Donate ....Site map.... Contact us








“Oh, Deacon Renbrush, you have been so good. You can't know how much this means to us. I just cried for joy when I got your mes­sage-and for shame because I had ever doubted, even a little, that the dear Lord would answer our prayers. Oh, may God bless you forever and ever!"

Thus Mrs. Steelhaver, gripping Herbert's hand.

Steelhaver waited, his soft brown eyes wet, his face working. When he took Herbert's hand in both his own he could not speak.

Of course they had to wait. For an hour and a quarter they sat in Captain Erdman's office. Finally, the door opened. Herbert took them into the Pres­ence and introduced them, then went to his office and plunged into work.

At midnight his telephone rang. Captain Erdman's voice, agitated.

“Herbert! Come over here right away."

Herbert startled night-hawks on Michigan Ave­nue by sprinting the block between Thirteenth and Twelfth. The elevator was waiting for him and rushed him to the fourth floor.

In Captain Erdman's office Mrs. Steelhaver lay back in a big leather chair, her once lovely face hide­ous with red and swollen eyelids, bluish pallor, drawn mouth, and disordered hair. Her eyes were closed and




she uttered little whimpering moans. Now and then a shuddering sob shook her. Steelhaver looked a dozen years older than when Herbert left him smiling ado­ration into Dr. Dowie's eyes. He. was the color of putty, his cheeks were hollow, he sat slumped on a straight chair, elbows on knees, head between hands. At each sob of his wife his head rolled from side to side.

Hearing Herbert come in, Mrs. Steelhaver opened her eyes and began to cry with dreary hopelessness. Steelhaver groaned, looked at Herbert as if he saw nothing, and returned to his stricken pose. For a mo­ment no one spoke. Herbert looked his question at Captain Erdman, who was pale and unwontedly seri­ous.

“The General Overseer," said the captain, "wants you to take Mrs. Steelhaver home. Mr. Steelhaver will spend the night here."

It was incredible, mystifying.

"You'd better go first to Mrs. Brelin's and see if she or Miss Brelin will spend the night with her. I'll call 'em and tell 'em you're coming."

Herbert's eyes begged the captain to tell him more. But that brave officer seemed to fear words that night. He shook his head sadly and said, with a ges­ture, "Hurry along, now."

Still mystified, Herbert turned to the woman.

"Come, Mrs. Steelhaver, I'll take you out to Mrs. Brelin."

Dully, mechanically, the woman sat up and made feeble dabs at her hair and hat.



"Better get a cab," advised Chris, sotto voce. "She can't travel on a street-car."

Herbert nodded, offered his arm. Mrs. Steelhaver stood up and took it. Steelhaver groaned, then cried out, "No, no, I can't, I can't."

His wife collapsed to the floor, wailing aloud. Her­bert and Captain Erdman looked at each other help­lessly. Neither moved nor spoke. Neither knew what to do or say. It was long past midnight. Inside the big Home all was still. From Michigan Avenue came only the melancholy clop-clop of a single night-owl cab horse. The office, with its matter-of-fact roll-top desk, swivel chair, filing 'cases, and rows of seats against the wall, looked like an actor playing Hamlet in a neat suit of overalls.

Down the corridor they heard the elevator begin to purr, coming up. It stopped at the fourth, its door clanged, and brisk footsteps were heard. Nancy Har­row appeared on the way to her room after midnight supper. Captain Erdman's office door was never closed. Seeing the little group, she came in.

"Why, what's the trouble here?" she asked. "Here, Mrs. Steelhaver, don't howl so. Tell me about it."

Meanwhile her strong young arms were around the woman, who let herself be pulled up from the floor and seated in a chair. "My goodness, dear, nothing could be as bad as all that," Nancy scolded. "Pull yourself together. You're making yourself look like a boiled violet."

"I don't care," sobbed the woman, "I wish I was dead."


"Cheer up," laughed Nancy, "you will be some day. But why talk about it now? Spill your troubles to Mother Harrow. It'll do you good."

"The General Overseer won't let me live with Leon-and I can't live without him. Oh, how can life be so cruel, so heartless?"

"Won't let you live with your husband?" asked Nancy. "Why in the world not?"

“Because I’ve been divorced.”

"Divorced?" echoed Nancy, puzzled. "You can't be divorced from him. What do you mean?"

No, no, not from Leon-from George," she wailed.

"Here, let's get this straight. You can't live with Mr. Steelhaver because you've been divorced from George, whoever he is. What's the sense in that?"

"The General Overseer," said Captain Erdman, solemnly, "doesn't believe divorced people should marry. It's against the Bible."

"He says we're committing adultery by living to­gether," cried Mrs. Steelhaver.

A painful flush spread over Nancy's face, her dark eyes blazed.

"Oh!" she gasped. "Oh, oh, oh! I think-" she be­gan, hotly, then closed her mouth tight. Finally, she turned to Captain Erdman.

"What does he expect them to do, Captain?" "She is to go home-or out to Mrs. Brelin's to­night-and he is to stay here in the Home. He will have to support her, but they can't live to­gether."

"Not ever?" asked Nancy, unbelieving.




"Not unless her husband dies and they marry again."

"Dies?" she echoed, puzzled.

"Yes, her real husband-the man she's divorced from."

"Oh, I see."

Again she was silent.

She looked long at the bowed, now inert, Steel­haver, and her look was neither admiring nor friendly.

"It's getting late, Herbert," urged Captain Erd­man; "you'd better be going along."

""No! No!" shrieked Mrs. Steelhaver, struggling to her feet. "I won't go without him!"

Turning to her husband, she fell on her knees, and on her knees dragged herself to his feet. Kneeling on her long skirts, yards and yards around, she dragged them under her until they tore loose at the waist.

"Oh, Leon, Leon," she cried, clasping his legs, "don't let them take me away! I don't care what Doc­tor Dowie says; our love makes it all right. Oh, don't look at me so. You know God won't condemn us for staying together. He knows we belong together. And even if Dr. Dowie is right," she cried, her voice ris­ing, defiant, "I don't care. What's heaven or hell to me if I have you?"

""This is no place for me," said Nancy, gulping, and started out.

"Nor me," said Herbert, following her.

Captain Erdman hesitated, looking dazed. Then he too went out and gently closed the door behind him.

Meanwhile, inside, that pleading voice went on, "Won't you speak to me, Leon darling? Won't you


tell your Ada you want her to stay with you? Oh, why did we ever come to this awful place? We were so happy in our little home. Why did we ever see that terrible man-?"

"Hush, dear, you mustn't," said Steelhaver, gently. "He is God's minister and-"

"No, Leon, no," she sobbed. "He's a wicked, wicked man.”

"But, darling, the General Overseer's right. Just as he said, he had no choice. Jesus did say, ‘Who-so­-ever shall put away his wife, saving for the cause of fornication, causeth her to commit adultery; and whoso that shall marry her that is divorced com­mitteth adultery,' and 'If a woman shall put away her husband, and be married to another, she committeth adultery.' "

"But, Leon," she cried, shaking him wildly, "don't you see, George never was my husband, really. I never loved him, I never gave myself to him willingly, Leon. Oh, I was so young, so inexperienced, so ignorant! I just did what Papa and Mama said. My heart was never in it. So it wasn't a true marriage, Leon. I was just a silly child. Surely, oh, surely, God doesn't hold me responsible."

"Don't, Ada, for God's sake, don't," groaned Steel­haver. "We sinned and we must take our punishment. Maybe God will forgive us because we sinned in ig­norance. But now that the General Overseer has shown us the light, we dare not go on. You have been everything to me, darling. You know I have been supremely happy with you-you've always been my perfect wife. I don't know how I can live without




you. With you out of my life, all light, all. hope, all ambition, everything will be gone. I can't stand it­I can't even think about it. Gladly I'd give up my hope of Heaven for you, Ada darling. But I can't, O my God, I can't drag you down to hell with me!"

"I know, I know, dear heart. I would feel the same about you. But I am surer and surer that God wants us to live together. Haven't we lived together for seven years, and hasn't it been heaven on earth? Do you think God would have let us be so happy to­gether, so faithful to Him, if we had been living in adultery, as that terrible man says? No, no, my own sweet husband, God intended us for each other from the beginning-haven't we always believed that? He knows that I was never really married to George."

Meanwhile Nancy, after a curt good night, had gone to her room. Herbert and Captain Erdman paced nervously up and down the corridor.

"I don't like it, Herbert," complained the captain. "If the General Overseer comes out and finds them in there alone, he'll be angry."

"Oh, I don't think so," said Herbert. "He wouldn't grudge a guy two or three minutes to say good-by forever to his wife."

"But she's not his wife!"

"Well, his ex-wife, then. All the more reason for giving him time off for repairs. He's had the wind knocked out of him."

"That's what you think; but I'm afraid the Gen­eral Overseer'll think different."

"Oh, come on, Chris. Give the man credit for at least as much sense as I've got!"


Just then the door to the General Overseer's suite of offices opened and their leader stepped out-im­maculate, as always.

He took two or three quick, springy little steps, then stopped, seeing two of his men.

"What's this, Erdman?"

"Mr. and Mrs. Steelhaver are saying good-by in my office, General Overseer."

Instantly the preacher turned and flung open the door, an angry flush on his face. The two were in each other's arms; she on his knees.

"Stop!" shouted Dr. Dowie, his voice on a beautiful note of righteous indignation. They started, sepa­rated, their faces blank. As the woman swayed to her feet, her torn skirts slid to the floor. She caught them half-way and stood thus, a woman in the stocks and pillory of her own garments and tear-ravaged face. Yet the beauty of her, in her defiance, caught Her­bert by the throat.

"Shame! Shame!" roared the man of God. "It is not enough that you should come to me with your hypocritical request for prayer, but you must commit your foul adulteries under my roof, at my very door. Dress yourself, dress yourself, you dirty prostitute, and get you gone out of my house. And you too, you dirty dog," turning to Steelhaver, who had started to his feet with clenched fists when the epithet was flung at his wife.

Captain Erdman quickly stepped between the two men.

“Shame on you, Doctor Dowie-" began Steel­haver, white and shaking with rage.




"Out with you! Go back to your vomit, you dog," the preacher roared him down. "Take them away, Erdman-and you better pray God to forgive you for leaving them together in this house. The General Overseer is very angry."

Steelhaver gestured "What's the use?" put his arm about his wife and walked from the room in pride and defiance. Mrs. Steelhaver, her arm about his neck, her head on his shoulder, gave the preacher a smile of pitying 'contempt.

It was a good exit, the General Overseer still storm­ing at them and stamping.






The General Overseer's departure for Europe was discussed during the four weeks after his turning of the first sod for Zion Temple.

Congratulations showered on those who were go­ing with him. They were exalted in their own feel­ings. Most of them were from meager middle western homes where, in those days, a foreign tour was something you read about just as you read about kings and queens.

All Zion headquarters was 'in a fever of prepara­tion. At last the party got away, accompanied by a small mountain of baggage.

“Leaves of Healing" carried reports of the Gen­eral Overseer's tour, written by the great man him­self and by John Harrow. In it were published, also, his sermons in London, Edinburgh, Belfast, Paris, and Zurich. It told how mobs of medical students filled Trafalgar Square, London, and what a fight the police had to keep them from taking the General Overseer out of his carriage and dippIng him in the fountain. It gave a dramatic recital of a riot in Edin­burgh, when medical students from Dr. Dowie's old university wrecked the hall where he was trying to preach. In it appeared a photograph of the hall it­self, after the cataclysm. It extolled a burly chief of police in Belfast who kept order while the man of God proclaimed the gospel to Scotch-Irish Presbyterians.


Accounts of meetings in Paris were vague, but about Zurich they were lyrical. The German-Swiss welcomed Zion's leader with open arms and many enrolled under his banner.

John Harrow wrote frequently to his wife, who shared his letters-by John's request-with Herbert.

“It's amazing," he wrote from Zurich, “how many important people seek to see the General Overseer. Several leaders high up in religious organizations in England and on the Continent have severed their former connection and enrolled in the Christian Cath­olic Church in Zion.

“I have always marveled at the General Overseer's versatility and scholarship, but I did not know the half of it until I came on this trip. What do you suppose he was doing in London before the meetings began? Buying rare old books, first editions, and com­pleted collections! In Paris he spent hours searching for and buying rare objets d'art!

“Of course you know the lace factory has been bought-it was all in the ‘Leaves.' The machinery is being packed now to ship to Zion City. Deacon Lucas and about thirty lace-makers will soon leave Liverpool for Chicago. Deacon Lucas is a fine chap, a true Zion man, and a genius at lace-making. I've seen samples of his work. We are all enthusiastic about the future of Zion Lace Industries.

“I suppose we shall be off for Jerusalem in a few days. We shall have to be if we get there for New Year's Eve. But I hear nothing about it from the General Overseer, and Chris says he hasn't had' any instructions to buy transportation."



Meanwhile, in Zion City, Herbert and St. John Worcester were busy planning and laying founda­tions for the lace factory, a power-house, and a small hotel which was expected to house, temporarily, the lace-makers and their families. Worcester had added an architect and draftsman to his staff.

In the weeks that followed, Herbert spent many hours with Deacons Worcester and Halsey prepar­ing for the opening of the first subdivision of Zion City lots, which was planned for the early spring of 1901.

Overseers, elders, and evangelists carried on regu­lar services at Central Zion Tabernacle and other tabernacles throughout Chicago and suburbs.

Every Sunday afternoon, at Central Zion Taber­nacle, Overseer Darling read a long cablegram from the General Overseer, which proclaimed his battles, his triumphs, and his glorious prospects.

All Zion was astonished and puzzled, the second Sunday in December, when the General Overseer's cablegram was read announcing his return January fifteenth.

What about his greeting the dawn of the twenti­eth century in Jerusalem?

He had long ago promised God to be there-it was one of his chief purposes in crossing the Atlantic. There was no explanation then or at any future time. No one ever heard him speak of the subject again.

On his return, a great welcome meeting was held in the Chicago Coliseum. Zion City Band played, the great White-Robed Choir sang a joyous processional and several anthems, and the General Overseer




preached on the immediate and future glories of Zion City. He had seen many thousands in Europe with their faces set Zionward. Old nations, old religions, old churches, old ideas were losing their hold on peo­ple of the Old World and they were coming to Zion City.

Another thing! His visit to Great Britain had de­termined him to renounce his British citizenship and become a citizen of the United States of America, the best nation on earth! Twelve thousand people ap­plauded rapturously.

With the General Overseer at headquarters, there was feverish activity everywhere.

An army of carpenters, plasterers, plumbers, dec­orators, were transforming the third floor of Zion Home into an apartment for Dr. Dowie and his fam­ily. Partitions were knocked out, more than doubling the size of rooms, wall-paper, draperies, massive hand­-carved mahogany furniture, and all other equipment were chosen for their expensiveness. Herbert thought the result lavish rather than tasteful, public rather than domestic. When it was complete all Zion was invited to a reception. It was at this reception that Mrs. Brelin shocked and delighted Herbert by saying that the General Overseer needed only a page boy to wander about calling, "Meester Umahmahba."

The fourth floor was also transformed by a touch of the magic wand of gold. The General Overseer's private offices-plural-were Pullmanesque with lux­ury. The little library where Herbert had read "Leaves of Healing" became four times its original size, all set about with carved mahogany bookcases



reaching to the ceiling. In the center of this wide space stood a mahogany table with huge carved pedes­tal. Its top was round, twelve feet in diameter, and glistened like a pool of molten topaz. This was the great council table of the Christian Catholic Church in Zion Throughout the World, and of Zion's Insti­tutions and Industries. About it were thirteen ma­hogany chairs, upholstered in green leather and all abloom with carved leaves and flowers.

Murray's office was no longer a crowded closet, but so broad and plutocratic that the 'Conscientious little man was homesick.

Other changes came fast. An eight-story hotel at the corner of Michigan Avenue and Thirteenth Street was purchased for Zion College and Zion Di­vine Healing Home. To it were moved Zion book­store and the healing-room. The old Zion Home be­came Zion headquarters offices, with the General Overseer's living quarters, a few rooms for secre­taries and officials, and a small common dining-room. In front, replacing the old lobby, book-store, and healing-room, palatial quarters were prepared for Zion City Bank and Zion Land and Investment Association.

Herbert was embarrassed to find himself chief in an office on Michigan Avenue that reminded him of the First National Bank of Chicago. He now had three assistants besides young Stoneham, and a score of office workers.

It was a job to keep all this crowd busy-it would look bad to have them sit idly at their desks. Stone­ham, with a half dozen helpers, could have done all




the needful work, but Dr. Dowie loved to hire peo­ple-especially good Zion people who had invested money. Having hired them, he sent them to Herbert and other heads of departments. If a man had bought more than ten thousand dollars' worth of Zion stocks, naturally he was given an executive position. Each of Herbert's three surplus assistants had invested more than $25,000 and drew large salaries. When Herbert protested, the General Overseer laughed and said, “you are ingenious enough, I am sure, to find something harmless for them to do."