Susan Warner.

Stephen, M. D. online

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" Must look cool, mustn't it ? Stephen, you al
ways look cool ! "

Stephen broke into a laugh. "Thank you for
the comparison," he said. "Am I like that to


"You are not in the least like that. I don't fancy
snow mountains. But you look as strong as a
mountain," said Posie, resting her hand affection
ately on his shoulder. " Stephen, I was just think-
ing how much nicer you are than the fashionable
young men in Boston."

"What do you know of fashionable young men?"

" well, not much ; but I couldn't help seeing
them, you know."

" Couldn't you ? "

"Why no, of course not. They came to the
house ; how could I help seeing them ? There waa
Lizzie Satterthwaite's brother, and Julia Boynton'a
cousin; and others, that came with them."

" To see you ? "


"To see all of us. No, not to see me in particu
lar; but I saw them with the rest."

" I do not just know what you mean by a ' fash
ionable' young man," Stephen said slowly. "Do
you mean, a man that it is the fashion to know ? "

" No, not at all. How could it be the fashion to
know a man ? I don't mean that."

" What do you mean ? "

"01 don't know. They are called fashionable."

" Why ? What does it amount to ? "

"0 Stephen, don't you know, without telling?
They are well dressed, and clever, and nice ; they
know always what is the thing to do, and what is
the right thing to say; they can tell about every
thing that is going on, so they are nice to talk to;
and never a bit awkward."

"Is a man any the better for being fashionable?"
asked Stephen, looking hard at Interlaken.

"Why yes," said Posie; "that's all good; but I
eaid, you are nicer then they are, a great deal."

" I suppose you think, if I were fashionable it
would be an improvement?"

" Well," said Posie hesitating, " I can tell you, a
Boston or New York tailor makes a coat better
than a Deepford man can."

" Did you see much of these people with good
coats ? " asked Stephen smiling.

"Ye-s, a good deal. Quite a good deal. You
see, there were evenings when Miss Pierson al
lowed the girls to receive their friends; and some
times quite a good many would come; and then


we were all together; and there was talking and
music, and dancing sometimes."

" Dancing ! " Stephen looked round.

" Yes. you needn't look ! " cried Posie laugh
ing. "/ didn't dance, because I knew you didn't
like it; everybody else did. But really, Stephen,
I don't see why it should be wrong, it's so pretty,
and I am sure it is such good fun."

" That don't prove anything, does it ? "

" No ; but why should it be wrong? Nobody else
thinks about it as you do, Stephen; they all laughed
at me. Why is it wrong ? "

" I don't know," said Stephen, putting down his
stereoscope ; " only, I never could see how I could
do it to the glory of God."

" Stephen ! To the glory of God ! What do you

"You know that's the rule, Posie. 'Whether
ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the
glory of God.'"

" But how can you do a great many things so ?
Eating and drinking, for example? You cannot."

" Not if the Bible says so ? "

" it cannot mean just that."

"Then it would not say just that, I think. Why
Posie, when Mr. Hardenbrook gives me an order,
I always know it is to be carried out in every par
ticular, just as he gives it. I never dare alter it
the least bit. And I think the Lord would give his
orders as clearly, and expect to have them followed
as carefully. Don't you ? "


" What a speech, for Stephen the Silent ! " cried
Posie merrily.

" I suppose you may say, I don't know much
about it," said Stephen, going back again to the
Jungfrau. "And I don't, about dancing. About
the other, I think I do."

" Dancing is pretty, I can tell you."

" I never saw much beauty in it."

"0 because yon never saw any but country
dancing. City dancing is quite different."

" Different how ?"

"01 can't tell you ! The same sort of way that
I told you the men's coats are better. Easy, and
graceful and elegant. To see Mr. Satterthwaite
and Lizzie Colman waltz, you would think they
floated, or moved somehow on wings, so easily
they went round."

" Waltz ! " cried Stephen.

" Yes. But / did not waltz," said Posie laugh
ing at his look.

" I should think not ! When I see a girl waltz
ing, I always hope she is crazy. In fact, I know
she is. She has lost her senses. Well, you may
give me another now," he went on, drawing out
the Jungfrau from the stereoscope.

Posie took the instrument to put another pict
ure in.

" But Stephen, don't you say that just becauso
you don't know the world ? "

" Perhaps."

" Then mayn't you be mistaken ? "


"'"Whatsoever ye do' " Stephen repeated, hold
ing out his hand for the stereoscope, which Posio
still withheld.

" But you caw'tf, Stephen, not literally. Dressing,
and eating and drinking and talking, for instance.
How can you ? "

" Did you ever study it ? "


" I thought so."

" But you have studied it ? w

" Yes. I had to study it."


" Because I am a servant, and I must understand
my orders."

" Tell me then, Stephen ! " said Posie coaxingly.
" I want to know. I do, really. I want to know,
so that I may do right too."

" Let it be to please God, and not to please your
self. That's very simple."

" But in such little things ! my dress ! I can't
Bee how."

" Well," said Stephen, " you are the Lord's ser


" Look like it."

" How ? " said Posie half laughing, but she was
in earnest too.

" It's no use to tell you, for you always efc."

"Suppose I was somebody else, then. Go on
and tell me, just the same."

"Suppose you were somebody else. Then I


should say, Always be nice. The Lord's servants
ought to be pure outwardly, as well as inwardly."

" Yes. But that is not enough ? "

"No. Then I should say, Dress fit for your

"What work?"

" Whatever you have to do."

" Suppose I have none."

" I cannot suppose it. All God's servants have
work to do for him. Whether they are doing it is
another matter. And they must dress for their

"And then?"

"Then, I think," said Stephen slowly, "they
ought to look as well as they can."

" Oh ! Dress as handsomely, you mean ! I did
not expect you would say that."

" I did not say that."

" What then ? "

"Dress to look well. I mean, becomingly, and
in good taste, and so as to make the best of them."

" Why, Stephen ? " said Posie curiously.

" Because they will have more power."

" Oh ! Power. Power for what ? "

"To work for God."

"Why Stephen! would they?"

" I think they would. Aren't you going to let
me see that picture ? "

"Presently. Is that all? It is very curious,
and delightfully new to me."

"I think that is all. I am glad it is delightful


No, Posie, there is something else. They must not
spend more money or time on their dressing
than is necessary."

"How, necessary?"

" Necessary for those ends."

" now you have spoiled everything. I thought
you were going to give me leave to dress just as
I like. Stephen, how in the world do you come to
know so much about it? that's what puzzles me."

" I do not pretend to know much about it."

" But you do and you're a man. How come
you to have even thought so much about it ? "

"That I could not help," said Stephen. "Teach
ing classes, in jail and out of jail, that word, 'What
soever,' came up; and I had to explain it. Now,

He stretched out his hand, and Posie yielded
the glass. The next word was almost a cry from

" what is this ! "

" That is one of those great mountains I forget
which they are all ' horns ' fifteen thousand feet
high. The little village you see is Zermatt."

" Fifteen thousand feet high ! " repeated Stephen.

"About that. Would you ever think people
could clirr.b to the top of it? But they have, a
number of people; some of them got down alive,
and some didn't."

" I should like to read a book about Switzerland;
if I could get it. I suppose there are books that
tell about it ? "


" If you were in Boston there would be no diffi
culty. There are libraries there where you can
get any book in the world that you want."

" Must be large ! "

" they are. Take up a whole house."

" I am glad we do not live in Boston, however.

" Well, I believe I am too. But Boston is nice,
Stephen; there is always something going on, and
something pleasant. Nothing is going on here."

" Nothing ! " echoed Stephen. " What do you
think of going blackberrying ? "

"0 blackberries! yes, that is delightful. I for
got blackberries."

" You forgot a good deal more. You forgot

" So I did. There is nothing like going after
chestnuts. But that's not till frost."

" Haven't we butternuts in the mean time ? I'll
crack you some presently, when I get up and down
this mountain once."

" There's another thing, Stephen," Posie went on
meditatively. " Things are nicer in Boston in an
other way. Things are handsome. Houses, and
furniture, and all that. Home looks pleasant of
course to me when I come Jiome, but it looks queer
too; queerer than you can think."

" Very likely, till your eyes get accustomed to
it; and then it is Boston which would look

"But they know how to do things better ir


" Do they ? What things ? "

"0 everything," said Posie vaguely. "Parties
and dinners, as well as houses and dresses and
talk. People talk better there, a great deal. They
know how."

"You know how," said Stephen. "That's enough
for me. I guess it's better 'here, Posie, after all;
and I'm glad we have got you home again. I'll
make you unsay all that about Cowslip and Boston
by and by. Now what's next ? "

The next was Geneva and the lake. Posie in
her purchases had followed what she knew about
the travels of her friend's sister; so there was the
Lake of Geneva, the Rialto at Venice, St. Peter's
at Rome, and Naples with Vesuvius; a rich half
dozen ; over which there was a great deal of talk
which to Stephen at least seemed very good. Then
the evening falling, they repaired to the kitchen
to crack butternuts ; and had a cosy hour on Jonto's
hearth. She had grown no older, to all seeming,
and was precisely what she had been when Stephen
first knew her. Jonto was preparing supper while
Stephen was cracking butternuts ; and both of them,
through all, were devouring every word and look
of Posie. Her part was to give them this gratifi
cation. She had always given it to them, since
she had been a little child, though the child had
been somewhat unreasoning and petulant and way
ward. There was none of that now ; only bright
ness and sweetness, and soft merry ways, and
endless life and variety; a ripple of words and a


flow of laughter, and little coaxing, caressing,
wayward movements and propositions and fan
cies, which had none but pretty waywardness.
There was nothing about her that was not pret
ty; nothing that was not loving and winning; the
identity of the child kept up with the grace of the
woman. Jonto attended to her supper prepara
tions without seeming to take an eye from Posie;
Stephen precisely reversed that, and lost not a move
ment or look or turn of hers, while he seemed to
see nothing but his hammer and his nuts. The
fire blazed up, but they did not mind it; Cowslip
was too far north to be a hot region ; the odours
from Jonto's steaming pots and pans were of a
most savoury description ; Jonto's words and com
ments were both x original and incentive ; and it is
fair to say the kitchen held good company.

In all time that followed, Stephen never forgot
the images of that evening. Mr. and Mrs. Harden-
brook did not return early; the evening deepened
into night; Posie declared she was very hungry;
and at last Jonto would let them wait no longer,
but set the table there in the kitchen, made her
coffee, and dished up supper for the two. It was
a merry meal. Jonto waited on them lovingly,
spicing the talk with her original observations;
and they praised her cookery and did justice
to it.

"Now you's come home to stay, Miss Posie,
what's you gwine to do ? " the old woman at
length asked,


" Enjoy myself, I hope, Jonto. It looks like it."

" Bless de Lord, it do look like it. But aint you
gwine to do nuffin else ? "

" Stephen wants me to go teach in the jaiJ.
What do you think of that? "

" What jail ? " said Jonto suddenly straightening
herself up.

"There's only one; the jail at Deepford."

" Who's dar ? " asked Jonto in the same manner

" all sorts of terrible people who are shut up
there for their misdeeds. It's the State jail, you
know, Jonto. All sorts of dreadful people. Don't
you think, Stephen wants me to go and teach
them ? "

" I did not say so, Posie."

"No matter; you meant it."

"No, I did not mean it; for I did not suppose
Mrs. Hardenbrook would be willing."

" But if she would be willing, you would ? "


" Is dat whar you goes arternoons o' Sunday ? *
demanded Jonto, facing round on Stephen.

" Yes, Jonto."

" An' I never knowed it ! You does keep your
right hand behind you, for sure ! Does you go to
larn sich folk as dat?"

" Why not, Jonto? they need it, don't they?"

" An' does dey larn ? "

"Yes, I think they do; some of them."

"Wall," said the old woman, "you is makin' a
straight track, you is ! "


" What do you think of my going to such a place,
Jonto ? " Posie asked again.

" Miss Posie," said Jonto solemnly, " ef you tinks
anybody's too good to do de Lord's work, you is
out in you's calkilations. De dear Lord warn't,
hisself; and I reckon you can't get no furder'n dat."

" But do you think I am fit for it ? " said Posie,
a little wounded. Jonto shook her head.

"Dunno, gal. If you aint, it aint because you's
too good."

" But not good enough, you mean ! "

" Mebbe. De blessed sun hisself aint too good
fur to shine onto me. Dar! I don't want to go
fur to make Mr. Stephen out o' patience wid me."

" Stephen is never out of patience."

" Don't you go fur to tink dat," said Jonto. " He
do know how to be quiet and keep hisself to his
self; he do; but I wouldn't want to be in his way
nohow, when he's a mind to do sumfin. When I
sees two little krinkles in his forehead dar den
I keeps out o' his way, keerful."

" But that need not be impatience," said Stephen

"Dunno what 'tis I doesn't know your high
English you may call it what you like, boy. It
doesn't make no difference what you call tings;
dey is de same tings."

That was a thoroughly comfortable evening.



IT was the introduction to a summer as comfort
able. The whole family were very happy, after
their several ways; but Stephen and Posie revelled
in all natural and social and innocent delights.
Posie was at home, and not going away again;
that was the background of solid comfort on which
all lights and colours of summer joy were embroi
dered. Every day was a festival. Not but that
Stephen had his work, and was busy with it; while
Posie attended upon her mother's movements or
pleasures. And Stephen never neglected his work,
or cut it short a minute too soon. But summer
days are long; and after he left the factory there
was still time for a walk or a drive, and Posie
was sure to have some plan involving the one or
the other. Stephen was not now bound to days'
work of so many hours; he had got above that;
and was rather in a sort Mr. Hardenbrook's agent and
representative. Mr. Gordon still managed the work
and the workmen in the factory, but Stephen held

wider powers and responsibilities; transacted busi-



ness outside of the factory; carried on correspond
ence; received and paid money; kept accounts.
lie filled the place of a son to Mr. Hardenbrook, in
almost every way, affection not excepted. So he
could come away from the workrooms often when
nobody else could; often he must; he had drives to
take to Deepford aiid Cowslip, and further away
than either, in looking after the interests of his
principal. Posie went with him sometimes on
these occasions. But whenever he had no business
on hand, Stephen was her slave; with nothing to
do but obey her behests and minister to her fancies ;
and Posie had as many fancies as ever a girl in the
whole State.

One of her fancies was to paint flowers. There
were a great abundance of flowers in the garden ;
however, Posie's heart was set upon wild ones.
Stephen and she ransacked the woods and mead
ows, far and near, for what they could find. The
moccasin flower and the pipsissewa, liverleaf and
wild violet, were close about them ; with the wild
rose and sweet briar. The meadows gave them
asclepias of various rich hues, lilies, asters, golden
rod, and cardinal flower in damp places. Stephen
got pond lilies and arums and nameless wild growths
from wet ground where Posie could not convenient
ly venture. All these not being sufficient, they
took walks and drives, sometimes to a long dis
tance, to gather the flowers only to be found in
certain soils or peculiar situations. Nothing could
be pleasanter than these expeditions, in the late


Bummer afternoons, with the rays of the sun com
ing more and more aslant, and the air growing
cooler every moment, and the lights and shades
more marked and lovely. Both the young people
felt the influence of all this beauty, as many do who
little think of it; they felt it, but they talked no
artistic talk. Neither of them had art knowledge
or tastes, except in the very mild form of Posie's
flower painting; and even that was unshared by
Stephen. He "did not see the use." There were
the flowers themselves, bodily; why make a poor
and cold presentment of them upon paper ? " To
have when the flowers are gone " was Posie's an
swer. " The flowers die, Stephen."

" Your copies of them don't live. They are not
alive to begin with."

" When I get to painting them very well, you
will think they are."

" Won't deceive the bees ! or me."

" I don't want to deceive you, or anybody ! It
you thought they were real, I should lose the cred
it of doing them well."

" So you paint for the credit of it ? "

" No, I don't ! I paint for the pleasure of it.
But I like the credit too. There would be no
pleasure if I could get no credit. Don't you do
things for the credit of it ? or don't you do them
iveU for the credit of it ? "

"I don't know," said Stephen slowly. "I hope

"Hope nol ' ; n-l - ?


" It isn't a good motive."

"Why Stephen, everybody says it is. Isn't it
right to like praise ? "

" I suppose one cannot help liking it."

" Then it is right. What you cannot help, must
be right. It can't be wrong."

" But it is not right to seek for it, or to work for
it," Stephen went on.

"What would you work for then? Just bare
dry duty?"


" What then ? Speak out, Stephen, if you can."
Stephen did not seem to find it easy to speak out.

"I mean," he said at last, "I think one ought
not to work for the praise of men. The praise of
God is better."

" Why of course ! " said Posie almost pettishly,
"of course! but if you get the first, isn't it a sign
that you have the other ? "

" I think not."

" Why Stephen, it ought to be ? "

" It ought to be, but it is not. The Bible says,
the things which are highly esteemed among men,
are abomination in the sight of God."

" Some things, I suppose."

Stephen was silent.

" What things, Stephen? I don't know what."

Don't you ? "

" No. Do go on and tell me. I can't think."

"Well," said Stephen slowly, "just look at the
way things are in the world. If a man takes oare


of himself and his family, grows rich, builds a fine
house, and has everything of the best around him ;
do not people say he has done well, and give him
their applause ? "

"Yes, and they ought. Isn't that right? I am
sure nobody likes a laggard or a man that does not
attend to his business and take care of his family."

Stephen made no immediate reply, and Posie
burst out a little impatiently again.

"Why don't you speak, Stephen? Don't you
call that right?"

" It may be all right," said Stephen, "if he is do
ing it to the glory of God."

" I do not understand " said Posie, a little awed,
ind dropping her voice.

" If he is not," Stephen went on; "if he is doing
it merely for his own pleasure and thinking of noth
ing else, then this word comes to him, that Hag-
gai spoke to the Jews who were attending only to
their own affairs ' Is it time for you, ye, to dwell
in ceiled houses, and this house to lie waste ? ' I
have not got the exact words."

" What house was that ? "

" The temple, which they should have been re
building. You know, Nebuchadnezzar's general
had destroyed it."

"Well, Stephen, but we have no temple to build

" Yes we have. I beg your pardon."

"Churches, do you mean? There are more
churches now than the people will fill."


" I do not mean churches."

"What then?"

"Don't you remember, that, according to the New
Testament, the true temple of the Lord is the living
church of his people; and every individual Chris
tian is a living stone in that temple, fitted and
polished to fill his place in it, and built upon the
Corner stone, which is Christ. And so this living
temple is silently growing, like Solomon's, which
was merely a type of it."

" But how can we build this temple ? " said Posie.
" We cannot make Christians."

"That is what the Lord told us to do, though.
'Go into all the world, and make disciples of every
creature.' "

"What has this to do with what you started
from, a man's building a good house, and all

"Don't you see?"

" No, I don't see. It is right for us to be com
fortable, and to have nice things."

" And it is right for us to help build the Lord's

" What hinders our doing both ? "

" Nothing ; only the world will praise you when
your principal care is about your own house; and
the Lord's praise is for them who take most care
of his."

" Stephen," said Posie after a slight pause, " do
you know, I think you are just a little bit blue?"

"Isn't, all true that I have said?"


" I don't want people to think you blue."

"I'll bear it," said Stephen with a quiet smile.

" I don't see how you came to get all this rig
marole into your head. Not from anything in our
house, I hope?"

"No " said Stephen thoughtfully; "rather from
my class in the jail."

" Stephen ! how ? "

" I have come to know them pretty well now,
you know," Stephen went on with a tone of sym
pathy in his voice at which Posie wondered ; " and
they tell me their stories, from time to time, one
and another; and if I could tell them to you again,
you would see that in all their lives, of most of
them, nobody has ever given them the least help
or cared for them in any way. Instead of that,
they have been cheated, and wronged, and pushed
to the wall, and tempted, all their lives; and nobody
put out a hand or said a kind word to save them."

"But we cannot help it; and what's the use of
worrying about what you can't help?"

" We can help doing the same wrong, can't we ? "

" How ? "

" I don't know," said Stephen, " unless by tak
ing care of everybody that comes in our way."

" Then you would do nothing else in the world ! "

" I am willing to do nothing else," said Stephen.
" I think, to help build the Lord's temple is the
grandest work anybody can do."

" But what one person can do, don't amount to
anything; or not much."


" Suppose we try " said Stephen quietly.

" We! What do you want me to do ? "

" Take hold of what comes first. You know, that
is what the first disciples did, when they began to
know Jesus. Andrew went after his brother Simon ;
and Philip got hold of Nathanael and brought him.
And the good Samaritan stopped on his journey to
look after that wounded man lying in the road."

" And you think we all ought to do just so ? "

"I know we ought," said Stephen in the same
tone of quiet conviction.

Posie was silent, and disturbed, for her cheeks
flushed and her eyes filled.

" And that is your idea of religion ? " she asked

" It is following Christ, isn't it ? "

" Now Stephen," said the girl with an effort, "you
have just made me blue; and I didn't come out to
be blue. Where are you going ? "

"Over beyond More's hill, to look for the blue

" the blue gentian ! Do you think we shall
find it?"

" I have found it there. We can't tell till we try."

Online LibrarySusan WarnerStephen, M. D. → online text (page 16 of 34)