“It’s all priestcraft,” said his wife.
“I don’t know, Sarah, what craft it is, but I wish our ministers learned a little of the same craft; for they are fast losing all influence over the minds of the people, and especially over that of the youth. That we can all see.”
“That’s because people are daily getting worse,” said this female philosopher.
“Worse! Then whose fault is it that they are? What have we ministers for, but to prevent this state of things? There are six of them in the small village of S——, and it can’t be beat in the Union for blacklegs and rowdies. Would we have so many wild, irreligious young men, and women, too, if, instead of six preachers, we had six Catholic priests? I would like to see one of your young ones show such signs of a superior mind and training, such manliness and fortitude, as that Irish Catholic lad, Paul, down at Prying’s. They have had all the ministers within fifty miles of you to convert him, but they could no more move him than they could Mount Antoine. In fact, he beat them all to pieces in Scripture and argument. Take no more pains about religion, wife,” said the honest Yankee; “let Anne alone. I won’t have her disturbed any more on the subject. If there be any religion on earth, those very people have it whom you want to bring round to the exact pattern of your favorite minister’s manner of doubting. It’s ridiculous, wife,” said he, rising, and calling his men to the fields; “it’s ridiculous to try to convert these Catholics, who appear to have some religion, to the countless systems of NO RELIGION that are so numerous on all sides around us. I say it’s ridiculous,” said he, departing.
THE TEMPTER AT THE WOMAN.
It was arranged among the Pryings and their advisers, one day in August, that, as Amanda said Paul was an incorrigible young man, he should be sent off to the State fair of Vermont, and, in the meantime, a certain “true blue” Presbyterian minister, named Grinoble, should try his hand at converting Paul’s little sister Bridget. It was, some thought, wrong to begin with Paul, as all experience, but especially scriptural testimony, taught that temptation was more likely to succeed when woman was the subject or the instrument. So thought Parson Grinoble; and, with true serpent wisdom, he concluded that it was through the woman, the weaker sex, that, in this instance, Popery was to be conquered. Besides, this old hand at proselytism read somewhat of the epistles of St. Paul, and read there of the success of his predecessors in unbelief in seducing “silly women,” and ensnaring their confiding souls within the meshes of their wily nets. So thought Mr. Grinoble, and he began to act on it on the day in question, by going into the kitchen and addressing himself to Bridget, as she was peeling apples for cooking, in the following manner:
“Come here, my dear, and shake hands,” said his dominieship to the girl.