by Henrietta E. Chanfrau, C.S.B.
(A valued worker in Mary Baker Eddy's home. Written about 1920.)
It is nearly ten years now since our beloved Leader, the Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science, Rev. Mary Baker Eddy has passed from our sight. Since there are many Christian Scientists everywhere who did not have the privilege of knowing our Leader personally, it has been represented to me that it would be of use to them if the recollections of one who was her student were put down in writing. Therefore, I shall try to tell some of the experiences which I had with her, and some of the precious recollections of her which I shall cherish always in my heart. It is my dearest hope and wish that some day these may come into the hands of those students of Christian Science who will find in them help on their path "from sense to Soul."
In years to come, it will be difficult for students of Christian Science to judge our Leader's life as it was known to those who knew her intimately, and who lived in her home at different times. While I was not privileged among those who, like Mr. Calvin Frye and Mrs. Laura Sargent, lived at her side for many years, yet I had the privilege of Class Instruction with her, and was often called to her home and remained there for days and, in a few instances, weeks at a time. These days and nights spent under the roof of our Leader will always remain among my most treasured "treasures of Truth and Love." In addition, I was asked from time to time to perform various tasks for our Leader, and these were always a special joy to me. I realize now that I did not always do these well, but I can honestly say from the bottom of my heart that I did them to the best of my ability. Without any attempt at self-justification, I can say that those of us who were asked to work with our Leader did not always understand the magnitude of the work in hand, nor fully appreciate all that devolved upon her as the Leader of a great Cause. Therefore, in some instances I know that what I am about to set down will not be fully understood by those who did not have intimate access to our Leader. Perhaps it will be encouragement to them if I say frankly that many of these things were not comprehensible to us who worked at her side. But passing years have proved to me that in all things she gave us to do, she had the vision of Truth constantly with her, and it was we and not she who failed to see the Promised Land beneath our very feet.
I was first interested in Christian Science in 1884, through hearing a sermon preached against it in the Baptist Church in a little town in Michigan where I happened to be summering with my husband. When I listened to the minister's words, I little realized that they were opening a new chapter in my life. Early in 1885, I became very weak in health, and it seemed as though the end of my existence on this plane was at an end. When the doctor attending my case seemed about to give me up, I recalled the words of that pastor in the little country church. I recalled that he had mentioned a textbook - "Science and Health" - and I sent out for it post-haste. In short, I was healed through reading the Textbook of Christian Science, as so many others have been. Upon restoration to health, I took up the study of Science in earnest, and in 1887, wrote a letter of gratitude for my healing to the author of the book, Rev. Mary Baker G. Eddy. I do not recall what I wrote in that letter - many years have passed since that day - and I cannot say more than that I expressed simple, heartfelt, honest gratitude for the healing I had experienced through the reading of the textbook. However, I recall the result of that letter vividly - it is among my precious memories. It is so characteristic of Mrs. Eddy that I feel it is a good way for me to open these recollections.
I received a letter in return in a few days from Mr. Calvin A. Frye, Mrs. Eddy's secretary, asking me in her name to come to Boston for an interview with her at my earliest convenience! I was so surprised at this! To think that the Leader of the Christian Science Movement would desire to talk with me! It fairly took my breath away. I wrote in reply that I would like very much to come to see Mrs. Eddy, but that I was about to take Primary Class instruction in Christian Science in the next week or ten days, and would have to delay my trip to Boston until that was over. In reply came a telegram from Mrs. Eddy herself: "Cancel class instruction plan. Come here as soon as possible."
I first saw Mrs. Eddy in February, 1888. When I went to her home in Boston, the reception room on the first floor was full. At first I was disappointed because she had so many waiting to see her, but I gave my card to the lady who answered the door, and sat down. She soon came back and told me that Mrs. Eddy was occupied then, but desired I should return that evening. I went away with some confusion in my thought, but returned to her home at about eight o'clock that night. Again I found the reception room full of people, but I sat down to wait my turn. Finally, by ten o'clock, I was getting anxious because of the lateness of the hour and because so many were still waiting to see her. However, just at that moment, the door opened and a gentleman came in. He walked straight to me and said, simply, "Mrs. Eddy will see you now, Mrs. Chanfrau." This was my first introduction to Mr. Frye.
He took me to a tastefully furnished room on the second floor, and as we were ascending the stairs, I saw Mrs. Eddy standing in the open doorway waiting to greet me. She was looking at me very intently; indeed, I shall never forget how carefully she watched me as I walked up the stairs. It seemed as though she knew me intimately from that very moment - my life, and all my inmost thoughts.
Her first words were simple in greeting, then she said, "Mr. Frye tells me there are others waiting downstairs. Don't let that disturb you at all. Let us just sit quietly and talk everything out to the very end." This was such a wonderful way of speaking that I was instantly put at my ease. Then she went on to ask about my healing in Christian Science. When I told her that I was healed simply by reading the Textbook, she seemed much impressed. Then she asked, "Have you ever had anyone treat you in Christian Science?" When I told her, no, I always went to the book for healing, she smiled at me in a beautiful way, and said, "Always from the book! My dear one, that is wonderful! Wonderful! Then she asked me about my family and about my life before coming in contact with Christian Science. I told her about my life, and was surprised at how easy I found it to talk to her. I have never known anyone who could listen as well as she. Her whole thought seemed solely occupied with what I told her as though it was of the utmost importance to her. Then she asked me if I was surprised that she wanted me to give up thought of Class Instruction before coming to her. I told her, yes, I was. She asked, "Why do you want to go into Class so much?" I told her, "To learn more about Christian Science." She said, "Not to heal the sick?" I said, no, I didn't think I had much gift in that direction; sick people always had disturbed me. She said, "Why do you say that? I think you have a great talent for healing. But we shall see, one day. But I want you to promise me you will not take Class Instruction with anyone until you hear from me. You have everything in the book. Continue to go there, until I write to you otherwise." There were other things said in that interview, but it was when I was about to leave that I received a great surprise. As I held her hand in mine and was saying good-bye, she looked at me very intently, and said, "Do you know why I asked you to come here, all this long way?" When I said no, I didn't, she replied, "I wanted to see one who had been a student of Christian Science before she was born on this plane of existence!"
I left her with those simple but profound words ringing in my ears. They continued with me for nearly a year until I received permission to take Class Instruction in Christian Science - and then it was in the form of an invitation to come to Boston and take it with Mrs. Eddy herself in the Massachusetts Metaphysical College.
My impressions of the Class with Mrs. Eddy are very vivid. It was a notable class, made up of men and women who have since become well-known figures in the Christian Science Movement. But more notable and more impressive than any and all of us was Mrs. Eddy herself. Her way of teaching was clear and remarkable. Sharp, direct and clear, she left no doubt in our thought of the Truth. She wielded the two-edged sword with ease, and when the work was done, we saw clearly the distinction between Truth and error in every direction, and God, divine Love over all.
I have recorded some of her sayings in that Class, but there are one or two things I would like to add. For example, one of the students asked, "What is Antichrist?" The serious look that came over her face I shall never forget. It was as though all the awful forces of error stood before her engaged in mortal combat. For a moment, I trembled at the sternness of her face, but in the next instant, she smiled gently and said, in a very loving way, "Dear ones, I could tell you much concerning that. But that must not be now. Some things must wait till you can bear them. I cannot tell you what Antichrist is: you could not bear that now. But I can tell you how to avoid it. Beware of self-love!! Beware acknowledging God and His Science but all the while loving yourselves more!" None of us who heard her will ever forget the seriousness of her words.
Another day she asked us each what church we had been affiliated with before coming into Christian Science. When we all had answered, she turned to a blackboard and carefully drew a small circle. "That is the sum-total of all the churches under Old Theology," she said. Then she drew another circle about the same size, near it but not touching the first, "That is all of you." Then she drew a large circle embracing the two, and encompassing them, but not touching either of them. "And that is Christian Science," she said. How easily she could have said of the large circle, "And that is I, Mrs. Eddy," but she was always sharply aware of herself as the Discoverer of Science and always was strict in keeping herself personally away from the purity of Christian Science. She was the one who had brought Science, the Science was impersonal.
One day a student manifested a belief of sickness in the Class. Mrs. Eddy promptly said to him, calling him by name, "Stand up!" When he indicated he would like to but felt he could not, she spoke still more sharply, "Stand up!" This was repeated once more, and the student stood. Then Mrs. Eddy gave him an audible treatment there before us all. I cannot repeat exactly what she said; that would be too much to expect of anyone in that room for we all were profoundly moved. But at the end of the treatment the student sat down once more, healed.
After my Class Instruction I went to Long Branch, New Jersey where I entered into the Teaching and Practice of Christian Science. From that time on, Mrs. Eddy called on me for many things, and always it was a privilege to serve her. I cannot recall the exact dates or order of many of the experiences I would like to relate concerning my experiences I had with her, but I shall set down some of these which I feel will be helpful to others. Therefore, though I cannot be certain as to the exact date of many of these happenings, nor the exact order in which they happened, I shall nevertheless put down some of the many recollections of incidents I had with our Leader.
When Mrs. Eddy was at work on the 50th Edition of Science and Health, she called me to Boston to handle some of the metaphysical work incident thereto. In company with other students, I spent days and nights in earnest prayer for the success of the undertaking. Mrs. Eddy would call us to her and talk with us, constantly impressing upon us the seriousness of the undertaking. I recall one night when she sent for the students. When we had assembled, she stood before us with a very solemn face. Then Mr. Frye produced a Bible. She said, "I want each of you to come here to me and place your hand on the Bible and swear before God and the Discoverer of Christian Science that you will not betray your trust, but will continue the work as He directs you to do it." A more solemn moment I never expect to experience again.
Once, after Mrs. Eddy had moved to Pleasant View in Concord, New Hampshire, I was staying in the house at her request. One afternoon the weather became very oppressive and thunder showers appeared in prospect. Just as I noticed this, I was called to our Leader's room. She said, "I want you to handle this claim of weather." When I turned to leave the room, having told her I would take it up, she said, "No, I want you to do it here - aloud." Obediently I began my work, while our Leader stood by the window looking out over the landscape. When I had finished, she said, "Go to Laura (Laura E. Sargent) and she will tell you how to do it, dear. I shall handle it this time, but next time I call you, be ready." I went to Mrs. Sargent and she told me about this work, but Mrs. Eddy never asked me to handle the weather gain. I often wished she would, but she never did.
One day Mrs. Eddy asked me, "Henrietta, do you keep a copy of Science and Health in your bedroom?" When I told her that I always had a copy on my little table by my bed, and had had one there from the first, always carrying it with me wherever I went (traveling, etc.) she said, "Give it up from now on. The Textbook does not belong in the bedroom. Take God into your bedroom!"
I was at Pleasant View for some days in the winter one year. It was severely cold, with great heaps of snow all along the roads. One very bitterly cold day, the furnace heating the house went out of repair, and the whole house was without heat for a day and a night. Yet during all this time, our Leader's room was never particularly cold, and she was in the best of spirits the whole time, seeming to radiate warmth and cheerfulness while the rest of us had all we could do to keep our teeth from chattering while we spoke to her.
One summer I went with Mrs. Eddy on her drive frequently. At one point of the drive, a little boy appeared every day and waved to Mrs. Eddy very sweetly. She was much attracted to him and told the household about it. Mr. Mann, using this as a cue, sent the little boy a present of a puppy which he chose from the litter of a dog belonging to a neighbor of Mrs. Eddy's. However, when he took the puppy to the boy's house and told the mother in whose name he was presenting it to her son, she became very angry and asked him to leave. Afterward he discovered that the family were R.C.'s., and he told Mrs. Eddy about it. She said, "You did the best you could, dear, now leave it to Mother." Sometime afterward she told me that she had taken up the thought of the family, and sent the boy a Bible with her name written in the front. She said, "Joseph gave him a dog, and he returned. I sent him a copy of the Bible and that stayed. When we try to reach them in the human, God rebukes us, but when we send His Word, that heals them."
One afternoon, Mrs. Eddy was talking with me and her dressmaker came in with a dress which she had repaired for our Leader. Mrs. Eddy was displeased with something about it, and said to the student, "When you dress me, you dress God." Then, as though she took back the rebuke, she said lovingly, "God clothes us all, dear!"
During one of my visits at Pleasant View, Mr. Ira Knapp, one of the first Directors of The Mother Church came to see Mrs. Eddy. While he was waiting to see her, we spoke a few words together in the lower hall. He was very much upset, and finally told me it was because of some talk that had been going about Boston among the members of the church concerning him personally. I said what I could, but just then word was brought that Mrs. Eddy would see him. When he came downstairs after his talk with her, a smile lighted up his face when he saw me. I did not like to ask what her words to him had been, but he told me without a word on my part. She said, "When you have tasted gall and wormwood, you are ready and able to take manna, and not until then!"
One morning we were all called into our Leader's study, and she told us that her favorite pen with which she did most of her writing, was lost. When someone offered to get her another, she would have none of it, and said very sternly, "And none of you are to leave this house until my pen has been found!" We all began to work and to search, and finally one of the students found the pen and took it to her. She called us to her once more, and before us all presented the pen to the person who had found it. Then, with a beautiful, serene smile, she turned to the rest of us, saying, "Now all is well again, dear ones."
Mr. Edward Kimball came to Pleasant View one day with a copy of a lecture he was to deliver. He wished to show it to Mrs. Eddy for her approval before using it publicly. As she looked over the manuscript, she suddenly stopped, and, pointing to a sentence, said, "Did God or mammon tell you to say this?"
During one of my visits, word came to Pleasant View that one of Mrs. Eddy's old students had passed on somewhere in the Far West. She said, "If I'd been there I could have saved him, but God will give him greater works to do and then I can help him." The impressive tone in which she said the last words made a profound impression upon us all, and I for one have never understood the exact meaning of this statement by our Leader.
Once Mrs. Eddy rebuked one of her secretaries who had made mistakes in preparing a letter which she had dictated. She said, finally, "Call the household." When we all had gathered, she told us of the importance of the letter, and how much our work was needed to help our fellow-worker. Then she said, "You are trying to do God's work - let Him do it!" And everything worked out harmoniously.
Mrs. Eddy was always very alert in her ability to detect the purposes of malicious animal magnetism directed at her or at those around her for the object of destroying the work of the Cause. Often she rebuked us for our inability to detect what was going on. It was sometimes difficult for us to understand it, but time has shown me how right she was in what she demanded of us in wakefulness and in proper mental defense.
One of the most interesting experiences I had along this line with our Leader happened at Pleasant View. We were talking one day about food, and Mrs. Eddy expressed a wish to have some old fashioned spoon bread. I said nothing at the time, but next morning, with the permission of her cook, I made her some spoon bread as a surprise for her. She had it with her dinner, and was delighted with it. She sent for me and was very appreciative of what I had done. Naturally, I was pleased, having the feeling I had given her some little pleasure. But the following morning, she called me to her very early, and said, "My child, you did your Mother a great service yesterday, but today you must handle theosophy as though your life depended on it, for it does!"
Another experience along this same line occurred while I was with our Leader in the summer. The Mayor of Concord sent Mrs. Eddy a quantity of fine strawberries. They were the finest strawberries I had ever seen before or since. Every one was just perfect, and they made a beautiful picture when they arrived at the house. Mrs. Sargent told Mrs. Eddy about them and wanted to show them to her, but she wasn't interested to see them, and declined to have any. Consequently, that noon the cook served the household a wonderful strawberry shortcake. That afternoon someone told Mrs. Eddy about it, and she called the household together at once. She seemed very concerned and asked earnestly, "How many of you ate of those strawberries?" We all answered that we had. "Could you not see what the enemy is trying to accomplish? Now you are all touched with the animal magnetism trying to reach this house! Now turn your thoughts away and let me handle the work myself and alone from now till sunset, while you all correct your own thinking!"
Frequently during my visits with Mrs. Eddy she would give answers to questions I put to her. One day I asked her, "Mother, where will we be after we pass on?" She quickly answered, "Why, right here, dear, only we shall be much freer because we are freed from the necessity of handling material sense. After we pass on the moral laws obeyed here will count as blessings in spiritual sense."
One afternoon, Mr. Stephen Chase, Director of The Mother Church called on Mrs. Eddy. She asked me to stay with her, and I did so. The conversation was a lengthy one, and Mr. Chase was very earnestly trying to tell Mrs. Eddy of some of the problems the Directors were having to meet, while Mrs. Eddy constantly made little pleasant jokes. This surprised me, because I had never seen her in such a light, jovial mood before in the presence of so many tales of difficulty. Finally she sent me away on some little errand, and when I returned, Mr. Chase was gone. She said, "Henrietta, I know how upset he was, but I wouldn't add fuel to the fire! The Christian Science Directors are not the best Scientists in the world, but they certainly are steadfast to their duty. And I know how to value that!"
Another bit of valuable advice I heard our Leader give was in a talk she had with Mr. Ira Knapp, one of the Directors whom I have already mentioned. He brought some papers to Mrs. Eddy one day, and I was in her study with her while she signed them. Then she turned to him and looked straight at him, as though studying him. Then she said, "How long do you talk with your patients?" He seemed very much surprised, and said, "Why, I don't know, perhaps half an hour or maybe an hour." She said, "That's what's the trouble with you. Now just stop all those long visits. They come to you and pour out all their troubles on you and that gets stored up inside you. Make every one of your patients limit their time to ten minutes and you will be better for it and they will too." When he had gone she said to me, "The successful Christian Science practitioner is not one whose office is full of people from morning till night."
One morning she was talking with her household and she said, "You are the faithful remnant. My old students are my worst trial but you are the faithful remnant. God has preserved you sound. May you merit His mercy and continued Love."
Another morning I heard her make a most remarkable statement. She asked, "If I had a student here at Pleasant View who was about to pass on, what do you think I should do with him?" The students, startled, gave various answers but none seemed to suit her. When all had finished, she said, "I would let God heal him and then send him away." The tone in which she said the last words carried so much depth of feeling that we all were moved deeply.
I have already told some experiences connected with the handling of animal magnetism in the students' thought. Another important experience which I witnessed should not be overlooked. One morning about ten o'clock, Mr. Frye was taken with a belief of suffering and apparently was passing on. Mrs. Eddy was told of it and immediately came to his room where several of us were gathered. She walked straight up to where he was lying on his bed and, standing over him, called out, "Calvin, rise up! They are trying to kill your Leader!" She repeated this two or three times. Suddenly he sat up, looked about him, and was restored immediately to health. Then she told him to come with her to her study, where she talked with him alone for about half an hour. This was a most remarkable experience, and I shall always recall it when I wish to think of what absolute Christian Science healing is.
On one of my first visits to Concord, I bought some apples on my journey, while passing through New York City. I did not eat all of them on the train, so had some still with me when I arrived at Mrs. Eddy's home. On the following day, I heard her rebuke her cook strenuously because the applesauce served at the dinner table was not up to standard. She (Mrs. Eddy) blamed it on the apples, saying "If we only had good apples, all this would not have happened." I offered to make her some applesauce from the apples which I had with me. She said, "Yes, do it, dear." The following noon, my applesauce was served to her, and she was delighted with it. But what she did not know was that the apples I had brought were identical in kind, flavor, and type with those in her kitchen from which the first batch of sauce had been made! I have always thought she perhaps realized that this was the case, but praised mine in order that I would not feel disappointed.
One morning Mrs. Eddy was examining us in her study, putting various questions to us. Finally she said, "Dear ones, you have answered well. Now that you have been so patient with Mother, what can she do for you?" We were all surprised at the question but Mr. Strang, I believe it was, spoke up finally, "Mother, will you prophesy for us?" Her face clouded for just an instant, and then she said, "To perform the demonstration of prophecy always includes a temptation of animal magnetism. Now I have always found this rule of help: When you are about to prophesy, always handle animal magnetism first, and then you will find 'the times are in His hands,' and all need for prophecy will be gone. Why? Because faith in God will have taken its place!" But next day she referred to this again, and said, "My dear students, God has told me this much for you: At the end of this century, Christian Science will be the only universally acknowledged religion in the world, because the other religions have no demonstrating basis. But much work remains undone, much self-denial waits for us all before this can be fulfilled. The main thing is for us to handle m.a.m. that would make us fold our hands till this manifests itself. But Truth demands work, work, work! Never forget that!"
One of the experiences which I witnessed in Mrs. Eddy's home which I have always hesitated to relate, but which I feel is a part of the history of my relationship with her, I would like to tell next. It was not comprehensible to me at the time, nor is it now, but I feel it should be preserved because there is a deep lesson in it. Therefore I shall risk the misunderstanding of some to tell it.... One afternoon, just as she was coming down the hall stairs to take her afternoon drive, Mr. Frye was waiting for her in the lower hall near the front door. As she came up to him, she stopped suddenly and looked at him for a moment, from head to foot. Then she asked, "What are you wearing, Calvin?" He answered, "Why, a new suit that I bought, Mother." She said, "Calvin Frye, when God tells you to get a new suit do it, but He will never tell you to get one!" The result of this was that Mr. Frye never answered a word, but turned away from her and left the room. He refused to drive with her that day and the next, and Mr. Mann had to go in his place. On the third day she called him to her just before her luncheon and he told her he would go, and all was well again. But I was told he never afterward wore that suit in her presence.
I was with Mrs. Eddy and in correspondence with her during the time of the attacks in the press, especially in the New York papers. She never complained about the misrepresentations where she was concerned, and her forbearance and forgiveness was a miracle to see. But her only concern was with the Cause. That concern was real and earnest, and she never allowed us to forget our responsibilities in that direction for a moment. But one night someone brought a copy of the newspaper from the Concord station. It was a late paper, and contained a perfectly awful attack on Mrs. Eddy by a New York publisher. The students were roused to see the way their dear Leader was vilified in print. Mrs. Sargent began to cry bitterly when she saw it. But just at that moment, Mrs. Eddy's maid came and told her Mother wanted to see her. Mrs. Sargent went up to Mrs. Eddy's room (our Leader had already retired for the night.) Afterward she told us that Mrs. Eddy, upon seeing her tear-stained face, detected the cause of the trouble at once. She said, "Have they finally reached you too, dear?" And Mrs. Sargent could hold back the tears no longer, because of the love Mrs. Eddy expressed for her. Then Mrs. Eddy handled the error right then and there. When Mrs. Sargent returned to us, she carried a slip of paper with these words on it in Mrs. Eddy's handwriting: "To my Household. Dearest Students. Grieve not! Rise and handle the serpent - remove its fangs by removing the desire to attack. Truth prevails. Mind is All. Love is with you. Mother."
It was on the morning following this, that the men students in the house were very much roused by the whole attacks, and during the meeting with Mrs. Eddy in her study, they could bear it no longer. John Salchow stepped forward, determination and righteous anger in his bearing and face. Raising his fist in the air, he said, "Mother, if they were men they'd never do a thing like that! I'm telling you here and now that I'll go to New York and find that reporter and give him the beating he deserves!" There was a silence for a moment, then Mrs. Eddy, who had been looking at the carpet, suddenly looked up at him with a slight twinkle in her eyes, "And I really believe you could do it, John.... I really do!" Then she showed us how to handle the error, and said, "God blesses righteous anger, but righteous prayer is still more precious in His sight."
One evening I was talking with Mrs. Eddy about the obstetric course which had been given in the Metaphysical College only a short time before. She said, "Oh, I didn't approve of it at all, not at all! So much more should have been done before that course was given. But the students wouldn't wait, and Mr. Kimball thought it was best and so I gave in. And now God requires much of me because of it!" (This course had been given by Mr. Edw. Kimball and Dr. A. E. Baker) I hardly knew what to say to her, but reminded her that she had written me she would teach me the course herself. Then she spoke about some of the points in the obstetrical work and then said, "I can tell you one thing, dear. Never handle the belief of birth ('no birth, no death, etc.') during the time the mother is in the belief of labor. If you do the functions will stop and such a declaration is mental murder. After the birth has taken place you can take up along this line, but never while the condition is apparent." I have since proven the absolute truth of this statement of our beloved Leader.
I once had the pleasure of an interesting conversation with Mr. Gilman, the artist who worked with Mrs. Eddy on the pictures for "Christ and Christmas." He told me some of his experiences with her while he was doing this work, and spoke of her in the most loving and respectful way, saying he owed her a great debt and felt that his art work had improved under her instruction. When I told her about this, she said, "Yes, Mr. Gilman is an honest man, as honest as any artist can be."
At the same time when speaking with me about the book "Christ and Christmas," Mrs. Eddy said, "Everything in that book is just as God told me it should be."
One day Mrs. Eddy was looking at the current issue of the Christian Science Journal, as I entered the room. She showed me several advertising cards of the Practitioners and pointed to their statements, "Absent treatments a specialty" and the like. Then she said, "Just look at that! Students calling themselves Christian Scientists specializing in absent treatments! It's all a lie of [animal magnetism] and can be one of the greatest obstructions to the worker." I asked her why she did not require them to stop publication of such cards, and she said, "All in time, dear. I must suffer it to be so now, but in God's way they will be shown what to do. Meanwhile Mother must protect them for they know not what they do. They know so little, oh so little!"
One morning Mrs. Eddy read a letter to us which she had received from a man who had lived on a lonely ranch in the West. He said he had read about Christian Science in a newspaper and had ordered a copy of the Textbook from Boston by mail. After studying it for nearly two years, he went to a distant town where there was a Christian Science Church. After the service he talked with some of the students, and upon his return to his ranch wrote Mrs. Eddy, "They don't talk Christian Science as it is in the book." Commenting on this, Mrs. Eddy said, "That man is a Christian Scientist in deed and in name." Afterward she sent him a copy of one of her writings with her name in the front in her handwriting.
Those who have visited Pleasant View know that it is situated near the Concord Fair Grounds. Once during a visit of mine, Mrs. Eddy drove to the Fair while it was being held. Afterwards she told us about a man who dove from a great height into a shallow pool of water. She said, "It was a demonstration, a demonstration." Then I told her about some of the feats I had seen performed at the circus in New York, but I had not gone far when she stopped me suddenly, "Henrietta, you don't go to the circus, do you?" When I said I had gone in the past, she said, "Don't ever go there again! That is no place for a Christian Science student, for there is animal magnetism in its very wickedest form!" I have never understood just what she meant by that statement, but I record it for those who may be interested in some of the sides of our Leader not generally known.
During the time that the Fair was being held and while I was at Pleasant View, a gypsy fortune teller who was following the fair, after the custom of those days, came to Pleasant View Cottage to ask to read fortunes. Mrs. Pauline Mann sent her away quickly and afterward someone told Mrs. Eddy about it. In all seriousness Mrs. Eddy said, "I am surprised she didn't let her tell her fortune. It is interesting sometimes to know what mortal mind has to say about us!" But the way she said it left no desire in any of us to have our fortunes told!
While the Earl of Dunmore and Lady Victoria Murray were visiting Mrs. Eddy I was called to Pleasant View on an errand for Mrs. Eddy. During this time, Lady Murray asked me if I would like to go to London and work in the field there. We talked for a long time about it, and I had about made up my mind to go. Then I told Mrs. Eddy about it, and asked her what I should do. She said, "I'll tell you tomorrow." Next day she made no mention of it at all, and as the day passed by, I thought she had forgotten all about it. But after she had retired for the night, she called me to her bedside, and, taking my hands in hers, said lovingly, "Dear one, Mother knows how you would like to go, and that makes it all the harder for her to tell you this. She needs you here, but you must decide." When I was about to promise her I would stay in America, she said, "No, don't answer me now. Pray over it, dear, and let God tell you what to do." Later, after I had returned home from Pleasant View, I received a letter from her which left no doubt in my mind as to the rightness of my decision to remain in this country. When I spoke to her about it later on, she said, "I am so glad you stayed here. So many students feel the glamour of foreign places, but when they get there they forget Mother and Science. I could tell you of many students who have gone through that furnace; and I am glad you are spared from the burning."
During my term as Reader in the church in Philadelphia, Mrs. Eddy asked me to arrange for a Readership for her adopted son, Dr. Foster-Eddy. I did this, and then she told me, "Let him go there and watch what happens." Soon the wisdom of her words became apparent. The church was soon split into two groups, those who did not like him (and they were in the minority) and those who followed his every word because of his close association with our Leader. Indeed, it was easy to see that he encouraged this. One time he showed letters of Mrs. Eddy's to him to prove how close he was to her in the leadership of the Cause. But what he did not show (as I afterward learned) was that these letters had been written years before, and did not relate to his present situation at all! When I told Mrs. Eddy this, she seemed very sad, and said, "I have tried to help him in every way I can, but nothing seems to work out right. Some people live on history and reputation, but the Christian Science student lives on works. By their fruits ye shall know them." This left no question as to my position, and I tried my best to cooperate with him in his work in the church, trusting God to show us the way. Finally, he left the Philadelphia church when no doubt as to his true character was left the in the thought of the members. If there had been any doubt, it was entirely dispelled when, a few years later, he joined in the so-called "Next Friends Suit" against our Leader and gave out a newspaper interview containing all sorts of accusations against her. Then the whole world knew him for what he was. But I would like to say this in justice to him, When he was right and not handled by animal magnetism, he was actually a fine demonstrator of Christian Science, but under the influence of evil he was a great trial to us all. But I have never regretted one fraction of the experiences with him, for it showed me clearly some of the terrible ways animal magnetism works against the unwary student.
During my association with Mrs. Eddy I had experiences with her which concerned other students who had fallen under m.a.m. and been away from the Cause. I was always impressed with the uniformly loving, kind way she treated them, but nevertheless she was entirely uncompromising with the animal magnetism which claimed to control them, and to the nature of which they were blind. I have chosen two experiences from many I witnessed, where disloyal students were concerned, for narration here.
One time Mrs. Woodbury was visiting Mrs. Eddy and I happened to be called to the room where they were talking. As I came in, Mrs. Eddy did not see me at once, since her chair was turned away from where I stood, waiting. I heard Mrs. Eddy say, "Why do you come here and tell me all this? Do you think I am a priest in a confession-box? Go somewhere else to justify your sins, don't come to me!" With this she rose, saw me standing there, and without another word left the room with me. She never mentioned the incident in my presence at any time.
The second incident I would like to tell concerns Mrs. Stetson, of New York. When I arrived at Pleasant View at Mrs. Eddy's summons, I found the household in a state of excitement. Everyone except our Leader was very eagerly awaiting the arrival of Mrs. Stetson. They were full of stories of her great success in healing, and of her work in that city. I was rather inclined to smile to myself at their earnest admiration of Mrs. Stetson, because in my connection with the Philadelphia and New York fields I had had ample opportunity to come in contact with many who knew her well, and her methods were no secret to me. Therefore, I was interested to see what effect all this would have on our Leader. When Mrs. Stetson arrived, she fulfilled all their expectations, and at the dinner table she told us all many stories of her successes, the wealthy patients and students who were members of her church, the lavish gifts they had made her, and so on. Mrs. Eddy sat at the head of the table, and quietly listened to everything, giving no hint of approval or disapproval. But from time to time, I noticed her look intently at a student who was enthusing about some story Mrs. Stetson had told. This provided a wonderful study in contrasts, something like a play, but far more moving to me. On one hand was this woman of position in the metropolitan world, dressed in the height of fashion, with flashing wit and brilliant conversation. She was the centre of attention. On the other hand, was a little woman, dressed conservatively, radiating simplicity in every movement, sitting quietly as though she were the humblest worker among us. How remarkable I thought, was the situation! All the charm of the one was empty without the quiet, deep backing of the other. I waited till the end of the meal, curious as to what the result of it all would be. When we rose from the table, Mrs. Stetson was expressing gratitude for the many gifts her students had showered upon her. At that moment, when there was a pause in the conversation, Mrs. Eddy quietly said, "Yes, dear, God gives us many gifts, but it is His correcting rod we need most of all!" Then she quietly walked from the room on Mr. Frye's arm. That finished Mrs. Stetson's stories for that visit.
In speaking of Mrs. Stetson, I ought to mention that Mr. Frye was very devoted to her, and when her disloyalty became more and more apparent, it had a very adverse effect upon him. I noticed how depressed he was over it, and I know that this gave Mrs. Eddy a great deal to meet. I have heard her speak very sharply to him about it before us all.
One of the students whom I knew well, and with whom I often spoke was Judge Hanna. His devotion to our Leader was very real and deep. I knew him best during the years when he was editing the Christian Science Journal. We often spoke about his editorial work, and he told me that it was a far greater task than he had ever had in his law practice. Once Mrs. Eddy spoke to me about him when his name came up in a conversation we had. She said, "In the law everything is fixed and settled, but in Science the Truth is always fixed and it is animal magnetism that tries many avenues of approach. This gives the Judge so much to meet because he is so settled in his ways."
Mrs. Eddy was always sensitive to the ways error tried to reach the home, and disrupt the work for the Cause. For example, one Fall when I visited her for a day, some workmen from Concord were repairing the outlet drains from the pond on her grounds. This was the pond which gave her the inspiration for her article "Pond and Purpose" (see Miscellaneous Writings). That morning while I spoke with her, I could see that our Leader had a great deal to meet in her work. While she was speaking, she rose and went to the window and looked out toward the pond. She immediately asked what the men were doing. I told her I didn't know, and she rang for Mr. Frye, who told her the nature of their work. She immediately said, "Send them away at once." Then she turned to me and said, "Animal magnetism attacks through many doors. It is necessary that we find workmen who are friendly to Science and its Discoverer." Later I heard that the work had to be entirely given up for that year because no help could be found in Concord that those at Pleasant View thought would be suitable. I do not know whether it was done later or not.
One day I told Mrs. Eddy how much I appreciated the beauty of Pleasant View, with its charming grounds and house. She seemed pleased at my words, and echoed them with words of her own. then, suddenly she became completely serious and, in earnest tones I shall never forget, said, "Henrietta, if ever I go away from here to another house it will be to be delivered up to my enemies!" That this made a great impression upon me at that time and in after years cannot be too strongly emphasized.
I have often had students come to me after their election to a Readership in a Branch Church and ask me whether I thought it would be a good idea for them to take lessons in speaking as a help to them in their work. In some instances they felt their lack of background in their new positions, and wanted to measure up to the best standards. I have always advised against their taking this step, despite the fact that I know many do it, justifying it on the grounds that Mrs. Eddy herself chose an elocutionist to deliver her address at the dedication services of The Mother church. My reason for so doing is advice I myself received directly from our Leader's lips. I had studied elocution in my youth, and when, after some years in Science I was appointed Reader in the Philadelphia church, I asked Mrs. Eddy whether I should take this work up again to help me in my new task. She was very quick and emphatic in her answer. "A Christian Science Reader tells the congregation that she takes the Bible and Science and Health as her only textbooks. Will you stand before them and lie?"
Mr. Kinter was asked by Mrs. Eddy to take charge of the arrangement of the grounds at Pleasant View while the one who had direction of that work was called away for some weeks. When she asked him to do this work, several of us were with her in her study. She said, "Do you suppose you can do that work without letting the door open to error?" He answered seriously, "I'll try, Mother." She came out quick as a flash, and with a great sense of finality, "Don't try - do it!"
The last impression of our Leader I would like to relate is the last time I myself saw her. It left such a loving, profound imprint upon my thought that I would like to conclude these recollections with it. I had been with her for some hours, speaking of the matters for which I had been called to Pleasant View. Then, as was her custom in nice weather during the summer, she sat out on an upper porch in a sort of swinging chair before retiring for the night. Mrs. Sargent was supposed to tell her when it was time to come into the house, but she asked me to do it because she had some other duties to attend to. Therefore, at the appointed time, I went to the door of the porch. To my amazement, I found our Leader on her knees, praying aloud. I heard her say, over and over again, "Lord, dear Lord, keep my students straight!": When I was about to retire, not wishing to intrude myself upon her, she suddenly turned about and rose at once and came into the house. As she passed me, she kissed me tenderly, and said, "Good night, dear." I have no words to describe the sacred feeling that passed over me in that moment. The next morning I had to return to my home, and that was the last time I saw our Leader.
In my statements about our Leader, I have told many things, but they were absolutely as I myself heard or experienced them. I have, of course, heard many incidents told by others, but I have purposely confined myself to these things which I myself know to be exact. this, I feel is as it should be. All should speak of her as they knew her, and when all people from all walks of life who knew her have spoken of her, then the real and complete picture of our dear Leader as she was and is will come to light. May my effort aid in the accomplishment of that great and important task!