Ruth Erskine, with her skirts gathered daintily around her, to avoid contact with the unclean earth, made her way skill fully through the crowd, and with the aid of a determined spirit and a camp-chair secured a place and a seat very near the stand. The little lady who timidly followed in her lead was not quite so fortunate, inasmuch as she had no camp-chair, and was less resolved in her determination to get ahead of those who had arrived earlier; so she contented herself with a damp seat on the end of a board, which was vacated for her use by a courteous gentleman.
Ruth, you must understand, was not selfish in this matter because she had planned to be, but simply because it had never occurred to her to be otherwise, which is one of the misfortunes that come to people who are educated in a selfish atmosphere. Ruth Erskine had come to this meeting fully prepared to enjoy it. Dr. Cuyler was a star of sufficient magnitude to attract her. During her frequent visits to New York she had heard much of but had never seen him. The people whom she visited were too elegant in their views and practices to have much in common with the church which was so pronounced on the two great questions of religion and temperance. Yet, even with them, Dr. Cuyler and Dr. Cuyler’s great church were eccentricities to be tolerated, not ignored. Therefore Ruth had had it in her heart to enjoy listening to him sometime. The sometime had arrived. She had dressed herself with unusual care, a ceremony which seemed to be quite in the background among the people who were at home at Chautauqua. But someway it seemed to Ruth that the great Brooklyn pastor should receive this mark of respect at her hands; so she had spent the morning at her toilet and was now a fashionable lady, fashionably attired for church.
If the people who vouchsafed her a glance as she crowded past indulged, some of them, in a smile at her expense, and thought the simple temple made of trees and grasses an inappropriate surrounding to her silken robes and costly lace mantle, she was none the wiser for that, you know, and took her seat, indifferent to them all, except that presently there stole over her the sense of disagreeable incongruity with her outdoor surroundings; so Satan had the pleasure of ruffling her spirits and occupying her thoughts with her rich brown silk dress