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Title: An index finger
Author: Abrojal, Tulis
Language: English
As this book started as an ASCII text book there are no pictures available.

*** Start of this LibraryBlog Digital Book "An index finger" ***

                           AN INDEX FINGER.

                            AN INDEX FINGER

                             TULIS ABROJAL

  “All the Sutras are but fingers that point out the shining moon.”

  “Man, thou livest forever.”

  Has any one supposed it is lucky to be born?

  I hasten to inform him, or her, it is just as lucky to die, and I know

  This day before dawn I ascended a hill and look’d at the crowded

  And I said to my spirit: When we become the unfolders of those orbs,
   and the pleasure and knowledge of everything in them, shall we be
   filled and satisfied then?

  And my spirit said: No, we but level that lift to pass and continue

                                                        --WALT WHITMAN.


                 R. F. FENNO & COMPANY, 9 and 11 EAST

                            Copyright, 1897
                            TULIS ABROJAL.

                          _An Index Finger._


To those who faithfully follow their ideals, ever doing the work they
love to do, always giving to the world the best that is in them--the
truth as they see it--though in the face of difficulties, disasters
and defeat; enduring persecution, poverty and want, meeting the dread
spectre of starvation, suffering death itself if need be, yet counting
all not too great a price to pay for the freedom of their souls, this
book is sympathetically dedicated.


  CHAP.                                                             PAGE

  PREFACE                                                              7

  I. THE CHILD AND HER OWN PEOPLE                                     13

  II. WHERE THE ROAD DIVIDES                                          40

  III. CONFIDENCES AND QUESTIONS                                      56

  IV. HER STORY AND FATE                                              74

  V. THE END OF THE DREAM                                             92

  VI. THE BUTTERFLY                                                  110

  VII. OPPORTUNITY                                                   131

  VIII. DEATH’S NARROW SEA                                           148


  X. “YE SHALL NOT UNDERSTAND”                                       168

  XI. A LITTLE BOARD BRIDGES THE GREAT GULF                          179

  XII. AND THE PROPHET WAS STONED                                    202

  XIII. THE TONGUES OF ANGELS                                        218

  XIV. THE SIMPLE WAY                                                240

  XV. IT IS WELL WITH THE CHILD                                      248

  XVI. THE STORY OF ONE RETURNED FROM THE DEAD                       254

  XVII. UPROOTING A HUMAN TREE                                       277

  XVIII. BOHEMIA’S HIGHWAYS AND BYWAYS                               293

  XIX. THE JOYS                                                      310

  XX. PEOPLE OF THE PAST                                             317

  XXI. THE BUTTERFLY’S FLIGHT                                        331

  XXII. THE PROP THAT FAILED                                         340

  XXIII. THE BOOK AND ITS CRITICS                                    353

  XXIV. WHO ARE THEY?                                                358

  XXV. LAST WORDS                                                    379


The good old custom of the author telling his readers in a preface why
he wrote his book, happily has not yet gone out of date. Though no
particular friend to guide-board literature in general, I confess to a
weakness for the preface. It has its helpful uses. There the author can
talk directly to his readers, without filtering his thoughts through
the brains of his characters; and in consequence the readers come into
closer sympathy with him and understand him better. In not a few cases
I have wished books were all preface. I hope others may not wish so in
this case.

In the preface we meet the author face to face, as it were, and he
becomes ours or we become his at once. It is a little confidential
glimpse into his soul, which he kindly gives us before we enter it by
means of the book.

Yes, I am decidedly in favor of the preface, both as reader and author.

A time-honored method of prefatory writing, made the author assume a
modesty that was self-depreciatory in the extreme. More often than
not he warned readers off by throwing out hints disparaging his own
ability. To such few readers as he thought might follow him through
the book in spite of his assurance that it would be unprofitable to do
so, he apologized with the utmost humility for the waste of their time
and drain upon their patience for which he was about to be responsible.

I shall do no such thing. On the contrary, I believe that he who
reads this book will not find his time ill spent. Its theme is the
most important that can engage the human race. It is my answer to the
mightiest question ever propounded. _My_ answer. Its value extends that
far and no farther. “It is only insight into the ground of being that
secures satisfaction and thorough knowledge.” My light may be only a
rush-light; but such as it is I obey the behest to let it shine.

Says one of the greatest of modern philosophers: “If anything in the
world is worth wishing for--so well worth wishing for that even the
ignorant and dull herd in its more reflective moments would prize it
more than silver or gold--it is that a ray of light should fall on the
obscurity of our being, and that we should gain some explanation of our
mysterious existence, in which nothing is clear but its misery and its

To each of us things are what they appear from each particular point of
view. Our idea is our limitation.

He who writes a book presents to other minds a picture of life as it
appears to him, from whatever point of view he has chosen. His work
portrays both that which he sees outside himself and that which is
within. It is a combination of himself and the world as he sees it, for
of subject and object are all things made.

When we read a tale it is the author we learn to know, rather than
his people; but we know him through his people. They are the dwellers
within his mind, and we cannot know them without entering that realm
and knowing it, be it enchanted or disenchanting.

Sight and insight make up all literature. Every book is a combination
of the author and what he looks upon and studies objectively as well as
subjectively. It is truth as he sees it.

I have read many interesting works of fiction; but for the most part
I laid them down dissatisfied. They lacked something for which I was
always searching. They gave no answer to the questions that early began
to trouble me--questions that nobody could answer and few cared to be
bothered with. Often they were very attractive pictures of that which
the world is to so many--a fool’s paradise.

They dealt with the emotions of those whose lives they portrayed, and
they appealed to the emotions of those who read them; and all had ever
the one, one theme--the pursuit of happiness. And all pursuers saw the
alluring phantom in the same shape, and gave chase to it by the same
road. Sometimes they captured it, and then--the book ended. There was
nothing else for the author to do when he reached that point, but to
let the curtain drop and turn out the lights, lest his audience see
that the happiness so hotly pursued was not the true thing after all;
but only an appearance, an illusion, a disappointment, as veritable a
phantom as ever--which left the one in possession of it no better off
than he was before he captured it.

Now the form of this phantom, was the love of the man and the woman for
each other, and the possession of each by the other. Romances have been
mostly amplified sex chases. They wrought upon the reader’s emotions
through many harrowing chapters, the end thereof being that a certain
man married the particular woman he was pursuing.

An old man whom I knew in my youth said he only read the first and
last chapters of a novel. In the one he became acquainted with the
hero and heroine; in the other he found out “whether he got her or
not.” By so doing he escaped much emotional wear and tear to which
less discriminating readers subjected themselves. As we all know,
sometimes “he didn’t get her.” What then? Well, perhaps she died or
he died, and that ended the story. Everybody accepted that event as
final and incontestable. That was the end, and nobody ventured to ask
what lay behind it. It was the end of the successful as well as of the
disappointed--the end of everybody in the world, yet nobody sought its

In this respect the people outside of books were precisely like the
people in books. They had the same ideal of happiness, chased it
through the same difficulties and disasters, and would not admit that
it was a phantom; would not see that Death stalked behind every joy,
sat at every feast, touched elbows right and left with the victorious
as well as with the defeated, and waited for everybody under the sun.
They knew it, of course, but they did not want to think about it or
talk about it.

And what was this spectre to which all closed their eyes because of
terror? Death was death. That was all they knew. It was the terrible
and final thing that could happen. More; it was sure to happen; but it
must be put off as long as possible and ignored in the meantime.

To me it ever was incomprehensible that so dreadful an issue was so
hopelessly accepted and so little inquired into.

I pondered much on this strange problem. The dream haunted my mind that
somewhere there was a solution.

I sought it everywhere from men and books; but long without success. At
last a ray of light fell upon my path. Faithfully following it through
years of earnest inquiry I learned that Death is not death. With that
knowledge happiness took a new form and beckoned to me over a new road.

Because of the new ideals it placed before me I wrote this book. Its
people are my people; its gospel my gospel. From the truth as I was led
to see it I found a reason for my own being as well as for that of the
book, and I have tried to give it to the reader as simply as it came to

The psychical phenomena described are not exaggerated. Most of it
came within my own experience, and would be accessible to any one who
devoted to the study as much patience, time and effort as I did.

There will be those who will give to the book only the sneer of
conceited ignorance. For such I have no message. With them, the first
condition of all learning--receptively--is lacking. I make no argument.
I try to convince no one. I simply tell a story. It will bear its own
message to those ready to receive it. None else can understand. God
Himself cannot give us what we will not receive.

The book is but a finger that aims to point out to others a moon that
made glorious light for me. And if you will patiently look in the
direction it points, you, too, will see the shining moon.

                                                            THE AUTHOR.

                                PART I.

                              CHAPTER I.

                     THE CHILD AND HER OWN PEOPLE.

 There are some of us who in after years say to Fate, “Now deal us your
 hardest blow; give us what you will; but let us never again suffer as
 we suffered when we were children.”

 The barb in the arrow of childhood’s suffering is this; its intense
 loneliness, its intense ignorance.

 --_Olive Schreiner._

Under a great tree a child was singing softly to herself:

  Beautiful, dear, and noble old tree
  Bend your green branches caressing o’er me.
  For oh! a day’s coming, and soon will be here,
  When I shall be far from your presence and cheer;
  And my heart will be lonely without your embrace,
  And you--you will long for a sight of my face.

  Your branches bend low to the ground,
    Bend low and caressingly,
  And they sway with a murmurous sound--
  A language of nature profound--
    Sway softly and caressingly,
  As they bend, with a sigh, to the ground.

  They chant the grand chorus of ages,
    In musical monotone;
  And open the past’s mystic pages--
  The wonderful, solemn, sealed pages--
    So vaguely and dimly known.
  They sing me the song of the ages.

  When I listen with spirit and soul
    To each swaying, whisp’ring bough,
  The silent centuries backward roll
  And open before me like a scroll.
    And I view the “Then as Now”--
  When I listen with spirit and soul.

She was lying on the grass, with her face toward the sky, which she
could only see in spots through the tree’s thick branches, which hung
low and swayed in the slightest breeze, with a motion that was very
like a caress to one beneath them. A house stood near, but the tree
completely hid it on one side. One coming from the south saw only a
beautiful grassy hill surmounted by a great green umbrella.

Under this friendly shelter the woman-child lay, singing her own words
to her own tunes. Oblivious to outward sounds, she heard no footsteps
until the branches parted and a stranger entered her temple.

At this a dog that had been enjoying the profoundest of slumber near
her, sprang to his feet with a great show of vigilance, making up for
his tardiness by the most energetic barking.

“Be quiet, Bliss,” said the child, rising to a sitting posture and
looking steadily at the stranger, with the utmost composure. The dog
at once became silent, but he went close to her and posed as on the

“I beg pardon,” said the intruder, politely raising his hat, “I saw no
one, and thought to rest a bit in the shade, and get a cool drink of
water, too.”

“The well is on the other side of the house,” she said, making a motion
in that direction with a thin, nervous, unchildlike hand. Her words
and manner expressed the utmost indifference--yet there was a gleam of
interest in her big, clear eyes.

The stranger moved on, murmuring thanks. She looked after him with a
sudden yearning in her heart for his return. He was not of her world,
that was sure; and yet somehow it was quite clear to her that he was
of her world--the world of her dreams, where she longed to be, fancied
she had been, and from whence she had somehow sadly strayed. Yes, in
that instant of contact she understood that in spite of all apparent
difference their worlds were the same.

In another moment he returned. Gracefully begging permission, he
seated himself on the grass and leaned against the tree. His manner
captivated her. It was respectful and deferential as to a woman grown.
It enchanted her, for she was one of those misunderstood children who
have thoughts and feelings far beyond their years and suffer great
humiliation when treated patronizingly.

“You are not at all afraid of me although I came unannounced and
unintroduced, are you?” he asked, half laughing.

“Afraid? Why should I be? I am in my own door-yard. Besides, you don’t
look like a wild beast, and if you were one, here is Bliss to take care
of me.”

“Thank you. It’s a comfort to know you have no doubt that I am human.
But what is this?” he asked, as a piece of cardboard blew toward him.
“Ah! a drawing. May I look at it?”

She nodded her consent.

It was a pencil drawing of a woman’s head, and interested him at first
glance, because, imperfect though it was, it had that which makes
art great when it is so--the human quality, the power to express its
creator, the aim and object of all art. This penciled face gave an
insight into the artist’s mind, showing that which she had tried to
express and yet had not made clear. It showed the height to which she
rose in fancy, and the long and rugged road between present performance
and the perfection of which she dreamed.

All this the stranger saw, because we see what is within ourselves. It
takes genius to recognize genius. He had traveled the road on which she
was taking her first feeble steps.

“Is it your work?” he asked.

“Yes,” she nodded, coloring faintly. It was plain that she expected no
praise, yet longed for a helping word.

“Is it a copy?” he asked, for there was about it, although but half
expressed, that which he thought must have been suggested by something
from a master hand.


“Then who is it?” There was unaffected interest in his voice.

“One of my people,” she answered.

“Does she live here?”

“She is here sometimes, not always.”

“Well, she must be a beautiful woman--even more beautiful than you
depict her.”

“You understand,” said the child. “I cannot put her on paper as I see
her. I know but little of drawing, but I am always trying to draw
faces--the faces of my own people--and trees, for they are my own
people too; but I am never satisfied with my work. They do not get on
the paper as they are in my mind.”

“Why not have some instruction?”

She shrugged her shoulders.

The stranger understood, but in order not to seem to, he began to pick
up some scattered leaves of paper near him. Seeing that they contained
writing he was about to lay them down with an apology when the child

“It is a letter I have written to Helen, the woman whose picture you
have just been looking at. You may read it, only not aloud. I couldn’t
stand that.”

“But why should I read it at all?” he said. “It would be impertinent
on my part. Besides, I am not afflicted with the despicable vice of

“If you don’t mind, I wish you would read it,” she said. “It may help
me. You will understand when you have finished.” But she looked ill at
ease, nevertheless.

The stranger read:

 MY DEARLY BELOVED HELEN:--Since you went away I am very lonely indeed.
 None other is so near and dear to me as you. I fill the hours with
 thoughts of you--thoughts so intense and absorbing that at times I
 actually see you by my side. But, alas! you do not stay when you come
 like that. You fade out of my sight; you go back to your world and I
 cannot follow you only with my thoughts, my dreams, my love and my

 But I shall go and find you some day. I shall be one of the people
 of your world, and shall be busy with work which shall fill my time,
 my brain and my heart. I shall meet all my people there--my very own
 people, and shall love them and work with them and know loneliness no
 more. I have a story to tell you, Dear Heart. It is this:

 In a world nameless to all mankind, lived a woman, sweet and fair.
 It was a beautiful world. There the men were all true and the women
 all faithful. Misery was unknown and none sought happiness, for all
 possessed it.

 But this one woman dreamed dreams and saw visions. She heard voices
 calling to her from another world--a world whose people sought
 continually and vainly to attain a condition they knew only in name,
 and which they called Happiness. All believed in the existence of
 this condition and gave chase to it, each in his own way, but none
 found it. Often hearing the voices of these unhappy people and
 seeing them in visions, this woman longed to go and help them. The
 longing disturbed the harmony of life in all her world, until it was
 decreed that she must leave it and go to that other whose vibrations
 of anguish had shaken the spheres. But they did not tell her of her
 destiny. “She will know when she is there,” they said.

 So she slept, and the sleep was long in the eyes of the children of

 When she awoke, memory was gone, and everything had to be learned
 over again. At first her consciousness was very dim, and her strength
 feeble, and having slept so long she could scarcely keep awake at all.

 But after a time a faint memory of the past came to her, and she saw
 that all was different from that other time, which now seemed like a
 dream. This was not the same world, nor were these the same people
 she had known, for she was in the sad world she had seen in visions,
 whose people so persistently and often frantically sought Happiness
 and never found it--and that sad world was this in which we live.

 She was changed in appearance, too, for when she looked in a mirror
 she saw a face that was new to her and a tiny figure. She was like a
 child, and everybody called her a child, though to herself she seemed
 not to be a child, because part of her memory had come back, and it
 was the memory of a woman.

 It was very hard to feel like a full-grown person in mind and be
 treated like a creature with almost no mind at all. One of the most
 painful things she saw was that sometimes the most ignorant and
 unfeeling were in positions of power over sensitive children. She
 suffered much from the very beginning of consciousness.

 To go back to the world she could so dimly remember was her one dream.
 But when she spoke of it those about her laughed and said she had
 never been in any other world, because there was no other.

 Once in a dream she went back, or perhaps it was that some of her old
 friends came to her. They told her to be patient; that she had been
 sent to help the unhappy ones who had so often called to her; that
 scattered all over the planet in which she dwelt now were others like
 herself, who had come for the same purpose; that she would meet them
 from time to time and that would pay her for much of her pain.

 They said, too, that she had a particular work to do here and could
 not leave until it was done, but she must find out what it was
 herself; that the road would often seem very hard and very long, but
 it had an end, and if she did her work well--

 There the dream ended; but it comforted her, all unfinished as it was.

 By and by her childhood was gone. She was a woman, and went forth to
 find her work, earnest, enthusiastic and eager, and they said she had
 precious gifts.

 “I will paint pictures,” she said, “for always in my mind are noble
 faces and figures, like the gods when they walked among men, and these
 shall show mankind how glorious it can itself become.”

 Beautiful creations, perfect shapes of beauty came forth from her
 hand, but the world, for the most part, passed them by. It said, “We
 see nothing in these,” and it spoke the truth, for that in them could
 only be seen by those like unto them.

 A few, however, stood before them filled with delight. They were
 people of the planet from which the artist came, and they recognized
 their kindred in the faces and forms she had depicted; but she herself
 was never satisfied with what she had done. Within her mind, faces
 more glorious, and forms more perfect struggled for expression.

 “I have a tale to tell,” she said, “that many will be glad to hear,
 for it contains help for all.” But again the world did not understand.
 It said, “The people of this book are impossible people, and what
 is the author trying to say? We see nothing in it.” A few only
 understood; but these were of her planet.

 “Now,” she said, “I will write again, and this time the world will
 read and be charmed. I will give it what it wants, not what I want to
 give it.”

 She spoke truly. She wrote and many were pleased; but the people of
 her planet closed her book with pain in their faces, and she herself
 found no joy in it. To her conscience she made this excuse: “I want
 bread and the easy, comfortable things of life, and the world wants
 foolishness, so we exchange products. Some day I will write that which
 pleases myself. Then I shall make no concessions, no bids for favor. I
 shall say what I feel and think.”

 Time went on, and the world became interested in new names, and
 almost forgot hers. Days of discouragement and distress arrived. The
 ease which she had bought by pleasing the commonplace, vanished, and
 loneliness, ill-health and poverty came in its stead. Weary and
 sick unto death in spirit and body, she longed to end it all, and so
 longing fell asleep, and sleeping dreamed.

 She saw again the faces of those from her other world who had come to
 comfort her when a child. One, the most beautiful of all, and yet just
 now the saddest, seemed nearer and dearer than the others. It was a
 glorious face, radiant with strength and sweetness, a type of perfect
 womanhood. All her life it had visited her in dreams and haunted her
 imagination. Sometimes the name that belonged to it hovered on her
 lips, yet was never spoken, for it always vanished before it took
 shape in her mind.

 “Did you find your work?” they asked.

 “I tried hard, dear friends,” she said. “I have not been idle.” But
 their faces showed no joy.

 “Have I not done my work well?” she questioned, beginning to be afraid.

 “Have you given your best?” they asked.

 A flush of shame covered her face. “No; the world did not want it.”

 They were silent, and there was that in their eyes which made her more
 and more ashamed.

 “I needed bread,” she said, anxious to make excuse.

 “Is bread all that is worth striving for, that you paid for it so high
 a price?” they asked.

 She was silent.

 “Did you come to please or help the people of this world?” they asked.

 “You told me long ago that I came to help,” she answered, “but they
 made it very hard. When I wrote that which burned within my soul
 they cared not to hear it, but wanted something that entertained and
 diverted them from what they call the cares of life; and I--well, I
 was often hungry--so I gave them what they wanted.”

 “And did they reward you?”

 “You see I have nothing,” she answered. “For a time I had some of the
 possessions all value so much; but they are gone.”

 “You tried to tell these people what you thought and felt, but they
 would not listen, you say; so you told them little foolish tales,
 like those that please children, but instruct not, help not, and thus
 you passed your life neglecting to unfold your own soul by expressing
 it truly. Only the weak and feeble of will, or the indolent and
 indifferent, turn back at the first obstacle. Where was your faith?”

 “I sold it, as you see, for a pitiful price,” she answered, weeping.

 “And were you satisfied?”

 “Never. My conscience always lashed me. I have been punished already.
 Give me no further penance.”

 “It is not ours to punish or pardon, nor in all the universe is there
 either punishment or pardon. There is only unchangeable, ever-active
 law. Had you done your work well”--

 “What is it to do one’s work well?” she interrupted.

 And now the woman of the glorious face came near and answered: “It is
 to give the highest and best that is in you, without caring whether
 it will please or offend; to express truth, as you see it, though the
 world be against you; to pay whatever price is asked, though it be
 starvation and disgrace for the freedom of your soul, for the soul is
 only free when it faithfully follows its IDEAL.”

 “Then I know I have not done my work well,” said the woman, sadly. “I
 seldom gave my best. I had not the courage. I was afraid the price I
 would have to pay would be too high. But what is the fate of those who
 do not do their work well?”

 The faces of the company were full of pity, as they answered, “They
 must do it over again.”

 Then the woman wept aloud. “But not just yet,” they said. “You are
 very tired; your strength is gone. You shall rest for a time.”

 Then one touched her eyes gently, and they closed to the light of this

 Helen, dearest, I dreamed that story, and I was the woman who
 did not do her best. It always seems to me that I lived long ago
 somewhere--many lives perhaps. At times I can almost remember scenes
 and people of that far-off time. It may be that it was right here in
 this world, and that I have been sent back to do what I left undone.
 Or it may be that here in this life I shall not do what I ought to do,
 and must come again. Ever with me is the thought that there is some
 particular thing for me to do and that I must make haste to find it
 and do it, because the time is short.

 Part of my work is to find my people--thy own people whom I knew in
 that far-away life, you are one of them, and--

The stranger laid the unfinished letter down and looked curiously
at the author. He had not observed her closely until then. He saw
in her face that which is higher than beauty, but is only seen and
understood by its spiritual kindred. The mouth, that unmistakable key
to character, because it is the door through which the soul expresses
itself, was perfect in shape and exquisitely sensitive, though the
other features had a dash of boyish ruggedness in them. But the eyes,
the dark grey eyes, mottled with tawn, had in them a look, indefinable,
yearning, appealing,--a look that might have ages of suffering behind
it--and perhaps before it--that went to the stranger’s heart like a
knife, and filled his eyes with a mist. In after years more than one
strong spirit lost its strength and wept it knew not why, before that
flash-light of a soul.

In the same moment the stranger saw another thing. It was that the
child was entirely without self-consciousness and the consequent
coquetry which so often spoils the manners of even very little women.
She was not thinking how she appeared in his eyes. He could see that.
It was nothing to her that her feet were naked, her hair twisted and
her clothing crumpled. It was plain that these unconventional facts
did not even present themselves to her mind. Her shoes and stockings
and big straw hat lay near her on the grass, and she gave no sign of
embarrassment because she was not arrayed in them. She met him on the
ground of mind to mind. In her shining, yearning eyes was an eager

“A free, original, aspiring spirit,” he mused. “Life will be a rough
pilgrimage for her. She will find it hard to shape herself to iron-clad
standards. The vast army of the commonplace, unable to understand her,
will claw at her like birds of prey. It is a pity that she must be
bruised and beaten into the usual shape, as she surely will be. But the
world is a relentless potter, with inflexible ideas of how its human
jugs and vases are to be modeled; and it shapes us all, in a measure,
in spite of ourselves.”

“If the question isn’t impertinent, how old are you?” he asked, with a
cadence of melancholy in his voice.

“Eleven; but I feel _very_ old sometimes. Old, old, old!”

“Yet you are not old enough to be writing of loneliness,” he said.

“Ah; you think so? Can you imagine the loneliness of a child who is not
altogether a child and yet not a woman?”

“Where are your dolls?” he asked, hoping to divert her mind from
subjects too serious.

Her handsome mouth curved into a sneer. “Dolls?” she echoed. “Dolls?
Poor, miserable little images made by stupid people to deceive those
they believe to be stupider. Well, I have several. They were given to
me by foolish friends who meant to be kind; but they live in boxes
upstairs. I never get any good from them, wretched imitations of people
that they are, with expressionless faces and stuffed bodies. I prefer
my own people.”

“The lady of the picture and letter is one of them, you said. But of
course they are not all grown up like her.”

“Yes, they are, for I like grown-up people best. I don’t like those of
my own age. At least I have seen but few whom I liked. The reason I am
so fond of my own people, is because I make them myself, and so, of
course, I make them to suit me. They are charming, and very fond of
me. You would call them unreal; but to me they are more real than the
flesh and blood people hereabouts, and much more agreeable.”

“Ah! I understand now,” said the stranger. “They are your own people
in the sense of being congenial, companionable, of your own way of
thinking. You have gone direct to a great truth, little friend. Our own
people are those with whom we are in intellectual sympathy, no matter
where we find them.”

“But your other people,” he went on, after a short pause, motioning
with his hand toward the house, “your family,--you love them, too?”

“No; we don’t love each other,” she answered, frankly; “we seem not to
fit well together--not to be thinking the same thoughts. The most of
me is completely shut away from them. I cannot talk to them as I am
talking to you. They would laugh at me; they would ridicule me, and
that enrages as well as hurts me. And they are going away one by one,
interested in their own lives and knowing nothing of my dreams and
longings. Two of my sisters married recently and have gone far away,
and last week my oldest brother left. I watched him out of sight as he
went down the road, with my heart almost bursting. So it was when the
others went. Everything was desolate without them, and they will never
be back here again in the old way. Not that the old way was so good,
for it wasn’t, but I could not bear to see the end. I suffer if only
an animal dies or is taken away. And I always wanted to love them; but
they did not understand.”

The stranger’s eyes grew pitiful, not so much for what she had suffered
as for what she was destined to suffer. He saw her as she was, and
as no other had seen her, none having the power to understand,--a
sensitive, affectionate, aspiring soul, held for a time in a place
alien to her spirit, among people most truly not her own.

“Another,” he said, mentally, “destined to travel the rough road that
leads to the heights. Another with a dash of the weightiest gift of
the gods. I did not think to find one of the climbers of Olympus here.
Yet where none dreams to find them there they are. Poor little soul
touched with the wand of genius, already living in a world of her
own creation, because the other world is ungenial and intolerable,
and longing for sympathy, which is recognition, appreciation, and
encourages expression, which is life itself. The old, old spirit in
the new body, not comprehended, often wounded, yet striving, striving,
always striving against hard conditions to tell what it feels.

“But you have some friends of your own age among the real people--those
we call real--have you not?”

“Yes; and I play with them sometimes in their way; but in a little
while I am tired of them, and am generally glad when they are gone,
so that I can be with the friends I have been telling you about. But
I have one comrade of my own age whom I love. She talks very little;
but she understands. We often spend whole days together away from
everybody. She doesn’t fit into her family much better than I do in
mine, but she is happier, because her family are kinder than mine. They
love each other better.”

The stranger was struck with the simple and forceful analysis of the
difference between the two families.

“When people love each other they are kinder, as a matter of course,”
he said, feeling that he was guilty of the stupidest of platitudes, but
anxious to keep the young philosopher talking. “But your family love
you, surely?”

“No,” she said, decisively, the mottled eyes showing a flash of pain so
intense that he turned away.

“What makes you think so?”

“They find fault with me all the time. It is a terrible thing to be
blamed always and never praised. When I am grown, should I have power,
should I be able to get others to listen to me, I shall tell them that
if they want to make people better they must praise them. Fault-finding
helps nobody. I am sure of that. It is the worst possible thing for
me, for it fills my heart with rage and a sense of injustice, and of
course it has the same effect on everybody else. I can see plainly
enough what would make an angel of me, and angels of all others, too.
Love and praise are what is needed. What couldn’t I be and do if they
only loved me and saw good in me, and told me so. But to be nagged, and
blamed, scolded, rebuked and humiliated incessantly is making me wicked
in my mind all the time. I know how devils are made. They just take
a child, neither better nor worse than others, and put it some place
where it hears nothing but blame all the time, never a word of love or
praise, and when it is grown up it is a devil, ready to give back the
pain that had been inflicted on it. If it were not for my own people,
my thought people, I could not endure life at all.”

“A bad case,” said the stranger to himself, with a sigh, “heart and
intellect both hungry. I fear the road will be very rough.

“Why did you let your friend Helen go away? Since she is your own
creation, why not keep her here at will, when you are so fond of her?”

“She is my own creation, but I could not keep her here. She has her own
life to live, so she went back to the world from which I drew her, for
I do truly believe away down inside of me, that she is what you call
real. Just now she is in Paris, and she is a famous author, but not
too conceited to love me and find pleasure in talking and writing to
me. I was willing she should go away, as it gives me an opportunity of
writing to her. I enjoy writing even more than talking, sometimes. I
get letters from her often. I have a box full of them. Of course I have
to write them myself, but after they are written it really seems that
she, not I, is their author, and I enjoy reading them just as other
folks enjoy sure-enough letters that come from the post office.”

“How do you send letters to your people?”

The yearning eyes became grave. “Well, that is awkward. I leave them
in queer little places where big, bad, real people are not apt to find
them--at the root of a flower, in the crevice of a wall, or under a
stone--and persuade myself that somehow they reach their destination.
Sometimes I carry them clear to the woods and leave them in hollow
trees, or under great, cool rocks, where, perhaps, there are fairies or
some kind of invisible messengers who will transport them for me.

“But when it rains, now and then, they are washed out of their places,
and I find them all wet and blurred. Then a chilly feeling comes over
me, and I am half afraid that, after all, my people have not seen them.
You see it hurts me if I think _nobody_ reads them. That’s why I wanted
you to read my letter to Helen. I felt sure you would understand.”

“You have many of these unseen friends of yours?” asked the stranger.

“Yes, many; but Helen is my only confidante. Of course I am not a
little girl when I am with my people. I am grown up, and am important,
for I, too, am a famous writer, and I paint the most wonderful
pictures. Yes, I have great fame and the wisest and most distinguished
people are pleased to be received by me, and they--well,--they hang
upon my words.”

“Of course,” said the stranger.

“It is beautiful,” continued the child, “to be treated with
consideration. When will big folks learn that little ones are human
beings like themselves, with the same feelings exactly, and that they
can’t respect themselves if they are ordered about rudely, scolded,
snubbed and generally treated as inferior beings?”

She was enjoying the first appreciation the world had accorded her; was
breathing the air of her dreams, the congenial atmosphere which is only
found where there are sympathetic souls to breathe it with us.

The stranger, understanding, thought of “how widely yawns the moat that
girds a human soul,” whose “real world is always an invisible place,
removed from the rush and chatter of crowds, for the most important
portion of life is the secret and solitary portion.”

“Are your people all women, or do you permit poor, imperfect, earthly
man to enter your paradise?” he asked.

“Our world is made up of human beings, and of course that means men
and women,” she replied. “It would be a stupid place if it contained
only women or only men. But our men are men, not merely creatures who
pass as such, like so many one sees walking about here. And yet, I must
confess that the men of my thought world are not quite so real to me as
the women. I want to make them excellent, perfect; but I don’t succeed.
When I get them just so far along, I seem unable to complete them, and
so they are more or less dim and shadowy to me.”

“Ah, I see,” said her listener. “Your ideal of mankind is too high
for even your imagination to give form to. What are these men like
who still seem dim to you? Some of them are knights and lords of high
degree, or kings, perhaps?”

“No; we don’t care for that kind. They would be too conceited for our
world. We don’t like fighters, either. We have great men, of course,
but they have earned their laurels; but even then they don’t talk about
themselves, till they tire one all out like living men do. But we will
not have any who are not truthful, and then they are courageous, for
liars are always cowards, you know. And then, they are kind, very kind
to everybody, and they don’t think themselves better than women. We
couldn’t stand that, especially as our women are all so magnificent.
I’m one of them, you know.”

It was beautiful to him to see her so frankly reveal herself as she saw
herself. “Your men do something, I suppose,--something more than to be
merely agreeable?” he said.

“We all work, but we dream too, and the dreamers are prized as highly
as the workers if they dream good dreams.”

  “For a dreamer lives forever,
  And a toiler dies in a day,”

hummed the stranger softly.

Then in memory he turned to the past, murmuring, “Bohemia, thy grapes
are sweet.”

He saw again its hot and dusty highways, its tangled byways and the
long procession traveling thereon. One by one they passed him in
review, some with road-worn feet, faded garments and weary eyes; some
stepping lightly, with joy in their hearts and flowers in their hands.
There were the hopeful, the mirthful, the witty and the merry. There,
too, were the baffled and beaten, the hopeless and the joyless. The
successful went by with proud mien, and smiling face, and they who had
failed also bore themselves erect and smiled, that the world might
not dream of the pain at their hearts. “Their heads were bloody but

Grapes grew abundantly overhead, but a few, only a very few of the
many travelers gathered them. He saw it all in memory as he had seen
it all in reality. Now, as one by one the struggling, striving throng,
dowered with the fateful gift of genius, passed again before him, he saw

  “Their faces all showed suffering,
  Though no voice uttered plaints.”

How courageous they had been! How faithful! Not a few had met
starvation face to face, and even that dread sight had not power to
turn them from the pursuit of their ideals. Again and again he had
seen the bravest and brightest fall, their aim unattained, their hands
empty, their names unrenowned, their hearts broken. But now he saw, as
by a revelation, that the defeated were victors too.

Putting his hand over his eyes as if to shut out the sight of the
striving, suffering throng, he groaned mentally, for here in this quiet
spot, far from the great centres of life, was another getting ready for
a pilgrimage on the same hot, dusty road.

The child was the first to break the silence into which they had fallen.

“My own people are somewhere in the real world, I am sure, and I must
go and find them,” she said. “I was singing about it to this dear old
tree when you came, for when I go the tree will miss me and be lonely.
We are great friends. I tell it many things, and it answers by waving
its branches over me--see, like that, and I understand.”

“You are eleven years old,” said the stranger, “and are eager to go
and find your people. I am many, many years older and yet have found
very few of mine. The search is long and sometimes heart-breaking, but
it has to be made. But remember one thing, and forget it not, I pray
you. If you have some dream in your mind dearer than all others--some
thought that burns to spring forth into life--be faithful to it, for
it is your ideal. Follow it at any cost. Your story of the woman who
did not do her best contains a great philosophical truth. Somewhere,
sometime we are destined to reach a state where our dreams shall come
true, where we shall have the desire of our hearts, where we shall be
in accord with all beauty and all good. But we can only reach that
state by doing our best every day--in little things and great. If we do
less we shall have to do it over again.

“One is with you who always knows. It is your soul--your real self.
When you want to find your work, when you are ready to tell what you
feel, ask not the world what it wants, but say to your soul, ‘What wilt
thou have me to do?’”

She looked at him admiringly, gratefully, and said, “I thank you. I
know you are wise, for you come from the big, busy world that I long to
enter, and shall enter. There one can see and learn everything. Less
than a mile away two railroads cross each other. I hear the locomotives
whistle every day as they pass, dragging people after them. I shall go,
too, some day, and then, and then”--

“And _then_,” said the stranger, sighing; but she did not understand.
How could she?

“And then I shall be happy,” she added.

“You must find me when you come into my world,” he continued, after a
pause. “Perhaps I am one of your own people. At any rate, the great
world knows me a little. Now I must leave you and go back to where the
two railroads cross. My train was hours behind time, otherwise I should
not have had the pleasure of meeting you. I assure you I shall not
forget you, and when you come into my world I shall know you for one of
us, even as I know you now.”

They had risen as he spoke. He took her slender, sunburned hand in his,
bent down, kissed it and was gone.

“He is truly one of my very own people,” said the child to herself, as
she watched him out of sight. “Now I am sure they live somewhere, and
I shall find them and know them as soon as I see them, and shall be

                              CHAPTER II.

                        WHERE THE ROAD DIVIDES.

  “O Urania! the earth and the air and the sea
  And the infinite spaces are vocal with thee,
  And the sunset and moonrise seraphic with thee.”

  --_Ben S. Parker._

The tall young man alone on the porch walked slowly back and forth,
looking off into the sweet spring sunshine, with troubled eyes.

He stopped and his face flushed with pleasure as a young girl dressed
for the street came out of the door.

“You here, Mr. Kendall?” she said, interrogatively. “You toil not
neither do you spin to-day? How’s that?”

“Because I am weary and fain would rest,” he answered. “Yes, and I fain
would do several other things, too; but I dare say I shall not. But you
have been idling lately, too. Why so?”

She shrugged her shoulders. “Like yourself I am weary and fain would
do--I scarcely know what, and go I scarcely know where.”

“Do you mind my asking whither you are bound just now?”

“Not at all,” she answered, pleasantly, “only I can’t say definitely,
because I don’t know. I shall probably fetch up at the nearest open
square where there is some green grass on which I can rest my eyes a
bit, and either lose myself or find myself for a little while.”

“May I go with you?” He made the request a little timidly, for she had
a high-handed way with him that made him a little afraid of her, though
she attracted him with resistless force.

“I shall be pleased.” Her voice had a sincere ring in it that flushed
his face with pleasure. “You are always a good companion, because you
don’t tire me talking too much.”

“A dubious compliment, but I am grateful for it, nevertheless. Though
if it be intended as a hint for me to keep silent this morning it will
not be taken, that’s all.”

They walked away together with the manner of persons accustomed to
seeing much of each other.

The wide old streets had birds twittering in the trees, and sunshine
warm upon them. The air was soft and mild, and brought with it the
gentle melancholy peculiar to spring, a melancholy that creates or
awakes a strange unrest, and makes us long to go journeying to far
countries, we know not why.

Each of these two were touched by the spirit of this unrest. They spoke
of the beauty of the day, of the joy of idling now and then, so sweet
to busy people, but soon fell into silence, for their thoughts were
not with their words. The young man’s eyes became misty from time to
time, though his companion saw it not, for she did not look at his
face. He was thinking that in after years he should often recall this
walk. On his mind he was painting every object his eyes encountered,
that he might treasure it as a comforting picture in the possible
lonely future.

After wandering about awhile they sat down in a tiny park near a
fountain, and idly watched the water spraying in the sunshine.

“How long have you been here, Miss Hill?” Kendall asked abruptly.

“Four years,” she answered, tossing a pebble into the fountain and
showing little interest in anything but her own thoughts.

“And I five.”

As she said nothing, presently he went on: “Now, I want you to do me a
service, a real service. I want you to decide a question, an important
question for me, and I have determined to abide by your decision,
whatever it may be. Yes, I will do exactly as you say.”

Expecting a word or look of interest from her, he paused; but she went
on drawing lines on the gravel walk with her parasol, in silence. Being
of the large, fair type of man, his face flushed with every emotion.
Just now he colored deeply because of her apparent unconcern, but

“There are times in each life when it is necessary to do one of
two things. Until we reach this point we get on very well, and are
untroubled by doubts. But when we have to decide whether to keep the
right hand road or take the left, then we look about for something or
somebody to cast the die for us. The doing is always comparatively
easy; it’s the deciding that muddles and troubles us. Now I have come
to the place where the road divides, and I want some help on the

She looked up at him now with unaffected interest.

“I am thinking that I ought to strike out and do something better than
I am doing,--be something more than a cog in a great machine. I am
tired of that. In the office over there”--making a motion with his hand
in the direction of the commercial part of the city--“are men who would
faint, I am sure, or weep like children, if they should lose their
situations, such cowards have they become by long dependence on the
weekly salary. Some have been there years, and have given their manhood
as well as their time in exchange for the money they pocket every
Saturday. They act like slaves in the presence of their employer. If he
had bought them at the auction block they could not be more cringing to
him. When he is in sight self-respect withers and they are mere worms,
crawling in spirit at his feet. I don’t want to become like that, and
yet I am sure to if I remain. That sort of thing is contagious. No
man can stand forever against it. I know just enough of the degrading
feeling to be willing to make a sacrifice to avoid familiarity with it.
In reality the wage-earner and the man who hires him engage in a form
of coöperation, each to be respected by the other; but the relation
is universally misunderstood. The employer develops into an autocrat
and the employee into a serf, and so both are injured. To be an
employee too long is to become a dependent, helpless, pitiable being, a
degenerate man. I am sure of it. Believing that, I feel I must escape
from such direful consequences.

“Yet it takes courage to voluntarily give up what they call a good
salary, and go into the wilderness, so to speak, and take the risks
that all that implies. A ship sails from New York for San Francisco day
after to-morrow. I have been thinking I would resign my situation and
take passage on her. The territories are big and full of opportunities.
I thought to go to one of them and carve out life for myself on
broader lines, if possible. I have a little money, and I can still put
forth effort. As I have no family to consult--not a relative in the
world--and being on the fence, as it were, in the matter of deciding, I
have a fancy for leaving it to you and will do what you say. Tell me,
shall I go or stay?”

She looked at him with something like admiration shining in her eyes.

“Go,” she said, unhesitatingly. “Go, and be an individual, a fully
developed unit, a man, not a mere cog in somebody else’s wheel. Cogs
have their uses, but they have also their limitations, and they are so
plentiful. You can be a whole machine, if you try. Yes, go and be a
figure in the world, on your own account, not simply a cipher, useful
only as auxiliary to the figures.”

“Good!” he said, with forced emphasis, making a brave effort to appear
delighted, but in his heart wishing he could hide somewhere and take it
out in a hearty schoolboy blubber. “Day after to-morrow at this time I
shall be aboard my ship.”

He knew that her decision was wise, but it pained him that she was so
ready to send him. And then, there was the ordeal of parting from her,
a tug of war he could not calmly face.

“You should go for the sake of preserving your self-respect,” she
continued, “lest in time you become like the slavish wretches by whom
you are surrounded, and also to preserve your life if you care for it.
Two years more here bent over your desk in dingy, close rooms, and you
will be hopelessly ill of consumption.”

“I have thought of that,” he said, “and it has something to do with my
wish to get away.”

“Well, when you go elsewhere, don’t make the mistake of beginning the
same kind of life over again. Don’t imprison yourself, and don’t hire
yourself out to any man. The air of the West will not save you unless
you breathe it fresh and pure. Live outdoors as much as possible. How
hideous is this habit of herding in cities--hideous and hurtful! How
sensible of you to think of going where there is breadth, freedom and
outlook in all senses of the words; but I am surprised, because I never
heard you express any discontent.”

“To be honest, I had very little--too little for my own good,” he said,
coloring deeply. “It has cost me a struggle to force myself to think of
going. Don’t forget that it is you who are sending me after all; but
for you I swear I should not go.”

“I am sure I am doing you a service,” she answered, “though I shall
miss you, as a matter of course.”

“And you, what of your future? You advise me to leave this plodding
existence, where there is neither growth nor freedom, and go where I
can be more than I ever can be here; but you are passing your life in
exactly the same jog-along way.”

“I--oh! I, too, shall be gone some day.” As she spoke she smiled,
looking afar off.

“If I make a place for you will you come?” he asked.

There was nothing lover-like in his voice or attitude, yet he loved the
girl beside him with a faithful, dog-like, worshipful affection. Not
loving him, and not having a grain of coquetry or even vanity in her,
she had never been aware of it. Even now, when his meaning became plain
to her, she did not make a situation of it, or give it the slightest
shading of the sentimental. Entirely unmoved herself, she knew not
what the avowal cost him, made in the face of defeat, as he well knew

“Oh, dear, no,” she said, simply, without a shade more or less of
feeling in face or voice. “If I were a man, yes, I would go; but as it
is, no. Be grateful that you are a man and have no hampering, cramping
sex limitations to work against in the public mind if not in your own.
You are free to go where you will and to do what you wish, and if it be
but half-way well done, both fools and wise will chirrup your praises.
One thing I ask of you. Throughout your life, never lose an opportunity
of helping womankind to a freer, better, broader life. Do this in
memory of me, and if I meet you in the future, either here or on the
other side of life--should there be another side--I shall not fail to
thank you.”

“I promise, and doubtless shall do more than that, in memory of you.”
The last words had a quaver of agony in them, which she did not sense.

“I have been growing restless of late, too. Some day I shall be
gone--perhaps before long.” She looked afar off with dreamy eyes as she
spoke, and Kendall’s heart ached as he realized at last, that in the
future of her dreams he had no part or place.

“Do not forget, wherever you may be, that I am always your loyal,
humble servant,” he said, gently.

“I am sure of that, and I thank you,” she answered, with kindness in
her voice.

It was like the man that he did not try to relieve his almost bursting
heart by talking of his love for her, even though it was without hope,
but he understood none of the arts of Eros, and was disciplined in

In truth, it was preposterous that he should dream of winning this
woman, and in a vague way he always knew it; yet he had dreamed. From
the day he first saw her she had enthralled him, an achievement of
which she seemed altogether unconscious, though everybody else read it
clearly enough.

They had met daily in their common home, a boarding-house, for four
years. They had enjoyed concerts, plays and lectures together; had
walked and talked together and been good comrades and yet had never
agreed. Nothing under the sun did they see from the same point of
view, and the topic upon which they thought alike had never been
found. In spite of this, Kendall patiently worshipped at her shrine.
Had he not been of the steady, hopeful, never-give-up brand of lover,
he would have lost heart long before. But he had the confidence of
the self-satisfied and shortsighted, and a heart that held on to its
fancies with the desperate clutch that wins sometimes when finer
methods fail.

To his credit be it said that while his devotion was open and
above-board, for all the world to see, he was never obtrusive. Early in
his acquaintance with his torturer he had learned to take a third or
fourth place about her candle and make no fuss. He was at her service
whenever she needed him, and always out of the way when she didn’t need

Many a night he had climbed to his fourth-story room, humming a
cheery song, while his heart was being gnawed in holes by the monster
Jealousy, all because Miss Hill was chatting and laughing in the parlor
with some of the other moths who circled about her. When chaffed about
his ill-requited devotion, he laughed it off, and said he was happy to
be tolerated at all. To himself, as a matter of graveyard whistling, he
said: “It is a question of waiting. She cares for none of them. When
she tires of them she may think of me. Meanwhile I think of her because
I can’t help it.”

He kept this up for four years. Then a restlessness of spirit came
upon him; the unseen forces of destiny began to work upon his mind and
urge him to go forth, he knew not where. Yet how could he go out of
the sight of her, voluntarily? There was but one thing that would give
him the required courage, and that was to make her bid him go. Then he
could feel that, at least, he was obeying her, hence his little plan of
having her cast the die. It might comfort him in the future.

The four years of their life together under the same roof rolled
through Kendall’s mind in panorama, and filled his heart to bursting.
The daily sight of the girl beside him had sweetened the days--had
been life itself to him, for she radiated light and life, like a
sun. That she did not love him, mattered little in that moment. The
years in which he had lived in her presence could not be taken from
him. Remembering this his spirit was lifted up, and the poor, common,
selfish ambition to possess her vanished, and the joy of having known
and loved her took its place.

He looked at her long, earnestly, adoringly, photographing her on the
fadeless walls of memory that he might carry the picture with him
through all the years to come.

“I want to make a confession to you, Miss Hill,” said Kendall, when he
thought the mental photograph of her was complete. “You have converted
me to broader views, not by words, but by your daily life. I see
you filling a useful place, unaided, in a profession that only men,
heretofore, to my knowledge, have attempted. You not only succeed, but
you excel most of your male co-workers. You make as much money as any
of them, and you have more brains, and you command everybody’s respect.
Thinking over these things, I am ashamed to remember that I thought
I ought to vote, but women must be kept from it at all hazards. Your
example has enlightened me by taking some of the masculine conceit out
of me. I feel small and mean that I in my insignificance should have
thrown a straw in the path of women like you.”

“I am glad your mental horizon has widened,” she said. “It will be
a pleasure to think of you as one of my converts. I may never make
another, unless, as in this case, it be done by example and not
argument. I begin to believe that discussion availeth little. When
I hear poor, undeveloped beings fighting the ideas that would make
them free, I do nothing to convert them to my way of thinking, I just
silently say, ‘May God enlighten them,’ for that’s all that can be
done, and the enlightening process is usually slow.”

“I remember now,” he said, “that I haven’t been able to draw you into a
discussion in many a day. I suppose you saw it was a hopeless case and
just simply prayed for my enlightenment.”

“Yes; and it has come sooner than I expected. So now I am more than
ever persuaded that argument is useless. None can be taught until ready
to learn. ‘Except ye become as little children’--receptive, teachable,
ready for light--applies to entering all kingdoms as well as the
heavenly one.”

“While I am confessing,” said Kendall, “I will tell you that I used
sometimes to take sides against you for the pleasure of hearing you
express yourself--you do it so well.”

She looked at him and her eyes made him ashamed, as she said: “That was
not kind. I was always in earnest. However, I am learning a little more
about human nature every day. I shall soon cease to be a Galatea, I

“No; it was not kind nor honest, but I did not realize it until this
moment, and now I ask your pardon. Many of the offences of us men are
the outcome of ignorance rather than meanness. We know no better. Our
conceit has stood in the way of our enlightenment. Forgive all my
shortcomings, and remember my defects no more. Be a little kinder still
and do one other service for me. Read me my future.”

“I am no occultist,” she answered, laughing.

“No matter. I have a fancy for believing you are for the time being.
Tell me what lies ahead. It may keep up my courage. Since you are my
confessor, I don’t mind telling you that there are moments when I feel
a childish cowardice about what I may have to meet, and wish I could
run away from it all and hide forevermore.”

“That recalls a bit of rhyme I read years ago which has always stuck in
my memory,” she said:

  “‘What is Life, Father? A battle, my child,
    Where the strongest arm may fail;
  Where the wariest eye may be beguil’d,
    And the stoutest heart may quail.’

“’Tis no shame to admit that one’s courage is not always high. No one
lives always on the heights. I know something about those moments of
childish cowardice you speak of; but there, I belong to the sex that is
supposed to have the right to be cowardly--we are even driven to it.
Courage brings reproach upon us, while the more we shrink and cower
and quail and complain the more ‘womanly’ we are said to be. What a
fine outlook for the human race! But as to your future. Now I am an
astrologer and must draw your horoscope.” (This was accomplished by
scratching several circles on the walk with the end of her parasol.)
“There, the rings and dots and figures all mean tremendous things. I
shall not weary you, however, by telling you the why and wherefore
of everything. I shall stick to facts. Here goes: I see a journey by
water which ends where the sun sets. You will meet disappointments and
difficulties; will know privations and dangers, and also that most
dreadful form of homesickness--the homesickness of one who has no home.
But you will overcome all obstacles and be what is called successful;
you will find your place and hold it. You will become bigger and
stronger in body and in character, and you will _never come back here_.”

“And the indescribable thing called Happiness; has it no place in my
horoscope?” he asked, after a pause.

“Is it not included in the thing called Success?” she answered. “Can
the defeated be happy?”

“On the whole your reading is not half bad, as the English say, when
they want to compliment a thing, and I believe in it.” Yet he sighed
as he spoke. The promised success was not alluring, meaning as it did,
lifelong separation from the sun that warmed his life.

Still he was in dead earnest when he said he believed in her
prophecies. Long ago he had made up his mind that this girl was his
fate--not in the sense that she was likely to unite her life to his.
He had never been honestly hopeful of that in spite of his steady
perseverance; but it seemed to him that in some way she was to direct
his life, to be the star of his destiny, as it were. And never was that
belief stronger upon him than now when he knew that the end of their
daily association had come.

Rising, she said, “Let us each cast a pebble in the pool of this
fountain and see whose circles will last longer.”

As they watched the rings widen, multiply and vanish until those made
by her pebble had obliterated his, he said,

“There! Your spirit will trouble the waters of life to greater purpose
than mine and longer. It needs no divination to tell that.”

When they went back to the house they met Westfield coming out. “Will
she eventually throw herself away on him?” was the query Kendall put to

At the breakfast table next morning Kendall’s chair was vacant, and the
place was to know him no more under the sun.

                             CHAPTER III.

                      CONFIDENCES AND QUESTIONS.

  “Too weak to change, though a mental hell
    To me the rôle of clown;
  A coward bound by a self-wrought spell,
  I wait the sound of the prompter’s bell
    Which rings the curtain down.”

Sunday’s restfulness was in the air. Miss Hill and Westfield sat in the
shade of the great tree in the yard, with books and newspapers about
them. Nothing was more delightful to Westfield than to hear her read
aloud. She had a voice of great natural sweetness, with no artificial
notes in it. In truth there was no artifice in her character.

The man beside her to-day was one of whom poor Kendall had often
been bitterly jealous, a man of finer fibre than his rival, greater
charm and graver defects. Older, he was also wiser, particularly in
melancholy wisdom.

“Read me something,” he said, “some wild wail from a tortured poet.
There are always plenty, and I like ’en, no matter how woful they are.
God bless the poets every one, high and humble. They help us out in the
dreary business of life.”

She read:

  “White-footed the snow comes,
    O’er the hills of beauty,
  Treading like a penitent
    Rough paths of duty.”

“What an exquisite figure,”--he interrupted,--“the personification of
the snow, with white feet, like a penitent.” He had once made a bright
mark in the world of letters, then ceased to strive and later ceased to
care, so it might be supposed that his commendation was of some value.

“Miss Hill,” he said, with sudden animation, “what are you going to do
with your life?”

“Live it, if I am permitted.”


“I have my dreams.”

“Of what?”

She smiled, looking far away, but kept silence.

“I can’t make you out,” he said, a little peevishly. “I believe you
have genius for literature, yet you seem to be perfectly indifferent
about cultivating it. Were you like others one might suppose that love
and marriage made up your dreams; but you are as indifferent to lovers
as to possible fame. I don’t understand you.”

“Well, it isn’t worth while to bother about me,” she said. “I shall be
gone some day.”

“I fear you will,” he answered, with feeling; “I have thought of it a
thousand times, and dreaded to enter the house, lest I should not find
you there. A sense of your impermanence is always with me. You don’t
belong here in any sense, and I fear that Fate will not let you stay
much longer. There is an unreality about your being here at all that
is like the experiences we have when we sleep, real enough while they
are occurring, but unreal to remember. Yes, you will be gone some day.
Therefore, I shall take Fate by the forelock and go first, that I may
not be here when you leave. I could not endure that. The very sight of
the old house and this tree would then be intolerable to me.”

His face and speech were impassioned, but the girl saw it not. That was
what made her so exasperating to those whom she fascinated. She seemed
incapable of seeing that she could fascinate. The truth was she was

“You would miss me, I am sure,” she said, in the most matter-of-fact
tone, “and I should miss you greatly, if you were gone.”

“Where will you go to when you leave here?” he asked.

“To my own people, I hope,” she answered, dreamily, her eyes wandering
away to the horizon.

“Tell me about them,” he begged. “I have often tried to lead you to
talk of them, but you never would. You are a tell-all, tell-nothing
sort of person. Others do not notice that, but I do, and have woven
some theories about it.”

“I dare say they do me great honor, but in all probability they are far
from true.”

“Well, then, why will you not tell me about yourself?” he asked, in an
injured tone.

“You talk as though I have been making history on this planet for
ages. I am young; what could I have to tell that would satisfy your
expectation of the extraordinary. You have known me here in this house
for more than two years. As the Indians in the old story-books say,
we have ‘eaten salt together daily,’ and we have walked and talked
together with the freedom of children. What is there of me still

“I don’t know,” he said, “but I feel there is something--a part of you
and your experiences from which I and others are shut out, and that
part is the greatest part of you. I argue that, because, although you
attract many, myself, poor moth, among them, no one gets near to you.
An invisible but formidable wall surrounds you, from which all our
attempted gallantries rebound like arrows which strike rocks. And there
you are behind it, always smiling and agreeable, but entirely unmoved
and secure. Now, somebody or some experience built that wall, for it is
not in the nature of things for it to be there without cause.”

“Go on,” she said, smiling, as he waited for her to speak. “You will
end by being a great architect yet. How like magic you put up that

“You may chaff as much as you please,” he said, a little savagely, “but
I am not to be put off that way. Now that I have begun I am going to
say some things seriously and you must hear them seriously.”

“I told you to go on,” she said, composedly.

“And so I will,” he grumbled, “though I know perfectly well that it
would be manlier if I kept silence. As you say, we have eaten and
walked and talked together as freely as children for more than two
years. In that time we have become well acquainted--not the poor,
shallow acquaintance of formal society, but the near, intimate
association of two human beings who honestly express themselves to each
other. The result of this comradeship is that I love you. I will not
say I have learned to love you, for something of the fact was clear to
me the very first time I saw you. In all probability you don’t remember
the incidents of that day at all, but I do. Brooks, our good host, as
you know, is my old friend. I had drifted to this city in an aimless
way, as I had been drifting for years. He met me and brought me home to
dinner with him. I have always adored intellect in man or woman. One
look into your eyes told me that you are of uncommon endowments. Then,
along with a beautiful but simple stateliness of manner, you have
certain childish graces of which you are unconscious. You have never
put your childhood entirely away from you. I particularly noticed the
correct school-girlish arrangement of your knife and fork at the end
of the dinner, and was charmed by it. After we left the table I said
to Brooks that you had wonderful eyes. He agreed with me, but warned
me not to let them undo me, because he said you were constructed on a
novel plan, one man being the same as another to you, and all being as

“I paid no attention to his warning, as you see. On the contrary, when
he went to the _Times_ office and secured me a situation, I accepted
it gratefully, because I could then become a member of his household
and see you every day. I have loved you ever since, and have had much
quiet joy in it, and it has bettered me in many ways. I know perfectly
well--I have always known--that you do not love me, and in my least
selfish moments I am glad of it, because I have nothing to offer
you that is fit for you to accept. I would not tell you that I love
you--never a word of it--were I not sure that it will not hurt you.
In the years to come the memory of it may comfort you. It is a great
comfort to me now, hopeless as it is. It helps me only to tell it. O
my child, my heart has long been sick and sore from bruises the like
of which I pray you may never know. We men are set up to be so strong
and pretend to be so self-satisfied, but we are only grown-up children
after all. When we are sore in spirit we long for some loving woman
soul to take us to her arms and pet and soothe us mother-like, yet we
often live our lives without it.

“I am fifteen years older than you, and know the world well--better
than I wish I did--so well that I should like to protect you from its
ugly phases. Yet I am powerless to do it. Never did I so deeply lament
my aimless, wasted life as now, when I see myself with nothing to offer
you and yet loving you with all my heart. Sometimes, since I have known
you, I have dreamed that with your help I could pull myself together
and make something of my life yet; but the dream is only temporary--it
flees, the reaction comes and I sink back to the _rôle_ of a nobody
which I have long been playing, and doubtless shall play to the end--an
end that I may make for myself any day.

“To say that I despise myself for being the wretched failure I am is
to express myself but lamely. My love has in it an element of the
paternal. I am not thinking so much of what you might be to me, but
of what I earnestly wish I might be to you. I long to shield you from
the infinite horror of the experience we call life, as it is revealed
to many. You are like a tall young pine-tree standing alone on a high
rugged and rocky mountain side, enjoying the sunshine and swaying
gently in the summer breeze, not knowing that the winter of the future
will bring storms that may tear its roots from the earth. You know not
your own value, that is the danger. Some day you may give your love and
have your heart broken. That’s what happens to strong souls usually,
and you are one of them. I know the answer to the woman poet’s question:

  “‘Is it so, O Christ in heaven, that the highest suffer most?
  That the strongest wander farthest, and most hopelessly are lost?
  That the mark of rank in nature is capacity for pain,
  And the anguish of the singer, makes the sweetness of the strain?

  “‘I have many things to tell you, but ye cannot bear them now.’

“Yes, I know the answer to that, and it makes me anxious about your
future. Behold the pitiful spectacle of a man who loves a woman, tells
her of it, and yet confesses himself a hopeless failure.”

“But why do you insist upon considering yourself a failure?” asked Miss
Hill. “You are not old, you have good health, education, ability, the
necessary ingredients for achievement.”

“Child, you do not understand. How could you? the ruin is within, not
visible on the outer walls.”

“No; I do not understand,” she said.

“I will tell you,” he said, “how I came to be a loiterer in the race,

            “‘----wrought my woe,
  In the diamond morning of long ago,’

as the song says. You see I began by asking you about yourself, and,
with the artless art that distinguishes you, with scarcely a word, you
have switched me off the track I had taken and set me talking about
myself instead. I shall lose in your respect after I tell my story, as
a matter of course, but I would rather you knew it.

“Years ago, in the days when the earth was new and sweet to me--in
the mountain-moving period of life, the tragedy began. I loved, and
like the lover of Annabel Lee I may say that the angels of heaven
coveted the love of her and me. I was one of the editors of the most
prosperous daily newspaper in the city that was my home, my uncle being
its proprietor. He had no children of his own, and had brought up my
brother and me, our parents having died, when we were very little.

“A sensational criminal trial was before the courts of a distant city,
and it was arranged that I was to attend it and send daily letters to
my journal. As it promised to last several weeks, the separation from
Emma looked unendurable. I must marry her and take her with me. But
when I told my plan to her she said she couldn’t leave her father, who
was old, feeble and almost blind, with nobody else to care for him. In
my selfishness I had forgotten him. ‘I cannot go with you,’ she said,
‘but I am willing to marry you before you go. It will comfort me while
you are gone just to know that I am your wife.’

“So we married, telling no one but Emma’s father. The secrecy was
needless and foolish, but when young we are all more or less enslaved
by the ways of others, and this was too violent a departure from custom
to be proclaimed just then.

“Ours was an unusual but not unhappy honey-moon. We wrote every day,
long, glowing letters, and annihilated distance with our thought.

“But one day a telegram came announcing that my wife had been
murdered--struck down in her own home, in the light of day, in the
presence of her helpless old father.

“Behind the dreadful deed was the usual crazy rejected suitor. I knew
the wretched boy well--he was but a boy--but never dreamed of the
ghastly possibilities within his crooked mind. But what know we of any
one? Who is safe from treating the community to a hideous sensation?

“He had long been fond of Emma, but lost hope when he saw that my
attitude toward her was an assured one. But after I went away he got
it into his crazy head that we had quarreled, and took heart again.
When he implored her to marry him, and she refused without telling him
that she was already married, he shot her dead and then shot himself.

“Horror, grief, and remorse overwhelmed me. I blamed myself. Why had
I not announced the marriage at once? Had the wretched boy known that
Emma was my wife, he would have let her alone, I am sure. What did
it avail that I put a tablet at her grave bearing the name of Emma
Westfield? Humble as was the name it might have protected her had it
been openly bestowed upon her.

“This happened ten years ago, before my friend Brooks, our host, ever
met me. He knows nothing of it--doesn’t dream that I ever was married.
To speak of it would oblige me to enter into explanations, to uncover
my heart to gratify curiosity, which, however kindly meant, is always
painful to a sore spirit. I tell you that you may understand I have
at least the shadow of an excuse for being what I am, a man without
purpose, a withered, useless branch of the human tree, waiting for the
man with the pruning knife to come and cut me down.

“See the irony of fate. A few days after my wife’s death, my uncle
died, leaving all his property to my brother and me. We were now owners
of the newspaper on which we had worked as employees, and of other
valuable interest besides. It only emphasized my misery. Of all my
possessions I could give nothing to the woman I loved--nothing but a
stone at the end of a little heap of earth.

“It might have been better for me had I not inherited my uncle’s
property, for it enabled me to idle away my time and indulge my selfish
grief, until my will became enfeebled, and that means the crumbling of
the whole character, which goes to pieces like an old wall.

“I went away, wandering over the earth aimlessly, not trying to benefit
by travel, only hoping to make new scenes blot out the old, unbearable
ones. I spent years in the vain effort to run away from myself. I am
still engaged in that hopeless effort, though I have learned that it
can’t be done. We take our world with us wherever we go--heaven and
hell bring both within us.

“I am but a morbid idler, who has lost the qualities that give a man a
place among men. Though I never tried to stifle memory and misery in
debauchery, my money melted away. The coarse pleasures many men pursue
never had charms for me, but my destruction was none the less sure. It
has come without degradation, I am thankful to say, save that which any
man must feel who has let himself slide down hill so far he never can
climb up again.

“Once only since that dreadful thing happened have I accomplished
anything. I braced myself against my inner foes long enough to write
the little book you know. It gave me fame enough for a foundation for
future work, had I followed it up; but I didn’t. I fell immediately
back into the clutches of the miserable devils who possessed me--made a
complete and inglorious surrender to them for all time, caring naught
who wins the prizes in the hateful race of life.

“My story proves me a contemptible weakling. I know I am not a whit
above the cheap hero of the old-time, pirate novel, the fellow who does
the gloomy, manages to look as though the hand of Fate was ever upon
him, and has a secret sorrow as big as an omnibus, which he wants all
the world to know. I am not made of the right kind of stuff or I should
not have given up at the first blow of Destiny. ‘Man yields himself not
to the angels nor even unto Death itself, save through the weakness of
his own poor will.’

“Had Emma’s father lived, the care of him might have proved a prop to
me, but the shock killed him, and he died a few weeks after she did.
I had my brother, younger than myself, and we loved each other, but I
argued that he did not need me, and left him. He loves me still and
follows me with the kindest, dearest letters, and is always begging
me to come back to him; but I will not be a cloud upon his happiness
and prosperity. Yet his sympathy and yours are all that is left in the
world precious to me.

“My love for you is different from my early love. In that day the
castles I constructed were very worldly ones. Now, I have no worldly
ambitions whatever. It seems to me that by some kind of kinship of
soul, if there is such a thing as soul, you belong to me, and never
can be taken from me, though our lives may be widely separated. If you
were the vilest and most degraded creature in the world and yet were
yourself, I should love you just the same.

“After Emma went away I tried hard to tear from Death its well-guarded
secret. I wanted to know if the dark hole in the ground is the end
of us all. I pounded fiercely on the very doors of the tomb, begging
piteously for an answer. None came. No; never a word came out of the
silence into which she had gone. The people who say they believe in
a hereafter quote at us those exasperating scriptural questions: ‘O
Death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory?’ I can answer
them. The sting is here, in my heart. The victory is over all my hopes,
dreams and ambitions. People who believe! Are there any such? They only
say they believe. It is all mere mouthing. Can any man believe that
which he does not know? Their twaddle about faith and heaven enraged
me. I wanted proof, proof--though but a whispered word, the faintest
touch of a vanished hand, or the tiniest scratch of a familiar pen.
Proof! Proof! Oh for the proof that she lived somewhere. Had I had that
I could have laughed long and loud at Death, the liar and the cheat.
The merest thread of a rope would have served for me to hold to, I was
so eager to believe. But nobody let it down to me--not then, nor in all
the years since.

“Yet now, in spite of all that, when I look at you, I cannot persuade
myself that you are to die--to cease from living. You carry with you
a conviction of immortality. Your intense individuality seems like a
deathless thing. It reminds me of the words of the young Greek in the
drama of Ion. When his life was to be sacrificed, his beloved asks if
they shall meet again. He says, ‘I have asked that dreadful question of
the hills that look eternal--of the streams that flow forever--of the
stars among whose fields of azure my raised spirit has walked in glory.
All are dumb. But as I gaze upon thy living face, I see something in
the love that lights its beauty which cannot wholly perish. We shall
meet again, Clemanthe?’

“What answer have you for the question? ‘If a man die shall he live

“About that I think much, hope a little sometimes, but know nothing,”
she said.

“No; we know nothing,” he echoed, with a sigh; “but it is something to
hope. I have a fancy that the road is not long ahead of me here, and
I may soon have a chance to know what there is or know nothing. If we
have an existence beyond this objective one, I may be able to help you
from there. It would be helping you could I but come and tell you that
I lived, would it not?”

“What greater service could you do me?”

“If I could do that I might do more. Who knows? Of course it is absurd
to speak of helping you without explaining what I mean. Apparently you
need nobody’s help. You are strong of character, self-poised, capable,
successful and fearless. I see all that, yet I cannot rid myself of the
fear that you are destined to suffer much and will need the service and
sympathy of all who love you. From life I have learned a little. When
great strength is given I know it will be needed. And you are stronger
in character than you know. I should like to save you from suffering,
but were I ever so rich and powerful, I know I could not do it. You
must meet your destiny, whatever it may be. As the Scotch say, ‘must
dree your weird.’ Nobody else can live your life for you, for, alas!
life admits of no proxy. I have woven many fanciful theories about you
and your past, present and future.”

“Tell me one,” she said.

“I will give you my favorite. You are not what you seem to be--not less
but more than you pretend to be. You have been tenderly reared and much
loved. You are not here earning your bread because of necessity, but
for some purpose not thought of by those with whom you come in contact.
Having demonstrated your ability to stand alone, you will go back home
some day and be done with it. You are supported in whatever otherwise
would be hard, by the knowledge that you are free to turn your back
upon it whenever you wish. Am I not a good clairvoyant?”

“Permit me to ask why you think as you do about me?”

“Because you give me the impression of not belonging where I find you.
You seem to be playing a part and doing it with exceeding skill; but
your real self is not in it. As you say, you will be gone some day to
your own people. And now that I have confessed myself a failure and a
fool, I too, shall go away.”

“Why?” she asked, regretfully. “Why must the men and women who find
each other companionable be lovers or nothing to each other? I am fond
of you, very, not in the sentimental fashion, but as good comrade and
friend. Why can’t we go on just as we have been doing? That talk about
loving me need make no difference.”

“You are like a child about these things,” he said. “You know not the
creature man in his bondage to selfishness. You credit us with the
strength of gods, and we are mostly such poor, ill-developed wretches
that if we want what we cannot have we must run away to avoid showing
how little we are masters of ourselves. But tell me what are you going
to do with your life?”

“I have my dreams.”

“Of what?”


“Would it be offensive if I asked upon what particular brand of the
article you have set your heart?”

“The most commonplace one in the world,--the love and companionship of
him who is dearest.”

Westfield was too astonished to say anything. Was the riddle so simple?
Was this self-contained, independent girl following the same everyday
illusion that lured all other women? While apparently caring nothing
for lovers was she worshiping the one she carried ever in her heart?

“I will tell you all there is to tell,” she said, after a moment, “and
then you will understand.”

He nodded assent, but felt his heart sinking.

                              CHAPTER IV.

                          HER STORY AND FATE.

  “Who reads the riddle right?
    And who can answer why
  These clouds sweep over our mental life?
    Not you, brave priest, nor I.”

“Instead of being tenderly cared for, as you imagine,” said Miss Hill,
“I had a loveless childhood, though above all things I wanted to be
loved and to be told that I was loved. I could have been an angel of
goodness had I had even a little love; but next to none was given me.
If parents only knew that by showing love for their children they made
for them a foundation of happiness which no after experiences could
knock from under their feet, perhaps they would be kinder than some of
them are. But why speak of ifs at all? If we knew at the beginning of
life what we know at the end of it, perhaps we should never have to
make the journey. I have thought often that I could bear my trouble
courageously if I had sweet memories of childhood; but I have only
bitter ones. Sometimes I have been unhappy since I have been earning
my own bread among people unknown to me before, but never, never for a
moment so miserable as I was always in the home into which I was born.

“I understand the reason of it all better now and blame nobody. The
law was simply working itself out into its natural results. If I
suffered--well, who doesn’t suffer as the mills of the gods grind,
set in operation as they usually are by ignorant hands? My father and
mother were natural enemies, who should have lived as far asunder as
the poles, instead of enacting a hideous, lifelong tragedy in the name
of marriage. I am quite sure they hated each other energetically most
of the time and bitterly the rest of it, yet they stuck together and
brought seven children into the world to suffer in a thousand ways
from their incompatible union, and considered themselves virtuous in
so doing. Yet, that is the kind of thing that passes for morality.
Long ago I saw that it was a foul lie, and the direst foe to morality.
When my eldest sister was married, and I heard the words ‘What God has
joined together let no man put asunder,’ clinching the curse, as it
were, it set me to thinking and asking questions. Somebody explained to
me that all husbands and wives were joined together by God, and could
not possibly be separated without going violently against His will,
except by death, and that, of course, was in accordance with His will.
I pondered over this with a heavy heart. Then God had united my father
and mother. This dreadful work had been done by His hand, and I was
wroth against Him, for every day I felt and saw the evil effects of it.

“Is it strange that ours was a loveless family? With no love between
husband and wife, could they be expected to love their children? Can a
mother be expected to love the child who comes unwelcome to her arms?
Can a father love children in whom he sees the features and traits of
the woman to whom he is hopelessly bound and yet hates? We were all
victims of violated law, so who was to blame? Ignorance! Ignorance,
which is responsible for all the evil and all the suffering under the
sun. In fact ignorance is evil, and evil is ignorance, nothing more nor
less. You know Shakspeare says there is no darkness but ignorance.

“We frequently have well-meaning persons say that ill-mated married
folk should stick together ‘for the sake of the children.’ Yet for
that very reason they should separate. Their children and children’s
children pay the penalty of their violation of the laws of harmony,
and still farther down the line of the future goes the misery that had
its origin in a hateful marriage. Pray tell me how is morality served

“In addition to the discord that made our lives wretched my parents
were victims of the desperate struggle for existence, in which the
finer qualities were squeezed out. This so absorbed them that the true
meaning of home and family escaped them, and the material side of the
situation alone received attention. We were all wretched. It was a
horrible experience. There we were, not of our own choice, wedged into
an unwelcome place and unable to extricate ourselves. We were plainly
told that whatever was done for us was to help make us able to take
care of ourselves. We were urged to be industrious at school, because
learning would enable us to be self-supporting. I never heard any
other reason put forth in defence of education. This was dinned into
our ears until life had but one meaning,--that of getting on in the
world. The problem ended there. The result, I need hardly say, was to
make us selfish. Instead of loving one another and sharing each others’
burdens, each thought only of his or her individual success, and the
cherished dream of all was to get away--to go forth where there was

“I was next to the youngest, a sister, an extraordinary little being,
who had brought with her traces of a wisdom not of the earth, and a
recollection of conditions and surroundings more to her taste than
our jarring household. She talked much of a home that she had had
somewhere, and often wept to go back to it, nor could she ever be
persuaded to call the place in which she found herself home. God knows
how alien and comfortless it must have seemed to her delicate spirit.
When three years old she left us, such was her good fortune. At
least it seemed good to me even then, and when they told me the usual
fanciful tales of wings and a shining heaven, I envied her.

“One by one my sisters and brothers made haste to leave. So eager
were they to get away that some took the first matrimonial boat on
which they could secure passage, and thereby made sad shipwreck of
their lives. How I longed to be loved. When I saw other children
petted and caressed my heart swelled almost to bursting. The result
of my unsatisfied longing was that I took refuge in my imagination
and there lived a life as congenial and blissful as my outside life
was distasteful and miserable. I surrounded myself with imaginary
friends whom I loved and who loved me--charming, agreeable, superior
people--men and women, not children. The misery that prevailed in
our home had taken my childhood from me before I knew I possessed
it. I early learned the solemn truth that ‘each soul in what is most
itself, in what is deepest and nearest, lives alone, and that there
is more loneliness in life than there is communion.’ I, too, like my
little sister, suffered from a strange homesickness of the spirit, a
longing for sympathetic association, for companionship, in short. I
wanted congenial air, ‘that air which may be found everywhere, if we
can find sympathetic souls to breathe it with us, and which is to be
found nowhere without them,--the air of the land of our dreams, of the
country of the ideal.’ Plotinus says ‘Our true country is that from
whence we came.’ It has always seemed to me that far back in the past
I lived somewhere and was happy. Now I am ever searching for the souls
who are in sympathy with me, as in that far-off time. They are my own
people, rather than those to whom I am related by consanguine ties.
They or their counterparts exist somewhere on the earth, I believe, and
the real business of my life is to find them.

“One’s own people! Think of what it would be to dwell among them, where
sympathy met one in every glance, and love made itself felt in every
tone of the voice.

“I was fond of study, was quick to learn, and when only seventeen was
so far advanced that I felt ready to begin life on my own account.
Like the others, I was restless to leave a home which had never been
more than a shelter to me. I had no dreams of marrying, and walking in
the same treadmill in which so many millions of women have worn out
their souls as well as their bodies. I could never see why all women
should spend their lives in cooking and nursing children any more than
why all men should till the soil, which was civilized man’s primal
occupation. I saw, too, very clearly, that women could never be more
than half-fledged mentally, or have any real influence in the world
of affairs so long as they were dependents financially. They must
achieve pecuniary independence before they could hope for wider orbits,
as it were. To get an opportunity to carve my own way in life was my
unceasing wish. So unceasing and earnest was it that it created its
own fulfilment. You may put it down as a great truth, that a desire
held with earnestness, faith and persistence, will bring to the one
who holds it its object. ‘Ask and ye shall receive’ is a law that is
operative everywhere.

“I held myself ready to do whatever I could find that needed doing, but
always in the day-dreams of my future I saw myself a successful painter
and author, because hundreds of beautiful pictures danced before my
mind and begged to be put on canvas, and thousands of thoughts and
fancies flitted through my brain that I longed to share with all who
would hear me.

“I had a gift for drawing, but had advanced as far as I could go
without better instructors than were attainable where I lived. One
thing, however, I had, which was a blessing to my artistic sense and a
solace to my spirit. That was a beautiful landscape to look upon. As
the mental atmosphere of home was always inharmonious I lived outdoors
as much as possible, and from the fine view the location commanded I
extracted much profound pleasure.

“One day I saw an advertisement in a newspaper to the effect that a
lithographer in a little city fifty miles away wanted an assistant whom
he could train to suit his needs. The next day found me face to face
with the advertiser, talking myself up unblushingly. He was surprised,
of course, that a girl whose frocks as yet came no lower than her
ankles, should want to learn an art presumably sacred to men; but after
some hesitation he engaged me, and I found myself launched in life as
an independent, self-supporting factor. It was a proud day for me, I
assure you. To the hardships of the situation I never gave a thought.
The chance to work was the wedge that was to split up the tree of my
future, so I set myself to hammering upon it with might and main.
My pecuniary recompense was microscopical, but even that gave me no
distress. Such as it was I managed to live within it, and look forward
to something better.

“The lithographer’s establishment proved to be very interesting to
me. Some excellent work was done there, and some odd jobs of various
kinds--even the engraving of spoons sometimes--all of which I learned
to do. In fact I learned to do anything and everything there as well
as anybody, and before long received a larger salary, though never
anything very imposing. I considered the time well spent, however, for
I was perfecting myself in drawing, and when out of office studied
languages and read much. I was happy--happier than I had ever been in
my life, for I was out of the wretchedness that prevailed at home, and
was treated with politeness and respect by everybody.

“Among the patrons of our establishment with whom I came in contact was
Mr. Doring. He made no particular impression on me, until an epidemic
came and his three children fell victims to it and died. Then as I
heard considerable talk about his sorrow in the office, I tried to
express my sympathy when next I saw him.

“Nearly a year passed when the community was startled by the
announcement that his wife had died suddenly and suspiciously, and
he had been arrested as her murderer. As in all such cases, some
considered the accusation preposterous, and others believed in it with
vindictive energy, and clamored for his punishment. I was indignant
at their gross cruelty and expressed my opinion freely--too freely, I
was told. He was tried and acquitted, but his acquittal did not set
him right in the eyes of many of his townspeople. They talked over the
circumstances, magnifying all the suspicious indications and inventing
new ones, and they treated him to cuts, contemptuous looks and other
expressions of malevolence, until they almost broke him down. You know
there are human beings who bitterly resent it when a sensation doesn’t
develop into the last phase of the horrible, and of such that town was
largely composed.

“A few days after his acquittal Doring came into our office and thanked
me warmly for my kind expressions of faith in his innocence, of which
it seems he had been told. He looked haggard and ill, and at sight of
him I felt renewed indignation at the cruelty of man to man, and I said
so as earnestly as I could.

“About that time I began to notice something queer in the faces
of people when they talked about Doring to me. I could not read
it clearly, but that it was inimical to me I soon discovered. It
was something they pretended to conceal, yet really wanted to make
conspicuously noticeable. It was a suspicion of a low order, but what?
The man was nothing to me more than any other victim of injustice. What
had I to do with him and his sorrowful affairs?

“I am intuitive and sensitive. As soon as I began to notice this
unspoken suspicion, I began to look guilty. My face flamed red at the
mention of his name or any allusion to the case. You can understand
that, but minds of a lower grade could not. They construed it as a sign
of guilt, yet it was but the knowledge of their offensive thoughts
that embarrassed and unsettled me. To know that I was suspected made
me look confused and guilty. It was always so even when I was a child
at school. If a culprit were sought, I looked like one. You know,
however, that most people are mere surface readers of others, and
nothing in the world is so little understood as a delicate, sensitive,
high spirit. I who was far removed in thought from that of which I was
suspected, crimsoned with horror when I encountered this base suspicion
in the faces of those who harbored it, and it made me self-conscious
and shy when I spoke with Doring himself. In short, it ate into me and
destroyed my peace.

“In a little while the air grew black with it. All pretence of
concealment was abandoned, and significant looks blossomed into speech.
They said Doring and I were infatuated with each other, and that he had
killed his wife in order to be able to marry me, and that I had put him
up to it. The vilest and falsest tales were circulated about us. The
miserable local newspapers printed thinly-veiled insinuations, and fool
friends came and poured abhorrent stories into my ears.

“The brutal malevolence of their lies amazed as well as horrified me.
I could not see what I had done to bring such an avalanche of malice
upon me. You may imagine what I suffered. Alone, and with a heart that
had in it originally nothing but good will for everybody, this cruel
experience almost withered me for life.

“I longed to leave the accursed place which now seemed peopled with
devils. Driven almost to desperation, at last I went forth to find a
spot untainted by the hatred that there had destroyed my peace. I came
here to Gougal’s great engraving house, and with nothing in the way of
help or influence from anybody, asked for employment and got it.--‘Ask
and ye shall receive’ being a true law. Here I have been ever since,
almost happy--at least not miserable.

“But this is not all my story. The difficult part is to come. A few
days before I left Mr. Doring came into the office where I was at work
and told me that he loved me. I was surprised and startled, and yet I
listened gladly, and the story sounded sweet to me. It seemed to me
that I had always loved him, though I don’t know why, for I am sure
I had not thought of it before. We were both victims of unjust and
malicious public opinion, so perhaps it was natural that we turned to
each other for consolation, though I have often wondered since what
it was that suddenly filled my mind with love for a man who, until
that moment was no more to me than any other. Are the words ‘I love
you’ so potent that they can create responsive love? In no sense is
he my ideal, but the feeling that came into life when he spoke those
words to me has dominated me from that hour, though I have never
seen him since that day. I have wondered if he loved me before that
scandal came upon him, and if, in some mysterious way, people found
it out and constructed their tales according to their light on such
situations? Or whether their stories put it into his head, and if so,
through what occult channels was it communicated to me? I am almost
persuaded that it was brought about somehow by the accusations of
the community in which we lived. Somebody put out the suggestion, it
reached his mind and there sprouted, took root and grew until it was
strong enough to transplant a counterpart of itself to mine, for ideas
are transmissible, you know. Ah! if we but knew the mystery of mind we
should know all there is to know, perhaps.

“After I came away, Doring left too. He writes me constantly, and is
now urging me strongly to marry him. I believe that I love him, and
the knowledge that he loves me sustains me. Merely thinking about it
keeps me from being lonely. ’Tis said that love is life; that even the
love of a bird or a dog will keep a human being alive. You and others
have wondered why I am apparently so contented and cheerful and want no
lovers, only good comrades. It is because my heart is anchored.

“And yet I shrink from marrying Doring. It would mean the stirring up
of all the now stagnant pools of scandals. I am content to go on as I
am, for a time at least, finding my joy in the thoughts of being loved;
but he is not willing. He says he has waited long enough--that the
matter must be decided one way or the other very soon. When I think of
giving him up, of putting it all out of my life and plodding on with
nothing to sustain me, I feel that I can’t do it. Unhappily, I am one
of those miserable beings who are loyal by nature and cannot help it
if they would. An affection becomes a part of me, and can’t be put off
without disaster to the whole structure.

“This love has absorbed me to the extent of destroying my ambition to
achieve something excellent with pen or pencil. What dreams have I not
woven around this central idea--dreams impossible of fulfilment, yet
nearly as blissful as reality.

“In a few days Mr. Doring will be here. He has written me that he
intends to come to talk over our future. So you shall see him.”

       *       *       *       *       *

One evening soon after as Westfield was returning to the house he met
Miss Hill accompanied by a stranger. “It is Doring,” he said, and
his heart sank. Intuitive moments come to all of us, when the hidden
is revealed, when souls stand naked before our eyes, stripped of the
cloaks and without the props which make them fair and imposing to
ordinary perception. Such a moment came to Westfield, and he saw Louis
Doring with an inner sight to which everything was made plain, and as
he looked his face grew white to the lips and his eyes became fixed
and glassy like those of the dead.

“God help her,” he groaned inwardly, as he passed on. “The man is a
fool--a stupid, brainless, flabby character--a dull dolt with regular
features and a straight figure made imposing by the tailor’s skill,
and a selfish heart. Exactly the kind of beast that can dazzle women
as brainless as himself. But how has he bewitched _her_? Why do I ask,
when I know that the destinies of the grandest and sweetest souls, a
grim and perverse fate often rules? The ‘highest suffer most,’ the
‘strongest wander farthest and most hopelessly are lost.’

“How can I bear it? It crucifies me to know that that wax-faced,
tailor-made biped has been carried in her mind as a hero and
worshipped. And now after years of deception he will destroy her whole

“I see how it came about. The scandal invented by the community
suggested it to him--sowed the seeds in both their heads. We live under
the influence of suggestion of one kind or another all the time. What
is the force of public opinion but this on a gigantic scale? The wretch
has sighed and maundered and posed before her about his sufferings
until he awoke her sympathy, and he will hang on to her and will not
give her up because he is attracted by the magnetism of her strength
of character. And she, deluded soul, idealizes him, endows him with
splendid qualities--in short, sees in him that which is in herself.
She will go straight to her destruction, and I can’t save her. Until
I saw him I believed the best of him; but now I _know_ what is before
her if she should marry him. It will be like awaking from a blissful
trance--it will be just that. O my heart of light! O, my tall young
pine! The tragedy of your life is more than I can bear.”

Going hastily to his room he made ready and tore away to the country
for a few days. “I could not endure to see the creature again,” he
said, as his train pulled out of the station.

When he returned everything was going on as usual at the house, yet
nothing was the same to him, nor could it ever be again. He did not
speak of Doring to Miss Hill, but she herself went back to the subject,
chiding him for going away.

“I saw Mr. Doring,” he answered, curtly, “and didn’t like him. You may
think my opinion of him is colored by jealousy, but I am sure it is
not. I hope you will never marry him.”

“Well, I have not yet decided to marry him,” she said.

“If you have not given him up entirely it will end that way at last.
You are merely temporizing with the situation, and it will master you.”

“Probably,” she said, wearily, and then they spoke of it no more.

       *       *       *       *       *

Not long after, Westfield went away. When he was gone she felt a sense
of desolation new in her experience. He was so good a comrade. Why
had he been so foolish as to leave? Could men and women never be good
comrades--only lovers, or nothing?

       *       *       *       *       *

The days went on apparently as though there had never been a Westfield,
though the other members of the household thought Miss Hill was not
quite like herself, that perhaps she was fonder of Westfield than she
had believed herself to be, and regretted him. Brooks was strongly
inclined to this opinion, though when he talked with his wife about it
he drubbed Westfield soundly. “Blast the fool,” he said, “what could
she do but let him go, even if she were fond of him? What woman not
an idiot would think of marrying Westfield, who is simply a charming
failure, a penniless, indifferent, intellectual tramp?”

In truth they were half right in their surmises. The old content had
vanished. She missed the intellectual sympathy of Westfield, and Doring
kept her restless with his importunings. She read his letters by the
light of her own integrity, and therefore saw not the rank selfishness
of the writer, who was vain and dull, but persistent to a degree that
made him formidable as a wooer. He had recourse to all the selfish
arguments of little souls. He said he was so perturbed in mind that he
could not get on in anything, consequently in danger of financial ruin,
and hinted darkly at suicide. A crisis had come to her. Forces within
and without were wrestling over her destiny. Unseen hands were pushing
her. At times she determined to marry Doring at all risks, and thus
settle the problem, but the decision did not bring peace, as decisions
should. A sickening sense of imminent disaster followed, and she was at
sea again.

Weeks rolled into months, and the chaotic misery of her mind was making
her look worn and ill. A day came at last in which the genius of her
fate cast the die.

“The pursuit of happiness is a constitutional privilege, even for
women. At least one has the right to choose the particular form of
misery one prefers. Now Fate,” she said, “I am tired. Take you the
reins and guide. What I am to meet, I must meet, and no shrinking or
hesitating will avail against the inevitable.”

And so she too, went away, never to return.

                              CHAPTER V.

                         THE END OF THE DREAM.

  “O shaven priest that pratest of souls,
  Knowest thou not that men are moles
    That blindly grope and burrow?
  The field that is grey shall be green again;
  But whether with grass or whether with grain,
    He knoweth who turns the furrow.”

Miss Cartice Hill had been Mrs. Louis Doring six months,--a little
portion of time, yet long enough to destroy all her illusions, and
arouse her from her trance. The man she had idealized and loved for
four years was a different person from him who was now her husband.
Day by day the awakening had been going on, until his character
stood revealed before her in repellent nudity, with all its pitiable
defects unconcealed, and the worst of it was that he was not ashamed.
A brilliant rascal usually has some qualities that command respect,
however abominable his knavish ones, but Doring’s defects were the
contemptible frailties of a fool. His wife had expected intellectual
companionship, but she found his even-featured face a mask over dull
nothingness, a shield for the emptiness of his mind. When the full
force of this discovery came upon her it covered her with humiliation
and destroyed her self-confidence and self-respect, nor did these
qualities ever return to her in their former strength in all the future
years. To have made so fatal a blunder shook her faith in her own
wisdom forever. How was it that she had been blind and now saw? Who had
woven the spell which had glorified its object from afar? She had been
her own enchanter, though she knew it not. In him she had seen only
that which was within herself, until forced to see him as he really was.

Two days after their marriage her husband said to her, “Cartice, do you
have any money?”

“Yes,” she answered, pleasantly.

“How much?”

“I don’t know. See,” and she handed him her purse.

He took it and counted fifty dollars. “Is that all?” he asked, in a
disappointed voice. “As you had only yourself to support you should
have saved money.”

“I did save some,” she said, turning pale.

“Where is it?”

She told him.

“I guess we shall have to use it right now,” he said. “Some business
ventures of mine have not begun to pay yet, so it’s a good thing we
have this ready money.”

From time to time she checked out the little capital that represented
years of self-denial, until it was all gone. In the meantime she
learned that the “business ventures” were airy nothings, having no
existence outside of empty words. What he had done in the past four
years she never knew, as he had nothing to show for the time, not a
foothold anywhere.

They floated about until her money was gone, without definite aim and
without effort on his part to change conditions. To her it seemed a
steady journey to destruction.

Their marriage had revived the story of his trial for murder, and
other dark stories were added thereto and published in vile newspapers
throughout the country. Some of these came to Cartice’s hands by
accident, and some by the foul designs of wretches who find pleasure
in giving pain. In these infamous columns she saw herself described as
a bold and scheming adventuress, who had obtained an unholy influence
over a hitherto blameless man, inciting him to murder and ruining him
financially as well as morally.

“I have heard newspapers called civilizers,” she said, “but such as
these should be called heart-breakers.”

That experience did break her heart, since we have no other name for
the loss of all joy in living. It wrought a pitiful change in her.
Her bright mobile face became set, rigid and unreadable. “Oh, but to
hide from the eyes of men” is ever the cry of the proud spirit when
suffering. When this cannot be done, it makes for itself a mask behind
which its wounded pride and aching heart take shelter. The mask which
Cartice Doring then put on was so impenetrable that it repelled any
meddling with or probing into what lay beneath. It was her shield
against that most merciless of all weapons, the human eye, and she wore
it for many and many a day and could not cast it off.

Every heart, however self-sufficient its outward bearing, craves
sympathy, that precious and potent power which holds the universe
together, yet so little faith have we in the compassion of our fellows
that nothing in hours of anguish is so dreaded as their gaze.

Cartice’s family discarded her. Being loveless by nature and
worshippers of the Monster God, Self, they saw her position only in the
light that affected them, by the unpleasant notoriety she had attained,
and showed no consideration for the poor victim of malice.

With all this came the humiliation of dire poverty. Her money was all
spent, and they could no longer pay for the food and shelter they
were receiving in a dingy little hotel in a second-class city. For a
time she was kept from sinking under the avalanche of miseries that
fell upon her by an illusion to which she held with the clutch of
desperation. That was her faith in Doring’s love. Feeble of intellect
and contemptible of character as she now knew him to be, she still
loved him and believed that he loved her, not knowing that the power to
love is in proportion to intellectual capacity and moral development,
that a weak nature is as wavering in its affections as in other things,
an easy prey to every fulsome word and smile from new sirens.

A woman in the hotel made the art of flattering men a business and had
had many years practice in it. By way of recompense for what external
charms Time had taken from her, it had given her considerable skill in
her art, a skill she seldom used without effect. Her method of erotic
archery was of a coarse and common order, but as her victims dropped
readily enough, when she twanged her bow, there was no need to resort
to subtler ones. It was her opinion that fine work in her specialty
was thrown away upon men, one and all; that nothing was too gross for
their vanity to feed upon, and her experiences bore out her theories.
Doring’s symmetrical face and figure caught her fancy, and she leveled
her trusty crossbow at him, and brought him down with the first arrow,
an albatross to be proud of, she thought. Her work went merrily on, and
the unsuspecting Cartice saw none of it. More experienced eyes did,
however. All the rest of the women in the house were aware of it, and
some of the bolder ones undertook the delicate work of opening Mrs.
Doring’s eyes. While they veiled their good intentions in indirect
phraseology she would not see it, and when they came down to plain
speech she resented it as a thing absurd and impossible. They went away
with ruffled feathers, but predicting a day of doom for her in the near
future, when something would happen that would make her see. They were
true prophets, for the day was at hand.

As she was passing through the hall in the twilight she came upon two
figures clasped in each other’s arms under the broad stairway. They
were her husband and Mrs. Parker, the distinguished archer. Without a
word Cartice walked away from them.

In a few minutes Doring entered her room with the tittering, airy
manner of one who pretends to find himself in a highly humorous

“Well, Heart’s Ease, you caught me flirting a bit, didn’t you?” he
gurgled, making a stagy effort to be facetious.

“Is that flirting?” she asked, in the most composed and polite voice.

“Why, yes, of course. What else could it be?”

“I acknowledge that I am so untaught in matters of that kind that I do
not know the correct names to apply to them,” she said. “What would
you call it had I been in Mrs. Parker’s place, some other man in yours,
and you in mine?”

“Nonsense, child; that is not to be thought of.”

“Yes, it is,” she said, determinedly. “My idea of marriage, as I have
repeatedly told you, is perfect equality in all things, neither owning
nor dominating the other. I give the fidelity of the heart and expect
the same from you. The mere outward appearance of loyalty, which some
wives enforce with a club would be of no value to me. But the conduct
reveals the state of the heart. Were I found in the arms of a man,
receiving and answering his kisses, it would be because I loved him
intensely, devotedly; and I will not judge you by a lower standard than
I wish to be judged. Marriage must mean marriage in the highest and
truest sense of the word, or nothing. Now that I know you do not love
me, I shall not blame you, for love is not a matter of the will. You
shall go free.”

“Hang it all, Cartice,” said Doring, now thoroughly frightened, “you
are not going to be melodramatic about a bit of fooling like that, are

“A bit of fooling?” she echoed, unable to understand him.

“Yes. What else do you suppose it could be?”

“I can only suppose that you love Mrs. Parker. Otherwise how could you
have had her in your arms kissing her?”

“Love her? What rubbish. As if a man dreamed of loving every woman
he--he found it expedient to kiss.”

She looked at him too amazed to speak. This was a revelation of man
nature that was overwhelming. She was unaware until then of the light
value many men set upon constancy and even decency in themselves,
though all prate loud about them as jewels necessary to the adornment
of woman’s character. She was a genuine Galatea, in some respects,
expecting to meet gods and shocked to find the world peopled with men
and women of very crude minds. She was engaged in the difficult and
pathetic task of trying to idealize the actual.

“Why should a man kiss a woman he does not love?” she asked at last.

“Why?” echoed Doring, beginning to think he could flounder out of his
dilemma by a little bold bluster. “It’s a habit most of us have got
into, I guess. In this case I made up to the old flirt because she so
manifestly wanted me to. That was all. I meant nothing by it but to
gratify her vanity, which is on short rations just now, I fancy.”

This coarse speech made his wife shiver with shame. The man was surely
leaving her nothing to respect in himself. As she was silent he
thought he was gaining ground and went on:

“The idea of your being jealous of her! Why, she is old enough to be
your mother.”

Meantime Cartice had rung for a hall boy, who presently tapped at the
door. Stepping outside she sent him to ask Mrs. Parker to have the
kindness to come and make her a visit.

The archer promptly fluttered in, all smiles, believing there was only
plain sailing ahead.

“Do you love my husband, Mrs. Parker?” Cartice asked.

“Why, what do you mean?” snapped the enraged siren.

“I must suppose you love him, because I saw you and him kissing each
other. I could not kiss a man I did not love, and I suppose it must
be the same with you and all other self-respecting women. I have been
telling him that if you and he love each other, I will not stand in
your way. I want to tell you the same.”

Mrs. Parker was unaccustomed to this kind of a situation. She was only
skilled in slyness, not in open combat. Embarrassed, she turned to
Doring, who stood convicted and shrinking, unable to defend himself or

“Mr. Doring,” she said--her voice was dry and nervous--“you should
have explained to your wife that we saw her coming and made a foolish
attempt to tease her.”

“He explains it differently,” said Cartice, quietly. “He says you
seemed to expect some demonstration of affection from him, and he ‘made
up to you,’ as he calls it, because not to do so would be to disappoint
and mortify you.”

Then Parker turned to Doring swelling with rage and chagrin, fire and
flame darting from her eyes, and then, without a word flounced out of
the room, and early the next day left the hotel.

Doring, a victim of the cowardice for which his sex is noted when
entrapped, began to breathe freer. He sent a snort of derision after
the retreating charmer. “There, the sentimental old lady will not
trouble us again, I fancy,” he said, with the air of one who sees the
end of a disagreeable affair.

“That may be,” said his wife, sadly, “but it cannot put us back in our
old places.”

“What do you mean?”

“Is it necessary to explain what is so clear? This affair has changed
my attitude toward you entirely. It has killed my confidence in your
honesty, and revealed your character to me in a new light. I can never
be the same to you as before.”

Thoroughly frightened he began to cast about for bigger straws to catch
at. His wife took on new value in his eyes. An hour or so before he
had commiserated himself for being tied to her, and had wondered why
a being so superior as he had ever been attracted to one so ordinary
as she. Now he wanted to keep her at all costs. He was one to whom
blessings brightened astonishingly as they took their flight.

“You don’t mean to say you would leave me for a trifle like that,
Cartice? It would be ridiculous. Everybody would laugh at you. Why,
that little episode is nothing. You should know some of the really
reprehensible things married men do and think nothing of it. Men don’t
bother much about loyalty and the finer moralities, I assure you.
They’re good enough for women, but men can’t walk that kind of a line,
you know. Your ideas are too depressingly antique for the age you live

“What men do and what other women accept cannot change my idea of what
constitutes marriage. I will not be a party to a contract kept only by
one of the two interested. I have seen women whose husbands violated
every canon of decency going on patiently, under the delusion that they
were doing a virtuous thing. To my mind they were encouraging vice.
Kisses represent feelings. One kisses because one loves. I could not
kiss a man I did not love because it would be repulsive. One is loyal,
not because of a sense of duty, but because one loves; or disloyal
because one has ceased to love.”

“Anyway, Cartice, don’t leave me or talk about leaving me. You are all
I have in the world. Forgive me, and love me if you can. I feel mean
enough without your contempt.” As he said this, Doring flung himself on
the floor clasping her in his arms and began to weep.

“He does not understand; he never will understand--he cannot. He thinks
it is something to be forgiven and then to go on as before,” she said,

Anyhow she went on, but not as before. In that hour her love for her
husband had changed its form and face. It had become maternal. All hope
that they could make the journey of life as companions on an equal
footing was dead.

No more painful experience can come to a proud woman than that of
seeing that the man she has idealized must be propped up instead of
leaned against.

The days went relentlessly on for Cartice Doring, as days have a way of
doing for everybody. One trouble had grown to proportions so huge that
his hateful shape blotted out all the rest, and his name was Poverty.
The bread of dependence is bitter. Every bite to her was heavy as lead.
Civilization has many tortures; but it is doubtful if it has any more
cruel than this.

Every waking moment Cartice racked her brain in the effort to think of
some means of earning money, and at night when she slept her dreams
were full of horrors. Thoughts of the river obtruded themselves and
were driven away only to come back more determined in aspect than

Somewhere she had read that if every suicide would but wait twenty-four
hours after determining to end life, deliverance would come. So she
waited, and the worst depression would pass, and her courage come
slowly back.

Meantime her husband walked the street in his helpless way seeking
employment, returning at night with the story of failure written on his

Cartice had been used to a busy life, and the enforced idleness of
those depressing days was more of a weariness to both flesh and spirit
than the hardest labor would have been. In trying to escape from her
own thoughts she sometimes walked long distances. One cold day she was
accosted by a woman who asked her to buy some trifle she was selling.

“I wish I could, but I cannot, for I have no money,” said Cartice.

“Ah, don’t say that,” said the other, with incredulity and disgust in
her voice. “So many say it when it isn’t true. It is impossible that
any one so comfortably dressed as you, is without money. Compare your
warm and beautiful wrap with my thin shawl.”

“It is true I have a good cloak,” Cartice answered, “but I am probably
poorer than you, for I cannot pay for either my shelter or my food.
Your position is superior to mine, for you are trying to earn a
livelihood, while I am longing to do so and know not where to begin.
And besides poverty I have other woes from which I hope you are exempt.
I tell you this that hereafter you may not judge from appearances. Many
whom you envy are, perhaps, more miserable than yourself.”

Her old childish fancies came back to her sometimes, and she would half
believe that some good fairy would suddenly comfort her and mercifully
change everything. And her people--the dear, kind, fond, ever-courteous
people of her very own world, unseen by all who had not sympathetic
eyes, came to comfort her. The inner world in which they dwelt afforded
her a refuge when the miseries of the outer one became too heavy.
Perhaps it was because of much time spent there that she scarcely took
on the ways and speech of this world. There was ever something unusual
and not easy to understand in her presence, something that suggested
another and a different world.

“O my own people, my dear people of my dreams! How far I have wandered
in my search for others like you clothed in the flesh!” she said, on
returning from a long walk one evening, as she looked at the dingy
hotel where she was obliged to take unwelcome refuge.

Within was no soul akin to hers, not one whose words or presence, in
any sense mitigated the deep solitude and loneliness of spirit in which
she lived.

With it all she was physically wretched. A climate that was ungenial, a
sunless room and a daily diet of anxiety combined had made deep inroads
on a physique elastic but never rugged. Overstrained nature was giving
way. For weeks her body had been racked with pain. Fevers came, tarried
awhile and went away to come again, and languor had taken entire
possession of her.

One day the culmination came. A neighbor passing her open door saw
Cartice lying helpless on the floor where she had fallen. Assistance
was called and she was lifted to the bed, rigid as in death. “A
congestive chill,” said the doctor. Then science and humanity united
their efforts to save her from death and succeeded. When her husband
came back in the evening, she was lying powerless to speak and only
faintly conscious of being alive.

The doctor--may it be a star of great radiance on his breast in the
unseen world in which he now dwells--was attentive and kind to a point
far beyond the ordinary. He had seen much of life and its inevitable
suffering. Experience and a heart of exceptional goodness enabled
him to read the signs of the sick soul as well as the sick body at a

A few days later as he sat by her bedside, Cartice edged herself
nearer, and laying one of her slender hands on his, said, “I am
grateful to you, doctor, very grateful for helping me so much.”

The words were commonplace enough, but there were the eyes, the
wonderful eyes, with their strange power to melt the heart, gazing into
his. The doctor’s soul was shaken, he knew not why.

“I don’t understand it,” he mused as he left the house. “What was it
that came out of her eyes and unnerved me in a flash, making me want
to cry like a baby.” At the memory of that look, in which the mask of
pride fell off and the suffering spirit revealed its anguish, the tears
rushed anew to his eyes.

“No, I don’t understand it,” he repeated, “but if I had been performing
a surgical operation of the most delicate and dangerous kind, and she
had looked at me that way, I am afraid I should have dropped the knife.
What was that indefinable thing I saw in her eyes? What was it? If
anguish can accumulate for ages and ages and then look out through a
pair of eyes, it was that.”

Days of convalescence came, bringing the despondency, gloom and
sometimes despair that attack those who have retreated from the edge of
the grave before they are quite out of sight of it.

Cartice sat by her window with the breeze blowing over her, and it
seemed that a thousand years had passed since last she saw the spring.
Watching the people on the street, hurrying hither and yon, she envied
them their strength, their activity, aims and interests. Idle and
purposeless, weary and hopeless, she sat wondering what she was to do
with the rest of her life. By nature she was an outdoor child, who
loved field and forest and brook and hill. The hateful brick walls that
stared at her now fatigued her eyes and depressed her spirit. When
funeral processions went by she wondered what mystery the narrow black
box represented. Sable and solemn and dreadful as it all was she envied
those who rode in the long black wagon of death. “At least they are out
of this horror,” she said. “If there be another life its conditions
cannot be worse than they are here. If there be nothing on the other
side of death’s silence, then the problem is very simple.”

This great problem at the end of life always interested her more than
all those to be solved on the journey. If death be an open door to
larger activities and happier conditions, then we should bear with
courage whatever comes upon us here, and go smiling on, indifferent to
pain and disappointment; but if all our striving and longing, sorrowing
and suffering and loving reach a finality in the grave, then--no words
are strong enough and bitter enough to tell the tragic story of the

Cartice had always marveled that many could see their nearest and
dearest pass into that dread silence, and yet put the thought of what
it is out of their minds, and go on pursuing their foolish little
pleasures exactly as though the riddle was not for them also to solve.

                              CHAPTER VI.

                            THE BUTTERFLY.

  Well, may there not be butterflies
    That lift with weary wings the air;
  That loathe the foreign sun, which lies
    On all their colors like despair;
  That glitter, homesick for the form
  And lost sleep of the worm?

  --_S. M. B. Piatt._

In these trying days the neighbor who came closest in friendship and
loving service, oddly enough, was the Butterfly of the house, Mrs.
Layton. She and her husband had a richly furnished suite of rooms near
that of the Dorings. They received many calls, went out frequently, and
appeared to find life well worth living. Mrs. Layton was pretty, was
always arrayed as the lilies of the field, and all male humanity bent
the knee before her.

Cartice’s illness had revealed the unsuspected fact that the Butterfly
had a heart as well as a pair of gorgeous wings. She had been
astonishingly faithful and kind in her attentions, and astonishingly
efficient too, so that now, in the dull days of convalescence the two
had become close friends, the formal wall between them having fallen
under the pressure of suffering and sympathy.

It was the Butterfly who had sent for the doctor when Cartice was found
unconscious on the floor, helped him when he came, and kept a watchful
eye on his patient afterward. Nothing makes such close friends as to
help and be helped in suffering. We learn to love those to whom we do

Cartice had always found a strange enjoyment in looking at the
Butterfly since she first saw her, she knew not why. Was she beautiful?
Yes, she had beauty worthy of a higher order of being than a butterfly.
That was the marvel of it, that she could be a butterfly with a classic
profile and the eyes of a mystic--eyes that could see through all masks.

Now that Cartice knew her so well the strange attraction increased,
though she could not determine wherein lay her remarkable power to
charm. This power, however, was acknowledged on all sides, and many
fell under its influence. Even on the street, women as well as men
turned to look after her, though if asked the reason could not have
told it. The inexplicable quality we call magnetism belonged to her to
an extraordinary degree; but who can explain what that is? It attracts;
it compels planets as well as persons to follow after it; but that is
all we know about it.

“Mrs. Doring,” said the Butterfly, one day, “you must cheer up or you
will die. Worse than that, you will make yourself old long before your
time. I know it isn’t a polite thing to say, but you look five years
older than when you came to this house.”

The aching heart of the other swelled almost to bursting. The faculty
of unburdening herself by friendly confidences had never been hers.
Something within her stood like a grim sentinel forbidding all outlet,
and though she yearned for sympathy, could not seek it nor meet it
with loosened tongue when it came. The instinct of repression had been
fostered by a loveless, lonely childhood and lifelong habit. Not a
word could she utter now, but the eyes, with their pitiful, wordless
appeal, their unbearable burden, turned to the Butterfly, and in one
never-to-be-forgotten glance laid bare their owner’s broken heart. Then
with a moan she fell forward, and the long repressed agony burst forth
in sobs.

The Butterfly’s arms clasped her closely, her tears fell over her, and
the words she spoke were wiser than a butterfly ever uttered before.
The greatest mind could not have devised a better method of cure for
the sick soul than the sympathetic instincts of this airy creature
suggested. From that hour between those two no fence or wall, or
barrier of any kind existed. They knew each other as we shall all be
known when the armors and masks our hypocritical social usages have
forced upon us shall be laid aside with our clay garments.

“Dear Mrs. Doring,” said Mrs. Layton, presently, “it is not necessary
to tell me what troubles you. I know it through sympathy. You are
greatly distressed for lack of money. You cannot pay your board, and
you and your husband are strangers here. I dare say you never imagined
it, but my husband and I are almost without a cent in the world, too.
We owe this house an immense bill for board, and I am afraid it will
never be paid, for every day the situation grows gloomier. It half
kills me to go to the table, when I know that we are not paying for
the very food we eat, and I suspect you suffer the same way for the
same reason. Our outlook is as bad as yours, only we are not strangers
here and you are. Yet being known has its disadvantages as well as its
advantages. It is hard to be humiliated in the eyes of one’s friends.
So far our difficulties are not generally known, but things too bad to
think of are ahead of us, I fear. You see I pretend to be sunny and
happy. I sing and dance and affect to be merry all the time--for that
is the best way, though I assure you my heart often weighs a ton.”

“I am astonished,” said Cartice. “I thought you a butterfly out and
out, with no troubles at all.”

“Naturally, I believe I am. I love the beauties and pleasures of life;
but nobody knows what butterflies are thinking about while they are
fluttering around looking so care-free and joyous. I do the butterfly
act now with a fell purpose--two fell purposes in fact. I keep others
from suspecting that things are going wrong, and I keep myself from
dwelling on my troubles. You must learn butterfly philosophy too. You
must go out and meet people and make friends, let yourself out a little
and show what is in you.”

“I can’t, dear, for many reasons,” and Cartice glanced at her well-worn
gown, and thought of the hopeless condition of her wardrobe.

“Clothes, eh?” said the other, going straight to the point. “Don’t
worry on that score, I am handy with a needle and can help you tinker
up some of your things to look quite fine. I can toss up a delicious
little bonnet, too.”

“But I have no heart in anything,” said Cartice. “You don’t know
all--no; you don’t know all.”

“I know more than you think I do. I know precisely what it is to
be pitifully disappointed in one’s husband, to find that he is the
opposite of what one thought him, to lose confidence in his ability,
his manliness, his loyalty and his love.”

“Yes, yes, that is the hardest of all,” wailed Cartice, shaken to the
soul to learn that what she believed hidden was written in big letters
on the outer walls of her life, as it were.

“That, too, you must throw off,” said the philosophic Butterfly. “There
are few wives who haven’t had some of that kind of experience. For the
most part men are abominable wretches, their whole lives made up of
deceit and lies. It hurt me cruelly, cruelly when I found it out and
just had to believe it in the face of not wanting to; but now, well--I
have taught myself not to care very much.”

“It seems to me that a wife only ceases to care when she ceases to
love, and then she ought to give her husband up entirely,” said Mrs.

“Yes, it is true; when one doesn’t care it is because one doesn’t love
one’s husband any more. Of course, it would be honester, more moral
and self-respecting to leave him, but we women are mostly tied up by
different kinds of chains, so that no matter how wide our eyes are
opened we usually go right on pretending we don’t see, and so become
hypocrites, too. The whole fabric seems to be pretty much a warp and
woof of lies. But I don’t puzzle much over problems as big and hard as
that. I haven’t the head for it. I just edge along the easiest way I
can, and leave the things I don’t understand, and couldn’t set right if
I did, for others to puzzle over and fix up if they can.”

Cartice was astonished at the Butterfly’s hard trials and airy method
of ignoring them. We are always astonished to learn that another has
had the same kind of a load to carry that we have borne, all the more
if that other has carried it gaily. It is common to believe our own
experiences unique.

“You are ever so much cleverer than I when it comes to things learned
out of books,” Mrs. Layton went on, “I have very little of what they
call learning--too little entirely; but any one can see that you are
well instructed. But when it comes to knowing about people as they are
and not as they ought to be, I am far ahead of you, though I am only a
month or two older. You are a mere baby in all that, absolutely blind
to what I can see across the street; and you are such an earnest,
honest, credulous soul that you are bound to have your heart broken
dozens of times while you are learning what you ought to know already.”

“How did you learn it all so soon?”

“By experience, the only school whose lessons we remember. I was
married at seventeen and am twenty-four now. One can learn a heap of
things in seven years, with so good a chance as I have had.” (Here the
Butterfly’s mouth took on a hard and bitter curve, which told more than
her word of what her sad wisdom had cost.) “That I was romantic goes
without saying. I believed in the foolish love-stories I read and
expected life to be like them. Were I clever like you, I would write
books and tell about life as it is and not as novel writers generally
pretend it is, deluding the ignorant and inexperienced. I actually
believed there was such a thing as happiness, and that I could secure
it in the usual way, by marrying the man I was in love with--otherwise
the man who had succeeded in casting a spell over me that caused me to
see him through a mist of enchantment, for that is what it means. But
my fool’s paradise didn’t last long. I soon learned to my sorrow that a
man out of a book is not at all like a man in a book. One shock after
another came, until at last nothing could surprise me. After a time
my husband began to drink heavily and does yet, and that is what has
brought us to poverty. When he is bad drunk he is ugly and dangerous.
In short, my life is hard and hateful ’way down out of sight.”

“O my friend,” cried Cartice, with glistening eyes, “it is a tragedy,
and I thought nobody suffered as I do.”

Mrs. Layton continued: “When I married I loved him, was proud of him,
believed in him. Now I only pity him, and care for him only as a mother
cares for a child. Could he read my thoughts his vanity, should he have
any left, must suffer. Such men lose far more than we do, after all,
but they are so steeped in selfishness, so besotted in ignorance, they
can’t see it. And he has wretched health, as any one may see. I don’t
know what the end will be, and dare not think of it.”

“I wish we could know what such experiences mean,” said Cartice. “What
is suffering for? Why must it be? We try hard to find the right road;
we do the best we can; the way looks fair and smooth, and then from no
fault of our own that we can see we are plunged into dark depths. I
wish we knew the reason of it, the purpose of it. I wish we knew.”

“It is rather strange, Mrs. Doring, that I tell you everything so
frankly. I have never been so confidential with any one before.
Chatterer as I appear to be I am as proud as Clara Vere de Vere, and
keep my own affairs to myself; but in talking with you everything
bubbles right out, yet you never ask any questions. I shouldn’t mind
telling you anything, even if it wasn’t to my credit, I feel so much
confidence in you, and somehow it helps me to tell you. I was attracted
to you from the first, but you were so reserved and unapproachable
that if it had not been for this illness of yours, I doubt if we ever
should have become so well acquainted. You have a curious effect on
me. I couldn’t tell a fib to you nor to any one in your presence if I
wanted to, and yet it has always been easy to me to tell little bits of
lies about things that couldn’t hurt any one. I never thought there
was any harm in it. But somehow I can’t do it when you are near, nor
even when I think of you, and I shouldn’t wonder if I gave up the habit
altogether. Do you remember one day before you got sick, when several
of us were in the parlor and I had a new fan and the rest were admiring


“Well, Mrs. Orton asked me how much it cost. Of course it’s the
worst of manners to ask the price of things, but one meets plenty of
impertinent, ill-bred people as one goes along, and must be civil to
them. I was about to tell her that it cost five dollars, though it only
cost two, when I saw you looking at me, and quick as a flash out came
the truth. You didn’t know the price of it, so I wasn’t afraid you
would catch me in a fib; but I was ashamed not to speak the truth in
your presence. Your eyes look into one, deep down inside, and expect
to see everything there sweet and clean and honest, and I could not
disappoint them.”

“You can’t be half so wicked as you represent yourself, for you have
one of the sweetest faces I ever saw, and one of the most beautiful,”
said Mrs. Doring, with fervent admiration.

The Butterfly lilted out a significant little laugh. “Yes, I have been
told that I have an innocent face; but that is a freak of nature, for
I am not innocent. I am tolerably--yes, tolerably well informed on
some subjects, and I do one thing that you will consider abominable, I

“Dear friend, do tell me exactly what it is to flirt,” Cartice asked,
entreatingly. She remembered that her husband had taken refuge in that
word on the occasion of the affair with Mrs. Parker.

The Butterfly looked at her pityingly. “If any other woman asked me
that question,” she said, “I should be sure she was a villain of the
deepest dye, and was affecting ignorance in order to pull the wool over
my eyes; but you are such a muff about such things that I can readily
believe you don’t know. It isn’t very easy to explain. Words can’t
describe it very well. Not mincing matters in my case it’s making a bid
for the attention of men and getting it.”

“Politeness demands that ladies receive attention from gentlemen,” said
the unsophisticated Mrs. Doring, innocently.

“My benighted friend, your name should be Galatea. I don’t mean mere
polite attention, but particular attention, sentimental, lover-like
attention, with a strong flavor of danger in it.”

Cartice began to understand. “What comes of it?” she asked.

A shrug of Mrs. Layton’s graceful shoulders. “Nothing, often.
Sometimes--well, there are extraordinary cases, and at the beginning
it’s best not to think of the end.”

“What do you get out of it?”

Another shrug. “Come to think of it, nothing particular, unless it be

“And those who flirt with you,--how do they come out?”

“Some of them have the bad taste to become serious, which makes it
rather awkward. Then they have to be sent off for good, and perhaps
they wail about bruised hearts and such like, which I don’t mind. They
never get a whack amiss. What I don’t owe them some other woman does. I
only help to even up for women in general.”

“But you might grow serious, too, some time.”

“I am not afraid, because I have no heart any more. It is as dead as
the traditional door-nail. I can dance nearer the edge of a precipice
than anybody else and keep my head.”

“Some do go over, don’t they?”

“Yes; poor fools with hearts who ought not to play in that kind of a

“It is something I know nothing whatever about, but it appears to be
both perilous and unprofitable,” said Cartice.

“You are quite right in your conclusion. The liquor habit is also
perilous and unprofitable, yet the man addicted to it keeps right on
in it. One must do something to keep from remembering certain other
things. With me it’s a case of keeping my mind off misery. I got into
it because in the first year of my married life my husband neglected
me shamefully, spending most of his time with a mincing little woman
who posed for goodness itself. For a time I broke my heart over it; all
women do. Then I braced up and began to administer his own medicine
to him, only not in such repugnantly large doses. We all do things it
would be better not to do, because somebody else does us an injury. We
get into one trouble in trying to escape from another. It’s merely a
matter of choice between the frying pan and the fire,--a puzzle far too
deep for my light head to work on.”

       *       *       *       *       *

Nothing is accidental. We meet the people we are destined to meet, and
with their help or hindrance work out our problem, be it hard or easy.
The most feather-weight of mortals may prove our greatest teacher. In
whose keeping we shall find the most precious treasures we know not.
But it was written in the great unopened book that the Butterfly was to
be help and healing to the bruised heart of Cartice Doring, and to bear
a torch which should light for her the very darkest page of life.

When affairs are at their worst a change has to come. Misery itself
does not stand still. It moves slowly, nevertheless it moves.
The finances of the Laytons and Dorings had reached the stage of
desperation. Colonel Layton found the situation too grave to face
without frequent liquefactions. The result was that he escaped facing
it altogether, for he forgot it completely during the day, and at night
went into a stupor too profound for landlords or other monsters to

The Butterfly and Cartice thought of a means of extricating themselves
at last. They decided to leave the hotel, take lodgings and eat,
Bohemian fashion, when they could pay for it, and fast when they had no

They found furnished rooms, side by side, which they provided with some
tiny traps for cooking, by selling some of the Butterfly’s personal
treasures. To the surprise of the others, Colonel Layton volunteered
to go daily to market and bring in supplies for both families, a task
he performed for some time with a faithfulness not natural to his
character, which was uncertain and ease-loving to the last degree. He
went early and returned loaded like a porter. Among his purchases,
cream cheese in liberal quantities was always a certainty. This was the
bait that lured him to the market. He had a boyish fondness for it, and
like a boy was willing to go out of his way to get it.

Cartice and the Butterfly rejoiced in each other more and more every
day. They shared their money and whatever else they possessed freely,
and the unqualified frankness of their confidences was salvation for
them. To tell a trouble to sympathetic ears is, in a measure, to throw
it off. Repression kills, but expression is life. The seed that sends a
plant upward from the earth expresses itself. Were conditions such that
it could not do so, it would die and rot away in the darkness.

The blessed Butterfly, whose extraordinary baptismal name of
Chrissalyn, fitted her so exquisitely, had a far nobler mission in the
world than she herself dreamed.

Mrs. Doring continued to search for the meaning of things. She had
sought happiness and found wretchedness, and in the first anguish of
disappointment failed to see that she was not the only one who had had
a fruitless quest. There was the Butterfly whose experience was the
same, and many others, now that she thought of it. Perhaps all had more
or less disappointment were their inner lives known.

Dimly she began to see that the pursuit of happiness could not be the
true purpose of life, though all the world assumed that it was. Her
dream of conjugal companionship had vanished altogether. There were
times when she hated her husband, times when she pitied him, times when
she despised him, and times when she tried to believe that she loved
him,--must love him or die. Had any soul in the universe so yearned
for love as she and been from birth so stinted of it? Behind the
immobile mask that hid her proud, suffering heart from other eyes, her
soul cried for it. What could not she have endured, with a laugh on her
face and a song on her lips, had love walked by her side? Could poverty
or any other terror which civilization has nursed daunt her then? No, a
thousand times no, she said.

Her own troubles diminished, however, in the presence of the heavier
ones under which Chrissalyn now staggered.

Colonel Layton was going down hill distressingly fast, and nothing
could be done to save him. His health was broken, his wits muddled and
wandering most of the time, and the end of his resources at hand. He
had let go his anchorage and was drifting to his destruction, careless
of wind or tide.

Meantime the brave Butterfly smiled before the world and chatted
cheerily when her friends called, though with her heart in her mouth,
and her ear ever alert for her husband’s wavering footsteps. When
she heard the unwelcome sound, she made excuse and went outside to
intercept his entrance. Usually at such times he was pathetically
obedient, and sat where she placed him, in some vacant room or dark
corner of the hall, till her visitors left and she came for him. To
be sure he complained and whined and swore in a rambling way without
rage, yet when Chrissalyn came he went with her like a worn out child.
However, he was not always so tractable. There were times when he
blustered and threatened, and his eyes had a light dancing in them that
made one’s blood run cold.

One night Mrs. Doring could not sleep, a sense of impending danger
oppressed her. Getting up and putting on a wrapper, she went to a
window and looked into the street. All was still, and yet somewhere
she fancied she heard mutterings. On going into the hall she saw the
Laytons’ door open, the lights at full flare, and, to her surprise, the
colonel, fully dressed, sitting in the doorway whetting a razor, with a
slow, sibilant stroke, which seemed to give him extraordinary pleasure,
for he smiled in a gratified way and his eyes twinkled like stars.
There was no fury in his face, but something far more dreadful--the
look of a lunatic who meditates a deed he considers delightful. Sitting
by the window, opposite the door, was Chrissalyn, clad only in her
sleeping gown, with a face white and rigid, and a pistol held firmly in
her hand.

At sight of the scene Cartice grew cold with fright; but she went close
to Colonel Layton and was about to speak, when, without pausing in his
razor whetting, he said, gently, “Go away, now, Mrs. Doring, and come
back a little later if you want to.”

In spite of the apparently innocent words, she felt that behind them
lurked some terrible intention. If she called help the arrival of
others might precipitate whatever horror lurked in his mad mind.

Chrissalyn heard everything but said nothing, and her silence was
eloquently ominous.

“Why should I come again if I go away?” she asked, thinking to lead his
mind from the work in hand.

Shrugging his shoulders significantly, he said, “Merely to see sights,”
and then laughed the low satisfied laugh of one who knows and enjoys
things his listener dreams not of.

“What sights?”

Another shrug. His vanity, ever strong, overcame his secretiveness, and
he could not refrain from boasting of his intended exploits. “The last
of Chrissalyn and me,” he said, presently, with a chuckle. “I’m tired
of the whole damned business of living, and shall give it up, but I
shan’t leave her behind me. Oh, no! She goes first.”

Though chilled to the marrow at this cool statement, whose truth the
scene and the hour confirmed, Cartice pretended to put no stress upon
it. Hurriedly racking her brains for some pretence for her call and
pretext for his services, she said, “I’m sorry to trouble you just
now, Colonel, but Louis is very sick, and I want you to go and ring
up Barton’s night clerk and get some whiskey for him as soon as you
can. You are always so kind and obliging; I’m sure you won’t mind my
bothering you.” He was ever the most easily flattered creature. Then,
too, there was magic for him in the word whiskey.

“You’ll go, won’t you?” she asked, entreatingly, as he made no answer.

“Yes, yes, of course,” he replied, absently holding the razor close to
his eyes and looking critically at its edge, but making no move.

“You will excuse me if I beg you to make haste, please,” she continued.
“Poor Louis is in a wretched state.”

He got up slowly, took his hat and began to waver about the room, still
holding the open razor in his hand. As he moved toward Chrissalyn she
raised the hand that clutched the pistol, and her eyes had a steady,
determined look that said she would defend herself to the death.

“Come, Colonel,” cried Cartice, apparently in good-natured haste, “I
hear Louis groaning. Please go as quickly as you can.” He laid the
razor down and went out and down the stairs as docile as a dog.

Chrissalyn fell forward in a dead faint. When she returned to
consciousness, limp and pale, and Cartice suggested taking her into her
apartment, lest the Colonel return, she smiled feebly, saying, “There
is no danger. He will not be back in ten or twelve hours. You probably
think this scene unusual, but its like has occurred several times
before. Once I had to shoot, and the ball went through his hat. The
shock of it was almost too much for me, for I thought I had killed him.”

“My poor Chriss, you must leave him, and not run such risks any more.
One such experience is enough to make you grey-headed.”

“I stay on because I can do no other thing, and if I could I should
stay to take care of him, poor, helpless, wandering soul that he is.
He will come home to-morrow weak as a baby, go to bed and lie there
helpless for weeks.”

She was a true prophet. At midnight of the next day he crept wearily up
the stairs, a feeble, disheveled, miserable figure, with a pale, peaked
face, and faded, watery eyes. Taking refuge in bed, he arose no more
for over a month.

These days of terror and anxiety were telling seriously on the
Butterfly, ever a fragile being, who hung to earth seemingly by the
most delicate thread. The pity of it was that she loved life so. Even
as it had disclosed itself to her, full of disappointment, of tragedy,
heartache and humiliation, with want menacing her daily and trouble
elbowing her at every step, still she loved it. Her ideal was not
particularly exalted. Given pretty clothes and surroundings, a few
pleasant friends, a modest retinue of moths to circle round her and a
few gold pieces to jingle in her purse, and she could squeeze joy out
of life still. But remember she was a butterfly.

                             CHAPTER VII.


 “A new friend is a new fortune.”

 You have sometimes known happiness, eh? Yes, the happiness of others.

  --_Aresene Houssaye._

One Sunday morning Mrs. Doring sat at a window, making a sketch of a
figure she saw on the opposite side of the street, when Chrissalyn, who
had entered by the open door, went near and looked over her shoulder
with the familiarity of close friendship.

“Why, how wonderful!” she exclaimed, the most flattering admiration
in her voice and face. “That’s Gabriel Norris, the street preacher, a
local celebrity. You’ve done him to perfection--even better than he
looks himself--that is, I see something in his expression here that I
never saw in him, and yet I believe he has it after all. The picture
brings it out strong. I can’t tell just what it is, but it makes me
want to cry.”

The eyes of the sketcher glowed with an indescribable light--the light
which the intangible, potent, holy thing we call appreciation calls
from the depths of human souls. To portray nature so that the most
heedless and untaught see the soul of the subject and are able for the
moment to roam about in that awesome country,--with the artist, and
feel his heart-throbs--is ever the dream of art. By the effect of her
work on the Butterfly, Cartice realized that in this modest drawing she
had accomplished this.

“There, he is moving on and the boys he has been talking to are going
with him,” said Chrissalyn, leaning out of the window. “He preaches
every Sunday morning at the South Market, and is probably on his way
there now. He is a queer fellow, though he belongs to a rich and
respectable family who are greatly mortified at his peculiar doings.
But he hasn’t lived with them for ten years, nor taken a cent from
them. He has a little cobbler’s shop away down town in the very ugliest
part of the city, and supports himself making and mending shoes, and
does excellent work, they say. On Sundays, and other odd times he
preaches to people who are too poor to go to church, and does lots
of other things for them besides. You see he is cheaply dressed,
though as clean as a pin. He could have better clothes, but doesn’t
want them--has views about such things--says he does not want to be
separated from the people he tries to help by being better dressed than
they are. Of course he is an out-and-out crank, but wasn’t always so.
A dozen years ago nobody was fonder of the good things of the world.
He was the leader of the very swellest social doings. All at once
he took a turn in the opposite direction--said he had been wasting
his life, and was going to put what remained of it to some use. Some
say an unlucky love affair set him off; others that he had a dream or
vision that changed him. At this very moment I dare say his father
and family are rolling to church--the swellest church here--in their
fine carriage. But Gabriel preaches against the rich--or at least
against the selfish use they make of their money, and prophesies no
end of difficulty for them here and hereafter if they keep on as they
are going. I have always laughed at him, but I never shall again,
because your picture of him gives me a queer thrill and lets me see
into him as I never did before. But how did you get the features, the
expression,--everything so perfect, seeing him only from the window?”

“I saw him a few days ago, with his head bare, just as I have him
here, preaching to a little group on a street corner,” said Cartice.
“I stopped a moment to listen, and his face has been often in my mind
since. So when I saw him from the window, this morning, talking to the
boys, I hurried to make a sketch of him.”

Then looking up, with an eager light in her mottled eyes, she said,
“Chrissalyn, let us go and hear him. You say he speaks to the poor. We
are of them. Who needs help more? Let us go.”

The Butterfly gave but a grudging consent. She was the natural enemy
of all serious instruction. As they went she babbled on about Gabriel

“As he was bent on preaching, his father wanted him to go to a
theological college and be shaped up into a first-class regulation
preacher, wear the correct thing in clothes, have a fashionable church,
gilt-edged Bible, velvet pulpit cushions, fat salary and everything
that goes to make preaching respectable; but Gabriel wouldn’t have it
that way. He said there was more than enough of that kind of thing;
that what he wanted to say to people had nothing in common with
theological factories, and as for pulpit cushions and the like they
were abominations in the sight of the Lord; that Jesus had none of
them, nor would he have.”

The scene at the market-house was one to take hold upon the heart. The
people who sat there on rude benches were all from the bitter land of
indigence. Its hard conditions were written in their faces, their poor
garments, stooping shoulders, weary and awkward attitudes. Many women
were there, for women are ever found where a word of promise and hope
is to be spoken, and that fact is eloquent of what they suffer, of the
bitterness of their disappointments, of the weight of their sorrows, of
the hunger of their hearts and the yearning of their spirits.

Before the preacher had spoken ten minutes Cartice was under the spell
of his oratory, which was simple, strong and sympathetic. It wasn’t
preaching. It was the life-giving, hope-inspiring talk of a loving
friend, and it went to the hearts of his hearers and there awoke nobler
aspirations. He said nothing of seeing evil in them. Instead, he told
them how good they were--much better and higher than they themselves
had dreamed; that possibilities of wonderful and beautiful growth were
in every one of them; that they had an eternity in which to grow, and
on themselves depended their well-being now and forever.

It was good to see the light of self-respect come into their dull eyes
under the potent spell of the young preacher’s earnest words. Some of
them had shrunk internally to almost nothing, under the blight of the
self-depreciation which close intimacy with grinding poverty begets.
Now their souls began to gather confidence and stand erect, conscious
of their own value.

“My dear ones,” he said, “don’t make the blunder of thinking that the
aim of life is to be happy. Do not spend your time hunting happiness,
seeking it where it never was and never will be--in the external things
of life, in possessions that pass even while you use them, in pleasures
that leave a bitter taste in the mouth and a regret in the heart. I
doubt not that our Divine Father intended us to be happy, but not in
the way we imagine. His way is so very clear and simple, and yet we
are so blind we see it not, and wander in such hard paths, and lose
ourselves often. It is to love each other. Ever so brief a trial of
this way proves it the true one. But to love each other does not mean
to love only your own families, your friends and those who treat you
well. It means to love everybody, even your enemy. When you love your
enemy, a miracle happens. He ceases to be your enemy. Love always and
to the end.

“When we love as we should we do not question whether we are happy
or not. Then another miracle happens. We are happy, for we taste the
highest order of happiness, that of forgiving and loving our enemies,
of giving out good will and kindness to all, of making others happy.
The less we think of our own happiness the happier we shall be.

“Did any man or woman whose life has helped the world go about
complaining because he or she was not happy? Serve others, thinking
not of yourselves and, without knowing the hour of the great
transformation, you will find you are already a dweller within the
kingdom of heaven.

“Love, and judge not--that is, don’t find fault. When you learn to
love, you will not wish to judge; you will not see the faults; you will
see only the good in everybody.”

The Butterfly would have found the experience dull, but that on the
edge of the assemblage she spied a handsome male acquaintance. This
enabled her to await the end of the lecture with heroic patience. Her
face wore an expression indicative of complete indifference to his
presence, for that was part of her method of attracting moths, though
in fact she saw nothing and thought of nothing but him. It goes without
saying that as soon as Gabriel Norris had dismissed his people, this
imposing moth was by her side. She greeted him with demure civility,
as though he was the most ordinary apparition that could loom up--for
that, too, was in her tactics--then presented him to Cartice as Mr.

He had a reverent way with women, unstudied and natural, which usually
won their good will and sometimes more at the first meeting. He took
her hand with old-fashioned friendliness, and as he looked into her
face, and her eyes met his, the mask of self-repression she had been
wearing slipped aside for a moment, and her sore and suffering spirit
stood in mute appeal before him, and he saw and understood.

“Show Mr. Prescott your sketch, Mrs. Doring, please,” said the
Butterfly. Without demur Cartice opened her sketch book which she had
brought to give the finishing touches to Gabriel’s picture. Prescott
started in surprise when he saw it. After a moment or so of silence, he
said, “It is admirable.”

Mrs. Doring’s face glowed. A word of praise with the genuine ring in it
warmed her heart to the core.

“You draw well, too, Mrs. Layton,” he said, with a significant smile;
“but not in the same way.”

The Butterfly disdained to reply. Turning to Cartice, with the most
winning deference, he said, “I should like to purchase your sketch,
when completed, Mrs. Doring. I want to publish it. Write me a
description of the services here this morning, to go with it, will you
not? You _can_ write, I know without asking.” (Mentally--If she would
write what her eyes tell it would move the world.)

“Mr. Prescott is the editor of the _Register_,” said the Butterfly, by
way of explanation.

“I shall be delighted to do so,” Cartice answered, with swelling heart.

“And do some more of the same kind of work afterward. I want things
like that--plenty of them,” he said.

As they talked together Gabriel Norris joined them, for he and the
newspaper man were old friends. Cartice thanked him earnestly for his
helpful words, saying frankly that she needed them as much as any of
his hearers. Accustomed to the indifference and contempt of that part
of the public which should have understood him, and to the stupidity of
that which could not, he had long used himself to live without praise;
but he was human, and his heart was lighter and warmer for a word of

Cartice walked home on air. The long lane of her misery was turning.
A chance to work had come to her, and that meant a means of climbing
out of the slough of despond. Idleness is the prelude to decay, an
invitation to destruction. Enforced idleness, when the spirit longs
for activity, and yet finds itself hedged in, helpless, cut off from
opportunity, is the death of hope, the very day of doom for the soul.
Now that was all over. The ladder that leads out of despondency and on
to the best the world has to give was before her, her feet already on
its first round.

She could hardly wait to get home and write the description that was to
accompany the drawing. It took shape as she went, one sentence chasing
another in her mind, all eager for expression, which is but another
word for life.

The Butterfly had a new theme to chatter about--Prescott and his
doings, though her companion scarcely heard her, so deep was she in her
new dreamland of action.

“Prescott is a genius, they all say, though a capital fellow,
nevertheless. Nobody can back him down, for he fears neither man
nor devil, and I like that. He is divorced from his wife who was
considerable of a fiend, I guess, and no doubt he is too, on
occasions. She married again. It was lucky we went to hear Gabriel. One
never knows where one may encounter a streak of good fortune,--even at
so unexpected a place as church sometimes.”

Though but few words had been exchanged the famished spirit of Cartice
Doring had been refreshed by meeting Prescott and Gabriel Norris. Words
are but a cumbrous means of communion anyway. When we better understand
the laws of our being we shall need them less. Our thought goes forth
and becomes a part of others, by a subtler method than articulate
speech; and this is why no man can live unto himself, and why if one be
lifted up he lifts up others also.

The turning point in ill fortune had come, sure enough. The very
next day Doring announced that he had “dropped into something.” It
was not a chance to make a fortune, but it was--well, just what he

Is it not true that there are persons who bring us good luck from
the very moment they cross our paths, and others who dower us with
ill-fortune as long as we are associated with them? Mascots and Jonahs
are realities, not myths. Meeting Gordon Prescott and Gabriel Norris
had turned the tide for Mrs. Doring. One had opened the gate of
opportunity, and the other had given her a kind of help not easy to
label. It might be described by saying that she felt better for having
met him.

Her sketch of him, with an accompanying word picture of the scene at
the market-house went promptly to the _Register_, and was responded to
in person by Prescott, who brought her a crisp five dollar note, said
an appreciative word or two in his curt, laconic way, and repeated the
order for more.

The joy of expression took hold of her, and to her great amazement
her pen could more than keep pace with her pencil. Its creations
were distinguished by an originality, a strength and grace that at
once attracted attention. To her the pleasure she found in writing
was not in the admiration it excited, but in the doing of it,--in
the never-ceasing surprise that she could do it so well. Sometimes
when she read her own productions after the fire that created them
had died out, they seemed new and strange to her, like the work of
another. An apparently inexhaustible well within herself had been
opened, into which she could reach at will and draw forth sparkling
draughts. In this way she became aware of the complexity, temerity and
unfathomableness of that wondrous, unseen, indescribable thing we call
mind, which has everlastingly within it all that is, was or shall be.

It astonished her to see the facility with which her pen danced
humorous jigs, flung off diamonds of wit, and set in motion rippling
waves of laughter. It was strange that she who was but emerging from
the valley of despair, and whose life so far had had in it but little
of the glitter of pleasure, could write as one who knew the light, the
joyous, the mirthful, the happy side of existence.

Yet even in her most jaunty and jubilant products, here and there would
be a bold, strong stroke of another kind, which made the reader know
that he was following no light soul. In all she wrote, whether grave or
gay, were the “fresh eyes,” to which we give the name of originality,
and another quality, for which we have no name, which moves us, we know
not why.

When it began to be rumored that the _Register’s_ new writer was a
woman, the smart people, who knew everything, shook their heads and
sniffed incredulously, saying that there was too much force in the
work; that the style was not womanish--it was Prescott in disguise.
They expected the apron-strings to flutter conspicuously from every
page prepared by a feminine hand. For them genius has sex and that sex
is always male.

It must not be understood that these early efforts of my heroine
were worthy a place among the works of genius. They were only fresh,
spirited, striking sketches of life as their author saw it, and they
went into the great ocean of newspaper literature here, there and
all about, that lives but for a day. Some of them, it is true, found
a pathetic scrap-book immortality. Others were picked up by mightier
periodicals than the _Register_, and given a flatteringly wide
circulation, and a few met the dreary fate of getting into imposingly
bound collections of “Literary Gems,” there to rest in undisturbed
security on village parlor tables for many a year to come.

In a few weeks Mrs. Doring had the felicity to be installed as
associate editor of the _Register_. Her salary was not munificent,
as salaries usually are in fiction. Let no one imagine that all
aspirants get an opportunity to do newspaper work and ascend the ladder
as easily. Her good luck in this particular could be traced to her
fitness for the position. Prescott soon discovered that besides having
extraordinary ability and originality as a writer, she had what he
called the “editorial instinct,” which, being interpreted, meant that
she knew instinctively what an attractive newspaper should contain.

In novels it is always easy to get to the top. In that respect the
people who live in books have a much better time than they who live
outside of them. There young heroes make dazzling flights up the
journalistic mountains. A young man comes out of college, writes
something for a powerful daily newspaper, whose editor at once begs
him to accept a lucrative situation thereon. He allows himself to
be persuaded, after some hesitation, and takes advantage of the
opportunity for distinction thrust upon him, after which he goes up
without delay or hindrance, till he becomes editor-in-chief, owns the
paper and is a recognized power in the land. But in real life, alas!
the get-there road is a harder one to travel.

Another thing in real life is managed less excellently than in fiction.
The women who do newspaper work, too frequently have a little place
fenced off to operate in. This is called “Woman’s Corner,” or “Woman’s
Work,” or “Woman’s World,” and therein the entire female part of the
population is supposed to find satisfactory news aliment. There the
whole mass of reading women are expected to pasture in peace and
plenty. And why not? There they can find out just how long a sponge
cake should be left in the oven, what is the best lotion for the
complexion, how to polish their finger nails, the latest thing in
embroidery stitches, the newest style in visiting cards, the most
approved method of conducting an afternoon tea, and no end of valuable
and ennobling information in regard to what “they” are wearing.

Beside all this indispensable instruction the corner is sure to contain
many proud allusions to that terrible scourge, the “true woman,” who
is always found sitting serenely within her “sphere,” her feet on a
hassock, her embroidery in hand, ignorance in her head, selfishness
in her heart, vanity and jealousy written all over her feeble face,
saying that she “has rights enough,” just as she would say she has
bread enough. But evolution, that “slow performance of miracles,” will
eventually oust even this stumbling-block in the path of human progress.

Cartice Doring was not a “true woman,” nor was her work on the
_Register_ to be found in a “corner,” neither had it a fence of any
kind about it, seen or unseen, nor was it addressed to women more than
to men. As she saw it, newspapers were for all and dealt with matters
of interest to all humankind.

Happily Prescott thought the same. He held almost no opinions dear to
the average mind, and scarcely ever put pen to paper without tearing up
the ground under the feet of those who insisted upon thinking “the same
thoughts their fathers did think.” He had founded the _Register_ and
made it the vehicle of his opinions rather than a mere news journal.
These opinions were invariably so new and daring, and so entertainingly
expressed that his worst enemies could not deny themselves the pleasure
of reading them. Hence it was that the _Register_ was a flying success.

As it was well known that Prescott was as ready and able with his
revolver as with his pen, his views on current events were respected,
and seldom openly disputed. He was the mortal enemy of fools and
fogies, and found his chief joy in outraging that chaos of ignorance
and prejudice we call public opinion. In short he was brilliant, bold,
witty, kind and cruel--a tremendous engine with sand in the joints.

Mrs. Doring found her new field of activity stimulating and delightful.
It had been her belief that happiness could be made of but two
ingredients--companionship and congenial employment. Now that she had
the latter, the want of the former troubled her less. Besides, she met
many people, and the contact of sympathetic minds is to another what
moisture is to vegetation--keeping it alive and invigorating it. In a
day, as it were, the world had expanded, and she was in touch with its
heart, vibrating in sympathy with its deep pulsations.

She learned much of human nature, particularly gifted human nature, for
the _Register_ had literary leanings, and many of its friends, men and
women, who came to chat a vast half-hour in the informal editorial den,
were toiling up the narrow way that leads to eminence and fame.

Some have achieved the fulfilment of their dreams and are now enjoying
their little day of renown. Others had but a taste of the delirious
cup of renown when they were called into the silence. Some grew weary
and ceased to strive, and some are still plodding on in the old road,
having neither lost nor gained ground.

As a matter of course, enemies arose. The spiteful, the envious, the
jealous, the bitter-hearted, the undeveloped must needs have their
little fling at the woman whose pen was a power. But Cartice was too
busy to heed them. Scarcely had she time to ask herself if she were
happy. “Almost,” she said, when she thought of it, though it was a
different kind of happiness from that of her earlier dreams.

                             CHAPTER VIII.

                          DEATH’S NARROW SEA.

  The child that enters life comes not with knowledge or intent;
  So those who enter death must go as little children sent.
  Nothing is known, but I believe that God is overhead;
  And as life is to the living, so death is to the dead.

  --_Mary Mapes Dodge._

One morning Cartice met Colonel Layton in the hall, as he was about to
go out for the day. His unusual appearance struck her at once. He was
clean shaven and carefully dressed; his face was pale and no signs or
fumes of liquor were upon or about him. This, of itself, was enough
to attract particular attention; but there was more. An indefinable
something in his manner asked for sympathy in a silent way, like an
animal; and in his eyes which of late were unusually glassy and vacant,
was an expression of reminiscent sadness, such as comes to the eyes of
those who in a quiet, self-questioning hour, look back upon their lives
and see scenes that bring regret. Cartice felt her heart stirred by a
wish to comfort him.

Perhaps he was conscious of that vibration of sympathy, for he smiled
and the smile was singularly sweet and winning, revealing a glimpse of
his old-time handsome self, when he had won the Butterfly’s heart.

In conversation the Colonel was ever a failure. His ability in that
art did not go much beyond a few stock expletives, eked out with
significant shrugs and emphatic grunts. But now he tried to make talk,
and lingered as though he had something to say and knew not how to

“Hang it all,” he growled at last, “what is there in this life anyhow?
What are we here for, I should like to know? What’s the object of the
whole, miserable procession? It’s a devil of a grind for everybody, and
we have to give it up at last, and go out of it, God only knows where.
What do you think is at the end of it, Mrs. Doring?”

“O Colonel, I think and think, but I know nothing.”

“Yes, that’s the dickens of it, nobody knows,” he sighed. “But if there
is a hell most of us will be well seasoned for it by tough times here.
I feel about ripe myself. At least I am certain they can’t get up
anything worse than this world anywhere. Mighty little happiness here.”

There was something inexpressibly pathetic in this ruined man’s mention
of happiness. Like all others he had been in pursuit of it, yet his
seeking had but led him farther astray.

“Should you like to live your life over again?” he asked with sudden

“I have not the courage,” she answered.

“I don’t know that I have either,” he said, with a weary air. “I don’t
know that I want to; yet all the morning I have seen myself as I was
when a child in my father’s house, and my grown-up life seems but a
dream. If it were so, and I remembered the dream, I would not again
travel the same road, I assure you. I recall one spring morning,
particularly--a Sunday morning--when I sat with my mother on the shady
old porch with vines running up the sides, and she sang this:

  “‘There is a land of pure delight,
    Where saints immortal reign.
  Infinite day excludes the night,
    And pleasures banish pain.

  “‘There everlasting spring abides
    And never-withering flowers.
  Death like a narrow sea divides
    That heavenly land from ours.’”

A good tenor voice had once been his, but the best of it had gone the
irrevocable road, like many of his other endowments and possessions.
Enough remained, however, to give a touching sweetness to the grand
old words, and as he sang his face became softened, beautified,
transfigured, all that was erring and evil dropping out of it. The
years, too, fell away, and he was a little child again--nor had he
ever been anything else--just a child, weak, wandering, blundering,
stumbling often--just a child, brother to us all.

“Do you think there is anything for us on the other side of death?” he
asked, the childlike look still upon his face.

“I hope so.”

“Well, I believe there is,” he said, with unwonted decision. “I have
always believed so, in spite of my bad practice, though I don’t know
what it is; but I am not afraid though I’m no saint. It seems all

“Yes, whatever it is, it must be all right,” Cartice answered. “It
could not be anything else. But I wish we knew something about it. I
wish we knew.”

“It may not be long before I know. You see what I am--a shadow of what
I used to be, a wreck in everything and nobody to blame but myself. I
guess the end of the road can’t be very far ahead. After I make the
lonely journey, I’ll come back and tell you something about it if I

“Ah, Colonel Layton, thousands, millions have started on that journey
with the same promise upon their lips, but who has kept it?”

“Yes, it is a stumper,” he said, reflectively, “but in spite of it
I have faith that perhaps I can. Mother and father are on the other
side somewhere. This morning they seem very near to me--nearer than
ever before since they went away. I feel that I might meet them at any

With a sigh and a smile he lifted his hat in graceful adieu and went
slowly down the stairs, softly singing,

  “Death like a narrow divides
    That heavenly land from ours.”

Two hours later Cartice was sitting at her desk in the editorial office
of the _Register_, when a stranger entered. Speaking low, as even the
rudest do when they bring dread news, he said:

“Colonel Layton fell dead on the street a few minutes ago. He has been
carried into Dr. Olcott’s office, and the doctor wants you to come at
once. He knows you are a close friend of Mrs. Layton, and I guess he
wants you to tell her and help make arrangements.”

Dazed and trembling, Mrs. Doring was about to start when Prescott
entered, and he volunteered to accompany her.

They found everything calm and orderly. The doctor was noted for
keeping an even mind under all circumstances, and had permitted no
intrusion of the curious and idle. He opened the door to an inner room,
and led them to a sofa on which the dead man lay awaiting the coroner.
With professional coolness the doctor turned down the sheet, saying,
“He was already gone when they brought him in.”

In very truth he had become a child again. The fair weak face wore a
look of youth and innocence. The light, shiny hair, scarcely ruffled
from its careful arrangement of the morning, had on it baby tints of
sunshine, and under the blonde moustache lurked the remnant of the
childishly sweet smile that lighted his face when Mrs. Doring saw him
go singing down the stairs two hours before. The placid form before
her was his semblance, indeed, but it was not he. That mysterious fact
Cartice realized in an instant. There were his clay garments, but all
that was he was gone.

The funeral took place two days later. Mrs. Doring could not be
present, for she was unable to raise her head from the pillow. Thoughts
of the great mystery which had just touched elbows with her haunted
her all the time. The “narrow sea that divides the heavenly land from
ours,” what was it like? What shore touched it on the other side? Was
there a heavenly land or any land beyond that dark ocean? And where was
Colonel Layton now?

No answer to these perplexing queries came. And yet, perhaps an answer
always comes could we but read it. Perhaps it came to Mrs. Doring,
for as she lay there wondering about it, a calm came upon her, and in
imagination she saw Colonel Layton as he stood at the top of the stairs
on the day they talked together about this greatest of all problems,
and heard him say, “I am not afraid. It seems all right.” Far down
within herself she heard the echo, “all right! all right!” and then she
saw again the Colonel’s childish smile, and he repeated assuringly,
“Yes, it’s all right.”

       *       *       *       *       *

Chrissalyn went to live with a friend and determined to find a way
to earn her bread. The end of one path through which she had sought
happiness was reached and only sadness and disappointment were there.
Now she must look for others, for the endless quest goes on, clear to
the grave itself and possibly beyond. When she with the last scrap of
her possessions was gone and her apartments left solitary, Cartice
felt a sense of desolation greater than she had known since she and
the Butterfly had been friends. Life is as inexorable as death; its
separations are often more cruel.

In the office of the _Register_ the final fate of man was a subject
often under discussion. Prescott snorted in derision at any mention of
a continuance of life in a sphere invisible to us now. “We die and turn
to dust, like the worm,” he said. Cartice held to the hope of something
more than we have here--a sequel to this life, or a continuation of it,
but she could advance no basis for the hope which he considered tenable.

Well-known figures in the state and community passed out of sight
into the silence of the grave every now and then, and it was the
_Register’s_ custom to speak with unvarnished frankness about their
lives. Without doubt this, in many instances, added to the terrors
of death, for Prescott was capable of very rough surgery in his
post-mortem analysis. He flouted the old injunction, “speak no ill of
the dead,” saying that mere dying did not excuse a man’s misdeeds, nor
make an angel of him, and that they should reap an obituary harvest
of whatever crop they had sown. Not even the time-honored “regular
subscriber” or “constant reader,” had immunity from this harsh ruling.
He was willing to take the same medicine himself when his time came,
and it should never be said of him that he was in the habit of
plastering people all over with laudatory lies just because they had
died. “O yes,” he would snarl, “lots of men serve the devil all their
lives, and then expect newspapers to put plenty of heaven in the truck
they print about them when they die. But the _Register_ isn’t conducted
that way. They shall get in it what they have earned, no more, no
less.” Truly, many found, even without dying, that it was a terrible
thing to fall into the too truthful hands of the _Register’s_ editor.

                              CHAPTER IX.


 “Communication between the spirit world and the corporeal world is in
 the nature of things, and has in it nothing supernatural.”

 The body, after all, is only a portable, two-legged telephone through
 which the soul, or part of it, communicates with other souls which
 for purposes of education and evolution are temporarily imprisoned
 in these cumbrous and ingenious, but very inconvenient physical

 --_William T. Stead._

Chrissalyn had the usual difficulty of the untrained in finding
employment. The search was long and disheartening and might never have
had a happy ending but for a curious accident, which was no doubt down
in the books of destiny.

She was going up a public stairway one day, when a man descending at a
break-neck gait ran against her, throwing her down. Distressed at what
he feared might have a serious ending, he picked her up, bewailing his
awkwardness, and offering to do anything in his power to atone for it.

She opened her eyes to consciousness just as he was saying, “What can I
do for her? What can I do for her?”

“Get me a chance to earn my bread,” she gasped, with almost her first

“I’ll do it at once,” he said. “I’ll take you right up the stairs
into my office and install you, out of gratitude that I didn’t kill
you.” So it could be said in all truth that she “fell into a good
situation,” for that it proved to be. Her ignorance of the duties she
was to perform was patiently borne with until it was overcome. Never
was butterfly more painstaking and industrious than she, and work
proved a blessing to her, as it does to everybody whose heart is in it.
Occupation gave her a stronger hold on life, for self-dependence is a
wonderful invigorator. It gave her added dignity, too, leaving just
enough of the butterfly instinct to give her exceeding grace.

Seldom did she speak of her husband, save to Cartice, from whom she
concealed nothing, for Mrs. Doring was always tolerant, helpful,
receptive, kind and sympathetic, never critical and condemnatory.
Others beside the Butterfly understood this, and went to her with what
they needed to tell. The mind that is receptive, never meeting any
honest communication with hedgehog defiance or fool’s sneer, becomes a
magnet which draws knowledge from the very fountain of light and life.
Into it flow the secrets of the universe as well as of individuals.

Speaking of her husband one day to Cartice, the Butterfly said, “I
never shed any tears because he died. It was the only road out of
misery for him and for me; but I did weep for the happiness we never
had together, yet might have had.”

One Sunday she came, but was silent and reflective, unlike her usual
self, for a time. At last she said: “Cartice, dear, I want to tell you
something that will certainly seem queer to you. I dare not speak of it
to any one else, lest I be locked up as a lunatic. But you are always
so kind and so sensible, you may be able to understand it. I don’t.
When I think of it I feel afraid that I am a little off my base.”

“You can tell me anything, Chriss, you know that.”

The Butterfly looked nervous and paled a little, but began:

“To-day I have been to the funeral of Jess Hanley, a schoolmate of
mine. We were always the best of friends, though for some years we
have seen comparatively little of each other, because she has been
tied down at home so closely on account of sickness. Her husband died
of consumption two years ago. A year later their little boy went. Then
Jess became ill, and for months she has been expecting to go any day
almost. Last week she sent for me and I went. She told me she knew her
time was nearly up. She was quite cheerful over it, as she believed
she would be with her husband and child again after she had ‘passed
over,’ as she called it. She was a spiritualist, and thought that dying
isn’t dying at all. One thing she made me promise--a mere sick fancy I
suppose--and that was that I should not fail to go to her funeral.

“Well, I went of course. It was like most other respectable funerals.
People looked solemn, there were flowers, and a preacher made the usual
harrowing remarks, which set everybody weeping--everybody but me. I
didn’t shed a tear, yet I loved Jess as well as any one there except
her mother, I am sure.

“I didn’t cry because I was so dazed I couldn’t. That was the queer
part of it. I was dazed, because all the time the minister was speaking
I saw Jess, her husband and little boy running around the coffin,
laughing, kissing each other and throwing flowers in all directions.
They took the flowers from the mass on top of the coffin, yet there
were never any fewer there, though they threw them around by handfuls.

“Once when the preacher said, ‘We shall see our sister no more until
that great and dreadful day of the Lord, when all shall stand at the
bar of judgment,’ Jess looked at me, laughed in a knowing way and threw
a rose into my lap; but when I tried to pick it up it wasn’t there. Now
what do you think of all that? _Am_ I crazy, or what was it?”

“What do you think it was, Chrissalyn?”

“I don’t know, and don’t dare to think too much about it lest I get
upset over it.”

“Did others see them, do you think?”

“No; I am sure they did not, and that frightens me. If they were really
there why didn’t the others see them? If they were not there why should
I see them, unless something has gone wrong in my head? I am sure the
others saw nothing, for I thought of that and watched them closely and
could detect no astonishment in their faces.”

“How did the dead people whom you saw look, Chrissalyn?”

“Just like living people, clothes and all. Only I knew they were not
living and had no business to be there, and couldn’t be there, and yet
they were there.”

“Have you ever seen anything of the kind before?”

“Yes, several times; but I always drove the recollection of it out of
my mind as soon as possible, because it seemed uncanny and creepy--and
I ended by persuading myself that I had imagined it all.”

“Did your friend Jess know you had seen such things?”

“Come to think of it, she did. Once a good while ago she told me
about some queer things of that kind she had seen. That’s the reason
she was a spiritualist. Then I told her what I had seen.” (Here the
Butterfly’s face lighted up). “Now that may be the reason she made me
promise to be sure and go to her funeral. Perhaps she intended to make
herself visible to me if she could. At least that view of it makes me
feel easier. I prefer to believe I saw ghosts rather than to think my
brain is going bad. It has been a long time since I saw anything of the
kind. Each time I hope will be the last. But what do you think of it,
Cartice? You believe I saw those dead people, don’t you?”

“I think you saw just what you say you did; but I can’t explain it.”

Mrs. Doring had always clung to the belief that the universe held many
mysteries beyond her ken; that marvelous things, hidden from common
vision, were destined to some day stand revealed, and no man knew the
manner in which they might make themselves known. She had had some
experience with professional clairvoyants which had been disenchanting.
For the most part they had been clammy, illiterate, unscrupulous,
pitiful types of humanity, ready to violate truth and the English
language without hesitation or remorse. Now she looked at the Butterfly
with an interest that almost amounted to awe. Could it be that the gift
of seeing the hidden and unknown belonged to this bright, winged being,
who loved the world and the things of the world only?

At last she said: “Chrissalyn, you have heard of the faculty of
clairvoyance, have you not?”

“Yes, of course.”

“May it not be that you are a clairvoyant, and saw your dead friends

The Butterfly lifted her hands in horror. “O Cartice, how can you
suggest such a thing? I a clairvoyant? It would be too dreadful. I
wouldn’t have a hint of such a horrid thing get out on me for the
world. Why, clairvoyants are hideous creatures, ugly, old, frowsy,
untruthful, and advertise to tell you all sorts of things for a dollar.”

“But, my own Butterfly, you are not old and ugly and all the rest of
it, neither are all clairvoyants. History contains the names of some
very eminent ones. What a wonderful and enviable gift clairvoyance must
be. How I wish I had it. And if it be true that you are possessed of
it, think what it brings to you--light, light from heaven itself--the
most glorious light in the universe--proof that the dead have never

Her friend’s enthusiasm ensnared the Butterfly’s vanity at once, so
that she pricked up her ears and gave heed. Whatever Cartice said had
weight with her. It gratified her, in spite of her prejudices, to have
a faculty unattainable to ordinary persons. All this darted through her
head and settled down into acceptance.

“Well, I don’t mind if it is clairvoyance, only don’t tell anybody.”

“It’s not a thing to be talked about with those who don’t understand or
respect it. It’s too precious. Would I could see such sights. Then I
could sing light-hearted tunes and walk on bravely, be my pack never so
heavy. Don’t fail to tell me if you see anything more.”

Chrissalyn did see something more of the same character very soon, and
made haste to describe it to her friend.

She had gone to a bank to attend to some business which required more
explanation than was convenient to make through the cashier’s window,
so she was invited to take a seat in the office of the president, with
whom she had some acquaintance.

While she sat there his son entered, bearing strong evidence of having
tarried too long at the wine. His reputation as altogether too jolly a
dog was well known. His father sent him off as speedily as possible,
and then said to Chrissalyn in a burst of distracted confidence, such
as we all give to somebody at times when the load grows too heavy, “My
boy is going to ruin in spite of all I can do. I have borne with him
till I am out of patience, yet my forbearance is wasted. I am tempted
to cast him off entirely, to throw him on his own resources and see how
that will work. Maybe it will bring him to reason, since no amount of
kind treatment does him any good.”

On the instant Mrs. Layton saw a woman stand behind the banker. Whence
she came or how she knew not, but there she was, and she spoke--spoke
in an earnest, anxious voice, with an entreating gesture: “Tell him not
to do that. Beg him not to do it. Say that _I_ implore him not to do

Under the impulse of the request, before she had time to think what she
was doing, the Butterfly told the banker what she had just seen and

He was a big, commonplace, worldly man, whose head was never heated
with super-mundane problems, yet he whitened as he heard this strange

“What was the woman like?” he asked.

“She was young and plainly dressed in a calico gown of an old-time
mode, and she looked astonishingly like your son.”

The face of the banker whitened more and more and his eyes became
glassy and fear-struck.

“That describes my first wife, Rob’s mother,” he said, “yet you did not
know--no one here does--that he is not the child of my present wife. I
was poor while she lived, so poor that she never had anything better
than calico to wear.”

By that time Chrissalyn began to have a sheepish feeling about what
she had done, and wished she were well out of it. A force that was
resistless had impelled her to speak, but now that the tale was told,
the impulsion gone and she became master of herself again, her first
thought was that she had let out the secret of her ability to see
things not within the range of common vision. So she attempted to make
light of it, lest the banker go about telling it as a queer thing, and
then the detested name of clairvoyant would be fastened on her in spite
of everything.

“I dare say it’s all nonsense, and I hope you won’t think of it again,”
which was as near as she could delicately come to saying, “I hope you
will not speak of it.”

The stout banker mopped a cold perspiration from his face, with a good
deal of nervousness. He was tolerably shaken up, and was making a wild
effort to regain his equilibrium. Though not a man to go very deep into
anything outside of finances, he was neither dogmatic nor unteachable.
He knew what he didn’t know, which is a rare bit of wisdom, and in that
territory were all things beyond the commonplace.

“Anyhow, whatever it was, Mrs. Layton, I’m obliged to you for telling
me--more obliged than I can express,” he said, with unaffected
earnestness--“and I will do as she wants me to. I will not turn Rob

“I’m glad of that,” said his visitor, whose instincts were always
kind. “It could hardly do him any good.”

The springs of the banker’s emotions had been touched, and for a
moment he looked like a big boy about to cry like a little boy. That’s
what he saw he must do, or pour himself out in uninvited and prodigal
confidence, and that’s what he did.

Thus it was that the banker’s skeletons held high carnival that
afternoon in their owner’s business office. The reminder of the wife
of his youth, the companion of his poverty, pressed the closet door
unceremoniously open. The unhappy owner of the unique outfit took a
full breath and unreservedly told how miserable he was, and that the
only happiness he ever had was during the life of his first wife,

  “When there was scarce bread to eat
  And the wolf was at the door.”

Now, he had money, and with it a wife who wore purple and fine linen,
and loved nobody but herself. He spoke of his loneliness, and told
what a poor, mean, paltry sham his life was, and how at times he had
wondered if his dead wife could see and understand. He kept on till the
closet of skeletons had been pretty well swept and aired, and they had
stretched their legs in a fine dance after long suppression--kept on
until the Butterfly held him and his wretchedness, so to speak, in the
hollow of her hand. When she went forth it was with a sure conviction
that he would say nothing about her clairvoyant experiences. He would
have enough repenting to do about the break-out of the skeletons to
keep him busy.

                              CHAPTER X.

                      “YE SHALL NOT UNDERSTAND.”

  Whatever happens to anybody it will be turned to beautiful results,
  And nothing can happen more beautiful than death.

  --_Walt Whitman._

Two years had passed since Colonel Layton died. Renewed health and
beauty had come to the Butterfly, who still contentedly earned and
ate her own bread. Self-dependence has many rewards for its faithful
disciples, not least among them being the conscious dignity that
belongs to usefulness, and expresses itself in the greater ease and
calmer assurance of bearing. Being a factor instead of a cipher gives a
woman new value in her own eyes, as well as in the eyes of others.

If Chrissalyn could see into the world to follow this, Cartice wondered
why she had had no glimpse of her husband. She had not, she said, and
didn’t want to. She hoped she never would see any one who had been
near to her--it would be too terrible. She insisted on keeping all
knowledge of her queer experiences from Prescott. His sniffs and sneers
of ridicule would be too much for her, nor did Cartice feel equal to
them either. According to Phillips Brooks there are two kinds of
cowardice, that of the conservative, and that of the radical, both of
them fatal to freedom of thought. The former is afraid of being called
an innovator, the latter fears to be thought conservative. One pliantly
conforms to established methods; the other strikes defiance of them.
Neither of them are free.

Perhaps Prescott was of the second. Perhaps he fought what he called
superstition lest he be forced to believe in spite of himself. At any
rate his two friends, perhaps the loyalest he had, were not bold enough
to take him into their confidence. The intolerant always pay this
penalty. They shut out confidence; they make people afraid of them;
they keep light and good away from them, and drive angels themselves
from their gates.

Cartice had a notion that the Butterfly and Prescott loved each other.
Being something of which the gods themselves must approve, she could
not understand the Butterfly’s reticence on the subject, for the winged
creature said not a word in regard to it. In spite of his aggressive
character and some other deplorable defects, Prescott was a man to be
proud of.

The three were much together. Prescott was the Butterfly’s tireless
escort everywhere, and they were usually anxious to have Cartice with
them, and often they came together to pass a few hours with her in the
evening, as she was invariably alone, Doring finding places more to
his taste than the one he called home. Some of Prescott’s friends said
more than once that he was growing gentler and kinder, both on paper
and off.

One evening the three friends were together in Cartice’s apartment.
Prescott’s face was radiant, with a light never seen there before. It
refined and softened his rugged features, making his countenance sweet
and sunny.

“He has spoken,” thought Cartice, “and this is the light of love that
has naught to fear.”

“Children,” he said, after a time, with an unusual sweetness and
confidence that became him well, “dear children, I am going to have

Both looked at him in affectionate inquiry.

“What kind of happiness?” asked the Butterfly, in a low voice, for
there was that in his face which made them feel they were upon holy

“I don’t know! I don’t know! That’s the inexplicable part of it. Yet
it seems so near I can almost reach out my hands and grasp it. This
feeling has been upon me all day, and grows stronger every moment. I
never experienced anything like it before. I don’t know why or whence
it comes, nor can I explain it well; but I feel it. Yes, I am very near
to something good--near to happiness at last.”

His voice sank low, and its tones had a thrilling sweetness, a
holy joy. His companions listened in silence, under a spell, their
astonishment too vast for words. This was strange talk to come from him.

As in reverie he went on, after a pause, “All my life I have wondered
how it would seem to be happy--really happy--if only for one hour.
Misery I know well; but happiness and I have never met. Now, it is
so near that I am already in its sunshine.” And he smiled, with the
wonderful light on his face, and the smile was strangely sweet and

The Butterfly shook herself out of the seriousness that was upon her,
and said:

“You are going to have money--plenty of money--all unexpected as it
comes in stories, and then--then you must give a big supper and Cartice
and I will wear our prettiest gowns and be queens of the feast.”

He looked at her and smiled again, but did not even hear her chatter,
for his soul was revelling in soundless melody. The exaltation was
still on his face when he and Chriss bade Cartice good-night.

It was ten o’clock next day when Mrs. Doring reached the _Register_
office. The entrance was full of men, with frightened faces, one of
whom motioned to her to stop. Obeying, she stood in her tracks, chilled
with a sense of disaster, until he reached her.

“You must not come in,” he said. “There has been an accident at the
elevator, and--Prescott is dead.”

In silence she turned away. “And this was the happiness he felt so
near to him--this?” she gasped. “Yes; it was so near, yet he did not
understand, and we did not understand. And it was this! It was this!”

Prescott and death were irreconcilable. He was typical of life, force
and action. Who could think of him as out of the conflict, as voiceless
and silent? How could they ever learn to speak of him as one who was
but is not?

“Saw you nothing, Chrissalyn--nothing that portended this?” Cartice


“Yet we had a sign, and were too blind to see it. His glorified
face last night, and his strange feeling that happiness was near to
him--these were signs, though we understood them not.”

From the first a sense of the unreality of what had occurred came to
Mrs. Doring and never left her. She followed the sable carriage of the
dead to the cemetery, and returned to find his chair vacant, his pen
idle, his presence gone forever, yet it was not like reality,--none of
it. She shed no tears, nor was she sad. After the first startled moment
she was at peace, though she knew not why.

Later she understood, as will all of us after a little time. Now we
weep and moan over sorrow, questioning it all, resenting it all; but a
day is coming when we shall see and know and understand, and in that
day we shall re-name many things, having until then miscalled them.

       *       *       *       *       *

Now another serious event confronted Mrs. Doring. She had done her
best to save her husband from himself but could not. Now she saw
clearly at last, after much striving to bring compatibility out of
incompatibility, that their union was a sham, a pretence, a lie, which
if persisted in could only bring destruction to both of them. The
conviction came to her that it must end.

Few experiences are bitterer or sadder for a sensitive, proud,
high-spirited woman, than to face a domestic calamity like this. To see
the love upon which she had founded her dearest hopes turn to ashes;
to have what she once thought happiness become a burden so intolerable
that it must be cast down, acknowledging disappointment, defeat and
humiliation before the world, is, indeed, a bitter cup.

The coarse, the malicious, the undeveloped have sneers, jeers and
taunts for this order of sufferer; but the enlightened, the truly moral
bow before her reverently, not only because she has suffered, but
because she stands for a great principle.

That the separation must be legal as well as actual, she saw would be
best for both. Though the laws of their state were as humane as most
others, still they had not evolved beyond the point, where in order to
secure freedom from irksome marital bonds one of the parties must make
a damaging charge against the other.

In talking it over with her husband she said, “We can arrange that as
decently as the law will permit. If I make the application, I shall put
it on the most inoffensive ground possible. If that is not agreeable to
you, I will leave you and you can charge me with desertion.”

Doring determined to do at once what he had long been arranging to do
slyly, which was to go away himself, and as a Parthian arrow announced
that he had intended to do so for sometime, but not alone.

It was a curious ending of the most delicate and important relation in
life. Cartice gathered his effects together, packing everything with
careful hands. When he went she watched him out of sight, and out of
her life. Late into the night she still sat at the window, with a white
face and eyes that stared into the darkness yet saw only the scenes of
the past.

When Louis Doring boarded the train that evening he knew that within
awaited him the sharer of his future fortunes.

His story can soon be told. It was the natural outcome of his weak,
selfish, stubborn and vain character. A few months later, deserted by
the companion he had taken with him, penniless and alone in a southern
city, he fell a victim to a malignant fever and passed out of life.

Cartice saw a brief mention of his death in a daily newspaper of the
city in which it occurred. Accompanied by the faithful Butterfly she
went at once, arriving there in time to put his mortal part out of
sight with the decency custom requires.

These two loving hearts, both bruised from sad experiences, sat
together late that night, talking of the curious events we call life
and death. What they knew of one made it almost as terrible as the

“Ah, Butterfly, dear,” said Cartice, “I envy the women who have lost
husbands worth lamenting. Such tears would be sweet, not bitter.”

“You call me a seeress, sometimes,” said Chrissalyn, “and perhaps I
am, for I have been looking off into the future--a future that is very
far away, indeed--and I see you, and you are happy. At least I read it
so, for there is light all about you, and your face is like a picture
of joy, it is so bright. And you are more beautiful than the sun, of
whose radiance your clothes are made. But I am not with you, and it is,
oh! so far away--so far that it looks to be even on the other side of
death though that is a queer way to put it. Yes, you will be great and
renowned some day as well as happy; but the road there is so long--I
don’t understand it--as long as several lives put together, I should

“And you, child of the far-away eyes, see you naught for yourself?”

“No; I never do; but I have a firm belief that I am yet to have satin
couches and plenty of time to rest on them.”

Splendor be it observed, was her deal of bliss, which was natural, she
being a butterfly.

That night while her friend slept, Mrs. Doring sat by the open window
thinking of the cold, still form she had seen put out of sight that
day, and wondering with a chill sense of awe where now was the soul
that had been represented by it. The moonlight whitened everything, and
added its electric beauty and pale sadness to the loneliness of the
night. She recalled other nights when that form had pulsated near her,
and yet her spirit had been as lonely as now.

What did it all mean, the loving and the suffering, the dreaming and
the awakening, the meeting and the parting? The road together had been
long and hard, yet here was the end--the same end to which all roads
lead--but what was the purpose of it all?

The problem of life; what can it be but the development of the
individual, the unfolding of the soul, that marvelous, persistent,
god-like thing of whose unlimited possibilities we are but beginning
to dream? And all that we do and have done to us, enjoy and suffer,
think and dream, hope and aspire, make to that end, and are necessary
and therefore good.

Memories came to her from a remote past, that antedated her birth--or
so it seemed, for their origin was not within her earthly experiences.
Yet surely they were memories, for one and all met with recognition.
Faces she had loved came and smiled their sympathy and fondness.
Familiar voices spoke to her--voices whose heavenly sweetness mortal
ear hath not heard. Snatches of songs, celestial in their thrilling
melody, floated by. Scenes restful and beautiful unrolled themselves
for a moment and were gone. But it was the inner eyes which saw and the
inner ears that heard.

Yes, she knew them all, for they were her people, her very own people,
of whom she was always dreaming, and for whom she was always searching.
They had come to comfort her. See, all smiled, not one wept, and their
words and songs were joyous.

“My own people! My dear people, I shall yet find you,--I am finding
you,” she said, glancing at the Butterfly’s pretty face, with its crown
of sunshiny hair on the pillow, and thinking of Prescott, with his head
like carven granite and eyes of fire; and others, with some of whom
she had clasped hands but once, yet knew them as her own.

But what of the new-made narrow mound in the cemetery? It presented
itself at the end of every life, mutely asking an explanation of its
existence. This was the wall against which the race of man has ever
beaten the wings of inquiry. There it always stands, unresponsive and
forbidding, the grim silence, like the shores that shut in the sea,
saying, “Thus far shalt thou come and no farther.”

Yet above and beyond the awe and wonder that filled her soul, was that
curious sense of the unreality of death which had come when Prescott
went away and still remained.

                              CHAPTER XI.


 Even here the soul of man is a member of the immaterial world; present
 and future, life and death, make one continuous whole in the order of
 spiritual nature.


Cartice Doring was one of those blessed beings who intermeddle not
with the affairs of another. She asked no questions and was free from
the vulgar vice of curiosity. She listened with sympathetic interest
to all confidences that came to her, but solicited none. This made her
a charming and lovable friend. Speaking once of the pernicious habit
some well-meaning but ill-taught persons have of asking where you were
born, if your parents are living, what religion you adhere to and the
thousand other catechetical shots which compose their list of topics of
conversation, she said:

“There may be a reason why the simplest and apparently most inoffensive
question may give pain, so I never ask any. I have no wish to, for I
have no curiosity. When I make a new acquaintance I am not concerned
with the locality of his birth, the residence of his parents, or any
part of his personal history. What he _is_ individually, not the
accidents of his life, interests me, and that reveals itself as I
become acquainted with him, without any probing on my part. Neither do
I wish to bore into the sacred recesses of a friend’s heart. What she
tells me I shall listen to lovingly; what she does not tell me I do not
even wish to know.”

Hence it was that when the Butterfly fell into a meditative mood one
evening when they were together, Cartice did not disturb her. By and by
Chrissalyn said:

“I dreamed of Prescott last night. At least I suppose it was a dream,
though it seemed extremely real. I was walking on the street and
met him, and he held in his hand that queer little heart-shaped toy
somebody sent you once--a thing with a French name that I don’t recall
now, but you said it meant ‘little board.’--It has three legs, and one
of them is a pencil.”

“A planchette,” suggested Mrs. Doring.

“Yes; that’s it. Well, Prescott held that up before me and said, ‘Try
it, Butterfly! Try it!’”

Cartice’s eyes widened with interest.

“You remember we did try to write with it once long ago,” said the
Butterfly, “but it only wrote foolishness, so we flung it aside and
never tried again. I have been thinking about it all day, and should
like to try it again, for I can’t get Prescott’s face, as I saw it last
night, out of my mind.”

The planchette was brought forth, and its history retold. The donor was
a man from whom Death had taken every member of his family. For years
the desire of his heart had been to know if the dead are dead, or if
they still live though unseen of men. After he went to another city,
he wrote Mrs. Doring that he had received some startling revelations
through Planchette, and sent her one, that she might experiment for
herself. Having some ability with the brush and palette, he had painted
an allegory on the under side of the tiny walnut board. Psyche in the
celestial robes was passing upward out of sight. Cupid in fashionable
modern attire, had thrown aside his bow and arrows, and held his right
hand on a Planchette, upon which he concentrated all his attention,
saying to it:

  “Tell me hopeful messages
    To beguile earth’s sorrow;
  But of evil things, Oh! keep
    Silence till to-morrow.
  Then, perchance, I’ll be asleep.”

“A pretty thought,” said Cartice, displaying the picture, and reading
the text aloud. “Love is always anxious to know the fate of the soul.
He hopes, but seeks for something to keep hope alive. Benson wrote me
extraordinary things about Planchette, but I tried it several times and
got nothing.”

“But I got something when I tried,” said Mrs. Layton, with an air of
interest. “To be sure it was rank nonsense, but it was something, and
_I_ didn’t do it myself, whatever it was.”

“No; you said it was the work of the devil, and flung the planchette
aside in disgust. What a convenience the devil is, anyway! How could
the world get on without him? Everything the veriest dunce doesn’t
understand is laid at his door. If he had never been invented, who
would shoulder all the mysteries? Poor devil! Without being to blame he
has been a terrific stumbling-block to the enlightenment of mankind.
Wherever a persevering and heroic mind clipped out a crevice in the
wall of ignorance, some dense-minded being was on hand to seize the
devil and put him into it, to obscure whatever light might filter
through. And so, though innocent himself, he has kept mankind in
darkness through the centuries.”

However, devil or no devil, they covered a table with a big sheet of
white paper, of the kind used by the _Register_, and put Planchette
upon it. The Butterfly put her tiny hand thereon, and they awaited
its pleasure. As they were ignorant of the particular methods of its
operation, they could but grope tentatively till they found the true
way, just as the human race has groped upward through countless vain
experiments and innumerable grievous blunders into such light as it now

The occasion was in no way tinged with solemnity. They built no hopes
on its outcome, nor gave it serious thought. It was the Butterfly’s
inspiration, born of her dream. So little importance did they attach
to it, that they fell to chatting of other things at once, leaving
Planchette to its own devices, Mrs. Layton’s hand still resting on it,

Suddenly their chatter ceased. Planchette began to move across the
paper, not aimlessly, as they expected, but deliberately and precisely,
with intelligence and force. As suddenly as it had begun it stopped.
They lifted it up and looked at its trail, and there was a word plainly
and evenly written--the word “Gaily.”

“More of its nonsense, just as I feared,” sighed the Butterfly, in

“Well, try it again, dear,” pleaded her friend. “It’s worth studying,
even if it does write nonsense. It’s extraordinary that it writes at

With polite alacrity it wrote again with more ease and speed than
before: “Do you not remember Gaily--Gaily, the Troubadour?”

This had no meaning for the Butterfly, and she was about to express her
displeasure, when she glanced at her friend. Cartice was leaning far
back in the chair, her face white and drawn, her mouth slightly open,
her eyes startled and staring, and her breath coming in gasps.

“O Cartice, dearest! Don’t look like that! Don’t!” Chrissalyn cried
in a terrified voice, jumping up and seizing her friend in her arms,
alternately shaking and embracing her. “What is it? What do you see?
What has happened?”

Mrs. Doring tried to speak, but her mouth was parched and dry, her
tongue leaden. She could only point with her finger at the writing.

“Yes, yes; but it’s only foolishness--a line out of one of Moore’s old
songs. Don’t be frightened at the silly thing. It must have come from
my mind somehow, though I wasn’t thinking of it.”

“It means everything to me,” Cartice gasped at last. “I understand it.
Try again, dear. Try again. I will explain presently.”

Rather rebelliously Chrissalyn straightened Planchette and put her
tiny hand again upon it, growling; “I feel more like smashing the
mischievous thing than humoring it, since it gave you such a fright.”

“It was not fright, dear. It was astonishment, awe, wonder--many
emotions blended, but fear was not among them.”

Several minutes passed but Planchette moved not. The operator’s
patience would have been exhausted, had not her friend kept her
faithful to the work with cheering speeches. Presently the weird little
instrument began to walk off again, leaving this line in big, bold

“_Gaily, the Troubadour, offers his love once more to the tall, young

Cartice read it aloud, then threw up her hands and burst into
weeping--a weeping that was half-laughing, an ebullition of pent-up
emotion like that which comes at the fortunate ending of a long strain
of anxiety.

“He lives! He lives!” she cried, in passionate joy. “All live--all, all
who have gone out of our sight into the silence. Not one is dead. Not
one has ever died. The greatest of questions is answered.”

Picking up Planchette she touched her lips to it reverently. Then
putting her arms around her dazed friend, she kissed her again and
again, saying:

“Chrissalyn, dear Chrissalyn, you have always been a blessing and a
comfort to me; but now you have opened the whole universe to me; you
have given me light--the brightest light that can come to any one.
That scrawling line tells me more than any volume ever printed could.
It is from an old-time friend, who died soon after I last saw him, one
who loved me well. His name was Westfield, but because of his fondness
for quoting from Moore in political speeches, and what the slang of
newspaper offices calls ‘fine writing,’ his chums dubbed him, ‘Gaily,
the Troubadour,’ and by this affectionate nickname one of his old
comrades frequently addressed him in my presence. And he named me a
tall young pine. You knew none of this, for I am sure I never told you
about him. Therefore it cannot have been taken from your mind, neither
can it have been drawn from mine, for I never thought of _him_. If
I had any one in mind, it was Prescott, because you had dreamed of
Prescott in connection with Planchette, and because I have wondered
so much about him since he went away--wondered in what part of the
universe his dauntless spirit has found action, or if he _is_ at all.
Yet I scarcely dared hope even for him, for there was the possibility
that death was the end of everything. I had no proof to the contrary.”

The Butterfly was a trifle dazed by the emotion of her friend, who
was usually so self-possessed. Even by the light of her explanation
she could scarcely take it in. The subject of death, no matter how
treated, was repugnant to her. Even proof that death was not death had
but little interest for her. Of course there was something afterward.
Everybody knew that. Wasn’t it all set down in the books somewhere,
straight enough? But what was the use of dwelling on a subject that
had so many unpleasant features in it? Or why delve after the facts in
regard to it? That was her manner of dealing with this mighty question.
What attracted her was life--yes, life, poor, cramped, hard and ugly
as some of it had been for her, still she loved it, found joy in it,
craved it and its material pleasures and never wanted to be reminded
that it had an end. A new gown could arouse her enthusiasm, and a
flashing jewel give her supreme pleasure; but death, ugh! who wanted to
talk of so gruesome an event? Dead people lived somewhere, as a matter
of course, but wasn’t it best to let them alone in their own place
wherever it is, and have nothing to do with them?

This is a curious attitude of mind toward a subject of more importance
to us than any other, yet thousands of presumably intelligent people
think the same. They want the dead treated like dangerous criminals,
although their nearest and dearest may be of them. They shut them away
with relentless cruelty, doing their best to put them out of their
very thoughts. In this way they slay them more effectually than Death
himself has slain them. Resistlessly they move on to the same end
themselves, yet zealously refuse to learn aught of what that end may
be. Astonishing mental darkness and indolence, but alas! not uncommon.

It was some time before Cartice recovered self-possession and induced
her friend to go on with the experiment. But the chain was broken,
Planchette refused to move again.

Still, Mrs. Doring had enough to dwell upon. Late into the night she
lay awake, thinking of it, marveling at it and rejoicing in the new
light that had come to her. True, it was a little thing, perhaps, or
might appear so to those who are ever ready to make havoc of whatever
differs from the usual and accepted, but its possibilities might be
limitless, and already it had expanded her world into infinity.

Whatever the intelligence that acted through Planchette might be, it
was subject to a law in its manifestations, of which as yet she knew
next to nothing. For more light thereon she must study by experiment.
Simple as this law appeared to be in its operations, it was mighty in
its results, since it annihilated space and destroyed death, the last
and greatest enemy whose destruction has long been foretold. But are
not all nature’s laws astonishingly simple, when understood? So simple
that the searcher after knowledge, filled with delusion that it was
afar off on inaccessible heights, for ages passed them by, trod them
under foot, touched them at every turn, yet found them not.

A few evenings later the two friends were ready to begin the
fascinating work of experimenting with Planchette, the Butterfly’s
tiny hand resting on its heart-shaped back, inviting it to action. Was
ever priestess of the occult so emphatically a creature of worldly
attributes as she? Her pretty face, soft, fair hair, slight, graceful
figure modishly attired, and gentle bearing conveyed no suggestion of
power to reveal hidden mysteries.

In silence they waited a little while, Planchette as still as could
be. Then, unexpectedly it whirled away at a startling pace, with a
force well-nigh resistless. When it reached the end of the paper, which
completely covered the table, they picked it up and carried it back to
the place of beginning, the hand of the pretty priestess was replaced,
and it went on at tearing speed, until its message was finished. Then
they looked and saw this in big, firm chirography:

“_Love laughs at Death as well as at locksmiths--Pagan._”

Cartice read it aloud with a whitening face and staring eyes.

“Prescott!” she whispered, with a husky voice, motioning to Chrissalyn
to put her hand again on Planchette. Pagan was a name she had given
him and which he delighted in, though unknown to any but her. The
little board whirled away again with the same determined swing. Its
very movements were characteristic of him, who had ever a trace of
savageness and fierceness in all he did and much that he said. These
were its words:

“_Butterfly, tell her what I told you as we went home that last night._”

Now Chrissalyn began to tremble and tears gushed from her shining eyes.
The conviction that it was Prescott who thus silently spoke to them
came to her with overwhelming force.

“Cartice, it is Prescott, I am sure. He loved you with all his heart,
and you know how intense that heart was in everything. I saw it from
the very day I introduced him to you at the market house, when we went
to hear Gabriel Norris preach. He adored you, but never spoke of it,
and you were too blind and had too little vanity to see it. But that
last night before his death, when he and I were walking home together
after we had spent the evening with you, he told me about it. You
remember he spoke of having a presentiment that happiness was near
him, and he looked almost transfigured that night. He said he believed
that somehow you would soon be free from your husband, and then he
would take you whether or no. He swore to that. But the next morning he
was dead. That’s what he wants me to tell--that’s what he means when
he says ‘Love laughs at death as well as at locksmiths.’ He is the
same--just the same kind, fierce old savage. He loves you still.”

“Why, Butterfly, this is astonishing,” said Cartice, in amazement. “I
thought you and he loved each other, and that you were made for each

“_I_ loved him; but he loved you, not me.”

This touched Mrs. Doring beyond her power to express. She tried to
speak, but could say nothing, for a great lump, like a live coal, had
closed her throat.

“I was never jealous,” continued Chrissalyn, “no, never; but a trifle
melancholy at times, wishing he loved me instead of you, because I saw
that you didn’t love him, only as a good comrade, and didn’t know that
he loved you. If you had loved him I don’t think I should have been
jealous, because I love you so much.”

Both pairs of eyes were moist now. Cartice rearranged Planchette, and
after kissing her friend’s dainty hand placed it thereon again.

“Yes; it is true, I love you, Cartice, and did from the beginning,”
wrote the little board, with the same impetuous dash.

“I thank you for telling me,” said Cartice, humbly. “But how are we to
be sure that you are Prescott. Give us a proof if you can, though it be
only to write your name in the old way.”

“Gordon Prescott,” was instantly and rapidly written in the firm,
sharp-pointed handwriting characteristic of the man--a good fac-simile
of the original signature, even without making allowance for the
clumsiness of the implement. Then came “Good-night” in the same hand,
and nothing could induce Planchette to further movement.

They talked it over. Even Chrissalyn was interested. Prescott writing
through Planchette did not seem like dead people coming back in the
gruesome way she dreaded. Rather was it as though he had never died,
but only become invisible. There was nothing about this to inspire
terror. After the first surprise of it, it even seemed natural; and it
was a pleasure to have a word from him, though it were of his love for
another. What matter? She loved him,--that was enough. And it was a
comfort to know that he was sometimes near, in spite of the fact that
she had believed dead people ought to keep to themselves. However, with
Prescott it was different. Somehow he was not dead people.

Then, too, the priestess had her vanity--a streak of the kind that
wants appreciation for her ability as well as her beauty. Cartice’s
gifts of pen and pencil she had craved, if not envied. Now that she
knew she had a power her friend had not--one which Cartice thought of
inestimable value--she saw that this gave her additional importance in
Mrs. Doring’s eyes, hence she secretly plumed herself a little.

She consented to continuing their experiments with Planchette on
condition that no one else should ever be told. Were it known, she
would be called a “spirit medium,” and that would be disgraceful,
unendurable. They might say almost anything else of her and she
wouldn’t mind; but to have that name fastened upon her would be a

A “medium!” To her the word was beyond words in its despicable
significance. Were not mediums a disreputable order of human buzzards,
who preyed upon the credulity and holiest emotions of honest folk?
Were they not despised, abhorred, shunned and feared by the better
class of society? Were they not ignorant, frowsy, ugly and generally
dirty? Did they not invariably say “sect” when they meant “sex,”
and talk mind-weakening twaddle about “controls,” “influences,”
“impressions” and so on, in English that was in open warfare with all
grammatical rules? And were they not frequently chummy with invisible
Indians,--going about boasting that they were constantly attended by
some “Blackhawk,” “Fire-eye,” “Thunder-Tongue,” “Yellow Feather,” or
“Crow-on-the-head,” who made them the mouthpieces of idiotic gibbering?

Do they not come out of cabinets, wearing trailing robes and tin
crowns, trying to palm themselves off as dead and gone kings and
queens? Have they not an uncanny affinity for tables? And do they not
talk through trumpets, ring bells and play other stupid pranks and
lay the blame of it all on the defenceless dead? Had they not thrown
discredit upon Noah Webster himself, accusing him of a written message
which said, “It is tite times”?

Truly their sins were as scarlet. Cartice admitted their iniquities
without argument, and promised her friend that never, never, even in
her most secret thoughts would she call her a medium, much less breathe
the opprobrious epithet to others.

They went patiently on with their investigation, devoting two evenings
a week to Planchette and telling no one. It was by no means all fair
weather work either. They soon found that the only thing they could
be sure of was that they could depend on nothing; that with the
intelligence which manipulated Planchette no contract could be made.
They came, or they came not, just as it suited their good pleasure, and
were obedient to no mandate or appeal. They were arbitrary always, and,
as in most affairs of life, it was the unexpected that happened. From
what the investigators could learn, it would seem, as Mr. W. T. Stead
says, that although this world is queer the next appears to be queerer.

As they went on, they held more and more to the belief that they were
actually communicating with persons who had lived in flesh-and-blood
bodies like our own, and who still lived, retaining the same
characteristics that distinguished them here, but invisible to our
eyes--inhabitants perhaps of the much discussed Fourth Dimension of
Space. At least, one and all represented themselves as the persons whom
we call dead, but who live--live in a freer, larger life.

Occasionally they gave proofs of their identity so convincing that all
doubt vanished. They made it clear that the spark of divinity we call
individuality is a persistent, indestructible, deathless thing. Again,
messages were written which were not only trifling and valueless, but
also unsettling.

However, Cartice and the pretty priestess went on, feeling their way
through laws as yet scarcely discernible, but stupendous. It was soon
evident that each spirit could manifest its individuality through
Planchette as forcibly and unmistakably as is done here by means of
epistolary correspondence--more clearly, perhaps, since when the little
board writes, its movements and general behavior betray the mannerisms
of the unseen writer. When a woman spoke through it the feminine touch
was unmistakable, and the writing itself showed the finer element of
femininity. It must be remembered that the Butterfly, as the visible
operator, was simply part of the implement. The real writers were
inhabitants of the unseen world. These the two investigators sometimes
spoke of as spirits, though they realized that assuredly they were
people like ourselves, though existing under different conditions.
They were spirits, without doubt; yet so are we, though most of us are
unaware of our true being.

But few women came. Cartice was surprised at this, and asked one the
reason why. She said the men were stronger, and were so eager to write
that they crowded women out and took possession of the opportunity.
Hence it may be supposed that masculine selfishness is not eliminated
from the character by dropping the body, and that what we call brute
strength, (which is in reality, strength of the spirit) is still
formidable where bodies, as we know them, are not.

It was noticeable that these invisible folk seldom spoke of themselves
as dead. They had almost no use for the word. They spoke of those we
call living as “people still with you,” and of those whom we call dead
as “with us.” When asked if they knew such and such a person, they
sometimes met the question with the inquiry, “Is he with you or with

At times they readily wrote during a whole evening, first one, then
another, and so on, each writer showing a different personality by
means of manner, chirography, style of speech and character of thought.
At such times page after page as large as the table top would be
covered. Again, evenings would pass with but trifling results, and now
and then no communication whatever would be received. Nor could the
investigators learn the reason of this. Simply, so it was, and the fact
had to be accepted without explanation.

The revelations were not always serious. Occasionally they were of
clown-like jollity, evidently proceeding from clownish intellects.
Frequently the writers refused to give any clue to their identity, and
as for names there was a palpable avoidance of them that was puzzling.
Occasionally a name would be given as readily as when its owner was
here, but usually friends and acquaintances revealed themselves by
their peculiar characteristics and references to past events, and this,
of course, was the better method, as any mischievous spirit could
pretend to be somebody else, if names were the sole reliance.

Prescott came often, and was always unmistakably Prescott. Transition
had not changed him. His individuality, so original, distinct and
strong, was as conspicuous and recognizable, revealed through the
little board, as when he had mingled with men, uttering himself boldly,
without fear or favor.

Sometimes he burst upon his two faithful friends like a tornado,
making Planchette fly fiercely. They could almost see him sweep others
aside and take possession. His speech was crisp, keen and sparkling,
as in the old days, but, if possible, he was less communicative about
himself than ever. When they questioned him on that point, he made neat
evasions; but they gathered the impression that he was not entirely
satisfied. Though he did not say so, they could not help feeling that
the activities of life here still attracted him, and that he was not
content at being unable to take part in them.

Remembering his sneers and jeers at all belief in the extension of
life beyond death, in whatever form, Cartice reminded him of them, and
asked what he thought now of his previous errors. With his customary
frankness he answered:

“I was a fool then; but I confess now that I always believed far more
than I would have acknowledged. I was afraid you would think me weak if
I admitted all I thought possible. I was a coward, you see, though I
showed precious little mercy to other cowards.”

Then she asked about his presentiment of happiness on his last evening
on earth, and he answered: “I suppose it was given me so I might know
that the end of trouble and turmoil was at hand; but I was blind, as
you all are, and did not understand.”

She begged him to relate his experiences in the new life from his first
moment of consciousness. To this entreaty he replied:

“I will try to do so sometime when I am better instructed than now. As
yet I am too new here to tell you what you wish to know. I have much to
learn before I can be a safe teacher for anybody.”

To many questions he made neither answer nor apology for his failure to
answer. It was plain that he could not, would not or dare not tell much
about the life he was now living. Once in response to a particularly
direct question bearing on that, he said, with a shade of sadness in
the words:

“Wait in patience, and be as happy as you can till your time comes.”

And again: “Could you but see how things are carried on here you would
know how foolish some of your questions are.”

From this they gathered that conditions in the unseen world are vastly
different from those we are familiar with here, but in what respect
they could form no idea.

He had been a strong advocate of cremation. When asked if he still held
to his former opinions on that subject, he said:

“To us it makes no difference what is done with the carcass. To you it
is important that it does not endanger the public health.”

Once when Cartice remarked to her friend, as they sat together awaiting
Planchette’s pleasure, that perhaps the disembodied people suffer
because of the destruction of their bodies, Prescott sprang upon them
in a kind of fury, writing with savage haste:

“Do you suffer when you cut your finger-nails and throw away the
cuttings? Or when you clip your hair and burn the clippings? The body
is of the same character, mere waste material--cast-off clothes.”

When asked why he did not always come when they called him and awaited
him, he said:

“I wish you understood. I come when possible, but I cannot always
control the matter.”

Sometimes Cartice and Chrissalyn devoted an afternoon to Planchette,
but generally with less satisfactory results than when they
experimented in the evening. The reason of this they could not fix
upon until Prescott gave them a clue. On one such occasion, he said
with petulance: “Why do you call us in the broad day, when we can give
you more satisfaction at night? Day is your time for action, but night
is ours. Life here is the antithesis of life with you. Conditions are

“May we inquire why you cannot do so well for us in the daytime when
you do come?” Mrs. Doring asked, humbly.

“Because the vibrations of light are destructive to the power we make
use of for purposes of communication with you.”

This, then, is a rational explanation of the dark séances so much
condemned by persons unacquainted with psychic law, and which,
unhappily afford such fine opportunities for knavish deception.

“You speak of our calling you. Does it really call you when we sit with
the Planchette and ask for you?”

“Yes; through a law it would be difficult for you to understand,
however carefully I might try to explain it. Even I as yet comprehend
it but dimly. Your thought reaches us, for thought is omnipotent in
all the universe, and is the finest form of electricity which travels
with incredible speed. Your desire is a great force going forth to draw
to you what you desire. The law of demand is met by the law of supply
throughout all worlds, when it is properly set in motion. Your sitting
expectantly, with Planchette as the instrument of communication, makes
a magnetic centre, a veritable telegraph office to which we can come
and through which we can transmit messages. It is all done under law,
and so is everything in the universe. Find out the laws that govern
your own being and there is no limit to your powers.”

                             CHAPTER XII.

                      AND THE PROPHET WAS STONED.

 Those who believe, as I do, that spiritual beings can and do, subject
 to general laws and for certain purposes, communicate with us, and
 even produce material effects in the world around us, must see in
 the steady advance of inquiry and of interest in these questions the
 assurance that, so far as their beliefs are logical deductions from
 the phenomena they have witnessed, those beliefs will at no distant
 date be accepted by all truth-seeking inquirers.--_Alfred Russell

One Sunday afternoon when the two friends sat together, with Planchette
as telephone to the invisible world, the responses were unusually
prompt and full, for a daytime effort. Prescott came and was in a most
obliging mood, as charming as of old. Without warning, when in the
middle of a long sentence that he was writing at his usual furious
pace, some invisible force drew the Butterfly’s arm from Planchette and
sent the little board flying across the room. At the same instant she
rose, raised her right hand and pointed directly before her, her face
ashy and an unearthly look in her dilated eyes. Straining her faculty
of sight Cartice looked in the direction of her friend’s outstretched
finger, but saw nothing. In a few seconds the beautiful seeress sank to
her chair exhausted, with dry mouth and stiffened tongue, like one who
returns to consciousness after a deep faint.

Mrs. Doring rushed for water for her to drink, and cologne with which
to lave her face, embraced her, and soothed her with reassuring words
until she was herself again, though more subdued and humble than ever

“What was it, dear?” asked Cartice at last.

“Prescott,” she gasped. “He was as real in appearance as ever I saw
him in life. The scar on his left cheek was plain, and the tooth in
front that had been built up with gold was just as it used to be, for
he smiled and I saw it distinctly. He spoke, but I could not understand
what he said. He came so sudden, and I was so frightened. I hope he
will never do that again. It gives me a horrible feeling to see any of

After a little coaxing she touched Planchette again, to ask an
explanation of the singular occurrence.

“I did not mean to frighten you, poor child,” wrote Prescott, “but I
wanted to see if I could make myself visible to you for an instant.
The exhaustion you experienced afterward was not all owing to fright.
In order to appear to you I took a certain substance from your body
with which to make myself visible. I made my body, for the moment, out
of yours. That leaves you weaker, but what I took will be restored
to you. This vital substance is everywhere, and your body, being a
magnet, attracts it to you, particularly when you are out doors in the
sunlight. Oh, if you but knew the valve of sunshine, and air--pure,
fresh air.”

“Why couldn’t I see you, too?” Cartice asked. “I should not be
frightened; but even so, I am willing to be.”

“I have tried to lift the veil from your eyes, but cannot.”

“But the scar and the tooth of gold? Were they not of the cast-off body
only, or do you have them still?” she asked.

“The human eye must have that with which to identify those from this
side, so they are simulated as they last appeared in the flesh.”

One evening, when another was writing, Planchette was unexpectedly and
violently flung to the floor, by a blow on the Butterfly’s delicate
arm, from an unseen hand. When order had been restored, Prescott took
possession, and it was plain to be seen that he was agitated. He wrote:
“I tried to prevent that, but could not. Chrissalyn must be prepared to
expect almost anything. The situation here is incomprehensible to you.”

“What is it that makes the Butterfly a medium, if she will pardon the
word?” Cartice asked.

“Something for which there is yet no proper word. You would call it,
magnetism. She is wonderful,--powerful, magnetic to the dead, as you
call us, as well as to the living--you cannot imagine how much.”

Cartice had ever been sensible of a powerful and unaccountable
attraction in her friend. She had always loved to watch Chrissalyn,
she knew not why, loved to be near her and never wearied of her.
For others, both men and women, the Butterfly possessed the same
attraction. If she wanted to ensnare the most wary masculine mortal,
she had only to cast her eyes upon him and he was hers. If she wished
for the good-will or friendship of a woman, a smile and a pleasant word
or two were all she need give in order to gain it.

“Tell me, what is magnetism?” was the next question.

“A power we cannot see but can feel--the power that attracts through
all nature, but I cannot define it, for as yet I know very little about
it myself.”

When asked to explain his manner of using Planchette, Prescott said:

“When the Butterfly’s hand rests upon it we stand behind her, with
our hands above hers--a few inches above--and we move her hand and
Planchette by the power of magnetism.”

“Why can’t you use my hand as well as hers?” Cartice asked.

“Because you are a positive. Your magnetism is of the controlling and
not the controllable kind.”

Early in her investigations Mrs. Doring learned that the people on the
unseen side of life are like unto those seen, in that there are good
and bad, wise and foolish, busy and idle, truth-tellers and liars, sane
and insane. Character there is exactly what it was here, growing better
if it aspire and worse if it be indifferent to growth, for evolution
apparently goes on forever and forever.

She learned, too, that a message was not necessarily infallible,
because it came from that we call a spirit. Frequently it was wofully
fallible. Liars will lie and the mischievous make mischief wherever
they are. In short, undeveloped souls, no matter where they dwell, give
very direct evidence of their imperfection.

Yet, all things considered, Cartice met comparatively few obstacles in
her study of psychic life and law. Much, to be sure, was inexplicable
and perplexing; but that which was satisfying outweighed all that was
disheartening. To the harmony existing between Chrissalyn and herself
she attributed the remarkable success of their efforts, harmony being
the key to all the secrets and forces of nature. Then too they sat with
business-like regularity. Now she understood why the “conditions” for
which professional mediums are such noted sticklers, are necessary.

When we stop to think of it, we see that we must comply with prescribed
conditions to do anything. If we send a letter through the post office,
the conditions imposed oblige us to stamp it properly and post it. If
we merely write the letter and fling it out of the window, ignoring the
needful conditions, most assuredly it will never reach its destination.
If we wish to make a journey the conditions oblige us to go aboard
whatever railroad carriage or ship will take us where we want to go.

The knowledge gained through Planchette was precious beyond price to
Mrs. Doring. “Is it not the answer to the riddle of the ages?” she
asked herself. “Does it not change the face of everything, by giving
us not only the key to death, but to the great mystery of life? In the
light of this knowledge life takes on an importance, a sacredness and
responsibility formerly inconceivable. Heretofore we have hoped that
it goes on beyond the destruction of the body, now we know it does,
and that we are shaping our destiny by every thought and act--building
indeed for eternity.

“Of what moment are the ills of life here, with this glorious vista
before us? Who, having seen this light, need be cast down by any
earthly trouble? In the face of it are not all the experiences which
wring our hearts and drain us of our tears mere fictions or illusions?

“Since Death is dead, what is there to affright or distress us? Though
to-day be lost, to-morrow is ours. Though our dear ones pass out of
sight there is neither separation nor bereavement. Scientific knowledge
makes it plain that immortality is not dependent upon belief; but is
a fact in nature. Though we may wander in any part of the universe
there is nothing to fear, for we are indestructible. Disease, war,
accident, every terror known to man, is swept out of existence by this
indisputable demonstration of our deathlessness.

“How poor and pitiful is the pursuit of happiness in which all engage
here, when seen by the light of this revelation! Is it not clear as
sunshine that the purpose of life is not happiness, as we misinterpret
the word, but growth? And how shall we grow? By getting knowledge of
law and living according to that knowledge. Then we need seek no more
for happiness for it will be one of our indestructible possessions--the
happiness for which nature destined us, but which consists not in
external conditions, but internal development.”

Under the influence of this knowledge Mrs. Doring became transformed
into a new being. Her previous life now seemed to have been simply
a blind groping after the most unstable and foolish ideals,--a more
intellectual childhood. So uplifted and filled to overflowing was
she with joy and gratitude that her face took on a new beauty that
impressed even the least observing of her friends. But one flavor of
bitterness tinged her cup, and that was that she was forbidden to share
the glad tidings with others.

Chrissalyn had been insistent that nothing be told, and Cartice
was obliged to yield to her ruling on this point, and also saw the
necessity for it, but longed fervently to gather in many dwelling in
darkness and share her light with them. Why hide it under the bushel of
timidity? Was not all the world searching for that which had come in
beautiful simplicity and generous fulness to her? How grateful others
would be to know what she knew? She was humbly, profoundly grateful,
and of course they, too, would be.

After a time this pent-up fountain began to overrun its borders and
trickle its way to other ears. When she heard people bewailing the
difficult and cruel conditions under which they suffered, she could
not help giving of her inexhaustible store of comfort. She must say
to them, “These things are unreal and of no moment. Your true life is
above and beyond them always, and is of unlimited possibilities here
and hereafter.”

And when they wept because of some slain lamb, she said, “He is not
dead; he never died and never shall die. This is an appearance only,
an illusion. There is no death. Life goes on, on, without end, I _know_

In order that they might believe and be comforted, she related
the experiences on which her assurances were based, leaving out
Chrissalyn’s name, of course.

She met the fate of all who have lovingly tried to set poor, ignorant
humanity free from its self-imposed chains. She was stoned.

Some heard her with tolerant pity, as we humor weak-minded people by
pretending to accept their statements and vagaries, but turned from
the subject as quickly as they could. Not a few sneered openly, and
with the brutal frankness of small and self-satisfied minds coarsely
expressed their contempt for her credulity. Others patronizingly
said they believed in _her_ honesty, but were positive she was being
deceived. Still others shrugged their shoulders in disgust, saying that
they loathed the “supernatural,” and would none of it. This benighted
class labels their dead with that obnoxious word and shoves them out
of mind as quickly as possible. Some of the contemptible creatures who
advertise their lack of intelligence and breeding by putting their
hands over their mouth when they talk to hide their impolite and
ignorant grinning, could not listen to Cartice with naked lips at all.
But perhaps she was most astonished at the “conventional believers who
disbelieve,” those who accept all the spirit manifestations described
in the book of their faith, yet reject everything modern that helps to
prove the truth of them.

Some listened to her story and then asked the surprising, the
astounding question: “What good can come of it all, even if it be
true?” If the dead did not come to tell them how to make fortunate
financial speculations, or whom they are destined to marry, they saw no
use in their coming at all.

Here and there Mrs. Doring encountered some who took interest in her
revelations as a matter of curiosity, and wanted to gratify their love
of wonder-mongering, by seeing Planchette at work.

A few, a sacred few, gave reverent ear, and were eager to learn all
they could of the marvelous and mysterious thing called life; but these
had become as little children--receptive, and therefore were prepared
to enter the kingdom of knowledge, which is heaven.

But, alas! for the unfortunate many who cannot be enlightened, because
they are already wise in their own conceit. Having lived here a score
or two of years they fancy they know all the Creator’s plans and
purposes and can learn no more. At the door of their mind they post a
sentinel armed with a club, whose duty it is to beat and drive away any
stray angel in the guise of a thought or idea that may wander near.

Some who did not want to be disturbed in their enjoyment of things
external, pettishly said: “All you tell may be true, but one world at
a time is my motto.” Yet any one who said that a child should be left
uninstructed and unprepared for the grown-up life ahead of him would,
very appropriately, be called a fool.

Cartice learned what all prophets and teachers have learned to their
cost--that the world is in bondage to its own ignorance, because it
refuses to be liberated. The minds of men are in thrall to a law we
have but recently named--the law of hypnotism, which is at once both
the agent of darkness and of light.

Everybody lives continually under hypnotic influence, otherwise the
power of suggestion. What we call public opinion is thought that has
massed itself into a barrier so formidable that only spirits the most
heroic and dauntless dare assail it. The many are fused together as one
and become a gigantic hypnotizer of men.

It has been demonstrated a million times that if there is anything a
man cannot do it is to stand out against the united thought of his
fellow men. Human beings, for the most part, are in slavery to whatever
thought has formed their environment, “as neat prisoners as ever slept
in jails.” In other words they are hypnotized and refuse to be aroused
from their hypnotic sleep.

All who allow others to do their thinking live and die in a hypnotic
trance. The thought that is steadily thrown upon the minds of children
year after year usually hypnotizes them for life. This is proven in
their religious leanings. The majority follow the lead of their parents
and it is the same in politics. The boy is a democrat or republican,
because his father was. We call it the force of early education, but we
might as well say early hypnotism.

The press is the greatest of hypnotic operators. It makes public
opinion through the hypnotic principle. Its daily reiteration puts the
minds of impressionable readers into as profound a hypnotic trance as
any professional operator ever achieves. Every orator who sways his
audience does so by means of the hypnotic law, and every writer who
thrills his readers sets the same law in motion. In it lies the power
of all government, from the primitive paternal to the broadest Republic
the earth has yet produced--the will of the passably intelligent few is
imposed upon the less intelligent many.

Even the most potent force known--the attraction that draws the sexes
together, operates largely through hypnotism, or suggestion. Do we not
become like that we hear and see and live among? Are we not the product
of whatever thought we have absorbed during our life? In short, we are
that thought embodied, neither more nor less. Steady suggestion makes
public opinion, that terrible, formidable, irresistible wall against
which new thought must beat and hack and storm for centuries sometimes
before an incision can be made in it.

We are all more or less in an hypnotic sleep. Certain intellectual
hair-splitters deprecate the use of the word, hypnotism, when employed
to describe a condition of mind that is not sleep, as we commonly use
that term. Yet we may be awake to certain facts and asleep to others.
When one cannot see a truth for a time and then recognizes it, we say
he awakens to it. Was he not asleep as far as it was concerned before?

The hypnotic principle is as old as the human race. Yea, the hills are
young beside it. By means of it we have become what we are, and because
of it our progress has been slow, for the hypnotized subject holds to
his illusions with a tenacity that throws barnacles into the shade.
We were hypnotized into the old thought that enslaves us, and must be
hypnotized out of it into that which shall set us free.

This law is operative far beyond our range of knowledge. It links this
world or this state of being, rather, to the one that follows it.

What is the spirit medium but a person under the hypnotic influence
of a resident of the invisible world? And many who do not dream of it
are hypnotized to an astonishing extent by suggestions from the same

Therefore, it is not remarkable that Cartice Doring found nearly
everybody holding aggressively to the thought that had formed them,
no matter how limited and erroneous it might be, and ready to fight,
tooth and nail, anything contrary to it. They groaned in pain, yet at a
suggestion of relief from misery they but hugged it closer, lest it be
taken from them by force.

She did not expect any one to believe so tremendous a tale as she had
to tell on hearsay evidence alone; but she hoped to find some interest
and desire to search and learn. When many turned away and she grew
heartsick because they would not let her help them with that which had
helped her, she thought she understood Jesus weeping over Jerusalem.
“Ye would not! no; ye would not!” is ever the cry of all who yearn to
make the yoke easy and the burden light for humanity.

And yet no earnest effort made by any soul is entirely vain. Mrs.
Doring found two who would among the many who would not--two who were
eager to learn, who begged for the chance. They were the Joys, the last
persons one would expect to turn their attention to anything not known
by the name of pleasure. As a matter of fact they were Mr. and Mrs.
Hanley, but everybody called them the Joys, because their days were an
unbroken ripple of delight, and they were continually making a joyful
noise over something. They joyed in each other, in their children,
in their friends, in their home, in the world at large, in life,
in everything. All days of the year were for them days of jubilee.
Everybody welcomed them because they carried with them a joyful
atmosphere, a little of which generally rubbed off and stuck to those
whom they visited, for a time at least. A gay, guiltless pair were
they, with no need of prayer, and no sins to be forgiven, so far as
any one could see. It may be wondered why they cared to learn anything
about life’s extension since they found this world so pleasant. Yet
care they did, and gladly turned from the impermanent things of the
world that had delighted them to study reverently the great question of
our destination.

Chrissalyn liked them and was finally persuaded to let them enter
Planchette’s charmed arena, on condition that they tell it not in Goth
nor whisper it in Askalon.

Their very first experience was convincing beyond doubt or question.
All they had joyed in before was as nothing to the joy they found in
the knowledge that came to them through the little board. In spite of
their pleasure-loving natures and phenomenal optimism, they belonged to
the thinking fraternity; and now that their outlook was extended beyond
the boundaries that so far had hedged them in, they saw ahead an
endless life of Joy, and that intensified and ennobled the joys of the
present. They had been happy always, but now they were secure in their
happiness--nothing could take it from them.

                             CHAPTER XIII.

                        THE TONGUES OF ANGELS.

  “When by suffering thou hast learned not to suffer--by passion learned
  Then shalt thou know what I am to thee--then shalt thou be
  A clean mirror where I am reflected--a face with a splendor which
    burns not!
  Past all pain, seeing Me thou shalt know Me--the Strength and the
    Truth of Thyself.”

  --_Voltairine DeCleyre._

 Being may be called the poorest, but it is at the same time the most
 marvelous concept of our whole mind. It is the _sine qua non_ of all
 we are, we see, we hear, we apprehend and comprehend. It is not our
 body, nor our breath, nor our life, nor our heart, nor what is most
 difficult to give up--our mind and intellect. It is simply that in
 which all these reside--that, in fact, in which we move and have our

  --_F. Max Müller._

 The truth of being and the truth of knowing are one.


Cartice and Chrissalyn permitted the Joys to join them in their
investigations at certain times, but for the most part they pursued
their study of psychic life alone. As they went on, their experiences
became more interesting and convincing. In the new world opened to them
they made new friends. To be sure they could not see these friends,
but they learned to know them well, to love them, and to distinguish
one from another as readily and certainly as though they were of the
visible part of creation.

One of these new friends called himself Moreau and won their hearts
completely with his courteous speech, kind instincts and gentle
manners. Indeed, after making his acquaintance they understood how
little the personality depends upon that which we call the person,
which is but a mask, as the word originally meant. He came often and
sometimes remained a whole evening, kindly writing for those who had
not yet learned to manipulate Planchette, and answering questions with
well-bred patience and never-failing politeness. When asked why he came
to them and remained so faithful, when he had not known them here, he
explained that he was attracted to both of them, because they were
magnetic to him; but that beside, it was his especial mission to make
lonely women happier. They learned to rely implicitly upon everything
he said, just as they did on the word of Prescott, whose strict
truthfulness had been his one vanity.

“How long is the act of dying?” Moreau was asked.

“It is longer for some than for others; but you are sleeping at the
time and know it not.”

This statement was corroborated by the others. They said the
death-sleep in some cases was of several days’ duration,--days as we
reckon them here, but there Time’s markings are unknown, for Time is

When Moreau was asked whether he knew everything about his friends
here, present and to come, he said: “Not everything. There are some
things we are not permitted to know any more than you are.”

“Do you pass on into other stages of existence--experience a change
analogous to our dying here?”

“I think so; but I am no more certain of that than you are about your
future state.”

“How do you travel?”

“Like lightning, or even more swiftly. We think of a place and in the
same instant we are there. This is a thought world. So is yours, but
you are blind to the power of thought on your plane.”

“Are you affected by the sorrows and pains of those you love, who are
still on earth?”

“We cannot help feeling the troubles of earth when they touch what
you would call our heart-strings. But, as it were, we see with larger
eyes--we understand better the purpose of suffering and the good that
comes out of it.”

A friend to Cartice who had achieved considerable eminence as an
analytical author, came occasionally. In the noonday of success she
went away, after months of great physical suffering. When asked whether
she was happy, she replied:

“It is happiness to me to have no aching heart, no pain, no burning

“Can you come to us when you please?”

“Sometimes only, not always. I feel a restraint, though no restraint
seems put upon me.”

“How do you occupy yourself, Edith?”

“We do not have to occupy ourselves. We are occupied by others only. I
cannot tell you better.”

When questioned as to the kind of clothing used there, she said: “The
mist of earth is not a substance to be measured, weighed or worn by
you. The material of our raiment is a thing of almost misty texture.”

“What is death?”

“To that question I will give you an explanation given me by one far
wiser than I and much older in this realm of life: ‘Death simply
denotes a rising from inactivity to action, from obscurity to eminence,
awaking from sleep, or promotion from an inferior condition.’”

“Is there a resurrection?”

“Every death is a resurrection.”

“Edith, do you ever wish to be back here in the body?”

“Never. There would be nothing to gain and much to lose.”

“Why is it that although you and others come and talk with us clearly
and freely at times, there is yet so much of your new life of which you
tell us nothing?”

“There are many reasons, which I am not permitted to give, nor could
you understand them. I myself comprehend them but dimly. I simply obey
the law.”

“What is the judgment, if there is a judgment?”

“For me it is the beholding of my mistakes.”

“What is the most wonderful phase of your present life, if I may be
pardoned for so bold a question?” Cartice asked.

“The knowledge that love is all there is--that it fills all universes;
lights all worlds; encompasses every soul, and is the life of every
soul. This is as true of your world as of ours; but nearly all there
refuse to believe it. Here we cannot doubt it--that is, those who have
love in their own hearts cannot doubt it. Those who love not do not
know it, for all is darkness to them; but that darkness disappears when
they begin to love.”

“What is love?”

“The living principle of good, which by a law that includes and governs
all that is, constantly flows out from the infinite centre. The more
you have of it the more of good in its highest and best form will
you receive, because it is the greatest of all magnets, irresistibly
attracting its like. Love is God. God is love.

“You are destined to realize this fully some day; but you might realize
it even now if you would, and then the whole face of the earth would
change and become new and beautiful. Heaven, indeed, would be opened.
But the love I speak of is not the sentiment that usually goes by that
name on earth, which too often is but an exaggeration of self, a kind
of sublimated selfishness, going out to special persons with whom your
lives are intertwined and whose well-being particularly conduces to
your own. No, no; the love that is God is universal in its application,
enfolding the humblest and most wayward as well as the highest and
most perfect. Cultivate this love and you will find heaven even on the
earth. All good will come to you. It is the kingdom of righteousness
spoken of in your scriptures, to which, if you first seek and attain,
all other things shall be added. Love, even in its crudest, most
selfish expression and narrowest interpretation yet has in it a spark
of the divine principle from the great source or centre which lights
and gives life to all worlds and all consciousness.”

“If you could give us but one precept to live by, what would it be?”

“That which was given you by the beloved disciple: Love one another,
for love is, indeed, the fulfilling of the law. But remember that ‘one
another’ includes all that live. The law is not fulfilled when you
only love those of your own household, or such as minister to your

“What are we here for? What is the purpose of life?”

“What is the purpose of any school? Is it not to fit its pupils for
that which is to follow?”

“How can we best do that?”

“By the unfoldment of your souls or selves--the best possible
development of every unit. Your ethics have taught you to aim at the
highest good to the greatest possible number; but the true ethics
of love are only content with the highest possible good to each

“How do the things of earth appear to you now--the things we value and
strive for so hard, wealth, fame, power, pleasure?”

“As veils, or illusions which keep you from seeing the great and
glorious light of truth--soap-bubbles, glistening and beautiful to the
eye, but absolutely empty.”

“Do you not suffer at separation from friends here?”

“There is no separation. We are all one--all closely and indissolubly
united--and that one includes what is in your world as well as worlds
upon worlds, far, far, beyond my power of imagination--all that is, or
was, or ever shall be. Sometimes death unites us more closely than ever
to those still upon earth.”

“Does not the spirit sometimes faint with fear, when it first becomes
aware that it has left the body forever?”

“It was not so with me. I was prepared. During my long illness I
thought much of the future, knowing that the end of what you call
life was near. In my mind I dropped the robe of flesh without regret,
feeling that annihilation or anything that set me free from pain would
be welcome. When at last I found that the silver--(otherwise the
electrical) cord--was loosened and the body left behind, the experience
seemed natural. True, it was not without awe, but that feeling of awe
arose from the light and beauty, the newness and yet the familiarity of
that on which I had entered. Yet it is not all new, for we still have
the old, but understand it better--we see it with more comprehensive
eyes--from a larger and higher outlook.”

“Is there anything there to depress or sadden you?”

“To depress me, no; yet something akin to oppression I sometimes feel,
because of the vastness, the immensity, the endlessness of everything.
Doubtless you experience the same feeling often, when you look up
at the stars and the mind is staggered and shrinks back upon itself
at the majesty and grandeur of creation. But do not forget that the
experiences of no two souls are exactly alike here, any more than on
earth. That which this state of consciousness means to us, or holds
for us, depends upon the degree of enlightenment we have attained
before entering it--upon our mental, moral and spiritual attitude,
our aspirations and desires--or character, or in short on what we have

“Can you make things there, as here--shape things out of crude
material, I mean?”

“We have no crude material. We have to do only with the finer forces.
With us the idea creates. We form the idea, and lo! it immediately
_is_. We think, and the thought takes visible form. Wonderful as this
may seem to you, it is nevertheless as true of your world as of this,
only the method is slower. The idea is always the true creation, but to
make it objective you must give it form with the hands, out of material
substance. The imagination is the creative realm.”

“Have we each a guardian angel?”

“Yes; every soul has a guide or helper, who ever works to incline one
to good, and away from evil, yet leaves the will free. You, yourself,
not he, must make the decisions. He suggests, but does not lead.”

“Who is my guardian angel?” Cartice asked.

“Who could he be if not one who loves you?”

Once only Louis Doring came. He was the same as when here, full of self
and empty of all else. Cartice did not encourage him to come again,
feeling the distance between them to be greater than ever,--a distance
measured by an absence of sympathy, which is the only distance known
to the soul. After uttering some of the flavorless nothings which ever
characterized his conversation, he went and came no more.

Chrissalyn’s great dread, frequently expressed, was that her husband
or some of her near kindred might come. As long as none of her own
household came, Planchette did not seem uncanny; but again and again
she declared that if any one of them came she would be wretched for the
rest of her life. Colonel Layton did not respect her wish, however. One
night he took her unawares, as it were. Giving Planchette a peculiar
spin, he wrote his name as characteristically as he had ever done in
life. When Chrissalyn saw the signature, she burst into uncontrollable
sobbing, and begged him to go away.

Cartice consoled her, and implored her to let him remain, while she
talked a few moments with him, and this at last Mrs. Layton consented
to do.

“Don’t cry, Chriss,” he wrote. “I knew you didn’t want me to come; but
I wish to tell you that I am better here than there, just as you are
far better without me. So it is well as it is. I was a poor devil there
for a fact; but I’m on the up-grade here.”

Chrissalyn wept afresh, but heroically went on, and the Colonel wrote:

“Mrs. Doring, why didn’t you attend my funeral?”

Cartice looked aghast, the question, at first blush, being so
extraordinary. At some length she explained that she was too ill to go.
Evidently reading her unspoken thought, he wrote:

“Yes, I was present--the real I as well as the silent image of me in
the box. I looked around at my leisure, and saw everybody there. I
wondered at your absence, you and Chriss being such close friends.
Besides, you were always nice to me, too, God bless you!”

At this tribute to her kindness from beyond the grave Cartice dropped a
grateful tear. The Colonel’s nature had something childlike and sweet
in it, in spite of its many defects. Most of his faults had been of a
peevish and childish order.

“Thank you, Colonel Layton,” Cartice answered. “I am glad to hear from

“Mrs. Doring, do you remember the conversation I had with you an hour
or so before I made the final journey?”


“I sang about death being a narrow sea that divides your world from the
land of pure delight. Well, it’s a very narrow sea--so narrow we can
step across. In fact it isn’t a sea at all, for the two worlds are not
really divided. They only seem to be.”

Several times Mrs. Layton’s friend, Jessie, came. When asked whether
she threw flowers at her own funeral, she said she did; that she knew
beforehand that Chriss had the faculty of seeing certain things others
could not, and had it in mind before she went away that she would do
something to prove that death was only an illusion.

Cartice’s great grandfather, who died before she was born, came and
wrote his name in full, which she did not herself know. He told things
pertaining to the family, which she afterward verified, among them
being the name of the political party to which he belonged, and which
had long been extinct. His handwriting was of an older style, and he
wrote with a deliberation uncommon in the present day.

Some communications purported to come from North American Indians,
mighty chiefs and stalwart braves with great dignity of manner and
imposing names. After a time, however, Cartice inclined to the
opinion that both the manner and the names were masks used to conceal
identities that did not wish to be known. They spoke in the figurative
style attributed to gifted red men, and for the most part their
messages were interesting and instructive.

Once when Mrs. Doring was very tired and discouraged one of them wrote:

“Is it not a pleasure to the squaw to convince the braves and old men
that she teaches many truths? She must not let the ink dry in her
horn, for she can carry many braves with her in the councils.”

Again, apparently overhearing the two investigators of psychic law
talk of some poor, pitiful, hide-bound persons who found fault with
everybody that did not revolve within their pint-measure orbit, this
same Red Feather, as he called himself, wrote with emphatic force:

“Be not tied by the ways of others. The eagle cannot fly with the wings
of a chicken.”

One evening Prescott wrote a few minutes and then excused himself from
further work, saying that something had just occurred which made him
too nervous to write.

His two friends looked at each other in speechless astonishment. Here
was a mystery beyond other mysteries. Too nervous? Were not nerves but
parts of the body, destined to dust with the rest of it?

Evidently understanding their amazement, he added this line after a
moment’s pause:

“Incredible as it may seem to you, I still have nerves.”

Once when Chrissalyn was peevish and dissatisfied, she said she had a
mind to give up fooling with Planchette; that it was scary and risky,
and there was no telling what was at the bottom of its queer doings.
Prescott came like a flash to the rescue, fearful that she would put
her threat into execution, and so cut off communication entirely.

“O Butterfly, dear, don’t do that! Please don’t, for my sake,” he
pleaded, with an earnestness that touched their hearts. “You do not
appreciate this grand, beautiful privilege, which to me is so precious.
Who, besides you can do this--converse freely with friends so far away
that the railroad has never been made that can reach them?”

Somewhat mollified by his pathetic tribute to her extraordinary psychic
gifts, she grumbled that for his sake she wouldn’t give up Planchette.
He continued:

“Had I known as much about the unknown future, when on earth, as you
do, I should have thought myself wise, indeed.

“It astonishes me now to remember that I ever doubted the persistence
of the individual, the continuousness of life. Fools who think
themselves savants will tell you to have nothing to do with spirits,
not to encourage them to come back, as that interferes with their
progression, and other rubbish of the same sort. Such persons know
nothing of the laws of progress here. The two worlds--in fact all
worlds--are one and the same. Your best interests and ours are
identical. There is no differentiation. Frequently our work lies
entirely with you. What higher mission could one have than to cheer
and strengthen the disheartened and fainting ones of earth? We help
you, and you in turn often help us. What would you think of a friend
who told you never to come and visit him, but to go on and progress by
yourself? Well, spirits are simply human beings living under conditions
as yet not understood by you. Many of them are your friends, whom you
would not dream of treating discourteously while they were with you
visibly. The pupils of your schools go from grade to grade. Those of
the highest grade are not prohibited from contact with those of the
primary, if they wish it, and often they return there as teachers. The
division between your world and ours only exists for those not yet
far enough developed to understand its non-existence. It is not real,
but only an appearance. It exists only in the consciousness of those
ignorant of the great law of oneness which is operative everywhere. And
this is true of many things that seem very real to you. They only exist
in your consciousness. Also that which is not within your consciousness
has no existence for you whatever. We are one--all the peoples of all
universes, and all are moving upward into light by means of the process
called evolution, which is the unfolding and perfecting of man, who is
spirit, not clay.”

“Are we ever reborn into this world?”

“I am told that rebirth is one of the many methods open to the soul for

“Can you see our future in this world?”

“Some have this faculty. I have not. They only see the main incidents,
as a traveler, looking from a high hill, sees a guide-post ahead in the

“Are we ever entirely alone?”

“Never. There is always the cloud of witnesses of which Paul spoke.”

A stranger came sometimes whose character was of an antique mould. He
gave no name, but others, when questioned about him, said he had been
one of the great of earth, and also one of the good--none greater since

“What is the soul of man?” Cartice asked him.

“Can any one comprehend God?” was his reply.

“I do not understand,” she persisted.

“Eternal being mirrors itself in every existence--_is_ every existence.
When you know that indefinable, illimitable, deathless and divine
manifestation called the soul, you will know God, for in the one
is imaged or reflected the other. Remember, eternal being is the
background of every existence.”

Looking at these words fresh from an intelligence whose habitation
earthly eye hath not seen, Cartice Doring thrilled with a strange
joy, in sympathetic vibration with the wave of truth that touched her
spirit. For one hallowed moment the great gates opened and she saw a
light more beautiful than the light of the morning, more glorious than
the light of many suns, softer, brighter, more beatific than was ever
on sea or land, for lo! she saw the reflection of the soul itself, and
understood its infinite source and deathless destiny. In that ineffable
moment she knew that it never had birth and never should know death,
and that separateness was not of it, nor was it divisible from aught
there is, and difference there was none. On the bosom of eternal being
it rested secure through a thousand illusions.

The key that unlocked all mysteries was revealed by a flash of the
soul’s own light. Pale and trembling she bent her head till it lay on
the written words of the nameless stranger, and closed her eyes that
she and the great white light might be alone together.

       *       *       *       *       *

Thousands of years ago an Indian sage, when parting from his wife,
said: “We do not love the husband in the husband, nor the wife in the
wife, nor the children in the children. What we love in them, what we
truly love in everything is the divine spirit, (the eternal atman, the
immortal and absolute self)”--and as we should add, says Max Müller,
the immortal God, for the immortal self and the immortal God must be

Life’s boundless extension and endless progression was ever the
uppermost thought in Mrs. Doring’s mind. In it she found consolation
for all ills, as well as explanation of them. She pitied those still
blind to this tremendous fact. What had they to uphold them in the
terrible conflict we make of life?

What of the literature that only reaches the grave and there halts,
unable to go further? Is it not the literature of children, useful only
to amuse and entertain them in idle hours? She had adored the art of
letters, had made a fetich of it, paying homage to its great names and
walking in its fair gardens with reverent steps. Now she asked herself
what literature had done for the voiceless army of the dead. What
representation had they in its pages? The dead, the sacred dead, the
beloved dead, what had letters done to bridge the stream that separates
them from the living?

Poets had sent them to a far-off heaven or plunged them into a
flaming hell to suit their moods and meters. Romancers had used them
as spectres to come upon the scene at inopportune moments and treat
their readers to thrills. They were flippantly spoken of as “spooks,”
“ghosts,” “apparitions,” and “supernatural appearances.” They were
good stock in certain brands of stories which nobody believed in,
and occasionally they were allowed to have a bit of business on the
stage. Witless witlings had sneered at their claims to recognition,
and writers of many minds, however they differed on other points, were
generally united in the effort to keep the dead, one and all, from

Authors of romances found death a convenience in disposing of
inconvenient characters of their own creation. When they could not
manage them effectively any other way, they slaughtered them remorsely,
and that was the end of them; that put them out of both writers’ and
readers’ way for all time. Not even the good always escaped this doom.
If readers could be entertainingly harrowed and wrought upon by the
demise of the most angelic heroine, she had to die, and that finished
her for friends and foes. At the grave everything ended. There love
laid its treasures and turned hopelessly away; and there hate sheathed
its poniard in satisfaction, having reached its extreme limit.

Now Cartice Doring saw clearly that there are no finalities here; that
the grave is not the end; that it never imprisoned a human soul. She
saw that a new literature must come forth to satisfy minds of larger
growth, which look upon death, not as a finality, but a change of
costume and the opening of a new act. And this literature must go to
the point, straight and clear; it must seek the solution of life’s
problem and not merely amuse and beguile travelers on the journey.

Many a night, while she walked home after an evening’s talk with her
unseen friends, she felt in touch with all the universe. Nothing was
far off, not even the stars, which looked down upon earth with tender
human sympathy in their bright faces. She feared nothing, and knew no
loneliness, feeling herself attended by an innumerable company. Already
she believed that what Kant said will yet be proved, “that the human
soul, even in this life, is by an indissoluble communion connected with
all the immaterial natures of the spirit world, acting upon them, and
receiving impressions from them.”

Now she understood more clearly the meaning of this statement by our
greatest philosopher, Emerson: “every man is an inlet to the Divine
mind and to all of that mind.” Yes, and an outlet, also.

Now, now she began to see that “the spirit of man is a personal
limitation of the supreme spirit,” as another philosopher says; that
“God is the all of man’s life, the power of man at bottom being the
power of God.”

Now she could understand that “what we call the material universe is
but the manifestation of infinite Deity to our finite minds”; and that
“our individual self is found,” as the ancient wisdom of the East, and
likewise Jesus and Paul, affirms, “included in the contents of the
Absolute Being or Self.”

“Eternal Being mirrors itself in every existence,” she murmured
reverently; “Eternal Being, and we are it.”

The pulsing, eager, feverish life of the city was stilled. Its
people slept, at least they were asleep to the truth, and refused
to be awakened. Thousands of Ephraims, joined to their idols, dwelt
contentedly in their fools’ paradise, asking to be let alone. And
what were those idols? Mists of their own creation, perishable and
unreal--for nothing endures, nothing is real but being, Eternal Being.
Like the wayward sons and daughters of old Jerusalem, they will not be
gathered under the wing of even divine wisdom.

The old dreams of childhood came back, with their perplexing
reminiscence of life in a land remote in the past, whose people knew
not misery.

Had she lived before? Yes, always. How could it be otherwise with
Eternal Being as the background, the source and centre of her
existence? For this there was neither beginning nor end. Was she not an
indestructible part of all that is, was and ever shall be? Behind her
was no birth; before her no death. These were but “world-fictions.”

And what was she? One of the millions of conscious atoms that make up
the great whole--a woman walking the path alone, with a dash of genius,
original, creative, commanding, it was said, and a force of will and
character that made her respected and conspicuous among other atoms.
Whence came the genius and the force of character? From the infinite
ocean of intelligence and creative energy--from the one source and
the one force. Why had she gifts and qualities others had not? Because
she had reached upward toward the light; she had aspired, and as a
consequence had expanded and grown. She had mirrored more of the
supreme intelligence than many others, because she had desired it and
had held her mind receptive to it.

All her life at times she had been a prey to a deep dissatisfaction. An
unspoken unrest, a profound melancholy lay beneath her sunniest hours,
and she had experienced a yearning of the soul for that which perhaps
no mortal ever attains.

But now in these nights when she walked alone under the stars,
illumined within by the light of truth, there were moments when
her spirit vibrated in unison with the great spirit or self of the
universe, and she was satisfied. She saw humanity, like a mighty river
rolling slowly to the sea, each drop blending with others, and all
impelled by a resistless force that bore them onward, they knew not
whence nor whither. This river was rolling toward the ocean of truth,
there to enjoy the freedom which was its divine destiny, and which each
atom or drop could only reach by recognizing, living and becoming the

                             CHAPTER XIV.

                            THE SIMPLE WAY.

  “Life, with all it yields of joy and woe and hope and fear,
  Is just our chance o’ the prize of learning love,
  How love might be, hath been, indeed, and is.”

  --_Robert Browning._

Talking with Gabriel Norris one day, Mrs. Doring could not refrain from
telling him some of her astonishing psychic experiences.

“I have long known,” he said, “that they whom we call dead are more
alive than we are. I, too, have talked with them. Like St. Paul I am
a spiritualist, a word which generally excites fear and horror in
unenlightened minds. I preach spiritualism, plain and pure, but I don’t
name it. Sometimes it is best not to label one’s knowledge. It only
prejudices the ignorant against it, and builds a fence around one’s
own mind as well as around one’s neighbor’s. A name is a limitation.
That’s one reason why I cannot work in any organization. I keep my
spirit free, ever ready to absorb more truth, and I preach a free
gospel, which, like all things else is susceptible to the influence of
new light. Truth is not all revealed to any man. Little by little one
learns to know a greater degree of it, and so grows more and more free
from error. What is evolution but a gradual growing out of darkness
into light? The proof that we live again is of tremendous importance,
because with it comes the knowledge that every thought as well as every
deed helps in the building of our souls and our eternal destiny. That
we shall live always is a fact in nature, but in what estate depends
upon ourselves, upon our thoughts, aspirations and efforts, for man is
the expression, or sum, of his desires. Here or elsewhere they shall be

Gabriel wished he might have the great pleasure of a word with
Prescott, whom he loved. Chrissalyn granted permission, and he went one
evening to see the wonders of Planchette. Prescott obligingly came,
and when Gabriel, with tears shining in his eyes asked if he had any
particular message for him, answered:

“Only to thank you for your good words about me in the church, when I
could not speak for myself.”

Gabriel had been one of several friends, orthodox and unorthodox, who
made brief addresses at Prescott’s funeral, which, by the grace of a
liberal-minded and great-hearted minister, was held in a church, in
spite of the fact that the dead editor was a bold unbeliever.

At these grateful words the eyes of the gentle preacher glistened and
his voice wavered with feeling, as he said: “You deserved all the
praise I gave you. You did your best. You spoke truth and lived truth
as you saw it. None can do more.”

In saying this Gabriel unconsciously raised his voice higher and higher
till he ended in a shout, so natural was it to think of Prescott as far
off because he was out of sight.

“Thank you again, Gabriel,” he wrote; “but let me tell you, that
although I used to be a little deaf, I hear perfectly well now.”

Gabriel laughed heartily as it dawned upon him that he had been
shouting at his invisible friend, and thought Prescott must be laughing

“Are all cured of their physical defects over there?” Gabriel asked.

“Not immediately, for illness or wholeness is a matter of the
consciousness, and that cannot be completely changed at once. It is
all progression, growth, expansion, but it takes what you call time to
effect it. There is plenty of work for you, Gabriel, here as well as

“I am glad of that,” said the unordained preacher. “An idle heaven
would be hell for me. Man’s desire for action and his pleasure in it
are strong evidence of his immortality. Were death--extinction--his
destiny, somehow he would have known it, and would have been indolent
instead of busy. It is true that much of his work is impermanent and
useless or worse than useless; but it is the effort he puts forth,
the exercise of will, that is the valuable part of it. That which he
is really building through all his blundering and the only part of his
work that endures, is character.”

“Truth, Gabriel! You speak immortal truth,” Prescott wrote. “Now,

“Do you really believe you have been talking with Gordon Prescott?”
Cartice asked.

“Yes,” said Gabriel, simply. “I could not prove it to others; neither
can I prove that a letter is from the person whose name is signed to
it, without his personal affirmation, and even that is only valuable in
proportion to his reputation for truth-telling. Most of what we call
proofs of anything is flimsy and fallible.”

“I want to tell you, Mr. Norris,” said Cartice, speaking with feeling,
“that I owe you far more than you are aware of. You first gave me
light, and you were a mascot for me, besides, in worldly success.
Through meeting you the tide of my fortune, the day I met you,
turned from ebb to flow. The drawing I made of you opened the door
of opportunity for me. But giving me light was the greatest service.
That day, in your lecture at the market house you told us we were
not here simply to be happy; that happiness as we pictured it, was
not the purpose of existence; that we were here to learn and to grow
to the perfection nature intended, as a plant or a tree grows. In
other words, we are to unfold from the seed and express our true
being. Up to that time, like everybody else, I had made the hunt for
happiness my chief aim. When, in consequence of that, I found myself
swamped in misery, I considered myself injured, and felt sure somebody
was to blame. I could not see that I, myself, was the culprit; that
the selfish search for happiness must lead directly away from that
condition. Ah, I suffered much, much up to that time; but I see the
uses of it now. I was being educated by the only means possible. Had I
secured the kind of happiness I was looking for, I should still be in
darkness. It was the ideal of an undeveloped mind. Now I see plainly
that the spiritual side of suffering is good. It means birth--the birth
of knowledge, of light, of truth. I don’t think suffering is ‘sent
upon us,’ as many good people assert. We pursue false ideals and they
bring us to grief; but through that suffering we find the true ideals.
Suffering becomes our teacher. Truth, which is good, is ever struggling
to express itself through us; but in our ignorance we oppose and
obstruct it, and that makes pain for us. All suffering comes from our
obstinate opposition to good, though we are usually unconscious of it
till our eyes are opened. I thank you again for helping me. Since that
day suffering has fallen away from me to a great extent. As soon as I
became willing to suffer in order to get on the right road, I ceased
to suffer. Strange law, but true. And so I argue that when we cease to
pursue happiness or think about it we shall possess it.”

“Yes, it has long been clear to me that we are not here to hunt
happiness; though I doubt not that every human soul is destined to be
happy; but it will be an order of happiness most unlike the common
dream. Even here it could be found, if we sought it where the master
told us to look. Did he not say that the kingdom of heaven is within
us? It is a state of consciousness. He told us how to attain it, too.
How simple the way! Only to love one another. This, indeed would make
heaven for us all. That is what we are here to learn--that is the chief
end of man, for, when we learn that, we shall know all the law--all
there is to learn, and shall have reached the full development which is
the purpose of our existence. How simple the way! We have no call to
go forth and reform our erring brother; to devise schemes to save his
soul; to build barriers to put temptation out of his way; to weave nets
to ensnare him to our faith. We have only to love him. Thus shall we
fulfill all the law; thus shall we do all we have to do. Neither are we
here to do good. Even this is not our work in life. Many well-meaning
people busy themselves, and bluster about doing good, from their point
of view. Oftener than not they put their Father’s house in disorder.
We are to _be_ good. Then the doing of good comes without effort. We
are here but for one purpose, and that is to learn and therefore grow.
To learn that we are the sons and daughters of God--otherwise supreme
wisdom, love, life, light and intelligence. The more we recognize this
infinite source of our being the more of it we reflect and become, the
more perfect our development. And how shall we do this? In the simple
way we were told--only by loving one another. This is the purpose of
our creation. This includes all there is to know, and to become. This
is the perfection at which we were told to aim. This sets our feet on
the road to happiness.”

“What is the body?” Cartice asked.

“Perhaps it is the objective side of our existence on this plane--the
self as it appears to others, but not as it really is.”

After Gabriel was gone Chrissalyn said with a yawn:

“Cartice, you and Gabriel tire one all out bothering about the ‘purpose
of life,’ the soul and the body and so on. What’s the good of heating
your heads about such things? Just to slip through easy, is all I’m
asking now.”

“Yes, dear; but you are a Butterfly and have a butterfly’s standard.
Gabriel and I aim to be gardeners, who make it possible for butterflies
to circle about and enjoy themselves without bad boys catching them
and pulling their wings off. But you have grown astonishingly, since
I first knew you, in spite of yourself. You used to find nothing
better to do than kill time with a procession of admirers. Now you
have outgrown that. And you were dependent on your husband for your
very bread. Now you are able to stand on your own feet, and are a
self-supporting, useful member of society. Don’t you see, dear, that
the lesson every soul must learn sooner or later, here or elsewhere, is
to be able to stand alone? Each of us, woman or man, must fulfill the
purpose of creation, which is to grow toward perfection, and we can’t
do that by leaning on somebody else. Woman is a human being as is man,
and is responsible for her own destiny. The responsibility can’t be put
upon another.”

                              CHAPTER XV.

                      IT IS WELL WITH THE CHILD.

  Fair are the flowers and the children, but their subtle suggestion is
  Rare is the roseburst of dawn, but the secret that clasps it is rarer.

  --_Richard Realf._

Mrs. Doring had a friend, a gentle, patient, heavily-burdened woman
who lived her difficult life with the high heroism of a daughter of
the gods. Though fragile as a flower she kept the wolf at bay for her
little family, and nobody ever saw a cloud on her face or heard a
complaint from her lips. Born and bred to the refinements of life she
met adversity as only the gently bred do meet it--by taking hold of
whatever work was at hand, without questioning whether it was what is
miscalled menial or not.

When her baby girl was born she begged Cartice to name her, which she
did, giving her the name of the little sister who had died when she
herself was a child--Isabel. To her mother’s great delight she grew
to resemble Mrs. Doring as though of her flesh and blood, and loved
her in the same degree. Now she was nearly three years old, bright and
winsome, with never a day’s illness in her record.

But a fever came, and behind that stood the last enemy, who, however
often routed, is sure to return sometime and win the battle. This was
the time of his victory. In the night, when all was silent without,
and solemn within, he came. Cartice had the baby in her arms in the
last precious, awesome moments. The wasted little hand reached up and
silently stroked her face, and the soft, dark eyes, unearthly large
and earnest, looked at her with unutterable love. Something else, too,
was in their speechless depths--a message not easy to translate, but
it brought comfort. Then, that mysterious thing, the breath, which
connects us with the universal life principle, ceased; the cold white
veil dropped down, and little Isabel was dead.

After holding the silent form close to her heart a moment, Cartice laid
it gently on the bed, and the two mother hearts so sorely bereft stood
silent but tearless beside it.

       *       *       *       *       *

Later, when it was ready for its bed in the bosom of the earth, and
again together they looked down at its white silence, Cartice said:

“She shall know no evil thought; she shall do no evil deed; she shall
tread no evil path. It is well with the child.”

“Yes, in spite of my sore heart, it is well,” said the mother. “I
surrender her not to death, but to a larger life, and shall not mourn.
No matter what comes, she is safe. My darling’s safe--safe and dead.
Since her father’s death I have been troubled at times with fears
for her future. I face the inevitable--a few months more here, and
then--the end. For the two boys I have arranged. They will have homes
and care, but it would have tried my courage to leave this one ewe

“I would have been a mother to Isabel had you gone first,” said Mrs.

“I am sure of that; but you, too, may not tarry here long. Why should
we ever worry about the future? In spite of all our planning and
troubling all is managed by a higher hand. We have only to do the work
of the hour, leaving what the next may bring to be met when it comes,
and not in anticipation. The present alone concerns us. By living it
aright the future takes care of itself. It is the thought for to-morrow
that so often makes to-day gloomy. I distressed myself about my child’s
future, yet, see, all is well with her.”

“I thank God for what I have learned of the mysterious event called
death,” said Mrs. Doring. “Yet there are people who ask what good can
come of knowing such things. What good? Is it nothing to know that the
little image lying here is not our Isabel but her earthly investiture;
that she is not dead nor separated from us; that her life is to go on
from grace to grace, from strength to strength? Is it nothing to know
that Socrates, Plato, Swedenborg, Shakespeare, Emerson, Hugo, Morse,
Fulton, all who have given the world the light of genius, have never
died, and that this baby is equal heir with them to a life of vaster
opportunities and greater blessings?”

“Others,” said Mrs. Benton, “wonder what good there is in the coming
and going of so tiny a soul, who was here but for a day as it were.
Yet her little life is as important in the divine plan as that of the
greatest sage. She brought the gospel of pure love with her, and we are
the better because of her brief visit to us--for it was but a pause on
the great journey.”

       *       *       *       *       *

On the evening after the discarded visible part of the child had been
put out of sight, as Mrs. Doring was returning home from her friend’s
house, two elderly men on the horse-car were talking of life, and their
verdict was that they were tired of it.

One said it was an empty experience which he would not go through again
for any consideration. The other said he had had a good time, had got
as much pleasure out of life as any one, but that was all over now; he
was getting old and full of aches and pains, and found no fun in living
any more. The jumping off place had to be reached some day, and that
would put an end to it.

His friend said that was the rub--the leap in the dark. For his part
he was disgusted with life, but abhorred death. He saw no good in
either one or the other, and was inclined to believe that we are all
victims of a tremendous cheat. If he could see anything to look forward
to beyond a damp bed in the ground he could go on all right, but nobody
knew anything about it--not even those who earned their bread talking
about it in pulpits. They said they believed certain things, but they
didn’t know any more than other folks. He wanted solid information.

The other tossed his head to show his indifference to the subject. He
said it was something he had never thought about at all in his good
times, and now he guessed he wouldn’t bother with it for his few
remaining days.

Thus was the most important question that faces man disposed of by
one whose opinion on any topic pertaining to commercial or political
interests would be received with respect by his fellow townsmen
and have weight with them. But both he and his friend had lived to
venerable years without ever learning what they themselves were. Of
that knowledge, which includes all other knowledge, they were as
ignorant as earth worms. They had acquired what is miscalled education;
had been factors in public affairs, and figures in social life, and yet
never learned that they were not bodies to go to pieces some day like
a broken machine, but spirits, with a life whose issues are spiritual
and eternal, not material and perishable. To one, life had meant a
chance to have a good time; to the other emptiness, because he had had
no good time. Neither dreamed that its meaning is in the unseen, not in
the seen,--in what they had become, not what they possessed or enjoyed.
They lived in dense spiritual darkness, yet knew it not, and they were
but two out of millions in the same condition.

Hearing their pathetic though unconscious confession of ignorance,
Mrs. Doring wondered if little Isabel’s short, loving, trusting life
was not more complete than theirs of long years full of impermanent
and illusory importance. She wished she could tell them what she had
learned of life and its meaning and future, but, alas! she had already
been stoned and knew the danger of letting her light shine before those
who had not become as little children--receptive, willing to learn.

                             CHAPTER XVI.


 “Is it wonderful that I should be immortal, as every one is immortal?
 I know it is wonderful, but my eye-sight is equally wonderful, and
 how I was conceived in my mother’s womb is equally wonderful.”--_Walt

  Thought in the mind hath made us.
    What we are
  By thought was wrought and built.
    If a man’s mind
  Hath evil thoughts, pain comes on him as comes
    The wheel the ox behind.

  All that we are is what we thought and willed;
  Our thoughts shape us and frame.
    If one endure
  In purity of thought joy follows him
    As his own shadow sure.--_Sir Edwin Arnold._

Mrs. Doring had read that the people of the unseen world, or other
invisible intelligent beings, sometimes condescended to write on slates
under certain conditions. As she now believed that Chrissalyn possessed
all the psychic gifts, she bought a slate and used her most artful
eloquence to persuade her friend to experiment. The capricious creature
consented after fishing up objections enough to make her acquiescence
received with great gratitude. This was her innocent way of making her
services valuable and herself important. But for love of her friend,
and also no doubt for love of Prescott, who was the only person on the
other side of silence that she cared to hear from, apparently, or at
least was not afraid of, she finally consented.

Not knowing the correct manner of procedure they could do no more than
experiment blindly, till they learned something about it. They held
the slate under the table till their arms were all tired out and got
nothing. Then they laid it on the table, and becoming interested in
talking, forgot all about it and their experiment, till they heard a
soft, rapid scratching.

Looking down simultaneously, they saw an incredible thing. The tiny
pencil, no bigger than a grain of rice, was writing, though no visible
hand guided it, and this was its message:

“_Each soul is its own redeemer, here, hereafter and forever._”

The two spectators looked at each other in awe-struck silence. From
whom this came they knew not, for the one that wrote it wrote nothing
more. But for their familiarity with communications from the silent
majority they would have been sore afraid. As it was they were awed by
this extraordinary evidence of the nearness of unseen beings presumably
like themselves.

Talking about it they sat there till the evening was nearly spent.
At last, Chrissalyn idly laid her hand on the slate, and almost
immediately it began to throb or vibrate curiously, like a living
thing. Startled, she removed her hand, and instantly the throbbing
ceased. Turning the slate over they found the under side written full
in a feminine hand of exquisite daintiness, and signed with the name of
one of our most eminent women, one who has been dead nearly a century.

The message had not been written after the manner of the previous one,
for there was no scratching or sound of the movement of the pencil. In
fact, as they soon discovered, the pencil was not there at all. The
method, whatever it may have been, was instantaneous, like telegraphy.
A few seconds of vibration in the slate and lo! it was there. If
thought could be photographed the process might be like this. It was as
though some one had thought the message, and the mere act of thinking
had made it visible on the slate.

“Chriss, you are the most wonderful being in the world,” said Cartice,
reverently, “and you don’t know it. You have all the occult gifts, yet
value none of them.”

The Butterfly flushed with gratification at the generous praise of her
friend who usually praised or blamed with miserly care. Beyond the fact
that they made her important in Cartice’s eyes she cared nothing for
the mysteries revealed through her. Being a butterfly, she was not
afflicted with any particular craving for knowledge. The world and the
things of the world satisfied her.

This was what the slate contained:

“To you, Cartice Hill Doring, I bring this message. Remember it well,
for I may never come again: Till the soil, and you will be prosperous.
Till what you have. Make more of your talents. Concentrate all your
thoughts and devote more time to your special one. If you are really
anxious to make a success of yourself, you must use every moment. You
not only owe it to yourself, but to the whole world, and God, who has
endowed you with this wonderful gift. You are a woman among a million.
It is certainly a wonderful gift you possess, and it is sad that you
have not already made more of it. So try now. Wait not for some one
to open the way. Make your own way. You can do it better than any one
else. Work in order to be great; then you can rest, and it will be so
delightful to rest with sweet laurels.”

Mrs. Doring read this aloud, astonished at its flattering import and
amazed that so many words, all as legible as the clearest typography,
could be put upon the tiny slate. The writing was a work of the most
exquisite art.

“What does she mean by your special talent?” asked Chrissalyn.

“A bit of my brain garden which I have scarcely cultivated at all,
and would rather not name, for I never have been sure of my title to
it. In my early dreams it figured conspicuously; but of late years I
have almost dropped it from my thoughts. The business of bread-winning
pushes many a fair dream out of its sacred niche. In spite of the
encouraging words of this message I doubt if I shall ever till that
soil. I begin to feel too tired to make new departures. The torpor
of indifference and weariness is creeping over me. The old spirit of
action walks with a halting step, and turns its eyes longingly to the
meadows of ease and indolence. I think I understand how car-horses
feel. They know perfectly well that, whatever may happen to the rest
of the world, for them there is only a steady, day-after-day pull till
the end comes. Prescott used to say I wanted to eat my cake and have it
too; but he didn’t know how feeble and weary I often was.”

One evening when they called their unseen friends new wonders
were shown them--wonders which took place under laws beyond their
penetration. The Butterfly wore a fresh white rose on her breast. When
Prescott announced himself, his first words were of its beauty and

“Can you see it?” Cartice asked.


“And smell it?”

“Of course. Give it to me, Butterfly! Give it to me,” he wrote, with
eager energy.

“Well, take it,” said Chrissalyn, smiling at the impossible request.

“I am in earnest. I really want it. Hold it in your hand directly in
front of you, and see me take it.”

Laughing at what she believed to be a bit of pleasantry, she took the
rose from her breast, and held it between her thumb and finger, saying,
in mimicry of the old-time heroine of novels, “Please accept this token
of my esteem.”

Instantly, quicker than a flash, with a suddenness indescribable, it
disappeared, vanished completely, in the sight of both pairs of eyes.
Whither? Could vacant space swallow a tangible object? Impossible. Yet
this impossibility was accomplished.

The fact stunned them. Each looked in the face of the other, and
clasped the other’s hand to make sure they were not dreaming.

“I should be frightened speechless if any one else than Prescott had
done that,” said the Butterfly, pallid and trembling.

“Let us ask him about it,” said Cartice, who was shaken, too.

With some reluctance, Chrissalyn asked Prescott how he had taken the

“By means of what some of your scientific people call the Fourth
Dimension of Space,” he replied.

“Can you explain it more clearly?”

“No; I have no terms in which to make it plain to you. It is all
natural enough, however, and comes under a law as yet not known to your
world. Now wait a moment and I will bring you a flower by means of the
same law.”

Silent and expectant they sat for three or four minutes. Then,
apparently out of the air above their heads, two large fresh, red roses
fell on the table before them. Examination proved that they were real
and not illusory.

“Where did you get them?” Cartice asked.

“I went what you would call a long distance for them,--about two
hundred miles; but it is nothing to me, for I know no distance outside
of my own thought.”

Unsolicited, one evening Prescott volunteered to tell his two faithful
friends some of his experiences since passing out of their sight. He
wrote with a rapidity and energy even greater than in life, though he
had ever a nervous, hasty manner of writing, which was his true form of
expression. In conversation he had little ability. He consumed three
evenings in the task he had set himself, and this was his story, which
was addressed to Cartice:

       *       *       *       *       *

“There was the accident at the elevator. It occurred in a few seconds
of time, but I did not realize what was taking place. A thought that
something was going wrong flashed through my mind, but it conveyed no
sense of danger. I was like a spectator who sees disaster overtake
another, yet has no clear idea what that disaster is. From this and
what I have learned here, I am inclined to the belief that victims of
accidents which result in sudden death have no painful experiences--do
not even suffer from fear.

“As you know, I was killed instantly--that is pushed out of life
as you understand life, without warning. When I awoke, or regained
consciousness, on this side of death--which I believe was soon after
the accident, though I am not sure on this point--I found myself
groping blindly, staggering weakly in the dark and reaching about me
with my hands to find something that would help me to a knowledge of my

“I was never distinguished for patience. Now I began to feel impatient
and cross at finding myself in such an unaccountable situation. Then
the darkness got thicker, more depressing, and at last terrible, until
my spirit quailed before it, and the thought came to me that I was
indeed, in a place and condition strange and fearful.

“Then I thought of you, Cartice, and of how devotedly I loved you.
With that thought came light, such radiant, phenomenal, overpowering
light that it dazzled me. I shuddered before its awful effulgence, and
put my hands over my eyes that it might not blind me. My love for you
seemed to fill all space and include all things. While enjoying it,
drinking it in, floating in it, I moved on, for I was walking,--or so
it seemed--until I met my dear old friend William Bissell.

“That astonished me, for I instantly remembered that he had died five
years before, and I had been one of those selected for the solemn honor
of carrying his body to the grave. Was I dreaming?

“He came toward me smiling. I thought I had never seen him look so
well, so handsome, so young or so benignant. He was ever the soul of
kindness, not only ready but always anxious to serve others; and he had
a particular fondness for meeting friends at the railroad station when
they came back to the city after an absence--especially those who had
no near kindred to welcome them.

“‘I’m glad to see you, Gordon,’ he said; but I thought I saw something
in his face more than the words implied, and a foreboding of unwelcome
news came to me.

“‘How is this, William?’ I asked. ‘Am I dreaming? I thought I helped to
bury you five years ago.’

“He smiled significantly and said, ‘Has it not occurred to you that
somebody may be arranging to do the same service for you?’

“‘What do you mean, William?’ I asked, calling upon my soul to sustain
me against the shock of the reply.

“‘Well, Gordon,’ he said, gently, kindness making his face shine like a
lamp, ‘tell me if a dead man’s arm has any bones in it?’

“Instinctively I grasped my left arm with my right hand. Lo! the hand
passed through it. No bones were there.

“Can you imagine one already dead fainting from fear? The sensation
I experienced was more startling, more fearful than anything I had
conceived of before. I sank down, down into immeasurable depths.

“A feeling of shame at my cowardice took possession of me. Why was
I afraid? I had died, to be sure; my condition was changed; but the
experience was something millions and millions of other souls had
undergone. Gentle, timid, delicate women had trodden that solemn path
before me. Little children, too, had traveled it. Why should I, a man,
vain of my strength and courage, be affrighted? A vast compassion
for all humankind in this trying moment welled up in my heart, and
instantly I was lifted into light, and beheld about me loving and
familiar faces, beautiful vistas, and heard melodious sounds. The
loving thought I held had borne me upward; but I did not then know it.

“Many times I sank into a dark, bottomless void, and as often by some
mysterious power rose into ineffable light. I encountered massive walls
from time to time, before which my feet were stayed. Impassable and
impregnable, they seemed to bar my way, I knew not why. Eventually
I learned that the sinking and the rising, and the barriers I met,
were not external experiences, but all took place within my own
consciousness, and were but the picturing or appearances of my inner
condition. They were my own thoughts externalized, for _thought_ is the
only _thing_ in the _Universe_. We think, therefore we are. Existence
is thought. Man is thought made objective. Thought is the creative
principle: it is creation.

“‘As a man thinketh in his heart, so is he,’ describes life both here
and in the visible form, if you but understand its true significance.
Here every sensation is intensified a thousand times. I thrill with
joy and the universe vibrates in harmonious response. I suffer, and
it trembles in reciprocal anguish. And this is true of every soul in
whatever part of the universe it may dwell; but here our capacity
to feel is keener and greater than with you, and here we learn to
understand. Every sensation is intensified, because we enter into
closer relations with the One Life, the One Spirit that fills all
space. Everything is within our consciousness, and outside of that
there is nothing. Within us is all that ever was or shall be.

“For a time I was often wretched. The interests of earth attracted me,
I thought of them wistfully, and wished I were in my old place doing
the work in which I had found something akin to pleasure. The wish held
me there, and I was miserable, because the old methods of action were
lost to me. Often when you sat at your desk in the _Register_ office I
was near, suffering keen torment, because I could not make my presence
known. It took me a long time to see that we were not really separated.
It was only the veil of your ignorance that shut me away from you. I
was near you, but you did not know it, that was all. The veil that
hides our world from yours is ignorance--a veil it is possible to lift.

“Still, I suffered until I found a means of enlightening you. I saw the
peculiar power the Butterfly possesses, and endeavored to arouse in her
a wish to investigate which would enable me to bridge the gulf between
us--a gulf that existed only in your thought.

“I caused her to see me in what she believed a dream, and I held a
planchette that she might try to operate with it. To my unbounded
delight I was successful. I assure you that, although you were grateful
for the knowledge the little tripod brought you, I was a thousand
times more so, since to me it meant deliverance from darkness and

“I could not rise into higher conditions--conditions being
internal--until I had established communication with you. The moment
you recognized me and believed in me, darkness and discontent began to
fall away from me. You made heaven for me on earth, inasmuch as I loved
you, and that love has made heaven for me here--both heaven and hell
being states of consciousness, though none the less real for all that.

“My burden was lifted, when you fully understood that I still lived.
Not till then was I willing to accept my changed condition and seek
knowledge in new paths.

“How delightful it was to discover that I had power within myself to
create conditions! Thoughts of love enveloped me in light, a light that
had in it all beauty and all harmony. The character of my love for you
changed. Desire for possession went out of it, and the wish to benefit
and help you in every way, without regard to myself, took its place. I
then learned that the more unselfish and universal our love, the deeper
and fuller and sweeter our own being becomes. Love is the supreme
power. Love is life. Love is light. Love is all there is, for love is

“This is a scientific truth and not merely a figure and phrase of
religious philosophy.

“God is spirit and spirit is substance, the only substance in the
universe. Men of science tell you that light is a mode of motion, and
they speak truly, for it is the physical expression of pure spirit
which is pure love. Spirit, which includes all worlds and all being is
in perpetual motion; all that you see is but its different forms of

“Your sun is not your source of light; it is but a reflector or
transmitter of the one supreme light to the worlds of its system.

“The more we love the more of God do we become and express. Oh! if
I could but tell you the joy that love brings. It can overcome all
things. Where it dwells no evil can come; and it enters wherever
the door is left open to receive it. It is everywhere, but, if your
consciousness is unaware of it, for you it has no existence. Only
recognize it and it is yours.

“I passed my life in combat. I attacked evil, fought it ruthlessly,
and believed I was doing good. Yet I was only making evil important.
You would laugh at the teacher who fought children in order to make
them wise, wouldn’t you? Evil is only ignorance--otherwise spiritual
darkness, and men and women are but children in knowledge. There is
but one way to eradicate evil or ignorance, and that is to make more
light. Open the understanding and let in the light. The darkness will
flee before it. You remember Victor Hugo said: ‘Pay schoolmasters and
not soldiers.’ I see now that the only way to make men better is to
awaken the God or good in them; to put higher ideals before them, and
not find fault with them because they don’t know all there is to know.

“Until I met you I lived a loveless life, therefore a pessimistic one.
My sympathy with humankind had a narrow limit. A wrong aroused my wrath
against the perpetrator of it, when it should have awakened my pity for
the dark condition of his mind.

“I was conceited, intolerant, impatient, belligerent and often cruel. I
went about with a lash in my hand, ready to administer upon all who did
not live up to my standard. Now I see the simpler way of which we were
long since told. It is to love our wayward brothers. When men learn
that an injury done another injures themselves far more than the other,
they will cease to be unkind.

“As a matter of course I could not give up my old ways of thinking at
once. I still found myself quick to anger and ready to hate at the
knowledge of offence or injury. These feelings instantly plunged me
into darkness and the companionship of demons hideous to behold.

“It is so in your world also. Rage and hate darken your mind, and
bring into it hideous demons of thought; but love fills you with light
and beauty. Though your conception of love be crude and narrow, still
the germ of divinity is in it, and it will brighten your way as far as
its light extends. If you are faithful to truth as you see it, broader
conceptions will come to you.

“I am not capable of instructing you on life here, only so far as it
has revealed itself to me. Another may have different experiences and
see a different outlook. Each soul is bounded by its own limitations,
which expand as it advances. I am but a student, at the feet of wiser
masters; but I must give you what I see, not what they see.

“I believe the universe is electric; that spirit operates through
all nature by means of what you call electricity, in its different
manifestations. The infinite mind, or what is called God, is the
highest and most etherealized substance, including all else. It
possesses the attributes of inherent motion and living power, and it
has a centre like a great central sun, whose rays extend everywhere
through a system of transmitters. We live and move and have our being
in it, just as all physical life owes its existence to the sun of its
system. Electricity is the servant of this central and all-inclusive
mind, whose every thought is transmitted through creation by means of
electrical and etheric vibration. Every thought of yours creates a
flash of electricity in your brain, which becomes a transmitter, for
thought is electric. Do not forget, however, that I give this only as
what appears to me.

“Life is an endless chain. To me now the mere fact of living after
death seems a very small thing--but one little link in the endless
chain. Dazzling heights rise before us as the soul goes on up the
steps of knowledge, where inexhaustible joys are laid up for us.
Nothing counts but knowledge--knowledge of the law. Now I understand
that eternal life is to know God. It takes eternal life to know him.

“When you act from the outlook of love, you will never go wrong; for
truth is born of love.

“Weave well the fabric of your thought, for everything is made from it.
The law of causation is inflexible. What you give you will get. Your
thoughts will come back to you, bringing whatever freight of evil or
good with which you sent them forth. Every time you think of a person
you affect him for good or ill.

“If you sin, you will be the servant of sin. If you love good, you will
be the instrument of good.

“‘God is spirit, and they that worship Him must worship Him in spirit
and in truth.’

“The whole law is there. If you live the life of the spirit, you
worship God because you express truth. Each man on earth, as to his
real self, is as true a spirit as he ever shall be. Only in most cases
he is ignorant of that tremendous fact. Understand this and live it,
and you worship God in spirit and in truth.

“Here imagination is reality. It is also the creative realm in your
world. I think and will, and my thought takes form. I think of one I
love, and instantly I am with that one, no matter in how remote a part
of the universe he or she may be.

“I say remote, because you think of distance as real. To the soul it
does not exist and never has existed. It is but the continuity of the
mind--a mode of thought. I speak of minutes, yet for us there is no
time. That too is but a mode of thought. I must, however, use terms
comprehensible to you.

“Do I have the same form as in life? Yes.

“Do I wear clothes? I am clothed by my own thought, and so are you, but
in a cruder way and by a slower process.

“Have I sight? Yes, but it is not the same as physical sight. That was
for the objective life; this is for all that is related to my inner or
true being and the true being of others.

“Have I the other senses as in the natural life? Yes; in a fulness and
perfection undreamed of before. I have them and others unknown to you
all blended in one vast consciousness which puts me in touch with all
that relates to me in a manner impossible to describe.

“The senses are but avenues through which your spirit takes cognizance
of its environment. Here the spirit learns that it is its own

“Is communion between this world and yours beneficial to either one?
(Remember there is but one world. The division is all in your thought.)
Is not association with high-minded, well-instructed persons always
beneficial to you; and association with the evil-minded and untaught
always hurtful?

“How are human beings to know they are deathless; if the fact be
not proved to them by ways within their comprehension? Can there be
anything but good in learning the law of your own being, by whatever
means are open to you? Not only is it beneficial, but it is the most
important branch of knowledge you can study.

“Even spirit phenomena of the most rudimentary order are useful and
necessary to the awakening of minds incapable of understanding higher
methods of instruction. There is a primer stage in all learning.

“The same law of attraction governs intercourse between us and you that
reigns throughout nature. Like attracts like. You call to you the same
order of mind from here that you attract there from among the living.
(In reality there is neither a here nor a there, save in your mind.
All is the same.) Your habitual quality of thought will attract its
like. You will get what you give. Thus it happens that the foolish get
foolish messages, and the earnest and intelligent generally receive
sensible and instructive ones.

“As I divine the purposes of higher orders of beings here, they care
relatively little for phenomena, and often lament much connected with
phenomena; but they do care a great deal for whatever agency can reach
human minds and cause them to think, even for ever so few minutes, of
what is gentle, humane, kind, considerate, unselfish and affectional.
These are the doors by which higher, gentler spirits reach human
understandings, and by these means they exert a power far greater than
is generally suspected.

“For the production of ordinary phenomena a high grade of intelligence
is not necessary. You do not need a professor to teach a child its
alphabet. The better developed spirits find more subtle ways of
imparting knowledge, and select more advanced minds to receive it
than those that are satisfied with rudimentary phenomena. But that is
necessary to begin with.

“Here as on earth--remember I use a term implying locality for your
better understanding, though the spirit knows no locality--all who
enjoy a larger light than the multitude are anxious to share it with
those less favored. By helping others into it they receive more of it
themselves. This is a law. Selfish, indeed, would be the soul who had
a faith that supported him through every trial, and yet did not want
others to have it. The heart’s desire of every prophet, genius and
savior, is to make others see as he sees that which illumines his own
soul. For this cause the noblest and best have often perished--that is,
given up their physical life--to perish in reality being impossible.
Therefore, communion between spirits still in the body and those out
of it is one of the most important means of education known--the chief
occupation of some who are here.

“Toying with phenomena for the sole purpose of gratifying
curiosity--mere wonder-mongering--is always to be deprecated.

“Often, as in my case, the opportunity of communicating with
friends left behind sets a spirit free from his own unhappy
thought-limitations. It lifts a burden from him. My desire to prove to
you that I was not dead held me in bondage until I bridged the gulf.
Intense love for one is always a kind of bondage. The perfect love we
shall know, when the truth has freed us, is all-embracing, universal,
like unto the love of God--it is the love of God.

“When I read these words of Condillac I laughed at them: ‘Though we
should soar into the heavens, though we should sink into the abyss, we
never go out of ourselves; it is always our thought that we perceive.’

“Now I can affirm their truth. We can never run away from ourselves.
We take our own world with us wherever we go, for it is made of our
thought--‘it is always our own thought that we perceive.’ We are our
own thought--and the smallest insect or strongest and fiercest beast or
greatest genius is no less and no more.

“In the life of the world I never knew happiness. Behind a cynical
and reserved exterior I masked a restless, suffering spirit. Creation
appeared a grim tragedy. This was because my inner eyes were closed,
and I took the distorted shadow for the reality. I was looking at a
fantastic mirror and saw only its exaggerated reflections. I ridiculed
the idea of any one’s being happy in such a world. Now I know that man
is destined to be happy, but his happiness is of the spirit, and can
only come with spiritual development, when he knows that he is spirit,
lives the life of the spirit, and so becomes free from the bonds of
ignorance. This is what is meant by the truth making us free. Ignorance
is the only evil there is--mere blindness to the light, though the
light is always shining. When you know the truth, you become the truth,
and are out of the darkness of ignorance, therefore free. This is, I am
told, the ultimate destiny of the whole human race.

“Remember that God never punishes any one. He only teaches. This,
the children of the world have to learn. They, too, must eliminate
punishment from their methods of dealing with the wrongdoers, otherwise
the ignorant.

“A wise friend told me to cease my self-questioning and striving,
and let knowledge find me. He said we have only to _let_ good
come to us and it will fill us. To do this we must make ourselves
receptive--negative--and the spirit, the one spirit, which includes all
wisdom, all love, all life, being positive, will flow into us. He said
our continual striving and struggling made us positive, and therefore
unreceptive. This enabled me to see a new meaning in the question,
‘Who, by searching can find out God?’

“The law is to be still--ready to receive--and let him enter.

“When I did this I emerged from suffering and darkness, and for the
first time in the memory of my conscious existence felt my spirit at

                             CHAPTER XVII.

                        UPROOTING A HUMAN TREE.

  A man said unto his angel:
    “My spirits are fallen through,
  And I cannot carry this battle:
    O Brother, what shall I do?”

         *       *       *       *       *

  Then said to the man his angel:
    “Thou wavering, foolish soul,
  Back to the ranks! What matter
    To win or lose the whole.”

  --_Louise Imogen Guiney._

The Joys, otherwise the Hanleys, fell into financial trouble. Burton
Hanley was forced to make an assignment for the benefit of his
creditors. He had enough to pay every dollar he owed, and he turned it
all over with an out-of-date honesty that scandalized the community.

The envious found a certain sweetness in this news. Nodding their heads
knowingly, they said they guessed the Joys were about done with Joy.
But this did not seem to be the case. On the evening following the
assignment they were at an entertainment in the house of a friend and
were the blithest guests, as they generally were.

The knowing ones said this light-heartedness was put on--a mere bluff
to make others think they did not value money. As a matter of fact it
was not. They had simply forgotten all about their financial troubles
in the engrossing pleasures of the hour. This enviable faculty for
enjoying the present moment, unclouded by past or future shadows was
largely responsible for their joyous lives. For them there was only the
now. They never reasoned or philosophized about it, but just lived that
way by nature.

“Wait till they have a hand-to-hand fight with Poverty,” said the
knowing ones, who are often the cruel ones. “Wait till he writes his
name on their clothes, their faces and their thoughts. Wait till he
walks with them, sits with them, eats with them and never leaves them
for an instant! Wait!” They said this in a way that made their hearers
understand the waiting would not require patience.

Kinder ones sighed and said the Joys, poor souls, laughed at poverty,
because they didn’t know its horrors. But they were destined to better
acquaintance with the dreaded spectre. Meantime they went their way
rejoicing that affairs were no worse.

Lilla was so full of what she had learned through Chrissalyn of the
deathlessness of herself and fellow beings, that she bubbled over
like a kettle filled to the brim and boiling. What was loss of money
and a contest with poverty to one who knew that Death was dead? This
knowledge was of a character too fermentative to remain bottled up
within her. She went around talking of it, unmindful of the injunction
not to cast pearls before swine. An enthusiast by nature, and endowed
with power to carry conviction to an extraordinary degree, it is
strange she did not succeed in the propaganda; but she did not. On
the contrary the swine turned upon her and she was rended, like other
prophets who have been guilty of similar indiscretion.

To each other some of the swine said: “Poor Lilla Joy. Burton’s failure
has upset her after all. Talks about nothing but souls. Thinks she has
had proof of dead folks being alive. It’s too bad.”

But Lilla refused to be cast down. After a time she gave up the
hopeless work of letting her light shine too far, it is true, but she
kept her strangely happy face and joyous ways--kept them through many
a dark day, on many a stony road--kept them to the end. She met all
things, troublous or pleasant, as Socrates said he wished to meet the
gods--with a bright face.

This never-changing brightness made an impression on everybody who
beheld it. One might feebly describe it by saying that her soul seemed
too large and too happy for its mortal measure, and was always running

Perhaps the office boy of the _Register_ hit it most felicitously, when
he thus described her to Cartice, who had been out, when she called
one day: “It was that lady who comes often and always looks as if she
had just heard good news.” Mrs. Doring recognized the word photograph
of Lilla Joy at once.

       *       *       *       *       *

There are times in the lives of all when new departures are imminent,
when a change is impending and obligatory, yet is slow to define
itself. There is the feeling that other paths must be entered, but to
the outer eye they are unblazed.

Such a time had come to Cartice Doring. She had long felt its approach,
but knew not the end to which it pointed. Something more than impulse
stirred within her. The Spirit of Destiny itself spoke the inexorable
command to move on.

Whither? “Move on.” This was the only answer, for Destiny has a way of
making us choose our roads, though for the most part the various whips
within and without which play upon us seem to make the matter of choice
largely a thing of name only. We do what we can rather than what we
wish. This should give us a grain of comfort on dark days by relieving
us of regrets, and settling us in the conviction that we are no more
and no less than that which we must be. Even though our own nature be
the compelling and directing force, we are none the less servants to
its dicta. Call that which rules us by whatever name we choose, how
supreme is the sway!

Looking over the situation Mrs. Doring summed up the reasons for making
a change. First, she was not doing her best; she was letting down a
little all the time, and that clearly was degeneration. Pleasure in
her work had gone and perfunctory performance taken its place. She was
weary of the miserable business of writing to please the many-headed
multitude, which the late Dr. Charles Mackay was fond of describing as
“fool of a public; pig of a public,” while her honest convictions had
to be kept locked up in her soul and labeled, “Dangerous,” like a can
of dynamite.

In Prescott’s day she was free to say what she thought ought to be
said. Now, she was frequently brought to book for utterances far too
bold, in the opinion of the proprietors of the paper, who insisted on
a close connection between the counting room and editorial desk. As
a result of constantly trimming to suit the fitful breezes of public
taste, the _Register_ was losing ground. Strange law that governs the
minds of men! Kowtow to them and they despise and neglect you. Defy
them and they respect and court you.

No; she must not stay with the _Register_. Internal wranglings were
shaking it. An eruption might take place any day, changing the whole
face of its affairs.

For her salvation, intellectual and physical, she must go. Yet habit,
friendship and a horrible dread of facing new difficulties put up a
plea for her to stay. No; she must go, no matter what she had to meet,
loneliness, humiliation, disappointment, defeat, want, death itself.
MUST. Something told her that in a way that brooked no contradiction.

But she was so tired--more tired than any one dreamed, in spite of her
almost jaunty cheerfulness.

And what had she as financial armor for the new battle about to begin?
Grimly she smiled as she cast her mind’s eye in that direction. A
few dollars only. “Verily industry and talent combined are richly
rewarded,” she said. Yet she had made reputation; she was considered
successful. However, many a slave to the pen knows that reputation and
money do not always go hand in hand. Besides this imposing capital she
had her experience and the knowledge of her own powers which it had
brought. Valuable capital, to be sure. Yet experience brings us another
gift which helps to weaken us by counteracting our faith in ourselves,
and that is a knowledge of the difficulties, a bold outlining of the
greatness of the task.

What else had she wherewith to gird herself for that trip into the
unexplored, so sure to involve risks of many kinds?

In the teeth of a wish to find a quiet place and there lie down,
closing her eyes to the world forever,--in the face of a weariness
untellable, she knew that within the hidden depths of herself, under
all the scars, disappointments and fatigues was courage.

What other prop had she? A strong, an invincible one--the knowledge
that eternal being and her being were one and the same, and that she
was never alone or dependent on herself, however much this seemed to be
the case; that living, loving souls, angels, if you choose, had charge
concerning her and that the everlasting arms of universal love were
ever about her.

She would go to New York, a field of many gleaners, truly, but big,
and therefore of promise. The needle of her destiny pointed in that
direction. There was its magnet. With the decision came peace.

Yet day after day she lingered, telling no one of her decision, and
feeling that she belonged neither to the place she was in nor to that
for which she was bound--a curious, detached sort of existence such as
had ever been hers, when she must tear herself from an accustomed place
and seek an unaccustomed one. The work of uprooting herself involved
pains and groans like those of a great tree, when torn up by a storm.

In love of locality Cartice was a tree, and frequently said so. Her
pleasure would have been to live always in one place, taking deeper
root every day, and loving the soil that sustained her. Doubtless
because this was her nature, fate decreed that she should have no
chance to take deep root anywhere, for her own good.

Those days of inward groaning and tree-like clinging to a spot of which
she had long been weary, reminded her of other days, now years in the
past, when she had uprooted herself from the only peaceful bit of life
she had known, to go forth and marry Louis Doring and become sister to

Then she had swayed and clung and groaned day after day, only to yield
at last to the force that ruled her destiny, and she knew she must do
the same now.

A time came, however, when the human tree lay prone, its uprooting an
accomplished fact. Its roots, bared to the sun and wind, trembled a
little, but the groaning was over.

Now there was nothing to do but tell Chrissalyn and go.

The Butterfly paled as she heard the decision.

“I have known this for a long time,” she said, “long before you knew
it yourself, but I would not speak of it, lest you might be guided by
what I said. I learned it by the inside way that things are told me so
often. It’s hard for me to have you go; but I understand, and believe
it’s for the best. Does any one else know?”

“Not yet. I don’t tell others, even good friends, because they will
ask questions about my plans and dig my very heart out of my body to
find out all about what I am going to do. In the first place I don’t
know. In the second I should not care to tell if I did. Telling spoils
everything for me. Why do people make inquisitions of themselves and
torture others merely to gratify an idle curiosity?”

“Cartice”--Chrissalyn spoke a little cautiously--“in the face of what
you have been saying, and knowing that your temper is not seraphic, I
will say I wish I knew for sure that you would have something to hold
on to, when you get to New York.”

“Chriss, dear, I _must_ find something, that’s all there is to it.
MUST. That word is a magnet drawing whatever it demands. Whenever we
MUST have something, we get it.”

Contact with the industrial problem had let a few practical ideas into
the Butterfly’s once airy head. Therefore she was concerned about the
financial future of her friend. Still, she did not comprehend the
situation in its tragic entirety. A prop of some kind had ever been
near for her to lean on in dire extremity. Fate provides props for
those who are not strong enough to stand alone; but the great souls are
placed where there is nothing to lean against, that they may both keep
and show their strength. They suffer; their hearts often bleed; but
they stand.

Then, too, Chrissalyn looked upon her friend as a person of such
incomparable ability, that she could overcome any obstacle, however
formidable. “How I shall miss you, Cartice,” she said, huskily. “How
lonely and bereft I shall be.”

“You have your admirers, your moths.”

“My moths? Yes, my miserable moths,” said Chrissalyn, contemptuously.
“They are about as much comfort to me, as so many of the genuine
insects. I am a proof of evolution. I have evolved too far to find
them interesting. But where are the men? Do they not exist outside of
novels any more? For a long time I cherished dreams of meeting one whom
I could love without being ashamed of myself, but I am giving them up.
Sometimes, where I hear of friends marrying, it all sounds so fine that
I am quite envious until I see their husbands, and then I am better

For Cartice the pain of parting from her friend was intensified by the
knowledge that it meant loss of opportunity to talk with her beloved
unseen people. The Butterfly was a telephone to the other world whose
like might never be met again.

They spent the last evening together. Their invisible friends
understood what was determined upon, without any telling. Prescott was
asked if he had any suggestions to make in regard to Cartice’s plans.

“It is not for us to direct you,” he said. “You must steer your own
bark. That is the business of life. The field is wide, and you have
your place therein and will find it. Don’t be discouraged. We shall be
often with you, and shall keep an eye on you.”

The evening was one long to be remembered by the two who were so soon
to be separated, tinged as it was with the melancholy that colors all
last occasions.

The final glimpse Cartice had of the place that had been to her a
city of sorrow as well as of light, showed her the Butterfly waving a
loving and tearful adieu. Dear Butterfly! Was there ever so charming
a combination of vanity, love of pleasure, earthly prettiness and
goddess-like ability to do wondrous things?

Cartice settled herself for her journey, feeling somewhat as a soul
might who had just issued from one very difficult and wretched
incarnation and knew that in a few hours it must begin another, which
in all probability would prove more difficult and more wretched.

It takes courage to face the mouths of cannon; yet that, though
horrible, lasts not long. But the woman who, alone and unknown, goes
into the mixed and frightful mass of humankind represented by a great
city, to seek a chance to earn honest bread, displays a courage besides
which that of the bravest soldier must lose a little of its luster.
And any one who makes her hard road harder, builds for himself a wall
which will not be easy to scale; he is but lengthening the period of
his own spiritual evolution.

The train rolled on, its wheels beating a steady rhythm like the feet
of flying horses, their vibrations striking the sick heart of the weary
woman inside, and making it quake with terror.

She had kept a smiling face before the Butterfly clear to the last; but
now that she was alone--at least unknown to her fellow travelers, hence
secure from intrusion, her courage evaporated, and she curled up on her
sofa, a mere lump of suffering.

As the telegraph posts flew by she pictured herself taken out, tied to
one and shot dead by balls from many rifles, and earnestly wished she
could exchange her present situation for such brief pain.

Is this world hell? The query had come to her before, and now it
challenged her boldly. Whose happiness or safety was secure for the

Of what was ahead of her she scarcely dared to think. Glimpses of its
grim possibilities flashed across her mind, making her mobile face
set and stern. A frightened light came into her eyes and a strange
expression fluttered around her mouth. In imagination she was seeing
the two rivers that flow on either side of New York, and was thinking
of what they had done and were yet to do for those who found the burden
of life greater than they could bear.

In that moment she felt a cool, soft breeze about her, and with it
came the thought that she could never seek solace there--she who knew
that life reached out an unbroken line, beyond the sight and even the
dreams of men. Not for her ran rivers, whose flowing waters lapped and
swirled and wooed world-weary hearts. Did she believe that silence,
nothingness, insensate dust alone were at the end of our journey here,
there; blessed be the rivers! But she knew--knew beyond doubt that no
river can extinguish the spark of divinity we call consciousness.

After all, why should she fear? No one stands absolutely alone. There
is no separateness, no differentiation. Back of each, eternal Being
mirrors itself forever; and that which we see is as nothing compared
to that which we see not. The cloud of witnesses more than witnesses.
Influences invisible, but powerful, are ever working for us. Threads
hidden from bodily eyes connect us with all life beheld and unbeheld.

Her own people were in touch with her, loved and inspired her, no
matter in what part of the universe they dwelt, and nothing could
divide her from them.

Remembering this, the shadow of fear passed, and she prepared to meet
her destiny with courage.

New knowledge had brought new responsibility. Life was not to be
haggled through as a hateful bargain; it must be lived in the highest
sense; its lessons faithfully learned and character constructed by the
master architect, experience. One must do one’s best, in the teeth of
the storm, in the front of the battle. We must always be able to look
our souls in the face without shame.

Suppose her efforts and even her life ended in failure at last! What
matter? To succeed in the world’s opinion is often to fail in the
exacting eye of conscience. Perhaps the only permanent success is
failure. The joy, the glory and the reward are in the doing, not in the
result. The fateful question for all of us will be, not, “Hast thou
won?” but “Hast thou striven?”

The things we call pain and pleasure she knew to be illusions,
mere thought pictures painted on the canvas of our consciousness,
by ignorance--ignorance of our true being and the true purpose of

So she said, “No matter what comes, since I know that out of all the
pain and humiliation the world can put upon me, out of the shadow of
death, I shall rise and pass on to my eternal unfolding.

“For me there is no want. Have I not bread to eat that thousands of
others as yet have not, because they will not receive it?

“For me and for the whole human race there is but one thing needful,
and that is the knowledge that eternal being is within, around, about
us and we are it.”

Spiritualism? The ignorant will say with a sneer. Yes, in the highest,
broadest and deepest sense. It sustained this lonely woman on her
journey to a great city to work out her life’s problem, and after she
was there it gave her patience and confidence. It made it impossible
for her to seek the river, and enabled her to wear a cheerful face and
carry a hopeful heart, while her little store of money dribbled down to
a few lonesome dollars.

Without this rock of faith those long, lonely days of seeking and
waiting would have been unbearable. Sometimes she sat in the public
squares looking compassionately upon the pitiful people about her. The
homeless, the hopeless, the hungry, the despairing, the weary, the
ailing, the suffering, the broken-hearted were there, some in rags and
some in fine garments. Within each one ached and ate the canker of a
wretchedness they tried to hide from happier souls who passed them by.

Cartice read their misery by the light of past suffering, and yearned
to say to them: “Awake! You are in a dark dream. The conditions that
trouble you are unreal--mere illusions, and touch not your true life at
all. You are gods every one, but unaware of your divinity. One day the
dream shall pass and you shall know this.”

But the etiquette of civilization forbade it. We see our fellow beings
suffer and perish from some wound in the soul, yet approach them not.
All she could do was to send out to them, through the silent waves of
thought, messages of hope and good cheer.

In those days of striving and waiting and studying the swarming life
about her Mrs. Doring turned over the economic problem in her mind many
times. Curious industrial system, that condemns idleness and yet makes
the search for employment bitter and hard!

The two arts which held her chance were hedged about in such a way that
the most she could do was to shoot an arrow from afar and trust that
it might stick. Nor was she unaware that many other arrows were flying
from other archers, each one diminishing the chances of the rest.

                            CHAPTER XVIII.

                    BOHEMIA’S HIGHWAYS AND BYWAYS.

  “Work thou for pleasure; paint or sing or carve
  The thing thou lovest, though the body starve.
  Who works for glory misses oft the goal;
  Who works for money coins his very soul.
  Work for the work’s sake, then, and it may be
  That these things shall be added unto thee.”

  --_Kenyon Cox._

One day a miracle happened,--at least Cartice Doring considered it a
miracle. She was swinging to a strap in one of the always dirty and
frequently crowded cars of the elevated railroad--when, as the train
went ricketing round a curve she was flung against a man behind her
with such force that both well-nigh fell to the floor.

Before she could apologize, a familiar voice said:

“Mrs. Doring! I’m delighted to have been knocked down, since it proves
to be the means of meeting you.”

He was a newspaper man whose occasional visits to the _Register_ she
had greatly enjoyed; and his was the first familiar face that she had
encountered since she had turned her back on former scenes.

“Why, Mr. Farnsworth, I’m glad enough to cry,” she blurted out, and
came near proving the truth of her assertion.

When he learned that she had come to New York to seek her fortune, he

“I can put a spoke in your wheel, for I came here with that intention
myself, and have my tent permanently pitched. A pen and pencil like
yours need never be idle. Come to our publishing house to-morrow at two
o’clock--here’s a card--and we will lay the corner-stone of your future

Cartice was wakeful far into the night nursing her gratitude, and
thinking over the miracle. Farnsworth had been a lifelong friend to
Prescott. Perhaps Prescott brought about their meeting, and put it into
Farnsworth’s head to employ her. Who knows what the people we call
dead may not be able to do? Perhaps they give us many of our thoughts,
purposes and plans. Does not every event in our lives, however trivial
and insignificant, hang upon thousands of preceding events, great and

And when it comes to a question of what a soul can or cannot do,
embodied or disembodied, who can answer?

What is the soul of man? Before assigning it limitations it were well
to know its composition. It is assumed to be the “immortal unit which
represents personality”; but here and there have been men and women who
demonstrated a marvelous complexity of ego, their visible body seeming
a mere tenement for a variety of distinct personalities, all linked
together by some mysterious chain of kinship, though not all resembling
each other, and not always dwelling in harmony.

Stevenson makes Dr. Jekyll say, “I hazard a guess that man will be
ultimately known for a mere polity of multifarious, incongruous and
independent denizens.”

Are we not all conscious of a Mr. Hyde within us who breaks out at
times and sadly stains the good record of Dr. Jekyll? May we not be
harboring many Jekylls and Hydes, each differing in degrees of goodness
and badness?

Thinking on this, Cartice remembered the answer of the nameless wise
one to the question, “What is the soul?”--an answer that startled her,
for it opened a vista so vast, since it meant that the soul is God, or
absolute being revealing himself or itself.

This being granted, its personalities are beyond computation. Its
Jekylls and Hydes and its millions which are neither Jekylls nor Hydes
are past number.

In a sea of wonder like this is it worth while to ponder the causes of
any miracle great or tiny?

The next day Cartice found herself installed at a desk in Farnsworth’s
publishing house, pen and pencil both flying. The wished-for foothold
was found, and she stood upon it, busy and grateful.

After becoming acquainted with a number of the metropolitan people of
the pen, she was obliged to give up many of her illusions regarding
them. Some of whom she had formed a flattering opinion, on acquaintance
fell far below the mark. Others who flew high on paper, kept shockingly
near the ground off paper. Some who had been successful were struggling
frantically against a turn of the tide. But that which astonished and
pained her most was their lack of ennobling ideals. Their pens were
ever pointed toward the market, their talk was of prices, not ideas,
and the shrine at which they worshipped was the ninth letter of the

For the most part they were so busy writing and talking of what they
had written and intended to write, that none read another’s production.
Like swimmers in a turbulent sea, their energies were wholly given
to the business of keeping afloat. In slavery to the baker and
meat-seller, they expressed only such sentiments as they believed
acceptable to the commonplace majority,--otherwise marketable products.
They trimmed, tempered, pruned, whittled and cut their literary wares,
to make them suit what they supposed to be the public’s wants, without
regard to conscience or convictions.

Did all angle in these shallow waters? No! Here and there a worthy
few had boldly refused to write down to the low level of average
intelligence. They had penned their honest thought, and by so doing
had brought a respectable portion of the public up to their plane, fame
and money sometimes coming with it. Consciously or unconsciously they
had operated a great law of the universe, that of giving one’s best to
get the best.

In other words they had faithfully followed their highest ideals, in
the face of possible ruin, under the pressure of poverty and the frowns
of public taste and opinion. To do this is to live a great principle,
to set the soul free. Whoever does this shall reap the reward of
principle; he shall find his measure full. The multitude whose slavish
bonds of ignorance he defies will cringe and fawn at his feet and pour
its gold into his coffers.

The ideal is the real. If it be high its faithful followers are lifted

Workers who spend their lives in throwing sops to the mass of mediocre
minds pay the inevitable penalty at last. They fall into the contempt
of the very monster whose favor they have courted, who at heart
respects only its masters, not its slaves.

       *       *       *       *       *

One day Bardell, a straggler whose weapon was the pencil and whose
field was the dreadful one of the commonest newspaper art, stopped at
Mrs. Doring’s desk, as he often did, for a word or two. She regarded
him as an almost hopeless bungler, but liked his unassertive, dreamy
personality. Some of his drawings were altogether abominable, and in
none of them did he seem to have the slightest pride.

He was undersized and queer-looking, with a big square head, a thin
stooping body, large hollow eyes, and a face that suggested a worn-out

Ordinarily he had almost no words about anything, yet seemed to derive
a silent pleasure from hanging near Cartice’s desk a few moments,
when he brought his drawings to the “art man” of the house. His
self-effacement was so refreshing to Cartice after much contact with
pushing ninth-letter people, that she showed him marked civility.

To-day he seated himself and asked her opinion of the drawing he
carried. As usual, his manner was without animation, yet she instantly
felt that he expected a word of praise. This was extraordinary on
his part, as he invariably gave out the wordless impression that he
continued to live more from habit than anything else, but found life
wholly without interest.

The picture, which was destined to illustrate a jingling little rhyme
and visualize it for such readers as have no imagination, represented
a short-skirted maid standing by a rustic fountain, pitcher in hand.
Cartice gave a little cry of delight, as her eyes fell upon it, though
a second glance showed her that something was wrong with it, but what,
she could not for a moment say. Presently the blunder stood revealed,
and was gross enough to mortify Bardell for all time, if she pointed it
out. Yet it would be his ruin to let him go to the “art man,” with the
drawing as it was. So she said, “It is charmingly done; but there is a
trifling error in it. The girl’s feet are put on wrong. Left and right
have changed places.”

The pale, hollow face of the artist flushed red with shame. “I’m most
grateful to you, Mrs. Doring,” he said, as his astonished eyes saw the
hitherto unnoticed blunder. “Had I gone to Buskirk with that it would
have been the end of me in this shop. As it is he almost withers me
with his contempt. It doesn’t stop at my work, either, but includes all
there is of me, physically, mentally, artistically, and financially.
I sustain myself under it with the reflection that, however profound
his contempt for me, it is outdone again and again by my contempt for

Cartice understood well the awful wounds to self-respect men and
women are daily forced to endure for the sake of a chance to earn
a livelihood. She looked at Bardell with a vast, wordless sympathy
shining in her eyes, thinking of the courage necessary in the tragedy
of life, as displayed by the man before her and tens of thousands of
others. He understood and went on:

“I don’t endure it for the mere sake of living, I assure you. The
experience called life, as I know it, isn’t worth it. But when I was
younger and considerably more of a fool than I am now, I married,
as a kind of business or because others did, or I don’t really know
why. Anyhow, I have a little family now, and I have to put up with
everything, no matter what, in order to support them. Besides, I have
other ties that hold me to life, and those are my ideals.”

Mrs. Doring looked up with a start. “Tell me about them,” she said.

“Ever since I can remember they have been with me, and are my true
life,” he said. “They exist in the shape of simple rustic scenes,
old-time well-sweeps, tumble-down stone-houses and walls and things of
that sort, with people in them who are a part of their history. They
come into my mind and insist upon being painted. They are not satisfied
to be put in black and white. That is crucifixion for them and for me,
too. They beg, entreat and command me to put them in color.

“This girl at the old-time fountain in this drawing is one of them.
That’s the reason the picture isn’t hard and lifeless like most of
the truck I bring in here. The blunder of putting her feet on wrong
occurred, because I drew the feet last, and about that time she found
out that she wasn’t being painted, but was to be a sacrifice to the
terrible monster of newspaper illustration, which is an easy way to
please children and uneducated people, and an offence to those of a
higher order of intelligence. In rage at the use I was going to make
of her she jumped up and down so fast that her feet got tangled in my
mind. I saw her, you understand. She was real--I saw her--not in flesh
and blood, but imagination, which to me is a kind of higher reality.”

Astonished and delighted to find one worker with ideals above mere
keeping afloat, Cartice asked him if he worked on his ideals or merely
dreamed of them.

“I reach after them all I can,” he said, “handicapped as I am. I give
my heart to them, though I haven’t been able to give them much of my
time. But I have not kicked them out of my way, or murdered them to
sell their flesh at the nearest market, as many of my associates have
done. Nor have I given up the belief that, if we work on our ideals,
devote ourselves to them, in the face of every obstacle, we shall be
lifted out of the dreadful mire of the commonplace, where the feet of
most of us stick fast all our lives. But they will have no half-hearted
devotion. They want whole-souled service only, and they are right.
Willing to give us all of themselves it is only fair they should ask
all from us.

“I have worked but little in oil, and am almost entirely uninstructed,
yet these pictures form, whenever I take up a brush; and it isn’t
putting it too strong to say that they beg to be painted. They come in
color exactly as they want to be put on canvas,--not simply in my mind,
but before my eyes, though thin and shadowy.

“One Sunday when rambling in the country I passed an old well, and said
to myself, ‘I’ll paint that.’ Instantly I saw a man lying by the well,
though no man was there. I painted it that way and put it up in the den
I call my studio.

“One day a stranger who came there with one of my friends saw it and
took a great fancy to it. He said it was a scene from his memory.
The old well was the one at his childhood’s home, and the man was
his father, as he had seen him lying in the shade many a time, long
ago. The upshot of it was, that he offered me two hundred and fifty
dollars for it--it was a little thing--which it is needless to say I
accepted. When he went away I thought I ought to faint or do something
extraordinary to work off my astonishment.”

“But you didn’t rest on that?”

“No; I went on with other ideals, in little spots of time squeezed out
of the odd-jobbery of my daily grind in black and white. I believe
that, when we work on our ideals, the very shape of our heads change.
My mother says mine is changing, for which I am most grateful, its
original shape being like unto an old-fashioned country horse-block.”

“Have you had sympathy in the pursuit of your ideals?” Cartice asked.

“Not always. That was a want I felt for ten years. All that time I
hunted for a companion, an artist, who, like myself, loved the country
and rural subjects, to paint with me. At last I found one and have him
yet. We inspire each other. Together we go to the country on Sundays
and make studies. The other artists I encounter in my humble path
are so woodeny, so coarse, so worldly that I need patience to suffer
them at all, and I never find them companionable. They chaff me and
call me a sentimentalist. I don’t care. I believe in sentiment. If I
didn’t idealize life and work, I should have to give both up. I would
willingly go and live in the humblest little old place in the country
and never see a city again, if I could but work on my ideals.”

Cartice was seeing the square-headed little plodder from a new point
of view--an inner and spiritual one, and in its beautifying light the
square head became symmetrical, the stooping shoulders erect, the pale
face attractive, the eyes aflame with vital force, and the bearing that
of one conscious of being of value. It was then that she recognized him
as one of her own people, from her own planet, and blamed herself for
not sooner seeing through the transparent mask that hard environment
had made.

She asked him what he thought is to be the fate of those, who, having
an ideal, stifle, ignore or slaughter it even, and give their time
and energy to the performance of some poor pitiful, paltry work which
demands but a tithe of their ability, for the sake of a little money
with which to keep out the unwelcome howls of the wolf.

“Look about you and see,” he said, with a contemptuous gesture. “Look
at me, a creature slinking in and out of rich publishing houses,
hunting crumbs, like the dogs that hung round the rich man’s table,
with fear written in every movement, dejection in my spirit, indigence
in my garments and weariness in my heart.”

He got up and walked to and fro nervously, and as he moved and talked
he became transformed. The timid, shrinking little figure vanished and
in its place strode one whose step was firm and eye fearless.

“There are hundreds like me. The woods--the city’s accursed woods are
full of them. They run over each other in their eagerness to do the
bidding of some master who can drop a coin or so into their flabby
purses. Faust sold his soul to the devil for a good price; but we,
miserable wretches, sell it daily for a song. Why? Because we are such
pitiful cowards that we can’t face the scarecrow that goes by the name
of starvation. We live so far below our true selves that we don’t know
the law that would carry us through, which is, give the best to get the
best. Why not trust the soul? The ideal is the real; it is the voice of
the soul, otherwise the voice of God, and it _must_ have expression.
If not here and now, then sometime, somewhere. Its account is bound to
be presented and _must_ be paid. Death itself can’t prevent the final

“What do they do at school with the lazy boy who slights his lessons?
After a while they turn him back in his books and he has his road to
retrace. We shall have the same experience, if we have heard the voice
of the ideal and heeded it not. We shall be sent back to do it all over
again--yes, from beyond the grave, for what can there be on the other
side for him who has betrayed his trust, but contempt and a command to
go back and try again?”

He stopped before Cartice, and with blazing eyes and uplifted finger
said, “In this moment I determine to outrage my ideals no more, come
what may. I have new light. We all have been acting on the assumption
that we knew what would happen if we didn’t do thus and so. In point
of fact nobody knows. With results we have nothing to do. We have only
to follow our highest leading and leave the rest to God. To ignore or
debase a noble gift that has been entrusted to us is a sin against our
souls, which many of us have stupidly committed day after day, and we
are daily paying the penalty. You shall see me here no more, bartering
work in which I have no heart for a few miserable dollars. Never again;
no, never again.”

“You are right, Mr. Bardell, a thousand times right,” said Mrs. Doring,
with throbbing heart and glistening eyes. “I have long known that one
should never give less than the best, and that an outraged ideal will
be avenged. Yet I daily commit that sin. I used to feel that I had
something more than common to do in the world. I had ideals; but I put
them off, always waiting for a time when I could see my way clear to
devote myself entirely to them. I waited too long. Now they come less
frequently and are less urgent, and I have grown weary and indifferent.
I wasted my time hunting happiness.”

“Happiness belongs to the ideal,” said Bardell. “It is a matter of
subjective appreciation, so is its opposite, misery. Perhaps it would
be clearer to say that happiness exists in the idea one forms of it,
hence it is purely ideal. We are happy, when we believe ourselves
happy. But for the most part all the world thinks happiness is to be
found in externals; that it can be secured in thick slices which we
can eat like bread, while comfortably seated in good houses. Money and
marriage are supposed to have a monopoly of it. What idiocy!”

“Yes, idiocy,” Cartice echoed. “Thackeray says, ‘For my own part I know
of nothing more contemptible, unmanly or unwomanly and craven than the
everlasting sighing for happiness.’ When a child, I had a consciousness
or memory of a world in which I had once lived where there was no such
word as happiness, and yet none were unhappy. I understand that now.
It means that happiness only exists where it is not thought of, talked
about or pursued. I believe it is intended that we shall be happy; but
not in our own foolish way. Freedom is the destiny of the human race,
and that freedom holds for us a happiness infinitely greater and higher
than we now can imagine, because it contains our full development,
our perfected intellectual and spiritual growth. It is the freedom of
truth, long since prophesied. When we know the truth, we are free, and
happiness comes with freedom. Heaven is within one; it consists in the
soul’s unfolding or coming into a knowledge of itself. We reach that
through expression. In this way we grow, as every plant struggles to
do. So you see, if we strangle our ideals, we stunt our growth, and
shall be cut down like the bent, and imperfect tree,--cut down, to come
again perhaps, for another trial, and still another and another until
our destiny is accomplished. Therefore it is that doing our best should
be our religion, as it is nature’s religion. It is the only road we
can take which leads to the goal at which we must arrive, sooner or
later. It is the price each soul must pay who would be saved. Instead
of that, most of us have gone about hunting happiness on a childish
plane, and making a great plaint, when we didn’t find it. ’Twould be
laughable, were it not so pitiful.”

“Isn’t it plain enough,” said Bardell, “that if a wholesome civic and
social spirit prevailed, we should be sufficiently enlightened to find
our reward in doing our best, whether it were to raise potatoes, polish
door knobs or paint pictures. All great men and women who have helped
humankind have done so. They gave their best and nothing less, even
when the world did not want it, and stoned them for it. They had a far
greater reward than human appreciation. They grew to heroic, mental and
spiritual stature. If Jesus of Nazareth had not given the best that was
in Him, even at the cost of crucifixion, He could not have been the
light of the world.

“How would it be with the world to-day, if all the great spirits that
make up the enlightened minority, had merely jogged on doing something
that secured the necessities of the body, rather than run any risk
of being short of bread by pointing to a new road? The soul must follow
its best light, taking no thought for the result. I shall do that

“I rejoice in your emancipation,” Cartice said, looking at him with
glowing eyes. “I begin to see what it means to be born again. May it
not be to awaken a knowledge of our own being, value and work?”

Bardell bade her good-bye with the seriousness of one going on a long
journey. When he was gone a new sense of loneliness came over her. It
was because he already had started up the mountain, leaving her still
in the vale.

                             CHAPTER XIX.

                               THE JOYS.

  “Why went that young life out
    On honor’s perilous road?
  The carping tongue and the jealous mind
    Stay here to wound and goad.

  “A picture once I saw--
    Three crosses against the sky!
  And the heaviest cross was the highest one;
    Perhaps that answers why.”

Mrs. Doring was surprised and delighted at receiving a visit from the
Joys one evening. Having parted with everything that goes by the name
of property, they had come to New York to seek fortune on the dramatic
stage, both having talent and taste for mimic art. As joyful as ever,
they met their changed fortunes with their old-time merry laugh. Their
two children were in an excellent school, and the business now in hand
was seeking a chance to earn the money necessary to keep the machinery
of life moving for them all.

“Our time for looking about is somewhat limited,” said Burton, with
cheery humor, “as the cash box is not overflowing.”

“We shall find something,” said Lilla, with calm assurance.

“MUST,” said Mrs. Doring. “Must is a magnet. What we must have, we
always get.”

The difficult search began at once in dead earnest. Thousands had
walked the rough road before them, some of whom had found foothold, but
others by scores and hundreds had gone down in the city’s remorseless
maelstrom. It was like being wrecked in mid-ocean. Some managed to
seize a plank and keep afloat. Some spent their strength and sank
early. Others buffeted the waves long and bravely, only to go down at
last, a pitiful, a woful, a heart-breaking spectacle.

The animal known as the dramatic agent was an unknown quantity to
the Joys, hence they were not prepared for his peculiar antics.
Snubs, insults and sneers rained down upon them. Still they kept
on and still they wore cheerful faces, still the sunshine of their
hearts was unclouded--the heavenly sunshine that was rated as mere
empty-headedness by duller, coarser souls.

Days and weeks rolled on, for “time carries no anchor,” until the money
that constituted their plank on the city’s rough ocean was gone.

When talking with Cartice one evening, Lilla Joy said: “If we did not
_know_ that we outlast death and have endless life before us, Burton
and I would end our troubles and our children’s too, perhaps. It would
require less courage than we need for one day of life now. But we
_know_ that we can’t kill ourselves, however much we might try because
there is no death. In spite of bullets, knives, poisons and rivers, we
should still be alive, wondering, no doubt, why we were so blind as to
think we could destroy that which is indestructible. No; our salvation
must be worked out clear to the end, uncomplainingly. We are here to
learn, and must stay until we are ready to go higher. At the longest,
our probation is short, and it means so much to us. We are building
the edifice of character, which is to last for all time. This little
chapter of existence is but a day in the great cycle. No; I shall not
give up; I shall never despair, let come what may.”

Day succeeded day, but no brighter outlook opened, yet never were they
seen with a cloud on their faces. Though their purses were empty,
friendship and compassion kept away bitter need, and their spirits were
sweet enough to accept the goods the gods sent without letting their
pride be wounded. It needs a sweeter spirit to receive than to give.

At last a foothold on the stage was gained for both--an opportunity
more likely to increase humility than foster vanity, but they accepted
it thankfully, and it led on to better things.

All went well for a time; but one day a telegram came announcing the
dangerous illness of their children, who had fallen victims to an
epidemic. They went at once. The children died, and a few days later
their father also closed his eyes to this world.

Lilla returned to New York to go on with the grim business of life.
Was the joy gone from her face? No; it was still there, softened,
heightened and illumined by a new and holy light.

“Dear friend,” she said, as she and Cartice talked together on the
evening of her return, “there are three new graves in the old cemetery
at home, but they do not hold my husband and children. That which each
contains is an unreality, a thing never destined to endure,--a garment
which the real being wore to make itself seen by our dim eyes. Alice
Carey has described it well:

  Though you wore something earthly about you
    Which once we called you--
  A robe all transparent and brightened
    With the soul shining through.

  But when you had dropped it in going--
    ’Twas but yours for a day--
  Safe back in the bosom of Nature,
    We laid it away.

  Strewing over it odorous blossoms,
    Their perfume to shed:
  But you never were buried beneath them,
    And never were dead.

“Friends say that I am left alone; but it is not true. I am never
alone. There is no separation for those whom love unites. We are one
in the universal spirit of love--God. Did not one friend beyond
the grave tell us that every death is a resurrection? Is not the
stone already rolled away from every sepulchre? Would I call my dear
ones back to face the cruel conditions of life here? No, a thousand
times no. When I looked at the dead face of my husband, so calm, and
profoundly at peace with everything, I said ‘My love, my dear love,
heart of my heart and soul of my soul, love of my youth and companion
of my spirit forevermore, I thank God that the hard things of the
world can hurt you no more.’ The cruelest pang poverty has given me
was seeing him bear humiliation and insult in silence, with heavenly
patience. Poverty for oneself is bad enough, but when we see those we
love suffer because of it, we know exquisite anguish. I can make the
fight alone, and it is better so. He is safe. That will sustain me.

“And my children; they, too, are safe. It is well with them. They are
not lost. All things we call lost are in the angels’ keeping.

“I shall go on with my work, thankful for the chance, disagreeable as
much of it is, because of unavoidable contact with shallow, inferior
people. But my true life is away from it all, sacred and safe. There is
a reason beyond my fathoming for my being what and where I am. It is
all right--all wisely directed, and I shall go on, not sullenly, but in
patience and hope. My faith is that all is well. I must live it and
not simply talk it.”

Looking at Lilla’s beautiful face, brightened with the radiance of
belief, Cartice Doring knew that one by one she was finding her
people--the people whom she dimly remembered as having been a part
of her life in the remote past, and who were linked by the ties of
sympathy and love to the present and all the endless future.

Her own people,--the faithful, the heroic, the aspiring, the
wide-minded, the loving, the true.

Lilla was one of them--Lilla of the light heart and rippling laugh in
days gone by; and of the sturdy soul and dauntless faith in sorrow and

Now Cartice saw that her own people all became acquainted with
suffering, sooner or later, and that this was the greatest of teachers
to the human race. Without suffering nothing is born, nothing grows.

“Who are these in white garments?” asked the saint of the heavenly

“They are those who have passed through great tribulation,” was the

In fancy she saw again the long procession, made up of her people. Out
of the dim and far distant past they came, filing steadily on into
the unseen, endless future. In each spirit burned the quenchless fire
we name genius; on each face were signs of suffering; “but no voice
uttered plaints.” Not all were victors. Many were of the baffled and
beaten, the disappointed and defeated, but they went to the wall with
unbent head and silent, smiling lips.

“My people, my dear people,” she said, “with you I breathe the air
native to my soul. You sought the truth, you found it, you lived it,
and it made you free.”

What is truth? Who can answer the Roman governor’s question? In the
Syriac tongue it is described as “the arrow which flies to the mark.”
Nothing else reaches the mark. Nothing else has a mark. Life has no
other aim and end than to free oneself from error, through a knowledge
of truth. This is the only power that can set us free, and only in
freedom is happiness.

But with most people the search is not for truth but success--success
on the commonplace, external plane--which is the very negation of moral
growth and spiritual progress. High minds, dedicated to noble ideals
are few, but mediocres are numerous.

“When we have escaped from the region of mediocrity we revel in a purer
atmosphere, where we may join hands with the elect and dance a round,”
said Marie Bashkirtseff, one of the youngest, bravest and brightest of
the elect.

The mediocre mass is an aggregation of self-enslaved minds, against
whose self-satisfied stupidity the gods themselves are powerless.

                              CHAPTER XX.

                          PEOPLE OF THE PAST.

  “Here sits he, shaping wings to fly:
  His heart forebodes a mystery;
  He names the name eternity.”--_Tennyson._

 “What birth is, that also is death; it is the same line drawn in two

One evening at the house of a famous orator Mrs. Doring saw a face with
which she had been familiar since childhood, yet never before had she
seen it outside of the enchanted realm of imagination.

It was a woman’s face, strong, noble, beautiful, and the eyes, the
brown eyes of it, had in them a compassion that embraced the whole
human race.

Cartice looked upon it with an all-compelling fascination, for it was
the face of one of her own people--the very dearest one--the Helen of
her young dreams, to whom she used to tell her hopes and yearnings, and
who always understood, and gave sympathy and cheer.

How often had she pictured that face on paper, trying to make objective
what she saw clearly with her subjective sight, but how impossible it
had ever been to give the eyes the direct, comprehensive, compassionate
glow that distinguished them,--the light of the soul itself, which
went straight to other souls!

She would not ask the name lest it prove to be one below her ideal. She
hardly dared look away lest the precious vision vanish, while her eyes
were turned aside. No; it were better to hold the glad fancy as long as
possible. “Do you know Helen Gardener?” asked a voice at her side.

She turned to the speaker, dazed and scarcely understanding.


“Helen Gardener, the author,--that lady you were looking at just now.
Like Huxley and some of the more humble of us she believes that the
main thing is to have done with lying.”

“Then she is my Helen,” thought Cartice. “How remarkable, too, that she
has the very same name I gave her.”

“Come, Mrs. Doring,” said her friend, “I want to have you meet her. I
fancy you two will be pleased with each other.”

When Cartice found herself talking with the incarnation of one of her
ideal people of long ago, she had a flash of knowledge of the oneness,
inseparableness and unchangeableness of all things past, present and

Did her new-found, old-time friend recognize her? It would seem so, for
she was strongly attracted to Cartice from the first moment.

The question under discussion in the little group of whom she was one,
was whether art, especially the art of fiction, should exist for art’s
sake only--that is to give pleasure--or should it also aim to instruct.

“I believe,” said Helen Gardener, “and have lived up to my belief, that
fiction which merely entertains, and carefully steers clear of the deep
and often dark problems that face all thoughtful minds is pernicious
in its effect. The literature of the optimist is the literature of
shallowness and selfishness, a bid for surface appreciation, an appeal
to a light and superficial taste. Life is tragic. If it be represented
in fiction, let the picture be true to nature. The novel should be a
tonic, not an opiate. What think you, Mrs. Doring?”

“Like Goethe and Schiller I think art ‘no luxury of leisure, no mere
amusement to charm the idle nor relax the care-worn; but a mighty
influence, serious in its aims, although pleasurable in its means.’ The
advocates of art for art’s sake, say that its object is the creation
of the beautiful. What is the beautiful? Is it that which pleases the
eye only, or has it power to thrill the soul? The great novels have all
carried great messages. They have shaken the hearts of men and aroused
them to new knowledge; they have broken the bonds of prejudice, and set
the bondsmen free. They have effected a movement of the thought-world
in the direction of ‘that far-off, divine event toward which the whole
creation moves.’ They have spoken the truth as their authors beheld it.”

Helen Gardener’s brown eyes glowed and she smiled affectionately,

“You and I belong to the same ethical family, Mrs. Doring.”

       *       *       *       *       *

That night as she lay down to sleep, Cartice half persuaded herself
that she was again a child, day-dreaming under the elm tree, the world
unknown and still idealized, and the years that lay between that time
and the present obliterated.

“Do I wish it were so?” she asked herself.

“No. I am glad so much of the journey has been accomplished. The future
is always better than the past. It has in it that which we are to
become, for life is endless becoming.”

Cartice and the new-found Helen became warm friends; but not till their
friendship had stood the test of time did Cartice tell her how the
creative power we call imagination had found her years before.

Quite as unexpectedly did Mrs. Doring one day meet the stranger to whom
she had confided her ambitions and dreams under the elm tree long ago.
She recognized him instantly, though of course he did not know her.

The great world knew him well. The bauble fame, and the jewel of
success were his.

It was he who had sung:

  “I’d rather fail in Bohemia, than win in another land.
       *       *       *       *       *

  Its honors not garnered by thrift or trade,
  But for beauty and truth men’s souls have made.”

When she made herself known to him, his first question was, “Have you
found your own people?”

“A few,” she answered, “a faithful few; but the search goes on forever.”

In a little while he went away--went into the silence.

Still another picture of the past came and blended with the present.

In the parlors of a friend one evening, Mrs. Doring met a number of
the most eminent women from all parts of the country, who work for
the political liberty of their sex. There had been a convention in
Washington, and many of the delegates were “doing” New York before
returning home.

A lady from what then was a territory, but is now a state, charmingly
told some of her experiences in laboring with members of her
legislature. She mentioned name after name, relating various incidents,
some humorous, and some exciting compassion on account of their
revelation of the depths of ignorance in certain legislative minds.

“After several encounters with darkened minds of the class I have just
mentioned,” said the speaker, “it was a pleasure to have a chat with
Representative Kendall. We knew well where he stood, for throughout
his career, as editor and lawmaker, he has distinguished himself as
the staunch friend of every movement that promised to help women win a
greater freedom and therefore gain a greater usefulness.

“Once I asked him how it was that he who had appreciated women
personally so little as never to have married one, was yet so loyal a
supporter of them in the aggregate that he cheerfully put his shoulder
to the wheel of every cart which carried their burdens.

“‘Now that,’ said he, with a boyish laugh and sunny smile, ‘has its
root in a bit of sentiment; but I don’t deny that it has grown into a
principle. The only woman I found indispensable to me found me very
dispensable to her. Through that experience I learned that love,
if it be genuine, can rise higher than possession. She was of your
emancipated; that is, she made a place for herself in the world, and
leaned on no one. Her life showed me that woman could grow to heroic
mental stature, if she would think, work and act for herself. The one
of whom I speak requested me to do what I could all my life to make it
easier for women to get out of their dependent condition. I have done
so and have found pleasure in it. She is in the world somewhere, still,
and I feel that everything I do for women helps her. That’s my story.
Take it and use it, if you wish, as an example of how the monster man
can be humanized and regenerated by a woman who neither loved him nor
married him.’

“‘Whatever good I may have done, whatever I have achieved in any
praiseworthy direction, I owe to that woman. But for her wholesome
encouragement, if living at all, I should be still a clerk at some more
prosperous man’s desk, withered in spirit and wasted in body, and with
no brains at all. It used to be quite the correct thing, in stories,
for good women to marry rakish fellows, and ‘make men of them,’ as the
phrase had it. I am now convinced they achieve that result far quicker,
when they don’t marry them, whether rakish or otherwise, but make them
stand on their own feet entirely.’”

Mrs. Doring listened to this story, feeling very much as might a ghost
who comes wandering back to its old haunts and hears some one talking
of its life when on earth, for this Kendall was her old lover whom
she loved not and she was the woman of whom he spoke. Turning to the
writing desk of her hostess, she wrote:

“Cartice Hill Doring sends regards to the Honorable Charles Kendall.
It is with grateful pleasure she learns that he has been faithful to
the promise made to her long ago, to do what he could to make life
broader and freer for womankind.”

The response was prompt and full. He told the story of his life from
the day of their parting to the day of writing. Then came these

“I am more than glad to have found you again. Not that I ever really
lost you, for you have an eternal abiding-place in my mind and heart.
Though I have forgotten much and wish I could forget still more of
the rubbish of memory, neither you nor aught pertaining to you can
be forgotten. You are not forgettable. But I am glad to be able to
talk with you once more, although it be only on paper and across a
continent. For me the end of the drama is near. I am in the last act,
which has but few scenes. Life and death! what are they? We know as
much of one as of the other, for we understand neither. We drop the
question of whence because the imminent whither faces us and must be
met, and dark enough it looms before us as we confront it at short
range. Who can answer this cry of perplexed humanity?

“I turn to you as I did in the past, and bade you decide whether I
should go or stay. Now I have no choice but to go; yet tell me, shall I
go with peace and trust into light, or must I lie down to be wrapped
in darkness and silence forever? It is a time when my own strength is
insufficient, and I reach out for the clasp of an assuring hand.

“Is it strange that I turn to you for the help I need on this journey,
which, though lonesome, is brief? It seems a natural thing to do. In
all the years since I saw you, and have known nothing of you, when
the way was uncertain, I always turned to you for guidance. I said to
myself: ‘Would Cartice Hill wish me to do this?’ And I did that which
I thought you would sanction. So you see you have been with me all the
time. We have never been separated.

“To me you are always young--young and full of courage and hope. I
see you as I saw you last, a precious picture in my memory. The years
that have passed since then are blown like a breath away. I am sitting
beside you in the park again. I can almost touch your blue dress, and
I hear the scratching of your parasol as you wrote with its tip on the

“The disease that was incipient in me in youth has been bravely baffled
by this climate. I sometimes think it is the insidious agent that will
ultimately destroy the human race. The end must come, however, even
here, and I see that it is coming.

“So tell me what life has taught you about death, if anything. No
matter how hard and grim and fearsome the knowledge may be, I want to
know it. Strange that although we devote our lives to learning, and
many become vain of their acquirements, of this, the most important of
all subjects, nobody knows anything, and nobody cares to learn till
about to open the dread door.”

This appeal Cartice answered by telling the story of her communion with
friends called dead, and she told this with a directness and simplicity
that went straight to the mark. To her it was clear enough that, if a
man die, he shall live again,--and shall grow, his growth depending
upon his aspirations. Genius itself has been described as a “faculty
for growth.” Being a citizen of the universe, man is destined to know
the universe as his native village. The form only changes. Death is not.

To this Kendall wrote:

“You have destroyed the last enemy for me. ‘Only the form changes.’
Need we dread that? We may even be said to be used to it. We haven’t
the same bodies we began life with. They have changed in every
particular, again and again.

“How extraordinary have been your privileges of learning those things
to which most of us have been so blind. Why not write the story out
more fully and publish it? Since it has helped me, might it not help
others? But don’t put it into a newspaper. There it would take no
higher rank than the traditional, blood-curdling ghost-story. Make a
book of it. That will place it on its own feet, to stand or fall by its

“Yes, tell your experiences with those who dwell in what we call
another world; in fact, however, another condition.

“I have had an instinctive, though not unwavering belief that this life
was not the end of us--perhaps not the beginning; but I had my hours of
gloomy doubt. The old twaddle of an eternity of happiness made up of
harps and golden streets did not appeal to either my intelligence or
taste. Perhaps, it was a shade less attractive than annihilation.

“Learning to grow and to do, that is what makes an immortality worth

“I have lived on good terms with my conscience, which is of an
old-fashioned cut, not from fear of hell or hope of heaven, but because
I am that sort of man. I could not do otherwise. Yet I wish I might
have learned what you tell me, earlier. I think it would have made the
ills of life here of less moment and might have enhanced its joys and

“Who, understanding the philosophy of continued life as it has been
revealed to you, could fail to try and acquire some of the capital,
thieves cannot steal, with which to begin the larger life that opens
to us, when we pass the gates of death? It is helping me to make my
remaining time of more value.

“You have influenced me as no other person has done ever since I knew
you. Now you light the road out of the world for me. I begin to see
that there are no accidents.

“Let who will write the shallow tales that reach no farther than the
wedding-day. Write you the wonderful story of the love of God, as ’twas
told you by those who have tasted death and found it not bitter--tell
how this love encompasses and pervades everything in the universe,
conserving all and destroying nothing. Tell of the happiness destined
for the soul of man, which consists in endless unfolding. Tell all this
as simply and directly as you have told it to me, and you will inspire
the doubting and cheer the despairing.”

To which Cartice replied: “In an old book it is written, ‘Though one
returned from the dead, they would not believe.’”

Kendall wrote: “In the same book it is written, ‘Let your light shine.’”

That night she sat down to write the first chapter of the book, but
instead wrote this:

                             HIS MESSAGE.

  He came, my dead love, at the close of the day,
  Though the earth had long covered his garments of clay.
  His face glowed with light and with love as he smil’d
  And spoke in the voice that my heart had beguil’d--
  The beautiful voice that my heart had beguil’d.

  “You have wondered, my darling, what soul was the one
  To first greet me with love when my dying was done--
  When I woke from the slumber that stretches between
  The flesh-and-blood world and the kingdom unseen--
  The world that you see and the kingdom unseen.

  “Know then that the spirit, earth’s veil cast away,
  Sees only the true in that radiant day.
  He who first o’er my spirit, newborn, bent and smiled,
  Was the foe who had gone from me unreconciled--
  My foe who had gone from me unreconciled.”

  So spake my dead love and then vanished away,
  Like the mist of the valley when riseth the day.
  But I know, since that moment, that hate is a dream
  From which the soul wakes when it crosses Death’s stream--
  Awakes to love only, across that dark stream.

  I know, too, that Death cannot change, cannot kill
  E’en the person. My lover, though dead, loves me still;
  For he came, as of old, and upon me he smil’d,
  And spoke in the voice that my heart had beguil’d--
  The beautiful voice that my heart had beguil’d.

The book was begun. The writing of it was not an easy task in spite of
the writer’s warm interest in her theme. Little snatches of time, after
the daily grind at her editorial desk was over, were all she could
devote to it. Often she was too tired to write a line until she had
rested hours. Then, perhaps, to make up for such indulgence, she wrote
far into the night--wrote as though bayonets were pressing her--wrote
with no thought of publisher or public in mind. The truth, to write
the truth, as it was revealed to her, this was her inspiration, her
strength, her reward.

                             CHAPTER XXI.

                        THE BUTTERFLY’S FLIGHT.

  “The Knight of the Pale Horse, he laid
    His shadowy lance against the spell,
  That hid her Self: As if afraid,
    The cruel blackness shrank and fell.

  Then, lifting slow her pleasant sleep,
    He took her with him through the night,
  And swam a river cold and deep
    And vanished up an awful height.”

  --_S. M. B. Piatt._

Some time, it may be, before the world is very much older, we shall
know well what now we but dimly discern, that thought is the substance
and will the operating force of the universe, and that both are

Then shall we understand the irresistible powers of attraction which
thought has for kindred thought; and we shall know why we seek
eternally our own kind of people, consciously or unconsciously, and
never know rest for the spirit until we find them, for only with them
is to be had the life-giving, soul-sustaining quality of sympathy,
through whose vibrations the universe was formed and is maintained.

In obedience to this law of attraction Cartice Doring continued to
search for persons awake to the joyful fact that there is no death, so
she might learn more of the laws which govern communion between life
here and beyond. She found believers, but because of the various fads
and diversified foolishness with which they frequently garnished their
belief they were of slight help to her.

Each gave his faith a name that revealed the fence he had built around
his mind, though he condemned all other fences. Some preached against
the phenomena of the spiritual philosophy and secretly reveled in it.

And there were the theosophists, who, as Mr. Stead says, can always
explain everything. From the proud eminence of their omniscience many
of them looked down on plain spiritualists, and advised against showing
any civility to spirits. Yet they patronized mediums and astrologers on
the sly, and frequently produced a little of the phenomena themselves,
merely to show their occult power.

Among these and sometimes outside the sacred pale, were
reincarnationists who make the plausible and beautiful theory of
progression through an eternity of existences distasteful and tiresome
by their “memories” of past human experiences. They had been princes of
high degree, invariably, never paupers or criminals. Napoleons, Cæsars,
Mahomets, Cleopatras and Sapphos were wearisomely plentiful; but
humbler types were rare. Many were so busy feeding their vanity with
these romantic hallucinations they had no time to learn anything useful.

Hypnotists were numerous, many of them claiming that their particular
science accounted for everything under the sun.

Then there were many who declared that in all the universe there is but
good; but they fell into factions represented by different leaders, and
fought many and many a bitter bout to prove it.

It was enough to make one cry out in anguish, “Where can wisdom be
found? And where is the place of understanding?”

Yet it had its hopeful side. It showed that many were thinking, and,
though thought took different trends, all roads eventually lead to the

Letters came often from Chrissalyn, but they contained no messages
from friends invisible, for she never gave them an opportunity to say
anything, after Cartice went away. She was afraid. Sometimes a picture
or vision flashed before her, in spite of her avoidance of everything
of the kind. If it pertained to her friend she told her; but that was

Six years had passed with never a sight of the Butterfly’s beloved
face, and never a word from the dear people of the unseen world.
Cartice had felt their presence often, and knew that they were
faithful; but she was hungry for a word from them.

Now came a letter from Chrissalyn begging her to spend some weeks with
her. It was a particularly girlish and extravagant letter, almost a
photograph of the mind of the unregenerate Butterfly of old. She knew a
delightful little summer resort where they could go and be out of the
sight and sound of work and care of every hue. She had set her heart
upon it.

       *       *       *       *       *

Arranging for a leave of absence Mrs. Doring soon was on her way. She
found her friend in extraordinarily good spirits, and their reunion was
of a school-girlish order of delight.

After a few hours the years of their separation seemed never to have
been. We have all had this experience and wondered at it. After long
absence we come back to a familiar spot, and in a little while find it
difficult to persuade ourselves that we have ever been away. Perhaps
this is a proof that to the true self there is neither separation nor
distance, nor past nor future. All is near and all is now.

       *       *       *       *       *

The Butterfly had a new assortment of radiant wings--otherwise
garments--ready to spread gaily at the springs. One by one she
displayed them with childish pleasure, for personal adornment had ever
been her fetich.

“As we get on a little in years,” she said, “all we can do to head off
the enemy, Age, is to make believe we ignore him. Extra paint and
feathers are necessary. I’ve had it flung in my face that I’m not so
young as I was, but I won’t admit it. Anyhow I’m still young enough to
excite envy and jealousy.”

Here she laughed with diabolical pleasure.

“I intend to make the best of this world and stay in it as long
as I can, notwithstanding it’s no paradise. But I have lost some
illusions in regard to it. For instance, that of my own irresistible
attractiveness. I can draw moths yet, but formerly I thought I could
attract men, providing I ever encountered such beings.”

Again, night after night, Chrissalyn sat as of old, calling up for her
friend’s delight the unseen people who were always ready to respond.

When Cartice spoke of the long time that had passed with never a word
from one of them, Moreau said:

“No time has passed. There is no time. To the spirit a thousand years
are as one day.”

The last evening in the city came. They were to start for the springs
early next day. The luggage was carefully packed and so their minds
were easy on that score. When they went upstairs the house was
perfectly still, all save themselves being asleep.

They sat down in Chrissalyn’s room to chat. Cartice thought she never
had seen the Butterfly look so young, so beautiful, so hopeful, so

Preparing the table for Planchette they eagerly awaited the messages
that would surely come over that inexplicable telephone.

Now something passing strange occurred. From the empty air beside them
music burst forth--music the like of which they had never heard--music
made by instruments unknown to them, but of unearthly sweetness, with
power to thrill to the depths of their being.

Awed and amazed the two friends looked at each other, in silence. Then,
as its heavenly sweet vibrations shook their souls, the tears ran from
their eyes, they knew not why.

Again and again the unseen musicians made marvelous melody for the
two enchanted listeners. Sometimes the chords were plaintively sad,
sometimes joyous, but always penetrating the deepest recesses of
being, the inner sanctuary where poetry and dreams have their high and
heavenly dwelling-place.

The two entranced listeners sat facing each other, lost in the
delicious spell of the melody.

Suddenly an electric breeze enveloped Cartice, sending over her that
creepy thrill we are all familiar with, which resembles fear, but
is not fear. There, before her eyes, just back of Chrissalyn, stood
Prescott, looking exactly the same as when with them in material form.
Somehow she was made to understand that she must not cry out--nor tell
Chriss that he was there. Spellbound and silent she watched him. He
laid his hand on the Butterfly’s shining head, smiled and spoke. She
saw his lips move, and the glitter of his teeth, but heard no sound,
understood no word. Then, while her eyes were still upon him, he

“You look very pale, Cartice. Are you frightened?” Chrissalyn asked, as
the music ceased.

Mrs. Doring shook her head, for her tongue, dry and powerless, was no
longer a willing servant.

The music came back no more. After talking of the wonderful phenomenon
awhile, they bade each other good-night and parted.

Cartice could not sleep. The strange events of the evening drove away
repose. Again and again she recalled the expression on Prescott’s face,
trying to translate it into words, but in vain. Only one thing was
plain. It was something pertaining to the Butterfly, and he didn’t want
her to know it.

After hours of wakefulness she slept and dreamed. She and Chrissalyn
were dancing in a great and fantastic company. Everybody else wore
masks, but their faces were uncovered. Chrissalyn was the partner of a
graceful knight in black velvet who whirled her on and on, endlessly.
At last they rose into the air together, and Chriss became a veritable
butterfly, with beautiful silvery wings. The knight also developed
wings, but they were black, like his garments.

Cartice called to her friend to come down, but she only laughed and
rose higher, and finally flew out of sight. With a wildly beating heart
Cartice awoke.

Rising, she dressed for the journey. Knocking on Chrissalyn’s door, she
received no answer. Then she called her, and with light and jesting
words bade her make haste.

Still no answer. Opening the door she entered, but started back with a
cry whose thrill of horror went to the heart like a knife.

The Butterfly had, indeed, spread silvery wings and flown, for there
lay her chrysalis, cold, white and pulseless. The black knight of death
had taken her out of sight. The delicate, long-ailing lungs had given
way, and the inevitable end had come. She who loved the world and its
foolish, fleeting pleasures had gone suddenly out of it. Whither?

It was a sad heart that Mrs. Doring carried back to New York, in spite
of her knowledge that the Butterfly had but spread her wings.

Sometimes in the darkness and silence of night she talked aloud to her
vanished, yet ever-present, friend.

“Where are you, Butterfly? Can you hear me and see me? Do you know how
heavy is my heart sometimes? And are you happy in your new world? Is
life more beautiful, more perfect there? And do you love me still?”

No voice replied, but the light, caressing, electric touches came
sometimes, and the stricken heart was comforted.

                             CHAPTER XXII.

                         THE PROP THAT FAILED.

 “Ye have read, ye have heard, ye have thought,” he said, and the tale
 is still to run.

 “By the worth of the body that once ye had, give answer--what have ye

  --_Rudyard Kipling._

Two years passed, and Mrs. Doring still sat at her editorial desk.
Farnsworth had been the kindest and most considerate of employers.
The envious said no woman ever had an easier situation. They raised
their eyebrows, when they said this, implying the usual sentimental
insinuations; but they were mistaken. Farnsworth’s regard for Cartice
had no sentimental coloring whatever. He admired her ability and
delighted in giving her a chance, and making that chance as pleasant as
possible, having views on the unfair, industrial, political and social
rulings from which women suffer.

He had come to New York, a talented struggler. Now he was a
millionaire, chief proprietor of a great publishing house, which had
become great under his management, and he loved to make the road a
little smoother for those less able and less fortunate.

Cartice loved him, it is true; but not as the common mind understands
the term. Sometimes her eyes grew moist, while she looked at him and
wished she might have a chance to prove her gratitude. He was to her
like the shadow of a great rock in a weary land. In the weakness of
spirit ages have bred in her sex, she regarded him as a wall that stood
between her and possible calamity.

“I need fear no financial disaster, while he lives,” she thought. “His
hand will be ever friendly; his heart ever kind.”

Farnsworth was far above the average of men, but he had a serious
weakness of character that made curious comradeship with his better
attributes. Anybody, the least trustworthy, the most malicious, could
sow in him seeds of suspicion against his best friend, and in ten hours
they would be full-grown trees, loaded with bitter and baneful fruit.
When this happened his kindness vanished and he could be as cruel as
hate. His conscience fled the field, whenever his vanity was ruffled.

Knowing this a woman poisoned his mind against Cartice Doring, by a few
lying words--a woman who believed it would be to her interest to get
Cartice out of her way. The seed sown sprouted, grew, blossomed and
bore fruit within twenty-four hours.

The next day Cartice found a note of dismissal on her desk, the
curtness of which was incompatible with the pretensions of a
gentleman, if addressed to one merely in the capacity of employee. But
when the employee was a social equal, a faithful friend of years and a
lady, it showed a lack of self-control on the part of the writer seldom

The tenor of it was that, as she was “not doing justice” to the work
entrusted to her care, her services were dispensed with. A check for
the whole of the unfinished week was enclosed.

Cartice read the letter and sat like one frozen, and the
heart-breaking, unbearable look of long ago came again into her eyes.

Every one who has received an unexpected, felling blow from the hand of
a friend can understand the blended astonishment and anguish of that

She knew who had turned Farnsworth against her and why it had been
done, but that could not help the irremediableness of the situation.
She could not go to Farnsworth and mortify him by telling him this; and
she knew his implacable spirit too well to hope that he would so much
as allow her an audience. Serious as was the blow to her finances, its
worst effect was on her heart. Black and deep are the bruises made by
the hands we love.

“I must not forget what I owe him for past kindness,” she said,--“must
not let this cruelty put hatred into my heart. I must forgive him, for
he knows not what he does. Being a man, he cannot know how difficult
is life for a woman, under the existing order of things. Neither does
he know how often heretofore my heart has bled from cruelty; nor how I
have loved him; nor how weary and feeble I am much of the time.

“No; he doesn’t know. Would any of us ever hurt another if we knew
all that other has to bear? Besides, it is better to be the victim of
injustice than the perpetrator of it. Ugly as is poverty, it is better
to endure it than to have the power which the possession of millions
confers and misuse it.

“Poor Farnsworth,” she said. “Success has spoiled your naturally
beautiful soul.

“The great destroyer of human conscience that goes by the name of
business permits you to put me out of your service in a summary and
humiliating manner, which puts me out of your life and friendship at
the same time, though moral right to treat another human being in this
way you have none. But the law of causality is ever operative, and you
cannot escape the consequences of your deeds. You will get back your
meed as you measure.

“I accept your dismissal as part and parcel of the destiny I am working
out. Sooner or later every earthly prop on which I lean is taken from
me. Everything has a meaning and purpose. The lesson I have been slow
to learn is now plain to me. It is that I must stand alone, and
so must every soul, somewhere, some time. Props are destroyers of
strength and character. In all the universe there is but one on which
we may lean without inviting weakness, and that is Eternal Being, the
background of all life.”

Gathering up her little possessions from the place that had been
her official home for eight years, Mrs. Doring walked out of it
heavy-hearted and solitary. The rock from which she had expected
shelter had vanished from her horizon forever. More! It had never been
there, save in her imagination. It was an illusion from which now she
was free.

Curiously enough we regret the loss of our illusions, yet we ought
to thank God fervently every time we get rid of one, for it means
that we are emerging from ignorance and darkness into light and
knowledge,--approaching nearer to the truth that shall make us free.

On reaching home Mrs. Doring sat down to take a practical view of the
situation. For nearly twenty years had she worked faithfully, having
begun at seventeen. She had lived in modest comfort, and by dint of
self-denial had saved one thousand dollars. What man above mediocrity
would think that a fair recompense for half a lifetime’s work?

A sudden cutting off like that is what any one may expect who has
given his or her time and talents to the building up of another’s
business. It is the soul’s vengeance for not trusting it entirely, and
confidently following whithersoever it may lead.

But there is something shamefully immoral in our business methods, when
an employee after years of faithful service can be flung out without
a chance for a word of defence. It is as though our father should
unexpectedly open the door of his home and bid us begone forever. And
is not our employer our business father, from whom we have a right to
expect consideration? Does he owe us nothing more than our weekly wage?
Must his relation to us be always measured only by dollars and cents?

Among the letters Mrs. Doring took with her from the office unopened
was one from Bardell, now in Paris, famous and prosperous beyond his
dreams. Strange irony of fate that brought to her his glad story of
fresh successes on the day that carried defeat to her.

With the superstition common to Bohemia Bardell considered Cartice his
mascot. His letters were always frank, friendly and charming. His last
words were: “Follow your ideals. They will lead you into freedom.”

This reminded her of her book. It was finished long since; but the
writing was scarcely half the battle. It languished for want of a
publisher. Those to whom it had been submitted, had returned it, one
and all, with the contempt, but thinly veiled with regrets, it had
excited in their infallible minds.

One plainer spoken and less heavily veneered with the world’s polish
than the rest, said to her face:

“Come now, Mrs. Doring, you mustn’t expect anybody to publish stuff
of that kind--digging into the meaning of life, higher methods of
evolution, ‘shall we live after we die?,’ ‘ultimate destiny of the
human race,’ and all such heavy timber. People take no interest in
these questions. What we want is a rattling good love-story, with
plenty of hugging and kissing in it. I like that in or out of a novel
myself. There must be some iron-clad obstructionists in it, too, cruel
parents or other able marplots, and the hero must get her in the last
chapter or sooner. Anything but a story that doesn’t end all right. The
public abhors it. Now, your book is loaded with high-up, mountain-peak
thought, and wouldn’t sell at all.”

Another, with whom also, she had a personal interview, a young man
with extraordinary faith in his own wisdom, smiled as he returned her
manuscript, and made his smile so vocative it needed few accompanying
words. “It is, ah--you know, Mrs. Doring, so wide a departure from
the standard of art in fiction, that it might make even a publisher
ridiculous, to say nothing of the author. One must keep somewhere
within sight of the existing canons. This, if you will pardon me, flies
in the face of every one of them.”

“I dare say,” answered Cartice. “I never troubled myself about the
existing canons. It is life as I know it that I have tried to portray;
not life as somebody else says it should be painted in books.”

After a number of equally disheartening experiences, the book was
carefully laid aside to await the judgment day.

Meantime these same publishing houses were exuding cart-loads of
marketable abominations, which were scattered in all directions, doing
their share in weakening the minds of their unfortunate readers. Life,
as depicted by them, was a mere sex-chase, more or less interrupted by
the usual difficulties, all of which was quite in accordance with the
“existing canons,” so much respected by the young man with the smile.

       *       *       *       *       *

Perhaps nothing gives us a lonelier feeling than to be cut off from
our field of daily activity, whatever it may have been. Cartice found
herself set back to the dreadful days of her beginning in New York. It
was as though she had gone steadily up a steep slope, to a respectable
height, only to be knocked violently to the bottom by the hand that was
helping her upward.

“Had I developed the best that was in me--followed my ideals”--she
said, “this could not have happened. In that case I should have stood
alone long since, leaning on no prop, depending on no person’s caprice.
Set-backs and knock-downs are our schoolmasters, and they are ever busy
with us until we learn our lessons.”

A loneliness assailed her heart, poignant, sharp, deep. All her life
its resistless waves had at times rolled over her spirit,--a flood that
would not be stayed. It was that kind of loneliness that creates a
solitude which is not placed in a densely peopled universe.

Then came the comforting reflection that we are never alone, never
solitary, however much we may seem to be, and never absolutely on our
own hands, in spite of appearances. About us are ever the spiritual
hosts, and back of us, within us and about us, the Supreme Self, to
which each is both inlet and outlet.

       *       *       *       *       *

On the evening of Mrs. Doring’s first day of idleness, Gabriel Norris
called to see her. For several years he had been a resident of New
York. In the worst of the thick mass of the miserables he had set up
his cobbler’s bench, and opened an adjoining reading-room; and there he
fished for the souls of men, in the great ocean of wretchedness whose
huge waves beat about his door.

Cartice told him the story of her summary ejectment from the place
that she had so long occupied, and the various shifts that she had been
making in her mind for the future.

“It’s a good thing,” he said, “when you don’t know just what to do,
not to do anything--to wait,--wait without worry or anxiety--wait and
trust. Unseen influences are ever at work on our destiny. We can hurry
nothing, change nothing. Rest for a time. You have been so busy most of
your life that you have had but little chance to get acquainted with
yourself. You have a little capital ahead; rest on that. New ideas come
in seasons of repose, for then the mind is receptive.”

“That is what I had half-decided to do,” she answered, “though I am
still so much a slave to the old, erroneous belief that I carry myself
on my own shoulders, I scarcely could get my consent to it.”

“And when you feel so disposed,” continued Gabriel, “come to my
reading-room and read a story or a poem to my sheep--‘my po’ los sheep
o’ de sheepfol,’ whom I try so hard to gather in. You may not know
it--you know yourself so little--but you have the most beautiful voice
I ever heard. Your reading, as well as your speech, is exquisite music.
‘The soul of man is audible, not visible,’ says Longfellow. ‘It reveals
itself in the voice. A sound alone betrays the flowing of the eternal

Anxiety and worry fell away from Cartice Doring soon as she determined
to rest and trust. A profound philosophic truth is here revealed. When
we trust, God Himself carries our burdens, and we are set free from
care. Trust is the essence, the vital principle of religion, which is
at heart a recognition of the divine intelligence within us, about us,
and is reflected by us,--the reality we call God.

It was a joy to be the mistress of her own time, to know when she began
the day that she could do with it what she pleased. It was luxury to
sit at an open window and feel the air blow over her, and not be goaded
by any thought of duty undone. She went about the city and enjoyed its
treasures of art and beauty. She formed new friendships and cultivated
old ones. She read and, through sympathy, entered into, the lives and
feelings of authors and the people of their creation, as never before.
She became better acquainted with herself, and by that means with all
others. She went to Gabriel Norris’s unsectarian temple and helped him
feed his sheep. There the music of her beautiful voice called in many
a lost one. The bitter loneliness that shadowed her at times fled away
and troubled her no more. Her spirit came in sympathetic and loving
touch with others, with all that is, with the universal mind itself,
for this is the purpose of life, the union of the entire being with
its original. This is the true freedom which is the destiny of the
human race. The individual self becomes one with the universal, and is
henceforth free from limitations, from restrictions, from bondage of
every kind. It exchanges its little circle of personal desires for the
great world-consciousness. Whosoever does this even in the most limited
degree puts care and trouble behind him.

Thus it was that this truth which Cartice Doring had long theoretically
accepted, became a part of her being. She began to live it and be it,
for we only really accept truth when we are it. Her eyes lost the look
of suffering that lighted them at times with a moving and resistless
fire, and became trustful, hopeful, peaceful, like those of a happy

Difficulties and disappointments vanished and fear vexed her no more.
She was like those who have won all battles, put all troubles behind
them. She had the knowledge that within herself was power over all
temporal dragons; that her welfare depended on no man’s whim; that
there are no accidents; that He who slumbers not nor sleeps, is
“guiding each of His creatures in the current of an eternal purpose”;
that she was as indestructible as the universe, and as old, as young
and as deathless as its builder. She thought no more of happiness,
because blessedness had come into her life,--the blessedness which
“consists in progress toward perfection.” In an undefined way she felt
herself approaching high summits, understanding that there is neither
high nor low, near nor far in the universe save in thought.

                             CHAPTER XXIII.

                       THE BOOK AND ITS CRITICS.

  The tale is as old as the Eden Tree--and new as the new-cut tooth--
  For each man knows ere his lip-thatch grows he is master of Art and
  And each man hears as the twilight nears, to the beat of his dying
  The Devil drum on the darkened pane: “You did it, but was it

  --_Rudyard Kipling._

One day Mrs. Doring received a letter from a lawyer announcing
Kendall’s death, and advising her that by his will she was sole heir to
his property, which was valued at about twenty-five thousand dollars--a
fortune in Bohemia. A few lines from the testator were enclosed, the
last his hand penned. He had but one request to make in regard to the
disposition of it, and that was that she use part of it in bringing out
her book.

“See,” she said to Lilla Joy, who had long lived with her in the little
flat, “how my trust is rewarded. Influences unseen were working for me
while I rested. Had I been a little wiser, I might have saved myself
much torment all my life. Worry hinders instead of helps, I believe it
is one of the forty deadly sins the Egyptians tried to avoid.”

With money to work with it was not difficult to find a publisher for
the book. It was a true tale, told in a simple, straightforward manner,
of life and its meaning, as its author understood them. The theme
of it was that life goes on after the change we call death, and is
inconceivably enlarged and ennobled for all who aspire.

Such of the critics as worship plots and believe that the chief aim of
life in stories and out is to marry and be given in marriage, made it
the subject of very rough surgery.

“It is a most unwholesome book,” said one. “Love and marriage are
scarcely mentioned in it. Some twaddle that pretends to come from
across the river of death is the only bait it has with which to angle
for the reader’s interest, a theme in which healthy minds will find no

Death waits for every one that breathes, yet any light thereon is
“unwholesome and not attractive to healthy minds,” according to those
who tell us what we ought to read. Strange doctrine, but prevalent!

Another said: “One more of those deplorable books that deal in the
supernatural and aim to make readers take a morbid interest in death.
Its author has no eyes for the thousand fresh themes of life, but must
needs delve into the darksome hereafter for material with which to
burden her absurd pages. Why should any one turn from the sweet theme
of love to wander in paths so remote from taste and wholesome imagery
as this?”

Some sneered at it, some ignored it and many abused it. Few had so
much as a tolerant word for it. Yet verily a mystery guideth the fate
of a book as well as the growing of a daisy, for “The Last Enemy” sold
astonishingly fast, and was read and talked about far and wide. In a
few months it was the best known book of the year, in spite of the
critics, and brought fame and money to its author, though too late, her
friends said.

Is anything too late? Come not all things at their appointed time,
neither sooner nor later than they are due? In the divine drama of the
universe the curtain never falls until the play is finished. In our
short-sightedness we say our friend died too soon, or his good fortune
came too late; but we are in error. Everything is part of the eternal
plan, and to be out of time or place an impossibility.

Never to Cartice Doring had life appeared so well worth living, nor
work so well worth doing. To Lilla Joy she said:

“I am just beginning to live. I am learning what life means, what we
can make of it, and what I am. We are love.

“We love because we cannot help it. It is our expression, and the
greater, wider and more all-inclusive our love, the fuller, larger,
more perfect and more abundant is our life. How beautiful it all is!
How orderly and harmonious! How glorious!

“Most of my life I have written down to the majority of readers. Now I
shall bring them up to me. I shall follow my ideals, as I did in ‘The
Last Enemy.’ Our ideals! What are they but our souls, trying to reveal
themselves to other souls. Here in this noble poem by Katherine Lee
Bates, the ideal speaks:

  “At the innermost core of thy being, I am a burning fire
  From thine own altar-flame kindled, in the hour when souls aspire:
  For know that men’s prayers shall be answered, and guard thy spirit’s

  “That which thou wouldst be, thou must be; that which thou shalt be
    thou art;
  As the oak, astir in the acorn, the dull earth rendeth apart,
  Lo, thou, the seed of thy longing, that breaketh, and waketh, the
       *       *       *       *       *

  “Call me thy foe in thy passion; claim me in peace for thy friend:
  Yet bethink thee by lowland or upland, wherever thou willest to wend,
  I am thine Angel of Judgment, mine eyes thou must meet in the end.”

“I know that well, Lilla. Woe be to those who have outraged their ideal
on that day, when their souls shall meet it face to face. I have sinned
against mine, and have met its accusing eyes already. But now I have
begun my atonement, and am eager to go on with it. There is joy in
creating what we wish to create--that means giving form to our ideals.”

But Lilla was silent, wondering what ideals her friend would follow in
that country into which flesh and blood can never enter. In her eyes
Lilla saw the strange light that flames up only when the end of the
journey is near; and on her face, and in all that she said and did was
a hint of imminent change, plain to others, unseen by herself.

In the Sanscrit is a story of one who asked what is the most wonderful
thing in the world. The answer is that every man should believe that
all shall die but himself. The reason of this is that he shall not die,
and his soul knows it.

Remember this, you who see your beloved going down into what we call
Death’s Valley, serene, hopeful, unconscious of their doom. They are
wiser than you. They know they shall not die.

                             CHAPTER XXIV.

                             WHO ARE THEY?

 “Who are they that are compelled to recommence the same existence?”

 “They who fail in the fulfilment of their mission, or in the endurance
 of the trial appointed to them.”

  --_Allan Kardec._

  If the red slayer think he slays,
    Or if the slain think he is slain;
  They little know the subtle ways
    I keep and pass and turn again.

  --_Ralph Waldo Emerson._

 Personally I must confess to one small weakness. I cannot help
 thinking that the souls toward whom we feel drawn in this life are the
 very souls whom we knew and loved in a former life, and that the souls
 who repel us here, we do not know why, are the souls that earned our
 disapproval, the souls from whom we kept aloof in a former life.--_F.
 Max Müller._

Months on swift wing slipped away. Cartice’s pen was busy every day,
and every day she delighted more and more in her work, because she was
saying what she wished to say, was expressing herself fearlessly and
freely. New plans of action fairly rioted in her brain. Plans! When had
they ever worked for her?

There are persons who mark out everything ahead, and Fate lets them
live their arrangements to the letter, but Cartice was not one of them.

The lamp of the spirit, which tells unutterable things, now burned in
her eyes, with an unearthly brightness, throwing its touching radiance
over all her words and deeds; but she did not understand. She alone saw
not the heavenly illumination.

But one day the imminent change was made plain to her, though how she
never told. Coming to Lilla, with whitened face, and the old-time,
all-compelling appeal in her eyes, which neither man nor woman could
see without a bursting heart, she said:

“I must soon leave you. It has been shown me and I understand.”

Under the spell of the wordless pain in the glorious eyes, her heroic
friend flung her arms about her, crying, “Cartice! Cartice! My dear
one! I cannot bear it! I cannot bear it!” And together they wept tears
of such anguish as only the strong ever weep.

For a few days the heart-breaking look continued in Cartice’s eyes; but
in the silence of the night help came from the great source, and she
got up one morning with peace shining in her face.

“Often in the past,” she said to Lilla, “I have wished I could die
and be out of trouble. But now I want to live: now I know that dying
doesn’t put us out of trouble. We must grow out of it by evolving above
it, learning to master it.

“Most of my life, as I look back upon it, seems to have been mere blind
groping. Now, when I think I have learned how to live, the business of
life is done. And I have learned how to work in a way that never would
meet failure; but that, too, is done.

“And yet, in spite of the mystery and the grimness of it, something
tells me all is well; that nothing can be lost; that what I have
learned will be useful somewhere. Perhaps we are here for the purpose
of learning how to live and work. When that is accomplished, we must
go on and learn other things, and we can take no other road than the
one we have named Death, and painted black. But you and I know that it
leads into light, and, though we die, we shall continue to live, and
shall evolve, unfold and expand, even ‘it doth not yet appear what we
shall be.’

“Yet knowing this--for we have knowledge, not simply belief--there
are moments when a childish terror seizes me. But why should I fear?
Millions have traveled the same road, the timid and faint-hearted as
well as the bold and brave, and all went forth alone. We say alone,
because we see no visible companions go with them; yet we know that no
one is ever alone, either here or on that inscrutable journey, or at
its end.

“But notwithstanding all I have learned of the life to follow this, I
cannot picture it--cannot form any clear idea of it. Nor can I realize
that life as I know it now must end. I try to think of the days to come
when I shall not be here, nor be anywhere as I am now, and when the
form through which I act will have vanished utterly from the face of
the earth, but I cannot! I cannot!

“I am always I in consciousness, always existing, never dead, never
different. Is it not the mystery of mysteries?

“I try to imagine a time when I may come here to our little home and
be unseen by you, unable to lift a book, flutter a curtain or speak
one word that you can hear; but I cannot. How inconceivable it is that
in a short time I shall be in a condition so different from this that
imagination itself cannot paint it!”

Cartice awoke from sleep one day with a loud cry, a wail of terror that
went to the heart.

“What is it, dear?” asked Lilla, bending over her.

Her eyes wandered wildly around the room, and at last, reassured by a
sight of familiar objects, lost their look of affright.

“It must have been a dream,” she said, “but so very real. I was lying
under the elm tree at home, as I so often did when a child; yet I was
as I am now. Close about me came a little company of people shining
like the sun. When they were very near, I knew them to be people from
my planet--my own people, whom I remember well, and whom I saw in a
dream years ago. One, a woman, the most beautiful of all, had a face
so familiar I almost spoke her name; but I could not quite grasp it,
though she seemed very near and dear to me.

“‘Your work is done,’ she said; and there was sadness in her voice, and
pity in her eyes.

“‘Well done?’ I questioned, though with a sinking of the heart, for I
began to be afraid, I knew not why.

“‘Did you always do your best?’ she asked.

“‘No;’ I answered, conscience-smitten.


“I interrupted, for I could not bear to hear what I feared she would

“‘Who art thou, who look so pitiful and seem so dear, and whom I yet
fear?’ I asked.

“‘I am thine Ideal--thine Angel of Judgment--who hath so often come to
thee and from whom thou hast almost as often turned away.’

“‘But I serve you now,’ I cried. ‘I do my best. I have learned my

“‘Yes, you have learned the lesson, and will do better next time,’ she
said, compassionately.

“‘Next time?’ I echoed, trembling with fear.

“‘Yes; next time, for you must come again and do it over and do it
right,’ she said, sternly.

“Then I shrieked and awoke. O Lilla, now I see, I know, I understand.
I must live my life again and live it better--must do my best all the
way through. I don’t want to--no; I don’t want to; but I must, and so
must all who fail to give their best--not as penalty, but because it is
the only way to learn, and to grow.

“We have lived always; we shall live always. This is the foundation
rock upon which we build the indestructible temple, character. Victor
Hugo spoke of life as a fairy tale a thousand times written, and said
there was not an age in which he could not find his spirit. He believed
he would exist forever, inasmuch as he felt in his soul thousands of
songs, and dramas that never had found expression: He was sure he
should come again and give them life. I, too, feel within me numberless
tales untold which must be born somewhere. A great soul, like Hugo, may
voluntarily come again and again to help others; but a recreant dreamer
like me MUST come.

“Years ago I had a dream that now I understand. It is my belief, as
you know, that every mortal has a soul-guardian--a being higher than
a spirit, a dweller in the land of souls, beyond the middle kingdom,
far away from the earth and its ties. This guardian gives us all the
experiences we have, because he sees their uses in our development. The
bitter cups we would fain have pass from us he resolutely holds to our
lips, because he knows it is good for us to drink of them. Blessings
disguised as calamities and sorrows come from his hand, and all the
fires of anguish that scorch us are fanned by his breath.

“I dreamed of this guardian angel. He was going with me through life,
or rather through a series of scenes or situations representing
different lives. I could talk to him, and hear him, but could not see
him. Of the many pictures that were shown to me I remembered only two
when morning came.

“In the one which represented a life before this I was resting on
a rude couch, outdoors, near a blazing fire, in the midst of a
nauseating swamp. It was after night, and the light from the fire
played fantastically on dank little pools, rank tufts of grass, curious
plants, watery mosses and slimy roots.

“Looking off into the swamp I saw a great mottled snake curled up in
a hollow, looking directly at me, malignity darting from his eyes. I
pointed him out to the people who were about me, and told them I would
kill him. But one and all urged me to let him alone, and predicted
serious trouble, if I disturbed him.

“I answered that it was trouble to have him there, throwing hate upon
me with his eyes, and that, at least, I would give him a hint that his
presence was not desirable. So I got up and threw a stone at him. It
struck him straight on his back, but rebounded as though it had met a
wall, without so much as bruising him, save in spirit. It enraged him
fearfully. He raised himself in the air perpendicularly till he stood
on his tail, and hatred flashed from his eyes in bright electric rays.

“He did not stop at this, but hurled invective after invective at me in
plain English, and threatened me as a snake never threatened before. He
hissed, raved, cursed and glared at me, and swore that he would take it
out of me in slices scattered along a thousand years. In short, he made
me understand clearly enough that his principal business forever after
would be to make me wretched. So direful were his threats that I lay
down on my small bed quaking with terror, fearing either to sleep or
stay awake, and ‘none had power to protect me from mine enemy.’

“To make it worse, the people about me said, ‘I told you so,’ and
sermonized on the matter. They said, ‘You can’t destroy hate with hate.
That increases it. That mottled fellow in the swamp is not the enemy
you have to dread. The cruelty you put out, when you threw a stone at
him, is your real enemy. It will come back to you through him, because
it is the law. He will trouble you far down the line. Your heart shall
bleed again and again, because of blows from hands you never injured;
but it will be but your own deed returning to you, and something of
your mottled foe shall mark you, for many and many a day.’”

(Lilla looked at the mottled eyes of her friend with a new interest,
wondering if the curious splashes of tawn had been flung there by her
ancient enemy.)

“Now I understand why I have been treated cruelly often by the very
persons I loved and believed in. Somewhere I have earned it. Somewhere
I gave it forth, and it has come back a hundredfold, for good and bad
both multiply themselves on their return trips. Even Farnsworth’s
cruelty to me, which hurt me so much, was no doubt in accord with the
law of causality I had set in motion. But he, too, shall reap as he has

“The other picture represented this life, I think. I was climbing a
hillside, accompanied by a little party of friends and attended by the
guardian of my soul, who beguiled the way by pleasant speech and cheery
good-will. At last we reached the top and found there an old-fashioned
inn, clean and comfortable, with bare white floors, big rooms, and
broad wooden sofas, that looked inviting to our tired bodies. Before
I entered, I looked to the west, and saw a scene of beauty never to
be forgotten. Sunlight, soft as moonlight, fell on fields of swaying
grain, on trees gay with blossoms and heavy with fruit at the same
time, on flowers whose perfume sweetened all the air, on birds whose
bright plumage dazzled the eye. I gazed spellbound. The very sky above
was new and strangely beautiful. Looking down, I saw what before I had
not noticed, that the hill was cut off close by my feet, and between me
and this lovely landscape yawned a bottomless ravine. Stretching forth
his hand and pointing to it, my guardian said, ‘Behold the promised
land! But you shall not enter in--not yet! No; you shall not enter in
until you come with the great seal in your hand.’ With one longing,
hungry glance at the paradise I was not yet ready to know, I turned and
went into the inn, longing for rest.

“I have almost reached the inn. I have seen the promised land but have
not yet the great seal. After a rest in the inn--who knows,--perhaps I
can bridge the ravine.”

Those last days--those precious last days, how beautiful they were!

Northern forests put on a glory of gold and red after the frost has
touched them with its destroying hand, and the winter is near. Dying
suns diffuse a strange brightness, and the spirit of man, when passing
out of sight, often radiates a heavenly splendor.

So it was that the soul of Cartice Doring never gave forth so much of
sweetness as in the last days of her stay here.

“It is much to have learned one’s lesson,” she said. “Next time I
can begin in a higher class. So you see, after all, this life wasn’t
wasted. Yes, I have learned a little, and shall not find the road so
rough next time.

“Would I could give others what I have learned.

“I smile at my early idea of happiness, though it wasn’t unique at all,
but quite common--the ideal of all the undeveloped.

“Now I know that happiness is a spiritual condition--spiritual
healthfulness--spiritual unfolding the heaven within one which comes
when self is forgotten and we see our oneness with all that is. It is
our unfolding, our growth or evolution into knowledge, truth and light.

“It comes when we learn how to love,--when we see ourselves in every
other self, and the supreme self in everybody and everything.

“What matter whether we call the great ocean in which we move and live
and have our being, God, soul, energy, force or thought, we are its
offspring or manifestation, and can never for one instant be separated
from it. We are because it is. And see how this divine principle ever
strives for our highest health and happiness. If I but cut my finger,
it miraculously heals the wound. Out of its boundless resources it
forms a new cuticle to cover the abrasion. If my spirit becomes sore
the same power brings to me from every side, the sympathy and love, the
spiritual sunshine and air which heal that too.

“The hunt for happiness is a true instinct of the soul, a prophecy of
its divine destiny. We were intended for happiness, but a happiness far
beyond our usual ideals.

“A great seer has said that ‘love is life, and love in us is the life
of God in the soul of man.’

“My soul has always been homesick for its native land and its own
people--which are but other names for love and sympathy--infinite
love, changeless sympathy. Others, too, are familiar with this kind
of hunger. All feel it and give expression to it in the chase of one
phantom after another, and to each phantom they give the name of

“Does it not prove that all souls are irresistibly drawn toward the
great source of love from which they sprang, but know not the way
thither? The bosom of infinite love is the happiness they long for, but
in their ignorance of their true being and destiny, they pursue every
will o’ the wisp that dances before their eyes.

“It is the soul’s quest for its home, which is not place, but state.
We need not wait for death to let us in, for it is no more beyond the
grave than here. The pure in heart have reached it.

“We can experience resurrection before death, if we will. When our
spiritual nature is awakened, and we are set free from thraldom to
material gods, we have been raised from the dead. We can take hold on
eternal life now, for it, too, is a state of the soul. It is to know
and live and be the good.

“The long, long sleep of ignorance must end. The soul shall awaken to
a knowledge of itself and be consciously one with Eternal Being from
which it was projected, and be free, full-grown and happy.

“How shall this union be brought about? By our growth, our unfolding.
We are our own redeemers. The individual is the reflection or
manifestation of God. The higher man grows intellectually and
spiritually, the more of God does he reflect. When he becomes pure
in heart, high in mind, noble and unselfish in all his instincts and
desires, he is in union with God, working His Will.

“A modern philosopher expresses it thus: ‘An individual is a subject
which unfolds itself as an object.’

“‘Man, the progressively unfolding thinker, has descended from the
eternally perfect creative Thinker.’

“‘Eternity for every man is but the unceasingly clear consciousness of
his own identity in nature with the primal Thinker, of whose thought
the whole universe is but the outer, organic form!’

“‘An individual is an indivisible, immortal, self-completing, ideal

“Now I think I know why at any cost we should give expression to
our ideals. They are streams from the central fountain of thought.
To ignore them is to put ourselves out of harmony with the truth and
essence of the universe. To give them expression is to vibrate in
harmony with the great heart of all that is. What is a genius but one
who is in touch with the central source of truth and transmits it to

“Now we begin to understand what the love of God is--a great ocean in
which we perpetually swim, the ‘infinite and eternal energy from which
all things proceed,’ an energy that science admits but cannot explain.

“It is written, ‘Ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make ye
free!’ We shall know! WE SHALL KNOW.

“Already you and I, Lilla, know a part of the truth. We know that
death is not the extinction of memory, conscience, love and all their
attendant emotions. These are manifestations of the soul and cannot be
destroyed. The body, a clay image projected by the soul to make itself
visible, shall pass, but ‘the soul lives on, and all space, all time,
all beatitude are its heritage and its domain.’

“The great secret of what, whence and whither shall yet be known. The
dream of man’s perfection shall come true. You and I have read a few
pages in the sealed book. For us the last enemy has been destroyed, the
dark river bridged. We know there is no separation; that the dead are
neither dead nor gone. This is the great secret of the universe.

“I think I understand what it means to see God. The more we see of Him,
or It--the great principle of intelligence and love--in the atom, the
insect, the human being or the angel, the nobler and sweeter will be
our lives. All possible forms and modes of existence are expressions
of himself. As Whitman says, ‘A mouse is miracle enough to stagger
sextillions of infidels.’

“My lifelong dream of finding my own people shall be realized.

“My people, my own people--they who aspired, struggled and
suffered--who came to their own, and whom their own so often refused
to receive. They who first announced the truth in all ages, and were
stoned and crucified. They who brought their divine gifts of poesy and
prophecy, of art and science, of light in its thousand forms and laid
them on the world’s ungrateful altar. My dear people, I see you in
the far dim aisles of the past, and I see you toiling up the shining
heights of the future, and know you for my own, my spiritual kindred,
with whom I dwelt in pleasant and also difficult places ‘huge times
ago,’ and with whom I shall yet mount and mount great steeps now unseen.

“Are not all, all our own people, each a manifestation of the great
soul or self that is imaged in all other selves? But they who know
how to love are more truly our own. They are farther on their upward
journey. ‘For as many as are led by the spirit of love, these are the
sons of God.’

“All philosophies, all religions, all literature that fail to lead us
back to love, our central source--love, the essence and substance of
life, the energy of the world, the potential, moving force of all that
is or ever shall be, are vain and foolish.

“Only to love one another. This is the whole law. This is what we are
always longing and hunting for, though we give it many names and see it
through many veils and in many shapes. But it is love, only love, the
greatest and simplest thing in the world.

“Once I read a story of an Oriental magician who performed miraculous
cures. When one whom he had healed asked his name that he might mention
it in his prayers, he answered: ‘I have many names, but they all mean
the same--Love.’

“Love is all there is. Everything else is only an appearance or
phantom. My search for my own people was but the search for love, yet
how many mirages I saw, into how many pits I stumbled before I came in
sight of its temple!

“But the love that opens the kingdom of Heaven, like the love of God,
is ‘broader than the measure of man’s mind.’ It _is_ the love of
God--for it is the love of all that is. We know not love until we see
ourselves one with the whole, without division and without difference,
until we see every man as our brother and every woman as our sister and
every child as our own, or better, as ourselves.

“Since I know that the law of sowing and reaping is inevitable in its
operation, I begin to believe I have not found love in satisfying
measure, because I have not given it out. My conception of it was the
usual narrow one, and that fills one with self and selfishness. Love
knows no self.

“Am I about to leave this world? No; because the world is part of the
great Everywhere, which is the soul’s home. Yet it is a solemn time
with me. But I shall float out on trust. I _know_ that all is well, and
never can be anything else.

“The Hereafter, so much wondered about.--What is it? Just a
continuation of being--an eternal now, an endless is, an everlasting
present moment.

“Shall our dead be as they were here, when we find them again? This is
the cry of the bereft. They forget that nothing is the same from day to
day. The child becomes a man. As a child the mother loses it whether
it live or die. Change, incessant change, is the law of external
nature. But the soul of the man is the soul of the child awakened and
enlightened. Shall it be less, when it puts off its eternal form and
becomes clothed in finer matter?

“‘Give us our dead, as they were, when they left us,’ wail the mourners
at the tomb. Does any one here go away for a year or years and come
back the same? Never.

“Is the future beyond death a mystery? Yes; but not more so than the
future here. Does any man know what the next hour will bring upon him?
Every moment ahead of us is as completely wrapped in mystery as is all
that lies on the other side of the grave. In both cases we can only do
our best, trusting in the love that created us, and that shapes our

“But the loneliness of life! Who can fathom it or explain it? and what
can mitigate it? Mediocrity feels it not, for its sympathizers swarm.
But in the hearts of the highest it is densest and deepest. As the soul
grows upward, it feels itself isolated, and the isolation has in it a
poignant anguish.

“Hours come upon us, when we feel that we touch no other soul. Even
the companions we take to our hearts never enter the most solemn
recesses of our nature. There the soul sits alone--always alone. And
this invisible place, this awful solitude is the soul’s real world, its
most fateful portion of existence. Yet into this secret place, this
hidden and lonely life, we take the ideas and feelings we cherish in
relation to our fellow-beings, so that though we seem to live alone in
the depths of ourselves, yet we are never severed from our kind, never
really solitary. The oneness of humanity asserts itself and its claims
upon us, and in spite of the soul’s solitude we understand that no man
liveth to himself.

“But the ache that nothing cures is always with us. We turn to the
arms of human affection, it is there. We sit down to the feast of the
intellect; it is there, likewise. We wander in search of new scenes;
but, in the face of all that can delight the eye, it cries out from
within for the satisfaction it never finds.

“Satisfied! Satisfied! Shall the yearning soul ever be satisfied? In
the hope that it would, mankind constructed its far-off heaven, and
said to the weary and the disappointed: ‘There ye shall be satisfied.’

“But it is not true. Never, never shall we be satisfied. Though we
explore all the mysteries of all worlds and taste all the joys and
pleasures therein, we shall not be satisfied. ‘We but level that lift
to pass and continue beyond.’

“When I walk in graveyards and see the childish twaddle about ‘Rest,’
‘Heavenly Mansions,’ and ‘New Jerusalems,’ there carved upon the
stones, I am pained at the mental infancy they denote. Dying does not
mean rest, nor does it open heavenly mansions or golden cities to us.
The striving and the climbing go on and never end.

“It is the ache in the heart, the void in the soul that cries out to be
filled which lift us upward. Were we content, we should rise no higher.
Were we satisfied, we should be in a condition which would insure our
destruction. But the soul’s hunger for finer and better food is the
principle of eternal life which makes us indestructible and eternally
expansive. By means of it we grow. Thank God that neither here nor
elsewhere can we attain content!

“And as we go higher we can reveal to lower souls their sorrows, and
show them how to overcome them--how to grow. This is the greatest
service one soul can render another.

“But we must not be content with mouthing theories--we must live our
love, must give from the heart and look only to the heart, for ‘out
of the heart are the issues of life.’ ‘The sign of the mastery of the
divine life in us is the readiness to serve.’

“And we must not dream of rest. There is none anywhere, neither here
nor on all the endless road that stretches before us. Life is action,
ceaseless action.

“Nor is there any heavenly shore where we can wander free from
perplexities and obstacles. Always, always will there be something
to overcome. We are building, building, ever building, we know not
clearly what. Every unfolding of the divine life within us opens the
way to still more unfolding. The heaven, the happiness, the joy we
dream of and search for, is in the unfolding, not in any fixed state at
which we shall arrive, for we pause nowhere.

“‘This is not Death’s world: it is Life’s. Death has no empire
anywhere.’ In time to come its very signs shall pass away. There shall
be no more graves, nor marks to graves to say that the dust of any
lie there. All dust is the same and all places the same; and life
everlasting is the eternal heritage of all souls.”

A few days later Cartice said she saw the Butterfly near her, and that
she now had most beautiful wings. Others thought her mind wandered, but
Lilla understood.

Clasping the hand of her friend, she smiled and slept; but her waking
was on the other side of death, with her own people.

                             CHAPTER XXV.

                              LAST WORDS.

  Come, lovely and soothing death,
  Undulate round the world, serenely arriving, arriving,
  In the day, in the night, to all, to each,
  Sooner or later, delicate death.

  Prais’d be the fathomless universe,
  For life and joy, and for objects and knowledge curious,
  And for love, sweet love--but praise! praise! praise!
  For the sure enwinding arms of cool-enfolding death.

  --_Walt Whitman._

Gabriel Norris uttered the few reverent words that consigned the dust
of Cartice Doring to the purifying flames. This was his conclusion:

“‘No man liveth to himself, and no man dieth to himself.’ We all
understand that better, when in the presence of the voiceless dead,
than at any other time. Then it is that we feel our oneness most;
then do we come into more solemn touch with the great heart of all;
then, even when our hearts are breaking, we better understand the
infinite love that manifests in every event of our lives, even the last
mysterious one which takes us out of the sight of our fellow-men.

“Then it is that the problem of life confronts us with importunate
appeal, and demands from our bleeding hearts an answer.

“She whose still white form lies here, lived, aspired, suffered, joyed
a little perhaps, and learned a part of the great lesson whose book has
no end, worked side by side with us, and then passed out of our sight,
leaving only this perishable temple to return to its elements.

“Has she but passed through a door to array herself in new garments
on the other side, in a larger chamber, or has the unit of her
individuality melted back into the Universal ocean, as a drop of water
falls again into the sea from which it has been dipped?

“Does the heart that has groaned in anguish and throbbed with love find
the end of everything in dreamless oblivion? Or does it still throb on
somewhere out of our sight, but not out of the care of the divine love
that thought it into being?

“For her this great question was answered long before the illusion
we call death transferred her to a larger chamber. She _knew_ that
she should never die; that, as a unit, an individual, a soul, she was
indestructible, the heir of all the ages through all the ages.

“Communion of spirit? Do you sneer at it as an unsatisfactory, even if
a possible thing? What else have we here? We are spirit now as much as
we shall ever be, and all our communion with each other is spiritual,
for every act of our lives has a spiritual quality, and is but the
expression of spirit.

“The things we see are but fractions of that which we see not. We never
saw the soul to whose visible form we bid farewell for a time to-day.
We saw but its mask, its clay image. That which made its impress upon
us was the spirit. By means of what it said and did, by the flash of
kindness in the eye, by the pressure of the hand in sympathy, by all
the means great and small by which it expressed its good will and love
to others, it revealed itself. These are what we shall remember and

“Life is not all ‘a striving and a striving and an ending in nothing.’
It is an endless becoming.

“Let us work by every means in our power to educate the individual, to
develop the unit, the imperishable, never-dying unit, for this is the
secret of all improvement, all growth, all happiness. Only by growth
out of ignorance into knowledge can we come into our inheritance of
eternal good.

“Nothing is great in this world and nothing is small. I cannot say of
the soul whose transition we celebrate to-day that it was either, for
there is no distinction. It aspired, and that means much. It strove to
go up higher; and that striving will lift it into the fulness of light.

“That living, loving, truthful, beautiful spirit, has not gone back
to the sea of universal Being to lose its identity. There is no going
back. In that sea we live and move and have our being now, as well as
in the future, yet we remain individuals. The union with the one mind
toward which we are all moving is an harmonious ever-upward-tending
life, not an extinction of the individual. The school, the club, the
state are its prototypes here,--a blending of the many units in one
body, but the extinction of none.

“We sorrow, but not without hope. Our friend still lives. We shall find
her again.”

“I loved her,” said Gabriel Norris, as he sat with Lilla in the little
flat after all was over. “To be near her I came to New York. She never
knew; but now she knows. My love did not crave possession. I was happy
in loving. I am still happy in it. She lives and I love her. It is

                               THE END.

                          Transcriber’s Notes

Errors in punctuation and spacing have been fixed.

Page 138: “as much as as any” changed to “as much as any”

Page 173: “defeat and humilation” changed to “defeat and humiliation”

Page 194: “would is queer” changed to “world is queer”

Page 302: “by the wall” changed to “by the well”

Page 306: “have a monoply of it. What idocy!” changed to “have a
monopoly of it. What idiocy!”

Page 311: “The animal knows” changed to “The animal known”

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