General Booth

I read with very great interest your article on General Booth, and congratulate you on producing such a wonderful portrait of this great fiery Saint. The last time I had the pleasure of meeting him was at Oxford, where it was part of my privilege to meet those distinguished people to whom the University was honouring with a Degree of D.C.L.

I remember we met in Magdalen College Hall to partake of that delightful Nature Food repast provided under the will of Lord Crewe, Lord Bishop of Durham. Over plates of strawberries and cream, peaches, cake and bread and butter, with vintage wine and fruit drinks we chatted together in that beautiful College Hall, and while General Booth and I were talking, he proclaimed in his loud voice, so that in that quiet assembly, with its reverent religious members setting the example of deference and decorum, his voice rang out like a trumpet – “You, Oldfield and I, are the only two here who know how to praise God by Fasting” and when the obsequious waiter said – gently – as he offered to the General a tray “Would you like White Wine, sir, or Red,” the General snorted and said – “Wine, wine, wine, no, take it to the Devil.” The Oxford waiter in obedience to his training gently replied – “Pardon me sir, but would you show me the way.”

I meet many distinguished people at Encaenia every June but of all I have met I think that General Booth and Mark Twain were the two whose personalities impressed me most when we chatted together and both lived on “The kindly fruits of the earth.”

Dr. Josiah Oldfield
A letter from The Vegetarian Messenger and Health Review, September 1951: