The Imperialist eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 394 pages of information about The Imperialist.
defeated by his people.  It was less a defeat than a defence, an unexpected rally round the corporate right to direct corporate activities; and the congregation was so anxious to wound the minister’s feelings as little as possible that the grant in aid of the East Elgin Mission was embodied in a motion to increase Dr Drummond’s salary by two hundred and fifty dollars a year.  The Doctor with a wry joke, swallowed his gilded pill, but no coating could dissimulate its bitterness, and his chagrin was plain for long.  The issue with which we are immediately concerned is that three months later Knox Church Mission called to minister to it the Reverend Hugh Finlay, a young man from Dumfriesshire and not long out.  Dr Drummond had known beforehand what their choice would be.  He had brought Mr Finlay to occupy Knox Church pulpit during his last July and August vacation, and Mrs Forsyth had reported that such midsummer congregations she had simply never worshipped with.  Mrs Forsyth was an excellent hand at pressed tongue and a wonder at knitted counterpanes, but she had not acquired tact and never would.


The suggestion that the Reverend Hugh Finlay preached from the pulpit of Knox Church “better sermons” than its permanent occupant, would have been justly considered absurd, and nobody pronounced it.  The church was full, as Mrs Forsyth observed, on these occasions; but there were many other ways of accounting for that.  The Murchisons, as a family, would have been the last to make such an admission.  The regular attendance might have been, as much as anything, out of deference to the wishes of the Doctor himself, who invariably and sternly hoped, in his last sermon, that no stranger occupying his place would have to preach to empty pews.  He was thinking, of course, of old Mr Jamieson with whom he occasionally exchanged and whose effect on the attendance had not failed to reach him.  With regard to Mr Jamieson he was compelled, in the end, to resort to tactics:  he omitted to announce the Sunday before that his venerable neighbour would preach, and the congregation. outwitted, had no resource but to sustain the beard-wagging old gentleman through seventhly to the finish.  There came a time when the dear human Doctor also omitted to announce that Mr Finlay would preach, but for other reasons. meanwhile, as Mrs Forsyth said, he had no difficulty in conjuring a vacation congregation for his young substitute.  They came trooping, old and young.  Mr and Mrs Murchison would survey their creditable family rank with a secret compunction, remembering its invariable gaps at other times, and then resolutely turn to the praise of God with the reflection that one means to righteousness was as blessed as another.  They themselves never missed a Sunday, and as seldom failed to remark on the way back that it was all very interesting, but Mr Finlay couldn’t drive it home like the Doctor. 

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The Imperialist from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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