XXV. Another Scandal And Another "Explanation"
Faith went early to Sunday School and was seated in the corner of her class pew
before any one came. Therefore, the dreadful truth did not burst upon any one
until Faith left the class pew near the door to walk up to the manse pew after
Sunday School. The church was already half filled and all who were sitting near
the aisle saw that the minister's daughter had boots on but no stockings!
Faith's new brown dress, which Aunt Martha had made from an ancient pattern,
was absurdly long for her, but even so it did not meet her boot-tops. Two good
inches of bare white leg showed plainly.
Faith and Carl sat alone in the manse pew. Jerry had gone into the gallery to sit
with a chum and the Blythe girls had taken Una with them. The Meredith children
were given to "sitting all over the church" in this fashion and a great many people
thought it very improper. The gallery especially, where irresponsible lads
congregated and were known to whisper and suspected of chewing tobacco
during service, was no place, for a son of the manse. But Jerry hated the manse
pew at the very top of the church, under the eyes of Elder Clow and his family.
He escaped from it whenever he could.
Carl, absorbed in watching a spider spinning its web at the window, did not notice
Faith's legs. She walked home with her father after church and he never noticed
them. She got on the hated striped stockings before Jerry and Una arrived, so
that for the time being none of the occupants of the manse knew what she had
done. But nobody else in Glen St. Mary was ignorant of it. The few who had not
seen soon heard. Nothing else was talked of on the way home from church. Mrs.
Alec Davis said it was only what she expected, and the next thing you would see
some of those young ones coming to church with no clothes on at all. The
president of the Ladies' Aid decided that she would bring the matter up at the
next Aid meeting, and suggest that they wait in a body on the minister and
protest. Miss Cornelia said that she, for her part, gave up. There was no use
worrying over the manse fry any longer. Even Mrs. Dr. Blythe felt a little shocked,
though she attributed the occurrence solely to Faith's forgetfulness. Susan could
not immediately begin knitting stockings for Faith because it was Sunday, but she
had one set up before any one else was out of bed at Ingleside the next morning.
"You need not tell me anything but that it was old Martha's fault, Mrs. Dr. dear."
she told Anne. "I suppose that poor little child had no decent stockings to wear. I
suppose every stocking she had was in holes, as you know very well they
generally are. And _I_ think, Mrs. Dr. dear, that the Ladies' Aid would be better
employed in knitting some for them than in fighting over the new carpet for the
pulpit platform. _I_ am not a Ladies' Aider, but I shall knit Faith two pairs of
stockings, out of this nice black yarn, as fast as my fingers can move and that
you may tie to. Never shall I forget my sensations, Mrs. Dr. dear, when I saw a
minister's child walking up the aisle of our church with no stockings on. I really
did not know what way to look."
"And the church was just full of Methodists yesterday, too," groaned Miss
Cornelia, who had come up to the Glen to do some shopping and run into