My heart went down into my boots. Here I had made a play for a dinner and got left. About a week after this I was doing a little job in the laundry when I ran across the cook, and she said, “Young man, would you like a little bite to eat?” I answered quickly, “Yes, thank you, Mrs. Cunningham,” just as sweet as anything. No more “cook” for mine. I’ll never call people by their occupation again as long as I live. I’d had my lesson; but I had won out on my dinner too. A short time after she asked me if I could read, and would I read the news to her while she was peeling potatoes. I answered very sweetly, “Yes, Mrs. Cunningham,” and I got my supper.
I would see Irvine once in a while, and I was always ready to give up my job, but he would say, “Stay six months, get a recommend, and then you can get something better. Just let God take care of you, and you’ll come out away on top of the heap. God is going to use you in His work. Just keep on trusting and don’t get discouraged.” He always had a word of cheer, and I thank God that I did trust, and things came out better than I even thought.
You readers who are just starting out in the Christian life, just let God have His way. Don’t think you know it all. Go right ahead, have a little sand, and trust Him. He will never leave you, and you will have the best in this life and in the life to come. It’s an everlasting joy, and isn’t it worth working for, boys?
I remember, when I knelt down in 105 Bowery beside my cot to ask God’s blessing and guidance, how a laugh used to go around the dormitory. There were about seventy beds in the place, and it was something unusual to see a man on his knees praying. But when I started out to be a man I meant business, and I said I would say my prayers every night. I don’t think God can think much of a man who says his prayers lying on his back, unless he’s sick. I believe God expects us to get on our knees, for if a thing is worth getting it’s worth thanks. I didn’t mind the laugh so much, but I did some: it was sort of cutting. I’m no coward physically, and can handle myself fairly well at the present time, but when it came to getting on my knees I was a rank coward.
A lodging-house is a queer affair. Men of all nations sleep there—some drunk, some dreaming aloud, others snoring. The cots are about two feet apart—just room for you to pass between them. It takes a lot of grit and plenty of God’s grace to live a Christian life in a lodging-house. I go in them every day now to look after the other fellow: if he is sick or wants to go to the hospital I’ll see to that; but I never can forget the time when I was one of those, inmates.
One night I had just got on my knees when boots, shoes, and pillows came sailing at me; one boot hit me, and it did hurt for fair. Then a whiskey flask hit me, and that hurt. I was boiling with rage. I got up, but I didn’t say anything; no one would have answered me if I had; they were all asleep, by the way. We call such business hazing, but it’s mean and dirty.