Short Stories » His Birthright
THE Scotch are noted for frankness of speech and a stern integrity of character.
A little story was told to me not long since by one who of right is an earl's daughter. Her grand- father was, by a mistake, deprived of his rightful title and estate. He became so indignant that he removed some distance to a small property, and from that time ceased all communication with them. He had his three sons taught a useful trade, blacksmithing in its various branches, and advised them that, as partners with each other, their interests would be best maintained, and they would be able to make an honorable and independent living. To them he related the story of injustice.
After he had passed from life, and his sons each had a family, the eldest son was one day visited by a distant kinsman, one well known for his fearless spirit and high sense of honor. When they had conversed some time as friends long parted, they began to trace out their family lines.
Lord A. asked this Lindsay if he did not intend to try to recover his rights. The blacksmith replied that it would be an expensive undertaking and a long affair, as his cousins would contest it as long as possible; and that he did not at present wish to neglect his business, or harass his mind with it. Lord A. then asked, " Could you trust me to look over your papers?" "Yes," said Lindsay, "I can trust you," and he delivered to him all the documents. After four days Lord A. returned and offered his influence and efforts to assist him. Lindsay shook his head, meditatively. " Then," said Lord A., " will you take (naming a large sum). " No I " firmly replied his kinsman. " We Lindsays are able to earn our living without selling our birthright. Let them hold our lands and rest uneasily as thieves and rascals should ; it is ours and they know it." " Yes," said Lord A., " and if I had the right that you have, I'd ride through the castle gate and demand the keys, and none would dare deny me."
Perhaps the very course that Lindsay took, proved a blessing to his family. If he had recovered his rights, it is not likely that his daughter would, in that position in life, have ever heard from the lips of a Mormon elder the tidings of the Gospel. As it is, she alone of all her family has gathered with the Latter-day Saints to the mountain land, where the Temples of God are reared, and by correspondence with her kindred has induced some of them also to inquire into our religion and express a determination to sometime visit this famed city and wonderful people.
Always, when I think of my dear and aged friend, I think of her as an earl's daughter.
If we only knew the truth, there are many of noble birth among us in the disguise of humble life, but our Father knows them and what they have left for His truth, and gives them peace and joy, holding in His keeping for them when they have finished their mission, titles and estates that none can take away.
What a noble spirit and worthy of emulation ! Latter-day Saints should feel the same way when temptations arise, whether from enemies or friends.
We should never barter a principle or inherited right for gold. Some of our blessings are ours to en- joy, but not to dispose of. Children, remember the story of the noble Lindsay, who preferred to continue a life of labor rather than relinquish his birthright and inheritance.