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thus obliterating for ever one of the old landmarks so dear to every Scotsman's heart. As years rolled on, the tide of good fortune and prosperity
, still flowed in rich abundance to the worthy Alderman's protegé, who, by his activity, shrewdness, and untiring industry, had raised himself to a high position in the office, and completely succeeded in gaining the entire confidence of his appreciative employer. The chief clerk, who had grown grey in the service of his master, having retired at this time from active duty in the enjoyment of a handsome annuity generously bestowed upon him by Mr Pirie, Mr Wightman was at once promoted to the important post, the duties of which were so efficiently discharged by him, that at the termination of three years he was taken into partnership with the worthy Alderman, whose time being now much engrossed with Corporation affairs, the whole responsibility of his extensive business devolved in consequence upon the shoulders of the junior partner, who proved himself in every way equal to the task, and worthy of the confidence reposed in him by his chief.
As a proof o the high esteem in which he was held by his employer, young Wightman was now a frequent guest at the Alderman's beautiful residence at Twickenham, on the banks of the winding Thames, on which occasions his early education and Christian training stood him in good stead in the superior and intelligent society which congregated around the hospitable table of the great and popular magnate of the City. Mr Wightman had occasionally been a visitor there during the years of his clerkship, but the distance between himself and his master he invariably felt to be so great, that a necessary diffidence of manner restrained the full play of his natural abilities, and checked the current of his powers of conversation. Now all was changed; and as an equal with the best of them, he worthily sustained, without hindrance from within or from without, the important part that was ex
pected of him as the partner of one of the most intelligent and richest merchants of the City.
Alderman Pirie had an only child—the sunshine of his luxurious and happy home. His heart was centred in his amiable and beautiful daughter Evangeline, who had lost her mother several years before, to the great regret and grief of all who had known her. From the first, a deep-rooted affection had sprung up, unknown to each other, in the breasts of Evangeline and young Wightman ; but the feeling never found expression until the latter had established himself in a position worthy of the daughter of such a father, and of her own superior excellences as a lovely and accomplished woman. It was the prospect, indeed, of her becoming at some distant day his own that had upheld his heart and cheered his spirit amidst the dangers and difficulties through which he had passed, and which had nerved and encouraged his unceasing efforts and unwearying labours to make his mark in the world, and to raise himself to the high and enviable position to which he had now most gratefully attained.
His highest hopes, his dearest wishes, were at last realised. Evangeline became the happy wife of Mr Joseph Wightman --the happy pair receiving on their wedding day the joyful congratulations and good wishes of all who had the honour and pleasure of their acquaintance. The fruition of the first and only love of each, and a union of the purest and sweetest affection, no wonder that, under God, their after-life became progressively prosperous and supremely happy. Alas! alas ! if it had been fated to have been united in the bonds of first affection, how different, in its aims and results, might many a life have been !
Still true to his early ambition, Joe forgot not the goal to which all his restless hopes tended, and lost no opportunity to advance his personal interests in that direction. Keeping this object steadily in view, he became a Liveryman, by joining the Merchant Tailors' Company, one of the most ancient and richest Guilds of the City. He was soon afterwards
elected a Common Councilman—the next step to an Alderman's gown—and assiduously devoted himself to the acquirement of the requisite knowledge of Corporation affairs to enable him satisfactorily to perform his varied duties.
At this time, “ like a shock of corn fully ripe,” the good old Alderman Pirie was gathered to his fathers, leaving behind him an untarnished reputation as a man and a Christian, and bequeathing to those who were to follow him in the race of life the example of his good deeds, as an incentive to imitate those virtues and perform those duties which alone can enable them effectually to reach the goal.
By the unanimous voice of the Ward, Councillor Wightman was elected Alderman of Bishopgate-Without, as successor to his father-in-law, Alderman Pirie. Assuming his official robes, the young aspirant, at the next Court of Aldermen in Guild Hall, was duly sworn into office, and took his place amongst the City magnates amidst the warmest congratulations of his brother magistrates.
The Aldermen of London are elected to the office for life, and, as Magistrates and Justices of the Peace, enjoy a source of professional training befitting their high office, and effectually preparing them for their higher duties when they in due rotation become Lord Mayor. There being seven Aldermen who had not passed the chair when Mr Wightman was elected to the office, it followed that seven years must elapse ere he could wield the sceptre of the City.
Another honour, however, awaited him before the final consummation of his hopes. In two years after assuining the aldermanic gown he was elected by the Livery to fill the honourable office of one of the Sheriffs of London, the onerous duties of which high position he performed with great zeal and becoming dignity.
At the termination of other five years he rode forth, on the morning of the 9th November, from Guild Hall to Westminster in his chariot of state, in all the pomp and circumstance of Lord Mayor of London, and Chief Magistrate of the greatest City of the world. In the evening were gathered round him in the banquet hall several members of the Royal Family, the great Officers and Ministers of State, the Foreign Ambassadors, many Members of the two Houses of Parliament ; men of science, art, and literature; the first merchants in the city, and the greatest men in the country. And so it came to pass that the once poor and friendless boy from the Howe of Strathmore not only sat as an equal with the princes, and nobles, and great ones of the earth, but entertained them as guests at his own table.
When the great civic feast was ended, and the numerous guests were slowly departing, the Right Honourable Joseph Wightman, Lord Mayor of London, turned aside to speak with a friend from Scotland, whom he had especially invited to be present.
“I have carefully preserved," said his Lordship, “the spotted handkerchief in which my mother wrapped my scanty wardrobe on the morning of my departure from home, and also the sapling ash stick I carried in my hand on my journey to Dundee when I embarked for London, and these I value more than my official robes, this brightly begemmed massy circlet of gold, or the silver-gilt mace, and sword of state. I have now only one wish left ungratified—the longing, yearning wish to see my mother and St Fergus Well.
Mr Wightman's father had died many years before, and • his aged mother was now on her death-bed. When informed
of her son's elevation, and the great splendour with which the event had been celebrated, instead of indulging in expressions of grateful joy, her thoughts reverted to the days of his youth, and to her sad parting with her darling boy on the morning he left his native vale; and turning her face to the wall, she quietly passed away, repeating in mournful accents the refrain she had so often and grievingly sung since his departure
My boy does not return !”
Joe, sad now leaves his native village,
His bundle o'er his arm ;
He's ta'en the last look of the cottage,
The last look of the farm.
Beside the bonnie burn“Dear Joe ; "_" Farewell, weep not, my mother,
Your boy will soon return,
Your boy will soon return."
Brought sunshine, fruit, and flowers ;
Howl'd through the leafless bowers. The young grew old, the aged passing,
Each to his silent urn;
My boy does not return!”
With trumpet blast of fame,
Her son's now honoured name.
For him she still doth yearn ;
My boy does not return,