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" AH,' SAID BABBIE, WITH A SIDE-GLANCE AT THE
MINISTER, I AM ONLY AN EGYPTIAN.'"
J. M. BARRIE
SNEW YORK BOSTON A
BY H. M. CALDWELL COMPANY
The Little Minister
I. THE LOVE-LIGHT I
II. RUNS ALONGSIDE THE MAKING OF A MIN-
III. THE NIGHT-WATCHERS 20
IV. FIRST COMING OF THE EGYPTIAN WOMAN 36
V. A WARLIKE. CHAPTER, CULMINATING IN
THE FLOUTING OF THE MINISTER BY THE
VI. IN WHICH THE SOLDIERS MEET THE AMA-
ZONS OF THRUMS .
VII. HAS THE FOLLY OF LOOKING INTO A
WOMAN'S EYES BY WAY OF TEXT 75
VIII. THREE A. M. MONSTROUS AUDACITY OF
THE WOMAN 83
IX. THE WOMAN CONSIDERED IN ABSENCE -
ADVENTURES OF A MILITARY CLOAK 95
X. FIRST SERMON AGAINST WOMEN 108
XI. TELLS IN A WHISPER OF MAN'S FALL
DURING THE CURLING SEASON 121
XII. TRAGEDY OF A MUD HOUSE 133
XIII. SECOND COMING OF THE EGYPTIAN WOMAN 141
XIV. THE MINISTER DANCES TO THE WOMAN'S
XV. THE MINISTER BEWITCHED SECOND SER-
MON AGAINST WOMEN 162
XVI. CONTINUED MISBEHAVIOUR OF THE EGYP-
TIAN WOMAN 172
XVII. INTRUSION OF HAGGART INTO THESE PAGES
AGAINST THE AUTHOR'S WISH 182
XVIII. CADDAM LOVE LEADING TO A RUPTURE 194
XIX. CIRCUMSTANCES LEADING TO THE FIRST
SERMON IN APPROVAL OF WOMEN 204
XX. END OF THE STATE OF INDECISION 213
XXI. NIGHT MARGARET FLASHING OF A
XXII. LOVERS 236
XXIII. CONTAINS A BIRTH, WHICH Is SUFFICIENT
FOR ONE CHAPTER 247
XXIV. THE NEW WORLD, AND THE WOMAN
WHO MAY NOT DWELL THEREIN 254
XXV. BEGINNING OF THE TWENTY-FOUR HOURS 261
XXVI. SCENE AT THE SPITTAL .27
XXVII. FIRST JOURNEY OF THE DOMINIE TO THRUMS
DURING THE TWENTY-FOUR HOURS 280
XXVIII. THE HILL BEFORE DARKNESS FELL -
SCENE OF THE IMPENDING CATASTROPHE 286
XXIX. STORY OF THE EGYPTIAN 294
XXX. THE MEETING FOR RAIN 304
XXXI. VARIOUS BODIES CONVERGING ON THE
XXXII. LEADING SWIFTLY TO THE APPALLING MAR-
XXXIII. WHILE THE TEN O'CLOCK BELL WAS
XXXIV. THE GREAT RAIN 339
XXXV. THE GLEN AT BREAK OF DAY 344
XXXVI. STORY OF THE DOMINIE 361
XXXVII. SECOND JOURNEY OF THE DOMINIE TO
THRUMS DURING THE TWENTY-FOUR
XXXVIII. THRUMS DURING THE TWENTY-FOUR
HOURS--DEFENCE OF THE MANSE 381
XXXIX. How BABBIE SPENT THE NIGHT OF AU-
GUST FOURTH 392
XL. BABBIE AND MARGARET DEFENCE OF
THE MANSE CONTINUED 399
XLI. RINTOUL AND BABBIE -BREAKDOWN OF
THE DEFENCE OF THE MANSE 408
XLII. MARGARET, THE PRECENTOR, AND GOD
XLIII. RAIN- MIST -THE JAWS 427
XLIV. END OF THE TWENTY-FOUR HOURS 439
XLV. TALK OF A LITTLE MAID SINCE GROWN
S' AH,' SAID BABBIE, WITH A SIDE GLANCE AT THE
MINISTER, 'I AM ONLY AN EGYPTIAN' Frontispiece
SSTOP I CRIED THE SERGEANT" 87
A CONVERSATION ABOUT A ROSE 187
" 'YOU COULD GANG TO YOUR BOX AND GIE OUT A
PSALM, TAMMAS,' SUGGESTED JOHN SPENS 306
ON the ninth of May, 1860, James Matthew
Barrie was born at Kirriemuir, a market
town of Forfarshire, Scotland, situated about
sixty miles north of Edinburgh. His father
and ancestors for several generations were born
in Thrums, as the quaint old town of Kirriemuir
is best known to Mr. Barrie's readers. He re-
ceived his early education at Dumfries Academy,
and when eighteen years of age began his studies
at Edinburgh University, where he stood high in
English literature. Graduating from college in
1882, he secured, after some months of idleness
in Edinburgh, a position as leader writer for the
Nottingham Journal, with which he remained for
about a year, when, after writing various articles
for metropolitan papers, he decided that there was
a broader field in London, where he established
himself early in 1885.
In 1887 his first tale, Better Dead," a satire
on London life, was published, followed in 1888
by "When a Man's Single" and "Auld Licht
Idylls," and later, "A Tillyloss Scandal."
A Window in Thrums," containing articles
originally contributed to f'he British Weekly, St.
James Gazette, and the National Observer, as well
as new matter, was published in book form in
May, 1889, and by many is considered the best
of the author's earlier works.
My Lady Nicotine," which originally ap-
peared in the St. James Gazette, is one of his first
books, but it was not published in book form
until April, 1890, when it was issued principally
to assert Mr. Barrie's authorship, it having been
attributed to other writers.
In 1891 "The Little Minister" appeared in
Good Words, and the same year was issued in
The author's later works are Sentimental
Tommy" and Margaret Ogilvy," both of
which were published in 1896, the former appear-
ing as a serial in Scribner's Magazine.
Mr. Barrie owes his fame to his vivid and
pathetic delineation of lowly Scotch life, in which
he has no equal.
The Little Minister
THE LOVE LIGHT
L ONG ago, in the days when our caged black-
birds never saw a king's soldier without
whistling impudently, Come ower the water
to Charlie," a minister of Thrums was to be mar-
ried, but something happened, and he remained
a bachelor. Then, when he was old, he passed in
our square the lady who was to have been his
wife, and her hair was white, but she, too, was
still unmarried. The meeting had only one wit-
ness, a weaver, and he said solemnly afterwards,
" They didna speak, but they just gave one an-
other a look, and I saw the love-light in their
een." No more is remembered of these two, no
being now living ever saw them, but the poetry
that was in the soul of a battered weaver makes
them human to us for ever.
It is of another minister I am to tell, but only
to those who know that light when they see it.
I am not bidding good-bye to many readers, for
though it is true that some men, of whom Lord
Rintoul was one, live to an old age without
The Little Minister
knowing love, few of us can have met them, and
of women so incomplete I never heard.
Gavin Dishart was barely twenty-one when he
and his mother came to Thrums, light-hearted
like the traveller who knows not what awaits him
at the bend of the road. It was the time of year
when the ground is carpeted beneath the firs with
brown needles, when split-nuts patter all day
from the beech, and children lay yellow corn on
the dominie's desk to remind him that now they
are needed in the fields. The day was so silent
that carts could be heard rumbling a mile away.
All Thrums was out in its wynds and closes -
a few of the weavers still in knee-breeches to
look at the new Auld Licht minister. I was
there, too, the dominie of Glen Quharity, which
is four miles from Thrums; and heavy was my
heart as I stood afar off so that Gavin's mother
might not have the pain of seeing me. I was the
only one in the crowd who looked at her more
than at her son.
Eighteen years had passed since we parted.
Already her hair had lost the brightness of its
youth, and she seemed to me smaller and more
fragile; and the face that I loved when I was a
hobbledehoy, and loved when I looked once
more upon it in Thrums, and always shall love
till die, was soft and worn. Margaret was an
old woman, and she was only forty-three: and I
am the man who made her old. As Gavin put
his eager, boyish face out at the carriage window,
many saw that he was holding her hand, but none
could be glad at the sight as the dominie was glad,
looking on at a happiness in which he dared not
The Love- Light
mingle. Margaret was crying because she was so
proud of her boy. Women do that. Poor sons
to be proud of, good mothers, but I would not
have you dry those tears.
When the little minister looked out at the
carriage window, many of the people drew back
humbly, but a little boy in a red frock with black
spots pressed forward and offered him a sticky
parly, which Gavin accepted, though not without
a tremor, for children were more terrible to him
then than bearded men. The boy's mother, try-
ing not to look elated, bore him away, but her
face said that he was made for life. With this
little incident Gavin's career in Thrums began.
I remembered it suddenly the other day when
wading across the wynd where it took place.
Many scenes in the little minister's life come back
to me in this way. The first time I ever thought
of writing his love story as an old man's gift to a
little maid since grown tall, was one night while I
sat alone in the schoolhouse; on my knees a
fiddle that has been my only living companion
since I sold my hens. My mind had drifted
back to the first time I saw Gavin and the Egyp-
tian together, and what set it wandering to that
midnight meeting was my garden gate shaking in
the wind. At a gate on the hill I had first en-
countered these two. It rattled in his hand, and
I looked up and saw them, and neither knew why
I had such cause to start at the sight. Then the
gate swung to. It had just such a click as mine.
These two figures on the hill are more real to
me than things that happened yesterday, but I do
not know that I can make them live to others.
The Little Minister
A ghost-show used to come yearly to Thrums on
the merry Muckle Friday, in which the illusion
was contrived by hanging a glass between the
onlookers and the stage. I cannot deny that
the comings and goings of the ghost were highly
diverting, yet the farmer of T'nowhead only
laughed because he had paid his money at the
hole in the door like the rest of us. T'nowhead
sat at the end of a form where he saw round the
glass and so saw no ghost. I fear my public
may be in the same predicament. I see the
little minister as he was at one and twenty, and
the little girl to whom this story is to belong
sees him, though the things I have to tell hap-
pened before she came into the world. But there
are reasons why she should see; and I do not
know that I can provide the glass for others. If
they see round it, they will neither laugh nor cry
with Gavin and Babbie.
When Gavin came to Thrums he was as I am
now, for the pages lay before him on which he
was to write his life. Yet he was not quite as I
am. The life of every man is a diary in which
he means to write one story, and writes another;
and his humblest hour is when he compares the
volume as it is with what he vowed to make it.
But the biographer sees the last chapter while he
is still at the first, and I have only to write over
with ink what Gavin has written in pencil.
How often is it a phanton woman who draws
the man from the way he meant to go ? So was
man created, to hunger for the ideal that is above
himself, until one day there is magic in the air,
and the eyes of a girl rest upon him. He does
The Love- Light
not know that it is he himself who crowned her,
and if the girl is as pure as he, their love is the
one form of idolatry that is not quite ignoble. It
is the joining of two souls on their way to God.
But if the woman be bad, the test of the man is
when he wakens from his dream. The nobler
his ideal, the further will he have been hurried
down the wrong way, for those who only run
after little things will not go far. His love may
now sink into passion, perhaps only to stain its
wings and rise again, perhaps to drown.
Babbie, what shall I say of you to make me
write these things ? I am not your judge. Shall
we not laugh at the student who chafes when be-
tween him and his book comes the song of the
thrushes, with whom, on the mad night you
danced into Gavin's life, you had more in com-
mon than with Auld Licht ministers? The glad-
ness of living was in your step, your voice was
melody, and he was wondering what love might
You were the daughter of a summer night,
born where all the birds are free, and the moon
christened you with her soft light to dazzle the
eyes of man. Not our little minister alone was
stricken by you into his second childhood. To
look upon you was to rejoice that so fair a thing
,could be; to think of you is still to be young.
Even those who called you a little devil, of
whom I have been one, admitted that in the
end you had a soul, though not that you had
been born with one. They said you stole it, and
so made a woman of yourself. But again I say
I am not your judge, and when I picture you as
The Little Minister
Gavin saw you first, a bare-legged witch dancing
up Windyghoul, rowan berries in your black
hair, and on your finger a jewel the little
minister could not have bought with five years
of toil, the shadows on my pages lift, and I
cannot wonder that Gavin loved you.
Often I say to myself that this is to be Gavin's
story, not mine. Yet must it be mine, too, in a
manner, and of myself I shall sometimes have to
speak; not willingly, for it is time my little tragedy
had died of old age. I have kept it to myself so
long that now I would stand at its grave alone.
It is true that when I heard who was to be the
new minister I hoped for a day that the life broken
in Harvie might be mended in Thrums, but two
minutes' talk with Gavin showed me that Mar-
garet had kept from him the secret which was
hers and mine, and so knocked the bottom out
of my vain hopes. I did not blame her then, nor
do I blame her now, nor shall any one who blames
her ever be called friend by me; but it was bitter
to look at the white manse among the trees and
know that I must never enter it. For Margaret's
sake I had to keep aloof, yet this new trial came
upon me like our parting at Harvie. I thought
that in those eighteen years my passions had
burned like a ship till they sank, but I suffered
again as on that awful night when Adam Dishart
came back, nearly killing Margaret and tearing up
all my ambitions by the root in a single hour. I
waited in Thrums until I had looked again on
Margaret, who thought me dead, and Gavin, who
had never heard of me, and then I trudged back
to the schoolhouse. Something I heard of them
The Love Light 7
from time to time during the winter, for in the
gossip of Thrums I was well posted, but much
of what is to be told here I only learned after-
wards from those who knew it best. Gavin heard
of me at times as the dominie in the glen who had
ceased to attend the Auld Licht kirk, and Mar-
garet did not even hear of me. It was all I could
do for them.
RUNS ALONGSIDE THE MAKING OF A MINISTER
ON the east coast of Scotland, hidden, as if in
a quarry, at the foot of cliffs that may one
day fall forward, is a village called Harvie. So
has it shrunk since the day when I skulked from
it that I hear of a traveller's asking lately at one
of its doors how far he was from a village; yet
Harvie throve once and was celebrated even in
distant Thrums for its fish. Most of our weav-
ers would have thought it as unnatural not to
buy harvies in the square on the Muckle Friday,
as to let Saturday night pass without laying in a
sufficient stock of halfpennies to go round the
Gavin was born in Harvie, but left it at such
an early age that he could only recall thatched
houses with nets drying on the roofs, and a sandy
shore in which coarse grass grew. In the picture
he could not pick out the house of his birth,
though he might have been able to go to it had
he ever returned to the village. Soon he learned
that his mother did not care to speak of Harvie,
and perhaps he thought that she had forgotten it,
too, all save one scene to which his memory still
guided him. When his mind wandered to Har-
vie, Gavin saw the door of his home open and a
fisherman enter, who scratched his head and then
The Making of a Ministe'r
said, "Your man's drowned, missis." Gavin
seemed to see many women crying, and his
mother staring at them with a face suddenly
painted white, and next to hear a voice that was
his own saying, Never mind, mother; I'll be
a man to you now, and I'll need breeks for the
burial." But Adam required no funeral, for his
body lay deep in the sea.
Gavin thought that this was the tragedy of his
mother's life, and the most memorable event of
his own childhood. But it was neither. When
Margaret, even after she came to Thrums, thought
of Harvie, it was not at Adam's death she shud-
dered, but at the recollection of me.
It would ill become me to take a late revenge
on Adam Dishart now by saying what is not true
of him. Though he' died a fisherman, he was a
sailor for a great part of his life, and doubtless his
recklessness was washed into him on the high seas,
where in his time men made a crony of death,
and drank merrily over dodging it for another
night. To me his roars of laughter without cause
were as repellent as a boy's drum; yet many
faces that were long in my company brightened
at his coming, and women, with whom, despite
my yearning, I was in no wise a favourite, ran to
their doors to listen to him as readily as to the
bell-man. Children scurried from him if his
mood was savage, but to him at all other times,
while me they merely disregarded. There was
always a smell of the sea about him. He had
a rolling gait, unless he was drunk, when he
walked very straight, and before both sexes he
boasted that any woman would take him for his
The Little Minister
beard alone. Of this beard he took prodigious
care, though otherwise thinking little of his
appearance, and I now see that he understood
women better than I did, who had nevertheless
reflected much about them. It cannot be said
that he was vain, for though he thought he
attracted women strangely, that, I maintain, is a
weakness common to all men, and so no more to
be marvelled at than a stake in a fence. Foreign
oaths were the nails with which he held his talk
together, yet I doubt not they were a curiosity
gathered at sea, like his chains of shells, more for
his own pleasure than for others' pain. His
friends gave them no weight, and when he wanted
to talk emphatically he kept them back, though
they were then as troublesome to him as eggs to
the bird-nesting boy who has to speak with his
spoil in his mouth.
Adam was drowned on Gavin's fourth birth-
day, a year after I had to leave Harvie. He was
blown off his smack in a storm, and could not
reach the rope his partner flung him. It's
no go, lad," he shouted; "so long, Jim," and
A month afterwards Margaret sold her share
in the smack, which was all Adam left her,
and the furniture of the house was rouped. She
took Gavin to Glasgow, where her only brother
needed a housekeeper, and there mother and son
remained until Gavin got his call to Thrums.
During those seventeen years I lost knowledge
of them as completely as Margaret had lost
knowledge of me. On hearing of Adam's death
I went back to Harvie to try to trace her, but
The Making of a Minister 11
she had feared this, and so told no one where she
According to Margaret, Gavin's genius showed
itself while he was still a child. He was born
with a brow whose nobility impressed her from
the first. It was a minister's brow, and though
Margaret herself was no scholar, being as slow to
read as she was quick at turning bannocks on the
girdle, she decided, when his age was still counted
by months, that the ministry had need of him.
In those days the first question asked of a child
was not, "Tell me your name," but What are
you to be?" and one child in every family
replied, "A minister." He was set apart for
the Church as doggedly as the shilling a week
for the rent, and the rule held good though the
family consisted of only one boy. From his
earliest days Gavin thought he had been fash-
ioned for the ministry as certainly as a spade for
digging, and Margaret rejoiced and marvelled
threat, though she had made her own puzzle.
An enthusiastic mother may bend her son's mind
as she chooses if she begins at once; nay, she
may do stranger things. I know a mother in
Thrums who loves "features," and had a child
born with no chin to speak of. The neighbours
expected this to bring her to the dust, but it only
showed what a mother can do. In a few months
that child had a chin with the best of them.
Margaret's brother died, but she remained in
his single room, and, ever with a picture of her
son in a pulpit to repay her, contrived to keep
Gavin at school. Everything a woman's fingers
can do Margaret's did better than most, and
The Little Minister
among the wealthy people who employed her
- would that I could have the teaching of the
sons of such as were good to her in those hard
days -her gentle manner was spoken of. For
though Margaret had no schooling, she was a
lady at heart, moving and almost speaking as one
even in Harvie, where they did not perhaps like
her the better for it.
At six Gavin hit another boy hard for belong-
ing to the Established Church, and at seven he
could not lose himself in the Shorter Catechism.
His mother expounded the Scriptures to him till
he was eight, when he began to expound them to
her. By this time he was studying the practical
work of the pulpit as enthusiastically as ever med-
ical student cut off a leg. From a front pew in
the gallery Gavin watched the minister's every
movement, noting that the first thing to do on
ascending the pulpit is to cover your face with
your hands, as if the exalted position affected you
like a strong light, and the second to move the
big Bible slightly, to show that the kirk officer,
not having had a university education, could not
be expected to know the very spot on which it
ought to lie. Gavin saw that the minister joined
in the singing more like one countenancing a
seemly thing than because he needed it himself,
and that he only sang a mouthful now and again
after the congregation was in full pursuit of the
precentor. It was noteworthy that the first prayer
lasted longer than all the others, and that to
read the intimations about the Bible-class and
the collection elsewhere than immediately before
the last Psalm would have been as sacrilegious as
The Making of a Minister
to insert the dedication to King James at the end
of Revelation. Sitting under a minister justly
honoured in his day, the boy was often some
words in advance of him, not vainglorious of his
memory, but fervent, eager, and regarding the
preacher as hardly less sacred than the Book.
Gavin was encouraged by his frightened yet
admiring mother to saw the air from their pew
as the minister sawed it in the pulpit, and two
benedictions were pronounced twice a Sabbath
in that church, in the same words, the same
manner, and simultaneously.
There was a black year when the things of this
world, especially its pastimes, took such a grip of
Gavin that he said to Margaret he would rather
be good at the high jump than the author of
"The Pilgrim's Progress." That year passed,
and Gavin came to his right mind. One after-
noon Margaret was at home making a glengarry
for him out of a piece of carpet, and giving it a
tartan edging, when the boy bounded in from
school, crying, Come quick, mother, and you'll
see him." Margaret reached the door in time to
see a street musician flying from Gavin and his
friends. Did you take stock of him, mother ? "
the boy asked when he reappeared with the mark
of a muddy stick on his back. He's a Papist!
-a sore sight, mother, a sore sight. We stoned
him for persecuting the noble Martyrs."
When Gavin was twelve he went to the uni-
versity, and also got a place in a shop as errand
boy. He used to run through the streets between
his work and his classes. Potatoes and salt fish,
which could then be got at two pence the pound
The Little Minister
if bought by the half hundredweight, were his
food. There was not always a good meal for two,
yet when Gavin reached home at night there was
generally something ready for him, and Margaret
had supped "hours ago." Gavin's hunger urged
him to fall to, but his love for his mother made
"What did you have yourself, mother ? he
would demand, suspiciously.
Oh, I had a fine supper, I assure you."
"What had you? "
I had potatoes, for one thing."
"And dripping? "
"You may be sure."
Mother, you're cheating me. The dripping
hasn't been touched since yesterday."
"I dinna don't care for dripping no
Then would Gavin stride the room fiercely, a
queer little figure.
Do you think I'll stand this, mother? Will
I let myself be pampered with dripping and every
delicacy while you starve? "
Gavin, I really dinna care for dripping."
"Then I'll give up my classes, and we can
I assure you I'm no hungry. It's different
wi' a growing laddie."
I'm not a growing laddie," Gavin would say,
bitterly; "but, mother, I warn you that not an-
other bite passes my throat till I see you eating,
So Margaret had to take her seat at the table,
and when she said I can eat no more," Gavin
The Making of a Minister
retorted, sternly, "Nor will I, for fine I see through
These two were as one far more than most mar-
ried people, and, just as Gavin in his childhood
reflected his mother, she now reflected him. The
people for whom she sewed thought it was contact
with them that had rubbed the broad.Scotch from
her tongue, but she was only keeping pace with
Gavin. When she was excited the Harvie words
came back to her, as they come back to me. I
have taught the English language all my life, and
I try to write it, but everything I say in this book
I first think to myself in the Doric. This, too, I
notice, that in talking to myself I am broader than
when gossiping with the farmers of the glen, who
send their children to me to learn English, and
then jeer at them if they say old lights instead
of auld lichts."
To Margaret it was happiness to sit through
the long evenings sewing, and look over her work
at Gavin as he read or wrote or recited to himself
the learning of the schools. But she coughed
every time the weather changed, and then Gavin
You must go to your bed, mother," he would
say, tearing himself from his books ; or he would
sit beside her and talk of the dream that was
common to both,-a dream of a manse where
Margaret was mistress and Gavin was called the
minister. Every night Gavin was at his mother's
bedside to wind her shawl round her feet, and
while he did it Margaret smiled.
Mother, this is the chaff pillow you've taken
out of my bed, and given me your feather one."
The Little Minister
"Gavin, you needna change them. I winna
have the feather pillow."
"Do you dare to think I'll let.you sleep on
chaff? Put up your head. Now, is that soft? "
"It's fine. I dinna deny but what I sleep
better on feathers. Do you mind, Gavin, you
bought this pillow for me the moment you got
your bursary money? "
The reserve that is a wall between many of the
Scottish poor had been broken down by these
two. When he saw his mother sleeping happily,
Gavin went back to his work. To save the ex-
pense of a lamp, he would put his book almost
beneath the dying fire, and, taking the place of
the fender, read till he was shivering with cold.
"Gavin, it is near morning, and you not in
your bed yet! What are you thinking about so
"Oh, mother, I was wondering if the time
would ever come when I would be a minister,
and you would have an egg for your breakfast
So the years passed, and soon Gavin would be
a minister. He had now sermons to prepare, and
every one of them was first preached to Margaret.
How solemn was his voice, how his eyes flashed,
how stern were his admonitions.
"Gavin, such a sermon I never heard. The
spirit of God is on you. I'm ashamed you should
have me for a mother."
God grant, mother," Gavin said, little think-
ing what was soon to happen, or he would have
made this prayer on his knees, "that you may
never be ashamed to have me for a son."
The Making of a Minister
Ah, mother," he would say, wistfully, it is
not a great sermon, but do you think I'm preach-
ing Christ? That is what I try, but I'm carried
away and forget to watch myself."
"The Lord has you by the hand, Gavin; and,
mind, I dinna say that because you're my laddie."
"Yes, you do, mother, and well I know it, and
yet it does me good to hear you."
That it did him good I, who would fain have
shared those days with them, am very sure. The
praise that comes of love does not make us vain,
but humble rather. Knowing what we are, the
pride that shines in our mother's eyes as she looks
at us is about the most pathetic thing a man has
to face, but he would be a devil altogether if it
did not burn some of the sin out of him.
Not long before Gavin preached for our kirk
and got his call, a great event took place in the
little room at Glasgow. The student appeared
for the first time before his mother in his minis-
terial clothes. He wore the black silk hat, that
was destined to become a terror to evil-doers in
Thrums, and I dare say he was rather puffed up
about himself that day. You would probably
have smiled at him.
It's a pity I'm so little, mother," he said with
"You're no what I would call a particularly
long man," Margaret said, but you're just the
height I like."
Then Gavin went out in his grandeur, and
Margaret cried for an hour. She was thinking
of me as well as of Gavin, and, as it happens, I
know that I was thinking at the same time of her.
The Little Minister
Gavin kept a diary in those days, which I have
seen, and by comparing it with mine I discovered
that, while he was showing himself to his mother
in his black clothes, I was on my way back from
Tilliedrum, where I had gone to buy a sand-
glass for the school. The one I bought was so
like another.Margaret had used at Harvie that it
set me thinking of her again all the way home.
This is a matter hardly worth mentioning, and
yet it interests me.
Busy days followed the call to Thrums, and
Gavin had difficulty in forcing himself to his ser-
mons when there was always something more to
tell his mother about the weaving town they were
going to, or about the manse or the furniture that
had been transferred to him by the retiring min-
ister. The little room which had become so
familiar that it seemed one of a family party of
three had to be stripped, and many of its con-
tents were sold. Among what were brought to
Thrums was a little exercise book, in which Mar-
garet had tried, unknown to Gavin, to teach her-
self writing and grammar, that she might be less
unfit for a manse. He found it accidentally one
day. It was full of I am, thou art, he is," and
the like, written many times in a shaking hand.
Gavin put his arms round his mother when he
saw what she had been doing. The exercise book
is in my desk now, and will be my little maid's
when I die.
Gavin, Gavin," Margaret said many times in
those last days at Glasgow, "to think it has all
come true! "
Let the last word you say in the house be a
The Making of a Minister 19
prayer of thankfulness," she whispered to him
when they were taking a final glance at the old
In the bare room they called the house, the
little minister and his mother went on their
knees, but, as it chanced, their last word there
was not addressed to God.
Gavin," Margaret whispered as he took her
arm, "do you think this bonnet sets me?"
THE NIGHT- WATCHERS
WHAT first struck Margaret in Thrums
was the smell of the caddis. The town
smells of caddis no longer, but whiffs of it may
be got even now as one passes the houses of the
old, where the lay still swings at little windows
like a great ghost pendulum. To me it is a
homely smell, which I draw in with a great
breath, but it was as strange to Margaret as the
weavers themselves, who, in their coloured night-
caps and corduroys streaked with threads, gazed
at her and Gavin. The little minister was trying
to look severe and old, but twenty-one was in his
Look, mother, at that white house with the
green roof. That is the manse."
The manse stands high, with a sharp eye on
all the town. Every back window in the Tene-
ments has a glint of it, and so the back of the
Tenements is always better behaved than the
front. It was in the front that Jamie Don, a
pitiful bachelor all his life because he thought the
women proposed, kept his ferrets, and here, too,
Beattie hanged himself, going straight to the
clothes-posts for another rope when the first one
broke, such was his determination. In the front
Sanders Gilruth openly boasted (on Don's potato-
pit) that by having a seat in two churches he
could lie in bed on Sabbath and get the credit of
being at one or other. (Gavin made short work
of him.) To the right-minded the Auld Licht
manse was as a family Bible, ever lying open
before them, but Beattie spoke for more than
himself when he said, Dagone that manse! I
never gie a swear but there it is glowering at me."'
The manse looks down on the town from the
northeast, and is reached from the road that
leaves Thrums behind it in another moment by
a wide, straight path, so rough that to carry a
fraught of water to the manse without spilling
was to be superlatively good at one thing. Pack-
ages in a cart it set leaping like trout in a fishing-
creel. Opposite the opening of the garden wall
in the manse, where for many years there had
been an intention of putting up a gate, were two
big stones a yard apart, standing ready for the
winter, when the path was often a rush of yellow
water, and this the only bridge to the glebe dyke,
down which the minister walked to church.
When Margaret entered the manse on Gavin's
arm, it was a whitewashed house of five rooms,
with a garret in which the minister could sleep
if he had guests, as during the Fast week. It
stood with its garden within high walls, and the
roof facing southward was carpeted with moss
that shone in the sun in a dozen shades of green
and yellow. Three firs guarded the house from
west winds, but blasts from the north often tore
down the steep fields and skirled through the
manse, banging all its doors at once. A beech,
growing on the east side, leant over the roof as
The Little Minister
if to gossip with the well in the courtyard. The
garden was to the south, and was overfull of
gooseberry and currant bushes. It contained a
summer seat where strange things were soon to
Margaret would not even take off her bonnet
until she had seen through the manse and opened
all the presses. The parlour and kitchen were
down-stairs, and of the three rooms above, the
study was so small that Gavin's predecessor could
touch each of its walls without shifting his posi-
tion. Every room save Margaret's had long-
lidded beds, which close as if with shutters, but
hers was coff-fronted, or comparatively open,
with carving on the wood like the ornamentation
of coffins. Where there were children in a house
they liked to slope the boards of the closed-in
bed against the dresser, and play at sliding down
mountains on them.
But for many years there had been no children
in the manse. He in whose ways Gavin was to
attempt the heavy task of walking had been a
widower three months after his marriage, a man
narrow when he came to Thrums, but so large-
hearted when he left it that I, who know there is
good in all the world because of the lovable souls
I have met in this corner of it, yet cannot hope
that many are as near to God as he. The
most gladsome thing in the world is that few of
us fall very low; the saddest that, with such
capabilities, we seldom rise high. Of those who
stand perceptibly above their fellows I have
known very few; only Mr. Carfrae and two or
Gavin only saw a very frail old minister who
shook as he walked, as if his feet were striking
against stones. He was to depart on the morrow
to the place of his birth, but he came to the
manse to wish his successor Godspeed. Strangers
were so formidable to Margaret that she only
saw him from her window.
May you never lose sight of God, Mr.
Dishart," the old man said in the parlour. Then
he added, as if he had asked too much: May
you never turn from Him as I often did when I
was a lad like you."
As this aged minister, with the beautiful face
that God gives to all who love Him and follow
His commandments, spoke of his youth, he
looked wistfully round the faded parlour.
"It is like a dream," he said. "The first
time I entered this room the thought passed
through me that I would cut down that cherry-
tree, because it kept out the light, but, you see,
it outlives me. I grew old while looking for the
axe. Only yesterday I was the young minister,
Mr. Dishart, and to-morrow you will be the old
one, bidding good-bye to your successor."
His eyes came back to Gavin's eager face.
You are very young, Mr. Dishart ?"
"Twenty-one! Ah, my dear sir, you do not
know how pathetic that sounds to me. Twenty-
one! We are children for the second time at
twenty-one, and again when we are gray and put
all our burden on the Lord. The young talk
generously of relieving the old of their burdens,
'but the anxious heart is to the old when they see
The Little Minister
a load on the back of the young. Let me tell
you, Mr. Dishart, that I would condone many
things in one and twenty now that I dealt hardly
with at middle age. God Himself, I think, is
very willing to give one and twenty a second
I am afraid," Gavin said, anxiously, "that I
look even younger."
I think," Mr. Carfrae answered, smiling,
"that your heart is as fresh as your face; and
that is well. The useless men are those who
never change with the years. Many views that I
held to in my youth and long afterwards are a
pain to me now, and I am carrying away from
Thrums memories of errors into which I fell at
every stage of my ministry. When you are
older you will know that life is a long lesson in
I hope," he said, nervously, that you don't
sing the Paraphrases ? "
Mr. Carfrae had not grown out of all his
prejudices, you see; indeed, if Gavin had been
less bigoted than he on this question they might
have parted stiffly. The old minister would rather
have remained to die in his pulpit than surrender
it to one who read his sermons. Others may blame
him for this, but I must say here plainly that I
never hear a minister reading without wishing to
send him back to college.
"I cannot deny," Mr. Carfrae said, "that I
broke down more than once to-day. .This fore-
noon I was in Tillyloss, for the last time, and it
so happens that there is scarcely a house in it in
which I have not had a marriage or prayed over
a coffin. Ah, sir, these are the scenes that make
the minister more than all his sermons. You
must join the family, Mr. Dishart, or you are
only a minister once a week. And remember
this, if your call is from above, it is a call to
stay. Many such partings in a lifetime as I
have had to-day would be too heartrending."
"And yet," Gavin said, hesitatingly, they
told me in Glasgow that I had received a call
from the mouth of hell."
"Those were cruel words, but they only mean
that people who are seldom more than a day's
work in advance of want sometimes rise in arms
for food. Our weavers are passionately religious,
and so independent that they dare any one to
help them, but if their wages were lessened they
could not live. And so at talk of reduction they
catch fire. Change of any kind alarms them, and
though they call themselves Whigs, they rose a
few years ago over the paving of the streets and
stoned the workmen, who were strangers, out of
"And though you may have thought the
place quiet to-day, Mr. Dishart, there was an
ugly outbreak only two months ago, when the
weavers turned on the manufacturers for reducing
the price of the web, made a bonfire of some of
their doors, and terrified one of them into leaving
Thrums. Under the command of some Chart-
ists, the people next paraded the streets to the
music of fife and drum, and six policemen who
drove up from Tilliedrum in a light cart were
sent back tied to the seats."
The Little Minister
No one has been punished ? "
Not yet, but nearly two years ago there was
a similar riot, and the sheriff took no action for
months. Then one night the square suddenly
filled with soldiers, and the ringleaders were
seized in their beds. Mr. Dishart, the people
are determined not to be caught in that way
again, and ever since the rising a watch has
been kept by night on every road that leads
to Thrums. The signal that the soldiers are
coming is to be the blowing of a horn. If you
ever hear that horn, I implore you to hasten
to the square."
The weavers would not fight?"
"You do not know how the Chartists have
fired this part of the country. One misty day,
a week ago, I was on the hill; I thought I had
it to myself, when suddenly I heard a voice cry
sharply, c Shoulder arms.' I could see no one,
and after a moment I put it down to a freak
of the wind. Then all at once the mist before
me blackened, and a body of men seemed to
grow out of it. They were not shadows; they
were Thrums weavers drilling, with pikes in
"They broke up," Mr. Carfrae continued,
after a pause, "at my entreaty, but they have
met again since then."
"And there were Auld Lichts among them? "
Gavin asked. I should have thought they
would be frightened at our precentor, Lang
Tammas, who seems to watch for backsliding
in the congregation as if he had pleasure in
Gavin spoke with feeling, for the precentor
had already put him through his catechism, and
it was a stiff ordeal.
"The precentor! said Mr. Carfrae. "Why,
he was one of them."
The old minister, once so brave a figure,
tottered as he rose to go, and reeled in a diz-
ziness until he had walked a few paces. Gavin
went with him to the foot of the manse road;
without his hat, as all Thrums knew before
I begin," Gavin said, as they were parting,
"where you leave off, and my prayer is that I
may walk in your ways."
"Ah, Mr. Dishart," the white-haired minister
said, with a sigh, "the world does not progress
so quickly as a man grows old. You only begin
where I began."
He left Gavin, and then, as if the little minis-
ter's last words had hurt him, turned and sol-
emnly pointed his staff upward. Such men are
the strong nails that keep the world together.
The twenty-one-years-old minister returned to
the manse somewhat sadly, but when he saw his
mother at the window of her bedroom, his heart
leapt at the thought that she was with him and he
had eighty pounds a year. Gaily he waved both
his hands to her, and she answered with a smile,
and then, in his boyishness, he jumped over a
gooseberry bush. Immediately afterwards he
reddened and tried to look venerable, for while
in the air he had caught sight of two women and
a man watching him from the dyke. He walked
severely to the door, and, again forgetting
The Little Minister
himself, was bounding up-stairs to Margaret,
when Jean, the servant, stood scandalised in his
I don't think she caught me," was Gavin's
reflection, and "The Lord preserve's!" was
Gavin found his mother wondering how one
should set about getting a cup of tea in a house
that had a servant in it. He boldly rang the
bell, and the willing Jean answered it so promptly
(in a rush and jump) that Margaret was as much
startled as Aladdin the first time he rubbed his
Manse servants of the most admired kind
move softly, as if constant contact with a min-
ister were goloshes to them; but Jean was new
and raw, only having got her place because her
father might be an elder any day. She had
already conceived a romantic affection for her
master; but to say sir" to him as she
thirsted to do would have been as difficult
to her as to swallow oysters. So anxious was
she to please that when Gavin rang she fired her-
self at the bedroom, but bells were novelties to
her as well as to Margaret, and she cried,
excitedly, "What is 't?" thinking the house
must be on fire.
"There's a curran folk at the back door,"
Jean announced later, "and their respects to
you, and would you gie them some water out o'
the well ? It has been a drouth this aucht days,
and the pumps is locked. Na," she said, as
Gavin made a too liberal offer, that would
toom the well, and there's jimply enough for
oursels. I should tell you, too, that three o'
them is no Auld Lichts."
Let that make no difference," Gavin said,
grandly, but Jean changed his message to: "A
bowlful apiece to Auld Lichts; all other denom-
inations one cupful."
Ay, ay," said Snecky Hobart, letting down
the bucket, "and we'll include atheists among
other denominations." The conversation came
to Gavin and Margaret through the kitchen
Dinna class Jo Cruickshanks wi' me," said
Sam'l Langlands the U. P.
"Na, na," said Cruickshanks the atheist,
"I'm ower independent to be religious. I
dinna gang to the kirk to cry, 'Oh, Lord, gie,
Take tent o' yourself my man," said Lang
Tammas, sternly, "or you'll soon be whaur you
would neifer the warld for a cup o' that cauld
Maybe you've ower keen an interest in the
devil, Tammas," retorted the atheist; "but, ony
way, if it's heaven for climate, it's hell for com-
Lads," said Snecky, sitting down on the
bucket, "we'll send Mr. Dishart to Jo. He'll
make another Rob Dow o' him."
Speak mair reverently o' your minister,"
said the precentor. He has the gift."
I hinna naturally your solemn rasping word,
Tammas, but in the heart I speak in all rever-
ence. Lads, the minister has a word I tell you
he prays near like one giving orders."
The Little Minister
"At first," Snecky continued, I thocht yon
lang candidate was the earnestest o' them a', and
I dinna deny but when I saw him wi' his head
bowed-like in prayer during the singing I says to
mysel', 'Thou art the man.' Ay, but Betsy
wraxed up her head, and he wasna praying. He
was combing his hair wi' his fingers on the sly."
"You ken fine, Sneck," said Cruickshanks,
"that you said 'Thou art the man' to ilka ane
o' them, and just voted for Mr. Dishart because
he preached hinmost."
I didna say it to Mr. Urquhart, the ane that
preached second," Sneck said. "That was the
lad that gaed through either "
Ay," said Susy Tibbits, nicknamed by Hag-
gart "the Timidest Woman," because she once
said she was too young to marry, "but I was fell
sorry for him, just being overanxious. He
began bonny, flinging himself, like ane inspired,
at the pulpit door, but after Hendry Munn
pointed at it and cried out, Be cautious, the
sneck's loose,' he a' gaed to bits. What a cool-
ness Hendry has, though I suppose it was his
duty, him being kirk officer."
We didna want a man," Lang Tammas said,
"that could be put out by sic a sma' thing as
that. Mr. Urquhart was in sic a ravel after it
that when he gies out the first line o' the under
and nineteenth psalm for singing, says he, And
so on to the end.' Ay, that finished his chance."
The noblest o' them to look at," said Tibbie
Birse, was that ane frae Aberdeen, him that had
sic a saft side to Jacob."
"Ay," said Snecky, "and I speired at Doctor
McQueen if I should vote for him. Looks like
a genius, does he?' says the Doctor. 'Weel,
then,' says he, dinna vote for him, for my expe-
rience is that there's no folk sic idiots as them
that looks like geniuses.' "
"Sal," Susy said, "it's a guid thing we've
settled, for I enjoyed sitting like a judge upon
them so muckle that I sair doubt it was a kind
o' sport to me."
It was no sport to them, Susy, I'se uphaud,
but it is a blessing we've settled, and undoubtedly
we've got the pick o' them. The only thing Mr.
Dishart did that made me oneasy was his saying
the word Caesar as if it began wi' a k."
He'll startle you mair afore you're done wi'
him," the atheist said, maliciously. I ken the
ways o' thae ministers preaching for kirks. Oh,
they're cunning. You was a' pleased that Mr.
Dishart spoke about looms and webs, but, lathies,
it was a trick. Ilka ane o' thae young ministers
has a sermon about looms for weaving congrega-
tions, and a second about beating swords into
ploughshares for country places, and another on
the great catch of fishes for fishing villages.
That's their stock in trade; and just you wait
and see if you dinna get the ploughshares and the
fishes afore the month's out. A minister preach-
ing for a kirk is one thing, but a minister placed
in't may be a very different berry."
"Joseph Cruickshanks," cried the precentor,
passionately, none o' your d- d blasphemy "
They all looked at Whamond, and he dug his
teeth into his lips in shame.
Wha's swearing now ? said the atheist.
The Little Minister
But Whamond was quick.
Matthew, twelve and thirty-one," he said.
"Dagont, Tammas," exclaimed the baffled
Cruickshanks, "you're aye quoting Scripture.
How do you no quote Feargus O'Connor ?"
Lads," said Snecky, Jo hasna heard Mr.
Dishart's sermons. Ay, we get it scalding when
he comes to the sermon. I canna thole a minister
that preaches as if heaven was round the corner."
If you're hitting at our minister, Snecky,"
said James Cochrane, "let me tell you he's a
better man than yours."
A better curler, I dare say."
"A better prayer."
"Ay, he can pray for a black frost as if it was
ane o' the Royal Family. I ken his prayers, O
Lord, let it haud for another day, and keep the
snaw awa'.' Will you pretend, Jeames, that Mr.
Duthie could make anything o' Rob Dow? "
I admit that Rob's awakening was an extraor-
dinary thing, and sufficient to gie Mr. Dishart a
name. But Mr. Carfrae was baffled wi' Rob, too."
"Jeames, if you had been in our kirk that
day Mr. Dishart preached for't you would be
wearying the now for Sabbath, to be back in't
again. As you ken, that wicked man there, Jo
Cruickshanks, got Rob Dow, drucken, cursing,
poaching Rob Dow, to come to the kirk to annoy
the minister. Ay, he hadna been at that work
for ten minutes when Mr. Dishart stopped in his
first prayer and ga'e Rob a look. I couldna see
the look, being in the precentor's box, but as
sure as death I felt it boring through me. Rob
is hard wood, though, and soon he was at his
tricks again. Weel, the minister stopped a second
time in the sermon, and so awful was the silence
that a heap o' the congregation couldna keep
their seats. I heard Rob breathing quick and
strong. Mr. Dishart had his arm pointed at
him a' this time, and at last he says, sternly
'Come forward.' Listen, Joseph Cruickshanks,
and tremble. Rob gripped the board to keep
himself' frae obeying, and again Mr. Dishart says,
'Come forward,' and syne Rob rose, shaking, and
tottered to the pulpit stair like a man suddenly
shot into the Day of Judgment. 'You hulking
man of sin,' cries Mr. Dishart, not a tick fleid,
though Rob's as big as three o' him, 'sit down
on the stair and attend to me, or I'll step doun
frae the pulpit and run you out of the house of
And since that day," said Hobart, Rob has
worshipped Mr. Dishart as a man that has stepped
out o' the Bible. When the carriage passed this
day we was discussing the minister, and Sam'l
Dickie wasna sure but what Mr. Dishart wore
his hat rather far back on his head. You should
have seen Rob. 'My certie,' he roars, c there's
the shine frae Heaven on that little minister's
face, and them as says there's no has me to
"Ay, weel," said the U. P., rising, we'll see
how Rob wears and how your minister wears,
too. I wouldna like to sit in a kirk whaur they
daurna sing a paraphrase."
The Psalms of David," retorted Whamond,
" mount straight to heaven, but your paraphrases
sticks to the ceiling o' the kirk."
The Little Minister
"You're a bigoted set, Tammas Whamond,
but I tell you this, and it's my last words to you
the nicht, the day'll come when you'll hae Mr.
Duthie, ay, and even the U. P. minister, preach-
ing in the Auld Licht kirk."
"And let this be my last words to you,"
replied the precentor, furiously; "that rather
than see a U. P. preaching in the Auld Licht
kirk I would burn in hell fire for ever! "
This gossip increased Gavin's knowledge of
the grim men with whom he had now to deal.
But as he sat beside Margaret after she had gone
to bed, their talk was pleasant.
"You remember, mother," Gavin said, how
I almost prayed for the manse that was to give
you an egg every morning. I have been telling
Jean never to forget the egg."
"Ah, Gavin, things have come about so much
as we wanted that I'm a kind o' troubled. It's
hardly natural, and I hope nothing terrible is to
Gavin arranged her pillows as she liked them,
and when he next stole into the room in his
stocking soles to look at her, he thought she was
asleep. But she was not. I dare say she saw at
that moment Gavin in his first frock, and Gavin
in knickerbockers, and Gavin as he used to walk
into the Glasgow room from college, all still as
real to her as the Gavin who had a kirk.
The little minister took away the lamp to his
own room, shaking his fist at himself for allowing
his mother's door to creak. He pulled up his
blind. The town lay as still as salt. But a
steady light showed in the south, and on press-
The Night-Watchers 35
ing his face against the window he saw another in
the west. Mr. Carfrae's words about the night-
watch came back to him. Perhaps it had been
on such a silent night as this that the soldiers
marched into Thrums. Would they come again ?
FIRST COMING OF THE EGYPTIAN WOMAN
A LEARNED man says in a book, other-
wise beautiful with truth, that villages are
family groups. To him Thrums would only
be a village, though town is the word we have
ever used, and this is not true of it. Doubt-
less we have interests in common, from which a
place so near (but the road is heavy) as Tillie-
drum is shut out, and we have an individuality
of our own, too, as if, like our red houses, we
came from a quarry that supplies no other place.
But we are not one family. In the old days,
those of us who were of the Tenements seldom
wandered to the Croft head, and if we did go
there we saw men to whom we could not always
give a name. To flit from the Tanage brae to
Haggart's road was to change one's friends. A
kirk-wynd weaver might kill his swine and Tilly-
loss not know of it until boys ran westward
hitting each other with the bladders. Only the
voice of the dulsemen could be heard all over
Thrums at once. Thus even in a small place
but a few outstanding persons are known to
In eight days Gavin's figure was more familiar
in Thrums than many that had grown bent in it.
He had already been twice to the cemetery, for a
Sinister only reaches his new charge in time to
attend a funeral. Though short of stature he cast
a great shadow. He was so full of his duties,
Jean said, that though he pulled to the door
as he left the manse, he had passed the currant-
bushes before it snecked. He darted through
courts, and invented ways into awkward houses.
If you did not look up quickly he was round
the corner. His visiting exhausted him only
less than his zeal in the pulpit, from which,
according to report, he staggered damp with
perspiration to the vestry, where Hendry Munn
wrung him like a wet cloth. A deaf lady, cele-
brated for giving out her washing, compelled him
to hold her trumpet until she had peered into all
his crannies, with the Shorter Catechism for a
lantern. Janet Dundas told him, in answer to
his knock, that she could not abide him, but she
changed her mind when he said her garden was
quite a show. The wives who expected a visit
scrubbed their floors for him, cleaned out their
presses for him, put diamond socks on their
bairns for him, rubbed their hearthstones blue
for him, and even tidied up the garret for
him, and triumphed over the neighbours whose
houses he passed by. For Gavin blundered
occasionally by inadvertence, as when he gave
dear old Betty Davie occasion to say bitterly:
Ou ay, you can sail by my door and gang to
Easie's, but I'm thinking you would stop at mine,
too, if I had a brass handle on't."
So passed the first four weeks, and then came
the fateful night of the seventeenth of October,
and with it the strange woman. Family worship
The Little Minister
at the manse was over and Gavin was talking to
his mother, who never crossed the threshold save
to go to church (though her activity at home was
among the marvels, Jean sometimes slipped down
to the Tenements to announce), when Wearyworld
the policeman came to the door with Rob Dow's
compliments, and if you're no wi' me by ten
o'clock I'm to break out again." Gavin knew
what this meant, and at once set off for Rob's.
"You'll let me gang a bit wi' you," the police-
man entreated, "for till Rob sent me on this
errand not a soul has spoken to me the day;
ay, mony a ane hae I spoken to, but not a man,
woman, nor bairn would fling me a word."
"I often meant to ask you," Gavin said as
they went along the Tenements, which smelled
at that hour of roasted potatoes, "why you are
"It's because I'm police. I'm the first ane
that has ever been in Thrums, and the very folk
that appointed me at a crown a week looks upon
me as a disgraced man for accepting. It's Gospel
that my ain wife is short wi' me when I've on my
uniform, though weel she kens that I would rather
hae stuck to the loom if I hadna ha'en sic a queer
richt leg. Nobody feels the shame o' my posi-
tion as I do -mysel', but this is a town without
"It should be a consolation to you that you
are discharging useful duties."
"But I'm no. I'm doing harm. There's
Charles Dickson says that the very sicht o' my
uniform rouses his dander so muckle that it makes
him break windows, though a peaceably-disposed
man till I was appointed. And what's the use o'
their haeing a policeman when they winna come
to the lock-up after I lay hands on them? "
Do they say they won't come ? "
Say ? Catch them saying anything They
just gie me a wap into the gutters. If they would
speak I wouldna complain, for I'm naturally the
sociablest man in Thrums."
Rob, however, had spoken to you."
Because he had need o' me. That was aye
Rob's way, converted or no converted. When
he was blind drunk he would order me to see
him safe hame, but would he crack wi' me?
Wearyworld, who was so called because of his
forlorn way of muttering, It's a weary warld,
and nobody bides in't," as he went his melan-
choly rounds, sighed like one about to cry, and
Gavin changed the subject.
Is the watch for the soldiers still kept up ?"
It is, but the watchers winna let me in aside
them. I'll let you see that for yourself' at the
head o' the Roods, for they watch there in the
Most of the Thrums lights were already out,
and that in the windmill disappeared as footsteps
You're desperate characters," the policeman
cried, but got no answer. He changed his tactics.
"A fine nicht for the time o' year," he cried.
But I wouldna wonder," he shouted, though
we had rain afore morning." No answer.
The Little Minister
Surely you could gie me a word frae ahint
the door. You're doing an onlawful thing, but I
dinna ken wha you are."
"You'll swear to that?" some one asked
I swear to it, Peter."
Wearyworld tried another six remarks in vain.
Ay," he said to the minister, that's what it
is to be an onpopular man. And now I'll hae to
turn back, for the very anes that winna let me join
them would be the first to complain if I gaed out
Gavin found Dow at New Zealand, a hamlet
of mud houses, whose tenants could be seen on
any Sabbath morning washing themselves in the
burn that trickled hard by. Rob's son, Micah,
was asleep at the door, but he brightened when
he saw who was shaking him.
My father put me out," he explained, be-
cause he's daft for the drink, and was fled he
would curse me. He hasna cursed me," Micah
added, proudly, "for an aucht days come Sab-
bath. Hearken to him at his loom. He daurna
take his feet off the treadles for fear o' running
straucht to the drink."
Gavin went in. The loom, and two stools, the
one four-footed and the other a buffet, were Rob's
most conspicuous furniture. A shaving-strap
hung on the wall. The fire was out, but the
trunk of a tree, charred at one end, showed how
he heated his house. He made a fire of peat,
and on it placed one end of a tree trunk that
might be six feet long. As the tree burned away
it was pushed farther into the fireplace, and a
roaring fire could always be got by kicking pieces
of the smouldering wood and blowing them into
flame with the bellows. When Rob saw the min-
ister he groaned relief and left his loom. He
had been weaving, his teeth clenched, his eyes on
fire, for seven hours.
I wasna fleid," little Micah said to the neigh-
bours afterwards, to gang in wi' the minister.
He's a fine man that. He didna ca' my father
names. Na, he said, 'You're a brave fellow,
Rob,' and he took my father's hand, he did. My
father was shaking after his fecht wi' the drink,
and, says he, Mr. Dishart,' he says, 'if you'll
let me break out nows and nans, I could bide
straucht atween times, but I canna keep sober if
I hinna a drink to look forrit to.' Ay, my father
prigged sair to get one fou day in the month, and
he said, 'Syne if I die sudden, there's thirty
chances to one that I gang to heaven, so it's
worth risking.' But Mr. Dishart wouldna hear
o't, and he cries, No, by God,' he cries, 'we'll
wrestle wi' the devil till we throttle him,' and
down him and my father gaed on their knees.
"The minister prayed a lang time till my
father said his hunger for the drink was gone,
'but,' he says, 'it swells up in me o' a sudden
aye, and it may be back afore you're hame.'
'Then come to me at once,' says Mr. Dishart;
but my father says, 'Na, for it would haul me
into the public-house as if it had me at the end
o' a rope, but I'll send the laddie.'
You saw my father crying the minister back ?
It was to gie him twa pound, and, says my father,
'God helping me,' he says, I'll droon mysel' in
The Little Minister
the dam rather than let the drink master me, but
in case it should get haud o' me and I should die
drunk, it would be a michty gratification to me to
ken that you had the siller to bury me respectable
without ony help frae the poor's rates.' The
minister wasna for taking it at first, but he took it
when he saw how earnest my father was. Ay,
he's a noble man. After he gaed awa my father
made me learn the names o' the apostles frae Luke
sixth, and he says to me, 'Miss out Bartholo-
mew,' he says, 'for he did little, and put Gavin
Dishart in his place.' "
Feeling as old as he sometimes tried to look,
Gavin turned homeward. Margaret was already
listening for him. You may be sure she knew
his step. I think our steps vary as much as the
human face. My bookshelves were made by a
blind man who could identify by their steps
nearly all who passed his window. Yet he has
admitted to me that he could not tell wherein
my steps differ from others; and this I believe,
though rejecting his boast that he could distin-
guish a minister's step from a doctor's, and even
tell to which denomination the minister belonged.
I have sometimes asked myself what would
have been Gavin's future had he gone straight
home that night from Dow's. He would doubt-
less have seen the Egyptian before morning broke,
but she would not have come upon him like a
witch. There are, I dare say, many lovers who
would never have been drawn to each other had
they met for the first time, as, say, they met the
second time. But such dreaming is to no purpose.
Gavin met Sanders Webster, the mole-catcher, and
was persuaded by him to go home by Caddam
Gavin took the path to Caddam, because
Sanders told him the Wild Lindsays were
there, a gypsy family that threatened the farmers
by day and danced devilishly, it was said, at night.
The little minister knew them by repute as a race
of giants, and that not many persons would have
cared to face them alone at midnight; but he
was feeling as one wound up to heavy duties, and
meant to admonish them severely.
Sanders, an old man who lived with his sister
Nanny on the edge of the wood, went with him,
and for a time both were silent. But Sanders
had something to say.
Was you ever at the Spittal, Mr. Dishart ?"
"Lord Rintoul's house at the top of Glen
Quharity ? No."
Hae you ever looked on a lord ? "
Or on an auld lord's young leddyship ? I
What is she ? "
"You surely ken that Rintoul's auld, and is
to be married on a young leddyship. She's no'
a leddyship yet, but they're to be married soon,
so I may say I've seen a leddyship. Ay, an
impressive sicht. It was yestreen."
Is there a great difference in their ages ? "
As muckle as atween auld Peter Spens and
his wife, wha was saxteen when he was saxty,
and she was playing at dumps in the street when
her man was waiting for her to make his porridge.
The Little Minister
Ay, sic a differ doesna suit wi' common folk, but
of course earls can please themsels. Rintoul's so
fond o' the leddyship 'at is to be, that when she
was at the school in Edinbury he wrote to her ilka
day. Kaytherine Crummie telled me that, and
she says aince you're used to it, writing letters is
as easy as skinning moles. I dinna ken what
they can write sic a heap about, but I daur say
he gies her his views on the Chartist agitation and
the potato disease, and she'll write back about the
romantic sichts o' Edinbury and the sermons o'
the grand preachers she hears. Sal, though, thae
grand folk has no religion to speak o', for they're
a' English kirk. You're no' speiring what her
leddyship said to me ?"
'( What did she say ? "
Weel, you see, there was a dancing ball on,
and Kaytherine Crummie took me to a window
whaur I could stand on a flower-pot and watch
the critturs whirling round in the ball like teeto-
tums. What's mair, she pointed out the leddy-
ship that's to be to me, and I just glowered at
her, for thinks I, c Take your fill, Sanders, and
whaur there's lords and leddyships, dinna waste
a minute on colonels and honourable misses and
sic like dirt.' Ay, but what wi' my een blinking
at the blaze o' candles, I lost sicht o' her till all
at aince somebody says at my lug, 'Well, my
man, and who is the prettiest lady in the room ?'
Mr. Dishart, it was her leddyship. She looked
like a star."
And what did you do? "
The first thing I did was to fall aff the flower-
pot; but syne I came to, and says I, wi' a polite
smirk, I'm thinking, your leddyship,' says I,' as
you're the bonniest yourself.' "
I see you are a cute man, Sanders."
Ay, but that's no' a'. She launched in a pleased
way and tapped me wi' her fan, and says she, 'Why
do you think me the prettiest?' I dinna deny
but what that staggered me, but I thocht a min-
ute, and took a look at the other dancers again,
and syne I says, michty sly like, 'The other led-
dies,' I says, has sic sma' feet.' "
Sanders stopped here and looked doubtingly at
I canna make up my mind," he said, "whether
she liked that, for she rapped my knuckles wi'
her fan fell sair, and aff she gaed. Ay, I consulted
Tammas Haggart about it, and he says, 'The
flirty crittur,' he says. What would you say, Mr.
Gavin managed to escape without giving an
answer, for here their roads separated. He did
not find the Wild Lindsays, however. Children
of whim, of prodigious strength while in the open,
but destined to wither quickly in the hot air of
towns, they had gone from Caddam, leaving
nothing of themselves behind but a black mark
burned by their fires into the ground. Thus
they branded the earth through many counties
until some hour when the spirit of wandering
again fell on them, and they forsook their hearths
with as little compunction as the bird leaves its
Gavin had walked quickly, and he now stood
silently in the wood, his hat in his hand. In
the moonlight the grass seemed tipped with hoar
The Little Minister
frost. Most of the beeches were already bare,
but the shoots, clustering round them, like chil-
dren at their mother's skirts, still retained their
leaves red and brown. Among the pines these
leaves were as incongruous as a wedding-dress at
a funeral. Gavin was standing on grass, but there
were patches of heather within sight, and broom,
and the leaf of the blaeberry. Where the beeches
had drawn up the earth with them as they grew,
their roots ran this way and that, slippery to the
feet and looking like disinterred bones. A squir-
rel appeared suddenly on the charred ground,
looked doubtfully at Gavin to see if he was grow-
ing there, and then glided up a tree, where it sat
eyeing him, and forgetting to conceal its shadow.
Caddam was very still. At long intervals came
from far away the whack of an axe on wood.
Gavin was in a world by himself, and this might
be some one breaking into it.
The mystery of woods by moonlight thrilled
the little minister. His eyes rested on the shin-
ing roots, and he remembered what had been told
him of the legend of Caddam, how once on a time
it was a mighty wood, and a maiden most beauti-
ful stood on its confines, panting and afraid, for a
wicked man pursued her; how he drew near, and
she ran a little way into the wood, and he followed
her, and she still ran, and still he followed, until
both were for ever lost, and the bones of her pur-
suer lie beneath a beech, but the lady may still be
heard singing in the woods if the night be fine, for
then she is a glad spirit, but weeping when there
is wild wind, for then she is but a mortal seeking
a way out of the wood.
The squirrel slid down the fir and was gone.
The axe's blows ceased. Nothing that moved
was in sight. The wind that has its nest in trees
was circling round with many voices, that never
rose above a whisper, and were often but the echo
of a sigh.
Gavin was in the Caddam of past days, where
the beautiful maiden wanders ever, waiting for
him who is so pure that he may find her. He
will wander over the tree-tops looking for her,
with the moon for his lamp, and some night he
will hear her singing. The little minister drew a
deep breath, and his foot snapped a brittle twig.
Then he remembered who and where he was, and
stooped to pick up his staff. But he did not
pick it up, for as his fingers were closing on it
the lady began to sing.
For perhaps a minute Gavin stood stock-still,
like an intruder. Then he ran towards the sing-
ing, which seemed to come from Windyghoul, a
straight road through Caddam that farmers use
in summer, but leave in the back end of the year
to leaves and pools. In Windyghoul there is
either no wind or so much that it rushes down
the sieve like an army, entering with a shriek of
terror, and escaping with a derisive howl. The
moon was crossing the avenue. But Gavin only
saw the singer.
She was still fifty yards away, sometimes sing-
ing gleefully, and again letting her body sway
lightly as she came dancing up Windyghoul.
Soon she was within a few feet of the little minis-
ter, to whom singing, except when out of tune,
was a suspicious thing, and dancing a device of
The Little Minister
the devil. His arm went out wrathfully, and
his intention was to pronounce sentence on this
But she passed, unconscious of his presence,
and he had not moved nor spoken. Though
really of the average height, she was a little thing
to the eyes of Gavin, who always felt tall and
stout except when he looked down. The grace
of her swaying figure was a new thing in the
world to him. Only while she passed did he see
her as a gleam of colour, a gypsy elf poorly clad,
her bare feet flashing beneath a short green skirt,
a twig of rowan berries stuck carelessly into her
black hair. Her face was pale. She had an
angel's loveliness. Gavin shook.
Still she danced onwards, but she was very
human, for when she came to muddy water she
let her feet linger in it, and flung up her arms,
dancing more wantonly than before. A diamond
on her finger shot a thread of fire over the pool.
Undoubtedly she was the devil.
Gavin leaped into the avenue, and she heard him
and looked behind. He tried to cry Woman "
sternly, but lost the word, for now she saw him,
and laughed with her shoulders, and beckoned to
him, so that he shook his fist at her. She tripped
on, but often turning her head beckoned and
mocked him, and he forgot his dignity and his
pulpit and all other things, and ran after her.
Up Windyghoul did he pursue her, and it was
well that the precentor was not there to see. She
reached the mouth of the avenue, and, kissing her
hand to Gavin, so that the ring gleamed again,
The minister's one thought was to find her,
but he searched in vain. She might be crossing
the hill on her way to Thrums, or perhaps she
was still laughing at him from behind a tree.
After a longer time than he was aware of, Gavin
realized that his boots were chirping and his
trousers streaked with mud. Then he abandoned
the search and hastened homewards in a rage.
From the hill to the manse the nearest way is
down two fields, and the little minister descended
them rapidly. Thrums, which is red in daylight,
was gray and still as the cemetery. He had
glimpses of several of its deserted streets. To
the south the watch-light showed brightly, but
no other was visible. So it seemed to Gavin,
and then suddenly he lost the power to
move. He had heard the horn. Thrice it
sounded, and thrice it struck him to the heart.
He looked again and saw a shadow stealing along
the Tenements, then another, then half a dozen.
He remembered Mr. Carfrae's words, If you
ever hear that horn, I implore you to hasten to
the square," and in another minute he had reached
Now again he saw the gypsy. She ran past
him, half a score of men, armed with staves and
pikes, at her heels. At first he thought they
were chasing her, but they were following her as
a leader. Her eyes sparkled as she waved them
to the square with her arms.
The soldiers, the soldiers !" was the universal
"Who is that woman?" demanded Gavin,
catching hold of a frightened old man.
The Little Minister
"Curse the Egyptian limmer," the man
answered, "she's egging my laddie on to fecht."
Bless her rather," the son cried, for warn-
ing us that the sojers is coming. Put your ear
to the ground, Mr. Dishart, and you'll hear the
dirl o' their feet."
The young man rushed away to the square,
flinging his father from him. Gavin followed.
As he turned into the school wynd, the town
drum began to beat, windows were thrown open,
and sullen men ran out of closes where women
were screaming and trying to hold them back.
At the foot of the wynd Gavin passed Sanders
Mr. Dishart," the mole-catcher cried, "hae
you seen that Egyptian ? May I be struck dead
if it's no' her little leddyship."
But Gavin did not hear him.
A WARLIKE CHAPTER, CULMINATING IN THE
FLOUTING OF THE MINISTER BY THE WOMAN
"M R. DISHART!"
Jean had clutched at Gavin in Bank
Street. Her hair was streaming, and her wrapper
but half buttoned.
Oh, Mr. Dishart, look at the mistress! I
couldna keep her in the manse."
Gavin saw his mother beside him, bareheaded,
How could I sit. still, Gavin, and the town
full o' the skirls of women and bairns? Oh,
Gavin, what can I do for them? They will
suffer most this night."
As Gavin took her hand he knew that Mar-
garet felt for the people more than he.
But you must go home, mother," he said,
"and leave me to do my duty. I will take you
myself if you will not go with Jean. Be careful
of her, Jean."
"Ay, will I," Jean answered, then burst into
tears. Mr. Dishart," she cried, "if they take
my father they'd best take my mither, too."
The two women went back to the manse, where
Jean re-lit the fire, having nothing else to do,
and boiled the kettle, while Margaret wandered
in anguish from room to room.
The Little Minister
Men nearly naked ran past Gavin, seeking
to escape from Thrums by the fields he had
descended. When he shouted to them they
only ran faster. A Tillyloss weaver whom he
tried to stop struck him savagely and sped past
to the square. In Bank Street, which was
full of people at one moment and empty the
next, the minister stumbled over old Charles
"Take me and welcome," Yuill cried, mistak-
ing Gavin for the enemy. He had only one arm
through the sleeve of his jacket, and his feet were
I am Mr. Dishart. Are the soldiers already
in the square, Yuill ? "
"They'll be there in a minute."
The man was so weak that Gavin had to hold
Be a man, Charles. You have nothing to
fear. It is not such as you the soldiers have
come for. If need be, I can swear that you had
not the strength, even if you had the will, to join
in the weavers' riot."
For Godsake, Mr. Dishart," Yuill cried, his
hands chattering on Gavin's coat, dinna swear
That. My laddie was in the thick o' the riot;
and if he's ta'en there's the poor's-house gaping
for Kitty and me, for I couldna weave half a web
a week. If there's a warrant agin onybody o'
the name of Yuill, swear it's me; swear I'm a
desperate character, swear I'm michty strong for
all I look palsied; and if when they take me, my
courage breaks down, swear the mair, swear I
confessed my guilt to you on the Book."
A Warlike Chapter
As Yuill spoke the quick rub-a-dub of a drum
"The soldiers!" Gavin let go his hold of
the old man, who hastened away to give himself
"That's no the sojers," said a woman; "it's
the folk gathering in the square. This'll be a
watery Sabbath in Thrums."
Rob Dow," shouted Gavin, as Dow flung
past with a scythe in his hand, "lay down that
To hell wi' religion Rob retorted, fiercely;
"it spoils a' thing."
Lay down that scythe; I command you."
Rob stopped undecidedly, then cast the scythe
from him, but its rattle on the stones was more
than he could bear.
I winna," he cried, and, picking it up, ran to
An upper window in Bank Street opened, and
Doctor McQueen put out his head. He was
smoking as usual.
Mr. Dishart," he said, "you will return
home at once if you are a wise man; or, better
still, come in here. You can do nothing with
these people to-night."
I can stop their fighting."
"You will only make black blood between
them and you."
Dinna heed him, Mr. Dishart," cried some
" You had better heed him," cried a man.
I will not desert my people," Gavin said.
Listen, then, to my prescription," the doctor
54 The Little Minister
replied. "Drive that gypsy lassie out of the
town before the soldiers reach it. She is firing
the men to a red heat through sheer devilry."
She brocht the news, or we would have been
nipped in our beds," some people cried.
"Does any one know who she is?" Gavin
demanded, but all shook their heads. The
Egyptian, as they called her, had never been
seen in these parts before.
"Has any other person seen the soldiers?"
he asked. Perhaps this is a false alarm."
Several have seen them within the last few
minutes," the doctor answered. "They came
from Tilliedrum, and were advancing on us from
the south, but when they heard that we had got
the alarm they stopped at the top of the brae,
near T'nowhead's farm. Man, you would take
these things more coolly if you smoked."
Show me this woman," Gavin said, sternly, to
those who had been listening. Then a stream
of people carried him into the square.
The square has altered little, even in these days
of enterprise, when Tillyloss has become Newton
Bank, and the Craft Head Croft Terrace, with
enamelled labels on them for the guidance of
slow people, who forget their address and have
to run to the end of the street and look up every
time they write a letter. The stones on which
the butter-wives sat have disappeared, and with
them the clay walls and the outside stairs. Gone,
too, is the stair of the town-house, from the top
of which the drummer roared the gossip of the
week on Sabbaths to country folk, to the scandal
of all who knew that the proper thing on that
A Warlike Chapter
day is to keep your blinds down; but the town-
house itself, round and red, still makes exit to
the south troublesome. Wherever streets meet
the square there is a house in the centre of them,
and thus the heart of Thrums is a box, in which
the stranger finds himself suddenly, wondering at
first how he is to get out, and presently how he
To Gavin, who never before had seen a score
of people in the square at once, here was a sight
strange and terrible. Andrew Struthers, an old
soldier, stood on the outside stair of the town-
house, shouting words of command to some
fifty weavers, many of them scantily clad, but
all armed with pikes and poles. Most were
known to the little minister, but they wore
faces that were new to him. Newcomers joined
the body every moment. If the drill was clumsy
the men were fierce. Hundreds of people gath-
ered round, some screaming, some shaking their
fists at the old soldier, many trying to pluck
their relatives out of danger. Gavin could not
see the Egyptian. Women and old men, fighting
for the possession of his ear, implored him to
disperse the armed band. He ran up the town-
house stair, and in a moment it had become a
"Dinna dare to interfere, Mr. Dishart,"
Struthers said, savagely.
"Andrew Struthers," said Gavin, solemnly,
"in the name of God I order you to leave
me alone. If you don't," he added, ferociously,
" I'll fling you over the stair."
"Dinna heed him, Andrew," some one shouted,
The Little Minister
and another cried, "He canna understand our
sufferings; he has dinner ilka day."
Struthers faltered, however, and Gavin cast
his eye over the armed men.
Rob Dow," he said, "William Carmichael,
Thomas Whamond, William Munn, Alexander
Hobart, Henders Haggart, step forward."
These were Auld Lichts, and when they found
that the minister would not take his eyes off
them, they obeyed, all save Rob Dow.
Never mind him, Rob," said the atheist,
Cruickshanks, "it's better playing cards in hell
than singing psalms in heaven."
"Joseph Cruickshanks," responded Gavin,
grimly, "you will find no cards down there."
Then Rob also came to the foot of the stair.
There was some angry muttering from the crowd,
and young Charles Yuill exclaimed, Curse you,
would you lord it ower us on week-days as weel
as on Sabbaths ? "
Lay down your weapons," Gavin said to the
They looked at each other. Hobart slipped
his pike behind his back.
I hae no weapon," he said, slily.
"Let me hae my fling this nicht," Dow
entreated, "and I'll promise to bide sober for
Oh, Rob, Rob! the minister said, bitterly,
"are you the man I prayed with a few hours
The scythe fell from Rob's hands.
"Down wi' your pikes," he roared to his com-
panions, "or I'll brain you wi' them."
A Warlike Chapter
"Ay, lay them down," the precentor whispered,
"but keep your feet on them."
Then the minister, who was shaking with
excitement, though he did not know it, stretched
forth his arms for silence, and it came so
suddenly as to frighten the people in the
"If he prays we're done for," cried young
Charles Yuill, but even in that hour many of the
people were unbonneted.
"Oh, Thou who art the Lord of Hosts,"
Gavin prayed, "we are in Thy hands this night.
These are Thy people, and they have sinned;
but Thou art a merciful God, and they were sore
tried, and knew not what they did. To Thee,
our God, we turn for deliverance, for without
Thee we are lost."
The little minister's prayer was heard all round
the square, and many weapons were dropped as
an Amen to it.
"If you fight," cried Gavin, brightening as he
heard the clatter of the iron on the stones, your
wives and children may be shot in the streets.
These soldiers have come for a dozen of you;
will you be benefited if they take away a hun-
Oh, hearken to him," cried many women.
I winna," answered a man, "for I'm ane o'
the dozen. Whaur's the Egyptian ? "
Gavin saw the crowd open, and the woman of
Windyghoul come out of it, and, while he should
have denounced her, he only blinked, for once
more her loveliness struck him full in the eyes.
The Little Minister
She was beside him on the stair before he became
a minister again.
How dare you, woman? he cried; but she
flung a rowan berry at him.
If I were a man," she exclaimed, addressing
the people, I wouldna let myself be catched like
a mouse in a trap."
"We winna," some answered.
"What kind o' women are you," cried the
Egyptian, her face gleaming as she turned to her
own sex, "that bid your men-folk gang to gaol
when a bold front would lead them to safety?
Do you want to be husbandless and homeless ? "
Disperse, I command you !" cried Gavin.
"This abandoned woman is inciting you to
"Dinna heed this little man," the Egyptian
It is curious to know that even at that anxious
moment Gavin winced because she called him
She has the face of a mischief-maker," he
shouted, and her words are evil."
You men and women o' Thrums," she re-
sponded, ken that I wish you weel by the ser-
vice I hae done you this nicht. Wha telled you
the sojers was coming ?"
It was you; it was you !"
Ay, and mony a mile I ran to bring the news.
Listen, and I'll tell you mair."
She has a false tongue," Gavin cried; "listen
not to the brazen woman."
What I have to tell," she said, is as true as
what I've telled already, and how true that is
A Warlike Chapter
you a' ken. You're wondering how the sojers
has come to a stop at the tap o' the brae instead
o' marching on the town. Here's the reason.
They agreed to march straucht to the square if
the alarm wasna given, but if it was they were to
break into small bodies and surround the town so
that you couldna get out. That's what they're
At this the screams were redoubled, and many
men lifted the weapons they had dropped.
Believe her not," cried Gavin. How could
a wandering gypsy know all this ? "
"Ay, how can you ken ? some demanded.
It's enough that I do ken," the Egyptian an-
swered. And this mair I ken, that the captain
of the soldiers is confident he'll nab every one o'
you that's wanted unless you do one thing."
"What is 't ? "
"If you a' run different ways you're lost, but
if you keep thegither you'll be able to force a
road into the country whaur you can scatter.
That's what he's fleid you'll do."
Then it's what we will do."
It is what you will not do," Gavin said, pas-
sionately. The truth is not in this wicked
But scarcely had he spoken when he knew that
startling news had reached the square. A mur-
mur arose on the skirts of the mob, and swept
with the roar of the sea towards the town-house.
A detachment of the soldiers were marching down
the Roods from the north.
"There's some coming frae the east-town end,"
was the next intelligence; and they've gripped
The Little Minister
Sanders Webster, and auld Charles Yuill has
given himself' up."
"You see, you see," the gypsy said, flashing
triumph at Gavin.
Lay down your weapons," Gavin cried, but
his power over the people had gone.
The Egyptian spoke true," they shouted;
"dinna heed the minister."
Gavin tried to seize the gypsy by the shoul-
ders, but she slipped past him down the stair,
and crying Follow me!" ran round the town-
house and down the brae.
"Woman!" he shouted after her, but she
only waved her arms scornfully. The people
followed her, many of the men still grasping
their weapons, but all in disorder. Within a
minute after Gavin saw the gleam of the ring
on her finger, as she waved her hands, he and
Dow were alone in the square.
She's an awfu' woman that," Rob said. I
saw her laughing."
Gavin ground his teeth.
Rob Dow," he said, slowly, "if I had not
found Christ I would have throttled that woman.
You saw how she flouted me?"
IN WHICH THE SOLDIERS MEET THE AMAZONS
D OW looked shamefacedly at the minister,
and then set off up the square.
Where are you going, Rob ? "
To gie myself up. I maun do something to
let you see there's one man in Thrums that has
mair faith in you than in a fliskmahoy."
And only one, Rob. But I don't know that
they want to arrest you."
"Ay, I had a hand in tying the polissman to
I want to hear nothing about that," Gavin
"Will I hide, then? "
I dare not advise you to do that. It would
Half a score of fugitives tore past the town-
house, and were out of sight without a cry.
There was a tread of heavier feet, and a dozen
soldiers, with several policemen and two pris-
oners, appeared suddenly on the north side of
"Rob," cried the minister in desperation,
When the soldiers reached the town-house,
The Little Minister
where they locked up their prisoners, Dow was
skulking eastward, and Gavin running down the
"They're fechting," he was told, "they're
fechting on the brae, the sojers is firing, a man's
But this was an exaggeration.
The brae, though short, is very steep. There
is a hedge on one side of it, from which the
land falls away, and on the other side a hillock.
Gavin reached the scene to see the soldiers march-
ing down the brae, guarding a small body of
policemen. The armed weavers were retreating
before them. A hundred women or more were
on the hillock, shrieking and gesticulating. Gavin
joined them, calling on them not to fling the
stones they had begun to gather.
The armed men broke into a rabble, flung
down their weapons, and fled back towards the
town-house. Here they almost ran against the
soldiers in the square, who again forced them into
the brae. Finding themselves about to be wedged
between the two forces, some crawled through the
hedge, where they were instantly seized by police-
men. Others sought to climb up the hillock and
then escape into the country. The policemen
clambered after them. The men were too fright-
ened to fight, but a woman seized a policeman by
the waist and flung him head foremost among the
soldiers. One of these shouted Fire!" but
the captain cried No." Then came showers
of missiles from the women. They stood their
ground and defended the retreat of the scared
The Amazons of Thrums.
Who flung the first stone is not known, but it
is believed to have been the Egyptian. The
policemen were recalled, and the whole body
ordered to advance down the brae. Thus the
weavers who had not escaped at once were driven
before them, and soon hemmed in between the
two bodies of soldiers, when they were easily
captured. But for two minutes there was a thick
shower of stones and clods of earth.
It was ever afterwards painful to Gavin to
recall this scene, but less on account of the
shower of stones than because of the flight of
one divit in it. He had been watching the
handsome young captain, Halliwell, riding with
his men; admiring him, too, for his coolness.
This coolness exasperated the gypsy, who twice
flung at Halliwell and missed him. He rode on,
"Oh, if I could only fling straight!" the
Then she saw the minister by her side, and in
the tick of a clock something happened that can
never be explained. For the moment Gavin was
so lost in misery over the probable effect of the
night's rioting that he had forgotten where he
was. Suddenly the Egyptian's beautiful face was
close to his, and she pressed a divit into his hand,
at the same time pointing at the officer, and
whispering Hit him."
Gavin flung the clod of earth, and hit Halli-
well on the head.
I say I cannot explain this. I tell what hap-
pened, and add with thankfulness that only the
Egyptian witnessed the deed. Gavin, I suppose,
The Little Minister
had flung the divit before he could stay his hand.
Then he shrank in horror.
"Woman he cried again.
You are a dear," she said, and vanished.
By the time Gavin was breathing freely again
the lock-up was crammed with prisoners, and the
Riot Act had been read from the town-house
stair. It is still remembered that the baron-
bailie, to whom this duty fell, had got no further
than Victoria, by the Grace of God," when the
paper was struck out of his hands.
When a stirring event occurs up here we smack
our lips over it for months, and so I could still
write a history of that memorable night in Thrums.
I could tell how the doctor, a man whose shoul-
ders often looked as if they had been caught in a
shower of tobacco ash, brought me the news to
the schoolhouse, and now, when I crossed the
fields to dumfounder Waster Lunny with it, I
found Birse, the post, reeling off the story to him
as fast as a fisher could let out line. I know who
was the first woman on the Marywell brae to
hear the horn, and how she woke her husband,
and who heard it first at the Denhead and the
Tenements, with what they immediately said and
did. I had from Dite Deuchar's own lips the
curious story of his sleeping placidly throughout
the whole disturbance, and on wakening in the
morning yoking to his loom as usual; and also
his statement that such ill luck was enough to
shake a man's faith in religion. The police had
knowledge that enabled them to go straight to
the houses of the weavers wanted, but they some-
times brought away the wrong man, for such of
The Amazons of Thrums
the people as did not escape from the town had
swopped houses for the night,- a trick that
served them better than all their drilling on the
hill. Old Yuill's son escaped by burying himself
in a peat-rick, and Snecky Hobart by pretending
that he was a sack of potatoes. Less fortunate
was Sanders Webster, the mole-catcher already
mentioned. Sanders was really an innocent man.
He had not even been in Thrums on the night
of the rising against the manufacturers, but think-
ing that the outbreak was to be left unpunished,
he wanted his share in the glory of it. So he
had boasted of being a ringleader until many
believed him, including the authorities. His
braggadocio undid him. He was run to earth
in a pig-sty, and got nine months. With the
other arrests I need not concern myself, for they
have no part in the story of the little minister.
While Gavin was with the families whose
breadwinners were now in the lock-up, a cell that
was usually crammed on fair nights and empty
for the rest of the year, the sheriff and Halliwell
were in the round-room of the town-house, not
in a good temper. They spoke loudly, and some
of their words sank into the cell below.
"The whole thing has been a fiasco," the
sheriff was heard saying, "owing to our failing
to take them by surprise. Why, three-fourths
of those taken will have to be liberated, and we
have let the worst offenders slip through our
"Well," answered Halliwell, who was wearing
a heavy cloak, I have brought your policemen
into the place, and that is all I undertook to do."
The Little Minister
"You brought them, but at the expense of
alarming the country-side. I wish we had come
"Nonsense! My men advanced like ghosts.
Could your police have come down that brae
alone to-night ?"
Yes, because it would have been deserted.
Your soldiers, I tell you, have done the mischief.
This woman, who, so many of our prisoners
admit, brought the news of our coming, must
either have got it from one of your men or have
seen them on the march."
"The men did not know their destination.
True, she might have seen us despite our pre-
cautions, but you forget that she told them how
we were to act in the event of our being seen.
That is what perplexes me."
"Yes, and me too, for it was a close secret
between you and me and Lord Rintoul and not
half a dozen others."
"Well, find the woman, and we shall get the
explanation. If she is still in the town she can-
not escape, for my men are everywhere."
"She was seen ten minutes ago."
"Then she is ours. I say, Riach, if I were
you I would set all my prisoners free and take
away a cartload of their wives instead. I have
only seen the backs of the men of Thrums, but,
on my word, I very nearly ran away from the
women. Hallo I believe one of your police
has caught our virago single-handed."
So Halliwell exclaimed, hearing some one
shout, "This is the rascal!" But it was not
the Egyptian who was then thrust into the
The Amazons of Thrums
round-room. It was John Dunwoodie, looking
very sly. Probably there was not, even in
Thrums, a cannier man than Dunwoodie. His
religious views were those of Cruickshanks, but
he went regularly to church on the off-chance
of there being a God after all; so I'm safe, what-
ever side may be wrong."
"This is the man," explained a policeman,
"who brought the alarm. He admits himself
having been in Tilliedrum just before we started."
"Your name, my man ? the sheriff demanded.
It micht be John Dunwoodie," the tinsmith
But is it? "
I dinna say it's no."
"You were in Tilliedrum this evening ? "
I micht hae been."
"Were you? "
I'll swear to nothing."
Because I'm a canny man."
Into the cell with him," Halliwell cried, los-
"Leave him to me," said the sheriff. I
understand the sort of man. Now, Dunwoodie,
what were you doing in Tilliedrum ? "
I was taking my laddie down to be prenticed
to a writer there," answered Dunwoodie, falling
into the sheriff's net.
"What are you yourself? "
I micht be a tinsmith to trade."
And. you, a mere tinsmith, dare to tell me
that a lawyer was willing to take your son into
his office? Be cautious, Dunwoodie."
The Little Minister
"Weel, then, the laddie's highly dedicated and
I hae siller, and that's how the writer was to take
him and make a gentleman o' him."
I learn from the neighbours," the policeman
explained, "that this is partly true, but what
makes us suspect him is this: He left the laddie
at Tilliedrum, and yet when he came home the
first person he sees at the fireside is the laddie
himself. The laddie had run home, and the
reason plainly was that he had heard of our
preparations and wanted to alarm the town."
"There seems something in this, Dunwoodie,"
the sheriff said, and if you cannot explain it I
must keep you in custody."
I'll make a clean breast o't," Dunwoodie
replied, seeing that in this matter truth was best.
"The laddie was terrible against being made a
gentleman, and when he saw the kind o' life he
would hae to lead, clean hands, clean dickies, and
no gutters on his breeks, his heart took mair
scunner at genteelity than ever, and he ran hame.
Ay, I was mad when I saw him at the fireside,
but he says to me, 'How would you like to be a
gentleman yourself father ?' he says, and that so
affected me 'at I'm to gie him his ain way."
Another prisoner, Dave Langlands, was con-
fronted with Dunwoodie.
"John Dunwoodie's as innocent as I am
mysel'," Dave said, and I'm most michty inno-
cent. It wasna John but the Egyptian that gave
the alarm. I tell you what, sheriff, if it'll make
me innocenter-like I'll picture the Egyptian to
you just as I saw her, and syne you'll be able
to catch her easier."
The Amazons of Thrums
"You are an honest fellow," said the sheriff.
"I only wish I had the whipping of him,"
growled Halliwell, who was of a generous
For what business had she," continued Dave,
righteously, to meddle in other folks' business ?
She's no a Thrums lassie, and so I say, Let the
law take its course on her.' "
"Will you listen to such a cur, Riach ? asked
Certainly. Speak out, Langlands."
"Weel, then, I was in the windmill the nicht."
"You were a watcher ? "
"I happened to be in the windmill wi'
another man," Dave went on, avoiding the
"What was his name? demanded Halliwell.
It was the Egyptian I was to tell you about,"
Dave said, looking to the sheriff.
Ah, yes, you only tell tales about women,"
Strange women," corrected Dave. "Weel,
we was there, and it would maybe be twal
o'clock, and we was speaking (but about lawful
things) when we heard some ane running yont
the road. I keeked through a hole in the door,
and I saw it was an Egyptian lassie 'at I had
never clapped een on afore. She saw the licht in
the window, and she cried,' Hie, you billies in the
windmill, the sojers is coming!' I fell in a fricht,
but the other man opened the door, and again
she cries, The sojers is coming ; quick, or you'll
be ta'en.' At that the other man up wi' his
bonnet and ran, but I didna make off so smart."
The Little Minister
You had to pick yourself up first," suggested
Sal, it was the lassie picked me up; ay, and
she picked up a horn at the same time."
"' Blaw on that,' she cried, 'and alarm the
town.' But, sheriff, I didna do't. Na, I had
ower muckle respect for the law."
In other words," said Halliwell, "you also
bolted, and left the gypsy to blow the horn
I dinna deny but what I made my feet my
friend, but it wasna her that blew the horn. I
ken that, for I looked back and saw her trying to
do't, but she couldna, she didna ken the way."
"Then who did blow it ?"
The first man she met, I suppose. We a'
kent that the horn was to be the signal except
Wearywarld. He's police, so we kept it frae
That is all you saw of the woman ? "
"Ay, for I ran straucht to my garret, and
there your men took me. Can I gae hame
"No, you cannot. Describe the woman's
"She had a heap o' rowan berries stuck in her
hair, and, I think, she had on a green wrapper
and a red shawl. She had a most extraordinary
face. I canna exact describe it, for she would be
lauchin' one second and syne solemn the next. I
tell you her face changed as quick as you could
turn the pages o' a book. Ay, here comes
Wearywarld to speak up for me."
Wearyworld entered cheerfully.
The Amazons of Thrums
This is the local policeman," a Tilliedrum
officer said; "we have been searching for him
everywhere, and only found him now."
"Where have you been ?" asked the sheriff,
"Whaur maist honest men is at this hour,"
replied Wearyworld; in my bed."
How dared you ignore your duty at such a
It's a long story," the policeman answered,
pleasantly, in anticipation of a talk at last.
Answer me in a word."
In a word cried the policeman, quite crest-
fallen. It canna be done. You'll need to
cross-examine me, too. It's my lawful richt."
I'll take you to the Tilliedrum gaol for your
share in this night's work if you do not speak to
the purpose. Why did you not hasten to our
assistance ? "
"As sure as death I never kent you was here.
I was up the Roods on my rounds when I heard
an awfu' din down in the square, and thinks I,
there's rough characters abojt, and the place for
honest folk is their bed. So to my bed I
gaed, and I was in't when your men gripped
We must see into this before we leave. In
the meantime you will act as a guide to my
searchers. Stop Do you know anything of
"What Egyptian? Is't a lassie wi' rowans
in her hair?"
"The same. Have you seen her? "
"That I have. There's nothing agin her, is
The Little Minister
there? Whatever it is, I'll uphaud she didna
do't, for a simpler, franker-spoken crittur couldna
"Never mind what I want her for. When
did you see her? "
It would be about twal o'clock," began
Wearyworld, unctuously, "when I was in the
Roods, ay, no lang afore I heard the disturbance
in the square. I was standing in the middle o'
the road, wondering how the door o' the wind-
mill was swinging open, when she came up to me.
"'A fine nicht for the time o' year,' I says to
her, for nobody but the minister had spoken to
me a' day.
"'A very fine nicht,' says she, very frank,
though she was breathing quick like as if she
had been running. 'You'll be police ?' says she.
"' I am,' says I, and wha be you ?'
c I'm just a puir gypsy lassie,' she says.
"'And what's that in your hand?' says I.
"' It's a horn I found in the wood,' says she,
'but it's rusty and winna blaw.'
I laughed at hr ignorance, and says I, I
warrant I could blaw it.'
"'I dinna believe you,' says she.
"'Gie me haud o't,' says I, and she gae it to
me, and I blew some bonny blasts on't. Ay,
you see she didna ken the way o't. Thank you
kindly,' says she, and she ran awa without even
minding to take the horn back again."
"You incredible idiot!" cried the sheriff.
"Then it was you who gave the alarm?"
"What hae I done to madden you?" honest
Wearyworld asked, in perplexity.
The Amazons of Thrums
Get out of my sight, sir roared the sheriff.
But the captain laughed.
I like your doughty policeman, Riach," he
said. "Hie, obliging friend, let us hear how
this gypsy struck you. How was she dressed? "
"She was snod, but no unca snod," replied
I don't understand you."
I mean she was couthie, but no sair in order."
"What on earth is that ? "
"Weel, a tasty stocky, but gey orra put on."
"What language are you speaking, you enigma?"
"I'm saying she was naturally a bonny bit
kimmer rather than happit up to the nines."
Oh, go away," cried Halliwell; whereupon
Wearyworld descended the stair haughtily, de-
claring that the sheriff was an unreasonable man,
and that he was a queer captain who did not
understand the English language.
Can I gae hame now, sheriff? asked Lang-
"Take this fellow back to his cell," Riach
directed shortly, "and whatever else you do, see
that you capture this woman. Halliwell, I am
going out to look for her myself. Confound it,
what are you laughing at? "
"At the way this vixen has slipped through
Not quite that, sir, not quite that. She is in
Thrums still, and I swear I'll have her before day
breaks. See to it, Halliwell, that if she is brought
here in my absence she does not slip through
If she is brought here," said Halliwell, mock-
74 The Little Minister
ing him, you must return and protect me. It
would be cruelty to leave a poor soldier in the
hands of a woman of Thrums."
"She is not a Thrums woman. You have
been told so a dozen times."
Then I am not afraid."
In the round-room (which is oblong), there is
a throne on which the bailie sits when he dis-
penses justice. It is swathed in red cloths that
give it the appearance of a pulpit. Left to him-
self, Halliwell flung off his cloak, and taking a
chair near this dais rested his legs on the bare
wooden table, one on each side of the lamp. He
was still in this position when the door opened,
and two policemen thrust the Egyptian into the
HAS THE FOLLY OF LOOKING INTO A WOMAN'S
EYES BY WAY OF TEXT
" T HIS is the woman, captain," one of the
policemen said, in triumph; "and, beg-
ging your pardon, will you keep a grip of her till
the sheriff comes back ? "
Halliwell did not turn his head.
"You can leave her here," he said, carelessly.
" Three of us are not needed to guard a woman."
But she's a slippery customer."
You can go," said Halliwell; and the police-
men withdrew slowly, eyeing their prisoner doubt-
fully until the door closed. Then the officer
wheeled round languidly, expecting to find the
Egyptian gaunt and muscular.
Now then," he drawled," why By Jove "
The gallant soldier was as much taken aback as
if he had turned to find a pistol at his ear. He
took his feet off the table. Yet he only saw the
gypsy's girlish figure in its red and green, for she
had covered her face with her hands. She was
looking at him intently between her fingers, but
he did not know this. All he did want to know
just then was what was behind the hands.
Before he spoke again she had perhaps made
up her mind about him, for she began to sob
The Little Minister
bitterly. At the same time she slipped a finger
over her ring.
"Why don't you look at me? asked Halli-
Am I so fearsome? "
You're a sojer, and you would shoot me like
Halliwell laughed, and, taking her wrists in his
hands, uncovered her face.
Oh, by Jove! he said again, but this time
As for the Egyptian, she slid the ring into her
pocket, and fell back before the officer's magnifi-
Oh," she cried, "is all sojers like you ? "
There was such admiration in her eyes that
it would have been self-contempt to doubt her.
Yet having smiled complacently, Halliwell became
"Who on earth are you ? he asked, finding it
wise not to look her in the face. "Why do you
not answer me more quickly ? "
Dinna be angry at that, captain," the Egyp-
tian implored. I promised my mither aye to
count twenty afore I spoke, because she thocht I
was ower glib. Captain, how is't that you're so
fleid to look at me ? "
Thus put on his mettle, Halliwell again faced
her, with the result that his question changed to
"Where did you get those eyes?" Then was
he indignant with himself.
What I want to know," he explained, severely,
"is how you were able to acquaint the Thrums
A Woman's Eyes
people with our movements? That you must
tell me at once, for the sheriff blames my soldiers.
Come now, no counting twenty! "
He was pacing the room now, and she had her
face to herself. It said several things, among
them that the officer evidently did not like this
charge against his men.
Does the shirra blame the sojers ? exclaimed
this quick-witted Egyptian. Weel, that cows,
for he has nane to blame but himself. "
What! cried Halliwell, delighted. It was
the sheriff who told tales? Answer me. You
are counting a hundred this time."
Perhaps the gypsy had two reasons for with-
holding her answer. If so, one of them was that,
as the sheriff had told nothing, she had a story to
make up. The other was that she wanted to strike
a bargain with the officer.
If I tell you," she said, eagerly, "will you set
I may ask the sheriff to do so."
But he mauna see me," the Egyptian said, in
distress. "There's reasons, captain."
"Why, surely you have not been before him
on other occasions," said Halliwell, surprised.
No in the way you mean," muttered the
gypsy, and for the moment her eyes twinkled.
But the light in them went out when she remem-
bered that the sheriff was near, and she looked
desperately at the window as if ready to fling her-
self from it. She had very good reasons for not
wishing to be seen by Riach, though fear that he
would put her in gaol was not one of them.
Halliwell thought it was the one cause of her
The Little Minister
woe, and great was his desire to turn the tables on
"Tell me the truth," he said, "and I promise
to befriend you."
Weel, then," the gypsy said, hoping still to
soften his heart, and making up her story as she
told it, "yestreen I met the shirra, and he telled
me a' I hae telled the Thrums folk this nicht."
"You can scarcely expect me to believe that.
Where did you meet him ? "
"In Glen Quharity. He was riding on a
Well, I allow he was there yesterday, and on
horseback. He was on his way back to Tillie-
drum from Lord Rintoul's place. But don't
tell me that he took a gypsy girl into his
Ay, he did, without kenning. He was gieing
his horse a drink when I met him, and he let me
tell him his fortune. He said he would gaol me
for an impostor if I didna tell him true, so I gaed
about it cautiously, and after a minute or twa I
telled him he was coming to Thrums the nicht to
nab the rioters."
You are trifling with me," interposed the in-
dignant soldier. "You promised to tell me not
what you said to the sheriff, but how he disclosed
our movements to you."
And that's just what I am telling you, only
you hinna the rumelgumption to see it. How
do you think fortunes is telled ? First we get out
o' the man, without his seeing what we're after,
a' about himself and syne we repeat it to him.
That's what I did wi' the shirra."
A Woman's Eyes
You drew the whole thing out of him without
"'Deed I did, and he rode awa' saying I was a
The soldier heard with the delight of a schoolboy.
Now if the sheriff does not liberate you at
my request," he said, I will never let him hear
the end of this story. He was right; you are a
witch. You deceived the sheriff; yes, undoubt-
edly you are a witch."
He looked at her with fun in his face, but the
fun disappeared, and a wondering admiration took
By Jove! he said, I don't wonder you
bewitched the sheriff. I must take care or you
will bewitch the captain, too."
At this notion he smiled, but he also ceased
looking at her. Suddenly the Egyptian again
began to cry.
You're angry wi' me," she sobbed. I wish I
had never set een on you."
Why do you wish that? Halliwell asked.
Fine you ken," she answered, and again cov-
ered her face with her hands.
He looked at her undecidedly.
I am not angry with you," he said, gently.
"You are an extraordinary girl."
Had he really made a conquest of this beautiful
creature? Her words said so, but had he ? The
captain could not make up his mind. He gnawed
his moustache in doubt.
There was silence, save for the Egyptian's sobs.
Halliwell's heart was touched, and he drew nearer
The Little Minister
My poor girl -"
He stopped. Was she crying? Was she not
laughing at him rather ? He became red.
The gypsy peeped at him between her fingers,
and saw that he was of two minds. She let her
hands fall from her face, and undoubtedly there
were tears on her cheeks.
"If you're no angry wi' me," she said, sadly,
" how will you no look at me ?"
1 am looking at you now."
He was very close to her, and staring into her
wonderful eyes. I am older than the captain,
and those eyes have dazzled me.
She put her hand in his. His chest rose. He
knew she was seeking to beguile him, but he could
not take his eyes off hers. He was in a worse
plight than a woman listening to the first whisper
Now she was further from him, but the spell
held. She reached the door, without taking her
eyes from his face. For several seconds he had
been as a man mesmerised.
Just in time he came to. It was when she
turned from him to find the handle of the door.
She was turning it when his hand fell on hers so
suddenly that she screamed. He twisted her
Sit down there," he said, hoarsely, pointing to
the chair upon which he had flung his cloak. She
dared not disobey. Then he leant against the
door, his back to her, for just then he wanted no
one to see his face. The gypsy sat very still and
a little frightened.
A Woman's Eyes
Halliwell opened the door presently, and called
to the soldier on duty below:
Davidson, see if you can find the sheriff. I
want him. And Davidson-"
The captain paused.
Yes," he muttered, and the old soldier mar-
velled at his words, it is better. Davidson, lock
this door on the outside."
Davidson did as he was ordered, and again the
Egyptian was left alone with Halliwell.
"Afraid of a woman! she said, contemptu-
ously, though her heart sank when she heard the
key turn in the lock.
I admit it," he answered, calmly.
He walked up and down the room, and she
sat silently watching him.
That story of yours about the sheriff was not
true," he said at last.
I suspect it wasna," answered the Egyptian,
coolly. Hae you been thinking about it a' this
time? Captain, I could tell you what you are
thinking now. You're wishing it had been true,
so that the ane o' you could not lauch at the
Silence! said the captain, and not another
word would he speak until he heard the sheriff
coming up the stair. The Egyptian trembled at
his step, and rose in desperation.
"Why is the door locked ?" cried the sheriff,
"All right," answered Halliwell; "the key is
on your side."
At that moment the Egyptian knocked the
lamp off the table, and the room was at once in
The Little Minister
darkness. The officer sprang at her, and, catch-
ing her by the skirt, held on.
Why are you in darkness ? asked the sheriff,
as he entered.
Shut the door," cried Halliwell. Put your
back to it."
Don't tell me the woman has escaped? "
"I have her! I have her! She capsized the
lamp, the little jade. Shut the door."
Still keeping firm hold of her, as he thought,
the captain relit the lamp with his other hand.
It showed an extraordinary scene. The door
was shut, and the sheriff was guarding it. Halli-
well was clutching the cloth of the bailie's seat.
There was no Egyptian.
A moment passed before either man found his
Open the door. After her! cried Halliwell.
But the door would not open. The Egyptian
had fled, and locked it behind her.
What the two men said to each other, it would
not be fitting to tell. When Davidson, who had
been gossiping at the corner of the town-house,
released his captain and the sheriff, the gypsy had
been gone for some minutes.
But she sha'n't escape us," Riach cried, and
hastened out to assist in the pursuit.
Halliwell was in such a furious temper that he
called up Davidson, and admonished him for
neglect of duty.
THREE A. M. MONSTROUS AUDACITY OF THE
NOT till the stroke of three did Gavin turn
homeward, with the legs of a ploughman,
and eyes rebelling against overwork. Seeking
to comfort his dejected people, whose courage
lay spilt on the brae, he had been in as many
houses as the policemen. The soldiers march-
ing through the wynds came frequently upon
him, and found it hard to believe that he was
always the same one. They told afterwards that
Thrums was remarkable for the ferocity of its
women, and the number of its little ministers.
The morning was nipping cold, and the streets
were deserted, for the people had been ordered
within doors. As he crossed the Roods, Gavin
saw a gleam of redcoats. In the back wynd he
heard a bugle blown. A stir in the Banker's
close spoke of another seizure. At the top of
the school wynd two policemen, of whom one
was Wearyworld, stopped the minister with the
flash of a lantern.
"We dauredna let you pass, sir," the Tillie-
drum man said, "without a good look at you.
That's the orders."
I hereby swear," said Wearyworld, authori-
tatively, "that this is no the Egyptian. Signed,
The Little Minister
Peter Spens, policeman, called by the vulgar
Wearyworld. Mr. Dishart, you can pass, unless
you'll bide a wee and gie us your crack."
"You have not found the gypsy, then?"
No," the other policeman said, but we ken
she's within cry o' this very spot, and escape
What mortal man can do," Wearyworld said,
"we're doing; ay, and mair, but she's auld
wecht, and may find bilbie in queer places. Mr.
Dishart, my official opinion is that this Egyptian
is fearsomely like my snuff-spoon. I've kent
me drap that spoon on the fender, and be beat to
find it in an hour. And yet, a' the time I was
sure it was there. This is a gey mysterious
world, and women's the uncanniest things in't.
It's hardly mous to think how uncanny they
This one deserves to be punished," Gavin
said, firmly; "she incited the people to riot."
She did," agreed Wearyworld, who was sup-
ping ravenously on sociability; "ay, she even
tried her tricks on me, so that them that kens no
better thinks she fooled me. But she's cracky.
To gie her her due, she's cracky, and as for her
being a cuttie, you've said yourself Mr. Dishart,
that we're all desperately wicked. But we're sair
tried. Has it ever struck you that the trouts
bites best on the Sabbath ? God's critturs
tempting decent men."
"Come alang," cried the Tilliedrum man,
"I'm coming, but I maun give Mr. Dishart
Audacity of the Woman
permission to pass first. Hae you heard, Mr.
Dishart," Wearyworld whispered, "that the
Egyptian diddled baith the captain and the
shirra? It's my official opinion that she's no
better than a roasted onion, the which, if you
grip it firm, jumps out o' sicht, leaving its coat
in your fingers. Mr. Dishart, you can pass."
The policeman turned down the school wynd,
and Gavin, who had already heard exaggerated
accounts of the strange woman's escape from the
town-house, proceeded along the Tenements.
He walked in the black shadows of the houses,
though across the way there was the morning
In talking of the gypsy, the little minister had,
as it were, put on the black cap; but now, even
though he shook his head angrily with every
thought of her, the scene in Windyghoul glim-
mered before his eyes. Sometimes when he
meant to frown he only sighed, and then hav-
ing sighed he shook himself. He was unpleas-
antly conscious of his right hand, which had flung
the divit. Ah, she was shameless, and it would
be a bright day for Thrums that saw the last
of her. He hoped the policemen would succeed
in It was the gladsomeness of innocence that
he had seen dancing in the moonlight. A mere
woman could not be like that. How soft -
And she had derided him; he, the Auld Licht
minister of Thrums, had been flouted before his
people by a hussy. She was without reverence,
she knew no difference between an Auld Licht
minister, whose duty it was to speak and hers
to listen, and herself. This woman deserved to