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Experiences of a Backwoods Preacher
Chapter VII. Revival Meetings Continued

PLACES, like men, sometimes are reputed to be better than they are, and sometimes worse. That being the case, it is not always safe to estimate a person or place in strict accordance with what Dame Rumour may have to say about them. I found this to be emphatically true of the village of Thornbury, when I went to live there in 1867.

Thornbury was at that time the headquarters of the Collingwood mission of the M. E. Church. When my name was read out by the Stationing Committee, I felt some misgivings about going to it. But I had been long enough in the itinerant work to know that it is not always best for men to choose their own work. So I determined to go and do the best I could for the place. I had been told by a man who was not a Methodist, that it was a very hard place. His words were: “The women of Thornbury are well enough, but the devil and the rumsellers have a mortgage on the most of the men.” This, I thought, must be an exaggeration, and I found that, bad as the place was, it was not so far gone as that, for before I was there three months I saw a number of both men and women converted and made happy, though it must be admitted that, for a small village, Thornbury was far from being a model of propriety and order. On the contrary, it could produce as much dissipation to the square rod as any little place that I have seen. But this state of things, I think, arose not so much out of an inordinate love of wickedness on the part of the people, as it did from a lack of special effort on the part of the Churches to help and encourage individuals and families to live right. Everybody seemed to take it for granted that nothing could be done, and so no one tried to do anything for the moral and religious uplifting of that part of the inhabitants of the place who were outside of the Churches.

But God resolved to visit Thornbury in mercy, but in doing so He did not commission some learned divine to teach the people what they ought to do, nor did He send some noted evangelist to arouse the careless, sleeping sinners.

He who takes the weak things to confound the mighty, chose some children in the berry-field to be the instruments in His hands to start a mighty work, in the place. Some little girls, ranging from eight to twelve years of age, went out to pick berries. While thus engaged, one of them spoke of a sermon she had heard on the previous Sabbath, in which something was said about the conversion of children. They talked on for a while, and then they concluded to hold a prayer-meeting, and ask the Lord to convert them. A part of them belonged to a Sabbath-school, taught by a good old Wesleyan, named David Youmans. They gathered into a thicket of shrubbery, and commenced to sing and pray. Before long God heard and answered their simple petitions for conversion, and all of them were blessed and made as happy as they could be.

Some men who were passing by on the road heard the noise and went to see what the children were doing. They found them in a perfect ecstasy of joy and quietly left them without disturbing them. But the story of the children’s prayer-meeting soon spread through the village. Some treated the matter with levity. Others were seriously impressed by it.

I had only been there a short time and was a comparative stranger to most of the people. My first Quarterly Meeting came on, and I made arrangements for an all-day meeting, to be held in a nice grove not far from our church. The presiding elder at the time was a live man from Dublin, W. H. Shaw. That day he did grand work. The congregation was large and orderly. One woman was converted, and many of the old professors, both from town and country, were abundantly blessed. We commenced a series of revival meetings in the church at once. The people came out in crowds, and the work of conversion went on from the first. In carrying on the services the band of little workers that had received their commission in the berry-field was a great help to me. Everybody wondered at the clearness of their testimony, and the fervour and earnestness of their prayers. For a few days these little ones did a good share of praying for penitence at the altar.

During the first week we recorded twelve conversions, and a number more were earnestly seeking the forgiveness of sin. The work went on with increased power from day to day, so that at the end of the fourth week some sixty professed to have been converted, and the religious community was stirred for miles around.

There were two or three things in connection with these meetings that I wish to notice before passing on. One afternoon, at our two o’clock prayer-meeting, there came three squaws from a camp of Indians that were located about a mile from the village. Those women were Methodists from about the Saugeen reservation.

During the meeting the eldest one engaged in prayer in her own language. We could only understand one word, and that was “Jesus.” But a more powerful prayer I never heard before or since. It seemed as if the very rain of heaven were falling from a cloud of mercy on every heart in answer to the earnest pleadings of this poor, unlearned daughter of the forest. There were not less than fifty persons present, but at the close of that prayer there was not a dry face in the house.

At the commencement of the third week of our meetings, the altar was somewhat crowded, and we were straitened for room. Some of the leading workers said to me:

“We shall have to put these children in a corner by themselves, so as to make more room for grown-up people,”

I told them that I was afraid to interfere with the Lord’s way of doing His work. But they seemed to insist on it, and I let them have their way. The children were put in a corner by themselves, and the altar left for older people.

For two nights this arrangement was adhered to. The meetings were cold, and dull, and dry, and lifeless. Next night I called the little workers back to the altar and all went well again.

I wish to say here that one of the best helpers in a revival that I have met with among the laymen of Methodism I found in these meetings in Brother Davidson, who came to live in Thornbury about the same time that I went there. He could always be relied on for work either in the pulpit or at the altar. He was a Wesleyan local preacher, and was a good man. In fact, the whole Christian community gave all the help they could in forwarding the work.

One night during the meetings an old woman came to the altar, and I could not help seeing that she made a sensation when she came. The other women drew away from her, as if they were afraid to let their garments touch hers. She was poorly and plainly dressed and was evidently in very humble circumstances. But I felt that this in itself was not any reason why Christians should shun her. She seemed very much in earnest, and she wept as though her heart would break.

After meeting I made inquiry as to who she was. I was told that she belonged to a family in the village and that they had a very bad name, and were looked down upon by every one. I told the people who gave me this information that our duty was to imitate the Master in our treatment of sinners. He never selected special cases, but, on the contrary, He saved any one-that came to Him. She might be poor, she might be vile, but she was penitent, and that was a passport to the Lord’s sympathy and love, and it ought to be to ours.

Next night she was saved, and she gave a clear and distinct testimony to the fact of salvation from sin. She was very happy. On visiting her and conversing with her, I found that she had been reared in a Christian home, and by Methodist parents, in the eastern part of this Province. But like scores of other silly girls she had blighted her life’s happiness by an unsuitable marriage. She was married by a Methodist minister to a French-Canadian Catholic. They settled the question of church connection by an agreement to attend no church. They had raised a large family entirely destitute of religious training. When I had learned all this, it was easy to see how it was that parents and children had gone so far astray.

The old woman was very punctual in attending every means of grace after her conversion. For two months we never missed her from any of the services, either by night or by day. At length one Thursday night she was absent from the prayer-meeting. Next Sabbath morning her seat was again vacant. This caused some inquiries, but no one could tell what was the cause of her absenee,

On Tuesday I went to her home and found her very sick with inflammation of the lungs and past hope of recovery. I asked her how she felt.

“Oh,” said she, “I am hourly sinking, but my soul is unspeakably happy.”

Then she reached her hand to me and said, “How can I sufficiently thank the Lord for the protracted meetings. What would I do now if I had not found salvation? Surely I am a brand plucked from the burning. How wonderful it seems that I am saved after all those dreary years of sin and wickedness.” Next day she died in peace. How often since then have I thought of poor old Mrs. Willot, so nearly lost but saved at last.

In less than a year her husband died with a tumour on his neck. When he found that he must die, he sent for me to come and see him. On going I found him in a very unhappy condition both of body and mind. I asked him what I could do for him.

He said: “I sent for you to teach me how to die, as you taught my wife. She died in peace and I want to die in peace.”

I told him that the mercy that had saved his wife would save him, if he would repent and believe as she had done. I found him very ignorant, but ready and willing to be taught. He seemed gradually to grasp the truth, and at length could rejoice in the hope of a future life, based on a sense of pardoned sin. He died soon after calmly trusting in the crucified and risen Saviour. “Almost lost but saved,” would be a fitting epitaph for him and for his wife.

McColman’s Schoolhouse.

We have lingered about Thornbury longer than was intended. We will now leave it and go to the tenth line of the township of Collingwood, where we had an appointment in McColman’s schoolhouse. There was a fair congregation, and a small class of church members.

During my second year on the Collingwood mission I held a series of evangelistic services in that place. I was aware that in the vicinity there were some of the Campbellites or Disciples. But I thought that by judicious management it was possible to avoid coming in collision with them. But in this I was mistaken. Their domain is on the water and along the rivers and streams. And since the earth is about three-fourths covered with water, it becomes very difficult to move in any direction very far without touching their domain somewhere, as I found out in this place, and of which I will speak further on.

In this place, as in Thornbury, the work of revival began at first among the children and youths. Some ten or twelve Sabbath-school scholars, between ten and fifteen years of age, came forward to seek the Lord during the first week, and several of them were happily converted. This gave an impetus to the work and encouragement to the workers. And there were some noble helpers there. One Presbyterian brother— a Mr. Goodfellow—whose two young daughters were among the first converts, did everything in his power to help on the good work.

At the close of the week one brother said to me, “I am glad to see the children coming to Jesus, but I should like to see the old sinners coming, too.”

I said to him: “When you go to clear off a piece of land, you cut the undergrowth first and the large timber afterwards. The Lord is doing so here. He is simply underbrushing now. But He will bring down the tall, strong sinners after a while.”

And so it turned out, for in three weeks between forty and fifty professed to be saved from their sins. But this was not accomplished without some opposition from our friends the Disciples. Among them were two who were more than mere laymen, and less than what they call elders. They were in a sense public teachers. After our meeting began to attract the attention of the general public, one or both of these men would be on hand almost every night in a very captious state of mind, if their actions were to be taken as an index to their thoughts and feelings. One night in my discourse I spoke something about the baptism of the Spirit.

After I was done speaking and was about to start the prayer-meeting, one of these men got up and said to me, “ You have called up the subject of baptism, and now I want you to clear it up, and let us have no (lodging of the matter.” I looked at him and said, “Mr. , I am no good at dodging, as you call it.

But who gave you authority to dictate to me what I shall say or how I shall say it? ”At this stage of the proceedings Brother William Houston, a grand sample of a fearless Englishman, started at the top of his voice—which was by no means a weak one—and sung,

“Jesus, my all, to heaven is gone—
The way is so delightful—hallelujah!”

The audience struck right in with him and made the house ring with the voices of men, women and children, while they gave expression to their feelings and sang that grand old hymn, and gave such emphasis to the chorus that nothing but water-fowls could resist the influence of the singing. We had a good prayer-meeting after that.

On another occasion, as soon as I was done preaching, the other one of the two men spoken of arose and challenged me to meet him in public debate on the subject of baptism. I told him that I had no time to waste in that way, but if he would wait until these meetings were closed, I would tell him and all concerned what I believed, and why I believed it, on the subject of water baptism. He got on his feet again, and lifting his hand with a Bible in it, and with a look of determination, said to me and the audience, “In the name of this book I demand to be heard.” I looked him in the face and said to him, “Sir, you came here without invitation, you have got angry without provocation, and now in the name of the laws of the Province of Ontario, I command you to sit down and be quiet.” We went on with our meeting till the close without any more disturbance.

The next day I met this man in the road. He asked me if I intended to take up his challenge. I told him I did not. He said, “It is because you dare not do it; you are a coward.” I replied that “Forbearance is not cowardice any more than rashness is courage. The strongest men are the least quarrelsome and the strongest nations are the coolest nations. It is not because I am afraid of you that I decline to accept your challenge, but I am not disposed to spend my time and strength in a useless way. Besides, I am well known in these counties, and If I should engage in a public debate with you it would give a publicity to your views and a notoriety to yourself that you cannot gain if left to make your own way into public notice. I am not going to be an advertising medium for you or any one else if I can help it.”

Two weeks after I preached on water baptism, as practised by the Methodists, to the largest crowd that had ever met me in that neighbourhood, and I gave the longest address that I have ever given; but I never heard anything more on the subject while I remained on that charge. Some of the people who were brought in at that series of meetings are among the leading Church workers of that neighbourhood at the present time.

Kinlough Appointment, on the Kincardine Circuit, was the scene of some four weeks’ effort by myself and my colleague, Bro. Thomas Love. The people in this locality were a mixture both nationally and religiously—English, Irish, Scotch, Canadian and Anglican, Presbyterian, Methodist, Baptist and Roman Catholics, all had their representatives and adherents here. A large number of young people attended our services in this place, which made the prospects of success all the brighter.

One peculiarity of this appointment was the lack of denominational attachment on the part of the members of the Church. Another thing that gave a discouraging aspect to the work was the small amount of real and hearty brotherly love and confidence in each other that manifested itself in the community. But still the people were fully up to the average in moral deportment, and some of them were conspicuous in loyalty to Queen and country. Orangeism had a strong hold in the place, and some of the best Orangemen that I have met—and I have seen and known a great many —were found in connection with the lodge at Kinlough.

One of the most prominent men in the place was Mr. Jacob Nichols, deputy reeve of Kinloss township, and Justice of the Peace. He had at one time, I think, been a Methodist, but he was not at this time in connection with the Church. He was a good singer, and was well instructed in vocalization. He took a laudable interest in the young people, and at the time I speak of he had an excellent choir under his tuition.

When we commenced our meetings I asked Mr. Nichols to attend and lead the singing, which he readily consented to do. And during the whole time he and his band of singers did a great deal toward making the effort a successful one. He was one of the best hands at selecting timely and suitable pieces to sing that I have had the pleasure of working with in revival meetings. In this kind of work very much depends on what is sung and how it is sung; but I could rely on Mr. Nichols both as to matter and manner. “A glorious success ” was the general verdict respecting our meetings as they were brought to a close at the end of the fourth week. Nearly all the young folks of the Protestant families in the community professed to be benefited, and many of them claimed to be converted. Besides, a number of old sinners were led to turn from the error of their ways.

One young woman who was very active in these meetings, and who was greatly blessed in them, died not long after in the full assurance of faith, and in the hope of the gospel. Miss Mary Rowsam will be remembered when the butterflies of fashion and the votaries of pleasure shall be forgotten and their names have perished. It would hardly be a kind thing for me to close this section without saying something about the homes that I found around Kinlough during the three years of my pastorate on the circuit.

Perhaps, no class of men are so much dependent on homes away from their own residences as the Methodist itinerants. Their appointments are often at a distance from where they reside, so that it becomes a matter of necessity for them to have “homes away from home.” This is one of the conditions of itinerant life, and happy is the preacher who can adapt himself to circumstances and make himself agreeable and at home anywhere. These are the men who gain the affections of the people among whom they labour.

Our homes about Kinlough were quite numerous, as they had need to be since one of us had to spend one night every week the year round at some of them, besides all the extras, such as revivals and other week-

night meetings. The place was fifteen miles from my home. First and foremost, there is Mr. Nathan Pennel and his wife, called sometimes Aunt Mary. “The meeting-house” stands on a corner of their farm. Their house has been the home of ministers ever since the beginning of the settlement, and they have got rich while feeding the preacher and his horse. By day or by night, their door is ever open to the minister of the gospel.

Aunt Mary, like the Shunammite of old, has a “prophet’s room,” which she keeps for the preacher, and any one but a preacher who may be allowed to occupy that room must be one of Aunt Mary’s special favourites. She told me that she could not read a word before she was converted, which was in middle age; but she asked the Lord to help her to learn to read His word. She is a passable reader now, and fully up to the average woman of her age in general intelligence, and her knowledge of the Bible is remarkable. She is a great politician—a Conservative—and greatly in favour of Orangeism. May she and Nathan enjoy peace and plenty until their work is done, then in the bright beyond have a home in the Eternal City of God.

Brother James Young, who lives some distance from the church, with his wife was always ready and willing to entertain the preachers and make them comfortable. Mr. Young is one of “Aunt Mary’s” particular friends, because he is an Irishman and an Orangeman. He was one of the circuit stewards.

Mr. John Rowsatn and his family were always ready to entertain us, and many a comfortable night I spent with them. Mr. Rowsain has many noble qualities, and I only wish that I could pronounce him faultless, but like the rest of men he gives evidence of human weakness sometimes. His wife and daughter are among the most amiable people to be found.

The Tweedie family were always willing to give the preachers a hearty welcome. They were a family of singers, and made up a part of Mr. Jacob Nichols’ choir. The mother and some of the children were Methodists.

One more name I must not forget to mention, John Nichols. He was represented to me as sceptical, but I never found him so, except on the question of Darwinism. He was a little inclined towards that, but he was one of the most intelligent men of that community. I found great enjoyment in talking with him on almost any subject. 1 think that he must be something more than a “ monkey gone to seed.”

My Last Revival Meeting.

A combination of circumstances tended to make the closing year of my active work in the ministry an eventful one in more ways than one. Just before the Conference came on, our people in the town of Kincardine had entered into a contract to build an eight thousand dollar church, which to them was a very heavy undertaking. I had been two years on the circuit, and was well acquainted with the wants and wishes of the people.

At Conference it was resolved to cut off two appointments and attach them to another circuit. Against this I protested with all my might; but it was done, and I was left alone on the circuit, with four Sabbath appointments to provide for, and to superintend the building of a new church. This was hard enough, but it was not all. The people at two appointments that had been cut off locked up their churches and positively refused to submit to the new arrangement, so that if these were to be saved to the denomination some compromise must be made. The appointments in question were Kinloss and Kinlough.

The arrangement made was, that I should take charge of both; that I should supply Kinloss with religious services, and Kinlough would be supplied temporarily with preaching from the Teeswater Circuit preachers, and all the financial returns except the salaries should be made in connection with Kincardine. This gave me a large amount of extra work.

Besides all this, there was a great deal of trouble and worry in connection with the building, brought on by the failure of the contractor to fulfil his engagement. To save other parties from heavy losses, we had to assume responsibilities not contemplated when the contract was let. When all these things were put together, I found myself with burdens resting on my shoulders that were more than any man ought to carry ; but I resolved to do my best, so that if I failed to succeed it should not be through any lack of effort on my part. The church was completed about Christmas. Dr. Carman and Dr. Stone attended, and took charge of the financial part of the proceedings, as well as the other services. They succeeded in getting over ten thousand dollars promised to wipe out the debt on the church.

According to the contract, no money was due till one month after the building was completed, and then it was all due, and if it was not then paid, of course it would be on interest until paid. Eighty-two hundred dollars would have been amply sufficient to pay off every claim on the day that the church was dedicated ; but that amount in hard cash is one thing, and ten thousand five hundred dollars in subscriptions running from one to five years is entirely another thing, as the board of trustees found out to their sorrow. In these wild subscription schemes two important factors are generally lost sight of: one of these is, that interest on unpaid principal continually increases the liabilities, and the other is that shrinkage in the subscription caused by death, bankruptcies and removals from the Province, are all the time causing a decrease in the assets. In the case of which I am now speaking, to make everything safe not less than fifteen thousand dollars in subscriptions would have been needed to provide for debt and contingencies; but I forgot: it is revivals, and not church debts, that I am writing about at present.

About a month after the church was dedicated, there came to me one day a young man about six feet in height, with fine physical proportions, with rather pleasing manners, a fair complexion, dark hair, heavy whiskers, a heavy bass voice, plenty of cheek, and a ready tongue. I am thus particular in describing him because of the important bearing his coming at that time has had on my own life and on my relation to the work of the ministry. He claimed to be a travelling evangelist. He showed documents which testified that he was a local preacher in the great American M. E. Church. He also had testimonials from a Methodist minister in Canada, with whom I was acquainted, and for whom I had great respect as a successful revivalist. I had always kept clear of wandering stars in the shape of men who were too liberal to belong to any Church, and yet sought the patronage of the Churches; but this man was a Church member, which made his case somewhat different, and in talking with him I found that he was not willing to work on the lines of Church work, but he would be a second Moody.

1 told him that I could not think of going into extra work at that time; that for nine months I had been under a continuous strain, and was about worn out and needed all the rest that I could get, and that I had spent three months in revival work at that appointment since I came to the circuit, as well as many weeks elsewhere; but it was all to no use. He was not the kind to be put off without positive rudeness. He went to some of the officials, and by some means got them to consent to let him into the Church, with the understanding that I need not take any part in the work further than to give directions as to the time and manner of holding the services. The meetings were commenced and our evangelist went to work.

During the first week nothing much was done. During the second week I had to go to Elmwood, on the Hanover Circuit, to attend a church dedication and tea-meeting. I was away nearly a week. When I came home, I found that tilings were going very badly, the young man was worse than a failure; the people were contending, some for him and others against him. The first man I met after coming home was an old medical doctor, who often attended our meetings. He said to me, “If you wish to empty your new church and scatter the congregation, it can be effectually done by allowing that brawler to stay in it for a few weeks, if he conducts himself as he has done while you were away.”

When I heard the statements of a number of members and others, I resolved to take hold of the affair with a firm hand. The first thing that I did was to assume entire control of the services. Then I took the young man by himself and gave him some fatherly counsel. I told him that what I was about to say, some honest man ought to have said to him before he started out on such a mission. I told him that I did not doubt his sincerity or piety. But I said, “ I think you have mistaken your calling. Whatever the Lord may have for you to do, I am satisfied that your work is not that of an evangelist. You have energy enough, but it is the kind of energy that breaks what it ought to soften. You have force, but it is the force that scatters where it should gather. The trouble with you is, that like a good many others in the Church, you have got the Moody craze, so that a desire to imitate that singular man has made you unwilling to do ordinary Christian work in an ordinary Christian way. Hence the Church in its local activities and agencies has no field extensive enough for your expanding conceptions of duty. Take my advice and go home, and if you really want to do something for the Lord, He will find you plenty of work that is more in harmony with your capabilities than the holding of revival meetings seems to be.” He did not take this very well. But I told him that as 1 was responsible to the Conference and to the public opinion of the town for what I allowed to be done in the Church, I could not permit him to lead any more meetings there.

Matters had now got into such a state that a powerful revival became an absolute necessity, as it was the only thing that would save the society from serious embarrassments and keep the congregation together. It was resolved to rally our shattered forces at once, and make an advance movement against the combined ranks of our spiritual opposers. We went to work with a determination, God helping us to conquer at any cost.

All personal considerations on the part of both preacher and people were thrown aside, and every one of us felt that the future of our cause as a denomination in the town would be affected by the success or failure of the present effort.

We worked on for three weeks before we regained what had been lost by the operations of the young man who came to us uninvited and went from us unregretted. But at length the goodness of our God was manifested in an outpouring of the Holy Spirit and in the commencement of a mighty work that seemed to shake the town as it had not been shaken for many years before. So people told me. We kept the meetings going for six weeks longer, making nine weeks in all since I took the matter into my own hands. Between sixty and seventy professed to be converted. The membership of the Church was very much strengthened and encouraged, and the congregation was largely increased.

But the effort was too much for me. More than once while the meetings were going on, I found myself unable to walk from the church to the parsonage without help, though the distance was not more than six rods. There was a reason for this. When I came to the circuit three years before I was only partially recovered from a very severe affliction which had nearly cost my life. I ought to have had a year’s rest then, but financial considerations forbade me to take it. Then, too, the circuit was a large one, involving a good deal of travel and exposure to bad roads and rough weather. Besides this I had spent about five months in special meetings during the first two years on the circuit, and the third year I had to do more than any man ought to do. And now, as I look back to that year’s work, I am not surprised to find myself a broken-down man. When I think of the difficulty I had in filling the regular work, and of the many sleepless nights I spent in trying to devise ways and means to meet and overcome the obstacles that one after another arose in the way of success to the enterprise in which we were engaged, and then on the back of all these the desperate nine weeks’ struggle at the close of the year, I only wonder that God gave me strength to bear up under it as long as I did. If I had my days to live over again after the experience that I have had, I am sure that no Conference or committee would ever induce me to carry so heavy a burden as I did during the last year of my active work in the itinerancy. But it will all come right “in the sweet by-and-bye.”

Before closing this chapter, I will relate an incident of an unusual nature that occurred during the seventh or eighth week of the meetings. One night, just as I was reading the text, three men came into the church. Two of them took seats just inside the door, the other one walked up the aisle with a hasty and pompous stride, as though he fancied that the whole church and congregation belonged to him. He took a seat in the forward pew, and right in front of the pulpit, where he could look me squarely in the face, and see every movement of mouth and chin. He looked at me, and then he took out his book and pencil and began to write. He was a stranger in the place; I had never seen him before. He was a large man, with dark complexion, coarse black hair sprinkled with gray, an eye as black as a crow, and one of those peculiar mouths that could enable its owner to pose either as a cynic or a saint.

At first I was a little thrown off my balance. I did not know who he was, or what he was after. He might be a wit, looking for subjects to laugh at, or he might be an infidel seeking what he might devour. Or he might be a religious controversialist hunting for an opponent. When I saw what he was doing I said to the audience, I see there is a gentleman here wishing to take down my sermon. To give him a fair enhance, I will announce and read the text again. He took down every word I said. While this was going on, I called up all the knowledge that I had of physiognomy and phrenology, and mentally took the measure of the man. The conclusion I eame to was this: “I am not afraid of you, and I shall proceed just as I would if you were not here, only I will be more careful of what I say and how I say it.” The man would look at me for a moment, and then take down what I said with the most rapid motion of the hands that could be imagined. As soon as I closed the book he got up in a hurry, put up his book and left the church in the company of the men he came with. One of the men was a leading hotel-keeper in the town.

The next morning, as I was passing the hotel, the proprietor was standing at the door, and spoke to me, saying, “I was sorry for you last night, and I want to explain to you how we came to be there. That reporter is a man who is entirely deaf. He was staying over night here. It was proposed to test his ability to report an address by watching the speaker’s face. I knew that you were holding meetings in the church, and I offered to take him there to report the sermon. I thought to have been there before you started, so as to tell you about it, but I was too late. The man is a Frenchman, but speaks English, and he is certainly a wonderful shorthand reporter.”

I asked the man if the Frenchman had got a correct report of the discourse. He said it was perfectly correct so far as he could remember. I told him that there was no harm done, and that it was just as well that I did not know the object of their coming, as it would have been harder for me to speak without the temptation to try and do some fine talking, and thus to spoil the whole. I have never seen nor heard of the deaf reporter since.

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