Carmen Ariza Part 165
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"And now," resumed Hitt, "she is given to understand that Ames has been obliged by the bank examiner to withdraw his personal notes as security for her deficits, and that the revenue from her estate must be allowed to accrue to the benefit of the Ames bank until such time as all obligations are met."
"Beautiful!" e.j.a.c.u.l.a.t.ed Haynerd. "In other words, Elizabeth is simply cut off!"
"Just so. And now, another thing: Madam Beaubien's lawyer called on her to-day, and informed her that Hood had gone into court and secured an injunction, tying up all revenue from her estate until it can be unraveled. That cuts off her income, likewise."
Haynerd whistled. "The hound!" he e.j.a.c.u.l.a.t.ed. "Ames is out to do up the Express, eh?"
"There is no doubt of it, Ned," returned Hitt seriously. "And to utterly ruin all connected with it."
"Then, by G.o.d, we'll fight him to the last ditch!" cried the excited Haynerd.
"I think you forget, Ned, that we have a lady with us," nodding toward Miss Wall, "and that you are seriously trying to reform, for Carmen's sake."
"I beg your pardon, Elizabeth," said Haynerd meekly. "I really am trying to be decent, you know. But when I think of Ames it's like a red rag to a bull!"
Miss Wall laughed. "Never mind, Ned. I admire your fighting spirit."
"Of course," Hitt continued, "oil still flows from our paternal wells.
But in order to raise money at once I shall be obliged either to sell my oil holdings or mortgage them. They have got to take care of us all now, including Madam Beaubien."
"Where's Carmen?" asked Haynerd suddenly.
"Home, with Sidney. There's another anomaly: while Ames is trying to ruin us, that girl is saving his son. Great world, isn't it?"
"It's a h.e.l.l of a world!" cried Haynerd. "I--I beg your pardon, Elizabeth. The fact is, either you or I will have to retire from this meeting, for I'm getting mad. I--I may say things yet!"
"Say anything you want to, Ned. I like to hear your sulphurous language to-day. It helps to express my own feelings," replied the woman.
"The circulation of the Express," Hitt went on, "is entirely artificial. Our expense is tremendous, and our revenue slight. And still Carmen insists on branching out and putting into practical form her big ideas. Limitation is a word that is not in her vocabulary!"
"Hitt, can't we fight Ames with his own fire? What about that Wales affair?"
"Ames is very cunning," answered Hitt. "When he learned that the cotton schedule had been altered in the Ways and Means Committee, he promptly closed down his Avon mills. That was to scare Congress. Then he resumed, but on half time. That was a plea of distress. I presume he will later return to full time, but with a reduced scale of wages.
He's trying to coerce Congress. Now how does he intend to do it? This way: he will force a strike at Avon--a February strike--four thousand hands out in the cold. Meantime, he'll influence every other spinner in the country to do likewise. They'll all follow his lead. Now, can Congress stand up against that sort of argument? And, besides, he will grease the palms of a large number of our dignified statesmen, you may be sure!"
"Mr. Hitt," said Miss Wall, "I suggest that you send Carmen to Avon at once. I know of no one who can get to the bottom of things as she can.
Let her collect the facts regarding the situation down there, and then--"
"Send her first to Was.h.i.+ngton!" interrupted Haynerd. "Have her hang around the lobbies of the Capitol for a while, and meet a lot of those old sap-heads. What information she won't succeed in worming out of them isn't in 'em, that's all!"
"But," objected Hitt, "if she knew that we would use her information for a personal attack upon Ames, she'd leave us."
"There's no objection to her getting the facts, anyway, is there?"
demanded Haynerd, waxing hot again.
"N--no, I suppose not. But that will take additional money. Very well, I'll do it. I'll put a mortgage on my Ohio holdings at once."
"I don't think I would be afraid," suggested Miss Wall. "We might not use the information Carmen may collect in Avon or Was.h.i.+ngton, but something, I am sure, is bound to come out of it. Something always comes out of what she does. She's the greatest a.s.set the Express has.
We must use her."
"All well and good," put in Haynerd. "And yet, if she finds anybody down there who needs help, even the President himself, she'll throw the Express to the winds, just as she did in Sidney's case. You can't bank on her!"
"No, that's true, Ned, for while we preach she's off somewhere practicing. We evolve great truths, and she applies and demonstrates them. But she has saved Sidney--her Christ did it through her. And she has given the lad to us, a future valuable man."
"Sure--if we are to _have_ any future," growled Ned.
"See here," retorted Hitt, brindling, "have we in our numerous gatherings at Madam Beaubien's spoken truth or nonsense? If you believe our report, then accept and apply it. Now who's to go to Avon with Carmen?"
"Sidney," suggested Miss Wall.
"Sid?" exclaimed Haynerd. "Huh! Why, if those Magyars down there discovered he was Ames's son, they'd eat him alive!"
The telephone rang. Hitt answered the call. Then, turning to his companions:
"Waite says he wants a meeting to-night. He'd like to report on his research work. Guess we'd better call it. I'll inform Morton. No telling when we may get together again, if the girl--" He became suddenly silent, and sat some time looking vacantly out through the window.
"She goes to Avon to-morrow," he abruptly announced, "alone." His thought had been dwelling on that 'something not ourselves' which he knew was s.h.i.+elding and sustaining the girl.
"We have now arrived at a subject whose interest and significance for us are incalculable," said Father Waite, standing before the little group which had a.s.sembled in their usual meeting place in the first hours of the morning, for only at that time could Hitt and Haynerd leave the Express. "We have met to discuss briefly the meaning of that marvelous record of a whole nation's search for G.o.d, the Bible. As have been men's changing concepts of that 'something not ourselves that makes for righteousness,' so have been individuals, tribes, and nations. The Bible records the development of these concepts in Israel's thought; it records the unquenchable longings of that people for truth; it records their prophetic vision, their sacred songs, their philosophy, their dreams, and their aspirations. To most of us the Bible has long been a work of profound mystery, cryptical, undecipherable. And largely, I now believe, because we were wont to approach it with the bias of preconceived theories of literal, even verbal, inspiration, and because we could not read into it the record of Israel's changing idea of G.o.d, from a wrathful, consuming Lord of human caprice and pa.s.sions, to the infinite Father of love, whom Jesus revealed as the Christ-principle, which worked through him and through all who are gaining the true spiritual concept, as is this girl who sits here on my right with the lad whom you have seen rescued by the Christ from the pit of h.e.l.l."
His voice choked when he referred to Carmen and Sidney. But he quickly stifled his emotion, and went on:
"In our last meeting Mr. Hitt clearly showed us how the so-called human mind has seemed to develop as the suppositional opposite of the mind that is G.o.d; and how through countless ages of human reckoning that pseudo-mind has been revealing its various types, until at length, rising ever higher in the scale of being, it revealed its human man as a mentality whose consciousness is the suppositional activity of false thought, and which builds, incessantly, mental concepts out of this kind of thought and posits them within itself as material objects, as its own body, its universe, its all. And he showed us how, little by little, that human mind's interpretations of the infinite mind's true ideas became better, under the divine infiltration of truth, until at last there developed a type, now known to us as the Jewish nation, which caught a clearer glimpse of truth, and became conscious of that 'something not ourselves' which makes for right-thinking, and consequent correct mental concepts and externalizations. This, then, was the starting point of our religion.
These first glimpses of truth, and their interpretations, as set forth in the writings of the early Jewish nation, const.i.tute the nucleus of our Bible.
"But were these records exact statements of truth? Not always. The primitive human mind could only lisp its wonderful glimpses of truth in legend and myth. And so in fable and allegory the early Israelites sought to show the power of good over evil, and thereby stimulate a desire for right conduct, based, of course, on right-thinking. And thus it is that the most significant thing in their sacred records is their many, many stories of the triumph of the spiritual over the material.
"Time pa.s.sed. The Hebrew nation waxed prosperous. Their right-thinking became externalized outwardly in material abundance and physical comfort. But the people's understanding was not sufficiently great to s.h.i.+eld them from the temptation which material wealth and power always const.i.tute. Their vision gradually became obscured. The mist of materialism spread over it. Those wonderful flashes of truth ceased to dart across their mental horizon. Their G.o.d became a magnified concept of the human man, who d.i.c.kered with them over the construction of his temples, and who, by covenants, bribes, and promises, induced them to behave themselves. Prophecy died. And at length the beautiful vision faded quite away.
"Then followed four hundred human years, during which the vicissitudes of the Hebrew nation were many and dark. But during those long centuries there developed that world wonder, a whole nation's united longing for a deliverer! The prophets promised a great change in their fallen fortunes. Expectation grew keen. Desire expanded into yearning.
Their G.o.d would not forsake them. Was not His grace sufficient? Though their concept of Him had grossly degenerated, yet the deliverer would come, he _must_!
"And he did. In the depths of their night--in the midst of the heaviest darkness that ever lay over the world--there arose a great light. Through the densest ignorance of the human mind filtered the Christ-principle, and was set forth by the channel through which it came, the man Jesus.
"What had happened? Had there been a conference among G.o.d, the Son, and the Holy Ghost, to debate the sending of salvation to mankind, as recorded by the poet Milton? Alas! what a crude, materialistic conception. Had G.o.d so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son? But G.o.d _is_ Love, infinite, unchanging. And His unique Son, the Christ-principle, available to all mankind, was 'before Abraham.' Had a great, dimly perceived principle been demonstrated, namely, that, if we yearn long and earnestly for the right, it comes? Had the Jewish nation 'demonstrated' the Christ? Had their centuries of looking and expecting resulted in a saviour being manifested to them? It was a period in the unfolding of human thought when civilization had reached its lowest depths. Morality had evaporated to the dregs. Rome was become the world's harlot. A few years more, and Nero would drag his vulpine immorality across the stage. Paganism was virtue in comparison with the l.u.s.t of men in that dark hour. And yet, in the very midst of it, appeared the most venerated, the most beloved man in all history, bearing the Christ-message like a flaming torch!
"'Always our being is descending into us,' said Emerson. But our true being can be none other than infinite mind's idea of itself. Our true individuality must be the way that mind regards us. And thus it was that Israel's true being descended, filtering in through the thick mists of error. That true being was the deliverer, _par excellence_, for it was the message of truth that bade men deny themselves, their carnal selves, and know but the one G.o.d, infinite mind. That was the grace sufficient for them, that would have solved their problems, that would have enabled them to lay off the 'old man' and his woes and afflictions, and put on the 'new man,' divine mind's image. But the carnal mind sought a material kingdom. It wanted, not spirit, but matter. It cruelly rejected the message-bearer, and sought to kill his message by slaying him on the cross. And thereby the Jewish nation rent itself asunder, and sank into carnal oblivion. Ah, how they have been cursed by the crucifixion of Jesus!
"Men ask to-day: Did Jesus really live? Or is he a mythical character, like the G.o.ds of pagan Rome? Let us ask, in making our reply, how truth comes to mankind? Is it not always through some human channel?
Then the great sayings attributed to Jesus at least came from a human being. Let us go further: it is the common history of mankind that truth comes to the human mind only after a period of preparation. Not conscious preparation, necessarily, but, rather, a preparation forced by events. The truth of a mathematical principle can not come to me unless I am prepared to receive it. And the greatest good comes to men only after they have learned the nothingness of the material ambitions and aims which they have been pursuing. By its own rottenness the world had been made fallow for truth. The awfulness of its own exposure in its rampant, unlicensed revels, had shown as never before the human mind's absolute nothingness--its nothingness as regards real value, permanence, and genuine good--in that first century of our so-called Christian era. And when the nothingness of the carnal mind was made plain, men saw the reality of the truth, as revealed in the Christ, back of it all. The divine message was whispered to a human mentality. And that mentality expanded under the G.o.d-influence, until at last it gave to the sin-weary world the Christ-principle of salvation. Let us call that human mentality, for convenience, the man Jesus.
"And now, was he born of a virgin? Impossible! And yet--let us see. It was common enough in his day for virgins to pretend to be with child by the Holy Ghost; and so we do not criticise those who refuse to accept the dogma of the virgin birth. But a little reflection in the light of what we have been discussing throws a wonderful illumination upon the question. If matter and material modes are real, then we must at once relegate the stories of the virgin birth, the miracles, the resurrection, and the ascension to the realm of myth. If the so-called laws of matter are real, irrefragable laws, then we indulgently, pa.s.s by these stories as figments of heated imaginations. But, regarding matter as a human, mortal concept, entirely mental, and wholly subject to the impress and influence of mind, and knowing, as we do now, that _mental concepts change with changed thought_, we are forced to look with more favor upon these questions which for centuries caused men to shed their fellows' blood.
Carmen Ariza Part 165
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Carmen Ariza Part 165 summary
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