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Title: Rabbi Saunderson
Author: Maclaren, Ian, [pseud.], 1850-1907
Language: English
As this book started as an ASCII text book there are no pictures available.
Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "Rabbi Saunderson" ***

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RABBI SAUNDERSON

by

IAN MACLAREN

With Twelve Illustrations by A. S. Boyd



London: Hodder and Stoughton
27 Paternoster Row
1898



To

Mrs. Williamson


OF GLENOGIL

WHO HAS INHERITED

THE GIFT OF WITTY SPEECH

AND HAS LAID IT OUT AT USURY

TO THE JOY OF HER FRIENDS

AND THE

GLADDENING OF LIFE



Contents


  A SUPRA-LAPSARIAN
  KILBOGIE MANSE
  THE RABBI AS CONFESSOR
  THE FEAR OF GOD
  THE WOUNDS OF A FRIEND
  LIGHT AT EVENTIDE



Illustrations


He put Jamie's ecclesiastical history into a state
  of thorough repair

The farmers carted the new minister's furniture
  from the nearest railway station

Searching for a lost note

The suddenness of his fall

"Some suitable sum for our brother here who is
  passing through adversity"

"We shall not meet again in this world"

When Carmichael gave him the cup in the sacrament

"Shall . . . not . . . the . . . Judge . . . of all the
  earth . . . do . . . right?"

"You have spoken to me like a father: surely that is enough"

Then arose a self-made man

He watched the dispersion of his potatoes with dismay

He signed for her hand, which he kept to the end



A SUPRA-LAPSARIAN

Jeremiah Saunderson had remained in the low estate of a "probationer" for
twelve years after he left the Divinity Hall, where he was reported so
great a scholar that the Professor of Apologetics spoke to him
deprecatingly, and the Professor of Dogmatics openly consulted him on
obscure writers.  He had wooed twenty-three congregations in vain, from
churches in the black country, where the colliers rose in squares of
twenty, and went out without ceremony, to suburban places of worship,
where the beadle, after due consideration of the sermon, would take up
the afternoon notices and ask that they be read at once for purposes of
utility, which that unflinching functionary stated to the minister with
accuracy and much faithfulness.  Vacant congregations desiring a list of
candidates, made one exception, and prayed that Jeremiah should not be
let loose upon them, till at last it came home to the unfortunate scholar
himself that he was an offence and a by-word.  He began to dread the
ordeal of giving his name, and, as is still told, declared to a
household, living in the fat wheatlands and without any imagination, that
he was called Magor Missabib.  When a stranger makes a statement of this
kind to his host with a sad seriousness, no one judges it expedient to
offer any remark; but it was skilfully arranged that Missabib's door
should be locked from the outside, and one member of the household sat up
all night.  The sermon next day did not tend to confidence--having seven
quotations in unknown tongues--and the attitude of the congregation was
one of alert vigilance; but no one gave any outward sign of uneasiness,
and six able-bodied men, collected in a pew below the pulpit, knew their
duty in an emergency.

Saunderson's election to the Free Church of Kilbogie was therefore an
event in the ecclesiastical world, and a consistent tradition in the
parish explained its inwardness on certain grounds, complimentary both to
the judgment of Kilbogie and the gifts of Mr. Saunderson.  On Saturday
evening he was removed from the train by the merest accident, and left
the railway station in such a maze of meditation that he ignored the road
to Kilbogie altogether, although its sign-post was staring him in the
face, and continued his way to Drumtochty.  It was half-past nine when
Jamie Soutar met him on the high road through our glen, still travelling
steadily west, and being arrested by his appearance, beguiled him into
conversation, till he elicited that Saunderson was minded to reach
Kilbogie.  For an hour did the wanderer rest in Jamie's kitchen, during
which he put Jamie's ecclesiastical history into a state of thorough
repair--making seven distinct parallels between the errors that had
afflicted the Scottish Church and the early heretical sects,--and then
Jamie gave him in charge of a ploughman who was courting in Kilbogie, and
was not averse to a journey that seemed to illustrate the double meaning
of charity.  Jeremiah was handed over to his anxious hosts at a quarter
to one in the morning, covered with mud, somewhat fatigued, but in great
peace of soul, having settled the place of election in the prophecy of
Habakkuk as he came down with his silent companion through Tochty woods.

[Illustration: HE PUT JAMIE'S ECCLESIASTICAL HISTORY INTO A STATE OF
THOROUGH REPAIR]

Nor was that all he had done.  When they came out from the shadow and
struck into the parish of Kilbogie--whose fields, now yellow unto
harvest, shone in the moonlight--his guide broke silence and enlarged on
a plague of field-mice which had quite suddenly appeared, and had sadly
devastated the grain of Kilbogie.  Saunderson awoke from study and became
exceedingly curious, first of all demanding a particular account of the
coming of the mice, their multitude, their habits, and their
determination.  Then he asked many questions about the moral conduct and
godliness of the inhabitants of Kilbogie, which his companion, as a
native of Drumtochty, painted in gloomy colours, although indicating as
became a lover that even in Kilbogie there was a remnant.  Next morning
the minister rose at daybreak, and was found wandering through the fields
in such a state of excitement that he could hardly be induced to look at
breakfast.  When the "books" were placed before him, he turned promptly
to the ten plagues of Egypt, which he expounded in order as preliminary
to a full treatment of the visitations of Providence.

"He cowes (beats) a' ye ever saw or heard," the farmer of Mains explained
to the elders at the gate.  "He gaed tae his room at half twa and wes oot
in the fields by four, an' a'm dootin' he never saw his bed.  He's lifted
abune the body a'thegither, an' can hardly keep himsel awa frae the
Hebrew at his breakfast.  Ye'll get a sermon the day, or ma name is no
Peter Pitillo."  Mains also declared his conviction that the invasion of
mice would be dealt with after a scriptural and satisfying fashion.  The
people went in full of expectation, and to this day old people recall
Jeremiah Saunderson's trial sermon with lively admiration.  Experienced
critics were suspicious of candidates who read lengthy chapters from both
Testaments and prayed at length for the Houses of Parliament, for it was
justly held that no man would take refuge in such obvious devices for
filling up the time unless he was short of sermon material.  One
unfortunate, indeed, ruined his chances at once by a long petition for
those in danger on the sea--availing himself with some eloquence of the
sympathetic imagery of the one hundred and seventh Psalm--for this effort
was regarded as not only the most barefaced padding, but also as evidence
of an almost incredible blindness to circumstances.  "Did he think
Kilbogie wes a fishing-village?" Mains inquired of the elders afterwards,
with pointed sarcasm.  Kilbogie was not indifferent to a well-ordered
prayer--although its palate was coarser in the appreciation of felicitous
terms and allusions than that of Drumtochty--and would have been
scandalised if the Queen had been omitted; but it was by the sermon the
young man must stand or fall, and Kilbogie despised a man who postponed
the ordeal.

Saunderson gave double pledges of capacity and fulness before he opened
his mouth in the sermon, for he read no Scripture at all that day, and
had only one prayer, which was mainly a statement of the Divine Decrees
and a careful confession of the sins of Kilbogie; and then, having given
out his text from the prophecy of Joel, he reverently closed the Bible
and placed it on the seat behind him.  His own reason for this proceeding
was a desire for absolute security in enforcing his subject, and a
painful remembrance of the disturbance in a south country church when he
landed a Bible--with clasps--on the head of the precentor in the heat of
a discourse defending the rejection of Esau.  Our best and simplest
actions--and Jeremiah was as simple as a babe--can be misconstrued, and
the only dissentient from Saunderson's election insisted that the Bible
had been deposited on the floor, and asserted that the object of this
profanity was to give the preacher a higher standing in the pulpit.  This
malignant reading of circumstances might have wrought mischief--for
Saunderson's gaunt figure did seem to grow in the pulpit--had it not been
for the bold line of defence taken up by Mains.

"Gin he wanted tae stand high, wes it no tae preach the word? an' gin he
wanted a soond foundation for his feet, what better could he get than the
twa Testaments?  Answer me that."

It was seen at once that no one could answer that, and the captious
objector never quite recovered his position in the parish; while it is
not the least of Kilbogie's boasting, in which the Auld Kirk will even
join against Drumtochty, that they have a minister who not only does not
read his sermons and does not need to quote his texts, but carries the
whole Bible in at least three languages in his head, and once, as a proof
thereof, preached with it below his feet.

Much was to be looked for from such a man; but even Mains, whetted by
intercourse with Saunderson, was astonished at the sermon.  It was a
happy beginning to draw a parallel between the locusts of Joel and the
mice of Kilbogie, and gave the preacher an opportunity of describing the
appearance, habits, and destruction of the locusts, which he did solely
from Holy Scripture, translating various passages afresh, and combining
lights with marvellous ingenuity.  This brief preface of half an hour,
which was merely a stimulant for the Kilbogie appetite, led up to a
thorough examination of physical judgments, during which both Bible and
Church history were laid under liberal contribution.  At this point the
minister halted, and complimented the congregation on the attention they
had given to the facts of the case, which were his first head, and
suggested that before approaching the doctrine of visitations they might
refresh themselves with a Psalm.  The congregation were visibly
impressed, and many made up their minds while singing

  "That man hath perfect blessedness";

and while others thought it due to themselves to suspend judgment till
they had tasted the doctrine, they afterwards confessed their full
confidence.  It goes without saying that he was immediately beyond the
reach of the ordinary people on the second head, and even veterans in
theology panted after him in vain, so that one of the elders, nodding
assent to an exposure of the Manichaean heresy, suddenly blushed as one
who had played the hypocrite.  Some professed to have noticed a doctrine
that had not been touched upon, but they never could give it a name, and
it excited just admiration that a preacher, starting from a plague of
mice, should have made a way by strictly scientific methods into the
secret places of theology.  Saunderson allowed his hearers a brief rest
after the second head, and cheered them with the assurance that what was
still before them would be easy to follow.  It was the application of all
that had gone before to the life of Kilbogie, and the preacher proceeded
to convict the parish under each of the ten commandments--with the plague
of mice ever in reserve to silence excuses--till the delighted
congregation could have risen in a body and taken Saunderson by the hand
for his fearlessness and faithfulness.  Perhaps the extent and
thoroughness of this monumental sermon can be best estimated by the fact
that Claypots, father of the present tenant, who always timed his rest to
fifty minutes exactly, thus overseeing both the introduction and
application of the sermon, had a double portion, and even a series of
supplementary dozes, till at last he sat upright through sheer satiety.
It may also be offered as evidence that the reserve of peppermint held by
mothers for their bairns was pooled, doles being furtively passed across
pews to conspicuously needy families, and yet the last had gone before
Saunderson finished.

Mains reported to the congregational meeting that the minister had been
quiet for the rest of the day, but had offered to say something about
Habakkuk to any evening gathering, and had cleared up at family worship
some obscure points in the morning discourse.  He also informed the
neighbours that he had driven his guest all the way to Muirtown, and put
him in an Edinburgh carriage with his own hands, since it had emerged
that Saunderson, through absence of mind, had made his down journey by
the triangular route of Dundee.  It was quite impossible for Kilbogie to
conceal their pride in electing such a miracle of learning, and their
bearing in Muirtown was distinctly changed; but indeed they did not boast
vainly about Jeremiah Saunderson, for his career was throughout on the
level of that monumental sermon.  When the Presbytery in the gaiety of
their heart examined Saunderson to ascertain whether he was fully
equipped for the work of the ministry, he professed the whole Old
Testament in Hebrew, and MacWheep of Pitscowrie, who always asked the
candidate to read the twenty-third Psalm, was beguiled by Jeremiah into
the Book of Job, and reduced to the necessity of asking questions by
indicating verbs with his finger.  His Greek examination led to an
argument between Jeremiah and Dr. Dowbiggin on the use of the aorist,
from which the minister-elect of Kilbogie came out an easy first; and his
sermons were heard to within measurable distance of the second head by an
exact quorum of the exhausted court, who were kept by the clerk sitting
at the door, and preventing MacWheep escaping.  His position in the court
was assured from the beginning, and fulfilled the function of an
Encyclopaedia, with occasional amazing results, as when information was
asked about some Eastern sect for whose necessities the Presbytery were
asked to collect, and to whose warm piety affecting allusion was made,
and Jeremiah showed clearly, with the reporters present, that the
Cappadocians were guilty of a heresy beside which Morisonianism was an
unsullied whiteness.  His work as examiner-in-general for the court was a
merciful failure, and encouraged the students of the district to return
to their district court, who, on the mere rumour of him, had transferred
themselves in a body to a Highland Presbytery, where the standard
question in Philosophy used to be, "How many horns has a dilemma, and
distinguish the one from the other."  No man knew what the minister of
Kilbogie might not ask--the student was only perfectly certain that it
would be beyond his knowledge; but as Saunderson always gave the answer
himself in the end, and imputed it to the student, anxiety was reduced to
a minimum.  Saunderson, indeed, was in the custom of passing all
candidates and reporting them as marvels of erudition, whose only fault
was a becoming modesty--which, however, had not concealed from his keen
eye hidden treasures of learning.  Beyond this sphere the good man's
services were not used by a body of shrewd ecclesiastics, as the
inordinate length of an ordination sermon had ruined a dinner prepared
for the court by "one of our intelligent and large-hearted laymen," and
it is still pleasantly told how Saunderson was invited to a
congregational soirée--an ancient meeting, where the people ate oranges,
and the speaker rallied the minister on being still unmarried--and
discoursed, as a carefully chosen subject, on the Jewish feasts,--with
illustrations from the Talmud,--till some one burst a paper-bag and
allowed the feelings of the people to escape.  When this history was
passed round Muirtown Market, Kilbogie thought still more highly of their
minister, and indicated their opinion of the other parish in severely
theological language.

Standing at his full height he might have been six feet, but, with much
poring over books and meditation, he had descended some two inches.  His
hair was long, not because he made any conscious claim to genius, but
because he forgot to get it cut, and, with his flowing, untrimmed beard,
was now quite grey.  Within his clothes he was the merest skeleton, being
so thin that his shoulder-blades stood out in sharp outline, and his
hands were almost transparent.  The redeeming feature in Saunderson was
his eyes, which were large and eloquent, of a trustful, wistful hazel,
the beautiful eyes of a dumb animal.  Whether he was expounding doctrines
charged with despair of humanity, or exalting, in rare moments, the
riches of a Divine love in which he did not expect to share, or humbly
beseeching his brethren to give him information on some point in
scholarship no one knew anything about except himself, or stroking the
hair of some little child sitting upon his knee, those eyes were ever
simple, honest, and most pathetic.  Young ministers coming to the
Presbytery full of self-conceit and new views were arrested by their
light shining through the glasses, and came in a year or two to have a
profound regard for Saunderson, curiously compounded of amusement at his
ways, which for strangeness were quite beyond imagination, admiration for
his knowledge, which was amazing for its accuracy and comprehensiveness,
respect for his honesty, which feared no conclusion, however repellent to
flesh and blood, but chiefly of love for the unaffected and shining
goodness of a man in whose virgin soul neither self nor this world had
any part.  For years the youngsters of the Presbytery knew not how to
address the minister of Kilbogie, since any one who had dared to call him
Saunderson, as they said "Carmichael," and even "MacWheep," though he was
elderly, would have been deposed, without delay, from the ministry--so
much reverence at least was in the lads--and "Mister" attached to this
personality would be like a silk hat on the head of an Eastern sage.
Jenkins of Pitrodie always considered that he was inspired when he one
day called Saunderson "Rabbi," and unto the day of his death Kilbogie was
so called.  He made protest against the title as being forbidden in the
Gospels, but the lads insisted that it must be understood in the sense of
scholar, whereupon Saunderson disowned it on the ground of his slender
attainments.  The lads saw the force of this objection, and admitted that
the honourable word belonged by rights to MacWheep, who was a "gude
body," but it was their fancy to assign it to Saunderson--whereat
Saunderson yielded, only exacting a pledge that he should never be so
called in public, lest all concerned be condemned for foolishness.  When
it was announced that the University of Edinburgh had resolved to confer
the degree of D.D. on him for his distinguished learning and great
services to theological scholarship, Saunderson, who was delighted when
Dowbiggin of Muirtown got the honour for being an ecclesiastic, would
have refused it for himself had not his boys gone out in a body and
compelled him to accept.  They also purchased a Doctor's gown and hood,
and invested him with them in the name of Kilbogie two days before the
capping.  One of them saw that he was duly brought to the Tolbooth Kirk,
where the capping ceremonial in those days took place.  Another sent a
list of Saunderson's articles to British and foreign theological and
philological reviews, which filled half a column of the _Caledonian_, and
drew forth a complimentary article from that exceedingly able and caustic
paper, whose editor lost all his hair through sympathetic emotion the
morning of the Disruption, and ever afterwards pointed out the faults of
the Free Kirk with much frankness.  The fame of Rabbi Saunderson was so
spread abroad that a great cheer went up as he came in with the other
Doctors elect, in which he cordially joined, considering it to be
intended for his neighbour, a successful West-End clergyman, the author
of a Life of Dorcas and other pleasing booklets.  For some time after his
boys said "Doctor" in every third sentence, and then grew weary of a too
common title, and fell back on "Rabbi," by which he was known until the
day of his death, and which is now engraved on his tombstone.

Saunderson's reputation for unfathomable learning and saintly simplicity
was built up out of many incidents, and grew with the lapse of years to a
solitary height in the big strath, so that no man would have dared to
smile had the Free Kirk minister of Kilbogie appeared in Muirtown in his
shirt-sleeves, and Kilbogie would only have been a trifle more conceited.
Truly he was an amazing man, and, now that he is dead and gone, the last
of his race, I wish some man of his profession had written his life, for
the doctrine he taught and the way he lived will not be believed by the
new generation.  The arrival of his goods was more than many sermons to
Kilbogie, and I had it from Mains' own lips.  It was the kindly fashion
of those days that the farmers carted the new minister's furniture from
the nearest railway station, and as the railway to Kildrummie was not yet
open, they had to go to Stormont Station on the north line; and a
pleasant procession they made passing through Pitscowrie, ten carts in
their best array, and drivers with a semi-festive air.  Mr. Saunderson
was at the station, having reached it, by some miracle, without mistake,
and was in a condition of abject nervousness about the handling and
conveyance of his belongings.

[Illustration: THE FARMERS CARTED THE NEW MINISTER'S FURNITURE FROM THE
NEAREST RAILWAY STATION]

"You will be careful--exceeding careful," he implored; "if one of the
boxes were allowed to descend hurriedly to the ground, the result to what
is within would be disastrous.  I am much afraid that the weight is
considerable, but I am ready to assist"; and he got ready.

"Dinna pit yirsel intae a feery-farry (commotion)"--but Mains was
distinctly pleased to see a little touch of worldliness, just enough to
keep the new minister in touch with humanity.  "It'll be queer stuff oor
lads canna lift, an' a'll gie ye a warranty that the'll no be a cup o'
the cheeny broken"; and then Saunderson conducted his congregation to the
siding.

"Dod, man," remarked Mains to the station-master, examining a truck with
eight boxes; "the manse 'ill no want for dishes at ony rate.  But let's
start on the furniture; whar hae ye got the rest o' the plenishing?

"Naething mair? havers, man, ye dinna mean tae say they pack beds an'
tables in boxes; a' doot there's a truck missin'."  Then Mains went over
where the minister was fidgeting beside his possessions.

"No, no," said Saunderson, when the situation was put before him, "it's
all here.  I counted the boxes, and I packed every box myself.  That top
one contains the fathers--deal gently with it; and the Reformation
divines are just below it.  Books are easily injured, and they feel it.
I do believe there is a certain life in them, and . . . and . . . they
don't like being ill-used"; and Jeremiah looked wistfully at the
ploughmen.

"Div ye mean tae say," as soon as Mains had recovered, "that ye've brocht
naethin' for the manse but bukes, naither bed nor bedding?  Keep's a',"
as the situation grew upon him, "whar are ye tae sleep, and what are ye
tae sit on?  An' div ye never eat?  This croons a';" and Mains gazed at
his new minister as one who supposed that he had taken Jeremiah's measure
and had failed utterly.

"_Mea culpa_--it's . . . my blame," and Saunderson was evidently humbled
at this public exposure of his incapacity; "some slight furnishing will
be expedient, even necessary, and I have a plan for book-shelves in my
head; it is ingenious and convenient, and if there is a worker in
wood . . ."

"Come awa' tae the dog-cart, sir," said Mains, realizing that even
Kilbogie did not know what a singular gift they had obtained, and that
discussion on such sublunary matters as pots and pans was useless, not to
say profane.  So eight carts got a box each; one, Jeremiah's ancient kist
of moderate dimensions; and the tenth--that none might be left
unrecognised--a hand-bag that had been on the twelve years' probation
with its master.  The story grew as it passed westwards, and when it
reached us we were given to understand that the Free Kirk minister of
Kilbogie had come to his parish with his clothing in a paper parcel and
twenty-four packing-cases filled with books, in as many languages--half
of them dating from the introduction of printing, and fastened by silver
clasps--and that if Drumtochty seriously desired to hear an intellectual
sermon at a time, we must take our way through Tochty woods.

Mrs. Pitillo took the minister into her hands, and compelled him to
accompany her to Muirtown, where she had him at her will for some time,
so that she equipped the kitchen (fully), a dining-room (fairly), a spare
bedroom (amply), Mr. Saunderson's own bedroom (miserably), and secured a
table and two chairs for the study.  This success turned her head.  Full
of motherly forethought, and having a keen remembrance that probationers
always retired in the afternoon at Mains to think over the evening's
address, and left an impress of the human form on the bed when they came
down to tea, Mrs. Pitillo suggested that a sofa would be an admirable
addition to the study.  As soon as this piece of furniture, of a size
suitable for his six feet, was pointed out to the minister, he took
fright, and became quite unmanageable.  He would not have such an article
in his study on any account, partly because it would only feed a tendency
to sloth--which, he explained, was one of his besetting sins--and partly
because it would curtail the space available for books, which, he
indicated, were the proper furniture of any room, but chiefly of a study.
So great was his alarm, that he repented of too early concessions about
the other rooms, and explained to Mrs. Pitillo that every inch of space
must be rigidly kept for the overflow from the study, which he
expected--if he were spared--would reach the garrets.  Several times on
their way back to Kilbogie, Saunderson looked wistfully  at Mrs. Pitillo,
and once opened his mouth as if to speak, from which she gathered that he
was grateful for her kindness, but dared not yield any further to the
luxuries of the flesh.

What this worthy woman endured in securing a succession of reliable
house-keepers for Mr. Saunderson and over-seeing the interior of that
remarkable home she was never able to explain to her own satisfaction,
though she made many honest efforts, and one of her last intelligible
utterances was a lamentable prophecy of the final estate of the Free
Church manse of Kilbogie.  Mr. Saunderson himself seemed at times to have
some vague idea of her painful services, and once mentioned her name to
Carmichael of Drumtochty in feeling terms.  There had been some delay in
providing for the bodily wants of the visitor after his eight miles' walk
from the glen, and it seemed likely that he would be obliged to take his
meal standing for want of a chair.

"While Mrs. Pitillo lived, I have a strong impression, almost amounting
to certainty, that the domestic arrangements of the manse were better
ordered; she had the episcopal faculty in quite a conspicuous degree, and
was, I have often thought, a woman of sound judgment.

"We were not able at all times to see eye to eye, as she had an
unfortunate tendency to meddle with my books and papers, and to arrange
them after an artificial fashion.  This she called tidying, and, in its
most extreme form, cleaning.

"With all her excellences, there was also in her what I have noticed in
most women, a certain flavour of guile, and on one occasion, when I was
making a brief journey through Holland and France in search of comely
editions of the fathers, she had the books carried out to the garden and
dusted.  It was the space of two years before I regained mastery of my
library again, and unto this day I cannot lay my hands on the
service-book of King Henry VIII., which I had in the second edition, to
say nothing of an original edition of Rutherford's _Lex Rex_.

"It does not become me, however, to reflect on the efforts of that worthy
matron, for she was by nature a good woman, and if any one could be saved
by good works, her place is assured.  I was with her before she died, and
her last words to me were, 'Tell Jean tae dust yir bukes aince in the sax
months, and for ony sake keep ae chair for sittin' on.'  It was not
perhaps quite the testimony one would have desired in the circumstances,
but yet, Mr. Carmichael, I have often thought that there was a spirit
of . . . of unselfishness, in fact, that showed the working of grace."
Later in the same evening Mr. Saunderson's mind returned to his friend's
spiritual state, for he entered into a long argument to show that while
Mary was more spiritual, Martha must also have been within the Divine
Election.



KILBOGIE MANSE

Ministers there were in the great strath so orderly that they kept
their sealing-wax in one drawer and their string in another, while
their sermons were arranged under the books of the Bible, and tied with
green silk.  Dr. Dowbiggin, though a dull man and of a heavy carriage,
could find in an instant the original draft of a motion on instrumental
music he made in the Presbytery of Muirtown in the year '59, and could
also give the exact page in the blue-books for every word he had
uttered in the famous case when he showed that the use of an harmonium
to train MacWheep's choir was a return to the bondage of Old Testament
worship.  His collection of pamphlets was supposed to be unique, and
was a terror to controversialists, no man knowing when a rash utterance
on the bottomless mystery of "spiritual independence" might not be
produced from the Doctor's coat-tail pocket.  He retired to rest at
10.15, and rose at six, settling the subject of his next sermon on
Sabbath evening, and finishing the first head before breakfast on
Monday morning.  He had three hats--one for funerals, one for
marriages, one for ordinary occasions--and has returned from the
Presbytery door to brush his coat.  Morning prayers in Dr. Dowbiggin's
house were at 8.5, and the wrath of the Doctor was so dangerous that
one probationer staying at the manse, and not quite independent of
influence, did not venture to undress, but snatched a fearful doze
sitting upright on a cane-bottomed chair, lest he should not be in at
the psalm.  Young ministers of untidy habits regarded Dr. Dowbiggin's
study with despair, and did not recover their spirits till they were
out of Muirtown.  Once only did this eminent man visit the manse of
Kilbogie, and in favourable moments after dinner he would give his
choicer experiences.

"It is my invariable custom to examine the bed to see that everything
is in order, and any one sleeping in Kilbogie Manse will find the good
of such a precaution.  I trust that I am not a luxurious person--it
would ill become one who came out in '43--but I have certainly become
accustomed to the use of sheets.  When I saw there were none on the
bed, I declined to sleep without them, and I indicated my mind very
distinctly on the condition of the manse.

"Would you believe it?" the Doctor used to go on.  "Saunderson
explained, as if it were a usual occurrence, that he had given away all
the spare linen in his house to a girl that had to marry in . . .
urgent circumstances, and had forgotten to get more.  And what do you
think did he offer as a substitute for sheets?"  No one could even
imagine what might not occur to the mind of Saunderson.

"Towels, as I am an honourable man; a collection of towels, as he put
it, 'skilfully attached together, might make a pleasant covering.'
That is the first and last time I ever slept in the Free Church Manse
of Kilbogie.  As regards Saunderson's study, I will guarantee that the
like of it cannot be found within Scotland;" and at the very thought of
it that exact and methodical ecclesiastic realized the limitations of
language.

His boys boasted of the Rabbi's study as something that touched genius
in its magnificent disorderliness, and Carmichael was so proud of it
that he took me to see it as to a shrine.  One whiff of its atmosphere
as you entered the door gave an appetite and raised the highest
expectations.  For any bookman can estimate a library by scent--if an
expert he could even write out a catalogue of the books and sketch the
appearance of the owner.  Heavy odour of polished mahogany, Brussels
carpets, damask curtains, and tablecloths; then the books are kept
within glass, consist of sets of standard works in half calf, and the
owner will give you their cost wholesale to a farthing.  Faint
fragrance of delicate flowers, and Russia leather, with a hint of
cigarettes; prepare yourself for a marvellous wall-paper, etchings,
bits of oak, limited editions, and a man in a velvet coat.  Smell of
paste and cloth binding and general newness means yesterday's books and
a reviewer racing through novels with a paper-knife.  Those are only
book-rooms by courtesy, and never can satisfy any one who has breathed
the sacred air.  It is a rich and strong spirit, not only filling the
room, but pouring out from the door and possessing the hall, redeeming
an opposite dining-room from grossness, and a more distant drawing-room
from frivolity, and even lending a goodly flavour to bedrooms on upper
floors.  It is distilled from curious old duodecimos packed on high
shelves out of sight, and blows over folios, with large clasps, that
once stood in monastery libraries, and gathers a subtle sweetness from
parchments that were illuminated in ancient scriptoriums that are now
grass-grown, and it is fortified with good old musty calf.  The wind
was from the right quarter on the first day I visited Kilbogie Manse,
and as we went up the garden walk the Rabbi's library already bade us
welcome, and assured us of our reward for a ten-miles' walk.

Saunderson was perfectly helpless in all manner of mechanics--he could
not drive a tack through anything except his own fingers, and had given
up shaving at the suggestion of his elders--and yet he boasted, with
truth, that he had got three times as many books into the study as his
predecessor possessed in all his house.  For Saunderson had shelved the
walls from the floor to the ceiling, into every corner, and over the
doors and above the windows, as well as below them.  The wright had
wished to leave the space clear above the mantelpiece.

"Ye'll be hanging Dr. Chalmers there, or maybe John Knox, and a bit
clock'll be handy for letting ye ken the 'oors on Sabbath."

The Rabbi admitted that he had a Knox, but was full of a scheme for
hanging him over his own history, which he considered both appropriate
and convenient.  As regards time, it was the last thing of which that
worthy man desired to be reminded--going to bed when he could no longer
see for weariness, and rising as soon as he awoke, taking his food when
it was brought to him, and being conducted to church by the beadle
after the last straggler was safely seated.  He even cast covetous eyes
upon the two windows, which were absurdly large, as he considered, but
compromised matters by removing the shutters and filling up the vacant
space with slender works of devotion.  It was one of his conceits that
the rising sun smote first on an À'Kempis, for this he had often
noticed as he worked of a morning.

Book-shelves had long ago failed to accommodate Rabbi's treasures, and
the floor had been bravely utilised.  Islands of books, rugged and
perpendicular, rose on every side; long promontories reached out from
the shore, varied by bold headlands; and so broken and varied was that
floor that the Rabbi was pleased to call it the Aegean Sea, where he
had his Lesbos and his Samos.  It is absolutely incredible, but it is
all the same a simple fact, that he knew every book and its location,
having a sense of the feel as well as the shape of his favourites.
This was not because he had the faintest approach to orderliness, for
he would take down twenty volumes and never restore them to the same
place by any chance.  It was a sort of motherly instinct by which he
watched over them all, and even loved prodigals who wandered over all
the study and then set off on adventurous journeys into distant rooms.
The restoration of an emigrant to his lawful home was celebrated by a
feast, in which, by a confusion of circumstances, the book played the
part of the fatted calf, being read afresh from beginning to end.
During his earlier and more agile years the Rabbi used to reach the
higher levels of his study by wonderful gymnastic feats, but after two
falls--one with three Ante-Nicene fathers in close pursuit--he
determined to call in assistance.  This he did after an impressive
fashion.   When he attended the roup at Pitfoodles--a day of historical
prices--and purchased in open competition, at three times its value, a
small stack ladder, Kilbogie was convulsed, and Mains had to offer
explanations.

"He's cuttit aff seevin feet, and rins up it tae get his tapmaist
bukes, but that's no' a'," and then Mains gave it to be understood that
the rest of the things the minister had done with that ladder were
beyond words.  For in order that the rough wood might not scar the
sensitive backs of the fathers, the Rabbi had covered the upper end
with cloth, and for that purpose had utilised a pair of trousers.  It
was not within his ability in any way to reduce or adapt his material,
so that those interesting garments remained in their original shape,
and, as often as the ladder stood reversed, presented a very impressive
and diverting spectacle.  It was the inspiration of one of Carmichael's
most successful stories--how he had done his best to console a woman on
the death of her husband, and had not altogether failed, till she
caught sight of the deceased's nether garments waving disconsolately on
a rope in the garden, when she refused to be comforted.  "Toom (empty)
breeks tae me noo," and she wept profusely, "toom breeks tae me."

One of the great efforts of the Rabbi's life was to seat his visitors,
since, beyond the one chair, accommodation had to be provided on the
table, wheresoever there happened to be no papers, and on the ledges of
the bookcases.  It was pretty to see the host suggesting from a long
experience those coigns of vantage he counted easiest and safest,
giving warnings also of unsuspected danger in the shape of restless
books that might either yield beneath one's feet or descend on one's
head.  Carmichael, however, needed no such guidance, for he knew his
way about in the marvellous place, and at once made for what the boys
called the throne of the fathers.  This was a lordly seat, laid as to
its foundation in mediaeval divines of ponderous content, but
excellently finished with the Benedictine edition of St. Augustine,
softened by two cushions, one for a seat and another for a back.  Here
Carmichael used to sit in great content, smoking and listening while
the Rabbi hunted an idea through Scripture with many authorities, or
defended the wildest Calvinism with strange, learned arguments; from
this place he would watch the Rabbi searching for a lost note on some
passage of Holy Writ amid a pile of papers two feet deep, through which
he burrowed on all-fours, or climbing for a book on the sky-line, to
forget his errand and to expound some point of doctrine from the top of
the ladder.

[Illustration: SEARCHING FOR A LOST NOTE]

"You're comfortable, John, and you do not want to put off your boots
after all that travelling to and fro?  Then I will search for Barbara,
and secure some refreshment for our bodies"; and Carmichael watched the
Rabbi depart with pity, for he was going on a troublous errand.

Housekeepers are, after beadles, the most wonderful functionaries in
the ecclesiastical life of Scotland, and every species could be found
within a day's journey of Drumtochty.  Jenkins, indeed, suggested that
a series of papers on Church institutions read at the clerical club
should include one on housekeepers, and offered to supply the want,
which was the reason why Dr. Dowbiggin refused to certify him to a
vacancy, speaking of him as "frivolous and irresponsible."  The class
ranged from Sarah of Drumtochty, who could cook and knew nothing about
ecclesiastical affairs, to that austere damsel, Margaret Meiklewham of
Pitscowrie, who had never prepared an appetising meal in her life, but
might have sat as an elder in the Presbytery.

Among all her class, Barbara MacCluckie stood an easy worst, being the
most incapable, unsightly, evil-tempered, vexatious woman into whose
hands an unmarried man had ever been delivered.  MacWheep had his own
trials, but his ruler saw that he had sufficient food and some comfort,
but Barbara laid herself out to make the Rabbi's life a misery.  He
only obtained his meals as a favour, and an extra blanket had to be won
by a week's abject humiliation.  Fire was only allowed him at times,
and he secured oil for his lamp by stratagem.  Latterly he was glad to
send strange ministers to Mains, and his boys alone forced lodgment in
the manse.  The settlement of Barbara was the great calamity of the
Rabbi's life, and was the doing of his own good-nature.  He first met
her when she came to the manse one evening to discuss the unlawfulness
of infant baptism and the duty of holding Sunday on Saturday, being the
Jewish Sabbath.  His interest deepened on learning that she had been
driven from twenty-nine situations through the persecution of the
ungodly; and on her assuring him that she had heard a voice in a dream
bidding her take charge of Kilbogie Manse, the Rabbi, who had suffered
many things at the hands of young girls given to lovers, installed
Barbara, and began to repent that very day.  A tall, bony, forbidding
woman, with a squint, and a nose turning red as she stated from chronic
indigestion, let it be said for her that she did not fall into the sins
of her predecessors.  It was indeed a pleasant jest in Kilbogie for
four Sabbaths that she allowed a local Romeo, who knew not that his
Juliet was gone, to make his adventurous way to her bedroom window, and
then showed such an amazing visage that he was laid up for a week
through the suddenness of his fall.  What the Rabbi endured no one
knew, but his boys understood that the only relief he had from
Barbara's tyranny was on Sabbath evening when she stated her objections
to his sermons, and threatened henceforward to walk into Muirtown in
order to escape from unsound doctrine.  On such occasions the Rabbi
laid himself out for her instruction with much zest, and he knew when
he had produced an impression, for then he went supperless to bed.
Between this militant spirit and the boys there was an undying feud,
and Carmichael was not at all hurt to hear her frank references to
himself.

[Illustration: THE SUDDENNESS OF HIS FALL]

"What need he come stravagin' doon frae Drumtochty for? it wud set him
better tae wait on his ain fouk.  A licht-headed fellow, they say as
kens; an' as for his doctrine--weel, maybe it'll dae for Drumtochty.

"Tea?  Did ye expect me tae hae biling water at this 'oor o' the nicht?
My word, the money wud flee in this hoose gin a' wesna here.  Milk'll
dae fine for yon birkie: he micht be gled tae get onything, sorning on
a respectable manse every ither week."

"You will pardon our humble provision"--this is how the Rabbi prepared
Carmichael; "we have taken my worthy Abigail unawares, and she cannot
do for us what in other circumstances would be her desire.  She has a
thorn in the flesh which troubles her, and makes her do what she would
not, but I am convinced that her heart is right."

That uncompromising woman took no notice of Drumtochty, but busied
herself in a search for the Rabbi's bag, which he insisted had been
brought home from Muirtown that morning, and which was at last found
covered with books.

"Do not open it at present, Barbara; you can identify the contents
later if it be necessary, but I am sure they are all right"; and the
Rabbi watched Barbara's investigations with evident anxiety.

"Maybe ye hae brocht back what ye started wi', but gin ye hev, it's the
first time a' can mind.  Laist sacrament at Edinburgh ye pickit up twal
books, ae clothes-brush, an' a crochet cover for a chair, an' left
a'thing that belonged tae ye."

"It was an inadvertence; but I obtained a drawer for my own use this
time, and I was careful to pack its contents into the bag, leaving
nothing."  But the Rabbi did not seem over-confident.

"There's nae question that ye hev filled the pack," said Barbara, with
much deliberation and an ominous calmness; "but whether wi' yir ain
gear or some ither body's, a'll leave ye tae judge yirsel.  A'll juist
empty the bag on the bukes"; and Barbara selected a bank of Puritans
for the display of her master's spoil.

"Ae slipbody (bodice), weel hemmed and gude stuff--ye didna tak' that
wi' ye, at ony rate; twa pillow-slips--they'll come in handy, oor ain
are wearin' thin; ae pair o' sheets--'ll just dae for the next trimmie
that ye want tae set up in her hoose; this'll be a bolster-slip, a'm
judgin'----"

"It must be the work of Satan," cried the poor Rabbi, who constantly
saw the hand of the great enemy in the disorder of his study.  "I
cannot believe that my hands packed such garments in place of my own."

"Ye'll be satisfied when ye read the name; it's plain eneuch; ye needna
gang dodderin' aboot here and there lookin' for yir glasses; there's
twa pair on your head already"; for it was an hour of triumph to
Barbara's genial soul.

"It's beyond understanding," murmured the Rabbi.  "I must have mistaken
one drawer for another in the midst of meditation"; and then, when
Barbara had swept out of the room with the varied linen on her arm,
"This is very humiliating, John, and hard to bear."

"Nonsense, Rabbi; it's one of the finest things you have ever done.
Half a dozen journeys of that kind would refurnish the manse; it's just
a pity you can't annex a chair"; but he saw that the good man was
sorely vexed.

"You are a good lad, John, and it is truly marvellous what charity I
have received at the hands of young men who might have scorned and
mocked me.  God knows how my heart has been filled with gratitude, and
I . . . have mentioned your names in my unworthy prayers, that God may
do to you all according to the kindness ye have shown unto me."

It was plain that this lonely, silent man was much moved, and
Carmichael did not speak.

"People consider that I am ignorant of my failings and weaknesses, and
I can bear witness with a clear conscience that I am not angry when
they smile and nod the head; why should I be?  But, John, it is known
to myself only, and Him before whom all hearts are open, how great is
my suffering in being among my neighbours as a sparrow upon the
house-top.

"May you never know, John, what it is to live alone and friendless till
you lose the ways of other men and retire within yourself, looking out
on the multitude passing on the road as a hermit from his cell, and
knowing that some day you will die alone, with none to . . . give you a
draught of water!"

"Rabbi, Rabbi,"--for Carmichael was greatly distressed at the woe in
the face opposite him, and his heart was tender that night,--"why
should you have lived like that?  Do not be angry, but . . . did God
intend . . . it cannot be wrong . . . I mean . . . God did give Eve to
Adam."

"Laddie, why do ye speak with fear and a faltering voice?  Did I say
aught against that gracious gift or the holy mystery of love, which is
surely the sign of the union betwixt God and the soul, as is set forth
after a mystical shape in the Song of Songs?  But it was not for
me--no, not for me.  I complain not, neither have I vexed my soul.  He
doeth all things well."

"But, dear Rabbi"--and Carmichael hesitated, not knowing where he stood.

"Ye ask me why"--the Rabbi anticipated the question--"and I will tell
you plainly, for my heart has ever gone forth to you.  For long years I
found no favour in the eyes of the Church, and it seemed likely I would
be rejected from the ministry as a man useless and unprofitable.  How
could I attempt to win the love of any maiden, since it did not appear
to be the will of God that I should ever have a place of habitation?
It consisted not with honour, for I do hold firmly that no man hath any
right to seek unto himself a wife till he have a home."

"But . . ."

"Afterwards, you would say.  Ah, John! then had I become old and
unsightly, not such a one as women could care for.  It would have been
cruel to tie a maid for life to one who might only be forty years in
age, but was as seventy in his pilgrimage, and had fallen into unlovely
habits."

Then the Rabbi turned on Carmichael his gentle eyes, that were shining
with tears.

"It will be otherwise with you, and so let it be.  May I live to see
you rejoicing with the wife of your youth!"

So it came to pass that it was to this unlikely man Carmichael told his
love for Kate Carnegie and what like Kate was, and he was amazed at the
understanding of the Rabbi, as well as his sympathy and toleration.

"A maid of spirit--and that is an excellent thing; and any excess will
be tamed by life.  Only see to it that ye agree in that which lieth
beneath all churches and maketh souls one in God.  May He prosper you
in your wooing as He did the patriarch Jacob, and far more abundantly!"

Very early in the morning Carmichael awoke, and being tempted by the
sunrise, arose and went downstairs.  As he came near the study door he
heard a voice in prayer, and knew that the Rabbi had been all night in
intercession.

"Thou hast denied me wife and child; deny me not Thyself. . . .  A
stranger Thou hast made me among men; refuse me not a place in the
City. . . .  Deal graciously with this lad who has been to me as a son
in the Gospel. . . .  He has not despised an old man; put not his heart
to confusion. . . ."

Carmichael crept upstairs again, but not to sleep, and at breakfast he
pledged the Rabbi to come up some day and see Kate Carnegie.



THE RABBI AS CONFESSOR

One day Carmichael, who had quarrelled with Kate over Mary Queen of
Scots and had lost hope, came to a good resolution suddenly, and went
down to see Rabbi Saunderson--the very thought of whose gentle,
patient, selfless life was a rebuke and a tonic.

When two tramps held conference on the road, and one indicated to the
other visibly that any gentleman in temporary distress would be treated
after a Christian fashion at a neighbouring house, Carmichael, who had
been walking in a dream since he passed the Lodge, knew instantly that
he must be near the Free Kirk manse of Kilbogie.  The means of
communication between the members of the nomadic profession is almost
perfect in its frequency and accuracy, and Saunderson's manse was a
hedge-side word.  Not only did all the regular travellers by the north
road call on their going up in spring and their coming down in autumn,
but habitués of the east coast route were attracted and made a circuit
to embrace so hospitable a home, and even country vagrants made their
way from Dunleith and down through Glen Urtach to pay their respects to
the Rabbi.  They had particular directions to avoid Barbara--expressed
in cypher on five different posts in the vicinity, and enforced in
picturesque language, of an evening--and they were therefore careful to
waylay the Rabbi on the road, or enter his study boldly from the front.
The humbler members of the profession contented themselves with
explaining that they had once been prosperous tradesmen, and were now
walking to Muirtown in search of work--receiving their alms in silence,
with diffidence and shame; but those in a higher walk came to consult
the Rabbi on Bible difficulties, which were threatening to shake their
faith, and departed much relieved--with a new view of Lot's wife, as
well as a suit of clothes the Rabbi had only worn three times.

"You have done kindly by me in calling"--the vagabond had finished his
story and was standing, a very abject figure, among the books--"and in
giving me the message from your friend.  I am truly thankful that he is
now labouring--in iron, did you say?--and I hope he may be a cunning
artificer.

"You will not set it down to carelessness that I cannot quite recall
the face of your friend, for, indeed, it is my privilege to see many
travellers, and there are times when I may have been a minister to them
on their journeys, as I would be to you also if there be anything in
which I can serve you.  It grieves me to say that I have no clothing
that I might offer you; it happens that a very worthy man passed here a
few days ago most insufficiently clad and . . . but I should not have
alluded to that; my other garments, save what I wear, are . . . kept in
a place of . . . safety by my excellent housekeeper, and she makes
their custody a point of conscience; you might put the matter before
her. . . .  Assuredly it would be difficult, and I crave your pardon
for putting you in an . . . embarrassing position; it is my misfortune
to have to-day neither silver nor gold,"--catching sight of Carmichael
in the passage, "This is a Providence.  May I borrow from you, John,
some suitable sum for our brother here who is passing through
adversity?"

[Illustration: "SOME SUITABLE SUM FOR OUR BROTHER HERE WHO IS PASSING
THROUGH ADVERSITY"]

"Do not be angry with me, John"--after the tramp had departed, with
five shillings in hand and much triumph over Carmichael on his
face--"nor speak bitterly of our fellow-men.  Verily theirs is a hard
lot who have no place to lay their head, and who journey in weariness
from city to city.  John, I was once a stranger and a wayfarer,
wandering over the length and breadth of the land.  Nor had I a friend
on earth till my feet were led to the Mains, where my heart was greatly
refreshed, and now God has surrounded me with young men of whose
kindness I am not worthy; wherefore it becometh me to show mercy unto
others"; and the Rabbi looked at Carmichael with such sweetness that
the lad's sullenness began to yield, although he made no sign.

"Moreover," and the Rabbi's voice took a lower tone, "as often as I
look on one of those men of the highways, there cometh to me a vision
of Him who was an outcast of the people, and albeit some may be as
Judas, peradventure one might beg alms of me, a poor sinful man, some
day, and lo it might be . . . the Lord himself in a saint"; and the
Rabbi bowed his head and stood awhile much moved.

"Rabbi," after a pause, during which Carmichael's face had changed,
"you are incorrigible.  For years we have been trying to make you a
really good and wise man, both by example and precept, and you are
distinctly worse than when we began--more lazy, miserly, and
uncharitable.  It is very disheartening.

"Can you receive another tramp and give him a bed? for I am in low
spirits, and so, like every other person in trouble, I come to you, you
dear old saint, and already I feel a better man."

"Receive you, John?  It is doubtless selfish, but it is not given to
you to know how I weary to see your faces, and we shall have much
converse together--there are some points I would like your opinion
on--but first of all, after a slight refreshment, we must go to Mains:
behold the aid to memory I have designed"--and the Rabbi pointed to a
large square of paper hung above Chrysostom, with "Farewell, George
Pitillo, 3 o'clock."  "He is the son's son of my benefactor, and he
leaves his father's house this day to go into a strange land across the
sea: I had a service last night at Mains, and expounded the departure
of Abraham, but only slightly, being somewhat affected through the
weakness of the flesh.  There was a covenant made between the young man
and myself, that I should meet him at the crossing of the roads to-day,
and it is in my mind to leave a parable with him against the power of
this present world."

Then the Rabbi fell into a meditation till the dog-cart came up, Mains
and his wife in the front and George alone in the back, making a brave
show of indifference.

"George," said the Rabbi, looking across the field and speaking as to
himself, "we shall not meet again in this world, and in a short space
they will bury me in Kilbogie kirkyard, but it will not be in me to lie
still for thinking of the people I have loved.  So it will come to pass
that I may rise--you have ears to understand, George--and I will
inquire of him that taketh charge of the dead about many and how it
fares with them."

[Illustration: "WE SHALL NOT MEET AGAIN IN THIS WORLD."]

"And George Pitillo, what of him, Andrew?

"'Oh, it's a peety you didna live langer, Mr. Saunderson, for George
hes risen in the warld and made a great fortune.'

"How does it go with his soul, Andrew?

"'Well, you see, Mister Saunderson, George hes hed many things to think
about, and he maybe hasna hed time for releegion yet, but nae doot
he'll be turnin' his mind that wy soon.'

"Poor George, that I baptized and admitted to the Sacrament and . . .
loved: exchanged his soul for the world."

The sun was setting fast, and the landscape--bare stubble-fields,
leafless trees, still water, long, empty road--was of a blood-red
colour fearsome to behold, so that no one spake, and the horse chafing
his bit made the only sound.

Then the Rabbi began again.

"And George Pitillo--tell me, Andrew?

"'Weel, ye see, Mister Saunderson, ye wud be sorry for him, for you and
he were aye chief; he's keepit a gude name an' workit hard, but hesna
made muckle o' this warld.'

"And his soul, Andrew?

"'Oo, that's a' richt; gin we a' hed as gude a chance for the next
warld as George Pitillo we micht be satisfied.'

"That is enough for his old friend; hap me over again, Andrew, and I'll
rest in peace till the trumpet sound."

Carmichael turned aside, but he heard something desperately like a sob
from the back of the dog-cart, and the Rabbi saying, "God be with you,
George, and as your father's father received me in the day of my sore
discouragement, so may the Lord God of Israel open a door for you in
every land whithersoever you go, and bring you in at last through the
gates into the city."  The Rabbi watched George till the dog-cart faded
away into the dusk of the winter's day, and they had settled for the
night in their places among the books before the Rabbi spoke.

It was with a wistful tenderness that he turned to Carmichael and
touched him slightly with his hand, as was a fashion with the Rabbi.

"You will not think me indifferent to your welfare because I have not
inquired about your affairs, for indeed this could not be, but the
going forth of this lad has tried my heart.  Is there aught, John, that
it becometh you to tell me, and wherein my years can be of any avail?"

"It is not about doctrine I wished to speak to you, Rabbi, although I
am troubled thus also, but about . . . you remember our talk."

"About the maid--surely; I cannot forget her, and indeed often think of
her since the day you brought me to her house and made me known unto
her, which was much courtesy to one who is fitter for a book-room than
a woman's company.

"She is fair of face and hath a pleasant manner, and surely beauty and
a winsome way are from God; there seemed also a certain contempt of
baseness and a strength of will which are excellent.  Perhaps my
judgment is not even because Miss Carnegie was gracious to me, and you
know, John, it is not in me to resist kindness, but this is how she
seems to me.  Has there been trouble between you?"

"Do not misunderstand me, Rabbi; I have not spoken one word of love to
. . . Miss Carnegie, nor she to me; but I love her, and I thought that
perhaps she saw that I loved her.  But now it looks as if . . . what I
hoped is never to be"; and Carmichael told how Kate had risen and left
the Church in hot wrath because he had compared Queen Mary to Jezebel.

"Is it not marvellous," mused the Rabbi, looking into the fire, "how
one woman, who was indeed at the time little more than a girl, did
carry men, many of them wise and clever, away as with a flood, and
still divideth scholars and even . . . friends?

"It was not fitting that Miss Carnegie should have left God's house in
heat of temper, and it seemeth to us that she hath a wrong reading of
history, but it is surely good that she hath her convictions, and
holdeth them fast like a brave maid.

"Is it not so, John, that friends, and doubtless also . . . lovers,
have been divided by conscience, and have been on opposite sides in the
great conflict, and doth not this show how much of conscience there is
among men?

"It may be this dispute will not divide you--being now, as it were,
more an argument of the schools than a matter of principle--but if it
should appear that you are far apart on the greater matters of faith,
then . . . you will have a heavy cross to carry.  But it is my mind
that the heart of the maiden is right, and that I may some day see her
. . . in your home, whereat my eyes would be glad."

The Rabbi was so taken up with the matter that he barely showed
Carmichael a fine copy of John of Damascus he had secured from London,
and went out of his course at worship to read, as well as to expound
with much feeling, the story of Ruth the Moabitess, showing
conclusively that she had in her a high spirit, and that she was
designed of God to be a strength to the house of David.  He was also
very cheerful in the morning, and bade Carmichael good-bye at Tochty
woods with encouraging words.  He also agreed to assist his boy at the
Drumtochty sacrament.

It was evident that the Rabbi's mind was much set on this visit, but
Carmichael did not for one moment depend upon his remembering the day,
and so Burnbrae started early on the Saturday with his dog-cart to
bring Saunderson up and deposit him without fail in the Free Kirk manse
of Drumtochty.  Six times that day did the minister leave his "action"
sermon and take his way to the guest-room, carrying such works as might
not be quite unsuitable for the old scholar's perusal, and arranging a
lamp of easy management, that the night hours might not be lost.  It
was late in the afternoon before the Rabbi was delivered at the manse,
and Burnbrae gave explanations next day at the sacramental dinner.

"It wes just ten when a' got tae the manse o' Kilbogie, an' his
hoosekeeper didna ken whar her maister wes; he micht be in Kildrummie
by that time, she said, or half-wy tae Muirtown.  So a' set oot an'
ransackit the parish till a' got him, an' gin he wesna sittin' in a
bothie takin' brose wi' the plowmen, an' expoundin' Scripture a' the
time.

"He startit on the ancient martyrs afore we were half a mile on the
road, and he gied ae testimony aifter anither, an' he wesna within
sicht o' the Reformation when we cam' tae the hooses; a'll no deny that
a' let the mare walk bits o' the road, for a' cud hae heard him a'
nicht; ma bluid's warmer yet, freends."

The Rabbi arrived in great spirits, and refused to taste meat till he
had stated the burden of his sermon for the morrow.

"If the Lord hath opened our ears the servant must declare what has
been given him, but I prayed that the message sent through me to your
flock, John, might be love.  It hath pleased the Great Shepherd that I
should lead the sheep by strange paths, but I desired that it be
otherwise when I came for the first time to Drumtochty.

"Two days did I spend in the woods, for the stillness of winter among
the trees leaveth the mind disengaged for the Divine word, and the
first day my soul was heavy as I returned, for this only was laid upon
me, 'vessels of wrath, fitted to destruction.'  And, John, albeit God
would doubtless have given me strength according to His will, yet I was
loath to bear this awful truth to the people of your charge.

"Next day the sun was shining pleasantly in the wood, and it came to me
that clouds had gone from the face of God, and as I wandered among the
trees a squirrel sat on a branch within reach of my hand and did not
flee.  Then I heard a voice, 'I have loved thee with an everlasting
love, therefore with loving-kindness have I drawn thee.'

"It was, in an instant, my hope that this might be God's word by me,
but I knew not it was so till the Evangel opened up on all sides, and I
was led into the outgoings of the eternal love after so moving a
fashion that I dared to think that grace might be effectual even with
me . . . with me.

"God opened my mouth on Sabbath on this text unto my own flock, and the
word was not void.  It is little that can be said on sovereign love in
two hours and it may be a few minutes; yet even this may be more than
your people are minded to bear.  So I shall pretermit certain notes on
doctrine; for you will doubtless have given much instruction on the
purposes of God, and very likely may be touching on that mystery in
your action sermon."

During the evening the Rabbi was very genial--tasting Sarah's viands
with relish, and comparing her to Rebekah, who made savoury meat,
urging Carmichael to smoke without scruple, and allowing himself to
snuff three times, examining the bookshelves with keen appreciation,
and finally departing with three volumes of modern divinity under his
arm, to reinforce the selection in his room, "lest his eyes should be
held waking in the night watches."  He was much overcome by the care
that had been taken for his comfort, and at the door of his room blest
his boy: "May the Lord give you the sleep of His beloved, and
strengthen you to declare all His truth on the morrow."  Carmichael sat
by his study fire for a while and went to bed much cheered, nor did he
dream that there was to be a second catastrophe in the Free Kirk of
Drumtochty which would be far sadder than the offending of Miss
Carnegie about Mary Queen of Scots, and would leave in one heart
lifelong regret.



THE FEAR OF GOD

It was the way of the Free Kirk that the assisting minister at the
Sacrament should sit behind the Communion Table during the sermon, and
the congregation, without giving the faintest sign of observation,
could estimate its effect on his face.  When Dr. Dowbiggin composed
himself to listen as became a Church leader of substantial build--his
hands folded before him and his eyes fixed on the far window--and was
so arrested by the opening passage of Cunningham's sermon on
Justification by Faith that he visibly started, and afterwards sat
sideways with his ears cocked, Drumtochty, while doubtful whether any
Muirtown man could appreciate the subtlety of their minister, had a
higher idea of the Doctor; and when the Free Kirk minister of
Kildrummie--a stout man and given to agricultural pursuits--went fast
asleep under a masterly discussion of the priesthood of Melchizedek,
Drumtochty's opinion of the intellectual condition of Kildrummie was
confirmed beyond argument.

During his ministry of more than twenty years the Rabbi had never
preached at Drumtochty--being fearful that he might injure the minister
who invited him, or that he might be so restricted in time as to lead
astray by ill-balanced statements--and as the keenest curiosity would
never have induced any man to go from the Glen to worship in another
parish, the Free Kirk minister of Kilbogie was still unjudged in
Drumtochty.  They were not sorry to have the opportunity at last, for
they had suffered not a little at the hands of Kilbogie in past years,
and the coming event disturbed the flow of business at Muirtown market.

"Ye're tae hae the Doctor at laist," Mains said to Netherton--letting
the luck-penny on a transaction in seed-corn stand over--"an' a'm
jidgin' the time's no been lost.  He's plainer an' easier tae follow
then he wes at the affgo.  Ma word"--contemplating the exercise before
the Glen--"but ye'll aye get eneuch here and there tae cairry hame."
Which shows what a man the Rabbi was, that on the strength of his
possession a parish like Kilbogie could speak after this fashion to
Drumtochty.

"He'll hae a fair trial, Mains"--Netherton's tone was distinctly
severe--"an' mony a trial he's hed in his day, they say: wes't
three-an'-twenty kirks he preached in afore ye took him?  But mind ye,
length's nae standard in Drumtochty; na, na, it's no hoo muckle wind a
man hes, but what like is the stuff that comes.  It's bushels doon bye,
but it's wecht up bye."

Any prejudice against the Rabbi, created by the boasting of a foolish
parish not worthy of him, was reduced by his venerable appearance
before the pulpit, and quite dispelled by his unfeigned delight in
Carmichael's conduct of the "preliminaries."  Twice he nodded approval
to the reading of the hundredth Psalm, and although he stood with
covered face during the prayer, he emerged full of sympathy.  As his
boy read the fifty-third of Isaiah the old man was moved well-nigh to
tears, and on the giving out of the text, from the parable of the
Prodigal Son, the Rabbi closed his eyes with great expectation, as one
about to be fed with the finest of the wheat.

Carmichael has kept the sermon unto this day, and as often as he finds
himself growing hard or supercilious, reads it from beginning to end.
It is his hair-shirt, to be worn from time to time next his soul for
the wrongness in it and the mischief it did.  He cannot understand how
he could have said such things on a Sacrament morning and in the
presence of the Rabbi, but indeed they were inevitable.  When two tides
meet there is ever a cruel commotion, and ships are apt to be dashed on
the rocks, and Carmichael's mind was in a "jabble" that day.  The new
culture, with its wider views of God and man, was fighting with the
robust Calvinism in which every Scot is saturated, and the result was
neither peace nor charity.  Personally the lad was kindly and
good-natured; intellectually he had become arrogant, intolerant, acrid,
flinging out at old-fashioned views, giving quite unnecessary
challenges, arguing with imaginary antagonists.  It has ever seemed to
me, although I suppose that history is against me, that if it be laid
on any one to advocate a new view that will startle people, he ought of
all men to be conciliatory and persuasive; but Carmichael was, at least
in this time of fermentation, very exasperating and pugnacious, and so
he drove the Rabbi to the only hard action of his life, wherein the old
man suffered most, and which may be said to have led to his death.
Carmichael, like the Rabbi, had intended to preach that morning on the
love of God, and thought he was doing so with some power.  What he did
was to take the Fatherhood of God and use it as a stick to beat
Pharisees with, and under Pharisees it appeared as if he included every
person who still believed in the inflexible action of the moral laws
and the austere majesty of God.  Many good things he no doubt said, but
each had an edge, and it cut deeply into people of the old school.  Had
he seen the Rabbi, it would not have been possible for him to continue;
but he only was conscious of Lachlan Campbell, with whom he had then a
feud, and who, he imagined, had come to criticise him.  So he went on
his rasping way that Sacrament morning, as when one harrows the spring
earth with iron teeth, exciting himself with every sentence to fresh
crudities of thought and extravagances of opposition.  But it only
flashed on him that he had spoken foolishly when he came down from the
pulpit, and found the Rabbi a shrunken figure in his chair before the
Holy Table.

Discerning people, like Elspeth Macfadyen, saw the whole tragedy from
beginning to end, and felt the pity of it keenly, For a while the Rabbi
waited with fond confidence--for was not he to hear the best-loved of
his boys?--and he caught eagerly at a gracious expression, as if it had
fallen from one of the fathers.  Anything in the line of faith would
have pleased the Rabbi that day, who was as a little child, and full of
charity, in spite of his fierce doctrines.  By-and-by the light died
away from his eyes as when a cloud comes over the face of the sun and
the Glen grows cold and dreary.  He opened his eyes and was amazed,
looking at the people and questioning them what had happened to their
minister.  Suddenly he flushed as a person struck by a friend, and
then, as one blow followed another, he covered his face with both
hands, sinking lower and lower in his chair, till even that decorous
people were almost shaken in their attention.

When Carmichael gave him the cup in the Sacrament the Rabbi's hand
shook and he spilled some drops of the wine upon his beard, which all
that day showed like blood on the silvery whiteness.  Afterwards he
spake in his turn to the communicants, and distinguished the true
people of God from the multitude--to whom he held out no hope--by so
many and stringent marks that Donald Menzies refused the Sacrament with
a lamentable groan.  And when the Sacrament was over, and the time came
for Carmichael to shake hands with the assisting minister in the
vestry, the Rabbi had vanished, and he had no speech with him till they
went through the garden together--very bleak it seemed in the winter
dusk--unto the sermon that closed the services of the day.

[Illustration: WHEN CARMICHAEL GAVE HIM THE CUP IN THE SACRAMENT.]

"God's hand is heavy in anger on us both this day, John," and
Carmichael was arrested by the awe and sorrow in the Rabbi's voice,
"else . . . you had not spoken as you did this forenoon, nor would
necessity be laid on me to speak . . . as I must this night.

"His ways are all goodness and truth, but they are oftentimes
encompassed with darkness, and the burden He has laid on me is . . .
almost more than I can bear; it will be heavy for you also.

"You will drink the wine of astonishment this night, and it will be
strange if you do not . . . turn from the hand that pours it out, but
you will not refuse the truth or . . . hate the preacher"; and at the
vestry door the Rabbi looked wistfully at Carmichael.

During the interval the lad had been ill at ease, suspecting from the
Rabbi's manner at the Table, and the solemnity of his address, that he
disapproved of the action sermon, but he did not for a moment imagine
that the situation was serious.  It is one of the disabilities of
good-natured and emotional people, without much deepness of earth, to
belittle the convictions and resolutions of strong natures, and to
suppose that they can be talked away by a few pleasant, coaxing words.

The Rabbi had often yielded to Carmichael and his other boys in the
ordinary affairs of life--in meat and drink and clothing, even unto the
continuance of his snuffing.  He had been most manageable and
pliable--as a child in their hands--and so Carmichael was quite
confident that he could make matters right with the old man about a
question of doctrine as easily as about the duty of a midday meal.
Certain bright and superficial people will only learn by some solitary
experience that faith is reserved in friendship, and that the most
heroic souls are those which count all things loss--even the smile of
those they love--for the eternal.  For a moment Carmichael was shaken
as if a new Rabbi were before him; then he remembered the study of
Kilbogie, and all things that had happened therein, and his spirits
rose.

"How dare you suggest such wickedness, Rabbi, that any of us should
ever criticise or complain of anything you say?  Whatever you give us
will be right, and do us good, and in the evening you will tell me all
I said wrong."

Saunderson looked at Carmichael for ten seconds as one who has not been
understood, and sighed.  Then he went down the kirk after the beadle,
and the people marked how he walked like a man who was afraid he might
fall, and, turning a corner, he supported himself on the end of a pew.
As he crept up the pulpit stairs Elspeth gave her husband a look, and,
although well accustomed to the slowness of his understanding, was
amazed that he did not catch the point.  Even a man might have seen
that this was not the same minister that came in to the Sacrament with
hope in his very step.

"A'm no here tae say 'that a' kent what wes comin''"--Elspeth, like all
experts, was strictly truthful--"for the like o' that wes never heard
in Drumtochty, and noo that Doctor Saunderson is awa', will never be
heard again in Scotland.  A' jaloused that vials wud be opened an' a'
wesna wrang, but ma certes"--and that remarkable woman left you to
understand that no words in human speech could even hint at the
contents of the vials.

When the Rabbi gave out his text, "Vessels of wrath," in a low,
awestruck voice, Carmichael began to be afraid, but after a little he
chid himself for foolishness.  During half an hour the Rabbi traced the
doctrine of the Divine Sovereignty through Holy Scripture with a
characteristic wealth of allusion to Fathers ancient and reforming, and
once or twice he paused, as if he would have taken up certain matters
at greater length, but restrained himself, simply asserting the Pauline
character of St. Augustine's thinking, and exposing the looseness of
Clement of Alexandria with a wave of the hand, as one hurrying on to
his destination.

"Dear old Rabbi"--Carmichael congratulated himself in his pew--"what
need he have made so many apologies for his subject?  He is going to
enjoy himself, and he is sure to say something beautiful before he is
done."  But he was distinctly conscious all the same of a wish that the
Rabbi were done and all . . . well, uncertainty over.  For there was a
note of anxiety, almost of horror, in the Rabbi's voice, and he had not
let the Fathers go so lightly unless under severe constraint.  What was
it?  Surely he would not attack their minister in face of his
people. . . .  The Rabbi do that, who was in all his ways a gentleman?
Yet . . . and then the Rabbi abruptly quitted historical exposition and
announced that he would speak on four heads.  Carmichael, from his
corner behind the curtains, saw the old man twice open his mouth as if
to speak, and when at last he began he was quivering visibly, and he
had grasped the outer corners of the desk with such intensity that the
tassels which hung therefrom--one of the minor glories of the Free
Kirk--were held in the palm of his hand, the long red tags escaping
from between his white wasted fingers.  A pulpit lamp came between
Carmichael and the Rabbi's face, but he could see the straining hand,
which did not relax till it was lifted in the last awful appeal, and
the white and red had a gruesome fascination.  It seemed as if one had
clutched a cluster of full, rich, tender grapes and was pressing them
in an agony till their life ran out in streams of blood, and dripped
upon the heads of the choir sitting beneath, in their fresh, hopeful
youth.  And it also came to Carmichael with pathetic conviction even
then that every one was about to suffer, but the Rabbi more than them
all together.  While the preacher was strengthening his heart for the
work before him, Carmichael's eye was attracted by the landscape that
he could see through the opposite window.  The ground sloped upwards
from the kirk to a pine-wood that fringed the great moor, and it was
covered with snow, on which the moon was beginning to shed her faint,
weird light.  Within, the light from the upright lamps was falling on
the ruddy, contented faces of men and women and little children, but
without it was one cold, merciless whiteness, like unto the justice of
God, with black shadows of judgment.

"This is the message which I have to deliver unto you in the name of
the Lord, and even as Jonah was sent to Nineveh after a strange
discipline with a word of mercy, so am I constrained against my will to
carry a word of searching and trembling.

"First"--and between the heads the Rabbi paused as one whose breath had
failed him--"every man belongs absolutely to God by his creation.

"Second.  The purpose of God about each man precedes his creation.

"Third.  Some are destined to Salvation, and some to Damnation.

"Fourth"--here the hard breathing became a sob--"each man's lot is unto
the glory of God."

It was not only skilled theologians like Lachlan Campbell and Burnbrae,
but even mere amateurs who understood that they were that night to be
conducted to the farthest limit of Calvinism, and that, whoever fell
behind through the hardness of the way, their guide would not flinch.
As the Rabbi gave the people a brief space wherein to grasp his heads
in their significance, Carmichael remembered a vivid incident in the
Presbytery of Muirtown, when an English evangelist had addressed that
reverend and austere court with exhilarating confidence--explaining the
extreme simplicity of the Christian faith, and showing how a minister
ought to preach.  Various good men were delighted, and asked many
questions of the evangelist--who had kept a baby-linen shop for twenty
years, and was unspoiled by the slightest trace of theology--but the
Rabbi arose and demolished his "teaching," convicting him of heresy at
every turn, till there was not left one stone upon another.

"But surely fear belongs to the Old Testament dispensation and is now
done away with," said the unabashed little man to the Rabbi afterwards.
"'Rejoice,' you know, my friend, 'and again I say, Rejoice'--that is
the New Testament note."

"If it be the will of God that such a man as I should ever stand on the
sea of glass mingled with fire, then this tongue will be lifted with
the best, but so long as my feet are still in the fearful pit it
becometh me to bow my head."

"Then you don't believe in assurance?"  But already the evangelist was
quailing before the Rabbi.

"Verily there is no man that hath not heard of that precious gift, and
none who does not covet it greatly, but there be two degrees of
assurance"--here the Rabbi looked sternly at the happy, rotund little
figure--"and it is with the first you must begin, and what you need to
get is assurance of your damnation."

One of the boys read an account of this incident--thinly veiled--in a
reported address of the evangelist, in which the Rabbi--being, as it
was inferred, beaten in Scriptural argument--was very penitent and
begged his teacher's pardon with streaming tears.  What really happened
was different, and so absolutely conclusive that Doctor Dowbiggin gave
it as his opinion "that a valuable lesson had been read to unauthorized
teachers of religion."

Carmichael recognised the same note in the sermon and saw another man
than he knew, as the Rabbi, in a low voice, without heat or
declamation, with frequent pauses and laboured breathing, as of one
toiling up a hill, argued the absolute supremacy of God and the utter
helplessness of man.  One hand ever pressed the grapes, but with the
other the old man wiped the perspiration that rolled in beads down his
face.  A painful stillness fell on the people as they felt themselves
caught in the meshes of this inexorable net and dragged ever nearer to
the abyss.  Carmichael, who had been leaning forward in his place, tore
himself away from the preacher with an effort, and moved where he could
see the congregation.  Campbell was drinking in every word as one for
the first time in his life perfectly satisfied.  Menzies was huddled
into a heap in the top of his pew a man justly blasted by the anger of
the Eternal.  Men were white beneath the tan, and it was evident that
some of the women would soon fall a-weeping.  Children had crept close
to their mothers under a vague sense of danger, and a girl in the choir
watched the preacher with dilated eyeballs, like an animal fascinated
by terror.

"It is as a sword piercing the heart to receive this truth, but it is a
truth and must be believed.  There are hundreds of thousands in the
past who were born and lived and died and were damned for the glory of
God.  There are hundreds of thousands in this day who have been born
and are living and shall die and be damned for the glory of God.  There
are hundreds of thousands in the future who shall be born and shall
live and shall die and shall be damned for the glory of God.  All
according to the will of God, and none dare say nay nor change the
purpose of the Eternal."  For some time the oil in the lamps had been
failing--since the Rabbi had been speaking for nigh two hours--and as
he came to an end of this passage the light began to flicker and die.
First a lamp at the end of Burnbrae's pew went out, and then another in
the front.  The preacher made as though he would have spoken, but was
silent, and the congregation watched four lamps sink into darkness at
intervals of half a minute.  There only remained the two pulpit lamps,
and in their light the people saw the Rabbi lift his right hand for the
first time.

"Shall . . . not . . . the . . . Judge . . . of all the earth . . .
do . . . right?"  The two lamps went out together and a great sigh rose
from the people.  At the back of the kirk a child wailed, and somewhere
in the front a woman's voice--it was never proved to be Elspeth
Macfadyen--said audibly, "God have mercy upon us."  The Rabbi had sunk
back into the seat and buried his face in his hands, and through the
window over his head the moonlight was pouring into the church like
unto the far-off radiance from the White Throne.

[Illustration: "SHALL . . . NOT . . . THE . . . JUDGE . . . OF ALL THE
EARTH . . . DO . . . RIGHT?"]

When Carmichael led the Rabbi into the manse he could feel the old man
trembling from head to foot, and he would touch neither meat nor drink,
nor would he speak for a space.

"Are you there, John?"--and he put out his hand to Carmichael, who had
placed him in the big study chair, and was sitting beside him in
silence.

"I dare not withdraw nor change any word that I spake in the name of
the Lord this day, but . . . it is my infirmity . . . I wish I had
never been born."

"It was awful," said Carmichael, and the Rabbi's head again fell on his
breast.

"John,"--and Saunderson looked up,--"I would give ten thousand worlds
to stand in the shoes of that good man who conveyed me from Kilbogie
yesterday, and with whom I had very pleasant fellowship concerning the
patience of the saints.

"It becometh not any human being to judge his neighbour, but it seemed
to me from many signs that he was within the election of God, and even
as we spoke of Polycarp and the martyrs who have overcome by the blood
of the Lamb, it came unto me with much power, 'Lo, here is one beside
you whose name is written in the Lamb's Book of Life, and who shall
enter through the gates into the city'; and grace was given me to
rejoice in his joy, but I . . . "--and Carmichael could have wept for
the despair in the Rabbi's voice.

"Dear Rabbi!"--for once the confidence of youth was smitten at the
sight of a spiritual conflict beyond its depth--"you are surely . . .
depreciating yourself. . . .  Burnbrae is a good man, but compared with
you . . . is not this like to the depression of Elijah?"  Carmichael
knew, however, he was not fit for such work as the comforting of Rabbi
Saunderson, and had better have held his peace.

"It may be that I understand the letter of Holy Scripture better than
some of God's children, although I be but a babe even in this poor
knowledge, but such gifts are only as the small dust of the balance.
He will have mercy on whom He will have mercy.

"John," said the Rabbi suddenly, and with strong feeling, "was it your
thought this night as I declared the sovereignty of God that I judged
myself of the elect, and was speaking as one himself hidden for ever in
the secret place of God?"

"I . . . did not know," stammered Carmichael, whose utter horror at the
unrelenting sermon had only been tempered by his love for the preacher.

"You did me wrong, John, for then had I not dared to speak at all after
that fashion; it is not for a vessel of mercy filled unto overflowing
with the love of God to exalt himself above the vessels . . . for whom
there is no mercy.  But he may plead with them who are in like case
with himself to . . . acknowledge the Divine Justice."

Then the pathos of the situation overcame Carmichael, and he went over
to the bookcase and leant his head against certain volumes, because
they were weighty and would not yield.  Next day he noticed that one of
them was a Latin _Calvin_ that had travelled over Europe in learned
company, and the other a battered copy of Jonathan Edwards that had
come from the house of an Ayrshire farmer.

"Forgive me that I have troubled you with the concerns of my soul,
John"--the Rabbi could only stand with an effort--"they ought to be
between a man and his God.  There is another work laid to my hand for
which there is no power in me now.  During the night I shall ask
whether the cup may not pass from me, but if not, the will of God be
done."

Carmichael slept but little, and every time he woke the thought was
heavy upon him that on the other side of a narrow wall the holiest man
he knew was wrestling in darkness of soul, and that he had added to the
bitterness of the agony.



THE WOUNDS OF A FRIEND

Winter has certain mornings which redeem weeks of misconduct, when the
hoar frost during the night has resilvered every branch and braced the
snow upon the ground, and the sun rises in ruddy strength and drives
out of sight every cloud and mist, and moves all day through an expanse
of unbroken blue, and is reflected from the dazzling whiteness of the
earth as from a mirror.  Such a sight calls a man from sleep with
authority, and makes his blood tingle, and puts new heart in him, and
banishes the troubles of the night.  Other mornings Winter joins in the
conspiracy of principalities and powers to daunt and crush the human
soul.  No sun is to be seen, and the grey atmosphere casts down the
heart, the wind moans and whistles in fitful gusts, the black clouds
hang low in threatening masses, now and again a flake of snow drifts in
the wind.  A storm is near at hand, not the thunder-shower of summer,
with its warm rain and the kindly sun ever in ambush, but dark and
blinding snow, through which even a game-keeper cannot see six yards,
and in which weary travellers lie down to rest and die.

The melancholy of this kind of day had fallen on Saunderson, whose face
was ashen, and who held Carmichael's hand with such anxious affection
that it was impossible to inquire how he had slept, and it would have
been a banalité to remark upon the weather.  After the Rabbi had been
compelled to swallow a cup of milk by way of breakfast, it was evident
that he was ready for speech.

"What is it, Rabbi?" as soon as they were again settled in the study.
"If you did not . . . like my sermon, tell me at once.  You know that I
am one of your boys, and you ought to . . . help me."  Perhaps it was
inseparable from his youth, with its buoyancy and self-satisfaction,
and his training in a college whose members only knew by rumour of the
existence of other places of theological learning, that Carmichael had
at that moment a pleasing sense of humility and charity.  Had it been a
matter of scholastic lore, of course neither he nor more than six men
in Scotland could have met the Rabbi in the gate.  With regard to
modern thought, Carmichael knew that the good Rabbi had not read _Ecce
Homo_, and was hardly, well . . . up to date.  He would not for the
world hint such a thing to the dear old man, nor even argue with him;
but it was flattering to remember that the attack could be merely one
of blunderbusses, in which the modern thinker would at last intervene
and save the ancient scholar from humiliation.

"Well, Rabbi?" and Carmichael tried to make it easy.

"Before I say what is on my heart, John, you will grant an old man who
loves you one favour.  So far as in you lies you will bear with me if
that which I have to say, and still more that which my conscience will
compel me to do, is hard to flesh and blood."

"Didn't we settle that last night in the vestry?" and Carmichael was
impatient; "is it that you do not agree with the doctrine of the Divine
Fatherhood?  We younger men are resolved to base Christian doctrine on
the actual Scriptures, and to ignore mere tradition."

"An excellent rule, my dear friend," cried the Rabbi, wonderfully
quickened by the challenge, "and with your permission and for our
mutual edification we shall briefly review all passages bearing on the
subject in hand--using the original, as will doubtless be your wish,
and you correcting my poor recollection."

About an hour afterwards, and when the Rabbi was only entering into the
heart of the matter, Carmichael made the bitter discovery--without the
Rabbi having even hinted at such a thing--that his pet sermon was a
mass of boyish crudities, and this reverse of circumstances was some
excuse for his pettishness.

"It does not seem to me that it is worth our time to haggle about the
usage of Greek words or to count texts: I ground my position on the
general meaning of the Gospels and the sense of things"; and Carmichael
stood on the hearthrug in a very superior attitude.

"Let that pass then, John, and forgive me if I appeared to battle about
words, as certain scholars of the olden time were fain to do, for in
truth it is rather about the hard duty before me than any imperfection
in your teaching I would speak"; and the Rabbi glanced nervously at the
young minister.

"We are both Presbyters of Christ's Church, ordained after the order of
primitive times, and there are laid on us certain heavy charges and
responsibilities from which we may not shrink, as we shall answer to
the Lord at the great day."

Carmichael's humiliation was lost in perplexity, and he sat down,
wondering what the Rabbi intended.

"If any Presbyter should see his brother fall into one of those faults
of private life that do beset us all in our present weakness, then he
doth well and kindly to point it out unto his brother; and if his
brother should depart from the faith as they talk together by the way,
then it is a Presbyter's part to convince him of his error and restore
him."

The Rabbi cast an imploring glance, but Carmichael had still no
understanding.

"But if one Presbyter should teach heresy to his flock in the hearing
of another . . . even though it break the other's heart, is not the
path of duty fenced up on either side, verily a straight, narrow way,
and hard for the feet to tread?"

"You have spoken to me, Rabbi, and . . . cleared yourself"--Carmichael
was still somewhat sore--"and I'll promise not to offend you again in
an action sermon."

"Albeit you intend it not so, yet are you making it harder for me to
speak. . . .  See you not . . . that I . . . that necessity is laid on
me to declare this matter to my brother Presbyters in court
assembled . . . but not in hearing of the people?"  Then there was a
stillness in the room, and the Rabbi, although he had closed his eyes,
was conscious of the amazement on the young man's face.

"Do you mean to say," speaking very slowly, as one taken utterly aback,
"that our Rabbi would come to my . . . to the Sacrament and hear me
preach, and . . . report me for heresy to the Presbytery?  Rabbi, I
know we don't agree about some things, and perhaps I was a little . . .
annoyed a few minutes ago because you . . . know far more than I do,
but that is nothing.  For you to prosecute one of your boys and be the
witness yourself. . . .  Rabbi, you can't mean it . . . say it's a
mistake."

The old man only gave a deep sigh.

"If it were Dowbiggin or . . . any man except you, I wouldn't care one
straw, rather enjoy the debate, but you whom we have loved and looked
up to and boasted about, why, it's like . . . a father turning against
his sons."

The Rabbi made no sign.

"You live too much alone, Rabbi," and Carmichael began again as the
sense of the tragedy grew on him, "and nurse your conscience till it
gets over tender; no other man would dream of . . . prosecuting a . . .
fellow-minister in such circumstances.  You have spoken to me like a
father, surely that is enough"; and in his honest heat the young fellow
knelt down by the Rabbi's chair and took his hand.

[Illustration: "YOU HAVE SPOKEN TO ME LIKE A FATHER: SURELY THAT IS
ENOUGH."]

A tear rolled down the Rabbi's cheek, and he looked fondly at the lad.

"Your words pierce me as sharp swords, John; spare me, for I can do
none otherwise; all night I wrestled for release, but in vain."

Carmichael had a sudden revulsion of feeling, such as befalls emotional
and ill-disciplined natures when they are disappointed and mortified.

"Very good, Doctor Saunderson"--Carmichael rose awkwardly and stood on
the hearthrug again, an elbow on the mantelpiece--"you must do as you
please and as you think right.  I am sorry that I . . . pressed you so
far, but it was on grounds of our . . . friendship.

"Perhaps you will tell me as soon as you can what you propose to do,
and when you will bring . . . this matter before the Presbytery.  My
sermon was fully written and . . . is at your disposal."

While this cold rain beat on the Rabbi's head he moved not, but at its
close he looked at Carmichael with the appeal of a dumb animal in his
eyes.

"The first meeting of Presbytery is on Monday, but you would no doubt
consider that too soon; is there anything about dates in the order of
procedure for heresy?" and Carmichael made as though he would go over
to the shelves for a law book.

"John," cried the Rabbi--his voice full of tears--rising and following
the foolish lad, "is this all you have in your heart to say unto me?
Surely, as I stand before you, it is not my desire to do such a thing,
for I would rather cut off my right hand.

"God hath not been pleased to give me many friends, and He only knows
how you and the others have comforted my heart.  I lie not, John, but
speak the truth, that there is nothing unto life itself I would not
give for your good, who have been as the apple of my eye unto me."

Carmichael hardened himself, torn between a savage sense of
satisfaction that the Rabbi was suffering for his foolishness and the
inclination of his better self to respond to the old man's love.

"If there be a breach between us, it will not be for you as it must be
for me.  You have many friends, and may God add unto them good men and
faithful, but I shall lose my one earthly joy and consolation when your
feet are no longer heard on my threshold and your face no longer brings
light to my room.  And, John, even this thing which I am constrained to
do is yet of love, as . . . you shall confess one day."

Carmichael's pride alone resisted, and it was melting fast.  Had he
even looked at the dear face he must have given way, but he kept his
shoulder to the Rabbi, and at that moment the sound of wheels passing
the corner of the manse gave him an ungracious way of escape.

"That is Burnbrae's dogcart . . . Dr. Saunderson, and I think he will
not wish to keep his horse standing in the snow, so unless you will
stay all night, as it's going to drift. . . .  Then perhaps it would be
better. . . .  Can I assist you in packing?"  How formal it all
sounded; and he allowed the Rabbi to go upstairs alone, with the result
that various things of the old man's are in Carmichael's house unto
this day.

Another chance was given the lad when the Rabbi would have bidden him
good-bye at the door, beseeching that he should not come out into the
drift, and still another when Burnbrae, being concerned about his
passenger's appearance, who seemed ill-fitted to face a storm, wrapt
him in a plaid; and he had one more when the old man leant out of the
dogcart and took Carmichael's hand in both of his, but only said, "God
bless you for all you've been to me, and forgive me for all wherein I
have failed you."  And they did not meet again till that
never-to-be-forgotten sederunt of the Free Kirk Presbytery of Muirtown,
when the minister of Kilbogie accused the minister of Drumtochty of
teaching the Linlathen heresy of the Fatherhood of God in a sermon
before the Sacrament.

Among all the institutions of the North a Presbytery is the most
characteristic, and affords a standing illustration of the
contradictions of a supremely logical people.  It is so anti-clerical a
court that for every clergyman there must be a layman--country
ministers promising to bring in their elder for great occasions, and
instructing him audibly how to vote--and so fiercely clerical that if
the most pious and intelligent elder dared to administer a sacrament he
would be at once tried and censured for sacrilege.  So careful is a
Presbytery to prevent the beginnings of Papacy that it insists upon
each of its members occupying the chair in turn, and dismisses him
again into private life as soon as he has mastered his duties, but so
imbued is it with the idea of authority that whatever decision may be
given by some lad of twenty-five in the chair--duly instructed,
however, by the clerk below--will be rigidly obeyed.  When a Presbytery
has nothing else to do, it dearly loves to pass a general condemnation
on sacerdotalism, in which the tyranny of prelates and the foolishness
of vestments will be fully exposed; but a Presbytery wields a power at
which a bishop's hair would stand on end, and Doctor Dowbiggin once
made Carmichael leave the Communion Table and go into the vestry to put
on his bands.

When a Presbytery is in its lighter moods, it gives itself to points of
order with a skill and relish beyond the Southern imagination.  It did
not matter how harmless, even infantile, might be the proposal placed
before the court by such a man as MacWheep of Pitscowrie; he has hardly
got past an apology for his presumption in venturing to speak at all
before a member of Presbytery--who had reduced his congregation to an
irreducible minimum by the woodenness of his preaching--inquires
whether the speech of "our esteemed brother is not _ultra vires_," or
something else as awful.  MacWheep at once sits down with the air of
one taken red-handed in arson, and the court debates the point till
every authority has taken his fill, when the clerk submits to the
moderator, with a fine blend of deference and infallibility, that Mr.
MacWheep is perfectly within his rights; and then, as that estimable
person has by this time lost any thread he ever possessed, the
Presbytery passes to the next business--with the high spirit of men
returning from a holiday.  Carmichael used, indeed, to relate how, in a
great stress of business, some one moved that the Presbytery should
adjourn for dinner, and the court argued for thirty minutes, with many
precedents, whether such a motion--touching as it did the standing
orders--could even be discussed, and, with an unnecessary prodigality
of testimony, he used to give perorations which improved with every
telling.

The love of law diffused through the Presbytery became incarnate in the
clerk, who was one of the most finished specimens of his class in the
Scottish Kirk.  His sedate appearance, bald, polished head, fringed
with pure white hair, shrewd face, with neatly cut side whiskers, his
suggestion of unerring accuracy and inexhaustible memory, his attitude
for exposition--holding his glasses in his left hand and enforcing his
decision with the little finger of the right hand--carried conviction
even to the most disorderly.  Ecclesiastical radicals, boiling over
with new schemes, and boasting to admiring circles of MacWheeps that
they would not be brow-beaten by red-tape officials, became
ungrammatical before that firm gaze, and ended in abject surrender.
Self-contained and self-sufficing, the clerk took no part in debate,
save at critical moments to lay down the law, but wrote his minutes
unmoved through torrents of speech on every subject, from the
Sustentation Fund to the Union between England and Scotland, and even
under the picturesque eloquence of foreign deputies, whose names he
invariably requested should be handed to him, written legibly on a
sheet of paper.  On two occasions only he ceased from writing: when Dr.
Dowbiggin discussed a method of procedure--then he watched him over his
spectacles in hope of a nice point; or when some enthusiastic brother
would urge the Presbytery to issue an injunction on the sin of Sabbath
walking--then the clerk would abandon his pen in visible despair, and
sitting sideways on his chair and supporting his head by that same
little finger, would face the Presbytery with an expression of reverent
curiosity on his face why the Almighty was pleased to create such a
man.  His preaching was distinguished for orderliness, and was much
sought after for Fast days.  It turned largely on the use of
prepositions and the scope of conjunctions, so that the clerk could
prove the doctrine of Vicarious Sacrifice from "for," and Retribution
from "as" in the Lord's Prayer, emphasizing and confirming everything
by that wonderful finger, which seemed to be designed by Providence for
delicate distinctions, just as another man's fist served for popular
declamation.  His pulpit masterpiece was a lecture on the Council of
Jerusalem, in which its whole deliberations were reviewed by the rules
of the Free Kirk Book of Procedure, and a searching and edifying
discourse concluded with two lessons.  First: That no ecclesiastical
body can conduct its proceedings without officials.  Second: That such
men ought to be accepted as a special gift of Providence.

The general opinion among good people was that the clerk's preaching
was rather for upbuilding than arousing, but it is still remembered by
the survivors of the old Presbytery that when MacWheep organized a
conference on "The state of religion in our congregations," and it was
meandering in strange directions, the clerk, who utilised such seasons
for the writing of letters, rose amid a keen revival of interest--it
was supposed that he had detected an irregularity in the
proceedings--and offered his contribution.  It did not become him to
boast, he said, but he had seen marvellous things in his day: under his
unworthy ministry three beadles had been converted to Christianity, and
this experience was so final that the conference immediately closed.

Times there were, however, when the Presbytery rose to its height and
was invested with an undeniable spiritual dignity.  Its members, taken
one by one, consisted of farmers, shepherds, tradesmen, and one or two
professional men, with some twenty ministers, only two or three of whom
were known beyond their parishes.  Yet those men had no doubt that as
soon as they were constituted in the name of Christ they held their
authority from the Son of God and the Saviour of the world, and they
bore themselves in spiritual matters as His servants.  No kindly
feeling of neighbourliness or any fear of man could hinder them from
inquiring into the religious condition of a parish or dealing
faithfully with an erring minister.  They had power to ordain, and laid
hands on the bent head of some young probationer with much solemnity;
they had also power to take away the orders they had given, and he had
been hardened indeed beyond hope who could be present and not tremble
when the Moderator, standing in his place, with the Presbytery around,
and speaking in the name of the Head of the Church, deposed an unworthy
brother from the holy ministry.  MacWheep was a "cratur," and much
given to twaddle, but when it was his duty once to rebuke a
fellow-minister for quarrelling with his people, he was delivered from
himself, and spake with such grave wisdom as he has never shown before
or since.

When the Presbytery assembled to receive a statement from Doctor
Saunderson "re error in doctrine by a brother Presbyter," even a
stranger might have noticed that its members were weighted with a sense
of responsibility, and although a discussion arose on the attempt of a
desultory member to introduce a deputy charged with the subject of the
lost Ten Tribes, yet it was promptly squelched by the clerk, who
intimated, with much gravity, that the court had met _in hunc
effectum_, viz. to hear Doctor Saunderson, and that the court could
not, in consistence with law, take up any other business, not
even--here Carmichael professed to detect a flicker of the clerkly
eyelids--the disappearance of the Ten Tribes.

It was the last time that the Rabbi ever spoke in public, and it is now
agreed that the deliverance was a fit memorial of the most learned
scholar that has been ever known in those parts.  He began by showing
that Christian doctrine has taken various shapes, some more and some
less in accordance with the deposit of truth given by Christ and the
holy Apostles, and especially that the doctrine of Grace had been
differently conceived by two eminent theologians, Calvin and Arminius,
and his exposition was so lucid that the clerk gave it as his opinion
afterwards that the two systems were understood by certain members of
the court for the first time that day.  Afterwards the Rabbi vindicated
and glorified Calvinism from the Scriptures of the Old and New
Testament, from the Fathers, from the Reformation Divines, from the
later creeds, till the brain of the Presbytery reeled through the
wealth of allusion and quotation, all in the tongues of the learned.
Then he dealt with the theology of Mr. Erskine of Linlathen, and showed
how it was undermining the very foundations of Calvinism; yet the Rabbi
spake so tenderly of our Scottish Maurice that the Presbytery knew not
whether it ought to condemn Erskine as a heretic or love him as a
saint.  Having thus brought the court face to face with the issues
involved, the Rabbi gave a sketch of a certain sermon he had heard
while assisting "a learned and much-beloved brother at the Sacrament,"
and Carmichael was amazed at the transfiguration of this very youthful
performance, which now figured as a profound and edifying discourse,
for whose excellent qualities the speaker had not adequate words.  This
fine discourse was, however, to a certain degree marred, the Rabbi
suggested, by an unfortunate, although no doubt temporary, leaning to
the teaching of Mr. Erskine, whose beautiful piety had exercised its
just fascination upon his spiritually-minded brother.  Finally the
Rabbi left the matter in the hands of the Presbytery, declaring that he
had cleared his conscience, and that the minister in question was
one--here he was painfully overcome--dear to him as a son, and one to
whose many labours and singular graces he could bear full testimony,
the Rev. John Carmichael, of Drumtochty.  The Presbytery was slow and
pedantic, but was not insensible to a spiritual situation, and there
was a murmur of sympathy when the Rabbi sat down--much exhausted, and
never having allowed himself to look once at Carmichael.

Then arose a self-made man, who considered orthodoxy and capital to be
bound up together, and especially identified any departure from
sovereignty with that pestilent form of Socialism which demanded equal
chances for every man.  He was only a plain layman, he said, and
perhaps he ought not to speak in the presence of so many reverend
gentlemen, but he was very grateful to Doctor Saunderson for his
honourable and straight-forward conduct.  It would be better for the
Church if there were more like him, and he would just like to ask Mr.
Carmichael three questions.  Did he sign the Confession of Faith?--that
was one; and had he kept it?--that was two; and the last was, When did
he propose to leave the Church?  He knew something about building
contracts, and he had heard of a penalty when a contract was broken.
There was just one thing more he would like to say--if there was less
loose theology in the pulpit there would be more money in the plate.
The shame of the Rabbi during this harangue was pitiable to behold.

[Illustration: THEN AROSE A SELF-MADE MAN]

Then a stalwart arose on the other side, and a young gentleman who had
just escaped from a college debating society wished to know what
century we were living in, warned the last speaker that the progress of
theological science would not be hindered by mercenary threats, advised
Doctor Saunderson to read a certain German, called Ritschl--as if he
had been speaking to a babe in arms--and was re-freshing himself with a
Latin quotation, when the Rabbi, in utter absence of mind, corrected a
false quantity aloud.

"Moderator," the old man apologized in much confusion, "I wot not what
I did, and I pray my reverend brother, whose interesting and
instructive address I have interrupted by this unmannerliness, to grant
me his pardon, for my tongue simply obeyed my ear."  Which untoward
incident brought the modern to an end, as by a stroke of ironical fate.
It seemed to the clerk that little good to any one concerned was to
come out of this debate, and he signalled to Doctor Dowbiggin, with
whom he had dined the night before, when they concocted a motion over
their wine.  Whereupon that astute man explained to the court that he
did not desire to curtail the valuable discussion, from which he
personally had derived much profit, but he had ventured to draw up a
motion, simply for the guidance of the House--it was said by the
Rabbi's boys that the Doctor's success as an ecclesiastic was largely
due to the skilful use of such phrases--and then he read: "Whereas the
Church is set in all her courts for the defence of the truth, whereas
it is reported that various erroneous doctrines are being promulgated
in books and other public prints, whereas it has been stated that one
of the ministers of this Presbytery has used words that might be
supposed to give sanction to a certain view which appears to conflict
with statements contained in the standards of the Church, the
Presbytery of Muirtown declares, first of all, its unshaken adherence
to the said standards; secondly, deplores the existence in any quarter
of notions contradictory or subversive of said standards; thirdly,
thanks Doctor Saunderson for the vigilance he has shown in the cause of
sound doctrine; fourthly, calls upon all ministers within the bounds to
have a care that they create no offence or misunderstanding by their
teaching, and finally enjoins all parties concerned to cultivate peace
and charity."

This motion was seconded by the clerk and carried
unanimously--Carmichael being compelled to silence by the two wise men
for his own sake and theirs--and was declared to be a conspicuous
victory both by the self-made man and the modern, which was another
tribute to the ecclesiastical gifts of Doctor Dowbiggin and the clerk
of the Presbytery of Muirtown.



LIGHT AT EVENTIDE

The Rabbi had been careful to send an abstract of his speech to
Carmichael, with a letter enough to melt the heart even of a
self-sufficient young clerical, and Carmichael had considered how he
should bear himself at the Presbytery.  His intention had been to meet
the Rabbi with public cordiality and escort him to a seat, so that all
men should see that he was too magnanimous to be offended by this
latest eccentricity of their friend.  This calculated plan was upset by
the Rabbi coming in late and taking the first seat that offered, and
when he would have gone afterwards to thank him for his generosity the
Rabbi had disappeared.  It was evident that the old man's love was as
deep as ever, but that he was much hurt and would not risk another
repulse.  Very likely he had walked in from Kilbogie, perhaps without
breakfast, and had now started to return to his cheerless manse.  It
was a wetting spring rain, and he remembered that the Rabbi had no
coat.  A fit of remorse overtook Carmichael, and he scoured the streets
of Muirtown to find the Rabbi, imagining deeds of attention--how he
would capture him unawares mooning along some side street hopelessly
astray; how he would accuse him of characteristic cunning and deep
plotting; how he would carry him by force to the Kilspindie Arms and
insist upon their dining in state; how the Rabbi would wish to
discharge the account and find twopence in his pockets--having given
all his silver to an ex-Presbyterian minister stranded in Muirtown
through peculiar circumstances; how he would speak gravely to the Rabbi
on the lack of common honesty, and threaten a real prosecution, when
the charge would be "obtaining a dinner on false pretences"; how they
would journey to Kildrummie in high content, and--the engine having
whistled for a dogcart--they would drive to Drumtochty manse, the sun
shining through the rain as they entered the garden; how he would
compass the Rabbi with observances, and the old man would sit again in
the big chair full of joy and peace.  Ah, the kindly jests that have
not come off in life, the gracious deeds that never were done, the
reparations that were too late!  When Carmichael reached the station
the Rabbi was already half-way to Kilbogie, trudging along wet, and
weary, and very sad, because, although he had obeyed his conscience at
a cost, it seemed to him as if all he had done was simply to alienate
the boy whom God had given him, as a son in his old age, for even the
guileless Rabbi suspected that the ecclesiastics considered his action
foolishness and of no service to the Church of God.  Barbara's language
on his arrival was vituperative to a degree; she gave him food
grudgingly, and when, in the early morning, he fell asleep over an open
Father, he was repeating Carmichael's name, and the thick old paper was
soaked with tears.

His nemesis seized Carmichael so soon as he reached the Dunleith train
in the shape of the Free Kirk minister of Kildrummie, who had purchased
six pounds of prize seed potatoes, and was carrying the treasure home
in a paper bag.  This bag had done after its kind, and spilt its
contents, and as the distinguished agriculturist--who had not seen his
feet for years--could only have stooped at the risk of apoplexy, he
watched the dispersion of his potatoes with dismay, and hailed the
arrival of Carmichael with exclamations of thankfulness.  It is
wonderful over what an area six pounds of (prize) potatoes can deploy
on a railway platform, and how the feet of passengers will carry them
unto far distances.  Some might never have been restored to the bag had
it not been for Kildrummie's comprehensive eye and the physical skill
with which he guided Carmichael, till even prodigals that had strayed
over to the neighbourhood of the Aberdeen express were restored to the
extemporized fold in the minister's top-coat pockets.  Carmichael had
knelt on that very platform six months or so before, but then he
laboured in the service of two most agreeable dogs and under the
approving eyes of Miss Carnegie; that was a different experience from
hunting after single potatoes on all fours among the feet of
unsympathetic passengers, and being prodded to duty by the umbrella of
an obese Free Kirk minister.  As a reward for this service of the aged,
he was obliged to travel to Kildrummie with his neighbour--in whom for
the native humour that was in him he had often rejoiced, but whose
company was not congenial that day--and Kildrummie laid himself out for
a pleasant talk.  After the roots had been secured and their pedigree
stated Kildrummie fell back on the proceedings of Presbytery,
expressing much admiration for the guidance of Doctor Dowbiggin and
denouncing Saunderson as "fair dottle," in proof of which judgment
Kildrummie adduced the fact that the Rabbi had allowed a very happily
situated pig-sty at the Manse of Kilbogie to sink into ruin.
Kildrummie, still in search of agreeable themes to pass the time, also
mentioned a pleasant tale he had gathered at the seed shop.

[Illustration: HE WATCHED THE DISPERSION OF HIS POTATOES WITH DISMAY]

"Yir neebur upbye, the General's dochter, is cairryin' on an awfu' rig
the noo at the Castle"--Kildrummie fell into dialect in private life,
often with much richness--"an' the sough (noise) o' her ongaeins hes
come the length o' Muirtown.  The castle is foo' o' men--tae say
naethin' o' weemin; but it's little she hes tae dae wi' them or them
wi' her--officers frae Edinburgh an' writin' men frae London, as weel
as half a dozen coonty birkies."

"Well?" said Carmichael, despising himself for his curiosity.

"She hes a wy, there's nae doot o' that, an' gin the trimmie hesna
turned the heads o' half the men in the Castle, till they say she hes
the pick of twa lords, five honourables, and a poet.  But the lassie
kens what's what; it's Lord Hay she's settin' her cap for, an' as sure
as ye're sittin' there, Drum, she'll hae him.

"Ma word"--and Kildrummie pursued his way--"it'll be a match, the
dochter o' a puir Hielant laird, wi' naethin' but his half pay and a
few pounds frae a fairm or twa.  She's a clever ane; French songs,
dancin', shootin', ridin', actin', there's nae deevilry that's beyond
her.  They say upbye that she's been a bonnie handfu' tae her
father--General though he be--an' a' peety her man."

"They say a lot of . . . lies, and I don't see what call a minister has
to slander . . ."; and then Carmichael saw the folly of quarrelling
with a veteran gossip over a young woman that would have nothing to say
to him.  What two Free Kirk ministers or their people thought of her
would never affect Miss Carnegie.

"Truth's nae slander," and Kildrummie watched Carmichael with relish;
"a' thocht ye wud hae got a taste o' her in the Glen.  Didna a' heer
frae Piggie Walker that ye ca'd her Jezebel frae yir ain pulpit, an'
that ma lady whuppit oot o' the kirk in the middle o' the sermon?"

"I did nothing of the kind, and Walker is a . . ."

"Piggie's no very particular at a time," admitted Kildrummie; "maybe
it's a makup the story aboot Miss Carnegie an' yirsel'.

"Accordin' tae the wratch," for Carmichael would deign no reply, "she
wes threatenin' tae mak' a fule o' the Free Kirk minister o' Drumtochty
juist for practice, but a' said, 'Na, na, Piggie, Maister Carmichael is
ower quiet and sensible a lad.  He kens as weel as onybody that a
Carnegie wud never dae for a minister's wife.  Gin ye said a Bailie's
dochter frae Muirtown 'at hes some money comin' tae her and kens the
principles o' the Free Kirk.'

"Noo a' can speak frae experience, having been terrible fortunate wi'
a' ma wives. . . .  Ye'll come up tae tea; we killed a pig yesterday,
and . . .  Weel, weel, a wilfu' man maun hae his wy"; and Carmichael,
as he made his way up the hill, felt that the hand of Providence was
heavy upon him, and that any highmindedness was being severely
chastened.

Two days Carmichael tramped the moors, returning each evening wet,
weary, hungry, to sleep ten hours without turning, and on the morning
of the third day he came down in such heart that Sarah wondered whether
he could have received a letter by special messenger; and he
congratulated himself, as he walked round his garden, that he had
overcome by sheer will power the first real infatuation of his life.
He was so lifted above all sentiment as to review his temporary folly
from the bare, serene heights of common sense.  Miss Carnegie was
certainly not an heiress, and she was a young woman of very decided
character, but her blood was better than the Hays', and she was . . .
attractive--yes, attractive.   Most likely she was engaged to Lord Hay,
or if he did not please her--she was . . . whimsical and . . .
self-willed--there was Lord Invermays' son.  Fancy Kate . . .  Miss
Carnegie in a Free Kirk manse--Kildrummie was a very . . . homely old
man, but he touched the point there--receiving Doctor Dowbiggin with
becoming ceremony and hearing him on the payment of probationers, or
taking tea at Kildrummie Manse--where he had, however, feasted royally
many a time after the Presbytery, but. . . .  This daughter of a
Jacobite house, and brought up amid the romance of war, settling down
in the narrowest circle of Scottish life--as soon imagine an eagle
domesticated among barn-door poultry.  This image amused Carmichael so
much that he could have laughed aloud, but . . . the village might have
heard him.  He only stretched himself like one awaking, and felt so
strong that he resolved to drop in on Janet Macpherson, Kate's old
retainer--to see how it fared with the old woman and . . . to have Miss
Carnegie's engagement confirmed.  The Carnegies might return any day
from the South, and it would be well that he should know how to meet
them.

"You will be hearing," Janet mentioned, "that they hef come back to the
Lodge yesterday morning, and it iss myself that will be glad to see
Miss Kate again; and very pretty iss she looking, with peautiful
dresses and bonnets, for I hef seen them all, maybe twelve or ten.

"Oh yes, my dear, Donald will be talking about her marriage to Lord
Kilspindie's son, who iss a very handsome young man and good at the
shooting; and he will be blowing that they will live at the Lodge in
great state, with many gillies and a piper and he will be head of them
all.

"No, it iss not Janet Macpherson, my dear, that will be believing
Donald Cameron, or any Cameron--although I am not saying that the
Camerons are not men of their hands--for Donald will be always making
great stories and telling me wonderful things.  He wass a brave man in
the battle, and iss very clever at the doctrine too, and will be strong
against human himes (hymns), but he iss a most awful liar iss Donald
Cameron, and you must not be believing a word that comes out of his
mouth.

"She will be asking many questions in her room as soon as Donald had
brought up her boxes and the door was shut.  Some will be about the
Glen, and some about the garden, and some will be about people--whether
you ever will be visiting me, and whether you asked for her after the
day she left the kirk.  But I will say, 'No; Mr. Carmichael does not
speak about anything but the religion when he comes to my cottage.'

"That iss nothing.  I will be saying more, that I am hearing that the
minister iss to be married to a fery rich young lady in Muirtown who
hass been courting him for two years, and that her father will be
giving the minister twenty thousand pounds the day they are married.
And I will say she iss very beautiful, with blue eyes and gold hair,
and that her temper iss so sweet they are calling her the Angel of
Muirtown.

"Toot, toot, my dear, you are not to be speaking about lies, for that
iss not a pretty word among friends, and you will not be meddling with
me, for you will be better at the preaching and the singing of himes
than dealing with women.  It iss not good to be making yourself too
common, and Miss Kate will be thinking the more of you if you be
holding your head high and letting her see that you are not a poor
lowland body, but a Farquharson by your mother's side, and maybe of the
chief's blood, though twenty or fifteen times removed.

"She will be very pleased to hear such good news of you, and be saying
that it iss a mercy you are getting somebody to dress you properly.
But her temper will not be at all good, and I did not ask her about
Lord Hay, and she said nothing to me, nor about any other lord.  It iss
not often I hef seen as great a liar as Donald Cameron.

"Last evening Miss Kate will come down before dinner and talk about
many things, and then she will say at the door, 'Donald tells me that
Mister Carmichael does not believe in the Bible, and that his friend,
Doctor Saunderson, has cast him off, and that he has been punished by
his Bishop or somebody at Muirtown.'

"'Donald will be knowing more doctrine and telling more lies every
month,' I said to her.  'Doctor Saunderson--who is a very fine preacher
and can put the fear of God upon the people most wonderful--and our
minister had a little feud, and they will fight it out before some
chiefs at Muirtown like gentlemen, and now they are good friends again.'

"Miss Kate had gone off for a long walk, and I am not saying but that
she will be calling at Kilbogie Manse before she comes back.  She is
very fond of Doctor Saunderson, and maybe he will be telling her of the
feud.  It iss more than an hour through the woods to Kilbogie,"
concluded Janet, "but you will be having a glass of milk first."

Kate reviewed her reasons for the expedition to Kilbogie, and settled
they were the pleasures of a walk through Tochty woods when the spring
flowers were in their glory, and a visit to one of the dearest
curiosities she had ever seen.  It was within the bounds of possibility
that Doctor Saunderson might refer to his friend, but on her part she
would certainly not refer to the Free Church minister of Drumtochty.
Her reception by that conscientious professor Barbara could not be
called encouraging.

"Ay, he's in, but ye canna see him, for he's in his bed, and gin he
disna mend faster than he wes daein' the last time a' gied him a cry,
he's no like to be in the pulpit on Sabbath.  A' wes juist thinkin' he
wudna be the waur o' a doctor."

"Do you mean to say that Doctor Saunderson is lying ill and no one
nursing him?" and Kate eyed the housekeeper in a very unappreciative
fashion.

"Gin he wants a nurse she'll hae tae be brocht frae Muirtown Infirmary,
for a've eneuch to dae withoot ony fyke (delicate work) o' that kind.
For twal year hev a' been hoosekeeper in this manse, an' gin it hedna
been for peety a' wad hae flung up the place.

"Ye never cud tell when he wud come in, or when he wud gae oot, or what
he wud be wantin' next.  A' the waufies (disreputable people) in the
countryside come here, and the best in the hoose is no gude eneuch for
them.  He's been an awfu' handfu' tae me, an' noo a' coont him clean
dottle (silly).  But we maun juist bear oor burdens," concluded Barbara
piously, and she proposed to close the door.

"Your master will not want a nurse a minute longer; show me his room at
once"; and Kate was so commanding that Barbara's courage began to fail.

"Wha may ye be," raising her voice to rally her heart, "'at wud take
chairge o' a strainger in his ain hoose an' no sae muckle as ask leave?"

"I am Miss Carnegie, of Tochty Lodge; will you stand out of my way?"
and Kate swept past Barbara and went upstairs.

"Weel, a' declare," as soon as she had recovered, "of a' the impudent
hizzies"; but Barbara did not say this in Kate's hearing.

Kate had seen various curious hospitals in her day, and had nursed many
sick men--like the brave girl she was--but the Rabbi's room was
something quite new.  His favourite books had been gathering there for
years, and now lined two walls and overhung the bed after a very
perilous fashion and had dispossessed the looking-glass--which had
become a nomad and was at present resting insecurely on John Owen--and
stood in banks round the bed.  During his few days of illness the Rabbi
had accumulated so many volumes round him that he lay in a kind of
tunnel, arched over, as it were, with literature.  He had been reading
Calvin's _Commentary on the Psalms_, in Latin, and it still lay open at
the 88th, the saddest of all songs in the Psalter; but as he grew
weaker the heavy folio had slid forward, and he seemed to be feeling
for it.  Although Kate spoke to him by name, he did not know any one
was in the room.  "Lord, why castest Thou off my soul? . . .  I suffer
Thy terror, I am distracted . . . fierce wrath goeth over me . . .
lover and friend hast Thou put far from me . . . friend far from me."

His head fell on his breast, his breath was short and rapid, and he
coughed every few seconds.

"My friend far from me. . . ."

At the sorrow in his voice and the thing which he said the tears came
to Kate's eyes, and she went forward and spoke to him very gently.  "Do
you know me, Dr. Saunderson--Miss Carnegie?"

"Not Saunderson . . .  Magor Missabib."

"Rabbi, Rabbi"--so much Carmichael had told her; and now Kate stroked
the bent white head.  "Your friend, Mister Carmichael--"

"Yes, yes"--he now looked up and spoke eagerly--"John Carmichael, of
Drumtochty . . . my friend in my old age . . . and others . . . my
boys . . . but John has left me . . . he would not speak to me . . .  I
am alone now . . . he did not understand . . . mine acquaintance into
darkness . . . here we see in a glass darkly . . ." (he turned aside to
expound the Greek word for darkly), "but some day . . . face to face."
And twice he said it, with an indescribable sweetness, "face to face."

Kate hurriedly removed the books from the bed and wrapt round his
shoulders the old gray plaid that had eked out his covering at night,
and then she went downstairs.

"Bring," she said to Barbara, "hot water, soap, towels, and a sponge to
Dr. Saunderson's bedroom, immediately."

"And gin a' dinna?" inquired Barbara aggressively.

"I'll shoot you where you stand."

Barbara shows to her cronies how Miss Carnegie drew a pistol from her
pocket at this point and held it to her head, and how at every turn the
pistol was again in evidence; sometimes a dagger is thrown in, but that
is only late in the evening when Barbara is under the influence of
tonics.  Kate herself admits that if she had had her little revolver
with her she might have been tempted to outline the housekeeper's face
on the wall, and she still thinks her threat an inspiration.

"Now," said Kate, when Barbara had brought her commands in with
incredible celerity, "bring up some fresh milk and three glasses of
whisky."

"Whisky!" Barbara could hardly compass the unfamiliar word.  "The
Doctor never hed sic a thing in the hoose, although mony a time, puir
man . . ."  Discipline was softening even that austere spirit.

"No, but you have, for you are blowing a full gale just now; bring up
your private bottle, or I'll go down for it."

"There's enough," holding the bottle to the light, "to do till evening;
go to the next farm and send a man on horseback to tell Mr. Carmichael,
of Drumtochty, that Doctor Saunderson is dying, and another for Doctor
Manley of Muirtown."

Very tenderly did Kate sponge the Rabbi's face and hands, and then she
dressed his hair, till at length he came to himself.

"This ministry is . . . grateful to me, Barbara . . . my strength has
gone from me . . . but my eyes fail me. . . .  Of a verity you are
not . . ."

"I am Kate Carnegie, whom you were so kind to at Tochty.  Will you let
me be your nurse?  I learned in India, and know what to do."  It was
only wounded soldiers who knew how gentle her voice could be, and how
soft her hands.

"It is I that . . . should be serving you . . . the first time you have
come to the manse . . . no woman has ever done me . . . such kindness
before. . . ."  He followed her as she tried to bring some order out of
chaos, and knew not that he spoke aloud.  "A gracious maid . . . above
rubies."

His breathing was growing worse, in spite of many wise things she did
for him--Doctor Manley, who paid no compliments, but was a strength
unto every country doctor in Perthshire, praises Kate unto this
day--and the Rabbi did not care to speak.  So she sat down by his side
and read to him from the _Pilgrim's Progress_--holding his hand all the
time--and the passage he desired was the story of Mr. Fearing.

"This I took very great notice of, that the valley of the shadow of
Death was as quiet while he went through it as ever I knew it before or
since.  I suppose these enemies here had now a special check from our
Lord and a command not to meddle until Mr. Fearing was passed over
it. . . .  Here also I took notice of what was very remarkable: the
water of that river was lower at this time than ever I saw it in all my
life.  So he went over at last, not much above wet-shod.  When he was
going up to the gate . . ."

The Rabbi listened for an instant.

"It is John's step . . . he hath a sound of his own . . . my only
earthly desire is fulfilled."

"Rabbi," cried Carmichael, and half kneeling, he threw one arm round
the old man, "say that you forgive me.  I looked for you everywhere on
Monday, but you could not be found."

"Did you think, John, that I . . . my will was to do you an injury
or . . . vex your soul?  Many trials in my life . . . all God's
will . . . but this hardest . . . when I lost you . . . nothing left
here . . . but you . . .--my breath is bad, a little chill--. . . do
you understand?"

"I always did, and I never respected you more; it was my foolish pride
that made me call you Doctor Saunderson in the study; but my love was
the same, and now you will let me stay and wait on you."

The old man smiled sadly, and laid his hand on his boy's head.

"I cannot let you . . . go, John, my son."

"Go and leave you, Rabbi!" Carmichael tried to laugh.  "Not till you
are ready to appear at the Presbytery again.  We'll send Barbara away
for a holiday, and Sarah will take her place--you remember that
cream--and we shall have a royal time, a meal every four hours, Rabbi,
and the Fathers in between"; and Carmichael, springing to his feet and
turning round to hide his tears, came face to face with Miss Carnegie,
who had been unable to escape from the room.

"I happened to call"--Kate was quite calm--"and found Doctor Saunderson
in bed; so I stayed till some friend should come; you must have met the
messenger I sent for you."

"Yes, a mile from the manse; I was on my way . . . Janet said . . . but
I . . . did not remember anything when I saw the Rabbi."

"Will you take a little milk again . . . Rabbi?" and at her bidding and
the name he made a brave effort to swallow, but he was plainly sinking.

"No more," he whispered; "thank you . . . for service . . . to a lonely
man; may God bless you . . . both. . . ."  He signed for her hand,
which he kept to the end.

[Illustration: HE SIGNED FOR HER HAND, WHICH HE KEPT TO THE END]

"Satisfied . . . read, John . . . the woman from coasts of--of----"

"I know, Rabbi," and kneeling on the other side of the bed, he read the
story slowly of a Tyrian woman's faith.

"It is not meet to take the children's meat and cast it to dogs."

"Dogs"--they heard the Rabbi appropriate his name--"outside . . . the
covenant."

"And she said, Truth, Lord, yet the dogs eat of the crumbs which fall
from their master's table."

"Lord, I believe . . . help Thou mine . . . unbelief."

He then fell into an agony of soul, during which Carmichael could hear:
"Though . . . He slay . . . me . . . yet will I trust . . . trust . . .
in Him."  He drew two or three long breaths and was still.  After a
little he was heard again with a new note--"He that believeth . . . in
Him . . . shall not be confounded," and again, "A bruised reed . . .
shall He not . . ."  Then he opened his eyes and raised his head--but
he saw neither Kate nor Carmichael, for the Rabbi had done with earthly
friends and earthly trials--and he, who had walked in darkness and seen
no light, said in a clear voice full of joy, "My Lord, and my God."

It was Kate who closed his eyes and laid the old scholar's head on the
pillow, and then she left the room, casting one swift glance of pity at
Carmichael, who was weeping bitterly and crying between the sobs,
"Rabbi!  Rabbi!"





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