“I have just been over to see Virginia,” said Rachel. “She tells me the arrangements are nearly completed for the transfer of the Rectangle property.”
“Yes. It has been a tedious case in the courts. Did Virginia show you all the plans and specifications for building?”
“We looked over a good many. It is astonishing to me where Virginia has managed to get all her ideas about this work.”
“Virginia knows more now about Arnold Toynbee and East End London and Institutional Church work in America than a good many professional slum workers. She has been spending nearly all summer in getting information.” Rollin was beginning to feel more at ease as they talked over this coming work of humanity. It was safe, common ground.
“What have you been doing all summer? I have not seen much of you,” Rachel suddenly asked, and then her face warmed with its quick flush of tropical color as if she might have implied too much interest in Rollin or too much regret at not seeing him oftener.
“I have been busy,” replied Rollin briefly.
“Tell me something about it,” persisted Rachel. “You say so little. Have I a right to ask?”
She put the question very frankly, turning toward Rollin in real earnest.
“Yes, certainly,” he replied, with a graceful smile. “I am not so certain that I can tell you much. I have been trying to find some way to reach the men I once knew and win them into more useful lives.”
He stopped suddenly as if he were almost afraid to go on. Rachel did not venture to suggest anything.
“I have been a member of the same company to which you and Virginia belong,” continued Rollin, beginning again. “I have made the pledge to do as I believe Jesus would do, and it is in trying to answer this question that I have been doing my work.”
“That is what I do not understand. Virginia told me about the other. It seems wonderful to think that you are trying to keep that pledge with us. But what can you do with the club men?”
“You have asked me a direct question and I shall have to answer it now,” replied Rollin, smiling again. “You see, I asked myself after that night at the tent, you remember” (he spoke hurriedly and his voice trembled a little), “what purpose I could now have in my life to redeem it, to satisfy my thought of Christian discipleship? And the more I thought of it, the more I was driven to a place where I knew I must take up the cross. Did you ever think that of all the neglected beings in our social system none are quite so completely left alone as the fast young men who fill the clubs and waste their time and money as I used to? The churches look after the poor, miserable creatures like those in the Rectangle; they make some effort to reach the working man, they have a large constituency among the average salary-earning people, they send money and missionaries to the foreign heathen, but the fashionable,