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- Philip Dru: Administrator - 4/33 -
Gloria read to him and wrote for him, and in many ways was his hands and eyes. He in turn talked to her of the things that filled his mind. The betterment of man was an ever-present theme with them. It pleased him to trace for her the world's history from its early beginning when all was misty tradition, down through the uncertain centuries of early civilization to the present time.
He talked with her of the untrustworthiness of the so-called history of to-day, although we had every facility for recording facts, and he pointed out how utterly unreliable it was when tradition was the only means of transmission. Mediocrity, he felt sure, had oftentimes been exalted into genius, and brilliant and patriotic exclamations attributed to great men, were never uttered by them, neither was it easy he thought, to get a true historic picture of the human intellectual giant. As a rule they were quite human, but people insisted upon idealizing them, consequently they became not themselves but what the popular mind wanted them to be.
He also dwelt on the part the demagogue and the incompetents play in retarding the advancement of the human race. Some leaders were honest, some were wise and some were selfish, but it was seldom that the people would be led by wise, honest and unselfish men.
"There is always the demagogue to poison the mind of the people against such a man," he said, "and it is easily done because wisdom means moderation and honesty means truth. To be moderate and to tell the truth at all times and about all matters seldom pleases the masses."
Many a long day was spent thus in purely impersonal discussions of affairs, and though he himself did not realize it, Gloria saw that Philip was ever at his best when viewing the large questions of State, rather than the narrower ones within the scope of the military power.
The weeks passed swiftly, for the girl knew well how to ease the young Officer's chafing at uncertainty and inaction. At times, as they droned away the long hot summer afternoons under the heavily leafed fig trees in the little garden of the Strawn bungalow, he would become impatient at his enforced idleness. Finally one day, after making a pitiful attempt to read, Philip broke out, "I have been patient under this as long as I can. The restraint is too much. Something must be done."
Somewhat to his surprise, Gloria did not try to take his mind off the situation this time, but suggested asking the surgeon for a definite report on his condition.
The interview with the surgeon was unsatisfactory, but his report to his superior officers bore fruit, for in a short time Philip was told that he should apply for an indefinite leave of absence, as it would be months, perhaps years, before his eyes would allow him to carry on his duties.
He seemed dazed at the news, and for a long time would not talk of it even with Gloria. After a long silence one afternoon she softly asked, "What are you going to do, Philip?"
Jack Strawn, who was sitting near by, broke out--"Do! why there's no question about what he is going to do. Once an Army man always an Army man. He's going to live on the best the U.S.A. provides until his eyes are right. In the meantime Philip is going to take indefinite sick leave."
The girl only smiled at her brother's military point of view, and asked another question. "How will you occupy your time, Philip?"
Philip sat as if he had not heard them.
"Occupy his time!" exclaimed Jack, "getting well of course. Without having to obey orders or do anything but draw his checks, he can have the time of his life, there will be nothing to worry about."
"That's just it," slowly said Philip. "No work, nothing to think about."
"Exactly," said Gloria.
"What are you driving at, Sister. You talk as if it was something to be deplored. I call it a lark. Cheer the fellow up a bit, can't you?"
"No, never mind," replied Philip. "There's nothing to cheer me up about. The question is simply this: Can I stand a period of several years' enforced inactivity as a mere pensioner?"
"Yes!" quickly said Gloria, "as a pensioner, and then, if all goes well, you return to this." "What do you mean, Gloria? Don't you like Army Post life?" asked Jack.
"I like it as well as you do, Jack. You just haven't come to realize that Philip is cut out for a bigger sphere than--that." She pointed out across the parade ground where a drill was going on. "You know as well as I do that this is not the age for a military career."
Jack was so disgusted with this, that with an exclamation of impatience, he abruptly strode off to the parade ground.
"You are right, Gloria," said Philip. "I cannot live on a pension indefinitely. I cannot bring myself to believe that it is honest to become a mendicant upon the bounty of the country. If I had been injured in the performance of duty, I would have no scruples in accepting support during an enforced idleness, but this disability arose from no fault of the Government, and the thought of accepting aid under such circumstances is too repugnant."
"Of course," said Gloria.
"The Government means no more to me than an individual," continued Philip, "and it is to be as fairly dealt with. I never could understand how men with self-respect could accept undeserving pensions from the Nation. To do so is not alone dishonest, but is unfair to those who need help and have a righteous claim to support. If the unworthy were refused, the deserving would be able to obtain that to which they are entitled."
Their talk went on thus for hours, the girl ever trying more particularly to make him see a military career as she did, and he more concerned with the ethical side of the situation.
"Do not worry over it, Philip," cried Gloria, "I feel sure that your place is in the larger world of affairs, and you will some day be glad that this misfortune came to you, and that you were forced to go into another field of endeavor.
"With my ignorance and idle curiosity, I led you on and on, over first one hill and then another, until you lost your way in that awful desert over there, but yet perhaps there was a destiny in that. When I was leading you out of the desert, a blind man, it may be that I was leading you out of the barrenness of military life, into the fruitful field of labor for humanity."
After a long silence, Philip Dru arose and took Gloria's hand.
"Yes! I will resign. You have already reconciled me to my fate."
THE SUPREMACY OF MIND
Officers and friends urged Philip to reconsider his determination of resigning, but once decided, he could not be swerved from his purpose. Gloria persuaded him to go to New York with her in order to consult one of the leading oculists, and arrangements were made immediately. On the last day but one, as they sat under their favorite fig tree, they talked much of Philip's future. Gloria had also been reading aloud Sir Oliver Lodge's "Science and Immortality," and closing the book upon the final chapter, asked Philip what he thought of it.
"Although the book was written many years ago, even then the truth had begun to dawn upon the poets, seers and scientific dreamers. The dominion of mind, but faintly seen at that time, but more clearly now, will finally come into full vision. The materialists under the leadership of Darwin, Huxley and Wallace, went far in the right direction, but in trying to go to the very fountainhead of life, they came to a door which they could not open and which no materialistic key will ever open."
"So, Mr. Preacher, you're at it again," laughed Gloria. "You belong to the pulpit of real life, not the Army. Go on, I am interested."
"Well," went on Dru, "then came a reaction, and the best thought of the scientific world swung back to the theory of mind or spirit, and the truth began to unfold itself. Now, man is at last about to enter into that splendid kingdom, the promise of which Christ gave us when he said, 'My Father and I are one,' and again, 'When you have seen me you have seen the Father.' He was but telling them that all life was a part of the One Life--individualized, but yet of and a part of the whole.
"We are just learning our power and dominion over ourselves. When in the future children are trained from infancy that they can measurably conquer their troubles by the force of mind, a new era will have come to man."
"There," said Gloria, with an earnestness that Philip had rarely heard in her, "is perhaps the source of the true redemption of the world."
She checked herself quickly, "But you were preaching to me, not I to you. Go on."
"No, but I want to hear what you were going to say."
"You see I am greatly interested in this movement which is seeking to find how far mind controls matter, and to what extent our lives are spiritual rather than material," she answered, "but it's hard to talk about it to most people, so I have kept it to myself. Go on, Philip, I will not interrupt again."
"When fear, hate, greed and the purely material conception of Life passes out," said Philip, "as it some day may, and only wholesome thoughts will have a place in human minds, mental ills will take flight along with most of our bodily ills, and the miracle of the world's redemption will have been largely wrought."
"Mental ills will take flight along with bodily ills. We should be trained, too, not to dwell upon anticipated troubles, but to use our minds and bodies in an earnest, honest endeavor to avert threatened disaster. We should not brood over possible failure, for in the great realm of the supremacy of mind or spirit the thought of failure should not enter."
"Yes, I know, Philip."
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