of "giving out the line," as it is called in our churches, has been quite
abandoned. But in old times the precentor, or leader of psalmody in the
kirk, paused at the end of every line, or second line, and read out an
equal portion to be joined in by the congregation, so as to accommodate
the blind and those who could not read for themselves. Yet this innovation
on the usage of the good old times was not effected without many sorrowful
complaints from those not fond of change. That excellent man, and, in his
day, most popular preacher, Rev. Dr. Balfour of Glasgow, had his own share
of complaints among his flock. One day, on retiring from his weekly
labours, he accosted an old female well known to him, in his usual kindly
"Margaret, I hope you are well
"Oh yes, doctor," said Margaret,
"Iím very weel; but, dear sirs, I dinna like this way the precentor has
got into of no giíeing out the line."
"What fault have you to it?" said
the doctor, in a soothing tone.
"Oh, sir," replied Margaret, "I just
like to gust my gab twice wiít."
This was a matter of taste or
liking, with regard to which argument was useless, and so the doctor made
no attempt to gainsay or to combat Margaretís prejudice: but, some
afterwards, he met the same person, and again asked
kindly after her health, and received a satisfactory reply, followed by
another complaint or grumble against what Margaret called "these repeats,"
or singing one line more than once.
"Oh," says the worthy doctor, "I
thought, Margaret, you liked to gust your gab twice wiít!
Poor Margaret was caught in her own
trap, and, like most people so caught, she felt not a little awkward, and
was glad to move away, without staying to compliment the doctor on the use
he had made of her own weapon, he having thus silenced her grumbling with
this tit for tat.