I said: “Yes, up there,” pointing to Heaven.
All fear was gone, and now in the time of almost certain danger I was confident of deliverance, when before I had been nervous, in time when all was secure. At last the cry came in: “You are saved.” I went in the hotel office, sat down by the stove and Alex, my son-in-law, was by me. I said to him: “Oh, Alex, my vision!” He looked almost paralyzed, for I had told him it was a warning and all the circumstances. From that day to this I have never had any fear of fire.
One noon I was busy with the guests and waiting on the tables, and going to the kitchen I saw sitting on the wood-box a poor dejected looking creature, a man about twenty-four years of age. He asked me if I had any tinware to mend. I told him, “No, but you can have your dinner.” He said. “I don’t want any.” He looked the picture of dispair. I said: “Don’t go until I can speak to you.”
When I had time I told him I wanted some one to wash dishes. He consented to stay, and I felt at that time I must care for that poor creature or he would die. He stayed with us three years and proved to be a jewel. All the rest of my help was colored, and generally speaking, white and colored help do not assimilate, but they all had profound respect for Smith. He soon owned his horse and did the draying for the hotel. Then he got to be a clerk, and bought pecans for the northern market. All his family had died from consumption, and he was traveling for his health. He left us for Pierce’s Sanitarium, Buffalo, N. Y., and stayed there some time for treatment. He ran a little booth by the Niagara Bridge, and soon accumulated quite a little sum. He became a Christian and married. I often got letters from him expressing so much gratitude. He was an infidel when he first came, and he said it was my influence that made him a Christian.
I often had the Orthodox Jews to stop with me. They ate nothing that contained lard; their food was mackerel, eggs, bread and coffee. The rates were two dollars a day, but I charged them only one dollar, and allowed them to pay their bills with something that was in their “pack.” My other guests would often regard them with almost scorn, but when they were at their meals I would wait on them myself, showing them this preference, for I could not but respect their sacrifice for the sake of their religion. I have always treated the Jews with great respect. Our Savior was a Jew and said: “Salvation is of the Jews.” They are a monument to the truth of the Scriptures, a people without a country; and though they are wanderers upon the face of the earth, they retain their characteristics more than any other people have ever done. If an Italian, German or Frenchman comes to America, in a hundred years he becomes thoroughly an American, losing the peculiarities of his descent. But wherever a Jew goes no matter how long he stays he remains a Jew. This can be said of no other people on earth.