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- That Printer of Udell's - 49/49 -


first thing in the morning--Can't do it; it's past six now, and I have an important engagement to-night. All right. Good-bye."

"Oh, if you have an engagement I will go," said Clara, moving toward the door.

"You needn't be in a hurry," said George, with one of his queer smiles. "My engagement has been put off so many times it won't hurt to delay it a few minutes longer. And besides," he added, "the other party has done all the putting off so far, and I rather enjoy the novelty."

The young lady blushed and hung her head, and then--but there--what right have we to look? It is enough for us to know that Udell's engagement was put off no longer, and that he spent the evening at the Wilson home, where the heart of Clara's mother was made glad by the announcement she had long wished to hear.

"Law sakes," snapped the old lady; "I do hope you'll be happy. Goodness knows you ought to be; you've waited long enough." And for just that once, all parties interested were agreed.

Charlie Bowen is in an eastern college fitting himself for the ministry. His expenses are paid by Mr. Wicks. "To-be-sure," said Uncle Bobbie, "I reckon a feller might as well invest in young men as any other kind o' stock, an' the church needs preachers who know a little about the business of this world, as well as the world what's comin'. I don't know how my business will get along without the boy though, but I reckon if we look after Christ's interests he won't let us go broke. To-be-sure, college only puts the trimmins' on, but if you've got a Christian business man, what's all _man_ to begin with, they sure do put him in shape; an' I reckon the best 'aint none too good for God. But after all, it's mighty comfortin' for such old, uneducated sticks as me to know that 'taint the trimmings the good Father looks at. Ye can't tell a preacher by the long words in his sermon, no more 'n you can tell a church by the length of its steeple."

Five years later, two traveling men, aboard the incoming "Frisco" passenger, were discussing the business outlook, when one pointed out of the window to the smoke-shrouded city. "That town is a wonder to me," he said.

"Why?" asked his fellow-drummer, who was making his first trip over that part of the road. "What's the matter with it? Isn't it a good business town?"

"Good business town," ejaculated the other, "I should say it was. There's not a better in this section of the country. But it's the change in the character of the place that gets me. Five years ago, there wasn't a tougher city in the whole west. Every other door on Broadway was a joint, and now--"

"Oh yes, I've heard that," interrupted the other, with a half sneer; "struck by a church revival or something, wasn't they? And built some sort of a Salvation Army Rescuing Home or Mission?"

"I'm not sure about the church revival," returned the other slowly, "though they do say there are more church members there now than in any other city of its size in the country. But I'm sure of one thing; they were struck by good, common-sense business Christianity. As for the Rescue Home, I suppose you can call it that if you want to; but it's the finest block in the business portion of the city; and almost every man you meet owns a share in it. But here we are; you can see for yourself; only take my advice, and if you want to do business in Boyd City, don't try to sneer at the churches, or laugh at their Association."

And indeed the traveling man might well wonder at the change a few years had brought to this city in the great coal fields of the middle west. In place of the saloons that once lined the east side of Broadway and the principal streets leading to it, there were substantial buildings and respectable business firms. The gambling dens and brothels had been forced to close their doors, and their occupants driven to seek other fields for their degrading profession. Cheap variety and vulgar burlesque troops had the city listed as no good, and passed it by, while the best of musicians and lecturers were always sure of crowded houses. The churches, of all denominations, had been forced to increase their seating capacity; and the attendance at High School and Business College had enlarged four-fold; the city streets and public buildings, the lawns and fences even, by their clean and well-kept appearance, showed an honest pride, and a purpose above mere existence. But a stranger would notice, first of all, the absence of loafers on the street corners, and the bright, interested expressions and manners of the young men whom he chanced to meet.

And does this all seem strange to you, reader, as to our friend, the traveling man? Believe me, there is no mystery about it. It is just the change that comes to the individual who applies Christ's teaching to his daily life. High purpose, noble activity, virtue, honesty and cleanliness. God has but one law for the corporation and the individual, and the teaching that will transform the life of a citizen will change the life of a city if only it be applied.

The reading-room and institution established by the young people of the Jerusalem Church had accomplished its mission, and was absorbed into the larger one established by the citizens, where boys and girls, men and women, could hear good music, uplifting talk, and helpful entertainment; where good citizenship, good health, good morals, were all taught in the name of Jesus. The institution was free in every department; visitors were restricted only by wholesome rules that in themselves were educational. Co-operating with the city officials, it separated the vicious from the unfortunate, and removed not only the influence of evil, but the last excuse for it, by making virtue a pleasure, and tempting the public to live wholesomely. And as the traveling man testified, it paid from a business standpoint; or as Uncle Bobbie Wicks tells his customers from other towns, "Folks come to Boyd City to live 'cause they 'aint 'fraid to have their boys 'n girls walk down the street alone." And after all, that's about the best recommendation a place can have. And perhaps the happiest couple in all that happy, prosperous city, as well as the best-loved of her citizens, is the young manager of the Association, Mr. Richard Falkner, and his beautiful wife, Amy.

But Dick will soon leave his present position to enter a field of wider usefulness at the National Capitol. For the people declared, at the last election, that their choice for representative was "That Printer of Udell's." And before they leave for their Washington home, Dick and Amy will pay still another visit to a lonely spot near the little village of Anderson. There, where the oaks and hickorys cast their flickering shadows on the fallen leaves and bushes, and the striped ground-squirrel has his home in the rocks; where the redbird whistles to his mate, and at night, the sly fox creeps forth to roam at will; where nature, with vine of the wild grape, has builded a fantastic arbor, and the atmosphere is sweet with woodland flowers and blossoms, not far from the ruins of an old cabin, they will kneel before two rough mounds of earth, each marked with a simple headstone, one bearing no inscription save the name and date; the other this: "Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these, my brethren, ye have done it unto Me."

THE END.


That Printer of Udell's - 49/49

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