There was, however, one exception to the kind feeling manifested by the settlers, towards the missionary at this time, in the person of Mrs. McNab. She informed Mrs. Campbell, as they were discussing the matter before retiring for the night, that it was just what she had expected.
“Na gude comes o’ sech hurry-flurry kind o’ doctrenes as that man preaches. I dinna believe pussons can be carried into the kingdom o’ heaven on a wharlwind, as he’d have us to think”.
“Well”, said Mrs. Campbell, who had been much impressed with Mr. Norton’s teachings, “I don’t think there’s much likelihood of many folks round here bein kerried that way, or any other, into the kingdom. And I shall always bless that man for his kindness to the children when they were so sick, and for the consoling way in which he talked to me at that time”.
“His doctrenes are every way delytarious, and you’ll find that’s the end on’t”, said Mrs. McNab.
To this dogmatic remark Mrs. Campbell made no reply.
Sitting in the Madonna room, that evening, John remarked to Mr. Somers, “I have a growing admiration for your missionary. Did you notice what he said, in reply to the man who counselled him to fly into Maine and so evade the charge brought against him? Small things sometimes suggest great ones. I was reminded of what Luther said, when cited before the diet of Worms, and when his friends advised him not to go. ’I am lawfully called to appear in that city, and thither I will go, in the name of the Lord, though as many devils as tiles upon the houses were assembled against me.’”
“Ay, John. There are materials in the character of that man for the making of another Luther. Truth, courage, power,—he has them all”.
The next morning at an early hour, Mr. Dubois and Mr. Norton, accompanied by the bearer of the despatch, started for Fredericton. They were joined by Micah, whose alleged urgent business in that city proved to be nothing more nor less than to lend his aid towards getting the missionary out of what he called “a bad fix!”
Proceeding up the Miramichi River a short distance, they came to the portage, where travelling through the wilderness twenty miles to the Nashwauk, they passed down that stream to its junction with the St. John’s River, opposite Fredericton.
After throwing off the dust of travel and resting somewhat from their fatigue, the two gentlemen first named, went to call on Col. Allen, the friend of whom Mr. Dubois had spoken, who was a resident of the Capital.
He was a man of wealth and consideration in the province. Having listened attentively to the statement made by Mr. Dubois respecting the arrest of Mr. Norton, he promised to do all in his power to secure for him a fair trial.
Although a high churchman in principle and feeling, he was yet candid and upright in his judgments, and happened, moreover, to be well acquainted with the character of the clergyman of the parish of ——, who had brought the charge against Mr. Norton. He made a few inquiries respecting the evidence the missionary could produce of good character in his native State.