"If any man cometh unto me and hateth
not his own father and mother and wife
and children and brethren and sisters,
yea, and his own life also, he cannot be
"And whosoever forsaketh not all that he
hath, he cannot be my disciple."
WHEN Rachel Winslow and Virginia
Page separated after the meeting at the
First Church on Sunday they agreed to
continue their conversation the next
day. Virginia asked Rachel to come and
lunch with her at noon, and Rachel
accordingly rang the bell at the Page
mansion about half-past eleven. Virginia
herself met her and the two were soon
"The fact is," Rachel was saying,
after they had been talking a few
moments, "I cannot reconcile it with my
judgment of what Christ would do. I
cannot tell another person what to do,
but I feel that I ought not to accept
"What will you do then?" asked
Virginia with great interest.
"I don't know yet, but I have
decided to refuse this offer."
Rachel picked up a letter that had
been lying in her lap and ran over its
contents again. It was a letter from the
manager of a comic opera offering her a
place with a large traveling company of
the season. The salary was a very large
figure, and the prospect held out by the
manager was flattering. He had heard
Rachel sing that Sunday morning when the
stranger had interrupted the service. He
had been much impressed. There was money
in that voice and it ought to be used in
comic opera, so said the letter, and the
manager wanted a reply as soon as
"There's no great virtue in saying
'No' to this offer when I have the other
one," Rachel went on thoughtfully.
"That's harder to decide. But I've about
made up my mind. To tell the, truth,
Virginia, I'm completely convinced in
the first case that Jesus would never
use any talent like a good voice just to
make money. But now, take this concert
offer. Here is a reputable company, to
travel with an impersonator and a
violinist and a male quartet, all people
of good reputation. I'm asked to go as
one of the company and sing leading
soprano. The salary--I mentioned it,
didn't I?--is guaranteed to be $200 a
month for the season. But I don't feel
satisfied that Jesus would go. What do
"You mustn't ask me to decide for
you," replied Virginia with a sad smile.
"I believe Mr. Maxwell was right when he
said we must each one of us decide
according to the judgment we feel for
ourselves to be Christ-like. I am having
a harder time than you are, dear, to
decide what He would do."
"Are you?" Rachel asked. She rose
and walked over to the window and looked
out. Virginia came and stood by her. The
street was crowded with life and the two
young women looked at it silently for a
moment. Suddenly Virginia broke out as
Rachel had never heard her before:
"Rachel, what does all this
contrast in conditions mean to you as
you ask this question of what Jesus
would do? It maddens me to think that
the society in which I have been brought
up, the same to which we are both said
to belong, is satisfied year after year
to go on dressing and eating and having
a good time, giving and receiving
entertainments, spending its money on
houses and luxuries and, occasionally,
to ease its conscience, donating,
without any personal sacrifice, a little
money to charity. I have been educated,
as you have, in one of the most
expensive schools in America; launched
into society as an heiress; supposed to
be in a very enviable position. I'm
perfectly well; I can travel or stay at
home. I can do as I please. I can
gratify almost any want or desire; and
yet when I honestly try to imagine Jesus
living the life I have lived and am
expected to live, and doing for the rest
of my life what thousands of other rich
people do, I am under condemnation for
being one of the most wicked, selfish,
useless creatures in all the world. I
have not looked out of this window for
weeks without a feeling of horror toward
myself as I see the humanity that passes
by this house."
Virginia turned away and walked up
and down the room. Rachel watched her
and could not repress the rising tide of
her own growing definition of
discipleship. Of what Christian use was
her own talent of song? Was the best she
could do to sell her talent for so much
a month, go on a concert company's tour,
dress beautifully, enjoy the excitement
of public applause and gain a reputation
as a great singer? Was that what Jesus
She was not morbid. She was in
sound health, was conscious of her great
powers as a singer, and knew that if she
went out into public life she could make
a great deal of money and become well
known. It is doubtful if she
overestimated her ability to accomplish
all she thought herself capable of. And
Virginia--what she had just said smote
Rachel with great force because of the
similar position in which the two
friends found themselves.
Lunch was announced and they went
out and were joined by Virginia's
grandmother, Madam Page, a handsome,
stately woman of sixty-five, and
Virginia's brother Rollin, a young man
who spent most of his time at one of the
clubs and had no ambition for anything
but a growing admiration for Rachel
Winslow, and whenever she dined or
lunched at the Page's, if he knew of it
he always planned to be at home.
These three made up the Page
family. Virginia's father had been a
banker and grain speculator. Her mother
had died ten years before, her father
within the past year. The grandmother, a
Southern woman in birth and training,
had all the traditions and feelings that
accompany the possession of wealth and
social standing that have never been
disturbed. She was a shrewd, careful
business woman of more than average
ability. The family property and wealth
were invested, in large measure, under
her personal care. Virginia's portion
was, without any restriction, her own.
She had been trained by her father to
understand the ways of the business
world, and even the grandmother had been
compelled to acknowledge the girl's
capacity for taking care of her own
Perhaps two persons could not be
found anywhere less capable of
understanding a girl like Virginia than
Madam Page and Rollin. Rachel, who had
known the family since she was a girl
playmate of Virginia's, could not help
thinking of what confronted Virginia in
her own home when she once decided on
the course which she honestly believed
Jesus would take. Today at lunch, as
she recalled Virginia's outbreak in the
front room, she tried to picture the
scene that would at some time occur
between Madam Page and her
"I understand that you are going on
the stage, Miss Winslow. We shall all be
delighted, I'm sure," said Rollin during
the conversation, which had not been
Rachel colored and felt annoyed.
"Who told you?" she asked, while
Virginia, who had been very silent and
reserved, suddenly roused herself and
appeared ready to join in the talk.
"Oh! we hear a thing or two on the
street. Besides, every one saw Crandall
the manager at church two weeks ago. He
doesn't go to church to hear the
preaching. In fact, I know other people
who don't either, not when there's
something better to hear."
Rachel did not color this time, but
she answered quietly, "You're mistaken.
I'm not going on the stage."
"It's a great pity. You'd make a
hit. Everybody is talking about your
This time Rachel flushed with
genuine anger. Before she could say
anything, Virginia broke in:
"Whom do you mean by 'everybody?'"
"Whom? I mean all the people who
hear Miss Winslow on Sundays. What other
time do they hear her? It's a great
pity, I say, that the general public
outside of Raymond cannot hear her
"Let us talk about something else,"
said Rachel a little sharply. Madam Page
glanced at her and spoke with a gentle
"My dear, Rollin never could pay an
indirect compliment. He is like his
father in that. But we are all curious
to know something of your plans. We
claim the right from old acquaintance,
you know; and Virginia has already told
us of your concert company offer."
"I supposed of course that was
public property," said Virginia, smiling
across the table. "I was in the NEWS
office day before yesterday."
"Yes, yes," replied Rachel hastily.
"I understand that, Madam Page. Well,
Virginia and I have been talking about
it. I have decided not to accept, and
that is as far as I have gone at
Rachel was conscious of the fact
that the conversation had, up to this
point, been narrowing her hesitation
concerning the concert company's offer
down to a decision that would absolutely
satisfy her own judgment of Jesus'
probable action. It had been the last
thing in the world, however, that she
had desired, to have her decision made
in any way so public as this. Somehow
what Rollin Page had said and his manner
in saying it had hastened her decision
in the matter.
"Would you mind telling us, Rachel,
your reasons for refusing the offer? It
looks like a great opportunity for a
young girl like you. Don't you think the
general public ought to hear you? I feel
like Rollin about that. A voice like
yours belongs to a larger audience than
Raymond and the First Church."
Rachel Winslow was naturally a girl
of great reserve. She shrank from making
her plans or her thoughts public. But
with all her repression there was
possible in her an occasional sudden
breaking out that was simply an
impulsive, thoroughly frank, truthful
expression of her most inner personal
feeling. She spoke now in reply to Madam
Page in one of those rare moments of
unreserve that added to the
attractiveness of her whole character.
"I have no other reason than a
conviction that Jesus Christ would do
the same thing," she said, looking into
Madam Page's eyes with a clear, earnest
Madam Page turned red and Rollin
stared. Before her grandmother could say
anything, Virginia spoke. Her rising
color showed how she was stirred.
Virginia's pale, clear complexion was
that of health, but it was generally in
marked contrast with Rachel's tropical
type of beauty.
"Grandmother, you know we promised
to make that the standard of our conduct
for a year. Mr. Maxwell's proposition
was plain to all who heard it. We have
not been able to arrive at our decisions
very rapidly. The difficulty in knowing
what Jesus would do has perplexed Rachel
and me a good deal."
Madam Page looked sharply at
Virginia before she said anything.
"Of course I understand Mr.
Maxwell's statement. It is perfectly
impracticable to put it into practice. I
felt confident at the time that those
who promised would find it out after a
trial and abandon it as visionary and
absurd. I have nothing to say about Miss
Winslow's affairs, but," she paused and
continued with a sharpness that was new
to Rachel, "I hope you have no foolish
notions in this matter, Virginia."
"I have a great many notions,"
replied Virginia quietly. "Whether they
are foolish or not depends upon my right
understanding of what He would do. As
soon as I find out I shall do it."
"Excuse me, ladies," said Rollin,
rising from the table. "The conversation
is getting beyond my depth. I shall
retire to the library for a cigar."
He went out of the dining-room and
there was silence for a moment. Madam
Page waited until the servant had
brought in something and then asked her
to go out. She was angry and her anger
was formidable, although checked I m
some measure by the presence of Rachel.
"I am older by several years than
you, young ladies," she said, and her
traditional type of bearing seemed to
Rachel to rise up like a great frozen
wall between her and every conception of
Jesus as a sacrifice. "What you have
promised, in a spirit of false emotion I
presume, is impossible of performance."
"Do you mean, grandmother, that we
cannot possibly act as our Lord would?
or do you mean that, if we try to, we
shall offend the customs and prejudices
of society?" asked Virginia.
"It is not required! It is not
necessary! Besides how can you act with
any--" Madam Page paused, broke off her
sentence, and then turned to Rachel.
"What will your mother say to your
decision? My dear, is it not foolish?
What do you expect to do with your voice
"I don't know what mother will say
yet," Rachel answered, with a great
shrinking from trying to give her
mother's probable answer. If there was a
woman in all Raymond with great
ambitions for her daughter's success as
a singer, Mrs. Winslow was that woman.
"Oh! you will see it in a different
light after wiser thought of it. My
dear," continued Madam Page rising from
the table, "you will live to regret it
if you do not accept the concert
company's offer or something like it."
Rachel said something that
contained a hint of the struggle she was
still having. And after a little she
went away, feeling that her departure
was to be followed by a very painful
conversation between Virginia and her
grandmother. As she afterward learned,
Virginia passed through a crisis of
feeling during that scene with her
grandmother that hastened her final
decision as to the use of her money and
her social position.