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.