i did my apprenticeship in the 'work' under the care of lord pentland.
i would spend most of the day doing chores around the house trying to work on myself.
for me, then, it was mental exercises i had found in orage's book "psychological exercises and essays"
i would be raking furiously, the leaves around the bushes and the yards reciting "mary had a little lamb, it's fleece was white as snow." with numbers. (13-1-18-25),(8-1-4),(1),(12-9-20-20-12-5),(12-1-13-2), etc.
now and then i would steal a glance at pentland seated at his desk by the window of his office.
i always had the feeling i was being watched and it helped me habituate my mind to the present moment.
invariably, when i had lost everything and was in a faraway dream, i would feel a hand on my shoulder and i would be invited to come to the office for a conversation or we would simply sit for half an hour or so. that was my training at the house in riverdale.
At lunch, i would be taciturn; ever careful not to blow my cool and say something stupid. but either lord pentland or lady pentland would always draw me out. i learned more by listening. sometimes it was the silliest things that struck me. like one day when lady pentland excused the paucity of the fare that day. "i didn't have time to go shopping and all we have is a large can of whale meat and some vegetables." and pentland reprimanded her. "don't make excuses, lucy, we have what we have to offer. that's it." she called him john. "yes, john.", she would answer demurely. on the surface lady pentland was docile but when she would come to my rescue when he was being hard on me, i loved her.
once she let slip, "well, scott, you, being an artist, must already be freer than most." lord pentland hushed her. but it was too late. i heard and would remember that. he himself had told me once, "you're way ahead of most everyone here in many ways." but i had no illusions about my shortcomings. i was a lunatic tramp and had a long row to hoe to catch up with the 'good householders' in the 'work'.
the house was about a two mile walk from the end of the subway in yonkers. i usually arrived around 9:00 a.m.
my last meeting with pentland at rockefeller center, he had said to me "and call me anytime, so far so good." referring to the abstinence from mood enhancing drugs. so i called him at least once a week and from then on he would always invite me to his house on saturdays.
one day he called me and asked me to meet him at the subway entrance underground at 7 rockefeller place. he was a little late and was walking fast. his arms were entwined in about five straw baskets. he excitedly said, "we're going to take these apart to learn how it's done." then he said, "oh, scott, there will be a meeting for you at 61st st." he handed me a tiny slip of paper with the address and time; 7:30 wednesday. then he was off to catch the train. i called out, Lord pentland! he didn't hear. i yelled it louder, "lord pentland!!" he turned around and stopped. "what?" "will i be in your group?" , "i hope so."
this puzzled me a bit but i was happy. at that time, in new york, there were about fourteen group leaders and i could just as well been relegated to one of the other 'preparatory' groups.
i went to the meeting. i was the first to arrive. lord pentland was there alone. he asked me to man the buzzer which opened the door downstairs. we were on the fifth floor of a 'brownstone' house. it was a small apartment. i helped set up chairs for about twenty people. this was the first group meeting for all of them except me. in the spring, i had gone to a few meetings at the 'foundation' in an older group. i never asked about these kinds of things; just accepted whatever he wanted for me.
that was all i did except for my jobs for money (next chapter); wednesdays and saturdays. the apartment and the house in riverdale. about a year later, i would stay overnight and ride up to armonk for a day of work at the country place. this didn't last for long. i had to make my way as a 'train person' after a few of these weekends. lord pentland said one day when we were driving back to the city, "i don't think it's very good for you to be seen arriving with me all the time. you understand?"
i did… jealousy. no problem. i would ride the train to north white plains, have breakfast at the diner with other "train people" and car people would stop there and rides were made available for everyone.
many many years later i asked lady pentland what she remembered about me from those days. after her usual interminable pause when answering any question, she said, " i remember that you always left a trail. if you brought wood in for the fire, there would be pieces of bark on the rug from the door to the fireplace. if you did some painting job there would be brushes standing in jars waiting to be cleaned by someone else." i was chagrined.
i will always be grateful and unable to pay for the help i received from these two beings. it brings to mind how once, wishing to give something concrete besides 'thank you's, i brought a portfolio of drawings to the house. lord pentland perused them all patiently, complained about people bringing things to him so that the drawers were stuffed, but picked out a pretty tree and said. "i've always loved trees." me too.