“That’s what beats me. Aside from Ma’s hay fever she is one of the healthiest women in this town. O, I suppose he does it for his health, the way they all do when they go to a summer resort, but it leaves a boy an orphan, don’t it, to have such kitteny parents?”
The only persons that are real sure that their calling and election is sure, and that they are going to heaven across lots, are the men who are hung for murder. They always announce that they have got a dead thing on it, just before the drop falls. How encouraging it must be to children to listen to the prayers of our ministers in churches, who admit that they are miserable sinners, living on God’s charity, and doubtful if they would be allowed to sit at His right hand, and as they tell the story of their own unworthiness the tears trickle down their cheeks. Then let the children read an account of a hanging bee, and see how happy the condemned man is, how he shouts glory hallelujah, and confesses that, though he killed his man, he is going to heaven. A child will naturally ask, why don’t the ministers murder somebody, and make a dead sure thing of it?
You may organize a church choir and think you have got it down fine, and that every member of it is pious and full of true goodness, and in such a moment as you think not you will find that one or more of them are full of the old Harry, and it will break out when you least expect it. There is no more beautiful sight to the student of nature than a church choir. To see the members sitting together, demure, devoted and pious looking, you think that there is never a thought enters their mind that is not connected with singing anthems, but sometimes you get left.
There is one church choir in Milwaukee that is about as near perfect as a choir can be. It has been organized for a long time, and has never quarreled, and the congregation swears by it. When the choir strikes a devotional attitude it is enough to make an ordinary Christian think of the angel band above, only the male singers wear whiskers, and the females wear fashionable clothes.
You would not think that this choir played tricks on each other during the sermon, but sometimes they do. The choir is furnished with the numbers of the hymns that are to be sung, by the minister, and they put a bookmark in the book at the proper place. One morning they all got up to sing, when the soprano turned pale, as an ace of spades dropped out of her hymn book, the alto nearly fainted when the queen of hearts dropped at her feet, and the rest of the pack was distributed around in the other books. They laid it onto the tenor, but he swore, while the minister was preaching, that he didn’t know one card from another.