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Summer Boarders And Others
by [?]

“He knew Deacon Decker pretty well. Deacon Decker was an old playmate of Russell Sage, but didn’t do so well as Russ did. He went once to New York after he got along in years, and Sage knew him, but he couldn’t seem to place Sage. ‘Why, Decker,’ says Sage, ‘don’t you know me?’ Decker says, ‘That’s all right. You bet I know ye. You’re one of these fellows that knows everybody. There’s another feller around the corner that helps you to remember folks. I know ye. I read the papers. Git out. Scat. Torment ye, I ain’t in here to-day buyin’ green goods, nor yet to lift a freight bill for ye. So avaunt before I sick the police on ye.’

“Finally Russ identified himself, and shook dice with the deacon to see which should buy the lunch at the dairy kitchen. This is a true story, told me by an old neighbor of Deacon Decker’s.

“Deacon Decker once discovered a loose knot in his pew seat in church, and while considering the plan of redemption, thoughtlessly pushed with considerable force on this knot with his thumb. At first it resisted the pressure, but finally it slipped out and was succeeded by the deacon’s thumb. No one saw it, so the deacon, slightly flushed, gave it a stealthy wrench, but the knot-hole had a sharp conical bottom, and the edge soon caught and secured the rapidly swelling thumb of Deacon Decker.

“During the closing prayer he worked at it with great diligence and all the saliva he could spare, but it resisted. It was a sad sight. Finally he gave it up, and said to himself the struggle was useless. He tried to be resigned and wait till all had gone. He shook his head when the plate was passed to him, and only bowed when the brethren passed him on the way out. Some thought that maybe he was cursed with doubts, but reckoned that they would pass away.

“Finally he was missed outside. He was generally so chipper and so cheery. So his wife was asked about him. ‘Why, father’s inside. I’ll go and get him. I never knew him to miss shaking hands with all the folks.’

“So she went in and found Deacon Decker trying to interest himself with a lesson leaf in one hand, while his other was concealed under his hat. He could fool the neighbors, but he could not fool his wife, and so she hustled around and told one or two, who told their wives, and they all came back to see the deacon and make suggestions to him.

“This little incident is true, and while it does not contain any special moral, it goes to show that an honest man gathers no moss, and also explains a large circular hole, and the tin patch over it, which may still be seen in the pew where Deacon Decker used to sit.”