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Autobiography of Alice A. Bailey - Chapter III
When Dorothy was about six months old I went back to Great Britain to see my people, leaving my husband to finish his theological training and get ordained. This was my last visit to England for twenty years, and I have no particularly happy recollections of it. I could not tell them I was not happy and had made a mistake. My pride would not let me, but they undoubtedly guessed it though they asked no questions. My sister was married whilst I was there to my cousin, Laurence Parsons. We had the usual family gathering at an uncle's house. I only stayed a few months in England and then went back to America. In the meantime my husband had graduated from the seminary, been ordained and been given a charge under the Bishop of San Joaquin in California. This turned out to be a wonderful thing for me, for the Bishop and his wife became my true friends. I still hear from her. My youngest daughter is named after her and she is one of the people whom I dearly love, but I will tell you more about her later.

I came back to the States on a small boat which docked in Boston. It was quite the most awful voyage I ever took - a small, dirty boat, four in a cabin, and meals at long tables where the men kept their hats on. I recollect it as a nightmare. But, like all bad things, it ended and we arrived at Boston in the pouring rain and I was quite desperate. I had a bad headache; my dressing-case with all its massive silver fittings which had been my mother's had been stolen and Dorothy, being about a year old, was very heavy to carry. I was travelling on a Cook's Tourist ticket [110] and their agent was on board. He took me to the railroad station where I had to wait till midnight and after telling me what I ought to know and giving me a cup of strong coffee he left me. Wearily I sat all day in the station, trying to keep a restless baby quiet. As the time for the train arrived I wondered how I was to manage when suddenly I looked up and saw Cook's Agent, out of uniform, standing beside me. "You worried me this morning and all day," he said, "and I decided I had better put you on the train myself." Whereupon he took the baby, called a porter and established me as comfortably as possible on the train for California. The tourist sleepers in those days were not as comfortable as they are today. Again I received kindness which I did not deserve from some one for whom I had done nothing. Please do not think I am implying that there was something so charming and nice about me that people naturally helped me. I have an idea that I was not a bit charming. I was rather " 'igh and 'aughty," very reticent, almost to the point of dumbness, and frightfully British. No, it was not that but simply that average human beings are kindly inside and like to help. Don't forget that the proving of that is one of my purposes in writing. I am not manufacturing instances but relating factual happenings.

My husband was, first of all, rector of a little church in R... and it was there that I learned the duties of a clergyman's wife, the endless calls upon her time. I was introduced to the strictly feminine aspect of congregations. I had to attend the Ladies' Aid. I had to hold Mothers' Meetings and I always had to go to church and, ceaselessly and endlessly, I had to listen to Walter's sermons. Like all ministers and their families in those missionary districts, we lived largely on chicken and I learnt [111] why the chicken is a holy fowl - because so many of them enter the ministry.

This period marked another phase in the expansion of my consciousness. I had never in my whole life come across a community like this little town. There were only about fifteen hundred people in the place, but there were eleven churches, each of them with the tiniest congregation. Among the outlying ranchers were men and women who were cultured and had traveled and read and I sometimes met them. But the bulk of the people were small trades people, people connected with the railroad, plumbers, workers in the vineyards or the fruit orchards and school teachers. The rectory was a small, six-room bungalow between two larger houses, one of which housed twelve children and their parents and I lived in a constant riot of children's voices. The little town was typical - shops with false fronts, hitching posts where surreys and buggies tied up (for automobiles were still a scarcity) and the village post-office from which all the gossip and talk emanated. The climate is really lovely, though very hot and dry in the summer. However, I felt completely isolated, culturally and mentally and spiritually. It seemed to me that there was no one for me to talk to. No one had seen anything or read anything and their sole topic of conversation seemed to rotate around children, crops, food and local gossip. For months I stuck my snooty little nose up in the air and decided there was nobody good enough for me to associate with. Of course, I did my duty as the rector's wife and I am sure I was very nice and kind, but always I felt a barrier. I did not want to have much to do with the parishioners and I let them know it.

I started a Bible class, however, and that was a huge success. Numerically it outnumbered my husband's Sunday morning congregation, which may have added to the trouble [112] which was steadily growing worse. Members of all the different churches, except the Catholic, attended and it was the one bright spot in the week, partly I think because it linked me with the past.

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