Page:Pieces People Ask For.djvu/169

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51
THE READING-CLUB.

I had it all ready. I didn't jest know how to shape it, but I knew it was something about "the sums set opposite our names;" and so I drawed it up, and took my chances. "You must head it," says I, "because you're the oldest deacon; and I must go on next, because I am the deacon's wife; and then I'll see some of the rest of the folks."

So' Kiah sot down, and put on his specs, and took his pen, but did not write. "What's the matter?" says I. And he said, "I'm sort o' 'shamed to subscribe two shillin's. I never signed so little as that for any thing. I used to give that to the circus when I was nothin' but a boy, and I ought to do more than that to support the gospel. Two shillin' a week! Why, it's only a shillin' a sermon, and all the prayer-meetin's throwed in. I can't go less than fifty cents, I am sure." So down he went for fifty cents; and then I signed for a quarter, and then my sunbonnet went onto my head pretty lively; and says I, "Hezekiah, there's some cold potato in the pantry, and you know where to find the salt; so, if I am not back by dinner-time, don't be bashful, help yourself." And I started.

I called on the Smith family first. I felt sure of them. And they were just happy. Mr. Smith signed, and so did Mrs. Smith; and Long John, he came in while we were talkin', and put his name down; and then old Grandma Smith, she didn't want to be left out; so there was four of 'em. I've allers found it a great thing in any good enterprise to enlist the Smith family. There's a good many of 'em. Next, I called on the Joslyns, and next on the Chapins, and then on the Widdy Chadwick, and so I kept on.

I met a little trouble once or twice, but not much. There was Fussy Furber ; and bein' trustee, he thought I was out of my spear, he said; and he wanted it understood that such work belonged to the trustees. "To be sure," says I: "I'm glad I've found it out. I wish the trustees had discovered that a leetle sooner." Then there was sister Puffy that's got the asthma. She thought we ought to be lookin' after "the sperritooalities." She said we must get down before the Lord. She didn't think churches could be run on money. But I told her I guessed we should be jest as spiritual to look into our pocketbooks a little, and I said it was a shame to be 'tarnally beggin' so of the Board.

She looked dredful solemn when I said that, and I almost felt as I'd been committin' profane language. But I hope