The 'Fraud' Who Became Free
Edward H. Joy
This is a selection from the unpublished manuscript,
'Our Fathers Have Told Us',
some early-day stories from The
This is the story of a man who went to prison to get a clear
the early days of The Army in Norway, there was a man who for
years who had kept a bogus labour bureau in Oslo (then called
plan of campaign was to concoct an advertisement of a splendid
situation, which would tempt the impecunious clerk,
stenographer, or whatever worker it would fit.
Thirty or forty would flock for it, paying an entrance
fee which was to be refunded if they did not, within a
reasonable period, secure a suitable situation through his
Usually, before the end of the time they tired of waiting,
having been told again and again that the situation was not
yet actually vacant, or retreated in disgust on being told
that it had been given to another man who had applied just
before them. Many
never came back for their money.
He always took care to have a second grand and
attractive proposition on hand by the time their claims would
fall due, so that a fresh crop of dues would meet all claims.
Long experience, however, had taught him that the
creditors who never back would always be numerous to afford
him a comfortable margin of profit.
The sort of thing went on for years without his being
discovered as the fraud he was.
Then one day he went to a Salvation Army meeting, and
He could obtain no clear peace of soul, however, until he knew
he had either made recompense to those whom he had defrauded,
or atonement in some other fashion, - he must give
satisfaction to outraged law and justice.
He told his wife what he intended to do.
“I will kill myself and you, too, rather than submit to
such a disgrace,” said she.
But he informed against himself.
The police professed to believe that his confession was a
fabrication; it seemed difficult to do otherwise in face of
the reputation he had so carefully manufactured.
“Some one must charge you,” they said.
“We cannot take your mere confession as evidence.”
So he hunted up as many people as he could find whom he
had defrauded, and told them why they were required.
Incredible as it may seem, nearly thirty prosecuted him.
(was he not a vile Salvationist?
Nothing was too mean to be done to those wretched
magistrates before whom he appeared shared the common hatred
against The Army, and was as severe as possible with him,
apparently oblivious to the fact that his desire to live an
honest life had made him a prisoner.
Thirty days on bread-and-water, considered the
equivalent to six months hard labour, was his sentence.
He served his time and came out of gaol tranquil and glad, at
peace with God and man.
His reparation did not stay there, for he took upon
himself the task o refunding his ill-gotten gains to all who
had any claim upon him, so far as he could obtain information
about them. When
he returned from prison his fellow Salvationists gave him a
public Welcome Home, and praised the Lord that he had set
himself right with God and man.
At the time when we heard the story he was still one of the
happiest, freest men in all Norway.