Part 1 out of 12
Produced by Charles Aldarondo, Tiffany Vergon, Thomas Berger,
and the Online Distributed Proofreading Team.
BY HALL CAINE
_Author of The Manxman_
* * * * *
_The period of the story is the last quarter of the nineteenth century.
No particular years are intended. The time occupied by the incidents of
the first Book is about six months, of the Second Book about six months,
of the Third Book about six months; then there is an interval of half a
year, and the time occupied by the incidents of the Fourth Book is about
six weeks. An Author's Note will be found at the end._
* * * * *
_THE OUTER WORLD_.
On the morning of the 9th of May, 18--, three persons important to this
story stood among the passengers on the deck of the Isle of Man steamship
_Tynwald_ as she lay by the pier at Douglas getting up steam for the
passage to Liverpool. One of these was an old clergyman of seventy, with
a sweet, mellow, childlike face; another was a young man of thirty, also
a clergyman; the third was a girl of twenty. The older clergyman wore a
white neckcloth about his throat, and was dressed in rather threadbare
black of a cut that had been more common twenty years before; the younger
clergyman wore a Roman collar, a long clerical coat, and a stiff,
broad-brimmed hat with a cord and tassel. They stood amidships, and the
captain, coming out of his room to mount the bridge, saluted them as he
"Good morning, Mr. Storm."
The young clergyman returned the salutation with a slight bow and the
lifting of his hat.
"Morning to you, Parson Quayle."
The old clergyman answered cheerily, "Oh, good morning, captain; good
There was the usual inquiry about the weather outside, and drawing up to
answer it, the captain came eye to eye with the girl.
"So this is the granddaughter, is it?"
"Yes, this is Glory," said Parson Quayle. "She's leaving the old
grandfather at last, captain, and I'm over from Peel to set her off, you
"Well, the young lady has got the world before her--at her feet, I ought
to say.--You're looking as bright and fresh as the morning, Miss Quayle."
The captain carried off his compliment with a breezy laugh, and went
along to the bridge. The girl had heard him only in a momentary flash of
consciousness, and she replied merely with a side glance and a smile.
Both eyes and ears, and every sense and every faculty, seemed occupied
with the scene before her.
It was a beautiful spring morning, not yet nine o'clock, but the sun
stood high over Douglas Head, and the sunlight was glancing in the
harbour from the little waves of the flowing tide. Oars were rattling up
the pier, passengers were trooping down the gangways, and the decks fore
and aft were becoming thronged.
"It's beautiful!" she was saying, not so much to her companions as to
herself, and the old parson was laughing at her bursts of rapture over
the commonplace scene, and dropping out in reply little driblets of
simple talk--sweet, pure nothings--the innocent babble as of a mountain
She was taller than the common, and had golden-red hair, and magnificent
dark-gray eyes of great size. One of her eyes had a brown spot, which
gave at the first glance the effect of a squint, at the next glance a
coquettish expression, and ever after a sense of tremendous power and
passion. But her most noticeable feature was her mouth, which was
somewhat too large for beauty, and was always moving nervously. When she
spoke, her voice startled you with its depth, which was a kind of soft
hoarseness, but capable of every shade of colour. There was a playful and
impetuous raillery in nearly all she said, and everything seemed to be
expressed by mind and body at the same time. She moved her body
restlessly, and while standing in the same place her feet were always
shuffling. Her dress was homely--almost poor--and perhaps a little
careless. She appeared to smile and laugh continually, and yet there were
tears in her eyes sometimes.
The young clergyman was of a good average height, but he looked taller
from a certain distinction of figure. When he raised his hat at the
captain's greeting he showed a forehead like an arched wall, and a large,
close-cropped head. He had a well-formed nose, a powerful chin, and full
lips--all very strong and set for one so young. His complexion was
dark--almost swarthy--and there was a certain look of the gipsy in his
big golden-brown eyes with their long black lashes. He was clean shaven,
and the lower part of his face seemed heavy under the splendid fire of
the eyes above it. His manner had a sort of diffident restraint; he stood
on the same spot without moving, and almost without raising his drooping
head; his speech was grave and usually slow and laboured; his voice was
bold and full.
The second bell had rung, and the old parson was making ready to go
"You'll take care of this runaway, Mr. Storm, and deliver her safely at
the door of the hospital?"
"And you'll keep an eye on her in that big Babylon over there?"
"If she'll let me, sir."
"Yes, indeed, yes; I know she's as unstable as water and as hard to hold
as a puff of wind."
The girl was laughing again. "You might as well call me a tempest and
have done with it, or," with a glance at the younger man, "say a
storm--Glory St---- Oh!"
With a little catch of the breath she arrested the name before it was
uttered by her impetuous tongue, and laughed again to cover her
confusion. The young man smiled faintly and rather painfully, but the old
parson was conscious of nothing.
"Well, and why not? A good name for you too, and you richly deserve
it.--But the Lord is lenient with such natures, John. He never tries them
beyond their strength. She hasn't much leaning to religion, you know."
The girl recalled herself from the busy scene around and broke in again
with a tone of humour and pathos mixed.
"There, call me an infidel at once, grandfather. I know what you mean.
But just to show you that I haven't exactly registered a vow in heaven
never to go to church in London because you've given me such a dose of it
in the Isle of Man, I'll promise to send you a full and particular report
of Mr. Storm's first sermon. Isn't that charming of me?"
The third bell was ringing, the blast of the steam whistle was echoing
across the bay, and the steamer was only waiting for the mails. Taking a
step nearer to the gangway, the old parson talked faster.
"Did Aunt Anna give you money enough, child?"
"Enough for my boat fare and my train."
"No more! Now Anna is so----"
"Don't trouble, grandfather. Woman wants but little here below--Aunt Anna
excepted. And then a hospital nurse----"
"I'm afraid you'll feel lonely in that great wilderness."
"Lonely with five millions of neighbours?"
"You'll be longing for the old island, Glory, and I half repent me
"If ever I have the blue-devils, grandpa, I'll just whip on my cape and
fly home again."
"To-morrow morning I'll be searching all over the house for my runaway."
Glory tried to laugh gaily. "Upstairs, downstairs, and in my lady's
"'Glory,' I'll be crying, 'Where's the girl gone at all? I haven't heard
her voice in the house to-day. What's come over the old place to strike
it so dead?'"
The girl's eyes were running over, but in a tone of gentle raillery and
heart's love she said severely: "Nonsense, grandfather, you'll forget all
about Glory going to London before the day after to-morrow. Every morning
you'll be making rubbings of your old runes, and every night you'll be
playing chess with Aunt Rachel, and every Sunday you'll be scolding old
Neilus for falling asleep in the reading desk, and--and everything will
go on just the same as ever."
The mails had come aboard, one of the gangways had been drawn ashore, and
the old parson, holding his big watch in his left hand, was diving into
his fob-pocket with the fingers of the right.
"Here"--panting audibly, as if he had been running hard--"is your
mother's little pearl ring."
The girl drew off her slack, soiled glove and took the ring in her
"A wonderful talisman is the relic of a good mother, sir," said the old
The young clergyman bent his head.
"You're like Glory herself in that though--you don't remember your mother
"I'll keep in touch with your father, John, trust me for that. You and he
shall be good friends yet. A man can't hold out against his son for
nothing worse than choosing the Church against the world. The old man
didn't mean all he said; and then it isn't the thunder that strikes
people dead, you know. So leave him to me; and if that foolish old Chalse
hasn't been putting notions into his head----"
The throbbing in the steam funnel had ceased and in the sudden hush a
voice from the bridge cried, "All ashore!"
"Good-bye, Glory! Good-bye, John! Good-bye both!"
"Good-bye, sir," said the young clergyman with a long hand-clasp.
But the girl's arms were about the old man's neck. "Good-bye, you dear
old grandpa, and I'm ashamed I--I'm sorry I--I mean it's a shame of me
"Good-bye, my wandering gipsy, my witch, my runaway!"
"If you call me names I'll have to stop your mouth, sir.
A voice cried, "Stand back there!"
The young clergyman drew the girl back from the bulwarks, and the steamer
moved slowly away.
"I'll go below--no, I won't; I'll stay on deck. I'll go ashore--I can't
bear it; it's not too late yet. No, I'll go to the stern and see the
water in the wake."
The pier was cleared and the harbour was empty. Over the white churning
water the sea gulls were wheeling, and Douglas Head was gliding slowly
back. Down the long line of the quay the friends of the passengers were
"There he is, on the end of the pier! That's grandpa waving his
handkerchief! Don't you see it? The red-and-white cotton one! God bless
him! How _wae_ his little present made me! He has been keeping it all
these years. But my silk handkerchief is too damp--it won't float at all.
Will you lend me----Ah, thank you! Good-bye! good-bye! good----"
The girl hung over the stern rail, leaning her breast upon it and waving
the handkerchief as long as the pier and its people were in sight, and
when they were gone from recognition she watched the line of the land
until it began to fade into the clouds, and there was no more to be seen
of what she had looked upon every day of her life until to-day.
"The dear little island! I never thought it was so beautiful! Perhaps I
might have been happy even there, if I had tried. Now, if I had only had
somebody for company! How silly of me! I've been five years wishing and
praying to get away, and now! ... It _is_ lovely, though, isn't it? Just
like a bird on the water! And when you've been born in a place ... the
dear little island! And the old folks, too! How lonely they'll be, after
all! I wonder if I shall ever.... I'll go below. The wind's freshening,
and this water in the wake is making my eyes... Good-bye, little birdie!
I'll come back--I'll.... Yes, never fear, I'll----"
The laughter and impetuous talking, the gentle humour and pathos, had
broken at length into a sob, and the girl had wheeled about and
disappeared down the cabin stairs. John Storm stood looking after her. He
had hardly spoken, but his great brown eyes were moist.
Her father had been the only son of Parson Quayle, and chaplain to the
bishop at Bishopscourt. It was there he had met her mother, who was
lady's maid to the bishop's wife. The maid was a bright young
Frenchwoman, daughter of a French actress, famous in her day, and of an
officer under the Empire, who had never been told of her existence.
Shortly after their marriage the chaplain was offered a big mission
station in Africa, and, being a devotee, he clutched at it without fear
of the fevers of the coast. But his young French wife was about to become
a mother, and she shrank from the perils of his life abroad, so he took
her to his father's house at Peel, and bade her farewell for five years.
He lived four, and during that time they exchanged some letters. His
final instructions were sent from Southampton: "If it's a boy, call him
John (after the Evangelist); and if it's a girl, call her Glory." At the
end of the first year she wrote: "I have shortened our darling, and you
never saw anything so lovely! Oh, the sweetness of her little bare arms,
and her neck, and her little round shoulders! You know she's red--I've
really got a red one--a curly red one! Such big beaming eyes, too! And
then her mouth, and her chin, and her tiny red toes! I don't know how you
can live without seeing her!" Near the end of the fourth year he sent his
last answer: "Dear Wife--This separation is bitter; but God has willed
it, and we must not forget that the probabilities are that we may pass
our lives apart." The next letter was from the English consul on the
Gaboon River, announcing the death of the devoted missionary.
Parson Quayle's household consisted only of himself and two maiden
daughters, but that was too much for the lively young Frenchwoman. While
her husband lived, she suffocated under the old-maid _regime_; and when
he was gone she made no more fight with destiny, but took some simple
ailment, and died suddenly.
A bare hillside frowned down on the place where Glory was born; but the
sun rose over it, and a beautiful river hugged its sides. A quarter of a
mile down the river there was a harbour, and beyond the harbour a bay,
with the ruins of an old castle standing out on an islet rock, and then
the broad sweep of the Irish Sea-the last in those latitudes to "parley
with the setting sun." The vicarage was called Glenfaba, and it was half
a mile outside the fishing town of Peel.
Glory was a little red-headed witch from the first, with an air of
general uncanniness in everything she did and said. Until after she was
six there was no believing a word she uttered. Her conversation was
bravely indifferent to considerations of truth or falsehood, fear or
favour, reward or punishment. The parson used to say, "I'm really afraid
the child has no moral conscience--she doesn't seem to know right from
wrong." This troubled his religion, but it tickled his humour, and it did
not disturb his love. "She's a perfect pagan--God bless her innocent
She had more than a child's genius for make-believe. In her hunger for
child company, before the days when she found it for herself, she made
believe that various versions of herself lived all over the place, and
she would call them out to play. There was Glory in the river, under the
pool where the perches swam, and Glory down the well, and Glory up in the
hills, and they answered when she spoke to them. All her dolls were kings
and queens, and she had a gift for making up in strange and grand
disguises. It was almost as if her actress grandmother had bestowed on
her from her birth the right to life and luxury and love.
She was a born mimic, and could hit off to a hair an eccentricity or an
affectation. The frown of Aunt Anna, who was severe, the smile of Aunt
Rachel, who was sentimental, and the yawn of Cornelius Kewley, the clerk
who was always sleepy, lived again in the roguish, rippling face. She
remembered some of her mother's French songs, and seeing a street-singer
one day, she established herself in the market-place in that character,
with grown people on their knees around her, ready to fall on her and
kiss her and call her Phonodoree, the fairy. But she did not forget to go
round for the ha'pennies either.
At ten she was a tomboy, and marched through the town at the head of an
army of boys, playing on a comb between her teeth and flying the vicar's
handkerchief at the end of his walking-stick. In these days she climbed
trees and robbed orchards (generally her own) and imitated boys' voices,
and thought it tyranny that she might not wear trousers. But she wore a
sailor's blue stocking-cap, and it brightened existence when, for
economy's sake and for the sake of general tidiness, she was allowed to
wear a white woollen jersey. Then somebody who had a dinghy that he did
not want asked her if she would like to have a boat. Would she like to
have paradise, or pastry cakes, or anything that was heavenly! After that
she wore a sailor's jacket and a sou'wester when she was on the sea, and
tumbled about the water like a duck.
At twelve she fell in love--with love. It was a vague passion interwoven
with dreams of grandeur. The parson being too poor to send her to the
girls' college at Douglas, and his daughters being too proud to send her
to the dame's school at Peel, she was taught at home by Aunt Rachel, who
read the poetry of Thomas Moore, knew the birthdays of all the royal
family, and was otherwise meekly romantic. From this source she gathered
much curious sentiment relating to some visionary world where young girls
were held aloft in the sunshine of luxury and love and happiness. One day
she was lying on her back on the heather of the Peel hill, with her head
on her arms, thinking of a story that Aunt Rachel had told her. It was of
a mermaid who had only to slip up out of the sea and say to any man,
"Come," and he came--he left everything and followed her. Suddenly the
cold nose of a pointer rubbed against her forehead, a strong voice cried,
"Down, sir!" and a young man of two and twenty, in leggings and a
shooting-jacket, strode between her and the cliffs. She knew him by
sight. He was John Storm, the son of Lord Storm, who had lately come to
live in the mansion house at Knockaloe, a mile up the hill from Glenfaba.
For three weeks thereafter she talked of nobody else, and even began to
comb her hair. She watched him in church, and told Aunt Rachel she was
sure he could see quite well in the dark, for his big eyes seemed to have
the light inside of them. After that she became ashamed, and if anybody
happened to mention his name in her hearing she flushed up to the
forehead and fled out of the room. He never once looked at her, and after
a while he went away to Canada. She set the clock on the back landing to
Canadian time, so that she might always know what he was doing abroad,
and then straightway forgot all about him. Her moods followed each other
rapidly, and were all of them overpowering and all sincere, but it was
not until a year afterward that she fell in love, in the church vestry,
with the pretty boy who stood opposite to her in the catechism class.
He was an English boy of her own age, and he was only staying in the
island for his holidays. The second time she saw him it was in the
grounds at Glenfaba, while his mother was returning a call indoors. She
gave him a little tap on the arm and he had to run after her--down a bank
and up a tree, where she laughed and said. "Isn't it nice?" and he could
see nothing but her big white teeth.
His name was Francis Horatio Nelson Drake, and he was full of great
accounts of the goings-on in the outer world, where his school was, and
where lived the only "men" worth talking about. Of course he spoke of all
this familiarly and with a convincing reality which wrapped Glory in the
plumage of dreams. He was a wonderful being, altogether, and in due time
(about three days) she proposed to him. True, he did not jump at her
offer with quite proper alacrity, but when she mentioned that it didn't
matter to her in the least whether he wanted her or not, and that plenty
would be glad of the chance, he saw things differently, and they agreed
to elope. There was no particular reason for this drastic measure, but as
Glory had a boat, it seemed the right thing to do.
She dressed herself in all her Confirmation finery, and stole out to meet
him under the bridge where her boat lay moored. He kept her half an hour
waiting, having sisters and other disadvantages, but "once aboard her
lugger," he was safe. She was breathless, and he was anxious, and neither
thought it necessary to waste any time in kissing.
They slipped down the harbour and out into the bay, and then ran up the
sail and stood off for Scotland. Being more easy in mind when this was
done, they had time to talk of the future. Francis Horatio was for
work--he was going to make a name for himself. Glory did not see it quite
in that light. A name, yes, and lots of triumphal processions, but she
was for travel--there were such lots of things people could see if they
didn't waste so much time working.
"What a girl you are!" he said derisively; whereupon she bit her lip, for
she didn't quite like it. But they were nearly half an hour out before he
spoiled himself utterly. He had brought his dog, a she-terrier, and he
began to call her by her kennel name and to say what a fine little thing
she was, and what a deal of money they would make by her pups. That was
too much for Glory. She couldn't think of eloping with a person who used
such low expressions.
"What a girl you are!" he said again; but she did not mind it in the
least. With a sweep of her bare arm she had put the tiller hard aport,
intending to tack back to Peel, but the wind had freshened and the sea
was rising, and by the swift leap of the boat the boom was snapped, and
the helpless sail came napping down upon the mast. Then they tumbled into
the trough, and Glory had not strength to pull them out of it, and the
boy was of no more use than a tripper. She was in her white muslin dress,
and he was nursing his dog, and the night was closing down on them, and
they were wobbling about under a pole and a tattered rag. But all at once
a great black yacht came heaving up in the darkness, and a grown-up voice
cried, "Trust yourself to me, dear."
It was John Storm. He had already awakened the young girl in her, and
thereafter he awakened the young woman as well. She clung to him like a
child that night, and during the four years following she seemed always
to be doing the same. He was her big brother, her master, her lord, her
sovereign. She placed him on a dizzy height above her, amid a halo of
goodness and grandeur. If he smiled on her she flushed, and if he frowned
she fretted and was afraid. Thinking to please him, she tried to dress
herself up in all the colours of the rainbow, but he reproved her and
bade her return to her jersey. She struggled to comb out her red curls
until he told her that the highest ladies in the land would give both
ears for them, and then she fondled them in her fingers and admired them
in a glass.
He was a serious person, but she could make him laugh until he screamed.
Excepting Byron and "Sir Charles Grandison," out of the vicar's library,
the only literature she knew was the Bible, the Catechism, and the Church
Service, and she used these in common talk with appalling freedom and
audacity. The favourite butt of her mimicry was the parish clerk saying
responses when he was sleepy.
The parson: "O Lord, open thou our lips" (no response). "Where are you,
The clerk (awakening suddenly in the desk below): "Here I am, your
reverence--and our mouth shall show forth thy praise."
When John Storm did laugh he laughed beyond all control, and then Glory
was entirely happy. But he went away again, his father having sent him to
Australia, and all the light of her world went out.
It was of no use bothering with the clock on the back landing, because
things were different by this time. She was sixteen, and the only tree
she climbed now was the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, and that
tore her terribly. John Storm was the son of a lord, and he would be Lord
Something himself some day. Glory Quayle was an orphan, and her
grandfather was a poor country clergyman. Their poverty was sweet, but
there was gall in it, nevertheless. The little forced economies in dress,
the frocks that had to be turned, the bonnets that were beauties when
they were bought, but had to be worn until the changes of fashion made
them frights, and then the mysterious parcels of left-off clothing from
goodness knows where--how the independence of the girl's spirit rebelled
against such humiliations!
The blood of her mother was beginning to boil over, and the old-maid
_regime_, which had crushed the life out of the Frenchwoman, was
suffocating the Manx girl with its formalism. She was always forgetting
the meal times regulated by the sun, and she could sleep at any time and
keep awake until any hour. It tired her to sit demurely like a young
lady, and she had a trick of lying down on the floor. She often laughed
in order not to cry, but she would not even smile at a great lady's silly
story, and she did not care a jot about the birthdays of the royal
family. The old aunts loved her body and soul, but they often said,
"Whatever is going to happen to the girl when the grandfather is gone?"
And the grandfather--good man--would have laid down his life to save her
a pain in her toe, but he had not a notion of the stuff she was made of.
His hobby was the study of the runic crosses with which the Isle of Man
abounds, and when she helped him with his rubbings and his casts he was
as merry as an old sand-boy. Though they occupied the same house, and her
bedroom that faced the harbour was next to his little musty study that
looked over the scullery slates, he lived always in the tenth century and
she lived somewhere in the twentieth.
The imprisoned linnet was beating at the bars of its cage. Before she was
aware of it she wanted to escape from the sleepy old scene, and had begun
to be consumed with longing for the great world outside. On summer
evenings she would go up Peel Hill and lie on the heather, where she had
first seen John Storm, and watch the ships weighing anchor in the bay
beyond the old dead castle walls, and wish she were going out with
them--out to the sea and the great cities north and south. But existence
closed in ever-narrowing circles round her, and she could see no way out.
Two years passed, and at eighteen she was fretting that half her life had
wasted away. She watched the sun until it sank into the sea, and then she
turned back to Glenfaba and the darkened region of the sky.
It was all the fault of their poverty, and their poverty was the fault of
the Church. She began to hate the Church; It had made her an orphan; and
when she thought of religion as a profession it seemed a selfish thing
anyway. If a man was really bent on so lofty an aim (as her own father
had been) he could not think of himself; he had to give up life and love
and the world, and then these always took advantage of him. But people
had to live in the world for all that, and what was the good of burying
yourself before you were dead?
Somehow her undefined wishes took shape in visions of John Storm, and one
day she heard he was home again. She went out on the hill that evening
and, being seen only by the gulls, she laughed and cried and ran. It was
just like poetry, for there he was himself lying on the edge of the cliff
near the very spot where she had been used to lie. On seeing him she went
more slowly, and began to poke about in the heather as if she had seen
nothing. He came up to her with both hands outstretched, and then
suddenly she remembered that she was wearing her old jersey, and she
flushed up to the eyes and nearly choked with shame. She got better
by-and-bye and talked away like a mill-wheel, and then fearing he might
think it was from something quite different, she began to pull the
heather and to tell him why she had been blushing. He did not laugh at
all. With a strange smile he said something in his deep voice that made
her blood run cold.
"But I'm to be a poor man myself in future, Glory. I've quarrelled with
my father. I'm going into the Church."
It was a frightful blow to her, and the sun went down like a shot. But it
burst open the bars of her cage for all that. After John Storm had found
a curacy in London and taken Orders, he told them at Glenfaba that among
his honorary offices was to be that of chaplain to a great West End
hospital. This suggested to Glory the channel of escape. She would go out
as a hospital nurse. It was easier said than done, for hospital nursing
was fashionable, and she was three years too young. With great labour she
secured her appointment as probationer, and with greater labour still
overcame the fear and affection of her grandfather. But the old parson
was finally appeased when he heard that Glory's hospital was the same
that John Storm was to be chaplain of, and that they might go up to
"Dear Grandfather Of Me, And Everybody At Glenfaba: Here I am at last,
dears, at the end of my Pilgrim's Progress, and the evening and the
morning' are the first day. It is now eleven o'clock at night, and I am
about to put myself to bed in my own little room at the hospital of
Martha's Vineyard, Hyde Park, London, England.
"The captain was quite right; the morning was as fresh as his flattery,
and before we got far beyond the Head most of the passengers were spread
out below like the three legs of Man. Being an old sea-doggie myself, I
didn't give it the chance to make me sick, but went downstairs and lay
quiet in my berth and deliberated great things. I didn't go up again
until we got into the Mersey, and then the passengers were on deck,
looking like sour buttermilk spilt out of the churn.
"What a glorious sight! The ships, the docks, the towers, the town! I
couldn't breathe for excitement until we got up to the landing-stage. Mr.
Storm put me into a cab, and for the sake of experience I insisted on
paying my own way. Of course he tried to trick me, but a woman's a woman
for a' that. As we drove up to Lime Street station there befell--a
porter. He carried my big trunk on his head (like a mushroom), and when I
bought my ticket he took me to the train while Mr. Storm went for a
newspaper. Being such a stranger, he was very kind, so I flung the
responsibility on Providence and gave him sixpence.
"There were two old ladies in the carriage beside ourselves, and the
train we travelled by was an express. It was perfectly delightful, and
for all the world like plunging into a stiff sou'wester off the rocks at
Contrary. But the first part of the journey was terrible. That tunnel
nearly made me shriek. It was a misty day too at Liverpool, and all the
way to Edge Hill they let off signals with a noise like battering-rams.
My nerves were on the rack; so taking advantage of the darkness of the
carriage, I began to sing. That calmed me, but it nearly drove the old
ladies out of their wits. _They_ screamed if I didn't; and just as I was
summoning the Almighty to attend to me a little in the middle of that
inferno, out we came as innocent as a baby. There was another of these
places just before getting into London. I suppose they are purgatories
through which you have to pass to get to these wonderful cities. Only if
I had been consulted in the making of the Litany ('from sudden death,
good Lord, deliver us') I should have made an exception for people in
"You never knew what an absolute ninny Glory is! I was burning with such
impatience to see London that when we came near it I couldn't see
anything for water under the brain. Approaching a great and mighty city
for the first time must be like going into the presence of majesty. Only
Heaven save me from such palpitation the day I become songstress to the
"Mercy! what a roar and boom--a deep murmur as of ten hundred million
million moths humming away on a still evening in autumn! On a nearer view
it is more like a Tower-of-Babel concern, with its click and clatter. The
explosion of voices, the confused clamour, the dreadful disorder--cars,
wagons, omnibuses--it makes you feel religious and rather cold down the
back. What a needle in a haystack a poor girl must be here if there is
nobody above to keep track of her!
"Tell Aunt Rachel they are wearing another kind of bonnet in London--more
pokey in front--and say if I see the Queen I'll be sure to tell her all
"We didn't get to the hospital until nine, so I've not seen much of it
yet. The housekeeper gave me tea and told me I might go over the house,
as I wouldn't be wanted to begin duty before morning. So for an hour I
went from ward to ward like a female Wandering Jew. Such silence! I'm
afraid this hospital nursing is going to be a lockjaw business. And now
I'm going to bed--well, not homesick, you know, but just 'longing a lil
bit for all.' To-morrow morning I'll waken up to new sounds and sights,
and when I draw my blind I'll see the streets where the cars are forever
running and rattling. Then I'll think of Glenfaba and the birds singing
"Dispense my love throughout the island. Say that I love everybody just
the same now I'm a London lady as when I was a mere provincial girl, and
that when I'm a wonderful woman, and have brought the eyes of England
upon me, I'll come back and make amends. I can hear what grandfather is
saying: 'Gough bless me, what a girl, though!' Glory.
"P. S.--I've not said much about Mr. Storm. He left me at the door of the
hospital and went on to the house of his vicar, for that is where he is
to lodge, you know. On the way up I expended much beautiful poetry upon
him on the subject of love. The old girlies having dozed off, I chanced
to ask him if he liked to talk of it, but he said no, it was a
profanation. Love was too sacred, it was a kind of religion. Sometimes it
came unawares, sometimes it smouldered like fire under ashes, sometimes
it was a good angel, sometimes a devil, making you do things and say
things, and laying your life waste like winter. But I told him it was
just charming, and as for religion, there was nothing under heaven like
the devotion of a handsome and clever man to a handsome and clever woman,
when he gave up all the world for her, and his body and his soul and
everything that was his. I think he saw there was something in that, for
though he said nothing, there came a wonderful light into his splendid
eyes, and I thought if he wasn't going to be a clergyman--but no matter.
So long, dear!"
John Storm was the son of Lord Storm (a peer in his own right), and
nephew of the Prime Minister of England, the Earl of Erin. Two years
before John's birth the brothers had quarrelled about a woman. It was
John's mother. She had engaged herself to the younger brother, and
afterward fallen in love with the elder one. The voice of conscience told
her that it was her duty to carry out her engagement, and she did so.
Then the voice of conscience took sides with the laws of life and told
the lovers that they must renounce each other, and they both did that as
well. But the poor girl found it easier to renounce life than love, and
after flying to religion as an escape from the conflict between conjugal
duty and elemental passion she gave birth to her child and died. She was
the daughter of a rich banker, who had come from the soil, and she had
been brought up to consider marriage distinct from love. Exchanging
wealth for title, she found death in the deal.
Her husband had never stood in any natural affinity to her. On his part,
their marriage had been a loveless and selfish union, based on the desire
for an heir that he might found a family and cancel the unfair position
of a younger son. But the sin he committed against the fundamental law,
that marriage shall be founded only in love, brought its swift revenge.
On hearing that the wife was dead, the elder brother came to attend the
funeral. The night before that event the husband felt unhappy about the
part he had played. He had given no occasion for scandal, but he had
never disguised, even from the mother of his son, the motives of his
marriage. The poor girl was gone; he had only trained himself for the
pursuit of her dowry, and the voice of love had been silent. Troubled by
such thoughts, he walked about his room all night long, and somewhere in
the first dead gray of dawn he went down to the death chamber that he
might look upon her face again. Opening the door, he heard the sound of
half-stifled sobs. Some one was leaning over the white face and weeping
like a man with a broken heart. It was his brother.
From that time forward Lord Storm considered himself the injured person.
He had never cared for his brother, and now he designed to wipe him out.
His son would do it. He was the heir to the earldom, for the earl had
never married. But a posthumous revenge was too trivial. The earl had
gone into politics and was making a name. Lord Storm had missed his own
opportunities, though he had got himself called to the Upper House, but
his son should be brought up to eclipse everything.
To this end the father devoted his life to the boy's training. All
conventional education was wrong in principle. Schools and colleges and
the study of the classics were drivelling folly, with next to nothing to
do with life. Travel was the great teacher. "You shall travel as far as
the sun," he said. So the boy was taken through Europe and Asia and
learned something of many languages. He became his father's daily
companion, and nowhere the father went was it thought wrong for the boy
to go also. Conventional morality was considered mawkish. The chief aim
of home training was to bring children up in total ignorance, if
possible, of the most important facts and functions of life. But it was
_not_ possible, and hence suppression, dissimulation, lying, and, under
the ban of secret sin, one half the world's woe. So the boy was taken to
the temples of Greece and India, and even to Western casinos and dancing
gardens. Before he was twenty he had seen something of nearly everything
the world has in it.
When the time came to think of his career England was in straits about
her colonial empire. The vast lands over sea wanted to take care of
themselves. It was the moment of the "British North America Act," and
that gave the father his cue for action. While his brother the earl was
fiddling the country to the tune of limited self-government for Crown
colonies, the father of John Storm conceived the daring idea of breaking
up the entire empire, including the United Kingdom, into self-governing
states. They were to be the "United States of Great Britain."
This was to be John Storm's policy, and to work it out Lord Storm set up
a house in the Isle of Man where he might always look upon his plan in
miniature. There he established a bureau for the gathering of the data
that his son would need to use hereafter. Newspapers came to him in his
lonely retreat from all quarters of the globe, and he cut out everything
relating to his subject. His library was a dusty room lined all around
with brown-paper pockets, which were labelled with the names of colonies
"It will take us two generations to do it, my boy, but we'll alter the
history of England."
At fifty he was iron-gray, and had a head like a big owl.
Meanwhile the object of these grand preparations, the offspring of that
loveless union, had a personality all his own. It seemed as if he had
been built for a big man every way, and Nature had been arrested in the
making of him. When people looked at his head they felt he ought to have
been a giant, but he was far from rivalling the children of Anak. When
they listened to his conversation they thought he might turn out to be a
creature of genius, but perhaps he was only a man of powerful moods. The
best strength of body and mind seemed to have gone into his heart. It may
be that the sorrowful unrest of his mother and her smothered passion had
left their red stream in John Storm's soul.
When he was a boy he would cry at a beautiful view in Nature, at a tale
of heroism, or at any sentimental ditty sung excruciatingly in the
streets. Seeing a bird's nest that had been robbed of its eggs he burst
into tears; but when he came upon the bleeding, broken shells in the
path, the tears turned to fierce wrath and mad rage, and he snatched up a
gun out of his father's room and went out to take the life of the
On coming to the Isle of Man he noticed as often as he went to church
that a little curly red-headed girl kept staring at him from the vicar's
pew. He was a man of two-and-twenty, but the child's eyes tormented him.
At any time of day or night he could call up a vision of their gleaming
brightness. Then his father sent him to Canada to watch the establishment
of the Dominion, and when he came back he brought a Canadian canoe and an
American yacht, and certain democratic opinions.
The first time he sailed the yacht in Manx waters he sighted a disabled
boat and rescued two children. One of them was the girl of the vicar's
pew, grown taller and more winsome. She nestled up to him when he lifted
her into the yacht, and, without knowing why, he kept his arms about her.
After that he called his yacht the _Gloria_, in imitation of her name,
and sometimes took the girl out on the sea. Notwithstanding the
difference of the years between them, they had their happy boy and girl
days together. In her white jersey and stocking-cap she looked every inch
a sailor. When the wind freshened and the boat plunged she stood to the
tiller like a man, and he thought her the sweetest sight ever seen in a
cockpit. And when the wind saddened and the boom came aboard she was the
cheeriest companion in a calm. She sang, and so did he, and their voices
went well together. Her favourite song was "Come, Lasses and Lads"; his
was "John Peel"; and they would sing them off and on for an hour at a
spell. Thus on a summer evening, when the bay was lying like a tired
monster asleep, and every plash of an oar was echoing on the hills, the
people on the land would hear them coming around the castle rock with
"D'ye ken John Peel, with his coat so gay?
D'ye ken John Peel at the break of day?
D'ye ken John P-e-e-l...."
For two years he amused himself with the child, and then realized that
she was a child no longer. The pity of the girl's position took hold of
him. This sunny soul with her sportfulness, her grace of many gifts, with
her eyes that flashed and gleamed like lightning, with her voice that was
like the warble of a bird, this golden-headed gipsy, this witch, this
fairy--what was the life that lay before her? Pity gave place to a
different feeling, and then he was aware of a pain in the breast when he
thought of the girl. As often as her eyes lasted upon him he felt his
face tingle and burn. He began to be conscious of an imprisoned side to
his nature, the passionate side, and he drew back afraid. This wild
power, this tempest, this raging fire within, God only knew whither it
was to lead him. And then he had given a hostage to fortune, or his
father had for him.
From his father's gloomy house at Knockaloe, where the winds were ever
droning in the trees, he looked over to Glenfaba, and it seemed to him
like a little white cloud lit up by the sunshine. His heart was forever
calling to the sunny spot over there, "Glory! Glory!" The pity of it was
that the girl seemed to understand everything, and to know quite well
what kept them apart. She flushed with shame that he should see her
wearing the same clothes constantly, and with head aside and furtive
glances she talked of the days when he would leave the island for good,
and London would take him and make much of him, and he would forget all
about his friends in that dead old place. Such talk cut him to the quick.
Though he had seen a deal of the world, he did not know much about the
conversation of women.
The struggle was brief. He began to wear plainer clothes--an Oxford
tweed coat and a flannel shirt--to talk about fame as an empty word, and
to tell his father that he was superior to all stupid conventions.
His father sent him to Australia. Then the grown-up trouble of his life
He passed through the world now with eyes open for the privations of the
poor, and he saw everything in a new light. Unconsciously he was doing in
another way what his mother had done when she flew to religion from
stifled passion. He had been brought up as a sort of imperialist
democrat, but now he bettered his father's instructions. England did not
want more Parliaments, she wanted more apostles. It was not by giving
votes to a nation, but by strengthening the soul of a nation, that it
became great and free. The man for the hour was not he who revolved
schemes for making himself famous, but he who was ready to renounce
everything, and if he was great was willing to become little, and if he
was rich to become poor. There was room for an apostle--for a thousand
apostles--who, being dead to the world's glory, its money or its calls,
were prepared to do all in Christ's spirit, and to believe that in the
renunciation, which was the "secret" of Jesus, lay the only salvation
remaining for the world.
He tramped through the slums of Melbourne and Sydney, and afterward
through the slums of London, returned to the Isle of Man a Christian
Socialist, and announced to his father his intention of going into the
The old man did not fume and fly out. He staggered back to his room like
a bullock to its pen after it has had its death-blow in the shambles. In
the midst of his dusty old bureau, with its labelled packets full of
cuttings, he realized that twenty years of his life had been wasted. A
son was a separate being, of a different growth, and a father was only
the seed at the root that must decay and die.
Then he made some show of resistance.
"But with your talents, boy, surely you are not going to throw away your
chances of a great name?"
"I care nothing for a great name, father," said John. "I shall win a
greater victory than any that Parliament can give me."
"But, my boy, my dear boy! one must either be the camel or the
camel-driver; and then society----"
"I hate society, and society would hate me. It is only for the sake of
the few godly men that God spares it as he spared Sodom for Lot's sake."
Having braved this ordeal and nearly broken the heart of his old father,
he turned for his reward to Glory. He found her at her usual haunt on the
"I was blushing when you came up, wasn't I?" she said. "Shall I tell you
"It was this," she said, with a sweep of her hand across her bosom.
He looked puzzled.
"Don't you understand? This old rag--it's the one I was wearing before
you went away."
He wanted to tell her how well she looked in it--better than ever now
that her bosom showed under its seamless curves, and her figure had grown
so lithe and shapely. But though she was laughing he saw she was ashamed
of her poverty, and he thought to comfort her.
"I'm to be a poor man myself in future, Glory. I've quarrelled with my
father. I'm going to take Orders."
Her face fell. "Oh, I didn't think anybody would be poor who could help
it. To be a clergyman is all right for a poor man, perhaps, but I hate to
be poor; it's horrid."
Then darkness fell upon his eyes and he felt sad and sick. Glory had
disappointed him. She was vain, she was worldly, she was incapable of the
higher things; she would never know what a sacrifice he had made for her;
she would think nothing of him now; but he would go on all the same, the
more earnestly because the devil had drawn a bow at him and the arrow had
gone in up to the feathers.
"With God's help I shall nail my colours to the mast," he said.
Thus he made up his mind to follow the unrolling of the scroll. He had
the strength called character. The Church had been his beacon before, but
now it was to be his refuge.
He found no difficulty in making the necessary preparations. For a year
he read the Anglican divines--Jeremy Taylor, Hooker, Butler, Waterland,
Pearson, and Pusey--and when the time came for his ordination his uncle,
the Earl of Erin, who was now Prime Minister, obtained him a title to a
curacy under the popular and influential Canon Wealthy of All Saints,
Belgravia. The Bishop of London gave letters dimissory to the Bishop of
Sodor and Man, by whom he was examined and ordained.
On the morning of his departure for London his father, with whom there
had in the meantime been trying scenes, left him this final word of
farewell: "As I understand that you intend to lead the life of poverty, I
presume that you do not need your mother's dowry, and I shall hold myself
at liberty to dispose of it elsewhere, _unless_ you require it for the
use of the young lady who is, I hear, to go up with you."
"I will be a poor man among poor men," said John Storm to himself as he
drove to his vicar's house in Eaton Place, but he awoke next morning in a
bedroom that did not answer to his ideas of a life of poverty. A footman
came with hot water and tea, and also a message from the canon overnight
saying he would be pleased to see Mr. Storm in the study after breakfast.
The study was a sumptuous apartment immediately beneath, with soft
carpets on which his feet made no noise, and tiger-skins over the backs
of chairs. As he entered it a bright-faced man in middle life,
clean-shaven, wearing a gold-mounted _pince-nez_, and bubbling over with
politeness, stepped forward to receive him.
"Welcome to London, my dear Mr. Storm. When the letter came from the
Prime Minister I said to my daughter Felicity--you will see her
presently--I trust you will be good friends--I said, 'It is a privilege,
my child, to meet any wish of the dear Earl of Erin, and I am proud to be
in at the beginning of a career that is sure to be brilliant and
John Storm made some murmur of dissent.
"I trust you found your rooms to your taste, Mr. Storm?"
John Storm had found them more than he expected or desired.
"Ah, well, humble but comfortable, and in any case please regard them as
your own, to receive whom you please therein, and to dispense your own
hospitalities. This house is large enough. We shall not meet oftener than
we wish, so we can not quarrel. The only meal we need take together is
dinner. Don't expect too much. Simple but wholesome--that's all we can
promise you in a clergyman's family."
John Storm answered that food was an indifferent matter to him, and that
half an hour after dinner he never knew what he had eaten. The canon
laughed and began again.
"I thought it best you should come to us, being a stranger in London,
though I confess I have never had but one of my clergy residing with me
before. He is here now. You'll see him by-and-bye. His name is Golightly,
a simple, worthy young man, from one of the smaller colleges, I believe.
Useful, you know, devoted to me and to my daughter, but of course a
different sort of person altogether, and--er----"
It was a peculiarity of the canon that whatever he began to talk about,
he always ended by talking of himself.
"I sent for you this morning, not having had the usual opportunity of
meeting before, that I might tell you something of our organization and
your own duties.... You see in me the head of a staff of six clergy."
John Storm was not surprised; a great preacher must be followed by flocks
of the poor; it was natural that they should wish him to help them and to
minister to them.
"We have no poor in my parish, Mr. Storm."
"No poor, sir?"
"On the contrary, her Majesty herself is one of my parishioners."
"That must be a great grief to you, sir?"
"Oh, the poor! Ah, yes, certainly. Of course, we have our associated
charities, such as the Maternity Home, founded in Soho by Mrs.
Callender--a worthy old Scotswoman--odd and whimsical, perhaps, but rich,
very rich and influential. My clergy, however, have enough to do with the
various departments of our church work. For instance, there is the
Ladies' Society, the Fancy Needlework classes, and the Decorative Flower
Guild, not to speak of the daughter churches and the ministration in
hospitals, for I always hold--er----"
John Storm's mind had been wandering, but at the mention of the hospital
he looked up eagerly.
"Ah, yes, the hospital. Your own duties will be chiefly concerned with
our excellent hospital of Martha's Vineyard. You will have the spiritual
care of all patients and nurses--yes, nurses also--within its precincts,
precisely as if it were your parish. 'This is my parish,' you will say to
yourself, and treat it accordingly. Not yet being in full Orders, you
will be unable to administer the sacrament, but you will have one service
daily in each of the wards, taking the wards in rotation. There are seven
wards, so there will be one service in each ward once a week, for I
always say that fewer----"
"Is it enough?" said John. "I shall be only too pleased----"
"Ah, well, we'll see. On Wednesday evenings we have service in the
church, and nurses not on night duty are expected to attend. Some fifty
of them altogether, and rather a curious compound. Ladies among them?
Yes, the daughters of gentlemen, but also persons of all classes. You
will hold yourself responsible for their spiritual welfare. Let me
see--this is Friday--say you take the sermon on Wednesday next, if that
is agreeable. As to views, my people are of all shades of colour, so I
ask my clergy to take strictly _via media_ views--strictly _via media_.
Do you intone?"
John Storm had been wandering again, but he recovered himself in time to
say he did not.
"That is a pity; our choir is so excellent--two violins, a viola,
clarinet, 'cello, double bass, the trumpets and drums, and of course the
organ. Our organist himself----"
At that moment a young clergyman came into the room, making apologies and
"Ah, this is Mr. Golightly--the-h'm--Hon. and Rev. Mr. Storm.--You will
take charge of Mr. Storm and bring him to church on Sunday morning."
Mr. Golightly delivered his message. It was about the organist. His wife
had called to say that he had been removed to the hospital for some
slight operation, and there was some difficulty about the singer of
Sunday morning's anthem.
"Most irritating! Bring her up." The curate went out backward. "I shall
ask you to excuse me, Mr. Storm. My daughter, Felicity--ah, here she is."
A tall young woman in spectacles entered.
"This is our new housemate, Mr. Storm, nephew of dear Lord Erin.
Felicity, my child, I wish you to drive Mr. Storm round and introduce him
to our people, for I always say a young clergyman in London----"
John Storm mumbled something about the Prime Minister.
"Going to pay your respects to your uncle now? Very good and proper. Next
week will do for the visits. Yes, yes. Come in, Mrs. Koenig."
A meek, middle-aged woman had appeared at the door. She was dark, and had
deep luminous eyes with the moist look to be seen in the eyes of a tired
"This is the wife of our organist and choir master. Good day! Kindest
greetings to the Prime Minister.... And, by the way, let us say Monday
for the beginning of your chaplaincy at the hospital."
The Earl of Erin, as First Lord of the Treasury, occupied the narrow,
unassuming brick house which is the Treasury residence in Downing Street.
Although the official head of the Church, with power to appoint its
bishops and highest dignitaries, he was secretly a sceptic, if not openly
a derider of spiritual things. For this attitude his early love passage
had been chiefly accountable. That strife between duty and passion which
had driven the woman he loved to religion had driven him in the other
direction and left a broad swath of desolation in his soul. He had seen
little of his brother since that evil time, and nothing whatever of his
brother's son. Then John had written, "I am soon to be bound by the awful
tie of the priesthood," and he had thought it necessary to do something
for him. When John was announced he felt a thrill of tender feeling to
which he had long been a stranger. He got up and waited. The young man
with his mother's face and the eyes of an enthusiast was coming down the
John Storm saw his uncle first in the spacious old cabinet room which
looks out on the little garden and the Park. He was a gaunt old man with,
meagre mustache and hair, and a face like a death's head. He held out his
hand and smiled. His hand was cold and his smile was half tearful and
"You are like your mother, John."
John never knew her.
"When I saw her last you were a child in arms and she was younger than
you are now."
"Where was that, uncle?"
"In her coffin, poor girl."
The Prime Minister shuffled some papers and said, "Well, is there
anything you wish for?"
"Nothing. I've come to thank you for what you've done already."
The Prime Minister made a deprecatory gesture.
"I almost wish you had chosen another career, John. Still, the Church has
its opportunities and its chances, and if I can ever----"
"I am satisfied; more than satisfied," said John. "My choice is based, I
trust, on a firm vocation. God's work is great, sir; the greatest of all
in London. That is why I am so grateful to you. Think of it, sir----"
John was leaning forward in his chair with one arm stretched out.
"Of the five millions of people in this vast city, not one million cross
the threshold of church or chapel. And then remember their condition. A
hundred thousand live in constant want, slowly starving to death, every
day and hour, and a quarter of the old people of London die as paupers.
Isn't it a wonderful scene, sir? If a man is willing to be spiritually
dead to the world--to leave family and friends--to go forth never to
return, as one might go to his execution----"
The Prime Minister listened to the ardent young man who was talking to
him there with his mother's voice, and then said--
"I'm afraid I've made a mistake."
John Storm looked puzzled.
"I've sent you to the wrong place, John. When you wrote, I naturally
supposed you were thinking of the Church as a career, and I tried to put
you in the way of it. Do you know anything of your vicar?"
John knew that fame spoke of him as a great preacher--one of the few who
had passed through their Pentecost and come out with the gift of tongues.
"Precisely!" The Prime Minister gave a bitter little laugh. "But let me
tell you something about him. He was a poor curate in the country where
the lord of the manor chanced to be a lady. He married the lady of the
manor. His wife died and he bought a London parish. Then, by the help of
an old actor who gave lessons in elocution, he--well, he set up his
Pentecost. Since then he has been a fashionable preacher and frequents
the houses of great people. Ten years ago he was made an honorary canon,
and, when he hears of an appointment to a bishopric, he says in a tearful
voice, 'I don't know what the dear Queen has got against me.'"
"Well, if I had known you felt like that I should scarcely have sent you
to Canon Wealthy. And yet I hardly know where else a young man of your
opinions ... I'm afraid the Church has a good many Canon Wealthys in it."
"God forbid!" said John. "No doubt there are Pharisees in these days just
as in the days of Christ, but the Church is still the pillar of the
"The caterpillar, you mean, boy--eating out its heart and its vitals."
The Prime Minister gave another bitter little laugh, then looked quickly
into John's flushed face and said:
"But it's poor work for an old man to sap away a young man's enthusiasm."
"You can't do that, uncle," said John, "because God is the absolute ruler
of all things, good and bad, and he governs both to his glory. Let him
only give us strength to endure our exile----"
"I don't like to hear you talk like that, John. I think I know what the
upshot will be. There's a gang of men about--Anglican Catholics they
call themselves; well, remember the German proverb, 'Every priestling
hides a popeling.' ... And if you _are_ to be in the Church, John, is
there any reason why you shouldn't marry and be reasonable? To tell you
the truth, I'm rather a lonely old man, whatever I may seem, and if your
mother's son would give me a sort of a grandson--eh?"
The Prime Minister was pretending to laugh again.
"Come, John, come, it seems a pity--a fine young fellow like you, too.
Are there no sweet young girls about in these days? Or are they all dead
and gone since I was a young fellow? I could give you a wide choice, you
know, for when a man stands high enough ... in fact, you would find me
reasonable--you might have anybody you liked, rich or poor, dark or
John Storm had been sitting in torment, and now he rose to go. "No,
uncle," he said, in a thicker voice, "I shall never marry. A clergyman
who is married is bound to life by too many ties. Even his affection for
his wife is a tie. And then there is her affection for the world, its
riches, its praise, its honours.----"
"Well, well, we'll say no more. After all, it's better than running wild,
and that's what most young men seem to be doing nowadays. But then your
long education abroad--and your poor father left to look after himself!
Good-day to you. Come and see me now and then. How like your mother you
are sometimes! Good-day!"
When the door of the cabinet room closed on John Storm the Prime Minister
thought, "Poor boy, he's laying up for himself a big heartache one of
these fine days!"
And John Storm, going down the street with uncertain step, said to
himself: "How strange he should talk like that! But, thank God, he didn't
produce a flicker in me. I died to all that a year ago."
Then he lifted his head and his footstep lightened, and deep in some
secret place the thought came proudly, "She shall see that to renounce
the world is to possess the world--that a man may be poor and have all
the kingdom of the world at his feet."
He went back by the Underground from Westminster Bridge. It was midday,
and the train was crowded. His spirits were high and he talked with every
one near him. Getting out at Victoria, he came upon his vicar on the
platform and saluted him rather demonstratively. The canon responded with
some restraint and then stepped into a first-class carriage.
On turning into Eaton Place he came upon a group of people standing
around something that lay on the pavement. It was an old woman, a
tattered, bedraggled creature with a pinched and pallid face. "Is it an
accident?" a gentleman was saying, and somebody answered, "No, sir, she's
gorn off in a faint." "Why doesn't some one take her to the hospital?"
said the gentleman, and then, like the Levite, he passed by on the other
side. The butcher's cart drew up at the curb, and the butcher jumped
down, saying, "There never _is_ no p'lice about when they're wanted for
"But they aren't wanted here, friend," said somebody from the outside. It
was John Storm, and he was pushing his way through the crowd.
"Will somebody knock at that door, please?" He lifted the old thing in
his arms and carried her toward the canon's house. The footman looked
aghast. "Let me know when the canon returns," said John, and then marched
up the carpeted stairs to his rooms.
An hour afterward the old woman opened her eyes and said: "Anythink gorn
wrong? Wot's up? Is it the work'us?"
It was a clear case of destitution and collapse. John Storm began to feed
the old creature with the chicken and milk sent up for his own lunch.
Some time in the afternoon he heard the voice and step of the vicar in
the room below. Going down to the study, he was about to knock; but the
voice continued in varying tones, now loud, now low. During a pause he
rapped, and then, with noticeable irritation, the voice cried, "Come in!"
He found the vicar, with a manuscript in hand, rehearsing his Sunday's
sermon. It was a shock to John, but it helped him to understand what his
uncle had said about the canon's Pentecost.
The canon's brow was clouded. "Ah, is it you? I was sorry to see you
getting out of a third-class carriage to-day, Mr. Storm."
John answered that it was the poor man's class, and therefore, he
thought, it ought to be his.
"You do yourself an injustice, Mr. Storm. Besides, to tell you the truth,
I don't choose that my assistant clergy----"
John looked ashamed. "If that is your view, sir," he said, "I don't know
what you'll say to what I've been doing since."
"I've heard of it, and I confess I'm not pleased. Whatever your old
_protegee_ may be, my house is no place for her. I help to maintain
charitable institutions for such cases, and I will ask you to lose no
time in having her removed to the hospital."
John was crushed. "Very well, sir, if that is your wish; only I thought
you said my rooms----Besides, the poor old thing fills her place as well
as Queen Victoria, and perhaps the angels are watching the one as much as
Next day John Storm called to see the old woman at Martha's Vineyard, and
he saw the matron, the house doctor, and a staff nurse as well. His
adventure was known to everybody at the hospital. Once or twice he caught
looks of amused compassion, and heard a twitter of laughter. As he stood
by the bed, the old woman muttered: "I knoo ez it wuzn't the work'us, my
dear. He spoke to me friendly and squeedged my 'and."
Coming through the wards he had looked for a face he could not see; but
just then he was aware of a young woman, in the print dress and white
apron of a nurse, standing in silence at the bed-head. It was Glory, and
her eyes were wet with tears.
"You mustn't do such things," she said hoarsely; "I can't bear it," and
she stamped her foot. "Don't you see that these people----"
But she turned about and was gone before he could reply. Glory was
ashamed for him. Perhaps she had been taking his part! He felt the blood
mounting to his face, and his cheeks tingling. Glory! His eyes were
swimming, and he dared not look after her; but he could have found it in
his heart to kiss the old bag of bones on the bed.
That night he wrote to the parson in the island: "Glory has left off her
home garments, and now looks more beautiful than ever in the white
simplicity of the costume of the nurse. Her vocation is a great one. God
grant she may hold on to it!" Then something about the fallacy of
ceremonial religion and the impossibility of pleasing God by such
religious formalities. "But if we have publicans and Pharisees now, even
as they existed in Christ's time, all the more service is waiting for
that man for whom life has no ambitions, death no terrors. I thank God I
am in a great measure dead to these things.... I will fulfil my promise
to look after Glory. My constant prayer is against Agag. It is so easy
for him to get a foothold in a girl's heart here. This great new world,
with its fashions, its gaieties, its beauty, and its brightness--no
wonder if a beautiful young girl, tingling with life and ruddy health,
should burn with impatience to fling herself into the arms of it. Agag is
in London, and as insinuating as ever."
On Sunday morning his fellow-curate came to his room to accompany him to
church. The Rev. Joshua Golightly was a little man with a hook nose,
small keen eyes, scanty hair, and a voice that was something between a
whisper and a whistle. He bowed subserviently, and made meek little
"I do trust you will not be disappointed with our church and service. We
do all we can to make them worthy of our people."
As they walked down the streets he talked first of the church
officers--there were honorary wardens, gentlemen sidesmen, and lady
superintendents of floral decorations; then of the choir, which consisted
of organist and choir master, professional members, voluntary members,
and choir secretary. The anthem was sung by a professional singer,
generally the tenor from the opera; the canon could always get such
people--he was a great favourite with artistes and "the profession." Of
course, the singers were paid, and the difficulty this week had been due
to the exorbitant fee demanded by the Italian barytone from Covent
Disappointment and disenchantment were falling on John Storm at every
All Saints' was a plain, dark structure with a courtyard in front. The
bells were ringing, and a line of carriages was drawing up at the portico
as at the entrance to a theatre, discharging their occupants and passing
on. Vergers in yellow and buff, with knee-breeches, silk stockings, and
powdered wigs, were receiving the congregation at the doors.
"Let us go in by the west door--I should like you to see the screen to
advantage," said Mr. Golightly.
The inside of the church was gorgeous. As far up as the clerestory every
wall was frescoed, and every timber of the roof was gilded. At the
chancel end there was a wrought-iron screen of delicate tracery, and the
altar was laden with gold candlesticks. Above the altar and at either
side of it were stained glass windows. The morning sun was shining
through them and filling the chancel with warm splashes of light. Ladies
in beautiful spring dresses were following the vergers up the aisles.
"This way," the curate whispered, and John Storm entered the sacristy by
a low doorway like the auditorium entrance to a stage. There he met some
six others of his fellow-curates. They nodded to him and went on
arranging their surplices. The choir were gathering in their own
quarters, where the violins were tuning up and the choir boys were
laughing and behaving after their kind.
The bell slackened and stopped, and the organ began to play. When all
were ready they stepped into a long corridor and formed in line with
their faces to the chancel and their backs to a little door, at which a
verger in blue stood guard.
"The canon's room," whispered Mr. Golightly.
A prayer was said by some one, the choir sang the response, and then they
walked in procession to their places in the chancel, the choir boys
first, the canon last. Seen through the tracery of the screen, the
congregation appeared to fill every sitting in the church with a blaze of
light and colour, and the atmosphere was laden with delicate perfume.
The service was choral. An anthem was sung at the close of the sermon,
the collection being made during the hymn before it. The professional
singer looked like any other chorister in his surplice, save for his
swarthy face and heavy mustache.
The canon preached. He wore his doctor's hood of scarlet cloth. His
sermon was eloquent and literary, and it was delivered with elocutionary
power. There were many references to great writers, painters, and
musicians, including a panegyric on Michael Angelo and a quotation from
Browning. The sermon concluded with a passage from Dante in the original.
John Storm was dazed and perplexed. When the service was over he came out
alone, returning down the nave, which was now empty but still fragrant.
Among other notices pasted on a board in the porch he found this one:
"The vicar and wardens, having learned with regret that purses have been
lost on leaving the church, recommend the congregation to bring only such
money as they may need for the offertory."
Had he been to the house of God? No matter! God ruled the world in
righteousness and wrought out everything to his own glory.
Next morning he began duty as chaplain at the hospital, and when he had
finished the reading of his first prayers he could see that he had lived
down some of the derision due to his adventure with the old woman. That
poor old bag of bones was sinking and could not last much longer.
Going out by way of the dispensary, he saw Glory again, and heard that
she had been at church the day before. It was lovely. All those hundreds
of nice-looking people in gay colours, with the rustle of silk and the
hum of voices--it was beautiful--it reminded her of the sea in summer. He
asked her what she thought of the sermon, and she said, "Well, it wasn't
religion exactly--not what I call religion--not a 'reg'lar rousing
rampage for sowls,' as old Chalse used to say, but----"
"Glory," he said impetuously, "I'm to preach my first sermon on
He did not ask her to come, but inquired if she was on night duty. She
answered No, and then somebody called her.
"She'll be there," he told himself, and he walked home with uplifted
head. He would look for her; he would catch her eye; she would see that
it was not necessary to be ashamed of him again.
And then close behind, very close, came recollections of her appearance.
He could reconstruct her new dress by memory--her face was easy to
remember. "After all, beauty is a kind of virtue," he thought. "And all
natural friendship is good for the progress of souls if it is built upon
the love of God."
He wrote nothing and learned nothing by heart. The only preparation he
made for his sermon was thought and prayer. When the Wednesday night came
he was very nervous. But the church was nearly empty, and the vergers,
who were in their everyday clothes, had only partially lit up the nave.
The canon had done him the honour to be present; his fellow-curates read
the prayers and lessons.
As he ascended the pulpit he thought he saw the white bonnets of a group
of nurses in the dim distance of one of the aisles, but he did not see
Glory and he dared not look again. His text was, "My kingdom is not of
this world." He gave it out twice, and his voice sounded strange to
himself--so weak and thin in that hollow place.
When he began to speak his sentences seemed awkward and difficult. The
things of the world were temporal and the nations of the world were out
of harmony with God. Men were biting and devouring each other who ought
to live as brothers. "Cheat or be cheated" was the rule of life, as the
modern philosopher had said. On the one side were the many dying of want,
on the other side the few occupied with poetry and art, writing addresses
to flowers, and peddling--in the portraiture of the moods and methods of
love, living lives of frivolity, taking pleasure in mere riches and the
lusts of the eye, while thousands of wretched mortals were grovelling in
the mire.... Then where was our refuge? ... The Church was the refuge of
God's people ... from Christ came the answer--the answer--the----
His words would not flow. He fought hard, threw out another passage, then
stammered, began again, stammered again, felt hot, made a fresh effort,
flagged, rattled out some words he had fixed in his mind, perspired, lost
his voice, and finally stopped in the middle of a sentence and said, "And
now to God the Father--" and came down from the pulpit.
His sermon had been a failure, and he knew it. On going back to the
sacristy the Reverend Golightly congratulated him with a simper and a
vapid smile. The canon was more honest but more vain. He mingled lofty
advice with gentle reproof. Mr. Storm had taken his task too lightly.
Better if he had written his sermon and read it. Whatever might serve for
the country, congregations in London--at All Saints' especially--expected
culture and preparation.
"For my own part I confess--nay, I am proud to declare--my watchword is
Rehearse! Rehearse! Rehearse!"
As for the doctrine of the sermon it was not above question. It was
necessary to live in the _nineteenth_ century, and it was impossible to
apply to its conditions the rules of life that had been proper to the
John Storm made no resistance. He slept badly that night. As often as he
dozed off he dreamed that he was trying to do something he could not do,
and when he awoke he became hot as with the memory of a disgrace. And
always at the back of his shame was the thought of Glory.
Next morning he was alone in his room and fumbling the toast on his
breakfast table, when the door opened and a cheery voice cried, "May I no
come in, laddie?"
An elderly lady entered. She was tall and slight and had a long, fine
face, with shrewd but kindly eyes, and nearly snow-white hair.
"I'm Jane Callender," she said, "and I couldna wait for an introduction
or sic bother, but must just come and see ye. Ay, laddie, it was a bonnie
sermon yon! I havena heard the match of it since I came frae Edinburgh
and sat under the good Doctor Guthrie. Now _he_ was nae slavish reader
neither--none of your paper preachers was Thomas. My word, but you gave
us the right doctrine, too! They're given over to the worship of
Beelzebub--half these church-going folks! Oh, these Pharisees! They are
enough to sour milk. I wish they had one neck and somebody would just
squeeze it. Now, where did ye hear that, Jane? But no matter! And the
lasses are worse than the men, with their fashions and foldololls. They
love Jesus, but they like him best in heaven, not bothering down in
Belgravia. But I must be going my ways. I left James on the street, and
there's nae living with the man if you keep his horses waiting.
Good-morning til ye! But eh, laddie, I'm afraid for ye! I'm thinking--I'm
thinking ... but come and see me at Victoria Square. Good-morning!"
She had rattled this off at a breath, and had hardly given time for a
reply, when her black silk was rustling down the stairs.
John Storm remembered that the canon had spoken of her. She was the good
woman who kept the home for girls at Soho.
"The good creature only came to comfort me," he thought. But Glory! What
was Glory thinking? That morning after prayers at the hospital he went in
search of her in the out-patient department, but she pretended to be
overwhelmed with work, and only nodded and smiled and excused herself.
"I haven't got a moment this morning either for the king or his dog. I'm
up to my eyes in bandages, and have fourteen plasters on my conscience,
and now I must run away to my little boy whose leg was amputated on
He understood her, but he came back in the evening and was resolved to
face it out.
"What did you think of last night, Glory?" Then she put on a look of
"Why, what happened? Oh, of course, the sermon! How stupid of me! Do you
know I forgot all about it?"
"You were not there, then?"
"Don't ask me. Really, I'm ashamed; after my promise to grandfather, too!
But Wednesday doesn't count anyway, does it? You'll preach on Sunday--and
His feeling of relief was followed by a sense of deeper humiliation.
Glory had not even troubled herself to remember. Evidently he was nothing
to her, nothing; while she----
He walked home through St. James's Park, and under the tall trees the
peaceful silence of the night came down on him. The sharp clack of the
streets was deadened to a low hum as of the sea afar off. Across the
gardens he could see the clock in the tower of Westminster, and hear the
great bell strike the quarters. London! How little and selfish all
personal thoughts were in the contemplation of the mighty city! He had
been thinking only of himself and his own little doings. It was all so
small and pitiful!
"Did my shame at my failure in the pulpit proceed solely from fear of
losing the service of God, or did it proceed from wounded ambition, from
pride, from thoughts of Glory----"
But the peaceful stars were over him. It was a majestic night.
"Dear Auntie Rachel: Tell grandpa, to begin with, that John Storm
preached his first sermon on Wednesday last, and, according to programme,
I was there to hear it. Oh, God bless me! What a time I had of it! He
broke down in the middle, taking stage fright or pulpit fright or some
such devilry, though there was nothing to be afraid of except a
bandboxful of chattering girls who didn't listen, and a few old fogies
with ear-trumpets. I was sitting in the darkness at the back, effectually
concealed from the preacher by the broad shoulders of Ward Sister
Allworthy, who is an example of 'delicate femaleism' just verging on
old-maidenism. They tell me the 'discoorse' was a short one, but I never
got so many prayers into the time in all my born days, and my breath was
coming and going so fast that the Sister must have thought they had set
up a pumping-engine in the pew behind her. Our poor, heavy-laden Mr.
Storm has been here since then with his sad and eager face, but I hadn't
the stuff in me to tell him the truth about the sermon, so I told him I
had forgotten to go and hear it, and may the Lord have mercy on my soul!
"You want to know how I employ my time? Well, lest you should think I
give up my days to dreams and my nights to idleness, I hasten to tell
that I rise at 6, breakfast at 6.30, begin duty at 7, sup at 9.30 P.M.,
gossip till 10, and then go into my room and put myself to bed; and there
I am at the end of it. Being only a probationer, I am chiefly in the
out-patient department, where my duties are to collect the things wanted
at the dispensary, make the patients ready to see the surgeon, and pass
them on to the dressers. My patients at present are the children, and I
love them, and shall break my heart when I have to leave them. They are
not always too well looked after by the surgeon, but that doesn't matter
in the least, because, you see, they are constantly watched by the best
and most learned doctor in the world--that's me.
"Last Saturday I had my first experience of the operating theatre.
Gracious goodness! I thought I shouldn't survive it. Fortunately, I had
my dressings and sponges to look after, so I just stiffened my back with
a sort of imaginary six-foot steel bar, and went on 'like blazes.' But
some of these staff nurses are just 'ter'ble'; they take a professional
pleasure in descending to that inferno, and wouldn't miss a 'theatre' for
worlds. On Saturday it was a little boy of five who had his leg
amputated, and now when you ask the white-faced darling where he's going
to he says he's going to the angels, and he'll get lots of gristly pork
up there. He _is_ too.
"The _personnel_ of our vineyard is abundant, but there are various sour
grapes growing about. We have a medical school (containing lots of nice
boys, only a girl may not speak to them even in the corridors), and a
full staff of honorary and visiting physicians and surgeons. But the only
doctor we really have much to do with is the house surgeon, a young
fellow who has just finished his student's course. His name is Abery, and
since Saturday he has so much respect for Glory that she might even swear
in his presence (in Manx), but Sister Allworthy takes care that she
doesn't, having designs on his celibacy herself. He must have sung his
_Te Deum_ after the operation, for he got gloriously drunk and wanted to
inject morphia in a patient recovering from trouble of the kidney. It was
an old hippopotamus of a German musician named Koenig, and he was in a
frantic terror. So I whispered to him to pretend to go to sleep, and then
I told the doctor I had lost the syringe. But--'Gough bless me
sowl!'--what a dressing the Sister gave me!
"Yesterday was visiting-day, and when the friends of the patients come
even an hospital can have its humours. They try to sneak in little
dainties which may be delicious in themselves, but are deadly poison to
the people they are intended for. Then we have to search under the
bedclothes of the patients, and even feel the pockets of their visitors.
The mother of my little boy came yesterday, and I noticed such a large
protuberance at her bosom under her ulster that I began to foresee
another operation. It was only a brick of currant cake, paved with lemon
peel. I hauled it out and moved round like a cloud of thunder and
lightning. But she began to cry and to say she had made it herself for
Johnnie, and then--well, didn't I just get a wigging from the Sister,
"But I don't mind what happens here, for I am in London, and to be in
London is to live, and to live is to be in London. I've not seen much of
it yet, having only two hours off duty every day--from ten to twelve--and
then all I can do is to make little dips into the park and the district
round about, like a new pigeon with its wings clipped. But I watch the
great new world from my big box up here, and see the carriages in the
park and the people riding on horseback. They have a new handshake in
London. You lift your hand to the level of your shoulder, and then waggle
horizontally as if you had put your elbow out; and when you begin to
speak you say, 'I--er--' as if you had got the mumps. But it is
beautiful! The sound of the traffic is like music, and I feel like a
war-horse that wants to be marching to it. How delightful it is to be
young in a world so full of loveliness! And if you are not very ugly it's
none the worse.
"All hospital nurses are just now basking in the sunshine of a
forthcoming ball. It is to be given at Bartimaeus's Hospital, where they
have a lecture theatre larger than the common, and the dancing there is
for once to be to a happier tune. All the earth is to be present--all the
hospital earth--and if I could afford to array myself in the necessary
splendour, I should show this benighted London what an absolute angel
Glory is! But then my first full holiday is to be on the 24th, when I
expect to be out from 10 A. M. until 10 P. M. I am nearly crazy whenever
I think of it, and when the time comes to make my first plunge into
London, I know I shall hold my breath exactly as if I were taking a
header off Creg Malin rocks.... Glory."
On the morning of the 24th Glory rose at five, that she might get through
her work and have the entire day for her holiday. At that hour she came
upon a rough-haired nurse wearing her cap a little on one side and
washing a floor with disinfectants. Being in great spirits, Glory
addressed her cheerfully.
"Are you off to-day too?" she said.
The nurse gave her a contemptuous glance and answered: "I'm not one of
your paying probationers, Miss--playing probationers _I_ call them. We
nurses are hard-working women, whose life spells duty; and we've got no
time for sight-seeing and holiday-making."
"No, but you are one of those who ruin the profession altogether," said a
younger woman who had just come up. "They will expect everybody to do the
same. This is my day off, but I have to do the grate, and sweep the ward,
and make the bed, and tidy the Sister's room--and it's all through people
like you. Small thanks you get for it either, for a girl may not even
wear her hair in a fringe, and she is always expecting to hear the
matron's 'You're not fit for nursing, Miss.'"
Glory looked at her. She was an exquisitely pretty girl, with dark hair,
pink and ivory cheeks, and light-gray eyes; but her hands were coarse,
and her finger nails flat and square, and when you looked again there was
a certain blemished appearance about her beauty as of a Sevres vase that
is cracked somewhere.
"Do you say you are off to-day?" said Glory,
"Yes, I am; are you?"
"Yes, but I'm strange to London. Could you take me with you--if you are
going nowhere in particular?"
"Certainly, dear. I've noticed you before and wanted to speak to you.
You're the girl with the splendid name--Glory, isn't it?"
"Yes; what is yours?"
At ten o'clock that morning the two girls set out for their long day's
"Now where shall we go?" said Polly.
"Let's go where we can see a great many people," said Glory.
"That's easy enough, for this is the Queen's birthday, and----"
Glory thought of Aunt Rachel and made a cry of delight.
"And now that I think of it," said Polly, as if by a sudden memory, "I've
got tickets for the trooping of the colours--the Queen's colours, you
"Shall we see her?" said Glory.
"What a question! Why, no, but we'll see the soldiers, and the generals,
and perhaps the Prince. It's at ten-thirty, and only across the park."
"Come along," said Glory, and she began to drag at her companion and to
"My gracious, what a girl you are, to be sure!"
But they were both running in another minute, and laughing and chattering
like children escaped from school. In a quarter of an hour they were at
the entrance to the Horse Guards. There was a crowd at the gates, and a
policeman was taking tickets. Polly dived into her pocket.
"Where are mine? Oh, here they are. A great friend gave me them," she
whispered. "He has a chum in one of those offices."
"A gentleman," said Glory with studied politeness; but they were crushing
through the gate by that time, and thereafter she had eyes and ears for
nothing but the pageant before her.
It was a beautiful morning, and the spring foliage of the park was very
green and fresh. Three sides of the great square were lined with
redcoats; the square itself was thronged with people, and every window
and balcony looking over it was filled. There were soldiers, sentries,
policemen, the generals in cocked hats, and the Prince himself in a
bearskin, riding by with the jingle of spurs and curb-chain. Then the
ta-ra-ta-ta-ra of the bugle, the explosive voice crying, "Escort for the
colour!" the officer carrying it, the white gloves of the staff
fluttering up the salute, the flash of bayonets, the march round, and the
band playing The British Grenadiers. It was like a dream to Glory. She
felt her bosom heaving, and was afraid she was going to cry.
Polly was laughing and prattling merrily. "Ha, ha, ha! see that soldier
chasing a sunshade? My! he has caught it with his sword."
"I suppose these are all great people," whispered Glory.
"I should think so," said Polly. "Do you see that gentleman in the window
opposite?--that's the Foreign Office."
"Which?" said Glory, but her eyes were wandering.
"The one in the frock-coat and the silk hat, talking to the lady in the
green lawn and the black lace fichu and the spring bonnet."
"You mean beside that plain girl wearing the jungle of rhododendrons?"
"Yes; that's the gentleman that gave my friend the tickets."
Glory looked at him for a moment, and something very remote seemed to
stir in her memory; but the band was playing once more, and she was
wafted away again. It was God save the Queen this time, and when it ended
and everybody cried "All over!" she took a long, deep breath and said,
Polly was laughing at her, and Glory had to laugh also. They set each
other off laughing, and people began to look at them, and then they had
to laugh again and run away.
"This Glory is the funniest girl," said Polly; "she is surprised at the
They went to look at the shops, passing up Regent Street, across the
Circus and down Oxford Street toward the City, laughing and talking
nonsense all the time. Once when they made a little purchase at a shop
the shopwoman looked astonished at the freedom with which they carried
themselves, and after that they felt inclined to go into every shop in
the street and behave absurdly everywhere. In the course of two hours
they had accomplished all the innocent follies possible to the
intoxication of youth, and were perfectly happy.
By this time they had reached the Bank and were feeling the prickings of
hunger, so they looked out a restaurant in Cheapside and went in for some
dinner. The place was full of men, and several of them rose at once when
the two girls entered. They were in their out-door hospital costume, but
there was something showy about Polly's toilet, and the men kept looking
their way and smiling. Glory looked back boldly and said in an audible
voice, "What fun it must be to be a barmaid, and to have the gentlemen
wink at you, and be laughing back at them!" But Polly nudged, her and
told her to be quiet. She looked down herself, but nevertheless contrived
to use her eyes as a kind of furtive electric battery in the midst of the
most innocent conversation. It was clear that Polly had flown farthest in
the ways of the world, and when you looked at her again you could see
that the balance of her life had been deranged by some one.
After dinner the girls got into an omnibus and went still farther east,
sitting at opposite sides of the car, and laughing and talking loudly to
each other, amid the astonishment of the other occupants. But when they
came to mean and ugly streets with green-grocers' barrows by the
curbstone, and weird and dreary cemeteries in the midst of gaunt, green
sticks that were trying to look like trees, Glory thought they had better
They went back by the Thames steamboat from some landing stage among the
docks. The steamer picked up passengers at every station on the river,
and at London Bridge a band came aboard. As they sailed under St. Paul's
the boat was crowded with people going west to see the celebrations in
honour of the birthday, and the band was playing And her Golden Hair was
hanging down her Back.
At one moment Glory was wild with delight, and at the next her gaiety
seemed to be suddenly extinguished. The sun was setting behind the towers
of Westminster in a magnificent lake of fire, and it seemed like the sun
going down at Peel, except that the lights beneath, which glistened and
flashed, were windows, not waves, and the deep hum was not the noise of
the mighty sea, but the noise of mighty millions.
They landed at Westminster Bridge and went to a tearoom for tea. When
they came out it was quite dark, and they got on to the top of an
omnibus. But the town was now ablaze with gas and electric lights that
were flinging out the initials of the Queen, and Whitehall was dense with
carriages going to the official receptions. Glory wanted to be in the
midst of so much life, so the girls got down and walked arm in arm.
As they passed through Piccadilly Circus they were laughing again, for
the oppression of the crowds made them happy. The throng was greatest at
that point and they had to push their way through. Among others there
were many gaily-dressed women, who seemed to be waiting for omnibuses.
Glory noticed that two of these women, who were grimacing and lisping,
had spoken to a man who was also lounging about. She tugged at Polly's
"That's strange! Did you see that?" she said.
"That! Oh, that's nothing. It's done every day," said Polly.
"What does it mean?" said Glory.
"Why, you don't mean to say--well, this, Glory---- Really your friends
ought to take care of you, my dear, you are so ignorant of the world."
And then suddenly, as by a flash of lightning, Glory had her first
glimpse of the tragic issues of life.
"Oh, my gracious! Come along," she whispered, and dragged Polly after
They were panting past the end of St. James's Street when a man with an
eye-glass and a great shield of shirt-front collided with them and
saluted them. Glory was for forging ahead, but Polly had drawn up.
"It's only my friend," said Polly in another voice.--"This is a new
nurse. Her name is Glory."
The man said something about a glorious name and a glorious pleasure to
be nursed by such a nurse, and then both the girls laughed. He was glad
they had found his tickets useful, but sorry he could not see them back
to the hospital, being dragged away to the bally Foreign Office reception
in honour of the Queen's birthday.
"But I'm coming to the ball, you know, and," with a glance at Glory,
"I've half a mind to bring my chum along with me!"
"Oh, do," said Polly, partly covering the pupils of her eyes with her
The man lowered his voice and said something about Glory which Glory did
not catch, then waved his white-kid glove, saying "Ta-ta," and was gone.
"Is he married?" said Glory.
"Married! Good gracious, no; what ridiculous ideas you've got!"
It was ten minutes after ten as the girls turned in at a sharp trot at
the door of the hospital, still prattling and chattering and bringing
some of the gaiety and nonsense of their holiday into the quiet precincts
of the house of pain. The porter shook his finger at them with mock
severity, and a ward Sister going through the porch in her white silence
stopped to say that a patient had been crying out for one of them.
"It's me--I know it's me," said Polly. "I've got a brother here out of a
monastery, and he can't do with anybody else about him. It makes me tired
of my life."
But it was Glory who was wanted. The woman whom John Storm had picked up
out of the streets was dying. Glory had helped to nurse her, and the poor
old thing had kept herself alive that she might deliver to Glory her last
charge and message. She could see nobody, so Glory leaned over the bed
and spoke to her.
"I'm here, mammie; what is it?" she said, and the flushed young face bent
close above the withered and white one.
"He spoke to me friendly and squeedged my 'and, he did. S'elp me never,
it's true. Gimme a black cloth on the corfin, my dear, and mind yer tell
'im to foller."
"Yes, mammie, yes. I will-be sure I--I--Oh!"
It was Glory's first death.
John Storm had been through his first morning call that afternoon. For
this ordeal he had presented himself in a flannel shirt in the hall,
where the canon was waiting for him in patent-leather boots and kid
gloves, and his daughter Felicity in cream silk and white feathers. After
they had seated themselves in the carriage the canon, said: "You don't
quite do yourself justice, Mr. Storm. Believe me, to be well dressed is a
great thing to a young man making his way in London."
The carriage stopped at a house that seemed to be only round the corner.
"This is Mrs. Macrae's," the canon whispered. "An American lady-widow of
a millionaire. Her daughter--you will see her presently--is to marry into
one of our best English families."
They were walking up the wide staircase behind the footman in blue. There
was a buzz of voices coming from a room above.
"Canon--er--Wealthy, Miss Wealthy, and--er--the--h'm--Rev. Mr. Storm!"
The buzz of voices abated, and a bright-faced little woman, showily
dressed, came forward and welcomed them with a marked accent. There were
several other ladies in the room, but only one gentleman. This person,
who was standing, with teacup and saucer in hand, at the farther side,
screwed an eyeglass in his eye, looked across at John Storm, and then
said something to the lady in the chair beside him. The lady tittered a
little. John Storm looked back at the man, as if by an instinctive
certainty that he must know him when he saw him again. He was engulfed in
a high, stiff collar, and was rather ugly; tall, slender, a little past
thirty; fair, with soft, sleepy eyes, and no life in his expression, but
agreeable; fit for good society, with the stamp of good breeding, and
capable of saying little humorous things in a thin "roofy" voice.
"I was real sorry I didn't hear Mr. Storm Wednesday evening," Mrs. Macrae
was saying, with a mincing smile. "My daughter told me it was just too
lovely.--Mercy, this is your great preacher. Persuade him to come to my
'At Home' Tuesday."
A tall, dark girl, with gentle manners and a beautiful face, came slowly
forward, put her hand into John's, and looked steadily into his eyes
without speaking. Then the gentleman with the eyeglass said suavely,
"Have you been long in London, Mr. Storm?"
"Two weeks," John answered shortly, and half turned his head.
"How--er--interesting!" with a prolonged drawl and a little cold titter.
"Oh, Lord Robert Ure--Mr. Storm," said the hostess.
"Mr. Storm has done me the honour to become one of my assistant clergy,
Lord Robert," said the canon, "but he is not likely to be a curate long."
"That is charming," said Lord Robert. "It is always a relief to hear that
I am likely to have one candidate the less for my poor perpetual curacy
in Pimlico. They're at me like flies round a honey-pot, don't you know. I
thought I had made the acquaintance of all the perpetual curates in
Christendom. And what a sweet team they are, to be sure! The last of them
came yesterday. I was out, and my friend Drake--Drake of the Home Office,
you know--couldn't give the man the living, so he gave him sixpence
instead, and the creature went away quite satisfied."
Everybody seemed to laugh except John, who only stared into the air, and
the loudest laughter came from the canon. But suddenly an incisive voice
"But why sharpen your teeth on the poor curates? Is there no a canon or a
bishop handy that's better worth a bite?"
It was Mrs. Callender.
"I tell ye a story too, only _mine_ shall be a true one."
"Jane! Jane!" said the hostess, shaking her fan as a weapon; and Lord