“Meanwhile there are the wife and children,” said Mrs. Bruce. “How awful! Where is the place, did you say?”
“Why, it is only three blocks from here. This is the ’Penrose district.’ I believe Penrose himself owns half of the houses in that block. They are among the worst houses in this part of the city. And Penrose is a church member.”
“Yes, he belongs to the Nazareth Avenue Church,” replied Dr. Bruce in a low voice.
The Bishop rose from the table the very figure of divine wrath. He had opened his lips to say what seldom came from him in the way of denunciation, when the bell rang and one of the residents went to the door.
“Tell Dr. Bruce and the Bishop I want to see them. Penrose is the name—Clarence Penrose. Dr. Bruce knows me.”
The family at the breakfast table heard every word. The Bishop exchanged a significant look with Dr. Bruce and the two men instantly left the table and went out into the hall.
“Come in here, Penrose,” said Dr. Bruce, and they ushered the visitor into the reception room, closed the door and were alone.
Clarence Penrose was one of the most elegant looking men in Chicago. He came from an aristocratic family of great wealth and social distinction. He was exceedingly wealthy and had large property holdings in different parts of the city. He had been a member of Dr. Bruce’s church many years. He faced the two ministers with a look of agitation on his face that showed plainly the mark of some unusual experience. He was very pale and his lips trembled as he spoke. When had Clarence Penrose ever before yielded to such a strange emotion?
“This affair of the shooting! You understand? You have read it? The family lived in one of my houses. It is a terrible event. But that is not the primary cause of my visit.” He stammered and looked anxiously into the faces of the two men. The Bishop still looked stern. He could not help feeling that this elegant man of leisure could have done a great deal to alleviate the horrors in his tenements, possibly have prevented this tragedy if he had sacrificed some of his personal ease and luxury to better the conditions of the people in his district.
Penrose turned toward Dr. Bruce. “Doctor!” he exclaimed, and there was almost a child’s terror in his voice. “I came to say that I have had an experience so unusual that nothing but the supernatural can explain it. You remember I was one of those who took the pledge to do as Jesus would do. I thought at the time, poor fool that I was, that I had all along been doing the Christian thing. I gave liberally out of my abundance to the church and charity. I never gave myself to cost me any suffering. I have been living in a perfect hell of contradictions ever since I took that pledge. My little girl, Diana you remember, also took the pledge with me. She has been asking me a great many questions lately about the poor people