“Rachel says Dr. Bruce has been staying in Raymond for two Sundays and has seemed very much interested in Mr. Maxwell’s pledge in the First Church.”
“What does Rachel say about herself?” asked Rose, who was lying on a couch almost buried under elegant cushions.
“She is still singing at the Rectangle. Since the tent meetings closed she sings in an old hall until the new buildings which her friend, Virginia Page, is putting up are completed.
“I must write Rachel to come to Chicago and visit us. She ought not to throw away her voice in that railroad town upon all those people who don’t appreciate her.”
Mr. Sterling lighted a new cigar and Rose exclaimed: “Rachel is so queer. She might set Chicago wild with her voice if she sang in the Auditorium. And there she goes on throwing it away on people who don’t know what they are hearing.”
“Rachel won’t come here unless she can do it and keep her pledge at the same time,” said Felicia, after a pause.
“What pledge?” Mr. Sterling asked the question and then added hastily: “Oh, I know, yes! A very peculiar thing that. Alexander Powers used to be a friend of mine. We learned telegraphy in the same office. Made a great sensation when he resigned and handed over that evidence to the Interstate Commerce Commission. And he’s back at his telegraph again. There have been queer doings in Raymond during the past year. I wonder what Dr. Bruce thinks of it on the whole. I must have a talk with him about it.”
“He is at home and will preach tomorrow,” said Felicia. “Perhaps he will tell us something about it.”
There was silence for a minute. Then Felicia said abruptly, as if she had gone on with a spoken thought to some invisible hearer: “And what if he should propose the same pledge to the Nazareth Avenue Church?”
“Who? What are you talking about?” asked her father a little sharply.
“About Dr. Bruce. I say, what if he should propose to our church what Mr. Maxwell proposed to his, and ask for volunteers who would pledge themselves to do everything after asking the question, ’What would Jesus do?’”
“There’s no danger of it,” said Rose, rising suddenly from the couch as the tea-bell rang.
“It’s a very impracticable movement, to my mind,” said Mr. Sterling shortly.
“I understand from Rachel’s letter that the Raymond church is going to make an attempt to extend the idea of the pledge to other churches. If it succeeds it will certainly make great changes in the churches and in people’s lives,” said Felicia.
“Oh, well, let’s have some tea first!” said Rose, walking into the dining-room. Her father and Felicia followed, and the meal proceeded in silence. Mrs. Sterling had her meals served in her room. Mr. Sterling was preoccupied. He ate very little and excused himself early, and although it was Saturday night, he remarked as he went out that he should be down town on some special business.