Published on. Original pages. Best For. Android 3. Content Protection. Learn More. Flag as inappropriate. It syncs automatically with your account and allows you to read online or offline wherever you are. Please follow the detailed Help center instructions to transfer the files to supported eReaders. Continue the series. See more. Elmer and the Flood. Book Rain or no rain, Elmer is going for a walk. After being cooped up in a cave with his herd, he longs for a bit of fresh air and some peace and quiet. But peace and quiet is going to have to wait — when Elmer goes outside, he discovers the rain has caused a flood.
Can brave Elmer work out a way to save a stranded young elephant? Elmer and the Stranger. Book 9. Is there a difference between a bounce and a jump? We know of him as a man of power, as a brother to all them that are oppressed, and now that he has had his eyes opened and his ears unstopped, and he sees the need of confession and of humble surrender before the throne--Oh, this is a historic moment in the life of Hell-c--of Elmer Gantry! Oh, Brother, be not afraid! Step up here beside me, and give testimony--". Are you boys going to show yourselves too cowardly to risk the sneers of the ungodly?
They were safely out of the crowd, walking with severe countenances and great rapidity back to the Old Home Sample Room. Trying to convert me! Right before those muckers! If I ever hear another yip out of Eddie, I'll knock his block off! Nerve of him, trying to lead me up to any mourners' bench! Fat chance! I'll fix him! Come on, show a little speed! By the time for their late evening train, the sound conversation of the bartender and the sound qualities of his Bourbon had caused Elmer and Jim to forget Eddie Fislinger and the horrors of undressing religion in public.
They were the more shocked, then, swaying in their seat in the smoker, to see Eddie standing by them, Bible in hand, backed by his two beaming partners in evangelism. But, oh, boys, now you've taken the first step, why do you put it off--why do you hesitate--why do you keep the Savior suffering as he waits for you, longs for you? He needs you boys, with your splendid powers and intellects that we admire so--". I seem to smell a peculiar and a fishlike smell. Elmer sought to follow him, but Eddie had flopped into Jim's place and was blithely squeaking on, while the other two hung over them with tender Y.
For all his brave words, Elmer had none of Jim's resolute contempt for the church. He was afraid of it. It connoted his boyhood. His mother, drained by early widowhood and drudgery, finding her only emotion in hymns and the Bible, and weeping when he failed to study his Sunday School lesson. The church, full thirty dizzy feet up to its curiously carven rafters, and the preachers, so overwhelming in their wallowing voices, so terrifying in their pictures of little boys who stole watermelons or indulged in biological experiments behind barns.
The awe-oppressed moment of his second conversion, at the age of eleven, when, weeping with embarrassment and the prospect of losing so much fun, surrounded by solemn and whiskered adult faces, he had signed a pledge binding him to give up, forever, the joys of profanity, alcohol, cards, dancing, and the theater. Eddie Fislinger, the human being, he despised. He considered him a grasshopper, and with satisfaction considered stepping on him. But Eddie Fislinger, the gospeler, fortified with just such a pebble-leather Bible bookmarks of fringed silk and celluloid smirking from the pages as his Sunday School teachers had wielded when they assured him that God was always creeping about to catch small boys in their secret thoughts--this armored Eddie was an official, and Elmer listened to him uneasily, never quite certain that he might not yet find himself a dreadful person leading a pure a boresome life in a clean frock coat.
Suppose this train were wrecked! Where would you spend Eternity, Hell-cat? Do you think that any sportin' round is fun enough to burn in hell for? I know all that stuff. And you remember that on his deathbed Ingersoll called his son to him and repented and begged his son to hurry and be saved and burn all his wicked writings! But Eddie did feel like talking religion, very much so. He waved his Bible enthusiastically and found ever so many uncomfortable texts. Elmer listened as little as possible but he was too feeble to make threats.
It was a golden relief when the train bumped to a stop at Gritzmacher Springs. The station was a greasy wooden box, the platform was thick with slush, under the kerosene lights. But Jim was awaiting him, a refuge from confusing theological questions, and with a furious "G'night! Whadja take a sneak for? I told him to shut up and he shut up and I snoozed all the way back and--Ow! My head! Don't walk so fast! For years the state of sin in which dwelt Elmer Gantry and Jim Lefferts had produced fascinated despair in the Christian hearts of Terwillinger College.
No revival but had flung its sulphur-soaked arrows at them--usually in their absence. No prayer at the Y. Elmer had been known to wince when President the Rev. Willoughby Quarles was especially gifted with messages at morning chapel, but Jim had held him firm in the faith of unfaith. Now, Eddie Fislinger, like a prairie seraph, sped from room to room of the elect with the astounding news that Elmer had publicly professed religion, and that he had endured thirty-nine minutes of private adjuration on the train. Instantly started a holy plotting against the miserable sacrificial lamb, and all over Gritzmacher Springs, in the studies of ministerial professors, in the rooms of students, in the small prayer-meeting room behind the chapel auditorium, joyous souls conspired with the Lord against Elmer's serene and zealous sinning.
Everywhere, through the snowstorm, you could hear murmurs of "There is more rejoicing over one sinner who repenteth--". Even collegians not particularly esteemed for their piety, suspected of playing cards and secret smoking, were stirred to ecstasy--or it may have been snickering. The football center, in unregenerate days a companion of Elmer and Jim but now engaged to marry a large and sanctified Swedish co-ed from Chanute, rose voluntarily in Y.
The spirit waxed most fervent in the abode of Eddie Fislinger, who was now recognized as a future prophet, likely, some day, to have under his inspiration one of the larger Baptist churches in Wichita or even Kansas City. He organized an all-day and all-night prayer-meeting on Elmer's behalf, and it was attended by the more ardent, even at the risk of receiving cuts and uncivil remarks from instructors.
On the bare floor of Eddie's room, over Knute Halvorsted's paint-shop, from three to sixteen young men knelt at a time, and no revival saw more successful wrestling with the harassed Satan. In fact one man, suspected of Holy Roller sympathies, managed to have the jerks, and while they felt that this was carrying things farther than the Lord and the Baptist association would care to see it, added excitement to praying at three o'clock in the morning, particularly as they were all of them extraordinarily drunk on coffee and eloquence.
By morning they felt sure that they had persuaded God to attend to Elmer, and though it is true that Elmer himself had slept quite soundly all night, unaware of the prayer-meeting or of divine influences, it was but an example of the patience of the heavenly powers. And immediately after those powers began to move. To Elmer's misery and Jim's stilled fury, their sacred room was invaded by hordes of men with uncombed locks on their foreheads, ecstasy in their eyes, and Bibles under their arms.
Elmer was safe nowhere.
No sooner had he disposed of one disciple, by the use of spirited and blasphemous arguments patiently taught to him by Jim, than another would pop out from behind a tree and fall on him. Think a wonnerful intricate thing like that created itself? Somebody must have created it. Anybody that don't recognize God in Nature--and acknowledge him in repentance--is dumm. That's what he is! Instructors who had watched Elmer's entrance to classrooms with nervous fury now smirked on him and with tenderness heard the statement that he wasn't quite prepared to recite.
The president himself stopped Elmer on the street and called him My Boy, and shook his hand with an affection which, Elmer anxiously assured himself, he certainly had done nothing to merit. He kept assuring Jim that he was in no danger, but Jim was alarmed, and Elmer himself more alarmed with each hour, each new greeting of: "We need you with us, old boy--the world needs you!
Jim did well to dread. Elmer had always been in danger of giving up his favorite diversions--not exactly giving them up, perhaps, but of sweating in agony after enjoying them. But for Jim and his remarks about co-eds who prayed in public and drew their hair back rebukingly from egg-like foreheads, one of these sirens of morality might have snared the easy-going pangynistic Elmer by proximity.
A dreadful young woman from Mexico, Missouri, used to coax Jim to "tell his funny ideas about religion," and go off in neighs of pious laughter, while she choked, "Oh, you're just too cute! You don't mean a word you say. You simply want to show off! The church and Sunday School at Elmer's village, Paris, Kansas, a settlement of nine hundred evangelical Germans and Vermonters, had nurtured in him a fear of religious machinery which he could never lose, which restrained him from such reasonable acts as butchering Eddie Fislinger.
That small pasty-white Baptist church had been the center of all his emotions, aside from hell-raising, hunger, sleepiness, and love. And even these emotions were represented in the House of the Lord, in the way of tacks in pew-cushions, Missionary suppers with chicken pie and angel's-food cake, soporific sermons, and the proximity of flexible little girls in thin muslin. But the arts and the sentiments and the sentimentalities--they were for Elmer perpetually associated only with the church. Except for circus bands, Fourth of July parades, and the singing of "Columbia, the Gem of the Ocean" and "Jingle Bells" in school, all the music which the boy Elmer had ever heard was in church.
The church provided his only oratory, except for campaign speeches by politicians ardent about Jefferson and the price of binding-twine; it provided all his painting and sculpture, except for the portraits of Lincoln, Longfellow, and Emerson in the school-building, and the two china statuettes of pink ladies with gilt flower-baskets which stood on his mother's bureau.
From the church came all his profounder philosophy, except the teachers' admonitions that little boys who let gartersnakes loose in school were certain to be licked now and hanged later, and his mother's stream of opinions on hanging up his overcoat, wiping his feet, eating fried potatoes with his fingers, and taking the name of the Lord in vain.
If he had sources of literary inspiration outside the church--in McGuffey's Reader he encountered the boy who stood on the burning deck, and he had a very pretty knowledge of the Nick Carter Series and the exploits of Cole Younger and the James Boys--yet here too the church had guided him. In Bible stories, in the words of the great hymns, in the anecdotes which the various preachers quoted, he had his only knowledge of literature The story of Little Lame Tom who shamed the wicked rich man that owned the handsome team of grays and the pot hat and led him to Jesus. The ship's captain who in the storm took counsel with the orphaned but righteous child of missionaries in Zomballa.
The Faithful Dog who saved his master during a terrific conflagration only sometimes it was a snowstorm, or an attack by Indians and roused him to give up horse-racing, rum, and playing the harmonica. How familiar they were, how thrilling, how explanatory to Elmer of the purposes of life, how preparatory for his future usefulness and charm. The church, the Sunday School, the evangelistic orgy, choir-practise, raising the mortgage, the delights of funerals, the snickers in back pews or in the other room at weddings--they were as natural, as inescapable a mold of manners to Elmer as Catholic processionals to a street gamin in Naples.
Elmer's voice was made for hymns. He rolled them out like a negro. Holy, holy, holy! The splendid rumble of the Doxology. Sunday School picnics! Lemonade and four-legged races and the ride on the hay-rack singing "Seeing Nelly Home. Sunday School text cards! True, they were chiefly a medium of gambling, but as Elmer usually won the game he was the first boy in Paris to own a genuine pair of loaded dice he had plenty of them in his gallery, and they gave him a taste for gaudy robes, for marble columns and the purple-broidered palaces of kings, which was later to be of value in quickly habituating himself to the more decorative homes of vice.
David McKee has written a whole series of books about Elmer the Patchwork Elephant, and I'm ashamed to say I hadn't heard of any of them! And the Mountains Echoed -. David McKee July 30, He had a relish for the flavor of scholarship. Continue shopping Checkout Continue shopping. Estimated Delivery.
The three kings bearing caskets of ruby and sardonyx. King Zedekiah in gold and scarlet, kneeling on a carpet of sapphire-blue, while his men-at-arms came fleeing and blood-stained, red blood on glancing steel, with tidings of the bannered host of Nebuchadnezzar, great king of Babylon.
And all his life Elmer remembered, in moments of ardor, during oratorios in huge churches, during sunset at sea, a black-bearded David standing against raw red cliffs--a figure heroic and summoning to ambition, to power, to domination. Sunday School Christmas Eve! The exhilaration of staying up, and publicly, till nine-thirty. The tree, incredibly tall, also incredibly inflammable, flashing with silver cords, with silver stars, with cotton-batting snow. The two round stoves red-hot. Lights and lights and lights.
Pails of candy, and for every child in the school a present--usually a book, very pleasant, with colored pictures of lambs and volcanoes. The Santa Claus--he couldn't possibly be Lorenzo Nickerson, the house-painter, so bearded was he, and red-cheeked, and so witty in his comment on each child as it marched up for its present. The enchantment, sheer magic, of the Ladies' Quartette singing of shepherds who watched their flocks by nights.
And the devastating morning when the preacher himself, the Rev. Wilson Hinckley Skaggs, caught Elmer matching for Sunday School contribution pennies on the front steps, and led him up the aisle for all to giggle at, with a sharp and not very clean ministerial thumb-nail gouging his ear-lobe. And the other passing preachers; Brother Organdy, who got you to saw his wood free; Brother Blunt, who sneaked behind barns to catch you on Halloween; Brother Ingle, who was zealous but young and actually human, and who made whistles from willow branches for you.
And the morning when Elmer concealed an alarm clock behind the organ and it went off, magnificently, just as the superintendent Dr. Prouty, the dentist was whimpering, "Now let us all be par tic ularly quiet as Sister Holbrick leads us in prayer. And always the three chairs that stood behind the pulpit, the intimidating stiff chairs of yellow plush and carved oak borders, which, he was uneasily sure, were waiting for the Father, the Son and the Holy Ghost. He had, in fact, got everything from the church and Sunday School, except, perhaps, any longing whatever for decency and kindness and reason.
Even had Elmer not known the church by habit, he would have been led to it by his mother. Aside from his friendship for Jim Lefferts, Elmer's only authentic affection was for his mother, and she was owned by the church. She was a small woman, energetic, nagging but kindly, once given to passionate caresses and now to passionate prayer, and she had unusual courage. Early left a widow by Logan Gantry, dealer in feed, flour, lumber, and agricultural implements, a large and agreeable man given to debts and whisky, she had supported herself and Elmer by sewing, trimming hats, baking bread, and selling milk.
She had her own millinery and dressmaking shop now, narrow and dim but proudly set right on Main Street, and she was able to give Elmer the three hundred dollars a year which, with his summer earnings in harvest field and lumber-yard, was enough to support him--in Terwillinger, in She had always wanted Elmer to be a preacher. She was jolly enough, and no fool about pennies in making change, but for a preacher standing up on a platform in a long-tailed coat she had gaping awe.
Elmer had since the age of sixteen been a member in good standing of the Baptist Church--he had been most satisfactorily immersed in the Kayooska River. Large though Elmer was, the evangelist had been a powerful man and had not only ducked him but, in sacred enthusiasm, held him under, so that he came up sputtering, in a state of grace and muddiness. He had also been saved several times, and once, when he had pneumonia, he had been esteemed by the pastor and all visiting ladies as rapidly growing in grace.
But he had resisted his mother's desire that he become a preacher. He would have to give up his entertaining vices, and with wide-eyed and panting happiness he was discovering more of them every year. Equally he felt lumbering and shamed whenever he tried to stand up before his tittering gang in Paris and appear pious. It was hard even in college days to withstand his mother. Though she came only to his shoulder, such was her bustling vigor, her swift shrewdness of tongue, such the gallantry of her long care for him, that he was afraid of her as he was afraid of Jim Leffert's scorn.
He never dared honestly to confess his infidelity, but he grumbled, "Oh, gee, Ma, I don't know. Trouble is, fellow don't make much money preaching. Gee, there's no hurry. Don't have to decide yet. And she knew now that he was likely to become a lawyer. Well, that wasn't so bad, she felt; some day he might go to Congress and reform the whole nation into a pleasing likeness of Kansas. But if he could only have become part of the mysteries that hovered about the communion table She had talked him over with Eddie Fislinger. Eddie came from a town twelve miles from Paris.
Though it might be years before he was finally ordained as a minister, Eddie had by his home congregation been given a License to Preach as early as his Sophomore year in Terwillinger, and for a month, one summer while Elmer was out in the harvest fields or the swimming hole or robbing orchards , Eddie had earnestly supplied the Baptist pulpit in Paris. Oh, yes, Brother Elmer was a fine young man--so strong--they all admired him--a little too much tempted by the vain gauds of This World, but that was because he was young.
Oh, yes, some day Elmer would settle down and be a fine Christian husband and father and business man. But as to the ministry--no. Gantry must not too greatly meddle with these mysteries. It was up to God. A fellow had to have a Call before he felt his vocation for the ministry; a real overwhelming mysterious knock-down Call, such as Eddie himself had ecstatically experienced, one evening in a cabbage patch.
No, not think of that. Their task now was to get Elmer into a real state of grace and that, Eddie assured her, looked to him like a good deal of a job. Undoubtedly, Eddie explained, when Elmer had been baptized, at sixteen, he had felt conviction, he had felt the invitation, and the burden of his sins had been lifted. But he had not, Eddie doubted, entirely experienced salvation.
He was not really in a state of grace. He might almost be called unconverted. Eddie diagnosed the case completely, with all the proper pathological terms. Whatever difficulties he may have had with philosophy, Latin, and calculus, there had never been a time since the age of twelve when Eddie Fislinger had had difficulty in understanding what the Lord God Almighty wanted, and why, all through history, he had acted thus or thus.
But at the same time, it seems to me that football tends to detract from religion. I'm a little afraid that just at present Elmer is not in a state of grace. But, oh, Sister, don't let us worry and travail! Let us trust the Lord. I'll go to Elmer myself, and see what I can do. That must have been the time--it certainly was during that vacation between their Sophomore and Junior years--when Eddie walked out to the farm where Elmer was working, and looked at Elmer, bulky and hayseedy in a sleeveless undershirt, and spoke reasonably of the weather, and walked back again. Whenever Elmer was at home, though he tried affectionately to live out his mother's plan of life for him, though without very much grumbling he went to bed at nine-thirty, whitewashed the hen-house, and accompanied her to church, yet Mrs.
Gantry suspected that sometimes he drank beer and doubted about Jonah, and uneasily Elmer heard her sobbing as she knelt by her high-swelling, white-counterpaned, old-fashioned bed. With alarmed evangelistic zeal, Jim Lefferts struggled to keep Elmer true to the faith, after his exposure to religion in defending Eddie at Cato. Nights, when Elmer longed to go to sleep, Jim argued; mornings, when Elmer should have been preparing his history, Jim read aloud from Ingersoll and Thomas Paine.
That's what it says, right in the Bible. You believe a thing like that? And do you believe that Samson lost all his strength just because his gal cut off his hair? Do you, eh? Think hair had anything to do with his strength? Jim raced up and down the stuffy room, kicking at chairs, his normally bland eyes feverish, his forefinger shaken in wrath, while Elmer sat humped on the edge of the bed, his forehead in his hands, rather enjoying having his soul fought for.
To prove that he was still a sound and freethinking stalwart, Elmer went out with Jim one evening and at considerable effort, they carried off a small outhouse and placed it on the steps of the Administration Building. Jim's father was a medical practitioner in an adjoining village. He was a plump, bearded, bookish, merry man, very proud of his atheism.
It was he who had trained Jim in the faith and in his choice of liquor; he had sent Jim to this denominational college partly because it was cheap and partly because it tickled his humor to watch his son stir up the fretful complacency of the saints. He dropped in and found Elmer and Jim agitatedly awaiting the arrival of Eddie. Gosh, Doctor, I don't know what's got into me. You better examine me. I must have anemics or something.
Why, one time, if Eddie Fislinger had smiled at me, damn him, think of him daring to smile at me! And for the inconsequential sake of the non-existent Heaven, Jim, try not to look surprised when you find your respectable father being pious.
When Eddie arrived, he was introduced to a silkily cordial Dr. Lefferts, who shook his hand with that lengthiness and painfulness common to politicians, salesmen, and the godly. The doctor rejoiced:. You can't know what a grief it is to an old man tottering to the grave, to one whose only solace now is prayer and Bible-reading"--Dr. Lefferts had sat up till four a. But perhaps you can do more than I can, Brother Fislinger. They think I'm a fanatical old fogy. Now let me see--You're a real Bible believer? Elmer was curiously hunched up in the Morris chair, his hands over his mouth.
The doctor said approvingly:. What I always say is, 'It's better to have the whole Bible than a Bible full of holes. I must remember that, to tell any of these alleged higher critics, if I ever meet any! You made it up? Well, that's splendid. Now of course you believe in the premillennial coming--I mean the real, authentic, genuwine, immediate, bodily, premillennial coming of Jesus Christ? Of course there are doctors who question whether the virgin birth is quite in accordance with their experience of obstetrics, but I tell those fellows, 'Look here! How do I know it's true?
Because it says so in the Bible, and if it weren't true, do you suppose it would say so in the Bible? They have precious little to say after that! By this time a really beautiful, bounteous fellowship was flowing between Eddie and the doctor, and they were looking with pity on the embarrassed faces of the two heretics left out in the cold. Lefferts tickled his beard and crooned:.
God help us all, in these unregenerate days, that we should be contaminated by such infidelity! It's very simple. Are we not saved by being washed in the blood of the Lamb, and by that alone, by his blessed sacrifice alone? That's the simple truth, and all weakenings and explanations and hemming and hawing about this clear and beautiful truth are simply of the devil, brother!
And at what moment does a human being, in all his inevitable sinfulness, become subject to baptism and salvation? At two months? At nine years? At sixteen? At forty-seven? At ninety-nine? The moment he is born! And so if he be not baptized, then he must burn in hell forever. What does it say in the Good Book? Oh, brother, brother, now I understand why Jimmy here, and poor Elmer, are lost to the faith! It's because professed Christians like you give them this emasculated religion! Why, it's fellows like you who break down the dike of true belief, and open a channel for higher criticism and sabellianism and nymphomania and agnosticism and heresy and Catholicism and Seventh-day Adventism and all those horrible German inventions!
Once you begin to doubt, the wicked work is done! Oh, Jim, Elmer, I told you to listen to our friend here, but now that I find him practically a free-thinker--". It was the first time in his life that any one had accused him of feebleness in the faith, of under-strictness. He was smirkingly accustomed to being denounced as over-strict. He had almost as much satisfaction out of denouncing liquor as other collegians had out of drinking it.
He had, partly from his teachers and partly right out of his own brain, any number of good answers to classmates who protested that he was old-fashioned in belaboring domino-playing, open communion, listening to waltz music, wearing a gown in the pulpit, taking a walk on Sunday, reading novels, trans-substantiation, and these new devices of the devil called moving-pictures.
He could frighten almost any Laodicean. But to be called shaky himself, to be called heretic and slacker--for that inconceivable attack he had no retort. He looked at the agonized doctor, he looked at Jim and Elmer, who were obviously distressed at his fall from spiritual leadership, and he fled to secret prayer. Eddie thought that was a very nice thought and very nicely expressed, and though he was not altogether sure that it was from the Bible, he put it away for future use in sermons.
But before he was sufficiently restored to go after Elmer again, Christmas vacation had arrived. When Eddie had gone, Elmer laughed far more heartily than Jim or his father. It is true that he hadn't quite understood what it was all about. Why, sure; Eddie had said it right; infant damnation wasn't a Baptist doctrine; it belonged to some of the Presbyterians, and everybody knew the Presbyterians had a lot of funny beliefs. But the doctor certainly had done something to squelch Eddie, and Elmer felt safer than for many days. Some one, presumably Eddie, had informed Elmer's mother of his new and promising Christian status.
He himself had been careful to keep such compromising rumors out of his weekly letters home. Through all the vacation he was conscious that his mother was hovering closer to him than usual, that she was waiting to snatch at his soul if he showed weakening. Their home pastor, the Reverend Mr. Aker--known in Paris as Reverend Aker--shook hands with him at the church door with approval as incriminating as the affection of his instructors at Terwillinger. Unsupported by Jim, aware that at any moment Eddie might pop in from his neighboring town and be accepted as an ally by Mrs.
Gantry, Elmer spent a vacation in which there was but little peace. To keep his morale up, he gave particularly earnest attention to bottle-pool and to the daughter of a nearby farmer. But he was in dread lest these be the last sad ashen days of his naturalness. It seemed menacing that Eddie should be on the same train back to college. Eddie was with another exponent of piety, and he said nothing to Elmer about the delights of hell, but he and his companion secretly giggled with a confidence more than dismaying. Jim Lefferts did not find in Elmer's face the conscious probity and steadfastness which he had expected.
Early in January was the Annual College Y. Week of Prayer. It was a countrywide event, but in Terwillinger College it was of especial power that year because they were privileged to have with them for three days none other than Judson Roberts, State Secretary of the Y. He was young, Mr. Roberts, only thirty-four, but already known throughout the land. He had always been known. He had been a member of a star University of Chicago football team, he had played varsity baseball, he had been captain of the debating team, and at the same time he had commanded the Y.
He had been known as the Praying Fullback. He still kept up his exercise--he was said to have boxed privily with Jim Jefferies--and he had mightily increased his praying. A very friendly leader he was, and helpful; hundreds of college men throughout Kansas called him "Old Jud. Between prayer-meetings at Terwillinger, Judson Roberts sat in the Bible History seminar-room, at a long table, under a bilious map of the Holy Land, and had private conferences with the men students.
A surprising number of them came edging in, trembling, with averted eyes, to ask advice about a secret practice, and Old Jud seemed amazingly able to guess their trouble before they got going. Terrible thing, all right, but I've met quite a few cases, and you just want to buck up and take it to the Lord in prayer. Remember that he is able to help unto the uttermost. Now the first thing you want to do is to get rid of--I'm afraid that you have some pretty nasty pictures and maybe a juicy book hidden away, now haven't you, old boy?
I've got a swell plan, old boy. Make a study of missions, and think how clean and pure and manly you'd want to be if you were going to carry the joys of Christianity to a lot of poor gazebos that are under the evil spell of Buddhism and a lot of these heathen religions. Wouldn't you want to be able to look 'em in the eye, and shame 'em? Next thing to do is to get a lot of exercise. Get out and run like hell! And then cold baths. Darn' cold. There now! Jim and Elmer heard Old Jud in chapel. He was tremendous.
He told them a jolly joke about a man who kissed a girl, yet he rose to feathered heights when he described the beatitude of real ungrudging prayer, in which a man was big enough to be as a child. He made them tearful over the gentleness with which he described the Christchild, wandering lost by his parents, yet the next moment he had them stretching with admiration as he arched his big shoulder-muscles and observed that he would knock the block off any sneering, sneaking, lying, beer-bloated bully who should dare to come up to him in a meeting and try to throw a monkey-wrench into the machinery by dragging out a lot of contemptible, quibbling, atheistic, smart-aleck doubts!
He really did, the young men glowed, use the terms "knock the block off," and "throw a monkey-wrench. Jim was coming down with the grippe. He was unable to pump up even one good sneer. He sat folded up, his chin near his knees, and Elmer was allowed to swell with hero-worship. He'd thought he had some muscle, but that guy Judson Roberts--zowie, he could put Elmer on the mat seven falls out of five!
What a football player he must have been! This Homeric worship he tried to explain to Jim, back in their room, but Jim sneezed and went to bed. The rude bard was left without audience and he was practically glad when Eddie Fislinger scratched at the door and edged in. Big evening of the week. Say, honest, Hell-cat, don't you think Jud's a real humdinger? At this moment of danger, Jim raised his dizzy head to protest, "He's a holy strikebreaker!
One of these thick-necks that was born husky and tries to make you think he made himself husky by prayer and fasting. I'd hate to take a chance on any poor little orphan nip of Bourbon wandering into Old Jud's presence! Together they protested against this defilement of the hero, and Eddie admitted that he had ventured to praise Elmer to Old Jud; that Old Jud had seemed enthralled; that Old Jud was more than likely--so friendly a Great Man was he --to run in on Elmer this afternoon.
Before Elmer could decide whether to be pleased or indignant, before the enfeebled Jim could get up strength to decide for him, the door was hit a mighty and heroic wallop, and in strode Judson Roberts, big as a grizzly, jolly as a spaniel pup, radiant as ten suns. He set upon Elmer immediately. He had six other doubting Thomases or suspected smokers to dispose of before six o'clock.
He was a fair young giant with curly hair and a grin and with a voice like the Bulls of Bashan whenever the strategy called for manliness. But with erring sisters, unless they were too erring, he could be as lulling as woodland violets shaken in the perfumed breeze. Elmer had a playful custom of squeezing people's hands till they cracked. For the first time in his life his own paw felt limp and burning. He rubbed it and looked simple. Laid out, Jim? Want me to trot out and get a doc? Gee whillikins, that must have been a great game you played against Thorvilsen College!
They tell me when you hit that line, it gave like a sponge, and when you tackled that big long Swede, he went down like he'd been hit by lightning. Wish I could've had you with me on my team at U of Chi--we needed a tackle like you. They all say there's just one trouble with you, Elmer lad. Judson Roberts swaggered across from the bed, stood with his hand on Elmer's shoulder. You see it takes a sure-enough dyed-in-the-wool brave man to be big enough to give Jesus a shot at him, and admit he's licked when he tries to fight God!
It takes a man with guts to kneel down and admit his worthlessness when all the world is jeering at him!
And you haven't got that kind of courage, Elmer. Oh, you think you're such a big cuss--". Old Jud swung him around; Old Jud's hand was crushing his shoulder. You could knock out any of 'em, couldn't you! Well, I'm one of 'em. Want to knock me out? With one swift jerk Roberts had his coat off, stood with a striped silk shirt revealing his hogshead torso. I'm willing to fight you for the glory of God! God needs you! Can you think of anything finer for a big husky like you than to spend his life bringing poor, weak, sick, scared folks to happiness?
Can't you see how the poor little skinny guys and all the kiddies would follow you and praise you and admire you, you old son of a gun?
Am I a sneaking Christian? Can you lick me? Want to fight it out? I pack a pretty good wallop, but I'm not going to take any chance on you! Going to allow me to be a friend of yours, if I don't butt in on your business? Will you come to our big meeting tomorrow night? You don't have to do a thing. If you think we're four-flushers--all right; that's your privilege.
Only will you come and not decide we're all wrong beforehand, but really use that big fine incisive brain of yours and study us as we are? Will you come?
Mighty proud to have you let me come butting in here in this informal way. Remember: if you honestly feel I'm using any undue influence on the boys, you come right after me and say so, and I'll be mighty proud of your trusting me to stand the gaff. So long, old Elm!
So long, Jim. God bless you! He was gone, a whirlwind that whisked the inconspicuous herb Eddie Fislinger out after it. And then Jim Lefferts spoke. For a time after Judson Roberts' curtain, Elmer stood glowing, tasting praise. He was conscious of Jim's eyes on his back, and he turned toward the bed, defiantly. You haven't got to the miracle-pulling stage yet.
Sure he's intelligent. Elmer loves practical jokes, but so does his cousin Wilbur. Until, that is, Elmer has an idea which brings Wilbur back down to earth, in more ways than one Elmer and the Wind.
Aided and abetted by his ventriloquist cousin, Wilbur, Elmer pretends to be blown away on the windiest day. They make fools of the other elephants, but when the laughter dies down, Elmer reassures them that a heavy elephant is safe in the worst of gales. When he tries to prove it, much to his surprise, he really does get blown away! Elmer and the Lost Teddy. Baby Elephant can't sleep because he has lost his teddy, so Elmer sets off to look for it. Eventually Elmer hears a voice shouting 'Help!
I'm lost! Elmer and the Stranger. Is there a difference between a bounce and a jump? Kangaroo thinks there is, and he is very concerned he is going to look silly in the upcoming jumping competition, until Elmer helps him discover that the one will do just as well as the other. Elmer and Grandpa Eldo. Elmer is on his way to visit his Grandpa Eldo. He has great fun reminding Eldo of all the things they used to do together, but is Eldo quite as forgetful as Elmer thinks? He may be old but he is an elephant, after all, and elephants never forget. Do they? This product is only available to collect in store.
Elmer and Butterfly. One day, as Elmer is strolling through the jungle, he hears a cry for help.
A butterfly has been trapped in a hole by a fallen branch. Elmer rushes to the rescue and frees her with ease. In return she promises to help Elmer should he ever need it. But just how can a butterfly ever help an elephant? Elmer and the Hippos. The elephants are not happy - the hippos have come to share the river because theirs has dried up.
When they complain to Elmer that the river is over-crowded, everyone's favourite patchwork elephant sets off to see if he can find a solution. Elmer and Snake. The elephants want to play a trick on Elmer but they can't think of one! So they ask wily old Snake to help them. Discover who tricks whom in this entertaining picture book about everyone's favourite patchwork elephant. Elmer and Rose. Grandpa Eldo asks Elmer and Wilbur to help a young elephant find her way back to her herd - and they get a shock when they see she is pink! No wonder she is called Rose. But there is an even greater surprise in store when they reach her herd - because everyone single one of them is pink!
Elmer and Aunt Zelda. Elmer and Wilbur visit their Aunt Zelda. She may be getting old and deaf, but she is fun and has lots of interesting things to show the two young elephants. Elmer and the Rainbow. Elmer and the other elephants are waiting for the storm to end so they can see the beautiful, colourful rainbow.