They moved swiftly, but not so swiftly as a fleet young man from the Shell People who preceded them. He was sent by the elders a day before the time fixed for the assault, and so Ab learned all about the intended raid.
To-day their elders even felt shy and anxious in his presence. For the first time he found the duty he loved a wearisome burthen; the sick man was a tormenting spirit in league with the world against his peace of mind. What possessed him, that he should feel such love of his fellow-men as to deprive himself of all comfort in life and of his night's rest for their sake? Rufinus was right.
He was a good bit of a puzzle to Borlase, but the younger, in justice, couldn't quarrel with the verdict, and he only hoped that Cicely wouldn't change her mind in such a parlous long time; for a year to the eye of love be a century. Well, as elders in such a pass will do, Chawner took careful stock of Sam, and the more he gleaned of the young man's opinions the better he liked him.
And let the elders be compassionate and merciful toward all; turning them from their errors; seeking out those that are weak; not forgetting the widows, the fatherless, and the poor; but always providing what is good both in the sight of God and man. Abstaining from all wrath, respect of persons, and unrighteous judgment; and especially being free from all covetousness.
Plainly the modernist churchman does not believe in the God of Genesis who walked in the garden in the cool of the evening and called for Adam and his wife who had hidden themselves behind a tree; nor in the God of Exodus who appeared to Moses and Aaron and seventy of the Elders of Israel, standing with his feet upon a paved walk as if it were a sapphire stone; nor even in the God of the fifty-third chapter of Isaiah who in his compassion for the sheep who had gone astray, having turned everyone to his own way, laid on the Man of Sorrows the iniquity of us all."
The elders looked upon the intimacy as natural and mutually beneficial. It would help soften the boy and strengthen the girl; and they took for granted that softness and strength were precisely what were wanted. It is a great pity that men and women forget that they have been children. Parents are apt to be foreigners to their sons and daughters.
Doubtless their low voices and gentle, supple movements never shock the timid sensitiveness of brutes. Besides this, Malay children yield a very ready obedience to their elders, and are encouraged to invite the confidence of birds and beasts, rather than to torment them. They catch birds by means of bird-lime made of gutta, by horse-hair nooses, and by imitating their call.
And the elders granted it to her. Her husband objected; he did not want to be divorced. He claimed this, and he claimed that, but it was all of no use. So the tie that had united them was dissolved, as the love had been dissolved long before, and they parted. The man went away to Lower Burma.
So rapidly did he gain the esteem of his new companions, that when they reached the end of their wanderings, it was unanimously agreed that he should be provided with as large and as fertile a tract of land as any of the settlers, with the exception of Young himself, and of Stangerson, Kemball, Johnston, and Drebber, who were the four principal Elders.
Soon I found him with many youths and elders about him, all as eager as Guido had been to congratulate him on what he had done. But if Dante seemed pleased to hear their praises, as it was only right he should seem pleased, he showed still greater pleasure in beholding me and reading the message of my smiling face.