The Rev. William West went into his study and shut the door. He was a man who was always accessible to his people, yet his lips tightened with impatience when he found a parishioner awaiting him, and saw a pile of notes on his writing-table.

But it was only for an instant; he listened to the anxieties of his caller with that concentration of sympathy which can put self aside; and when the man went away it was with the other man s heartfelt grip of the hand, his heartfelt I thank you for coming to me; God bless you, my friend, and give you wisdom.

To treat this sort of thing seriously and patiently is one of the trials of a thinking man who happens to be a minister. Then the Tenor came to give his side of the quarrel with the Bass, and the organist to say that quartette and chorus were all fools.

Two letters from ladies

The letters were not so easy; but he went through them faithfully, answering them or filing them away: appeals for help, or money, or work; two invitations; two letters from ladies of his congregation about their souls; the unmarried and interesting clergyman knows this sort of letter too well!

He was aware of a sense of haste in getting through with these things; a sense of haste even in disposing of another caller, a boy, who came to say he had doubts about the existence of God, and who felt immensely important in consequence.

Quartette and chorus

I tell you, Mr. West, this youth declared, nodding his head, of course I don t mean to be hard on the church; of course I see the value of such a belief in keeping the masses straight, but, for thinking men! To treat this sort of thing seriously and patiently is one of the trials of a thinking man who happens to be a minister. Then the Tenor came to give his side of the quarrel with the Bass, and the organist to say that quartette and chorus were all fools.

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By Nat

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