Windy McPherson's Son
One day when the youth Sam McPherson was new in the city he went on a Sunday
afternoon to a down-town theatre to hear a sermon. The sermon was delivered by a small
dark-skinned Boston man, and seemed to the young McPherson scholarly and well
"The greatest man is he whose deeds affect the greatest number of lives," the speaker had
said, and the thought had stuck in Sam's mind. Now walking along the street carrying his
travelling bag, he remembered the sermon and the thought and shook his head in doubt.
"What I have done here in this city must have affected thousands of lives," he mused, and
felt a quickening of his blood at just letting go of his thoughts as he had not dared do
since that day when, by breaking his word to Sue, he had started on his career as a
He began to think of the quest on which he had started and had keen satisfaction in the
thought of what he should do.
"I will begin all over and come up to Truth through work," he told himself. "I will leave
the money hunger behind me, and if it returns I will come back here to Chicago and see
my fortune piled up and the men rushing about the banks and the stock exchange and the
court they pay to such fools and brutes as I have been, and that will cure me."
Into the Illinois Central Station he went, a strange spectacle. A smile came to his lips as
he sat on a bench along the wall between an immigrant from Russia and a small plump
farmer's wife who held a banana in her hand and gave bites of it to a rosy-cheeked babe
lying in her arms. He, an American multimillionaire, a man in the midst of his money-
making, one who had realised the American dream, to have sickened at the feast and to
have wandered out of a fashionable club with a bag in his hand and a roll of bills in his
pocket and to have come on this strange quest--to seek Truth, to seek God. A few years
of the fast greedy living in the city, that had seemed so splendid to the Iowa boy and to
the men and women who had lived in his town, and then a woman had died lonely and in
want in that Iowa town, and half across the continent a fat blustering old man had shot
himself in a New York hotel, and here he sat.
Leaving his bag in the care of the farmer's wife, he walked across the room to the ticket
window and standing there watched the people with definite destinations in mind come
up, lay down money, and taking their tickets go briskly away. He had no fear of being
known. Although his name and his picture had been upon the front pages of Chicago
newspapers for years, he felt so great a change within himself from just the resolution he
had taken that he had no doubt of passing unnoticed.