IT is worthy of note, the many different kinds
of visitors we entertain. Some "drop in" without warning. They "feel
at home." They know they are welcome at any time of day or night. They
often come with the family. They know exactly what to expect. They will
not be made "company of." They are willing and anxious to take the ordinary
fare of the household.
Others are not quite so familiar because not so
well acquainted, but they are none the less welcome. When they desire
to visit, they write and say, "Would it be convenient for you and madame
to have us come to you for a little visit?" Whether it is exactly convenient
or not, we make it so, because we think much of the expected guest. True,
one of the children may be sick; the guest-chamber may already be occupied;
but we hope the child will be better, and we are willing to "double up"
as far as our sleeping arrangements are concerned, in order to make room
for the guests.
Sometimes strangers write that they are coming-on
business. We dread them, but we dare not bid them remain away; for their
business is legitimate, and simple courtesy demands that we receive
them. We submit, but not with joy. We sweep and clean and dust, to make
ready for the unwelcome guests.
Then we hear from one we have known long. He is
coming soon; "so anxious to see us;" but we are not so desirous of seeing
him. He is "fussy," and it is difficult to make him feel at home. It
is always necessary to "entertain" him. He must constantly be looked
after. There are innumerable little attentions that he requires; even
demands. His bed must have been slept in at least a week previous to
his coming; then it must be ironed every night and the iron left in the
bed, if it is in winter. There are a dozen things that must be remembered:
a glass of water; a bottle of medicine or two; two or three extra pillows;
some matches and a candle by the bedside; the clock must be removed from
the room; and so on. No, not these things, perhaps, but others that happen
to fit his peculiar individuality. He is nervous, and the children are
in durance vile all the time of his visit. To be honest with yourself,
you must acknowledge that he is not a welcome guest, and yet for reasons
that are very potent you do not desire to make him feel ill at ease nor
to refuse to permit him to come.
There are others, mostly relatives, who come and
feel that they have a right to come. But when they do take up their abode
with you, they bring sadness and gloom. They are fretful and faultfinding-most
unwelcome of all-and you are compelled to bear it, for you would not
cause them pain.
Just after one of the latter has taken his departure,
there comes a dear friend of a lifetime. She is sweet and winsome and
unobtrusive. The children love her, and are as good as gold as long as
she is in the house. The servants worship her, and will do anything in
the world of possibilities, if it is to make her happier. She settles
down in an atmosphere all her own; an atmosphere of warmth and comfort
and restfulness. She is full of delightful suggestion. She is sunshine
personified; she is peace embodied; to have an unpleasantness where she is
were almost an impossibility. Altogether, she shines in the household,
and makes every one better by the magic of her presence.
We say it reverently, the visitor at Darnforth for
the past week has been, from the feelings of the boys, the combination
of all that was unpleasant in the foregoing suggestions, for he brought
abject misery and discomfort. But another Guest was about to arrive,
a Glorious Visitor!
WITH Thursday night there
came a change. It was a crisis. The Unwelcome Guest had spent a week;
having come with the good bishop. The result was as has been only mildly
described. To sum it up: it was as if the sun had ceased to shine and
deep clouds had begun to gather. Darkness followed; deep, dense darkness;
"darkness that could be felt." Then a stillness. It was a time of terror
and expectancy, as is the sultry hush of the moment before the electrical
storm breaks in its fury in the summer season. Men groped about the college
and campus in a dazed condition, not knowing what was the matter; not knowing
what to do nor to expect. The storm broke on this memorable night. The
lightning flashed across the lurid sky; the thunder rolled and pealed;
the winds blew; the rain and hail descended. Men were struck and stunned
on every hand, and likely to die. There were groans, and shouts, and cries,
and mute appeals. It was an awesome night! But in the midst of the terror
and the darkness a change came: a little light shining through the darkness,
but growing brighter and brighter, till it appeared an opening of glory
in the sky, such as one sometimes sees at evening after a storm above
the western horizon. The great black cloud is still hanging over the west.
but gradually the sun forces his way through; first a little light, then
more and still more, until by a mighty effort the storm-curtain is rent
asunder, and the sun shines forth in his unobstructed splendor, and
instantly the sky is transformed; the dark cloud has a silver lining,
and the whole canopy of heaven-above, east, west, north, south-is aflame
with crimson and gold and purple, and the little, white, woolly clouds
overhead go scurrying across the sky, covered with blushes. The sun sinks,
but the rift in the cloud remains as glorious as the very gate of heaven.
So this night the clouds were rent asunder by the personal coming of Christ
the Light. There he stood; nay, approached, till many a startled face
was upturned in fear, in wonder, in expectancy. He came a glorious, welcome
Visitor, and took up his abode. Darkness fled from many a heart, and
in the place of sorrow, discomfort, and anguish, there was "joy unspeakable
and full of glory."
In the midst of his terror and pleading, young Moon
looked up, stopped, trembled; a smile spread over his haggard face,
and then, with a shout, he sprang to his feet, only to fall back prostrate
on the floor, where he remained in a silent transport of ecstasy, looking
up into the face of his Savior. His life was transformed from that instant.
Since he had slipped back into the world, many unholy things had come
in, little by little, and gained power over him. That vision saved him
from the dominion of all that was sinful, and he could truly sing:
"Since my eyes were fixed on Jesus,
I've lost sight of all beside,
So enchained my spirit's vision,
Looking at the Crucified!"
Scott saw Him too, and in
an instant the tears of sorrow and of hopelessness were changed to tears
of joy. He was converted amid a flood. His great difficulty in seeking
Christ had been to believe that Christ was his; that he could be included
in the atonement; he who had been so light and flippant in regard to
holy things, and who had so often closed his ears to the Spirit's call. While
he was in the depths, struggling with himself to take hold on God, the
friends about him began to sing the old chorus:
"I do believe, I now believe,
That Jesus died for me;
That through his blood, his precious blood,
I am from sin set free!"
And as they sang, a transformation took place.
His homely face lighted up till it fairly shone, and a look of brightness
and a smile of glory spread over all, till the malshapen features were
melted into symmetry and beauty, and seldom will a more beautiful face
be seen than that transfigured, glorified countenance of Scott! The splendor
faded soon, yet some of the glow remained, and it was a general remark
that Scott was better looking after his conversion than he had been
before. Indeed, the improvement continued as bad habits and their results
were left behind, and as Christ more truly looked forth from his face.
Both Moon and Scott felt the call to the ministry
almost immediately. The change in Scott's life was especially noteworthy.
For the sake of Christ he was eager to let go of things that had become
a part of himself. In this he was not like some young Christians of the
present, who seem to begrudge every little thing they yield to Christ.
It was a joy to find something new to give up to him who had sacrificed
so much and who had just pardoned him, "the chief of sinners." He had
stopped drinking and card-playing immediately, as matters of course, and,
strange to say, he found that dancing had lost its charm for him, though
he had been a skillful waltzer, and possessed what might be termed a passion
for all forms of dancing. These matters did not even become questions of
debate with him; they settled themselves and forever. He was filled with
such new and lofty ideals and aims that many things, before attractive,
became trivialities and unworthy his thought and attention. However,
he was very careful not to criticise others; for he remembered his former
convictions, and he believed that charity must be the starting-point
in discussions on all these topics; and, further, he believed that each
man must be true to his own leadings. Undoubtedly early training had something
to do with the outcome in his case.
He was not without his struggles. A few days after
the incidents just recorded he met something that made him tremble, and
yet, when he saw the situation plainly, he did not waver. He had been
a cigarette-smoker from his childhood, and the habit had grown and fastened
itself upon him until it was master. It was his curse; had stunted his
growth, injured his throat, and disordered his heart. When he became
convinced that it was possible for him to give up tobacco, and that it
would be to the glory of God, the question was practically settled. When
the moment of the final test came, he was alone in his room upon his knees.
A feeling of strength supreme filled him; he arose, and walked towards
the stove like a giant. As the little white rolls writhed and twisted
and shriveled in the heat that turned them quickly into gas and ashes,
it seemed to him that he could almost hear the chains fall from him, and
he was free! He never smoked again. Surrounded by smokers, receiving invitations
daily, it was a great victory. There were compensations that soon became
After a time the old feeling of dissatisfaction
returned. Something was unfinished, though, at first, he could not discover
it. One evening, as he was musing upon the subject, the question came
to him as if from another person, "Would you be willing to go as a missionary
to a foreign field?" It was a difficult interrogation, and one not easily
nor instantly answered. As thoughts of preferment in the ministry came
to him-thoughts that had already insidiously mastered him without his
knowledge or consent-he cried out, in his agony, "Lord, not that; anything
but that!" Then he began to think; his past life came up in review before
him. He could now see God's providence all the way along; could see how
he had been led, and some of the things from which he had been saved.
At length his soul was flooded with a tidal wave of gratitude, and he cried
out, "I'll go anywhere, dear Lord, anywhere, even to the uttermost part
of the sea!" A song came to his lips, while the joy of his victory appeared
in his face.
"Then in fellowship sweet,
We will sit at his feet,
Or we'll walk by his side in the way;
What he says we will do,
Where he sends we will go,
Never fear, only trust and obey!
Trust and obey,
For there's no other way
To be happy in Jesus,
But to trust and obey."
It was blessed to see his happiness after this,
and to note his perfect trust.
There was another change that must be recorded.
The empty-headed, fluffy-haired little maid, whom he had thought he
cared for, suddenly appeared to him as she was, and it became difficult
to think of her without apathy. And, moreover, it was evident that she
had no further need of him. Her soul could not be satisfied without
certain kinds of plays and toys, and when she discovered that he was
no longer the delightsome source of these things she suffered disappointment,
and did not hesitate to display it. She made fun of him, laughed at
him, teased him, did everything in her power to test him, and when she
found he was steadfast to the new life, in a fit of jealous pique, she
sent him away, and bade him never return. He had been quite meek through
it all, and had endeavored to tell her something of his new experience
and its delights; but, failing utterly in every attempt to gain even
a fair hearing, for his own sake he was not sorry to be dismissed. She
immediately made up with one of her own sort, a young fellow who had recently
entered the preparatory school, but who, by the way, struggled for many
terms to gain admittance to college, but failed in every attempt, and
at last fell out entirely.
This change in his feelings towards Miss Flossie
helped Scott to see what a tremendous transformation had taken place
within himself. A week before he had believed her to be "the most delightful
little piece of humanity," to use his own words, that it had ever been
his good fortune to meet. Regeneration is a transformation; even the affections
MCQUIRK professed conversion,
and manfully maintained his position even in the face of the Sunrise
Club. And as long as there was work for him to do he held out, but as
soon as the religious meetings ceased in college and town, the poor fellow
fell back. If he could have been "kept at it" all the time, without cessation,
he might in the end have been victorious. There are many like him, who
flourish during the seasons of special effort, but who fall in the intervals.
Preston, in a gloomy sort of way, sought and professed
to find the light. His condition was unusual, for he was morose and sour,
and seemed to take little interest in his surroundings, and he insisted
on being alone. His case was and is a mystery. The only explanation that
suggests itself is, that his better nature demanded that he yield to
the power of the Spirit that was convicting him of sin. As if against
his own will, he did make a show of seeking; but the moment a suggestion
of a ray of light appeared, the tempter came in and told him that he had
now obtained all that he sought; then, when he went away alone, the old
enemy threw upon the screen of his memory pictures of his past pleasures,
gone forever; and as he had not yet tasted the new, it was easy to make
him believe that a life of "humdrum" was before him. These thoughts brought
more gloom and further seclusion. He was never again known to give a sign
that might have been termed hopeful, and, besides the extra gloom, he
went on as before.
Win Wilding, though a member of the exclusive and
high-society class, did not escape conviction. He was present at the
meeting on Thursday night, and expressed, by standing with the others,
his desire to lead a Christian life. After dismissal he was surrounded
by a few earnest men, who talked encouragingly to him; but his pride
was in the way, and he would not yield to the pleas of his conscience,
backed by the Holy Spirit, nor to those of the friends who were with him.
He was unwilling to make any humiliating demonstrations. It was one thing
to say in a manly fashion that one wanted to be a Christian, but quite
another thing to fall on one's knees and let it be known that one considered
one's self a dark-hued sinner. He was willing to do almost anything but
place himself in the attitude of a humble penitent. He would go no further
than promise to watch his life in the future, and to endeavor to make
it beyond reproach. Yes, he would lead a better life; that was his decision.
As time went on, his old proud self began to reassert itself; the Spirit
had less hold on him; and finally, bracing himself up, his eyes flashing,
he said: "Fellows, this thing has gone far enough. It is growing late,
and you will oblige me if you will now permit me to retire. I respect
you for what you are, and thank you for your kind interest and good intentions.
No, we need not allude to the matter again. It is all settled. Goodnight!"
As the men filed out, he looked at his watch. It
was nearly twelve o'clock. He was just beginning to make preparations
for the night when he paused, gave a sudden start, turned pale, moved
towards the door, and then suddenly halted in the middle of the room.
In the tremendous excitement of the meeting down-stairs everything had
passed from his mind, and he had actually forgotten all about the german
at the armory and his engagement with Miss Biddle. What could she think?
Because he was impelled by an unrecognized force,
he had passed into the meeting that night, intending to remain but a
short time. He was all prepared for the evening's pleasure, as far as
dress was concerned with the exception of his coat. This he would don
in an instant, run around the corner to the livery stable, where he had
ordered a cab for 8.45, then in a few minutes he would have his lady,
who would be waiting for him, and they would be at the armory in good
season. But the intensity of interest and of power had put all else from
his mind; and now it was twelve! There was nothing to do but wait till
the morrow. This was done with impatience and sleepless eyes. In the morning
he "cut" chapel exercises, lectures, and all other college duties. As
soon as he dared he repaired to the Biddle mansion, to do his best in
the matter of explanations and apologies. The mortification he felt was
great, because he had ever been punctilious, even in the smallest matters
in society, and had gained that reputation, but especially because Miss
Biddle was more to him now than a mere passing, pleasant friend. What
could he say? Would it be possible to make her understand? She certainly
could not feel complimented, no matter how plain the explanation might
be. How could he forget an engagement, and with her? Many similar thoughts
passed through his mind while he pressed the button and waited. He determined
to tell the simple truth, and throw himself on her mercy. The door was
opened by a maid: "No, Mr. Wilding could not see Miss Biddle; she was
ill; could see no one; had not left her room." He went away as in a dream,
but presently awoke therefrom, and rushed to his apartments, where he
sought his desk and found relief in writing. The following is the result
of his hour at the desk:
"DEAR MISS BIDDLE,-I regret
that I was unable to see you this morning. I am filled with sorrow that
you are ill. Form no unkind opinion in regard to my unfortunate conduct
last night until you have opportunity to see me. The only thing that
could possibly have caused me thus to forget myself, except sudden prostration
or death, occurred. By all I know you to be, I beg you at least to postpone
the cruel decision that my actions would of necessity dictate. Let me
add, lest you might not permit me to see you again,-add what it was not
my purpose to say for months, add what in the circumstances I can not help
revealing. I love you! I love you! I love you!
"Humbly and devotedly,
"W. W. WILDING."
As he said in the note, the
revelation was not to have been made for many months; but he felt that
circumstances demanded a wise play. He had been equal to the requirement.
The note was most adroit. It was meek, but not servile; it suggested,
and gave play to the imagination, but did not explain; it appealed to her
better nature, and dispelled any tendency to yield to pride; and, lastly,
in the declaration, it manfully put away from her the most bitter thought
connected with the whole unpleasant affair. When he did see her, which
was comparatively soon, it was not at all difficult "to make up." They
were happy in the knowledge that each possessed in regard to the affections
of the other. But Miss Biddle had little understanding of the affair
that had kept Wilding away that night, and less sympathy. She felt a pride,
however, in the thought that the man of her choice was not only wealthy
and fine-looking, but religious.
The affair was nearly fatal to Wilding. The self-control
that he had determined to exercise till the end of the course would have
been difficult, but, in his case, wise. He needed to be kept under discipline,
and that would have assisted. Now that restraint was removed, mental
discipline was dissipated and college work suffered. Thus the effects
of that night were serious, not only in regard to his soul's welfare,
but also in regard to his mental well-being.
THOSE who do not know for
themselves often form grave misconceptions as to what it means to be
a follower of the Lord Jesus Christ. Young people often profess to believe
that it means the giving up of their so-called liberty and their pleasure.
It is not the province of this history to combat this sentiment with
argument. But life is full of arguments, if one will only behold them and
study them, and permit the truth to convince. The true Christian life is
the best argument in the world for itself. If young people would stop arguing
for awhile, and simply try it, there would be no need of further debate.
They would "know of the doctrine." Upon investigation it will plainly
appear that the young Christians whose acquaintance we have made are still
full of life and the ability to enjoy it.
On Saturday, the strain of the week's college work
and of the meetings being over, the "Co-eds" had an all-day picnic at
Miss Holmes's. It was a winter picnic, but none the less enjoyable on
that account. There was a large attic in the house that was used for laundry
purposes when the inclemency of the weather made out-of-door drying an
impossibility. This room was clean and devoid of furniture of any kind,
with the exception of a few stationary washtubs and a large laundry stove.
Each girl brought with her some article for the lunch; and the main feature
of the day was the preparation for and the destruction of said lunch.
They sat upon the floor in true picnic fashion, and could almost dream
This was a jolly day, and the only thing that happened
worthy of reporting-for it was all relaxation-was a recurrence to the
meetings and the great fact of Scott's conversion.
"Do you think he will be one of us now?" Miss Brighton
"I know it," was Miss Holmes's sententious reply,
which was greeted by a shout of laughter, in which the young lady herself
joined most heartily.
There were many students at college who resided
in town, some of whom came from good families other than those of the
most fashionable set; but they possessed, nevertheless, all the graces
most desired in the best society. These students, along with other young
people of similar character and proclivities, formed a social circle
of their own. It was the desire of many of these "day students" to enhance
this circle by bringing into it some of the best of the college men.
On the other hand, there were not a few of the latter who were ambitious
to be introduced into this respectable and intelligent town society.
There was residing in town an influential junior
by the name of Short, who had a wide acquaintance, not only among the
class just described but also, to a certain extent, in the realm of "The
Four Hundred." Down in his heart was a preference for the former society.
There was more real enjoyment and less strain and friction. It was not
so wearing. "Shorty," as he was called, was a favorite of many of the
students who had the mania for wanting "to go out," as calling in town
was termed. He was kind and agreeable, and often made himself useful
in bringing together the college men and the town girls.
This same Saturday, Short was coming onto the campus
from his home, and Moon was walking alone just ahead of him. Short called
out, "Hello, Moon; wait a minute!" After joining him and making some
commonplace remarks, he continued: "I've been looking for you all the
morning. How would you like to go out to-night? I am almost ashamed to
tell you where I am going to ask you to go, and yet it is a place I am
very fond of visiting, because I invariably have a pleasant evening there.
The fellows do not know that this is one of my calling-places, or they
would 'guy' me most unmercifully. It is Blanchards. Good family; but you
know Katharine is little more than a child, with dresses to her shoe-tops.
She is only sixteen years of age; but our families have been intimate
for years, and I really call to see the whole family as much as I do Katharine,
and we have pleasant times together. The last time I was there, Katharine
said: 'Will, why don't you ever bring a student around with you? I am
just dying to know some of them!' And if you had heard her speak, you
would have thought she was a grown woman. 'All right,' said I, 'I will
do that gladly, if these good people [pointing to her parents] do not
object.' 'O they don't mind,' she rippled, 'just so you bring the right
kind.' 'Well, name them yourself; then you will be sure,' I suggested.
'I am not so certain of that,' her father interposed. 'You know them
better than she does, Will. You just use your own judgment.' 'Let us hear
her list,' I maintained. Then she mentioned some eight or ten names.
You would have laughed had you heard some of them. She knew nothing of them
at all, had simply heard them mentioned somewhere or other. One or two
I would not have presented there for anything in the world. But of all
she mentioned there is not one I would rather take than yourself, and
I am afraid you will not care to go. What do you say?"
Short was a little nervous, and had run along, scarcely
taking time to breathe. Moon had been endeavoring to get a word in all
the time, but had found no opportunity till this juncture.
"Why, I shall be delighted to go. There is no meeting
to-night, and I need a little relaxation after the strain of the week,
and it will not be necessary to stay late. I think it will do me good.
By the way, Katharine, as you call her, is a Christian girl, I have no
"You need have no fear on that score. They all belong
to the same Church of which I am a member, and she is especially devout
"Then I will go the more willingly."
"I will call for you to-night. Be ready in good
time; for it is quite a long walk, and she is not used to society's
hours. Good-bye! Moon, I am much obliged. If you had refused, I do not
know what I would have said to the girl."
"That's all right, old fellow. The obligation is
all on the other side, I can assure you."
Short went back home feeling very much pleased;
for he had been afraid that Moon would not want to call on such a young
girl; and Moon went to his room, feeling particularly happy. Why it
was, he did not understand. Whether it was a case of telepathy, or not,
can not be determined; but if there is truth in telepathy, there was
reason for his happiness; for he was to meet his fate that night.
AN unpleasant little thing
happened that same Saturday morning soon after chapel. Wilding and one
of his fraternity men, Smith by name, were walking down the campus arm
in arm. They were surrounded on all sides by men who were going in the
same direction, and probably on the same errand-the morning mail. All was
peace till suddenly, in a derisive manner, Smith turned to his companion,
"Why did you not go to the german the other night?
Miss Biddle nearly broke her heart when he found that you had actually
given her the slip."
"If you understood how distasteful that subject
is to me, I am sure you would not be unkind enough to broach it," was
Wilding's only rejoinder.
"Unkind enough is good. I would like to know who
has been unkind just now." Smith evidently referred to some little difficulty
that had not been overheard by the crowd.
"Well, put it differently. I am sure you are too
much of a gentleman to touch such a delicate subject in this place. If
there is anything that must be said, let us have it out in private."
"All right, old fellow; have your way about it.
I only know that there was great sadness at the Biddle mansion the other
night; for I happened to be there, and did my best to play comforter,
which was not unpleasant, I can assure you. I told her that I was certain
you were lying paralyzed or dead that very minute; for nothing else
could keep you away. I knew I was telling a lie; for I had seen you with
the other saints in the old chapel as I passed by; but I could not bear
to see her pride suffer. I knew it would be easier for her to believe
you dead than that you had forgotten her or let her slip for conscience'
sake. I did not know, though, at the time, that you had gone in on the
high religious order, and had eschewed dancing and all other worldly amusements.
I wonder how she likes it?" With that he slapped his brother on the back,
and gave vent to a hearty, though coarse-sounding, laugh. He evidently
was very much excited, and did not realize how he was stirring up his companion.
"Smith, I am not a fighting man in the sporting
sense; but I know how much I ought to take, and I have taken too much
already. No man can talk to me in that insinuating and ungentlemanly
way of any lady of my acquaintance without taking the consequences."
He took off his coat, and threw it on the ground. "They can expel me
from the fraternity, if they wish, after one of us is whipped, but if
they will permit such a cur as you to remain in, I shall consider myself
complimented by an expulsion. Come on. I'll leave it to the crowd that
I took as much as a man could stand."
Smith was white as a sheet. He knew he was no match
for his enraged adversary, and he realized now that he had gone too
far. But, being no coward, he threw off his coat, and took his position,
and waited. In the meantime a few of the same fraternity had gathered
about the combatants, urging them to settle it some other way; that
their present method meant everlasting disgrace to the chapter. On the
other hand, there were not a few who were calling out: "Let them alone!"
"Fight it out!" "Stand aside!"
"Get out of the way, fellows," commanded Wilding.
"If he had simply insulted me, I would swallow it for the sake of the
chapter; but he has insulted an innocent lady in her absence, openly
before this crowd, and he has got to take the consequences. Stand aside!
Do you hear, there! Come on, Smith; we'll settle this thing."
Neither one of the angry men had lost control of
himself. They were standing up to each other in the attitude of fighters,
each looking into the other's eye for a moment before beginning the onslaught.
Wilding drew back with a quick motion, as if to strike; but the blow never
fell. Scott, having just come up, without waiting for an understanding
stepped in as peacemaker. Seizing Wilding's wrist with one hand, he pushed
Smith off with the other.
"What is the matter with you fellows, anyhow?" he
said, turning to the crowd. "Were you going to let these two grand fellows
disgrace themselves and the college, to say nothing of their fraternity,
by permitting them to fight like animals? I say, What is the matter with
"Scott is right," said several at once, as they
stepped in between. "It was all so sudden that we scarcely knew what
to do. But you are right: there can be no fight here and now."
Both of the combatants, seeing the futility of further
effort, permitted themselves to be led to their rooms by their friends.
The thing was patched up between them that night; for Smith went over
and apologized, saying that he had been stung by a remark of Wilding's,
and had permitted himself to say what a gentleman ought not to say. Wilding
accepted his proffered hand in a dignified manner, and added that it
was easy to overlook a personal affront, but difficult to be passive when
a lady was drawn in without reason.
Wilding and Smith were soon good friends again,
and apparently forgot all about their little unpleasantness; but poor
Scott suffered the punishment of a peacemaker. If he had let them batter
each other into insensibility, he would not have been condemned by either
party; but because he interfered, and saved not only their bodies from
harm, but their reputations from destruction, he brought upon himself
the lasting enmity and hatred of at least one of the parties. Wilding did
not soon forgive him, and, contrary to his own calm disposition, he never
permitted himself to lose an opportunity to do a mean thing to him. Scott
suffered in silence.
"Do you know," said Wilding one day to a crowd of
his fraternity men, "that I hate that little Scott. I never did like
him, though I was always able to pass him by in silent contempt; but somehow,
since he has been playing the high religious part, I can't conceal my
hatred. It seems small in me, and yet when I pass him I know he must see
the contempt written on my face. Then, it has become one of the real pleasures
of my life to thwart him in his plans, and to bring him down from his high
horse, especially when he is with that precious crowd that has taken him
up. My! what a crowd it is! How ladies like Miss Holmes and Miss Bruce,
and men like Kenneth and Short, can have anything to do with it is more
than I can fathom. They are promiscuous and doubtful to a degree! Miss
Holmes is a second cousin of my mother's, and ought not to be permitted
to be seen with them. I called there the other evening to warn her, and do
you know that Scott came in to call? Fortunately he did not see me; for
I had walked right out into the dining-room, where I had seen Miss Holmes.
I told the young lady that I was surprised that she would go with that
crowd, and especially to see that man in her house; and what was her father
thinking about? But she only laughed at me. I am going to see Mr. Holmes.
I can't bear to see that girl in such low company. I know mother would
be shocked, as would all the Armstrongs."
MISS BLANCHARD was evidently
a little nervous. The more she thought of the word Mr. Short had brought
her, the more uncomfortable she became. She never thought of "Will,"
as she called Mr. Short, as a man to be afraid of. She had known him all
her life, and he had always appeared big and friendly to her. Their families
had been intimate for so many years that she could not recall when she
had not looked forward to the coming of this great, big, kindly fellow.
She loved him as a little sister would love an older brother; for he
had eight or nine years the start of her. But she felt different when she
thought of that strange student who was coming; and O, how timid she
was growing! She almost wished she had not been so bold. At last a happy
thought came to her. She would go and see her particular friend, Daisy
Woods, and ask her to spend the night with her. It would be easier if
there were two.
Miss Daisy was a plump, "roly-poly" little body, a most decided
brunette, and about a year older than Miss Blanchard. When she received
the invitation, and understood the import of it, she was only too happy
to join her forces with those of her friend. She, too, felt the charm
of coming in contact with a real live student. It would be so grand
to say to her set of girls, carelessly, of course, "My student friend
thinks so and so." Little did she realize how important a friend this
student was going to prove himself!
The two young maids were in
the parlor alone, sitting up very stiff and straight, and feeling decidedly
uncomfortable; for the parents had good-naturedly promised to let them
play that they were "truly" young ladies. It was eight o'clock.
"I don't believe they are coming," said Miss Katharine.
"Why, it is after eight."
"Nonsense! Why, it only just struck. You know, Mr.
Short had to go 'way up to the college after him. Then, my sister's callers
don't get there often till 'most nine. They'll come fast enough, and
I almost wish they wouldn't. I feel a little nervous. I never did talk
to a real live student in my life. They know so much, and are so great,
that I am afraid I will not know what to say."
"That's just the way I have been feeling. And that's
why I do not believe they will come, Mr. Moon will say, when Will goes
to his room, 'Why, she is only a little girl, and I think I will not
"In that case Mr. Short will come round and tell
you, and perhaps he will remain awhile; and then we will have a good
time, after all. I believe I wish 'Mr. Moon would not come. Katie, what
made you so foolish?"
Thus the two girls talked, now encouraging one another,
and now chiding. At last, about 8.20, the doorbell did ring, and Messrs.
Short and Moon were ushered into the parlor. The young ladies soon discovered
that the student was not a terrible animal, and that he would not bite.
In fact, they forgot that there had been anything to be afraid of. Presently
Mr. Short asked for Mr. and Mrs. Blanchard, who very gladly came in.
Then they sang college songs and told college stories. Later Katharine
brought in some cake of her own baking and cups of delicious cocoa. Mr.
Moon was enjoying himself extremely. There was no restraint, nothing unpleasantly
conventional. The young men were perfectly at their ease, because they
looked upon these maids as little more than children, who could not as
yet possibly think of men in the light of future husbands. It was refreshing
to get into such clarified atmosphere as this. Moon had been thrown most
of the evening with Katharine Blanchard, when the conversation was not
general. It was not until just before their departure that a little shake-up
in their positions brought him next to Miss Woods for a brief period.
Then he suddenly discovered that her voice was soft and low and musical,
and at the same time rich and strong; that her smile was sweet and winsome
and perfectly unstudied; that her face was restful to look upon. Besides,
she was quick and bright. Altogether, in those few minutes, he received
quite an electrical shock, and, more-he was charged with her subtle unconscious
When Moon fell asleep that night, which was not
immediately after his head touched the pillow-for somehow he was excited,
and his heart beat rapidly (if it had been coffee, instead of cocoa,
that would have been the reason)-he dreamed that Miss Woods had died,
and that he had been called upon to preach the funeral sermon. It was
his first sermon and his first funeral. He felt that it would kill him.
He was happy to awake and assure himself that it was but a dream.
WHILE Short and Moon were
calling at Blanchard's, Scott called at the Holmes mansion, Miss Holmes
and Scott had met the day before on the campus between lectures. The
former had heard the good news of Thursday night, and was delighted. The
hour-bell interrupted them in the middle of an interesting talk. As they
separated, Scott was surprised to receive a cordial invitation to call
the next evening, so that they might be able to finish the conversation.
"You do not want me to call on you; I am not good
enough," was Scott's impulsive response. If that remark had come from
another kind of person, he might have been accused of "fishing for compliments;"
but poor Scott was so painfully frank, and he had such little confidence
in himself, so far as the more refined society to which he had been unused
was concerned, and he had such an awe of Miss Holmes in particular that
what he said was not construed by the lady to mean anything of the sort,
or uncomplimentary to herself. While she had not known him personally
very long, she understood him well enough. In a small college a man's
personal equation is soon discovered.
Hence she simply said: "Now, Mr. Scott, you know
I would not invite any one to my house out of mere politeness, nor would
I have asked you if I had not meant it. I want you to come. I desire
you to meet papa and mamma, and I am anxious to finish our talk."
"Miss Holmes, I did not intend to be uncomplimentary.
It really seemed to me impossible that you should want me to call. But
I assure you it will give me the greatest pleasure to come; and I should
be delighted to meet your parents. And I am as eager to finish our conversation
as you, I am sure. I am particularly anxious to hear what you were about
to say on 'goodness.' "
It required an unusually long time for Scott
to prepare for his call that night, and for what reason he could not guess.
Everything seemed to go wrong. He could not get what he termed a decent
polish on his shoes; he dropped his collar-button and spent minutes in
finding it; his necktie was perverse, and would not stay where it belonged;
and it was most difficult to remove the last fleck of dust from his clothes.
He was not late, however, when he was admitted to the Holmes mansion.
The room he entered was called "parlor" by courtesy,
though in no sense was it a drawing-room. Not that the carpet was not
rich enough, nor the furniture sufficiently elegant, but that it was constantly
used by the whole family as a most delightful and homelike living-room.
The library was here, the books being arranged on low, tasteful shelves;
here also were the cabinets of collections or specimens in geology and
natural history, and the curios gathered in different parts of the world.
One could not feel stiff nor strange in a room like that, before its
great open fire, under the glow of the immense electric light that hung
low from the ceiling, so covered and tinted by its opalescent globe that
it made one think of the moon caught and enthralled with its face ever
towards this earthly paradise. But, best of all, Mr. and Mrs. Holmes were
there, and gave signs of a purpose to remain. They always did remain.
As yet the company that entered that house came to see all. Scott was
glad, for he was not afraid of Mr. Holmes with his genial face and kindly
manners, nor of Mrs. Holmes with her sweet womanliness, though he had
not met either of them before; but he did stand in awe of the daughter,
and he was far from being perfectly at ease with her. Hence he was pleased
to know that the parents were to be a part of the company for that evening.
Indeed, Miss Holmes was not in the room, and Scott was left to get acquainted
with the older folk without introduction,-a task that he found anything
Voices were distinctly heard in another room, and
it was easy to recognize the daughter of the family as one of the speakers,
and presently Scott assured himself that Wilding was the other, though,
of course, not a word could be distinguished. But presently there was
a motion towards the front door in the hallway, and these words floated
into the open door.
"I know I am only doing what mother would do herself
if she were here. I know it is too late for to-night, but you can see
to it that it is the last time."
"Thank you, cousin, for your kindly interest; but
I think I am perfectly safe in papa's and mamma's protecting arms. I
have no company that they do not approve of. Talk to them all you desire.
In the meantime I made this engagement for the evening because it was
The voices were very low, and it is doubtful whether
Mr. and Mrs. Holmes heard a word, or, if so, connected it with present
circumstances in any way; but Scott was near the door, and every word
of it fell into his ear as if it had been whispered there. He was rendered
far from comfortable as he realized that Wilding had been there, warning
his fair cousin of himself as a dangerous character.
WHEN at length Miss Holmes
entered the room she found the little group apparently interested in
conversation, nor did she conjecture that her guest had been the innocent
recipient of words not intended for his ear. Her cheeks were flushed, and
for a few moments it was evident to one noticing that she was not perfectly
at ease. Any embarrassment that might have been hers, because of the call
and advice of her Cousin Wilding, soon vanished, and she was enabled to
enter the conversation as if she had been present from the beginning.
The older members of the circle about the radiant
moon-lamp dropped out, and yet they left the field gradually and gracefully.
When Scott finally noticed that both Mr. and Mrs. Holmes were reading
their respective books he was surprised. How they escaped without his
knowledge, and how Miss Holmes and himself had at last reached the subject
of yesterday's conversation, were two problems that he was unable to
solve. Both transitions were as perfect as that the skillful organist
will make as he passes from his prelude in one key to the doxology in
another-gradual, and without pause in the harmony.
Miss Holmes was saying: "I never met any one whom
I knew for some length of time without finding something good in him."
"I have no doubt that is true, Miss Holmes, and
I believe you are especially skillful in finding the hidden nuggets
under rough surfaces; but, often, is it not a poor kind of goodness?
To speak concerning myself: they used to say that I possessed a good
heart, but I knew all the time that it was a low type of goodness. It
"I do not think I can agree with you there. How
many different kinds of goodness do you count, Mr. Scott?"
"That I could not answer, but I know there are a
great many kinds and degrees. There is that thief I read about the other
day. He would rob rich men of vast sums of money when he had the opportunity,
but he was so tender-hearted that he would afterwards spend the bulk
of it on the poor. No one will ever know the widows and orphans he helped,
to say nothing of the other unfortunates who looked to him for aid, nor
what will become of some of his beneficiaries, now that their source
of revenue is cut off. Then, there was a man hanged for murder of whom
I heard some years ago. They said his mother nearly died when he was convicted,
and did not survive him long. She was an invalid, bedridden for years.
Her son virtually renounced the world for her sake, became her nurse, and
tended her like a baby. Then there was Edward Drawde, the lecturer, whom
our fraternity banqueted when he was in town a few weeks ago. He is
a hard drinker. Often he will get into the very gutter, yet they do say
that he treats his wife, who is a helpless cripple, with almost infinite
tenderness, even when he is under the influence of liquor. He may be cross
and surly and even dangerous to others, but he never forgets himself with
her. Those are instances of goodness; but I do not call any of them real
Christ-goodness, do you?"
"I fear I shall be compelled to differ, Mr. Scott,"
was the smiling response. "I do not believe that there are two kinds
of goodness; one of the world, and the other of the Church; one of the
devil, and the other of Christ. There is but one kind of goodness, and
that is Christ-goodness. We often talk of original sin, and profess to
believe in it; and we do, in a certain sense, meaning simply an inherited
tendency to evil; but why do not we believe in original goodness as well?
I would rather believe in the latter than in the former, if it were necessary
to reject one or the other. Man is born with a tendency to do good, and
he does it; and he continues to do it, though he may remain unregenerate
for years, or even all his life. He inherits this tendency from his ancestors
who have been doing good; from the original pair who undoubtedly did
much that was holy; from God himself, who breathed upon man the breath
of his own life, his own soul! Mr. Scott, I believe with all my heart
that there is but one kind of goodness, and that is Christ-goodness;
for Christ never yields foothold in the territory of a human heart till,
grieved at last, he goes away forever; and then it is a saddened going,
which leaves the soul lost, whether in the body or out of the body."
"Splendid! Almost you convince me by your eloquence.
But, tell me, what difference then do you make between the Christian
and the sinner? The one does good, but sometimes finds himself doing evil;
the other practices evil, but often varies it with good."
"There is not much difference in too many cases.
But the real difference is great: the one recognizes Christ to be the
source, and gives him the right of way; the other does not recognize
him, and certainly does not in any sense yield to him. Yet that does not
prevent Christ from working in him. Christians make a mistake often, I
believe, in not appreciating this great truth. When Christ was upon earth
he recognized it, and his dealing with publicans and sinners proved it.
Our business, it seems to me, is to find the good in men about us and
endeavor to help them to recognize its source; to assist discouraged men
to see the God already in them. That is glorious! You know the old story
of the block of stained marble that the people saw daily as they passed.
To them, you remember, it was only a block of stained, unlovely marble;
but when at last a sculptor beheld it, having the artist's eye, he saw
within it an angel, a pure angel, and, by skill and toil and patience,
he at last brought it forth in all its loveliness, to the delight of all
who saw it. So there are 'blocks' called men all about us; to many an
eye they are but blocks, soiled and stained, but to the eye of Christ
and Christ-men, there appears within, not an angel, but better, the image
of God himself; marred and blurred, it is true, but there! The true artist
can help to bring it out. O, let us use mallet and chisel, and tact and
skill, and faith and love, to help to bring the Christ out of these 'blocks,'
that all may recognize him!" Her face glowed as she spoke and became transcendently
beautiful, at least to the watchful eyes before her, and a little glistening
drop of moisture stood in each of her own eyes, for she was moved to
the depths; yet her voice was not raised; it was low and sweet and well-modulated.
Scott needed some one to talk to. He needed not
so much advice as leading. This conversation was a help to him, and
it was only one of many with which he was blessed at the beginning of
his Christian experience. He felt the results of it far out in life.
It was one of the little things that worked together with others to make
him the magnificent man he became. It changed the course of thinking
of a lifetime, and, coming as it did at the outset of the new life, it had
more influence. He found himself better able to get down beside men, no
matter how low they were, with a feeling of fellowship, and thus he was
able to lift them up. He never despaired of any man so long as he saw
in him any trace of the original Christ.
It might be well for ministers and teachers if they
could believe in men more than they do-"despairing of no man."
If strong men, if broad and lofty men, if great
men, are needed anywhere, it is in the sacred desk. Men, men,
MEN! Men who will not be afraid of soiling their fingers; men with a
heart and mind like Christ's; men who will live to love their fellows.
Let them go to college and seminary, but not to make their knowledge of
Greek and Hebrew the sole test of their fitness to do work for Christ.
Let there be knowledge and love of men; and let fearlessness to speak
to them and touch them be a part of the test, at least.
A few years ago, in a certain college, it was reported
that some of the young men had been speaking together in regard to their
respective futures, each one in turn telling the others what he would
like to be. One man among them had remained silent, a man of little ambition
and practically no piety. Turning upon him, the others demanded that
he disclose to them his purposes and aims. "I think I shall enter the
Church," said he. "I have a good voice and look well in broadcloth, and,
besides, I have an aptitude for the ancient languages." And thus he went
to speak to dying men the message of salvation, when he would not have
touched many of them with the tips of his dainty kid-gloves.
There was never any danger that Scott would become
that kind of a minister; but if there had been, that evening's conversation
would have made it forever impossible.
WILDING was not a mean fellow
by nature; but when his baser side was stirred, he sometimes descended
into very low realms. He did not realize how small his behavior to Scott
appeared, and he did not care. Scott's coming in as peacemaker galled
him, and the more he thought of it the angrier he became; hence time did
not heal the sore. It was like certain scalds or burns on the human body:
they will not heal if nature is unaided. Heroic measures were needed to
heal his scald, and it would require something akin to skin-grafting
to do the work. He continued, among his own special friends, to make
Scott the main topic of his conversation, and, because of the powerful
influence he wielded, quite a rough breeze began to blow against Scott;
not enough to hurt him, but just enough to render him uncomfortable often,
without making him aware of the reason for his discomfort.
Because of certain social currents, Wilding found
himself seeking friends more and more in the town. His loafing moments
were often spent in the back office of some young lawyer or doctor.
On one occasion, about this time, he was sitting with other young society
lights in a certain law office, when Judge Sawyer looked in for a moment.
He was in trouble; the court reporter was ill, and the substitute could
not be found. "Do you know any one who can do the work? Pay is big,
you know," was the laconic way he put it. Some one mentioned Scott up at
"I am sure he would not be able to do it," Wilding
hastily replied. "It is said that he is a stenographer, and I can imagine
what kind of a one he is. Why, Judge, I do not believe he has brains
enough to do the work. He is a little, harebrained fellow who would give
you no end of trouble. Candidly, if you desire my opinion, I know that
he is unfitted for the work by his personality, and I doubt whether he
has the requisite knowledge."
"Much obliged, Wilding. I will look further. There
is a man down the valley that sometimes substitutes; but he is not first-class,
and it is always a bother to reach him. I thought there might be some
bright young fellow up at the college who would do the work."
On another occasion Wilding was passing the Zane
mansion, where a party of young town girls held the porch. They were
having an animated discussion on some subject of interest, and all were
endeavoring to express an opinion at once. At length one of them caught
sight of Mr. Wilding, and immediately called out to him: "O, Mr. Wilding,
stop a moment, if you please; we want the benefit of your broad experience.
We have been doing what you may think is a very unladylike thing. We
have been discussing one of your college mates. Some of us have been
told that he is from real good stock, and that there is no better company
to be found anywhere, and you know that most of the men of our set are
a poky old lot. What we need is some real, new, lively blood put into our
veins. But just as we thought we had the necessary remedy, one of the
girls spoiled it all by saying a whole lot of mean things about the man.
Now, Sir Oracle, we want the final word!"
"Certainly, fair priestess; but we crave the name."
"O, I forgot that part of it; but I supposed that
you would divine it. The man's name is Scott, since you must be told."
Wilding's face darkened, but he controlled himself
admirably. "Indeed, Miss Zane, I had already felt sure of the man before
I asked his name. I recognized his effrontery at once. I do not like to
speak against any of the college men, because I must live with them in
a sense. Besides, there is a species of college etiquette that makes us
all loyal to each other, good, bad, and indifferent."
"O, Mr. Wilding," exclaimed Miss Zane, "that is
a shame! You know we are helpless girls, and we need the kind advice
of some one we trust who is at the same time an authority."
"Thank you, Miss Zane; I was just going to add that
this seems to be an exceptional case. I will tell you the facts for
your own protection, and not in any sense because I desire to injure
a fellow-student. Scott has no claim at all on good society on the ground
of family. He has no family. Moreover, he has been one of the wildest
and most reckless men on the campus, until recently. A short time ago
he professed to have changed. He is now playing the saint act, if you
will let me speak that way, and is insinuating himself on those who have
heretofore been ashamed to associate with him. He works on their sympathy
and gains their pity. Why, I even discovered, quite by accident, that
he had been working on my cousin, Miss Holmes, till she had actually
invited him to call. Think of it! I hated to do it, but I felt that I
owed it to her; I hastened around at once and warned her. I do not think
she will be so indiscreet again. He has gone so far that he has constituted
himself a tribunal of arbitration, and only the other day had the audacity
to insist on settling a little dispute between a couple of us where
he was not concerned in the least. I think I understand him. He has
suddenly become ambitious. He has freed himself from the old crowd with
which he went, and he is working his cards to get into our set. Now I have
spoken plainly, simply because I feel that you ladies deserved the truth,
and I have spoken it for your protection."
"Thank you so much! We appreciate your kindness.
Our sympathies had been touched, and we might have gone to extremes."
" 'But he's a man for a' that,' " whispered Miss
Bruce, unconsciously quoting a remark of Jeannie Gould's. Miss Bruce
had been the one who suggested the topic to the girls before Wilding's
THE unfortunate cases of mistaken
or of partial conversion described in a previous chapter were not the
rule. A dozen or more noble fellows were thoroughly regenerated on that
memorable Thursday night. Thereupon a great impetus was given to the work
of redeeming men. The little praying band, augmented by many others, was
alive and active. The work had only been started, and amid praise and
faith it was pushed. Meetings continued every night for three weeks, and
stopped then only because the material seemed to be exhausted. One hundred
and sixteen men boldly professed the religion of Christ, exclusive of
backsliders reclaimed and Christians revived.
Now, it must not be supposed that these young men,
all aflame with holy fire, were satisfied with that which had been accomplished.
It seemed to some of them that they would die if work ceased.
The meetings for fasting and prayer had been continued
every Sunday afternoon, with this change: the noonday meal was the only
one omitted; since there was work on hand for the night, they allowed
themselves nourishment before beginning it.
One Sunday, three weeks later than the first meeting recorded, the
band met in the afternoon, but now in one of the larger lecture rooms.
They followed their usual routine of prayer and song; but this time,
according to their own testimony, they found a barrier to their praying
and singing. They recognized it as a sign that there was need of something
else just then, perhaps action. Hence they turned from prayer to conversation,
which was carried on quietly enough, without any animation and with little
apparent interest. The remarks were drifting from the subject of the recent
revival and the present spiritual condition of the college to that of
their future duty, when suddenly one of' the men, with flashing eye,
cried out, as if there had been a multitude before him: "I'll tell you,
fellows, what we ought to do. Here we are, a body of spiritually-minded
men, with our 'hands in' for evangelistic work and with the blessing of
the Spirit upon us; and there is good old Dr. Slocum, the pastor of the
college Church, yearning for a revival, with little or no response from
his congregation. It is true that there has been a marked improvement since
our meetings began, but that is mainly because the fellows now go to church
and rally round him. What is to hinder us from changing our base of operations
from the college to the church; take our body of trained men as a cohort
of evangelists baptized with power from on high, and help to take this
community for King Jesus? I suggest that Andrews, who has had more experience
than any of the rest of us, be made commander-in-chief, with absolute power;
that he appoint his committees and form his organization to-day; but that,
first of all, he now appoint a committee to go at once and confer with
Dr. Slocum on the subject, and obtain his opinion, and gain his consent,
if possible." After this impulsive speech there was a murmur of approbation,
and, without formal motion, it was immediately accepted, by common consent,
as their modus operandi. The Holy Spirit was undoubtedly
in the suggestion. In a few minutes a committee of three was on its way
to interview Dr. Slocum.
It is certain that that gentleman was surprised
and pleased, and yet he hesitated for awhile, though he finally gave
his unconditional consent. Not one of those impulsive young men appreciated
at the time the amount of consecration it required on the part of the
pastor to yield the helm to a lot of boys, as they seemed to him, to guide
the ship where he felt he had failed to carry it.
The committees were appointed that same afternoon,
and announced in church at night. They were: Finance, Advertising, Music,
Ushers, House-to-house Visitation, Personal Work.
One week was reserved for preparation. The Finance
Committee was to obtain money; for money is needed in revivals in these
days, especially in city work, though in this case not one penny went
to any of the workers from Andrews down. The Committee on Advertising
were, by their skill, to let people know of the meetings, and create in
them a desire to attend. They circulated attractive cards; they placed
bills at the street-corners on little tent-like folding bill-boards of
their own manufacture; they made the best possible use of the daily papers,
and when the meetings began they caused to be announced daily, through
many channels, the character of the meeting to be held at night. The
Music Committee was to have complete charge of all music, organize a chorus,
etc. The Ushers were to be thoroughly organized for their work. The Committee
on Personal Work was to be trained to labor with Bibles in the audience
and the special places of inquiry. The House-to-house Committee districted
the town, and called at every house. They carried with them cards of invitation;
they inquired into Church and Sunday-school relations, and made a valuable
record for the use of the pastors of the city. It was charming labor,
that of this last committee, though often filled with hard things.
Kenneth and Scott were on
the House-to-house Committee. The district assigned to them was a long
street, stretching across the city on the line of its greatest extent.
One end of this street was in the low section, across a limpid creek.
Here were tenements and hovels; here were families suffering for the want
of clothing, fuel, food; here were heathen as surely as in Darkest Africa;
here the name of the Deity was seldom mentioned except in blasphemy.
And yet the young men were received gladly in all these places. When they
asked questions, the responses were often in the form of reminiscences
of better days; of a praying mother; of a Sunday-school teacher. Here
prayer and the reading of Scripture were always welcomed. Ill-fortune and
poverty were usually attributed to drink, and some of these unfortunates
cursed the business that was cursing them and their loved ones. Often appeals
were made for help in material lines, and the attention of the Finance
Committee was called to such cases.
In this section Catholics and Protestants were alike
courteous. The young men were surprised and delighted with their reception,
for they had dreaded this part of the street. The neighborhood was called
"tough," "a man's life was not safe," etc. Later, they discovered the
reason for this reception. They carried a Bible in their hands, and even
these lowly, sinful people recognized it, and knew that he who carried
it must bring a message of peace. It is said that there is no better passport
to the darkest slums of the vilest city than God's Word carried openly
in the hand, and its reflection in the face.
Kenneth was the older Christian, and hence was of
great help to Scott the first afternoon they were out; but he was taken
acutely ill that night, so that Scott was compelled to go alone for
a couple of afternoons. He shrank from it, most naturally, but did not
shirk. He afterwards claimed that the memory of this experience gave
him courage, later in life, when he found the Holy Spirit's call was demanding
a change in his cherished plans. Heretofore he had felt only a repulsion
for this kind of people; now there was born within him a love and a yearning
that made him feel akin to them ever after.
Into saloons he went; into places that were worse
than saloons; among brawling, fighting men and women; but always there
was the same effect,-peace and respect, not to say reverence. Many promised
with tears that they would come to the meetings; some had to be clothed
in order that they might come. Some accepted the help, but never came;
others were true. Whole families in this region were converted and turned
into God-fearing, law-abiding citizens. It will be certainly understood
that many who professed religion went immediately back into the old life;
others were more steadfast, and were helped to a better life by moving
away from this dreadful section soon after their conversion. They could
afford it; henceforth beer-money became rent-money and shoe-money and
meat-money. One saloon in that neighborhood closed, because many of its
customers had moved away or had ceased to patronize it. In fact, the place
was changed, and it will never be what it once was. But all this is ahead
of the story. On the town-side of the creek lived many of the respectable
poor. For the most part, these also received Scott gladly; some, coldly
and with suspicion; some were insulting. In a large store-room were sitting
a father and several grown sons, sewing. They were German tailors. When
the question was asked, "Are you Christians?" the response was an indignant
"What do you take us for- Heathen?"
But as the young volunteer passed on down the street,
he finally came into the fashionable quarter. Many of the wealthiest
people in town lived here. He was now through what he had considered to
be the most difficult end of his work, and with a sigh of relief he entered
the easy portion, as he thought. In reality the true burden of the task
was still before him. Never had he been so insulted, so slighted, so
sneered at anywhere as here. Kenneth was better, and able to join him;
but they did not deem it necessary to go together in this enlightened
district; hence they took opposite sides of the street. Kenneth knew many
of the families here, and was socially connected with some of them. He
was one of the limited number who had broken through the barrier of the
town society, for quite frequently he was counted among the guests in
these homes, while he remained a recognized member of the college set.
He was not a "society man" in the sense that Wilding was, but his social
standing was fully recognized in the town. Nevertheless, in more than
one instance his friends gave him to understand that they had no sympathy
with his work. When he approached the Zane residence, the young people
were out front, the day being mild for the time of year (the early part
of March)-the first suggestion of spring. A half dozen or so of the college
boys, of the society class, were laughing and chatting with the young
ladies. Kenneth was well acquainted with the family, and was reasonably
fond of their society, and the fondness evidently had been reciprocated,
for he owed to them much of his advancement in the town. His heart warmed
up as he approached this mansion, for he felt that he would have here
at least a moment of rest and sympathy. But when the young people saw
him they guessed his errand, and nudged each other meaningly, and whispered
among themselves. Then the men formed themselves in double-column, and
stood with heads bowed and hats in hand, in mock reverence, while sprightly
Miss Zane said: "Well, Mr. Kenneth, are you coming to convert us poor
sinners? I am afraid we are beyond reclaim." She then ushered him into
the presence of her stately and austere mother, who received him stiffly,
and coldly answered his questions, with no show of sympathy nor of kindliness,
but with an iciness sufficient to have turned summer into winter. As
he passed out he was compelled to run the gauntlet again. It is strange
how some good people seem to be able to show sympathy with things that
are doubtful, to say the least, and sometimes apparently with that which
is positively evil, but when an effort is made to do good, they withdraw
their sympathies and banish their helpfulness, and in their place erect
It was a pleasure for these young men to find, now
and then, in this part of the city, exceptions to the rule. There were
those who received them kindly and with sympathy, and several even suggested
that they would be happy to entertain the Finance Committee.
These workers met with some incidents that were
of a lighter vein. Almost the last house that Kenneth visited was that
of a dear old lady of Scotch descent, who lived alone and seemed to be
much neglected by friends and neighbors. She was so delighted to get
hold of some one with whom to talk, that she actually detained him by
moral force a full half hour, and insisted all that time that he should
talk Calvinism with her. She was a firm believer in the old system, and
her last words, as he passed out of hearing, were, "We ought to be very
thankful, Mr. Kenneth, that we are among the elect!"
The meetings in the church
began on Sunday night. The house was crowded. Many came because this
was something of a novelty. They wanted to see what sort of a revival
it would be that a lot of "boys" were going to manage. They knew well
enough that the students could make mischief, if they desired; they were
anxious to see if they could "play" at religion as well. They seemed to
take it as a kind of a joke, and some went so far as to criticise the
pastor for permitting it.
Andrews preached a short sermon, not remarkable
from a literary standpoint, but full of evidences of the Holy Spirit's
power and of personal magnetism that was all his own. Harley then sang
a solo. He was a superior singer, entirely deficient in self-consciousness,
as well as in conceit. His voice was rich, deep, and sweet. "Eternity!"
He sang it so impressively, and seemed to feel it so truly himself, that
a hush fell upon the multitude, a hush like the stillness of death; and
when he ceased, not even the uncertain noise of a large audience were
audible. In a moment suppressed sobs were heard all over the house.
All who desired the prayers of Christian people
were requested to lift the hand. At least twenty did so. These, with
their friends and the workers, were invited down into the lecture-room.
The others were dismissed. Perhaps a hundred and fifty followed Andrews's
lead into the room below, where it would be more convenient to work than
in the larger auditorium. This evangelist was a firm believer in the benefits
to be derived from a change of atmosphere. The workers were kept busy,
and when the meeting at last came to a close it was found that at least
thirteen had professed a change of heart.
The work of this night was a sample of that which
followed. The students were full of power; the Church membership was
aroused and blessed; backsliders were reclaimed, and two hundred in round
numbers gave evidence of genuine regeneration, one hundred and fifty of
whom united with the college Church. Zion was transformed. The old enmity
existing between the college and the town divisions of the Church vanished
into "thin air."
The Glorious Visitor had indeed come to college
and town and with him joy and peace and power.
This work was transacted at an immense cost on the
part of the students. Some of the professors objected to the whole movement,
not that they were not sympathetic with Christian work, but that they
believed these young people were at college for specific purposes, and
that anything foreign to those purposes, no matter how good it might be
in itself, was harmful, and ought to be discouraged. Hence the fellows
made a pledge among themselves that they would never present the special
work as an excuse for imperfect recitations, and, further, that they would
exert themselves to the utmost, and conscientiously, to do full justice
to college work. The effort was noble, and the strain on many was severe.
If college duties did not suffer, many other things did. Letters were
few and far between, and of "the soul of wit." Social duties and pleasures
were almost lost sight of. Athletics were at a discount. Lights were seen
burning late and early. The Faculty agreed that never had better work
been presented to them, nor more steadily for a longer period.
"THE college set," along in
April, decided that they had not had sufficient fresh air, and that they
were in need of a day of it. At the same time there came an invitation
from one of the "Co-eds" who lived about ten miles out in the country,
to come and spend the day with her at her father's home and in the woods
close at hand, in quest of trailing arbutus. The invitation was accepted
with joy; for all understood that Miss Freeland's mother was mistress
of the art of entertaining.
Two omnibuses started out in the morning, containing
a most happy crowd. There were included in the invitation, Mr. Scott,
of the college, and little Miss Woods, of the town. Mr. Moon was surprised
to find what new interest he took in the affair after he discovered that
the little lady whom he had met at Miss Blanchard's was to be one of
Mr. Freeland was a wealthy farmer, a retired merchant.
His was the privilege of playing with the earth to suit his whim, and
not the stern necessity of coaxing from her bosom the wealth that he needed.
His farm was a fancy one, upon which there was much to be seen, especially
among the stock and equipments. Nothing was done by the "crowd" but
roam about the place before the early dinner was served. Then they all
scattered over the mountain-side.
The arbutus grew in a charming spot. The trees were
old and stately, and not too close together. The grass was long and
fine, while here and there were found most exquisite tangles, with winding
paths and cool springs. One or two delightful dells were discovered, named,
and taken possession of in the name of the party. One beautiful grotto
was stumbled upon that reflected the light from its sides as if it were
studded with diamonds. But the main business of the afternoon was arbutus,
which was found in great abundance.
There was no general disposition to break away into
couples. Of course, there were exceptions to the general rule; but usually
they wandered over the slopes in little knots, talking and laughing,
and sometimes screaming in that charming abandon that betokens the entire
absence of self-consciousness and restraining conventionality. They were
little children again, so free were they from artificial restraints.
Among these groups conversation was plenteous and bright, accompanied
with a constant fire of repartee that was frequently brilliant. Characteristic
shouts of laughter were the punctuation-points of the various groups,
effectually disclosing their whereabouts. Mr. Moon and Miss Daisy Woods
did accidentally get astray from their friends, and, though they diligently
searched for them, it was a long, long time before they were successful.
A Mr. Boice, a quiet and refined young junior, had claimed Miss Holmes's
attention for most of the afternoon. This was unusual; for that young
lady was generally the life of a party in her quiet way, the nucleus
around which all gathered, soon or later, consciously or otherwise.
She made several strenuous efforts to get into the crowd, but somehow
it always came out the same way. She seemed chagrined, and lost much
of her vivacity. At last she managed to lose herself from her escort, and
in a secluded little glade sat down alone, endeavoring to fathom the
situation. She had not been enjoying herself, and was anxious to know
the reason why. It was while she was here that she was greatly frightened
by a large blacksnake, and a little shriek escaped her lips-not loud,
but just loud enough for Scott to hear. That poor fellow had been wandering
about aimlessly and alone. He had not seemed like himself. There was no
fun in him at all, and he was so glum that some of the party privately
formed the opinion that his religion had rather spoiled him as a companion.
He himself did not know what was the matter with him. He could not have
analyzed his mind if his life had depended upon it. He only knew that
something was wrong, and that he was not enjoying himself in the least.
Even the charms of nature and the fragrant arbutus did not appeal to him.
Yet he never once hinted to himself by the shadow of a suggestion that
his condition was in any way connected with a young lady in the party, or
out of it. He had absented himself from the others, that he might not
make himself obnoxious to the happy ones.
Hence he happened to be the only one who heard the
little cry of terror, though he had not been conscious of his proximity
to Miss Holmes. He hastened to the place where the lady stood terrified,
and quickly destroyed the snake with the heavy stick that he was carrying.
"O thank you, Mr. Scott!"
"Never mind that, Miss Holmes. I do not need any
thanks. It is the only time I ever enjoyed killing anything, so far as
I can recollect, unless it were a mosquito."
The little affair seemed to render him quite like
himself, and the two wandered off to view the beautiful grotto that
Scott had discovered in his lonely wanderings.
AFTER viewing the grotto and
admiring its many marvels, and after refreshing themselves from the cold
crystal spring within, they seated themselves on convenient rocks in a
little nook near by, and there, as was apparently inevitable, they were
soon engrossed in a conversation. The topic was unusual: "The Great Dead
It was Miss Holmes's suggestions that enabled Scott
to crystallize his own thinking on the subject. It is frequently discussion
that enables us to discover our own mind.
"I think that each one has his own especial burden
to bear, his own difficulty to combat, his own 'thorn in the flesh.'
" continued Miss Holmes.
"I should say 'Yes' and 'No' both to that," was
the reply. "We have undoubtedly our individual burdens and besetments,
but is it not true that under these there is something that produces
the peculiar personal difficulty, according to the temperament or organization
of the individual?"
"I can not say that I understand your meaning. You
seem to suggest that while our individual difficulties may differ, our
'thorns in the flesh,' not being from the same tree nor in the same spot,
yet, after all, there is an underlying reason for having these unpleasant
things that is the same in all. If that is what you mean, then I should
like to know what it is that produces such dissimilar results in us."
"You catch the idea, and have put it much better
than I could have done. I may be mistaken, and I can not say that I ever
thought of it in just this way before; but it seems to me, now, that
it is the same thing St. Paul refers to in the seventh chapter of Romans:
the thing which compels him to do evil when he would do good; the thing
he refers to in the eighth chapter as 'flesh,' and it is what I should
call 'self.' Is it not true that 'self' is the greatest burden we have
to bear? And are these other difficulties not, in a measure, outgrowths
"I believe I would say that you are right, Mr. Scott,
if I had a little more time to think it over."
"I think we ought to call 'self' 'the great dead
weight' of society. I do not mean that there are not rare and beautiful
exceptions. I do mean that most of mankind know something of it. Even
children, who possess the minimum of self-consciousness, early display
signs of this burden. I have a friend who has a tiny sister four years
of age, who has gained remarkable skill in applying to herself any conversation
she may chance to hear. She will say, 'Is it I?' or 'Does that mean me?'
and so on, till 'the little I,' as they sometimes call her, is a constant
source of merriment. The little 'I' often becomes the big 'I' as the
"I see what you mean now, Mr. Scott."
"I believe the world is divided into two great classes
in regard to this matter. Monsieur l'Evêque, in 'Les Miserables,'
is an illustration of a man who has dropped his burden and appears radiant
without the touch of self. No character in literature more perfectly
portrays the class that has ceased to be burdened by 'the great dead weight.'
And I could call up more than one historical character who might readily
be placed in the same category. On the other hand, there is living near
my home a man who dwells in a beautiful mansion and enjoys all the necessities
and most of the desired luxuries of life, who possesses houses and lands
till he is far from want, to put it mildly. He housed and fed, for a
short time a poor old woman, a near relative. The expense to him could
not have been much at the outside, for her requirements were few; but
the burden became too great to this man already overburdened; so one day
he hitched up his horse to an open wagon, and carried the old woman,
in broad daylight, to the county poorhouse, she all the while pleading
with him for mercy, and weeping quietly to herself for shame. She kept
claiming that she could not live long, and that she would be as little
a burden as possible. Poor old soul! She did not last long after she
reached the poorhouse. The pity of it, it seemed to be the cause of her
"How can one analyze one's self so that one can
know in which class one may be?"
"If your question applies to yourself, Miss Holmes,
let me assure you that you have little cause to worry. You must let
your friends help you judge. If you are speaking in general, I would
say that I have not had time to think on the subject. It is new to me.
You are simply drawing me out. I have an idea that the one who wants
to know will be enabled to find out, by the help of God and his friends,
with perhaps a little assistance from his enemies, if he chances to
be fortunate enough to have them. The first book I ever read through as
a child was Bunyan's 'Pilgrim's Progress.' No part of the book was more
thrilling to me, nor made a greater impression, than the vivid portrayal
of the burden of sin worn upon the backs of the pilgrims. Perhaps the
artist made the impression the stronger by causing the men to appear
in the illustrations with great packs upon their backs, which bowed
them to the earth. When I finished the book, I was so fearful and excited
that I could not eat my supper, nor could I sleep much that night. Shortly
after this I was taken by my parents to visit Niagara Falls. While we
were approaching the falls on the train from the city of Buffalo, the
sun was sinking to rest. Over in the east clouds were gathering, most of
them being of the amorphous kind, that give no substance to the imagination.
But as we were looking from the window, suddenly one of these great clouds
passed from its formless state to a perfect picture of two pilgrims,
each with his staff in his hand and his pack upon his back. The slanting
rays of the sun so tinted the cloud picture that little was left to be
added by the imagination. It was to my childish mind a prophecy, a portent
of some kind. I see now that the pictures of the artist and those in
the sky were but allegorical representations of the condition of a large
portion of our race, not burdened with sin simply, but with self. The
packs are invisible to the eye, but often a keener sense can discern.
Polish and etiquette and civilization hide them, but little things will
often discover them."
"Your picture is exceedingly vivid, Mr. Scott. I
can see your cloud group very plainly. 'The great dead weight' is often
very evident. Sudden danger often brings it into sight. I was crossing
the North River once with father from Hoboken to New York, when the river
was full of ice, and the fog was so dense that one could not see farther
than a few feet in front of the boat. The ferry was moving at a snails
pace, while the fog-horns and bells kept one's ears vibrating with their
clamor and clang. No one was thinking of danger, but all were annoyed at
the delay in crossing, when suddenly there loomed up in front of us one of
those immense ferryboats that run uptown from Jersey City. I have never
seen anything that looked so big as that boat did. It was invisible in
the fog till it was too late to do anything. We waited breathlessly for
the crash. It came! Our deck was simply folded back like the page of a
book. Then instantly the quiet crowd turned into a wild mob. Men and women
were in a frenzy of fear. They did not know what they were doing and the
only sentiment that seemed to be actuating most of them was that of self-preservation.
Men snatched life-preservers from weak women. Most of the passengers
on that trip were foreigners, and it was really amusing, in spite of the
terrors of the situation, to note how completely they forgot their English
as they began to swear or pray, as the case might be, in their native
tongue. I never saw such universal selfishness brought so sharply and
suddenly to view as on that day. And, as it came out eventually, there
was no need of it; for after an hour of wandering in our crippled condition
we at last came into our slip wrong end first."
"That is true, Miss Holmes, and your illustration
was perfect; but sudden danger will sometimes just as truly reveal the
absence of the weight, as in the case of the shipwreck of which we read
in the papers recently. There was but a short time, for the boat was
sinking; but not a man would seek the boats till the women had been placed,
and then, when there was not room for all, some of the heroes forced
their reluctant fellows to take the vacant seats, while they remained
to sink with the ship. Among the latter was the captain, a God-fearing
man, who was last seen on the bridge with folded arms, just as the boat
went down. There was no 'weight' there."
"So far as I can see, there is nothing that makes
it more evident than the avaricious pursuit of wealth, or of fame, as
an end in life. I have seen politicians going about with a great pack
on their back. They think more of their own position and its pay than
they do of the people whom they serve," continued Miss Holmes.
"Yes, and even the suggestion of benevolence brings
it out. There was once a minister in our town who had a little boy who
was a faithful attendant upon the church services, and who gave evidence
of being a listener. On one occasion his father was preaching upon the
subject of missions, and drew the picture so vividly that the little
fellow's heart was touched. All his worldly wealth was in his pocket,
contained in a little round pill-box. It consisted of a miniature jointed
doll and a tiny silver three-cent piece. He loved this treasury, and
had carried it for days. When the basket came to him, he placidly dropped
into it the whole thing. When he left the church, his enthusiasm had cooled
a little, and he missed his treasure. Presently, as his loss was more
perfectly realized, he burst into tears, and ran to his father, the custodian
of the funds, and pleaded with him for a return of his wealth. There are
older children who enthusiastically give under the influence of a magnetic
appeal, who would do as the boy did if they possessed the courage. Instead,
they turn sour and make a long face every time the subject of benevolence
is mentioned, and continue to make more visible the pack upon their back."
"I have often noticed it in society, too," remarked
Miss Holmes. "There the little jars and unpleasantnesses make unexpected
revelations. The members of the same set are often so jealous of each
other that a little thing will make evident their burden. What is a person
to do when he gets the revelation in regard to his own condition?"
"I have just been thinking of that, Miss Holmes.
It seems to me that the first duty is to discover the burden, then find
a place to put it, and then to leave it there. The pilgrims in the 'Progress'
carried their packs to the cross, and there left them. We too often carry
them to the cross, and then sadly take them away again. I had seen so
much of that that I was long deterred from making a start in the Christian
life, because I could see very plainly the packs on the backs of the
Christians around me. I do not mean that I then formulated the subject
as we have to-day, simply that I saw their selfishness. I think the
best thing to do is to get out of the seventh chapter of Romans into the
eighth, with St. Paul. He does not seem like the same man; for he immediately
cries out that there is no condemnation to those who are in Christ,
'who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.' You see, he had
left the flesh, 'the self,' behind. He is a different man when he says:
'For I am persuaded that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities,
nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor height, nor
depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the
love of God that is in Christ Jesus, our Lord.' "
Here their attention was arrested by the growing
darkness, and they saw for the first time that a sudden shower was upon
them, and that a great cloud had already covered the sky. They hastened
towards the house, where most of the others had preceded them, but they
did not reach the shelter till they had received a thorough drenching.
When the first drops had begun to fall, they were about to seek shelter
under an old tree in the distance, but a blinding flash and a terrific
crash at the same instant brought them to their senses, and the noble
tree stood blasted before them.
Out of breath and a little dazed, they reached the house, thoroughly
happy that they had escaped so well, though in their hearts they were
not a little chagrined that they could be so deeply engrossed in conversation
that they had not noticed the signs of the approaching storm.
It was necessary for these to masquerade during
the evening in borrowed clothing, which created no end of mirth. The
storm also spoiled their plan for supper on the lawn. The weather had
been so mild that this was to have been one of the features of the day.
The excellence of the meal was not impaired, however, because it was
served under cover.
The rain poured down in torrents for a long time,
and when at last they dared venture on the road towards home, it was
extremely dark, and the roads were so washed that once an accident was
barely averted. The road had been washed away from the approach to a little bridge spanning
a creek with steep banks. The skill and caution of the drivers together
with the assistance rendered by the young men, saved them from a catastrophe
that would have meant the loss of life and limb.
Darnforth was at length reached, where the crowd was deposited,
tired but happy, and laden with great baskets full of trailing arbutus,