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Frontispiece: The Kirk collection, in Scotland more
The Kirk Collection, From a water-colour drawing by Henry W. Kerr, A.R.S.A., R.S.W.
An elder of the church leans over the side ot a pew with a wooden “ladle” for the church collection of money; a man reaches into the pocket of his waistcoat [US: vest pocket] for change.
An encounter of wits between a laird and an elder:
A certain laird in Fife, well known for his parsimonious habits, whilst his substance largely increased, did not increase his liberality, and his weekly contribution to the church collection never exceeded the sum of one penny. One day, however, by mistake he dropped into the plate at the door a five-shilling-piece, but discovering his error before he was seated in his pew, hurried back, and was about to replace the dollar by his customary penny, when the elder in attendance cried out, “Stop, laird; ye may put in what ye like, but ye maun tak’ naething out!” The laird, finding his explanations went for nothing, at last said, “Aweel, I suppose I’ll get credit for it in heaven.” “Na, na, laird," said the elder, “ye’ll only get credit for the penny.” (p. 267)
I have often been amused with the wonderful coolness with which a parishioner announced his canny care for his supposed interests when he became an elder of the kirk. The story is told of a man who had got himself installed in the eldership, and, in consequence, had for some time carried round the ladle for the collections. He had accepted the office of elder because some wag had made him believe that the remuneration was sixpence each Sunday, with a boll of meal at New Year’s Day. When the time arrived he claimed his meal, but was told he had been hoaxed. “It may be sae wi’ the meal,” he said coolly, “but I took care o’ the saxpence mysel’.” (p. 307)