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
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
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
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
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?"