I hit, men" the mahogany desk was a cathedral pulpit
now "don't you see it?"
At Old First
HARVEY REEVES CALKINS
THE METHODIST BOOK CONCERN
NEW YORK CINCINNATI
Copyright, 1919, by
HARVEY REEVES CALKINS
TABLE OF CONTENTS
I. WEDGWOOD 11
II. AT THE CITY NATIONAL, BANK 14
III. AN UNOFFICIAL BOARD MEETING 23
IV. THE CHURCH OF YESTER-YEAR 37
V. STRAWS LN THE CURRENT 44
VI. AT THE COMMERCIAL CLUB 58
VII. MEXICAN PETROLEUM 78
VIII. KHAKI AND CLOTH 82
IX. CLARA CURTIS SPEAKS THE TRUTH 106
X. BEHIND THE BARRICADE 116
XI. THE SHINERS 135
XII. THE VOICE OUT OF THE DESERT 152
XIII. CROSS CURRENTS 173
XIV. BESIDE THE NORTHERN LAKES 191
XV. LETTERS 214
XVI. THE BOARD MEETS 223
XVII. THEY THAT WILL BE RICH 240
XVIII. THE COMING OF AN AMBASSADOR 254
XIX. TIDINGS FROM SAINT M HIEL 267
XX. AND IT WAS NIGHT 282
XXI. THE OLD PATHS 297
XXII. THE DAY OF THE ARMISTICE 307
XXIII. VANISHING CLEWS 318
XXIV. FLYNN'S POINT 328
XXV. A RAINY DAY 336
XXVI. PIETRO PROPHESIES. . . 345
LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS
"But, men" the mahogany desk was a cathedral
pulpit now "don't you see it?" Frontispiece
"0, Miss Janes, what have I done!" 158
Then something came to Clara Curtis 340
If there shall be any foreword, let it be the word
written by Addison in the Spectator, and applied by
him to the simple-hearted squire, Sir Roger de Cover-
"He brought philosophy out of closets and libraries
to dwell at tea tables and in coffee houses."
H. R. C.
New York City, Easter, 1919.
MRS. RHODIN CURTIS she always wrote her
name full-bodied, Clara Heustis Curtis was
learning to make mental adjustments. Mrs. Heustis,
who still attended prayer meeting at Old First, said
these were "temptations," but Clara had quite dis-
carded the well-worn phrases of what she called "the
There were times when Mrs. Rhodin Curtis deviated.
Her mother told her it was "yielding to temptation,"
but this old-fashioned statement of the case always
brought a frown to her daughter's placid brow, a
distinct and almost ugly frown.
"I wish you wouldn't talk that way, mother" it
was when Clara had bought the second set of Wedg-
wood for six hundred and thirty-five dollars and Mrs.
Heustis had spoken plainly of extravagance "it irri-
tates me so that I cannot enter into the silence."
Then something stirred. Mrs. Heustis was much
attached to her son-in-law, and he genuinely returned
her affection. He had been telling her in confidence
some of his financial worries. Rhodin Curtis seldom
mentioned business perplexities to his wife. They dis-
turbed her calm.
Something stirred. "The 'silence* of which you
speak, my child, may some day feel the crash of an
12 THE CENTENARY AT OLD FIRST
earthquake," and Mrs. Heustis looked into her daugh-
ter's face with the prophetic instinct of motherhood.
"Why, mother, how perfectly morbid as though
some awful chasm were about to yawn underneath me
and little Arthur and my strong and beautiful Rho!
If you would only fix your mind on the pleasant and
lovely things you would find that the unpleasant things
what church people still call evil would vanish into
unreality." Clara Curtis spoke winsomely, for she was
a winsome woman.
Mrs. Heustis lifted little Arthur into her lap, where
he snuggled. "Perhaps your mother is too matter of
fact, Clara; but I do not believe you can banish evil
out of the world by thinking it away. Can the Bel-
gian and Armenian women 'think away' the unutterable
things which they have suffered? I wish you could
have heard Dr. Locke's sermon on 'The Cost of World
"Now, mother, I positively refuse to talk about the
Belgians and Armenians; you know how it unnerves
me! ... Arthur, run and tell Bergith mother says
you are to have a big, big orange. You may eat it on
the veranda. ... I hate Dr. Locke and his old
'Centenary Sermons,' and I think it is unkind of you to
remind me of such horrid things!" and Clara hid her
face in her hands.
Mrs. Heustis pressed a kiss upon her daughter's
cheek it was velvet soft. "My dear child, forgive
me for disturbing the dream-world in which you are
living. But, Clara, we cannot unthink these awful
facts, we must meet them."
Then Clara Curtis lifted her head and looked serene-
ly into her mother's face. "Do not be tragic, mother
dear. What seems to you so evil is only good in the
making. The evil is but illusion, unreality; it will
vanish away as vapor. Only the good will remain, for
good alone is real. It must be so, for God is good,
and, mother, God is all."
Mrs. Heustis turned slowly from her daughter's
tranquil eyes. Her own eyes were blinded with tears
and a passionate prayer leaped unbidden to her lips:
"Gently, Lord, O gently lead her in the day of her
At the doorway she glanced back with a smile and a
wave of the hand. "Good-by, dear; I'll be over to-
Clara still sat with lifted head and with serene and
tranquil eyes, with deep and dreamful eyes, that looked
but saw not.
Thus Hypatia looked, lovely near-Christian looked
and saw not while shadows gathered in Alexandria
the city, and a thunderbolt fell upon the house of
Theon fifteen centuries ago but with this differ-
ence: Clara's mother ceased not to pray.
AT THE CITY NATIONAL BANK
"fTIHREE MONTHS, Mr. Kennedy? I hardly
A can do that." The president of the City Na-
tional Bank looked into the immobile face of
Sanford Kennedy, managing partner of King and
Kennedy, Limited, Wholesale Chemists. It was a keen
look, but friendly.
"No, Mr. Kennedy, a ninety-day note is quite out of
the question; sixty days positively is our limit. As a
matter of fact, most of our current discounts are from
ten days to thirty."
"But, Mr. Gilbert, the public is under the impression
that money is unusually easy; what is your great
"To keep it easy."
"You mean by short loans and quick returns?"
"But ordinary business must find such urgency
"Ordinary business, my dear sir, must yield to the
one business now in hand."
"To be sure. Banks just now have only one purpose
to enlist public and private resources in the war
program of the American government."
"Do you mean, sir, that ordinary bank loans are no
AT THE CITY NATIONAL BANK 15
"We do not mean to be unreasonable, Mr. Kennedy,
but every case must stand on its own merits. For
instance, if a builder or contractor is in the midst of an
enterprise which he has begun in good faith under
financial guarantees, the banks of this city will con-
tinue to afford all reasonable accommodation. That is
only fair. But the building trade already has been
notified that new enterprises will receive scant consider-
ation until after the war."
"But what if ordinary business has taken on some
new development directly related to the war situation ?"
"That would be a case in point, Mr. Kennedy. In
fact, under such circumstances, we are ready to stretch
a man's credit to the limit and make almost any terms
desired. But he must have a clear case."
"Well, I reckon King and Kennedy will have no diffi-
culty on that score," and Sanford Kennedy's immobile
face relaxed into lines that had been laughter once
in the days before business had atrophied his soul.
James Gilbert swung his chair face front. "I shall
be very glad to know the new developments of your
firm," he said.
"I can state the matter in few words. For several
years we have been carrying a heavy stock of the cya-
nides particularly a high grade of potassium. This
compound, as you may be aware, forms the basis of the
best blue and green dyes."
"When the British blockade began to tighten,
American interests became painfully aware that we had
been dependent upon Germany for most of our dyes as
well as many of our commercial chemicals. At once
16 THE CENTENARY AT OLD FIRST
we began systematic experiments at our laboratories."
"For some time now our south side plant has been
able to produce Prussian Blue and Berlin Green of the
very highest grade. Recently we have perfected a
*fast black' that is absolutely satisfactory."
"I congratulate you, sir."
"It hardly would be proper for me to speak of tech-
nical trade secrets, but this much further I can say:
We have been in correspondence with a certain Swiss
firm of chemists who have long held the German for-
mula for making aniline dyes out of coal tar as a base,
but who still fear a German boycott if they actually
should manufacture for trade export. After long
negotiation an English firm has now secured the for-
mula, and King and Kennedy will represent the Ameri-
"I certainly congratulate you, Mr. Kennedy."
"As soon as we were sure of our ground we communi-
cated with the textile trades, and literally have been
snowed under with orders for future delivery. There
will be no difficulty in securing potassium cyanide in
sufficient amount and of the highest quality; extensive
deposits in Utah have recently been developed. Our
aniline dyes, for the present, will be sent to us from
England. But our physical equipment is wholly in-
sufficient. Plans and specifications are now ready, and
we purpose to build extensive new laboratories; hence
my request for accommodation. Anything less than
ninety days would be inconvenient to us."
The president of the City National Bank turned
quietly in his chair and lifted the receiver from his
AT THE CITY NATIONAL BANK 17
private wire: "Please ask Mr. Curtis to see me di-
rectly," and then
"Mr. Curtis," as the cashier entered, "Mr. Ken-
nedy's people are planning extensive additions at their
south side laboratories; please afford them every ac-
commodation. This comes clearly under the general
banking program approved by the Treasury Depart-
ment. You are familiar with it all. You know King
and Kennedy securities and can arrange the loan that
is, if Mr. Kennedy is agreeable to this."
"I reckon Rhody and I can make terms" quizzi-
cally "we've done it before."
Rhodin Curtis cast a quick, inquiring glance at the
bank's client and smiled cordially. "I shall be at your
convenience," he said.
The cashier at the City National was one of the
bank's strong assets. Genial, commanding, sympa-
thetic, his personal popularity drew and held a wide
clientele throughout the city. "Fixing it with Rhody"
was ordinary business parlance for negotiating a bank
loan, and progressive business interests more and more
were centered at the City National.
Some of the directors, notably Dr. Janes, criticized
the open-handed way in which the cashier extended the
bank's credit, especially to young men, some of them
hardly out of their teens.
"Think of it, gentlemen," he said, "three hundred
dollars to Tony Carrari, on his personal note, to estab-
lish a string of shoe-shining cabins down State Street ;
"And every dollar paid," interrupted the president
18 THE CENTENARY AT OLD FIRST
it was at a bank directors' meeting "and Tony's
deposits already more than four hundred a month !
Dr. Janes will have to choose a better text when he
criticizes Mr. Curtis."
"Very well, I'll say nothing more. But it isn't good
business, and the thing will end in a crash somewhere."
Dr. Janes glowered behind his glasses.
But the thing did not end. On the contrary, each
semiannual statement showed increasing prosperity,
and the directors were quite content with the bank's
"Curtis may be a bit too liberal," lawyer Lasher re-
marked to one of the directors at a club dinner, "but
Gilbert has no failings in that quarter and will draw
the check rein when needed. That last dividend, you
know, wasn't bad, and I'm willing to stand for another
just like it."
And so thought the other directors. As for Dr.
Janes, he was as good as his word and said nothing
"I shall be at your convenience," and then, "Is this
to be a term loan, Mr. Gilbert ?" The question was one
of official courtesy, for Rhodin Curtis spoke as a man
accustomed to plan his own program.
"Fix it as you please, Mr. Curtis ; it is in your hands.
Give Mr. Kennedy anything he wants and make what-
ever time extensions you may desire. The bank can
afford to go the limit in this business."
The cashier's searching and masterful glance cov-
ered both men for a moment. "I understand," he
said. Bowing formally he withdrew.
AT THE CITY NATIONAL BANK 19
As he reached the door of the president's room he
turned and encountered the eyes of Mr. Kennedy fixed
on him with intent earnestness. If the older man
sighed, it was an unconscious sigh, for both men smiled
in cordial recognition. The younger man bowed again
and passed into the bank with quick, elastic steps.
Sanford Kennedy drew on his gloves. The lines
in his face, that had been laughter once, deepened into
grim furrows like trenches on the Flanders front.
They were grim but very human.
James Gilbert was smiling broadly. "I declare,
Kennedy, you are the limit! 'Ordinary business!'
Why, man, you know perfectly, better than I do, that
the manufacture of dyes is a high necessity thrust on
us by the war, and therefore entitled to prior consider-
ation in any banking program. You were trying to
Mr. Gilbert glowed with great inward comfort as he
entered a memorandum on his desk pad.
"Well, Gilbert, perhaps I had a little notion we
might do business this morning, but I like to move
cautiously. Everybody, I reckon, has an idea that
his own particular business will help Uncle Sam whip
the Kaiser especially when he is needing a bank loan,"
with a shrewd look across the desk.
"Right you are, my friend," and the president leaned
back in his chair and glanced at a card which the
corridor boy that moment laid on his desk: "Tell Dr.
Locke I shall be at liberty in a few minutes, Luther."
"Right you are!" he repeated. "Why, a downstate
commission house wanted five thousand yesterday to
put over a deal in frozen eggs; insisted it was 'war
20 THE CENTENARY AT OLD FIRST
business' by which, of course, they meant it was a
chance to cut a comfortable slice of war profit!"
"But King and Kennedy will not be making dyes for
the sake of charity, Mr. Gilbert."
"I understand perfectly, and you are entitled to a
good liberal reward. You are helping to break down
the economic strength of Germany. You are develop-
ing permanent foundations for American manufactures
and, at the same time, are weakening enemy resources.
If you were in England, you would be in line for a
knighthood. As it is, you are entitled to all the profit
that comes your way. You might call it, as I call our
discounts on government business, 'patriotic by-prod-
ucts.' But frozen eggs bah!"
"So you turned the downstate commissioners out
of doors, I suppose."
"O, no, we discounted their paper. We are not re-
fusing good business. We know the house credit as
sound as the income tax. But the manager grew warm
when I held him down to twenty days; needed thirty,
he said, to put the deal across."
"Perhaps you thought the City National might make
it in 'two jumps,' eh, Gilbert?"
"Perhaps so." Mr. Gilbert smiled again and lifted
the card which lay in front of him.
" 'Two jumps,' that reminds me of Lasher's sugges-
tion yesterday. Were you at the Club?"
"No, I took a sandwich and cup of coffee at the
laboratory too busy these days for club lunches.
What is Lasher's latest? We ought to put him up for
mayor on a 'reform and economy' platform."
"And he'd make good too. I declare Lasher would
AT THE CITY NATIONAL BANK 21
cut expenses in an Eskimo igloo! We need such men
in these days of loose spending."
"But loose spending means tight banking, Gilbert."
"I'm not saying anything, am I ?" and James Gilbert
balanced the card on the tips of well-manicured fingers.
"What was Lasher's suggestion?"
"He said the treasurer ought to credit one half our
club dues to the Red Cross, in lieu of subscriptions,
and postpone the new clubhouse until after the war."
"I'm for postponement all right."
"And I like Lasher's suggestion about club dues. I
tell you, Kennedy, we must use some financial judgment
in dealing with the Red Cross and Y. M. C. A., or busi-
ness men will be swamped! Business and charity have
the right to stand on a war footing together. What's
more, private and church charities may as well call a
halt until after peace is declared. If we manage to
keep up ordinary church budgets, we'll do mighty well.
But there's a limit ! More than fifty millions picked up
in that last Y. M. C. A. drive I tell you there's a
"My notion to a hair, Gilbert. I told Dr. Locke last
Sunday that our own church scheme ought to wait
until after the public mind can get back to normal.
But I saw he didn't take to it very well has a notion
that his plan of tithe-paying will cover the whole busi-
"Tithe-paying ! He's not going to press that !"
"That's his plan and not bad either if times were
"But the members won't stand for it, Kennedy."
""That's what I told him. Money is plentiful, but
22 THE CENTENARY AT OLD FIRST
men are not giving it away without a good stiff reason.
First Church Centenary, no doubt, has a certain
historic interest, but you won't catch fish these days
with pale 'anniversary' bait it's got to be blood red!
We ought to call the whole thing off."
"You're right, and we might as well settle the busi-
ness here and now. I 'phoned Dr. Locke yesterday
that it would not be possible for me to serve as treasur-
er of the Fund, and he said he would be at the bank this
morning to talk things over. He has just sent in his
card. You sit quiet and we'll see him together."
"Very well, Gilbert, if you desire it ; I reckon the rest
of the Board will stand for what we say."
Sanford Kennedy removed his gloves and settled
back into his chair. The lines that had been laughter
were deep cut creases now and they were hard.
James Gilbert pressed a call button at the side of
"Show Dr. Locke in, Luther."
AN UNOFFICIAL BOARD MEETING
AS a boy at school Richard Locke was always
His first week at college fastened "Dickens" upon
him, and college instinct approved. McRae, who was
Scotch, pronounced the college verdict: "He's not so
clever but he's straight human and 'Dickens' is his
That was the reason Old First had chosen him as
pastor. "We don't want a sky-scraping preacher,"
Sanford Kennedy had insisted, "but a man who can
understand folks ; he'll win specially if he's strong in
And so it was that Mr. Kennedy was troubled that
morning at the bank when he saw the momentary em-
barrassment in his pastor's face. But he was glad that
Richard Locke neither lifted his eyebrows nor looked
wise. He liked him.
"Two against one isn't fair fighting eh, Dr.
"O, there'll be no fighting! I'm your Dare-to-be-a
Daniel and quite wondering how it will seem to be eaten.
But," turning to the banker, "wouldn't you better wait,
Mr. Gilbert, until the rest of the lions get here?" The
words were frank and the humor contagious.
"No, Dr. Locke, this is to be an exclusive meal for
24 THE CENTENARY AT OLD FIRST
Kennedy and myself, served comfortably in my own
"None of that, Gilbert, or Daniel will turn Samson
and leave two dead lions on the rug !" and then to his
pastor with quick courtesy, "I'm not here by appoint-
ment, Dr. Locke ; I had business at the bank this morn-
ing, and Gilbert suggested that I stay and talk things
over with you and him church matters, I mean."
"I'm glad you're here, both of you; you men knew
Old First, and loved her, long before I did ; her interests
are safe in your hands." The pastor's directness was
almost disconcerting, but his strong fellowship was irre-
There was a moment's hesitation. The banker,
trained to promptness, began with difficulty.
"I want to explain, Dr. Locke, why I shall not be
able to serve as treasurer of First Church Centenary
Fund. Perhaps I did not make myself clear last eve-
ning over the 'phone."
"No, Mr. Gilbert, I found myself somewhat puzzled;
I thought that matter was quite settled."
"And so it was, but at the convention of American
Bankers, at Atlantic City, Secretary McAdoo told us
plainly that the government would not be able to float
forthcoming war loans unless the banks entered upon
a vigorous campaign of preparation."
"Yes, I read of it, and noted the splendid response
of the bankers."
"Well, we didn't wait to be urged. By unanimous
vote we pledged for government use all our profits, all
our savings, and every ounce of our personal influence
and official resources."
AN UNOFFICIAL BOARD MEETING 25
"That was great business !"
"As a result of the convention, bankers have a tacit
understanding among themselves that they will dis-
courage, as far as possible, private enterprises that
require new capital. Government business and war
work are to have the right of way."
"That's the patriotism that wins !"
"So we think, Dr. Locke. And that's the reason, as
you at once will see, why bank officers feel, under the
circumstances, that they ought not to become officially
related to any charity excepting, of course, the old
established societies or new charities directly related
to the war. You see, the raising of special funds is part
of the 'new business' which ought to be discouraged.
New charity plans, like new business plans, must give
"Charity, Mr. Gilbert? Just what has that to do
with our plans at Old First?"
The banker showed that he was somewhat nettled,
"Of course, Dr. Locke, I was not referring to ordi-
nary church budgets; these are recognized as a neces-
sary part of community life. But unusual expendi-
tures such as we have planned at First Church the
creation of permanent funds, the erection of new build-
ings, and the like, these clearly are not related to the
war work now in hand."
"I do not quite get you, Mr. Gilbert."
"Now, Gilbert" Sanford Kennedy was leaning
across the desk "there's no use beating about the
bush ! The fact is, Dr. Locke, Gilbert and I and some
of the other members of the Board have made up our
26 THE CENTENARY AT OLD FIRST
minds that this whole celebration at First Church is
out of place and ought to be called off."
Richard Locke's mother used to say she could "read
Dicky's thoughts by watching his lips." It was during
their senior year at college that McRae remarked,
confidentially, "Dickens has a short upper lip that's
the reason he's able to keep it stiff."
If the minister's lips had grown a shade more tense
while Mr. Kennedy was speaking, neither of his friends
noted it. The banker continued:
"Don't you think it is just a bit unpatriotic, Dr.
"Unpatriotic Old First!"
"The Centenary, I mean."
"But, Mr. Gilbert, it's a fact that First Church was
founded in 1819, is it not?"
"That hardly is the point."
"I rather think it is the point. My arithmetic
makes 1919 the one hundredth anniversary of the
founding, and June of next year the month of the
actual Centenary Celebration."
"If we celebrate!" broke in Mr. Kennedy senten-
" 'If we celebrate' I confess, gentlemen, I do not
quite follow you. This matter has been planned for
more than two years. 'The Centenary at Old First'
has become a church slogan. First Church families
for three generations back have been traced and their
descendants in various parts of the country have been
notified. In fact, I need hardly remind you, my invi-
tation to become your pastor three years ago was based
on your belief that I could help you organize a success-
AN UNOFFICIAL BOARD MEETING 27
ful Centenary celebration as part of your new program
of reconstruction at least so Mr. Kennedy informed
me when he brought to me your kind invitation."
"I'll stand by that, Dr. Locke, and so will every
member of the Board. It was a good day for First
Church when you became our pastor, and we're back of
you" Mr. Kennedy spoke with cordial emphasis "but
don't you recognize the country is at war! and
democracy is fighting for its life !" with a sudden burst
"That's my point exactly !" The banker again was
speaking. "We planned our Centenary two years ago
without any thought of present developments, but no
one, I assure you, would make such plans to-day. I do
not believe that anyone would question our pastor's
patriotism, but some have wondered why he should
press a church program just now, when everybody
else is pressing the war."
James Gilbert's incisive words completed the pastor's
The tragedy of war is the confusion of ideals. Dis-
loyalty hath slain her thousands, but blindness her tens
of thousands. Richard Locke knew this and kept his
poise. If the minister of Old First had been of stiff
unbending mold, there would have been an instant
wrench and a permanent dislocation. But he was built
of drawn steel. He could take a jar and spring back
The pastor spoke with quietness.
28 THE CENTENARY AT OLD FIRST
"Did either of you happen to read the President's
recent address to a group of church leaders ?"
"Not I ; perhaps Gilbert did ; I've been too busy."
"No ; war news and the market are my limit."
"I suppose it's only the preacher who is expected to
be interested in church business and general business
also." The words came with perfect good humor, but
there was a tinge of sadness in his voice which he could
not wholly conceal.
Sanford Kennedy caught it instantly and turned
toward the banker.
"I declare, Gilbert, we laymen are the limit. We
invite Dr. Locke to take expert management of the
church, and then make snap judgment on church
affairs without full information. We prejudge the
pastor's plans and then invite him to indorse our find-
ings. Would you call it conceit or contrariness? I
reckon it's both about fifty-fifty!" The lines in Mr.
Kennedy's face showed sharp with vexation.
"Shall we take hands off, Kennedy?"
"Never!" The word leaped from the pastor's lips
with the swiftness of thought.
The banker regarded him quizzically. "Why not?"
"Because an Old First program without the laymen
would be 'Hamlet' with Hamlet left out."
"Then Hamlet will have to express his opinions, even
if, as Kennedy here seems to think, he has merely a
snap judgment." Mr. Gilbert was plainly irritated.
Richard Locke had discovered during his first year
out of the seminary that pettiness is never cured, nor
irritation allayed, by clever and forceful argument.
AN UNOFFICIAL BOARD MEETING 29
He remembered it now. He also recognized with
chagrin that his own yearning for spiritual fellowship
inadvertently had caused this crossing of the currents.
But the largeness of his leadership became apparent
when, without noticing the cross currents, he quietly
dropped his plummet into the undisturbed depths of
"Mr. Wilson was asked recently by a group of min-
isters how best the churches could support the govern-
ment during the war. The President's reply was
prophetic and" the pastor spoke with a man's frank-
ness "it contains the whole of my sermon text,
treatment, and exhortation."
"What did he say?" asked Gilbert with returning
"This 'Make your own churches efficient; the
country and the world will have need of them as never
Richard Locke did not wait for word or comment.
"Men" his directness was startling "what is an
"I myself have been called an 'efficiency expert,' " he
continued, "yet what is meant by it is a puzzle beyond
my comprehension. I'm sick of this whole 'efficiency'
business in the church if all it signifies is an up-to-date
filing system, a well-balanced organization and prompt
attention to monthly bills!"
Richard Locke unconsciously had risen to his feet.
It was the preacher instinct ; he was casting a line and
must stand to it.
"What is an efficient church?" he repeated. "An
efficient bank, I suppose, is one that effectively uses its
30 THE CENTENARY AT OLD FIRST
resources so as to meet the intelligent demands of busi-
ness. An efficient government is able to organize and
employ the agencies under its control so as to bring
about the largest degree of national prosperity. And
an efficient church is it not a church that realizes the
infinite reach of its resources and brings those re-
sources into strong and living contact with human
need? If the church in our generation had been effi-
cient, would Christendom now be weltering in blood?"
The pastor reached his hands toward the two men
as to a hushed and expectant congregation.
"I tell you, men, this war was bound to come. It
was inevitable. And victory never will come, whatever
be the military triumphs, until Christianity itself is
made efficient. The churches must rise to exalted
leadership, or democracy will lapse backward into the
dark. The President pleads that the world shall be
made safe for democracy, but Christianity demands
that democracy itself shall be redeemed."
He continued passionately:
"If this Centenary of ours is to be a sentimental cele-
bration of something that happened a hundred years
ago, I have no time for it. If it is to be made the
occasion for a clever piece of church finance, no patri-
otic American will stand for it. I myself repudiate it
with all my soul. It is churchly camouflage.
"But, men," the mahogany desk was a cathedral
pulpit now, "don't you see it? The Centenary at Old
First is God's hand helping us to 'gear' ourselves to
the tasks of a new Christianity. The other churches
must meet it as well as we that same world issue ; but
Old First will have the joy of meeting it as a stripling
AN UNOFFICIAL BOARD MEETING 31
of twenty-one meets the inevitable burden of manhood
the burden was bound to come, it comes easier amid
the birthday greetings of friends."
As Richard Locke paused and resumed his seat Mr.
Kennedy's eyes were riveted upon his face. He had
supposed the pastor's plummet would fall into the
familiar shallows of "church loyalty" and "missionary
needs," but the line had plunged into an ocean whose
thrilling depths he dared not fathom. The next words
"Men, let's meet it square: If Old First is to become
an efficient church, are you am I ready to adjust
ourselves to the facts and issues involved?"
For five minutes James Gilbert had been intent upon
a brass paper weight. If he had been moved it was not
apparent. He spoke with habitual business precision.
"What facts and issues do you mean, Dr. Locke?"
It was the pastor now who realized the incisive di-
rectness of the banker's question as though one sud-
denly were required to name and specify the "dark un-
fathomed caves" of that same unfathomed ocean. But
his words came with strength.
"I have spoken presumptuously. I cannot name the
'issues' that confront the church, much less define them.
They are spiritual, they belong to the atmosphere.
Nevertheless they may be recognized without difficulty
as we recognize transparency in glass or oxygen in
the air; they are recognized by their absence.
"Let me illustrate what I mean," he continued, for he
saw that his words had taken hold. "I spent my vaca-
tion, as you know, in New York city. It is the great-
est metropolitan center on the planet and packed to
32 THE CENTENARY AT OLD FIRST
the core with human interest. If ever the Church of
Christ was challenged to high leadership in the midst of
driving human forces, the thousand churches of New
York have received that challenge now. And yet it is
a despair and mockery that these great churches
seem like shallow skiffs floating on the tide when they
ought to be, and if they were efficient would be, like the
resistless lifting of the tide itself."
"New York is blase," interrupted the banker sen-
tentiously; "the people have neither faith nor senti-
"On the contrary, New York pulses with human fel-
lowship." The pastor spoke eagerly. "I was there when
Joffre was welcomed. I felt the lift of their passionate
sympathy with France. It exalted the whole continent.
And, men, Christ could draw those millions into thrill-
ing fellowship with himself if 'efficient' churches
knew how to lift him. Their lack of spiritual vision,
and therefore their failure to command the public mind
these are the facts and issues, Mr. Gilbert, which
confront the American churches." Then, with wistful-
ness, "And these are the facts and issues which confront
us at Old First."
Richard Locke paused and his friends looked at him
inquiringly. It was evident that he had not finished
what he desired to say.
"I'm going to put a straight question in finance."
He addressed the banker.
"Go ahead, sir ; that's my line."
"First, then, Mr. Gilbert, if our plans for the Cen-
tenary did not involve a campaign for money, would
there be any question as to its 'timeliness'?"
AN UNOFFICIAL BOARD MEETING 33
"Certainly not, Dr. Locke; that's the very meat of
"Is First Church becoming impoverished because of
"Hardly that, but you must not forget the great
popular subscriptions, such as the Red Cross and Y.
M. C. A. Our own church people have taken their fair
share and these war funds must be continued."
"I do not forget them, Mr. Gilbert; but would you
say that these war work subscriptions have been sacri-
ficial? Are they not rather a token of enlarged abil-
ity ? Surely, First-Church people have had some share
in the remarkable war profits which have been piling up
in this city."
There was an uneasy movement on either side of the
mahogany desk, but Richard Locke was a wise pastor
and did not choose to take note of all that he could see ;
he was a guide, not a detective. He continued:
"Have you felt the difference between the financial
drive and the spiritual drift of our business men? Or,
let me put it to you straight are you me*i gripped by
the spiritual movement at Old First as you are by the
financial movement in the same business district?"
"Perhaps not, Dr. Locke." James Gilbert spoke
"Do you know the reason?"
"Well," with a forced laugh, "I suppose it's the
'love of money,' as the Good Book says."
"It's worse than that, sir, it's the lure of money."
Sanford Kennedy whirled toward his pastor
"What do you mean, 'lure' ?"
"I mean 'the deceitfulness of riches.' Money is not
34 THE CENTENARY AT OLD FIRST
a commodity; it is a mystic life force; it is stored-up
spiritual power and right here our strongest men
constantly are misled. They do not correctly
locate the old, old difference between the church
and the 'world,' a difference which never can be
annulled. Therefore they fail to recognize that the
financial drive of business is and ought to be the
spiritual drive of the church."
James Gilbert had again become intent upon the
brass paper weight, but Mr. Kennedy was looking into
the face of his pastor as one who searched for some-
thing that eluded him. Richard Locke was sensible of
the softened atmosphere and continued with a man's
"This is the main reason I have looked forward with
such eagerness to the financial part of our Centenary
we would study the meaning of money as a fact in
spiritual leadership and as the nerve center of com-
Sanford Kennedy seemed suddenly to find the clue
he had been seeking. " The main reason,' Dr. Locke,
is not always the compelling one; is there no other?"
Richard Locke's face flushed. "Forgive me, men,"
he said, "I have not thought to deceive you ; perhaps I
have been deceiving myself. Every word that I have
spoken is the fundamental truth, and yet, I confess I
have been holding back the passion that consumes me."
The two men stared at him, but the pastor cared
nothing for their astonished look. His words came
in a swelling torrent.
"I dare not and I will not remain a passive onlooker
AN UNOFFICIAL BOARD MEETING 35
in this hour of the world's agony. If the church has
no commanding message, then so much the worse for
the church she will shrivel in the midst of virile men.
I will give up my pastorate and seek service at the
front. I am still a young man and I have neither wife
nor child" (the firm lips became tense and white as in
the presence of a haunting memory) ; "God forbid that
I should hold a safe and easy place while other men are
yielding up their lives.
"That's my burden ! It's on me night and day. If
I have been slow in telling you, it's because I myself
have been slow in realizing it. But you have it now.
Can the church give victorious leadership in this hour
of human need?
"Our Centenary has seemed to me a magnificent
frontal drive that would interpret Christ's message in
terms of life and carry it into the heart of this com-
munity. That's why I've dreamed of it and prayed
for it and planned for it. And that's why I haven't
envied the men in khaki I was in the heart of things
myself. And now if the church fails, or, worse, if the
plans are called in, it will seem like yielding up my
sword and retiring to the rear," and Richard Locke
turned away his head.
But it was only for a moment. As though lifting
and throwing away a burden, he looked up with his old
"Don't think of me," he said. "I'll find my place
somewhere. As for the church plans, I want you to be
wholly undisturbed. Unless Old First clearly under-
stands the purpose of our Centenary I myself shall
advise that the plans be withdrawn. I refuse to juggle
36 THE CENTENARY AT OLD FIRST
Christ's gospel in order to put across a church
As Sanford Kennedy and James Gilbert looked into
the unclouded eyes of their pastor, the persuasion grew
into a conviction that there was a majestic world pur-
pose in the Great War which was more than the defeat
of the Germans.
Mr. Kennedy arose. The lines in his face were deep
with added care, but the gentleness of a woman was
"I shall be grateful, Dr. Locke, if you will lay before
the next Board meeting our Centenary program as you
think it ought to be. Are you with me in this, Gil-
"Then, as chairman of the Board, I think I may
offer it as a formal request. Is this too much to ask?"
The pastor did not answer. He had risen with Mr.
Kennedy, and was pacing the length of the president's
office. Suddenly he turned
T11 do it, men," he said.
THE CHURCH OF YESTER-YEAR
THE second American war with England de-
cided nothing but determined everything. The
Peace of Ghent side-stepped the immediate issue, im-
pressment of American seamen, but established a world
fact: the solidarity of the American nation. The ad-
venture of '76 became the American habit.
That is why the story of Old First, like the story of
a thousand other American churches, is a mirror of our
most intimate American history. The vision of the
pioneers and the dream of the pathfinders are written
into its records.
A nation's spirit is like the free spirit of a man
high adventure requires a certain background of as-
surance. After proud England had been fought to a
standstill and the insolence of the Barbary pirates had
been chastened by Decatur's guns, Europe accepted
the Western republic as an accomplished fact. The
adolescent nation had found itself; now it must find a
place big enough for its own giant spirit to expand.
The swinging stride of a hundred years would bring
Pershing's army to the plains of Picardy. It could
not be accomplished a single day sooner.
Eager to realize his destiny among the nations, and
led by a wisdom larger than his own, the young giant
plunged into the wilderness west of the Alleghenies.
38 THE CENTENARY AT OLD FIRST
Here, in the basin of the great lakes and the mighty
valley of the Mississippi, the spirit of America would
work out its masterful solutions. The world-meaning
of Bunker Hill and Lexington would be interpreted.
As early as 181 4 a steamboat line was established
between Pittsburgh and New Orleans seven years
after Robert Fulton's miracle-boat, the Clermont, had
startled the world by its first trip on the Hudson.
Fort Niagara at the east and Fort Dearborn at the
west presently insured the free development of vast
The rest was inevitable. Saint Louis, Cincinnati,
Saint Paul, Buffalo, Detroit, Chicago these and five
hundred throbbing cities of the plains grew, as all the
west and south was bound to grow, large and loose and
And here, between the Great Lakes and the Gulf, the
story of Old First began.
A hundred years have passed since the original clap-
board "meetinghouse" proclaimed that God never
sends but always leads his pioneers into the wilderness.
To the casual historian nothing was here to lift or en-
noble life. But the drudgery of work and the squalor
of opportunity brought stately compensations. Men
dwelt apart and learned the primal facts of God and
The church in those wilderness days meant to the
scattered settlers what an entire circle of institutions
must mean to-day. For this very reason the pioneer
reached a spiritual and therefore an intellectual su-
premacy which he continues to hold. The reason is
THE CHURCH OF YESTER-YEAR 39
To the pioneer the church brought clear recognition
of unseen and spiritual things, yet never as an end in
themselves ; these always were related to the intellectual
and moral problems of actual life. The pioneer had
neither time nor disposition to become a "thinker," yet
he was able to render mental and moral judgments with
almost intuitive precision.
It was the normal development in American life of
what we shall not see again the church meetinghouse
the only and the necessary center for social fellowship,
for intellectual quickening, and for ethical instruction.
The glory of it was this: that the whole circle of life
was shot through with religious and spiritual ideals.
The church, as a definite social unit, became "inter-
ested" in political and national problems.
And herein is the difference between church life then
and now national and social problems were judged
as "church" questions.
For instance, Richard Locke, during the first year of
his pastorate, had sought to arouse the membership of
Old First to the menace as well as the opportunity
which immigration must bring to American Christian-
ity. But the intelligent leadership of Old First con-
gratulated their pastor on his masterly marshaling of
the facts and refused to become aroused. Immigra-
tion was an honored American institution ; it could now
be taken for granted, or, at best, left to the ponderous
wisdom of the Congress. The church, as such, was but
With a keen sense of something lost the pastor of
Old First read the faded records of "Quarterly Meet-
ings" where backwoodsmen of a century ago were alive
40 THE CENTENARY AT OLD FIRST
and alert to the Christian interpretation of national
problems. The significance of immigration was not
lost to those clear-thinking pioneers.
Some painstaking secretary, probably the traveling
preacher himself, had copied into the church record
the immigration figures taken from Niles* Weekly
Register, an early century newspaper published in
Baltimore and devoured by hungry settlers in their
wilderness cabins. The figures, after one hundred
years of national development, are significant of many
things. The record is for immigrants arriving during
two weeks of the summer of 1817:
"From England, 649 ; Wales, 51 ; Ireland, 581 ; Scot-
land, 134; Germany and Switzerland, 826; France, 31
But even more significant is the comment of the
editor transcribed to that church record of a forgot-
"The degree of suffering must ever be very great to
rouse a courage sufficient to cause many to fly to a
strange land from whence they never expect to return ;
but in spite of this, and all the strong ties of kindred
and home, the immigration is powerful and will in-
crease. We have room enough yet; let them come.
The tree of liberty we have planted is for the healing of
the people of all nations."
Richard Locke's knowledge of American history was
challenged by the official records of Old First chal-
lenged and inspired. Here, hidden under brief and
often casual reference, were nerve centers of American
life that thrilled to his eager and sympathetic touch.
Was it nothing that the first log meetinghouse was
THE CHURCH OF YESTER-YEAR 41
replaced by a commodious brick church, completed dur-
ing the summer of 1824, when, it is recorded, "a cheer-
ful company gathered in the new church to celebrate
the visit of Lafayette to the United States and return
thanks to God for his manifold blessings upon our
nation" was it a mere memorandum in an old church
The slow-moving decades that saw Old First increase
in numbers and wealth and dignity were the same dec-
ades that saw American ideals warped and weathered
into American life. Nor was it a smooth and passion-
less history. Scars were there, for strife and division
wrought tragedy in the church as in the nation.
But it was all intensely human. The widespread
panic that afflicted the country during the presidency
of Mr. Van Buren brought double sorrow to the wor-
shipers at the "brick church," for it was destroyed by
fire, and the discouraged people hardly had heart to
clear away the wreckage.
During the forties Old First was housed in an un-
sightly unfinished building, which in turn fell victim ta
the flames on the very day that General Scott entered
the palace of the Montezumas. The Mexican War
had been bitterly opposed by the saints at Old First,
and worldlings wagged their heads and remarked that
Providence had chosen one day for double judgment.
Then gold was discovered in California and saint
and sinner forgot their differences and talked only of
the "golden age" that had come. Millions of yellow
wealth poured back across the plains.
Old First felt the quickening flow and was rebuilt in
strength and beauty. The walls were lifted with praise
42 THE CENTENARY AT OLD FIRST
and the timbers set with jubilation. Moreover, the
"liberals" were able to control the building plans. A
choir loft and organ marked the passing of the hard
and strait days of the wilderness, while a simple yet
stately tower gave churchly dignity for which two
generations of townsmen have not ceased to be grateful.
And now began a service to the community and to
the nation which words never can measure. How the
walls of Old First echoed with clarion voices during
those last fierce days of the slavery debate! What
hushed and whispered prayers were lifted there during
all those anxious days of Civil War! What mighty
men had stood within its pulpit, what noble heads had
bowed beside that altar rail !
"Surely, our second century shall be worthy of our
first!" It was Richard Locke's parting word as he
left the president's office that morning at the City
And Sanford Kennedy answered with a troubled
look, "It ought to be, Dr. Locke, but it's up to you to
make the people see it. In my judgment the 'angel' of
Old First has undertaken a man's job this time!"
The pastor's laugh was like a crisp winesap in
October. "The 'angel' of Old First has men to stand
by him," he said, and passed into the bank for a word
with Rhodin Curtis.
The president was smiling broadly as he turned to
Sanford Kennedy. "I declare, Locke's laugh is a tonic
for tired nerves ; he would put courage into any water-
soaked trench in northern France!"
"It's faith, Gilbert, the old prophetic faith that you
THE CHURCH OF YESTER-YEAR 43
read about. I knew something of it myself once on a
time, but it's been oozing away from me for twenty
years. If Locke's Centenary program will bring back
my lost ideals, Old First can have anything I've got,"
and Sanford Kennedy looked moodily out of the
STRAWS IN THE CURRENT
RICHARD LOCKE walked straight to the cashier's
"Rho" it was curious that no one called Rhodin
Curtis by his peculiarly "pet" name except his own
wife and Richard Locke, especially so as Clara Curtis
disliked and shunned the popular pastor of First
"Rho, I need your help; can you come to the Boys'
Club to-night at eight?"
Rhodin Curtis looked at him with level eyes.
"What's the game, Richard? Are you playing it
"Straight as a shortstop's throw to first! I'll play
the game as nearly as I can without a scratch, but I've
told you more than once, Rho, that I intend to put you
out, and I'll do it. I may miss my throw at first and
second, and even at third, but I'll get you at the home
plate if I wait for thirty years! A man like you
simply must not be permitted to score on the wrong
side of the tally-sheet."
"Maybe the game will be called before either of us has
a chance to score. I wish to thunder it would!" and
Rhodin Curtis closed his desk with sudden emphasis.
"Come and lunch with me, Dick, though I give you
STRAWS IN THE CURRENT 45
warning I'm in a devil of a mood and intend to turn
you down cold."
"I'll chance it, old man," and they left the bank
If birth and breeding are conditions of friendship
then preacher and banker were polewide apart. If
education and mental habit were needed to bring them
together then the cleavage between them was complete.
Richard Locke was manor-born and college-bred.
He was in the ninth generation from Lionel Locke, one
of the London gentlemen who sailed with Lord Dela-
ware and reached the Jamestown colony at the close of
the fearful winter of 1609-10, long known in Virginia
annals as the "Starving Time."
For three hundred years there had not wanted a
Locke in the intellectual and social development of
American life first in the Shenandoah Valley of old
Virginia, later in the Blue Grass counties of Kentucky.
These had been for the most part "country gentlemen,"
with a good sprinkling of lawyers and doctors. Rich-
ard was the fourth Locke to become a minister "not
a very good showing," his mother used to say; for
Richard's mother was a Winthrop, and, after the
straitest manner, a New Englander.
The boy's earliest memory was of a vine-grown
manse near the Kentucky river, nesting in its own
grounds far back from the Lexington Pike. He used
to ask Lissa which was "rounder" the big white
columns on the portico or the big dark elms by the
gate. And old Mammy Lissa would laugh and answer,
"Lor', chile, dey's bof as roun' as you' big blue eyes,"
46 THE CENTENARY AT OLD FIRST
which Dicky thought was the perfection of polite-
Before he was eight years old he knew the meaning
of grief first, when his brown-coated pony, Ginger,
broke her leg and had to be shot, and then but he
never could think of it without crying. They led him
one day into the big chamber next to the drawing room
where his beautiful brave father was lying white and
still. Then, after a month, his mother started with
him on a long journey to "Grandma Winthrop's" and
the little lad saw the Kentucky hills no more.
Richard Locke grew up as a true son of New Eng-
land, but a white-columned portico, and kind old Lissa,
and dear brown Ginger remained a constant and vivid
memory. The call of the South and the voice of the
North were for him a blended speech.
College and seminary a honeymoon beyond seas
with Frances, his boyhood sweetheart and his college
love then three strong years in a growing church in
the suburbs. After that the picture became blurred
and dim, for he never permitted himself to look back
into that chamber of agony.
He remembered how they lifted Frances out of the
wreckage, and how they placed little Lionel on the bank
beside her, but all the rest of it was a whirling night-
mare of dust and broken gear. It was twelve months
before he dared to drive another automobile and three
years before he tried to carry a man's work with a
At thirty Richard Locke answered the call to Old
First "Ready," as he wrote McRae, "to lift with
every ounce that's in me, though, God knows, it will be
STRAWS IN THE CURRENT 47
a lonely lift for me." But when McRae wrote back,
"Marry again," he burned the letter.
His spinster aunt, Kate Winthrop, had been his
solace and friend since the death of his mother when he
was at the Seminary. On his call to Old First she took
her place as a matter of course, the gentle guardian of
the pastor's home.
If it was a "lonely lift" no one ever dreamed it; for
Richard Locke did not wear crepe on his sleeve nor
his heart, either. First Church parsonage became the
center of parish life, both grave and thoughtful, eager
and gay. As for the pastor, the young people believed
in him, the poor of the city loved him, and it was
Rhodin Curtis who said it when his name was proposed
at the Commercial Club "Locke is a man's man."
It is worth recording how Rhodin Curtis made that
discovery. He was not a churchman, but he went once
or twice with Clara to hear the new preacher. He
liked the straightforward speech of the man and some-
thing in the preacher's message nested in his heart.
But one Sunday Clara came home from service with
her lips pressed together. "I'm finished at Old First,"
"What's troubling you, sweetheart?"
"Of all things in the world, Rho! Dr. Locke said
that some of my dearest friends are untruthful!"
"Well, he didn't use exactly that language, but that's
exactly what he implied. Mrs. Kave Rogers was a per-
fect angel afterward, full of gentleness and forgiveness.
But she said it would be better for her to stay away
from church if the minister felt it was his duty to insult
48 THE CENTENARY AT OLD FIRST
some of the members of his congregation. She was
just right, too, and I'm finished at Old First!"
The next morning Rhodin read the outline of Dr.
Locke's sermon in the Gazette the Monday papers
gave the churches liberal space. He had preached
from the text, "If we say that we have no sin, we de-
ceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us." These
words arrested him:
"Sin is the common tragedy of us all. It is not
merely a theory of evil, it is a fact of experience. To
deny its existence and call it an ugly concept of the
mind is the subtlest form of self-deception and self-
deception means that common facts no longer ap-
peal to us. The startling word of the text then be-
comes our menace: 'The truth is not in us.' Moral
degeneracy has begun, even in the midst of culture and
"That was straight talk, Clara," her husband re-
marked at the breakfast table, "and my only criticism
is that Dr. Locke should hand out strong stuff like that
to a bunch of kid-gloved saints. Kave Rogers needed
it all right, but I don't understand why his wife should
be so troubled. She has religion enough for ten ordi-
nary women, though I didn't quite follow her line of
talk when you had that sick headache last week, and
she 'dropped in on you,' as she said. Anyhow, I'll be
glad for you to cut church and go out with me in the
"But I'm not going to 'cut church,' Rho! Mrs.
Rogers has invited me to a lecture in their drawing
room next Thursday evening. Professor Roome, from
Boston, is going to speak on 'Reality,' and if I like it
STRAWS IN THE CURRENT 49
I'm going to join a reading club that meets every
Sunday morning at the Art Institute. You come too,
Rho ; that's a dear !"
"Yes, I think I see myself on Sunday mornings rum-
maging through a lot of notions! I've got 'Reality'
to the limit at the bank I'll leave the 'rummage sales'
for you," and then, as she bridled a little, "Take this,"
and Rhodin Curtis blew a laughing kiss across the
A little later, as she stood beside him in the hall, he
circled her slender waist with his arm and said, almost
coaxingly, "Don't you think, Clara, you would better
reconsider that church proposition? I'm a reprobate
myself, but I feel awfully safe with you sitting by
mother's side at Old First. I can't help thinking of
the future, you know, and especially little Arthur."
Clara's answer left a sting that remained with him
long afterward. "If I'm to be responsible for choos-
ing the religion of the family, then I shall choose the
religion that appeals to my own taste."
Rhodin kissed her with his accustomed gallantry and
left her smiling in the doorway. He waved his hand
as he turned into the avenue, and she never dreamed
that he was swearing under his breath nor that he sat
down at his desk thirty minutes afterward with a
strange depression upon him.
At two o'clock that afternoon Rhodin Curtis pulled
himself together and decided that he needed a tonic.
That meant just one thing, and an hour later he was
sitting on the side lines at South Park, where the
"Wolverines" were scheduled to play their last game
with the "Athletics."
50 THE CENTENARY AT OLD FIRST
He sat moodily watching the practice play before
the game when his interest was suddenly aroused by the
arrival of a keen-faced young Italian whom he recog-
nized as Tony Carrari, the proprietor of a shoe shin-
ing business. His individual stand was near the bank.
He came with an air of importance that was altogether
evident, leading a group of ten or eleven Italian boys.
Richard Locke, in cap and sweater, brought up the rear.
They took two rows of seats in front of Curtis, evi-
dently reserved for them.
"Great business, this, Mr. Curtis," was the pastor's
genial greeting, for already he had a speaking ac-
quaintance with the cashier of the City National.
"Great Caesar ! I should say so, Dr. Locke ! Where
under the stars did you pick up that string of spa-
"Aren't they fine?" was the enthusiastic reply
passing over unnoticed the phrase which he saw by the
flash in Tony's eyes was resented. "This is my first
tryout of our downtown program at Old First. If it
succeeds I'm going to make a proposition to the Board.
Three of these boys are not yet two months out of
Naples, and Tony is the only one who has been here
more than a year."
Just then the umpire called "Play ball!" and two
hours afterward Richard Locke and Rhodin Curtis
walked out of South Park arm in arm, friends and lov-
ers for the years to come. How the thing happened
neither could quite understand, yet both men knew that
an alliance had been signed and sealed.
Curtis lunched the next day with Mr. Gilbert and
tried to explain what had taken place.
STRAWS IN THE CURRENT 51
"You know, Locke got that bunch of little dag
No, I'll never call them that again ! Those little chaps
snuggled up to him like a bunch of brothers, and he
began explaining the game to them in their own
lingo, mark you until you could see the excitement
blazing in their big black eyes. He made them follow
every turn around the bases, and when Joe Peters sent
a fly over left field that brought in two runs, one little
chap stood on the bench and yelled ! That finished me !
I made Tony change seats and took three or four little
fellows who understood a bit of English and put them
next to the fine points of the game. I don't know how
much they got, but I know what I got a jar to my
whole notion of the Italians! I tell you, when I saw
that little chap, two months out of Naples, stand up
on the seat and yell because a preacher had helped him
to understand American baseball, I became a home mis-
sionary on the spot ! Richard Locke can have my vote
for anything he wants in this town."
Three years had passed since the ball game at South
Park, and swift friendship had ripened into strong
affection. It was the calling of strength to strength,
like oak trees at the edge of a forest.
Rhodin Curtis was a graft of many stems Scotch,
Irish, Scandinavian, French "a genuine American,"
he was proud to insist. His family tree had so many
roots to it that he seriously contemplated, he said, a
change of name to "Banyan" that is, he used to say
it until he saw how it discomfited Clara, who was plac-
52 THE CENTENARY AT OLD FIRST
idly proud of her Heustis blood. Clara was to him "a
garden inclosed," the perennial bloom of his affection.
His one ambition was to shut her away from trouble,
and even annoyance.
Rhodin's grandfather he traced his pedigree no
further had been a hardy fisherman among the coves
and inlets of Lake Huron. His father became a boat
builder at Cheboygan, with a blacksmith shop as a side
line. When the boy was sixteen he was placed in
charge of the shop.
One afternoon just before his twentieth birthday he
banked his forge, hung his leather apron on the nail,
and walked into the kitchen where his father was shap-
ing a tiller in front of the fire.
"I'm through, father," he said.
"Why, it ain't four o'clock yet, Rhode."
"I'm through for good ; I'm going to Detroit."
There was no quarrel. Rhodin Curtis made up his
mind before he spoke, and when he spoke it was settled.
To Detroit he went. For three months he was a dock
hand at the wharf until he recognized that he might
better have remained at Cheboygan. Then he sat down
and thought it through. The next day he made appli-
cation for entrance at a commercial school with evening
For the next year his work was cut out for him a
dock hand during the day and a tireless student far
into every night. At the end of the year he left his
"job" on the river front and secured a "position" with
an uptown commission house. His rise was rapid, first
as salesman and then as accountant. At the end of six
years he sat at the manager's desk.
STRAWS IN THE CURRENT 53
His native ability was unusual, yet Rhodin Curtis
had something larger than trained ability: it was an
intuitive knowledge of men and courage to trust his own
judgment even to the point of daring. When he made
an error he did not weaken himself by hesitancy and
self-distrust. He turned his mistakes into assets for
The Detroit house was one of the leading corre-
spondents of the City National Bank, and James Gil-
bert formed a high judgment of the progressive
strength of the young Detroit manager. On his urgent
recommendation Rhodin Curtis was invited to the City
National as assistant cashier.
Within six weeks of his arrival Rhodin knew to a hair
his first year's program, namely, to convince the Board
of Directors that he understood how to create new
business for the bank, and to persuade Clara Heustis
that her happiness was "bound in the bundle of life"
with his own.
At the end of a year the Gazette gave a full column
to "the brilliant wedding last evening at the old Heustis
home on Park Road." The closing paragraph made
Mrs. Heustis glow with happiness :
""Thus one of our oldest and most honored families
confirms the judgment of financial circles throughout
the city, that Rhodin Curtis deserves all the happiness
and the unusual success that have come to him. An-
nouncement is made elsewhere of Mr. Curtis's unani-
mous election as cashier at the City National Bank."
When Richard Locke came to Old First, Rhodin
Curtis was beginning to settle into the staid habits of
the successful man. "I was getting stale," he said,
54 THE CENTENARY AT OLD FIRST
"and that ball game at South Park gave me back my
He positively refused to unite with Locke in any
part of Old First activities, but gave substantial help
in opening a boys' club in the twelfth ward. "It's a
good speculation," he said.
When he further suggested the order of "Boy
Boosters," and offered special inducements to every
member of the club who would open a savings account
at the bank, the pastor called him "our new Franklin."
But Rhodin laughed at him and said, "It's nothing but
my insatiable thirst for money. These savings ac-
counts will mean big business in the years to come, and
big business means big banking. You see, I'm joined
to my idol, Dick, so I advise you to give me up."
And Richard Locke looked at him. "I'll give you
up, Rho, at the end of the ninth inning, not a day
sooner." After Clara's withdrawal Rhodin Curtis
never attended service at Old First, and the pastor
never suggested it. Both men knew the reason why,
and both men honored each other with a man's un-
The reading club at the Art Institute, now increased
to a considerable company, had organized into the
"Church of the Reality," and Clara had become a
charter member. When a building project was an-
nounced Rhodin lifted his wife to an ecstasy of delight
by promptly subscribing a thousand dollars. Mrs.
Kave Rogers proudly announced it at the Woman's
Club, and quietly hinted "No doubt Mr. Curtis is
deeply interested in 'Reality Teaching.' '
And then Miss Winthrop remarked with plain New
STRAWS IN THE CURRENT 55
England candor, "I believe Mr. Curtis would buy Clara
an island in the moon if she wanted it!" It was said
in the Winthrop family that Richard inherited his tact
from his father.
Once in a long while Rhodin Curtis would sit beside
his wife in the beautiful little "Reality" Auditorium,
built like a diminutive Greek temple. But his Sundays
for the most part were spent on the golf links until he
made an unexpected discovery.
He had bitterly resented his boyhood limitations and
keenly felt his lack of education. But having made up
his mind there was no help for it he carried it off with
ill-disguised indifference. He tried to tell himself he
was a "self-made man," and quite independent of
"college curlicues." And then Richard Locke came
into his life.
Guided by an unerring instinct, his new friend talked
to him of books not "bookishly," but as an educated
man always will speak, with natural and easy fellowship
and waited his chance. One morning he dropped in
at the bank and stopped a moment at the cashier's
desk. He was laughing.
"Look here, Curtis, I reckon old Tom Carlyle knew
where the Prussians would get off!" and he opened a
pocket edition of "Heroes" and pointed to a passage
heavily penciled : "There is a Divine Right or else a Di-
abolic Wrong at the heart of every claim, that one man
makes upon another."
"I say, Dick, that's hot stuff, isn't it! I'd like to
get hold of that for half an hour."
"Take it along, Rho, I'm through with it" and
Richard Locke went down the steps smiling.
56 THE CENTENARY AT OLD FIRST
That day Rhodin Curtis learned the high fellowship
of books. He discovered within himself what most
virile men possess an eager appetite for strong and
beautiful expression. It was the beginning of mellow
days, for liberal culture will enter at any open door.
And yet it all came about so naturally that he never
once suspected Carlyle's pocket "Heroes" was a meshed
net dropped dexterously into the current by a skilled
And Richard Locke had his reward. About three
months afterward a messenger boy delivered at Old
First parsonage a bulky parcel. It was two volumes
of "Letters," the life correspondence of Emerson and
There was no mark of identification, but as the
pastor glanced the volumes through, his eye fell on the
initials "R. C." penciled opposite these words they
were part of a letter to Emerson and carried the
heart's cry of the despairing prophet of Chelsea:
"Though a deep dark cleft divides us, yet the rock-
strata, miles deep, unite again and the two souls are
Richard Locke laid the volumes tenderly upon the
table and stretched out his hands. "O God, give him
to me even if the cleft becomes a chasm!"
A chasm? ... a pit!
If men could peer into the future, would they dare
So it was, three years after the ball game at South
Park, that Richard Locke stood beside the cashier's
desk and said
STRAWS IN THE CURRENT 57
"Rho, I need your help ; can you come to our Boys*
Club to-night at eight?"
And so it was, also, that Rhodin Curtis looked at him
with level eyes and said
"What's the game, Richard? Are you playing it
As the two friends turned in at the Commercial Club,
Rhodin faced the preacher square.
"Look here, Dick will the boys' meeting to-night
have anything to do with your Centenary scheme at
Old First? I've heard some of the church people talk-
ing about it and I ought to tell you straight that I'm
not with you" and then with brusque gentleness, "It's
a pity to turn you down !"
The answer came with a flash: "I don't expect to be
There was a shade of annoyance in Rhodin's eyes,
and then his hand gripped Richard Locke's shoulder.
"Come along, Dick, I've a proposition of my own to
make; I need your nerve."
AT THE COMMERCIAL CLUB
" T WISH you were a smoker." Rhodin Curtis pushed
Ji. back his chair and lighted a strong Havana.
It had been a nervous, half-tasted meal, unseasoned
with words, for both men were preoccupied. But
there is a fellowship of silence. Whole-hearted
sympathy does not demand conversation; least of all
will it "make talk." Friendship accepts a confidence
unspoken and is content.
Richard Locke seemed not to hear his friend's re-
mark, but finished his dessert and drank his coffee
while his eyes glanced unquietly across the table. Pres-
ently he spoke
"Rho, there's something troubling you."
Rhodin Curtis smiled into the eyes of his friend.
But, for once, there was no answering smile.
"All right. I admit it, I am troubled. But confess
that you have troubles of your own, my preacher
friend. Now, a good mild 'smoke* would comfort you,
although I confess that this particular brand would tan
a wooden Indian," and Rhodin squared his elbows on
the cloth and inhaled vigorously.
"I'm afraid no brand of 'smoke,' from Walter
Raleigh until now, would quite reach my trouble, Rho."
Instantly the half-consumed cigar was crushed into
the ash tray. "I owe you an apology, Richard, for
AT THE COMMERCIAL CLUB 59
being so casual. I was trying to cover up my own
beastly humor. Please forget it."
"Rho Curtis, when you pushed through my front
door, three years ago, every room in the house was open
to you ; they're open to you now all except one which
you insist shall be kept tight locked, more's the pity !"
and then, with a whimsical smile, moving forward the
ash tray, "Finish your smoke, Rho, I want to talk to
"No, I've had enough, too much ; I smoked two before
breakfast and three after black stogies at that. I'm
as nervous as a hedgehog and twice as ugly," and
Rhodin swallowed a glass of ice water with feverish
"I reckon you've told half the truth, my dear fellow."
"The whole truth, Richard." Rhodin looked into
his plate with a slowly gathering frown, and tapped
impatiently upon the table.
There was a moment of silence and then Richard
Locke spoke with decision.
"I'm a city missionary, Rho, and that means the un-
dertaking of difficult and sometimes dangerous work.
Just now I need your help. First of all, I want you to
interview the cashier of the City National Bank and
convince him that his own safety and the comfort of his
friends require that he shall go with me into the north
woods for a week's fishing. Tell him we'll start Thurs-
day morning at eight-thirty. After you've accom-
plished that, please report and I'll have another job
If the minister of Old First needed new proof of his
friend's constancy it was afforded now. Rhodin's knit
60 THE CENTENARY AT OLD FIRST
brows began to relax and a flickering smile curved his
lips and overspread his face. A long breath seemed to
draw the tenseness from his frame and rest him.
"Dick, you're a brick !" he said, with quick impulsive-
ness. "If 'a week in the woods,' is your text you may
stop right there no need of the sermon; count me a
convert here and now!" and Rhodin drew another
breath that seemed to drink in the ozone of the forest.
Then a soft look came into his eyes and he added :
"What is it? telepathy, mind- reading, or what?
I'm almost superstitious, for, you know, a fishing trip
was the very proposition I had in my own mind when I
spoke to you before lunch ; only I was slow in coming to
it. What made you suggest it?"
"Who can say, Rho ? for certainly I did not have it
in my thought half an hour ago. Personality is a deep
ocean and full of mystery."
"Mystery rather, a shadow land! There are a
dozen puzzles that I want to put to you regular
posers and the north woods will be my inning! I in-
tend to unreel riddles, Mr. Preacher, and troll for
pickerel at the same time."
"All right, Rho, but don't forget I've a few reels of
my own to unwind just to punish you, old fellow, for
not coming to church."
"Fine! and that reminds me of all the 'collections'
I've been missing at Old First. Here's where I make
good, for this entire trip must be at my expense, Dick."
"Not so fast, sir! I'm an easy mark, but not quite
as easy as that! Financing the church and fishing for
bass are quite separate accounts, and I shall not permit
financial transfers it's another name for embezzle-
AT THE COMMERCIAL CLUB 61
ment. We'll divide the cost fifty-fifty, and charge it
as straight 'fun' without any religious slant to it. Let
me warn you against oblique finance, Rho."
For the least fraction of a second a startled look
leaped into Rhodin's eyes ; but it was gone again before
the swiftest camera could have caught it. Indeed, he
was himself unconscious of it as though a silent and
mysterious tenant peered suddenly from a window and
as suddenly vanished. His frank laughter, ingenuous
as a boy's, was sufficient reward for his friend's rally-
ing speech. Richard Locke believed in the gospel of
good cheer and dispensed it, always.
"I say, if you're as clever in finance as you are in
theology, I'll call on you. I need expert help just now
in my own personal affairs."
"At your service, sir: *R. Locke, Preacher and Ac-
countant Life Records Prepared for Audit Office
Hours, A Time When Ye Think Not Charges, All
The startled flash at the window merged again into a
merry glow as Rhodin Curtis caught the swift badinage
and threw it back with
"Great advertising, Dick! You may have my per-
sonal patronage at the time specified"; and then with
droll solemnity, "I'm to pay, I suppose, at the end of
"Strictly in advance, sir! 'Bills Receivable' are
charged as bad debts and thrown out of the account."
"You win ! I'll pay in advance if ever !"
It was play but with a tense underplay that both
men recognized. Richard Locke's homiletic skill was
not reserved for the pulpit.
62 THE CENTENARY AT OLD FIRST
"Seriously, Dick, let's get our trip planned, or some-
thing will be sure to crowd it over. You know, I was
born in the north woods. From the time I was six
years old I trolled and angled and netted in all those
northern lakes. The prospect of trolling again through
Crooked Lake and Crooked River has fairly taken the
crooked temper out of me! Let's start to-morrow;
Brooks can take over my work for a few days. Come
"Impossible, Rho," opening his pocket date book.
"Our next Board meeting, and a critical one for me, will
be on June eleventh two weeks from to-night. I've
got to crowd a month's work into the next fortnight.
That's why I must have a week in the woods !"
"I get you,"
"I'll prepare my Board report, with special Cente-
nary recommendations, while we're north intend to
'try' it on you before presenting it to the Board."
"Poor judgment, Dick, for I don't favor your
"That's my reason," with a straight look.
"All right, Mr. Preacher, I've never doubted your
sportsmanship, even when you lose."
"I'll not lose, Rho." Then he went on.
"There is one item which I dare not neglect ; you see
I've acquired the reputation of being a 'slacker' in or-
dinary social engagements. Aunt Kate Winthrop
gave me solemn warning at breakfast that we are
booked for a reception to-morrow evening at Doctor
Janes's. His daughter is expected home from India and
we are desired to meet her."
"Haven't you seen Elizabeth Janes yet?"
AT THE COMMERCIAL CLUB 63
"No; has she arrived?"
"Reached home yesterday morning. Clara and I
were at the station, with her father and Frank, to meet
"You know her, then?"
"Well, rather! that is, Clara does. They grew up
together and always have been intimate friends. Eliza-
beth was bridesmaid at our wedding, six years ago
three years before you came. It caused a tremendous
stir in their set when she became a missionary. The
old Doctor hardly could bear it."
"I suppose she's like her father, then."
"Not in the least except that she'll stand, even if
she stands alone. Clara says she resembles her mother,
who died when Frank and Elizabeth were children.
She certainly was a beautiful girl."
" 'Was' which means, of course, that she's come
back tattooed with India ink ! I'll be glad to meet her,
for I admire any girl who offers herself as a foreign
missionary. Broken health and marred looks are like
a soldier's scars marks of honor."
"Well, I saw her for only a moment at the station,
but I've a vivid impression that Elizabeth Janes will
pass muster although it was clear enough she's not
the lightsome girl who went out to India."
"The Doctor told me she expected to serve but one
term on the field and is coming home for good. He was
very happy over it."
"Yes, that was the plan when she went away; but
Frank said to me, while we were waiting for the train,
that his sister expects to return next year. Her father
will have to adjust himself to the situation."
64 THE CENTENARY AT OLD FIRST
"Missions is warfare! I have personal memoranda
of more than three hundred missionaries whom I
have met, so I must get busy and make Miss Janes's ac-
quaintance without delay. I've been a student of mis-
sions and missionaries ever since I was in college."
"You certainly will find Miss Janes an interesting
study I might have said a dangerous study, except
that Clara told me last night, after an afternoon at
the Doctor's, that she's engaged to some India mis-
sionary confound him!" and then, as Locke eyed
him with a quizzical look, "I might as well confess,
Richard, that I've had an ulterior interest in Eliza-
beth's return; she's the one woman I had selected for
Old First parsonage and now my one ambition for
you falls like a house of cards."
A quick red flamed up in the minister's cheek and,
receding, left a momentary pallor. But he said noth-
ing, and Rhodin burst out petulantly:
"Forgive me, Dick, I've as much delicacy as a grizzly
bear! only I had set my heart on a great happiness
for you, and every plan of mine goes glimmering. For-
get it, please ; I'll try to be decent even if I must remain
"Didn't I say that every room in the house is wide
open to you, Rho? I am sincerely glad for your gen-
erous thought of me. But you don't understand what
it means to be struck by lightning ! I'm as dead as an
old stump except for a memory that grows sweeter as
it recedes farther into a dim and broken past."
"Richard Locke, you've no right to talk like that!
You're a perfect specimen of 'our manhood's prime
vigor' see how my Browning sticks? and just ready
AT THE COMMERCIAL CLUB 65
for a man's establishment. I call myself young at
thirty-four and I'm a good year your senior. I have
been confident ever since I came to know you that your
man's duty is to marry again O, the devil! mission-
aries always were a bunch of sapheads; I wish I knew
who he was !"
As Rhodin brought his exhortation to this grotesque
conclusion Richard Locke burst into repressed
laughter, so genuine, so free from irritation, that his
friend could not resist the infection of it, and laughed
with him. It is clean sportsmanship that takes no
hurt where a hurt is not intended.
"I'm surely grateful, Rho, that you are the languish-
ing victim of this romance, and not I ! What have you
been reading? positively you talk like 'Jane Eyre'!
It is time for me to revise your courses, my friend.
You'll have to shun fiction and get back to finance."
"O, hang finance ! and cut out comedy" with re-
turning irritation. "I tell you I'm ugly to-day and
Elizabeth Janes is the smallest part of my trouble.
Forget me, please, and talk about the Boys' Club."
"All right, Rho, only I'm glad we're going away for
a week. I didn't get half a vacation last summer, and
here I am with a full car, a rough road ahead of me
and flat tires! I'm going to loaf, and let you fish."
"That's the way I loaf, Dick," with a returning
"By the way," after a moment of silence, "Tony
Carrari was in the bank yesterday to make a transfer
of his savings account. He's off again to Camp
Sherman and likely to be in France within thirty days.
He says he hasn't any near relations and wants the
66 THE CENTENARY AT OLD FIRST
church to have his money in case anything happens to
him. Do you know anything about it?"
"I know all about it in fact, that's the reason I
want you to be at the Club to-night. Tony will be
there doesn't leave till to-morrow. Twenty-three of
the boys are now in khaki. They want the bank to
receive a tithe of their pay from the government and
apply as directed afraid they'll miss their part in
Old First program if they have to send from 'Over
"Afraid they'll miss you certainly have been feed-
ing those boys some strange dope!"
"Dope? that's the one thing I've been able to keep
from them ! I made up my mind three years ago that
there should be at least one group related to the church
with a normal and natural outlook, and that bunch of
Italian boys gave me my opportunity. I've planted,
cultivated, and fairly matured a crop of young folks
who know the healthy heart of religion, without cant
or artifice. They accept life as a stewardship.
They're what I call normal Christians the healthiest
bunch in this town !"
"Do you tell me that those Italian boys actually
tithe their petty earnings ?"
"Every lad of them except half a dozen new mem-
bers ; we won't let the boys begin tithing until they've
taken the club lessons in 'Stewardship Foundations,'
and that requires a month or six weeks. Christian
stewardship is a life business, and the boys are entitled
to a fair start."
"Richard Locke, you may be the prophet of a new
day but I'm desperately afraid you'll be dead and
AT THE COMMERCIAL CLUB 67
buried before ordinary folks understand what you're
"That doesn't worry me," with quiet emphasis ; "the
joy of it is knowing that your foundations won't turn
to chalk and cheese after you're gone!"
Rhodin Curtis gazed gloomily across the table and
Locke added "The fact is 'ordinary folks' are the
only ones who ever will understand what I'm driving at !
Stewardship is too simple for the highbrows and too
straightforward for the double-dealers. Setting apart
a portion of income as the acknowledgment of God's
ownership never troubles 'ordinary folks' unless they
stumble over dead legalism. Young folks accept the
principle of the tithe directly they understand it.
That's why I've had such success with my Italian boys
they didn't have to unlearn anything just ordinary
kids, and keen as whips. They accept God's ownership
as the beginning of religion, and they acknowledge it
as plain, ordinary honesty. It has been a luxury to
"Well, Dick, I'll say this much: financial legalism
never bothers a banker; he's accustomed to acknowl-
"Certainly a practical banker accepts the principles
of stewardship almost by intuition."
Richard Locke's face was full of eagerness, but
Rhodin's gloomy eyes gave back no answering light.
A deep suspiration escaped him, quickly covered by a
frown as though his own thoughts were hateful to him.
Then he spoke.
"Nevertheless, I'm afraid that ordinary men, bank-
ers included, will part company with you at the crucial
68 THE CENTENARY AT OLD FIRST
point, and that your Italian boys will forget the entire
business when they recognize it."
"Let's have it, Rho, your whole honest thought for
Old First Centenary is staked on the Christian in-
terpretation of property and, so far as I can see, the
future of Christianity itself is tied up with Christ's
gospel of stewardship."
"Then, Dick, I'll have to put it to you straight!
Ownership of property, the acknowledgment of it, and
this whole philosophy of yours that you call Steward-
ship, implies a relation between two persons and
that's where your whole statement of the divine owner-
ship falls to the ground, at least as far as the ordinary
man is concerned. Not one man in fifty believes that
God is a 'person,' or, if he does, he has only a dim and
hazy notion of what he means. You can't do business
with a fog-bank! Property means personality, and
you've got to know the person you're dealing with, at
that ! The City National Bank opens no account with
Joe Brockman's astral body, and has no dealings with
Ed Mulford's spiritual aura. We do business with
folks, not phantoms!"
Rhodin's gloomy eyes blazed like a furnace. "O, I
know," he drove ahead, "I know the Christian vocabu-
lary of property 'The earth is the Lord's' '/
brought nothing into this world' 'It is He that giveth
thee power to get wealth,' and the rest of it. I do not
say that men who talk that way are insincere, they
simply are using the traditional language of religion
without any least thought of interpreting it in terms of
the business world. Do you suppose that the ordinary
man, when he draws his pay, or receives his salary, has
AT THE COMMERCIAL CLUB 69
any notion that he is using the property of another
person? Not for a minute not one in a thousand!
No, sir; an honest man just takes what he thinks
honestly belongs to him and does the best he can with
it. If he's a tightwad, he'll squeeze every dollar ; if he's
open handed, he'll loosen up but in any case he'll do
exactly as he pleases. He's the person concerned, and
Richard Locke sat devouring every word, as a
hungry soldier devours an unexpected ration. Rhodin
plunged forward :
"What you say regarding the tithe is absolutely
sound I mean from a banker's standpoint. Owner-
ship must be acknowledged, and the owner tells what
the acknowledgment shall be. Acknowledgment is
what a banker calls the acid test of property it settles
the fundamental question of title. Every banker is
familiar with that, as a principle of finance, and, of
course, interest and rent are its most familiar forms.
So I say again your position is absolutely sound. If
God is the Owner, then he is bound to name his own
basis of acknowledgment. So far as I ever heard, no
one questions that the tenth was anciently ordained
and, I reckon, if there is a God he doesn't change.
Certainly, Christ's gospel of human freedom cannot
alter the universal ethics of property and property
acknowledgment. That's all clear enough to any busi-
ness man. Nevertheless, Dick, the whole thing seems to
me futile and useless except as a biblical jack-in-the-
box for cajoling folks into supporting the church. You
see, I'm not a churchman and can afford to talk!
"The trouble is at the very heart of it divine per-
70 THE CENTENARY AT OLD 'FIRST
sonality. It's like beating the air! It's easy enough
to use a sort of churchy vocabulary and talk of divine
ownership, human stewardship, and the like, but these
words have taken on a new set of meanings. I tell
you most men cannot think of God as a 'person' at all.
They think of God when they do think, which isn't
often! as an ethical ideal, or a principle of truth, or
'something up there' what you will but not a living
person, as you or I are persons."
Still Richard Locke sat eager, leaning across the
little table, while the furnace fire in Rhodin's eyes died
down and left them lusterless and dead.
"I'm a detestable crepe-hanger to talk this way,
Dick, for honestly, I want you to succeed. But you
asked for it straight and I've given it to you straight
as a die! That's why I cannot be with you in your
Centenary scheme. I'm dead sorry, but I'm only tell-
ing you what other men ought to tell you some of
them members of your own church for they think
about it exactly as I do. So cut out the Centenary
stuff ! Preach good, cheery sermons without any 'thus-
saith-the-Lord' ; it annoys folks. Let Old First put up
live stunts for the soldiers and do the base running for
Red Cross and Y. M. C. A. batsmen just as the other
churches are doing. Our present business is to win the
war, and after that well, this old world has wagged
on for some thousands of years and will continue to
wag after our own little tales have wagged to their
As Rhodin Curtis tried to push over his doleful pun
with a forced smile, he turned his eyes toward the
window and never saw how the eagerness in the min-
AT THE COMMERCIAL CLUB 71
ister's face softened into a look of ineffable tenderness.
"Rho" there was a vibrant lift in Locke's voice
that made him look up "I thank you for your faith-
fulness. I wish you could stand in Old First pulpit
and speak those words again! You have named the
heart of our Centenary message God a glorious
Person, eternal, immortal, invisible, yet present, inti-
mate, and real and the whole thrilling message
pointed by a clear understanding of the nature
of personality itself. The significance of human per-
sonality, and therefore of human brotherhood, is deeper
than we yet have penetrated. It roots in God himself.
The clew to it is property, for, just as you have said,
property means personality. To acknowledge the
divine ownership will mean awareness of the Owner. It
was so in the beginning. It ^always must be so while
men live upon the earth. Business and not theology is
leading the revival which shall sweep our generation."
The low tones of the minister's voice pulsed with
suppressed feeling. Rhodin felt the thrill of it, yet
could not fathom its meaning as an eagle might sense
the strange throbbing of a motor car upon a mountain
"Come to our Boys' Club to-night," he added, "and
you'll get a hint of what I mean will you, Rho?"
"Sure, I'll come," and Rhodin had a fleeting sense of
gladness. Then, glancing at his watch, "I must get
back to the mill, now; war finance is an unmerciful
weariness to the fellow who feeds the machine but has
no share in the grist that grinds through."
Richard Locke looked at him. "No share in the
grist !" he repeated ; "why, it's common knowledge that
72 THE CENTENARY AT OLD FIRST
the City National is increasing its resources every
month. It was only yesterday I was reading the re-
port of the directors, showing the ratio of increase dur-
ing the last five years. Are you sure you're not romanc-
ing again, Rho?"
The glint of steel leaped into Rhodin's eyes, a look
that Locke never had seen there before. "Perhaps it
has not occurred to you," with a touch of irony in his
voice, "that a corner grocery might be doing a pros-
perous business while the delivery boy wasn't carrying
home enough wages to pay the rent."
"O, my dear fellow, don't tell me that! Surely the
City National deals generously with its own officers."
"I've nothing to complain of; the directors have
treated me as well as I deserve, and better. The
trouble is the delivery boy is paying too much rent !
wants to live in a big house on the boulevard when he
ought to be content with modest lodgings near the
mill," and Rhodin glanced whimsically at his friend,
who hardly knew how to take him.
"Certainly you live in comfort, Rho, as you're en-
titled to ; and, if you'll permit me to say it, your home
on Park Road is like an exquisite cameo. But no one
ever would accuse you of extravagance except in the
purchase of rare first editions, which I'm wicked enough
Rhodin enjoyed his friend's confusion for a moment,
and then added
"No, I don't mean personal and house expenditure,
though," with a slight shrug, "I'm frank to say it's
costing us too much to live. But I mean certain ven-
tures of which Clara has no knowledge. The fact is
AT THE COMMERCIAL CLUB 73
I've been trying my luck with a 'war bride' or two, and
finding it rather a worrisome business."
"Oho, that's the lay, is it? Where are you inter-
"A turn or two in Chicago wheat, but mostly Co-
"I don't know about the wheat, Rho. Government
is likely to take a hand there, but you can't lose on the
other that is, if you got in on any reasonable basis.
Even an impecunious preacher can tell a good thing
when he sees it. Copper is bound to push upward as
long as the war lasts, and longer. You needn't let
Coordinated Copper worry you."
"O, copper will push upward that's a dead cer-
tainty; and I'm in all right with Coordinated, if I'm
able to hold on ! The mischief is there's a falling mar-
ket ; it simply will not turn. The increased demand for
copper products is not permitted to have its legitimate
effect on stock. I've covered my margins three times
in four months, with a total loss to date of three
"Oh, I intend to hold on I'm not a quitter ! More-
over I had a straight tip this morning from a friend
of mine in Wall Street. I haven't yet decided what
I'll do but maybe the delivery boy will carry home
some big wages one of these days."
As the two friends arose from the table and moved
down the corridor Rhodin lighted another cigar.
"Hold steady, Rho. Your financial judgment has
meant much to the business development of this city;
it won't desert you now."
74 THE CENTENARY AT OLD FIRST
"That's my trouble, Richard," in a low voice as they
approached the lobby. "I don't seem to show as good
judgment in managing my own affairs as I do the
affairs of other men."
"Has it occurred to you," in the same low voice, but
penetrating by its very intensity, "that in the one case
you are conscious of stewardship and in the other case
you are not?"
Rhodin Curtis looked at him intently. "But, Dick"
and then, as they reached the lobby "No matter,
forget about it! ... I suppose the club meets in the
same place over that plumber's shop."
"All right. I'll be there at eight. Shall I call for
you with the car?"
"No, I'm to be there at seven ; have to meet the begin-
ners in stewardship. But you may drop 'round for
McRae, if you will, and bring him with you. He's tak-
ing dinner with me at the parsonage. He wants to meet
our Club Volunteers."
"Fine ! I like Mac. I hear he's going to France."
"Yes ; he handed in his resignation a month ago and
is waiting for his appointment to be confirmed goes
as chaplain in the Expeditionary Forces. He's been
pulling me pretty hard, I can tell you."
"Then you'll be wanting to get home ; wait a minute
and I'll drive you."
"No, I must have a word with the secretary here and
then put in two hours at the church office. Miss Cop-
ley is losing all patience says she can't get my desk
clean in a month. I've a notion to bring back the old
'roll-top' just to take the worry from her face."
AT THE COMMERCIAL CLUB 75
"A 'church expert' with a roll-top desk? Dick,
As he moved toward the elevator Rhodin cast an
imaginary line, and looked back laughing. " 'Truce to
his restless thoughts' !" he quoted. "Here's to Crooked
River and our first two-pound pickerel!" Richard
Locke stood for a moment with a look in his face of
mingled perplexity and gladness.
Ten minues later he left the secretary's office by way
of the reading room, and thence made his way to a more
convenient elevator near the tea room. A young lady
immediately in front of him was moving toward the
grilled door of the elevator shaft, which they reached
together just as the porter swung open the cage. The
minister, bowing slightly, waited for her to enter. She
hesitated and glanced across the corridor. Then, ad-
dressing the porter
"Would you mind holding the car? only a
"I'm never in a hurry, miss; we've passed the rush
hour, so jus' take your time if Dr. Locke don't mind."
The porter's smile was large and benevolent.
"It always is a service, madam, when Americans are
required to pause and take breath." The minister of
Old First was not "a ladies' man"; some said that he
avoided them. But courtesy was born in him, and, his
Aunt Kate Winthrop said, he had a "way" with him.
His speech was answered with a smile and a frank
"Thank you; my father is just inside the tea room
and will be here directly."
76 THE CENTENARY AT OLD FIRST
If Richard Locke had not been wholly occupied with
his own thoughts he would have recognized that the
answer and the bow were the half-friendly, half-formal
response of acquaintanceship, as of one, at least, who
might have known him. But he was perplexed, dis-
turbed, irritated. Rhodin's words at the lunch table
kept repeating themselves in the back part of his mind
"a great happiness for you" "ready for a man's
establishment." . . . He drew himself up with an im-
patient throwing back of his head and a very evident
frown on his face.
His companion, with a slight touch of embarrass-
ment, glanced again toward the tea room. "I'm so
sorry to detain you it must be quite vexing please
do not wait any longer," she said.
The minister flushed. "I assure you, madam, you
were not in my thought" and then, flushing still deep-
er as he realized the brusqueness of his remark, "I mean
you were in no way connected with a passing thought."
Then, recovering himself, with a somewhat forced at-
tempt at pleasantry, "You see, ministers are not
"Nor missionaries, either, Dr. Locke."
Then he looked at her. Ten minutes afterward,
when he tried to recall her appearance, he could remem-
ber nothing but small brown oxfords underneath a
modish skirt and dark brown eyes they would be black
under mazda lights laughing up at him.
"A missionary? I do not ... I mean . . . you
seem to have the advantage of me," he said with genial
greeting. At least those were the actual words that he
enunciated. But his mental ejaculation was positively
AT THE COMMERCIAL CLUB 77
pugnacious "What's the matter with you, man?
Can't you talk without chattering!" and his speaking
face responded to the inward thought.
The brown eyes ceased laughing and looked at him
with quietness. "That need not surprise you; min-
isters are public characters, you know. It was only
yesterday that I . . . O, I'm glad you've come,
father," as Dr Janes emerged from the tea room. "I've
been disarranging Dr. Locke's program."
The gray-haired physician, bowing, turned to the
minister with old-fashioned courtesy. "I am sorry if
I have detained you," he said, "but it is a pleasure to
know that already you have made Elizabeth's acquaint-
"Yes, we were just . . . that is ... I certainly am
glad to meet you, Miss Janes," and Richard Locke be-
came aware of an extended hand which he grasped
cordially. But all that he noticed was the gloves
matched the oxfords perfectly, and the brown eyes
were laughing again.
RHODIN CURTIS was at his desk, shortly before
two o'clock, when Mr. Gilbert stopped and spoke
"Will that loan to King and Kennedy run us a little
short this month, Mr. Curtis?"
"No. Kennedy phoned me a few minutes ago that
they do not wish to take the loan until Saturday.
That will be the first of the month, and over three
hundred thousand of good paper will be in. We can
handle eighty-five thousand for King and Kennedy with
"Will you make it for ninety days, as Kennedy
"Certainly, with the expectation of renewing part of
it for another sixty. I have given Brooks instructions
to have the note ready for Mr. Kennedy's signature on
Saturday morning, and to pass the credit to King and
Kennedy's account. I'll not be here ; Dr. Locke and I
are taking a few days in the north woods before the
hot weather begins."
"Well, I hope you'll have a good time, but don't be
gone for more than a week. This last German drive
is making a ticklish market and we'll need to watch
"Have you noted the late quotations on 'Mexican
MEXICAN PETROLEUM 79
"Rather !" Then the president of the City National
leaned a little nearer Rhodin. "I've wired Rockway
and Company to sell fifty thousand ordinary Penn-
sylvania on my personal account and put it into that
stock. If our charter permitted the buying of foreign
securities, I'd make a five hundred thousand dollar in-
vestment for the bank without a minute's hesitation.
That's my faith in Mexican Petroleum !" and President
Gilbert passed into his private office.
Rhodin smiled knowingly and picked up a letter,
marked "Personal," that was lying on his desk. He
had read it twice already. It was from Passmore, his
former chief at the Detroit commission house and now
cashier of Rockway and Company. It was hardly a
"business letter," but rather a friendly gossip.
NEW YORK, May 25, 1918.
MY DEAR CUBTIS:
You asked me to put you next to a sure thing when it came
along. Well, it's here and it's name is 'Mex. Pete.' If you have
any doubt about it, what do you think of this? your conservative
president at the City National has just wired us to rip out a fifty
thousand block of rock-bottom Pennsylvania and put it into the
light and airy! He says he keenly regrets that he is not able to
make an investment of bank securities, but does this on his own
personal account. And he's dead right too! I didn't know that
Gilbert could see so far ahead ; most conservatives are near-sighted !
They are leery of Mex. Pete because of the Huerta regime and
our own government's dilatory tactics in the Mexican mix-up.
But, all the same, the value is there! we've investigated it to the
last peso. And now is the time to go in. That's not a "tip," that's
a dead certainty if your eyes are not full of the dust stirred up
by the present German drive. The market is hovering at 93. It
has moved up steadily since January, when it stood at 79. I don't
see how it can drop from the present figure. But even if it should,
Mex. Pete will begin to soar as soon as Foch turns the trick north-
east of Paris. The "bears" say he can't do it (pessimism is their
stock in trade!). They say the whole thing will end in German
80 THE CENTENARY AT OLD FIRST
victory, or, just as bad, a negotiated peace. In that case, of course,
I wouldn't care to handle Mex. Pete or any other security that Ger-
man "kultur" is likely to smirch.
But I figure it like this is Uncle Sam in this war or is he not?
If America has lost her punch, then it's all up with Mex. Pete!
But if America and the Allies can handle the situation in France,
then you'll see Mex Pete take the aeroplane route to the sky. Me
for Uncle Sam! I'm ready to gamble my last dollar on the pro-
gram put up (at last !) by the administration at Washington. I've
gone the limit myself, and want my friends to get in with me. If
you think I'm seeing double, ask Gilbert. No one ever accused
him of enthusiasm. My advice is just this: Sell your coat your
shoes and go the limit ! I can protect you for ten days to the
tune of one thousand shares, and can get you in on a margin of
20 per cent. Better make it an even twenty thousand to cover
emergencies. Wire Saturday without fail if O. K.
E. H. PASSMOBE.
Rhodin frowned and bit his pencil. Every dollar of
his available funds was locked up in Coordinated
Copper. It was sure but it was slow, and no ready
market without sacrifice. Gilbert's enthusiasm and
Passmore's letter confirmed his own solid judgment.
For three months he had been confident that Mexican
Petroleum would mean millions to farsighted investors.
But where could he find twenty thousand dollars
unless The dark brows knit together. "I'll do it !"
he muttered, inwardly. "I've always been opposed to
mortgaging the home, but this is different ; I owe it to
Clara and the boy, even if they take the risk with me.
Carberry values the place at forty thousand, and it
will carry sixty per cent without a scratch. He's
offered it twice now within four months. I don't in-
tend to saw wood all my life !" and his jaw set.
He lifted his desk receiver. "'Market' 2848
MEXICAN PETROLEUM 81
Please give me Mr. Carberry Mr. Carberry? Mr.
Curtis speaking, City National I would be glad for
you to step over to the bank at your convenience I
think I'll put over that matter you suggested Yes,
the property on Park Road all right, three o'clock
will do Thanks."
Then Rhodin sent a wire. It was not yet two o'clock
and Wall Street would be doing business for another
hour, counting the difference in time.
E. H. Passmore
With Rockway and Company
Proposition accepted. Margin named will be covered in time
KHAKI AND CLOTH
^-/ Miss Copley turned swiftly. She had just
stepped from the city pavement and was entering the
vestry of Old First. The business offices of the church
were entered from the north side of the ivy-grown
tower, the door of which stood hospitably open.
The voice of the boy shrilled out again and Miss
Copley looked inquiringly toward the tall officer who
stood beside her on the tower steps. But Captain
Janes seemed wholly unconcerned, and kept his eyes on
the mobile face of his companion.
"Soldiers don't yell at their officers, Nicola; they
salute them." The tall officer spoke indeed, but he did
not notice the red-faced boy at all; he was studying a
wisp of amber that clung coyly underneath Miss Cop-
ley's right ear.
Instantly a pair of muddy heels struck together, the
diminutive shoulders of the Boy Scout straightened,
and a grimy hand touched the boyish military hat in a
Miss Copley clapped her hands and smiled raptur-
ously. The boy gazed up at her, framed in the ivied
doorway of the old church, and could think of nothing
but a breathing Madonna. Captain Janes, who never
KHAKI AND CLOTH 88
had been in Italy, had thoughts of his own. However,
he seemed wholly to approve the devotional look in the
eyes of the boy and returned his salute with soldierly
"What do you want to say to me, Nicola?" he in-
"Dr. Locke he tell-it me " began the boy with an-
"Yes, what did Dr. Locke tell you, my boy?" The
officer was smiling now, for his eyes glanced over the
boy's head and encountered that identical gentleman
himself hastening toward the church from the direction
of the Commercial Club, and not fifty feet distant.
"Dr. Locke he tell-it me will Capitano please come-a
da Club to-night, eight off d' clock."
"And what do you learn at the Club, Nicola?" The
Boy Scout stood at attention while the minister of Old
First paused not five feet behind him.
"Dr. Locke he learn-it me: hate-a da lie, love-a da
flag, an' " the musical voice dropped to a note of
wondering reverence "know-a d' God."
The boy whirled in astonishment, and once more the
grimy hand touched the hat rim in respectful salute.
"It pays, Frank, it pays !" Richard Locke grasped
the tall officer's hand heartily and lifted his hat to Miss
Copley "and Nicola Campo is one of our latest
recruits!" Then turning to the boy:
"Where have you been, Nicola?"
"Ah, Pastore, me no find Capitano heem notta
King Ken', not house, not Miss Heuss' find him just-a
84 THE CENTENARY AT OLD FIRST
Miss Copley had vanished into the vestry and Cap-
tain Janes volunteered no comment.
"All right, Nicola, you may go now; be on time to-
night. You have done very well indeed."
Grazia Grace is there more gentle speech than
this to say "I thank you"? An Englishman's muffled
"Q'u" gives forth a foggy impression that he is
courteous at heart but hates the bother of expressing
it. A Frenchman's brisk "Remerciements" is habitual
but quite too like the small change of a conversational
cash register. But an Italian's soft-spoken, full-
voweled "Grazia" will bring the softness of southern
skies to the bleakest tenement; there is unconscious
Christian depth to it.
The boy in khaki stiffened in a parting salute and
clicked with soldier steps across the pavement. The
minister turned to the officer beside him.
"When do you join your company, Frank?"
"I return to camp on Saturday, but the various
units are still in the air. There's no telling just what
will happen except we're likely to sail almost any
day; that much seems certain."
"I would envy you, if I dared."
"Don't say it, Dr. Locke! The nearer I get to
actual military service it has been nothing so far but
a ragged 'get ready' the more I am convinced that
men like you are transforming this war from a scrap
into a sacrament."
Richard Locke said nothing, but looked at him in-
"We think we know what we're fighting for," he
KHAKI AND CLOTH 85
continued, "and I suppose we do. But it's one thing
to wave the flag and talk brave words about democracy,
and quite another to interpret democracy so that the
people can realize the foundation of it. Little Nicola
is learning what the rest of us hardly understand, and"
with sudden emphasis "we've got to get hold of it !"
"You hearten me immensely."
"I intend to ! Miss Copley has been telling me some-
thing of your Centenary program, and I can well un-
derstand why you are having difficulty in putting it
over. I almost wish," glancing through the vestry
door, "that I were staying home to help lift. I think
it's great !"
"I honestly believe that you've lifted a ton in two
minutes and I surely am grateful to Miss Copley for
her splendid cooperation."
"You can count on that, Dr. Locke; Miss Copley is
enthusiastic over 'the Centenary at Old First' ; she has
been pumping me full of it for an hour.
"No wonder Nicola couldn't find you!" laughing.
"By the way, I had the great pleasure of meeting your
sister a few minutes ago; she was at the Commercial
Club with your father."
"So you have met Elizabeth ! and father introduced
you I'm glad of that."
"But I'm not so sure!" laughing again. "I'm
puzzling myself to know whether it was your father
who introduced me or not! However, I feel comfort-
ably certain that I have made your sister's acquaint-
ance, and that is quite sufficient."
"Well, no one but Elizabeth could have made me ask
leave from camp at this time," and Captain Janes's eyes
86 THE CENTENARY AT OLD FIRST
wandered again into the quiet vestry. Then, glancing
at his wrist-watch, "I must be going now you'll be at
the house to-morrow night, of course."
"Yes, and hope to drop in for a greeting beforehand ;
I shall be leaving town Thursday. You'll not overlook
Nicola's message for to-night?"
"I'll be there."
"I'm glad of that ; the boys are going to make a vital
proposition" and then as the two men separated, and
the tall young officer squared himself on the lower step
"I've one grievance, Frank, against Uncle Sam."
"He won't let preachers put on khaki unless they're
with the colors !" and Richard Locke disappeared into
Five minutes afterward Miss Copley had taken her
seat opposite the minister of Old First. A square office
desk, piled with papers, stretched between them. Miss
Miller, clerk and stenographer, sharpened her pencils
at a side table.
"Did we finish the survey of the fourth ward, Miss
"Not quite, but I suggest that we take up these re-
ports from the twelfth. There has been unusual inter-
est in the Italian quarter and I would like to get all our
facts collated. The fourth can wait."
"Right ! move where there's movement !"
"My reaction to that, Dr. Locke, is just this: in-
tensive cultivation is more economical, more thorough,
and therefore more successful than loose extension
possibly can be."
KHAKI AND CLOTH 87
Richard Locke pursed his lips together, but he
"Curious, Miss Copley, isn't it? the missionary in-
stinct is to spread while the teaching instinct is to dig;
both of them, I reckon, must be included in any forward
program of Christianity."
"Well, I say dig, Dr. Locke !"
The minister's laugh rang out merrily. "It's a wise
leader who knows where to place the emphasis. How-
ever, one thing is sure we'll make no mistake if we
complete our survey of the twelfth. Most of our data
is in hand and we can begin at once. Will you please
take some preliminary notes, Miss Miller? . . . There
it goes again! I wish someone would write a booklet
on 'The Ethics of the Telephone. 5 . . . Thank you,
Miss Copley, for answering."
The telephone ceased its clamor and Miss Copley
took down the receiver. A smile dimpled her face and
Richard Locke waited. He was watching her.
"It's cousin Craig," she said. "He'll be here prompt-
ly at five, and says you're to have on your 'seven league
"Which means that he intends to drag me forth on
his famous 'war constitutional' before dinner. All
right, we can cover four blocks of the twelfth before he
gets here. . . . Now, if you please, Miss Miller."
Rose Copley had one pet aversion. She called it her
bete noire for during her first year out of college Miss
Copley never used a simple word if a complex one would
express her meaning. Moreover, if Miss Copley could
choose between an English word and its French equiva-
88 THE CENTENARY AT OLD FIRST
lent, invariably she would choose the French. Formerly
she would have preferred the German, but that was
before the sinking of the Lusitania.
Miss Copley's pet aversion was her name not the
high-bred surname, which was her constant comfort,
but the diminutive Rose "just as though I were a
pudgy flower girl," she complained.
"Educated people ought to have the privilege of
choosing their own names," she insisted at a family
gathering of uncles, aunts, and cousins, to celebrate her
coming of age, "and not be compelled to carry a misfit
that has been wished upon them. 'Margaret' would
have suited me entirely, 'Priscilla' always has dignity,
and 'Catherine Copley' would have been perfectly
adorable! But 'Rose' it makes me feel like a Bo-
hemian gypsy girl rather than an American college
woman" and then Craig McRae, who was her favor-
ite cousin, laughed immoderately and began:
"Pretty Rose . . . charming Rose . . .
I'm in love with my Rosalie!"
which offended her highly.
Nothing ever was finer than the quiet poise with
which Miss Copley had adjusted herself to the pitiful
wrecking of her illusions. After taking her Master's
degree psychology was her major she had spent one
year as tutor in a girls' academy. Her dream was a
doctorate from a German university and a college pro-
fessorship. Staunchly she had stood up for Ger-
many's right to national expansion and to world-
empire, too, if she could achieve it. England had be-
come far too supercilious!
KHAKI AND CLOTH 89
Then came the unspeakable murder in Saint George's
Channel. When it was announced that hundreds of
civilians had gone down with the Lusitania, many of
them women and children, she insisted that it must have
been an accident. When the facts became known,
proving premeditated attack, she tried to justify it
by Hindenburg's laconic "War is war!" but the
words choked her fair round throat and would not
Finally, when with burning cheeks she read of public
rejoicing in German cities, imperial decorations for the
commander of the submarine, and, last of all, bronze
medals to commemorate the infamy, then her woman's
instinct prevailed against her heart's desire and the
German dream passed into the sad country of "broken
things." She did not talk about it her hurt was far
too deep she simply lifted the German ideal from its
secret niche in her thought and left the place of it
empty and void.
The perplexing part came afterward: her ambition
to become a teacher passed out of her life. It was as
though a rude hand had despoiled a beautiful picture
she did not try to repair it she removed it from the
"It's the woman in you," said her cousin Craig.
"Now a man thinks of his career as more or less of
a 'job,' " he continued, "and his professional degree
as a tool to work with. So, every second professional
man, if he can afford the time and the expense, will
manage to secure some sort of post-graduate title. If
the easy Berlin market is closed, he finds a satisfactory
product near at hand finds, indeed, that he has been
90 THE CENTENARY AT OLD FIRST
overlooking a superior article at his very doors. He
secures it, paying for it in time and study about one
third its supposed value, and proceeds to pound at his
"But a woman is married to her career. Her pro-
fessional diploma is like a wedding ring. If it is with-
held, she feels that some shadow is impending, while to
change it for 'another' is a species of disloyalty. So
cheer up, Rose," Craig went on, heartily. "It's better
to find out that you're a splendid woman than to get a
'Ph.D.' and teach psychology."
"But I must do something, Craig," Rose answered,
disconsolately. "I can't sit down and wait for some
Prince Charming to come along and say delightful
things to me !"
"He'll come, Rose. . . . Meantime, this is my
scheme for you : take a year of practical training at the
South Side Settlement I can arrange it for you and
after that something's bound to turn up. You're more
'missionary' than 'schoolma'am,' anyway!"
And so it proved. At the end of six months her
cousin received this exhilarating letter:
"I've made two discoveries, Craig. Psychology must
be mastered in actual field work rather than from text-
books, and I myself react more easily to the child and
adolescent mind than I do to the adult. I am sure I
would succeed as 'social work secretary' in a city
church, a 'downtown' church, of course. If you weren't
smothered in that rich and respectable suburb, I would
come to you, just for a try-out. If you hear of some
opening please let me know."
Then it was that Craig McRae laid a deep and sub-
KHAKI AND CLOTH 91
tie plot. "You've simply got to manage them," he said
to his wife, "and manage them, of course, without their
knowing it. Both of them are blooded thoroughbreds ;
they'll shy at a feather." Then he proceeded.
"Rose is a perfectly glorious woman with a heart of
gold. In plain American speech she loves children and
young folks, and they can't help loving her and that's
exactly what she means by her seven- jointed psycho-
logical reaction to the child and adolescent mind ! But
I daren't tell her so; she thinks I want her to get
married which I do! and she'll run in the opposite
"As for Dickens Locke, he's a perfect paradox!
unbending as a shot-tower and sensitive as the hair
spring of a watch ! I expected he would take a sensible
view and let me talk to him, but he's as elusive as ever.
The minute I come within sight of marriage he vanishes
into thin air. Both of them are equally impossible
when it comes to looking after their own welfare. I'll
have to manage this entire business for them and take
their gratitude afterward."
And so it came to pass that Miss Rose Copley entered
upon her duties as social work secretary at Old First
some six months before the events recorded in these
pages. Craig McRae was a full year in bringing it to
pass, yet his subtle diplomacy could not be discerned at
any point. He had the name of being a church poli-
tician, had Dr. McRae which he hotly resented.
"The church needs practical builders and engineers,"
he said, "to keep the high-browed statesmen from plung-
ing us over the embankment ; I'm an engineer" which
is a dark saying, and needs explaining.
92 THE CENTENARY AT OLD FIRST
When the South Side Settlement invited Mr. Frank
Janes, junior partner of King and Kennedy, to serve
on its Board of Trustees (that was before our declara-
tion of war, when the aforesaid junior partner had no
thought of entering the army), Dr. McRae, pastor of
the important suburban church at L , and chair-
man of the Settlement Committee, was congratulated
on making such a strong nomination. And when Mr.
Frank Janes accepted the nomination, and made him-
self acquainted with the work of the Settlement, it was
natural that he should become interested.
That Mr. Frank Janes should greatly covet a
"social" program for his own church, and should find
the minister of Old First already committed to it, may
be taken as a logical development. And when the new
trustee proceeded to interest the wealthy Mrs. Heustis,
constant in good works, and drove her to the Settle-
ment on several visits of personal inspection, this is
merely a further proof of his clear-headed executive
ability. In all of this Dr. Craig McRae gave open
But when winsome Rose Copley, already called
"little mother" at the Settlement, captured completely
the gentle heart of Mrs. Heustis, and when Old First
Board accepted Mrs. Heustis's offer and invited Miss
Copley to the position of social work secretary, then
the wily McRae spoke dubiously and suggested to his
cousin that perhaps she would have better opportunity
in one of the cities "farther east."
The inevitable result followed. Richard Locke was
in duty bound to care for the needs of his own parish,
and could not permit Mrs. Heustis's offer to lapse.
KHAKI AND CLOTH 93
Therefore he lost no time in convincing Miss Copley
that Old First was ready to provide exceptional oppor-
tunity for the development of children's work, Miss
Copley's own strong specialty. To the invitation of
the Board the pastor added his own powers of per-
sonal persuasion and in this Richard Locke was not a
When he learned that Craig McRae was standing in
the way of his cousin's appointment, he promptly called
that reverend gentleman upon the carpet and proceeded
to puncture his objections in vigorous and not too
clerical English. But all he received for his brusque-
ness was a stiff rejoinder, and the grudging conces-
sion that Rose might do as she pleased he would
not oppose her. The janitor of Old First never under-
stood why that day the dignified minister at L
bestowed upon him a solemn wink as he left the church,
and Dr. Craig McRae did not enlighten him.
Within a month the new social work secretary was
introduced to Old First congregation, and Mrs. Heustis
had taken Rose Copley, glowing and confident, under
her own complete protection.
"You are to be my other daughter," she said, "to
take Clara's room for your very own, and to make this
house your home."
Craig McRae was in high spirits.
"It's better than making love myself," he said to his
wife laughing, "for there hasn't been a hitch from start
"But you haven't seen the 'finish,' Craig; 'the best
laid plans of mice and men' remember I"
"Nonsense, Maggie! The thing can't fail, unless
94 THE CENTENARY AT OLD FIRST
human nature itself takes a complete somersault!
Dickens Locke is slow, but he's a man, every ounce of
him. He feels in honor bound to give Rose every op-
portunity and he'll do it. I know him of old. More-
over, he'll want her to succeed for the sake of the parish
itself, for Rose certainly is a genius with young folks.
Don't you see what follows ?"
"I'm listening" which is the more remarkable when
it is known that Mrs. McRae seldom did that thing.
"They'll be thrown together constantly in congenial
work, 'play-work' you might call it, with similar tastes
and the same ideals and both of them attractive,
single-minded, and human ! Dickens is fond of deep
water, no doubt, and loves to sail alone; but I'll wait
for six months and then hail him. I promise you a
pair of gloves that he'll be sighting another ship !"
"All right, Craig; mauve, please."
At one minute before five Craig McRae, in the field
uniform of an army chaplain, swung up the tower steps
of Old First and pushed unceremoniously through the
The exclamations burst simultaneously from Rose
Copley and Richard Locke, while a diminutive "O!"
escaped the lips of Miss Miller.
"It's perfectly gorgeous, Mac! When did you get
"I've had the uniform for three weeks, but didn't
dare get into it until my appointment was confirmed
from divisional headquarters. The official letter
KHAKI AND CLOTH 95
reached me on the two o'clock delivery, and I was
togged out in full array within fifteen minutes ! Will
I pass, Rose?"
"I just love khaki!" was the enigmatical reply of
Miss Copley as she gathered up her papers from the
The two men struck into a swinging stride as they
left the church, turned from Main into High street,
then took the Circular Park Road toward the suburbs.
"We'll have to make the short circuit this time, Mac.
It's already ten after five, and I must be at the Boys'
Club at seven with a bite of dinner somewhere inter-
"That's all arranged, Dickens; Curtis phoned me
that he would pick us both up at ten minutes before
seven, and Miss Winthrop phoned that dinner would
be served at five minutes past six, on the dot. That
gives us full fifty minutes for a three-mile turn mere
"It's just like Curtis," was the spirited reply; "he
never considers his own convenience when he thinks he
can render a service. He wasn't intending to turn
up until eight."
"I don't know about that, but he told me over the
'phone that he was curious to sample the 'dope' you
were feeding to those Italian boys, and wanted to drop
in at your seven o'clock meeting."
Richard Locke struck his stick upon the pavement
exultingly. "I tell you, Mac, Rho Curtis is a man!
I've never yet known him to dodge an issue ; all he wants
is the facts, and he's ready with his judgment sound,
96 THE CENTENARY AT OLD FIRST
sober, and far-seeing. We were talking of this matter
to-day at lunch, and here he is, without another word,
gathering up his facts. What makes me sick at heart
is that the facts don't seem to appeal to him. He is
plainly interested, and yet, as far as I can see, he's as
removed from the church as ever."
College friendships are in a class by themselves. The
comradeship which bound Richard Locke to Craig
McRae was wholly different from that which cemented
him to Rhodin Curtis. With the latter he was con-
scious of a deep and passionate fellowship, yet he never
would have thought of asking him for the name of his
tailor. The peculiar intimacies of campus, class room,
and "dorm" come only once.
The two friends had reached South Park, and were
walking with somewhat slackened pace along a foot-
path beside the lake, when Richard Locke looked
quizzically at McRae.
"I say, Mac, your officer's outfit turns me quite green
with envy! I'll have to climb into it just to get the
'feel' of it."
"You ought to climb into a uniform of your own ! I
tell you, Dickens, you're making the mistake of your
life. Old First pulpit, or any other American pulpit
these days, is a poor place for a preacher with red
blood in him."
It was a body blow, and Richard Locke winced under
it. His lips pressed close together, but he said nothing.
The words of Captain Frank Janes came back to him
"Men like you are transforming this war from a scrap
into a sacrament."
The close-fitting uniform of Chaplain McRae gave
KHAKI AND CLOTH 97
him even more than his usual assurance, a quality in
which he was by no means deficient. He continued:
"It's the business of a preacher to follow the flag!"
"You mean it's his business to lead, Mac."
Craig McRae was keen. In college he had taken
"high" grades for brilliant scholarship, while Richard
Locke, except in philosophy, never had risen above
"fair." It was his intuitive ability to see to the heart
of things that gave to the latter his place of spiritual
leadership. That was the reason the quick glancing
eyes beneath the officer's cap were now turned full on
"Of course, Dickens, that goes without saying," he
Richard Locke blazed. "Exactly 'that goes with-
out saying !' We preachers constantly assume that the
great fundamentals can be taken for granted, as though
they did not need fresh and living statement, a new
statement, in every generation. What is this war it-
self but the tragedy of the unspoken truth ? Following
the flag is a pitiful substitute for preaching the blood-
red heart of it!"
College friendships know how to take as well as give,
and it was Craig McRae now who felt the drive of
Locke's counter blow. But he took it standing. He
spoke with strength.
"You score, old fellow! I admit the charge. But,
after all, you're simply saying that preachers for a
generation have been fussing over evolution, and verbal
inspiration, and higher criticism, and have left un-
plumbed the depths of judgment and mercy and faith.
There surely has been a dearth of prophets in our day."
98 THE CENTENARY AT OLD FIRST
The gravel crunched underneath their feet as the two
friends rounded the head of the lake and turned for the
"What gets me, Dickens, is how to meet the present
issue. It's too late to reconstruct the tragic facts.
The war is here. As a minister of Christ my business
now is to keep close to the brave fellows who will go
'over the top,' and go over the top with them if I can."
"Have you said it all, Mac?"
"So far as I know, yes."
"Are you sure you're not dodging the real issue ?"
"Dodging? what do you mean?"
" Just this : Has the church itself no place of leader-
ship? Has the preacher no commanding message for
brave men and women who never will see the fields of
France or Flanders? Ministers, there must be for the
thousands 'over there,' but who shall lift up the voice of
prophecy for the millions 'over here' ? My heart leaps
to go with you to the trenches I'm young, unmarried,
unimpeded but, Mac, forgive me, it seems to me like
running away from God's fiercest battle front."
A slow red pushed itself above the khaki collar and
tinged McRae's neck and cheeks.
"Dickens, I'll say to you what I wouldn't admit to
another mortal, what I've hardly admitted to myself
I've got to go to the trenches to keep from falling
down! I've reached the end of my tether at L ."
"I'm giving you the straight truth ! When I'm with
the boys at camp I can pour out every ounce that's in
me. I give them nothing but the commonest old stuff
loyalty, purity, truth but it gets across. The
KHAKI AND CLOTH 99
fellows like it, and, as for me, I know that I'm preaching
a man's free gospel to free men. I breathe deep and
hold my head high. But I never enter my own pulpit
without feeling a lid clamped down on brain and heart."
Richard Locke had taken his friend's arm as they
moved down the path together. McRae went on :
"The only sermons that seem to get anywhere in my
own pulpit are my so-called war sermons, and these
could be packed into two capsules warranted to go
down any American throat *Die for Democracy' and
'Damn the Dutch' ! That's the popular stuff right
now. You can preach it by the yard without disturb-
ing anybody's prejudices, nor even scratching any-
body's gray matter. But no preacher can feed a
church on junk like that that is, for steady diet. I
tell you I'm at the finish! I've gone through every
sermon I've got, reviewed my old lecture notes, and
cluttered my table with every book of the past ten
years that seemed to promise anything at all. But my
own stuff is a despair to me and everything else I've
struck is either stale or superficial. I'm going to the
trenches to find some message that doesn't sound like
pebbles rattling in a drum !"
"That's why I'm staying home, Mac."
"Yes, and that's why you've been an amazement to
me ! I know there's not a yellow streak in you, and yet
you've been willing to stick here and "
"Shame the Cavalier and Puritan fighting stock
that's in my blood! Say it, Mac, that's what you
"No, I won't say it only I wish I could fathom
what's in your mind."
100 THE CENTENARY AT OLD FIRST
"I wish I could fathom it myself ! All I can say is
I'm getting glimpses of a message that thrills me. It's
a new dispensation, it seems to me, of the same old
blessed gospel. This much I know: The war has un-
covered superficiality and men are demanding founda-
tion facts. It's true in politics and business, and it's
bound to be true in religion. That's why your war
sermons 'get across.' They may be fleshed with bunk,
but the bones of them are honest stuff which the people
understand. You can't fool Americans in church or
out! They know what gets to them."
Richard Locke stopped short on the gravel walk
and gripped McRae's shoulder. His voice was vibrant
as he continued speaking.
"I know exactly what you mean when you feel a lid
clamped down on you. I feel it often myself, and, I
tell you, Mac, we are the ones to blame! We don't
interpret the people to themselves. They are in heroic
mood and ready for high daring. We give them 'war,'
and they're with us heart and soul ; then we drop back
into platitudes and they are bored to death. No
wonder we feel the 'lid'! It's reflex action, nothing
more. We are stupid enough to lay a covering of com-
monplace over a blazing fire and the smudge of it falls
on preacher and people alike."
"But it's the same thing, Dickens, when I give them
'Democracy' and the rest of our war talk good stuff
too ! It doesn't seem to go. Nothing gets across but
bayonets and blood, and there's simply no sense in it.
So I'm going where I can get a 'near up' of both of them
and maybe I'll discover what it is the people like."
"Why, Mac, don't you see it already? When we
KHAKI AND CLOTH 101
lift up democracy, or flay the Germans, and think that
this is what the people like, we simply fool ourselves and
mystify them. We don't reach the basal facts at all.
The thing that really thrills them is the heart of
Christ's gospel, which, all unconsciously, we are preach-
ing a stewardship committed unto them and threat-
ened by a cunning and powerful enemy. They're ready
to go through hell-fire to protect their trust!"
"What trust can they have in mind unless it's pointed
out to them?"
"Any trust it doesn't make a bit of difference ! As
a nation, just now, it's democracy. To the individual
it may be anything at all money, property, position,
influence, education. It's the fact of stewardship that
thrills them and not some particular administration of
it. Duty becomes a dull routine without the flaming
glory that lies back of it ! It isn't democracy that men
will die for, but the trust committed unto them- They
have died in other centuries for the king who had en-
trusted to them his honor. The guardianship of a
trust any trust will redeem a soul from hell.
Stewardship, wherever you find it, is the human side of
God's eternal gospel."
"By your own words, then, you ought to be in the
trenches ! The boys over there are ready to suffer for
the trust committed to them."
"Just so the folks at home! It's the same spirit
'over here' that the boys have 'over there.' In fact
they took it with them that's why they went. But
the folks held here at home, who want to go but can't,
do not realize that they too are at the center of the fight
that the same heroic stewardship is demanded here
102 THE CENTENARY AT OLD FIRST
as there ; that spiritual world-issues are to be fought to
a finish right here in American society. It is the one
message that will give the church victorious leadership
in this hour of human need."
The men resumed their swinging stride down the edge
of the lake. Both were engrossed in thought. Pres-
ently Craig McRae spoke again.
"That's a great message, Dickens, but it can be
preached after the war as well as now."
"Wrong! It's a war gospel and must be preached
while the people are awake to the high meaning of
"So that's the reason you're sticking at Old First
when you might be in France to-day."
"It's just this, Mac: If Old First Centenary is able
to put that message over in this city, it will be the
opportunity of a lifetime, and, so far as I am concerned,
the biggest war contribution that I can ever hope to
For five minutes not another word was spoken. The
men had left the Park by the east gate and were now
once more upon the city pavement, nearing the end of
their vigorous "constitutional." The spring and glow
of perfect health were in them both.
"That was great work, Mac ; it still lacks ten minutes
of six. We'll have time for a cold 'shower' before
"Let the shower go this time, Dickens, and slow
<Jown a little. I want to say something."
They dropped into an easy walk and turned into the
KHAKI AND CLOTH 103
quiet court where Old First parsonage still stood in
the midst of the city.
"How long have we been friends, Dickens?"
Richard Locke looked into the strong face beside him
"Fifteen years, Mac, and then some. Why?"
"Long enough to give me something of a friend's
right, at least the right to ask a question don't you
"Go to it, old fellow! I'll answer any conundrum
that you care to put to me that is, if I can. But
don't expect me to tell you what I don't know myself !"
"Perhaps that's the reason you vanish into deep
water whenever I approach a certain well-known topic."
"O, what's the use, Mac !" with a slight touch of irri-
tation. "I know well enough what you have in mind,
and I tell you I'm keeping nothing from you. What
more can I say?"
"You can answer a straight question."
"All right, drive ahead."
"Have you had any thought of marriage? that's
my question, and I think I'm entitled to a friend's frank
For a moment Richard Locke had a sense of resent-
ment and the close-pressed lips became a trifle tense.
"I can't make up an answer just to humor you," he
"And I wont take a 'made up' answer," was McRae's
half -angry retort. "Surely, you can say whether or
not some ship has come within hailing distance, can't
Richard Locke had long since sensed his friend's de-
sire ; how could he otherwise ? Moreover, no sane man
104 THE CENTENARY AT OLD FIRST
could meet Rose Copley day after day and be unmind-
ful of her charm and sweetness. More than once he
had found himself looking at her with this unanswered
question in his mind, Could he come to care for her?
and this companion query, much more to the point:
Would she be honored and glad if it were so?
Yes, the thought of marriage had come to him, but
how could he with any truthfulness affirm that Rose
Copley had come "within hailing distance" ? That very
afternoon he had caught a look in Frank Janes's face
that made him glad for both of them. He dared not
say, even to himself, that he would some day care for
her certainly not if loyalty and friendship were to be
cast into the other balance. And yet the honest desire
of Craig McRae could not lightly be turned aside. He
simply would not answer him, at least not now. Time
and circumstance would show the way out.
"Well, what's the word, Dickens? is there any ship
in sight ?" and McRae laid an affectionate hand upon his
shoulder as they paused at the parsonage steps.
And then, just then, Richard Locke thought he saw
an escape from his friend's close importunity.
"A phantom ship, Mac?" he asked, smiling.
Brown eyes were laughing up at him, and small brown
oxfords were peeping out from under a modish skirt,
while back in the shadow Rhodin Curtis was glowering
like an angry furnace and muttering, "O, the devil! I
wish I knew who he was !"
"If I should say I'd seen a phantom ship, would that
satisfy you, old man?" not caring what he said, or,
rather, caring very much lest he should seem to say
anything at all !
KHAKI AND CLOTH 105
And Craig McRae looked into his laughing eyes, and
laughing answered him.
"Perfectly, Dickens for the present !"
An army uniform covers a multitude of bothers.
Chaplain McRae was dressed in less than three minutes.
When Locke came down stairs five minutes later McRae
was sitting at the telephone in the library.
"Yes, I'll be home to-night after the club meeting.
. . . All right . . . Shall I buy your gloves in the
morning, or will you get them? . . . No, gloves! . . .
g-1-o-v-e-s the mauve pair I promised you six months
ago; don't you remember? . . . Sure! just as I told
you! . . . Good-by!" and McRae hung up the re-
Locke was looking at him quizzically. "Does Mrs.
McRae let you buy her gloves, Mac?"
"On special occasons, Dickens."
CLARA CURTIS SPEAKS THE TRUTH
WHEN Miss Winthrop announced that dinner
would be served at five minutes past six, "on the
dot," Richard Locke knew that at exactly four minutes
past six his straight standing New England aunt would
lay aside her knitting and move toward the dining room.
It was worth the speeding up of towel and brush to meet
her in the living room and lead her to her place at the
head of her well-appointed dinner table.
Miss Winthrop's housekeeping was like her religion
strictly orthodox. If it was a bit angular and un-
bending, it certainly was straightforward and honest.
If at times the minister of Old First grew restless under
his aunt's exact regime, he constantly was grateful for
her watchful care of the parsonage.
" 'Ten minutes to seven' is what Mr. Curtis said,
Richard," remarked Miss Winthrop, as her nephew ad-
justed her chair comfortably for her. Then, after
Grace, "I hope you and our new *chaplain' had a
"Stroll !" answered Craig McRae, laughing. "Dickens
never learned that ancient art ; his long stride and lofty
speech kept me on a keen stretch for fifty minutes."
"I'm afraid both of you prefer the strenuous life,"
continued the gentle spinster. "You should learn to
CLARA CURTIS SPEAKS THE TRUTH 107
choose quiet walks and restful themes after a hard day."
She smiled across the table.
"Well, we did slow down at the end, Miss Winthrop
strolled into the parsonage court like wistful lovers,
talking of 'ships at sea.' Dickens told a painful yarn
all about a 'phantom ship' that he thinks he must
have seen somewhere. He was dreaming in his study,
most likely, when he should have been hard at work,"
and Chaplain McRae applied himself assiduously to his
dinner with grave eyes resting upon his plate. But
there was a faint flicker.
Miss Winthrop glanced quickly across at her nephew.
"Craig's new uniform has lifted him, Aunt Kate," he
"But, Richard," began his aunt, looking at him in-
quiringly. "I don't quite " Then she sat up stiffly,
while a pink glow touched both her smooth cheeks. "I
think you will enjoy some of this currant jelly, Mr.
McRae," she said, quietly.
It was an early dinner on Park Road. Rhodin
Curtis had phoned Clara that he would like to leave the
house soon after six-thirty, as he had an engagement at
seven o'clock. It was now scarcely quarter past, and
Bergith already was bringing in a wide silver tray with
Clara Curtis looked at the rich amber in the crystal
bowl and waited for Bergith to fetch a silver jug filled
to the mouth with creamy custard. Then she smiled.
"I want you to realize the hardships of India mis-
sionaries," she said.
Rhodin watched her with solemn mien. "I've heard
108 THE CENTENARY AT OLD FIRST
of the 'gold of Ophir,' Clara, so cut glass and solid
silver must be a mere circumstance in the luxurious
mission bungalows of the East."
"Have you no eyes for hidden treasure? Red baked
clay would be a dish fit to set before a king if it con-
tained richness such as this! Taste it!" and Clara
raised a tempting spoonful to her lips.
There was a minute or two of rapt silence, and then,
"I think I could endure another term of missionary
hardship with an extra portion of cold custard,
please, to alleviate the suffering. Where did you dis-
cover this particular form of punishment ?"
"Isn't it delicious, Rho? and so simple and whole-
some! Elizabeth says it is their favorite dessert in
North India, and so inexpensive that they feel quite
virtuous in preparing it."
"Pomegranate and apples of Eden, I suppose !"
"Nothing but home dried figs and apricots, simmered
together, and served with plain custard. Elizabeth
gave me the figs little wizened things, but wonderfully
"I thought Elizabeth would be so engrossed in saving
the heathen that she would have no time for the vanities
of the table."
"I'm afraid we know very little of a missionary's
actual work." Clara dipped her dainty finger tips into
a bowl of rose-water beside her plate. "Elizabeth was
telling me that the largest service a missionary can
render is to live a normal life in the midst of the people.
As for fragrant and delicate dishes, she said they were
so common among the natives of India, except among
the very poor, that missionaries had to guard them-
CLARA CURTIS SPEAKS THE TRUTH 109
selves against over indulgence. She reminded me that
the East was advanced in culture long centuries before
we crude people of the West had been lifted out of
"It jars one's self-complacency, doesn't it?"
"I should think so and the Hindus are so religious
too! Indeed, I had quite an argument with Elizabeth
about the wisdom of trying to convert them to
"What did she say?"
"Well," a little impatiently, "something that I don't
believe at all : that the hardness and wickedness of the
Hindu religion is hidden at the heart of it, and does not
appear at first, and that the races of India would
be world-rulers to-day but for the ruin wrought by
their religion in mind and spirit."
"That certainly is an interesting statement."
"O, Elizabeth is interesting she always was! And
now she talks like like a fascinating novel filled with
strange new situations."
"She's returning to India, then, without any
"Yes, as soon as she has kept her promise of remain-
ing at home for one full year Dr. Janes insists on
that. He says he wants a whole year just to look into
her face, then India may have her back again. I don't
wonder, either, for Elizabeth is a perfectly glorious
housekeeper you know she took her mother's place
even when she was in high school. I was with her this
afternoon, and, Rho, it is an utter amazement one
never would suspect that she has been five years in the
heart of Asia. She has such quietness and poise, as
110 THE CENTENARY AT OLD FIRST
though managing an American household were her chief
calling in life."
"That certainly is generous praise, sweetheart, com-
ing from one who knows the art to perfection. What
a pity that Elizabeth is not to remain at home to crown
the love of some great American. I've been disturbed
ever since I learned that she is going back again."
Clara seemed not to hear his words, but sat with the
shadow of a smile upon her lips.
Rhodin watched her wistfully her white throat,
golden hair, her dreamy eyes that looked but saw not ;
and as he watched her his face grew soft with tender-
"Poor Dick !" he sighed half audibly.
Clara started: "Why poor Dick?"
"O, I scarcely know. Richard Locke and I lunched
together to-day. I was urging him to establish a home
of his own, but he did not take very kindly to the
"I always have understood that Dr. Locke's home
life is exceptionally well ordered." Clara spoke with a
shade of formality.
"Yes, yes! Miss Winthrop is as accurate as a
straight-edge, and quite as human. But you know
what I've been looking forward to seeing Elizabeth
in that parsonage. It would be ideal for both of them,
and a blessing for half of the city."
The dreamy eyes of Mrs. Curtis grew watchful, with
a sudden narrowing of the lids. When she spoke there
was a perceptible hardness in her voice. "I hope you
were not indiscreet, Rho," she said.
"I can't possibly imagine, Clara, why you have taken
CLARA CURTIS SPEAKS THE TRUTH 111
such a violent dislike to Richard Locke ! He is the soul
of courtesy, even though it must have wounded him
deeply when you withdrew from the church. However,
that's none of my affair, and I try not to let it bother
me though I confess it does," and Rhodin Curtis
turned impatiently in his chair and lighted a cigar.
Clara's smile was full of sweetness, but her eyes re-
mained watchful. "I am sure Dr. Locke is a very able
man," she said, " and speaks his own convictions. But
a minister's courtesy, or lack of it, is no part of a
minister's doctrine, and hardly need be a subject for
discussion. Surely, I myself have not lacked in cour-
tesy to my husband's friends."
"No, Clara, and I did not mean to suggest it. For-
give me" with a frank look of affection.
"You mustn't be so wedded to Dr. Locke," she
answered; and then, as she observed the jaded look in
his eyes : "You're tired out, Rho ; I wish you could get
away for a fishing trip can't you?"
"That's the very thing I'm planning," he answered
lightly. "Dr. Locke and I are leaving for the north
woods on Thursday morning settled it to-day. We'll
be gone for a full week."
There was a slight lifting of the brows, but all that
Clara said was, "I hope you'll come back rested. Must
you go now?" as her husband rose from the table.
"Not for ten minutes, dear ; I'm to call at the parson-
age to pick up Locke and McRae going to that Boys'
Club in the twelfth ward."
"Most reverend company of martyrs how I envy
you!" laughed Clara as they moved into the library.
Then, while Rhodin paused beside a reading table and
THE CENTENARY AT OLD FIRST
idly turned over the magazines, she shot a quick glance
toward him and added, carelessly, "Of course, you did
not mention Elizabeth in your zeal for Dr. Locke's
"Well, Clara, perhaps I was a trifle indiscreet. It
slipped out before I thought much to Locke's em-
barrassment and my own I'm such a confounded
gaffer, you know. But no harm was done. His inter-
est in Elizabeth is purely professional and missionary
more's the pity. He knows of her engagement."
"Certainly it's no secret, I suppose. I found my-
self in a blind alley and the shortest way out was to
tell him flatly what you told me. My principal annoy-
ance was that Locke seemed wholly unconcerned about
"Her engagement ! I never heard of such absurdity !
What ever possessed you to say such a thing?" and
Clara Curtis tapped upon the rug with her slipper.
Rhodin turned slowly. "It hardly is generous,
Clara, to take me up like this. If Elizabeth's engage-
ment is to be kept secret, why did you not tell me so
yesterday? though a secret engagement seems wholly
out of keeping with the character of Elizabeth Janes."
"Who ever said that Elizabeth was engaged?" a little
There was no answer at least no word was spoken.
But Rhodin Curtis bent on his wife the same keen look
that sometimes wrought confusion when the cashier of
the City National was requested to certify an un-
familiar piece of bank paper.
A heightened color came to Clara's face, but the
CLARA CURTIS SPEAKS THE TRUTH 113
tranquil eyes were wide open and the hard glint of them
had become a faint glimmer in their violet depths. She
dropped gracefully upon a couch.
"I declare, Rho," with a touch of weariness in her
voice and a slight drooping of her shoulders, "it seems
to me you expect to be spoken to in words of one
syllable, or you'll scarcely understand the most ordi-
nary conversation ! 'Two-and-two-make-f our,' 'the cat-
is-on-the-mat' it's all very plain and matter of fact,
but just a trifle tiresome, don't you think?" and Clara's
slipper was tapping upon the rug again.
"But, my dear, this is a serious matter at least
for me. Tell me truly : did you not say yesterday that
Elizabeth was engaged to some India missionary ?"
"Let me see what were we speaking of at that par-
"What difference can that make, Clara? Either you
said it or you did not say it," and Rhodin frowned
"But, Rho, you don't recognize what I mean. If I
am to answer you 'truly,' so that you shall receive the
same impression to-day that you did yesterday then I
must reproduce as nearly as possible the same atmos-
phere. Truth is a composite of many parts and not a
mere fragment." He was watching her.
"O, I wish, Rho, that you could have been with me
on Sunday morning," continued Clara rapturously.
"Professor Roome gave such a wonderful talk on 'The
All-Reality of Truth.' Truth is always whole, you
know, always a pervading one-ness."
"Never mind, my dear," he said, putting on his gloves.
"There's something about this that I don't seem to
114 THE CENTENARY AT OLD FIRST
understand." Then, as they walked into the hall, he
"So I'm to tell Richard Locke that I was mistaken,
after all shall I? And he will be entitled to hold
Elizabeth in America, if he can is that the case, sweet-
"I should think that Dr. Locke has been told quite
enough already! Let him learn a thing or two for
himself if he's so interested."
"But, Clara, I've told him most unequivocally that
Elizabeth is engaged."
"And are you fearful that the good minister is likely
to turn gossip, and spread the interesting item among
his people? In that case tell him, by all means !" The
eyes had narrowed again and the hard glint had come
back to them.
Rhodin straightened. "My dear, I have given Dr.
Locke a piece of misinformation ; it is my duty to cor-
rect the error. Then my responsibility ends."
"Well, Rho," Clara was smiling now, "perhaps
Elizabeth is engaged it may be so. At least, you do
not know that it is not so ! Let well enough alone."
Rhodin looked at her and her eyes fell before his
penetrating gaze. Then he spoke gently, but with a
slight catching of his breath.
"Clara," he said, "you have known from the begin-
ning my long and close friendship with Richard Locke,
and you know perfectly that we talk together in most
intimate familiarity. You have known, for more than
a year, that I have treasured a deep desire that he
would meet and love Elizabeth, and that she would give
him love for love. Did you want Richard Locke to
CLARA CURTIS SPEAKS THE TRUTH 115
believe that Elizabeth was engaged to someone out in
"O, Rho, don't look at me like that you seem so
"I did not mean to be stern with you, Clara, dear."
He put his arm about her, but she held away from him ;
and when he gently turned her face toward him there
was fear, and her lips were trembling.
"Did you, dear?" he repeated softly.
Then she flung her arms about him and hid her face.
"I did not want anything, Rho, only to keep Elizabeth
away from Mortal Error to hold my girl friend for
the Truth and y-you to win you! O, can't you un-
derstand, Rho, the All, the All-One, the All-Real?"
and when Clara lifted eager eyes to her husband's
face the fear had flamed into a mystic zeal.
Rhodin kissed her softly upon the cheek and opened
"I must put on speed or I'll keep them waiting," he
said very gently. "Good-night, Clara. I'm sure to be
late, so do not think of waiting up for me." His ma-
chine was ready at the end of the porch. He sprang
into it and was gone without looking back.
Clara Curtis waited at the door until the rear light
of his automobile had disappeared down the avenue;
then she walked slowly back to the dining room and
stood beside her husband's empty chair.
BEHIND THE BARRICADE
IT still lacked two minutes of seven when Rhodin
Curtis swung his car round Furniki's and silently
drew up at the stair entrance over the shop. Richard
Locke stepped to the pavement followed closely
by Chaplain McRae. Curtis moved with deliberation,
but joined his two friends presently in front of the ill-
lighted doorway. He looked about quizzically.
"So this is little Italy !" he laughed. "And yonder,
I suppose, is your hopeful brood of unfledged Gari-
baldis and D'Annunzios who are to redeem it not to
mention a youthful Marconi or two, a Savonarola, and
even a budding Angelo to make it glorious !"
But Richard Locke paid no heed to Rhodin's banter-
ing speech. His eyes were scanning eagerly a group
of boys some thirty yards farther down the block. Two
of them were in violent altercation and a street fight
was at the spring. The velvet tread of the automobile
had crept upon them and landed the uptown visitors
without attracting so much as a glance. The quarrel
was trigger quick.
"Yo gif-it me back d' dolla', yo beega t'ief ! I seen
him d' first, an' I gotta d' right !"
The glint of drawn daggers was in the dark sullen
eyes of Joe Penito, prize runner of the twelfth ward,
eleven, and small for his age. The sympathy of the
BEHIND THE BARRICADE 117
crowd was with him and there was an instant response
from the close-drawn circle
"Dat's a' stuff, Joe ; an' hoi' him to it you gotta d'
Craig McRae was listening closely. "It sure is an
interesting development on the Italian front, Dickens,"
he said jocosely, "but I'm guessing that your Steward-
ship Study Class is clean forgot and will go glimmering
to-night and I'm almost guessing that the carnal mind
will drive a rather dangerous wedge into your Boy Club
salient hey, Colonel?"
Locke turned on him half fiercely. "Stewardship
isn't the bloom on a peach, Craig; it may mean the
point of a bayonet. Joseph's a good boy and so is
Felix, for that matter, though somewhat of a bully.
It's a money mix-up, that's sure and human as a
Quarterly Conference !"
"Or a directors' meeting," Rhodin chuckled.
"Close in a little," continued Locke; "if we keep in
the shadow the boys won't see us. Perhaps they'll
give us a practical demonstration of 'Stewardship as
she is spoke.' If they don't, so much the worse for my
teaching and I'd rather you two would witness my
failure than any two men living."
"Failure nothing, Dick!" and Rhodin Curtis laid
his hand on Locke's shoulder.
"Anyhow, Rho, I've told the boys that stewardship is
stern stuff for the street it grows soft when it stays in
the study. So come along ; only keep mum !"
The three friends moved cautiously alongside a stack
of steel castings until they found themselves at the very
edge of the group, yet separated from them by a dozen
118 THE CENTENARY AT OLD FIRST
loose foundry crates and boxes that had been piled at
the curb. They could hear and see perfectly, but with
small likelihood of being observed by the excited boys.
"Why, Dick, I know that big fellow," whispered
Curtis as they peered through the open spaces; "his
name is Bani. Did you know that he has a savings
account at the bank?"
"Sure, I know it," in a low undertone; "he's one of
our 'Boosters,' but altogether too keen after money.
Joseph Penito's eyes had flamed from sullen dark to
blazing black. His fists were tight drawn.
"Yo gif-it back d' dolla'! I gotta d' right!" and
his voice quivered with passion.
Felix Bani was the same age as Joseph, but a full
head taller, heavy and strong and "beefy." The leer
in his face was fairly maddening as he drew back his
sleeve and swelled out his biceps. Then, opening his
fingers for one tantalizing moment, he displayed a silver
dollar in his sweaty palm.
"Ya, ya, leetla Joe, yo gotta d' right an' I gotta
Rhodin Curtis choked and put his lips to Locke's ear.
"Lead me to him, Dick, and treat him with becoming
honor! A born capitalist stands before you and ex-
pounds the ethics of ownership. The secretary of the
Stock Exchange couldn't do it a whit better 7 gotta
da mus'!" and Rhodin shook with laughter.
The minister gave him a knowing look, but held up
an admonitory finger. The war beyond the crates had
reached a crisis.
"Ya, ya, leetla Joe!"
BEHIND THE BARRICADE 119
It was too much Joe lowered his head and lunged
with both fists at his burly tormentor.
Chaplain McRae's tense whisper leapt out, wholly
unguarded : "I'll not stand for this, Dickens ; the little
fellow will be mauled stiff," and McRae sprang toward
the edge of the barricade.
But Locke was too quick for him and stopped him
with an old-time gridiron clutch. The chaplain came
down on both knees.
"Don't butt in, Craig; I'm umpiring this game!
Can't you see what's turning?"
Craig McRae pulled himself together, though with a
noticeable squaring of his jaw, and looked through the
crevices of the loosely piled crates. As he did so his
face relaxed and he leaned toward his friend with good
"Your eyes are quicker than mine, old man, and I'll
leave the Italian campaign in your hands."
Locke touched his arm affectionately, and then the
three watchers forgot each other completely they had
become unconscious and unseen members of the very
human group beyond the barricade.
Joseph Penito had no need of the chaplain's friendly
aid, for, just as he lunged forward a big yellow hand-
kerchief was dropped deftly over his eyes, a big,
swarthy hand drew him back into the circle, and a big,
kindly voice inquired humorously:
"W'y you een soocha hurry, Joe? Ees planty time
for maka you' nos' one pan-kack. Eef you waita leetla,
mebbe yo shak' han' weeth him."
"Yo le-me go, Pietro I keel him !"
"Keel him, Joe ? Oh, mebbe not ! He be more good
120 THE CENTENARY AT OLD FIRST
som' day dan eef he croke. Tal ol' Pietro w'y yo gonta
ponch heem," and the big, swarthy hand was removing
the handkerchief and the kindly voice was humming an
Pietro Vecchi was a twelfth ward institution. Two
generations of street boys had looked to him as the
ordained purveyor of life's luxuries. Worthy vendors
had multiplied during the years, but among the children
the tradition held that only Pietro's bananas and pea-
nuts and "weenies" were worth while a tradition care-
fully fostered by Pietro himself.
Richard Locke knew the shrewd old Italian and be-
lieved in him. He had entered into an alliance with
him two years before. It was Pietro's part of the
"beezeness" to keep a kindly eye on all the boys and
"maka beega brag" for the Club. When the parish
priest strenuously had objected, and even threatened,
Pietro swore at him in the mellifluous speech of southern
Italy and requested him to seek a more fervent clime.
Pietro was a socialist.
The reason he liked Richard Locke, he said, was
"baycause ees maka me laugh eenside for talka wit'
heem" a rare tribute to the wholesome flavor of
Nor was Pietro's honorable profit from this alliance
a negligible matter. Mysterious red and blue tickets,
bearing the initials "R. L." in green ink, had become
part of the circulating medium of the twelfth ward. A
blue ticket presented at Pietro's stand by any boy or
girl meant one "banan," and a red ticket was good for
two "banan" or one "baga peanutta" or one "weenie."
Regularly on Saturday mornings Pietro brought his
BEHIND THE BARRICADE
vouchers to First Church parsonage and carried away
their equivalent in cash together with "one granda
gooda feel" under his coarse cotton blouse.
So it came to pass that when Richard Locke saw
Pietro's jovial round face at the edge of the circle, he
knew well that he had with him a watchful ally who at
least would safeguard the bones of Joe Penito. He
waited developments with keen anxiety. More was at
stake than the custody of a silver dollar, and Locke
"Tal-it me, Joe, w'y yo ees gat so mad yo wanta
ponch heem? Ees he call yo 'leetla dago'?"
"He gotta my mon' an' he one beega t'ief," burst
out Joe, seeking to break away from Pietro's restrain-
"Ees notta you' mon' an' eef yo don' shutta you*
mout' pritta queeck I gon' show y'u!" Felix Bani was
fast passing from a teasing to a pugnacious mood.
"Tal-it me, Joe, how longa yo hava da mon' one
day? two day?"
Pietro was used to the boys and knew how their
pockets were lined, almost to a penny. His wheedling
speech was not to be resisted. The watchers behind
the barricade listened intently.
"Me no hava da mon'," answered the boy peevishly ;
"me founda heem jus' now," and Joe weakened a
"Him leetla liar, Pietro, me finda mysal peeckin'
him up mysal." Felix spoke with conscious virtue and
showed the dollar still lying in his hand. The sight
of it brought a covetous gleam into Pietro's eyes and a
glower of rage from Joe.
122 THE CENTENARY AT OLD FIRST
"Heem beega liar, Pietro me finda! Bani no see
da mon' for peeckin' up!" Then the truth came with
a burst of angry tears.
"I seen-it d' dolla' an' am gonna peeckin' him up, an'
dat beega steef he fall-it me down an' peeckin' up d'
dolla' himsal dirta treeck! I gotta d' right!" and
Joseph Penito flashed defiance through his tears.
Rhodin Curtis was shaking again as he placed his
lips close to Locke's ear
"I tell you, Dick, young Bani has the making of a
financial wizard. If you'll let me have him at the bank,
I'll get him ready for Coordinated Copper. Someone
will have to help me get back those lost margins, and
I've an inspiration that Felix Bani will do the job."
Richard Locke paid no heed to his friend's heroic
Pietro Vecchi was smiling broadly. "O' leetla Joe,
ees notta you' dolla', dough mebbe yo seen him d' first
an' Feely, ees notta you', dough mebbe yo peeckin'
him up. Ees makin' nobodda reech, da mon' nobodda
gona tak' heem ! Ees founda een ceety street, da mon',
an' ees makin' reech all-a da peepla."
The social philosophy of old Pietro was illuminating
and its effect instantaneous.
"Dat's 'a stuff!" called out Tony Fetra, who had
just come up with some unsold papers under his arm.
"Yesta'day me finda ten centa on da breedge an'
peeckin' him up, an' bimeby Feel' Bani comin' an' tal
me ees better gon' getta panutta banan da ten centa,
for treet. Smarta keed eh, Bani?"
Felix turned a black look against the new-comer and
moved threateningly toward him. But Tony's speech
BEHIND THE BARRICADE 123
had broken his hold on the crowd and the boys jeered
"Smarta keed, Bani!" they yelled.
Joe saw that his antagonist was bothered, so he
pressed home his claim with a touch of friendly diplo-
"Gif-it me back d' dolla, Feely das 'a boy ! Mebbe
so yo' onla mak' fool weeth me mebbe so. Yo gooda
ondrastan' I gotta d' right, da mon."
Felix recognized that Pietro and the crowd were
against him, so he made a virtue of necessity and met
Joe's friendly diplomacy with a compromise.
"Ees better mebbe eef I gon' gif-it you fafta cent,
"Ees more better eef yo gon' gif-it me back d'
dolla," Joe answered sturdily, but with evident yielding
in his voice.
Pietro Vecchi was listening with alert attention and
his beady black eyes glistened under their shaggy
brows. As for the boys, they saw that a negotiated
peace was about to deprive them of any allied interest
in the matter, a clean loss all round. They turned
with quick intuition to Pietro, umpire in many a street
battle and trusted divider of many a fugitive coin.
"Ees notta dey mon,' Pietro, eh? eef dey finda
heem, eh?" Tony Fetra had become their spokesman.
"Ees already I tal de keeds so, Tony; ees makin'
reech all-a da peepla, da mon'. Dose socialisma gon'
do pritta wel', mebbe," and Pietro looked knowingly to-
ward his stand and turned up his gasoline torch.
"Dat's 'a stuff !" was Tony's quick answer. "Social-
isma gon' be for makin' evrabodda reech, eh, Pietro?"
124 THE CENTENARY AT OLD FIRST
"Sure t'ing pritta soon queeck !" Pietro opened his
peanut roaster and let out a savory whiff.
"Twalve keeds, eh, Feely?" he continued, giving the
roaster a business-like turn of the handle. "Ees all-a
right ! Evrabodda gon' shak' han' ees nobodda gona
gat ponch een da eye. Peanutta, banan, weenie,
chokolat evratheeng gooda for eaten. Socialisma
gon' mak' evrabodda frands. Ees peecken up een ceety
street, da mon', an* ees makin' reech all-a da peepla."
"I really never knew that old Pietro was quite so
smooth," whispered Locke, dubiously, "but he'll treat
the boys square you watch, now !"
"Treat them square, Dick won't he though ! He's
a public benefactor and a Christian steward after my
own heart," answered Curtis.
The subdued whisper could not quite cover up the
sarcasm in Rhodin's voice. Richard Locke recognized
it and was troubled. Perhaps it had been a wretched
mistake to ask his friend to the Club. That miserable
dollar to spoil his coveted plan of exhibiting his boys
at their best!
"Well, Rho," he whispered, "I didn't have the mak-
ing of Pietro; but I give you my word, the boys are
coming on fairly well."
"They're human, Dick. Don't you dare spoil them
with sissy church notions!" and Rhodin Curtis turned
on him with a suppressed laugh.
Downright human the boys were as they crowded
about Pietro's stand. At first Felix Bani demurred
"Ees notta good beezaness, Pietro," he said. "Ees
me, da mon' me an' Joe; finda heem oursal," and
BEHIND THE BARRICADE
then with a quick turn toward his late antagonist,
"Socialisma ees tarn bunk, Joe!"
But Joe was tasting the sweets of popularity and
turned from Felix contemptuously. A dollar treat
for the club and nobody the poorer socialism was all
Felix stood glowering. He hated to see that whole
dollar, "his dollar," turned into peanuts and weenies !
He felt of the City Savings Bank pass-book in his
pocket. One more dollar would bring him well over the
twenty-dollar mark and he could show Dr. Locke and
the boys a total of more than two dollars in his tithe
account. Suddenly the inspiration came to him.
"Ees nobodda mon'," he shouted excitedly. "Ees
belongin' to God, da mon'."
Pietro turned angrily from the "weenies," frying
and sputtering in the pan. "W'y for yo' talka bunk
"Ees notta bunk, Pietro," returned Felix, sturdily.
"Ees gat preenta een da Bibla Dr. Locke ees learna
me; ees learna evra keed; eh, Joe?"
Joe nodded his head in shame-faced assent and the
boys supported him without debate.
The old vendor split a "weenie" with skilled precision.
"Ya, Feely," he said, good naturedly, "keeds not ondra-
stan' w'at gona mak' preenta een da Bibla; yo notta
can tal it me!"
"Sure t'ing," answered Felix contemptuously. "Dr.
Locke ees learna evra keed outa da Bibla; ees preenta
lika dis : 'Da seelvar ees . . . ees . . . ' " but Felix
floundered with his text, while Pietro threw back his
head and his fat cheeks shook with merriment.
126 THE CENTENARY AT OLD FIRST
"Ya w'at I tal yo?" he said.
"Tal-it heera, Joe, or I keeck yo !" broke out Felix,
hotly. "Yo more gooda r'memba dan me da Bibla."
Richard Locke gripped the foundry crate against
which he was leaning as he heard Joe's childish treble
lift the old majestic words of the prophet :
" l Da seelvar eesa mine, an' da golda eesa mine, sait'
de Lord of Hosta.' "
Rhodin Curtis dropped his head for a moment and
did not see the smile suddenly leave the face of old
Pietro. When he looked up again the vendor had
moved to the front of his stand and was speaking
"Yo keeds notta ondrastan' datta talk een da Bibla.
Dr. Locke ees moocha frand to me ees maka heem
laugh eef keeds notta ondrastan' da Bibla! Gif-it me
d' dolla, Feely, an' I queeck tal-it you w'at Dr. Locke
mak' learna de keeds."
But Felix held back his hand. He had a confused
notion that something even yet might save that coveted
dollar from confiscation. He would hold on to it !
Pietro's speech came angrily, like the sputtering of
his own red sausages.
"W'y for you notta gif-it me, Feely, da mon'?
T'ink Pietro peeckin' up weenie peanutta vera long eef
he no standa to beezaness? How I gon' make social-
isma for keeds eef I no gotta d' dolla'? Bah! I show
y'u," and Pietro extracted a piece of money from his
own capacious pocket.
"Look see," holding the silver coin in his swarthy
hand, "I tal-it yo w'at Dr. Locke mak' learna."
The boys pressed close against him, while the gaso-
BEHIND THE BARRICADE 127
line torch shone full on their dark, eager faces. The
watchers behind the barricade peered expectantly, and
Rhodin Curtis did not even think to jest.
"Look see da eagla," began Pietro, holding the coin
close up to the light. "Heem bully beega bird, da
eagla; heem fighta lik' hell sure t'ing! Ees 'Merica,
da eagla, an' ees better so eef Germo an' tarn Turko
looka out, pritta queeck !"
The flashing eyes about him made eloquent response,
and Tony Fetra called out scornfully, "Ya! Pershing
gon' gif-it to 'em, ya betcha!"
"Sure t'ing !" answered Pietro, smiling. Then, turn-
ing the coin upon its obverse and drawing it nearer to
him. "Look see da lady," he said; "ees nama 'Leeb-
erta' an' ees gon' be alia same lik' Onkla Sam.
"Now, Joe," he continued, "you ees sure smarta keed ;
look see w'at ees gat preenta by da lady read moocha
strong for all-a de keeds."
Joe read in a loud, confident voice "Een God we
The old vendor's cheeks were creased in a fat, good-
natured smile. "Ya, ya," he laughed, "I gooda ondra-
stan' datta talk. Dr. Locke mak' learna da keeds alia
same w'at I tal-it yo alia same lik' does socialisma,"
and Pietro spread his legs in familiar street-teacher
fashion and slapped his palm with a stubby index finger.
"Ees moocha seelley peepla een da worl' mak' singin'
prayin' beezaness een da churcha," continued Pietro,
sagely. "Da ees notta beega God up een da sky, lika
does seelley peepla t'ink. Dat ees justa beega bloff."
"Ees notta bloff !" remonstrated Joe, sturdily. "Dr.
Locke himsal' ees gon' mak' preacha een da churcha."
128 THE CENTENARY AT OLD FIRST
"Sure t'ing!" Pietro wagged his head, knowingly.
"Don' I tal-it yo Dr. Locke ees vera smarta man?
Gotta free t'ousan' dolla' evra year for mak' preacha
wit' dose seelley peepla een da churcha."
Richard Locke glanced quickly at the men beside
him and then moved toward the edge of the barricade
old Pietro must be stopped or harm might be done !
But Rhodin Curtis touched his arm restrainingly.
"Hold steady, Dick," he whispered. "I don't think
the old man intends any harm; anyhow, the boys will
wing him. Wait a little longer and see." A cham-
pion already was making answer.
"Dr. Locke mak' learna de Club evra week 'Een
God we trost,' justa so lik' da preenta on d' dolla.'
Ees notta bloff, da Club!" Felix Bani was ready to
fight for the good name of his Club and its director.
"Ya, Bani, yo ees notta ondrastan' !" exclaimed old
Vecchi, angrily, taking up his fork and giving the
"weenies" a quick turn in the pan. "Me notta say da
Club eesa bloff yo ees moocha frash keed!"
Then the broad, good-natured smile came back again.
"Dose Club ees justa keeds," he went on. "Dr.
Locke ees notta learna yo mooch deesa time. Bimeby
he maka good oxsplain da preenta on d' dolla' heem
tal-it yo da granda socialisma."
Pietro waved his fork excitedly and held up the silver
coin. "Look see da lady !" he exclaimed. "Eesa nama
'Leeberta'! Moocha seeley peepla dey t'ink ees beega
God up een da sky same lik' de Jesu dat' eesa croke
two t'ousand year ago. Ees notta Jesu up een da
sky, eesa da Leeberta! Een da Leeberta eesa da
trosta. Ees more better dan d' God, da Leeberta."
BEHIND THE BARRICADE 129
Richard Locke started up angrily. "Fool that I've
been to let him poison my lads !" he muttered. And
then he felt Rhodin's iron grip upon his arm and his
tense whisper in his ears.
"If that Italian devil has been poisoning your kids,
then I suppose you'll have to go and doctor them the
best you can and yet I declare before heaven the old
fool has been giving them the only dope that I can
understand ! Old Pietro's an orthodox saint compared
to me! His fool socialism gives him a pair of legs to
stand on, but I haven't even a worn-out crutch and
damned if I want one ! Go help your kids, Dick. Old
Vecchi won't hurt them. I'll step over and wait for
you in the car."
Locke looked at him. Beads of sweat were standing
on his forehead and his eyes had the look of a man
walking near the edge of a chasm.
"Don't say it, old fellow!" Locke's whisper was
barely audible. "You're my right hand helper, and
the boys swear by you! Stay with me, Rho. I need
"Really, Dick, when you know me as I am?"
"Really, Rho, and because I know you."
"It was a fool experiment," continued Locke, frown-
ing, "and I've got myself to blame for it ! Come along"
touching McRae on the shoulder "as though we
had just driven up and hadn't heard a word."
Craig McRae held up a warning hand. He had been
watching through the barricade.
"Sh-h !" he cautioned, "there's a lot more meal in this
barrel keep quiet!"
The men stopped and peered through the open crates
130 THE CENTENARY AT OLD FIRST
as before. Old Pietro had laid down his fork and was
heaping up a pile of bulky brown sandwiches. The
gasoline torch flamed in a vagrant street breeze and the
steam from the peanut roaster came with a soft
The boys were grouped as before except that Felix
Bani had pushed to the edge of the circle, muttering
resentfully, "Ees notta bloff," and a pinched, white-
faced little fellow, with a crooked back, had crowded in
next to Pietro. He was looking at the sandwiches with
wide hungry eyes, and evidently had just asked a ques-
"Wat eesa dat yo say, Humpy Jeem ?"
Pietro looked down laughing and the big, kindly
voice took on a touch of tenderness. The nickname
was spoken as a rightful appellation, and with no least
suggestion of raillery. The little fellow lifted his eyes
to Pietro's face but Joe Penito took the words out of
"Humpy Jeem gon' say Eesa Leeberta gon' geeva
t'ings w'en keeds maka pray?"
Pietro Vecchi scowled. "Wat for you talka lika
dat, Humpy Jeem? Ees onla beega bloff een da
churcha, dose seengin' prayin' beezaness ! Keeds notta
mak' soocha fool talk lika dat !"
The thin little face grew wistful and the great hungry
eyes looked into Pietro's with utter confidence.
"Heem eesa moocha frand weeth my modda' ees
moocha halp for my modda' dose time she maka pray."
The words came with limpid clearness.
"Eh?" asked Pietro, stolidly, "who eesa heem?"
BEHIND THE BARRICADE 131
Pietro's mouth opened incredulously and then shut
again. The boys pushed close together while the little
fellow's voice rose.
"Me gon be moocha seeck las' mont', Pietro, an' my
modda' gon be moocha seeck hersal. Notta can work
notta no mon' notta notheeng for eaten een da
house. Den, bimeby, I eesa gon cry for hongry, an' my
modda' queeck go by da bed an' maka pray weetha Jesu
for plees geeva som' grob an', sure t'ing! pritta soon
Dr. Locke eesa comin' een da house, an' da Meesa
Copla', an' den dey ees queeck gon maka gooda granda
grob for eaten."
Old Pietro took out the yellow handkerchief and
gave his nose a mighty blow. "Dr. Locke ees moocha
my frand," he said, huskily, "I tal yo w'at! Heem
moocha smarta man 'an gooda ondrastan' dose social-
"Ya, Pietro," and Joe Penito's shrill voice cut like a
whip cord, "Humpy Jeem he tal-it he'sa modda' notta
mak' pray weetha Leeberta, lika dose socialisma, eesa
mak' pray weetha Jesu! eh, Humpy?"
But "Humpy Jeem" paid no heed to him. He was
looking into Pietro's face and his little thin hand
touched the old vendor tenderly. His great black eyes
"Bimeby," the little lad went on as though there had
been no interruption "Bimeby, w'en I ees more strong,
I eesa try mysal' for mak' pray weetha Jesu, lika my
modda', an' I gon tal-it heem for branga peanutta
O' keeds, donta laugh atta me ! an' sure t'ing ! Pietro
gif-it my modda' two baga peanutta, for tak' to Humpy
Jeem baycause Pietro say he eesa seeck leetla keed!"
132 THE CENTENARY AT OLD FIRST
and Humpy Jeem laid his tired head against the fat,
swarthy hand and rested it there.
For a moment there was tense stillness. Pietro stood
motionless as though he did not dare remove his hand,
while Tony Fetra patted little Jeem upon the arm. Joe
Penito's eyes were fixed upon the gasoline torch and his
lips were parted as though he were seeing something
in the vagrant flame. Suddenly he called out
"Ya, Bani, ees better so eef we gif-it d' dolla' to
Humpy Jeem for taka home to he'sa modda', eh,
"Dats 'a stuff!" shouted Tony Fetra jubilantly,
"he'sa modda' ees moocha seeck more dan free week
notta can work, notta no mon'. Gif-it heem d' dolla',
Bani, das 'a boy!"
Felix felt of the silver coin still grasped tightly in his
hand. His heart was touched, but his master passion
still held him. He answered doggedly:
"Eesa balongin' to God, da mon', lak' I tal-it yo.
Ees better so eef we gif-it to Humpy Jeem da ten centa,
lika ees preenta een da Bibla Da tent' shalla be holy-
Dr. Locke ees learna so alia de keeds, eh, Joe?"
Joe opened his mouth for a stinging answer when
something happened. Pietro gathered Humpy Jeem
into his arms while the tears rolled down his oily cheeks.
"Pietro gif-it yo' d' dolla, leetla Jeem," he choked,
"heem gif-it yo faf dolla', tan dolla'! Pietro ees onla
dumb ole dago man, an' notta know not'ings. Mebbe
so bimeby yo try maka pray weetha Jesu for dumb ole
Pietro eh, leetla Jeem?"
As the little fellow snuggled close against the coarse
cotton blouse, a sweaty hand pressed a silver dollar be-
BEHIND THE BARRICADE 133
tween his fingers, and Felix Bani turned and shook
hands with Joe Penito.
Then Pietro placed Humpy Jeem gently upon the
ground and turned briskly to his stand.
"Come along queeck, keeds," he laughed, boisterously,
"ees alia right! Ees ol' Pietro time for treet. Pea-
nutta, banan, weenie, chokolat, halp yoursal! Ees
peecken' up een ceety street, da mon', an ees maka
reech evra keed sure t'ing !"
"Ho, ho," called out a cheery voice, an exultant
voice, "what are you doing with my boys, Pietro?
and who's going to pay for all these 'eats'?" Richard
Locke was sTiaking hands with them two at a time. He
slapped Felix Bani on the back, tousled the hair of Joe
Penito, and hugged Humpy Jeem tenderly to him.
"Ees Pietro gon geeva da treet, Dr. Locke, an*
evra keed halpa himsal ! Mebbe so yo oxscuse de keeds
deesa time for maka late een da Club?"
"Sure thing, Pietro, give them all they can eat ! It's
a Club treat to-night, and here are fifty red tickets!
These gentlemen are my friends, Pietro. They have
come to visit the Club and want to taste your fresh
peanuts. Come on, boys come on, Pietro bring the
'eats' up to the hall. No lesson to-night, justa granda-
beega-peeckneeck ! Come along, Craig come on,
Rho ! There's more meal in this barrel than we'll ever
As the boys crowded up the steep stairway over
Furniki's, Humpy Jeem stumbled and Rhodin Curtis
lifted him in his strong arms and carried him to the
184 THE CENTENARY AT OLD FIRST
top. The boy looked into his face with the quick in-
stinct of childhood.
"Mebbe so I gonna be strong an' beega som' day lika
you mebbe so bimeby you gona mak' pray weetha
Jesu for halp me eh, Meester?"
Rhodin smiled down at him and his lips trembled.
"Mebbe so," he said.
RICHARD LOCKE looked at his watch and was
incredulous ; it was only seven-thirty. That whole
crowded experience behind the barricade had been
packed into twenty minutes ! There was still time for
the Junior Class in Stewardship before the regular
meeting of the Club, and yet he knew perfectly that a
"granda-beega-peeckneeck" was the best possible use
for the remaining half hour.
Pietro laid his last tray from the pushcart on the
Club table and mopped his face with the big yellow
handkerchief. Humpy Jeem was looking at him with
lustrous eyes. Then he turned to Rhodin Curtis, whose
hand he still was holding.
"Heem ees beega frand weetha Jesu'," he said with
his mouth full of "chokalat."
Rhodin looked down at him, smiling. "How do you
know, Jeemy?" he asked.
"Bay cause heem ees notta keeck w'en Jesu' tal-it
heem for be kind weeth Humpy Jeem."
"Has he been kind to you?"
"Sure t'ing!" And there in the dim corner, while
the rest of the boys were laughing and singing in their
glee, Rhodin heard again "leetla Jeem's" story of the
sickness at home, the hunger, the "maka pray weetha
Jesu'," and the sure, swift answer that came through
Richard Locke. And his own restless spirit grew quiet.
136 THE CENTENARY AT OLD FIRST
"Say, Meester," the great brown eyes were fixed
on him questioningly "mebbe so reech peepla som'
time gatta seeck, eh?" And then, as Rhodin remained
silent, he went on with a look of childish penetration:
"Mebbe so dey gatta seeck een dey heart, eh,
Rhodin's answer came with gentleness, but the smile
had faded from his face.
"Mebbe so, Jeemy," he said.
Then the little fellow snuggled close. "Say, Meester,
I tal you w'at I gon' maka pray weetha Jesu' for halp
Rhodin said nothing, but he patted the curly head
The pastor had been standing by the Club table,
laughing and jesting with Pietro and eating peanuts.
Just now he was tapping the table and calling the boys
"Boys, Pietro tells me that you have eaten sixteen
bags of peanuts, twenty-one weenies, thirty bananas,
and every piece of chocolate he has left. I call a halt !"
The broad smile was sufficient comment on the severity
of his discipline.
"All the 'eats' on this table must be kept for the big
fellows," he went on, "and you have just five minutes
to clear up and get the hall ready for them. 'Tention !
There was a shout and the boys fell to it. Banana
skins and peanut shells were whisked into old news-
papers and carried to the alley. The chairs were set
THE SHINERS 137
straight and some semblance of order was given to a
room which, at best, was an untidy and uninviting
apartment. In less than five minutes the play-work
was finished and the pictures of Washington, Mazzini,
Lincoln, Garibaldi, Roosevelt, and Wilson looked down
into the faces of a dozen young Americans.
"Boys, in five minutes more we must give the big
fellows this room. We haven't had our lesson this
week, and I'm glad to excuse you only next week I
want you to be good and ready. What is it about?'*
Joe Penito spoke up with promptness, "Page twenty-
"And what's the subject?"
"How Does a Christian Steward Pray?"
"All right study the questions and answers, and
next week you'll have a good time. Miss Copley will
be leader. Does any boy want to ask a question before
"Eef keeds finda som* mon een da street an* peecken
up, ees dey he's-a mon?"
"Well, Joe, your first business would be to find the
person who lost the money, wouldn't it?"
"Sure t'ing! But eef notta can finda heem den
ees dey he's-a mon ?"
"Who is the Owner of all the silver and all the gold
and all the money, Joe?"
The name was spoken with boyish reverence. Few
boys down under their quiddities and bravado are ir-
reverent at heart.
138 THE CENTENARY AT OLD FIRST
"And how do we make sure that God owns it all, so
that we will remember to use it honestly like good
"We geeven heem back da tent' for he's-a keengdom."
The boys nodded their approval.
"Fine, Joe! Now, just one more question then I
want you to 'beat it' quick! You see the big fellows
are coming in already. Crowd up close to me." The
boys packed in together and Rhodin Curtis sauntered
a little nearer. McRae stood by the door.
"Answer this : When we give a tenth back to God for
his kingdom, does the rest of the money belong to us?
What do you think, Felix?"
Felix Bani turned red and looked toward Humpy
Jeem, who was standing in front of Pietro. With a
cautious movement the little fellow drew from his
pocket the silver dollar that a sweaty hand had pressed
between his fingers only a half-hour before. Then his
eyes filled and he leaned over and took hold of the
big coarse hand.
"Bani gooda ondrastan' datta question, Dr. Locke."
"I'm sure he does; it's an easy one, Jeemy, isn't it?"
Suddenly Felix gripped the thin fingers and turned
on the rest of the boys defiantly. "Ees all balongin' to
God for maka halp da tent' fust, an' den evra tarn
cent !" and he bolted down the stairs.
There was a yell "Bully, Bani!" and the boys
bolted after him with Joe Penito in the lead.
Richard Locke was laughing as he turned toward
"Chaplain," he said, "when you get back from
France, maybe you can tell me how to keep big-boned
THE SHINERS 139
men from using swear words then I'll put the screws
down hard on my boys."
But Chaplain McRae did not answer him.
"Did you invite me to a Christian Boys' Club, Dr.
Locke, or a Wild West Show?" Captain Frank Janes
emerged from the welter of boys on the stairway and
made his way across the room.
"To both, Captain Janes! I should call it 'Wild
West' and therefore 'Christian' though I'm afraid
your good father seriously questions my orthodoxy."
"So did I six months ago, but I'm getting a new
slant on this whole business. Fifteen of the Club are in
my company as clean young Americans as I want to
"Twenty-three of the boys are in khaki, Captain
eight of them under Marlatt in the tenth division.
Twenty-three out of a total membership of thirty ; not
a bad showing! Only four or five of them were able
to get leave, so you see we're in for a small meeting
"It's great, Dickens, positively great!" and Chap-
lain McRae walked across to the table where nine or
ten young fellows were finishing the last tray of Pietro's
Tony Carrari, president of the Club, and three or
four others, were dressed in khaki ; the rest of the group
wore the easy summer negligee of young America.
Pietro's clumsy efforts to make even distribution of his
remaining peanuts brought derisive comment. The
bananas and weenies had disappeared the first round.
"When are you going to be head of the fruit trust,
140 THE CENTENARY AT OLD FIRST
Pietro?" asked Tony as his white teeth tore the shell
from a crisp peanut.
"He's working a corner in 'goobers,' just now,"
laughed Andy Cosmi, who had lived in Atlanta. "He'll
unload pretty soon for the benefit of the socialists."
"He's sure unloading!"
But Pietro grinned knowingly. "Dose socialisma
ees all right, fellas I tal you w'at!" And Rhodin
Curtis, who was lounging against the window, laughed
and called out, "Sure thing, Pietro !"
A hint from Richard Locke, and the presence of
two officers of the army, spurred the president of the
Club to call the meeting promptly to order.
"Let's get down to business, fellows," he said; "I
will ask Chaplain McRae to make the prayer." And
the Chaplain prayed as one man calls to another when
he must have help to bear a heavy load.
"As this is a special meeting, I will ask our Director
to open it in any way he wants." Tony Carrari spoke
with soldierly directness, and DT. Locke followed him
with easy and familiar fellowship.
"You know why this special meeting has been called,
boys," he said, "and I have asked Chaplain McRae,
Captain Janes, and Mr. Curtis to meet with us. It's
too bad that all the fellows can't be here, but we know
what they want and what they think. Suppose we
have the secretary read the resolutions that were
passed at the last full meeting of the Club."
Chris Penito, who was assistant shipping clerk at
King and Kennedy's, took a folded paper from his
pocket and arose with some embarrassment he was not
accustomed to speak in the presence of the junior
THE SHINERS 141
partner of the house, and now a captain in uniform.
He read, without lifting his eyes, the following docu-
ment, phrased after the manner of formal resolutions
as the boys had seen them printed in newspapers.
"WHEREAS, The Italian Boys' Club was started three years ago
and has been a success; and,
"WHEREAS, We do not call ourselves foreigners in this city, but
are true Americans; and,
"WHEREAS, The first members of the Club are not any longer
boys, but young men; therefore,
"Resolved, (1) That the name of our Club shall be changed to
some name more appropriate;
"Resolved, (2) That the members who are in the army shall stick
together and send regular Club letters to the fellows who have got
to stay at home;
"Resolved, (3) That Furniki's Hall is not a good meeting place,
and we hope our director will let us use one of the rooms at his
"Resolved, (4) That we are willing to pay our tithe to Dr.
Locke's church in order to look after our share of the expenses."
"I like that paper," said Rhodin Curtis with an
emphatic jerk of his head. "It's good business. It gets
right to the point, says what it means, and then stops."
Chris Penito took his seat, looking much pleased,
and Andy Cosmi reached over with a handful of
peanuts. But Tony Carrari glanced inquiringly
toward the Director of the Club, who smiled and nodded
his head in reply.
"All right, Mr. President, I'll stand by you." Then
Richard Locke turned toward the visitors, genially,
and yet with a touch of formality. The minister of
Old First never forgot the respect that was due even
to his twelfth-ward boys.
"I think I should explain, gentlemen," he said, "why
142 THE CENTENARY AT OLD FIRST
these resolutions are presented here to-night for your
information, and, I hope, for your indorsement. Ever
since our government declared war it has been perfectly
apparent that the Club has outgrown its name. In
fact, the name was a mistake in the first place. These
lads are as truly American as I am and that's saying
a lot! The Club name, however, is incidental. The
meat of the resolutions is at the end. The implica-
tions, you see, are rather far-reaching.
"At the last full meeting of the Club," continued the
Director, "just before the selective draft took most of
the boys to camp, these resolutions were presented and
passed by unanimous vote. Two of the items require
Board action, so I have waited until our Centenary
plans were well in hand before presenting them. I
wanted you to come here to-night that you might be
able to judge, first hand, what it is the Club has in
mind. Suppose we take up these resolutions one at a
time. Have you decided on your new name, fellows?"
"We can't agree, sir," answered Tony Carrari with
"I don't wonder, Tony a thoroughly good name is
usually born, not made. Some fellow will strike against
the right thing suddenly and it will stick. Let's pass
to the second item. Perhaps Captain Janes will tell
us whether it's against army regulations."
"Certainly not, Dr. Locke, if the boys have in mind
what I suppose they have, a circle of good fellowship
and do not intend a secret organization inside the army.
How about it, Carrari?"
"Sure, sir, that's all we intend," answered Tony,
respectfully, rising to his feet.
THE SHINERS 143
"Then I hope you'll let me be an honorary member,
and attend some of your meetings !"
"What about the Chaplain, fellows, when he happens
to come along?" Craig McRae was looking at the boys
with hearty good will.
"The fellows have already voted, sir, to ask you to
our meetings when you can spare the time."
"So much for law and order !" laughed Locke. "I
suppose, Captain, all this would seem rather raw to an
old school disciplinarian. Thank God, the new Ameri-
can army is built on intelligence and loyalty."
"We must have discipline, you know," replied the
Captain, "but all the same, the officers don't bullyrag
the men eh, Tony?"
Tony saluted and his dark eyes kindled with affec-
tion and admiration.
"I'm going to envy you, Mac, and you, Captain
Janes, when I think of you looking after my boys 'over
there,' " said Locke with heartiness. "My only con-
solation is that, maybe, I'll have things ready for them
when they get back. And that brings us to the third
item. Read it again, Chris, will you, please?"
The secretary picked up the paper and read this
time without the least hesitation or embarrassment.
"Resolved (3) That Furniki's Hall is not a good meeting place,
and we hope our director will let us use one of the rooms at the
"Tony," said Locke, with a touch of anxiety, "sup-
pose you take a minute to explain just what the boys
have in mind; I think you can do it better than I."
"Well, Dr. Locke, it's just this way," began Tony,
144 THE CENTENARY AT OLD FIRST
rising once more. "This here hall seemed dandy and
fine when the Club was first started. The families in
this ward are mostly poor, and us fellows thought it
great business to meet here over Furniki's and have our
own clubroom. Then, after awhile, a good many of us
got to going over to the church on Sunday nights be-
cause we liked Dr. Locke and he always made us
feel at home. Then we found out what a dinky little
room this is!
"After that the draft came, and we got all mixed
up with the fellows from the east side. Those fellows
have got money to burn, but they wear the same uni-
forms we do, and eat the same grub, and have the same
drills. And we used to meet some of them at church
too on Sunday nights. Then we got to feeling ashamed
of our dinky little hall because it never could be made
really clean and decent.
"So we thought we'd just ask Dr. Locke to let us
have our Club in one of those dandy gallery rooms at
the church Michal Vaso, the janitor, told us those
rooms were hardly ever used. We knew it wouldn't be
fair to get the room for nothing, so we thought we'd
all do what two or three of us had been doing just
pay our tithe right over to the church and kind 'a link
up a little closer with Dr. Locke. I guess that's all,
Rhodin Curtis was tapping the arm of his chair in
subdued applause as Tony Carrari took his seat, but
he said nothing.
Captain Janes sat with his lips pursed together.
He was thinking of his straight-standing old father,
the Doctor and wondering. "Do you mean er
THE SHINERS 145
that you want to use the church as a regular clubroom,
Tony?" he asked.
"Not the big church-room, sir just one of those
rooms near the gallery."
The pastor was smiling. "You remember, Captain,
the tower stairway leads directly to them without enter-
ing the auditorium," he said. "I think the boys have
in mind the big room at the northwest corner, the one
directly over the church offices. Isn't that the one,
Tony?" The President of the Club nodded.
"Would the boys er have their 'eats' there and
their Club stunts?" questioned the Captain, a little
anxiously. He could not imagine his father facing the
wild troupe that had dashed down the stairway an hour
"I understood, Captain," interposed Rhodin Curtis,
"that the boys wanted it for a 'clubroom;' and if so,
we can fairly guess the rest of it." Rhodin spoke with
his eyes on the ceiling and a smile of amusement on
The Captain smiled too, but his thoughts were still
with the straight-standing and austere old Doctor, who
would find it difficult to think of Italian street boys
tearing through the tower doorway of historic Old
First and the weenies and the peanuts and
"Some of the boys smoke in the clubroom, don't they,
"Not during meetings, sir ; it's against Rule Three of
the By-Laws and the little fellows da'sn't smoke at
all not till they're eighteen years old." Tony spoke
with the ardor of an advocate. Captain Janes rubbed
his chin in perplexity.
146 THE CENTENARY AT OLD FIRST
"But, anyhow, Tony," he continued, "do you think
it would be quite the thing to smoke er in church?"
"It wouldn't be in the big church-room, sir only
"O, I see !" And yet all that the Captain really saw
was a hurt look in the kind, stern face of the good old
Doctor, his father.
Chaplain McRae had been crossing and uncrossing
his legs. "I'll have to say this much, Captain," he
remarked, uneasily. "The war is going to put this whole
tobacco question right up to the churches with a new
big emphasis. I confess I don't quite see my way
"Except at one point," interrupted Locke, senten-
tiously. "Whatever the churches stand to gain or lose
in this matter, they dare not lose the men ! They'll
have to trust American soldiers to do the right thing
with the gospel of Jesus Christ and the boys will
follow the men."
Rhodin Curtis was laughing. "You preachers and
church people will have to fight the tobacco question
among yourselves the man in the street isn't inter-
ested. But look here, Dick," glancing at a card on
which he had been making some quick figures, "that
tithing proposition means business. That gets hold
of me ! Have you reckoned what it will come to in cold
"Rather!" answered Locke with a keen look, "but I
would like to hear it stated by a practical banker like
"Well, it will make that Board of yours sit up and
take notice I'll guarantee that !" and Rhodin squared
THE SHINERS 147
himself in his chair. "I know the individual savings
accounts of the 'Boosters' and I have a pretty accurate
line on all the others. The boys in the army will not
handle as much money as they used to, but it will be
"The fellows in camp want the bank to receive their
tithe direct from the paymaster. Can that be ar-
ranged, Mr. Curtis?" asked Tony, anxiously.
"Sure, Tony! Just make out the requisition form
in the paymaster's office, then send me a list of the
names ; I'll give it my personal attention. Uncle Sam
makes it easy for soldiers to bank any part of their
pay. The Club tithe from the army will flow in like
government taxes ! As for the fellows at home, they're
getting good, stiff wages. You say there are thirty
"Thirty 'active;' we have a few 'associate' members
who have not yet taken the tither's pledge."
"How many Juniors?"
"Every boy of them and the keenest of the lot !"
"I believe it! Well, it's easy enough to reckon the
probable total that the Club will be turning over to Old
First if this proposition goes through," added Rhodin
with another glance at the card and an added stroke or
two with his pencil. "It will be a minimum of twenty-
one hundred dollars during the next year, and I'm
willing to venture my financial head that it will reach
upwards of twenty-five!"
Locke laughed and the fellows looked at each other
with keen enjoyment. "Chris, give Mr. Curtis the
148 THE CENTENARY AT OLD FIRST
figures that we have worked out for ourselves," said
Tony as his eyes snapped.
twenty-eight hundred and thirty," answered Chris,
promptly. "That's our low estimate, sir, and it's a
dead safe one! The fellows expect to make it an easy
"And they'll do it too on my word as a banker!"
and Rhodin struck the arm of his chair a resounding
blow. Locke listened intently. Then he leaned forward
with a determined look.
"I believe in this Club of yours, Dick," he said. "I
believe in it from the ground up. They ought to have
a decent place for their meetings, and, what's more to
the point, there ought to be a worth-while social center
for all the decent folks in this ward. I'm no church-
man far from it! and yet I'm frank to say I don't
want to see Old First used as a clubhouse. Perhaps
I'll turn round some day and go to church, and I
don't want to smell tobacco smoke in the gallery nor
oyster stews in the basement though the latter is my
own private quarrel with Mrs. Heustis. I'm ready to
back this proposition if this Club of yours gets down
to brass tacks ! If you'll persuade Old First Board to
improve their seventy-foot frontage on Fourth Street
if they'll put up a first class parish house, with wide
open doors for the social needs of this ward, I'll match
the Club's offer dollar for dollar, and guarantee that
the Club tithe won't fall below an even three thousand.
I'm ready to put that in writing any time you want,
and you can count it for a little starter on your
"Three cheers for Mr. Curtis !" called out the Club
THE SHINERS 149
President, excitedly. The ecstatic lift of the boys'
voices brought old Pietro to his feet, who added his own
guttural cheering without understanding in the least
what it was all about.
"Great business, Dickens, great !" exclaimed the
Chaplain, gripping Locke's hand. "The big victory
of your boys isn't going to be in France, after all."
"And I'll guarantee that First Church will put this
thing over," added Captain Janes, "if I have to resign
my commission in the army and make an every-member
canvass on my own account."
But Locke said never a word.
"Can't we decide on a Club name, right now?" asked
Chris Penito, who had been scribbling on his secretary's
pad. "Then all four of our resolutions will be finished."
"And a badge too, fellows !"
It was Andy Cosmi who made this last suggestion.
He had been sitting with the others, keenly listening,
but venturing to take no part in the discussions. The
presence of the three visitors had been somewhat of a
restraint. For several minutes he had been studying
closely the gold pendant which Rhodin Curtis habitually
wore on his broad silk watch fob. Rhodin was a
Mason, though by his own testimony a rather indiffer-
ent one. He wore, however, the jeweled 'ShrinerV
badge that Clara had given to him.
"Why not have a club badge, fellows?" he repeated.
"We could wear it like Mr. Curtis wears his, or on our
coat lapel," and he looked enviously at the swinging
Rhodin glanced down at his badge. "That's a good
stroke, Cosmi," he laughed, "and, while you're about
150 THE CENTENARY AT OLD FIRST
it, you might call yourselves 'The Shiners !' By Jove,
Dick, that wouldn't be a bad name either!" and he
turned toward Locke with genuine enthusiasm.
"Shiners ! Shiners ! That's the stuff, fellows !" Tony
Carrari fairly shouted it. "I'm not ashamed that I
started in as a bootblack, and most of you fellows have
been in the same business. We've been 'shining' on State
Street since we were little kids. We'll try to shine for
Uncle Sam while we're in the army, and we'll sure
enough put a two-in-one polish on the Kaiser! All in
favor of 'Shiners' say Aye !"
Nine throaty yells, buttressed by Pietro's hoarse
bellow, was proof enough that the long-awaited name
had been born in due season.
As the meeting broke up, Locke stood a minute with
Rhodin Curtis while the boys gathered about the two
"You had two inspirations to-night, old man," said
Locke with suppressed eagerness. "That subscription
of yours was great, Rho, positively great! Are you
sure you can afford it?" a little anxiously "but
that name 'Shiners' will be doing business when our
Centenary is forgotten. The Good Spirit has been
with us to-night, as sure as we are men."
But Rhodin did not answer him. He was looking
absently at old Pietro, who was chuckling to himself
and gathering up the trays for his pushcart. He
turned abruptly and crossed over to the table.
"Pietro," he said, thrusting something into his hand,
"look after little Jeemy ; don't let him get sick." He
THE SHINERS 151
did not wait for Pietro's answer, but turned back and
joined the others at the top of the stairs.
The old vendor slowly opened his fingers and looked
at the ten-dollar bill that Rhodin had left with him.
Then he put his head against the pile of trays, "Ya,
leetla Jeem, Pietro ees not forgat!" he choked.
But when he heard the chug of the automobile, he
thrust his head out of the window just as Rhodin was
stepping into his machine.
"Ees all right, Meester Curtiss," he shouted, huskily,
"me good ondrastan' an' ees not forgat; dose social-
isma gon' do pritta tarn wel, mebbe !"
Rhodin looked up. "Sure thing, Pietro !" he
laughed as he released the clutch.
THE VOICE OUT OF THE DESERT
RICHARD LOCKE looked whimsically at his aunt
across the lunch table.
"So you think, do you, that I should make my
'party call' before the 'party'?" he questioned.
"I think, Richard, that you should not neglect a
simple social courtesy," replied the gentle-bred Miss
Winthrop. "If you and Mr. Curtis are leaving town
to-morrow, then by all means you should call at Dr.
Janes's this afternoon. I would go with you, but I
ought to rest, and get ready for this evening's recep-
"My dear Aunt Precision, it shall be done even as
you say, this very afternoon, though I'm frank to tell
you I'd rather take a turn in the twelfth ward with
old Pietro and Humpy Jeem than to sip Ceylon tea in
Dr. Janes's distinguished drawing room and no dis-
respect to the wise and traveled Elizabeth."
"The Dbctor is very proud of his daughter, Richard ;
he scarcely spoke of any other person the last time he
was here. He desires very much that you should meet
"I have met her, Aunt Kate," and Locke related
with much merriment the incident of the young lady in
brown oxfords and modish skirt, at the door of the
THE VOICE OUT OF THE DESERT 153
But he did not tell of Rhodin's sudden outburst at
the Club lunch it seemed quite unnecessary to perplex
his aunt with such idle romancing. Nor did he refer
to Rhodin's abrupt parting, the night before, which he
now recalled with much perturbation.
It had been a silent drive from the twelfth ward.
Captain Janes had driven the Chaplain to the suburbs
and Locke and Rhodin were together. There was no
disposition to talk. When they drew up in front of
the parsonage Rhodin had turned to him and said,
"Just a word, Dick, before you go in."
Locke had waited for Rhodin to speak, and then,
as he continued silent
"Mebbe so leetla Jeem eesa ondrastan' some' t'ings
pritta good eh, my frand?" he said, whimsically, but
with an exultant lift in his voice. And Rhodin had
returned a like whimsical reply: "Mebbe so," he said,
as one speaking out of a cloud, and smiled sadly.
For a moment or two no other word was spoken, and
then Rhodin had turned toward him half fiercely as he
stood with one foot on the tread-board of the auto-
"Dick," he said, "I wanted to add just one more
word to what I was telling you concerning Elizabeth
Janes. The fact is she is not that is, Clara and I
were talking about it this evening after dinner, and
she said you know that Oh forget the whole
business, Dick! Thank you for inviting me to the
Club to-night; they're dandy fellows, and you're do-
ing a great work. Good night!" and the car sprang
forward, leaving Locke at the street curb speechless
154 THE CENTENARY AT OLD FIRST
He recalled it all with much disquiet, and did not
hear his aunt's interested query,
"Do you consider her very attractive, Richard?"
He would have been still more disquieted if he could
have remained with his friend as he drove at speed
limit through Park Road, straight into the country,
three, five, ten miles, and then back again, at a quieter
pace, to the city garage. He did not know he never
knew that Rhodin Curtis was fighting that night for
"She never meant to deceive you : forget it !" Rhodin
had whispered softly to himself.
But the pulsing of his motor seemed like the echo of
a stifled sigh in his own heart.
As the minister of Old First approached Dr. Janes's
red brick mansion the puzzling incidents of the day
before crowded swiftly into his mind. "Does he think
I am a child?" he chafed, and he tried vainly to find
some thoroughfare through the perplexing maze. . . .
Why had Rhodin Curtis made such gratuitous sug-
gestions at the Commercial Club? What was it he had
wanted to say to him the night before? Why had he
left off so abruptly? It was irritating, absurd! . . .
Richard Locke pressed the electric button at the
Doctor's door, then turned an intent look upon the old
1m that stood beside the veranda steps he would for-
get the whole grotesque occurrence !
And then a ripple of laughter cut straight across the
blurred perspective of yesterday and brought a vivid
realization of present things.
THE VOICE OUT OF THE DESERT 155
"Do ministers in America always frown, Dr. Locke?"
"Now, was I frowning, Miss Janes?" he said, gaily,
though with a slight touch of embarrassment. "Then
it must have been because I was seeking to fathom the
mystery of the human mind," and he grasped Eliza-
beth's extended hand and followed her into the old-
fashioned reception hall.
Another ripple of laughter answered him. "We
soon learn better than that in India, Dr. Locke ; other-
wise we should perish of mental suffocation! We find
the human mind so vaguely mysterious that we don't
try to fathom it at all we just gather it in with a
Locke was noticing that Elizabeth's eyes were wells
of mirth when suddenly they changed and he saw in
them a steadfastness and strength that made him for-
get his irritation.
"It surely is kind of you to call so soon," she said,
winsomely, "for you must be overcrowded with parish
and public duties. I am sorry my father cannot be
here until this evening, but two of my very dear friends
will add their welcome to my own." They were at the
door of the drawing room as Elizabeth continued, "Of
course you and Mrs. Curtis are old friends."
Clara Curtis looked up from the gray soldier's sock
that she was knitting and her smile was unusually
cordial. Locke bowed with answering warmth, then
turned toward a tall figure bending over a table in the
south window. Deep-set gray eyes were looking at
him as he heard Elizabeth's words of introduction.
"I want you to meet Mr. Roberts, Dr. Locke;" and
then with a naive turn of her head, "I think I shall have
156 THE CENTENARY AT OLD FIRST
to say that Mr. Roberts is the best friend I have in all
Richard Locke stiffened slightly, and Clara Curtis,
who was familiar with his cordial manner, noticed with
interest that his greeting was somewhat formal and
The stranger acknowledged Elizabeth's introduction
with unfamiliar Old-World dignity. "Miss Janes
honors me, sir, much more than I deserve." His words
came with an exactness of enunciation that suggested a
man long unused to his mother tongue and seeking to
pronounce it with scrupulous precision.
As he lifted his head and took Locke's hand, the
latter observed that the tall form was habitually
stooped and the piercing gray eyes were set in a face of
mobile strength and sweetness. A full, high forehead
was surmounted by thin wisps of sandy hair. A thin,
wiry beard covered the hollow of his cheeks and
straggled underneath the low, open collar. A long
black coat hung loosely from his shoulders and his
bony hands protruded awkwardly from wristbands of
coarse Madras cloth. It was a figure saved from un-
couthness by an indefinable air of dignity and manhood.
"Much more than I deserve," he repeated, and the
smile that rested on Elizabeth was as though a lamp
had been lighted from within. Then he turned again
to the table, where evidently he had been engaged in
removing the tissue wrappings from some object of
"It came through the Customs without a scratch!"
Mr. Roberts was holding up a gold-enameled vase
of unusual design and workmanship. "Miss Janes,"
THE VOICE OUT OF THE DESERT 157
he said, "I hope your father will have as much pleasure
in receiving this trinket as I have had in securing it
and bringing it with me from Bikaneer."
"O how beautiful!" Clara Curtis had risen and was
standing beside Elizabeth as the tall visitor slowly
turned the vase in his hands and displayed it skillfully
from every angle.
"Indeed it is !" exclaimed Elizabeth, "and even more
unique than it is beautiful; they can be obtained only
in the desert far to the south of the Punjab."
Then she turned to Locke with quick impulsiveness.
"I'll let you decide, Dr. Locke, whether I've said more
than Mr. Roberts really deserves!" Her dark eyes
challenged his attention. "I tried and tried to get one
of these rare Bikaneer vases before leaving India, for
father had specially requested it, but I failed utterly.
I happened to speak of my disappointment in the
presence of Mr. Roberts he was leaving India a fort-
night later than I, though by a more direct route
and here a perfect specimen stands on our drawing
room table before I have been able to get my own boxes
unpacked! Now, have I been too extravagant, Dr.
As Elizabeth stood before him with glowing cheeks,
Locke unconsciously moved toward her. Clara Curtis
was watching him with curious interest.
"I should say that Mr. Roberts is to be envied that he
has had opportunity to earn such sincere gratitude,"
and Locke met the challenge in her eyes.
If there was a touch more of color in Elizabeth's
face, as she turned gaily toward Clara, only that ob-
servant friend could have detected it.
158 THE CENTENARY AT OLD FIRST
"I hope that Dr. Locke has not the reputation of
evading straightforward questions." She laughed.
"On the contrary, my dear, Dr. Locke always insists
on the exact and painful truth!" and Clara took up
her knitting with a quiet archness that did not escape
the minister's attention. He was turning toward her
in good-natured repartee when the precisely spoken
words of Mr. Roberts interrupted him.
"You have made excellent reply, sir; to give her
pleasure has been my great delight. Many in India
share with me the high honor of Miss Janes's regard."
Richard Locke turned toward him almost bois-
terously. "I am sure you are right, sir !" he said, and
took the large bony hand again in his enthusiastic
grasp. And then "I don't think I ever saw a vase
of such peculiar workmanship," and he reached toward
it with impulsive haste.
Perhaps he did not measure the distance accurately,
perhaps he was unconsciously elated, perhaps the vase
was resting perilously near the edge in any case the
mere touch of Locke's fingers sent it lightly over the
side of the table. It fell against a mahogany rocker
with an ominous thud and then rolled into the middle
of the room.
Clara Curtis looked up with a slight gasp, while
Locke uttered an exclamation of distress "O, Miss
Janes, what have I done !" and stood irresolute.
But Elizabeth was laughing merrily. "It is too
bad to give you such a start; I should have explained
that a Bikaneer vase could not be injured if you
dropped it from the housetop!" and she picked it
deftly from the floor. "Lift it," she said.
"O, Miss Janes, what have I done!"
THE VOICE OUT OF THE DESERT 159
Locke received it cautiously and was surprised to
find it resting in his hand like a cup of cardboard. He
turned it over curiously.
"It is a commentary on the mind of the Indian
people, Dr. Locke."
The words of Mr. Roberts came more smoothly than
before and with less effort at slow precision. The
luminous smile was lighting his face again. Locke
"The mind of India reveres beauty," he said, "but
scarcely can it understand beauty apart from use as
a costly tomb, a jeweled temple, or a carved household
"For instance," turning to a bowl of fresh cut roses
that filled the room with their pervasive sweetness, "one
will find lotus blossoms or clusters of fragrant
oleander in an Indian home, but always as a symbol of
worship. An Indian woman would not think of bring-
ing home cut flowers for the sake of their beauty
and sweetness, and the sweet shrubs growing at her
door are to protect her and her children against the
'evil eye.' Even the gold and silver ornaments of the
people are really a convenient bank of deposit to hold
their surplus wealth or petty savings."
He took the embossed vase from Elizabeth and held
it in his capacious hands as he continued, gravely :
"Now, this vessel is not intended as an ornament at
all ; it is the traveler's constant necessity in all those
desert sands south of the Sutlej. In it he carries a
day's supply of water, or a week's supply of precious
butter-fat. Nor is it a fragile thing, as you feared
when it fell from the table ; it is fashioned of the tough-
160 THE CENTENARY AT OLD FIRST
est camel skin so that it may swing loosely from the
shoulder and bear hard usage. For many centuries
the princes of Bikaneer have announced their rank and
displayed their wealth by using elaborate camel-skin
vessels such as this, richly embossed with gold and
sometimes set with rubies."
As the tall figure stooped over the table and carefully
replaced the uninjured vase, Locke turned toward
Elizabeth with eager words.
"Mr. Roberts certainly knows the gentle art of
friendship, Miss Janes, and I want to express my own
sincere gratitude, along with yours."
"O splendid, Dr. Locke you really have made
amends! And now," as the maid entered with a wide
malacca tray, "you shall be rewarded with a cup of
real Koh-i-noor from the hills of South India."
The entrance of the tray brought an easy social
turn to the conversation. While Elizabeth deftly pre-
pared the tea Mr. Roberts showed himself skillful in
dividing a spicy nut cake into thin, tempting slices.
Locke responded to an engaging smile from Mrs.
Curtis and seated himself beside her on the wide daven-
As Clara laid aside her half -finished knitting and ac-
cepted a cup of the fragrant beverage, her eyes shone
with unconcealed admiration.
"How I envy you that Oriental tray, Elizabeth, and
these sheer Lucknow lapcloths! Your tea service
seems wholly inexpensive, and yet everything about it
is so exquisitely suggestive it breathes an atmosphere
of soft Indian repose even while the tea is brewing."
Locke knew that Elizabeth's answer would come with
THE VOICE OUT OF THE DESERT 161
low rippling laughter indeed, he found himself expect-
ing it, and laughing with her in sympathy.
"Thank you, Clara," she said, "but I'm afraid your
theory of a suggestive and sympathetic 'atmosphere'
would suffer a severe shock if this same cane-covered
kettle should brew some of the abominations that I
have tasted in India. The tea itself is the secret;
selected Koh-i-noor is rather different from bazaar
"Nevertheless, Miss Elizabeth, bazaar sweepings
might make a cup of ambrosia for some weary pilgrim
who never had tasted the delights of Koh-i-noor. I'm
thinking that Mrs. Curtis is more than half right, for
I have found that 'atmosphere' is another name for
'life.' ' The deep-set eyes of Mr. Roberts were fixed
on Clara with kindly penetration, and his words, no
longer halting, came with smooth and flowing cadence.
Clara flushed with pleasure. "O thank you, Mr.
Roberts ! I think it is wonderful how those old Indian
sages were able to forget their outward circumstances
and live at the hidden heart of things. If we were able
to do that, poor tea, or no tea at all, would be a matter
of indifference to us. India must be perfectly fas-
The penetrating glance still rested upon her and the
voice was exceedingly gentle. "It is good to hear you
speak so generously, Mrs. Curtis, of the land and
people that I love so well," he said.
"O, indeed, I'm truly fond of those unworldly old
pundits who seem so lost in mystic meditation!" And
then Clara looked up with a quizzical smile. "I really
suppose they are so indifferent to what we call comfort
162 THE CENTENARY AT OLD FIRST
and discomfort that they would quite appreciate the
old-fashioned hymn that mother still insists on sing-
ing the one, you know, that says 'December's as
pleasant as May!' Am I not right, Mr. Roberts?"
and Clara's smile was full of friendliness.
There was a gleam of mirth in the deep gray eyes.
"Hardly, Mrs. Curtis, for December in India is mild
and balmy, while May is tortured with the hot driving
winds; an Indian poet would have turned that line
right about." Then the mirthful gleam faded and he
was searching Clara's face again, as if her words were
"But there is a deep and compelling reason," he con-
tinued, "why no Indian pundit ever could appreciate
that line it is because he could not understand the
line that goes before: 'When I am happy m Him.' The
Hindu mind thinks of Deity as 'principle' or 'essence'
or 'force,' but never as 'person.' Indeed, that is the
very heart of paganism whether ancient or modern
thinking of Deity in terms of impersonality. It ex-
plains idolatry and is the underlying reason why a
great and noble people have missed the way, and why
India has become the saddest land the sun shines on."
Locke finished his tea and returned the cup to the
tray with evident constraint. Clara Curtis sat per-
fectly still, while a tinge of red slowly suffused her face.
"I don't quite understand what you mean by pagan-
ism," she said, somewhat coldly. "I know some very
good people who are not able to think of God as
'Person.' Indeed, many influential and educated
people in America believe sincerely in a divine principle
of goodness rather than what church members speak of
THE VOICE OUT OF THE DESERT 163
as a personal God. Surely you wouldn't call such
people 'pagans,' Mr. Roberts!" and Clara looked up
with a hardly perceptible glint in her violet eyes.
Elizabeth gently intervened: "O, Clara, if ever you
should live in a pagan land, you would appreciate how
the very atmosphere of America is filled with gladness
such as paganism never can understand."
Clara looked at her gratefully. "Thank you, dear.
I'm sure it must be so."
"And yet, Miss Elizabeth" Mr. Roberts was speak-
ing with a piercing directness that arrested Clara's
attention and made Locke lift his eyes. "And yet, a
fair-minded missionary may be forgiven, perhaps, if
he is disquieted after an absence of twenty-seven years
from his native land."
Elizabeth thoughtfully refilled Locke's emptied cup,
but he left it standing on the tray untouched. Clara's
hand was absently tracing the embroidery on her lap-
"Sometimes an observant stranger can tell us more
about ourselves than a member of our own household,
and perhaps a bred-in-the-bone American, who has lived
for more than a quarter of a century in the deserts of
Sind and Rajputana, can see some things in American
life that even 'influential and educated people' might
not so quickly observe."
Clara lifted her eyes and the hard glint in them
melted into softness, for, resting on her, as earlier it
had rested on Elizabeth, was that strange sweet smile
which seemed like the lighting of a lamp within. Her
look remained fixed on his face while Mr. Roberts con-
"There is a curious though wide-spread notion
among Americans that to be a 'pagan' is almost the
same as to be a 'barbarian,' and yet a moment's reflec-
tion will remind any intelligent person that nothing
can be farther from the truth." The voice was mellow
now, like a time-softened violin.
"We must not forget that the great names that have
molded human history, excepting a little group in
ancient Palestine, are pagan names," he continued
"Homer, Socrates, Caesar, Marcus Aurelius, and a
hundred others 'pagan,' every one of them! And
yet we must stretch ourselves if we would measure up
to the high human ideals which such names suggest.
Cicero in the Senate it would not impress you as par-
ticularly 'heathenish' would it now, Mrs. Curtis?"
and he looked at her whimsically.
Clara smiled, but offered no reply.
"Perhaps you had opportunity to hear a dis-
tinguished Asiatic who visited America a year or two
ago Rabindranath Tagore; do you remember him?"
"Indeed I do I was fascinated by him !" and Clara's
lips parted pleasantly.
"I do not wonder at all, Mrs. Curtis, for he is a
high-minded gentleman and a forceful thinker. Yet
Tagore's name never could be listed with men and
women who think of God as Christians do that is, in
terms of personal relationship. Do I make myself
Clara cautiously inclined her head. "I I think I
understand you," she said, slowly.
Richard Locke leaned forward eagerly. "You are
saying some familiar things, Mr. Roberts, but in a new
THE VOICE OUT OF THE DESERT 165
anu suggestive way, and I want to thank you most
heartily for stirring up my own mind. It would be a
sincere pleasure to have you address our First Church
congregation on the inner meanings of paganism. Do
you think we may have that opportunity, sir?"
Mr. Roberts looked at him benignantly, but shook
his head. "It is a gracious courtesy, Dr. Locke, but
I fear I shall have to give you a negative answer. I
have not addressed an English-speaking audience for
nearly thirty years not since my graduating oration
at college ; my wretched failure on that occasion is still
one of my poignant life memories !"
"O do, please, Mr. Roberts ! It will be such a
pleasure for all of us to hear you" a vivid blush over-
spread Clara's face and she left off speaking.
"Pardon me, Dr. Locke, I did not quite remember,"
and she sat up a little stiffly.
But Locke answered heartily: "Splendid, Mrs.
Curtis ! You've spoken exactly as I would have you.
I declare, I'll arrange for an address by Mr. Roberts
if I have to secure a special order from the Board of
Foreign Missions ! and I'll reserve the best seats in
the house for Rho and yourself. You're a missionary,
sir, sure enough!" Locke was laughing and Clara
could not help but join in with him.
Elizabeth's dark eyes regarded Clara tenderly, but
her blithe words were addressed to Richard Locke.
"See how the magic of India has made you neglect your
tea, Dr. Locke. It is quite cold ; you must let me pour
you another cup."
"And waste a whole lump of sugar in war days, Miss
Janes? your patriotism needs a censor!" and Locke
166 THE CENTENARY AT OLD FIRST
gave her a mirthful look as he lifted his cup and helped
himself to another piece of nut cake.
Mr. Roberts turned his searching gray eyes full
upon him and spoke with his former droll precision.
"I am wondering, Dr. Locke, where such a person
might be found ; he would indeed have to be a paragon
of patriotism and of nearly every other virtue besides.
I'm thinking Miss Elizabeth will have to take her cue
Locke colored slightly, but he answered, banteringly,
"Yes, it already is well understood that Miss Janes
still 'feels the East a' callin' ' at least our own little
circle understands it so; it may be permitted, I am
sure, to offer her our hearty congratulations."
Clara Curtis pressed her lips close together and
studied the Lucknow embroidery in her lap ; but Eliza-
beth looked straight into Locke's face.
"Thank you, Dr. Locke," she said with kindling
eyes. "It has been such gladness to know that my home
circle, especially father, has accepted my altered plans
so cordially; it has made my going back so easy. If
you could but understand how I have left my whole
heart in India, you would wonder that I am willing to
remain at home for one long year."
A puzzled look crept into Locke's eyes. He had
expected a tacit or even a frank admission of Eliza-
beth's engagement, but he hardly was prepared for so
full and enthusiastic a declaration. It embarrassed
But Clara was alarmed. Her one and immediate
purpose was to steer the conversation away from such
hidden rocks, and the interesting talk of Mr. Roberts
THE VOICE OUT OF THE DESERT 167
seemed the nearest outlet. She turned toward him
with a quick, nervous motion.
"Please, Mr. Roberts," she said, half pleadingly,
"don't wait until your public address at the church.
Tell us now, right away, just what the people of India
believe and don't either of you dare to say a word
until Mr. Roberts has finished! I'm so interested."
There was a bright red spot in both of Clara's
cheeks and she leaned forward almost imperiously.
"'What the people of India believe,' Mrs. Curtis?"
the precise questioning voice repeated the words:
"I'm afraid a life-time would not be long enough to
learn it all ! Surely, I myself have not traversed that
cloud-land of light and shadow." And then, noticing
the distressed look in Clara's eyes "But I think I
could tell you in one word why they believe it all, both
the light and the shadow. Have you ever heard of the
Hindu doctrine called Maya?"
"No," answered Clara with a look of relief, "but it's
a fascinating word as you pronounce it."
"And it's a strangely fascinating doctrine, Mrs.
Curtis; it holds in one packed handful the religious
ideals, the moral character, and the daily conduct of
over two hundred millions of the finest human fiber on
the planet, the Hindu people."
Locke turned toward him incredulously. "Hinduism
in one word, Mr. Roberts! the books with which I
am acquainted seem to regard it as rather a compli-
The piercing eyes threw out blue arrows of steel.
"I have read the books, sir, all of them! written in
the artificial atmosphere of schools and libraries, and,
168 THE CENTENARY AT OLD FIRST
as usual, setting the pyramid upon its apex! Do you
suppose, sir, that any religion can grip and hold the
multitude unless it is essentially simple?
"You see," turning again toward Clara, "the people
are what the books call 'pantheists' though they
never would call themselves by any such cumbrous
name. To them the one and only reality in all the
universe is what they call Brahm, that is, the spiritual
principle, the pervading cause and source of all things.
Of course, this is very mysterious, and only the learned
pundits try to understand it.
"But Maya is different, and Maya is recognized by
the simplest villager. It means 'Illusion' or 'Something
Unreal,' and this is the Hindu's whole philosophy of
life. He may worship a thousand gods in ignorance
and fear, but Maya is the one little place in his life
where he thinks. You know that is the only place that
any human being really lives back where he thinks !
"For instance, a tree, a rock, a river these are not
real! they are only shapes and appearances. They
are the outward signs of something mysterious some-
thing which the people cannot see, and cannot under-
stand. That Something is Brahm. But these objects
themselves are Maya Illusion. And so it is with the
facts of experience, such as pain, trouble, sickness
these are mere unpleasant appearances and have no
actual existence at all! Therefore deny them, or be
indifferent to them. They are not real ; they are Maya
Clara's face had become a study. Courteous atten-
tion changed to keen interest and interest grew to sheer
THE VOICE OUT OF THE DESERT 169
"Why, Mr. Roberts," she exclaimed, "is it possible
that the Hindu people are able to grasp spiritual teach-
ing such as that ?"
"I would not call it 'teaching,' Mrs. Curtis. If that
were the case, the millions of untaught villagers never
could understand it. I would call it an atmosphere,
or rather, an unconscious mental attitude. It has
been passed down from parent to child, during many
generations, until it has become a mental habit and is
wrought into Hindu character."
"It certainly is a beautiful way of thinking, Mr.
Roberts, and the Hindus must be a wonderful and high-
minded people after all."
"Wonderful they are, Mrs. Curtis, and high-minded
in many ways gentle, patient, strong to suffer. Yet
it is these same spiritual conceptions that have been
their undoing. The ancient Aryans were a virile and
open-minded people, but, back yonder in the early
centuries, this subtle teaching of Brahm and Maya
began to spread among them until they no longer were
able to distinguish between truth and falsehood."
He turned toward Richard Locke. "This is where
the 'complicated system' begins, Dr. Locke; you see
the source of it is rather simple, after all. A mis-
sionary's business is to get at the heart of things
otherwise he would face a hopeless task."
Locke answered with a keen look. "I get you,
Mr. Roberts ; you have opened a whole new hemisphere
to me. I shall re-read some of my volumes on India."
But Clara was filled with excitement. "I do not
understand you at all, Mr. Roberts. Of course, I
know that Hindus are pagans and idolaters, but I fail
170 THE CENTENARY AT OLD FIRST
to get the connection between falsehood and what you
call Maya which, I am perfectly frank to say, seems
to me the easiest and most Christian way of explaining
a great many horrid things !" and Clara gave a quick
downward glance toward Richard Locke.
"Perhaps I can illustrate what I mean, Mrs. Curtis,"
and the long awkward arm stretched toward the center
of the room. "Suppose I should ask you 'How far is
it from the end of the davenport to the piano?' The
natural habit of your mind would be to judge the
distance, or to measure it, before you answered me
would it not? That is to say: Here are two solid
pieces of furniture and the distance between them is
something definite and real, quite easy to determine."
The quizzical smile was in his eyes again. "But
suppose we were all dream-people, like those that Alice
saw in 'Wonderland.' Suppose the davenport and the
piano were parts of some changing mirage, something
unreal and shadowy; then don't you see? your
natural reply would be to say lightly, 'O, it is ten feet,
fifteen, twenty, what you will!' That is, any figure
that you might name would be just as true as any
other figure. It doesn't matter at all, you see; the
distance is bound to be unreal in any case, because the
furniture itself is unreal.
"Now, suppose that this should become the habit of
your mind, and that you should teach such ideas to
your little boy. Suppose he grew up in such an atmos-
phere. His strong, beautiful nature would be warped
from the truth and he would never know it."
The little company had become very quiet, and Clara
Curtis was sitting back with a startled look in her eyes.
THE VOICE OUT OF THE DESERT 171
Mr. Roberts moved on, not knowing that every word
cut like a whip-lash.
"Lord Curzon made a curious blunder during his
second term as viceroy. In a public address of some
importance he urged the people to exalt truth and
honor, and then, with rare tactlessness, suggested that
frequently they were 'mendacious.' Of course there
was great resentment and the viceroy lost much of his
popularity. And yet Lord Curzon had not misjudged
the people ; his mistake was in thinking that the people
would be able to judge themselves.
"And this is the pitiful tragedy of it all India does
not know. Mental attitude has become moral atrophy.
Deception is not recognized as a vice, it is merely an
illusion of words, corresponding to an illusion of
fact. A lie or the truth it matters not; both alike
are the measure of Maya: both are unreal. As Paul
wrote to the Romans, they have changed the truth of
God into a lie, and know it not."
Richard Locke caught a glimpse of Clara's white,
drawn face and rose hastily. "I declare, Miss Janes,
my ten-minute call has stretched into a visit ! India is
too enticing a theme for short-order conversation."
"Then India shall be the theme whenever you can
make it convenient to call, Dr. Locke," returned Eliza-
beth with cordial frankness. He thanked her warmly
and turned toward Clara Curtis.
"Good-by," he said, very gently; he knew that she
could bear no further word.
Mr. Roberts's penetrating look was searching his
face as Locke turned toward him.
"Young man," the long form unfolded itself and
172 THE CENTENARY AT OLD FIRST
stooped toward him "how did you escape being a mis-
sionary? you have the missionary marks, sir!"
Locke laughed, "Perhaps it may interest you to
know that I was a missionary volunteer when I left
"And, like a good many other 'volunteers,' you
thought that signing a note was equivalent to laying
down the cash! Well, if you succeed in carrying out
your Centenary program if you will help the people
at Old First to see Stewardship as a Christian interpre-
tation, I will forgive you" and the grim visage re-
laxed and he took Locke's hand in his. Suddenly his
"Dr. Locke do you know what you're doing? Do
you know that Stewardship is a re-statement of first-
century Christianity, in terms of modern life? Think
it through, Locke think it through!" and Mr.
Roberts turned from him abruptly and picked up a
magazine from the table.
Locke moved into the reception hall and took his
hat. "Miss Janes," he said, with feeling, "this after-
noon has meant more to me than I am at liberty to
She looked into his eyes. "I think I understand,
Dr. Locke, and I am glad for dear Clara's sake
and for yours. I hope you will come again," and she
held out her hand.
"Thank you, Miss Janes, I will."
As he walked down the stone flagging to the street
he had a strange sense of elation. And yet he sighed
twice. He could not have answered why, for he was
SANFORD KENNEDY stood in Dr. Janes's spa-
cious library and looked quizzically through the
open doorway into the drawing room where a half-
dozen of the younger set were grouped about the piano
trying over the latest English war song.
"I suppose we Americans are paying the price of
His quizzical remark was addressed to Mrs. Heustis,
who sat comfortably knitting just inside the library
"How do you mean, Mr. Kennedy?"
"Well," the lines in his face were all laughter to-
night, "we are forgetting how to talk. We think of
talk as practically a waste product ; if indulged at all it
must be short and to the point. When we go out for
an evening we find it hard to get away from the notion
that we must be provided for as children are : we must
be 'entertained.' '
Mrs. Heustis laughed. "I declare, Mr. Kennedy,
one never would suspect it! Your description of the
roads in Algeria has been perfectly fascinating, and
I've heard Stoddard at his best."
"Tut, tut! my good neighbor, I'm too old to be
taken by any such wiles! I assure you I haven't
spoken of that trip of mine more than twice in the past
174 THE CENTENARY AT OLD FIRST
five years. There must be something in the atmos-
phere to-night that started me going."
"I think you're right in that, Mr. Kennedy. Every-
one seems to have had a mental refurbishment. I
actually found myself repeating a stanza of Childe
Harold while you were talking!"
"It's the doctor's daughter you may be sure of
that! Come to think of it, don't you remember how
she blew past ten minutes ago, and stopped just long
enough to point out that Review article on the military
roads of India? yes, sir, the brown-eyed jade! and
said she'd heard of my auto trip and thought the
wonderful macadam roads of North Africa must be
equal to the roads of India. By the time she drifted
over to those youngsters at the piano I was gossiping
about that Mediterranean trip of mine and wonder-
ing what in the world had started that old song !"
Mrs. Heustis laid down her knitting and smiled in-
dulgently. "Isn't Elizabeth dear?" she said.
"And there she is now," he went on laughing, "fairly
fascinating Gilbert ! telling him of Calcutta exchange,
I warrant. Who is the stoop-shouldered old man she's
"Oh, that's John Roberts from the Punjab. He
went out to India more than twenty-five years ago, and
this is his first furlough. He has a perfectly wonder-
ful story! He still calls me 'teacher,' for I knew him
when he was a mere boy when he went to district
school years ago in southern Indiana. He's fully ten
years younger than I am, so you mustn't call him 'old,'
"Sarah Heustis, how many more noble deeds are to
CROSS CURRENTS 175
be credited to your account? You make my own life
"It wasn't always narrow, Sanford. Caleb used to
call you his 'Joshua,' you remember."
"Caleb Heustis was God's prince!"
Then Sanford Kennedy, who had been watching the
assembled guests, smiled grimly and moved aside. "I
reckon the schoolboy knows his own schoolma'am
your missionary is headed straight for you."
Mrs. Heustis reached out both her hands. "I'm so
glad you're here, John; I'm sure you're having a
pleasant evening. Elizabeth has been lionizing you,
no doubt, as you deserve."'
The deep gray eyes were glowing. "All I can say,
Mrs. Heustis, is that Miss Janes is a perfect embodi-
ment of what our Hindustani people call 'hikmat.' '
"Mercy, John, what ever can you mean by that?
though I'm sure it must be something wonderful and
rare if it is meant to describe Elizabeth! I want you
to meet my old friend, Sanford Kennedy, and then"
as the two men shook hands cordially "I want you
to sit right here beside me and tell me what you meant
by that far-sounding word."
John Roberts seated himself awkwardly on the edge
of the divan.
"You have sensed my meaning exactly, Mrs. Heustis.
' Hikmat' is one of those elastic words in the Hindustani
language which already is packed full of meaning and
yet will carry as much more as you yourself are able
to crowd into it provided you do not try to load it
with anything unkind or unhappy or untrue.
"The word, as used colloquially by the people, means
176 THE CENTENARY AT OLD FIRST
'wisdom' and 'knowledge* and 'cleverness,' yet always
charged and suffused with just a touch of 'mystery;'
then it stands for 'skill' or 'management,' which is its
most common usage ; but with all its different shades of
meaning the word carries with it a constant back-
ground of 'prudence' and a present understanding of
'art' true art, that never obtrudes itself yet never
is forgotten. And that is 'hikmat.' '
"Why, John, you actually have painted Elizabeth's
portrait!" said Mrs. Heustis with enthusiasm.
"And a charming portrait at that," was the
merchant's hearty comment.
"At least a very sincere portrait of a strong and
beautiful woman," added Roberts. "Miss Janes
seemed to learn the mind of India as if by instinct.
Her five years of service meant more than five and
twenty would mean for one less sympathetic."
"How beautiful of you to say it and how fortunate
that Elizabeth will be at home during our Centenary
year! Dr. Locke has plans, you know, to enlarge
the work of the church, and foreign missions are very
near to his heart. Elizabeth will be so interested."
"Yes, Mrs. Heustis, I have heard something of Old
First's Centenary program, and it has lifted me, I
"You mean 'Richard Locke's Centenary program,'
Mr. Roberts ! It is by no means certain that our en-
thusiastic pastor will be able to carry the Board with
him. It sounds rather fantastical to some of us, espe-
cially during these days of the great war." Sanford
Kennedy spoke kindly, but with unmistakable emphasis.
Mrs. Heustis turned toward him in genuine aston-
CROSS CURRENTS 177
ishment. "Do you mean to suggest, Mr. Kennedy,
that anyone is opposed to the celebration of Old First
Centenary? Why, it has been publicly announced for
more than a year!"
"Certainly no one can be opposed to observing a
very interesting anniversary. But Mr. Roberts re-
ferred to Old First's Centenary 'program' and you
yourself mentioned Dr. Locke's Centenary 'plans' a
very different matter, I assure you!"
"But, Mr. Kennedy, I have supposed that the
Centenary 'plans' and the Centenary 'celebration' are
one and the same thing. The church is becoming really
interested, and it will be a serious disappointment if
the Board fails to give us the leadership that we ex-
pect. Is there real opposition?"
"No, no 'opposition' hardly is the word; perhaps
it is anxiety, lest the church should appear to be with-
holding part of its support from the vast war program
of the government."
"Who ever could have such a notion?"
"Well, Gilbert for one. In fact, he and I had a
conference with Dr. Locke at the bank, yesterday
morning, and the whole ground was pretty well covered.
The pastor has undertaken to make a full presentation
of Old First Centenary, as he conceives it, at our next
Board meeting. In my opinion, if Dr. Locke would
consent to eliminate one unfortunate part of his pro-
gram there would be little difficulty in securing the
Board's acquiescence in all the rest."
"What part, Mr. Kennedy?"
John Roberts's piercing eyes were turned full upon
178 THE CENTENARY AT OLD FIRST
him. "Would a builder consent to eliminate his founda-
tion?" he asked, quietly.
The merchant's answer was with a touch of impa-
tience. "O, I am not opposed to tithing, Mr. Roberts.
I consider it the best method of providing funds for the
church. In my younger days I myself found great
satisfaction in the practice. Nevertheless I hardly
would call it a 'foundation.' Church funds must be
secured in other ways, so far as the rank and file of the
people are concerned. Comparatively few will become
tithers, and fewer still will maintain the practice."
"But the 'tithe' is not concerned primarily with
church funds, Mr. Kennedy."
"Not concerned? why, that's the very heart of the
"O, not the heart of it, sir ! God himself is the heart
of it. The 'tithe' reveals the marvelous secret of per-
sonality, which, from the beginning, has been hidden
away in property."
Mrs. Heustis leaned forward eagerly. "Please, John,
say that again. It seems to me that Old First is on
the way to some wonderful discovery. I feel it near
me, and yet I cannot seem to grasp it."
"I said, Mrs. Heustis, that personality is the other
name for property and that is why God himself is the
hidden heart of the 'tithe.' ' The voice was very
"I fancy I know what you mean, John, although I
don't know how to express it. When I set apart the
tithe of my monthly allowance from the estate it is as
though my husband and I were still worshiping to-
gether, and whenever I draw a check it is as though
CROSS CURRENTS 179
Caleb's strong spirit were still personally at work in
this city. It is my constant inspiration and has made
widowhood almost a joy. But why, John, is tithing
so often referred to as a 'financial plan' ?"
"For the same reason, I suppose, that many good
people speak of honesty as 'the best policy.' The
practical advantage of it actually obscures the living
heart of it a tribute, no doubt, to the common sense
of our day," and the gray eyes twinkled merrily.
Sanford Kennedy turned slowly in his chair. "I
suppose the mind of a missionary out yonder in the
Orient turns naturally to the dreamy side of religion.
But if you remain very long in America, Mr. Roberts,
you will discover that we have little time for dreams and
visions; religion, like business, is a very practical
As John Roberts looked through the open doorway
his eyes rested on Elizabeth, and, for a passing moment,
his thoughts reverted to the "dreamy" days of a mis-
sionary on service to his own crowded years of trench-
digging and foundation-laying, down at the beginnings
of a new civilization. Those hidden years ! But he only
laughed and answered:
"Yes, we sleep out under the stars for ten months in
the year and learn to dwell among those spiritual forces
out of which our life has developed. I suppose you
might call them 'dreams and visions' the kind we shall
both be dreaming, Mr. Kennedy, a hundred years from
now. Really I seem to have the advantage of you in
getting used to Things as they Are."
The merchant started slightly, then answered,
wearily: "A hard-driven business man is quickly cured
180 THE CENTENARY AT OLD FIRST
of illusions, and 'Things as they Are' is the only gospel
that he believes."
"So I should think, Mr. Kennedy; that is why a
hard-driven business man is bound to see how the
principle of the tithe touches the foundations of prop-
And then, as simply as though he were speaking
to a Punjabi grain merchant, the missionary leaned
familiarly toward Sanf ord Kennedy and asked :
"Would you hesitate under favorable conditions to
enlarge your business by the use of borrowed capital?
that is, if your business required it, would you hesi-
tate to secure a bank loan ?"
The merchant looked at him keenly and then his eyes
turned curiously toward Rhodin Curtis, who at that
moment was entering the drawing room.
"Certainly not," he said.
"And would you expect to pay interest?"
"O, custom, custom, Mr. Roberts!" with good-
natured indulgence. "It's like paying rent, you know ;
you're using property that belongs to another person
and you must acknowledge it."
"Then you hardly would say that the primary reason
for paying interest is to provide funds for keeping up
the expenses of the bank."
The creases in Sanford Kennedy's face were sharp
drawn for a moment, then softened into sportive lines
of laughter. "I reckon, sir, you caught me that time !
I did not know that missionaries were so keen in prac-
tical finance. It's your score, Mr. Roberts ! and I'm
CROSS CURRENTS 181
not slow to get your implication regarding the tithe.
It's a staggering proposition and I'll have to stand
back and look at it awhile. Anyhow, I'll think twice
before I make reference to the dreamy life of a mis-
"But missionaries are dreamers, Mr. Kennedy! O,
I dream of spacious days for the Church of God, when
meagerness and narrowness shall have passed away and
large things shall be planned for the Kingdom days
that are nearer than any of us have yet dared to
The deep-set gray eyes burned like cavern fires, and
the stooping shoulders leaned forward eagerly.
"Sir!" he exclaimed with sudden vehemence, "is it too
much to expect that men of honor will acknowledge
God's supreme ownership as they do the derived owner-
ship of other men? Is it too much to expect that
such men will administer their stewardship as men of
honor administer a trust from other men?"
"Do you mean in the distribution of their tithe?"
"The tithe, sir, is not the expression of a man's
stewardship but the acknowledgment of it a sure
token that the whole of income is a trust."
Sanford Kennedy did not answer, but sat with his
eyes intently fixed upon the missionary's face.
"John" Mrs. Heustis was speaking "I want you
to finish what you began to say about 'property and
personality.' What you have just said to Mr. Ken-
nedy is plain business, and perfectly easy to under-
stand. But you spoke something a little while ago that
thrilled me something that reached into the mystery
of life itself."
182 THE CENTENARY AT OLD FIRST
"Ah, Mrs. Heustis, property, whether great or small,
is the unfolding of the human spirit. Human dominion
is the one attribute which makes us know that we are
made in God's own image."
Elizabeth's voice came through the open doorway
"No, I can't undertake to produce my lion at will, but
come into the library; perhaps we shall find him
there"; and then "Why, Mr. Roberts, half the
people here are waiting to be introduced to you, so
please prepare yourself for the ordeal to which I shall
"An ordeal it would be, Miss Janes, were hands less
gentle than yours to lead me to it." John Roberts
rose to his feet, and turned expectantly toward a
bright-eyed little woman in a fussy dress of orange
silk, who had entered the room with Elizabeth.
"Such a pretty speech as that, Mr. Roberts, makes
it particularly easy for me to introduce Mrs. Craig
McRae, president of the Missionary Union, who feels
already that she knows you." The missionary bowed
stiffly and looked away.
"Welcome to America, sir ! It surely is an honor to
meet one of whom we missionary leaders at home have
heard so much. Please go right on with what you
were saying. I myself hate to be interrupted when
I'm in the midst of an interesting discussion. What
were you talking about, Mr. Roberts? the Vedanta
Philosophy? I think it's perfectly fascinating! Go
right on with what you were saying and don't let me
John Roberts looked helplessly at the orange silk
and ventured no reply. Mrs. Heustis answered.
CROSS CURRENTS 183
"We were speaking of the Centenary at Old First,
Mrs. McRae, and some of Dr. Locke's Centenary
"O, that ridiculous Centenary! Dr. Locke is per-
fectly morbid about it. Just think of going out to
raise a hundred thousand dollars when everybody is
burdened to death with all these war charities. Mr.
McRae hesitated to ask the people for the regular
missionary offering this year ; he thinks our whole busi-
ness is to win the war and he's going over to help win
it too ! Rose Copley and he nearly quarreled about it,
for Mr. McRae's cousin is devoted to Old First. By
the way, where is Rose, Mrs. Heustis? I haven't
seen her this evening."
Mrs. Heustis looked up with interest. "She went
down to the Italian quarter with Dr. Locke. A dear
little cripple boy rang the bell about eight o'clock, just
as we were starting for the reception. He was crying,
and said his mother was very sick. Dr. Locke was
waiting in his runabout, and they all drove away to-
gether. Rose thought the poor woman was dying, but
she hoped to be here before the evening is over."
"I'm so sorry, Mrs. Heustis!" Elizabeth spoke in a
low, tender voice ; a soft light was in her eyes.
But Mrs. Craig McRae lifted her brows archly.
"I'm thinking that Richard Locke and Rose Copley are
quite comfortable over it, Miss Janes. Of course, it's
sad when those poor Italians die and leave little sick
children though I must say they're doing it con-
stantly! but the pastor of Old First and the Social
Work secretary must find it rather congenial to be the
chosen comforters of the poor. I, myself, think it is
184 THE CENTENARY AT OLD FIRST
very beautiful, for both of them are utterly devoted to
the work. Of course any announcement would be pre-
mature, but I happen to know that matters are moving
very happily in that quarter, very happily indeed. So
you needn't be at all distressed, Miss Janes, if the
pastor is unduly late this evening," and the voluble
little woman smiled naively into Elizabeth's face.
John Roberts straightened, and his eyes had a steely
glint to them as he spoke out sharply, "I'm quite at
your service, Miss Janes."
Elizabeth looked up gratefully and took his arm.
As she moved toward the drawing room she glanced
back for a moment. "I think you failed to get my
meaning, Mrs. McRae," she said. A deep red was
covering her face and brow.
"O, that's all right, Miss Janes ; it doesn't matter at
all ! Wait a minute and I'll help you introduce Mr.
Roberts. The people rather expect it, you know and,
besides, I do so love to hear Mr. Roberts talk !"
As Mrs. McRae bustled into the drawing room San-
ford Kennedy leaned forward sharply. "I was mis-
taken, Mrs. Heustis," he said, and the lines criss-
crossed over his face in nervous twitches, "some Ameri-
cans never will forget how to talk more's the pity !"
Shortly before ten o'clock Dr. Janes was standing
in his old-fashioned reception hall, the center of an
intimate little circle.
"Let me tell you how these two girls of mine came
to be fast friends, Mr. Roberts."
Doctor Janes and the missionary were standing
side by side, while Elizabeth smiled up at her father as
CROSS CURRENTS 185
his hand rested affectionately on Clara's shoulder.
Rhodin Curtis stood stiffly at the drawing room door,
his arms folded and a haggard look in his face, while
Frank Janes lounged restlessly near the front of the
John Roberts' smile was like a boy's. "Tell me,
Doctor," he said.
"It was years ago, when both of them were children
and the Heustis family had just moved into this neigh-
borhood. One day I was called professionally to visit
Mrs. Heustis and took Elizabeth with me. She and
Clara at once struck up an acquaintance, and when I
came down from Mrs. Heustis's room the little girls
were sitting on the steps trying to settle this impossible
riddle : Which are prettier, blue eyes or brown ?
"They referred the matter to me, and I said that
blue eyes and brown eyes were equally beautiful if they
were free from 'shadows !' And when they asked what
made the shadows, I said, 'Telling lies, and thinking
"Right then and there, Mr. Roberts, we three entered
into a lifelong covenant. They promised me that they
would try to keep shadows out of their eyes 'forever
and ever,' and I promised them that if ever I saw the
tiniest shadow creeping in I would warn them. Do you
know what they've called each other ever since that
"Tell me, Doctor." The missionary's face was won-
derfully gentle, and Clara turned away her head.
" 'Browny brave-eyes' and 'Clara clear-eyes' and,
thank God, I've yet to see a shadow in either blue or
186 THE CENTENARY AT OLD FIRST
Instinctively Clara Curtis looked toward her hus-
band, but Rhodin's face had turned to iron and there
was no answering look. Then she spoke wearily.
"I think we must be going, dear; Rho leaves in the
morning for his camping trip with Dr. Locke, and we
ought not to stay any longer I'm very tired."
"Wait just a minute, Clara, and let me bring you
some coffee then I'll slip you away through the con-
servatory entrance and you won't have to see another
soul. Wait for me in the conservatory."
Elizabeth hurried through the library and then into
a back passage without going near the dining room.
Meantime Clara moved languidly through the drawing
room and sat down just inside the conservatory door.
Rhodin, who had watched her furtively, quietly found
his hat and was about to take leave of the doctor and
follow her, when the front door was thrown hastily
Frank Janes sprang forward. "Why, Rho , why,
Miss Copley, you've been a dreadfully long time in
getting here ! You must have had an awful drag in the
twelfth ward! Aren't you tired to death?"
Rose Copley looked up at him with pleased surprise.
"I am just a little tired, Mr. Captain Janes. If I
could have a little hot coffee but Dr. Locke has been
under a much heavier strain than I have !" The Cap-
tain disappeared in the direction of the dining room
with Miss Copley safely in tow.
Richard Locke greeted the doctor and John Roberts,
then turned to Rhodin Curtis. "One of our poor
women had a pretty bad hemorrhage, but she got relief
after an hour or two, and the young county doctor
CROSS CURRENTS 187
thinks she will last for two or three weeks. It's Humpy
Jeem's mother, Rho. The poor little fellow was utterly
desolate until she opened her eyes and spok? to him."
"Will she die, Dick? Is there anyone to look after
"It's hard telling, Rho. His poor mother prayed
between gasps that I would help 'leetla Jeem' to grow
up a good man and not run the streets without protec-
tion. I promised her, but the Lord only knows how I'm
going to keep that promise."
"See me, Dick, before you do anything. Good
night. I'll be at the eight-thirty train in the morning.
I'm not packed yet," and Curtis moved toward the con-
servatory as the guests began to emerge from the din-
"Wait, Rho, I must see you a minute!"
Rhodin turned back, and Locke laid his hand on his
friend's arm. "Jeemy's mother mentioned your name
and begged that I would speak to you. I'm going back
to-night I might not see her again, you know and
I'll tell her it will be all right with Jeemy. It's beauti-
ful of you, Rho."
"Don't say that of me, Dick! Man, I'm in hell to-
night !" and Curtis turned swiftly into the conservatory
and walked out through the narrow passage.
Richard Locke was severely shaken. He never had
seen Curtis so agitated. What strange thing had come
upon him ? He walked into the dimly lighted conserva-
tory to quiet himself before meeting Elizabeth and her
assembled guests. His head was aching fiercely. He
was glad, intensely glad, for all the day had brought
to him, yet he was feeling the reaction, and he was
188 THE CENTENARY AT OLD FIRST
tired very tired and very lonely. He sat down by a
hot-house laburnum and rested his head against his
In a few moments a sense of peace and power came
over him. He found himself smiling as certain pleasant
words formed themselves in some back passage of his
mind. *'I think I understand, Dr. Locke ... I hope
you will come again," and then he found himself wonder-
ing what it was that had left a tinge of unhappiness
when he knew that really he was very glad.
A light step sounded near him and he sprang to his
feet and stepped back. Elizabeth was walking slowly
toward the drawing room. At his swift movement she
uttered a stifled exclamation and then stood leaning
toward him. One hand rested on the chair where he
had been sitting, the other pressed tremulously against
her throat. Her lips were parted, her dark eyes were
shining, and her hair gleamed against the clusters of
bright yellow laburnum blossoms.
And yet it was not her woman's loveliness that held
Locke's fascinated gaze; there was a spiritual radiance
that suffused her.
What happened, Richard Locke never understood,
never tried to understand; all he knew was it hap-
pened! There was an exultant confidence within him
that never questioned and did not hesitate. He stepped
forward without a word and took both her hands in his.
"Elizabeth," the name was spoken as the only natural
thing to say, "why did you come in here?"
"I was helping Clara; why did you come, Richard?"
"I was with Rhodin, dear."
"O," and she drew in her breath with a sharp catch.
CROSS CURRENTS 189
Suddenly she sprang away and looked at him. "O,
what have I done? How could you, Dr. Locke!"
And Locke answered simply, "I do not know, Miss
Janes ; I I was not myself."
Elizabeth was trembling, "Leave me, please."
The look in Locke's face was one of silent wonder.
A marvel had come to him he loved her. He knew
that she was pledged to another; Rhodin Curtis had
told him. He knew fully that it was his hour of re-
nunciation. But his sacrifice was as nothing in that
moment of exaltation. With one swift look that would
not forget, he turned and left her.
Elizabeth stood beside her father as the guests came
straggling down the old stairway. Dr. and Mrs. Craig
McRae were among the first to leave. Mrs. McRae
was bubbling with enjoyment.
"I think you are a wonderful missionary, Miss
Janes," she said, "and I cannot tell you how I've en-
joyed Mr. Roberts's conversation." Then she put her
lips close to her and whispered "Wait a minute, and
then look over toward the piano; won't it be a beauti-
ful thing for Old First !"
And Elizabeth answered gently, "Good-night, Mrs.
McRae ; your missionaries will try to do the best they
Gay laughter from the drawing room drew her eyes
slowly through the open door. Rose Copley was at
the piano, and the minister was holding the music open
before her. Captain Frank Janes stood directly op-
posite. His eyes were resting upon her and his whole
face was alight.
190 THE CENTENARY AT OLD FIRST
Elizabeth turned suddenly pale and her lips trembled.
"No, no, Frank, not you ! O, not you too, Frank !"
"Did you say something, daughter?" The old doctor
"No, father I was whispering to myself," and she
looked him full in the face.
"All right, Browny brave-eyes !"
BESIDE THE NORTHERN LAKES
IT was the third day in camp. A summer shower
had freshened the scrub oaks and white birches. A
few rows of stunted corn that grew near the edge of the
water had taken on a luxurious green and rustled as
proudly as though they were part of the corn belt of
Rhodin Curtis was standing on a half submerged log
that projected out from the shore and served as a con-
venient mooring place for a fishing punt. A trim sail-
boat, anchored a few yards farther out, swung briskly
as the breeze rippled the surface of Crooked Lake.
Rhodin, dressed in rough camping flannels, had
just completed the humble service of carrying the camp
utensils to the flat-bottomed punt for their daily ablu-
tion. Richard Locke, with bared arms, sat in the end
of the boat vigorously applying a coat of sand and soap
to the tin coffee pot.
"This is my job, Rho," he had insisted when they
made a division of labor on the first day. "I am con-
stitutionally happy when I am permitted to clear away
useless accretions and get down to fundamental facts."
"Then I'll fetch and carry," laughed Rhodin ; "that's
a banker's real business, any way." So it was com-
Rhodin stood looking across the water with his face
lifted and his eyes shining. Light clouds were hurry-
192 THE CENTENARY AT OLD FIRST
ing to the north and the sun, dropping behind thick
woods on the opposite shore, had turned them into
fleecy birds of paradise. The lake itself had become
an undulating golden mirror.
"I've never been in the Trossachs nor the English
lake country, but neither Scott nor Wordsworth, I
warrant, ever saw water or sky more packed with
poetry than I am seeing now."
Locke looked up with mingled pleasure and surprise.
"High patriotism, Rho, and honest poetry, too !" he
said with enthusiasm. "Some day we Americans will
prize our wonderland of Northern Lakes at their poetic
worth. If your dead log were a bit of gray granite, I
easily could fancy that you were bold Fitz-James him-
self. Don't you remember how he finds his way to the
edge of the lake?
'Where, gleaming with the setting sun,
One burnished sheet of living gold,
Loch-Katrine lay beneath him rolled.'
Why, Rho, I can almost see your gray flannels turn to
Lincoln green !"
Curtis caught the quaint humor of it and went on
without a moment's hesitation:
" 'How blithely might the bugle-horn
Chide, on the lake, the lingering morn !
How sweet, at eve, the lover's lute,
Chime, when the groves are still and mute !' "
"Hear, hear!" Locke was pounding the side of the
boat with a tin cup. "What's that story you told me
three years ago about not liking poetry and never
reading it? Man, you spout like a geyser!"
BESIDE THE NORTHERN LAKES 193
Rhodin glowed with pleasure, but, manlike, he could
answer only with badinage.
"It was you, Reverend Sir, who led me into these evil
courses, so please do not interrupt me! You have
started my imagination, and I can see the Highland
maiden rounding the point yonder in her little skiff:
'The boat had touched the silver strand,
Just as the hunter left his stand,
And stood concealed amid the brake,
To view this Lady of the Lake.
The maiden paused, as if again
She thought to catch the distant strain.
With head up-raised, and look intent,
With eye and ear attentive bent,
And locks flung back, and lips apart,
Like monument of Grecian art,
In listening mood she seemed to stand,
The guardian Naiad of the strand. ' "
Rhodin left off abruptly, looking a little foolish.
"Go on, Rho, don't stop! We'll have Roderick Dhu
and his clan here in just a minute; you're a wonder!"
and he picked up the copper frying pan.
But Rhodin shook his head sharply and stepped into
the punt. He never before had permitted himself such
free rein in Locke's presence, and he felt a sudden em-
barrassment. He sat down on the end thwart of the
boat and covered his confusion by lighting a cigarette.
And yet it was something more than embarrassment
that brought a slow frown to his forehead and a look
of numb pain to his eyes. Locke would have been
troubled had he noticed it, but his own eager thoughts
were filling him, and, for the moment, he had room for
194 THE CENTENARY AT OLD FIRST
The fact is, Scott's subtle imagery had set before
them in vivid realization each his own Lady of the
Lake, yet neither of them dreamed of what was in the
other's mind. Rhodin knew that something beautiful
had been marred, and Locke knew that something won-
derful had been revealed. Both of them recognized
that what had happened was beyond their power to
alter in the least degree.
Again Richard Locke saw Elizabeth leaning toward
him "With head up-raised, and look intent," and he felt
the thrill of her presence. Again he heard his own
name spoken softly as they stood together "Richard."
Heedless he let the frying pan fall to the floor of the
punt while his eyes wandered mistily across the lake.
He could not fathom the wonder of it : he loved! For
six years a beautiful memory had been enshrined within
his heart, and he had not dreamed that another love
could enter in. And yet, with utter loyalty to that
sweet and abiding memory, he knew that the one trans-
forming passion of his life had come to him.
In his first hour of exaltation, the night of the recep-
tion, the marvel of it all was like elixir in his blood ; his
own sacrifice was a small matter. But he had been
looking forward into the years and their bleak loneli-
ness appalled him. Honor forbade that he should even
think of her in days to come, and yet, honor never could
deny the living truth ! He seized the pan with sudden
vehemence and crushed the cake of soap against its
Rhodin was watching him curiously. He had no
least suspicion of what was passing in Locke's mind,
and yet a mute instinct urged him to explain the whole
BESIDE THE NORTHERN LAKES 195
miserable mistake that Elizabeth was not engaged
after all, and, if she interested him, there was a clear
field and no rivals. A dozen times in the last three
days he had been on the point of speaking, but each
time pride held him back or was it chivalry? and
the words would not come.
Mistake? how could he say it! Had not Clara
told him plainly? at least had she not given him the
very distinct impression that it was so? To deny it
now seemed in some sense a reflection upon her perfect
truthfulness. He himself had been unnerved at what
he felt was Clara's evasion and he was bitterly sensitive
lest another should get even a hint of his confusion.
Richard Locke was his intimate and dear friend but
Clara was his wife. He could not choose between
them. There was no choice.
His wife! For six years she had been his guiding
spirit. He remembered how the last line he had just
foolishly declaimed was underscored in his own volume
of Scott at home he had marked it and committed it
only last winter "The guardian Naiad of the strand."
Clara always had been that to him.
He thought of Dr. Janes' story of "Clara clear-eyes,"
and his lips set like a bowstring that it had been re-
served for him, her husband, to see the first hateful
shadow in those clear blue depths. Rhodin's daily
business at the cashier's desk was to scan and analyze
the statements of other men home had been his haven
of restful and unquestioning trust. Must he now begin
to analyze and scan at home?
A mere trifle? nothing was a trifle that could dim
his perfect confidence!
196 THE CENTENARY AT OLD FIRST
The report of a gun broke off reflections that were
"Are ducks here at this season, Rho?" Locke spoke
without lifting his eyes.
"No, it's too early. That was a bittern flying low
near the patch of water reeds at the point. I saw it
"How could you know it was a bittern? I've never
learned to tell game birds from common lake heron."
Curtis laughed. "Your business has been to snare
sinners, Dick; you've never made a specialty of lesser
game! I was born at the edge of Mullet Lake less
than eight miles from here. I know every turn and in-
let from here to Lake Huron, and every thing that flies
or swims in northern Michigan."
Their camp was pitched in a grove of white birches
on the eastern margin of Crooked Lake. The shore
south of them curved outward to a projecting point be-
tween which and their camp lay a wide field of reeds and
water lilies. As Rhodin finished speaking his eyes
rested curiously on the tremulous green surface,
flecked here and there with white blossoms.
"I came near getting my quietus just this side of the
point," he said, tossing away his cigarette.
"Tell me about it," said Locke with quick interest.
"I was a little fellow about ten years old, and used
to go out with father through all this chain of lakes.
Father often warned me against leaning over the edge
of the boat, but I constantly forgot his warnings. One
day he was trolling for pickerel near the point yonder
and I reached out for a lily and went overboard. I
could swim, of course, but got tangled in the reeds in
BESIDE THE NORTHERN LAKES 197
about ten feet of water. Father dived for me and cut
the reeds with his fish knife, but before he could get me
into the boat I was unconscious and almost gone."
"And that was the end of your fishing jaunts with
your father, I take it."
Rhodin smiled grimly. "You never knew my father !
He was angry with me, and said that I was old enough
to lift an oar for myself and would have to do it. From
that time until we moved to Cheboygan I went out with
him every day. But my place was at the oars, while
father looked after the lines and the lilies."
"Poor little chap! I wonder that you wanted to
pitch camp so near that ill-fated point," and Locke
looked approvingly at the array of camp tins he had
Rhodin was dangling his hand over the edge of the
punt. "It may seem queer to you, Dick," he said, "but
the point yonder and this whole wide tangle of reeds
and lilies have had a fascination for me ever since the
day I went overboard. I remember how I felt lying
there among the reeds. After the first scare, when I
knew I was caught and couldn't possibly get loose, I
had a curious feeling of comfort and security. I sup-
pose really I was drowning and practically had lost
consciousness, but there was no pain nor any feeling of
suffocation only a dreamy sense of floating out into
shining mists. Drowning would be an easy way to go y
Locke did not answer him, and a full minute passed
without a word. Then, as though he were finishing an
interrupted remark, Rhodin went on :
"Yes, easy enough! only one would need a good
198 THE CENTENARY AT OLD FIRST
heavy rock to anchor him the reeds might not catch
hold, you know!"
Richard Locke looked up half startled. Rhodin's
face had a look of quietness, and yet his eyes rested
upon the pendulous green surface with brooding wist-
fulness. Trouble was eating at Rhodin's heart; of
that he was very sure. What it was he could not know
only that he needed a friend, and a friend's strong
The conversation turned to lighter themes, and pres-
ently they pushed out into the lake for their evening
sail and troll. Locke noticed that Rhodin tacked to
the very edge of the reeds.
"It was within twenty feet of this spot, Dick," he
said as the boat cut through a green tangle of water
"Well, I'll not guarantee to dive for you, so I sug-
gest you give the lilies a wider berth, Rho," and then
as his line gave a sudden zigzag whirl underneath the
surface "I declare your father knew where to find the
big pickerel !"
A plump two-pounder was drawn floundering and
fighting alongside the boat, but so meshed and covered
with an ooze of roots that the line had to be cut before
the fish could be disentangled. Rhodin pulled away the
dripping green mass and turned to Locke with grotesque
"See how wonderfully he was wreathed for his
funeral! just as I was, Dick, until my father spoiled
a kindly providence; even now the water lilies cling to
me !" and Rhodin shook his hand free from the twining
BESIDE THE NORTHERN LAKES 199
It was all idle talk, yet Locke disliked it exceedingly.
"You give me the creeps, Rho," he said.
They had gotten clear of the reeds, and were bearing
toward the foot of the lake under a full spread of sail,
before either of them spoke. Locke had tied his line to
a small belaying pin and was lying back with his eyes
fixed on the dark spruce and scrub oak that lined the
"When shall we start on our Cheboygan trip, Rho ?"
"To-irrorrow, if you like."
Rhodin's answer came with brisk directness. The
brooding look had disappeared from his face and he
handled the boat with expert skill.
It was after dusk when they returned to camp.
Rhodin had been telling of other youthful escapades,
and Locke had picked up two fine bass and another
pickerel. They built up their camp fire and demon-
strated once more an axiom of the northern lakes and
of all discerning epicureans that fresh-water fish
should see the frying pan within sixty minutes after
leaving their native element.
The next morning, after an early breakfast, they
were soon ready for their trip through the chain of
spring-fed lakes that begin near Petoskey and stretch
across the northern edge of the State. A few camp
utensils, with a supply of meal, bacon, sugar, coffee,
salt, were stowed away in the stern of the sailboat.
Blankets covered with tarpaulin were strapped under-
neath the thwarts. Their jointed steel rods and an
extra trolling line lay ready for use, and two camp
cushions were tossed in at the last minute.
"No use evading comfort!" said Curtis, "especially
200 THE CENTENARY AT OLD FIRST
as we're likely to sleep out in the open before we get
back to camp."
The rest of the utensils with their extra clothing
were securely padlocked in the camp chest, and the tent
tied close against wind or rain. Already they had
arranged with "Cap'n Flynn," who lived a quarter of a
mile back from the point and made a precarious living
out of summer tourists, to "keep a weather eye" on
"I've know'd Rhode Curtis," he chuckled, "ever sence
he tried to tie hisself to the bottom of Crooked Lake,
an' I won't let nobody tetch his traps."
To Richard Locke that was a voyage of discovery.
Rhodin was familiar, as he said, with every turn and
inlet, and his boyhood memories came trooping back
to make every hour a whispering gallery. Locke
treasured the changing panorama of woodland, lake,
and river, but more wonderful than the unfolding of
that summer day was the unfolding of the heart of
The winding length of Crooked Lake and the
tortuous turns of Crooked River were a straight course
compared to the labyrinth through which their conver-
sation threaded. Finance, insurance, politics, war,
history, fiction, poetry, religion, philosophy, mesmer-
ism, New Thought, church, Masonry, socialism, birth-
control, boat-building, motor cars Locke cast up the
account toward the end of the afternoon, and an-
nounced solemnly that they had taken university ex-
tension courses in twenty-eight different and distinct
BESIDE THE NORTHERN LAKES 201
"And sailed through every one of them with flying
colors," added Rhodin, smiling up at the flag that
streamed above their billowing canvas.
The breeze was from the southwest and drove them
in a direct course when once they had finished the
picturesque turns of Crooked River through Burt
Lake with its pebbly margin, past the deep inland coves
of Mullet Lake, and out into the blue waters of Lake
Huron. They remarked that enlightened European
policy in the government at Washington long since
would have taken advantage of a natural waterway and
built a ship canal from Cheboygan to Petoskey, in
order to outflank a Canadian attack on the straits of
Mackinac and smiled at the vast buffoonery of war.
They tacked back to the shallow harbor, just at sun-
down, and stood for a reverent moment in the
straggling graveyard where Rhodin's mother had been
laid when he was still a boy and where his father had
been buried two years before. In lieu of camp comforts
they sat down to pork chops and muddy coffee in the
stuffy Cheboygan House, where they ventured also to
spend the night.
"We'll have better luck to-morrow, Dick," said
Curtis, apologetically, for he considered that in some
sense he represented the hospitality of northern Michi-
gan. "We'll pick up some fine bass and unsling our
own frying pan."
Their return trip was slow, tacking against the wind,
and it was late the next day when they pulled their
boat high up on the beach of Burt Lake near the en-
trance to Crooked River ; it would be wiser to navigate
that corkscrew of a stream in broad daylight. Their
202 THE CENTENARY AT OLD FIRST
supper was a camper's delight fresh caught bass done
to a crispy brown, potatoes baked in hot ashes, and
corn cakes edged with sweet bacon. Their blankets
spread on the pebbly sand, the flickering camp fire, the
lapping water, the long northern twilight it was an
evening that would remain in their memory. At such
an hour the thoughts of a man, as of a boy, "are long,
"Did I ever tell you, Dick, how I almost 'got re-
ligion'? I've been thinking of it ever since last night
when we stood in the little graveyard."
"Tell me, Rho," and Locke turned toward him,
"Father was a bigoted 'Hard Shell,' hard and narrow
as an oak plank. I always was afraid of him when I
was a boy, and even now his memory brings to me no
tenderness. But mother was different. She was the
one love of my childhood. She died just a little while
before I tried drowning among the reeds I was reach-
ing after lilies to lay on her grave when I went over-
board." There was a tender look in Rhodin's eyes
that softened all his face.
"The preacher used to stop at our house when he was
in the neighborhood, and he and father would discuss
religion by the yard, and enlarge on the sure damnation
of everybody who did not 'get religion' 'not omitting
the little children !' and father would look at me out of
his stern eyes until I trembled. They never explained
what it was to 'get religion,' only they would tell of this
and that 'outbreaking sinner' around the lakes who had
given up drinking and cursing.
BESIDE THE NORTHERN LAKES 203
"Of course, we never had liquor in the house, and it
is the simple truth that I never uttered an oath or even
used a 'swear word' until after mother died although
I was far from being a good boy, and needed, if ever a
boy did, both restraint and inspiration. So I was hard
put to it, wondering how I could 'get religion' and thus
escape an awful retribution. You see, I was perfectly
convinced that 'getting religion' would be evidenced by
my giving up drinking or swearing."
"Poor little chap!" broke in Locke, impetuously.
"And the loving Lord just waiting for you to look up
and see his face, the easiest thing a child ever did, and
the most natural !"
"Perhaps so, Dick; that's your specialty. Things
would have been different, I know, if some one like you
had wandered into the north woods twenty-five years
ago. But let me finish my 'experience.' One Sunday
when I was about seven years old I couldn't stand it
any longer. I slipped away from the table while
father and the preacher were talking and crept up-
stairs into the bedroom. I hid my face in mother's old
dress hanging behind the door and whispered 'damn'
just loud enough for myself to hear. Then I ran down
to the kitchen crying, and threw myself into mother's
" 'O,' I sobbed, 'pray for me ! I'm a wicked boy and
sweared awfully; please help me to stop swearing and
get religion' and I held her close about the neck."
There was no sound but the lapping of water on the
"And then?" Locke asked, staring into the fire.
"I guess that's all, Dick, except that mother com-
204 THE CENTENARY AT OLD FIRST
forted me, and taught me a hymn that I've never for-
gotten. I used even to believe that it was true!"
"What was it, Rho?"
" 'There's a Friend for little children above the bright
blue sky? But I never 'got religion' ! After that I
used to run away when the preacher came to the house.
I always hated him! Then mother died, and religion
became a closed book to me as it is yet."
Then he swung round and faced Locke, laughing.
"There's something wrong with you, old man ; I'm
afraid you're not 'orthodox' ! You haven't inquired
once about my 'soul' during all these three years I've
known you. I'm sure there's a screw loose somewhere,
for you're the only preacher that ever seemed to me
quite human. How do you account for it? Are you
sure you're genuinely religious?"
"What do you think religion is, Rho?" Locke ap-
peared to be speaking almost casually, but his eyes
were gleaming in the firelight.
"O, reading the Bible, going to church, and believing
a lot of things about the hereafter! That's rather a
crude definition; but religion, you know, isn't my
"But, Rho, you are religious. That's what ties me
"Religious ! I ! Why, Dick, I'm blind as a bat when
it comes to such things !"
"You've said it, Rho, better than I could hope to.
Blind and the soul of an artist !"
Rhodin Curtis sat silent for a minute and threw
pebbles into the lake. He was trying to "find" himself
in a new perspective, but could not.
BESIDE THE NORTHERN LAKES 205
"I don't get you, Dick," he said. "What in the world
do you mean by religion, anyway?"
And Locke's answer came without a moment's hesi-
"Recognizing God as one of the factors in human
"One of the factors, Dick? What are the others?"
"Birth, family, friends, education, money, health,
social surroundings, ability, will, opportunity there
are a thousand elements that enter into a man's life and
make up the sum total of his experience, and God is
one of them. To be aware of that fact is 'religion.' '
Rhodin Curtis looked into the smoldering campfire
and a dark frown gathered between his eyes. His an-
swer came half angrily.
"Then all I've got to say, Dick, is just this: It's a
hell of a world and religion is about the most worth-
less thing in it."
"I don't wonder that you think so. The fact is,
Rho, religion is your undoing. If you could drop God
entirely out of your thinking and become an atheist,
you would have no mental contradictions. Or, if
you could be a pantheist and identify God in some im-
personal and mysterious way with the whole wide
universe, you would get on very comfortably. Many
do, I assure you. But you can't do it. The trouble
is you're a Christian and yet you can't 'gear' your-
self to your own faith! And that's your tragedy, old
man and my sorrow!"
Curtis looked at him in amazement.
"A Christian, Dick! I!"
206 THE CENTENARY AT OLD FIRST
"Then what in thunder is the matter with me ! Why
doesn't my Christianity work?"
"You haven't the key."
"Yes. You recognize that God is a factor in human
experience just as truly as birth, education, money,
and all the rest, and yet religion means defeat for you
instead of victory."
"Victorious religion is just this: 'Perceiving the true
relative importance of God and the rest.' Donald
Hankey learned it and wrote it down, just like that, be-
fore his own last victory in Flanders."
"Does that mean trying to make yourself believe
Robert Browning's monstrous optimism, 'God's in his
heaven All's right with the world?' '
"Never! But it does mean supreme and victorious
confidence in God himself that he is able to push down
through all the other factors that make up the life of
a man or a nation and work his own will, through them
or in spite of them, and that he actually does so when-
ever men will cooperate intelligently with him ; and it
means that every little one who trusts in him shall
'never be put to shame.' '
There was a long silence, and the scream of a bittern
flying low near the mouth of Crooked River split
through the dusk. The cry was answered by a night
hawk back in the woods. Then Rhodin spoke slowly
as a man feeling his way.
"Well, suppose a man has a troubled notion that
what you've said is about the truth, how under these
shining stars is he going to realize it? I mean so that
BESIDE THE NORTHERN LAKES 207
it signifies something more than religious words ! How
am I going to screw myself into what you call 'vic-
torious religion' granting that I have any religion at
Locke did not answer him, but lay back with his eyes
digging into the vastness that stretched above them.
His whole soul was alert, and some instinct made him
let Rhodin do the talking.
"I suppose I suppose that's what you would call
'faith' eh, Dick ?" He spoke half shyly, while a grave
sweet smile shadowed the corners of his mouth.
Locke continued silent, but his hand reached out and
gripped hold of Rhodin's.
"Good old Dick you're the only man who ever
Rhodin Curtis returned Locke's grip with an affec-
tionate pressure, then yielded to the lure of the camp
fire and gazed pensively into the glowing embers. But
gradually the smile receded from his lips and the old
look of discontent crept back into his face.
"All right, Dick religion is your specialty you
ought to know. Perhaps I am a sort of half-baked
Christian after all, though I never imagined it before!
But all the same it doesn't land me anywhere. There's
no use talking, religion doesn't interest me. Prayer,
Bible study, going to church, and all the rest of it
the whole thing's a foreign language, and I won't be
hypocrite enough to say that I want to learn it. I've
a single-track mind and it's just 'business.' I'm will-
ing enough to confess that I would like to realize the
things you've been talking about, for 'way down in me,
somewhere, there's a nebulous faith in God and
208 THE CENTENARY AT OLD FIRST
Christianity. But it doesn't signify anything, and it
doesn't get anywhere. I'm not interested that's
flat ! I'm not interested enough to be a gentleman and
say I'm ashamed of myself ! A straight tip on 'Mexi-
can Petroleum' would stir me more than all the creeds
in Christendom, and, after all your interesting conver-
sation, I'd rather talk business than religion right
There was a determined flash in Locke's eyes. He
arose without a word and turned over the base log of
their camp fire. As the flames leaped up he threw on
another log of dry drift wood. The blaze lighted up
the entire shore.
"We can see all right now," he said, cheerfully.
Rhodin was watching him curiously. "I hope you're
not offended, old man."
"Of course not, Rho," and he gave the fire another
vigorous punch. "That will do ; we could see to read
fifty yards away," and Locke resumed his seat on the
"What's up, Dick? Going to read the Bible to me?"
"Not much! You can do your own Bible-reading
when you get good and ready. You said you wanted
to talk business, and I'm more than ready to begin.
I have one question I want to ask How much money
did you bring with you?"
Curtis was nonplussed and looked at him without
"Come along, Rho; don't be a fish! How much did
"Not very much, Dick. I'm sorry. I had forty or
fifty dollars in my pocket and drew a hundred for safe
BESIDE THE NORTHERN LAKES 209
margin. But I can get plenty more at Petoskey; how
much do you need?"
Locke laughed. "0, I'm not borrowing ! I'm want-
ing to help you put through a good-sized business deal.
How much have you now, Rho ?"
Rhodin gave him a quick glance of scrutiny, the kind
he gave when "promoters" stood beside his desk at the
bank. Then without a word he tossed a roll of bills
and a handful of change on the blankets and ran
through the amount with practiced fingers.
"A hundred and five dollars and twenty cents."
"All right. Now count ten dollars and a half No,
we'll do it right! Count out ten fifty-two; that's the
exact tithe of your ready cash."
Rhodin folded his arms and looked at him. "I've a
faint glimmer that you're still talking religion! Be
plain with me, Dick ; what are you driving at ?"
"I will be plain with you, Rhodin Curtis! Eternal
God is waiting for you to talk business with him. He
has waited a long time. He expects straight dealing,
the kind that you are used to at your own desk. He
does not ask you to be 'interested in religion'; all he
asks is that you will acknowledge his relation to the
one thing that interests you most money !"
Locke spoke with swift intensity and Rhodin looked
at him in fascination.
"You say you want to talk 'business'? I tell you
'business' is the one line of talk that God most prizes !
The instinct of possession searches a man to the core,
and money is the surest test of it. God is in the world,
Rho not as a mere pervading influence, but as a Per-
sonal Presence. That's why the Bible has so much to
210 THE CENTENARY AT OLD FIRST
say about 'property' and why Jesus Christ's teachings
turn on social ethics. God is the one absolute Owner
of property values and of the money that measures
them. That's why he is in the world he is looking
after his 'property' through the only ones who can rep-
resent him, his stewards. Part of that property is in
your own hands. Only he and you know the extent and
the value of your holdings. If you'll acknowledge the
relation that exists between you, the relation of Owner
and steward, you need not concern yourself about
'religion' ; it will become an open book to you."
Rhodin felt the thrill of Locke's impassioned words.
Never before had he realized the intense yearning of
his friend. It was a revelation.
"You know well enough, Rho, what I mean by the
'tithe.* We've talked about it before. You never
have been caught, as some of the members of Old First
have been, by a miserable piece of legalism, as though
the authority of the tithe rested on some Jewish statute.
What I mean, and all I mean, is the separated portion
that acknowledges God as Owner of your property in-
terests. Its deeper personal significance the Owner
himself will make plain. But that need not concern
you. That's 'religion' and I'm talking 'business' just
now ! You're a practical banker, as you remarked the
other day at the Club, and recognize the broad prop-
erty basis on which the whole matter rests. So I put
it to you as I never have put it to another man Will
you deal straight with God in the one matter that inter-
ests you, money, and give God a chance to deal straight
Rhodin looked into his friend's face, searching into
BESIDE THE NORTHERN LAKES 211
his soul. Then, without a word, he separated two five-
dollar bills from the roll and picked up a silver half-
dollar and two copper cents.
"What shall I do with this, Dick?" he asked with
perfect quietness. "Shall I hand it over to you as an
ordained minister of God?"
"Yes, Rho, if that will help you to make more real
and vivid the one thing that you're doing. I'll report
back to you how I administer your tithe," and he looked
into his face as David into the face of Jonathan.
Slowly Rhodin folded the coins and the two bills into
a compact square. Slowly, with his eyes fixed upon
the fire, he reached his hand toward Richard Locke, who
waited intently to receive the money waited reverently
as one waits to receive the holy sacrament. A human
spirit was drawing near to God, and his minister was
holding wide the door.
Suddenly Rhodin stiffened and drew back his hand.
What was this thing that he was about to do? Did
he wish to separate himself from Clara ? She would not
accept what Locke was saying. "God Principle, not
Person" a hundred times she had tried to make him
understand it! No, he did not accept the mystic
Reality, the All-One, of which she often spoke, but he
could still feel the thrill of her voice "I did not want
anything, Rho, only y-you, to win you!" and he knew
that she loved him. Was it quite chivalrous to take a
stand so utterly opposed to all that she believed? . . .
Untruthf ulness ? No, she never would intentionally
deceive him ! In her heart there was utter loyalty, and
it was brutal of him to have been wounded by a bit of
roguishness. He owed her an apology and would make
THE CENTENARY AT OLD FIRST
it the first thing on returning home. Perhaps, if he
would be more sympathetic, he might persuade her to
give up some of her mystic notions. She might even re-
turn to Old First yes, and he would surprise good old
Locke by "joining church" with her! Why not?
He smiled cordially into Locke's face. "Thank you,
old man, for your good words ; you've given me a lot to
think about. Maybe I'll do what you say I I
almost think I will but not tonight, Dick."
Rhodin Curtis swept the bills and silver into his
pocket and walked to the other side of the fire, whis-
tling a popular "rag." Richard Locke sat with his
head bent and his eyes fixed upon the glowing logs.
The second morning after their return to camp they
were up early for their last sail and troll the length of
Crooked Lake. Breakfast was over and they were
sitting on the grassy slope near the tent. Locke held
in his hand a loose-leaf memorandum book from which
he had been reading aloud.
"Well, do you think that will fetch them, Rho?"
he asked. "Will the Board accept my Centenary
"They seem all right to me, Dick, but there's no
telling what such old conservatives as Gilbert and Ken-
nedy will say. You need some younger blood in that
Board of yours." But Rhodin spoke without en-
thusiasm, and his eyes wandered moodily over the un-
dulating green surface that stretched between them and
"I agree with you there, Rho; so when am I going
to have the pleasure of nominating you?" Curtis paid
BESIDE THE NORTHERN LAKES
no heed and Locke turned toward him to repeat the
"Rho! what's the matter!" and Locke sprang to-
Rhodin Curtis was gripping the guy rope of the tent
and staring at the reeds and lilies. His face was ashen
and his eyes were wide with horror. Locke laid his
hand on his friend's shoulder and the color gradually
returned to his face.
"What was it, Rho?" he asked.
Rhodin looked at him foolishly and then smiled.
"Good heavens, Dick! As sure as I see you, I saw
myself down there, tangled hand and foot among the
reeds ! and I wasn't a little boy, either !"
They struck camp that afternoon and took the night
sleeper at Petoskey.
Curtis was in high spirits, full of jest and laughter.
"We've had a great week together; I feel like a new
But Richard Locke was troubled.
THE end of the vacation is the beginning of catch-
ing up ! The postman takes no vacation.
It was Saturday morning when Richard Locke got
back from camp. The hot weather was on, a heavy
Sunday was before him, and a critical Board meeting
only three days distant. He knew that he would need
his full reserve of strength, and he was grateful that
he had taken at least one week among the northern
But the first sight of his piled-up desk gave him a dis-
mal appreciation of what he once had heard an il-
lustrious college president remark: "Vacations are
too costly I never take one."
"I looked after everything I could, Dr. Locke,"
cheerfully said Miss Miller, stenographer and clerk,
"but most of these letters require your personal atten-
tion, and some of them are urgent."
"Couldn't Miss Copley have taken care of the re-
ports?" he asked with some annoyance, running his
hand through several bulky documents from the State
Welfare Board. "She seldom finds it necessary to
refer these matters to me."
"Miss Copley left on Wednesday for a flying visit to
Camp Sherman ; Chaplain McRae wired Monday night
that his division had received orders to be ready to
leave on two hours' notice, so she went at once with Mrs.
McRae. She thought, as you were not here, it was her
duty to have a last word with the Club boys before they
sailed. And of course, she wanted to say good-by to
her cousin. Here's a letter from her that came on the
first delivery this morning."
He opened it at once and read:
June the seventh.
DEAR DOCTOR LOCKE:
Miss Miller will tell you of Craig's telegram and my sudden
determination to come to Camp Sherman with cousin Margaret.
We are guests at the Hostess' House. I have seen our boys, and
they are wonderful. They're enthusiastic about the new Club name.
Tony Carrari says they intend to be "Shiners" for true! I expect
to spend Sunday at Cincinnati; will be back again Monday or
"So they're off !" exclaimed Locke, absently. "Fight-
ing Germans in northern France ought to be a shade
more exhilarating than fighting sin in this dead town !
I reckon vacations aren't good for me," and he sat
down to his accumulated mail.
A thin India envelope, addressed in a precise, stilted
hand, lay at the top of the pile. He opened it with
some interest and smiled at the first sentence. A frown
had gathered before he finished reading.
The Churches of Asia Salute You:
I regret that I cannot accept your invitation, to speak in your
pulpit, until toward the close of the summer. I hope to be in this
part of the State early in September, when I shall call on you, and,
if you still desire it, make a public address.
216 THE CENTENARY AT OLD FIRST
I thank you, as already I have thanked Miss Janes your names
flow together in my thought for the beautiful afternoon at her
father's house, and I now repeat the question which I asked you
on that occasion: How have you escaped being a missionary? When
once you recognize that "Stewardship," as you have outlined it in
Old First Parish Visitor for June, is the key to the missionary
message, nothing can keep you from the waiting millions of Asia !
No, I do not mean that Stewardship will provide funds for the
missionary enterprise that is utterly obvious! What I mean
is the creative and spiritual impact of the message itself. I have
seen it demonstrated in heathen villages. Literally, it means life
from the dead!
Stewardship postulates a Divine Person. The exalting of the
separated portion will mean the destruction of the pagan mind in
modern Asia as once it meant the destruction of the pagan mind
in ancient Israel. Stewardship is a restatement of fundamental
theism a statement in terms of life, so simple that the most
ignorant villager can grasp its meaning.
My brother, Stewardship digs deeper than you think! The mis-
sionaries need both you and your message. Could you come to
India within a year?
Richard Locke folded the letter and placed it in his
pocket. "No, not India !" he muttered, and the frown
on his face deepened.
By main strength of will he compelled himself to go
through the sheaf of letters on his desk complaining
letters, complimentary letters, beseeching letters, busi-
ness letters. But at the end of half an hour he pushed
the whole burdensome heap to one side and took out
John Roberts's letter again.
Two sentences leaped at him from the close written
sheet "your names flow together in my thought"
"could you come to India within a year?" and his
eyes turned resentfully toward the second bookcase
from the door. Richard Locke's library was classified
for instant use ; the second case was packed with "Mis-
sions and World Movements."
"Never India !" he exclaimed aloud. "The good Lord
doesn't ask a man to open up his own wounds!" A
sharp knock was followed by the entrance of a
messenger from the post office.
"Special delivery for Dr. Locke !" called out the boy
with aggravating coolness. "Please sign here."
It was a letter from McRae.
June seventh, 1918.
I'm sending you this line just as we take train from Camp Sher-
man. No use speculating as to our destination; no one is supposed
to know. But I hae me' doots ! It's a great adventure and I'm ex-
cited to the tips of my fingers.
All the same, I want you to know that our last talk together and
my visit at your Boys' Club have jarred me considerably. I'm not
quite as sure as I was that the big fight for Christianity will be
on the Western front. Perhaps I'm running away from my post!
However, it's too late now; I'm in for this business, every ounce
of me. When I get back if I ever do! I think I'll have a new
grip on the home job.
Your "Shiners" are an eye-opener to me. They're a new type.
They smoke and joke with the other boys, and I've heard them
tell some rather tall stories! and yet they are clean fellows and
stalwart witnesses for Jesus Christ. They seem never to have learned
the vocabulary of the churches, but talk vital spiritual religion
in most amazing street slang, as though religion were a part of
common life. Janes tells me that your boys are making religion
actually popular in the company. How in the world did you do it,
old man? You're a wonder!
By the way, I'm rather glad the Captain won't be cruising in
home waters. A Commissioned Officer carries a foolish glamour hi
the thought of patriotic young ladies. However, last evening while
the C. O. was waiting for my fair cousin to make her appearance,
Maggie took occasion to drop a quiet word suggesting certain
priority claims at Old First. The effect was instantaneous though
slightly disconcerting for a minute you know Maggie believes in
218 THE CENTENARY AT OLD FIRST
plain speech. But the end was accomplished, and I can assure you,
so far as that high-spirited navigator is concerned, that a certain
"phantom ship" (I believe I quote you correctly) henceforth will
be "Alone on a wide, wide seal"
Yours for a sharp look-out and a quick capture.
Address until further notice,
Chaplain Craig McRae,
Seventh Division, A. E. F.
Care New York Post Office.
Locke smiled foolishly. His first thought was
"How utterly idiotic!" Then the impertinence of it
stung him and his face flushed. "How dared he!" he
With his lips pressed together he read the letter a
second time. In all fairness he could not question
McRae's loyalty. His fellowship was what it always
had been, open and frank. How, then, could he and
his wife have suggested to anyone such an amazing
misstatement of fact? Who had given them such an
absurd impression? and he remembered his own jest-
ing answer to McRae's importunate question: "A
phantom ship/" He groaned in bitter self-reproach.
What a fool ! To have given a j esting answer when
McRae had been in dead earnest and McRae's wife
never zealous to set a watch upon her lips ! Had he
been out of college ten years, and had he yet to learn
ordinary discretion? It was goading!
Anyhow, he could correct the miserable mistake,
even at the cost of personal humiliation. A day tele-
gram would reach McRae before he sailed and he could
write at length after a few days. He seized a tele-
graph form and wrote swiftly.
Chaplain Craig McRae,
7th Div. A. E. F.
Care P. O.
Special delivery received. Glad you are started on great adven-
ture. Watch over my Shiners. Last para your letter completely
in error. Phantom Ship wholly different significance. Please cor-
rect mistake in favor of party interested.
"Miss Miller," he said, opening the door into the
church office, "please ring up Western Union and ask
them to send a boy over immediately ; I must get off an
important wire." Then he returned to his desk and
glanced over the telegram he had just written.
"Phantom ship" "wholly different significance"
what would McRae understand by that? Did his tele-
gram suggest, even by a hint, the actual truth? Could
he endure the familiar chaffing that would fill McRae's
next letter? And dare he expose Elizabeth to the
"plain speech" of the president of the Missionary
Union who certainly would regard it as her official duty
to inquire into the affairs of "a regularly appointed
missionary" dare he!
He tore the message into twenty fragments and
hurled them into the waste paper basket.
And then what about Rose Copley? Was this
gifted woman to be wounded, struck by his unthink-
ing jest, and was he to bear no responsibility? Was he
not in duty bound to make honorable reparation if
she would accept it? It was maddening! and Locke
paced the length of his study trying to find some outlet
to the hateful labyrinth.
220 THE CENTENARY AT OLD FIRST
Miss Miller's cheerful face appeared at the doorway.
"The boy is here, Dr. Locke," she said.
"What's that, Miss Miller?"
"The boy from the Western Union ; shall I copy the
telegram for you?"
"Er no, I'll attend to the matter myself. Tell the
boy he needn't wait." Then, as the door was closing,
"Er Miss Miller, I'll not need you, I think, until
An hour later Richard Locke left his study "in quiet-
ness and in confidence." His work was in his hands,
his life was in the hands of Another. He had been
Meantime the postman was weaving other threads.
A tangle of loose ends or a finished fabric? Who shall
say? Two letters reached Doctor Janes's house on
the same delivery, both from Camp Sherman. Eliza-
beth was glad her father was not at home when they
came it was easier to hide her own letter in her hand-
kerchief box without seeming to keep it from him.
June 7, 1918.
My letter to father, sent by this post, tells of our orders to
leave Camp Sherman, and all the rest of it. It is for both of you
but this letter is for you.
How shall I tell you of my bitterness? The war has become
dead ashes to me there's nothing beyond it; nothing for me. I
could not keep it from you if I tried, and your own gentle words
the night of the reception made me know that you had discovered
it my love for sweet Rose Copley. At first she drew me to her
because she made me think of you, and then I saw that she was
altogether herself. I believed that she understood and welcomed
what she must have known I felt I say I believed it. But yester-
day I learned of my mistake. No matter how! That fierceness
is past and I'll not speak of it except to say this : Honor has sealed
my lips. I have said good-by to her, formally, almost coldly, and
all the time my heart was like a raging furnace! And last night,
as if to mock me, I dreamed that I was in France and Rose came
to me; she was radiantly beautiful and was reaching out her hands.
She'll never know my anguish and that's the bitterness of it:
she'll never know! But I can be a man, Elizabeth. That much at
least is left to me. Hide this forever in your heart.
Elizabeth held the letter in her hand and the tears
stood in her dark eyes. "Poor Frank !" she whispered
with a sister's tender sympathy. Then she read the
words again "That fierceness is past honor has
sealed my lips." She leaned back wearily and a slow
pallor overspread her face.
Three items regularly were scheduled for the early
morning hour at the Heustis home the Bible, the
morning paper, and the post. But that morning the
sixty-seventh psalm had been all absorbing, and the
Gazette was lying unopened in her lap when the post-
man broke in upon Mrs. Heustis's eager reflections.
She was sitting near the morning-glories that screened
the front veranda.
"Only one for you this time, Mrs. Heustis." The
postman handed her a small envelope and touched his
"But it's the right one, Harry." She smiled. Rose
Copley had become very dear to her gentle heart. She
June the Seventh.
DEAREST OTHEH-MOTHER :
I expect to be at home on Tuesday. The seventh division is
222 THE CENTENARY AT OLD FIRST
leaving camp to-day. Cousin Craig starts at eight o'clock. How
I hate this war ! Think of the dreadful nights and the wounds O,
I hate it ! I'm crying myself sick.
"The sweet, tender-hearted child!'* exclaimed Mrs.
Heustis. "I did not think she was so attached to her
cousin. Dr. McRae should have explained to her that
chaplains are not exposed to the same risks as officers
of the line." Then she sat musing. "I wonder," she
said, and then read the letter a second time.
THE BOARD MEETS
" ~^\ O I understand that Dr. Locke proposes to com-
JL-/mit First Church to practical socialism?" in-
quired James Gilbert. "If so, it's time for this Board
to call a halt."
Professor George Darrow was on his feet instantly.
"Let me remind Mr. Gilbert that Jesus Christ was the
first great socialist and it's time for Old First to get
down to bedrock Christian principles !"
"Come, gentlemen brethren! Please hold to the
actual proposition now before us," and Sanford Ken-
nedy, chairman, tapped on the table with his penknife.
It was the regular meeting of First Church Board
for June. The chairman had pushed through routine
business "in order," as he said, "that the pastor may
have full opportunity to present his plans for the
Centenary." But Richard Locke's straightforward
presentation had been under debate for half an hour
and his clear outline had been talked into confusion.
Fortunately, the chairman's plain common sense was
able to save it from further misinterpretation.
"The chair must ask the privilege of saying a few
words," he continued, "for I am persuaded that we are
running away with Dr. Locke's actual proposition.
The challenge of the pastor's plan is the simplicity of
it. Of course it touches some large questions in
THE CENTENARY AT OLD FIRST
economics and social reform, but the church has got to
lead out in these matters. This war has upset a good
many of our ideas, and it's likely to upset a good many
more. There's bound to be reconstruction in business
and politics and there ought to be reconstruction in the
church. If we're wise men, we'll get ready for it.
"What surprises me, my brothers and associates, is
that you seem to have overlooked the core and center of
the whole matter. This plan does not commit the church
to any theory of social or economic reform, but it does
unequivocally commit us to the acknowledgment of
God's ownership. It means recognition of the spiritual
foundations of property. With your permission I
shall ask Dr. Locke to state his proposition once more
I mean the core of it. I believe it will clear away
some of our confused notions."
"Perhaps I've been like the boy at the spring," began
Locke, rising to his feet ; "he really means to offer you
a drink, but in his eagerness he forgets to turn the
dipper so that you can grasp it by the handle."
The chairman gave a broad smile of recognition.
"You have it, Dr. Locke ! The fact is we've been try-
ing to get hold of the circumference of this thing, and
some of us have wandered as far as the Big Dipper at
that! Now for the handle!"
"I can say it in one word, gentlemen it is the
Christian law of 'stewardship.' It is a word that will
dip deeper into the spring and reach farther out among
the thirsty people than any word yet spoken in the con-
fused babel of this generation."
Locke's clear-cut features became sharp and tense
with earnestness. Professor Darrow leaned forward,
THE BOARD MEETS 225
and several members of the Board who had shown signs
of weariness sat up in their chairs.
"This Program means the putting across of four
Locke glanced at the type-written manuscript which
he still held in his hand, then, tossing it aside, he looked
squarely into the faces of the men before him.
"First of all, Old First Centenary Program, if
accepted, means that this Board recognizes stewardship
as the only Christian attitude toward property and in-
come. That covers the whole field of acquisition, ac-
knowledgment, and administration, and gives us a con-
structive Christian solution for the social and economic
problems of this city. As a simple corollary, though
not as our main proposition, it means that we accept the
principle of 'Kingdom' support, anciently ordained by
God himself, as our practical basis of church finance.
There is not a regular member of First Church congre-
gation unless he willfully has closed his mind to the
truth who does not understand what is meant, and
what is not meant, by the principle of the separated
portion, commonly called 'the tithe.' This is not the
time nor place for discussion. I simply ask Is First
Church ready to announce its faith in stewardship
principles as our businesslike foundation for church
"The second proposition is this: that First Church
shall enter upon a progressive and continuous cam-
paign of community evangelism. Methods and means
must be determined as the work unfolds, but the stew-
ardship of souls is to be recognized as our first objec-
tive. Whatever else Old First may accomplish, the
226 THE CENTENARY AT OLD FIRST
glory will be departed from her unless the souls of men
are born again at her altar. Therefore, as a first step
in wholesome evangelism, we should at once abandon
our system of 'family pews' and announce that all sit-
tings are freely open to the public. Old First even
now is called 'the people's church' and 'the people' have
a right to occupy it.
"The third proposition, gentlemen, seems to have
opened a wide field for discussion, which, for my part, I
do not regret at all. The proposition is this that
First Church shall recognize its stewardship of social
life in this ward by building a commodious club house,
or parish house if you prefer the name, to be opened
as a community center for all the people."
"Whose property would it be?" asked Mr. Gilbert
sententiously. In a moment he regretted his question,
for he knew what Locke's answer would be.
"If you mean 'Who would hold legal title?' Mr.
Gilbert, the answer is simple This Board, of course.
But it is becoming rather familiar doctrine in our day,
that legal title, or any other authority for holding
property, means responsibility for stewardship and
"I should like to ask our pastor just what he means
by the term, 'community center' ; for what purpose
would such a building be used?" Dr. Janes asked the
question with some anxiety and Locke answered him
with quiet deference.
"It would be for this Board, rather than the pastor,
to determine all questions of possession and use, yet I
have rather clear ideas as to what ought to be expected
from the social stewards of this community."
THE BOARD MEETS 227
"We shall be glad to hear you, Dr. Locke," said the
"I would build a beautiful and commodious structure
to be used seven days a week for the social and civic
activities of the people. It should have a roomy audi-
torium, to be used for public lectures, music, entertain-
ments, and should be furnished with a pipe organ
always ready to sound forth the deeper notes of rev-
erence and faith.
"There should be clubrooms and social rooms and a
refreshment hall, a room for language study, and a
quiet 'upper room,' always inviting and always open
for prayer and conference. My own thought is that
such a community house would become the natural
center for the development of intelligent morality, high
patriotism, and civic conscience. It would be broadly
Christian and yet not in any sense a 'church.' If Old
First undertook the enterprise, as a sacred stewardship
of social life, I would expect to see such a community
house develop into a familiar and homelike place where
Christ mingles freely with the people, with men and
women in their hours of leisure and with the laughing
There was a hush as Locke paused. Sanford
Kennedy spoke with eagerness. "I believe you men-
tioned a fourth proposition, Dr. Locke."
"Yes, Mr. Kennedy, and it is this that First Church
shall recognize her larger stewardship of humanity by
undertaking a definite and worthy part in the world-
wide enterprise of Christian Missions. I have named
this last, but in any true perspective of human need it
must be recognized as first."
228 THE CENTENARY AT OLD FIRST
Richard Locke picked up his manuscript and opened
it. But in another moment he thrust it into his pocket
and spoke again with the intensity of conviction.
"No, gentlemen, I will not repeat what I have said.
The thrill of human events is all about us. The call of
the world is the command of Christ. I have tried to
summarize our Centenary Program as it lies in my own
thought the least, as it seems to me, that any church
can afford to undertake. But I would not presume to
lay these propositions before you, nor the principles of
Christian stewardship out of which they grow, were I
not convinced that you are ready to sacrifice and serve
in the name of the Master. There is a larger name
than world-wide democracy : it is the kingdom of God."
For a moment after Locke had taken his seat no one
spoke. Even the most captious of men are not inclined
to talk when they stand in the presence of exalted duty,
nor even of high daring. Then the chairman asked the
question that has shipwrecked many a vessel on the
rocks of parliamentary debate.
"Are there any further remarks?"
James Gilbert arose to his feet. "I need not assure
Dr. Locke, nor this Board, that I am in sympathy with
any forward movement that seems practicable. Nor
do I care to discuss the several propositions that are
now before us. I rise simply to ask the one question
which it is my misfortune to be compelled to ask a good
many times in the course of the day's business How is
it proposed to finance this ambitious program? Per-
haps a banker may be forgiven if he advises caution in
the present inflated condition of the financial world."
The chairman answered him: "I think it would be
THE BOARD MEETS 229
well to vote on these propositions, as the preachers say
at Conference, seriatim. In that case the Board may
find that Dr. Locke's first proposition is the key to all
"Yes, Mr. Addison, I am sure you are the man who
can illuminate us."
William Addison was financial secretary of the
Board. His books were accurate to a hair and his
fondness for statistical research had given him the nick-
name, "Mr. Add-it-up." Locke smiled as he arose, for
they had delved together, and Locke knew what he
"I take it for granted, gentlemen, that if this Board
accepts the first proposition we shall do so with the full
and honorable purpose to lead the membership of Old
First into the faith and practice of Christian steward-
ship. That means, of course, that we ourselves will not
fall below the minimum of one tenth as an acknowledg-
ment of God's ownership. With such leadership and
example in the Board itself the rest of the church will
not be slow to follow."
He took a folded sheet from his pocket and went on.
"You've called me 'Mr. Add-it-up,' but, gentlemen,
addition is too slow for this proposition, it gets into
multiplication at once. The income of Americans at
the present time averages from six hundred to seven
hundred dollars a year, and I need not remind you that
Old First will run well beyond the average. Never-
theless, I'll cut it down to five hundred lest the chair-
man might think I'm overreaching the average income
in the Board itelf."
230 THE CENTENARY AT OLD FIRST
Sanford Kennedy chuckled. "Well, five hundred a
year would be a safe estimate for most of us. Go on,
"Our present church membership is one thousand two
hundred and fifty-two, not including adherents nor out-
of-town communicants. Without counting on a penny
from general sources of income (which has averaged
beyond two thousand dollars a year for the past three
years), I figure that two out of three among our mem-
bers will respond to the whole-hearted leadership of
Dr. Locke and this Board. Surely that is a low esti-
mate in these days of high thinking and high consecra-
tion. But I'll cut it down to one out of two just for
the sake of figuring safe. You see, Mr. Gilbert has
taught me to be cautious.
"Now, what have we? one half of our membership
tithing an average income of five hundred dollars a
year and bringing the separated tenth into God's store-
house. You see at a glance that Old First reasonably
can count on receipts exceeding thirty thousand dollars
a year as against a present budget of $12,250 the
highest in our history.
"The estimates that have been submitted for the pro-
posed Parish House on Fourth Street call for an ex-
penditure of one hundred thousand dollars. Very
well. Let us do as any expanding manufacturing con-
cern would do set apart a sinking fund to provide
for additional plant and power. Ten thousand dollars
a year would take care of the Fourth Street building
project and clean up the entire account, both principal
and interest, in a reasonable term of years. That
would leave twenty thousand dollars for our regular
THE BOARD MEETS 231
budget and make it possible for Old First at least to
begin her task of community evangelism and world-
William Addison folded the sheet again and turned
toward Sanford Kennedy.
"Mr. Chairman, I have cut these figures until they
bleed. I have done so in order to suggest what the
acceptance of stewardship principles would mean even
on a poor and meager basis. Therefore I may be per-
mitted to add that if some of the members of this
Board, and some of the godly members of the church
who are not members of the Board, should discover
that five hundred dollars a year is less than their actual
income, and if they should judge that thank-offerings,
in addition to the tithe, would be a fitting return for
God's watchcare through the years then the budget
I have suggested would be multiplied by three and the
Parish House would be builded as a sacrifice of joy and
As William Addison ceased speaking Dr. Janes rose
slowly to his feet. His tall figure would have marked
him in any company, but his distinguished bearing and
his austere yet kindly face would have named him for
what he was an aristocrat of the old school.
"For more than forty years," he said, "I have sought
to exercise the ministry of healing, and much of that
service has been among the humble and poor of this
city. It is my conviction that a suitable community
house for their use will be a public benefit. This has
been my judgment for many years, though I had not
thought of it as the legitimate work of the church.
However, I am not unfavorable to the idea that First
232 THE CENTENARY AT OLD FIRST
Church should undertake this, provided it does not in-
terfere with our pastor's regular ministry upon the
Sabbath, nor with our own church services.
"I confess myself at a loss to understand the bearing
of Mr. Addison's remarks, but I desire at this time to
announce my readiness to give the sum of ten thousand
dollars (which I believe is the first subscription) toward
the proposed Parish House. I may say that this gift
is in some measure an expression of my gratitude that
God has brought my daughter home to me."
The doctor held up his hand in deprecation of the
applause that followed, then resumed his seat. The
red blood leaped into Locke's face and he was conscious
of the furious pumping of his heart. He was sure
that Dr. Janes and all the rest of the Board must be
observing his embarrassment, yet he knew that he must
"If the noble generosity of Dr. Janes needed a single
word to make it perfect, he has spoken that word him-
self in making his gift an expression of gratitude for
the return of Miss Janes. Under these circumstances
it seems ungracious for the pastor to challenge Dr.
Janes' suggestion that his own generous gift is the first
subscription toward the proposed Parish House.
Nevertheless, it is my duty and my joy to report to
you a subscription that has been planned for many
months and that was formally announced two weeks
And then Locke told the story of "The Shiners"
how his work among the Italian boys had grown and
prospered, how the boys themselves had offered their
precious tithes for the work at Old First, and how
THE BOARD MEETS 233
Rhodin Curtis, non-churchman and man of the world,
had guaranteed a total of six thousand dollars on the
The effect was electric. James .Gilbert was on his
feet in an instant.
"Mr. Chairman, I am not yet ready to subscribe to
the principles of Christian stewardship which Dr.
Locke so patiently and persistently has taught. I do
not oppose the teaching, I simply have never yet ob-
served the practice, and I hesitate to begin. Perhaps
the banker's favorite word, 'conservative,' describes my
case, perhaps a stronger and less euphonious word
should be used.
"Be that as it may, Dr. Locke has stirred my heart,
the more so as most of those boys have savings accounts
at the City National Bank ; and I have been shamed by
Dr. Janes's magnificent offer in the presence of this
Board. If Rhodin Curtis can afford to match the
Club tithes, dollar for dollar, there's nothing left for
me but to match them both, and to add a couple of
thousand for good measure."
In the tense silence that followed, William Addi-
son's level voice was heard reading from the notebook
on his knee. " 'The Shiners,' three thousand dollars ;
Rhodin Curtis, three thousand dollars; Dr. Janes, ten
thousand dollars; James Gilbert, fourteen thousand
dollars. Total, thirty thousand dollars." But no
one paid the least attention to him, for Sanford Ken-
nedy was standing behind the chairman's table trying
to control his voice as he addressed the Board.
"Brethren, I have been dull indeed! As a young
man I used to pay my tithe. The joy of the Lord was
234 THE CENTENARY AT OLD FIRST
with me and a tenth of my small salary seemed a
meager sum for the wonderful work of the church.
Then prosperity came and my subscriptions were
greatly increased. The amounts actually given were
so much larger than my former tithe that I considered
it was no longer necessary to set apart that portion.
I was caught in the net of the enemy even while I sat
in the house of the Lord. And, brethren, until last
week I never understood why it was that victory had
gone out of my life."
Sanford Kennedy cleared his throat and went on.
"My dullness was that I always regarded 'the tithe'
as a financial scheme for supporting the church. I
did not recognize that it was my acknowledgment of
God's personal dominion over all my property, and
therefore over myself. I have been called generous,
but I have never recognized the spiritual foundations on
which property rests. For two weeks I have done some
of the hardest thinking of my life. Last Friday, when I
instructed our head bookkeeper to open a special trust
account, and carry into it one tenth of all my holdings,
it was like the falling of rain on dry and thirsty
The chairman's face was shining. "Brethren, this
isn't financing a Parish House this is an excursion in
the Land of Beulah! I cannot pay my debt to God,
even after I have acknowledged it, but I can rejoice in
his goodness! Brother Addison, take out your note-
book and match me dollar for dollar against the field!
It is a 'thank-offering' to God."
"Sixty thousand dollars, gentlemen !" came the level
tones of William Addison. "I reckon the Board in-
THE BOARD MEETS 235
tends to walk off with this proposition without giving
the rest of the church a chance !"
"It can't be done!" said Locke, eagerly. "Mrs.
Heustis already has authorized me to say that she
holds herself in readiness to support whatever Cente-
nary program the Board decides to adopt, and that
she desires the name of her husband to be associated
with the Parish House as the donor of an equal amount
with Sanford Kennedy, his lifelong friend."
"Caleb Heustis was God's prince!" The chairman
spoke with deep feeling.
"Only ten thousand remaining," continued the finan-
cial secretary. "My advice, gentlemen, is to pick your
shares while you have the opportunity, for one of the
ten comes straight to me," and he wrote his own name
with a look of intense satisfaction.
"I'm not able to pull in the same boat with these
strong oarsmen," said Professor Darrow, rising to his
feet. "They have lifted me by their open-handed
generosity. But I must have some share in this
matter. Will you accept the meager gift of five hun-
"You can't afford it, George," exclaimed James
Gilbert. "I know the struggle you're having with that
mortgage ! I've been shamed to-night, more than once,
and yet something tells me that my shame will become
my rejoicing. Perhaps this particular banker will
have to recast his whole theory of money ! In any case
I ask the Board to let me assume the last ten thousand."
"I'll put you down for ten thousand all right, Mr.
Gilbert," said William Addison, smiling, "but I'm
already in on this, and you can't shut me out !"
236 THE CENTENARY AT OLD FIRST
A dozen voices joined in while Locke looked on
stupefied with wonder.
"Where do we stand now, Mr. Addison?" asked San-
ford Kennedy after five minutes of spontaneous pledg-
ing had covered two pages of the secretary's notebook.
"I reckon a good margin will be safe on a proposition
as big as Old First Centenary. We are getting things
started so that the Church can come in on the main
"One hundred and twelve thousand, five hundred
dollars," answered the secretary as he quickly footed
Slowly the chairman turned toward the pastor.
"Will that do for a starter, Dr. Locke?" he said. But
Locke could not answer him.
"According to my reckoning," continued the chair-
man, addressing the Board, "we are about ready to
vote on Dr. Locke's four resolutions. Are there any
"I'm ready to vote on that tithing proposition as a
matter of economy," said James Gilbert, laughing.
"At the rate I've been going this evening it will save
me a deal of money."
"Mr. Chairman." Dr. Janes again had risen. "I
am heartily in favor of all that is before us except the
second resolution. But I cannot give my consent
when Dr. Locke proposes to abandon our system of
family pews and open our sittings indiscriminately to
the public. Surely 'family religion' is to have some
place among us. I say with all humility that our
THE BOARD MEETS 237
church is not the place for Italians, Portuguese, and
every sort of immigrant who comes to this country
for a living. They will be happier elsewhere, and we
shall be better able to direct the spiritual life of our
church if we go on as we are. Let us keep our beloved
Old First as a sanctuary sacred to those dear ones by
whose labors it was founded, sacred to the noble tradi-
tions of its past, sacred to God."
There was no response, and Dr. Janes went on with
a note of petulance in his voice.
"I approve heartily, as I think I have demonstrated,
the plan for a Parish House; we are to help the poor
and unfortunate as we have opportunity. But I can-
not consent that my own family reservation shall be
occupied by strangers. On several occasions I have
found young Italians in my pew, and a week ago my
daughter was compelled to sit during the entire service
by the side of two Italian recruits, one of them that
young shoe-shining promoter, Tony Carrari."
"I reckon Miss Elizabeth didn't mind it," said the
chairman, smiling. Locke was in deep distress. The
doctor answered with dignity.
"That is quite beside the point, Mr. Kennedy. We
send missionaries as we build mission houses, to do
good among the backward and fallen classes. But we
do not invite them to our homes and we do not make
them our social equals. Surely, the people can attend
First Church services and find ample accommodation
in the free pews and the galleries."
"Will Dr. Janes vote against the resolution because
he thinks a brave American soldier is unfit to sit be-
side his own missionary daughter?" William Addi-
238 THE CENTENARY AT OLD FIRST
son's level voice brought a flush to the proud face of
the doctor. But before he could reply Richard Locke
was on his feet.
"Brethren, hear me! It hardly was considerate of
me to introduce that second resolution in such a way as
to force an innovation upon our honored pewholders.
If the resolution is approved let it be with the proviso
that all pewholders who desire it shall retain their pres-
ent sittings. Old First hospitality must be of grace
and not of compulsion."
"I thank Dr. Locke for his consideration, and, with
that understanding, I am entirely ready to support the
Dr. Janes inclined his head graciously, but Locke
had turned away his face and did not see him. He had
a stinging sense of self-condemnation. Had he com-
promised his own conscience to save Elizabeth's father
from embarrassment? Sanford Kennedy's kindly
voice was heartening and gave him back his poise.
"We shall lose nothing by patience, my brethren,
and consideration is more precious than machinery.
Hospitality comes from fellowship and not by statute.
Old First will win the people by the genuineness of our
desire and not by any Centenary resolution."
With these generous words from the chairman, the
one unhappy incident of the meeting was turned aside.
If Dr. Janes was somewhat formal in his views, no one
could be more gentle in his ministry. His skill and his
boundless charities were known throughout the city.
The four Centenary resolutions were passed with a
ringing vote, and a building committee was appointed
that very night to prepare plans and specifications.
THE BOARD MEETS 239
After the meeting had adjourned, Richard Locke
sat late in his study. The Centenary was succeeding
beyond his largest expectations. He knew that the
Spirit of God was moving among the people, and he
was reverently glad that in some degree he had been
able to interpret the divine plan. Yet a heaviness
rested upon him that he could not shake off. And he
was disquieted by Dr. Janes's parting words
"Come often, Dr. Locke, and see us; we shall be
lonely now that Frank is gone."
THEY THAT WILL BE RICH
THE summer of 1918 saw the breaking of Germany.
Until the middle of June the thrust toward Paris
was full of dread. The "miracle gun" that flung death
from the forest of St. Gobain, seventy-five miles across
the countryside, did more than slay a few worshipers
at church, it brought apprehension amounting to dis-
may. The help promised from America would arrive
But after the middle of May it was evident that the
German advance was slowing down; June saw it posi-
tively checked. Then came the electrifying news from
Chateau Thierry and the assurance from Washington
that American troops, at the rate of a quarter of a
million every thirty days, actually were landing on the
shores of France. The unity of the allied War Council
became apparent when the ugly enemy salient between
Soissons and Rheims began to straighten and the Brit-
ish drive north of the Somme pushed relentlessly for-
ward. Marshal Foch was engineering every move
from Dixmude to the Alps.
But news from France was meager. Captain Frank
Janes sent brief letters to his sister that told of hard
work and growing responsibility. "We're somewhere
back of the front," he wrote toward the middle of
August, "practicing every move of the game, from
THEY THAT WILL BE RICH 241
sentry duty to following a make-believe barrage. It's
exciting enough to be interesting, and there's good
prospect that we'll see real sport before Christmas."
When Elizabeth sent the letter to Mrs. Heustis, Rose
Copley listened to the reading of it with forced quiet-
ness. But when gentle Mrs. Heustis found Rose
sobbing in her bedroom the mother heart quickly under-
"Cry it all out, dear," she said ; "it will make you feel
"You mustn't b-breathe a word," Rose choked, hid-
ing her face in Mrs. Heustis' neck, "especially n-not to
"Not a word, child; I understand perfectly; and I
believe it will come out all right I know it will!" and
she patted her affectionately.
Rose could not have told why she sang all the rest
of the day, for the fear of wounds and death lay on
Tony Carrari's letters to the "Shiners" were works
of art. Richard Locke read every one of them and
laughed for gladness especially when McRae wrote,
"They're a new order of saints, Dickens, husky and
red-blooded, yet sworn defenders of Jesus Christ;
they're the kind of fellows that will transform the
church from a society of piffle into an expeditionary
force that is, if the church can hold them !"
And Locke sent back a hot rejoinder: "I don't ex-
pect the church to hold them; they, and red-blooded
men like them, will hold the church !"
Elizabeth spent most of the summer in New Eng-
land. Her father said she "might as well have re-
242 THE CENTENARY AT OLD FIRST
mained in India as to spend the heated term in the
city." But Elizabeth insisted that she had come home
to be with her father and she had no intention of leav-
ing him. So they compromised on six weeks together
in the White Mountains.
Locke had a sense of relief when Doctor Janes and
Elizabeth had gone. He could not well evade the
doctor's frequent invitations to "call and talk over the
plans for the Parish," and yet a call at Dr. Janes's
was playing with fire. So he plunged headlong into
the summer's work, grateful every day that the hours
One thing it is needful to record : Locke was kind to
Rose Copley; he was even gentle. He could not but
observe that her naturally gay and animated manner
had become reserved, almost pensive, and he hated him-
self for the grievous injury that he had caused. He
was resolved that he would make her an honorable
offer of marriage; it was his only possible reparation.
He esteemed and admired her; he believed that he
would come to love her besides, the word once spoken
would bring quiet to his own turbulent spirit.
And yet the summer passed and the word was not
spoken. With the instinct of every pure-minded man,
Locke could not offer marriage where he did not offer
love. And he hated himself the more because of it.
But the torture through which Locke was passing
became almost unendurable when he discovered that
Rhodin Curtis was slipping away from him. He be-
gan to recognize the change soon after their return
from camp, an air of indifference that Rhodin never
had shown during the three years of their friendship.
THEY THAT WILL BE RICH
What wounded Locke particularly was his casual atti-
tude toward the Centenary plans that had been
"I suppose I'm in for three thousand dollars, and as
much again if those kids fall down on me which no
doubt they will !"
The unsympathetic words were spoken at the bank,
the day following the Board meeting. Locke had
stopped at Rhodin's desk to tell him the good news.
He felt the chill in Rhodin's voice, but put it down to his
familiar habit of raillery.
"It was your subscription, Rho, that started the ball
"Yes, Gilbert told me that I crowded the high-
brow doctor out of his favorite stunt of pushing to the
front of the stage."
Locke flushed. He knew and regretted Dr. Janes's
one weakness, his family pride, but it angered him to
have Elizabeth's father flaunted with rude speech.
Rhodin often used picturesque slang, but never before
had there been a sting to it. Locke did not answer
"You see, I can't run with your church crowd any
more than a coyote can run with a pack of deer
hounds. I wonder that your elect Board was willing
to accept the unbaptized dollars of a worldling."
"I hope you do not regret your generous offer, Rho,"
said Locke, with quietness. He was too hurt to con-
ceal the pain he felt.
"No, no ! I'll redeem that pledge to the last dollar
unless I'm bankrupt when you call for it," and
Rhodin held out his hand in half apology.
244 THE CENTENARY AT OLD FIRST
Locke tried to put the incident from his mind, but
it remained with him. It troubled him so greatly that
he called at the bank, after a day or two, for no other
purpose than to wave his hand toward Rhodin in a
cheery salute. But the cashier was not at his desk.
On inquiry Locke learned that he would be gone for
"A trip to New York," said Brooks, assistant
A fortnight later Locke was passing the bank just
as Curtis drove up in his car. He was dressed in a
jaunty suit of light summer fabric, very different from
the quiet gray that he usually wore. An expensive
Panama hat was perched on the back of his head.
"Hello, Locke," he called out as he drew into the
curb. "Have you got the roof on your new clubhouse
yet?" The voice was easy and familiar, but there was
a flippancy of manner that jarred. Intimacy be-
comes an offense when it does not rest on genuine re-
spect and affection. But Locke overlooked Rhodin's
altered manner and greeted him cordially.
"I hope you had a successful trip, Rho?" he said.
"Great !" he answered. "Did a good stroke of busi-
ness for the bank, and, incidentally, pulled down a
thousand or two for yours truly. 'Coordinated
Copper' took a turn the first day I was in New York
and I had sense enough to unload for fourteen
thousand. I covered those lost margins of mine and
walked out of the game about eighteen hundred to the
"I'm glad of that; now I suppose you'll let 'war
brides' severely alone."
THEY THAT WILL BE RICH 245
"Not on your life, Locke!" The intimate "Dick,"
to which Richard Locke had grown accustomed, was
hearty and frank ; it always had come with the genuine-
ness of a boy's friendship. But the familiar use of his
surname grated on his ears unpleasantly.
"Not on your life!" he repeated. "I put that roll
into Mexican Petroleum, and if I don't turn the trick
this time you may put me down for a lobster ! This is
my second stake on 'Mex. Pete' that's what they call
it in Wall Street and the market creeps steadily
upward. I guess that 'Shiners' subscription of mine
must be my mascot! gives me an interest in the
'Shiners' ' prayers, eh, Locke?"
Rhodin passed into the bank laughing and Locke
walked toward the church with mingled feelings of
anger, chagrin, and sorrow. But when Rose Copley
met him at the tower door to tell him that "Leetla
Jeem's" mother had died during the night, pity and
grief were all his heart could hold for poor Rho Curtis !
It was a grain of comfort, when he told Rhodin of
Jeemy's desolation, that Rhodin's eyes filled. "Make
the best arrangement for the little fellow that you
can, Dick, and count on me for the expense," he said.
At about half past ten on Saturday morning,
August 31, a messenger from King and Kennedy called
at the City National Bank and handed Rhodin Curtis
the following letter.
August 31, 1918
Rhodin Curtis, Esq.
Cashier The City National Bank.
With reference to our note for ninety days, due to-day, I am
246 THE CENTENARY AT OLD FIRST
disappointed that our London correspondents have not yet sent us
certain remittances, as expected. I am inclined to think the delay
is due to irregularity in the mail service, though it is quite possible
that the London house may require further time for adjustment.
The security is abundant, as you know.
Under the circumstances we shall find it necessary to avail
ourselves of your offer of extension for part of our note. I am
therefore handing you New York Exchange for $65,000, part pay-
Please make an extension of sixty days for the remaining
$20,000 and charge the discount against our account.
(For King and Kennedy)
SAN FORD KENNEDY,
Rhodin pressed a button at the side of his desk.
"Luther, ask Mr. Jarvis to send me King and Ken-
nedy's note, dated June 1st." The note was laid on
his desk and he indorsed it as follows:
$65,000 paid on maturity hereof; $20,000 extended for sixty
days from August 31, 1918. Discount, $200, charged to King &
Then he handed the messenger the bank's formal re-
ceipt for $65,000 and dismissed him with a pleasant
On the second delivery a letter was placed in his
hands, marked "Personal." He let it lie until he had
cleaned up the day's work. Then he opened it. It
was from Passmore, cashier of Rockway and Company,
and was as follows:
NEW YORK, August 29, 1918.
MY DEAR CURTIS:
I am sending you statement of Mex Pete, as requested, showing
status of your 1,000 shares purchased May 28, and 700 shares pur-
chased June 18. The statement, as you note, includes our com-
THEY THAT WILL BE RICH 247
mission, interest charges to date, and war tax. The firm is ready
to make the sale for you, as you suggest. In that case, at present
market price of 102, we will send you our check, for $49,512.50,
which will cover the margins advanced by you and give you a
tidy profit of $15,512.50 on the investment.
But I strongly advise you to hold what you have and buy more.
The market has advanced ten points in ninety days. It cannot
drop from present figures unless the Germans recover their waning
strength. German propaganda is active on 'change. The effect
of it is seen in a determined effort to depress Mex Pete and other
war stocks. But it can't be done. The Allies are going to win!
If you believe it, hold what you have and buy.
You've already got a good thing. If you'll leave your profit
where it is, and send us another $20,000 to keep it company, we
can buy 1,800 more shares for you, making 3,500 in all, and
there's nothing under heaven to prevent you cleaning up a quarter
of a million nothing except the defeat of Uncle Sam and the
Allies. Mex Pete will be soaring inside a month, and you can
make your pile within sixty days. There are nineteen different
ways of securing a loan and they're all legitimate when you've
got a dead cinch!
E. H. PASSMORE.
P. S. Gilbert has just wired us to sell another block of Penn-
sylvania on his account and buy Mex Pete. He's got a long head
and I believe you have also.
E. H. P.
Monday, September 2, was Labor Day and the
City National Bank did not open. On Tuesday,
shortly after banking hours, Sanford Kennedy entered
through a side door and stopped beside the cashier's
desk. He was smiling.
"I suppose I've dropped two hundred dollars," he
"How's that, Mr. Kennedy?" answered Curtis.
"By renewing that balance for sixty days and pay-
ing the discount. The London remittance came this
morning and is already deposited to our account."
248 THE CENTENARY AT OLD FIRST
"If it will be any accommodation, Mr. Kennedy, the
bank will be glad to cancel the twenty thousand renewal
though it will cost you ten dollars for the three days
it has run since Saturday. You see we'll have to
gouge you a bit!"
"That's all right, Rhody, and I'm lucky to get off
at that! If you'll give me a check I'll fix the matter
"Very good, Mr. Kennedy," and he handed him a
blank check. "I'll make out a credit slip for one
hundred and ninety dollars, to be returned to your
account. That will take care of the balance of dis-
count already paid, and will close the transaction.
I'm glad we could give you the accommodation."
"It was a genuine service, Mr. Curtis, and another
illustration of what the public is likely to forget
that constructive finance is necessary to the winning of
the war, no less than machine guns."
Sanf ord Kennedy filled in the check while he was
speaking. Then he handed it to Rhodin.
"I'll send you the canceled note, Mr. Kennedy; it's
too late to get it out of the vault to-day."
"You needn't bother about it on my account, Rhody.
I never keep canceled bank-paper. I've no use for a
peach-stone after I've eaten the peach."
"You're out of date for a chemist, Mr. Kennedy ; the
Germans have shown us that poison gas from old
peach stones is rather a desperate business !" Rhodin
laughed and glanced at the check that Mr. Kennedy
had just handed ]jrim. Then he looked up quickly.
"You've made this check payable to me, Mr.
THEY THAT WILL BE RICH 249
Kennedy looked at it. "That's so ! Well, it's only
another illustration of Dr. Locke's last sermon. Why
don't we ever see you at church, Rhody?"
"O, I'm going to surprise you all one of these days
after I make my pile! What did Locke preach
" 'The Unconscious Influence of Association.' You
see I was talking to you while I was writing the check !"
and Sanford Kennedy laughed heartily. "But I won't
change it now," he added. "Just indorse it and turn it
in. I'd rather like your name on the back of that slip
"All right, Mr. Kennedy ; I'll hand you a receipt for
the amount," and Rhodin laid the check on his desk.
The first of the month and a holiday coming together
held the cashier until after five o'clock. Clara was
not at home and Rhodin was in no hurry to leave his
desk. He took out Passmore's letter and read it again
down to the last line : "There are nineteen different
ways of securing a loan and they're all legitimate
when you've got a dead cinch !"
"The fool ! There are nineteen hundred ways when
you can put up the collateral!" He straightened the
loose papers on his desk and pinned Mr. Kennedy's
credit slip and check together, ready to pass over to
the note teller the following morning. As he did so
he glanced at the check again, then thrust it under-
neath a glass paper-weight as though it had burned
He drove out Park Road, but did not stop at his own
house. He continued at high speed straight into the
country. Once he looked behind him nervously. He
250 THE CENTENARY AT OLD FIRST
was trying to get away from the fierce thing that had
leaped at him as he closed his desk.
The whole thing was so stupidly simple! and that
was the fierceness of it. The bank records were in
perfect order, Mr. Kennedy's letter requesting a re-
newal was on file, the renewed note was in the vault, the
discount for sixty days had been paid. All he needed
to do was to do nothing. "There are nineteen differ-
ent ways of securing a loan and they're all legitimate
when you've got a dead cinch !" He could see the
check under the glass paper-weight and he increased
At half past six he drove up in front of the Hamil-
ton House. Richard Locke was standing on the steps.
He hailed him.
"You're just the man I want, Rho ! Our Building
Committee are taking dinner together to-night and de-
ciding plans at the same time. We want your judg-
ment on a clubroom for the 'Shiners.' '
"Who are the committee?"
"Kennedy, Gilbert, and Addison."
"All right; I'll sit with you. That was the one
reason I went into it at first, to provide a decent place
for the boys."
"We all know it, Rho, and the committee will be glad
for your help."
But at table the American drive southeast of Sois-
sonS was the all-absorbing theme; it was difficult to
speak of anything else.
"I tell you, Kennedy, the fighting will be over by
Christmas," said James Gilbert, with emphasis. "The
surest proof of it is the falling to pieces of the Berlin
THEY THAT WILL BE RICH 251
stock market and the steady rise of securities in Lon-
don, Paris, and New York, especially war stocks."
"Take 'Mexican Petroleum' for instance," he con-
tinued. "I picked up a little of that stock a few
months ago and I've studied it rather closely. Mex
Pete (that's the pet name for it in Wall Street) has
moved up twenty-three points in nine months in spite
of a heavy combination against it. In my judgment it's
just ready for a sensational leap. I don't get my war
news from the front pages of the newspapers. New
York Stock reports are more trustworthy as to actual
conditions than the reports of the war correspondents
at the front. I tell you the money market is a spiritual
barometer for any nation. It lets you know the inside
Rhodin was watching him closely through narrowing
lids. "Then I suppose your advice could be put in the
words of the Good Book: 'Go, sell whatsoever thou
hast' and buy Mex Pete."
The banker laughed : "Well, that's putting it a little
strong, but I'll say this much: It's a good time for a
wide-awake boy to look through all the old teapots in
the house and collect every odd coin that he can find."
"But what if already he has ransacked the house
from attic to cellar?"
"Then, Rhody, maybe his absent-minded old uncle
might leave fifty cents on the washstand," said Ken-
nedy, grimly; "he could borrow that." The merchant
frowned angrily and turned toward the banker. The
fact is, Gilbert, I don't like this business of speculating
During the above conversation Richard Locke had
252 THE CENTENARY AT OLD FIRST
become aware of the subdued excitement in Rhodin's
manner. He knew the strong pull that had been draw-
ing Rhodin farther and farther into financial specula-
tion, and he resented this new evidence that some of his
own church leaders were making it harder for him to
resist. He did not dream that already Rhodin was
caught in the undertow, but he knew that his friend
needed help from the church and not hindrance.
"Come on, men," he said, impatiently, "let's get busy
on these plans."
Rhodin Curtis sat late that night in the hotel lobby.
He did not care to go home not yet. "If the devil is
fishing for me," he laughed sardonically, "the saints
surely are cutting bait for him."
Then his jaw set and he thought it through. He
was no child, and he was not the devil's tool ! It was a
straight loan that he had in mind, nothing else. It
was irregular, but there was absolute security for San-
ford Kennedy, "his absent-minded old uncle." He
smiled at this.
As to the method of it, the regular routine of bank
business would take care of the whole matter. The
check, indorsed by Rhodin, would be returned to King
and Kennedy in regular course. That it had been used
for the purchase of a New York draft was the cashier's
official business and not even open to remark. Such
drafts were purchased by the bank's clients every day.
The bank cash would not be disturbed because the
twenty thousand would not be charged against it.
The credit of one hundred and ninety dollars, due Mr.
Kennedy, Rhodin of course would pay; it was his own
THEY THAT WILL BE RICH 253
legitimate discount on the loan. The extended note,
safe in the vault, would not be disturbed for nearly
sixty days. When it became due on the first of Novem-
ber he would take care of it.
There was but one chance of failure the remote
yet human possibility of his own serious sickness, or
possible death, during the next sixty days. As a matter
of business precaution, as well as of personal honor,
this must be taken into the account. With character-
istic directness he sat down at one of the correspon-
dence tables and wrote as follows:
September 3, 1918.
DEAR MB. KENNEDY:
With reference to our conversation at the dinner table this
evening I am borrowing your twenty thousand for the balance of
the sixty day period. Your personal check is surely opportune,
though my use of it as a personal loan is rather irregular. How-
ever, you will never know about it unless my unforeseen death
(which God forbid!) should put this letter into your hands. In
that case I have protected the loan. I am taking out a short-
period insurance policy for $20,000 indorsed by me and payable
to yourself. I will obtain the policy to-morrow and will place it
with this letter in my safety deposit box at the bank.
The next morning Rhodin wired his New York
broker, "Buy as per your proposition August 29. Re-
mittance by mail."
THE COMING OF AN AMBASSADOR
THE intimacy between Clara Curtis and Elizabeth
seemed to have lessened during the summer.
Their friendship was unbroken, but the spontaneous
flow of it had been interrupted. The afternoon at
Elizabeth's home, when John Roberts had ridden
roughshod over Clara's self-complacency, had been
humiliating to her pride. That the offense was utterly
unconscious had not lessened but rather increased the
poignancy of it.
But more disturbing than her sense of personal hu-
miliation was the intellectual awakening that had come
to her. She resented the clear shining that revealed
the tawdry and pagan thing which she had called
"Reality." And yet her inborn honesty would not let
her dissemble the truth the great-souled missionary
had had no thought of attacking her chosen faith ; he
had been telling her the heart of Hinduism, and that at
her own request.
It was not John Roberts nor Richard Locke nor
Elizabeth Janes who had forced the truth upon her;
she had herself peered into the pool of paganism and
had seen "Reality" leering at her from the murky
depths of it. Nevertheless, with the unyielding
obstinacy of human pride she turned a deaf ear to the
gentle remonstrance of her higher and nobler self. "If
THE COMING OF AN AMBASSADOR 255
'Reality' is the heart of Hinduism," she said, "then
so much the better for Hinduism and so much the worse
for the missionaries."
But Clara Curtis could not coerce her own mind,
though she tried with set determination. She read
"Reality" booklets with Mrs. Kave Rogers and became
angry at herself because they seemed to her shallow
and unmeaning. She hated John Roberts for disturb-
ing the tranquil dream in which life had been so placid,
so serenely indifferent to the ugly shadows of sickness,
sin, and war. In midsummer Rhodin saw that her
spirits drooped and insisted that she should go to the
seashore with Mrs. Heustis and little Arthur.
"Only sinners like me are entitled to be out of sorts,"
he said, jestingly. But Clara knew that he meant it,
and it irritated her that she had lost her poise in the
presence of her husband.
Toward the end of the first week in September
Richard Locke learned of Clara's return, and he did
not delay to call at Rhodin's home on Park Road.
John Roberts was announced to speak at Old First on
the following Sunday, and he laughingly reminded her
how they jointly had persuaded the missionary at the
beginning of the summer.
But Clara pleaded the weariness of her long journey
and responded coldly to Locke's invitation to be at the
service. Perhaps his refusal to urge her showed wis-
dom, for Clara felt that she had not been perfectly
courteous. Moreover, she had a desire, which she
would not admit to herself, to hear a man who could
uncover the hidden springs of "Reality." She decided
256 THE CENTENARY AT OLD FIRST
to go. On Sunday morning as Richard Locke glanced
over the congregation he saw her sitting beside Eliza-
beth in Dr. Janes's pew. Rhodin was with her.
"That was the most wonderful hour in our history,"
said Sanford Kennedy. He was standing with Mrs.
Heustis in the tower doorway after the service.
"And the saddest!" she answered, while the tears
stood in her eyes.
"But do you think Dr. Locke will leave us, Mrs.
"I'm sure of it. I felt that God's hand was upon
him during Mr. Roberts's closing appeal."
"Well, it's plain that Locke himself doesn't realize
it. He told me Roberts was mistaken in thinking that
ver he would go to India although one would judge
that India ought to have a peculiar attraction for
him," and Mr. Kennedy smiled knowingly.
"There are some things, Mr. Kennedy, which seem to
be foreordained," and Mrs. Heustis laughed softly as
she beckoned to Rose Copley and moved toward her
"If Locke leaves us I'll be justified in canceling my
subscription to the Centenary!" fumed Gilbert as he
and William Addison walked down Main Street to-
"Dr. Locke has been a great leader for Old First,
Mr. Gilbert, but our Centenary is bigger than any
man and bigger than any church."
And it all came about because a plain man from the
Punjab stood up and talked.
THE COMING OF AN AMBASSADOR 257
"You mustn't expect me to 'preach,' my friends," is
the way John Roberts began that memorable sermon.
"Missionaries do not 'preach.' They are at work down
at the mudsills of human thinking. They gather a
little group about them and talk that's all, just talk.
So if you will let me think of you as a group of Punjabi
Christians, gathered under a mm tree at the edge of
the village, and will let me talk to you in the simple
language of the untaught multitudes, I think we shall
"Your pastor has asked me to speak of the inner
meanings of paganism. It is a fascinating theme, but
I do not want you to think of paganism as the curious
belief of people living in the Orient. I want you to
realize that the cruel and flinty heart of it is near you,
nearer than you think. Therefore let me begin by
talking about something that lies close to Old First
Centenary this": John Roberts held up a piece of
A fleeting smile passed over the congregation.
James Gilbert gave close attention. Rhodin frowned.
As for Clara she was quietly amused the missionary
had given fair warning of the inevitable "collection"
that was to follow. She had expected him to speak of
the mystic Brahm and Maya, and here he was making a
financial plea at the very beginning of his address.
Why were missionaries always tiresome !
Richard Locke plainly was piqued. It had not been
his intention to ask the congregation for a missionary
offering at this time. It would have been better had
he warned Roberts to avoid all reference to money. But
what was it that Roberts was saying? Locke listened.
258 THE CENTENARY AT OLD FIRST
The missionary was walking confidently among the
foundations of the Christian faith, foundations that
Locke had been building on but never had really ex-
amined. And yet they were so obvious so broadly
human so masterfully divine!
"What is money?" John Roberts still held the coin
before the people as unconcernedly as though he were
holding up a copper pice among a group of upper
Ganges villagers. A smile was lurking in the caverns
of his eyes.
"Perhaps you think that money is the precise thing
the missionary intends to ask for at the close of his
address. Let me inform you at once that he intends
to do no such thing. Too many an audience has been
cajoled into giving their money when they ought to
have been giving their thought. And that is all I shall
ask of you, your thought. But I should warn you
in advance that if you give your thought to the mean-
ing and mystery of money, you will be taken captive
to the mind of God himself. Henceforward you will
be masters neither of your money nor yourselves."
The stooping shoulders suddenly straightened and
Old First became aware that an ambassador of the
Most High was among them.
"It is curious, this fugitive thing that we call
money," he continued. "Men will work for it, wait
for it, lie for it, pray for it and yet when they get it
they do not want it, and as soon as possible they will
get rid of it. They will exchange it for something
else, something presumably that they do want.
"It is perfectly obvious that men will seek after
money because money is a convenent medium to be ex-
THE COMING OF AN AMBASSADOR 259
changed for food and shelter and clothing. The
millions of earth have no other use for it. But forward-
looking men in all the world know this that money
is the measurement of property, and property, whether
great or small, means power. What I hold in my hand
is more than a silver coin ; it is a spiritual press button.
Men touch the miracle that we call money and cities
rise, commerce moves, families are formed. Money
means the releasing of power, and" here John Roberts
leaned across the pulpit and the words went through
the congregation " 'God hath spoken once, twice have
I heard this, that power belong eth unto God.' '
As the preacher repeated the words of Holy Scrip-
ture it was as though a Majestic Presence were re-
vealed. The congregation was under a compulsion
more potent than human speech.
"When the Scriptures speak of 'power,' and when
thoughtful people use the word, it never is confused
with inanimate 'force.' Force always is under the con-
trol of Power it must be so, or else this universe is a
whirling chaos. Power means personality. It signi-
fies authority, right, dominion. 'All power is given
unto me,' said Jesus. What he meant was that all
authority, all rightful dominion is now vested in him.
And this is why a Christian recognizes that property,
that prolific source of human power, must be under the
dominion of God himself."
And then the preacher reminded them of the historic
unfolding of our common law regarding property
facts which they knew but had forgotten, or, worse,
had neglected to weave into the daily fabric of life.
Why did Christian men continually speak of property
260 THE CENTENARY AT OLD FIRST
as their own? The law gave them the right to do so.
Certainly but whence had the law come?
" 'The fall of the Roman empire !' there never was
such an event!" exclaimed the preacher. "Rome lives
to-day in that massive system of law and equity that
has been embodied in our jurisprudence, our statutes,
and our courts of justice."
And whence had it all come, this stupendous instru-
ment called the law, which gives a man the right to
speak of property as his own? Had it not come from
the pagan philosophy of the Roman lawyer? Had it
not been builded upon that foundation of all Roman
thinking the law of Nature?
John Roberts leaned toward the congregation as
ofttimes he had bended over a group of Punjabi vil-
lagers it was the same yearning human love.
"Do you not understand, my friends, why I said that
the heart of paganism is nearer you, nearer all of us,
than we are accustomed to consider ? Whenever a man
says or thinks this house, this farm, this property is
mine, he shuts away the personal and living God and
makes property a human institution. He vaunts him-
self as paganism hath ever done, and says, 'Power be-
longeth unto man.'
"There is but one nation, among all the nations of
earth, that has recognized the personal dominion of
God in its laws and statutes relating to property.
Here is the exalted meaning of the tithe in Israel.
Every ancient nation was accustomed to tithe-paying,
but in Israel the glory of it was this: the tithe could
not be dedicated by a vow. Why? It was dedicated
already. It was the acknowledgment of Jehovah's
THE COMING OF AN AMBASSADOR 261
personal dominion over property. 'The tenth shall
be holy unto the Lord.' '
For the first and only time the preacher blazed.
"Do I mean, therefore, that God is a Person, with
all the limitations that we associate with human per-
sonality? No, not that, but this: that we ourselves
are clothed upon with personality so majestic, so
divine, that we shall not know the depth of it nor the
reach of it until we find the mystery of it in God him-
The preacher paused. The glow disappeared from
his face. The stoop returned to his shoulders and the
burden of half the world seemed pressing down upon
"My friends, I know not why I have been moved to
bring this message to you to-day unless it is that the
whole Church of Christ is beginning to seek after the
old paths. The Centenary program of Old First
makes me know that already the secret of the Lord is
with you and pagan conceptions of ownership are
loosed from you, if not entirely destroyed. But my
soul to-day lies under the shadow of another hemi-
sphere, where property is a pagan conception, not only,
but where paganism itself is a cruel and present fact.
Divine personality is wholly obscured and human per-
sonality has become a dwarfed and misshapen thing.
"They need you, my friends, with a desperate and
pathetic need. A thousand strong arms will lift the
shadowed lives of this city, but is there no hand to
reach out to blind and groping spirits where the light
itself is as darkness? Money is not my quest to-day.
Money means the release of power, but it is not the
262 THE CENTENARY AT OLD FIRST
power. Property is the token of personality, but it is
not personality. I plead to-day for the choicest gift
that Old First can offer, the gift of life itself.
"Is there a voice among you that reaches far and
speaks with authority? is there a mind here that can
think true and think through? is there a heart that
throbs in sympathy with the heart-beat of humanity?
that is the gift I am seeking to-day.
"For him who was rich yet for our sakes became
poor for Him I ask your choicest and your best."
As John Roberts leaned over the pulpit in one pas-
sionate appeal, Locke turned his fascinated gaze
toward the congregation and found himself looking
into the startled eyes of Elizabeth Janes. He went
through the concluding hymn and benediction as a man
walking in a dream.
Ten minutes afterward he stood in his study beside
the tall stooping form of the missionary. He was
tense with stillness. There was no need for question
nor explanation. Both men understood. Without
waiting a moment Roberts strode to the side of the
room where a wall map of the world hung between the
"Richard Locke," he said, "cast your eye across this
map and tell me where the full investment of a life will
yield largest returns for humanity here?" he spread
his left hand across America "or here?" and with a
slow motion of his right he swept across the Near
East, then India, then Eastern Asia.
"Surely, it is an axiom of missions that the home-
land must be made Christian if ever we are to Christian-
THE COMING OF AN AMBASSADOR 263
ize the world." Locke spoke with sharpness as though
he were making a defense.
"The homeland is Christian, sir! I speak in large
human terms and not in terms of ecclesiastical parties
nor church shibboleths. This war has proved that the
great heart of America beats true. God, prayer, im-
mortality, honor, pity, liberality Christ's gospel of
human brotherhood is in the heart of the American
people. I am using words with perfect appropriate-
ness when I speak of 'American Christianity.' It is
not a full expression of Christianity, certainly not a
final one, but it is the most commanding expression
that the centuries have seen. Is this not true, sir?"
"In the large I must agree with you."
"Certainly, 'in the large,' for there is no other way
to judge of social emancipation, nor world movement.
But how shall this modern expression of Christianity
reach the depressed multitudes of earth unless strong
leaders of the church go to them, as Paul went to
Ephesus, and Corinth, and Rome? Weaklings cannot
carry Christ's message."
Locke did not answer him, but stood with his eyes
moodily fixed upon the map. Slowly the missionary
turned his head and looked at him.
"For the next fifty years, the most fruitful field for
Christianity in all the world will be right here" John
Roberts laid his hand upon the united Provinces of
India and the Punjab "and here is the city where I
would place you, Dr. Locke, to carry out in magnifi-
cent completeness the identical program which you
have inaugurated at Old First" and he placed his
index finger upon the city of Lahore.
264 THE CENTENARY AT OLD FIRST
"Have you not noted how northwest India has been
the open gateway to the East, the lure of all the con-
querors of old Darius, Alexander, Saladin? And do
you not recognize what has transpired within the last
few months? The war means a reconstructed Europe,
but to the missionary nothing is so vital as this that
Anglo-Saxon supremacy is insured from the Bosporus
to Baluchistan, and throughout the regions of Meso-
potamia. For the first time in all the centuries there
will be religious freedom from the headwaters of the
Ganges and the Five Rivers to the Mediterranean Sea.
"If you will recall that, while military conquest in
the past has pressed from the Mediterranean eastward
and southward toward the Punjab, yet the movement
of religion and philosophy always has been westward
and northward from the Punjab toward the Mediter-
ranean, then you will grasp the meaning of the India
mass movement toward Christianity. The Christianiz-
ing of races and communities must be a spiritual un-
folding from within. Long years before proud Brah-
manism shall bend its neck Indian Christianity will
conquer Islam. Remember that one third of the
Mohammedan population of the world is in India. Re-
member that in all the world the only vital contact
between Mohammedan communities and spiritually
transformed Christian communities is in the villages
and cities of India, where Christian churches are
multiplying with amazing swiftness. Remember, finally,
that the fall of Turkey and the suzerainty of Great
Britain in Southwestern Asia mean the removal of iron
despotism and the restoration of free human movement.
As in all past centuries, so once again, Persia and
THE COMING OF AN AMBASSADOR 265
Mesopotamia will yield to the pervasive mysticism of
"A powerful Christian movement in the plains of the
Punjab will thrill the heart of India herself, and then
push westward along the motor nerves of trade and
pilgrimage. The Christian gentleness of India will
break in pieces the hard crust of the Mohammedan
world. Already the Punjab pulses with Christian
testimony. Already Lahore is the meeting place of
Christianity and Islam. I do not ask you to enter
upon an unsafe experiment. I summon you to invest
your brain and heart where high leadership already
has prepared the way. Ten thousand strong men will
care for the American churches. I ask you to join
hands with the few who are pouring out their life
for the redemption of one half the human race in Asia."
Roberts suddenly ceased.
"Do not think I come to you on my sole responsi-
bility. I bear to you this greeting from the Board of
Foreign Missions," and he handed him a letter. It
was a formal call dated within a week, asking him to
accept appointment as an India missionary in the Pun-
jab, and making John Roberts the bearer of the
Locke was deeply stirred. "Have you spoken of
this to others?" he asked, bluntly.
"I have, to the secretary of the Board and to the
India Committee," replied Roberts.
"Certainly, but have you mentioned the matter here
so that the so that anyone would be aware of the invi-
tation of the Board?"
"I have written to Miss Janes as one keenly inter-
266 THE CENTENARY AT OLD FIRST
ested in all that touches our beloved India." Roberts
turned from him and began studying the titles of the
volumes in the case next the window.
A slow red covered Locke's face. He recalled his
first vivid impression that afternoon in May when
Elizabeth had introduced them. "Our beloved India"
he could not doubt it now ! And he was glad for it,
down under his suffocating sense of loss, honestly, hon-
orably glad for it. But this call to India it almost
seemed a united invitation from Elizabeth and an-
other ! Dare he plunge into such waters of bitterness ?
And yet, dare he turn from high counsel for any pain
or suffering that he should bear? Which way did
duty lie? He took two quick steps and held out his
"I thank you for your confidence, Roberts, but I
dare not answer you to-day."
"The Board will wait your reply until November.
I think I know what your answer will be, and from
my heart I am grateful for the joy that will be yours."
The look in Roberts's eyes was inexpressibly sweet
and tender. Locke could not fathom it. Not until
years afterward did he understand it.
Rhodin Curtis and Clara hardly exchanged a word
until they drew up at their own home in Park Road.
Then, as the purr of the motor ceased, Rhodin turned
"Well, Clara, I'm about ready for your 'Reality,' if
you'll introduce me. There's nothing for me at Old
But Clara looked straight ahead.
TIDINGS FROM SAINT MIHIEL
IN straightening the Rheims-Soissons salient, during
the late summer, French and American divisions
were in constant cooperation. But in the advance
east and south of Verdun, Marshal Foch deemed it
wise strategy to give General Pershing a free hand.
The smashing drive of the middle of September was an
all- American operation. Not only was the Saint Mihiel
salient obliterated, but the line was pushed backward
until the demoralized Germans were compelled to find
safety within the fortified area of Metz itself. American
shells already were bursting inside the German Father-
And then their friends at home learned that the
seventh division was in action. Frank Janes, Craig
McRae, the "Shiners" all were in the midst of the
fighting. Shrapnel and machine guns were sure to
search out some of them. The casualty lists in the
newspapers became a nightmare.
On the 20th of September the telegram came.
Elizabeth received the yellow envelope at the door and
took it to her father unopened. The straight standing
doctor had been the strength of hundreds in their hours
of trial, but now his own hour was come. His hand
trembled as he broke the seal. They read the message
"/ regret to inform you that your son, Captain
268 THE CENTENARY AT OLD FIRST
Frank Janes, was wounded in action during the fight-
ing at St. Mihiel 16th instant." It was signed by the
adjutant of the regiment.
"Thank God, father!" said Elizabeth, gratefully.
Dr. Janes looked at her. "I know what you mean,
my daughter, and I pray it may be so. But the ad-
jutant should have said more or he should have said
much less. 'Wounded' may mean anything from a mere
scratch to a serious or even fatal injury. Surely,
there is some one in his regiment to whom we can cable
some one who will send us personal rather than
"I am sure Chaplain McRae would tell us everything
if we could get a message to him."
"The very man ! and Richard Locke will know ex-
actly how to reach him. Can you see him, Elizabeth?
I am just hurrying to the Berrymans'. Little Louise
is worse. Dr. Locke always is in his study during the
morning. Spare no expense."
"I will go at once, father," and Elizabeth ran up to
her room with a strange mingling of anxiety and glad-
At that moment Richard Locke was hanging up the
receiver of his telephone an urgent meeting of the
executive committee of the Commercial Club was called
immediately. It was a matter that concerned the pub-
lic and he was desired to come at once.
"I hope to be back within an hour," he told Miss
Copley as he passed through the church office.
When he entered the secretary's room the other
members of the committee already had gathered.
TIDINGS FROM SAINT MIHIEL 269
James Gilbert was in the chair. Rhodin Curtis sat
near him. Four other men, representatives of large
interests in the city, were grouped around the table.
Sanford Kennedy was one of them. For the first time
in the history of the club a minister was on the executive
committee. Rhodin Curtis's characterization of
Richard Locke, more than three years before, had been
proved out : he was "a man's man."
"What's it all about?" he asked Rhodin in a low
voice as he took his seat at the table.
Rhodin's enigmatical reply was illuminated by the
rapid-fire questions : Lasher, treasurer of the club, had
absconded with a part of the club building fund.
"It's fortunate we had the bulk of it tied up in
municipal bonds," said Milman, representative of a
wholesale hardware house.
"But thirty-two thousand is quite a consolation
prize, gentlemen," answered Gilbert, "and Joe Lasher
won't bother about the rest of it."
"I'm not sure but we can untangle this snarl if we
go about it with patience and a little consideration,"
began Sanford Kennedy. "Of course we want the
money back again, but there's no need to crush Lasher.
Let's find out where he is and get into communication
"Find out where he is and jail him!" interrupted
Gilbert, angrily. "I'll have patience with ignorance
or inefficiency, but when it comes to betraying a trust
I have just one word a term in the penitentiary!"
"But we can wait at least to get Lasher's account of
it, Mr. Gilbert."
270 THE CENTENARY AT OLD FIRST
"I tell you, gentlemen, Lasher must be publicly ex-
posed and discredited. I would prosecute him if he
were my own son ! I regard this club as I regard the
City National Bank it is a public institution. There
must be no palliation and no concealment. The return
of club funds cannot undo the fact that Lasher has
used trust money. If such a thing should happen at
our bank, I would expose it instantly, no matter whom
it might involve, and no matter if the bank were reim-
bursed twice over. I will forgive a common thief, but
the betrayer of a trust shall have no mercy none !"
Then Richard Locke spoke for the first time. "In
any case we should learn how Lasher came to do it.
We cannot judge the act until we learn the history of
"It would be a pure waste of time, Dr. Locke," in-
terrupted Curtis, sententiously. "The fact should be
telephoned to the press immediately, and a committee
should wait on Mrs. Lasher before lunch and inform
her that her husband is a rascal." Rhodin's eyes were
burning and a hot flush was in his face.
"I fail to catch the drift of Mr. Curtis's remarks,"
said Gilbert, coldly. "We are not here to pillory Mr.
Lasher, but we certainly are not here to whitewash him.
Perhaps the secretary's record may help us a little."
Meantime Rose Copley busied herself with her morn-
ing's work. The strain of the summer had almost
reached the breaking point. The past week had been
full of terror. The piquant Rose of three months ago
was but a memory. She looked over her list of sick
calls for the afternoon, wrote several notes on parish
TIDINGS FROM SAINT MIHIEL 271
business, and telephoned to the Board of Health con-
cerning a contagious case. Finally she sat down at
her desk and buried her head in her arms.
"It's no use!" she cried softly to herself.
As the door opened she sat up stiffly and tried to call
up a smile, but scarcely could she see her visitor
through the blur of tears.
"It's only I," said Elizabeth, eagerly. "May I come
"Do come in !" and Rose stepped to the front of the
desk. "I I am very glad to see you. Please don't
mind my my maudlin condition. I'm really all
right." Rose laughed nervously.
"Forgive my bursting in upon you in this way. I'm
wanting very much to ask help of Dr. Locke. Is he in?"
"I'm so sorry, Miss Janes. He went out about an
hour ago but he ought to be back very soon. Can I
be of any use?"
"It's to help get a cable through. We've had bad news
from France about my brother, and I thought "
Elizabeth was not prepared for what happened just
then. Rose's hand reached out blindly and Rose her-
self leaned weakly against the desk behind her. She
was deathly white.
"O, you are ill!" cried Elizabeth. "I should not
have come to you with my troubles. Let me do some-
thing for you!"
But Rose Copley did not heed the gentle words.
With a look that dreaded yet demanded to hear she
clutched Elizabeth by the hand.
"Tell me, Elizabeth," she cried, breathless with fear,
"tell me all! Is he badly hurt? O, tell me he isn't
THE CENTENARY AT OLD FIRST
he isn't " and Rose covered her face with both hands
and stood trembling.
"No 'wounded'; that is all we know. See, here is
the telegram." Elizabeth unfolded the yellow sheet
and held it while Rose drank in every word of it. As
she finished reading she looked up into Elizabeth's eyes
and a smile of gratitude trembled on her lips. With-
out a word she laid her head on Elizabeth's shoulder
and burst into a torrent of weeping.
With a great dawning light in her own eyes Eliza-
beth put both arms about her and held her close. "You
care for him, Rose, don't you, dear? I'm so, so glad !"
and she smoothed her soft hair. Then with a happy
rush of tears, she kissed her on the forehead and lips
and repeated it again and again "O, Rose, I'm so
And she did not even ask herself why her heart was
glad. She did not want to think not yet. Rose was
"What must you think of me, Elizabeth? He never
told me that that he he went away without saying
a word." Rose hid her burning face once more on
"But he did love you, dear, and he does love you!
It broke his heart when he went away without telling
you. He understood that you were that he could not
" Elizabeth stopped short and the crimson mounted
into her own face as Richard Locke hastily threw open
the door. Rose broke away with a little cry and sat
down at her desk. Elizabeth stood irresolute. The
open telegram was still in her hand.
"I ask your pardon, Miss Janes, and yours, Miss
Copley, for rushing in so unceremoniously," said Locke.
"I could have reached my study through the vestry
door." Then noticing the open telegram in Eliza-
beth's hand, "Can I be of any service to you, Miss
Something in Elizabeth's face brought a note of
gentleness into his voice. She handed him the tele-
gram and sat down with a sudden sense of weakness.
But she watched him while he read it.
"This may not be at all serious," he said, "though
Adjutant Mallard should have been more explicit in his
"That is what father thought, Dr. Locke. He said
'wounded' might mean anything from a slight hurt to a
fatal injury. We thought O, forgive me, dear! O,
what shall we do !" Rose had fallen back in her chair
in a dead faint.
Locke sprang to her side and carried her like a child
to the couch in his study. In a moment Elizabeth was
kneeling beside her, rubbing her hands and bathing her
throat and temples. When Rose opened her eyes and
tried to get up she gently pressed her back upon the
"If you'll 'phone for father's limousine, Dr. Locke,
I'll take her right home with me. She needs looking
after, poor child."
Together they helped her into the car, though Rose
said she was quite herself again. The fresh air seemed
to restore her, for she was able to reach Elizabeth's
room with no other assistance than the stair rail.
"Please stay to lunch, Dr. Locke," said Elizabeth as
she removed her hat. "I want father wants to ask
274 THE CENTENARY AT OLD FIRST
your help in getting a cable through to Frank. That's
why I came to you came to the church this morning.
I will be downstairs as soon as I have made Rose
He watched Elizabeth as she ran lightly up the
stairs, and when she smiled back at him from the first
landing he stepped into. the drawing room. He knew
that he must pull himself together. Before he recog-
nized it he had passed on into the conservatory and
was standing beside the laburnum where he had stood
with her the night of the reception. And then he
knew that "pulling himself together" was beyond his
human strength. When Elizabeth came down a few
moments later she found him in the library, glancing
through one of the current magazines.
"Is Miss Copley better?" he asked.
"She says she's ready to 'run through a troop and
leap over a wall,' " answered Elizabeth, laughing. "I
really think she'll be all right again by morning. She
will stay with me to-day."
But Elizabeth did not tell of taking a letter from
her handkerchief box that made Rose cry with glad-
ness. "It's for you, dear," she said, "on one condition
that you write and tell Frank that I have given it to
"O, Elizabeth how dare I? Fr Frank would not
understand." But her radiant face told a different
story, and then she added "I I will, Elizabeth, as
soon as you have received an answer to your cable.
Please have Dr. Locke send it right away !" And Rose
thrust the letter under her pillow and closed her happy
TIDINGS FROM SAINT MIHIEL 275
But she opened them as Elizabeth was drawing the
"I'm so frightened, Elizabeth. Do you think he
he is badly hurt?"
"We'll know soon, dear. Dr. Locke will cable im-
mediately. Let me raise this shade and you can read
Frank's letter again." Elizabeth patted her face and
then ran downstairs and found Locke in the library.
"I'm glad she's resting," he said with uncomfortable
constraint. "Miss Copley has been overworking dur-
ing the summer, I fear."
"But she'll be all right now ; I'm sure of it." Eliza-
beth's confidence was disconcerting. It was safer for
him to attend strictly to parish duties.
"You spoke of a cable message to your brother, Miss
Janes," he said.
"Yes, Dr. Locke, if you could help us." And then
Elizabeth told of their hope that a cable to Chaplain
McRae might bring some definite word to allay their
"By all means," he answered, heartily. "I'll attend
to it at once. I'll see the superintendent and get a
Locke hastened into the hall and Elizabeth followed
"You'll come back for lunch, D*r. Locke. Father
will want to hear and I will." The soft light in Eliza-
beth's eyes was a despair to him. He tried to answer
her with quiet courtesy, but he was holding himself
with an iron hand and his voice took on a tone of
formality which was wholly foreign to him.
"I thank you, Miss Janes, but it will not be possible
276 THE CENTENARY AT OLD FIRST
for me to come to-day. I will telephone you from the
office." He did not see the hurt he had given, for he
did not dare to look at her.
Two anxious days passed before McRae's answer
was received. The cable was addressed to Locke at
the church, and Rose Copley brought it to him in his
study. She stood beside his desk as he opened it. It
was dated the day before and was as follows :
"Hospital Paris. Will recover. Letter sixteenth."
"Good! It's all right!" and Locke smiled as he
turned and looked at her. But he sprang to his feet,
for the pallor was in her face again. In a moment he
had placed her in a chair and handed her the telegram.
He was beginning to understand.
Rose read the message with wide-staring eyes.
Slowly the pallor passed away. She covered her face
and sat perfectly still.
"We shall know all about it soon, Miss Copley.
Craig wrote fully on the sixteenth and this is the
twenty-second. We should have his letter within a
week." Locke's voice was very gentle, like a brother
soothing and comforting his younger sister. Rose felt
the strength of his sympathy and looked up gratefully.
She always had trusted him.
"O, thank you, Dr. Locke. But he's in the hos
hospital ! All Craig says is that he won't die !
Something awful has happened I'm sure of it."
"No, we won't imagine any horrors !" he said.
"Let's wait for Craig's letter. But I must get this
message to Dr. Janes without delay. Would you like
to deliver it?" Locke smiled at her. A great burden
had been lifted from him. He was grateful that he
had not embarrassed her nor himself by an ill-advised
"O, do let me take it to Elizabeth !" answered Rose,
hastening into the office for her hat and gloves. In a
moment she was back again and stood in front of
Locke's desk with heightened color.
"I want to thank you, Dr. Locke, for trying to make
it easy for me, and for for understanding me."
"I'm glad for you, Miss Copley, and I shall write
and tell Captain Janes how sincerely glad I am for
him," and he stood beside her.
At his words Rose turned a fiery red. "No, no, Dr.
Locke what must you think of me ! He he never "
and poor Rose stopped in utter confusion.
But Locke was exultant. He laughed merrily and
held out his hand. "All right then, I won't until you
tell me to!"
Locke had not counted on the congested condition
of the oversea mails. The week stretched into ten days
and McRae's letter had not arrived. Meantime full
reports were published of the action in the Saint Mihiel
salient. The casualty lists in the Gazette showed at
what cost the victory had been won. In addition to
the name of Captain Janes, two of the "Shiners" were
reported among the wounded. Then came this which
brought a knife-thrust to the minister of Old First:
"Killed in action Antonio Carrari."
On the twelfth day the letter came. Locke was glad
that Rose Copley was not at the church when it was
delivered. He read it eagerly.
878 THE CENTENARY AT OLD FIRST
7th Division, A. E. F.
September 16, 1918.
I would have written you three days ago, but I got a sliver
of shrapnel in my left shoulder from standing too close to a
German shell hole on the first day of the action at Saint Mihiel.
The Colonel gave me a tremendous wigging! Said a chaplain
had no business, etc., etc. But did he think I could stay behind
and pray while the boys were in the thick of it!
It was great, Dickens great! The Germans can't stand up in
front of real men. I captured two of them myself, and all the
weapons I had were my canteen and a fountain pen! Long
before this reaches you, you will know that we cleaned out the
whole salient, and pushed the line from Saint Mihiel clear back
to Lake Lachaussee.
But it has cost something ! I know you will be filled with grief
when you learn that Tony Carrari has made the great sacrifice.
Only I want you to know how it came about, and then you will
rejoice as I do.
Captain Frank Janes was making a dash with about half his
company and had cleaned out a nasty shell hole where a dozen
Germans had a machine gun hidden. He was in advance of his
men. Tony Carrari and half a dozen of the "Shiners" were with
him. Suddenly one of the Germans who was supposed to be dead
he is now! raised himself up and threw a hand grenade point-
blank at Janes. It fell just back of him and the Captain never
Tony yelled "Captain !" and threw himself upon the grenade
before it exploded. I can't write of it for the tears are running
down my face! It was utter devotion, utter loyalty, and the
sacrifice was made as though it were part of the game. The poor
boy was horribly mutilated his breast torn to shreds. But he
saved Janes from instant death, and perhaps a dozen more. I may
as well confess that is where I got my little scratch on the shoulder.
Several of the boys were hurt, but not seriously.
Captain Janes escaped except for some nasty cuts about the
eyes he turned his face just as the explosion took place. He
didn't know he was hurt and tried to lift Tony, but the brave
lad was past help. Then he tried to rally his men, but his eyes
were fast closing. So he gave over charge to a lieutenant and I
led him to the rear where he was given first aid. The army
surgeon said he would be sent to Paris for expert treatment. The
only fear, of course, is for his eyes. The thing is to keep him
TIDINGS FROM SAINT MIHIEL 279
quiet. I'm afraid he'll be out of it for several months. If his
sister could come to him, it would insure the one thing such cases
seem to require perfect quietness and freedom from worry. You
will know how to advise. My own judgment is she ought to come.
Dickens, I've only this to say: I'm getting the message I came
over here to find. Tony has brought it home to me in its perfect-
ness the stewardship of life! You've been doing some things at
Old First that are just beginning to get through to me. I've been
dull, but I'm learning learning fast.
Locke choked back his own grief and turned to the
one thing that pressed upon him the ministry of
comfort. He drove at once to Dr. Janes's house and
found Elizabeth and her father together. Rose Cop-
ley was with them.
"I have the letter," he said, as Elizabeth met him.
He placed it in her hands, but she pressed it back.
"Please read it," she said.
So Locke drew his chair beside the Doctor's and
read McRae's graphic letter without comment or word
of any kind. Elizabeth's dark eyes never left his
face, and when he had finished she still looked at him
in silent gratitude. Rose Copley sat rigid until the
letter suggested Elizabeth's going to her brother.
Then she covered her face.
Dr. Janes's grief was tragic not for his son, but
for the brave soldier who had given his life for him.
"God forgive me!" he cried. "I would not let the
poor boy sit in my pew God be merciful to me a
sinner!" and Locke knew that salvation had come to
As Elizabeth stroked her father's hand he groaned,
and turned to Locke.
280 THE CENTENARY AT OLD FIRST
"Richard Locke," he said, "I want you to witness
this day that mine shall be no half-way repentance. I
give my daughter, as I have given my son. As for my-
self God help me!"
And then it was that sweet Rose Copley spoke. She
stood before him in regal womanhood, her hands
clasped before her and the rich color mantling her face.
"Dr. Janes," she said, "Elizabeth must stay with
you; I shall go to Frank. His letter to Elizabeth"
(she drew it from her bosom) "shall be my passport
to him, and my own heart will tell me all the rest."
And so it was, three days afterward, that Rose Cop-
ley slipped away to New York. Elizabeth took her to
the station in the doctor's limousine, and Locke was
there to see that she was helped comfortably aboard
the "Limited." None other had been taken into confi-
dence except Mrs. Heustis, who insisted that all Rose's
expenses, and a generous margin besides, should be pro-
vided by herself.
"After she is established in Paris, or London, or
wherever they intend to stay, I'll withdraw gracefully
but until then she's my other daughter."
It was near the end of October when the first letters
came from Rose, radiant with happiness. Frank had
been permitted to see her the second day !
Locke had one letter from McRae, for the Chaplain
felt that certain explanations were due. The last
paragraph was of peculiar interest.
And so I married them, Dickens, and I'm bound to be glad on
their account, for their joy is something wonderful. The
bandages were taken from the Captain's eyes before the ceremony,
TIDINGS FROM ST. MIHIEL 281
for he said he intended to see what I was giving him this time!
He seemed to bear a grudge against me at first, but he's forgiven
everybody everything. Don't be cut up, old man! You're too
much of a philosopher to let it spoil your life. It was a "phan-
tom ship" you saw, after all!
Locke let the letter fall from his fingers and his eyes
wandered toward his India shelf.
"Good old Mac !" he said, and tried to smile.
AND IT WAS NIGHT
ABOUT the middle of October Rhodin Curtis spoke
to Jarvis, who looked after the clerical work in
the department of Notes and Discounts.
"You are not to send expiration notice to King and
Kennedy," he said. "I'll take charge of that matter
"Very well, Mr. Curtis."
Rhodin's word was law at the City National.
James Gilbert had come to rely so implicitly upon the
efficient cashier of the bank that he gave little or no
attention to the regular routine of business. He care-
fully examined the monthly statements; no detail
escaped his scrutiny, but his time was mostly given to
directing the bank's general policy and looking after
the permanent investments.
Things certainly were going well with Rhodin Curtis.
His most sanguine expectations were more than
realized. Mexican Petroleum had moved up steadily
point by point. Then it leaped, then it began to soar.
By the 18th of October it had reached the sensational
figure of 191, a hundred points in advance of his
original purchase in May. After that it receded a few
points "Just to strike a steady gait," as Passmore
Rhodin had studied the market with absolute atten-
tion. While there might be a slight fall, the reaction
AND IT WAS NIGHT 283
from overpressure, yet he was convinced that "Mex
Pete" was permanently listed among high-grade stocks.
Its place in the world of finance was as secure as the
cause of the Allies "and even Germany is ready to
bank on that !" he laughed.
When it became known that the German High Com-
mand persistently was seeking an armistice Rhodin
wrote to Passmore, "Sell on the day the armistice is
signed." He penciled his sure profits in his notebook
a clean quarter of a million, no matter if Mex Pete
dropped back twenty points !
"This is a matter of patriotism with me," he wrote,
"and I'll stay with it until the armistice, even if it costs
me a few thousands. I don't want the earth !"
By the end of the month it became known in banking
circles that James Gilbert had made a half million in
war stocks. He received the congratulations of his
friends with urbanity.
"It's simply a matter of good judgment in using
what you've got," he said to Rhodin. "I had Penn-
sylvania stock and so I was able to get Mexican
"Exactly!" laughed Rhodin. "And if Lasher had
had 'good judgment' he might have made a cool hun-
dred thousand instead of being under indictment by the
grand jury and the Club never would have been the
Gilbert frowned. "Using your own money and
using trust money are vastly different propositions."
"But according to your Centenary Prospectus
Dr. Locke sent it to me the other day 'the whole of
property and income is a trust from God.' "
284 THE CENTENARY AT OLD FIRST
"That is a religious statement, Mr. Curtis, and is
not concerned with practical business."
"So I perceive," answered Rhodin, dryly.
But though comparative wealth was about to fall
into Rhodin's hands, all was not well at home.
Bergith, the Swedish maid who had been with Clara
since her marriage, fell ill with influenza. She died the
third day in spite of expert skill and nursing.
Clara had lost her accustomed tranquillity and
seemed to live in dread of some portending trouble.
Rhodin always had been careful to shield her, and it
distressed him exceedingly to find her nervous and un-
poised. He was thoughtful to accompany her to the
Sunday morning readings and he went so far as to go
over with her some new "Reality" booklets that Mrs.
Kave Rogers had sent in. He even chided her when
she spoke of the fearful spread of influenza throughout
"Keep your mind on the pleasant and agreeable
things of life, Clara," he said, "and don't worry."
This was the last week of October, when the scourge
was taking its toll of thousands every day.
"But, Rho," answered Clara, with a look of fear in
her eyes, "Arthur had a degree of fever this after-
noon !" They were just sitting down to dinner.
Rhodin looked at her across the table. "Did you
call in Dr. Janes?" he asked.
"N-no. Mrs. Rogers was here and 'treated' him."
Rhodin frowned, but said nothing. The next morn-
ing Arthur was no better. "I'll 'phone for Dr. Janes,
Clara," he said.
AND IT WAS NIGHT 285
Clara bridled. "Do you think I am neglecting my
own child? Mrs. Rogers has been wonderfully success-
ful. She has been giving 'treatment' at the Bhymers'
and little Victoria is almost well. Besides, Dr. Janes
is out of sympathy with me. He makes it difficult for
me to concentrate."
Rhodin looked into her wide, frightened eyes and
kissed her. "But I insist that your mother shall be
"Mother was here yesterday, Rho, and will be here
this morning. But she worries me, dear. She doesn't
seem to understand or doesn't want to," and Clara
laid her tired head upon her husband's shoulder.
Rhodin left the house much troubled. He passed
Mrs. Rogers's electric at the gate, but he avoided the
side glance which she gave him.
Five minutes afterward Mrs. Rogers and Clara
were bending over the sick child. Clara's cool hand
was upon his forehead, while Mrs. Rogers spoke to him
"Our little boy is quite well this morning, isn't he?"
Arthur shook his head.
"That's it !" the dulcet tones went on. "When little
Arthur shakes his head he means 'Yes, thank you I'm
very well, thank you.' '
But Arthur was fractious and turned away his face.
Mrs. Rogers at once moved to the other side of the bed
and held up an orange.
"Now, little Arthur, say it pretty, after Aunty
Rogers 'The orange is nice and cool, and so am I.'
Say it, dear."
Arthur evidently had his own thoughts concerning
286 THE CENTENARY AT OLD FIRST
Aunty Rogers and the orange, for he frowned and
again turned away his face. Again the persistent
smile beamed upon him and the honeyed voice flowed
over him. This time Mrs. Rogers was holding up a
black, limp leather book with gold edges.
"Say it after Aunty Rogers, Arthur, 'O pretty
book, you are all true, all true !' "
The sick child looked into his mother's face and the
big tears stood in his eyes. Clara's lips were trembling
as she stroked his forehead.
"Say it, my precious!" she whispered in an agony
Arthur opened his parched lips obediently. "Pitty
book," he began. And then the little child's mouth
quivered. "O mamma," he sobbed, "my froat hurts!"
Clara's arms were about him in an instant and her
gentle voice was soothing him into quietness. "No,
you needn't say it, dear," she whispered. Mrs. Rogers
stood up stiffly.
"I'll wait in the front room, Mrs. Curtis," she said,
"until you have ceased yielding to mortal mind." In
a few moments Arthur had dropped into a fitful sleep
and Clara joined her. There was a glint of anger in
her deep eyes.
"Now, Mrs. Curtis," began her visitor in level tones,
but with the pervasive smile that never left her, "we
must have consonance of mind, or little Arthur cannot
feel the flow of the over-soul. There was dissonance,
I fear, at his bedside," and Mrs. Rogers looked vaguely
at the window hangings.
"My child is sick, Mrs. Rogers," answered Clara,
AND IT WAS NIGHT 287
"My dear, are you forgetting the first principles of
'Reality'? Pain, trouble, sickness these are the un-
pleasant illusions of mortal mind. They are entirely
unreal. We must deny them constantly, and fix our
thought upon Eternal Mind. That alone is real."
Clara said nothing. Suddenly before her stood the
millions on millions that Elizabeth so often talked
about weary people stretching out despairing hands
to Something in the Dark something without person-
ality, without a name, that did not know anything and
could not feel anything. And it seemed, for the
moment, that she was one of them, stretching out her
Then she heard the voice of Mrs. Rogers as she went
"Perhaps it will be better for me to use esoteric and
unaccompanied treatment until you can again get
yourself en rapport with the over-soul. There was
entire lack of harmony this morning. If Mrs. Bhymer
had not united with me in denying this unhappy illu-
sion, which the doctors call 'influenza,' little Victoria
would not have been smiling and happy as she was last
"Is Victoria better?" asked Clara, wistfully.
"There you are again, Mrs. Curtis! If I should
say she is 'better' it would be admitting that little
Victoria has been sick, and that Mrs. Bhymer and I
resolutely deny. I really must ask Professor Roome
to give you his special course of lessons in 'The Un-
reality of Symptoms.' Victoria threw a kiss to me
as I left her last evening, and said, 'I'm quite well, thank
you, Aunty Rogers.' It was perfectly darling of her !"
288 THE CENTENARY AT OLD FIRST
"How is she this morning?" asked Clara, relentlessly.
"Now you're permitting doubt to cloud the All-Real !
You mustn't do it, you know," and Mrs. Rogers smiled
archly and laid a soft hand upon her arm. The hori-
zontal voice went on. "You sit in that big chair by the
window, dear, and concentrate the best you can, and
I'll sit down alone by Arthur's bed and enter into the
silence. Don't interrupt me for at least thirty
Clara did not look at her as she left the room, but
threw herself upon the couch and burst into a passion
of weeping. There Mrs. Heustis found her.
"What is it, my child?"
"O, mother, help me I'm afraid Arthur has in-
"Has Dr. Janes seen him?"
"N-no. Mrs. Rogers is here."
Mrs. Heustis pressed her lips together and hurried
in to Arthur. She did not look at the tense figure by
the side of the bed, but placed her hand upon the
child's burning forehead. When Mrs. Rogers walked
stiffly into the next room Clara's mother followed her
and closed the door behind her. There was distinct
sharpness in Mrs. Rogers's voice.
"I asked that I might not be interrupted," she said,
angrily. "Mrs. Bhymer is always careful to have
little Victoria surrounded by mental harmony."
Soft tears sprang into Mrs. Heustis's eyes. "Then
Mrs. Bhymer may find comfort, after all," she said.
"Little Victoria died this morning. I have just come
Mrs. Rogers's face turned purple. "I I can't believe
AND IT WAS NIGHT 289
it !" The words formed themselves on her lips, but no
voice came. Then a deathly pallor spread from lips
to forehead and the wretched woman covered her face
with her hands. "There is some awful mistake about it,
Mrs. Heustis," she whispered hoarsely.
Clara looked at her with eyes that did not waver.
"If Arthur dies, Mrs. Rogers, I shall not hold you
responsible I myself am to blame. I do not expect
God to forgive me. I never shall forgive myself."
Her lips were white and her eyes were tearless. She
turned wearily and entered the little white bedroom.
An hour afterward Dr. Janes took both her cold
hands in his and chafed them.
"I want you to be brave, Clara," he said. "Arthur
is a sick boy, but God is able to heal him. He has a
splendid constitution, and the nurse will be here before
noon. Your mother will not leave you for a moment,
and I want you to unite your prayer with hers. God
will be with you, my child, and raise up the little lad
for you and Rhodin." The good doctor's words never
before had failed to cheer, but Clara shook her head.
"You and mother must pray. I can't. I I've for-
gotten how!" and her lips trembled.
Dr. Janes went away sorrowful. He stopped at the
bank for a brief conference with Rhodin, but found him
strangely preoccupied. To the doctor's practiced eye
he appeared to be in a state of suppressed excitement.
That morning the cashier's first business had been
to ask Mr. Jarvis to send him King and Kennedy's ex-
tended note, due November first. The clerk came to
him in some confusion.
290 THE CENTENARY AT OLD FIRST
"I'm sorry, Mr. Curtis ; I was down with the 'flu' last
week, and I forgot to give Miss Cole instructions re-
garding King and Kennedy's extension. She sent
notice along with the others."
Rhodin turned livid.
"I hope there's no harm done," said the unhappy
Jarvis, looking at the cashier anxiously.
Rhodin pulled himself together by sheer force of
will. "What date was the expiration notice sent?" he
"There was a bunch of fourteen, all due to-day.
Miss Cole said she sent all the notices together on the
Rhodin breathed freer. He knew that Sanford
Kennedy paid little attention to the formalities of busi-
ness. He probably had thrown the expiration notice
into the waste basket without giving it a thought. If
he had been annoyed by the bank's mistake he would
have made complaint before now. Eight days had
passed and no such word had been received. It was
likely forgotten before now.
"Very well, Jarvis, that will do. I will take the
matter up with King and Kennedy. Be careful next
time and be thankful that I'm giving you a next time !
Sickness is no excuse for neglect."
Rhodin was relieved of any immediate anxiety, but
he knew there should not be a day's delay in covering
the twenty thousand back into the bank "cash." The
mere clerical blunder was of no consequence. He wired
to Passmore within the hour
"Sell thirty-five hundred shares Mex Pete and remit
in full at earliest possible moment."
AND IT WAS NIGHT 291
Passmore's answer was handed to him as he was
going out to lunch.
"Market temporarily dull, but expect to make sale
That night Arthur was worse, and Clara looked at
him with burning eyes. "He's going to die, Rho, and
I'm to blame !" she said. Rhodin tried to comfort her,
but the words would not come.
Saturday and Sunday passed without change. Mon-
day morning Dr. Janes gave a little smile of encourage-
ment. "Elizabeth is coming to take you out for an
airing," he said to Clara. "Arthur will be better if
his mother is happier."
Clara went, but it was a cheerless drive.
"There's nothing real, Elizabeth," she said. "I've
been deceived, and I can't believe anything ! I've tried
to believe ever since that horrible day but I just
"Don't try, dear. Arthur doesn't 'try to believe'
you, does he?" and Elizabeth looked into her face with
gentle sympathy. But Clara did not answer.
On Tuesday morning Sanford Kennedy walked into
the bank and paused at the cashier's desk. He was
laughing. "I've got one on Gilbert, this time," he
said, and passed into the president's private office.
Rhodin steeled himself and waited to hear the buzzer
of his telephone.
"Can you step in for a moment?" came Gilbert's
As Rhodin walked across the corridor he was
amazed at his own quietness. He always had doubted
292 THE CENTENARY AT OLD FIRST
the stories that a man could face a firing squad without
a tremor. He knew it now.
Kennedy still was laughing. "Gilbert has been
warning me for twenty years against what he calls my
'slip-shod business habits,' and now it's my turn to get
back at him. He actually doesn't believe that I
handed you our balance of twenty thousand !"
Rhodin smiled. "And you want me to witness to it?
Well, I'll do that all right! Why didn't you show
him the canceled note?"
"Well, I reckon that's where Gilbert scores ! I sup-
pose I tore it up and threw it into the waste basket
though I don't remember that the bank ever returned
it to me. But what made me laugh at my finical
friend, Gilbert, was to get this notice of expiration
from a bank that prides itself on its 'exact business
methods,' " and he laid the slip on the president's desk
and laughed again.
Curtis looked at it. "That fool, Jarvis, has been
bungling his work again," he said, angrily. Gilbert's
jaw set, but he did not speak.
Kennedy stood up, "Well, I'll let you two thresh it
out together," he said. "I've had my fun out of it!
I reckon it's no greater sin for a bank clerk to get his
vouchers mixed than it is for a chemist's apprentice to
put too much potassium into a tub of dye and I've
seen that done about once a week for twenty years.
So go easy on your clerks, Gilbert. There's no harm
done !" and Sanford Kennedy left the room.
Rhodin began without a moment's pause. "I'm
sorry this had to come to you, Mr. Gilbert. I recog-
nized the mistake the moment the October statement
AND IT WAS NIGHT 293
came downstairs. I've been analyzing the balance
sheet and expect to have it straightened out by the
end of the week."
"Where do you think the mistake originated?"
"In Jarvis's department without any question. He
was down with influenza the last week in October, and
some of the clerks have been messing up 'Notes and
Discounts.' I'm about ready to put my finger on the
"It looks to me more than an accountant's blunder,"
said Gilbert. "It means the bank 'cash' was twenty
thousand to the bad on October thirty-first."
"Impossible, Mr. Gilbert ! I've had the 'cash' under
my own immediate scrutiny. There's been some mix-
up in the posting."
"Well, I hope you're right, Curtis. Please get the
matter straightened without delay it worries me."
"I'll have it ironed out within a week ; don't bother."
Rhodin left him with a cheery smile and returned to his
That night he sat down by his library table and
thought it through. He knew what he must do. He
had sensed it the moment he saw Kennedy enter the
president's office; he knew there was no other possible
A few days, a week at most, and James Gilbert would
expect the accountant's mistake to be pointed out to
him. There was no mistake. The accountant's state-
ment called for a certain cash balance on October 31st.
That exact balance, according to the cashier's signed
report, actually was on hand on the date named. It
294 THE CENTENARY AT OLD FIRST
now appeared that twenty thousand dollars had been
paid in, some sixty days before, and there was no
record of it not a line ! Jarvis might be convicted of
failure to make the record, but how was it that the
cash balance, as reported by himself, failed to show
the twenty thousand on hand?
There was no possible way of adjusting it. It would
be easy enough to replace the twenty thousand yes,
and ten times twenty thousand ! But he could not re-
call the cashier's signed report for the month of
October. That was part of the permanent record of
the bank and was in Mr. Gilbert's hands. He had
"borrowed" Mr. Kennedy's twenty thousand because
he knew he was in an official position perfectly to con-
trol the bank machinery. The machinery had slipped.
Mr. Kennedy would lose nothing. The bank would
lose nothing. What then? Rhodin took a swift turn
the length of his library and then sat down again. He
stared straight before him.
"// such a thing should happen at our bank I would
expose it instantly, no matter whom it might involve,
and no matter if the bank were reimbursed twice over.
I will forgive a common thief, but the betrayer of a
trust shall have no mercy none!"
Rhodin heard again the just yet merciless words
that had compelled the indictment of Joe Lasher. It
was a righteous judgment. Rhodin admitted it. He
had no false pity for himself and he would ask none. He
had taken a chance and lost. He would abide the
But no earthly power could compel him to bring
shame upon others. There should not be another Mary
AND IT WAS NIGHT 295
Lasher ! He had protected Kennedy and the bank ; his
business now was to protect Clara and Arthur unless
God in mercy would take the child out of the world.
A spasm of agony convulsed him. Then he held him-
self rigid as iron. What right had he to indulge the
luxury of sorrow ! He had a duty to perform. Clara
would grieve but poignant grief was less than cruci-
fixion. Gilbert's just anger would not seek to follow
where he was going, and Clara would be spared a living
death. . . .
His wife's hand touched his shoulder. "Rho, dear,
I feel just a little encouraged to-night. Dr. Janes
thinks that Arthur has a chance of getting well."
"I'm so glad for you, Clara," he said. He drew her
to him and held her close.
Thursday morning Rhodin received a wire from
"Stock sold at 173. Statement and remittance by
"Just in time," Rhodin whispered. He figured
rapidly for a moment on his desk pad, then a soft light
filled his eyes.
On Saturday Gilbert called him in and asked queru-
lously how soon he would be ready with the corrected
"Give yourself no concern, Mr. Gilbert," he answered
quietly. "I have positive knowledge that the bank
records and the bank cash are in perfect agreement at
the present moment. The statement will be ready for
Then he showed in his strong, convincing fashion that
296 THE CENTENARY AT OLD FIRST
the bank's interests required a brief consultation with
several of the eastern houses.
"I shall be leaving Monday," he said.
"All right, Curtis but not until our own snarls are
Rhodin laughed. "You needn't let that cause you
any loss of sleep ; the statement will be on your desk the
first thing Monday morning."
THE OLD PATHS
ON Sunday Rhodin told his wife he would have to
leave for New York in the afternoon. For the
first time Clara broke down.
"Do you have to go, Rho, while Arthur is so sick?"
"Yes, Clara; there is no avoiding it." He spoke
quietly, but when Clara looked at him his face was
"Poor dear," she said, "you feel it as much as I do !"
He did not answer her, but held her to him in silent
At four o'clock the taxi was at the door. Rhodin
went to Arthur's room, but the nurse put her finger to
her lips. The child was sleeping. He looked at him,
but did not cross the threshold.
"Good-by, dear," he said, cheerily, as Clara came to
him in the hall. "You'll be happy, and everything will
come out all right. Keep up a brave heart."
"And you, Rho?"
"O, I'll be brave," he laughed. "I have to be !" and he
waved his hand as he stepped into the waiting car. But
Clara read the anguish in his eyes as he looked back at
That morning Dr. Janes had seemed anxious. "The
fever is unusually stubborn," he said. "If it doesn't
break by evening I'll have to change the treatment, and
I don't care to do that. I wish you yourself were less
298 THE CENTENARY AT OLD FIRST
nervous, Clara ; it would help a lot. Can't you have a
little more faith in your heavenly Father ?" He looked
at her affectionately.
"I'll try, Doctor," she said with troubled eyes.
"That's right, dear. Let your mother stay with
Arthur to-day, and you try to get quiet. Read the
Bible. Read some good devotional book. Then pray
a little. It will do you good and that will help
Arthur, don't you see?"
'Til do my best."
It was just before sundown that Elizabeth found her
in the library. The book of Psalms was open in her
lap and she was reading a little /Volume that she had
picked up during the previous summer.
"I'm trying the best I can, Elizabeth," she said, dis-
consolately, "but it's awfully hard to have a friendly
attitude when one has been deceived."
"No one ought to have a friendly attitude toward
poison ivy!" answered Elizabeth with spirit. "What
have you been reading?"
Clara pointed to a paragraph in the little volume in
"A friendly attitude, an attitude of genuine, abounding good
will is the only sane, constructive, normal attitude of mind and
heart. No one can enter into harmonious relations with his en-
vironment, here or hereafter, until he has learned the secret of
unselfish love. The more life you radiate the more life you have;
the more good will you give forth the more returns to you. Even
the animals feel and reciprocate your friendship; the plants seem
to be partial to their lovers; the leaves of the forest whisper poems
to him who has ears to hear; every flower is a revelation to the
prophet; every blade of grass is an eloquent tongue to him who
has understanding; and the Great Cosmos reveals its mystic laws
only to the worshipful, adoring mind."
THE OLD PATHS 299
"I thought that was so helpful when I read it last
summer, but it seems vague and meaningless to me
now," and Clara looked pensively through the window.
Elizabeth drew a chair up beside her. "The trouble
with so many devotional books is that they seem to
forget plain human folks. They aim to be mystical
and end by being misty. I've learned more from your
dear mother than any other person I ever knew."
Elizabeth spoke earnestly.
"Mother is very practical, I know."
Elizabeth laughed. "But, Clara, 'practical' is an-
other name for 'spiritual.' Just try to analyze that
paragraph. There is no such thing as 'unselfish love'
unless you have actual persons in mind. We can't
just love'; we love 'persons.' '
"We can love animals, dear."
"Yes, just as I used to love our old horse, Prince.
But when we love animals it is because we regard them
in some sense as personal. We think they return our
affection, whether they do or not. We don't love
toads and rats unless we happen to be prisoners in
the 'moated castle' for twenty years !"
They both laughed.
"I thought you had forgotten that old story," said
"And just read that last sentence 'The Great
Cosmos reveals its mystic laws only to the worshipful,
adoring mind.' The 'Cosmos' can't 'reveal' anything!
We don't worship the 'Cosmos,' like the Parsis of India ;
we worship God and adore him. It is He who 're-
Clara covered her face. "O, Elizabeth, I'm afraid
300 THE CENTENARY AT OLD FIRST
I'll never understand it ! It used to seem so easy and
natural when we were girls together. But for more
than three years I've stopped thinking of God as
'personal,' and it won't come back to me. That's the
reason I can't pray !"
Elizabeth sat silent for a moment.
"What do you mean by a 'person* ?" she asked.
Clara looked up startled. "Why a person is we
used to study about it in psychology, didn't we?"
"Yes, dear, but I learned more in India than I ever
did in school. I think I was driven to it because
paganism is such an endless confusion. The people
wander in a mental fog all the time."
"What is a 'person,' Elizabeth? I'm afraid I've
been in the same fog as the people out in India." A
faint flush overspread Clara's face.
"Shall I talk to you, dear, just as I would to my
schoolgirls out there?"
"All right, Clara," and she laughed. "Why am I
different from this chair?"
"You are a 'person' and a chair is a 'thing.' '
"That's it and you remember the rest of it, about
having 'self-knowledge' and 'self-control.' But all
that's in the books, and I can't be 'bookish.' Tell me,
Clara, who am /?"
"You are my sweet Elizabeth."
"How near am I to you?"
"You are about a foot from me."
"No, no I, Elizabeth, how near am / to you ?"
"Just as close as you can get right inside my
heart!" and Clara's eyes filled.
THE OLD PATHS 301
Elizabeth stood up and walked over to the door.
"How near am I now, dear?"
"Inside my heart always !"
Elizabeth came back and sat down again. "How is
it that I was just as near you at the door as I am now?
Why doesn't space or time make any difference?"
"Because you are a person."
"So it is with God, dear. He is not far away from
you. He is here. Now suppose something awful for
a moment. Suppose this house was on fire, and you
and little Arthur were in danger, and Mr. Curtis
rescued you, but lost his own life what would he be
giving for your sake something valuable which he
"No himself." The words came in a sharp whisper,
for Clara saw again Rhodin's ashen face.
"Couldn't he do the same thing for you even if he
were a thousand miles away just as our soldiers in
France are doing for all of us? Couldn't he be think-
ing and planning for your happiness even if it should
cost him his own life, a thousand miles from here?"
"O Elizabeth, don't! You frighten me!"
"No, dear, you needn't be frightened. It was only
an illustration. I was thinking of Mr. Curtis because
father told me he had to leave for New York, and I
knew he would be very near to you in fact, I was
praying for him."
Clara leaned toward her. "Why can't I pray,
Elizabeth? I try and try, but there's no comfort or
gladness in it."
"It's because you think of your prayer, dear, instead
of the Person to whom you are speaking. So many
302 THE CENTENARY AT OLD FIRST
people in America, I mean people who pray, are like
the people in India ; they imagine there's some mystical
power in the prayer itself, that it sets in motion, or
releases, some mysterious spiritual force."
"Why, Elizabeth, do you know, that's the very teach-
ing of 'Reality !' "
"I know it is, dear, and I'm afraid a good many
Christian people, who have nothing to do with 'Reality,'
regard prayer in much the same way."
"Then what is prayer?"
"I don't think I could answer that question, for
Hindus and Buddhists and Jews and Mohammedans
pray, and Catholics and Protestants, and people with
new creeds and some with no creeds at all. They all
pray. Many scientific books are being written about
prayer which I haven't had time to read. I'm only a
woman like you, dear, but I think I know what Jesus
meant by it."
"Tell me, Elizabeth."
"Prayer is stewardship; it is a partnership between
two persons. Prayer is not to get something. It is to
give something. It is to help God bring to pass the
desire of his own loving heart."
Clara's eyes were full of wonder as Elizabeth went
"You see, God is a Person. I don't know what that
means, for I don't know what I mean when I say that I
myself am a person. Psychology gives only a glimpse
into the mystery of personality. The only way to
understand personality is to know persons themselves.
The only reason I can understand you, Clara, is be-
cause I know you and love you. And so it is with God."
THE OLD PATHS 303
Elizabeth's dark eyes were soft in the gathering twi-
"That is why prayer is so easy, Clara ; so simple for
a Christian to understand and yet so mysterious to the
world. It looks like a mystical 'force' generated or
released in secret, but it is not so it is two persons
working together 'in secret.' It is the Christian's
desire uniting with God's will. Don't you imagine
God's heart is filled with anguish for France and
Belgium, and poor misguided Germany? And don't
you think God is concerned about little Arthur? The
child is yours in trust, but he belongs to God. We
think we have a burden to bear, but we forget it is his
burden more than it is ours."
Clara leaned her head against Elizabeth. The tears
were slowly trickling down her face, but she said noth-
ing. Elizabeth went on:
"Piyari, my head Bible woman in India, gave me a
wonderful lesson one day. She brought me a verse in
the sixty-eighth psalm that is translated in our Ameri-
can version, 'Blessed be the Lord, who daily beareth
our burden.' I always thought it was one of those
wonderful promises which help us to cast our burden
upon God, but she insisted that the proper meaning
was this 'Blessed be the Lord, who daily beareth us
his burden' and, Clara, I looked it up in one of the
critical commentaries and that is the translation that
is preferred. It is wonderful to think that what we
call our fears and sorrows, whether for ourselves or for
the world, are the heavy burdens that rest down upon
the heart of God. And this is what I mean when I say
that prayer is stewardship it is to lift his burden.
304 THE CENTENARY AT OLD FIRST
It is not to get something but to give something.
When the sorrow is lifted from the heart of God, his
joy comes to us."
Clara's tears were falling. "Tell him, Elizabeth,
that I want to but I'm not fit to speak to him after
I've denied him so horribly ! Please tell him !"
And Elizabeth spoke as to One beside them.
"Thou hast heard her prayer, dear Father, for thou
art here, with us. She was out among the shadows,
and she did not see thy face. And she could not hear
thee speak because the false voices were all about her,
and deceived her. O the pitiful millions that have
wandered far where Clara only took a tiny step ! Help
them all to see thy face, as Clara sees it now, and to
hear thy voice. Thy burden is upon her, Lord; now
let her have thy joy. Make little Arthur well, if it
please thee, and let the sorrows of this dear home be
remembered as waters that have passed away."
Elizabeth ceased and for a moment there was tense
quiet. Then Clara slipped from her chair and began
to pray not for herself, not for her child, but for
Rhodin. All the pride, the vanity, the falsehood of the
past three years Clara confessed with bitter shame,
while all the time the anguish of her heart was not that
she should be forgiven she seemed to expect that
but that the burden of it should not fall upon her
husband. She prayed that Rhodin might be protected
on his journey, that all danger should be kept from
him, that he should have comfort and blessing and
guidance above all that he should be brought back to
her that together they might know the sweetness of
God's fellowship and love.
THE OLD PATHS 305
Then Clara's agony was lifted, and when presently
Mrs. Heustis came in to say that supper was waiting,
her face was radiant. Her mother held her close.
"I knew it, Clara I knew your father's God and
mine would not let you wander away altogether !"
Dr. Janes came in while they were at supper and
went directly to Arthur's room. He was down again
in a few minutes.
"What have you been doing to my sick boy?" he
said. "It's a shame to bring an old doctor half way
across the city just to hear a happy little fellow say
he wants some bread and milk! And, Clara, you'd
better give him what he wants, for he hasn't a sign of
fever I say, now, that's no way to treat a starched
shirt front here, take my handkerchief, child we'll
share it together."
A half hour before evening service at the church,
Richard Locke dropped in to inquire after the sick
child. James Gilbert was with him. The banker's
gladness was very genuine when he learned that Arthur
was much better; the little child and he were great
friends. Clara took him to Arthur's room, leaving
Locke and Elizabeth together.
Only yesterday Locke had written to John Roberts
that he was ready for appointment to the Punjab,
provided First Church would release him. His heart
leaped to whisper the word to Elizabeth to shout it !
But he dared not. Some look, some tremor of his voice
might betray him. He stood embarrassed by the table
and turned over the magazines.
But Elizabeth felt no unnatural restraint. She was
306 THE CENTENARY AT OLD FIRST
thrilling to tell him what had happened. Without a
moment's hesitation she poured out her heart's glad-
ness Clara had come back to God. She spoke rapidly,
her wonderful eyes looking into his face. In his deep-
est soul he knew that she belonged to him, united by
every law of spiritual and human fellowship. Could
he hold himself? Was she not opening her heart to
Mr. Gilbert's voice came through the open door.
"I should like to speak to him for just a minute, Mrs.
"Why, he took the afternoon train to New York,
"To New York !" The voice was sharp with excite-
ment. "I I did not expect him to leave until to-
But Clara did not notice his exclamation. She was
speaking to Richard Locke. "Will you let me come
back again?" she said.
As though he had called her to him, Elizabeth
stepped close to Locke's side, and Clara seemed to be
addressing both of them.
"Have you or Rhodin ever been absent from my
thought?" he answered "or from the heart of God?"
As he spoke he felt Elizabeth lean toward him. He
dared not look at her, but the incense of her presence
"We shall be late, Mr. Gilbert, if we don't hurry,"
he said, with gleaming eyes.
But he spoke twice before the banker heard him.
THE DAY OF THE ARMISTICE
WHEN Locke awoke the next morning he knew
that something wonderful had happened. His
spirit was leaping like a boy's. Whatever misunder-
standing there may have been, he knew that Elizabeth
loved him. Moreover, Clara had come back, and it
would mean the winning of Rhodin Curtis. No wonder
the church bells were ringing and every steam whistle
in the city was screaming in wild jubilation !
Two automobiles went past the parsonage together;
their horns were honking wildly. He heard a brass
band farther down the street, and a crowd of boys with
tin horns across the way. It was exactly fitting and
right! and yet, wasn't it a little unusual, all this
noise and shouting at a quarter past six on Monday
A boy with the Gazette was yelling underneath his
window. "War z'over Armustuss signed!" Locke
leaped to the floor. He laughed aloud. No wonder his
own victory had come. What could keep the bells from
ringing? It was God's day for the world!
He hurried through his bath and dressed quickly.
Certain lines that he had read were hurling themselves
at him. He knew that they exactly expressed what
his spirit was shouting, but the words eluded him. As
308 THE CENTENARY AT OLD FIRST
soon as he could get the volume in his hands, he turned
to them the last lines that Mr. Longfellow ever wrote :
"O Bells of San Bias, in vain
Ye call back the Past again!
The Past is deaf to your prayer:
Out of the Shadows of night
The world rolls into light;
It is daybreak everywhere."
The early delivery brought a short note from
Rhodin Curtis. The postmark showed that it had
been mailed Sunday afternoon. Locke read it with
You will receive this Monday morning. Please call up Gilbert
without delay and make an appointment to see him and Kennedy
the moment the bank opens. Protect Clara. That is my one
prayer. As for me forget me!
As Locke lifted the desk telephone his hand trembled.
Gilbert's voice came across the wire with a sharp
"Certainly I'll be there at nine o'clock. Kennedy
has just been talking to me; he mentioned your name.
I supposed you're both coming on the same business."
When Locke reached the bank the janitor was just
hanging a freshly lettered card at the main entrance:
"Bank Closed Armistice Holiday" He entered by
the side door and went directly to the president's room.
James Gilbert was sitting sternly at his desk. A large
envelope and a number of papers were before him.
Sanford Kennedy was excitedly pacing the floor.
"Thank God the bank is closed to-day,* 9 said the
THE DAY OF THE ARMISTICE 309
merchant. "There won't be any clerks to wonder what
we're talking about."
"They'll have plenty to wonder at to-morrow," said
Gilbert with a dark frown. "How much do you know
about this, Dr. Locke?"
"Nothing tell me !" answered Locke with sickening
"Curtis has robbed the bank of twenty thousand
dollars and absconded."
Locke dropped into a chair and covered his face.
He knew that Kennedy was saying something in a low,
angry voice, but his own brain was whirling and he
heard nothing. When he looked up again the merchant
had taken a seat at the president's desk. The creases
in his face were deep with anguish.
"Not another word, Kennedy, and if Curtis has
asked Dr. Locke to come here on a similar plea, he may
as well save his breath. This bank will not compound
Locke flushed. "I have told you, Mr. Gilbert, that I
know nothing of this. I received a note from Curtis
asking me to see you at the bank, nothing more."
"Did he not make some plea for leniency? Did he
not ask that the crime be covered up?"
"He asked that his wife might be protected."
"Exactly he wants us to protect the woman whom
he would not protect himself! The criminal asks us
to shield his good name while he walks out lifting up his
head ! I tell you it can't be done !"
Sanford Kennedy's fist struck the mahogany desk.
"And I tell you that Caleb Heustis's daughter and her
little yellow-haired boy are free from guilt. If you
310 THE CENTENARY AT OLD FIRST
drag them into the dirt, God's everlasting curse will be
James Gilbert's stern face did not relax, but a look
of anxiety crept into his eyes.
"Did he leave no explanation, nothing to help you
understand this horrible thing?" asked Locke. The
president pushed a letter toward him, but said nothing.
November 10, 1918.
I have stopped at the bank for a few moments to lay these
papers on your desk and to write this short explanation. I am
sending brief notes, also, to Dr. Locke and Mr. Kennedy, who,
I hope, will be able to confer with you to-morrow morning. I say
"explanation." I am not deceiving myself. I am perfectly aware
of the legal designation of my act. By "explanation" I simply
mean the making plain to you just how the matter developed.
This it is your right to know. If you will read the accompanying
papers in their order the case will become entirely clear.
I have nothing to say certainly I have no desire to palliate an
illegal act. That both Mr. Kennedy and the bank have been pro-
tected every minute merely suggests that it has not been my habit
to profit at the risk of my friends. The insurance policy will not
be valid, therefore I am asking you to pay the King & Kennedy
extension out of Rockway & Company's draft. If I may ask one
favor, please cancel the mortgage on the Park Road property by
paying the principal sum with full interest to Carberry & Gridley.
The balance of the Rockway draft will provide amply for Mrs.
Curtis and my son. I have no debts.
I am perfectly aware of what your judgment will be, and what
you will conceive it your duty to do. I therefore am relieving you
of a painful duty so far as I myself am concerned. It is impossible
to save Clara from grief, but it is not necessary that she should
think of me with shame and horror. For her innocent sake and
for my boy's sake, I beg one undeserved favor oblivion.
Brooks and the head accountant are aware that I am leaving
for New York as already arranged with yourself. The bank force
need not know that I am not coming back until the inevitable news
reaches them from no matter where; I shall not perplex you. I
recommend Brooks for advancement; he is most efficient. It is
THE DAY OF THE ARMISTICE
needless for me to tell you that the bank cash and the accounts
are in perfect order.
Locke lifted burning eyes. "Do you call this the
letter of a criminal, Mr. Gilbert?"
"He used bank funds for personal speculation, Dr.
Locke, and that's enough for me." The president
spoke with bitterness, but Kennedy interrupted him.
"I want to go over these papers again. I only
glanced at them before Dr. Locke came in. Let's give
poor Rhody a man's chance, Gilbert ; he would do twice
that for one of us." The merchant's glasses were far
too blurred to see, so Locke read the papers aloud
while James Gilbert nursed his feeling of outraged
First came Passmore's letter of the preceding May
recommending the investment in Mexican Petroleum
and mentioning Gilbert by name.
"Insolence!" he muttered.
"Not at all, Gilbert, legitimate, high-grade sales-
manship," answered Kennedy. "Passmore knew how
Rhody respected your financial judgment."
Then followed the record of the mortgage on the
Park Road property and a receipt from Rockway &
Company for $20,000, margin paid on 1,000 shares of
stock. In June there was a sales slip for $14,000,
Coordinated Copper, and a receipt for this amount,
margin on 700 more shares of Mexican Petroleum.
"Straight as a string so far!" said the merchant,
watching Locke through his glasses.
Then came Passmore's letter the 31st of August,
showing it had been Rhodin's intention to sell his hold-
312 THE CENTENARY AT OLD FIRST
ings at a fair profit and withdraw. The fascinating
lure of wealth and the second mention of Gilbert's name
were not overlooked.
"I grant you, Gilbert, the fellow was insolent but
he knew that you had been badly bitten by the Mexican
microbe and Curtis would be more sure to catch it if he
The president bit his lips and Kennedy continued.
"Think of it, man, selling Pennsylvania Railway
stock on a gamble! It simply shows that you were
money mad, and I'm just fool enough to tell you so !
As a conservative banker, would you advise a public
trust company to sell Pennsylvania Stock and buy
foreign oil, even if it were climbing to the sky?"
A slow red overspread the banker's face. "I'm not
used to being rated in my own office, Mr. Kennedy, and
I'll not take it!"
"I don't care what you're used to, James Gilbert!
We're here to find out why a strong man fell to his
death, and as there's a God in heaven I'll speak my
mind ! Go on, Dr. Locke, read the next paper." The
merchant's eyes were blazing and his strong hands
clutched the arms of his chair.
Locke read a copy of King & Kennedy's letter to
extend the loan, then came Rhodin's letter of September
third to Mr. Kennedy. He paused here, for Sanford
Kennedy was leaning forward.
"Read that letter again," he said in a low tense
As Locke read the frank, open letter, written at the
Hamilton Hotel, his voice broke and he saw Rhodin as
he had seen him that night, caught in the remorseless
THE DAY OF THE ARMISTICE 313
current of covetousness. He remembered the un-
bridled conversation at the committee dinner that must
have carried him even farther than he himself had
dared to go. James Gilbert also remembered. The
angry flush disappeared from his face and a look of
uneasy questioning was in his eyes.
But Sanford Kennedy's head drooped upon the desk
and groan after groan broke from him. "Mine was
the hand that threw him down! He told me of my
blunder in his fine, straightforward way and I
laughed while he stood upon the brink! O God, lay
not this sin to his charge, but visit the transgression
upon thine unfaithful steward !"
And then it all came out his written instructions to
extend the loan, the late remittance, and his irregular
coming to the cashier's desk after banking hours. He
told of Rhodin's kindness and of his own negligence in
handing him a misdrawn check.
"And all the time this tempting offer from Passmore
must have been like fire in his blood !" said Locke. "I
tell you we were not true to him not one of us! I
make no plea for Rhodin Curtis. It was his business
to spurn the whole devilish affair, but I say this he
had the right to look to us for help, rather than
hindrance ; and now, at whatever cost, we must find him
and bring him back."
The flush returned to the banker's face, but there
was no anger in the look he gave his pastor. Sanford
Kennedy reached his hand across the desk. "Forgive
me, James, for even seeming to condemn you. During
all these years you have warned me against my careless-
ness, and now the curse of it has come upon me. God
314 THE CENTENARY AT OLD FIRST
only knows what temptations I have placed in the way
of thoughtless clerks and stenographers. 0, Rhody,
Rhody to think I gave you the weapon with which
you destroyed yourself!" and the merchant laid his
head upon his arm and groaned again. James Gil-
bert did not answer him. His face had become set
Meantime Richard Locke had picked up the last
sheet. It was a statement from Rockway & Company.
A New York draft was pinned to the letter. Locke
read the items with a fascinated gaze.
Rhodin Curtis in Account with Rockway & Company New
May 28, Bo't 1,000 Shares Mex Pete at
90y 8 ................................ $ 90,875.00
Commission at % ........... 125.00
Less Margin paid ............ 20,000.00
Bal. due broker this transaction .. $ 71,000.00
June 18 Bo't 700 Shares Mex Pete at 95y 8 66,587.50
Commission at y a ........... 87.50
Less Margin paid ............ 14,000.00
Bal. due broker this transaction . . . 52,675.00
Sep. 3 Bo't 1,800 Shares Mex Pete at 102 . 183,600.00
Commission at % ............ 225.00
Less Margin paid ............ 20,000.00
BaL due broker this transaction . . . 163,825.00
Nov. 7 Sold 3,500 Shares Mex Pete at 173 605,500.00
Less Commission at % ....... 437.50
Less War Tax at $4 per hundred 140.00
THE DAY OF THE ARMISTICE 315
Int. on $71,000 May 29 to Nov. 8 at 6% . 1,902.41
Int. on $52,675 June 19 to Nov. 8 at 6% . 1,316.15
Int. on $163,825 Sept. 4 to Nov. 8 at 6% . 1,723.52
Total Cost 3,500 Shares as above
Add dividend in July on 1,700 shares at
Our Certified Draft inclosed herewith . .
NOTE: These quotations are accurately taken from New York
Stock Reports of "Mex Pete" for 1918, and the figures for
"Rhodin Curtis's deal" are furnished by a responsible New York
broker. H. R. C.
Locke's eyes reached the amazing total that had
lured his friend and then rested on the certified draft
that lay crisply across the statement an order to pay
to Rhodin Curtis $261,880.42. He leaped to his feet.
"Men," he said, "do you realize that Rho Curtis is
at this moment under the horror of this thing? He
leaves his wife, his child, his fortune in our hands
but what shall become of that home if husband and
father comes not back again? What shall become of
us if we are faithless stewards of this man's soul?
Even now it may be too late ! While we sit here indulg-
ing in vain regrets, the pitiless storm is beating upon
him, if, indeed, his anguished spirit has not already
slipped over the edge of the abyss !"
James Gilbert covered his face with his hands. "My
God I've driven him to his death !"
316 THE CENTENARY AT OLD FIRST
There was tense silence.
Presently Sanford Kennedy lifted up his head. His
eyes were quiet and restful.
"No, James, I don't believe it," he said. "Rhody
wouldn't do it at least not yet. Something tells me
he'll come back to us again."
"But we must act," said Locke, imperiously. "We
must do something instantly! Would he have gone
to New York, Mr. Gilbert?"
"Then I shall follow him at once."
"We could wire the bank's eastern correspondents
"And drive him to some desperate act !" interrupted
Locke. "He would mistake the purpose of our in-
quiry, and explanation to any human being except him-
self would defeat our whole purpose. This sin of
Rhodin Curtis shall never be mentioned outside of this
room. It is our promise to God and to each other."
As the three men clasped hands Richard Locke
poured out his soul in intercession, and Gilbert's
trembling lips echoed every petition. But the
merchant stood with his eyes open and his head lifted.
"God has heard your prayer, Richard," he said.
"He's with us, and he's with Rhody and he will hold
him safe until we find him. God guide your steps,
my faithful pastor!" and the merchant laid his hands
upon him in silent benediction.
Locke looked at his watch. "Number two leaves in
fifty minutes. I'll have time to catch it; it connects
with the night express at Pittsburgh. Have you a
list of your eastern correspondents?"
THE DAY OF THE ARMISTICE 317
The banker took a type-written sheet from his file.
"These are our confidential correspondents in New
York City," he said. "I'll wire you the completed list.
You'll need expense money, and plenty of it."
He opened a small safe back of his chair and took
out a sheaf of bills. "This is not the bank's affair; it
is a trust committed to me alone. Here are a thousand
dollars. Spare no expense. Make a sight draft
against me for any amount only bring him back with
you." James Gilbert's eyes filled as Locke shook
hands with both men and left the room.
Miss Winthrop took his suddenly announced journey
with her usual equanimity and had his clean linen laid
out for him in two minutes.
"You must take a heavier suit of underwear,
Richard," she said. "New York is on the coast, remem-
ber." As it turned out he was grateful for his aunt's
thoughtfulness, but not for the reason that she had
He had time to call Rhodin's 'phone before he left,
and ask in cheery tones for the last word from the
"I'm leaving for New York," he said, "and expect to
see Rho. What word shall I give him?"
"Our love, our love, Dr. Locke !" came Clara's happy
voice. "Tell him that Arthur is sitting by the window
watching the automobiles go by and counting the hours
until he shall see his father and tell him my heart is
overflowing with the new joy that we shall share to-
Twenty minutes later Locke stepped aboard number
two, eastward bound.
WHEN Richard Locke stopped at the Pullman
office in the Pittsburgh railway station to
secure his sleeping reservation for New York, the clerk
looked at him sharply.
"Is this Dr. Richard Locke?"
"Urgent wire waiting for you, sir."
Locke opened the envelope and read :
"Reliable information your brother in Chicago Mon-
day morning. Full letter will await you Great North-
The message had been dispatched from his own home
city and although it bore no signature Locke instantly
recogni2ed its import. The sagacious banker was giv-
ing him explicit information without publishing any
names. He hastened to the ticket window.
"Chicago," he said tersely, then waited impatiently
while two clerks fumbled to find the correct form. "I
must catch the 8.15 please hurry," he said.
A round-faced man behind him laughed. "The pub-
lic will have to wait while the Government learns its new
job of running the railroads," he said. "I reckon the
people are finding out that public utilities are a public
VANISHING CLEWS 319
Locke turned, "Are you a preacher or a lawyer?"
he asked, smiling.
"Neither. I sell pig-iron, but I can see a hole through
a ladder! The first condition of good stewardship is
responsibility, and responsibility is always personal.
You can't shoulder it off on some woozy thing called
'society.' Community life is worthless unless personal
responsibility is "
But Locke lost the rest of it. He had his ticket in
his hand and was running for the gate as the west
bound express was called for the last time. By great
good fortune he was able to secure an upper berth
the last one. He drowsed off about midnight and
dreamed that he saw John Roberts' solitary figure mov-
ing out into a desert road. There was neither tree nor
shrub, and the vertical sun beat upon him pitilessly.
A glory was about him and the deep-set eyes seemed
to behold One who is invisible. Locke tried to reach
him, but the figure faded. He awoke with a sense of
awe and isolation.
At eight o'clock on Tuesday morning the train
pulled into that ancient ruin humorously known as
the Chicago Union Station. He took a taxi to the
Great Northern Hotel.
As he expected, a letter from Gilbert awaited him.
One of the bank's clients, the letter said, had lunched
with him and happened to mention that he had chatted
with Rhodin at the railway station on Sunday after-
noon. Rhodin had boarded the west-bound passenger
train. His destination might be Saint Louis; more
probably it was Chicago. It seemed certain that he
had not gone to New York. He inclosed a list of the
320 THE CENTENARY AT OLD FIRST
Chicago banks where Rhodin was known and suggested
two financial houses in La Salle Street where he would
do well to start his inquiry.
His first call was fruitless, but the second was full of
"Is not Mr. Curtis cashier of one of the banks in
?" and the vice-president's secretary, to whom he
had been referred, mentioned Locke's home city.
"Well, he was here yesterday about noon, and went
out to lunch with Mr. Hamerton."
"Do you know whether or not Mr. Curtis has left
"I understand that he has. He was in conference
with Mr. Hamerton concerning certain interests of his
in the south Mexico, I think."
Locke started. "May I see Mr. Hamerton?"
"I'm sorry, he was called to Aurora last evening and
will not be back until eleven-thirty."
"I will see him at that time if he can make it con-
venient. It is a matter of rather urgent importance.
Will you kindly hand him my card and ask him to
reserve ten minutes for me?"
There was nothing to do but pass the two hours as
best he could. He walked over to Michigan Boulevard
and spent an hour in the Art Institute. Then he
looked out over the waste of reclaimed land, and
wondered how soon Burnham's dream of the "City
Beautiful" would be realized. He spent much time in
studying Lorenzo Taft's exquisite bronze, "The Great
VANISHING CLEWS 321
At eleven-thirty he was again in La Salle Street.
The secretary met him.
"I am sorry to inform you," he said, "that Mr.
Hamerton has been detained in Aurora and will not
reach the bank until nearly three o'clock."
Locke frowned. "Is there no way that I can get in
touch with him?"
"I might be able to get him on 'long-distance.' "
"Thank you, I shall be very grateful."
In five minutes the secretary returned. "Mr. Ham-
erton already has left Aurora," he said. "He is com-
ing part way by auto, but I am sure he will be here
before three o'clock. I will give him your card the
moment he arrives."
Locke was in a fever of distress, but there was noth-
ing to be done. Hamerton had seen Rhodin less than
twenty-four hours before and had spent an hour or two
with him. Undoubtedly he could tell something of his
probable movements. There was nothing to be done.
He must wait.
He returned to the Great Northern and wrote a brief
letter to Gilbert. As soon as he finished it he tore it to
shreds. What folly ! He had absolutely nothing to
report. He ate a light lunch, then sat in the lobby and
looked at the clock.
At twenty minutes to three he again inquired for Mr.
Hamerton, and breathed easily the vice-president
would be able to see him in five minutes. He found
himself presently standing beside the desk of a large
gentleman with a bald head.
"I understand, Mr. Locke," began the vice-president
directly, "that you have been inquiring for Mr. Corliss
322 THE CENTENARY AT OLD FIRST
of your city. We took lunch together yesterday, and
I shall be glad to give you any information that is
proper. Our cashier had a wire from him this morn-
ing. Won't you be seated?"
Locke's heart leaped. "Thank you, Mr. Hamerton.
I appreciate this greatly only you have made a slight
error in pronouncing the name. It is Mr. Curtis that
I am wanting," and he drew a chair up to the desk. At
last he had found a clew.
"Do you mean Rhodin Curtis of the City National?"
Mr. Hamerton laughed. "No mistake at this end!
1 know Mr. Curtis very well; he is our regular corre-
spondent, though it has been several months since I
saw him. It was Henry Corliss whom I saw yesterday
Corliss of the Second National."
Locke looked at him blankly with a heavy sinking of
his heart. He had wasted six hours for this !
"I'm sorry, sir, to have disappointed you. I I
hope Mr. Curtis is well." The vice-president looked at
him curiously. Instantly Locke was on guard.
"I am the one who should apologize for having taken
your time, Mr. Hamerton. Consonants are rather im-
portant members of the alphabet ! I know Mr. Corliss,
of the Second National, and one would have no diffi-
culty in distinguishing the two men apart." With a
cordial word of appreciation Locke withdrew. As he
passed out into La Salle Street the Board of Trade
clock struck three. The day was nearly over and he
had accomplished nothing. What had these six hours
meant to Rhodin Curtis? His heart contracted with
VANISHING CLEWS 323
As he walked east in Adams Street a half-hinted sug-
gestion of the morning came back to him. Had
Rhodin any "interests" that would turn his thought in
any direction? He remembered the draft for more
than a quarter of a million that lay on Mr. Gilbert's
desk. Could he have watched the spectacular advance
of Mexican Petroleum without having been drawn
toward the sources of his sudden wealth. At least it
would not be amiss to follow this clew.
He stepped into the city ticket office of the Illinois
Central Railway, and inquired concerning winter rates
to some of the southern cities.
"The fact is, I'm interested in Mexico City. Is
there any chance of getting through?"
"O, yes, you can get through all right; only we
can't sell you anything further than the Rio. The
mix-up down there has demoralized the railway
"Is there much transportation to the border?"
"Not much two or three a week. Sold one ticket
"I wonder if it could have been an acquaintance of
mine who has been interested in Mexican oil; I've had
a notion he might take a run down there. What sort
of an appearing man was he?"
The clerk looked at him. "What's the game,
brother ? Has he robbed the collection plates ?"
Locke flushed, but the clerk smiled at him good-
"There's no use getting warm over it, padre; I
reckon you're a better preacher than you are detec-
tive ! I like you all right, and if you'll tell me straight
324 THE CENTENARY AT OLD FIRST
what you want I'll help you to the best of my ability.
If not good night!"
Locke reached out his hand and laughed. "You're
the captain! I never knew how to get things by in-
direction, and I'm too old to learn. How did you
know I was a preacher?"
"How do you know the 'Seminole Limited'? Say,
brother, what jay are you trying to get a line on?
has he run away with the church funds?"
Locke looked him in the eyes. "You answered me
straight now let me answer you ! I'm not a detective.
I'm a preacher. I'm not trying to jail a man, but
save him. Have I the right to tell you anything?
Would you if you were a preacher?"
The clerk thought a minute. "You've got the right
dope, sir, and I'll .stand by that kind of a preacher
from here to hades! I'll tell you all I know. This
chap was about your height, but a little heavier build.
He had dark hair and eyes and a close trimmed
moustache. He had a sad-looking face, as though he
had lost every friend he had and his hope of heaven
besides. Does that tally, brother?"
Locke's eyes were burning. "Where was he going?"
he asked in a low voice.
The clerk turned to the ticket rack behind him and
ran his finger down a spindle file holding detached
ticket stubs. "I sold him coupon ticket number 3256,
to Laredo; but from the questions he asked I'm sure
he intends to go through to Mexico City."
"Can you get a wire to him ?"
"Sure, he's on number four. Spiel it out and I'll
get him for you before six o'clock."
VANISHING CLEWS 325
Locke thought a moment, then wrote out the follow-
Ticket Holder 3256,
Train Number Four,
En Route, Laredo, Texas.
Consultation yesterday. Perfect understanding assured. All
say come home. Clara waiting for you. Where shall I meet you?
Wire immediate. Great Northern Hotel.
The clerk read it. "Right you are! I'll put it
through 'Rush.' If he's as good a sport as you are,
Clara will see him before Sunday."
Locke thanked him and then bought a mileage ticket
and reservation as far as Memphis, ready to leave at
"You'll hear before eight, all right. Good luck,
padre! If I knew where you were going to preach,
I'd walk across the city to hear you."
Locke went direct to the hotel and notified the desk
clerk that he was expecting an important telegram.
Then he sat and waited. At dinner he took a small
table near the door, and listened with every nerve
attent. What if the answer should not come before
nine? How could he spend another night in such un-
About half past seven he was looking through
the railway time tables as he stood in the lobby of
the hotel. His traveling bag was at his feet. He
heard his name called and a page came running toward
him. The answer had arrived in time a dollar "tip"
was small return for such a service ! He tore open the
envelope and read:
326 THE CENTENARY AT OLD FIRST
Ticket holder 3256 joined at Memphis by lady and two children.
Indignantly denies imputation. Name Saunders.
Richard Locke did not know why he stood there
nor how long he had been standing. He was stunned.
He could not think. He only knew that he was help-
less and all but hopeless. What possible turn could
he make? Should he advertise in the morning papers?
Should he notify the police? How could he go back
to Clara Curtis?
"O God," he groaned, "help me!"
Absently he fingered the time tables. West east
south north which way should he go? Suddenly
he found himself breathing fast. He was perceiving
something he did not know what. Something within
him was alert. And then it came to him.
He was looking at a "Summer Tourist" folder that
he had picked from the back of the case. It was three
months out of date.
WHY STIFLE IN THE CITY?
THE LAKES OF NORTHERN MICHIGAN
With one fierce burst of illumination he knew where
he would find Rhodin Curtis. In one flash it was
before him the undulating shimmer of reeds and
water lilies and the stark horror in Rhodin's eyes.
There was only one question now: Would he be in
"Boy a taxi quick!" he called.
VANISHING CLEWS 327
He had ten minutes to reach the Twelfth Street
Station. But it was enough. When the night train
pulled out for Petoskey he sat breathless and thankful
in the end sleeper.
ON arriving at Petoskey the first thing Locke did
was to find a garage.
"Going after ducks?" asked the manager. "Well,
you'll find them. I saw a million last week at the
south end of Crooked Lake. What size shell do you
Locke smiled. "Pm afraid I'll have to borrow a
gun from Captain Flynn if I do any shooting."
"So you're going to stop at the Cap'n's, are you?
Then I reckon I'll have to take a deposit in advance.
That old weasel won't leave much for me when he gets
through squeezin' you !" and the manager chuckled.
"Maybe I can make out to pay both of you that
is, if you don't want the earth. How much will you
charge for two or three days' use of a machine?"
"O, I reckon I can let you have one for twenty-five
or thirty dollars. Not a new machine you know, but
one of our left-overs."
"That will be satisfactory. I'll start immediately."
He examined the rusty looking roadster and took his
"She's the regulation flivver, mister," said the
manager, folding up the bills that Locke handed him,
"but she'll carry you."
Locke drew on his gloves. "Perhaps the public
won't call it a 'flivver' after this week."
FLYNN'S POINT 329
"I get you, mister, and you're dead right! She's
frisked ammunition up to the front line trenches, with-
out ever stalling an engine, and she's carried our
wounded boys back from the edge of the pit. I guess
she's entitled to the Distinguished Service medal along
with the Red Cross. Good luck, mister, and a heavy
bag! Take the right turn this side of Oden."
It was nearly eleven o'clock when Locke's car crept
up the muddy road in front of Flynn's two-story cabin.
It had been raining and he blessed his aunt's thought-
fulness that he was warmly clad. He had borrowed
a pair of blankets at the garage, which were folded
away under the seat.
"I may need them later," he thought, with a nervous
The old man came limping down the path from the
kitchen door. As soon as he recognized Locke he
began to laugh.
"I reckon I got one on Rhode Curtis!" he said.
"He told me n'ary a soul was comin' with him this
Locke gripped the steering wheel and a mist came
over his eyes. He could not speak. He could not
even thank God. He was dumb.
"Better unload, Dr. Locke," the old man ambled on.
"No use goin' out before dinner."
"When did Mr. Curtis get here, Captain Flynn?"
asked Locke, staring through the fringe of scrub oaks
that skirted the lake. The water looked leaden under
the November sky.
"Monday, just before supper. He came up from
Petoskey on the afternoon train and pulled himself
330 THE CENTENARY AT OLD FIRST
over from Oden. He's the darn'dest, queerest duck I
Locke looked at him. "What do you mean, Captain ?"
he asked with a quick beating of his heart. "He
he's all right isn't he?"
"O, he's alive and kickin,' if that's what you mean
though how a grown man expects to go all day on
two crackers and a cup o' coif ee gets me ! Then how
in tarnation is he goin' to get wild ducks without a
gun ! Expect 'em to swim up and climb into his boat ?"
Captain Flynn revolved a huge quid in his mouth
and spat copiously.
"I told him this mornin' he hadn't as much sense
as he had when he was ten years old ! He said he was
goin' to try a little still fishin' in that old punt you
used last summer. I gave him one o' them long pointed
saplings, same as we always use for anchoring a boat
in ten feet o' water. But I see'd him about an hour
ago down to your old camp, an' I'm darn'd if he hadn't
throw'd the sapling down on the bank and hunted
around for a boulder half as big as a wash tub ! It was
lyin' in the punt with about fifty feet o' cotton rope.
He'll anchor his boat all right, an' himself too if he
Locke started his engine. "I'll run down to the
point and give him a hail." His face was deathly white.
"All right, that's where you'll find him. He's been
foolin' around the edge o' them water lilies for two
days. I'll tell the old woman that you'll be here for
The muddy road connected with a rude landing at
the point. As soon as Locke had gotten clear of the
FLYNN'S POINT 331
trees he cast his eyes over the sodden mass of green
that rested on the surface of the lake. Out where the
clear water began, but still inside the line of treach-
erous green, he saw an old flat-bottomed boat. It was
Locke shut his eyes and dropped his head upon the
steering wheel before him. He was not thinking of
Rhodin. His mind at that moment did not go back to
Clara. He saw the agonies that were just ahead of him,
but his only thought during that first numb moment
was regret he ought to have borrowed four blankets
instead of two; he was sure the water was icy cold.
Then he sat up. "I must think," he said. He knew
he must get help, two men at least. He would decide
what to do after they had recovered the ; he
shuddered and closed his eyes again. Then he looked
toward the boat and recognized his first solemn duty:
it was to secure any letter or message that Rhodin
might have left. This he must do alone.
The landing was on the south side of the point; it
was clear water here. He found the captain's skiff
and pushed out. His hands were steadier for rowing
and as he drew near to the punt he found himself in
control of his faculties. He pulled alongside and
looked in. The bottom had been partly staved out
and the reeds and water lilies had wrapped themselves
about the rotting planks. It had been lying there
Locke's revulsion left him trembling and weak, and
he grasped the slimy edge of the punt to steady him-
self. Two days of nerve stretch had brought him
almost to collapse. But joy is a quick restorative.
332 THE CENTENARY AT OLD FIRST
"Hold him, O God, hold him!" His prayer came like
a chant of praise. He pushed himself free of the
reeds and rowed rapidly toward their old camp. He
turned his head and looked. Rhodin was standing
on the half sunken log watching him.
The skiff was still a hundred yards from the landing
place and it leaped through the water under Locke's
driving strokes. As he drew near the log Rhodin
leaned over and pulled the boat close in.
"I knew you would come, Dick," he said, and reached
out his hand.
Locke looked at him. He was unshaven and his face
was haggard with suffering. Locke expected all this
but there was something more, something that made
his throat swell and his eyes fill. In Rhodin's face was
the look of a man who has trodden the winepress alone.
Locke laid his head on Rhodin's hand and wept.
"Good old Dick, I knew you would come," he re-
Locke looked at him again. Was this Rhodin
Curtis ? The old masterful air was still about him, but
into his eyes had come an indescribable gentleness.
"Come up on the bank, Dick, and sit down."
Locke followed him and they sat down together on
one of the plank benches that still remained from their
last summer's camp. A pale November sun had pushed
through the clouds.
"I know what you've come to say to me, Dick, and
I want to save you everything I can. I'm going back."
"God bless you, Rho!"
"I've thought it all through again, and I've settled
it. I've made up my mind that it will be easier for
FLYNN'S POINT 333
Clara to suffer with me than without me. The thing
can't be covered up I was a fool for thinking that
anything I could do would make the least difference.
It only makes it harder for her."
"But, Rho, you don't'"
"Let me tell you the whole thing, Dick. I expected
to finish it yesterday, but it rained all day and I
couldn't quite pull myself up to it. You see the other
time, when I was a little fellow, it was a bright sunshiny
day. All my memory of it is full of gleaming lights.
I didn't mind the cold, but I had a horror of the lead-
colored sky and dark water. This morning I started
out again, but it was no better. I knew it was sheer
weakness and cowardice, for it would be dark down
there anyhow. And yet I could not shake off the feel-
ing. That memory of my boyhood was with me, and I
wanted the sunshine on the water.
"Then, all of a sudden, I asked myself a question
'Are you not a coward to do the thing at all?' You
see, it had not occurred to me that I could do anything
else; it was the only way to keep the disgrace and
horror away from Clara. That question staggered
me for, Dick, whatever else I am I never dreamed I
was a coward. I tried to put myself in Clara's place:
which would be harder for her to face the unspeak-
able shame with me, and know all about it, or be left
alone when that that thing should be found in the
lake ? I tell you, Dick, I've gone to the depths of hell !
My punishment is upon me living or dead, and I can't
escape it. I've brought suffering upon her, and now I
can't even die to save her from it. Soldiers have died
for the country, other men can give their lives for those
334 THE CENTENARY AT OLD FIRST
they love, but I have forfeited the right even to make
Locke put his arm about him. "Let me give you
this word of comfort, Rho. We "
"No, Dick, I'm not through yet. I found out I was
a coward, but that wasn't all I found out why I did
the hideous thing. I thought it was to give Clara
larger opportunity and greater luxury but it was my
own ungoverned grasping after power. I betrayed my
home in order to have a place among the rich men of
the city. It is unforgivable, Dick! I know what I'm
going back to but the shame of it and the suffering
never can atone for the sin.
"I never knew anything about prayer after mother
died. I don't know whether I believed in it or not
at least until that night little Jeem was talking to
Pietro. But I was hopeless. I threw myself down here
on the ground and prayed. I don't know much about
your God, Dick. He seems rather wonderful to me.
I guess I'm afraid of him though I never knew it be-
fore. I just did what Jeemy did, 'I made a pray
weetha Jesu.' " Rhodin's lips trembled and he turned
away his head. Then he went on.
"The strangeness of it is that for two hours I've had
quietness. The horror of it has passed away. I've
had a peculiar feeling all morning that you were com-
ing to me, though how you still care for me is more than
I can understand."
And then Locke told him. It was the message that
he had been commissioned to bring that Gilbert and
Kennedy were bowed with sorrow and not with anger
that they both felt they were not without a certain
FLYNN'S POINT 335
moral responsibility for his act that their one prayer
was his return that the whole matter would be buried,
already was buried, in oblivion.
Rhodin was overwhelmed. But he dissented abso-
lutely from anyone bearing a hair's weight of blame
except himself. Their magnanimity would make it
easier for him to return, but he could not under any
circumstances accept the last suggestion Clara at
least must be told of his perfidy and falsehood.
"The thing seems different since this morning," he
said. "Yesterday I was willing to go into eternity
with a coward's lie on my soul. I wanted to die to keep
Clara from knowing. But she's got to know, Dick.
My purpose to keep the truth from her is what made
me know I was a coward. And my quietness came
when I was ready to go back and tell her even when I
thought it would mean public disgrace as well. No,
Dick, you know it as well as I do Clara must be told."
"You're God's man, Rho, and he will make the way
easy for you. Already he has done it." And then he
related what he knew of Sunday afternoon what
Elizabeth had told him and what Clara herself had
said. Nor did he forget to repeat word for word his
message from Clara on Monday morning.
Rhodin sat silent for a long time. A great peace
was upon him. Then he spoke.
"Dick, I think it would be better if I could talk to
Clara here by the lake. It would be easier for both of
us. There's 'phone connection over at Oden. Would
you mind sending the wire?"
About five o'clock Clara's answer was brought across
the lake. She would take the night sleeper.
A RAINY DAY
/CAPTAIN FLYNN'S household was astir early.
y*S There was excitement in the kitchen. The Cap-
tain's boy was sent over to Oden to borrow a white
"Rhode Curtis's wife is eatin' dinner at our house,"
he said in explanation, "and ma says she's never et
offn oilcloth in her life."
The Captain himself was out at daybreak and
brought in two fine ducks. He met Rhodin and Locke
in front of the house as he was returning.
"I don't see no use makin' your wife fool along in
the 'accommodation,' Rhode," he said, laying the ducks
on the wash bench. "That darn'd train sometimes
takes three hours to pull up from Petoskey. Last
week it laid at the sidin' one hour and forty minutes,
waitin' for Gus Meeker to hi'st a steer aboard. Why
don't you run down to Petoskey and bring her up in
The Captain's advice was sound, and Locke started
at once. Rhodin preferred to wait. "Bring her to
the camp, Dick," he said. He had lost much of his
haggard appearance. Ten hours of sleep, a bath and
shave had somewhat restored him, but the look which
broke Locke's heart was still in his eyes.
A RAINY DAY 337
Before eight o'clock Locke found himself stalled on
a muddy road. He did not impugn the flivver ; he was
questioning all vehicles shod with air. His front tire
had picked up a twisted nail. Before he had succeeded
in changing the tire, another all-day rain had started
in, and he was compelled to drive cautiously. By the
time he had reached the Petoskey station, the Oden
"accommodation" had been gone fifty minutes.
He knew that Rhodin expected to take the night
express from Petoskey, so he exchanged the limp-
ing roadster for a closed car and started back to the
captain's. It would make the return trip easier for
For once the captain's accusation was unfounded
the train from Petoskey was on time.
"Be one of you Rhode Curtis's wife?" The question
was asked by a tawny native, and was addressed to two
ladies who had stepped from the "accommodation."
They were looking anxiously toward a dreary shack
that bore the illuminating inscription, "Oden Store and
"One of us is," answered Clara, smiling. "Did Mr.
Curtis send you to fetch us?"
"Not exactly, but when it began rainin' the cap'n
'lowed Dr. Locke might have trouble with the autymo-
bile, and miss you at Puttowsky. I was comin' over for
the paper, so I told 'im I'd keep an eye open for you.
I reckon, though, he war'h't expectin' more'n one o*
He looked admiringly from Clara to the dark-eyed
lady beside her, then they all moved over toward the
store. The ladies remained standing under the rain-
338 THE CENTENARY AT OLD FIRST
soaked awning while their kindly interlocutor waited
for the mail bag to be opened.
"But, Elizabeth, you mustn't stay in this wretched
Her companion laughed. "You never were held for
days together in a dak bungalow in the Himalayas,"
she answered. "I shall get on very comfortably.
Seriously, dear, Mr. Curtis is expecting only you, and
it is better for me not to go."
"You could spend the time with Dr. Locke," and
Elizabeth's eyes danced. "It hardly would be
proper for a young unmarried lady to force her atten-
tions on your new pastor." She was laughing, but the
rich color was in her face.
"After all I've told you, dear?" answered Clara.
"You know how he worships you, and how my wicked
deception has kept him from you."
"I think Dr. Locke should be punished for not hav-
ing better discernment ! If he really has made up his
mind about 'Lord Ullin's daughter,' she won't run away
from him but he'll have to seek her here, 'across the
stormy water !' ' :
The boatman came out with his paper and they
walked down to the landing. Clara was a little
"Thank you, Elizabeth, for coming with me; you
have made me strong. I would be frightened if Dr.
Locke's telegram had not assured me that Rho is per-
fectly well. And yet I'm equally sure he needs me for
some very serious reason."
An open boat is an uncomfortable place when it
A RAINY DAY 339
rains, and Clara was grateful that the murky drizzle
had ceased at least for a while.
"Do you know where Mr. Curtis is staying?" she
asked, lowering her umbrella.
"He's be'n stoppin' at Cap'n Flynn's, but mostly he
fools round that campin' place where him and Dr.
Locke was last summer. I reckon that's where he is
now, for that's where Dr. Locke was plannin' to take
you in the autymobile."
"Can you take me directly there?" Clara divined
Rhodin's wish that they should be alone.
"Sure, if you want me to. But you'll find it purty
"I'm not sugar I won't melt." Then she laughed,
for the native was looking at her as though he doubted
both her statements.
The sun crept through and looked at them as the
boat nosed its way along the sunken log, and Rhodin
reached over and clasped her to him.
"But Rho, darling, you must not say such things
about yourself. It was wrong. I tremble when I
think about it but you didn't deceive anybody, dear,
and you protected them every minute."
"I deceived myself, Clara, and I did not protect you."
His face had become haggard again and the dark hol-
lows of his eyes were ringed with anguish.
Clara turned and looked at him. She had been
sitting beside him on the bench. Her face had been
resting against his shoulder and her eyes had been
staring out over the reeds and lilies. Rhodin had not
even hinted why he had come to the lake ; he had told
340 THE CENTENARY AT OLD FIRST
her only of the affair at the bank. But as she looked
into his eyes she realized the horror that had been upon
A very frenzy of fear seized her. She clung to him
piteously, while shudder after shudder passed over her.
She only could whisper, "O, not that, not that!"
Rhodin's lips were pale, and his throat was dry and
parched, as he whispered back, "Thank God, my dar-
ling, that horror is past forever !"
Then something came to Clara Curtis for the first
time she recognized the stewardship of marriage. In
that swift moment of realization she knew that Rhodin
had built a garden of flowers for her to live in and
she had been languidly glad to have it so.
With burning shame she knew that her unthoughtful-
ness had compelled Rhodin to live his life without her.
And she herself, living in a dream world, had been
caught in the web of that false thing, "Reality." In
his great yearning love Rhodin had been ready to
throw himself out among the hideous shadows in order
that her silken couch might not have the discomfort of
a crumpled rose leaf. She buried her burning face
upon his shoulder.
"I have not been a true wife to you, Rho. I have
let you carry me as though I were a piece of porcelain.
I have not stood beside you to take my share of life.
The untruth has been in me, dear, not you."
There had been few tears in Clara's life, but the
heart-searching of that hour and her unpitying con-
demnation of her own self-centered existence were like
a cleansing tide at the flood.
Rhodin held her to him. He told her she had been
Then something came to Clara Curtis
A RAINY DAY 341
his dream and inspiration, that she had come into his
raw, uncultivated life like an exquisite spirit from an-
other world. But the more he spoke the more her
bitter tears made answer.
"O Rho," she sobbed, "you can't understand the
untruth that has been in me; your own great soul has
been too big to notice it." Then she kissed him and
healing quietness fell upon them both.
They had many things to talk about. The separa-
tion of half a week had ushered each of them into a
new life. Clara told him of her prayer on Sunday
afternoon of her agony lest he should be in danger,
and the thrilling assurance that God would bring him
safe. Rhodin spoke with simple directness of his own
victory when the Man of Calvary stood by him. They
spoke of Locke and Elizabeth, and Clara did not cover
up the subtle falsehood which had imposed upon her-
self as well as deceived her husband.
"Rho, as I see it now, all that strange falsehood
came from Professor Roome's lecture on 'Faith.' He
said, 'If you'll believe a thing is true, something that
you very much want, it will be true, no matter how un-
true it may seem. 1 He said this was the true teaching
of Jesus in the New Testament. I have no right to
blame anybody but myself, and I do not. I was
stubborn. I would not listen to mother, nor even to
you in your one request that I should stay in the
church for the sake of little Arthur. I've told Eliza-
beth of my deception and I I shall tell Dr. Locke."
And then they talked of Rhodin's new-found wealth.
He told her what he felt he ought to do with it, and
when she smiled at him and said, "How can tee do any-
342 THE CENTENARY AT OLD FIRST
thing else, Rho?" he caught her to him. He under-
stood her sweet emphasis and the look of comrade-
ship she gave him. Henceforth it was to be "we" in
all their life.
The honk honk of a car pushing toward them from
the "point" made them know that their sweet hour to-
gether was drawing to a close.
"It has been like another wedding trip, Rho, only
this one is the beginning of 'forever !' " and Rhodin
knew that it was even as she said.
"How dare I take it, Rho?" Locke's voice was full
"But we can't keep it, Dick. You see that as well
as I do. I'll take back the twenty thousand that repre-
sents the mortgage on the home, and it's perfectly right
for me to receive back the fourteen thousand that I
invested in June the principal, I mean. But all the
rest has the smell of fire upon it. The investment it-
self might have been honorable and just if I had not
smirched it. But I can't touch it now, Dick." The
words came with a new emphasis.
Locke's soul swelled within him. "It's prophetic,
Rho ! I can't imagine what it means only I know it's
a prophecy of things to come."
"Perhaps it is, Dick, but not for me. Let the money
stay in Gilbert's hands until you've made up your
mind. Clara and I can have nothing further to do
with it. But there is something else I want to say.
I've thought it through and I know where the thing
began it was that night at Burt Lake when I refused
to acknowledge God."
A RAINY DAY 343
He took from his pocket a small roll of bills and
some change and counted it upon the wooden plank.
It came to $38.50.
"You see I didn't bring very much for this trip,
Dick, and I may have to borrow from you to get home."
Locke watched him as he separated $3.85 and handed it
"You called that other 'prophetic' all it means to
me is the getting rid of a hideous thing that rested
down upon me. But this separated portion is the
prophecy for me and Clara. It isn't dead. It's alive.
It means that all we have belongs to God and we are
Rhodin was looking out over the undulating reeds
and lilies. His eyes were clear and quiet. Clara was
smiling up at him.
Then she turned : "You're my new pastor, aren't you,
Dr. Locke?" A touch of red was in her cheeks.
"Yes yours and Rho's."
"Then I can't come back to Old First until I've
told you something."
Clara spoke rapidly at first with her eyes upon the
ground, then looking into his face. As she finished,
Locke's own eyes were blazing and a scarlet flag was
in both his cheeks.
Rhodin looked at his watch and a glimmer of mirth
rested in the corners of his mouth.
"The Captain always is out of sorts when folks are
late to dinner," he said. "Don't you think he ought
to be starting, Clara? It's a good forty minutes
both ways. You'd better take my tarpaulin, Dick ; it's
going to rain again."
344 THE CENTENARY AT OLD FIRST
Locke looked from Rhodin to Clara and then back
again. The scarlet mounted into his forehead.
"I left Elizabeth at the Oden store, Dr. Locke, and
it's a wretched place to stay longer than one has to."
Clara was laughing at him.
Elizabeth had finished her book and finally became
tired of counting the cracker boxes and stroking the
"Be you any relation to Rhode Curtis' s wife?" A
freckle-faced boy put his head in at the door and looked
"No, but I'm a friend of hers," answered Elizabeth,
"Well, somebody's pullin' across from the 'point' in
Cap'n Flynn's boat, an' I bet they're comin' for you.
It's rainin' too!"
"Thank you. I'd better be ready then." '
When Richard Locke tied his boat to the landing,
Elizabeth was waiting for him. ... It was impossible
for anyone to see them from the store. . . . Besides,
Elizabeth's umbrella was up.
JUNE had come again. Old First was in the midst
of her Centenary Celebration. For a week the
stately old church, and its program of human better-
ment, had commanded a front page story in the daily
Gazette. An appreciative editorial expressed the
public mind sincere regret that Richard Locke was
about to give up his pastorate after four years of
prophetic leadership warm welcome for Craig McRae,
who had come back from the trenches of Europe with
a message for the manhood of the city.
The opening night at the Parish House was memor-
able in the twelfth ward it marked the launching of
the "American Club." On the stroke of eight the great
organ sounded the national anthem. The audience
stood while two former members of Captain Janes's
company walked down either aisle, each bearing a flag,
and set them in their standards on either side of the
platform. That reverent act was both hymn and
Rhodin Curtis, president of the "American Club" and
chairman of its first public testimonial, spoke briefly.
It was good to look at him. The masterful bearing
was what his friends always had known, but during
these late months a gentleness had come which drew
men no less than commanded them.
"There's something big about him, Rose," said
346 THE CENTENARY AT OLD FIRST
Frank Janes, to his wife a month after their return,
"something that makes the boys tell him all their
troubles and then trust him."
The chairman explained briefly the purpose of the
club it was to unite in neighborly fellowship "all good
Americans who hate a lie, who love the flag, and who
seek to acknowledge God by caring for the welfare of
the community." He then explained that the club
membership would be limited to citizens of pure Ameri-
can stock and to those who had emigrated to America,
either themselves or their families, "within the last three
"The Executive Committee was somewhat embar-
rassed after making this decision," the chairman con-
tinued, "by discovering that Dr. Richard Locke
possibly might be excluded from club membership, his
first American ancestor having reached this country
in 1610, clearly exceeding our three-hundred-year limit.
We were relieved of our embarrassment, however, when
we learned that his mother's family did not arrive until
ten years later, thus enabling him to claim exemption
by the close margin of one year. As for the rest of us
no such disability is likely to be found."
During this explanation Pietro Vecchi leaned for-
ward with a red face and a beady glitter in his eyes.
He was sitting with a dozen of the boys in the front
row of the gallery. As Rhodin Curtis finished he drew
a long breath and spoke to Joe Penito in a guttural
"Dey ees better not keep Dr. Locke out'a da Club!
Heem ees mooch smarta man, an' evra bit American,
PIETRO PROPHESIES 347
"Ya betcha!" answered Joe.
The Mayor's address on behalf of the city was fol-
lowed by a round of applause, and Alderman Levitsky
won an ovation when he said:
"I'm not a church member myself, but I count it a
great day when our City Council is invited to take part
in this larger program of citizenship. Neighborliness
and good fellowship are worth more to the city than
asphalt pavements and rapid transit."
Then followed fraternal greetings from the various
city churches. The rector of Trinity appeared
nervous and ill at ease until Father Duncan brought
down the house with his delicious brogue.
"I'm not here, me frinds, to riprisint Saint
Pathrick's," he said. "His Riv'rince, the Pope, might
cut a bit from the tail of me cassock if he found I was
too familiar with me Protestant brethren God bless
them! But I'm here as a shtraight American citizen.
Any man who is kind to his neighbor and loves the
childher of the city, that man is me brother, whether
he buttons his collar in front or behind or ties it under
his left ear with a sht'ring!"
The address of Dr. Milne, pastor of College Hill
Church, was packed with the wider meaning of the
"We all are interested to know that Old First has
reached its hundredth anniversary," he said, "but when
that anniversary synchronizes with the beginning of a
new epoch in human history, then every church and
every citizen knows that the Centenary is simply an-
other name for The New Era."
And then in graphic phrase the speaker described
the mobilizing of the churches how the opening of the
great war found them self-centered and petty and how
the end of it was finding them ready to realize their
When the speaker turned toward Richard Locke and
acknowledged that all the churches had become his
debtors, the audience stood up and cheered. "It is
easy now to see the place of our stewardship," he said,
"for it is written on the sky in letters of living light.
Everybody can see it now! But there has been a
prophet among us who could read it in the mind and
purpose of God before it was written down by the
visible hand of events. All honor to the man who saw
while others slept!" and the audience cheered again.
"But though it is easy to see our stewardship, it will
not be easy to realize it," continued Dr. Milne. "Even
Old First is only beginning to realize it after these
years of leadership. Great visions must develop into
great programs, and these, in turn, must be wrought
out with wisdom and infinite patience."
Wednesday night was World Outlook, and the
American Club was given a glimpse of nations shrouded
in darkness. Old First always had been a "missionary
church," and some of the members thought it would be
a mistake to have a "missionary meeting" in the new
"The general public is not interested in missions,"
But Richard Locke scouted such an idea. "What
bores the general public is 'professional missions.'
There's no use exhibiting our bake-oven ; we'll give the
PIETRO PROPHESIES 349
John Roberts spoke first. It was a prophet's warn-
ing that America must not forget the solidarity of the
human race he illustrated it simply. Even Pietro
understood it perfectly. And it was a soldier's call to
remember "not only the blight of Belgium, not the
anguish of France alone, but the sorrow of nations that
know not God, the silent suffering of folks, just like
yourselves, who have been betrayed through all the
Then Richard Locke stood up to give his parting
message. A hush fell upon the great audience. There
was no suggestion of applause. Sanford Kennedy,
chairman of the meeting, leaned forward. James Gil-
bert sat rigid in his chair. Rhodin Curtis and his wife
leaned closer toward each other.
But Locke's first sentence brought a wave of glad-
ness. " 'Farewell' is not in all the Christian's vocabu-
lary," he said. "When Paul was taking leave of the
Corinthian church, he saw them as they would be in
the years to come, eager, victorious, full of good works,
and in his joy he said, 'All hail !' The translators have
made him say 'Farewell,' but it is the same word that
Jesus used when he met his friends on the morning of
the resurrection and it is the word I bring you now:
He did not speak of his years of toil among them
he did not refer to himself at all. But he told of the
great days into which the Church of God was entering,
days of victory because the gospel of Christ would be
realized in terms of common life.
"Isn't it wonderful, friends," he said, "that a man is
able to realize God in money? We might forget to
350 THE CENTENARY AT OLD FIRST
pray, and no one would remind us, but whenever we
touch a dollar, or a dime, or even a copper cent, that
moment it is as though an unseen hand were laid upon
us and an insistent voice sounded this gentle warning
'It's in your hand, this money, but it belongs to Me;
acknowledge it; no matter how it tests your faith,
acknowledge it! and see how my blessing shall be
poured out upon you!' And that act, my friends, so
simple that any child who can count the number of his
fingers can perform it, and so searching that it reveals
the hidden heart of rich and wise men, is the beginning
of walking and talking with God. It is the doorway
As Locke spoke of the wonder of it how the simple
separating of the tithe was the plain man's way of
breaking the hard, rough shell of daily life and taking
from it the sweet kernel of joy and love and friendship
Pietro, sitting as before in the front row of the
gallery, leaned his head forward upon the rail. "I
gif-it you, Jesu, dose tent'," he whispered, "I gif-it you
evratheeng! poor oP Pietro ees mooch hongry for
When Locke learned afterward that his last message
at Old First had won the old vendor for Jesus Christ,
he felt that it was a good token of the days when he
should stand among a people of strange speech
the same simple words and the same unfailing love would
win them also.
"And think what it means," continued Locke, "that
God trusts us to administer that holy tenth for his
kingdom. It has transformed our whole outlook on
the social problems of our city. For the first time rich
PIETRO PROPHESIES 351
men and poor men are able to stand on a platform of
"And what wonderful things for God our people are
planning! I cannot tell all that Mr. James Gilbert is
purposing, for every month he surprises me by some-
thing new. You may know a little of it, however, if I
tell you what Mr. Gilbert announced at our Board
meeting. It seems that a noble friend of his, whose
name he did not disclose, has placed in his hands a large
sum of money, in trust, to be administered by him.
But Mr. Gilbert told the Board that he had refused
to accept the money except on one condition that for
every dollar of his friend's trust which he administered
he was to add two dollars from his own fortune.
"Nor can I tell you, my friends, what other great
hearts among us are planning Mr. Kennedy, Dr.
Janes, Mrs. Heustis, Mr. and Mrs. Curtis, and a score
of God's stewards who have been given unusual oppor-
tunity to administer for him. I only know they hold
themselves and all they have ready for immediate use.
And so, thank God, do scores and hundreds in dear Old
First, whose Centenary is not a memorial of the past,
but a prophecy of the wonderful years that are coming.
"I would not dare to leave you, nor move out into the
vast field of Asia, if I thought I would be separated
from your love and your prayer. But I shall not be.
Think of it Dr. McRae and I are appointed as joint
ministers of this Church. He will serve here and give
both you and the city his great constructive leadership.
How the men of the city will rally to him ! I shall serve
out yonder, and Mr. Roberts tells me that the fourfold
program of Old First, adapted to conditions in Asia,
352 THE CENTENARY AT OLD FIRST
is exactly the program that will win the people there.
It must be so, for folks are only folks, in all the world !
And so it is not Farewell, but All hail!"
Sanford Kennedy was laughing as he and James
Gilbert walked down the street together. "You know,
James, I can't be sorrowful," he said. "I shall miss
him O how I shall miss him! But whenever Locke
begins to speak I forget everything but the Kingdom.
He and Elizabeth Janes will be like a tree of blessing
planted beside the sad rivers of India. It is of the
Lord, and I am content."
When Richard Locke stood the next evening near
the chapel door at Old First, he looked out over a sea
of faces. It was not a fashionable wedding. But it
was what both he and Elizabeth had desired, a wedding
where all the people might look and listen and give their
blessing. It seemed as if all the city was there, but
what Locke remembered longest was Pietro's flaming
red necktie in the fourth row of the gallery. All the
boys were with him, excepting little Jeemy Rafael, who
sat with John Roberts near the first pillar to the left.
The lonely little fellow, drawn by some instinctive fel-
lowship, had wound himself into the missionary's heart.
The boy's eyes were big with excitement. Roberts
sat white and still.
But Locke had no time to single out his friends.
Craig McRae had opened the ritual and was whisper-
ing to him, "They're coming, Dickens ! Move toward
the center when Dr. Janes reaches the third pew."
The great organ was rippling with the "Lohengrin."
PIETRO PROPHESIES 353
The arrangements at the Parish House were in the
hands of Mrs. Rhodin Curtis and Mrs. Frank Janes.
It was a little difficult to refuse Pietro when he offered
to regale the company with "free hundred weenies, an'
cook dem mysal," but Rose was equal to it.
"You see it would keep you away from the church,
Pietro, right during the ceremony ! Dr. Locke wouldn't
be happy if his friends were not present to see him
That settled it. Pietro was entirely happy when
Rose promised that he might present the guests with
"free hundred baga peanutta." Dr. Janes was de-
lighted with the arrangement, and Miss Winthrop
added the master stroke.
"We'll have them placed in tissue bags of red, white,
and blue," she said, "with hand-etched Scripture verses
for 'favors.' Rose shall select them."
It was beautiful how Miss Winthrop had found her
own happiness in the far-reaching plans of which she
was a part. Richard Locke's one sorrow in leaving
her had been removed his gentle and devoted aunt
would not be left alone. At first it was a surprise, and
then everyone saw how natural it was that Dr. Janes
had found in Miss Winthrop the love of his later years.
Elizabeth's own happiness was complete. "It makes
me all still within, Richard," she said, "when I see
God's perfect plan for us."
When Pietro bowed low and handed a "baga pea-
nutta" to Miss Winthrop and another to Dr. Janes,
she thanked him with a pretty pink in both her cheeks.
Then she looked at the "favor" in her envelope and her
eyes filled. "Dear Rose !" she said. This is what Rose
854 THE CENTENARY AT OLD FIRST
had chosen for her "And she shall rejoice in time to
"What verse did you get, Mr. Vecchi?" she asked,
Pietro took the card from his fat pocketbook and ex-
hibited it with great pride. "/ have called you friends,"
is what Rose had chosen.
"That's a very appropriate verse for all of us,
Pietro," said Dr. Janes. He had taken a great lik-
ing to Pietro, and more than once had stopped at his
stand to buy his crisp peanuts and chat with him.
Pietro regarded him with veneration and, next to
Richard Locke, as "a mooch smarta man."
"Ees all'a de peepla een da churcha frands weetha
Jesu?" he asked, looking fixedly at Dr. Janes. The
good man flushed slightly.
"Well, Pietro, I think most of them try to be his
friends," he said.
"An* ees dey halpa Dr. Locke w'en he tal-it dose
granda socialisma to dose he'den?"
"Those what, Pietro?"
"Dose he'den dose peepla what notta don't ondra-
stan' dose socialisma, an' notta ees frands weetha
"Yes, indeed, Pietro!" Dr. Janes answered with
genuine enthusiasm. "The members of Old First are
building schools and hospitals for those poor people,
and they are sending Dr. Locke and his wife to teach
them and help them and watch over them. And there
are many churches in America just like Old First.
Hundreds of young men and young women are plan-
ning to give their lives, just as Dr. Locke and my
PIETRO PROPHESIES 855
daughter are doing, in order that everybody in the
world may be friends with Jesus, just as we are."
The words came with fervor and simplicity and Pie-
tro listened with his head bent forward and his round
face filled with astonishment.
"Den I tal you w'at!" he said, with blazing eyes.
"Dr. Locke ees moocha my frand. Heem ondrastan'
dose granda socialisma more better dan me. Wen Dr.
Locke ees oxsplain dose socialisma, an' all dose smarta
keeds ees halpa heem den, sure t'ing! da whole tarn
worl' ees maka frauds weetha Jesu, pritta queeck
"I can't repeat what he said," explained Miss Win-
throp when she told Mrs. Heustis about it, "for he used
an awful word! But I don't think he meant it for
swearing, at all, and my faith has been stronger ever
since he said it. Dr. Janes thinks the same as I do."
Long before the evening was over Jeemy Rafael be-
came weary, and John Roberts coaxed him away from
the crowd to the quiet of the "Shiners' " Club Room.
As they were passing toward the stairway a lady ap-
proached them and spoke to the missionary.
"Could I have a few moments' conversation with
you?" she said.
John Roberts looked at her. She was richly but
quietly dressed. Her face, serene and tranquil in re-
pose, was filled with eagerness. There was an anxious
look in her eyes.
"Certainly," he said. He led her to a settee while
little Jeemy sat down on the bottom step and waited.
356 THE CENTENARY AT OLD FIRST
"I am Mrs. Rogers," she began "Mrs. Kave
The missionary inclined his head. "I think I have
heard Dr. Locke speak of you," he answered.
The lady flushed. "Dr. Locke hardly could speak
of me with much consideration. You know I withdrew
from Old First several years ago."
"On the contrary, Mrs. Rogers, your former pastor
spoke of you as a woman of high ideals, who, unfortu-
nately perhaps, had ventured out upon a shadowy sea
without chart or compass. He spoke of you with entire
sympathy, and regretted his inability to be of service
to you when you were passing through a severe trial
some months ago."
Mrs. Rogers dropped her eyes. "Do you mean when
certain harsh criticisms were heaped upon me after
the death of little Victoria Bhymer?"
The tears came. "Mr. Roberts," she said, "I truly
believed everything that I encouraged Mrs. Bhymer to
believe. To this day I do not understand how I could
have been so mistaken."
"Perhaps, Mrs. Rogers, your error was deeper down
than the mere circumstance of your mistake about the
"I heard your lectures last winter at the college
your lectures on Hinduism and I have been much dis-
turbed ever since. I I no longer attend the 'Church of
the Reality.' But I cannot give up what I actually
know, Mr. Roberts, and I know 'Reality' has helped me,
as it has helped thousands."
John Roberts' swift answer surprised her. "I would
PIETRO PROPHESIES 357
not have you give up one atom of what you know, Mrs.
Rogers, but only what you do not know! 'Reality' is
bringing back in a negative form what the church
ought to have been teaching as part of its positive
faith. The rebuke is to the church, not to you."
"Do you mean I could come back to Old First and
still hold the experience and belief that 'Reality' has
taught me?" Mrs. Rogers's eyes were wide with
"The experience yes ; the belief no."
"But how can you separate 'belief from 'experience' ?
Do they not go together?"
"Not always ; often they are very wide apart. If
you will recognize this, your difficulty will disappear.
You can bring back to Old First a new understanding
of 'the faith which was once for all delivered unto the
"O, Mr. Roberts, my heart has been hungry for the
church of my childhood! I want to come back, but I
cannot sacrifice the actual truth. Tell me what I
ought to know."
"It is this, Mrs. Rogers to recognize the difference
between a 'fact' and the 'explanation' of it. When you
say that 'Reality' has helped you in many ways, I
believe you; I believe you perfectly. It is a fact of
experience and you are a competent witness.
"For instance, when you tell me you were ill, and, by
a steadfast attitude of mind which you call 'faith,' you
overcame the illness, I believe you. Moreover, that
experience has brought you very near the heart of God
for God works through mental processes ; indeed, he
prefers to work that way. God actually understands
358 THE CENTENARY AT OLD FIRST
psychology, Mrs. Rogers" a glimmering smile was in
the missionary's eyes.
"But when you turn to me and say, 'I am well to-day
because my illness of yesterday was but an illusion, then
you are denying one fact of experience in order to ex-
plain another. The 'experience' itself brought you
near the heart of God, but the 'explanation' of it
separated you far from him. You actually turned the
'fact' of God's blessing into an 'explanation' which
denied the fact of God himself. You thought of God
as Principle, rather than Person, and that, Mrs.
Rogers, -is the subtle beginning of all paganism. If
you could see the black fruit of it, as I have seen it, you
would know the sorrow it has brought to earth's mil-
lions." John Roberts's voice was very gentle.
Mrs. Rogers looked at him intently. "I think I
see something," she said; "at least I partly see it."
Then she arose slowly and held out her hand. "I must
not trespass longer upon your time. I thank you sin-
cerely and wish I might ask you to to O, I must
speak to Dr. Locke before he leaves! Thank you
again, Mr. Roberts, and good night."
The missionary was smiling. "I'll do it, Mrs.
Rogers," he said "only you must not forget to pray
Then with an anxious look toward Jeemy, John
Roberts picked him up in his arms and carried him to
the "Shiners" room at the head of the stairs. The
lights were turned off except one near the door where
Dr. Janes had placed a bronze tablet in memory of
Tony Carrari. It had been unveiled that afternoon.
They sat down in the cool shadow by the window.
PIETRO PROPHESIES 359
Jeemy gazed dreamily toward the tablet while Mr.
Roberts told again the wonderful story of Tony's
A familiar voice reached them from the top of the
stair and the missionary ceased speaking.
"It's just inside the door, Elizabeth, and I want you
to see it before we go away."
Then they came into the room together and stood
beside the bronze memorial. The light streamed down
upon them. As Elizabeth finished reading the simple
inscription, she looked up into her husband's face.
Little Jeemy's fascinated gaze was upon her, and he
felt the great kindly hand tighten.
"I'm so grateful that you brought me, Richard," she
said. "I was not able to be here this afternoon."
"I knew you would want to see it, dear."
It was their first moment together. He put his arm
about her and she leaned against him. The faint
breath of orange blossoms was filling the room.
"Why is it I am not permitted to make some sacri-
fice?" he asked, with his eyes fixed upon the bronze
plate. "I almost feel ashamed to stand here in front
of Tony's tablet my life is so crowded with gladness !
I've yielded you up, dear, again and again, and yet I
have you with me. I was ready to go out to India
when the call came, although I believed it would bring
me suffering and anguish yet here I am, crowned with
perfect happiness. I've been ready, and I am ready,
to make any sacrifice a man can make, yet nothing but
joy attends me."
Then she lifted her face and looked at him again.
"0 Richard, if God has chosen joy for us if he has
360 THE CENTENARY AT OLD FIRST
called us into green pastures and beside still waters,
shall we ask of him a road into the desert?"
He caught her to him. "My darling, it must be
joy! It can be nothing else. With you beside me
even that desert of Bikaneer would blossom as the
Then they heard her voice floating back from the
hallway "And, Richard, dear, remember our joy is
to be our strength."
Jeemy still sat leaning against the missionary's arm.
His thin white fingers stroked the bony hand in subtle
sympathy, while his eyes still gazed out through the
open door. Presently he lifted a birdlike glance into
"Mebbe so you ees lova da pritta lady too, eh,
A spasm passed over John Roberts's face and the
large, bony hand clenched. Then, as the little fellow
gazed up at him, the old familiar gentleness came back
again. He drew Jeemy a little closer and patted him
upon the cheek.
There was quiet for a little space while the child's
look became almost seraphic. Then he sighed and
turned toward Tony's tablet.
"Mebbe so ees better eef som' peepla donta gat
not'ings, lika Tony eh, Meester?" And John Roberts
patted him upon the cheek again.
"Mebbe so, Jeemy," he said.
They got up soon, for it was time to go. They
paused for a moment in front of the bronze memorial
and Roberts read aloud:
PIETRO PROPHESIES 361
Killed in Action at St. Mihiel
September 12, 1918
"Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his
life for his friends."
John Roberts' stooping shoulders were thrown back
and his head was lifted. Something made Jeemy look
at him and draw in his breath. In the face of the mis-
sionary was the joy of those who suffer and conquer.
As they reached the foot of the stairs Richard Locke
and Elizabeth were taking leave of their friends. Locke
saw him and hastened across the room.
"You know, we're stopping in England for the
summer, and you'll reach Lahore long before we do.
Tell all our new friends we're on the way."
"I'll tell them, Richard," he said, and looked into his
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