He went to her—softly closing to but not latching the door of his sister's room—to ascertain what she wanted, but with fear and trembling.
"Please get me a glass of warm milk," she said to him.
"There is some brandy—" he began.
"No; milk, if you please," she returned, and disappeared within the room.
A few minutes later he handed the glass in to her and the door was shut again.
Another endless hour and a half he passed sitting upon a balcony that opened off the same floor, waiting—waiting for he knew not what.
Then Mrs. Minturn came to him with the empty tumbler in her hand.
"Have it filled again, please," she said.
"Is it for—Dorothy?"
"Yes; she has taken what you brought before and asked for more."
"Asked!" and in spite of his professional self-poise the man's heart bounded into his throat.
"Yes, she is awake; is perfectly conscious and free from pain, though weak, to sense; but we know that God is omnipresent strength," Mrs. Minturn replied, with an assurance that proved to him she was confidently resting upon the Rock of Ages, and which also inspired him with hope.
When he returned with the milk he longed to go in and see for himself how the child was progressing, but Mrs. Minturn stood in the aperture of the half-opened door, and he instinctively knew that his presence was not desired.
As she took the glass from him she inquired:
"Is Mrs. Seabrook sleeping?"
"I think so—she was when I left her."
"Pray let her rest," said his companion; "but if she should wake tell her that Dorrie is more comfortable; that I shall remain with her all night and do not wish to be disturbed. And you, Dr. Stanley"—with gentle authority—"you must try to rest also; you may safely trust the child to God, and with me as His sentinel, for she is doing well. But first, if you will slip over to the house and ask Katherine to send my night-wrapper I can make myself more comfortable; just drop it outside the door, then go to bed and 'be not faithless but believing,' Good-night."
She softly closed the door, and the man went obediently to do her bidding; while, "after the storm there was a great calm" in his heart.
Phillip Stanley sped across the street to do his errand and inquired for Katherine.
She heard his voice and went directly to him when he told her what her mother had just said about Dorrie, and the light that leaped into her great brown eyes inspired him with fresh hope.
"Ah! mamma is holding her in the 'secret place,' and we know she is safe," she said, in a reverent tone.
She quickly brought the wrapper; then, with a brief handclasp, he bade her "good-night" and retraced his steps.
Before going upstairs he sought the kitchen, where the cook was lingering, thinking something might be needed, and ordered a dainty lunch prepared; then, taking both tray and garment, he left them at Dorrie's door and passed on to the next room to find his sister just waking.
"Phillip!" she cried, starting up, "I have been asleep!"
"Yes, Emelie, for more than three hours, I am glad to say."
"Oh, how inconsiderate of me! And—Dorrie?" she questioned, in a quavering voice.
"Is more comfortable. She has been awake twice, and had two glasses of milk," replied her brother, as he laid a gentle, but restraining hand upon her shoulder, for she was on the point of rising.
She regarded him wonderingly.
"Phillip! I can't believe it! I must go to her," she said, almost breathless.
"No; Mrs. Minturn is going to remain all night. She says she is not to be disturbed, and we must respect her wishes," said Dr. Stanley, authoritatively. "She will call you if you are needed, but says she wants us both to rest, if possible. Now lie down again, dear, and I will sit in the Morris chair in the hall, to be near if you wish to speak to me."
Mrs. Seabrook sat irresolute a moment, her eyes anxious and yearning.
"Emelie, you have voluntarily given Dorrie into God's hands; now prove that you trust Him," her companion gravely admonished.
She looked up at him and smiled.
"Yes, I will; and I believe that 'His hand is not shortened that it cannot save, nor His ear heavy that it cannot hear,'" she replied, and immediately lay back upon her pillow.
Her brother covered her with a shawl, then left her with a thankful heart, for he knew she was sadly in need of rest.
Going to his room, he secured his copy of "Science and Health," and, retracing his steps, settled himself to read by the table in the hall, which was often used as a sitting room.
As he sat down he observed that Mrs. Minturn's wrapper and the tray had disappeared; then he became absorbed in his book.
The next he knew a hand was laid softly on his shoulder, and, starting erect, he saw that a new day was just breaking and Mrs. Minturn standing beside him, looking as fresh and serene as if she had just come from hours of sweet repose instead of from a long night's vigil.
"Dorrie is hungry," she said, "and I think it would be well if you would arouse one of the maids and have something nice prepared for her."
"I will; what shall it be?" said the man, springing nimbly to his feet, but scarcely able to credit his ears.
"A dropped egg and a slice of toast, with a glass of milk, will perhaps be forthcoming as quickly as any-thing—"
"Wait, Phil—don't call anyone. I will get it," interposed Mrs. Seabrook's voice, just behind them. "Dorrie hungry!" she added, wonderingly. She had heard Mrs. Minturn's request, and hurried out to convince herself that she was not dreaming.
"Yes, so she says," said Mrs. Minturn, smiling serenely into the questioning eyes, "and when her breakfast is ready I think she will prove the truth of her words to you."
Away sped the mother, marveling at what she had heard, but with a hymn of praise thrilling her heart; and, ten minutes later, as she moved lightly over the stairs again, she heard a sweet, though weak, voice saying:
"Listen, Mrs. Minturn!—just hear the birds sing!"
Phillip Stanley heard it also, as he sat in the hall, his head bowed upon his hands, while great tears rolled over his cheeks and dropped unheeded on the floor; and, as the feathered choristers without sweetly chirped their tuneful matins, his grateful heart responded with reverent joy—"Glory to God in the highest."
As Mrs. Seabrook entered Dorrie's room and saw the change in the loved face—still very thin and white, it is true, but with a look of peace on the brow, the eyes bright, the pale lips wreathed with smiles—her composure well-nigh forsook her.
"Mamma, hear the birds!—and it isn't sunrise yet!" she said again, as her mother approached her.
"Yes, dear; but I hear what is far sweeter music to me," the woman replied, making a huge effort at self-control. "So you are hungry, Dorrie!" she added, bending to kiss the lips uplifted to greet her.
"Yes, really and truly hungry, and so happy; for my cold and the pain are all gone. How kind of Mrs. Minturn to stay with me! Did you sleep, mamma?"
"Like a kitten, dear. I think we have a great deal to thank Mrs. Minturn for," said Mrs. Seabrook, bending a grateful look upon her friend.
"That tastes good," Dorrie observed, as she partook, with evident relish, of the delicately prepared egg, "and how nicely you do toast bread! It looks almost like gold."
She was silent a moment, then resumed:
"Mamma, I wish you could have heard how beautifully Mrs. Minturn talked to me, last night, every time I awoke; and repeated such lovely things from the Bible. Of course, I have heard them before, but, somehow, they sound different as she says them."
"And you begin to see that God never made or intended anyone to be sick or suffer; that it is your right to be well and strong. You will try to think of that often to-day, will you not, Dorothy?" said Mrs. Minturn, as she lifted the small hand near her, to find no fever but a gentle moisture in the palm, instead.
"Yes, and I've a better idea now of what Miss Katherine once said about God—that He is Mind and perfect, and if we would let this perfect Mind rule us we would be well. What was that you read me from your little book about it feeding the body?" the girl earnestly inquired.
"'Mind constantly feeds the body with supernal freshness and fairness,'" [Footnote: "Science and Health," page 248.] quoted Mrs. Minturn.
"Yes, that was it; if that is true, people should never be sick," said Dorothy, with a little sigh. "No, and they would not be if they only knew how to let the divine Mind control them. You are going to learn how, Dorothy, and so find yourself growing strong and well with every day," said Mrs. Minturn, with a cheery smile.
"I wish I knew more about it," Dorothy wistfully observed. "Mamma, why cannot we have a book like Mrs. Minturn's?"
"We will have, dear," was the prompt response. "Have you had enough?"—as the girl gently put away the half-eaten slice of toast.
"Yes, when I have had the milk." She drank it all and then lay back, smiling contentedly. "It is so nice not to have any pain," she added; "it makes me love everybody. Ha! Uncle Phil"—for the man was peering in at the door, unable to keep away a moment longer—"come here and I will kiss you 'good-morning.'"
Mrs. Seabrook could bear no more and stole away with her tray to hide the tears she could no longer restrain.
Mrs. Minturn followed her.
"I am going now," she said, "but I shall continue to work for Dorrie all day, at intervals, and will run over now and then. All is going well, so 'be not afraid, only believe.'"
"How can I ever express what is in my heart?" faltered Mrs. Seabrook, tears raining over her face.
"You do not need to try, for I know it all, having once been almost where Dorrie seemed to be last night," her friend returned. "But do not make a marvel of it—just know that God's ways are 'divinely natural,' and that it is unnatural for anything but health and harmony to exist in His universe. I have left my book, and you can read to her if she expresses a wish to have you do so."
There were very grateful, reverent hearts in the Hunt cottage that day and during the days that followed, for Dorothy continued to improve rapidly and steadily, and there was no return of the old pain that had made life so wretched for her for years.
The fourth day after her long night-watch Mrs. Minturn sent a roomy carriage—the back seat piled with down coverlids—"to take them all for a drive."
Dr. Stanley, still governed largely by the "old thought," would have vetoed such a suggestion under different circumstances, and claimed that the child was still too weak to attempt anything of the kind. But he felt that he, himself, was now under orders, and meekly refrained from even expressing an opinion.
So they thankfully accepted their neighbor's kindness, and when he saw Dorrie's delight in being once more out of doors, when he met her dancing eyes and noted the faint color coming into her cheeks and lips, and every day realized that she was getting stronger, something within seemed to tell him that she would yet be well; and—figuratively speaking—he reverently took off his materia medica hat to Mrs. Minturn and secretly registered the vow of Ruth to Naomi—"Thy people shall be my people and thy God my God."
One evening, after Dorothy was in bed and asleep, he came upon his sister in the upper hall reading "Science and Health," and he smiled, for since the night of their great trial she had literally devoured the book every spare moment she could get.
"Have you written Will anything about our recent experiences?" he inquired, as she glanced up at him.
"No; and I am not going to—just yet. Of course, I have written him," she hastened to add, "but I have said nothing about Dorrie, except that she is improving. I think"—thoughtfully—"I will make 'open confession' by another week, for I had a talk with Mrs. Minturn, this afternoon, and she feels that it is hardly fair, that she is not quite justified to go on with the treatment without his consent."
"Suppose he should still object?" suggested Dr. Stanley.
"Oh, he will not—he cannot when he learns the truth and of the great change in her; that the old pain is gone and she sleeps the whole night through," earnestly returned Mrs. Seabrook, but flushing hotly, for she had been secretly dreading to tell her husband of the responsibility she had assumed.
"Well, when you are ready to write let me know, for I also shall have something to say to him," said her brother, gravely.
A week later two voluminous letters, charged with matter of serious import, went sailing over the ocean on their way to Paris, where it was expected they would find Prof. Seabrook, who, having turned his face home-ward, would spend the last week of August there.
Each was characteristic of the writer; the mother's touchingly pathetic in describing the "valley of the shadow" through which they had passed, and glowing with love and gratitude to God in view of the present hopeful and peaceful conditions; closing with an earnest, even piteous, appeal for her husband's unqualified consent to continue Christian Science treatment.
The young physician was no less earnest in laying the case before his brother-in-law, but rather more logical and philosophical in discussing it, as well as very positive in his deductions. In conclusion he wrote:
"Perhaps you may be surprised to learn that I have been reading up on this subject during the last few months; but, as I have also been practicing medicine, at the same time, the mental conflict has been something indescribable. I told myself, in my presumption and egotism, that if there was healing power in Christian Science I would look into it and utilize it in connection with my own methods. The result has been a state of perpetual fizz—I know no better word to describe it; and now, after our recent experience, I find myself willing to sit humbly at the feet of higher authority and learn of a better and more efficacious healing art than I know of at present. For, I tell you in plain terms, Dorothy was dying—she was past all human aid when that blessed woman came, like an angel of peace, to us and in one night brought back our darling from the border of the unseen world. She, with her understanding of Christian Science, saved her. There can be no doubt on that point, and the child is better than I have ever seen her since her accident. There has been no return of pain, and you can imagine what that means to us all. She sleeps well, and has a healthy, normal appetite. But Mrs. Minturn is very conscientious— says she cannot work in a divided household, and must have your approval, if she is to go on with the good work. Now, Will, be a man; put your prejudices away on some upper shelf—or, better still, cast them to the winds; pocket your ecclesiastical and intellectual pride, and give Dorrie a chance. I am convinced 'there is more in this philosophy than we have ever dreamed of,' and I am going to know more about it. Cable just two words—'go on'—if you are willing, and, at the rate she is going on now, I'll wager a hat against a cane that you won't know your own daughter when you arrive. Bring the cane, please! In the same spirit of good fellowship as ever. "Affectionately yours, "PHIL."
There was a season of anxious, yet blessed, waiting after these letters were dispatched. Blessed for Dorothy, who was gaining every hour, and happy as the day was long; anxious for Mrs. Seabrook, who could not quite divest herself of the fear of her husband's disapproval, even though Mrs. Minturn was constantly admonishing, "Let not your heart be troubled," and working to demonstrate that there could be no opposition to Truth and that the work, so well begun, could not be hindered by bigotry, pride or self-will.
At last, one morning there came a cable message—just two words, as Phillip Stanley had requested, but not what he had asked for.
"'Sail to-day,'" Mrs. Seabrook read aloud from the yellow slip, and lost color as she looked anxiously into her brother's eyes and questioned:
"What shall we do?"
"We will ask Mrs. Minturn," he gravely replied.
So the message was taken to her, and after a thoughtful silence she turned with her serene smile to the waiting mother.
"We will go on," she said. "The question is ignored, and silence gives consent until we have more definite instructions."
And go on they did, all working together, praying, reading, trusting, while they waited for the white-winged vessel and the traveler that were speeding towards them.
Three days later, a black bordered envelope was handed Katherine.
"It has no more power than you give it, dearie," observed her mother, who saw that she did not at once open it.
The girl thanked her with a smile, and instantly broke the seal.
"It is from Jennie Wild, mamma," she said, as she turned to the signature on the last page. Then she read aloud:
"DEAR MISS MINTURN: Auntie is gone, and it was all so sudden and awful I cannot realize it even yet. She just went to sleep last Thursday, in her chair, and never woke up. She was so dear—so dear, and I loved her with all my heart, and it seems to take everything out of the world for me, for her going leaves me alone, with no one to love, or have a kindred feeling for me. I had planned to do such great things for her when I should leave school, so that she need not work every minute to support me, and now I can do nothing and have been a burden to her all these years. It is dreadful to be a 'stray waif,' your identity lost, and your only friend swept out of the world without a moment's warning.
"Well, I am young and strong—I can work, and sometime, perhaps, I shall understand why I am here—what special niche I am to fill; though at present nothing but a blank wall seems to loom up before me. Of course, this means I am not going back to Hilton, for auntie's annuity ceased when she went; the quarterly remittance came the day before, so there was enough, and a little more, to take care of her. I am going, tomorrow, to Jerome's, to see if I can get a place in the store. I want to stay here because, now and then, I can see you, the Seabrooks, and some of the other girls who have been good to me. Please write to me, dear Miss Minturn. I thought of you first in my trouble, for you always have something so comforting to say when one is unhappy. Do you know anything about Prof, and Mrs. Seabrook, or how Dorothy is? "Lovingly yours, "JENNIE WILD."
There was a long silence, after Katherine finished reading this epistle, during which both mother and daughter were absorbed in thought. They were alone, for Miss Reynolds had left a few days previous and Sadie had gone to Boston to do some shopping.
"Mamma," said Katherine, at length, breaking the silence, "there is Grandma Minturn's legacy."
Mrs. Minturn lifted a bewildered look to her.
"Ah!" she said, the next moment, as she caught her meaning, "I understand; you want to use it for Jennie."
"Yes; it is too bad for her education to be stopped. She is a conscientious student, in spite of her pranks, and I cannot endure the thought of her going into a dry-goods store as a clerk," Katherine replied.
"But the will states that the legacy is to be used for 'a European tour, or a wedding trousseau, or—'"
"I know; but, mamma, I've had my European tour with you—such a lovely one, too!" Katherine interposed; "while as for the trousseau"—this with a faint smile—"that is a possible need so far away in the dim distance as to be absolutely invisible at present. So if you will let me use the money for Jennie I shall be happy, and I am sure it will be 'bread' well 'cast upon the waters.'"
"Dear heart!" replied her mother, in a voice that was not quite steady, "it is a lovely thought; but we cannot decide so important a matter without consulting your father. If he approves you have my hearty sanction."'
John Minturn, big-hearted, whole-souled, and always ready to lend a helping hand to a needy brother or sister, was deeply touched by Katherine's generosity.
"Well, 'my girlie,' I guess you can do about as you have a mind to with grandma's legacy," he said, when she unfolded her plan to him. "To be sure she stated what it might be used for, but I think she meant you to get what you most wanted with it. You've had the trip abroad, as you say, and"—with a twinkle in his eyes that brought the color to her cheeks—"when the wedding finery is needed—which I hope won't be for a long time yet—I imagine it will promptly be forthcoming."
"Thank you, papa. I wonder if any other girl manages to get her own way as often as I do!" said the happy maiden, as she gave his ear a playful tweak and supplemented it with a kiss on his lips.
"Well, Miss Philanthropy, for once I'll concede that it is an irresistible 'way,'" he retorted, then added more seriously: "And I think we will insist that Miss Wild shall return to Hilton as a regular student and have no outside duties to handicap her in the race, for the next three years."
"That was my own thought, too, papa; but"—with a look of perplexity—"there are nearly three weeks before school opens, and I am wondering what she will do with herself during that time."
"Oh, that is easily managed; tell her to board with some nice family, and be getting her finery in order. Judging from what is going on upstairs, she'll need a few stitches taken as well as some other people whom I know," returned the man, with a chuckle; for, unlike the majority of his kind, he took a deep interest in the apparel of his wife and daughter, especially in the "pretty nothings" which add so much to the tout ensemble.
But upon confiding her plans to Mrs. Seabrook, that lady at once vetoed the boarding proposition.
"Tell Jennie to go directly to the seminary and remain with the matron and maids, who will be there next Monday to begin to put the house in order," she had said. "And—as she knows where everything belongs—if she will oversee our rooms put to rights I shall feel that I need not hurry back."
So, with a happy heart, Katherine wrote immediately to her protegee a loving, tender letter, which also contained sympathetic messages from all her other friends. Then, with great tact, she unfolded her own plans and wishes regarding her future, and in conclusion said:
"Jennie, dear, never again say that you are a 'stray waif,' for nothing ever goes astray in God's universe. Your 'identity' is not 'lost,' for you are God's child, and that child can never be deprived of her birthright, nor of any good thing necessary to her happiness or well-being. Neither have you 'been deprived of your only friend,' nor has she been swept beyond the focus of your love, or you of hers. The bond that existed between you can never be broken, for it was, and still is, the reflection of divine Love that is omnipresent. I am looking forward to our reunion, and shall think of you often as the days slip by.
"With dear love, KATHERINE MINTURN."
The response which Katherine received to the above letter drew tears from her eyes, for Jennie's full heart overflowed most touchingly, showing a depth of grateful appreciation that did her much credit.
While still grieving for her "dear auntie," she could not restrain her joy, in view of the great boon of going back to school, and wrote of it:
"I did not think anything could make me so happy again, and I can never tell you how I love you for it. I will improve every minute. I will make you all proud of me. No one shall ever have cause to call me 'Wild Jennie' again, and when I graduate and get to teaching I shall pay you back every penny it has cost to fit me for it."
One evening, after dinner, the Minturns went, with some friends who were visiting them, to Katherine's favorite outlook, and, as they were passing the Hunt cottage they saw Dr. Stanley on the porch and invited him to join them. The sun was just setting as they reached their point of observation, where the view, illuminated by the vivid crimson and gold in the western sky, was impressive and magnificent beyond description.
They lingered long, as if loath to leave the enchanting prospect; but, as the softer shades of twilight began to steal gently like a veil of gauze over the scene, they turned their faces homeward once more.
As she was on the point of following, Katherine found Dr. Stanley tarrying beside her.
"Will you wait a moment?" he inquired, in a low voice, which impressed her as sounding not quite natural.
She paused with an inquiring look, and he led her back towards the edge of the bluff.
"Miss Minturn, do you see a vessel far out at sea?" he asked.
"Yes, it is a—"
"Pardon me, please," he interposed; "it is a five-masted schooner, with sails all set, is it not?"
"Why, yes," she began, turning to him in surprise, to find him looking off at the vessel, his right eye covered with one hand.
For a moment she could not speak. Then her face grew luminous with a great joy as she realized what it meant.
"Oh!" she breathed, softly.
"Yes, I can see," he said. "The sight has been slowly coming during the last month, and I have dimly discerned things around me. Yesterday Mrs. Minturn made a startling statement regarding sight being 'spiritual perception'—that 'it is not dependent upon the physical eye, the optic nerves, etc., but upon Mind, the all- seeing God,' and I caught a glimpse of something I had not comprehended before. To-day I found I could read my 'Science and Health' clearly, with both eyes; but I have not spoken of it to anyone until now—'twas you who first assured me that such a boon could be conferred. Miss Minturn"—he removed his hat and bowed his head reverently—"all honor to the 'Science of sciences' and to her, the inspired messenger through whom it has been given to a needy world."
THE TRAVELER RETURNS.
One evening Sadie was sitting by herself upon the veranda that overlooked the ocean, and where she was watching a glorious full moon which seemed to be rolling straight out of the glimmering sea into the cloudless vault above. It was unusual for her to be alone, but Mrs. Minturn had slipped away for a chat with Mrs. Seabrook, and Katherine, at the invitation of Dr. Stanley, had gone for a walk to the library in search of an interesting book for Dorothy.
Sadie had changed much during her summer with her friends. She had grown more thoughtful, more self-poised, more orderly and systematic in her ways; while, it goes without saying, she had become deeply attached to every member of the family.
Just now she was absorbed in a mental discussion with herself regarding what would be the most acceptable and appropriate gift she could offer each one, to attest her appreciation of their united kindness and unrivaled hospitality in taking her so lovingly into their household for the long vacation.
Without having heard a step or a movement, without a suspicion that any living being was near, her name was suddenly pronounced in familiar tones directly behind her.
She sprang to her feet and faced the intruder.
"Oh, Ned! Why have you come? Why cannot you let me alone?" she cried, in a startled tone.
"I have come to make you take back your ring," and he held out the box to her. "And I cannot 'leave you alone,' because—you know why, Sadie."
"No, I shall not take back the ring," she replied, waving it away, "and I wrote you that everything was at an end between us; that I would not be bound to you any longer."
"But you are bound—you have given me your promise."
"I have taken back that promise."
"Because—oh! for many reasons. I have my course to finish; I mean to put my best work into the coming year, and I will not be hampered in any such way," resolutely returned Sadie, who was fast recovering tier self-possession.
"No; it is because that preaching, sanctimonious Katherine Minturn has influenced you against me," hotly retorted her companion.
"Katherine Minturn is the dearest, loveliest, sweetest girl in the world, and I won't hear one word against her," said Sadie, in stout defense of her friend.
"Well, what are some of your other 'many reasons'?" demanded Mr. Willard, and quickly retreating from what he saw was dangerous ground.
"I—reckon I'm under no obligation to give them," slowly returned the girl, after a moment of thought. "It is sufficient that I have decided to end everything. Now please let that settle it and don't try to see me again."
"Don't you care for me any more, Sadie? What have I done? What fault have you to find with me?"
"Have you no fault to find with yourself, Ned Willard? Are you satisfied with the life you are living?" gravely inquired Sadie, but ignoring his queries.
"But you would be the making of me, Sadie. Under your influence I could be anything—everything you could wish."
"Well, now—doesn't that strike you as rather a weak argument for a man to offer for himself?" returned his companion, lapsing into her Southern drawl which, of late, had not been so prominent; "to ask a girl to bind herself irrevocably to him for life and holding out as an inducement the privilege of reforming him?" and there was a note of scorn in the lazy tones that stung the man to sudden anger.
"I swear I will not be trifled with in any such way," he passionately exclaimed. "You shall rue your words, Sadie Minot—"
"I reckon I'd better go in," she interrupted, and turned haughtily from him.
"You won't go in yet," he said, through tightly shut teeth, as he placed himself in her path. "I'll see if—"
At that instant voices were heard, and, turning, both saw Katherine, accompanied by Dr. Stanley, mounting the steps leading to the veranda.
With a half audible imprecation, the baffled intruder sprang upon the railing and vaulted over.
But his foot becoming entangled in the vines trailing there caused him to fall heavily to the ground, where, after one sharp cry of agony, he lay silent and motionless.
In less time than it takes to record it, Sadie was kneeling beside him, while her friends followed closely after.
"I will call the coachman. We must get him into the house immediately," said Katherine, who was intent only upon giving instant succor to the injured man.
"No," vetoed Dr. Stanley, authoritatively, "he must not be taken in here. You may call help, however, and I will have him carried to my room, where I will ascertain how seriously he is injured, then we can decide what further disposition to make of him."
The coachman and hostler were summoned, and the unconscious man was borne to the Hunt cottage and laid upon Phillip Stanley's bed. Here an examination revealed that the left leg had been broken above the knee; but, before an hour had passed, this was skillfully set and the patient made as comfortable as possible for the night.
Dr. Stanley would not permit his sister to be inconvenienced in any way by this addition to their family, but took it upon himself to minister to the sufferer's requirements, which he did with all the ease and skill of a trained nurse.
During the first day or two the young man preserved a sullen silence; but as his attendant manifested only good will and invariably treated him with the utmost courtesy and kindness, his reserve gradually wore away and he became more communicative.
"This has proved a pretty unlucky trip for me," he observed, on the third morning after the accident, and thus introducing a subject which Dr. Stanley had studiously avoided.
"Possibly; but you are coming on all right. You have had no fever, no pain," the physician replied.
"No, and I don't understand that part of it at all," remarked his patient, thoughtfully. "I have always supposed it was a terrible experience to have a broken bone set."
"Well, Willard, I have a confession to make to you about that," his companion returned; "you were in such a state of collapse Tuesday night I felt you were unfit to decide any question for yourself, and, as I had no anaesthetics at hand, I asked Mrs. Minturn to give you a Christian Science treatment while I performed my duties, and since then I have been trying to work, under her direction, to keep the claims of inflammation and fever from manifesting themselves."
"Christian Science!" repeated the patient, with a short laugh. "Well, I've heard that it would do great things, but I never took any stock in it; it seemed like so much twaddle to me. You are sure you're not guying me, doctor?"
"Indeed, I am not; you can rely on what I have told you."
"All right; the method doesn't signify, so long as I was spared the pain."
"Then, are you willing to keep on under the same treatment?" inquired his companion.
"I'll be blamed! I believe you're turning Scientist yourself!" exclaimed Willard, with a broad grin. "But it makes no difference to me what you do, so I get results. You're a first-class doctor, and would be sure to know if anything was going wrong. But— confound the luck!—I don't want to be laid up here for three months," he concluded, impatiently.
"There will be no need of that. I think by the end of another week you can be put upon a Pullman and go home," was the encouraging response.
"Home!" was the bitter retort. "You know I can't go there, Stanley."
"Well, you are going to be well taken care of, anyway. I shall attend to that," said Dr. Stanley, kindly.
"Doc, you're O. K. You've been mighty good to me, first and last," the patient observed, and flushing with sudden feeling. "I suppose you know what brought me down here," he added, after a moment of silence.
"Yes, I know something about it. You followed Miss Minot here."
"Why shouldn't I follow her?" was the hot reply. "She had promised to marry me."
"I understand that promise had been revoked."
"She had no right to revoke it after leading me on—"
"Leading you on!" sternly interrupted Phillip Stanley. "Willard, don't add to your other sins by laying that at the girl's door, when I've known of your boasts that before the year was out you 'would have a wife and the handling of a cool three hundred thousand dollars.'"
"Who told you that?" demanded the young man, with a guilty flush and a shame-faced air.
"It does not matter who told me; I have it on good authority."
"But, Stanley, I am fond of her. I really am."
"Suppose Alfred Bent was fond of your sister, Minnie, in the same way, would you like to have him marry her?"
The fellow shrank as under a lash and his eyes blazed.
"By thunder—no!" he vehemently returned.
"But Alfred Bent has been your inseparable crony during the last two years that you have wasted, and there is very little to choose between you. So ask yourself if you are fit to marry a girl like Miss Minot; what right you have to ruin her life and squander her money."
"I say, doc, you are piling it on thick," Willard here interposed, in an injured tone.
"Yes, I know it sounds harsh, Ned," said the physician, bending a grave though kindly look on him, "but, in my profession, you know we sometimes have to probe and adopt severe measures before a cure can be effected. You also know, from past experience, that kindness was the only motive that prompted me in what I have done and still prompts me in what I am doing; so, now having come to an enforced pause in your career, I want you to improve it by doing some serious thinking. You are a fellow of more than ordinary natural ability, Ned, and have it in your power to gain an enviable position in the world if you would turn your talents in the right direction."
"You flatter me," was the sarcastic interruption.
"I have been telling you some very plain truths, and it is only fair to give credit also where it is due," said his companion, in a friendly tone. "I am sure that underneath your seeming recklessness you have not always felt comfortable or satisfied with yourself. You are the only son of a fine father, who has given you every advantage. Your mother is one of the 'salt of the earth'; but her hair has been growing very white during the last two years, and Minnie—well, my heart has often ached for her as I have noted the sad drooping of her eyes and the grieved quiver of her lips when she has spoken to me of you."
"Stanley, have you any brandy in the house?" suddenly demanded Willard, trying to speak in his ordinary tone; but his companion saw that he was white to his lips, and concluded that he had "probed" far enough for the present.
"You are not to have stimulants while you are under treatment," was the quiet but decisive reply.
"But, doc, I can't stand it. I really can't. Look!" and he held up a hand that shook like a leaf.
"You will be better of that shortly, my boy. I'll take care of it," was the kind reply. "But"—confidentially—"while we are talking of it, wouldn't you be glad to have that habit broken—to be free?"
The poor fellow drew in a quick, sharp breath; then, in a hard, metallic tone, he said:
"I've thought a score of times I would be free; that I'd end it once for all—take a last drink, you know, with a dose of strychnine in it." Then, tossing back the hair from his forehead, he added, with an effort to be facetious: "I wonder how your science would work on that? I say, Stanley, are you really turning Christian Scientist?"
Before his companion could reply, a maid appeared in the doorway, bearing a tray on which a tempting lunch was arranged. Dr. Stanley drew a table beside the bed and deftly placed things so that his patient could easily reach them; then, at his request, went below to join his sister and Dorothy at their repast.
The subjects of their recent conversation were not resumed, but, though the physician was in some doubt regarding the impression made on the young man's mind, it was evident that he cherished no resentment. He did not ask for liquor again, either, though there were times when a certain look in his eyes warned his watchful attendant that the old craving was making itself felt and caused him to flee to his "little book" and work vigorously on this first venture, which, with Mrs. Minturn's assistance, he was making in Christian Science.
One day, having made his charge comfortable and supplied him with an entertaining book to read, Dr. Stanley sought the companionship of his sister and Dorothy, on the broad piazza, where they now almost lived when the weather was fine.
"See! Uncle Phil," cried his niece, the moment he appeared, and holding up some work for his inspection, "mamma is teaching me to fagot and hemstitch, and I am going to make some pretty collars like hers," and the eager tone and sparkling eyes told how deeply interested the girl was in the novel employment.
The hitherto sunken cheeks were beginning to assume a graceful contour; the lips had taken on a decided tinge of scarlet, while an unaccustomed vigor in all her movements told of daily increasing strength, and the cheery ring in her voice was like music to loving hearts.
The man bent down to inspect the small piece of linen and the dainty stitches, his face all aglow with inward thanksgiving as he praised her work.
"We will have you turning dressmaker next and setting up an establishment for yourself," he observed, in a sportive tone.
"Well, why not?" she gayly retorted. "If I took a notion to learn dressmaking, I am sure I could do it. But"—more gravely—"I am going to study like everything this winter and make up for lost time. Mamma and I have been talking it over, and she thinks I can begin the regular course if I want to. I do, and I mean to go through and graduate like any other student."
"Indeed! We are making great plans, aren't we?"
"Yes, I know it sounds big for me; but Mrs. Minturn says 'there is nothing we cannot do if we do not limit God,' and Miss Katherine says—"
"Well, what does Miss Katherine say?" queried her uncle, in an eager tone, as Dorothy paused to count the threads she was taking on her needle.
She looked up quickly into his face, his tone having attracted her.
"I guess you think she is pretty nice, too," she observed, naively.
"What has put that idea into your small head?"
"Oh! the way you speak of her and look at her sometimes, and— well, of course"—with an appreciative sigh—"anybody couldn't help loving her."
"But you haven't told me what she said," persisted the man, but feeling the color mounting in his face as he caught the merry gleam in his sister's eyes.
"Oh! she said that 'God being the only intelligence, man reflects that intelligence, and there is nothing we cannot learn if we keep that in our thought as we study'; so you see, it is all right for me to plan to go through college if I want to," and the tone indicated that the matter was settled.
"'Thou hast hid these things from the wise and prudent and hast revealed them unto babes,'" quoted Phillip Stanley to himself, as he stooped to recover a spool that rolled from Mrs. Seabrook's lap.
At the same moment the sound of wheels fell upon their ears; the next, a carriage stopped before their door and a stalwart figure leaped to the ground.
"Papa!" "William!" fell simultaneously from the lips of the mother and daughter—one with a ring of triumph in her voice, the other with a note of intense yearning in her tones.
The man caught his wife to his breast.
"Sweetheart, it is joy to hold you here once more," he breathed, as their lips met; and she knew there was no cloud between them.
Then he turned and knelt beside his child, folding her in a long, silent embrace.
One swift glance into her bright, eager, happy face had told him a story that thrilled his soul and made him, for the moment, dumb.
"Papa, you can see, can't you?—and you are glad, aren't you? "Dorothy at length observed, as she lifted wet but joyful eyes to his bronzed face.
"Darling, I can see, and I am more than 'glad,'" he returned, in a husky tone, as he gently released her, then arose to greet his brother-in-law.
"Phillip, old boy, it is good to be home again," he said, as he clasped the outstretched hand, and the hearty grip told the younger man that there would be no controversy between them over a previously mooted question, while he was strangely touched, when he added, with a smile that was somewhat tremulous:
"The cane is here, Phil, and at your disposal."
"What is that about a cane, papa?" cried Dorothy, whose quick ears had caught what he had said.
"I asked your father to bring me a nice cane from abroad," her uncle explained.
"Well, papa," the girl pursued, "I hope it is a very handsome one, and that you will make him a present of it, for you can never know how good Uncle Phil' has been to us."
Both gentlemen laughed, and were glad of the opportunity to give vent in this way to their pent-up emotions.
"All right, Dorrie; and when you see it you shall be the judge whether it is fine enough," replied the professor, as he turned again to feast his eyes upon the wonderful change in her.
A little later the lunch bell sounded, and the happy quartet went within to break bread together, for the first time in two long months. But one of the number could only make a pretense at eating—his heart was too full to allow him to do much but covertly watch his child, who was vigorously plying knife and fork and manifesting the appreciative appetite of a normally hungry girl.
Of course, there was much to tell and talk over, and the afternoon slipped swiftly away, twilight coming upon them almost before "the half had been told."
The subject of Christian Science had been mutually avoided, and was not referred to until after dinner, when Mrs. Minturn came in for her usual visit to Dorothy.
Prof. Seabrook had never met her but once, and that was when she had visited Hilton to apply for Katherine's admission to the school. But he recognized her instantly, and greeted her with the utmost cordiality.
When her interview with Dorothy was over and she rejoined the group in the parlor, he invited her to be seated and placed a chair for her.
"But this is your first evening with your dear ones, and they should have the privilege of monopolizing you," she objected, with her charming smile.
"Nay, there are some things that must be said, you know, and they, I am sure, are longing to hear them," he returned, with visible emotion. "First, I have no words adequate to express my gratitude for what you have done for my child."
"Not what I have done," the lady interposed, with gentle emphasis.
"I understand—and I have been trying to thank God every moment since my return," he said, "but you claim to be His messenger, or instrument, and surely we cannot ignore that fact. I left Dorrie pale and wasted to a mere shadow, scarcely able to move or help herself in any way. I find to-day a bright, animated girl, rapidly taking on flesh and strength, sitting upright in her chair— sewing! How the wonder has been accomplished is beyond my comprehension. I had previously vetoed Christian Science treatment; to be frank, I contemptuously repudiated it. I can no longer hold it in derision, neither can I say that my attitude towards it, as a science, or a religion, has changed."
"That is yet to come," said Mrs. Minturn, smiling, as he paused.
"I have read your text-book," he resumed, "but with a critical frame of mind that has been termed 'ecclesiastical and intellectual pride'"—this with a quizzical glance at his brother, who nodded back a sharp assent—"and I could or would find nothing good in it. To me it seemed atheistic, fallacious, heretical. You perceive I am not sparing myself in these admissions," he interposed, "but I have been doing some serious thinking during my return voyage, and now I am going to read that book again; not to criticise, but to get at its true inwardness if I can."
"That is a spirit that will surely bring its own reward," Mrs. Minturn responded, her face luminous with admiration for the frank and conscientious acknowledgment which the man had made.
Mrs. Seabrook turned glad eyes upon her husband.
"And, William, we will have her keep on with the treatment, will we not?"
"Assuredly; one could never have the heart to stop the good work, even though one may not comprehend the method," he heartily responded, and the happy wife and mother heaved a sigh of supreme content.
They talked on for a while longer, then Mrs. Minturn gracefully took her leave and went home to tell Katherine that another prodigal was on his way to his Father's house.
PHILLIP STANLEY'S FIRST DEMONSTRATION.
A week after the return of Prof. Seabrook, Dr. Stanley ventured to transfer his patient to his native city. He was desirous of getting him away before the general flitting back to Hilton, in order to prevent awkward meetings and complications.
The young man had improved steadily, and his physician had found him, as a rule, very patient and tractable. He avoided talking about himself, and never again referred to the conversation that had occurred a few days after his accident. He read a great deal, conversed freely of politics, current events, etc., and evidently tried to cause as little trouble as possible.
He was often seriously thoughtful, a circumstance which his observant attendant regarded as a favorable indication, while, now and then, he would drop a word that betrayed his appreciation of the rare kindness he was receiving. In arranging for his transportation Dr. Stanley neglected nothing that would contribute to his comfort, and he made the trip without the slightest inconvenience, although he betrayed a sense of restlessness as he neared his destination, for he had not even asked what was to become of him upon his arrival, and could not quite conceal his anxiety on that point.
When he was lifted out upon the platform at the station, in his own city, his astonished glance fell first upon his sister, a sweet girl of seventeen, then upon his father, both of whom greeted him as if there had never been a barrier between them.
He flushed a remorseful scarlet and lifted an inquiring look to Dr. Stanley.
"Yes, Ned, I plead guilty," he smilingly confessed. "I did not feel justified in keeping your family in ignorance of your condition, and Mr. Willard telegraphed me that he would meet us on our arrival."
"And, Ned, we have everything so nicely fixed for you at home," his sister here interposed, for she saw he was half dazed by the unexpected meeting. "Bridge—the same old girl—and I have put your room in apple-pie order; your books and pictures just as you used to have them, and"—with a ripple of musical laughter—"you are going to have cream toast with your dinner. It was your favorite dish, you know, and mamma is making it herself. She wouldn't trust anybody else, for fear there would be lumps in it. But here come the men," she concluded, cutting herself short, as two muscular fellows came forward to transfer the bamboo litter to a waiting ambulance.
"And I will come around in the morning to take a look at that cast. I think we'll have it off altogether before long," observed Dr. Stanley, as he held out his hand to take leave of his patient, who could only wring it in silence. Then he was borne away.
When the Seabrooks and Katherine arrived at Hilton, on the day previous to the opening of the school, they were joyfully welcomed by Jennie, who not only had everything in order for the principal and his family, but had, with loving hands, also made Katherine and Sadie's room immaculate and gorgeously decorated it with autumn leaves and golden-rod in honor of their return.
Katherine could see that the girl's recent trying experience had subdued her somewhat; but, otherwise, she was the same original, irrepressible Jennie as ever.
"How I love you!" she cried, when she was left alone with Katherine, while Sadie was out of the room for a few moments, and supplementing her statement with another vigorous hug. "And you look dearer than ever, if that could be possible; and what a fine time you've all been having down there by the sea! Dr. Stanley has told me all about it, and"—with a grimace—"I guess you've been busy, too, doctoring some of the materia medica out of him—eh?"
"What do you mean?" Katherine inquired, but flushing under the fire of the girl's mischievous eyes.
"Oh! he doesn't make any bones of it; he told me all about Dorothy—how sick she was, and what your mother did for her, though he said, of course, it must not be talked here. I suppose he made an exception of me, because he knows how I love the Seabrooks and you, and then I can see for myself how flip he is with the 'new tongue.'"
"Jennie!" exclaimed Katherine, in a shocked tone. Then she added: "What do you know about the 'new tongue'?"
"I'm always saying the wrong thing," said the girl, in a repentant voice; "but, truly, I didn't mean to be irreverent—I only wanted you to know how pat the doctor reels off the scientific phrases; and"—assuming an important air—"I guess I know that Christian Science is the 'new tongue' spoken of in the Bible. I've been to the service all summer; auntie went with me, too, and thought it was beautiful"—this with a sudden break in her voice—"and I've got the book," she resumed. "I bought it with my pin-money. One of the Scientists was going to get a revised pocket edition, and said she'd let me have her old one for half price. She said the Science is all in it, and so I thought it would do until I could afford to buy a new one."
Katherine's eyes grew moist as she listened to this, and she told herself that the dear child should also have a new revised pocket edition when Christmas came.
Looking back over the months that had elapsed since she first came to Hilton, she was almost overwhelmed, in view of the changed thought that had crept into the school. She had sown but the tiniest seed of Truth when she had told Prof. Seabrook that "Christian Science was a religion of Love and she would simply try to live it"; but its rootlets had taken firm hold beneath the surface of an unpromising soil; its germ had shot upwards and flourished, in spite of an adverse atmosphere, spreading abroad its branches with bud and blossom and fruitage, until now a goodly harvest was being gathered in. There were Miss Reynolds, Mrs. Seabrook and Dorothy, Jennie and Dr. Stanley, all ready to avow themselves as adherents of Truth, with Sadie, Prof. Seabrook and— she was beginning to hope—Ned Willard looking towards the Light; and her heart was flooded with a great joy.
"What are you thinking about, Miss Minturn?" Jennie ventured to inquire when she had borne the silence as long as she could.
Katharine came to herself with a sudden start.
"Excuse me, dear," she said, with a deprecatory smile. "But what you have just told me sent my thoughts wandering back over all that has happened since I came here last winter. I did not mean to be heedless, and I am very glad that you wanted the book enough to buy it. Now"—laying a fond hand on her shoulder—"you are to drop 'Miss Minturn" here and now. You and I are going to be like sisters—we are sisters in Truth already, for you are coming to us after this for all your vacations. You must have a home, you know, and I think you will be happy with us."
"Happy!" cried Jennie, choking up suddenly. "Why, I—I—think it will be just h—hea—venly!" and down went the curly black head upon her hands to hide the tears she could not wipe away, for, as was frequently the case, her handkerchief was not forthcoming when most needed.
Katherine slipped hers into her hand, for she heard Sadie returning, and, a few minutes later, the three girls were engaged in an animated discussion of plans for the coming year.
The school opened with a full house again; indeed, it was more than full, for Prof. Seabrook was obliged to secure rooms for half a dozen new pupils with some families outside, and began to seriously consider the advisability of extending the wings of the building before the beginning of another year.
We cannot follow the experiences of our friends during the ensuing ten months, in detail; and, in fact, but little out of the ordinary occurred to mark their passing.
It will be of interest, perhaps, to know that Prof. Seabrook, true to his word, made a careful perusal of "Science and Health," but he did not find it easy to get out of old ruts, and there was many a hard-fought battle with preconceived opinions and long-treasured creeds and doctrines. Many a time he threw down his book with a revival of his old antagonism, but a look at Dorrie—whose general health had become almost perfect, and who was now manifesting the keenest interest in the studies which she had insisted upon taking up—was like a "peace, be still" to the tempest and oil upon the turbulent waters, and he resumed his investigations with such determination to know the Truth, that, finally, he was enabled to say with one of old, "I begin to see as through a glass darkly."
Miss Reynolds became a greater power than ever in the school. She had always been attractive, and the students loved her, but now there was an added charm and sweetness that irresistibly drew everyone to her. She made no secret of the change in her views, although she never forced them upon anyone. She attended the service on Grove Street regularly, with Katherine, and Jennie also was numbered with the same congregation.
Dr. Stanley found his position unique and by no means an enviable one. Before going abroad he had built up a fine practice, and most of his patients came back to him on his return, while new ones had flocked to him. Now, however, with his changed thought, he found it exceedingly difficult to decide just what course to pursue, when those who, hitherto, had placed unbounded confidence in him now called upon him to minister again to their necessities.
But he had chosen his path. Having become convinced that God and God alone "forgiveth all iniquities and healeth all diseases," he had declared that he would never again diagnose a case in accord with the laws of materia medica, write another medical prescription, or deal out ineffectual drugs. Neither did he, as yet, feel that he was prepared to announce himself a Christian Science practitioner. So, when called to his former patients, he had felt it his duty to state his position and, as an "entering wedge," suggest that they give the Science a trial for their infirmities. Some had openly scoffed at him; others had acted upon his advice, and were greatly benefited; while, in a few instances, he had offered to try what he himself could do, and, to his great joy, had made his demonstration. But the majority dropped him and went over to rival practitioners.
Then he began to push out into the byways and hedges. He sought out the suffering poor more than he had ever done before, and here he found a field "ready to harvest," where he could preach the "new gospel" and prove the promise, "The works that I do shall ye do also if ye believe on Me."
So the growth in his own consciousness went on while he was "casting his bread upon the waters," and he also might have been seen, nearly every Sunday morning, in one of the rear seats in the hall on Grove Street, listening intently to the service.
One supreme joy came to him during this time.
Ned Willard's improvement had been phenomenally rapid after his return home, and, to his family, the change in himself appeared no less remarkable.
He was now always considerate of and courteous to every member of the household, frequently expressing grateful appreciation of their care and kindness, while an oath, which once had been a frequent offense to their ears, was now never heard to pass his lips.
One morning, while making his accustomed visit, Dr. Stanley observed that his patient was strangely silent and thoughtful, seeming disinclined to talk, although he suggested several topics to attract his attention. He was just on the point of rising to go, thinking it wiser to leave him to his mood, when he suddenly broke forth:
"I say, Stanley, what have you been doing to me?"
"'Doing to you!' I am not sure that I catch your meaning."
"Well, when I tumbled helplessly into your hands, down there in Massachusetts, you told me you were using Christian Science treatment, and asked me if I objected. I thought it all 'bosh'; but, as you know, told you I didn't care, provided the method brought right results. I thought that if things did not go O. K. you would slip back to the old way, so I felt perfectly safe. But now I begin to feel some curiosity regarding this peculiar mode, process, or whatever it may be, for not only has my leg got well— it is practically well—quicker than I supposed it possible for a broken bone to mend, but I feel mended in other ways," he concluded, with some embarrassment.
"What do you mean, Ned?"
"Well, physically, I feel like a new man—kind of clean and fresh, through and through. Then"—flushing—"I am amazed that I haven't been crazy for drink; but I do not seem to want it—I do not even care to smoke, and—"
"Yes," said his companion, kindly.
"Oh! hang it! Stanley, it isn't easy to tell it, but I'm going to; I feel as if an X-ray had been turned upon my mentality, showing me what a blamed fool I've made of myself during the last few years, making me wish I could blot it all out and take a sharp turn in another direction. How's that for humble pie! I declare, I don't know myself!" he concluded, apologetically.
Dr. Stanley was literally stricken speechless. His heart was too full for utterance. Surely this "fruit of the Spirit" was ripening far earlier than he had dared to hope, although he had worked on the case with all the understanding he possessed, in connection with frequent correspondence with Mrs. Minturn for counsel.
"What have you been doing, doc?" Willard repeated. "I've heard that Christian Science treatment is wholly mental, but you have been doing some fine talking, first and last. Some of it has cut home and some has gone over my head. Does your science reform the drunkard as well as mend broken bones? I remember you once asked me if I'd like to be freed from it. Upon my word, I believe it does, though I'm not going to boast until I get out and can prove it. Have you been treating me for that, Stanley?"
"Yes, I have been trying to make you realize your birthright—your God-given dominion over all things," said his friend, in a voice that faltered in spite of himself; "have tried to make you know that you were 'free-born.'"
"Hold on! Now you are soaring over my head again," interposed the young man. "Just make that clearer in your own language, please. Bible phraseology always seemed like Choctaw to me."
"Well, then, Christian Science teaches that God made man the perfect image and likeness of Himself and gave him power to reflect or manifest His dominion over all beings. It follows, then, that man was never in bondage to anything—habit, appetite, disease or sin; so he was 'free-born.'"
"Then how does it happen we find him so tangled up in all sorts of deviltry?" demanded Willard.
"We find the mortal 'tangled up,' as you express it, because he has set himself up as an independent entity and claims this entity can be governed by evil instead of good—with lies instead of truth, with sickness instead of health."
"You emphasize the word 'mortal'; so you make a distinction between a man and a mortal?"
"Yes; the mortal is the counterfeit of the real man, like a bogus dollar bill, with no gold or principal to back it. He arrogantly assumes that he has a will of his own, and this will is subordinate to no other unless he chooses to make it so. But we find that he reasons falsely when we see how he becomes the slave of all sorts of evil that ultimates in sickness and death," explained Dr. Stanley.
"Humph! Then, according to your logic, the Ned Willard whom you know is simply a mortal, physical manifestation of will power, catering to his own appetites and desires, and so becoming their bond servant, and there is no true image and likeness of God, or real man about him," was the young man's half-quizzical rejoinder. "Granted," he went on, more seriously, "I think I am beginning to see him as he is and has appeared to others. But now comes the question, 'How is this same Ned Willard going to get rid of the undesirable mortal and find the man?' It looks a hopeless task to me."
"You are using the scalpel very freely upon yourself, my boy," said Phillip Stanley, in his friendliest tone. "But let us see if there isn't a different kind of blade that will serve us better. If you were cruelly bound with thongs, and some friend should pass you a keen-edged knife, you would not sit hopelessly looking at your bonds and still continue to bemoan your bondage; you would instantly begin to sever the thongs and so regain your liberty. In Christian Science we find the 'sword of Truth' with which we begin to cut away, one by one, the bonds of mortal falsities, habits, appetites and belief in evil until, eventually, we shall find our freedom and true manhood."
"That sounds very promising, as you put it, though the how of it seems rather vague. But, by all that's honest, I would like to get at the secret of it," and the young man turned a frank, earnest face to his companion as he concluded.
"This will reveal it. Will you read it if I leave it with you?" and Dr. Stanley drew forth a pocket edition of "Science and Health" and laid it upon his knee.
Willard opened it and glanced at the title-page.
"Thank you; I shall be glad to look it through," he replied.
"You will need a Bible to go with it," said his companion, lifting his eyes to a bookcase near him.
"You'll not find one there," his patient observed, with a short laugh. "Bibles and I have had nothing in common this many a year. However, there are plenty about the house."
Dr. Stanley shortly after took his leave and went away to visit other hungry ones, a reverent joy in his heart and on his lips the paean of David, "Who is so great a God as our God?"
A few weeks later Edwin Willard walked briskly into his office, his handsome face all aglow with health, a new hope and purpose shining in his eyes.
"I'm off, Stanley!" he said, in cheery, eager tones as he laid his friend's "little book" on his desk. "I've just slipped in to return this and bid you au revoir."
"Off!" repeated Phillip Stanley, in surprise. "Where to? what for?"
"I'm going to Washington, as private secretary to the Hon.——, United States Senator from Pennsylvania. He was a classmate of my father's at Yale, and asked the governor, the other day, if he could suggest some one for the position," Willard explained. "It's very sudden, but it's great luck, though this"—touching the book he had just laid down—"teaches there's no such thing as luck. The salary won't permit me to keep up a spread-eagle style at present"—with a light-hearted laugh—"but I have a promise of more later on, and it may be the stepping-stone to something better; and, Stanley, I'm bent on going higher, in more ways than one," he concluded, in a confidential tone.
"Ned, I am more glad than I can tell you, and my best wishes go with you," heartily returned his friend. "Wouldn't you like to take the book along as a souvenir?" he asked, pushing it towards him.
"Thanks, I've just bought one for myself, and I don't need any souvenirs to remind me of you; for, Stanley, all I am and all I hope to be I owe to you, or—I suppose you would prefer me to say- -to God, through you. But if I am to catch that fast express I must skip. I'll write to you, though, when I am settled."
The two men clasped hands and looked deep into each other's eyes for a moment; then the younger turned abruptly away and left the room, the elder gravely watching the manly form as it sped, with alert and vigorous steps, down the street.
"God bless the boy!" he said, in a low tone; "he has 'got at the secret of it' at last, and his life henceforth will be crowned with joy and peace."
MRS. MINTURN VISITS HILTON.
Everything moved along harmoniously with Katherine in school. Of course, there was work to be done and it required diligence, patience and perseverance to accomplish her daily tasks. But there is always satisfaction in overcoming difficulties, for such conquest never fails to strengthen and uplift.
Between Sadie and herself there existed the tenderest relations. Every day seemed to draw them closer to each other, for divine Love was now the mutually acknowledged bond between them. The girl had provided herself with the necessary books and was doing more than "looking towards the Light"—she was really trying to walk in it. She was also striving to "do her best" during this, her last year at school, as she had avowed she would, and was reaping her reward by finding that she was daily gaining in mental strength and capacity.
Jennie also was making good progress. She did not love fun and frolic one whit less, but she now sought it in legitimate hours and ways, and never allowed herself to "kick over the traces," or, in other words, to break rules, and so jeopardize her record, although, as she once confessed, with the old mischievous sparkle in her eyes, "the apples of Sodom did look very alluring sometimes."
So the Christmas vacation found them, and Katherine and Jennie went "home" to New York City, where every day was filled with delightful experiences, Mr. and Mrs. Minturn having spared nothing to make these holidays the brightest of the year, especially for their protegee whose pleasures had been so limited.
There was nothing to mar their enjoyment during the two "heavenly" weeks. They were like a pair of happy children, and not the least of their pleasure consisted in helping Mrs. Minturn distribute her yearly reminders among those of whom One said, "The poor ye always have with you." And when, on Christmas morning, at breakfast, the packages beside the various plates were inspected, there were bright faces and loving smiles, and in one case almost a rain of tears, in view of the numerous and lovely mementoes for which the recipient was wholly unprepared. But it was only a "sunshower," and when Mr. Minturn, with a quizzical look, told her to "take care, for she was losing some of her pearls," she laughingly wiped the glittering drops away and retorted:
"I wish they were real pearls, and I would heap them upon you all."
When it was all over and the two girls were rolling swiftly on their way back to school, Jennie, her face radiant with delightful memories, informed Katherine that she had "never had such an out and out jolly time in all her life before."
"It is like a diamond to me," she said, "for it will glisten and sparkle in my mind as long as I remember anything about this life. But, best of all," she continued, earnestly, "has been the Science part of it; those lovely services and meetings! and your mother's talks! Oh! Katherine, if I could be with her all the time I know I should grow to be a good Scientist!"
Katherine smiled into the yearning dark eyes.
"Our growth, Jennie, depends upon our own right thinking and living, upon the faithfulness with which we study, assimilate and demonstrate Truth," she said; then added: "Right environment is very desirable, but when we lean upon that instead of on God, or Principle, we are not 'working out our own salvation,' which everyone must do. You know what happened to the five foolish virgins who leaned, or tried to lean, upon their neighbors for oil to fill their lamps."
"Yes; and it's like copying some one else's problems and shirking your own daily work. When the exams come you're not 'in it'; you just have to 'go way back and sit down,'" and the roguish dimples played in her cheeks as the slang phrases slipped glibly from her tongue. "All the same," she continued, "it is a help to have others about you doing good work. Somehow it inspires you to hustle for yourself—that is, if you honestly want to be the real thing and not a sham."
The latter part of February Mrs. Minturn, having been called to the western part of the State on business, stopped at Hilton on her way back, to spend the Sabbath and make "my girls" a little visit.
That visit was like an oasis to Prof. Seabrook, or, as he afterwards expressed it, "it shone in his memory like a pure, lustrous pearl set in jet."
Saturday afternoon was spent with Katherine and Jennie, doing a little needful shopping and visiting some places of interest in the city. Saturday evening, a party, including the Seabrooks, Sadie, Miss Reynolds and Dr. Stanley, was made up to go to hear Madam Melba, who was to sing in "Faust," and a rich treat it proved for them all.
Sunday morning found them all, except the principal and his wife, at the service in the hall on Grove Street, and which was now far too small to comfortably accommodate the people who were flocking to it; while Sunday evening, at Mrs. Seabrook's invitation, saw our friends gathered in her spacious parlor to listen to a little talk on Christian Science from Mrs. Minturn.
"I see you each have your book," she began, glancing around the circle, "and I think we cannot do better than to look into the tenets of our faith—you will find them on page 497. There is much more than at first appears in those few brief paragraphs, and I hope no one will let a point go by, if it seems perplexing, without trying to get at the heart of it. Don't fear to interrupt me with questions, for they will show me your trend of thought."
Then, one by one, she took up the sections, which were freely and thoughtfully discussed. Prof. Seabrook, however, was the chief interlocutor of the evening and plied the patient woman with queries both practical and profound.
She met him logically on every one, and by the time they had come to the end of the fifth paragraph much of the perplexity had vanished from the man's face and a look of peace was enthroned in its place, while not one in the room ever forgot that hour, which was so fraught with helpfulness and intense interest to them all.
"Mrs. Minturn," he gravely observed, as she paused for a moment, "when one begins to understand something of what Christian Science really is, one finds himself suddenly shorn of his former intellectual arrogance and ecclesiastical intolerance, while he stands abashed and is amazed that he had never seen these things before."
"That is because, in our previous study of the Scriptures, we were governed by human opinions, doctrines and creeds, instead of by the spiritual law of interpretation, which always brings the proof of its supremacy."
"But it makes one wish one hadn't been quite so pert in flaunting one's feathers before finer birds," drawled Sadie, as she shot a peculiar glance at Katherine, "like a turkey we had at home once that had never seen a peacock's plumage until after he had done a good deal of strutting around, with his own self-sufficient appendage spread out to its widest extent. He collapsed, though, when he saw that blaze of glory."
"Thank you, Sadie, for so pat an illustration of an exceedingly uncomfortable frame of mind," said Prof. Seabrook, with a merry twinkle in his fine eyes, while an appreciative laugh ran around the circle.
The girl flushed scarlet in sudden dismay.
"Prof. Seabrook!" she faltered, "I didn't mean—I was only thinking of what I said to Katherine about being a Christian Scientist the day she came here. I told her, very grandly, that I was an Episcopalian, that my grandfather was an Episcopalian clergyman, and I had my doubts about his resting easy in his grave if he knew what a rank heretic I had for a roommate. Well, she just unfurled a white banner of Love to me, and I've wanted to hide my diminished head every time I've thought of it since."
"All right, Sadie; there's no offense," returned the principal, with a smiling glance at her still flushed cheeks, "and I think there may be some others among us who have learned a salutary lesson from our modest but stanch 'brown-eyed lassie,' for she certainly has tried, as she told me she would on that same day, 'to live her religion of Love.' But," turning again to Mrs. Minturn, "that reminds me of something else I wished to ask you."
Reopening his book, he read aloud the sixth tenet, emphasizing the phrase "to love one another."
"I find, in reading this book," he resumed, "that you Scientists give a higher signification to that word 'love' than is implied by the ordinary interpretation. Mere sentiment or emotion have nothing in common with your concept of its meaning?"
"Our Leader says, in her book of 'Miscellaneous Writings,' [Footnote: By Mary Baker G. Eddy, page 230.] that 'no word is more misconstrued, no sentiment less understood,'" said Mrs. Minturn. "Spiritual love is governed by its principle—divine Love. Emotional or sentimental love has no principle. It is governed by mortal impulse, moods, personal attraction, and so forth. Divine Love has but one impulse—infinite impersonal good. Paul's sublime definition of charity, or the love that 'beareth all things,' 'that never faileth,' 'that thinketh no evil,' is the Christian Science idea of love, and as our text-book teaches, nothing short of this, lived and demonstrated in the daily life, is Christian Science love."
"That is your lesson to me over again," whispered Miss Reynolds, who was sitting beside Katherine, "and I need it."
"But you would not abolish human love?" Dr. Stanley here abruptly questioned.
"I would have it governed, transformed by divine Love," returned Mrs. Minturn, gently. "There is much more of selfishness embodied in so-called human love than one can realize until one learns its spiritual signification. The mother's is the purest of all human affection, and yet, even this is not devoid of selfishness, for it is 'my boy' or 'my girl' for whom she will toil and efface herself to secure advantages, and often to their detriment. The love that is absorbed in my wife or husband, my sister or brother, my friend, is not the truest, although it is right to care tenderly for those who are dependent upon us. But the yearning that reaches out to all men, recognizing in everyone 'my mother, my sister, my brother'—for all are God's children, and there are no mine or thine in Truth—is the love of God, the reflected Love that is God."
"I see, Mrs. Minturn; it is manifesting what the 'little book' says, the 'love of Love,' [Footnote: "Science and Health," page 319.] or the good of Good without regard to personality, so if we are reflecting it we cannot even think anything but good of everyone," here interposed Dorothy, who had listened intently to all that had been said.
"You dear child! how much better you have said it than I with my multiplicity of words!" observed Mrs. Minturn, bending a look of affection upon her.
"She has simply summarized what you have given us; but your analysis has been very helpful to me, and I now see more clearly much that I have been questioning during my recent perusal of the book," Prof. Seabrook remarked.
"Our Leader has long been reflecting this impersonal Love in her wonderful devotion to the Cause she has espoused," Mrs. Minturn resumed. "Her one thought and motive is and always has been—since the Science of Christianity was revealed to her—to send forth the new gospel to all 'nations and peoples and tongues,' and gather them under its sacred banner, knowing that it is the 'pillar of cloud by day and of fire by night' that will surely guide them into the 'Promised Land.'"
"Yet she is severely criticised for claiming that it was a divine revelation; for assuming 'unwarrantable authority' and demanding 'unquestioning obedience,'" said her host.
"Is that a fair or an honest criticism, Prof. Seabrook?" inquired his guest. "Has she not proved that Christian Science was a divine revelation, not only by her own wonderful demonstrations, but by the marvelous results which follow the study of her book, 'Science and Health,' not to dwell upon the great work accomplished by the thousands of her students who have faithfully followed her teachings? Then, a leader must lead. Under supreme orders she became the pioneer to mark the way for others; she has scaled heights which no others have attained since the days of the Master, and so she alone is fitted to direct. You, after long experience, have organized this school; you know best what is most needed to promote the highest interests of your students and maintain the superior standard of your institution. But your word has to be law to attain these conditions, and you insist upon implicit obedience to your rules and mandates. Are you autocratically exacting or 'assuming unwarrantable authority' by so doing in order to meet the responsibilities devolving upon you? As I said before, 'a leader must lead,' and a general must direct, as he discerns the need from his vantage ground above the field of battle, or the cause would be lost."
"I see your point. It is fairly and logically argued, and I am frank to admit that much of the criticism of Mrs. Eddy may be prompted by antagonism, jealousy and prejudice," the gentleman returned.
"But much more it is the outgrowth of misunderstanding," said Mrs. Minturn, charitably. "Those who have most uncompromisingly denounced Christian Science and its Founder have spoken and written without a proper knowledge of their subject, without having even attempted to investigate, in order to prove the truth or error of what they had heard. They claim to have 'read the book,' but you know, from your own experience, that one casual reading is not sufficient to enable one to grasp the fundamental principles contained therein."
"That is true," he assented.
"And no man of good judgment," she went on, "would feel that he was prepared to write a treatise or exposition of some profound subject and give it to a critical public, until he had thoroughly mastered it; and this he would know he could not do in one, or even two, superficial readings. But these criticisms do not disturb us; they only make us love our Leader more, for her sweet patience, forbearance and forgiveness; and we know that the time will come when all will learn the Truth, 'from the least to the greatest,' and 'rise up to call her blessed.'"
"I am beginning to see that, too," said the professor. "But there is one thing more. Of course, you have had to meet the question many times—one hears it everywhere, and the papers every now and then reiterate it—how about the high price of the text-book and the teaching?"
"I would hardly have thought that such a question would have suggested itself to you, Prof. Seabrook, knowing, as you do, the high price demanded for some of your own text-books. Then, regarding the teaching, Hilton students pay from eight hundred to a thousand dollars a year, according to the privileges they enjoy, not counting the extras; and the course is four years, making quite a round sum in the aggregate. You force me to be personal as well as practical in my arguments," Mrs. Minturn interposed, with an arch smile. "Now for the other side of the question. Seventeen years ago I was healed of what several physicians—to whom I paid many hundreds of dollars—said was an incurable disease, by simply reading 'Science and Health,' for which I paid three dollars. A year later I studied with one of Mrs. Eddy's loyal students, to whom I paid one hundred dollars for my course of instruction. Since that time I have never employed a physician or paid out a penny for medicines. In view of these facts, do you think that the price of the book and teaching should be regarded as 'exorbitant,' 'out of all reason,' an 'imposition upon the public,' and many similar expressions, as are repeated over and over by numerous denouncers and newspapers?"
Prof. Seabrook made a deprecatory gesture.
"I am ashamed to have raised such a point," he said; "it seems exceedingly narrow and petty."
"And besides," Mrs. Minturn continued, "this same book and teaching have enabled me to heal hundreds of people of all manner of diseases, and send them on their way rejoicing and to help others. Ah!" she cried, with eyes that shone through starting tears, "how can anyone speak slightingly of that dear woman who has been instrumental in giving such a boon to suffering humanity, or criticise any act which, in her God-given wisdom, she is led to do? But, I am sure, I have talked enough for now, although I am at your service at any time if other questions arise to perplex," she concluded, as she arose, and the little company, after a few moments spent in social converse, separated for the night.
A few days later Miss Reynolds sought Katharine. The girl was in a music room, where she had been practicing for nearly an hour, and arose as her friend entered, an expectant look on her face, for she seemed to feel at once that there was something unusual in the atmosphere.
The woman was evidently in a strangely serious mood. There was an expression of exaltation in her eyes, which told of some deep, new experience that had aroused profound reverence and wonder, and a drooping of her sweet lips that bespoke a spirit bowed beneath a sense of humility, and she carried a letter in her hand.
"Read that, dear," she said, in a repressed tone, as she passed it to her pupil.
Katherine removed the missive from its envelope and read:
"MISS ADELE REYNOLDS:
"DEAR MADAM: My father, as, possibly you may have heard ere this, passed away one week ago to-day. You will perhaps be surprised to learn that I have long known there existed an error at the time of the settlement of Mr. Reynolds'—your father's—affairs nearly eleven years ago, and, although I sought several times to do so, I was powerless to have the matter rectified. Now, however, my sister and I, being the only heirs to our father's property, have agreed that justice must be done, and have deposited in the First National Bank of this city the amount—with accrued interest—that is your rightful due, and it is subject to your order. Trusting that you will kindly throw the veil of charity over what has been a great wrong, I am,
"Very respectfully yours, JOHN F. HOWARD."
As she finished reading this letter Katherine looked into the eyes of her teacher and smiled.
"Kathie, I can hardly believe it!" said Miss Reynolds, in a voice choked with tears.
"'The measure that ye mete shall be measured to you again,' you know," softly returned her companion, "and love begets love. You, long since, threw the mantle of Love over your 'brother,' and Truth has uncovered and destroyed the error—in other words, the greed—that seemed to rob you of what was justly yours."
"It makes me very humble," faltered her teacher. "I have tried to love because, to be loyal to Truth, I must do nothing else."
"Yes, and so Love has fulfilled the law; and, as our text-book says, 'Mercy cancels the debt only when justice approves.'" [Footnote: "Science and Health," page 22]
"And Katharine"—and Miss Reynolds' face glowed with happiness— "now the way is opened for me to do what I had decided I must do by the end of this year—'go work in His vineyard.' I did not clearly see how I could do it, but I have tried to know that 'God is the source of all supply, and I left it there.'"
THE END OF SCHOOL DAYS.
Time seemed to fly after Mrs. Minturn's visit. Winter melted into spring, spring budded and blossomed into summer, and June, with its examinations, commencement exercises and formalities, was once more close upon the students at Hilton.
Mr. and Mrs. Minturn came on from New York to be present at Katherine's graduation, after which the family, Jennie included, were going directly to their summer home at Manchester.
Prof. Seabrook had again been fortunate enough to secure the Hunt cottage for the season, for the owners were going abroad for a year and were only too glad to rent it to such desirable tenants.
Sadie was going with her guardian and his family to Newport for the summer, but had promised Katherine a fortnight's visit during the latter half of July.
The two girls had grown closer and closer to each other, and they now found themselves very loath to separate, to dismantle their pretty room and pack their trunks, for their final flitting from Hilton, their well-beloved alma mater. Their prospective departure was also generally regretted by both teachers and pupils, who were to remain, for each had won a stronghold in all hearts.
There had been a great change in Sadie, but it had only served to make her more attractive, and she had kept her word to "do her best" work during her last year, for she now stood second in her class, and thus had won the respect of her principal as well as of her teachers, while her happy temperament and the almost prodigal expenditure of her ample income to give pleasure to others had made her many firm friends among the students.
Katherine, as we know, had broken every barrier down before her junior year expired, and during the present one not a cloud had gathered to mar her relations with her associates; while, having lived her religion, Christian Science had grown to be respected by the whole school, especially after it became known what had produced the wonderful change in Dorothy, who did not seem like the same girl, and was now able to get about quite nimbly with the aid of crutches.
The last all-important day arrived, and the retiring seniors "did themselves proud" in their "grand final parade" before the public, receiving their floral tributes and diplomas with pretty, consequential airs and smiles of supreme content, singing their last songs, but wiping away a furtive tear or two which the suggestive melodies evoked; then their reign at Hilton was over.
After the class was dismissed, as Katherine was gathering up her flowers to take them to her room, she glanced at the cards attached to the various offerings. One bore "With dear love from father and mother"; another was from "Sadie," and a third from "Dorothy."