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Newspaper Page Text
For the first few weeks all had
gone swimmingly; then the scandal
ous stories had begun to spread,
Nora had been cut by the townspeo-
pie; they had looked the other way
when. John passed along the street;
the situation had beoome unbearable,
There was nothing to do but leave
k "Nora," said John that evening, "I
have decided to give up the ministry,
Let us go west and make ourselves
independent; then we will have no
body to fear, and then
"Rich?" inquired Nora. "You know
I could have made a good deal of
money upon the stage.''
"Then IH start a church of my
own," answered John grimly.
There .were too many churches in
Small Falls. They jostled each other
upon the main street and lh the sub
urbs. There were perhaps a dozen
of them, and most of them were"
empty. The ministers, straggling
along on a bare pittance, partook
necessarily of the narrow views of
their Sock, controlled by the well-to-do,
hard-minded men- who used these
, institutions to advance their own in
terests. Five years after John Ramsay's
disappearance he had been quite for
gotten. When John Ramsey and his
wife registered at the hotel they
found hardly a soul they had ever
When ,they bought the finest
house in town, however, there was a
fluttering among social leaders.
Their wealth seemed to be unlimited.
As a matter of fact, John Ramsay
had made a cool million in the gold
fields and meant to devote half of it
-When the storv went about that
John Ramsay was the discharged
minister, everybody began to leave
cards out of curiosity. Mrs. Ramsay,
who had beei. snubbed and neglect
ed, found herself a- sqcial light in
Small Falls. The local newspapers
were full of accounts of thelpular.
minister" who had given up the pas
torate to go into business.
Only one man doggedly refused to
acknowledge him. " That was Deacon
.Crawford. He was the richest man
in town, and, in general, his word
was law. However, something hap
pened that sent the deacon post
haste to John's house. It was an in
credible rumor that had gone
through Small Falls.
"What's this I hear about your giv
ing salaries to the Small Falls minis
ters?" he demanded.
. "It's true, deacon, and It ought tQ
interest you," said John. "Every '
minister in Small Falls will be paid a
salary of 530 a week out of the cap
ital fund as long as he holds office
here, ho matter what his denomina
tion. "What's the game? I don't see
it," said the deacon. "You're simply'
paying it into the church funds." Do
you suppose we'll pay put a cent of
salary if you do?"
"Does any of-the churches pay its
ministers $30 a week? Or $25?"
asked John warmly. '
"Well, what's the game? You ain't
throwing your money away for noth
ing, are you?" Inquired the edacon.
"It's this," said John. "When I was
your minister you insulted my wife
and drove me away because she had
been on the stage. Not that you
have any principles against the stage
or about anything except money
making. . But it suited your purpose.
You and a small gang of you have
got a stranglehold on Christianity.
You have narrowed it and turned its
love into gall; you have used it to
keep the town hard and money
bound like yourselves, so that your
ways, your views, your doctrines,
your worldliness should be identified
with the divine teaching. Well, dea
con, that's ended.
"The ministers in Small Falls, no
matter who they are or where they
come from, are going to be free men,
free to preach and teach according to
their hearts They are going to open