All this was most alluring to Andrew, for, as I have often noticed, he detested nothing so much as false professions, and a show of goodness where none was. I asked him curiously why the Friends behaved themselves in such strange fashion in public places and churches; when he answered me by referring to the bold speeches of ancient prophets in rebuke of sin, and asked me if I could think that a man might now-a-days refuse to carry God’s message to sinners because it might bring him into bodily peril? ‘It were far worse,’ said he, ’to disobey the Divine Voice, that still small Voice that is heard by the restful soul, than to endure a little pain at men’s hands, or even the death of the body.’ Well, I could not wonder that he was charmed with such teachings, for while I listened to him my own heart was moved strangely; but it evermore ended with my resolving to keep to the opinions of my aunt and Mr. Truelocke; I thought they were both too good to be far mistaken. But Andrew now began to be often away from home, and he made no secret that he went to meet with Westrop and other Friends, from whom he often had letters also. He was never at West Fazeby on the Lord’s Day; and Aunt Golding and Althea also showed themselves mightily afflicted thereat.
HOW HARRY TRUELOCKE LEFT US FOR THE SEA.
And now came fast upon us that black day, the twenty-fourth of August, 1662, when such numbers of faithful ministers were stript of their offices and livings because they would not go against their consciences; and our own Mr. Truelocke among them. I think he was more stiffly set than ever in his opinion of the unlawfulness of conformity, since he had that talk with James Westrop; at least Aunt Golding thought so. But on other points he showed himself mild and persuadable, so that there was nothing like the difficulty Harry and all of us had looked for in winning him to come and dwell at the Grange, for a season at least; and he agreed to make the change before the fatal day should come.
So we had all a busy time of it that last week, in getting his many books and his simple household stuff removed from the Parsonage house, and in bestowing them suitably at the Grange, where Aunt Golding had prepared two fair rooms for his particular use. And however bad the occasion for our doing this work, some of us found pleasure in it.
I must own I myself always loved a busy, bustling time, when there seemed a little more to be done in each day than we could crowd into it; which was our case now, wheat harvest having begun. And I was gladder than common of the stir and the bustle, for it helped to stupefy and dull a pain there was at my heart whenever the thought crossed me how soon Harry would be gone. He was to depart on a long voyage to the East Indies, and would indeed have sailed already but for his loving care about his father, which made him resolute to tarry until he saw the old gentleman in a manner provided for.