A B C D E F
G H I J K L M 

Total read books on site:
more than 10 000

You can read its for free!


Text on one page: Few Medium Many
Herman was skeptical of its lasting quality, but was
forced to acknowledge that it was a lovely light. He it was who made the
electrical suggestion to rebuild the church as an evidence of good
faith. "You say you're regenerated--go ahead and regenerate the church,"
he said.

The enthusiasm of the neighborhood took flame. It should be done. A
meeting was called. Everybody subscribed money or work. It was a
generous outpouring of love and faith.

It was Herman also who counseled secrecy. "It would be a nice thing to
surprise him," he said. "We'll agree to keep the scheme from him at
home, if you don't give it away."

They set to work like bees. The women came down one day and took
possession with brooms and mops and soap, and while the carpenters
repaired the windows they fell savagely upon the grime of the seats and
floors. The walls of the church echoed with woman's gossip and girlish
laughter. Everything was scoured, from the door-hinges to the altar
rails. New doors were hung and a new stove secured, and then came the
painters to put a new coat of paint on the inside. The cold weather
forbade repainting the outside.

The sheds were rebuilt by men whose hearts glowed with old-time fire. It
was like pioneer days, when "barn-raising" and "bees" made life worth
while in a wild, stern land. It was a beautiful time. The old men were
moved to tears, and the younger rough men shouted cheery, boisterous
cries to hide their own deep emotion. Hand met hand in heartiness never
shown before. Neighbors frequented each other's homes, and the old times
of visiting and brotherly love came back upon them. Nothing marred the
perfect beauty of their revival--save the fear of its evanescence. It
seemed too good to last.

Meanwhile love of another and merrier sort went on. The young men and
maidens turned prayer meeting into trysts, and scrubbing bees into
festivals. They rode from house to house under glittering stars, over
sparkling snows, singing:

"Hallelujah! 'tis done:
I believe on the Son;
I am saved by the blood
Of the Crucified One."

And their rejoicing chorus was timed to the clash of bells on swift
young horses. Who shall say they did not right? Did the Galilean forbid
love and joy?

No matter. God's stars, the mysterious night, the bells, the watchful
bay of dogs, the sting of snow, the croon of loving voices, the clasp
of tender arms, the touch of parting lips--these things, these things
outweigh death and hell, and all that makes the criminal tremble. Being
saved, they must of surety rejoice.

And through it all Wallace crawled slowly back to life and strength. He
ate of Mother Allen's chicken-broth and of toast from Mattie's
care-taking hand, and gradually assumed color and heart. His solemn eyes
looked at the powerful young girl with an intensity which seemed to take
her strength from her. She would gladly have given her blood for him, if
it had occurred to her, or if it had been suggested as a good thing;
instead she gave him potatoes baked to a nicety, and buttered toast that
would melt on the tongue, and, on the whole, they served the purpose
better.

One day a smartly dressed man called to see Wallace. Mattie recognized
him as the Baptist clergyman from Kesota. He came in, and introducing
himself, said he had heard of the excellent work of Mr. Stacey, and that
he would like to speak with him.

Wallace was sitting in a rocking chair in the parlor. Herman was in
Chicago, and there was no one but Mrs. Allen and Mattie in the house.

The Kesota minister introduced himself to Wallace, and then entered upon
a long eulogium upon his work in Cyene. He asked after his credentials,
his plans, his connections, and then he said:

"You've done a _fine_ work in softening the hearts of these people. We
had almost _despaired_ of doing anything with them. Yes, you have done a
_won-der-ful work_, and now we must reorganize a regular society here. I
will be out again when you get stronger, and we'll see about it."

Wallace was too weak to take any stand in the talk, and so allowed him
to get up and go away without protest or explanation of his own plans.

When Herman came down on Saturday, he told him of the Baptist minister's
visit and the proposition. Herman stretched his legs out toward the fire
and put his hands in his pockets. Then he rose and took a strange
attitude, such as Wallace had seen in comic pictures--it was, in fact,
the attitude of a Bowery tough.

"Say--look here! If you want 'o set dis community by de ears agin, you
do dat ting--see? You play dat confidence game and dey'll rat ye--see?
You invite us to come into a non-partisan deal--see?--and den you
springs your own platform on us in de joint corkus--and we won't stand
it! Dis goes troo de way it began, or we don't play--see?"

Out of all this Wallace deduced his own feeling--that continued peace
and good-will lay in keeping clear of all doctrinal debates and
disputes--the love of Christ, the desire to do good and to be clean.
These emotions had been roused far more deeply than he realized, and he
lifted his face to God in the hope that no lesser thing should come in
to mar the beauty of his Church.

There came a day when he walked out in the sunshine, and heard the hens
caw-cawing about the yard, and saw the young colts playing about the
barn. And the splendor of the winter day dazzled him as if he were
looking upon the broad-flung robe of the Most High. Everywhere the snow
lay ridged with purple and brown hedges. Smoke rose peacefully from
chimneys, and the sound of boys skating on a near-by pond added the
human element.

The trouble of concealing the work of the community upon the church
increased daily, and Mattie feared that some hint of it had come to him.
She had her plan. She wanted to drive him down herself, and let him see
the reburnished temple alone. But this was impossible. On the day when
he seemed able to go, her father drove them all down. Marsden was there
also, and several of his women-folks, putting down a new carpet on the
platform. As they drew near the church, Wallace said:

"Why, they've fixed up the sheds!"

Mattie nodded. She was trembling with the delicious excitement of
it--she wanted him hurried into the church at once. He had hardly time
to think before he was whirled up to the new porch, and Marsden came
out, followed by several women. He was bewildered by it all. Marsden
helped him out with hearty voice sounding:

"Careful now. Don't hurry!"

Mattie took one arm, and so he entered the church. Everything repainted!
Everything warm and bright and cozy!

The significance of it came to him like a wave of light, and he took his
seat in the pulpit chair and stared at them all with a look on his pale
face which moved them more than words. He was like a man transfigured by
an inward glow. His eyes for an instant flamed with this marvelous fire,
then darkened, softened with tears, and his voice came back in a sob of
joy, and he could only say:

"Friends--brethren!"

Marsden, after much coughing, said:

"We all united on this. We wanted to have you come to the church
and--Well, we couldn't bear to have you see it again the way it was."

He understood it now. It was the sign of a united community. It set the
seal of Christ's victory over evil passions, and the young preacher's
head bowed in prayer, and they all knelt, while his weak voice returned
thanks to the Lord for his gifts.

Then they all rose and shook off the oppressive solemnity, and he had
time to look around at all the changes. At last he turned to Mattie and
reached out his hand--he had the boldness of a man in the shadow of some
mighty event which makes false modesty and conventions shadowy things
of little importance. His sharpened interior sense read her clear soul,
and he knew she was his, therefore he reached her his hand, and she came
to him with a flush on her face, which died out as she stood proudly by
his side, while he said:

"And Martha shall help me."

Therefore this good thing happened--that in the midst of his fervor and
his consecration to God's work, the love of woman found a place.




A MEETING IN THE FOOTHILLS.

I.


The train which brought young Ramsey into Red Rock gave him no view of
the mountains, because it arrived about eight o'clock of a dark day. He
went to bed at once in order to be up early and prostrate himself before
the peaks, for he was of the level middle-West.

He was awakened by the sound of loud, hearty voices, and looking out of
the window saw a four-horse team standing before the little hotel. On
the wagon's side was a sign which made the heart of the youth leap.

CRINKLE CREEK STAGE.
DAVE WILLIS, Pro.

He was in the land of gold! It was like a chapter from a story by Bret
Harte. He dressed himself hurriedly, and went down and out into the
cool, keen dawn, eager to catch a glimpse of the great peak whose name
had been in his ear since a child, as the symbol of the Rocky
Mountains.

There it soared, dull purple, splotched with dark green, and rising to
white at its shoulders, and radiant with light on its crown. In such
impassible grandeur, it must have loomed upon the eyes of the first
little caravan trailing its way across the plains to the mysterious
West.

He spent the day doing little else but gaze at the mountains and study
the town.

It was also much more stupendous than he had imagined, and doubts of his
ability to fit with all this splendor came to him with great force. He
remembered the smooth, green swells and fertile fields he had left
behind, and the memory brought a touch of homesickness.

After supper that evening he confided to the landlord his plans for
finding a foreman's position on a stock farm.

"Well, I dunno. There are such places, but they're always snapped up
'fore you can say Jack Robinson."

"Well, I'm going to give it a good try," the young fellow said bravely.

"That's right. If I was you, I'd go out and see some of these
real-estate fellers; they most always know what's going on."

"That's a good idea; much obliged.



Pages: | Prev | | 1 | | 2 | | 3 | | 4 | | 5 | | 6 | | 7 | | 8 | | 9 | | 10 | | 11 | | 12 | | 13 | | 14 | | 15 | | 16 | | 17 | | 18 | | 19 | | 20 | | 21 | | 22 | | 23 | | 24 | | 25 | | 26 | | 27 | | 28 | | 29 | | 30 | | 31 | | 32 | | 33 | | 34 | | 35 | | 36 | | 37 | | 38 | | 39 | | Next |

N O P Q R S T
U V W X Y Z 

Your last read book:

You dont read books at this site.