(And tells where Chippewa was.) And then she skips all her platform people; never mentions one of them. It shows that she is just as human as any of us.
Yet, after all, there is something very touching in her pride in these worthy small-fry, and something large and fine in her modesty in not caring to remember that their kinship to her can confer no distinction upon her, whereas her mere mention of their names has conferred upon them a faceless earthly immortality.
When she wrote this little biography her great life-work had already been achieved, she was become renowned; to multitudes of reverent disciples she was a sacred personage, a familiar of God, and His inspired channel of communication with the human race. Also, to them these following things were facts, and not doubted:
She had written a Bible in middle age, and had published it; she had recast it, enlarged it, and published it again; she had not stopped there, but had enlarged it further, polished its phrasing, improved its form, and published it yet again. It was at last become a compact, grammatical, dignified, and workman-like body of literature. This was good training, persistent training; and in all arts it is training that brings the art to perfection. We are now confronted with one of the most teasing and baffling riddles of Mrs. Eddy's history--a riddle which may be formulated thus:
How is it that a primitive literary gun which began as a hundred-yard flint-lock smooth-bore muzzle-loader, and in the course of forty years has acquired one notable improvement after another--percussion cap; fixed cartridge; rifled barrel; efficiency at half a mile how is it that such a gun, sufficiently good on an elephant hunt (Christian Science) from the beginning, and growing better and better all the time during forty years, has always collapsed back to its original flint-lock estate the moment the huntress trained it on any other creature than an elephant?
Something more than a generation ago Mrs. Eddy went out with her flint- lock on the rabbit range; and this was a part of the result:
"After his decease, and a severe casualty deemed fatal by skilful physicians, we discovered that the Principle of all healing and the law that governs it is God, a divine Principle, and a spiritual not material law, and regained health."--Preface to Science and Health, first revision, 1883.
N.B. Not from the book itself; from the Preface.
You will notice the awkwardness of that English. If you should carry that paragraph up to the Supreme Court of the United States in order to find out for good and all whether the fatal casualty happened to the dead man--as the paragraph almost asserts--or to some person or persons not even hinted at in the paragraph, the Supreme Court would be obliged to say that the evidence established nothing with certainty except that there had been a casualty--victim not known.
The context thinks it explains who the victim was, but it does nothing of the kind. It furnishes some guessing-material of a sort which enables you to infer that it was "we" that suffered the mentioned injury, but if you should carry the language to a court you would not be able to prove that it necessarily meant that. "We" are Mrs. Eddy; a funny little affectation. She replaced it later with the more dignified third person.
The quoted paragraph is from Mrs. Eddy's preface to the first revision of Science and Health (1883). Sixty-four pages further along--in the body of the book (the elephant-range), she went out with that same flint-lock and got this following result. Its English is very nearly as straight and clean and competent as is the English of the latest revision of Science and Health after the gun has been improved from smooth-bore musket up to globe-sighted, long distance rifle:
"Man controlled by his Maker has no physical suffering. His body is harmonious, his days are multiplying instead of diminishing, he is journeying towards Life instead of death, and bringing out the new man and crucifying the old affections, cutting them off in every material direction until he learns the utter supremacy of Spirit and yields obedience thereto."
In the latest revision of Science and Health (1902), the perfected gun furnishes the following.