‘Quite so,’ answered the Colonel, calmly, in almost the same words that Commissioner Sturgess had used, ’it is miracle; that is our belief. These men cannot change and purify themselves, their vices are instantaneously, permanently, and miraculously removed by the power and the Grace of God. This is the truth, and nothing more wonderful can be conceived.’
Here, without further comment, I leave this deeply interesting matter to the consideration of abler and better instructed persons than myself.
To come to something more mundane, which also deserves consideration, I was informed that in Glasgow, with a population of about 900,000, there exists a floating class of 80,000 people, who live in lodging-houses of the same sort as, and mostly inferior to the Salvation Army Shelter of which I am now writing. In other words, out of every twelve inhabitants of this great city, one is driven to that method of obtaining a place to sleep in at night.
In this particular Refuge there is what is called a free shelter room, where people are accommodated in winter who have not even the few coppers necessary to pay for a bed. During the month before my visit, which took place in the summer-time, the Brigadier had allotted free beds in this room to destitute persons to the value of L13. I may add that twice a week this particular place is washed with a carbolic mixture!
I visited two of the Salvation Army’s Women’s Institutions in Glasgow. The first of these was a Women’s Rescue Home known as Ardenshaw. This is a very good house, substantially built and well fitted up, that before it was bought by the Army was the residence of a Glasgow merchant. It has accommodation for thirty-six, and is always full. The inmates are of all kinds, prison cases, preventive cases, fallen cases, drink cases. The very worst of all these classes, however, are not taken in here, but sent to the Refuge in High Street. Ardenshaw resembles other Homes of the same sort that I have already dealt with in various cities, so I need not describe it here.
Its Officers visit the prisons at Duke Street, Glasgow, Ayr, and Greenock, and I saw a letter which had just arrived from the chaplain of one of these jails, asking the Matron to interest herself in the case of a girl coming up for trial, and to take her into a Home if she were discharged as a first offender.
While I was eating some lunch in this house I noticed a young woman in Salvation Army dress coming up the steps with a child of particularly charming appearance. At my request she was brought into the room, where I extracted from her a story which seems to be worth repeating as an illustration of the spirit which animates so many members of the Army.