“Come up for my things.”
I jumped on a single truck, drove up to Sixty-seventh Street, and got all my wife’s things, trunks, band-boxes and everything, and it did not take me long to get down to the church. Mary was already there, and I took charge of the Church of the Sea and Land at Market and Henry Streets, where I remained as sexton for ten years. I would not take $10,000 for the character I received from the trustees when I resigned. I always look back with pleasure to those good old days at the church, the many friends we made, and the many blessings I received while there.
It did not take us long to get the run of the place. We sent for our boy, who was in Ireland with his mother’s folks. When he came I didn’t know him, as I hadn’t seen him since he was a little baby. What a surprise it was when at my sister’s house, after supper, she went into the front room, leaving me alone in the kitchen, when a manly little fellow came in and looked me over and said, “Hello, father, I’m your son Willie. How are you?”
I looked at him, but couldn’t say a word, for I had almost forgotten that I had a son. I opened my arms and the boy came with a rush, threw his arms around my neck, and said, “I love you, dad.”
I want to say here that this boy has never given me any trouble and we have been companions ever since that night. He married a good Christian girl and is in his own home to-day.
I heard a little laugh, and there were my sister and Mary taking it all in. I could see then that it was a put-up job, this getting me to go up to my sister’s house.
Time passed and we were doing finely. One day we heard the boy playing the piano, and we got him a teacher. In a short time he was able to play for the smaller classes, the juniors. Then my friend Mrs. Bainbridge got him a better teacher. He improved rapidly, and now he is organist in the Fifty-seventh Street Presbyterian Church.
I tell you it pays to be a Christian and on the level. If I hadn’t done anything else but give that boy a musical education, it would have paid. I’m proud of him.
MY FIRST SERMON
I remember the first meeting I ever led. It came about like this: I had been sexton of Sea and Land Church about four years, was growing in grace and getting on finely. One Wednesday night the minister asked me if I would lead the prayer-meeting the following week, as he was going away. I told him I did not know how to lead a meeting and I was afraid to undertake it, as I couldn’t preach a sermon. “Oh, that’s all right,” he said. “I’ll write out something, and all you will have to do is to study it a little, read it over once or twice, then get up and read it off.” I told him I’d try. I’d do the best I could. So he wrote about ten sheets of foolscap paper, all about sinners. I remember there was a story about a man going over the falls in a boat, and lots of other interesting things as I thought. I took the paper home and studied as hard as I could to get it into my head.