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The White People Frances Hodgson Burnett

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"It has taken man eons of time," Hector MacNairn said, thinking it out as he spoke-- "eons of time to reach the point where he is beginning to know that in every stock and stone in his path may lie hidden some power he has not yet dreamed of. He has learned that lightning may be commanded, distance conquered, motion chained and utilized; but he, the one CONSCIOUS force, has never yet begun to suspect that of all others he may be the one as yet the least explored. How do we know that there does not lie in each of us a wholly natural but, so far, dormant power of sight--a power to see what has been called The Unseen through all the Ages whose sightlessness has made them Dark? Who knows when the Shadow around us may begin to clear? Oh, we are a dull lot--we human things--with a queer, obstinate conceit of ourselves."

"Complete we think we are," Angus murmured half to himself . "Finished creatures! And look at us! How many of us in a million have beauty and health and full power? And believing that the law is that we must crumple and go to pieces hour by hour! Who'd waste the time making a clock that went wrong as often? Nay, nay! We shall learn better than this as time goes on. And we'd better be beginning and setting our minds to work on it. 'Tis for us to do--the minds of us. And what's the mind of us but the Mind that made us? Simple and straight enough it is when once you begin to think it out. The spirit of you sees clearer than we do, that's all," he said to me. "When your mother brought you into the world she was listening to one outside calling to her, and it opened the way for you."

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At night Hector MacNairn and his mother and I sat on the terrace under stars which seemed listening things, and we three drew nearer to one another, and nearer and nearer.

"When the poor mother stumbled into the train that day," was one of the things Hector told me, "I was thinking of The Fear and of my own mother. You looked so slight and small as you sat in your corner that I thought at first you were almost a child. Then a far look in your eyes made me begin to watch you. You were so sorry for the poor woman that you could not look away from her, and something in your face touched and puzzled me. You leaned forward suddenly and put out your hand protectingly as she stepped down on to the platform.

"That night when you spoke quite naturally of the child, never doubting that I had seen it, I suddenly began to suspect. Because of The Fear"--he hesitated--"I had been reading and thinking many things new to me. I did not know what I believed. But you spoke so simply, and I knew you were speaking the truth. Then you spoke just as naturally of Wee Brown Elspeth. That startled me because not long before I had been told the tale in the Highlands by a fine old story-teller who is the head of his clan. I saw you had never heard the story before. And yet you were telling me that you had played with the child."

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The White People
Frances Hodgson Burnett

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