“Hallelujah!” said Ensign Sand cheerfully, with a meretricious air of hearing it for the first time. “Any more?” and a Norwegian sailor lurched shamefacedly upon his feet. He had a couple of inches of straggling yellow beard all round his face, and fingered an old felt hat.
“I haf’ to say only dis word. I goin’ sdop by Jesus. Long time I subbose I sdop by Jesus. I subbose—”
“Glory be to God!” remarked Ensign Sand again, spiking the guns of the Duke’s Own who were inclined to be amused. “That will do, thank you. Now, is there nobody else? Speak up, friends. It’ll do you no harm, none whatever; it’ll do you that much good you’ll be surprised. Now, who’ll be the next to say a word for Jesus?” She was nodding encouragement at the negro cook as if she knew him for a wavering soul, and he, sunk in his gleaming white collar, was aware, in silent smiling misery, that the expectations of the meeting were toward him. Laura had again hidden her eyes in her hand. The negro fingered his watch chain foolishly, and the prettiest of the East Indian half-castes tried hard to disguise her perception that an African in his best clothes under conviction of sin was the funniest thing in the world. The silence seemed to focus itself upon the cook, who fumbled at his coat collar and cleared his voice. It was a shock to all concerned when Stephen Arnold, picking up his hat, got upon his feet instead.
“I also,” he said, “would offer my humble testimony to the grace of God—with all my heart.”
It was as if he had repeated part of the creed in the performance of his office. Then he turned and bent gravely to Lindsay, “Shall we go now?” he whispered, and the two made their way to the door, leaving a silence behind them which Lindsay imagined, on the part of Ensign Sand at least, to be somewhat resentful. As they passed out a voice recovered itself, and cried, “Hallelujah!” It was Laura’s; and all the way to the club—Arnold was dining with him there—Lindsay listened to his friend’s analysis of religious appeal to the emotions, but chiefly heard that clear music above a sordid din, “Hallelujah!” “Hallelujah!”
When Alicia Livingstone, almost believing she liked it, drove to Number Three, Lal Behari’s Lane, and left cards upon Miss Hilda Howe, she was only partially rewarded. Through the plaster gate-posts, badly in want of repair, and bearing, sunk in one of them, a marble slab announcing “Residence with Board,” she perceived the squalid attempt the place made at respectability, the servants in dirty livery salaaming curiously, the over-fed squirrel in a cage in the door, the pair of damaged wicker chairs in the porch, suggesting the easiest intercourse after dinner, the general discoloration. She observed with irritation that it was a down-at-heels shrine for such a divinity, in spite of its six dusty crotons