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Little Flower
by [?]


The Rev. Thomas Bull was a man of rock-like character with no more imagination than a rock. Of good birth, good abilities, good principles and good repute, really he ought to have been named not Thomas but John Bull, being as he was a typical representative of the British middle class. By nature a really religious man and, owing to the balance of his mind, not subject to most of the weaknesses which often afflict others, very early in his career he determined that things spiritual were of far greater importance than things temporal, and that as Eternity is much longer than Time, it was wise to devote himself to the spiritual and leave the temporal to look after itself. There are quite a number of good people, earnest believers in the doctrine of rewards and punishments, who take that practical view. With such

“Repaid a thousand-fold shall be,”

is a favourite line of a favourite hymn.

It is true that his idea of the spiritual was limited. Perhaps it would be more accurate to say that it was unlimited, since he accepted without doubt or question everything that was to be found within the four corners of what he had been taught. As a boy he had been noted for his prowess in swallowing the largest pills.

“Don’t think,” he would say to his weaker brothers and sisters, especially one of the latter whose throat seemed to be so constituted that she was obliged to cut up these boluses with a pair of scissors, “Don’t think, but gulp ’em down!”

So it was with everything else in life; Thomas did not think, he gulped it down. Thus in these matters of faith, if other young folk ventured to talk of “allegory” or even to cast unhallowed doubts upon such points as those of the exact method of the appearance on this earth of their Mother Eve, or whether the sun actually did stand still at the bidding of Joshua, or the ark, filled with countless pairs of living creatures, floated to the top of Ararat, or Jonah, defying digestive juices, in fact abode three days in the interior of a whale, Thomas looked on them with a pitying smile and remarked that what had been written by Moses and other accepted prophets was enough for him.

Indeed a story was told of him when he was a boy at school which well exemplified this attitude. By way of lightening their labours a very noted geologist who had the art of interesting youthful audiences and making the rocks of the earth tell their own secular story, was brought to lecture to his House. This eminent man lectured extremely well. He showed how beyond a doubt the globe we inhabit, one speck of matter, floating in the sea of space, had existed for millions upon millions of years, and how by the evolutionary changes of countless ages it had at length become fitted to be the habitation of men, who probably themselves had lived and moved and had their being there for at least a million of years, perhaps much longer.

At the conclusion of the entrancing story the boys were invited to ask questions. Thomas Bull, a large, beetle-browed youth, rose at once and inquired of their titled and aged visitor, a man of world-wide reputation, why he thought it funny to tell them fairy tales. The old gentleman, greatly interested, put on his spectacles, and while the rest of the school gasped and the head master and other pedagogues stared amazed, studied this strange lad, then said:

“I am outspoken myself, and I like those who speak out when they do so from conviction; but, my young friend, why do you consider that I–well, exaggerate?”

“Because the Bible says so,” replied Thomas unabashed. “The Bible tells us that the world was made in six days, not in millions of years, and that the sun and the moon and the stars were put in the sky to light it; also that man was created four thousand years B.C. Therefore, either you are wrong, sir, or the Bible is, and I prefer the Bible.”