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The Extra Day

20.
But Differently
Church was very--that is, they enjoyed the service very much, without knowing precisely
why they liked it. They joined in the hymns with more energy than usual, because they
felt "singy" and knew the tunes as well. Colonel Stumper handed round one of the bags
at the end of a long pole--and, though the clergyman didn't look at all as if he required
feeding, the threepenny bits dropped in without the least regret on the part of the
contributors. Tim's coin, however, having been squeezed for several minutes before the
bag came round, stuck to his moist finger, and Stumper, thinking he had nothing to put
in, drove the long handle past him towards Maria. That same instant the coin came un-
stuck, and dropped with a rattle into the aisle. Come- Back Stumper stooped to recover
it. Whereupon, to Judy, Tim and Uncle Felix, watching him, came a sudden feeling of
familiarity, as though all this had happened before. The bent figure, groping after the
hidden coin, seemed irresistibly familiar. It was very odd, they thought, very odd indeed.
Where--when--had they seen him groping before like that, almost on all fours? But no
one, of course, could remark upon it, and it was only Tim and Judy who exchanged a
brief, significant glance. Maria, being asleep, did not witness it, nor did she contribute to
the feeding of the clergyman either.
There followed a short sermon, of which they heard only the beginning, the end, and
certain patches in the middle when the preacher raised his voice abruptly, but the text,
they all agreed, was "Seek and ye shall find." During the delivery of the portions that
escaped them, Tim scratched his head and thought about rabbits, while Judy's mind
hesitated between various costumes in the pews in front of her, unable to decide which
she would wear when she reached the age of its respective owner.
And so, in due course, feeling somehow that something very real had been
accomplished, they streamed out with the rest of the congregation into the blazing
summer sunshine. Expectant, inquisitive and hungry, they stood between the yew trees
and the porch, yawning and fidgeting until Uncle Felix gave the signal to start. The
sunlight made them blink. There was something of pleasurable excitement in knowing
themselves part of a "Congregation," for a Congregation was distantly connected with
"metropolis" and "govunment," and an important kind of thing at any time.
They stood and watched it. It scattered slowly, loth to separate and go. There was no
hurry certainly. People talked in lowered voices, as if conversation after service was
against the rules, and the church and graves might overhear; they smiled, but not too
gaily; they seemed subdued; yet really they wanted to sing and dance--once safely out
 
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