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an act of volition, but to be dropped and hoisted up again by some complicated machinery within the inner man, the harsh and dissonant voice, and the screech-owl notes to which it was exalted when he was exhorted to pronounce more distinctly, all added fresh subject for mirth to the torn cloak and shattered shoe, which have afforded legitimate subjects of raillery against the poor scholar from Juvenal's time downward. It was never known that Sampson either exhibited irritability at this ill usage, or made the least attempt to retort upon his tormentors.
his tormentors. He slunk from college by the most secret paths he could discover, and plunged himself into his miserable lodging, where, for eighteen. pence a-week, he was allowed the benefit of a straw mattress, and, if his landlady was in good humour, permission to study his task by her fire. Under all these disadvantages, he obtained a competent knowledge of Greek and Latin, and some acquaintance with the sciences.
In progress of time, Abel Sampson, probationer of divinity, was admitted to the privileges of a preacher. But, alas ! partly from his own bashfulness, partly owing to a strong disposition to risibility which pervaded the congregation upon his first attempt, he became totally incapable of pro. ceeding in his intended discourse, gasped, grinned, hideously rolled his eyes till the congregation thought them flying out of his head, shut the Bible, stumbled down the pulpit-stairs, trampling upon the old women who generally take their station there, and was ever after designated as a "stickit minister.” And thus he wandered back to his own country, with blighted hopes and prospects, to share the poverty of his parents. As he had neither friend nor confidant, hardly even an acquaintance, no one had the means of observing closely, how Dominie Sampson bore a disappointment which supplied the whole town where it happened with a week's sport.
It would be endless even to mention the numerous jokes to which it gave birth, from a ballad, called “Sampson's Riddle," written upon the subject by a smart young student of humanity, to the sly hope of the Principal, that the fugitive had not taken the college gates along with him in, lais retreat.
To all appearance. the equanimity of Sampson was unshaken. He sought to assist his parents by teaching a school, and soon had plenty of scholars, but very few fees. In fact, he taught the sons of farmers for what they chose to give hiin, and the poor for nothing; and, to the shame of the former be it spoken, the pe. dagogue's gains never equalled those of a skilful ploughman. He wrote, however, a good hand, and added something to his pittance by copying accounts and writing letters for Ellangowan. By degrees, the Laird, who was much estranged from gene. ral society, became partial to that of Do..
minie Sampson. Conversation, it is true, was out of the question, but the Dominie was a good listener, and stirred the fire with some address. He attempted also to spuff the candles, but was unsuccessful, and relinquished that ambitious post of courtesy after having twice reduced the parlour to total darkness. So his civilities, thereafter, were confined to taking off his glass of ale in exactly the same time and measure with the Laird, and in uttering certain indistinct murmurs of acquiescence at the conclusion of the long and winding stories of Ellangowan.
Upon one of these occasions, he presented for the first time to Mannering his tall, gaunt, awkward, boney figure, attired in a threadbare suit of black, with a coloured handkerchief, not over clean, about his sinewy, scraggy neck, and his nether person arrayed in grey breeches, dark-blue stockings, clouted shoes, and small copper buckles.