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things for a future occasion. In the same way the Sunday-school, of which I should like to tell one or two quaint stories, must await another opportunity. Slow and solemn―preternaturally solemn and slow are the final vibrations which the ancient gust-swept bell gives out, under the impulse of Long Tam Robertson's hand-him, too, we leave for the present undescribed, and rush up the wide winding stairway as fast as our legs will carry us. If we do jostle uncannily old Mary Dey or bent John Wabster, from Windyhillock on the top o' the brae, it cannot be helped, and we are out of sight ere the vigorous though half-stifled imprecation reaches our ears. All through the ensuing service we are conscious, however, of a terrible pair, or more, of eyes glaring wild fury at us. Guilt sits near our hearts, but the spirit of waywardness maintains a stiff garrison. There is a thundering noise sounding through the dusty old kirk as the heavily-shod Cargleners scramble in and up, forgetting for the time the stereotyped solemn face, sleek gait, and serious conduct befitting the Lord's Day and the House o' God. The very last stroke of the bell is heard, as the minister, arrayed now in his awe-inspiring gown and bands, appears within the western doorway. It is the great man himself to-day, "douce honest chiel," and none of your unwelcome strangers from afar. A dead silence takes place as he sails along the passage, and then with measured, wary step ascends the steep pulpit stair. Tam Robertson follows at a quicker pace, having, as speedily as he could, made fast the bell-rope to its large iron staple, and hurried after the minister to shut the door of the pulpit, which, of course, no mortal whose mind was charged with such a message as that of the preacher could shut for himself. Already the precentor is in the lectern; the man of music is our friend Willie Jenkins, who trudges eight long miles every Sunday from Buffton and eight back again to lead the benighted men and women of Carglen in singing the praises of their Creator. There is quite a scene in store with our little friend to-day, but we are all unconscious of the impending unseemly episode as we watch his twinkling eye and admire the sleek rubicund countenance.

"Let us begin the public warship o' God by singing to His praise in the hun'red and nineteenth Psaalm," cries good old Saunders Macdonald, pious, holy man. "The hun'red and nineteenth Psaaalm," he repeats in stentorian tones. Rustle of leaves follows all through the grim, gaunt building, and when everyone has found, or appears to have found, the place, Saunders again cries, "The hun'red and nineteenth Psaalm, at the hun'red and twenty-ninth varse." And then he reads:

Thy statutes, Lord, are wonderful,
My soul them keeps with care;
The entrance of Thy Word gives light,

Makes wise who simple are.

Yonder is Jock Eunie, cowboy from Stoneytown (and we make no doubt there are others like him-many of them), incapable of finding the correct page in the time-honoured Psalms of David; but yet his and every eye throughout the kirk looks intelligence at the printed page. And lo! now uprises the man of music. He strikes his tuning-fork on the side-board of the lectern, raises the tune, and sings with might and main.

He tuned his pipes and gar't them skirl,

Till roof and rafters a' did dirl,—

says Burns of a certain gruesome piper in his "Tam o' Shanter"; and, in a sense, the words are applicable to the leader of our praises in Carglen Kirk, for the roof and the rafters, and every poor sensitive human ear, without a doubt, shake and dirl, as our friend Jenkins raises, with lengthened sweetness long drawn out, the drawling notes of the old tune. It is a babel of sound! He would be a bold man who hazarded the assertion that any two voices piped in unison. One man is there in particular (Farmer Begg, from the Upper Aultoun) who always makes himself heard in a wild, uncontrollable, zig-zag sort of a quaver—a quaver which it takes some time to bring to a stop, for the immelodious note is prolonged for quite ten seconds after every other voice is silent. There is another voice, too, which sounds shrill and queer to-day, and, even to those of us who are "timbertuned," is manifestly most discordant; it is the song of Jacob McWilliam, from the Stanes o' Baldearie; but of this more anon. "Let us pray," groans the minister, in sepulchral tones. The Scotch Church permits no liturgy-at least, looks askance with holy contempt upon its use (never shall I forget the scorn depicted upon the countenances of two worthy men from the Highlands who sat by me on one occasion in Old Greyfriars Kirk in Edinburgh, one of the few places where a mangled liturgy is in use); but yet the prayers of the worthy men in the North in my time-they may be different now-were no better than a "carnal string o' prentit wards." I could have said all his prayers as correctly, if not as well, as the Reverend Saunders himself. The reading of a chapter-a tremendously long one-follows the prayer, and then another psalm. No one but a Scotchman, and none like a Highlander, can understand the peculiar feelings of sympathy, awe, and veneration with which the inspired Psalms of David, as rendered in the uninspired

doggerel of Nahum Tate, are regarded amongst Scotch Presbyterians. They are sacred as-yea, more sacred than-the great Volume itself. The tune is raised once more, with loud gusto, by the energetic precentor, and once more our ears are invaded with the discordant notes-Francie Kemp the mole-catcher's, Farmer Begg's, and all. In order to explain fully what follows, it is necessary to impress upon the reader a due sense of the importance which was attached, in the minds of the good folks of Carglen, to the honourable office of leader of the psalmody in the parish kirk. It was a prize eagerly coveted by those who had, or supposed that they had, musical gifts, and it was secured in my day as a result of keen practical competition. Never did chanticleer, on his rightful dunghill, pipe a louder or prouder song than the contending singers for this ill-paid but popular appointment. I suppose it was not worth more than ten or fifteen pounds a year; but ten or fifteen pounds, even when broken up into half-yearly or quarterly allowances, was a sum of no little importance in our northern parish. We were so poor, to all outward appearance, that one wag from the flats of Moray was reported to have said, "Dang it gif there's auchteenpence in the hail place." Well, we were not quite so poor as that; but we did feel the pinch, times and again. Twelve months before the period to which my story refers, there had been a hotly-contested trial of vocal skill, with the result that Willie Jenkins was "gazetted" as the new precentor. Jacob McWilliam, from the Stanes o' Baldearie, considered himself a wronged man from that moment. He was certain in his heart of hearts that he was the better man of the two, and the consequence was a deep, settled grudge against his successful rival; and in the bitterness of this grudge even the parson himself came in for a share. Jacob regaled the ears of many a crony with the story of his wrongs; but beyond these-shall I call them subterranean growls? his vexation was not shown in any way, except by tremendous musical exertions in the kirk on Sunday. Jacob's face on these occasions was a sight to see. It was a cadaverous countenance at all times, but now it was "awsome." Here was a man, to all outward appearance, lustily singing divine praises, with laudable, albeit grotesque, zeal; but we all knew that, in reality, it was only an opposition pipe to the precentor's. "Beat that, my birkie, if ye can," plainly said every note. To do Jacob justice, he had not hitherto indulged in counter-singing to the precentor in a different tune, but had contented himself with shrill sound and portentouslylengthened quavers; but lo! to-day we hear something different ; the precentor is singing one tune and Jacob another! All Carglen,

in the parish kirk, is horror-struck. In two minutes' time every voice is stilled, and Willie and Jacob alone sing praise. All at once Willie sinks down in his seat, and Jacob remains a triumphant conqueror. How long he would have continued to shout no one knows; but Saunders Macdonald, scandalised beyond measure with this most unseemly episode, rises, and cries in saddened tones, "Let us pray." Thereupon Jacob stops, shuts his book, and gazes on the ceiling with the utmost complacency, his face plainly saying, if any. thing could, "I've dune ye noo, birkie, without ae doot."

Anger, however, very soon takes the place of this complacency on the countenance of the victorious singer. The minister, in the sorrow of his heart and the bitterness of his soul, pleads for the peace of Jerusalem, and for prosperity in its courts; which, being impersonal in the import of its reference, is all very well; but when he goes on to intercede for those people who have come into the sheepfold like devouring wolves, for those who are sure to go out from us because they are nct of us, who desire to serve God for filthy lucre, who go about as roaring lions seeking whom they may devour, who seek the praise of men rather than the praise of God, &c., &c., it becomes very trying. There is evidently something amiss altogether, with Jacob (" Puir man, maybe IT didna 'gree wi' him the nicht afore," compassionately said the sympathetic George McQueben), for he is terribly affronted, and moved to a heroic decision. The blood of all the McWilliams, represented in his veins, fairly tingles, and with one determined effort he seizes his steeple-crowned hat, casts a look of withering scorn upon the poor unconscious pleader in the pulpit, claps the hat upon his head, and, with heavy tread, marches down the passage and out of the kirk.

If we were able to follow him we should find that he hurries down the brae, along the toll-road, past Whiteydell, and straight to the Free Kirk by the side of the burn.

This was not the first time that Jacob had joined the ranks of dissent in Carglen; hence the allusion in the minister's prayer to those who went out from us because they were not of us, and hence the keenness wherewith Jacob felt the sting. The invariable method of showing vengeful resentment against the parson or elders high in office was to shake the dust off one's feet and "gae down to the Frees." And, to tell the truth, the same practice obtained among the "Frees" themselves, who always came over, in like circumstances, to the "Aulds." The "Aulds" and the "Frees" were the only organised sects in our parish.

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'Brethren, we will now resume our singing," cries Mr. Mac

donald, and the place having been purged of its misguided intruder, the exercise proceeds without unchristian interruption. We were always a feeble folk, musically, in Carglen, but we had a fair share of energy, if not talent, as has already been shown; but all nerve has now been shattered. We try to sing; we do our best; but our efforts might remind anyone of the old couplet

Amen, amen, quoth the Earl Marischal,

And a frightened man was he.

Now comes the great event of the day-the delivery of the sermon. The text is a favourite one with the good preacher, and is as follows: "Hast thou found me, oh! mine enemy? Yea, I have found thee that I might declare the mind of the Lord against thee." It was a favourite one, I say, with our spiritual teacher, for I am sure I have heard him preach upon it at least six times, in addition to discourses delivered in the old kirk on the same subject by Mr. Mungo Drab, of Radlin, and Mr. Derrison, of Quarrichty. It was a wonderful sermon, that an eloquent and a heart-searching; and we Cargleners loved to hear it. "Auld sangs are aye the sweetest," says honest Mary Dey, half forgetting the grudge which, like Juno of old, she nourished in her breast. In other circumstances the older heads of our parish would have been a little troubled and somewhat scandalised at this "dish o' cauld sowens" as they might have called it, but to-day they are full of wonder.

"It's a real guidin' o' the Speerit," said, afterwards, the farmer of Belnabreich; "let them wha dinna like sermons preychit mair nor aince, tak' tent o' what they say, for wha but Ane abune cud hae led Saunders to tackle sic an' enemy as we hae had the day?"

This makes it necessary to allude to a portion of our current gossip in Carglen, to the effect that the weekly lectures on Holy Writ, delivered by our minister, were not his own composition, but were the work of some anonymous scribe, and had been purchased in manuscript from an Edinburgh or London firm of publishers. It was even whispered by our antagonists of the Free Kirk that the parish minister of Carglen regularly exchanged manuscripts with his colleagues of Quarrichty and Radlin. Wat Simpson, of Maggiethump, more bitter as a Dissenter than pious as a Christian, was very strong in his testimony. "He had taken an aith upo' the maiter, an' he had dune it. He had gane himsel' to the auld kirk o' Radlin, efter warshippin' ae Sunday in the kirk o' Carglen (I wonder what he meant by 'worshipping') to hear gif the self-same sermon was preychit, and it was dooms truth, though he said it, that it was the vera identikle words, fac as death."

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