Heather, An Adventist Girl Book 2 Chapter 3 (1889)

 

Chapter 3

The Visitor

The chapter starts out with Heather and Nathan in the garden. It’s still very hot outside, but when Heather accidentally sprinkles Nathan instead of tomato plants, he gets mad at her. Dude if it was that hot outside I would be happy to be sprayed with water dangit. Anyway, Nathan gripes, and Heather tries to make friends with a rabbit. She feeds the rabbit some of the peas from the garden before Nathan comes up and asks her what in the hell she thinks she’s doing.

“You can’t let him in our garden,” Nathan said. “He’ll eat up all of our vegetables. Rabbits are the worst pests in Australia.”

Really? I would have thought the poisonous spiders, snakes, and other poisonous creepy crawlies would be far worse than rabbits. But maybe I’m wrong.

“They’ve already destroyed so many plants in Australia that some are extinct.”

Really? Which ones? Why is the rabbit population out of control? Why hasn’t Heather been told this from the very beginning? Why don’t the Gibsons have a rabbit proof fence around their garden? Do the Gibsons eat rabbit? Is rabbit a clean meat? You know what, nevermind.

Aunt Rachel comes along and insists the 2 children take a break. Nathan asks to go down to the creek to go swimming with James, but Aunt Rachel won’t let Heather go along, because Mr. Gibson doesn’t approve of her swimming with boys. I can’t figure out why. Are they swimming starkers?

Heather begs Aunt Rachel to at least let her go wading with Laura when someone comes to the door. It’s Ellen White, of course. Who else were you expecting the visitor to be?

Heather gets self conscious about her messy hair and apron, but Mrs. White doesn’t seem to notice. Mrs. White asks after Mr. Gibson, who has apparently stepped out.

“I am sorry that I missed your husband,” Mrs. White said, smiling. “We have both been waiting eagerly for this to arrive.” Mrs. White handed Mrs. Gibson the books.

Heather watched curiously as her mother turned the first fat volume over in her frail hands. “The Desire of Ages, in 2 volumes,” she whispered. “What a beautiful title for the story of the life of Christ.”

Hang on, what? Two volumes? Why is this not explained? I googled, and I still can’t find the answer. For those of you who don’t know, the reason this is confusing is because, for as long as I can remember, The Desire of Ages has only been one book. I know that some of Ellen White’s books got changed as she wrote more. I think The Great Controversy was originally 3 or 4 volumes, and it’s now called The Conflict of the Ages series, which is a series of books that contains The Great Controversy in it.

The history of Ellen White books can be super confusing, and it would have been a great opportunity, here, to educate young readers. If not in the text, at least include an explanation at the back of the book.

Anyway, Ellen tells Heather to go wash up, and then she will let her peruse the books. Heather quickly changes her clothes and washes her face and hands, before going to the kitchen and excitedly informing Aunt Rachel that Ellen White is here.

Aunt Rachel was pouring water into a tall drinking glass. “Yes, I know,” she said setting down the water pitcher. She handed the glass to Heather. “This is for her; will you please take it to her?”

There’s a lot of ways you could read that comment, depending on what tone of voice you use. I’m going to go with the interpretation that Aunt Rachel is being snippy, and Heather fails to notice. There’s not really any textual evidence for this, I just have to think that someone in these books has half a brain.

And here we get to a part of the book I was expecting.

“I’m sorry you have not been well,” Heather heard Mrs. White say to Mrs. Gibson.

“Thank you for your concern,” Mrs. Gibson replied. “I’ve been very weak and ill, and generally unable to do what I’m accustomed to doing, for quite some time now.”

Mrs. White sipped the cool water. “I have known many who suffer as you do to have had some success by getting into the out of doors in the fresh air and sunshine. The sunshine is God’s doctor.”

Yes, Mrs. White was one of those people. You know the type. The people who find out you have cancer and insist that you can get rid of it by drinking cranberry juice. The people who find out you have fibromyalgia(sp) and tell you that that can be cured by lavender oil. People who think that some whack-a do new “health” fad is going to cure whatever it is you have.

To be semi fair, sunshine and fresh air are good for us, and it’s not going to hurt Mrs. Gibson if she spends time outside, provided that the weather isn’t too extreme. However, I can’t think of any illness that can be cured with fresh air and sunshine, except maybe a vitamin D deficiency.

Mrs. Gibson, to her credit, doesn’t punch Ellen White in the face.

Mrs. Gibson looked thoughtful for a moment. “Perhaps,” she said respectfully.

Probably the best way to deal with health fad whackadoos.

Aunt Rachel comes to sit with Mrs. White and Mrs. Gibson, and the women talk about Campmeeting. They’re hoping to have one in Newcastle soon, right before Christmas. The Gibson family decides to go. They discuss inviting the Harts, and Heather says she’s not sure if Mr. Hart will let Mrs. Hart and Addie go.

Ellen White tells Heather to keep studying with and praying for the Harts.

“…pray that his heart will be open to the voice of God. If his family is happier learning about Jesus, then Mr. Hart may want to learn what they are learning, too.”

Ah, the old “let them see how happy you are and get jealous” trick. Does this ever actually work in real life? Because the only way it worked for me was in reverse.

Mrs. White leaves the 2 books with the Gibson family and leaves to go meet her son, Willie, at the train station.

Willie White is a very interesting character with a very interesting backstory. At least he would be, if he hadn’t repented, and basically turned into a slave of his mother’s.

When Aunt Rachel tells Heather she can go play in the creek now, Heather declines. She’d rather read the desire of ages.

Aunt Rachel just shrugged her shoulders.

I kid you not, that is how the chapter ends.

Heather’s going to be very disappointed, though. 10 year old me could not get through a single Ellen White book. They are so difficult to understand.

This was a really short post. I’ll try to do another chapter tomorrow, or perhaps Sunday. I was told I should do a Harry Potter interlude before moving on to our next book, which I’m almost done with. We’re still doing the magazines first, then I hope to be able to post biweekly; one Adventist Girl post on Wednesday and then a Saturday post with the new book.

Those are my goals, anyway. Who knows if I’ll actually reach them…

 

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