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by the shoulders. Ah, that's what's back of all this, he thought; but
what he said was:

"My boy, Emerson said, 'Hitch your wagon to a star,' and I will add,
never let go, although the rocks in the road may bump you badly. Why,
there's nothing impossible for a young man like you. You may be rich, if
you want to; I expect to see you learned; and the Priesthood which you
have is your assurance, through your diligence and faithfulness, to any
heights. Yes, my boy; go ahead - love Mildred Brown all you want to;
she's fine, but not a bit finer than you."

"Oh, Uncle Zed," Dorian somewhat protested; but, nevertheless, he went
home that evening with his heart singing.




CHAPTER SIX.


Some days later word came to Mrs. Trent that Mildred was very ill. "Call
on them after school," she said to Dorian, "to see just how she is, and
ask Mrs. Brown if I can do anything for her."

Dorian did as he was directed. He went around to the back door for fear
he might disturb the sick girl. Mrs. Brown herself, seeing him coming,
met him and let him in.

Yes, Mildred was very ill. Mrs. Brown was plainly worried. Could he
or his mother do anything to help? No; only to lend their faith and
prayers. Would he come into the sick room to see her for a few minutes?
Yes, if she desired it.

Dorian followed the mother into the sick room. Mildred lay well propped
up by pillows in a bed white as snow. She was thinner and paler than
ever, eyes bigger, hair heavier and more golden. When she saw Dorian,
she smiled and reached out her hand, letting it lie in the big strong
one.

"How are you?" she said, very low.

"Well and fine, and how are you?"

She simply shook her head gently and closed her eyes, seeming content to
touch the strong young manhood beside her. The mother went quietly from
the room, and all became quite still. Speech was difficult for the sick
girl, and equally hard for the young man. But he looked freely at the
angel-like face on the pillow without rebuke from the closed eyes. He
glanced about the room, beautifully clean and airy. All her books and
her working material had been carried away as if she were through with
them for good. In a corner on an easel stood an unfinished copy of
"Sunset in Marshland." Dorian's eyes rested for a moment on the picture,
and as he again looked at the girl, he saw a smile pass over the
marble-like face.

That was all. Presently, he left the room, and without many words, the
house.

Each day after that Dorian managed to learn of the girl's condition,
though he did not go into the sick chamber. On the sixth day word came
to Dorian at school that Mildred was dying. He looked about for Carlia
to tell her, but she was nowhere to be found. Dorian could not go home.
Mildred was dying! The one girl - yes, the only one in all the world who
had looked at him with her heart in the look, was leaving the world, and
him. Why could she not live, if only for his sake? He sat in the school
room until all had gone, and he was alone with the janitor. His open
book was still before him, but he saw not the printed page. Then the
short winter day closed. Dusk came on. The janitor had finished sweeping
the room and was ready to leave. Dorian gathered up his books, put on
his overcoat, and went out. Mildred was dying! Perhaps she was about to
begin that great journey into the unknown. Would she be afraid? Would
she not need a strong hand to help her? "Mildred," he whispered.

He walked on slowly up the street toward the Brown's. Darkness came
on. The light gleamed softly through the closed blinds of the house.
Everything was very still. He did not try to be admitted, but paced back
and forth on the other side of the street. Back and forth he went for a
long time, it seemed. Then the front door opened, and the doctor passed
out. Mildred must either be better or beyond all help. He wanted to ask
the doctor, but he could not bring himself to intercept him. The house
remained quiet. Some of the lights were extinguished. Dorian crossed the
street. He must find out something. He stood by the gate, not knowing
what to do. The door opened again, and a woman, evidently a neighbor,
came out. She saw the young man and stopped.

"Pardon me," said Dorian, "but tell me how Mildred - Miss Brown is?"

"She just died."

"Thank you."

The woman went into a nearby house. Dorian moved away, benumbed with the
despair which sank into his heart at the final setting of his sun. Dead!
Mildred was dead! He felt the night wind blow cold down the street, and
he saw the storm clouds scudding along the distant sky. In the deep blue
directly above him a star shone brightly, but it only reminded him of
what Uncle Zed had said about hitching to a star; yes, but what if the
star had suddenly been taken from the sky!

A form of a girl darted across the street toward him. He stopped and saw
that it was Carlia.

"Dorian" she cried, "how is she?"

"She has just died."

"Dead! O, dear," she wailed.

They stood there under the street light, the girl looking with great
pity into the face of the young man. She was only a girl, and not a very
wise girl, but she saw how he suffered, and her heart went out to his
heart. She took his hand and held it firmly within her warmer grasp; and
by that simple thing the young man seemed again to get within the reach
of human sympathy. Then they walked on without speaking, and she led him
along the streets and on to the road which led to Greenstreet.

"Come on, Dorian, let's go home," she said.

"Yes; let's go home, Carlia."




CHAPTER SEVEN.


The death of Mildred Brown affected Dorian Trent most profoundly. Not
that he displayed any marked outward signs of his feelings, but his very
soul was moved to its depths, sometimes as of despair, sometimes as
of resentment. Why, he asked himself, should God send - he put it this
way - send to him this beautiful creature who filled his heart so
completely, why hold her out to him as if inviting him to take her, and
then suddenly snatch her away out of his life - out of the life of the
world!

For many days Dorian went about as if in a pained stupor. His mother,
knowing her boy, tried in a wise way to comfort him; but it was not
altogether a success. His studies were neglected, and he had thoughts of
quitting school altogether; but he did not do this. He dragged through
the few remaining days until spring, when he eagerly went to work on the
open reaches of the farm, where he was more away from human beings and
nearer to that something in his heart. He worked long and hard and
faithfully that spring.

On the upper bank of the canal, where the sagebrush stood untouched,
Dorian that summer found the first sego blossoms. He had never observed
them so closely before nor seen their real beauty. How like Mildred they
were! He gathered a bouquet of them that Saturday afternoon as he went
home, placed them in a glass of water, and then Sunday afternoon he
wrapped them in a damp newspaper and took the bouquet with him to town.
His Sunday trips to the city were usually for the purpose of visiting
Mildred's grave. The sun shone warm that day from a blue sky as Dorian
came slowly and reverently to the plot where lay all that was earthly of
one whom he loved so well. The new headstone gleamed in white marble and
the young grass stood tender and green. Against the stone lay a bunch of
withered wild roses. Someone had been there before him that day. Whom
could it be? Her mother was not in the city, and who else would remember
the visit of the angel-being who had returned to her eternal home? A
pang shot through his heart, and he was half tempted to turn without
placing his own tribute on the grave, then immediately he knew the
thought was foolish. He took off the wrapping and placed his fresher
flowers near the more withered ones. Later that summer, he learned
only incidently that it had been Carlia who had been before him that
afternoon.

During those days, Carlia kept out of Dorian's way as much as possible.
She even avoided walking to and from school with him. He was so
absentminded even with her that she in time came to resent it in her
feelings. She could not understand that a big, very-much-alive boy
should have his mind so fixed on a dead girl that he should altogether
forget there were living ones about, especially one, Carlia Duke.

One evening Dorian met Uncle Zed driving his cow home from the pasture,
and the old man invited the younger man to walk along with him. Dorian
always found Uncle Zed's company acceptable.

"Why haven't you come to me with your trouble?" abruptly asked Uncle
Zed.

Dorian started, then hung his head.

"We never have any unshared secrets, you know, and I may have been able
to help you."

"I couldn't talk to anybody."

"No; I suppose not."

The cow was placed in the corral, and then Uncle Zed and Dorian sat
down on a grassy bank. The sun was painting just such a picture of the
marshlands as Dorian knew so well.

"But I can talk to you" continued the old man as if there had been no
break in his sentences. "Death, I know, is a strange and terrible thing,
for youth; when you get as old as I, I hope you will look on death as
nothing more than a release from mortality, a moving from one sphere to
another, a step along the eternal line of progress. I suppose that it
is just as necessary that we pass out of the world by death as that we
enter it by birth; and I further suppose that the terror with which
death is vested is for the purpose of helping us to cling to this
earth-life until our mission here is completed."

Dorian did not speak; his eyes were on the marshlands.

"Imagine, Dorian, this world, just as it is, with all its sin and misery
and without any death. What would happen? We would all, I fear, become
so self-centered, so hardened in selfishness that it would be difficult
for the gentle power of love to reach us; but now there is hardly a
family that has not one or more of its members on the other side. And
these absent loved ones are anchors to our souls, tied to us by the
never-ending cords of love and affection. You, yourself, my boy, never
have had until now many interests other than those of this life; now
your interests are broadened to another world, and that's something
worth while.... Now, come and see me often." They arose, each to go to
his home.

"I will, Uncle Zed. Thank you for what you have said."

Dorian completed his four years high school. Going to the University
might come later, but now he was moved by a spirit of activity to do
bigger things with his farm, and to enlarge it, if possible.

About this time, dry-farming had taken the attention of the farmers
in his locality, and many of them had procured lands on the sloping
foothills. Dorian, with a number of other young men had gone up the
nearby canyon to the low hills of the valley beyond and had taken up
lands. That first summer Dorian spent much of his time in breaking up
the land. As timber was not far away, he built himself a one-roomed log
house and some corrals and outhouses. A mountain stream rushed by the
lower corner of his farm, and its wild music sang him to sleep when he
spent the night in the hills. He furnished his "summer residence" with a
few simple necessities so that he could live there a number of days at a
time. He minded not the solitude. The wild odorous verdure of the hills,
the cool breezes, the song of the distant streams, the call of the
birds, all seemed to harmonize with his own feelings at that time. He
had a good kerosene lamp, and at nights when he was not too tired, he
read. On his visits to the city he usually had an eye for book bargains,
and thus his board shelving came to be quite a little library. He had no
method in his collecting, no course of connected study. At one time he
would leisurely read one of Howell's easy-going novels, at another time
he would be kept wide-eyed until midnight with "Lorna Doone" or with
"Ben Hur."

Dorian had heard of Darwin, of Huxley, of Ingersol and of Tom Payne, but
he had never read anything but selections from these writers. Now he
obtained a copy of the "Origin of Species" and a book by Ingersol.
These he read carefully. Darwin's book was rather heavy, but by close
application, the young student thought he learned what the scientist was
"driving at." This book disturbed him somewhat. There seemed to be much
truth in it, but also some things which did not agree with what he had
been taught to be true. In this he realized his lack of knowledge. More
knowledge must clear up any seeming contradiction, he reasoned. Ingersol
was more readable, snappy, witty, hitting the Bible in a fearless way.
Dorian had no doubt that all of Ingersol's points could be answered, as
he himself could refute many of them.

One day as Dorian was browsing as usual in a book store he came across a
cheap copy of Drummond's "Natural Law in the Spiritual World," the book
which he had given Uncle Zed. As he wanted a copy himself, he purchased
this one and took it with him to his cabin in the hills. Immediately he
was interested in the book, and he filled its pages with copious notes
and marks of emphasis.

It was Sunday afternoon in mid-summer at Greenstreet. The wheat again
stood in the shock. The alfalfa waved in scented purple. Dorian and the
old philosopher of Greenstreet sat in the shade of the cottonwood and
looked out on the farm scene as they talked.

"I've also been reading 'Natural Law in the Spiritual World'" said
Dorian.

"Good," replied Uncle Zed. "I was going to lend you my copy, so we could
talk about it intelligently. What message have you found in it for you?"

"Message?"

"Yes; every book should have a message and should deliver it to the
reader. Drummond's book thundered a message to me, but it came too late.
I am old, and past the time when I could heed any such call. If I were
young, if I - if I were like you, Dorian, you who have life before you,
what might not I do, with the help of the Lord!"

"What, Uncle Zed?"

"Drummond was a clergyman and a professor of natural history and
science. As such, he was a student of the laws of God as revealed both
through the written word of inspiration and in nature about him. In his
book he aims to prove that the spiritual world is controlled by the same
laws which operate in the natural wold; and as you perhaps discovered in
your reading, he comes very nearly proving his claim. He presents some
wonderfully interesting analogies. Of course, much of his theology is
of the perverted sectarian kind, and therein lies the weakness of his
argument. If he had had the clear truth of the restored gospel, how much
brighter would his facts have been illumed, how much stronger would have
been his deductions. Why, even I with my limited scientific knowledge
can set him right in many places. So I say, if I were but a young man
like you, do you know what I'd do?"

"What?" again questioned Dorian.

"I would devote all my mind, might and strength to the learning of
truth, of scientific truth. I would cover every branch of science
possible in the limits of one life, especially the natural sciences.
Then with my knowledge of the gospel and the lamp of inspiration which
the priesthood entitles me to, I could harmonize the great body of truth
coming from any and every source. Dorian, what a life work that would
be!"

The old man looked smilingly at his companion with a strange, knowing
intimation. He spoke of himself, but he meant that Dorian should take
the suggestion. Dorian could pick up his beautiful dream and make it
come true. Dorian, with life and strength, and a desire for study and
truth could accomplish this very desirable end. The old man placed his
hand lovingly on the young man's shoulder, as he continued:

"You are the man to do this, Dorian - you, not I."

"I - Uncle Zed, do you believe that?"

"I do. Listen, my boy. I see you looking over the harvested field. It is
a fine work you are doing; thousands can plant and harvest year after
year; but few there are who can and will devote their lives to the
planting of faith and the nourishing and the establishing of faith in
the hearts of men; and that's what we need now to properly answer the
Lord's cry that when He cometh shall He find faith on the earth?... Let
the call come to you - but there, in the Lord's own good time. Come into
the house. I have a new book to show you, also I have a very delicious
cherry pie."

They went into the house together, where they inspected both book and
pie. Dorian weakly objected to the generous portion which was cut for
him, but Uncle Zed explained that the process of division not only
increased the number of pieces of pie, but also added to its tastiness.
Dorian led his companion to talk about himself.

"Yes," he said in reply to a question, "I was born in England and
brought up in the Wesleyan Methodist church. I was a great reader ever
since I can remember. I read not only history and some fiction, but
even the dry-as-dust sermons were interesting to me. But I never seemed
satisfied. The more I read, the deeper grew the mysteries of life.
Nowhere did I find a clear, comprehendible statement of what I, an
entity with countless other entities, was doing here. Where had I come
from, where was I going? I visited the churches within my reach. I heard
the preachers and read the philosophers to obtain, if possible, a clue
to the mystery of life. I studied, and prayed, and went about seeking,
but never finding."

"But you did find the truth at last?"

"Yes; thank the Lord. I found the opening in the darkness, and it came
through the simple, humble, and not very learned elders of the Church of
Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints."

"What is the principle trouble with all this learning of the world that
it does not lead to the truth?"

"The world's ignorance of God. Eternal life consists in knowing the only
true God, and the world does not know Him; therefore, all their systems
of religion are founded on a false basis. That is the reason there is so
much uncertainty and floundering when philosophers and religionists try
to make a known truth agree with their conceptions of God."

"Explain that a little more to me, Uncle Zed."

"Some claim that Nature is God, others that God only manifests Himself
through nature. I read this latter idea many places. For instance, Pope
says:

"'All are but parts of one stupendous whole
Whose body nature is, and God the soul.'

"Also Tennyson:

'The sun, the moon, the stars, the seas, the hills and plains
Are not these, O soul, the vision of Him who reigns?
Speak to Him there, for He hears, and spirit with spirit can meet,
Closer is He than breathing, and nearer than hands and feet.'

"This, no doubt, is beautiful poetry, but it tells only a part of the
truth. God, by His Spirit is, and can be all the poet here describes.
'Whither shall I go from thy spirit? or whither shall I flee from thy
presence?' exclaims the Psalmist. 'In him we live and move and have our
being' declares Paul; but these statements alone are not enough for our
proper understanding of the subject. We try to see God behind the veil
of nature, in sun and wind and flower and fruit; but there is something
lacking. Try now to formulate some distinct idea of what this universal
and almighty force back of nature is. We are told that this force is
God, whom we must love and worship and serve. We want the feeling
of nearness to satisfy the craving for love and protection, but our
intellect and our reason must also be somewhat satisfied. We must
have some object on which to rest - we cannot always be floating about
unsuspended in time and space.

"Then there is some further confusion: Christian philosophers have tried
to personify this 'soul of the universe,' for God, they say, thinks and
feels and knows. They try to get a personality without form or bounds or
dimentions, but it all ends in vagueness and confusion. As for me, and I
think I am not so different from other men, - for me to be able to think
of God, I must have some image of Him. I cannot think of love or good,
or power or glory in the abstract. These must be expressed to me by
symbols at least as eminating from, or inherent in, or exercised by some
person. Love cannot exist alone: there must be one who loves and one
who is being loved. God is love. That means to me that a person, a
beautiful, glorified, allwise, benevolent being exercises that divine
principle which is shed forth on you and me.

"Now, if the world would only leave all this metaphysical meandering and
come back to the simple truth, what a clearing of mists there would
be! All their philosophies would have a solid basis if they would only
accept the truth revealed anew to us through the Prophet Joseph Smith
that God is one of a race, the foremost and first, if you wish it, but
still one of a race of beings who inhabit the universe; that we humans
are His children, begotten of Him in the pre-mortal world in His image;
that we are on the upward path through eternity, following Him who has
gone before and has marked out the way; that if we follow, we shall
eventually arrive at the point where He now is. Ignorance of these
things is what I understand to be ignorance of God."

"In England I lost my wife and two children. The gospel came to me
shortly after, I am sure, to comfort me in the depths of my despair. Not
one church on earth that I knew of, Catholic or Protestant, would hold
out any hope of my ever being reunited with wife and children as such.
There is no family life in heaven, they teach. At that time I went about
listening to the preachers, and I delved into books. I made extensive
copyings in my note books. I have them yet, and some day when you are
interested I will show them to you."

"I am interested now," said Dorian.

"But I'm not going to talk to you longer on this theme, even though it
is Sunday and time for sermonizing. I'm going to meeting, where you also
ought to go. You are not attending as regularly as you should."

"No, but I've been very busy."

"No excuse that. There is danger in remaining away too long from the
established sources of spiritual inspiration and uplift, especially when
one is reading Ingersol and Tom Paine. I have no fault to find with your
ambition to get ahead in the world, but with it 'remember thy creator in
the days of thy youth.' Are you neglecting your mother?"

"No; I think not, Uncle Zed; but what do you mean about mother?"

"You are all she has. Are you making her days happy by your personal
care and presence. Are you giving of yourself to her?"

"Well, perhaps I am not so considerate as I might be; I am away quite a
lot; thank you for calling my attention to it."

"Are you neglecting anybody else?"

"Not that I know."

"Good. Now I must clear away my table and get ready for meeting. You'll
go with me."

"I can't. I haven't my Sunday clothes."

"The Lord will not look at your clothes."

"No; but a lot of people will."

"We go to meeting to worship the Lord, not to be looked at by others. Go
home and put on your Sunday best; there is time." The old man was busy
between table and cupboard as he talked. "Have you seen Carlia lately?"

"No," replied Dorian.

"The last time she was here I thought she was a little peaked in the
face, for you know she has such a rosy, roly-poly one."

"Is that so? She comes to see you, then?"

"Yes; oftener than you do."

"I never meet her here."

"No; she manages that, I surmise."

"What do you mean?"

"I tell you Carlia is a lovely girl," continued Uncle Zed, ignoring his
direct question. "Have you ever eaten butter she has churned?"

"Not that I know."

"She used to bring me a nice pat when my cow was dry; and bread of her
own baking too, about as good as I myself make." He chuckled as he wiped
the last dish and placed it neatly in the rack.

Dorian arose to go. "Remember what I have told you this evening" said
Uncle Zed. The old man from behind his window watched his young friend
walk leisurely along the road until he reached the cross-lots path which
led to the Duke home. Here he saw him pause, go on again, pause once
more, then jump lightly over the fence and strike out across the field.
Uncle Zed then went on finishing his preparations for meeting.

As Dorian walked across the field, he did think of what Uncle Zed had
said to him. Dorian had built his castles, had dreamed his dreams; but
never before had the ideas presented to him by Uncle Zed that afternoon
ever entered in them. The good old man had seemed so eager to pass on
to the young man an unfulfilled work, yes, a high, noble work. Dorian


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