Scots take their pleasures sadly, and no one can imagine from what arid soil they may not draw their nutriment, but it was not for motions of ponderous ambiguity and pragmatical points of order, that the minister of Kincairney rose before daybreak on a winter's morning, and worked his way to the nearest station, with the stars still overhead, and the snow below his feet, so that when the clerk made a sign to the Moderator punctually at one minute past eleven to "constitute the Presbytery," he might not be missing from his place.
His toilsome journey was forgotten when Doctor Dowbiggin, in an interstice of motions, came across the floor and sat down beside him, and whispered confidentially, "Well, how are things going on at Kincairney?"
He flung himself out of the court with such impatience that the clerk stayed his hand in the midst of the sacred words pro re nata, and Kincairney mentioned to his wife in the evening that Carmichael had never got over Doctor Saunderson's death.
Dowbiggin really deserved his leadership or when the clerk, suddenly wheeling round in his seat, would pass his snuff-box across to him without a word, for the clerk had a way of handing his box, which, being interpreted, ran as follows: "You suppose that I am lifted above all ordinary affairs in my clerkly isolation, and that I do not know what a solid work you are doing for God and man in the obscure parish of Kincairney, but you are wrong.
Besides, does not a minister's year begin in September and end in July, and before it closes is not the minister at his lowest, having given away himself for eleven months? "One begins to weary for a rest," he whispered to Kincairney, and that worthy man explained that he and his wife had been planning their triennial holiday, and hoped to have a fortnight in Carnoustie.