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cloth they wore, determined the first impression. They were Friends or Quakers, evidently on their way to meeting. He resolved to follow them.
At length they stopped before a plain-looking building, which he should hardly have distinguished from a private dwelling. It stood within a small, neat enclosure, and had two doors of entrance, one on each side.
Israel now stepped forward and inquired.
“This is Friends' meeting-house,” answered "Friend John;" 5 thee is welcome to come in.” Somewhat in the look and tone which accompanied these words made Israel feel welcome to go in there. This friend showed Israel to a seat within.
Not a little was he at first interested to observe that "Friend John,” as well as all other of the men who came in, did not remove their hats. Upon one side of the room sat the men, while the women together occupied the other, both facing one way, which was the wall behind the preachers' seats. Soon arrivals ceased, and all was still. Israel took the opportunity to cast several glances around him.
The walls were severely plain, as were also the seats. No sign nor sound of elegance intruded in that sanctuary.
The women were generally dressed with simplicity of color and shape, but the material was often costly. The plainest Friends wore the real Quaker bonnet, neckerchief and shawl; but these were only the few. Their faces were uncommonly smooth and placid in expression, as though the experience of daily life brought few distraining cares; or if they came, the lleviating simplicity of friendly hopes came with
them. Some of the young women were very lovely.
The men had a comfortable, self-controlling look generally, though there were exceptional cases, where the expression admitted of a slight discount in favor of worldly wisdom. "Best wisdom
6 ” was prevalent, but did not universally reign.
After some time had elapsed, Israel began to be restless, and thought it was singular that no movement was made indicating a commencement of the services. He looked at the principal men who filled the more conspicuous seats, but they moved not, nor broke the solemn sound of silence. He now remembered reading that these people worshipped in the spirit, often coming together without public speaking, and composed himself “to do as the Romans did.”
He began to look inwardly and listen to the silent teachings of the spirit. But no sooner was his gaze introverted than some indefinable impulse directed his thoughts before him toward a bonnet, not so plain as others, on the opposite side of the house. slight turn of the head had revealed the fair and sweet face of a young Quakeress. Just as he looked, he thought the dark eyes under the bonnet looked also. The Quakeress turned quickly, and now the bonnet faced the side wall. Israel tried hard to think of subjects appropriate for that solemn occasion, but into his mind rushed unbidden the image of Cyprian Cutting. The sound of Methodist confusion filled his heart, and he was there in that Quaker meeting as though he were not.
The gentle swaying of the tall trees in a private yard behind this meeting-house was now heard
through the open windows. It recalled Israel to himself and the scene of the hour.
“O, that I could reflect worthily !” he said to himself. Then he thought of the words which he had read that morning in Hosea 14:5: “I will be as the dew unto Israel; he shall grow as the lily, and cast forth his roots as Lebanon,"? “Here," reflected the youth, “is the Lord's presence, not as the thunder nor the trumpet. He hath not gone up with a shout, but he is as the silent, gentle, fructifying dew. Spiritual life grows in this soil like the lily, unheard, almost linseen, nevertheless sure,
and with accretions of rarest beauty. As the roots of the great trees of the forest of Lebanon spread out underneath the surface into a web of strength and fortification against the passing blasts, so does the underlying principle of this people gather consistency and permanence from their most profitable silences, wherewith they are able to stand unmoved in the day of adversity."
Israel now thought of the god Heimdal, who was said to hear the wool grow on the lambs and the grass in the fields, and he wished that his spiritual hearing had been sufficiently acute that he might perceive the growth of the goodness which flowed from the united pause in the Friends' Meeting.
He ventured another look at the Quaker bonnet worn by the fair young girl, though this time it was not withdrawn so suddenly as before. Then he looked away at some of the demure men who occupied the preachers' seats, as though half-expecting one of them to rise. He now saw, with a sigh of relief, something new. The gravest looking of these men took off his broad-brimmed hat, and laid it down by his side.
Israel thought he was going to speak. The spirit had moved him at last. But no ! he shook hands with his next Friend. This seemed a signal for a general stir. Friend after Friend shook hands, and it was plain that meeting
"Is this all?” thought Israel, somewhat disappointed. “Not by might, nor by power, but by my spirit, saith the Lord,” he answered himself. All now gathered together very quietly for a friendly greeting and conversation. There seemed to be some Friends present who were strangers from England. These were welcomed by one and another with kind though measured words, which made Israel think that the lot of the stranger was indeed blessed among this people.
He had one more look at the bonnet which had more or less troubled the deep waters of his soul, through the meeting, and was rewarded by a full view of the face, radiant with calm delight, the remembrance of which lingered in his heart as something precious, and reluctantly went his way.
Like the traveller who visits the statue of Memnon, he had heard “a strange, sweet music from the cold and voiceless marble.” When the Mahometans conclude their worship in the mosque, they smooth down their faces with their hands, take up their slippers, and their
way. Israel did not smooth down his face, for it was already smoothed by the viewless, noiseless tidal current of the Quaker worship; nor did he shake the dust from his feet. He felt, however, that his worldly shoes had been almost out of place on that holy ground.
Some time. later Israel was in a distant city, and remembering that this was the place of residence of one of his former classmates in an academy, who belonged to a Quaker family, he took occasion to call on this friend.
In his reception by this family there breathed the spirit of unaffected friendliness. His friend was absent; and though no one of these people had ever before seen him, nothing was wanting but the presence of the absent one to complete the spirit of their hospitality.
It was noticed by Israel that when all were gathered in their seats around the family board, instead of the blessing which he had often heard, each, with slightly bowed head, remained silent until the head of the family made the first movement to indicate that the silence was to give place to the courtesies of the hour. Israel had heard that in past time the men Quakers ate with head uncovered; he now concluded that this custom was obsolete.
It being Fourth day, Israel was asked by his friends. to go with them to “meeting.” He was told that that they met for worship on this day of the week as