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  • 1896
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known. It was present with them while Virginia was speaking, and during the silence that followed. If it had been defined by any of them it would perhaps have taken some such shape as this: “If I shall, in the course of my obedience to my promise, meet with loss or trouble in the world, I can depend upon the genuine, practical sympathy and fellowship of any other Christian in this room who has, with me, made the pledge to do all things by the rule, ‘What would Jesus do?'”

All this, the distinct wave of spiritual power emphasized. It had the effect that a physical miracle may have had on the early disciples in giving them a feeling of confidence in the Lord that helped them to face loss and martyrdom with courage and even joy.

Before they went away this time there were several confidences like those of Edward Norman’s. Some of the young men told of loss of places owing to their honest obedience to their promise. Alexander Powers spoke briefly of the fact that the Commission had promised to take action on his evidence at the earliest date possible.

Chapter Fourteen

BUT more than any other feeling at this meeting rose the tide of fellowship for one another. Maxwell watched it, trembling for its climax which he knew was not yet reached. When it was, where would it lead them? He did not know, but he was not unduly alarmed about it. Only he watched with growing wonder the results of that simple promise as it was being obeyed in these various lives. Those results were already being felt all over the city. Who could measure their influence at the end of a year?

One practical form of this fellowship showed itself in the assurances which Edward Norman received of support for his paper. There was a general flocking toward him when the meeting closed, and the response to his appeal for help from the Christian disciples in Raymond was fully understood by this little company. The value of such a paper in the homes and in behalf of good citizenship, especially at the present crisis in the city, could not be measured. It remained to be seen what could be done now that the paper was endowed so liberally. But it still was true, as Norman insisted, that money alone could not make the paper a power. It must receive the support and sympathy of the Christians in Raymond before it could be counted as one of the great forces of the city.

The week that followed this Sunday meeting was one of great excitement in Raymond. It was the week of the election. President Marsh, true to his promise, took up his cross and bore it manfully, but with shuddering, with groans and even tears, for his deepest conviction was touched, and he tore himself out of the scholarly seclusion of years with a pain and anguish that cost him more than anything he had ever done as a follower of Christ. With him were a few of the college professors who had made the pledge in the First Church. Their experience and suffering were the same as his; for their isolation from all the duties of citizenship had been the same. The same was also true of Henry Maxwell, who plunged into the horror of this fight against whiskey and its allies with a sickening dread of each day’s new encounter with it. For never before had he borne such a cross. He staggered under it, and in the brief intervals when he came in from the work and sought the quiet of his study for rest, the sweat broke out on his forehead, and he felt the actual terror of one who marches into unseen, unknown horrors. Looking back on it afterwards he was amazed at his experience. He was not a coward, but he felt the dread that any man of his habits feels when confronted suddenly with a duty which carries with it the doing of certain things so unfamiliar that the actual details connected with it betray his ignorance and fill him with the shame of humiliation.

When Saturday, the election day, came, the excitement rose to its height. An attempt was made to close all the saloons. It was only partly successful. There was a great deal of drinking going on all day. The Rectangle boiled and heaved and cursed and turned its worst side out to the gaze of the city. Gray had continued his meetings during the week, and the results had been even greater than he had dared to hope. When Saturday came, it seemed to him that the crisis in his work had been reached. The Holy Spirit and the Satan of rum seemed to rouse up to a desperate conflict. The more interest in the meetings, the more ferocity and vileness outside. The saloon men no longer concealed their feelings. Open threats of violence were made. Once during the week Gray and his little company of helpers were assailed with missiles of various kinds as they left the tent late at night. The police sent down a special force, and Virginia and Rachel were always under the protection of either Rollin or Dr. West. Rachel’s power in song had not diminished. Rather, with each night, it seemed to add to the intensity and reality of the Spirit’s presence.

Gray had at first hesitated about having a meeting that night. But he had a simple rule of action, and was always guided by it. The Spirit seemed to lead him to continue the meeting, and so Saturday night he went on as usual.

The excitement all over the city had reached its climax when the polls closed at six o’clock. Never before had there been such a contest in Raymond. The issue of license or no-license had never been an issue under such circumstances. Never before had such elements in the city been arrayed against each other. It was an unheard-of thing that the President of Lincoln College, the pastor of the First Church, the Dean of the Cathedral, the professional men living in fine houses on the boulevard, should come personally into the wards, and by their presence and their example represent the Christian conscience of the place. The ward politicians were astonished at the sight. However, their astonishment did not prevent their activity. The fight grew hotter every hour, and when six o’clock came neither side could have guessed at the result with any certainty. Every one agreed that never before had there been such an election in Raymond, and both sides awaited the announcement of the result with the greatest interest.

It was after ten o’clock when the meeting at the tent was closed. It had been a strange and, in some respects, a remarkable meeting. Maxwell had come down again at Gray’s request. He was completely worn out by the day’s work, but the appeal from Gray came to him in such a form that he did not feel able to resist it. President Marsh was also present. He had never been to the Rectangle, and his curiosity was aroused from what he had noticed of the influence of the evangelist in the worst part of the city. Dr. West and Rollin had come with Rachel and Virginia; and Loreen, who still stayed with Virginia, was present near the organ, in her right mind, sober, with a humility and dread of herself that kept her as close to Virginia as a faithful dog. All through the service she sat with bowed head, weeping a part of the time, sobbing when Rachel sang the song, “I was a wandering sheep,” clinging with almost visible, tangible yearning to the one hope she had found, listening to prayer and appeal and confession all about her like one who was a part of a new creation, yet fearful of her right to share in it fully.

The tent had been crowded. As on some other occasions, there was more or less disturbance on the outside. This had increased as the night advanced, and Gray thought it wise not to prolong the service.

Once in a while a shout as from a large crowd swept into the tent. The returns from the election were beginning to come in, and the Rectangle had emptied every lodging house, den and hovel into the streets.

In spite of these distractions Rachel’s singing kept the crowd in the tent from dissolving. There were a dozen or more conversions. Finally the people became restless and Gray closed the service, remaining a little while with the converts.

Rachel, Virginia, Loreen, Rollin and the Doctor, President Marsh, Mr. Maxwell and Dr. West went out together, intending to go down to the usual waiting place for their car. As they came out of the tent they were at once aware that the Rectangle was trembling on the verge of a drunken riot, and as they pushed through the gathering mobs in the narrow streets they began to realize that they themselves were objects of great attention.

“There he is–the bloke in the tall hat! He’s the leader! shouted a rough voice. President Marsh, with his erect, commanding figure, was conspicuous in the little company.

“How has the election gone? It is too early to know the result yet, isn’t it?” He asked the question aloud, and a man answered:

“They say second and third wards have gone almost solid for no-license. If that is so, the whiskey men have been beaten.”

“Thank God! I hope it is true!” exclaimed Maxwell. “Marsh, we are in danger here. Do you realize our situation? We ought to get the ladies to a place of safety.”

“That is true,” said Marsh gravely. At that moment a shower of stones and other missiles fell over them. The narrow street and sidewalk in front of them was completely choked with the worst elements of the Rectangle.

“This looks serious,” said Maxwell. With Marsh and Rollin and Dr. West he started to go forward through a small opening, Virginia, Rachel, and Loreen following close and sheltered by the men, who now realized something of their danger. The Rectangle was drunk and enraged. It saw in Marsh and Maxwell two of the leaders in the election contest which had perhaps robbed them of their beloved saloon.

“Down with the aristocrats!” shouted a shrill voice, more like a woman’s than a man’s. A shower of mud and stones followed. Rachel remembered afterwards that Rollin jumped directly in front of her and received on his head and chest a number of blows that would probably have struck her if he had not shielded her from them.

And just then, before the police reached them, Loreen darted forward in front of Virginia and pushed her aside, looking up and screaming. It was so sudden that no one had time to catch the face of the one who did it. But out of the upper window of a room, over the very saloon where Loreen had come out a week before, someone had thrown a heavy bottle. It struck Loreen on the head and she fell to the ground. Virginia turned and instantly kneeled down by her. The police officers by that time had reached the little company.

President Marsh raised his arm and shouted over the howl that was beginning to rise from the wild beast in the mob.

“Stop! You’ve killed a woman!” The announcement partly sobered the crowd.

“Is it true?” Maxwell asked it, as Dr. West kneeled on the other side of Loreen, supporting her.

“She’s dying!” said Dr. West briefly.

Loreen opened her eyes and smiled at Virginia, who wiped the blood from her face and then bent over and kissed her. Loreen smiled again, and the next minute her soul was in Paradise.

Chapter Fifteen

“He that followeth me shall not walk in darkness.”

THE body of Loreen lay in state at the Page mansion on the avenue. It was Sunday morning and the clear sweet spring air, just beginning to breathe over the city the perfume of early blossoms in the woods and fields, swept over the casket from one of the open windows at the end of the grand hall. The church bells were ringing and people on the avenue going by to service turned curious, inquiring looks up at the great house and then went on, talking of the recent events which had so strangely entered into and made history in the city.

At the First Church, Mr. Maxwell, bearing on his face marks of the scene he had been through, confronted an immense congregation, and spoke to it with a passion and a power that came so naturally out of the profound experiences of the day before that his people felt for him something of the old feeling of pride they once had in his dramatic delivery. Only this was with a different attitude. And all through his impassioned appeal this morning, there was a note of sadness and rebuke and stern condemnation that made many of the members pale with self-accusation or with inward anger.

For Raymond had awakened that morning to the fact that the city had gone for license after all. The rumor at the Rectangle that the second and third wards had gone no-license proved to be false. It was true that the victory was won by a very meager majority. But the result was the same as if it had been overwhelming. Raymond had voted to continue for another year the saloon. The Christians of Raymond stood condemned by the result. More than a hundred professing Christian disciples had failed to go to the polls, and many more than that number had voted with the whiskey men. If all the church members of Raymond had voted against the saloon, it would today be outlawed instead of crowned king of the municipality. For that had been the fact in Raymond for years. The saloon ruled. No one denied that. What would Jesus do? And this woman who had been brutally struck down by the very hand that had assisted so eagerly to work her earthly ruin what of her? Was it anything more than the logical sequence of the whole horrible system of license, that for another year the very saloon that received her so often and compassed her degradation, from whose very spot the weapon had been hurled that struck her dead, would, by the law which the Christian people of Raymond voted to support, perhaps open its doors tomorrow and damn a hundred Loreens before the year had drawn to its bloody close?

All this, with a voice that rang and trembled and broke in sobs of anguish for the result, did Henry Maxwell pour out upon his people that Sunday morning. And men and women wept as he spoke. President Marsh sat there, his usual erect, handsome, firm, bright self-confident bearing all gone; his head bowed upon his breast, the great tears rolling down his cheeks, unmindful of the fact that never before had he shown outward emotion in a public service. Edward Norman near by sat with his clear-cut, keen face erect, but his lip trembled and he clutched the end of the pew with a feeling of emotion that struck deep into his knowledge of the truth as Maxwell spoke it. No man had given or suffered more to influence public opinion that week than Norman. The thought that the Christian conscience had been aroused too late or too feebly, lay with a weight of accusation upon the heart of the editor. What if he had begun to do as Jesus would have done, long ago? Who could tell what might have been accomplished by this time! And up in the choir, Rachel Winslow, with her face bowed on the railing of the oak screen, gave way to a feeling which she had not allowed yet to master her, but it so unfitted her for her part that when Mr. Maxwell finished and she tried to sing the closing solo after the prayer, her voice broke, and for the first time in her life she was obliged to sit down, sobbing, and unable to go on.

Over the church, in the silence that followed this strange scene, sobs and the noise of weeping arose. When had the First Church yielded to such a baptism of tears? What had become of its regular, precise, conventional order of service, undisturbed by any vulgar emotion and unmoved by any foolish excitement? But the people had lately had their deepest convictions touched. They had been living so long on their surface feelings that they had almost forgotten the deeper wells of life. Now that they had broken the surface, the people were convicted of the meaning of their discipleship.

Mr. Maxwell did not ask, this morning, for volunteers to join those who had already pledged to do as Jesus would. But when the congregation had finally gone, and he had entered the lecture-room, it needed but a glance to show him that the original company of followers had been largely increased. The meeting was tender; it glowed with the Spirit’s presence; it was alive with strong and lasting resolve to begin a war on the whiskey power in Raymond that would break its reign forever. Since the first Sunday when the first company of volunteers had pledged themselves to do as Jesus would do, the different meetings had been characterized by distinct impulses or impressions. Today, the entire force of the gathering seemed to be directed to this one large purpose. It was a meeting full of broken prayers of contrition, of confession, of strong yearning for a new and better city life. And all through it ran one general cry for deliverance from the saloon and its awful curse.

But if the First Church was deeply stirred by the events of the last week, the Rectangle also felt moved strangely in its own way. The death of Loreen was not in itself so remarkable a fact. It was her recent acquaintance with the people from the city that lifted her into special prominence and surrounded her death with more than ordinary importance. Every one in the Rectangle knew that Loreen was at this moment lying in the Page mansion up on the avenue. Exaggerated reports of the magnificence of the casket had already furnished material for eager gossip. The Rectangle was excited to know the details of the funeral. Would it be public? What did Miss Page intend to do? The Rectangle had never before mingled even in this distant personal manner with the aristocracy on the boulevard. The opportunities for doing so were not frequent. Gray and his wife were besieged by inquirers who wanted to know what Loreen’s friends and acquaintances were expected to do in paying their last respects to her. For her acquaintance was large and many of the recent converts were among her friends.

So that is how it happened that Monday afternoon, at the tent, the funeral service of Loreen was held before an immense audience that choked the tent and overflowed beyond all previous bounds. Gray had gone up to Virginia’s and, after talking it over with her and Maxwell, the arrangement had been made.

“I am and always have been opposed to large public funerals,” said Gray, whose complete wholesome simplicity of character was one of its great sources of strength; “but the cry of the poor creatures who knew Loreen is so earnest that I do not know how to refuse this desire to see her and pay her poor body some last little honor. What do you think, Mr. Maxwell? I will be guided by your judgment in the matter. I am sure that whatever you and Miss Page think best, will be right.”

“I feel as you do,” replied Mr. Maxwell. “Under the circumstances I have a great distaste for what seems like display at such times. But this seems different. The people at the Rectangle will not come here to service. I think the most Christian thing will be to let them have the service at the tent. Do you think so, Miss Virginia?”

“Yes,” said Virginia. “Poor soul! I do not know but that some time I shall know she gave her life for mine. We certainly cannot and will not use the occasion for vulgar display. Let her friends be allowed the gratification of their wishes. I see no harm in it.”

So the arrangements were made, with some difficulty, for the service at the tent; and Virginia with her uncle and Rollin, accompanied by Maxwell, Rachel and President Marsh, and the quartet from the First Church, went down and witnessed one of the strange things of their lives.

It happened that that afternoon a somewhat noted newspaper correspondent was passing through Raymond on his way to an editorial convention in a neighboring city. He heard of the contemplated service at the tent and went down. His description of it was written in a graphic style that caught the attention of very many readers the next day. A fragment of his account belongs to this part of the history of Raymond:

“There was a very unique and unusual funeral service held here this afternoon at the tent of an evangelist, Rev. John Gray, down in the slum district known as the Rectangle. The occasion was caused by the killing of a woman during an election riot last Saturday night. It seems she had been recently converted during the evangelist’s meetings, and was killed while returning from one of the meetings in company with other converts and some of her friends. She was a common street drunkard, and yet the services at the tent were as impressive as any I ever witnessed in a metropolitan church over the most distinguished citizen.

“In the first place, a most exquisite anthem was sung by a trained choir. It struck me, of course–being a stranger in the place–with considerable astonishment to hear voices like those one naturally expects to hear only in great churches or concerts, at such a meeting as this. But the most remarkable part of the music was a solo sung by a strikingly beautiful young woman, a Miss Winslow who, if I remember right, is the young singer who was sought for by Crandall the manager of National Opera, and who for some reason refused to accept his offer to go on the stage. She had a most wonderful manner in singing, and everybody was weeping before she had sung a dozen words. That, of course, is not so strange an effect to be produced at a funeral service, but the voice itself was one of thousands. I understand Miss Winslow sings in the First Church of Raymond and could probably command almost any salary as a public singer. She will probably be heard from soon. Such a voice could win its way anywhere.

“The service aside from the singing was peculiar. The evangelist, a man of apparently very simple, unassuming style, spoke a few words, and he was followed by a fine-looking man, the Rev. Henry Maxwell, pastor of the First Church of Raymond. Mr. Maxwell spoke of the fact that the dead woman had been fully prepared to go, but he spoke in a peculiarly sensitive manner of the effect of the liquor business on the lives of men and women like this one. Raymond, of course, being a railroad town and the centre of the great packing interests for this region, is full of saloons. I caught from the minister’s remarks that he had only recently changed his views in regard to license. He certainly made a very striking address, and yet it was in no sense inappropriate for a funeral.

“Then followed what was perhaps the queer part of this strange service. The women in the tent, at least a large part of them up near the coffin, began to sing in a soft, tearful way, ‘I was a wandering sheep.’ Then while the singing was going on, one row of women stood up and walked slowly past the casket, and as they went by, each one placed a flower of some kind upon it. Then they sat down and another row filed past, leaving their flowers. All the time the singing continued softly like rain on a tent cover when the wind is gentle. It was one of the simplest and at the same time one of the most impressive sights I ever witnessed. The sides of the tent were up, and hundreds of people who could not get in, stood outside, all as still as death itself, with wonderful sadness and solemnity for such rough looking people. There must have been a hundred of these women, and I was told many of them had been converted at the meetings just recently. I cannot describe the effect of that singing. Not a man sang a note. All women’s voices, and so soft, and yet so distinct, that the effect was startling.

“The service closed with another solo by Miss Winslow, who sang, ‘There were ninety and nine.’ And then the evangelist asked them all to bow their heads while he prayed. I was obliged in order to catch my train to leave during the prayer, and the last view I caught of the service as the train went by the shops was a sight of the great crowd pouring out of the tent and forming in open ranks while the coffin was borne out by six of the women. It is a long time since I have seen such a picture in this unpoetic Republic.”

If Loreen’s funeral impressed a passing stranger like this, it is not difficult to imagine the profound feelings of those who had been so intimately connected with her life and death. Nothing had ever entered the Rectangle that had moved it so deeply as Loreen’s body in that coffin. And the Holy Spirit seemed to bless with special power the use of this senseless clay. For that night He swept more than a score of lost souls, mostly women, into the fold of the Good Shepherd.

Chapter Sixteen

No one in all Raymond, including the Rectangle, felt Loreen’s death more keenly than Virginia. It came like a distinct personal loss to her. That short week while the girl had been in her home had opened Virginia’s heart to a new life. She was talking it over with Rachel the day after the funeral. Thee were sitting in the hall of the Page mansion.

“I am going to do something with my money to help those women to a better life.” Virginia looked over to the end of the hall where, the day before, Loreen’s body had lain. “I have decided on a good plan, as it seems to me. I have talked it over with Rollin. He will devote a large part of his money also to the same plan.”

“How much money have you, Virginia, to give in this way?” asked Rachel. Once, she would never have asked such a personal question. Now, it seemed as natural to talk frankly about money as about anything else that belonged to God.

“I have available for use at least four hundred and fifty-thousand dollars. Rollin has as much more. It is one of his bitter regrets now that his extravagant habits of life before his conversion practically threw away half that father left him. We are both eager to make all the reparation in our power. ‘What would Jesus do with this money?’ We want to answer that question honestly and wisely. The money I shall put into the NEWS is, I am confident, in a line with His probable action. It is as necessary that we have a Christian daily paper in Raymond, especially now that we have the saloon influence to meet, as it is to have a church or a college. So I am satisfied that the five hundred thousand dollars that Mr. Norman will know how to use so well will be a powerful factor in Raymond to do as Jesus would.

“About my other plan, Rachel, I want you to work with me. Rollin and I are going to buy up a large part of the property in the Rectangle. The field where the tent now is, has been in litigation for years. We mean to secure the entire tract as soon as the courts have settled the title. For some time I have been making a special study of the various forms of college settlements and residence methods of Christian work and Institutional church work in the heart of great city slums. I do not know that I have yet been able to tell just what is the wisest and most effective kind of work that can be done in Raymond. But I do know this much. My money–I mean God’s, which he wants me to use–can build wholesome lodging-houses, refuges for poor women, asylums for shop girls, safety for many and many a lost girl like Loreen. And I do not want to be simply a dispenser of this money. God help me! I do want to put myself into the problem. But you know, Rachel, I have a feeling all the time that all that limitless money and limitless personal sacrifice can possibly do, will not really lessen very much the awful condition at the Rectangle as long as the saloon is legally established there. I think that is true of any Christian work now being carried on in any great city. The saloon furnishes material to be saved faster than the settlement or residence or rescue mission work can save it.”

Virginia suddenly rose and paced the hall. Rachel answered sadly, and yet with a note of hope in her voice:

“It is true. But, Virginia, what a wonderful amount of good can be done with this money! And the saloon cannot always remain here. The time must come when the Christian forces in the city will triumph.”

Virginia paused near Rachel, and her pale, earnest face lighted up.

“I believe that too. The number of those who have promised to do as Jesus would is increasing. If we once have, say, five hundred such disciples in Raymond, the saloon is doomed. But now, dear, I want you to look at your part in this plan for capturing and saving the Rectangle. Your voice is a power. I have had many ideas lately. Here is one of them. You could organize among the girls a Musical Institute; give them the benefit of your training. There are some splendid voices in the rough there. Did any one ever hear such singing as that yesterday by those women? Rachel, what a beautiful opportunity! You shall have the best of material in the way of organs and orchestras that money can provide, and what cannot be done with music to win souls there into higher and purer and better living?”

Before Virginia had ceased speaking Rachel’s face was perfectly transformed with the thought of her life work. It flowed into her heart and mind like a flood, and the torrent of her feeling overflowed in tears that could not be restrained. It was what she had dreamed of doing herself. It represented to her something that she felt was in keeping with a right use of her talent.

“Yes,” she said, as she rose and put her arm about Virginia, while both girls in the excitement of their enthusiasm paced the hall. “Yes, I will gladly put my life into that kind of service. I do believe that Jesus would have me use my life in this way. Virginia, what miracles can we not accomplish in humanity if we have such a lever as consecrated money to move things with!”

“Add to it consecrated personal enthusiasm like yours, and it certainly can accomplish great things,” said Virginia smiling. And before Rachel could reply, Rollin came in.

He hesitated a moment, and then was passing out of the hall into the library when Virginia called him back and asked some questions about his work.

Rollin came back and sat down, and together the three discussed their future plans. Rollin was apparently entirely free from embarrassment in Rachel’s presence while Virginia was with them, only his manner with her was almost precise, if not cold. The past seemed to have been entirely absorbed in his wonderful conversion. He had not forgotten it, but he seemed to be completely caught up for this present time in the purpose of his new life. After a while Rollin was called out, and Rachel and Virginia began to talk of other things.

“By the way, what has become of Jasper Chase?” Virginia asked the question innocently, but Rachel flushed and Virginia added with a smile, “I suppose he is writing another book. Is he going to put you into this one, Rachel? You know I always suspected Jasper Chase of doing that very thing in his first story.”

“Virginia,” Rachel spoke with the frankness that had always existed between the two friends, “Jasper Chase told me the other night that he–in fact–he proposed to me–or he would, if–“

Rachel stopped and sat with her hands clasped on her lap, and there were tears in her eyes.

“Virginia, I thought a little while ago I loved him, as he said he loved me. But when he spoke, my heart felt repelled, and I said what I ought to say. I told him no. I have not seen him since. That was the night of the first conversions at the Rectangle.”

“I am glad for you,” said Virginia quietly.

“Why?” asked Rachel a little startled.

“Because, I have never really liked Jasper Chase. He is too cold and–I do not like to judge him, but I have always distrusted his sincerity in taking the pledge at the church with the rest.”

Rachel looked at Virginia thoughtfully.

“I have never given my heart to him I am sure. He touched my emotions, and I admired his skill as a writer. I have thought at times that I cared a good deal for him. I think perhaps if he had spoken to me at any other time than the one he chose, I could easily have persuaded myself that I loved him. But not now.”

Again Rachel paused suddenly, and when she looked up at Virginia again there were tears on her face. Virginia came to her and put her arm about her tenderly.

When Rachel had left the house, Virginia sat in the hall thinking over the confidence her friend had just shown her. There was something still to be told, Virginia felt sure from Rachel’s manner, but she did not feel hurt that Rachel had kept back something. She was simply conscious of more on Rachel’s mind than she had revealed.

Very soon Rollin came back, and he and Virginia, arm in arm as they had lately been in the habit of doing, walked up and down the long hall. It was easy for their talk to settle finally upon Rachel because of the place she was to occupy in the plans which were being made for the purchase of property at the Rectangle.

“Did you ever know of a girl of such really gifted powers in vocal music who was willing to give her life to the people as Rachel is going to do? She is going to give music lessons in the city, have private pupils to make her living, and then give the people in the Rectangle the benefit of her culture and her voice.”

“It is certainly a very good example of self-sacrifice,” replied Rollin a little stiffly.

Virginia looked at him a little sharply. “But don’t you think it is a very unusual example? Can you imagine–” here Virginia named half a dozen famous opera singers–“doing anything of this sort?”

“No, I cannot,” Rollin answered briefly. “Neither can I imagine Miss–” he spoke the name of the girl with the red parasol who had begged Virginia to take the girls to the Rectangle–” doing what you are doing, Virginia.”

“Any more than I can imagine Mr.–” Virginia spoke the name of a young society leader “going about to the clubs doing your work, Rollin.” The two walked on in silence for the length of the hall.

“Coming back to Rachel,” began Virginia, “Rollin, why do you treat her with such a distinct, precise manner? I think, Rollin–pardon me if I hurt you–that she is annoyed by it. You need to be on easy terms. I don’t think Rachel likes this change.”

Rollin suddenly stopped. He seemed deeply agitated. He took his arm from Virginia’s and walked alone to the end of the hall. Then he returned, with his hands behind him, and stopped near his sister and said, “Virginia, have you not learned my secret?”

Virginia looked bewildered, then over her face the unusual color crept, showing that she understood.

“I have never loved any one but Rachel Winslow.” Rollin spoke calmly enough now. “That day she was here when you talked about her refusal to join the concert company, I asked her to be my wife; out there on the avenue. She refused me, as I knew she would. And she gave as her reason the fact that I had no purpose in life, which was true enough. Now that I have a purpose, now that I am a new man, don’t you see, Virginia, how impossible it is for me to say anything? I owe my very conversion to Rachel’s singing. And yet that night while she sang I can honestly say that, for the time being, I never thought of her voice except as God’s message. I believe that all my personal love for her was for the time merged into a personal love to my God and my Saviour.” Rollin was silent, then he went on with more emotion. “I still love her, Virginia. But I do not think she ever could love me.” He stopped and looked his sister in the face with a sad smile.

“I don’t know about that,” said Virginia to herself. She was noting Rollin’s handsome face, his marks of dissipation nearly all gone now, the firm lips showing manhood and courage, the clear eyes looking into hers frankly, the form strong and graceful. Rollin was a man now. Why should not Rachel come to love him in time? Surely the two were well fitted for each other, especially now that their purpose in life was moved by the same Christian force.

Chapter Seventeen

THE next day she went down to the NEWS office to see Edward Norman and arrange the details of her part in the establishment of the paper on its new foundation. Mr. Maxwell was present at this conference, and the three agreed that whatever Jesus would do in detail as editor of a daily paper, He would be guided by the same general principles that directed His conduct as the Saviour of the world.

“I have tried to put down here in concrete form some of the things that it has seemed to me Jesus would do,” said Edward Norman. He read from a paper lying on his desk, and Maxwell was reminded again of his own effort to put into written form his own conception of Jesus’ probable action, and also of Milton Wright’s same attempt in his business.

“I have headed this, ‘What would Jesus do as Edward Norman, editor of a daily newspaper in Raymond?’

“1. He would never allow a sentence or a picture in his paper that could be called bad or coarse or impure in any way.

“2. He would probably conduct the political part of the paper from the standpoint of non-partisan patriotism, always looking upon all political questions in the light of their relation to the Kingdom of God, and advocating measures from the standpoint of their relation to the welfare of the people, always on the basis of ‘What is right?’ never on the basis of ‘What is for the best interests of this or that party?’ In other words, He would treat all political questions as he would treat every other subject, from the standpoint of the advancement of the Kingdom of God on earth.”

Edward Norman looked up from the reading a moment. “You understand that is my opinion of Jesus’ probable action on political matters in a daily paper. I am not passing judgment on other newspaper men who may have a different conception of Jesus’ probable action from mine. I am simply trying to answer honestly, ‘What would Jesus do as Edward Norman?’ And the answer I find is what I have put down.’

“3. The end and aim of a daily paper conducted by Jesus would be to do the will of God. That is, His main purpose in carrying on a newspaper would not be to make money, or gain political influence; but His first and ruling purpose would be to so conduct his paper that it would be evident to all his subscribers that He was trying to seek first the Kingdom of God by means of His paper. This purpose would be as distinct and unquestioned as the purpose of a minister or a missionary or any unselfish martyr in Christian work anywhere.

“4. All questionable advertisements would be impossible.

“5. The relations of Jesus to the employees on the paper would be of the most loving character.”

“So far as I have gone,” said Norman again looking up, “I am of opinion that Jesus would employ practically some form of co-operation that would represent the idea of a mutual interest in a business where all were to move together for the same great end. I am working out such a plan, and I am confident it will be successful. At any rate, once introduce the element of personal love into a business like this, take out the selfish principle of doing it for personal profits to a man or company, and I do not see any way except the most loving personal interest between editors, reporters, pressmen, and all who contribute anything to the life of the paper. And that interest would be expressed not only in the personal love and sympathy but in a sharing with the profits of the business.”

“6. As editor of a daily paper today, Jesus would give large space to the work of the Christian world. He would devote a page possibly to the facts of Reform, of sociological problems, of institutional church work and similar movements.

“7. He would do all in His power in His paper to fight the saloon as an enemy of the human race and an unnecessary part of our civilization. He would do this regardless of public sentiment in the matter and, of course, always regardless of its effect upon His subscription list.”

Again Edward Norman looked up. “I state my honest conviction on this point. Of course, I do not pass judgment on the Christian men who are editing other kinds of papers today. But as I interpret Jesus, I believe He would use the influence of His paper to remove the saloon entirely from the political and social life of the nation.”

“8. Jesus would not issue a Sunday edition.

“9. He would print the news of the world that people ought to know. Among the things they do not need to know, and which would not be published, would be accounts of brutal prize-fights, long accounts of crimes, scandals in private families, or any other human events which in any way would conflict with the first point mentioned in this outline.

“10. If Jesus had the amount of money to use on a paper which we have, He would probably secure the best and strongest Christian men and women to co-operate with him in the matter of contributions. That will be my purpose, as I shall be able to show you in a few days.

“11. Whatever the details of the paper might demand as the paper developed along its definite plan, the main principle that guided it would always be the establishment of the Kingdom of God in the world. This large general principle would necessarily shape all the detail.”

Edward Norman finished reading the plan. He was very thoughtful.

“I have merely sketched a faint outline. I have a hundred ideas for making the paper powerful that I have not thought out fully as yet. This is simply suggestive. I have talked it over with other newspaper men. Some of them say I will have a weak, namby-pamby Sunday-school sheet. If I get out something as good as a Sunday-school it will be pretty good. Why do men, when they want to characterize something as particularly feeble, always use a Sunday-school as a comparison, when they ought to know that the Sunday-school is one of the strongest, most powerful influences in our civilization in this country today? But the paper will not necessarily be weak because it is good. Good things are more powerful than bad. The question with me is largely one of support from the Christian people of Raymond. There are over twenty thousand church members here in this city. If half of them will stand by the NEWS its life is assured. What do you think, Maxwell, of the probability of such support?”

“I don’t know enough about it to give an intelligent answer. I believe in the paper with all my heart. If it lives a year, as Miss Virginia said, there is no telling what it can do. The great thing will be to issue such a paper, as near as we can judge, as Jesus probably would, and put into it all the elements of Christian brains, strength, intelligence and sense; and command respect for freedom from bigotry, fanaticism, narrowness and anything else that is contrary to the spirit of Jesus. Such a paper will call for the best that human thought and action is capable of giving. The greatest minds in the world would have their powers taxed to the utmost to issue a Christian daily.”

“Yes,” Edward Norman spoke humbly. “I shall make a great many mistakes, no doubt. I need a great deal of wisdom. But I want to do as Jesus would. ‘What would He do?’ I have asked it, and shall continue to do so, and abide by the results.”

“I think we are beginning to understand,” said Virginia, “the meaning of that command, ‘Grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.’ I am sure I do not know all that He would do in detail until I know Him better.”

“That is very true,” said Henry Maxwell. “I am beginning to understand that I cannot interpret the probable action of Jesus until I know better what His spirit is. The greatest question in all of human life is summed up when we ask, ‘What would Jesus do?’ if, as we ask it, we also try to answer it from a growth in knowledge of Jesus himself. We must know Jesus before we can imitate Him.”

When the arrangement had been made between Virginia an Edward Norman, he found himself in possession of the sum of five hundred thousand dollars to use for the establishment of a Christian daily paper. When Virginia and Maxwell had gone, Norman closed his door and, alone with the Divine Presence, asked like a child for help from his all-powerful Father. All through his prayer as he kneeled before his desk ran the promise, “If any man lack wisdom, let him ask of God who giveth to all men liberally and upbraideth not, and it shall be given him.” Surely his prayer would be answered, and the kingdom advanced through this instrument of God’s power, this mighty press, which had become so largely degraded to the base uses of man’s avarice and ambition.

Two months went by. They were full of action and of results in the city of Raymond and especially in the First Church. In spite of the approaching heat of the summer season, the after-meeting of the disciples who had made the pledge to do as Jesus would do, continued with enthusiasm and power. Gray had finished his work at the Rectangle, and an outward observer going through the place could not have seen any difference in the old conditions, although there was an actual change in hundreds of lives. But the saloons, dens, hovels, gambling houses, still ran, overflowing their vileness into the lives of fresh victims to take the place of those rescued by the evangelist. And the devil recruited his ranks very fast.

Henry Maxwell did not go abroad. Instead of that, he took the money he had been saving for the trip and quietly arranged for a summer vacation for a whole family living down in the Rectangle, who had never gone outside of the foul district of the tenements. The pastor of the First Church will never forget the week he spent with this family making the arrangements. He went down into the Rectangle one hot day when something of the terrible heat in the horrible tenements was beginning to be felt, and helped the family to the station, and then went with them to a beautiful spot on the coast where, in the home of a Christian woman, the bewildered city tenants breathed for the first time in years the cool salt air, and felt blow about them the pine-scented fragrance of a new lease of life.

There was a sickly babe with the mother, and three other children, one a cripple. The father, who had been out of work until he had been, as he afterwards confessed to Maxwell, several times on the edge of suicide, sat with the baby in his arms during the journey, and when Maxwell started back to Raymond, after seeing the family settled, the man held his hand at parting, and choked with his utterance, and finally broke down, to Maxwell’s great confusion. The mother, a wearied, worn-out woman who had lost three children the year before from a fever scourge in the Rectangle, sat by the car window all the way and drank in the delights of sea and sky and field. It all seemed a miracle to her. And Maxwell, coming back into Raymond at the end of that week, feeling the scorching, sickening heat all the more because of his little taste of the ocean breezes, thanked God for the joy he had witnessed, and entered upon his discipleship with a humble heart, knowing for almost the first time in his life this special kind of sacrifice. For never before had he denied himself his regular summer trip away from the heat of Raymond, whether he felt in any great need of rest or not.

“It is a fact,” he said in reply to several inquiries on the part of his church, “I do not feel in need of a vacation this year. I am very well and prefer to stay here.” It was with a feeling of relief that he succeeded in concealing from every one but his wife what he had done with this other family. He felt the need of doing anything of that sort without display or approval from others.

So the summer came on, and Maxwell grew into a large knowledge of his Lord. The First Church was still swayed by the power of the Spirit. Maxwell marveled at the continuance of His stay. He knew very well that from the beginning nothing but the Spirit’s presence had kept the church from being torn asunder by the remarkable testing it had received of its discipleship. Even now there were many of the members among those who had not taken the pledge, who regarded the whole movement as Mrs. Winslow did, in the nature of a fanatical interpretation of Christian duty, and looked for the return of the old normal condition. Meanwhile the whole body of disciples was under the influence of the Spirit, and the pastor went his way that summer, doing his parish work in great joy, keeping up his meetings with the railroad men as he had promised Alexander Powers, and daily growing into a better knowledge of the Master.

Early one afternoon in August, after a day of refreshing coolness following a long period of heat, Jasper Chase walked to his window in the apartment house on the avenue and looked out.

On his desk lay a pile of manuscript. Since that evening when he had spoken to Rachel Winslow he had not met her. His singularly sensitive nature–sensitive to the point of extreme irritability when he was thwarted–served to thrust him into an isolation that was intensified by his habits as an author.

All through the heat of summer he had been writing. His book was nearly done now. He had thrown himself into its construction with a feverish strength that threatened at any moment to desert him and leave him helpless. He had not forgotten his pledge made with the other church members at the First Church. It had forced itself upon his notice all through his writing, and ever since Rachel had said no to him, he had asked a thousand times, “Would Jesus do this? Would He write this story?” It was a social novel, written in a style that had proved popular. It had no purpose except to amuse. Its moral teaching was not bad, but neither was it Christian in any positive way. Jasper Chase knew that such a story would probably sell. He was conscious of powers in this way that the social world petted and admired. “What would Jesus do?” He felt that Jesus would never write such a book. The question obtruded on him at the most inopportune times. He became irascible over it. The standard of Jesus for an author was too ideal. Of course, Jesus would use His powers to produce something useful or helpful, or with a purpose. What was he, Jasper Chase, writing this novel for? Why, what nearly every writer wrote for–money, money, and fame as a writer. There was no secret with him that he was writing this new story with that object. He was not poor, and so had no great temptation to write for money. But he was urged on by his desire for fame as much as anything. He must write this kind of matter. But what would Jesus do? The question plagued him even more than Rachel’s refusal. Was he going to break his promise? “Did the promise mean much after all?” he asked.

As he stood at the window, Rollin Page came out of the club house just opposite. Jasper noted his handsome face and noble figure as he started down the street. He went back to his desk and turned over some papers there. Then he came back to the window. Rollin was walking down past the block and Rachel Winslow was walking beside him. Rollin must have overtaken her as she was coming from Virginia’s that afternoon.

Jasper watched the two figures until they disappeared in the crowd on the walk. Then he turned to his desk and began to write. When he had finished the last page of the last chapter of his book it was nearly dark. “What would Jesus do?” He had finally answered the question by denying his Lord. It grew darker in his room. He had deliberately chosen his course, urged on by his disappointment and loss.

Chapter Eighteen

“What is that to thee? Follow thou me.”

WHEN Rollin started down the street the afternoon that Jasper stood looking out of his window he was not thinking of Rachel Winslow and did not expect to see her anywhere. He had come suddenly upon her as he turned into the avenue and his heart had leaped up at the sight of her. He walked along by her now, rejoicing after all in a little moment of this earthly love he could not drive out of his life.

“I have just been over to see Virginia,” said Rachel. “She tells me the arrangements are nearly completed for the transfer of the Rectangle property.”

“Yes. It has been a tedious case in the courts. Did Virginia show you all the plans and specifications for building?”

“We looked over a good many. It is astonishing to me where Virginia has managed to get all her ideas about this work.”

“Virginia knows more now about Arnold Toynbee and East End London and Institutional Church work in America than a good many professional slum workers. She has been spending nearly all summer in getting information.” Rollin was beginning to feel more at ease as they talked over this coming work of humanity. It was safe, common ground.

“What have you been doing all summer? I have not seen much of you,” Rachel suddenly asked, and then her face warmed with its quick flush of tropical color as if she might have implied too much interest in Rollin or too much regret at not seeing him oftener.

“I have been busy,” replied Rollin briefly.

“Tell me something about it,” persisted Rachel. “You say so little. Have I a right to ask?”

She put the question very frankly, turning toward Rollin in real earnest.

“Yes, certainly,” he replied, with a graceful smile. “I am not so certain that I can tell you much. I have been trying to find some way to reach the men I once knew and win them into more useful lives.”

He stopped suddenly as if he were almost afraid to go on. Rachel did not venture to suggest anything.

“I have been a member of the same company to which you and Virginia belong,” continued Rollin, beginning again. “I have made the pledge to do as I believe Jesus would do, and it is in trying to answer this question that I have been doing my work.”

“That is what I do not understand. Virginia told me about the other. It seems wonderful to think that you are trying to keep that pledge with us. But what can you do with the club men?”

“You have asked me a direct question and I shall have to answer it now,” replied Rollin, smiling again. “You see, I asked myself after that night at the tent, you remember” (he spoke hurriedly and his voice trembled a little), “what purpose I could now have in my life to redeem it, to satisfy my thought of Christian discipleship? And the more I thought of it, the more I was driven to a place where I knew I must take up the cross. Did you ever think that of all the neglected beings in our social system none are quite so completely left alone as the fast young men who fill the clubs and waste their time and money as I used to? The churches look after the poor, miserable creatures like those in the Rectangle; they make some effort to reach the working man, they have a large constituency among the average salary-earning people, they send money and missionaries to the foreign heathen, but the fashionable, dissipated young men around town, the club men, are left out of all plans for reaching and Christianizing. And yet no class of people need it more. I said to myself: ‘I know these men, their good and their bad qualities. I have been one of them. I am not fitted to reach the Rectangle people. I do not know how. But I think I could possibly reach some of the young men and boys who have money and time to spend.’ So that is what I have been trying to do. When I asked as you did, What would Jesus do?’ that was my answer. It has been also my cross.”

Rollin’s voice was so low on this last sentence that Rachel had difficulty in hearing him above the noise around them, But she knew what he had said. She wanted to ask what his methods were. But she did not know how to ask him. Her interest in his plan was larger than mere curiosity. Rollin Page was so different now from the fashionable young man who had asked her to be his wife that she could not help thinking of him and talking with him as if he were an entirely new acquaintance.

They had turned off the avenue and were going up the street to Rachel’s home. It was the same street where Rollin had asked Rachel why she could not love him. They were both stricken with a sudden shyness as they went on. Rachel had not forgotten that day and Rollin could not. She finally broke a long silence by asking what she had not found words for before.

“In your work with the club men, with your old acquaintances, what sort of reception do they give you? How do you approach them? What do they say?”

Rollin was relieved when Rachel spoke. He answered quickly: “Oh, it depends on the man. A good many of them think I am a crank. I have kept my membership up and am in good standing in that way. I try to be wise and not provoke any unnecessary criticism. But you would be surprised to know how many of the men have responded to my appeal. I could hardly make you believe that only a few nights ago a dozen men became honestly and earnestly engaged in a conversation over religious matters. I have had the great joy of seeing some of the men give up bad habits and begin a new life. ‘What would Jesus do?’ I keep asking it. The answer comes slowly, for I am feeling my way slowly. One thing I have found out. The men are not fighting shy of me. I think that is a good sign. Another thing: I have actually interested some of them in the Rectangle work, and when it is started up they will give something to help make it more powerful. And in addition to all the rest, I have found a way to save several of the young fellows from going to the bad in gambling.”

Rollin spoke with enthusiasm. His face was transformed by his interest in the subject which had now become a part of his real life. Rachel again noted the strong, manly tone of his speech. With it all she knew there was a deep, underlying seriousness which felt the burden of the cross even while carrying it with joy. The next time she spoke it was with a swift feeling of justice due to Rollin and his new life.

“Do you remember I reproached you once for not having any purpose worth living for?” she asked, while her beautiful face seemed to Rollin more beautiful than ever when he had won sufficient self-control to look up. “I want to say, I feel the need of saying, in justice to you now, that I honor you for your courage and your obedience to the promise you have made as you interpret the promise. The life you are living is a noble one.”

Rollin trembled. His agitation was greater than he could control. Rachel could not help seeing it. They walked along in silence. At last Rollin said: “I thank you. It has been worth more to me than I can tell you to hear you say that.” He looked into her face for one moment. She read his love for her in that look, but he did not speak.

When they separated Rachel went into the house and, sitting down in her room, she put her face in her hands and said to herself: “I am beginning to know what it means to be loved by a noble man. I shall love Rollin Page after all. What am I saying! Rachel Winslow, have you forgotten–“

She rose and walked back and forth. She was deeply moved. Nevertheless, it was evident to herself that her emotion was not that of regret or sorrow. Somehow a glad new joy had come to her. She had entered another circle of experience, and later in the day she rejoiced with a very strong and sincere gladness that her Christian discipleship found room in this crisis for her feeling. It was indeed a part of it, for if she was beginning to love Rollin Page it was the Christian man she had begun to love; the other never would have moved her to this great change.

And Rollin, as he went back, treasured a hope that had been a stranger to him since Rachel had said no that day. In that hope he went on with his work as the days sped on, and at no time was he more successful in reaching and saving his old acquaintances than in the time that followed that chance meeting with Rachel Winslow.

The summer had gone and Raymond was once more facing the rigor of her winter season. Virginia had been able to accomplish a part of her plan for “capturing the Rectangle,” as she called it. But the building of houses in the field, the transforming of its bleak, bare aspect into an attractive park, all of which was included in her plan, was a work too large to be completed that fall after she had secured the property. But a million dollars in the hands of a person who truly wants to do with it as Jesus would, ought to accomplish wonders for humanity in a short time, and Henry Maxwell, going over to the scene of the new work one day after a noon hour with the shop men, was amazed to see how much had been done outwardly.

Yet he walked home thoughtfully, and on his way he could not avoid the question of the continual problem thrust upon his notice by the saloon. How much had been done for the Rectangle after all? Even counting Virginia’s and Rachel’s work and Mr. Gray’s, where had it actually counted in any visible quantity? Of course, he said to himself, the redemptive work begun and carried on by the Holy Spirit in His wonderful displays of power in the First Church and in the tent meetings had had its effect upon the life of Raymond. But as he walked past saloon after saloon and noted the crowds going in and coming out of them, as he saw the wretched dens, as many as ever apparently, as he caught the brutality and squalor and open misery and degradation on countless faces of men and women and children, he sickened at the sight. He found himself asking how much cleansing could a million dollars poured into this cesspool accomplish? Was not the living source of nearly all the human misery they sought to relieve untouched as long as the saloons did their deadly but legitimate work? What could even such unselfish Christian discipleship as Virginia’s and Rachel’s do to lessen the stream of vice and crime so long as the great spring of vice and crime flowed as deep and strong as ever? Was it not a practical waste of beautiful lives for these young women to throw themselves into this earthly hell, when for every soul rescued by their sacrifice the saloon made two more that needed rescue?

He could not escape the question. It was the same that Virginia had put to Rachel in her statement that, in her opinion, nothing really permanent would ever be done until the saloon was taken out of the Rectangle. Henry Maxwell went back to his parish work that afternoon with added convictions on the license business.

But if the saloon was a factor in the problem of the life of Raymond, no less was the First Church and its little company of disciples who had pledged to do as Jesus would do. Henry Maxwell, standing at the very centre of the movement, was not in a position to judge of its power as some one from the outside might have done. But Raymond itself felt the touch in very many ways, not knowing all the reasons for the change.

The winter was gone and the year was ended, the year which Henry Maxwell had fixed as the time during which the pledge should be kept to do as Jesus would do. Sunday, the anniversary of that one a year ago, was in many ways the most remarkable day that the First Church ever knew. It was more important than the disciples in the First Church realized. The year had made history so fast and so serious that the people were not yet able to grasp its significance. And the day itself which marked the completion of a whole year of such discipleship was characterized by such revelations and confessions that the immediate actors in the events themselves could not understand the value of what had been done, or the relation of their trial to the rest of the churches and cities of the country.

Chapter Nineteen

[Letter from Rev. Calvin Bruce, D.D., of the Nazareth Avenue Church, Chicago, to Rev. Philip A. Caxton, D.D., New York City.]

“My Dear Caxton:

“It is late Sunday night, but I am so intensely awake and so overflowing with what I have seen and heard that I feel driven to write you now some account of the situation in Raymond as I have been studying it, and as it has apparently come to a climax today. So this is my only excuse for writing so extended a letter at this time.

“You remember Henry Maxwell in the Seminary. I think you said the last time I visited you in New York that you had not seen him since we graduated. He was a refined, scholarly fellow, you remember, and when he was called to the First Church of Raymond within a year after leaving the Seminary, I said to my wife, ‘Raymond has made a good choice. Maxwell will satisfy them as a sermonizer.’ He has been here eleven years, and I understand that up to a year ago he had gone on in the regular course of the ministry, giving good satisfaction and drawing good congregations. His church was counted the largest and wealthiest church in Raymond. All the best people attended it, and most of them belonged. The quartet choir was famous for its music, especially for its soprano, Miss Winslow, of whom I shall have more to say; and, on the whole, as I understand the facts, Maxwell was in a comfortable berth, with a very good salary, pleasant surroundings, a not very exacting parish of refined, rich, respectable people–such a church and parish as nearly all the young men of the seminary in our time looked forward to as very desirable.

“But a year ago today Maxwell came into his church on Sunday morning, and at the close of the service made the astounding proposition that the members of his church volunteer for a year not to do anything without first asking the question, ‘What would Jesus do?’ and, after answering it, to do what in their honest judgment He would do, regardless of what the result might be to them.

“The effect of this proposition, as it has been met and obeyed by a number of members of the church, has been so remarkable that, as you know, the attention of the whole country has been directed to the movement. I call it a ‘movement’ because from the action taken today, it seems probable that what has been tried here will reach out into the other churches and cause a revolution in methods, but more especially in a new definition of Christian discipleship.

“In the first place, Maxwell tells me he was astonished at the response to his proposition. Some of the most prominent members in the church made the promise to do as Jesus would. Among them were Edward Norman, editor of the DAILY NEWS, which has made such a sensation in the newspaper world; Milton Wright, one of the leading merchants in Raymond; Alexander Powers, whose action in the matter of the railroads against the interstate commerce laws made such a stir about a year ago; Miss Page, one of Raymond’s leading society heiresses, who has lately dedicated her entire fortune, as I understand, to the Christian daily paper and the work of reform in the slum district known as the Rectangle; and Miss Winslow, whose reputation as a singer is now national, but who in obedience to what she has decided to be Jesus’ probable action, has devoted her talent to volunteer work among the girls and women who make up a large part of the city’s worst and most abandoned population.

“In addition to these well-known people has been a gradually increasing number of Christians from the First Church and lately from other churches of Raymond. A large proportion of these volunteers who pledged themselves to do as Jesus would do comes from the Endeavor societies. The young people say that they have already embodied in their society pledge the same principle in the words, ‘I promise Him that I will strive to do whatever He would have me do.’ This is not exactly what is included in Maxwell’s proposition, which is that the disciple shall try to do what Jesus would probably do in the disciple’s place. But the result of an honest obedience to either pledge, he claims, will be practically the same, and he is not surprised that the largest numbers have joined the new discipleship from the Endeavor Society.

“I am sure the first question you will ask is, ‘What has been the result of this attempt? What has it accomplished or how has it changed in any way the regular life of the church or the community?’

“You already know something, from reports of Raymond that have gone over the country, what the events have been. But one needs to come here and learn something of the changes in individual lives, and especially the change in the church life, to realize all that is meant by this following of Jesus’ steps so literally. To tell all that would be to write a long story or series of stories. I am not in a position to do that, but I can give you some idea perhaps of what has been done as told me by friends here and by Maxwell himself.

“The result of the pledge upon the First Church has been two-fold. It has brought upon a spirit of Christian fellowship which Maxwell tells me never before existed, and which now impresses him as being very nearly what the Christian fellowship of the apostolic churches must have been; and it has divided the church into two distinct groups of members. Those who have not taken the pledge regard the others as foolishly literal in their attempt to imitate the example of Jesus. Some of them have drawn out of the church and no longer attend, or they have removed their membership entirely to other churches. Some are an element of internal strife, and I heard rumors of an attempt on their part to force Maxwell’s resignation. I do not know that this element is very strong in the church. It has been held in check by a wonderful continuance of spiritual power, which dates from the first Sunday the pledge was taken a year ago, and also by the fact that so many of the most prominent members have been identified with the movement.

“The effect on Maxwell is very marked. I heard him preach in our State Association four years ago. He impressed me at the time as having considerable power in dramatic delivery, of which he himself was somewhat conscious. His sermon was well written and abounded in what the Seminary students used to call ‘fine passages.’ The effect of it was what an average congregation would call ‘pleasing.’ This morning I heard Maxwell preach again, for the first time since then. I shall speak of that farther on. He is not the same man. He gives me the impression of one who has passed through a crisis of revolution. He tells me this revolution is simply a new definition of Christian discipleship. He certainly has changed many of his old habits and many of his old views. His attitude on the saloon question is radically opposite to the one he entertained a year ago. And in his entire thought of the ministry, his pulpit and parish work, I find he has made a complete change. So far as I can understand, the idea that is moving him on now is the idea that the Christianity of our times must represent a more literal imitation of Jesus, and especially in the element of suffering. He quoted to me in the course of our conversation several times the verses in Peter: ‘For even hereunto were ye called, because Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example, that ye would follow His steps’; and he seems filled with the conviction that what our churches need today more than anything else is this factor of joyful suffering for Jesus in some form. I do not know as I agree with him, altogether; but, my dear Caxton, it is certainly astonishing to note the results of this idea as they have impressed themselves upon this city and this church.

“You ask how about the results on the individuals who have made this pledge and honestly tried to be true to it. Those results are, as I have said, a part of individual history and cannot be told in detail. Some of them I can give you so that you may see that this form of discipleship is not merely sentiment or fine posing for effect.

“For instance, take the case of Mr. Powers, who was superintendent of the machine shops of the L. and T. R. R. here. When he acted upon the evidence which incriminated the road he lost his position, and more than that, I learn from my friends here, his family and social relations have become so changed that he and his family no longer appear in public. They have dropped out of the social circle where once they were so prominent. By the way, Caxton, I understand in this connection that the Commission, for one reason or another, postponed action on this case, and it is now rumored that the L. and T. R. R. will pass into a receiver’s hands very soon. The president of the road who, according to the evidence submitted by Powers, was the principal offender, has resigned, and complications which have risen since point to the receivership. Meanwhile, the superintendent has gone back to his old work as a telegraph operator. I met him at the church yesterday. He impressed me as a man who had, like Maxwell, gone through a crisis in character. I could not help thinking of him as being good material for the church of the first century when the disciples had all things in common.

“Or take the case of Mr. Norman, editor of the DAILY NEWS. He risked his entire fortune in obedience to what he believed was Jesus’ action, and revolutionized his entire conduct of the paper at the risk of a failure. I send you a copy of yesterday’s paper. I want you to read it carefully. To my mind it is one of the most interesting and remarkable papers ever printed in the United States. It is open to criticism, but what could any mere man attempt in this line that would be free from criticism. Take it all in all, it is so far above the ordinary conception of a daily paper that I am amazed at the result. He tells me that the paper is beginning to be read more and more by the Christian people of the city. He was very confident of its final success. Read his editorial on the money questions, also the one on the coming election in Raymond when the question of license will again be an issue. Both articles are of the best from his point of view. He says he never begins an editorial or, in fact, any part of his newspaper work, without first asking, ‘What would Jesus do?’ The result is certainly apparent.

“Then there is Milton Wright, the merchant. He has, I am told, so revolutionized his business that no man is more beloved today in Raymond. His own clerks and employees have an affection for him that is very touching. During the winter, while he was lying dangerously ill at his home, scores of clerks volunteered to watch and help in any way possible, and his return to his store was greeted with marked demonstrations. All this has been brought about by the element of personal love introduced into the business. This love is not mere words, but the business itself is carried on under a system of co-operation that is not a patronizing recognition of inferiors, but a real sharing in the whole business. Other men on the street look upon Milton Wright as odd. It is a fact, however, that while he has lost heavily in some directions, he has increased his business, and is today respected and honored as one of the best and most successful merchants in Raymond.

“And there is Miss Winslow. She has chosen to give her great talent to the poor of the city. Her plans include a Musical Institute where choruses and classes in vocal music shall be a feature. She is enthusiastic over her life work. In connection with her friend Miss Page she has planned a course in music which, if carried out, will certainly do much to lift up the lives of the people down there. I am not too old, dear Caxton, to be interested in the romantic side of much that has also been tragic here in Raymond, and I must tell you that it is well understood here that Miss Winslow expects to be married this spring to a brother of Miss Page who was once a society leader and club man, and who was converted in a tent where his wife-that-is-to-be took an active part in the service. I don’t know all the details of this little romance, but I imagine there is a story wrapped up in it, and it would make interesting reading if we only knew it all.

“These are only a few illustrations of results in individual lives owing to obedience to the pledge. I meant to have spoken of President Marsh of Lincoln College. He is a graduate of my alma mater and I knew him slightly when I was in the senior year. He has taken an active part in the recent municipal campaign, and his influence in the city is regarded as a very large factor in the coming election. He impressed me, as did all the other disciples in this movement, as having fought out some hard questions, and as having taken up some real burdens that have caused and still do cause that suffering of which Henry Maxwell speaks, a suffering that does not eliminate, but does appear to intensify, a positive and practical joy.”

Chapter Twenty

“BUT I am prolonging this letter, possibly to your weariness. I am unable to avoid the feeling of fascination which my entire stay here has increased. I want to tell you something of the meeting in the First Church today.

“As I said, I heard Maxwell preach. At his earnest request I had preached for him the Sunday before, and this was the first time I had heard him since the Association meeting four years ago. His sermon this morning was as different from his sermon then as if it had been thought out and preached by some one living on another planet. I was profoundly touched. I believe I actually shed tears once. Others in the congregation were moved like myself. His text was: ‘What is that to thee? Follow thou Me.’ It was a most unusually impressive appeal to the Christians of Raymond to obey Jesus’ teachings and follow in His steps regardless of what others might do. I cannot give you even the plan of the sermon. It would take too long. At the close of the service there was the usual after meeting that has become a regular feature of the First Church. Into this meeting have come all those who made the pledge to do as Jesus would do, and the time is spent in mutual fellowship, confession, question as to what Jesus would do in special cases, and prayer that the one great guide of every disciple’s conduct may be the Holy Spirit.

“Maxwell asked me to come into this meeting. Nothing in all my ministerial life, Caxton, has so moved me as that meeting. I never felt the Spirit’s presence so powerfully. It was a meeting of reminiscences and of the most loving fellowship. I was irresistibly driven in thought back to the first years of Christianity. There was something about all this that was apostolic in its simplicity and Christ imitation.

“I asked questions. One that seemed to arouse more interest than any other was in regard to the extent of the Christian disciple’s sacrifice of personal property. Maxwell tells me that so far no one has interpreted the spirit of Jesus in such a way as to abandon his earthly possessions, give away of his wealth, or in any literal way imitate the Christians of the order, for example, of St. Francis of Assisi. It was the unanimous consent, however, that if any disciple should feel that Jesus in his own particular case would do that, there could be only one answer to the question. Maxwell admitted that he was still to a certain degree uncertain as to Jesus’ probable action when it came to the details of household living, the possession of wealth, the holding of certain luxuries. It is, however, very evident that many of these disciples have repeatedly carried their obedience to Jesus to the extreme limit, regardless of financial loss. There is no lack of courage or consistency at this point.

“It is also true that some of the business men who took the pledge have lost great sums of money in this imitation of Jesus, and many have, like Alexander Powers, lost valuable positions owing to the impossibility of doing what they had been accustomed to do and at the same time what they felt Jesus would do in the same place. In connection with these cases it is pleasant to record the fact that many who have suffered in this way have been at once helped financially by those who still have means. In this respect I think it is true that these disciples have all things in common. Certainly such scenes as I witnessed at the First Church at that after service this morning I never saw in my church or in any other. I never dreamed that such Christian fellowship could exist in this age of the world. I was almost incredulous as to the witness of my own senses. I still seem to be asking myself if this is the close of the nineteenth century in America.

“But now, dear friend, I come to the real cause of this letter, the real heart of the whole question as the First Church of Raymond has forced it upon me. Before the meeting closed today steps were taken to secure the co-operation of all other Christian disciples in this country. I think Maxwell took this step after long deliberation. He said as much to me one day when we were discussing the effect of this movement upon the church in general.

“‘Why,’ he said, ‘suppose that the church membership generally in this country made this pledge and lived up to it! What a revolution it would cause in Christendom! But why not? Is it any more than the disciple ought to do? Has he followed Jesus, unless he is willing to do this? Is the test of discipleship any less today than it was in Jesus’ time?’

“I do not know all that preceded or followed his thought of what ought to be done outside of Raymond, but the idea crystallized today in a plan to secure the fellowship of all the Christians in America. The churches, through their pastors, will be asked to form disciple gatherings like the one in the First Church. Volunteers will be called for in the great body of church members in the United States, who will promise to do as Jesus would do. Maxwell spoke particularly of the result of such general action on the saloon question. He is terribly in earnest over this. He told me that there was no question in his mind that the saloon would be beaten in Raymond at the election now near at hand. If so, they could go on with some courage to do the redemptive work begun by the evangelist and now taken up by the disciples in his own church. If the saloon triumphs again there will be a terrible and, as he thinks, unnecessary waste of Christian sacrifice. But, however we differ on that point, he convinced his church that the time had come for a fellowship with other Christians. Surely, if the First Church could work such changes in society and its surroundings, the church in general if combining such a fellowship, not of creed but of conduct, ought to stir the entire nation to a higher life and a new conception of Christian following.

“This is a grand idea, Caxton, but right here is where I find my self hesitating. I do not deny that the Christian disciple ought to follow Christ’s steps as closely as these here in Raymond have tried to do. But I cannot avoid asking what the result would be if I ask my church in Chicago to do it. I am writing this after feeling the solemn, profound touch of the Spirit’s presence, and I confess to you, old friend, that I cannot call up in my church a dozen prominent business or professional men who would make this trial at the risk of all they hold dear. Can you do any better in your church? What are we to say? That the churches would not respond to the call: ‘Come and suffer?’ Is our standard of Christian discipleship a wrong one? Or are we possibly deceiving ourselves, and would we be agreeably disappointed if we once asked our people to take such a pledge faithfully? The actual results of the pledge as obeyed here in Raymond are enough to make any pastor tremble, and at the same time long with yearning that they might occur in his own parish. Certainly never have I seen a church so signally blessed by the Spirit as this one. But–am I myself ready to take this pledge? I ask the question honestly, and I dread to face an honest answer. I know well enough that I should have to change very much in my life if I undertook to follow His steps so closely. I have called myself a Christian for many years. For the past ten years I have enjoyed a life that has had comparatively little suffering in it. I am, honestly I say it, living at a long distance from municipal problems and the life of the poor, the degraded and the abandoned. What would the obedience to this pledge demand of me? I hesitate to answer. My church is wealthy, full of well-to-do, satisfied people. The standard of their discipleship is, I am aware, not of a nature to respond to the call of suffering or personal loss. I say: ‘I am aware.’ I may be mistaken. I may have erred in not stirring their deeper life. Caxton, my friend, I have spoken my inmost thought to you. Shall I go back to my people next Sunday and stand up before them in my large city church and say: ‘Let us follow Jesus closer; let us walk in His steps where it will cost us something more than it is costing us now; let us pledge not to do anything without first asking: ‘What would Jesus do?’ If I should go before them with that message, it would be a strange and startling one to them. But why? Are we not ready to follow Him all the way? What is it to be a follower of Jesus? What does it mean to imitate Him? What does it mean to walk in His steps?”

The Rev. Calvin Bruce, D. D., of the Nazareth Avenue Church, Chicago, let his pen fall on the table. He had come to the parting of the ways, and his question, he felt sure, was the question of many and many a man in the ministry and in the church. He went to his window and opened it. He was oppressed with the weight of his convictions and he felt almost suffocated with the air in the room. He wanted to see the stars and feel the breath of the world.

The night was very still. The clock in the First Church was just striking midnight. As it finished a clear, strong voice down in the direction of the Rectangle came floating up to him as if borne on radiant pinions.

It was a voice of one of Gray’s old converts, a night watchman at the packing houses, who sometimes solaced his lonesome hours by a verse or two of some familiar hymn:

“Must Jesus bear the cross alone
And all the world go free?
No, there’s a cross for every one, And there’s a cross for me.”

The Rev. Calvin Bruce turned away from the window and, after a little hesitation, he kneeled. “What would Jesus do?” That was the burden of his prayer. Never had he yielded himself so completely to the Spirit’s searching revealing of Jesus. He was on his knees a long time. He retired and slept fitfully with many awakenings. He rose before it was clear dawn, and threw open his window again. As the light in the east grew stronger he repeated to himself: “What would Jesus do? Shall I follow His steps?”

The sun rose and flooded the city with its power. When shall the dawn of a new discipleship usher in the conquering triumph of a closer walk with Jesus? When shall Christendom tread more closely the path he made?

“It is the way the Master trod; Shall not the servant tread it still?”

Chapter Twenty-one

“Master, I will follow Thee whithersoever Thou goest.”

THE Saturday afternoon matinee at the Auditorium in Chicago was just over and the usual crowd was struggling to get to its carriage before any one else. The Auditorium attendant was shouting out the numbers of different carriages and the carriage doors were slamming as the horses were driven rapidly up to the curb, held there impatiently by the drivers who had shivered long in the raw east wind, and then let go to plunge for a few minutes into the river of vehicles that tossed under the elevated railway and finally went whirling off up the avenue.

“Now then, 624,” shouted the Auditorium attendant; “624!” he repeated, and there dashed up to the curb a splendid span of black horses attached to a carriage having the monogram, “C. R. S.” in gilt letters on the panel of the door.

Two girls stepped out of the crowd towards the carriage. The older one had entered and taken her seat and the attendant was still holding the door open for the younger, who stood hesitating on the curb.

“Come, Felicia! What are you waiting for! I shall freeze to death!” called the voice from the carriage.

The girl outside of the carriage hastily unpinned a bunch of English violets from her dress and handed them to a small boy who was standing shivering on the edge of the sidewalk almost under the horses’ feet. He took them, with a look of astonishment and a “Thank ye, lady!” and instantly buried a very grimy face in the bunch of perfume. The girl stepped into the carriage, the door shut with the incisive bang peculiar to well-made carriages of this sort, and in a few moments the coachman was speeding the horses rapidly up one of the boulevards.

“You are always doing some queer thing or other, Felicia,” said the older girl as the carriage whirled on past the great residences already brilliantly lighted.

“Am I? What have I done that is queer now, Rose?” asked the other, looking up suddenly and turning her head towards her sister.

“Oh, giving those violets to that boy! He looked as if he needed a good hot supper more than a bunch of violets. It’s a wonder you didn’t invite him home with us. I shouldn’t have been surprised if you had. You are always doing such queer things.”

“Would it be queer to invite a boy like that to come to the house and get a hot supper?” Felicia asked the question softly and almost as if she were alone.

“‘Queer’ isn’t just the word, of course,” replied Rose indifferently. “It would be what Madam Blanc calls ‘outre.’ Decidedly. Therefore you will please not invite him or others like him to hot suppers because I suggested it. Oh, dear! I’m awfully tired.”

She yawned, and Felicia silently looked out of the window in the door.

“The concert was stupid and the violinist was simply a bore. I don’t see how you could sit so still through it all,” Rose exclaimed a little impatiently.

“I liked the music,” answered Felicia quietly.

“You like anything. I never saw a girl with so little critical taste.”

Felicia colored slightly, but would not answer. Rose yawned again, and then hummed a fragment of a popular song. Then she exclaimed abruptly: “I’m sick of ‘most everything. I hope the ‘Shadows of London’ will be exciting tonight.”

“The ‘Shadows of Chicago,'” murmured Felicia. “The ‘Shadows of Chicago!’ The ‘Shadows of London,’ the play, the great drama with its wonderful scenery, the sensation of New York for two months. You know we have a box with the Delanos tonight.”

Felicia turned her face towards her sister. Her great brown eyes were very expressive and not altogether free from a sparkle of luminous heat.

“And yet we never weep over the real thing on the actual stage of life. What are the ‘Shadows of London’ on the stage to the shadows of London or Chicago as they really exist? Why don’t we get excited over the facts as they are?”

“Because the actual people are dirty and disagreeable and it’s too much bother, I suppose,” replied Rose carelessly. “Felicia, you can never reform the world. What’s the use? We’re not to blame for the poverty and misery. There have always been rich and poor; and there always will be. We ought to be thankful we’re rich.”

“Suppose Christ had gone on that principle,” replied Felicia, with unusual persistence. “Do you remember Dr. Bruce’s sermon on that verse a few Sundays ago: ‘For ye know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though he was rich yet for our sakes he became poor, that ye through his poverty might become rich’?”

“I remember it well enough,” said Rose with some petulance, “and didn’t Dr. Bruce go on to say that there is no blame attached to people who have wealth if they are kind and give to the needs of the poor? And I am sure that he himself is pretty comfortably settled. He never gives up his luxuries just because some people go hungry. What good would it do if he did? I tell you, Felicia, there will always be poor and rich in spite of all we can do. Ever since Rachel Winslow has written about those queer doings in Raymond you have upset the whole family. People can’t live at that concert pitch all the time. You see if Rachel doesn’t give it up soon. It’s a great pity she doesn’t come to Chicago and sing in the Auditorium concerts. She has received an offer. I’m going to write and urge her to come. I’m just dying to hear her sing.”

Felicia looked out of the window and was silent. The carriage rolled on past two blocks of magnificent private residences and turned into a wide driveway under a covered passage, and the sisters hurried into the house. It was an elegant mansion of gray stone furnished like a palace, every corner of it warm with the luxury of paintings, sculpture, art and modern refinement.

The owner of it all, Mr. Charles R. Sterling, stood before an open grate fire smoking a cigar. He had made his money in grain speculation and railroad ventures, and was reputed to be worth something over two millions. His wife was a sister of Mrs. Winslow of Raymond. She had been an invalid for several years. The two girls, Rose and Felicia, were the only children. Rose was twenty-one years old, fair, vivacious, educated in a fashionable college, just entering society and already somewhat cynical and indifferent. A very hard young lady to please, her father said, sometimes playfully, sometimes sternly. Felicia was nineteen, with a tropical beauty somewhat like her cousin, Rachel Winslow, with warm, generous impulses just waking into Christian feeling, capable of all sorts of expression, a puzzle to her father, a source of irritation to her mother and with a great unsurveyed territory of thought and action in herself, of which she was more than dimly conscious. There was that in Felicia that would easily endure any condition in life if only the liberty to act fully on her conscientious convictions were granted her.

“Here’s a letter for you, Felicia,” said Mr. Sterling, handing it to her.

Felicia sat down and instantly opened the letter, saying as she did so: “It’s from Rachel.”

“Well, what’s the latest news from Raymond?” asked Mr. Sterling, taking his cigar out of his mouth and looking at Felicia with half-shut eyes, as if he were studying her.

“Rachel says Dr. Bruce has been staying in Raymond for two Sundays and has seemed very much interested in Mr. Maxwell’s pledge in the First Church.”

“What does Rachel say about herself?” asked Rose, who was lying on a couch almost buried under elegant cushions.

“She is still singing at the Rectangle. Since the tent meetings closed she sings in an old hall until the new buildings which her friend, Virginia Page, is putting up are completed.

“I must write Rachel to come to Chicago and visit us. She ought not to throw away her voice in that railroad town upon all those people who don’t appreciate her.”

Mr. Sterling lighted a new cigar and Rose exclaimed: “Rachel is so queer. She might set Chicago wild with her voice if she sang in the Auditorium. And there she goes on throwing it away on people who don’t know what they are hearing.”

“Rachel won’t come here unless she can do it and keep her pledge at the same time,” said Felicia, after a pause.

“What pledge?” Mr. Sterling asked the question and then added hastily: “Oh, I know, yes! A very peculiar thing that. Alexander Powers used to be a friend of mine. We learned telegraphy in the same office. Made a great sensation when he resigned and handed over that evidence to the Interstate Commerce Commission. And he’s back at his telegraph again. There have been queer doings in Raymond during the past year. I wonder what Dr. Bruce thinks of it on the whole. I must have a talk with him about it.”

“He is at home and will preach tomorrow,” said Felicia. “Perhaps he will tell us something about it.”

There was silence for a minute. Then Felicia said abruptly, as if she had gone on with a spoken thought to some invisible hearer: “And what if he should propose the same pledge to the Nazareth Avenue Church?”

“Who? What are you talking about?” asked her father a little sharply.

“About Dr. Bruce. I say, what if he should propose to our church what Mr. Maxwell proposed to his, and ask for volunteers who would pledge themselves to do everything after asking the question, ‘What would Jesus do?'”

“There’s no danger of it,” said Rose, rising suddenly from the couch as the tea-bell rang.

“It’s a very impracticable movement, to my mind,” said Mr. Sterling shortly.

“I understand from Rachel’s letter that the Raymond church is going to make an attempt to extend the idea of the pledge to other churches. If it succeeds it will certainly make great changes in the churches and in people’s lives,” said Felicia.

“Oh, well, let’s have some tea first!” said Rose, walking into the dining-room. Her father and Felicia followed, and the meal proceeded in silence. Mrs. Sterling had her meals served in her room. Mr. Sterling was preoccupied. He ate very little and excused himself early, and although it was Saturday night, he remarked as he went out that he should be down town on some special business.

“Don’t you think father looks very much disturbed lately?” asked Felicia a little while after he had gone out.

“Oh, I don’t know! I hadn’t noticed anything unusual,” replied Rose. After a silence she said: “Are you going to the play tonight, Felicia? Mrs. Delano will be here at half past seven. I think you ought to go. She will feel hurt if you refuse.”

“I’ll go. I don’t care about it. I can see shadows enough without going to the play.”

“That’s a doleful remark for a girl nineteen years old to make,” replied Rose. “But then you’re queer in your ideas anyhow, Felicia. If you are going up to see mother, tell her I’ll run in after the play if she is still awake.”

Chapter Twenty-two

FELICIA started off to the play not very happy, but she was familiar with that feeling, only sometimes she was more unhappy than at others. Her feeling expressed itself tonight by a withdrawal into herself. When the company was seated in the box and the curtain had gone up Felicia was back of the others and remained for the evening by herself. Mrs. Delano, as chaperon for half a dozen young ladies, understood Felicia well enough to know that she was “queer,” as Rose so often said, and she made no attempt to draw her out of her corner. And so the girl really experienced that night by herself one of the feelings that added to the momentum that was increasing the coming on of her great crisis.

The play was an English melodrama, full of startling situations, realistic scenery and unexpected climaxes. There was one scene in the third act that impressed even Rose Sterling.

It was midnight on Blackfriars Bridge. The Thames flowed dark and forbidden below. St. Paul’s rose through the dim light imposing, its dome seeming to float above the buildings surrounding it. The figure of a child came upon the bridge and stood there for a moment peering about as if looking for some one. Several persons were crossing the bridge, but in one of the recesses about midway of the river a woman stood, leaning out over the parapet, with a strained agony of face and figure that told plainly of her intention. Just as she was stealthily mounting the parapet to throw herself into the river, the child caught sight of her, ran forward with a shrill cry more animal than human, and seizing the woman’s dress dragged back upon it with all her little strength. Then there came suddenly upon the scene two other characters who had already figured in the play, a tall, handsome, athletic gentleman dressed in the fashion, attended by a slim-figured lad who was as refined in dress and appearance as the little girl clinging to her mother, who was mournfully hideous in her rags and repulsive poverty. These two, the gentleman and the lad, prevented the attempted suicide, and after a tableau on the bridge where the audience learned that the man and woman were brother and sister, the scene was transferred to the interior of one of the slum tenements in the East Side of London. Here the scene painter and carpenter had done their utmost to produce an exact copy of a famous court and alley well known to the poor creatures who make up a part of the outcast London humanity. The rags, the crowding, the vileness, the broken furniture, the horrible animal existence forced upon creatures made in God’s image were so skilfully shown in this scene that more than one elegant woman in the theatre, seated like Rose Sterling in a sumptuous box surrounded with silk hangings and velvet covered railing, caught herself shrinking back a little as if contamination were possible from the nearness of this piece of scenery. It was almost too realistic, and yet it had a horrible fascination for Felicia as she sat there alone, buried back in a cushioned seat and absorbed in thoughts that went far beyond the dialogue on the stage.

From the tenement scene the play shifted to the interior of a nobleman’s palace, and almost a sigh of relief went up all over the house at the sight of the accustomed luxury of the upper classes. The contrast was startling. It was brought about by a clever piece of staging that allowed only a few moments to elapse between the slum and the palace scene. The dialogue went on, the actors came and went in their various roles, but upon Felicia the play made but one distinct impression. In realty the scenes on the bridge and in the slums were only incidents in the story of the play, but Felicia found herself living those scenes over and over. She had never philosophized about the causes of human misery, she was not old enough she had not the temperament that philosophizes. But she felt intensely, and this was not the first time she had felt the contrast thrust into her feeling between the upper and the lower conditions of human life. It had been growing upon her until it had made her what Rose called “queer,” and other people in her circle of wealthy acquaintances called very unusual. It was simply the human problem in its extreme of riches and poverty, its refinement and its vileness, that was, in spite of her unconscious attempts to struggle against the facts, burning into her life the impression that would in the end either transform her into a woman of rare love and self-sacrifice for the world, or a miserable enigma to herself and all who knew her.

“Come, Felicia, aren’t you going home?” said Rose. The play was over, the curtain down, and people were going noisily out, laughing and gossiping as if “The Shadows of London” were simply good diversion, as they were, put on the stage so effectively.

Felicia rose and went out with the rest quietly, and with the absorbed feeling that had actually left her in her seat oblivious of the play’s ending. She was never absent-minded, but often thought herself into a condition that left her alone in the midst of a crowd.

“Well, what did you think of it?” asked Rose when the sisters had reached home and were in the drawing-room. Rose really had considerable respect for Felicia’s judgment of a play.

“I thought it was a pretty fair picture of real life.”

“I mean the acting,” said Rose, annoyed.

“The bridge scene was well acted, especially the woman’s part. I thought the man overdid the sentiment a little.”

“Did you? I enjoyed that. And wasn’t the scene between the two cousins funny when they first learned they were related? But the slum scene was horrible. I think they ought not to show such things in a play. They are too painful.”

“They must be painful in real life, too,” replied Felicia.

“Yes, but we don’t have to look at the real thing. It’s bad enough at the theatre where we pay for it.”