Victor From Vanquished Issues

L. M. MONTGOMERY August 1 1915

Victor From Vanquished Issues

L. M. MONTGOMERY August 1 1915

Victor From Vanquished Issues

L. M. MONTGOMERY

IT was not until Stephen St. John rose to announce his text that he saw Judith Allen. He had never seen her before, but he knew there could be only one woman in Lynndale answering to the description of the stranger in the Blakeley pew. He squared his shoulders involuntarily. His sermon was a good one and he had a little natural pride in it, but the presence of this girl made him nervous. Nevertheless, it also served as a stimulus. She represented a world whose criticism he hoped to challenge some day in other pulpits than that of Lynndale.

He had heard her called beautiful, and he now realized that she was.

Even at that moment he felt quite sure that Judith Allen surpassed all women he had ever seen.

May Willetts, sitting directly beneath him, with her soft-blue eyes lifted to his face, and an aureole of fluffy, palegold hair about her child -like head, was very pretty : and Marcelh Barry, the Lynndale school - teacher, who sat behind h i m

in the choir and was the only real woman friend he had in Lynndale, was handsome. But their beauty seemed an altogether different thing from Judith Allen’s.

There was but one listener for Stephen St. John in Lynndale church that morning. He had an indefinable sense that he was being put to the test, and he acquitted himself like a man.

After the sermon, while the collection was being taken up, Marcella Barry sang a solo. She had a fine, though untrained, voice. For once Stephen St. John did not hear her. He could not see Judith Allen from where he sat, but he seemed to see her—the long, mobile, colorless face under the large, modish hat, the folds of black hair, the luminous eyes, the slightly, over-full, rose-red lips, the proud, yet fine, carriage of head and shoulders, the knot of pale heliotrope and maiden-hair at the breast of her grey gown.

When the service was over he went swiftly down the pulpit steps. It was his habit to move down the aisle among his people, giving and receiving simple, kindly greetings. Mrs. Blakeley was waiting at the entrance of her pew, ready to

pounce on him. She was a member of the Lynndale Methodist Church and was prominent in all its work; nevertheless, she was considered barely orthodox, and was suspected of a chronic hankering after the pomps and vanities of the world, as instanced by her much-paraded intimacy with the Allens. Just now she was beaming effusively as she put her plump, kid-gloved hand into Stephen’s. But he did not see the fussy, over-dressed little woman before him—he was looking past her at Judith Allen. The latter was talking to her father, who had sat beside her during the service. He was a handsome, fresh-faced old man, with a general air of worldly prosperity about him.

Beyond the Allens the June sunlight was turning May Willett’s head into a blur of misty gold; still further back Marcella Barry was talking to the Sunday School superintendent, but watching the tableau at the Blakeley pew with a somewhat sarcastic curve of her clever mouth.

Mrs. Blakeley had stepped aside, with her hand still on Stephen’s black arm. He was face to face with Judith Allen and

heard, as in a dream, Mrs. Blakeley’s conventional murmur of introduction. The girl bowed somewhat coldly, but Mr. Allen shook his hand heartily and said something about the sermon which Stephen hardly heeded. He was watching Judith moving down the aisle before them; she was taller than the women about her, and her dark hair shone with a kind of metallic lustre as she passed through the streamers of crimson and blue and orange light, that fell across the church.

Mr. Allen talked in his brisk, cultured tone until they reached the door. Old Dan Warfield, who had the soul of a saint in a warped, unbeautiful body, was waiting there for the minister with a tale about some destitute family over at West Lynndale. Stephen had to step aside and listen. When the story was told most of the people were gone. The janitor was carrying the Sunday School hymnals into the vestry, and Marcella Barry was going out of the door with her choir books under her arm. Stephen followed her and took them from her; he boarded where she did.

On the road home Marcella asked him, in her usual straightforward fashion, if he did not think Miss Allen very beautiful.

“Very,” was the brief response.

“I think her face is the most beautiful I have ever seen in art or life,” continued

Marcella calmly. “There is something

very uncommon about it. And Judith Allen is an uncommon woman.”

“Do you know her?” Stephen asked the question awkwardly. For some indefinable reason it was an effort for him to speak of Judith Allen, particularly to Marcella Barry.

Marcella gave a slight shrug of her shapely shoulders.

“Not in the sense you mean. I have met her once or twice. But there is a great difference between Judith Allen and the Lynndale school teacher. Not,” she added hastily, “that there is anything of the snob about Miss Allen or that she made me feel the difference. On the contrary, she quite effaced it for the time being. But her world is a different one from mine.”

She might also have added, “and from yours as well.” But Stephen’s own consciousness filled it in. An unusual silence fell between them as they walked down the long, sloping road, basking in the prodigal

sunshine. Before them, on the summit of a little hill, was the farm house whefe they boarded, half screened from sight by blossoming apple trees. Away to the right, among fine old elms, was “Glenwood,” where the Allens lived. Stephen St. John looked across at Judith Allen’s home and thought, with a sharp, impatient pang, that there could be little or nothing in common between Gerard Allen’s daughter and the insignificant minister-elect in charge of the Methodist circuit of Lynndale.

Stephen St. John had taken his bachelor degree in the preceding spring. His destination being the ministry, he had been sent to take charge of the Lynndale circuit until college should re-open. With his ability and attainments he might have expected a better station for the summer than the straggling one at Lynndale, but he had thrown himself into its work, heart and soul.

He was young and enthusiastic, filled with a keen delight in living and in the problems of life which he must solve. It was not often that the Lynndale Methodists had such a man sent them. Commonly they had to be content with feeble creatures, whom the stationing committee could not send to wealthier and more critical circuits. Stephen St. John was a marvel to their simple souls. His fame as a preacher spread through the surrounding districts and filled the small church to over-flowing every Sunday. In a local way he was a celebrity.

Out of the pulpit his people liked him personally. They liked his youth and his eagerness, his unfeigned interest in their narrow lives, and a certain fine, spiritual quality in the man himself of which he was quite unconscious. Stephen St. John was a success on the Lynndale circuit and he had been satisfied until he had seen Judith Allen’s face in the Methodist Church that morning.

Then, all at once, he became conscious of a certain weariness of, and distaste for, his work. He thought she must hold it in contempt, and that he himself must share in that contempt for having occupied himself with it—that little round of Sunday services, ill-attended weekly prayer meetings, and unvarying pastoral calls. He felt a feverish longing to prove to her that there were greater things in him than were called out on the Lynndale circuit. He despised himself for these feelings, but he could not subdue them, moreover, there stirred imperiously within him a keen desire for the world in which Judith Allen lived, where he might meet his peers and match his intellect with worthy competitors, and drink into his soul the beauty and refinement of thought and environment that his nature craved.

And all this, as he told himself contemptously, all this disquiet and revolt had come from the mere glimpse of a woman’s face—a woman who knew and cared nothing about him or his work.

Sunday School was irksome to him that afternoon, and May Willetts cried her blue, innocent eyes half out when she went home because he had forgotten to speak to her. Some of the kindly, simple-hearted Lynndale folk had thought that the young minister might marry May Willetts. Others thought he liked Marcella Barry.

But Marcella Barry, at least, was discerning enough to see, and had seen, from the moment that Stephen St. John had looked into Judith Allen’s eyes at their meeting, that he would never care for her now. She taught her Sunday School class calmly, in spite of her heartache, and went home after it without waiting for Stephen. Life held a great deal for Marcella Barry. She did not choose to waste any of it in a hopeless effort to win the love of a man over whom Judith Allen had cast the glamor of her beauty.

Stephen did not even miss Marcella. But that evening the service seemed to him empty and meaningless because there was no critical, highly-responsive face in the Blakeley pew.

T YNNDALE was a gossipy place and gossip filtered through all its social tissues with marvelous rapidity. Hence, the family with whom Stephen boarded soon knew, and contrived that he should know, the effect that he had produced on the Allens. Mr. Allen was reported to have said that he was really astonished— that the young fellow the Methodists had got on their circuit seemed remarkably clever. The Lynndale people rolled this as a sweet morsel under their tongues, for it was not often the Allens, who were Anglicans, favored their “supplies” with any notice whatever.

The next week Gerard Allen called on Stephen, and the latter found himself accepting an invitation to tea at Glenwood on the following day. Marcella Barry, coming home from school, met Stephen showing his caller out. An odd smile crossed the girl’s lips, as she noted the illumination on the young man’s face; then something like pity revealed itself in her fine, hazel eyes. This young Methodist “supply” was half in love with Judith Allen already. If he met her again he would be wholly so; and Marcella, knowing what the Allens were, honestly thought that Stephen St. John might as well fall in love with a duchess and have done with it.

Stephen would not admit, even to himself, how happy he was. He tried to make himself believe that he was pleased because an invitation from such a source was a mark of the intellectual approval with which Mr. Allen regarded him; but deep down in his heart he knew it was because he would see Judith again.

When he went to Glenwood the next evening he found he was not the only guest. The rector of St. Mary’s was there from Outport, evidently asked to meet him on the birds-of-a-feather principle, and the young doctor from West Lynndale. Also a noted lecturer and the principal of the Outport Academy were present, together with two or three pretty, fluffy Outport girls and the principal’s fat, motherly wife.

Stephen had never seen Mrs. Allen before. He knew now where Judith got her beauty, for her mother was strikingly handsome, and, as he felt, a woman of the world to her very finger tips. Judith herself seemed even more beautiful than when he had seen her in church, and her manner was distinctly cordial as she gave him her cool, slender hand in greeting.

Stephen was thoroughly at his ease.

The law of elective affinity works everywhere, and in all conditions of life. The society in which he found himself was his natural element. He knew quite well that he was being weighed in the balance from a social standpoint, and the knowledge put him on his mettle. The dull, pompous, good-natured rector, the brilliant and satirical lecturer, and the clever professor were surprised to find that this pale student, with the high brow and fine dark eyes, was more than a match for them. All present felt the charm of his personality. Mr. Allen was frankly delighted with him, and voiced his opinion to the rector when the younger people had gone out.

“A fine young fellow that, don’t you think? Clever, too! I took a notion to him when I heard him preach last Sunday. Judith had heard somewhere that he was a good speaker and wanted to hear him, so we went. Didn’t expect much myself—had him pretty well sized up in my mind, as I thought—flabby, weak-eyed, weaker-brained—just what the men they usually get on that circuit are. I assure you I was agreeably surprised. He doesn’t know himself how clever he is by half. It’s a marvel he was ever sent to a circuit like Lynndale—a positive casting of pearls before swine. I don’t see how a man of his calibre can stand it. But the people hereabouts seem to worship him. Judith fancied him, too—and she’s rather critical.”

When Stephen went home that night he was conscious of a certain wine-like exhilaration, resulting from his contact with cultivated minds. He knew quite well that he had made a favorable impression on all whom he had met at Glenwood. Mr. Allen had proffered him a standing invitation to call, and Judith herself had repeated it as she bade him good-night. His hand thrilled yet with the gentle pressure of hers. He recalled her low, clear voice and the sweetly-grave glance of her eyes with an indefinable delight. Her beauty was great, but the subtle charm which had captivated his fastidious admiration was altogether apart from the mere loveliness of feature and coloring.

In his soul he questioned the wisdom of cultivating an intimacy with the Allens, even while he knew quite well that he meant to cultivate it. True, their environment was refined and cultured and sensuously beautiful, but it was also worldly to the last degree. There was literally no soul-growth possible in it—there might even be soul stifling. Stephen could not deny to himself that the Lynndale people and his circuit duties did not sdem any more attractive from his afternoon at Glenwood.

Judith, too! Stephen was too much of a man, in spite of the spell that was on him, not to see with more or less clearness that there was danger for him here. It would not do for any man, poor in this world’s goods and entering on a career that promised little increase of the same, to set his heart on a woman like Judith Allen. The very absurdity of the thing seemed to him his best safeguard. A beautiful friendship was being frankly offered him; he had no mind to reject because a possible peril lurked in it.

As he walked along, alone in the darkness of the night, Judith’s face shone be-

fore him like a star of inspiration. He wrote his sermon the next day as if she were to pass judgment on every thought and expression. He did not expect that she would be present to hear it, but it seemed to him that thenceforth, as long as life lasted, everything he might ever write or utter must be judged by the standard of what she would think of it. It almost alarmed him to find how suddenly and completely the thought of her dominated his inner life. He found difficulty in fitting himself into his old groove again, as if his recent expansion had left him too large for it. The homely words and ways of his people jarred on him. Even Marcella Barry, whose face he had thought beautiful and whose intellect he admired, seemed brusque and uninteresting. She was, perhaps, more clever than Judith Allen, she might even be the nobler woman, but for Stephen St. John she had become an impossibility. All friendship with her was over. Judith Allen was not the woman to reign over a divided kingdom. Lynndale gossip, like most gossip, was imaginative. When it became evident that the Allens had taken up the young minister in all seriousness the matter was much talked of. Some of the Methodists, such as Mrs. Blakeley, were pleased; but the majority disapproved. They thought there should be no compromise between a preacher of the gospel and the world, as represented by the Allens and their Outport friends. Stephen was now a frequent and welcome visitor at Glenwood. He met many people there and drank deeply of the cup of enchantment proffered him.

Every visit he made separated him a little further from the Lynndale circuit. His sermons were more brilliant and scholarly, his general outlook on life wider and more liberal; but old Mrs. Jones complained that “his prayers didn’t seem to do her as much good nohow—they seemed to be kind of put on from the outside,” and the Lynndale people felt, without being able to define their feelings, that their minister was not as near to them as he had been.

Stephen knew it and felt it, too. With all his efforts he could not take the same single-minded interest in his work as before. An hour in the atmosphere of Judith’s home left him feeling out of joint with himself and his once cherished aims. He realized that there was something wrong in this, and in his consequent irritation he tried to shift the blame on his people. They were so narrow and crude, even in their religion, he told himself, that he could not feel at home among them. At times he was even inclined to laugh at them and their literalness.

It was a shock to him, in spite of all this, when he discovered that he loved Judith Allen, although at the same time it seemed to him absurd that he had ever thought it possible to do anything else. By this time also, he had come into the subtle knowledge that even here the way was open for him. He could, if he so elected, win Judith Allen. But at what cost?

Mr. Allen had never in any way discouraged his daughter’s friendship with Stephen, but there had always been a faint undercurrent of reservation, and the

whole influence of Glenwood tended to open out new vistas before him and close the old. Stephen had at all times an uneasy sense that he was trifling with temptation and so losing strength for a dimly foreseen struggle in the future.

There came an evening when Gerard Allen put into careful, suggestive words the subtle thought that had long been the mainspring of action. Stephen was at Glenwood, and both men were sitting at dusk in the library, the long, exquisite room which Stephen loved because it was so suggestive of Judith. It had been her especial creation and every article in it spoke eloquently of her.

Opposite Stephen Mr. Allen’s fine, massive old head came out against the mellow bindings of the books on the walls. From one of the other rooms came the faint tinkle of a zither—probably Judith was the player.

“I suppose you return to college next month, Mr. St. John,” said Mr. Allen after a long silence in which Stephen had been thinking of a hundred irrelevant matters. “Have you definitely decided to enter the ministry of the Methodist Church?”

“I think so,” said Stephen uncertainly.

Mr. Allen bent forward and folded his arms upon the table.

“My dear fellow, I hope you will allow me to speak frankly to you, as one man to another. I have no son of my own, but if I had and if he were like you I would feel proud of him. In all frankness, therefore, I tell you that I think you are doing

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Victor from Vanquished Issues

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an unwise thing. I do not wish for a moment to speak slightingly of the ministry, or of your church. I respect both ; and, moreover, I am aware that you doubtless regard the matter from a standpoint totally different from mine. But still I repeat that I think you are making a mistake. Speaking without any desire to flatter, you must yourself be aware that you possess unusual ability. A dozen careers are possible to you, and any one of them successful and probably brilliant. In the pulpit of the Methodist Church, with its circuit system, your talents will be, to a great extent, wasted; you will have a life of hard work which may perhaps bring you in the end a D.D., a reputation for scholarly and eloquent sermons, and a certain precedence and authority among men of the cloth. Surely your ambition reaches higher than that! In another career there is no position to which you might not aspire, no reward you might not expect to win.”

Was it Stephen’s fancy or did the older man consciously emphasize that last sentence? There was a pause, during which Mr. Allen drummed with his fingers on the polished table, and the low, sweet laughter of women, mingled with the tinkle of the zither, drifted through the hall. Stephen could find no reply to make, and presently the smooth, bland voice went on :

“Perhaps you have already thought this over. If so, I hope you will decide the question in a practical manner. There are plenty of men who will do your work in the church as well as you can, but few who can do your work in the world. Don’t let any sentimental aim or enthusiasm stand in your way. Christianity is not confined to the ministry. I hope you are not annoyed with me for my plain speaking. I have spoken to you as a father to a son whose best interests he has at heart. If you decide to look about you for some other profession you can rely on me for advice and any assistance it may be in my power to offer you.”

“Thank you,” said Stephen hurriedly. “What you say may be true, Mr. Allen. I have been thinking over this matter a good deal of late. But just at present I cannot decide.”

Mr. Allen rose, with the air of closing an interview.

“Of, course, of course,” he said briskly. “I understand your perplexity perfectly. You are young and the young are apt to have ideals. I am old and I know what I am talking about. I want you to make the best of yourself.”

When he had gone out Stephen rose and began to pace up and down the room. He was full of feverish disquiet. Judith’s name had not been mentioned in the conversation, nor had any reference been made to her. Yet, stripped of all its conventional swathing, the central, electrical idea had been, as plainly as if Gerard

Allen had put it into words: “Give up this foolish idea of becoming a circuit-ridden Methodist minister and you will win the woman you love.”

The thought was insistent. Moreover, the stirring of a worldly ambition he had once fought and deemed conquered had awakened into ten-fold strength under Gerard Allen’s astute appeal. His chosen lot appeared to him all that the older man had represented it—hard, unpromising, bare of fruition. A hundred voices seemed to call him from it.

Into this strife and chaos of thought came Judith, soft-footed, through the hall, pausing for a moment in the doorway. Even in the dusk Stephen could see the ivory outlines of her face against the crimson hangings.

“All alone? Where is father?”

“He went out a few minutes ago,” said Stephen, turning away from the window that looked out on the purple-brimmed Lynndale valley.

Judith came over and stood beside him. The froth-like ruffles of her white gown brushed against his arm. In spite of himself the young man could not repress a groan.

The girl at his side started.

“Mr. St. John, are you ill?”

“No,” Stephen turned and faced her desperately. “I have been talking to your father, Judith, and I have realized that I ought not to come here any more.”

“Why not?”

“Because I love you.”

He spoke the words through his teeth. Judith looked up at him; he was a little the taller, and the two made a beautiful, unconscious picture as they stood in the faint, crocus light of the high window.

“I think,” she said slowly, “that that would be all the more reason why you should come.”

Stephen took one step forward and then back again.

“Judith, you must understand. I love you, but I cannot ask you to share my way of life. It is too widely different from yours.”

“Is your way of life irrevocably chosen?”

Judith asked the question calmly, but her clasped hands trembled.

Stephen braced himself for the struggle. His voice was hoarse from pain as he answered.

“We were discussing that before you came in—your father and I. He advised me to give up my intention of entering the ministry and choose some other profession.”

Judith drew a quick breath.

“I know father thinks it would be much better for you. He has often said so. And you—?”

“I could not decide. I have not decided. Will it—can it—make any difference to you, Judith?”

“All the difference in the world,” she answered simply. “I love you.” “Judith.”

Stephen’s arms were about her and his lips on hers. For a moment they stood so, forgetful of everything but each other. Then Judith drew herself away.

“But it is as father says, Stephen. I cannot marry a Methodist minister. Think how absurd it would be. You will give it up for my sake, will you not?”

Stephen leaned against the wall, trembling from head to foot. His moment of unutterable happiness had passed, and the question of his conscience was before him again.

“Judith, could you love me if I were a traitor and a coward? For that is what I shall be if I give up the work to which, as I truly believe, I am called of God?”

Judith made a quick, half-petulant movement with her hand. “I do not understand you. You could never be those things. Is there only one calling in which a man can serve God?”

“Only one for some,” returned Stephen more firmly. “We do not see this question from the same standpoint, Judith. I fear I cannot make you realize mine. You will think me either a fool or a fanatic. As I have told you, I believe that I am called of God to the ministry of the Methodist Church, that there is a work in it for me to do, and that, if I give it up, I will be committing a deadly sin against my own soul—yea, and against yours as well. Can I do this even for you, Judith?”

“I certainly do not understand you,” her voice was cold and had taken on a subtle aloofness. “I think your meaning is that you love your ‘calling,’ as you phrase it, better than you love me. Well, it is for you to choose between the two.”

She turned proudly away; then, as quickly turned and came back to him.

“I cannot leave you so, Stephen. I cannot believe that this is your final decision—that you hold my love so lightly. Think the matter over calmly. This is Thursday; come back to me on Saturday and tell me that you will take father’s advice; and then—”

She did not conclude the sentence in words, but Stephen was conscious of a soft, wai-m touch on his cheek, a flutter of white draperies moving across the dim room, the dying away of light footsteps in the hall. Like a man in a dream he went out. Judith’s parting kiss burned on his cheek, the knowledge that she loved him seemed to course through heart and brain like fire. Even at that moment he felt that he could never give her up—that she had won even when she seemed to lose. He was hers and she was his forever, no matter what creeds or systems stood in the way.

For the next twenty-four hours Stephen fought his losing battle well and bravely. When he went to his little weekly prayer meeting on Friday night the struggle was over; Judith and love had conquered, as he had known they must. He would go the next evening and tell her so.

He felt an almost boyish exhilaration of spirits after his decision. The future opened before him, rosy with promise. He would accomplish great things. Gerard Allen was right—there was something better in life for him than a toiling, underpaid itineracy in the Methodist conference.

The sun was setting as he went up the hill. Before him a young couple, quite unconscious of his proximity, were loitering along on their way to prayer meeting. He was a hired boy from West Lynndale; she was a girl from the lobster factory and she wore an impossible hat. But they loved each other, and Stephen did not see the slouching gait or the loud finery; he saw only the love and felt a thrill of joy-

ous sympathy with them. Old Dan Warfield was a little further ahead, hobbling painfully along and talking to himself about the Bible lesson for the night. Stephen felt amused at him. Yet he remembered with a strange pang that when he had first come to Lynndale a halfhour’s talk with old Dan had seemed like a veritable bit of heavenly communion and had made him stronger and better for days afterward.

In the dim little church vestry so few people had yet assembled that the janitor had not lighted the lamps. Stephen passed absent-mindedly up to the platform and sat down on the chair by his desk, leaning his head against the frame of the open window behind him.

It was a gracious evening; down in the valley lights were twinkling out, and above them some early stars were shining in the crystal-clear sky; a sleepy bird, somewhere in the firs behind the church, chirped out and was answered by its mate. Stephen’s heart thrilled to the sound and its teaching. Everything in nature had its mate and a right to it. Judith was his and there was no law that ought to override that fact.

The vestry filled gradually, and presently the janitor lighted the lamps, shutting out the sweet golden dusk. Stephen brought himself back to the dingy little room and its rows of dull or inattentive faces with an effort. As was his custom, he read the Bible lesson and then threw the meeting open. Eliza Dillman was the first to rise. Stephen could have repeated every word of her exhortation beforehand, for it never varied from its set, conventional phrases. Then a pale woman, with | a saintly face, spoke a few simple, well1 chosen words. A timid young girl in the back of the room recited a hymn verse, her voice trembling with nervousness. Several other men and women followed, with prayers and testimonies of the usual crude nature.

After a long pause old Dan Warfield | arose in the shadowy corner where he had j been sitting. Old Dan did not often speak in meeting, but when he did the mantle of prophecy seemed to fall on him and he spoke as one inspired. He was a poor man from West Lynndale and was commonly supposed to have a closer walk with God than any other person on the circuit, not even excepting the minister himself. The older people exulted in his mystical utterances and the young were awed by them. He never confined himself to the Bible lesson for the night, but selected some seemingly random verse of Scripture and enlarged disjointedly on it. In his selections he believed himself to be guided by divine inspiration.

To-night, as he rose, his dwarfed, crooked body seemed to dilate and become imposing. The long locks of white hair falling around his face gave him a patriarchal aspect. His deep-set eyes flashed fire and seemed to be directed full upon the young minister. He lifted one bony hand above his head and shook it warningly as he exclaimed:

“He that loveth father or mother more than Me is not worthy of Me; and he that loveth son or daughter more than Me is not worthy of Me; and he that taleth not his cross and followeth after Me is not worthy of me.”

Stephen felt as if a mortal pang had gone through him, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit. He turned his startled eyes on the old man, who, unheeding anyone, went on with his exhortation, crude, ungrammatical, even ludicrous in some aspects, but full of a power that could be felt, mingling his own appeals with texts from Holy Writ—“If thy right eye offend thee pluck it out and cast it from thee”; “No man can serve two masters”; “Turn ye, turn ye, saith the Lord,” and every word seemed to Stephen St. John to be meant for him alone.

Old Dan’s impassioned utterances lasted but a few minutes. He dropped back into his seat exhausted and an audible sigh of relief went through the room, where the people had been listening as to the voice of judgment. Nobody would presume to speak after old Dan, and the conscience-stricken minister came to himself, realizing that he was expected to close the meeting with his usual short address.

This, just then, was impossible to him. He rose to pronounce the benediction with so white a face that his hearers thought he must be ill. When the meeting was dismissed he walked blindly out and home in all agony of renunciation.

Stephen St. John did not go to Glenwood the next evening, but on Sunday night he preached a sermon from old Dan’s text that is remembered and talked of yet on the Methodist circuit of Lynndale.

Judith was there, coming in late with the Blakeleys. He had not expected this and it was a shock to him, but he did not falter. Judith went down the aisle after the service without waiting to speak to him; there was a strange expression on her pale face; Stephen felt that she understood what his decision had been. He was not yet lifted above the agony of that decision, but there was a peace in his soul that not all his pain could embitter. By the grace of God he had come off conqueror.

Three days later Judith Allen came to him as he stood at dusk by the little garden gate of his boarding house. He did not see her until she was close by him and at first he could find no words to greet her.

Judith put her hand on the gate.

“Won’t you let me in, Stephen?” 1

He opened the gate and stepped aside like one in a dream. Judith came close up to him.

“You have put me to the shame of seeking you,” she said steadily. “I came because I feared you would not come to me, even if I sent for you, and I—I could not bear it any longer. What did that dreadful sermon of yours mean, Stephen? That you had given me up?”

“Yes, Judith. I could do nothing else. I love you—God knows how deeply—but my way of life can never be one with yours.”

“And so—”

Her voice was questioning. His in reply was grave and sad.

“We must part.”

“Oh^no! I must turn Methodist and renounce the pomps and vanities of the world. Do you think I shall ever develop

into a passably good minister’s Wife, Stephen?”

“Judith!”

At the pain in his voice her face lost its half-arch, half-teasing expression. She put her hand on his arm.

“Stephen, did you think I could give you up? When two strong-willed people like you and me clash there is nothing to do but for one to yield as gracefully as may be. Since you would not, why, I must. When I realized what your decision had been I was angry and hurt at first. But afterward I tried to look at the matter from your standpoint, and I think I succeeded. You were right, and I honor you for it. But now—”

She held out her hands to him. He trembled as he took them in an earnest clasp.

“Judith, dear one, it is not right, I fear, to accept such a sacrifice from you. And your father—”

“He will be disappointed, Stephen, but his disappointment will not go to the length of destroying my happiness. His regard for you would weather a worse gale than this, I think. And as for ‘sacrifice,’ there is no question of that from me to you. I cannot live without you, and you will have to teach me so much, dear, before I can be of any help to you at all.”

Stephen gathered her closely to him. His voice was reverent as he said:

“Judith, do you realize all that you are giving up?”

“For Stephen St. John’s love? Yes, and the balance is all in your favor.”

She turned and laid her cheek against his. Very softly and earnestly she repeated :

“Whither thou goest, I will go; thy people shall be my people and thy God my ■God ; where thou diest I will die and there shall I be buried; the Lord do so to me and more also if aught but death part thee and me.”

A Soldier’s Rations

The strength and efficiency of the soldier is conserved and his resistance against disease is built up by a carefully selected and scientific dietary designed to furnish the necessary energy in the most compact and convenient form. The energy allowance varies in different armies—the Russian and the American receiving a larger and the Austrian a smaller allowance than the French, English, or German soldier.

The average daily field ration of the United States army is made up as follows: Bacon, 12 ounces, or fresh meat, 20 ounces; bread, 18 ounces; beans, 2.4 ounces; potatoes, 20 ounces; prunes or preserves, 1.28 ounces; coffee, 1.12 ounces; sugar, 3.2 ounces; evaporated milk, 5 ounces; vinegar, .16 gill; salt. 64 ounce; butter. .5 ounce. Of this ration, just a portion is carried individually by 'the soldier, the rest, such as butter, lard, pepper and syrup, are given in bulk to the companies and then distributed to the men at meal time. This ration is greater 'than necessary, and the men trade in the surplus for delicacies.