Into the souls of those who receive it, and the rugged manhood of the Carpenter of Nazareth is accepted as the only standard worth considering.
EDWIN S. HINKS,
Dean of St. Michael's Cathedral,
I WAS born in Northumberland County, Ontario, Canada, on the 18th of March, 1866. My real name is Albert E. Horsley. My father was born of English parents, and my mother of Irish. I was brought up on a farm and received a common-school education, but as my parents were poor, I had to work as soon as I was old enough. I never advanced farther than the third grade. I was one of a family of eight children, consisting of six daughters and two sons.
While we were poor and had to work for a living, we always had plenty and dressed respectably. The country was prosperous, and poverty was a thing almost unheard of in the country at that time. Most everybody worked there at that time, either for themselves or for some one else, as the chief industry there was farming; and the people were happy and contented. The cost of living there then was much less than it is to-day, and the people dressed and lived much plainer then than now.
I was brought up to love and fear God and to believe in a hereafter. My parents usually attended church, and I was sent to Sunday-school and church, and always had to observe the Sabbath, as there was no manner of work practised there on the Sabbath except chores about the farms that were necessary to be done. Most of the people in that section of the country belonged to some church and usually attended it on Sunday.
I was next to the oldest of our family, and my brother next to the youngest. We bought a small farm when I was about ten years old, and I and my sisters used to work and help father all we could, as we used to raise garden truck for market. I used to work on the farm summers and go to school winters. As soon as I was old enough, I used to work out for some close neighbor, sometimes by the day and sometimes by the month, but my parents always got the benefit of my work until I was past twenty years old. When working away from home, I always looked forward to Sunday, as I would have a chance to go home and spend the Sabbath with my folks, and they always looked for us on that day if we were away from home. It makes me feel sad now when I look back over those happy days and think especially of our dear loving mother and the anxiety she had for our welfare, and the many hard, weary days she toiled and worked and underwent many privations for us, as a loving mother will do for her family. We may not have had as nice clothes as some of our neighbors, but they were always clean and neatly mended. I always loved my mother very much and thought I was good to her, but I can look back now and see that I did not love her half as much as she did me, and I might have been much better to her. My dear mother is dead and gone many years ago, and I am glad in my heart on her account that she never lived to see me where I am to-day. My father also died since I left home.
When I was about twenty-one years old, I thought I ought to keep whatever money I earned myself, as my parents were not able to give me anything, and they did not object, so I worked away from home all the time then and saved all I earned. I had never been very far away from home and always worked on a farm. When I was twenty-two, I think, I went to Saginaw, Mich., to work in the lumber woods, as wages were much more there.
I had been keeping company with a young lady at home and was engaged to be married. I went back home and went to work for a farmer I had worked for previous to going to Michigan. I had saved up a little money by this time and got married the next summer and went to keeping house a little time after.
My wife had worked in a cheese factory before we were married and learned how to make cheese, and as that was a great industry there and paid pretty well, we thought we would try to get a factory and try cheese-making. We had no money to buy a factory, but that winter we succeeded in renting one and moved there in the spring. The cheesemaking was carried on only during the summer months, about six or seven months. We did not have any money left to start with, but got credit for what we needed and started out pretty well. It was an old factory we rented and pretty well run down, but we worked up a pretty good trade and had some good friends that helped us. Competition was keen, and a person had to understand the business perfectly to make a success. My wife understood it thoroughly, as she had learned with a man that was very successful, but I knew practically nothing about it. We did our own work at first and got along well, but I soon discovered there were many little tricks in the buying and many ways for the buyer to job the maker.
I will explain briefly how the cheese was mostly sold at that time. There would be a salesman for every factory, and they would meet at the most central city and had a regular cheese board of trade. The board met every week during the early summer, and after they had bought the cheese they would send out their inspectors to the factories they bought from. This would sometimes be several days after they had been sold, and often the market fluctuated a good deal, and if it happened to fall during the time the inspector was inspecting the cheese, he often culled them and would leave some of them on your hands or would take them at a reduced price. A maker did not like to have it get out that his cheese had been culled. That would give him a bad reputation and hurt his trade. I did not know what to do at first when an inspector culled some of our cheese, but he told me if I would weigh the cheese and knock off a pound or so on a cheese and make out two invoices, give our treasurer the short one and send him the correct one and also a copy of the short one, that he would accept them and no one would be any the wiser. I at first thought there was no harm in this, but I kept it to myself; I do not think I even told my wife.
It takes lots of patience to make cheese, and especially if a person is not particular in taking the milk. The patrons will not all take good care of their milk, and it often comes to the factory tainted with some bad smell, either from the cows eating something or drinking bad water, and it often comes from the milk being kept in some filthy place, and it takes a lot of work and time to get this out of the curd, often all day and part of the night; whereas, if you had all good, pure milk you could get through in eight or nine hours; and I think after I had worked at the cheese-making a while I was not as particular as my wife and often hurried it up to get done early. While we were bound to make a first-class cheese, we also had patrons bound to furnish firstclass milk, but we did not have them bound to send any at all if they did not see fit, and as I have stated, competition was very keen, and a good many of the patrons were so situated that they could send their milk to different factories, and if we would send it home and tell them it was not good, they would often do it, and we had to take a chance on lots of milk that we ought not, especially in hot weather.
This throwing in a few pounds of cheese to the buyer by making the short invoices would seem all right, but if you did much of this you would run the average away up, and it would take too much milk to make a pound of cheese. As it takes about ten pounds of milk to make a pound of cheese, we had to keep pretty close to this to compete with other factories, and thus the only way to do this was to weigh the milk short. Still another difficulty confronted us, as a great many patrons weighed their milk at home, and if there was too much difference they would kick, and so the man that did not weigh his milk at home suffered the most. We could usually find this out through the man that hauled the milk. Our salesman and treasurer was on to all this, as he had been in the business a good while, and he said it was all right, and a maker hadn't ought to make up any deficiency at the price he got for making, and that they did not pay enough anyway. This man was a good friend of mine and helped me in many ways.
They used to most always contract the last two or three months' make about the middle of the season, and often the market would fall, and this worked a great hardship on the maker, as the buyers were more particular. The first year we made cheese they contracted the last three months' make, and the market fell afterward, and they left several hundred dollars' worth of cheese on our hands, and I sold them to the man I rented the factory from. He failed to pay all for them, and I had to borrow about $400 to make up this, and I never got it from him, as he had sold the factory and was not worth it. I never did get it. We bought the factory after that and stayed there four years.
I just want to relate these circumstances to show the reader where I first fell and began to be dishonest. This was the first business I had done for myself, and I was handling quite a lot of money, and it was quite a change from working for somebody on a farm sixteen or seventeen hours a day for $12 to $15 a month. As long as I stayed home with my wife and worked in the factory, I was all right, but I thought I would keep a team of horses and haul a milk route and haul away the cheese to the depot, and hire a man or girl to work in the factory to help my wife when I was not there. Then I got to buying the whey at the factory and keeping hogs there and feeding them, and all this took me away from home more and more all the time, and took me to the city a good deal, where I met a different class of people from those I had been used to. I got to drinking some and spending a good deal of money and staying away from home longer than my business required, and I got mixed up in politics some, and to make a long story short, I got to living beyond my means and going in company that I was not able to keep up my end with. The patrons of our factory noticed this and talked a good deal about it, and I kept living a little faster all the time. My credit was good, and if I wanted money I could go to the bank and borrow it.
My wife did not like my being away from home so much, but she made no serious objection, but looked after things the best she could when I was not there. For that part, she would do it better than I, because she understood it better and was more particular, and if I had attended to my business and done my work and saved the money, we would have been all right and could have saved some money. But I could not stand prosperity, and kept good horses and rigs, and lived a pretty fast life and did not deal very honestly with the patrons.
Where I made the greatest mistake of my life was in not telling my wife anything about my business transactions, or very little, and I think this was the cause of our first estrangement. I did not keep this from my dear wife because I did not love her, but I knew if she knew about how I was doing the business she would not stand for it, and would wonder what I was doing with the money. If she asked me about something I did not want to tell her, I would either tell her a falsehood or put her off some other way, and I think the truth began to dawn upon her, and she got so she did not ask me anything much about business matters at all. I thought at the time I was only saving her pain. I knew I was doing wrong, but still kept doing more to cover up what I had done, and so it was I kept on. I did not drink to excess, nor did I seem to spend any great amount of money. We made pretty good money through the summer, but nothing in the winter, and as I kept two or three horses all the time and had to buy everything, the money got away, and after working there four years and selling the factory for about $400 more than we gave for it, I think I was some in debt yet, although most folks thought we had some money.
The way we came to sell the factory was like this: The patrons began to get dissatisfied, and the treasurer and salesman advised me to sell, and found a buyer for me, and no doubt it was a good thing for me.
We moved from Cramahe the spring of 1892, and went to make cheese for a company at Wooler near my home. There was not as much money in this as we had been making. We had more work to do in the factory, as there was more milk to handle. I was at home more here, and as we were among my own folks I tried to lead a better life. We had an uncle who was a preacher, and we were close to his church and usually went to church. I had many good Christian friends there that gave me good advice and tried to get me to lead a better life, and I did try, but to no purpose. I only tried to keep my wicked life away from my Christian friends, and I would make some excuse to get away from home as often as possible to the city or away hunting and fishing, any place to get away from home and have a little time, as we called it. We stayed there three years, but the people did not like the way I lived, as most all the patrons were Christians, and my actions would get out.
I had some good friends that managed to keep the factory for me three years, but at the end of that time I lost it, and a friend of mine put up the money to buy a factory at Hilton, and I was to manage it and pay him back. That winter I started to build another factory a few miles from the one we bought, and this kept me away from home a good deal that winter. I stopped in a town called Brighton near where I was building the new factory. This was the beginning of my downfall. I boarded there with a man and became infatuated with his wife and she with me.
I finished this factory and moved there about the opening of the cheese-making season. There was a dear little girl born to us this spring, and thus my dear wife was no longer able to look after the cheesemaking as she had formerly done, and I had to depend altogether on hired help. I rented a nice house in town shortly after our dear little girl was born, and lived there. I was away from home most all the time now, and when I was not at the factory I was down-town. Our once happy home had lost all attractions for me now, and my dear wife would often complain and plead with me to stay at home, or at least to come home early. To make a long story short, I lived away beyond my means and was some in debt, and my credit was not so good, and as I neglected to look after the making of the cheese and depended all on hired help, they did not turn out any too good, and my chief prop was not able to look after this as she had formerly done.
But I managed all right until we had to settle up in the fall of 1896, and this woman and I had planned to run away together, and I had to have money to do this. I was all right at Hilton; but at Brighton I had overdrawn my account several hundred dollars and was still in debt, and to cover up some other misrepresentations on the books, I burned the factory I had built and got the insurance. I had taken from $500 to $600 worth of cheese from the storehouse at Brighton and sold it and kept the money. The factory was insured in my name and the cheese in the name of the company. In the fire everything was destroyed, and the account books of the company were destroyed, with the record of my debt in them. I paid up my debts with the insurance money, and had about $400 left, and I left there a month or so afterward, and this woman followed me a short time later and met me in Detroit, Mich., and we went to Nelson, British Columbia. We stayed there and at Pilot Bay, about twenty miles away from there, for three months or so, and I found out that she had written home and her folks knew where she was, and I bought her a ticket, and she went home, and I left there and went to Spokane, Wash. I did not hear from her after that, only in an indirect way. I wrote to a friend of mine about six months afterward. He told me she was living with her husband again and everything was all fixed up. He also told me my wife had written to him and wanted to know if he knew where I was. He said she said some pretty hard things and said he thought it would not be best for me to come back there. I had no notion of going back, and did not let him know where I was.
I was a very miserable man and began to see the great mistake I had made, but did not know how to repair it. I thought my wife would never forgive me, and I made up my mind to begin life over again and forget the past, but alas, that was not so easy to do, but I thought that was all there was left for me to do, and I started in to do it.