“Ay, glory, glory! You’ve been a doubter, and you doubt no longer. Soon you’ll be a shouter. Man, you’ll dance like as David danced before the Ark! You’ll feel it in your toes! Come along, friends, while he’s resting a minute! Sing all together—oh, the blessed peace of it!—
“‘I long to be there, His glory to share—’”
He pitched the note, and the congregation took up the second line with a rolling, gathering volume of song. It broke on the night like the footfall of a regiment at charge. Honoria scrambled off Taffy’s back, and the two slipped away to the high road.
“Shall you tell your father?”
“I—I don’t know.”
She stooped and found a loose stone. “He shan’t find salvation to-night,” she said heroically.
As the stone crashed through the window the two children pelted off. They ran on the soft turf by the wayside, and only halted to listen when they reached Tredinnis’s great gates. The sound of feet running far up the road set them off again, but now in opposite ways. Honoria sped down the avenue, and Taffy headed for the Parsonage, across the towans. Ordinarily this road at night would have been full of terrors for him; but now the fear at his heels kept him going, while his heart thumped on his ribs. He was just beginning to feel secure, when he blundered against a dark figure which seemed to rise straight out of the night.
Blessed voice! The wayfarer was his own father.
“Taffy! I thought you were home an hour ago. Where on earth have you been?”
“With Honoria.” He was about to say more, but checked himself. “I left her at the top of the avenue,” he explained.
TAFFY’S CHILDHOOD COMES TO AN END.
The summer passed. There was a talk in the early part of it that the Bishop would be coming, next spring, to consecrate the restored church and hold a confirmation service. Taffy and Honoria were to be confirmed, and early in August Mr. Raymond began to set apart an hour each day for preparing them. In a week or two the boy’s head was full of religion. He spent much of his time in the church, watching the carpenter at work upon the new seats; his mind ran on the story of Samuel, and he wished his mother had followed Hannah’s example and dedicated him to God; he had a suspicion that God would be angry with her for not doing so.
He did not observe that, as the autumn crept on, a shadow gathered on Humility’s face. One Sunday the old Squire did not come to church; and again on the next Wednesday, at the harvest festival, Honoria sat alone in the Tredinnis pew. The shadow was on his mother’s face as he chatted about this on their way home to the Parsonage; but the boy did not perceive it. He loved his parents, but their lives lay outside his own, and their sayings and doings passed him like a vain show. He walked in the separate world of childhood, and it seemed an enormous world yet, though a few weeks were to bring him abruptly to the end of it.