A ridiculous scene occurred at Palmyra, the other day. The furnace in the basement of the church is reached by a trap door, which is right beside the pulpit. There was a new preacher there from abroad, and he did not know anything about the trap door, and the sexton went down there to fix the fire, before the new minister arrived. The minister had just got warmed up in his sermon, and was picturing to his hearers hell in all its heat. He had got excited and told of the lake of burning brimstone below, where the devil was the stoker, and where the heat was ten thousand times hotter than a political campaign, and where the souls of the wicked would roast, and fry, and stew until the place froze over.
Wiping the perspiration from his face, he said, pointing, to the floor, “Ah, my friends, look down into that seething, burning lake, and—” Just at this point the trap door raised a little, and the sexton’s face, with coal smut all over it, appeared. He wanted to come up and hear the sermon.
[Illustration: “AH, MY FRIENDS, LOOK DOWN INTO THAT BURNING LAKE!”]
If hell had broke loose, the new minister could not have been more astonished. He stepped back, grasped his manuscript, and was just about to jump from the pulpit, when a deacon on the front seat said, “It’s all right, brother; he has only been down below to see about the fire.” The sexton came up and shut down the trap door, the color came back to the face of the minister, and he went on, though the incident seemed to take the tuck all out of him.
A traveling man who happened to be at the church tells us that he knows the minister was scared, for he sweat so that the perspiration run right down on the carpet and made a puddle as though a dipper of water had been tipped over there. The minister says he was not scared, but we don’t see how he could help it.
I would suggest that you permit the subject of the artificial hatching of fish to engage your attention, and that you appropriate several dollars to purchase whale’s eggs, vegetable oysters and mock turtle seeds. The hatching of fish is easy, and any man can soon learn it; and it is a branch of industry that many who are now out of employment, owing to circumstances beyond their control, will be glad to avail themselves of. How, I ask you, could means better be adapted to the ends than for the retiring officers of our State to go to setting on fish eggs?