Mrs. Kimper looked at her husband in astonishment. Sam returned his wife’s gaze, but with a placid expression of countenance.
“I don’t amount to much, Sam,” Mrs. Kimper finally sighed, with a helpless look.
“You’re my wife; that’s much—to me. Some day I hope it will be the same to you.”
There was a knock at the door, and as soon as Sam shouted “Come in!” Judge Prency entered.
“Sam,” said he, “ever since I saw you were in earnest about living a new life, I’ve been trying to arrange matters so that your boy Joe—I suppose you know why he ran away—could come back without getting into trouble. It was not easy, for the man from whom he—took something seemed to feel very ugly. But he has promised not to prosecute.”
“Thank God!” exclaimed Sam. “If now I knew where the boy was—”
“I’ve attended to that, too. I’ve had him looked up and found and placed in good hands for two or three weeks, and I don’t believe you will be ashamed of him when he returns.”
Sam Kimper lapsed into silence, and the judge felt uncomfortable. At last Sam exclaimed,—
“I feel as if it would take a big prayer and thanksgiving meeting to tell all that’s in my mind.”
“A very good idea,” said the judge; “and, as you have the very people present who should take part in it, I will make haste to remove all outside influence.” So saying, the judge bowed in his most courtly manner to Mrs. Kimper and Jane, and departed.
“Let us all pray,” said Sam, dropping upon his knees.
Eleanor Prency was a miserable young woman during most of the great revival season which followed the special meetings at Dr. Guide’s church. She did not see Ray Bartram as much as of old, for the young man spent most of his evenings at the church, assisting in the work. He sang no wild hymns, nor did he make any ecstatic speeches; nevertheless his influence was great among his old acquaintances and upon the young men of the town. To “stand up for prayers” was to the latter class the supreme indication of courage or conviction; and any of them would have preferred to face death itself, at the muzzle of a gun, to taking such a step. But that was not all; Bartram had for some years been the leader of the unbelievers in the town; the logic of a young man who was smart enough to convince judges on the bench in matters of law was good enough for the general crowd when it was brought to bear upon religion. As one lounger at Weitz’s saloon expressed himself,—
“None of the preachers or deacons or class-leaders was ever able to down that young feller before, but now he’s just the same as gone and hollered ‘enough.’ It’s no use for the rest of us to put on airs after that; nobody’ll believe us, and like as not he’ll be the first man to tell us what fools we be. I’m thinkin’ a good deal of risin’ for prayers myself, if it’s only to get through before he gives me a talkin’ to.”