Billy McCarney is one with the dust now. He
slipped away in his seventy-sixth year, quietly,
and no church bell tolled his passing. Yet for this
old prize-fight manager at least one belfry should
have vibrated _ the tower of a church in Calgary,
Canada. Billy helped purchase the bell for that
cupola, and through, of all things, a prize fight.
It was May 1913, on a sunless day of gloom,
that McCarney brought his heavyweight hopeful,
Luther McCarthy, into a haphazard arena in
Calgary for a bout with Arthur Pelkey, an undis-
tinguished party of the second part. McCarthy,
a handsome giant of twenty-one from Wild Horse
Canyon in Nebraska, was a favorite to win; and
why not? He was a skilled ring fencer and a man
who punched with power. Pelkey wasn't accorded
the slightest chance against him.
The audience filed into the arena quickly, for
outside the sky was a cloudy curtain, unbroken
by the merest suggestion of sun. Inside, the fans
huddled together in the loneliness of the old barn.
The only light came through skylights in the
McCarthy and Pelkey climbed through the
ropes and were greeted by the referee, Ed Smith.
Then suddenly, a little man in clerical garb
clambered into the ring. "I want to speak to the
crowd," the minister told Smith. "There's plenty
of time," Smith replied.
The minister began speaking to the quiet audi-
ence. "I know you men are going to help us buy
a bell for our church," he said. "Your silver
tokens will buy a memento for God's house and
it will be a credit to you on the Great Ledger."
The audience stirred. They wanted the fight to
begin. But the minister went on.
"Everyone must have credit in his Ledger.
For who knows whom the Great Referee will call
home at any moment?"
A shower of silver covered the ring floor.
Referee Smith helped the minister pick up the
coins. Billy McCarney assisted, too, and the min-
ister left the ring with his pockets bulging. Then,
in the dismal, poorly lighted barn, the fight began.
McCarthy lashed out with left jabs and found
his mark on Pelkey's face, leaving reddened skin.
But this did not deter Pelkey, a squat, bearish
man. He rushed in and scored with a right upper-
cut. McCarthy's head shook and his neck mus-
cles bulged. From his face went the smile he had
carried only moments before. Plainly he was in
Outside the ring, peering through the ropes,
McCarney screamed to his fighter: "Keep mov-
ing, box _ keep moving and stick out your left!"
McCarthy failed to heed the advice. He fum-
bled his way about the ring, lashed by Pelkey's
blows. His face was bloodless, his knees began
buckling, and then a left and a right landed on
his chin. McCarthy dropped, his body stiffening.
The referee began to count and, as he did,
an eerie white glow pierced the skylights. From
out of the thick, sunless gloom, a streak of sun-
light shone on McCarthy's face.
Smith counted _ "two, three, four, five, six,
seven, eight, nine, ten and out" _and all the
while McCarthy's face was bathed in the halo-
like streak. Then, almost at the instant the
referee ended the count, the sunlight disappeared.
Once again, the arena was wrapped in gloom.
As they dragged the stricken fighter back to his
corner and lowered him to the dirt floor where
they attempted to revive him, Billy McCarney's
ashen face told the story. Luther McCarthy was