When my employer came in that morning I told him I was sick the day before and not able to get out of bed. He just stood there and looked at me, and said, “What a liar you are! You were seen at the circus yesterday! Now, why didn’t you tell me the truth, and I would have overlooked it? I can’t have any one in my employ that I can’t trust.” So I had to look for another job. I was sorry, but it was my own fault. There I was, without a job and without a recommendation. What was I going to do? Surely “the way of the transgressor is hard.”
I tell the men in the Mission night after night that I would rather deal with a thief than a liar, because you can protect yourself against a thief, but a liar—what can’t a liar do? If I had only told the truth to my employer that day, why, as mother said afterwards, he would have given me a lecture, and it would have been all over.
DEEPER IN THE MIRE
Now what was I to tell my mother? You see, if you tell one lie you are bound to tell others, and after you have lied once, how easy it is! My side partner, the Devil, was there by my side to help me, and he said, “Don’t tell your mother.” So I said nothing, and took my carfare and lunch money every day, went out as if I were going to work, and hoped that something would turn up. That’s the way with the sinners; they are always hoping and never doing. So it was with me, always hoping, and the Devil always saying, “Don’t worry; it will be all right.”
I used to dread going home at night and meeting my mother, and when she would say, “How have you got on to-day?” I was always ready with another lie, telling her I was doing finely, that the boss said he was going to give me a raise soon. He had—he had raised me right out of the place!
I was getting deeper and deeper into difficulty and could not see my way out. Oh! if I had only told my mother the truth, how different my life might have been! Saturday night was coming, and I did not have any money to bring home, and I did not know what to do. I thought of everything, but could not see my way out, when the thought came to me, “Steal!” My sister was saving up some money to buy a suit, and I knew where she kept it and determined to get it. That night I entered her room and took all the money she had saved. No one saw me but God, but the Devil was there with me, and said, “Isn’t it easy? Don’t be a coward! God doesn’t care.” I knew right down in my heart that He did care, and in after years when I was wandering all over the States I found out how much He really cared, and I said, “Praise His name!”
[Illustration: A back yard on the Bowery.]
[Illustration: One of RANNEY’S former haunts.]
INTO THE DEPTHS
After I had taken this money from my sister I knew that I was suspected. I was accused of taking it, but I was getting hardened; I had lost my job through lying; I was getting tired of home; I didn’t care very much how things went.