Source: Glimpses of the Real
Source type: book
Document type: foreword
Document title: “Foreword”
Author(s): Edgerton, James Arthur
Publisher: Reed Publishing Company
Place of publication: Denver, Colorado
Year of publication: 1903
|Edgerton, James Arthur. “Foreword.” Glimpses of the Real. Denver: Reed Publishing, 1903: pp. 5-7.|
|full text of foreword; excerpt of book|
|William McKinley (death: personal response); William McKinley (death: religious response); McKinley assassination (religious response: criticism).|
The author’s name is given as J. A. Edgerton on the book’s front cover.
From title page: By James Arthur Edgerton, Author of “Voices of the Morning,” “Songs of the People,” etc.
In the early morning after the news of the death
of President McKinley had been flashed around the world, a newspaper man, weary
with the labor of the night, took his way homeward. Since evening the bulletins
had indicated the certain end. An entire nation was shocked and stunned, and
in every capital of the earth were expressions of sympathy and grief. Each click
of the telegraph instruments was articulate with sorrow, while underneath this
note was one of indignation at the dastardly agents of murder who had conceived
the deed. Here was a new force that was a portent, and men looked at the future
with foreboding. One scribe had remarked: “It does not seem that there is a
God, or if there is He has left this world to be ruled by chance and chaos.”
Out of all this turmoil the newspaper man went into the night. The hour was approaching the dawn and there was silence over the city. The only sounds to be heard were the occasional shrill crow of a cock, the distant bark of a dog, or a solitary hoof-beat echoing from some neighboring street. Men might be torn by grief or frenzy, but Nature was unmoved. The ruler of a populous nation had fallen, but through all the excitement and change here were stability and peace. The great blocks of brick and mortar loomed the same as on yesterday. The distant mountains stood as they had stood for centuries. 
Overhead the stars shone with an unwonted brightness. Low to the west was Orion, to the north lay the polar star and the bear, to the east was a brilliant planet yellowing in the dawn, and arching across the zenith was the milky way strewn like dust with the suns. All the numberless constellations stood exactly as they had stood at the birth of the first man.
There were worlds on worlds, systems on systems, till the mind was bewildered at their contemplation. The infinite spaces were populous with orbs. There were stars so distant that the light of the troubled earth dwindled to a point and disappeared billions and trillions of miles short of them. Around these suns were innumerable other planets, peopled by other races, on which were enacted other tragedies.
On through the infinite silence swung the worlds, the suns and the systems, in perfect order and harmony. Outward to the limits of vision and still outward through unthinkable distances marched the glittering companies, regiments and armies of worlds. And so perfect were the plans of the Commanding General that there were no false steps, no clashes, no faltering ranks. Every moon and planet, the celestial privates, every commanding sun was in his place, and all moved with the precision of a perfect machine.
Before this sublime spectacle the worries of the world dwindled, its fevers grew cool and the complaints of the human fell silent. The questioning of God became the babble of a child who does not understand. The talk of chaos was the discordant squeak of a mouse amid a swelling harmony of organ tones. 
Here was the eternal Cosmos, everything in place, every blade of grass counted, every atom in absolute adjustment. Talk about chaos! Nature knows no such term. Man, with his limited freedom, may make a chaos of his own, but even then the eternal law brings it again into harmony.
Grieve we must, for grief goes up from the bruised heart as naturally as the scent from the flower; but do not question the Infinite Purpose. Often the way is in gloom and we hurt ourselves by running into the sharp corners of the immutable law. But the light will break and the path will become plain. Then we shall learn better.
Darkness is over us. We look at each other with tearful or startled eyes and ask: “What of the night?” And, as if in answer to our plaint, from some sentinel tower across the universe comes the cry: “God reigns and all is well.”
* * * * * * *
The newspaper man had caught a glimpse of the real. Henceforth he decided that, in some sort, he would attempt to give the vision voice. He knew no better avenue than through his accustomed work; for the modern newspaper is supposed to stand, above all else, for real things.