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Full Online Book HomeLong StoriesThe Inside Of The Cup - Volume 7 - Chapter 23. The Choice
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The Inside Of The Cup - Volume 7 - Chapter 23. The Choice Post by :sansoftyme Category :Long Stories Author :Winston Churchill Date :May 2012 Read :2974

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The Inside Of The Cup - Volume 7 - Chapter 23. The Choice

VOLUME VII CHAPTER XXIII. THE CHOICE

I

Pondering over Alison's note, he suddenly recalled and verified some phrases which had struck him that summer on reading Harnack's celebrated History of Dogma, and around these he framed his reply. "To act as if faith in eternal life and in the living Christ was the simplest thing in the world, or a dogma to which one has to submit, is irreligious... It is Christian to pray that God would give the Spirit to make us strong to overcome the feelings and the doubts of nature... Where this faith, obtained in this way, exists, it has always been supported by the conviction that the Man lives who brought life and immortality to light. To hold fast this faith is the goal of life, for only what we consciously strive for is in this matter our own. What we think we possess is very soon lost."

"The feelings and the doubts of nature!" The Divine Discontent, the striving against the doubt that every honest soul experiences and admits. Thus the contrast between her and these others who accepted and went their several ways was brought home to him.

He longed to talk to her, but his days were full. Yet the very thought of her helped to bear him up as his trials, his problems accumulated; nor would he at any time have exchanged them for the former false peace which had been bought (he perceived more and more clearly) at the price of compromise.

The worst of these trials, perhaps, was a conspicuous article in a newspaper containing a garbled account of his sermon and of the sensation it had produced amongst his fashionable parishioners. He had refused to see the reporter, but he had been made out a hero, a socialistic champion of the poor. The black headlines were nauseating; and beside them, in juxtaposition, were pen portraits of himself and of Eldon Parr. There were rumours that the banker had left the church until the recalcitrant rector should be driven out of it; the usual long list of Mr. Parr's benefactions was included, and certain veiled paragraphs concerning his financial operations. Mr. Ferguson, Mr. Plimpton, Mr. Constable, did not escape,--although they, too, had refused to be interviewed....

The article brought to the parish house a bevy of reporters who had to be fought off, and another batch of letters, many of them from ministers, in approval or condemnation.

His fellow-clergymen called, some to express sympathy and encouragement, more of them to voice in person indignant and horrified protests. Dr. Annesley of Calvary--a counterpart of whose rubicund face might have been found in the Council of Trent or in mediaeval fish-markets--pronounced his anathemas with his hands folded comfortably over his stomach, but eventually threw to the winds every vestige of his ecclesiastical dignity....

Then there came a note from the old bishop, who was traveling. A kindly note, withal, if non-committal,--to the effect that he had received certain communications, but that his physician would not permit him to return for another ten days or so. He would then be glad to see Mr. Holder and talk with him.

What would the bishop do? Holder's relations with him had been more than friendly, but whether the bishop's views were sufficiently liberal to support him in the extreme stand he had taken he could not surmise. For it meant that the bishop, too, must enter into a conflict with the first layman of his diocese, of whose hospitality he had so often partaken, whose contributions had been on so lordly a scale. The bishop was in his seventieth year, and had hitherto successfully fought any attempt to supply him with an assistant,--coadjutor or suffragan.

At such times the fear grew upon Hodder that he might be recommended for trial, forced to abandon his fight to free the Church from the fetters that bound her: that the implacable hostility of his enemies would rob him of his opportunity.

Thus ties were broken, many hard things were said and brought to his ears. There were vacancies in the classes and guilds, absences that pained him, silences that wrung him....

Of all the conversations he held, that with Mrs. Constable was perhaps the most illuminating and distressing. As on that other occasion, when he had gone to her, this visit was under the seal of confession, unknown to her husband. And Hodder had been taken aback, on seeing her enter his office, by the very tragedy in her face--the tragedy he had momentarily beheld once before. He drew up a chair for her, and when she had sat down she gazed at him some moments without speaking.

"I had to come," she said; "there are some things I feel I must ask you. For I have been very miserable since I heard you on Sunday."

He nodded gently.

"I knew that you would change your views--become broader, greater. You may remember that I predicted it."

"Yes," he said.

"I thought you would grow more liberal, less bigoted, if you will allow me to say so. But I didn't anticipate--" she hesitated, and looked up at him again.

"That I would take the extreme position I have taken," he assisted her.

"Oh, Mr. Hodder," she cried impulsively, "was it necessary to go so far? and all at once. I am here not only because I am miserable, but I am concerned on your account. You hurt me very much that day you came to me, but you made me your friend. And I wonder if you really understand the terrible, bitter feeling you have aroused, the powerful enemies you have made by speaking so--so unreservedly?"

"I was prepared for it," he answered. "Surely, Mrs. Constable, once I have arrived at what I believe to be the truth, you would not have me temporize?"

She gave him a wan smile.

"In one respect, at least, you have not changed," she told him. "I am afraid you are not the temporizing kind. But wasn't there,--mayn't there still be a way to deal with this fearful situation? You have made it very hard for us--for them. You have given them no loophole of escape. And there are many, like me, who do not wish to see your career ruined, Mr. Hodder."

"Would you prefer," he asked, "to see my soul destroyed? And your own?"

Her lips twitched.

"Isn't there any other way but that? Can't this transformation, which you say is necessary and vital, come gradually? You carried me away as I listened to you, I was not myself when I came out of the church. But I have been thinking ever since. Consider my husband, Mr. Hodder," her voice faltered. "I shall not mince matters with you--I know you will not pretend to misunderstand me. I have never seen him so upset since since that time Gertrude was married. He is in a most cruel position. I confessed to you once that Mr. Parr had made for us all the money we possess. Everett is fond of you, but if he espouses your cause, on the vestry, we shall be ruined."

Hodder was greatly moved.

"It is not my cause, Mrs. Constable," he said.

"Surely, Christianity is not so harsh and uncompromising as that! And do you quite do justice to--to some of these men? There was no one to tell them the wrongs they were committing--if they were indeed wrongs. Our civilization is far from perfect."

"The Church may have been remiss, mistaken," the rector replied. "But the Christianity she has taught, adulterated though it were, has never condoned the acts which have become commonplace in modern finance. There must have been a time, in the life of every one of these men, when they had to take that first step against which their consciences revolted, when they realized that fraud and taking advantage of the ignorant and weak were wrong. They have deliberately preferred gratification in this life to spiritual development--if indeed they believe in any future whatsoever. For 'whosoever will save his life shall lose it' is as true to-day as it ever was. They have had their choice--they still have it."

"I am to blame," she cried. "I drove my husband to it, I made him think of riches, it was I who cultivated Mr. Parr. And oh, I suppose I am justly punished. I have never been happy for one instant since that day."

He watched her, pityingly, as she wept. But presently she raised her face, wonderingly.

"You do believe in the future life after--after what you have been through?"

"I do," he answered simply.

"Yes--I am sure you do. It is that, what you are, convinces me you do. Even the remarkable and sensible explanation you gave of it when you interpreted the parable of the talents is not so powerful as the impression that you yourself believe after thinking it out for yourself--not accepting the old explanations. And then," she added, with a note as of surprise, "you are willing to sacrifice everything for it!"

"And you?" he asked. "Cannot you, too, believe to that extent?"

"Everything?" she repeated. "It would mean--poverty. No--God help me--I cannot face it. I have become too hard. I cannot do without the world. And even if I could! Oh, you cannot know what you ask Everett, my husband--I must say it, you make me tell you everything--is not free. He is little better than a slave to Eldon Parr. I hate Eldon Parr," she added, with startling inconsequence.

"If I had only known what it would lead to when I made Everett what he is! But I knew nothing of business, and I wanted money, position to satisfy my craving at the loss of--that other thing. And now I couldn't change my husband if I would. He hasn't the courage, he hasn't the vision. What there was of him, long ago, has been killed--and I killed it. He isn't--anybody, now."

She relapsed again into weeping.

"And then it might not mean only poverty--it might mean disgrace."

"Disgrace!" the rector involuntarily took up the word.

"There are some things he has done," she said in a low voice, "which he thought he was obliged to do which Eldon Parr made him do."

"But Mr. Parr, too--?" Hodder began.

"Oh, it was to shield Eldon Parr. They could never be traced to him. And if they ever came out, it would kill my husband. Tell me," she implored, "what can I do? What shall I do? You are responsible. You have made me more bitterly unhappy than ever."

"Are you willing," he asked, after a moment, "to make the supreme renunciation? to face poverty, and perhaps disgrace, to save your soul and others?"

"And--others?"

"Yes. Your sacrifice would not, could not be in vain. Otherwise I should be merely urging on you the individualism which you once advocated with me."

"Renunciation." She pronounced the word questioningly. "Can Christianity really mean that--renunciation of the world? Must we take it in the drastic sense of the Church of the early centuries-the Church of the Martyrs?"

"Christianity demands all of us, or nothing," he replied. "But the false interpretation of renunciation of the early Church has cast its blight on Christianity even to our day. Oriental asceticism, Stoicism, Philo and other influences distorted Christ's meaning. Renunciation does not mean asceticism, retirement from the world, a denial of life. And the early Christian, since he was not a citizen, since he took the view that this mortal existence was essentially bad and kept his eyes steadfastly fixed on another, was the victim at once of false philosophies and of the literal messianic prophecies of the Jews, which were taken over with Christianity. The earthly kingdom which was to come was to be the result of some kind of a cataclysm. Personally, I believe our Lord merely used the Messianic literature as a convenient framework for his spiritual Kingdom of heaven, and that the Gospels misinterpret his meaning on this point.

"Renunciation is not the withdrawal from, the denial of life, but the fulfilment of life, the submission to the divine will and guidance in order that our work may be shown us. Renunciation is the assumption, at once, of heavenly and earthly citizenship, of responsibility for ourselves and our fellow-men. It is the realization that the other world, the inner, spiritual world, is here, now, and that the soul may dwell in it before death, while the body and mind work for the coming of what may be called the collective kingdom. Life looked upon in that way is not bad, but good,--not meaningless, but luminous."

She had listened hungrily, her eyes fixed upon his face.

"And for me?" she questioned.

"For you," he answered, leaning forward and speaking with a conviction that shook her profoundly, "if you make the sacrifice of your present unhappiness, of your misery, all will be revealed. The labour which you have shirked, which is now hidden from you, will be disclosed, you will justify your existence by taking your place as an element of the community. You will be able to say of yourself, at last, 'I am of use.'"

"You mean--social work?"

The likeness of this to Mrs. Plimpton's question struck him. She had called it "charity." How far had they wandered in their teaching from the Revelation of the Master, since it was as new and incomprehensible to these so-called Christians as to Nicodemus himself!

"All Christian work is social, Mrs. Constable, but it is founded on love. 'Thou shaft love thy neighbour as thyself.' You hold your own soul precious, since it is the shrine of God. And for that reason you hold equally precious your neighbour's soul. Love comes first, as revelation, as imparted knowledge, as the divine gist of autonomy--self-government. And then one cannot help working, socially, at the task for which we are made by nature most efficient. And in order to discover what that task is, we must wait."

"Why did not some one tell me this, when I was young?" she asked--not speaking to him. "It seems so simple."

"It is simple. The difficult thing is to put it into practice--the most difficult thing in the world. Both courage and faith are required, faith that is content to trust as to the nature of the reward. It is the wisdom of foolishness. Have you the courage?"

She pressed her hands together.

"Alone--perhaps I should have. I don't know. But my husband! I was able to influence him to his destruction, and now I am powerless. Darkness has closed around me. He would not--he will not listen to me."

"You have tried?"

"I have attempted to talk to him, but the whole of my life contradicts my words. He cannot see me except as, the woman who drove him into making money. Sometimes I think he hates me."

Hodder recalled, as his eyes rested on her compassionately, the sufferings of that other woman in Dalton Street.

"Would you have me desert him--after all these years?" she whispered. "I often think he would be happier, even now."

"I would have you do nothing save that which God himself will reveal to you. Go home, go into the church and pray--pray for knowledge. I think you will find that you are held responsible for your husband. Pray that that which you have broken, you may mend again."

"Do you think there is a chance?"

Hodder made a gesture.

"God alone can judge as to the extent of his punishments."

She got to her feet, wearily.

"I feel no hope--I feel no courage, but--I will try. I see what you mean--that my punishment is my powerlessness."

He bent his head.

"You are so strong--perhaps you can help me."

"I shall always be ready," he replied.

He escorted her down the steps to the dark blue brougham with upstanding, chestnut horses which was waiting at the curb. But Mrs. Constable turned to the footman, who held open the door.

"You may stay here awhile," she said to him, and gave Hodder her hand....

She went into the church....

II

Asa Waring and his son-in-law, Phil Goodrich, had been to see Hodder on the subject of the approaching vestry meeting, and both had gone away not a little astonished and impressed by the calmness with which the rector looked forward to the conflict. Others of his parishioners, some of whom were more discreet in their expressions of sympathy, were no less surprised by his attitude; and even his theological adversaries, such as Gordon Atterbury, paid him a reluctant tribute. Thanks, perhaps, to the newspaper comments as much as to any other factor, in the minds of those of all shades of opinion in the parish the issue had crystallized into a duel between the rector and Eldon Parr. Bitterly as they resented the glare of publicity into which St. John's had been dragged, the first layman of the diocese was not beloved; and the fairer-minded of Hodder's opponents, though appalled, were forced to admit in their hearts that the methods by which Mr. Parr had made his fortune and gained his ascendency would not bear scrutiny.... Some of them were disturbed, indeed, by the discovery that there had come about in them, by imperceptible degrees, in the last few years a new and critical attitude towards the ways of modern finance: moat of them had an uncomfortable feeling that Hodder was somehow right,--a feeling which they sought to stifle when they reflected upon the consequences of facing it. For this would mean a disagreeable shaking up of their own lives. Few of them were in a position whence they might cast stones at Eldon Parr....

What these did not grasp was the fact that that which they felt stirring within them was the new and spiritual product of the dawning twentieth century--the Social Conscience. They wished heartily that the new rector who had developed this disquieting personality would peacefully resign and leave them to the former, even tenor of their lives. They did not for one moment doubt the outcome of his struggle with Eldon Parr. The great banker was known to be relentless, his name was synonymous with victory. And yet, paradoxically, Hodder compelled their inner sympathy and admiration!...

Some of them, who did not attempt peremptorily to choke the a processes made the startling discovery that they were not, after all, so shocked by his doctrines as they had at first supposed. The trouble was that they could not continue to listen to him, as formerly, with comfort.... One thing was certain, that they had never expected to look forward to a vestry meeting with such breathless interest and anxiety. This clergyman had suddenly accomplished the surprising feat of reviving the Church as a burning, vital factor in the life of the community! He had discerned her enemy, and defied his power....

As for Hodder, so absorbed had he been by his experiences, so wrung by the human contacts, the personal problems which he had sought to enter, that he had actually given no thought to the battle before him until the autumn afternoon, heavy with smoke, had settled down into darkness. The weather was damp and cold, and he sat musing on the ordeal now abruptly confronting him before his study fire when he heard a step behind him. He turned to recognize, by the glow of the embers, the heavy figure of Nelson Langmaid.

"I hope I'm not disturbing you, Hodder," he said. "The janitor said you were in, and your door is open."

"Not at all," replied the rector, rising. As he stood for a moment facing the lawyer, the thought of their friendship, and how it had begun in the little rectory overlooking the lake at Bremerton, was uppermost in his mind,--yes, and the memory of many friendly, literary discussions in the same room where they now stood, of pleasant dinners at Langmaid's house in the West End, when the two of them had often sat talking until late into the nights.

"I must seem very inhospitable," said Hodder. "I'll light the lamp--it's pleasanter than the electric light."

The added illumination at first revealed the lawyer in his familiar aspect, the broad shoulders, the big, reddish beard, the dome-like head,--the generous person that seemed to radiate scholarly benignity, peace, and good-will. But almost instantly the rector became aware of a new and troubled, puzzled glance from behind the round spectacles...

"I thought I'd drop in a moment on my way up town--" he began. And the note of uncertainty in his voice, too, was new. Hodder drew towards the fire the big chair in which it had been Langmaid's wont to sit, and perhaps it was the sight of this operation that loosed the lawyer's tongue.

"Confound it, Hodder!" he exclaimed, "I like you--I always have liked you. And you've got a hundred times the ability of the average clergyman. Why in the world did you have to go and make all this trouble?"

By so characteristic a remark Hodder was both amused and moved. It revealed so perfectly the point of view and predicament of the lawyer, and it was also an expression of an affection which the rector cordially, returned.... Before answering, he placed his visitor in the chair, and the deliberation of the act was a revelation of the unconscious poise of the clergyman. The spectacle of this self-command on the brink of such a crucial event as the vestry meeting had taken Langmaid aback more than he cared to show. He had lost the old sense of comradeship, of easy equality; and he had the odd feeling of dealing with a new man, at once familiar and unfamiliar, who had somehow lifted himself out of the everyday element in which they heretofore had met. The clergyman had contrived to step out of his, Langmaid's, experience: had actually set him--who all his life had known no difficulty in dealing with men--to groping for a medium of communication....

Hodder sat down on the other side of the fireplace. He, too, seemed to be striving for a common footing.

"It was a question of proclaiming the truth when at last I came to see it, Langmaid. I could not help doing what I did. Matters of policy, of a false consideration for individuals could not enter into it. If this were not so, I should gladly admit that you had a just grievance, a peculiar right to demand why I had not remained the strictly orthodox person whom you induced to come here. You had every reason to congratulate yourself that you were getting what you doubtless would call a safe man."

"I'll admit I had a twinge of uneasiness after I came home," Langmaid confessed.

Hodder smiled at his frankness.

"But that disappeared."

"Yes, it disappeared. You seemed to suit 'em so perfectly. I'll own up, Hodder, that I was a little hurt that you did not come and talk to me just before you took the extraordinary--before you changed your opinions."

"Would it have done any good?" asked the rector, gently. "Would you have agreed with me any better than you do now? I am perfectly willing, if you wish, to discuss with you any views of mine which you may not indorse. And it would make me very happy, I assure you, if I could bring you to look upon the matter as I do."

This was a poser. And whether it were ingenuous, or had in it an element of the scriptural wisdom of the serpent, Langmaid could not have said. As a lawyer, he admired it.

"I wasn't in church, as usual,--I didn't hear the sermon," he replied. "And I never could make head or tail of theology--I always told you that. What I deplore, Hodder, is that you've contrived to make a hornets' nest out of the most peaceful and contented congregation in America. Couldn't you have managed to stick to religion instead of getting mixed up with socialism?"

"So you have been given the idea that my sermon was socialistic?" the rector said.

"Socialistic and heretical,--it seems. Of course I'm not much of an authority on heresy, but they claim that you went out of your way to knock some of their most cherished and sacred beliefs in the head."

"But suppose I have come to the honest conclusion that in the first place these so-called cherished beliefs have no foundation in fact, and no influence on the lives of the persons who cherished them, no real connection with Christianity? What would you have me do, as a man? Continue to preach them for the sake of the lethargic peace of which you speak? leave the church paralyzed, as I found it?"

"Paralyzed! You've got the most influential people in the city."

Hodder regarded him for a while without replying.

"So has the Willesden Club," he said.

Langmaid laughed a little, uncomfortably.

"If Christianity, as one of the ancient popes is said to have remarked, were merely a profitable fable," the rector continued, "there might be something in your contention that St. John's, as a church, had reached the pinnacle of success. But let us ignore the spiritual side of this matter as non-vital, and consider it from the practical side. We have the most influential people in the city, but we have not their children. That does not promise well for the future. The children get more profit out of the country clubs. And then there is another question: is it going to continue to be profitable? Is it as profitable now as it was, say, twenty years ago?

"You've got out of my depth," said Nelson Langmaid.

"I'll try to explain. As a man of affairs, I think you will admit, if you reflect, that the return of St. John's, considering the large amount of money invested, is scarcely worth considering. And I am surprised that as astute a man as Mr. Pair has not been able to see this long ago. If we clear all the cobwebs away, what is the real function of this church as at present constituted? Why this heavy expenditure to maintain religious services for a handful of people? Is it not, when we come down to facts, an increasingly futile effort to bring the influences of religion--of superstition, if you will--to bear on the so-called lower classes in order that they may remain contented with their lot, with that station and condition in the world where--it is argued--it has pleased God to call them? If that were not so, in my opinion there are very few of the privileged classes who would invest a dollar in the Church. And the proof of it is that the moment a clergyman raises his voice to proclaim the true message of Christianity they are up in arms with the cry of socialism. They have the sense to see that their privileges are immediately threatened.

"Looking at it from the financial side, it would be cheaper for them to close up their churches. It is a mere waste of time and money, because the influence on their less fortunate brethren in a worldly sense has dwindled to nothing. Few of the poor come near their churches in these days. The profitable fable is almost played out."

Hodder had spoken without bitterness, yet his irony was by no means lost on the lawyer. Langmaid, if the truth be told, found himself for the moment in the unusual predicament of being at a loss, for the rector had put forward with more or less precision the very cynical view which he himself had been clever enough to evolve.

"Haven't they the right," he asked, somewhat lamely, "to demand the kind of religion they pay for?"

"Provided you don't call it religion," said the rector.

Langmaid smiled in spite of himself.

"See here, Hodder," he said, "I've always confessed frankly that I knew little or nothing about religion. I've come here this evening as your friend, without authority from anybody," he added significantly, "to see if this thing couldn't somehow be adjusted peaceably, for your sake as well as others'. Come, you must admit there's a grain of justice in the contention against you. When I went on to Bremerton to get you I had no real reason for supposing that these views would develop. I made a contract with you in all good faith."

"And I with you," answered the rector. "Perhaps you do not realize, Langmaid, what has been the chief factor in developing these views."

The lawyer was silent, from caution.

"I must be frank with you. It was the discovery that Mr. Parr and others of my chief parishioners were so far from being Christians as to indulge, while they supported the Church of Christ, in operations like that of the Consolidated Tractions Company, wronging their fellow-men and condemning them to misery and hate. And that you, as a lawyer, used your talents to make that operation possible."

"Hold on!" cried Langmaid, now plainly agitated. "You have no right--you can know nothing of that affair. You do not understand business."

"I'm afraid," replied the rector, sadly, "that I understand one side of it only too well."

"The Church has no right to meddle outside of her sphere, to dictate to politics and business."

"Her sphere," said Holder, "--is the world. If she does not change the world by sending out Christians into it, she would better close her doors."

"Well, I don't intend to quarrel with you, Holder. I suppose it can't be helped that we look at these things differently, and I don't intend to enter into a defence of business. It would take too long, and it wouldn't help any." He got to his feet. "Whatever happens, it won't interfere with our personal friendship, even if you think me a highwayman and I think you a--"

"A fanatic," Holder supplied. He had risen, too, and stood, with a smile on his face, gazing at the lawyer with an odd scrutiny.

"An idealist, I was going to say," Langmaid answered, returning the smile, "I'll admit that we need them in the world. It's only when one of them gets in the gear-box...."

The rector laughed. And thus they stood, facing each other.

"Langmaid," Holder asked, "don't you ever get tired and disgusted with the Juggernaut car?"

The big lawyer continued to smile, but a sheepish, almost boyish expression came over his face. He had not credited the clergyman with so much astuteness.

"Business, nowadays, is--business, Holder. The Juggernaut car claims us all. It has become-if you will permit me to continue to put my similes into slang--the modern band wagon. And we lawyers have to get on it, or fall by the wayside."

Holder stared into the fire.

"I appreciate your motive in coming here," he said, at length, "and I do you the justice of believing it was friendly, that the fact that you are, in a way, responsible for me to--to the congregation of St. John's did not enter into it. I realize that I have made matters particularly awkward for you. You have given them in me, and in good faith, something they didn't bargain for. You haven't said so, but you want me to resign. On the one hand, you don't care to see me tilting at the windmills, or, better, drawing down on my head the thunderbolts of your gods. On the other hand, you are just a little afraid for your gods. If the question in dispute were merely an academic one, I'd accommodate you at once. But I can't. I've thought it all out, and I have made up my mind that it is my clear duty to remain here and, if I am strong enough, wrest this church from the grip of Eldon Parr and the men whom he controls.

"I am speaking plainly, and I understand the situation thoroughly. You will probably tell me, as others have done, that no one has ever opposed Eldon Parr who has not been crushed. I go in with my eyes open, I am willing to be crushed, if necessary. You have come here to warn me, and I appreciate your motive. Now I am going to warn you, in all sincerity and friendship. I may be beaten, I may be driven out. But the victory will be mine nevertheless. Eldon Parr and the men who stand with him in the struggle will never recover from the blow I shall give them. I shall leave them crippled because I have the truth on my side, and the truth is irresistible. And they shall not be able to injure me permanently. And you, I regret deeply to say, will be hurt, too. I beg you, for no selfish reason, to consider again the part you intend to play in this affair."

Such was the conviction, such the unlooked-for fire with which the rector spoke that Langmaid was visibly shaken and taken aback in spite of himself.

"Do you mean," he demanded, when he had caught his breath, "that you intend to attack us publicly?"

"Is that the only punishment you can conceive of?" the rector asked. The reproach in his voice was in itself a denial.

"I beg your pardon, Hodder," said the lawyer, quickly. "And I am sure you honestly believe what you say, but--"

"In your heart you, too, believe it, Langmaid. The retribution has already begun. Nevertheless you will go on--for a while." He held out his hand, which Langmaid took mechanically. "I bear you no ill-will. I am sorry that you cannot yet see with sufficient clearness to save yourself."

Langmaid turned and picked up his hat and stick and left the room without another word. The bewildered, wistful look which had replaced the ordinarily benign and cheerful expression haunted Hodder long after the lawyer had gone. It was the look of a man who has somehow lost his consciousness of power.

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The Inside Of The Cup - Volume 6 - Chapter 22. 'Which Say To The Seers, See Not' The Inside Of The Cup - Volume 6 - Chapter 22. "Which Say To The Seers, See Not"

The Inside Of The Cup - Volume 6 - Chapter 22. 'Which Say To The Seers, See Not'
VOLUME VI CHAPTER XXII. "WHICH SAY TO THE SEERS, SEE NOT"I As Alison arose from her knees and made her way out of the pew, it was the expression on Charlotte Plimpton's face which brought her back once more to a sense of her surroundings; struck her, indeed, like a physical blow. The expression was a scandalized one. Mrs. Plimpton had moved towards her, as if to speak, but Alison hurried past, her exaltation suddenly shattered, replaced by a rising tide of resentment, of angry amazement against a materialism so solid as to remain unshaken by the words which had so
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