JAC Online

The Returned Insurance Money
by Colonel Edward H. Joy

This is a selection from the unpublished manuscript,
'Our Fathers Have Told Us',
some early-day stories from The Salvation Army

The Officer had had so many rebuffs in his collecting for ‘Self-Denial’ that he felt like giving up altogether, and letting the Effort take care of itself, but, with a fresh prayer in his heart, he entered the great offices of the insurance company, and asked to see the manager.  Much to his unbelieving surprise, he was received quite heartily, and invited to make known his requirements.

“Why, yes,” said the manager, of course we’ll help The Army, although we’ve been obliged to turn down so many appeals this year, owing to the dreadful depression, but my directors have given me special instructions that your donation is not to be withheld.”

“Well, now,” said the Adjutant, “that’s very kind; I’m glad to hear we are to be so specially favoured.”

“Oh,” said the other, “it has been a standing rule for years, and I don’t know why you shouldn’t hear the reason; it may be of some encouragement to you.  Of course, I cannot mention names, - that you’ll understand.”

“It’s like this.  A few years ago a man, a farmer, took out a policy with us, - he lives in this neighbourhood.  Soon afterwards he came it to tell us he had had a fire, and put in his claim.  We made the usual inquiries, and everything seemed all right, and, finding nothing wrong, we paid up – about a hundred pounds. 

“Then about two years ago – maybe, three – the same man called to see us, and told he that ‘He’d got saved at The Salvation Army’, and that he had told the Captain he had defrauded us, he himself had set fire to his farm, and made a wrongful claim.  Apparently your Officer had told him that he couldn’t be a proper Christian until he had put right his wrong with us; so along he came. 

“’Here you are’, he said.  ‘I’ve only L15 so far, but I want you to take this in part payment of my wrong, and, as soon as I can, I’ll pay the balance; I’ll sign a note for it now, and then, if you want to put me in gaol for it I’m quite ready to pay the penalty.  Anything to get peace in my soul’, he said.

“Of course, I had to report the matter to my directors, but I put it as favourably as I could.  I was a bit astonished, though, when I heard from the Head  Officer that I was to accept the man’s offer, and not to be too hard on the balance, and as for making it a gaoling matter, - nothing doing.   But what surprised me  most of all, because I hadn’t made much of it in my letter to the Board, ‘that on no account was I to refuse The Salvation Army their subscription’.  ‘If The Army’. They said, ‘could make men act as this man had done, they were a better Insurance Company than we were’.

“Let me see, Adjutant, what’s the usual amount?  Oh, yes, very well, here’s the cheque, and may God continue to be with your people.”








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