NATION LOOKS ON AS A QUAKER GOES TO CHURCH
l ; BY JOSEPHINE TIGHE.
m u i HE Time: Any Sunday morning, rain
• M or shine, cold or hot.
f m The Place: A small, one-story,
j iff brick church in Columbia Heights.
Dramatis Personae: A squad of
busy, alert, important-looking police. Report
« era and photographers. Traffic cops. Secret
I Service operatives. Loafing messenger boys,
ft And more than likely a few cranks. Two
• long lines of men, women and children stretch
-1 In queue-like, west and north,
l Impediments: Taxicabs. Sight-seeing busses,
t Private automobiles. Movietone cars with su
t perimposed cameras and yards and yards of
Outstretched sound-absorbing hose.
t Finally, The Person, Himself. A Quaker
i goes to meeting. He is the Chief Executive of
c the most important country in the world. Her
( I>ert Hoover, President of the United States.
, At 9 o’clock any Sunday morning, rain or
shinev in chill or heat, the police squad
marries to the comer of Thirteenth and Irving
streets northwest, individual members filing off
to individual duties. One officer placards
, •tree-trunks and lamp-posts with "No Park
ing” signs. Others drag from behind the
church iron standards, placing them at inter
nal* around the wide lawns* of the Friend:#
, Orthodox Quaker Church, where the head o?
A nation worships. Heavy ropes are laced
, .through tops of these standards, to restrain vis
4tors from trampling the barberry hedge or the
trass. One policeman searches basement and
corridors to locate possible secreted trouble
makers. Another officer stations himself in a
.Wind alley extending between the edifice and
next building, a private residence, occupied, by
, \ the way, by a family of Quakers.
t. Traffic police take their positions and be
come human semaphores, hastening, slowing
pr detouring taxicabs, motor cycles, city and
eight-seeing busses and streams of private cars.
It is about 9:30 when these conveyances begin
to arrive and discharge their cargoes of visitors
to the "Presiden ‘s church." Pedestrians aug
ment the crowd, which the police keep in line,
| 'three and four abreast. It is the usual, quiet
ly dressed, well behaved throng of churchgoers,
[with here and there a flapper arrayed in pris
®ROM the church issue sounds of congrega
tional singing, accompanied by a piano.
It is Sunday school time. The infant class
'heroically raises shrill, childish treble in the
| never-to-be-forgotton song, “Hear the pennies
listen as they fall: every one for
Jesus; He will get them all!" Then the adult
clasa, ringing out meaningly and triumphantly.
“Onward. Christian Soldiers”—with many of
the waiting crowds joining in heartily. A final
prayer. The infant class is dismissed, wig
gling and giggling its way out between the
ihaased columns of sightseers. The majority
of "grown-ups” of the Sunday school remain
lor church service.
At precisely 20 minutes of 11 some 400 of
the patiently waiting visitors gain admission to
‘the edifice, while twice as many more are
"turned array, because there is no room for
£hem. Men of the Young People’s Society act
as ushers, members of the congregation re
ceiving first consideration for admission and
* The groups of persons unable to get into
the church remain to be consoled in seeing the
Smart, private car of the President drive up
to the church.
! Accompanied by secret service men—always
W absorbing interest to sightseers and the pub
j Mr. Bis bee's Princess
Doelger,” said Mr. Bisbee, as. quickly
* 'producing his gold match case, he gave Alice
To the vanity cases and mesh bags she paid
little attention, but when the cigarette cases
arrived, she took one of them up, saying:
“This one’s perfect.”
“But don’t you think,” Mrs. Murchison asked
Wm, “that cigarette cases make a rather
strange gift for bridesmaids?”
“In my younger days,” returned Mr. Bisbee
tactfully, “we might of thought so; but not any
longer, madam, not any longer.”
. “Certainly not,” said Alice. “Send me six of
thsm.” She rose. “Come along mother; I’m
late for the hairdresser.” But instead of fol
lowing Mrs. Murchison from the room, she
crossed, put her cigarette in the ash tray, and
leaning on the desk as if in no hurry, asked:
‘.‘When can you deliver them.”
“Before the end of the week,” he assured her.
He observed that her hand was resting idly on
the edge of the blotting pad, and that her
finger-tips were touching the back of the
magazine, which protruded slightly.
“That’ll do nicely,” she said. Now, in an
absent-minded manner, she was picking at the
“You are really satisfied that cigarette cases
aren’t in bad taste for a wedding?” she asked.
The copy of Chit-Chat was now in full view.
“Absolutely.” He backed toward the door,
hoping she would follow.
“Well,” she said, “I’m glad you feel that way.
I wouldn’t want to make mother uncomfort
ableyrou know. In fact, Mr. Bisbee,” she went
at him brightly. “I wouldn’t want
to make anybody uncomfortable—not for the
world. It makes one so uncomfortable to be
uncomfortable, doesn't it?” And with that,
never having once glanced at the detested jour
nal, she passed out of the room.
It was a busy day at the store of the William
P. Bisbee Co.; before mid-day Mrs. Emory
Rathbone came in, and under the personal at
tention of Mr. Bisbee himself, purchased as a
wedding gift a handsome set of sterling silver
tabic ornaments; and before closing time all
previous sales-records had been surpassed
Mr. Bisbee carried his cheerfulness home
with him—telling Stella and Pauline the good
news from the store, and it was not until they
THE SUNDAY STAR, WASHINGTON, D. C.. SEPTEMBER 29, 1929.
President Hoover , Member of the Little
Congregation on Columbia Heights , Takes
Part in Traditional Services of Friends.
lie generally—the White House automobile rolls
up to the church curb invariably at 10:55 a m.
and the presidential party enter the staid,
small house of worship.
The seated congregation, by this time made
up of Quakers, Methodists, Baptists, Jews, Gen
tiles. Catholics, respectfully rises and remains
standing until the Executive family is seated.
Except on rare occasions Mrs. Hoover, relatives,
house visitors or friends accompany the Presi
On the platform, by this time, is the pastor
of the Friends’ Orthodox Church of Washing
ton, the Rev. A. T. Murray; on his right, per
haps, a visiting lady Quakeress, say. of Phila
delphia: next to her, J. Edgar Hiatt, head of
the pastoral committee: on the pastor’s left,
usually two visiting Quakers. For several
minutes the group on the rostrum and the
people of the congregation remain deeply,
prayerfully contemplative, many of them with
half-bowed heads and closed eyelids. At 11,
Mr. Murray arises and leads in short, fervent
prayer. (It is usual in Protestant and Catho
lic stated prayers to ask of heaven divine
guidance for the President of the United
States, together with a plea for his continued
good health, and success in all his undertak
ings. As there are no stated prayers in Quaker
services, Mr. Hoover in his own church fails
to hear himself individually petitioned* for at
the Throne of Mercy.)
Mr. Murray resuming his seat, silence de
scends. The pleasant-voiced clock, over a
doorway, ticks and tocks with precision and
dignity. Two redbirds, which for years have
made their nests in the pin-oaks that line
Irving street, strain tiny throats in benisons
to the God of the Universe. All traffic has
been detoured for one hour, 11 a m. to noon,
and the only automobile horn heard is that
on a ridiculous, red-top automobile belonging
to a four-year-old "Little Breeches" of the
neighborhood. He respects no man, regards
not mother, ruler or police, and honk-honks
'J'IIESE are all the sounds which break the
meditative stillness, until a man’s voice
from somewhere in the congregation says:
“Let us sing hymn No. 295.” A rus ling of
hymn book leaves and the selection proves
to be "Sweet hour of prayer, sweet hour of
prayer, that calls me from a world of care.”
The piano furnishes the prelude and congre
gation, including the President, all seated, join
with measured sweetness in that soul-satisfying
melody of restfulness and faith.
After the hymn—silence. Tick tock, tick
tock, measures out the clock. “Glory to God iu
the highest—highest,” sing Mr. and Mrs. Red
bird. "Glory, glory, glory, glory!” chant the
feathered choristers outside.
“It is an old saying that God has set eternity
in a man’s heart.” Alfred Briggs, one of the
visiting Philadelphia Friends, is speaking. Ris
ing and pausing in prayer a moment, he steps
forward and gives this expression, continuing:
were seated at supper that his wife inquired
about his interview with Mr. Rathbone.
“He has the matter under advisement.” he
replied evasively, informed by some instinct
that it would be best to let her learn gradually
that the suit was abandoned. “A lawsuit’s an
expensive thing. It’s not a thing you want to
jump into without due consideration. Stella,
I been thinking a lot about the hardship
all this gossip’s been to you.”
“It’s about time you thought of me." she said.
“Well, that's what I been doing, all right,
and I guess you and Pauline'll be suited first
rate when you know what I've got in mind
Understand, I don't say positively I’ll do it, but
the way things are looking at the store, I ex
pect I can.” He leaned back, beaming at them,
and announced: “As a matter of fact, I’m
thinking of knocking off work for a while next
Summer and taking you both to Europe.”
“Oh, papa!” Pauline clapped her hands ec
statically, but from Mrs. Bisbee there came no
sign of pleasure.
Bending forward, she fixed him with a
shrewd scrutiny, demanding:
“Do I look as if I was born yesterday? Don't
imagine you fool me, William Bisbee! I know
why you want to go to Europe. It’s that woman
TT was not until the following Spring that
there burst upon the community again a
piece of news sufficiently sensational to divert
from Mr. Bisbee the last remnants of his fame.
Alice Murchison Thresher, who had started
with her husband on a leisurely trip around the
world, suddenly left him and came home to live,
and *umors concerning the reason for the
separation ran riot through the town.
Un.ler the furious torrent of new gossip M r .
Bisbee found himself and his last-year’s ro
mance submerged and apparently forgotten.
The saddening consciousness he had of drop
ping into the dull old ways culminated one eve
ning when he came home and found himself
involved in a new argument. Stella and Pau
line had decided that the sedan was inadequate
to their needs and that, since the new country
club would soon be opening they ought to have
a chauffer and a limousine.
When he mildly protested, Stella became
“Lord Bacon used the same idea when he wrote
God has set the world in man’s heart.’ • • *
I give you another precept, He that can spir
itualize democracy will save the world.’
* * * When Lawrence came out of Arabia sev
eral years ago he brought with him, from the
Arabs, a message to the world. It dwelt on the
permanence of the unseen and the imperma
nence of the seen. In this is food for thought.”
Again, silence, nowhere deeper, more solemn
or morf serious than within a Quaker colony,
in a Quaker church, deep in Quaker prayer
Tick tock. Tick tock. Tick tock. “Glory to
God in the highest!” Tick tock. Tick tock.
"Let us Sing No. 375.” Another soft leaving
of hymnbook pages. “More love to Thee, O
Christ, more love to Thee; this is my earnest
plea, more love. O Christ, to Thee!” Quaker,
Catholic. Jew and Gentile, a President and a
policeman, are joining in the chorus, “More love
to Thee!” The music hushes the clock and en
courages the redbirds liquid psalm.
At the end of the hymn. Mr. Murray i»
"moved by the spirit” to talk eloquently for 15
or more minutes. He selects as his theme two
modern posts, Tennyson and the Quaker poet
Whittier, and extemporaneously and impressive
ly quotes from them line after line, verse after
verse. When he has resumed his seat, there is
another period of potent, tender silence and the
head of the pastoral committee ian office cor
responding to elder, deacon or vestryman in
other Protestant forms of worship) gives notice
of a coming quarterly meeting at Lincoln,
Loudoun County. Va., adding. “The offering
will now be taken'." Four wooden plates arc
passed, even as in your church and mine; there
is one more short prayer, one more long sil
Precisely at noon Mr. Murray turns and
shakes hands smilingly, yet gravely, with the
Quakeress on his right and with the Friend on
his left. It is the signal that worship is over.
The congregation rises and remains standing
while a distinguished Friend and his party de
part. Another, and a typical, Friends' service
is over. A Quaker has been to meeting.
service men accompany the Presi
k dent and his party to the waiting motor,
enter their own machines, and there is a too
swift getaway, as far as the interested on
lookers are concerned. Gradually the groups
of visitors at the "President’s church” decrease.
Taxicabs drive up. load and speed away. News
photographers pack up their troubles and their
cameras in their old kit bags and depart.
Movietone operators cease grinding. And if
ever there was a delicious definition of the word
“futility,” it’s a Movietone reproduction of a
The hymnbook used in the Orthodox Quaker
Church today is called "Hymns of the United
Church,” edited by Charles Clayton Morrison
and Herbert S. Willet and published in 1910.
Its foreword tells of a "deeply felt need for a
collection of hymns adequately interpreting
“It's only that I don't want to throw money
around,” he said. “I mustn't stop laying it
by. I want to leave my wife and daughter
“Do you imagine I don’t know you?” Stella
asked bitterly. "Here Pauline and I are mak
ing a lot of desirable friends, getting away
from the rag-tag-and-bobtail crowd we used
to go with, and what help do we get from
you? None! You're nothing but an old stick
Stick-in-the-mud! She had called him that
before—he who at the present rate would soon
be the largest retail silverware and jewelry deal
er in the entire State!
The memory of the outrageous term lingered
with him as he went downtown next morn
ing, giving him a new sense of the futility of
He entered the store, and on his way back
to the office, took the morning mail from
Miss Glick, but instead of opening the letters
when he reached his desk, he fell into a fit
of abstraction and sat staring at the carpet.
What was it all about? What was he strug
gling for? Why was he always hoping that
some day Stella would understand him and
treat him decently?
He took up his steel letter opener and ran
through the pile of mail, swiftly slitting the
successive envelopes until he came to a largo
oblong one of crisp, light-blue paper. It
bore foreign stamps, and the moment he saw
the bold, angular handwriting his heart leaped
and he snatched the letter out, and with
fingers that trembled in their eagerness, un
folded the single sheet of paper.
At the upper left corner a coronet was
stamped in dark blue, and at the right the
name of a chateau.
Rapidly he read:
Dear Mr. Bisbee:
Last year when I was crossing the American
continent you were so good as to give me a
pair of patent eyeglasses which have been
most useful. Having broken them, and being
unable to find any like them over here, I
was quite in despair until today I found your
Will you please send me two pair of the
modern Christian faith and experience." In the
book will be found, state the editors, "hymns of
Christian unity, of modern social motive and
of the inner life. Hymns of many creeds, in
terpreting, however, but one faith.”
A swift glance at its pages shows that in
cluded in the large list of religious songs are
such well known, well loved and well aged ones
as "The Spacious Firmament on High,” by
Haydn, 1795; Dykes’ "Hark. Hark, My Soul.”
1868; Sherwin’s "Day Is Dying in the West,”
1877, and "Hark, the Herald Angels Sing.”
No building could be plainer or more restful
to the eye than the simple little meeting house,
the Friends’ Orthodox Church, at Thirteenth
and Irving streets, which President Hoover se
lected as his official church while he is resi
dent of the White House. It is but one story
high, of light buff brick with concrete steps
and windows of faint opaque yellow. No belfry
or spire decorates it, no bell calls the faithful
to prayers. Its congregation is an unusually
friendly group of Friends. On Thanksgiving
and other occasions the members “pool” their
dinners, cook them in the well equipped church
kitchen and dine en famille in the Sunday
school room. The Ladies’ Aid Society makes a
specialty of “quilting bees.” Sitting before the
big frames the members quilt-down pieced
quilts, charging the coverlet’s owner according
to the number of spools of cotton used in the
process. Stitches are set with all the care and
alignment demanded of a Quaker seamstress,
with the result that this fast vanish ig art of
quilting is exquisitely exemplified.
five years ago the meeting house
was badly damaged by fire, due to defec
tive wiring, and while firemen erected ladders
from the outside of the building, strains of or
gan music issued from the inside. The bat
talion chief investigated and found that one
of his men, suffering somewhat from the hand
of Johnny Volstead Law, was soothing his ruf
fled feelings, even as Nero.
A Washington official visiting the Irving
street edifice remarked impressively to one of
its members, "So this is Mr. Hoover's church!”
"No,” quietly remarked the Friend, "this is
not Mr. Hoover's church, it’s God s church.”
A very great improvement has been made in
the building's general appearance by land
scaping the broad lawns. Spruce, cedar and fir
trees now form a green and undulating fringe
close to the walls of the building, and a hedge
of Japanese barberry bushes has been planted
the entire length of the plaza bordering on
Irving street and Thirteenth street. Formerly
the grass plots resembled municipal play
grounds—which they were, the neighborhood
children using them. •
The Department of Commerce in the Fall or
1928 issued a census of religious bodies in the
United States, which had been compiled as of
1926. It listed four branches of Friends:
Society of Friends (orthodox) the branch in
which Mr. Hoover has "birthright” or mem
bership. In 1916 it had 805 churches and a
membership of 92,379. In 1926 its church edi
fices were listed as 715 and membership 91.326.
The Religious Society of Friends (Hicksites)
in 1916 supported 166 churches, with a total
membership of 17.107. The 1926 census showed
128 churches: membership 16,105.
Orthodox Conservative Friends (Wilburites)
totaled 41 churches in 1926, as against 50 in
1916; membership, 1916, 3,373, compared wlt.i
2.966 in i 926.
The last branch perhaps, by this time, has
disappeared from census totals, for in 1926 it
reported 2 churches and 60 members, while in
1926 but 1 church with 25 members remained.
glasses at the above address and let me know
the amount due? Sincerely yours.
P. S. I do not forget your kindness.
She did not forget! There, In her beauti
ful brave writing, over the Initials that stood
for her beautiful name, was the assurance! He
laid the letter on the desk before him and,
without removing his eyes from it, drew out his
pocketbook, felt for the postcard photograph,
extracted it. put it down beside the letter.
more kind Providence vouchsafed a
chance to serve her. Ah. could she but
know with what tumultuous joy he welcomed the
opportunity! So, ever, he would welcome it. She
could ask of him nothing that he would not do —
nothing! The efficiency, the resourcefulness
which had made the William P. Bisbee Co.
practically the leading firm in the State, would
be at her command so long as breath re
mained in his bcdy. Always he would be ready,
waiting, , f rom across the world should
come her caii!
She alone had never failed to understand
him. Without her the world would be empty.
A tear trickled down his cheek. Faugh! H*
brushed it away. Tears were not for men.
He must not weaken. He stiffened his spine,
/ sitting elect in his swivel chair, and as he
did so, his spirit stiffened.
Now in his imagination iron-studded door 3
swung back against stone walls and brass
throated bugles sang. Grasping the letter open
er, he leaped to his feet and raised it with a
He was a hussar of the guards with sword
at the salute —a sword which, at need, could
flash in her defense. He narrowed his eyes
and with one hand poised behind him, pointed
the weapon grimly as if holding off the blade
of a determined adversary.
“For a lady's name!”
Let them come! He was more than a match
for them all.
He would meet steel with cold steel, fight
ing for her until life itself paid the forfeit.
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