He was a young man with an eager soul, and his work in Apple Blossom Court and places like it had torn him many ways. Religious conventions established through centuries of custom had not prepared him for life among the submerged. He had struggled and been appalled, he had wrestled in prayer and felt himself unanswered, and in repentance of the feeling had scourged himself with thorns. Miss Montaubyn, returning from the hospital, had filled him at first with horror and protest.
“But who knows—who knows?” he said to Dart, as they stood and talked together afterward, “Faith as a little child. That is literally hers. And I was shocked by it—and tried to destroy it, until I suddenly saw what I was doing. I was—in my cloddish egotism—trying to show her that she was irreverent because she could believe what in my soul I do not, though I dare not admit so much even to myself. She took from some strange passing visitor to her tortured bedside what was to her a revelation. She heard it first as a child hears a story of magic. When she came out of the hospital, she told it as if it was one. I—I—” he bit his lips and moistened them, “argued with her and reproached her. Christ the Merciful, forgive me! She sat in her squalid little room with her magic—sometimes in the dark—sometimes without fire, and she clung to it, and loved it and asked it to help her, as a child asks its father for bread. When she was answered—and God forgive me again for doubting that the simple good that came to her was an answer—when any small help came to her, she was a radiant thing, and without a shadow of doubt in her eyes told me of it as proof—proof that she had been heard. When things went wrong for a day and the fire was out again and the room dark, she said, ’I ’aven’t kept near enough—I ’aven’t trusted true. It will be gave me soon,’ and when once at such a time I said to her, ’We must learn to say, Thy will be done,’ she smiled up at me like a happy baby and answered:
“’Thy will be done on earth as it is in ‘eaven. Lor’, there’s no cold there, nor no ‘unger nor no cryin’ nor pain. That’s the way the will is done in ’eaven. That’s wot I arst for all day long—for it to be done on earth as it is in ‘eaven.’ What could I say? Could I tell her that the will of the Deity on the earth he created was only the will to do evil—to give pain—to crush the creature made in His own image. What else do we mean when we say under all horror and agony that befalls, ’It is God’s will—God’s will be done.’ Base unbeliever though I am, I could not speak the words. Oh, she has something we have not. Her poor, little misspent life has changed itself into a shining thing, though it shines and glows only in this hideous place. She herself does not know of its shining. But Drunken Bet would stagger up to her room and ask to