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The Strike At Putney
by [?]

“Have you any suggestion to make, Miss Wilson?” said Mrs. Robbins, with a return to her official voice and manner.

Myra put her long, slender index finger to her chin.

“I think,” she said decidedly, “that we must strike.”

* * * * *

When Elder Knox went in to tea that evening he glanced somewhat apprehensively at his wife. They had had an altercation before she went to the meeting, and he supposed she had talked herself into another rage while there. But Mrs. Knox was placid and smiling. She had made his favourite soda biscuits for him and inquired amiably after his progress in hoeing turnips in the southeast meadow.

She made, however, no reference to the Auxiliary meeting, and when the biscuits and the maple syrup and two cups of matchless tea had nerved the elder up, his curiosity got the better of his prudence–for even elders are human and curiosity knows no gender–and he asked what they had done at the meeting.

“We poor men have been shaking in our shoes,” he said facetiously.

“Were you?” Mrs. Knox’s voice was calm and faintly amused. “Well, you didn’t need to. We talked the matter over very quietly and came to the conclusion that the session knew best and that women hadn’t any right to interfere in church business at all.”

Lucy Knox turned her head away to hide a smile. The elder beamed. He was a peace-loving man and disliked “ructions” of any sort and domestic ones in particular. Since the decision of the session Mrs. Knox had made his life a burden to him. He did not understand her sudden change of base, but he accepted it very thankfully.

“That’s right–that’s right,” he said heartily. “I’m glad to hear you coming out so sensible, Maria. I was afraid you’d work yourselves up at that meeting and let Myra Wilson or Alethea Craig put you up to some foolishness or other. Well, I guess I’ll jog down to the Corner this evening and order that barrel of pastry flour you want.”

“Oh, you needn’t,” said Mrs. Knox indifferently. “We won’t be needing it now.”

“Not needing it! But I thought you said you had to have some to bake for the social week after next.”

“There isn’t going to be any social.”

“Not any social?”

Elder Knox stared perplexedly at his wife. A month previously the Putney church had been recarpeted, and they still owed fifty dollars for it. This, the women declared, they would speedily pay off by a big cake and ice-cream social in the hall. Mrs. Knox had been one of the foremost promoters of the enterprise.

“Not any social?” repeated the elder again. “Then how is the money for the carpet to be got? And why isn’t there going to be a social?”

“The men can get the money somehow, I suppose,” said Mrs. Knox. “As for the social, why, of course, if women aren’t good enough to speak in church they are not good enough to work for it either. Lucy, dear, will you pass me the cookies?”

“Lucy dear” passed the cookies and then rose abruptly and left the table. Her father’s face was too much for her.

“What confounded nonsense is this?” demanded the elder explosively.

Mrs. Knox opened her mellow brown eyes widely, as if in amazement at her husband’s tone.

“I don’t understand you,” she said. “Our position is perfectly logical.”

She had borrowed that phrase from Myra Wilson, and it floored the elder. He got up, seized his hat, and strode from the room.

That night, at Jacob Wherrison’s store at the Corner, the Putney men talked over the new development. The social was certainly off–for a time, anyway.

“Best let ’em alone, I say,” said Wherrison. “They’re mad at us now and doing this to pay us out. But they’ll cool down later on and we’ll have the social all right.”