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A few days after this episode I tried Mrs. Charles B. Redmond, 32 Pineland to get Cynthia really to explain her Road?' address-book to me so that I might be 'Why, of course I can!' Cynthia inable to assist others, or myself, in some formed me without an instant's hesi. domestic crisis, if she were away or ill; tation. “Mrs. Charles Redmond was but she found me very literal and thick- Fanny Flemming before she was marwitted.
ried, and people always speak of her by *You see,' she interpreted, ‘if a per- her maiden name, on account of the alson has a very marked characteristic literation, so I put her down under the that distinguishes him more than his initial that brings her to my mind, but name, of course I put him down under of course using the names she is called the initial of his idiosyncrasy. For in- by. Don't you see?' stance, there's that deaf old upholsterer I saw, but there were still unplumbed that Aunt Eliza told me about, who depths of mystery. comes to the house and does n't hear 'Can you tell me, please,' I asked the awful noise he makes when he ham- humbly, 'why there should be flowery mers. He is entered under D for Deaf beds of E's among the O's, and why a Upholsterer, because the image that is little oasis of blossoms beginning with B flashed into my mind when the chairs should be blooming among the weedy need recovering is of a deaf man -- the W's? I'm sure there is some perfectly fact that his name is Rosenburg is of good feminine reason, but — minor importance.'
'Ah, there there is some excuse for ‘But you have such a confusing way you!'Cynthia acknowledged; but sureof mixing names and profession,' I ob ly even you must always associate cerjected. For instance, those delightful tain letters together for no apparent English people who were so good to us reason. For instance, perhaps you may in London, Sir James and Lady Taylor, have forgotten a name, but you are cerwould be flattered if they could see that tain that it begins with a T. Later you right on the heels of Lady Taylor fol- remember the name and find that it lows, "Ladies' Tailor, seventy-five dol- does n't begin with a T at all, but with lars and not very good!” Then here an L. Of course, there is some psychounder M is Mason, A. P., such and such logical reason why those two letters are a street. That of course is our old friend associated together in your mind. Now Miss Anna, but right under her name is to me, B and W are practically interMason, A, with some business address changeable, so I have put Mrs. Blake following.'
and the Burlingtons and old Miss Bos"Oh, but A is n't an initial in that worth in with the W's, and the Wilkincase, cried Cynthia. ‘A is just A, you sons and the Warners are among the know, a mason whose name I don't re B's. It really helps me very much to member but who was highly recom- have them like that, but I can see that mended by the carpenter that time it would be confusing to people who had when the bricks fell out of the chimney! different group associations.' Really, Algernon, you don't seem to be I closed the little red volume abruptly. using your mind.'
"Oh, well, if your address-book is simI was still doggedly turning over the ply an Intelligence Test — 'I began. pages, and hardly listened to her. 'Now
But Cynthia interrupted me. It is n't look here,' I triumphantly exclaimed, an Intelligence Test, it's an Intelligence 'can you give me any logical reason Office,' she gently explained. why under the letter F, I should find Well, it's no use, I can't understand it,' I confessed. Your addresses are he stood on tiptoe to reach his bag of as safe from me as if they were written marbles from the playroom shelf, and in Sanscrit instead of ciphers, and were answered: 'Well, Aunt Tryphena, you locked into a safety deposit vault. I see things have changed.' have no key that fits, and I don't know True. Things have changed. Edward the combination.'
is a good, Christian father, and he goes
a "That's because you 're a man,' my to church every Sunday morning, when wife pityingly explained. “There is n't a it is too warm or too cold or too wet on woman of my acquaintance who does the links. He does his duty by his childn't do her address-book-keeping on this ren, but I can't imagine him kneeling general plan, but the word that opens down by Jack and praying, with tears the combination is one that no man will in his eyes, for light and strength and ever understand.'
guidance for them both, and then sup“Thank Heaven there are still the plementing prayer with a hickory Telephone Book and the Social Regis- switch, the way father did when John, ter,' I cried, stung by the tone of supe who was twelve at the time, and a mem
, riority in Cynthia's voice.
ber of the church, profaned the Sabbath But her last word was yet to be and outraged all Brierly traditions by spoken. 'If ever you want to look up wearing his new baseball suit on Sunyour own name in my address-book,' day morning. she said very sweetly, ‘remember the Of course, it was a particularly vivid Parable of the Deaf Upholsterer, and suit. The trousers were red-and-white look under S.'
striped, and the jacket blue with white stars. And John, who knew only too
well the result if he were caught in such FAMILY PRAYERS
a costume on the seventh day, climbed If, as one of the younger generation out of the window of his room and down has remarked, 'Religion is the spiritual over the woodshed roof, to show himstream in which we are all floating or
self to Frances and Caroline, who were swimming or struggling or sinking,' I washing breakfast dishes in the kitchen. can only observe that the temperature But one of the neighbors saw him, and of the stream is pleasantly tepid in strolled over to the front gate to chat these days, and that it wanders lan- with father; and father appeared at the guidly through a flat and uneventful woodshed door — an avenging Nem
country. It has come a long way from esis, with the hickory switch in his the icy mountain streams and blue hand lakes that were its source. Back in my boyhood days, in Brierly, it flowed Yes, things have changed. There is more swiftly, and the water was colder. still plenty of religion abroad in the Some courage was required to plunge land, but the faith that most of us hold into it, and some agility and skill to nowadays is a milder, more comfortable keep one's head above the current. variety than the sort that permeated
I am reminded of a recent statement Brierly when we were growing up. It made, one Sunday morning, by my seems to consist mainly of a vague sister Tryphena, to the effect that in optimism, combined with a gentle tolher youth little boys did not play mar- erance of all differing creeds that might bles on the Sabbath; and of the crisp be mistaken, by a skeptic, for indiffernote in the voice of my brother Ed- ence. ward's youngest son aged seven
We were n't gently tolerant of other
creeds in Brierly. The details of salva- he was the nominal head of the family tion were desperately vital. Baptism in matters religious. Every morning, and confirmation were ordeals of tre directly after breakfast, he gathered us mendous significance. Frances ran together in the parlor for family prayers, away when she was seven years old, We came from the laughter and fun to attend a Methodist revival, and was of the breakfast-table into another atconverted. On reaching home, she lay mosphere. Father, usually the merriest awake all night, from joy that her sins of us all, was suddenly grave and silent were forgiven; and though the older as he took the big family Bible in his boys and girls, who had just joined our hands. The hush that fell over us was church, felt this to be an unparalleled accentuated by our being in the parlor; piece of uppishness on her part, and fa- for we lived and played and studied in ther and mother insisted on her attend- the ‘sitting-room,' and the parlor was ing worship with her own family, no reserved for occasions of state. There one questioned the depth or reality of was, moreover, a constraint born of our
a her experience.
uncertainty whether our record for the Things have changed, indeed; and past twenty-four hours would bear the who can doubt that they are changing sight of heaven and the family. for the better? Yet there was much First, each child had to repeat a beauty and sweetness in the religious verse from the Bible. Next, father read life of those days, and many memories aloud from the Scriptures, and then led dear to us older ones that the present us in prayer, each of us kneeling before generation will never know. Edward's the chair he had previously occupied. children are being brought up much as Mine was a small carved rosewood one, we were, with this difference: their bad- with a hard haircloth seat. I shut my ness is transformed into goodness be- eyes tight and laid my cheek against it, cause they love their parents and fear and tried not to see Edward snuggling punishment, while our lives were regu- into his green tufted cushion. lated by the fact that we loved God and Father's prayers were really wonderfeared the devil - a very different ful. In all the time we lived at Brierly, thing in reality, although it seems to I am sure I never heard him say the bring about much the same result. same thing twice. And there was more
Not that we had any lack of love for to recommend them than their verour parents. They stood as a firm bul- satility. They were simple, direct, elowark between us and the devil, and as quent. He began by thanking God for intermediaries between us and God. the blessings of the day and night that Father made public intercession for us had passed. Next he prayed for the with the Almighty every morning at conversion of the Jews, and for the ten prayers, and three times daily at grace tribes of Israel. These duties disposed before meals; and I know that mother's of, he entered upon the real business of private devotions were unceasing. I the day. One by one, he took his childnever heard her pray aloud except ren by the hand, and led them before once, when a visiting minister called the throne of Grace. Our little trion her unexpectedly to lead the Wednes- umphs were mentioned and our virtues day evening service, in prayer. That extolled, -though this was always done night she rose, said simply, 'God bless guardedly, and accompanied by a petithis meeting,' and quietly resumed her tion that we might remain free from seat. I always felt that her silent peti- pride; — and our secret shortcomings
tions went fully as far as father's; but were brought unflinchingly to the light.
Frances once told me that she knew of her adoption, singing with all her the Bible meant father when it said, might. 'Onward, Christian Soldiers' is “There is nothing hidden that shall not father, with the baby on his left arm, be revealed'; and I remember thinking beating time with his right hand; and that she was the only one of us who whenever I hear would have dared to say it. But it was 'O happy band of pilgrims, if onward ye would with mingled emotions of reverence tread, and relief that we rose from our knees With Jesus as your fellow, to Jesus as your head,' at the close of father's long prayer, and I see the light shining through the east gathered around mother at the piano. window, across the old square piano,
The music was best of all — partly upon mother's face. because we all loved it, and partly be- The more I think of it, the surer I cause it came as a relaxation to minds am that Edward's children are missing and muscles after the prayer. On something. week-days we were limited to one hymn, on account of time; but on Sundays we
THE CHRISTMAS SPIRIT frequently stood around the piano for an hour, while one 'Gospel Carol' fol- We talk glibly about the greed of lowed another. Sometimes we selected profiteers; but there is a sheep-like our hymns from mixed motives. Once, streak in the human race, which makes after John had been sent upstairs to
us rather enjoy being exploited. How make his hands fit to be seen, Caroline otherwise can one account for the rapchose to sing 'Wash me, and I shall be idly increasing commercialization of whiter than snow'; and on the morning every phase of human affection and after the twins were born, my irrepres- sentiment? For instance, the artful and sible Frances suggested: ‘More and seductive advertiser has so trained us, more, More and more, Still there's that the first thing we think on hearing more to follow'; but was silenced, for of a friend's engagement is: 'Good once, by a look from father. Each of us Heavens! What shall I give them for a had his favorite, and to this day certain wedding present?' Half-a-dozen wedtunes bring back those Sunday morn- dings in a family are a serious tax on all ings with startling clearness, and the but its most opulent members; and singing faces of those boys and girls. though something may be said in favor
‘Pull for the shore, Sailor,' — and I of the habit of receiving wedding pressee Gerald and Charlie, one on each ents, the middle-aged bachelor of either side of the piano-stool. 'Stand up, stand sex can find but few kind words for the up, for Jesus!' - John and Arthur, custom of giving them. with their heads close together, singing
And when the most beautiful festibass and doing their best to ignore the vals of the Church are exploited by the other parts. 'Rock of Ages,' and Try- manufacturers and shopkeepers, it is phena's face shines out of my memory, time to call a halt. What idea of the sweetly serious, and framed in smooth Christian religion would the hypothetbrown braids. 'Count your blessings' ical visitor from Mars gain by strolling means Caroline's laughing blue eyes through the shopping district of any and clear soprano, with Edward trying American town shortly before Easter? to sing alto and not quite doing it; and Easter bonnets, Easter bunnies, Easter whenever, in a Methodist church, I eggs are bad enough; but by the time hear ‘There is a fountain filled with he came to 'Easter corsets,' it would be blood,' I see Frances, true to the creed hard to convince him that Easter was
not as secular and frivolous a date as are unfortunately rather vague and unApril Fool's Day.
defined, — but her delightfully whimsiChristmas has been even more thor- cal and kindly expression, her look of oughly commercialized and desecrated, gentle seriousness breaking into a delithe better to fill money-bags that are cious twinkle. She is generous, sensitive, already bursting open. Unfortunately, reserved, humorous, and romantic, and the money-bags have as their firmest it shows in her face. Though I know allies the well-meaning folk who in- her so well, I fear that, in a court of law, dulge in orgies of sentiment over what this description of her would not be they sobbingly speak of as the 'Christ- admitted as evidence. To tell the truth. mas spirit.' The scoffers who go on all I actually know of my New Year's about sun-myths and Druid ceremonies friend is that for the past four years I and such-like entertainments will never have received on that propitious date, hurt the spirit of Christmas; it is so either by an unknown messenger or by human a quality that, like the rest of the minions of the late Mr. Burleson, us, it can be hurt only by its friends. a New Year's card accompanying a They who bring the Christmas spirit golden eagle or its paper equivalent, tointo disrepute are those admirable mon- gether with an admonition that it is to sters of forethought who start during be spent solely on myself. The envelope the January sales laying in the stock of is addressed in an unfamiliar hand and their nefarious trade; who during De bears no stationer's stamp, nor is there cember fill the house with reams of white any other clue to follow up. I spend the tissue-paper and miles of red ribbon; enclosure religiously on some useless and who positively exude Christmas stick- beguiling article, which I should otherers and seals and tags and labels; who wise never think of indulging in. ‘remember' everyone with at least a No other present has ever afforded Christmas card; and whose deepest me the pleasure, amusement, and interhumiliation it is to be remembered by est of this anonymous gift; and I am someone they had themselves forgotten. convinced that the giver gets almost as Their preparations endure up to Christ- much fun out of it as I do. She cannot mas Eve, their frenzy increasing as the fail to do so; for, though her gift does hour approaches. Yet, when the long- not coincide with Christmas, she has expected day dawns at last, does any- the real Christmas spirit, giving with no one suppose that these virtuous souls possibility of thanks, no hope of return. can sit back and enjoy life? Far from I am glad at last to be able to tell her it! By that time they are completely a little of the pleasure she has given me. submerged in the return avalanche; for, Luckily there is no doubt that she will to paraphrase the words of Scripture, see this, for a person of her unusual to him that giveth shall be given; so qualities of head and heart must be a the rest of the month is spent in writ- confirmed reader of the Atlantic! ing and receiving unmeaning letters of Now, having won the war, and made hollow thanks.
the world safe for democracy and the What a horrid parody of what Christ- cider-mill and unsafe for the League of mas should be, might still be, if the Nations and the purchaser of woodadmirable self-restraint and self-abne alcohol, why cannot we turn to with a gation and sense of humor of my New will and save Christmas for our deYear's friend were more widely followed! scendants by following the methods of I can see my New Year's friend in my my New Year's friend? Our gifts need mind's eye; not her features, — they not take the form of hard cash, and