"For I come to set a man at variance
against his father, and the daughter
against her mother, and the daughter-in-
law against her mother-in-law; and a
man's foes shall be they of his own
"Be ye therefore imitators of God, as
beloved children; and walk in love, even
as Christ also loved you."
"HADN'T we better take a policeman
along?" said one of the girls with a
nervous laugh. "It really isn't safe
down there, you know."
"There's no danger," said Virginia
"Is it true that your brother
Rollin has been converted?" asked the
first speaker, looking at Virginia
curiously. It impressed her during the
drive to the Rectangle that all three of
her friends were regarding her with
close attention as if she were peculiar.
"Yes, he certainly is."
"I understand he is going around to
the clubs talking with his old friends
there, trying to preach to them. Doesn't
that seem funny?" said the girl with the
red silk parasol.
Virginia did not answer, and the
other girls were beginning to feel sober
as the carriage turned into a street
leading to the Rectangle. As they neared
the district they grew more and more
nervous. The sights and smells and
sounds which had become familiar to
Virginia struck the senses of these
refined, delicate society girls as
something horrible. As they entered
farther into the district, the Rectangle
seemed to stare as with one great,
bleary, beer-soaked countenance at this
fine carriage with its load of
fashionably dressed young women.
"Slumming" had never been a fad with
Raymond society, and this was perhaps
the first time that the two had come
together in this way. The girls felt
that instead of seeing the Rectangle
they were being made the objects of
curiosity. They were frightened and
"Let's go back. I've seen enough,"
said the girl who was sitting with
They were at that moment just
opposite a notorious saloon and gambling
house. The street was narrow and the
sidewalk crowded. Suddenly, out of the
door of this saloon a young woman
reeled. She was singing in a broken,
drunken sob that seemed to indicate that
she partly realized her awful condition,
"Just as I am, without one plea" -- and
as the carriage rolled past she leered
at it, raising her face so that Virginia
saw it very close to her own. It was the
face of the girl who had kneeled
sobbing, that night with Virginia
kneeling beside her and praying for her.
"Stop!" cried Virginia, motioning
to the driver who was looking around.
The carriage stopped, and in a moment
she was out and had gone up to the girl
and taken her by the arm. "Loreen!" she
said, and that was all. The girl looked
into her face, and her own changed into
a look of utter horror. The girls in the
carriage were smitten into helpless
astonishment. The saloon-keeper had come
to the door of the saloon and was
standing there looking on with his hands
on his hips. And the Rectangle from its
windows, its saloon steps, its filthy
sidewalk, gutter and roadway, paused,
and with undisguised wonder stared at
the two girls. Over the scene the warm
sun of spring poured its mellow light. A
faint breath of music from the band-
stand in the park floated into the
Rectangle. The concert had begun, and
the fashion and wealth of Raymond were
displaying themselves up town on the
When Virginia left the carriage and
went up to Loreen she had no definite
idea as to what she would do or what the
result of her action would be. She
simply saw a soul that had tasted of the
joy of a better life slipping back again
into its old hell of shame and death.
And before she had touched the drunken
girl's arm she had asked only one
question, "What would Jesus do?" That
question was becoming with her, as with
many others, a habit of life.
She looked around now as she stood
close by Loreen, and the whole scene was
cruelly vivid to her. She thought first
of the girls in the carriage.
"Drive on; don't wait for me. I am
going to see my friend home," she said
The girl with the red parasol
seemed to gasp at the word "friend,"
when Virginia spoke it. She did not say
The other girls seemed speechless.
"Go on. I cannot go back with you,"
said Virginia. The driver started the
horses slowly. One of the girls leaned a
little out of the carriage.
"Can't we -- that is -- do you want
our help? Couldn't you -- "
"No, no!" exclaimed Virginia. "You
cannot be of any help to me."
The carriage moved on and Virginia
was alone with her charge. She looked up
and around. Many faces in the crowd were
sympathetic. They were not all cruel or
brutal. The Holy Spirit had softened a
good deal of the Rectangle.
"Where does she live?" asked
No one answered. It occurred to
Virginia afterward when she had time to
think it over, that the Rectangle showed
a delicacy in its sad silence that would
have done credit to the boulevard. For
the first time it flashed across her
that the immortal being who was flung
like wreckage upon the shore of this
early hell called the saloon, had no
place that could be called home. The
girl suddenly wrenched her arm from
Virginia's grasp. In doing so she nearly
threw Virginia down.
"You shall not touch me! Leave me!
Let me go to hell! That's where I
belong! The devil is waiting for me. See
him!" she exclaimed hoarsely. She turned
and pointed with a shaking finger at the
saloon-keeper. The crowd laughed.
Virginia stepped up to her and put her
arm about her.
"Loreen," she said firmly, "come
with me. You do not belong to hell. You
belong to Jesus and He will save you.
The girl suddenly burst into tears.
She was only partly sobered by the shock
of meeting Virginia.
Virginia looked around again.
"Where does Mr. Gray live?" she asked.
She knew that the evangelist boarded
somewhere near the tent. A number of
voices gave the direction.
"Come, Loreen, I want you to go
with me to Mr. Gray's," she said, still
keeping her hold of the swaying,
trembling creature who moaned and sobbed
and now clung to her as firmly as before
she had repulsed her.
So the two moved on through the
Rectangle toward the evangelist's
lodging place. The sight seemed to
impress the Rectangle seriously. It
never took itself seriously when it was
drunk, but this was different. The fact
that one of the richest, most
beautifully- dressed girls in all
Raymond was taking care of one of the
Rectangle's most noted characters, who
reeled along under the influence of
liquor, was a fact astounding enough to
throw more or less dignity and
importance about Loreen herself. The
event of Loreen's stumbling through the
gutter dead-drunk always made the
Rectangle laugh and jest. But Loreen
staggering along with a young lady from
the society circles uptown supporting
her, was another thing. The Rectangle
viewed it with soberness and more or
less wondering admiration.
When they finally reached Mr.
Gray's lodging place the woman who
answered Virginia's knock said that both
Mr. and Mrs. Gray were out somewhere and
would not be back until six o'clock.
Virginia had not planned anything
farther than a possible appeal to the
Grays, either to take charge of Loreen
for a while or find some safe place for
her until she was sober. She stood now
at the door after the woman had spoken,
and she was really at a loss to know
what to do. Loreen sank down stupidly on
the steps and buried her face in her
arms. Virginia eyed the miserable figure
of the girl with a feeling that she was
afraid would grow into disgust.
Finally a thought possessed her
that she could not escape. What was to
hinder her from taking Loreen home with
her? Why should not this homeless,
wretched creature, reeking with the
fumes of liquor, be cared for in
Virginia's own home instead of being
consigned to strangers in some hospital
or house of charity? Virginia really
knew very little about any such places
of refuge. As a matter of fact, there
were two or three such institutions in
Raymond, but it is doubtful if any of
them would have taken a person like
Loreen in her present condition. But
that was not the question with Virginia
just now. "What would Jesus do with
Loreen?" That was what Virginia faced,
and she finally answered it by touching
the girl again.
"Loreen, come. You are going home
with me. We will take the car here at
Loreen staggered to her feet and,
to Virginia's surprise, made no trouble.
She had expected resistance or a
stubborn refusal to move. When they
reached the corner and took the car it
was nearly full of people going uptown.
Virginia was painfully conscious of the
stare that greeted her and her companion
as they entered. But her thought was
directed more and more to the
approaching scene with her grandmother.
What would Madam Page say?
Loreen was nearly sober now. But
she was lapsing into a state of stupor.
Virginia was obliged to hold fast to her
arm. Several times the girl lurched
heavily against her, and as the two went
up the avenue a curious crowd of
so-called civilized people turned and
gazed at them. When she mounted the
steps of her handsome house Virginia
breathed a sigh of relief, even in the
face of the interview with the
grandmother, and when the door shut and
she was in the wide hall with her
homeless outcast, she felt equal to
anything that might now come.
Madam Page was in the library.
Hearing Virginia come in, she came into
the hall. Virginia stood there
supporting Loreen, who stared stupidly
at the rich magnificence of the
furnishings around her.
"Grandmother," Virginia spoke
without hesitation and very clearly, "I
have brought one of my friends from the
Rectangle. She is in trouble and has no
home. I am going to care for her here a
Madam Page glanced from her
granddaughter to Loreen in astonishment.
"Did you say she is one of your
friends?" she asked in a cold, sneering
voice that hurt Virginia more than
anything she had yet felt.
"Yes, I said so." Virginia's face
flushed, but she seemed to recall a
verse that Mr. Gray had used for one of
his recent sermons, "A friend of
publicans and sinners." Surely, Jesus
would do this that she was doing.
"Do you know what this girl is?"
asked Madam Page, in an angry whisper,
stepping near Virginia.
"I know very well. She is an
outcast. You need not tell me,
grandmother. I know it even better than
you do. She is drunk at this minute. But
she is also a child of God. I have seen
her on her knees, repentant. And I have
seen hell reach out its horrible fingers
after her again. And by the grace of
Christ I feel that the least that I can
do is to rescue her from such peril.
Grandmother, we call ourselves
Christians. Here is a poor, lost human
creature without a home, slipping back
into a life of misery and possibly
eternal loss, and we have more than
enough. I have brought her here, and I
shall keep her."
Madam Page glared at Virginia and
clenched her hands. All this was
contrary to her social code of conduct.
How could society excuse familiarity
with the scum of the streets? What would
Virginia's action cost the family in the
way of criticism and loss of standing,
and all that long list of necessary
relations which people of wealth and
position must sustain to the leaders of
society? To Madam Page society
represented more than the church or any
other institution. It was a power to be
feared and obeyed. The loss of its good-
will was a loss more to be dreaded than
anything except the loss of wealth
She stood erect and stern and
confronted Virginia, fully roused and
determined. Virginia placed her arm
about Loreen and calmly looked her
grandmother in the face.
"You shall not do this, Virginia!
You can send her to the asylum for
helpless women. We can pay all the
expenses. We cannot afford for the sake
of our reputations to shelter such a
"Grandmother, I do not wish to do
anything that is displeasing to you, but
I must keep Loreen here tonight, and
longer if it seems best."
"Then you can answer for the
consequences! I do not stay in the same
house with a miserable -- " Madam Page
lost her self-control. Virginia stopped
her before she could speak the next
"Grandmother, this house is mine.
It is your home with me as long as you
choose to remain. But in this matter I
must act as I fully believe Jesus would
in my place. I am willing to bear all
that society may say or do. Society is
not my God. By the side of this poor
soul I do not count the verdict of
society as of any value."
"I shall not stay here, then!" said
Madam Page. She turned suddenly and
walked to the end of the hall. She then
came back, and going up to Virginia
said, with an emphasis that revealed her
intensive excitement of passion:
"You can always remember that you
have driven your grandmother out of your
house in favor of a drunken woman;"
then, without waiting for Virginia to
reply, she turned again and went
upstairs. Virginia called a servant and
soon had Loreen cared for. She was fast
lapsing into a wretched condition.
During the brief scene in the hall she
had clung to Virginia so hard that her
arm was sore from the clutch of the
Virginia did not know whether her
grandmother would leave the house or
not. She had abundant means of her own,
was perfectly well and vigorous and
capable of caring for herself. She had
sisters and brothers living in the South
and was in the habit of spending several
weeks in the year with them. Virginia
was not anxious about her welfare as far
as that went. But the interview had been
a painful one. Going over it, as she did
in her room before she went down to tea,
she found little cause for regret. "What
would Jesus do?" There was no question
in her mind that she had done the right
thing. If she had made a mistake, it was
one of judgment, not of heart.