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Chapter XVIII

1. WHEN the groups were prepared to visit Uz, Tae himself took charge of one dozen, going with them. As the incidents of these visiting groups were similar, the following account of Tae's group sufficeth here, to wit:

2. Tae took them to the city of Meig, to the most fashionable hotels, and had them provided with every luxury, so-called.

3. Hardly had he them located, when they came before him, saying: Our rooms are small; the air of the city smells foul.

4. Tell us, what is the meaning, so many people strolling about in idleness? Why do they sit reading papers? Which are the masters, and which the servants? How do they know? Why do the servants not be masters, and have the others serve them? What beautiful wagons! What beautiful mirrors! What do the women have their clothes stuffed for? What are those bells ringing for?   Are they in the temples of Jehovih? Take us thither! What causeth these disagreeable smells? See that old woman with a half naked babe, and leading that dirty child! Why holdeth she out her hand as we pass? Is she a servant or a master? Why hath not some one told the rich, it is wrong to pass that poor woman by without helping her to a home? Why does she not come into our hotel, and have a room? What do the people mean about rights and privileges? Can one person in Uz have more rights and privileges than another? And why so?

5. What is that sour smell, down yonder, in that cellar, where they talk so loud? What is sour beer? See, behold, a man with a bloody face! Fighting? What with, a tiger? Are those the flesh-eaters? Why do they smoke? Why hath not some one told them they should rather seek to purify themselves, than to do in the opposite way? O, here is the temple of worship, take us in!

6. Tae took them in, and they heard the sermon, and afterward, they said:

7. O the mystery of mysteries! How can these things be? The chief preached most excellently; he knoweth all the doctrines for right-doing; but why is it that his people heed him not? Why doth he not gather up little children, and raise them up to observe the commandments? He must be the best of men. Take us to see him.

8. Tae took them, but a servant met them at the gate, and demanded to know their business.

9. They answered: We have come to consult about the poor. Then the gate-keeper withdrew a while, but returned, saying: The preacher is not at home!

10. From an upper window, behind the lattices, they saw his face; not at home!

11. They said: Can these things be? O, take us to the poor; to the streets of misery! Let us see them.

12. Tae took them, and when they looked about, they asked: Why do the poor live in the dirty streets? Why p. 826 do they not go away, and dwell in the beautiful places? Who gave these different allotments to the rich and poor? Why do the poor not clean themselves, and clean their clothes, and clean their houses? Why do the poor remain in the cities? And huddle together in such little rooms?

13. What is that large house? A theological college? What is that for? What is the meaning of, teaching religion? Can it be learned with words? What is the reason they do not live religion? Why hath not some one explained to the professors that religion is a thing of practice? Could not they understand? Why do they not love their neighbors as themselves? Dividing up what they have, with the poor? Why do these children go without shoes, and so ragged and dirty? Why do not the professors and students in the theological college go, and wash them and clothe them?

14. Thus, Tae took them amongst the fashion and splendor and amongst the poverty and shame of Uz; showing them the banks and great merchant houses, and the fleets of ships; and then to the prisons and poor-houses, and to the houses for the insane, and to the hospitals.

15. Now, since their infancy up, many of them possessed su'is, and could see the spirits of the dead, even as they saw mortals. And they inquired of Tae concerning such spirits, saying and inquiring:

16. Who are these restless, sullen spirits, strolling about the banking houses?

17. Tae answered them: These were bankers; these were the founders of great banking houses. As they bound their minds and thoughts to earthly gain whilst they were mortal, so drift they now, even as they bound themselves on earth. They can not go hence.

18. Again, they asked: Tell us, then, what spirits are these strolling sulkily in merchant houses and on the docks?

19. Tae said: These were great merchants and their ship-masters; behold, they float also into the places they bound themselves.

20. Tell us, then, who are these drunken, foul-smelling spirits in the saloons?

21. Tae said: These were tipplers, drunkards, gormandizers; these were their mortal resorts. They can not go hence.

22. Thus, Tae explained the tens of thousands of spirits that huddled around about the different places in the city of Meig, in the land of Uz.

23. Now, after the time of the visit was completed, Tae said unto them: What will you, remain in Uz, or return to Shalam?

24. And they answered: O, take us back; give us clear air to breathe; let us be where we can see and hear Jehovih!

25. But since thou and thy people gathered us up in Uz, and bore us hence, let us go and gather up infants also, and take them with us. We will raise them up in the Light of our Father in heaven.

26. So, in fact, did they; and they returned to Shalam, taking with them a great number of waifs and castaways and orphan babes.

Next: Chapter XIX