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was instantly persuaded of it. One glance
was sufficient.
"Glad to see you, boys!"
he exclaimed, heartily; "it's awfully good
in you to come 'way out here to the
backwoods and bother your heads with
a stupid layman." And to this warm
outburst-and to a hearty shake of the
hand and to a friendly clap on the back
-the examining committee responded with
smiles equally warm. They were both
young; and they were true to the type,
in some respects curiously alike: they
were smartly dressed in well-cut black,
they were straight and virile, they dis-
played no marks of care, their eyes were
frank, clear, intelligent. Fine fellows,
both young fellows of high ideals and
consciences. Fairmeadow liked
them. He was himself palpably inferior;
he was big, and brown, and abrupt, and
belligerent, and alert, and energetic, of
course, but he lacked the refinement of
his inquisitors-the small graces they so
easily displayed and his eyes, though
frank and eager, were a bit bleared by his
night's occupation, and his hair was
tousled, and the legs of his trousers were
tucked away in his boot-tops, and his
attire was that of a lumberjack, and his
face was seamed with weather and trou-
ble. However, it seemed not to matter
at all. The examining committee had
evidently taken a fancy to John Fair-

"Boys," Fairmeadow apologized, "I'm afraid I'm going to make a fool of myself. You see, I've been awfully busy. Out here, you see, it's the hardest thing in the world to get a minute—”

There was a thump on the floor overhead.

"The hardest thing in the world," Fairmeadow repeated, frowning, his ears cocked for sounds from above, "to get a minute-"

The thump was repeated. "Yes," Fairmeadow went on, awkwardly; you see, boys, out here in the woods-"


The floor creaked overhead.

"I'm sure, Mr. Fairmeadow," one of the young ministers put in, to ease John Fairmeadow's embarrassment, "that you'll do very well. Now, let us not waste time. Let us-"

"The sooner this thing is over," he added, with manifest anxiety to have it over and done with, the while listening, "the better I'll be pleased.”

"Very well. Well, now, Mr. Fairmeadow-"

The examination of John Fairmeadow for ordination proceeded. It was not a great success. In the first place, the candidate seemed, for some strange reason, to have no realizing sense of the importance of the questions he was required to answer. Instead of heeding his examiners as a diligent student for the honor of ordination might very weil be expected to do, he displayed an odd and completely unaccountable distraction; so that he frequently ejaculated, "I beg your pardon, boys! What was that last question ?” Moreover, it was observed that his replies were confused, not altogether, it appeared, because of dense ignorance, but because, in part at least, of a lack of interest in the proceedings (from which his attention continuously wandered), and because of an acute and alert interest in respect to some mysterious happenings in a room above, these being quite foreign to the matter in hand. The committee was unfavorably impressed. Had the committee not been above indulging unkind suspicion, the committee might, without doing violence to its common sense, have suspected John Fairmeadow of laboring under a guilty conscience. John Fairmeadow displayed every symptom of the thing, and had it been at all possible for him to cheat the committee, under the committee's two noses, the candidate, such was his uneasiness and flushed condition and nervous demeanor, might fairly have been suspected of that disreputable business. In addition to this the candidate displayed no impressive acquaintance with the origin of sin, could barely scrape through an apology for the Trinity, was decidedly weak in respect to the origin of the Book of Genesis, was of doubtful acquaintance with the Church in medieval times, and would be hanged (said he) if he could tell who was Cæsar of Rome when Paul preached in Athens !

The examination was eventually interrupted by a crash of glass proceeding

"Of course!" Fairmeadow agreed. from a room upstairs.

"Boys," said Fairmeadow, "you'll have necks, and of eating 'em up for dinnerto excuse me. I'm busy."



Certainly," said the committee, po"And at your conven-"

"I am awfully sorry it has turned out this way," Fairmeadow apologized. "I've an unexpected little job on my hands. Nothing much," he added, hastily; "but it may take a little time."

The committee bowed sympathetically. "How long will it be before-"

"Not to-day, boys," Fairmeadow replied, hastily. "I've a little job on hand that will keep me all day. The fact is-"

At that moment the door was softly opened and a frowzy head was intruded into the examination chamber.

"I found yer bottle, parson," a hoarse voice whispered.

Fairmeadow flashed about in horror. "Parson," Billy the Beast whispered, fixing the committee with a baleful glance, "is them there little dude sky-pilots givin' ye a square deal? If they hain't, parson— I'm loose!"

Fairmeadow was far too genuine a man to trouble about what the examining young ministers might suspect in respect to the bottle which Billy the Beast had discovered in his room. The bottle troubled him, nevertheless; it troubled him chiefly because Billy the Beast had all too evidently absorbed its contents, and was now, beyond question, not only in a mood to indulge all the devilish propensities and perversities which were accustomed to possess him when in liquor, but was helplessly bound towards the renewal of his debauch. Moreover, in that particular stage of intoxication he was a dangerous man: he craved fight-a gigantic, savage, unkempt, flaring-eyed barbarian, spoiling for fight, in which he would not scruple to use his feet and his teeth, as well as his fists, if he could successfully employ them. And he cavorted into the room forthwith in the manner of a fighting-man, advancing and retreating with quick little steps, and feinting with his fists. He advanced, in this threatening manner, upon the smart little ministers, who promptly rose, and in some agitation, to meet him; and he demanded, with every evidence of the intention of knocking their heads together, of wringing their neatly collared, slender

he demanded whether or not it was their purpose to "flunk" the parson; adding, before John Fairmeadow could interrupt, that, by the Eternal, he would instantly put them through a sausage-grinder if they should display the least idea of "trying it on." It was an awkward moment for the young ministers; their intimate and authoritative acquaintance with the origin of sin, of course, could not, as they were well aware, preserve them from the sinful conduct presently to be manifested; but they were courageous young fellows notwithstanding, and stood bravely to their guns, drawn up with dignity and flushed with


"Easy, Billy!" Fairmeadow put in, harshly. "Take care!"

Billy leaned close to the younger young minister.

"I want t' pull your nose," said he, softly.

The younger young minister would not by any means permit the indignity. "It needs pullin'," Billy urged. "Stand off!"

"An' I feel jus' like pullin' it," Billy added.

"Stand off !"

"Now, young feller," the Beast went on, rolling up his sleeve, "I ain't goin' t' hurt ye. Stand still, an' it'll be over in a minute."

Fairmeadow's hand fell heavily on the Beast's shoulder. "That'll do!" said he. "No more of it!"

"But, parson-”

"No more of it, I say!"

Billy the Beast felt Fairmeadow's hand slip cautiously to his wrist. At the same moment he looked into Fairmeadow's eyes and discovered Fairmeadow's purpose. And he was not caught napping. He wrenched his hand free, leaped away with an oath, and stood on guard, eying big John Fairmeadow alertly. Fairmeadow slipped out of his jacket, muttered “ Excuse me for a minute, boys," to the young ministers, with much politeness, and advanced cautiously to the attack. It was a memorable engagement; at least, it was never forgotten by the young ministers who had come to determine John Fairmeadow's qualifications for preaching the Gospel to the lumberjacks

of that section. But it was not a long engagement. John Fairmeadow was not used to long engagements of that nature; they were altogether opposed to his religion and ethical policy. He went swiftly to close quarters with the Beast, dodged a terrific swing, and struck once before he leaped away. But he had not struck hard enough. "Pshaw!" he grunted, disgusted and distressed. "I'll have to hit him again." He went in for the second time with a grim and cruel intention. It was with the purpose of hitting the Beast so hard and at a point so vital that the gigantic lumberjack would crumple up and lie still until he could be put to bed again. The affair must issue that way or John Fairmeadow's discourse would utterly fail of edifying Billy the Beast in any degree whatsoever. The Beast must not be permitted to escape to the saloons.

Fairmeadow advanced.

"D-d-don't hurt him!" the younger young minister feelingly stuttered.

Fairmeadow did not hurt the Beast. In fact and greatly to his distressFairmeadow missed the Beast entirely. Whereupon the Beast, with a whoop of triumph, laid John Fairmeadow flat, leaped for the door, vanished from the room, and scampered off towards the Café of Egyption Delights. And Fairmeadow jumped up, ejaculated, "Excuse me, boys; we'll have to postpone this examination. I must save that man !" and took after the lumberjack. It was night before he returned; and he was worn out then, and infinitely depressed, and hopeless concerning himself, his ministry, and all the sinful sons of men; but he had Billy the Beast in the wheelbarrow, and he carried the man upstairs and put him to bed, determined to watch with more devotion until the sot had recovered his sobriety and could control himself on the way to the camps of the Canthook cutting. In the meantime the examining committee, having grown discouraged, had departed on the evening train, leaving word, in the form of a communication couched in terms of distinguished politeness, that their findings in respect to John Fairmeadow's qualifications for ordination would in due time be reported to the Body by which they had been commis

sioned, and would, no doubt, eventually be communicated to John Fairmeadow himself. With this John Fairmeadow must be content. But the issue was not in doubt in his mind. They would not ordain him. How could they? Why should they? John Fairmeadow was far better aware than the examining committee of his own wretched ignorance in all things concerning the origin of sin, the authorship of Genesis, the Church in the mediæval ages, and the government of Rome in the days of the Apostle Paul. "Hang it all," he ejaculated, while he sat with Billy the Beast, now and again feeling the wretched fellow's pulse, now and again wiping the sweat from his brow, "I've no time to cram up those things!" And having changed the subject of his thought, he came back with admirable resolution to the old question. "I wonder," he thought, "if Almighty God will ever save this man from his wretchedness. Anyhow," he determined, " I'm going to pray once more."

The which he did.

It turned out as Fairmeadow had foreseen. In the first place, Billy the Beast survived his debauch, expressed his contrition, and returned sober, if a bit white and tremulous, to the camps of the Canthook cutting; and, in the second place, the Superior Body would not sanction the ordination of John Fairmeadow. The communication to this effect was polite; it was exquisitely delicate, indeed—a very masterpiece of literary delicacy. It conveyed praise to John Fairmeadow, it congratulated him upon the work he was doing "in the Master's vineyard," it expressed the hope that he might live long to continue it, it furnished him with a benediction; but, in terms which could not be misunderstood, it at the same time assured John Fairmeadow that he would be no less serviceable to his Master and the Church-that his reward would be quite as sure and large-if he should continue to labor as a lay preacher and should forthwith and for all time abandon his ambition to enter the rough field of the woods as a regularly ordained minister of the Gospel. The communication left out a good deal. It left out, for example, the terms of the brief and rather humorous




discussion of the case which had taken place at a session of the Superior Body when the younger young minister of the examining committee had made his rather facetious report (he was a distinguished wag) of the occurrences in the little parlor of One-Eyed Mag's Mother-Used-to-Make-It RestauIt omitted, too, all reference to an exchange of opinions aboard train, in the evening of that unfortunate day, when the examining committee, with a revived sense of personal safety, was making all haste from the proximity of Billy the Beast and his like. "What do you think, Jim?" the younger young minister inquired.

The other laughed.

up all that stuff in the time I gave myself. What nonsense! And I never shall be able to cram it up. I'm too busy. But I must be ordained. If I'm to be as useful here as I might be, I must be ordained. I must have the sanction of my Church. I must have the backing of my Church. If I am to organize my work—and I must organize my work-I must be equal in standing with the other ministers of my Church. But I've no time—no time at all to cram cram that systematic theology. They must ordain me without it. They must! And, by Jove, I'll tell 'em so!" It was with this object in view that John Fairmeadow replied to the communication

"Come, now!" the younger insisted. of the Superior Body, genuinely congratu"Be frank."

lating the brethren upon the wisdom of their decision in his case, but requesting,

"He's a rough diamond." "He is a diamond, though. That's as a peculiar indulgence, that he might sure. I like him."

have the honor of addressing the brethren

"An admirable fellow! A splendid in his own behalf at a future meeting. fellow !"

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"I rather think he will do just as good work as a lay preacher."

"I agree with you," said the younger, emphatically. "Let us report in that way. He's pretty rough. A diamond, of course-but pretty rough. There's no reason in the world why he should be ordained. And I really think that the ministry should be protected against the invasion of ignorant and uncultivated men. I do, honestly."

Of all this, of course, John Fairmeadow knew nothing. His rejection from this body of accepted ministers-ministers in law and fact-cast him down a little, but did not discourage him; and it did not enter his head either to accuse the young committee of unfairness or to abandon the work in disgust. Nothing of the sort! It was not long, indeed, before he began to laugh at himself. "To think," he thought, in amusement with his ambition, "that a busy man like me could cram

And in this John Fairmeadow displayed not only his wisdom but his goodness of heart. It was quite impossible for the Superior Body, with this limited knowledge of the applicant, to ordain John Fairmeadow, and John Fairmeadow had the good sense to know it.

The Superior Body was not behind in the display of good sense and kindness. John Fairmeadow was informed that he would in due course be notified of the time at which he would be expected to address the brethren. There was a long delay, to be sure, but in the meantime Fairmeadow was busy, and minded the months of delay not at all.

There came by and by to John Fairmeadow, busy and distracted, a politely phrased and cautious invitation to address the Superior Body-briefly to address the Superior Body-in relation to his ministerial activities in the lumber woods. John Fairmeadow was assured that the Superior Body was "back" of him in his "labor for the Lord;" that the Superior Body not only respected but prayed for him; that the brethren would be delighted to receive him, to listen to him, briefly of course, and that the brethren would doubtless be pleased to carry to their congregations news of his most interesting and peculiar work, to the end that some small sums might be raised to assist

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