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CHAPTER III - Part 1

[100]

CHAPTER III

It is very difficult to write about the next few years or to know just how to handle the next phase in my life.  Looking back, I am conscious of the fact that my sense of humour temporarily failed me, and when that happens to someone who can usually laugh at life and circumstances it is rather terrible.  When I say "humour" I don't think I mean a sense of fun but an ability to laugh at oneself and events and circumstances as they are seen in relation to one's setting and equipment.  I don't think I have a real sense of fun; I simply do not understand the "Comics" in the Sunday papers and I can never remember a joke; but I have a sense of humour and have absolutely no difficulty in making an audience—large or small—roar with laughter.  I can always laugh at myself, too.  But for the next few years of my life I found nothing amusing and my problem is how to cover this cycle without being either deadly dull, or presenting a woeful picture of a miserable woman.  For that was what I was.  I shall just have to get ahead and tell my story with its sorrows and pain and distress as best I can, asking you to be patient.  It was just an interlude between twenty-eight happy years and another twenty-eight happy years—years which are still going happily along.

Up to 1907 I had had my troubles and worries but they were basically superficial.  I was doing work that I loved and I was successful at it.  I was surrounded by people who liked and appreciated me and, as far as I know, I had had absolutely no problems between myself and my co-workers.  I did not know what it was to want financially for anything.  I could travel where I wished in India and go back to Great Britain when I wanted without a single [101] thought.  I really had had no personal difficulties to face.

But we now come to a cycle of seven years in my life during which I knew nothing but trouble that left no part of my nature unaffected.  I was entering a period of great mental distress; I was to be faced with situations that exacted the last atom of emotional reaction of which I am capable and, physically, life became exceedingly hard.  I believe these periods are necessary in the lives of all active disciples.  They are hard to take but as they are, I am firmly convinced, entered into with the full knowledge and determination of the soul, the strength to master circumstance is inevitably present.  The result then is always  (in my case and in the case of all who endeavour to work spiritually) a greater capacity to meet human need, and to be "a strong hand in the dark" to other fellow pilgrims.  I have stood by one of my daughters as she went through a terrible experience, and I watched her—as a result of five years patient endurance—come through to a measure of usefulness that would otherwise be impossible, and she is still young, with a useful and constructive future ahead of her.  I could not have done this had I not been through the fire myself.

When the six months on my back were over, arrangements were made for my marriage.  What little money I had was legally arranged in a trust that Walter Evans could not touch, had he wanted to.  "Aunt Alice" sent him the money to outfit himself and come to Scotland to fetch me.  I was then living with my aunt, Mrs. Maxwell, of Castramont.  I was married in a private chapel of a friend's house by a Mr. Boyd-Carpenter.  My father's eldest brother, William La Trobe-Bateman (also a clergyman) gave me away.

I went immediately after the wedding to stop with Walter Evans' people in the north of England.  A connection [102] of mine by marriage who was at the wedding and who is related to half of England took me aside when I said good bye and said, "Now, Alice, you've married this man and you are going from here to visit his people.  You will not find that they are your people and it will be your duty to make them feel that you believe they are.  For Heaven's sake, don't be a snob."  With these words, she ushered me into a period of my life in which I left caste and social position behind and suddenly discovered humanity.

I am not one of the people who believe that only the proletarian are good and right and that the middle classes are the salt of the earth, whilst the aristocracy are absolutely useless and should be gotten rid of.  Neither do I accept the position that only the intelligentsia can save the world, though that is a sounder position because the intelligentsia can come out of all classes.  I have met frightful snobs from the so-called lower classes.  I've met them, also, of an equally virulent kind among the aristocracy.  The prudery and the conservatism of the middle classes is a great balancing force in any nation.  The push and the rebellion of the lower classes promotes the growth of a people, whilst the tradition, culture and noblesse oblige of the aristocracy is a great asset to the nation that possesses it.  All these factors have a right and sound usefulness but all can be equally well misused.  Conservatism can be dangerously reactionary; a right rebellion can turn into a fanatical revolution, and a sense of responsibility and superiority frequently evidenced by the "upper classes" can degenerate into a stupifying paternalism.  There is no nation without its class distinctions.  There may be an aristocracy of birth in Great Britain but in the United States there is an aristocracy of money equally as distinctive, exclusive, and rigid in its barriers.  Who shall settle the quarrel, which is best [103] or which worst?  I had been brought up in a very rigid caste system and nothing in my life had tended to throw me on equal terms with those not of my own caste.  I had yet to discover that behind all the class distinctions of the Occident and the caste systems of the Orient there is a great entity which we called Humanity.

Anyway, with my beautiful clothes, my lovely jewelry, my cultured voice and my social manner, I launched myself unthinkingly and without any appreciation of the situation into Walter Evans' family.  Even the old family servants were distrustful of the situation.  The old coachman, Potter, drove Walter Evans and me to the station after the wedding.  I can see him now in his livery, with a cockade in his hat.  He had known me ever since I was a little bit of a girl and when we got to the station, he got down and took my hand and said, "Miss Alice, I don't like him and I don't like to say this to you, but if he doesn't treat you right—you come right back to us.  Just drop me a line and I'll meet you at the station."  Then he drove off without another word.  The station master of the little Scotch station had reserved a carriage for us as far as Carlisle.  As he put me into the carriage he looked me in the eye and said, "He isn't what I would have chosen for you, Miss Alice, but I hope you will be happy."  None of this left the slightest impression on me.  I have an idea now that I left behind me a group of very worried relatives, friends and servants.  But I was quite oblivious of it then.  I had done what I believed to be right and done it at a sacrifice and was now reaping my reward.  The past lay behind me.  My work with the soldiers was finished.  Ahead of me lay a wonderful future with the man I thought I adored, in a new and wonderful land, for we were on our way to America.

Before going to Liverpool we stopped with my husband's people and I never put in a more dreadful time.  They [104] were nice, kind, good and worthy, but I had never before eaten with people of that calibre, or slept in a house of that kind, or eaten my meals in a "parlour" or lived in a house with no servants.  I was terrified of them and they were more terrified of me, though kind of proud that Walter had done so well for himself.  In justice to Walter Evans, I think that I should say that after we had separated and he had gone to one of our great universities for a post-graduate course, I received a letter from the president of the university begging me to return to Walter.  He pleaded with me (as a very old and experienced man) to go back to my husband because, he stated, never in the course of his long experience with thousands of young men had he met a man as gifted—spiritually, physically and mentally—as Walter Evans.  It was not surprising, therefore, that I had fallen in love and married him.  All the indications were good except his social setting and lack of money, but as I was going to America to live and as he was shortly to be ordained in the Episcopal Church that did not seem to matter.  We could manage on his stipend and my small income.

We went straight from England to Cincinnati, Ohio, where my husband was studying at the Lane Theological Seminary.  I immediately set in and took his various courses with him, whilst the money which I had supported both of us and paid all expenses.  I found when it came down to the details of married life that I had absolutely nothing in common with my husband, except on religious views.  He knew nothing really of my background and I knew less of his.  We both tried at this time to make a success of our marriage, but it was a failure.  I think I would have died of misery and despair had it not been for the coloured woman who ran the boarding-house, connected with the seminary, on the top floor of which we had one room.  Her name was Mrs. Snyder and she adopted me on sight.  She nursed me [105] and petted me and took care of me; she scolded me and she fought for me and, for some reason, she hated the sight of Walter Evans and took pleasure in telling him so.  She saw to it that I had the best that it was in her power to provide.  I loved her and she was my one confidante.

It was then, for the first time in my life, I came up against the racial problem.  I had no anti-Negro feeling, except that I did not believe in marriage between the coloured races and the white for it never seemed to work for happiness on either side.  I was appalled to discover that under the American constitution we stood for equality for all men but that (through the poll tax and poor education) we most carefully saw to it that the Negro was not equal.  Things are better in the North than in the South but the Negro problem is one that the American people will have to solve.  The Constitution has already solved it for them.  I remember at Lane Theological Seminary a Negro professor, a Doctor Franklin, had been invited to give the alumni address.  After we came out of the chapel, I was standing with my husband and a couple of professors talking about the beautiful address we had had when Dr. Franklin passed by.  One of the professors stopped him and handed him money to go and buy his lunch.  He was not even good enough to eat with all the rest of us, though he could speak to us on the spiritual values.  I was so horrified that, with my usual impetuosity, I rushed off to a professor and his wife whom I knew and told them about it.  They immediately came back with me and took Dr. Franklin to their own home for lunch.  The discovery of the anti-Negro feeling was like discovering an open door into the great house of humanity.  Here was a whole section of my fellowmen who were being refused the rights of the Constitution under which they had been born.

Since then I have thought and read and talked about this [106] problem of the minorities.  I have many Negro friends and I think I may claim that we understand each other.  I have found Negroes as cultural and as fastidious and as sound in their thinking as many of my white friends.  I have discussed the problem with them and I know that all they ask is equality of opportunity, of education, of work and living conditions.  I have never met one who was demanding social equality, though the time is coming when they must and will have it.  I have found that the attitude of the cultured and educated Negro towards the undeveloped members of their race is reasonable and sound, and as a prominent Negro lawyer said to me once:  "Most of us are children, particularly in the South, and need loving and developing like children."

A few years ago in London I had a letter from a scientist, a Dr. Just, asking me if I would grant him an interview as he had read some things I had written and wished to talk to me.  I invited him to lunch at my club and when he arrived I found he was a Negro and a very black Negro at that.  He was a charming and interesting gentleman and was on his way back to Washington after lecturing at Berlin University.  He was one of the leading biologists of the world.  My husband and I took him down to our house in Tunbridge Wells for a couple of nights and we greatly enjoyed his visit.  One of my daughters asked him if he was married.  I well remember his turning to her and saying:  "My dear young lady, I would never dream of asking a girl of your race to marry me and to suffer the inevitable ostracism, and I have not yet met a girl of my own race who could give me the mental companionship I wanted.  No, I have never married."  He has since died and I regret it much; I had hoped for a closer friendship with a very fine man.

Increasingly, during my thirty-six years' residence in this [107] country, I have been shocked, amazed and frightened by the attitude of many Americans to their fellow-Americans, the Negro minority.  The problem will have to be solved and room made for the Negro in the national life.  They cannot be kept down, nor should they be.  It is up to them to prove themselves all that they claim to be and it is up to all of us to see that they do, and that the abominable utterances and the poisonous hatred of such a man as Senator Bilbo are stilled, and there are a number such as he.  Again I re-state my belief that the problem cannot be solved today (I make no prophecy about the future) by intermarriage.  It must be solved by fearless justice, the recognition of the fact that all men are brothers and that if the Negro is a problem it is our fault.  If he is uneducated and not properly trained in the technique of citizenship it is again our fault.  It is time that prominent white men and congressmen in both Houses and parties left off yelling for democracy and free elections in the Balkans and elsewhere and applied the same principles to their own Southern States.  Forgive this tirade, but I feel strongly on the matter, as you see.

This coloured woman, Mrs. Snyder, mothered me for months and looked after me until my eldest girl was born, sending for her own doctor, who was not coloured but not a particularly good doctor, so I did not get the skilled care I should have had.  That was not her fault as she did her best to see me through.  I have been curiously unlucky when my three children were born, and only once had a hospital nurse with me.  Anyway, when my first child was born I had inexpert care.  Walter Evans went into hysterics all the time, demanding most of the attention of the doctor, but Mrs. Snyder was like a tower of strength and I shall never forget her.  Later the doctor sent in a practical nurse but she was so incompetent that I suffered severely at her [108] hands and went through three months of great discomfort and agony.

We then moved from the seminary to other living quarters.  We took a small apartment where, for the first time, I was left alone with a small baby and all the housework to do.  Up to that time I had never washed a pocket handkerchief, boiled an egg or made a cup of tea, and was a completely incompetent young woman.  My experience in learning to do things was such that I have seen to it that the three girls know all there is to know about housekeeping.  They are entirely competent.  I'm quite sure it was not an easy time for Walter Evans and it was then that I began to discover—living alone with him where we could not be overheard—that he was developing an appalling temper.

My Waterloo was the weekly washing.  I used to go down to the basement, which was fitted with the usual stationary tubs, and do the washing.  I had brought all my own baby clothes with me, of very great beauty, yards long, beautiful flannels, real lace insertion, almost priceless—a dozen of everything and what I did to those clothes was a sorrow and a pain.  When I was through washing them, they looked most peculiar.  One morning, I heard a knock on my door and on opening it I found a woman who lived in the flat below me.  She looked at me with distress and said, "See here, Mrs. Evans, it's Monday morning and I can't stand it any longer.  I'm an English servant and you are an English lady and I've got sense enough to know it.  There are things I know and things you don't, and you're coming down with me every Monday morning until I say you needn't and I'll teach you how to launder clothes."  She said it as if she had learnt it off by heart and she was as good as her word.  Today there is nothing about laundry work that I don't know and I owe it all to Mrs. Schubert.  Here is another instance of somebody for whom I had [109] done nothing but who was just straight human and kind and I got another peek into the house of humanity.  She and I became real friends and she used to champion me when Walter Evans was in a rage.  Time and again I have taken refuge in her small apartment.  I wonder whether she and Mrs. Snyder are alive.  I fancy not; they would be too old.

When Dorothy was about six months old I went back to Great Britain to see my people, leaving my husband to finish his theological training and get ordained.  This was my last visit to England for twenty years, and I have no particularly happy recollections of it.  I could not tell them I was not happy and had made a mistake.  My pride would not let me, but they undoubtedly guessed it though they asked no questions.  My sister was married whilst I was there to my cousin, Laurence Parsons.  We had the usual family gathering at an uncle's house.  I only stayed a few months in England and then went back to America.  In the meantime my husband had graduated from the seminary, been ordained and been given a charge under the Bishop of San Joaquin in California.  This turned out to be a wonderful thing for me, for the Bishop and his wife became my true friends.  I still hear from her.  My youngest daughter is named after her and she is one of the people whom I dearly love, but I will tell you more about her later.

I came back to the States on a small boat which docked in Boston.  It was quite the most awful voyage I ever took—a small, dirty boat, four in a cabin, and meals at long tables where the men kept their hats on.  I recollect it as a nightmare.  But, like all bad things, it ended and we arrived at Boston in the pouring rain and I was quite desperate.  I had a bad headache; my dressing-case with all its massive silver fittings which had been my mother's had been stolen and Dorothy, being about a year old, was very heavy to carry.  I was travelling on a Cook's Tourist ticket [110] and their agent was on board.  He took me to the railroad station where I had to wait till midnight and after telling me what I ought to know and giving me a cup of strong coffee he left me.  Wearily I sat all day in the station, trying to keep a restless baby quiet.  As the time for the train arrived I wondered how I was to manage when suddenly I looked up and saw Cook's Agent, out of uniform, standing beside me.  "You worried me this morning and all day," he said, "and I decided I had better put you on the train myself."  Whereupon he took the baby, called a porter and established me as comfortably as possible on the train for California.  The tourist sleepers in those days were not as comfortable as they are today.  Again I received kindness which I did not deserve from some one for whom I had done nothing.  Please do not think I am implying that there was something so charming and nice about me that people naturally helped me.  I have an idea that I was not a bit charming.  I was rather "'igh and 'aughty," very reticent, almost to the point of dumbness, and frightfully British.  No, it was not that but simply that average human beings are kindly inside and like to help.  Don't forget that the proving of that is one of my purposes in writing.  I am not manufacturing instances but relating factual happenings.

My husband was, first of all, rector of a little church in R—- and it was there that I learned the duties of a clergyman's wife, the endless calls upon her time.  I was introduced to the strictly feminine aspect of congregations.  I had to attend the Ladies' Aid.  I had to hold Mothers' Meetings and I always had to go to church and, ceaselessly and endlessly, I had to listen to Walter's sermons.  Like all ministers and their families in those missionary districts, we lived largely on chicken and I learnt [111] why the chicken is a holy fowl—because so many of them enter the ministry.

This period marked another phase in the expansion of my consciousness.  I had never in my whole life come across a community like this little town.  There were only about fifteen hundred people in the place, but there were eleven churches, each of them with the tiniest congregation.  Among the out-lying ranchers were men and women who were cultured and had travelled and read and I sometimes met them.  But the bulk of the people were small trades people, people connected with the railroad, plumbers, workers in the vineyards or the fruit orchards and school-teachers.  The rectory was a small, six-room bungalow between two larger houses, one of which housed twelve children and their parents and I lived in a constant riot of children's voices.  The little town was typical—shops with false fronts, hitching posts where surreys and buggies tied up (for automobiles were still a scarcity) and the village post-office from which all the gossip and talk emanated.  The climate is really lovely, though very hot and dry in the summer.  However, I felt completely isolated, culturally and mentally and spiritually.  It seemed to me that there was no one for me to talk to.  No one had seen anything or read anything and their sole topic of conversation seemed to rotate around children, crops, food and local gossip.  For months I stuck my snooty little nose up in the air and decided there was nobody good enough for me to associate with.  Of course, I did my duty as the rector's wife and I am sure I was very nice and kind, but always I felt a barrier.  I did not want to have much to do with the parishioners and I let them know it.

I started a Bible class, however, and that was a huge success.  Numerically it outnumbered my husband's Sunday morning congregation, which may have added to the trouble [112] which was steadily growing worse.  Members of all the different churches, except the Catholic, attended and it was the one bright spot in the week, partly I think because it linked me with the past.

My husband's temper was getting out of all bounds and I lived in a constant terror that the members of the congregation would discover it, and that he would lose his post.  As a clergyman, he was greatly liked and was an impressive figure in his surplice  and stole.  He was a very good preacher.  I honestly do not think I was too much to blame.  I still ran my life on the aphorism "What would Jesus have me do?"  I was not a cross person or quick on the trigger but I expect my silence and attempted patience was aggravating.  Nothing, however, that I could manage to do would please him and after destroying all photographs and books which he thought I might value, he had taken to knocking me about, though he never touched Dorothy.  He was always lovely to children.

My daughter Mildred was born in August 1912 and it was then I really woke up to the astounding fact that it was not the people of the place who were wrong but that it was I.  I had been so occupied with the problems of Alice La Trobe-Bateman, who had made what seemed to be an unfortunate marriage, that I had forgotten to be Alice Evans, a human being.  When Mildred was born I was very ill and it was then that I discovered the people of this little town.  Mildred was ten days overdue; the temperature was 112 degrees on my porch; the twelve children next door were terribly noisy; I had been very ill for days; and then the cesspool fell in.  I pictured Dorothy, who was then two and a half, trotting about and falling into the cesspool.  Walter was no help.  He just disappeared about his parochial duties.  I had a good little Jewish nurse who was getting frightened about me and kept phoning [113] for the doctor who delayed coming.  The door suddenly opened and, without knocking, the saloon keeper's wife walked in.  She gave me one look and then strode over to the telephone and from house to house chased the doctor until she caught him and ordered him to come at once.  She then tucked Dorothy under her arm, nodded to me, assured me that Dorothy would be quite all right with her and disappeared.  I did not see Dorothy for three days.  I did not much care; I was far too ill.  Mildred was an instrument baby and I had two serious hemorrhages.  Thanks to good nursing I pulled through.  Word had gone around as to my predicament and so many good things were sent in and so many kind things were done that I remain eternally grateful.  Custards, pie, port wine, fresh fruit poured in.  Women turned up in the morning to do my washing, to dust, to sweep, to sit with me and to sew and mend.  They relieved the nurse in looking after me.  They invited my husband to their homes so he was not under foot, and I suddenly woke up to the fact that the world was full of lovely people and that I had been blind all my life.  I had moved further into the house of humanity.

It was at this time, however, that the real trouble started.  People began to find out what Walter Evans really was.  I was up on the ninth day after Mildred's birth, without any nurse or help of any kind.  The church warden's wife discovered me that day, to her horror, doing the washing, and knowing that I had nearly died ten days before, she sought out Walter Evans and read him the riot act.  It did not do any good but it made her suspicious and she began to watch me more closely and to befriend me still more.  His tempers were assuming serious proportions but the curious thing about him was that (beyond a savage, ungovernable temper) he had no vices of any kind whatsoever.  He never drank; he never swore; he never gambled. [114] I was the only woman in whom he was ever interested and the only woman he had ever kissed, and I believe this held true until he died a few years ago.  In spite of all this, he was quite impossible to live with and eventually it became dangerous to be in the same house with him.  The church warden's wife came in one day and found my face badly bruised.  I was so ill and tired and she was so kind and good that I admitted to her that my husband had thrown a pound of cheese at me and that it had hit me full in the face.  She went back home and shortly the Bishop came down.  I wish I could convey in these pages the kindness, goodness and understanding of Bishop Sanford.  The first time I had met him he had come down for a confirmation.  I had served supper and was in the kitchen washing dishes afterwards.  Suddenly, I heard someone drying the dishes behind me and for a moment I did not turn around, thinking that it was just one of the church women.  To my amazement I discovered it was the Bishop and this act was just like him.  Much discussion and talk followed and eventually Walter was offered another opportunity to make good.  We moved immediately to another parish.  This greatly pleased me because the rectory was much nicer.  It was a larger community and I was closer to Ellison Sanford, one of the loveliest people and truest friends I have ever had.

My general health got better and, in spite of the constant outbursts of fury, life was beginning to take on a little bit more color.  I was closer to the city in which the Bishop and his wife lived and saw more of them.  I found more people in the parish who talked my language, but it was a bad time in many ways and in the late fall I began to be ill again.  My youngest girl, Ellison, was due in January and in one of his fits of temper my husband threw me down the stairs with, it turned out, a bad effect upon the child.  She was very delicate after birth, being what is [115] colloquially called "a blue baby" with a leaking heart valve, and for years it was never believed that I could raise her.  But I did and she is now quite the strongest of the three girls.

After this things went from bad to worse.  Everybody knew that things were all wrong at the rectory and everybody did what they could to be helpful.  A very nice girl offered to come and live with me as a paying guest in order that I might have someone in the home but in due time she got scared though she stayed with me right through.  The field next the rectory was constantly ploughed, day after day, and when (from curiosity) I asked a man who was ploughing it why it was being done so constantly, he told me that a group of men had decided that I ought to have somebody within call so they took turns in ploughing the field.  The girls at the telephone exchange discovered the situation and made a practice of calling me up at intervals to find out if I was all right.  The doctor who had taken care of me when Ellison was born was very greatly concerned and made me promise every night to hide the carving-knife and axe under my mattress.  The feeling was getting abroad that Walter Evans was not sane.  I remember one night waking up and hearing a man go rapidly out of my room and down stairs.  It was just the doctor who had looked in to see if I was all right.  So again, you will see kindness surrounded me.  I was, however, deeply humiliated and my pride was very sorely wounded.

One morning a friend called me up and asked me to bring the three children over for the day, saying that she would fetch me.  I went and we all had a very good time.  When I got back, however, I found Walter Evans had been sent to San Francisco and put under observation by a physician and psychiatrist there in order to find out whether he was mentally right or not.  Fortunately for me, the doctor [116] decided he was bad and not mad and that he was suffering from nothing worse than a completely uncontrolled temper.  In the meantime, Ellison had been taken frightfully ill with "cholera infantum" and no hope was held out for her recovery.  I remember so well a blazing hot summer's day, during that dreadful time.  Ellison was lying dangerously ill on a quilt on the floor whilst the other two children were playing in a neighbor's yard.  My doctor drove up and came into the house with a baby in his arms, followed by a tall, pretty woman looking fit to be in a hospital.  He said he had brought the baby for me to care for and would I put the mother to bed and take care of her too?  Of course I did, and for three days I had two sick babies on my hands and a sick woman—too sick, ill and depressed to be able to care for her child.  I did all I could, but the baby died in my arms.  Nothing could save her, and she had expert skill on the doctor's part and I am a good nurse.  That doctor was a wise man; he knew that I had all I could handle in my own home situation but needed to learn that I was not alone in trouble, that other people had as bad troubles as I, and that I was capable of a much greater expenditure of energy than I believed.  The wisdom and profound psychological knowledge of the small town general practitioner is to me completely amazing.  They know people; they live lives of sacrifice; they are skilled from vast experience; they handle emergencies swiftly and adequately, for they have no one to rely on but themselves.  Personally, I am deeply indebted to the doctors—in cities and villages—who have been my friends as well as my physicians.

I was advised to take Ellison after this up to San Francisco to the Children's Hospital and see if something could be done.  Ellison Sanford took the two other children, in spite of the fact she had four of her own, and I went north [117] with the baby.  The doctors at the hospital told me that she could not possibly live, and there I had to leave her and go back to look after the other two children.  I will not enlarge upon the difficulty of that episode.  Those who have children will understand.  I never expected to see her again, but miraculously, she did recover and was brought back to me by her father who had also been dismissed from observation with a clean bill of health.  There is nothing humorous in any of this, is there? and I don't feel hilarious talking about it.

A most peculiar and difficult year now confronted us.  It was impossible for the Bishop to give Walter Evans a charge.  The only funds we had were largely exhausted, and my very small income, owing to the world war, was now but a trickle of money.  When Walter had gone to San Francisco I was left with three children and lots of bills.  He had no sense of money; cash that I might give him, or that was part of his stipend to be spent on current bills, would be spent by him on non-essential luxuries.  He would leave the home to pay the monthly grocer's bill and return with a gramophone.

I shall never forget as long as I live the extraordinary kindness of the man who owned the grocery store in the little town where I was living and where Walter Evans had his last charge in the San Joaquin diocese.  We owed a couple of hundred dollars on our grocery bill, though I was quite unaware of the fact.  Word, of course, had gone around the village of everything that had happened.  The morning after my husband had been sent away to San Francisco, the telephone rang and it was the grocery store.  The owner was a Jew and a very ordinary looking Jew.  I had never done anything for him except be courteous and, being British, had made it evident that I had no anti-Jew feeling.  There has never been any anti-Semitic attitude in Great [118] Britain, particularly in my youth there.  Some of our greatest men have been Jews, such as Lord Reading, Viceroy of India, and others.  This man asked me over the phone for my order.  I asked him how much we owed him and he said, "Over two hundred dollars" but that he was not worrying as he knew it would be paid even if it took five years.  Then he added, "If you don't send in an order I shall have to send up what I think you need and you wouldn't like that, would you?"  So I turned in an order.  When the groceries arrived at the rectory that morning I found an envelope with ten dollars "incidental cash" in it which he had sent up, in case I was short of ready money, and which he had added to the bill as he knew I would not accept charity.  He also asked for the key to our mail-box, so he could look after my mail for me.  I have felt and still feel deeply indebted to him.  It took me over two years to pay off his bill but it was paid, and each time I sent him five dollars on account I would get back a grateful letter from him just as if I had done him a favor.

Apart from the fact that I had been brought up in England where no anti-Jew feeling has prevailed and where the problem of the Negro is better understood than in the United States, I have been deeply indebted to members of these two suffering minorities.  The problem of the Negro has always seemed to me simpler than that of the Jew, and one that can be much more easily solved.

The Jewish problem has seemed to me well nigh insoluble.  I, at this time see no way out, except through the slow process of evolution and a planned educational campaign.  I have no anti-Jewish feeling; some of my most beloved friends such as Dr. Assagioli, Regina Keller and Victor Fox I love devotedly, and they know it.  There are few people in the world as close to me as they are, and I depend upon them for counsel and understanding and they [119] do not fail me.  I have been officially on Hitler's "blacklist" because of my defence of the Jews whilst lecturing up and down western Europe.  In spite, however, of knowing full well the wonderful qualities of the Jew, his contribution to western culture and learning and his wonderful assets and gifts along the line of the creative arts I still fail to see any immediate solution of their crucial and appalling problem.

There are faults on both sides.  I do not here refer to the faults or rather the evil criminality of the Germans or the Poles towards their Jewish citizens.  I refer to all those people who are for the Jews and not against them.  We Gentiles have not yet found out what to do in order to liberate the Jews from persecution—a persecution that is many, many centuries old.  The Egyptians in the early phases of Biblical history persecuted the Jews, and persecution has been their record down the years.  I hesitate to state my conclusions but am going to do so in the hope that it may help.  It is only possible however very briefly to bear on one or two points, and from the start it must be necessarily inadequate.

There must be some basic cause for this constant and ceaseless persecution, some reason why they are not liked.  What can it be?  The basic cause probably lies deeply rooted in certain racial characteristics.  People complain (and it is frequently true) that the Jews lower the atmosphere of any district in which they reside.  They hang their bedding and their clothing out of the windows.  They live on the streets, sitting in groups on the sidewalks.  But for centuries the Jews were tent dwellers and had to live this way and may still react to hereditary qualities.  The complaint is made that the moment you permit a Jew to get a footing in your group or business organisation, it will not be long before his sisters and his nephews, his uncles and his aunts [120] are in it too.  But the Jews have had to hang together in the face of centuries of persecution.  It is claimed that the Jew is strictly material, that the all-mighty dollar matters more to him than the ethical values and that he is quick and expert in taking advantage of the Gentiles.  But the Jewish religion lays no emphasis upon immortality or upon the life after death, and this is true because I have discussed this problem with Jewish theological students.  Why, therefore, should they not get the best out of life along material lines?  Let us eat and drink and get worldly goods for tomorrow we die.  All this is understandable but does not make for good relations.

As I have studied and thought and asked questions, certain things have clarified in my mind and are—for me—part of the answer.  The Jews hang on to a religion which is basically obsolete.  I asked myself a few days ago what part of the Old Testament was worth preserving.  Much of it is dreadful, cruel and only because the literature is found in the Bible does it pass the post-office regulations.  I decided that the ten commandments must be preserved, one or two of the Bible stories such as the love of David and Jonathan, the 23rd Psalm and the 91st Psalm with a few others and about four chapters in the Book of Isaiah.  All the rest was largely useless or undesirable, and much that was left fed the pride and nationalism of the people.  That which stands between the orthodox Jew and the mass of the Gentiles are his religious taboos, for the Jewish faith is largely a religion of "Thou shalt not."  That which conditions Gentile thinking concerning the unorthodox and younger Jew is his materialism, of which Shylock is a symbol.

As I write these words I am conscious of their inadequacy and lack of complete fairness and yet from the standpoint of a broad generalisation, they are absolutely true— [121] although from the standpoint of an individual Jew they are in many, many cases grossly unfair.  There is much in the Jew and the German which is alike.  The German regards himself as a member of the "super race" whilst the orthodox Jew regards himself as the Chosen People.  The German emphasises "racial purity" and so have the Jews down the ages.  The Jew never seems assimilable.  I have met Jews in Asia, in India and in Europe as well as here and they remain Jews, and in spite of their citizenship they are separate from the nation in which they dwell.  I have not found it so in Great Britain or in Holland.

The Gentiles have frequently treated the Jews abominably, and many of us are heartsick about it and working hard to help.  One handicap comes today from the Jews themselves.  Personally, I have never yet found a Jew who would admit that there might be faults or provocation on their side.  They always take the position that they are the abused and that the whole problem could be solved by the Christian taking right action.  Lots of us, thousands of us are trying to take right action but we get no cooperation from the Jews.

Forgive this digression, but the memory of Mr. Jacob Weinberg who so befriended me, started me off on a subject about which I am acutely concerned.

The problem, therefore, facing Walter and myself was what should we do?  I understood Walter's fate was largely in my hands.  If I could induce him to behave himself and treat me with ordinary decency eventually the Bishop would endeavor to get him another charge in another diocese where he would not be handicapped by his past, though the bishop of that diocese would, of course, have to know the details.  I remember well the evening in which I put the situation flatly and baldly to Walter, after having a long talk with the Bishop.  I made him see that his fate [122] did lie in my hands and that it would be the part of wisdom for him to stop knocking me about.  I told him that any time I could get a divorce from him on the strength of the testimony of the doctor who had looked after me when Ellison was born and who had seen me with bruises all over my body.  This threat from the point of view of the Episcopal Church was potent.  His career as a priest would be over.  He was a proud man and (being inwardly shocked by the publicity) from that day on he never laid a finger on me.  He sulked and would not talk for days on end and gave me the bulk of the work to do but I had no further cause to be afraid of him.

We took a shack of three rooms in the depths of wild country not far from Pacific Grove and I started in to keep hens, and to make a little money by selling their eggs.  I found out very quickly that unless you could keep hens on a very large scale (which involves capital) you don't make much money.  Hens are such silly things; they have such silly faces; they have such stupid habits; they are completely devoid of intelligence; the only exciting part about poultry keeping is hunting the eggs, and that's a dirty job.  But I did manage to feed the family, and the shack was only $8.00 a month and not worth that.

My life at this time was entirely monotonous—looking after three babies, one morose husband and several hundred stupid hens.  We had no bathroom or indoor toilet.  Even keeping the children and the place clean was a problem.  We had practically no money and part of the grocer's bill was paid with the eggs, which the grocer always took because he was my friend.  I used to go out in the surrounding woods with a wheelbarrow, the children trotting after me, and collect the wood for the fires.  I cannot, therefore, say that this was a pleasant time.  Again, I don't feel humorous about it.  It was like an entirely new incarnation [123] and the contrast between this humdrum life of a house-keeper and a mother, poultry keeper and gardener and my rich life as a girl and my full life as an evangelist finally got me completely down.

I felt I was of no use to anybody; that I must have gone off the track along some line or else I would not be in this position.  The old Christian complex of being a "miserable sinner" overwhelmed me.  My conscience, morbidly conditioned by the fundamentalist theology, kept telling me I was paying the penalty of my questioning doubts and that if I had held on to my girlhood faith and surety I would not now be in this pickle.  The church had failed me, because Walter was a churchman and the other churchmen I had met seemed to be so mediocre, with the exception of the Bishop.  He was a saint but then, I argued, he would have been a saint anyway even if he had been a plumber or a stockbroker.  I knew enough of theology to have lost my faith in theological interpretations and I felt that there was nothing left me except a vague belief in Christ, Who at this time seemed very far away.  I felt deserted by God and man.

Let me say here that there is no question in my mind that the Church is playing a losing game unless it changes its technique.  I cannot understand why churchmen do not move with the times.  All evolutionary development in all fields is an expression of divinity and the static condition of theological interpretation is contrary to the great law of the universe, evolution.  After all, theology is simply man's interpretation and understanding of what he thinks God means.  But it is a human, finite brain that does the thinking and has done the thinking down the ages.  Hence other human and finite brains can appear and give other, deeper, more significant or broader interpretations and thus found a more progressive theology.  Who dare say that [124] they are not as right as churchmen in the past?  Unless the churches broaden their vision, eliminate their disputations concerning non-important details, and preach a Christ, risen, living and loving, and not a Christ, dead, suffering and a sacrifice to an angry God, they will lose the allegiance of coming generations—and rightly so.  Christ lives, triumphant and ever present.  We are saved by His life.  The death that He died, we can die too—and triumphantly, the Bible says so.  The churches will have to begin with their theological seminaries.  I have taken a theological training and I know what I am talking about.  Intelligent young men will no longer enter them when confronted with ancient meanings to what they recognise as living truths.  They are not interested in the Virgin Birth—they are interested in the fact of Christ.  They know too much to accept the verbal inspiration of the Scriptures; but they are prepared to believe in the Word of God.  Life is so full of movement today, of heroes, of beauty, of tragedy and cataclysm and of reality and glorious opportunity that this generation has no time for the puerilities of theology.  Fortunately, there are within the church a few men of vision who will, eventually, change the reactionary attitude, but it will take time.  In the meantime, the cults and the isms will engulf the people.  This would not be necessary if the Church would wake up and give a seeking, urgent humanity what it needs—not soporifics, not authority, not sweet platitudes—but the living Christ.

After six months of this kind of life, if I remember correctly, I saw the Bishop again and told him that Walter had behaved himself.  The Bishop then very kindly set in to find a place where he could again resume his church work.  He finally got a small charge in a mining village in Montana, with the understanding that part of his stipend should be sent monthly to me.  I, in the meantime, moved [125] to a tiny, three-roomed cottage in a more populated district in Pacific Grove.  This was in 1915 and it was the last time I ever saw Walter Evans.  Practically none of his stipend was ever sent to me and his letters grew increasingly abusive.  They were full of threats and innuendo.  There was nothing that I could do and I realised that I must handle my life alone and do what was best for the three little girls.

The war in Europe was in full swing.  Every relative that I had was involved.  The small income I had came to me erratically.  It was heavily taxed and the bank draft sometimes never arrived owing to the sinking of the ship on which the mails went.  I was in a most difficult position; without a relative in the country to whom I could go and (apart from the Bishop and his wife) no friends to whom I cared to talk.  I was surrounded by kind and good friends, however, but none of them were in a position to do anything for me and looking back now I question if I ever let them know how serious the situation was.  The Bishop wanted to write to my people and let them know the situation but I would not let him.  I've always been a great believer in the proverb that "as a man makes his bed, so must he lie," and I am not at all a believer in squealing and crying and wailing to one's friends.  I knew "God helps those who help themselves" but at this time I admit it seemed to me that God, also, had failed me and I couldn't even go squealing to Him.

I hunted around for something that would bring me a little money, only to discover that I was a perfectly useless person.  I could make beautiful lace, but nobody wanted lace and, in any case, I couldn't get the materials for lace making in America.  I had no particular gifts; I could not use a typewriter; I could not teach; I did not know what to do.  There was only one industry in this district and that was the sardine industry and rather than let the children [126] starve I decided to become a factory hand and work in a sardine cannery.

I remember the time of crisis when I came to this decision.  It was a major spiritual crisis.  As I have earlier pointed out, I had arrived in America with much questioning in my mind as to the spiritual verities which could be believed.  The theological course which I took on arrival did not help me at all.  Any theological course would undermine a man's faith if he is intelligent enough to ask questions and is not of the type that accepts blindly what the churchmen say.  The commentaries which I consulted in the theological library seemed to me inane, badly written and platitudinous.  They answered no question; they dealt in abstractions; they evaded realities even when claiming to know exactly what God meant and intended, and sought to solve all problems by quoting St. Augustine, Thomas Aquinas and the saints of the Middle Ages.  Theologians never seem to face up to the basic issues; they fall back upon the trite statement that, "God said."  But perhaps He didn't; perhaps the translation was wrong; perhaps the phrase under consideration was an interpolation—there are many such in the Bible.  Then came the question in my mind:  Why did God speak only to Jews?  I knew nothing of the other Scriptures in the world and if I had known them I would not have regarded them as Scriptures.  There were parts of the Old Testament that shocked me and parts that made me often wonder how they ever got through the mails.  In an ordinary book they would have been regarded as obscene, but in the Bible they were all right.  I began to wonder if my interpretations were not as good as somebody else's.  I remember pondering one day on the verse in the Bible, "The very hairs of your head are all numbered."  It seemed to me that God was keeping a lot of statistics.  I consulted a theologian in the seminary and found that his [127] answer was that this Biblical statement proved that God was not conditioned by time.  I discovered next that the cross was not a Christian symbol but that it long antedated Christianity and this was a final blow.