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PROVINCETOWN 


^ STORY 

(FOR THE MOST PART TRUE) 


By FITZGERALD SALE PARKER 

OBNERAL 8BCRBTART OF THE BPWORTH LBAOUB 
AND EDITOR OB TBB BPWORTH BRA 


( P 



NASHVILLE. TENN. 
COKESBURY PRESS 
192-4 









Copyright, 1914 

BY 

Lamar & Barton 


©C1A814732 


PRINTED IN THE UNITED STATES OP AMERICA 

JAN 12 *25 


Afc I 



TO MY WIFE 




CONTENTS 

Chapter Page 

I. Launching upon a New Career. 9 

II. The Field Surveyed and the Problem 

Stated. 23 

III. Finding a Way. 39 

IV. The Christian Social Union. 55 

V. Stable Centers. 73 

VI. The Revival. 90 

VII. Conserving the Revival. 108 

VIII. The Call of God... 126 


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PROVINCETOWN 


I 

LAUNCHING UPON A NEW CAREER 

But half of the red disk of a winter sun 
was visible above the dark purple of the 
bare cottonwood trees that rbse like a 
paHsade at the western end of a bend in 
the river up which the steamer, City of 
St. James, last of her class to survive the 
stern competition of the railroads, was 
steaming. Alternating between the fascina¬ 
tion of the swiftly and silently disappear¬ 
ing flood that passed under the steamboat’s 
bow and the golden glory in the west that 
spoke to his soul of the fadeless splendor of 
the better land, a young man sat apart upon 
the guards. Our interest will center largely 
in him throughout the pages of this story, 
and, happily for the satisfaction of our 
curiosity, his practice of recording in a diary 
much of his experience will enable us to 
secure a somewhat full introduction to 
him and an acquaintance with the experi¬ 
ences that had led to this day and hour 

(9) 



10 


ProvincetowH 


and the purpose that was ripening in them. 
Of course the writer’s use of this diary must 
be made with due recognition of the tenden¬ 
cy to pose that such products of the pen 
always indicate, and the critical narrator 
must make allowances for suppressions of 
the truth. However, this and other sources 
are available by means of a little judicious 
criticism for a faithful account of the pastor 
and people of Provincetown. 

It was Friday evening of the week of 
adjournment of Conference. From the 
inspiring experiences of that unique organi¬ 
zation of American Methodism Delmar 
Forrest had set out with all speed to identify 
the place to which the venerable bishop had 
read him out as preacher in charge,” an 
appointment the very name of which was 
replete with associations, but its location 
a positive enlargement of his geographical 
knowledge. From his dead father’s pos¬ 
sessions he had extracted a yellow pamphlet 
bearing the title, “Minutes of the Tenth 
Session of the Mississippi Valley Confer¬ 
ence and Missionary Society of the Meth¬ 
odist Episcopal Church, South,” and put 
it in his traveling bag, with the interest 
created by its record that his father had 


Launching upon a New Career 11 

been appointed to this identical Province- 
town exactly fifty years earlier. The coinci¬ 
dence started a train of recollections of the 
beautiful life of useful service that had been 
initiated into the itinerant ministry at the 
place to which he was bound, and by an 
easy transition his thoughts rehearsed the 
experiences that had resulted in his present 
outlook and purposes in life. Within a 
few hours Forrest would reach his destina¬ 
tion and there begin the work that seemed 
to be his providential task. Youthful 
regrets, aspirations, and sentimental mis¬ 
givings mingle in the lines of the diary 
that he wrote that same night. 

Forrest was educated in the sense that 
he had skimped through college without 
achieving any distinction except that of 
exciting expectations that were never real¬ 
ized. Two years as a clerk in a cotton 
factor’s office had given a postgraduate 
course that he would later learn to value 
as the means of disciplining his will and to 
regret as the occasion of some wild and 
worldly aberrations from the path of duty 
in which he had been reared. His old 
‘"boss,” Mr. I. K. fronton, could not have 
sympathized with his ex-clerk’s regrets; 


12 


Provincetown 


for seeing him on the street a few days 
before, he had called to the young man and 
said: “Say, Delmar, the paper says you 
are going to preaching. I am glad of it. 
You will do good, for you know the world.'' 
For two years just preceding he had been 
assistant pastor, technically “junior preach¬ 
er," under the Rev. Amos Bingham, of 
High Street Church, where he had learned 
something of the organization and routine 
of a city Church with a large membership, 
had raised more problems than he could 
solve, and easily mastered the somewhat 
fragmentary course of study prescribed by 
the bishops for deacon's orders; but from 
neither his senior nor his books had he 
acquired anything that would prove of 
much assistance to him in fulfilling his 
duties at Provincetown, as he afterwards 
painfully learned. Though his father had 
been a Methodist minister, Delmar had 
learned nothing from his environment of 
the practical needs of the itinerant ministry; 
for during Delmar's life the Rev. Dr. 
Forrest had filled the position of agent for 
the American Bible Society, had never 
lived in a parsonage or moved from the city. 
If the home environment had had anything 


Launching upon a New Career 13 

to do with Delmar’s choice of the ministry, 
he was unaware of it, though probably there 
had been a subconscious process, the effect 
of which he did not estimate. He was not 
aware that he had ever been allured by the 
ideal of the Christian ministry; on the 
contrary, his school and business associa¬ 
tions had created an aversion to a calling 
that seemed to possess nothing of the in¬ 
fluence and emoluments that he associated 
with success in life. If a poll had been 
taken of his junior college class, probably 
not one would have confessed to idealizing 
the Christian ministry. 

Though Delmar had been familiar with 
the conception of the ministry as a divine 
call, he could not now say with confidence 
that there had ever been anything mystical 
in his choice. There had been in his heart 
interpretations and reservations when he 
had affirmatively answered the question 
at the chancel: “Do you trust that you are 
inwardly moved of the Holy Ghost to take 
upon you the office of the ministry in the 
Church of Christ, to serve God for the pro¬ 
moting of his glory and the edifying of his 
people?” Yet he seemed to have been borne 
along in a way such as left him no alterna- 


14 


Provinceiown 


tive, perhaps not with the same sort of 
constraint as Paul's when he said, ^‘Woe is 
unto me if I preach not the gospej," but 
constraint there was. A narrow escape 
from drowning during his boyhood had pro¬ 
voked him, in the agony of fear, to utter a 
vow that, if he were saved, he would devote 
his life to God’s service. The vow he had 
never divulged. He had preserved his 
moral integrity, and even during the world¬ 
ly days of his business career he had es¬ 
caped the pollutions of vice that attracts, 
scourges, then mocks. But at his best he 
had not known the peace of full commit¬ 
ment to God in an unreserved purpose of 
service. Much of his inner life had been 
ruled by ingenious suggestions of ways in 
which he could keep his vow of service in 
some other way than in the Christian 
ministry; but in the depths of his heart 
he knew that, whatever the form of words, 
his integrity would not survive should he 
refuse to become a minister. He had 
known nothing but conflicts, none of the 
joy and peace and conscious victory of 
faith. Faith admits of no reservations. 
A second crisis in his life had come with a 
serious illness of his mother, and her re- 


Launching upon a New Career 15 


covery, evidently in answer to prayer, 
had swept away the cobwebs of his casuistry 
and set him in earnest to the fulfillment 
of his vow, a secret that he was resolved 
should die with him. 

The deep shadows of the night lay upon 
the river, and the mellow tri-whistle was 
blowing for the landing at Provincetown 
the while these retniniscences were weaving 
the web of consciousness in Delmar’s soul. 
He hastened to secure his hand bag, bid 
adieu to the officers of the boat, and cross 
on the stage plank with the first to go ashore. 
A rickety hack stood in the road and ad¬ 
vertised the Traveler’s Hotel. Into the 
hack and through the mud and the dark by 
turns that his brain so far failed to register 
that so long as he lived in Provincetown 
Delmar could never correctly think the 
points of the compass in relation to the town, 
up the main street, deceptively visible by 
means of dim Edison lights, and a halt in 
front of an old, two-story, red brick build¬ 
ing, and the black driver alighted with his 
bag and the announcement: ‘‘Traveler’s 
Hotel.” Not because of a fear of too great 
travel, but as a matter of beginning ac¬ 
quaintance Forrest had written to ^ lead^ 


16 


Provincetown 


ing steward, whose name had been given 
him by his predecessor, asking that a 
room might be engaged for him at the hotel. 
There was no clerk at the desk; only a negro 
boy appeared to meet him. No one knew 
of a room being engaged. Where was the 
proprietor? Across the street in the saloon, 
where he could be found. The young minis¬ 
ter did not care to search, and permitted 
himself to be shown to a room in the second 
story. The single light that hung from the 
ceiling revealed nothing sumptuous, but 
that was of no account; the sheets proved on 
a cursory examination to have done good serv¬ 
ice since they last had seen the washtub, and 
the worn carpet was patched by a piece 
of green pasteboard tacked down over a 
hole. 

As soon as people were astir and the stores 
open on the morrow, Forrest went out to find 
a few persons whose names had been given him 
as prominent in the Church. On the sign hang¬ 
ing across the shed in front of a rather attrac¬ 
tive store he recognized the name of one 
of his stewards, and went in. In reponse 
to his question as to where Mr. Thompson 
was, that person, a tall, rather handsome 
man, leaning over a counter, was pointed 


Launching upon a New Career 17 

out. In response to Forrest’s self-introduc¬ 
tion and greeting the merchant said: ^‘It’s 
queer the Conference took Brother Overall 
away; people liked him; he didn’t want to 
go, either.” The young minister’s intui¬ 
tion bore witness truly that he was facing an 
initial difficulty that would yield only to 
great tact and self-control. He spoke some 
words in a general way concerning the 
genius of the itinerant system and went his 
way. As he left the door of Thompson & 
Co. he observed that the weather was cold 
and damp. 

The next social venture was of quite a 
different sort. A letter of introduction 
furnished by a friend in the city he used in 
becoming acquainted with Dr. Clare, a 
physician whose name he recognized at a 
stairway door. The doctor was in his 
office, and at the moment without a patient. 
His manner was hearty but not effusive. 
He did not apologize for the town, the 
weather, or anything, but made Forrest 
feel that his coming was the filling of a great 
need. Somewhat deprecatingly the good 
physician remarked: am afraid you can¬ 

not count upon me much in the way of Church, 
and Mrs. Clare belongs to the Episcopal 
2 


18 


Provincetown 


Church. True, they have no rector, but 
we have not availed ourselves of the op¬ 
portunity afforded by the other Church. 
Possibly we may do better; at any rate, be 
sure to count us among your helpers in 
every good work.” Both men, despite a 
disparity in age and point of view, felt the 
beginning of a friendship that was as true a 
blossom of the heart as when a youth and 
maiden fall in love. As he went down the 
stair, Forrest found the weather had moder¬ 
ated. The following Monday the doctor 
returned the call, and an invitation to dinner 
extended the newly made friendship to the 
charming family circle of the physician, 
in whose home were all evidences of true 
culture and social appreciation. 

The advent of the preacher had caused 
no great stir in town. Sunday was an un- 
propitious day, and many of the saints 
consulted prudence rather than curiosity; 
some felt that a protest against the removal 
of Brother Overall was due, and as the bishop 
was not at hand, Forrest must be the '‘goat.” 
An ability to find humor in the situation 
enabled the new preacher to pass the ordeal, 
not without enjoyment, especially as he 
scanned the faces of his parishioners and 


Launching upon a New Career 19 

imagined their life history and social setting. 
Mr. Thompson sang a well-marked bass 
of three notes, while his excellent wife played 
the reed organ in the corner. Possibly there 
was not much more of inspiration in the 
sermon than there was in the music and 
the congregation. Certainly the things 
that Forrest had been reading in his books 
did not easily relate themselves to the in¬ 
terests of the people before him; but his 
pleasing manner and cultivated voice, easily 
and well concealing all elocutionary art, 
in which he was well versed, gave a charm 
that most people felt, though few cared to 
analyze. He felt the chill, however, as he 
was permitted to return to dinner alone 
at the wretched, greasy-smelling hotel. 
This, however, was not altogether bad, 
as he there found Mr. Hammersley, a 
planter, who belonged to the Hickory Grove 
society, the country Church attached to 
Provincetown, where the minister held serv¬ 
ice once a month. He found Hammersley 
a genuine, upright citizen, loyal to the 
Church, though making no confession of 
experiential religion. By arrangement, 
Hammersley was to come for him the fol- 


20 


Provincetown 


lowing Saturday and take him to Hickory 
Grove. 

The young minister, though a bachelor, 
felt a twofold pressure to become somewhat 
permanently domiciled. The hotel afforded 
him an opportunity of meeting the people 
from the country who came into town; and 
Brother Biggs, another steward, whose ad¬ 
vice had not been sought, urged that he 
remain there both because the hotel was 
run by a Methodist, the wife of the poker¬ 
playing proprietor, and because the parson¬ 
age might be rented, thus saving the con¬ 
gregation a considerable part of the minis¬ 
ter’s salary. Nevertheless, Forrest recog¬ 
nized the need of conditions amidst which 
he could find opportunity for study and 
that would afford him that poise which 
depends so much upon material things. So, 
on Monday, he went to view the parsonage. 

The house was an excellent one with 
an interesting history. It had been the 
home of an eccentric old woman who had 
lived almost alone for years, attended only 
by an aged negro servant. To her bedside 
at midnight Dr. Clare had been called. 
He had brought her back from the gates 
of death after an all-night struggle. She 


Launching upon a New Career 21 

had sent for him again, and on his coming 
informed him that she was not in need of 
medical attention, but wanted advice as to 
the disposal of her property. The doctor 
had demurred, saying that she should con¬ 
sult a lawyer as to the legal side and a minis¬ 
ter as to the moral; but, yielding to her in¬ 
sistence, had at last advised: ‘‘Give your 
house to the Methodist Church as a home 
for its homeless ministers.” The autograph 
will that was found after her death, a few 
weeks later, showed how agreeable had been 
the doctor’s counsel. 

Forrest found the house giving evidence 
of having been carelessly left by the last 
occupant. The cheerless weather enhanced 
the picture of neglect. He set himself 
to the task of making the parsonage a com¬ 
fortable bachelor’s domicile, and began by 
kindling a fire upon the cold hearth. Broom 
and mop and other requisites were brought 
up from Thompson’s, and the young minis¬ 
ter began his task, thinking at the same time 
how easy it would have been for the Ladies’ 
Aid to anticipate his coming. As he was 
extracting with the hatchet the one hun¬ 
dredth nail that had been driven into the 
walls to serve as a peg for clothing or any- 


22 


Provincetown 


thing else that had to be suspended some¬ 
where, he observed that the doorway was 
almost filled by the ample anatomy of a 
negro woman, whom he found to be ‘^Aunt 
Sally,the parsonage retainer, and who 
had continued through several dynasties. 
Forrest felt that his domestic problem had 
been solved and instantly assured Aunt 
Sally that there should be no change in her 
status as the parsonage retainer. 


II 


THE FIELD SURVEYED AND THE 
PROBLEM STATED 

The main business street of Province- 
town, with its two-story brick buildings, 
which showed aspiration after city archi¬ 
tecture beneath and above the continuous 
shed that covered the brick-paved side¬ 
walk; the side streets on which were the 
homes of the citizens, some tasteful amid 
settings of flower gardens that would bloom 
in beauty with the advent of sprijig, others 
lacking all conscious effort after the beau¬ 
tiful, in some cases innocent of paint; 
the three churches—the plain, oblong frame 
building in which the Methodists worshiped; 
the small structure of unrealized Gothic 
aspirations in which, for lack of a rector, 
the Episcopalians did not worship, but which 
on rare occasions became the center of fash¬ 
ion, religion, culture, and all community 
idealism when Bishop Oates, the earnest 
diocesan, came seeking to shepherd the 
remote sheep of his flock; and the little 
Catholic church with its gilded cross which 

( 23 ) 


24 


Provincetown 


gleamed in sight of the parsonage—these 
and other physical features were easily 
estimated. To come to some understand¬ 
ing of the people of the community was not 
so easy. Barber-shop gossip and cracker- 
box philosophy are usually fairly good 
exponents of a community life, but a 
certain euphemistic courtesy to the minister 
for the sake of his calling rendered these 
and other signs less certain guides to the 
interpretation of the life with which the 
young pastor had to deal. His drive with 
Hammersly to Hickory Grove through the 
plantation roads, walled on the one side 
by the slope of the levee, with its dun coat¬ 
ing of frostbitten Bermuda grass, and on 
the other, beyond the wide-spr^ding level 
fields, by lancelike cottonwoods here and 
there interrupted by the table top of some 
tall cypress that had survived the greed of 
the sawmills, had been informing to a 
degree. The old colonial houses on the 
plantations were now no longer inhabited 
by the refined and wealthy families whose 
ante-bellum occupancy they survived, but 
by overseers and managers for the Scottish 
mortgage companies and Jewish commis¬ 
sion merchants by whom the plantations 


The Field Surveyed 


25 


haa been taken over in the hard times of 
cheap cotton, long credits, and uncontrolled 
labor. The hybrid youth in various at¬ 
titudes of at-homeness about the premises 
indicated that moral degradation had paral¬ 
leled the social decline about these homes 
of the Old South. At the stores along the 
way already the Saturday night orgies of 
Negro drunkenness and Caucasian greed 
were going on, and the weaknesses of the 
inferior race who populated the country 
in the ratio of ten to' one of the superior 
were being exploited. Hammersly him¬ 
self was a renter who prospered justly 
and vexed his soul with the unrighteous¬ 
ness about him, but he had no sympathy 
with the modern philanthropic movements 
for the uplift of the Negro race. To him 
a Negro was a nigger,’’ or at best a ‘Treed- 
man,” whose social and economic position 
had been determined by the Creator, who 
had given him a black skin and a low, 
prognathous angle. The household of Mr. 
Hammersly, consisting of his overseer, 
housekeeper, and her daughter, made up 
a good third of the congregation of Hickory 
Grove Church. A Swede and his family, a 
saint who remembered the days of the 


26 


ProvincetowTl 


elder Forrest as pastor of Provincetown 
and Hickory Grove, and young Mr. Behan, 
a native of the country, but, according 
to Hammersly, sadly perverted as the 
result of certain Bostonian influences that 
had attended his residence during a ses¬ 
sion or two at Harvard, made up the con¬ 
gregation. Often thereafter, during his 
solitary rides between Pfovincetown and 
Hickory Grove, Forrest felt a deep long¬ 
ing to bring to bear upon the numerous 
black children of Ham the power of the 
gospel to which his white hearers seemed 
indifferent. 

So much for the country preaching ap¬ 
pointment. What of the town member¬ 
ship? The superficial acquaintance of the 
first Sunday had meant nothing and had 
been as chill to the one party as to the 
other. To get acquainted with his force 
and his field was the first thing to do. 
Brother Tyler, faithful, devout, but non- 
aggressive, was the keeper of the records. 
To him the new minister resorted and not 
in vain. One by one they went over the 
one hundred and odd names on the ill-kept 
register, the old steward, to whom each 
was an object of personal solicitude, giving 


The Field Surveyed 


27 


the minister such charitable information 
as might be appropriate. The absence of 
young people from the membership of the 
Church was noted with much concern; not 
five per cent of the number were proper¬ 
ly to be classed as young people—that is, 
of ages from eighteen to twenty-four—nor 
were the boys and*girls more numerous. 
Forrest reflected: “What if the population 
of the entire community were in the same 
ratio—nine-tenths adult and only one in 
ten in the formative period of life? But 
what greater hope for the Church than 
for the community in general?” To the 
question whether there were the normal 
proportion of youth of all ages in the com¬ 
munity, say three to two adults, Brother 
Tyler replied that there were plenty of 
young people, but they seemed remote 
from the Church and indifferent to reli¬ 
gion. But what about the staple adult 
membership? Were they indifferent to 
youth and its importance? Brother Ty¬ 
ler gave him to understand that this was 
by no means the case, as he might judge 
for himself when he saw the high-school 
building and became acquainted with its 
teaching force. Were these Church mem- 


28 


Provincetown 


bers, then, indifferent to religion? For 
himself Forrest answered this question as 
he became acquainted with his flock and 
found it composed of respectable, middle- 
aged persons, mostly having at least once 
experienced an emotion that accompanies 
real religious faith, but now governed in 
their manner of life more by convention¬ 
alities and traditions than by devout obedi¬ 
ence, yet fully convinced of the value of 
religion as a general providence and fire 
insurance agency. 

The survey of Church organizations gave 
the result: a board of stewards, of which 
the majority of members rarely attended 
the meetings, leaving to Brothers Tyler, 
Honeycutt, and Biggs the financial re¬ 
sponsibility of the parish; a Sunday school 
of which Brother Honeycutt was the super¬ 
intendent, not organized according to mod¬ 
ern conceptions; and a Ladies’ Aid Society, 
presided over by Mrs. Thompson, the chief 
concern of which had been to look after 
the parsonage and give certain supervi¬ 
sion to Sister Overall and her domestic 
affairs. Of course there was no Epworth 
League, for the League presupposes both a 
vital Church life and young Church members. 


The Field Surveyed 


29 


Another source of information soon be¬ 
came available for the new minister. 

We left him enjoying his cold parson¬ 
age with no other domestic arrangements 
than the presence of the old parsonage 
servant, Aunt Sally. Not far from the 
parsonage was an old, roomy mansion in 
which a boarding house was operated by 
a lady of excellent family, now in reduced 
circumstances. There Forrest made ar¬ 
rangements to take his meals and found 
most excellent fare and interesting company 
as long as he remained in Provincetown. 
He deemed it strange that he had not been 
directed thither on his coming, but re¬ 
ceived the explanation that the hotel was 
kept by a Methodist, while the boarding 
house was kept by an Episcopalian. All 
the drummers had found out the difference 
regardless of religion, and the boarding 
house was in fact but not in name the hotel. 
Town gossip and social life were at their 
best at Mrs. Grantland’s. At the table 
conversation had the freedom of the hotel 
and the familiarity of the family. There 
whatever was worth knowing about doings 
in Provincetown could be known, and in the 
still stately parlors Provincetown society 


30 


Provincetwon 


was occasionally to be seen on dress parade. 
It was at supper Saturday evening that 
Forrest perceived that something out of 
the daily routine was imminent. Decora¬ 
tions were being carried into the parlors, 
and confectionery was in evidence, if one 
chanced to look into the kitchen. 

Mrs. Grantland said to the young min¬ 
ister: ‘‘I suppose, Mr. Forrest, you will 
not approve the dance our young people 
are getting up, as you are a Methodist; 
but if you care to attend we shall be glad 
to have you. If you would participate 
with the young people in their pleasures, 
you could gain an influence over them 
and would be able to help them.’^ 

The proposal struck Forrest from a new 
angle. Was there not something in it? 
He certainly felt as remote from the young 
life of the community as if he were in a 
different continent, and indeed he was shut 
out by certain conventional views and 
evangelistic pulpit teaching that vituperated 
dancing, card-playing, and theater-going 
as cardinal sins, while overlooking covetous¬ 
ness, indolence, and slander. He felt that 
he could not go to the ball, yet perceived 
that an opportunity had beeji opened to him 


31 


The Field Surveyed 

for making acquaintances. He decided 
to make to himself ‘'friends of the mammon 
of unrighteousness,” by a prudent use of 
which he hoped to bring others at least 
into the lasting habitations. He would 
compromise; he would not attendy but he 
would be present. 

About midnight, after spending the early 
hours of the night in preparation for the 
morrow, Forrest walked over to the Grant- 
land House in time to see from the front 
piazza, or gallery, as they called it, the 
dance, of which particular animal kind, 
whether bunny hug or turkey trot, he was 
not sufficiently expert to determine. He 
wondered whether it could be that modesty 
had so far been set aside by the gallantries 
and conventionalities of the occcision that 
young men and young women could go 
through slow movements synchronizing with 
the rhythm of voluptuous music, locked in 
each other's arms, yet as unconscious as 
they seemed to be of any violation of the 
decencies of life. Yet he could not construe 
it otherwise. There was no awareness of 
any connection between the pleasure of the 
dance and the elemental passions, at least 
so far as Forrest could see. 


32 


Provincetown 


As the frolickers congregated in the halls 
and dining room to enjoy refreshments 
Forrest found his opportunity. His fellow 
boarder, John O’Neal, was engaged in 
talking with Marion Black, a cultivated 
girl who had prolonged her visit at the Bigg’s 
after Emily and Dorothy, the daughters 
of the house, had returned to school, and 
he overheard a fragment of conversation: 

“Mr. O’Neal,” inquired Marion, “have 
you read the latest, Mrs. Humphrey’s 
‘Orientals’?” 

“No, Miss Marion,” answered O’Neal. 
“Have you read the latest ^Nick Car¬ 
ter’?” 

They were continents apart intellectual¬ 
ly and spiritually, but the friendship of 
the dance had made them for the time 
companions. Would they some day marry, 
as under the influence of the association 
of the dance they had been brought into 
rapport, only in a few years to swell the 
docket of the divorce court as utter uncon¬ 
geniality and the impossibility of spiritual 
comradeship should be forced upon them 
both? 

Miss Satterfield, a young lady he had 
met at Dr. Clare’s, was in conversation 


The Field Surveyed 


33 


with a handsome brunet man of Semitic 
features. She beckoned him to her side, 
and he felt an unusual alacrity in re¬ 
sponding. 

She said: wish to introduce you 

to my friend, Mr. Marx. He is an Alsatian 
and has been telling us perfectly horrible 
things about the Germans and their de¬ 
liberate cruelties to the people of invaded 
territories and prisoners of war. I wish 
you would let a little light into his preju¬ 
dices.’* 

Forrest was no Germanophile and had 
frequently denounced the German govern¬ 
ment for provoking the war and for the 
rape of Belgium, but he perceived his wrath 
receding; and as Miss Satterfield continued 
in a strain of admiration of German phi¬ 
losophy and music and poetry, he felt even 
ready to modify his convictions. His few 
hedging remarks quickly revealed to him 
that he was but small game in the hands of 
this Jew, to whom history, political science, 
and current events were familiar and open 
pages. Forrest blushed to be so easily 
worsted in the presence of the girl whom 
he scarcely knew and for whom he cettainly 
could not care. He recalled a strange 
3 


34 


Provincetown 


rise of—was it jealousy?—^as he had just 
before seen her in the embrace of the 
dance with Marx. 

One of the few remaining impressions 
of Forrest’s first Sunday was that made 
by a young man who had been introduced 
after the service, Mr. Charles Thornton, 
who evidently would have been lonely in 
the house of God but for the presence of 
a virgin, one such as every young man is 
likely to worship at some time in his life, 
perhaps in church, but not in a shrine, in 
the person of Miss Dorris Kane, from the 
near-by city of Greenfield, whom adver¬ 
sity had made a breadwinner and who 
added to her underpaid week-day work as 
a teacher in the high school the gratuitous 
labor of love as teacher in the Sunday school. 
Was it not incongruous that she should 
be here? Perhaps impertinently, as she 
was not a member of his flock, Forrest 
said to her: “I am a little surprised to 
find one of my Sunday school teachers 
here.” Her quite unemotional reply was. 
'‘My schedule is a hard one, and I am sure 
you would not deny me a little pleasure.” 
His disappointment at her answer lay in 
jts indicatioa of her conception of pleasure* 


The Field Surveyed 


35 


Somehow it did not seem to fit the loveli¬ 
ness of character he had read in her face. 

One thing that struck Forrest was that 
the girls were of an average age greater 
than that of the boys. Finding O’Neal 
alone for a moment, he asked the ques¬ 
tion that this fact framed in his mind. 

O’Neal replied: ‘‘If you care to go 
with me down town a few moments, I’ll 
show you.” The preacher was in for the 
business and consented to go. It was 
but a few steps to the back of Macy’s 
saloon, where there were poring over their 
poker deals several young men, intent 
upon the turn of a card and the piles of 
chips before them. Others were lazily 
“cueing” the balls on pool tables. “Here 
are some of them. You had better not go 
where you might find some others.” 

Forrest’s heart, in some way warming 
toward this young man, who seemed to 
belong rather to the gambling group than 
the one in the parlor, he ventured upon 
an intimacy: “O’Neal, will you tell me why 
you are not running with this crowd now?” 

‘‘Parson, if your religion can do for 
you what the light of a pair of bright 
pyes has done for me, I understand all 


36 


Provincetown 


about why you don’t do the things other 
young men do.” 

Was Marion Black prepared to be a 
savior to this strange combination of human 
nature? 

The next day, as the result of his week’s 
pastoral visiting, the information iinparted 
by Brother Tyler, and his somewhat wider 
observation, the congregation began to stand 
out in individual groupings and had become 
not an aggregation of people, but personal 
centers of interest and concern. As the 
result of his night’s contacts with the non- 
Church world he could see the whole situa¬ 
tion in its relations, the Church to the world, 
and the problem of reaching the world. 
The buoyancy and vitality of the ball and 
the lack of heartiness in the worship struck 
Forrest painfully; perhaps it similarly af¬ 
fected Thornton and Dorris Kane, who were 
out as usual, also Marx, who unaccountably 
was at church. What O’Neal was thinking 
one might imagine, since Marion Black 
was absent recuperating from the previous 
night’s pleasures, either less robust or less 
conscientious, or perhaps both, than Dorris 
Kane, who had appeared as usual at Sun¬ 
day school. 


The Field Surveyed 


37 


In the afternoon several buggies con¬ 
taining couples, who by chis time had re¬ 
covered from the W'^ariness of the danc¬ 
ing, passed the parsonage;-, and a few 
automobiles loaded with joy riders gave 
the young parson cause for thoughtful 
questioning as to whether or not the gal¬ 
lantries and conventionalities of buggy 
riding were as efficient safeguards against 
the impulses of youth as the circum¬ 
stances of the dance seemed to be. How¬ 
ever it might be disguised, the line of cleav¬ 
age between the things of the flesh and the 
things of the spirit had been drawn, leaving 
on one side the youth of the community. 
Nothing could be more discouraging to one 
whose mission was to teach men and women 
to live in the spirit. Why had the Church 
failed? A glance at the old minutes re¬ 
vealed the fact that to a man the member¬ 
ship of Provincetown Church was only 
equal to what it had been during the pastor¬ 
ate of the elder Forrest. Then, perhaps, 
as now, the hope of the Church lay in the 
groups of young men and young women 
who danced in the parlors of the hotel and 
in some cases later on retrograded to more 
robust pleasures, in others simply burned out 


38 


Provincetown 


their emotions in semisensuous pleasures 
and worldly desires. 

Forrest perceived very clearly that he 
must capture the young people, else, and 
the conceit caused him to smile, he might 
himself have a son who after fifty years 
would come to Provincetown and still find 
the kingdom of God as remote as he had 
found it. But the young people, as far as 
he could see, had no affinity for what he was 
longing to impart to them. Their nature 
seemed refractory to religion as he under¬ 
stood religion, and yet he could not quite 
believe that the deep, elemental things that 
made him feel himself one with them were 
not an assurance that there was a community 
in the things that made him seek God. 
Surely there must be a way to cross the 
bridge to them and lead them to a life in 
fellowship with his Christ. 


Ill 

FINDING A WAY 

The round of pastoral visits that Forrest 
immediately undertook was in the line of 
his former duties as assistant to Doctor 
Bingham in the city Church. The Doctor’s 
time was largely filled with committee 
meetings, social and platform engagements, 
and preparation for the pulpit, upon which 
last he laid great sti-ess. Upon his assistant 
therefore had devolved what the Doctor re¬ 
garded as the drudgery of pastoral visiting. 
At Conference the bishop in his charge to 
the young men there admitted had expressed 
a different view. “Young brethren/^ he 
had said, “search out the people in their 
homes. Remember that St. Paul was not 
above such ministries, for he s&.id to the 
Ephesian elders: ‘I have taught you publicly 
and from house to house.’ You may not al¬ 
ways succeed in inducing the people to 
come to the church to hear you preach, 
but you can always go to them in their 
homes with your message. Nor need you 
suppose that your pastoral ministry will 

( 39 ) 


40 


Provincetown 


interfere with your pulpit teaching. Unless 
you know your people individually and 
understand their point of view and the ele¬ 
ments that have gone to make up their 
present experience and attitude, your ser¬ 
mons may as well be preached into the air 
as into the ears of men and women who find 
in them nothing relevant to their daily 
needs and life problems. Your Divine 
Master was remembered by those who had 
known him in the days of his flesh as one 
who Vent about doing good and healing 
all that were possessed of devils.’ In the 
end a brilliant preacher is often a failure; a 
faithful pastor is never a failure. Though 
he may go forth weeping, bearing the 
precious seed, he will come again rejoicing, 
bringing his sheaves with him.” These and 
other weighty counsels well remembered 
were not without their encouraging in¬ 
fluence in the face of discouraging condi¬ 
tions. 

Personal contact with his parishioners 
brought into still clearer view the demands 
of the situation. The young men he did 
not find at home, as they were engaged in 
stores or upon the plantations; the children 
were usually either at school or out at play; 


Finding a Way 


41 


the young women could not be sefen in every 
case even when at home, and some were em¬ 
ployed as stenographers and clerks in the 
storey and offices. The line of visits was 
therefore extended to the plates of business 
where the young people were to be found. 
A visit to the school made the minister 
known by face to the children, and a few 
pleasant remarks, well within the law that 
excludes the teaching of religion from the 
public schools, established at least the be¬ 
ginning of friendship with the children of 
the community. The personal bond was 
being formed, but the point of contact for the 
delivery of the message was not so easy. 
Certainly the field was large, but scarce¬ 
ly white unto harvest.” The children 
of the Sunday school seemed to afford 
the best opening; the children were ac¬ 
cessible, and had been from generation to 
generation; and yet the [older adolescents 
and the young men and women were inac¬ 
cessible and practically abs^t from the 
congregation of the Church, and the roll of 
members bore the names of few of them. 
The Book of Discipline has somethiiig to 
say about the ^‘pastoral instruction of 
children” and the familiar series of Quarter- 


42 


Provincetown 


ly Conference questions required a report 
of the pastor upon that important subject. 
Dr. Bingham had regularly answered this 
question by saying that the Sunday school 
was fully meeting the needs in this respect. 
The only book dealing with this important 
subject in the course of study prescribed 
by the bishops for the young preachers was 
one on the organization and conduct of 
Sunday schools. Nevertheless, here were 
accessible children and boys and girls and 
inaccessible young people. A cog had been 
slipped somewhere in the gear. 

A study of the ages of the Sunday school 
pupils revealed a slump of adolescents, and 
the young men and women in Sunday school 
were few. The boys and girls in large num¬ 
bers had been falling out of the Sunday 
school and into—what? The excellent coun¬ 
sels in the disciplinary paragraphs relating 
to the pastor’s duties in the Sunday school 
had not then been framed. Forrest re¬ 
membered that at an Epworth League 
institute in the city he had heard the Junior 
League Secretary make an appeal to pastors 
for the inculcation of the principles of 
Church life in the boys and girls. She had 
said in eifect, after calling attention to the 


43 


Finding a Way 

dismal facts which to Forrest in his present 
isolation for the first time stood out notice¬ 
ably: “It is the Church, with its life of wor¬ 
ship and fellowship, with its interpretation 
of the New Testament faith in terms of per¬ 
sonal experience, with its expression of the 
motives of the new life in the form of mani¬ 
fold activities, that alone can hold within 
its sheltering fold the boys and girls and tide 
them over the period of storm and stress at 
which so many disappoint the bright promise 
of their earlier days in the Sunday school.“ 
Whether the lady was right or not, some¬ 
thing other than the system that had thus 
far failed was worth trying. So to the 
Central Office of the Epworth League the 
young pastor appealed, with the result that 
there was included in his mail a few days 
later a bundle of pamphlet literature amply 
setting forth the principles and methods of 
the Junior League and a letter from the 
same Junior League Secretary urging in¬ 
dividual correspondence with reference to 
especial conditions, which might better be 
provided for than by the general plans in 
the printed pamphlets. 

The communications from the Central 
Office made the whole matter clear, ex- 


44 


Provincetown 


cept that of a superintendent for the 
Junior League. In a very unexpected 
way this difficulty was cleared up. On 
the strength of his introduction at Dr. 
Clare’s and subsequent meeting at the 
dance at the Grantland House, Forrest 
ventured to call upon Miss Satterfield. 
It was perfectly proper that he should 
do so, but the journal, before which the 
young preacher posed and to which he 
sometimes confided the truth, reveals an 
unaccountable perturbation attending the 
merely formal social call. After the ameni¬ 
ties of greeting had passed, Forrest opened 
the interview. 

“Miss Satterfield, are you interested in 
the Jewish faith?” 

“Yes, I think I am. I find Mr. Marx 
far more interesting when he talks about 
the faith of his fathers than when he abuses 
the Germans. He says that one must 
understand Hebrew in order to appreciate 
the Old Testament, and has offered to teach 
me the language. I think it would be fine 
to read the Psalms] and the prophecies in 
the tongue in which they were written.” 

Forrest groaned over the lack of seminary 
training which condemned him to such 


Finding a Way 


45 


knowledge of Isaiah and Hosea and David 
as a translation could impart, not that he 
had ever felt the need of a more intimate 
acquaintance with the great men of Israel, 
but that he was again at a disadvantage 
in comparison with the Jew, though the 
reason for his feeling he did not clearly 
perceive. His next venture was: 

“But don’t you think there is so much 
practical work for us to do right here 
that we shall have little time for such 
remote things as Hebrew?” 

“I don’t know; I don’t seem to find 
anything to do. Our Church is as good 
as closed. There is nothing going on 
there except the Sunday school, at which 
a few children are taught the Catechism 
and a few hymns and collects of the Church. 
I should really like to do some Church 
work, but there seems to be nothing to do 
here.” 

That was a new angle. To Forrest 
there seemed to be more to do than could 
possibly be accomplished. His journal does 
not explain what emboldened him to say: 
“The trouble is that we don’t look around 
us to see the need. How many of the young 


46 


Provincetown 


men and young women who were at the ball 
the other night are really Christians?” 

'‘I had not thought of that. I sup¬ 
posed they were members of the Church.” 

”And hbw about the children in the 
Sunday schools; are they being trained 
for usefulness in the Church?” 

Forrest found himself earnestly going 
over the things that had been filling his 
heart and mind since his coming to Province- 
town, surprised at the relief that he found 
in the mere act of talking out his problem 
to an intelligent, perhaps sympathetic 
listener. His plan for the Junior Epworth 
League and hope against the seeming im¬ 
possibility of finding a superintendent he 
divulged, and confided to the young lady 
his disappointment. 

When she asked, “Do you think I could 
do it?” he was confused to such a degree 
that she read into his embarrassment a doubt 
either of her competency or of the welcome 
she might receive as recruit to the working 
force of the Methodist Church. She sought 
to relieve his embairrassment by saying: 
“Well, I did not mean to force myself upon 
you, and probably your congregation would 
object to an intruder from another Church; 


Finding a Way 


47 


so don’t consider it, please.” There was a 
note of wounded sensibility in her voice 
that caused Forrest an unusual sensation. 

Impulsively he said: '‘O, it was nothing 
of that kind; it was just too good to be 
true, and I was so astonished that I could 
not answer at once.” 

She still had him at a disadvantage. 
'‘But why should you be astonished at my 
offer to do some Church work?” 

He really could not tell the truth, that 
he had underestimated her religious life 
and devotion, that he had disparaged the 
type of piety that prevailed in her Church, 
and that she had seemed to him to live in 
and for a world quite different from that 
of the lowly service that he was engaged 
in, and therefore could not have expected 
to find in her a sympathetic helper. He 
had also in a flash of anticipation thought 
of that very criticism on the part of his 
congregation. But he found himself earnest¬ 
ly apologizing and insisting that she must 
abide by her first words. And she did. 

Both in the suggestions for the Junior 
League work and in the writings of Star- 
buck and Coe, with which Forrest had some 
acquaintance, the stages of religions de- 


48 


Provincetown 


velopment of children and adolescents were 
charted out. The appeal he intended to 
make was to the interest in the heroic and 
by in-door and out-of-door games and activi¬ 
ties as well as worship and Bible study he 
planned to draw forth the emotional re¬ 
sponse that was then for the most part 
wanting in the boys and girls. The thought 
that the Junior Superintendent would need 
his help in carrying out such a program was 
certainly not unpleasant. He had in mind 
especially a red-headed, freckled-faced boy of 
thirteen and another of darker features and 
hair, whom he had observed in Sunday 
school as the teacher’s torment, who should 
be the nucleus. Girls of the same age there 
certainly were, though he had none of them 
so clearly in mind. Tom Strong and Joe 
Lane, his problem, readily assented to the 
proposition, and the little girls were easily 
persuaded to attend the Sunday afternoon 
meeting for organization. A dozen in all 
were on hand. They enjoyed the sense of 
importance and the independence of elect¬ 
ing officers, and every one was appointed on 
a committee. It was obviously necessary to 
have additional assistance as the Junior study 
course called for three grades, one of 


Finding a Way 


49 


which, however, the highest, was not im¬ 
mediately needed. Forrest made a talk 
in which he said in effect that the Jun¬ 
ior League was to do things. They 
were to come together to think about 
God and to talk to and of him; they were 
to think about other people and to do 
things for them, and they were to play. 
He asked Tom and Joe to assist him by 
reading aloud Faber’s hymn, Faith of 
our Fathers,” but the boys were a;verse 
from performing and he was forced to ap¬ 
peal to one of the girls. He then spoke of 
the heroism of those who at different times 
had kept the faith and of how much it 
meant in our time. The younger and the 
older boys and girls then went into opposite 
ends of the room, and to one section Miss 
Satterfield, with some trembling and embar¬ 
rassment at doing so unusual a thing, 
outlined the first story in “Bible Victories,” 
while Forrest for the other section out¬ 
lined the first story in “Bible Heroes. ” The 
sections then reconvened and after sing¬ 
ing “Onward, Christian Soldiers,” were 
taught to recite together the Epworth 
League Benediction. 

Thus far the Junior League promised 
4 


50 


Provincetown 


well. The Junior League Superintendent 
had proved to be more than a promise. 
Realizing the need of promptness, the super¬ 
intendent and pastor called into activity 
the department of recreation and directed 
arrangements for a candy pulling during 
the week. Knowing the value of asking 
help as a means of enlisting interest and 
support, Forrest called upon Honeycutt 
in his law office to discuss the Junior League 
with especial reference to asking that he 
intercede with Mrs. Honeycutt, who was a 
faddist of some sort, for the use of her 
home on the occasion. The interview 
was somewhat after this fashion: 

“Brother Honeycutt, we have formed 
a Junior League for the extension of the 
work of the Sunday school with the pur¬ 
pose of keeping the boys and girls in 
the Church; I want your help.’' 

“ I am afraid I can’t help you much; for as 
you may have heard, I never go to church 
myself.” 

“That is rather strange. Do you not 
think that you ought to go to church, if 
for no other reason, for the sake of your 
Sunday school scholars?” 

“To be candid, I do not find any value for 


Finding a Way 


51 


myself in attending church. I love children 
and desire to attach them to Methodism. I 
am not a practical Christian, but I drew 
in the love of the Methodist Church with 
my mother’s milk. I know nothing about 
what you preachers call conversion, and I 
am afraid many of those who do are little 
profited by it. But what can I do to help 
you with the boys and girls?” 

‘‘Take a request to Mrs. Honeycutt that 
she entertain our Juniors Friday evening 
from seven to nine and second the request 
yourself.” 

Honeycutt frowned, but after a pause 
agreed to undertake the commission, in 
which, to his own surprise he was successful, 
with the further result that the candy pull¬ 
ing came off with great eclat and much 
enjoyment to the older members of the 
household, with the exception of the Misses 
Honeycutt, who absented themselves from 
these too bland festivities. 

The store in which Willie Smart, an un¬ 
educated youth of eighteen, a member of 
the Church, was employed was still open 
when Forrest returned from the candy 
pulling, as a matter of course escorting 
the Junior Superintendent back to her home. 


52 


Provincetown 


The Israelite who owned and operated the 
establishment was evidently determined to 
catch any late trade that night that might 
be passing. ^‘Another phase of Judaism,’* 
remarked Forrest. “I might show you 
phases of Gentilism equally discouraging,” 
replied the lady. Was she set for the de¬ 
fense of Israel? mentally queried the minis¬ 
ter. ^‘Let us go in,” he said aloud, ^‘I see 
some articles advertised that I need at 
the parsonage.” “What you need most 
at the parsonage you cannot buy,” was an 
answer that seemed either intimate or 
enigmatic. He found himself so interested 
to knaw which that he asked bluntly: 
“What do you mean?” But they were 
entering the store and Willie greeted his 
pastor with a grin that was significant of 
more than the interest in trade that he had 
acquired by six years of association with his 
employer. Fire dogs and a fender were 
priced, and Forrest imagined how much they 
would add to the comfort of his rather bare 
sitting room; but that the room needed some¬ 
thing else that could not be bought he felt 
as he visualized the fireside with only one 
pair of feet on the fender and those number 
nine. 


53 


Finding a Way 

The next day Aunt Sally remarked after 
putting the parsonage in order: “Those 
andines and that fender sho’ look fine, 
Mistah Delmar, but you needs somebody 
heah to take care of you and keep you 
comp’ny;you must be mighty lonely settin’ 
by the fire all by yo'self.” But Forrest’s 
real cause of solicitude was the young people 
around him, who seemed so far from the 
kingdom of God, so real in the vigor of their 
life, and yet so elusive to the touch of divine 
realities. The sermons that he elab¬ 
orated through those evenings departed 
more and more from the books of theol¬ 
ogy he had been reading and incorporated 
the scenes and events of the Gospels, the 
pages of which he was constantly poring 
over. The person of Jesus began to stand 
out clearly as something distinct from the 
theological doctrines of salvation that he 
had read in the books on theology. Thorn¬ 
ton and Dorris Kane he never missed at 
Church, and even O’Neal seemed to take 
in the gospel story with an awakening 
intelligence of an order quite different 
from that shrewdness which made him 
a success as a plantation store manager. 
Jules Marx was often present, but his 


54 


Provincetown 


face afforded no index to his mental state. 
Forrest was literally preaching the Gospel, 
but Biggs declared that, while he was no 
model himself, he knew a gospel sermon and 
the preacher was not giving them the gospel. 
Brother Tyler and a dear, aged saint, Mrs. 
Sin ton, relict of a Confederate general, 
charitable but jealous for the faith, admitted 
to each other that the doctrine seemed to 
lack something; it was too much like Uni- 
tarianism; there was nothing in the preach¬ 
er’s teaching about the divinity of Christ 
and the blood of the cross, beautiful and 
instructive as were his discourses upon the 
human side of the life of the Master. Never¬ 
theless, the young preacher was finding 
himself. His admiration for the portrait 
of Christ was a true enthusiasm, a blossom 
of the heart, and he often found himself 
meditating upon parable, beatitude, precept, 
or wonderful work. His preaching, despite 
its immaturity, had the note of reality, 
and congregations increased. 


IV 

THE CHRISTIAN SOCIAL UNION 

The books on psychology, his own heart 
as he looked within, and his experience as 
he looked back, again began to unite in 
pointing the minister to a way by which it 
seemed possible to reach the young people 
of Provincetown so as to direct their lives 
to God and the worth-while things of life. 
The period of socializing, when the youth 
begins to realize that friendship extends 
beyond the small group into the larger 
circle, while at the same time there are 
the beginnings of the strong, beautiful 
attraction of one man and one woman 
to each other with the promise of the 
larger fulfillment of life, Delmar could 
clearly trace as a matter of personal history, 
though it had taken the books and retrospec¬ 
tion to define it. At the same time he re¬ 
membered well the intellectual ferment that 
had set him to reading the great fiction and 
poetry of the English language and some¬ 
what later the birth of music upon his soul. 
He put to question his conventional ideas 
^ ( 55 ) 


56 


Provincetown 


of the Church. Is it not possible for the 
Church to supply these needs of the youth¬ 
ful soul by affording the avenue of social 
expression to youths and maidens without 
the physical touch of the dance as its basis 
of contact, at the siame time opening the 
treasure house of letters, poetry, and music? 

To the young pastor’s anxious question¬ 
ings there was but one answer. The Church 
had been focalizing attention upon the un¬ 
worldly and the supernatural to such an 
extent that the social requirements of this 
world and the normal conditions of the 
all-round development of the soul had re¬ 
ceived little attention. Even in the good 
modern day in which we live there remains 
something of the conception of sainthood 
as solitary and of righteousness as incom¬ 
patible with beauty and of the arbitrary 
distinction between secular and sacred truth. 
Better had it been for the young people of 
Provincetown if under the protection of the 
Church they could have found the conditions 
of normal psychical development, but For¬ 
rest was not sure but that it was better for 
them to have risked the school of the world 
than to have had their nature repressed and 
deprived of the social satisfactions that it 


The Christian Social Union 57 

craved. The trouble lay m that what they 
had enjoyed was lacking in spiritual and 
intellectual content. Its danger was that 
it tended to the overstimulation of the 
sensuous. Its points of contact were too 
few and too superficial to sustain the de¬ 
mands of time and change. As those re¬ 
flections occupied his mind, there arose the 
mental picture of Marion Black, beautiful, 
cultivated, religious, and of O’Neal, virile, 
shrewd, ignorant, of the earth earthy; 
and he could see beyond to the sequel. 
O’Neal’s hint about the bright eyes and 
an intuition of the power of his will raised 
the fear that this heterogeneous union 
would sooner or later come to drag her 
down. The winter had given place to 
spring, and the minister of Christ had been 
able to effect nothin^g; but the dances had 
been going on every week or two at Grant- 
land’s, and the auto and buggy rides were 
not less popular. The Church and its gospel 
message had seemed to alienate Thornton 
and Miss Kane from the dance. The hold 
of its pleasures was noticeably less upon a 
few others. Miss Satterfield found her in¬ 
terest in the Junior League so absorbing 
that the dances were quite forgotten. 


58 


Provincetown 


Slowly the plan formed itself in For¬ 
rest’s mind of meeting all the conditions 
of the problem in the Church and making 
a bold appeal in the name of Christ for the 
young people of the community. The fel¬ 
lowship of the young men and young women, 
the community of interest based upon the 
intellectual and social outreach and the 
outlet for the play impulse—these he would 
provide. For the touch of nature that 
makes the whole world kin he would supply 
the suggestion of a feast. By appropriate 
worship exercises he would link the whole 
thing with religion. As far as possible the 
people themselves should furnish the enter¬ 
tainment, thus accentuating its cultural 
value. 

The plan contained promise also of growth 
for the older members of the Church, 
provided they could be mobilized. As the 
event proved, they could be stirred beyond 
his expefctations and in a way not foreseen. 
The first thing was to enlist such coopera¬ 
tion as he could. The outside saints re¬ 
sponded better than those within the fold. 
Dr. Clare heartily commended the plan 
and promised to help as his limitations 
would admit of doing. Behan, who was 


The Christian Social Union 59 

frequently up from the country, gave prom¬ 
ise evidently with keen anticipation of an 
outlet. Honeycutt, who had become sud¬ 
denly hostile to the dances, hailed the 
project with eagerness, saying: ^Hf some¬ 
thing is not soon done for our young people, 
the devil will get them.'’ Some others knew 
better than he himself of the undignified 
lengths to which his two daughters had re¬ 
cently been carrying their social pleasures. 
Lingering one evening near the end of the 
porch where Miss Leonie, the elder, had 
been sitting in the shadow with her friend, 
the ubiquitous Tom Strong had seen the 
burning ends of two cigarettes and had 
confided to Joe Lane that *‘Leo" Honeycutt 
smoked like a soldier. Hints there were to 
justify a change of view on the part of a 
parent. Not because he felt especially 
cordial toward Marx or especially interested 
in the salvation of Israel, but because the 
young Hebrew seemed to be a man of such 
abilities as to be serviceable, Forrest en¬ 
listed him also in his scheme. Mrs. Thomp¬ 
son desired to consult Mr. Thompson be¬ 
fore committing herself to any new de¬ 
partures. Forrest thought he knew what 
that meant. 


60 


Provincetown 


In the latitude of Provincetown Easter 
is always a day of beauty and floral loveli¬ 
ness. The roses bloom early and the calla 
lilies emerge from their protection to say 
amen to the Easter mesrs^ge. A certain 
ritualistic influence from the stnall and 
eminently respectable Episcopal constituen¬ 
cy and the aggressive little Roman Catholic 
Church react upon the community in such 
a way as to give a spiritual tone to the atmos¬ 
phere and call the people to church on 
Easter as upon no other Sunday in the 
year. The boys and girls of the Junior 
League had enjoyed a rare picnic get¬ 
ting wild smilax for decorations, and Mrs. 
Thompson and others of the Ladies* Aid, 
lacking a lady of the parsonage upon whom 
to lavish attention, had undertaken for the 
good of the society to festoon the square 
windows of the church with the graceful 
plant. Potted palms and ferns filled the 
chancel, and lilies in snow and gold were 
clustered about the base of the pulpit. 
The choir had been stre;igthened by the 
impressment of outside talent and the boys 
and girls of the Junior League. Such Easter 
preparations had not been known in the 
Methodist Church of Provincetown. The 


The Christian Social Union 61 

great hymns of the Church were sung, 
breaking over the well-established half dozen 
hymns that had been deemed admissible 
for a Provincetown congregation. The 
surprise of the occasion, however, was in 
the sermon. The minister spoke from the 
words, “Because I live ye shall live also,” 
taken from John xiv. 19. He spoke of 
Christ’s life as designed to bring to the 
fullest and highest expression all human life. 
“Life in this world—pleasure, thought, 
love, ambition, achievement—all are to be 
filled with the motives and the moral prin¬ 
ciples of Christ. Thus our lives will have 
in themselves the quality that makes the 
life of Christ unending.” Rather strange 
doctrine in the ears of Biggs the critic and 
the saintly Mrs. Sinton and the faithful 
old steward, Mr. Tyler. But the worst was 
to come. The preacher described the mode 
of life prevailing in Provincetown; the ab¬ 
sence of the young people from the church, 
their preoccupation in pleasure, and their 
peril of perdition. He then briefly outlined 
a plan for the larger service of the Church 
to the community by means of providing 
for the social and mental requirements of 
the young people. Announcement was 


62 


Provincetown 


made of the first meeting of the Christian 
Social Union for the coming Friday, and an 
invitation was extended to all who cared to 
participate. 

Monday morning as Aunt Sally, having 
given the last touch to the bachelor parson¬ 
age, stood, arms akimbo, to utter the sen¬ 
tentious valedictory with which her morn¬ 
ing service usually concluded, her expres¬ 
sion assumed an aspect of trouble and per¬ 
plexity. “Mistuh Delmar, I doan know ef 
I ought ’a tell you what they all sayin’,” she 
ventured. With the instinct of gossip well 
developed by having lived so much of her 
life under conditions that made talk of 
personal character the intellectual staple, 
the old negress took the hint in Forrest’s 
expression of surprise and curiosity and 
proceeded: ^‘They sayin’ you goin’ to quit 
preachin’ the gospej and run a show at the 
church; an’ they sayin’ you dun turn 
Episcopal with yo’ highfalutin’ singin’ and 
makin’ a flower garden outen the church; 
besides, you got Episcopals teachin’ the 
chillun eve’y Sunday; an’ they sayin’, and 
I tole um it ain’t so, you done bin to the ball 
at the Grantland’s an’ you dance with that 
Episcopal you got teachin’ them chilluns.” 


The Christian Social Union 63 

Such an avalanche of criticism and censure 
Delmar had never before come under. 
Indignation at the injustice and the lack 
of the charity that should put a man in the 
best light stormed in his soul. He would 
find the starters of these unjust reports and 
stop them. ^‘Who told you these things?” 
he demanded. 

“La, Mistuh Delmar, ev’eybody tellin* 
them. I doan know who ain’t sayin’ them.” 

What would be the effect upon the 
Social Union? That was the first thought 
after the storm of indignation had subsided. 
As a practical matter, what should he do to 
put himself right before the community? 
However, when he came to analyze the 
reports as conveyed by Aunt Sally, the^e 
was not much in them, except that state¬ 
ment that he had danced at the ball. The 
rest was opposition to his policies and must 
be met by the practical demonstration. 
To put them to the test he proceeded with 
confidence. 

The program of the Social Union the fol¬ 
lowing Friday evening opened with the 
singing of the Doxology and a short prayer, 
concluding with the Lord’s Prayer, in which 
all present had been invited to join. A 


64 


Provincetown 


repetition of the Easter anthem of the pre¬ 
ceding Sunday followed. The next number 
was an interpretative recitation of the 
eleventh Psalm. By a few strong sentences 
outlining the conditions of early Asiatic 
life in Palestine Marx succeeded in making 
the poem stand out from its conventional 
holy dullness and with his rich voice in¬ 
terpreted the verses as he spoke them, 
representing the scorn of the righteous man 
for prudential advice and his contempt for 
the conspiracy of the assassin. When he 
came to the words ^‘Jehovah is in his Tem¬ 
ple” his intonations seemed to respond to 
the majesty of Israel’s conception of the 
God of holiness and might by whom the 
inequities of the world would one day be 
righted. Forrest from the rostrum saw 
the rapt attention with which Mabel Satter¬ 
field took In the splendid rendition. Dr. 
Clare had found time to rub up his trom¬ 
bone, recreation of a few leisure hours, and, 
accompanied by Miss Satterfield, enter¬ 
tained the company with a solo. A piano 
had been rented to take the place of the 
wheezy reed organ in the corner. Upon 
it Misses Emily and Dorothy Biggs, at 
home for an Easter vacation, performed a 


The Christian Social Union 65 

school duet. The thing that Forrest chiefly 
relied upon to concentrate interest was an 
essay upon the subject then agitating every 
one: Shall America Enter the War?’’ 

Ten minutes were given to the essayist, 
Miss Kane, who treated the subject af¬ 
firmatively in an academic fashion, and the 
discussion was then thrown open to the 
house. A certain restraint of novelty rested 
upon the company, and silence greeted the 
opportunity of unaccustomed expression. 
The patriotic hymn ‘‘America” was sung 
and the company invited to remain for light 
refreshments, which were served from a 
lean-to back room originally designed for 
the “infant class” but latterly used by the 
sexton for lumber. Mrs. Thompson had 
finally declined to look after the refresh¬ 
ments, alleging that her time was full, but 
took occasion to deliver a fling at the pastor 
by saying that he could probably get some 
of his Episcopalian friends to do what he 
wished. That, in fact, he did. Mrs. Grant- 
land prepared the lettuce sandwiches and 
tea, of which the supper consisted, and lent 
the crockery in which to serve it. The girls 
from the Sunday school passed the filled 
cups and plates laden with sandwiches. 

5 


66 


Provincetown 


If silence had followed the general invita¬ 
tion to speak upon the subject of the essay, 
the opposite was effected by the announce¬ 
ment and serving of refreshments. Every 
tongue was suddenly loosed, and the mur¬ 
mur of voices rose almost to a roar within a 
few minutes. A half hour of social enjoy¬ 
ment was concluded by a few remarks from 
the minister, thanking those on the program 
for their assistance and the company for 
their presence and expressing the desire of 
the Church that the Union might become a 
means of enjoyment and education in the 
community. The apostolic benediction 
seemed a little too ritualistic for the oc- 
cation, so the minister asked that all join 
Mr. Marx in the concluding words of the 
ninetieth Psalm, which he had heard used 
as an Epworth League benediction: *‘So 
teach us to number our days that we may 
apply our hearts unto wisdom.” 

So far as the stir made by the Social 
Union went the greatest expectations of 
the minister were well realized; the chairacter 
of the agitation carried elements of surprise. 
The Provincetown Talk, the county weekly 
that throve upon public printing and 
nostrum advertisements, gave the affair 


The Christian Social Union 67 

at the Methodist church headlines and in¬ 
formed its readers that a most brilliant, 
though unusual event had occurred at 
the Methodist church, which though highly 
creditable to those participating, it was 
understood was far from being approved by 
the congregation in general. The Talk 
proceeded to say: ^^For ourself, we have no 
kick coming to us. In fact we believe that 
it would be a good thing to make more use 
of the churches, and as the people who have 
contributed the money to build them don’t 
attend on Sunday, we don’t see why they 
should not have a chance at other times. 
If preaching doesn’t attract the people, 
why not give them something they like? 
In fact,” continued the article, ^‘we are 
credibly informed that the preacher him¬ 
self has no objection to attending the amuse¬ 
ments of the young people outside the 
church, and we don’t see why the young peo¬ 
ple should not return the call by going to 
church sometimes.” 

The article was not the hardest of the 
expressions of awakening interest to bear. 
A suddenly assembled meeting of the stew¬ 
ards for Saturday evening, to which the 
minister had not been invited, became 


68 


Provincetown 


known to him by chance, but he learned 
afterwards of the proceedings through one 
present. The meeting was attended by the 
entire official board, an unprecedented fea¬ 
ture, and proofs of interest were not want¬ 
ing. Thompson snorted out that it was 
high time to put an end to all this worldli¬ 
ness and new-fangled business in the Church. 
Biggs, deprecating his own omissions in the 
past, was yet sure that they were far gone 
from the good old ways and the preaching 
of the fathers. To have a Jew in the pulpit 
was intolerable. Bain said it wasn’t straight 
for the preacher to do all these things with¬ 
out consulting the stewards. Hammetsley 
was up from Hickory Grove by chance and 
admitted that it looked bad, but declined 
to commit himself until he knew more about 
it. Brother Tyler expressed the hope that 
they all would deal charitably with the 
young man, remembering that his youth 
naturally laid him liable to mistakes. “ Mis¬ 
takes!” rasped Bain. ‘‘You mean sins. 
What was he doing at the ball?” Sundry 
echoes came also from the then unen¬ 
franchised sisters, Mrs. Thompson especially 
sending in indignant protest that an Epis¬ 
copalian had been called upon to prepare 


The Christian Social Union 69 

the refreshments. One exception there was 
from the general disapproval. Honeycutt, 
having waited until all had somewhat re¬ 
lieved the pressure by voicing indignation 
or distrust, rose and said: “Gentlemen, as 
you know, I seldom go to church, but I was 
at the Union and took part. I will say that 
it is a poor business for you who have never 
done anything to bring the young people 
to church to be criticizing the minister for 
trying to stop them on their way to the devil. 
I happen to know that the lady who served 
the sandwiches was asked to do so only 
after members of the Church who are now 
loud in their censure had declined. I do 
not yield to any man in love for Methodism 
and the old preachers, but it is evident that 
they left something undone. We should 
not be stationary while our young people 
go to the dogs. I think the Psalms were 
written by Jews, and I don’t know why a 
Jew should not recite one in church. I will 
say to Mr. Bain that there are other things 
that are far more crooked than the preacher’s 
looking in on the dance to get acquainted 
with the young people. If Christ incurred 
the blame of going to dinner with publicans 
and sinners, I think one of his followers can 


70 


Provincetown 


do the like for the same reason. Before we 
throw stones, let us look to ourselves.” 
Without formal action, for the board did 
not employ forms, the general opinion 
directed that the elder should be appealed 
to. 

In response to an alarming letter from 
Biggs the presiding elder appeared without 
delay upon the scene in Provincetown, 
although it was yet some weeks to his regular 
appointment. Instead of reporting to the 
critics of his preacher, he first frankly and 
directly interviewed Forrest himself. He 
then went to several men of standing in the 
community, including Dr. Clare, to ascer¬ 
tain how much the tempest had raged out¬ 
side the teapot. He was well prepared when 
the stewards came together to deal with the 
situation. Insisting upon specific charges, 
he very soon silenced the critics, and then 
used the opportunity to say a few plain 
things. He then inquired minutely into 
the religious activities of the members of 
the board and ended with the suggestion 
that until the minister’s critics had them¬ 
selves done something to improve the situa¬ 
tion it would become them not to obstruct 
their pastor, who was at least in earnest 


The Christian Social Union 71 

about saving the young people of the com¬ 
munity. In the opinion of the elder it was 
far better to risk a mistake than do nothing. 

Delmar had somehow during his city 
days received the impression that the pre¬ 
siding eldership was a fifth wheel and that 
the men in that influential office were usually 
inelastic, unprogressive, and biased. His 
experience in this case caused him to revise 
his opinion of this part of the Methodist 
machinery, and he went about the prepara¬ 
tion of his apologia with confidence born of 
assurance that he was understood and sup¬ 
ported by his ecclesiastical superior. 

After the sermon in which the minister 
defended himself and carried the war into 
the camp of his adversaries there was less 
open criticism, but no change of mind and 
heart among the enemies of the whole policy 
of the Union. Biggs and Thompson decided 
to abide their time and reflected that Con¬ 
ference would come in the course of a few 
months, an event they determined to antici¬ 
pate by preparing a petition for the return 
of Brother Overall, for whose soothing 
ministry they longed. 

After the presiding elder’s visit Ham- 
mersley took occasion to call at the parson- 


72 


Provincetown 


age one morning in order frankly to talk 
with the minister and explain his own at¬ 
titude. He expressed regret at having 
taken part in the meeting without first 
having ascertained the facts. He remarked: 

It does seem a little like desecration of the 
church to have a ge'neral program and eat¬ 
ing where we are used to praying and preach¬ 
ing and such things. I wish you could 
find some other place for the Social Union.'* 
A true understanding between the two men 
was established, and both felt that the foun¬ 
dation of a strong and helpful friendship had 
been laid. Before Hammersley had arisen 
to go Aunt Sally, her mor^ning cleaning 
finished, heaved through the door for the 
concluding commendation of the young 
minister. When her eyes fell upon Ham¬ 
mersley her black face became ashy, and 
her lips quivei^ed and fell open. With a 
shriek and raising her hands above her head 
she ran through the door and out at the 
gate with a speed amazing for her bulk and 
years. Hammersley had not moved a muscle 
nor twitched an eyelid, but an undisguised 
flush was on his bronzed face. Without 
answering the questioning look in his pas¬ 
tor's eyes, Hammersley rose, and rode away. 


V 

STABLE CENTERS 

Despite croaking and criticism the initial 
successes of the Social Union were great. 
The meeting following the first crowded 
the church; the passing of diffidence and the 
beginning of at-homeness were evidenced 
by greater freedom during the conversa¬ 
tional half hour, and there were even a 
few attempts at discussion following the 
essay. However, if the stiffening was melt¬ 
ing out of the meetings of the Union it was 
hardening in the opposition. The lately 
zealous-grown members of the official board 
had by no means acquiesced in the presid¬ 
ing elder's decision in favor of the policies 
of their pastor, but with unprecedented 
concern for the Church were considering 
what might be done to stay the tide of 
apostasy from the ^‘old ways" and the 
‘‘pure gospel," under which they and their 
fathers had slept, save during annual pro¬ 
tracted meeting efforts that had come to 
be taken as a matter of course like the sum¬ 
mer heat, the period of “doing religion" in 

( 73 ) 


74 


Provincetown 


earnest in midsummer, as the little flock of 
Episcopalians were accustomed to doing 
during the Lenten season. But the pro¬ 
tracted meeting stir had itself become con¬ 
ventionalized; it was the certain season 
when the angel troubled the waters;’’ they 
were seldom much perturbed, and the pass¬ 
ing of the season left the waters again calm. 
The Social Union was without precedent 
and was ilot, as they contended, either re¬ 
ligious or dignified. The church was no 
place for such vaudeville, and the pulpit 
would be forever disgraced. Such doings 
about the altar where the elder ministers 
had wrestled in prayer with penitent souls 
were enough to call back the sainted dead, 
as when the body of a common Israelite, 
according to the story in Kings, touched 
the bones of Elisha and caused the prophet 
to walk forth alive. Of course, within and 
without the fold there were defenders of the 
new departure. Some claimed that the 
minister had made out his case for a change 
on the ground that the ^‘old ways” had 
proved utterly unsuccessful. Mothers were 
glad that something was being done for 
the young people, whatever it was. Brother 
Tyler’s feelings lay with the opposition, 


Stable Centers 


15 


but he was too full of charity not to put the 
best construction upon the minister’s work, 
and he was too deeply concerned for the 
salvation of the young people to risk get¬ 
ting in the way of anything that had prom¬ 
ise of bringing them within the radius of 
the influence of the Church. He was given 
to quoting the words of Gamaliel: ^Hf this 
counsel or this work be of men it will come 
to naught; but if it be of God, ye cannot 
overthrow it; lest haply ye be found even 
to fight against God.” 

Honeycutt was finding opposition at 
home. The Misses Honeycutt injected 
into the family table talk a good deal of 
sarcasm about the minister’s unnecessary 
solicitude about their souls and those of 
the rest of the young members of the com¬ 
munity. The proprietor of the Province- 
town Hotel resented the minister’s spying 
upon gentlemen at their Saturday evening 
pleasures, and asserted that, if the truth 
were known, he was no better than anybody 
else. Even his good wife could not quite 
overcome her grouch at the minister’s 
having gone to board at the Grantland’s, 
passing her by, although a Methodist. 

Notwithstanding the fellowship in 


76 


Provincetown 


criticism of these opposite poles of Province- 
town opinion and influence, the Union 
throve and the Sunday congregations bore 
evidence not only of growth but of a varia¬ 
tion of type. Hitherto it had been a most 
unusual thing for nonmembers to attend 
church; now the widening circle of interest 
was evidenced by new faces among the 
regular attendants. So much had been 
gained for the regular way. 

The Sunday of each month that Forrest 
was required to spend at Hickory Grove 
he had come to regard as a serious interrup¬ 
tion in the process of building up the wor¬ 
ship habits of the people of Provincetown, 
and he had been casting about for some way 
to preserve the regular seventh day se¬ 
quence of the Church worship. Wonder¬ 
ing at his own boldness, he appealed to 
Honeycutt to hold some sort of service on 
the vacant Sunday. “Why” replied his as¬ 
tonished steward, “you know I don’t go 
to church, and in fact, I have been censured 
for continuing as superintendent of the 
Sunday school because of this inconsistency; 
it won’t do at all. Besides, I know myself 
that I am not fit to lead the worship of the 
people.” The young preacher, once after a 


Stable Centers 


77 


thing, was not to be easily deflected. He re¬ 
plied: “It will not do to leave the people 
a Sunday without a call to the house of 
God and without the opportunity .for 
prayer; it will be the devil’s opening to 
undo what we are trying the other three 
Sundays to do. You profess to have a 
love for your mother’s Church; I am now 
going to put your profession to the test. 
I am asking a hard thing, but you would 
not respect me if I were afraid to ask any¬ 
thing but an easy work of you.” The 
upshot of the matter was that Honeycutt 
agreed to undertake the service, provided 
Brother Tyler would help. Of course, 
there was no difficulty at that end, and the 
following Sunday, the minister being absent 
on the circuit, due publicity having been 
given the announcement, Honeycutt rose 
in the pulpit following the Sunday school 
session and, with a diffidence that he had 
never known or shown in court, explained his 
portion in the service, expressed his feel¬ 
ing of unworthiness of such an honor, and 
proceeded. The hymns were sung. Brother 
Tyler led in the prayers, older boys from 
the Sunday school read Scripture lessons, 
and Honeycutt read a sermon from a volume 


78 


Provincetown 


by the late Bishop McTyeire, “Passing 
through the Gates.” The strange influence 
of sincere and reverent thought of the “land 
to which we go” was upon the congregation 
as the reader concluded; upon the reader 
himself rested the baptism of the Spirit in 
especial measure, and he offered up his first 
extemporary prayer for grace and persever¬ 
ance that they all might enter the heavenly 
state with the loved who had gone before 
and were awaiting the coming of the Lord 
and of their loved ones of earth in the 
paradise of God. From that time forward 
Honeycutt was a different man. The 
Church had not gained a member, but a 
formal, inert member had gained the Church. 
The building founded upon Peter was being 
builded again upon illuminated and conse¬ 
crated human personality, the man who had 
loved his mother’s Church now loved his 
mother’s Lord. 

At Hickory Grove there was considerable 
disputation as soon ais the provision that 
had been made for Provincetown was known. 
Hammersley was by no means satisfied 
that the supply of the pulpit was a judicious 
one or even admissible, in view of Honey¬ 
cutt’s well-known habit of absenting him- 


Stable Centers 


79 


self from the church. Behan was of opinion 
that layme^n had as good right to the pulpits 
as the ministrs and that the time had 
come when we must regard all callings as 
equally sacred and as much of God as that 
of the ministry. In fact, he believed that 
the present deprived and depraved condi¬ 
tions of the Negroes were due to the rigid 
social system of which the ministry and the 
Church were the chief upholders. “A 
Negro is as good as a white man,” he as¬ 
serted, ‘‘and has been deprived of his rights 
through the caste system that the Church 
favors.” The atmosphere was decidedly 
lurid as Hammersley, no great hand at 
argument, asserted that a “nigger is a 
nigger and you can’t make him a white 
man, and that’s all there is about it.” The 
congregation that presently entered the 
plain little meeting house could hardly have 
responded to the invitation to those who “are 
in love and charity with their neighbors.” 

Increased though it was as the result of 
his plan for providing every Sunday with a 
service in the house of the Lord, the burden 
of criticism proved to be not the most dif¬ 
ficult circumstance. An advocate of dem¬ 
ocracy in the Church, Forrest laid great 


80 


Provincetown 


store by the open meeting part of the pro¬ 
gram of the Union, and had been solicitous 
about drawing out expressions from the 
people. He knew that their interest would 
advance in the proportion of their contribu¬ 
tion to the discussions and thereby hoped to 
open the way for the direct appeal that 
would bring many to decision for Christ. 
Quite an unexpected development of his 
democracy brought the Union at times to 
the verge of explosion. The essay one even¬ 
ing being upon ^‘The Wonderful Preserva¬ 
tion of the Word of God,” an aged man by 
the name of Rusem, who lived by keeping 
a small grocery, in which he dwelt alone, a 
hermit, known only by his caustic speech, 
reputed to be an infidel,” being present 
for the first time, rose and with directness 
and power of speech that betokened the un¬ 
usual mind, said: “The history of the Bible 
is one with the history of superstition; from 
the witch of Endor down to the ghost that 
terrified the disciples on the lake, and even 
throughout the Middle Ages, with their 
crimes of witch burning and repression of 
freedom of thought, the Bible has been the 
ally of cruelty in its most cruel forms, the 
cruelty that claims divine sanction for in- 


Stable Centers 


81 


human crimes. It is one with the Teutonic 
idolatry in the name of which now again 
Europe had been assailed by a monster 
claiming to rule by divine right and sus¬ 
tained in his arrogance by the Church and 
the theologians.*’ 

He sat down in an atmosphere so tense 
that the drop of a pin could have been 
heard. Forrest was on his feet instantly, 
wrath in his heart that this old man of ill 
repute should have so far abused the 
proprieties of the occasion. His feeling was 
so strong that he hesitated a moment. 
That was a saving moment. During its 
short passage, he saw a lonely old man, with 
perverted conceptions of religion, for which 
perhaps he was not wholly responsible. 
Instead of the fierce rejoinder, when he 
spoke it was with the gentleness of his Christ. 
He said that the Bible was proved to be a 
book of truth, because it did not conceal nor 
repress the superstitions of the times of 
which it was a record, but that shining 
bright and clear above horrible supersti¬ 
tions like that of David in slaying the sons 
of Rizpah, was the truth of God’s concern 
for human welfare; his effort to make his 
righteousness appear through the intractable 
6 


82 


Provincetown 


nature of superstitious men, until at last 
Jesus came into the world, the man with the 
open vision of the Father, the enemy of 
superstition, the denouncer of bigotry in all 
forms, the brother of all men, who had 
taught men of God as Father. He distin¬ 
guished between the Church as a great 
mediaeval power and the Church a com¬ 
pany of humble men striving to make 
God in his holiness and love known to 
other men. He concluded with express¬ 
ing a hope that Mr. Rusem would often 
come to the meetings and assured the 
audience that honest doubt had in it 
more faith than half the creeds. His 
forbearance was rewarded richly in this 
case, and several times thereafter he sat 
with the old man by the dim light of a 
kerosene lamp after the doors of the little 
store were closed and talked of the Jesus 
of the Gospels with the enthusiasm of his 
new discovery of the power of the Life 
that is the light of men. 

At another meeting a premillennialist 
gave a good deal more trouble than the 
'‘infidel.” The subject of the essay was 
“Have We Any Reason to Expect that 
God Will Interfere to Stop the European 


Stable Centers 


83 


War?” A strange young man, who was 
canvassing for a book bearing the im¬ 
print of a certain Rattle Creek Publish¬ 
ing Company, took advantage of the open 
meeting to say that according to the most 
recent calculations based upon the ‘"weeks” 
of Daniel and the “times” of Revelation 
it was certain that within a very short 
time the battle of Armageddon would be 
fought and that Jesus Christ would come 
with millions of angels and slaughter to 
finish the entire world war; whereupon the 
saints would establish an empire with its 
capital at Jerusalem and, under the king- 
ship of the returned and glorious Christ, 
would rule the nations with a rod of iron 
and bring all the earth under tribute to 
the saints. The present was the fire in 
which everything should be burned up; 
all civilization would thus pass and only 
the empire of the saintfe would survive. 
If Forrest had felt indignant at the old 
“infidel” his feelings of impaftience with 
the fanatic were even ,more unmanageable. 
Religious cranks were his chief aversion, 
and here was one worthy the name, already 
gloating over the prospect of wholesale 
murder with the sword in the name of Christ. 


84 


Provincetown 


Whether he was logical or not the house was de¬ 
cidedly with him in his reply to the chiliast. 

A worse experience was in store for the 
minister and the Union, and that “in the 
house of his friends.” The topic was “Can 
Democracy Cure the Evils of European 
Politics?” Behan, to whom the Union 
afforded a long-coveted outlet, was on hand. 
The cracker-box crowd at the plantation 
stores usually melted away under the in¬ 
fluence of his social theories, and the more 
responsible citizens like Hammersley had 
given him to understand that his talk of 
social equality would not be tolerated. 
As Behan's courage was with his mouth and 
Hammersley’s in an equally militant and 
much more striking organ, Behan's New 
Englandisms were mostly pent up. But 
it was known that he frequently spoke in 
the Negro churches and as a result mutter- 
ings of discontent had been heard among 
the plantation hands. Now at the Union 
the social agitator took occasion to say that 
our democracy was but a name, and that 
as long as ten millions of citizens in the South 
were in practical slavery through peonage, 
enforced ignorance, judicial injustice, and 
commercial exploitation we had no message 


Stable Centers 


85 


or example for the European governments 
that we were in the habit of denouncing as 
despotisms. He declared that as long as 
caste was as binding with a portion of the 
population of America as it is in India the 
class distinctions of Europe could be used 
as models to the advantage of America. 
For once there was a struggle for the floor 
of the Union. Strange to say, old Mr. 
Rusem got it and proceeded in a calm and 
dignified manner to expound the process of 
social evolution in its bearing upon the social 
and industrial system of the South. He 
showed that the undeveloped race could 
not without the gravest danger to civil¬ 
ization be permitted an equality of political 
and social influence. The republics of 
Hayti and Santo Domingo were cited as 
examples and the memory of the older peo¬ 
ple was recalled to the awful conditions of 
reconstruction, when misled, by designing 
men, possibly from New England in some 
cases, Negroes had controlled the ballot 
and the superior race had been disfranchised, 
with the result that justice had been lost 
from the courts and taxation had risien far 
above the earning power of property. 

Mr. Rusem had hardly resumed his seat 


86 


Provincetown 


when Tom Strong and Joe Lane came hur¬ 
riedly up the aisle, and Tom spoke into the 
minister’s ear. Forrest hastily beckoned 
Hammersley, who had been sitting with 
livid face through Behan’s tirade. Ham¬ 
mersley stepped quickly to Honeycutt, Dr. 
Clare, Thornton, and O’Neal, who gathered 
at the chancel and hurriedly consulted in 
undertones while the assembly in ignorant 
astonishment waited. Presently the ten¬ 
sion became too great for inaction and 
several ladies rose to leave the house. ‘‘Sit 
down, and let no one move from his seat,” 
commanded Hammersley in a tone that 
needed no vociferation to enforce its im¬ 
perative. He called Tom and Joe to him 
and said in an audible whisper: “Boys, 
it’s up to you to save the lives of this crowd. 
Those niggers mean to play the devil, 
and there is not a gun among us.” “You 
are mistaken,” interrupted O’Neal quiet¬ 
ly.” “Good,” continued Hammersley. 
“Now, boys, you can slip out and not 
be suspected, probably not seen. Go at a 
run to Mr. Rusem’s store, where you will 
find some pistols and a box of cartridges; 
he will give you the key. Go to Macy’s 
and tell him to come with his gun, and go 


Stable Centers 


87 


up to Mr. Marx’s office, where you will be 
likely to find him, and tell him what is up. 
If you lose one minute, you may be too 
late.” 

Hammersley needed all the splendid 
powers of leadership that were his by 
nature and possibly by practice to enable 
him to keep the congregation quiet and in 
their seats. He projected his own will 
power into the mass and the several hetero¬ 
geneous units seemed to become fused into 
one organism. Those were breathless mo¬ 
ments; they seemed hours, while the little 
group of men, now dispersed to the doors 
and windows, awaited what might come. 
In a few minutes pistol shots rang out 
through the night air followed by the report 
of Winchester rifles so near that they 
seemed just under the windows; almost 
simultaneously Joe and Tom rushed into 
the church each carrying two pistols, with 
which the men, including the preacher, 
were quickly armed. The Negroes, who 
had had spies listening at the time of Be¬ 
han’s tirade, had been detected by the 
ubiquitous Tom and Joe in the act of form¬ 
ing for an attack upon the church. Macy 
and Marx had not awaited the attack, but 


Provincetown 


had fired into the crowd as they were ap¬ 
proaching the door. As the Negroes fell 
back, Tom and Joe had been able to rush in 
with the arms, but not without Tom’s re¬ 
ceiving a rifle bullet in his shoulder. The 
lights were extinguished and men now armed 
stepped out of the door into the dark and 
began firing at the retreating Negroes, with 
the result that the group was quickly dis¬ 
persed. After seeing the women safely 
home, the men organized into posses to 
hunt down the Negro rioters, and by morn¬ 
ing several whose cabins upon the near-by 
plantations had been found vacant had been 
apprehended and a few bloody trails were 
being followed to the hiding places of others. 

A disorganized mob soon superseded the 
organized posse. The sheriff elicited only 
howls and oaths when he bade the mob 
disperse under penalty of the law. They 
surged toward the jail, crying: “Burn the 
nigger.” Hammersley rose and stood upon 
a horse block in the courthouse inclosure 
and beckoned to the mob for quiet. His 
well-known position and unquestioned cour¬ 
age caused a momentary hush, of which he 
took advantage to say: “Men, you know 
me, but there is one thing that this com- 


Stable Centers 


89 


munity does not know about me, and I 
would not tell it except to save you from 
what you are about to do. I was once in a 
crowd like this and a poor, trembling Negro 
boy was in their hands, accused of a crime 
that it turned out afterwards he never 
committed. We hanged him as an example 
in the sight of his own mother. I had almost 
forgotten his agony and hers until the other 
day I saw the old mother, and at the sight 
of me she screamed, and I saw again the 
terror of the boy and the beast in the mob, 
the beast that ruled my own heart then. 
I would willingly give my right arm if I 
could forget it. Men, don’t do this thing. 
The law will protect you and bring to justice 
all criminals. Besides, if this thing goes on 
we shall be ruined. Our plantations will 
lie out to the weeds and we shall not be able 
to get any labor.” 

The temper of the crowd had suddenly 
changed. Hammersley’s address might have 
been a moral anticlimax, but it was effec¬ 
tive. 


VI 

THE REVIVAL 


Community excitement arising from the 
race riot and the speedy conviction of ring¬ 
leaders, who were indicted, arraigned, and 
on trial within the week, made it expedient 
to call off the regular weekly meeting of the 
Union. There was no danger of Behan’s 
raising any further trouble, as he had slipped 
away in the excitement of the chase of the 
Negroes, leaving no trace of his movements, 
except that he had bought a ticket at the 
nearest railroad station, thirty miles away. 
The Union was saddled with some part of 
the blame for the disturbance, and though 
the conduct of those present had been above 
reproach, the feeling was general that the 
Union had at least afforded the occasion for 
what came near being a fatal affair. For¬ 
rest was not altogether unwilling that the 
Union should temporarily suspend, and 
had, in fact, begun to see that it was not 
effecting what he had hoped for. An ac¬ 
count of what had been accomplished within 
three months he thought showed a balance 
( 90 ) 


The Revival 


91 


in favor of this child of his heart, but he 
could see clearly that centers of interest had 
not been changed. Apathy upon the part 
of leading members of his Church had given 
place to open opposition, which the un¬ 
fortunate race riot had developed into 
hostility. Thompson was unsparing in his 
denunciation of the minister for having 
turned loose upon the community that 
agitator, Behan. Mrs. Thompson passed 
the minister upon the street without a nod 
of recognition. Even so, deeply wounded 
as he was, the minister was not sure that 
opposition was not better than deadly in¬ 
difference and respectable inertia. The 
Union had at least proved that for the young 
people there was a basis of fellowship that 
did not depend upon the physical contact 
of the dance, but had its bond in something 
more spiritual and more comprehensive of 
the whole human personality. 

But that no essential change had been 
effected was glaringly proved the very 
week following the suspension of the Union 
by the combination of the social forces of 
Provincetown for the giving of a ball with 
extraordinary preparations and the widest 
possible inclusion. Strange contradiction, 


92 


Provincetown 


thought the young minister, the thing that 
was specifically planned for the safeguarding 
of the young people had been almost by 
compulsion of public sentiment abandoned, 
while the very dangers that threatened 
the community were now encouraged in the 
hour when people had scarcely recovered 
from the shock of a race uprising. Forrest 
had to learn that the emotional reaction 
from danger is not in the direction of con¬ 
servatism but excess. 

The splendid evangelism^ of the pioneer 
preachers had charmed Forrest even when 
as a boy he had read the story of the circuit 
riders and had heard his father tell of mighty 
works of God at camp meetings and in re¬ 
vivals that followed one another in bright 
succession across the land. His theory was 
that something was wanting to complete 
the work of the elder evangelists, and his 
Christian Social Union had been his effort 
to supply that lack in a place where the 
defects of the older system were conspicuous. 
In the hour of his apparent failure the 
young minister was led to suspect that he 
might be as lopsided as the predecessors 
whom he was trying to complement and 
that he needed what they possessed as 


The Revival 


93 


greatly as they had had need of what he was 
trying to do. He determined to study the 
New Testament ministry in order to see 
whether there was any light for him there. 
His studies ever since coming to Province- 
town had been in the four Gospels, and his 
preaching had been almost confined to the 
life of Jesus. The slogan of a certain type 
of theologians, ^‘Back to Christ,” he had 
interpreted as meaning away from Paul and 
the Apostolic Church as well as away from 
the theologies of the Reformation period 
and their many Protestant variations. But 
the life of Christ did not and could not 
afford the object lesson of the Christian 
ministry on the field of action, the Church 
advancing in the conquest of the world and 
garrisoning conquered territory. 

The Acts of the Apostles affords dramatic 
exemplification of the gospel in contact with 
stereotyped ecclesiasticism, open-minded 
seeking of the truth, and all types of pagan 
ignorance and learned self-sufficiency. Cer¬ 
tainly the matter of this great historical 
book should be a sufficient guide to him who 
would follow in the way of apostolic labor 
to success, and to its leadings Delmar com¬ 
mitted himself, remembering that the Acts 


94 


Provincetown 


has been called ^‘The Gospel of the Holy 
Spirit.’' At the very threshold he recog¬ 
nized that in the Acts he was in the atmos¬ 
phere of the Risen, not the Incarnate Christ. 
In thought he might be there with the 
apostles on the Mount of Ascension or in 
the upper room; it was different from the 
life on the hills of Galilee, in the streets of 
Capernatim and in the Temple courts at 
Jerusalem. But that atmosphere he per¬ 
ceived was charged with the presence of the 
Christ as the Gospels were vivid with the 
picture of the Christ. Christ ascended, in¬ 
visible, no longer speaking, was more certain¬ 
ly than ever with and in his disciples, as he 
had promised them in one of the great dis¬ 
courses reported in John. How was this? 
More present when absent; more living when 
dead; more powerful when conquered; thus 
is the Christ now and forever. The dis¬ 
courses in John fourteenth to sixteenth are 
best understood in the light of the early 
chapters of the Acts. The very prologue 
stands out with a new meaning: ^‘The 
former treatise I made concerning all that 
Jesus began both to do and to teach. . . . 
And being assembled together with them, 
he charged them not to depart from Jeru- 


The Revival 


95 


Salem, but to wait for the promise of the 
Father.” The enduement of the Holy Spirit 
was the essential equipment of the minister 
of the Apostolic Church. It was necessary 
not only to the original band, but to Paul 
and Apollos and all the later apostles of the 
cross; yes, this gift was the normal posses¬ 
sion of the entire Church. Of the Ephesian 
convert^ of Apollos, Paul inquired: ‘‘Did 
ye receive the Holy Spirit when ye be¬ 
lieved?” Evidently the need of the present- 
day ministry was the enduement of the 
Holy Spirit. 

There were deep heart-searchings and 
repenting in the young minister’s heart 
as he thought of the unscriptural, non- 
apostolic basis of his own short ministry. 
His Christ was a Person made real by 
his own moral enthusiasm, his poetic ap¬ 
preciation, and his idealism. He had re¬ 
acted to the portrait of the Christ in the 
Gospels. He was, in effect, baptized with 
the baptism of John. With amazement it 
dawned upon him that there must be some¬ 
thing in the criticisms to which he had been 
subjected. Was he not lacking in apprecia¬ 
tion of the gospel? Were not his methods, 
after all, in a sense and to a degree that his 


96 


Frovincetown 


critics could not understand, new fangled 
and foreign to the gospel? ”Yes, ” to every 
question he admitted. 

With his mental and spiritual distress 
Delmar experienced a strange sense of 
assurance as he thought of his father’s 
and his mother’s prayers. He could recog¬ 
nize something like an impersonal presence 
that had followed him all his days and that 
now took shape in the conviction that he 
was surrounded by an atmosphere of prayer. 
He thought of the aged saint, Mrs. Sin ton, 
and went forth to find her at her home, 
which was beside the road leading by a 
lagoon made by an old bed of the river. 
It was a still, though not oppressive evening, 
and Forrest felt a supernal intimacy with 
nature that gave an intenseness to his per¬ 
ceptions the richness and fullness of which 
he could scarcely bear. Life seemed ‘sur¬ 
charged and so great and so near to God. 
His ecstasy was interrupted by the rapid 
driving of an automobile that he scarcely 
evaded as in a mere glimpse he perceived 
Leomi Honeycutt and a young traveling 
man of hotel acquaintance on the front seat. 
Their careless driving might be attributed 
to their preoccupation with each other. 


The Revival 


97 


He found Mrs. Sinton standing upon her 
porch looking down the road by which he 
approached. She said: '‘Son, I have been 
looking for you. I knew you would be along 
soon.” “But why have you been looking 
for me, Mrs. Sinton?” “I have been pray¬ 
ing for you ever since you came to Province- 
town, and to-day I understood through the 
Spirit that you were seeking the Lord with 
all your heart, and somehow I expected you.” 
They went into the simple sitting room, 
with its marble-top center table, whatnot, 
faded carpet, and solemn portraits, and the 
dear saint began to declare the whole story 
of her interest in his ministry and of her 
feeling of disappointment at the lack of the 
note of experience in all its teaching. She 
had known that the Union woilld not do 
what he thought, but could only pray. 
Together they kneeled, and she talked to 
God as friend to friend. Forrest had found 
a friend who was able to help him in the 
hour of his need. As he went home, still 
conscious of the atmosphere of prayer as a 
vital element of his soul, he kept repeating: 
“The day of Pentecost was not yet fully 
come.” 

Delmar’s day of Pentecost had not come, 

7 


98 


Provincetown 


but he was living in the atmosphere of the 
“upper room,” where strong expectation 
prevailed and prayer was indeed the vital 
breath. Several times he endeavored to 
formulate his expectations, but without 
success, and that was so much the better for 
him. Many a saint has walked in twilight 
instead of the glow of full assurance of faith 
because of some conventional or imagined 
form of experience that governed his expec¬ 
tations while it prescribed a channel for 
the free Spirit of God. To know and 
do the will of God had become his consum¬ 
ing desire; his studies in the Gospels had 
impressed this upon him as the outstanding 
element in the mind of Jesus. 

After a day spent in diligent pastoral 
work he was again on the Lake road going 
toward Mrs. Sin ton’s. The glory of a sunset 
was shining behind the trunks of the cypress 
trees and the air was still with a stillness as 
of restraint; Delmar involuntarily repeated 
the words of Father Faber’s hymn: 

I worship thee, sweet will of God! 

And all thy ways adore, 

And every day I live I seem 
To love thee more and more. 


The Reuival 


99 


Thou wert the end, the blessed rule 
Of our Saviour’s toils and tears; 

Thou wert the passion of his heart 
Those three and thirty years. 

And he hath breathed into my soul 
A special love of thee, 

A love to lose my will in his, 

And by that loss be free. 

As the last lines were murmured by his lips, 
uprising from his heart with a passion to 
do the will of God there pressed upon him 
a sense of the presence of the unseen Christ, 
more real than any earthly friend, self- 
revealed as no human personality could be. 
Intuitively he turned as if to touch his Lord. 
The presence of Christ was there, but not 
the form of the Son of Man. He did not 
speculate or wonder at the revolution that 
had occurred in the center of his conscious 
being as the Lord came “suddenly into 
his temple”; he was upon a plane above 
inferences and deductions and there, as by 
direct act of the Spirit of God, entered into 
such fellowship of Jesus that he could say 
with Paul: “I know whom I have believed.” 
His joy was full as he pursued his way to 
the abode of the aged saint. Again she was 
standing on the porch expecting him. She 


100 


Provincetown 


did not await his testimony to the strange 
thing that had occurred in his heart; she 
knew it and said: *^Son, God has fulfilled his 
promise in you; you are a chosen vessel 
to bear his gospel and to testify the grace of 
Christ our Saviour/^ On her knees she 
commended him to the care of his newly 
found Saviour, and he left the simple, old- 
fashioned sitting room with the reverence 
that belongs to a Bethel. His Pentecost 
had come, and he knew that he was now em¬ 
powered to be a witness anywhere, to any¬ 
body, of the reality and presence of the 
Christ who was dead and lived again. 

The following day, guided by an in¬ 
tuition of the Spirit, as he believed, For¬ 
rest sought out Marx in his office, and finding 
him alone, abruptly said: ‘‘Marx, what do 
you think of Jesus Christ?’^ The young 
Jew showed no resentment at the directness 
of the question, nor reticence in answering. 
“ I believe that he was the last of the proph¬ 
ets of Israel, the holiest of them, and the one 
above all who saw most deeply into the 
things of God and of men; I believe that he 
was put to death through pharisaic big¬ 
otry and priestly jealousy, as were many of 
his predecessors. Nothing is more true than 


The Revival 


101 


his lament over Jerusalem: ‘Thou that ston- 
est the prophets and slayest them that are 
sent unto thee!”^ 

“Thus believing, what are you going to 
do?” 

“I can admire his moral beauty and 
religious sincerity, but there seems to be 
no power in this ideal to overcome ele¬ 
mental passions, and a life like his opens 
no prospect in a world like this; I don’t 
know that there is anything practical about 
it.” 

“Do you know, Marx,” replied the minis¬ 
ter, “though you are a Jew and I have been 
called a Christian, the fundamental dif¬ 
ference between us has been slight—until 
yesterday afternoon?” 

“What can have made such a change in a 
single day?” asked Marx with evident sur¬ 
prise, and,continuing: “I supposed that you 
worshiped Christ as God and regarded his 
death as a discharge of your moral obliga¬ 
tions and a basis of forgiveness. If there 
has been such similarity between us, you 
must have been an unusual sort of a Chris¬ 
tian believer; for your creed is to me in¬ 
credible.” 

“I did not come to discuss the question 


102 


Provincetown 


at this time, Marx, but to tell you that 
yesterday I became able to prove what 
Peter aind John and the rest of the apos¬ 
tles declared about Jesus—that he lived 
after he had been crucified. I know it 
as well as they did.’' 

Marx rose from his seat, his dark, pas¬ 
sionful eyes searching the young minister 
to the depths, and said with tremulous voice: 

would give my soul to know whether 
you are deluded or sane; yes, I would with¬ 
hold nothing as the price of knowing what 
you say you know.” 

“You are the first pferson, save one, to 
whom I have told this; I don’t know why I 
should have come to you unless directed 
of the Lord; this only I want you to try: 
Do God’s will and expect to know.” 

“That is simple,” said the young Jew. 

Simple indeed, but in the trial he did not 
find it so. 

From Marx’s office Forrest went to 
Thompson’s store, wondering and glad as 
he found in his heart neither fear nor re¬ 
sentment. Thompson was in his back office 
dictating letters. “Please ask your 
stenographer to retire,” said he; “I wish 
to see you privately.” The young lady was 


The Revival 


103 


well acquainted through her employer’s 
abundant talk with doings in Provincetown 
Church, and expecting something interest¬ 
ing she retired out of sight but not out of 
hearing. There was nothing gracious in 
Thompson’s manner, neither was there sign 
of his enmity. The minister went straight 
to the matter: ^‘Brother Thompson, I have 
come to say to you that, while you have 
greatly mistaken me in your judgments, 
there is much justice in the position that 
you and others have taken; that is, that I 
have been giving you substitutes for the 
gospel and have been trying to save the 
young people by means that I now know 
can never do them much good. It was 
only yesterday that I found the way in 
Christ. I feel that I can testify to Christ’s 
presence in my heart as the greatest fact 
of experience.” The listening ear outside 
the office partition of course could not see 
the tears that started down Thompson’s 
cheek, but, awed by the something not of the 
earth, the possessor of the ear hastened away 
from her place of eavesdropping. It was 
not Delmar’s words that caused the strong, 
resentful man to shake the desk with sobs 
as he buried his face in his hands and gave 


104 


Provincetown 


way to his emotions. When in a few mo¬ 
ments he had recovered control, he grasped 
the minister’s hand and said: ^‘I once knew 
what you experience, but business and other 
things have got the better of me; the thorns 
have sprung up and choked the word; 
my family altar has fallen down and my 
religion seems to be mainly faultfinding. 
Pray for me and for my wife.” ^‘Why not 
now?” asked the minister. Presently the 
office became a sanctuary and brotherhood 
became a fact as well as a form. 

Returning to the parsonage, Forrest recog¬ 
nized Hammersley’s horse at the hitching 
post and was amazed to find the man him¬ 
self inside talking to Aunt Sally. Her old, 
honest eyes were weeping, and she was say¬ 
ing: done forgive you. Mister Ham- 

mersley, but I can’t he’p seein’ my po’ boy.” 
Hammersley took the toil-hardened hand 
of the old negress in his and [said: ‘‘I think 
God has forgiven me since I confessed to the 
people the other day and saved the lives 
of some other poor boys from the mob. 
And now I am promising him and you 
that I will do something for your peo¬ 
ple, if he will help me.” She wept in silence, 
but her tears were not only of sorrow; as she 


The Revival 


105 


said, ‘‘God bless you, Mister Hammers- 
ley,” she had risen to the fellowship of the 
Man on the cross when he said: “Father, 
forgiven them, for they know not what they 
do.” When the old servant had curtsied 
and closed the door, the men fell into each 
other’s arms and sobbed as only strong men 
do. The bond of friendship was forged 
with steel and baptized with religious tears. 

Of course the day could not pass with¬ 
out Forrest’s seeking out his friend of 
the days of accusation, Honeycutt, who 
had adhered to him when practically all 
others had abandoned him. When he 
had joyously imparted to his friend the 
news, he was astonished when Honey¬ 
cutt told him of the similar experience 
that had been his on the day when he 
held the service. “But why,” asked his pas¬ 
tor, “did not you tell me this before?” 
“You will think me inconsiderate when 
I say, that I feared you might not fully 
understand what it all meant to me, but 
as nearly as I can frame it that is the reason. 
I feel that we shall henceforth be fellow 
workers with God and fellow witnesses 
with the Holy Spirit. It is time for you to 
begin special services. I feel that the hour 


106 


Provincetown 


is at hand for a great work of God in 
Provincetown, a work such as I have seen, 
but to which I was an outsider. Now, 
thank God! my heart as well as my senti¬ 
ments are in it.’* 

Seeking Mrs. Sinton the same evening, 
Delmar learned from her that for years she 
had been praying for a revival, a prayer that 
had not been answered by the annual pro¬ 
tracted meeting at which a show of interest 
had been followed by early subsidence as a 
dust cloud falls of its own weight. She said: 
^‘Son, ‘the time has come, yea the set time 
to favor Zion.’ You must not wait while 
the souls of the Provincetown people are 
dying. Let us thank God for victory.” 

Evidently the set time had come. The 
revival in the preacher’s heart had already 
spread by a holy contagion wherever he 
had gone since the experience of the day be¬ 
fore. He understood the New Testament 
ministry as he had never before under¬ 
stood it. Sunday morning the sermon was 
on the New Covenant, reading from Jere¬ 
miah 31: 34 and Hebrews 8: 10. The 
preacher dwelt upon the Christian’s privi¬ 
lege of knowing the Lord, experiencing the 
forgiveness of sins as a great reality, as 


The Revival 


107 


definite as the consciousness of guilt that 
all knew so well, and pictured the ideal of 
the kingdom of God, not as consisting of re¬ 
formed institutions, but as the society 
in which each one was the possessor of 
the Christian’s experience—in which all 
should know the Lord. He concluded 
with the confession of his own recent 
entrance into this experience while a hush 
was over the congregation that the effects 
of eloquence can only simulate. In halt¬ 
ing words Thompson rose to say to his 
brethren that he had come back from his 
wanderings, while his wife sat silent with 
bowed head. Hammersley simply said: 

am the chief of sinners, but Jesus died 
for me.” Mrs. Sin ton remained in her seat 
and softly cried: ^ ‘ Glory 1’ ’ When before had a 
shout arisen in Provincetown church? The 
people crowded the communion rail and were 
led in prayer by the aged steward, Tyler, who 
bore them all aloft on the wings of faith. 

Forrest went forth like Jacob from Peniel. 
Opponents were silent or turned to become 
helpers. The Lord was in his church, hence 
men kept silence before him. As subse¬ 
quent events demonstrated, the revival had 
come in power. 


VII 

CONSERVING THE REVIVAL 

The spiritual movement begun on the 
Sunday following the minister’s Pentecost 
continued to gain momentum and breadth 
during the following three weeks. The 
special services concluded, the minister held 
a series of meetings at Hickory Grove, at 
which Hansen, the Swede, and his entire 
family professed faith in Christ, a new ex¬ 
perience and quite different from the formal 
Lutheranism that he had known in Europe. 
A backsliding plantation manager from 
Virginia was reclaimed, and others of the 
sparse population were blessed and some 
brought into the Church. In Provincetown 
there were several remarkable attestations 
to the power of the gospel to reveal the 
thoughts and intents of the heart and bring 
men to righteousness. Among the early 
converts were Tom Strong, Joe Lane, and 
several other boys of their age and over. 
The books on the psychology of religion had 
come to possess but a minor value for the 
minister while he was in the midst of the 
( 108 ) 


Conserving the Revival 


109 


mighty movements of the Spirit of God, 
which, according to the limitations of his 
science, doubtless also of his faith, the 
psychologist had left out of his account. 
Perhaps it is science, but absurd all the same, 
as if one studied astronomy and left the 
Creator out, so that the heavens could 
"‘declare the glory*' of nothing. It was a 
well-known fact that the fathers of Tom 
and Joe were enemies who had not spK)ken 
to each other for years. Both attended the 
meeting one evening and sat in opposite 
sides of the church when the sermon was 
upon the text, “If therefore thou art offer¬ 
ing thy gift at the altar, and there remem- 
berest that thy brother hath aught against 
thee, leave there thy gift before the altar, 
and go thy way, first be reconciled to thy 
brother.’* As the preacher urged upon his 
hearers the duty of forgiveness and pointed 
out that they who cherished unforgiveness 
in their hearts shut themselves out of the 
circle of forgiveness, moved by apparently 
the same impulse, the two boys ran sobbing 
each to his father and begged that he be 
reconciled to his chum’s father. Strong 
men yield not easily when it requires that 
an old feud be laid aside, but simultaneously 


no 


Provincetown 


they rose and moved toward the chancel 
and, meeting before the communion table, 
clasped hands. They knelt together and 
together rose, forgiving and forgiven. 

Mr. Bain, the rigid moralist, stood against 
the revival for some time, and the last but 
one of the services had been held without a 
break in his conlsistent absence from the 
church and interpretation of the matter as 
an emotional reaction more or less hysterical 
in character. The concluding sermon of the 
series of plain expositions that Forrest 
had preached was upon ^‘Blaspheming the 
Holy Spirit,” from the text in Matthew 
12: 32. Concluding, the preacher warned 
his hearers that in failing to recognize God's 
hand in the mighty work then going on 
they were hardening themselves; that if 
they persisted, as some were doing, in at¬ 
tributing the work to merely human agencies 
they were near the eternal sin and not far 
from the place where they would account 
for the work of God’s Spirit on the score 
of pseudospirituality or even Satan’s lying 
pretenses by which the truth was discounted. 

Not many days after Bain made an ap¬ 
pointment with the minister, and promptly 
to the hour appeared at the parsonage. 


Conserving the Revival 


111 


accompanied by Thompson and Biggs. He 
alone of the four knew for what purpose 
was this unusual meeting. After all were 
seated Bain broke the silence by saying: 
^‘You, Mr. Biggs, and you, Mr. Thompson, 
do not know that I have been systematically 
stealing from you for several years; yes, 
stealing, although the United States law 
does not count it a crime. The rafts that 
float cypress timber down from the swamps 
which you own and upon which you should 
receive the price of the timber lose a small 
per cent of sinkers (water-logged trees) 
that I have been raising by night and selling 
to the sawmills. My gain has been five 
thousand dollars. Here it is, to be divided 
evenly between you.^* With the words he 
placed upon the table fifty one-hundred- 
dollar bills. He continued: ‘‘You have 
heard me deny the necessity of conversion 
in order to live aright. I acknowledge with 
shame that I have all along been making a 
vain boast. I desire Mr. Forrest to take me 
into the Church and you both to pray 
that I may receive the grace to live aright 
from henceforth.” 

“This day has salvation come to this 


112 


Provincetown 


house,” solemnly said the minister. ‘‘Let 
us pray.” 

As they arose from their knees Biggs 
grasped the hand of the moralist and said: 
^‘Brother Bain, I have been more orthodox 
than you, and I ought to be, for I have 
known what the gospel is, the power of God 
unto salvation; but I confess with shame 
that it has had as little influence upon my 
life as upon yours who denied it. From 
this time, as for me and my house, we will 
serve the Lord.” 

He was as good as his word. That even¬ 
ing patient Mrs. Biggs wiped the tears of 
joy from her faded eyes, and Dorothy and 
Emily silently wondered as their father read 
from the Bible, sang an old revival hymn, 
and led his house in fervent prayer. Marion 
Black, again visiting her friends, felt herself 
an outsider, but an interested spectator. 

Both Thornton and Dorris Kane had 
quietly joined the Church, he on profession 
of faith, she by means of an obsolete Church 
letter. But what about Mabel Satterfield? 
The revival had seemed to her a thing so 
congenial, so perfectly in accord with her 
own heart’s truest intuitions, that she had 
never thought of the need for a work in her 


Conserving the Revival 113 

own heart of such sudden and revolutionary 
character as others were experiencing. She 
worked with the young men and young 
women of her acquaintance to bring them 
to a confession of Christ, but gave no evi¬ 
dence of the need of repentings such as the 
minister had passed through. He felt that 
she could never fully understand the turbu¬ 
lent passages of his soul history, and felt it 
sadly. But why should she? Would he 
have her participate in restoring processes 
that were needed by his battered nature, 
not by hers that had unfolded like a flower 
in the light of obedience and faith from the 
beginning? Nevertheless, he felt that she 
did not know the great love of those to 
whom much has been forgiven. Grace has 
a compensation for the restored one; but 
it is a compensation, not the very best. 

Forrest emerged from the labor of the 
revival season with the weight of the problem 
of conserving its gracious results, the prob¬ 
lem that he had set out to solve before he 
really knew what a revival was. He was 
aware that saints such as Brother Tyler and 
Mrs. Sinton had been converted in revivals 
and had remained steadfast; but what of 
the many others, some even among the re- 
8 


114 


Provincetown 


claimed of this revival, who had drifted 
quite away or become all but lost to God 
and the Church? But the problem no 
longer oppressed him. He had been de¬ 
livered from the spirit of fear and now lived 
in a state of confidence. He could perceive 
clearly the elements of strength and of 
weakness in the Union, and he felt no in¬ 
clination to return to his former plan. There 
were features of value in it, but it was not 
centered aright. By some strange process 
of mental association he recalled that he had 
heard the General Secretary of the Epworth 
League in an address before the Conference 
say that the Young People's Society of 
Christian Endeavor, the earlier form of the 
young people's religious society, had been 
formed by a pastor at the conclusion of a 
season of revival during which more than 
fifty young people had been converted and 
received into the Church, and that the Ep¬ 
worth League similarly was designed to con¬ 
serve the results of the revival by uniting 
young Christians in the fellowship of wor¬ 
ship, testimony, good works, social recrea¬ 
tion, and the study of missions. It occurred 
to Delmar as rather surprising that the very 
thing the Church had devised and sustained 


Conserving the Revival 


115 


for conserving the religious life of the young 
people was so little used. In Provincetown 
there ran no tradition of its ever having been 
tried. Under Dr. Bingham in the city there 
had been no Epworth League, and the Doc¬ 
tor seemed to feel the need of none; his con¬ 
gregations were large, and the membership 
was constantly increasing both by transfers 
and Children's Day accessions. Forrest 
procured the printed plans and gave himself 
earnestly to the study of the Epworth 
League as a means of forestalling such a sad 
decline as had followed other gracious sea- 
sions of revival. 

Material there was now in abundance 
out of which to form an Epworth League. 
Though a young people's institution, For¬ 
rest felt that it should include older persons 
who were young in the Christian life, and 
accordingly broadened the age limit beyond 
the usual scope, and doubtless in the circum¬ 
stances he acted wisely. It is expected 
that in tbe course of a few years Epworthians 
shall be transferred to other activities in the 
congregation, but in the case of congrega¬ 
tions in which the members have not be¬ 
come experienced in Christian work and 
fellowship there should be a place in the 


116 


Provincetown 


League for persons of more mature age, but 
arrested development. 

The fourfold organization of the Epworth 
League fully satisfied Forrest’s requirements. 
Therein was scope for the all-round activi¬ 
ties and symmetrical development of the 
Christian life. He found ready cooperation 
and cordial interest in his plan. Pastor and 
people were entirely at one now, and they as 
eager as he to do something for the strength¬ 
ening and upbuilding of the new life, of the 
perils of w'hich some were painfully aware. 
A goodly number of young Christians and 
a few older disciples met Sunday afternoon, 
according to announcement, to organize the 
League. 

Forrest briefly set forth to the twenty- 
five persons present the purposes and obliga¬ 
tions of the Epworth League. Referring 
to the ill-fated Union, he said: ‘‘Our trouble 
was that we began at the wrong end of the 
problem; in the Epworth League we intend 
to start with seeking the Lord and confess¬ 
ing Christ and keeping the watch of fellow¬ 
ship over each other. Our social and intel¬ 
lectual activities, I trust, will not be di¬ 
minished, but increased ; but in all we shall 
be developing these out of our life of faith 


Conserving the Revival 


117 


and obedience to Christ, not endeavoring to 
cure the ills of the world by pleasant social 
and literary exercises. What we need chiefly 
is fellowship in prayer and the opportunity 
of telling what God has done for us and is 
doing for us day by day. This is also our 
opportunity of extending the fellowship by 
bringing others to Christ. We shall have two 
covenants, one to pray daily in secret and 
read God’s Word, the other to try to win a 
soul to Christ during the year; these are the 
Quiet Hour and the Fellow Workers’ Cove¬ 
nants, and with the matter of holding a 
Sunday evening devotional meeting will be 
the chief work of the First Department. 
The Second Department is that of Social 
Service and will have the work of relieving 
need and assisting the pastor in visiting the 
sick and strangers. But this department 
will also be charged with undertaking some 
definite work for any disadvantaged class, 
if there be such in the community. The 
Third Department will do what we used to 
try to do through the Social Union and 
more, as will afterwards appear. The 
Fourth Department is to see that a monthly 
missionary meeting is held at the time of the 
usual devotional meeting, to conduct system- 


118 


Provincetown 


atic mission study and secure a special of¬ 
fering for the support of the mission of our 
Church in Africa, Which has been sustained 
from the beginning by the Epworth Leagues 
and manned by young people who came out 
of the Epworth League and, for the most part, 
received their call to the field while in the 
work of the League. Let us understand at 
the start that it means something to belong 
to the Epworth League; it means that we are 
going to apply the Epworth League rule, 
‘All for Christ,’ in our daily life and that as 
members of the organization we are to be 
workers, niot shirkers.” 

A roll of members was made, a temporary 
organization effected by the election of 
chairman and secretary, a nominating com¬ 
mittee was appointed to bring in nomina¬ 
tions for the business meeting appointed for 
the following evening, and the meeting ad¬ 
journed after singing the Epworth League 
hymn, 

“All for Christ” our chosen motto 

We will wear it loyally, 

and reciting the League benediction: “So 
teach us to number our days that we may 
apply our hearts unto wisdom.” 

O’Neal had been a silent listener at the 


Conserving the Revival 


119 


meeting, but had not given his name for 
membership. Silence was unusual for him, 
hence all his friends had been wondering 
for some time what had stopped tlje stream 
of his accustomed volubility. He was 
standing in the doorway as Forrest emerged 
and said: “Parson, I want to see you pri¬ 
vately.” A month before Delmar would 
have been annoyed at the interference with 
his time for preparation for the evening 
sermon, but now the opportunity of preach¬ 
ing to one man he esteemed as highly as if it 
were a Nicodemus who was coming to him 
as to his Master. “All right, O’Neal, come 
right over to the parsonage.” In the parson¬ 
age sitting room O’Neal drew from his pocket 
a delicately perfumed bit of notepaper and 
handed it to the minister, saying: “Parson, 
that paper is as holy as the Bible.” It was 
a note from Marion Black, the purport of 
which, not the reticent girlish phraseology, 
was that, though bred a Catholic, she had 
never been confirmed and was not a member 
of the Church, but she could never think 
of wedding a man who was not a Christian. 
Delmar looked up inquiringly, and O’Neal 
answered the look. “Parson, will you take 
me into the Church this evening?” The 


120 


Provincetown 


motive was both unusual and untheological> 
but Delmar’s intuitions told him that there 
was no time for casuistical splitting of hairs, 
and he simply replied: “Yes, O’Neal, and 
may God bless you both! Write to her this 
very night that you have joined the Church 
and that you are looking for a letter saying 
that she has done the same thing or will do 
it.’’ 

For those unaccustomed to team work or 
organized effort the working of an Epworth 
League Chapter is not altogether simple. 
And yet it is through organized effort that 
we are to accomplish the work of the Church 
and the world. The very difficulties of the 
Epworth League work are among the best 
arguments for it. The lack of leadership in 
the Church is a condition that can be over¬ 
come only by setting persons to lead; to do 
this implies responsibility, and responsibility 
implies organization with its division and 
specification of labor. The new organiza¬ 
tion at Provincetown as rapidly as possible 
took up the entire program of the young 
people^s religious society. Every member 
was appointed to work on one of the de¬ 
partments or inducted into an office. As 
Junior League Superintendent Miss Satter- 


Conserving the Revival 


121 


field became a member of the Senior League 
Council. Miss Kane became the Second 
Department Superintendent, and at the 
suggestion of Hammersley, who could not 
be active in the League on account of his 
out-of-town residence, immediately under¬ 
took a night class for Negro youth, in which 
she had the efficient aid of Thornton. The 
scandal that such a step would have caused 
before the revival was wholly wanting. An 
early resumption of social, literary, and 
reccreational activities was planned under 
the Third Department, and Mrs. Grantland 
offered her spacious parlors, lately not in 
demand for the dances, for the holding of 
the weekly socials. The church building, 
plain and with little suggestion of the place 
of worship, had became sacred in the eyes of 
those who had recently witnessed such scenes 
of divine and gracious power there, and it 
would have been a violence to their feelings 
of reverence to use it for the innocent and 
even praiseworthy purposes of recreational 
and cultural activities. The pastor himself 
yielded to circumstances and under the 
Fourth Department led the mission study 
class in *'The Lure of Africa.’’ 

With the manifold activities of the Ep- 


122 


Provincetown 


worth League, all emanating from the con¬ 
sciousness of Christian fellowship and ex¬ 
pressive of the power of Christ to dominate 
and transform the entire personality, the 
whole congregation acquired a new Church 
consciousness. The Ladies’ Aid Society was 
transformed into an auxiliary of the Wom¬ 
an’s Missionary Council and furnished an 
objective sufficiently large and fascinating to 
enlist the interest and effort of the best 
women of the community. Mrs. Thompson 
developed ability of leadership that had lain 
dormant while there was nothing more than 
parsonage furnishing to call it forth. Even 
the faddist, Mrs. Honeycutt, found in the 
study of the mission fields and the immense 
organized works of the Council matter 
worthy of her astute and subtle intellect 
and became the leader of the study class. 

Sadly it must be acknowledged that all 
the young people of the community who 
logically belonged to the Church were not 
brought to Christ and could not be included 
in the life and activities of the Epworth 
League or the Sunday school. Misses Emily 
and Dorothy Biggs had joined the Church, 
but seemed to lack positiveness in their re¬ 
ligion, although contributing to the musical 


Conserving the Revival 


123 


programs of the Epworth League; but much 
to his grief Honeycutt’s two daughters 
seemed unaffected by what had come to 
their parents and to the community at large. 
Marx was occasionally at church, but had 
never reopened the subject of his interview 
with the minister. His handsome face was 
as much an enigma as ever. 

Macy, the saloon man, had been seen 
frequently on the rear seat of the church 
during the meeting, but had made no move, 
though at times it had seemed as if he was 
holding himself down to the seat when the 
invitation to come to the communion rail for 
prayer had been given. One day the minis¬ 
ter, no longer afraid of scandal or careful 
for his reputation, which seemed now to be 
in the care of One who had said, I will cause 
your righteousness to shine forth as the 
morning and your judgment as the noon¬ 
day,” walked boldly into the saloon and 
said: “Mr. Macy, I suspect that you would 
like to abandon this business; but for this 
one thing you are a good citizen and have 
the respect of the community. No one has 
forgotten your important help during the 
riot. What can I do to help you?” 

“Mr. Forrest,” said the ‘publican,’ “I 


Provincetown 


12 ^ 

have been abused a good deal by your 
predecessors and your Church members, 
and no doubt I deserved some of it; but 
you are the first man of your stamp to 
speak to me in this way. I don’t like this 
business, but I don’t know how to quit.” 

‘‘If you will quit, I will find a way for 
you,” replied the minister. 

Forrest immediately sought Marx and 
proposed that they at once set on foot 
a movement for a local option election. 
After some talk it was arranged that the 
Epworth League should get up a mass meet¬ 
ing in the courthouse for the beginning of 
the move. Marx was to deliver the principal 
address, and Honeycutt afterwards agreed 
to preside. The first object of the meeting 
was to raise a fund with which it was under¬ 
stood Macy was to be employed to push the 
campaign. At the time appointed the court¬ 
house was gay with Epworth League colors 
and pot plants. Music was furnished by the 
League chorus. Marx’s impassioned elo¬ 
quence carried away all opposition and 
opened the pockets of the citizens, who con¬ 
tributed a fund sufficient for the campaign. 
Macy then made a statement in which he 
thanked the people and pledged himself to 


Conserving the Revival 


125 


a new life of opposition to the business 
that he declared had degraded his own 
life and placed opprobrium upon his in¬ 
nocent family. Few and simple though 
his words were, it was evident that he pos¬ 
sessed the orator’s flexible voice and com¬ 
mand of an audience, and the prediction 
was easy that he would become one among 
the famous temperance orators who had 
themselves known the bondage and the 
bitterness of the drink traffic in one way or 
another. 

The writer may anticipate the issue by 
saying that both in the county campaign and 
the larger prospect the promise of the meet¬ 
ing in the courthouse was fulfilled. 


VIII 

THE CALL OF GOD 

Provincetown had not been transformed 
by the revival, but on every hand there was 
evidence that new life currents were flow¬ 
ing through the social body. The county 
option campaign, to the surprise of some 
people, almost immediately commanded the 
support of the plantation managers and 
storekeepers. From the outside financial 
centers orders went forth that the abomina¬ 
tion of Negro drunkenness and exploita¬ 
tion should cease. Contented and sober 
labor was evidently to be preferred to the 
debauched article with which the planters 
had to do as the result of their own cupidity 
and immorality. Macy had well begun his 
campaign by appealing to the moneyed 
interests that controlled the great planta¬ 
tions. The commission merchant owners 
not only gave orders that their managers 
were to support the movement, but con¬ 
tributed liberally to the campaign fund. 
Macy employed several Negro preachers of 
influence to hold monster prohibition meet- 
( 126 ) 


The Call of God 


127 


ings among their people and himself put 
into their mouths the effective arguments 
of self-interest by which these improvident 
but happy people were induced to see where 
their own advantage lay. As has already 
been said by way of anticipation, the result 
of the campaign was to illegalize intoxicants 
in the county. The immediate advantage 
was so great that Macy’s services were 
requisitioned in adjoining counties, where 
the same methods brought the same success. 
Happy in the work of repairing where he 
had so long pulled down, the erstwhile 
saloon keeper continued to grow in power 
and influence and was later placed in one of 
the most important offices of the Anti- 
Saloon League of America. 

The reach of the Church had become 
lengthened as the result of the revival. 
The poker game was driven to cover by 
the burning condemnation of an outraged 
public opinion; vice was practiced in secret 
only, prelude to reformation. The dance, 
now on the defensive, had become unpopu¬ 
lar, and with the few who still deemed it an 
admissible recreation its practice returned 
to the old-time decorum, lately discarded 
for the indecent embraces of the several 


128 


Provincetown 


animal varieties and the Parisian demi- 
monde. 

An event the true nature of which became 
the subject of gossip but could be but 
guessed at may have made its unhappy 
contribution to the improvement in social 
customs. Just as he was concluding his 
night’s Bible reading, always the last thing 
in the young minister’s daily program, 
Forrest was called to the telephone, where 
he recognized the anxious voice of Honey¬ 
cutt. The message was short: “Come over 
to my house at once. Brother Forrest; there 
is to be a marriage here. No questions 
now.” Without a guess as to the meaning 
of this sudden summons, the minister walked 
out to Honeycutt’s, where he found ex¬ 
temporized preparations for a wedding, the 
county clerk present with a hastily procured 
license, a suppressed expression upon all 
faces, contrasting strikingly with the gayety 
appropriate to such an occasion. Honey¬ 
cutt hasily explained that Miss Leomi was 
to wed that night and with her husband take 
the expected boat up the river. Forrest 
recognized the groom-elect as the traveling 
man whom he had seen on that never-to- 
be-forgotten evening as he walked by the 


The Call of God 


129 


lake and saw the glory of the sunset in the 
cypress, premonition of the glory of the 
resurrection that came to his soul the follow¬ 
ing day. The wedding ceremony was 
solemnly carried out, the benediction said, 
the man and wife, the handsome girl with 
flushed face devoid of joy, and the tall, 
businesslike man, accustomed to wearing the 
air of command, but now singularly ill at 
ease, stood side by side before the minister. 

'‘I want you to gratify me in one thing 
before I go away, perhaps never to return,” 
she said. 

''I will do anything I can for you, Mrs. 
LaVergne,” he replied. 

She continued: “I want you to take me 
and my husband and my sister into the 
Church to-night and then administer the 
communion to us all here. We may never 
again be together in this world, and I 
wish to pledge myself and all I love to a 
meeting in another world.” 

While she was yet speaking a maid 
brought in the elements, an altar was ex¬ 
temporized, and the minister, exceeding 
his right of orders, for as yet he was only a 
deacon, solemnly consecrated and admin¬ 
istered the bread and wine, tokens of the 
9 


130 


Provincetown 


broken body and shed blood, in which all 
the children of God are one in their com¬ 
mon Saviour. The impressive service had 
scarcely been finished when the low notes 
of the Crown Line steamboat whistle were 
heard around the bend of the river, and tear¬ 
ful leave takings and embraces filled a short 
interval, during which Forrest felt as if he 
were intruding in the inner holy place of a 
family united in Christ. Forrest observed 
the strong hand grip of the father as he bade 
good-by to his son-in-law. The newly mar¬ 
ried pair went out into the darkness as the 
hack rattled through the gate. 

Honeycutt turned to the minister and 
said: ‘‘Brother Forrest, can you understand 
how the hour of deepest humiliation may 
be also one of unearthly joy?” 

“Yes, I understand,” he said as he thought 
of the uniting in Christ of this family in the 
hour of their breaking up as the first of the 
children went forth from the home, sorrow¬ 
ful all, yet all rejoicing. 

A wedding of a quite different character 
was that to which Forrest was summoned as 
celebrant in the neighboring town where 
Marion Black lived. O’Neal and he traveled 
together. Forrest was constantly surprised 


The Call of God 


131 


by the depth and sincerity of the mental 
processes of his friend. Either love or re¬ 
ligion, or perhaps both, had created a mental 
ferment that had transformed the man. 
As Marion and he stood and assumed the 
reciprocal vows of lifelong unity no one 
could have disparaged the groom even in 
comparison with the radiant, spiritually 
minded being by his side. The beautiful 
motive of love is not far removed from reli¬ 
gion, and both are necessary to lift manhood 
and womanhood to the highest plane. 
O’Neal never became able clearly to dis¬ 
tinguish where the one ended and the other 
began. His religion and his love were so 
mixed that he continued an ardent lover and 
a consistent Church member far beyond 
the end of this story and no doubt will re¬ 
main such to the end of his days.' 

With the ending of the summer a call, 
already urged upon Dr. Clare to become 
professor of surgery in his old university, 
was renewed with insistente. He sought 
Forrest, not, as he said, for advice, but for 
moral support in his decision to decline what 
was in the line of his long-cherished desire. 
‘'But, Doctor,” said Forrest, “why won’t 
you go? Think of the good you can do to 


f32 


Provincetown 


the young men whom you will instruct. I 
know they will almost idolize you, and 
religion is at a premium in medical schools.’^ 

^‘My young friend,” said Clare, ^‘you 
are not helping me. I am determined to 
stay right here and imitate my Saviour in 
serving the lowly as I may have opportuni¬ 
ty. Whatever the inducements of the city 
and the school, I am sure here I shall feel 
nearer to him who went about doing good 
and healing. Besides, I have a mission in 
the Church. My own Church must be re¬ 
opened, a rector seciired, and the little flock 
shepherded. The bishop has licensed me as 
a lay reader, and I shall see that there is 
weekly service until a rector can be found. 
I wish we had a Methodist bishop who could 
just send us a minister.” 

Forrest perceived that the good physi¬ 
cian’s point of view was truer than his own, 
and simply said: ^‘You will never walk 
alone in the way you are traveling.” 

The winter had come, Delmar had finished 
his year’s work, and all the early talk of 
petitioning for Brother Overall’s return had 
evaporated and been forgotten so completely 
that the instigators of it would have been 
surprised at the mention of anything so 


The Call of God 


133 


preposterous. Moreover, ecclesiastical mat¬ 
ters were being overshadowed by the rapid 
political changes in America growing out of 
the ruthless submarine policy of Germany. 
It was clear that nothing could keep Ameri¬ 
ca out of the war, but how rapidly events 
were moving in that direction none could 
accurately estimate. 

Reappointed to Provincetown, Forrest 
went about his work, devoting the greatest 
attention to the Epworth League, which 
was fully meeting his expectations as a 
means of conserving and developing the 
religious life of the young people under the 
protection and sanction of the Church. 
At the first devotional meeting of the year 
the call of life service was the subject. 
Thornton rose after the conclusion of the 
leader’s address and said that in studying 
“The Lure of Africa” he had become so 
impressed that God could use him in the 
Congo Mission that he was determined to 
volunteer, although it would cost him more 
than life to do so. Undemonstrative as he 
was by nature and had remained throughout 
the revival meeting, he broke down in the 
midst of his statemen't. The sequel oc¬ 
curred on the way from church as he ac- 


134 


Provincetown 


companied Dorris Kane to her home, his 
invariable custom. She said: '‘Do you 
know, Charles” (for they had long since 
dropped the formality of titles of address, 
though no word of love had ever passed 
between them), “I could have made the 
same declaration that you did in the League 
meeting.” 

“What! Do you mean that you have 
been thinking of offering yourself for 
Africa?” 

“Yes, the call of God is upon me to do 
this thing; it is the most Christlike offering 
I can make.” 

He seized her hand and said, trembling 
with suppressed emotion: “Then perhaps 
I shall not need to give you up. It was that 
that made me hesitate and delay the deci¬ 
sion.” 

“I also,” she said simply, “have had to 
face the alternative of giving you up or of 
declining the call.” 

She was his without words, but the strong 
bond was too spiritual for the lover’s kiss. 
They had made the supreme renunciation, 
and when their faith had been tried they 
rejoiced in the reciprocal gift of themselves 
to their Lord and to each other. 


The Call of God 


135 


This concluding chapter seems to justify 
the charge of being a courting affair which 
a thrice-married old brother who had been 
unfortunate in each venture made against 
the Epworth League. But why should it not 
be so? The danger of having our young 
people marry outside the Christian circle 
is very real. The Christian home is the 
foundation of all that is worth while in 
modern civilization, and the ‘'outpopulating 
power of Christianity” depends upon this 
divine institution. Courting will occur; 
why not under the protection of religion? 
Why not among those whose union is made 
the closer by reason of the community of 
faith and aspiration? One more affair of the 
heart history requires record in this chapter, 
though some of those who have been follow¬ 
ing the experiences of the pastor and peo¬ 
ple of Provincetown might think it had bet¬ 
ter have been omitted. 

That April day had come when Congress 
declared that a state of war existed between 
the United States and the Imperial German 
nation. On the streets of Provincetown the 
emotional tension could be felt. Our coun¬ 
try had come to a new degree of self-coun- 
sciousness, and every citizen felt in himself a 


136 


Provincetown 


heightened spiritual state, an exaltation by 
the touch of universal reality, in the escape 
from what is ordinary and petty and in 
sympathy with the splendid idealism that 
had led the nation into such an undertaking. 
New manhood and womanhood were in the 
making. Delmar could do nothing but go 
from office to office and from house to house, 
relieving his own strained emotions by re¬ 
peating the current phrases of comment upon 
the war situation. He saw Marx coming 
down from his office with a suit case in his 
hand. ^'Traveling?” he asked. 

“Yes, I am going to Washington. I 
have been in correspondence in anticipa¬ 
tion of this, and I shall go into the army at 
once. I am needed as an interpreter; for 
this my knowledge of languages makes me 
competent.'’ 

“One word about our former conversa¬ 
tion, Marx. How is it now?" queried the 
minister. 

“I cannot say that there is any change. 
I am an Israelite. I wish to be one Vithout 
guile.’ ’’ He was gone. 

Delmar’s next interview was more in¬ 
teresting still. He called at Miss Satter¬ 
field’s and was not sure whether he was glad 


The Call of God 


137 


to find her in or not, so embarrassed did he 
feel when she entered, clad in her ordinary 
house dress, in which she seemed most beau¬ 
tiful because most herself. An exquisite 
little patch in the garment he detected with 
that keenness of observation of detail that 
sometimes accompanies confusion about a 
larger interest. He began by expressing 
appreciation of her assistance in his work in 
the Junior League and afterwards in the 
revival services. 

‘‘You need not thank me,’’ she said. 
“It has all been the means of such a beau¬ 
tiful unfolding of my religious life in a way 
that my own Church seemed not to open to 
me that I have to thank you as my leader 
and good friend.” 

“Have I been that to you?” he said. 

She looked down and said with simple 
candor: “You have been everything to 
me in a friendly way; but I am going away 
from Provincetown to enter the training 
school in New York preparatory to becoming 
a sister. I have renounced the world.” 

Was she making a sacrifice of more than a 
friendship in taking this step? He could 
not know; he wished it might be so, and yet 
he would not have her suffer pain in her 


138 


Provincetown 


religious choice. He felt himself forbidden 
to open the question of the expediency of 
her decision. He could but acquiesce, at 
the same time thanking God for the privilege 
of having known so sweet and unsullied a 
spirit as this one who was about to pass out 
of his life forever. He rose presently and 
said: “More than ever I thank you for more 
than I can ever tell you. Good-by.’’ He 
supposed that it was a final good-by. 

Not long afterwards Willie Smart ac¬ 
companied the minister down the river— 
the one to the recruiting stjhtion, where he 
was determined to enlist in the army; the 
other to the chaplain’s school, preparatory 
to taking service in the national army. 
In the course of time both went overseas 
and took part in the great struggle. Delmar 
Forrest had ceased to be the pastor of 
Provincetown Church, and naturally our 
history ceases at this point, and thus ends 
the chapter. With the reader it is left to 
estimate the value of the work that was ac¬ 
complished in that brief year and a half. 
If it were possible for him to know Province- 
town as it was before and after the great 
revival and the subsequent moral outreach- 
ings from that work of God, he would be in 


The Call of God 


139 


position to prescribe the one thing needful 
for our country in the large while these days 
of unrest, social dissipation, a,nd mad money 
getting are trying men’s souls. 


There are some subsequent events touch¬ 
ing persons at Provincetown that could not 
chronologically be included in our narrative, 
which ended with the pastor’s entering the 
army service. The writer feels that, in 
recognition of the kindness of the readers in 
following the preceding pages, a few of these 
events should be told. 

Dr. Clare was as good as his word and 
pursued his devoted course until hastily 
summoned to the infant of O’Neal and Ma¬ 
rion Black. He performed tracheotomy to 
relieve membranous croup. The deposit 
and infiltration were such that the air pas¬ 
sage was not relieved by the incision; he 
applied his lips and opened the passage. 
The child lived and bears the name of his 
benefactor, but the good Doctor did not sur¬ 
vive the violent infection that followed his 
heroic act. 

Hammersley profited enormously by the 
war prices of cotton and bought the planta¬ 
tion he had been renting. His fortune con- 



140 


Provincetown 


tinned to increase, and he built a handsome 
high school for Negro youths and provided 
a permanent endowment fund as a means of 
gathering the Negro children and youth from 
the plantations and transporting them to the 
Hammersley High School, where they might 
daily enjoy the advantages of an education 
wisely adapted to their nepds. 

Thompson also increased in fortune and 
led in a movement that resulted in the build¬ 
ing of a beautiful brick church in Province- 
town, one suggestive of the things that the 
Church stands for, an object lesson to all 
passers and a permanent testimony in 
material things to the spiritual values that 
a man can find in secular business. The pipe 
organ was installed at Mrs. Thompson’s 
expense. Carefully planned rooms for Sun¬ 
day school. League, and social gatherings 
made possible the linking up of the manifold 
interest of the young people with this house 
of God. 

The marriage of Leomi Honeycutt proved 
a happy one, and her own and her husband’s 
remarkable conversion were followed by a 
life of useful service. They are determined 
that their children shall be brought up in 
the nurture of the Lord. They do not visit 


The Call of God 


141 


Provincetown, but dispense hospitality in 
their city home to Mrs. LaVergne’s former 
fellow townspeople who, on^ business or 
pleasure bent, visit the city where Mr. 
LaVergne has become a financial pillar, 
manager of the vast jobbing concern that 
he formerly represented. 

Willie Smart did not return from France. 
When the news of his death came with the 
casualty lists from Chateau-Thierry, Doro¬ 
thy Biggs put on mourning. The minister 
did come back. In his uniform he preached 
the commencement sermon at Scarritt Bible 
and Training School and almost forgot his 
text when he perceived among the graduates 
Mabel Satterfield in deaconess uniform. 
Explanations resolved the mystery. She 
had failed to find the peace for which she 
looked at the sisterhood school and, learn¬ 
ing about Scarritt, had found there what 
she sought, the vital, free, spontaneous ex¬ 
pressions of Christian faith, and unpledged 
had gone through the course of study and 
was now about to become a deaconess. 
The preacher walked out upon the grounds 
and about Norledge Place with his former 
fellow worker after the exercises and talked 
of experiences in France and in Province- 


142 


Provincetown 


town. He said: *‘When I last saw you I 
thanked you for what you had been to me. 
It was in my heart then to ask you to become 
even more, far more, sweet as had been our 
friendship in the Master's work. May I 
ask it now?” 

'‘You may,” she said coyly. The glad¬ 
ness of his expression faded as she said with 
a smile: “But I have not said I would, only 
that you may ask.” 

“But won’t you?” 

She anticipated a formula and simply 
said: “I will.” She blushed as she tele- 
pathically perceived that he was thinking 
about the marriage ceremony, which her 
words had su/ggested. 

In due time the marriage was solemnized, 
and in earnest she said the “I will.” Tom 
Strong and Joe Lane wore long-tailed coats 
as ushers on the occasion, and Mrs. Thomp¬ 
son’s great organ pealed out the wedding 
march for the first time in its history. 

Marx never returned to Provincetown, 
hence perhaps does not belong in this sequel; 
but is a gospel complete that does not reach 
the Circumcision? Delmar sent him the 
announcement cards of his marriage with 
Mabel Satterfield and accompanied them 


The Call of God 


143 


by a note expressive of real regret that dis- 
tai\ce made it impossible for the friends to 
be together on this occasion. A full and 
cordial reply contained the welcome narra¬ 
tive of a remarkable experience. On the 
battle field, during a lull of the storm of 
shrapnel, a vision of the Christ* had come to 
the young Alsatian so vivid that he had 
stood silent and amazed awaiting a word. 
The vision faded in a time the length of 
which he could not estimate, for he had 
seemed to be in a timeless world with noth¬ 
ing like lapse or change with which to com¬ 
pare his experiences. Whether he was in the 
body or out of the body, he could not tell. 
In the first moments of his returning normal 
consciousness, after the vision had faded 
away, the young Jew became aware of a 
change that had occured in his whole horizon 
of thought and consciousness; the central 
certainty of his soul was the living Christ. 
He explained in his letter that his habit of 
thought was too rational to admit of failure 
to attempt an analysis of this strange and 
transforming experience. He had concluded 
that the vision was psychological and in¬ 
duced by the abnormal conditions of the 
battle field, with its horrors and its passions. 


144 


Provincetown 


during which he had uttered from the depth 
of an agonized heart the ejaculation: 
for the saving Christ, if there ever was such 
a being!” “But,” continued the letter, 
“ I do not see why God Almighty should not 
use the processes of the mind, whether by 
dream, reasoned thought, or hallucination, 
to effect faith in a soul that would receive 
the truth. Whatever the explanation, 
Christ, the hope of Israel, is now my hope. 
Like Saul of Tarsus, I can say: ‘He appeared 
last of all to me.^” The letter concluded 
with an intimation that the writer would be 
glad to offer his humble service to the Meth¬ 
odist mission in France as soon as plans were 
sufficiently advanced for such a step. 


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