Amelia Edith Huddleston Barr.

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people said he looked happier than ever he had done, and pitied him
for his sick wife, and supposed he felt it a happy release to be rid
of her. So wrongly does the world, which knows nothing of our real
life, judge us.

You may see his gravestone in Glasgow Necropolis to-day, and people
will tell you that he was a great philanthropist, and gave away a
noble fortune to the sick and the ignorant; and you will probably
wonder to see only beneath his name the solemn text, "Vengeance is
mine; I will repay, saith the Lord."

Facing His Enemy.



Forty years ago there stood in the lower part of the city of Glasgow a
large, plain building which was to hundreds of very intelligent
Scotchmen almost sacred ground. It stood among warehouses and
factories, and in a very unfashionable quarter; but for all that, it
was Dr. William Morrison's kirk. And Dr. Morrison was in every respect
a remarkable man - a Scotchman with the old Hebrew fervor and
sublimity, who accepted the extremest tenets of his creed with a deep
religious faith, and scorned to trim or moderate them in order to suit
what he called "a sinfu' latitudinarian age."

Such a man readily found among the solid burghers of Glasgow a large
"following" of a very serious kind, douce, dour men, whose
strongly-marked features looked as if they had been chiselled out of
their native granite - men who settled themselves with a grave kind of
enjoyment to listen to a full hour's sermon, and who watched every
point their minister made with a critical acumen that seemed more
fitting to a synod of divines than a congregation of weavers and

A prominent man in this remarkable church was Deacon John Callendar.
He had been one of its first members, and it was everything to his
heart that Jerusalem is to the Jew, or Mecca to the Mohammedan. He
believed his minister to be the best and wisest of men, though he was
by no means inclined to allow himself a lazy confidence in this
security. It was the special duty of deacons to keep a strict watch
over doctrinal points, and though he had never had occasion to dissent
in thirty years' scrutiny, he still kept the watch.

In the temporal affairs of the church it had been different. There was
no definite creed for guidance in these matters, and eight or ten men
with strong, rugged wills about £, _s_., _d_., each thinking highly of
his own discretion in monetary affairs, and rather indifferently of
the minister's gifts in this direction, were not likely to have always
harmonious sessions.

They had had a decidedly inharmonious one early in January of 184-,
and Deacon Callendar had spoken his mind with his usual blunt
directness. He had been a good deal nettled at the minister's
attitude, for, instead of seconding his propositions, Dr. Morrison had
sat with a faraway, indifferent look, as if the pending discussion was
entirely out of his range of interest. John could have borne
contradiction better. An argument would have gratified him. But to
have the speech and statistics which he had so carefully prepared fall
on the minister's ear without provoking any response was a great trial
of his patience. He was inwardly very angry, though outwardly very
calm; but Dr. Morrison knew well what a tumult was beneath the dour
still face of the deacon as he rose from his chair, put on his plaid,
and pulled his bonnet over his brows.

"John," he said kindly, "you are a wise man, and I aye thought so. It
takes a Christian to lead passion by the bridle. A Turk is a placid
gentleman, John, but he cannot do it."

"Ou, ay! doubtless! There is talk o' the Turk and the Pope, but it is
my neighbors that trouble me the maist, minister. Good-night to ye
all. If ye vote to-night you can e'en count my vote wi' Dr.
Morrison's; it will be as sensible and warld-like as any o' the lave."

With this parting reflection he went out. It had begun to snow, and
the still, white solitude made him ashamed of his temper. He looked up
at the quiet heavens above him, then at the quiet street before him,
and muttered with a spice of satisfaction, "Speaking comes by nature,
and silence by understanding. I am thankfu' now I let Deacon Strang
hae the last word. I'm saying naught against Strang; he may gie good
counsel, but they'll be fools that tak it."


"Hout, Davie! Whatna for are you here?"

"It began to snow, and I thought you would be the better of your cloak
and umbrella. You seem vexed, uncle."

"Vexed? Ay. The minister is the maist contrary o' mortals. He kens
naething about church government, and he treats gude siller as if it
wasna worth the counting; but he's a gude man, and a great man, Davie,
and folk canna serve the altar and be money-changers too. I ought to
keep that i' mind. It's Deacon Strang, and no the minister."

"Well, uncle, you must just thole it; you know what the New Testament

"Ay, ay; I ken it says if a man be struck on one cheek, he must turn
the other; but, Davie, let me tell you that the man who gets the first
blow generally deserves the second. It is gude Christian law no to
permit the first stroke. That is my interpretation o' the matter."

"I never thought of that."

"Young folk don't think o' everything."

There was something in the tone of this last remark which seemed to
fit best into silence, and David Callendar had a particular reason for
not further irritating his uncle. The two men without any other remark
reached the large, handsome house in Blytheswood Square which was
their home. Its warmth and comfort had an immediate effect on the
deacon. He looked pleasantly at the blazing fire and the table on the
hearthrug, with its basket of oaten cakes, its pitcher of cream, and
its whiskey-bottle and toddy glasses. The little brass kettle was
simmering before the fire, his slippers were invitingly warm, his
loose coat lying over the back of his soft, ample chair, and just as
he had put them on, and sank down with a sigh of content, a bright old
lady entered with a spicy dish of kippered salmon.

"I thought I wad bring ye a bit relish wi' your toddy, deacon. Talking
is hungry wark. I think a man might find easier pleasuring than going
to a kirk session through a snowstorm."

"A man might, Jenny. They'd suit women-folk wonderfu'; there's plenty
o' talk and little wark."

"Then I dinna see ony call to mak a change, deacon."

"Now, Jenny, you've had the last word, sae ye can go to bed wi' an
easy mind. And, Jenny, woman, dinna let your quarrel wi' Maggie
Launder come between you and honest sleep. I think that will settle
her," he observed with a pawky smile, as his housekeeper shut the door
with unnecessary haste.

Half an hour afterwards, David, mixing another glass of toddy, drew
his chair closer to the fire, and said, "Uncle John, I want to speak
to you."

"Speak on, laddie;" but David noticed that even with the permission,
cautious curves settled round his uncle's eyes, and his face assumed
that business-like immobility which defied his scrutiny.

"I have had a very serious talk with Robert Leslie; he is thinking of
buying Alexander Hastie out."

"Why not think o' buying out Robert Napier, or Gavin Campbell, or
Clydeside Woolen Works? A body might as weel think o' a thousand
spindles as think o' fifty."

"But he means business. An aunt, who has lately died in Galloway, has
left him £2,000."

"That isna capital enough to run Sandy Hastie's mill."

"He wants me to join him."

"And how will that help matters? Twa thousand pounds added to Davie
Callendar will be just £2,000."

"I felt sure you would lend me £2,000; and in that case it would be a
great chance for me. I am very anxious to be - "

"Your ain maister."

"Not that altogether, uncle, although you know well the Callendars
come of a kind that do not like to serve. I want to have a chance to
make money."

"How much of your salary have you saved?"

"I have never tried to save anything yet, uncle, but I am going to

The old man sat silent for a few moments, and then said, "I wont do
it, Davie."

"It is only £2,000, Uncle John."

"_Only_ £2,000! Hear the lad! Did ye ever mak £2,000? Did ye ever save
£2,000? When ye hae done that ye'll ne'er put in the adverb, Davie.
_Only £2,000, indeed!_"

"I thought you loved me, uncle."

"I love no human creature better than you. Whatna for should I not
love you? You are the only thing left to me o' the bonnie brave
brother who wrapped his colors round him in the Afghan Pass, the
brave-hearted lad who died fighting twenty to one. And you are whiles
sae like him that I'm tempted - na, na, that is a' byganes. I will not
let you hae the £2,000, that is the business in hand."

"What for?"

"If you will hear the truth, that second glass o' whiskey is reason
plenty. I hae taken my ane glass every night for forty years, and I
hae ne'er made the ane twa, except New Year's tide."

"That is fair nonsense, Uncle John. There are plenty of men whom you
trust for more than £2,000 who can take four glasses for their
nightcap always."

"That may be; I'm no denying it; but what is lawfu' in some men is
sinfu' in others."

"I do not see that at all."

"Do you mind last summer, when we were up in Argyleshire, how your
cousin, Roy Callendar, walked, with ne'er the wink o' an eyelash, on a
mantel-shelf hanging over a three-hundred-feet precipice? Roy had the
trained eyesight and the steady nerve which made it lawfu' for him;
for you or me it had been suicide - naething less sinfu'. Three or four
glasses o' whiskey are safer for some men than twa for you. I hae been
feeling it my duty to tell you this for some time. Never look sae
glum, Davie, or I'll be thinking it is my siller and no mysel' you
were caring for the night when ye thought o' my cloak and umbrella."

The young man rose in a perfect blaze of passion.

"Sit down, sit down," said his uncle. "One would think you were your
grandfather, Evan Callendar, and that some English red-coat had trod
on your tartan. Hout! What's the use o' a temper like that to folk wha
hae taken to the spindle instead o' the claymore?"

"I am a Callendar for all that."

"Sae am I, sae am I, and vera proud o' it fore-bye. We are a' kin,
Davie; blood is thicker than water, and we wont quarrel."

David put down his unfinished glass of toddy. He could not trust
himself to discuss the matter any farther, but as he left the room he
paused, with the open door in his hand, and said,

"If you are afraid I am going to be a drunkard, why did you not care
for the fear before it became a question of £2,000? And if I ever do
become one, remember this, Uncle John - you mixed my first glass for


A positive blow could hardly have stunned John Callendar as this
accusation did. He could not have answered it, even if he had had an
opportunity, and the shock was the greater that it brought with it a
sudden sense of responsibility, yea, even guilt. At first the feeling
was one of anger at this sudden charge of conscience. He began to
excuse himself; he was not to blame if other people could not do but
they must o'erdo; then to assure himself that, being God's child,
there could be no condemnation in the matter to him. But his heart was
too tender and honest to find rest in such apologies, and close upon
his anger at the lad crowded a host of loving memories that would not
be put away.

David's father had been very dear to him. He recalled his younger
brother in a score of tender situations: the schoolhouse in which they
had studied cheek to cheek over one book; the little stream in which
they had paddled and fished on holidays, the fir-wood, the misty
corries, and the heathery mountains of Argyle; above all, he
remembered the last time that he had ever seen the bright young face
marching at the head of his company down Buchanan street on his way to
India. David's mother was a still tenderer memory, and John
Callendar's eyes grew misty as his heart forced him to recall that
dark, wintry afternoon when she had brought David to him, and he had
solemnly promised to be a father to the lad. It was the last promise
between them; three weeks afterwards he stood at her grave's side.
Time is said to dim such memories as these. It never does. After many
years some sudden event recalls the great crises of any life with all
the vividness of their first occurrence.

Confused as these memories were, they blended with an equal confusion
of feelings. Love, anger, regret, fear, perplexity, condemnation,
excuse, followed close on each other, and John's mind, though
remarkably clear and acute, was one trained rather to the
consideration of things point by point than to the catching of the
proper clew in a mental labyrinth. After an hour's miserable
uncertainty he was still in doubt what to do. The one point of comfort
he had been able to reach was the hope that David had gone straight to
Jenny with his grievance. "And though women-folk arena much as
counsellors," thought John, "they are wonderfu' comforters; and Jenny
will ne'er hear tell o' his leaving the house; sae there will be time
to put right what is wrong."

But though David had always hitherto, when lessons were hard or
lassies scornful, gone with his troubles to the faithful Jenny, he did
not do so at this time. He did not even bid her "Good-night," and
there was such a look on his face that she considered it prudent not
to challenge the omission.

"It will be either money or marriage," she thought. "If it be money,
the deacon has mair than is good for him to hae; if it be marriage, it
will be Isabel Strang, and that the deacon wont like. But it is his
ain wife Davie is choosing, and I am for letting the lad hae the lass
he likes best."

Jenny had come to these conclusions in ten minutes, but she waited
patiently for an hour before she interrupted her master. Then the
clock struck midnight, and she felt herself aggrieved. "Deacon," she
said sharply, "ye should mak the day day and the night night, and ye
would if ye had a three weeks' ironing to do the morn. It has chappit
twelve, sir."

"Jenny, I'm not sleeplike to-night. There hae been ill words between
David and me."

"And I am mair than astonished at ye, deacon. Ye are auld enough to
ken that ill words canna be wiped out wi' a sponge. Our Davie isna an
ordinar lad; he can be trusted where the lave would need a watcher. Ye
ken that, deacon, for he is your ain bringing up."

"But, Jenny, £2,000 for his share o' Hastie's mill! Surely ye didna
encourage the lad in such an idea?"

"Oh, sae it's money," thought Jenny. "What is £2,000 to you, deacon?
Why should you be sparing and saving money to die wi'? The lad isna a

"I dinna approve o' the partner that is seeking him, Jenny. I hae
heard things anent Robert Leslie that I dinna approve of; far from

"Hae ye _seen_ anything wrong?"

"I canna say I hae."

"Trust to your eyes, deacon; they believe themselves, and your ears
believe other people; ye ken which is best. His father was a decent

"Ay, ay; but Alexander Leslie was different from his son Robert. He
was a canny, cautious man, who could ding for his ain side, and who
always stood by the kirk. Robert left Dr. Morrison's soon after his
father died. The doctor was too narrow for Robert Leslie. Robert
Leslie has wonderfu' broad ideas about religion now. Jenny, I dinna
like the men who are their ain Bibles and ministers."

"But there are good folk outside Dr. Morrison's kirk, deacon, surely."

"We'll trust so, surely, we'll trust so, Jenny; but a man wi' broad
notions about religion soon gets broad notions about business and all
other things. Why, Jenny, I hae heard that Robert Leslie once spoke o'
the house o' John Callendar & Co. as 'old fogyish!'"

"That's no hanging matter, deacon, and ye must see that the world is

"Maybe, maybe; but I'se never help it to move except in the safe,
narrow road. Ye ken the Garloch mill-stream? It is narrow enough for a
good rider to leap, but it is deep, and it does its wark weel summer
and winter. They can break down the banks, woman, and let it spread
all over the meadow; bonnie enough it will look, but the mill-clapper
would soon stop. Now there's just sae much power, spiritual or
temporal, in any man; spread it out, and it is shallow and no to be
depended on for any purpose whatever. But narrow the channel, Jenny,
narrow the channel, and it is a driving force."

"Ye are getting awa from the main subject, deacon. It is the £2,000,
and ye had best mak up your mind to gie it to Davie. Then ye can gang
awa to your bed and tak your rest."

"You talk like a - like a woman. It is easy to gie other folks' siller
awa. I hae worked for my siller."

"Your siller, deacon? Ye hae naught but a life use o' it. Ye canna
take it awa wi' ye. Ye can leave it to the ane you like best, but that
vera person may scatter it to the four corners o' the earth. And why
not? Money was made round that it might roll. It is little good yours
is doing lying in the Clyde Trust."

"Jenny Callendar, you are my ain cousin four times removed, and you
hae a kind o' right to speak your mind in my house; but you hae said
enough, woman. It isna a question of money only; there are ither
things troubling me mair than that. But women are but one-sided
arguers. Good-night to you."

He turned to the fire and sat down, but after a few moments of the
same restless, confused deliberation, he rose and went to his Bible.
It lay open upon its stand, and John put his hand lovingly, reverently
upon the pages. He had no glasses on, and he could not see a letter,
but he did not need to.

"It is my Father's word," he whispered; and, standing humbly before
it, he recalled passage after passage, until a great calm fell upon
him. Then he said,

"I will lay me down and sleep now; maybe I'll see clearer in the
morning light."

Almost as soon as he opened his eyes in the morning there was a tap at
his door, and the gay, strong voice he loved so dearly asked,

"Can I come in, Uncle John?"

"Come in, Davie."

"Uncle, I was wrong last night, and I cannot be happy with any shadow
between us two."

Scotchmen are not demonstrative, and John only winked his eyes and
straightened out his mouth; but the grip of the old and young hand
said what no words could have said half so eloquently. Then the old
man remarked in a business-like way,

"I hae been thinking, Davie, I would go and look o'er Hastie's
affairs, and if I like the look o' them I'll buy the whole concern out
for you. Partners are kittle cattle. Ye will hae to bear their
shortcomings as well as your ain. Tak my advice, Davie; rule your
youth well, and your age will rule itsel'."

"Uncle, you forget that Robert Leslie is in treaty with Hastie. It
would be the height of dishonor to interfere with his bargain. You
have always told me never to put my finger in another man's bargain.
Let us say no more on the subject. I have another plan now. If it
succeeds, well and good; if not, there are chances behind this one."

John fervently hoped there would be no more to say on this subject,
and when day after day went by without any reference to Hastie or
Robert Leslie, John Callendar felt much relieved. David also had
limited himself to one glass of toddy at night, and this unspoken
confession and reformation was a great consolation to the old man. He
said to himself that the evil he dreaded had gone by his door, and he
was rather complacent over the bold stand he had taken.

That day, as he was slowly walking through the Exchange, pondering a
proposal for Virginia goods, Deacon Strang accosted him. "Callendar, a
good day to ye; I congratulate ye on the new firm o' Callendar &
Leslie. They are brave lads, and like enough - if a' goes weel - to do

John did not allow an eyelash to betray his surprise and chagrin. "Ah,
Strang!" he answered, "the Callendars are a big clan, and we are a'
kin; sae, if you tak to congratulating me on every Callendar whose
name ye see aboon a doorstep, you'll hae mair business on hand than
you'll ken how to manage. A good day to you!" But Deacon Callendar
went up Great George street that day with a heavy, angry heart. His
nephew opened the door for him. "Uncle John, I have been looking all
over for you. I have something to tell you."

"Fiddler's news, Davie. I hae heard it already. Sae you hae struck
hands wi' Robert Leslie after a', eh?"

"He had my promise, uncle, before I spoke to you. I could not break

"H'm! Where did you get the £2,000?"

"I borrowed it."

"Then I hope 'the party' looked weel into the business."

"They did not. It was loaned to me on my simple representation."

"'Simple representation!' Vera simple! It was some woman, dootless."

"It was my mother's aunt, Lady Brith."

"Ou, ay! I kent it. Weel, when a bargain is made, wish it good luck;
sae, Jenny, put a partridge before the fire, and bring up a bottle O'

It was not however a lively meal. John was too proud and hurt to ask
for information, and David too much chilled by his reserve to
volunteer it. The wine, being an unusual beverage to John, made him
sleepy; and when David said he had to meet Robert Leslie at nine
o'clock, John made no objection and no remark. But when Jenny came in
to cover up the fire for the night, she found him sitting before it,
rubbing his hands in a very unhappy manner.

"Cousin," he said fretfully, "there is a new firm in Glasgo' to-day."

"I hae heard tell o' it. God send it prosperity."

"It isna likely, Jenny; auld Lady Brith's money to start it! The
godless auld woman! If Davie taks her advice, he's a gane lad."

"Then, deacon, it's your ain fault. Whatna for did ye not gie him the

"Just hear the woman! It taks women and lads to talk o' £2,000 as if
it were picked up on the planestanes."

"If ye had loaned it, deacon, ye would hae had the right to spier into
things, and gie the lad advice. He maun tak his advice where he taks
his money. Ye flung that chance o' guiding Davie to the four winds.
And let me tell ye, Cousin Callendar, ye hae far too tight a grip on
this warld's goods. The money is only loaned to you to put out at
interest for the Master. It ought to be building kirks and
schoolhouses, and sending Bibles to the far ends o' the earth. When
you are asked what ye did wi' it, how will you like to answer, 'I hid
it safely awa, Lord, in the Clyde Trust and in Andrew Fleming's

"That will do, woman. Now you hae made me dissatisfied wi' my guiding
o' Davie, and meeserable anent my bank account, ye may gang to your
bed; you'll doobtless sleep weel on the thought."


However, sometimes things are not so ill as they look. The new firm
obtained favor, and even old, cautious men began to do a little
business with it. For Robert introduced some new machinery, and the
work it did was allowed, after considerable suspicion, to be "vera
satisfactory." A sudden emergency had also discovered to David that he
possessed singularly original ideas in designing patterns; and he set
himself with enthusiasm to that part of the business. Two years
afterwards came the Great Fair of 1851, and Callendar & Leslie took a
first prize for their rugs, both design and workmanship being
honorably mentioned.

Their success seemed now assured. Orders came in so fast that the mill
worked day and night to fill them; and David was so gay and happy that
John could hardly help rejoicing with him. Indeed, he was very proud
of his nephew, and even inclined to give Robert a little cautious
kindness. The winter of 1851 was a very prosperous one, but the spring
brought an unlooked-for change.

One evening David came home to dinner in a mood which Jenny
characterized as "_thrawart_." He barely answered her greeting, and
shut his room-door with a bang. He did not want any dinner, and he
wanted to be let alone. John looked troubled at this behavior. Jenny
said, "It is some lass in the matter; naething else could mak a
sensible lad like Davie act sae child-like and silly." And Jennie was
right. Towards nine o'clock David came to the parlor and sat down
beside his uncle. He said he had been "greatly annoyed."

"Annoyances are as certain as the multiplication table," John remarked
quietly, "and ye ought to expect them - all the mair after a long run
o' prosperity."

"But no man likes to be refused by the girl he loves."

"Eh? Refused, say ye? Wha has refused you?"

"Isabel Strang. I have loved her, as you and Jenny know, since we went
to school together, and I was sure that she loved me. Two days ago I

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Online LibraryAmelia Edith Huddleston BarrScottish sketches → online text (page 8 of 15)