Daniel laughed with appreciation of this witty retort. It was discouraging to Margaret that he always laughed when she was fatuous and never when she said a thing she considered rather good.
“And, my dear,” he admonished her, “remember after this that we always put together to buy for Hiram’s children. We can do better that way, not only for the children, but it comes lighter on each one of us.”
Margaret did not reply. The incident, somehow, struck a chill to her heart.
“It must be,” she concluded, “that Jennie and Sadie have some little income of their own and are not entirely dependent upon Daniel.”
If this were true, she felt it would exonerate her from some of the forbearance she had been so carefully practising.
As they reached Millerstown just in time for the opening of the service at Hiram’s church, Margaret first saw her brother-in-law from the front pew, as he stood before his congregation in his pulpit.
“You take notice,” Jennie had warned her on their way from the station to the church, “how the folks in Hiram’s church look when we come in and walk up to the front pew.”
“Well, at you, mebby, this Sunday, because this is the first time they are seeing you. But it’s Danny they look at mostly, such a way-up lawyer as he is, coming into their church. And every year he gives them a contribution yet.”
There actually was a stir in the congregation as the party of four was ushered to the pew reserved for them, and Margaret noted curiously the look of satisfaction it brought to the faces of her husband and his sisters.
The village volunteer choir was singing a “selection” as they entered:
“We’re going home to glory
In the good old-fashioned way.”
In Hiram’s prayer, which followed, he informed God, whom he addressed in epistolary style as “Dear God,” that “the good old-fashioned way” was plenty good enough for the members of the Millerstown United Brethren Church.
Margaret, unable to discourse intended to be a prayer, noted that the speaker’s accent and diction, while not illiterate, were very crude, that he took a manifest pleasure in the hackneyed religious phrases which rolled stentoriously from his lips, and that he wore an expression, as he prayed, of smug self-satisfaction. She also observed that, like Daniel, he was small, slight, and insignificant looking; and she suddenly realized, with a sinking of her heart, that in this uncouth village preacher she really saw her husband as he would assuredly appear if stripped of the veneer which an earlier training and a college education had given him.