| Whatever their shortcomings, the Mormons were not given
to melancholy. Even amid their most sacred rites a hearty
outburst of laughter, followed by curious remarks, was nothing
uncommon, and a " dipping day" was looked upon more
as a day for diversion at the seaside than a day of prayer
This turned out to be a day of fun. Several, though willing
to become followers of the prophet, refused to face the water;
but with a strong man on either side they were quickly rushed
in, and the more refractory the subject the louder the laughter
on shore. The old woman's turn came, when, partly by force
and partly by persuasion, she was got in up to the knees,
but she would go no further.
" Willie, Willie !" shouted her " leaders in,
" " she's lost a' faith ! She winna budge an inch,
and she winna gang doon. " " Doon wi' her, or let
her be damned wi' the rest, then, " was the reply; "she
was ever a perverse person at ony rate. " This was followed
by another outburst of laughter, amid which she went down—but
she did not long survive the dipping.
Willie ultimately took up his residence in Tranent; and some
years afterwards on the above incident being called to his
recollection: —" Tut, tut, " was his reply, "
they have a very different way of doing things in America.
Some time ago there was a great 'turning' in favour of the
'true faith. ' Natives and others came to the riverside for
baptism—the river was wild at the time, the place dangerous,
and there was a deal of work to get through. One after another
the new disciples were handed over the ledge of the rock,
and several went off with the stream; but on the ' dippers'
went, heedless of their howls, and all the mane they made
was, ' As one goes another comes, hand us over another one.
THE FOUR M'NEILLS.
That the followers of Joseph Smith, in the early days at least,
were neither solemn during their rites nor choice in their
language at other times has already in part been shown, but
it could scarcely be otherwise, for as a rule they were drawn
from the most illiterate of our mining folks. We knew them
well when they flourished most, and we cannot remember one
in full communion with any church, nor any labourer or tradesmen
ever joining the fraternity. There are no professing followers
of the "true faith" in the district now.
We do not remember of Elphinstone ever contributing a single
convert to the tenets of Mormonism; but the smaller mining
villages of New Winton, Newtown, Pension, and Macmerry became
great with " Latter Day Saints, " and yet Tranent
was the great centre of attraction for the followers of the
" true faith " on a Sunday morning, for there they
had a large meeting-place. Here is another instance, not only
of their freedom of speech, but of their utter carelessness
whether or not they caused pain to their friends and relations.
One Sunday morning when Willie and Charlie M'Neill were on
their way in from Macmerry to their meeting-place at Tranent,
they met their two cousins Tom and John M'Neill on their way
to the Free Church, almost at the church door. The two Mormons
halted on beholding them, when Charlie, raising his hands
above his head, exclaimed, "Oh, cousins, cousins, are
you still going to hell? Turn, turn, come back with us; embrace
the ' true faith, ' and you shall find rest to your feet,
comfort to your souls, and an everlasting—ha, ha, ha ! "
and away they went laughing like to end themselves; while
their two friends entered the church, if not in good humour
through the interruption, at all events less inclined to embrace
the " true faith " than ever they had been.
Richard Weaver had also a good many followers here at one
time, but the Salvation Army scarcely ever found a footing.