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The Anecdotage of Glasgow
Rev. Mr. Balfour's tit for tat


THE practice 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 way, saying:

"Margaret, I hope you are well to-day."

"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 time 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.


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