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Whatever truth there may be in this idea, Henderson
certainly displayed an aversion to industry from a very
early period, “ and he never,” said a young man of his
own rank in life, “ tried to associate with any one who
was above himself.” He sought rather the company of
idlers, and those loose characters with whom the lower
ranks in a manufacturing town abound so much. Some
females of the neighbouring spinning mills were also his
frequent companions: and their allurements, it is be¬
lieved, induced him first to begin that course of depreda¬
tion which has now terminated so dreadfully. He was
easily imposed on by women; and these used to amuse
themselves at his expence, or make game of his sim¬
plicity : in other affairs he seemed not a little shrewd
and intelligent.
The accounts we have received of his career of disho¬
nesty, for the purpose of gratifying these companions of
his idleness, (for his money was chiefly spent with them,)
display a methodical coolness and a disregard of detec¬
tion altogether surprising. At one time he went to a
farm called Lythance, not far from Dunfermline, pre¬
tending to be a customary weaver, (a weaver not for sale,
but for private customers,) and got a quantity of yarn
from the mistress for a web, of which she described to
him the pattern, and which he promised to finish at a
cheaper rate than usual. He went with it immediately
to an innkeper in Saline, and sold it for 18s. Proceed¬
ing directly from thence to some country houses hard by,
he sat down pretending to rest him ; and seeing two
cheeses, asksd the woman of the house what price she
would take for them. She answered, “ Five shillings.”
“ Well,” said Henderson, “ I have only eighteen pence,
(he had in his pocket 18s., for which he had sold the
yarn,) but 1 will give you that just now, and will call to¬
morrow and pay the rest; my name is John Henderson,
and I will be found at “ such a house.” The woman
gave him the cheeses accordingly ; as soon as he got to
Dunfermline he sold them also. After some time, the
woman from whom he had the yarn began to lose pa¬
tience, and came to town to make some enquiries: she
discovered Henderson’s house; and his brother, who