The Material Question

‘Can you imagine my relief when I recognized this brooch and realized at once how I could make use of it?

‘On the following day, with this brooch in my pocket, I was in a position to borrow two thousand dollars from a friend; but I took this valuable to America with me, since in Paris I was offered only one hundred and twenty-five thousand francs for it, whereas in my opinion it was worth much more—and I found I was not mistaken when I sold it here in New York.’

At this point in his narrative Mr. Gurdjieff paused, and, with his particular smile, began to smoke a cigarette. In the silence reigning in the room, Mr. H rose from his place, went over to Mr. Gurdjieff, and said:

‘Mr. Gurdjieff, I really do not know, after all the joking remarks you have seen fit to make about the material question, whether it is due to the particular order in which you have told your story today, or to my naïveté or suggestibility, but, beyond all doubt, at this moment I am ready with my whole being to do anything to lighten the enormous burden you have voluntarily taken upon yourself.

‘And I shall perhaps be even nearer the truth if I tell you that this impulse has arisen in me owing to the distinct impression I received throughout your narrative: that in taking upon yourself this high task, a task beyond the limits of strength of an ordinary man, you have always up till now been absolutely alone.
‘Allow me to put into your hands this cheque which represents all that I have at my disposal at this moment. At the same time, in the presence of all those here, I pledge myself to deliver the same sum to you every year for the rest of my life, wherever you may be and whatever may be your circumstances!’

When Mr. H had finished speaking and, visibly moved, was wiping his forehead with his handkerchief, Mr. Gurdjieff stood up and, placing a hand on his shoulder, looked at him with that penetrating, kind and grateful look of his, which I personally can never forget, and said simply;
‘Thank you—my, from today, God-given brother.’