The Man From Glengarry by Ralph Connor
Chapter XV. The Revival
Those last days of Maimie's visit sped by on winged feet. To Ranald they were brimming with happiness, every one of them. It was the slack time of the year, between seeding and harvest, and there was nothing much to keep him at home. And so, with Harry, his devoted companion, Ranald roamed the woods, hitching up Lisette in Yankee's buckboard, put her through her paces, and would now and then get up such bursts of speed as took Harry's breath away; and more than all, there was the chance of a word with Maimie. He had lost much of his awkwardness. He went about with an air of mastery, and why not? He had entered upon his kingdom. The minister noticed and wondered; his wife noticed and smiled sometimes, but oftener sighed, wisely keeping silence, for she knew that in times like this the best words were those unspoken.
The happiest day of all for Ranald was the last, when, after a long tramp with Harry through the woods, he drove him back to the manse, coming up from the gate to the door like a whirlwind.
As Lisette stood pawing and tossing her beautiful head, Mrs. Murray, who stood with Maimie watching them drive up, cried out, admiringly: "What a beauty she is!"
"Isn't she!" cried Harry, enthusiastically. "And such a flyer! Get in, auntie, and see."
"Do," said Ranald; "I would be very glad. Just to the church hill and back."
"Go, auntie," pleaded Harry. "She is wonderful."
"You go, Maimie," said her aunt, to whom every offered pleasure simply furnished an opportunity of thought for others.
"Nonsense!" cried Harry, impatiently. "You might gratify yourself a little for once in your life. Besides," he added, with true brotherly blindness, "it's you Ranald wants. At least he talks enough about you."
"Yes, auntie, do go! It will be lovely," chimed in Maimie, with suspicious heartiness.
So, with many protestations, Mrs. Murray took her place beside Ranald and was whirled off like the wind. She returned in a very few minutes, her hair blown loose till the little curls hung about her glowing face and her eyes shining with excitement.
"Oh, she is perfectly splendid!" she exclaimed. "And so gentle. You must go, Maimie, if only to the gate." And Maimie went, but not to turn at even the church hill.
For a mile down the concession road Ranald let Lisette jog at an easy pace while he told Maimie some of his aims and hopes. He did not mean to be a farmer nor a lumberman. He was going to the city, and there make his fortune. He did not say it in words, but his tone, his manner, everything about him, proclaimed his confidence that some day he would be a great man. And Maimie believed him, not because it seemed reasonable, or because there seemed to be any ground for his confidence, but just because Ranald said it. His superb self-confidence wrought in her assurance.
"And then," he said, proudly, "I am going to see you."
"Oh, I hope you will not wait till then," she answered.
"I do not know," he said. "I cannot tell, but it does not matter much. I will be always seeing you."
"But I will want to see you," said Maimie.
"Yes," said Ranald, "I know you will," as if that were a thing to be expected. "But you will be coming back to your aunt here." But of this Maimie could not be sure.
"Oh, yes, you will come," he said, confidently; "I am sure you will come. Harry is coming, and you will come, too." And having settled this point, he turned Lisette and from that out gave his attention to his driving. The colt seemed to realize the necessity of making a display of her best speed, and without any urging, she went along the concession road, increasing her speed at every stride till she wheeled in at the gate. Then Ranald shook the lines over her back and called to her. Magnificently Lisette responded, and swept up to the door with such splendid dash that the whole household greeted her with waving applause. As the colt came to a stand, Maimie stepped out from the buckboard, and turning toward Ranald, said in a low, hurried voice: "O, Ranald, that was splendid, and I am so happy; and you will be sure to come?"
"I will come," said Ranald, looking down into the blue eyes with a look so long and steady and so full of passionate feeling that Maimie knew he would keep his word.
Then farewells were said, and Ranald turned away, Harry and Mrs. Murray watching him from the door till he disappeared over the church hill.
"Well, that's the finest chap I ever saw," said Harry, with emphasis. "And what a body he has! He would make a great half- back."
"Poor Ranald! I hope he will make a great and good man," said his aunt, with a ring of sadness in her voice.
"Why poor, auntie?"
"I'm sure I do not know," she said, with a very uncertain smile playing about her mouth. Then she went upstairs and found Maimie sitting at the window overlooking the church hill, and once more she knew how golden is silence. So she set to work to pack Maimie's trunk for her.
"It will be a very early start, Maimie," she said, "and so we will get everything ready to-night."
"Yes, auntie," said Maimie, going to her and putting her arms about her. "How happy I have been, and how good you have been to me!"
"And how glad I have been to have you!" said her aunt.
"Oh, I will never forget you! You have taught me so much that I never knew before. I see everything so differently. It seems easy to be good here, and, oh! I wish you were not so far away from me, auntie. I am afraid--afraid--"
The tears could no longer be denied. She put her head in her aunt's lap and sobbed out her heart's overflow. For an hour they sat by the open trunk, forgetting all about the packing, while her aunt talked to Maimie as no one had ever talked to her before; and often, through the long years of suffering that followed, the words of that evening came to Maimie to lighten and to comfort an hour of fear and sorrow. Mrs. Murray was of those to whom it is given to speak words that will not die with time, but will live, for that they fall from lips touched with the fire of God.
Before they had finished their talk Harry came in, and then Mrs. Murray told them about their mother, of her beauty and her brightness and her goodness, but mostly of her goodness.
"She was a dear, dear girl," said their aunt, "and her goodness was of the kind that makes one think of a fresh spring morning, so bright, so sweet, and pure. And she was beautiful, too. You will be like her, Maimie," and, after a pause, she added, softly, "And, most of all, she loved her Saviour, and that was the secret of both her beauty and her goodness."
"Auntie," said Harry, suddenly, "don't you think you could come to us for a visit? It would do father--I mean it would be such a great thing for father, and for me, too, for us all."
Mrs. Murray thought of her home and all its ties, and then said, smiling: "I am afraid, Harry, that could hardly be. Besides, my dear boy, there is One who can always be with you, and no one can take His place."
"All the same, I wish you could come," said Harry. "When I am here I feel like doing something with my life, but at home I only think of having fun."
"But, Harry," said his aunt, "life is a very sacred and very precious thing, and at all costs, you must make it worthy of Him who gave it to you."
Next morning, when Harry was saying "Farewell" to his aunt, she put her arms round him, and said: "Your mother would have wished you to be a noble man, and you must not disappoint her."
"I will try, auntie," he said, and could say no more.
For the next few weeks the minister and his wife were both busy and anxious. For more than eight years they had labored with their people without much sign of result. Week after week the minister poured into his sermons the strength of his heart and mind, and then gave them to his people with all the fervor of his nature. Week after week his wife, in her women's meetings and in her Bible class, lavished freely upon them the splendid riches of her intellectual and spiritual powers, and together in the homes of the people they wrought and taught. At times it seemed to the minister that they were spending their strength for naught, and at such times he bitterly grudged, not his own toils, but those of his wife. None knew better than he how well fitted she was, both by the native endowments of her mind and by the graces of her character, to fill the highest sphere, and he sometimes grew impatient that she should spend herself without stint and reap no adequate reward.
These were his thoughts as he lay on his couch, on the evening of the last Sabbath in the old church, after a day's work more than usually exhausting. The new church was to be opened the following week. For months it had been the burden of their prayers that at the dedication of their church, which had been built and paid for at the cost of much thought and toil, there should be some "signal mark of the divine acceptance." No wonder the minister was more than usually depressed to-night.
"There is not much sign of movement among the dry bones," he said to his wife. "They are as dry and as dead as ever."
His wife was silent for some time, for she, too, had her moments of doubt and fear, but she said: "I think there is some sign. The people were certainly much impressed this morning, and the Bible class was very large, and they were very attentive."
"So they are every day," said the minister, rather bitterly. "But what does it amount to? There is not a sign of one of these young people 'coming forward.' Just think, only one young man a member of the church, and he hasn't got much spunk in him. And many of the older men remain as hard as the nether millstone."
"I really think," said his wife, "that a number of the young people would 'come forward' if some one would make a beginning. They are all very shy."
"So you always say," said her husband, with a touch of impatience; "but there is no shyness in other things, in their frolics and their fightings. I am sure this last outrageous business is enough to break one's heart."
"What do you mean?" said his wife.
"Oh, I suppose you will hear soon enough, so I need not try to keep it from you. It was Long John Cameron told me. It is strange that Hughie has not heard. Indeed, perhaps he has, but since his beloved Ranald is involved, he is keeping it quiet."
"What is it?" said his wife, anxiously.
"Oh, nothing less than a regular pitched battle between the McGregors and the McRaes of the Sixteenth, and all on Ranald's account, too, I believe."
Mrs. Murray sat in silent and bitter disappointment. She had expected much from Ranald. Her husband went on with his tale.
"It seems there was an old quarrel between young Aleck McRae and Ranald, over what I cannot find out; and young Angus McGregor, who will do anything for a Macdonald, must needs take Ranald's part, with the result that that hot-headed young fire-eater Aleck McRae must challenge the whole clan McGregor. So it was arranged, on Sunday morning, too, mind you, two weeks ago, after the service, that six of the best of each side should meet and settle the business. Of course Ranald was bound to be into it, and begged and pleaded with the McGregors that he should be one of the six; and I hear it was by Yankee's advice that his request was granted. That godless fellow, it seems, has been giving Ranald daily lessons with the boxing-gloves, and to some purpose, too, as the fight proved. It seems that young Aleck McRae, who is a terrible fighter, and must be forty pounds heavier than Ranald, was, by Ranald's especial desire and by Yankee's arrangement, pitted against the boy, and by the time the fight was over, Ranald, although beaten and bruised to a 'bloody pulp,' as Long John said, had Aleck thoroughly whipped. And nobody knows what would have happened, so fierce was the young villain, had not Peter McGregor and Macdonald Bhain appeared upon the scene. It appears Aleck had been saying something about Maimie, Long John did not know what it was; but Ranald was determined to finish Aleck up there and then. It must have been a disgusting and terrible sight; but Macdonald Bhain apparently settled them in a hurry; and what is more, made them all shake hands and promise to drop the quarrel thenceforth. I fancy Ranald's handling of young Aleck McRae did more to bring about the settlement than anything else. What a lot of savages they are!" continued the minister. "It really does not seem much use to preach to them."
"We must not say that, my dear," said his wife, but her tone was none too hopeful. "I must confess I am disappointed in Ranald. Well," she continued, "we can only wait and trust."
From Hughie, who had had the story from Don, and who had been pledged to say nothing of it, she learned more about the fight.
"It was Aleck's fault, mother," he said, anxious to screen his hero. "He said something about Maimie, that Don wouldn't tell me, at the blacksmith shop in the Sixteenth, and Ranald struck him and knocked him flat, and he could not get up for a long time. Yankee has been showing him how. I am going to learn, mother," interjected Hughie. "And then Angus McGregor took Ranald's part, and it was all arranged after church, and Ranald was bound to be in it, and said he would stop the whole thing if not allowed. Don said he was just terrible. It was an awful fight. Angus McGregor fought Peter McRae, Aleck's brother, you know and--"
"Never mind, Hughie," said his mother. "I don't want to hear of it. It is too disgusting. Was Ranald much hurt?"
"Oh, he was hurt awful bad, and he was going to be licked, too. He wouldn't keep cool enough, and he wouldn't use his legs."
"Use his legs?" said his mother; "what do you mean?"
"That's what Don says, and Yankee made him. Yankee kept calling to him, 'Now get away, get away from him! Use your legs! Get away from him!' and whenever Ranald began to do as he was told, then he got the better of Aleck, and he gave Aleck a terrible hammering, and Don said if Macdonald Bhain had not stopped them Aleck McRae would not have been able to walk home. He said Ranald was awful. He said he never saw him like he was that day. Wasn't it fine, mother?"
"Fine, Hughie!" said his mother. "It is anything but fine. It is simply disgusting to see men act like beasts. It is very, very sad. I am very much disappointed in Ranald."
"But, mother, Ranald couldn't help it. And anyway, I am glad he gave that Aleck McRae a good thrashing. Yankee said he would never be right until he got it."
"You must not repeat what Yankee says," said his mother. "I am afraid his influence is not of the best for any of those boys."
"Oh, mother, he didn't set them on," said Hughie, who wanted to be fair to Yankee. "It was when he could not help it that he told Ranald how to do. I am glad he did, too."
"I am very, very sorry about it," said his mother, sadly. It was a greater disappointment to her than she cared to acknowledge either to her husband or to herself.
But the commotion caused in the community by the fight was soon swallowed up in the interest aroused by the opening of the new church, an event for which they had made long and elaborate preparation. The big bazaar, for which the women had been sewing for a year or more, was held on Wednesday, and turned out to be a great success, sufficient money being realized to pay for the church furnishing, which they had undertaken to provide.
The day following was the first of the "Communion Season." In a Highland congregation the Communion Seasons are the great occasions of the year. For weeks before, the congregation is kept in mind of the approaching event, and on the Thursday of the communion week the season opens with a solemn fast day.
The annual Fast Day, still a national institution in Scotland, although it has lost much of its solemnity and sacredness in some places, was originally associated with the Lord's Supper, and was observed with great strictness in the matter of eating and drinking; and in Indian Lands, as in all congregations of that part of the country, the custom of celebrating the Fast Day was kept up. It was a day of great solemnity in the homes of the people of a godly sort. There was no cooking of meals till after "the services," and indeed, some of them tasted neither meat nor drink the whole day long. To the younger people of the congregation it was a day of gloom and terror, a kind of day of doom. Even to those advanced in godliness it brought searchings of heart, minute and diligent, with agonies of penitence and remorse. It was a day, in short, in which conscience was invited to take command of the memory and the imagination to the scourging of the soul for the soul's good. The sermon for the day was supposed to stimulate and to aid conscience in this work.
For the communion service Mr. Murray always made it a point to have the assistance of the best preachers he could procure, and on this occasion, when the church opening was combined with the sacrament, by a special effort two preachers had been procured--a famous divine from Huron County, that stronghold of Calvinism, and a college professor who had been recently appointed, but who had already gained a reputation as a doctrinal preacher, and who was, as Peter McRae reported, "grand on the Attributes and terrible fine on the Law." To him was assigned the honor of preaching the Fast Day sermon, and of declaring the church "open."
The new church was very different from the old. Instead of the high crow's nest, with the wonderful sounding-board over it, the pulpit was simply a raised platform partly inclosed, with the desk in front. There was no precentor's box, over the loss of which Straight Rory did not grieve unduly, inasmuch as the singing was to be led, in the English at least, by John "Aleck." Henceforth the elders would sit with their families. The elders' seat was gone; Peter McRae's wrath at this being somewhat appeased by his securing for himself one of the short side seats at the right of the pulpit, from which he could command a view of both the minister and the congregation--a position with obvious advantages. The minister's pew was at the very back of the church.
It was a great assemblage that gathered in the new church to hear the professor discourse, as doubtless he would, it being the Fast Day, upon some theme of judgment. With a great swing of triumph in his voice, Mr. Murray rose and announced the Hundredth Psalm. An electric thrill went through the congregation as, with a wave of his hand, he said: "Let us rise and sing. Now, John, Old Hundred."
Never did John "Aleck" and the congregation of Indian Lands sing as they did that morning. It was the first time that the congregation, as a whole, had followed the lead of that great ringing voice, and they followed with a joyous, triumphant shout, as of men come to victory.
"For why? The Lord our God is good,"
rolled out the majestic notes of Old Hundred.
"What's the matter, mother?" whispered Hughie, who was standing up in the seat that he might look on his mother's book.
"Nothing, darling," said his mother, her face radiant through her tears. After long months of toil and waiting, they were actually singing praise to God in the new church.
When the professor arose, it was an eager, responsive congregation that waited for his word. The people were fully prepared for a sermon that would shake them to their souls' depths. The younger portion shivered and shrank from the ordeal; the older and more experienced shivered and waited with not unpleasing anticipations; it did them good, that remorseless examination of their hearts' secret depravities. To some it was a kind of satisfaction offered to conscience, after which they could more easily come to peace. With others it was an honest, heroic effort to know themselves and to right themselves with their God.
The text was disappointing. "Above all these things, put on charity, which is the bond of perfectness," read the professor from that exquisite and touching passage which begins at the twelfth verse of the fifteenth chapter of Colossians. "Love, the bond of perfectness," was his theme, and in simple, calm, lucid speech he dilated upon the beauty, the excellence, and the supremacy of this Christian grace. It was the most Godlike of all the virtues, for God was love; and more than zeal, more than knowledge, more than faith, it was "the mark" of the new birth.
Peter McRae was evidently keenly disappointed, and his whole bearing expressed stern disapproval. And as the professor proceeded, extolling and illustrating the supreme grace of love, Peter's hard face grew harder than ever, and his eyes began to emit blue sparks of fire. This was no day for the preaching of smooth things. The people were there to consider and to lament their Original and Actual sin; and they expected and required to hear of the judgments of the Lord, and to be summoned to flee from the wrath to come.
Donald Ross sat with his kindly old face in a glow of delight, but with a look of perplexity on it which his furtive glances in Peter's direction did not help to lessen. The sermon was delighting and touching him, but he was not quite sure whether this was a good sign in him or no. He set himself now and then to find fault with the sermon, but the preacher was so humble, so respectful, and above all, so earnest, that Donald Ross could not bring himself to criticise.
The application came under the third head. As a rule, the application to a Fast Day sermon was delivered in terrifying tones of thunder or in an awful whisper. But to-day the preacher, without raising his voice, began to force into his hearers' hearts the message of the day.
"This is a day for self-examination," he said, and his clear, quiet tones fell into the ears of the people with penetrating power. "And self-examination is a wise and profitable exercise. It is an exercise of the soul designed to yield a discovery of sin in the heart and life, and to induce penitence and contrition and so secure pardon and peace. But too often, my friends," and here his voice became a shade softer, "it results in a self-righteous and sinful self-complaisance. What is required is a simple honesty of mind and spiritual illumination, and the latter cannot be without the former. There are those who are ever searching for 'the marks' of a genuinely godly state of heart, and they have the idea that these marks are obscure and difficult for plain people to discover. Make no mistake, my brethren, they are as easily seen as are the apples on a tree. The fruits of the spirit are as discernible to any one honest enough and fearless enough to look; and the first and supreme of all is that which we have been considering this morning. The question for you and for me, my brethren, is simply this: Are our lives full of the grace of love? Do not shrink from the question. Do not deceive yourselves with any substitutes; there are many offering zeal, the gift of prayer or of speech, yea, the gift of faith itself. None of these will atone for the lack of love. Let each ask himself, Am I a loving man?"
With quiet persistence he pursued them into all their relations in life--husbands and wives, fathers and sons, neighbor and neighbor. He would not let them escape. Relentlessly he forced them to review their habits of speech and action, their attitude toward each other as church members, and their attitude toward "those without." Behind all refuges and through all subterfuges he made his message follow them, searching their deepest hearts. And then, with his face illumined as with divine fire, he made his final appeal, while he reminded them of the Infinite love that had stooped to save, and that had wrought itself out in the agonies of the cross. And while he spoke his last words, all over the church the women were weeping, and strong men were sitting trembling and pale.
After a short prayer, the professor sat down. Then the minister rose, and for some little time stood facing his people in silence, the gleam in his eyes showing that his fervent Highland nature was on fire.
"My people," he began, and his magnificent voice pealed forth like a solemn bell, "this is the message of the Lord. Let none dare refuse to hear. It is a message to your minister, it is a message to you. You are anxious for 'the marks.' Search you for this mark." He paused while the people sat looking at him in fixed and breathless silence. Then, suddenly, he broke forth into a loud cry: "Where are your children at this solemn time of privilege? Fathers, where are your sons? Why were they not with you at the Table? Are you men of love? Are you men of love, or by lack of love are you shutting the door of the Kingdom against your sons with their fightings and their quarrelings?" Then, raising his hands high, he lifted his voice in a kind of wailing chant: "Woe unto you! Woe unto you! Your house is left unto you desolate, and the voice of love is crying over you. Ye would not! Ye would not! O, Lamb of God, have mercy upon us! O, Christ, with the pierced hands, save us!" Again he paused, looking upward, while the people waited with uplifted white faces.
"Behold," he cried, in a soul-thrilling voice, "I see heaven open, and Jesus standing at the right hand of God, and I hear a voice, 'Turn ye, turn ye. Why will ye die?' Lord Jesus, they will not turn." Again he paused. "Listen. Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire. Depart ye! Nay, Lord Jesus! not so! Have mercy upon us!" His voice broke in its passionate cry. The effect was overwhelming. The people swayed as trees before a mighty wind, and a voice cried aloud from the congregation: "God be merciful to me, a sinner!"
It was Macdonald Dubh. At that loud cry, women began to sob, and some of the people rose from their seats.
"Be still," commanded the minister. "Rend your hearts and not your garments. Let us pray." And as he prayed, the cries and sobs subsided and a great calm fell upon all. After prayer, the minister, instead of giving out a closing psalm, solemnly charged the people to go to their homes and to consider that the Lord had come very near them, and adjured them not to grieve the Holy Spirit of God. Then he dismissed them with the benediction.
The people went out of the church, subdued and astonished, speaking, if at all, in low tones of what they had seen and heard.
Immediately after pronouncing the benediction, the minister came down to find Macdonald Dubh, but he was nowhere to be seen. Toward evening Mrs. Murray rode over to his house, but found that he had not returned from the morning service.
"He will be at his brother's," said Kirsty, "and Ranald will drive over for him."
Immediately Ranald hitched up Lisette and drove over to his uncle's, but as he was returning he sent in word to the manse, his face being not yet presentable, that his father was nowhere to be found. It was Macdonald Bhain that found him at last in the woods, prone upon his face, and in an agony.
"Hugh, man," he cried, "what ails you?" But there were only low groans for answer.
"Rise up, man, rise up and come away."
Then from the prostrate figure he caught the words, "Depart from me! Depart from me! That is the word of the Lord."
"That is not the word," said Macdonald Bhain, "for any living man, but for the dead. But come, rise, man; the neighbors will be here in a meenute." At that Black Hugh rose.
"Let me away," he said. "Let me not see them. I am a lost man."
And so his brother brought him home, shaken in spirit and exhausted in body with his long fast and his overpowering emotion. All night through his brother watched with him alone, for Macdonald Dubh would have no one else to see him, till, from utter exhaustion, toward the dawning of the day, he fell asleep.
In the early morning the minister and his wife drove over to see him, and leaving his wife with Kirsty, the minister passed at once into Macdonald Dubh's room. But, in spite of all his reasoning, in spite of all his readings and his prayers, the gloom remained unbroken except by occasional paroxysms of fear and remorse.
"There is no forgiveness! There is no forgiveness!" was the burden of his cry.
In vain the minister proclaimed to him the mercy of God. At length he was forced to leave him to attend the "Question Meeting" which was to be held in the church that day. But he left his wife behind him.
Without a word, Mrs. Murray proceeded to make the poor man comfortable. She prepared a dainty breakfast and carried it in to him, and then she sat beside him while he fell into a deep sleep.
It was afternoon when Macdonald Dubh awoke and greeted her with his wonted grave courtesy.
"You are better, Mr. Macdonald," she said, brightly. "And now I will make you a fresh cup of tea"; and though he protested, she hurried out, and in a few moments brought him some tea and toast. Then, while he lay in gloomy silence, she read to him, as she did once before from his Gaelic psalm book, without a word of comment. And then she began to tell him of all the hopes she had cherished in connection with the opening of the new church, and how that day she had felt at last the blessing had come.
"And, O, Mr. Macdonald," she said, "I was glad to hear you cry, for then I knew that the Spirit of God was among us."
"Glad!" said Macdonald Dubh, faintly.
"Yes, glad. For a cry like that never comes but when the Spirit of God moves in the heart of a man."
"Indeed, I will be thinking that He has cast me off forever," he said, wondering at this new phase of the subject.
"Then you must thank Him, Mr. Macdonald, that He has not so done; and the sure proof to you is that He has brought you to cry for mercy. That is a glad cry, in the ears of the Saviour. It is the cry of the sheep in the wilderness, that discovers him to the shepherd." And then, without argument, she took him into her confidence and poured out to him all her hopes and fears for the young people of the congregation, and especially for Ranald, till Macdonald Dubh partly forgot his own fears in hers. And then, just before it was time for Kirsty to arrive from the "Question Meeting," she took her Gaelic Bible and opened at the Lord's Prayer, as she had done once before.
"It is a terrible thing to be unforgiven, Mr. Macdonald," she said, "by man or by God. And God is unwilling that any of us should feel that pain, and that is why he is so free with his offer of pardon to all who come with sorrow to him. They come with sorrow to him now, but they will come to him some day with great joy." And then she spoke a little of the great company of the forgiven before the throne, and at the very last, a few words about the gentle little woman that had passed out from Macdonald Dubh's sight so many years before. Then, falling on her knees, she began in the Gaelic,
"Our Father which art in Heaven."
Earnestly and brokenly Macdonald Dubh followed, whispering the petitions after her. When they came to
"Forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors,"
Macdonald Dubh broke forth: "Oh, it is a little thing, whatever! It is little I have to forgive." And then, in a clear, firm voice, he repeated the words after her to the close of the prayer.
Then Mrs. Murray rose, and taking him by the hand to bid him good by, she said, slowly: "'For if ye forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you your trespasses.' You have forgiven, Mr. Macdonald."
"Indeed, it is nothing," he said, earnestly.
"Then," replied Mrs. Murray, "the Lord will not break his promise to you." And with that she went away.
On Saturday morning the session met before the service for the day. In the midst of their deliberations the door opened and Macdonald Bhain and his brother, Macdonald Dubh, walked in and stood silent before the elders. Mr. Murray rose astonished, and coming forward, said to Macdonald Bhain: "What is it, Mr. Macdonald? You wish to see me?"
"I am here," he said, "for my own sake and for my brother's. We wish to make confession of our sins, in that we have not been men of love, and to seek the forgiveness of God."
The minister stood and gazed at him in amazed silence for some moments, and then, giving his hand to Macdonald Dubh, he said, in a voice husky with emotion: "Come away, my brother. The Lord has a welcome for you."
And there were no questions that day asked in the session before Macdonald Dubh received his token.