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The Ayrshire Legatees, or, the Pringle family   By: (1779-1839)

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The Ayrshire Legatees


On New Year's day Dr. Pringle received a letter from India, informing him that his cousin, Colonel Armour, had died at Hydrabad, and left him his residuary legatee. The same post brought other letters on the same subject from the agent of the deceased in London, by which it was evident to the whole family that no time should be lost in looking after their interests in the hands of such brief and abrupt correspondents. "To say the least of it," as the Doctor himself sedately remarked, "considering the greatness of the forth coming property, Messieurs Richard Argent and Company, of New Broad Street, might have given a notion as to the particulars of the residue." It was therefore determined that, as soon as the requisite arrangements could be made, the Doctor and Mrs. Pringle should set out for the metropolis, to obtain a speedy settlement with the agents, and, as Rachel had now, to use an expression of her mother's, "a prospect before her," that she also should accompany them: Andrew, who had just been called to the Bar, and who had come to the manse to spend a few days after attaining that distinction, modestly suggested, that, considering the various professional points which might be involved in the objects of his father's journey, and considering also the retired life which his father had led in the rural village of Garnock, it might be of importance to have the advantage of legal advice.

Mrs. Pringle interrupted this harangue, by saying, "We see what you would be at, Andrew; ye're just wanting to come with us, and on this occasion I'm no for making step bairns, so we'll a' gang thegither."

The Doctor had been for many years the incumbent of Garnock, which is pleasantly situated between Irvine and Kilwinning, and, on account of the benevolence of his disposition, was much beloved by his parishioners. Some of the pawkie among them used indeed to say, in answer to the godly of Kilmarnock, and other admirers of the late great John Russel, of that formerly orthodox town, by whom Dr. Pringle's powers as a preacher were held in no particular estimation, "He kens our pu'pit's frail, and spar'st to save outlay to the heritors." As for Mrs. Pringle, there is not such another minister's wife, both for economy and management, within the jurisdiction of the Synod of Glasgow and Ayr, and to this fact the following letter to Miss Mally Glencairn, a maiden lady residing in the Kirkgate of Irvine, a street that has been likened unto the Kingdom of Heaven, where there is neither marriage nor giving in marriage, will abundantly testify.


Mrs. Pringle to Miss Mally Glencairn GARNOCK MANSE.

DEAR MISS MALLY The Doctor has had extraordinar news from India and London, where we are all going, as soon as me and Rachel can get ourselves in order, so I beg you will go to Bailie Delap's shop, and get swatches of his best black bombaseen, and crape, and muslin, and bring them over to the manse the morn's morning. If you cannot come yourself, and the day should be wat, send Nanny Eydent, the mantua maker, with them; you'll be sure to send Nanny, onyhow, and I requeesht that, on this okasion, ye'll get the very best the Bailie has, and I'll tell you all about it when you come. You will get, likewise, swatches of mourning print, with the lowest prices. I'll no be so particular about them, as they are for the servan lasses, and there's no need, for all the greatness of God's gifts, that we should be wasterful. Let Mrs. Glibbans know, that the Doctor's second cousin, the colonel, that was in the East Indies, is no more; I am sure she will sympatheese with our loss on this melancholy okasion. Tell her, as I'll no be out till our mournings are made, I would take it kind if she would come over and eate a bit of dinner on Sunday... Continue reading book >>

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