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Kay's Originals Vol. 2


230 BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCHES. referring to the Bible as his authority, he always did so with the utmost reverence and respect. Had Andrew been dictator, the fashions and customs of society would have been pristine indeed. He abominated superfluity; apd no one partial to a fine house and gaudy attire could in his opinion have any pret,ensions to religion. A gentleman with whom he was intimate, happening to be at Glasgow, embraced the opportunity of calling on the Baptist preacher, Mr. Robed Moncreiff, brother of the late Rev. Sir Henry MoncreX Wellwood, Bart. On his return from the west he was closely questioned by Andrew as to what sort of a man Ro6el.t MoncreifT was (for he never addressed any one by a higher appellation than his Christian name)-had he a fine house-and did he dress richly0 On being answered that in these particulars Mr. Moncreif was pretty much in the style of other respectable people--“ 0, then,” said Andrew sorrowfully, “ he cannot be sincere. The rich man was ‘clothed in purple and fine linen, and fared sumptuously every day.’ ” ‘‘ Call no man master ” was a portion of Scripture upon which he acted in the strictest sense. He never applied the terms Master or Mistress to anyone, always using the proper name if he knew it. In cases where he did not, he got over the difficulty in the following manner :-Two ladies, who stood in the relation to each other of mother and daughter-in-law, by their uniform kindness had secured his respect and gratitude. The elder being a widow, he spoke of her without hesitation as Widow -. The younger, whose first name he did not know, asked him how he distinguished her in conversation from her mother-in-law. “0,” said he, “you read in the Scriptures of the wife of Cleophas : I call you the wife of -.” If told anything detrimental to the reputation, or tending to lower his good opinion of any one, he would sny- “ I did not hear it before-I am sorry to hear it ;” and anything of this kind he was never known to repeat to another. Apparently well aware of the position in which he was placed by his singular opinions and habits, he seemed anxious on all occasions to justify his principles. Visiting at the house of an acquaintance one day, he asked permission to take the infant daughter of his friend in his arms. Although somewhat surprised at the request, it was nevertheless readily granted, He pressed the little one to his breast-then holding her out-“ Now,” he exclaimed with triumph, “ dose thou not see a convincing proof? If the beard of man was not according to nature, that child would have cried at my appearance.” The same experiment he frequently repeated by inviting children of a more advanced age to read their lessons to him. His familiarity and ready approval generally gave them confidence ; and he was much pleased if they did not seem afraid of him. Andrew’s ideas as to cleanliness were as singular as his other notions, and did not well agree with the practice of those amongst whom he sojourned. He t8hought people gave themselves a great deal of unnecessary trouble. When sweeping a room, he would say to the servant, “ Cannot you let the dust lie quietly. You stir it up only to get better mouthfuls of it.” And when wash
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EIOGRAPHICAL SKETCHES. 231 ing a floor, he would exclaim-‘‘ Dear sirs, she’ll wear all the boards rubbing them so.” There was one friend on whom he called, sufficiently particular in matters of this kind, who insisted that he must wipe his feet well before he came in. “You remind me,” said Andrew, “of my nephew’s servant-maid who would not allow me to enter the house until I had put off my shoes. Indeed I used to tell her she was abominably cleanly.” Many still living must remember having heard of a Mr. Low in Dunfermline, much famed for his success in setting broken bones, and adjusting dislocations. His cures were performed gratis ; and his aid was only to be obtained through the mediation of a friend, or for mercy’s sake. A gentleman in the medical profession, hearing Andrew speak in approbation of some of Mr, Low’s cases, expressed his distrust in such a practitioner, since he had not studied anatomy. “Ay, that’s true,” replied Andrew, “ but Low acquired his anatomy at the grave’s m.outh “-referring to his inspection of the bones as cast up by the grave-digger. Of the simplicity and anchorite-like demeanour of Andrew Donaldson, there are several curious reminiscences. The late Dr. Charles Stuart-father of James Stuart, Esq., of Dunearn-had for some time meditated withdrawing from the Established Church before he actually did so. Hearing of his intention, although entirely unacquainted with him, Andrew resolved on paying a visit to the manse of Cramond, of which parish the Doctor was then minister. Taking his long staff in his hand, and “ girding up his loins,” as he would himself have expressed it, he set out on his journey early one forenoon. When near to Cramond, and not exactly certain whereabout the manse stood, he observed two well-dressed men walking in a field near to where he supposed it should be. Towards them he bent his course ; and, as he approached with his bald head, flowing beard, and pilgrim’s staff, the gentlemen were at first so struck with his singular appearance, that they were irresolute whether to retreat or await his advance. On nearing them, he inquired if they could inform him where Charles Stuart, minister of Cramond, lived 1 To this one of the party replied, “ I an1 C’harles Stuart, the person you refer to.” “Then,” said Andrew, extending his arm to grasp the hand of the Doctor, “ I have heard that thou dost intend separating thyself from the Church, and hast set thy face heavenward-I wish thee God speed ! ” So saying, he wheeled about and proceeded on his return to Edinburgh, leaving the worthy Doctor and his friend not less astonished at the nature of the brief interview, than curious as to the character of their visitor. The result of the Doctor’s inquiry as to this singular enthusiast having been favourable, he became ever after his steady and warm friend. Andrew remained all his days a bachelor; but that he was not altogether a misogamist, is testified by the fact, that he at one time entertained the idea of venturing upon the cares of wedlock. In the habit .of visiting at the house of Bailie Horn, in Dunfermline, he had observed and been pleased with the deportment of the servant-maid, with whom he occasionally entered into conversation. At length he addressed her in his usual laconic style, stating his Andrew could occasionally say a good thing. ,
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