“I must believe you, Ray; I can’t help believing whatever you say. But I never saw conversion act that way upon any one else, and I don’t understand it.”
Bartram looked quizzically at the girl a moment, and then replied,—
“Try it yourself; I’m sure it will affect you just as it does me.”
“Oh, Ray, no; I never can bring myself to stand up in church to be prayed for.”
“Don’t do it, then. Pray for yourself. I don’t know of any one to whom Heaven would sooner listen. But you can’t avoid being prayed for by one repentant sinner: have the kindness to remember that.”
“Ray!” murmured Eleanor.
“And,” continued Bartram, rising and placing an arm around Eleanor’s shoulders, “the sooner our prayers can rise together, the sooner you will understand me, believe me, and trust me. My darling,—the only woman whom I ever loved,—the only woman of whom I ever was fond,—the only one to whom I ever gave an affectionate word or caress—”
There are conversations which reach a stage where they should be known only to those who conduct them. When Bartram started to depart, his love-life was unclouded.
“Ray,” said Eleanor, at the door, “will you oblige me by seeing Sam Kimper in the morning and asking him to tell his daughter that I particularly wish she would come back to us?”
The revival into which were merged the special meetings at Dr. Guide’s church continued so long that religion became absolutely and enthrallingly fashionable in Bruceton. Many drinking men ceased to frequent the bar-room of the town, some old family feuds came to an end, and several couples who should have been married long before were joined in the holy bonds of wedlock.
Nevertheless, the oldest inhabitants agreed that never before had life in Bruceton been so pleasant. Everybody was on good terms with everybody else, and no one, no matter how poor or common, lacked pleasant greetings on the street from acquaintances of high degree.
There had been some wonderful conversions during the meetings; hard-swearing, hard-drinking men had abandoned their evil ways, and were apparently as willing and anxious as any one else to be informed as to how to conform their lives to the professions which they had made. All the other churches sympathized with the efforts which Dr. Guide’s flock had been making, for they themselves had been affected to their visible benefit.
Dr. Guide himself became one of the humblest of the humble. Always a man of irreproachable life and warm heart, it never had occurred to him that anything could be lacking in his church methods. But he also was a man of quick perceptions: so, as the meetings went on, and he realized that their impetus was due not at all to anything he had said or done, but solely to the personal example of Sam Kimper, he fell into deep thought and retrospection. He resolutely waived all compliments which his clerical brethren of other denominations offered him on what they were pleased to call the results of his ministrations, and honestly insisted that the good work was begun by the example set by Sam Kimper, the ex-convict.