From the Bottom Up eBook

Derry Irvine, Baron Irvine of Lairg
This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 213 pages of information about From the Bottom Up.

The small church, the chapel on “the bottoms,” the work of the college students and the increasing circle of converts and friends made the work attractive to me, but I had entered the political field in order to protest against and possibly remedy something civic that savoured of Sodom; and for a minister that was an unpardonable sin.  The “interests” determined to cripple me or destroy my work.  This they did successfully by the medium of a subsidized press and other means, fair and foul.  It was a case of a city against one man—­a rich city against a poor man and the man went down to defeat—­apparent defeat, anyway:  I packed my belongings and left.  As I crossed the bridge which spans the river I looked on the little squatter colony on “the bottoms” and as my career there passed in review, for the second time in my life I was stricken with home-sickness and I was guilty of what my manhood might have been ashamed of—­tears.

CHAPTER XIV

MY FIGHT IN NEW HAVEN

The experiences of 1894, ’5 and ’6 gave me a distaste—­really a disgust—­with public life I felt that I would never enter a large city again.  I sought retirement in a country parish; this was secured for me by my friend, the president of Tabor College, the Rev. Richard Cecil Hughes.

It was in a small town in Iowa—­Avoca in Pottawattomie County; I stayed there a year.

In 1897 I was in Cleveland, Ohio, in charge of an institution called The Friendly Inn; a very good name if the place had been an inn or friendly.  My inability to make it either forced me to leave it before I had been there many months.  It was in Cleveland that I first joined a labour union.  I was a member of what was called a Federal Labour Union and was elected its representative to the central body of the union movement.

Early in 1898 I was in Springfield, Mass., delivering a series of addresses to a Bible school there.  My funds ran out and not being in receipt of any remuneration and, not caring to make my condition known, I was forced for the first time in my life to become a candidate for a church.  There were two vacant pulpits and I went after both of them.  Meantime I boarded with a few students who, like their ancestors, had “plenty of nothing but gospel.”

They lived on seventy-five cents a week.  Living was largely a matter of scripture texts, hope and imagination.  I used to breakfast through my eyes at the beautiful lotus pond in the park.  We lunched usually on soup that was a constant reminder of the soul of Tomlinson of Berkeley Square.  Quantitively speaking, supper was the biggest meal of the day—­it was a respite also for our imaginations.

The day of my candidacy arrived.  I was prepared to play that most despicable of all ecclesiastical tricks—­making an impression.  I almost memorized the Scripture reading and prepared my favourite sermon; my personal appearance never had been so well attended to.  The hour arrived.  The little souls sat back in their seats to take my measure.

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From the Bottom Up from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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