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With Dr. Dowie out of the way for the winter, Deacon Gaines and his associates made progress with their plans.

There remained the problem of many living on in­come from their Zion securities. These included the aged, invalids, widows with families of young chil­dren, helpless cripples, and one or two who were non compos mentis. They had freely turned their all over to Dr. Dowie. Among these-and other people in Zion City-were several hundreds of depositors in Zion City Bank, some of them carrying large bal­ances. It was decided that Deacon Halsey, Deacon Nolan, and Herbert should investigate each individ­ual case and pay only enough to meet the lowest pos­sible minimum of necessity.

All through that terrible winter old men and women, the blind, the lame, the widow, the chron­ically ill stood in line daily, waiting to draw their little dole of a dollar or two a week. As spring ap­proached and cash reserves ebbed, it was not uncom­mon to see some poor, old lady, accustomed all her life to luxury, patiently inch her way to the cashier's window, there to receive a silver quarter-a woman who held fifty thousand dollars' worth of Dr. Dow­ie's notes and securities and had five thousand dollars on deposit in open account in his bank.



About the middle of December publication of “Leaves of Healing" was suspended. Zion had no money to buy paper and ink and pay printers. Zion Printing and Publishing House, under Nancy's man­agement, did only job printing-and most of that for commercial clients in Chicago.

"Gosh," thought Herbert, as poor old Deaconess Fiskerone tottered out of his office, -an order for twenty-five cents in her hand, tears streaming down her cheeks, "I'd have bawled myself 'f there'd been another one. That's the only comfort-I do get to the end of the line-up at last. And day after to­morrow is Christmas!

"Christmas! Humph! I never thought I'd see such a dreary, rotten Christmas as this."

The coming holiday brought Edith to mind-or more vividly to mind. She was always in his thoughts. Since that moonlight September night when she had dismissed him he had not talked with her. When they had met in the Tabernacle or on the street she had always turned away from him without speaking. He had watched her with growing uneasiness, for the glow of health and buoyancy had faded from her cheeks and there were shadows in her eyes.

He had been tempted to try to call on her as usual Columbus Day and Thanksgiving, but her treatment of him when they met decided him against it. To-­morrow night would be Christmas Eve. Again he was tempted. She had not forbidden him to call. Perhaps she expected him-wondered why he had not come. But that was absurd.

His telephone rang.




"Zion Land."

"Is this you, Herbert?"

His hands shook, he was suffocated by the wild leaping of his heart.

It was her voice! Cool and distant, but hers.

Somehow he managed to reply.

"Yes, Edith."

"To-morrow is Christmas Eve."

"And our-" he began, but he heard a click and knew that she had hung up.


She came in a little hesitantly, dressed all in white as she had been when last they were together. There were pale roses now among the lilies in her cheeks and her eyes met his with a friendly smile. She was cool, composed, a little distant, but her icy scorn was gone. She returned his hand-clasp firmly and frankly, but with no lingering pressure.

"My goshl" he thought, "she's lovelier than ever!"

"You're growing sagacious, Herbert," she mur­mured, "I've known the time when you did not take a hint so readily."

"I guess the thought had a driving father, Edith," he answered.

She laughed-not so distant now.

When they were seated, she said:

"You may be wondering why I gave you a hint that this is the night before a legal holiday. It is be­cause you have an enemy."

"An enemy?" echoed Herbert, puzzled.

"Yes, an enemy who is probably insane-and there­fore dangerous. I felt that I must warn you. You




remember practically firing Deacon Barnegalt?"

"My word!"" he exclaimed. "How the-"

"Never mind-I know. Well, he's brooded over it. Of late he has been showing signs of being unhinged -talks wildly about his secret foes-people who have kept him down. Says God promised him that he should be an overseer but now tells him it can't be done until certain enemies are removed. He came here a few days ago to see Elder Brownlee-they both come from the same town in Nebraska. He raved and shouted so I couldn't help hearing every word. And you're his ‘arch-enemy.' The voice of God woke him up in the night and told him so. People like that ought to be locked up-for their own sakes as well as everybody else's. They often seem harmless enough until there's a terrible tragedy. You will attend to it right away, won't you, Herbert?"

"Yes, and thank you for warning me. I knew Barnegalt hated me, by the way he acted, but did not think of his being cracked. Isn't it too bad? He's a well-educated man and did good work as a chemist before he came here. And now tell me, what do you hear from your charming mother?"

"She's well, but terribly homesick, I'm afraid. Still in Berlin, and completely fed up with the place."

"I'd give all my old shoes to see her."

"She always inquires about you, Herbert, when she writes and tells me to give you her love."

"Bless her dear, big heart-and thank you. But seems to me you've been mighty stingy about giving it to me. What's the matter? Been holding it back along with your own?"




"Still ‘glorying in disobedience,' I see."

She smiled back at him bravely, but could not hold the pose. Flushing adorably, she looked down, her eyelids fluttering.

"Yes, Edith, only more than ever."

Leaning toward her, he covered her hand with his.

"And I want you to share the glory."

Slowly she raised her eyes to his and he saw sur­render in them.

Disobeying another law in Zion's criminal code, he drew her into his arms.

"There," she panted at last, "that's ‘glory' enough for the present. But, oh, Herbert, I was so fright­ened!"

"Frightened?" he asked, cuddling her head in the hollow of his shoulder; "what scared you, darling?"

She shivered happily.

"Oh, how deliciously you say that! Why, when I heard that poor maniac threaten, your life I realized, all in a heap, that I had no career but you, that what­ever I have to do I 'can do better, far better, with you than without you. So I was afraid a little-for your life, although I thought we could protect that. But my very terrible fear was that I had killed your love by the vile way I talked to you. But, Herbert, my own, you never believed I really meant those dread­ful things, did you?"

"No, sweetheart, I knew how what I said must have shocked you and outraged your feelings. To tell you the truth, I admired your spunk."

"Oh, there never was any other such wonderful man! But, Herbert dear, those dreadful things you




said to me!-after all the First Apostle has done for you!"

"I know, dear. Both he and Zion must be protected from him, under the circumstances. And more than anyone else, I had to do everything I could to protect you-even at the risk of losing you."

"I think," she said, softly, "you'd better tell me just what you know about Doctor Dowie-and how you know it."

As gently as he could he told her.

"Oh, my poor boy," she said, her arms around his neck, "how you have suffered! And how blind, how stupid, I've been! I see it all now. But, Herbert, he began so innocently. I was to take Esther's place-to be his daughter-to take up the career he had planned for her. Dearest, you'll have to keep your eye on me. I must be what I've always thought I couldn't be-­susceptible to flattery."

"Never mind, sweetheart, I can beat all the rest of the world at that game-and never even come near exaggeration."

"See that you do-I think I'm going to love it. But tell me, if you feel as you do about Doctor Dowie, why are you still in Zion?"

He explained.

"Of course, you couldn't do anything else."

At Elder Brownlee's, New Year's Eve, for an hour with Edith before going to the All Night with God, Herbert had been delighted to learn that Mrs. Brelin was coming home. She too was "glorying in diso­bedience."


"But, Herbert dear, the strangest thing! How do you suppose it happened? She was going along Unter den Linden, all down in the mouth, when she ran right into John Harrow! He'd been in Russia, got locked up as a spy, wasn't allowed even to write a letter, and finally was hustled out of the country. He'd just landed in Berlin on his way to America. Well, she took him home to dinner and he told her why he'd resigned. That settled things for her. Seems she'd been more than a little suspicious for a long time. So she wrote she was coming to rescue me and expected to close up things there and sail within a week. That means she's on her way now! Oh, won't we give her a happy surprise?"

"Surprise all right," laughed Herbert. "May not be so happy-I didn't ask her consent."

Edith laughed joyously.

"Oh, you dear old innocent! Don't you know Mother picked you out by hand for me years ago?"

"Wonderfully smart woman, your mother. Gosh, I'll be glad to see her."

Two days later, when he went into the dining­-room for lunch, Nan, sitting alone at her table, sig­naled him. He saw that her cheeks were aflame, her eyes shining, her very body radiant. She told him Jack was coming.

Mrs. Brelin arrived in Zion City on the eighth of January, took Herbert to her heart, kissed him, wept over him a little, and then scolded him for being the slowest mortal e'er drew breath.

"If I'd boxed your ears every time I felt like it, young man, you'd be using a little tin trumpet now.



But you're a dear boy. You've given me the loveliest disappointment I ever had. Do you know, I half expected to call in the police to help get my daughter, after what John Harrow told me."

John Harrow came forty-eight hours later. Nancy went to Chicago to meet him, and they did not appear in Zion City for two days. When they came, Herbert saw at once that they were on a second honeymoon. John was pale and thin from his Russian prison, “but," thought Herbert, “he's twice the man he was when he left Melbourne-and I thought he was no slouch of a man first time I saw him."

They had a jolly dinner at Ada Steelhaver's, John and Nancy, Mrs. Brelin and Edith, Herbert and Jesse Stoneham. John thrilled them all with his war, revo­lution, and prison stories. After it was all over and Herbert was about to leave with Edith and her mother, John said:

"Well, we must· say good-by. We're leaving for New York to-morrow."

"For New York?" they chorused; "not to stay?"

"Yep--got to get back on the job. I'm a news­paper man, you know."

"But we can't let Nancy go," wailed Ada.

"Well," he laughed, "I can't let her stay. You've had more than your share of her already. My turn now."

Nancy, glowing with pride and happiness, snug­gled up to him; he put an arm around her and drew her closer, smiling down on her tenderly. "After all, she's my wife, you know."




Meeting John later in the lobby of Elijah Hospice, Herbert said:

"Gosh, John, it's sure good to see you! And I'm tickled pink to see you and Nan together again, though I'll miss her something fierce. She's a wonder­ful little woman, John. You never did know your luck, I guess, until you got away from her."

"Oh, I knew it all right, old man, at one time. But you're right, in a way. I never appreciated her enough. We know now that it was Zion that came between us."






Zion’s full cabinet had gathered around the big council-table. Overseer Voliva, still in his middle thirties, sat at the head. Herbert saw that he had put on weight since those stirring days in Australia. With it he looked more like Napoleon than ever. His ivory pallor, raven-black hair, heavy eye­brows like a bar of ebony straight across his forehead, burning black eyes, and hawk like features gave him a look of fearless power. Would that power be wielded for good or ill?

Intently the other cabinet officers watched their new superior. It was a moment of fate for them.

Would he fall in with their plans and help them save Zion?

Or would he remain stubbornly loyal to Dr. Dowie and wreck it?

Breathlessly they waited.

"Well, gentlemen," he said, smiling, "I see you're all scared half to death, wondering what I'm going· to do."

When he smiled, his face lost its fierce sternness and was full of charm. His voice was full and reso­nant, coming from his diaphragm.

"You needn't be," he went on. “Remember, I saw the First Apostle in Australia less than two years ago, and I've kept in touch with the situation here.  



"I don't know what you're trying to do, of course, but I'm going to find out just as quick as I can. Then, unless it's something awful, which I don't expect, I'm going to cooperate with you.

"There! Now do you feel better?"

He laughed heartily-and they all laughed with him, a note in their laughter which would have done your heart good.

"I'll interview each of you in turn and find how the land lies. Then we'll get together and perfect our plans."

The Acting General Overseer was an administrator, coordinator, and preacher. The morale of Zion City rose with his coming. The people had been suffocat­ing in exhalations of their own sick minds-he was like a clean wind blowing through, and they revived. After his interviews he approved most of the plans made by Deacon Gaines and the cabinet. Under his direction they became more definite. With his full power of attorney he put them to work. Results were promising.

The First Apostle sent weekly bulletins of his condition by cable. These were read Sunday afternoons in Shiloh Tabernacle. In them, at least, God was marvelously restoring the great leader's health.

In February he announced that he was so far re­covered that he planned to visit Cuba and go on from Havana to Mexico for further studies and negotia­tions about Zion Paradise Plantations. This was a blow in the face to Zion City's cabinet. It meant de­mands for cash, which could not be denied. He was



still legal owner of Zion. It meant that he would soon return to the city.

What then?

Good-by to all their plans and hopes?

Probably-almost certainly. They could not imagine his sweetly yielding any of his despotic power. He had said many times, “I would rather wreck the whole thing than surrender one iota of my absolute authority."


"We are like a man walking a tight-rope with his wife, children, and household goods on his shoulders," said Overseer Voliva to Herbert during one of their talks. "Any little slip means a crash. Leave us alone and we may get across all right. But our creditors are holding off merely because they know they'll get more out of us as a going concern. At the first sign of wabbling, they'll be down on us like vultures-­and you can't blame 'em. Judge Shelbrace tells me we might go into court and ask that the First Apostle be declared incompetent to manage his estate. But that would mean a fight-and down goes the whole house of cards! We need only time. But how much time will he give us? And the people? Where would they stand in a fight between the cabinet and Doctor Dowie? Nobody knows."


Late in March, a telegram came from Dr. Dowie commanding Deacons Peter Z. Richardus and Ralph S. Packington to join him in Mexico. Both were mem­bers of the cabinet. Both knew the facts. And both




had been more loudly loyal to the First Apostle, in the past, than the average Zion officer.

But both deacons promised to keep silence. Both protested unbreakable loyalty to Overseer Voliva and their fellows in the cabinet. With tears of apparent sincerity in their eyes, they shook hands all around, begged everyone not to worry, said their good-bys, and ran for their train.