“Of course it was,” said Faith, with flashing eyes. “We went to Sunday School in spite of the rain—and no one came—not even Elder Abraham, for all his talk about fair-weather Christians.”
“It was Saturday it rained,” said Mary. “Sunday was as fine as silk. I wasn’t at Sunday School because I had toothache, but every one else was and they saw all your stuff out on the lawn. And Elder Abraham and Mrs. Elder Abraham saw you shaking rugs in the graveyard.”
Una sat down among the daisies and began to cry.
“Look here,” said Jem resolutely, “this thing must be cleared up. Somebody has made a mistake. Sunday was fine, Faith. How could you have thought Saturday was Sunday?”
“Prayer-meeting was Thursday night,” cried Faith, “and Adam flew into the soup-pot on Friday when Aunt Martha’s cat chased him, and spoiled our dinner; and Saturday there was a snake in the cellar and Carl caught it with a forked stick and carried it out, and Sunday it rained. So there!”
“Prayer-meeting was Wednesday night,” said Mary. “Elder Baxter was to lead and he couldn’t go Thursday night and it was changed to Wednesday. You were just a day out, Faith Meredith, and you did work on Sunday.”
Suddenly Faith burst into a peal of laughter.
“I suppose we did. What a joke!”
“It isn’t much of a joke for your father,” said Mary sourly.
“It’ll be all right when people find out it was just a mistake,” said Faith carelessly. “We’ll explain.”
“You can explain till you’re black in the face,” said Mary, “but a lie like that’ll travel faster’n further than you ever will. I’ve seen more of the world than you and I know. Besides, there are plenty of folks won’t believe it was a mistake.”
“They will if I tell them,” said Faith.
“You can’t tell everybody,” said Mary. “No, I tell you you’ve disgraced your father.”
Una’s evening was spoiled by this dire reflection, but Faith refused to be made uncomfortable. Besides, she had a plan that would put everything right. So she put the past with its mistake behind her and gave herself over to enjoyment of the present. Jem went away to fish and Walter came out of his reverie and proceeded to describe the woods of heaven. Mary pricked up her ears and listened respectfully. Despite her awe of Walter she revelled in his “book talk.” It always gave her a delightful sensation. Walter had been reading his Coleridge that day, and he pictured a heaven where
“There were gardens
bright with sinuous rills
Where blossomed many an incense bearing tree,
And there were forests ancient as the hills
Enfolding sunny spots of greenery.”
“I didn’t know there was any woods in heaven,” said Mary, with a long breath. “I thought it was all streets—and streets—and streets.”