Part 2 out of 4
Dorian led his companion to talk about himself.
"Yes," he said in reply to a question, "I was born in England and
brought up in the Wesleyan Methodist church. I was a great reader ever
since I can remember. I read not only history and some fiction, but
even the dry-as-dust sermons were interesting to me. But I never seemed
satisfied. The more I read, the deeper grew the mysteries of life.
Nowhere did I find a clear, comprehendible statement of what I, an
entity with countless other entities, was doing here. Where had I come
from, where was I going? I visited the churches within my reach. I heard
the preachers and read the philosophers to obtain, if possible, a clue
to the mystery of life. I studied, and prayed, and went about seeking,
but never finding."
"But you did find the truth at last?"
"Yes; thank the Lord. I found the opening in the darkness, and it came
through the simple, humble, and not very learned elders of the Church of
Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints."
"What is the principle trouble with all this learning of the world that
it does not lead to the truth?"
"The world's ignorance of God. Eternal life consists in knowing the only
true God, and the world does not know Him; therefore, all their systems
of religion are founded on a false basis. That is the reason there is so
much uncertainty and floundering when philosophers and religionists try
to make a known truth agree with their conceptions of God."
"Explain that a little more to me, Uncle Zed."
"Some claim that Nature is God, others that God only manifests Himself
through nature. I read this latter idea many places. For instance, Pope
"'All are but parts of one stupendous whole
Whose body nature is, and God the soul.'
'The sun, the moon, the stars, the seas, the hills and plains
Are not these, O soul, the vision of Him who reigns?
Speak to Him there, for He hears, and spirit with spirit can meet,
Closer is He than breathing, and nearer than hands and feet.'
"This, no doubt, is beautiful poetry, but it tells only a part of the
truth. God, by His Spirit is, and can be all the poet here describes.
'Whither shall I go from thy spirit? or whither shall I flee from thy
presence?' exclaims the Psalmist. 'In him we live and move and have our
being' declares Paul; but these statements alone are not enough for our
proper understanding of the subject. We try to see God behind the veil
of nature, in sun and wind and flower and fruit; but there is something
lacking. Try now to formulate some distinct idea of what this universal
and almighty force back of nature is. We are told that this force is
God, whom we must love and worship and serve. We want the feeling
of nearness to satisfy the craving for love and protection, but our
intellect and our reason must also be somewhat satisfied. We must
have some object on which to rest--we cannot always be floating about
unsuspended in time and space.
"Then there is some further confusion: Christian philosophers have tried
to personify this 'soul of the universe,' for God, they say, thinks and
feels and knows. They try to get a personality without form or bounds or
dimentions, but it all ends in vagueness and confusion. As for me, and I
think I am not so different from other men,--for me to be able to think
of God, I must have some image of Him. I cannot think of love or good,
or power or glory in the abstract. These must be expressed to me by
symbols at least as eminating from, or inherent in, or exercised by some
person. Love cannot exist alone: there must be one who loves and one
who is being loved. God is love. That means to me that a person, a
beautiful, glorified, allwise, benevolent being exercises that divine
principle which is shed forth on you and me.
"Now, if the world would only leave all this metaphysical meandering and
come back to the simple truth, what a clearing of mists there would
be! All their philosophies would have a solid basis if they would only
accept the truth revealed anew to us through the Prophet Joseph Smith
that God is one of a race, the foremost and first, if you wish it, but
still one of a race of beings who inhabit the universe; that we humans
are His children, begotten of Him in the pre-mortal world in His image;
that we are on the upward path through eternity, following Him who has
gone before and has marked out the way; that if we follow, we shall
eventually arrive at the point where He now is. Ignorance of these
things is what I understand to be ignorance of God."
"In England I lost my wife and two children. The gospel came to me
shortly after, I am sure, to comfort me in the depths of my despair. Not
one church on earth that I knew of, Catholic or Protestant, would hold
out any hope of my ever being reunited with wife and children as such.
There is no family life in heaven, they teach. At that time I went about
listening to the preachers, and I delved into books. I made extensive
copyings in my note books. I have them yet, and some day when you are
interested I will show them to you."
"I am interested now," said Dorian.
"But I'm not going to talk to you longer on this theme, even though it
is Sunday and time for sermonizing. I'm going to meeting, where you also
ought to go. You are not attending as regularly as you should."
"No, but I've been very busy."
"No excuse that. There is danger in remaining away too long from the
established sources of spiritual inspiration and uplift, especially when
one is reading Ingersol and Tom Paine. I have no fault to find with your
ambition to get ahead in the world, but with it 'remember thy creator in
the days of thy youth.' Are you neglecting your mother?"
"No; I think not, Uncle Zed; but what do you mean about mother?"
"You are all she has. Are you making her days happy by your personal
care and presence. Are you giving of yourself to her?"
"Well, perhaps I am not so considerate as I might be; I am away quite a
lot; thank you for calling my attention to it."
"Are you neglecting anybody else?"
"Not that I know."
"Good. Now I must clear away my table and get ready for meeting. You'll
go with me."
"I can't. I haven't my Sunday clothes."
"The Lord will not look at your clothes."
"No; but a lot of people will."
"We go to meeting to worship the Lord, not to be looked at by others. Go
home and put on your Sunday best; there is time." The old man was busy
between table and cupboard as he talked. "Have you seen Carlia lately?"
"No," replied Dorian.
"The last time she was here I thought she was a little peaked in the
face, for you know she has such a rosy, roly-poly one."
"Is that so? She comes to see you, then?"
"Yes; oftener than you do."
"I never meet her here."
"No; she manages that, I surmise."
"What do you mean?"
"I tell you Carlia is a lovely girl," continued Uncle Zed, ignoring his
direct question. "Have you ever eaten butter she has churned?"
"Not that I know."
"She used to bring me a nice pat when my cow was dry; and bread of her
own baking too, about as good as I myself make." He chuckled as he wiped
the last dish and placed it neatly in the rack.
Dorian arose to go. "Remember what I have told you this evening" said
Uncle Zed. The old man from behind his window watched his young friend
walk leisurely along the road until he reached the cross-lots path which
led to the Duke home. Here he saw him pause, go on again, pause once
more, then jump lightly over the fence and strike out across the field.
Uncle Zed then went on finishing his preparations for meeting.
As Dorian walked across the field, he did think of what Uncle Zed had
said to him. Dorian had built his castles, had dreamed his dreams; but
never before had the ideas presented to him by Uncle Zed that afternoon
ever entered in them. The good old man had seemed so eager to pass on
to the young man an unfulfilled work, yes, a high, noble work. Dorian
caught a glimpse of the greatness of it and the glory of it that
afternoon, and his soul was thrilled. Was he equal to such a task?... He
had wanted to become a successful farmer, then his vision had gone on
to the teaching profession; but beyond that he had not ventured. He was
already well on the way to make a success of his farms. He liked the
work. He could with pleasure be a farmer all his life. But should a
man's business be all of life? Dorian realized, not of course in its
fuller meaning, that the accumulating of worldly riches was only a means
to the accomplishing of other and greater ends of life; and here was
before him something worthy of any man's best endeavors. Here was a
life's work which at its close would mean something to him and to the
world. With these thoughts in his mind he stepped up to the rear of the
Duke place where he saw someone in the corral with the cows, busy with
"Hello, Carlia", greeted Dorian as he stopped at the yard and stood
leaning against the fence.
Carlia was just finishing milking a cow. As she straightened, with a
three-legged stool in one hand and a foaming milk pail in the other, she
looked toward Dorian. "O, is that you? You scared me."
"A stranger coming so suddenly."
The young man laughed. "Nearly through?" he asked.
"Just one more--Brindle, the kickey one."
"Aren't you afraid of her?"
Carlia laughed scornfully. The girl had beautiful white teeth. Her red
cheeks were redder than ever. Her dark hair coiled closely about her
shapely head. And she had grown tall, too, the young man noticed, though
she was still plump and round-limbed.
"My buckets are full, and I'll have to take them to the house before I
can finish," she said. "You stay here until I come back--if you want
"I don't want to--here, let me carry them." He took the pails from her
hand, and they went to the house together.
The milk was carried into the kitchen where Mrs. Duke was busy with pots
and pans. Mr. Duke was before the mirror, giving the finishing touches
to his hair. He was dressed for meeting. As he heard rather than saw his
daughter enter, he asked:
"Carlia, have you swilled the pigs?"
"Not yet," she replied.
"Well, don't forget--and say, you'd better give a little new milk to the
calf. It's not getting along as well as it should--and, if you have time
before meetin', throw a little hay to the horses."
"All right, father, I'll see to all of it. As I'm not going to meeting,
I'll have plenty of time."
"Not goin'?" He turned, hair brush in hand, and saw Dorian. "Hello,
Dorian," he greeted, "you're quite a stranger. You'll come along to
meetin' with Carlia, I suppose. We will be late if we don't hurry."
"Father, I told you I'm not going. I--" she hesitated as if not quite
certain of her words--"I had to chase all over the hills for the cows,
and I'm not through milking yet. Then there are the pigs and the calves
and the horses to feed. But I'll not keep Dorian. You had better go with
father"--this to the young man who still stood by the kitchen door.
"Leave the rest of the chores until after meetin'," suggested the
father, somewhat reluctantly, to be sure, but in concession to Dorian's
"I can't go to meeting either," said Dorian. "I'm not dressed for it, so
I'll keep Carlia company, if you or she have no objections."
"Well, I've no objections, but I don't like you to miss your meetin's."
"We'll be good," laughed Dorian.
"Come, father," the mother prompted, "you know I can't walk fast in this
Carlia got another pail, and she and Dorian went back to the corral.
"Let me milk," offered Dorian.
"No; you're strange, and she'd kick you over the fence."
"O, I guess not," he remarked; but he let the girl finish her milking.
He again carried the milk back; he also took the "slop" to the pigs and
threw the hay to the horses, while the girl gave the new milk to the
butting calf; then back to the house where they strained the milk. Then
the young man was sent into the front room while the girl changed from
work to Sunday attire.
The front room was very hot and uncomfortable. The young man looked
about on the familiar scene. There were the same straight-backed chairs,
the same homemade carpet, more faded and threadbare than ever, the
same ugly enlarged photographs within their massive frames which the
enterprising agent had sold to Mrs. Duke. There was the same lack of
books or music or anything pretty or refined; and as Dorian stood and
looked about, there came to him more forcibly than ever the barrenness
of the room and of the house in general. True, his own home was very
humble, and yet there was an air of comfort and refinement about it. The
Duke home had always impressed him as being cold and cheerless and ugly.
There were no protecting porches, no lawn, no flowers, and the barn yard
had crept close up to the house. It was a place to work. The eating and
the sleeping were provided, so that work could be done, farm and kitchen
work with their dirt and litter. The father and the mother and the
daughter were slaves to work. Only in work did the parents companion
with the daughter. The visitors to the house were mostly those who came
to talk about cattle and crops and irrigation.
As a child, Carlia was naturally cheerful and loving; but her sordid
environment seemed to be crushing her. At times she struggled to get out
from under; but there seemed no way, so she gradually gave in to
the inevitable. She became resentful and sarcastic. Her black eyes
frequently flashed in scorn and anger. As she grew in physical
strength and beauty, these unfortunate traits of character became more
pronounced. The budding womanhood which should have been carefully
nurtured by the right kind of home and neighborhood was often left to
develop in wild and undirected ways. Dorian Trent as he stood in that
front room awaiting her had only a dim conception of all this.
Carlia came in while he was yet standing. She had on a white dress and
had placed a red rose in her hair.
"O, say, Carlia!" exclaimed Dorian at sight of her.
"What's the matter?" she asked.
"Here you go dolling up, and look at me."
"You're all right. Open the door, it's terribly stuffy in here."
Dorian opened the tightly stuck door. Then he turned and stood looking
at the girl before him. It seemed to him that he had never seen her so
grown-up and so beautiful.
"Say, Carlia, when did you grow up?" he asked.
"While you have been away growing up too."
"It's the long dress, isn't it?"
"And milking cows and feeding pigs and pitching hay." She gave a toss to
her head and held out her roughened red hands as proof of her assertion.
He stepped closer to her as if to examine them more carefully, but she
swiftly hid them behind her back. The rose, loosened from the tossing
head, fell to the floor, and Dorian picked it up. He sniffed at it then
handed it to her.
"Where did you get it?" he asked.
She reddened. "None of your--Say, sit down, can't you."
Dorian seated himself on the sofa and invited her to sit by him, but she
took a chair by the table.
"You're not very neighborly," he said.
"As neighborly as you are," she retorted.
"What's the matter with you, Carlia?"
"Nothing the matter with me. I'm the same; only I must have grown up, as
A sound as of someone driving up the road came to them through the
open door. Carlia nervously arose and listened. She appeared to be
frightened, as she looked out to the road without wanting to be seen. A
light wagon rattled by, and the girl, somewhat relieved, went back to
"Isn't it warm in here?" she asked.
"It's warm everywhere."
"I can't stay here. Let's go out--for a walk."
"All right--come on."
They closed the door, and went out at the rear. He led the way around to
the front, but Carlia objected.
"Let's go down by the field," she said. "The road is dusty."
The day was closing with a clear sky. A Sunday calm rested over meadow
and field, as the two strolled down by the ripening wheat. The girl
seemed uneasy until the house was well out of sight. Then she seated
herself on a grassy bank by the willows.
"I'm tired," she said with a sigh of relief.
Dorian looked at her with curious eyes. Carlia, grown up, was more of a
puzzle than ever.
"You are working too hard," he ventured.
"Hard work won't kill anybody--but it's the other things."
"What other things?"
"The grind, the eternal grind--the dreary sameness of every day."
"You did not finish the high school. Why did you quit?"
"I had to, to save mother. Mother was not only doing her usual house
work, but nearly all the outside choring besides. Father was away most
of the time on his dry farm too, and he's blind to the work at home. He
seems to think that the only real work is the plowing and the watering
and the harvesting, and he would have let mother go on killing herself.
Gee, these men!" The girl viciously dug the heel of her shoe into the
"I'm sorry you had to quit school, Carlia."
"Sorry? I wanted to keep on more than I ever wanted anything in my life;
"But I admire you for coming to the rescue of your mother. That was fine
"I'm glad I can do some fine thing."
Dorian had been standing. He now seated himself on the bank beside
her. The world about them was very still as they sat for a few moments
"Listen," said he, "I believe Uncle Zed is preaching. The meeting house
windows are wide open, for a wonder.
"He can preach," she remarked.
"He told me you visit him frequently."
"I do. He's the grandest man, and I like to talk to him."
"So do I. I had quite a visit with him this afternoon. I rather fooled
him, I guess."
"He told me to go home and change my clothes, and then go to meeting;
but I came here instead."
"Why did you do that?"
"To see you, of course."
"Pooh, as if I was anything to look at."
"Well, you are, Carlia," and his eyes rested steadily on her to prove
his contention. "Why didn't you want to go to meeting this evening?"
"You heard me tell father."
"That wasn't the whole truth. I was not the reason because you had
decided not to go before I came."
"Well--how do you know that? but, anyway, it's none of your business,
where I go, is it?" She made an effort to stare him out of countenance,
but it ended in lowered head and eyes.
"Carlia! No, of course, it isn't. Excuse me for asking."
There was another period of silence wherein Dorian again wondered at the
girl's strange behavior. Was he annoying her? Perhaps she did not care
to have him paying his crude attentions to her; and yet--
"Tell me about your dry farm," she said.
"I've already plowed eighty acres," he informed her. "The land is rich,
and I expect to raise a big crop next year. I've quite a cosy house, up
there, not far from the creek. The summer evenings are lovely and cool.
I can't get mother to stay over night. I wish you would come and go with
her, and stay a few days."
"How could I stay away from home that long? The heavens would fall."
"Well, that might help some. But, honestly, Carlia, you ought to get
away from this grind a little. It's telling on you. Don't you ever get
into the city?"
"Sometimes Saturday afternoons to deliver butter and eggs."
"Well, some Saturday we'll go to see that moving picture show that's
recently started in town. They say it's wonderful. I've never been.
We'll go together. What do you say?"
"I would like to."
"Let's move on. Meeting is out, and the folks are coming home."
They walked slowly back to the house. Mr. and Mrs. Duke soon arrived and
told of the splendid meeting they had had.
"Uncle Zed spoke," said Mr. Duke, "and he did well, as usual. He's a
regular Orson Pratt."
"The people do not know it," added Dorian; "perhaps their children or
their children's children will."
"Well, what have you two been doing?" enquired the father of Carlia.
"We've just been taking a walk," answered Dorian. "Will it be alright
if Carlia and I go to the new moving picture theatre in town some
Neither parent made any objection. They were, in fact, glad to have this
neighbor boy show some interest in their daughter.
"Your mother was at meeting," said Mrs. Duke; "and she was asking about
"Yes; I've neglected her all afternoon; so I must be off. Good night
Carlia went with him to the gate, slipping her arm into his and
snuggling closely as if to get the protection of good comradship. The
movement was not lost on Dorian, but he lingered only for a moment.
"Goodnight, Carlia; remember, some Saturday."
"I'll not forget. Goodnight" she looked furtively up and down the road,
then sped back into the house.
Dorian walked on in the darkening evening. A block or so down the road
he came on to an automobile. No one in Greenstreet owned one of
these machines as yet, and there were but few in the city. As Dorian
approached, he saw a young man working with the machinery under the
"Hello," greeted Dorian, "what's the trouble?"
"Damned if I know. Been stalled here for an hour." The speaker
straightened from his work. His hands were grimy, and the sweat was
running down his red and angry face. He held tightly the stump of a
cigarette between his lips.
"I'm sorry I can't help you," said Dorian, "but I don't know the first
thing about an automobile."
"Well, I thought I knew a lot, but this gets me." He swore again, as if
to impress Dorian with the true condition of his feelings. Then he
went at the machinery again with pliers and wrenches, after which he
vigorously turned the crank. The engine started with a wheeze and then a
roar. The driver leaped into the car and brought the racing engine to a
smoother running. "The cursed thing" he remarked, "why couldn't it have
done that an hour ago. O, say, excuse me, have you just been at the
house up the road?"
"The Duke house? yes."
"Is the old man--is Mr. Duke at home?"
"Yes; he's at home."
"Thank you." The car moved slowly up the road until it reached the Duke
gate where it stopped; but only for a moment, for it turned and sped
with increasing hurry along the road leading to the city.
Dorian stood and watched it until its red light disappeared. He wondered
why the stranger wanted to know why Mr. Duke was at home, then on
learning that he was, why he turned about as if he had no business with
Later, Dorian learned the reason.
Dorian was twenty-one years old, and his mother had planned a little
party in honor of the event. The invited guests were Uncle Zed, Bishop
Johnson and wife, the teacher of the district school, and Carlia Duke.
These arrived during the dusk of the evening, all but Carlia. They
lingered on the cool lawn under the colored glow of the Chinese
Mrs. Trent realized that it would be useless to make the party a
surprise, for she had to have Dorian's help in hanging out the lanterns,
and he would necessarily see the unusual activity in front room and
kitchen. Moreover, Dorian, unlike Uncle Zed, had not lost track of his
birthdays, and especially this one which would make him a full-fledged
citizen of these United States.
The little party chatted on general topics for some time until Mrs.
Trent, in big white apron, announced that supper was ready, and would
they all come right in. Mrs. Trent always served her refreshments at the
regular supper time and not near midnight, for she claimed that people
of regular habits, which her guests were, are much better off by not
having those habits broken into.
"Are we all here?" she asked, scanning them as they passed in. "All but
Carlia," she announced. "Where's Carlia?"
No one knew. Someone proffered the explanation that she was usually late
as she had so many chores to do, at which the Bishop's wife shook her
head knowingly, but said nothing.
"Well, she'll be along presently," said Mrs. Trent. "Sit down all of
you. Bishop, will you ask the blessing?"
The hostess, waitress, and cook all combined in the capable person of
Mrs. Trent, sat at the table with her party. Everything which was to be
served was on the table in plain sight, so that all could nicely guage
their eating to various dishes. When all were well served and the eating
was well under way, Mrs. Trent said:
"Brothers and sisters, this is Dorian's birthday party. He has been a
mighty good boy, and so--"
"Mother," interrupted the young man.
"Now, you never mind--you be still. Dorian is a good boy, and I want all
of you to know it."
"We all do, Sister Trent," said the Bishop; "and it is a good thing to
sometimes tell a person of his worthiness to his face."
"But if we say more, he'll be uncomfortable," remarked the mother, "so
we had better change the subject. The crops are growing, the weather is
fine, and the neighbors are all right. That disposes of the chief
topics of conversation, and will give Uncle Zed a chance. He always has
something worth listening to, if not up his sleeve, then in his white
old head. But do not hurry, Uncle Zed; get through with your supper."
The old man was a light eater, so he finished before the others. He
looked smilingly about him, noting that those present were eager to
listen. He took from his pocket a number of slips of paper and placed
them on the table beside his plate. Then he began to talk, the others
leisurely finishing their dessert.
"The other evening," he said, "Dorian and I had a conversation which
interested us very much, and I think it would interest all of us here.
I was telling him my experience in my search for God and the plan of
salvation, and I promised him I would read to him some of the things I
found. Here is a definition of God which did not help me very much." He
picked up one of the slips of paper and read: "'God is the integrated
harmony of all potentialities of good in every actual and possible
rational agent.' What do you think of that?"
The listeners knitted their brows, but no one spoke. Uncle Zed
continued: "Well, here is a little more. Perhaps this will clear it up:
'The greatest of selves, the ultimate Self of the universe, is God....
My God is my deeper self and yours too. He is the self of the universe,
and knows all about it.... By Deity we mean the all-controling
consciousness of the universe, as well as the unfathomable, all
unknowable, and unknowable abyss of being beyond'."
Uncle Zed carefully folded his papers and placed them back in his
pocket. He looked about him, but his friends appeared as if they had had
a volley of Greek fired at them. "Well" he said, "why don't some of you
"Please pass the pickles," responded Mrs. Trent.
When the merriment had ceased, uncle Zed continued: "There is some truth
in these definitions. God is all that which they try to express, and
vastly more. The trouble is these men talk about the attributes of God,
and confound these with the being and personality of the Great Parent.
I may describe the scent of the rose, but that does not define the rose
itself. I cannot separate the rose from its color or form or odor, any
more than I can divorce music from the instrument. These vague and
incomplete definitions have had much to do with the unbelief in the
world. Tom Paine wrote a book which he called the 'Age of Reason' on the
premise that reason does away with God. Isn't that it, Dorian?"
"All agnostic writers seem to think that there is no reason in religion,
and at times they come pretty near proving it too," replied Dorian.
"That is because they base their arguments on the religions of the
world; but the restored gospel of Jesus Christ rests largely on reason.
Why, I can prove, contrary to the generally accepted opinion, by reason
alone that there must be a God."
"We shall be glad to hear it," said the school teacher. The eating was
about over, and so they all sat and listened attentively.
"We do not need to quote a word of scripture," continued Uncle Zed. "All
we need to know is a little of the world about us, a little of the race
and its history, and a little of the other worlds out in space, all of
which is open to anybody who will seek it. The rest is simply a little
connected thought. Reason tells me that there can be no limits to time
or space or intelligence. Time always has been, there can be no end to
space, and intelligence cannot create itself. Now, with limitless time
and space and intelligence to work with, what have we? The human mind,
being limited, cannot grasp the limitless; therefore, we must make
arbitrary points of beginning and ending. Now, let us project our
thought as far back into duration as we can--count the periods by any
thinkable measurements, years, centuries, ages, aeons, anything you
please that will help. Have we arrived at a point when there is no
world, no life, no intelligence? Certainly not. Somewhere in space, all
that we see here and now will be seen to exist. Go back from this point
to a previous period, and then count back as far as you wish; there is
yet time and space and intelligence.
"There is an eternal law of progress which holds good always and
everywhere. It has been operating all through the ages of the past. Now,
let us take one of these Intelligences away back in the far distance
past and place him in the path of progress so that the eternal law of
growth and advancement will operate on him. I care not whether you apply
the result to Intelligences as individuals or as the race. Given time
enough, this endless and eternal advancement must result in a state of
perfection that those who attain to it may with truth and propriety be
called Gods. Therefore, there must be a God, yes, many Gods living and
reigning throughout the limitless regions of glorified space.
"Here is corroborative evidence: I read in the Doctrine and Covenants,
Section 88: 'All kingdoms have a law given; and there are many kingdoms;
for there is no space in the which there is no kingdom; and there is
no kingdom in which there is no space, either a greater or a lesser
kingdom. And unto every kingdom is given a law; and unto every law there
are certain bounds also and conditions.'
"There is a hymn in our hymn book in which W.W. Phelps expresses this
idea beautifully. Let me read it:
'If you could hie to Kolob,
In the twinkling of an eye,
And then continue onward,
With that same speed to fly.
'Do you think that you could ever,
Through all eternity,
Find out the generation
Where Gods began to be?
'Or see the grand beginning
Where space did not extend?
Or view the last creation,
Where Gods and matter end?
'Methinks the Spirit whispers:
No man has found "pure space,"
Nor seen the outside curtains,
Where nothing has a place.
'The works of God continue,
And worlds and lives abound;
Improvement and progression
Have one eternal round.
'There is no end to matter,
There is no end to space,
There is no end to spirit,
There is no end to race.
'There is no end to virtue,
There is no end to might,
There is no end to wisdom,
There is no end to light.
'There is no end to union,
There is no end to youth,
There is no end to priesthood,
There is no end to truth.
'There is no end to glory,
There is no end to love,
There is no end to being,
Grim death reigns not above.'
"The Latter-day Saints have been adversely criticized for holding out
such astounding hopes for the future of the human race; but let
us reason a little more, beginning nearer home. What has the race
accomplished, even within the short span of our own recollection? Man is
fast conquering the forces of nature about him, and making these forces
to serve him. Now, we must remember that duration extends ahead of us in
the same limitless way in which it reaches back. Give, then, the race
today all the time necessary, what cannot it accomplish? Apply it again
either to an individual or to the race, in time, some would attain to
what we conceive of as perfection, and the term by which such beings are
known to us is God. I can see no other logical conclusion."
The chairs were now pushed back, and Mrs. Trent threw a cloth over the
table just as it stood, explaining that she would not take the time from
her company to devote to the dishes. She invited them into Dorian's
little room, much to that young man's uneasiness.
His mother had tidied the room, so it was presentable. His picture,
"Sunset in Marshland" had been lowered a little on the wall, and
directly over it hung a photograph of Mildred Brown. To Dorian's
questioning look, Mrs. Trent explained, that Mrs. Brown had sent it just
the other day. Dorian looked closely at the beautiful picture, and a
strange feeling came over him. Had Mildred gone on in this eternal
course of progress of which Uncle Zed had been speaking? Was she still
away ahead of him? Would he ever reach her?
On his study table were a number of books, birthday presents. One was
from Uncle Zed's precious store, and one--What? He picked it up--"David
Copperfield." He opened the beautiful volume and read on the fly leaf:
"From Carlia, to make up a little for your loss." He remembered now that
Carlia, some time before, had asked him what books were in the package
which had gone down the canal at the time when he had pulled her out of
the water. Carlia had not forgotten; and she was not here; the supper
was over, and it was getting late. Why had she not come?
The party broke up early, as it was a busy season with them all. Dorian
walked home with Uncle Zed, then he had a mind to run over to Carlia's.
He could not forget about her absence nor about the present she had
sent. He had never read the story, and he would like to read it to
Carlia. She had very little time, he realized, which was all the more
reason for his making time to read it to her.
As every country boy will, at every opportunity, so Dorian cut crosslots
to his objective. He now leaped the fence, and struck off through the
meadow up into the corn field. Mr. Duke had a big, fine field that
season, the growing corn already reaching to his shoulder. The night was
dark, save for the twinkling stars in the clear sky; it was still, save
for the soft rustling of the corn in the breeze.
Dorian caught sight of a light as of a lantern up by the ditch from
which the water for irrigating was turned into the rows of corn and
potatoes. He stopped and listened. A tool grated in the gravelly soil.
Mr. Duke was no doubt using his night turn at the water on his corn
instead of turning it on the hay-land as was the custom. He would
inquire of him about Carlia.
As he approached the light, the scraping ceased, and he saw a dark
figure dart into the shelter of the tall corn. When he reached the
lantern, he found a hoe lying in the furrow where the water should have
been running. No man irrigates with a hoe; that's a woman's tool. Ah,
the secret was out! Carlia was 'tending' the water. That's why she was
not at the party.
He stood looking down into the shadows of the corn rows, but for the
moment he could see or hear nothing. He had frightened her, and yet
Carlia was not usually afraid. He began to whistle softly and to walk
down into the corn. Then he called, not loudly, "Carlia".
There was no response. He quickened his steps. The figure ran to another
shelter. He could see her now, and he called again, louder than before.
She stopped, and then darted through the corn into the more open potatoe
patch. Dorian followed.
"Hello, Carlia," he said, "what are you doing?"
The girl stood before him, bareheaded, with rough dress and heavy boots.
She was panting as if with fright. When she caught a full sight of
Dorian she gave a little cry, and when he came within reach, she grasped
him by the arm.
"Oh, is it you, Dorian?"
"Sure. Who else did you think it was? Why, you're all of a tremble. What
are you afraid of?"
"I--I thought it was--was someone else. Oh, Dorian, I'm so glad it is
She stood close to him as if wishing to claim his protection. He
instinctively placed his arm about her shoulders. "Why, you silly girl,
the dark won't hurt you."
"I'm not afraid of the dark. I'm afraid of--Oh, Dorian, don't let him
hurt me!" There was a sob in her voice.
"What are you talking about? I believe you're not well. Are your feet
wet? Have you a fever?" He put his hand on her forehead, brushing back
the dark, towsled hair. He took her plump, work-roughened hand in his
bigger and equally rough one. "And this is why you were not to my
party," he said.
"Yes; I hated to miss it, but father's rheumatism was so bad that he
could not come out. So it was up to me. We haven't any too much water
this summer. I'd better turn the water down another row; it's flooding
They went to the lantern on the ditch bank. Dorian picked up the hoe and
made the proper adjustment of the water flow. "How long will it take for
the water to reach the bottom of the row?" he asked.
"About fifteen minutes."
"And how many rows remain?"
Carlia counted. "Twelve," she said.
"All right. This is a small stream and will only allow for three rows at
a time. Three into twelve is four, and four times fifteen is sixty. It
is now half past ten. We'll get through by twelve o'clock easy."
"You'd better go home. I'm all right now. I'm not afraid."
"I said we will get home. Sit down here on the bank. Are you cold?"
He took off his coat and placed it about her shoulders. She made no
objections, though in truth she was not cold.
"Tell me about the party," she said.
He told her who were there, and how they had missed her.
"And did Uncle Zed preach?"
"Preach? O, yes, he talked mighty fine. I wish I could tell you what he
"What was it about?"
"About God," he answered reverently.
"Try to tell me, Dorian. I need to know. I'm such a dunce."
Dorian repeated in his way Uncle Zed's argument, and he succeeded fairly
well in his presentation of the subject. The still night under the
shining stars added an impressive setting to the telling, and the girl
close by his side drank in hungrily every word. When the water reached
the end of the rows, it was turned into others, until all were
irrigated. When that was accomplished, Dorian's watch showed half past
eleven. He picked up the lantern and the hoe, and they walked back to
"The party was quite complete, after all," he said at the door. "I've
enjoyed this little after-affair as much as I did the party."
"I'm glad," she whispered.
"And it was wonderfully good of you to give me that present."
"I'm glad," she repeated.
"Do you know what I was thinking about when I opened the book and saw it
was from you?"
"Why, I thought, we'll read this book together, you and I."
"Wouldn't that be fine!"
"We can't do that now, of course; but after a while when we get more
time. I'll not read it until then.... Well, you're tired. Go to bed.
Good night, Carlia."
"Goodnight, Dorian, and thank you for helping me."
They stood close together, she on the step above him. The lamp, placed
on the kitchen table for her use, threw its light against the glass door
which formed a background for the girl's roughened hair, soiled and
sweat-stained face, and red, smiling lips.
"Goodnight," he said again; and then he leaned forward and kissed her.
That goodnight's kiss should have brought Dorian back to Carlia sooner
than it did; but it was nearly a month before he saw her again. The fact
that it was the busiest time of the year was surely no adequate excuse
for this neglect. Harvest was on again, and the dry-farm called for much
of his attention. Dorian prospered, and he had no time to devote to the
girls, so he thought, and so he said, when occasion demanded expression.
One evening while driving through the city and seeing the lights of the
moving picture theatre, he was reminded of his promise to Carlia. His
conscience pricked him just a little, so the very next evening he drove
up to Farmer Duke's. Seeing no one choring about, he went into the house
and inquired after Carlia. Mrs. Duke told him that Carlia had gone to
the city that afternoon. She was expected back any minute, but one could
never tell, lately, when she would get home. Since this Mr. Lamont had
taken her to the city a number of times, she had been late in getting
"Mr. Lamont?" he inquired.
"Yes; haven't you met him? Don't you know him?"
"No; who is he?"
"Dorian, I don't know. Father seems to think he's all right, but I don't
like him. Oh, Dorian, why don't you come around oftener?"
Mrs. Duke sank into a chair and wiped away the tears from her eyes with
the corner of her apron. Dorian experienced a strange sinking of the
heart. Again he asked who this Mr. Lamont was.
"He's a salesman of some kind, so he says. He drives about in one of
those automobiles. Surely, you have seen him--a fine-looking fellow with
nice manners and all that, but--"
"And does Carlia go out with him?"
"He has taken her out riding a number of times. He meets her in the city
sometimes. I don't know what to make of it, Dorian. I'm afraid."
Dorian seemed unable to say anything which would calm the mother's
fears. That Carlia should be keeping company with someone other than
himself, had never occurred to him. And yet, why not? she was aid enough
to accept attention from young men. He had certainly neglected her, as
the mother had implied. The girl had such few opportunities for going
out, why should she not accept such as came to her. But this stranger,
this outsider! Dorian soon took his departure.
He went home, unhitched, and put up his horse; but instead of going into
the house, he walked down to the post office. He found nothing in his
box. He felt better in the open, so he continued to walk. He had told
his mother he was going to the city, so he might as well walk that way.
Soon the lights gleamed through the coming darkness. He went on with his
confused thoughts, on into the city and to the moving picture show. He
bought a ticket and an attendant led him stumbling in the dark room to a
It was the first time he had been there. He and Carlia were going
together. It was quite wonderful to the young man to see the actors
moving about lifelike on the white screen. The story contained a number
of love-making scenes, which, had they been enacted in real life, in
public as this was, they would certainly have been stopped by the
police. Then there was a comic picture wherein a young fellow was
playing pranks on an old man. The presentation could hardly be said to
teach respect for old age, but the audience laughed uproariously at it.
When the picture closed and the lights went on, Dorian turned about to
leave, and there stood Carlia. A young man was assisting her into her
light wraps. She saw him, so there was no escape, and they spoke to each
other. Carlia introduced her escort, Mr. Lamont.
"Glad to know you," said Mr. Lamont, in a hearty way. "I've known of you
through Miss Duke. Going home now?"
"Yes," said Dorian.
"No; I'm walking."
"Then you'll ride with us. Plenty of room. Glad to have you."
"Thank you, I--"
"Yes, come," urged Carlia.
Dorian hesitated. He tried to carry an independent manner, but Mr.
Lamont linked his arm sociably with Dorian's as he said:
"Of course you'll ride home with us; but first we'll have a little ice
"No thanks," Dorian managed to say. What more did this fellow want of
However, as Dorian could give no good reason why he should not ride home
with them, he found no way of refusing to accompany them to a nearby
ice-cream parlor. Mr. Lamont gave the order, and was very attentive to
Carlia and Dorian. It was he who kept the flow of conversation going.
The other two, plainly, were not adept at this.
"What did you think of the show, Mr. Trent?"
"The moving pictures are wonderful, but I did not like the story very
"It was rotten," exclaimed the other in seeming disgust. I did not
know what was on, or I should not have gone. Last week they had a fine
picture, a regular classic. Did you see it?
"No; in fact, this is my first visit."
"Oh, indeed. This is Miss Duke's second visit only."
Under the bright lights Carlia showed rouge on her cheeks, something
Dorian had never seen on her before. Her lips seemed redder than ever,
and he eyes shone with a bright luster. Mr. Lamont led them to his
automobile, and then Dorian remembered the night when this same young
man with the same automobile had stopped near Carlia's home. Carlia
seated herself with the driver, while Dorian took the back seat. They
were soon speeding along the road which led to Greenstreet. The cool
night air fanned Dorian's hot face. Conversation ceased. Even Carlia
and the driver were silent. The moon peeped over the eastern hills. The
country-side was silent. Dorian thought of the strange events of the
evening. This Mr. Lamont had not only captured Carlia but Dorian also.
"If I were out with a girl," reasoned Dorian, "I certainly wouldn't want
a third person along if I could help it." Why should this man be so
eager to have his company? Dorian did not understand, not then.
In a short time they drove up to Carlia's gate, and she and Dorian
alighted. The driver did not get out. The machine purred as if impatient
to be off again and the lamps threw their streams of light along the
"Well, I shall have to be getting back," said Mr. Lamont. "Goodnight,
Miss Duke. Thanks for your company. Goodnight, Mr. Trent; sure glad to
have met you."
The machine glided into the well-worn road and was off. The two stood
looking at it for a moment. Then Carlia moved toward the house.
"Come in" she said.
He mechanically followed. He might as well act the fool to the end of
the chapter, he thought. It was eleven by the parlor clock, but the
mother seemed greatly relieved when she saw Dorian with her daughter.
Carlia threw off her wraps. She appeared ill at ease. Her gaiety was
forced. She seemed to be acting a part, but she was doing it poorly.
Dorian was not only ill at ease himself, but he was bewildered. He
seated himself on the sofa. Carlia took a chair on the other side of the
room and gazed out of the window into the night.
"Carlia, why did you--why do you," he stammered.
"Why shouldn't I?" she replied, somewhat defiantly as if she understood
his unfinished question.
"You know you should not. It's wrong. Who is he anyway?"
"He at least thinks of me and wants to show me a good time, and that's
more than anybody else does."
"Well, that's the truth." She arose, walked to the table in the middle
of the room and stood challengingly before him. "Who are you to find
fault? What have you done to--"
"I'll admit I've done very little; but you, yourself."
"Never mind me. What do you care for me? What does anybody care?"
"Your mother, at least."
"Yes, mother; poor, dear mother.... Oh, my God, I can't stand it, I
can't stand it!" With a sob she broke and sank down by the table, hiding
her face in her arms. Dorian arose to go to her. The door opened, and
the mother appeared.
"What is it, Carlia," she asked in alarm.
The girl raised her head, swiftly dashed the tears from her eyes, then
with a sad effort to smile, said:
"Nothing, mother, nothing at all. I'm going to bed. Where's father?"
"He was called out to Uncle Zed's who is sick. Dorian's mother is there
with him too, I understand."
"Then I'd better go for her," said the young man. "I'll say goodnight.
Poor Uncle Zed; he hasn't been well lately. Goodnight Sister Duke,
Carlia stood in the doorway leading to the stairs. "Goodnight, Dorian,"
she said. "Forgive me for being so rude."
He stepped toward her, but she motioned him back, and than ran up the
carpetless stairs to her room. Dorian went out in the night. With a
heavy heart he hurried down the road in the direction of Uncle Zed's
Uncle Zed's illness did not prove fatal, though it was serious enough.
In a few days he was up and about again, slowly, quietly providing for
his simple needs. However, it was plainly evident that he had nearly
come to the end of his earthly pilgrimage.
After the most pressing fall work had been disposed of, Dorian spent as
much of his spare time as possible with the old man, who seemed to like
the company of the younger man better than anyone else in the village;
and Dorian, for his part, took delight in visiting with him, in helping
him with the heaviest of his not heavy chores. Especially, was it
pleasant during the lengthening evening with a small fire and the lamp
newly trimmed. Uncle Zed reclined in his easy chair, while Dorian sat by
the table with books and papers. Their conversations ranged from flower
gardens to dry-farms, and from agnosticism to the highest degrees of the
celestial glory. And how they both reveled in books and their
contents on the occasions when they were alone and unhampered by the
unsympathetic minds of others.
"As you see, Dorian," said Uncle Zed on one such Sunday evening, "my
collection of books is not large, but they are such that I can read and
"Where is your 'Drummond's Natural Law'?" asked Dorian.
Uncle Zed looked about. "I was reading it this morning. There it is on
the window." Dorian fetched him the volume.
"When I read Drummond's work," continued the old man, "I feel keener
than ever my lack of scientific knowledge. I have always had a desire
to delve into nature's laws through the doors of botany, zoology,
mineralogy, chemistry, and all the other sciences. I have obtained a
smattering only through my reading. I realize that the great ocean of
truth is yet before me who am now an old man and can never hope in this
life to explore much further."
"But how is it, Uncle Zed," enquired Dorian, "that so many scientists
have such little faith?"
"'The letter killeth, but the Spirit giveth life,' The Spirit has taught
us Dorian, that this world is God's world, and that the laws which
govern here and now are the same eternal laws which have always been in
operation; that we have come to this world of element to get in touch
with earthly forms of matter, and become acquainted with the laws which
govern them. Drummond has attempted to prove that the laws which prevail
in the temporal world about us also hold good in the spiritual world,
and he has made out a very good case, I think; but neither Drummond nor
anybody else not endowed by the gift of the Holy Ghost, can reach the
simple ultimate truth. That's why I have been looking for some young man
in the Church who could and would make it his life's mission and work to
learn the truths of science and harmonize them where necessary with the
revealed truth--in fact, to complete what Henry Drummond has so well
begun." The old man paused, then looking steadily at Dorian, said:
"That's what I expect you to do."
"I? Oh, do you think I could?"
"Yes; it would not be easy, but with your aptness and your trend of
mind, and your ability to study long and hard, you could, with the
assistance of the Spirit of God, accomplish wonders by the time you are
as old as I."
The young man mildly protested, although the vision of what might be
thrilled his being.
"Don't forget what I am telling you, Dorian. Think and pray and dream
about it for a time, and the Lord will open the way. Now then, we are to
discuss some of Drummond's problems, were we not?"
"Yes; I shall be glad to. Are you comfortable? Shall I move your
"I'm resting very easily, thank you. Just hand me the book. Drummond's
chapter on Biogenesis interests me very much. I cannot talk very
scientifically, Dorian, on these things, but I hope to talk
intelligently and from the large viewpoint of the gospel. Here is
a paragraph from my book which I have marked and called 'The Wall
Between.' I'm sure you will remember it. Let us read it again:
"'Let us first place," he read from the book, 'vividly in our
imagination the picture of the two great Kingdoms of Nature, the
inorganic and the organic, as these now stand in the light of the Law
of Biogenesis. What essentially is involved in saying that there is no
Spontaneous Generation of Life? It is meant that the passage from the
mineral world is hermetically sealed on the mineral side. This inorganic
world is staked off from the living world by barriers which have never
yet been crossed from within. No change of substance, no modification of
environment, no chemistry, no electricity, nor any form of energy, nor
any evolution can endow any single atom of the mineral world with the
attribute of life. Only by bending down into this dead world of some
living form can these dead atoms be gifted with the properties of
vitality, without this preliminary contact with life they remain fixed
in the inorganic sphere forever. It is a very mysterious Law which
guards in this way the portals of the living world. And if there is
one thing in Nature more worth pondering for its strangeness it is the
spectacle of this vast helpless world of the dead cut off from the
living by the law of Biogenesis and denied forever the possibility of
resurrection within itself. So very strange a thing, indeed, is this
broad line in Nature, that Science has long sought to obliterate it.
Biogenesis stands in the way of some forms of Evolution with such stern
persistency that the assaults upon this law for number and thoroughness
have been unparalleled. But, as we have seen, it has stood the test.
Nature, to the modern eye, stands broken in two. The physical laws
may explain the inorganic world; the biological laws may account for
inorganic. But of the point where they meet, of that living borderland
between the dead and the living, Science is silent. It is as if God had
placed everything in earth and in heaven in the hands of Nature, but
reserved a point at the genesis of Life for His direct appearing.'
"Drummond goes on to prove by analogy that the same law which makes such
a separation between the higher and the lower in the natural world holds
good in the spiritual realm, and he quotes such passages as this to
substantiate his argument: 'Except a man is born again, he cannot enter
the kingdom of God'. Man must be born from above. 'The passage from
the natural world to the spiritual world is hermetically sealed on the
natural side.' that is, man cannot by any means make his own unaided way
from the lower world to the higher. 'No mental energy, no evolution, no
moral effort, no evolution of character, no progress of civilization'
can alone lift life from the lower to the higher. Further, the lower can
know very little about the higher, for 'the natural man receiveth not
the things of the Spirit of God; for they are foolishness to him;
neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned'. All
of which means, I take it, that the higher must reach down to the lower
and lift it up. Advancement in any line of progress is made possible by
some directing power either seen or unseen. A man cannot simply grow
better and better until in his own right he enters the kingdom of God'."
"But, Uncle Zed, are we not taught that we must work out our own
salvation?" asked Dorian. "That is also scriptural."
"Yes; but wait; I shall come to that later. Let us go on with our
reasoning and see how this law which Drummond points out--how it fits
into the larger scheme of things as revealed to us Latter-day Saints.
You remember some time ago in our talk on the law of eternal progress we
established the truth that there always have been intelligences evolving
from lower to higher life, which in the eternity of the past would
inevitably lead to the perfection of Gods. This is plainly taught in
Joseph Smith's statement that God was once a man like us, perhaps on an
earth like this, working out His glorious destiny. He, then, has gone on
before into higher worlds, gaining wisdom, power, and glory. Now, there
is another law of the universe that no advancing man can live to himself
alone. No man can grow by taking selfish thought to the process. He
grows by the exercise of his faculties and powers for the benefit of
others. Dorian, hand me the 'Pearl of Great price'."
Dorian found the book and handed it to the old man, who, finding the
passage he wanted, continued: "Listen to this remarkable statement by
the Lord: 'For behold, this is my work and my glory--to bring to pass
the immortality and eternal life of man.' Just think what that means."
"What does it mean?"
"It means, my boy, that the way of progress is the way of unselfish
labor. 'This is my work,' says the Lord, to labor for those who are yet
on the lower rungs of the ladder, to institute laws whereby those below
may climb up higher; (note I used the word climb, not float); to use His
greater experience, knowledge, and power for others; to pass down
to those in lower or primary stages that which they cannot get by
self-effort alone. Let me say this in all reverence, they who attain to
All Things do not greedily and selfishly cling to it, but pass it on
to others. 'As one lamp lights another nor grows less, So kindliness
enkindleth kindliness.' Yes; through great stress and sacrifice, they
may do this, as witnessed in what our Father has done by endowing His
Beloved Son with eternal life, and then giving Him to us. That Son was
the 'Prince of Life.' He was the Resurrection and the Life.' He brought
Life from the higher kingdom to a lower, its natural course through the
ages. That is the only way through which it can come. And herein, to
my humble way of thinking is the great error into which the modern
evolutionist has fallen. He reasons that higher forms evolve from the
initial and unaided movements of the lower. That is as impossible as
that a man can lift himself to the skies by his boot-straps."
Dorian smiled at the illustration.
"Now, my boy, I want to make an application of these divine truths to us
here and now. I'm not going to live here much longer."
"Now, wait; it's a good thing that you nor anybody else can prevent me
from passing on. I've wanted to live long enough to get rid of the fear
of death. I have reached that point now, and so I am ready at any time,
thank the Lord."
Uncle Zed was beautiful to look upon in the clear whiteness of his
person and the peaceful condition of his spirit. The young listener
was deeply impressed by what he was hearing. (He never forgot that
particular Sunday afternoon).
"You asked me about working out our own salvation," continued Uncle Zed.
"Let me answer you on that. There are three principles in the law of
progress, all of them important: First, there must be an exercise of the
will by the candidate for progression. He must be willing to advance and
have a desire to act for himself. That is the principle of free agency.
Second, he must be willing to receive help from a higher source; that
is, he must place himself in a condition to receive life and light from
the source of life and light. Third, he must be unselfish, willing,
eager to share all good with others. The lack of any of these will prove
a serious hindrance. We see this everywhere in the world.
"Coming back now to the application I mentioned. If it is God's work
and glory to labor for those below Him, why should not we, His sons
and daughters, follow His example as far as possible in our sphere of
action? If we are ever to become like Him we must follow in His steps
and do the things which He has done. Our work, also must be to help
along the road to salvation those who are lower down, those who are more
ignorant and are weaker than we."
"Which, Uncle Zed, you have been doing all your life."
"Just trying a little, just a little."
"And this will be as it already has been, your glory. I see that
"Why shouldn't it be everybody's work and glory! What a beautiful world
this would be if this were the case!"
"And see, Dorian, how this principle ties together the race from the
beginning to the end, comparatively speaking. Yes, in this way will men
and families and races and worlds be linked together in chains of love,
which cannot be broken, worlds without end."
The old man's voice became sweet and low. Then there was silence for a
few minutes. The clock struck ten.
"I must be going," said Dorian. "I am keeping you out of bed."
"You'll come again?"
"Come soon, my boy. I have so much to tell you. I can talk so freely to
you, something I cannot do to all who come here, bless their hearts. But
you, my boy--"
He reached out his hand, and Dorian took it lovingly. There were tears
in the old man's eyes.
"I'll not forget you," said Dorian, "I'll come soon and often."
"Then, good night."
"Good night," the other replied from the door as he stepped out into the
night. The cool breeze swept over meadow and field. The world was open
and big, and the young man's heart expanded to it. What a comfort to
feel that the Power which rules the world and all the affairs of men is
unfailing in its operations! What a joy to realize that he had a loving
Father to whom he could go for aid! And then also, what a tremendous
responsibility was on him because of the knowledge he already had and
because of his God-given agency to act for himself. Surely, he would
need light from on High to help him to choose the right!
Surely, he would.
At the coming of winter, Uncle Zed was bedfast. He was failing rapidly.
Neighbors helped him. Dorian remained with him as much as he could. The
bond which had existed between these two grew stronger as the time
of separation became nearer. The dying man was clear-minded, and he
suffered very little pain. He seemed completely happy if he could have
Dorian sitting by him and they could talk together. And these were
wonderful days to the young man, days never to be forgotten.
Outside, the air was cold with gusts of wind and lowering clouds.
Inside, the room was cosy and warm. A few of the old man's hardiest
flowers were still in pots on the table where the failing eyes could see
them. That evening Mrs. Trent had tidied up the room and had left Dorian
to spend the night with the sick man. The tea-kettle hummed softly on
the stove. The shaded lamp was turned down low.
"Yes, Uncle Zed."
"Turn up the lamp a little. It's too dark in here."
"Doesn't the light hurt your eyes!"
"No; besides I want you to get me some papers out of that drawer in my
Dorian fetched a large bundle of clippings and papers and asked if they
were what he wanted.
"Not all of them just now; but take from the pile the few on top. I want
you to read them to me. They are a few selections which I have culled
and which have a bearing on the things we have lately been talking
The first note which Dorian read was as follows. "'The keys of the holy
priesthood unlock the door of knowledge to let you look into the palace
"That's by Brigham Young. You did not know that he was a poet as well as
a prophet," commented the old man. "The next one is from him also."
"'There never was a time when there were not Gods and worlds, and when
men were not passing through the same ordeals that we are now passing
through. That course has been from all eternity and it is and will be to
"Now you know, Dorian, where I get my inspiration from. Read the next,
also from President Young."
"'The idea that the religion of Christ is one thing, and science is
another, is a mistaken idea, for there is no true science without
religion. The fountain of knowledge dwells with God, and He dispenses it
to His children as He pleases, and as they are prepared to receive it;
consequently, it swallows up and circumscribes all'."
"Take these, Dorian; have them with you as inspirational mottoes for
your life's work. Go on, there are a few more."
Dorian read again: "'The region of true religion and the region of a
completer science are one.'--Oliver Lodge."
"You see one of the foremost scientists of the day agrees with Brigham
Young," said Uncle Zed. "I think the next one corroborates some of our
Dorian read: "'We do not indeed remember our past, we are not aware of
our future, but in common with everything else we must have had a past
and must be going to have a future.'--Oliver Lodge."
Again he read: "'We must dare to extend the thought of growth and
progress and development even up to the height of all that we can
realize of the Supreme Being--In some part of the universe perhaps
already the ideal conception has been attained; and the region of such
attainment--the full blaze of self-conscious Deity--is too bright for
mortal eyes, is utterly beyond our highest thoughts.'--Oliver Lodge."
Uncle Zed held out his hand and smiled. "There," he said in a whisper,
"is a hesitating suggestion of the truth which we boldly proclaim."
"Now you are tired, Uncle Zed," said Dorian. "I had best not read more."
"Just one--the next one."
"'There are more lives yet, there are more worlds waiting,
For the way climbs up to the eldest sun,
Where the white ones go to their mystic mating,
And the holy will is done.
I'll find you there where our love life heightens--
Where the door of the wonder again unbars,
Where the old love lures and the old fire whitens,
In the stars behind the stars'."
Uncle Zed lay peacefully on his pillow, a wistful look on his face. The
room became still again, and the clock ticked away the time. Dorian
folded up the papers which he had been told to keep and put them in his
pocket. The rest of the package he returned to the drawer. He lowered
the lamp again. Then he sat down and watched. It seemed it would not be
long for the end.
"Yes, Uncle Zed, can I do anything for you?"
"No"--barely above a whisper--"nothing else matters--you're a good
boy--God bless you."
The dying man lay very still. As Dorian looked at the face of his friend
it seemed that the mortal flesh had become waxen white so that the
immortal spirit shone unhindered through it. The young man's heart was
deeply sorrowful, but it was a sanctified sorrow. Twice before had death
come near to him. He had hardly realized that of his father's and he was
not present when Mildred had passed away; but here he was again with
death, and alone. It seemed strange that he was not terrified, but he
was not--everything seemed so calm, peaceful, and even beautiful in its
Dorian arose, went softly to the window and looked out. The wind had
quieted, and the snow was falling slowly, steadily in big white flakes,
When Dorian again went back to the bedside and looked on the stilled
face of his friend, he gave a little start. He looked again closely,
listening, and feeling of the cold hands. Uncle Zed was dead.
The Greenstreet meeting house was filled to overflowing at the funeral.
Uncle Zed had gone about all his days in the village doing good. All
could tell of some kind deed he had done, with the admonition that it
should not be talked about. He always seemed humiliated when anyone
spoke of these things in his hearing; but now, surely, there could be no
objection to letting his good deeds shine before men.
Uncle Zed had left with the Bishop a written statement, not in the form
of a will, wherein he told what disposition was to be made of his simple
belongings. The house, with its few well tilled acres, was to go to the
ward for the use of any worthy poor whom the Bishop might designate.
Everything in the house should be at the disposal of Dorian Trent. The
books, especially, should belong to him "to have and to hold and to
study." Such books which Dorian did not wish to keep were to be given
to the ward Mutual Improvement Library. This information the Bishop
publicly imparted on the day of the funeral.
"These are the times," said the Bishop, "when the truth comes forcibly
to us all that nothing in this world matters much or counts for much in
the end but good deeds, kind words, and unselfish service to others. All
else is now dross.... The mantle of Brother Zed seems to have fallen on
Dorian Trent. May he wear it faithfully and well."
A few days after the funeral Dorian and his mother went to Uncle Zed's
vacant home. Mrs. Trent examined the furnishings, while Dorian looked
over the books.
"Is there anything here you want, mother? he asked.
"No; I think not; better leave everything, which isn't much, for those
who are to live here. What about the books?'
"I'm going to take most of them home, for I am sure Uncle Zed would not
want them to fall into unappreciating hands; but there's no hurry about
that. We'll just leave everything as it is for a few days."
The next evening Dorian returned to look over again his newly-acquired
treasures. The ground was covered with snow and the night was cold. He
thought he might as well spend the evening, and be comfortable, so he
made a fire in the stove.
On the small home-made desk which stood in the best-lighted corner, near
to the student's hand were his well-worn Bible, his Book of Mormon, and
Doctrine and Covenants. He opened the drawers and found them filled with
papers and clippings, covering, as Dorian learned, a long period of
search and collecting. He opened again the package which he had out the
evening of Uncle Zed's death, and looked over some of the papers. These,
evidently, had been selected for Dorian's special benefit, and so he
settled himself comfortably to read them. The very first paper was in
the old man's own hand, and was a dissertation on "Faith." and read
thus: "Some people say that they can believe only what they can perceive
with the senses. Let us see: The sun rises, we say. Does it? The earth
is still. Is it? We hear music, we see beauty. Does the ear hear or the
eye see? We burn our fingers. Is the pain in our fingers? I cut the
nerves leading from the brain to these various organs, and then I
neither hear nor see nor feel."
"How can God keep in touch with us?" was answered thus: "A ray of light
coming through space from a star millions of miles away will act on a
photographic plate, will eat into its sensitive surface and imprint the
image of the star. This we know, and yet we doubt if God can keep in
touch with us and answer our prayers."
Many people wondered why a man like Uncle Zed was content to live in the
country. The answer seemed to be found in a number of slips:
"How peaceful comes the Sabbath, doubly blessed,
In giving hope to faith, to labor rest.
Most peaceful here:--no city's noise obtains,
And God seems reverenced more where silence reigns."
Once Dorian had been called a "Clod hopper." As he read the following,
he wondered whether or not Uncle Zed had not also been so designated,
and had written this in reply:
"Mother Earth, why should not I love you? Why should not I get close to
you? Why should I plan to live always in the clouds above you, gazing at
other far-distant worlds, and neglecting you? Why did I, with others,
shout with joy when I learned that I was coming here from the world of
spirits? I answer, because I knew that 'spirit and element inseparately
connected receiveth a fullness of joy.' I was then to get in touch with
'element' as I had been with 'spirit.' This world which I see with my
natural eyes is the 'natural' part of Mother Earth, even as the
flesh and bones and blood of my body is the element of myself, to be
inseparately connected with my spirit and to the end that I might
receive a fullness of joy. The earth and all things on it known by the
term nature is what I came here to know. Nature, wild or tamed, is my
schoolroom--the earth with its hills and valleys and plains, with its
clouds and rain, with its rivers and lakes and oceans, with its trees
and fruits and flowers, its life--about all these I must learn what I
can at first hand. Especially, should I learn of the growing things
which clothe the earth with beauty and furnish sustenance to life. Some
day I hope the Lord will give me a small part of this earth, when it is
glorified. Ah, then, what a garden shall I have!"
No one in Greenstreet had ever known Uncle Zed as a married man. His
wife had died long ago, and he seldom spoke of her. Dorian had wondered
whether he had ever been a young man, with a young man's thoughts and
feelings; but here was evidence which dispelled any doubt. On a slip of
paper, somewhat yellow with age, were the following lines, written in
Uncle Zed's best hand:
"In the enchanted air of spring,
I hear all Nature's voices sing,
'I love you'.
By bursting buds, by sprouting grass,
I hear the bees hum as I pass,
'I love you'.
The waking earth, the sunny sky
Are whispering the same as I,
'I love you'.
The song of birds in sweetest notes
Comes from their bursting hearts and throats,
'I love you'."
"Oh, Uncle Zed!" said Dorian, half aloud, "who would have thought it!"
Near the top of the pile of manuscript Dorian found an envelope with "To
Dorian Trent," written on it. He opened it with keen interest and found
that it was a somewhat newly written paper and dealt with a subject they
had discussed in connection with the chapter on Death in Drummond's
book. Uncle Zed had begun his epistle by addressing it, "Dear Dorian"
and then continued as follows:
"You remember that some time ago we talked on the subject of sin and
death. Since then I have had some further thought on the subject which I
will here jot down for you. You asked me, you remember, what sin is, and
I tried to explain. Here is another definition: Man belongs to an order
of beings whose goal is perfection. The way to that perfection is long
and hard, narrow and straight. Any deviation from that path is sin. God,
our Father, has reached the goal. He has told us how we may follow Him.
He has pointed out the way by teaching us the law of progress which
led Him to His exalted state. Sin lies in not heeding that law, but in
following laws of our own making. The Lord says this in the Doctrine and
Covenants, Section 88:
'That which breaketh a law, and abideth not by law, but seeketh to
become a law unto itself, and willeth to abide in sin, and altogether
abideth in sin, cannot be sanctified by law, neither by mercy, justice,
nor judgement. Therefore, they must remain filthy still.'
"Now, keeping in mind that sin is the straying from the one straight,
progressive path, let us consider this expression: 'The wages of sin is
death'. This leads us to the question: what is death? Do you remember
what Drummond says? He first explains in a most interesting way what
life is, using the scientist's phrasing. A human being, for instance,
is in direct contact with all about him--earth, air, sun, other human
beings, etc. In biological language he is said to be 'in correspondence
with his environment,' and by virtue of this correspondence is said to
be alive. To live, a human being must continue to adjust himself to his
environment. When he fails to do this, he dies. Thus we have also a
definition of death. 'Dying is that breakdown in an organization
which throws it out of correspondence with some necessary part of the
"Of course, these reasonings and deductions pertain to what we term he
physical death; but Drummond claims that the same law holds good in the
spiritual world. Modern revelation seems to agree with him. We have an
enlightening definition of death in the following quotation from the
Doctrine and Covenants, Section 29: 'Wherefore I the Lord God caused
that he (Adam) should be cast out from the Garden of Eden, from my
presence, because of his transgression, wherein he became spiritually
dead, which is the first death, even that same death, which is the last
death, which is spiritual, which shall be pronounced upon the wicked
when I shall say Depart ye cursed'.
"It seems to me that there is a most interesting agreement here.
Banishment from the place where God lives is death. By the operations
of a natural law, a person who fails to correspond with a celestial
environment dies to that environment and must go or be placed in some
other, where he can function with that which is about him. God's
presence is exalted, holy, glorified. He who is not pure, holy,
glorified cannot possibly live there, is dead to that higher world.
A soul who cannot function in the celestial glory, may do so in the
terrestrial glory; one who cannot function in the terrestrial, may in
the telestial; and one who cannot 'abide the law' or function in the
telestial must find a place of no glory. This is inevitable--it cannot
be otherwise. Immutable law decrees it, and not simply the ruling of an
all wise power. The soul who fails to attain to the celestial glory,
fails to walk in the straight and narrow path which leads to it. Such a
person wanders in the by-paths called sin, and no power in the universe
can arbitrarily put him in an environment with which he cannot function.
'To be carnally minded is death', said Paul. 'The wages of sin is
death', or in other words, he who persistently avoids the Celestial
Highway will never arrive at the Celestial Gate. He who works evilly
will obtain evil wages. Anyway, what would it profit a man with dim
eyesight to be surrounded with ineffable glory? What would be the music
of the spheres to one bereft of hearing? What gain would come to a man
with a heart of stone to be in an environment of perfect and eternal
Dorian finished the reading and laid the paper on the desk. For some
time he sat very still, thinking of these beautiful words from his dear
friend to him. Surely, Uncle Zed was very much alive in any environment
which his beautiful life had placed him. Would that he, Dorian, could
live so that he might always be alive to the good and be dead to sin.
The stillness of the night was about him. The lamplight grew dim,
showing the oil to be gone, so he blew out the smoking wick. He opened
the stove door, and by the light of the dying fire he gathered up some
books to take home. He heard a noise as if someone were outside. He
listened. The steps were muffled in the snow. They seemed to approach
the house and then stop. There was silence for a few minutes, then
plainly he heard sobbing close to the door.
What could it mean? who could it be? Doubtless, some poor soul to whom
Uncle Zed had been a ministering angel, had been drawn to the vacant
house, and could not now control her sorrow. Then the sobbing ceased,
and Dorian realized he had best find out who was there and give what
help he could. He opened the door, and a frightened scream rang out from
the surprised Carlia Duke who stood in the faint light from the open
doorway. She stood for a second, then as if terror stricken, she fled.
"Carlia," shouted Dorian. "Carlia!"
But the girl neither stopped nor looked back. Across the pathless,
snow-covered fields she sped, and soon became only a dark-moving object
on the white surface. When she had entirely disappeared, Dorian went
back, gathered up his bundles, locked the door, and went wonderingly and
It is no doubt a wise provision of nature that the cold of winter closes
the activity in field and garden, thus allowing time for study by the
home fire. Dorian Trent's library, having been greatly enlarged, now
became to him a source of much pleasure and profit. Books which he never
dreamed of possessing were now on his shelves. In some people's opinion,
he was too well satisfied to remain in his cosy room and bury himself in
his books; but his mother found no fault. She was always welcome to come
and go; and in fact, much of the time he sat with her by the kitchen
fire, reading aloud and discussing with her the contents of his book.
Dorian found, as Uncle Zed had, wonderful arguments for the truth of
the gospel in Orson and Parley P. Pratt's works. In looking through
the "Journal of Discourses," he found markings by many of the sermons,
especially by those of Brigham Young. Dorian always read the passages
thus indicated, for he liked to realize that he was following the
former owner of the book even in his thinking. The early volumes of the
"Millennial Star" contained some interesting reading. Very likely, the
doctrinal articles of these first elders were no better than those of
more recent writers, but their plain bluntness and their very age seemed
to give them charm.
By his reading that winter Dorian obtained an enlarged view of his
religion. It gave him vision to see and to comprehend better the whole
and thus to more fully understand the details. Besides, he was laying a
broad and firm foundation for his faith in God and the restored gospel
of Jesus Christ, a faith which would stand him well in need when he came
to delve into a faithless and a Godless science.
Not that Dorian became a hermit. He took an active part in the
Greenstreet ward organizations. He was secretary of the Mutual, always
attended Sunday School, and usually went to the ward dances. As he
became older he overcame some of his shyness with girls; and as
prosperity came to him, he could dress better and have his mass of
rusty-red hair more frequently trimmed by the city barber. More than
one of the discerning Greenstreet girls laid their caps for the big,
handsome young fellow.
And Dorian's thoughts, we must know, were not all the time occupied with
the philosophy of Orson Pratt. He was a very natural young man, and
there were some very charming girls in Greenstreet. When, arrayed in
their Sunday best, they sat in the ward choir, he, not being a member of
the choir, could look at them to his heart's content, first at one and
then at another along the double row. Carlia Duke usually sat on the
front row where he could see her clearly and compare her with the
others--and she did not suffer by the comparison.
Dorian now begin to realize that it was selfish, if not foolish, to
think always of the dead Mildred to the exclusion of the very much alive
Carlia. Mildred was safe in the world of spirits, where he would some
day meet her again; but until that time, he had this life to live and
those about him to think of. Carlia was a dear girl, beautiful, too, now
in her maturing womanhood. None of the other girls touched his heart as
Carlia. He had taken a number of them to dances, but he had always come
back, in his thought, at least, to Carlia. But her actions lately had
been much of a puzzle. Sometimes she seemed to welcome him eagerly when
he called, at other times she tried to evade him. No doubt this Mr. Jack
Lamont was the disturbing element. That winter he could be seen coming
quite openly to the Duke home, and when the weather would permit, Carlia
would be riding with him in his automobile. The neighbors talked, but
the father could only shake his head and explain that Carlia was a
Now when it seemed that Carlia was to be won by this very gallant
stranger, Dorian began to realize what a loss she would be to him. He
was sure he loved the girl, but what did that avail if she did not love
him in return. He held to the opinion that such attractions should be
mutual. He could see no sense in the old-time custom of the knight
winning his lady love by force of arms or by the fleetness of horse's
However, Dorian was not easy in his mind, and it came to the point when
he suffered severe heartaches when he knew of Carlia's being with the
stranger. The Christmas holidays that season were nearly spoiled for
him. He had asked Carlia a number of times to go to the parties with
him, but she had offered some excuse each time.
"Let her alone," someone had told him.
"No; do not let her alone," his mother had counseled; and he took his
Carlia had been absent from the Sunday meetings for a number of weeks,
so when she appeared in her place in the choir on a Sunday late in
January, Dorian noticed the unusual pallor of her face. He wondered if
she had been ill. He resolved to make another effort, for in fact, his
heart went out to her. At the close of the meeting he found his way to
her side as she was walking home with her father and mother. Dorian
never went through the formality of asking Carlia if he might accompany
her home. He had always taken it for granted that he was welcome; and,
at any rate, a man could always tell by the girl's actions whether or
not he was wanted.
"I haven't seen you for a long time," began Dorian by way of greeting.
The girl did not reply.
"Been sick?" he asked.
"Yes--no, I'm all right."
The parents walked on ahead, leaving the two young people to follow.
Evidently, Carlia was very much out of sorts, but the young man tried
"What's the matter, Carlia?"
"Well, I hope I'm not annoying you by my company."
No answer. They walked on in silence, Carlia looking straight ahead, not
so much at her parents, as at the distant snow-clad mountains. Dorian
felt like turning about and going home, but he could not do that very
well, so he went on to the gate, where he would have said goodnight had
not Mrs. Duke urged him to come in. The father and mother went to bed
early, leaving the two young people by the dining-room fire.
They managed to talk for some time on "wind and weather". Despite the
paleness of cheek, Carlia was looking her best. Dorian was jealous.
"Carlia," he said, "why do you keep company with this Mr. Lamont?"
She was standing near the book-shelf with its meagre collection. She
turned abruptly at his question.
"Why shouldn't I go with him?" she asked.
"You know why you shouldn't."
"I don't. Oh, I know the reasons usually given, but--what am I to do.
He's so nice, and a perfect gentleman. What harm is there?"
"Why do you say that to me, Carlia?"
"Why not to you?" She came and sat opposite him by the table. He was
silent, and she repeated her question, slowly, carefully, and with
emphasis. "Why not to you? Why should you care?"
"But I do care."
"I don't believe it. You have never shown that you do."
"I am showing it now."
"Tomorrow you will forget it--forget me for a month."
"You've done it before--many times--you'll do it again."
The girl's eyes flashed. She seemed keyed up to carry through something
she had planned to do, something hard. She arose and stood by the table,
"I sometimes have thought that you cared for me--but I'm through with
that now. Nobody really cares for me. I'm only a rough farm hand. I know
how to milk and scrub and churn and clean the stable--an' that's what I
do day in and day out. There's no change, no rest for me, save when he
takes me away from it for a little while. He understands, he's the only
one who does."
"You," she continued in the same hard voice, "you're altogether too good
and too wise for such as I. You're so high up that I can't touch you.
You live in the clouds, I among the clods. What have we two in common?"
He arose and came to her, but she evaded him.
"Keep away, Dorian; don't touch me. You had better go home now."
"You're not yourself, Carlia. What is the matter? You have never acted
like this before."
"It's not because I haven't felt like it, but it's because I haven't had
the courage; but now it's come out, and I can't stop it. It's been
pent up in me like a flood--now it's out. I hate this old farm--I hate
everything and everybody--I--hate you!"
Dorian arose quickly as if he had been lifted to his feet. What was she
saying? She was wild, crazy wild.
"What have I done that you should hate me?" he asked as quietly as his
trembling voice would allow.
"Done? nothing. It's what you haven't done. What have you done to
repay--my--Oh, God, I can't stand it--I can't stand it!"
She walked to the wall and turned her face to it. She did not cry. The
room was silently tense for a few moments.
"I guess I'd better go," said Dorian.
She did not reply. He picked up his hat, lingered, then went to the
door. She hated him. Then let him get out from her presence. She hated
him. He had not thought that possible. Well, he would go. He would never
annoy any girl who hated him, not if he knew it. How his heart ached,
how his very soul seemed crushed! yet he could not appeal to her. She
stood with her face to the wall, still as a statue, and as cold.
"Good night," he said at the door.
She said nothing, nor moved. He could see her body quiver, but he could
not see her face. He perceived nothing clearly. The familiar room,
poorly furnished, seemed strange to him. The big, ugly enlarged
photographs on the wall blurred to his vision. Carlia, with head bowed
now, appeared to stand in the midst of utter confusion. Dorian groped
his way to the door, and stepped out into the wintry night. When he had
reached the gate, Carlia rushed to the door.
"Dorian!" she cried in a heart-breaking voice, "O, Dorian, come
But Dorian opened the gate, closed it, then walked on down the road into
the darkness, nor did he once look back.
Carlia's ringing cry persisted with Dorian all the way home, but he
hardened his heart and went steadily on. His mother had gone to bed, and
he sat for a time by the dying fire, thinking of what he had just passed
After that, Dorian kept away from Carlia. Although the longing to see
her surged strongly through his heart from time to time, and he could
not get away from the thought that she was in some trouble, yet his
pride forbade him to intrude. He busied himself with chores and his
books, and he did not relax in his ward duties. Once in a while he saw
Carlia at the meeting house, but she absented herself more and more from
public gatherings, giving as an excuse to all who inquired, that her
work bound her more closely than ever at home.
Dorian and his mother frequently talked about Uncle Zed and the hopes
the departed one had of the young man. "Do you really think, mother,
that he meant I should devote my life to the harmonizing of science and
religion?" he asked.
"I think Uncle Zed was in earnest. He had great faith in you."
"But what do you think of it, mother?"