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Title: Alter Ego - A Tale
Author: Walker, W. W.
Language: English
As this book started as an ASCII text book there are no pictures available.

*** Start of this LibraryBlog Digital Book "Alter Ego - A Tale" ***

Alter Ego


by Rev. W. W. Walker

Author of "By Northern Lakes," "Sabre Thrusts at Freethought," "Plain
Talks on Health and Morals, Part II," and "Occident and Orient."





Entered according to Act of the Parliament of Canada, in the year one
thousand nine hundred and seven, by WILLIAM WESLEY WALKER, at the
Department of Agriculture


  Lydia Kirby Walker

  the granddaughter of a cultured Frenchman
  and the faithful partner of my joys
  and sorrows, this volume
  is affectionately

The author is indebted to the great national newspapers of Canada and
the United States, the Toronto _Globe_ and _Collier's Weekly_, for some
facts from the former and some figures from the latter in rounding up
the historical part of the story as relating to the conflict in the Far


To men who teach and write the oft-recurring question comes, How can we
so influence others in heart and intellect as to help them reach a
loftier plane of thought and action?  As every life has its Gethsemane
of sorrow and tragedy, so every life has its morning star of hope and
its mainspring of faith.

Our salvation, then, and the lifting up and saving of others is the
exercise of that vital principle which has its incarnation in hope.
The use of this still further causes the mountains of difficulty that
loom portentous in our pathway and tower to the heavens to crumble into

The soul is made optimistic and the life beautified by its possession,
while the ear is brought, spiritually speaking, within range of the
victorious shout, "More than conquerors!" and the new song, the song of
Moses and the Lamb.


   I. The Appointment
  II. Mr. Melvin's Marriage and Teachings
 III. Secretary-Treasurer Thompson's Death--A Surprise
        from the Far-off East
  IV. 203 Metre Hill and Mukden
   V. The Battle of Mukden--and Call of Mr. Devoau as
        Associate Minister
  VI. Further Teachings and how they are Estimated




In the uplands of Canada was an attractive church with a spire that
pointed longing souls to the skies, and the pastor of which had
finished his course with joy and was now joining in the hallelujah
choruses of the upper sanctuary.  The authorities of the denomination
to which the church belonged appointed a man to its pulpit who was
progressive and independent, as well as being very broad-minded.  The
necessity for this lay in the fact that the population of the place
represented nearly all the languages and creeds to be found in the
Dominion, and consequently if a man of narrow views were appointed he
would soon make shipwreck of everything.

The new minister, as well as being broad and advanced, was very
honorable, and would not in any way infringe upon the rights of others;
but as Mount Zion was the only church in the place, he was perfectly
safe from any charge of meanness, in the form of coaxing sheep away
from a brother's fold.  The first Sunday came upon which the Rev.
Thomas Melvin was to occupy his new pulpit, and an immense congregation
filled every part of the edifice.  The text was from the Saviour's
words, "Feed my sheep," and the preacher had not gone far when his
attentive hearers discovered that he was a man of great intellect and
unusual power as a speaker, and they were swayed as corn-stalks in a
tempest as he reasoned of the Saviour's place in the world, and of His
work, and also of man's obligations to Him, as well as to his fellows.

All through the week this first fearless and powerful sermon was the
talk of all who had heard it.  Some, however, did not like it, as
telling them of their duty caused indigestion, while others were
delighted, as they loved a man who shunned not to declare all counsel,
whether pleasing or displeasing.  The next Sabbath disclosed the fact
that Mr. Melvin was no plug either, as he said things outside the scope
of the Bible and over the boundary line of prescribed theology.  One
old gentleman who occupied a front seat in the church, and who was of
portly mould and genial disposition, and whose dinners were really of
more account in his estimation than anything else, forgot said feasts
for a period sufficiently long to say: "My songs!  I wonder what that
new preacher means, anyway!"

Next day our friend, who was dean of the dinner-table faculty, called
on his new pastor and said, after being asked how he liked the sermon
on Sunday: "My songs!  You said things that my bloomin' brain could
'ardly hunderstand."  To tell the truth, Mr. Melvin was something of a
statesman as well as a preacher, and with narrow bigots soon became as
much hated as he was beloved by the broad and liberal minded.  The
bigots, however, soon ceased to be.  Although those classing themselves
as belonging to other denominations were in no case strong enough to
form societies, yet they remained loyal to what they claimed allegiance
to, but this did not hinder them from frequently hearing Mr. Melvin,
who was delighted to see his countrymen, who in some cases spoke the
mellow, musical tongue of France, that land of art, science, and
literature, and military power.  As his congregation was so
cosmopolitan and contained representatives of every leading
denomination, the pastor of Mount Zion preached the doctrines of the
Bible in their broadest sense, and showed their most comprehensive

Everyone who heard Mount Zion's rector, or pastor, noticed that he was
perfectly fearless in depicting the exceeding sinfulness of sin, and
having found out that a certain prominent man in the place was very
vile in his morals, and had ruined many young lives, and was in the
habit of running the rig on good people, and who also was most
un-Canadian in his ways, he openly rebuked him for his evil deeds and
for not restraining his family.  Of course, this exasperated the man,
and for a long time he was a persistent enemy of Mount Zion's pastor,
but he was yet to find out that the servant of the Galilean would
conquer.  His sympathies were all of the Mother Goose type, as is the
case with most evil men, whose stamina is so exhausted in sinning that
they lack the courage to stand alone, and never dare to be Daniels,
above everything heeding God's command.

As Rev. Mr. Melvin was the only resident ordained man in the place, he
had a great many marriages.  Indeed, all the marriages--or rather,
marriage ceremonies--were performed by himself and the Rev. Father
Trenton, of the Catholic Church, who came occasionally from a
neighboring parish to minister to people of his own faith.

Mr. Melvin, after meeting Father Trenton two or three times, decided
that he was a man of fine principle and real moral worth, also a strong
advocate for total abstinence from cigarettes and strong drink,
believing, as a man of culture and science, that the effect of both was
pernicious and poisonous, and that on that ground they were to be
avoided.  The reverend father was a most companionable man, and, as Mr.
Melvin said, was a jolly good fellow.  he was soon invited to the manse
for tea, where a most enjoyable time was spent, and where many a good
story was told.  There soon came an invitation to Mr. Melvin from
Father Trenton to visit him at his home in the next town.  The
invitation was promptly accepted, and another happy evening whiled
away.  It was inspiring to all languages and creeds to see the warm and
hearty cordiality of feeling that existed between these two broad and
liberal-minded men, which taught the world that the elevation of the
human race lay not in such senseless antagonisms as existed among our
bigoted and foolish ancestors, but in the exercise of a spirit not only
of toleration, but of good-fellowship and love.

Some very amusing incidents occurred during the performance of the
marriage ceremony.  One man, who had previously been received into the
Church, and who was asked the question, "Will you renounce the world,
the flesh and the evil one?" the answer of which was, "I renounce them
all," was asked, "Will you have this woman to be your wedded wife, for
better, for worse, in sickness and health, till death you do part?" and
in his excitement, having the membership reception in mind, he said, "I
renounce them all."  On another occasion, while a couple were being
yoked together, the groomsman suddenly leaned over and saluted the
bride instead of the groom, to the infinite amusement of all present,
and causing the face of the latter to take on a crimson hue.



It was rumored for some time that the minister of Mount Zion, or the
incumbent, or pastor, or whatever you desire to call him, was in the
habit of visiting a certain young lady in a distant town.  Now there
were many fine young ladies belonging to the tabernacle, but as
distance seemed to lend merit and attractiveness, its spiritual head
found his choice elsewhere.  Although not a graduate, Miss Spencer was
a well-read young lady of refined instincts and excellent character;
she had taught school for some time, and was of French ancestry.  In
commenting afterward upon his choice, Mr. Melvin said that as a
Canadian he saw that one of the most important steps in nation building
was to unify, as far as possible, the different races and creeds in
this country, and he was one of those who were setting the pace.

When Mrs. Melvin was brought home, after a very interesting ceremony at
the Spencer homestead, the people were charmed with her and the
tabernacle congregation gave her a splendid reception.

The minister's wife in every way justified the good opinion formed of
her at first sight.  She was a quiet, unobtrusive Christian, with a
sympathetic nature, which soon brought her in touch with the poor and
afflicted in the community.  Many a basket prepared by her own hand
found its way into the homes of want, and many a visit was made which
comforted and cheered the anguished sufferer, and which tended to turn
the hour of sorrow into one of joy.  Mrs. Melvin proved herself an
angel of mercy in Carsville, and frequently relieved her husband by
taking charge of a service of praise, or by preaching a sermon in
connection with the Sabbath service.  Her work as a teacher had made
her a fluent, impressive and logical speaker, who was always acceptable
to the people.

Mr. Melvin now saw that the time was ripe for moulding public opinion
along not only spiritual but national lines, and he did not even
consult the politicians concerning the matter, but as a teacher applied
himself resolutely to the task.

The very first Sunday after bringing his bride from her somewhat
distant home the pastor of Mount Zion Tabernacle preached on sin, and
said the individual must come out from among his sinful associates in
renunciation thereof, and dare to be singular, or there is little hope.
As it is with individuals, so with nations.  The people who in a
national sense, associate with a country, to the extent of forming a
part of it, that reeks with drunkenness and licentiousness will
assuredly, if they do not come out from it, share its ruin, which is
sure and certain as the fact that God rules and reigns.

The following Sunday Mr. Melvin preached on the character and
attributes of Christ, saying that, He did not rule or reign among men
in an imperial sense, seated upon a kingly throne in such splendor that
only a chosen few could approach Him, but in a thoroughly democratic
manner, to whom the rich and poor, the learned and unlearned, all alike
could come, to find in Him a Saviour, Brother, Friend and merciful High
Priest, one who was touched with a feeling of human infirmity, and who
always entered into sympathy with humankind.

The third Sunday the subject was religion, the preacher asking if it
was a creed, or a bundle of doctrinal standards, if it was Calvinism or
Arminianism, Brahminism or Buddhism, Confucianism or Zoroastrianism, or
the cheering of narrow-minded bigots for sixteenth century ideas.

The man who with Pauline fearlessness asked these questions also
himself answered them, saying it is none of these, but it is to be so
filled with the loving Christ spirit as to visit the sick and
fatherless in their affliction, and keep unspotted from the world, to
manifest the Christ spirit in all life's relationships, which spirit
was one of broadest charity and love.

After those three momentous sermons the minister, to stimulate his
young people in a way that would lead to energetic action along the
line of acquiring knowledge, preached a sermon on the subject of
education.  He told his hearers not to be afraid to read scientific and
philosophical as well as historical literature, and do not become
nervous, he said, if many of your old cherished ideas are proven to
have had for their foundation the ever-shifting sand.

If research proves that man has been on this earth 2,000,000 of years
instead of 6,000, as formerly taught, do not be afraid to accept it,
for it is in perfect harmony with the teachings of God's own
revelation, and infinitely more correct than the antiquated teaching of
the past, according to the most eminent authority in the world.  If in
former times it was taught that the atmosphere was forty-five miles
high, who now would continue to adhere to such a belief, when with
their own' eyes they can see meteoric stones burst into flame one
hundred miles from the earth, thus proving the atmosphere to be
considerably more than that height, as in order to become so heated as
to glow it must collide with atmospheric particles for many miles.  The
same may be said of history, study it in every phase, turn on the side
lights, and you will find that in many cases it is very different to
what you have always been taught.  The immense congregation which
thronged the tabernacle were now beginning to find out that their
former teachers were of the antediluvian school, but that a man with
enlightened mind and scholarship so acute that it could not be measured
by academic degrees had come among them.  This progressive and advanced
teacher, however, warned them that in the midst of all their
advancement they would find that Israel's God was their God, and that
they would have to obey Him, and live clean, faithful, fruitful lives,
so as to one day hear the "Well done," and enter into the Master's joy.



The most pious and trusted of all the tabernacle officials was John
Thompson, who, though not handsome in the outer man, was in soul
beautiful.  Indeed, his homeliness was at one time the subject of a
good joke, when an old friend of Mr. Melvin's, who was a noted
scientist, in visiting him, attended a Sabbath service, and seeing him
(that is, Mr. Thompson), said to a bystander: "I have long sought for
the missing link to establish the development theory, but the last
place I ever expected to find it was in Mount Zion Tabernacle, and yet
there it is!"

In spite of jests, however, the secretary-treasurer had the qualities
of mind and heart which go to make the true man, and when word was
borne to his pastor that he was seriously ill, Mr. Melvin lost no time
in reaching his couch.  The first question he asked was, "Are you
suffering much, Brother Thompson," who, in reply, said: "I am suffering
great bodily pain, but though heart and flesh fail I am trusting in the
living God."  The fifteen minutes that followed were too sacred to
record, and when the minister left the sick man's chamber it was
noticed that his face looked as if he had been treading on the
borderland of Paradise.  Next day, as our clerical friend was entering
the home of his afflicted official, he met the medical doctor who had
been in attendance, and asked him if there was any hope for his friend.
The doctor said that if his trouble had been attended to in time his
life would have been saved, but now no power on earth could do more
than prolong it for a few days.  Mr. Melvin saw that what the man of
skill said was correct, as he had frequently noticed that Mr. Thompson
was in poor health, if appearances went for anything, and altogether he
was so busied with his duties and deeds of charity that he neglected
himself until there was no chance for medical science to give him, as
it would have done under Providence, if consulted in time, years of
usefulness.  Next time the pastor visited his dying parishioner, he
received some good advice from one who was not nearly so learned as
himself.  Said he: "If your sermons possessed the spirituality which
they do philosophy and common-sense, the congregation would soon
receive a great spiritual uplift."  Mr. Melvin was a very sane man, and
heeded not the rebuke except to profit by it.  Indeed, it was a marked
compliment to him that his teaching was endorsed by the best man in his
congregation while on the verge of the heavenly kingdom.

Next day the minister called again to see his faithful officer, and on
inquiry found that his hopes still rested upon his Saviour's blood and
righteousness, and in the conversation which followed Mr. Thompson
said: "How little in this hour do stocks, bonds and mortgages, houses
and lands, trouble one.  The only house of which I can now think is the
one to which I have a clear title through a loving Saviour's
sacrificial death, and it has not been formed by human hands, for its
builder and founder is God."  As Mr. Melvin bade farewell to his friend
on this occasion, he saw that he was steadily sinking, and would soon
be in the house of many mansions.  About two o'clock next morning the
door-bell at the parsonage was so vigorously rung that everybody was
awakened, and a message was handed in, asking the pastor to go, if
possible, at once to Mr. Thompson's, as he was just dying.

Mr. Melvin dressed quickly and passed out into the darkness of the
night, soon arriving at the home of the dying man.  One glance showed
that the sands had almost run out, but upon his feeling the hand-clasp,
the sick man revived for a time and said, "Eye hath not seen, nor ear
heard, neither hath it entered into the heart of man, the things which
God has in store for those that love Him."  After uttering these words
he seemed to be exhausted, and sank down deeper into his pillow.  Mr.
Melvin watched him, and after a time saw his lips move, and placing his
ear close to them, caught the words, "Home at last, home at last."
Then the lips ceased to move, and all could see that the ransomed
spirit of the redeemed man had passed beyond the river.

The people of Carsville and of the world had now an evidence that
character and true worth could not be measured by outward appearance.
During the hours that the body of the sainted Thompson lay in state and
was deposited in God's acre the flags were flying at half-mast, and
every business place was closed.  In spite of unattractive exterior the
people of all languages and creeds in the place recognized the fact
that a broad-minded man, full of loving sympathy for all classes and
creeds, was not dead, but had been translated.

Mr. Melvin always looked with a certain measure of suspicion upon
holiness people, believing that there was more hypocrisy than sanity in
all that sort of thing, and called to mind the case of Sambo who
professed it, and when asked by his good old-fashioned class-leader,
who knew his weakness, if he had during the past week stolen any ducks,
said, "No, massa."  "Any geese?"  "No, massa."  "Any turkeys?"  "No,
massa."  "Bless the Lord, Sambo, you are on your happy way to heaven."
As the leader passed on to admonish the next, Sambo turned to his
neighbor and whispered: "If massa had said chickens he had me; I was at
de roosts of Widder Simpkins last week."

Mr. Thompson had, however, never professed it, but his life gave
evidence that he possessed it, and his pastor thought it wise never to
mention that much misunderstood word "holiness" again.

Shortly after the burial of the secretary-treasurer there came to
Carsville a straight military-looking young man with an indifferent
air, who procured employment at the foundry, and whom the minister
noticed in the congregation, intercepting him at the close of the
service to find out who he was and to welcome him.  The person was
Leonard Devoau, who had returned from Manchuria, where he had fought in
the Russian army at Port Arthur and Mukden, escaping from the former to
the latter disguised as a Chinaman, where he took part in the world's
greatest battle.  Mr. Devoau said that he was born at Ottawa, the
capital of the Dominion, and always loved adventure, and it was this
love that led him to enlist in the Russian army, and pass through the
frightful scenes at the above places.

Mr. Melvin was much impressed by the bearing of the young stranger who
had returned from Manchuria so recently, and invited him to the
parsonage so that they might get better acquainted.  During the course
of the evening he asked his guest if he was fond of soldiering, and in
reply was told that when he left Canada he was in love with the idea,
and even after the awful experiences of Port Arthur, where he was often
for hours together in a perfect hell of fire, he thought he would love
a fair fight in the open, and accordingly broke for Mukden.  He told
the minister, however, that this great battle, including the retreat,
was even worse than the siege, as in the former large bodies of them
had frequently to face about and charge with the bayonet to press back
the hordes of Japanese who were continually driving in upon them.

Mr. Devoau said: "When you think of the fact that we could never meet
our enemies when we were not outnumbered from two to three to every one
of our own men, you will concede that we never had a fair chance, but
put them man to man and they could never withstand the Russians in a
bayonet charge.  The disparity in numbers is very evident from the fact
that the Russians had only 300,000 infantry and 26,700 cavalry at
Mukden, while opposed to this was a force of 650,000 men, or, for all
practical purposes, just double the number.  We fought them for
nineteen days along a front one hundred miles in length, and were only
then defeated by an accident, bringing off 1,300 guns out of 1,360, and
a larger quantity of baggage, marching into headquarters, as the corps
of General Linevitch actually did, with banners flying and bands
playing as if they were just fresh from the parade ground.  Marshal
Oyama may go down in history as a great strategist, but in my humble
judgment General Kuropatkin is greater.  The general knew full well
that if he had one more army corps he could have cut in two the long
drawn out flanking force of his antagonist, crumpled it up, and turned
their victory into a disastrous and decisive defeat.  As it was, at the
close of the war General Linevitch confronted the enemy with 1,000,000
men in arms, and they, unwilling to try conclusions when there was man
for man, made a peace favorable to Russia on the whole.  As
corroboration of this I give you the word of the foreign military
attaches to the Russian army."

As Mr. Melvin did not in his own home consider it in very good form to
inquire into the past history of Mr. Devoau, he soon visited him at his
lodgings and asked him concerning his life.  He said, in answer to the
question, that he had been brought up by Christian parents, who held
that any deviation from the path of moral rectitude was an awful thing,
and consequently he himself had never gotten astray morally; his
besetting sin, he said, was a love for wild adventure by flood or
field, and he was now perfectly satisfied and desired no more of that
kind of thing.  He had foolishly thought that there was much glory in
war, but after seeing its hydraheaded hideousness, and himself testing
its fearful hardships, he was prepared to denounce it as anti-Christian
and barbarous, except in a defensive sense.  Also concerning his
education he had helped different members of his father's family in
their studies, and had thus been prevented from entering upon a
university course, though he had undergraduate standing.

The pastor of the tabernacle said he was surprised that with his
standing he should enter a foundry, and work his way just as one would
who had no earlier advantages, but the reply was a very rational one,
for he said he and his brother had decided that when they had mastered
every detail of the business, and had saved sufficient money to warrant
it, they would start a foundry of their own.  "While in the Russian
army," he continued, "I discovered that the prospect for iron founders
was brighter than for most classes."

The minister now asked his new friend if he would like to join the
tabernacle, and at the same time gave him a hearty invitation, but he
said he could not conscientiously join, but would attend the services.
Mr. Melvin said, "Now I am not a bigot, and do not insist on every one
doing as I do, and being what I am.  How would you like to simply
become a member of our Young People's Society, where we would help you
and you could help us?"  "I will do that," said Mr. Devoau.

The new acquisition to the Debating Club of Mount Zion Tabernacle
proved a great drawing card, as it was well known at the foundry and
all around that he possessed a fine moral character and could always be
relied upon.  Before asking him to connect himself with the society the
minister had not only talked to him personally, but had also written to
Ottawa, and asked concerning his past life, and found that he had told
the truth, and that, as he himself said, "The worst things he had ever
done, and that only since entering the army, was to smoke a cigar and
play a game of cards without stakes."

The pastor and his officials, however, were soon to receive a rebuke
when Mr. Devoau told them, after they had been praising him for his
clean life, that if they had more of the loving Christ spirit instead
of lauding him they would be out into the lanes and alleys, into the
highways and byways, gathering in the lost and sinful rather than those
who had always been moral.  "It seems to me," he said, "the Church is
more needed to foster and guide those who have had their garments
stained with sin than those who without any credit to themselves, but
to the instruction and coercion of puritanical parents, always kept
themselves clean."

Mr. Melvin was so struck with the fact that the young man who had
rebuked them possessed true worth that he invited him to relate his
experiences during the war in an address, when the whole evening would
be given up to him, and on which the tabernacle doors would be thrown
open to the public.  The invitation was accepted, the young ex-soldier
announcing his intention of relating some of the incidents in
connection with the storming of 203 Metre Hill, of which he was one of
the defenders, and the assaults on the entrenchments at Mukden.



Before a crowded audience and under the auspices of the Young People's
Club, Mr. Devoau said: "Now, before I launch right out into a
description of battle charges, ladies and gentlemen, I want you to
understand that I feel so humble and modest in this matter that I
believe if I had never seen Port Arthur the defence would have been
just as stubborn, and if I had not been in the advanced works at Mukden
the battle would have lasted nineteen days all the same, and the army
of the Czar would have been saved.  Nothing worthy of notice occurred
during my long voyage from Montreal; at least everything was so tame in
the shape of the railway trip from Ottawa to the above-mentioned place,
and the tossing upon the waters of the mighty deep until a blockade
runner landed me at the seat of war, to what followed afterwards that I
will not weary you to-night by relating it.

"When I arrived at headquarters General Stoessel did not require my
services, as Russians only were preferred, but I pleaded so hard with
him through an interpreter, and told him I had come all the way from
Canada, and was just spoiling for a fight, telling him at the same time
if he desired to know more about me to send a cable message to their
consul at Ottawa.  This seemed to satisfy the general, and he at last
assigned me to the Prebensky Regiment of sharpshooters that held 203,
after testing me with a rifle.  I soon got well acquainted with my
comrades, and a jollier lot of fellows never lived, who had no end of
fun at the expense of the little niggers, as they termed the Japanese.
Our fun, however, was shortlived, for one day the hills opposite our
position burst into flame as though struck by lightning, and 203 Metre
spurted flame, and boiled like a cauldron from a succession of fearful
explosions, as shells alighted upon it.  Our colonel signalled us to
lie close.  Every little while a gun would be tossed clean into the air
by the explosion of an eleven-inch shell, and sometimes a whole squad
of men would be literally torn to pieces, legs, arms and fragments of
flesh flying in all directions.  This pounding made us dreadful angry,
a number of the men swearing fluently, even the grey-haired colonel, I
was told, made some unmentionable remarks, and I, who had never sworn
in my life, made some very sarcastic references to the proceeding.

"Those horrible eleven-inch shells made bomb-proofs and covered works
of all kinds very little more secure than the open.  Many men were
struck down around me, some of them horribly mangled, and portions of
the works literally smashed to splinters, but such is war, and some
call it glory.

"After this fearful hammering had gone on for a time with hell reigning
all around, as suddenly as it started the appalling din ceased, and
nothing could be heard but the piteous moaning of men who were so
horribly mangled, many of them, that if their own mothers were present,
they could not recognize them.  During the awful bombardment, just as
we had expected, the enemy, who had made considerable progress under
cover of the night, had advanced right to the foot of the hill.
Hitherto we could see nothing, as not a soldier was in sight, and all
that we could do was to pound the naked hillside, but now the little
brown squads, in twenties, began rushing across the fire zone, and it
appeared as if they were reserves coming up to reinforce the men at the
base of the hill.

"Our blood was up after the abuse we had received, and we pounded them
with big guns, pom-poms, Maxims and rifles, but still they came, and
quickly forming, marched up the valley of the shadow of death until a
shrill whistle rang out, when they turned square toward our position,
another whistle and they doubled files, and came on with splendid
precision.  Their colonel, a grey-haired veteran, stood on a spur, and
heedless of shrieking missiles, had only one thought, and that was of
203.  It is true the hill had been assaulted before, while it is
equally true that the enemy had been beaten back with frightful
carnage.  Now, however, something seemed to say that the end was near,
as old Teleda, the veteran of twenty-seven engagements, stood as if on
parade, directing the attack.  His men sank to mother earth singly and
in mangled heaps, but he had no eye for their dead or ear for the
moaning of their wounded; 203 was the game, and anything smaller, such
as noting the mutilated forms upon the blood-drenched sands in the
valley, was beneath contempt.  A battery of six guns came up to the
foot of the hill at a gallop, the gunners setting them at an angle of
many degrees, so as to rake our works, but though they concealed
themselves as best they could, our sharpshooters frequently got a bead,
and an artilleryman would throw up his hands with a shriek and tumble
in a heap.

"After a rest the enemy opened again, the hills in front spouting
flame, and the battery at the foot of our position vomiting death.
Between the explosions, however, and they came thick and fast, we saw
the figures of men as numerous as ants swarming up the base of the
hill.  Our machine guns were soon angled upon them, and our rifles sent
rattling volleys among them, but the explosions in our position now
come so frequently that we are soon choked in clouds of dust, and
battered by splinters of gun carriages and even falling sand bags.  The
signal now rang out to fix bayonets, and this was no sooner done than
hand grenades were hurled in upon us, the explosions of which tore the
heads off some of our men, the legs and arms off others, but the most
sickening sight to me was that of a man not three yards away who had
the fore part of his chest clean torn away, leaving his mangled lungs
exposed to view.  At this stage observation was cut short by a whole
battalion of Japanese infantry tumbling over the parapet, followed by
swarms of reserves.  We sprang upon them with the steel, and a
frightful conflict ensued, men fell dead in twos, often with their
bayonets buried in one another's bodies.  For two or three minutes
nothing could be heard but shots, and imprecations, and shrieks, and
rattling steel, and then all was over, 203 Metre Hill was taken, but
after we got out--that is, all that was left of us--it was turned into
a smoking volcano by the shells from our forts around, and the enemy
nearly shared our fate in being ejected."



After the recital of the fall of the key to Port Arthur, the speaker of
the evening gave his experiences in the world's greatest battle as
follows: "I arrived at Mukden long before the fight, and after the
famous victorious charge of Poutiloff up the slopes of Lone Tree Hill,
by which the Japanese were driven out with fearful loss, I wanted to be
one of its defenders, but General Kuropatkin seemed to know all about
me, and insisted that I connect myself with the force holding
Yuhungtun.  I was angry and thought I was going to miss the liveliest
part of it, but the general knew better.

"There was a good chance to become acquainted with the men before the
conflict, and I found them really fine fellows.  Some were capital
marksmen, and as the enemy's outposts drew nearer amused themselves by
sniping the men in the advanced pits, and many a Jap whose head only
was visible did we see lifted out of his hole with his brains oozing
out of a bullet perforation in his upper story.  The time came at last,
however, when 1,000,000 men confronted each other in the lines of
battle, who were destined to suffer a loss in killed, wounded and
prisoners within three weeks of 250,000 men, or just one-fourth of the
entire number.  Although the battle proper lasted about nine days, what
with preliminaries and the rear-guard action which followed, it might
be safe to add ten more.  The struggle was fearful, and nobody was so
much master of the situation as our commander-in-chief, who knew from
the beginning where the blow would fall.

"General Rennenkampf, the Cossack chief, had with his staff traversed
the entire one hundred miles of front and had handed in his report to
his superior.  The plan of Marshal Oyama was to outflank our army and
cut off its retreat, and after surrounding it pound it, until it
capitulated, but in Kuropatkin he had met a man so able in strategy
that he could easily outgeneral him and bring his plans to naught.
When the eleven-inch shells which had wrought such destruction at the
port began to fall it soon became evident that the works on which had
been expended the labor of months and the skill of the best engineers
were going to dust.  In spite of the fact, however, that we were
outclassed in numbers and heavy artillery our men put up a terrible
fight.  After a fearful pounding with all kinds of guns, one day the
enemy in overwhelming force came upon us with the bayonet, and after a
hand-to-hand struggle, without parallel we believe, in which the ground
was piled with the slain, we were forced out and our works taken.
During the awful struggle which cost us our position, I was struck in
the side by the steel of a Jap, which cut a groove between two of my
ribs, but although I was not seriously hurt I recognized the fact that
one inch more, or possibly half of that, and to-night instead of
talking to you I would have been in a nameless grave on Manchuria's
plains, with my warrior shroud for a winding sheet, until the earth
would give up its dead.

"It is a remarkable fact that although people said, with the advent of
modern repeating arms and machine guns, that bayonet charges were no
longer possible, as such rushes in force would spell annihilation, yet
there never was a battle in all history where so many charges were made
and in which cold steel crossed so often as at Mukden.

"Word now came to us that our army had taken the offensive in the
centre, and was forcing the enemy back, and encouraged by this we
determined to retake our lost position.  As we were forming for the
attack the divisional commander came along, and noticing the shortage
of officers, said to the colonel of our regiment: 'Take the most
experienced men from the ranks and put them in charge of sections and
companies.'  Although this was said in Russian, I had now picked up
enough of the language to understand it.  The colonel did not like the
advice and said: 'General, this is contrary to custom; you know we need
to safeguard these positions by the use of a little red tape.'  The
general became furious and said: 'Red tape to ----!  It has been the
curse of the army in the past, and it will curse any army, and at, best
bring nothing but humiliation.  What we want is merit, which
practically means experience and courage with a large amount of
intelligence thrown in.'  It was now evident to the colonel that he
must obey his superior officer, and he came over to me and said:
'Devoau, I want you to take No. 5 Company, as its officers are all dead
or wounded.'  I set my teeth and obeyed, believing that I myself would
soon be as they.  All was soon ready and the order was given, 'Forward,
steady under cover.'  When we reached the open or fire zone two
whistles pierced the air--one to deploy in loose order and the other to
double.  We now swept forward, the enemy's batteries opening upon us.
The men of my company went down, sometimes one and sometimes three or
four in a heap at a time.  As we reached our old position I was
perfectly furious because of our losses, and though I had never sworn
in my life before I yelled between my clenched teeth, 'Give them
_hell_, boys!'  Just as we were tumbling in upon them our colonel, who
was braver and better than any of us, was shot through the brain and
instantly killed.  Even though the colonel was killed and whole
companies had gone down in that awful rush, the Japanese might as well
have tried to stem Niagara's torrent as to beat back our infuriated
men, and all that was left of them got out faster than they had charged
in.  The night within the village was one that would never fade from
memory.  The streets were strewn with broken rifles, twisted sabres and
bayonets, dismounted guns, broken gun carriages and dead men, some of
whom still clutched each other in the grip of death.  I was now
ordered, though I felt unequal to the task or honor, to take temporary
command of our decimated regiment.

"In trying to hold on to our old position we had to withstand some
terrible bayonet rushes on the part of the enemy in efforts to retake
it, and our regiment, which entered the battle with 2,450 men, had just
585 left to respond to the order to retire.  Another regiment lost
1,100 men.  The place assigned us in this most, orderly retreat was in
the rear-guard, and just as we took our places our brigade commander
was decapitated by the explosion of a pom-pom shell, and I was ordered
to hand over my regiment to a major and take charge of the brigade.

"We had an awful time during the retreat, but every onrush was stemmed,
and at each repulse of the foe our men, with bayonets dripping red,
cheered to the echo.

"The war was now practically over, and although every man of ours had
two foemen opposed to him, the Japs had a narrow escape from defeat;
nothing but the accident of a duststorm averting it, by enabling them
in the darkness thereof to break the lines of General Linevitch when
his men could not see a yard ahead of them.

"When we reached headquarters I, having nothing but a temporary
connection with the Russian army, went to my chief and tendered him my
uniform and arms, telling him, as there was not likely to be any more
fighting, I would return to Canada.  He, however, refused to take
anything, saying that as a mark of honor and appreciation I must retain
them, and after saying 'Good-bye' to my battle-scarred comrades I went
to the station to entrain for the coast, and as it steamed out a crowd
of officers and men waved their caps and handkerchiefs, shouting,
'Canada for ever; long live Canada and the Canadians!'  I felt I did
not do much for them--any one, perhaps, would have done better--but I
had done my little best, and they had trusted and honored me.  I like
the Russians; they are good fellows, and are greatly slandered in the
West.  They have a moral code, and with some exceptions, they live up
to it, and any nation that crosses arms with them will pay a heavy toll.

"In closing, I presume you would like to know more fully my opinion of
war, and in giving it I will say that if you murder a man by shooting
or stabbing him you are merciful, but if you kill him by exploding an
eleven-inch shell, in many cases he will be torn to fragments and his
dismembered body scattered over an acre of ground.  In other instances
that I have seen at Mukden and 203 Metre Hill, men have been mortally
wounded and left an unrecognizable mass of flesh and blood, which for
days heaved with anguish and life, while others, after hours and
sometimes days of agony, died with broken bayonets protruding from
their backs, having entered as gallant breasts as ever swelled with
breath and life.

"I have forsworn war for ever, after the dreadful scenes which I have
witnessed, and there were scenes which I did not witness, in far-off
Russia and Japan, which were infinitely more appalling, where was seen
the dreary sobbing of broken-hearted widowhood and the piteous wailing
of hungry, fatherless children.  Added to this was the pale-faced
sorrow of sisters bereft of brothers and sweethearts, who had lost
those who would have been nearer than brothers, and who now with broken
hearts ceased to live and began only to exist in hopeless despair.  The
Russians met in their foes armies trained after the pattern of the
German military system, and none of us ever again desire to cross
weapons with men trained as those are, who have learned from that land
of advanced scholarship and military superiority.  The Japanese were
foemen worthy of their steel, but instead of their arms being
dishonored fresh lustre was shed upon them."

At the close of his address Mr. Devoau was applauded to the echo, after
adding as a rider that in his denunciation of war he would, of course,
make an exception of defensive operations.

The next Sabbath in the morning service Mr. Melvin started the
tabernacle congregation by announcing that as he would soon reach the
retiring line, and as the immense congregation, with its many needs,
overtaxed his strength, he had long thought of an associate who, when
he retired, would take full charge.  Continuing, he said: "I have
spoken to Mr. Devoau and asked him if he would not abandon the thought
of a life so selfish as that of making himself one of the foremost iron
founders in Canada and join me in the work of preaching and teaching.
His answer has been favorable, if it is the will of the people, and he
has further said that if it is their will he will accept it as the
Master's will."

A meeting of the officers of the church was called for Tuesday evening,
when the matter was discussed, and Mr. Devoau's profession of faith
heard, when he told them that he was of French-Canadian parentage and
could not subscribe to every technicality.  His frankness and
fearlessness won every heart, a vote was taken, and he was unanimously
called to be associate pastor of Mount Zion.



After his ordination the new preacher took his place in the pulpit once
every Sunday, and being now a close student of theology as well as of
other subjects, he soon became an eloquent and powerful speaker, and
the entire congregation was delighted with him.  The last Sunday of the
national year, Mr. Melvin announced a sermon on "The Ideal Relationship
of Capital and Labor," prompted by the recent trouble at the foundry
between employers and their hands.  The preacher of the day said:
"Beware of so-called socialism, for it trenches very closely on the
borderland of anarchism, and after having listened to lectures and
sermons an hour long and read many books upon that much-abused topic, I
am constrained to turn to the teaching of the Man of Nazareth, and find
in that teaching something more rational and common-sense than
elsewhere.  In the first place our Saviour recognized property rights
when he said, 'Render unto Cæsar the things which are Cæsar's, and unto
God the things which are God's.'  This doctrine is for the workingman
as well as for his employer, and enables both to procure homes for
themselves and hold them in their own right.

"We cannot fail to recognize the fatherhood of God, and if so then we
must recognize the brotherhood of man, for all men truly should be
such.  If you and I have come to that point where we regard every man
as our brother, on the authority of Jesus Christ, the social problem
will be solved, and the capitalist will regard and treat the man who
toils for him as the son of his Father God, and the toiler will regard
the employer as not only his brother, but co-heir with himself to an
incorruptible inheritance.  Much depends, brethren, on the exercise of
that charity which translates love.  Love one another and you will use
one another aright.  As Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness,
and there was life as the wounded Israelites looked upon it, so there
is life in a look at the crucified One, and there is more than that,
there is adjustment of relationships between husband and wife, between
pastor and people, between citizens and their chief magistrate, between
capital and labor.  I can do no better than lift my hand toward the sky
and utter that little classic, '_Ecce Homo_,' and He is the Man of

The senior pastor's sermon had a marvellous effect upon the people, and
it was said that the iron workers' difficulty was soon settled on the
Christ principle.  The next Sunday being July 1st, the anniversary of
Confederation, the Rev. Mr. Devoau preached a sermon in keeping with
the day, and said "that the Iroquois term 'Kannatha,' which was very
restricted in its meaning, and only signified a collection of wigwams
or huts--a village, we might say--had become corrupted into Canada, but
now stood for dominion power and nationality.  The population had grown
into many millions, and the area was 3,750,000 square miles, or nearly
as great as the entire continent of Europe.  The mineral and coal
deposits are almost inexhaustible, and the exports and imports the
astonishment of the nations.

"The growth of our cities is simply wonderful.  Winnipeg has doubled
its population in five years; Calgary has nearly trebled the number of
its citizens in the same period, while Montreal has become the New York
of Canada.  Truly the words of our text apply specially to us, 'He hath
not dealt so with any nation, and as for his judgments we have not
known them.'"

Continuing, the speaker said: "The God who has so wondrously blessed us
since 1867, when a confederation of our leading provinces took place,
expects us to be rational and sane, and stand for unity and
consolidation of languages and creeds, that Canada may show to the
world what the brotherhood of man means and that the Saviour's teaching
has been put into practice upon our ocean-girt shores.  A large number
of our people do not know what the term Canadian means.  They will do
well to remember that it takes in not only the people of old Ontario,
but the people of the greater Canada beyond, with its diversity of
speech and polity, and no responsible person would say or do anything
that would not tend to weld together the different doctrines and
tongues.  If we are true to God and each other we will one day stand in
the front rank of world powers, and our fleets, not of war, but of
commerce, will ride upon every sea.  The battle of the Sea of Japan or
Corea proved that battleships were not worth the coal that steamed
them, but our mercantile marine is of priceless value, for it carries
our wares to every land and our commerce into the marts thereof and
into every clime."

Immediately upon the close of the sermon, Mr. Melvin, who had occupied
a seat upon the platform, arose and said, "This is the best sermon to
which I have ever listened; it is truly the teaching of a man who is
saner and wiser than his fellows."  Upon the utterance of these words
the vast audience broke into thunders of applause, evidencing the fact
that it was the sentiment of all.

As the summer advanced, Mr. Devoau invited Mr. Melvin to take a trip to
Ottawa with him, as he was going to visit his parents for a day.  The
invitation was accepted, and these two kindred spirits started off on
an early train for Canada's beautiful capital, where they were met by
Mr. Devoau, senior, who heartily welcomed the friend and colleague of
his son.  As they walked toward the home of the Devoau family, whom
should they meet but the Right Hon. Sir Wilfrid Laurier, Prime Minister
of Canada, who was out for a stroll, and with whom the elder Devoau was
well acquainted.  Both preachers were at once introduced to the
Premier, who was very gracious and genial.  Mr. Devoau said they were
having a day's recreation after their recent teachings.  Sir Wilfrid
said: "I will not ask what those teachings were, as I am sure they were
all right."  Mr. Melvin said: "They were not exactly like those of the
Scotchman, who was asked if his health was good, and he said, 'I am no
verry weel the day, for last nicht I was teaching the bairnies doon at
the hall hoo to vote.'"  Said he, "We are not exactly teaching people
how to vote, but we are trying to pound sin out of them."  The Premier
then made the hit of the day when he said, "Get all the sin out of them
and they will vote right."

After a splendid day, during which they visited the noble pile on
Parliament Hill and had a sail in a steam launch on the majestic river,
the pastors of the tabernacle returned to Carsville, where at the Young
People's meeting the senior minister related their experiences while in
Canada's beauty spot, as the capital city might be called.  He told of
meeting the Premier and of his friendliness and geniality.  "This
country," said he, "has had gentlemen in that position, and it has had
statesmen for prime ministers, but it never so strikingly combined the
two great qualities as in the person of him whose name will be engraven
with a surpassing lustre upon the bead-roll of the nation, and the name
will be that of the Right Hon. Sir Wilfrid Laurier."

Mr. Melvin, who did not feel quite so strong recently, thought of
seeking a much-needed rest in retirement for a time at least, now that
his colleague was immensely popular, and could now handle the entire
congregation, though it never was so large.  However, just as he was
preparing for this move an invitation came to him to enter upon higher
educational work, which he at once accepted, saying that, he would
still preach and teach, and would really have a larger field in which
to do good, and the change of air and scene would be as good as a rest.

The people of Carsville expressed much regret at the departure of one
who was known as an admirable citizen as well as an able and effective
minister.  Mr. Melvin, however, always told them that he was leaving
with them a man after his own heart.

Before the day of his leave-taking a farewell banquet was tendered him,
at which were appreciative after-dinner speeches, the chair being
occupied by Rev. Mr. Devoau, informally.  Abraham Thompson, Esq.,
senior member of the Board, when called upon, said: "I am grieved at
the departure of one who has been everything that I could
wish--broad-minded, sympathetic, and scholarly--one in whom all could
alike trust, ever finding in him a wise counsellor and a safe guide; a
man of splendid mental balance, of unusual wisdom.  To say that I
endorse his teachings is not enough; I heartily endorse all of it, and
pray that the Great Head of the Church will bless and keep our mutual
friend, together with his much appreciated partner, unto their
journey's end."

The next called upon was Thomas Edwards, the leading merchant in the
place.  He was shrewd in business and a keen discerner of men.  He
said: "Though I am not on the same side of politics as Mr. Melvin, yet
in the main I think his teachings are sound and the product of a sane
mind.  Personally, I have learned to respect him.  I will, like one who
has preceded me, go farther and say I have learned to love him, and
wish him and his godspeed in a ministry which has been a blessing to my
whole house."

The next official was Edmund Garvin, general manager of the foundry,
and a man of intense perception.  Said he: "I have noticed that our
worthy senior pastor, whose removal I deeply regret, always stood for
unification in the home and independence, and not only there, but in
the church and nation, and I may say his sentiment is mine.  I, like
him, am no hanger-on--only poltroons are that--and no man in his right
senses would be anything but a brother to all the races and creeds in
our country, and in all his utterances our clerical friend has proven
himself not only wise as a serpent, but also a true Christ man.  I wish
him and his amiable wife great happiness and success in future life."

The chairman now saw that as the time was getting late they must close,
and said in a few closing words that his colleague had endeared himself
to him, and had done more for him than he could ever repay.  "I, like
yourselves, regret his departure, but feel that he is going into a
field of great usefulness, and he doubted not that he would be happy
and prosperous."

Shortly after Rev. Mr. Melvin's departure old Uncle Reynolds, as he was
called, was struck by a pilot engine at the station, and so seriously
injured that he was taken home in the ambulance.  He was the most
saintly man in the tabernacle, and Rev. Mr. Devoau, now in full charge,
was sent for.  His practiced eye at once told him that the old man's
hour had almost come.  Stooping down he said, "Uncle, how is it with
your soul?" and opening his weary eyes the aged veteran said, "It is
well; it is well."  Talking for a moment or two with his pastor he
said: "Our dear Bro. Melvin is gone from us, but, oh, how precious are
his teachings!  As the result of them my feet are on the Rock of
Ages--the rock of Christ--and I have long since found out that 'all
other ground,' as the sacred bard says, 'is sinking sand.'"

Coming back late in the evening Mr. Devoau said, "Uncle, is there light
in the valley?" and the dying man raised his feeble hand and blessed
his pastor, and whispered to him that he had already been a blessing to
many and the people loved him.  Then he said: "Oh, yes, the valley is
bathed in light; for He has said, 'At evening time it shall be light.'"
With these words trembling upon his lips the old man swept through the
gates of paradise, a ransomed soul.

Finished as was the course of this saintly man, yet the great world, as
in all such cases, moved on, and with it the teaching of the new pastor
of Mount Zion.

Speaking to the young people some time after this, he said: "Let there
be no misunderstanding concerning what I stand for, and what we all
should stand for.  I am for liberty of conscience, freedom and
independence, along all lines, both religious and national, even to the
granting of home rule to poor, old, long-suffering Ireland, which, by
all means, it should have, and is justly entitled to in this twentieth

"The question arises, How can we best qualify ourselves for the
salvation of ourselves and fellows, and the working out of our destiny
along general lines?  I answer, by consecrating our ransomed powers to
the great Arbiter of Destinies, who stands behind all forms and
systems, but ever watchful of His own."

At the conclusion of the address Mr. Henry, principal of the Public
School, arose and said: "I beg that the Young People's Club will place
upon record, and in letters of gold engrave and place amid the archives
of the church, the admirable and fearless utterances of this evening."

Mr. Henry was followed by one who, in the educational world, stood
higher than he, namely, the head master of the Collegiate Institute in
Carsville, who capped everything by saying, "'Pro bono publico,' and as
well as being for the public good, though I am an independent in
politics, I will say that the Rev. Mr. Devoau has the faculty of always
saying the right thing, and his teachings are an inestimable boon to
all classes in this place."

In a few mouths after this the pastor of Mount Zion was honored with a
degree from world-renowned Harvard, and his influence increased, and
his ministry truly became one of reconciliation and power, until the
ever-circling years at last brought near the Age of Gold.

*** End of this LibraryBlog Digital Book "Alter Ego - A Tale" ***

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