“No, not that, nor do I think that we have occupied all the fields of human knowledge. We are constantly acquiring a faculty to see new things and to take new meanings from the common and old. Nature has not yet delivered her full speech to man. She can communicate only as he acquires the power to receive. This idea of finding new pathways, and new regions and realms, with new powers, of finding an opening from our day into the more effulgent, with new strange and glorious creatures, with new voices and forms, with whom we may communicate, is alluring, and may all lay within the realm of possibility. I don’t say that to dream of it, is to be mad.”
“It is possible,” said Sartliff with fervor. “I have seen the forms and heard the voices.”
“And to what purpose do you pursue these mystical studies and researches.”
“Partly for the extacy and glory of the present, mainly for the ultimate good to the races of men, when the new and powerful agencies that come of the wisdom and strength which will be thus acquired, the powers within and about us, are developed and employed for the common good; and man is emancipated from his sordid slavery to the gross and physical of his worst and lowest nature, and when woman through this emancipation takes her real position, glorified, by the side of her glorified companion; when she seeks to be wife and mother, with free choice to be other—what a race will spring from them! Strong, brave, beautiful men, great, radiant, beautiful women, like the first mothers of the race, bringing forth their young, with the same joy and gladness, as that with which they receive their young bridegrooms.”
“Go and help me find the way for our common race.”
He had turned, and stood with intent eyes burning into the soul of the young man. “I have faith in you. Of all the young men I have met, you have exhibited more capacity to comprehend me than any other, and I am beginning to feel the need of help,” said Sartliff, plaintively.
“God alone can help you,” said Bart, “I cannot. You believe in this; to me it is a dream, with which my fancy, when idle, willingly toys. I like to talk with you. I sympathise with you; I cannot go with you. I will not enter upon your speculations. Don’t think me unkind.”
“I don’t,” said Sartliff, “nor do I blame you. You are young and gifted, and opportunities will come to you; and distinction and fame, and some beautiful woman’s love await you, and God bless you.” And he walked away.
There was always something about Sartliff that stimulated, but at the same time excited an apprehension in Bart, who regarded him as past recall to healthy life, and he felt a sense of relief when he was alone; but the old, melancholy chords continued to vibrate, and Bart returned to the village under a depression that lingered about him for days.