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The High Calling   By: (1857-1946)

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THE HIGH CALLING

BY CHARLES M. SHELDON AUTHOR OF "IN HIS STEPS," ETC.

HODDER & STOUGHTON NEW YORK GEORGE H. DORAN COMPANY

Copyright, 1911, By George H. Doran Company

TO MY SON MERRIAM WARD

FOREWORD

The story, "The High Calling," was written at two different periods, in 1909 and 1910, and was read at two different periods, chapter by chapter, to the young people in my church, on successive Sunday evenings. The main purpose of the story is to illustrate the value of the average American family training and the final victory of the spiritual ideals over material or physical attractions. The final outcome of the struggle which Helen Douglas makes between her natural inclination to follow a life of ease and luxury, and the real training which she has received at home, is the picture of what is going on in the best American homes to day. It has been my hope that the story would help many young people to realize the great difference between the finest type of manhood and womanhood, and that which in some cases has grown up on American soil, where the standards have been low and the ideals have been obscured by fashion, by false home training, and by superficial ideas of happiness. In other words, my purpose has been to describe, in the main characters in the book, the manly heroic type of Christian struggle and final victory which realizes the response which the higher nature makes to the call from above. This idea which runs through the story gives it its name of "The High Calling." As my own young people gave the story a beautiful reception in their listening to it, it is my earnest hope that if the book has the good fortune to find a larger audience it may reach more young people with the same message.

Topeka, Kansas, 1911. CHARLES M. SHELDON.

THE HIGH CALLING

CHAPTER I

PAUL DOUGLAS and his wife, Esther, were holding a serious council together over their older boy, Walter.

"I can't help feeling a little disappointment over the way things are going. I did so want the boy to come into the office with me."

"I know," said Esther, with a grave smile, "but he seems to have his mind made up. I don't think we ought to thwart him if he is made to do that for his lifework."

"No," said Paul, looking at Esther with great thoughtfulness, "I have always believed that a boy should have freedom to choose his lifework. But what puzzles me is where did Walter get his leaning toward electrical engineering? None of my ancestors, so far as I know, ever had the slightest tendency that way, and the Darcys for generations have been business men.

"I was in the boy's room the other day," continued Paul, meditatively, "and he had the floor and his bed and the chairs covered with models of electrical machines. I was afraid to sit down or lean up against anything for fear it would go off and give me a shock or something. While I was asking questions, what did the boy do but start a contrivance that hung from the ceiling and it reached down a metallic arm that grabbed my hat off and began to comb my hair. I yelled, naturally, or unnaturally, and tried to get loose, but another contrivance shot out from the wall somewhere and clutched me by the leg and began to make frantic gestures at my shoes like a wild boot blacking emporium. I decided to stand still rather than run the risk of getting hit somewhere else. Meanwhile Walter was laughing so hard he couldn't answer my emphatic request to know what the thing was going to do. He finally explained that it was a new device he was experimenting with to give the patient head treatment for nervous prostration, and black his shoes while he waited. I made him turn off the power and then I cautiously backed out of the room and gave him my testimonial on the efficacy of his invention adapted to give anyone nervous prostration and general paralysis who never had them."

Esther laughed, the same good, generous, contagious laugh she had always known, and Paul had always loved to hear.

"Walter is a genius... Continue reading book >>




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