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haunted. It was then known by the name of “ Cabbage Hall:" She had scarcely, however, brought the place into order, when the proprietor himself fancied and took it. She then removed to a house on the banks of the Esk, not far from Musselburgh, where the family resided for the next ten years. Here Thomas Drummond passed his childhood and boyhood; and here his mother and grandmother fought their brave fight with worldly difficulties, and fought it successfully.
Mrs Somers, with her unmarried daughter, continued, it will be understood, to form part of the household. Indeed, in some respects “Grandmother Somers” was the true head of the family. She is described as having been “a very managing woman”—a person “at once of great sweetness and great sense.” Her portrait supports the character ascribed to her. She appears bright, good-looking, open-browed, with large dark blue eyes, and a figure full of grace; her looks betokening quick wit and good sense, readiness in repartee, and the merriment which sustains banter. She always did the marketing ; and she did it well. A neighbouring butcher, an honest rogue in his day, is related to have said of her, “There comes the only lady I never could cheat.” She was just the woman to be the head of a good family fallen on evil days, whose members were to be reared to sustain the credit of the house, if not to repair its fortunes. I imagine she superintended the financial affairs of the family, while Mrs Drummond discharged her duties as nurse and mother to her children.
From Miss Drummond, now the sole survivor of the group, we have a glimpse of the life in the house on Eskside, as well as a notice of the early tendencies of her brother. “ It was,” she says, “a very happy life; we were the happiest of families. Our greatest enjoyment in the day was a walk with our mother, I getting her one hand and Tommy the other. The rest of us were all fond of gardening amusements. As for Tommy, his pleasures lay in carpentering and mechanical contrivances. He was always making things." There are preserved, as evidences of his success, some excellent specimens of bookbinding done by him when about ten years of age, half-calfs and moroccos, finished to the very gildings on the backs. A wellmade writing-desk attested his skill as a carpenter. He was a good rigger of ships, and used to finish the tiny craft with every rope and spar necessary for a large vessel. “ About the house,” says Miss Drummond, “his power of contrivance made him exceedingly useful. And whatever went wrong, from the roastingjack upwards, the appeal was to Tommy to put it right.” The services he was thus able to render were perhaps of more value than people living on large incomes can
The family, it afterwards turned out, should have been better off during these years than it was. Miss Somers having married Mr William Macfarlane, a Writer to the Signet (long popularly known as “Judge Macfarlane” on the bench of the Justice of Peace Court), this gentleman interested himself in the Drummond affairs, and helped to bring about a settlement of them. The result was, the recovery of a considerable sum to the family. It was large enough materially to improve their circumstances. The improvement came at a good time, when the children were growing up and expenses increasing. But before it came, there had been enough of frugality and carefulness in the household ; and in the recollection of his early home we may see a source of the great tenderness with which Thomas Drummond always regarded his mother. To use the language of Miss Drummond," he idolised her.” Also, the experience of this time must have intensified in some degree his natural sympathies with the poor and struggling. How strong these were we shall see. They prompted the most arduous labour of his life a labour to which, indeed, his life may be said to have been sacrificed.
SCHOOL AND COLLEGE.
THE first school to which Thomas Drummond was sent was the Grammar School of Musselburgh. The master of the school was then a Mr Taylor, who was assisted in his duties by his son Colin. The memory of these persons is not “sweetly odorous” in this connection, and we shall say little more of them than may suffice to explain why this should be so.
Young Drummond, who was short of stature for his years, was far from being a favourite of his master, notwithstanding that he was so diligent as usually to be dux in his classes. And yet Mr Taylor had favourites : they were children in whose homes he and his son were used “ to join the social circle.” On several accounts the circle at Eskside was direly exclusive of the master and his connections.
It was hard for the emulous boy to be occasionally ousted from his proper place in the class, that some more favoured schoolfellow might get it, and gladden the hearts of hospitable parents.
Yet such preferences, in violation of the rule “palmam qui meruit ferat,” might have been submitted to; not resented, even if complained of. But that the master's grudge at the boy's superiority should show itself in nail-marks nigh through the ear, that “the most deserving" should systematically be treated with injustice and cruelty, was unsupportable—not brutality merely, but absolute indiscretion and stupidity, on the dominie's part, certain to lead in time to exposure and humiliation. One day little Drummond came home with his ears horribly pinched and blood all over his dress. This produced the crisis that was certain to come some day. The Eskside circle was not without connections of influence to procure for them an investigation, and to bring the teacher to account. The way in which the boy had long been treated was then fully disclosed, and a lesson read to Mr Taylor which he never forgot.
One of those who interfered to check these practices was Mr Aitchison of Drummore, a gentleman of great wealth, who had been an intimate friend and admirer of “ the last Laird of Comrie," and who continued to take an affectionate interest in the family. He is mentioned, in a letter of Drummond's belonging to this time, as reprimanding the Taylors for their improper conduct. This letter, which is addressed to his eldest brother, is carefully ruled with pencil, and written in boy's “ half-text.” It is dated 27th September (the year was probably 1807), and gives us Tommy's views of the crisis which had occurred.
“ Mr Aitchison gave him (Colin Taylor] a terrible scold about partiality, which he told to his father, and Mr Taylor's tongue has never lain. One time when he was speaking, he said, * I shall be accused of partiality by none.' I have not told you the half of it.
the half of it. At one time we thought he was going out of his senses, but he has now turned a little calmer."*
After this, Drummond received from
* The following genuine “boy's bit" in this letter is worth preserving :—“We are sailing our ships yet. I am sure you will not sail the Dutch ship any more. My mother and aunt think you might give it to me, and I will give mine to John.”