Weapons of Defence
Edward H. Joy
This is a selection from the unpublished manuscript,
'Our Fathers Have Told Us',
some early-day stories from The
This is another story for which I am indebted to my American
veteran friend; again I set it down in much the same words as
it first came to me.
“I know,” she said, “there are some folks who are always
saying they wish they could have the good old days back again,
but, on enquiry, I find they know very little about the things
we had to endure in the early days of The Army.
We were quite young then, and I am afraid that some of
our antics were very strange to good thinking people who had
never been used to a noisy religion.
It is a small wonder that the rough element treated us
badly, for we were straight-out in our expressions about sin
and bad habits.
But, talking about the ‘good old days’, I, for one, am not
anxious to go through again what I had to endure fifty years
“For instance, I do not want to have repeated the experience
of a certain evening when I was coming home from the meeting
with my husband; not walking slowly, because we didn’t dare to
dawdle along the streets in those days, but getting along as
fast as we could for fear we should suffer some interruption.
“Suddenly, around the corner, came a crowd of toughs, and
without the slightest warning, the leader of them rushed up to
my husband, and deliberately kicked him under the chin.
A policeman was in sight and saw what was done, and
arrested the man, but the judge, who had a prejudice against
us, and did not scruple to let it be known, dismissed the
“The night following, as soon as we opened the Hall for the
meeting, this same man, with about fifty others, rushed into
the room, declaring they had come for their revenge, - and
they had it. Not
a breakable piece of furniture was left whole!
“I was at the back of the Hall contending with some others who
were determined to push in, and my husband was up at the front
defending the property there, - a helpless task.
At length some frightened citizens went for the police;
four of them appeared and told us they would escort us home.
“However, in spite of them, the young man who had been
acquitted that morning, hid in a door-way, and, as we passed,
rushed out and jumped on my husband, felling him to the
ground, while another man took a deliberate running kick at
his head, leaving him unconscious.
As he lay there senseless the police stood over him
with drawn truncheons, and of course the cowardly attackers
made their escape.
“But some time after we had our reward, for in one of our
meetings in another town, a young Captain stood up to tell us
he was present on the occasion of that riot, and that our
Christian-like behaviour had been the means of bringing him to
Christ. I have
since heard of another who was present and gave his heart to
God, and has since won hundreds of souls for Christ’s Kingdom.
So our fight was worthwhile.
“Of course, to every rough time there is an amusing side if
one can only find it, and those we often suffered very much,
there were occasions when we had a good laugh out of our
“We had been told that we need not be surprised if any night
the mob raided our house and dragged us from our beds.
We would not have been surprised if they had attempted
it, for there seemed to be no limit to their fury, especially
when they had been primed by drink and incited to further evil
actions by the saloon-keepers.
“One night we had retired to rest.
We had had a tough fight and were dreadfully tired, and
I was just dozing, when I heard a strange noise.
I saw up and listened and heard the voices of several
men who seemed to be surrounding the house.
Their language was vile in the extreme.
I wakened my husband, and told him I was sure the mob
had come at last, and that we had better get up and prepare to
Poor man, he was only half awake, but he got up and went to
the door of the room where our two men lieutenants were
sleeping, and told them they had better dress and be ready for
“They were ready on the instant, and on the stairs we held a
consultation, stealthily arranging our scheme of defence.
We decided it would not be wise to show a light, as the
enemy might fire on us through the window.
We looked around for some weapons with which we could
repel the enemy.
Dear me! What
could we do?
“After a few moments, four brave warriors, including myself,
were standing behind the front door, armed to the teeth.
I was brandishing the housebroom, while the rest were
wielding weapons equally dangerous – the fire-shovel, the
poker, the stove-raker, etc.
There we stood, determined to sell our lives as dearly
“Soon I was shivering with cold, for I was but half-clad, and
the broom was proving a heavy, awkward weapon, and I was
beginning to wonder when the foe would make a charge.
We thought all manner of things, and whispered to each
other that they were setting light to the house, and that we
should all be cremated – and then I heard a woman’s voice.
“We listened earnestly, and soon found out the cause of all
It was an old drunken woman who had stumbled over our steps on
her way home, and refused to budge, in spite of the earnest
entreaties of her friends.
A crowd of young fellows had gathered to watch their
efforts, and hence the noise, which my exalted imagination had
construed into a ‘tar and feather’ party.
Oh the relief!
“Our weapons were soon put back where we had found them, and
we had a good laugh over our valiant conduct and half-dressed
appearance. I am
afraid I was rather wicked, but I could not help remarking
that it was the first time I was glad to know an old woman was
“However, in spite of our struggles, we had our joys, as well
When we were leaving that particular town, one of our foremost
persecutors came to see us away, and told us how sincerely he
repented his conduct, and was determined to lead a better
afterwards heard that he was saved and a good Soldier.
“We now have the gladness after all these years of knowing
that in the city of our struggles the Flag of The Army is
waving high, and our people held in the highest respect.
But, as for those who want ‘the good old days back
again’, well, let them want; for my part I had enough of them
while they were on.