Father Payne eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 341 pages of information about Father Payne.
in his hand, which he put down carelessly on the table.  I stared at it and at him, and he blushed.  He wasn’t an interesting young man to look at or to talk to—­but it was just a bit of simple humanity.  It all came out.  I had been good to him—­I looked as if I were having a bad time.  It was just a little human, signal, and a beautiful one.  It was there, then, all the time, I saw—­human affection—­if I cared to put out my hand for it.  I can’t describe to you how it all developed, but my heart had melted somehow—­thawed like a lump of ice.  I saw that there was no specific ill-will to me in the world.  I saw that everything was there, if I only chose to take it.  That was my second awakening—­a glimmer of light through a chink—­and suddenly, it was day!  I had been growling over bones and straw in a filthy kennel, and I was not really tied up at all.  Life was running past me, a crystal river.  I was dying of thirst:  and all because it was not given me in a clean glass on a silver tray, I would not drink it—­and God smiling at me all the time.”

Father Payne walked on in silence.

“The truth is, my boy,” he said a minute later, “that I’m a converted man, and it isn’t everyone who can say that—­nor do I wish everyone to be converted, because it’s a ghastly business preparing for the operation.  It isn’t everyone who needs it—­only those self-willed, devilish, stand-off, proud people, who have to be braised in a mortar and pulverised to atoms.  Then, when you are all to bits, you can be built up.  Do you remember that stone we broke the other day?  Well, I was a melted blob of stone, and then I was crystallised—­now I’m full of eyes within!  And the best of it is that they are little living eyes, and not sparkling flints—­they see, they don’t reflect!  At least I think so; and I don’t think trouble is brewing for me again—­though that is always the danger!”

I was very deeply moved by this, and said something about being grateful.

“Oh, not that,” said Father Payne; “you don’t know what fun it has been to me to tell you.  That’s the sort of thing that I want to get into one of my novels, but I can’t manage it.  But the moral is, if I may say so:  Be afraid of self-pity and dignity and self-respect—­don’t be afraid of happiness and simplicity and kindness.  Give yourself away with both hands.  It’s easy for me to talk, because I have been loaded with presents ever since:  the clouds drop fatness—­a rich but expressive image that!”

XXX

OF BLOODSUCKERS

“I’m feeling low to-night,” said Father Payne in answer to a question about his prolonged silence.  “I’m not myself:  virtue has gone out of me—­I’m in the clutches of a bloodsucker.”

“Old debts with compound interest?” said Rose cheerfully.

“Yes,” said Father Payne with a frown; “old emotional I.O.U.’s.  I didn’t know what I was putting my name to.”

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Project Gutenberg
Father Payne from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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