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The Annals of the Parish; or, the chronicle of Dalmailing during the ministry of the Rev. Micah Balwhidder

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Well may we say, in the pious words of my old friend and neighbour, the Reverend Mr Keekie of Loupinton, that the world is such a wheel- carriage, that it might very properly be called the WHIRL'D. This reflection was brought home to me in a very striking manner, while I was preparing a discourse for my people, to be preached on the anniversary day of my placing, in which I took a view of what had passed in the parish during the five-and-twenty years that I had been, by the grace of God, the pastor thereof. The bairns, that were bairns when I came among my people, were ripened unto parents, and a new generation was swelling in the bud around me. But it is what happened that I have to give an account of.

This year the Lady Macadam's jointure-house that was, having been long without a tenant, a Mr Cayenne and his family, American loyalists, came and took it, and settled among us for a time. His wife was a clever woman, and they had two daughters, Miss Virginia and Miss Carolina; but he was himself an ettercap, a perfect spunkie of passion, as ever was known in town or country. His wife had a terrible time o't with him, and yet the unhappy man had a great share of common sense, and, saving the exploits of his unmanageable temper, was an honest and creditable gentleman. Of his humour we soon had a sample, as I shall relate at length all about it.

Shortly after he came to the parish, Mrs Balwhidder and me waited upon the family to pay our respects, and Mr Cayenne, in a free and hearty manner, insisted on us staying to dinner. His wife, I could see, was not satisfied with this, not being, as I discerned afterwards, prepared to give an entertainment to strangers; however, we fell into the misfortune of staying, and nothing could exceed the happiness of Mr Cayenne. I thought him one of the blithest bodies I had ever seen, and had no notion that he was such a tap of tow as in the sequel he proved himself.

As there was something extra to prepare, the dinner was a little longer of being on the table than usual, at which he began to fash, and every now and then took a turn up and down the room, with his hands behind his back, giving a short melancholious whistle. At length the dinner was served, but it was more scanty than he had expected, and this upset his good-humour altogether. Scarcely had I asked the blessing when he began to storm at his blackamoor servant, who was, however, used to his way, and did his work without minding him; but by some neglect there was no mustard down, which Mr Cayenne called for in the voice of a tempest, and one of the servant lassies came in with the pot, trembling. It happened that, as it had not been used for a day or two before, the lid was clagged, and, as it were, glued in, so that Mr Cayenne could not get it out, which put him quite wud, and he attempted to fling it at Sambo, the black lad's head, but it stottit against the wall, and the lid flying open, the whole mustard flew in his own face, which made him a sight not to be spoken of....