Sister Ruth couldn't believe the generosity of the people of Lynchburg, Texas. There were bigger communities, but she couldn't remember when folks had contributed so much.
She was collecting for the Bible Society, whose mission it was to see the Bible available worldwide in every tongue known to man. She'd been moved to collect for the organization after reading an article about a man named George Borrow, who had translated the gospel into Romani, the language of the Gypsies.
Now that it was dark, she climbed up into her wagon and picked up her writing box. She peeled back the loose red felt in the corner where she hid the money she collected.
She gave a gasp of horror when she discovered someone had uncovered her hiding place. Who would be so low down to steal money intended for a charity? It made her more than a little angry. She'd confront the criminal herself only she had no idea who had done it or how to find him, but she had a pretty good idea of where to start.
She pocketed the money she still had and set out for the place where thieves had a tendency to congregate. A saloon was probably the last place a single woman in her forties ought to be going, especially after the sun had set, but she didn't plan to lose time. Every second counted, and she owed it to the people who had donated and to the people who had not yet heard the gospel to find it.
Jaunty music poured out that would have been fun to dance and listen to if not for the vulgar lyrics that accompanied it. The piano music and the singer stopped on her entrance. She was as out of place as a bear in winter.
She had a feeling that most of them were thinking something along the lines of 'we don't walk into your church on Sunday, why are you walking into our gathering place'.
"You lost, sister?" asked one of the bar's patrons.
"No, but I worry most of ya'll are, and I'd be happy to tell anyone who wants to hear how to be found, but tonight I'm looking for someone who stole not just from me but from the Lord. Those funds were intended for His work and the furthering of His Kingdom. I won't go the sheriff if the money is simply returned."
She hadn't really expected anyone to come forward, but it was disappointing nonetheless when nobody did. No one even suggested they might have witnessed something. They didn't even look that sorry that it had happened or seem interested in helping. Apparently, there really was honor among thieves.
"I won't say a word if the person will just slip it back where they found it. I don't even have to be there when you do. You know where to find me. In the wagon with my name, Sister Ruth, marked on the canvas."
It was probably even crazier announcing her location in the middle of this den of sinners, but they'd likely known it already as she'd been in town with her revival for a few days, and she strongly believe that the Lord was her protector.
She felt sick at the thought that the money might be lost forever. She sighed when she saw everyone getting back to business and forgetting she was there. She turned to go and about ran into an older man only a couple inches taller than her with a mouth full of rotten teeth, which probably accounted for the breath so bad that it about bowled her over.
He whispered, making him need to stand even closer. She made an effort to not show her aversion as he looked as if he wanted to help. "I know someone who can get you your money back."
"Oh?" she asked. Her interest was definitely piqued. She'd try about anything within the moral bounds of God's law to get it back.
"He works for hire sometimes. He's what some might call a bounty hunter. Ain't seen him fail to bring in a man he went after, yet. He's got fast reflexes, excellent aim, and the skills to track."
"What's his name?"