One day Queen Victoria visited a paper mill owned by one of her subjects, & the owner was happy to show her through the great plant, explaining in detail the different processes of manufacture. During the journey through the factory she was taken into a large room filled with rags. They were in bins, in bales, & in huge piles on the floor. Some of them had been brought in by ragpickers & were filthy & dirty. These were being sorted & processed by the workmen.
“Do you make paper of these?” The queen inquired.
“Yes, our best paper is made from rags,” the owner explained.
She seemed to be in deep thought, then revealed what had been going through her mind. “But how can these dirty rags ever be made into clean white paper?”
“We have washes,” the guide explained, “which remove all the dirt and grime. We have chemical processes too, Your Majesty, by which every bit of color is removed from even these red rags.”
A few days later the queen was surprised to find on her desk a neatly-wrapped parcel, which on opening she found contained some of the whitest, most beautiful paper she had ever seen. On each sheet were her name & a watermark of her likeness. There was also a note from the man who had shown her through the paper mill.
“Will the queen be pleased to accept a specimen of my paper, with the assurance that every sheet was manufactured from the rags which she saw in the warehouse on her recent visit to our plant, & I trust the result is such as even the queen may admire. Will the queen also allow me to say that I have had many a good sermon preached to me in my mill? I can understand how the Lord Jesus can take the poor sinner, & the vilest of the vile, & make them clean; & how though their sins be as scarlet, He can make them white as snow. And I can see how He can put His own name upon them: & just as these rags, transformed, may go into a royal palace and be admired, so poor sinners can be received into the palace of the Great King.”
By C. L. Paddock, Signs of the Times, May 1, 1951 Dale Galusha firstname.lastname@example.org