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manifest Himself in that particular Should they be unobtainable, there way and yet exist.

Moreover, although the Sense of Presence is, let us say, usually an illusion, a God might conceivably, at times, manifest Himself in that way. There would be then both illusory and genuine instances of the Sense of Invisible Presence; and they would be indistinguishable from each other. That last point is not to be overlooked by the would-be believer in the occasional personal manifestation of a God. The situation is here as in the physical world. Science shows that rain is produced by natural causes-temperature, moisture, wind. But that demonstrated fact would not prevent the occasional production of rain at the good pleasure of a God possessing the necessary power. In order to believe in this occasional action of a God, in the face of the satisfactory scientific explanation of rain and of the Sense of Presence, a rational being would, of course, demand adequate reasons.

would remain, as already said, the possibility of a God who does not maintain with man or with physical nature relations of a personal character - such a God would not be satisfactory to the mystically inclined; for the main attribute of the God of the mystic is that He enters into personal communion with man.

But in raising the problem of God we have passed beyond the intended scope of this paper. We began with the remark that mind, great and powerful though it is, deceives us grievously, that it has led the uncivilized into the nonsense and waste of magic and of crude forms of religion. We may close on the comforting thought that, even though the civilized are not free from similar deceptions, the informed mind can be turned upon itself in order to bring into the light its own deceptions. That is what we have tried to do in the case of the conviction of Invisible Presence and of the Unreality of the Real.

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were in London, and they took her to all sorts of distances and to all kinds of low neighborhoods, but she never faltered in her allegiance. Sometimes, of course, they went shopping in Bond Street, or held Court, or gave garden parties, which made it easier for her, but she never hesitated to follow them to the East End, to all kinds of queer places near the docks, or in Mile End Road, or wherever their duties took them.

Having money made these pleasures possible. Without independent means she could never have afforded all the bus fares and tube fares required. But of course there were many ceremonies that did not take a penny, being near at hand, just round the corner, so to speak, which is one advantage of living in Westminster, with Parliament and the Abbey a stone's throw away.

And most certainly she had a taste in dress. Because all these different spectacles required different sorts of clothes. Not that anyone in the crowds noticed her clothes especially — an elderly lady, well over sixty and painfully shabby, hardly attracts attention. But dress was due to the occasion, due to herself as spectator. Just as one is always honest about paying one's fare in the bus when the conductor has overlooked it not that it matters to the omnibus company, but it matters very much indeed to one's self. So Miss Grey-Ashby had a variety of clothes suitable to different occasions, and each morning at breakfast she scanned the "To-day's Arrangements' column in the Times - being able to take in the Times argues money in itself to see what was demanded of her that day. Naturally one made a made a distinction distinction between weddings and funerals, and prime ministers, and those funny little emirs and sultans who were perpetually coming over from Africa or Arabia to lay their troubles before the Minister

for Foreign Affairs, to say nothing of the King and Queen. If one views a procession from a sand box, which is certainly the best vantage point for an elderly lady but five foot high, one is in a conspicuous position and must dress accordingly. Miss Grey-Ashby had an amazing knowledge of the location of every sand box in London — those great iron boxes painted silver or green, which hold gravel to be scattered over the roads on slippery days.

Now this wardrobe of hers, while fairly extensive and suited to a nicety to every occasion, especially when varied by hats and gloves, was surprisingly shabby. Archaic, to say the least. Cut in a style reminiscent of the early days of the late Queen, but of excellent quality. Which shows the advantage of buying good quality in the first place, for, however styles may change, quality remains. And it is quality, after all, that counts. Miss Grey-Ashby took intense pride in the wearing value of these clothes of hersnone of your modern materials would have stood up so well under so many years of rain and strain. And what modern skirt would have allowed one to scramble to the top of a sand box so modestly?

For her Sovereigns a distinct, final touch was reserved. An elegance, a homage for them alone. This was a tortoise-shell comb, of the kind known as Spanish, some inches high and of corresponding breadth. When worn, it could be well covered by a hat, high in the crown and capacious, and capable of hiding this elegance from the public gaze. Thus protected while pushing her way through the crowds, squirming in and out, ducking below elbows, and elbowing herself when necessary, there was no fear that the precious comb would be broken. Or worse, stolen. Such a temptation to have whisked it off, valuable as it was. But the hat

made all safe. And once on a sand box, as the royal carriage drew near, the hat itself came off. A sheer mark of respect one can't well curtsy from a sand box. And flaring from the highest rung of the comb, tied with a cunning that forced it to spring forth like a jack-in-the-box when released, was a glorious vast bow of cerise satin. No less. It had been acknowledged, time and again, by Their Majesties - once even from the great glass coach itself. But apart from these ceremonies of life and death, provided for the cheering of little lives like Miss Grey-Ashby's, she had one more pleasure, equally keen - a love of animals. But none of your cats and dogs, mind. None of that. Her taste was for the exotic. But the exotic comes high - too high to gratify. Macaws, for example, run to guineas. One cannot pay a quarter's rent for a macaw, but one can go and look at them. One can look at chimpanzees for seventy guineas, or meerkats, which are cheap at five pounds. And, if one has asked the price of too many animals and cannot seemingly decide between a gorilla and a mongoose, it is possible to get out of one's embarrassment by buying a few pennies' worth of bird seed. The purchase of bird seed provides a dignified escape from one's predicament. These strategic retreats are always excitingfinesse is a game in itself. And fortunately there are many animal shops in London, so that one need not visit the same one too often. But because of her taste for the exotic, and because of independent means which were not independent enough, except for bird seed, it so happened that for many years Miss Grey-Ashby remained petless. Which was a pity, because her garret was so eminently adapted for pets. No black cat on the hearth was a distinct lack. But she wanted something tropical, not a cat. Perhaps it

was as well, the high price of the tropical or exotic. It substituted perpetual planning and dreaming, and visits to remote parts of London, to Club Row on Sunday mornings, and to the great animal importers on London Docks. Once she had a nasty experience at that shop on the Docks, trying to choose between a small lion cub and a honey bear deterred by the cost, yet trying not to give that impression. The man down there was very rude to her - the next time he saw a shabby little old lady asking for elephants he slammed the door in her face. But that was the sort of thing you might expect in the East End.

So, between processions and visits to animal shops, Miss Grey-Ashby led a very full life. Romance, and eternal hope a good enough combination for anyone.


Like many of us in Westminster, Miss Grey-Ashby saved her threepenny bits. Like many people with a fixed income, she felt it possible to augment it by the discreet and occasional abstraction of certain small coins, which normally would have gone toward rent, or kindling wood, or some such necessity. But by bottling them in a clear glass bottle it was possible to make certain inroads on a fixed income without apparent loss. As weeks and months went by, as the coins in the bottle increased, she felt that without undue extravagance she might well spend the accumulation for a pet. A proper pet. Out of the ordinary, the kind she had always longed for.

It was one of those November days when the daylight gave out completely at three in the afternoon. A long stretch before tea time, a still longer one before supper. The clear glass bottle on the mantelpiece glowed in the firelight, and glowed still further when

she lit the lamp to dispel such gloom as the firelight could not conquer. One is at a frightfully loose end at three o'clock in the afternoon, with the curtains drawn and nothing special to do, and no one laying corner stones or arriving at Victoria-nothing but long hours ahead of one till it is time to go to bed. A waste of an afternoon, a waste of lamplight and firelight, and no little live thing about the hearth to afford a diversion. Miss Grey-Ashby shook the bottle, and the threepenny bits rattled delightfully. She poured them out and counted them. Twelve shillings, a large sum to have collected bit by bit without feeling it. Why not spend it now? Surely something could be had for twelve shillings. Surely it was useless to go on saving for something more sumptuous than twelve shillings would buy. Miss Grey-Ashby felt herself giving way. Here now were twelve shillings, and a foggy afternoon, and not many people would be abroad in such a fog a bargain might happen after all.

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She took her bottle, and put on a shabby blue raincoat, and creaked down the garret stairs. The garret, her own floor, was shut off from the rest of the house by a green paneled door, at the foot of the steps. After locking this door, she stood a moment to enjoy, as she always enjoyed, the beauty of the drawing-room floor. The wide hall and fine Adams stairway, one of the best in London. The paneling in the spacious hall was a perpetual joy. She might live in the garret, but it was the garret of a very magnificent old house. And the entrance, the wide stairway, the paneled walls, the noble proportions, were quite as much hers as the garret itself. The ground floor was equally distinguished. She stood her usual moment at the front door, looking up the great stairway of the handsomest house in Old Westminster.

Then out into the murky atmosphere, hurrying along the narrow street made bright by the flares from the open stalls, and by the gleaming lights of the shop windows shining out upon the road.

There was a delightful zoo in a certain West End shop. A cozy room, well heated for the sake of the monkeys, and quite a good place to come to on a raw, dark November afternoon. Miss Grey-Ashby wandered about before the various cages, scrutinizing the price tickets more carefully than the animals themselves. Finally a small owl caught her attention, a brown ball of fluff somewhat larger than a tennis ball, but not much. It stared at her unwinkingly, and the ticket mentioned that its price was ten and six. Well within her limit.

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The shop assistant was polite. He said it was a desert owl, from Egypt. And exceedingly hardy for a desert owl. Not many people cared for owls, which was why the price was so low it was worth much more. Miss GreyAshby took it in her hands. It felt warm and amenable, and did not stir, liking, apparently, to be held. She placed it inside her coat - - it remained immovable, very content. A perfect pet. All the earmarks of a perfect pet, including total resignation. So unusual for a bird. Miss Grey-Ashby decided upon it at once.

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Now, as in most West End shops, you get a ticket and go off somewhere to the cash desk to pay. In this case the cash desk was removed some distance from the animal department, in an adjoining one, and Miss Grey-Ashby hastened off with her bottle of threepenny bits, the counting of which occasioned some delay. Finally, receipt in hand, she returned for the owl, but decided that she would first have a prolonged and satisfactory look round. She was entitled to it because of her

purchase, and there would be no importunate salesman at her elbow to bother her. And her look round was more than satisfying the sight of the the sight of the other animals and birds confirmed her opinion that none of them, whatever their price, was quite so delightful as the little object she had just bought. In due time, well pleased with herself, well pleased with the inferiority of all the other pets compared with hers, she went to the counter with her receipt, and picked up the large, brown-papered box in which the owl was comfortably packed. They were generous in these West End shops-kind to their animals. No stuffing them into miserably inadequate boxes, to be stifled and cramped. She made her way from the shop and boarded a bus. Delightful little creature she had got! She tilted the box slightly on end, just to feel it shuffling gently to the other - nice, roomy box. Plenty of air space, to say nothing of the little airholes punched in the brown paper. How delightful it would be to take the little creature out and sit with it under her coat, before the fire. She had never had an owl. Nor had she known anyone who had.


The wide entrance hall was heavy with fog when she opened the front door. She felt her way up the stairs, the rail in one hand, the owl box in the other. Soon she was in her garret, dim with fog, except for the flickering fire. She mended the fire before opening the box the room should be as warm as possible for the little bird just come from the Egyptian deserts. What a contrast, London, to the hot deserts! She would make the place as warm as possible, to welcome the little guest.

She untied the string with care, though it took some time. The knots were well tied, and she could hear a

shuffling within, which added to her anticipation. Then, the paper removed, she gingerly raised one end of the lid, and instantly a large winged creature dashed forth and took to the air and the rafters, with whirls and screams. The next moment a second large bird flew out they seemed rather smaller than peacocks and instantly the room was in a turmoil. No meek owl, but two gigantic birds, of unknown species, were dashing and wheeling about the low-ceilinged room with wild, shrill screams of rage.

'He's given me the wrong box!' cried Miss Grey-Ashby, making a lunge at a frightened thing the size of a vulture. It eluded her, all but a handful of feathers. The second whirred past her head. She ducked, but reached gamely up and seized its tail. The tail came out, but the flight continued. Miss Grey-Ashby seized the fender and screened in the fire. "They shan't go up the chimney,' she murmured, and they shan't break my windows, either,' she cried to herself, snatching at another tail, which likewise pulled out. In a few moments the place was a pandemonium. Eagles, at least. Both whirling madly about, steering erratically without tails, parting with handfuls of feathers at each swoop. In the flickering firelight, between the fog and the feathers, Miss Grey-Ashby dashed after the huge objects that circled this way and that, stumbling and clutching wildly, without avail.

A knocking came from below, at the door at the bottom of the stairs. 'What's up?' cried a voice.

'Everything!' shouted Miss GreyAshby. 'Wait a moment — I'll let you in.'

The tenant of the floor below entered the room. Miss Grey-Ashby darted wildly to and fro, only catching more feathers. 'Help me catch them!' she cried. 'It's an owl-'

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