The Life and Experiences of a Layman by Charles Boller

Pages 113 - 117


He did not look at me. The long hair took on remarkable movement as the the man wrote quickly. I walked very slowly through the two large rooms and stood before him. "I truly regret that I must deliver a work to the consistory this afternoon," he said as he wrote. "If I have the honor of standing before the honorable Mr. Gerok, I would humbly ask if I could just take a short moment of your very valuable time." Then he looked at me. After I gave him my business card he stopped writing.

I have your worthy "Blumen und Sternen" [Flowers and Stars] as well as "Pfingstrosen" [Pentacost Rose], and my favorite "Illustrierten Palmblätter" [Illustrated Palm Fronds] in my library and I have read them. "Sit down, Mr. Boller." "Next to sacred scripture I have derived so much comfort in the troubled and sad hours from your writings that I made the decision years ago when I travel to Germany I would look for the author of these edifying books and thank him personally for what he has achieved and done for me and the whole of Christianity." "O, Please sit down, Mr. Boller," he said. "One of our bishops preached a while for us in America and I invited him


"to lunch. He saw you 'Illustrierten Palmblätter' in my library. 'Oh,' he said, 'if I could have had the Palmblätter before my sermon in order to quote from it and that would have been a help to me.'" "No, Mr. Boller, it makes me very happy that a layman, a businessman comes to me from America, where everyone hunts for the almighty dollar, in order to thank me for what I have given the world with God's help, and especially that a businessman from America finds the time necessary to satisfy intellectual needs. But listen, Mr. Boller, grant God the Lord the honor for what I have given in this regard. You said before that your bishop has preached for you! To which denomination do you belong?" I responded, "Mr. Gerok, we are called the Evanglical Community and have a large conference in Switzerland and one in southern Germany. Our main book publisher is right here in Stuttgart." "Oh, where is it, please?" "In the Schloßstrasse, where the chapel is." "So, so, so. Allow me to give you an extra copy of the Palmblätter as a souvenir." And he wrote the following lines in the book:


To Mr. C. Boller
In fond memory by the author
Stuttgart, June 28, 1882
Karl Gerok

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45. A Nights Study to address the President of the United States

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                              Washington, April 8, 1908

If we want to address Potentates, Kings, or the President of the United States we must be very reverent and discreet. Therefore, my night's study, as a preparation, to interview the President.

Dear Mr. President:

I am so glad to have the privilege of an interview with you. Would your Honor please allow me two minutes of your valuable time, to converse with you? I came to this country of my adoption in 1849, and located in Buffalo, N.Y., which has been my home ever since. I have been prosperous, and have learned to love my country. I am glad to have such a grand man at the helm. Am proud that myself and big family of ten have had the pleasure


of helping to place the reins into the hands of such a good man. Once as Governor of our State, New York, and twice as President of our glorious country. And, I would to God, that millions and myself had the chance, to vote and let the reins remain in the experienced hands of our beloved President, Theodore Roosevelt.

I am frank to state; that I have found the Lord, and am serving Him, and hope to be with Him soon, in a better land, yes, in a yet far better land than this.

May we meet there again. Goodbye.

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46. Michel's Conversion

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A farmer in Württemberg often and gladly talked about his conversion. In the village people didn't pay much attention to what he said. Therefore he went on Sundays to a neighboring village and held prayer hours and complained about his village and prayed for its conversion. A stranger asked him, "How long have you been converted?" He answered "Twenty years." "And you lived in the village?" He responded "Yes, indeed." "And in all that time no one has converted?"


He said, "No, no one. That's why I'm so sad." "There must be something wrong with your Christianity," replied the stranger. To this he asked, "Who's been talking about me?" And Michel was quite indignant. The stranger answered, "No one, I perceived it from your own words." "Yes," said Michel, "I am often scornful then I throw insults, which half the village hears and the neighbors say, "Michel is having one of his spells."

As Michel was on his way through the brush he knelt and prayed: "Beloved Savior, I have always prayed that others should convert but now I see that the error is mine. I will no longer be bad. Help me." Then he quietly went home. He could not sleep the entire night. He spent the night in prayer. On Monday morning he came to the courtyard and saw all the gear hanging from the tree, which the servant forgot to put away. He felt his insides churning but he fought it. He went through the courtyard until he found his servant. He said to him quite quietly, "The gear doesn't hang well from the tree." The servant answered, "I forgot. It won't happen again." If the farmer


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Text provided by Lockwood Library, State University of New York at Buffalo, BX8080.B65

Susan Kriegbaum-Hanks