Garman and Worse eBook

Alexander Kielland
This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 227 pages of information about Garman and Worse.
her, and she had the reputation of being terribly learned and sarcastic, which was considered to be a great pity, as in other respects she was a most desirable parti.  Mr. Johnsen did not notice any of these peculiarities:  all he thought of was leading the conversation into the direction he desired.  At length he was successful.  He spoke with ever-increasing earnestness on the change that had taken place in him; how that she had not only roused him to meditation, but had also imparted to him a desire for work, for which he must now find vent.  He had come to her to be told how and where he was to begin.

Rachel seemed somewhat embarrassed.  “It is not so easy for me,” she answered, “who as a woman am debarred from a life of action, if even I had the wish for it, to advise you how you ought to begin.”

“I am ready for anything,” cried he, excitedly.  “I am ready to write or speak against the abuses I see everywhere around me.  I am ready to cut myself adrift from the calling I have adopted, if it must be.  I will not leave a single corner of my innermost heart concealed, but will lay open my convictions as a man ought to do.”

His young friend was too wary to allow herself to be carried away by this sudden outburst, which she could not but regard with some misgiving.

“I think you ought to consider,” she began, “that what we have hitherto been speaking of is a mere matter of scattered detail; there is scarcely any irreconcilable want of agreement between your ideas and those of Christianity in general.”

“But Christianity requires either an entire belief or else none at all, and I do not care to continue in my doubtful position any longer.”

“Yes; and besides,” she continued, “I am quite willing to confess that I consider these forms and dogmas of but very slight importance.  Our conversation has only turned particularly on these points from the fact that you hold a position in the Church.”

“But that is not what we have been talking about,” answered he, excitedly; “the real gist of the matter is, that you have been trying to rouse in me a consciousness of the personal responsibility which follows conviction.”

“Yes,” answered she, “you are quite right; that is exactly what I was aiming at.”

“Whether I am in the Church or not, then, is not the question.  What is really important is to be a man—­man enough to have a conviction, and man enough to stand by it.”

His vehemence and honesty overcame Rachel’s scruples, and she answered hastily, and almost with a feeling of relief, “Yes, that is the point; it is exactly sincerity which is so rarely met with.  This is the principle which I can myself scarcely hope to carry out to its full extent.  What weight does the conviction of a woman carry with it, in a society like ours?  But my whole sympathy is excited whenever I see sincerity struggling to the light.  And that is why I believe that you are on the right path now, that you have entered upon this combat with falsehood.  It is better to be utterly beaten in the battle than to lead a peaceful but insincere life.”

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Garman and Worse from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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