Edinburgh Bookshelf

Kay's Originals Vol. 2


344 BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCHES. attention, This urbanity and condescension produced on their part a feeling of the deepest veneration and respect for their beloved minister.” “The esteem in which Dr. Johnston was held,” continues the writer, “ is characteristically illustrated by the exclamation with which the women, when selling fish to a higgling customer, attempted to destroy all hopes of a further abatement in price. ( Na, na,’ they were wont to say, ( I wadna gie them to the DoctoT himsel’ fw that siller I ’ ’’ The memory of Dr. Johnston is still cherished with the utmost veneration. He officiated amongst them for upwards of half a century, and in many families had “performed the ceremonies of marriage and baptism through four successive generations.” Some curious anecdotes are told, illustrative of his homely manner and the primitive character of his parishioners. A fisherman, named Adam L-, having been reproved pretty severely for his want of Scripture knowledge, was resolved to baulk the minister on his next catechetical visitation. The day appointed he kept out of sight for some time ; but at length getting top-heavy with some of his companions, he was compelled, after several falls, in one of which he met with an accident that somewhat disfigured his countenance, to take shelter in his own cottage. The minister arrived ; and was informed by Jenny, the wife, that her husband was absent at the fishing. The Doctor then inquired if she had carefully perused the catechism he had left on his last visit, and being answered in the affirmative, proceeded to follow up his conversation with a question or two. “Weel, Jenny,’’ said the minister, “can ye tell me what was the cause 0’ Adam’s fall ‘1 ” By no means versed in the history of the great progenitor of the human race, and her mind being exclusively occupied by her own Adam, Janet replied, with some warmth, “’Deed, sir, it was naething else but drink! ’’ at the same time calling to her husband, “ Adam, ye may as wee1 rise, for the Doctor kens brawly what’s the matter ; some clashin’ deevils o1 neibours hae telt him a’ about it !” On another occasion of pastoral visitation, the “ gudewife 0’ the house,” Maggy, had just returned from market, and in her hurry to meet the minister, whom she found in possession of her cottage, deposited her basket, which contained certain purchases from a butcher’s stall, at the door. After a few preliminary observations, Dr. Johnston began by putting the question-“ What doth every sin deserve, Margaret 1 I’ “ God’s curse-the dowg’s awa’ wi’ the head-and-harigals I” she exclaimed as she bolted after the canine delinquent who had made free with the contents of her basket. (‘Very well answered,” said the Doctor on her return, “ but rather hurriedly spoken.” Another of the fish dames, named Maggy-for Margaret and Janet are the prevailing names among the females of Newhaven-happening to take a glass extra, was met on her way home by the minister. “ What, what, Margaret ! ’’ said the Doctor jocularly, “1 think the road is rather narrow for you,” ‘‘ Hout, sir,” replied Maggy, alluding to her empty creel, “how can I gang steady without ballast I ’’ The late erection of a church at Newhaven, we understand, has been
Volume 9 Page 456
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Volume 9 Page 457
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