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The New Bloomfield, Pa. times. (New Bloomfield, Pa.) 1877-188?, October 25, 1881, Image 1

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Persistent link: https://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn90069164/1881-10-25/ed-1/seq-1/

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An Independent Family ttenspnpor,
TEltMH t
f 1.50 PF.II VKAll, IOftTAl? MIDI'..
Tom luerlners residing In mm rotiNTV, where
w nnve no poihu to pnv, a discount of cents
from thn nltovn terms will be made If payment la
made In advance.
W Alvertlslng rates furnlslied upouappllca
The Parson's Visitor.
THE Wednesday evening prayer-meeting
was over. The fifteen or twen
ty parlshoners, mostly womenfolk,
Who had been In attendance, had scat
tered up and down the quiet rural Btreet
in the direction of their homes. The
llev. Amos Dale, who had that evening
to perform the double function of sex
ton and pastor, the sexton having hired
out to a farmer at some distance from the
village for the planting and hoeing sea
son, lingered behind his flock to put out
the kerosene lights in the lecture-room.
This done he came up the basement
stairs, and out on the stone steps, where
he stopped to lock the door. A tall,
awkward man, the Eev. Amos Dale,
with straight, iron gray hair, n trifle
too long, aud deep, rugged lines in his
face, lie is extremely nearsighted, aud
has much ado to see the keyhole in this
doubtful light, but at length the door is
locked, and with his hands clasped be
hind his back, and his head bent a little
forward, he strolled away up the street,
the most absent-minded and biggest
hearted man you will see in many a
Walking thus toward the post-office
for his evening paper, with no eagerness
for good or evil tidings, but with a heart
at peace with itself, the good man is
aware of how heavily freighted the
sweet June dusk Is with the fragrance of
the locusts and syringas.
"Come for yer mail, Elder?" asks
Joel Bean, the postmaster, looking up
from the paper which he is reading be
hind the counter, for the post-office and
and store are together.
The minister replies pleasantly in the
affirmative, and Joel hands him out a
paper. The Rev. Amos takes it and
turns to leave, but the postmaster says,
" Hold on a minute, Elder, you've
got a letter to-night, too," and as he
gives it to him he looks inquisitively
at bis face. The letter is addressed in a
lady's handwriting, graceful aud re
fined. Nothing remarkable in this, surely,
and yet it startles Amos Dale a little as
he looks at the letter lying in his hand.
He bids Joel Bean good-evening, and
goes on his way up the hill to the par
sonage, thinking as he goes how long it
is since he has had a letter from a
His thoughts fly back to a packet of
old letters, yellow of paper now, and
faded of ink, lying iu a corner of a pri
vate drawer in his desk ; letters written
to him while he was a student, more
than fifteen years ago, full of maidenly
reserve and yet of a woman's love.
There had come a day when the num
ber of these letters was complete, never
to be added to. That other letters could
be written and another love won, it had
never entered the heart of the llev.
Amos Dale to conceive.
He soon reached his own gate, and a
- few of his long strides took him through
the old-fashioned box-bordered garden
to the door of the parsonage between the
lilac bushes. He went into the sitting
room a large, bare, orderly room. A
red and black table cover was ou I he
centre-table; firmly planted In the mid
dle stood a broad-shouldered lamp with
a green paper shade. Beside the table,
darning stockings, sat Hannah Breeze,
Lis distant relative and housekeeper,
who had come directly home from the
prayer-meeting. .
Hannah, who was not of the fairest
among women, having a general effect
of dull gray hair, eyes, complexion,
Alpaca and all looked up when the
mltilblrr entered, but did not speak. It
was not her way.
The Bev. Amos Dale, having hung
his hat ou its proper nail, as every mem
ber of a well-regulated household should,
proceeded to draw an arm-chair up to
the tuble, pat down, broke the seal of
his letter unostentatiously, and rend.
It was a short letter, and he soon drop
ped It on his knee, looking around with
an expression of consternation.
"Hannah!" he exclaimed, "here Is an
agent a woman at that bearing down
upon us. What is to be dune Y"
" Head her oh", If ther's time," was
the concise reply.
"Let's see," Bald the ltev. Amos, tak
lug up the letter again : " I am coming
to Fairfield to canvass for the Complete
Analytical Commentary' there's reso
lution for you, Hannah"--
"Takes book agents for that."
"I shall hope to make my home in
your family, if perfectly convenient to
Mrs. Dale" Amos Dale read this with
an odd smile about his mouth.
"Umphl" was all Hannah vouch
safed. He read ou in silence, but suddenly
sprang to his feet, looked up at the
clock on the wooden shelf, aud said,
" No heading her oil now. This let
letter has been detained ou the way.
See, the date Is three days ago. Khe is
coming on the 0:30 train this very even
ing, aud I have only Just time to meet
" I don't see's you've any parllkeler
call to meet her. Them book agents
isn't in the habit of being beaued around
much, I guess. Say, Mr. Dale," she
called, for he had his bat on and was
out of the room already, "you'll take
her to the tavern, won't you, or to Dea
con Bush's Y"
"(Mrs. BuBh is sick. We shall have
to keep her to-night, for all I see. Get
the east room ready, and you may as
well put the kettle over, Hannah, the
poor woman will be tired" and the
llev. Amos closed the door and strode'
oft towards the little station, half a mile
away, leaving Hannah to do his bidding
faithfully, albeit with some grumbling.
" He'll take In every analytical tramp
that comes along with a commlnterry;
don't make no difference whether it's
man or woman," she said to herself, a
little confu3ed as to the new adjective
which had impressed her as valuable if
Mr. Dale walked rapidly along the
shadowy, grassy path, thinking as he
walked of the sort of woman whom he
was probably going to meet substan
tial of form, harsh of feature, profuse
and emphatic of speech, a trifle dense of
sensibility yes, he knew the type well
aud did not fancy it overmuch ; all the
same he must do for this woman, this
Mrs. Emily Payne ( for so she had told
him to address her, In case there was
anything in the way of her coming to
Fairfield) all that Christian courtesy
He reached the station Just in lime
to see the train coming la sight around
the bend, flinging showers of sparks,
and glancing colored lights into the
the quiet dewy fields. There was a brief
pause, then the train swept ou again,
aud the Bev, Amos Dale was peering
about in the dark, with near-sighted
eyes, for the person he had come to
A slight little woman, dressed In deep
mourning, who had been the only per
son to alight from the train, came to
wards the door of the waiting-room,
stopped seeing him looking thus, aud
then stepped timidly up to him.
"Ah I" said the minister, "is this
Mrs. Emily PaynoY" he epoke each
word slowly and distinctly.
"Yes, air," was the reply, in a quiet,
clear-toned voice. Mr. Dale, I think Y"
He took her into the waiting-room,
and left her while he went to find her
valise. As she came into the light, he
saw what he had felt when she spoke,
that she was a lady. She had a pale
face, with smooth brown hair under her
widow's cap; there was a refined, spirit
ual character in the features, and an ex
pression of sadness in the gray eyes.
Altogether, the Bev. Amos Dale found
difficulty lu believing that this was one
of the persevering book agents whom
he bad always held In disfavor.
As they walked along the' quiet road,
he carrying the valise himself, much
against her will, there being no convey.
ance at the depot, he found that he could
not tell her that he should have discour
aged her coming If he had received her
letter In time, or that Fairfield If fair
was not promising as a field for book
agents, Home way he preferred that she
should feel herself welcome and her
way made easy.
Arrived at the parsonage, he was pleas
ed to see Hannah's grlmness relax a
little before Mrs. Payne's gentle voice
and smile. He was glad to see her en
joy her cup of tea, aud when, Immedi
ately after, she asked to be shown her
room, and followed Hannah and her
candle up the winding staircase, he was
sorry she had gone quite so soon. Noth
ing had been Bald of her mistake with
regard to his being a married man. He
had found a certain awkwardness in
mentioning the matter, aud so had left
it to explain itself. Mrs. Payne told
Hannah the next day that she had been
misinformed ou the subject.
At breakfast Mr. Dale frankly discuss
ed the outlook with his guest. He told
her that Fairfield was wholly a farming
community, aud that the farmers were
not greatly given to buying books.
Moreover he did not himself at present
owu a horse, aud it was wholly Impos
sible to hire one iu the neighborhood at
this busy season.
To this Mrs. Dale replied cheerfully
that she expeo ted and was able to walk,
aud would start Immediately after break
Mr. Dale offered to go with her to
some of the most promising places, but
this she declined gratefully - but with
quiet decision.
He then drew a rude map of all the
principal roads In Fairfield, with the
farmhouses where she would be likely
to be well received, and soon after she
started out bravely on her fliBt day 'a
campaign, a copy of the Complete Ana
lylical Commentary under her arm too
heavy a book, thought the llev. Amos,
for such a little woman to carry.
He had put down his own name for a
copy of that valuable work, taking a
little pains, after doing so, to put out of
sight a copy of au earlier edition which
had stood for many years on his book
Bhelves. This he could give to the Sun
day school library.
That evening Mrs. Payne had a long
talk iu the twilight with her host aud
Hannah Breeze. Klie told a (gw simple
facts of her own history, which enlisted
their interest and sympathy fur her
more strongly thau ever. Her husband
had been a minister, of the same faith as
Amos Dale. Ten years ago he had
died, leaving her with a baby girl.
Through the kindness of friends she
had soon obtained a position as clerk to
a government official, aud strange to
say bad retained It until a few months
ago, when it had been takeu from her
by political changes.
She could not wait for a good situation
to open her little daughter, who was
now at a boarding-school, must be sup
ported as well as herself. The agency
for this book was suggested to her as a
temporary shift until she could find
something better, and she bad undertak
en it. It was evident that she was full
of homesickness aud anxiety for Bose,
her little daughter, whom she "iiad al
ways kept with her before.but she show
ed iu all that she said, a spirit of faith
and patient waiting, which the Bev.
Amos" Dale found very refreshing to
his own spiritual experience.
During this conversation Mrs. Payne
proposed that she should find a board
ing place elsewhere, but upon this point
Mr. Dale was firm ; while she tarried In
Fairfield her dwelling was to be under
the parsonage roof, and Hannah added,
"You might as well stay where you be.
You don't make no trouble to speak of.
'Tain't nothin' to put on an extry cup
aud plate, and I always keep cooked
This signified that the stranger had
found favor iu Haunah's sight in the
highest degree.
The days went on.
The first morning at prayers the Bev.
Amos Dale had prayed for grace and
strength for "the stranger that was
within his gates," but after that the
heavenly benediction was asked upon
"our friend who abides with us for a
Each morning Mrs. Payne set out on
her wearisome round, uncomplainingly,
full of courage aud hope. At night,
OCT033Klt 25, 1881.
when she returned, she would tell over
to Amos Dale and Hannah the adven
tures of the day, in a quaint merry way
of her own, which gave a charm to the
simplest thing she told. Ou the whole
she was succedlng in selling her book
beyond her expectations ; and the Bev.
Amos bethought him of many a road
aud district which she must not fall to
visit, even If It did lengthen her stay In
Fairfield beyond her plan. He was sure
that the pure air and the quiet of the
place were good for her ; he thought a
little color was coming lu her cheeks.
lie even proposed that she stay wttli
them a month, do her work leisurely and
rest between times. To this she would
in no wise consent. She must leave
Tuesday morning at the very latest.
Sunday came, and Mrs. Payne sat
with Hannah in the minister's pew,
down lu front. When the Bev. Amos
Dale stood up In Hie pulpit to open ser
vice, and caught sight of her sweet, quiet
face turned reverently towards him, it
startled him with a sensation strange
and agitating. There was no other face
with just that look iu all his congrega
tion. What a help It might be to a man
but hush, what thoughts were these Y"
"The Lord is In his holy temple ; let
all the earth keep silence before him."
That evening there was a prayer-meeting.
Mrs. Payne went again with Han
nah aud "gave In her testimony" lu a
few words, taking up the thought of the
morning sermon, aud applying it with
delicate spiritual insight In another di
rection. "Truly," thought the Bev. Amos
Dale, and he sighed, "sister Payne has
old Oeorge Herbert's 4 famous stone
which turneth all to gold.' "
Monday morning was hot and sultry,
the sun burning with a fierceness like
July, the air full of suffocating dust.
Amos Dale watched his guest as she
started oil-on her last long walk In Fair
field with a dumb heartache. It hurt
him to have her subjected to such weari
ness and toll.
That afternoon he gave up to making
pastoral calls. It seemed to afford him
a little comfort to place himself In the
same conditions with that frail little
woman. So with his long strides he
measured a good portion of his parish,
and returned at tea time, heated aud
covered with dust.
Mrs. Payne bad reached home before
him, and was standing In the doorway
lu a cool, light dress, with no sign of
heat or dust about her.
She greeted him pleasantly.
" Hannah has been called up to Mr.
Green's I believe it is they have a very
sick child. She could not tell how long
she might be gone. Tea is 'ready when
ever you are."
A few minutes later the Bev. Amos
Dale found himself seated at the tea
table, opposite Mrs. Payne, who was
pouring his tea, and bearing herself
with that unassuming'-dignity which
made embarrassment to either Impossi
ble. Some way the table had a different
air to-night ; the cloth was laid smooth
er, the dishes placed with greater care.
Iu the centre of the table, In the one
vase belonging to the parsonage was a
spray of sweet-brler,a handfull of daisies
and some graceful grass. What a won
der that little touch wrought I It pleas
ed the Bev. Amos Dale greatly. He had
never had flowers on his tea-table be
fore. " You gathered them on your way
home this afternoon, did you not Y"
" Yes sir, I wanted more, but I could
not carry them very well."
" I saw a great many of those wild
roses, and I thought myself they looked
pretty, but it did not occur to me to
bring them home. Hannah and I are
not quite up to that kind of thing, I
guess. We are very matter-of-fact"
aud he smiled a little wistfully.
He was beginning to feel in many ways
how much had been left out of his life.
That tea-time was a wonderful one to
Amos Dale. The simplest act and word
of It seemed beautiful and full of mean
ing to him. Afterward be watched Mrs
Payne as she moved about in housewife.
ly fashion clearing the table ; and when
she went away into the kitchen to wash
the dishes, for this she would do, he
would have followed her, but he did not
quite dare.
Hannah came home at eight o'clock.
bringing a good report of the sick child,
NO. 43.
and soon after they all hade each other
It was the custom at the parsonage, at
morning prayers, for each one present
to repeat a text of Horlpture. Tuesday
morning the Bev. Amos Dale repealed
and his voice was a trifle husky
" Be not forgetful to entertain stran
gers for there by some have entertained
angels unawares."
Hannah followed with " Commit thy
way unto the Lord ; trust also In him,
and he shall bring it to pass."
Then Mrs. Payne said, " The grace of
our Lord Jesus Christ he with you all."
There followed a moment In which
none of them cared to speak, and then
Mrs. Payne left the room without a
word and went up stairs. When she
came down she was equipped for her
journey, and it was time to start for the
When the Bev. Amos Dale, having
mt Mrs. Payne on board tiie train, with
many little cares for her comfort, stood
watching it speeding on out of sight, ail
ttie will within hltn rose and said, "She
Khali come back."
And for Emily Payne, all day her
thoughts travelled back to Fairfield, and
she kept wondering If there were ever
a man so pure in heart, so single lu pur
pose, as the lonely man whom she never
expected to meet again.
It was on a wet afternoon of August
that Hannah Breeze, having been on an
errand to Deacon Bushes', stopped In at
the post office for a pound of green tea
Joel Bean weighed It out for her, and
as he made up the parcel he said, glanc
ing shrewdly at Hannah through bis
glasses, " It takes the Elder a mighty
sight of letter-wrilln' to finish up that
there Commintery business, don't It?"
" Spose likely," said Hannah shortly.
" Yes," said Joel slowly, the twine be
tween his teeth, "about two letters more
or less a week, on an everidge, allowln'
me to be the judge." '
"Well," returned Hannah, who would
not for worlds haVe betrayed that this
was news to her, "I shouldn't wonder If
the Elder was capable of 'tending up to
it without none of my help nor your'n,
Mr. Bean ;" and the discreet Hannah
took her green tea, raised ber umbrella,
gathered up her calico skirt, and went
on he way.
One day in October the Bev. Amos
Dale informed Hannah that it was ne
cessary for him to go that week to Bur
lington, the city forty miles distant, to
see about the new hymn-books.
"Umphl" said Hannah to herself,
"There'll be sumpthin' seen about be
sides new hymn-books, I guess."
But she made everything ready for
him, and he went, and was gone two
After that, according to Joel Bean, the
"everidge" of letters on the Commen
tary business was sustained.,
June again in Fairfield, "tossing the
fields full o' blossoms, leaves an' birds."
The parsonage is bright and fresh with
new paper, paint and carpets. In the
sitting-room the tea-table, for it is even
ing, is sumptuously set forth, and about
it three women hovering, Hannah.
Breeze, Mrs. Bush, and Mrs. Bobbins,
looking with critical eyes at the array of
cakes, tarts, biscuits, preserves and cold
meats, to see If anything has been for
gotten. Mrs. Bobbins being satisfied with her
Inspection, returns to the subject they
have been discussing with ever new
" Where is It you say she's been teach
ing, Hannah Y"
" At Asbton, a little ways out of Bur
lington ; her daughter was there to
school last year when she come to Fair
field." " She didn't canvas for that Commin
teray only a few mon lbs, anyway, did
she ?" asks Mrs. Bush.
" No," Hannah replies, rather con
temptuously, " 'twan't no business for
her.no way. She done pretty well at it,
though, for all" and she goes out to the
front doorstep, the others following,
"How awful rusty them lay locks
does look," Hannah remarks, looking
disapprovingly up at the bushes.
" Yes but the Byrlngaa have bio wed
out Jest in time," says Mrs. Bush.
"And them red pinles, too," adds
Hannah, "they're han'some now." '
At that moment they heard a shrill,

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