After the sermon was over, an elder took
his place at a table within the rails, and the real business of the
Somebody in the Amen corner struck up a tune that had
no end, but a mighty power of setting the congregation in motion.
The leader had a voice like the pleasant droning of a bag-pipe, and
the faculty of emitting a continuous note like that instrument,
without stopping to breathe. It went on and on like a Bach fugue,
winding and whining its way, turning the corners of the lines of the
catch without a break. The effect was soon visible in the emotional
crowd: feet began to move in a regular cadence and voices to join in,
with spurts of ejaculation; and soon, with an air of martyrdom, the
members began to leave their seats and pass before the table and
deposit their contributions. It was a cent contribution, and we
found it very difficult, under the contagious influence of the hum
from the Amen corner, not to rise and go forward and deposit a cent.
If anything could extract the pennies from a reluctant worldling, it
would be the buzzing of this tune. It went on and on, until the
house appeared to be drained dry of its cash; and we inferred by the
stopping of the melody that the preacher's salary was secure for the
time being. On inquiring, we ascertained that the pecuniary flood
that evening had risen to the height of a dollar and sixty cents.
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