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Colin of the Ninth Concession
Chapter XLIX - Auld Peggy and Muckle Peter object to Revival Meetings


IT is not the purpose of this volume to record all the important happenings at the Scotch Settlement during the period in which the dramatis personae of the story were upon the stage, else would I pause to tell in detail of "the great Revival," which followed close upon the passing of poor Jamie.

Mr. Dunnie, who worked in connection with the Broad Street Mission in New York, and who had reached the widow’s home in time to preach Jamie’s funeral sermon, decided to remain in Canada, as he found the change beneficial to his indifferent health, and he inaugurated a series of revival meetings.

But there were two characters in the settlement who to the last would have nothing whatever to do with "they loud meetin’s," as they called them. These two were Auld Peggy and Muckle Peter.

Auld Peggy said she "cudna unnerstaun hoo ony sensible-like folk could be carried awa’ wi’ every wund o’ doaktrine. Here th’ folk hed aye hed a graun’ maun in their ain preacher, f’r nigh unto forty year, an’ whiles he hadna appeared tae lead mony souls intil th’ Kingdom, still he wis aye graun’ on doaktrine, an’ whan it cam’ tae preachin’ hell-fire, why, maun, ye could a’most see th’ flames an’ smell th’ smoke. Ah’m great on hell-fire," Peggy was wont to say, "bekase uf it were no’ f’r thet, what coansolation could a puir auld body like me hae? Wha’d iver get even wi’ McCallum f’r desertin’ his wife an’ bairns, an’ rinnin’ aff wi’ yoan hussy, uf he disna catch it in th’ flames? Uf it isna made hoat f’r hum, then it’ll be a sair disappointment tae Auld Peggy."

"Maun," she exclaimed, speaking to Jock, the drover, one day, "Ah goat sicna scunner last Sunday night. I hap’d intil th’ meetin’ in th’ skulehoouse merely oot o’ curiosity, an’ yoan maun wis talkin’. It wis aboot th’ twa thieves on th’ croas, an’ he wis tryin’ tae mak’ us a’ believe thet thar wis nathin’ sae muckle bawd f’r a maun til doo thet would shut him oot o’ Heaven. Weel, I kent unco better nor yoan, f’r uf there’s a chance f’r McCallum, then, what becomes o’ me? F’r Ah wouldna gang tae th’ same place uf Ah hed tae be drawn an’ quartered f’r it, like yoan brute Wasby. Indeed, speakin’ o’ Wasby, Ah’d much prefer tae be sent doon wi’ hum then ta tak’ ma place in th’ celestial coir wi’ McCallum. Na, na, Jock, ye caun tak’ ma word f’r ‘t, wings an’ McCallum is uncongruous; they winna ride tegither.

McCallum is elected f’r th’ ither place, else wha’d hae ony faith in th’ eternal justice o’ things?

"It’s a’ muckle weel tae blether aboot th’ thief on th’ croas, but fufty thieves on fufty croases can’t compare wi’ McCallum, an’ there’s an end till’t. Ah cudna staun th’ maun’s preachin’, an’ sae Ah up an’ tell’t hum sae, addin’, as Ah walkit doon th’ aisle, thet a maun wha wad preach salvation f’r McCallum didna know what he wis talkin’ aboot.

"Na, na," added Auld Peggy, after a pause and a whiff or two from her pipe, while she kicked the sleeping Dugal to see if he was alive, "Ah’m no’ gaun back tae th’ meetin’s again. Ah’ve hed ma fill, an’ eneuch’s es guid es a feast f’r Auld Peggy. Ah’ve no’ been sicna bawd woman all ma days, an’ Ah’ll tak’ ma chances wi’ th’ rest o’ ye.

"Come, Dugal," she said, giving the dog an admonitory kick, "we’d better be daunderin’ awa’ doon th’ Concession; th’ childer will be wantin’ us hame." And she trudged off, muttering imprecations upon the man who would preach salvation to the uttermost.

The other person who was down upon "the meetin’s" and the evangelists was Muckle Peter, and very bitter was the good Scotsman. The rock upon which he professed to split with the evangelists was the doctrine of election. But Jock, the drover, who was by all odds the shrewdest observer in the settlement, and who understood the weaknesses of his neighbours as did no other man in the district, assured me privately that Muckle Peter was piqued because he had not been asked to do the singing at the meetings.

"Jist think o’ an evangelist," Muckle Peter was once heard to remark in Dooley’s blacksmith shop, "holdin’ meetin’s wi’oot onybody tae raise th’ tunes! Why, ‘twas an insult tae oor musical edication tae hear yoan maun start thet tune which he pit till th’ words."

Peter referred to a song often used at the opening, doubtless for the purpose of calling in the settlers, who were wont, through habit, to loiter about the door, and sit on the top rails of adjoining fences, until the service actually commenced.

It is, however, only fair to Muckle Peter that the official objection which he gave to the evangelists should be recorded, and in order that no controversy may arise in the future as to the exact bearing of Peter’s objections, I give them in his own words.

"Ye see, it’s jist like this, Watty," for it was to me that he made the statement. "Ah wis brocht up a strict Presbyter, an’ Ah believe in th’ doaktrines o’ th’ kirk frae th’ boatum up, er uf ye like it better, frae th’ toap doon. Weel, it’s like thus; ma mither taucht me frae th’ cradle, an’ ye’ll aye fin’ it in th’ guid buik f’r yersel’, Watty, if ye’ll but tak’ th’ trouble tae hunt it oot, that ‘What is tae be wull be.’ Noo, Watty maun, there’s na gettin’ roun’ thet text."

I pointed out that his quotation was not a text.

"Thet disna matter a pin, Watty," he went on.

Scruptures an’ th’ Westmunster Confession air baith alike, an’ baith air sae thoraly inspired, thet it’s hard tae till ain frae th’ ither. Hae Ah no’ th’ hull buik aff by hairt th’ same’s Ah hae th’ Shoarter (he meant the Shorter Catechism) an’ th’ Psalms an’ maist o’ th’ Paraphrases es weel? But uf supposin’, Watty, lad, ye were richt, an’ there wis a dufference betwixt th’ twa buiks, can onybody coantrovert th’ graun’ roak boatum truth thet ‘What is tae be wull be?’

"Ye canna get roon’ it yersel’, Watty, an’ Ah hae great respeck f’r yer buik larnin’. Hoo could ony maun coantravert sicna truth es thus? A maun wha’s born tae be heng’t canna by ony poassibility be droonded. Noo, there’s a poser f’r ye, Watty!" And with a look of triumph in his face, as if the final word had been spoken, he leaned back in his chair and awaited my reply.

"You say that every person is born with an inevitable fate, and an inevitable destination before him; one man to be hanged, another to be drowned, another to be shot, and so on?"

"Aye thet’s exactly what Ah coantend; na, it’s what Ah maintain agin a’ corners, an’ ye canna get roon it, Watty, me maun!" Peter replied, with perfect confidence.

"So that if I were sliding down a precipice, it would be utter futility to put forth a hand to grip a shrub and save myself, because if I were destined to be saved I would be saved anyhow, and if not, I was born to have my life crushed out at the bottom of the precipice?"

Muckle Peter seemed slightly worried for a moment; then his face lit up, and he replied with this statement, which he regarded as one that utterly demolished me : —

"Why, Watty maun, dinna ye no’ see thet uf ye stretched oot yer haun’ an’ grippit th’ shrub, ye were no’ elected tae hae yer brains knockit oot at th’ boatum o’ th’ precipice?"


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