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CLAUD WALKINSHAW was the sole surviving male heir of the Walkinshaws of Kittlestonheugh. His grandfather, the last laird of the line, deluded by the golden visions that allured so many of the Scottish gentry to embark their fortunes in the Darien Expedition, sent his only son, the father of Claud, in one of the ships fitted out at Cartsdyke, and with him an adventure in which he had staked more than the whole value of his estate. But as it is not our intention to fatigue the reader with any very circumstantial account of the state of the laird's family, we shall pass over, with all expedient brevity, the domestic history of Claud's childhood. He was scarcely a year old when his father sailed, and his mother died of a broken heart, on hearing that her husband, with many of his companions, had perished of disease and famine among the swamps of the Mosquito shore. The Kittlestonheugh estate was soon after sold, and the laird, with Claud, retired into Glasgow, where he rented the upper part of a back house in Aird's Close, in the Drygate. The only servant whom, in this altered state, he could afford to retain, or rather the only one that he could not get rid of, owing to her age and infirmities, was Maudge Dobbie, who, in her youth, was bairnswoman to his son. She had been upwards of forty years in the servitude of his house; and the situation she had filled to the father of Claud did not tend to diminish the kindliness with which she regarded the child, especially when, by the ruin of her master, there was none but herself to attend him.