“Don’t you feel lonely here, sometimes, Mr. Micah?”
“Lunsum! no. There’s plenty o’ fellers reound here, all the time. They’re a heowlin’ set tew, ez ever I see”.
“You have a good gun there”, suggested the missionary.
“Well, tolable”, said Micah, looking up for the first time since Mr. Norton had entered the house, and scanning him from head to foot with his keen, penetrating glance. “I spose you aint much used to firearms?”
“I have some acquaintance with them; but my present vocation don’t require their use”.
Here Mr. Mummychog rose, and laying his gun on the table, scratched his head, turned toward Mr. Norton and said, “Hev yeou any pertikilar business with me?”
“Yes sir, I have. I came to Miramichi to accomplish an important object, and I don’t know of another person who can help me about it so well as you can”.
“Well, I dunno. What upon arth is it?”
“To be plain upon the point”, said the missionary, looking serious and earnest, “I have come here to preach the gospel of Christ”.
“Whew! religin, is it? I can tell ye right off, its no go en these ere parts”.
“Don’t you think a little religion is needed here, Mr. Micah?”
“Well, I dunno. Taint wanted. Folks ez lives here, can’t abide sermans and prayers en that doleful stuff”.
“You say you came here for a chance, Mr. Micah. I suppose your friends came for the same purpose. Now, I have come to show them, not a chance, but a glorious certainty for happiness in this world and in the eternity beyond”.
“Well, they don’t want tew know anything abeout it. They just want tew be let alone”, said Micah.
“I suppose they do wish to be let alone”, said Mr. Norton. “But I cannot permit them to go down to wretchedness and sorrow unwarned. You have influence with your friends here, Mr. Micah. If you will collect the men, women, and children of this neighborhood together, some afternoon, in your beautiful grove, I will promise to give them not a long sermon, but something that will do them good to hear”.
“I can’t dew it no heow. There’s ben preachers along here afore, an’ a few ‘ud go eout o’ curiosity, an’ some to make a disturbance an’ sech, an’ it never ’meounts to anything, no heow. Then sposin we haint dun jest as we’d oughter, who’se gin yeou the right tew twit us on it?”
“I certainly have no right, on my own responsibility, to reproach you, or your friends for sin, for I am a sinful man myself and have daily need of repentance. But I trust I have found out a way of redemption from guilt, and I wish to communicate it to my fellow-beings that they also may have knowledge of it, and fly to Christ, their only safety and happiness in this world”.
Micah made no reply.
There was a pause of several minutes, and then the missionary rose and said, “Well, Mr. Micah, if you can’t help me, you can’t. The little maiden that came with me, told me you could render me aid, if any one could, and from what she said, I entertained a hope of your assistance. The Lord will remove the obstacles to proclaiming this salvation in some way, I know”.