"Yes;" she went on, "there's dear old Ireland. You see, this is my second visit, and it's like coming home. You go on to Liverpool, I understand."
"I have a ticket to Liverpool," he said; "but I suppose they would let me off at Queenstown, wouldn't they?"
"Why, certainly—how fast we are nearing land. I'll have to go down now and awaken father. We haven't much time to get ready."
He would have held her, had he dared. She was gone, and there were a hundred and one questions to ask her. She must not get away from him like this. He must know where they were going—get addresses by which to find them. He had no plans but what could be easily changed. Seeing Europe without Lucy Strong would be a dull, profitless excursion. Chester's thoughts ran along this line, when Lucy appeared again. The color had left her face.
"Father is very sick," she said to Chester. "He seems in a stupor. I can't wake him. Will you find the doctor?"
"I'll get him," he said. "Don't worry. We'll be down immediately."
Chester and the doctor found Lucy rubbing her father's hands and forehead, pleading softly for him to speak to her. The doctor after a hurried examination, said there was nothing serious. A nervous break-down of some kind only—no organic trouble—would be all right again shortly.
"But doctor, we get off at Queenstown," explained Lucy.
"Well, I think you can manage it. By the time you are ready to leave, he will be strong enough. This young man seems able to carry him ashore, if need be. Are you landing also," he asked of Chester.
Lucy looked at the young man, but said nothing. The doctor promised to bring some medicine, then left.
"But Mr. Lawrence—" began Lucy.
"I'll listen to no objections," interrupted he. "I couldn't think for a moment of leaving you two in this condition. You're hardly able to lift a glass of water, and now you father's ill also. No; I am going with you, to be your body guard, your servant. Listen! I'm out to see the old world. I should very much like to begin with Queenstown and Cork."
The father moved, opened his eyes, then sat up He passed his hand over his face, then looked at the two young people. "It's all right," he muttered, then lay down again on the pillow. The doctor came with his medicine. There were now heard the noise of trunks being hoisted from the hold and the bustle of getting ready to leave the ship.
"Father," said Lucy. "We must soon get ready to leave. Will you be able?"
"Yes, yes, child"—it seemed difficult for the old man to speak.
"And Chester—Mr. Lawrence—here is to go with us and help us."
"Yes." He nodded as if it was easier to give assent in that way.
"We'll make all things ready, daddy. Don't you worry. Rest as long as you can. It will be some time yet before you will need to get up."
The sick man nodded again.
"I'll remain here while you get ready," said Chester. "Then you may attend while I do what little is necessary. I'll let my trunk go right on to Liverpool.
Lucy hurried away and Chester sat down by the bed. As he smoothed out the coverlet, the minister reached out and took Chester's hand which he held in his own as if to get strength from it. There came into the old man's face an expression of contentment, but he did not try to talk.
Lucy returned, and Chester hurried to his own room where he soon packed his few belongings and was ready. He found the elders on deck watching the approach to Queenstown, and explained to them what had happened to change somewhat his plans. "I'll surely hunt you up," he said to Elder Malby, "and visit with you;" and the Elder wished him God-speed and gave him his blessing.
Slowly the big ship sailed into Queenstown harbor, and then stopped. The anchor chains rattled, the big iron grasped the bottom, and the vessel was still. What a sensation to be once more at rest! Now out from the shore came a tender to take Queenstown passengers ashore. Small boats came alongside from which came shrill cries to those far above on deck. A small rope was thrown up which was caught and hauled in by the interested spectators. At the end of the small rope there dangled a heavier one, and at the end of that there was a loop into which a good-sized Irish woman slipped. "Pull away," came from below, and half a dozen men responded. Up came the woman, her feet climbing the sides of the steamer. With great good-nature the men pulled until the woman was on deck. Then she immediately let down the lighter rope to her companion in the small boat, where a basket was fastened and drawn up. From the basket came apples, or "real Irish lace," or sticks of peculiar Irish woods, all of which found a ready sale among the passengers.
From one of the lower decks of the steamer, a gang-way was pushed on to the raised deck platform of the tender, and even then the incline was quite steep. This bridge was well fastened by ropes, and then the passengers began to descend, while their heavier baggage was piled on the decks of the tender.
Lucy and her father soon appeared. Chester met them below and helped the sick man up, along the deck, and down the gang-way to the tender, where he found a seat. Lucy followed, stewards carrying their hand baggage. From their new position they looked up to the steamer. How big it was!
The day was beautifully warm. Well wrapped in his coat, the father rested easily, watching with some interest the busy scene around him. He being among the last to leave the liner, they were soon ready to be off. The gang-way was drawn in again, and the tender steamed away towards the inner harbor. The big ship weighed its anchor, then proceeded on its course to Liverpool, carrying away its little world of a week's acquaintance, to which Chester and Lucy waved farewell.
Queenstown, in terraced ranks, now rose before them. The pier was soon reached, from which most of the travelers continued their journey by rail. The minister and his party, however, took passage again on a small boat for Cork. Everything being new to Chester, and the father being quite unable to do anything, the initiative, at least, rested on Lucy. With Chester's help, she managed quite well.
For an hour they sailed on the placid waters of the harbor and up into the river Lee. The wooded hills, on either hand, dotted with farm-houses and villas, presented a pleasing picture. The boat drew up to a landing at St. Patrick's Bridge, where Uncle Gilbert met them, greatly surprised and alarmed at his brother's condition.
Carriages were waiting. Chester was introduced by Lucy in a way which led to the inference that he was a particular friend of the family picked up, perhaps, in their time of need. Bag and baggage was piled in besides them and they drove away through the streets of Cork and into the suburbs. Slowly the horse climbed the hill, but in a short time they were at Uncle Gilbert's home, one of the beautiful ones situated among the green of rolling hillside and the deeper green of trees.
There was another warm welcome by Aunt Sarah, who took immediate and personal charge of the sick man.
"It's a break-down through overwork," she declared. "You Americans live at such fever heat that it is no wonder you have no nerves. They're burned out of you. But it's rest only he wants, poor man; and here's where he'll get it. Don't you worry, Lucy."
Aunt Sarah's masterful treatment of cases such as these took much care and anxiety from them all. Away from the bustle and roar of hurrying humanity and traffic, resting amid the soothing green, and breathing the mild air of the country; the minister ought surely to get well again soon.
He would not go to bed, but chose to sit in a big chair with a pillow under his head, looking out of the upstairs window which afforded a view of the town. The sun came in rather strongly during the afternoon and the father motioned Lucy to partly draw the blind. She did so, then drew a stool to his chair and seated herself near him. He placed his hands on her head, patted it caressingly, smiled at her, but said nothing. It was still difficult for him to speak.
Presently, there came a light tap at the door. Lucy arose. It was Chester.
"Excuse me," he said, "but the people below are somewhat confused over the trunks. I came to inquire."
"Come in," said Lucy. "Let the 'confusion' continue for a little while. Come in to where there is peace. Father is feeling better, I am sure."
The invalid turned towards the speakers, then with a movement of his head told them to come near. Lucy took her former position, while Chester drew up a chair. Yes; he did seem better, there being some color in his face to add life to his faint smile.
"Chester," he whispered with effort, as he reached out and took the young man's hand, "Chester—my boy—I—am—so—glad—you—came—with—us."
While the father was resting quietly at Kildare Villa, as Uncle Gilbert's home was called, Chester and Lucy spent a few days in looking about.
"Are there any sights worth seeing around here?" asked Chester of Lucy.
"Are there?" she replied in surprise. "Did you ever hear of the Blarney Stone?"
Yes; he had.
"Well, that's not far away; and those were the Shandon bells you heard last evening,
'The bells of Shandon, That sound so grand on The pleasant waters of the river Lee,'"
The fact of the matter was that Chester was quite content to remain quietly with Lucy and her father and the other good people of the place. Traveling around the country would, without doubt, separate them, and that disaster would come soon enough, he thought; but when Lucy announced that she was ready for a "personally conducted tour to all points of interest," he readily agreed to be "conducted." She was well enough to do so, she said; and in fact it did look as if health were coming to her again.
The morning of the second day at Kildare Villa Chester and Lucy set out to see the town, riding in Aunt Sarah's car behind the pony. There had been a sprinkle of rain during the night, so the roads were pleasant. Lucy pointed out the places of interest, consulting occasionally a guide book.
"While viewing the scenery, it is highly educational to get the proper information," said Lucy as she opened her book. "It states here that Cork is a city of 76,000 people. According to one authority it had a beginning in the seventh century. Think of that now, and compare its growth with that of Kansas City, for instance."
"I have always associated this city with the small article used as stoppers for bottles," said Chester.
"You thought perhaps the British needed a cork to stop up their harbor," said Lucy, gravely; "but you are entirely mistaken. The book says the name is a corruption of Corcach, meaning a marsh. The town has, however, long since overflowed the water, and now occupies not only a large island in the river, but reaches up the high banks on each side."
They were evidently in Ireland.
"A most noticeable peculiarity of Cork is its absolute want of uniformity, and the striking contrasts in the colors of the houses. The stone of which the houses in the northern suburb is built is of reddish brown, that on the south, of a cold gray tint. Some are constructed of red brick, some are sheathed in slate, some whitewashed; some reddened, some yellowed. Patrick may surely do as he likes with his own house. The most conspicuous steeple in the place, that of St. Ann, Shandon's, is actually red two sides and white the others,
'Parti-colored, like the people, Red and white stands Shandon steeple.'
and there it is before us," said Lucy.
The tower loomed from a low, unpretentious church. The two visitors drove up the hill, stopped the horse while they looked at the tower and heard the bells strike the hour.
"What Father Prout could see in such commonplace things to inspire him to write his fine poem, I can not understand," said Lucy. "There is a peculiar jingle in his lines which stays with one. Listen:
"'With deep affectation and recollection I often think of the Shandon bells, Whose sounds so wild would, in days of childhood Fling round my cradle their magic spells— On this I ponder, where'er I wander, And thus grow fonder, sweet Cork of thee With thy bells of Shandon, That sound so grand on The pleasant waters of the river Lee.'"
Lucy read the four stanzas.
"It's fine," agreed Chester; "and I think I can answer your question of a moment ago. Father Prout, as he says, listened to these bells in childhood days, those days when 'heaven lies about us' and glorifies even the most common places, and the impressions he then received remained with him."
Lucy "guessed" he was right.
Then they drove by St. Fin Barre's cathedral, considered the most noteworthy and imposing building in Cork. "'It is thought probable the poet Spenser was married in the church which formerly stood on the site,'" Lucy read. "'His bride was a Cork lady, but of the country, not of the city. Spenser provokingly asks:
"'Tell me, ye merchants' daughters, did ye see So fayre a creature in your town before? Her goodlie eyes, like sapphyres shining bright; Her forehead, ivory white, Her lips like cherries charming men to byte.'"
"Well," remarked Chester as they drove homeward, and he thought he was brave in doing so. "I don't know about the merchants' daughters of Cork, but I know a minister's daughter of Kansas City, Missouri, U.S.A., who tallies exactly with Spenser's description."
"Why, Mr. Lawrence!"
"I might say more," he persisted, "were it not for some foolish promises I made that same minister a few days ago—but here we are. Where shall we go after lunch?"
"I thought we were to go to Blarney Castle."
"Sure. I had forgotten. That's where the Blarney Stone is?"
"Sure," repeated the girl mischievously.
So that afternoon they set out. It was but a short distance by train through an interesting country. Lucy was the guide again.
"Do you have an Irish language?" asked Chester. "I heard some natives talking something I couldn't understand."
"Of course there's an Irish language," explained his fair instructor. "Anciently the Irish spoke the Gaelic, a branch of the Celtic. In this reign of Queen Elizabeth, the Irish language was forbidden. The English is now universal, but many still speak the Gaelic. In recent years there has been an awakening of interest in the old tongue. 'One who knows Irish well,' an Irish historian claims, 'will readily master Latin, French, Spanish, Portuguese, and Italian;' and he adds that to the Irish-speaking people, the Irish language is 'rich, elegant, soul-stirring, and expressive.'"
"I can well believe the latter statement when I remember the actions of those using it," said Chester.
"Here we are," announced Lucy, as they alighted and walked to the entrance of the park. "It will cost us six pence to get in."
Chester paid the man at the gate a shilling. The castle loomed high on the side of a hill, its big, square tower being about all that now remains of the ancient structure. A woman was in charge of the castle proper.
"The stone that you kiss is away up to the top," explained Lucy. "You will have to go up alone, as I dare not climb the stairs. I'll wait here. But stop a minute; the impressions will be more lasting if you get the proper information first. Here, we'll sit on this bench while I tell you about the castle."
Chester readily agreed to this.
"To sentimental people," began the girl, as she looked straight at the high walls in front, "Blarney Castle is the greatest object of interest in Southern Ireland; and, of course, the Blarney Stone is the center of attraction. It was built by Cormack McCarthy about 1446. Of the siege of the castle by Cromwell's forces, under Irton, we have the following picturesque account in verse, which, I must say, has a Kipling-like ring."
She opened her book and read:
"'It was now the poor boys of the castle looked over the wall, And they saw that ruffian, ould Cromwell, a-feeding on powder and ball, And the fellow that married his daughter, a-chawing grape-shot in his jaw, 'Twas bowld I-ray-ton they called him, and he was his brother-in-law.'
"The word 'Blarney' means pleasant, deludin' talk, said to have originated at the court of Queen Elizabeth. McCarthy, the then chieftain over the clan of that name who resided at Blarney, was repeatedly asked to come in from 'off his keeping.' He was always promising with fair words and soft speech to do what was desired, but never could be got to come to the sticking point. The queen, it is told, when one of his speeches was brought to her, said: 'This is all Blarney; what he says, he never means.'
"Now, this is the reason for kissing the stone up there in the tower. Listen:
"'There is a stone there, whoever kisses, Oh! he never misses to grow eloquent; 'Tis he may clamber to a lady's chamber, Or become a Member of Parliament. A clever spouter, he'll sure turn out, or An "out—an'—outer" to be let alone; Don't hope to hinder him, or to bewilder him, Sure, he's a pilgrim from the Blarney Stone.'
"Now, then, these are the facts in the case," concluded Lucy. "Proceed to do."
Chester climbed the long stairs to the top. From the western edge, he looked down and waved at Lucy, then hurriedly scanned the beautiful prospect about him. The wonderful stone then drew his attention. It is set in the parapet wall, being one of the under stones in the middle of the tower. This parapet does not form part of the wall, but is detached from it, being built out about two feet and supported by a sort of scaffolding brace of masonry. This leaves a space between the battlement and the wall, which in olden times, enabled the defenders to drop stones and other trifles on to the heads of assailants one hundred twenty feet below. Two iron bands now reach around the famous stone, spanning the open space, and fastened to the wall. The aspirant who wishes to kiss the stone, must grasp these irons, one in each hand, and hang on for dear life. As the stone is underneath the parapet, the feat of kissing it is not easy. In the first place, one must lie on one's back, then with head extended over the wall, the head must be bent down and back far enough to touch the lips to the stone. To perform the feat safely, there must be assistants at hand who must hold one's legs in steady grip, and others who must sit on the lower part of the body to assure the proper equilibrium.
Being entirely alone, it is needless to say, Chester did not kiss the Blarney Stone. He was satisfied with reaching under and touching it with his hand. Then he returned to Lucy.
"You did not kiss the stone," she immediately declared.
"You know, don't you, that it takes two to kiss—the Blarney Stone?"
"I've heard it so stated. I've never been up to it."
The park around the castle is very inviting, especially on a fine, warm afternoon. There are big trees, grass, and neatly kept walks. Chester and Lucy sauntered under the trees. A tiny brook gurgled near by, the birds were singing. Lucy chattered merrily along, but Chester was not so talkative. She noticed his mood and asked why he was so silent.
"I was thinking of that promise. I fear I am not doing right."
"O, that reminds me—Father, of course could not—"
"Could not what?"
"Well, the night before he became so ill on the boat he told me he was going to release you from any promise not to meet me and talk religion to me."
"Did he say that?" They paused in their walk.
"Yes; and he meant it—he means it now, if he could but say as much."
"I thank you for telling me * * * Let us sit down here on this rustic seat. Do you know, I believe your father has gotten over his first dislike for me."
"O, yes, he has. I think he likes you very much."
"I was not surprised at his actions when I told him I was a 'Mormon.' He can hardly be blamed, in view of the life-long training he has had. And then, knowing that you have been in danger from that source before made him over-sensitive on the point. I marvel now that he treats me so well."
Lucy looked her happiness, rather than expressed it. The guide book lay open on her lap. Chester picked it up, looked at a picture of Blarney Castle, and then read aloud:
"'There's gravel walk there, For speculation, And conversation In sweet solitude. 'Tis there the lover May hear the dove, or The gentle plover In the afternoon.'
"Lucy," said Chester, as he closed the book, "I'm going to call you Lucy—I can't call you Miss Strong in such a lovely place as this. We have an hour or two before we must return, and I want to talk over a few matters while we have the chance. In the first place, I want you to tell me where you are going when you leave Ireland. I want to keep track of you—I don't want to lose you. If your father would not object, I should like to travel along with you."
"Father may remain here a long time, so long that we may not get to see much of Europe, and of course, you can't wait here for us."
"Now listen, Lucy. You are Europe to me. I believe you are the whole world."
She did not turn from him, though she looked down to the grass where the point of her sunshade now rested. Her face was diffused with color.
"Forgive me for saying so much," he continued, "for I realize I am quite a stranger to you."
"A stranger?" she asked.
"Yes; we have not known each other long. You don't know much about me."
"I seem to have known you a long time," she said, looking up. "I often think I have met you before. Sometimes I imagine you look like the young missionary whom I first heard on the streets of Kansas City; but of course, that can't be."
"No; I never was on a mission. But I'm glad you think of me as you do, for then you'll let me come and see you in London, in Paris and wherever you go. I assure you, it would be rather uninteresting sight-seeing without your presence, if not always in person, then in spirit. After all, much depends on the condition of the eyes with which one looks on an object whether it is interesting or not."
Then the talk led to personal matters. He spoke of his experiences in Utah—some of them—and she fold him her simple life's story. Her mother had died many years ago; she had no very distinct recollection of her. She and her father had lived with housekeepers for many years. What with school and home, the one trip before to Europe, a number of excursions to various parts of her own country, her life had passed very smoothly and very quietly among her friends and books. As Chester listened to her he thought how like in some respects her story was to that of Julia Elston's. And as she sat there under the trees, she again looked like Julia, yet with a difference. Somehow the first girl had vanished but she had left behind in his heart a susceptibility to a form and face like this one beside him. Julia had come into his heart, not to dwell there, but to purify it, adorn it, and to make it ready for someone else;—and that other person had come. She filled the sanctuary of his heart. Peace and love beyond the telling were inmates with her. Had he not come to his own at last.
That afternoon, as he sat with Lucy under the trees at Blarney, listening to her story, told in simplicity with eyes alternating between smiles and tears, he felt so near heaven that his prayers went easily ahead of him to the throne of mercy and love, bearing a message of praise and gratitude to the Giver of all good.
These two were quite alone that afternoon. Even the care-taker went within the thick walls of the castle, remembering, perhaps, that she also had been young once. Birds may have eyes to see and ears to hear, but they tell nothing to humans.
On the way back to Cork there was only one other passenger in the car,—an Irish girl carrying a basket in which were two white kittens. About half way to the city, the train stopped, and much to the travelers' surprise, a company of about two hundred Gordon Highlanders boarded the train, filling the cars completely.
"What," asked Chester. "Have the Scotch invaded Ireland?"
"I suppose it's a company just out for a bit of exercise," suggested Lucy.
Their bare, brown legs, kilts and equipment were matters of much interest to Chester. When the train arrived in Cork, the soldiers formed, and with bagpipes squeeling their loudest, they marched into St. Patrick's street. Chester and Lucy and the girl with the basket followed.
"This is quite an honor," remarked Chester, "to have a company of soldiers come to meet us, and to be escorted into town by music like this. How did they know?"
"Know what?" escaped from Lucy before she discerned his meaning.
"Why, you silly man," she replied, "the honor is for the kittens!"
Uncle Gilbert met them at the door. "Your father is sleeping—getting along fine," he explained. "Now then, young man, did you kiss the Blarney Stone?"
"You didn't! You missed the greatest opportunity in your life."
"Oh, no, I didn't." replied Chester. "Far from it."
Lucy, rosy red, fled past her teasing uncle into the house.
A warm, gentle rain was falling. No regrets or complaints were heard at Kildare Villa, for, as Uncle Gilbert said, the farmers needed it, he and his people were comfortably housed, and the excursionists—meaning Chester and Lucy—would do well to remain quiet for a day.
The minister had so far recovered that he walked unaided into the large living room, where a fire in the grate shed a genial warmth. Chester and Lucy were already there, she at the piano and he singing softly. At sight of her father, Lucy ran to him, helped him to a seat, then kissed him good morning.
"How much better you are!" she said.
"Yes; I am glad I am nearly myself again—thanks to Aunt Sarah," he said, as that good woman entered the room with pillows and footrest for the invalid, who was made quite comfortable. Then the aunt delivered him to the care of the two young people, with an admonition against drafts and loud noises.
"All right, daddy; now what can we do for you?" asked Lucy.
"You were singing—when I came in. * * * Sing the song again."
"But loud noises, you know."
"Sing—softly," he replied.
The two went back to the piano. Lucy played and both sang in well modulated, subdued voices,
"Jesus, I my cross have taken All to leave and follow Thee; Naked, poor, despised, forsaken, Thou, from hence my all shall be. Perish every fond ambition, All I've sought, or hoped, or known, Yet how rich is my condition, God and heaven are still my own."
They sang the three stanzas. The two voices blended beautifully. The father asked them to sing the song again, which they did. Then they sang others, some of which were not familiar to the listener.
"Oh, how lovely was the morning, Brightly beamed the sun above."
"What was that last song?" inquired the father.
The two singers looked at each other as if they had been caught in some forbidden act.
"Why"—hesitated Lucy, "that's a Sunday School song."
"A 'Mormon' song?"
"Sing—it again," he said as he lay back on his pillows, closed his eyes and listened.
"Do you know any more—'Mormon' songs?"
Lucy, of course, did not know many. Chester managed "O, my Father," and one or two more. Then Lucy closed the piano and went back to her father, where she stood smoothing gently his gray hair. Thus they talked and read and sang a little more, while the rain fell gently without.
"This is a beautiful country," said Chester, looking out of the window. "I do not blame people who have money, desiring to live here." Lucy came to the window also, and they stood looking out on the rain-washed green. The father lay still in his chair, and presently he went to sleep. Chester and Lucy then retired to a corner, and carried on their conversation in low tones. Faint noises from other parts of the house came to them. From without, only the occasional shrill whistle of a locomotive disturbed the silence. The fire burned low in the grate.
Suddenly, the father awoke with a start. "I tell you he is my son," he said aloud. "I am his father, and I ought to father him—my heart goes out—my son—"
"What is it, father?" cried Lucy, running to him, and putting her arm around his shoulders.
The father looked about, fully awakened.
"I was only dreaming," he explained. "Did I talk in my sleep?"
Just then Uncle Gilbert came in. He announced that tomorrow he would of necessity have to leave for Liverpool. It would be a short trip only; he would be back in two or three days, during which all of them should continue to make themselves comfortable.
"George, here, is getting along famously," he declared. "A few more days of absolute rest, and you'll be all right, eh, brother?"
"I think so."
Aunt Sarah now announced luncheon, and they all filed out of the room.
That evening the two brothers were alone. "I want to talk to you," the visitor had said; and his brother was willing that he should. Evidently, something weighed heavily on his mind, some imaginary trouble, brought on by his weakened physical condition.
"Now, what is it, brother," said Gilbert as they sat comfortably in their room.
"You know that in my younger days I had a little trouble"—began the minister, now speaking quite freely.
"I don't recall what you mean."
"When I was studying for the ministry—a woman, you—"
"O, yes; I remember; but what of it? That's past and forgotten long ago."
"Past, but not forgotten. I have tried to forget, the Lord knows, by long years of service in the ministry. I hope the Lord has forgiven—but I forgotten, Oh, no."
"Look here, brother, you are over-sensitive just now because of your physical condition. You have nothing to worry over. That little youthful indiscretion—"
"But there was a child, Gilbert, a boy."
"Well, what of it?"
"That was my boy. I am his father. What has become of him? Where is he now? Flesh of my flesh, is he handicapped by the stigma I placed upon him? Is he, perchance, groveling in the gutter, because I cast him off—had no thought or care for him—"
"Now, look here—"
"Listen. I became a father, then shirked the responsibility of fatherhood. A new word rings in my ears, 'FATHERING.' I can see its mighty import. I who have spoken the words of the great Father for these many years, have not followed His example. Listen, brother: if that son of mine is alive, and I believe he is, I am going to find and claim him—and not once more do I preach until I do."
The brother was somewhat alarmed, showing it in his countenance.
"You may think I am out of my head; but I never was saner in my life. My thoughts are as clear as a bell, and now that I have said what I wanted to, I feel better. That's all—don't you worry about me. Now go to bed. You are to be off in the morning, you know. Good night."
As Gilbert walked out, his mind not altogether clear about his brother, Lucy was at the door waiting to bid her father good night.
"May I come in?" she asked.
"Yes; come along."
"I wanted just to say good night."
"That's right, my girl; and where is Chester?"
"He—I don't know. I think he's retired."
"You're looking so well, these days. Are you happy?"
"Yes, daddy; so happy—and so much better, I believe."
"All right—there now, good night. If Chester is without, tell him to come in a moment."
She kissed him again, then slipped out. Presently, Chester entered.
"Did you wish to see me, Mr. Strong?"
"Yes—that is, just to say good night—and to tell you that I am better—and also to thank you for taking such good care of Lucy."
"Why, I assure you—"
"Wait a moment. Stand right where you are, there in that light—you'll excuse a sick man's humors, I know; but someone told me today that we two look very much alike. I was just wondering whether it was a fancy only—but I can't tell, nor you can't tell. It always takes a third person to say."
"Yes; I suppose it does," laughed Chester. "But I don't object to the resemblance."
"Nor I, my boy. Come here. Continue to take good care of Lucy. She's a good, sweet girl." The man arose, as if to be off to bed. Chester put his arm around him.
"Let me help you," said the young man. "You are not very strong yet."
"Thank you." He put his arm about Chester's neck so that the stronger man could nearly carry the weaker. As they walked slowly across the room under the lamps anyone could see a striking resemblance between the two men. As they said good night and parted at the father's door, the older man's hand patted softly the young man's cheek. Chester felt the touch, so strange that it thrilled him. "That was for Lucy's sake," he said to himself as he sought the quietness of his own room.
* * * * *
There were no apparent reasons why Chester Lawrence should not accompany Uncle Gilbert to Liverpool, so neither Chester nor Lucy tried to find any. Plans for meeting in London and on the continent were fully matured and understood. The separation would be for a week or fortnight at most. Lucy and Aunt Sarah waved their goodbyes as the train drew out of Cork for Dublin.
Chester now understood why Ireland was called the Emerald Isle. Green, green, everywhere—fields and hedges, trees and bushes, bogs and hills—everything was green. Uncle Gilbert gave him full information on all points of interest.
At Dublin they had a few hours to wait for the boat, so they looked around the city, not forgetting the beautiful Phoenix Park. It was evening when they went on board the steamer and to bed. Next morning, they were awakened by the rattling of cables and chains as they slid into a dock at Liverpool.
Chester and Gilbert Strong parted company at Liverpool, the latter to attend to the business which had brought him there, the former to seek a place of lodging. First he found 42 Islington, the headquarters of the mission, introduced himself to the elders in charge, and asked them to direct him to some cheap, but respectable lodgings. He was shown to a nearby hotel where the missionaries usually put up, where he obtained a room. Then he went to the steamship company's office at the pier, obtained his trunk, and had it taken to his lodgings. After a bath, a general clean-up and change of clothing, he was ready for the town, or all England for that matter.
He went back to "42" for further information. He noticed that the slum district of the town pressed closely on to the office quarters, and he saw some sights even that first afternoon which shocked him: dirty, ragged children, playing in the gutters; boys and girls and women going in to dram shops and bringing out mugs of beer; men and women drunken. One sight specially horrified him: a woman, dirty, naked shoulders and arms; feet and legs bare; a filthy skirt and bodice open at the breast; hair matted and wild; reeling along the pavement, crying out in drunken exclamations and mutterings. It was the most sickening sight the young man had ever seen, and with perhaps the exception of a fight he witnessed some days later between two such characters, the worst spectacle of his life.
All this sordid life so strange and new, drew the attention of the young westerner. Especially did 42 Islington interest him; for this was an historic spot for "Mormonism." From here the early missionaries had sent forth the message of salvation to Great Britain, in fact, to the whole of Europe. Here within these dingy rooms had trod the strong, sturdy characters of the pioneer days of the Church. Perhaps in some of these rooms Orson Pratt had written his masterly presentation of the gospel. In those days, very likely, there were not so many noises of traffic and restless humanity. Perhaps such men could take with them the peace and sublime solitude of their home in the Western Mountains into the confusing din of the big city, and remain undisturbed. And these were happy, even as the present elders were, laboring, with a clear conscience for the salvation of souls. There came to Chester, as he thought of these things, an expression he had read: "Outside things cannot make you happy, unless they fit with something inside; and they are so few and so common that the smallest room can hold them."
That same evening there was a meeting of the Saints which Chester attended. The congregation was small, much smaller even than those of Chicago. Most of the people present appeared to be of the humbler, working classes; but there was the same light in their faces as that which shone in faces on the other side of the world, when enlightened by the Spirit of God. Everywhere, Chester noticed, this Spirit was the same, giving to rich and poor, learned and unlearned alike, the joy of its presence.
"Come around tomorrow, and we'll take a look about the city," said one of the elders to Chester. "Sitting cramped over a desk day after day, makes it necessary for me to get out once in a while."
The afternoon of the following day, Chester called for his friend in the office, and they set out. "I want you to get rid of the first impressions of Liverpool," explained the elder. "I want you to get away from the noise and dirt to the green and quiet and beauty of the town."
First they took a car to the Botanical Gardens, looked at the flower beds and inspected the palm-house. Then they walked across the open to the farther side, followed a short street or two into the big, open grass-covered Wavertree Playground. Thence it was a short walk to Sefton Park with its varied and extensive beauties. They watched the children sail their toy crafts on the lake. There were some men even, trying out model boats. The bird cage was interesting. The grotto, as usual, was hard to find. The palm-house took a good part of their time, for the beautiful statue of Burn's Highland Mary, gleaming white from a bed of green, took Chester's attention, as also the historical figures surrounding the house. One of these was of Columbus with an inscription claiming that he had very much to do with the making of Liverpool, which is no doubt true.
The weather was fine, the air was balmy; many people were out. Chester and his companion strolled about the walks and across the velvety stretches of grass. They watched for a time, a "gentlemanly game of cricket," but it was too slow altogether for the Americans.
It was well towards sundown when the two young men took a car back to Islington. "Another day we'll see Newsham Park, and the country around Knotty Ash way. Then again, there is some beautiful country up the Mersey and across to Birkenhead." The visitor was grateful for these offers.
That evening Chester addressed some post-cards to his few friends in Chicago, one to Hugh Elston, one to Elder Malby in London, and one to Lucy May Strong, Kildare Villa, Cork, Ireland. He lingered somewhat over this latter, lost somewhat in wonder at recent events. Was not this ocean trip and the Irish experience a dream? The noise and smoke about him were surely that of Chicago, and he was sitting in his room there in his normal condition of homelessness and friendlessness? Had he not that day been out with an elder from the Chicago Church office to Lincoln Park and the lakeside? Surely Lucy and the minister, and Kildare Villa and Blarney were figments of a pleasant dream! Chester walked back and forth in the small room. He stopped before a dingy map of Great Britain on the wall. His finger touched Ireland, moved southward, and stopped at Cork. Yes; there was such a place, any way, so there must be Shandon Bells and the Blarney Stone, and a rustic seat under the trees at Blarney Castle. Well, if all else under the sun were imaginary, that hour of bliss at Blarney when Chester told Lucy he loved her, and Lucy told Chester the same sweet words—that was real. He would live in that reality, for it far surpassed his dreams.
Chester looked again at the post-card he had addressed to Kildare Villa, placed it aside, and wrote in its place a long letter.
Twenty miles out of London. The sun is shining, and the train glides along by green fields, hedges of hawthorn, and blossoming trees. England looks to be the huge, well-cared-for farm of a very rich man. This may be explained by the fact that England is an old country, having been plowed and planted and harrowed for close on to a thousand years before America was discovered. This long period of cultivation gives the country-side a mellowness and well-groomed look. The vaporous sunlight softens all the outlines, hides the harsh features, and gives the landscape its dreamy, far-away, misty loveliness. There seems to be no angles in the scene; field melts into field, and hedge into hedge, with here and there a ribbon of a road which seems to join them rather than to separate them. The houses are of brick or of stone, many partly hidden under the climbing ivy or roses.
Chester Lawrence is accompanying Elder Malby eastward from London through Kent to Margate and Ramsgate on the coast. Elder Malby is to attend to some Church duties, and Chester, by invitation, was glad to accompany him. It was the young man's policy to keep in touch as much as possible with the elders and their work, and he was getting somewhat of the missionary spirit himself. He was greatly enjoying this ride through the beautiful country.
"It's really wonderful," said Chester, looking out of the car window, "this coming from London into the country. Where are all the people? Are they all in town? Some cows are browsing in the pastures, and sheep scurry about as the train flies by, but where are the people who have made this great garden?"
"You must remember," explained Chester's companion, "all this has not been done hurriedly by many people within a short time. What the Englishman doesn't do today he can do tomorrow; and so centuries of work by a few men has produced what we see."
"Well, I do occasionally see a few slow-moving men and women, somberly clad in grays and browns. These, I suppose, are the sturdy supporters of their country."
"Here is something I clipped from an American magazine," said Elder Malby, "which impressed me with its peculiar truth." He read:
"'England is London says one, England is Parliament says another, England is the Empire says still another; but if I be not much mistaken, this stretch of green fields, these hills and valleys, these hedges and fruit trees, this soft landscape, is the England men love. In India and Canada, in their ships at sea, in their knots of soldiery all over the world, Englishmen must close their eyes at times, and when they do, they see these fields green and brown, these hedges dusted with the soft snow of blossoms, these houses hung with roses and ivy, and when the eyes open, they are moist with these memories. The pioneer, the sailor, the soldier, the colonist may fight, and struggle and suffer, and proclaim his pride in his new home and possessions, but these are the love of a wife, of children, of friends; that other is the love, with its touch of adoration, that is not less nor more, but still different, that mysterious mingling of care for, and awe of, the one who brought you into the world.
"'This is the England, I take it, that makes one feel his duty to be his religion, and the England that every American comes to as to a shrine. When this is sunk in the sea, or trampled over by a host of invading Germans, or mauled into bankruptcy by pandering politicians and sour socialists, one of the most delightful spots in the whole world will have been lost, and no artist ever be able to paint such a picture again, for nowhere else is there just this texture of canvas, just this quality if pigment, just these fifteen centuries of atmosphere.' I think this sums it up nicely," commented Elder Malby.
"Ireland is a pretty fine country, too," said Chester, with far-away tone, still gazing out of the window.
Elder Malby laughed heartily, in which his companion joined. Chester had told him his Irish experiences.
Ramsgate is a pretty town on the east coast. It being Sunday, the shops were closed and the streets quiet. After some enquiries and searching, the local elder was found in the outskirts of the town. The two visitors were warmly received. A good old-fashioned English dinner was served, after which the few Saints living in the vicinity gathered for meeting. Never before had Chester Lawrence experienced the comforting Spirit of the Lord as in that service when he partook with those simple, open-minded people the sacrament, and listened to their testimonies, in which he mingled his own.
After the services, there was the usual lingering to shake hands and exchange good words. In the midst of the confusion of voices and laughter, a large man appeared in the open doorway, and immediately there was a hush. It was the parish priest, round and sleek, yet stern of countenance. He looked about the room and found a good many of his neighbors present.
"Well, good people," said he, "what are you doing here?"
The local elder explained civilly the purpose of the gathering.
"But these men who are holding these services are 'Mormons,' and I come to warn you that they are wolves in sheep's clothing. Beware of them, let them alone," said the priest in rising accents.
The people stood about the room, quietly listening. Elder Malby and Chester were yet by the table which had served as a pulpit, and to them the priest advanced.
"Are you the 'Mormon' elders?" he demanded.
"We have that honor," serenely replied Elder Malby.
"You ought to be ashamed to come here to a Christian community with your vile doctrine. I warn you to keep away."
"Will you be seated, sir?" asked Elder Malby, who took charge of the situation. A number of people, who had evidently followed the priest to see the "fun," came in and gathered round.
"I'll not sit down. I'll deliver my message to you all," he declared as he turned to the people. "You may not believe what I say about these men, that they are not what they pretend; but let me read to you from an American paper—printed in their own land. Listen:
"'So fully apparent is the pernicious activity of "Mormonism" of late, that a general campaign of opposition is being urged against them in various parts of the country. It has been conclusively shown, by students of the question, that the "Mormon" Church is simply a great secret society, engaging in criminal practices under the cloak of their religion—"
There was a hum of protest in the room. Elder Malby raised a hand of warning to let the intruder proceed.
"'The attitude of "Mormonism" towards moral questions and its disregard for the laws, have been shown again and again. "Mormon" missionaries are now making a systematic canvas of every state in the Union, as well as in Great Britain and other foreign countries. Every home, especially of the poor and uneducated is to be visited. It would therefore be the part of wisdom to give a timely word of warning. This is a time to cry aloud and spare not, lest many be led astray by these pernicious teachings.'"
The minister followed up this reading by a stream of personal abuse against "Mormons" in general and Elder Malby—whose name he knew—in particular. Chester watched with keen interest the proceedings. Elder Malby's face was a study. The angry priest paused, then stopped.
"Are you through, sir?" asked Elder Malby quietly. There was no reply, so he continued. "If you are, I wish to say a word. You are entirely mistaken, my dear sir. I have not come here to mislead or to teach any such doctrine as you claim. True, I am now an American citizen, but I was born an Englishman. This is my native country, and I have as much right to be here as you have; and, thank God, this country provides for free speech and allows every man to worship God according to the dictates of his conscience. I love this, my native land—I love these, my people. That's why I am here to preach to them the gospel of Jesus Christ."
"You're a farmer, and not a minister," sneered the priest.
"Peter was a fisherman and Paul was a tent-maker," replied the Elder calmly. "I suppose, sir, that if either of these men came here to preach, you would look upon their occupation as a reproach."
There was no reply, so the "Mormon" continued. "It is true I am a farmer. Some of my friends here know that, because sometimes I assist them in the fields. And I have given them some helpful American hints too, have I not, Brother Naylor?"
"Aye, that you have."
"Religion is not a thing apart from daily life," said Elder Malby, speaking more to the listening people than to the priest. "A truly religious person works with hands and brains as well as prays with lips and heart. Let me tell you, good people, the 'Mormons' have shown to the world that heart and hand, faith and works must go together. A religion which withdraws itself apart from the common people into seclusions of prayer and contemplation alone is of no value in this world. The activities of this life and this world is the proper field for religion, for it is here that we prepare for a future life. The "Mormon" minister can plow, if he is a farmer, as well as preach. He digs canals, makes roads through the wilderness, provides work and play for those who look to him for guidance. Again, let me call your attention to something the "Mormon" preacher does: he preaches for the love of the souls of men, and not for a salary."
"You're a tramp," said the priest.
"Not exactly, my friend," replied the Elder, looking into the priest's face. "I pay my way, from money earned at home on my farm. Most of the people here know me, but some are strangers. Let me tell you, briefly, my story."
"Go on," some one near the door shouted.
"I was born a few miles from here. My parents were very poor, but honest and respectable. I had a longing to go to America, so by dint of long, hard work and saving, I obtained the passage money. On the way I became acquainted with the Mormons.' I knew they were the people of God, and I went with them to the West, which was a new country then. I was a pioneer. I took up wild, unbroken land, built me a cabin and made me a farm. It was hard work, but, the exhilaration of working for one's self gives courage and strength. Now I have a good farm, and a good house. I am not rich in worldly wealth. We must still economize carefully. Here—would you like to see my home in America?"
He took from his pocket a photograph and handed it to the nearest person, who passed it on. "That house I built with my own hands, most of it. Those trees I planted. I made the fence and dug the water ditch. That's my wife standing by the gate—yes, the only one I have, or ever had—that's my youngest child on the porch, the only one at home now. The others have married and have homes of their own. Here, I remember, I received a letter from my wife yesterday. Would you like to read it, sir?" addressing the priest who was now preparing to leave.
"The letter will prove that I am not a tramp, sir. Read it aloud to these people." The Elder held the letter in his extended hand.
"I'll have nothing further to do with you. I don't want to read your letter," retorted the priest.
"Read it, read it," came from a number; but the priest, unheedingly passed out of the door and down the path. The gate clicked.
"I'll read it," volunteered a man, one of the strangers who had come in later. He took the letter, and read so that all might hear, which was not difficult in that quieted room:
"'Dear George: By this time I suppose you are in Old England again, and have fairly started in your missionary work. We received your card from Chicago and your letter from New York. I hope you had a pleasant voyage across the ocean, and were not seasick.
"'We are all well at home, only a bit lonesome, of course. Janie misses you very much. She hardly knows what to do with herself in the evening. I was over to George's last night, and when I came in the door the baby cried "grandpa" before she saw who it was. The little thing looks all around and can't understand why you don't come. Lizzie's baby has the measles, but is getting along nicely.
"I drove around by the field from meeting last Sunday. The wheat is growing fine. The Bishop said it was the finest stand he had ever seen. George and Henry are now working on the ditch, and they said they'd work out your assessment while they were about it. We have had a good deal of rain lately.
"'I spoke to Brother Jenson about those two steers. He said prices were low at present and advised me to wait a little while before selling them. If you need the money very soon, of course I'll tell him to take them next time he calls. My eggs and butter help us out wonderfully, as we two don't require much. The Sunday eggs, you know, go towards the meeting house fund, and Janie claims the "Saturday crop." She needs a new school dress which Lizzie has promised to make.
"'Now, that's about all the news. I hope your health will continue good and that you are enjoying your mission. Don't worry about us. The Lord will provide. We want to do our part in sending the gospel to those who have it not. Our faith and prayers are always with you.
"'Your loving wife, "'JANE MALBY.
"'P.S. I forgot to tell you that the Jersey cow you bought from Brother Jones has had twin calves, both heifers. Isn't that fine? J.M.'"
The reader folded the letter and handed it back to its owner. The postscript saved the situation, for the wet eyes found relief in the merry laugh which it brought forth.
On Chester's return to London, he found the following note from Lucy:
"We're all coming—father and Uncle Gilbert and I. What do you think of that? Father is well enough to travel, and he has prevailed upon his brother to accompany us. In fact, I think that Uncle imagines we are two invalids and need his care—I'm glad he does. I'm so busy packing, I haven't time to write more. Will tell you all about it when I see you. Meet us at St. Pancras station Thursday, at 6 p.m.
"With love from
Elder Malby accompanied Chester to the station to meet his friends from Ireland. The two brothers were fairly well acquainted with London, so they had no trouble in finding a hotel in a quiet part of the city. Lucy's father seemed himself again. He walked with a cane, which, however, may have been his regular European custom. Lucy was uncommonly well, declaring that the long journey had not tired her a bit.
Plans were discussed in the hotel that evening, and it was finally decided to go to Paris by way of Rotterdam, Antwerp and Brussels. The stages would have to be easy for the sake of the "two invalids," as Uncle Gilbert put it, to which Chester heartily agreed.
Late the next morning, for the travelers needed the rest, Chester called for them, and the party of four saw a little of London from the top of a 'bus. The weather continued fair, and as the summer was well advanced, the air was warm. The sightseers had a simple luncheon at a small cafe which Uncle Gilbert knew near the British Museum, and then they continued their rambles until the close of the afternoon, when Chester put them down at the "Mormon" mission headquarters.
Elder Malby received them warmly, provided easy seats for Lucy and her father, and took hats and wraps under protestations that they were not going to stay. A number of missionaries came in and they were introduced. Lucy beamed with delight, her father unreservedly told the young men they were from America,—and western America at that; but Uncle Gilbert was not quite at his ease among the new company. He knew, of course, that these people were "Mormons," and his knowledge of "Mormons" and their ways, although somewhat vague, was not reassuring.
When the good-natured English housekeeper announced that supper was ready, it seemed impossible to do otherwise than to follow her and Elder Malby down to the large basement room. In fact, Lucy, without any ifs or ands took her father's arm and led him along. Uncle Gilbert thought he had never seen her in such a bold frame of mind.
Certainly, Chester, Elder Malby, and the housekeeper must have plotted to bring about that little supper party. The dining room was severely bare, but scrupulously clean. That evening the threadbare table cloth had been replaced by a new one. The usual menu of bread, milk, and jam was augmented by slices of cold meat, a dish of fruit, and a cake. Two small bouquets adorned the ends of the long table.
"Visitors," whispered one of the elders to another.
"Extraordinary visitors," replied the other. "Just like home when Uncle John came to see us."
The housekeeper even furnished tea for the Rev. Mr. Strong and his brother. Lucy said she liked milk better, so she filled her glass along with Chester's and the other "Mormons." She chatted freely with the young elder near her, learned that he was from Idaho, that he had been away six months, that he had not been home-sick, and that he was not married. The elders were to hold street meetings that evening after supper.
"I should like to go with you," she said; but Chester, overhearing the conversation, told her that for various reasons, such a course would not be wise.
Afterwards, there was some singing in the office-parlor, then Chester went with the party to their hotel.
"I believe papa is being favorably impressed," said Lucy to Chester before they parted. "I wish he could see as I do."
"That would indeed be something to be thankful for," agreed Chester.
The following afternoon the continental party took the train to Harwich, then boat for the Hook of Holland, where they arrived next morning. A short ride by rail brought them to Rotterdam.
Uncle Gilbert had seen the city before, but the quaint town interested the others for the first time. "Everything is clean in Holland but the canals," some one has said. In Rotterdam, the ancient windmills, with huge spreading arms, stand in the midst of modern shops, and the contrast is strange.
Uncle Gilbert directed the party to the Delftshaven church, explaining that in this ancient building the Pilgrim Fathers worshiped before they set sail for the New World. Then the sight-seers took train for The Hague, ten miles away. They visited the House of the Woods, where the Peace Congresses are held, observed Queen Wilhelmina's residence from without, looked at some of the famous paintings in the art gallery, then shuddered over the instruments of torture on exhibition in the "Torture Chamber" found in the old prison. There were some gruesome articles here.
"All in the name of religion," remarked the minister, shaking his head. "It seems to me that in those days men taxed their ingenuity to find new and more terrible means of inflicting pain. And men suffered in those days because of religious belief."
Someone had expressed himself on the subject in these lines, which they read from a card:
"By my soul's hope of rest, I'd rather have been born, ere man was blessed With the pure dawn of revelation's light; Yea; rather plunge me back into pagan night And take my chances with Socrates for bliss, Than be a Christian of a faith like this."
Out from the depressing gloom of the prison, they took the electric car to Scheveningen, the famous sea-side resort. The season was hardly begun yet, so there were but few visitors. However, the sands dotted with their peculiar wicker shelters and the beautiful blue North Sea were there. Out on the water could be seen the little "pinken"—the fishing boats, their sails red and taut or white and wing-like, speeding before the wind. The waves swept in long straight lines, and broke on the sands in muffled sound. The scene was restful, so the party was served with something to eat and drink on a table within sound and sight of the open sea.
That evening, back in Rotterdam, Chester and Lucy, while the two brothers took their ease "at home," found the Mission headquarters, introduced themselves to the elders, and spent a few hours very pleasantly with them. They learned from the missionaries that the Dutch were for the most part, an honest, God-fearing people, quite susceptible to the gospel. There were no meetings that evening, but in lieu thereof, the presiding elder took them out and introduced them to some of the Saints. Then, when they came back to the office, the housekeeper served them with cool milk, white bread, sweet butter, and whiter cheese.
The next day the tourists went on to Brussels, stopping a few hours only at Antwerp, which city was a surprise. As Chester said, "I remember seeing such a place on the map, but I had no idea it was such a fine, large city.
They saw many wide streets lined with the most unique houses, many of them having "terraced gables" facing the street.
"This is certainly the town for fancy 'gingerbread' decorations," commented Chester, as they observed the net-work of cornices and forest of pinnacles. There was even a full-sized mounted charger on the topmost point of a seven-story building. The Cathedral, with its tall sculptured tower, was no doubt an architectural marvel. A brief visit was made to the art gallery, "full of Ruben's fat women," as Uncle Gilbert expressed it.
"'Anvers,'" read the minister from a post-card. "I thought this was Antwerp?"
"Antwerp is the English of it," explained Uncle Gilbert.
"Well, I think names—names of cities and countries, at least, should be the same in all languages. At any rate, they could be spelled alike. If this town is Anvers, why not call it that?"
Sunday evening brought the party to Brussels, or Bruxelles, in the original. The life and gaity of the city were in full swing, and most of the shops were doing their usual business. Uncle Gilbert did not want to remain long, but Lucy said she wished to visit the battle-field of Waterloo, and one or two points of interest in the city. So the evening and the next day were consumed. The battle-field is reached by train from the city. From the Waterloo station, there is a mile or two of walking or riding in carriages to the immediate field of battle. A great pyramid of earth covered with grass to its summit marks the spot where the conflict raged the fiercest. From the top of this monument a fine view is had. What was once a bloody battle-field was that day decked with growing fields, dotted with feeding kine. Lucy had again to be denied the pleasure of the view from the top. She sat in the wagon below and got what she could from the man who had been left with the horses. It was all very interesting, but Lucy was so tired when they got back to the hotel that she could not see more of Brussels.
Next morning they went on to Paris. All but Chester had been in this gay city before. The weather was getting quite warm, so the two brothers did not care to follow the strenuous pace set by Chester in his sight seeing. During the heat of the day they kept quietly within their rooms or strolled leisurely along the shaded boulevards. Chester, by promising to take the utmost care of Lucy, was permitted to take her with him to visit some of the sights. She knew enough French to make herself fairly well understood, and that was a great help.
So these two rode and rambled about Paris for nearly a week, sometimes with the father, sometimes with Uncle Gilbert, but more often by themselves. The days were fine. The parks and boulevards were gay with people. They made purchases in the shops along Rue de Rivoli and at the Bon Marche, the great department store which Lucy declared they could equal in Kansas City. They gazed for hours in the Louvre Art Gallery, coming back time and again to look once more at some picture. The Venus de Milo had a fascination about it which drew them into the long gallery, where at the extreme end, the classic marble figure stands alone.
They rode on the Seine, wondering at its clear waters. They walked about the open squares and gardens all of them of historic significance. They promenaded, very quietly, it is true, along the Champs Elysees. They lingered about the Petit Palais, one of the most beautiful of Paris buildings because of its newness, its clean, chaste finish, and the artistic combination of marble, pictures, and flowers. Was it any wonder that amid all this interesting beauty Chester's and Lucy's eyes and hands frequently met to express what words failed to do?
The four sight-seers were at Napoleon's Tomb, admiring the wonderful light effect.
"Every time I visit this place," said Uncle Gilbert, "I like to read a summary of Napoleon's career which I found and clipped. Would you like to hear it?"
The others said they would, so Uncle Gilbert read:
"Egyptian sands and Russian snows alike invaded; a revolution quelled, an empire created; his own brethren seated on thrones of vassal kingdoms; a complete code of jurisprudence formed for France from the wrecks of mediaeval misrule; the most profound strategist of the ages; denounced by nations as the 'disturber of the peace of the world;' violating the marriage law of God and man; himself a dwarf in height, and lowering the physical stature of a generation of his countrymen through the frightful carnage of wars undertaken largely for his personal aggrandizement; succumbing in the moment of final victory to insidious disease; twice expatriated, dying in exile across the seas, after twenty years; in life, the idol of a race and the detestation of the rest of the continent; and now, a handful of dust, his spirit in the presence of its Maker.'"
This reading furnished a text for the minister, who talked rather more freely than he had recently done. Notre Dame lay in their route that afternoon, so naturally enough, they went in, Uncle Gilbert remarking that this was a fit place for the minister to conclude his sermon.
"What a dark, musty place," said Lucy.
"It fits in very well with their religion," suggested Chester. "A lot of outward show, but within, dark and dead."
Uncle Gilbert, though living in Ireland, was not a Catholic, so he took no offense at this remark.
Then while they were "doing" churches, they visited that of St. Sulpice, a very large edifice, in the floor of which is a brass line which marks the Meridian of Paris. At the left of the entrance sits St. Peter in life-sized bronze, in possession of the Keys. The naked big toe of this figure is easily reached by the worshipers.
"I have heard of people kissing images of the Saints," said Chester, "but I have never seen anything of the kind. Let us rest here a while, to see if anything happens."
Lucy was glad of the suggestion as she was more tired than she wished to acknowledge. The big church was cool and quiet. Worshipers singly and in twos were coming and going. Presently, a woman, and presumably her daughter, came in, and as they passed St. Peter they leaned forward and kissed the shining, metal toe. They passed on to a confessional where the priest could be seen and faintly heard behind the latticed window.
All this was exceedingly interesting to the young people. The two brothers were absorbed more in the building itself than what was going on within; even to what their two young people were doing. Chester, surely was prompted by a spirit of sacriledge when he took from an inner pocket a picture post-card he had bought in Ireland.
"The kissing of the toe reminded me of it," said he, as he handed the card to Lucy, who looked at the picture of an Irishman in the act of kissing his sweetheart, Blarney Castle being shown in the distance. Underneath was the following:
"With quare sinsashuns and palpitashuns, A kiss I'll venture here, Mavrone; 'Tis swater Blarney, good Father Mahoney, Kissin' the girls than that dirty stone."
Lucy's father tapped her on the shoulder. "You're in a church. Behave yourself," he said. "Come, let's be going."
It was evident that, notwithstanding the good intentions which all persons concerned had of not overreaching in the sight-seeing business, Lucy, at least, was feeling its effects. That she would have to remain quiet for some days was the verdict of the physician which her father called. There was no immediate danger, said he to Chester, but the heart action was feeble. A week of absolute rest would remedy that.
Chester was packed off to Switzerland alone, contrary to the program he had looked forward to. Uncle Gilbert did not care to go. Mr. Strong would have to remain with Lucy, so if Chester was to see Switzerland, he would have to try it alone. When Chester heard of the arrangement, he demurred; but when Lucy's father suggested to him that perhaps it would be best for her, he said no more.
After Chester's departure, the three settled down to the business at hand, that of resting. That was easy enough for Lucy and her father, but Uncle Gilbert was hale and hearty, so he continued to make short daily excursions to points of interest. They had pleasant quarters, not too near the noise of the city. The semi-private hotel had but few guests, so the back garden in which dinner was usually served, proved a desirable lounging-place.
Uncle Gilbert was away that afternoon. Lucy was resting in her room. The Rev. Mr. Strong paced nervously back and forth in the garden for a time, then dropped heavily into an easy chair. The French maid, stepping quietly about placed a pillow under his head, which kindness he accepted gratefully. The garden was still. There were no sharp near-noises, the city's activity coming merely as a faint distant hum.
The minister closed his eyes, but he did not go to sleep. His mind was too active for that, his nerves were tingling again. The bright, gay life about him did not exist for him. That afternoon he lived in the past. He marshalled for review contending thoughts, that had for many years fought for supremacy. Out of the chaos of conflict no order had yet come. He was getting old before his years justified it.
Why should he, a minister of the word of God, be so easily moved by strange religious ideas? Faintly as if from some distant, mostly forgotten past, there came to him this idea, that the truth, the whole, clean, simple truth as it exists in Christ Jesus had been told him, and he had rejected it. Why he had done this was not clear to him. He seemed to have lived in periods of alternating darkness and light. Then later, he had come in contact with so-called "Mormonism." Strange to say, its teachings had the same ring as that which he had heard before; but this time he rejected it because of its evil name. Once again, a little later, these same doctrines had come to him, but they were not welcomed when he learned that those who taught them and lived them were simple, ofttimes uneducated people, usually called the "scum" of the earth.
The Rev. Mr. Strong had actually given up his pastorship in two places, moving westward until he reached Kansas City.—Here for a number of years, he had experienced peace, a sort of indifferent peace, he admitted, due more to callousness of soul than to anything else. Then came Lucy's adventure with the "Mormon" elders on the streets, and her visit to "Mormon" meetings. She had brought "Mormon" literature home, and he had read it, read it all. He had asked her to bring more. He had often sat up till midnight to finish a book, then had railed at Lucy for bringing it into the house. And now the conflict was on again, harder than ever. He closed his eyes, saying, "No, no;" then opened them again to the beautiful light. He stopped his ears, crying, "I will not hear;" then listened to the sweet music. With all the force of his life's training, he railed against the doctrine; then in silence contemplated its glorious truths. He drove the thought of it out of his mind; then welcomed it eagerly back. Back and forth, in and out, in doubt and fear, in faith and hope his soul had suffered and wrought.
What was the outcome to be? Evidently, the end was not yet; for had he not purposely taken this trip abroad, to get away from some of these things, and had he not run hard against that which he had hoped to escape. And in what form had it now come? In that of his son, his only son, the child of his younger days! Surely God was in this thing. "Yes," the man muttered, "God is watching me. I cannot escape. His hand is over me. 'If I take the wings of the morning and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea; even there shall thy hand lead me, and thy right hand shall hold me!'"
Uncle Gilbert came in, humming lightly a tune he had caught from the band in the cafe. He stopped when he saw his brother apparently asleep. He was about to retreat when his brother, opening his eyes, called:
"Don't go; come here. I want to talk with you. I want your opinion on a matter."
Uncle Gilbert seated himself to listen.
"You might think it a strange thing for me to ask you about doctrines of religion," began the brother, "but sometimes a layman has a clearer, more unbiased view than one who has studied one system, and—and has made his living from preaching it."
"I fear, brother, you are worrying too much about such things"—
"Not at all—not too much. It's necessary to worry sometimes. I suppose that's God's way of arousing people. I am worrying—have been worrying for many years—just now I want someone to talk to—I want you to listen."
"I'll do that, if that will help you," said the brother as he placed his hat and stick on a table and shifted himself into a comfortable position. The maid peeped in, but seeing the two men, retired again.
"I have preached hundreds of sermons on the being and nature of God," said the minister, now sitting erect and looking at his brother. "I have spoken of Him as a Father, our Father, and all the time He has been out in time and space, formless, homeless, unthinkable. He has never appealed to heart or brain. Will God ever be more to me than a force in and through all nature? Shall we ever see His face? Shall we ever feel the cares of His hand and hear His voice, not in a figurative sense, but in reality."
"Now brother"—said Uncle Gilbert again.
"Don't interrupt. You do not need to answer my questions—you couldn't if you wanted to. Listen. What do you think of this: God is our Father, in reality as we naturally understand it—Father of our spirits. We are, therefore, His children. That is our relationship. Consequently we are of a family of Gods. Admit that our Father is God, and that we are His children, the conclusion is absolute. We are not worms of the dust, only so far as we degrade our divine nature to that lowness.
"This Father of ours has in the past eternities trod through time and space, learning,—yes, suffering, overcoming, conquering, becoming perfect, until now He sits in the midst of glory, power, and eternal lives. In might and majesty perfect, He can and does hold us all as in the hollow of His hand. This little earth of ours, and all the shining worlds on high are His workmanship. He holds them also by His allwise power. And yet, my brother, come back to this simple proposition, we are that great Being's sons and daughters, and if we walk in the way in which He walked, we are heirs to all that He has! I am one of a great family, so are you,—all of us. Our Father has but gone before and we follow. The difference between us is only in degree of development and not in kind.
"'O God, I think thy thoughts after Thee,' said Kepler, and thoughts lead to deeds.
"Again, the Son, whom we know as Jesus Christ, came to reveal to us this Father. He was in 'the form of God.' He was the 'image of the invisible God.' Further, this Son was in the express image of the Father's person. Jesus Christ was a man like unto us as far as outward form is concerned. He is one of this great family, the first-born and foremost of the children, it is true, yet one of us—He acknowledged us as His brethren. Now, then listen: Jesus follows His Father. 'The Son can do nothing of Himself, but what He seeth the Father do: for what things soever He doeth, these also doeth the Son likewise.' Also, this Son said: 'My Father worketh hitherto, and I work.' Now, if we follow in the steps of the Son, as He has commanded us to do, and that Son follows in the steps of His Father, where is our final destination?"
The brother listened in wonder. The doctrine was, indeed, strange, but it was too clear and logical to be the result of a weak mind. The minister saw the perplexity in his listener's face and said:
"No, brother, I am not crazy. My mind has never been clearer. I feel fine now. I tell you, there is manna for a hungry soul in these things.
"And now again: This life is a school. From the puny, helpless infant to old age, life is a development of the attributes with which we come into the world. We get all our education through our senses. No faculty of mind or body is useless. The perfect man has these all perfectly developed. We have at least one example of a perfect man, the resurrected Son of God. What was He like? When He appeared to His disciples He said, 'Handle me and see; for a spirit hath not flesh and bones, as ye see me have.' He also ate with His brethren. Here, then, we have, one of us, carrying with Him into the celestial world His body of flesh and bone. And, mind you, He is the pattern. If we follow Him, we also shall take with us these bodies, changed, purged, and glorified of course, but yet bodies in every sense. Will not the eye then see perfectly, the ear hear every sound in the celestial key? Not only every attribute of the mind, but every organ of the body will be prefect in its operation. Think what that will mean!"
The speaker paused as if to let his listener arrive at the inevitable conclusion in his own mind.
"What will it mean?" he asked again.
"I don't know," replied Uncle Gilbert.
"It will mean fatherhood—eternal, celestialized fatherhood. We shall be like Him our Father, not only to beget, but to father a race! Think of that! Did you ever think of that? No, of course not—and I—musn't—I who—have never yet made a beginning—how can I expect"—
The head fell back on the pillow as Uncle Gilbert quickly came to his brother's side. The minister's face was pale, his eyes were closed for a moment. Then he opened them, sat upright, ran his hand over his face, and smiled at his brother.
"Don't be alarmed," he said, "it was nothing. I'm all right."
He walked about while the maid came in and set the table for dinner. The minister linked his arm into his brother's. "Say, brother," he asked, "would you not be lonesome up in heaven without Aunt Sarah?"
Uncle Gilbert was seriously alarmed. He had in mind to call Lucy, when, providentially she came to them.
"I think your father's not well, Lucy?" said Uncle Gilbert, as she took her father's other arm.
"What's the matter, papa?" she asked.
"I am well," protested the father—"as well as I ever was. I've just been telling brother here some things—some gospel truths in fact, and I guess they're beyond you yet," he said to his brother.
"Well," replied Uncle Gilbert, "I'll admit I've never heard you talk like that before."
"Why, I've preached these things scores of times from the pulpit, and my congregations have thought them fine. I didn't tell, however, where my inspiration came from."
"Where did it come from?" asked Lucy.
"From your books, my dear."
"Yes; from your books on 'Mormonism'."
Had not dinner just then been announced, it is hard to say what would have become of Uncle Gilbert's astonishment. Across the table he saw Lucy's reassuring smile from which he himself took courage that all was well.
My Dear Lucy:—I am writing this in my room high up on the hillside of Lucerne, (Luzern) pronounced as if there were a "t" before the "z." The day is closing. The light is yet bright on the mountains, but the lake lies in shadows. The lamps are being lighted down below in the town and along the promenade. I hear faintly the arrival of the steamer at the pier.
But let me begin at the beginning, and tell you what I have seen and done up to the present. This telling is a poor substitute for the reality, I assure you; but as you have never been in Switzerland, you might be interested in the sights here—through my eyes! Let me say now, before I forget, that at every point of beauty and interest, I said in my heart, "O that Lucy could be here to enjoy this!" It really seemed selfish in me to be alone. And then, you know, the pleasure of sight seeing is materially enhanced when one has a sympathetic companion to whom one may exclaim: "Isn't that grand!"
We entered Switzerland at Basel, then journeyed on to Zurich. This is Switzerland's largest city, and in my opinion, it is one of the most beautiful large cities I have ever seen. Of course, I hunted up the Church headquarters, where I was fortunate to meet a friend I had known in Salt Lake. He kindly gave me the information I desired about the city and even took a few hours off duty to accompany me to points of interest.
That evening we went to the Opera house, where Faust was being played. I had a great desire to see Faust in the original, and though my German is not up to Goethe's standard, I could follow the plot somewhat, and I was eagerly watching for Margaret to make her appearance on the stage. After a long evening, the curtain went down, and all the people got up and left—yet no Margaret had appeared. I was puzzled; but my friend explained that the play was only half over. If I desired to see the rest, I would have to come back the following evening. What do you think of that? Well, I didn't go back—I went to Lucerne, next morning.
I wanted to see the Alps, of course, and we got a distant view only of them from Zurich. Here, at Lucerne, we have them in all their grand beauty.
I don't mind admitting to you that my purse would not allow my stopping longer at the Schweizerhof, than to merely take a good look at the exterior. I had with me the Lucerne elders' address, and easily found them. They directed me to a friend who had cheap rooms, and it is here I am writing to you. The view is just as fine from my window as from the big hotel—nay, finer, for I am higher up; and after all, Lucy, the five francs' out-look on a beautiful world is enjoyed quite as much as if it cost fifteen. I can see the cap or the collar of Mt. Pilatus better perhaps than the fat, cross, silk-clad lady I saw on the boat yesterday, can see them. (By "cap" is meant a cloud resting on top, by "collar" the cloud encircling Pilatus' head.)
This brings me to my trip on Lake Lucerne day before yesterday. We started early. The tourist season has hardly begun yet, so we were not crowded. There was rain threatening. The mountain tops were hidden by clouds, and the prospect was not assuring. However, by the time we landed at Brunnen, the clouds had lifted, the sun came out, and the day became pleasantly warm. From Brunnen, it was our plan to walk along the Axenstrasse, to Fluelen, a distance of five or six miles. There were three of us, with an elder for guide. I wish you could have spent that afternoon with us—with me, strolling along that wonderful road, cut out of the mountain side bordering the lake. The post cards I am enclosing will give you an idea of the scenery, and I assure you the blueness of the lake is not overdone in the picture.
The road leads along gently sloping hill-sides, covered with farms, then it pierces the sheer rock, then again borders the cliff, fifty or one hundred feet from the lake below. The trees are in full leaf and some are in bloom. The grass is high where we walked, but up towards the tops of the mountains, the snow still lies. One of the strange sights is to see large, splendid hotels perched in some cranny away up near the summit of the peaks. Cog railways now take the tourists up some of the mountains.
The region around Lake Lucerne is historic, I am told. Here began the Swiss struggle for liberty which we read about. The scene of William Tell's exploits are laid here, and we are shown on the shore of the lake, Tell's Capelle, said to mark the spot where the apple-shooting patriot leaped ashore and escaped from the tyrant Gessler. I do not wonder at men, born and reared amid these mountains not submitting to the yoke of oppression.
In reading up on Lucerne, I came upon this, taken from "Romance and Teutonic Switzerland."
"The Swiss nation was born on the banks of Lake Luzern, and craddled upon its waters. First, the chattering waves told the news to the overhanging beaches; and they whispered it to the forests, to the lonely cedars on the uplands. The blank precipices smiled, the Alpine roses blushed their brightest, the summer pastures glowed, the glaciers and avalanches roared approval; and, finally, the topmost peaks promised to lend their white mantles for the baptism." That's rather nicely put, don't you think?
About half way along Axenstrasse, we discovered that we were hungry, so we proposed to try one of the farm houses for something to eat. Our guide, tried one that looked typical of what we wanted, and the rest of us waited by the road, for fully thirty minutes.
At last the elder returned, explaining that he had had no easy task. He had to plead with every member of the household, from grandmother to daughter, to get them to take us in; but at last he was successful. We went into a most interesting room. The finish and furnishings were old and quaint, the woodwork bare of paint and scoured clean and smooth by years of scrubbing. In time we were served with bread (they were out of butter, they said) preserved cherries, walnuts, and hot milk. (Our guide said it was safer to have the milk boiled.) We enjoyed the meal amid the unique surroundings. The good people were profuse with thanks when we paid them in good-sized silver. I believe the elder left a gospel tract with them, so who can tell what will be the outcome of our visit?
From Fluelen we took steamer back to Lucerne.
Well, it's getting late. I'd better go to bed. I fear I shall tire you by my guide-book descriptions. But this for a good-night's thought: Here I am away from you, away from my world, as it were. I can look back on my short life, and I can see the hand of an allwise and merciful Father, shaping events, ever for my good. Was it chance that we two should have taken the same steamer and be thrown together as we were. Not at all. There is a power behind the universe—call it what we may—which directs. This power will not permit any honest, truth-seeking soul to be overcome and be destroyed. I thank the Lord for His blessings to me. Out of seeming darkness and despair He has led me to light and happiness. And may I say it, we two, because of our cleaving to the light as it has been made known to us, have been brought together. Is it not true? I wish and pray also that your father may soften his heart towards the truth. I sometimes fear that his heart does already accept the gospel, but that his will says no. There now, good night.
* * * * *
Good morning. I had a fine sleep. I dreamed that you were with me, and we were looking at the Lion of Lucerne. The dying lion roared, and you clasped me so tightly in your fright, that I awoke,—all of which reminds me that I have not told you much about this city or its sights.
The Lion, I suppose is Lucerne's most distinctive curiosity. As you will see by the card, it is a large figure of a lion carved out of the solid rock in the hillside. Thorwaldsen furnished the model. It was made to commemorate the bravery of the Swiss guards who fought in the service of Louis XVI at the outbreak of the French Revolution.
Switzerland is sometimes called the playground of Europe. Down on the promenades by the lakes, one may see people from "every nation under heaven" nearly. By the way, who do you think I met, day before yesterday? Why, our would-be gallant ship-board friend. Strange to say, he was sober, and more strange, he appeared pleased to see me. He wanted to take me to all kinds of places, and treat me to all kinds of good things; but further, strange(?) to relate, I shook him for the company of a few native saints, for there was a meeting that evening which I attended. I had to speak too, in English, of course, with one of the missionaries interpreting. It was an odd experience.
The postman has just been here with your note. I was very sorry the news from you was not better. I am blaming myself for tiring you out too much with my sight seeing. Send me at least a card everyday to this address, please. I have thought to go through the country to Bern, but I suppose all the lakes and mountains of Switzerland look much alike. I am quite satisfied with Lucerne. I was very much interested in what your father said about "Mormonism." If our prayers are of any avail, we'll "get him" yet.
Before I close this long letter, and I must do so now—I want to tell you of an incident that occurred yesterday. I was taking a stroll up above the town, by myself, for I will admit I was in a "mood." There are a lot of monks in Lucerne. You can see them on the street, fat, rolly-poly looking men, bare, oddly-cropped heads, and outwardly clad in what looks like a dressing gown. Well, I was curious to see the convent where the monks live a life of ease, I suppose to get used to the eternal "rest" which they expect when they get to heaven, of which I have my "doubts." However, I did not find the convent, nor did I see any monks, but as I was walking along an unfrequently traveled road, I met a little boy and girl, walking towards me, hand in hand. They were crying. When they saw me, they wiped their eyes and stopped. I saw they were poorly clad, and, somewhat dirty. I became interested in them, but they were so shy that it was with difficulty I got them to remain. They looked at the coppers I held out, but they did not move until I placed a silver piece beside them. Their eyes rounded out, then, and the little girl became brave enough to come and take them. Well, I tried my German on them, but they were, evidently, too Swiss to understand me—I was at the time making a whistle from a small willow which I had cut from the wayside. I seated myself on the bank and went on making my whistle. The children watched me pound the bark, then twist off the loosened peeling, and finish the whistle. When I blew it, they laughed. I handed it to the boy, who timidly put it to his lips. They sat down by me, and I made a whistle for the girl, then a third, bigger one, which I stuck into the boy's pocket, telling him to take it home. You ought to have seen the changed expression on those two dirty faces when they left me, blowing happily on their willow whistles.
I was lonesome no longer. What a little thing will bring joy into a dreary life!
Love to all with heaping measures for you, from
Yours as ever,
A week of comparative quiet brought little change for the better to Lucy, so it was decided that they would by easy stages, get back to London, thence to Cork and Kildare Villa. Lucy kept Chester informed of their doings, saying as little as possible about her health. As she did not wish to deprive him of the full enjoyment of his visit to Switzerland, she did not send him word of their intentions, until they were ready to leave. They would go by way of Calais and Dover, the short-water route, she wrote him.
When Chester received this information he hastily cut short his sight seeing, and started for London by way of Rotterdam. The long ride alone was somewhat tiresome, and he was glad to meet again some of the elders in the land of canals and windmills.
Just before the train rolled into Rotterdam, Chester thought of Glen Curtis. It came to him as a distinct shock when he realized that he had entirely forgotten to enquire about Glen on his former visit. "Well," said he to himself, "so easily do our interests change from one person to another." But now he must find his old friend. He could freely talk to him now even about Julia Elston.
Chester learned from the elder in charge at the office, that Elder Curtis was released to return home in a few days. He would be in Rotterdam shortly. When? In a few days. But Chester could not wait that long, so he took train to the city where Glen was laboring, and found him making his farewell rounds.
"Well of all things," exclaimed the elder, as Chester took him firmly by the hand.
"I'm the last person on earth you expected to see here in Dutchland, I suppose?"
"You certainly are. And what are you doing here?"
Chester told him as they walked arm in arm along the quiet streets of the town.
"And now you're going home. We'll go together," exclaimed Glen.
"I wish we could," said Chester, "but I fear that my party is not ready, and Lucy is not well enough to make the trip, I fear."
Chester smiled goodnaturedly, then told him freely of Lucy. "And when you get home, you can tell Julia all about me and mine. It will please her, I am sure. By the way, how is it between Julia and you? I haven't heard lately."
"All right," said Glen.
"You're a lucky boy," declared Chester, "to get such a girl. There's just one other I would rather have."
"I'm glad you think so."
"Of course you are—for—oh, for everybody's sake."
Chester had to return to Rotterdam the same day, so he claimed. Glen could not keep him longer, and reluctantly waved him off at the station.
The boat was slow from the Hook, at least it seemed so to Chester, and there was a high sea which nearly upset him. He got to London too late in the evening to call on the Strong's, but next morning he was out early.
Lucy met him in the hall with a cry of delight.
"You've come," she whispered as he pressed her close. "Oh, I thought you never would."
"My dear, why did you not say? Why did you let me leave you at all?"
"I didn't want you to miss anything on my account—but never mind that now—come in. Papa and uncle will be glad to see you. Do you know," she added with evident pleasure, "papa has been nearly as anxious about you as I have,—has continually asked me about you,—and I had to let him read your lovely long letter."
"You did? Well, it's all right. There's no harm done, I'm sure. He might as well know everything."
"Oh, he knows a lot already."
They went into the house, and found seats until the others should appear.
"Your face shows signs of suffering, Lucy; but otherwise you look quite well."
"That's just it with my trouble. I usually deceive my looks; but I feel better already; and now, let me tell you something else: Father has nearly consented to my being baptized!"