However, it brought a new phase to an old trouble. How should I follow Christ? I could not do as he had done. I could not go to meeting every Sabbath, and society every Friday; and if I did, was that following Christ who never built a meeting-house, or conducted any service resembling those now held? I read the life of Jonathan Edwards, and settled back into the old Sabbath-keeping rut. Resolving to do my best, I prayed all week, for grace to keep the next Sabbath. I rose early that trial-morning, prayed as soon as my eyes were open, read a chapter, looked out into the beautiful morning, thought about God and prayed—spent so much time praying, that Elizabeth had breakfast ready when I went down stairs. While I ate it, I held my thoughts to the work of the day, worshiping God; but many facts and fancies forced themselves in and disturbed my pious meditations. After breakfast, I went back to my room to continue my labor; but mother soon came and said:
“Do you intend to let Elizabeth do all the work?”
I dropped my roll of saintship, and went and washed the dishes. Had I been taught that he who does any honest work serves God and follows Christ, what a world of woe would have been spared me.
THE DELIVERER OF THE DARK NIGHT.—AGE, 19-21.
Quiltings furnished the principal amusement, and at these I was in requisition, both for my expertness with the needle, and my skill in laying out work; but as I had no brother to come for me, I usually went home before the evening frolic, which consisted of plays. Male and female partners went through the common quadrille figures, keeping time to the music of their own voices, and making a denouement every few moments by some man kissing some woman, perhaps in a dark hall, or some woman kissing some man, or some man kissing all the women, or vice versa. Elders and preachers often looked on in pious approbation, and the church covered these sports with the mantle of her approval, but was ready to excommunicate any one who should dance. Promiscuous dancing was the fiery dragon which the church went out to slay. Only its death could save her from a fit of choler which might be fatal, unless, indeed, the dancing were sanctified by promiscuous kissing. If men and women danced together without kissing, they were in immediate danger of eternal damnation; but with plenty of kissing, and rude wrestling to overcome the delicacy of women who objected to such desecration, the church gave her blessing to the quadrille.
My protest against these plays had given offense, and I chose to avoid them; but one evening the host begged me to remain, saying he would see that I was not annoyed, and would himself take me home. The frolic was only begun, when he came and asked permission to introduce a gentleman, saying: “If you do not treat him well, I will never forgive you.”