‘It wur bad enugh for th’ owd woman to tak’ her back wom’, but if we tak’ her back into th’ Church we’s be a thaasand times wur,’ continued Amos.
‘But surely,’ pleaded Mr. Penrose, ’if the angels welcome a returning sinner, might we not venture to do the same?’
‘We’re noan angels yet, Mr. Penrose,’ replied Amos. ’It’ll be time enugh to do as th’ angels do when we live as th’ angels live; an’ I raither think as yo’d clam if yo’ were put o’ angels’ meat. Ony road, ye con try it if yo’ like; it’ll save us summat i’ th’ offertory if yo’ do.’
‘Come, Amos, thaa’s goin’ a bit too fur,’ interrupted Abraham Lord. ‘If yo’re baan to insult th’ parson, yo’ve no need to insult them as is up aboon—“ministerin’ sperits,” as th’ apostle cos em.’
‘We know thaa’rt no angel, Amos, baat thi tellin’ us,’ said Malachi o’ th’ Mount. ’And it ever they shap thee into one thaa’ll tak’ some tentin!’ (minding).
‘I durnd know as I want to be one afore mi time, Malachi: an’ I’m noan baan to do as they do till I ged amang ’em. I’d as soon pool a warp ony day as play a harp; but when th’ Almeety skifts me fro’ th’ Brig Factory to heaven, mebbe I’ll shap as weel at a bit o’ music as ony on yo’.’
‘Wilto play thi music o’er sich as Amanda, thinksto?’ asked old Malachi.
‘Thee mind thi business, Malachi. When th’ Almeety maks me an angel, I’ll do as th’ angels do. But noan afore, noather for yo’, nor Amanda Stott, nor Mr. Penrose, nor onybody else, so naa thaa knows.’
‘Spokken like a mon,’ assented Elias Bradshaw. ’Stick to thi text, Amos.’
‘And yet, after all,’ said Dr. Hale, ’I think we ought to receive Amanda back again into our communion. The only One who ever forgave sins drew no line as to their number, nor shade as to their degree.’
‘But durnd yo’ think, doctor, that if we do as yo’ want us we’s be turnin’ th’ Church into a shoddy hoile?’ asked Elias Bradshaw.
‘There are no shoddy souls,’ said the doctor.
‘No,’ continued Mr. Penrose; ’it was not shoddy that Christ came to seek and save.’
‘Who wur it said th’ gate were strait and th’ road narro’?’ cried out an old man who was always known by the name of ‘Clogs.’
‘That’s no reason why yo’ should want to turn th’ gate into a steele-hoile (stile), is it?’ retorted Malachi.
‘Gate or steele-hoile, it’s narro’; and that’s enugh for me, an’ it were noan us ut made it narro’; it wur th’ Almeety Hissel’,’ replied Clogs.
‘At any rate, He made it wide enough for Amanda,’ said Dr. Hale, ‘and that is the matter we are now considering.’
‘I’m noan so sure o’ that, doctor. There’s a good bit o’ Scripter agen yo’ if yo’ come to texes.’
‘Then so much the worse for Scripture,’ was the unguarded, yet honest, retort of Mr. Penrose; and Dr. Hale laid a kind hand on the young minister’s shoulder to restrain his haste.