“They come, as likely as not delegates, from some church or Sabbath-school, and the way they do their work is to go off for a frolic and be gone all day. I saw them when I left this morning. That is a specimen of a good deal of the dissipation that is going on here under the guise of religion. I don’t know about it; sometimes I am afraid more harm than good will be done.”
The other speaker was Mr. Charlie Flint, and as he rushed past these two he said to his companion, “Confound it all! Talk about getting away from these meetings! It’s no use; it can’t be done. A fellow might just as well stay here and run every time the bell rings. I heard more preaching to-day on this excursion than I did yesterday; and a good deal more astonishing preaching, too.”
Marion gave her hair an energetic twist as she made her toilet the next morning, and announced her determination.
“This day is to be devoted conscientiously to the legitimate business that brought me to this region. Yesterday’s report will have to be copied from the Buffalo papers, or made out of my own brain. But I’m going to work to-day. I have a special interest in the programme for this morning. The subject for the lecture just suits me.”
“What is it?” Eurie asked, yawning, and wishing there was another picnic in progress. Neither heart nor brain were particularly interested in Chautauqua.
“Why, it is ‘The Press and the Sunday-school.’ Of course the press attracts me, as I intend to belong to the staff when I get through teaching young ideas.”
“But what about the Sunday-school?” Ruth questioned, with a calm voice. “You can not be expected to have any special interest in that. You never go to such an institution, do you?”
“I was born and brought up in one. But that isn’t the point. The subject to-day is Sunday-school literature, I take it. The subject is strung together, ‘The Press and the Sunday-school,’ without any periods between them, and I’m exceedingly interested in that, for just as soon as I get time I’m going to write a Sunday-school book.”
This announcement called forth bursts of laughter from all the girls.
“Why not?” Marion said, answering the laugh. “I hope you don’t intimate that I can’t do it. I don’t know anything easier to do. You just have to gather together the most improbable set of girls and boys, and rack your brains for things that they never did do, or could do, or ought to do, and paste them all together with a little ‘good talk,’ and you have your book, as orthodox as possible. Do any of you know anything about Dr. Walden? He is the speaker. I presume he is as dry as a stick, and won’t give me a single idea that I can weave into my book. I’m going to begin it right away. Girls, I’m going to put you all in, only I can’t decide which shall be the good one. Flossy, do you suppose there is enough imagination in me to make you into a book saint? They always have a saint, you know.”