The Inside of the Cup
MR. LANGMAID'S MISSION
Looking back over an extraordinary career, it is interesting to attempt to
fix the time when a name becomes a talisman, and passes current for power. This
is peculiarly difficult in the case of Eldon Parr. Like many notable men before
him, nobody but Mr. Parr himself suspected his future greatness, and he kept the
secret. But if we are to search what is now ancient history for a turning-point,
perhaps we should find it in the sudden acquisition by him of the property of
The transaction was a simple one. Those were the days when gentlemen, as
matters of courtesy, put their names on other gentlemen's notes; and modern
financiers, while they might be sorry for Mr. Bentley, would probably be
unanimous in the opinion that he was foolish to write on the back of Thomas
Garrett's. Mr. Parr was then, as now, a business man, and could scarcely be
expected to introduce philanthropy into finance. Such had been Mr. Bentley's
unfortunate practice. And it had so happened, a few years before, for the
accommodation of some young men of his acquaintance that he had invested rather
generously in Grantham mining stock at twenty-five cents a share, and had
promptly forgotten the transaction. To cut a long story short, in addition to
Mr. Bentley's house and other effects, Mr. Parr became the owner of the Grantham
stock, which not long after went to one hundred dollars. The reader may do the
Where was some talk at this time, but many things had happened since. For
example, Mr. Parr had given away great sums in charity. And it may likewise be
added in his favour that Mr. Bentley was glad to be rid of his fortune. He had
said so. He deeded his pew back to St. John's, and protesting to his friends
that he was not unhappy, he disappeared from the sight of all save a few. The
rising waters of Prosperity closed over him. But Eliza Preston, now Mrs. Parr,
was one of those who were never to behold him again,—in this world, at least.
She was another conspicuous triumph in that career we are depicting. Gradual
indeed had been the ascent from the sweeping out of a store to the marrying of a
Preston, but none the less sure inevitable. For many years after this event,
Eldon Parr lived modestly in what was known as a "stone-front" house in Ransome
Street, set well above the sidewalk, with a long flight of yellow stone steps
leading to it; steps scrubbed with Sapoho twice a week by a negro in rubber
boots. There was a stable with a tarred roof in the rear, to be discerned beyond
the conventional side lawn that was broken into by the bay window of the
dining-room. There, in that house, his two children were born: there, within
those inartistic walls, Eliza Preston lived a life that will remain a closed
book forever. What she thought, what she dreamed, if anything, will never be
revealed. She did not, at least, have neurasthenia, and for all the world knew,
she may have loved her exemplary and successful husband, with whom her life was
as regular as the Strasburg clock. She breakfasted at eight and dined at seven;
she heard her children's lessons and read them Bible stories; and at half past
ten every Sunday morning, rain or shine, walked with them and her husband to the
cars on Tower Street to attend service at St. John's, for Mr. Parr had scruples
in those days about using the carriage on the Sabbath.
She did not live, alas, to enjoy for long the Medicean magnificence of the
mansion facing the Park, to be a companion moon in the greater orbit. Eldon
Part's grief was real, and the beautiful English window in the south transept of
the church bears witness to it. And yet it cannot be said that he sought solace
in religion, so apparently steeped in it had he always been. It was destiny that
he should take his place on the vestry; destiny, indeed, that he should
ultimately become the vestry as well as the first layman of the diocese;
unobtrusively, as he had accomplished everything else in life, in spite of
Prestons and Warings, Atterburys, Goodriches, and Gores. And he was wont to
leave his weighty business affairs to shift for themselves while he attended the
diocesan and general conventions of his Church.
He gave judiciously, as becomes one who holds a fortune in trust, yet
generously, always permitting others to help, until St. John's was a very gem of
finished beauty. And, as the Rothschilds and the Fuggera made money for grateful
kings and popes, so in a democratic age, Eldon Parr became the benefactor of an
adulatory public. The university, the library, the hospitals, and the parks of
his chosen city bear witness.
For forty years, Dr. Gilman had been the rector of St. John's. One Sunday
morning, he preached his not unfamiliar sermon on the text, "For now we see
through a glass, darkly; but then face to face," and when the next Sunday dawned
he was in his grave in Winterbourne Cemetery, sincerely mourned within the
parish and without. In the nature of mortal things, his death was to be
expected: no less real was the crisis to be faced At the vestry meeting that
followed, the problem was tersely set forth by Eldon Parr, his frock coat
tightly buttoned about his chest, his glasses in his hand.
"Gentlemen," he said, "we have to fulfil a grave responsibility to the
parish, to the city, and to God. The matter of choosing a rector to-day, when
clergymen are meddling with all sorts of affairs which do not concern them, is
not so simple as it was twenty years ago. We have, at St. John's, always been
orthodox and dignified, and I take it to be the sense of this vestry that we
remain so. I conceive it our duty to find a man who is neither too old nor too
young, who will preach the faith as we received it, who is not sensational, and
who does not mistake socialism for Christianity."
By force of habit, undoubtedly, Mr. Parr glanced at Nelson Langmaid as he sat
down. Innumerable had been the meetings of financial boards at which Mr. Parr
had glanced at Langmaid, who had never failed to respond. He was that sine qua
non of modern affairs, a corporation lawyer,—although he resembled a big and
genial professor of Scandinavian extraction. He wore round, tortoise-shell
spectacles, he had a high, dome-like forehead, and an ample light brown beard
which he stroked from time to time. It is probable that he did not believe in
the immortality of the soul.
His eyes twinkled as he rose.
"I don't pretend to be versed in theology, gentlemen, as you know," he said,
and the entire vestry, even Mr. Parr, smiled. For vestries, in spite of black
coats and the gravity of demeanour which first citizens are apt to possess, are
human after all. "Mr. Parr has stated, I believe; the requirements, and I agree
with him that it is not an easy order to fill. You want a parson who will stick
to his last, who will not try experiments, who is not too high or too low or too
broad or too narrow, who has intellect without too much initiative, who can
deliver a good sermon to those who can appreciate one, and yet will not get the
church uncomfortably full of strangers and run you out of your pews. In short,
you want a level-headed clergyman about thirty-five years old who will mind his
The smiles on the faces of the vestry deepened. The ability to put a matter
thus humorously was a part of Nelson Langmaid's power with men and juries.
"I venture to add another qualification," he continued, "and that is
virility. We don't want a bandbox rector. Well, I happen to have in mind a young
man who errs somewhat on the other side, and who looks a little like a cliff
profile I once saw on Lake George of George Washington or an Indian chief, who
stands about six feet two. He's a bachelor—if that's a drawback. But I am not at
all sure he can be induced to leave his present parish, where he has been for
"I am," announced Wallis Plimpton, with his hands in his pockets, "provided
the right man tackles him."
Nelson Langmaid's most notable achievement, before he accomplished the
greater one of getting a new rector for St. John's, had been to construct the
"water-tight box" whereby the Consolidated Tractions Company had become a
law-proof possibility. But his was an esoteric reputation,—the greater fame had
been Eldon Parr's. Men's minds had been dazzled by the breadth of the conception
of scooping all the street-car lines of the city, long and short, into one big
basket, as it were; and when the stock had been listed in New York, butcher and
baker, clerk and proprietor, widow and maid, brought out their hoardings; the
great project was discussed in clubs, cafes, and department stores, and by
citizens hanging on the straps of the very cars that were to be
consolidated—golden word! Very little appeared about Nelson Langmaid, who was
philosophically content. But to Mr. Parr, who was known to dislike publicity,
were devoted pages in the Sunday newspapers, with photographs of the imposing
front of his house in Park Street, his altar and window in St. John's, the Parr
building, and even of his private car, Antonia.
Later on, another kind of publicity, had come. The wind had whistled for a
time, but it turned out to be only a squall. The Consolidated Tractions Company
had made the voyage for which she had been constructed, and thus had fulfilled
her usefulness; and the cleverest of the rats who had mistaken her for a
permanent home scurried ashore before she was broken up.
All of which is merely in the nature of a commentary on Mr. Langmaid's
genius. His reputation for judgment—which by some is deemed the highest of human
qualities—was impaired; and a man who in his time had selected presidents of
banks and trust companies could certainly be trusted to choose a
parson—particularly if the chief requirements were not of a spiritual nature...
A week later he boarded an east-bound limited train, armed with plenary
His destination was the hill town where he had spent the first fifteen years
of his life, amid the most striking of New England landscapes, and the sight of
the steep yet delicately pastoral slopes never failed to thrill him as the train
toiled up the wide valley to Bremerton. The vision of these had remained with
him during the years of his toil in the growing Western city, and embodied from
the first homesick days an ideal to which he hoped sometime permanently to
return. But he never had. His family had shown a perversity of taste in
preferring the sea, and he had perforce been content with a visit of a month or
so every other summer, accompanied usually by his daughter, Helen. On such
occasions, he stayed with his sister, Mrs. Whitely.
The Whitely mills were significant of the new Bremerton, now neither village
nor city, but partaking of the characteristics of both. French Canadian might be
heard on the main square as well as Yankee; and that revolutionary vehicle, the
automobile, had inspired there a great brick edifice with a banner called the
Bremerton House. Enterprising Italians had monopolized the corners with fruit
stores, and plate glass and asphalt were in evidence. But the hills looked down
unchanged, and in the cool, maple-shaded streets, though dotted with modern
residences, were the same demure colonial houses he had known in boyhood.
He was met at the station by his sister, a large, matronly woman who
invariably set the world whizzing backward for Langmaid; so completely did she
typify the contentment, the point of view of an age gone by. For life presented
no more complicated problems to the middle-aged Mrs. Whitely than it had to
"I know what you've come for, Nelson," she said reproachfully, when she
greeted him at the station. "Dr. Gilman's dead, and you want our Mr. Hodder. I
feel it in my bones. Well, you can't get him. He's had ever so many calls, but
he won't leave Bremerton."
She knew perfectly well, however, that Nelson would get him, although her
brother characteristically did not at once acknowledge his mission. Alice
Whitely had vivid memories of a childhood when he had never failed to get what
he wanted; a trait of his of which, although it had before now caused her much
discomfort, she was secretly inordinately proud. She was, therefore, later in
the day not greatly surprised to find herself supplying her brother with
arguments. Much as they admired and loved Mr. Hodder, they had always realized
that he could not remain buried in Bremerton. His talents demanded a wider
"Talents!" exclaimed Langmaid, "I didn't know he had any."
"Oh, Nelson, how can you say such a thing, when you came to get him!"
exclaimed his sister.
"I recommended him because I thought he had none," Langmaid declared.
"He'll be a bishop some day—every one says so," said Mrs. Whitely,
"That reassures me," said her brother.
"I can't see why they sent you—you hardly ever go to church," she cried. "I
don't mind telling you, Nelson, that the confidence men place in you is absurd."
"You've said that before," he replied. "I agree with you. I'm not going on my
judgment—but on yours and Gerald's, because I know that you wouldn't put up with
anything that wasn't strictly all-wool orthodox."
"I think you're irreverent," said his sister, "and it's a shame that the
canons permit such persons to sit on the vestry...."
"Gerald," asked Nelson Langmaid of his brother-in-law that night, after his
sister and the girls had gone to bed, "are you sure that this young man's
"He's been here for over ten years, ever since he left the seminary, and he's
never done or said anything radical yet," replied the mill owner of Bremerton.
"If you don't want him, we'd be delighted to have him stay. We're not forcing
him on you, you know. What the deuce has got into you? You've talked to him for
two hours, and you've sat looking at him at the dinner table for another two. I
thought you were a judge of men."
Nelson Langmaid sat silent.
"I'm only urging Hodder to go for his own good," Mr. Whitely continued. "I
can take you to dozens of people to-morrow morning who worship him,—people of
all sorts; the cashier in the bank, men in the mills, the hotel clerk, my
private stenographer—he's built up that little church from nothing at all. And
you may write the Bishop, if you wish."
"How has he built up the church?" Langmaid demanded
"How? How does any clergyman buildup a church
"I don't know," Langmaid confessed. "It strikes me as quite a tour de force
in these days. Does he manage to arouse enthusiasm for orthodox Christianity?"
"Well," said Gerard Whitely, "I think the service appeals. We've made it as
beautiful as possible. And then Mr. Hodder goes to see these people and sits up
with them, and they tell him their troubles. He's reformed one or two rather bad
cases. I suppose it's the man's personality."
Ah! Langmaid exclaimed, "now you're talking!"
"I can't see what you're driving at," confessed his brother-in-law. "You're
too deep for me, Nelson."
If the truth be told, Langmaid himself did not quits see. On behalf of the
vestry, he offered next day to Mr. Hodder the rectorship of St. John's and that
offer was taken under consideration; but there was in the lawyer's mind no doubt
of the acceptance, which, in the course of a fortnight after he had returned to
the West, followed.
By no means a negligible element in Nelson Langmaid's professional success
had been his possession of what may called a sixth sense, and more than once, on
his missions of trust, he had listened to its admonitory promptings.
At times he thought he recognized these in his conversation with the Reverend
John Hodder at Bremerton,—especially in that last interview in the pleasant
little study of the rectory overlooking Bremerton Lake. But the promptings were
faint, and Langmaid out of his medium. He was not choosing the head of a trust
He himself felt the pull of the young clergyman's personality, and
instinctively strove to resist it: and was more than ever struck by Mr. Hodder's
resemblance to the cliff sculpture of which he had spoken at the vestry meeting.
He was rough-hewn indeed, with gray-green eyes, and hair the color of golden
sand: it would not stay brushed. It was this hair that hinted most strongly of
individualism, that was by no means orthodox. Langmaid felt an incongruity, but
he was fascinated; and he had discovered on the rector's shelves evidences of
the taste for classical authors that he himself possessed. Thus fate played with
him, and the two men ranged from Euripides to Horace, from Horace to Dante and
Gibbon. And when Hodder got up to fetch this or that edition, he seemed to tower
over the lawyer, who was a big man himself.
Then they discussed business, Langmaid describing the parish, the people, the
peculiar situation in St. John's caused by Dr. Gilman's death, while Hodder
listened. He was not talkative; he made no promises; his reserve on occasions
was even a little disconcerting; and it appealed to the lawyer from Hodder as a
man, but somehow not as a clergyman. Nor did the rector volunteer any evidences
of the soundness of his theological or political principles.
He gave Langmaid the impression—though without apparent egotism—that by
accepting the call he would be conferring a favour on St. John's; and this was
when he spoke with real feeling of the ties that bound him to Bremerton.
Langmaid felt a certain deprecation of the fact that he was not a communicant.
For the rest, if Mr. Hodder were disposed to take himself and his profession
seriously, he was by no means lacking in an appreciation of Langmaid's
The tempering of the lawyer's elation as he returned homeward to report to
Mr. Parr and the vestry may be best expressed by his own exclamation, which he
made to himself:
"I wonder what that fellow would do if he ever got started!" A parson was,
after all, a parson, and he had done his best.
A high, oozing note of the brakes, and the heavy train came to a stop. Hodder
looked out of the window of the sleeper to read the sign 'Marcion' against the
yellow brick of the station set down in the prairie mud, and flanked by a long
row of dun-colored freight cars backed up to a factory.
The factory was flimsy, somewhat resembling a vast greenhouse with its
multitudinous windows, and bore the name of a firm whose offices were in the
city to which he was bound.
"We 'most in now, sah," the negro porter volunteered. "You kin see the smoke
Hodder's mood found a figure in this portentous sign whereby the city's
presence was betrayed to travellers from afar,—the huge pall seemed an emblem of
the weight of the city's sorrows; or again, a cloud of her own making which shut
her in from the sight of heaven. Absorbed in the mad contest for life, for money
and pleasure and power she felt no need to lift her eyes beyond the level of her
He, John Hodder, was to live under that cloud, to labour under it. The
mission on which he was bound, like the prophets of old, was somehow to gain the
ears of this self-absorbed population, to strike the fear of the eternal into
their souls, to convince them that there was Something above and beyond that
smoke which they ignored to their own peril.
Yet the task, at this nearer view, took on proportions overwhelming—so dense
was that curtain at which he gazed. And to-day the very skies above it were
leaden, as though Nature herself had turned atheist. In spite of the vigour with
which he was endowed, in spite of the belief in his own soul, doubts assailed
him of his ability to cope with this problem of the modern Nineveh—at the very
moment when he was about to realize his matured ambition of a great city parish.
Leaning back on the cushioned seat, as the train started again, he reviewed
the years at Bremerton, his first and only parish. Hitherto (to his surprise,
since he had been prepared for trials) he had found the religious life a
primrose path. Clouds had indeed rested on Bremerton's crests, but beneficent
clouds, always scattered by the sun. And there, amid the dazzling snows, he had
on occasions walked with God.
His success, modest though it were, had been too simple. He had loved the
people, and they him, and the pang of homesickness he now experienced was the
intensest sorrow he had known since he had been among them. Yes, Bremerton had
been for him (he realized now that he had left it) as near an approach to
Arcadia as this life permits, and the very mountains by which it was encircled
had seemed effectively to shut out those monster problems which had set the
modern world outside to seething. Gerald Whitely's thousand operatives had never
struck; the New York newspapers, the magazines that discussed with vivid animus
the corporation-political problems in other states, had found Bremerton
interested, but unmoved; and Mrs. Whitely, who was a trustee of the library,
wasted her energy in deploring the recent volumes on economics, sociology,
philosophy, and religion that were placed on the shelves. If Bremerton read
them—and a portion of Bremerton did—no difference was apparent in the attendance
at Hodder's church. The Woman's Club discussed them strenuously, but made no
attempt to put their doctrines into practice.
Hodder himself had but glanced at a few of them, and to do him justice this
abstention had not had its root in cowardice. His life was full—his religion
"worked." And the conditions with which these books dealt simply did not exist
for him. The fact that there were other churches in the town less successful
than his own (one or two, indeed, virtually starving) he had found it simple to
account for in that their denominations had abandoned the true conception of the
Church, and were logically degenerating into atrophy. What better proof of the
barrenness of these modern philosophical and religious books did he need than
the spectacle of other ministers—who tarried awhile on starvation
salaries—reading them and preaching from them?
He, John Hodder, had held fast to the essential efficacy of the word of God
as propounded in past ages by the Fathers. It is only fair to add that he did so
without pride or bigotry, and with a sense of thankfulness at the simplicity of
the solution (ancient, in truth!) which, apparently by special grace, had been
vouchsafed him. And to it he attributed the flourishing condition in which he
had left the Church of the Ascension at Bremerton.
"We'll never get another rector like you," Alice Whitely had exclaimed, with
tears in her eyes, as she bade him good-by. And he had rebuked her. Others had
spoken in a similar strain, and it is a certain tribute to his character to
record that the underlying hint had been lost on Hodder. His efficacy, he
insisted, lay in the Word.
Hodder looked at his watch, only to be reminded poignantly of the chief cause
of his heaviness of spirit, for it represented concretely the affections of
those whom he had left behind; brought before him vividly the purple haze of the
Bremerton valley, and the garden party, in the ample Whitely grounds, which was
their tribute to him. And he beheld, moving from the sunlight to shadow, the
figure of Rachel Ogden. She might have been with him now, speeding by his side
into the larger life!
In his loneliness, he seemed to be gazing into reproachful eyes. Nothing had
passed between them. It, was he who had held back, a fact that in the retrospect
caused him some amazement. For, if wifehood were to be regarded as a profession,
Rachel Ogden had every qualification. And Mrs. Whitely's skilful suggestions had
on occasions almost brought him to believe in the reality of the mirage,—never
Orthodox though he were, there had been times when his humour had borne him
upward toward higher truths, and he had once remarked that promising to love
forever was like promising to become President of the United States.
One might achieve it, but it was independent of the will. Hodder's ideals—if
he had only known—transcended the rubric. His feeling for Rachel Ogden had not
been lacking in tenderness, and yet he had recoiled from marriage merely for the
sake of getting a wife, albeit one with easy qualification. He shrank
instinctively from the humdrum, and sought the heights, stormy though these
might prove. As yet he had not analyzed this craving.
This he did know—for he had long ago torn from his demon the draperies of
disguise—that women were his great temptation. Ordination had not destroyed it,
and even during those peaceful years at Bremerton he had been forced to maintain
a watchful guard. He had a power over women, and they over him, that threatened
to lead him constantly into wayside paths, and often he wondered what those who
listened to him from the pulpit would think if they guessed that at times, he
struggled with suggestion even now. Yet, with his hatred of compromises, he had
The yoke of Augustine! The caldron of unholy loves! Even now, as he sat in
the train, his mind took its own flight backward into that remoter past that was
still a part of him: to secret acts of his college days the thought of which
made him shudder; yes, and to riots and revels. In youth, his had been one of
those boiling, contagious spirits that carry with them, irresistibly, tamer
companions. He had been a leader in intermittent raids into forbidden spheres; a
leader also in certain more decorous pursuits—if athletics may be so accounted;
yet he had capable of long periods of self-control, for a cause. Through it all
a spark had miraculously been kept alive....
Popularity followed him from the small New England college to the Harvard Law
School. He had been soberer there, marked as a pleader, and at last the day
arrived when he was summoned by a great New York lawyer to discuss his future.
Sunday intervened. Obeying a wayward impulse, he had gone to one of the
metropolitan churches to hear a preacher renowned for his influence over men.
There is, indeed, much that is stirring to the imagination in the spectacle of a
mass of human beings thronging into a great church, pouring up the aisles,
crowding the galleries, joining with full voices in the hymns. What drew them?
He himself was singing words familiar since childhood, and suddenly they were
fraught with a startling meaning!
"Fill me, radiancy divine,
Scatter all my unbelief!"
Visions of the Crusades rose before him, of a friar arousing France, of a
Maid of Orleans; of masses of soiled, war-worn, sin-worn humanity groping
towards the light. Even after all these ages, the belief, the hope would not
Outside, a dismal February rain was falling, a rain to wet the soul. The reek
of damp clothes pervaded the gallery where he sat surrounded by clerks and shop
girls, and he pictured to himself the dreary rooms from which they had emerged,
drawn by the mysterious fire on that altar. Was it a will-o'-the-wisp? Below
him, in the pews, were the rich. Did they, too, need warmth?
Then came the sermon, "I will arise and go to my father."
After the service, far into the afternoon, he had walked the wet streets
heedless of his direction, in an exaltation that he had felt before, but never
with such intensity. It seemed as though he had always wished to preach, and
marvelled that the perception had not come to him sooner. If the man to whom he
had listened could pour the light into the dark corners of other men's souls,
he, John Hodder, felt the same hot spark within him,—despite the dark corners of
At dusk he came to himself, hungry, tired, and wet, in what proved to be the
outskirts of Harlem. He could see the place now: the lonely, wooden houses, the
ramshackle saloon, the ugly, yellow gleam from the street lamps in a line along
the glistening pavement; beside him, a towering hill of granite with a real
estate sign, "This lot for sale." And he had stood staring at it, thinking of
the rock that would have to be cut away before a man could build there,—and so
read his own parable.
How much rock would have to be cut away, how much patient chipping before the
edifice of which he had been dreaming could be reared! Could he ever do it? Once
removed, he would be building on rock. But could he remove it?... To help revive
a faith, a dying faith, in a material age,—that indeed were a mission for any
man! He found his way to an elevated train, and as it swept along stared
unseeing at the people who pushed and jostled him. Still under the spell, he
reached his room and wrote to the lawyer thanking him, but saying that he had
reconsidered coming to New York. It was not until he had posted the letter, and
was on his way back to Cambridge that he fully realized he had made the decision
of his life.
Misgivings, many of them, had come in the months that followed, misgivings
and struggles, mocking queries. Would it last? There was the incredulity and
amazement of nearest friends, who tried to dissuade him from so extraordinary a
proceeding. Nobody, they said, ever became a parson in these days; nobody, at
least, with his ability. He was throwing himself away. Ethics had taken the
place of religion; intelligent men didn't go to church. And within him went on
an endless debate. Public opinion made some allowance for frailties in other
professions; in the ministry, none: he would be committing himself to be good
the rest of his life, and that seemed too vast an undertaking for any human.
The chief horror that haunted him was not failure,—for oddly enough he never
seriously distrusted his power, it was disaster. Would God give him the strength
to fight his demon? If he were to gain the heights, only to stumble in the sight
of all men, to stumble and fall.
Seeming echoes of the hideous mockery of it rang in his ears: where is the
God that this man proclaimed? he saw the newspaper headlines, listened in
imagination to cynical comments, beheld his name trailed through the soiled
places of the cities, the shuttlecock of men and women. "To him that overcometh,
to him will I give of the hidden manna, and I will give him a white stone, and
upon the stone a new name written, which no one knoweth but he that receiveth
it." Might he ever win that new name, eat of the hidden manna of a hidden power,
become the possessor of the morning star?
Unless there be in the background a mother, no portrait of a man is complete.
She explains him, is his complement. Through good mothers are men conceived of
God: and with God they sit, forever yearning, forever reaching out, helpless
except for him: with him, they have put a man into the world. Thus, into the
Supreme Canvas, came the Virgin.
John Hodder's mother was a widow, and to her, in the white, gabled house
which had sheltered stern ancestors, he travelled in the June following his
experience. Standing under the fan-light of the elm-shaded doorway, she seemed a
vision of the peace wherein are mingled joy and sorrow, faith and tears! A tall,
quiet woman, who had learned the lesson of mothers,—how to wait and how to pray,
how to be silent with a clamouring heart.
She had lived to see him established at Bremerton, to be with him there
He awoke from these memories to gaze down through the criss-cross of a
trestle to the twisted, turbid waters of the river far below. Beyond was the
city. The train skirted for a while the hideous, soot-stained warehouses that
faced the water, plunged into a lane between humming factories and
clothes-draped tenements, and at last glided into semi-darkness under the high,
reverberating roof of the Union Station.