Abbildungen der Seite
PDF
EPUB

trace of vanity. "Why, it's easy as wa- ‘Bless you, no!' laughed Christopher. ter running down hill,' he used to say. She hurried over the thin ice, wildly, Listening again, Rebecca could think of strangely happy. nothing but the juggler she had once Nor found the North Pole, I reckon.' seen with Uncle Caleb, tossing the balls He laughed again. in dazzling arcs till her eyes blinked. "The North Pole's all right for a mayOnly now the juggler's balls were reali- pole, Rebecca, but you and I are getting ties. Christopher had really killed a along to — well, say August. Nothing real tiger in a real jungle. The gold at grows there, no more than in your cowthe foot of the rainbow was in his pasture — though you have got a lot of pocket. He had actually made the stones out of it.' journeys they had taken together on Yes, I have,' said Rebecca dreamily. the magical carpet. And, little by little, 'Don't talk it over with your mother. her spirit kindling at the touch of his, Just do it. That's my motto. Do it and getting the farm in fine shape dwindled it's done. I have my eye on a house for to utter insignificance, the cares that you in 73d Street already.' worried her and the triumphs that ela- The color print of Washington, the ted her appeared miserable, petty trifles. clock, the bookcase, and the horsehair

'I suppose I could, if I wanted to, sofa were all fading away; the farm itshe murmured.

self, substantial, century-old, rooted in “Rebecca, you must.'

the granite hills, dissolving in a rosy Must what?' said Rebecca.

mist. She was treading air, drinking at Live! It's easy as rolling off a log. fountains sealed for years. How could You're a rich woman, Rebecca - rich she ever have been contented to She liked the sound of her name amaz- ‘Where do you live, Christopher?' ingly. “Sell the farm, rent it, give it He was standing now beside her, his away. Do you want to spend the rest of hand patting her shoulder.

‘You don't have to think of me, little ‘No, I don't,' she interjected, seeing woman. I'm looking after you. Say, visions; 'but there's mother.'

Rebecca, could you put me up for the “That's easy. Put the breath of life night? I'd really like to go over the old in her too. Take her with you.' place.'

'Where?' said Rebecca, breathless Rebecca had never in her life been herself.

looked after. Christopher smiled his radiant smile. "Of course, Christopher.'

'Practical little woman! Don't I remember how you used to save the

IV crumbs for the chickens! You have n't got to bother with crumbs now. Leave Christopher came back for supper it to me. I'll manage the whole thing just as hungry as the ragged boy for for you — mother and all.'

whom Rebecca sa ved her 'piece of pie,' It was dazzling, the old spell was remarking cheerfully that he had had sweeping her along with him. But on the worth of his dinner. She knew now the horizon hung one black cloud, in what he had meant: exactly what he the back of her mind one awful ques- said — ‘To go over the old place. He tion. She summoned all her courage, had done it thoroughly. It was natural desperately.

enough, not having gone to the bad, 'I suppose you are married, Chris- that he should pay off old scores by calltopher?'

ing on the minister, returning good for

your life

a

evil with a check toward lifting the Christopher took out his notebook mortgage. Natural, too, was the con- and plunged into figures. Rebecca was sultation at the quarry for a monument familiar with figures. They had plagued to mark the resting-place of the ne'er- her all her life. He drew his chair bedo-weel —a pyramid overtopping hum- side hers and reached for her pencil, bler headstones. There was a certain checking off the items of Uncle Caleb's propriety in these retributive proceed- inventory with comments - 'solid ings which appealed to Rebecca's sense good as gold — nothing better' - while

- — of justice —

- and humor. Above all, his Rebecca's world, as the solid total invasion of the schoolhouse, scandaliz- mounted, melted steadily, ruthlessly ing demure Miss Robbins and delight- away. ing the children by a vivid recital of *You see, Rebecca,' said Christopher former misdemeanors.

when she gave him his candle at the All this was exactly like Christopher; foot of the stairs, ‘you have n't got to but when, after supper, her mother hav- worry

about the farm. It cuts no ice ing gone to bed, he proposed a second anyway. Think it over.' adjournment to the office, she said: 'I have.' “There's no fire there, Christopher.' 'That's right. And say, Rebecca,

"Well, who always built the fires in don't bother about me. I'm going to the birches, I'd like to know!'

catch the early train.' His blue eyes What was the use! There was no twinkled. “Just leave a piece of pie on withstanding Christopher.

the table. I have n't forgotten. GoodSo Christopher built the fire and sat night, little woman. You'll see straight in the rocker, and Rebecca sat at her by morning. There's nothing like a desk, and the clock stared solemnly at good night's sleep to clear away the fog.' the vacant sofa.

'No,' said Rebecca. 'Good-bye, 'It may be a wrench at first, Re Christopher.' becca; the week after I went away, I was miserable for the smell of the fern, Alone in her room, Rebecca went to and the wild strawberries

· you re

the mirror. She was not afraid of it member, don't you? in the wood-lot. now. The little foxes were as dead as But it will be different with you. You'll the major devils. get over that in no time.'

She sat down by her window. A Oh, yes! Rebecca remembered. But white mist hung over the brook. The somehow, rolling off a log did not seem tops of the birches were still, like floatquite so easy as it did to Christopher. ing islands. But there was no fog in her

'Why not run down with me to-mor- heart. It was clear as daylight. It was row?'

daylight, and sleighbells were jingling It was like a pistol-shot, and instant- in the yard. ly she told the first lie of her life. 'I can't. The inspector's coming to

In the office Hansen was fumbling morrow, to look over the herd.'

his cap. 'I thought, Miss Rebecca, 'Put him off. Leave it to Hansen.' seeing as how Mr. Christopher talked Nothing ever daunted Christopher. about selling — well — maybe I might 'I can't,' she repeated helplessly. like to buy it myself.'

She was looking Truth in the face, Rebecca did not move a muscle. bravely, ready for any number of lies if 'I have n't the least idea of selling. necessary. What would happen to her You can see those people to-day about immortal soul was of no consequence. running the wire up from the mill.'

[ocr errors]

IS THERE ANYTHING IN PRAYER ?

BY J. EDGAR PARK

[ocr errors]

ONE of the earliest discoveries made quences. Worry, nervous disorders, deby the adventurer who dares to pene- pression, temptation, morbid mental trate into the land of Common Sense is conditions these are the names of that in that land mere wishing does not some of the results of unorganized, accomplish very much. Sundered lovers unsatisfied desires. A mother returns wished their hearts away for centuries, home on a sudden call, to find her child longing for the sound of the other's sick unto death. She immediately gets voice through the intervening miles of the best doctors and the best nurses, space. But all was of no avail until to and does all she can for his cure. At that wishing was added the minute last she has done all she is able to do. knowledge of electro-magnetism, which Can she then put the matter from her resulted in the invention of the tele mind and go to the movies? No, there phone.

remains, after she has done everything The longest road in the world is the possible for her child, a mass of desire road that lies between feeling and fact for that child's recovery which she has The road can be made passable only by not been able to work off into action. knowledge. Wishing is just the initial What is she to do with it? She may motive force designed to drive one to either

go

into another room and worry seek the knowledge of the way. Pro- herself to death over the child, and thus cessions of longing, beseeching human make herself a prophet of death to the beings through plague-stricken cities, child and the whole household, or she imploring the removal of the curse, ef- may pray. Prayer is the control of the fected nothing until their desires were overflow of desire above that which can converted into patient investigation of be immediately transmuted into action. the causes and cure of plague. The pro- What then is her mental attitude in cessions were valuable in so far as they prayer? It has been largely represented incited and stung the lethargic scientific as that of a slave asking for a favor bemind into investigation and discovery. fore the throne of an oriental potentate. Wishing, looked upon as an end in it- 'I have done many favors for Thee in

'I self, is barren, but it is the initial stage the past. I have contributed to thy of all progress.

church, and attended thy services, and Desire, when it can be transmuted kept thy laws. Now I humbly ask, as a into action, is the joy of life. Desire, return for these offerings, the life of this when it cannot immediately be trans- child!' muted into action, is the basic problem Or it has been supposed that here is of literature, art, philosophy, and re- the one exception to the otherwise inexligion. What is to be done with it? orable principle that mere wishing does

Prayer is the organization of unsatis- not accomplish anything. She is simply fied desire. Unless it is organized in

to wish and ask, as a child would wish some way it leads to ruinous conse- and ask a parent for, something desired.

а

come

[ocr errors]

Prayer in both these cases is looked wishing, then it is evident that, as in upon as a triangle. The mother and the

any other art, power in prayer

will child are at the base angles; God is at with practice. It is necessary, as in any the apex. The mother sends up a prayer other art, to begin with little things and to God, which God considers, and, if it gain skill and power from the small to seems good to Him, sends down the the great. Prayer is the personal influanswer to the child. The conditions of

ence, which we recognize so well in soeffective prayer under these conditions cial intercourse, at its highest point of are, as set forth in a recent hand-book efficiency. We all recognize that peron prayer, faith, humility, and submis- sonal influence is a hard attainment; sion.

power

in

prayer is equally open to all, There has been, however, a growing but requires great effort to attain. school of religious thinkers who have Much as we may dislike the word, there felt that the use of terms and figures is a technique of prayer which can be like these must not blind us to the fact mastered. The mother must have that the realm of prayer is no exception learned to pray, in order to be of much to the general rule; that it is necessary, help to her child at such a crisis. To be not only to wish, but to know how a healing personality is a high achieveto wish; that there are laws governing ment. But let us suppose that she has the organization of unsatisfied desires, been practising prayer for years. She which must be observed. Prayer for has gained her power in the attainment them is not so much a triangle as a of lesser ends than this very life of her straight line. Prayer is the organiza- child. It is, in general, almost impossition of one's unsatisfied desires so that ble to generate in the face of a sudden God may work through them for the emergency a hitherto unused power. end desired. The mother's unsatisfied Prayer ought to start with trifles — the desire for the life of the child

sublimation of petty personal desires, organized as to be the channel through the gaining of a rational spiritual attiwhich the healing power of God may tude toward minor social problems in reach the child. Prayer is not, then, the home and school. Prayer does not that passive acquiescence of the Irish- generally emerge into the consciousness man, who hung the Lord's Prayer over as a desire for the evangelization of the his bed and, every night, before he world in this generation; it rather bejumped in, jerked his thumb in the di- gins with a desire for a new doll or the rection of the petitions and ejaculated, winning of a game. ‘Them's my sentiments!' Prayer is an Some years previously, this mother activity of will and mind and feeling, has found that her child was not getting which makes us the natural channel on well at school. He began to bring through which good effects flow to home bad report-cards, he did not like those for whom we pray. Psychology the teachers, he hated the studies. studies the conditions of that activity. The mother finds herself beginning to Religion asserts that these good effects anticipate more trouble. She expects are the result, not merely of a personal, another bad report, more tales of being but also of a cosmic wish.

disliked by the teachers, more inability What is the condition of mind of such to do the work prescribed. Her very a mother, which most conduces to the face as she meets the child at the door cure of the child? If it is true, as we tells what she anticipates. Suddenly have surmised, that prayer is not sim- she realizes that the whole atmosphere ply wishing, but organized and directed of the home is melancholy with the

[ocr errors]

may be

SO

a

a

sense of impending failure. Her personal come a conductor of God's good-will. influence, through the black background She concludes her prayer with thanksof her consciousness, is, in spite of any- giving to God that the prayer has been thing she may say, foreboding. Then granted, a supreme act of faith. she endeavors to 'get hold of herself'; There is all the difference in the world to prevent this thwarted desire for her between the man who says, 'I am going child's happiness and success from turn- to give up my bad habit,' and the man ing sour and becoming a fixed, if almost who says, 'I have given up my bad unconscious, conviction that the child habit.' So there is between feeling that will not get on well at school.

God may answer the prayer and that She begins to pray. She invokes an- God has answered it. The latter is the other conviction, that the good Spirit act of faith that the answer will be hindof the universe has no such intention ered only by the defect of the channel. for her child. She recalls some of the The answer is granted; the flood of hapgreat passages of religious inspiration, piness and success is forcing its way the words of the saints who have been through the narrow and obstructed sure of a power outside ourselves, as channel of the mother's personal influwell as in ourselves, making for right- ence upon the child. Prayer has substieousness. Thus gaining the prayer- tuted such an influence for the previmood, she then reminds herself that she ous, almost unconscious, suggestions of must be the channel for bringing this failure. There is no dogmatism in such good-will into the life of her child. She prayer as to the method of the answer replaces the picture of failure, which that is left to the infinite possibilities threatens to become fixed in her mind, of actual experience. The claim is simwith a more vivid and living picture of ply made on the universe for the happisuccess. With all the love and sym- ness of the child, and in the making of pathy and imaginative fire she possesses,

the claim the psychological machinery she pictures to herself her petition being is set in motion for its being honored by granted the new attitude on the the universe. And this effort to organpart of her child, his awakened interest ize unsatisfied desire not only has its in his studies, his liking for his teachers, influence upon those for whom we pray, his expectation of success. She prays but tends to purify and enlighten the intensely, with all her desire, through desire itself, so that, when the petition and in this mental picture.

is granted, it may be on a much higher This act is exceedingly difficult; but, plane than when it was first offered. if done, it changes the whole atmosphere Yet it is the same prayer. The desire is of the home. The very face of the always satisfied. But it often is submother as she meets the child is mag- limated in the process of satisfaction. netic of success for the child instead In the face of the impending death of of being prophetic of failure. In the her child, a mother who has so practhousand ways, known and unknown, in tised prayer on lesser matters has great which the mother's mind touches the powers. Her very face in the sick-room, mind of the child, encouragement, ex- as the child dimly sees it, is on the side pectation of achievement, faith in his of health and life. And who can tell in powers now flow in upon the will of the what numberless ways the minds of child. In petitions of this nature, the those who love touch one another, all whole personality is stirred; desire, intel- unseen even by the argus eyes of science? lect, and imagination are at their high- Miracles occur, and the tide of life reest point of efficiency, that she may be- turns into sluggish veins, when the de

[ocr errors]
« ZurückWeiter »