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The Ball and The Cross by G.K. Chesterton

Part 4 out of 5

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"Why, God, of course!" answered the other, thoroughly amused.
"How funny it is to think that you have tumbled over a garden
wall and fallen exactly on the right person! You might have gone
floundering about in all sorts of churches and chapels and
colleges and schools of philosophy looking for some evidence of
the existence of God. Why, there is no evidence, except seeing
him. And now you've seen him. You've seen him dance!"

And the obliging old gentleman instantly stood on one leg without
relaxing at all the grave and cultured benignity of his

"I understood that this garden----" began the bewildered MacIan.

"Quite so! Quite so!" said the man on one leg, nodding gravely.
"I said this garden belonged to me and the land outside it. So
they do. So does the country beyond that and the sea beyond that
and all the rest of the earth. So does the moon. So do the sun
and stars." And he added, with a smile of apology: "You see, I'm

Turnbull and MacIan looked at him for one moment with a sort of
notion that perhaps he was not too old to be merely playing the
fool. But after staring steadily for an instant Turnbull saw the
hard and horrible earnestness in the man's eyes behind all his
empty animation. Then Turnbull looked very gravely at the strict
gravel walls and the gay flower-beds and the long rectangular
red-brick building, which the mist had left evident beyond them.
Then he looked at MacIan.

Almost at the same moment another man came walking quickly round
the regal clump of rhododendrons. He had the look of a prosperous
banker, wore a good tall silk hat, was almost stout enough to
burst the buttons of a fine frock-coat; but he was talking to
himself, and one of his elbows had a singular outward jerk as he
went by.


The man with the good hat and the jumping elbow went by very
quickly; yet the man with the bad hat, who thought he was God,
overtook him. He ran after him and jumped over a bed of geraniums
to catch him.

"I beg your Majesty's pardon," he said, with mock humility, "but
here is a quarrel which you ought really to judge."

Then as he led the heavy, silk-hatted man back towards the group,
he caught MacIan's ear in order to whisper: "This poor gentleman
is mad; he thinks he is Edward VII." At this the self-appointed
Creator slightly winked. "Of course you won't trust him much;
come to me for everything. But in my position one has to meet so
many people. One has to be broadminded."

The big banker in the black frock-coat and hat was standing quite
grave and dignified on the lawn, save for his slight twitch of
one limb, and he did not seem by any means unworthy of the part
which the other promptly forced upon him.

"My dear fellow," said the man in the straw hat, "these two
gentlemen are going to fight a duel of the utmost importance.
Your own royal position and my much humbler one surely indicate
us as the proper seconds. Seconds--yes, seconds----" and here
the speaker was once more shaken with his old malady of

"Yes, you and I are both seconds--and these two gentlemen can
obviously fight in front of us. You, he-he, are the king. I am
God; really, they could hardly have better supporters. They have
come to the right place."

Then Turnbull, who had been staring with a frown at the fresh
turf, burst out with a rather bitter laugh and cried, throwing
his red head in the air:

"Yes, by God, MacIan, I think we have come to the right place!"
And MacIan answered, with an adamantine stupidity:

"Any place is the right place where they will let us do it."

There was a long stillness, and their eyes involuntarily took in
the landscape, as they had taken in all the landscapes of their
everlasting combat; the bright, square garden behind the shop;
the whole lift and leaning of the side of Hampstead Heath; the
little garden of the decadent choked with flowers; the square of
sand beside the sea at sunrise. They both felt at the same moment
all the breadth and blossoming beauty of that paradise, the
coloured trees, the natural and restful nooks and also the great
wall of stone--more awful than the wall of China--from which no
flesh could flee.

Turnbull was moodily balancing his sword in his hand as the other
spoke; then he started, for a mouth whispered quite close to his
ear. With a softness incredible in any cat, the huge, heavy man
in the black hat and frock-coat had crept across the lawn from
his own side and was saying in his ear: "Don't trust that second
of yours. He's mad and not so mad, either; for he frightfully
cunning and sharp. Don't believe the story he tells you about why
I hate him. I know the story he'll tell; I overheard it when the
housekeeper was talking to the postman. It's too long to talk
about now, and I expect we're watched, but----"

Something in Turnbull made him want suddenly to be sick on the
grass; the mere healthy and heathen horror of the unclean; the
mere inhumane hatred of the inhuman state of madness. He seemed
to hear all round him the hateful whispers of that place,
innumerable as leaves whispering in the wind, and each of them
telling eagerly some evil that had not happened or some terrific
secret which was not true. All the rationalist and plain man
revolted within him against bowing down for a moment in that
forest of deception and egotistical darkness. He wanted to blow
up that palace of delusions with dynamite; and in some wild way,
which I will not defend, he tried to do it.

He looked across at MacIan and said: "Oh, I can't stand this!"

"Can't stand what?" asked his opponent, eyeing him doubtfully.

"Shall we say the atmosphere?" replied Turnbull; "one can't use
uncivil expressions even to a--deity. The fact is, I don't like
having God for my second."

"Sir!" said that being in a state of great offence, "in my
position I am not used to having my favours refused. Do you know
who I am?"

The editor of _The Atheist_ turned upon him like one who has lost
all patience, and exploded: "Yes, you are God, aren't you?" he
said, abruptly, "why do we have two sets of teeth?"

"Teeth?" spluttered the genteel lunatic; "teeth?"

"Yes," cried Turnbull, advancing on him swiftly and with animated
gestures, "why does teething hurt? Why do growing pains hurt? Why
are measles catching? Why does a rose have thorns? Why do
rhinoceroses have horns? Why is the horn on the top of the nose?
Why haven't I a horn on the top of my nose, eh?" And he struck
the bridge of his nose smartly with his forefinger to indicate
the place of the omission and then wagged the finger menacingly
at the Creator.

"I've often wanted to meet you," he resumed, sternly, after a
pause, "to hold you accountable for all the idiocy and cruelty of
this muddled and meaningless world of yours. You make a hundred
seeds and only one bears fruit. You make a million worlds and
only one seems inhabited. What do you mean by it, eh? What do you
mean by it?"

The unhappy lunatic had fallen back before this quite novel form
of attack, and lifted his burnt-out cigarette almost like one
warding off a blow. Turnbull went on like a torrent.

"A man died yesterday in Ealing. You murdered him. A girl had the
toothache in Croydon. You gave it her. Fifty sailors were drowned
off Selsey Bill. You scuttled their ship. What have you got to
say for yourself, eh?"

The representative of omnipotence looked as if he had left most
of these things to his subordinates; he passed a hand over his
wrinkling brow and said in a voice much saner than any he had yet

"Well, if you dislike my assistance, of course--perhaps the other

"The other gentleman," cried Turnbull, scornfully, "is a
submissive and loyal and obedient gentleman. He likes the people
who wear crowns, whether of diamonds or of stars. He believes in
the divine right of kings, and it is appropriate enough that he
should have the king for his second. But it is not appropriate to
me that I should have God for my second. God is not good enough.
I dislike and I deny the divine right of kings. But I dislike
more and I deny more the divine right of divinity."

Then after a pause in which he swallowed his passion, he said to
MacIan: "You have got the right second, anyhow."

The Highlander did not answer, but stood as if thunderstruck with
one long and heavy thought. Then at last he turned abruptly to
his second in the silk hat and said: "Who are you?"

The man in the silk hat blinked and bridled in affected surprise,
like one who was in truth accustomed to be doubted.

"I am King Edward VII," he said, with shaky arrogance. "Do you
doubt my word?"

"I do not doubt it in the least," answered MacIan.

"Then, why," said the large man in the silk hat, trembling from
head to foot, "why do you wear your hat before the king?"

"Why should I take it off," retorted MacIan, with equal heat,
"before a usurper?"

Turnbull swung round on his heel. "Well, really," he said, "I
thought at least you were a loyal subject."

"I am the only loyal subject," answered the Gael. "For nearly
thirty years I have walked these islands and have not found

"You are always hard to follow," remarked Turnbull, genially,
"and sometimes so much so as to be hardly worth following."

"I alone am loyal," insisted MacIan; "for I alone am in
rebellion. I am ready at any instant to restore the Stuarts. I
am ready at any instant to defy the Hanoverian brood--and I defy
it now even when face to face with the actual ruler of the
enormous British Empire!"

And folding his arms and throwing back his lean, hawklike face,
he haughtily confronted the man with the formal frock-coat and
the eccentric elbow.

"What right had you stunted German squires," he cried, "to
interfere in a quarrel between Scotch and English and Irish
gentlemen? Who made you, whose fathers could not splutter English
while they walked in Whitehall, who made you the judge between
the republic of Sidney and the monarchy of Montrose? What had
your sires to do with England that they should have the foul
offering of the blood of Derwentwater and the heart of Jimmy
Dawson? Where are the corpses of Culloden? Where is the blood of
Lochiel?" MacIan advanced upon his opponent with a bony and
pointed finger, as if indicating the exact pocket in which the
blood of that Cameron was probably kept; and Edward VII fell back
a few paces in considerable confusion.

"What good have you ever done to us?" he continued in harsher and
harsher accents, forcing the other back towards the flower-beds.
"What good have you ever done, you race of German sausages? Yards
of barbarian etiquette, to throttle the freedom of aristocracy!
Gas of northern metaphysics to blow up Broad Church bishops like
balloons. Bad pictures and bad manners and pantheism and the
Albert Memorial. Go back to Hanover, you humbug? Go to----"

Before the end of this tirade the arrogance of the monarch had
entirely given way; he had fairly turned tail and was trundling
away down the path. MacIan strode after him still preaching and
flourishing his large, lean hands. The other two remained in the
centre of the lawn--Turnbull in convulsions of laughter, the
lunatic in convulsions of disgust. Almost at the same moment a
third figure came stepping swiftly across the lawn.

The advancing figure walked with a stoop, and yet somehow flung
his forked and narrow beard forward. That carefully cut and
pointed yellow beard was, indeed, the most emphatic thing about
him. When he clasped his hands behind him, under the tails of his
coat, he would wag his beard at a man like a big forefinger. It
performed almost all his gestures; it was more important than the
glittering eye-glasses through which he looked or the beautiful
bleating voice in which he spoke. His face and neck were of a
lusty red, but lean and stringy; he always wore his expensive
gold-rim eye-glasses slightly askew upon his aquiline nose; and
he always showed two gleaming foreteeth under his moustache, in a
smile so perpetual as to earn the reputation of a sneer. But for
the crooked glasses his dress was always exquisite; and but for
the smile he was perfectly and perennially depressed.

"Don't you think," said the new-comer, with a sort of
supercilious entreaty, "that we had better all come into
breakfast? It is such a mistake to wait for breakfast. It spoils
one's temper so much."

"Quite so," replied Turnbull, seriously.

"There seems almost to have been a little quarrelling here," said
the man with the goatish beard.

"It is rather a long story," said Turnbull, smiling. "Originally,
it might be called a phase in the quarrel between science and

The new-comer started slightly, and Turnbull replied to the
question on his face.

"Oh, yes," he said, "I am science!"

"I congratulate you heartily," answered the other, "I am Doctor

Turnbull's eyes did not move, but he realized that the man in the
panama hat had lost all his ease of a landed proprietor and had
withdrawn to a distance of thirty yards, where he stood glaring
with all the contraction of fear and hatred that can stiffen a

* * *

MacIan was sitting somewhat disconsolately on a stump of tree,
his large black head half buried in his large brown hands, when
Turnbull strode up to him chewing a cigarette. He did not look
up, but his comrade and enemy addressed him like one who must
free himself of his feelings.

"Well, I hope, at any rate," he said, "that you like your
precious religion now. I hope you like the society of this poor
devil whom your damned tracts and hymns and priests have driven
out of his wits. Five men in this place, they tell me, five men
in this place who might have been fathers of families, and every
one of them thinks he is God the Father. Oh! you may talk about
the ugliness of science, but there is no one here who thinks he
is Protoplasm."

"They naturally prefer a bright part," said MacIan, wearily.
"Protoplasm is not worth going mad about."

"At least," said Turnbull, savagely, "it was your Jesus Christ
who started all this bosh about being God."

For one instant MacIan opened the eyes of battle; then his
tightened lips took a crooked smile and he said, quite calmly:

"No, the idea is older; it was Satan who first said that he was

"Then, what," asked Turnbull, very slowly, as he softly picked a
flower, "what is the difference between Christ and Satan?"

"It is quite simple," replied the Highlander. "Christ descended
into hell; Satan fell into it."

"Does it make much odds?" asked the free-thinker.

"It makes all the odds," said the other. "One of them wanted to
go up and went down; the other wanted to go down and went up. A
god can be humble, a devil can only be humbled."

"Why are you always wanting to humble a man?" asked Turnbull,
knitting his brows. "It affects me as ungenerous."

"Why were you wanting to humble a god when you found him in this
garden?" asked MacIan.

"That was an extreme case of impudence," said Turnbull.

"Granting the man his almighty pretensions, I think he was very
modest," said MacIan. "It is we who are arrogant, who know we are
only men. The ordinary man in the street is more of a monster
than that poor fellow; for the man in the street treats himself
as God Almighty when he knows he isn't. He expects the universe
to turn round him, though he knows he isn't the centre."

"Well," said Turnbull, sitting down on the grass, "this is a
digression, anyhow. What I want to point out is, that your faith
does end in asylums and my science doesn't."

"Doesn't it, by George!" cried MacIan, scornfully. "There are a
few men here who are mad on God and a few who are mad on the
Bible. But I bet there are many more who are simply mad on

"Do you really believe it?" asked the other.

"Scores of them, I should say," answered MacIan. "Fellows who
have read medical books or fellows whose fathers and uncles had
something hereditary in their heads--the whole air they breathe
is mad."

"All the same," said Turnbull, shrewdly, "I bet you haven't found
a madman of that sort."

"I bet I have!" cried Evan, with unusual animation. "I've been
walking about the garden talking to a poor chap all the morning.
He's simply been broken down and driven raving by your damned
science. Talk about believing one is God--why, it's quite an old,
comfortable, fireside fancy compared with the sort of things this
fellow believes. He believes that there is a God, but that he is
better than God. He says God will be afraid to face him. He says
one is always progressing beyond the best. He put his arm in mine
and whispered in my ear, as if it were the apocalypse: 'Never
trust a God that you can't improve on.'"

"What can he have meant?" said the atheist, with all his logic
awake. "Obviously one should not trust any God that one can
improve on."

"It is the way he talks," said MacIan, almost indifferently; "but
he says rummier things than that. He says that a man's doctor
ought to decide what woman he marries; and he says that children
ought not to be brought up by their parents, because a physical
partiality will then distort the judgement of the educator."

"Oh, dear!" said Turnbull, laughing, "you have certainly come
across a pretty bad case, and incidentally proved your own. I
suppose some men do lose their wits through science as through
love and other good things."

"And he says," went on MacIan, monotonously, "that he cannot see
why anyone should suppose that a triangle is a three-sided
figure. He says that on some higher plane----"

Turnbull leapt to his feet as by an electric shock. "I never
could have believed," he cried, "that you had humour enough to
tell a lie. You've gone a bit too far, old man, with your little
joke. Even in a lunatic asylum there can't be anybody who, having
thought about the matter, thinks that a triangle has not got
three sides. If he exists he must be a new era in human
psychology. But he doesn't exist."

"I will go and fetch him," said MacIan, calmly; "I left the poor
fellow wandering about by the nasturtium bed."

MacIan vanished, and in a few moments returned, trailing with him
his own discovery among lunatics, who was a slender man with a
fixed smile and an unfixed and rolling head. He had a goatlike
beard just long enough to be shaken in a strong wind. Turnbull
sprang to his feet and was like one who is speechless through
choking a sudden shout of laughter.

"Why, you great donkey," he shouted, in an ear-shattering
whisper, "that's not one of the patients at all. That's one of
the doctors."

Evan looked back at the leering head with the long-pointed beard
and repeated the word inquiringly: "One of the doctors?"

"Oh, you know what I mean," said Turnbull, impatiently. "The
medical authorities of the place."

Evan was still staring back curiously at the beaming and bearded
creature behind him.

"The mad doctors," said Turnbull, shortly.

"Quite so," said MacIan.

After a rather restless silence Turnbull plucked MacIan by the
elbow and pulled him aside.

"For goodness sake," he said, "don't offend this fellow; he may
be as mad as ten hatters, if you like, but he has us between his
finger and thumb. This is the very time he appointed to talk with
us about our--well, our exeat."

"But what can it matter?" asked the wondering MacIan. "He can't
keep us in the asylum. We're not mad."

"Jackass!" said Turnbull, heartily, "of course we're not mad. Of
course, if we are medically examined and the thing is thrashed
out, they will find we are not mad. But don't you see that if the
thing is thrashed out it will mean letters to this reference and
telegrams to that; and at the first word of who we are, we shall
be taken out of a madhouse, where we may smoke, to a jail, where
we mayn't. No, if we manage this very quietly, he may merely let
us out at the front door as stray revellers. If there's half an
hour of inquiry, we are cooked."

MacIan looked at the grass frowningly for a few seconds, and then
said in a new, small and childish voice: "I am awfully stupid,
Mr. Turnbull; you must be patient with me."

Turnbull caught Evan's elbow again with quite another gesture.
"Come," he cried, with the harsh voice of one who hides emotion,
"come and let us be tactful in chorus."

The doctor with the pointed beard was already slanting it forward
at a more than usually acute angle, with the smile that expressed

"I hope I do not hurry you, gentlemen," he said, with the
faintest suggestion of a sneer at their hurried consultation,
"but I believe you wanted to see me at half past eleven."

"I am most awfully sorry, Doctor," said Turnbull, with ready
amiability; "I never meant to keep you waiting; but the silly
accident that has landed us in your garden may have some rather
serious consequences to our friends elsewhere, and my friend here
was just drawing my attention to some of them."

"Quite so! Quite so!" said the doctor, hurriedly. "If you really
want to put anything before me, I can give you a few moments in
my consulting-room."

He led them rapidly into a small but imposing apartment, which
seemed to be built and furnished entirely in red-varnished wood.
There was one desk occupied with carefully docketed papers; and
there were several chairs of the red-varnished wood--though of
different shape. All along the wall ran something that might have
been a bookcase, only that it was not filled with books, but with
flat, oblong slabs or cases of the same polished dark-red
consistency. What those flat wooden cases were they could form no

The doctor sat down with a polite impatience on his professional
perch; MacIan remained standing, but Turnbull threw himself
almost with luxury into a hard wooden arm-chair.

"This is a most absurd business, Doctor," he said, "and I am
ashamed to take up the time of busy professional men with such
pranks from outside. The plain fact is, that he and I and a pack
of silly men and girls have organized a game across this part of
the country--a sort of combination of hare and hounds and hide
and seek--I dare say you've heard of it. We are the hares, and,
seeing your high wall look so inviting, we tumbled over it, and
naturally were a little startled with what we found on the other

"Quite so!" said the doctor, mildly. "I can understand that you
were startled."

Turnbull had expected him to ask what place was the headquarters
of the new exhilarating game, and who were the male and female
enthusiasts who had brought it to such perfection; in fact,
Turnbull was busy making up these personal and topographical
particulars. As the doctor did not ask the question, he grew
slightly uneasy, and risked the question: "I hope you will accept
my assurance that the thing was an accident and that no intrusion
was meant."

"Oh, yes, sir," replied the doctor, smiling, "I accept everything
that you say."

"In that case," said Turnbull, rising genially, "we must not
further interrupt your important duties. I suppose there will be
someone to let us out?"

"No," said the doctor, still smiling steadily and pleasantly,
"there will be no one to let you out."

"Can we let ourselves out, then?" asked Turnbull, in some

"Why, of course not," said the beaming scientist; "think how
dangerous that would be in a place like this."

"Then, how the devil are we to get out?" cried Turnbull, losing
his manners for the first time.

"It is a question of time, of receptivity, and treatment," said
the doctor, arching his eyebrows indifferently. "I do not regard
either of your cases as incurable."

And with that the man of the world was struck dumb, and, as in
all intolerable moments, the word was with the unworldly.

MacIan took one stride to the table, leant across it, and said:
"We can't stop here, we're not mad people!"

"We don't use the crude phrase," said the doctor, smiling at his
patent-leather boots.

"But you _can't_ think us mad," thundered MacIan. "You never saw
us before. You know nothing about us. You haven't even examined

The doctor threw back his head and beard. "Oh, yes," he said,
"very thoroughly."

"But you can't shut a man up on your mere impressions without
documents or certificates or anything?"

The doctor got languidly to his feet. "Quite so," he said. "You
certainly ought to see the documents."

He went across to the curious mock book-shelves and took down one
of the flat mahogany cases. This he opened with a curious key at
his watch-chain, and laying back a flap revealed a quire of
foolscap covered with close but quite clear writing. The first
three words were in such large copy-book hand that they caught
the eye even at a distance. They were: "MacIan, Evan Stuart."

Evan bent his angry eagle face over it; yet something blurred it
and he could never swear he saw it distinctly. He saw something
that began: "Prenatal influences predisposing to mania.
Grandfather believed in return of the Stuarts. Mother carried
bone of St. Eulalia with which she touched children in sickness.
Marked religious mania at early age----"

Evan fell back and fought for his speech. "Oh!" he burst out at
last. "Oh! if all this world I have walked in had been as sane as
my mother was."

Then he compressed his temples with his hands, as if to crush
them. And then lifted suddenly a face that looked fresh and
young, as if he had dipped and washed it in some holy well.

"Very well," he cried; "I will take the sour with the sweet. I
will pay the penalty of having enjoyed God in this monstrous
modern earth that cannot enjoy man or beast. I will die happy in
your madhouse, only because I know what I know. Let it be
granted, then--MacIan is a mystic; MacIan is a maniac. But this
honest shopkeeper and editor whom I have dragged on my inhuman
escapades, you cannot keep him. He will go free, thank God, he is
not down in any damned document. His ancestor, I am certain, did
not die at Culloden. His mother, I swear, had no relics. Let my
friend out of your front door, and as for me----"

The doctor had already gone across to the laden shelves, and
after a few minutes' short-sighted peering, had pulled down
another parallelogram of dark-red wood.

This also he unlocked on the table, and with the same unerring
egotistic eye on of the company saw the words, written in large
letters: "Turnbull, James."

Hitherto Turnbull himself had somewhat scornfully surrendered his
part in the whole business; but he was too honest and unaffected
not to start at his own name. After the name, the inscription
appeared to run: "Unique case of Eleutheromania. Parentage, as so
often in such cases, prosaic and healthy. Eleutheromaniac signs
occurred early, however, leading him to attach himself to the
individualist Bradlaugh. Recent outbreak of pure anarchy----"

Turnbull slammed the case to, almost smashing it, and said with a
burst of savage laughter: "Oh! come along, MacIan; I don't care
so much, even about getting out of the madhouse, if only we get
out of this room. You were right enough, MacIan, when you spoke
about--about mad doctors."

Somehow they found themselves outside in the cool, green garden,
and then, after a stunned silence, Turnbull said: "There is one
thing that was puzzling me all the time, and I understand it

"What do you mean?" asked Evan.

"No man by will or wit," answered Turnbull, "can get out of this
garden; and yet we got into it merely by jumping over a garden
wall. The whole thing explains itself easily enough. That
undefended wall was an open trap. It was a trap laid for two
celebrated lunatics. They saw us get in right enough. And they
will see that we do not get out."

Evan gazed at the garden wall, gravely for more than a minute,
and then he nodded without a word.


The system of espionage in the asylum was so effective and
complete that in practice the patients could often enjoy a sense
of almost complete solitude. They could stray up so near to the
wall in an apparently unwatched garden as to find it easy to jump
over it. They would only have found the error of their
calculations if they had tried to jump.

Under this insulting liberty, in this artificial loneliness, Evan
MacIan was in the habit of creeping out into the garden after
dark--especially upon moonlight nights. The moon, indeed, was for
him always a positive magnet in a manner somewhat hard to explain
to those of a robuster attitude. Evidently, Apollo is to the full
as poetical as Diana; but it is not a question of poetry in the
matured and intellectual sense of the word. It is a question of a
certain solid and childish fancy. The sun is in the strict and
literal sense invisible; that is to say, that by our bodily eyes
it cannot properly be seen. But the moon is a much simpler thing;
a naked and nursery sort of thing. It hangs in the sky quite
solid and quite silver and quite useless; it is one huge
celestial snowball. It was at least some such infantile facts and
fancies which led Evan again and again during his dehumanized
imprisonment to go out as if to shoot the moon.

He was out in the garden on one such luminous and ghostly night,
when the steady moonshine toned down all the colours of the
garden until almost the strongest tints to be seen were the
strong soft blue of the sky and the large lemon moon. He was
walking with his face turned up to it in that rather half-witted
fashion which might have excused the error of his keepers; and as
he gazed he became aware of something little and lustrous flying
close to the lustrous orb, like a bright chip knocked off the
moon. At first he thought it was a mere sparkle or refraction in
his own eyesight; he blinked and cleared his eyes. Then he
thought it was a falling star; only it did not fall. It jerked
awkwardly up and down in a way unknown among meteors and
strangely reminiscent of the works of man. The next moment the
thing drove right across the moon, and from being silver upon
blue, suddenly became black upon silver; then although it passed
the field of light in a flash its outline was unmistakable though
eccentric. It was a flying ship.

The vessel took one long and sweeping curve across the sky and
came nearer and nearer to MacIan, like a steam-engine coming
round a bend. It was of pure white steel, and in the moon it
gleamed like the armour of Sir Galahad. The simile of such
virginity is not inappropriate; for, as it grew larger and larger
and lower and lower, Evan saw that the only figure in it was
robed in white from head to foot and crowned with snow-white
hair, on which the moonshine lay like a benediction. The figure
stood so still that he could easily have supposed it to be a
statue. Indeed, he thought it was until it spoke.

"Evan," said the voice, and it spoke with the simple authority of
some forgotten father revisiting his children, "you have remained
here long enough, and your sword is wanted elsewhere."

"Wanted for what?" asked the young man, accepting the monstrous
event with a queer and clumsy naturalness; "what is my sword
wanted for?"

"For all that you hold dear," said the man standing in the
moonlight; "for the thrones of authority and for all ancient
loyalty to law."

Evan looked up at the lunar orb again as if in irrational
appeal--a moon calf bleating to his mother the moon. But the face
of Luna seemed as witless as his own; there is no help in nature
against the supernatural; and he looked again at the tall marble
figure that might have been made out of solid moonlight.

Then he said in a loud voice: "Who are you?" and the next moment
was seized by a sort of choking terror lest his question should
be answered. But the unknown preserved an impenetrable silence
for a long space and then only answered: "I must not say who I am
until the end of the world; but I may say what I am. I am the

And he lifted his head so that the moon smote full upon his
beautiful and ancient face.

The face was the face of a Greek god grown old, but not grown
either weak or ugly; there was nothing to break its regularity
except a rather long chin with a cleft in it, and this rather
added distinction than lessened beauty. His strong, well-opened
eyes were very brilliant but quite colourless like steel.

MacIan was one of those to whom a reverence and self-submission
in ritual come quite easy, and are ordinary things. It was not
artificial in him to bend slightly to this solemn apparition or
to lower his voice when he said: "Do you bring me some message?"

"I do bring you a message," answered the man of moon and marble.
"The king has returned."

Evan did not ask for or require any explanation. "I suppose you
can take me to the war," he said, and the silent silver figure
only bowed its head again. MacIan clambered into the silver boat,
and it rose upward to the stars.

To say that it rose to the stars is no mere metaphor, for the sky
had cleared to that occasional and astonishing transparency in
which one can see plainly both stars and moon.

As the white-robed figure went upward in his white chariot, he
said quite quietly to Evan: "There is an answer to all the folly
talked about equality. Some stars are big and some small; some
stand still and some circle around them as they stand. They can
be orderly, but they cannot be equal."

"They are all very beautiful," said Evan, as if in doubt.

"They are all beautiful," answered the other, "because each is in
his place and owns his superior. And now England will be
beautiful after the same fashion. The earth will be as beautiful
as the heavens, because our kings have come back to us."

"The Stuart----" began Evan, earnestly.

"Yes," answered the old man, "that which has returned is Stuart
and yet older than Stuart. It is Capet and Plantagenet and
Pendragon. It is all that good old time of which proverbs tell,
that golden reign of Saturn against which gods and men were
rebels. It is all that was ever lost by insolence and overwhelmed
in rebellion. It is your own forefather, MacIan with the broken
sword, bleeding without hope at Culloden. It is Charles refusing
to answer the questions of the rebel court. It is Mary of the
magic face confronting the gloomy and grasping peers and the
boorish moralities of Knox. It is Richard, the last Plantagenet,
giving his crown to Bolingbroke as to a common brigand. It is
Arthur, overwhelmed in Lyonesse by heathen armies and dying in
the mist, doubtful if ever he shall return."

"But now----" said Evan, in a low voice.

"But now!" said the old man; "he has returned."

"Is the war still raging?" asked MacIan.

"It rages like the pit itself beyond the sea whither I am taking
you," answered the other. "But in England the king enjoys his own
again. The people are once more taught and ruled as is best; they
are happy knights, happy squires, happy servants, happy serfs, if
you will; but free at last of that load of vexation and lonely
vanity which was called being a citizen."

"Is England, indeed, so secure?" asked Evan.

"Look out and see," said the guide. "I fancy you have seen this
place before."

They were driving through the air towards one region of the sky
where the hollow of night seemed darkest and which was quite
without stars. But against this black background there sprang up,
picked out in glittering silver, a dome and a cross. It seemed
that it was really newly covered with silver, which in the strong
moonlight was like white flame. But, however, covered or painted,
Evan had no difficult in knowing the place again. He saw the
great thoroughfare that sloped upward to the base of its huge
pedestal of steps. And he wondered whether the little shop was
still by the side of it and whether its window had been mended.

As the flying ship swept round the dome he observed other
alterations. The dome had been redecorated so as to give it a
more solemn and somewhat more ecclesiastical note; the ball was
draped or destroyed, and round the gallery, under the cross, ran
what looked like a ring of silver statues, like the little leaden
images that stood round the hat of Louis XI. Round the second
gallery, at the base of the dome, ran a second rank of such
images, and Evan thought there was another round the steps below.
When they came closer he saw that they were figures in complete
armour of steel or silver, each with a naked sword, point upward;
and then he saw one of the swords move. These were not statues
but an armed order of chivalry thrown in three circles round the
cross. MacIan drew in his breath, as children do at anything they
think utterly beautiful. For he could imagine nothing that so
echoed his own visions of pontifical or chivalric art as this
white dome sitting like a vast silver tiara over London, ringed
with a triple crown of swords.

As they went sailing down Ludgate Hill, Evan saw that the state
of the streets fully answered his companion's claim about the
reintroduction of order. All the old blackcoated bustle with its
cockney vivacity and vulgarity had disappeared. Groups of
labourers, quietly but picturesquely clad, were passing up and
down in sufficiently large numbers; but it required but a few
mounted men to keep the streets in order. The mounted men were
not common policemen, but knights with spurs and plume whose
smooth and splendid armour glittered like diamond rather than
steel. Only in one place--at the corner of Bouverie Street--did
there appear to be a moment's confusion, and that was due to
hurry rather than resistance. But one old grumbling man did not
get out of the way quick enough, and the man on horseback struck
him, not severely, across the shoulders with the flat of his

"The soldier had no business to do that," said MacIan, sharply.
"The old man was moving as quickly as he could."

"We attach great importance to discipline in the streets," said
the man in white, with a slight smile.

"Discipline is not so important as justice," said MacIan.

The other did not answer.

Then after a swift silence that took them out across St. James's
Park, he said: "The people must be taught to obey; they must
learn their own ignorance. And I am not sure," he continued,
turning his back on Evan and looking out of the prow of the ship
into the darkness, "I am not sure that I agree with your little
maxim about justice. Discipline for the whole society is surely
more important than justice to an individual."

Evan, who was also leaning over the edge, swung round with
startling suddenness and stared at the other's back.

"Discipline for society----" he repeated, very staccato, "more
important--justice to individual?"

Then after a long silence he called out: "Who and what are you?"

"I am an angel," said the white-robed figure, without turning

"You are not a Catholic," said MacIan.

The other seemed to take no notice, but reverted to the main

"In our armies up in heaven we learn to put a wholesome fear into

MacIan sat craning his neck forward with an extraordinary and
unaccountable eagerness.

"Go on!" he cried, twisting and untwisting his long, bony
fingers, "go on!"

"Besides," continued he, in the prow, "you must allow for a
certain high spirit and haughtiness in the superior type."

"Go on!" said Evan, with burning eyes.

"Just as the sight of sin offends God," said the unknown, "so
does the sight of ugliness offend Apollo. The beautiful and
princely must, of necessity, be impatient with the squalid

"Why, you great fool!" cried MacIan, rising to the top of his
tremendous stature, "did you think I would have doubted only for
that rap with a sword? I know that noble orders have bad knights,
that good knights have bad tempers, that the Church has rough
priests and coarse cardinals; I have known it ever since I was
born. You fool! you had only to say, 'Yes, it is rather a shame,'
and I should have forgotten the affair. But I saw on your mouth
the twitch of your infernal sophistry; I knew that something was
wrong with you and your cathedrals. Something is wrong;
everything is wrong. You are not an angel. That is not a church.
It is not the rightful king who has come home."

"That is unfortunate," said the other, in a quiet but hard voice,
"because you are going to see his Majesty."

"No," said MacIan, "I am going to jump over the side."

"Do you desire death?"

"No," said Evan, quite composedly, "I desire a miracle."

"From whom do you ask it? To whom do you appeal?" said his
companion, sternly. "You have betrayed the king, renounced his
cross on the cathedral, and insulted an archangel."

"I appeal to God," said Evan, and sprang up and stood upon the
edge of the swaying ship.

The being in the prow turned slowly round; he looked at Evan with
eyes which were like two suns, and put his hand to his mouth just
too late to hide an awful smile.

"And how do you know," he said, "how do you know that I am not

MacIan screamed. "Ah!" he cried. "Now I know who you really are.
You are not God. You are not one of God's angels. But you were

The being's hand dropped from his mouth and Evan dropped out of
the car.


Turnbull was walking rather rampantly up and down the garden on a
gusty evening chewing his cigar and in that mood when every man
suppresses an instinct to spit. He was not, as a rule, a man much
acquainted with moods; and the storms and sunbursts of MacIan's
soul passed before him as an impressive but unmeaning panorama,
like the anarchy of Highland scenery. Turnbull was one of those
men in whom a continuous appetite and industry of the intellect
leave the emotions very simple and steady. His heart was in the
right place; but he was quite content to leave it there. It was
his head that was his hobby. His mornings and evenings were
marked not by impulses or thirsty desires, not by hope or by
heart-break; they were filled with the fallacies he had detected,
the problems he had made plain, the adverse theories he had
wrestled with and thrown, the grand generalizations he had
justified. But even the cheerful inner life of a logician may be
upset by a lunatic asylum, to say nothing of whiffs of memory
from a lady in Jersey, and the little red-bearded man on this
windy evening was in a dangerous frame of mind.

Plain and positive as he was, the influence of earth and sky may
have been greater on him than he imagined; and the weather that
walked the world at that moment was as red and angry as Turnbull.
Long strips and swirls of tattered and tawny cloud were dragged
downward to the west exactly as torn red raiment would be
dragged. And so strong and pitiless was the wind that it whipped
away fragments of red-flowering bushes or of copper beech, and
drove them also across the garden, a drift of red leaves, like
the leaves of autumn, as in parody of the red and driven rags of

There was a sense in earth and heaven as of everything breaking
up, and all the revolutionist in Turnbull rejoiced that it was
breaking up. The trees were breaking up under the wind, even in
the tall strength of their bloom: the clouds were breaking up and
losing even their large heraldic shapes. Shards and shreds of
copper cloud split off continually and floated by themselves, and
for some reason the truculent eye of Turnbull was attracted to
one of these careering cloudlets, which seemed to him to career
in an exaggerated manner. Also it kept its shape, which is
unusual with clouds shaken off; also its shape was of an odd

Turnbull continued to stare at it, and in a little time occurred
that crucial instant when a thing, however incredible, is
accepted as a fact. The copper cloud was tumbling down towards
the earth, like some gigantic leaf from the copper beeches. And
as it came nearer it was evident, first, that it was not a cloud,
and, second, that it was not itself of the colour of copper;
only, being burnished like a mirror, it had reflected the
red-brown colours of the burning clouds. As the thing whirled
like a windswept leaf down towards the wall of the garden it was
clear that it was some sort of air-ship made of metal, and
slapping the air with big broad fins of steel. When it came about
a hundred feet above the garden, a shaggy, lean figure leapt up
in it, almost black against the bronze and scarlet of the west,
and, flinging out a kind of hook or anchor, caught on to the
green apple-tree just under the wall; and from that fixed holding
ground the ship swung in the red tempest like a captive balloon.

While our friend stood frozen for an instant by his astonishment,
the queer figure in the airy car tipped the vehicle almost upside
down by leaping over the side of it, seemed to slide or drop down
the rope like a monkey, and alighted (with impossible precision
and placidity) seated on the edge of the wall, over which he
kicked and dangled his legs as he grinned at Turnbull. The wind
roared in the trees yet more ruinous and desolate, the red tails
of the sunset were dragged downward like red dragons sucked down
to death, and still on the top of the asylum wall sat the
sinister figure with the grimace, swinging his feet in tune with
the tempest; while above him, at the end of its tossing or
tightened cord, the enormous iron air-ship floated as light and
as little noticed as a baby's balloon upon its string.

Turnbull's first movement after sixty motionless seconds was to
turn round and look at the large, luxuriant parallelogram of the
garden and the long, low rectangular building beyond. There was
not a soul or a stir of life within sight. And he had a quite
meaningless sensation, as if there never really had been any one
else there except he since the foundation of the world.

Stiffening in himself the masculine but mirthless courage of the
atheist, he drew a little nearer to the wall and, catching the
man at a slightly different angle of the evening light, could see
his face and figure quite plain. Two facts about him stood out in
the picked colours of some piratical schoolboy's story. The first
was that his lean brown body was bare to the belt of his loose
white trousers; the other that through hygiene, affectation, or
whatever other cause, he had a scarlet handkerchief tied tightly
but somewhat aslant across his brow. After these two facts had
become emphatic, others appeared sufficiently important. One was
that under the scarlet rag the hair was plentiful, but white as
with the last snows of mortality. Another was that under the mop
of white and senile hair the face was strong, handsome, and
smiling, with a well-cut profile and a long cloven chin. The
length of this lower part of the face and the strange cleft in it
(which gave the man, in quite another sense from the common one,
a double chin) faintly spoilt the claim of the face to absolute
regularity, but it greatly assisted it in wearing the expression
of half-smiling and half-sneering arrogance with which it was
staring at all the stones, all the flowers, but especially at the
solitary man.

"What do you want?" shouted Turnbull.

"I want you, Jimmy," said the eccentric man on the wall, and with
the very word he had let himself down with a leap on to the
centre of the lawn, where he bounded once literally like an
India-rubber ball and then stood grinning with his legs astride.
The only three facts that Turnbull could now add to his inventory
were that the man had an ugly-looking knife swinging at his
trousers belt, that his brown feet were as bare as his bronzed
trunk and arms, and that his eyes had a singular bleak brilliancy
which was of no particular colour.

"Excuse my not being in evening dress," said the newcomer with an
urbane smile. "We scientific men, you know--I have to work my own
engines--electrical engineer--very hot work."

"Look here," said Turnbull, sturdily clenching his fists in his
trousers pockets, "I am bound to expect lunatics inside these
four walls; but I do bar their coming from outside, bang out of
the sunset clouds."

"And yet you came from the outside, too, Jim," said the stranger
in a voice almost affectionate.

"What do you want?" asked Turnbull, with an explosion of temper
as sudden as a pistol shot.

"I have already told you," said the man, lowering his voice and
speaking with evident sincerity; "I want you."

"What do you want with me?"

"I want exactly what you want," said the new-comer with a new
gravity. "I want the Revolution."

Turnbull looked at the fire-swept sky and the wind-stricken
woodlands, and kept on repeating the word voicelessly to
himself--the word that did indeed so thoroughly express his mood
of rage as it had been among those red clouds and rocking
tree-tops. "Revolution!" he said to himself. "The
Revolution--yes, that is what I want right enough--anything, so
long as it is a Revolution."

To some cause he could never explain he found himself completing
the sentence on the top of the wall, having automatically
followed the stranger so far. But when the stranger silently
indicated the rope that led to the machine, he found himself
pausing and saying: "I can't leave MacIan behind in this den."

"We are going to destroy the Pope and all the kings," said the
new-comer. "Would it be wiser to take him with us?"

Somehow the muttering Turnbull found himself in the flying ship
also, and it swung up into the sunset.

"All the great rebels have been very little rebels," said the man
with the red scarf. "They have been like fourth-form boys who
sometimes venture to hit a fifth-form boy. That was all the worth
of their French Revolution and regicide. The boys never really
dared to defy the schoolmaster."

"Whom do you mean by the schoolmaster?" asked Turnbull.

"You know whom I mean," answered the strange man, as he lay back
on cushions and looked up into the angry sky.

They seemed rising into stronger and stronger sunlight, as if it
were sunrise rather than sunset. But when they looked down at the
earth they saw it growing darker and darker. The lunatic asylum
in its large rectangular grounds spread below them in a
foreshortened and infantile plan, and looked for the first time
the grotesque thing that it was. But the clear colours of the
plan were growing darker every moment. The masses of rose or
rhododendron deepened from crimson to violet. The maze of gravel
pathways faded from gold to brown. By the time they had risen a
few hundred feet higher nothing could be seen of that darkening
landscape except the lines of lighted windows, each one of which,
at least, was the light of one lost intelligence. But on them as
they swept upward better and braver winds seemed to blow, and on
them the ruby light of evening seemed struck, and splashed like
red spurts from the grapes of Dionysus. Below them the fallen
lights were literally the fallen stars of servitude. And above
them all the red and raging clouds were like the leaping flags of

The man with the cloven chin seemed to have a singular power of
understanding thoughts; for, as Turnbull felt the whole universe
tilt and turn over his head, the stranger said exactly the right

"Doesn't it seem as if everything were being upset?" said he;
"and if once everything is upset, He will be upset on top of it."

Then, as Turnbull made no answer, his host continued:

"That is the really fine thing about space. It is topsy-turvy.
You have only to climb far enough towards the morning star to
feel that you are coming down to it. You have only to dive deep
enough into the abyss to feel that you are rising. That is the
only glory of this universe--it is a giddy universe."

Then, as Turnbull was still silent, he added:

"The heavens are full of revolution--of the real sort of
revolution. All the high things are sinking low and all the big
things looking small. All the people who think they are aspiring
find they are falling head foremost. And all the people who think
they are condescending find they are climbing up a precipice.
That is the intoxication of space. That is the only joy of
eternity--doubt. There is only one pleasure the angels can
possibly have in flying, and that is, that they do not know
whether they are on their head or their heels."

Then, finding his companion still mute, he fell himself into a
smiling and motionless meditation, at the end of which he said

"So MacIan converted you?"

Turnbull sprang up as if spurning the steel car from under his
feet. "Converted me!" he cried. "What the devil do you mean? I
have known him for a month, and I have not retracted a

"This Catholicism is a curious thing," said the man of the cloven
chin in uninterrupted reflectiveness, leaning his elegant elbows
over the edge of the vessel; "it soaks and weakens men without
their knowing it, just as I fear it has soaked and weakened you."

Turnbull stood in an attitude which might well have meant
pitching the other man out of the flying ship.

"I am an atheist," he said, in a stifled voice. "I have always
been an atheist. I am still an atheist." Then, addressing the
other's indolent and indifferent back, he cried: "In God's name
what do you mean?"

And the other answered without turning round:

"I mean nothing in God's name."

Turnbull spat over the edge of the car and fell back furiously
into his seat.

The other continued still unruffled, and staring over the edge
idly as an angler stares down at a stream.

"The truth is that we never thought that you could have been
caught," he said; "we counted on you as the one red-hot
revolutionary left in the world. But, of course, these men like
MacIan are awfully clever, especially when they pretend to be

Turnbull leapt up again in a living fury and cried: "What have I
got to do with MacIan? I believe all I ever believed, and
disbelieve all I ever disbelieved. What does all this mean, and
what do you want with me here?"

Then for the first time the other lifted himself from the edge of
the car and faced him.

"I have brought you here," he answered, "to take part in the last
war of the world."

"The last war!" repeated Turnbull, even in his dazed state a
little touchy about such a dogma; "how do you know it will be the

The man laid himself back in his reposeful attitude, and said:

"It is the last war, because if it does not cure the world for
ever, it will destroy it."

"What do you mean?"

"I only mean what you mean," answered the unknown in a temperate
voice. "What was it that you always meant on those million and
one nights when you walked outside your Ludgate Hill shop and
shook your hand in the air?"

"Still I do not see," said Turnbull, stubbornly.

"You will soon," said the other, and abruptly bent downward one
iron handle of his huge machine. The engine stopped, stooped, and
dived almost as deliberately as a man bathing; in their downward
rush they swept within fifty yards of a big bulk of stone that
Turnbull knew only too well. The last red anger of the sunset was
ended; the dome of heaven was dark; the lanes of flaring light in
the streets below hardly lit up the base of the building. But he
saw that it was St. Paul's Cathedral, and he saw that on the top
of it the ball was still standing erect, but the cross was
stricken and had fallen sideways. Then only he cared to look down
into the streets, and saw that they were inflamed with uproar and
tossing passions.

"We arrive at a happy moment," said the man steering the ship.
"The insurgents are bombarding the city, and a cannon-ball has
just hit the cross. Many of the insurgents are simple people, and
they naturally regard it as a happy omen."

"Quite so," said Turnbull, in a rather colourless voice.

"Yes," replied the other. "I thought you would be glad to see
your prayer answered. Of course I apologize for the word prayer."

"Don't mention it," said Turnbull.

The flying ship had come down upon a sort of curve, and was now
rising again. The higher and higher it rose the broader and
broader became the scenes of flame and desolation underneath.

Ludgate Hill indeed had been an uncaptured and comparatively
quiet height, altered only by the startling coincidence of the
cross fallen awry. All the other thoroughfares on all sides of
that hill were full of the pulsation and the pain of battle, full
of shaking torches and shouting faces. When at length they had
risen high enough to have a bird's-eye view of the whole
campaign, Turnbull was already intoxicated. He had smelt
gunpowder, which was the incense of his own revolutionary

"Have the people really risen?" he asked, breathlessly. "What are
they fighting about?"

"The programme is rather elaborate," said his entertainer with
some indifference. "I think Dr. Hertz drew it up."

Turnbull wrinkled his forehead. "Are all the poor people with the
Revolution?" he asked.

The other shrugged his shoulders. "All the instructed and
class-conscious part of them without exception," he replied.
"There were certainly a few districts; in fact, we are passing
over them just now----"

Turnbull looked down and saw that the polished car was literally
lit up from underneath by the far-flung fires from below.
Underneath whole squares and solid districts were in flames, like
prairies or forests on fire.

"Dr. Hertz has convinced everybody," said Turnbull's cicerone in
a smooth voice, "that nothing can really be done with the real
slums. His celebrated maxim has been quite adopted. I mean the
three celebrated sentences: 'No man should be unemployed. Employ
the employables. Destroy the unemployables.'"

There was a silence, and then Turnbull said in a rather strained
voice: "And do I understand that this good work is going on under

"Going on splendidly," replied his companion in the heartiest
voice. "You see, these people were much too tired and weak even
to join the social war. They were a definite hindrance to it."

"And so you are simply burning them out?"

"It _does_ seem absurdly simple," said the man, with a beaming
smile, "when one thinks of all the worry and talk about helping a
hopeless slave population, when the future obviously was only
crying to be rid of them. There are happy babes unborn ready to
burst the doors when these drivellers are swept away."

"Will you permit me to say," said Turnbull, after reflection,
"that I don't like all this?"

"And will you permit me to say," said the other, with a snap,
"that I don't like Mr. Evan MacIan?"

Somewhat to the speaker's surprise this did not inflame the
sensitive sceptic; he had the air of thinking thoroughly, and
then he said: "No, I don't think it's my friend MacIan that
taught me that. I think I should always have said that I don't
like this. These people have rights."

"Rights!" repeated the unknown in a tone quite indescribable.
Then he added with a more open sneer: "Perhaps they also have

"They have lives!" said Turnbull, sternly; "that is quite enough
for me. I understood you to say that you thought life sacred."

"Yes, indeed!" cried his mentor with a sort of idealistic
animation. "Yes, indeed! Life is sacred--but lives are not
sacred. We are improving Life by removing lives. Can you, as a
free-thinker, find any fault in that?"

"Yes," said Turnbull with brevity.

"Yet you applaud tyrannicide," said the stranger with
rationalistic gaiety. "How inconsistent! It really comes to
this: You approve of taking away life from those to whom it is a
triumph and a pleasure. But you will not take away life from
those to whom it is a burden and a toil."

Turnbull rose to his feet in the car with considerable
deliberation, but his face seemed oddly pale. The other went on
with enthusiasm.

"Life, yes, Life is indeed sacred!" he cried; "but new lives for
old! Good lives for bad! On that very place where now there
sprawls one drunken wastrel of a pavement artist more or less
wishing he were dead--on that very spot there shall in the future
be living pictures; there shall be golden girls and boys leaping
in the sun."

Turnbull, still standing up, opened his lips. "Will you put me
down, please?" he said, quite calmly, like on stopping an

"Put you down--what do you mean?" cried his leader. "I am taking
you to the front of the revolutionary war, where you will be one
of the first of the revolutionary leaders."

"Thank you," replied Turnbull with the same painful constraint.
"I have heard about your revolutionary war, and I think on the
whole that I would rather be anywhere else."

"Do you want to be taken to a monastery," snarled the other,
"with MacIan and his winking Madonnas."

"I want to be taken to a madhouse," said Turnbull distinctly,
giving the direction with a sort of precision. "I want to go back
to exactly the same lunatic asylum from which I came."

"Why?" asked the unknown.

"Because I want a little sane and wholesome society," answered

There was a long and peculiar silence, and then the man driving
the flying machine said quite coolly: "I won't take you back."

And then Turnbull said equally coolly: "Then I'll jump out of the

The unknown rose to his full height, and the expression in his
eyes seemed to be made of ironies behind ironies, as two mirrors
infinitely reflect each other. At last he said, very gravely: "Do
you think I am the devil?"

"Yes," said Turnbull, violently. "For I think the devil is a
dream, and so are you. I don't believe in you or your flying ship
or your last fight of the world. It is all a nightmare. I say as
a fact of dogma and faith that it is all a nightmare. And I will
be a martyr for my faith as much as St. Catherine, for I will
jump out of this ship and risk waking up safe in bed."

After swaying twice with the swaying vessel he dived over the
side as one dives into the sea. For some incredible moments stars
and space and planets seemed to shoot up past him as the sparks
fly upward; and yet in that sickening descent he was full of some
unnatural happiness. He could connect it with no idea except one
that half escaped him--what Evan had said of the difference
between Christ and Satan; that it was by Christ's own choice that
He descended into hell.

When he again realized anything, he was lying on his elbow on the
lawn of the lunatic asylum, and the last red of the sunset had
not yet disappeared.


Evan MacIan was standing a few yards off looking at him in
absolute silence.

He had not the moral courage to ask MacIan if there had been
anything astounding in the manner of his coming there, nor did
MacIan seem to have any question to ask, or perhaps any need to
ask it. The two men came slowly towards each other, and found the
same expression on each other's faces. Then, for the first time
in all their acquaintance, they shook hands.

Almost as if this were a kind of unconscious signal, it brought
Dr. Quayle bounding out of a door and running across the lawn.

"Oh, there you are!" he exclaimed with a relieved giggle. "Will
you come inside, please? I want to speak to you both."

They followed him into his shiny wooden office where their
damning record was kept. Dr. Quayle sat down on a swivel chair
and swung round to face them. His carved smile had suddenly

"I will be plain with you gentlemen," he said, abruptly; "you
know quite well we do our best for everybody here. Your cases
have been under special consideration, and the Master himself has
decided that you ought to be treated specially and--er--under
somewhat simpler conditions."

"You mean treated worse, I suppose," said Turnbull, gruffly.

The doctor did not reply, and MacIan said: "I expected this." His
eyes had begun to glow.

The doctor answered, looking at his desk and playing with a key:
"Well, in certain cases that give anxiety--it is often

"Give anxiety," said Turnbull, fiercely. "Confound your
impudence! What do you mean? You imprison two perfectly sane men
in a madhouse because you have made up a long word. They take it
in good temper, walk and talk in your garden like monks who have
found a vocation, are civil even to you, you damned druggists'
hack! Behave not only more sanely than any of your patients, but
more sanely than half the sane men outside, and you have the
soul-stifling cheek to say that they give anxiety."

"The head of the asylum has settled it all," said Dr. Quayle,
still looking down.

MacIan took one of his immense strides forward and stood over the
doctor with flaming eyes.

"If the head has settled it let the head announce it," he said.
"I won't take it from you. I believe you to be a low, gibbering
degenerate. Let us see the head of the asylum."

"See the head of the asylum," repeated Dr. Quayle. "Certainly

The tall Highlander, bending over him, put one hand on his
shoulder with fatherly interest.

"You don't seem to appreciate the peculiar advantages of my
position as a lunatic," he said. "I could kill you with my left
hand before such a rat as you could so much as squeak. And I
wouldn't be hanged for it."

"I certainly agree with Mr. MacIan," said Turnbull with sobriety
and perfect respectfulness, "that you had better let us see the
head of the institution."

Dr. Quayle got to his feet in a mixture of sudden hysteria and
clumsy presence of mind.

"Oh, certainly," he said with a weak laugh. "You can see the head
of the asylum if you particularly want to." He almost ran out of
the room, and the two followed swiftly on his flying coat tails.
He knocked at an ordinary varnished door in the corridor. When a
voice said, "Come in," MacIan's breath went hissing back through
his teeth into his chest. Turnbull was more impetuous, and opened
the door.

It was a neat and well-appointed room entirely lined with a
medical library. At the other end of it was a ponderous and
polished desk with an incandescent lamp on it, the light of which
was just sufficient to show a slender, well-bred figure in an
ordinary medical black frock-coat, whose head, quite silvered
with age, was bent over neat piles of notes. This gentleman
looked up for an instant as they entered, and the lamplight fell
on his glittering spectacles and long, clean-shaven face--a face
which would have been simply like an aristocrat's but that a
certain lion poise of the head and long cleft in the chin made it
look more like a very handsome actor's. It was only for a flash
that his face was thus lifted. Then he bent his silver head over
his notes once more, and said, without looking up again:

"I told you, Dr. Quayle, that these men were to go to cells B and

Turnbull and MacIan looked at each other, and said more than they
could ever say with tongues or swords. Among other things they
said that to that particular Head of the institution it was a
waste of time to appeal, and they followed Dr. Quayle out of the

The instant they stepped out into the corridor four sturdy
figures stepped from four sides, pinioned them, and ran them
along the galleries. They might very likely have thrown their
captors right and left had they been inclined to resist, but for
some nameless reason they were more inclined to laugh. A mixture
of mad irony with childish curiosity made them feel quite
inclined to see what next twist would be taken by their imbecile
luck. They were dragged down countless cold avenues lined with
glazed tiles, different only in being of different lengths and
set at different angles. They were so many and so monotonous that
to escape back by them would have been far harder than fleeing
from the Hampton Court maze. Only the fact that windows grew
fewer, coming at longer intervals, and the fact that when the
windows did come they seemed shadowed and let in less light,
showed that they were winding into the core or belly of some
enormous building. After a little time the glazed corridors began
to be lit by electricity.

At last, when they had walked nearly a mile in those white and
polished tunnels, they came with quite a shock to the futile
finality of a cul-de-sac. All that white and weary journey ended
suddenly in an oblong space and a blank white wall. But in the
white wall there were two iron doors painted white on which were
written, respectively, in neat black capitals B and C.

"You go in here, sir," said the leader of the officials, quite
respectfully, "and you in here."

But before the doors had clanged upon their dazed victims, MacIan
had been able to say to Turnbull with a strange drawl of
significance: "I wonder who A is."

Turnbull made an automatic struggle before he allowed himself to
be thrown into the cell. Hence it happened that he was the last
to enter, and was still full of the exhilaration of the
adventures for at least five minutes after the echo of the
clanging door had died away.

Then, when silence had sunk deep and nothing happened for two and
a half hours, it suddenly occurred to him that this was the end
of his life. He was hidden and sealed up in this little crack of
stone until the flesh should fall off his bones. He was dead, and
the world had won.

His cell was of an oblong shape, but very long in comparison with
its width. It was just wide enough to permit the arms to be fully
extended with the dumb-bells, which were hung up on the left
wall, very dusty. It was, however, long enough for a man to walk
one thirty-fifth part of a mile if he traversed it entirely. On
the same principle a row of fixed holes, quite close together,
let in to the cells by pipes what was alleged to be the freshest
air. For these great scientific organizers insisted that a man
should be healthy even if he was miserable. They provided a walk
long enough to give him exercise and holes large enough to give
him oxygen. There their interest in human nature suddenly ceased.
It seemed never to have occurred to them that the benefit of
exercise belongs partly to the benefit of liberty. They had not
entertained the suggestion that the open air is only one of the
advantages of the open sky. They administered air in secret, but
in sufficient doses, as if it were a medicine. They suggested
walking, as if no man had ever felt inclined to walk. Above all,
the asylum authorities insisted on their own extraordinary
cleanliness. Every morning, while Turnbull was still half asleep
on his iron bedstead which was lifted half-way up the wall and
clamped to it with iron, four sluices or metal mouths opened
above him at the four corners of the chamber and washed it white
of any defilement. Turnbull's solitary soul surged up against
this sickening daily solemnity.

"I am buried alive!" he cried, bitterly; "they have hidden me
under mountains. I shall be here till I rot. Why the blazes
should it matter to them whether I am dirty or clean."

Every morning and evening an iron hatchway opened in his oblong
cell, and a brown hairy hand or two thrust in a plate of
perfectly cooked lentils and a big bowl of cocoa. He was not
underfed any more than he was underexercised or asphyxiated. He
had ample walking space, ample air, ample and even filling food.
The only objection was that he had nothing to walk towards,
nothing to feast about, and no reason whatever for drawing the
breath of life.

Even the shape of his cell especially irritated him. It was a
long, narrow parallelogram, which had a flat wall at one end and
ought to have had a flat wall at the other; but that end was
broken by a wedge or angle of space, like the prow of a ship.
After three days of silence and cocoa, this angle at the end
began to infuriate Turnbull. It maddened him to think that two
lines came together and pointed at nothing. After the fifth day
he was reckless, and poked his head into the corner. After
twenty-five days he almost broke his head against it. Then he
became quite cool and stupid again, and began to examine it like
a sort of Robinson Crusoe.

Almost unconsciously it was his instinct to examine outlets, and
he found himself paying particular attention to the row of holes
which let in the air into his last house of life. He soon
discovered that these air-holes were all the ends and mouths of
long leaden tubes which doubtless carried air from some remote
watering-place near Margate. One evening while he was engaged in
the fifth investigation he noticed something like twilight in one
of these dumb mouths, as compared with the darkness of the
others. Thrusting his finger in as far as it would go, he found a
hole and flapping edge in the tube. This he rent open and
instantly saw a light behind; it was at least certain that he had
struck some other cell.

It is a characteristic of all things now called "efficient",
which means mechanical and calculated, that if they go wrong at
all they go entirely wrong. There is no power of retrieving a
defeat, as in simpler and more living organisms. A strong gun can
conquer a strong elephant, but a wounded elephant can easily
conquer a broken gun. Thus the Prussian monarchy in the
eighteenth century, or now, can make a strong army merely by
making the men afraid. But it does it with the permanent
possibility that the men may some day be more afraid of their
enemies than of their officers. Thus the drainage in our cities
so long as it is quite solid means a general safety, but if there
is one leak it means concentrated poison--an explosion of deathly
germs like dynamite, a spirit of stink. Thus, indeed, all that
excellent machinery which is the swiftest thing on earth in
saving human labour is also the slowest thing on earth in
resisting human interference. It may be easier to get chocolate
for nothing out of a shopkeeper than out of an automatic machine.
But if you did manage to steal the chocolate, the automatic
machine would be much less likely to run after you.

Turnbull was not long in discovering this truth in connexion with
the cold and colossal machinery of this great asylum. He had been
shaken by many spiritual states since the instant when he was
pitched head foremost into that private cell which was to be his
private room till death. He had felt a high fit of pride and
poetry, which had ebbed away and left him deadly cold. He had
known a period of mere scientific curiosity, in the course of
which he examined all the tiles of his cell, with the gratifying
conclusion that they were all the same shape and size; but was
greatly puzzled about the angle in the wall at the end, and also
about an iron peg or spike that stood out from the wall, the
object of which he does not know to this day. Then he had a
period of mere madness not to be written of by decent men, but
only by those few dirty novelists hallooed on by the infernal
huntsman to hunt down and humiliate human nature. This also
passed, but left behind it a feverish distaste for many of the
mere objects around him. Long after he had returned to sanity and
such hopeless cheerfulness as a man might have on a desert
island, he disliked the regular squares of the pattern of wall
and floor and the triangle that terminated his corridor. Above
all, he had a hatred, deep as the hell he did not believe in, for
the objectless iron peg in the wall.

But in all his moods, sane or insane, intolerant or stoical, he
never really doubted this: that the machine held him as light and
as hopelessly as he had from his birth been held by the hopeless
cosmos of his own creed. He knew well the ruthless and
inexhaustible resources of our scientific civilization. He no
more expected rescue from a medical certificate than rescue from
the solar system. In many of his Robinson Crusoe moods he thought
kindly of MacIan as of some quarrelsome school-fellow who had
long been dead. He thought of leaving in the cell when he died a
rigid record of his opinions, and when he began to write them
down on scraps of envelope in his pocket, he was startled to
discover how much they had changed. Then he remembered the
Beauchamp Tower, and tried to write his blazing scepticism on the
wall, and discovered that it was all shiny tiles on which nothing
could be either drawn or carved. Then for an instant there hung
and broke above him like a high wave the whole horror of
scientific imprisonment, which manages to deny a man not only
liberty, but every accidental comfort of bondage. In the old
filthy dungeons men could carve their prayers or protests in the
rock. Here the white and slippery walls escaped even from bearing
witness. The old prisoners could make a pet of a mouse or a
beetle strayed out of a hole. Here the unpierceable walls were
washed every morning by an automatic sluice. There was no natural
corruption and no merciful decay by which a living thing could
enter in. Then James Turnbull looked up and saw the high
invincible hatefulness of the society in which he lived, and saw
the hatefulness of something else also, which he told himself
again and again was not the cosmos in which he believed. But all
the time he had never once doubted that the five sides of his
cell were for him the wall of the world henceforward, and it gave
him a shock of surprise even to discover the faint light through
the aperture in the ventilation tube. But he had forgotten how
close efficiency has to pack everything together and how easily,
therefore, a pipe here or there may leak.

Turnbull thrust his first finger down the aperture, and at last
managed to make a slight further fissure in the piping. The light
that came up from beyond was very faint, and apparently indirect;
it seemed to fall from some hole or window higher up. As he was
screwing his eye to peer at this grey and greasy twilight he was
astonished to see another human finger very long and lean come
down from above towards the broken pipe and hook it up to
something higher. The lighted aperture was abruptly blackened and
blocked, presumably by a face and mouth, for something human
spoke down the tube, though the words were not clear.

"Who is that?" asked Turnbull, trembling with excitement, yet
wary and quite resolved not to spoil any chance.

After a few indistinct sounds the voice came down with a strong
Argyllshire accent:

"I say, Turnbull, we couldn't fight through this tube, could we?"

Sentiments beyond speech surged up in Turnbull and silenced him
for a space just long enough to be painful. Then he said with his
old gaiety: "I vote we talk a little first; I don't want to
murder the first man I have met for ten million years."

"I know what you mean," answered the other. "It has been awful.
For a mortal month I have been alone with God."

Turnbull started, and it was on the tip of his tongue to answer:
"Alone with God! Then you do not know what loneliness is."

But he answered, after all, in his old defiant style: "Alone with
God, were you? And I suppose you found his Majesty's society
rather monotonous?"

"Oh, no," said MacIan, and his voice shuddered; "it was a great
deal too exciting."

After a very long silence the voice of MacIan said: "What do you
really hate most in your place?"

"You'd think I was really mad if I told you," answered Turnbull,

"Then I expect it's the same as mine," said the other voice.

"I am sure it's not the same as anybody's," said Turnbull, "for
it has no rhyme or reason. Perhaps my brain really has gone, but
I detest that iron spike in the left wall more than the damned
desolation or the damned cocoa. Have you got one in your cell?"

"Not now," replied MacIan with serenity. "I've pulled it out."

His fellow-prisoner could only repeat the words.

"I pulled it out the other day when I was off my head," continued
the tranquil Highland voice. "It looked so unnecessary."

"You must be ghastly strong," said Turnbull.

"One is, when one is mad," was the careless reply, "and it had
worn a little loose in the socket. Even now I've got it out I
can't discover what it was for. But I've found out something a
long sight funnier."

"What do you mean?" asked Turnbull.

"I have found out where A is," said the other.

Three weeks afterwards MacIan had managed to open up
communications which made his meaning plain. By that time the two
captives had fully discovered and demonstrated that weakness in
the very nature of modern machinery to which we have already
referred. The very fact that they were isolated from all
companions meant that they were free from all spies, and as there
were no gaolers to be bribed, so there were none to be baffled.
Machinery brought them their cocoa and cleaned their cells; that
machinery was as helpless as it was pitiless. A little patient
violence, conducted day after day amid constant mutual
suggestion, opened an irregular hole in the wall, large enough to
let in a small man, in the exact place where there had been
before the tiny ventilation holes. Turnbull tumbled somehow into
MacIan's apartment, and his first glance found out that the iron
spike was indeed plucked from its socket, and left, moreover,
another ragged hole into some hollow place behind. But for this
MacIan's cell was the duplicate of Turnbull's--a long oblong
ending in a wedge and lined with cold and lustrous tiles. The
small hole from which the peg had been displaced was in that
short oblique wall at the end nearest to Turnbull's. That
individual looked at it with a puzzled face.

"What is in there?" he asked.

MacIan answered briefly: "Another cell."

"But where can the door of it be?" said his companion, even more
puzzled; "the doors of our cells are at the other end."

"It has no door," said Evan.

In the pause of perplexity that followed, an eerie and sinister
feeling crept over Turnbull's stubborn soul in spite of himself.
The notion of the doorless room chilled him with that sense of
half-witted curiosity which one has when something horrible is
half understood.

"James Turnbull," said MacIan, in a low and shaken voice, "these
people hate us more than Nero hated Christians, and fear us more
than any man feared Nero. They have filled England with frenzy
and galloping in order to capture us and wipe us out--in order to
kill us. And they have killed us, for you and I have only made a
hole in our coffins. But though this hatred that they felt for us
is bigger than they felt for Bonaparte, and more plain and
practical than they would feel for Jack the Ripper, yet it is not
we whom the people of this place hate most."

A cold and quivering impatience continued to crawl up Turnbull's
spine; he had never felt so near to superstition and
supernaturalism, and it was not a pretty sort of superstition

"There is another man more fearful and hateful," went on MacIan,
in his low monotone voice, "and they have buried him even deeper.
God knows how they did it, for he was let in by neither door nor
window, nor lowered through any opening above. I expect these
iron handles that we both hate have been part of some damned
machinery for walling him up. He is there. I have looked through
the hole at him; but I cannot stand looking at him long, because
his face is turned away from me and he does not move."

Al Turnbull's unnatural and uncompleted feelings found their
outlet in rushing to the aperture and looking into the unknown

It was a third oblong cell exactly like the other two except that
it was doorless, and except that on one of the walls was painted
a large black A like the B and C outside their own doors. The
letter in this case was not painted outside, because this prison
had no outside.

On the same kind of tiled floor, of which the monotonous squares
had maddened Turnbull's eye and brain, was sitting a figure which
was startlingly short even for a child, only that the enormous
head was ringed with hair of a frosty grey. The figure was
draped, both insecurely and insufficiently, in what looked like
the remains of a brown flannel dressing-gown; an emptied cup of
cocoa stood on the floor beside it, and the creature had his big
grey head cocked at a particular angle of inquiry or attention
which amid all that gathering gloom and mystery struck one as
comic if not cocksure.

After six still seconds Turnbull could stand it no longer, but
called out to the dwarfish thing--in what words heaven knows. The
thing got up with the promptitude of an animal, and turning round
offered the spectacle of two owlish eyes and a huge
grey-and-white beard not unlike the plumage of an owl. This
extraordinary beard covered him literally to his feet (not that
that was very far), and perhaps it was as well that it did, for
portions of his remaining clothing seemed to fall off whenever he
moved. One talks trivially of a face like parchment, but this old
man's face was so wrinkled that it was like a parchment loaded
with hieroglyphics. The lines of his face were so deep and
complex that one could see five or ten different faces besides
the real one, as one can see them in an elaborate wall-paper. And
yet while his face seemed like a scripture older than the gods,
his eyes were quite bright, blue, and startled like those of a
baby. They looked as if they had only an instant before been
fitted into his head.

Everything depended so obviously upon whether this buried monster
spoke that Turnbull did not know or care whether he himself had
spoken. He said something or nothing. And then he waited for this
dwarfish voice that had been hidden under the mountains of the
world. At last it did speak, and spoke in English, with a foreign
accent that was neither Latin nor Teutonic. He suddenly stretched
out a long and very dirty forefinger, and cried in a voice of
clear recognition, like a child's: "That's a hole."

He digested the discovery for some seconds, sucking his finger,
and then he cried, with a crow of laughter: "And that's a head
come through it."

The hilarious energy in this idiot attitude gave Turnbull another
sick turn. He had grown to tolerate those dreary and mumbling
madmen who trailed themselves about the beautiful asylum gardens.
But there was something new and subversive of the universe in the
combination of so much cheerful decision with a body without a

"Why did they put you in such a place?" he asked at last with

"Good place. Yes," said the old man, nodding a great many times
and beaming like a flattered landlord. "Good shape. Long and
narrow, with a point. Like this," and he made lovingly with his
hands a map of the room in the air.

"But that's not the best," he added, confidentially. "Squares
very good; I have a nice long holiday, and can count them. But
that's not the best."

"What is the best?" asked Turnbull in great distress.

"Spike is the best," said the old man, opening his blue eyes
blazing; "it sticks out."

The words Turnbull spoke broke out of him in pure pity. "Can't we
do anything for you?" he said.

"I am very happy," said the other, alphabetically. "You are a
good man. Can I help you?"

"No, I don't think you can, sir," said Turnbull with rough
pathos; "I am glad you are contented at least."

The weird old person opened his broad blue eyes and fixed
Turnbull with a stare extraordinarily severe. "You are quite
sure," he said, "I cannot help you?"

"Quite sure, thank you," said Turnbull with broken brevity. "Good

Then he turned to MacIan who was standing close behind him, and
whose face, now familiar in all its moods, told him easily that
Evan had heard the whole of the strange dialogue.

"Curse those cruel beasts!" cried Turnbull. "They've turned him
to an imbecile just by burying him alive. His brain's like a
pin-point now."

"You are sure he is a lunatic?" said Evan, slowly.

"Not a lunatic," said Turnbull, "an idiot. He just points to
things and says that they stick out."

"He had a notion that he could help us," said MacIan moodily, and
began to pace towards the other end of his cell.

"Yes, it was a bit pathetic," assented Turnbull; "such a Thing
offering help, and besides---- Hallo! Hallo! What's the matter?"

"God Almighty guide us all!" said MacIan.

He was standing heavy and still at the other end of the room and
staring quietly at the door which for thirty days had sealed them
up from the sun. Turnbull, following the other's eye, stared at
the door likewise, and then he also uttered an exclamation. The
iron door was standing about an inch and a half open.

"He said----" began Evan, in a trembling voice--"he offered----"

"Come along, you fool!" shouted Turnbull with a sudden and
furious energy. "I see it all now, and it's the best stroke of
luck in the world. You pulled out that iron handle that had
screwed up his cell, and it somehow altered the machinery and
opened all the doors."

Seizing MacIan by the elbow he bundled him bodily out into the
open corridor and ran him on till they saw daylight through a
half-darkened window.

"All the same," said Evan, like one answering in an ordinary
conversation, "he did ask you whether he could help you."

All this wilderness of windowless passages was so built into the
heart of that fortress of fear that it seemed more than an hour
before the fugitives had any good glimpse of the outer world.
They did not even know what hour of the day it was; and when,
turning a corner, they saw the bare tunnel of the corridor end
abruptly in a shining square of garden, the grass burning in that
strong evening sunshine which makes it burnished gold rather than
green, the abrupt opening on to the earth seemed like a hole
knocked in the wall of heaven. Only once or twice in life is it
permitted to a man thus to see the very universe from outside,
and feel existence itself as an adorable adventure not yet begun.
As they found this shining escape out of that hellish labyrinth
they both had simultaneously the sensation of being babes unborn,
of being asked by God if they would like to live upon the earth.
They were looking in at one of the seven gates of Eden.

Turnbull was the first to leap into the garden, with an
earth-spurning leap like that of one who could really spread his
wings and fly. MacIan, who came an instant after, was less full
of mere animal gusto and fuller of a more fearful and quivering
pleasure in the clear and innocent flower colours and the high
and holy trees. With one bound they were in that cool and cleared
landscape, and they found just outside the door the black-clad
gentleman with the cloven chin smilingly regarding them; and his
chin seemed to grow longer and longer as he smiled.


Just behind him stood two other doctors: one, the familiar Dr.
Quayle, of the blinking eyes and bleating voice; the other, a
more commonplace but much more forcible figure, a stout young
doctor with short, well-brushed hair and a round but resolute
face. At the sight of the escape these two subordinates uttered a
cry and sprang forward, but their superior remained motionless
and smiling, and somehow the lack of his support seemed to arrest
and freeze them in the very gesture of pursuit.

"Let them be," he cried in a voice that cut like a blade of ice;
and not only of ice, but of some awful primordial ice that had
never been water.

"I want no devoted champions," said the cutting voice; "even the
folly of one's friends bores one at last. You don't suppose I
should have let these lunatics out of their cells without good
reason. I have the best and fullest reason. They can be let out
of their cell today, because today the whole world has become
their cell. I will have no more medieval mummery of chains and
doors. Let them wander about the earth as they wandered about
this garden, and I shall still be their easy master. Let them
take the wings of the morning and abide in the uttermost parts of
the sea--I am there. Whither shall they go from my presence and
whither shall they flee from my spirit? Courage, Dr. Quayle, and
do not be downhearted; the real days of tyranny are only

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