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Page 110


There was one point upon which I was always apprehensive
that Uncle Amos would assail me. It dated from
that first evening in the little cottage at the Cross-Keys,
the previous summer. What I have said of my shrinking
delicacy of feeling with regard to my poetic attempts will
equally apply to the religious sentiment. A dear and tender
friend might have found me willing to open my heart
to him concerning sacred things; but I could not, dared
not, admit a less privileged person to the sanctuary. I had
not the courage or the independence necessary to arrest
my uncle's approach to the subject, and was therefore preternaturally
watchful and alert in retreating. Very often,
I suspect, I fancied an ambush where none existed. My
uncle probably saw that he must tread cautiously, and feel
his way by degrees, for I only remember one conversation
in the course of the summer which really disturbed me.

My poor mother had been an earnest Lutheran, of the
hearty, cheerful, warm-blooded German sort. She always
preferred thanksgiving for God's mercies to fear of His
wrath, and had brought me up in the faith that the beauties
and blessings of this life might be enjoyed without forfeiting
one's title as a Christian. At the age of fourteen I
had been confirmed, and was therefore to be considered as
a member of the Church. At least, I supposed that the
principal religious duty thenceforth required of me was to
follow God's commandments as nearly as my imperfect


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human nature would allow. I never closed my eyes in
sleep without invoking the protection of my only Father,
with a grateful feeling in my heart of hearts that He did
indeed hear and heed me. I did not fear damnation,
because I had not the slightest liking for the Devil.

I knew little or nothing of the slight partitions which
divide the multitudinous sects of the Christian world, and
was not the least troubled in conscience at attending my
uncle's church instead of my own. Whatever was doctrinal
in the latter I had forgotten since my confirmation,
— probably because it had then made very little impression
on my mind. My uncle's clergyman was a mild, amiable
man, whose goodness it was impossible to doubt, and I
listened to his sermons with proper reverence.

Something, I know not what, — possibly some memory
of my mother, — led me, one Sunday in summer, to attend
the Lutheran church. The well-known hymns fell on my
ear with a home-like sound, and the powerful tones of the
organ seemed to lift me to new devotional heights. In the
sermon I felt the influence of a strong, massive intellect,
the movements of which I could not always follow, but
which stimulated and strengthened me. After this, I
divided my Sundays nearly equally between the two
churches. On informing my uncle and aunt, at dinner,
where I had been, the former was at first silent; but, after
some grave reflection, asked me, —

“Are you a member of that persuasion?”

“Oh, yes,” I answered, “just the same as mother and
Aunt Peggy.”

I struck a blow without intending it. Aunt Peggy
looked startled and uneasy; a strong color came into her
face; then, after a quick glance at uncle, she lifted her
hands and exclaimed, “No! Praise and Glory, not now!”

“Hem!” coughed Uncle Amos; “never mind, Peggy;
blessed are them that see!” Then, turning to me, he
added, “Do you mean that you have professed faith and
been baptized?”


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“I was baptized when I was a baby,” I answered, “and
confirmed when I was fourteen.”

“Have you experienced a change of heart?”

“No,” I boldly said, thinking that he meant to indicate
infidelity, or some kind of backsliding, by this term.

Uncle Amos, to my surprise, uttered a loud groan, and
Aunt Peggy made that peculiar clucking noise with her
tongue against her teeth, which some women employ to
signify disaster or lamentation.

“You feel, then,” said Uncle Amos, after a long pause,
“that you nature is utterly corrupt and sinful. Do you
not see what a mockery it is to claim that you are a follower
of the Lamb?”

“No, uncle!” I cried, indignantly; “I am not corrupt
and sinful. I don't pretend to be a saint, but no one has a
right to call me a sinner. I have kept all the commandments,
except the tenth, and I never broke that without
repenting of it afterwards. Mother belonged to the Lutheran
Church, and I won't hear anything said against

For a moment an equally earnest reply seemed to be
hovering on my uncle's tongue; but he checked himself
with a strong effort, groaned in a subdued way, and remarked
with unusual gravity, “Darkness! darkness!” His
manner towards me, for a day or two afterwards, was unusually
solemn. The exigencies of business, however, soon
restored our ordinary relations.

In the autumn, my uncle's church was visited by a noted
“revival” preacher, whose coming had been announced
some time in advance. He was a Kentuckian, of considerable
fame in his own sect, and even beyond its borders,
so that his appearance never failed to draw crowds together.
As this was his first visit to Reading, it was an event
which could not, of course, be allowed to go by without giving
the church the full benefit of the impression he should
produce, and a large increase of the congregation was
counted upon as a sure result.


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Finally, Mr. Brandreth, the resident clergyman, announced
with unusual unction that “on the next Sabbath,
Brother Mellowby would occupy the pulpit.” The news immediately
spread through the town, and was duly announced
in the papers. When the day and hour arrived, the church
was so crowded that extra benches were brought and placed
lengthwise along the aisles. Expectation was on tiptoe,
when, after the hymn had been sung and Mr. Brandreth
had made a prayer in which the distinguished brother was
not forgotten, a tall form arose and stood in the pulpit.
Brother Mellowby was over six feet in height, and rather
lank, but with broad, square shoulders and massive face.
His eyes were large and dark, and his black hair, growing
straight upward from his forehead, turned and fell on either
side in long locks, which tossed and waved in the wind of
his eloquence. His cheek-bones were prominent, his mouth
large and expressive (that of Michael Angelo's “Moses”
still reminds me of it), and his chin square and strong.
Altogether, evidently a man of power and of purpose, but
with more iron than gold in his composition. He looked, to
me, as if he had at one time been near enough to Hell to feel
the scorch of its flames, and had thence fought his way to
Heaven by sheer force of a will stronger than the Devil's.

The commencement of his sermon was grave, earnest,
and deliberate. It held the attention of the congregation
rather by the clear, full, varied music of his voice than by
any peculiar force of expression. Towards the close, however,
as he touched upon the glories of the Christian's future
reward, the wonderful power of his voice and the
warmth of his personal magnetism developed themselves.
Looking upwards, with rapt ecstatic gaze, he seemed verily
to behold what he described, — the clouds opening, the
glory breaking through, the waving of golden palms in the
hands of the congregated angels, the towers of the New
Jerusalem, shining far off, in deeps of infinite lustre, the
green Eden of Heaven, watered by the River of Life, —


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and then, glory surpassing all these glories, the unimaginable
radiance of the Throne. Still pointing upwards, as he
approached the awful light, he suddenly stopped, covered
his eyes, and in a voice of tremulous awe, exclaimed, “The
Seraphs veil their brows before Him, — the eyes of the redeemed
souls dare not look upon His countenance, — the
mind clothed in corrupting flesh cannot imagine His glory!”

The speaker sat down. I had scarcely breathed during
this remarkable peroration, and, when his voice ceased,
seemed to drop through leagues of illuminated air, to find
myself, with a shock, in my uncle's pew. For a few seconds
the silence endured; then a singular, convulsive sound, which
was not a cry, yet could scarcely be called a groan, ran
through the church. Some voices exclaimed “Glory!” the
women raised their handkerchiefs to their faces, and an unaccustomed
light shone from the eyes of the men. The
hymn commencing, “Turn to the Lord and seek salvation,
then arose from the congregation with a fervor which made
it seem the very trumpet-call and battle-charge of the armies
of the Cross.

I did not go to church in the evening, but I heard that
the impression produced by Mr. Mellowby's first sermon
was still further increased by his second. Several “hopeful”
cases were already reported, and the services were announced
to continue through the week. My uncle proposed
that Bolty and I should relieve each other alternately, in the
evenings, so that we might both attend. I was prevented,
however, from going again until Wednesday, by which time
he had decided to put up the shutters an hour earlier, even
at the loss of some little custom.

On this occasion, Bolty and I went together. When we
entered the church, we found it well filled, and the atmosphere
almost stifling. Brother Mellowby was “exhorting,”
but, from a broad cross-aisle in front of the pews, up and
down which he walked, pausing now and then to turn and
hurl impassioned appeals to his auditors. Whenever he


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stopped a moment to recover breath, a wild chorus of cries
and groans arose, mingled with exclamations of “Amen!”
“Glory!” “Go on, Brother!” Speaker and hearers were
evidently strung to the same pitch of excitement, and mutually
inspired each other. Mr. Brandreth, Uncle Amos,
and several prominent members of the congregation walked
up and down the aisles, seizing upon the timid or hesitating,
placing their arms about the necks of the latter, gently
coaxing them to kneel, or, when wholly successful, leading
them, sobbing and howling, to the “anxious seat” in front
of the pulpit. These intermediate agents were radiant with
satisfaction; the atmosphere of the place seemed to exhilarate
and agreeably excite them. For my part, I looked on
the scene with wonder, not unmixed with a sense of pain.

Brother Mellowby had been apparently engaged in persuasive
efforts up to the time of my entrance. Some twelve
or fifteen persons had been moved, and were kneeling in
various attitudes — some prostrate and silent, some crying
and flinging up their arms convulsively — at the anxious
seat. Others were weeping or groaning in their seats in the
pews, but still hung back from the step which proclaimed
them confessed sinners, seeking for mercy. It was to these
latter that the speaker now addressed himself with a new
and more powerful effort.

I can only attempt to describe it. To my sensitive,
beauty-loving nature, it was awful, yet pervaded with a
wonderful fascination which held me to listen. He painted
the future condition of the unconverted with an imagination
as terrible as his vision of the Christian's Heaven had
been dazzling and lovely. It was a feat of word-painting,
accompanied with dramatic gestures which brought the
white-hot sulphur of Hell to one's very feet, and with intonations
of voice which suggested the eternal despair of
the damned.

“There!” he cried, lifting his long arms high above his
head, and then bringing them down with a rushing swoop


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until his hands nearly touched the floor, — “Sinners, there
is your bed! In the burning lake — in the bottomless seas
of fire, — where the Evil that now flatters you with honeyed
kisses shall sting and gnaw and torture forever, —
where the fallen angels themselves shall laugh at your agonies,
and the burning remorse of millions of ages shall not
avail to open the gates of the pit! For you will be forever
sinking down — down — DOWN — DOWN, in the eternity
of Hell!”

He shouted out the last words as if crying from the
depths of anguish he had depicted. His face was like that
of a lost angel, grand and awful in its gloomy light. Exclamations
of “Lord, have mercy!” “Lord, save me!”
arose all over the church, and some of the mourners in
front became frantic in their despairing appeals. Bolty,
at my side, was sobbing violently. For myself, I felt oppressed
and bewildered; my mind seemed to be narcotized
by some weird influence, though I was not conscious of any
terror on my soul's account.

Brother Mellowby's tone suddenly changed again.
Stretching forth his hands imploringly, he called, in accents
of piercing entreaty, “Why do ye delay? See, the
Redeemer stands ready to receive you! Now is the accepted
time, and now is the day of salvation. Kneel down
at His feet, acknowledge Him, lay your burden into His
willing hands. Oh, were your sins redder than scarlet,
they shall be washed white; oh, were the gates now yawning
to receive you, He would snatch you as a brand from
the burning; oh, if your hearts are bruised and bleeding,
they will be healed; oh, the tears will be wiped from your
eyes; oh, your souls will rejoice and will sing aloud in gratitude
and triumph, and you will feel the blessed assurance
of salvation which the world cannot take away!”

Tears rolled down his cheeks as he uttered these words:
a softer yet not less powerful influence swayed the doubtful
mourners. They shook as reeds in the wind, and one by


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one, amid shouts of “Glory! glory!” tottered forward and
sank down among the other suppliants.

I could not doubt the solemn reality of the scene. The
preacher felt, with every fibre of his body, that he was announcing
God's truth, and the “mourners,” as they were
called, were, for the hour at least, sincere in their self-accusations
and their cry for some evidence of pardon. I comprehended
also, from what I saw and heard, that there was
indeed a crisis or turning-point of the excitement, beyond
which the cries of penitence and supplication became joyful
hosannas. There, before me, human souls seemed to
be hovering in the balance, each fighting for itself the
dread battle of Armageddon, the issue of which was to fix
its eternal fate. Some were crouching in guilty fear of the
Wrath they had invoked, while others sprang upward with
radiant faces, as if to grasp the garments of the invisible
herald of mercy. The tragedy of our spiritual nature, in
all its extremes of agony and joy, was there dimly enacted.

It was impossible to stand still and behold all this unmoved.
I was not conscious of being touched, either by
the Terror or the Promise; but a human sympathy with the
passion of the fluctuating, torn, and shattered spirits around
me — drifted here and there like the eddies of ghosts in
the circles of Dante's “Purgatorio” — filled me with boundless
pity. The tears were running down my face before I
knew it. Yet I could not repress a feeling of astonishment
when I saw the impassive Bolty led forward weeping
and roaring for mercy, and bend down his bullet-head in
the midst of the mourners.

Presently Uncle Amos came towards me. He laid his
hand affectionately upon my shoulder, and said, with a tone
in which there was triumph as well as persuasion, “Ah, I
see you are touched at last, John. Now you will know
what it is to experience Religion. The gates are opened
this night, and there is joy and glory enough for all. Come
forward, and let us pray together.”


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He took hold of my arm, but I drew back. I could not
plunge into that chaos of shrieks and sobbing, around the
“anxious seat.”

“How?” said my uncle, in grave surprise: “with all this
testimony of the saving power of Grace, you are not willing
to pray?”

“Oh, yes,” I answered, “I am willing to pray.”

“Come, then.”

“I need not go there to do it. I can pray, in my heart,
here, just as well.”

“Ah!” he exclaimed, “it was thus that the Pharisee
prayed; but the poor publican, who threw himself on the
ground and cried, `God, be merciful to me a sinner!' made
the prayer which was accepted.”

“No, Uncle Amos,” I retorted, “the publican did not
throw himself upon the ground. The Bible says he stood
afar off, and smote upon his breast.”

I was perfectly earnest and sincere in what I said, but I
verily believe that my uncle suspected a hidden sarcasm in
my words. He left me abruptly, and I soon saw him in
conversation with the Rev. Mr. Brandreth, in the forward
part of the aisle. It was not long before the latter, stopping
by the way to stoop and whisper encouragement into the
ears of some who were kneeling in the pews, approached
the place where I stood. I knew, immediately, that he had
been sent, but I did not shrink from the encounter, because,
so far as I knew him, I had found him to be an amiable
and kindhearted man. My tears of sympathy were
already dry, but I felt that I was trembling and excited.

“Brother Godfrey,” said the clergyman, “are you ready,
to-night, to acknowledge your Saviour?”

“I have always done it,” I answered; “I belong to the
Lutheran Church.”

“You are a professing Christian, then?”

I did not precisely know what meaning he attached to
the word “professing,” but I answered, “Yes.”


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“We accept all such to free communion with us. Come
and unite with us in prayer for these perishing souls!”

I again declined, giving him the same reason as I had
given to my uncle. But the clergyman's reply to this plea
was not so easy to evade.

“In the hearing of God,” said he, “your prayer may be
just as fervent; but, so far as your fellow-mortals are concerned,
it is lost. While you stand here, you are counted
among the cold and the indifferent. Give a visible sign of
your pious interest, my brother; think that some poor,
timorous soul, almost ready to acknowledge its sin and cry
aloud for pardon, may be helped to eternal salvation by
your example. Come forward and pray for and with them
who are just learning to pray. If you feel the blessed
security in your own heart, oh, come and help to pour it
into the hearts of others!”

He said much more to the same effect, and I found it
very difficult to answer him. I was bewildered and distressed,
and my only distinct sensation was that of pain.
The religious sentiment in my nature seemed to be raked
and tortured, not serenely and healthfully elevated. But I
was too young to clearly comprehend either myself or
others, and I saw no way out of the dilemma except to
kneel, as Mr. Brandreth insisted, and pray silently for the
rest of the evening.

I therefore allowed him to lead me forward. The congregation,
of course, supposed that I came as another
mourner, — another treasure-trove, cast up from the raging
deeps, — and greeted my movement with fresh shouts
and hosannas. Uncle Amos gave a triumphant exclamation
of “Glory!” or, rather, “Gullow-ry!” as he pronounced
it, in the effort to make as much as possible out
of the word. Brother Mellowby tossed back his floating
hair, threw out his long arms, and cried, “Another — still
another! Oh, come all! this night there is rejoicing in
Heaven! This night the throne of Hell totters!”


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The “anxious seat” was painful to contemplate at a distance,
but there was something terrifying in a nearer view.
A girl of twenty, whose comb had been broken in tearing
off her bonnet, leaped up and down, with streaming hair,
clapping her hands, and shouting, or rather chanting,
“Praise the Lord, praise the Lord, O my soul!” Another
lay upon her back on the floor, screaming, while Aunt
Peggy, leaning over the back of the next pew, fanned her
face with a palm-leaf fan. The men were less violent in
their convulsions, but their terrible weeping and sobbing
was almost more than I could bear to hear.

I was glad to sink into some vacant place, and bury my
face in my hands, that I might escape, in a measure, from
the curious eyes of the unconverted spectators and the mistaken
rejoicings of the church-members. On either side
of me was a strong, full-grown man, — one motionless, and
groaning heavily from time to time, while the other, after
spasms during which he threw up his head and arms, and
literally howled, fell down again, and confessed his secret
sins audibly at my very ear. He was either unconscious
of the proximity of others, or carried too far in his excitement
to care for it. I could not avoid hearing the man's
acknowledged record of guilt, — let not the reader imagine
that I ever betrayed him, — and I remember thinking,
even in the midst of my own bewilderment, that he was a
very venial sinner, at the worst, and his distress was altogether
out of proportion to his offences. God would certainly
pardon him. This thought led me to an examination
of my own life. To Uncle Amos I had rather indignantly
repelled the epithet of “sinner,” but might I not, after all,
be more culpable than I had supposed? Was there nothing
on account of which I might not plead for the Divine

But I was not allowed to proceed far in this silent survey
of my life. Supposing, after my conversation with Mr.
Brandreth, that the attitude and fact of prayer was all that


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was required of me, as an evidence of sympathy and a possible
help to some hesitating soul, I made no further demonstrations,
but knelt, with my arms upon the bench and
my forehead bowed upon them. I was beginning to collect
my confused thoughts, when a lamenting female voice was
heard at my ear, “How do you feel, John?”

If a feeling of exasperation at such a place and time was
sinful, I sinned. “Aunt Peggy,” I said, somewhat sternly,
— (for I knew that unless I made answer the question
would be repeated,) — “Aunt Peggy, I am trying to pray.”

She left me, but I was not long alone. As soon as I
heard a combined creaking of boot-soles and knee-joints
behind me, I knew whose voice would follow. I was patted
on the back by a large, dumpy hand, and Uncle Amos said,
in a hollow undertone, “That 's right; John, pray on! shall
I help you to throw down your burden?”

My nerves twitched and drew back, as his heavy arm
stole across my neck. This was the climax of my distress,
and I plucked up a desperate courage to meet it. “Uncle
Amos,” said I, “I can neither pray nor think here, among
these people. Let me go home to my room, and I promise
you that, before I sleep to-night, I will know what is in my
heart and what are its relations to God!”

Mr. Brandreth was standing near, and heard my words.
At least, some voice which I took to be his, whispered, “I
think it will be best.” I have a dim recollection of getting
out of the church by the door in the rear of the pulpit; of
my aunt walking home beside me, under the starry sky,
uttering lamentations to which I paid no heed; of rushing
breathlessly up the staircase to my garret, opening the window,
drawing a chair beside it, resting my chin on the window-sill,
and shedding tears of pure joy and relief on finding
myself alone in the holy peace and silence of the
night. The presence of God came swiftly down to me
from the starry deeps. “Here is my heart!” cried a voice
in my breast; “look at it, Father, and tell me what I am!”


Page 122

Then I seemed to behold it myself, and strove to disentangle
the roots of Self from the memory of my boyish life,
that I might stand apart and judge it. I found pride, impatience,
folly; but they were as light surface-waves which
disappeared with their cause. I found childish likes and
dislikes; silly little enmities, which had left no sting;
pranks, instigated by the spirit of Fun rather than that of
Evil; and later, secret protests against the sorrows and
trials of my life. But all these things gave me less trouble
than one little incident which perversely clung to my memory,
and still does, with a sense of shame which I shall
never be able to overcome. Several of us boys were playing
about the tavern at the Cross-Keys, one afternoon in
August, when a dealer in water-melons came by with a cart-load
of them for sale. We looked on, with longing eyes
and watery mouths, while he disposed of several; and at
last the dealer generously gave us one which had been several
times “plugged,” and was cracked at one end. We
hurried under the barn-bridge with our treasure, and agreed
to take “slice about,” so as to have an equal division. The
crack, however, divided the solid, sweet, crimson centre
from the seedy strip next the rind — so we commenced with
the latter, leaving a tower of delicious aspect standing in
the midst of the melon. I looked at it until I became
charmed, entranced, insane with desire to crush its cool,
sugared filigree upon my tongue, and when my next turn
came, stretched forth a daring hand and cut off the tower!
The other boys looked at each other: one gave a long
whistle; one exclaimed “Goy!” and the third added the
climax by the sentence, “What a hog!” Before I had finished
eating the tower it had turned to gall and wormwood
in my mouth. I chocked it down, however, and went home,
without touching the melon again.

That night, as I leaned upon the window-sill, and recalled
my faults and frailties, this incident came back and placed
itself in the front rank of my offences. I could look calmly,


Page 123
or with a scarcely felt remainder of penitence, upon all
else, but my humiliation for this act burned as keenly as
on the first day. It so wearied me, finally, that I gave up
the retrospect. I was satisfied that God's omnipotent love,
not his wrath, overhung and embraced me; that my heart,
though often erring and clouded, never consciously lusted
after Evil. I longed for its purification, not for its change.
I should not shrink from Death, if he approached, through
fear of the Hereafter; I might receive a low seat in Paradise,
but I certainly had done nothing — and would not,
with God's help — to deserve the awful punishment which
Brother Mellowby had described.

In relating this portion of my life, I trust that I shall not
be misunderstood. I owe reverence to the spirit of Devotion,
in whatever form it is manifested, and have no intention
of assailing, or even undervaluing, that which I have
just described. There are, undoubtedly, natures which can
only be reached by brandishing the menace of retribution,
— perhaps, also, by the agency of strong physical excitement.
I do not belong to such. Religion enters my heart
through the gateway of Love and not that of Fear. The
latter entrance was locked and the key thrown away, almost
before I can remember it. Brother Mellowby's revival
had an influence upon my after-fortunes, as will be seen
presently, and I therefore relate it precisely as it occurred.

Two hours passed away while I sat at the open window.
I cannot now reproduce all the movements of my mind, nor
follow the devious ways by which, at the last, I reached the
important result — peace. When it was over, I felt languid
in body, but at heart immensely cheered and strengthened.
I foresaw that trouble awaited me, but I was better armed
to meet it.

I had scarcely gone to bed, before Bolty made his appearance.
From the suppressed shouts of “Glory! Glory!”
as he was ascending the last flight of stairs, I knew
that he had “got through,” — to use Uncle Amos's expression.


Page 124
I therefore counterfeited sleep, and was regaled with
snatches of triumphant hymns, and a very long and hoarsely
audible prayer, delivered at the foot of the bed, before he
became subdued enough to sleep. The powers of his big
body must have been severely taxed, for, when I arose in
the morning, he still lay locked in a slumber as heavy and
motionless as death. In fact, he did not awake until nearly
noon, Uncle Amos not allowing him to be disturbed. The
latter looked at me sharply and frequently during the day,
but he had no opportunity for reference to my spiritual condition,
except in the course of the unusually prolonged
grace at dinner. He prayed with unction both for Bolty
and myself.

In the evening, when he announced that we might again
put up the shutters at eight o'clock, in order to attend the
services, I quietly said, —

“It is n't necessary, Uncle Amos. I am not going to
your church this evening.”

He grew very red about the jaws, and the veins on his
forehead swelled. “What did you promise me last evening?”
he asked.

“I have kept my promise,” I answered. “It would be
a mockery if I should go forward with the rest to repent of
sins which have been already forgiven. I understand, now,
what you mean by a change of heart, but I do not need it.”

Uncle Amos threw up his hands and exclaimed, “Lord,
deliver me from vanity of heart!” Aunt Peggy, in her
dingy bombazine bonnet, fell into spasms of clucking, and
this time did really shed a few tears as she cried, “To think
that one o' my family should be so hardened!”

“I should like to know where the Pharisees are now!”
I cried, hot with anger.

“Come, wife, — let us pray to-night for the obdoorate
sinner!” said my uncle, taking her by the arm. Bolty followed,
and they all went to church, leaving me in the store.

After I had closed for the night, I resumed my post at


Page 125
the bedroom-window, and reflected upon my probable position
in the house. It had hitherto been barely endurable
to a youth of my tastes and my ambition, but now I foresaw
that it would become insupportable. Neither uncle nor
aunt, I was sure, would ever look upon me with favor; and
even Bolty, who had thus far tacitly befriended me, might
think it his duty to turn informer and persecutor. I much
more than earned my board by my services, and therefore
recognized no moral obligation towards my uncle. The legal
one still existed, but it could not force me to lead a
slavish and unhappy life against my will. I should not get
possession of my little property for a year and a half; but
I could certainly trust to my own resources of hand or brain,
in the meantime. The matter was soon settled in my mind:
I would leave “A. Woolley's Grocery Store” forever.