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The Repairing of Sam Brown


Chapter I - part 2

          “There’s a man at the front door,  Sam,” whispered his wife, “a book agent, I guess,” she added as she whisked off her apron and closed the kitchen door.
          “It’s Richards himself,” said her husband, looking. “I’ll invite him in.” But Sarah disappeared into the rear sanctum, not caring to meet such a monstrosity.
          He didn’t come in. They talked a while at the door, and when he was gone, she rejoined her husband, who now carried the book the repair man had brought.
          “If it don’t beat all, Sarah,” he blurted out. “He wasn’t trying to sell that book he had under his arm. Here it is. It’s a concordance, if you know what that is. It helps you find any text you want in the Bible, by the words used in it. He said he brought it over so it would be easier for us to find all those Sunday texts I spoke about.”
          “That’s rubbing it in, isn’t it?” asked Sarah.
          “No, he doesn’t seem to be a bit sarcastic. He’s so plagued courteous that it’s impossible to get mad at him. I never saw such a man.
          “You haven’t got a bit of fighting spirit in you, Sam Brown, and I’m ashamed of you. You’ll be a Saturday keeper yourself yet,” declared Sarah.
          “Never you fear, little woman. That man’s got to be set right; that’s all. And I’m the man to do it.  He’s just a flat  tire, and needs mending and pumping up. Some religious fanatic has sideswiped him hard. He’s got to be repaired.”
          After some coaxing and chiding on Sam’s part, Sarah was persuaded to take the charitable view, and that night the Browns planned their campaign. They got out the big family Bible and thumbed it through, and delved into the concordance to get its lineup and how to use it.
          The man of the house had turned over to the first books of the Bible.
          “Good; here’s what we want, right here,” he burst forth exultantly. “Here is page after page headed ‘Sunday laws and ordinances.’ Now we will settle Richards.”
          Sarah peered over his shoulder to where his positive finger pointed. “Samuel Billington Brown,” she scolded. “I’ve been telling you all along that you need specs. That proves it. That isn’t Sunday, that’s sundry!” Sam looked closer, and his face fell.
          “Gimme that concordance, woman,” he said rather crossly, “and let’s begin by listing all the texts with the word Sunday in them. You get paper and pencil and take them down as I call them off. Ah, here’s one, in Hebrews 1:1.’Sunday times,’—sounds like a newspaper, doesn’t it?” His wife wanted to make sure; so she turned to the place in the Bible.
          “Here,” she urged, “take my glasses if you can’t see straight. Again that is sundry, not Sunday. ‘God, who at sundry times and in divers manners spake in time past unto the fathers by the prophets,’ and so on. Let me have it, Sam, and I’ll see how many times the word Sunday is found.
          Crestfallen, he handed it over. A man hates to yield to a woman, least of all to his wife, when it comes to seeing through a thing. Sarah looked down the columns of small print carefully; but to her chagrin could not find the word Sunday mentioned once in the Bible. As if this failure on her part vindicated him, her husband’s spirits rose.
          “Maybe that isn’t a complete concordance, and doesn’t give all the words,” he suggested helpfully.
          She turned to the title page. “It says here it is complete, and lists every word. Well, that’s news to me. But, I just happened to think. Sunday is the first day of the week; and it speaks of the first day of the week in the Bible. There’s a text that says,  ‘Forsake  not  the  assembling  of  yourselves together on the first day of the week.’  Let’s find that.”
          But they could not find that either, the nearest approach to it being Hebrews 10:25, which did not say that at all. So they decided that they were up against a real problem, for whose solution they would have to use their best thinking powers, and also turn to wiser heads for help. Sam Brown and his wife Sarah were known to their neighbors as conscientious Christians, regular in church attendance, and honest to a fault. Nothing before had ever so gotten inside their religious armor as this. They would have to look to their guns; and were determined to do it. This was now no small matter to be turned aside with a laugh. So far, the laugh seemed to be on them; and the experience was humiliating.