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Page 53

12. XII.

Mr. Pendexter had departed. Only a few
old and middle-aged people regretted him. To
these few, something was wanting in the service
ever afterwards. They missed the accounts of
the Hebrew massacres, and the wonderful tales
of the Zumzummims; they missed the venerable
gray hair, and the voice that had spoken to them
in childhood, and forever preserved the memory
of it in their hearts, as in the Russian church the
old hymns of the earliest centuries are still piously

The winter came, with all its affluence of
snows, and its many candidates for the vacant
pulpit. But the parish was difficult to please, as
all parishes are; and talked of dividing itself, and
building a new church, and other extravagances,
as all parishes do. Finally it concluded to remain


Page 54
as it was, and the choice of a pastor was

The events of the winter were few in number,
and can be easily described. The following extract
from a school-girl's letter to an absent
friend contains the most important:—

“At school, things have gone on pretty much
as usual. Jane Brown has grown very pale.
They say she is in a consumption; but I think it
is because she eats so many slate-pencils. One
of her shoulders has grown a good deal higher
than the other. Billy Wilmerdings has been
turned out of school for playing truant. He
promised his mother, if she would not whip him,
he would experience religion. I am sure I wish
he would; for then he would stop looking at me
through the hole in the top of his desk. Mr.
Churchill is a very curious man. To-day he
gave us this question in arithmetic: `One-fifth of
a hive of bees flew to the Kadamba flower; onethird
flew to the Silandhara; three times the
difference of these two numbers flew to an
arbor; and one bee continued flying about,
attracted on each side by the fragrant Ketaki
and the Malati. What was the number of bees?'
Nobody could do the sum.


Page 55

“The church has been repaired, and we
have a new mahogany pulpit. Mr. Churchill
bought the old one, and had it put up in his
study. What a strange man he is! A good many
candidates have preached for us. The only one
we like is Mr. Kavanagh. Arthur Kavanagh!
is not that a romantic name? He is tall, very
pale, with beautiful black eyes and hair! Sally
—Alice Archer's Sally—says `he is not a
man; he is a Thaddeus of Warsaw!' I think
he is very handsome. And such sermons! So
beautifully written, so different from old Mr.
Pendexter's! He has been invited to settle
here; but he cannot come till Spring. Last
Sunday he preached about the ruling passion.
He said that once a German nobleman, when
he was dying, had his hunting-horn blown in his
bed-room, and his hounds let in, springing and
howling about him; and that so it was with the
ruling passions of men; even around the death-bed,
at the well-known signal, they howled and
leaped about those that had fostered them!
Beautiful, is it not? and so original! He said
in another sermon, that disappointments feed and
nourish us in the desert places of life, as the
ravens did the Prophet in the wilderness; and


Page 56
that as, in Catholic countries, the lamps lighted
before the images of saints, in narrow and dangerous
streets, not only served as offerings of devotion,
but likewise as lights to those who passed,
so, in the dark and dismal streets of the city of
Unbelief, every good thought, word, and deed
of a man, not only was an offering to heaven, but
likewise served to light him and others on their
way homeward! I have taken a good many
notes of Mr. Kavanagh's sermons, which you
shall see when you come back.

“Last week we had a sleigh-ride, with six
white horses. We went like the wind over the
hollows in the snow;—the driver called them
`thank-you-ma'ams,' because they make every
body bow. And such a frantic ball as we had at
Beaverstock! I wish you had been there! We
did not get home till two o'clock in the morning;
and the next day Hester Green's minister asked
her if she did not feel the fire of a certain place
growing hot under her feet, while she was

“The new fashionable boarding-school begins
next week. The prospectus has been sent to our
house. One of the regulations is, `Young ladies
are not allowed to cross their benders in school'!


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Papa says he never heard them called so before.
Old Mrs. Plainfield is gone at last. Just before
she died, her Irish chamber-maid asked her if she
wanted to be buried with her false teeth in!
There has not been a single new engagement
since you went away. But somebody asked me
the other day if you were engaged to Mr. Pillsbury.
I was very angry. Pillsbury, indeed!
He is old enough to be your father!

“What a long, rambling letter I am writing
you!—and only because you will be so naughty
as to stay away and leave me all alone. If you
could have seen the moon last night! But what
a goose I am!—as if you did not see it! Was
it not glorious? You cannot imagine, dearest,
how every hour in the day I wish you were here
with me. I know you would sympathize with
all my feelings, which Hester does not at all.
For, if I admire the moon, she says I am romantic,
and, for her part, if there is any thing she
despises, it is the moon! and that she prefers
a snug, warm bed (O, horrible!) to all the moons
in the universe!”