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The War Between Wars

Beyond question, Admiral Weemyss possessed a bit more than a touch of eccentricity. True, some of his forebears had been stark mad (a great-grandfather had his servants carry a giant trifle every day to his prize, overly-pampered dairy cows and served to the various feed troughs that were emblazoned with the family crest), but every family over a period of time comes to grief in that fashion.

Madness, in a castle, seems to be a greater, more horrible thing than madness in an obscure cottage. Why is that?

At least no one much cares about the cottage case, unless it results in a string of spectacular, gruesome murders, or some such stirring, public thing. The Admiral, however, never made the tabloids. He hated notoriety anyway, and was content with his fine if unremarkable naval career.

Retired, he cultivated his extensive gardens and added some rooms to the Weemyss “castle,” which was parapeted but had never grown any mighty towers, keep or dungeon, nor surrounded itself with a proper moat, so at this late date there was no use trying to make it much more than it was--a modest country house of a middle-class tradesman.

At first, there was little sign anything unusual was afoot. Putting up a brick wall, which the admiral helped to erect with his own hands, enclosed the ten acres and house and outbuildings. The gravel lane was metalled in the modern fashion, and the sagging stable bolstered and converted into a big workshop and a modern “port” for the admiral’s “fleet” of carriages.

Here his eccentricity at last surfaced like a Great White circling for the kill. He attempted to make over conventional carriages, using his own carpenter skills, and hiring those in the neighborhood that showed promise, and soon the vicinity was treated to a capital battleship on wheels.

Investing his long experience of ships and a lot of money, he replicated nearly all the mighty vessels which the Royal Navy could boast.

Understandably, it proved rather startling for a time for local citizenry, out riding on some narrow, winding country lane, to be confronted by a forty-foot long dreadnought with the admiral, dressed to the part, seated in a wicker chair on the bridge, the incredible contraption pulled by straining, lathered Clydesdales.

Though the Straits of Bristol were only a few miles distant, the admiral had never learned to swim in a forty-year career at sea, and hated sea water passionately after once drinking a glass of it on another cadet’s dare at the naval academy.

So his impressive, private fleet remained land-locked, and wheeled--which was just as well for the country, for his cannons were real, if small in diameter, and he never went out without a proper stock of shells for firing them at any German or French vessels he might meet on the “high seas.”

The other major expression of his eccentricity was indulged indoors, so only the admiral’s servants saw it and spread news of what the mad admiral was up to. In the “Hall of Mirrors,” a much-scaled down version of a French original, he had cleared out most of the vertigo-inspiring dark-velvet, Neo-gothic George Albert-period furniture except chairs and sofas along the walls, and erected in the midst a huge table specially constructed.

It was the layout you would expect in a Navy war room, only none like it would be constructed until the mid-1930s in London, and a war room would be all-electric, not gas-lighted.

With a second level added, the War Room was designed somewhat like a small theatre, thirty by thirty, and fitted with seating in a balconied ”Dress Circle.” Dress Circle Visitors could look down on four table tennis tables joined together and painted with a large-scale map of the seas and continents. Covering one entire wall, where mirrors had been removed, and where a theater curtain would normally hang, flaring gas lights showed the number of enemy craft and the available counterforces of the Weemyss fleet.

A flag, German, or Dutch, or French, or even Russian and Swedish, was hung by the enemy fleet presently being engaged, and Weemyss’s heraldic flag and coat of arms hung by his own squadron lights.

It took some effort to train a change-challenged estate staff, accustomed as they were to either household or the garden and buildings maintenance, but he eventually had them sitting as VIPs or engaged in moving the toy ships around on the big map-table below.

Installed in his own glassed-in balcony as the commanding admiral, he consulted occasionally with his chief officers, four or five gardeners, and called down by speaking tube to the made-over kitchen and dairy workers with instructions how to position and move the various vessels.

With battleplans drawn from records of Britain’s chief naval battles, Wellington’s and Nelson’s primarily, the admiral could carry on this way for hours at a time. He took it all very seriously, and expected his staff to act accordingly. Sometimes the strain brought sweat to his brow as a precarious victory was almost lost at the last moment, and--indeed--it was at such a time the admiral suffered a fatal heart attack. He had indulged himself a bit too much.

The staff was mightily relieved, for the naval battles had been a trying experience, and though the admiral paid well, they all wished to work in conventional, less eccentric houses.

The mansion and gardens, with the faltering Weemyss family line grown extinct in quite a few branches, fell into ruin, with the custodianship given to a local magistrate-attorney, who as intestate executor attempted to locate family members.

A few were great-grand-nephews and nieces, located in New Zealand, Australia and Canada, but they did not wish to leave when they found out the particulars of the decrepit, not very large estate.

Perhaps, they had caught wind of Admiral Weemyss’s last projects and were scared off. Though it could be worth thousands fixed up, no one wanted the labor and the investment it would require, and the taxes finally forced the property into the possession of the shire, and from there it was offered to the public after an auction of the admiral’s goods.

Whatever was valuable was bought and removed, but the War Room remained intact, since no one knew what to do with it. Sadly, the dreadnought-carriage fleet went to pieces, then was broken up and thrown on a bonfire, to which most of the admiral’s wardrobe and his naval costumes for his staff were added. It was years before there was an offer on the place, and that offer was Ian’s. Of course, it was accepted immediately, since it was the amount published by the shire.

Why the admiral had called the estate, “Winter’s Grace,” no one knew. It hardly seemed naval, and was put down to his oddness of nature. Years after the sale, an attic would be cleaned, and private papers would be recovered from a long-buried trunk. This attic was small, in an out of the way space above the entrance, and no one had thought to take a peep behind the tiny, locked door, since it looked like nothing more than old umbrellas might be stored in such an obscure nook. Strangely enough, this was the main repository for the admiral’s diaries.

The trunk contained some Kashmiran railway securities and gold mine shares (the securities reduced to insignificant value after several market falls, and the Chilean gold mines gone defunct). As for the rest, it was diaries, all bound in calfskin and expensively gilded.

In the volume marked ANNO 1873 the entry for March 23rd read: “A bad night at Winter’s Grace! Bloody much wind and blowing about in the garden. I shall have that big Cedar of Lebanon trimmed by O’Shannessey soon as he feels up to it--it strikes against my bedroom wall on the second floor! I couldn’t sleep a wink, but then toward morning the wind must have died, and I dropped off from pure exhaustion. I woke in the forenoon, bolt-awake, for a dream made me so uncomfortable I couldn’t stay asleep. A white dragon was fighting a red dragon, which had both swum up out of a nether-earthly pool where they had been sleeping in an enchanted state until disturbed by a king. You see, he wanted to build his castle there but everything that was constructed fell to pieces. Then a wizard revealed the cause, the two sleeping dragons beneath the pool that lay under the excavation site. Once the dragons were roused, they fought, and the white dragon prevailed over the red dragon, flying off after its victory so that the king was free to complete his building project. Horrible dream! I fetched a whiskey immediately, and felt better. Odd, how dreams seem to say things to mortals! Our princedom of Wales has a dragon, a white one, so why is our dragon fighting a red one? Or perhaps the question is: what nation does the red dragon personify? I shall make a search in the Bodleian, since my own library has proven insufficient. There was to be something on the subject of these dragons, and I feel I shan’t rest until I dig to the bottom of this.”

The admiral, despite his best intentions, never made it to the Bodleian, and there was no further entry on the matter.

As for Ian Dahl, who eventually came into possession of the diaries, the remarks about the two dragons meant little, though they reminded him of the Revelation penned by St. John.

He had, of course, far more important things to be concerned with than an old man’s diaries, and after a riffle through the pages of several volumes, he had them put back and the collection returned to the attic repository, just in case the Weemyss posterity wanted them.

One thing that really concerned him was Second Horse’s constant meddlings in the College’s administration! Ever since the unwanted “prayer warrior” had arrived on campus, installing himself as “co-chief” of the establishment, he had proved impossible to remove. Why should Ian accept this self-appointed helper? He needed none of the sort--leastwise an Indian savage of the western American wilderness! Taciturn, inscrutable, reclusive, uncivilized to the extreme, Second Horse was hardly the sort, in Ian’s thinking, that God would choose for so great a responsibility.

Naturally, at first Ian objected to the inclusion of a sticking burr on the backside of his ministry to both God and man, but Willy Second Horse--as he eventually let others know who he was--gave no indication he heard anything Ian tried to say to dissuade him from staying on indefinitely.

As much as Ian prayed, the Lord said nothing to him either, and so after much wrestling in the spirit and getting no where, he gave up from exhaustion and let the matter rest.

He couldn’t call on the authorities, he knew. Assuming he had located the Swansea Bible College, Willy Second Horse had installed himself at the police headquarters, and nobody there quite knew what to do with him, until it came to Ian’s attention, and they had conducted him to the College, impressed with his appearance to think he was a visiting chief of some major American tribe.

And he was a traffic-stopping sight for the eyes-- tall, weighing twice what an average Welshman would weigh, and crowned with a thick, black mane of hair a biblical Absalom would have been proud of, sweeping down from his head in glossy, braided ropes and covering his shoulders.

Ian was astonished when, a day after his arrival, he saw Second Horse had hacked off his glory, his braided hair, leaving only an ill-cut head of much shorter hair!

Despite this drastic alteration of his appearance, for several months Second Horse presented no great difficulty. What he ate, no one could guess, for he never visited the cafeteria or the kitchen. He came and went about the grounds without anyone’s knowing, slipping out and then back into his shed-lodge quietly. Ian and the students grew used to the presence of the inscrutable Indian on campus.

One day Ian was teaching on James and Hebrews, and pressing on particular points regarding the necessity for faith to issue in works when the door opened and Second Horse came in. He stopped Ian’s lecture, holding out a flower, the bud of a yellow rose he had just gathered somewhere from his rambles about the countryside.

Astonished, confused, embarrassed, the class and Ian stared at the Indian’s yellow rosebud, and no one knew what to do. Finally, someone thought of an appropriate verse, in which Christ spoke of a common field lily being arrayed more beautifully than King Solomon, and how they were not to worry and fret about what they would eat or wear.

Second Horse, however, did not seem to notice the student’s offered scripture, and he turned from the class and presented it to Ian, who took it and hardly knew what to do with it. The silence was terrible, as the Indian sat on the floor, looking up at Ian, who stood with the flower in his hand, his upper lip wrinkled slightly as he wondered what to do with the unwanted gift and also how he was to get the Indian to leave them in peace.

After some minutes of this, the class decided to leave on its own, and in a few moments Ian and Second Horse were left, Second Horse still looking at Ian as if he expected Ian to respond in kind. Ian shook his head, flung the rose into an unused flower pot in the room by the previous owner, and strode from the room. He didn’t stop until he was in his own room. There he threw himself down before the Lord, pouring out his frustration and anger for a solid hour. Should he take the Indian bodily in hand and run him off the campus for obstructing the class? Ian sought the Lord repeatedly, but the Lord answered with only silence.

The next day the class met to continue with the lecture, and Ian, looking warily to either side for any sign of Second Horse, went to class. He reached mid-point in the study of James when the door again was thrust open with a foot. In strode Second Horse. This time he ignored the class and presented a fresh flower directly to Ian. Ian refused to take it, and Second Horse stood there holding out the flower. This terrible scene was worse than the previous day’s, and students writhed in their chairs. Finally, one by one, they fled, leaving Ian to face Second Horse alone.

“What is the meaning of these rude interruptions?” Ian burst out. “I won’t allow this to happen again! You must leave this campus at once! I never asked for you to come, and this is definitely not of the Spirit! For with the Spirit is order and peace and--”

Sputtering, Ian felt checked in his spirit, but he was too full to control his mouth at the moment, and like a Welshman he could bluster for quite some time before running out of fuel. When he was finally finished with his piece, Ian felt Second Horse’s grave eyes studying him quietly, and Ian’s face grew beet red. In the Indian’s gaze, he saw himself to be an utter fool!

Ian left the room, and when he had got far enough away to think, he cried to the Lord. “Show me where I am wrong, O God! What is it I am missing? I feel there is something, but what? This flower business--what could it possibly mean?”

Beside himself, he spent the rest of the day and evening searching in vain for the reason for Second Horse’s intrusive behavior. Surely, he had something better than a simple flower to show him. But what was it?

Falling asleep after tossing for hours, Ian dreamed. He felt a most intense presence of the Lord that he had not felt for a long time. When he awoke he sensed something was different. But what? He rose, dressed, and went to this prayers and Bible reading and study. When he had finished, he went down for breakfast.

Stepping outside to check for some students who might be coming in late, Ian stood for a few moments in the entry, and then he noticed something, the intensity of the morning light picking out certain glowing flowers in the garden.

He walked out to them, and found the roses that had so attracted Second Horse, to the point where he had to interrupt two classes. As the light shone upon the roses, Ian’s eyes widened. The peace that flooded the scene was unbelievable. He felt forced to knees in a revelation of the beauty and power that God Almighty had poured into the creation of the roses. The revelation gripped him so mightily he began to cry out to God, not only in praise but in tears for God’s forgiveness.

How blind and hard of heart he had become! he realized. He saw his poverty of spirit, and his stony heart, as he gazed at the roses. No wonder he had treated Second Horse so coldly!

Melted in spirit, Ian could scarcely make it back to the main building, and he felt totally unprepared to deal with his first class of the morning. What had he been teaching? James? How he had relished James, beating the various principles into the class with vigor. Now he saw his approach for what it was--he was teaching the letter of the law, and had lost its spirit. Without love, he had become a clanging cymbal, about which St. Paul had warned in his Corinthian letters.

Horrible shame deluged him. He walked so unsteadily that several students, coming up the drive, stopped to stare at him. Somehow he reached his room, where he threw himself on his face before the Lord, begging the Lord’s cleansing Blood to cover his iniquity. The class? He forgot it entirely, and then, when he rushed out to the room, he met the class coming from the room, their faces and eyes glowing as they discussed the teachings that they had just received from Second Horse on James and Hebrews.

“Yes, it’s all grace, just as he said!” a Mennonite girl from Broken Arrow, Nebraska, said to her sister. “Before, I always felt condemned reading those two books, but now I can walk in liberty, fulfilling the scriptures by grace!”

Ian, walking them go down the hall, put his hand up to his face, which was burning. He had learned his greatest lesson--being humbled and taught by the likes of Second Horse.

Last to leave the room, Second Horse came out, did not even glance at Ian, and returned to his shed as if nothing important had happened, yet the College was on fire over his lecture for weeks afterwards.

And what had Second Horse said? Very few words, Ian found out by asking the students. Actually, Second Horse had pointed to the flower, saying the one word, “Grace.” Then he pressed the flower to the Bible where it was opened to James, and said it again. By this time the meaning was flooding out into the classroom, into the hearts and lives of the gaping students. He took the rose and pressed it to the forehead of each student, and each time repeated, “Grace.” Each felt anointed by Grace when this happened. Many started weeping in joy, experiencing true deliverances from various bondages of legalism. Praying, confessing, receiving the Lord’s touch that set them free, the students were ministered to mightily by Second Horse.

One, his right arm blown off at the elbow in the war, was from Dulwich, London, and he cried out, “Help me! Help me!” Collapsing on his knees beside his desk, the former soldier raised his remaining arm and hand and continued to cry out.

Yet Second Horse did not go to him. He let the young man cry out. Finally, the man began to clench his fist, swearing and cursing, demanding that God heal him, denouncing him for not protecting him in battle, then letting the bomb explode so near half his arm was ripped away.

Now he was a wretched cripple, half a man, unable to marry and support a wife and family, all because Almighty God had let him down! When no one dared to go to him, the fellow sank down, his clenched fist in his lap, and even then Second Horse did nothing.

The room grew deathly quiet, for until now no one could have guessed from his former fervent, studious behavior that he had held bottled up so much hurt and resentment against God.

Suddenly, in a moment too quick for them to catch, Second Horse and the maimed soldier were facing each other, Second Horse offering his arm with a motion that indicated he would gladly cut it off for the younger man, and seeing this the soldier broke and began to weep as if his heart were shattered.

“Oh, my God, forgive me! And use me! Take my other arm too, but glorify Yourself in my life, oh, my God!”

Second Horse tenderly wiped the hair that had fallen over the man’s eyes, and treated him like a boy who had done something wrong but was, nevertheless, a father’s beloved son. It was so raw and tender a scene, no one could look at it directly.

Several such life-changing deliverances took place, as heart secrets were bared to God’s wounding sword and also his healing love.

Second Horse did not return to class for some time after that, and increased his rambles in the countryside. Ian went back to his Bible teaching, but with a humbler, gentle spirit that communicated the truths in a richer fashion than before.

As Second Horse did not interfere with him, Ian began to think he was doing rather well, only it came to him what Second Horse had said one day. He had called Ian “Breaks Eggs.”

The whole school was talking about it before Ian heard. “Breaks Eggs”? Ian could not imagine what had given him that name in Second Horse’s estimation, thinking it an insult until he recalled the incident of their first meeting. It still seemed a silly thing to call a man, even a petty thing.

What did it matter if he had broken a few eggs once? What was significant about that? Ian decided it wasn’t worth his notice, and he dismissed the name with holy contempt.

Yet Second Horse began crossing his path, so many times that Ian took notice. And Second Horse always greeted him as “Breaks Eggs.” He would say things like, “Have you prayed long today, Breaks Eggs?” “Or have you a good word today, Breaks Eggs?”

Or, “I am praying for you, Breaks Eggs!” Ian could make nothing of such statements, of course. Bewildered, he kept his feelings to himself. Teaching as usual, he was startled and horrified in equal measure when Second Horse came in unannounced, bearing a highly illegal royal swan’s egg in his hand. He set it on the floor, put his heel upon it, and the inevitable happened. The egg was crushed.

Then Second Horse went out, leaving the class in an uproar. He repeated this outrageous performance several times, at varying intervals, until Ian was beside himself. After being humbled once, Ian was not apt to repeat his mistakes of the past.

He sought the Lord, and kept silent when Second Horse came and broke yet another egg.

Finally, the blow came to Ian’s ego that he was secretly dreading. Second Horse pointed to him where he stood at the head of the class. “You are Breaks Eggs!” he declared, as if Ian had publicly denied it. “You break the King’s precious eggs!”

Mortified, Ian mumbled through the remainder of his Bible teaching, and dismissed the class. Later, in his room, he sought the Lord upon his face, and a verse came to mind.

“He who receives you receives Me, and he who receives Me receives Him who sent Me. He who receives a prophet shall receive a prophet’s reward...”

Ian rose, his body shaking, for he knew the verse from the Gospel of Matthew. Was Second Horse a prophet of God? Had he made so great a mistake, as not to discern a true prophet in their midst? How had he been so blind? Chastened, Ian sang:

Spirit of the Living God, fall afresh on me, Spirit of the Living God, fall afresh on me. Melt me, mold me, fill me, use me, Spirit of the Living God, fall afresh on me.”

And the Spirit did fall afresh on Ian, changing him degree by degree, if not altogether at one time.

The Roaring 1920’s with its Vamps and "Flaming Youth" and Flappers all trumpeting a revived hedonism passed in the outside world, as the far more sober-minded College studied the word of God and Ian grew in stature as an administrator. Second Horse remained Ian’s greatest thorn in the flesh, however, even if Ian came to see him as a prophet.

It was a hard time at the College. There was some prosperity in Wales, but few benefited, and the wages were low, so low that very little money came for their support from the Swansea. They might have starved many times if cheques had not come from far-flung places like Nepal, the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan, China and Minnesota and Transvaal, South Africa--principally from hard-pressed women missionaries who had been urged by the Spirit to send money they badly needed for someone they did not even know.

Retired, nearly impoverished widows also sent cheques. Disabled railway men sent cheques. The poor gave so that the College’s training could continue. And who told them? Ian steadfastly refused to send out any letters stating their needs and asking for help.

And what had they to show for years of Bible College. The students came, some spending only a few months, others a year or two, and very few finished the four year course. Ian lost word of them, and could only pray for them in the spirit after they had gone.

A few returned to finish, having undergone some particular testing or deepening of faith-experience. Stumbling from cheque to cheque, the College barely maintained its existence. Any established church in Swansea had much more to show for the labor and the money.

Day after day, Ian felt the sheer inadequacy of his teaching, as student after student slipped away to some work in the world, and he heard nothing of good report, that would have confirmed the teaching given at Winter’s Grace.

With no visible fruit, Ian labored in growing despair and weakness. It didn’t help that Second Horse let himself and the College down by developing a Welshman’s congenital short-coming, a drinking habit. Bottles were thrown out of the shed into a growing heap. Embarrassed, Ian removed them, but then realized everyone knew about Second Horse’s backslidden condition and he let the bottles lie where they fell.

With this scandal darkening the school, attendance declined, and by 1939 the College was hard put to keep one small class going. Many days Ian was teaching four or five students at best. Sickness of all kinds plagued the students, and one day he came to class and no one else showed up!

He was so upset, he fell to his knees groaning like an animal. “I can’t go on like this, O God! Send me students, or I shall pack it up here and now!”

All his sacrifice and labor had come to naught, seemingly. And Second Horse? He had turned a drunken reprobate, casting a pall of disreputable reputation over the College. Close on the heels of a man from the power company threatening to shut them off again for tardy payments, some ministers of the town had come out, to challenge him to send the Indian back to America, and Ian was of a mind to do just that, but how could he? He had no authority over Willy Second Horse. And the College hadn’t the money to buy Second Horse’s passage home on the next boat.

With no one showing for class, Ian wandered out and down, crossing the campus, then coming back toward the main building by way of the garden shed. He paused, looking at the unkempt grass, the trash heaped in the weed-overgrown flower beds, the broken fountain, and it seemed then to picture for him the true spiritual state of the ruined College. His dream had crashed before his very eyes! And it was Second Horse’s shed and yard that spoke the truth to him, which he could no longer deny. He had come to the end. The College was a wretched failure. “Winter’s Grace”? It was all winter and no grace! It had begun in the Spirit and ended in the flesh!

Suddenly, Ian was aware he was not alone. He felt the Presence of the Savior, so strong that he could not bear it. He looked round, holding out his hands, a silly expression on his face that he could not contain. Wandering about like a child on Candy Mountain, he came close to the shed, and on impulse he pushed open the door, intruding on Second Horse’s privacy for the first time.

The prophet was gone out but the floor was covered with mail! Picking up one item--a U.S. government agency cheque--he realized that he was looking at a most strange thing--Willy Second Horse gave utterly no thought to money or who was obliged to support him! And all this time, for years, the cheques had been coming regularly! Even his grandmother had sent considerable sums--until she stopped, and Ian thought she must have died.

Ian, unable to stop himself, swept up the cheques, and estimating that if they held American dollars, say $100 apiece, he soon came to a sum of ten thousand pounds, and still there were enveloped cheques he hadn’t counted! The bed by the wall was mattressed with newspapers mingled with crumpled envelopes of cheques! Why, the man was lounging literally on money!

This discovery made Ian even more confused about what to do with Willy Second Horse in the days and weeks after the incident.

He wanted to ask him why he threw his cheques down for a carpet and used them for a bed mattress, but he couldn’t get the words out without feeling like he was meddling in a business that wasn’t his. So, like a thousand other things concerning the fellow, Ian swallowed his hot and hasty words, and prayed God most earnestly for forebearance and understanding--of which he needed a great deal to get through the shocking discovery. After all, the College’s finances, at times, had been most slender.

If he had only suspected that Willy Second Horse, offering not once pence all these years for his keep, had been treading on thousands of pounds every day of his sojourn--the thought was enough to drive Ian wild, but he mastered it with God’s strength.

It seemed like things would go on this way indefinitely at Winter’s Grace. But then the lightning bolt struck.

Willy Second Horse’s addiction was suddenly taken from him by a sovereign act of God’s power and grace. Unable to deliver himself, he had thrown himself down one day, and a passing student had run back to see if he was all right. The student prayed, laid hands on the fallen prophet, and the addiction was destroyed root and branch. Willy Second Horse, from that day, never touched another bottle.

Now what was God’s grand objective in all this? The decline in attendance, the fall of Second Horse, then his wonderful restoration--what could it mean to the College? Ian wondered. Having grown old at the College together, Willy Second Horse still showing no sign of every leaving to return to his native land, Ian finally became resigned to things going on as they had.

After all, a lot of time had passed, and Willy Second Horse’s presence hadn’t stopped the College from training young men and women and making prayer warriors out of them.

In fact, he could see plainly that the College was attracting the brightest, most zealous people, year after year. Class after class “graduated,” that is, were led forth by the Spirit to outstanding vocations and positions of great responsibility in fresh, new ministries of their own invention, while there always remained enough to carrying on the twenty-four-hour vigil of prayer that formed the foundation of the College’s spiritual life.

Other than what was told him by Mrs. Skittlethorpe on her deathbed, Ian himself hadn’t the slightest clew, not until the late summer of 1940 and he had grown a excellent squadron leader, holding more and more classes in the War Room as he sought to make clear some point of spiritual warfare from the scriptures. Students, taking their cue from the teaching, served as his lieutenants, and moved pieces of paper representing enemy forces about on the big table-map.

While doing so, prophecy would come, and direct them to pray specifically for one nation, then another, and even for specific people, though not by name. In this way they were taught, increasingly, how to press through innumerable enemy obstacles until the beachhead was secured.

Even if the lectures were growing more exciting when given in the War Room, attendance remained spotty and uncertain.

How many people could have stayed, living only on the promise, and waiting so long to see the fulfillment? Few, indeed. But Ian determined long before that even if deserted by Second Horse and he found himself the only one left at the College, he wasn’t going to quit. He would stick it out to the end, even if he had to contend every day with mocking from community religious leaders round about.

The late Mrs. Skittlethorpe, after all--and he often returned to her in his thoughts--had seen the Fulfillment, and it was glorious, if the shining of her eyes was evidence. She believed in the College and its purpose for being. How could he believe any less in it? Nor for anything would he shame her memory, or waste her hard-earned investment!

At the close of three decades since the century’s turn, Willy Second Horse’s head was a wonderful metallic gray, and Ian’s was thin and sandy. Slowly learning now not to live up to his name “Breaks Eggs,” Ian had also come to understand that he truly had a helper in the unwanted tribesman, who somehow held the College together by his tremendous calmness and anchoring imperturbability. Second Horse never broke anyone’s egg.

It would be unthinkable for him. Yet he was a curious teacher, it is true, imparting moral lessons of a strange sort connected with his knowledge of nature.

That Wales lacked many of the herbs and medicine plants of his native land hampered him somewhat, but his tribe sent packets full of roots and seeds and before long he had a medicine garden growing for the benefit of the College and his “lectures.” He was also eccentric in his wardrobe and eating habits. Wearing the vest of a British gentleman, and a tie and white shirt, he completed his garb with enormous pantaloons and the most gaudy, rhinestoned belt, like something won in a carnival competition. Over his shoulders, a cape of a native blanket! Rain or shine, he wore no hat and took no umbrella along on his frequent rambles in the countryside.

Together, the Welshman and the Bella Coolan, First Horse and Second Horse, at last stood ready to haul the travois of the Lord into the fierce war looming on every horizon. Just as vital as this trained team, they had a college of trained warriors to support them. Indeed, the estate of the College was well-named. To win grace in winter--the long, hard winter ahead for the world--the College stood poised and pointed like a trained hunter’s dog for action.


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