A Clean Heart

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Bolton Hall

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Bolton Hall. "A Clean Heart".

Publication history


THERE was a woman that desired to have Love for her guest, for she knew that where Love is, Joy cometh, and Peace abideth.

Therefore she made clean the chambers of her heart. She opened the doors, and prepared the entrance. She swept out prejudices and desires, and brightened the portals with the oil of kindness.

But in a little press in a corner, there dwelt a family of rats, and the woman tried to forget them altogether. She said, "I have put them out of my life, as though they had never been." Yet she did not drive them away, for she said: "The hole is dark, and I shall but soil my hands. I do not know what may be under their nest. "

Under the nest were mouldering bones and relics of forgotten quarrels. The woman said, "If I should rake out all these things, I would disturb the order of my house. " Love came to make his home with her.

But in the morning the napery was soiled, and the floor was strewn with offal and with rubbish. The woman was displeased, and blamed her child for making all the dirt. . . . That night Love came not back.

Next day the woman cleansed the house again, and then sought after him. At evening she found him, and brought him back once more.

But in the morning the furniture was gnawed and the house was foul with dirt. The woman scolded her servants, and they made defence; when she looked for Love, he had gone.

The rats bred and rioted through the house. They grew strong, and took up much room. The woman said, "I can only forget those rats, for to root them out now, would destroy the house."

Love came back no more.