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From Hell to Heaven
Chapter 241 - A memorable life story, engaging also the officer.
1. The officer halts, hurriedly and impatiently asking what is her probably also trivial concern, like the previous four, might be.
2. Says the old one: “My dearest Mr. Officer, life in the world was for me always a very serious affair; everything in my household was so arranged that all who served there has to take life in an orderly fashion. Although they sometimes grumbled at the beginning, they got used to it, realizing they would find no more congenial place than precisely with me.
3. Many people indeed take me for a pedant, and even half silly, but this did not trouble me. For in my youth I had a wise teacher who even had the ability to traffic with good spirits: Notwithstanding my initial shyness with my teacher’s eerie guests, he nevertheless with time succeeded to instil me with wonder at the inhabitants of the pure light spheres. He described to me their beauty, charm and gracefulness so engagingly that fear of spirits soon left me, and I developed desire to interact with the dwellers of the light spheres.
4. My teacher – a man in his forties, became so indispensable to me that I could not imagine life without him, although being only fourteen at that time. According to my parents daily harangues I was in any case no good for the world. But it did not bother me, as the words from my teacher’s beautiful mouth gave me a thousandfold compensation for every idle worldly loss.
5. But just as in the wicked world everything lofty, true and noble attracts hostility, and where possible even death, so it was also with me and my nearly holy teacher. My otherwise good parents began to suspect the nurturing of strong love between me and my teacher. They secretly called the good teacher to their room to reproach him, which I could clearly and anxiously hear in the adjoining room.
6. Father, a fairly rough man, was saying: “My friend, you are admittedly a most skilful man, well-informed in the arts and sciences. But one thing you seem to lack: knowledge of the world and what it is entitled to expect from people of certain station. You certainly are turning our beautiful and good child into a veritable scholar, yet in a way that is least practicable for the high society to which we belong. The girl is now floating about in God knows what regions, citing a thousand reasons for immortal man’s unworthiness. She indeed laughs at us sometimes when we expand to her the advantage of nobility. My friend, if you teach our child such ideas, then we can in no way engage you further.
7. What is more, we came upon another secret, initially incredible, as you are a man of forty-odd years and our daughter of fourteen and a quarter years, and beautiful and charming like an angel. But continued observation made it clear that the girl is more in love with you than you with girl. Experience has taught you to mask your love, but that does not excuse you before us, for you must have completely twisted the girl’s head, so that she pines only for you, the world being nothing to her without you.
8. You will understand that under such circumstances we cannot leave the girl under your guidance but entrust her to other hands. Hence depart from this house even this day and take herewith our compensation for your efforts, even though not in line with our convictions. But beware of ever approaching our child again, for such pertness could cost you dearly! Here with your money, and God’s speed.
9. In this way was my angel hustled out of my parent’s house. The holy man, one breath of whose mouth outweighed a thousand worldlings who came and went from out aristocratic parents like parasites, was thus chased out of the house. I poor one then received teachers and masters who disgusted and shocked me with prolonged familiarity!”
10. Says the officer: “Tell me, dear lady, did your teacher just take all this lying down? Let us have it, for it arouses my interest.”
11. Says the woman: “Esteemed friend, what could the miserable one have said, knowing how much can be accomplished with such aristocrats. The only thing I could make out with a broken heart was that he says thanks for everything I enjoyed in this house –(with a weeping voice) adding at the end: Gracious parents of this most noble child, God knows I never searched for your houses, and it was yourselves who tried to win me with all kinds of glittering promises. On coming to your house I laid out my fundamental educational system to you with clarity. You were fully satisfied therewith and pressed me to your heart, saying: “Friend, we are rich and have assets; with us you are taken care of for life!”
12. I have now lived in your house for three years and have as a human acted with my unspotted conscience without deviating by a hair’s breadth from my fundamental principles, being now bounded out of this house for a most unjust accusation! But it does not bother me but it even makes me happy; for it gives me new proof that Christ the Lord in whom I live and die has found me worthy as one of His disciples. He, the Lord of infinity Himself had received the blackest thanklessness from mankind. And He forgave them, for He well saw that they knew not what they did. Why should I sinful take offence at your behaviour, although it disadvantages me in the world. Not having chased after such advantage however in the world, I shall easily get over it.
13. What hurts me most indeed is that you disbar me from your home, for in your daughter I had weaned myself a true friend in the inner life in Christ the Lord, something difficult to achieve in the pretend world. But that too matters little, for he who loses something on the Lord’s account shall in his time be compensated a thousand fold.
14. This money you can keep, doing with it as you please! That which I gave your daughter is worth more than a world of gold. And were she to lose all the treasures of this world that are but vanity, she shall be happier with the spiritual treasure I gave her than a Croesus who build himself palaces of gold. Oh mankind, are you not blind and weak, the reason you chase after the night’s fireflies that blind but do not heat. Farewell, perhaps we shall meet again in the other world.”
15. The father, indignant at these my godly teacher’s celestial words, took the money, intending to force it upon the good teacher, who would have no bar of it, exiting the door to leave the house forever. And that the last I ever saw of him again, unfortunately.
16. As I said already, the subsequent teachers really were shamefully stupid, conceited and uninteresting They moved without feelings, like machines, and I was simply the means of making much money. Nor did I learn anything from them, to the distraction of my blind parents. But instead I strived as I grew up, to that much more fervently realise the principles which my first teacher and master taught me in such a heavenly way.
17. Sometime later I found out that my godly teacher became an officer and then a captain in the army. I could not determine whether he still lived. I had myself unfortunately to marry already at eighteen and then became a widow at only twenty five, oh how happy I would have been had I found my teacher! But God the Lord did not permit it. – I then remained unmarried with one daughter who quite resembled me in everything. A couple of years ago I entered this eternal world, enquiring everywhere about my teacher and whether he would also be here already, but I picked up nothing. He was named Peter but I could never obtain other names, nor could my parents, - the only thing that was peculiar about this teacher. I am hoping to find out about him in this spirit world. – You are a wise man – maybe you have some information? Oh if only I could meet up with this most noble spirit once more!”
18. The officer turns away for a while, saying to himself: “Can this be? This poor hag should be the almost heavenly daughter of a bigoted arch aristocrat: in such dreadful condition over here now! – Oh God, thou best Father, what crime did this angel commit that she had to arrive here in such an abysmal state? Voice and deportment are still recognizable, but the shape! Oh you poor Matilda, may the Lord show you grace and mercy: her most unfortunate marriage has probably done this- anger, vexation over aristocratic idiocies, ungentle treatment, unfaithfulness and roughness on the part of the husband may have contributed to the emaciation of her otherwise beautiful soul. . . Well – with God all things are possible! Does she not now belong to the called ones? The Lord is bound to straighten her out!
19. If however heavenly marriages take place here, then I shall request here from the Lord for a wife, even if her shape remains unchanged, for her spirit is still full of lofty ideas, as in the time she was my student was not that a glorious time! I was trafficking with the spirits of heaven, I indeed conversed with angels. She too was an angel then. Oh what stream, of light and reflection thereof from the heavens! Oh holy moments of earthly surge! God’s heavens must indeed be of nameless beauty, yet the Earth too is beautiful for him who recognises God in his heart, truly loving Him with all his strength. – Oh Matilda, what you were on Earth – a sun among the fair beings of your sex. And what now, -- a miserable shadow of a withered thistle, shining with the half-light of the waning moon! Oh Lord, could beings who rise from their graves, afters hundred years look more depraved! ’
20. After this monologue with himself, the officer again turns to Matilda, saying: “I pondered your enquiry and have actually tracked the man down, We are going to find him, but you will have to acquire patience and everything that smells of passion. You must direct all love to the Lord and let Peter be Peter, whereupon the Lord shall see to you bliss, because with God, all things are possible! You had once feared God, which was good, for the fear of God is the first step towards wisdom. Now however you have to love God above all which will give you supreme bliss, together with celestial beauty everlastingly!”
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