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The Dawn of A To-morrow Frances Hodgson Burnett

Chapter III

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"Who?" groaned Dart. He sat hanging his head and staring at the floor. This was another phase of the dream.

" `Where is 'E?' I ses. ` 'Im as breaks old women's legs an' crushes babies under wheels--so as they 'll be resigned?' An' all of a sudden she calls out quite loud: `Nowhere,' she ses. `An' never was. But 'Im as stretched forth the 'eavens an' laid the foundations of the earth, 'Im as is the Life an' Love of the world, 'E's 'ERE! Stretch out yer 'and,' she ses, 'an' call out, "Speak, Lord, thy servant 'eareth," an' ye'll 'ear an' SEE.

An' never you stop sayin' it--let yer 'eart beat it an' yer breath breathe it --an' yer 'll find yer goin' about laughin' soft to yerself an' lovin' everythin' as if it was yer own child at breast. An' no 'arm can come to yer. Try it when yer go 'ome.' "

"Did you?" asked Dart.

Glad answered for her with a tremulous--yes it was a TREMULOUS-- giggle, a weirdly moved little sound.

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"When she wakes in the mornin' she ses to 'erself, `Good things is goin' to come to-day--cheerfle things.' When there's a knock at the door she ses, `Somethin' friendly 's comin' in.' An' when Drunken Bet's makin' a row an' ragin' an' tearin' an' threatenin' to 'ave 'er eyes out of 'er fice, she ses, `Lor, Bet, yer don't mean a word of it--yer a friend to every woman in the 'ouse.' When she don't know which way to turn, she stands still an' ses, `Speak, Lord, thy servant 'eareth,' an' then she does wotever next comes into 'er mind-- an' she says it's allus the right answer. Sometimes," sheepishly, "I've tried it myself--p'raps it's true. I did it this mornin' when I sat down an' pulled me sack over me 'ead on the bridge. Polly 'd been cryin' so loud all night I'd got a bit low in me stummick an'--" She stopped suddenly and turned on Dart as if light had flashed across her mind. "Dunno nothin' about it," she stammered, "but I SAID it--just like she does-- an' YOU come!"

Plainly she had uttered whatever words she had used in the form of a sort of incantation, and here was the result in the living body of this man sitting before her. She stared hard at him, repeating her words: "YOU come. Yes, you did."

"It was the answer," said Miss Montaubyn, with entire simplicity as she bit off her thread, "that 's wot it was."

Antony Dart lifted his heavy head.

"You believe it," he said.

"I 'm livin' on believin' it," she said confidingly. "I ain't got nothin' else. An' answers keeps comin' and comin'."

"What answers?"

"Bits o' work--an' things as 'elps. Glad there, she's one."

"Aw," said Glad, "I ain't nothin'. I likes to 'ear yer tell about it. She ses," to Dart again, a little slowly, as she watched his face with curiously questioning eyes--"she ses 'E'S in the room--same as 'E's everywhere --in this 'ere room. Sometimes she talks out loud to 'Im."

"What!" cried Dart, startled again.

The strange Majestic Awful Idea --the Deity of the Ages--to be spoken of as a mere unfeared Reality! And even as the vaguely formed thought sprang in his brain he started once more, suddenly confronted by the meaning his sense of shock implied. What had all the sermons of all the centuries been preaching but that it was Reality? What had all the infidels of every age contended but that it was Unreal, and the folly of a dream? He had never thought of himself as an infidel; perhaps it would have shocked him to be called one, though he was not quite sure. But that a little superannuated dancer at music-halls, battered and worn by an unlawful life, should sit and smile in absolute faith at such a--a superstition as this, stirred something like awe in him.

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The Dawn of A To-morrow
Frances Hodgson Burnett

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