PAST AND PRESENT
B EING left to myself, up there, I went on picking out old houses in the distant town, and calling back their former inmates out of the moldy past. Among them I presently recognized the house of the father of Lem Hackett (fictitious name). It carried me back more than a generation in a moment, and landed me in the midst of a time when the happenings of life were not the natural and logical results of great general laws, but of special orders, and were freighted with very precise and distinct purposes -- partly punitive in intent, partly admonitory; and usually local in application.
When I was a small boy, Lem Hackett was drowned--on a Sunday. He fell out of an empty flatboat, where he was playing. Being loaded with sin, he went to the bottom like an anvil. He was the only boy in the village who slept that night. We others all lay awake, repenting. We had not needed the information, delivered from the pulpit that evening, that Lem's was a case of special judgment--we knew that, already. There was a ferocious thunder-storm that night, and it raged continuously until near dawn. The wind blew, the windows rattled, the rain swept along the roof in