Even sacred vestments must be laundered by earthly laundresses, yet somehow it gives one a shock to see sacred vestments out of the sanctuary, profanely displayed on a clothes-line. It is as though one should turn the sacred chalice into a tea-pot. A priest’s trousers on a clothes-line might well be the beginning of atheism. But I hope there were no such fanciful deductive minds in that peaceful hamlet, and that the faithful there can withstand even so profound a trial of faith. If it had been my own creed that those vestments represented, I should have been shaken, I confess; and, as it was, I felt a vague pain of disillusionment, of an indignity done to the unseen; as, whatever the creed, living or dead, may be, I always feel in those rooms often affected by artistic people, furnished with the bric-a-brac of religions, indeed not their own, but, none the less, once or even now, the living religions of other people—rooms in which forgotten, or merely foreign, deities are despitefully used for decoration, and a crucifix and a Buddha and an African idol alike parts of the artistic furniture. But, no doubt, it is to consider too curiously to consider so, and the good priest whose cassock and trousers have occasioned these reflections would smilingly prick my fancies, after the dialectic manner of his calling, and say that his trousers on the clothes-line were but a humble reminder to the faithful how near to the daily life of her children, how human at once as well as divine, is Mother Church.
A cross, naturally, marks the spot where we saw those priest’s trousers on the line; but there are no crosses for a hundred places of memorable moments of our journey; they must go without memorial even in this humble record, and Colin and I must be content to keep wayside shrines for them in our hearts.
How insignificant, on the map, looks the little stretch of some seventeen miles from Dansville to Cohocton, yet I feel that one would need to erect a cathedral to represent the perfect day of golden October wayfaring it stands for, as on the weather-beaten map spread out before me on my writing-table, as Colin and I so often spread it out under a tree by some lonely roadside, I con the place-names that to us “bring a perfume in the mention.” It was a district of quaint, romantic-sounding names, and it fully justified that fantastic method of choosing our route by the sound of the names of places, which I confessed to the reader on an earlier page: Wayland—Patchin’s Mills—Blood’s Depot—Cohocton. And to north and south of our route were names such as Ossian, Stony Brook Glen, Loon Lake, Rough & Ready, Doly’s Corners, and Neil Creek. I confess that there was a Perkinsville to go through—a beautiful spot, too, for which one felt that sort of aesthetic pity one feels for a beautiful girl married to a man, say, of the name of Podgers. Perkinsville! It was as though you said—the beautiful Mrs. Podgers. But there was consolation in the