Puslapio vaizdai

Or, with neither sea nor boat anywhere matters. Day by day you lost selfin sight, we urged in loud rhythm an confidence; your complacency leaked invisible sailor in danger of drowning to away unsuspected, drop by drop. Less "pull for the shore.” We bade him not and less you thought for yourself, more mind the rolling waves (though none and more you depended on your spiritrolled), but “bend to the oar,” though ual advisers. Uncertainty possessed there was not the slightest semblance of you, doubt assailed you, fear beset you; oar to bend to. We urged him to leave you took to getting down on your knees the "poor old stranded wreck," though in dark chambers and making passionate none was in sight, advised him not to confession of the utter blackness of "cling to self,” whatever “self” might your really quite normal-colored heart; be, but rather to give all his efforts of the miserable unworthiness of your wholly and singly, as he loved life and really very reasonably good little soul. valued safety, to pulling just as hard as These things are mystifying. Indeed, he was able for dry land.

were it some other little child, not myAs to later experiences,-as to cate- self, I could weep concerning those chism and creed, I mean,—why should paroxysms of penitence that I remember I dwell upon these, save that here was over such innocent, innocent trifles. new and additional bewilderment? Children, it seems to me, are generous

I partook by inheritance from my beyond all computation. The patience mother's and father's people of two and good-natured endurance of them denominations. When from stark Pres- appear to me enormous. Ah, what might byterianism I went at times to a not be done with souls so willing, so more mitigated Episcopalianism; when biddable, I ask, if instead of giving them I confessed strangely, but sonorously, mystery, we were bent-we ourselves that I was a miserable sinner and had more clarified-on giving them truth! no health in me; when I begged to be But mystery continued to have its spared if I confessed my faults, and way with me. If I asked direct quesrestored if I were penitent; the language tions of the religious about the unknowwas certainly far more pleasing, but able, I was told it was a mystery, a fact I cannot see, considering my age and I already knew all too well. Directness, tastes and good health, that there was simplicity, sincerity, were losing ground. much improvement as to consistency. By no wish of my own I was being bound

But meanwhile all these things had over to the majority of these people who their inevitable effect. They broke

They broke it must be, by every assumption of their down, as they were well designed to do, own and others, were my betters. They your faith in your own reason and in did not choose to use plain language. your own reasonable judgment and They spoke for the most part in riddles observations. They overspread life with worse even than the bewildering bat. such dazzling contradictions that, just They made it approximately clear that as in war-days it was often impossible mystery was a virtue. to say whether a war-ship was more Naturally enough, I tried to establish like a zebra or a zebra more like a war- some balance between these teachings ship, so now by turns you could not and my own insatiable desire to know, have told whether you were the rather but the best result I obtained was a sense stolid little girl you had innocently of shame at asking for explanations. believed yourself to be, or a broken and I wanted to be of this chosen company. empty vessel, a stranded sailor, a Indeed, I believe that was the strongest Christian soldier, a lost sheep, a jewel to desire of the whole experience; nor do be set in a crown, or a miserable sinner, I believe this desire was less, at bottom, without health in you.

than the instinctive age-old human The confusion at last grew so great yearning toward brotherhood. It canthat you were obliged to resort to head- not be, I feel sure, that the mysteriously quarters (as it may be you were ex- worded prayer meant so much to my pected and intended to do) to find out six- or seven-year-old heart; I feel fairly the real state of your soul and identity certain it was the fellowship, so flatterfrom one supposed to be expert in these ing to my years. I can give you no idea how it stirred me and lent me Then the organ settled gorgeously at stature to bend my head on a plane of last, with a final great crash, into the equality with all these grown-ups and melody. You glanced at your mother to chant with them, after a sonorously to make sure she was beginning (ah, read command that prohibited me from how across the years I can hear my committing murder, "Lord, have mercy mother's fine, sympathetic alto!) then upon us, and incline our hearts to keep just a fraction behind her first note you this law.” It was the part of the service joined in, too. How strong and full of I loved best, and if children of six kept praise the first line always was! So was note-books, I believe I should find the second; but, oh, the third! Midway many of them agreeing with me.

of the third! Conversely, almost the most painful Praise Him above, ye Heamoment of the morning was to me that That was as far as my knowledge one just following the tenth command- went. From there on I could not make ment, when the well-practised response out the words that were being sung. I changed suddenly after the petition for was obliged either to drop out entirely mercy.

I could never make out that or sing shamedly, miserably, without last wording about the writing of “all words, until the fourth line restored me these thy laws in our hearts, we beseech and united me to the rest once more. thee." I kept my head on my hands But, oh, that hiatus!

Unless you like the rest, but was obliged to drop have loved the singing of the doxology, out miserably from the unison.

as I did, and have, like me, in your sixth But if this experience in one church or seventh year, been without the knowlbrought me such a sense of exile, what edge of the latter half of that third line, shall I say of that feeling of intolerable how would it be possible to make you alienation produced by the doxology of understand what its lack meant to me! the other?

How make you know the vanishings and Here was the very best moment of fallings from me; the shame and longthose palely stained-glass hours, the ing, troubled pride, doubt, and uncersolemn united moment that bound you, tainty! It may seem to you I exaggerand yet freed you to go into the living ate, but I can still feel the trouble and green pastures of the real world once hurt and loss and alienation of the unmore. It shrived you of weariness. known latter part of that third line. You forgave whatever dull or doctrinary Then, too, either I must have deceived minister had detained you. How I my family, or they must have thought joined with all my heart in the perform- me too inconsiderable to have my doxance, and how other people joined ology corrected, and either reading was. also—all the people, all those even who hard to bear. had hitherto had neither voice nor It ended at last, when I was about confidence to join in the more particular ten, by my coming across the verse hymns, with their tricky omitted stanzas printed somewhere, and, without and often unsingable tunes! How the word to anybody, appropriating greedorgan, like a chained creature freed at ily the lacking half of the third line, last, rolled and surged and went with a and incorporating it into the body of roar into the opening thunder! How my future religious singing; but that every one rose at its great bidding, and was a late remedy of a long-endured drew their lungs solemnly full of air! mortification. Some stood a little on one foot, some No, looking back, I think I cannot leaned a trifle on the other, most of remember anything that more disconthem placed both hands carefully on certed and troubled me in all those the back of the pew ahead. I recall early years than my incompetency and that the chief deacon and wealthiest befogment as to the praise of God, and citizen always stretched his neck a bit the obligation either to deceive or to and felt of his collar, as though to make drop out of the singing. I who so sure it was in order and there was room loved directness! I who so delighted in enough for the voice he was about to participation! There are many ways employ.

of humiliating childhood, but few indeed


so searching as either to shame it before give over hoping to find out questionthe world or to deny it its fellowship. able truth and, unquestioning, accept

Indeed, I find the conditions offered instead abstruse, undiscoverable, impenchildhood hard. It can hardly be said etrable doctrines, and be saved! we leave children any choice. It is Yet alarming as all this must seem true, they may, so to speak, take us or to those whose hopes are bound up leave us. Ah, yes, but leave us for with the eventual triumph of truth, what? We offer them praise, approval, perhaps we need not take too much affection, all that they hold dearest in thought for the morrow. It would not the world—in a word, fellowship in its surprise me to find that nature, when fullest sense; but we offer it in the name too dangerously threatened, sets up, of obscurity, on the condition of mysti- whether it be in so tiny a creature as the fication and opacity. Let them renounce bee or in one of such unlimited powers their love of exactness, eschew their as the human soul, some desire for selfearly devotion to exploration, throw protection; and if we were sufficiently over and abandon the soul's persistent, informed, it is not improbable we should godlike, ingrained, primordial desire to find her always providing against a know, and accept in place of all these danger over-long endured. While the the humble willingness to be taught of specially downright and logical young those who have usurped by ancient of our species undoubtedly suffer much apostolic or unapostolic claim the rights at the hands of our habit of mystificaand copyrights of wisdom. Let them tion, and the spirits most sensitively put off those proud childhood guesses endowed with a love of truth, and and suspicions of a royal inheritance, therefore the most fit for high advenand know they are "nothing, nothing!” ture, are, as a rule, the very ones most Let them have done trailing those clouds utterly lost to the world through this of glory; put on sackcloth, touch their process of opacity, yet there are, to forehead with ashes, in token of humil- offset these, the better poised, the more ity and abasement, and learn from their normal, the more commonplace, if you elders how to behave themselves soberly like, the happy-go-lucky as well as the of a Sunday. Let them believe as we downright merry, who manage somedo, and they will be welcomed into our how to elude fairly well the atrophying communion; and, if that communion effects of mystification; who preserve happens to be of a certain denomination, their good nature unspoiled, their intera hymn will even be sung by every one, est in life unaffrighted, who manage to standing, concerning a sheep that was keep their balance, maintain their love of miserably lost and at last safely brought their kind, yes, and occasionally, and as a back to the fold; or it may be one whose mere easy tour de force, coin such generally leading refrain is "Sinner, oh, sinner, useful terms as “I should worry!" come home!

I was speaking of some old childhood Yes, if they will believe as we do, and experiences lightly one night not long as we recommend, they may break bread ago with a cousin of mine, from whom with us. If they will give over ques

I had been separated since early years, tioning and capitulate, they shall have but whose childhood I well remember our approval. It is trying to settle as one of the most good-natured, frank, matters for themselves at will put a amusing, and lovable of my recollection. ban upon them; it is the repeated effort “What did you do, Mary my dear, as to think for themselves and independent to the doxology?" of us that will ostracize them and bring "What did you do?” She laughed. down on their heads the condemnation "Oh, I just dropped out, and hummed of society; it is the persistent desire to miserably and tried and tried to catch deal without ambassadors with divinity, the words of the third line. But I direct, that will, so the legend we have never could. I remember feeling so fashioned goes, blast and utterly des- intolerably lonely and ashamed." troy them. Let them veil themselves "Oh, I did n't," she said, with much thankfully in the mystery that affords the old happy, good nature; “I just us and them protection! Let them sang it in full voice straight through."

"But what did you do about the the bat, seems to them equally without “heavenly host'?"

solution or syntax. I have the impres“Oh, my dear,” she managed to speak sion that though they, too, have been without the slightest irreverence, “the persistently desirous of knowing, hopeheavenly host did n't bother me a bit. ful of finding out, yet they also are much I just sang as much as I could catch. mystified. I have seen not infrequently 'Praise Him above, ye Hea-ye Ho-' the same questioning and almost bewilI had n't the slightest idea what it dered look in the eyes of the old that I meant. But that did n't matter. It have seen in those of little children, and was singing together that I liked. I've I am sometimes inclined to think the always liked it, in or out of church."

dear long-held questions of their hearts Ah, that I understood. I found have hardly received better answers. myself suddenly admiring and even As to the religious-minded, though it reverencing that not too earnest spirit seems to me they have for the most part that so easily and in early years, without been rather more practical, fashioning the egotism of embarrassment, chose the what they take to be shining virtues better part. “Ye Hea—ye Ho—"served out of sometimes dark necessity, tradwell enough; the chief part of praise of ing in mysteries, trying thriftily to exdivinity being still, no doubt, whether change new ones for old, and economiin or out of church, the brotherhood. cally assuming a wisdom even when

Yet there is more than the brother- they have it not; yet, as I have watched hood that stays in my philosophy. I them, it has seemed to me at times that hope I have not seemed to be too critical they do but duplicate in another sphere of my elders. Though the greater my old experience of the doxology. I number of their doctrines would seem seem to see them, too, like my diminuto me like wilful befogment or worse, tive self of other years, bent on acnevertheless I have come to years when knowledging and lauding in concert some I must admit that I hold these elders truths they cannot iterate and do as oftenest more pitiful than to blame. little understand; resolved on praising Moreover, so many of them, despite what they take to be some guiding their behaviors in unfrankness, have Omnipotence, yet knowing very little nevertheless successfully and without accurately what they mean thereby. much effort managed to command my Sometimes I could swear I hear them all affections and contrived to retain my singing bravely, resolvedly, in full voice devotion. Indeed, to speak truth, I and together, only in another larger key, have even come to believe that their “Praise Him above, ye Hea—ye Ho—" mystification of children is not an alto- But, above all, among all these bewilgether voluntary affair. I cannot get derments, absurdities, riddles, contrarid of the impression, as I look into the dictions, and incertitudes, I cannot be faces of those I know and do not know, blind to a certain inviolable honor that of a tired evening, that they themselves abides; something in human nature are not entirely clear. A bewilderment which yet commands, though it cannot is often evident in their eyes also. always deserve, our reverence. For it To me so many of them have the air of is by no means little children only, people who still hopefully await an expla- though they most obviously, who prenation. I have strongly the impression, serve in perpetuity the dignity of the too, that some of them have, not in race. Let be our follies and mistakes; childhood only, desired, yes, and still the gentle and memorable fact remains desire with ineradicable longing, the that some dignity incorruptible resides moon, and have been offered an inade- sovereign in man's spirit, and, it would quate substitute through all the later seem, must triumph at last inviolate years; have hoped not only once in in his destiny; that, despite the sphinxearly, unspoiled days, but persistently, like riddle of the gods, the soul itself, at with unconquerable hope, to solve the its best, has no desire of its own to unsolvable; are indeed still trying, and deceive, but, rather, stands generally have not yet been brought to "give up" hopeful and still desirous of finding the riddle of life, though it, like that of truth.

The Tillotson Banquet


Illustrations by J. C. Coll

OUNG Spode was not a teenth century the Badgerys were among snob; he was too intelli- the richest of English noble families. gent for that, too funda

The forty-seventh baron disposed of an

income of at least two hundred thousand mentally decent. Not a

pounds a year. Following the great snob; but all the same he Badgery tradition, he had refused to could not help feeling very well pleased have anything to do with politics or war. at the thought that he was dining, alone He occupied himself by collecting picand intimately, with Lord Badgery. It tures; he took an interest in theatrical was a definite event in his life, a step productions; he was the friend and forward, he felt, toward that final suc- patron of men of letters, of painters, and cess, social, material, and literary, which of musicians. A personage, in a word, of he had come to London with the fixed considerable consequence in that particintention of making. The conquest of

ular world in which young Spode had Badgery was an almost essential strate- elected to make his success. gical move in the campaign. Edmund, Spode had only recently left the forty-seventh Baron Badgery, was a

a university. Simon Gollamy, the editor lineal descendant of that Edmund, of “The World's Review” (“the best of surnamed Le Blayreau, who landed on all possible worlds”) had got to know English soil in the train of William the him,-he was always on the lookout for Conqueror. Ennobled by William Ru- youthful talent,-had seen possibilities fus, the Badgerys had been one of the in the young man, and appointed him very few baronial families to survive the art critic of his paper. Gollamy liked Wars of the Roses and all the other to have young and teachable people changes and chances of English history. about him. The possession of disciples They were a sensible and philoprogeni- flattered his vanity, and he found it tive race. No Badgery had ever fought easier, moreover, to run his paper with in any war, no Badgery had ever en- docile collaborators than with men gaged in any kind of politics. They grown obstinate and case-hardened with had been content to live and quietly to age. Spode had not done badly at his propagate their species in a huge new job. At any rate, his articles had machicolated Norman castle, surrounded been intelligent enough to arouse the by a triple moat, sallying forth only to interest of Lord Badgery. It was, ulticultivate their property and to collect mately, to them that he owed the honor their rents. In the eighteenth century, of sitting to-night in the dining-room of when life had become relatively secure, Badgery House. the Badgerys began to venture forth Fortified by several varieties of wine into civilized society. From boorish and a glass of aged brandy, Spode felt squires they blossomed into grands more confident and at ease than he had seigniors, patrons of the arts, virtuosi. done the whole evening. Badgery was Their property was large, they were rather a disquieting host. He had a rich; and with the growth of industrial- habit of changing the subject of any ism their riches also grew. Villages on conversation that had lasted for more their estate turned into manufacturing than two minutes.

than two minutes. Spode had found it, towns, unsuspected coal was discovered for example, particularly mortifying beneath the surface of their barren when his host, cutting across what was, moorlands. By the middle of the nine- he prided himself, a particularly subtle

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