“Never mind, dear. I’m sure he didn’t mean to talk like that. He is a good boy at heart, but you don’t understand each other.”
“Mary dear, we will talk no more of it to-night,” he replied; “I will try and put it from me. You go to bed. I will finish my diary, and be up in a few minutes.”
When he was alone, he sat still a little while, with a great lonely pain on his face, and almost visibly upon it too the smart of the wounded pride of his haughty nature. Never in his life had he been spoken to like that,—and by his own son! The pang of it was almost more than he could bear. But presently he had so far mastered himself as to take up his pen and continue his writing. When that was finished, he opened his Bible and read his wonted chapter. It was just the simple twenty-third psalm: “The Lord is my Shepherd, I shall not want.” It was his favourite psalm, and always had a remarkable tranquillising effect upon him. James Mesurier’s faith in God was very great. Then he knelt down and prayed in silence,—prayed with a great love for his disobedient children; and, when he rose from his knees, anger and pain had been washed away from his face, and a serenity that is not of this world was there instead.
CONCERNING THOSE “ATLANTIC LINERS” AND AN OLD DESK
Of all battles in this complicated civil warfare of human life, none is more painful than that being constantly waged from generation to generation between young and old, and none, it would appear, more inevitable, or indeed necessary. “The good gods sigh for the cost and pain,” and as, growing older ourselves, we become spectators of such a conflict, with eyes able to see the real goodness and truth of both combatants, how often must we exclaim: “Oh, just for a little touch of sympathetic comprehension on either side!”
And yet, after all, it is from the older generation that we have a right to expect that. If that vaunted “experience” with which they are accustomed to extinguish the voice of the young means anything, it should surely include some knowledge of the needs of expanding youth, and be prepared to meet them, not in a spirit of despotic denial, but in that of thoughtful provision. The young cannot afford to be generous, even if they possess the necessary insight. It would mean their losing their battle,—a battle very necessary for them to win.
Sometimes it would seem that a very little kindly explanation on the part of the elder would set the younger at a point of view where greater sympathy would be possible. The great demand of the young is for some form of poetry in their lives and surroundings; and it is largely the fault of the old if the poetry of one generation is almost invariably the prose of the next.