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The Chainbearer; Or, The Littlepage Manuscripts By James Fenimore Cooper Characters: 34182

Updated: 2017-12-01 00:03


"Well may we sing her beauties

This pleasant land of ours,

Her sunny smiles, her golden fruits,

And all her world of flowers.

And well would they persuade us now,

In moments all too dear,

That, sinful though our hearts may be,

We have our Eden here."

-Simms.

* * *

The following day was Sunday. I did not rise until nine, and when I withdrew the curtains and opened the shutters of my window, and looked out upon the lawn, and the fields beyond it, and the blue void that canopied all, I thought a lovelier day, or one more in harmony with the tranquil character of the whole scene, never shone from the heavens. I threw up the sash, and breathed the morning air which filled my dressing-room, pregnant with the balms and odors of the hundred sweet-smelling flowers and plants that embellished the shrubberies. The repose of the Sabbath seemed to rest on man and beast; the bees and humming-birds that buzzed about the flowers, even at their usual pursuits, seemed as if conscious of the sanctity of the day. I think no one can be insensible to the difference there is between a Sabbath in the country and any other day of the week. Most of this, doubtless, is the simple consequence of abstaining from labor; but, connected with the history of the festival, its usual observances, and the holy calm that appears to reign around, it is so very obvious and impressive, that a Sunday in a mild day in June is to me ever a delicious resting-place, as a mere poetical pause in the bustling and turmoil of this world's time. Such a day was that which succeeded the night through which we had just passed, and it came most opportunely to soothe the spirits, tranquillize the apprehensions, and afford a moment for sober reflection.

There lay the smouldering ruins of the barn, it is true; a blackened monument of a wicked deed; but the mood which had produced this waste and wrong appeared to have passed away; and in all other respects, far and near, the farms of Ravensnest had never spread themselves before the eye in colors more in consonance with the general benevolence of a bountiful nature. For a moment, as I gazed on the broad view, I felt all my earlier interests in it revive, and am not ashamed to own that a profound feeling of gratitude to God came over me, when I recollected it was by his Providence I was born the heir to such a scene, instead of having my lot cast among the serfs and dependents of other regions.

After standing at the window a minute, in contemplation of that pleasing view, I drew back, suddenly and painfully conscious of the character and extent of the combination that existed to rob me of my rights in it. America no longer seemed America to my eyes; but in place of its ancient submission to the law, its quick distinction between right and wrong, its sober and discriminating liberty, which equally avoided submission to the injustice of power, and the excesses of popular delusions, there had been substituted the rapacity of the plunderer, rendered formidable by the insidious manner in which it was interwoven with political machinery, and the truckling of the wretches intrusted with authority; men who were playing into the hands of demagogues, solely in order to secure majorities to perpetuate their own influence. Was, then, the State really so corrupt as to lend itself to projects as base as those openly maintained by the anti-renters? Far from it: four men out of five, if not a larger proportion, must be, and indeed are, sensible of the ills that their success would entail on the community, and would lift up heart and hand to-morrow to put them down totally and without pity; but they have made themselves slaves of the lamp; have enlisted in the ranks of party, and dare not oppose their leaders, who wield them as Napoleon wielded his masses, to further private views, apostrophizing and affecting an homage to liberty all the while! Such is the history of man!

When the family met in the breakfast-room, a singular tranquillity prevailed among us. As for my grandmother, I knew her spirit and early experience, and was not so much surprised to find her calm and reasonable; but these qualities seemed imparted to her four young companions also. Patt could laugh, and yield to her buoyant spirits, just the same as if nothing had occurred, while my uncle's other wards maintained a lady-like quiet, that denoted anything but apprehension. Mary Warren, however, surprised me by her air and deportment. There she sat, in her place at the table, looking, if possible, the most feminine, gentle, and timid of the four. I could scarcely believe that the blushing, retiring, modest, pretty daughter of the rector could be the prompt, decided, and clear-headed young girl who had been of so much service to me the past night, and to whose coolness and discretion, indeed, we were all indebted for the roof that was over our heads, and some of us, most probably, for our lives.

Notwithstanding this air of tranquillity, the breakfast was a silent and thoughtful meal. Most of the conversation was between my uncle and grandmother, and a portion of it related to the disposal of the prisoners. There was no magistrate within several miles of the Nest, but those who were tainted with anti-rentism; and to carry Seneca and his companion before a justice of the peace of this character, would be, in effect, to let them go at large. Nominal bail would be taken, and it is more than probable the constable employed would have suffered a rescue, did they even deem it necessary to go through this parade of performing their duties. My uncle, consequently, adopted the following plan. He had caused the two incendiaries to be transferred to the old farm-house, which happened to contain a perfectly dry and empty cellar, and which had much of the security of a dungeon, without the usual defects of obscurity and dampness. The red-men had assumed the office of sentinels, one having his station at the door, while another watched near a window which admitted the light, while it was scarcely large enough to permit the human body to squeeze through it. The interpreter had received instructions from the agent to respect the Christian Sabbath; and no movement being contemplated for the day, this little duty just suited their lounging, idle habits, when in a state of rest. Food and water, of course, had not been forgotten; and there my uncle Ro had left that portion of the business, intending to have the delinquents carried to a distant magistrate, one of the judges of the county, early on Monday morning. As for the disturbers of the past night, no signs of them were any longer visible; and there being little extensive cover near the Nest, no apprehension was felt of any surprise.

We were still at breakfast, when the tone of St. Andrew's bell came floating, plaintively, through the air, as a summons to prepare ourselves for the services of the day. It was little more than a mile to the church, and the younger ladies expressed a desire to walk. My grandmother, attended by her son, therefore, alone used the carriage, while we young people went off in a body, on foot, half an hour before the ringing of the second bell. Considering the state of the country, and the history of the past night, I was astonished at my own indifference on this occasion, no less than at that of my charming companions; nor was it long before I gave utterance to the feeling.

"This America of ours is a queer place, it must be admitted," I cried, as we crossed the lawn to take a foot-path that would lead us, by pleasant pastures, quite to the church-door, without entering the highway, except to cross it once; "here we have the whole neighborhood as tranquil as if crime never disturbed it, though it is not yet a dozen hours since riot, arson, and perhaps murder, were in the contemplation of hundreds of those who live on every side of us. The change is wonderful!"

"But, you will remember it is Sunday, Hugh," put in Patt. "All summer, when Sunday has come, we have had a respite from disturbances and fears. In this part of the country, the people are too religious to think of desecrating the Sabbath by violence and armed bands. The anti-renters would lose more than they would gain by pursuing a different course."

I had little or no difficulty in believing this, it being no unusual thing, among us, to find observances of this nature clinging to the habits of thousands, long after the devout feeling which had first instilled it into the race has become extinct. Something very like it prevails in other countries, and among even higher and more intellectual classes, where it is no unusual thing to find the most profound outward respect manifested toward the altar and its rites, by men who live in the hourly neglect of the first and plainest commands of the decalogue. We are not alone, therefore, in this pharisaical spirit, which exists, in some mode or other, wherever man himself is to be found.

But this equivocal piety was certainly manifested to a striking degree, that day, at Ravensnest. The very men who were almost desperate in their covetous longings appeared at church, and went through the service with as much seeming devotion as if conscious of no evil; and a general truce appeared to prevail in the country, notwithstanding there must have been much bitterness of feeling among the discomfited. Nevertheless, I could detect in the countenances of many of the old tenants of the family, an altered expression, and a coldness of the eye, which bespoke anything but the ancient friendly feeling which had so long existed between us. The solution was very simple; demagogues had stirred up the spirit-not of the institutions, but-of covetousness, in their breasts; and so long as that evil tendency predominated, there was little room for better feelings.

"Now I shall have another look at the canopied pew," I cried, as we entered the last field, on our way to the church. "That offensive, but unoffending object, had almost gone out of my mind's eye, until my uncle recollected it, by intimating that Jack Dunning, as he calls his friend and council, had written him it must come down."

"I agree with Mr. Dunning altogether," answered Martha, quickly. "I wish with all my heart, Hugh, you would order that hideous-looking thing to be taken away this very week."

"Why this earnestness, my dear Patt? There has the hideous thing been ever since the church was built, which is now these threescore years, and no harm has come of it, as I know."

"It is harm to be so ugly. It disfigures the church; and then I do not think distinctions of that sort are proper for the house of God. I know this ever has been my grandmother's opinion; but finding her father-in-law and husband desirous of such an ornament, she consented in silence, during their lives."

"What do you say to all this, Miss Warren," I asked, turning to my companion, for by some secret influence I was walking at her side. "Are you 'up canopy' or 'down canopy'?"

"'Down canopy,'" answered Mary, firmly. "I am of Mrs. Littlepage's opinion, that churches ought to contain as little as possible to mark worldly distinctions. Such distinctions are inseparable from life, I know; but it is to prepare for death that we enter such buildings."

"And your father, Miss Warren-have you ever heard him speak of my unfortunate pew?"

Mary hesitated an instant, changed color, then looked up into my face with a countenance so ingenuous and lovely, that I would have forgiven her even a severe comment on some act of folly of my own.

"My father is an advocate for doing away with pews altogether," she answered, "and, of course, can have no particular wish to preserve yours. He tells me, that in the churches of the Romanists, the congregation sit, stand, or kneel, promiscuously before the altar, or crowd around the pulpit, without any distinction of rank or persons. Surely, that is better than bringing into the very temple the most pitiful of all worldly classifications, that of mere money."

"It is better, Miss Warren; and I wish, with all my heart, the custom could be adopted here. But the church that might best dispense with the support obtained from pews, and which by its size and architecture, is best fitted to set the example of a new mode, has gone on in the old way, I understand, and has its pews as well as another."

"Do we get our custom from England, Hugh!" demanded Martha.

"Assuredly; as we do most others, good, bad and indifferent. The property-notion would be very likely to prevail in a country like England; and then it is not absolutely true that everybody sits in common, even in the churches of the continent of the old world. The seigneur, under the old regime, in France, had his pew, usually; and high dignitaries of the State in no country are found mingling with the mass of worshippers, unless it be in good company. It is true, a duchesse will kneel in the crowd, in most Romish churches, in the towns, for there are too many such persons to accommodate all with privileged seats, and such honors are reserved for the very great; but in the country, there are commonly pews, in by-places, for the great personages of the neighborhood. We are not quite so bad as we fancy ourselves, in this particular, though we might be better."

"But you will allow that a canopied pew is unsuited to this country, brother?"

"Not more to this than to any other. I agree that it is unsuited to all places of worship, where the petty differences between men, which are created by their own usages, should sink into insignificance, in the direct presence, as it might be, of the power of God. But, in this country, I find a spirit rising, which some persons would call the 'spirit of the institutions,' that is forever denying men rewards, and honors, and credit exactly in the degree in which they deserve them. The moment a citizen's head is seen above the crowd of faces around him, it becomes the mark of rotten eggs, as if he were raised in the pillory, and his fellow-creatures would not tolerate any difference in moral stature."

"How do you reconcile that with the great number of Catos, and Brutuses, not to say of the Gracchi, that are to be found among us?" asked Mary Warren, slyly.

"Oh! these are the mere creatures of party-great men for the nonce. They are used to serve the purposes of factions, and are be-greated for the occasion. Thus it is, that nine-tenths of the Catos you mention are forgotten, even by name, every political lustrum. But let a man rise, independently of the people, by his own merit, and see how the people will tolerate him. Thus it is with my pew-it is a great pew, and become great without any agency of the 'folks;' and the 'folks' don't like it."

The girls laughed at this sally, as light-hearted, happy girls will laugh at anything of the sort; and Patt put in her retort, in her own direct, spirited manner.

"It is a great ugly thing, if that concession will flatter your vanity," she said, "and I do entreat it may come down greatly, this present week. Really, you can have no notion, Hugh, how much talk it has made of late."

"I do not doubt it, my dear. The talk is all aimed at the leases; everything that can be thought of, being dragged into the account against us poor landlords, in order to render our cause unpopular, and thus increase the chances of robbing us with impunity. The good people of this State little imagine that the very evils that the enemies of the institutions have long predicted, and which their friends have as warmly repudiated, are now actively at work among us, and that the great experiment is in imminent danger of failing, at the very moment the people are loudly exulting in its success. Let this attempt on property succeed, ever so indirectly, AND IT WILL BE FOLLOWED UP BY OTHERS, WHICH WILL AS INEVITABLY DRIVE US INTO DESPOTISM, AS A REFUGE AGAINST ANARCHY, AS EFFECT SUCCEEDS TO CAUSE. The danger exists, now, in its very worst form-that of political demagogueism-and must be met, face to face, and put down manfully, and on true principles, or, in my poor judgment, we are gone. Cant is a prevailing vice of the nation, more especially political and religious cant, and cant can never be appeased by concessions. My canopy shall stand, so long as anti-rentism exists at Ravensnest, or be torn down by violence; when men return to their senses, and begin to see the just distinctions between meum and tuum, the cook may have it for oven-wood, any day in the week."

As we were now about to cross the stile that communicated with the highway, directly in front of the church, the conversation ceased, as unsuited to the place and the occasion. The congregation of St. Andrew's was small, as is usually the case with country congregations of its sect, which are commonly regarded with distrust by the descendants of the Puritans in particular, and not unfrequently with strong aversion. The rowdy religion-half-cant, half-blasphemy-that Cromwell and

his associates entailed on so many Englishmen, but which was not without a degree of ferocious, narrow-minded sincerity about it, after all, has probably been transmitted to this country, with more of its original peculiarities than exist, at the present day, in any other part of the world. Much of the narrow-mindedness remains; but, unhappily, when liberality does begin to show itself in these sects, it is apt to take the character of latitudinarianism. In a word, the exaggerations and false principles that were so common among the religious fanatics of the American colonies in the seventeenth century, which burnt witches, hanged Quakers, and denounced all but the elect few, are now running their natural race, with the goal of infidelity in open view before them. Thus will it be, also, with the abuses of political liberty, which must as certainly terminate in despotism, unless checked in season; such being not the "spirit of the institutions," but the tendency of human nature, as connected with everything in which the right is abandoned to sustain the wrong.

Mr. Warren, I found, was a popular preacher, notwithstanding the disfavor with which his sect was generally regarded. A prejudiced and provincial people were naturally disposed to look at everything that differed from their own opinions and habits with dislike; and the simple circumstance that he belonged to a church that possessed bishops, was of itself tortured into a proof that his sect favored aristocracy and privileged classes. It is true that nearly every other sect in the country had orders in the church, under the names of ministers, elders, and deacons, and was just as liable to the same criticism; but then they did not possess bishops, and having that which we do not happen to have ourselves, usually constitutes the gist of an offence, in cases of this sort. Notwithstanding these obstacles to popularity, Mr. Warren commanded the respect of all around him; and, strange as it may seem, none the less because, of all the clergy in that vicinity, he alone had dared to rebuke the spirit of covetousness that was abroad, and which it suits the morals of some among us to style the "spirit of the institutions;" a duty he had discharged on more than one occasion, and with great distinctness and force, though temperately and under the full influence of a profound feeling of Christian charity. This conscientious course had given rise to menaces and anonymous letters, the usual recourse of the mean and cowardly; but it had also increased the weight of his character, and extorted the secret deference of many who would gladly have entertained a different feeling toward him, had it been in their power.

My grandmother and uncle were already seated in the canopied pew when we pedestrians entered the church. Mary Warren turned into another aisle, and proceeded to the pew reserved for the rector, accompanied by my sister, while the other two ladies passed up to the chancel, and took their customary places. I followed, and for the first time in my life was seated beneath the offensive canopy, vested with all the rights of ownership. By the term "canopy," however, the reader is not to imagine anything like festooned drapery-crimson colors and gilded laces; our ambition had never soared so high. The amount of the distinction between this pew and any other in the church was simply this: it was larger and more convenient than those around it, an advantage which any other might have equally enjoyed who saw fit to pay for it, as had been the case with us, and it was canopied with a heavy, clumsy, ill-shaped sort of a roof, that was a perfect caricature of the celebrated baldachino of St. Peter's in Rome. The first of these advantages probably excited no particular envy, for it came within the common rule of the country, of "play and pay;" but as for the canopy, that was aristocratic, and was not to be tolerated. Like the leasehold tenure, it was opposed to the "spirit of the institutions." It is true, it did no real harm, as an existing thing; it is true, it had a certain use, as a memorial of past opinions and customs; it is true, it was property, and could not be touched without interfering with its privileges; it is true, that every person who saw it secretly felt there was nothing, after all, so very inappropriate in such a pew's belonging to a Littlepage; and, most of all, it was true that they who sat in it never fancied for a moment that it made them any better or any worse than the rest of their fellow-creatures. There it was, however; and, next to the feudal character of a lease, it was the most offensive object then existing in Ravensnest. It may be questioned if the cross, which occupied the place that, according to provincial orthodoxy, a weathercock should have adorned, or Mr. Warren's surplice, was one-half as offensive.

When I raised my head, after the private devotions which are customary with us semi-papishes, on entering a place of worship, and looking around me, I found that the building was crowded nearly to overflowing. A second glance told me that nearly every eye was fastened on myself. At first, the canopy having been uppermost so lately in my mind, I fancied that the looks were directed at that; but I soon became satisfied that I, in my own unworthy person, was their object. I shall not stop to relate most of the idle and silly reports that had got abroad, in connection with the manner and reason of my disguised appearance in the hamlet the preceding day, or in connection with anything else, though one of those reports was so very characteristic, and so entirely peculiar to the subject in hand, that I cannot omit it. That report was simply a rumor that I had caused one of my own barns to be set on fire, the second night of my arrival, in order to throw the odium of the act on those "virtuous and hard-working husbandmen," who only maintained an illegal and armed body on foot, just to bully and worry me out of my property. Yes, there I sat; altogether unconscious of the honor done me; regarded by quite half that congregation as the respected and just-minded youth who had devised and carried out precisely such a rascally scheme. Now no one who has not had the opportunity to compare, can form any idea how much more potent and formidable is the American "folks say," than the vulgar reports of any other state of society. The French on dit is a poor, pitiful report, placed by the side of this vast lever, which, like that of Archimedes, only wants a stand for its fulcrum, to move the world. The American "folks say" has a certain omnipotence, so long as it lasts, which arises from, not the spirit, but the character of the institutions themselves. In a country in which the people rule, "folks" are resolved that their "say" shall not pass for nothing. So few doubt the justice of the popular decision, that holy writ itself has not, in practical effect, one-half the power that really belongs to one of these reports, so long as it suits the common mind to entertain it. Few dare resist it; fewer still call in question its accuracy; though, in sober truth, it is hardly ever right. It makes and unmakes reputation, for the time being bien entendu; it even makes and unmakes patriots themselves. In short, though never quite truth, and not often very much like the truth, paradoxical as it may appear, it is truth, and nothing but the truth, pro hac vice. Everybody knows, nevertheless, that there is no permanency to what "folks say" about anything; and that "folks" frequently, nay, almost invariably, "unsay" what has been said six months before; yet, all submit to the authority of its dicta, so long as "folks" choose to "say." The only exception to this rule, and it merely proves it, is in the case of political parties, when there are always two "folks say" which flatly contradict each other; and sometimes there are half-a-dozen, no two of which are ever precisely alike!

There I sat, as I afterward learned, "the observed of all observers," merely because it suited the purposes of those who wished to get away my estate to raise various reports to my prejudice-not one of which, I am happy to have it in my power to say, was in any manner true. The first good look that I took at the congregation satisfied me that very much the larger part of it consisted of those who did not belong to St. Andrew's Church. Curiosity, or some worse feeling, had trebled the number of Mr. Warren's hearers that day-or, it might be more correct to say, of my observers.

There was no other interruption to the services than that which was produced by the awkwardness of so many who were strangers to the ritual. The habitual respect paid to religious rites kept every one in order; and, in the midst of a feeling that was as malignant and selfish as well could exist under circumstances of so little provocation, I was safe from violence, and even from insult. As for myself, little was or could be known of my character and propensities at Ravensnest. School, college, and travelling, with winter residences in town, had made me a sort of stranger in my own domain, and I was regarded through the covenants of my leases, rather than through any known facts. The same was true, though in a less degree, with my uncle, who had lived so much abroad as to be considered a sort of half foreigner, and one who preferred other countries to his own. This is an offence that is rarely forgiven by the masses in America, though it is probably the most venial sin that one who has had the opportunities of comparing can commit. Old nations offer so many more inducements than young nations to tempt men of leisure and cultivation to reside in them, that it is not surprising the travelled American should prefer Europe to his own quarter of the world; but the jealousy of a provincial people is not apt to forgive this preference. For myself, I have heard it said, and I believe it to be true, to a certain extent, that countries on the decline, supposing them to have been once at the summit of civilization, make pleasanter abodes for the idler than nations on the advance. This is one of the reasons why Italy attracts so many more visitors than England, though climate must pass for something in such a comparison. But these long absences, and supposed preferences for foreign life, had made my uncle Ro, in one sense, unpopular with the mass, which has been taught to believe, by means of interested and fulsome eulogies on their own state of society, that it implies something more than a want of taste, almost a want of principle, to prefer any other. This want of popularity, however, was a good deal relieved by a wide and deep conviction of my uncle's probity, as well as of his liberality, his purse having no more string to it than General Harrison's door was thought to have a latch. But the case was very different with my grandmother. The early part of her life had been spent at the Nest, and it was impossible so excellent a woman could be anything but respected. She had, in truth, been a sore impediment with the anti-renters; more especially in carrying out that part of their schemes which is connected with traduction, and its legitimate offspring, prejudice. It would hardly do to traduce this noble-minded, charitable, spirited, and just woman; yet, hazardous as the experiment must and did seem, it was attempted, and not altogether without success. She was accused of an aristocratic preference of her own family to the families of other people. Patt and I, it was urged, were only her grandchildren, and had ample provision made for us in other estates besides this-and a woman of Mrs. Littlepage's time of life, it was said, who had one foot in the grave, ought to have too much general philanthropy to give a preference to the interests of mere grandchildren, over the interests of the children of men who had paid her husband and sons rent, now, for quite sixty years. This attack had come from the pulpit, too, or the top of a molasses hogshead, which was made a substitute for a pulpit, by an itinerant preacher, who had taken a bit of job-work, in which the promulgation of the tenets of the gospel and those of anti-rentism was the great end in view.

As I have said, my good grandmother suffered somewhat in public estimation, in consequence of this assault. It is true, had any one openly charged the circulators of this silly calumny with their offence, they would have stoutly denied it; but it was none the less certain that this charge, among a hundred others, varying from it only in degree, and not at all in character, was industriously circulated in order to render the Littlepages unpopular; unpopularity being among us the sin that is apt to entail all the evil consequences of every other offence.

The reader who is not acquainted with the interior of our social habits, must not suppose that I am coloring for effect. So far from this, I am quite conscious of having kept the tone of the picture down, it being an undeniable truth that nothing of much interest, nowadays, is left to the simple decision of principles and laws, in this part of the country at least. The supremacy of numbers is so great, that scarce a private suit of magnitude is committed to a jury, without attempts, more or less direct, to influence the common mind in favor of one side or the other, in the hope that the jurors will be induced to think as the majority thinks. In Europe, it is known that judges were, nay, are, visited and solicited by the parties; but here, it is the public that must be treated in the same way. I am far from wishing to blazon the defects of my own country, and I know from observation, that corresponding evils, differing in their exterior aspects, and in their mode of acting, exist elsewhere; but these are the forms in which some of our defects present themselves, and he is neither a friend to his country, nor an honest man, who wishes them to be bundled up and cloaked, instead of being exposed, understood, and corrected. This notion of "nil nisi bene" has done an infinite degree of harm to the country; and, through the country, to freedom.

I do not think the worship of the temple amounted to any great matter that day in St. Andrew's Church, Ravensnest. Quite half the congregation was blundering through the liturgy, and every man who lost his place in the prayer-book, or who could not find it at all, seemed to fancy it was quite sufficient for the ritual of us semi-papists if he kept his eye on me and my canopied pew. How many pharisees were present, who actually believed that I had caused my own barn to be burned, in order to throw opprobrium on the "virtuous," "honest," and "hard-working" tenants, and who gave credit to the stories affecting my title, and all the rest of the stuff that calculating cupidity had set afloat in the country, I have no way of knowing; but subsequent circumstances have given me reason to suppose they were not a few. A great many men left the house of God that morning, I make no doubt, whose whole souls were wrapped up in effecting an act of the grossest injustice, professing to themselves to thank God that they were not as wicked as the being whom they desired to injure.

I stopped to say a word to Mr. Warren, in the vestry-room, after the people were dismissed, for he had not passed the night with us at the Nest, though his daughter had. After we had said a word about the occurrence of the morning, the good rector having heard a rumor of the arrest of certain incendiaries, without knowing who they were, I made a more general remark or two previously to quitting the place.

"Your congregation was unusually large this morning, sir," I said, smiling, "though not altogether as attentive as it might have been."

"I owe it to your return, Mr. Littlepage, aided by the events of the past day or two. At one moment I was afraid that some secret project was on foot, and that the day and place might be desecrated by some scene of disgraceful violence. All has gone off well in that respect, however, and I trust that no harm will come of this crowd. We Americans have a respect for sacred things, which will ordinarily protect the temple."

"Did you, then, think St. Andrew's ran any risk to-day, sir?"

Mr. Warren colored a little, and he hesitated an instant before he answered.

"You doubtless know, young sir," he said, "the nature of the feeling that is now abroad in the country. With a view to obtain its ends, anti-rentism drags every auxiliary it can find into its ranks, and, among other things, it has assailed your canopied pew. I own, that, at first, I apprehended some assault might be contemplated on that."

"Let it come, sir; the pew shall be altered on a general and right principle, but not until it is let alone by envy, malice, and covetousness. It would be worse to make a concession to these than to let the pew stand another half century."

With these words in my mouth, I took my leave, hastening on to overtake the girls in the fields.

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