The Case of the Brannigans 2

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   On Saturday the ladies of Holy Saint-
Anna-in-the-Extreme met at the rectory
to work upon vestments, altar clothes and
other bare necessities for the inculcation
of the true apostolic faith, by means of a
mission chapel in Virginia, recently proj-
ected by a high church priesthood. Con-
tributions in money the past year, $550.
    Besides these denominational opportuni-
ties there were Indian associations, King's
Daughters, Willing Helpers, Ministering
Children, Whatsoever societies, bands, cir-
cles, guilds and leagues, beside a bewilder-
ing assortment of societies represented by
antagonistic combinations of letters, select-
ed at random from a helpless and muti-
lated alphabet. All of which testified
through the objects of their endeavor to
the common enchantment of the unseen,
far-away, "foreign field."
    It may be an indication of sterile sym-
pathy, but none of these far-away "ob-
jects" claimed my entire loyalty, and so
I continued for some time to jump from
one "cause" to another, like a wilful [sic] and
unprofitable grasshopper among a hill of
faithful neighbor ants. The blurred out-
lines of our red, black and yellow brothers;
the reclaimed French and wandering
white, the dwellers from pole to pole, and
among the isles of the sea; massed in one
mighty picture, moved me less than the
touch of one hand seeking help in mine.
    I did not care for sectarian missions or
philanthropic dissipation - it was plainly
best for others to answer the usual pray-
ers in which I had always joined, that
the gospel might "dispel the gloom of
doubt" and "the earth be lifted up from
the uttermost parts." I believed in every
effort, made for "those who sit in dark-
ness;" but longed to let the "sweetness and
light" so bountifully thrown across my
own life shine directly on those whose sun
was hid. Sharing the load of those whose
arms were burdened while mine were
empty, fettered while I went free, groan-
ing while I sang, cursing the up-hill road
while I laughed; with eyes cast down on
stones that hurt the bare feet, while I
looked off over happy valleys of a shel-
tered past, from shining foothills to gleam-
ing peaks towards which my hopeful feet
were set.
    O organization! what crime is commit-
ted in thy name! when tender human sym-
pathy is swallowed up in impersonal agen-
cies for an unknown "cause."
    It was a dinner party among the elite
of Elmhurst that my gathering perplexity
found a voice at last. Some one had been
dilating upon a noted workers in East Lon-
don, lately become a fad in titled homes;
whose recent brilliant appeal to his old
college was just then meeting the usual
hearty response.
    "Why do you always give to the ends
of the earth," I asked wonderingly, "in-
stead of crossing the road like the good
Samaritan?" There was an awkward
pause, in which a man at the other end
of the table laughed aloud; and my hostess
explained tactfully, as if in haste to cover
an obvious social error, "My dear girl,