RACHEL was glad to escape and be by
herself. A plan was slowly forming in
her mind, and she wanted to be alone and
think it out carefully. But before she
had walked two blocks she was annoyed to
find Rollin Page walking beside her.
"Sorry to disturb your thoughts,
Miss Winslow, but I happened to be going
your way and had an idea you might not
object. In fact, I've been walking here
for a whole block and you haven't
"I did not see you," said Rachel
"I wouldn't mind that if you only
thought of me once in a while," said
Rollin suddenly. He took one last
nervous puff on his cigar, tossed it
into the street and walked along with a
pale look on his face.
Rachel was surprised, but not
startled. She had known Rollin as a boy,
and there had been a time when they had
used each other's first name familiarly.
Lately, however, something in Rachel's
manner had put an end to that. She was
used to his direct attempts at
compliments and was sometimes amused by
them. Today she honestly wished him
"Do you ever think of me, Miss
Winslow?" asked Rollin after a pause.
"Oh, yes, quite often!" said Rachel
with a smile.
"Are you thinking of me now?"
"Yes. That is--yes--I am."
"Do you want me to be absolutely
"Then I was thinking that I wished
you were not here." Rollin bit his lip
and looked gloomy.
"Now look here, Rachel--oh, I know
that's forbidden, but I've got to speak
some time!--you know how I feel. What
makes you treat me so? You used to like
me a little, you know."
"Did I? Of course we used to get on
very well as boy and girl. But we are
Rachel still spoke in the light,
easy way she had used since her first
annoyance at seeing him. She was still
somewhat preoccupied with her plan which
had been disturbed by Rollin's sudden
They walked along in silence a
little way. The avenue was full of
people. Among the persons passing was
Jasper Chase. He saw Rachel and Rollin
and bowed as they went by. Rollin was
watching Rachel closely.
"I wish I was Jasper Chase. Maybe I
would stand some chance then," he said
Rachel colored in spite of herself.
She did not say anything and quickened
her pace a little. Rollin seemed
determined to say something, and Rachel
seemed helpless to prevent him. After
all, she thought, he might as well know
the truth one time as another.
"You know well enough, Rachel, how
I feel toward you. Isn't there any hope?
I could make you happy. I've loved you a
good many years--"
"Why, how old do you think I am?"
broke in Rachel with a nervous laugh.
She was shaken out of her usual poise of
"You know what I mean," went on
Rollin doggedly. "And you have no right
to laugh at me just because I want you
to marry me."
"I'm not! But it is useless for you
to speak, Rollin," said Rachel after a
little hesitation, and then using his
name in such a frank, simple way that he
could attach no meaning to it beyond the
familiarity of the old family
acquaintance. "It is impossible." She
was still a little agitated by the fact
of receiving a proposal of marriage on
the avenue. But the noise on the street
and sidewalk made the conversation as
private as if they were in the house.
"Would that is--do you think--if
you gave me time I would "
"No!" said Rachel. She spoke
firmly; perhaps, she thought afterward,
although she did not mean to, she spoke
They walked on for some time
without a word. They were nearing
Rachel's home and she was anxious to end
As they turned off the avenue into
one of the quieter streets Rollin spoke
suddenly and with more manliness than he
had yet shown. There was a distinct note
of dignity in his voice that was new to
"Miss Winslow, I ask you to be my
wife. Is there any hope for me that you
will ever consent?"
"None in the least." Rachel spoke
"Will you tell me why?" He asked
the question as if he had a right to a
"Because I do not feel toward you
as a woman ought to feel toward the man
"In other words, you do not love
"I do not and I cannot."
"Why?" That was another question,
and Rachel was a little surprised that
he should ask it.
"Because--" she hesitated for fear
she might say too much in an attempt to
speak the exact truth.
"Tell me just why. You can't hurt
me more than you have already."
"Well, I do not and I cannot love
you because you have no purpose in life.
What do you ever do to make the world
better? You spend your time in club
life, in amusements, in travel, in
luxury. What is there in such a life to
attract a woman?"
"Not much, I guess," said Rollin
with a bitter laugh. "Still, I don't
know that I'm any worse than the rest of
the men around me. I'm not so bad as
some. I'm glad to know your reasons."
He suddenly stopped, took off his
hat, bowed gravely and turned back.
Rachel went on home and hurried into her
room, disturbed in many ways by the
event which had so unexpectedly thrust
itself into her experience.
When she had time to think it all
over she found herself condemned by the
very judgment she had passed on Rollin
Page. What purpose had she in life? She
had been abroad and studied music with
one of the famous teachers of Europe.
She had come home to Raymond and had
been singing in the First Church choir
now for a year. She was well paid. Up to
that Sunday two weeks ago she had been
quite satisfied with herself and with
her position. She had shared her
mother's ambition, and anticipated
growing triumphs in the musical world.
What possible career was before her
except the regular career of every
She asked the question again and,
in the light of her recent reply to
Rollin, asked again, if she had any very
great purpose in life herself. What
would Jesus do? There was a fortune in
her voice. She knew it, not necessarily
as a matter of personal pride or
professional egotism, but simply as a
fact. And she was obliged to acknowledge
that until two weeks ago she had
purposed to use her voice to make money
and win admiration and applause. Was
that a much higher purpose, after all,
than Rollin Page lived for?
She sat in her room a long time and
finally went downstairs, resolved to
have a frank talk with her mother about
the concert company's offer and the new
plan which was gradually shaping in her
mind. She had already had one talk with
her mother and knew that she expected
Rachel to accept the offer and enter on
a successful career as a public singer.
"Mother," Rachel said, coming at
once to the point, much as she dreaded
the interview, "I have decided not to go
out with the company. I have a good
reason for it."
Mrs. Winslow was a large, handsome
woman, fond of much company, ambitious
for distinction in society and devoted,
according to her definitions of success,
to the success of her children. Her
youngest boy, Louis, two years younger
than Rachel, was ready to graduate from
a military academy in the summer.
Meanwhile she and Rachel were at home
together. Rachel's father, like
Virginia's, had died while the family
was abroad. Like Virginia she found
herself, under her present rule of
conduct, in complete antagonism with her
own immediate home circle. Mrs. Winslow
waited for Rachel to go on.
"You know the promise I made two
weeks ago, mother?"
"Mr. Maxwell's promise?"
"No, mine. You know what it was, do
you not, mother?"
"I suppose I do. Of course all the
church members mean to imitate Christ
and follow Him, as far as is consistent
with our present day surroundings. But
what has that to do with your decision
in the concert company matter?"
"It has everything to do with it.
After asking, 'What would Jesus do?' and
going to the source of authority for
wisdom, I have been obliged to say that
I do not believe He would, in my case,
make that use of my voice."
"Why? Is there anything wrong about
such a career ? "
"No, I don't know that I can say
"Do you presume to sit in judgment
on other people who go out to sing in
this way? Do you presume to say they are
doing what Christ would not do?"
"Mother, I wish you to understand
me. I judge no one else; I condemn no
other professional singer. I simply
decide my own course. As I look at it, I
have a conviction that Jesus would do
"What else?" Mrs. Winslow had not
yet lost her temper. She did not
understand the situation nor Rachel in
the midst of it, but she was anxious
that her daughter's course should be as
distinguished as her natural gifts
promised. And she felt confident that
when the present unusual religious
excitement in the First Church had
passed away Rachel would go on with her
public life according to the wishes of
the family. She was totally unprepared
for Rachel's next remark.
"What? Something that will serve
mankind where it most needs the service
of song. Mother, I have made up my mind
to use my voice in some way so as to
satisfy my own soul that I am doing
something better than pleasing
fashionable audiences, or making money,
or even gratifying my own love of
singing. I am going to do something that
will satisfy me when I ask: 'What would
Jesus do?' I am not satisfied, and
cannot be, when I think of myself as
singing myself into the career of a
concert company performer."
Rachel spoke with a vigor and
earnestness that surprised her mother.
But Mrs. Winslow was angry now; and she
never tried to conceal her feelings.
"It is simply absurd! Rachel, you
are a fanatic! What can you do?"
"The world has been served by men
and women who have given it other things
that were gifts. Why should I, because I
am blessed with a natural gift, at once
proceed to put a market price on it and
make all the money I can out of it? You
know, mother, that you have taught me to
think of a musical career always in the
light of financial and social success. I
have been unable, since I made my
promise two weeks ago, to imagine Jesus
joining a concert company to do what I
should do and live the life I should
have to live if I joined it."
Mrs. Winslow rose and then sat down
again. With a great effort she composed
"What do you intend to do then? You
have not answered my question."
"I shall continue to sing for the
time being in the church. I am pledged
to sing there through the spring. During
the week I am going to sing at the White
Cross meetings, down in the Rectangle."
"What! Rachel Winslow! Do you know
what you are saying? Do you know what
sort of people those are down there?"
Rachel almost quailed before her
mother. For a moment she shrank back and
was silent. Then she spoke firmly:
"I know very well. That is the
reason I am going. Mr. and Mrs. Gray
have been working there several weeks. I
learned only this morning that they want
singers from the churches to help them
in their meetings. They use a tent. It
is in a part of the city where Christian
work is most needed. I shall offer them
my help. Mother!" Rachel cried out with
the first passionate utterance she had
yet used, "I want to do something that
will cost me something in the way of
sacrifice. I know you will not
understand me. But I am hungry to suffer
for something. What have we done all our
lives for the suffering, sinning side of
Raymond? How much have we denied
ourselves or given of our personal ease
and pleasure to bless the place in which
we live or imitate the life of the
Savior of the world? Are we always to
go on doing as society selfishly
dictates, moving on its little narrow
round of pleasures and entertainments,
and never knowing the pain of things
"Are you preaching at me?" asked
Mrs. Winslow slowly. Rachel rose, and
understood her mother's words.
"No. I am preaching at myself," she
replied gently. She paused a moment as
if she thought her mother would say
something more, and then went out of the
room. When she reached her own room she
felt that so far as her own mother was
concerned she could expect no sympathy,
nor even a fair understanding from her.
She kneeled. It is safe to say that
within the two weeks since Henry
Maxwell's church had faced that shabby
figure with the faded hat more members
of his parish had been driven to their
knees in prayer than during all the
previous term of his pastorate.
She rose, and her face was wet with
tears. She sat thoughtfully a little
while and then wrote a note to Virginia
Page. She sent it to her by a messenger
and then went downstairs and told her
mother that she and Virginia were going
down to the Rectangle that evening to
see Mr. and Mrs. Gray, the evangelists.
"Virginia's uncle, Dr. West, will
go with us, if she goes. I have asked
her to call him up by telephone and go
with us. The Doctor is a friend of the
Grays, and attended some of their
meetings last winter."
Mrs. Winslow did not say anything.
Her manner showed her complete
disapproval of Rachel's course, and
Rachel felt her unspoken bitterness.
About seven o'clock the Doctor and
Virginia appeared, and together the
three started for the scene of the White
The Rectangle was the most
notorious district in Raymond. It was on
the territory close by the railroad
shops and the packing houses. The great
slum and tenement district of Raymond
congested its worst and most wretched
elements about the Rectangle. This was a
barren field used in the summer by
circus companies and wandering showmen.
It was shut in by rows of saloons,
gambling hells and cheap, dirty boarding
and lodging houses.
The First Church of Raymond had
never touched the Rectangle problem. It
was too dirty, too coarse, too sinful,
too awful for close contact. Let us be
honest. There had been an attempt to
cleanse this sore spot by sending down
an occasional committee of singers or
Sunday-school teachers or gospel
visitors from various churches. But the
First Church of Raymond, as an
institution, had never really done
anything to make the Rectangle any less
a stronghold of the devil as the years
Into this heart of the coarse part
of the sin of Raymond the traveling
evangelist and his brave little wife had
pitched a good-sized tent and begun
meetings. It was the spring of the year
and the evenings were beginning to be
pleasant. The evangelists had asked for
the help of Christian people, and had
received more than the usual amount of
encouragement. But they felt a great
need of more and better music. During
the meetings on the Sunday just gone the
assistant at the organ had been taken
ill. The volunteers from the city were
few and the voices were of ordinary
"There will be a small meeting
tonight, John," said his wife, as they
entered the tent a little after seven
o'clock and began to arrange the chairs
and light up.
"Yes, I fear so." Mr. Gray was a
small, energetic man, with a pleasant
voice and the courage of a high-born
fighter. He had already made friends in
the neighborhood and one of his
converts, a heavy-faced man who had just
come in, began to help in the arranging
It was after eight o'clock when
Alexander Powers opened the door of his
office and started for home. He was
going to take a car at the corner of the
Rectangle. But he was roused by a voice
coming from the tent.
It was the voice of Rachel Winslow.
It struck through his consciousness of
struggle over his own question that had
sent him into the Divine Presence for an
answer. He had not yet reached a
conclusion. He was tortured with
uncertainty. His whole previous course
of action as a railroad man was the
poorest possible preparation for
anything sacrificial. And he could not
yet say what he would do in the matter.
Hark! What was she singing? How did
Rachel Winslow happen to be down here?
Several windows near by went up. Some
men quarreling near a saloon stopped and
listened. Other figures were walking
rapidly in the direction of the
Rectangle and the tent. Surely Rachel
Winslow had never sung like that in the
First Church. It was a marvelous voice.
What was it she was singing? Again
Alexander Powers, Superintendent of the
machine shops, paused and listened,
"Where He leads me I will follow,
Where He leads me I will follow,
Where He leads me I will follow,
I'll go with Him, with Him.
All the way!"
The brutal, coarse, impure life of the
Rectangle stirred itself into new life
as the song, as pure as the surroundings
were vile, floated out and into saloon
and den and foul lodging. Some one
stumbled hastily by Alexander Powers and
said in answer to a question:
"De tent's beginning to run over tonight.
That's what the talent calls music, eh?"
The Superintendent turned toward
the tent. Then he stopped. After a
minute of indecision he went on to the
corner and took the car for his home.
But before he was out of the sound of
Rachel's voice he knew he had settled
for himself the question of what Jesus