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.