Holding the hands of the new communicant, the minister, in a solemn voice, would say, “Sister,” or “Brother, on confession of your faith in our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, I baptise thee in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost.”
Then the organ would strike up a triumphant peal, and, to the accompaniment of its music and the mellow plashing of the water, the sister or brother would be plunged beneath the symbolic wave.
Great was the excitement, needless to say, in the Mesurier pew, as little Dot at last came forth from the vestry, and, stealing down into the water, took the minister’s out-stretched hands.
“There she is! There’s Dot!” passed round the pew, and the hardest young heart, whoever it belonged to, stopped beating, to hear the minister’s words. They seemed to come with a special personal tenderness,—
“Sister, on confession of your faith in our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, I baptise thee in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost.”
Once more the organ triumphant, and the mellow splashing of the water.
Dear little Dot, she had done it!
“Did you see father’s face?” Esther whispered to Henry.
Yes; perhaps none of them would ever do such a beautiful thing as Dot had done that night. At least there was one of James Mesurier’s children who had not disappointed him.
MIKE AND HIS MILLION POUNDS
The most exquisite compliment a man has ever paid to him is worded something like this: “Well, dear, you certainly know how to make love;” and this compliment is always the reward, not of passion however sustained, or sentiment however refined, but of humour whimsically fantasticating and balancing both. It is the gentle laugh, not violating, but just humanising, that very solemn kiss; the quip that just saves passion from toppling over the brink into bathos, that mark the skilful lover. No lover will long be successful unless he is a humourist too, and is able to keep the heart of love amused. A lover should always be something of an actor as well; not, of course, for the purpose of feigning what he does not feel, but so that he may the better dramatise his sincerity!
Mike had therefore many advantages over those merely pretty fellows whose rivalry he had once been modest enough to fear. He was a master of all the child’s play of love; and to attempt to describe the fancies which he found to vary the game of love, would be to run the risk of exposing the limitations of the literary medium. No words can pull those whimsical faces, or put on those heart-breaking pathetic expressions, with which he loved to meet Esther after some short absence. Sometimes he would come into the room, a little forlorn sparrow of a creature, signifying, by a dejection in which his very clothes took part, that he was out in the east wind of circumstance and no one in the world cared a shabby feather for him. He would stand shivering in a corner, and look timorously from side to side, till at last he would pretend she had warmed him with her kisses, and generally made him welcome to the world.