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The Anecdotage of Glasgow
Rev. Dr. Chalmers and the deistical cobbler


THE Rev. Dr. Chalmers, when minister in Glasgow, was one of the most exemplary clergymen in parochial visitation who has ever been entrusted with the oversight of any flock in connection with the Church of Scotland.

Going the round of his visitations he called upon a poor cobbler, who was industriously engaged with awl and ends fastening sole and upper. The cobbler, who kept fast hold of the shoe between his knees, perforating the stubborn bend and passing through the bristled lines right and left, scarcely noticed the clerical intruder; but the glance that he gave showed evident recognition; then rosining the fibrous lines, he made them whisk out on either side with increased energy, showing a disinclination to hold a parley.

"I am," said the doctor, "visiting my parishioners at present, and am to have a meeting of those resident in this locality in the vestry, when I shall be happy to have your presence along with your neighbours."

Old Lapstone kept his spine at the souter’s angle, and, making the thread rasp with the force of the pull, coolly remarked:

"Ay, step your way ben to the wife and the weans; as for me, I’m a wee in the deistical line, doctor."

With that intuitive perception of character and, tact in addressing himself to the variety of dispositions and characters in society which distinguished the doctor, he entered into conversation with the cobbler, asking questions about his profession, and the weekly amount of his earnings, sympathising with him on the exceedingly limited amount of his income, compared with the outlay necessary for food, clothing, house-rent, etc. Then taking up one tool after another, he got explanations of their different uses, and following up the conversation by a chain of moral reasoning, from cause to effect, led the cobbler away from his last, and obtained a patient hearing, which ended in the cobbler becoming a steady church-goer.


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