Doctor Hudson’s Secret Journal

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Doctor Hudson’s Secret Journal
Author’s Foreword
    S hortly after the quiet appearance of Magnificent Obsession , eleven years ago, the author became aware that he had not completed his task.
    The letters which began to pour in were not of the sort usually referred to as ‘fan mail.’ Nobody wanted an autograph, a photograph, or a lock of hair. Not many bothered to remark that they had been entertained by the story. But they all asked questions and most of the questions were serious, wistful, and challenging.
    The theme of the novel had derived from a little handful of verses midway of the Sermon on the Mount, but all references to the enchanted passage were purposely vague, the author feeling that a treasure hunt in Holy Writ would probably do his customers no harm. Within the first twelve months after publication, more than two thousand people had written to inquire, ‘What page of the Bible did the sculptor carry in his wallet?’ We left off counting these queries, but they have continued to come, all through these intervening years.
    Second in importance to this inquiry was a very searching question, phrased in terms ranging all the way from polite hinting to forthright impudence: ‘Do you honestly believe in this thing, or were you just writing a story?’ After a while, letters began to arrive from persons who said they had tried it, and it worked; though they were careful not to be too specific in reporting their adventures, aware that if they told they would be sorry. A few lamented the cost of unrewarded experiments and denounced the whole idea as a lot of hooey.
    The task of dealing sympathetically with this strange correspondence became a grave responsibility. No stock letter, done on a mimeograph, would serve the purpose. It was necessary that individual replies be sent to all earnest inquirers. One dared not risk the accusation that, having advocated an expensive and venturesome technique for generating personal power, the author was thereafter too busy or lazy to care whether anybody benefited by such investments. It was interesting to observe how wide a variety of people came forward with questions. A single post might contain inquiries from a high school boy, a college professor, a farmer’s wife, a physician, a pious old lady, an actress, a postman, a preacher, and a sailor. Some of the questions were practically unanswerable, but it wasn’t quite fair to limit one’s reply to a laconic ‘I don’t know.’ Frequently one’s counsel was pitiably inadequate, but not because it was coolly casual or thoughtlessly composed. I suppose that if all of these letters were compiled and printed they would fill several volumes as large as the novel which evoked hem.
    A third question, which began to show up promptly, inquired, ‘Is the complete text of Doctor Hudson’s journal available in print?’ The correct answer to that was ‘No.’ It not only wasn’t in print; it had not been written. Occasionally someone would counter, ‘How were you able to quote

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