THE following gossiping story sheds
a pleasant lustre over the homely life of the old Bishop Street residence
of the family. Mrs. Monteith was one of those busy, bustling housewives,
whose whole but and ben was a model of orderliness, comfort, and
cleanliness. As, however, there were around her fireside many hungry lads
to feed, and her house was at a considerable distance from the Bell Street
and Princes Street markets, she prudently provided that on the approach of
winter the pickle-tub should be duly replenished with the yearly mart;
and, of course, the manufacture of those dearly-prized kitchen
ornaments, so bien in appearance and so delicate in flavour, the
rows of puddings, white and black, were her own peculiar care and pride.
It was her practice every Sunday
morning, when fully arrayed for church with best Sunday peaked bonnet, to
take a housewifely look into the kitchen; for these glaiket taupies,
Peggy and Nannie, frequently left the place in such a state of
tapselteeriness as sorely unfitted her for profiting by the
admonitions of the minister of the little Anderston Relief Kirk, of which
her husband had been the chief founder in 1770.
One Sunday morning the usual
inspection revealed some slight disarrangement in the ornamental ranks
that hung so gracefully from the low roof. To mount upon a stool and set
the whole in a sightly fashion only required a minute’s time, and then the
good lady followed her husband, who, douce man, had slowly plodded before
her on his way to the Wee Kirk.
Ere she could overtake him he had
bestowed his usual nod on the elder, and dropped his usual offering in the
plate; when hurrying after him, she was surprised by a tap on the shoulder
from Davie of the plate, who thus addressed her:
"Ye’ll excuse me, mem, but there’s a
black puddin’ stick-in’ on ye’re bannet !"
Sure enough, the unique ornament had
dropped upon her head unobserved, and she had carried it through the
streets, and was only prevented displaying it to the eyes of the great
congregation by the timely warning of the obliging elder at the plate. We
are not informed how it was finally. disposed of, but we may safely
conclude that it found its way to the Bishop Street frying-pan, from its
temporary place in the capacious side-pouch of Mrs. Monteith, in the
goodly company of the newly - introduced
Hymns and Spiritual Songs agreed upon by the Presbytery of Relief.