Sample K19 from Robert L. Duncan, The Voice of Strangers. Garden City, New York: Doubleday & Company, Inc., 1961. Pp. 242-248. A part of the XML version of the Brown Corpus2,063 words 279 (13.5%) quotesK19

Used by permission of Robert L. Duncan. 0010-1710

Robert L. Duncan, The Voice of Strangers. Garden City, New York: Doubleday & Company, Inc., 1961. Pp. 242-248.

Typographical Error: imagnation [0750]

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There was one fact which Rector could not overlook , one truth which he could not deny . As long as there were two human beings working together on the same project , there would be competition and you could no more escape it than you could expect to escape the grave . No matter how devoted a man was , no matter how fully he gave his life to the Lord , he could never extinguish that one spark of pride that gave him definition as an individual . All of the jobs in the mission might be equal in the eyes of the Lord , but they were certainly not equal in the eyes of the Lord's servants . It was only natural that Fletcher would strive for a position in which he could make the decisions .

Even Rector himself was prey to this spirit of competition and he knew it , not for a more exalted office in the hierarchy of the church -- his ambitions for the bishopry had died very early in his career -- but for the one clear victory he had talked about to the colonel . He was not sure how much of this desire was due to his devotion to the church and how much was his own ego , demanding to be satisfied , for the two were intertwined and could not be separated . He wanted desperately to see Kayabashi defeated , the Communists in the village rooted out , the mission standing triumphant , for in the triumph of the Lord he himself would be triumphant , too . But perhaps this was a part of the eternal plan , that man's ambition when linked with God would be a driving , indefatigable force for good in the world .

He sighed . How foolish it was to try to fathom the truth in an area where only faith would suffice . He would have to work without questioning the motives which made him work and content himself with the thought that the eventual victory , however it was brought about , would be sweet indeed . His first move was to send Hino to the village to spend a few days . His arm had been giving him some trouble and Rector was not enough of a medical expert to determine whether it had healed improperly or whether Hino was simply rebelling against the tedious work in the print shop , using the stiffness in his arm as an excuse . In any event Rector sent him to the local hospital to have it checked , telling him to keep his ears open while he was in the village to see if he could find out what Kayabashi was planning .

Hino was elated at the prospect . He was allowed to spend his nights at an inn near the hospital and he was given some extra money to go to the pachinko parlor -- an excellent place to make contact with the enemy . He left with all the joyous spirit of a child going on a holiday , nodding attentively as Rector gave him his final instructions . He was to get involved in no arguments ; ; he was to try to make no converts ; ; he was simply to listen and report back what he heard .

It was a ridiculous situation and Rector knew it , for Hino , frankly partisan , openly gregarious , would make a poor espionage agent . If he wanted to know anything , he would end up asking about it point-blank , but in this guileless manner he would probably receive more truthful answers than if he tried to get them by indirection . In all of his experience in the mission field Rector had never seen a convert quite like Hino . From the moment that Hino had first walked into the mission to ask for a job , any job -- his qualifications neatly written on a piece of paper in a precise hand -- he had been ready to become a Christian . He had already been studying the Bible ; ; he knew the fundamentals , and after studying with Fletcher for a time he approached Rector , announced that he wanted to be baptized and that was that .

Rector had never been able to find out much about Hino's past . Hino talked very little about himself except for the infrequent times when he used a personal illustration in connection with another subject . Putting the pieces of this mosaic together , Rector had the vague outlines of a biography . Hino was the fourth son of an elderly farmer who lived on the coast , in Chiba , and divided his life between the land and the sea , supplementing the marginal livelihood on his small rented farm with seasonal employment on a fishing boat . Without exception Hino's brothers turned to either one or both of their father's occupations , but Hino showed a talent for neither and instead spent most of his time on the beach where he repaired nets and proved immensely popular as a storyteller . He had gone into the Japanese navy , had been trained as an officer , had participated in one or two battles -- he never went into detail regarding his military experience -- and at the age of twenty-five , quite as a bolt out of the blue , he had walked into the mission as if he belonged here and had become a Christian . Rector was often curious ; ; often tempted to ask questions but he never did . If and when Hino decided to tell him about his experiences , he would do so unasked .

Rector had no doubt that Hino would come back from the village bursting with information , ready to impart it with his customary gusto , liberally embellished with his active imagnation . When the telephone rang on the day after Hino went down to the village , Rector had a hunch it would be Hino with some morsel of information too important to wait until his return , for there were few telephones in the village and the phone in Rector's office rarely rang unless it was important . He was surprised to find Kayabashi's secretary on the other end of the line . He was even more startled when he heard what Kayabashi wanted . The oyabun was entertaining a group of dignitaries , the secretary said , businessmen from Tokyo for the most part , and Kayabashi wished to show them the mission . They had never seen one before and had expressed a curiosity about it .

`` Oh '' ? ? Rector said . `` I guess it will be all right . When would the oyabun like to bring his guests up here '' ? ?

`` This afternoon '' , the secretary said . `` At three o'clock if it will be of convenience to you at that time '' .

`` All right '' , Rector said . `` I will be expecting them '' .

He was about to hang up the phone , but a note of hesitancy in the secretary's voice left the conversation open . He had something more to say . `` I beg to inquire if the back is now safe for travelers '' , he said .

Rector laughed despite himself . `` Unless the oyabun has been working on it '' , he said , then checked himself and added : `` You can tell Kayabashi-san that the back road is in very good condition and will be quite safe for his party to use '' .

`` Arigato gosaimasu '' . The secretary sighed with relief and then the telephone clicked in Rector's hand .

Rector had no idea why Kayabashi wanted to visit the mission . For the oyabun to make such a trip was either a sign of great weakness or an indication of equally great confidence , and from all the available information it was probably the latter . Kayabashi must feel fairly certain of his victory in order to make a visit like this , a trip which could be so easily misinterpreted by the people in the village . At the same time , it was unlikely that any businessmen would spend a day in a Christian mission out of mere curiosity . No , Kayabashi was bringing his associates here for a specific purpose and Rector would not be able to fathom it until they arrived .

When he had given the call a few moments thought , he went into the kitchen to ask Mrs. Yamata to prepare tea and sushi for the visitors , using the formal English china and the silver tea service which had been donated to the mission , then he went outside to inspect the grounds . Fujimoto had a pile of cuttings near one side of the lawn . Rector asked him to move it for the time being ; ; he wanted the mission compound to be effortlessly spotless . A good initial impression would be important now . He went into the print shop , where Fletcher had just finished cleaning the press .

`` How many pamphlets do we have in stock '' ? ? Rector said .

`` I should say about a hundred thousand '' , Fletcher said . `` Why '' ? ?

`` I would like to enact a little tableau this afternoon '' , Rector said , He explained about the visit and the effect he wished to create , the picture of a very busy mission . He did not wish to deceive Kayabashi exactly , just to display the mission activities in a graphic and impressive manner . Fletcher nodded as he listened to the instructions and said he would arrange the things Rector requested .

Rector's next stop was at the schoolroom , where Mavis was monitoring a test . He beckoned to her from the door and she slipped quietly outside . He told her of the visitors and then of his plans . `` How many children do you have present today '' ? ? He said .

She looked back toward the schoolroom . `` Fifteen '' , she said . `` No , only fourteen . The little Ito girl had had to go home . She has a pretty bad cold '' .

`` I would like them to appear very busy today , not busy exactly , but joyous , exuberant , full of life . I want to create the impression of a compound full of children . Do you think you can manage it '' ? ?

Mavis smiled . `` I'll try '' .

As Rector was walking back toward the residential hall , Johnson came out of the basement and bounded up to him . The altercation in the coffee house had done little to dampen his spirits , but he was still a little wary around Rector for they had not yet discussed the incident . `` I think I've fixed the pump so we won't have to worry about it for a long time '' , he said . `` I've adjusted the gauge so that the pump cuts out before the water gets too low . '' `` Fine '' , Rector said . He looked out over the expanse of the compound . It was going to take a lot of activity to fill it . `` Have you ever operated a transit '' ? ? He said . `` No , sir '' , Johnson said .

`` You are about to become a first-class surveyor '' , Rector said . `` When Konishi gets back with the jeep , I want you to round up two or three Japanese boys . Konishi can help you . You'll find an old transit in the basement . The glass is out of it , but that won't matter . It looks pretty efficient and that's the important thing '' . He went on to explain what he had in mind . Johnson nodded . He said he could do it .

Rector was warming to his over-all strategy by the time he got back to the residential hall . It was rather a childish game , all in all , but everybody seemed to be getting into the spirit of the thing and he could not remember when he had enjoyed planning anything quite so much . He was not sure what effect it would have , but that was really beside the point when you got right down to it . He was not going to lose the mission by default , and whatever reason Kayabashi had for bringing his little sight-seeing group to the mission , he was going to be in for a surprise .

He found Elizabeth in the parlor and asked her to make sure everything was in order in the residential hall , and then to take charge of the office while the party was here . When everything had been done , Rector went back to his desk to occupy himself with his monthly report until three o'clock .

At two thirty he sent Fujimoto to the top of the wall at the northeast corner of the mission to keep an eye on the ridge road and give a signal when he first glimpsed the approach of Kayabashi's party . Then Rector , attired in his best blue serge suit , sat in a chair out on the lawn , in the shade of a tree , smoking a cigarette and waiting . The air was cooler here , and the lacy pattern of the trees threw a dappled shadow on the grass , an effect which he found pleasant .