Part 10 out of 12
The play was the latest work of the Scandinavian dramatist, the actress
was Glory Quayle.
At nine o'clock on the morning of Derby Day Glory was waiting in the
drawing-room of the Garden House, dressed in a magnificent outdoor
costume of pale gray which seemed to wave like a ripe hayfield. She
looked paler and more nervous than before, and sometimes she glanced at
the clock on the mantelpiece and sometimes looked away in the distance
before her while she drew on her long white gloves and buttoned them.
Rosa Macquarrie came upstairs hurriedly. She was smartly dressed in black
with red roses and looked bright and brisk and happy.
"He has sent Benson with the carriage to ask us to drive down," said
Rosa. "Must have some engagement surely. Let us be off, dear. No time to
"Shall I go, I wonder?" said Glory, with a strange gravity.
"Indeed yes, dear. Why not? You've not been in good spirits lately, and
it will do you good. Besides, you deserve a holiday after a six months'
season. And then it's such a great day for _him_, too----"
"Very well, I'll go," said Glory, and at that moment a twitch of her
nervous fingers broke a button off one of the gloves. She drew it off,
threw both gloves on to a side table, took up another pair that lay
there, and followed Rosa downstairs. An open carriage was waiting for
them in the outer court of the inn, and ten minutes afterward they drew
up in a narrow street off Whitehall under a wide archway which opened
into the large and silent quadrangle leading to the principal public
offices. It was the Home Office; the carriage had come for Drake.
Drake had seen changes in his life too. His father was dead and he had
succeeded to the baronetcy. He had also inherited a racing establishment
which the family had long upheld, and a colt which had been entered for
the Derby nearly three years ago was to run in the race that day. Its
name was Ellan Vannin, and it was not a favourite. Notwithstanding the
change in his fortunes, Drake still held his position of private
secretary to the Secretary of State, but it was understood that he was
shortly to enter public life under the wing of the Government, and to
stand for the first constituency that became vacant. Ministers predicted
a career for him; there was nothing he might not aspire to, and hardly
anything he might not do.
Parliament had adjourned in honour of the day on which the "Isthmian
games" were celebrated, and the Home Secretary, as leader of the Lower
House, had said that horse-racing was "a noble and distinguished sport
deserving of a national holiday." But the Minister himself, and
consequently his secretary, had been compelled to put in an appearance at
their office for all that. There was urgent business demanding prompt
In the large green room of the Home Office overlooking the empty
quadrangle, the Minister, dressed in a paddock coat, received a
deputation of six clergymen. It included Archdeacon Wealthy, who served
as its spokesman. In a rotund voice, strutting a step and swinging his
glasses, the Archdeacon stated their case. They had come, most
reluctantly and with a sense of pain and grief and humiliation, to make
representations about a brother clergyman. It was the notorious Mr.
Storm--"Father" Storm, for he was drawing the people into the Roman
obedience. The man was bringing religion into ridicule and contempt, and
it was the duty of all who loved their mother Church----
"Pardon me, Mr. Archdeacon, we have nothing to do with that," said the
Minister. "You should go to your Bishop. Surely he is the proper
"We've been, sir," said the Archdeacon, and then followed an explanation
of the Bishop's powerlessness. The Church provided no funds to protect a
Bishop from legal proceedings in inhibiting a vicar guilty of this
ridiculous kind of conduct. "But the man comes within the power of the
secular authorities, sir. He is constantly inciting people to assemble
unlawfully to the danger of the public peace."
"Well, he is a fanatic, a lunatic, and has put out monstrous and
ridiculous predictions about the destruction of London, causing
disorderly crowds to assemble about his church. The thoroughfares are
blocked, and people are pushed about and assaulted. Indeed, things have
come to such a pass that now--to-day----"
"Pardon me again, Mr. Archdeacon, but this seems to be a simple matter
for the police. Why didn't you go to the Commissioner at Scotland Yard?"
"We did, sir, but he said--you will hardly believe it, but he actually
affirmed--that as the man had been guilty of no overt act of
"Precisely--that would be my view too."
"And are we, sir, to wait for a riot, for death, for murder, before the
law can be put in motion? Is there no precedent for proceeding before
anything serious--I may say alarming----"
"Well, gentlemen," said the Minister, glancing impatiently at his watch,
"I can only promise you that the matter shall have proper attention. The
Commissioner shall be seen, and if a summons----"
"It is too late for that now, sir. The man is a dangerous madman and
should be arrested and put under restraint."
"I confess I don't quite see what he has done; but if----"
The Archdeacon drew himself up. "Because a clergyman is well
connected--has high official connections indeed----But surely it is
better that one man should be put under control, whoever he is, than that
the whole Church and nation should be endangered and disgraced."
"Ah----H'm!----H'm! I think I've heard that sentiment before somewhere,
Mr. Archdeacon. But I'll not detain you now. If a warrant is
necessary----" and with vague promises and plausible speeches the
Minister bowed the deputation out of the room. Then he pisht and pshawed,
swung a field glass across his shoulder, and prepared to leave for the
"Confound them! How these Christians love each other! I leave it with
you, Drake. When the matter was mentioned at Downing Street the Prime
Minister told us to act without regard to his interest in the young
priest. If there's likely to be a riot let the Commissioner get his
warrant--Heigho! Ten-thirty! I'm off! Good-day!"
Some minutes afterward Drake himself, having written to Scotland Yard,
followed his chief down the private staircase to the quadrangle, where
Glory and Rosa were waiting in the carriage under the arch.
In honour of the event in which his horse was to play a part, Drake had
engaged a coach to take a party of friends to the Downs. They assembled
at a hotel in the Buckingham Palace Road. Lord Robert was there, dressed
in the latest fashion, with boots of approved Parisian shape and a
necktie of crying colours. Betty Bellman was with him, in a red and white
dress and a large red hat. There was a lady in pale green with a light
bonnet, another in gray and white, and another in brightest blue. They
were a large, smart, and even gorgeous company, chiefly theatrical.
Before eleven o'clock they were spinning along the Kennington Road on
their way to Epsom.
Drake himself drove and Glory occupied the seat of honour by his side.
She was looking brighter now, and was smiling and laughing and making
little sallies in response to her companion's talk. He was telling her
all about the carnival. The Derby was the greatest race the world over.
It was run for about six thousand sovereigns, but the total turnover of
the meeting was probably a million of money. Thus on its business side
alone it was a great national enterprise, and the puritans who would
abolish it ought to think of that. A race-horse cost about three hundred
a year to keep, but of course nobody maintained his racing establishment
on his winnings. Nearly everybody had to bet, and gambling was not so
great an offence as some people supposed. The whole trade of the world
was of the nature of a gamble, life itself was a gamble, and the
race-course was the only market in the world where no man could afford to
go bankrupt, or be a defaulter and refuse to pay.
They were now going by Clapham Common with an unbroken stream of vehicles
of every sort--coaches with outriders, landaus, hansom cabs, omnibuses,
costers' spring carts and barrows. Every coach carried its horn, and
every horn was blown at the approach to every village. The sun was hot,
and the roads were rising to the horses' fetlocks in dust. Drake was
pointing out some of their travelling companions. That large coach going
by at a furious gallop was the coach of the Army and Navy Club; that
barouche with its pair of grays and its postilion belonged to a
well-known wine merchant; that carriage with its couple of leaders worth
hundreds apiece was the property of a prosperous publican; that was the
coach which usually ran between Northumberland Avenue and Virginia Water,
and its seats were let out at so much apiece, usually to clerks who
practised innocent frauds to escape from the city; those soldiers on the
omnibus were from Wellington Barracks on "Derby leave"; and those jolly
tars with their sweethearts, packed like herrings in a car, were the only
true sportsmen on the road and probably hadn't the price of a glass of
rum on any race of the day. Going by road to the Derby was almost a thing
of the past; smart people didn't often do it, but it was the best fun
anyway, and many an old sport tooled his team on the road still.
Glory grew brighter at every mile they covered. Everything pleased or
amused or astonished her. With the charm born of a vivid interest in life
she radiated happiness over all the company. Some glimpses of the country
girl came back, her soul thrilled to the beauty of the world around, and
she cried out like a child at sight of the chestnut and red hawthorn, and
at the scent of spring with which the air was laden. From time to time
she was recognised on the road, people raised their hats to her, and
Drake made no disguise of his beaming pride. He leaned back to Rosa, who
was sitting on the seat behind, and whispered, "Like herself to-day,
"Why shouldn't she be? With all the world at her feet and her future on
the knees of the gods!" said Rosa.
But a shade of sadness came over Glory's face, as if the gay world and
its amusements had not altogether filled a void that was left somewhere
in her heart. They were drawing up to water the horses at the old "Cock"
at Sutton, and a brown-faced woman with big silver earrings and a monster
hat and feather came up to the coach to tell the "quality" their
"Oh, let us, Glo," cried Betty. "I'd love it of all things, doncher
The gipsy had held out her hand to Glory. "Let me look at your palm,
"Am I to cross it with silver first?"
"Thank you kindly! But must I tell you the truth, lady?"
"Why yes, mother. Why not?"
"Then you're going to lose money to-day, lady; but never mind, you shall
be fortunate in the end, and the one you love shall be yours."
"That's all right," cried the gentlemen in chorus. The ladies tittered,
and Glory turned to Drake and said, "A pair of gloves against Ellan
"Done," said Drake, and there was general laughter.
The gipsy still held Glory's hand, and looking up at Drake out of the
corner of her eyes, she said: "I won't tell you what colour he is, pretty
lady, but he is young and tall, and, though he is a gorgio, he is the
kind a Romany girl would die for. Much trouble you'll have with him, and
because of his foolishness and your own unkindness you'll put seven score
miles between you. You like to live your life, lady, and as men drown
their sorrows in drink, so do you drown yours in pleasure. But it will
all come right at last, lady, and those who envy and hate you now will
kiss the ground you walk on."
"Glo," said Betty, "I'm surprised at ye, dearest, listenin' to such
Glory did not recover her composure after this incident until they came
near the Downs. Meantime the grooms had blown their horns at many
villages hidden in the verdure of charming hollows, and the coaches had
overtaken the people who had left London earlier in the day to make the
journey afoot. Boy tramps, looking tired already--"Wish ye luck,
gentlemen"; fat sailors and mutilated colliers playing organs--'Twas in
Trafalgar Bay, and Come Whoam to thee Childer and Me; tatterdemalions
selling the C'rect Card-"on'y fourpence, and I've slep' out on the Downs
last night, s'elp me"--and all the ragged army of the maimed and the
miserable who hang on the edge of a carnival.
Among this wreckage, as they skimmed over it on the coach, there was one
figure more grotesque than the rest, a Polish Jew in his long kaftan and
his worn Sabbath hat, going along alone, triddle-traddle, in his slippers
without heels. Lord Robert was at the moment teasing Betty into a pet by
christening her "The Elephant," in allusion to her stoutness. But
somebody called his attention to the Jew, and he screwed his glass to his
eye and cried, "Father Storm, by Jove!"
The nickname was taken up by other people on the coach, and also by
people on other coaches, and "Father Storm!" was thrown at the poor
scarecrow as a missile from twenty quarters at once. Glory's colour was
rising to her ears, and Drake was humming a tune to cover her confusion.
But Betty was asking, "Who was Father Storm, if you please?" and Lord
Robert was saying, "Bless my stars, this is something new, don't you
know! Here's somebody who doesn't know Father Storm! Father Storm, my
dear Elephant, is the prophet, the modern Jonah, who predicts that
Nineveh--that is to say, London--is to be destroyed this very day!"
"He must be balmy!" said Betty, and the lady in blue went into fits of
"Yes," said Lord Robert, "and all because wicked men like ourselves
insist on enjoying ourselves on a day like this with pretty people like
"Well, he _is_ a cough-drop!" said Betty. The lady in blue asked what was
"balmy" and a "cough-drop," and Lord Robert said:
"Betty means that the good Father is crazy--silly--stupid--cracked in the
head in short----"
But Glory could bear no more. It was an insult to John Storm to be sat
upon in judgment by such a woman. With a fiery jet of temper she turned
about and said, "Pity there are not more heads cracked, then, if it would
only let a little of the light of heaven into them."
"Oh, if it's like that----" began Betty, looking round significantly, and
Lord Robert said, "It _is_ like that, dear Elephant, and if our charming
hurricane will pardon me, I'm not surprised that the man has broken out
as a Messiah, and if the authorities don't intervene----"
"Hold your tongue, Robert!" cried Drake. "Listen, everybody!"
They were climbing on to the Downs and could hear the deep hum of the
people on the course. "My!" said Betty. "Well!" said the lady in blue.
"It's like a beehive with the lid off," said Glory.
As they passed the railway station the people who had come by train
poured into the road and the coach had to slow down. "They must have come
from the four winds of heaven," said Glory.
"Wait, only wait!" said Drake.
Some minutes afterward everybody drew breath. They were on the top of the
common and had a full view of the course. It was a vast sea of human
beings stretched as far as the eye could reach--a black moving ocean
without a glimpse of soil or grass. The race track itself was a river of
people: the Grand Stand, tier on tier, was black from its lawns at the
bottom to its sloping gallery on top; and the "Hill" opposite was a rocky
coast of carriages, booths, carts, and clustering crowds. Glory's eyes
seemed to leap out of her head. "It's a nation!" she said with panting
breath. "An empire!"
They were diving into these breaking, plashing, plunging waters of human
life with their multitudinous voices of laughter and speech, and Glory
was looking at a dark figure in the hollow below which seemed to stand up
above the rest, when Drake cried:
"Sit hard, everybody! We'll take the hill at a gallop."
Then to the crack of the whip, the whoop of the driver, and the blast of
the horn, the horses flew down like the wind. Betty screamed, Rosa
groaned, and Glory laughed and looked up at Drake in her delight. When
the coach drew up on the other side of the hollow, the bell was ringing
at the Grand Stand as signal for another race, and the dark figure had
That morning, when John Storm went to take seven-o'clock celebration, the
knocker-up with his long stick had not yet finished his rounds in the
courts and alleys about the church, but the costers with their barrows
and donkeys, their wives and their children, were making an early start
for Epsom. There were many communicants, and it was eight o'clock before
he returned to his rooms. By that time the postman had made his first
delivery and there was a letter from the Prime Minister. "Come to Downing
Street as soon as this reaches you. I must see you immediately."
He ate his breakfast of milk and brown bread, said "Good-bye, Brother
Andrew, I shall be back for evening service," whistled to the dog, and
set out into the streets. But a sort of superstitious fear had taken hold
of him, as if an event of supreme importance in his life was impending,
and before answering his uncle's summons he made a round of the buildings
in the vicinity which were devoted to the work of his mission. His first
visit was to the school. The children had assembled, and they were being
marshalled in order by the Sisters and prepared for their hymn and
Many of them had presents for him--one a flower, another a biscuit,
another a marble, and yet another an old Christmas card. "God bless them,
and protect them!" he thought, and he left the school with a full heart.
His last visit was to the men's shelter which he had established under
the management of his former "organ man," Mr. Jupe. It was a bare place,
a shed which had been a stable and was now floored and ceiled. Beds
resembling the bunks in the foc's'le of a ship lined the walls. When
these were full the lodgers lay on the ground. A blanket only was
provided. The men slept in their clothes, but rolled up their coats for
pillows. There was a stove where they might cook their food if they had
money to buy any. A ha'p'orth of tea and sugar mixed, a ha'p'orth of
bread, and a ha'p'orth of butter made a royal feast.
Going through the square in which his church stood he passed a smart gig
at the door of a public-house that occupied the corner of a street. The
publican in holiday clothes was stepping up to the driver's seat, and a
young soldier, smoking a cigarette, was taking the place by his side.
"Morning, Father, can you tip us the winner?" said the publican with a
grin, while the soldier, with an impudent smile, cried "Ta-ta" over his
shoulder to the second story of a tenement house, where a young woman
with a bloated and serious face and a head mopped up in curl-papers was
looking down from an open window.
It was nine o'clock when John Storm reached the Prime Minister's house. A
small crowd of people had followed him to the door. "His lordship is
waiting for you in the garden, sir," said the footman, and John was
conducted to the back.
In a shady little inclosure between Downing Street and the Horse Guards
Parade the Prime Minister was pacing to and fro. His head was bent, his
step was heavy, he looked harassed and depressed. At sight of John's
monkish habit he started with surprise and faltered uneasily. But
presently, sitting by John's side on a seat under a tree, and keeping his
eyes away from him, he resumed their old relations and said:
"I sent for you, my boy, to warn you and counsel you. You must give up
this crusade. It is a public danger, and God knows what harm may come of
it! Don't suppose I do not sympathize with you. I do--to a certain
extent. And don't think I charge you with all the follies of this
ridiculous distemper. I have followed you and watched you, and I know
that ninety-nine hundredths of this madness is not yours. But in the eye
of the public you are responsible for the whole of it, and that is the
way of the world always. Enthusiasm is a good thing, my boy; it is the
rainbow in the heaven of youth, but it may go too far. It may be hurtful
to the man who nourishes it and dangerous to society. The world classes
it with lunacy and love and so forth among the nervous accidents of life;
and the humdrum healthy-minded herd always call that man a fool and a
weakling or else a fanatic and a madman, in whom the grand errors of
human nature are due to an effort--may I not say, a vain effort?--to live
up to a great ideal." There were nervous twitchings over the muscles of
John's face. "Come, now, come, for the sake of peace and tranquillity,
lest there should be disorder and even death, let this matter rest.
Think, my boy, think, we are as much concerned for the world's welfare as
you can be, and we have higher claims and heavier responsibilities. I can
not raise a hand to help you, John. In the nature of things I can not
defend you. I sent for you because--because you are your mother's son.
Don't cast on me a heavier burden than I can bear. Save yourself and
"What do you wish me to do, uncle?"
"Leave London immediately and stay away until this tumult has settled
"Ah, that is impossible, sir."
"Quite impossible, and though I did not make these predictions about the
destruction of London, yet I believe we are on the eve of a great
"Yes, and if you had not sent for me I should have called on you, to ask
you to set aside a day for public prayer that God may in his mercy avert
the calamity that is coming or direct it to the salvation of his
servants. The morality of the nation is on the decline, uncle, and when
morality is lacking the end is not far off. England is given up to
idleness, pomp, dissolute practices, and pleasure--pleasure, always
pleasure. The vice of intemperance, the mania for gambling, these are the
vultures that are consuming the vitals of our people. Look at the luxury
of the country--a ludicrous travesty of national greatness! Look at the
tastes and habits of our age--the deadliest enemies of true religion! And
then look at the price we are paying in what the devil calls 'the
priestesses of society' for the tranquillity of the demon of lust!"
"But my boy, my dear boy----"
"Oh, yes, uncle, yes, I know, I know, many humanitarian schemes are
afloat and we think we are not indifferent to the condition of the poor.
But contrast the toiling women of East London with the idlers of Hyde
Park in a London season. Other nations have professed well with their
lips while their hearts have been set on wealth and pleasure. And they
have fallen! Yes, sir, in ancient Asia as well as in modern Europe they
have always fallen. And unless we unglue ourselves from the vanities
which imperil our existence we shall fall too. The lust of pleasure and
the lust of wealth bring their own revenges. In the nation as well as the
individual the Almighty destroys them as of old."
"Then how can I hold my peace or run away while it is the duty of
Christians, of patriots, to cry out against this danger? On the soul of
every one of us the duty rests, and who am I that I should escape from
it? Oh, if the Church only realized her responsibility, if she only kept
her eyes open----"
"She has powerful reasons for keeping them closed, my son," said the
Minister, "and always will have until the Establishment is done away
with. It is coming to that some day, but meantime have a care. The clergy
are not your friends, John. Statesmen know too well the clerical cruelty
which shelters itself behind the secular arm. It is an old story, I
think, and you may find instances of that also in your ancient Palestine.
But beware, my boy, beware----"
"'Marvel not, my brethren, if the world hate you. Ye know that it hated
me before it hated you.'"
The exaltation of John's manner was increasing, and again the Prime
Minister became uneasy, as if fearing that the young monk by his side
would ask him next to kneel and pray.
"Ah, well," he said, rising, "I suppose there is no help for it, and
matters must take their own course." Then he broke into other subjects,
talked of his brother, John's father, whom he had lately heard from. His
health was failing, he could not last very long; a letter from his son
now might make all things well.
John was silent, his head was down, but the Prime Minister could see that
his words took no effect. Then his bleak old face smiled a wintry smile
as he said:
"But you are not mending much in one way, my boy. Do you know you've
never once been here since the day you came to tell me you were to be
married, and intended to follow in the footsteps of Father Damien?"
John flinched, and the muscles of his face twitched nervously again.
"That was an impossible enterprise, John. No wonder the lady couldn't
suffer you to follow it. But she might have allowed you to see a lonely
old kinsman for all that." John's pale face was breaking, and his breath
was coming fast. "Well, well," taking his arm, "I'm not reproaching you,
John. There are passions of the soul which eat up all the rest, I know
that quite well, and when a man is under the sway of them he has neither
father nor uncle, neither kith nor kin. Good-bye! ... Ah, this way
The footman had stepped up to the Minister and whispered something about
a crowd in front of the house, and John was passed out of the garden by
the back door into the park.
Three hours afterward the frequenters of Epsom racecourse saw a man in a
black cassock get up into an unoccupied wagonette and make ready to
speak. He was on the breast of "The Hill," directly facing the Grand
Stand, in a close pack of carriages, four-in-hands, landaus, and hansoms,
filled with gaily dressed women in pink and yellow costumes, drinking
champagne and eating sandwiches, and being waited upon by footmen in
livery. It was the interval between two events of the race meeting, and
beyond the labyrinth of vehicles there was a line of betting men in outer
garments of blue silk and green alpaca, standing on stools under huge
umbrellas and calling the odds to motley crowds of sweltering people on
"Men and women," he began, and five thousand faces seemed to rise at the
sound of his voice. The bookmakers kept up their nasal cries of "I lay on
the field!" "Five to-one bar one!" But the crowd turned and deserted
them. "It's the Father," "Father Storm," the people said, with laughter
and chuckling, loose jests and some swearing, but they came up to him
with one accord until the space about, him, as far as to the roadway by
which carriages climbed the hill, was an unbroken pavement of rippling
"Good old Father!" and then laughter. "What abart the end of the world,
old gel?" and then references to "the petticoats" and more laughter.
"'Ere, I'll 'ave five bob each way, Resurrection," and shrieks of wilder
The preacher stood for some moments silent and unshaken. Then the quiet
dignity of the man and the love of fair play in the crowd secured him a
hearing. He began amid general silence:
"I don't know if it is contrary to regulations to stand here to speak,
but I am risking that for the urgency of the hour and message. Men and
women, you are here under false pretences. You pretend to yourselves and
to each other that you have come out of a love of sport, but you have not
done so, and you know it. Sport is a plausible pleasure; to love horses
and take delight in their fleetness is a pardonable vanity, but you are
here to practise an unpardonable vice. You have come to gamble, and your
gambling is attended by every form of intemperance and immorality. I am
not afraid to tell you so, for God has laid upon me a plain message, and
I intend to do my duty. These race-courses are not for horse-racing, but
for reservoirs of avarice and drunkenness and prostitution. Don't
think"--he was looking straight into the painted faces of the women in
pink and yellow, who were trying to smile and look amused--"don't think
I am going to abuse the unhappy girls who are forced by a corrupt
civilization to live by their looks. They are my friends, and half my own
life is spent among them. I have known some of them in whose hearts dwelt
heavenly purity, and when I think of what they have suffered from men I
feel ashamed that I am a man. But, my sisters, for you, too, I have an
urgent message. It is full summer with you now, as you sit here in your
gay clothes on this bright day; but the winter is coming for every one of
you, when there will be no more sunshine, no more luxury and pleasure and
flattery, and when the miry wallowers in troughs and stys, who are now
taking the best years of your lives from you----"
"Helloa there! Whoop! Tarara-ra-ra-rara!"
A four-in-hand coach was dashing headlong up the hill amid clouds of
dust, the rattling of wheels, the shouts of the driver and the blasts of
the horn, and the people who covered the roadway were surging forward to
make room for it.
"It's Gloria!" said everybody, looking up at the occupants of the coach
and recognising one of them.
The spell of the preacher was broken. He paused and turned his head and
saw Glory. She was sitting tall and bright and gay on the box-seat by the
side of Drake; the rays of the sun were on her and she was smiling up
into his face.
The preacher began again, then faltered, and then stopped. A bell at the
Grand Stand was ringing. "Numbers goin' up," said everybody, and before
any one could be conscious of what was happening, John Storm was only a
cipher in the throng, and the crowd was melting away.
The great carnival completely restored Glory's spirits. She laughed and
cried out constantly and lived from minute to minute like a child.
Everybody recognised her and nearly everybody saluted her. Drake beamed
with pride and delight. He took her about the course, answered her
questions, punctuated her jests, and explained everything, leaving Lord
Robert to entertain his guests. Who were "those dwellers in tents"? They
were the Guards' Club, and the service was also represented by artillery
men, king's hussars, and a line regiment from Aldershot. This was called
"The Hill," where jovial rascaldom, usually swarmed, looking out for
stray overcoats and the lids of luncheon dishes left unprotected on
carriages. Yes, the pickpocket, the card-sharper, the "lumberer," the
confidence man, the blarneying beggar, and the fakir of every description
laid his snares on this holy spot. In fact, this is his Sanctuary and he
peddles under the eye of the police. "Holy Land?" Ha, ha! "All the
patriarchs out of the Bible here?" Oh, the vociferous gentlemen with
patriarchal names in velveteen coats under the banners and canvas
sign-boards--Moses, Aaron, and so forth? They were the "bookies,"
otherwise bookmakers, generally Jews and sometimes Welshers.
"Here, come along, some of you sportsmen! I ain't made the price of my
railway fare, s'elp me!" "It's a dead cert, gents." "Can't afford to buy
thick 'uns at four quid apiece!" "Five to one on the field!" "I lay on
A "thick un?" Oh, that was a sovereign, half a thick un half a sovereign,
twenty-five pounds a "pony," five hundred a "monkey," flash notes were
"stumers," and a bookmaker who couldn't pay was "a Welsher." That? That
was "the great Brockton," gentleman and tipster. "Amusement enough!" Yes,
niggers, harpists, Christy Minstrels, strong men, acrobats, agile clowns
and girls on stilts, and all the ragamuffins from "the Burrer," bent on
"making a bit." African Jungle? A shooting gallery with model lions and
bears. Fine Art Exhibition? A picture of the hanging of recent murderers.
Boxing Ring? Yes, for women--they strip to the waist and fight like
fiends. Then look at the lady auctioneer selling brass sovereigns a penny
"Buy one, gentlemen, and see what they're like, so as the 'bookies' can't
pawse 'em on ye unawares!"
"Food enough!" Yes, at Margett's, Patton's, Hatton's, and "The Three
Brooms," as well as the barrows for stewed eels, hard-boiled eggs,
trotters, coker-nuts, winkles, oysters, cockles, and all the luxuries of
the New Cut. Why were they calling that dog "Cookshop"? Because he was
pretty sure to go there in the end.
By this time they had ploughed over some quarter of a mile of the
hillside, fighting their way among the carriages that stood six deep
along the rails and through a seething mass of ruffianism, in a stifling
atmosphere polluted by the smell of ale and the reeking breath of tipsy
"Whoo! I feel like Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego rolled into one," said
"Let us go into the Paddock," said Drake, and they began to cross the
"But wasn't that somebody preaching as we galloped down the hill?"
"Was it? I didn't notice," and they struggled through.
It was fresh and cool under the trees, and Glory thought it cheap even at
ten shillings a head to walk for ten minutes on green grass. Horses
waiting for their race were being walked about in clothes with their
names worked on the quarter sheets, and breeders, trainers, jockeys, and
clerks of the course mingled with gentlemen in silk hats and ladies in
Drake's horse was a big bay colt, very thin, almost gaunt, and with long,
high-stepping legs. The trainer was waiting for a last word with his
owner. He was cool and confident. "Never better or fitter, Sir Francis,
and one of the grandest three-year-olds that ever looked through a
bridle. Improved wonderful since he got over his dental troubles, and
does justice to the contents of his manger. Capital field, sir, but it's
got to run up against summat smart to-day. Favourite, sir? Pooh! A coach
horse! Not stripping well--light in the flank and tucked up. But this
colt fills the eye as a, first-class one should. Whatever beats him will
win, sir, take my word for that."
And the jockey, standing by in his black-and-white-jacket, wagged his
head and said in a cheery whisper: "Have what ye like on 'im, Sir
Francis. Great horse, sir! Got a Derby in 'im or I'm a Slowcome."
Drake laughed at their predictions, and Glory patted the creature while
it beat its white feet on the ground and the leather of its saddle
squeaked. The club stand from there? looked like a sea of foaming laces,
feathers, flowers, and sunshades. They turned to go to it, passing first
by the judge's box, whereof Drake explained the use, then through the
Jockey Club inclosure, which was full of peers, peeresses, judges,
members of Parliament, and other turfites, and finally through the
betting ring where some hundreds of betting men of the superior class
proclaimed their calling in loud voices and loud clothes and the gold
letters on their betting books. To one of these pencillers Drake said:
"What's the figure for Ellan Vannin?"
"Ten to one, market price, sir."
"I'll take you in hundreds," said Drake, and they struggled through the
Going up the stairs Glory said: "But wasn't the Archdeacon at your office
this morning? We saw him coming out of the square with Mr. Golightly."
"Oh, did you? How hot it is to-day!"
"Isn't it? I feel as if I should like to play Ariel in gossamer--But
"You needn't trouble about that, Glory. It's an old, story that religious
intolerance likes to throw the responsibility of its acts on the civil
"Then John Storm----"
"He is in no danger yet--none whatever."
"Oh, how glorious!" They had reached the balcony, and Glory was
pretending that the change in her voice and manner came of delight at the
sudden view. She stood for a moment spellbound, and then leaned over the
rail and looked through the dazzling haze that was rising from the vast
crowd below. Not a foot of turf was to be seen for a mile around, save
where at the jockeys' gate a space was kept clear by the police. It was a
moving mass of humanity, and a low, indistinguishable murmur was coming
up from it such as the sea makes on the headlands above.
The cloud had died off Glory's face and her eyes were sparkling. "What a
wonderfully happy world it must be, after all!" she said.
Just then the standard was hoisted over the royal stand to indicate that
the Prince had arrived. Immediately afterward there was a silent movement
of hats on the lawns below the boxes, and then somebody down there began
to sing God save the Queen. The people on the Grand Stand took up the
chorus, then the people on the course joined in, then the people on "The
Hill," until finally the whole multitude sang the national hymn in a
voice that was like the voice of an ocean.
Glory's eyes were now full of tears, she was struggling with a desire to
cry aloud, and Drake, who was watching her smallest action, stood before
her to screen her from the glances of gorgeously attired ladies who were
giggling and looking through lorgnettes. The fine flower of the
aristocracy was present in force, and the club stand was full of the
great ladies who took an interest in sport and even kept studs of their
own. Oriental potentates were among them in suits of blue and gold, and
the French language was being spoken on all sides.
Glory attracted attention and Drake's face beamed with delight. An
illustrious personage asked to be introduced to her, and said he had seen
her first performance and predicted her extraordinary success. She did
not flinch. There was a slight tremor, a scarcely perceptible twitching
of the lip, and then she bore her honours as if she had been born to
them. The Prince entertained a party to luncheon, and Drake and Glory
were invited to join it. All the smart people were there, and they looked
like a horticultural exhibition of cream colour and rose pink and gray.
Glory kept watching the great ones of the earth, and she found them very
"Well, what do you think?" said Drake.
"I think most people at the Derby must have the wrong make-up on. That
gentleman, now--he ought to be done up as a stable-boy. And that lady in
mauve--she's a ballet girl really, only----"
"Hush, for Heaven's sake!" But Glory whispered, "Let's go round the
corner and laugh."
She sat between Drake and a ponderous gentleman with a great beard like a
"What are the odds against the colt, Drake?"
Drake answered, and Glory recalled herself from her studies and said,
"Oh, yes, what did you say it was?"
"A prohibitive price--for you." said Drake.
"Nonsense! I'm going to do a flutter on my own, you know, and plunge
It was explained to her that only bookmakers bet against horses, but the
gentleman with the beard volunteered to reverse positions, and take
Glory's ten to one against Ellan Vannin.
"Oh--h'm--in thick 'uns, of course."
"But what is the meaning of this running after strange gods?" said Drake.
"Never mind, sir! Out of the mouths of babes and sucklings, you know----"
and then the bell rang for the race of the day, and they scurried back to
the Stand. The numbers were going up and a line of fifty policemen
abreast were clearing the course. Some of the party had come over from
the coach, and Lord Robert was jotting down in a notebook the particulars
of betting commissions for his fair companions.
"And am I to be honoured with a commission from the Hurricane?" he asked.
"Yes; what's the price for Ellan Vannin?"
"Come down to five to one, pretty lady."
"Get me one to five that he's going to lose."
"But what in the world are you doing, Glory?" said Drake. His eyes were
dancing with delight.
"Running a race with that old man in the box which can find a loser
At that moment the horses were sent out for the preliminary canter and
parade before the royal stand, and a tingling electrical atmosphere
seemed to come from somewhere and set every tongue wagging. It seemed as
if something unexpected was about to occur, and countless eyes went up to
the place where Drake stood with Glory by his side. He was outwardly
calm, but with a proud flush under his pallor; she was visibly excited,
and could not stand on the same spot for many seconds together. By this
time the noise made by the bookmakers in the inclosure below was like
that of ten thousand sea fowl on a reef of rock, and Glory was trying to
speak above the deafening clangour.
"Silver and gold have I none, but if I had--what's that?"
A white flag had fallen as signal for the start, there was a hollow roar
from the starting post, and people were shouting, "They're off!" Then
there was a sudden silence, a dead hush--below, above, around,
everywhere, and all eyes, all glasses, all lorgnettes were turned in the
direction of the runners.
The horses got well away and raced up the hill like cavalry charging in
line; then at the mile post the favourite drew to the front, and the
others went after him in an indistinguishable mass. But the descent
seemed not to his liking; he twisted a good deal, and the jockey was seen
sawing the reins and almost hanging over the horse's head. When the
racers swung round Tattenham Corner and came up like mice in the
distance, it was seen that another horse had taken advantage of an
opening and was overhauling the favourite with a tremendous rush. His
colours were white and black. It was Ellan Vannin. From that moment
Drake's horse never relinquished his advantage, but came down the
straight like a great bird with his wings ceasing to flap, passed the
Stand amid great excitement, and won handsomely by a length.
Then in the roar of delight that went up from the crowd Glory, with her
hand on Drake's shoulder, was seen to be crying, laughing, and cheering
at the same moment.
"But _you've_ lost," said Drake.
"Oh, bother that!" she said, and when the jockey had slipped from his
saddle, and Drake had taken his horse into the weighing-room and the "All
right!" was shouted, she started the cheering again and said she meant to
make a dead heat of it with Tennyson's brook.
"But why did you bet against me?" said Drake.
"You silly boy," she answered with a crow of happiness and gaiety,
"didn't the gipsy tell me I should lose money to-day? And how could I bet
on your horse unless you lost the race?"
Drake laughed merrily at her delicious duplicity and could hardly resist
an impulse to take her in his arms and kiss her. Meantime his friends
were slapping him on the back and people were crushing up to offer him
congratulations. He turned to take his horse into the Paddock, and Lord
Robert took Glory down after him. The trainer and jockey were there,
looking proud and happy, and Drake, with a pale and triumphant face, was
walking the great creature about as if reluctant to part with it. It was
breathing heavily, and sweat stood in drops on its throat, head, and
"Oh, you beauty! How I should love to ride you!" said Glory.
"But dare you?" said Drake.
"Dare I! Only give me the chance."
"I will, by----I will, or it won't be my fault."
Somebody brought champagne and Glory had to drink a, bumper to "the best
horse of the century, bar none." Then her glass was filled afresh and she
had to drink to the owner, "the best fellow on earth, bar none," and
again she was compelled to drink "to the best bit of history ever made at
Epsom, bar none." With that she was excused while the men drank at
Drake's proposal "to the loveliest, liveliest, leeriest little woman in
the world, God bless her!" and she hid her face in her hands and said
with a merry laugh:
"Tell me when it's over, boys, and I'll come again."
After Drake had despatched telegrams and been bombarded by interviewers,
he led the way back to the coach on the Hill, and the company prepared
for their return. The sun had now gone, a thick veil of stagnant clouds
had gathered over it, the sky looked sulky, and Glory's head tad begun to
ache between the eyes. Rosa was to go home by train in order to reach her
office early, and Glory half wished to accompany her. But an understudy
was to play her part that night and she had no excuse. The coach wormed
its way through the close pack of vehicles at the top of the Hill and
began to follow the ebbing tide of humanity back to London.
"But what about my pair of gloves?"
"Oh, you're a hard man, reaping where you have not sowed and
"There, then, we're quits," said Drake, leaning over from the box seat
and snatching a kiss of her. It was now clear that he had been drinking a
Before the race had been run, a solitary man with a dog at his heels had
crossed the Downs on his way back to the railway station. Jealousy and
rage possessed his heart between them, but he would not recognise these
passions; he believed his emotions to be horror and pity and shame. John
Storm had seen Glory on the race-course, in Drake's company, under
Drake's protection: he proud and triumphant, she bright and gay and
"O Lord, help me! Help me, O Lord!"
"And now, dragging along the road, in his mind's eye he saw her again as
the victim of this man, his plaything, his pastime to takeup or leave--no
better than any of the women about her, and where they were going she
would go also. Some day he would find her where he had found
others--outcast, deserted, forlorn, lost; down in the trough of life, a
thing of loathing and contempt!
"O Lord, help her! Help her, O Lord!"
There were few passengers by the train going back to London, nearly all
traffic at this hour being the other way, and there was no one else in
the compartment he occupied. He threw himself down in a corner, consumed
with indignation and a strange sense of dishonour. Again he saw her
bright eyes, her red lips--the glow of her whole radiant face and a
paroxysm of jealousy tore his heart to pieces. Glory was his. Though a
bottomless abyss was yawning between them, her soul belonged to him, and
a great upheaval of hatred for the man who possessed her body surged up
to his throat. Against all this his pride as well as his religion
rebelled. He crushed it down, and tried to turn his mind to another
current of ideas. How could he save her? If she should go down to
perdition, his remorse would be worse to bear than flames of fire and
brimstone. The more unworthy she was, the more reason he should strive to
rescue her soul from the pangs of eternal torment.
The rattling of the carriage broke in upon these visions, and he got up
and paced to and fro like a bear in a cage. And, like a bear with its
slow, strong grip, he seemed to be holding her in his wrath and saying:
"You shall not destroy yourself; you shall not, you shall not, for I, I,
I forbid it!" Then he sank back in his seat, exhausted by the conflict
which made his soul a battlefield of spiritual and sensual passions.
Every limb shook and quivered. He began to be afraid of himself, and he
felt an impulse to fly away somewhere. When he alighted at Victoria his
teeth were chattering, although the atmosphere was stifling and the sky
was now heavy with black and lowering clouds.
To avoid the eyes of the people who usually followed him in the streets,
he cut through a narrow thoroughfare and went back to Brown's Square by
way of the park. But the park was like a vast camp. Thousands of people
seemed to cover the grass as far as the eye could reach, and droves of
workmen, followed by their wives and children, were trudging to other
open spaces farther out. It was the panic terror. Afterward it was
calculated that fifty thousand persons from all parts of London had
quitted the doomed city that day to await the expected catastrophe under
the open sky.
The look of fierce passion had faded from his face by the time he reached
his church, but there another ordeal awaited him. Though it still wanted
an hour of the time of evening service a great crowd had gathered in the
square. He tried to escape observation, but the people pressed upon him,
some to shake his hand, others to touch his cassock, and many to kneel at
his feet and even to cover them with kisses. With a sense of shame and
hypocrisy he disengaged himself at length, and joined Brother Andrew in
the sacristy. The simple fellow was full of marvellous stories. There had
been wondrous manifestations of the workings of the Holy Spirit during
the day. The knocker-up, who was a lame man, had shaken hands with the
Father on his way home that morning, and now he had thrown away his stick
and was walking firmly and praising God.
The church was large and rectangular and plain, and looked a well-used
edifice, open every day and all day. The congregation was visibly
excited, but the service appeared to calm them. The ritual was full, with
procession and incense, but without vestments, and otherwise monastic in
its severity. John Storm preached. The epistle for the day had been from
First Corinthians, and he took his text from that source also: "Deliver
him up to Satan for the destruction of the flesh, that the spirit may be
saved in the day of the Lord."
People said afterward that they had never heard anything like that
sermon. It was delivered in a voice that was low and tremulous with
emotion. The subject was love. Love was the first inheritance that God
had given to his creatures--the purest and highest, the sweetest and
best. But man had degraded and debased it, at the temptation of Satan and
the lust of the world. The expulsion of our first parents from Eden was
only the poetic figure of what had happened through all the ages. It was
happening now--and London, the modern Sodom, would as surely pay its
penalty as did the cities of the ancient East. No need to think of flood
or fire or tempest--of any given day or hour. The judgment that would
fall on England, like the plagues that fell on Egypt, would be of a kind
with the offence. She had wronged the spirit of love, and who knows but
God would punish her by taking out of the family of man the passion by
which she fell, lifting it away with all that pertained to it--good and
bad, spiritual and sensual, holy and corrupt?
The burning heat clouds of the day seemed to have descended into the
church, and in the gathering darkness the preacher, his face just
visible, with its eyes full of smouldering fire, drew an awful picture of
the world under the effects of such a curse. A place without
unselfishness, without self-sacrifice, without heroism, without chivalry,
without loyalty, without laughter, and without children! Every man
standing alone, isolated, self-centred, self-cursed, outlawed, loveless,
marriageless, going headlong to degeneracy and death! Such might be God's
punishment on this cruel and wicked city for its sensual sins.
Then the preacher lost control of his imagination and swept his hearers
along with him as he fabricated horrible fancies. The people were
terror-stricken, and not until the last hymn was given out did they
recover the colour of their blanched faces. Then they sang as with one
voice, and after the benediction had been pronounced and they were
surging down the aisles in close packs, they started the hymn again.
Even when they had left the church they could not disperse. Out in the
square were the thousands who had not been able to get inside the doors,
and every moment the vast proportions of the crowd were swelled. The
ground was covered, the windows round about were thrown up and full of
faces, and people had clambered on to the railings of the church, and
even on to the roofs of the houses.
Somebody went to the sacristy and told the Father what was happening
outside. He was now like a man beside himself, and going out on to the
steps of the church where he could be seen by all, he lifted his hands
and pronounced a prayer in a sonorous and fervent voice:
"How long, O Lord, how long? From the bosom of God, where thou reposest,
look down on the world where thou didst walk as a man. Didst thou not
teach us to pray 'Thy kingdom come'? Didst thou not say thy kingdom was
near; that some who stood with thee should not taste of death till they
had seen it come with power; that when it came the poor should be
blessed, the hungry should be fed, the blind should see, the heavy-laden
should find rest, and the will of thy Father should be done on earth even
as it is done in heaven? But nigh upon two thousand years lave gone, O
Lord, and thy kingdom hath not come. In thy name now doth the Pharisee
give alms in the streets to the sound of a trumpet going before him. In
thy name now doth the Levite pass by on the other side when a man has
fallen among thieves. In thy name now doth the priest buy and sell the
glad tidings of the kingdom, giving for the gospel of God the
commandments of men, living in rich men's houses, faring sumptuously
every day, praying with his lips, 'Give us this day our daily bread,' but
saying to his; soul: 'Soul, thou hast much goods laid up for many years;
take thine ease, eat, drink, and be merry.' How long, O Lord, how long?"
Hardly had John Storm stepped back when the heavy clouds broke into
mutterings of thunder. So low were the sounds at first that in the
general tumult they were scarcely noticed; but they came again and again,
louder and louder with every fresh reverberation, and then the excitement
of the people became intense and terrible. It was as if the heavens
themselves had spoken to give sign and assurance of the calamity that had
First a woman began to scream as if in the pains of labour. Then a young
girl cried out for mercy, and accused herself of countless and nameless
offences. Then the entire crowd seemed to burst into sobs and moans and
agonizing expressions of despair, mingled with shouts of wild laughter
and mad thanksgiving. "Pardon, pardon!" "O Jesus, save me!" "O Saviour of
sinners!" "O God, have mercy upon me!" "O my heart, my heart!" Some threw
themselves on the ground, stiff and motionless and insensible as dead
men. Others stood over the stricken people and prayed for their relief
from the power of Satan. Others fell into convulsions, and yet others,
with wild and staring eyes, rejoiced in their own salvation.
It was now almost dark and some of the people who had been out to the
Derby were returning home in their gigs and coster's carts, laughing,
singing, and nearly all of them drunk. There were wild encounters. A
young soldier (it was Charlie Wilkes) came upon Pincher the pawnbroker.
"Wot tcher, myte? Wot's yer amoosemint now?"
"Silence, you evil liver, you gambler, you son of Belial!"
"Stou thet now--d'ye want a kepple er black eyes or a pench on the
At nine o'clock the police of Westminster, being unable to disperse the
crowd, seat to Scotland Yard for the mounted constabulary.
Meantime the man who was the first cause of the tumult sat alone in his
cell-like chamber under the church, a bare room without carpet or rug,
and having no furniture except a block bed, a small washstand, two
chairs, a table, a prayer stool and crucifix, and a print of the Virgin
and Child. He heard the singing of the people outside, but it brought him
neither inspiration nor comfort. Nature could no longer withstand the
strain he had put upon it, and he was in deep dejection. It was one of
those moments of revulsion which comes to the strongest soul when at the
crown or near the crown of his expectations he asks himself, "What is the
good?" A flood of tender recollections was coming over him. He was
thinking of the past, the happy past, the past of love and innocence
which he had spent with Glory, of the little green isle in the Irish Sea,
and of all the sweetness of the days they had passed together before she
had fallen to the temptations of the world and he had become the victim
of his hard if lofty fate. Oh, why had he denied himself the joys that
came to all others? To what end had he given up the rewards of life which
the poorest and the weakest and the meanest of men may share? Love,
woman's love, why had he turned his back upon it? Why had he sacrificed
himself? O God, if, indeed, it were all in vain!
Brother Andrew put his head in at the half-open door. His brother, the
pawnbroker, was there and had something to say to the Father. Pincher's
face looked over Andrew's shoulder. The muscles of the man's eyes were
convulsed by religious mania.
"I've just sold my biziness, sir, and we 'aven't a roof to cover us now!"
he cried, in the tone of one who had done something heroic.
John asked him what was to become of his mother.
"Lor', sir, ain't it the beginning of the end? That's the gawspel, ain't
it? 'The foxes hev 'oles and the birds of the air hev nests----'"
And then close behind the man, interrupting him and pushing him aside,
there came another with fixed and staring eyes, crying: "Look 'ere,
Father! Look! Twenty years I 'obbled on a stick, and look at me now!
Praise the Lawd, I'm cured, en' no bloomin' errer! I'm a brand as was
plucked from the burnin' when my werry ends 'ad caught the flames!
Praise the Lawd, amen!"
John rebuked them and turned them out of the room, but he was almost in
as great a frenzy. When he had shut the door his mind went back to
thoughts of Glory. She, too, was hurrying to the doom that was coming on
all this wicked city. He had tried to save her from it, but he had
failed. What could he do now? He felt a desire to do something, something
else, something extraordinary.
Sitting on the end of the bed he began again to recall Glory's face as he
had seen it at the race-course. And now it came to him as a shock after
his visions of her early girlhood. He thought there was a certain
vulgarity in it which, he had not observed before--a slight coarsening of
its expression, an indescribable degeneracy even under the glow of its
developed beauty. With her full red lips and curving throat and dancing
eyes, she was smiling into the face of the man who was sitting by her
side. Her smile was a significant smile, and the bright and eager look
with which the man answered it was as full of meaning. He could read
their thoughts. What had happened? Were all barriers broken down? Was
everything understood between them?
This was the final madness, and he leaped to his feet in an outburst of
uncontrollable rage. All at once he shuddered with a feeling that
something terrible was brewing within him. He felt cold, a shiver was
running over his whole body. But the thought he had been in search of had
come to him of itself. It came first as a shock, and with a sense of
indescribable dread, but it had taken hold of him and hurried him away.
He had remembered his text: "Deliver him up to Satan for the destruction
of the flesh, that the spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord."
"Why not?" he thought; "it is in the Holy Book itself. There is the
authority of St. Paul for it. Clearly the early Christians countenanced
and practised such things." But then came a spasm of physical pain. That
beautiful life, so full of love and loveliness, radiating joy and
sweetness and charm! The thing was impossible! It was monstrous! "Am I
going mad?" he asked himself.
And then he began to be sorry for himself as well as for Glory. How could
he live in the world without her? Although he had lost her, although an
impassable gulf divided them, although he had not seen her for six months
until today, yet it was something to know she was alive and that he could
go at night to the place where she was and look up and think, "She is
there." "It is true, I am going mad," he thought, and he trembled again.
His mind oscillated among these conflicting ideas, until the more hideous
thought returned to him of Drake and the smile exchanged with Glory. Then
the blood rushed to his head, and strong emotions paralyzed his reason.
When he asked himself if it was right in England and in the nineteenth
century to contemplate a course which might have been proper to Palestine
and the first century, the answer came instantaneously that it _was_
right. Glory was in peril. She was tottering on the verge of hell. It
would not be wrong, but a noble duty, to prevent the possibility of such
a hideous catastrophe. Better a life ended than a life degraded and a
On this the sophism worked. It was true that he would lose her; she would
be gone from him, she who was all his joy, his vision by day, his dream
by night. But could he be so selfish as to keep her in the flesh, and
thus expose her soul to eternal torment? And after all she would be his
in the other world, his forever, his alone. Nay, in this world also, for
being dead he would love her still. "But, O God, must _I_ do it?" he
asked himself at one moment, and at the next came his answer: "Yes, yes,
for I am God's minister."
That sent him back to his text again. "Deliver him up to _Satan_----" But
there was a marginal reference to Timothy, and he turned it up with a
trembling hand. _Satan_ again, but the Revised Version gave "the Lord's
servant," and thus the text should read, "Deliver him up to the Lord's
servant for the destruction of the flesh, that the spirit may be saved in
the day of the Lord." This made him cry out. He drank it in with
inebriate delight. The thing was irrevocably decided. He was justified,
he was authorized, he was the instrument of a fixed purpose. No other
consideration could move him now.
By this time his heart and temples were beating violently, and he felt as
if he were being carried up into a burning cloud. Before his eyes rose
the vision of Isaiah, the meek lamb converted into an inexorable avenger
descending from the summit of Edom. It was right to shed blood at the
divine command--nay, it was necessary, it was inevitable. And as God had
commanded Abraham to take the life of Isaac, whom he loved, so did God
call on him, John Storm, to take the life of Glory that he might save her
from the risk of everlasting damnation!
There may have been intervals in which his sense of hearing left him, for
it was only now that he became conscious that somebody was calling to him
from the other side of the door.
"Is anybody there?" he asked, and a voice replied:
"Dear heart, yes, this five minutes and better, but I didna dare come in,
thinking surely there was somebody talking with you. Is there no somebody
here then? No?"
It was Mrs. Callender, who was carrying a small glad-stone bag.
"Oh, it's you, is it?"
"Aye, it's myself, and sorry I am to be bringing bad news to you."
"What is it?" he asked, but his tone betrayed complete indifference.
She closed the door and answered in a whisper: "A warrant! I much
misdoubt but there's one made out for you."
"Is that all?"
"Bless me, what does the man want? But come, laddie, come; you must tak'
yoursel' off to some spot till the storm blows over."
"I have work to do, auntie."
"Work! You've worked too much already--that's half the botherment."
"God's work, auntie, and it must be done."
"Then God will do it himself, without asking the life of a good man, or
he's no just what I've been takin' him for. But see," opening the bag and
whispering again, "your auld coat and hat! I found them in your puir auld
room that you'll no come back to. You've been looking like another body
so long that naebody will ken you when you're like yoursel' again. Come,
now, off with these lang, ugly things----"
"I can not go, auntie."
"I will not. While God commands me I will do my duty."
"Eh, but men are kittle cattle! I've often called you my ain son, but if
I were your ain mother I ken fine what I'd do with you--I'd just slap you
and mak' you. I'll leave the clothes, anyway. Maybe you'll be thinking
better of it when I'm gone. Good-night to you. Your puir head's that hot
and moidered---But what's wrang with you, John, man? What's come over ye
He seemed to be hardly conscious of her presence, and after standing a
moment at the door, looking back at him with eyes of love and pity, she
left the room.
He had been asking himself for the first time how he was to carry out his
design. Sitting on the end of the bed with his head propped on his hand
he felt as if he were in the hold of a great ship, listening to the plash
and roar of the stormy sea outside. The excitement of the populace was
now ungovernable and the air was filled with groans and cries. He would
have to pass through the people, and they would see him and detain him,
or perhaps follow him. His impatience was now feverish. The thing he had
to do must be done to-night, it must be done immediately. But it was
necessary in the first place to creep out unseen. How was he to do it?
When he came to himself he had a vague sense of some one wishing him
good-night. "Oh, good-night, good-night!" he cried with an apologetic
gesture. But he was alone in the room, and on turning about he saw the
bag on the floor, and remembered everything. Then a strange thing
happened. Two conflicting emotions took hold of him at once--the first an
enthusiastic, religious ecstasy, the other a low, criminal cunning.
Everything was intended. He was only the instrument of a fixed purpose.
These clothes were proof of it. They came to his hand at the very moment
when they were wanted, when nothing else would have helped him. And Mrs.
Callender had been the blind agent in a higher hand to carry out the
divine commands. Fly away and hide himself? God did not intend it. A
warrant? No matter if it sent him like Cranmer to the stake. But this was
a different thing entirely, this was God's will and purpose, this----
Yet even while thinking so he laughed an evil laugh, tore the clothes out
of the bag with trembling hands, and made ready to put them on. He had
removed his cassock when some one opened the door.
"Who's there?" he cried in a husky growl.
"Only me," said a timid voice, and Brother Andrew entered, looking pale
"Oh, you! Come in; close the door; I've something to say to you. Listen!
I'm going out, and I don't know when I shall be back. Where's the dog?"
"In the passage, brother."
"Chain him up at the back, lest he should get out and follow me. Put this
cassock away, and if anybody asks for me say you don't know where I've
"Yes; but are you well, Brother Storm? You look as if you had just been
There was a hand-glass on the washstand, and John snatched it up and
glanced into it and put it down again instantly. His nostrils were
quivering, his eyes were ablaze, and the expression of his face was
"What are they doing outside? See if I can get away without being
recognised," and Brother Andrew went out to look.
The passage from the chambers under the church was into a dark and narrow
street at the back, but even there a group of people had gathered,
attracted by the lights in the windows. Their voices could be heard
through the door which Brother Andrew had left ajar, and John stood
behind it and listened. They were talking of himself--praising him,
blessing him, telling stories of his holy life and gentleness.
Brother Andrew reported that most of the people were at the front, and
they were frantic with religious excitement. Women were crushing up to
the rail which the Father had leaned his head upon for a moment after he
had finished his prayer, in order to press their handkerchiefs and shawls
"But nobody would know you now, Brother Storm--even your face is
John laughed again, but he turned off the lights, thinking to drive away
the few who were still lingering in the back street. The ruse succeeded.
Then the man of God went out on his high errand, crept out, stole out,
sneaked out, precisely as if he had been a criminal on his way to commit
He followed the lanes and narrow streets and alleys behind the Abbey,
past the "Bell," the "Boar's Head," and the "Queen's Arms"--taverns that
have borne the same names since the days when Westminster was Sanctuary.
People home from the races were going into them with their red ties awry,
with sprigs of lilac in their buttonholes; and oak leaves in their hats.
The air was full of drunken singing, sounds of quarrelling, shameful
words and curses. There were some mutterings of thunder and occasional
flashes of lightning, and over all there was the deep hum of the crowd in
the church square.
Crossing the bottom of Parliament Street he was almost run down by a
squadron of mounted police who were trotting into Broad Sanctuary. To
escape observation he turned on to the Embankment and walked under the
walls of the gardens of Whitehall, past the back of Charing Cross station
to the street going up from the Temple.
The gate of Clement's Inn was closed, and the porter had to come out of
his lodge to open it.
"The Garden House!"
"Garden House, sir? Inner court left-hand corner."
John passed through. "That will be remembered afterward," he thought.
"But no matter--it will all be over then."
And coming out of the close streets, with their clatter of traffic, into
the cool gardens, with their odour of moistened grass, the dull glow in
the sky, and the glimpse of the stars through the tree-tops, his mind
went back by a sudden bound to another night, when he had walked over the
same spot with Glory. At that there came a spasm of tenderness, and his
throat thickened. He could almost see her, and feel her by his side, with
her fragrant freshness and buoyant step. "O God! must I do it, must I,
must I?" he thought again.
But another memory of that night came back to him; he heard Drake's voice
as it floated over the quiet place. Then the same upheaval of hatred
which he had felt before he felt again. The man was the girl's ruin; he
had tempted her by love of dress, of fame, of the world's vanities and
follies of every sort. This made him think for the first time of how he
might find her. He might find her with _him_. They would come back from
the Derby together. He would bring her home, and they would sup in
company. The house would be lit up; the windows thrown open; they would
be playing and singing and laughing, and the sounds of their merriment
would come down to him into the darkness below.
All the better, all the better! He would do it before the man's face. And
when it was done, when all was over, when she lay there--lay
there--there--he would turn on the man and say: "Look at her, the
sweetest girl that ever breathed the breath of life, the dearest, truest
woman in all the world! You have done that--you--you--you--and God damn
His tortured heart was afire, and his brain was reeling. Before he knew
where he was he had passed from the outer court into the inner one. "Here
it is--this is the house," he thought. But it was all dark. Just a few
lights burning, but they had been carefully turned down. The windows were
closed, the blinds were drawn, and there was not a sound anywhere! He
stood some minutes trying to think, and during that time the mood of
frenzy left him and the low cunning came back. Then he rang the bell.
There was no answer, so he rang again. After a while he heard a footstep
that seemed to come up from below. Still the door was not opened, and he
rang a third time.
"Who's there?" said a voice within.
"It is I--open the door," he answered.
"Who are you?" said the voice, and he replied impatiently:
"Come, come, Liza, open, and see."
Then the catch lock was shot back. At the next moment he was in the hall,
shutting the door behind him, and Liza was looking up into his face with
eyes of mingled fear and relief.
"Lor', sir, whyever didn't you say it was you?"
"Where's your mistress?"
"Gone to the office, and won't be back till morning. And Miss Gloria
isn't home from the races yet."
"I must see her to-night--I'll wait upstairs."
"You must excuse me, sir--Farver, I mean--but I wouldn't a-known your
voice, it seemed so different. And me that sleepy too, being on the go
since six in the mornin'----"
"Go to bed, Liza. You sleep in the kitchen, don't you?"
"Yes, sir, thank you, I think I will, too. Miss Gloria can let herself
in, anyway, same as comin' from the theatre. But can I git ye anythink?
No? Well, you know your wye up, sir, down't ye?"
"Yes, yes; good-night, Liza!"
He had set his foot on the stair to go up to the drawing-room when it
suddenly occurred to him that though he was the minister of God he was
using the weapons of the devil. No matter! If he had been about to commit
a crime it would have been different. But this was no crime, and he was
no criminal. He was the instrument of God's mercy to the woman he loved.
_He was going to slay her body that he might save her soul!_
The journey home from the Derby had been a long one, but Glory had
enjoyed it. When she had settled down to the physical discomfort of the
blinding and choking dust, the humours of the road became amusing. This
endless procession of good-humoured ruffianism sweeping through the most
sacred retreats of Nature, this inroad of every order of the Stygian
_demi-monde_ on to the slopes of Olympus, was intensely interesting. Men
and women merry with drink, all laughing, shouting, and singing; some in
fine clothes and lounging in carriages, others in striped jerseys and
yellow cotton dresses, huddled up on donkey barrows; some smoking
cigarettes and cigars and drinking champagne, others smoking clay pipes
with the bowls downward, and flourishing bottles of ale; some holding
rhubarb leaves over their heads for umbrellas, and pelting the police
with _confetti_; others wearing executioners' masks, false mustaches, and
red-tipped noses, and blowing bleating notes out of penny trumpets--but
all one family, one company, one class.
There were ghastly scenes as well as humorous ones--an old horse, killed
by the day's work and thrown into the ditch by the roadside, axletrees
broken by the heavy loads and people thrown out of their carts and cut,
boy tramps dragging along like worn-out old men, and a Welsher with his
clothes torn to ribbons, stealing across the fields to escape a yelping
and infuriated crowd.
But the atmosphere was full of gaiety, and Glory laughed at nearly
everything. Lord Robert, with his arm about Betty's waist, was chaffing a
coster who had a drunken woman on his back seat. "Got a passenger,
driver?" "Yuss, sir, and I'm agoin' 'ome to my wife to-night, and thet's
more nor you dare do." A young fellow in pearl buttons was tramping along
with a young girl in a tremendous hat. He snatched her hat off, she
snatched off his; he kissed her, she smacked his face; he put her hat on
his own head, she put on his hat; and then they linked arms and sang a
verse of the Old Dutch.
Glory reproduced a part of this love-passage in pantomime, and Drake
screamed with laughter.
It was seven o'clock before they reached the outskirts of London. By that
time a hamper on the coach had been emptied and the bottles thrown out;
the procession had drawn up at a dozen villages on the way; the
perspiring tipsters, with whom "things hadn't panned out well," had
forgotten their disappointments and "didn't care a tinker's! cuss"; every
woman in a barrow had her head-gear in confusion, and she was singing in
a drunken wail. Nevertheless Drake, who was laughing and talking
constantly, said it was the quietest Derby night he had ever seen, and he
couldn't tell what things were coming to.
"Must be this religious mania, don't you know," said lord Robert,
pointing to a new and very different scene which they had just then come
It was an open space covered with people, who had lit fires as if
intending to camp out all night, and were now gathered in many groups,
singing hymns and praying. The drunken wails from the procession stopped
for a moment, and there was nothing heard but the whirring wheels and the
mournful notes of the singers. Then "Father Storm!" rose like the cry of
a cormorant from a thousand throats at once. When the laughter that
greeted the name had subsided, Betty said:
"'Pon my honour, though, that man must be off his dot," and the lady in
blue went into convulsions of hysterical giggling. Drake looked uneasy,
and Lord Robert said, "Who cares what an Elephant says?" But Glory took
no notice now, save that for a moment the smile died off her face.
It had been agreed, when they cracked the head off the last bottle, that
the company should dine together at the Cafe Royal or Romano's, so they
drove first to Drake's chambers to brush the dust off and to wash and
rest. Glory was the first to be ready, and while waiting for the others
she sat at the organ in the sitting-room and played something. It was the
hymn they had heard in the suburbs. At this there was laughter from the
other side of the wall, and Drake, who seemed unable, to lose sight of
her, came to the door of his room in his shirt sleeves. To cover up her
confusion she sang a "coon" song. The company cheered her, and she sang
another, and yet another. Finally she began My Mammie, but floundered,
broke down, and cried.
"Rehearsal, ten in the morning," said Betty.
Then everybody laughed, and while Drake busied himself putting Glory's
cloak on her shoulders, he whispered: "What's to do, dear? A bit off
colour to-night, eh?"
"Be a good boy and leave me alone," she answered, and then she laughed
They were on the point of setting out when somebody said, "But it's late
for dinner now--why not supper at the Corinthian Club?" At that the other
ladies cried "Yes" with one voice. There was a dash of daring and
doubtful propriety in the proposal.
"But are you game for it?" said Drake, looking at Glory.
"Why not?" she replied, with a merry smile, whereupon he cried "All
right," and a look came into his eyes which she had never seen there
The Corinthian Club was in St. James's Square, a few doors from the
residence of the Bishop of London. It was now dark, and as they passed
through Jermyn Street a line of poor children stood by the poulterer's
shop at the corner waiting for the scraps that are thrown away at closing
time. York Street was choked with hansoms, but they reached the door at
last. There were the sounds of music and dancing within. Officials in
uniform stood in a hall examining the tickets of membership and taking
the names of guests. The ladies removed their cloaks, the men hung up
their coats and hats, a large door was thrown open, and they looked into
the ballroom. The room was full of people as faultlessly dressed as at a
house in Grosvenor Square. But the women were all young and pretty, and
the men had no surnames. A long line of gilded youths in dress clothes
occupied the middle of the floor. Each held by the waist the young man
before him as if he were going to play leap-frog. "Hello there!" shouted
one of them, and the band struck up. Then the whole body kicked out right
and left, while all sang a chorus, consisting chiefly of
"Tra-la-la-la-la-la!" One of them was a lord, another a young man who had
lately come into a fortune, another a light comedian, another belonged to
a big firm on the Stock Exchange, another was a mystery, and another was
one of "the boys" and lived by fleecing all the rest. They were executing
a dance from the latest burlesque. "Hello, there!" the conductor shouted
again, and the band stopped.
Lord Robert led the way upstairs. Pretty women in light pinks and blues
sat in every corner of the staircase. There was a balcony from which you
could look down on the dancers as from the gallery of a playhouse. Also
there was an American bar where women smoked cigarettes. Lord Robert
ordered supper, and when the meal was announced they went into the
"Hello there!" greeted them as they entered. At little tables lit up by
pink candles sat small groups of shirt fronts and butterfly ties with
fair heads and pretty frocks. Waiters were coming and going with
champagne and silver dishes; there was a clatter of knives and forks, and
a jabber of voices and laughter. And all the time there came the sounds
of the band, with the "Tra-la-la" from the ballroom below.
Glory sat by Drake. She realized that she had lowered herself in his eyes
by coming there. He was drinking a good deal and paying her endless
compliments. From time to time the tables about them were vacated and
filled again by similar shirt fronts and fair heads. People were arriving
from the Derby, and the talk was of the day's racing. Some of the new
arrivals saluted Drake, and many of them looked at Glory. "A rippin' good
race, old chappie. Didn't suit my book exactly, but the bookies will have
smiling faces at Tattersall's on Monday."
A man with a big beard at the next table pulled down his white waistcoat,
lifted his glass, and said, "To Gloria!" It was her acquaintance of the
"Who is Blue Beard?" she asked in a whisper.
"They call him the Faro King," said Drake. "Made all his money by
gambling in Paris, and now he is a squire with a living in his gift."
Then over the laughter and voices, the band and the singing, with an
awful suddenness there came a crash of thunder. The band and the comic
song stopped, and there was a hush for a moment. Then Lord Robert said:
"Wonder if this is the dreadful storm that is to overwhelm the nation,
don't you know!"
That fell on the house of frivolity like a second thunderbolt, and people
began to look up with blanched faces.
"Well, it isn't the first time the _storm_ has howled; it's been howling
all along," said Lord Robert, but nobody laughed.
Presently the company recovered itself, the bands and the singing were
heard again, louder and wilder than before, the men shouted for more
champagne, and nicknamed every waiter "Father Storm."
Glory was ashamed. With her head on her hand she was looking at the
people around when the "Faro King," who had been making eyes at her,
leaned over her shoulder and said in a confidential whisper, "And what is
Gloria looking for?"
"I am looking for _a man_," she answered. And as the big beard turned
away with "Oh, confound it!" she became aware that Drake and Lord Robert
were at high words from opposite sides of the table.
"No, I tell you no, no, _no_!" said Drake. "Call him a weakling and a
fool and an ass, if you will, but does that explain everything? This is
one of the men with the breath of God in him, and you can't judge of him
by ordinary standards."
"Should think not, indeed, dear chap," said Lord Robert, "Common sense
laughs at the creature."
"So much the worse for common sense. When it judges of these isolated
beings by the standards of the common herd then common sense is always
the greatest nonsense."
"Oho! oho!" came in several voices, but Drake paid no attention.
"Jesus Christ himself was mocked at and ridiculed by the common sense of
his time, by his own people, and even his own family, and his family and
people and time have been gibbeted by all the centuries that have come
after them. And so it has been with every ardent soul since who has taken
up his parable and introduced into the world a new spirit. The world has
laughed at him and spat upon him, and, only for its fear of the sublime
banner he has borne, it would have shut him up in a mad-house."
They were strange words in a strange place. Everybody listened.
"But these sombre giants are the leaders of the world for all that, and
one hour of their Divine madness is worth more to humanity than a cycle
of our sanity. And yet we deny them friendship and love, and do our best
to put them out of the pale of the human family! We have invented a new
name for them too--degenerates--pygmies and pigs as we are, who ought to
go down on our knees to them with our faces buried in the dirt!
Gentlemen," he cried, filling his glass and rising to his feet, "I give
you a toast--the health of Father Storm!"
Glory had sat trembling all over, breathing hard, blushing, and wide-eyed
until he had done. Then she leaped up to where he stood beside her, threw
her arms about his neck, and kissed him.
"And now you ring down quick, my dear," said Betty, and everybody laughed
Drake was laughing with the rest, and Glory, who had dropped back to her
seat in confused embarrassment, was trying to laugh too.
"Another bottle of fizz anyway," cried Drake. He had mistaken the meaning
of Glory's kiss, and was utterly intoxicated by it. She could have cried
with shame and rage, seeing he thought such conduct came naturally to her
and perhaps imagined it wasn't the first time she had done as much. But
to carry off the situation she laughed a good deal with him, and when the
wine came they jingled glasses.
"I'm going to see you home to-night," he whispered, smiling slyly and
looking her full in the eyes. She shook her head, but that only provoked
him to fresh effort.
"I must, I will--you _shall_ allow me," and he began to play with her
hand and ruffle up the lace that covered her round arm.
Just then his man Benson, looking hot and excited, came up to him with a
message. Glory overheard something about "the office," "the Secretary,"
and "Scotland Yard." Then Drake turned to her with a smile, over a look
of vexation, and said: "I'm sorry, dear--very--I must go away for a
while. Will you stay here until I return, or----"
"Take me out and put me in a cab," said Glory. Their getting up attracted
attention, and Lord Robert said:
"Is it, perhaps, something about that----"
"It's nothing," said Drake, and they left the room.
The band in the ballroom was still playing the dance out of the
burlesque, and half a hundred voices were shouting "Tra-la-la-la" as
Glory stepped into a hansom.
"I'll follow on, though," whispered Drake with a merry smile.
"We shall all be in bed, and the house locked up---- How magnificent you
"I couldn't see the man trodden on when he was down---- But how lovely
you've looked to-day, Glory! I'll get in to-night if I have to ring up
Liza or break down the door for it!"
As the cab crossed Trafalgar Square it had to draw up for a procession of
people coming up Parliament Street singing hymns. Another and more
disorderly procession of people, decorated with oak leaves and hawthorns
and singing a music-hall song, came up and collided with it. A line of
police broke up both processions; and the hansom passed through.
On entering the drawing-room John Storm was seized with a weird feeling
of dread. The soft air seemed to be filled with Glory's presence and her
very breath to live in it. On the side-table a lamp was burning under a
warm red shade. A heap of petty vanities lay about--articles of silver,
little trinkets, fans, feathers, and flowers. His footsteps on the soft
carpet made no noise. It was all so unlike the place he had come from,
his own bare chamber under the church!
He could have fancied that Glory had that moment left the room. The door
of a little ebony cabinet stood half open and he could see inside. Its
lower shelves were full of shoes and little dainty slippers, some of them
of leather, some of satin, some black, some red, some white. They touched
him with an indescribable tenderness and he turned his eyes away. Under
the lamp lay a pair of white gloves. One of them was flat and had not
been worn, but the other was filled out with the impression of a little
hand. He took it up and laid it across his own big palm, and another wave
of tenderness broke over him.
On the mantelpiece there were many photographs. Most of them were of
Glory and some were very beautiful, with their gleaming and glistening
eyes and their curling and waving hair. One looked even voluptuous with
its parted lips and smiling mouth; but another was different--it was so
sweet, so gay, so artless. He thought it must belong to an earlier
period, for the dress was such as she used to wear in the days when he
knew her first, a simple jersey and a sailor's stocking cap. Ah, those
days that were gone, with their innocence and joy! Glory! His bright, his
His emotion was depriving him of the free use of his faculties, and he
began to ask himself why he was waiting there. At the next instant came
the thought of the awful thing he had come to do and it seemed monstrous
and impossible. "I'll go away," he told himself, and he turned his face
toward the door.
On a what-not at the door side of the room another photograph stood in a
glass stand. His back had been to it, and the soft light of the lamp left
a great part of the room in obscurity, but he saw it now, and something
bitter that lay hidden at the bottom of his heart rose to his throat. It
was a portrait of Drake, and at the sight of it he laughed savagely and
How long he sat he never knew. To the soul in torment there is no such
thing as time; an hour is as much as, eternity and eternity is no more
than an hour. His head was buried in his arms on the table and he was a
prey to anguish and doubt. At one time he told himself that God did not
send men to commit murder; at the next that this was not murder but
sacrifice. Then a mocking voice in his ears seemed to say, "But the world
will call it murder and the law will punish you." To that he answered in
his heart: "When I leave this house I will deliver myself up. I will go
to the nearest police court and say 'Take me, I have done my duty in the
eye of God, but committed a crime in the eye of my country.'" And when
the voice replied, "That will only lead to your own death also," he
thought, "Death is a gain to those who die for their cause, and my death
will be a protest against the degradation of women, a witness against the
men who make them the creatures of their pleasure, their playthings,
their victims, and their slaves." Thinking so, he found a strange thrill
in the idea that all the world would hear of what he had done. "But I
will say a mass for her soul in the morning," he told himself, and a
chill came over him and his heart grew cold as a stone.
Then he lifted his head and listened. The room was quiet, there was not a
sound in the gardens of the Inn, and, through a window which was partly
open, he could hear the monotonous murmur of the streets outside. A great
silence seemed to have fallen on London--a silence more awful than all
the noise and confused clamour of the evening. "It must be late," he
thought; "it must be the middle of the night." Then the thought came to
him that perhaps, Glory would not come home that night at all, and in a
sudden outburst of pent-up feeling his heart cried, "Thank God! Thank
He had said it aloud and the sound of his voice in the silent
room--awakened all his faculties. Suddenly he was aware of other sounds
outside. There was a rumble of wheels and the rattle of a hansom. The
hansom came nearer and nearer. It stopped in the outside courtyard. There
was the noise of a curb-chain as if the horse were shaking its head. The
doors of the hansom opened with a creak and banged back on their spring.
A voice, a woman's voice, said "Good-night!" and another voice, a man's
voice, answered, "Good-night and thank you, miss!" Then the cab wheels
turned and went off. All his senses seemed to have gone into his ears,
and in the silence of that quiet place he heard everything. He rose to
his feet and stood waiting.
After a moment there was the sound of a key in the lock of the door
below; the rustle of a woman's dress coming up the stairs, an odour of
perfume in the air, an atmosphere of freshness and health, and then the
door of the room which had been ajar was swung open and there on the
threshold with her languid and tired but graceful movements was she
herself, Glory. Then his head turned giddy and he could neither hear nor
When Glory saw him standing by the lamp, with his deadly pale face, she
stood a moment in speechless astonishment, and passed her hand across her
eyes as if to wipe out a vision. After that she clutched at a chair and
made a faint cry.
"Oh, is it you?" she said in a voice which she strove to control. "How
you frightened me! Whoever would have thought of seeing you here!"
He was trying to answer, but his tongue would not obey him, and his
silence alarmed her.
"I suppose Liza let you in--where _is_ Liza?"
"Gone to bed," he said in a thick voice.
"And Rosa--have you seen Rosa?"
"Of course not! How could you? She must be at the office, and won't be
back for hours. So you see we are quite alone!"
She did not know why she said that, and, in spite of the voice which she
tried to render cheerful, her lip trembled. Then she laughed, though
there was nothing to laugh at, and down at the bottom of her heart she
was afraid. But she began moving about, trying to make herself easy and
pretending not to be alarmed.
"Well, won't you help me off with my cloak? No? Then I must do it for
myself I suppose."
Throwing off her outer things, she walked across the room and sat down on
the sofa near to where he stood.
"How tired I am! It's been such a day! Once is enough for that sort of
thing, though! Now where do you think I've been?"
"I know where you've been, Glory--I saw you there."
"You? Really? Then perhaps it _was_ you who----Was it you in the hollow?"
He had moved to avoid contact with her, but now, standing by the
mantelpiece looking into her face, he could not help recognising in the
fashionable woman at his feet the features of the girl once so dear to
him, the brilliant eyes, the long lashes, the twitching of the eyelids,
and the restless movement of the mouth. Then the wave of tenderness came
sweeping over him again and he felt as if the ground were slipping
beneath his feet.
"Will you say your prayers to-night. Glory?" he said,
"Why not?" she answered, trying to laugh.
"Then why not say them now, my child?"
He had made her tremble all over, but she got up, walked straight across
to him, looked intently into his face for a moment, and then said: "What
is the matter? Why are you so pale? You are not well, John!"
"No, I'm not well either." he answered.
"John, John, what does it all mean? What are you thinking of? Why have
you come here to-night?"
"To save your soul, my child. It is in great, great peril."
At first she took this for the common, everyday language of the devotee,
but another look into his face banished that interpretation, and her fear
rose to terror. Nevertheless she talked lightly, hardly knowing what she
said. "Am I, then, so very wicked? Surely Heaven doesn't want me yet,
John. Some day I trust--I hope----"
Then her cheeks turned pale and her lips became white and bloodless. She
had returned to the sofa, and half rose from it, then sat back,
stretching out one hand as if to ward off a blow, but still keeping her
eyes riveted on his face. Once she looked round to the door and tried to
cry out, but her voice would not answer her.
This speechless fright lasted only a moment. Then she was herself again,
and looked fearlessly up at him. She had the full use of her intellect,
and her quick instinct went to the root of things. "This is the madness
of jealousy," she thought. "There is only one way to deal with it. If I
cry out--if I show that I am afraid--if I irritate him, it will soon, be
over." She told herself in a moment that she must try gentleness,
tenderness, reason, affection, love.
Trembling from head to foot, she stepped up to him again, and began
softly and sweetly trying to explain herself. "John, dear John, if you
see me with certain people and in certain places you must not think from
But he broke in upon her with a torrent of words. "I can't think of it at
all, Glory. When I look ahead I see nothing but shame and misery and
degradation for you in the future. That man is destroying you body and
soul. He is leading you on to the devil and hell and damnation, and I can
not stand by and see it done!"
"Believe me, John, you are mistaken, quite mistaken." But, with a look of
sombre fury, he cried, "Can you deny it?"
"I can protect and care for myself, John."
"With that man's words in your ears, still can you deny it?"
Suddenly she remembered Drake's last whisper as she got into the hansom,
and she covered her face with her hands.
"You can't! It is the truth! The man is following you to ruin you, and
you know it. You've known it from the first, therefore you deserve all
that can ever come to you. Do you know what you are guilty of? You are
guilty of soul-suicide. What is the suicide of the body to the suicide of
the soul? What is the crime of the poor broken creature who only chooses
death and the grave before starvation or shame, compared to the sin of
the wretched woman who murders her soul for sake of the lusts and
vanities of the world? The law of man may punish, the one, but the
vengeance of God is waiting for the other."
She was crying behind her hands, and, in spite of the fury into which he
had lashed himself, a great pity took hold of him. He felt as if
everything were slipping away from him, and he was trying to stand on an
avalanche. But he told himself that he would not waver, that he would
hold to his purpose, that he would stand firm as a rock. Heaving a deep
sigh, he walked to and fro across the room.
"O Glory, Glory! Can't you understand what it is to me to be the
messenger of God's judgment?"
She gasped for breath, and what had been a vague surmise became a
certainty--thinking he was God's avenger, yet with nothing but a poor
spasm of jealousy in his heart, he had come with a fearful purpose to
"I did what I could in other ways and it was all in vain. Time after time
I tried to save you from these dangers, but you would not listen. I was
ready for any change, any sacrifice. Once I would have given up all the
world for you, Glory--you know that quite well--friends, kinsmen,
country, everything, even my work and my duty, and, but for the grace of
God, God himself!"
But his tenderness broke again into a headlong torrent of reproach. "You
failed me, didn't you? At the last moment, too--the very last! Not
content with the suicide of your own soul, you must attempt to murder the
soul of another. Do you know what that is? That is the unpardonable sin!
You are crying, aren't you? Why are you crying?" But even while he said
this something told him that all he was waiting for was that her
beautiful eyes should be raised and their splendid light flash upon him
"But that is all over now. It was a blunder, and the breach between us is
irreparable. I am better as I am--far, far better. Without friends or kin
or country, consecrated for life, cut off from the world, separate,
She knew that her moment had come, and that she must vanquish this man
and turn him from his purpose, whatever it was, by the only weapon a
woman could use--his love of her. "I do not deny that you have a right to
be angry with me," she said, "but don't think that I have not given up
something too. At the time you speak of, when I chose this life and
refused to go with you to the South Seas, I sacrificed a good deal--I
sacrificed love. Do you think I didn't realize what that meant? That
whatever the pleasure and delight my art might bring me, and the
flattery, and the fame, and the applause, there were joys I was never to
know--the happiness that every poor woman may feel, though she isn't
clever at all, and the world knows nothing about her--the happiness of
being a wife and a mother, and of holding her place in life, however
humble she is and simple and unknown, and of linking the generations each
to each. And, though the world has been so good to me, do you think I
have ever ceased to regret that? Do you think I don't remember it
sometimes when the house rises at me, or when I am coming home, or
perhaps when I awake in the middle of the night? And notwithstanding all
this success with which the world has crowned me, do you think I don't
hunger sometimes for what success can never buy--the love of a good man
who would love me with all his soul and his strength and everything that
Out of a dry and husky throat John Storm answered: "I would rather die a
thousand, thousand deaths than touch a hair of your head, Glory.... But
God's will is his will!" he added, quivering and trembling. The
compulsion of a great passion was drawing him, but he struggled hard
against it. "And then this success--you cling to it nevertheless!" he
cried, with a forced laugh.
"Yes, I cling to it," she said, wiping away the tears that had begun to
fall. "I can not give it up, I can not, I can not!"
"Then what is the worth of your repentance?"
"It is not repentance--it is what you said it was--in this room--long
ago.... We are of different natures, John--that is the real trouble
between us, now and always has been. But whether we like it or not, our
lives are wrapped up together for all that. We can't do without each
other. God makes men and women like that sometimes."
There was a piteous smile on his face. "I never doubted your feeling for
me, Glory. No, not even when you hurt me most."
"And if God made us so----"
"I shall never forgive myself, Glory, though Heaven itself forgives me!"
"If God makes us love each other in spite of every barrier that divides
"I shall never know another happy hour in this life. Glory--never!"