The lion had become a lamb, the eagle a dove. He moved among his men, the incarnation of gentleness and truth. Under his powerful influence the camp passed through a marvelous transformation. From this limited sphere of influence, his fame began to extend into a larger region. He was sent for from far and near to tell the story of his strange conversion, and in time abandoned all other labor and gave himself entirely to the preaching of the Gospel.
It was as if the spirit of love and faith which had departed from the Quaker had entered into the lumberman.
A BROKEN REED
“Superstition is a senseless
fear of God.”
The address of the young Quaker in the meeting house and the interview with him by the roadside had opened a new epoch in the life of the Fortune Teller.
Her idea of the world was a chaos of crude and irrational conceptions. The superstitions of the gypsies by whom she had been reared were confusedly blended with those practical but vicious maxims which governed the conduct of her husband.
For her, the world of law, of order, of truth, of justice had no existence. The quack cared little what she thought, and had neither the ability nor the interest to penetrate to the secrets of her soul.
She had lived the dream life of an ignorant child up to the moment when David had awakened her soul, and now that she really began to grapple with the problems of existence, she had neither companion nor teacher to help her.
The two objects about which her thoughts had begun to hover helplessly were the God of whom David had spoken and the Quaker himself. Both of them had profoundly agitated her mind and heart, and still haunted her thoughts.
During all of Saturday after the interview, through the evening which she had passed in her booth, and far into the night, she had revolved in her mind the words she had heard, and attempted to weave these two mysterious beings into her confused scheme of thought.
Her disappointment at David’s refusal to accompany them in their wandering life had been bitter. She did not comprehend the nature of her feeling for him; but his presence gave her so exquisite a happiness that the thought of never seeing him again had become intolerable.
For the first time she, who had been for years, as she thought, disclosing the future to other people, was seized with a burning curiosity as to her own. Up to this crisis of her experience she had lived in the present moment; but now she must look into to-morrow and see if the Quaker was ever to cross her path again. For so important, so delicate and so difficult a discovery it seemed to her that the ordinary instruments of her art were pitifully inadequate. The playing cards, the lines upon her hands, the leaves in her tea cup would not do. She would resort to that charm which the old gypsy had given her at parting, and which she had reserved for some great and critical moment of life. That moment had arrived.