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In the King’s Service: Chapter 7

SURPRISES

When we had said farewell to our guests from earth, Reg declared that he was hungering for some sport with Robbie in the Hall of Adventure. His only doubt was Robbie’s whereabouts. At once I reminded him of the power of his thought.
‘Now is your chance to try it out!’

‘Suppose Robbie has his mental veil drawn?’ Reg asked.

‘Then you will have to wait and try again.’

Reg chuckled at that.
‘It is like telephoning somebody on earth and finding the number engaged!’

‘Something like that.’

‘Well, I will try.’
He put his powers to the test without more ado, and presently came triumphantly to tell us that Robbie had heard.
‘He is going to meet me in the Hall of Adventure and teach me how to climb mountains’ he exulted, adding, ‘But what will you do?’

‘I daresay we will manage to exist without you,’ Janet laughed. ‘Bernard and I are going to make some visits. I want to see Robert, who is in the Hall of MetalWorkers’

‘And I want to see Anna who is soon leaving the Hall of Friends,’ I put in. ‘Then there is David in the Hall of Orators. I promised him I would bring Janet next time.’

‘I say, you are going to be busy,’ Reg laughed.

We made an arrangement, before we parted, to ‘keep in touch’. This meant that each would reach out for information concerning the other at frequent intervals. Thus we could arrange where to meet later on.
We had a busy and most profitable time after that. Robert, whom I had met only once before, proved a most interesting fellow. He acted as our guide in the Hall of MetalWorkers, afterwards accompanying us to the Hall of Friends. Anna, we found, was just passing on to the Hall of Children and she was delighted at the prospect. Here, I paid a short visit to Reg’s father and mother, who were settling down most happily to their new life. Then I acted as Robert’s guide to the Hall of Orators.

It was while we were here that we had an urgent message from the Hall of Reception and we set off on the long journey at once. We left Robert and David together, asking them to send us on any message they might receive from Reg, although we thought we were more likely to get it direct.

Curiously, our summons seemed very confused. Neither Janet nor I were quite certain who it was that needed us. As we drew nearer, Janet said uncertainly:
‘I believe it is Rose.’

‘Rose?’ I asked, astonished, ‘I thought it was Greig !’

Again we sped on, and then as we reached the Hall of Reception, we knew.
‘It is both Rose and Greig!’Janet cried.

I agreed, ‘Rose is calling you and Grieg is calling me. We shall have to part for a while then.’

‘You must let Reg know about Greig,’ Janet reminded me, and after she had wheeled off in Rose’s direction, I sent out my message to him. He answered very quickly and was not in the least surprised to hear the news.
‘I expected it,’ he pressed into my astonished mind. ‘After that meeting on the hillside . .

When I arrived I did not have far to seek, for I glimpsed the little group in the valley. They were sitting on the river bank and as I came down the slope Greig stood up between his two angels to greet me. For a moment we did not speak. The angels were smiling gently and Greig had a strange, baffled look. Puzzlement and doubt flitted over his face, to give place to a light of joy only to cloud over again at once.

‘What is it, old fellow?’ I asked.

He stepped forward and caught my shoulder in a great clasp.
Bernard, it is good to see you. These two guides have been very kind to me.’

‘Well, then! Why the shadows?’ I demanded, watching his face.

‘It is just’ he hesitated, gathering his thoughts, and went on, ‘They tell me this is Heaven, that I have died. I just cannot realise it.’

‘Why?’ I queried, looking round at the beautiful valley. ‘Does not all this peace and beauty speak of the Father’s Love? Look at those flowers! They are not of earth.’

‘No, but they are in the Plane Between.’

I stared at him a moment, and then understanding came.
‘Oh, I see. You think you have not died, but have come in sleep?’

‘Yes, that is it,’ he said eagerly. ‘How can I be sure? These angels may be mistaken. You may be mistaken, too.’

‘Can you not remember, Greig, how you came to be here?’ I asked gently. He covered his eyes with his hand, pondering.
‘I was in a slit trench,’ he said at last. ‘There was a lot of stuff flying about. One of my mates was hit – wounded, I think. Then a flash and a cloud of black smoke a roar and then’ he broke off, adding, ‘that is all I know.’

‘Well, then,’ I encouraged, ‘does not that tell you?’

‘No,’ he declared. ‘Don’t you see? I might have been knocked unconscious.’

‘Yes, I do see.’ For a moment I was puzzled, glancing at the angels who stood mutely awaiting my help.
‘How can we help him in this?’ one pressed into my mind. ‘You have lived on earth. You know.’
Suddenly a thought struck me. I turned to Greig eagerly.
‘Listen, old fellow. Do you remember your visits to the Plane Between?’

‘Yes.’

‘Then how did you return to earth afterwards?’

‘Why,’ he looked surprised. ‘I do not rightly know. It seemed that I just thought of earth, thought it was time for me to get back. Then I set off across the sea, feeling as though I would soon walk right over the horizon and into the sky As I walked, I grew sleepy the sky seemed to wrap me round like a mist … and then I opened my eyes on earth.’

‘I see. Well, Why not return now?’

‘You mean start thinking it is time to get back?’

‘Yes.’

He looked at me a moment and understanding dawned.

‘Then if I try and I find it impossible to go back, I shall know I am not sleeping?’

‘Yes, you will be sure of Heaven.’

‘I will think of Rose,’ he said dreamily, sitting down by the riverbank. ‘I will think of going home on leave and finding her having tea with my mother. Only, of course, I shall not know she belongs to me. Yes, I shall think of Rose and very soon I shall see her.’ He turned to look at me. ‘Why are you smiling like that, Bernard? Almost as though you had a nice secret.’

‘Perhaps I have,’ I admitted, retreating a little. For a while I paced slowly up and down with the angels, talking of Greig. They were very proud of him, telling me how little reparation he had to do, how soon he would be united to Rose, and wear the Golden Sash.

‘What of Rose?’ I asked. ‘She will have reparation to make also.’ ‘She also has a very short term before her,’ they told me. ‘We have been speaking with her angels and they are most hopeful.’
‘That test in the Plane Between helped them on their way,’ explained the manguide.

‘Oh, you know about that?’

‘We were there. How bravely he accepted and Rose also. You see, rebellion always makes a deep stain, whereas true submission helps to cleanse many sins. It is an expression of the “love” that “covers a multitude of sins”.’

‘So if a man has rebelled in the early part of his life, and learns loving submission later on, his stains are largely covered or cleansed?’ I asked.

‘Yes,’ exulted the manguide. ‘If a man puts himself in the Father’s hands for very love, he makes great progress in his cleansing.’

‘For very love,’ I echoed. ‘What a lovely phrase that is. To be submissive to the Father for very love !’

‘It leads to joy.’

We turned, then, to rejoin Greig, for he was standing up to face us.

‘You are right,’ he exclaimed excitedly, ‘I am dead.’ For a moment he caught his breath amazedly, and then he laughed. ‘How strange that sounds being glad to be dead, and being alive here. But you see, I have glimpsed Heavenly joys already. I have seen the King of Love.’

‘That is splendid, Greig.’

‘You have another visitor,’ one of his angels said, turning him toward the hillside.

‘Reg!’ He ran forward eagerly and the two greeted one another warmly. We watched them stride down the slope arm in arm, chattering gaily. Reg’s purple gown swung with his movements, making bright splashes on the white tunic of his friend. When they reached us, Greig’s face was glowing.

Bernard, what do you think?’, he burst out. ‘Rose is here.’

‘I know, lad’.

‘You knew? And you did not tell me?’

‘Well, I thought it would be better to wait until You were sure of Heaven! Besides, it is fitting that Reg should tell you.’

‘Yes it is.’ He turned to his friend. ‘Have you seen her?’ Reg stood smiling at him indulgently.

‘Just left her!’

‘She was happy?’

‘Marvellously. I told her about you.’

‘You did?’ Greig almost stammered in his eagerness. ‘What did she say?’
‘She just glowed with joy! Yes, that is the only way to express it,
She looked as though a golden lamp had suddenly lit up within her. and she said, over and over, “He is Love. He is the King of Love.”‘

‘Amen,’ Greig said. ‘And then?’

‘She wanted to hurry on with her reparation right away so she can be PurpleGowned and be united to you,’ Reg continued. ‘Of course she knew you would do that too, and her last words were, “Give Greig my dear love.”‘
For a moment Greig was too moved to speak and then he turned to make his farewells.

‘Goodbye for a little while, my friends!’ And to his guides, ‘I am ready.’
Standing together, we watched him speed off with his angels in the direction of the distant gates.