“It may be the best mess anybody ever stirred up for me, J.W., but I won’t say anything to worry you, if the time comes for me to say anything at all. And I believe it will.”
It did. Marty and the pastor had two or three long interviews. From the last of them the boy came away with a new light on his face and a new spring in his step. Evidently whatever needed to be settled, had been settled.
He kept his promise to his chum, but that did not prevent him from choosing the night when J.W. led the meeting to stand up at the first opportunity and make his straightforward confession of love and loyalty, since God had made him a sharer in the life that is in Christ. Then for a moment J.W. feared Marty might forget their agreement, but Marty said simply, “And part of the joy that is in my heart to-night is because there is a new tie, the only other one we needed, between myself and my old-time chum, the leader of this meeting.”
In the back of the room Walter Drury, quietly looking on, sent up a silent thanksgiving. The great Experiment was going well.
So it was that J.W. and Marty had come into the inner places of each other’s lives. Of all the developments of Institute week, naturally the one which filled J.W.’s thoughts with a sort of awed gladness was Marty’s decision to offer himself for the ministry. Joe Carbrook’s right-about-face was much more dramatic, for J.W. saw, when the decision was made, that Marty could not have been meant for anything but a preacher. It was as fit as you please. As to Joe, previous opinion had been pretty equally divided; one side leaning to the idea that he might make a lawyer, and the other predicting that he was more likely to be a perpetual and profitable client for some other lawyer.
In the light of the Institute happenings, it was to be expected that the question of college would promptly become a practical matter to four Delafield people. Marty was greatly troubled, for he knew if he was to be a preacher, he must go to college, and he couldn’t see how. J.W. felt no great urge, though it had always been understood that he would go. Marcia Dayne had one year of normal school to her credit, and would take another next year, perhaps; but this year she must teach.
Joe Carbrook spent little time in debate with himself; he let everybody know that he was going to be a missionary doctor, and that he would go to the State University for the rest of his college course.
“But what about the religious influence of the University?” Marcia Dayne had ventured to ask him one evening as they walked slowly under the elms of Monroe Avenue.
“I don’t know about that,” Joe answered, “and maybe I’m making a mistake. But I don’t think so. To begin with, there isn’t any question about equipment at the State University. They have everything any church school has, and probably more than most church schools, for what I want. And they work in close relationship to the medical school. That’s one thing. The big reason, though—I wonder if you’ll understand it?”