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Charles M. Sheldon
more than any other feeling at this meeting rose the tide
of fellowship for one another. Maxwell watched it, trembling
for its climax which he knew was not yet reached. When it
was, where would it lead them? He did not know, but he was
not unduly alarmed about it. Only he watched with growing
wonder the results of that simple promise as it was being
obeyed in these various lives. Those results were already
being felt all over the city. Who could measure their influence
at the end of a year?
One practical form of this fellowship showed itself in the
assurances which Edward Norman received of support for his
paper. There was a general flocking toward him when the
meeting closed, and the response to his appeal for help
from the Christian disciples in Raymond was fully understood
by this little company. The value of such a paper in the
homes and in behalf of good citizenship, especially at the
present crisis in the city, could not be measured. It remained
to be seen what could be done now that the paper was endowed
so liberally. But it still was true, as Norman insisted,
that money alone could not make the paper a power. It must
receive the support and sympathy of the Christians in Raymond
before it could be counted as one of the great forces of
The week that followed this Sunday meeting was one of great
excitement in Raymond. It was the week of the election.
President Marsh, true to his promise, took up his cross
and bore it manfully, but with shuddering, with groans and
even tears, for his deepest conviction was touched, and
he tore himself out of the scholarly seclusion of years
with a pain and anguish that cost him more than anything
he had ever done as a follower of Christ. With him were
a few of the college professors who had made the pledge
in the First Church. Their experience and suffering were
the same as his; for their isolation from all the duties
of citizenship had been the same. The same was also true
of Henry Maxwell, who plunged into the horror of this fight
against whiskey and its allies with a sickening dread of
each day's new encounter with it. For never before had he
borne such a cross. He staggered under it, and in the brief
intervals when he came in from the work and sought the quiet
of his study for rest, the sweat broke out on his forehead,
and he felt the actual terror of one who marches into unseen,
unknown horrors. Looking back on it afterwards he was amazed
at his experience. He was not a coward, but he felt the
dread that any man of his habits feels when confronted suddenly
with a duty which carries with it the doing of certain things
so unfamiliar that the actual details connected with it
betray his ignorance and fill him with the shame of humiliation.
When Saturday, the election day, came, the excitement rose
to its height. An attempt was made to close all the saloons.
It was only partly successful. There was a great deal of
drinking going on all day. The Rectangle boiled and heaved
and cursed and turned its worst side out to the gaze of
the city. Gray had continued his meetings during the week,
and the results had been even greater than he had dared
to hope. When Saturday came, it seemed to him that the crisis
in his work had been reached. The Holy Spirit and the Satan
of rum seemed to rouse up to a desperate conflict. The more
interest in the meetings, the more ferocity and vileness
outside. The saloon men no longer concealed their feelings.
Open threats of violence were made. Once during the week
Gray and his little company of helpers were assailed with
missiles of various kinds as they left the tent late at
night. The police sent down a special force, and Virginia
and Rachel were always under the protection of either Rollin
or Dr. West. Rachel's power in song had not diminished.
Rather, with each night, it seemed to add to the intensity
and reality of the Spirit's presence.
Gray had at first hesitated about having a meeting that
night. But he had a simple rule of action, and was always
guided by it. The Spirit seemed to lead him to continue
the meeting, and so Saturday night he went on as usual.
The excitement all over the city had reached its climax
when the polls closed at six o'clock. Never before had there
been such a contest in Raymond. The issue of license or
no-license had never been an issue under such circumstances.
Never before had such elements in the city been arrayed
against each other. It was an unheard-of thing that the
President of Lincoln College, the pastor of the First Church,
the Dean of the Cathedral, the professional men living in
fine houses on the boulevard, should come personally into
the wards, and by their presence and their example represent
the Christian conscience of the place. The ward politicians
were astonished at the sight. However, their astonishment
did not prevent their activity. The fight grew hotter every
hour, and when six o'clock came neither side could have
guessed at the result with any certainty. Every one agreed
that never before had there been such an election in Raymond,
and both sides awaited the announcement of the result with
the greatest interest.
It was after ten o'clock when the meeting at the tent was
closed. It had been a strange and, in some respects, a remarkable
meeting. Maxwell had come down again at Gray's request.
He was completely worn out by the day's work, but the appeal
from Gray came to him in such a form that he did not feel
able to resist it. President Marsh was also present. He
had never been to the Rectangle, and his curiosity was aroused
from what he had noticed of the influence of the evangelist
in the worst part of the city. Dr. West and Rollin had come
with Rachel and Virginia; and Loreen, who still stayed with
Virginia, was present near the organ, in her right mind,
sober, with a humility and dread of herself that kept her
as close to Virginia as a faithful dog. All through the
service she sat with bowed head, weeping a part of the time,
sobbing when Rachel sang the song, "I was a wandering sheep,"
clinging with almost visible, tangible yearning to the one
hope she had found, listening to prayer and appeal and confession
all about her like one who was a part of a new creation,
yet fearful of her right to share in it fully.
The tent had been crowded. As on some other occasions, there
was more or less disturbance on the outside. This had increased
as the night advanced, and Gray thought it wise not to prolong
Once in a while a shout as from a large crowd swept into
the tent. The returns from the election were beginning to
come in, and the Rectangle had emptied every lodging house,
den and hovel into the streets.
In spite of these distractions Rachel's singing kept the
crowd in the tent from dissolving. There were a dozen or
more conversions. Finally the people became restless and
Gray closed the service, remaining a little while with the
Rachel, Virginia, Loreen, Rollin and the Doctor, President
Marsh, Mr. Maxwell and Dr. West went out together, intending
to go down to the usual waiting place for their car. As
they came out of the tent they were at once aware that the
Rectangle was trembling on the verge of a drunken riot,
and as they pushed through the gathering mobs in the narrow
streets they began to realize that they themselves were
objects of great attention.
he is -- the bloke in the tall hat! He's the leader! shouted
a rough voice. President Marsh, with his erect, commanding
figure, was conspicuous in the little company.
has the election gone? It is too early to know the result
yet, isn't it?" He asked the question aloud, and a man answered:
say second and third wards have gone almost solid for no-license.
If that is so, the whiskey men have been beaten."
God! I hope it is true!" exclaimed Maxwell. "Marsh, we are
in danger here. Do you realize our situation? We ought to
get the ladies to a place of safety."
is true," said Marsh gravely. At that moment a shower of
stones and other missiles fell over them. The narrow street
and sidewalk in front of them was completely choked with
the worst elements of the Rectangle.
looks serious," said Maxwell. With Marsh and Rollin and
Dr. West he started to go forward through a small opening,
Virginia, Rachel, and Loreen following close and sheltered
by the men, who now realized something of their danger.
The Rectangle was drunk and enraged. It saw in Marsh and
Maxwell two of the leaders in the election contest which
had perhaps robbed them of their beloved saloon.
with the aristocrats!" shouted a shrill voice, more like
a woman's than a man's. A shower of mud and stones followed.
Rachel remembered afterwards that Rollin jumped directly
in front of her and received on his head and chest a number
of blows that would probably have struck her if he had not
shielded her from them.
And just then, before the police reached them, Loreen darted
forward in front of Virginia and pushed her aside, looking
up and screaming. It was so sudden that no one had time
to catch the face of the one who did it. But out of the
upper window of a room, over the very saloon where Loreen
had come out a week before, someone had thrown a heavy bottle.
It struck Loreen on the head and she fell to the ground.
Virginia turned and instantly kneeled down by her. The police
officers by that time had reached the little company.
President Marsh raised his arm and shouted over the howl
that was beginning to rise from the wild beast in the mob.
You've killed a woman!" The announcement partly sobered
it true?" Maxwell asked it, as Dr. West kneeled on the other
side of Loreen, supporting her.
dying!" said Dr. West briefly.
Loreen opened her eyes and smiled at Virginia, who wiped
the blood from her face and then bent over and kissed her.
Loreen smiled again, and the next minute her soul was in
And yet this is only one woman out of thousands killed by
this drink evil. Crowd back, now, ye sinful men and women
in this filthy street! Let this august dead form be borne
through your stupefied, sobered ranks! She was one of your
own children. The Rectangle had stamped the image of the
beast on her. Thank Him who died for sinners that the other
image of a new soul now shines out of her pale clay. Crowd
back! Give them room! Let her pass reverently, followed
and surrounded by the weeping, awestruck company of Christians.
Ye killed her, ye drunken murderers! And yet -- and yet
-- O Christian America, who killed this woman? Stand back!
Silence, there! A woman has been killed. Who? Loreen. Child
of the streets. Poor, drunken, vile sinner. O Lord God,
how long, how long? Yes. The saloon killed her; that is,
the Christians of America, who license the saloon. And the
Judgment Day only shall declare who was the murderer of