“Mr. and Mrs George MacLachlan, for many years members of this congregation, had three sons killed in the 1877 Blantyre Explosion. Twenty three years later in 1900, they reached the date of their golden wedding. The son and daughter, and a few other relations felt that the occasion should not pass without some ceremony. The mother would only give her consent on condition that it should be a simple fashion. The hall of the church was engaged. A proposal was made that a cab should be got to bring to the hall the old couple, now greatly weakened by age and toil and sorrow. This proposal Mrs. MacLachlan strongly opposed, and it was some time before argument prevailed, and she gave her consent. The reason for her opposition then was given. She said, “Ever since my sons were killed in the explosion, I have felt that I should be very humble, and it looks as if I were forgetting, and were too grand in going in a cab”–the good old soul cherishing through all these years the very humility that gave her the dignity of a true lady.
Of the three sons killed, two were married, but the youngest resided with his parents. The only means of identifying his mangled body was a sock and a boot. The boot was taken home and afterward treated with a sacred care. It was rolled in paper and kept in a drawer, but again and again the mother would take it out, clean it, and return it to its hallowed spot. When she lay on her deathbed, she had thought of this parcel, and one day said to her daughter, “That boot cannot be the same to any of you that it has been to me, and when you place my body in the coffin, I want you to put the boot there too” It was as this was being done that the daughter gave to those of us who were present, the explanation of what appeared a strange act. That incident, so peculiarly pathetic, gave us an insight into a human heart that had carried its sorrow with the silent unmurmuring submission of faith.”