THE UNBEAUTIFUL WORLD
 IN spite of the exaltation of renunciation, and in spite of the
joy of being newly and especially "wanted," those early September
days were sometimes hard for David. Not until he had relinquished
all hope of his "start" did he fully realize what that hope had
meant to him.
There were times, to be sure, when there was nothing but
rejoicing within him that he was able thus to aid the Hollys.
There were other times when there was nothing but the sore
heartache because of the great work out in the beautiful world
that could now never be done; and because of the unlovely work at
hand that must be done. To tell the truth, indeed, David's entire
conception of life had become suddenly a chaos of puzzling
To Mr. Jack, one day, David went with his perplexities. Not that
he told him of the gold-pieces and of the unexpected use to which
they had been put—indeed, no. David had made up his mind never,
if he could help himself, to
 mention those gold-pieces to any one
who did not already know of them. They meant questions, and the
questions, explanations. And he had had enough of both on that
particular subject. But to Mr. Jack he said one day, when they
were alone together:—
"Mr. Jack, how many folks have you got inside of your head?"
David repeated his question and attached an explanation.
"I mean, the folks that—that make you do things."
Mr. Jack laughed.
"Well," he said, "I believe some people make claims to quite a
number, and perhaps almost every one owns to a Dr. Jekyll and a
"Who are they?"
"Never mind, David. I don't think you know the gentlemen, anyhow.
They're only something like the little girl with a curl. One is
very, very good, indeed, and the other is horrid."
"Oh, yes, I know them; they're the ones that come to me,"
returned David, with a sigh. "I've had them a lot, lately."
 Mr. Jack stared.
"Oh, have you?"
"Yes; and that's what's the trouble. How can you drive them
off—the one that is bad, I mean?"
"Well, really," confessed Mr. Jack, "I'm not sure I can tell. You
see—the gentlemen visit me sometimes."
"Oh, do they?"
"I'm so glad—that is, I mean," amended David, in answer to Mr.
Jack's uplifted eyebrows, "I'm glad that you understand what I'm
talking about. You see, I tried Perry Larson last night on it, to
get him to tell me what to do. But he only stared and laughed. He
did n't know the names of 'em, anyhow, as you do, and at last he
got really almost angry and said I made him feel so 'buggy' and
'creepy' that he would n't dare look at himself in the glass if I
kept on, for fear some one he'd never known was there should jump
out at him."
Mr. Jack chuckled.
"Well, I suspect, David, that Perry knew one of your gentlemen by
the name of 'conscience,' perhaps; and I also suspect that maybe
 conscience does pretty nearly fill the bill, and that you've been
having a bout with that. Eh? Now, what is the trouble? Tell me
David stirred uneasily. Instead of answering, he asked another
"Mr. Jack, it is a beautiful world, is n't it?"
For a moment there was no answer; then a low voice replied:—
"Your father said it was, David."
Again David moved restlessly.
"Yes; but father was on the mountain. And down here—well, down
here there are lots of things that I don't believe he knew
"What, for instance?"
"Why, lots of things—too many to tell. Of course there are
things like catching fish, and killing birds and squirrels and
other things to eat, and plaguing cats and dogs. Father never
would have called those beautiful. Then there are others like
little Jimmy Clark who can't walk, and the man at the Marstons'
who's sick, and Joe Glaspell who is blind. Then there are still
different ones like Mr. Holly's little boy. Perry says he ran
away years and years ago, and made his people very unhappy.
 Father would n't call that a beautiful world, would he? And how
can people like that always play in tune? And there are the
Princess and the Pauper that you told about."
"Oh, the story?"
"Yes; and people like them can't be happy and think the world is
beautiful, of course."
"Because they did n't end right. They did n't get married and
live happy ever after, you know."
"Well, I don't think I'd worry about that, David,—at least, not
about the Princess. I fancy the world was very beautiful to her,
all right. The Pauper—well, perhaps he was n't very happy. But,
after all, David, you know happiness is something inside of
yourself. Perhaps half of these people are happy, in their way."
"There! and that's another thing," sighed David. "You see, I
found that out—that it was inside of yourself—quite a while
ago, and I told the Lady of the Roses. But now I—can't make it
"What's the matter?"
"Well, you see then something was going to
 happen—something that
I liked; and I found that just thinking of it made it so that I
did n't mind raking or hoeing, or anything like that; and I told
the Lady of the Roses. And I told her that even if it was n't
going to happen she could think it was going to, and that that
would be just the same, because 't was the thinking that made my
hours sunny ones. It was n't the doing at all. I said I knew
because I had n't done it yet. See?"
"I—think so, David."
"Well, I've found out that it is n't the same at all; for now
that I know that this beautiful thing is n't ever going to happen
to me, I can think and think all day, and it does n't do a mite
of good. The sun is just as hot, and my back aches just as hard,
and the field is just as big and endless as it used to be when I
had to call it that those hours did n't count. Now, what is the
Mr. Jack laughed, but he shook his head a little sadly.
"You're getting into too deep waters for me, David. I suspect
you're floundering in a sea that has upset the boats of sages
since the world began. But what is it that was so nice, and that
 is n't going to happen? Perhaps I might help on that."
"No, you could n't," frowned David; "and there could n't anybody,
either, you see, because I would n't go back now and let it
happen, anyhow, as long as I know what I do. Why, if I did, there
would n't be any hours that were sunny then—not even the ones
after four o'clock; I—I'd feel so mean! But what I don't see is
just how I can fix it up with the Lady of the Roses."
"What has she to do with it?"
"Why, at the very first, when she said she did n't have any
sunshiny hours, I told her—"
"When she said what?" interposed Mr. Jack, coming suddenly erect
in his chair.
"That she did n't have any hours to count, you know."
"Yes; it was the sundial. Did n't I tell you? Yes, I know I
did—about the words on it—not counting any hours that were n't
sunny, you know. And she said she would n't have any hours to
count; that the sun never shone for her."
"Why, David," demurred Mr. Jack in a
 voice that shook a little,
"are you sure? Did she say just that? You—you must be
mistaken—when she has—has everything to make her happy."
"I was n't, because I said that same thing to her
myself—afterwards. And then I told her—when I found out myself,
you know—about its being what was inside of you, after all, that
counted; and then is when I asked her if she could n't think of
something nice that was going to happen to her sometime."
"Well, what did she say?"
"She shook her head, and said 'No.' Then she looked away, and her
eyes got soft and dark like little pools in the brooks where the
water stops to rest. And she said she had hoped once that this
something would happen; but that it had n't, and that it would
take something more than thinking to bring it. And I know now
what she meant, because thinking is n't all that counts, is it?"
Mr. Jack did not answer. He had risen to his feet, and was pacing
restlessly up and down the veranda. Once or twice he turned his
eyes toward the towers of Sunnycrest, and David noticed that
there was a new look on his face.
 Very soon, however, the old tiredness came back to his eyes, and
he dropped into his seat again, muttering "Fool! of course it
could n't be—that!"
"Be what?" asked David.
Mr. Jack started.
"Er—nothing; nothing that you would understand, David. Go
on—with what you were saying."
"There is n't any more. It's all done. It's only that I'm
wondering how I'm going to learn here that it's a beautiful
world, so that I can—tell father."
Mr. Jack roused himself. He had the air of a man who determinedly
throws to one side a heavy burden.
"Well, David," he smiled, "as I said before, you are still out on
that sea where there are so many little upturned boats. There
might be a good many ways of answering that question."
"Mr. Holly says," mused the boy, aloud, a little gloomily, "that
it does n't make any difference whether we find things beautiful
or not; that we're here to do something serious in the world."
"That is about what I should have expected
 of Mr. Holly," retorted
Mr. Jack grimly. "He acts it—and looks it. But—I don't believe
you are going to tell your father just that."
"No, sir, I don't believe I am," accorded David soberly.
"I have an idea that you're going to find that answer just where
your father said you would—in your violin. See if you don't.
Things that are n't beautiful you'll make beautiful—because we
find what we are looking for, and you're looking for beautiful
things. After all, boy, if we march straight ahead, chin up, and
sing our own little song with all our might and main, we shan't
come so far amiss from the goal, I'm thinking. There! that's
preaching, and I did n't mean to preach; but—well, to tell the
truth, that was meant for myself, for—I'm hunting for the
beautiful world, too."
"Yes, sir, I know," returned David fervently. And again Mr. Jack,
looking into the sympathetic, glowing dark eyes, wondered if,
after all, David really could—know.
Even yet Mr. Jack was not used to David; there were "so many of
him," he told himself. There were the boy, the artist, and a
 so evanescent that it defied being named. The
boy was jolly, impetuous, confidential, and delightful—plainly
reveling in all manner of fun and frolic. The artist was nothing
but a bunch of nervous alertness, ready to find melody and rhythm
in every passing thought or flying cloud. The third—that
baffling third that defied the naming—was a dreamy, visionary,
untouchable creature who floated so far above one's head that
one's hand could never pull him down to get a good square chance
to see what he did look like. All this thought Mr. Jack as he
gazed into David's luminous eyes.
Hundreds of additional titles available for
online reading when you join Gateway to the Classics