It happened recently that I was alone one night aboard my schooner, which was lying at her dock in Miami, the crew having gone ashore. It was late in the evening when suddenly, out of the utter stillness, there came from the dock sounds of violent altercation, coupled with profanity and an apparent assault. I opened the cabin door, and soon understood that a drunken father was abusing his son, who tried to reason with and calm him; but the man only became the more incensed and abusive, and finally chased the boy off the dock into the darkness, his last terrible utterance reverberating in my ears. I sat down in the cabin, sick at heart as the awfulness of the situation, little as I knew of it, forced itself upon me. The dock was quiet again, and I was about to close the cabin when a face appeared in the doorway. From his voice, when he spoke, I knew it to be the young man assailed,—a half clad fisherman.

"Friend," he said, "did you hear all that?" "Yes," I said, "every word; and I am very sorry." "But," said he, "I am not to blame. I have worked hard all my life for my father, and made most of his living for him, yet all I get is curses and kicks, and I go without food and clothes most of the time. That fishing-boat there is all the home I have; but he has driven me off from that to-night, and I have nowhere to stay."

I think he expected I would shelter him; but duty did not seem to point that way, so I said to him, "Young man, you say he is your father and the only relative you have. Now you have done a great deal for him, and probably God means for you to keep on until you reclaim him, thus finishing the good work laid out for you. Your father is not himself now, but possessed by evil; go back to him, and do not fear. If he swears and threatens, do not talk back to give him any excuse for showing further anger. Take my advice, don't desert your father." He hesitated, and expressed much fear for his life; but I urged him to have confidence in the right.

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June 13, 1908

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