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Oct 25 1902


The Montreal Herald, Saturday, October 25, 1902

General Booth

Once more General Booth, the greatest modern apostle of practical Christianity, has visited Montreal, and left those who heard him to marvel at his perennial vigor. At seventy-four years of age, with him as with Moses of old, his eye is not dim, neither is his natural force abated. His appearance, too, seems to become more and more suggestive of the great Hebrew leader--the long, spare form, the patriarchal beard, and even the strongly Jewish nose. Like him, also, the General's mission has been the making of an army from a mob of slaves--the slaves of vice--and in the execution of it he has been as distinctly successful.

For a man in so autocratic a position, there is singularly little of the real autocrat about General Booth. As he sat in his room in the Windsor Hotel the other day, talking of his work with a half-dozen of reporters, his sympathetic face and restless hands and eyes seemed to indicate not a man who was impatient of the feelings and opinions of the people, but on with whom life was too short and the work in hand too important to be hampered by the dilly-dallying indecision of conferences, conventions and synods. One does not find in him as in so many leaders of reform a feeling of intolerance toward other religious denominations, but rather a quiet but settled conviction of the inadequacy of their methods. And one instinctively believed him, when, in speaking of his efforts at the commencement of his work to have it carried on in connection with one of the existing bodies, he said, "I hated the idea of forming another sect."

Perhaps even more striking than the way the venerable commander keeps his grip of the actual administration of the Army is his retention of his power of initiative. Whenever he talks of the work now being done, his active mind seems at the same time to be conceiving some fresh idea, some new scheme for helping the wretched and lifting the fallen. It is less than a year since he put into operation the system of picking up the drunkard from the street and the saloon and setting him on his feet; yet already he is working out the details of a plan to establish "guard houses" as he calls them with Salvation Army officers in charge, to whom the wives and children of drunkards may go for help in rescuing those on whom the demon drink has got a hold.

Nor does the General, in the midst of the great work of the organization, ever lose sight of or interest in the individual. An instance of this came to the personal knowledge of the writer during his recent visit here. At one of the meetings here last Sunday he caught sight of and recognized one of the reporters who had interviewed him on the day before, occupying a seat near the front of the hall. After the main meeting was over, and when the after-meeting was about to begin, the General sent one of his staff to ask the newspaperman about his spiritual welfare. "The General," he explained, "was afraid that he had not dealt faithfully with you boys yesterday." By some this might have been considered an intrusion, but from the General's point of view, at least, it showed that he had looked upon his visitors as more than mere instruments of publicity, and that he took a personal interest in every man with whom he came in contact, however slightly.

The Ways of Egypt

With the present trouble in Somaliland and the imminent prospect of the old shameful story being repeated and Colonel Swayne's little force of Britishers sent without support into the heart of the desert being wiped out by the Dervish Hordes, Sir Gilbert Parker's recently published volume of Egyptian stories becomes of double interest. When the intricacies of its races, its religions, its customs and its history are considered, one feels as if this most unique of all countries had scarcely been touched upon in the world of letters. In "Donovan Pasha," however, we get some glimpses of the curious and multiform life of the country, the hopeless corruption of officialdom, the stubborn patience of British officers and advisers in their struggle for righteousness and reform, the restless volatility of the Arabs, and the spineless apathy of native Egyptians. Some striking figures stand out, too, in this well-told group of tales. There is Dicky Donovan himself, the girlish-looking little Englishman, whose unfailing and sterling fidelity, keen insight into the deviousness of Oriental character, and unostentatious capabilities made him more valued by the Khedive than any other man in Egypt except Gordon, and whose insatiable craving for adventure leads him into the most reckless escapades.

There is the outcast British officer who had cheated at cards, and, after sinking so low as to be the slave of an Egyptian Pasha, redeems himself and dies at Gordon's side. And beside these there are native characters innumerable, as varied and as fascinating in their strangeness as the races from which they come.

The German Point of View The Kolnische Volkszeitung, in an article on ship subsidies, says:--"The fact cannot be disputed that the efforts of England and America are, in a large measure, due to fear of being eclipsed by us. And that raises the question: Are we not too loud and pompous in proclaiming the objects of our ambition? Many publications from trustworthy sources have caused Englishmen and Americans to think that it is our ambition to capture the control of the Atlantic. Could we not in the execution of our national plans be a little more discreet and work in accordance with Moltke's example of silence? Do we not injure ourselves by trying to alarm the whole world with high-sounding words? According to our view this would be the case when we are dealing with such rivals as John Bull and Uncle Sam. We may already be compelled to give up the race because these cousins have longer life financially than we."

Crime as a Fine Art "Some years ago," says Sir Robert Anderson in the Nineteenth Century, "a doctor friend of mine, who has a large practice in one of the suburbs spoke to me about a mysterious patient of his. Now and then he hastened to the man's house in response to an urgent message asking for his immediate attendance; but, though he always found him in bed, he never could discover anything serious the matter with him. This, however, was scarcely a grievance from a doctor's point of view, especially as the patient was rich, and always paid his account with commendable promptitude.

But a strange incident had recently occurred. When, in compliance with a summons more urgent even than usual, my friend hurriedly entered his patient's room, the man sprang up in the bed and covered him with a revolver. As a matter of fact, this seemingly eccentric individual was one of the criminals I am alluding to. He it was who stole the famous Gainsborough picture which Mr. Agnew recovered in such a dramatic manner. The doctor's visits were designed to support an alibi in the event of his being accused of complicity with any of the crimes he directed. If, for example, a police officer should swear that the man was seen with a fellow criminal, say at twelve o'clock on a certain day, his doctor could testify that an hour later on that very day he found him still in bed. The man lived in luxury, though he never did an honest day's work in his life. I know of crimes his earnings from which, taken together, amounted to very large sums; in one case they were reckoned by tens of thousands of pounds. At one time he kept a steam yacht. He was not only a master in planning a great crime, but he was in a position to choose suitable lieutenants to carry it out, and also to supply them with the necessary funds."

Could He Get Him Stuffed?

A good story of parental affection, according to The King, is told by a popular bishop well known in the East End of London for his work among the poor there. A costermonger was in great trouble. He had just lost his little son, and the good bishop was seeking to console him as well as he was able, when the costermonger suddenly looked up, and in a broken voice and with tears streaming down his cheeks, said, "D'ye think I could get the young beggar stuffed?"


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Copyright 2002 Whitehern Historic House and Garden
The development of this website was directed by Mary Anderson, Ph.D. and Janelle Baldwin, M.A.
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