I went to Pleasant View, Concord, New Hampshire, in May, 1907, to assist the housekeeper and started my duties as Mrs. Eddy's personal maid on July 14th of the same year. I had not seen Mrs. Eddy during my stay in her house until a few days before this date when I met her in the doorway between the dining-room and the kitchen. She said, "Good morning," and looked me straight in the face as if she would read me through. She stood with her hand on my and while, she spoke to each one In the kitchen and then went into the library where she rang the bell for Mrs. Sargent and asked who I was. On Friday, July 12th, when she took her morning walk through the downstairs rooms, Mrs. Eddy sent for me and after asking me a few questions as to why I came into Christian Science, who was my teacher, etc., she asked me if I would be her maid. I told her that I would gladly do anything for her but that I had never filled a position of that kind before. She said, "I know it dear, but I will teach you." She also said, "I have been asking God to send me the right one and I believe He has."
It was Mrs. Eddy's custom when she came into her study in the morning to open her Bible and Science and Health and read the verse or paragraph on which her eyes first rested. Sometimes after she had read aloud the selections to those in the room with her she would call the other students and give them a little lesson from what she had read or instruct them as to what it was necessary to handle at that particular time. During the first days I made a few notes of the lessons she gave which I will copy here. They may not be her exact words as they were written after the lesson.
July 15, 1907. Opened to Romans 14:22, "Hast thou faith? Have it to thyself before God. Happy is he that condemneth not himself in that thing which he alloweth."
Mrs. Eddy said, "We should allow nothing which we cannot justify. He who sees sin and condemns it not will suffer for it. Can we work out a problem correctly if one figure is not in accord with the principle of mathematics? Can I enter the kingdom of heaven if I allow one sin? Will not that destroy the whole problem?"
Some days later a student was out walking and gathering flowers at a time when Mrs. Eddy needed him to do something. When he came in she called all the students together and gave them a lesson from which I made the following notes:
Art thou a Christian Scientist? Then prove it in Principle, practice and demonstration. Is it easy to tell another his fault? Having a good time is not fighting the devil. Having a good time and dwelling in the pleasures of the senses will not bring you into heaven.
July 26, 1907. Read Science and Health 38:21-30 next page.
July 27, 1907. Give no intelligence to sin, disease and death. Is God all in all? Do you believe this? Then is it not a sin to give intelligence and power to anything else? Then know that there is no hypnotism to make you forget or me suffer. Give it no power; destroy it utterly.
On several occasions I saw Mrs. Eddy subdue a storm and I well remember the first time that I witnessed this demonstration. It was the 3rd of August, 1907, between 4:30 and 5:30 p.m. The sky was overcast with heavy clouds and it was very dark. Mrs. Eddy sat in her chair in the study at Pleasant View watching the clouds with a smile and a rapt expression on her face. It seemed to me that she saw beyond the storm and her present surroundings and I do not think that she was conscious of my presence. In a few moments the clouds broke and flecked and the storm was dissolved into its native nothingness. About half an hour later I had occasion to go to her room again when she said to me, "Did you see the sky?" I said, "Yes, Mrs. Eddy." Then she said, "It (meaning the cloud) was never there. God's face was never clouded."
One thing that impressed me very much was the amount of time and labor which Mrs. Eddy gave to any letter or article intended for publication. She would call one of us and dictate the words as they came to her, then she would take the paper and ponder over it and correct it until It was crossed and recrossed and interlined from beginning to end; she would then dictate it from the corrected copy and again go over it. This was often repeated until she had dictated it several times; then it was typewritten and corrected again. Every word and even the punctuation was carefully and prayerfully pondered so that nothing should go out which could possibly be misunderstood or misinterpreted. I was often tempted to keep the discarded copies which she threw into the waste basket, but my sense of right would not permit it. On one occasion however I copied a portion which she did not print and I will give it here: "The Christian Science student's affection, fidelity and devotion are born in the furnace and blossom in wisdom won by experience. This is the price and reward of taking one's treasure out of material vessels." Another little thought-gem which she dictated to me and which I found after she had passed away was this, "Whenever there seems to be a need or lack in your experience this simply indicates the scientific fact that this seeming need is already supplied by God's precious abundance. Then give thanks with your whole heart because you have learned In Christian Science that God's supply is on hand."
Mrs. Eddy was very exact in all that she did and she demanded that everyone around her should demonstrate this sense of order and exactness; consequently, any manifestation of disorder, forgetfulness or carelessness was looked upon by her as a sign that we were allowing animal magnetism to govern us and this error merited and generally received a severe rebuke. She would never allow us to excuse error, and on one occasion when someone told her that they had done their best she said, "If you had done your best it would have been right." Once or twice when she asked me to do something which looked difficult to me I told her that I would try to do it, when she immediately rebuked me by saying, "Try? Do it." When I thought this over I saw that to say that I would try was to admit the possibility of defeat at the outset and I was grateful for the correction. Mrs. Eddy sometimes quoted the saying attributed to Michelangelo, "Trifles make perfection, but perfection is no trifle." Occasionally when smarting under a mortal mind sense of resentment after some such rebuke I have gone into her room in answer to her call and found that she had completely forgotten the circumstances and she would look at me in astonishment and say, "What are you crying for, Adelaide?" At other times she had seen that error was trying to take me away from her and she would say, "You won't leave me, will you Adelaide? You will stay with me as long as I am here?" At such times one would feel such a sense of love in her thought that all sense of hurt or resentment was wiped out and I would say, "Yes, Mother dear, I will stay with you as long as you need me." A look of satisfaction would come over her face and she would reply, "Thank you dear." During the last few years while she was struggling, with a belief of age she (like many others) did not like any change from the usual routine: so rather than cause her any unnecessary trouble, Mrs. Sargent and I very rarely left the house unless we were absolutely obliged to do so. On Sundays Mrs. Eddy would say (I think probably to test us), "You may go to Church this morning if you wish Adelaide," or "Laura," according to whom she was speaking. We would invariably answer, "Thank you Mother dear, but I would rather stay with you," sometimes adding, "This is our Church and we have our divine service in serving you." She always looked very happy and would say, "That is right, thank you dear." On more than one Occasion when Mrs. Sargent or I had done some small thing for her she would say, "God will bless you dear ones for your kindness to me."
I have a few fragmentary memories of interviews with others to which I have been a witness, and which will probably interest some future reader who has not had the privilege of knowing Mrs. Eddy. My earliest memories date back to the time that she was examined by the alienists in July, 1907, at Pleasant View. She wore a black grenadine dress with a white chiffon vest and collar and white ruching in the neck and sleeves. A detailed account has been published so I shall only write of the few things which impressed me most. The same malicious element of mortal mind which persecuted the early Christians and crucified Jesus had decreed that our beloved Leader, the Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science, in belief a lady of eighty-five years, should face the ordeal of proving that she was sane and capable of taking care of her own earnings, that which had come to her as a result of years of self-sacrificing labor and love in behalf of mankind. Yet as one looked at her that hot July afternoon there was no sense of fear expressed, but her face was calm, clear and confident and the moment that the opposing lawyer saw her sitting there in her study he knew that he had not the ghost of a chance of winning his case. About a month before this she called all her household and referring to this case said, "During forty years I have had many trials and when this came up I was not disturbed. If the world says I am a fool that does not make me so. The senses say that we dwell in matter but you know and I know that we dwell in Mind." The alienists, of course, were not Scientists and I was amused at one thing that Mrs. Eddy did with them. After talking with her for a few minutes they asked her how she discovered Christian Science. She told them about her study and experiments in homeopathy but before she got to the principal part of her narrative they interrupted her to ask business questions as to whether she preferred to invest in stocks or bonds, which she considered best, etc. She answered them wisely and intelligently and they being satisfied, rose to go. She then asked them if they would like to see her singing machine, meaning the graphophone. Almost as soon as they had left the room she remembered that she did not finish telling them about her discovery of Christian Science, so she sent a messenger to them saying she would like to speak with them again. They came back, she requested them to be seated and they could not do otherwise than listen to the rest of her story.
Mrs. Eddy always enjoyed talking with cultured or literary persons and I loved to see her at those times. Her face would be animated and her eyes shine or flash with pleasure, especially when she carried her point or asked her opponent a question ' which he could not answer. When she saw, however, that she had clinched her argument she would say something witty or humorous which would cause a laugh and take the keen edge from it. I remember just such an interview with a cousin, a lawyer, who was not a Scientist. Mrs. Eddy asked some questions about matter and Mind which he had to admit that he could not answer; then she said something which made him laugh and kept him good humored so that when he left he was smiling and happy and evidently felt that he had had a good time with her. After he had left the room, however, Mrs. Eddy looked up at me with a smile on her face and said, "I have given H- a dose of Truth that he will not get rid of for a long time."
Since writing the first of this, one or two things have come to my thought that Mrs. Eddy said to me when I was first with her. One was, "Adelaide, know that divine Love thinks my thoughts and I cannot forget." At another time she said, "Know that divine Love is all and because it is all I cannot be robbed of my love or made to forget."
Dear, dear Leader! As I look back over the years that I spent in her home I feel that I must say something about the sacrifice which she made for mankind, a sacrifice which is little understood by anyone today. It is easy to criticize or condemn but who knows or understands even a tithe of what it cost our beloved Leader to come down from the mount of revelation to investigate and uncover malicious animal magnetism and show us how to meet it. She told us that she found herself on this mount of revelation where all was good; there was no evil to her consciousness, but she did not know how she got there. She healed everything that her thought touched but after a time she saw that she would have to probe the false claim of evil to the bottom before it could be intelligently handled and destroyed. In speaking of this experience she told us that she walked the floor for three days and nights with the perspiration pouring from her. In M. W. 222:29 Mrs. Eddy says, "I shall not forget the cost of investigating, for this age, the methods and power of error." Again we may ask ourselves, do we appreciate
or understand one tithe of her life of love and self-sacrifice? She has shown us in her writings how to meet every phase of animal magnetism or malicious mental malpractice that can ever come and we owe her undying gratitude, and continuous, watchful, intelligent obedience. Her life on earth was a tragedy just as much as the Master's for her faithfulness in uncovering error caused it to turn its full force of hatred on her. On page 136 of Miscellany she says, "At this period my demonstration of Christian Science cannot be fully understood, theoretically; therefore it is best explained by its fruits, and by the life of our Lord as depicted in the chapter Atonement and Eucharist, in Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures." As she said of Jesus she "experienced few of the pleasures of the physical senses." Science and Health. 38:2 1, also 48: 1 0; 50:26-3 1; 40:17-19;
104:3; No and Yes 34:11-16; Retrospection and Introspection 30:21. But through all the struggle with error shone the gold of human character reflecting the divine qualities of courage, confidence in Truth and unswerving obedience to the commands of divine Love; yea, those qualities of Spirit which enabled her to discover and establish Christian Science and to preserve the Word of Truth pure and unsullied all through the many years of adversity and persecution. These same qualities, all included in the spirit of Love which guided and governed her, enabled her to perceive and take the necessary steps for the growth and establishment of our Cause.
I remember on the last Sunday that the Communion service was held in The Mother Church she seemed restless and unsettled during the day, and calling Mrs. Sargent she said, "What is it, Laura? I have always suffered for what was not right in my Church." A day or two later she called the students and showed them the By-law abolishing the Communion service. One of the students present who could not understand the step remonstrated with her, but she said that God had told her to do it. A little later Mrs. Sargent showed her the Message for 1902 p. 19:21-25. Mrs. Eddy said "There! See that," then she called the student who had remonstrated with her and showed it to him. In one lesson she gave us in 1909 she said something like this, "Whatever spiritualizes out thought is for our spiritual growth." Then she spoke of her own condition
and said, "The world need no jest because I am thus for I am being disciplined. If I call it sickness it will be that but when I understand what it means it becomes to me what the Scripture saith, 'Whom the Lord loveth he chasteneth, and scourgeth every son he receiveth.'"
M. Adelaide Still
November 29, 1915.
384 Beacon Street, Chestnut Hill, Mass
Note: Ms. Still was Mrs. Eddy's personal maid until her passing in Dec 1910. She lived longer than any of Mrs. Eddy's household workers by more than half a century, passing on in 1968. Robert Peel interviewed her extensively for Volume III of his biography of Mrs. Eddy.