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Hearing the cry of Florence, the conscience of Gabriel gets aroused. He remembers the past when his mother lay in bed, weak and ill. His mother would wait for him to return back from his secret rendezvous. She hoped god would forgive him and put him on the right path to life. On Sundays, the Brothers and Sisters of god would visit her and give her moral support to bear the agony of life and pray for Gabriel. Deborah would also come often to take care of his mother and sit patiently by the side of the sick lady. Gabriel would feel guilty of his sins and wish to follow the path of god. However, he was weak in mind. In the night, he would walk out of the house and visit places of disrepute to satiate his carnal desires.
Gabriel recollects the evening he had got intimate with a widow and relished the moments in her company. However, on reaching home, he was torn with guilt and remorse. He had lost hope of redemption but his mother had saved him once again. His mother was singing a soulful song and hearing it, Gabriel had experienced a change of heart. He had felt enlightened.
At twenty-one, Gabriel was a different man. He had started preaching in the neighbourhood. Deborah would often accompany him and encourage him in his endeavours. After his motherís demise, Deborah gave him moral strength to continue his mission. He was not attracted to her physically, but her dignity and poise had attracted him to her. He was also moved by her faith in him.
The Evangelists had arrived in town one evening to conduct the Twenty-Four Elders Revival meeting a few days later. Gabriel had been chosen to be one of the members and asked to preach for an evening. He had felt honoured but was diffident to address such an august gathering. Deborah had encouraged him and Gabriel had delivered his sermon convincingly. Everyone had commended his abilities as a preacher and he had become recognized. Gabriel had been thankful to Deborah for her support and decided to marry her.
Gabriel had lead a peaceful married life with Deborah, though their union was more spiritual than physical. In the mornings he worked for a White family, while in the evenings he preached. In his work place, he had met Esther, the young cook and had got attracted to her. He had invited her to listen to his sermon and had felt elated when she comes to hear him. She had not cared for his religious ideas; she was interested in him as a man. Gabriel had tried to reform her but with little success.
One day, when the White family was out, Esther had lured him towards her and he had succumbed to her charms. For nine days, he had carried on a passionate affair with her before he had been overpowered by his guilt. Then, he had cut off all relations with her. Filled with remorse, he had turned to god more fervently but his problems were far from over. Shortly afterwards, Esther had informed him that she was pregnant with his child. She had also asked him to marry her. When he had refused to comply with her request, she had demanded money to travel abroad to deliver her child. Gabriel had stolen money from Deborahís savings to give it to Esther.
Esther had remained abroad till she had delivered her child. She had returned back home with her baby, only to breathe her last. Estherís parents had taken charge of the child. Deborah had kept in touch with them and reported about the childís progress to her husband. Deborah knew about Gabrielís relationship with Esther but had not questioned him about it. Royal had grown up to be a healthy boy but lacked refinement. He was fearless and daring but crude in his manners. Whenever Gabriel had met his son, he had been courteous and solicitous.
One day, Deborah brings the news about Royalís death in Chicago at the hands of White youth. Gabriel is shattered. He breaks down and confesses his relationship with Royal. Deborah takes pity on the boy and regrets not having looked after him. Gabriel is smitten with remorse. He had been carrying his guilt and repented for his sin for long. After the death of Deborah, he had married Elizabeth. He had promised to accept her son as his own but had failed to do so. He could not think of anyone as his first born except Royal. Thus, his relationship with John was strained. Roy, who was his dear son, had revolted against him. He is distressed. He was being punished for his sins and now, he asks the mercy of god. As he surrenders himself to god, he is haunted by the visions of all those whom he had wronged in the past. Even John looks at him with hate and reminds him of his evil ways. Gabriel is provoked to anger but restrains himself. Instead, he kneels down in front of the Lord.