**** ROTATE **** **** ROTATE **** **** ROTATE **** **** ROTATE ****

Find this Story

Print, a form you can hold

Wireless download to your Amazon Kindle

Look for a summary or analysis of this Story.

Enjoy this? Share it!

Difficulties Of A Deacon
by [?]

It is my firm opinion that newspaper men should not be deacons. Not that there is any moral or spiritual reason why they should abstain–not that; but it doesn’t work; the chances are all against it. I know it from experience. I was a deacon myself once.

It was at a time when they were destroying gambling tools at Police Headquarters. I was there, and I carried away as a memento of the occasion a pocketful of red, white, yellow, and blue chips. They were pretty, and I thought they would be nice to have around. That was the beginning of the mischief. I was a very energetic deacon, and attended to the duties of the office with zeal. It was a young church; I had helped to found it myself; and at the Thursday night meetings I was rarely missing. The very next week it was my turn to lead it, and I started in to interpret the text to the best of my ability, and with much approval from the brethren.

I have a nervous habit, when talking, of fingering my watch, keys, knife, or whatever I happen to fish out of my pocket first. It happened to be the poker chips this time. Now, I have never played poker. I don’t know the game from the smallpox. But it seems that the congregation did. I could not at first account for the enthusiasm of the brethren as I laid down the law, and checked off the points successively on a white, a red, and a yellow chip, summing the argument up on a blue. I was rather flattered by my success at presenting the matter in a convincing light; and when the dominie leaned over and examined the chips attentively, I gave him a handful for the baby, cheerfully telling him that I had plenty more at home.

The look of horror on the good man’s face remained a puzzle to me until some of the congregation asked me on the train in the morning, in a confidential kind of way, where the game was, and how high was the ante. The explanation that ensued was not a success. I think that it shook the confidence of the brethren in me for the first time.

It occurs to me now, looking back, that the fact that I had a black eye on that occasion may have contributed in a measure to this result. Yet it was as innocent an eye as those chips; in fact, it was distinctly an ecclesiastical black eye, if I may so call it. I was never a fighter, any more than I was a gambler. Only once in my life was I accused of fighting, and then most unjustly. It was when a man who had come into my office with a hickory club to punish me for a wrong, as he insisted upon considering it,–while in reality it was an act of strictest justice to him,–happened to fall out of a window, taking the whole sash with him. The simple fact was that I didn’t strike a blow. He literally fell out. However, that is another story, and a much older one.

This black eye was a direct outcome of my zeal as deacon. Between the duties it imposed upon me, and my work as a newspaper man, I was getting very much in need of exercise of some sort. The doctor recommended Indian clubs; but the boys in the office liked boxing, and it seemed to me to have some advantages. So we clubbed together, and got a set of gloves, and when we were not busy would put them on and have a friendly set-to. It was inevitable that our youthful spirits should rise at these meetings, and with them occasionally certain lumps, which afterward shaded off into various tints bordering more or less on black until we learned to keep a leech on hand for emergencies. You see, what with the spirit of the contest, the tenderness of our untrained flesh, and certain remembered scores which were thus paid off in an entirely friendly and Christian manner, leaving no bad blood behind,–especially after we had engaged the leech,–this was not only reasonable, but inevitable. But the brethren knew nothing of this, and couldn’t be persuaded to listen to it; and, in fairness, it must be owned that the spectacle of a deacon with a black eye and a handful of poker chips expounding the text in prayer-meeting was–well, let us say that appearances were against me.