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Chapter XII

It is evident that she made disciples fast, and that their belief in her and in the authenticity of her heavenly ambassadorship was not of the lukewarm and half-way sort, but was profoundly earnest and sincere. Her book was issued from the press in 1875, it began its work of convert- making, and within six years she had successfully launched a new Religion and a new system of healing, and was teaching them to crowds of eager students in a College of her own, at prices so extraordinary that we are almost compelled to accept her statement (no, her guarded intimation) that the rates were arranged on high, since a mere human being unacquainted with commerce and accustomed to think in pennies could hardly put up such a hand as that without supernatural help.

From this stage onward--Mrs. Eddy being what she was--the rest of the development--stages would follow naturally and inevitably.

But if she had been anybody else, there would have been a different arrangement of them, with different results. Being the extraordinary person she was, she realized her position and its possibilities; realized the possibilities, and had the daring to use them for all they were worth.

We have seen what her methods were after she passed the stage where her divine ambassadorship was granted its executer in the hearts and minds of her followers; we have seen how steady and fearless and calculated and orderly was her march thenceforth from conquest to conquest; we have seen her strike dead, without hesitancy, any hostile or questionable force that rose in her path: first, the horde of pretenders that sprang up and tried to take her Science and its market away from her--she crushed them, she obliterated them; when her own National Christian Science Association became great in numbers and influence, and loosely and dangerously garrulous, and began to expound the doctrines according to its own uninspired notions, she took up her sponge without a tremor of fear and wiped that Association out; when she perceived that the preachers in her pulpits were becoming afflicted with doctrine-tinkering, she recognized the danger of it, and did not hesitate nor temporize, but promptly dismissed the whole of them in a day, and abolished their office permanently; we have seen that, as fast as her power grew, she was competent to take the measure of it, and that as fast as its expansion suggested to her gradually awakening native ambition a higher step she took it; and so, by this evolutionary process, we have seen the gross money-lust relegated to second place, and the lust of empire and glory rise above it. A splendid dream; and by force of the qualities born in her she is making it come true.

These qualities--and the capacities growing out of them by the nurturing influences of training, observation, and experience seem to be clearly indicated by the character of her career and its achievements. They seem to be:

A clear head for business, and a phenomenally long one;
Clear understanding of business situations;
Accuracy in estimating the opportunities they offer;
Intelligence in planning a business move;
Firmness in sticking to it after it has been decided upon;
Extraordinary daring;
Indestructible persistency;
Devouring ambition;
Limitless selfishness;
A knowledge of the weaknesses and poverties and docilities of human nature and how to turn them to account which has never been surpassed, if ever equalled;

And--necessarily--the foundation-stone of Mrs. Eddy's character is a never-wavering confidence in herself.

It is a granite character. And--quite naturally--a measure of the talc of smallnesses common to human nature is mixed up in it and distributed through it. When Mrs. Eddy is not dictating servilities from her throne in the clouds to her official domestics in Boston or to her far-spread subjects round about the planet, but is down on the ground, she is kin to us and one of us: sentimental as a girl, garrulous, ungrammatical, incomprehensible, affected, vain of her little human ancestry, unstable, inconsistent, unreliable in statement, and naively and everlastingly self-contradictory-oh, trivial and common and commonplace as the commonest of us! just a Napoleon as Madame de Remusat saw him, a brass god with clay legs.

Mark Twain