From the Improvement Era, December 1937 –
“And the Rest Shall Be Added”
By Marie O’Brien
Bob Layne sauntered down the main street in Woodville, a small town in northern Alberta. It was good to be again among the people with whom he had been associated since childhood. Each hearty greeting from a friend gave him that pleasant feeling known only to those who have returned home. As he passed the post office, John Gault, the editor of the local newspaper, came out and continued down the street with him.
“I’ve just heard you have a call to fill a mission, and I’m very glad to hear it. Will you be leaving soon?”
“No, I think not,” the boy replied. “You see, I thought perhaps I’d better finish my course at the U and then go. Bishop Raines said the decision was to be entirely my own, and that seems the better way.”
The door of the small office of the News stood open and Bob followed the editor inside. His interest in journalism had been a bond of friendship between the older man and himself and he had spent many an hour in this place. The latest edition of the Journal lay upon a desk amid the litter of papers and handbills common to printing shops. A pair of strikingly clear eyes looked out from a fine intelligent face pictured on the front page. Under the picture Bob read:
“William Cullen McArthur, noted author, scored another success recently. his book Little Things won for him the coveted Bowman award. A noted critic has said of the novel, ‘It contains a depth of knowledge and a serenity of faith which is sadly lacking in many of the works of our modern writers. This sincerity of belief assuages the pathos and magnifies the triumphs. It has a fineness which makes it a work of art.’”
“I think he’s great.” The admiration in Bob’s voice was undisguised. “To be as he is would be mighty fine, wouldn’t it?”
“Indeed it would, son,” the man replied. “And as they say – thereby hangs a tale –
“It happened here in Woodville. Two boys grew up together. In school they kept at the head of their class in friendly rivalry. They had the same aim – journalism. When they had finished high school they worked hard and went to the University – your school now. They both did well because they had an aim, and their friendship increased with the years.
“These two boys had finished their second year at the U and were home for the holidays when they each received a call to go on a mission. They thought it over and talked about it together. The one lad decided he’d finish his education first and then go into the mission field, but times got hard and he had a bad time getting enough funds to keep himself at school the last year. Then he got a job on a paper and after that he seemed never quite able to make the break.
“The other boy returned from a very honorable mission to find it impossible to finish his education – ”
Jack Gault paused and Bob asked softly: “The two boys – they were you and William McArthur?”
The narrator nodded confirmation.
“And today you are a small town editor and he a noted author. For two years of preaching your religion you sacrificed a career which might easily have compared with his.” It was a statement rather than a question, and the boy’s tone unconsciously implied pity.
Jack Gault shook his head and sighed heavily.
“No, son, you’re wrong,” he said; “Bill McArthur went on the mission.”