In An Underground
Edward H. Joy
This is a selection from the unpublished manuscript,
'Our Fathers Have Told Us',
some early-day stories from The
When I look at the gentle-faced veteran women of The Army, and
think of the storm of persecution through which many of them
have come, I wonder greatly at their placid demeanour.
It is hard for me to think of them as the heroines of
the scenes and exploits which are far beyond the imagination
of present-day Salvationists.
I have one such woman in my mind.
Frail now, bent a little, using a stick to support her
wearying limbs, but a smile of the peace of God surrounded by
a glorious wealth of snow-white hair.
Could anybody think of her as having suffered
imprisonment for The Army, or of having been kicked and stoned
through the street until she lay unconscious?
There she would sit, as if never a pain nor a frown had
been her lot.
In her early experience she had been one of a number of Army
girls working in what was then called, the ‘Cellar, gutter,
and garret Brigade’, in the slums of London, where the cries
of ‘Murder!’ were frequent additions to the multitudinous
sounds of squalid ribaldry and vulgar dissipation.
Upon one occasion in the course of her door-to-door visitation
she found herself in an underground den, left alone with a man
of the ‘Bill Sykes’ type, the awful hideousness of whose face
was in itself a grim tale.
He dragged her across the floor, and roughly shaking
her, hoarsely declared that he ‘would do her in’ within three
“See,” he hissed through his broken teeth, and pointing to a
gloomy aperture in the floor.
could throw your body down there, and nobody would ever find
“You could do it if – IF – God would let you,” she replied.
“BUT HE WILL NOT LET YOU!
Remember I am His child, and I am not afraid.”
Cowed by her calm courage, but breaking into foul
language, he said, “I’d do it – yes, I would – if your
God would let me!
Here, clear out; it’s only Him that’s kept me from doing it!”