Ethelyn's Mistake (Chapter 8, page 2 of 3)


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Chapter 8

That Andy Markham was a Christian no one doubted. It showed itself in
every act of his life; it shone in his beaming, good-natured face, and
made itself heard in the touching pathos of his voice, when he repeated
aloud in his room the prayers of his church, saying to his mother, when
she objected that his prayers were made up beforehand: "And for the
land's sake, ain't the sams and hims, which are nothing but prayers set
to music, made up beforehand? A pretty muss you'd have of it if
everybody should strike out for himself, a singin' his own words just as
they popped into his head."

Mrs. Markham was not convinced, but she let Andy alone after that,
simply remarking that "the prayer-book would not always answer the
purpose; there would come a time when just what he wanted was
not there."

Andy was willing to wait till that time came, trusting to Mr. Townsend
to find for him some way of escape; and so the matter dropped, and he
was free to read his prayers as much as he pleased. He had heard from
Richard that his new sister was of his way of thinking--that though not
a member of the church except by baptism, she was an Episcopalian, and
would be married by that form.

It was strange how Andy's great, warm heart went out toward Ethelyn
after that. He was sure to like her; and on the evening of the bridal,
when the clock struck nine, he had taken his tallow candle to his room,
and opening his prayer-book at the marriage ceremony, had read it
carefully through, even to the saying: "I, Richard, take thee, Ethelyn,"
etc., kneeling at the proper time, and after he was through even
venturing to improvise a prayer of his own, in which he asked, not that
Ethelyn might be happy with his brother--there was no doubt on that
point, for Richard was perfect in his estimation--but that "old Dick"
might be happy with her--that he, Andy, might do his whole duty by her,
and that, if it was right to ask it, she might bring him something from
that famous Boston, which seemed to him like a kind of paradise, and
also that she need not at once discover that he did not know as much as
"old Dick."

This was Andy's prayer, which he had confessed to Mr. Townsend; and now,
all shaven and shorn, with his best Sunday coat and a large bandanna in
his hand, he came in to greet his sister. It needed but a glance for
Ethelyn to know the truth, for Andy's face told what he was; but there
was something so kind in his expression and so winning in his voice, as
he called her "Sister Ethie," that she unbent to him as she had unbent
to no one else; and when he stooped to kiss her, she did not draw back
as she had from James and John, but promptly put up her lips, and only
winced a very little at the second loud, hearty smack which Andy gave
her, his great mouth leaving a wet spot on her cheek, which she wiped
away with her handkerchief.

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