of my brothers and sisters, though that too was verymoving.
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Then she rose and went to the window.
'O my! how dark it is!' she whispered, looking out into the night.
'Purty dark!' I said, 'but you needn't be 'fraid. I'll take care o' you. If we should meet a bear I'll growl right back at him - that's what Uncle Eb tol' me t' do. I'm awful stout - most a man now! Can't nuthin' scare me.'
We could hear them talking below stairs and we went back to bed, intending to go forth later when the house was still. But' unfortunately for our adventure I fell asleep.
It was morning when I opened my eyes again. We children looked accusingly at each other while eating breakfast. Then we had to be washed and dressed in our best clothes to go to meeting. When the wagon was at the door and we were ready to start I had doughnuts and bread and butter in every pocket of my coat and trousers. I got in quickly and pulled the blanket over me so as to conceal the fullness of my pockets. We arrived so late I had no chance to go to the dog before we went into meeting. I was wearing boots that were too small for me, and when I entered with the others and sat down upon one of those straight backed seats of plain, unpainted pine my feet felt as if I had been caught in a bear trap. There was always such a silence in the room after the elder had sat down and adjusted his spectacles that I could hear the ticking of the watch he carried in the pocket of his broadcloth waistcoat. For my own part I know I looked with too much longing for the good of my soul on the great gold chain that spanned the broad convexity of his stomach. Presently I observed that a couple of young women were looking at me and whispering. Then suddenly I became aware that there were sundry protuberances on my person caused by bread and butter and doughnuts, and I felt very miserable indeed. Now and then as the elder spoke the loud, accusing neigh of some horse, tethered to the fence in the schoolyard, mingled with his thunder. After the good elder had been preaching an hour his big, fat body seemed to swim in my tears. When he had finished the choir sang. Their singing was a thing that appealed to the eye as well as the ear. Uncle Eb used to say it was a great comfort to see Elkenah Samson sing bass. His great mouth opened widely in this form of praise and his eyes had a wild stare in them when he aimed at the low notes.
Ransom Walker, a man of great dignity, with a bristling moustache, who had once been a schoolmaster, led the choir and carried the tenor part. It was no small privilege after the elder had announced the hymn, to see him rise and tap the desk with his tuning fork and hold it to his ear solemnly. Then he would seem to press his chin full hard upon his throat while he warbled a scale. Immediately, soprano, alto, bass and tenor launched forth upon the sea of song. The parts were like the treacherous and conflicting currents of a tide that tossed them roughly and sometimes overturned their craft. And Ransom Walker showed always a proper sense of danger and responsibility. Generally they got to port safely on these brief excursions, though exhausted. He had a way of beating time with his head while singing and I have no doubt it was a great help to him.
The elder came over to me after meeting, having taken my tears for a sign of conviction.
'May the Lord bless and comfort you, my boy!' said he.
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could trust. To them he explained his plans and the rich
described to me by one who spent months at Batala, as,
of whom I thought, “If any one in that quarter be a secret
us?” I asked mildly. He had evidently not been fortunate
in water. He just managed to get in under the sluice gate
the room, playing at chess with our good Pastor, Nobin
of whirlpool. We will have eight at dinner to-day; quite
Sunday, after my earnest protest, the windows were opened,