Read CHAPTER VIII of The Right Knock A Story , free online book, by Helen Van-Anderson, on ReadCentral.com.

“There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio,
Than are dreamt of in your philosophy.” Shakespeare.

Of course Kate and Grace were told about the new way of being healed, and Grace looked on at first with her usual incredulity, but when she saw Mrs. Hayden getting so well and looking so happy, she began to wonder and then to exclaim. Then she wanted to learn something about this new “doctrine,” and Mrs. Hayden had Miss Greening come over and meet the girls one evening so they could hear her explain a little about it. Grace was delighted, saying that was more reasonable than anything she had ever heard.

“I really should like to learn it,” she said for the third time as they walked home.

“Why, you are really enthusiastic about it,” said Kate, giving the artistic arm a gentle squeeze.

“I must confess, Kate, that it is nearer my idea of religion than anything I ever heard, and it is marvelous to see Mrs. Hayden. Did you see how bright she looked to-night? More like her old self than since her sickness. I can’t understand it.”

“She said her limb was actually growing natural again so she could bend it,” added Kate.

“If she could be cured, it would be a wonderful demonstration or proof of the theory,” remarked Grace.

“Oh, I don’t know, Grace, I am afraid, after all, it might be wrong. You know it says in the Bible we are to beware of false doctrines, and the miracles of anti-Christ, and this may be that very thing,” said Kate, with a sudden smiting of conscience and reproaching herself that she had not thought of this before. She had been brought up a strict Methodist, but had grown rather careless of religious matters, till all at once she realized the mighty import of her backsliding.

“I don’t think if there is such a thing, it could do so much good, and good power must come from the God of goodness,” answered Grace, with unusual gentleness. They walked on in silence, each pondering her own thoughts.

Three weeks after, Mrs. Hayden was known as a restored invalid, was daily answering a thousand questions as to how it was done. Was it really so? Could she walk as well as ever? Didn’t she get tired? Had she any faith after all? etc.

She patiently told them the truth of the matter, that her limb had become well and pliable as ever, that her stomach was perfectly sound, her head free from nervous aching, her nights a joyous rest and her days a round of delightful labor.

For the first time she learned there had been many cures, and several classes taught in Hampton, but no case had excited the attention, public and private, that hers had.

The various members of society wagged their wise heads, and cast mingled glances of pity, wonder, ridicule or disdain upon the poor deluded victim of the “latest humbug.” Even the select circles heard of it as a report finally reached the daily paper, which appeared with a glaring head and ridiculous comments.

One of the weeklies contented itself by reprinting a scathing denunciation from a prominent religious paper. Another contained clippings from an Iowa paper giving an account of the arrest and trial of a so-called Christian Scientist for illegal practice. But it failed to add that “the judge instructed the jury to return a verdict for the defendant,” remarking that “under the constitution and laws of Iowa it is no crime for a person to pray for his afflicted neighbor.”

Among the worthy M. D.’s, a miniature storm arose and spent itself in the characteristic fashion of storms, now carrying everything before it, in its impetuous fury, now quietly subsiding into a ripple of condescending concession, or languid comment, now breaking out with renewed force into explosive epithets or vindictive rage.

Dr. Crouse expressed his astonishment that anybody should have the audacity to practice medicine without a diploma, as this woman evidently did, and demanded that the authorities enforce the law at once with the utmost rigor . “Such quacks ought to be dealt with without mercy, as an example to other upstarts!” and with an angry growl the doctor recklessly spat the whole width of the sidewalk.

Dr. Jones admitted that the mind had a great deal to do with the body, and possibly this mind cure might help nervous prostration or hysterical women, but if Mrs. Hayden’s limb was healed, depend upon it, the medicine taken all those months was the cause.

Dr. Bundy considered the matter too absurd to even mention.

Dr. Hone went up and down the streets, loudly denouncing such “humbugs,” while his partner, Lapland, laughed at the preposterous idea of learning all about materia medica in three weeks! “It is simply ridiculous, sheer nonsense! Ha, ha, ha!” and the office fairly shook at the outburst of merriment.

On the other hand, Dr. Wilson was deeply interested, and went so far as to call on Miss Greening, and to her he frankly admitted there was an unaccountable power in the mind some way, and if it did the work for suffering humanity he was quite ready to welcome it, and anxious, for his part, to investigate the matter.

Kind, liberal Dr. Jackson, Mrs. Hayden’s former family physician, shook his head wonderingly, but said nothing. He was a careful thinker and needed time for his conclusions, but as every one well knew, he had the friendliest, most charitable heart that ever was, and very candid, withal, in his judgments, and fair in his investigations. So in time they would know what he thought. It was whispered about that he had already invested in some books, and was quietly studying Christian Healing in his leisure moments.

Among the churches no less of a tumult raged. Rev. Rush preached a stirring sermon about the evil days in which even the very elect should be deceived by the miracles of anti-Christ, and warned his hearers against being beguiled.

Rev. Long openly denounced Christian Healing as but another form of spiritualism, and admonished his flock to beware of ravening wolves.

Rev. Morton mildly preached about being steadfast to the old faith, avoiding investigation in anything new, while from the gentle, spiritually minded Prof. Mill was heard an eloquent disquisition on the promises and the all-abiding power of God.

All shades and phases of ministerial sentiments were expressed, and whatever was grand and Christ-like sprang up as dainty, fragrant blossoms amid the wayside weeds of falsity and Pharisaical bigotry.

The ladies’ sewing societies discussed the subject to its fullest extent with widely varying opinions, some exclaiming with wonder and awe that it certainly must be a higher power that would perform such miracles; others that it was nothing but mesmerism. A few reverently expressed their conviction that Mrs. Hayden was extremely fortunate to be chosen for such a favor, while still others of quite a contrary mind declared it was nothing more nor less than the devil, who was stealthily taking possession of the weak.

One timid little woman ventured to say that it could not be Satan, for he was never known to do anything good. Another said there must be something uncanny about it, for she had experienced the most peculiar sensations when shaking hands with Mrs. Hayden.

Mrs. Dyke had waited for a more practical time to give her opinion, and now she concluded the whole matter for herself, at least, by saying in a most practical way:

“It is the devil’s work from first to last, and I am not surprised that that woman, Mrs. Hayden, has got into his clutches, for she never did her duty to the church, and such people can’t expect he will always let them go their own way. Christian Healing has no right to its name or its prétentions. It is only the magician’s rod, and I, for one, don’t propose to look at it,” with which profound announcement she went to the other room to oversee her charge of sewing girls.

“Oh, how righteous we are!” giggled one very young lady, with a mock look of reverence.

“Well, now, see here ladies!” declared Mrs. Grant, another “practical” woman, but of a different type from Mrs. Dyke, “we may as well look at this matter in a sensible and candid light. Here are the facts: Mrs. Hayden is a lovely and reliable woman. She has, as we all know, suffered everything from her headaches and dyspepsia, besides the limb that was broken at the fire. We see her well, and ought to believe what she says. They often say, ‘Truth is stranger than fiction.’ An example has come to our door, and why should we refuse to believe, when the proof is so plain? For my part, I can believe though I do not understand, and I want to know what there is in Christian Healing.”

Mrs. Grant had spoken, and as she usually did, turned the tide of thought in her direction.

“Why, yes, we all want to know if there is anything in it, but there is an if ”

If! There it is again! I’ve no patience with people who always tumble over an if. You can bar the very gates of heaven with that nipping little word. It means doubt, and doubt is the destroyer of faith which we must have in this world, if we live at all.”

Mrs. Grant unwittingly preached a little sermon, which not only served to quell the confusion, but gave them a helpful thought to carry home. Scattering good seed seemed to be her mission, and many a good word dropped into fruitful soil, and took its time to bring forth.