Frank William Boreham 1871-1959

Frank William Boreham 1871-1959
A photo F W Boreham took of himself in 1911

Friday, May 18, 2007

Boreham on People who are Pure Gold

I had promised to lecture at an anniversary gathering of a church in one of the poorer suburbs. At the church door I was greeted by a singularly unattractive piece of humanity. He was a tall, gaunt, elderly man, somewhat bent at the boulders, bearded and wrinkled. In spite of the balmy evening, he was muffled up in a great-coat, obviously worn, not or comfort, but to conceal the clothes that it covered. He affected neither a collar nor a tie.

Sitting alone in the vestry, it occurred to me that there must be more about this man than met the eye. I strolled around to the front door. ‘I have never been here before,’ I said, ‘and as I shall be expected presently to refer to the work that you are doing here, I should like to be shown over the premises.’ I could see that I had touched him in a tender spot. I could see that he was very fond and very proud of the place. I soon discovered, too, the cause of his embarrassment when we first met. ‘You must excuse me, sir,’ he said, turning up the collar of his great-coat, ‘but, you see, I have to go on duty at eleven o'clock. I work at night in the tramway tunnels under the streets, seeing that things are ready for the morning. There's no time to go home and change. I was half a mind not to come; but there are only two or three of us to keep the place going; the others are late getting home to their tea, and can't be here as soon as I can. ‘I didn't like to think that you might come and find no one here to meet you.’ I told him that it was very noble of him to come under such conditions. ‘Oh, don't say that, sir! You see, I was led to the Saviour here, over forty years ago. I wouldn't like to tell you what sort of a man I was in those days. But, I tell you, it made all the difference. And when I think of what the church has been to me these forty years, I feel I can't keep away when there's something to be done!'

Half an hour later I was listening to the secretary's report. It contained an appreciative reference to my friend at the door. ‘This church owes,’ the secretary said, ‘a debt it can never repay, to Mr. Walter Price.’ Just as the meeting was closing a piercing scream rang through the building, and a young fellow in an epileptic fit was carried out. ‘It was young Price,’ the chairman explained as soon as the meeting was closed. ‘He is terribly afflicted. It's a great trouble to his father. The poor old man has a heavy cross to carry.’ And I had blamed him for seeming gloomy and taciturn! As I passed to the vestry I saw the poor young fellow. ‘I was talking to your father just now,’ I said ‘and feel very thankful to have met him.’ ‘If you've been talking to my father, sir, you've been talking to the best man living. My father's all gold, sir, that's what he is, all gold!’ Gold! Gold! All gold!

F W Boreham, The Home of the Echoes, pp 32-34.

Image: All gold.