Sunday, October 31

"It chanced that the Sunday morning that we were there [in Provincetown
harbor], I had joined a party of men who were smoking and lolling over a
pile of boards on one of the wharves, (nihil humanum a me, &c.,) when
our landlord, who was a sort of tithing-man, went off to stop some sailors
who were engaged in painting their vessel. Our party was recruited from
time to time by other citizens, who came rubbing their eyes as if they had
just got out of bed; and one old man remarked to me that it was the custom
there to lie abed very late on Sunday, it being a day of rest. I remarked
that, as I thought, they might as well let the man paint, for all us. It was not
noisy work, and would not disturb our devotions. But a young man in the
company, taking his pipe out of his mouth, said that it was a plain contra-
diction of the law of God, which he quoted, and if they did not have some
such regulation, vessels would run in there to tar, and rig, and paint, and
they would have no Sabbath at all. This was a good argument enough, if
he had not put it in the name of religion. The next summer, as I sat on a
hill there one sultry Sunday afternoon, the meeting-house windows being
open, my meditations were interrupted by the noise of a preacher who
shouted like a boatswain, profaning the quiet atmosphere, and who, I
fancied, must have taken off his coat. Few things could have been more
disgusting or disheartening. I wished the tithing-man would stop him."

--Henry David Thoreau

fr. Cape Cod (1865)
[New York: The Library of America, 1985]

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