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Father Payne eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 341 pages of information about Father Payne.
into the dreariness and dullness of life, with all the delight of having a new way of behaving in their minds and hearts—­that’s how I want you to fight!  It requires the toughest sort of courage, I can tell you.  But instead of showing your spirit by returning a blow, show your spirit by propounding your idea in a finer shape.  Don’t be taken in by the silly and ugly old war-metaphors—­the trumpet blown, the gathering of the hosts.  That’s simply a sensational waste of your time!  Look out of your window, and then sit down to your work.  That’s the way to win, without noise or fuss.”

LV

OF LIFE-FORCE

I walked one afternoon with Father Payne just as winter turned to spring, in the pastures.  There was a mound at the corner of one of his fields, on which grew a row of beech trees of which Father Payne was particularly fond.  He pointed out to me to-day how the most southerly of the trees, exposed as it was to the full force of the wind, grew lower and sturdier than the rest, and how as the trees progressed towards the north, each one profiting more by the shelter of his comrades, they grew taller and more graceful.  “I like the way that stout little fellow at the end grows,” said Father Payne.  “He doesn’t know, I suppose, that he is protecting the rest, and giving them room to expand.  But he holds on; and though he isn’t so tall, he is bulkier and denser than his brethren.  He knows that he has to bear the brunt of the wind, so he puts out no sail.  He just devotes himself to standing four-square—­he is not going to be bullied!  He would like to be as smooth and as shapely as the rest, but he knows his own business, and he has adapted himself, like a sensible fellow, to his rough conditions.”

A little later Father Payne stopped to look at a great sow-thistle that was growing vigorously under a hedge-row.  “Did you ever see such a bit of pure force?” said Father Payne.  “I see a fierce conscious life in every inch of that plant.  Look at the way he clips himself in, and strains to the earth:  look at his great rays of leaves, thrust out so geometrically from the centre, with the sharp, horny, uncompromising thorns.  And see how he flattens down his leaves over the surrounding grasses:  they haven’t a chance; he just squeezes them down and strangles them.  There is no mild and delicate waving of fronds in the air.  He means to sit down firmly on the top of his comrades.  I don’t think I ever saw anything with such a muscular pull on—­you can’t lift his leaves up; look, he resists with all his might!  Just consider the immense force which he is using:  he is not merely snuggling down:  he is just hauling things about.  You don’t mean to tell me that this thistle isn’t conscious!  He knows he has enemies, but he is going to make the place his very own—­and all that out of a drifting little arrow of down!”

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