current location:home >person >Lawk, sich a shirt! thinks I, it’s well my master wasn’t

Lawk, sich a shirt! thinks I, it’s well my master wasn’t

2023-11-28 21:55:15 [law] source:All kinds of troubles

He was sitting up, supported by many pillows; his face was hollow and colorless; his hands lay listlessly upon the counterpane. No one touches him; bathed in sunlight, as he was, the others seemed in shadow. When he spoke, his voice was almost a whisper, but it was distinctly audible to the four intent listeners; only the clock seemed to accompany his staccato speech, running a race, as it were, with his failing strength.

Lawk, sich a shirt! thinks I, it’s well my master wasn’t

"It is a beautiful world," he said dreamily, "a very beautiful world;" the sunbeams kissed his pale hands as if thanking him; no one stirred, letting the old man take his time. Finally he realized that all were waiting for him, and thought sprang, strong and powerful, to his face.

Lawk, sich a shirt! thinks I, it’s well my master wasn’t

"Dr. Kemp," he began, "I have something to say to you, --to you in particular, and to my daughter Ruth. My wife and nephew know in brief what I have to say; therefore I need not dwell on the painful event that happened here last September; you will pardon me, when you see the necessity, for my reverting to it at all."

Lawk, sich a shirt! thinks I, it’s well my master wasn’t

Every one's eyes rested upon him, --that is, all but Arnold's, which seemed holding some secret communion with the cupids on the ceiling, --and the look of convulsive agony that swept across Ruth's face was unnoticed.

"In all my long, diversified life," he went on, "I had never suffered as I did after she told me her decision, --for in all those years no one had ever been made to suffer through me; that is, so far as I knew. Unconsciously, or in anger, I may have hurt many, but never, as in this case, with knowledge aforethought, --when the blow fell upon my own child. You will understand, and perhaps forgive, when I say I gave no thought to you. She came to me with her sweet, renunciating hands held out, and with a smile of self-forgetfulness, said, 'Father, you are right; I could not be happy with this man.' At the moment I believed her, thinking she had adopted my views; but with all her bravery, her real feelings conquered her, and I saw. Not that she had spoken untruly, but she had implied the truth only in part, I knew my child loved me, and she meant honestly that my pain would rob her of perfect happiness with you, --my pain would form an eclipse strong enough to darken everything. Do you think this knowledge made me glad or proud? Do you know how love, that in the withholding justifies itself, suffers from the pain inflicted? But I said, 'After all, it is as I think; she will thank me for it some day.' I was not altogether selfish, please remember. Then, as I saw her silent wrestling, came distrust of myself; I remembered I was pitted against two, younger and no more fallible than myself. As soon as doubt of myself attacked me, I strove to look on the other side; I strove to rid myself of the old prejudices, the old superstitions, the old narrowness of faith; it was useless, --I was too old, and my prejudices had become part of me. It was in this state of perturbation that I had gone one day up to the top floor of the Palace Hotel. Thank you, Doctor."

The latter had quietly risen and administered a stimulant. As he resumed his seat, Levice continued:

"I was seated at a window overlooking Market Street. Below me surged a black mass of crowding, jostling, hurrying beings, so far removed they seemed like little dots, each as large and no larger than his fellows. Above them stretched the same blue arch of heaven, they breathed the same air, trod in each other's footsteps; and yet I knew they were all so different, --ignorance walked with enlightenment, vice with virtue, rich with poor, low with high, --but I felt, poised thus above them, that they were creatures of the same God. Go once thus, and you will understand the feeling. And so I judged these aliens. Which was greater; which was less? This one, who from birth and inheritance is able to stand the equal of any one, or this one, who through birth and inheritance blinks blindly at the good and beautiful? Character and circumstance are not altogether of our own making; they are, to a great degree, results of inherited tendencies over which we have no control, --accidents of birthplace, in the choosing of which we had no voice. The high in the world do not shine altogether by their own light, not do the lowly grovel altogether in their own debasement, --I felt the excuse for humanity. I was overwhelmed with one feeling, --only God can weigh such circumstantial evidence; we, in our little knowledge of results, pronounce sentence, but final judgment is reserved for a higher court, that sees the cross-purposes in which we are blindly caught. So with everything. Below me prayed Christian and Jew, Mohammedan and Brahmin, idolater and agnostic. Why was one man different in this way from his fellows? Because he was born so, because his parents were so, because he was bred so, because it seemed natural and convenient to remain so, --custom and environment had made his religion. Because Jesus Christ dared to attack their existing customs and beliefs, the Jews, then powerful, first reviled, then feared, then slew him; because the Jews could not honestly say, 'I believe this man to be a God,' they were hurled from their eminence and dragged, living, for centuries in the dust. And yet why? Because God withheld and still withholds from this little band the power of believing in Christ as his son. Christians call this a wilful weakness; Jews call it strength. After all, who is to be praised or blamed for it? God. Then instead of beating the Jew, and instead of sneering at the Christian, let each pity the other; because one, I know not which, is weak, and because the other, I know not which, is strong. I left the building; I came upon the street. I felt like saluting every one as my brother. A little ragged child touched me, and as I laid my hand upon her curly head, the thrill of humanity shot through me.

"It was not until I went to New York that the feelings I then experienced took on a definite shape. There, removed from my old haunts, I wandered alone when I could. Then I thought of you, my friend, of you, my child, and beside you I was pitiful, --pitiful, because in my narrowness I had thought myself strong enough to uphold a vanishing restriction. I resolved to be practical; I have been accused of being a dreamer. I grasped your two images before me and drew parallels. Socially each was as high as the other. Mentally the woman was as strong in her sphere as the man was in his. Physically both were perfect types of pure, healthy blood. Morally both were irreproachable. Religiously each held a broad love for God and man. I stood convicted; I was in the position of a blind fool who, with a beautiful picture before him, fastens his critical, condemning gaze upon a rusting nail in the rusting wall behind, --a nail even now loosened, and which in another generation will be displaced. Yet what was I to do? Come back and tell you that I had been needlessly cruel? What would that avail? True, I might make you believe that I no longer thought marriage between you wrong; but that would not remove the fact that the world, which so easily makes us happy or otherwise, did not see as I saw. In this vortex I was stricken ill. All the while I wanted to hasten to you, to tell you how it was with me, and it seemed as if I never could get to you. 'Is this Nemesis,' I thought, 'or divine interposition?' So I struggled till Louis came. Then all was easier. I told him everything and said, 'Louis, what shall I do?' "only this,' he answered simply: 'tell them that their happy marriage will be your happiness, and the rest of the world will be as nothing to these two who love each other.'"

(Editor:{typename type="name"/})

recommended article
hot reading