———- The need of some means of prompt communication between the clergyman in the pulpit and the sexton at the other end of the church has long been apparent. There are constantly arising contingencies in which it is absolutely necessary that the minister should communicate with the sexton. For example, the minister needs a glass of water, or, in the case of Dr. Talmage, a lotion for a sprained leg. He needs to ask a question of a vestryman, or he needs to have a warden woke up, or a crying babe removed. In these circumstances the aid of the sexton is indispensable ; but as that functionary is at the extreme end of the church, and is perhaps absorbed in watching a pew full of boys who are on the point of breaking into open disorder, his attention cannot be attracted. Many plans have been devised by ingenious ministers to establish communication with the sexton. The Rev. Mr. Cam, a popular Presbyterian minister in the interior of the State, invented a system of signalling his sexton which had very marked merits. He caused awire to be run from the pulpit to the sexton’s pew, where it connected with a pair of leather-coated iron clamps, so constructed that when the wire was pulled the clamps would gently pinch the sexton’s leg. The wire ran underneath the flooring of the meeting-house, and the clamps were concealed under the sexton’s seat, so that no one except the minister and the sexton was aware of the existence of the sacred telegraph. It was found to work beautifully. -When the minister wanted water he pulled the wire once. Two pulls ment that he wanted to speak to the sexton, and three pulls meant “ turn up the gas.” The congregation wondered how it happend the service went so smoothly, and that the sexton always did the right thing at the right time, but they were destined to make a painful discovery of the true state of affairs. On the last Sunday in June of this year the sexton brought with him to the morning service his middleaged maiden aunt, who was paying him a brief visit, and whose heir he hoped to be. By some unexplained accident he forgot all !about the signal wire, and showed the aunt into tlfe seat which he ’ ordinarily occupied,, and was obliged to take another seat on the opposite side of the aisle. Directly behind the aunt sat Deacon Brown, one of the pillars of the congregation —an aged man of the most unblemished character. The minister had begun his sermon, and just finished the exordium, when he felt thirsty, and signalled for a glass of water. To his surprise there was no answer made to the signal. Probably the maiden aunt was more surprised than the minister, for as soon as she felt the soft pressure of the clamps she started in great alarm, and, turning her head, gave the innocent deacon a look of indignant virtue.. The latter betrayed no sign of guilt, but continued togaze steadily at the pulpit with a peaceful and happy expression of face. Presently the minister, thinking that the sexton must .have failed to understand the signal, pulled the wire again. The maiden aunt, with her cheeks glowing with rage, turned once more to the placid and unsuspecting deacon and whispered fiercely to him that “he had better be have himself or she’d let him know.” 'The good man, thinking that a lunatic was in front of him, paid no attention to the remark, and in a few more moments was once more wrapped in the sermon. By this time the minister, becoming extremely thirsty, gave the signal for the sexton to come to the pulpit. What was his horror to see, instead of the sexton, an infuriated maiden aunt rise to .her feet and fall upon Deacon Brown with her umbrella, and an evident purpose of exterminating that offensive man. Of course the sexton rushed to the rescue and dragged his aunt away. Though the mystery of the clamps was subsequently explained to her, the explanation only turned her indignation from the deacon to the minister, who, she said, ought to be ashamed of himself, and deserved to be tarred and feathered. The upshot of the affair was that the sacred telegraph was removed, and the minister now preaches without water, and is completely cut off from his sexton during service.— JNew York Times.
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Pulpit Signals., Ashburton Guardian, Volume 2, Issue 186, 6 November 1880
Pulpit Signals. Ashburton Guardian, Volume 2, Issue 186, 6 November 1880
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