MAISIE'S FIRST MEETING
IT was a dark winter morning. Maisie lay quiet in her little white bed. She had just opened her eyes and was blinking to get awake. Suddenly her ears told her something. "Maisie, the rain is racing down the rainpipe." Now her mind woke up. "Today is Sunday," it said, "and I am afraid it will be pretty long. You cannot take the usual afternoon walk with your father, nor play in the garden."
Maisie pulled the covers up almost to her ears, and would have taken another nap had not a voice called to her,"Jump up, daughter, it is breakfast time." Then Maisie sprang out of bed.
An hour later the meal was finished and she had run up the street to Cousin Sarah's doorstep. Maisie had no rubbers nor raincoat. She was a little English girl, so she wore heavy shoes with thick soles, and because it was raining she had on a dark blue flannel dress, a dark blue flannel cape and a blue cap.
Maisie always went to Bible school with Cousin Sarah. "Why does she not come to the door?" said Maisie, knocking again. Cousin Sarah opened it that very minute with a "Good morning, dearie, we must hurry." And they started.
It rained as they went to Bible school. It rained harder while they were having the lesson. It rained hardest of all as the children sang the closing hymn.
"How shall I get to church with father and mother?" thought Maisie. "I wonder if they will expect me?" Then Bible school was over and she was standing by Cousin Sarah.
"I think you would better come to meeting with me to-day," that lady said. "I am sure that your mother would think it best."
Maisie smiled, and Cousin Sarah put her hand on the little girl's shoulder as they stepped quietly through a doorway into a dull-looking room. They took their places four benches from the front, where some Friends were already sitting in silence.
Maisie kept still a few minutes. She was thinking, "It is so quiet; will they never sing?" But no one seemed likely to. She changed her position. Cousin Sarah pulled a little stool out from under the bench. "Put your feet on this," she said softly.
"Why do Friends want everything brown?" thought Maisie. "Don't they like pretty, bright windows and red carpet?" Turning to Cousin Sarah, Maisie was about to ask the question when she noticed that all the Friends sat with bowed heads. They seemed far away. "They are not away," thought Maisie, "they are really here. Maybe they are with God, and that makes them seem away." Cousin Sarah had once said to Maisie, "God meets with Friends in the silence."
Maisie sat quietly looking at the Friend on the front bench. "I believe God is speaking to her," Maisie thought. "Her face shines as Moses' face shone when God talked to him."
Maisie glanced around the room for a time, but there was nothing to interest her. Soon she was looking up into the Friend's face again.
"Maybe God wonders why I don't talk to Him," she thought. Then two lines came into her head:
In this quiet meeting hour
Teach me, Jesus, of thy power.
Maisie liked the little verse she had made. She said it in a quiet whisper several times. She seemed to see a picture of Jesus laying his hands on a sick boy's head. She could see the boy smile and look as though his pain were better.
Then the tinkle, tinkle of the rain was so loud that Maisie could not see the picture of Jesus any more. But a happy feeling came into her heart, and she thought, "To-morrow, if it doesn't rain, I'll take 'Muff' over for Molly, the lame girl, to pet. She never had a big Angora pussy-cat."
Then suddenly Cousin Sarah leaned over and kissed Maisie. The Friends were shaking hands, and meeting was over.
"Has everyone talked to God all she needs to this morning, Cousin Sarah?" said Maisie.
"I talked to Him, too," said Maisie. And Cousin Sarah kissed the little girl again as they started toward the door.