« ПредыдущаяПродолжить »
anybody else want oysters so bad that they hev to steal 'em out of the donation money, let 'em come to me an' I'll buy 'em a quart or so for their eatin'. We have 'em once in a while home." Seeing Mrs. Box speechless in her mortification, Sister Hart took up the cudgels. "Look here, Miss Cox, you're puttin' it pretty hash when you talk so free about stealin'! You always want to decide matters, but you ain't the only person livin'. If the best part of us want oysters to the supper and the dominie is willin' fur us to take the expense out of the donation money, there's nothing like stealin' in it."
She had barely gone, when Elder Box came trudging along. He was not a bad-hearted man, or a hypocrite, but unfortunately was as irascible as a hornet, and entirely lacking in tact. He had had a toilsome and burdened life, and found himself at forty a poor man with a mortgaged farm. He had signed notes for a rascal who left him in the lurch, had sickness in his family, lost stock, and had his crops blighted. People who are prone to judge the unsuccessful, said his lack of prosperity came from his being a poor manager and lacking system. Simon Cox, a distant relation, rubicund and portly, blessed in this world's goods, shook his The conflict begun, an unpleasant head wisely as he drove past Box's diwar of words followed. Old Mther lapidated fences and mongrel stock. Wheeler who had run into the meeting, "Box was a deuced poor farmer," he knitting in hand, nervously adjusted said. Of course, some one was kind her glasses and sighed. She dearly enough to find it necessary to repeat the loved peace in Zion, and an occasion remark to him, and matters between like the present was to her a vexation them became still more unfriendly. and bewilderment. "Ef I could settle They were on decidedly ill terms, the it by giving my 'pinion," she said to Box and Cox families. A long chain deaf Mrs. Brace, who was anxiously of circumstances, trivial in themselves, trying and failing to catch a little of had been important factors in bringing everything," as to eysters or no eysters, about this unpleasant state of affairs. I'd say neither, for that's the only way But the biggest circumstance was Cox's to stop this most unchristian argufying." wife. She was arrogant, determined, and fiery, and she somehow managed to ruffle Box beyond e idurance. Time and again she had snubbed and insulted his wife. She had her meddlesome finger in every pie. She had never yet dug truth out of her well, and could not possibly tell a straight story. A patient, magnanimous soul might have pitied and striven to overlook her defects, but Box lacked both patience and large-souledness. "He'd be darned," he actually said to the minister, that day, quite unconscious of his profanity, "if he'd be put on by a woman who thought herself the Lord Almighty.' He even brought Scripture to his aid. "There was a New Testament text gave him great comfort," he said: Alexander the coppersmith did me much harm; the Lord reward him according to his works.' He had only to substitute a different noun and pronoun, and it was pat to his case, so much so that he wished no commentary different from his own applied to this comforting verse. Ile was willing to acknow
Matters were left in a most unsettled stare at the meeting's close. However, the bivalve question did not cease to be agitated in public and private, so much so that during the next week the Shah of Persia might have bow-strung all his subjects and Queen Victoria been beheaded by hers, without its awakening in Acadia more than the merest ripple beside this most interesting and important subject.
Of course, the minister was laid siege to. Mrs. Cox rustled into his study one day and laid her view of the matter before him. Vainly he tried to convince her that, although her argument was sound, the matter was puerile, and that in her zeal for carrying her point she might work injury to the church. He sighed as he marked her animosity to some, her determination to take the lead. "The matter rests with you, Dominie,” she said as she departed. You must say, 'I will not have an
oyster-stew at my donation party.'"ledge that anger and enmity were not
"You see, Dominie," he continued, "you've showed yourself a little leanin', not a leetle but quite considerable, quite considerable leanin'."
usually Christian graces, but argued bin that hurt in her feelin's lately, she that there was a just anger, and no need was clean upsot. Them dratted oyof granting an undesired forgiveness. sters!" saying which he vigorously When he finally stopped talking and applied his bandanna, and hemmed rose to go, it was not because he had nervously. come to a better feeling, but simply because he knew that his cows were waiting to be foddered and milked. "I leave the hull thing with you, Dominie," he said; it's for you to see as them of your flock as has been slandered and put on is stood up for. You can sav you want them eysters. As I've said before, I don't care shucks about the critters, it's the principle, Dominie, the principle!" Then he went away leaving the minister in an unenviable frame of mind, quite willing to decide with Mother Wheeler, "Neither," and sadly conscious that the church in Acadia was in truth the church militant.
The Dominie was interested know how he had deviated from the perpendicular, as he had thought it best to maintain a consistent neutrality.
Bright rose the sun on the morning of donation-day, and at ten A. M. in came brother Box flushed and triumphant into the parsonage kitchen In his hands he bore a fat wooden keg which he sat carefully down on the floor. "There's the eyster critters-one thousand of 'em, I guess 'spect you'll take to 'em mightily, children? I've bin clear to Kwahom for 'em this morning! Elizy'll be down directly after dinner and she'll bring along her big washboiler fur the stew." A little later came a boy bringing Mrs. Hart's morning mess of milk for the stew, and the storekeeper sent in four pounds of crackers. Then there was another quiver of sleigh-bells and in rustled Mrs. Cox, wrathful and dark. She stood for a moment looking in speech
"Don't ask me, Dominie, vou know well enough how 'twas. You know you didn't fight shy of them oysters. You should have said I will not have an oyster stew to my donation.' Harrit come home that morning just as clean upsot as I ever saw the woman. 'Simon,' says she, 'I'm just discomfruzzled. Miss Box has had her way. The Dominie has showed the stand he means to take! aud everybody a crowin' over me! I ken never hea him preach again, Simon!' Well, I felt bad. I've tended Arcady Church this twenty year, and sot in the Elder's seat twelve of them, and nobody has given a bigger salary than I have, beside always jutting something on the plate. And I says, says I, Try to bear it Harrit, mebbe he ain't so much to blame.' But she says, says she, 'Simon, the Angel Gabr'el couldn't turn me now. I'm done, just as long as the Dominie stays in Arcady. So if Harrit is done, I'm done, and the children are done, and them as rule the Church can run it. Good-by, Dominie. I dont want you to say nothing, words can't mend the matter; and the more I think it over the madder I get, and I
less indignation upon the offending just want you to say to that Box keg. Very well," was her sole creetur, Let them as dance pay the comment as she went out. That piper.' Just say that, don't forgit!" evening she and her family were not at the donation, neither on the Sunday following were they in their pew at church.
plate. I've bin
When the minister rode over to see them on Monday, Squire Cox met him with visible embarassment. Mrs. Cox was not seeable. "Harrit had a pain-somewhere's-in-in her head," the Squire said, evidently at a loss where to locate her ailment "She'd
It was a mere matter of cause and effect, that the minister in the course of a few months left Acadia. His final sermon from the text, "Love one another," made a profound sen-ation. Elder Box, as he lumbered home in his crazy carryall, said to his wife with emotion: Lizer, I'll allow that I feel pricked in my conscience to-day. I've
bin thinking, perhaps we might hev got along without them eysters. I'd far rather hev done it than lost him!" Eliza shook ber head doggedly. "There's a plenty of ministers waitin' for a call, Box, and I want you to understand I'm not goin' to be sot on by Miss Cox, nor you either, not if all the ministers goes. It's all that ugly creetur's work, his going!"
Acadia was at its loveliest, on the moruing of the minister's departure, and there was a jocundity upon the face of nature that stirred the human heart to cheer. But the minister sighed as he passed the Arcady Church. so pathetic in its forlornness. The widow's cow was peacefully chewing her cud. The geese, attended now by a flock of fluffy goslings, gabbled before the porch.
Interdictum lachrymæ pondera vocis habent"-he said this softly to himself, and then left "Arcady Church" behind him forever.
1861 and 1881.
BY THE EDITOR.
A great man (and a great nation too) under the shadow of defeat is taught how precious are the uses of adversity; and as an oak-tree's roots are strengthened by its shadows, so all defeats in a good cause are but resting places in the road to victory at last.-CHARLES SUMNER.
"The late civil war" is an expression still used, albeit twenty years have passed since the war began. Many of our readers had then not yet seen the light of day. Others were little children, unable to realize the perils of the times. Amid the present blessings of national peace and general prosperity, they rarely think of the great contrast between 1861 and 1881. The former year opened with threatenings of coming storms. The North and the South marshalled such forces as they had. Meanwhile conferences and conventions were held, whereby, if possible, to avert the coming conflict. On Friday, January 4, a day of fasting, humiliation and prayer was observed by the churches of the North. A newly elected President was to be inaugurated on March 4. When Abraham Lincoln took leave of his neighbors
and fellow-citizens of Springfield, Ill., for Washington, he asked them to pray God to guide and help him in his difficult duties. Could he be inducted into office? Many, breathing threatening and slaughter, said he could not. Never since the beginning of our national existence has there been an inauguration ceremony as that was. Some of the southern states had already passed their secession ordinance. In April followed the siege and capture of Fort Sumter. The North arose to arms. Comparatively few knew what that was to mean. Many thought that a few months' fighting would end the whole trouble; very few, if any, in the North, dreamed that it would require five years and hundreds of thousands of lives to achieve lasting peace.
Enthusiastic war-mee ings were held. At pole-raisings and the unfurling of flags the patriotic fire was kindled. Inflammatory war speeches sought to arouse the masses to arms. The most inspiring was the singing of our national airs at public gatherings. Thus, on April 19, 1861, a large pole was raised in the square at Chambersburg. Some six or eight speeches were made, and the Star Spangled Banner was sung with a will. Mighty song moved many to tears. Just then they saw an unusual power and preciousness in the dear old flag. Special meetings of prayer class of minis ers preached exciting were held. And whilst only a certain
war sermons," the themes of pulpit discourses and prayer usually had some reference to the perils and trials of the war. The pastors prayed for the imperilled cause of.the nation, for the soldiers, and especially for the members of the congregation absent in the army, fighting, falling or suffering in the army hospitals. How the mothers, sisters and wives of the soldiers used to weep when the congregation prayed for the defenders of our flag! To them the offering of the light of their hearts and homes was no trifling sacrifice. Ah, how many a tonching scene of parting we can call to mind. Often before the dear one left home, the family group would join in prayer. Would he ever return? Perhaps his now vigorous body, maimed and mangled, or even lifeless would come back.
With us war was a new experience.
Very few of our Revolutionary soldiers were then living; few of our people had seen a battle. A new generation had come upon the stage which knew little of the horrors of war. Whilst many came to their nation's rescue from patriotic motives, many others were moved by sentimental reasons. Especially to young men the novelty and excitement of a soldier's life had a certain fascination. The nation bad but a small army. Civilians, who had never made a study of military life, were called into service. The army abounded in "paper Colonels and Generals," who in many cases were more ignorant of the art of war than those under their command. Some of became able officers, whilst many soon made place for others.
had to hurry their pupils through a very short course of training, not knowing how soon they would be ordered into battle.
Among these first soldiers of the war were many men of professional, social and business prominence, who left their friends, home and business. interests to respond to their country's call. One could see many such standing in line, submitting to the worrying routine lessons of the ill-humored and often profane drill-master. Men leaving all the petty household work at home to servants, could here be seen patiently kindling and fanning a fire, boiling coffee and frying meat in the pan. At first they enjoyed the novelty of their new situation. But ere long it assumed a more sober aspect. Long seasons of rainy weather made their tents uncomfortable. Fires could scarcely be kept burning. The most conscientious had to become inured to little thefts for their country's sake. Their fire-wood was taken from neighboring fences, without asking for the consent of their owners. Some soon learned to prepare a pretty relishable meal-especially relishable to hungry soldiers, whose appetite was unusually sharpened by this open-air life. Others fared badly, and with their poor cooking, under the gnawings of a starving stomach, became sick of army life-indeed, many became thoroughly home-sick. To such, an occasional box of dainties and of substantial food, too, from home, was the occasion of more joy than children have over their Christmas presents.
Great was the excitement at the different railroad depots when a company or regiment left for the seat of war. Bands of music and the roaring hurrahs of the multitude cheered them in parting. And as long trains, packed with newly enlisted soldiers, passed the various railroad stations, crowds of men, women and children applauded and waved their handkerchiefs to show their grateful wishes. A large part of these recruits passed down the Cumberland Valley. For a while Chambersburg was the head-quarters. The arrival of every regiment caused a fresh excitement. They poured through here in great numbers. Often they happened to arrive at night. The sidewalks were crowded with citizens, trying to peer through the darkness at the faces and columns of the soldiers. Without a band of music, the dull thud of their tread and the measured rattling of their tin cups or cans tied to their knapsacks as they marched by, impressed one strangely. From all parts of the country these men came, marching on to victory or death. Soon many visiting friends followed them, bringing all manner of comforts and luxuries with them for their soldier boys. Crowds of citizens visited the camps especially at parade time, to see the marching and hear the music. Drill officers worked all day long with squads of raw soldiers, ignorant of the simplest rudiments of military duty. From every direction of the camp you could hear the oft-repeated
Among the first soldiers in 1861 was a large rowdy element- persons unaccustomed to restraint at home, who indulged in their wicked habits at will. Despite the rigid rules of the army they would steal away to town and annoy the citizens, with their riotous noise and drunken revelry. Such a heterogeneous mass of people could not be trained into order-loving and disciplined soldiers in a few weeks. None but those who had the work to do know what a herculean task it was to bring order out of such a confused mass in so short a time. In monarchical countries where they have vast standing armies, and most of the able-bodied men must serve "shoulder arms," " order arms." They in the army for years, the forces of a
nation are always ready. But our army preachers dwelt on our national and
Without a sin, without a fear."
Great was the concern felt for the soldiers when the first snow fell on the new army. On April 1 we had a violent snow-storm. On the night of May 4 a snow fell three inches deep; and how could they live during the cold weather of the following winter, with only their small tents? The deep snows threatened to cover them. Would not many of them freeze? Once inured the ground of having died for his to hardship, they heeded not the win- country, at once sent him to heaven, ter's storm. To us inexperienced people, in our warm beds at home, it seemed hard to be thus exposed. And many, Dr. Harbaugh, whose loyalty was beas they listened to the howling winds, yond dispute, took him to task for spent whole nights awake, thinking of this in the GUARDIAN. He held "that and praying for the poor soldier. the mere going forth in a holy cause Great and painful was the feeling of does not make those Christians who are apprehension and suspense as the first not so before. Dying for our country battles seemed to approach. Many news- does not necessarily make us Christian martyrs, and insure us the Christian papers and people regarded the war as a sort of a six months' national enter- crown in heaven. If he (Ellsworth) tainment. They held that the South was prepared for death, he became such would soon have to succumb the through faith in Christ. Not his own trouble could be healed without the blood, shed for his country, but the blood of Jesus, could cleanse his soul shedding of much blood. The patriotism of a certain class never got soldiers be taught that piety begets pa from the guilt of sin. Let all our brave beyond boasting prophecies. More sober-minded and thoughtful people, triotism, but that patriotism is not however, reasoned differently. And piety, and can never produce it. To die those who had invested the dearest for one's country is a passport to our objects of their hearts for their country's deepest gratitude, but is not of itself a good might well tremble as the two passport to heaven." armies approached for the first time. And each succeeding battle sent thrills of joy or horror into thousands of hearts and homes all over the land.
Six months had passed. Whilst the Government used every possible endeavor to increase the strength and efficiency of the army, Christian people prayed to the God of battles. By a resolution of the General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church, the 4th of July was observed as a day of prayer throughout its bounds. On September 2a national day of fasting, humiliation and prayer was observed. Generally churches were filled with congregations who felt the need of divine help. Many
When Gen. Anderson raised the flag on Fort Sumter, fervent prayers were offered beneath its folds. And after its capture, he told in touching words how he had been directed in all his movements by the hand of Providence. The June number of the GUARDIAN of
In numberless instances the departure of companies and regiments was celebrated with prayer and other religious services. In a number of instances individual soldiers connected themselves with the Church previous to their departure. A very large proportion
of our soldiers are members of churches, and
many letters from camp speak of religious