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Marg’et Ann
by [?]

It was sacrament Sabbath in the little Seceder congregation at Blue Mound. Vehicles denoting various degrees of prosperity were beginning to arrive before the white meeting-house that stood in a patch of dog-fennel by the roadside.

The elders were gathered in a solemn, bareheaded group on the shady side of the building, arranging matters of deep spiritual portent connected with the serving of the tables. The women entered the church as they arrived, carrying or leading their fat, sunburned, awe-stricken children, and sat in subdued and reverent silence in the unpainted pews. There was a smell of pine and peppermint and last week’s gingerbread in the room, and a faint rustle of bonnet strings and silk mantillas as each newcomer moved down the aisle; but there was no turning of heads or vain, indecorous curiosity concerning arrivals on the part of those already in the pews.

Outside, the younger men moved about slowly in their creased black clothes, or stood in groups talking covertly of the corn planting which had begun; there was an evident desire to compensate by lowered voices and lack of animated speech for the manifest irreverence of the topic.

Marg’et Ann and her mother came in the farm wagon, that the assisting minister, the Rev. Samuel McClanahan, who was to preach the “action sermon,” might ride in the buggy with the pastor. There were four wooden chairs in the box of the wagon, and the floor was strewn with sweet-scented timothy and clover. Mrs. Morrison and Miss Nancy McClanahan, who had come with her brother from Cedar Township to communion, sat in two of the chairs, and Marg’et Ann and her younger sister occupied the others. One of the boys sat on the high spring seat with his brother Laban, who drove the team, and the other children were distributed on the hay between their elders.

Marg’et Ann wore her mother’s changeable silk made over and a cottage bonnet with pink silk strings and skirt and a white ruche with a wreath of pink flowers in the face trimming. Her brown hair was combed over her ears like a sheet of burnished bronze and held out by puff combs, and she had a wide embroidered collar, shaped like a halo, fastened by a cairngorm in a square setting of gold.

Miss Nancy McClanahan and her mother talked in a subdued way of the Fast Day services, and of the death of Squire Davidson, who lived the other side of the creek, and the probable result of Esther Jane Skinner’s trouble with her chest. There was a tacit avoidance of all subjects pertaining to the flesh except its ailments, but there was no long-faced hypocrisy in the tones or manner of the two women. Marg’et Ann listened to them and watched the receding perspective of the corn rows in the brown fields. She had her token tied securely in the corner of her handkerchief, and every time she felt it she thought regretfully of Lloyd Archer. She had hoped he would make a confession of faith this communion, but he had not come before the session at all. She knew he had doubts concerning close communion, and she had heard him say that certain complications of predestination and free will did not appear reasonable to him. Marg’et Ann thought it very daring of him to exact reasonableness of those in spiritual high places. She would as soon have thought of criticising the Creator for making the sky blue instead of green as for any of His immutable decrees as set forth in the Confession of Faith. It did not prevent her liking Lloyd Archer that her father and several of the elders whom he had ventured to engage in religious discussion pronounced him a dangerous young man, but it made it impossible for her to marry him. So she had been quite anxious that he should see his way clear to join the church.