4.4 The Takeover

The next day Frank Burt sent an urgent cable to London. Timotheus and Margarethe Trebitsch had decided he should resign from the Presbytery into a future, uncertain, but in God’s hands. Frank made the rounds again. George Troop said he would attend the meeting a few days later. “A convert speaking seven languages is a prize asset,” he’d said.

Trebitsch, Frank and Troop met at the Presbyterian Church on Ballantyne, West Montreal.

“This could explode,” said Frank solemnly.

Reverend Scrimger greeted them warmly. The feeling of eggshells beneath their feet turned to marble as he led them to the meeting room. The big missionary from Campbelltown, Donald McVicar, chaired, but any anxiety was transcended when Ignacz and John McCarter met one another. John’s ill health was nowhere seen. He and his protégé got straight talking of mission progress and eccentrics and one rabid rabbi.

“John McCarter, when you’re quite ready,” said McVicar.

The men laughed and took their seats. After prayer, Frank was given the floor. He thanked his hosts and related Archbishop Bond’s apologies: it was a busy time for him. The London Jews’ Society wanted to reach new men, make new men, an ethos which resounded with McVicar. Frank Burt praised McCarter and Trebitsch and in respect of their efforts, he said, the mission needed to move forward. The London Jews’ Society would ensure the legacy was a living one befitting God and Christ only.

Ignacz Timotheus spoke next, as careful and considered. His intention to retire was built on searching his heart and meditating with Christ. He spoke of the difficulties funding speaking tours, the limits of his employers and local Hebrew opposition. He spoke slowly, without malice, with practical considerations.

“The London society has discussed the matter,” said George Troop.  “We want only goodwill and are keen to employ Mr. Trebitsch.”

“Reverend Burt has briefed me,” said McCarter. “We all agree Mr. Trebitsch is a great hope for winning families to Christ. Perhaps though, the proposal should be discussed among Mr. Scrimger and McVicar?”

McVicar nodded. “Gentlemen, say…an hour for deliberation?”

John McCarter was asked to go with them, a good sign. Frank Burt’s party shared their sandwiches in the park. They talked about the stories in the paper: Thomas Lincoln Tally’s “Electric Theatre” in Los Angeles; the French automobile that made 74mph. Trebitsch seemed nervous.


“Well,” blustered McVicar, on returning. He rapped the hard-wood table as he sat. “We have discussed the options and think it best The London Jews’ Society be left to pursue our mutual aims.”

“We are happy to release Mr. Trebitsch from contract, and thank him for his time in service,” said Scrimger.

“Good speed to his future and the future of the mission!” said McVicar.


Featured image attribution: Ignacz Trebitsch, from Bernard Wasserstein’s The Secret Lives of Trebitsch Lincoln, Penguin Books.

Ignacz The Watch Thief is serialised five days a week. To donate go to patreon.com/andyluke and access four advance chapters, commentaries or bonus art.


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