Page:Notes and Queries - Series 9 - Volume 9.djvu/170

This page needs to be proofread.


NOTES AND QUERIES. [9 th s. ix. MARCH i, 1902.

outstanding ornaments, includes books on patriots like Wallace and Bruce, on phy- sicians, statesmen, poets, historians, and yet Stevenson is the only one among them whose genius the publishers and their advisers have deemed worthy of being associated with the three about whom there is no possibility ot doubt. This concrete presentment is a striking illustration of the work accomplished by Mr. Henley and his coadjutors. They persisted in comparing Stevenson with Scott ; he was not, they admitted, his equal in invention and breadth of work, but he had that charm of style which Mr. Henley now says palls upon his taste ; and, at any rate, it was safe to assert that he was the foremost of Scott's successors. The general result is that, apparently, no one of the Scottish " makers " is so great as Stevenson in the pre- sent estimate of his influential fellow-country- men ; that Knox is the only man between them and Burns that can be considered on the same page with him ; and that he and Sir Walter Scott represent the nineteenth century together and alone. Allan Ramsay, Hume, Smollett, Robertson, Christopher North, Sir William Hamilton, Thomas Carlyle to mention only a few men of letters, and to exclude statesmen and warriors altogether are of a lower order of greatness, according to the prevalent method of estimate. If due effect is to follow the pathetic expression of Mr. Henley's sorrows there will need to be a revision of view. But perhaps the mischief has already reached too far, and time alone may be expected to adjust the perspective. THOMAS BAYNE.


AMONG the Scottish proverbs given by Ray in the second edition of his 'Collection of Proverbs,' 1678. is this one, " It is hard to fling at the brod (a stick that children use when they play at penny-prick) or kick at the prick." In the sense in which it is there used, brod meant a goad, such as was used for driving oxen, a straight and pointed weapon. Hence another Scottish saying, or a variation of the same one, " He was never a good aver that flung at the brod," mean- ing a draught ox that resented the use of the goad, kicked at the prick.

Another meaning of the word was a flat piece of wood, such as the top of a table, from which it came to signify the small table or stool placed at church doors in Scotland to receive the contributions of the congrega- tion for the poor. In some churches these collection stools had no plate or basin, but

merely the top scooped or hollowed put for the reception of coin. On all occasions an ; elder stood by to watch and guard and be responsible for the safe custody of the amount contributed.

Robert Burns makes no mention of lifting the collection by ladles, nor does he use the word brod, but he writes :

When by the plate we set our nose, Weel heaped up wi' ha'pence,

A greedy glow'r Black Bonnet throws, An' we maun draw our tippence.

In Mr. Colville's admirable little book, 'Byways of History,' the following mention is made of one of the items in a Glasgow merchant's ledger about the year 1621 :

" Here occurs the interesting item of half a dozen kirk stools. For long after this period pews were unknown, the worshippers carrying their folding

creepies to church with them Often the stools

remained in the charge of the beadle, from whom a, stranger might obtain the use of one fora considera- tion."

I think these six stools must have been for church door collections. Half a dozen would have been a very small number to supply as seats for worshippers at even one church on ordinary occasions, and there were often over- flow congregations in a tent in the church- yard at Communion times. Folding or clasp stools, and chairs too, were used in great numbers. In the records of the kirk session of Kilmarnock, under date 1676, mention is made of

" the great oppression that is in the church floore

through a multitude of chaires whereby many

old deserving women cannot win neir to heir

sermon The session doe unanimouslie conclude

that ther be only five score chaires in the kirk floore."

And in the records of the kirk session of the West Church (St. Cuthbert's), Edinburgh, there is an entry as to a " Visitation of Pres- bytery"^ 1711, when among other "utten- cills " found in possession were " six pouther basons " and " six wanscot stools for the collections." I remember that in some of the larger churches in Edinburgh in the early fifties of last century it was customary to have two plates at each of the entrances in St. Stephen's Church, for instance, which had three entrances.

Gait, in his 'Ayrshire Legatees' (Slack- wood's Magazine, July, 1820), makes more than one allusion to church-door collections ; but his spelling of brod is peculiar :

" We had taken a gold guinea in our hand, but

there was no broad at the door I asked at him

for the plate No wonder that there is no broad

at the door to receive the collection for the poor."

In the story of the eccentric elder at