I went to work as usual the next day, and thought and planned all day how to catch one of those fellows. I figured out the following plan: I did not go to bed that night until quite late; the gas was turned down low, and I made noise enough for them to hear me. When I was ready for bed I knelt down and turned my head as quick as a flash to catch the throwers, for I knew they would throw again. Just as I turned I caught the fellow in the act of throwing a bottle. It seemed as though the Devil had got me for fair again, for I made a rush for that fellow, got him by the throat, pulled him out of bed and jumped on him, and I think if it hadn’t been for the watchman I would have killed him; but he said, “Dan, for God’s sake don’t kill him!” I let up, and, standing upon that dormitory floor, beds all around, every one awake, about 11 P. M., I gave my first testimony, which was something like this: “Men, I’ve quit drinking—been off the stuff about two weeks, a thing I have not done in years unless locked up. I’ve knelt and asked God to keep me sober and have thanked Him for His kindness to me. Now if you men don’t let me alone in the future I’ll lick you or you will me.”
I went to my cot and knelt down, but I was so stirred up I couldn’t pray. I wondered if there was going to be any more throwing, but that night finished it. I went up in the opinion of those men one hundred per cent. I lived there until the place burned down, and was one of the fortunate ones that got out alive when so many lost their lives, and I always said my prayers and was respected by the men. I was making lots of friends and attending Sunday-school, prayer-meeting, and mission services.
One Thanksgiving-time I was hired to carry dinners to the poor families by the New York City Mission. Mrs. Lucy Bainbridge was the superintendent. God bless her, for she was and is one good woman! I didn’t have any overcoat and it was cold; but I didn’t mind, as I was moving about carrying the dinners. This was about two months after I had decided to follow Christ, and I still had the furnace job when I met Mrs. Bainbridge.
She knew me by sight and asked me how I was getting on, and where was my overcoat? I told her I was getting along all right, but I had no overcoat. She said, “That’s too bad! Come with me and we will see if there’s one in the Dorcas Room”—a place where clothes are kept that good people send in for the poor who haven’t so much. There were quite a few coats there, any one of which would have suited me, but they didn’t please Mrs. Bainbridge. She said, “David, come into the office.” She gave me a letter to Rogers, Peet & Co., and told me to take it down there and wait for an answer.
I went down and gave the letter to a clerk, and it was great to see him eye me up. I didn’t know then how the letter read, but have since learned that the contents were as follows: “Give this man about the best overcoat you have in the store.” No wonder he looked me over!