Read CHAPTER VI of The Right Knock A Story , free online book, by Helen Van-Anderson, on

“Build thee more stately mansions
Oh my soul,
As the swift seasons roll,
Leave thy low vaulted past.
Let each new temple nobler than the last
Shut thee from heaven with a dome more vast,
Till thou at length art free:
Leaving thine outgrown shell by life’s unresting sea.”

O. W. Holmes.

“How do you do Mrs. Hayden? You see I come in without ceremony as usual, but I heard you’d had one of your headaches again,” and Mrs. Reade seated herself cosily on the sofa near which Mrs. Hayden sat languidly trying to read.

“Oh, I have about recovered my usual strength, but of course I must be careful and not get excited or overworked, though my work I am sorry to say, does not amount to much.” After a few moments commonplace conversation, Mrs. Reade said, carefully:

“Now Mrs. Hayden, I believe there is a help for you somewhere. Wouldn’t you like to try something new?”

“Why, you know I would try anything that would give relief, but I have exhausted everything that ever was heard of, and now every remedy seems very transient or of no effect at all.”

Mrs. Hayden leaned wearily back in her chair and seemed to think there was no use discussing the subject any longer. After a few moments thoughtful silence, Mrs. Reade looked up at her friend and said, timidly:

“Mrs. Hayden, have you ever heard of Christian Healing?”

“No. What is it?”

“I can’t tell, only that it is just the most wonderful panacea for all ills that ever was discovered and they say it can be learned, and applied by everybody.”

“Do you mean that I could learn it and could then cure myself?”

“Yes, that is what they claim.”

“Why, Mrs. Reade, what is all this wonderful news, and if it is true, why hasn’t the world heard of it before?” exclaimed Mrs. Hayden with an amused smile.

Mrs. Reade did not return the smile but a still more earnest look came into her eyes. She bent over her bit of sewing for a moment and then looking up, as though resolved to speak the truth at any cost, she went on:

“Mrs. Hayden, it is the fulfillment of the promises in the Bible, that to them that believe, these signs should be given. You remember the passage don’t you, where Jesus gave His disciples the same power to heal that He had?”

“Well, but that was long ago, and the promise was for the disciples, I suppose.”

“No, it was for everybody; and do you know, Mrs. Hayden, I can hardly wait to learn this new method, I am so interested.”

“How did you hear about it?”

“When I was down to Mapleton last summer I heard something about it through a friend of mine, who was cured of chronic congestive headaches, and now my cousin, Miss Greening, from Norfolk, has come on to spend the holidays with us, and strange to say, she has been cured of weak eyes just came straight from Princeton where she was treated, and and well, the fact is, I want you to come over and see her and may be you can be cured.”

Mrs. Reade was quite frightened for having said so much, but was reassured by the growing interest in Mrs. Hayden’s eyes.

“And you know these things to be true? Why, it is wonderful. How is it done, by prayer?”

“Not exactly, but it is by some process of thinking. Oh, I can’t begin to tell you, only that it is wonderful, and you must come over and talk with cousin Helen.”

“I am afraid to trust myself out in this uncertain weather. Can’t you both come and take tea with us to-morrow? I hope to be well enough then, and it would be a great pleasure, for if there is any truth in this, I want to know it. Do come.”

This was a good deal for Mrs. Hayden to say, but she was very earnest when aroused to interest.

“Yes, we will,” said Mrs. Reade, as she rose to go, looking straight into her friend’s eyes with joyful earnestness, “and I am so glad. Good bye,” and she retreated as unceremoniously as she had come, leaving Mrs. Hayden to wonder why she should be so childishly pleased over that invitation. It never occurred to her that Mrs. Reade should be so glad to come merely to tell more about this new way of getting well.

Mrs. Reade was a young housekeeper, who, living just across the street, was in the habit of often running in to Mrs. Hayden with her little vexations, her triumphs of cookery, her questions of how to manage little May, or what to do in matters of household furnishing. She was a very progressive little woman, and, perhaps owing to the influence of Mrs. Hayden, was ready at least to give everything a fair hearing. This new “craze,” as some called it, had been presented to her in a way that compelled her attention and commanded her respect, and especially since her cousin’s coming had she been intensely interested.

Particularly was she desirous of enlisting the attention of Mrs. Hayden, who not only needed the physical help to be obtained, but who would be an excellent advocate of the principles, providing she could endorse them, as Mrs. Reade was sure she would, if she could only be made to understand.

So it was with great anticipated pleasure Mrs. Reade introduced her cousin to Mrs. Hayden as they went in the next day.

“Now, Cousin Helen, just tell Mrs. Hayden how you were cured. I am so anxious to set the ball rolling,” said Mrs. Reade, with an arch look at Mrs. Hayden after they were comfortably settled for their talk.

“Yes, indeed,” added Mrs. Hayden; “if you have half as wonderful a message as Mrs. Reade fondly imagines I shall be delighted to hear it, but I would first like to ask what was the trouble with your eyes, and something as to their condition when you first looked into this method of healing.”

“I had been obliged to leave school because they were so weak. They were inflamed and bloodshot. I could not bear to go out in the wind, ride on the cars, or have any excitement whatever. The occulists said the trouble was caused by a physical defect that could not be remedied, so you may imagine my despair. Father and mother came home from a visit in Kansas, and while there they had heard of a lady in Princeton who was having remarkable success with mind-cure, as they called it. They coaxed me to go and try it. I had no faith, but to please them thought I would go. It could do no harm, they said. The journey, though only sixty miles from home, was very hard for me. When I arrived at Mrs. Harmon’s it seemed as though I could hardly bear the pain caused by the journey.

“Mrs. Harmon allowed me to stay right at her home, and though only there a week, I was not only cured, but learned the principles and how to apply them. After the first treatment I felt so well and happy she told me I could use my eyes to read an hour or so. From the second treatment I could use them all I wished. It was perfectly wonderful. When I went home I was cured. That is now three weeks ago, and I have been using my eyes constantly, have taken several journeys on the cars, and gone out day and night.”

Mrs. Hayden had listened with the greatest interest, her mind filled with varying thoughts. Sudden glimpses of wonderful might-be’s, mingled with doubts and hopes, had chased each other in wild confusion through her bewildered brain.

“Tell me,” she found breath at last to ask, “what is it, and how is it done, and can anybody do it?”

Miss Greening was delighted to find so willing an audience, for in spite of her remarkable cure, most of her family and friends ridiculed her new “cure all.”

“Oh, I wish I could explain to you as Mrs. Harmon does. I am so very new in the thought, but I will do the best I can to give you some idea. The main thing in the beginning is to know that you know nothing,” continued Miss Greening, with a smile. “The world believes in the character as it appears, to be the real character, that the person who suffers sickness, sorrow, disappointment, anger or pain is the real self. We have always taken the people of the world, as they appear, to be the children of God. This truth teaches that the real child of God is in His image and likeness and in Him lives, is moved and has His being. According to the laws of thought, the thought of one individual affects another, and on this principle the treatments are given, but it is the omnipresent life Principle that does the work.

“Oh, it is perfectly wonderful, and if you could see what I saw while I was with Mrs. Harmon, you would not doubt a moment. She was busy from morning till night with patients. Hardly had time to eat or sleep. It seemed like the times of the New Testament come back again. Mrs. Harmon cured a man of rheumatism, where the joints had been stiffened and contracted for years, in seven treatments. The first week the treatments did not seem to have any effect, but the second week he suddenly recovered the use of his arm and limbs, so that he could run and jump or do anything else that a healthy man can do.

“One young girl, who was suffering from lead poisoning so that she was given up by three or four prominent physicians, received nine treatments and, although not perfectly strong and robust, was able to walk several blocks and was so well that she did not need further treatment.

“Mrs. Harmon treated an old lady of seventy, so that she laid aside glasses and could see to sew on black cloth. A lady who had been an invalid for sixteen years was cured so that in a week she was able to ride a mile and a half to the lectures.

“All these things I saw with my own eyes, and if the evidence had not been enough in my own case, there were all these proofs. And the teaching! Oh, it is beautiful. If we could only live up to that the millénium would surely be here.”

In her enthusiasm Miss Greening scarcely noticed the effect of her words, else she would have seen Mrs. Hayden’s expressive eyes full of a yearning, silent and strong.

“Can it touch anyone’s character or moral life?” she asked after a moment’s pause.

“Yes, indeed; there is not one thing in life that is not amenable to its discipline. Mrs. Harmon says it is a great advantage in governing children, that every mother ought to know it, for the help in that direction, even if not for their health.”

“What a wonderful thing it must be; and yet I always thought the days of miracles were past, if indeed they ever were,” said Mrs. Hayden, thoughtfully.

“These are not miracles, as the ordinary understanding of that word would imply, but are done in accordance with Divine Law, the highest law, not the setting aside of any law,” interposed Mrs. Reade, who had been deeply interested in the conversation, but hitherto had been a silent listener.

“Oh, mamma, I wish supper was ready; I’m so hungry!” cried Fred, bursting into the room, followed by Jamie and Mabel.

“Mamma, can’t we have some ” began Jamie, and then stopped, abashed at the size of the audience.

“No, dears; mamma don’t want you to eat anything before supper. You know what Doctor Jackson said about the little stomachs that were overworked. Now, run away and be good; when everything is ready mamma’ll call you.”

“But we want it now. Doctor Jackson don’t know everything. It’s only God that knows everything,” said Fred, with unanswerable argument.

“Come away, Fred,” whispered Mabel, giving him an impatient twitch.

“It’s so, anyway; mamma told me about God just the other night.”

“He knows I want some ginger ’naps,” whimpered Jem.

“Never mind; run out, as mamma says,” said Mrs. Hayden, resolutely, and the aggrieved trio reluctantly departed.

“It would be an immense help to me if I could learn to manage these three irrépressibles without getting tired all out,” said Mrs. Hayden, with a little sigh.

“Wouldn’t it be splendid? I think, Mrs. Hayden, you better let Cousin Helen treat you, and get you all cured, and then you can go somewhere and learn how, yourself,” said Mrs. Reade, as she demurely wound up the ball.

Mrs. Hayden looked up with interested surprise. “Do you think anything could be done for me, Miss Greening?”

“A great many worse than you have been cured, why not you?”

“Well, I don’t know; it seems so far away and so intangible some way.”

“Now, Mrs. Hayden, try it. Let Cousin Helen treat you,” interposed Mrs. Reade.

“What must I do, any mysterious unheard-of thing?” was the answer, with a look of evident amusement.

“Oh, no! Just sit quietly passive, and be as hopeful as possible during the treatment. The only thing that might seem hard is to give up all medicine and material applications while you are under treatment.”

“That will not be hard at all, for I have lost all faith in medicine anyway. When do you want to begin, Miss Greening?”

“Well, I am willing to try my best to help you, Mrs. Hayden, but you must understand, in the first place, that I take no credit to myself, for it is God’s work. Then I have really not tried to heal any one; since it was so recently I was cured myself, there has been no opportunity, but as I said, I will do what I can.”

Miss Greening spoke earnestly and reverently. It seemed rather new to her to be called upon to prove her principles, and yet she had such perfect faith in them, she never thought of wavering.

“Then it’s all settled, and you can take your first treatment to-night,” spoke up Mrs. Reade, volubly. “I’m so anxious to see you strong and well like the rest of us,” she added half apologetically.

“It will seem too good to be true. I can not realize such a possibility.”

A thoughtful silence fell upon the little company for a few moments, and when they resumed their conversation, it was about something else.

At their usual tea time, Mr. Hayden, accompanied by Mr. Reade, came in, and all were presently called to the dining room.

Mr. and Mrs. Hayden had dropped all pretension of style in their present circumstances, and lived like their neighbors, in a modest but comfortable way. The children came trooping in when they heard the supper bell, and delightedly filed out to the dining room with their elders.

“Well, I hope you ladies have been enjoying yourselves this afternoon. I notice ladies have that faculty whenever they meet for an hour or so,” said Mr. Hayden, with a genial smile, as he passed the plates.

“Oh, we have indeed had a lovely time, and a profitable one, too, I hope,” said Mrs. Reade, impulsively.

“You have about converted Mrs. Hayden to your ideas, you and Helen together, I presume,” remarked Mr. Reade, as he spread his napkin out to its fullest capacity.

“I should certainly like to be converted, if so many wonderful things are possible as I have heard about this afternoon,” and Mrs. Hayden showed by the unusual energy in her manner and the brightness of her eyes that something had inspired her to an unwonted degree.

“Well now, tell me what all this is about. You seem to have conspired to talk in riddles,” exclaimed Mr. Hayden, with an injured air.

“Why, it is this new ‘craze’ they call Christian Healing that seems to have taken hold of our worthy partners, Mr. Hayden,” exclaimed Mr. Reade, with a half-believing, half-skeptical air.

He really believed much more than he cared to acknowledge, but until he was better informed of Mr. Hayden’s opinions, he thought “discretion the better part of valor.” Someway we often stumble upon such characters in life. Good-natured souls they are, and so anxious to please everybody.

“I am not sure but there is a good deal in that, Reade. I heard some gentlemen talking about what was being done in Chicago, and it is truly wonderful. After all, we know that the mind has a great influence over the body, and why shouldn’t we discover new abilities and powers in that as we develop in other directions?”

“To be sure; just what I have always said, and now I am having an opportunity to prove it since my wife is willing to listen,” replied Mr. Reade, with graceful diplomacy.

“Oh, there is something far beyond what you gentlemen see something so spiritual and beautiful, that mere intellect can not recognize it. But you will come to that after awhile, if you only seek to know for Truth’s sake, though the recognition of what you see often comes first,” interposed Miss Greening, with a warm flush of enthusiasm on her face.

“Certainly. I believe our capacity to recognize higher phases of thought grows with our eagerness to receive. That is true of any branch of study,” said Mrs. Hayden, with conviction. She was well pleased that her husband was so favorably inclined to hear, and expressed himself so cordially. While she was quite independent in her own way of thinking, it was still a keen pleasure to have her husband on the same side. He, on the other hand, had great confidence in her judgment, and generally allowed himself to be convinced, even if he had an opinion in the beginning. They had been especially near to each other the last year.

Miss Greening was mentally congratulating herself on having found such a ready audience, and felt as though she could do anything in the way of healing, as she talked on and on, telling them the many things that had happened in Princeton. She finished by saying, enthusiastically:

“When I had such wonderful proofs right before my eyes, do you wonder that I looked with awe and astonishment and wanted to know the secret of this power? Can you wonder that I felt anxious to go forth into all the world and preach the gospel? Oh, how delightful, I thought, to carry such blessed news and be able to give such blessed proof! So when Cousin Ruth’s letter came, asking me to make her a visit, I felt that perhaps an opportunity would offer in which I might demonstrate the truth of my precious science, and here it is ready for me, the very work I wanted. Yes, just as far as possible will I use my knowledge, though as yet it is but little, to help Mrs. Hayden.”

Miss Greening had waxed eloquent in her unconscious enthusiasm, and seeing the whole company gazing at her in astonished admiration, she paused suddenly, with a vivid flush on her face, saying: “Pardon me. I did not mean to monopolize the conversation.”

“That apology is entirely unnecessary, for we have been listening to something so new that its very newness and unconventionality is quite refreshing, and certainly interesting,” said Mr. Hayden, warmly.

“Surely, there must be some healing virtue even in your talk, for I feel remarkably well to-day,” was his wife’s delighted addition.

“How glad, oh, how glad I am,” fluttered Mrs. Reade.

A movement from Jem caused Mrs. Hayden to notice his extra dish of sauce and huge piece of frosted cake.

“No, Jem, dear, you mustn’t eat any more to-night, and you know mamma don’t want you to have any cake.”

“O-o-o-h, peaze, tan’t I have some more?”

“Not any more to-day. You know you had to be sick all night, not long ago, and mamma had to give you some medicine. You don’t want to have to take paregoric, do you?”

“No-o-o, but I want e take!”

“Mamma said you couldn’t have any. You’re too little, anyway. Didn’t I tell you I ought to have the biggest piece ’cause my stomach’s the biggest, an’ I’m not afraid of stomachache. Give me your sauce, if you can’t eat it,” said shameless Fred.

Papa and mamma Hayden looked upon their oldest son in dismay, as he thus openly delivered his sentiments.

“Hush, Freddie, you mustn’t want any more, either, nor talk that way to Jem. You have had enough for to-night.”

“Well, I’ve had six biscuits any way,” and Fred settled himself back with a satisfied air as though he could stand anything if necessary, while poor Jem was taken away from the table crying as if his heart would break at the loss of his coveted sweets.

“You see, we seldom have company, and the children are unused to sweet things as a rule, because the doctor always says their diet must be carefully attended to, in order to avoid inflammation of the bowels, which Jem once had,” explained Mrs. Hayden with the old look of weariness for a moment settling back on her face.

“Just wait till you have studied Christian Healing and then see how to manage,” said Mrs. Reade with sparkling eyes.

“Have you taken such a fancy to this too, Mrs. Reade?” asked Mr. Hayden, rather teasingly.

“Oh, she’s almost a crank now,” answered her husband, with a merry twinkle.

“Well, it is very good to have such an article in the family. It keeps things lively and announces the world’s progress with unerring certainty,” she retorted, and with this good-natured sally they rose from the table. The evening was spent in a mixture of small talk and earnestness, and before they departed Mrs. Hayden received her first treatment.