Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 79.djvu/368

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in hand. Doomed as she otherwise rightly thought herself to be, one can not very consistently blame her for avidly grasping at the promised salvation, given with such assurance, even if from no matter how really unknowing a source. Submitting both honestly and unreservedly to the efforts of the "prayer circle," she seemed to "get better from the first," and, some two months later, it was noted that she could actually carry herself with somewhat better step, with a brighter face, and most of all, with the absolutely unembarrassed confidence that "before long she would be entirely well"; for "God can do anything, as you see." One could not be entirely dishonest in feeling much of the gladness with which she was congratulated upon her improvement, or in expressing the hope that this would continue indefinitely; yet, within, one could not help anticipating none the less clearly the fateful day of abject sadness and despair which would surely come to her, when she had all too pathetically found herself disillusioned and her physical disease quite perceptibly advanced, as well. One could indeed feel glad that she had had this much respite from her mental distress; but when one thought upon what ignorance of the facts, upon what fanciful assurances, upon what perversion of the highest offices of even present-day possibilities, her temporary release from suffering had been founded, one at least wondered if the temporary "gain" would in the long run be worth the irretrievable loss of confidence, true faith, and reasonable hope that was sure to ensue. Better, it seemed, that she should have patiently continued from the first without deviation in the persistent course of mind and soul cultivation and strengthening which had been marked out, or better still which might have been marked out, had some one more capable been her adviser, than to have experienced a but specious exaltation for a season, only to fall into the direst slough of despond, suspicion, digust and what-not, as she in due season must and did. From this awful jolt in her mental life she had better have been saved, so it seems even yet. Although what a thought significantly follows; if only she could have been given the comfort without such a train of miserable consequence! After spending several weeks or months with this sort of people, and, more consequentially, after having given them all her little savings as well, and then found them mostly "uninterested" afterwards, she returned to her home where for more than seven years she divided the slow days and tortured nights between all the horrors of the deceived, the disillusioned, the despairing, on the one hand, and the bravest endeavors imaginable to endure patiently everything, and likewise not to become too rebellious against God and humanity, on the other. And during this period what a transformation physically, was hers. Slowly, step by step, ordinary communication with every one came to be cut off; while all their sayings, doings, feelings and entire lives yet remained as patent to her as before. Then eventually came the hour when not a