education,couldnotbeexpectedtoknowtheveryspotonwhichitoughttolie.
Gavinsawthattheministerjoinedinthesingingmorelikeonecountenancinga
seemlythingthanbecauseheneededithimself,andthatheonlysangamouthful
nowandagainafterthecongregationwasinfullpursuitoftheprecentor.Itwas
noteworthythatthefirstprayerlastedlongerthanalltheothers,andthattoread
theintimationsabouttheBible-classandthecollectionelsewherethan
immediatelybeforethelastPsalmwouldhavebeenassacrilegiousastoinsert
thededicationtoKingJamesattheendofRevelation.Sittingunderaminister
justlyhonouredinhisday,theboywasoftensomewordsinadvanceofhim,not
vaingloriousofhismemory,butfervent,eager,andregardingthepreacheras
hardlylesssacredthantheBook.Gavinwasencouragedbyhisfrightenedyet
admiringmothertosawtheairfromtheirpewastheministersaweditinthe
pulpit,andtwobenedictionswerepronouncedtwiceaSabbathinthatchurch,in
thesamewords,thesamemanner,andsimultaneously.
Therewasablackyearwhenthethingsofthisworld,especiallyitspastimes,
tooksuchagripofGavinthathesaidtoMargarethewouldratherbegoodatthe
highjumpthantheauthorof“ThePilgrim’sProgress.”Thatyearpassed,and
Gavincametohisrightmind.OneafternoonMargaretwasathomemakinga
glen-garryforhimoutofapieceofcarpet,andgivingitatartanedging,when
theboyboundedinfromschool,crying,“Comequick,mother,andyou’llsee
him.”Margaretreachedthedoorintimetoseeastreetmusicianflyingfrom
Gavinandhisfriends.“Didyoutakestockofhim,mother?”theboyaskedwhen
hereappearedwiththemarkofamuddystickonhisback.“He’saPapist!—a
soresight,mother,asoresight.Westonedhimforpersecutingthenoble
Martyrs.”


“WhenGavinwastwelvehewenttotheuniversity,andalsogotaplaceina
shopaserrandboy.Heusedtorunthroughthestreetsbetweenhisworkandhis
classes.Potatoesandsaltfish,whichcouldthenbegotattwopencethepoundif
boughtbythehalf-hundredweight,werehisfood.Therewasnotalwaysagood
mealfortwo,yetwhenGavinreachedhomeatnighttherewasgenerally
somethingreadyforhim,andMargarethadsupped“hoursago.”Gavin’shunger
urgedhimtofallto,buthisloveforhismothermadehimwatchful.
“Whatdidyouhaveyourself,mother?”hewoulddemandsuspiciously.
“Oh,Ihadafinesupper,Iassureyou.”
“Whathadyou?”
“Ihadpotatoes,foronething.”
“Anddripping?”
“Youmaybesure.”
“Mother,you’recheatingme.Thedrippinghasn’tbeentouchedsinceyesterday.”
“Idinna—don’t—carefordripping—nomuch.”
ThenwouldGavinstridetheroomfiercely,aqueerlittlefigure.
“DoyouthinkI’llstandthis,mother?WillIletmyselfbepamperedwith
drippingandeverydelicacywhileyoustarve?”
“Gavin,Ireallydinnacarefordripping.”
“ThenI’llgiveupmyclasses,andwecanhavebutter.”
“IassureyouI’mnohungry.It’sdifferentwi’agrowingladdie.”
“I’mnotagrowingladdie,”Gavinwouldsay,bitterly;“but,mother,Iwarnyou
thatnotanotherbitepassesmythroattillIseeyoueatingtoo.”
SoMargarethadtotakeherseatatthetable,andwhenshesaid“Icaneatno
more,”Gavinretortedsternly,“NorwillI,forfineIseethroughyou.”


Thesetwowereasonefarmorethanmostmarriedpeople,and,justasGavinin
hischildhoodreflectedhismother,shenowreflectedhim.Thepeopleforwhom
shesewedthoughtitwascontactwiththemthathadrubbedthebroadScotch
fromhertongue,butsheWasonlykeepingpacewithGavin.Whenshewas
excitedtheHarviewordscamebacktoher,astheycomebacktome.Ihave
taughttheEnglishlanguageallmylife,andItrytowriteit,buteverythingIsay
inthisbookIfirstthinktomyselfintheDoric.This,too,Inotice,thatintalking
tomyselfIambroaderthanwhengossipingwiththefarmersoftheglen,who
sendtheirchildrentometolearnEnglish,andthenjeeratthemiftheysay“old
lights”insteadof“auldlichts.”
ToMargaretitwashappinesstositthroughthelongeveningssewing,andlook
overherworkatGavinashereadorwroteorrecitedtohimselfthelearningof
theschools.Butshecoughedeverytimetheweatherchanged,andthenGavin
wouldstart.
“Youmustgotoyourbed,mother,”hewouldsay,tearinghimselffromhis
books;orhewouldsitbesideherandtalkofthedreamthatwascommontoboth
—adreamofamansewhereMargaretwasmistressandGavinwascalledthe
minister.EverynightGavinwasathismother’sbedsidetowindhershawlround
herfeet,andwhilehediditMargaretsmiled.
“Mother,thisisthechaffpillowyou’vetakenoutofmybed,andgivenmeyour
featherone.”
“Gavin,youneednachangethem.Iwinnahavethefeatherpillow.”
“DoyoudaretothinkI’llletyousleeponchaff?Putupyourhead.Now,isthat
soft?”
“It’sfine.IdinnadenybutwhatIsleepbetteronfeathers.Doyoumind,Gavin,
youboughtthispillowformethemomentyougotyourbursarymoney?”
ThereservethatisawallbetweenmanyoftheScottishpoorhadbeenbroken
downbythesetwo.Whenhesawhismothersleepinghappily,Gavinwentback
tohiswork.Tosavetheexpenseofalamp,hewouldputhisbookalmost
beneaththedyingfire,and,takingtheplaceofthefender,readtillhewas
shiveringwithcold.
“Gavin,itisnearmorning,andyounotinyourbedyet!Whatareyouthinking


aboutsohard?”
“Oh,mother,IwaswonderingifthetimewouldevercomewhenIwouldbea
minister,andyouwouldhaveaneggforyourbreakfasteverymorning.”
Sotheyearspassed,andsoonGavinwouldbeaminister.Hehadnowsermons
toprepare,andeveryoneofthemwasfirstpreachedtoMargaret.Howsolemn
washisvoice,howhiseyesflashed,howsternwerehisadmonitions.
“Gavin,suchasermonIneverheard.ThespiritofGodisonyou.I’mashamed
youshouldhavemeforamother.”
“Godgrant,mother,”Gavinsaid,littlethinkingwhatwassoontohappen,orhe
wouldhavemadethisprayeronhisknees,“thatyoumayneverbeashamedto
havemeforason.”
“Ah,mother,”hewouldsaywistfully,“itisnotagreatsermon,butdoyouthink
I’mpreachingChrist?ThatiswhatItry,butI’mcarriedawayandforgetto
watchmyself.”
“TheLordhasyoubythehand,Gavin;andmind,Idinnasaythatbecause
you’remyladdie.”
“Yes,youdo,mother,andwellIknowit,andyetitdoesmegoodtohearyou.”
ThatitdidhimgoodI,whowouldfainhavesharedthosedayswiththem,am
verysure.Thepraisethatcomesoflovedoesnotmakeusvain,buthumble
rather.Knowingwhatweare,thepridethatshinesinourmother’seyesasshe
looksatusisaboutthemostpatheticthingamanhastoface,buthewouldbea
devilaltogetherifitdidnotburnsomeofthesinoutofhim.
NotlongbeforeGavinpreachedforourkirkandgothiscall,agreateventtook
placeinthelittleroomatGlasgow.Thestudentappearedforthefirsttimebefore
hismotherinhisministerialclothes.Heworetheblacksilkhat,thatwas
destinedtobecomeaterrortoevil-doersinThrums,andIdaresayhewasrather
puffedupabouthimselfthatday.Youwouldprobablyhavesmiledathim.
“It’sapityI’msolittle,mother,”hesaidwithasigh.
“You’renowhatIwouldcallaparticularlylongman,”Margaretsaid,“but


you’rejusttheheightIlike.”
ThenGavinwentoutinhisgrandeur,andMargaretcriedforanhour.Shewas
thinkingofmeaswellasofGavin,andasithappens,IknowthatIwasthinking
atthesametimeofher.Gavinkeptadiaryinthosedays,whichIhaveseen,and
bycomparingitwithmine,Idiscoveredthatwhilehewasshowinghimselfto
hismotherinhisblackclothes,IwasonmywaybackfromTilliedrum,whereI
hadgonetobuyasand-glassfortheschool.TheoneIboughtwassolike
anotherMargarethadusedatHarviethatitsetmethinkingofheragainallthe
wayhome.Thisisamatterhardlyworthmentioning,andyetitinterestsme.
BusydaysfollowedthecalltoThrums,andGavinhaddifficultyinforcing
himselftohissermonswhentherewasalwayssomethingmoretotellhismother
abouttheweavingtowntheyweregoingto,oraboutthemanseorthefurniture
thathadbeentransferredtohimbytheretiringminister.Thelittleroomwhich
hadbecomesofamiliarthatitseemedoneofafamilypartyofthreehadtobe
stripped,andmanyofitscontentsweresold.Amongwhatwerebroughtto
Thrumswasalittleexercisebook,inwhichMargarethadtried,unknownto
Gavin,toteachherselfwritingandgrammar,thatshemightbelessunfitfora
manse.Hefounditaccidentallyoneday.Itwasfullof“Iam,thouart,heis,”and
thelike,writtenmanytimesinashakinghand.Gavinputhisarmsroundhis
motherwhenhesawwhatshehadbeendoing.Theexercisebookisinmydesk
now,andwillbemylittlemaid’swhenIdie.
“Gavin,Gavin,”MargaretsaidmanytimesInthoselastdaysatGlasgow,“to
thinkithasallcometrue!”
“Letthelastwordyousayinthehousebeaprayerofthankfulness,”she
whisperedtohimwhentheyweretakingafinalglanceattheoldhome.
Inthebareroomtheycalledthehouse,thelittleministerandhismotherwenton
theirknees,but,asitchanced,theirlastwordtherewasnotaddressedtoGod.
“Gavin,”Margaretwhisperedashetookherarm,“doyouthinkthisbonnetsets
me?”

CHAPTERIII.


THENIGHT-WATCHERS.

WhatfirststruckMargaretinThrumswasthesmellofthecaddis.Thetown
smellsofcaddisnolonger,butwhiffsofitmaybegotevennowasonepasses
thehousesoftheold,wherethelaystillswingsatlittlewindowslikeagreat
ghostpendulum.Tomeitisahomelysmell,whichIdrawinwithagreatbreath,
butitwasasstrangetoMargaretastheweaversthemselves,who,intheir
colorednightcapsandcorduroysstreakedwiththreads,gazedatherandGavin.
Thelittleministerwastryingtolooksevereandold,buttwenty-onewasinhis
eye.
“Look,mother,atthatwhitehousewiththegreenroof.Thatisthemanse.”
Themansestandshigh,withasharpeyeonallthetown.Everybackwindowin
theTenementshasaglintofit,andsothebackoftheTenementsisalwaysbetter
behavedthanthefront.ItwasinthefrontthatJamieDon,apitifulbachelorall
hislifebecausehethoughtthewomenproposed,kepthisferrets,andhere,too,
Beattiehangedhimself,goingstraighttotheclothes-postsforanotherropewhen
thefirstonebroke,suchwashisdetermination.InthefrontSandersGilruth
openlyboasted(onDon’spotato-pit)thatbyhavingaseatintwochurcheshe
couldlieinbedonSabbathandgetthecreditofbeingatoneorother.(Gavin
madeshortworkofhim.)Totheright-mindedtheAuldLichtmansewasasa
familyBible,everlyingopenbeforethem,butBeattiespokeformorethan
himselfwhenhesaid,“Dagonethatmanse!Inevergieaswearbutthereitis
gloweringatme.”
Themanselooksdownonthetownfromthenortheast,andisreachedfromthe
roadthatleavesThrumsbehinditinanothermomentbyawide,straightpath,so
roughthattocarryafraughtofwatertothemansewithoutspillingwastobe
superlativelygoodatonething.Packagesinacartitsetleapingliketroutina
fishing-creel.Oppositetheopeningofthegardenwallinthemanse,wherefor
manyyearstherehadbeenanintentionofputtingupagate,weretwobigstones
ayardapart,standingreadyforthewinter,whenthepathwasoftenarushof
yellowwater,andthistheonlybridgetotheglebedyke,downwhichthe
ministerwalkedtochurch.
WhenMargaretenteredthemanseonGavin’sarm,itwasawhitewashedhouse


offiverooms,withagarretinwhichtheministercouldsleepifhehadguests,as
duringtheFastweek.Itstoodwithitsgardenwithinhighwalls,andtheroof
awingsouthwardwascarpetedwithmossthatshoneinthesuninadozenshades
ofgreenandyellow.Threefirsguardedthehousefromwestwinds,butblasts
fromthenorthoftentoredownthesteepfieldsandskirledthroughthemanse,
bangingallitsdoorsatonce.Abeech,growingontheeastside,leantoverthe
roofasiftogossipwiththewellinthecourtyard.Thegardenwastothesouth,
andwasoverfullofgooseberryandcurrantbushes.Itcontainedasummerseat,
wherestrangethingsweresoontohappen.
Margaretwouldnoteventakeoffherbonnetuntilshehadseenthroughthe
manseandopenedallthepresses.Theparlourandkitchenweredownstairs,and
ofthethreeroomsabove,thestudywassosmallthatGavin’spredecessorcould
toucheachofitswallswithoutshiftinghisposition.EveryroomsaveMargaret’s
hadlong-liddedbeds,whichcloseasifwithshutters,butherswascoff-fronted,
orcomparativelyopen,withcarvingonthewoodliketheornamentationof
coffins.Wheretherewerechildreninahousetheylikedtoslopetheboardsof
theclosed-inbedagainstthedresser,andplayatslidingdownmountainson
them.
Butformanyyearstherehadbeennochildreninthemanse.Heinwhoseways
Gavinwastoattempttheheavytaskofwalkinghadbeenawidowerthree
monthsafterhismarriage,amannarrowwhenhecametoThrums,butsolargeheartedwhenheleftitthatI,whoknowthereisgoodinalltheworldbecauseof
thelovablesoulsIhavemetinthiscornerofit,yetcannothopethatmanyareas
neartoGodashe.Themostgladsomethingintheworldisthatfewofusfall
verylow;thesaddestthat,withsuchcapabilities,weseldomrisehigh.Ofthose
whostandperceptiblyabovetheirfellowsIhaveknownveryfew;onlyMr.
Carfraeandtwoorthreewomen.
Gavinonlysawaveryfrailoldministerwhoshookashewalked,asifhisfeet
werestrikingagainststones.Hewastodepartonthemorrowtotheplaceofhis
birth,buthecametothemansetowishhissuccessorGod-speed.Strangerswere
soformidabletoMargaretthatsheonlysawhimfromherwindow.
“MayyouneverlosesightofGod,Mr.Dishart,”theoldmansaidintheparlour.
Thenheadded,asifhehadaskedtoomuch,“MayyouneverturnfromHimasI
oftendidwhenIwasaladlikeyou.”


Asthisagedminister,withthebeautifulfacethatGodgivestoallwholoveHim
andfollowHiscommandments,spokeofhisyouth,helookedwistfullyaround
thefadedparlour.
“Itislikeadream,”hesaid.“ThefirsttimeIenteredthisroomthethought
passedthroughmethatIwouldcutdownthatcherry-tree,becauseitkeptoutthe
light,but,yousee,itoutlivesme.Igrewoldwhilelookingfortheaxe.Only
yesterdayIwastheyoungminister,Mr.Dishart,andtomorrowyouwillbethe
oldone,biddinggood-byetoyoursuccessor.”
HiseyescamebacktoGavin’seagerface.
“Youareveryyoung,Mr.Dishart?”
“Nearlytwenty-one.”
“Twenty-one!Ah,mydearsir,youdonotknowhowpatheticthatsoundstome.
Twenty-one!Wearechildrenforthesecondtimeattwenty-one,andagainwhen
wearegreyandputallourburdenontheLord.Theyoungtalkgenerouslyof
relievingtheoldoftheirburdens,buttheanxiousheartistotheoldwhenthey
seealoadonthebackoftheyoung.Letmetellyou,Mr.Dishart,thatIwould
condonemanythingsinone-and-twentynowthatIdealthardlywithatmiddle
age.GodHimself,Ithink,isverywillingtogiveone-and-twentyasecond
chance.”
“Iamafraid,”Gavinsaidanxiously,“thatIlookevenyounger.”
“Ithink,”Mr.Carfraeanswered,smiling,“thatyourheartisasfreshasyour
face;andthatiswell.Theuselessmenarethosewhoneverchangewiththe
years.ManyviewsthatIheldtoinmyyouthandlongafterwardsareapainto
menow,andIamcarryingawayfromThrumsmemoriesoferrorsintowhichI
fellateverystageofmyministry.Whenyouareolderyouwillknowthatlifeis
alonglessoninhumility.”
Hepaused.
“Ihope,”hesaidnervously,“thatyoudon’tsingtheParaphrases?”
Mr.Carfraehadnotgrownoutofallhisprejudices,yousee;indeed,ifGavin
hadbeenlessbigotedthanheonthisquestiontheymighthavepartedstiffly.The


oldministerwouldratherhaveremainedtodieinhispulpitthansurrenderitto
onewhoreadhissermons.Othersmayblamehimforthis,butImustsayhere
plainlythatIneverhearaministerreadingwithoutwishingtosendhimbackto
college.
“Icannotdeny,”Mr.Carfraesaid,“thatIbrokedownmorethanonceto-day.
ThisforenoonIwasinTillyloss,forthelasttime,anditsohappensthatthereis
scarcelyahouseinitinwhichIhavenothadamarriageorprayedoveracoffin.
Ah,sir,thesearethescenesthatmaketheministermorethanallhissermons.
Youmustjointhefamily,Mr.Dishart,oryouareonlyaministeronceaweek.
Andrememberthis,ifyourcallisfromabove,itisacalltostay.Manysuch
partingsinalifetimeasIhavehadto-daywouldbetooheartrending.”
“Andyet,”Gavinsaid,hesitatingly,“theytoldmeinGlasgowthatIhadreceived
acallfromthemouthofhell.”
“Thosewerecruelwords,buttheyonlymeanthatpeoplewhoareseldommore
thanaday’sworkinadvanceofwantsometimesriseinarmsforfood.Our
weaversarepassionatelyreligious,andsoindependentthattheydareanyoneto
helpthem,butiftheirwageswerelessenedtheycouldnotlive.Andsoattalkof
reductiontheycatchfire.Changeofanykindalarmsthem,andthoughtheycall
themselvesWhigs,theyroseafewyearsagooverthepavingofthestreetsand
stonedtheworkmen,whowerestrangers,outofthetown.”
“Andthoughyoumayhavethoughttheplacequietto-day,Mr.Dishart,there
wasanuglyoutbreakonlytwomonthsago,whentheweaversturnedonthe
manufacturersforreducingthepriceoftheweb,madeabonfireofsomeoftheir
doors,andterrifiedoneofthemintoleavingThrums.Underthecommandof
someChartists,thepeoplenextparadedthestreetstothemusicoffifeanddrum,
andsixpolicemenwhodroveupfromTilliedruminalightcartweresentback
tiedtotheseats.”
“Noonehasbeenpunished?”
“Notyet,butnearlytwoyearsagotherewasasimilarriot,andthesherifftook
noactionformonths.Thenonenightthesquaresuddenlyfilledwithsoldiers,
andtheringleaderswereseizedintheirbeds,Mr.Dishart,thepeopleare
determinednottobecaughtinthatwayagain,andeversincetherisingawatch
hasbeenkeptbynightoneveryroadthatleadstoThrums.Thesignalthatthe


soldiersarecoiningistobetheblowingofahorn.Ifyoueverhearthathorn,I
imploreyoutohastentothesquare.”
“Theweaverswouldnotfight?”
“YoudonotknowhowtheChartistshavefiredthispartofthecountry.One
mistyday,aweekago,Iwasonthehill;IthoughtIhadittomyself,when
suddenlyIheardavoicecrysharply,‘Shoulderarms.’Icouldseenoone,and
afteramomentIputitdowntoafreakofthewind.Thenallatoncethemist
beforemeblackened,andabodyofmenseemedtogrowoutofit.Theywere
notshadows;theywereThrumsweaversdrilling,withpikesintheirhands.
“Theybrokeup,”Mr.Carfraecontinued,afterapause,“atmyentreaty,butthey
havemetagainsincethen.”
“AndtherewereAuldLichtsamongthem?”Gavinasked.“Ishouldhave
thoughttheywouldbefrightenedatourprecentor,LangTammas,whoseemsto
watchforbackslidinginthecongregationasifhehadpleasureindiscoveringit.”
Gavinspokewithfeeling,fortheprecentorhadalreadyputhimthroughhis
catechism,anditwasastiffordeal.
“Theprecentor!”saidMr.Carfrae.“Why,hewasoneofthem.”
Theoldminister,oncesobraveafigure,totteredasherosetogo,andreeledina
dizzinessuntilhehadwalkedafewpaces.Gavinwentwithhimtothefootof
themanseroad;withouthishat,asallThrumsknewbeforebedtime.
“Ibegin,”Gavinsaid,astheywereparting,“whereyouleaveoff,andmyprayer
isthatImaywalkinyourways.”
“Ah,Mr.Dishart,”thewhite-hairedministersaid,withasigh,“theworlddoes
notprogresssoquicklyasamangrowsold.YouonlybeginwhereIbegan.”
HeleftGavin,andthen,asifthelittleminister’slastwordshadhurthim,turned
andsolemnlypointedhisstaffupward.Suchmenarethestrongnailsthatkeep
theworldtogether.
Thetwenty-one-years-oldministerreturnedtothemansesomewhatsadly,but
whenhesawhismotheratthewindowofherbedroom,hisheartleaptatthe


thoughtthatshewaswithhimandhehadeightypoundsayear.Gailyhewaved
bothhishandstoher,andsheansweredwithasmile,andthen,inhisboyishness,
hejumpedoveragooseberrybush.Immediatelyafterwardshereddenedand
triedtolookvenerable,forwhileintheairhehadcaughtsightoftwowomen
andamanwatchinghimfromthedyke.Hewalkedseverelytothedoor,and,
againforgettinghimself,wasboundingupstairstoMargaret,whenJean,the
servant,stoodscandalisedinhisway.
“Idon’tthinkshecaughtme,”wasGavin’sreflection,and“TheLord
preserves!”wasJean’s.
Gavinfoundhismotherwonderinghowoneshouldsetaboutgettingacupoftea
inahousethathadaservantinit.Heboldlyrangthebell,andthewillingJean
answereditsopromptly(inarushandjump)thatMargaretwasasmuchstartled
asAladdinthefirsttimeherubbedhislamp.
Manseservantsofthemostadmiredkindmovesoftly,asifconstantcontactwith
aministerweregoloshestothem;butJeanwasnewandraw,onlyhavinggother
placebecauseherfathermightbeanelderanyday.Shehadalreadyconceiveda
romanticaffectionforhermaster;buttosay“sir”tohim-asshethirstedtodo—
wouldhavebeenasdifficulttoherastoswallowoysters.Soanxiouswassheto
pleasethatwhenGavinrangshefiredherselfatthebedroom,butbellswere
noveltiestoheraswellastoMargaret,andshecried,excitedly,“Whatisit?”
thinkingthehousemustbeonfire.
“There’sacurranfolkatthebackdoor,”Jeanannouncedlater,“andtheir
respectstoyou,andwouldyougiethemsomewaterouto’thewell?Ithasbeen
adrouththisauchtdays,andthepumpsislocked.Na,”shesaid,asGavinmade
atooliberaloffer,“thatwouldtoomthewell,andthere’sjimplyenoughfor
oursels.Ishouldtellyou,too,thatthreeo’themisnoAuldLichts.”
“Letthatmakenodifference,”Gavinsaidgrandly,butJeanchangedhismessage
to:“AbowlfulapiecetoAuldLichts;allotherdenominationsonecupful.”
“Ay,ay,”saidSneckyHobart,lettingdownthebucket,“andwe’llinclude
atheistsamongotherdenominations.”TheconversationcametoGavinand
Margaretthroughthekitchendoorway.
“DinnaclassJoCruickshankswi’me,”saidSam’lLanglandstheU.P.


“Na,na,”saidCruickshankstheatheist,“I’mowerindependenttobereligious.I
dinnagangtothekirktocry,‘Oh,Lord,gie,gie,gie.’”
“Taketento’yoursel’,myman,”saidLangTammassternly,“oryou’llsoonbe
whauryouwouldneiferthewarldforacupo’thatcauldwater.”
“Maybeyou’veowerkeenaninterestinthedevil,Tammas,”retortedtheatheist;
“but,onyway,ifit’sheavenforclimate,it’shellforcompany.”
“Lads,”saidSnecky,sittingdownonthebucket,“we’llsendMr.DisharttoJo.
He’llmakeanotherRobDowo’him.”
“Speakmairreverentlyo’yourminister,”saidtheprecentor.“Hehasthegift.”
—Ihinnanaturallyyoursolemnraspingword,Tammas,butintheheartIspeak
inallreverence.Lads,theministerhasaword!Itellyouhepraysnearlikeone
givingorders.”
“Atfirst,”Sneckycontinued,“Ithochtyonlangcandidatewastheearnestesto’
thema”,andIdinnadenybutwhenIsawhimwi’hisheadbowed-likeinprayer
duringthesingingIsaystornysel’,‘Thouarttheman.’Ay,butBetsywraxedup
herhead,andhewasnapraying.Hewascombinghishairwi’hisfingersonthe
sly.”
“Youkenfine,Sneck,”saidCruickshanks,“thatyousaid,‘Thouarttheman’to
ilkaaneo’them,andjustvotedforMr.Dishartbecausehepreachedhinmost.”
“Ididnasayitto—Mr.Urquhart,theanethatpreachedsecond,”Snecksaid.
“Thatwastheladthatgaedthroughither.”
“Ay,”saidSusyTibbits,nicknamedbyHaggart“theTimidestWoman”because
sheoncesaidshewastooyoungtomarry,“butIwasfellsorryforhim,just
beingoveranxious.Hebeganbonny,flinginghimself,likeaneInspired,atthe
pulpitdoor,butafterHendryMunnpointedatitandcriedout,‘Becautious,the
sneck’sloose,’hea’gaedtobits.WhatacoolnessHendryhas,thoughIsuppose
itwashisduty,himbeingkirk-officer.”
“Wedidnawantaman,”LangTammassaid,“thatcouldbeputoutbysicasma’
thingasthat.Mr.Urquhartwasinsicaravelafteritthatwhenhegiesoutthe
firstlineo’thehunderandnineteenthpsalmforsinging,sayshe,‘Andsoonto


theend.’Ay,thatfinishedhischance.”
“Thenoblesto’themtolookat,”saidTibbieBirse,“wasthatanefraeAberdeen,
himthathadsicasaftsidetoJacob.”
“Ay,”saidSnecky,“andIspeiredatDr.McQueenifIshouldvoteforhim.
‘Lookslikeagenius,doeshe?’saystheDoctor.‘Weel,then,’sayshe,‘dinna
voteforhim,formyexperienceisthatthere’snofolksicidiotsasthemthat
lookslikegeniuses.’”
“Sal,”Susysaid,“it’saguidthingwe’vesettled,forIenjoyedsittinglikea
judgeuponthemsomucklethatIsairdoubtitwasakindo’sporttome.”
“Itwasnosporttothem,Susy,I’seuphaud,butitisablessingwe’vesettled,and
ondoubtedlywe’vegotthepicko’them.TheonlythingMr.Dishartdidthat
mademeoneasywashissayingthewordCaesarasifitbeganwi’ak.”
“He’llstartleyoumairaforeyou’redonewi’him,”theatheistsaidmaliciously.
“Ikenthewayso’thaeministerspreachingforkirks.Oh,they’recunning.You
wasa’pleasedthatMr.Dishartspokeaboutloomsandwebs,but,lathies,itwas
atrick.Ilkaaneo’thaeyoungministershasasermonaboutloomsforweaving
congregations,andasecondaboutbeatingswordsintoploughsharesforcountry
places,andanotheronthegreatcatchoffishesforfishingvillages.That’stheir
stockin-trade;andjustyouwaitandseeifyoudinnagettheploughsharesand
thefishesaforethemonth’sout.Aministerpreachingforakirkisonething,but
aministerplacedin’tmaybeaverydifferentberry.”
“JosephCruickshanks,”criedtheprecentor,passionately,“noneo’yourd–-d
blasphemy!”
TheyalllookedatWhamond,andhedughisteethintohislipsinshame.
“Wha’sswearingnow?”saidtheatheist.
ButWhamondwasquick.
“Matthew,twelveandthirty-one,”hesaid.
“Dagont,Tammas,”exclaimedthebaffledCruickshanks,“you’reayequoting
Scripture.HowdoyounoquoteFeargusO’Connor?”


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