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As soon as the excitement incident to a first arrival had died away, the engrossing question with all was, 'Who are our preachers? Who is to be our Whitefield, our Summerfield, our Maffit? Is there an Edward Irving among us, who can lay about him like one inspired? Is there a Robert Hall, who can rain down Gospel truths like a shower of pearls?' For the next day was Sabbath, and it was of course expected that on that morning, some 'lion' & true representative man, some one whose name had passed into a household word—would be put forward to address the assembled thousands.
Judge of the surprise of the people when a young man, certainly not more than twenty-five years of age, stood up in the place of honor, which they had mentally assigned to some one of the presiding elders present, and there, in the presence of the various dignitaries of the Church and the assembled multitudes, proceeded to read his text with an air of perfect self-possession. Had he been a pale young man, with austere countenance, rounded shoulders and shrunken chest, they might have slily nodded their heads and said: 'A singed cat.' Had there been any affectation about him in appearance, manner or dress, they might have voted him a man of genius, for partial genius still affects eccentricity as it did in the days of Horace, when it wore long beards, forgot to pare its nails, and shunned the baths. But the face of the young divine beamed with good-humor; a healthful color was diffused over it, and he looked like one who had always lived on the fat of the land. Some of the people called him Mr. Daguerrian, others Mr. Angry, and others still Mr. Menagerie. Let us take our place and listen!
The first thing that impresses you is his full, rotund voice and the easy flow of his language such beautiful language it is, too, sufficiently so to pass into a classic volume and be embalmed in our mother tongue.
His subject is the resurrection from the dead, and as he portrays the joys of the newly-risen righteous, he seems to rise in stature; he expands with his expanding subject; he tells his brethren they will be holy even as God is holy. There will be no sullen Ajax stalking along the asphodel meadows of delight, brooding over earthly wrongs, with his face unrelaxed by joyful recognitions. No, no, all embittered earthly recollections will have disappeared with the impurity of the earthly body, and the reunion of friends will be infinitely happier by reason of the glorified bodies, in which they will shine on forever.
At the close of the sermon there was an evident stir among the people; the front seats near the ministers' stand were vacated for mourners, and as soon as the invitation was given, some thirty or forty of both sexes were kneeling there and earnestly interceding with GOD for the pardon of their sins.
Two young ladies, fashionably dressed and apparently of the first respectability, were seen walking up the central aisle; one of them sobbing, with her face buried in her hands, the other exhorting and endeavoring to comfort her. The former threw herself down at one of the mourners' benches, and the other meanwhile remained beside her, manifesting a sisterly feeling for her spiritual welfare. The Rev. Mr. Danguerry observing the two young ladies, came down from the stand, and sought to comfort her who was mourning.
The colored people who were in the rear were even more agitated by the sermon than were the whites, and during the discourse would often shout out, 'Amen!' 'Glory to GoD!' An observing spectator may perhaps have remarked that just as the two ladies were going up the aisle a negro woman, who, by-the-by, was none other than Easter, appeared to be deeply affected, and simultaneously knelt at the benches reserved for the colored mourners.
By-and-by the shout of victory came from the lips of the whilom mourning young lady. What a seraphic face!' every one is ready to say. Friends gather around her and congratulate her. Mr. Danguerry shakes her cordially by the hand, and calls her Genevieve.
As soon as Genevieve had professed religion, 'Tite' hobbled over on his crutches to Easter, who was still at the mourners' bench, and conveyed to her the joyful tidings. Easter was electrified by the news; she wrestled all the more earnestly, while the negroes formed a circle around her and sang inimitably with their rich guttural voices, their heads oscillating synchronously the while they sang.
By-and-by the Spirit of Adoption witnessed with the spirit of Easter that she was accepted, and the auspicious moment was signalized on her part by a shout of triumph. She said she wished to see Miss Genevieve, and shake hands with Massa Angry; and had she not been restrained bodily, she would have rushed through the entire congregation of whites and the whole body of the clergy, till she had found the object of her search, and proclaimed her happiness as it were from the house-top.
Had Cathele been there, he would have noticed that the rings were missing from her fingers, and there would have been no occasion for his usual homily on wasting the bounty.' The meeting was adjourned for dinner, and immediately Easter hurried to the Mather tent, and spoke in this wise: 'LORD bress
you, Massa Angry, for dat ar good sarmint; bress God for it all. It does dis poor nigger's heart good. I want to axe your pardon, Massa Angry, for jest one ding. I would n't do dis, Massa Angry, if I had n't have got religion, for I have a proud an 'bellious heart. I 'cused you of looking at Miss Jenkins's darter of a Sunday, wen you used to preach at Baltimore. It was nuffin' but old Sattan dat put sich bad thoughts into my head. But, Massa Angry, you have now drove him clean out of me. Yonder is Miss Genevieve. O Miss Genevieve! wat a happy day for me and you. Oh! how I do lub you an' Massa Angry. Massa Angry an' the LORD togeder has converted us bof, an' old Sattan is nowhere. Bress GOD, bress God for it all!'
As day after day wore away on the island, the only perceptible difference in Genevieve was a more quiet and subdued air, but her cheerfulness was as characteristic as ever. The Christian graces had only served to heighten her earthly charms and perfect the fascination which she generally inspired.
Toward the last days of the camp-meeting, a most terrific storm, such as had never been seen in that region within the memory of the oldest inhabitant, visited the island. Tents were prostrated in every direction. People ran hither and thither in wild confusion, some seeking trees, others running from them as they came toppling down over their heads. Some sought the water, but ran back again, glad to escape the maddened waves as they broke upon the beach. Many who had never been known to pray before, prayed earnestly and long on that ever memorable night. Genevieve was calm, womanly and Christian-like; and by her side sat Mr. Danguerry, anticipating her every want, and wholly devoted to her welfare. This event brought the encampment to an abrupt close, and soon afterward our little party were again at their home in 'the Monumental City.'
The Rev. Mr. Danguerry is not a man to be resisted by every woman; his fine person, his social qualities, his ripening honors and great popularity invest him with a kind of fascination.
Let us hope that Genevieve will not think that she is forgotten by Robert Ferrara. Let a sweet-scented missive occasionally inform her that she is as dear to him as in the days of yore. But if this advice is not heeded, we cannot vouch for what may happen, for Genevieve is only a woman, whose affections must attach their tendrils to some object, and there is already an oak, a young, thrifty, sightly oak within reach of the vine.
Rosalind Mather must not be disposed of so informally. She must look into the mirror while we hold it up to nature as faithfully as we can. She was a really good girl at heart, but as odd a one as we can find in a day's search. Refined and accomplished, mistress of the piano, the harp and the guitar; a good conversationist; the idol, of her parents; the heroine of many a youthful lover, she was yet apparently discontented and unhappy. Her favorite expression was: 'I wish I were some body else.' Sometimes it was a little ragged Irish boy; then again it was Easter in the kitchen, or Gip in his kennel. She generally affected youthful admirers, younger than herself, and would often have a number paying their devoirs at once. She would hold out encouragement to all; seem to love them all ; but when Cupid's darts had taken effect, and they became suppliants for
her hand, all at once she would realize that it was so funny they were in love with her; conclude that none of them suited, and set them all adrift from their fancied safe moorings near her inconstant heart. After her refusal, she and her beaux would perhaps correspond again, and the same thing be reenacted. Mr. So-and-so would suit exactly if he were only a minister. Mr. So-and-so would n't suit because he was a minister. Eddie was too young, and Billy was too old. Such a one was too still, and such a one too fussy. This one was too tall, and that one too short. One knew too much, and the other not enough. In a word, all would have suited, if they were only a little different. But if a man happened to be married, or had only not died, or if he lived in a foreign land where she could not possibly see him; such a one she could have loved with all her untold wealth of heart. No one could easily realize, to look at her, plump as she was, that she could have been hard to please, that being characteristic of your lean and hungry-looking girls. She was 'the greatest girl to eat sweet-meats you ever saw.' What untold quantities of candy, figs, raisins, caramels, pralines and ginger-bread she would devour; and while doing so, wish she was somebody else! A great source of her troubles was, that she was n't stylish, and was plain-looking; but let the piano be opened, and Rosalind seated on the stool, and the plain face would soon be all aglow with enthusiasm, and the fat, round, delicious body roll on the piano like the waves of her own music. Then it was that you felt there was something in Rosalind, in spite of her oddities; there was music in her soul and in the atmosphere she breathed. Then you forgot the simple plainness of her face and her want of style in the transcendent genius of the artist. Then 'Tite' and Easter, who had the run of the house-Tite' because he was lame, and Easter 'because she would' would poke their noses through the door ajar; while the tongue of the latter, which was all the time rattling off something to master or mistress, bishop or deacon, would improvise a compliment to Miss Rose: 'We knowed dat was you, Miss Rose. We can allas tell Miss Rose's playin' from any body elses. Some body's heart 'll go pitti-ti-pat sum of dese days wen he hears dat music; but he won't be good enuf for you, Miss Rosa, I do n't care who im is. An' us darkies ain't gwine to gib away our young missis for the mere axin for her.'
As 'Tite' stands there at the parlor-door, with a well-defined grin on his countenance at Easter's remarks, he might as well be photographed, with crutches and all. 'Tite' is an unmitigated rascal, who, when he tries, can look as demure as a saint. He tries pretty often, too, and hence has generally a long, sanctimonious expression. The crutches came to him in this wise. He was strolling along one day in the suburbs of the city, reconnoitring many beautiful vegetable and floral gardens, when he suddenly espied a water-melon patch. The water-melons were luscious and tempting to Tite's eyes, as they had been, no doubt, to the eyes of many other passers-by on that hot day in August, when the mercury stood at one hundred degrees in the shade. As they grew near the fence, it occurred to 'Tite' to jump it, pull a choice one, and then jump back again. He achieved all except the last act in the programme, which, as he was about performing, he encountered an obstacle in the shape of a man,
who laid hold of his coat-collar and desired to know what he was doing. 'Tite' told him that his mistress was very sick, and longed so much for a water-melon, which he thought he would pull, as it grew so near the fence; but the proprietor, not appreciating this consideration for the sick, summarily threw him over the fence, and thus made a boy of twelve years a cripple for life. It was wrong in 'Tite' to have coveted his neighbor's goods, but it was cruel that so venial a sin should be visited with so terrible a punishment This latter circumstance made 'Tite' the recipient of a great deal of sympathy and he was henceforth relieved from farther duty, except kindling fires and occasionally bringing a pail of water.
In spite of this accident, however, Tite always had a 'hankering' for other people's goods; and to this day cannot discriminate accurately between meum and tuum, as laid down by Blackstone and other writers of repute. So in less than a year after the occurrence above stated, when the Mather family had all stepped out of the sitting-room, 'Tite' slipped in and proceeded to fill his pockets with the contents of the ladies' work-boxes, consisting of needles, scissors, thimbles, balls of cotton, spools of thread, etc. As 'Tite' limped out, (and there is no mistake that he knew how to use his crutches,) some one came in, and his guilt was made apparent by two dozen spools of thread trailing on the floor in every direction after him.
The criminal was arrested. It was voted that he should have a fair trial and have justice meted out to him. Rosalind was to act as judge. Easter was selected as prosecuting attorney, and Genevieve volunteered for the defence. A few small pieces of silver, in the shape of 'bounty,' induced Cathele to act as sheriff. Due dignity was observed, in order that the criminal might be properly impressed. The case of 'The State of Maryland vs. Tite Mather' was called by the judge. The criminal was arraigned, and by his counsel plead not guilty. After the evidence was heard on both sides, the prosecuting attorney proceeded to say that the prisoner was 'kotched' in the very act, just as he was when he stole the 'water-millions;' that he had the good fortune then to receive only a few broken bones, but had now incurred the forfeiture of his head. The counsel for the defence alluded to the youth of prisoner, the chance for amendment, and the irreparable loss to society if he should be cut off in the flower of his youth; and then referred in pathetic language to his bodily afflictions, concluding with Portia's speech, 'The quality of mercy is not strained,'
At the conclusion, the prisoner was observed to shed tears. The Court bade him stand up, and having asked him if he had any thing to say why sentence should not be passed upon him, and the prisoner remaining doggedly silent, the Court then proceeded to say that she was very sorry she had so unpleasant a duty to perform; in other words, she regretted she was n't some body else, but that she must execute the laws, though the heavens fall. She ordered the prisoner to be taken hence, and in full view of the whole Mather family, white and black, be dipped in the large wash-tub, just back of the kitchen, three times, his head remaining under water one minute at each dip. The sheriff was ordered to see that the sentence was enforced. Thus 'Tite'