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|Anne's House of Dreams||Lucy Maud Montgomery|
|Page 3 of 4||
"Mr. Howard was a Methodist to begin with," said Miss Cornelia, as if she thought he had not far to go from that to heresy.
"Do you know, Cornelia," said Captain Jim gravely, "I've often thought that if I wasn't a Presbyterian I'd be a Methodist."
"Oh, well," conceded Miss Cornelia, "if you weren't a Presbyterian it wouldn't matter much what you were. Speaking of heresy, reminds me, doctor--I've brought back that book you lent me--that Natural Law in the Spiritual World--I didn't read more'n a third of it. I can read sense, and I can read nonsense, but that book is neither the one nor the other."
"It IS considered rather heretical in some quarters," admitted Gilbert, "but I told you that before you took it, Miss Cornelia."
"Oh, I wouldn't have minded its being heretical. I can stand wickedness, but I can't stand foolishness," said Miss Cornelia calmly, and with the air of having said the last thing there was to say about Natural Law.
"Speaking of books, A Mad Love come to an end at last two weeks ago," remarked Captain Jim musingly. "It run to one hundred and three chapters. When they got married the book stopped right off, so I reckon their troubles were all over. It's real nice that that's the way in books anyhow, isn't it, even if 'tistn't so anywhere else?"
"I never read novels," said Miss Cornelia. "Did you hear how Geordie Russell was today, Captain Jim?"
"Yes, I called in on my way home to see him. He's getting round all right--but stewing in a broth of trouble, as usual, poor man.
'Course he brews up most of it for himself, but I reckon that don't make it any easier to bear."
"He's an awful pessimist," said Miss Cornelia.
"Well, no, he ain't a pessimist exactly, Cornelia. He only jest never finds anything that suits him."
"And isn't that a pessimist?"
"No, no. A pessimist is one who never expects to find anything to suit him. Geordie hain't got THAT far yet."
"You'd find something good to say of the devil himself, Jim Boyd."
"Well, you've heard the story of the old lady who said he was persevering. But no, Cornelia, I've nothing good to say of the devil."
"Do you believe in him at all?" asked Miss Cornelia seriously.
"How can you ask that when you know what a good Presbyterian I am, Cornelia? How could a Presbyterian get along without a devil?"
"DO you?" persisted Miss Cornelia.
Captain Jim suddenly became grave.
"I believe in what I heard a minister once call `a mighty and malignant and INTELLIGENT power of evil working in the universe,'" he said solemnly. "I do THAT, Cornelia. You can call it the devil, or the `principle of evil,' or the Old Scratch, or any name you like. It's THERE, and all the infidels and heretics in the world can't argue it away, any more'n they can argue God away. It's there, and it's working. But, mind you, Cornelia, I believe it's going to get the worst of it in the long run."
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|Anne's House of Dreams
Lucy Maud Montgomery
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