It was while I was spending a few days in the dwelling of Mr. C., a Scottish immigrant, that he received a long letter from his friends in Scotland. After perusing the letter he addressed his wife, saying: “So auld Davy’s gone at last.” “Puir man,” replied Mrs. C. “If he’s dead let us hope that he has found that rest and peace which has been so long denied him in this life.” “And who was old Davy; may I enquire,” said I, addressing Mr. C. “Ay, man,” he replied, “’tis a sad story; but when my work is by for the night, I’ll tell ye a’ that I ken o’ the life o’ Davy Stuart.” I was then young and very imaginative; and a story of any kind possessed much interest for me; and the thought that the story of Old Davy was to be a true one, rendered it doubly interesting; so I almost counted the hours of the remaining portion of the day; and when evening came I was not slow to remind Mr. C. of his promise. Accordingly he related to me the following particulars of the life of Davy Stuart; which I give, as nearly as possible, in his own words; for it seems to me that the story would lose half its interest were I to render it otherwise.
“Davy Stuart was an aul’ man when I was a wee boy at the school. I had aye been used wi’ him; for he often bided wi’ us for days thegither; and while a boy I gave little heed to his odd ways an’ wanderin’ mode o’ life; for he was very kind to mysel’ an’ a younger brither an’ we thought muckle o’ him; but when we had grown up to manhood my father tell’d us what had changed Davy Stuart from a usefu’ an’ active man to the puir demented body he then was. He was born in a small parish in the south of Scotland, o’ respectable honest parents, who spared nae pains as he grew up to instruct him in his duty to baith God an’ man. At quite an early age he was sent to the parish school: where he remained maist o’ the time till he reached the age o’ fourteen years. At that time he was apprenticed to learn the trade o’ shoemaker, in a distant town. It wad seem that he served his time faithfully, an’ gained a thorough knowledge o’ his trade. Upon leaving his master, after paying a short visit to his native parish, he gie’d awa’ to the city o’ Glasgow, to begin the warld for himself. He continued steady and industrious, and was prospered accordingly; and at the age o’ twenty-five he had saved considerable money. It was about this time, that he was married to a worthy young woman, to whom he had been long deeply attached. They had but one bairn, a fine boy, who was the delight o’ his father’s heart, and I hae heard it said by they who kenn’d them at the time, that a bonnier or mair winsome boy could ’na hae been found in the city, than wee Geordie Stuart. Time gied on till Geordie was near twelve years aul’, when it began to be talked o’ among Mr. Stuart’s friends that he was becoming owre fond o’ drink. How the habit was first formed naebody could tell; but