Samuel the Seeker by Upton Sinclair Page 1 of 228


"Samuel," said old Ephraim, "Seek, and ye shall find."

He had written these words upon the little picture of Samuel's mother, which hung in that corner of the old attic which served as the boy's bedroom; and so Samuel grew up with the knowledge that he, too, was one of the Seekers. Just what he was to seek, and just how he was to seek it, were matters of uncertainty-they were part of the search.

Old Ephraim could not tell him very much about it, for the Seekers had moved away to the West before he had come to the farm; and Samuel's mother had died very young, before her husband had a chance to learn more than the rudiments of her faith.

So all that Samuel knew was that the Seekers were men and women of fervor, who had broken with the churches because they would not believe what was taught-holding that it was every man's duty to read the Word of God for himself and to follow where it led him.

Thus the boy learned to think of life, not as something settled, but as a place for adventure. One must seek and seek; and in the end the way of truth would be revealed to him. He could see this zeal in his mother's face, beautiful and delicate, even in the crude picture; and Samuel did not know that the picture was crude, and wove his dreams about it. Sometimes at twilight old Ephraim would talk about her, and the tears would steal down his cheeks.

The one year that he had known her had sufficed to change the course of his life; and he had been a man past middle life, too, a widower with two children. He had come into the country as the foreman of a lumber camp back on the mountain.

Samuel had always thought of his father as an old man; Ephraim had been hurt by a vicious horse, and had aged rapidly after that. He had given up lumbering; it had not taken long to clear out that part of the mountains. Now the hills were swept bare, and the population had found a new way of living.

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