BLTC Press Titles


available for Kindle at Amazon.com


The Haunted Bookshop

Christopher Morely


The Diplomatic Background of the War

Charles Seymour


The Secret Doctrine, Volume II Anthropogenesis

H. P. Blavatsky


The Pictorial Key to the Tarot

Arthur Edward Waite


Annals of the parish

by John Galt

Excerpt:

XmS was one of the heaviest years in the whole course of my ministry. The spring was slow of coming, and cold and wet when it did come: the dibs1 were full, the roads foul, and the ground, that should have been dry at the seed-time, was as claggy as clay and clung to the harrow. The labour of man and beast was thereby augmented; and all nature being in a state of sluggish indisposition, it was evident to every eye of experience that there would be a great disappointment to the hopes of the husbandman.

Foreseeing this, I gathered the opinion of all the most sagacious of my parishioners, and consulted with them for a provision against the evil day; and we spoke to Mr Cayenne on the subject, for he had a talent by-common in matters of mercantile management. It was amazing, considering 1 Dibs. Puddles.

his hot temper, with what patience he heard the grounds of our apprehension, and how he questioned and sifted the experience of the old farmers till he was thoroughly convinced that all similar seed-times were ever followed by a short crop. He then said that he would prove himself a better friend to the parish than he was thought. Accordingly (as he afterwards told me himself) he wrote off that very night to his correspondents in America to buy for his account all the wheat and flour they could get, and ship it to arrive early in the Fall; and he bought up likewise in countries round the Baltic great store of victual, and brought in two cargoes to Irville, on purpose for the parish, against the time of need, making for the occasion a garnel of one of the warehouses of the cotton-mill.

The event came to pass as had been foretold: the harvest fell short; and Mr Cayenne's cargoes from America and the Baltic came home in due season, by which he made a terrible power of money, clearing thousands on thousands by post after post, making more profit, as he said himself, in the course of one month, he believed, than ever was made by any individual within the kingdom of Scotland in the course of a year. He said, however, that he might have made more if he had bought up the corn at home; but being convinced by us that there would be a scarcity, he thought it his duty as an honest man to draw from the stores and granaries of foreign countries, by which he was sure he would serve his country, and be abundantly rewarded. In short, we all reckoned him another Joseph when he opened his garnels at the cotton-mill, and, after distributing a liberal portion to the poor and needy, sold the remainder at an easy rate to the generality of the people. Some of the neighbouring parishes, however, were angry that he would not serve them likewise, and called him a wicked and extortionate forestaller; but he made it plain to the meanest capacity that if he did not circumscribe his dispensation to our own bounds it would be as nothing. So that, although he brought a wonderful prosperity in by the cotton-mill, and a plenteous supply of corn in a time of famine, (doing more in these things for the people than all the other heritors had done from the beginning of time), he was much reviled: even his bounty was little esteemed by my people, because he took a moderate profit on what he sold to them. Perhaps, however, these prejudices might be partly owing to their dislike of his hasty temper: at least I am willing to think so; for it would grieve me if they were really ungrateful for a benefit that made the pressure of the time lie but lightly on them.

The alarm of the Irish rebellion in this year was likewise another source of affliction to us; for many of the gentry, especially ladies and their children, coming over in great straits, and some of them in the hurry of their flight having but little ready money, were very ill off. Some four or five families came to the Cross-Keys in this situation, and the conduct of Mr Cayenne to them was most exemplary. He remembered his own haste with his family from Virginia, when the Americans rebelled; and immediately on hearing of these Irish refugees, he waited on them with his wife and daughter, supplied them with money, invited them to his house, made ploys to keep up their spirits, while the other gentry stood back till they knrw something of the strangers.

Among these destitute ladies was a Mrs Desmond, with her two daughters, a woman of a most august presence, being, indeed, like one more ordained to reign over a kingdom than for household purposes. The Miss Desmonds were only entering their teens; but they also had no ordinary stamp upon them. What made this party the more particular was on account of Mr Desmond, who was supposed to be a united man with the rebels; and it was known his son was deep in their plots. Yet, although this was all told to Mr Cayenne by some of the other Irish ladies who were of the loyal connection, it made no difference with him, but, on the contrary, he acted as if he thought the Desmonds the most of all the refugees entitled to his hospitable civilities. This was a wonderment to our strait-laced, narrow lairds, for there was not a man of such strict government principles in the whole country-side as Mr Cayenne; but he said he carried his political principles only to the camp and the council. "To the hospital and the prison," said he, "I take those of a man :" —which was almost a Christian doctrine; and from that declaration Mr Cayenne and me began again to draw a little more cordially together, although he had still a very imperfect sense of religion, which I attributed to his being born in America, where even as yet, I am told, they have but a scanty sprinkling of grace.

But, before concluding this year, I should tell the upshot of the visitation of the Irish, although it did not take place until some time after the peace with France.


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