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Rambling Notes of an Idle Excursion             273
pretty tough things in it—there ain't any getting around that — but you stick to them and think them out, and when once you get on the inside everything's plain as day."
"The miracles, too, captain?"
"Yes, sir! the miracles, too. Everyone of them. Now, there's that business with the prophets of Baal; like enough that stumped you?"
" Well, I don't know but—"
"Own up now; it stumped you. Well, I don't wonder. You hadn't had any experience in raveling such things out, and naturally it was too many for you. Would you like to have me explain that thing to you, and show you how to get at the meat of these matters?"
" Indeed, I would, captain, if you don't mind."
Then the captain proceeded as follows: " I'll do it with pleasure. First, you see, I read and read, and thought and thought, till I got to understand what sort of people they were in the old Bible times, and then after that it was all clear and easy. Now this was the way I put it up, concerning Isaac* and the prophets of Baal. There was some mighty sharp men among the public characters of that old ancient day, and Isaac was one of them. Isaac had his failings — plenty of them, too; it ain't for me to apologize for Isaac; he played it on the prophets of Baal, and like enough he was justifiable, considering the odds that was against him. No, all I say is, 'twa'n't any miracle, and that I'll show you so's't you can see it yourself.
"Well, times had been getting rougher and rougher for prophets — that is, prophets of Isaac's denomina­tion. There was four hundred and fifty prophets of Baal in the community, and only one Presbyterian; that is, if Isaac was a Presbyterian, which I reckon he was, but it don't say. Naturally, the prophets of Baal
* This is the captain's own mistake, 18**