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He himself accepted his chastise
ment humbly, as his punishment, but
"his wife never ceased to rebel against
the fatality that pursued him.
However, his seven years at Kings
ton had passed uneventfully, and then
followed the three at Elmer. They
were growing old now; earnestly they
prayed that the miserable secret
might be allowed to remain in its
Then, the day before, a man of the
old Chicdgo congregation, who was
visiting Elmer, had met Williams on
the street. In the man's embarrassed
looks and hesitating words the parson
read, not only the remembrance of
his secret, hut the fact that he had
already made it public property.
"Jed," suggested his wife, "don't
you suppose that if if you hadn't
resigned from all those posts so pre
cipitously the people would have
stood by you?"
He shook his head mournfully. "It
may be," he answered, "but I couldn't
be the cause of differences among my
people. No, my dear, we must leave J
Elmer. Only there is something to be
"Yes, Jed dear?"
The old man rose and stood before
her; a fire burned beneath the pa
tient humility of his bearing.
"Hitherto, my dear, I have well,
run away," he said. "But this time I
am going to make my confession be
fore God and to my people!"
"Jed! Not after all these years!"
"Would that I had done so many
years ago," he answered"
Fortunately for his resolution that
day was Saturday. On the next morn
ing the church was packed as it had
never been since the beginning of
Williams' ministry. His wife, seated
in her pew, could see the staring,
eager interest upon the faces of all.
There was Frances Minturn, the gos
sip of the town, the deacon's wife;
she had plagued her constantly with
her questioning. And there was Delia
James, the spinster sister of Peter
James, Ihe trustee both of them sat
wide awake in their pews and appar
ently scenting something-in the air.
But prayers began, andih$ pastor's
wife resolutely turned her mind from
these considerations. Reverently she
prayed that it might be well with
them, whatever it might please their
Master to lay upon them.
The sermon began. It was said aft
erward by those who recalled it that
it was the best sermon Jed Williams
had ever preached. But little remem
brance of that remained when the
speaker, changing his tone to one of
hitense conviction, added: .
"And now, friends, I have to make
clear to you some personal history.
Years ago, when I was a boy, I killed
a man. It was a single blow, struck in
hasty passion but it killed. I served
a term of imprisonment for it. When
I came out I resolved to devote my
life to the service of men, and thus
to make atonement, if that were pos
sible." Everyone was breathing hard; all
eyes were fixed upon the speaker's
"I went from pulpit to pulpit," he
continued, "each time thinking that I
could live down the past. But there is
only one way of living down the past,
and that is by humbly cpnfessing
one's faults, not only to God, but to
one's fellowman. I should never have
found the strength to do this today
had I not had reason to believe that
once more my old sin had come to
light. But now before I go, before I
leave Elmer forever, I want to make
this explanation to you, my friends,
trusting that you will pardon me in
your hearts and be merciful to one
who sorely needs mercy."
So saying, he stepped down from
his pulpit and prepared t6 leave.
His wife was waiting-for him at the
church door, as they passed out alone,
behind the silent congregation. She
slipped her arm through his. Then
both became aware that a throng of
people was awaiting them, and, at the
head, stood Frances Minturn and Pet
er James. The latter advanced and