Page:Tales of John Oliver Hobbes.djvu/262

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A Study in Temptations.

—a pleasant enough man till they made him senior deacon. There's very few men, Caroline, that can bear authority if they haven't been born with the shoulders for it. If you gave a man a nose who had never had one, he would be blowing it all day. If De Boys can see his way to do without deacons—well, I will think it over."

Miss Caroline went downstairs, scolded the dairy-maid on general grounds, called Jane to task for tearing her frock the Sunday before, hinted of dead parents turning in their grave, made a pudding with as little sugar as possible, and finally withdrew to her own room, where she indulged in a good cry. Heroism has a reaction.

Battle, however, had been so fascinated by the idea of De Boys entering the Church and "coming the Rectory" on his own account, that when his daughter had left him, he once more opened his Bible and found his thumb on the following sentence in Isaiah—"Their strength is to sit still."

"The Lord's will be done," he murmured. "It is not for me to thwart the working of the Spirit. If the boy's call is to the ministry, he must obey it!"

It would be tedious to recapitulate the numerous consultations, plans, and hopes of which De Boys was the object, not only for days, but for weeks following. At first he had been tempted to quarrel with the profession so suddenly forced upon him: his religion, like the religion of the young, was an untried force, and, as his idea of God was somehow associated with his Uncle Battle, it was largely tempered with unutterable private opinions. But though he had often questioned