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sparkled like diamond-dust in the cold flatter a servant of the Lord, Mr. Mullight of the moon. He walked home grove, but ever since I heard you preach sad and sullen, as if he were going into to us as a candidate, I knew that you exile.
were one of the chosen, sir-one of the
chosen!” He believed somehow that THE TEMPTATION.
ministers were selected by special act The next morning, while the stars of Providence, and meant to intimate were yet shining, the young clergyman that in this case the choice could not was in the stage-coach on his way to be improved. Without hardly pausing the railway-depot, nine miles distant for breath, he continued, “Brother MulBefore the sun had been up an hour he grove, you are commissioned to do a was rushing on the train towards the glorious work for us in Zion.” flourishing village of Goldburgh, in “I hope so, with your cooperation, Northern New York. It now began to Brother Rowler," wedged in the clergysnow and drift rapidly on the track. “I trust my humble labors will Soon the storm was almost blinding, be blest." and he could hardly see the fences from “They will be, sir-they will be," the car-window. The result was block- kept on the deacon. “ You have got ade, shovelling, backing up, bumping, the preach in you, and it must come impatience of passengers, and, finally, a out. You can knock out a sermon just triumphant victory of the Steam-King as I used to turn out a tin-pan when I over the Storm-Fiend who thought to was a tinker. I could beat any two men stop him on his way.
in the shop, just because I had the The train reached Goldburgh at knack. Our last pastor, Brother Drawl1 P. M., just four hours behind-time. ings, was a good man—a very pious, This circumstance determined the sub- good man; but his preaching wa'n't sequent events of our story. Two per particular brilliant. In my opinion he sons had been waiting for Mr. Mulgrove was not chosen. He couldn't make at the depot. One was Charles Dod- himself terrifying to sinners. We want man, a young merchant, who had been a man to make the church grow. There his classmate at college, and who de- is no standing still in this world, sirsired him to board with his father; the must go ahead, or else go backwards. other was Deacon Rowler, intent on I commenced a tinker, got to be a tinoffering the new clergyman the hospi- peddler, then owned a small shop, now tality of his own house. As the train I own a big one and have twenty-seven was so late, the young man went home peddlers on the road. This is the style to dinner; but the Deacon did not, and of thing I like to see in the church. so secured his man.
When I see a new convert brought in, I “Ah, how do you do—how do you say to myself, “There is one more peddo! Glad to see you !” rattled the dler on the road; he will leave the energetic little church dignitary, as he bright tinware of Christian example, I caught the Rev. Ashley Mulgrove by hope, along the path of his daily life.'” the hand, and snatched his satchel away As Deacon: Rowler concluded this refrom bim as if he were a highwayman, mark, with his large hand he took off and had no time to spare. “I tell you, his enormous fur cap, and his broad Brother Mulgrove, I'm delighted to see forehead, on which the coarse iron-gray you. I've waited for ye, just as them locks still held a place, fairly smoked old Jews waited for a Messiah. Come with perspiration. His short, sturdy right up with me; you must be hungry figure expressed in every action his com-ministers must eat, you know. I told pressed and intensified energy. Like a Mrs. Rowler to keep something warm coiled watch-spring, his life was a confor you. You got snowed in, did you 3 stant pushing. He was a working ChrisWell, you're in time to preach to- tian. morrow, that's lucky ;-don't wish to Deacon Rowler soon led Mr. Mul
grove to his house, one of those pre
The Rev. Ashley Mulgrove tentious, white, two-story and a half had in him one prime essential of a dwellings which betoken owner powerful preacher — spiritual earnestwhose worldly affairs are prosperous.
To this he added a poetic imagiHis family were Mrs. Rowler, large, nation and a thorough culture. There black-eyed, with glossy hlack hair, and was a kind of magnetism in the man, a quizzing expression which seemed to which electrified all who came within demand your secrets at once; Miss the range of his pulpit. His fine, masAlice, a daughter of sixteen, bewitch sive head with the thick brown locks ingly beautiful in her budding woman and heavy beard ; his dark eyes that hood, with luxuriant auburn curls, blue dilated wide when inspired by his eyes like her father's, and brimful of theme; the passionate, impressive gesgirlish merriment; and Master Fred, tures, the ringing voice now sweet and who had recently come in possession of sad, or anon like the bugle-blast in its Inis first pair of skates. There was one fiery vehemence; the strong, compact more—Dowzer, an immense Newfound- figure that paced to and fro past the land dog, who had the freedom of the desk—all helped make up the consumreception-room, and, when strangers mate pulpit-orator. He recalled the were present, had the habit of resting scriptural statement, “ The word was his under-jaw in Alice's lap, and rolling with power.” It is not wonderful that his yellow eyes from her to them, say he delighted the executive fancy of ing, in canine pantomime, “If you Deacon Rowler. should dare harm her, I'd make the His second, third, and fourth sermons finest kind of mincemeat of you." were as excellent as his first, and on Dowzer made himself understood on each successive Sabbath he surpassed this point to the comprehension of the himself. His congregation was soon young clergyman.
the largest in the village, and he Rer. The Rev. Ashley Mulgrove had been Cleanthus Bibbins, rector of Holy Trinintroduced to the family on his previous ity Church, who had a hankering after visit, and greeted them warmly. Mrs. ritualism, spoke of him as a sensation Rowler surveyed him with her habitual preacher who sought by clap-trap to quiz; Alice inquired if her practice on attract the “ vulgar” rabble. He the piano would disturb him in his preached the theology of an orthodox study up-stairs ; Fred asked if he could sect, and with telling effect. In the skate; and Dowzer again signified his first six months of his ministry, over ability to craunch him in a certain con forty converts were added to his church, tingency. After dinner he was shown and it was a noticeable fact that a large to the room assigned bim, and began percentage of them were young ladies. unpacking his clothes and books. Here But let us analyze more closely the he took out Hester's picture, and gazed pastoral duties of our young clergyman upon the sweet, tranquil face. He at this period of his life. He preached kissed it with a lover's fervor, and then two sermons every day, morning and looked around to see if any one was evening; heard a Bible-class after the watching him. There was no one near, first service; presided at prayer-meetand it was only the memory of Mrs. ings on Wednesday and Friday eveRowler's eyes which affected him dis- nings ; attended covenant meetings agreeably. Under their glance, he fan- monthly; officiated at weddings and cied himself very thin and transparent. funerals; made pastoral calls;
The next day was the Sabbath, and scrupulous in visiting the sick of the all that evening he read over his sermon. parish, and was expected to take the On the morrow, the second day of the lead in conducting the missionary and new year, he preached the opening charitable enterprises of his society. discourse of his first pastorate. To These trifling duties he performed in speak in a secular way, the result was a those days for $500 a-year and a
“ donation," Summer vacations to strength to his own. She could sing ministers were then unknown out of and play charmingly, and there was a the city, and such a waste of time vivacity in her conversation which was would have been regarded as a clerical a better tonic to his mind than more crime. Ashley Mulgrove had not yet gravity or depth. He usually talked to learned to escape the exhausting press- her as an elder brother, and with no ure of his brain-labor by relapsing into affectation of the clerical character. the common-place routine of the hack- He occasionally walked to church with neyed exhorter. He was yet too young, Alice, and sometimes took a stroll with ambitious, and enthusiastic, Every her to the outskirts of the village. The week he wrote two fresh sermons, and gossips said that the young clergyman committed them to memory. In addi- was courting Deacon Rowler's daughter. tion to this labor, he reviewed his theo- The Widow Skeals, who had two daughlogical lectures, kept brushed up in ters whose marriageable age was well Greek and Hebrew, read the papers and established, had said, on several occathe current literature of the day to sions, “ that the minister was following glean illustrations and keep in sympa
up that little flirt of an Alice Rowler, thy with the times.
just as if he was dead in love with It must be apparent to the reader her.” She would usually add, “I don't that this zealous overwork in a few see what he can find to admire in such months began to tell both on his mind a young thing, for my part. She is no and body. But how could he avoid it ? more fit to be a minister's wife than He was only going through with the she is to be queen of Spain ! established formula of a country clergy- But the wind bloweth where it listman's duty. Deacon Rowler was, as eth, and no man can tell whence it before stated, a working Christian, and cometh or whither it goeth. It is much he expected his pastor to set the high- the same with love. est example in laboring for Christ. “Forgive a mother's solicitude, Mr.
In the meanwhile the Rev. Ashley Mulgrove " said Mrs. Rowler one mornMulgrove grew pale, haggard, and ing to the minister. “ Alice is nearly melancholy, though his enthusiasm in seventeen, and has not yet united with the pulpit did not cool, but flamed out the church. I was a communicant at the brighter like an expiring taper. He fourteen." kept a promise made to Hester, to kneel “Mrs. Rowler, Alice is an attentive every night at ten o'clock, and remem- listener at church, and I had hoped that ber her especially in his prayer; but soon she would be drawn to the Cross. he broke it in not quitting his studies There is a great difference in persons," till long after midnight. The two week- continued her pastor, regaining his ly sermons must be produced. In his composure. “Some rush frantically, contract with his church, this was the some approach reluctantly, others obpound of flesh“ nominated in the bond.” stinately, and there are a blessed few When he extinguished his lamp, and who seem gently drawn as if to a sweet threw himself upon the bed, he was refuge from the unrest of the world." often too tired to sleep. Still there He said this with a touching sadness was the inexorable tyrant of his exist- and sincerity, which would have allayed ence, Two a-week! two a-week!
the suspicion of even old Dowzer, had At last he came abstracted and rest- he been any thing but a dog. less in manner, and was unknowingly “But it pains me," added the mother, groping on the very verge of insanity. “ to see so many other young girls bearIn this condition of mind, the only ing the Cross, and Alice not among relief he found was in the company of them. Mr. Mulgrove, I shall never Alice, who was so young, fresh, and know a happy moment until I see you healthful, that the buoyancy of her baptize Alice. I shall never—" spirits seemed for the time to give At this juncture the door-bell rang, and Mr. Mulgrove was called for, to visit him, and that and her mother's headthe sick son of a member of his church. work will win the day." He was not expected to live, and the As she concluded this exulting stateminister was requested to come at once. ment, she looked at her plump, wellLeaving his unfinished sermon, and rounded figure in the mirror over the hastily putting Hester's last letter into wash-stand, and, with a glow of femihis Bible as he noticed it lying near nine vanity, thus addressed her reflecthis manuscript, he broke away from the ed image: “Don't I understand these clerical Moloch, Two a-week.
men, ministers and all? I rather think His last action did not escape the I do, Mrs. Rowler!” quick eye of Mrs. Rowler, and in a mo- Having soliloquized her intentions, ment after he went out she returned she put the letter back carefully, and to his study. He was hardly out of returned below-stairs. sight, when she locked the door on the It was not long before the plan of the inside, went straight to the table, ambitious mother began to be realized. opened the Bible, and took out the A few evenings after Mrs. Rowler's conletter. Her face colored as she held it fidential visit to the study, the young in her hand, for she was not without a clergyman walked out with Alice, in one sense of shame at the meanness of the of the last nights of summer. They act. She paused, and then whispered, sat down on a great rock, close by the “ What's the harm? I want to know stream as it murmured through a little the enemy I have to deal with. I must glen just beyond. There was a dam measure my daughter's rival.”
which elevated the water for one of The letter came out of the envelope, Deacon Rowler's mills, and in this pool and Mrs. Rowler perused it carefully. Mr. Mulgrove had performed many bapShe read this sentence aloud :
tisms. They were silent for some mo. “You say, dear Ashley, that little ments, looking at the bridge of moonAlice is the sprightliest, sweetest, pretti- light that lay like a silver shaft across est young girl the village, and that the placid pond. The time and place her songs, laughter, and merry talk are were auspicious, and the young clergyyour only recreation from the fatiguing man waited for an opportunity to turn duties of your position. I envy Alice the conversation naturally into a more her nearness to you, and rejoice to think serious channel. that, in a few months, I can relieve her " What is more beautiful than a star, from the pleasant task of confidential Mr. Mulgrove ?” asked Alice, with a companion to the Rev. Ashley Mul- slight touch of girlish sentiment, as she grove."
pointed to Venus, its red light glowing “Ah, hah! jealousy already," said like a torch in the dusky horizon. Mrs. Rowler, with a look of fiendish Hero was a chance for a lover's comsatisfaction. “My daughter will relieve pliment, but the ardent minister reyou, Hester Mason, for I can wind you strained the human impulse, and spoke and your lover round my little finger!” as the man of God. As the heroine of the purloined letter “ That which a star first symbolized uttered these words, she flourished her -Jesus of Bethlehem,” he quickly anhand in air in a style that would have swered. done honor to Lady Macbeth.
Alice's eyes fell upon the ground and “ Yes," she continued, “my Alice filled with tears. The talk which folshall be Mrs. Mulgrove, the wife of the lowed was too pure, tender, and sacred popular preacher; and you Hester to be transcribed. It was there that Mason may be Mrs. Anybody or Mrs. the newness of life began to dawn in Nobody, as you like. My plan will the soul of this young girl, like the first work! If he takes a special interest in struggling beams of the morning. He her soui, he will soon feel one in her presented the Saviour to her, with the heart. Her beauty aiready bewitches munificence of His love, sympathy, and
sacrifice. He spoke with a sad, sweet confessed my passion to Alice, but I've earnestness more eloquent to her than been on the very point of doing it a all his fiery appeals from the pulpit. dozen times. I was tempted to place
In three weeks from this time he myself before her Saviour. Oh, horristood side by side with her in the ble thought! What shall I do! I will bright pool, on which the moonbeams do what I have meditated for the past had rested so lovingly on that memora week: I will abandon both these huble night. Alice, dressed in a robe of man loves, and only love my Saviour, spotless white, was fair as an angel and toil for Him to the end of my days Mr. Mulgrove, in his black robe, and —they will not be many. This evening pale, earnest face, never looked so full I preached from the text, “Set your of the Christian life. The crowd upon affections on things above, not on the bank was hushed in breathless still things of the earth ;' henceforth I will ness by the solemnity of the spectacle. practise as I preach. I will write the The look of pride on Mrs. Rowler's face letter I have resolved upon—tell Hester even softened into one of reverent awe. that I cannot be her husband, that I
“My sister, I baptize thee in the desire no other bride than the Church. name of the Father, the Son, and the I must, I will write her this! She will Holy Ghost !” There was a plash of forgive me when I wish to do my highthe water simultaneously with the word est duty. Alice shall be to me only like
Amen; the sun came out suddenly any other lamb I have called into my from a cloud and shone brightly on the Master's fold. Let me know sacrifice, scene, and as Alice rose again, Undine let me slay my affections, as Abraham springing from the wave was not more would have slain Isaac. Lord, let me be beautiful to the enraptured eye.
greater than he; nerve me to strike the Let us follow the Rev. Ashley Mul fatal blow, and not withhold my arm !” grove to his study after the arduous As he uttered these words he stood labor of the Sabbath on which he per up, with his arms lifted high, and his formed the baptism just described. His eyes had in them the fire of madness. evening discourse had been preached The self-righteous egotism into wbich with great fervor, and he felt utterly he had relapsed, settled the type of his exhausted and unstrung. Two a-week insanity. “I will write the letter !” he was fast consigning him to the list of exclaimed. He lighted a lamp, and Christian martyrs. The heat that was drawing his chair to the table, arranged within him he thought was without, and bis writing materials and sat down. he threw off his clothes, and sat in an For a moment he was calmer, and, coveasy-chair, with only his dressing-gown ering his face with his hands, almost on, by an open window, in one of the moaned : “My head-oh, my head ! chilly nights of early autumn.
I've not slept for five nights. I must a weak restraint is piety on some of the wait till morning." passions of human nature !” he mused He extinguished the lamp, and threw to himself. “What if all my thoughts himself on the bed with the cry, half had blossomed into deeds—where would anguish and half prayer, “O God, bring I stand to-night? Well were we taught me sleep, or bring me death !” to pray, ' Lead us not into temptation.' The completeness of his exhaustion There is in all human hearts the germ gave him a few hours of enforced slumof every possible sin. I thank God, ber; but sleep came not as my father early taught me manliness. ture's sweet restorer." He awoke with My manhood revolts at a base act. But the consciousness of intense bodily and where has the strength of my manhood mental suffering. His hands and feet flown these many weeks ? I love Alice, were like ice, his temples throbbed as I am engaged to Hester, yet my love if the blood was driven through his for her does not depart. She has been veins by a forcing pump of forty-horse true, I have been false. I have not power. His tongue was swollen with