When one of them got into trouble the Doc was always on hand with his crook to pull him out, but let an old ram try to start any stampede-and-follow-the-leader-over-the-precipice foolishness, and he got the sharp end of the stick. There was one old billy-goat in the church, a grocer named Deacon Wiggleford, who didn't really like the Elder's way of preaching.

They voted him two donation parties a year as long as he lived, and elected the Higher Lifer as the permanent pastor of the church. Deacon Wiggleford suggested the pastor emeritus extra. He didn't quite know what it meant, but he'd heard it in Chicago, and it sounded pretty good, and as if it ought to be a heap of satisfaction to a fellow who was being fired.

And he wouldn't talk to any one else, just smiled in an aggravating way, though everybody except Deacon Wiggleford and the few youngsters who'd made the trouble called to remonstrate against his paying any attention to their foolishness. The whole town turned out the next Sunday to see the Doc step down. He sat beside the Higher Lifer on the platform, and behind them were the six deacons.

Wiggleford" the deacon's wife was the one who was condoling with her at the moment "people will talk about the best of us. Seems as if no one is safe nowadays. Why, they lie about the deacon, even.

Si Perkins wanted to have Deacon Wiggleford before the church on charges. Said he'd been told that this pastor emeritus business was Latin, and it smelt of popery to him; but the Doc wouldn't stand for any foolishness. Allowed that the special meeting was illegal, and that settled it; and he reckoned they could leave the Deacon's case to the Lord.

But just the same, the small boys used to worry Wiggleford considerably by going into his store and yelling: "Mother says she doesn't want any more of those pastor emeritus eggs," or, "She'll send it back if you give us any more of that dead-line butter."

Of course, Mrs. Buck had made up the story about the deacon, because every one knew that he was too mean to drink anything that he could sell, but by the time Buck's wife had finished, Mrs. Wiggleford was so busy explaining and defending him that she hadn't any further interest in Buck's case. And each one that called was sent away with a special piece of home scandal which Mrs.

The Pillars of the church, who'd been used to getting their religion raw from Doc Hoover, didn't take to the bottle kindly, and they all fell away except Deacon Wiggleford. He and the youngsters seemed to cotton to the new man, and just before Doc Hoover was due to get back they called a special meeting, and retired the old man with the title of pastor emeritus.

The Doc then announced that he would preach a series of six Sunday night sermons on the six best-selling books of the month, and pronounced the benediction while the Higher Lifer and Deacon Wiggleford were trying to get the floor. But the committee of deacons had 'em by the coat-tails, and after listening to their soothing arguments the Higher Lifer decided to take the 2:17 as per schedule.

By the time the Doc got around to preaching, Deacon Wiggleford was looking like a fellow who'd bought a gold brick, and the Higher Lifer like the brick. Everybody else felt and looked as if they were attending the Doc's funeral, and, as usual, the only really calm and composed member of the party was the corpse.