“You would think that a man who had been the pal of Ranney for three years would never say an unkind word to one that he loved, but that is what I did. We had a misunderstanding, and I said things to Dave Ranney that he never will forget. I called him every name on the calendar. He was speechless and I thought afraid of me. He never said a word. I left him standing there as if petrified—his friend and pal talking to him like that, his pal that sang with him, and joked with him!
“I went home and swore that never again would I have anything to do with a Christian. I had forgotten for the moment all the little kindnesses he had done and how after I had been on a drunk he had been at my bedside, how he had spoken words of cheer and comfort and said, ‘Dan, old man, cheer up. Some day you are going to cut out drink’; and I want to say right now that I have not drank in over twelve years. I’d forgotten all that. I only thought of how I might hang the best fellow on this earth. I came to myself ten minutes after I left him, but the work had been done, and I made up my mind I’d never see or speak to him again. I’d go back to my old life of gambling and cheating, and I did.
“Five months passed. I had not seen Ranney in all that time. I was playing poker one night, the 16th of September, 1899, with no more thought of Dave than if he had never lived. It was in the old —— —— Hotel on Water Street, a little before eight in the evening. My partner and I were having a pretty easy time stealing the other men’s money—some call it cheating—when my thoughts turned to my old Christian pal Ranney. It was the eighth anniversary of his conversion. Quick as a flash I jumped to my feet and said, ’Boys, I’ll be back in an hour. I’ve got to go!’ My partner thought I had been caught cheating and was going to cash his chips. I said, ‘I’ll be back in a little while.’
“I ran all the way up to the Bowery to the place where Ranney was holding his meeting. The Mission was packed. There were a lot of big-guns on the platform. No one saw me that knew me. Ranney was asking for those testimonies that would help the other fellow. I got on my feet and faced him. He turned pale. He thought I was going to set him out then and there. He looked me straight in the eye and began to come slowly toward me, and when I had finished we had one another by the hand. This is part of what I said that night:
“’I make no pretense at being a Christian. I am a gambler. But the man standing there—Dave Ranney—was once my chum and pal. We had a little misunderstanding some five months ago, and I am here to-night to ask his forgiveness. Forgive me, Dave. I just left a card-game to come up to your anniversary and help make you happy. I know you don’t believe I meant what I said. I love you more to-night than any time since I first met you. Why, men, I would lay down my life that Ranney is one of the best and whitest Christians in New York to-night. It ain’t the big things that a man does that show his real character. No, it’s the little things. I have watched Ranney, been with him; his sorrows are my sorrows, his joys my joys. I can’t say any more to-night.’