Philip Strong could not decide what was best to do.
The postman that evening had brought him two letters and he had just finished reading them. He sat with his hands clasped over his knee, leaning back in his chair and looking out through his study window. He was evidently thinking very hard and the two letters were the cause of it.
Finally he rose, went to his study door and called down the stairs,"Sarah, I wish you would come up here. I want your help."
"All right, Philip, I'll be up in a minute," responded a voice from below, and very soon the minister's wife came upstairs into her husband's study.
"What's the matter?" she said, as she came into the room. "It must be something very serious, for you don't call me up here unless you are in great distress. You remember the last time you called me, you had shut the tassel of your dressing-gown under the lid of your writing desk and I had to cut you loose. You aren't fast anywhere now, are you?"
Philip smiled quaintly. "Yes, I am. I'm in a strait betwixt two. Let me read these letters and you will see." So he began at once, and we will copy the letters, omitting dates.CALVARY CHURCH, MILTON. REV. PHILIP STRONG.
DEAR SIR:—At a meeting of the Milton Calvary Church, held last week, it was voted unanimously to extend you a call to become pastor of this church at a salary of two thousand dollars a year. We trust that you will find it in accordance with the will of the Head of the Church to accept this decision on the part of Calvary Church and become its pastor. The church is in good condition and has the hearty support of most of the leading families in the town. It is the strongest in membership and financially of the seven principal churches here. We await your reply, confidently hoping you will decide to come to us. We have been without a settled pastor now for nearly a year, since the death of Dr. Brown, and we have united upon you as the person most eminently fitted to fill the pulpit of Calvary Church. The grace of our Lord be with you. In behalf of the Church,
WILLIAM WINTER, Chairman of the Board of Trustees.
"What do you think of that, Sarah?" asked Philip Strong, as he finished the letter.
"Two thousand dollars is twice as much as you are getting now, Philip."
"What, you mercenary little creature, do you think of the salary first?"
"If I did not think of it once in a while, I doubt if you would have a decent meal or a good suit of clothes," replied the minister's wife, looking at him with a smile.
"Oh, well, that may be, Sarah. But let me read you the other letter," he went on without discussing the salary matter.CHAPEL HILL, CHURCH, ELMDALE REV. PHILIP STRONG,
DEAR BROTHER:—At a meeting of the Elmdale Chapel Hill Church, held last week Thursday, it was unanimously voted to extend you a call to become pastor of the church at a salary of $2,000 a year, with two months' vacation, to be selected at your own convenience. The Chapel Hill Church is in a prosperous condition, and many of the members recall your career in the college with much pleasure....