Page:Tales of John Oliver Hobbes.djvu/261

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A Study in Temptations.
245
 

"I see no harm in book-learning," said Miss Caroline, firmly; "we are told to add to faith, virtue, and to virtue, knowledge, and——"

Her father waved his hand. "Beware of twisting the Word of God," he said, hurriedly; "there's no telling what mischief may come of perking up on a false meaning. I don't hold wi' women quoting texts," he added, "and I doubt the wisdom of dragging Scripture in by the ears whether it will or no. Ten to one if it don't bite you for your pains!"

"Aye! " said Miss Caroline, "and for that reason ministers should have learning." She drew a long breath and flushed. "Why shouldn't De Boys be a minister?"

Battle plunged into thought. He never, in his own phrase, "fooled round the edge of an idea."

"A minister!" he said, at last. "What sort of a minister? If De Boys is the kind to be yanked about by deacons he hasn't much of the Battle stock in him!"

"There's room for all in the Church of England," said Miss Caroline. "A doctrine or two needn't stand in a man's way. What's doctrine? Why should De Boys call himself a Dissenter and spoil his chances, poor lad, when he might just as well be Broad and hold his own wi' the best? When folks begin to quarrel about doctrine they are really spearin' at politics. Any fool knows that!"

"I will think it over," said Battle; "but I could never see bone of my bone picked bare by deacons. Whenever I see a deacon I always think of the roaring lion seeking whom he can devour. Look at Hoadley