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This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 501 pages of information about Far Country, a Complete.
was within me, like an incurable disease,—­was not mine the logical conclusion?  What, then, was the use of praying?...  My supplications ceased abruptly.  And my ever ready imagination, stirred to its depths, beheld that awful scene of the last day:  the darkness, such as sometimes creeps over the city in winter, when the jaundiced smoke falls down and we read at noonday by gas-light.  I beheld the tortured faces of the wicked gathered on the one side, and my mother on the other amongst the blessed, gazing across the gulf at me with yearning and compassion.  Strange that it did not strike me that the sight of the condemned whom they had loved in life would have marred if not destroyed the happiness of the chosen, about to receive their crowns and harps!  What a theology—­that made the Creator and Preserver of all mankind thus illogical!

III.

Although I was imaginative, I was not morbidly introspective, and by the end of the first day of my incarceration my interest in that solution had waned.  At times, however, I actually yearned for someone in whom I could confide, who could suggest a solution.  I repeat, I would not for worlds have asked my father or my mother or Dr. Pound, of whom I had a wholesome fear, or perhaps an unwholesome one.  Except at morning Bible reading and at church my parents never mentioned the name of the Deity, save to instruct me formally.  Intended or no, the effect of my religious training was to make me ashamed of discussing spiritual matters, and naturally I failed to perceive that this was because it laid its emphasis on personal salvation....  I did not, however, become an unbeliever, for I was not of a nature to contemplate with equanimity a godless universe....

My sufferings during these series of afternoon confinements did not come from remorse, but were the result of a vague sense of injury; and their effect was to generate within me a strange motive power, a desire to do something that would astound my father and eventually wring from him the confession that he had misjudged me.  To be sure, I should have to wait until early manhood, at least, for the accomplishment of such a coup.  Might it not be that I was an embryonic literary genius?  Many were the books I began in this ecstasy of self-vindication, only to abandon them when my confinement came to an end.

It was about this time, I think, that I experienced one of those shocks which have a permanent effect upon character.  It was then the custom for ladies to spend the day with one another, bringing their sewing; and sometimes, when I unexpectedly entered the sitting-room, the voices of my mother’s visitors would drop to a whisper.  One afternoon I returned from school to pause at the head of the stairs.  Cousin Bertha Ewan and Mrs. McAlery were discussing with my mother an affair that I judged from the awed tone in which they spoke might prove interesting.

“Poor Grace,” Mrs. McAlery was saying, “I imagine she’s paid a heavy penalty.  No man alive will be faithful under those circumstances.”

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