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Samuel Rutherford eBook

Alexander Whyte
This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 181 pages of information about Samuel Rutherford.
The miserable old man was up to the neck in debt to the Edinburgh lawyers; but he was fast discovering that there are other and worse things that a bad man entails on his eldest son than a burdened estate.  There was no American wheat or Australian wool to reduce the rents of Cardoness in that day; but he had learnt, as he rode in to Edinburgh again and again to raise yet another loan for pocket-money to his eldest son, that there are far more fatal things to a small estate than the fluctuations and depressions of the corn and cattle markets.  Gordon’s own so expensive youth was now past, as he had hoped:  but no, there it was, back upon him again in a most unlooked-for and bitter shape.  ’The fathers have eaten sour grapes’ was all he used to say as he rose to let in his drunken son at midnight; he scarcely blamed him; he could only blame himself, as his beloved boy reeled in and cursed his father, not knowing what he did.

The shrinking income of the small estate could ill afford to support two idle and expensive families, but when young Cardoness broke it to his mother that he wished to marry, she and her husband were only too glad to hear it.  To meet the outlay connected with the marriage, and to provide an income for the new family, there was nothing for it but to raise the rents of the farms and cottages that stood on the estate.  Anxious as Rutherford was to see young Cardoness settled in life, he could not stand by in silence and see honest and hard-working people saddled with the debts and expenses of the Castle; and he took repeated opportunities of telling the Castle people his mind; till old Cardoness in a passion chased him out of the house, and rode next Sabbath-day over to Kirkdale and worshipped in the parish church of William Dalgleish.  The insolent young laird continued, at least during the time of his courtship, to go to church with his mother, but Rutherford could not shut his eyes to the fact that he studied all the time how he could best and most openly insult his minister.  He used to come to church late on the Sabbath morning; and he never remained till the service was over, but would rise and stride out in his spurs in the noisiest way and at the most unseemly times.  Rutherford’s nest at Anwoth was not without its thorns.  And that such a crop of thorns should spring up to him and to his people from Lady Cardoness’s house, was one of Rutherford’s sorest trials.  The marriage-day, from which so much was expected, came and passed away; but what it did for young Cardoness may be judged from such expressions in Rutherford’s Aberdeen letters as these:  ’Be not rough with your wife.  God hath given you a wife, love her; drink out of your own fountain, and sit at your own fireside.  Make conscience of cherishing your wife.’  His marriage did not sanctify young Cardoness; it did not even civilise him; for, long years after, when he was an officer in the Covenanters’ army, he writes from Newcastle, apologising to his ill-used wife for the way he left her when he went to join his regiment:  ’We are still ruffians and churls at home long after we are counted saints abroad.’

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