“If I was going to be a minister, I would find out the poorest sect in the country, the one that all your genteel folks turned up their noses at—the Winnebrenarians, or the Mennonites, or the Albrights, or something of that sort. I would join such a sect, and live and work for the poor—”
“Yes, I’ll be bound!” said Mrs. Plausaby, feeling of her breastpin to be sure it was in the right place.
“But I’ll never be a parson. I hope I’m too honest. Half the preachers are dishonest.”
Then, seeing Isa’s look of horrified surprise, Albert added: “Not in money matters, but in matters of opinion. They do not deal honestly with themselves or other people. Ministers are about as unfair as pettifoggers in their way of arguing, and not more than one in twenty of them is brave enough to tell the whole truth.”
“Such notions! such notions!” cried Mrs. Plausaby.
And Cousin Isa—Miss Isabel Marlay, I should say for she was only a cousin by brevet—here joined valiant battle in favor of the clergy. And poor little Katy, who dearly loved to take sides with her friends, found her sympathies sadly split in two in a contest between her dear, dear brother and her dear, dear Cousin Isa, and she did wish they would quit talking about such disagreeable things. I do not think either of the combatants convinced the other, but as each fought fairly they did not offend one another, and when the battle was over, Albert bluntly confessed that he had spoken too strongly, and though Isa made no confession, she felt that after all ministers were not impeccable, and that Albert was a brave fellow.
And Mrs. Plausaby said that she hoped Isabel would beat some sense into the boy, for she was really afraid that he never would have anything but notions. She pitied the woman that married him. She wouldn’t get many silk-dresses, and she’d have to fix her old bonnets over two or three years hand-running.
Mr. Plausaby was one of those men who speak upon a level pitch, in a gentle and winsome monotony. His voice was never broken by impulse, never shaken by feeling. He was courteous without ostentation, treating everybody kindly without exactly seeming to intend it. He let fall pleasant remarks incidentally or accidentally, so that one was always fortuitously overhearing his good opinion of one’s self. He did not have any conscious intent to flatter each person with some ulterior design in view, but only a general disposition to keep everybody cheerful, and an impression that it was quite profitable as a rule to stand well with one’s neighbors.
The morning after Charlton’s arrival the fat passenger called, eager as usual to buy lots. To his lively imagination, every piece of ground staked off into town lots had infinite possibilities. It seemed that the law of probabilities had been no part of the sanguine gentleman’s education, but the gloriousness of possibilities was a thing that he appreciated naturally; hopefulness was in his very fiber.