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The Morning examiner. (Ogden, Utah) 1904-1910, January 03, 1909, Part Two, Image 12

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Persistent link: http://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn85058394/1909-01-03/ed-1/seq-12/

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ID I ever tell you of the most memor
able visit to Arapahoe asked the
g bishop looking up from magazine
with which he had beguiled the last
hour of the journey
I No I replied that was before my time I believe
I was a newcomer in the diocese comparatively speak
I Yes answered the bishop Something in this
I paper recalled it to me This notice of the Irving
Terry performance of Macbeth in New York with the
pictures you know he added handing me the book
What connection is there bishop between your
most memorable visit to Arapahoe and the Irving
Terry performance of Macbclht
Not any said the bishop except that it reminded
me of another theatrical performance which I attended
in Arapahoe I am not one of those clergymen who
join in the clerical hue and cry against theaters he
continued reflectively In fact I think the theater
1 and that a good play is
may be a means of grace up
i and elevating
tinsf 1 w
religious party of the town which I am happy to say
turned out to be Jn a considerable majority the con
gregation or the opposition was forced to leave its
guns with the ushers and we got through all right
They used to say it was Sunday only when the bishop
came around But I have changed all that continued
the old pioneer as a quietsmilc of satisfaction over
spread his face
But about the theater bishop
Im coming to that I became so popular in fact
that there was not a show that could rival the church
so the boys put it On church nights which were only
once every three monthsand perhaps that accounts
for their popularity everything else shut up shop and
the services were crowded I always preached to them
the very best I knew how I remember one of the ex
pressions of appreciation of my efforts which came
from the city marshal
Wot we like about you Right Rcverend he said
using the quaint form of address is that you dont
never play your congregation fcr a fool wich we may
be but we dont like to be told of it You allus seems
to give the best you kin to us > the best you got in the
deck he addcdd
f w
rtt ftf
barrier between them quite perceptible to a close
observer and both appearedto be supremely miser
able My loquacious friend the manager confided
to me that Mr Montague which his real name is
Henry Pearce and he is a young man of very re
spectable family is in love with Miss Sylvester which
her real name is Mary Bates and its her as is
talked about for something or other the rights of
which I dont know but I stake my life on her honor
and honesty
She looked like an honest girl and I would have
backed up the managers confidence myself Well the
day dragged along somehow A funny littta thing
happened at Scwaygd where we ate By this time
I was one of the party and dined at the same table
with the rest of them at the railroad eating house
I finished my meal before the others rose walked
over to the cashiers desk and handed him a ten
dollar bill You know I wasnt very strong on cleri
cal costumes in that day and I was dressed in an
ordinary business suit very dusty and much the worse
for wear As the cashier took the bill I was aston
ished to have him ask Arc you paym for yourself
alone or for your whole party sid In the eyes
of the cashier I was the manager of the party so
much for my episcopal air and authority I
A few miles from Arapahoe the manager of the
local Opera House who was also the Warden of the
Mission and the City Marshal boarded the train in
great perturbation He was in hard luck for it was
church night and he told me the manager of the tra
t i c rAGL cAa7r l rcr 5ci
rDo you speak from experience J I asked x
I Well no that is not exactly Of course when I
was a young man I remember going to theaters more
or less but since I have been ordained I think I have
only been twice Once when I was taken by my host
and hostess in New York to sec this IrvingTerry
performance a few years ago and the other time at
Arapahoe But these two visits convinced me that
+ the theater can sometimes teach a needed lesson
Arapahoe continued the old manand now that
I I had him fairly started I breathed softly so as not to
interrupt him or check the current of his thoughts
hoping that I should get one of the stories we young
sters prized so much from this veteran Arapahoe
used to bc one of the toughest places on the border
When I first decided to start services there I wrote
to the only man m the town whose name I knew and
i announced my intention He said I could come along
and that they would fix things up for me in good shape
f The railroad wasnt built there in those days and the
last thirty miles of the journey had to be made by
wagon over the trail I was astonished when I reached
the station to find some twentyfive or thirty horse
men portentously armed and picturesquely costumed
gathered about the wagon which had been provided
for me who declared that they constituted themselves
my escort
I learned at route from my communicative friend
who drove the wagon that there was some little an
i tagonism to holding religious services in the town
and as the opposition had organized a church party
had been gathered together to see fair play and as
1 they phrased it They wasnt goin to see no shooUn
done gin the minister lesn they cd take a hand
You may imagine continued the bishop smiling at
the recollection that I did not feel very comfortable
even when I looked at my stalwart defenders How
ever in accordance with regulations prescribed by the
Well that being the case irt Arapahoe you can
imagine that the managers of various wandering the
atrical enterprises as were likely to visit such places
were careful to avoid church nights One day how
ever on this very railroad after it was built into the
town I fell in with a traveling theatrical company
headed for Arapahoe I made friends with them of
course They seemed to be respectable people enough
The manager a veteran player assured me I dont
allow any immoral plays in my show Were poor
and have to do bum towns Im trying to quote his
elegant phrases but I try to be respectable myself
and to have everybody in my company decentlike
He confided to me in secret that there was only one
member of his present troupe about whom people
talked and he assured me that he didnt believe what
was said about her
I made the acquaintance of all of them and they
talked freely to me about their experiences and ad
ventures and certainly they had a difficult life and a
hard one
Almost as hard as being a peripatetic missionary
I suggested
Oh much harder than that said the bishop cheer
fully < I enjoy that so far as I am concerned but
the two who interested me most were a young man
whose name was Victor Montagueat least that was
his theatrical nameand a young woman who was
introduced to me as Miss Carlotta Sylvester She
had been a charmingly pretty girl although she looked
tired and faded and somewhat haggard as if there
was something on her mind which preyed upon her
and rendered her life miserable It appeared to me
that Mr Montague was very much in love with Miss
Sylvester and by all the signs and you know I am
a past master in such affairs laughed the old man
IIfor I have had so many young couples on my hands
that she reciprocated his feelings but there was a
cling company that he and his troupe would have
no show against the bishop that he had tried to
head them off but had failed to do so and he did
not know what to do The two consulted in the end
of the car and finally came back to where I sat
Right Reverend said the warden were up agin
it hard You know bein a religious an a lawabidin
town we allus gives the church a hearty support an
there aint notlnn an nobody as is more welcome in
these yore parts than you be We shuts down the
saloons which the barkeeps says they wants to go to
church as much as anybody Its anus Sunday when
you comes around But weve made a mistake in
the dates somehow or nother an weve got a show
billed fer tonight Now this ycrc man pointing to
the manager sez youve been speakin to him durin
the day an he sez youve been treatin him wltc wich
you allus docs everybody I told him Hes down on
his luck he scz wich hes been in breakdowns an
wrecks an washouts an has had poor houses an
mobs an now hes run up agin the church He
wants to make a proposition to you an Ive told
him youd deal fair with him if any man would
Mr Bishop said the manager what he says is
all true Weve had a terrible time This is the last
of our season the company is goin to disband as
soon as it gets back to Kansas City an if I dont get
some receipts tonight and tomorrow bcin1 as to
morrows Saturday were goin to have a matinee
I dont see how I can pay the salaries to those
poor people thats due them or get them back to
civilization Were goin to give a clean moral show
No UnclcTomsCabin affair doctor but its re
spectable an anyone can see it with pleasure We
hear from Bill here that there aint no show for us
in Arapahoe unless you help us out What I pro
pose is this If youll have your showI mean your
services a little earlier well have our servicesI
mean our showa little late Say you have yourn
at quarter past seven an well have ourn at quarter
to nine And well do more than that he added
hastily lest I should decide before I had heard all
that he had to offer Well all come to your sho
services I meani you come to ours and well give
you a part of the proceeds tonight to help the church
What did you do bishop I asked
Well answered the old man I promptly accepted
two propositions and rejected the third
I said that I wouldnt take any of their money
From the looks of things they needed it all and lilY
friends in Arapahoe were so generous that the church
in that particular section lacked nothing The church
in Arapahoe has always been more or less unique
you sec I think that one reason I decided so
promptly was because I intercepted an appealing
glance a piteously appealing glance I might say from
Miss Sylvester when she heard the proposition She
came to me after the two managers had retired to
discuss their arrangements and clasped my hand im
Oh 1 she said I am so glad you arc going to
have church I havent been to church for years it
seems to me and you have been s 0 kind to us and
have treated us so much like rerespectable people
that I Wanted to go to your services so much to
I am very glad I replied that you arc to have
the opportunity
About this time the train pulled into the station
and the townspeople informed of the change in the
hour of services and delighted at the prospect ot s
double treat or as they phrased it two shows in one
cvcnin immediately busied themselves in spreading
the news throughout the settlement The place was
smaller in those days than it is now and it was not
difficult to advise everyone
I had of course a lot of sermons with me in
my head that is j you know the first thing you learn
in the WcSt is to shoot without a rest so they say
which is their euphemism for preaching without notes
and I had previously selected a theme for the evening
but something I did not know what unless it were
Providence turned my thoughts in another direction
and I chose that text of Scripture Neither do I I
condemn thce go and sin no more And I deter
mined to preach upon forgiveness as exemplified in
that exquisite incident cited by St John as the very
first lesson in Christian practise
You see the first thing a man expects is forgive
ness although it is usually the last thing he wishes
to bestow There has been much discussion about
that chapter said the bishop and it is believed you
know to be an interpolation but whether it is or not
I for one am convinced that it represents a true
incident and I bless the interpolator whoever he may
have been
There was something in the girl Miss Sylvester
to call her by her stage name which kept recurring
to me when I thought over the points of the sermon
Not that she looked bad only troubled Beneath her
indifferent hardness or her forced pleasantry there
was an undercurrent of agony such as only comes
from great sorrow and too often in a womans case
the sorrow is based uponwell at any rate I thought
hard over the sermon and when the services came
off I think I never preached better in my life
The thoughts were very old as the story itself
is old but I pointed out in a way which was told me
afterward was very convincing the dun of forgive
ness and howl Jesus Himself in touch with the gross
est sort of aberration forgave it
The theatrical people were all there although to
keep his promise the manager had been compelled to
go without his supper he had been so busy arrang
ing for the performance The most interested listener
in the congregation crowded into the saloonchurch
was the young woman On the other side of the room
from her Mr Montague followed the sermon with
scarcely less eagerness You know when you arc
preaching sometimes without volition you direct your
arguments to one or two in the congregation and my
appeals and exhortations seemed to be aimed straight
at those two young persons
Well after the services I went to the play as
I had promised and the whole congregation did like
wise for the manager had kept his promise faithfully
As I remember it was rather a poor play but very
Miss Sylvester played the leading part and though
I suppose ordinarily she would be considered an in
different actress yet when she confessed the past in
which she had been more sinned against than sinning
and the hero of the play depicted by Mr Montague
Save her up her acting was a marvelous surprise
So real and natural did it seem that I almost felt that
they were not playing parts but speaking the truth
There on that stage There was such agony such
heartrending appeal to her lover for mercy in the
woman voice that it did not seem possible that he
could reject her even on the stage The Opera House
rang with applause and there were tears in many a
rough cowboys eyes when the girl died still begging
for forgiveness
41 was thinking sadly over the whole situation and
the face and voice of the girl fairly haunted me My
reverie was broken by a tap on the door When I
opened it Mr Montague came in lie was very much
perturbed and without any preliminaries burst out
that he had come to see me on a very important matter
He told me in the most direct fashion that he
wildly loved Miss Sylvester that he had seen her
play in the little town in which he lived a few months
before that he had been so infatuated with her that
he had given up his business he was a lawyer had
followed her and had finally been engaged in the com
pany His intentions were of the most honorable char
acter He wanted to marry her and take her away
from the life she was leading He had some little
property of his own was a college man learned in
the law and had no fear but that he could support
her comfortably Latterly he had heard rumors He
had received an anonymous letter and though he be
lieved her as sweet and pure a woman as ever lived
yet stories of so circumstantial a character had been
brought to him with little corroborative evidences
that he did not know what to do He was in a state
of perfect despair
4IIave you spoken to her of these stories I
No he replied r
Or shown her the letters
II No I couldnt Theyd insult any honest woman
Now bishop he continued Ive come to you for
advice I never heard a sermon like that you preached
this evening It was in my mind all through the
play Did you notice the earnestness with which
iVfiss Sylvester played her part We have acted in
that Apiece a number of times and never before has
she impressed me as she did then It was almost as
if she wcro really pleading for forgiveness I love
her more than life itself and yet there arc some
thingssuppose its true Cap I forgive her What
shall I do
e were interrupted just here by the sound of
footsteps in the hall Outside the door I heard the
clerk say There is the bishops office Miss Sylvester
Ive no doubt he will be glad to see you
There was no other exit from the room save the
door leading into the bedroom As Miss Sylvester
approached the parlor door 1 motioned to Mr Mon 1
tague who immediately went in to the bedroom and
closed the door
It was the womans side of the situation Mr
Montague loved her and she returned his affection
but she had refused to become his wife She had
even prevented him from declaring himself so tar
> s was in her power because ah here was the reason
The story was a sad but not an unusual one
She had lived in St Louis the only daughter of
two worthy parents who had stinted themselves to
give her an education She had fallen in love with a
man whose character and reputation did not commend ti
themselves to the judgment of those older than she I
who loved her and in defiance of parental opposition
she had made a runaway marriage It was not long
before life became unendurable j she was yoked with
one utterly unworthy and the glamour passing from
her eyes she saw nothing but misery ahead Of
course the parting came the old people had died
brokenhearted by her conduct she believed and she
was absolutely alone
Chance to make a long story short threw her into
the company of the good people with whom she was
acting She had a pretty little turn for elocution and
she had supported herself wretchedly and meagerjy
enough under her assumed name for the past two
years by acting She had struggled against her af
fection for Mr Montague She considered herself
no fit wife for him or any man but my sermon had
put a new idea in her mind Might there not be for
giveness for such as she God would forgive her
Would man In the play he would not Which was t
true and which was false Love divine could make
excuse would love human
I You saw me act tonight bishop I never played
like that before I was myself on that stage confess
ing and pleading for forgiveness which he would not
grantMy child I said it seems to me that while you j
have done grievously wrong in running away from
home and wilfully disregarding the appeals and com
mands of those who loved you and whose judgment
you were bound to respect and have broken the Com
mandment that says Honor thy father and mother
yet you have been more sinned against than sinning
1 see nothing since you are so repentant which
would prevent you from being the wife of any honest
man who loved you if you loved him The man you
married where is he
II Dead she flashed out through her tears
II Go to Mr Montague I replied promptly tell him
the whole truth and let him decide
I cant I she wailed He respects me now He
loves me Im afraid to put him to the touch Im
afraid to confess and let him decide Twould kill me
to lose that affection Indeed I could not bear to
have him fall below the standard I have set for him
in my heart and if he doesnt forgive if he ceases
to love me I shall die Ive lost faith once in hu
manity and have only slowly recovered it If I lose
it again I shall lose faith in God
There was much that was true in her words I
thought said the bishop digressing for the moment
for our faith in God depends upon our faith in man
to a greater extent than we dream of
II You need not confess anything at that moment
exclaimed Mr Montague who had opened the door
and entered the room
What cried the girl springing to her feet in
piteous dismay Were you there Did you heart
I did everything
And you sir I turning fiercely on me were you
a party to this deception Did you allow me to tell
you the most secret thoughts of my heart in confes I
sion with that door open so that he of all men could
headThe I
The bishop is entirely innocent returned Mon 1
tague promptly stepping nearer to her He saw me
close the door I opened it again on my own account
You were neither of you looking that way and neither
of you noticed It wasnt the right thing to do Ill
admit but I love you and I love you more than ever
now I intended tonight after what I had said to
the bishop and what he preached about forgiveness
to us and the play you know to have told you not
to confess anything to me for there was nothing I
could not and would not forgive if you loved me
and were free to marry me I am sorry I didnt say
it before I heard you say that you had suffered so
severely and how you had been wronged Now it is
I who should plead forgiveness for having doubted I
you for a single moment Dont shrink away from
me I love you more and more and if you give me
a chance to lead you back to happiness and restore
your lost faith in humanity I will undertake the task
so gladly that I will bless you forever for the op
And you will take me as I am she cried You
will forgive me and love me in spite of
a In spite of nay because of everything he cried
They had entirely forgotten me laughed the
bishop and it was almost like a scene from the play
we had just witnessed Perhaps because they were
players there was a little touch of the theatrical about
them for he knelt at her feet clutching a fold of her
dress as he pleaded with her When she yielded to
his importunities as what woman could have resisted
she put both hqnds upon his shoulders and bent and
kissed him
It is I she said who should kneel at your feet
not you at mine
Then I coughed violently to remind them that I
was there Hand in hand they came to me
Oh bishop cried the girl Im so glad you came
You have been to us like an angel from Heaven
My services arc not ended I trust I suggested
No said the young man promptly When shall
it be he continued turning to the girl
II Whenever you like she answered frankly there
is no one to consult and nothing to hinder if you are
11101 very sure
I Then let it be
IIThis evening he cried impulsively
II No she answered smiling and her face was
fairly transformed by the happiness of the new situa
tion Let it be tomorrow in the church where the
bishop taugnt us that forgiveness was the first lesson
of the Christian life
II Will you be ready to officiate sir asked Mr
Montague turning to me
With the greatest pleasure I replied there being
no obstacle to prevent as I learned by questioning
So on the > xt morning Mr Victor Montague and 4
Miss Carlotta Sylvester disappeared forever from pub 1
lic view while I united them in the holy bonds of i
matrimony under their proper names of Mary Bates j
and Henry Pearce 1
Arapahoe shouted the conductor thrusting his 2
head in the doorway as the train bumped together
and slowed down by the station platform All out I
for Arapahoc I tc
J 1
NEXT WEflK A Strange Honeymoon
By C N A M Williamson

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