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CHAP. II.

THE RIVAL.-DR. BELL.

ANDREW, the son of Alexander and Margaret Bell, was born,' says Dr. Southey,

in the city of St. Andrews, on the 7th of March, 1753. His father was a barber, and evidently of no mean reputation. Persons are still living who remember him hastening through the street with a professor's wig, ready dressed, in each hand, his arms at half stretch to prevent their collision. After trimming one professor, he would sit down and breakfast with him, and then away to trim and breakfast with another; his appetite, like his mouth (and his mind also), being of remarkable and well-known capacity. Being a man of ability, he added to his original trade that of a clock and watchmaker, and ultimately became baillie of the city, quelling, on one occasion, a popular tumult by his personal influence, after all other means had failed.

The future doctor was his second son; a plodding, industrious boy, fond of his books, but hating school, on account of the tyranny which he witnessed and endured. Oh, it was terrible;' he said, “the remains of feudal severity. I never went to school without

HE STARTS FOR AMERICA.

23

trembling; I could not tell whether I should be flogged or not.'

In 1769 Andrew matriculated at the college, eking out his scanty resources by private teaching. Dr. Wilkie, who was at that time the Professor of Natural Philosophy, particularly noticed him. Mind what I say,' Wilkie would say to him, laying his hand on his head, and stroking it; pursue your studies, and they will make your fortune. I never knew a man fail of success in the world if he excelled in one thing. This excellent piece of advice can scarcely be impressed too frequently or too forcibly on young men. - Dr. Bell,' says

his biographer, 'adhered to it in his latter years too literally and too long.'

In the year 1774, having finished his education, he embarked for America, where, for the next five

years,

he

appears to have been chiefly employed in tuition. In 1779 we find him a private tutor in the family of a wealthy merchant in Virginia, enjoying a salary of £200 a year, and, in accordance with what afterwards proved the ruling passion of his life, occupied at the same time in obtaining money, by collecting debts and other transactions in business. This part of his journal, says the editor, is filled with memoranda of dealings in American currency and tobacco.'

In 1781 he set sail for England. The voyage was disastrous. Nine days after

snow.

24 IS SHIPWRECKED ON RETURNING, leaving York, the brig went on shore in lat. 45°. His journal of this event is brief, but graphic:- An uninhabited country; the cold and frost so intense that all safety is despaired of. Almost continual Terrible prospect.

Revised my accounts; and, in expectation of death, devised what I had in my pocket-book, if human being should ever come this way. Snow for sixteen hours. Fair night, and most intensely cold. Observation 45° 50'. A fisher's tent seen in ruins to the south-west.'

Providentially, the severity of the weather abated; a small boat passed along shore, and ultimately, after eighteen days' suffering, they reached Halifax in safety; where, after a week of good weather,' he goes to church, and notes it down in his diary, infinitely superior to the meeting. Here he embarked afresh, and in due time reached England in safety.

After remaining in London about five weeks, where, he says, “sight-seeing and coach hire' cost him sometimes'a guinea a day,' he visited Bath and Bristol, and then proceeded to Scotland, making his way sometimes on horseback, sometimes on foot, and sometimes by stage or other conveyance.' With the startling exception of a duel which he fought with an English student, and in which he endangered the lives of the seconds rather than that of his antagonist, his visit

THEN OBTAINS ORDINATION.

25

appears to have been passed tranquilly in the society of his old friends and acquaintances, and in the education of two Virginian youths who had been committed to his care.

About this time Dr. Berkeley (son of the bishop), with whom he had become acquainted at St. Andrews, encouraged him to take orders in the English church, and promised to render him all the good offices in his power. By the aid of this kind and zealous friend he soon obtained ordination, and was shortly after elected minister of the Episcopal Chapel at Leith.

Dissatisfied with this position, and seeing no prospect of preferment, he now determined, by the advice of his friends, to go to India, thinking that he might turn his talents and acquirements to good account as a philosophical lecturer, and in the way of tuition.' Dr. Southey states that an influential 'friend (Mr. Dempster) omitting nothing that could contribute to Mr. Bell's success in India, thought it fitting that he should be dignified, before he went out, with a doctor's degree, and accordingly applied for one to the University of St. Andrews.' But from a letter addressed by Mr. Bell to Principal M‘Cormick, which has recently been published in a Scotch newspaper, and of the existence of which his biographer was probably ignorant, it appears that the application

D

26

HE EMBARKS FOR INDIA,

was his own. • I think it an object of considerable importance,' he says, to be distinguished with the honourable title of D.D.' And then he begs that it may be done as soon as possible, stating that his father has directions about the fees; and adding, with characteristic vanity, My mind is above my fortune and above my birth. To his surprise and disappointment, the diploma granted was that of M.D., a designation of questionable value to one who had neither pursued nor studied the art of medicine.

On the 2nd of June, 1787, he reached Madras, where his reception was so good, that he abandoned his original intention of proceeding to Calcutta, and remained at Madras with the prospect of being speedily appointed to the charge of a military male orphan asylum which was about to be commenced.

The tide of fortune rapidly set in : within two months of his arrival he was appointed (subject to confirmation at home) Chaplain to the 4th European Regiment, then stationed at Arcot. Nine days afterwards he was nominated to the deputy chaplainship of the 19th Regiment of Cavalry. In October he obtained a second deputy chaplainship to the 36th, then at Poonamalee; and on the day following to a third, in the 52nd Regiment. During this time he delivered a course of philosophical lectures, which produced him

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