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
Old Lapstone kept his spine at the souterís 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, Iím 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.