“How so? Pardon me, though, I should not have asked that,” corrected Katherine, flushing.
“But I am going to tell you all the same,” said Miss Reynolds. “Ten years ago my father died. He was supposed to be a rich man, but when his affairs were settled my mother and I were left with almost nothing. His partner represented that the firm was heavily involved, but said if we would sign our interest in the business over to him, for a certain amount, he would perhaps manage to pull through and save us the expense of having things adjusted by law. We were not at all satisfied with the state of affairs, but we were helpless, as we had no money to spend in litigation, and we were forced to accept his terms. He made over to us a small house on the outskirts of our town, together with a mere pittance, which barely served to support us until I secured a position as teacher. I have taken care of my mother and myself ever since. But that man and his family have never abated their style of living one whit, and are to-day rolling in luxury. There can be no doubt that we were robbed of a fortune, and yet there was no possible way of proving it. I have never been able to meet or even think of that man since, without smarting as under a lash, and with a feeling of resentment and a sense of personal injury that never fail to give me a sick headache, if I allow my thoughts to dwell upon him. That isn’t love, Kathie.”
“No,” gravely; but the voice was also very tender.
“Everything is either ‘for’ or ‘against’ in Christian Science?”
“There is, I see, no middle ground; so, if one cannot think compassionately, even tenderly, of one’s enemy one is guilty of— hate?” said Miss Reynolds, with quivering lips and averted eyes.
Again Katherine was silent; but her glance was very loving as it rested on her teacher’s troubled face.
“Tell me how to get rid of these feelings, Kathie,” she resumed, after a moment, “for they make me wretched at times. I find myself mentally going over the same ground, again and again, holding imaginary conversations with the man who has wronged me, arguing the case and bringing up evidence, as if it were being tried before a judge and jury. How would you conquer it in Science?”
“Every wrong thought we hold has to be reversed—”
“Oh! do you mean I must declare that that man is not dishonest— that he has not wronged me? That I have not been injured and do not resent that injury?” interposed the woman, looking up with flashing eyes, a scarlet spot burning on either cheek. “Child, you don’t know what I have suffered. My father took that man into his business and gave him a start when he had not a dollar in the world, and it was such base ingratitude to rob his family and let them sink into poverty. Ah! the bitter tears I have shed over it!”
Then she suddenly relaxed and sank back in her chair with a deprecatory smile.