I'M AT Uncle Ben's now. I don't know how long I'll stay. Things seem different when you're away from home, and you don't know what to do first. I didn't.
Aunt Susan's got a baby and it cries and cries. She says it's 'cause it's teething, but I don't believe it. God don't make teeth with stickers in 'em. Aunt Susan worries and keeps talking about babies dying with teeth in hot weather, and I know that's what's the matter. Cousin Frank says she's always fussing at him and saying "d-o-n-t" all the time. I feel like you do, with slivers in your fingers — can't even touch the cat without she sticks me.
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I'm real happy this morning, 'cause last night when I went up to the pretty, white room Aunt Susan fixed for me, I said over and over my truth words:
"God is my Father, and I am his child.
"I am His image and likeness.
"I shall have no evil thought, because I am like my Father, who is All Good.
"I shall have no unkind thought, because I am like my Father, who is Love.
"I shall have no thought of sin, sickness or death, because I am like my Father, who is Life.
"I am well, strong, happy and wise, because my Father is all Life, all Love, all Strength and all Wisdom.
"I have the mind that was in Christ Jesus: because Christ Jesus was my Father's obedient Son and I am my Father's obedient child."
I sat a little while alone all still and quiet, and 'membered how Aunt Joy had first given us these words, and when I looked 'round the room seemed so soft and white and lovely; all the slivers were gone and I knew Aunt Susan's heart really was all soft and white inside, just like this little room, with everything to make a body happy, all in beautiful order, there. Then I thought how she had done all this for me when she had so much else to think of. I just loved Aunt Susan and couldn't wait till morning to tell her so, though I was in my gown; so I just slipped into her room and put my arms about her neck, and she didn't say I was "mussing" her hair or "don't." She just let me love and thank her.
Then I 'membered Aunt Joy had said it was a good time to sow seeds that would come right up, when you're so full of love. So I coaxed Aunt Susan to let me take Baby Charley while she went out on the porch to see the moonlight. She looked so s'prised, 'cause I hadn't touched him before, or even thought how I could help her. She gave him to me and said it was real kind of me. I don't know much about babies. He wriggled so I was 'fraid he'd come to pieces. I guess he was s'prised, too, 'cause he quit crying. Then it came to me to sing a little peace song. So I sang as soft and low as ever I could:
Peace, baby, peace,
Peace, baby, peace,
Sweet love is here.
No harm or fear
Comes to baby, dear,
For God, the Good, is here;
Peace, baby, peace.
I sang it over and over till baby got so still I forgot about him and everything else, and it seemed as if the whole world had turned soft and white. And then I woke up in my little, white room and it was morning. I 'spect I went to sleep singing to baby, but I don't quite understand how I got here and how it's morning. Somebody's put a lot of roses in here with dew on 'em and it's all so sweet. I feel like I was little Aunt Joy, and that means I must sow joy-seeds all day.
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Nancy, the housemaid, came in to help me get ready for breakfast, and she said it was so nice to have a little girl in the house, she hoped I'd stay a long time. When I went downstairs, Uncle Ben caught me up and said he'd like to know if I were girl or witch. Uncle Ben's always saying such funny things; you don't know whether he's making fun of you or not. He said I had done enough the night before to hang or burn me if I'd been in Salem a hundred years ago. I looked at Aunt Susan and she shook her head at Uncle Ben and said: "Don't be so rough with the child; she isn't used to it, and doesn't understand you."
Then Uncle Ben sat me down beside him at the table and asked me if I didn't miss something. I looked around;
Aunt Susan was pouring out the coffee; Cousin Frank was at the table. What did I miss? Then Uncle Ben laughed and said, "I don't know what you may be called upon to answer for yet, Trixie. Baby Charley is still sleeping; its a serious charge; his lungs must need exercise by this time, and our accustomed ears are idle and empty." Then I knew he meant baby.
I thought Aunt Susan looked brighter and happier, but that might be because I know her now.
Uncle Ben said we were to have a morning ride. Cousin Frank took me out among the roses, first.
"Oh! Oh!" I said right out loud. "How could we ever believe God put anything but joy and goodness in folks, when he fills the roses so full of beauty and fragrance."
Frank said, "Say, Trixie, do you think God makes folks good and happy?"
"Of course; don't you, Frank?"
"Not much; if God'd made people happy, why wouldn't mamma be happy? She believes in him. Papa don't, and he's always jolly. It doesn't make me happy to hear 'bout God. It makes me wish I was big enough to lick 'im, for mamma says he's always watching, and I hate eavesdroppers."
I asked Frank if he hated the air and sunshine, and thought because they were always 'round, that they were eavesdroppers. He didn't understand, and so I asked him if the roses, or us either, could get along without air and sunshine. Then I told him God is more to us than air and sunshine, for he is our life.
I think Frank got some new ideas about God.
Uncle Ben has the loveliest horses, and how they did skim over the long, wavy roads. Aunt Susan looked happy, and she said if it wasn't for thinking of baby's teething she believed she'd enjoy the ride. Uncle Ben said to her, "For the love of humanity, Sue, do forget teething babies and be happy while you can."
Then I asked Uncle Ben if he didn't think we ought always to be happy. He pinched my cheek and said, "Are you pious, Trixie?" I thought of Dr. Good, and said "No." Then Uncle Ben drew down his face and said solemnly, "You'll be happy here then, but you won't go to heaven when you die." I told him I didn't have to go to heaven, for heaven is in me.
"What kind of talk is this? Are you then a young heretic? Better, not talk that way before your Aunt Susan. She's pious and believes it's wicked to be happy till you go to heaven. But if heaven's inside of you, where do you locate the other place?"
"I don't believe in the 'other place,' " I said. Then Uncle Ben laughed right out and said, "That settles it, Sue."
I wish Uncle Ben wouldn't say some things he does. Aunt Susan says he's profane.
Uncle Ben knows about everything. Folks call him a great naturalist. Aunt Susan says he knows about everything but God and his soul.
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When Uncle Ben was out with Frank and me, talking about the wonderful things of nature, I asked if he really
believed in nature. He said, "Of course.'' Then I asked him, "Why do you believe in nature?"
He said, "Because it is all there is to believe in."
"Uncle Ben," I asked, "don't you believe everybody must have a father as well as a mother?"
"That's quite the fashion," he said.
"Well, Grace calls nature Mother-God. Don't you think there ought to be a father?"
Uncle Ben said, "Well, Trixie, trot out a Father-God that's as useful and tangible and I'll own him."
"Do you believe in Mind, Uncle Ben?"
"To be sure."
"Aunt Joy says Mind is the Father of All."
"That beats the Jews, Trixie, but Mind is in the head."
"Yes and everywhere else. Don't you think the trees and flowers grow as if they know how?"
"But where's their brain?"
How I wished for Aunt Joy and Ned and Grace to help me out. But I know God is Mind, and so I did the best I could. I told him brains weren't Mind, and that Mind is Life and Spirit, and that brains without Life and Spirit isn't any account.
I said a lot to him, and I 'spect he thinks I'm an ignorant little girl 'cause I don't understand all those big nature-things he talks about.
But Cousin Frank told me his papa said I had ideas. Well, I 'spect I have and I'm going to keep 'em. I wouldn't swap 'em off for all that nature stuff of his. But it does seem funny he can't see that nature is just the outside of God.