Other formats

    Adobe Portable Document Format file (facsimile images)   TEI XML file   ePub eBook file  


    mail icontwitter iconBlogspot iconrss icon


Mr. Renwick's Story

Mr. Renwick's Story

“Lassies, I am your faither's ae brither. In my young days I fell intil evil company, and I suffered for't. I had been trusted wi' a drove o' cattle to sell, and take payment; and in place o' doin’ my wark and accountin' for the siller, I allowed mysel' to be enticed to a game wi' cards. That was my ruin. I sune lost a' that I had o' my ain, and then, moved by the de'il, or my ain evil inclinations, I played wi' my maister's money. I was in the hands o' sharpers—they plied me wi' whisky—I played blindly—the end o't was that it nearly a' went. Vexed at my losses, I got fair demented, an' in my drunken wrath I gied one o' the players sic a blow owre the heid that he fell doun and lay for dead on the floor. Then a great fear took possession o' me. I escaped out o' the house, but to gae hame I page 77 didna daur. Like Lamech of auld, I had ‘slain a man to my wounding, and a young man to my hurt,’ an' the curse o' Cain was upon me. My only thocht was to flee onywhere out o' the country. Sae I went doun to Greenock, and took ship in the first vessel leavin' the port, which happened to be bound for Boston; an' frae that day till the day I came back I hae been, as the Scripture says, “a fugitive and a vagabond in the earth.” But I gathered gear in mony ways, for Providence was aye gude till me, and maistly wi' sheep an' cattle in Australia. I didna' dae sae weel in New Zealand. There are owre mony o' my ain kintra folk there. But one way and anither I pit by a fair sum o' money, and then I ventured hame. My first business was to find the man I had wronged o' his gowd, and to return it till him twafauld. Still the guilt o' blood stickit to me. I had repentit o' my great sin in sackcloth and ashes, sae to speak. But a' the tears that mortal een could she'd wadua wash awa the stain o' blood. Think, then, lassies, an' a’ o' ye, what a weary burden was lifted aff my shouthers when, on makin' mysel’ known to Jamie, that first nicht at Craigielinn, he tauld me that the man I thocht I had slain was livin', and keepin' a store in Glasco'. An' then, think o' the pleasure wi' which I forgathered wi' him, and grippit his hand, and found he bare nae malice for the past. He's a councillor now, and bids fair to be a Bailie afore lang. All my troubles now fell awa like the bitter pack o' Bunyan's pilgrim at the foot o' the Cross, and I felt a free man ance mair. But while I was at Craigielinn I had gathered frae Jamie that he was owin' money to Bailie Macbuist page 78 who had named Janet's hand for his son as the price o' his release frae the bondage o' debt. And I kent that there was a wadset owre the lands when they came intil Jamie's keepin'.”

“What's that ye're sayin', Davie?“—cried Madam Cranston. “Dae yae mean to say that my brither—that's yer ain faither and Jamie's—daur'd to dee wi' the ancient heritage in danger frae thae accursed money-changers? Why was I no made acquent wi' this? I wad hae pairted wi' the buckles frae my shoon afore it should hae gane oot o' the family. Sae lang as a Cranston lives, nae stranger shall ever haud Craigielinn.”

“Weel, it's a' done and owre noo, Meddm,” quo uncle David, as I maun now ca' him,—an’ we maun e'en ettle to keep things richt in the future. I was seekin' to invest my savings in good securities that was gie me eneuch to live upon for the remainin' portion o' my life, an' I chocht I couldna make a better investment than one that wad free my brither and the family frae debt, an' our faither's hame frae encumbrance. Sae I just paid oure the sum that the Bailie and ithers had on wadset o' Craigielinn; and now I am a puir man again and shall hae to depend on Jamie for a hame.”

“Nae, nae!” my faither cried. “It's a' your ain noo. Tak' it Davie—tak’ it, an' let me be your servant a' the rest o' my life, as it's nae mair than fittin' I should be, no bein' able to haud the lands when I had gotten them.”

Aye, but there were wet cheeks that e'en. But Madam stirred us a' up. “Hoots, toots!”—quo she— page 79 “I'll hae nae greetin' aboot sie things the nicht. Pit awa a' that's gane an' past. Gowanbraes—gie's some het toddy to drown it in; an' as we're lettin't donn we'll drink till the repentance o' Bailie Macbuist an' his cockered wean afore auld Nick comes to claim his ain—no that I wud grudge e'en that misguided creature his just dues.”