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The Christian by Hall Caine

Part 12 out of 12

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love of you was near to madness. He was ready to give up everything for
it--everything! And he was right! Love like yours is the pearl of pearls,
and he who wins it is a prince of princes!"

* * * * *

Later the same day, when the Prime Minister was sitting alone in his
room, a member of his cabinet brought him an evening paper containing an
article which was making a deep impression in London. It was understood
to be written by a journalist of Jewish extraction:


"This prediction has been for eighteen hundred years the expression of an
historical truth. That the whole Jewish nation, and not Pilate or the
rabble of Jerusalem, killed Jesus is a fact which every Jew has been made
to feel down to the present day. But let the Christian nation that is
without sin toward the Founder of Christianity first cast a stone at the
Jews. If it is true, as Jesus himself said, that he who offers a cup of
cold water to the least of his little ones offers it to him, then it is
also true that he who inflicts torture and death on his followers
crucifies him afresh. The unhappy man who has been miserably murdered in
the slums of Westminster was a follower of Jesus if ever there lived one,
and whosoever the actual persons may be who are guilty of his death, the
true culprit is the Christian nation which has inflicted mockeries and
insults on everybody who has dared to stand alone under the ensign of

"Let us not be led away by sneers. This man, whatever his errors, his
weaknesses, his self-delusions, and his many human failings, was a
Christian. He was the prophet of woman in relation to humanity as hardly
any one since Jesus has ever been. And he is hounded out of life. Thus,
after nineteen centuries, Christianity presents the same characteristics
of frightful tyranny which disfigured the old Jewish law. 'We have a law,
and by our law he ought to die.' Such is the sentence still pronounced on
reformers in a country where civil and religious laws are confounded. God
grant the other half of that doom may not also come true--'His blood be
on us and on our children!'"


There was a crowd of people of all sorts outside the tenement house when
Glory returned to Brown's Square, and even the stairs were thronged with
them. "The nurse!" they whispered as Glory appeared, and they made a way
for her. Aggie was on the landing, wiping her eyes and answering the
questions of strangers, being half afraid of the notoriety her poor room
was achieving and half proud of it.

"The laidy 'as came, Miss Gloria, and she sent me to tell you to wyte
'ere for 'er a minute."

Then putting her head in at the open doer she beckoned and Mrs. Callender
came out.

"Hush! He's coming to. The poor laddie! He's been calling for ye, and
calling and calling. But he thinks ye're in heaven together, seemingly,
so ye must no say anything to shock him. Come your ways in now, and tak'
care, lassie."

John was still wandering, and the light of another world was in his eyes,
but he was smiling, and he appeared to see.

"Where is she?" he said in the toneless voice of one who talks in his

"She's here now. Look! She's close beside ye."

Glory advanced a step and stood beside the bed, struggling with herself
not to fall upon his breast. He looked at her with a smile, but without
any surprise, and said:

"I knew that you would come to meet me, Glory! How happy you look! We
shall both be happy now."

Then his eyes wandered about the poor, ill-furnished apartment, and he

"How beautiful it is here! And how lightsome the air is! Look! The golden
gates! And the seven golden candlesticks! And the sea of glass like unto
crystal! And all the innumerable company of the angels!"

Aggie, who had returned to the room, was crying audibly.

"Are you crying. Glory? Foolish child to cry! But I know--I understand!
Put your dear hand in mine, my child, and we will go together to God's
throne and say: 'Father, you must forgive us two. We were but man and
woman, and we could not help but love each other, though it was a fault,
and for one of us it was a sin.' And God will forgive us, because he made
us so, and because God is the God of love."

Glory could bear no more. "John!" she whispered.

He raised himself on his elbow and held his head aslant, like one who
listens to a sound that comes from a distance.


"That's Glory's voice."

"It _is_ Glory, dearest."'

The serenity in his face gave way to a look of bewilderment.

"But Glory is dead."

"No, dear, she is alive, and she will never leave you again."

"What place is this?"

"This is Aggie's room."


"Don't you remember Aggie? One of the poor girls you fought and worked

"Is it your spirit, Glory?"

"It is myself, dearest, my very, very self."

Then a great joy came into his eyes, his breast heaved, his breath came
quick, and without a word more he stretched out his arms.

* * * * *

"It is Glory! She is alive! My God! O my God!"

* * * * *

"Do you forgive me, Glory?"

"Forgive? There is nothing to forgive you for--except loving me too

"My darling! My darling!"

* * * * *

"I thought I was in heaven, Glory, but I am like poor Buckingham--only
half way to it yet. Have I been unconscious?"

Glory nodded her head.


"Since last night."

"Ah, I remember everything now. I was knocked down in the streets, wasn't
I? The men did it--Pincher, Hawking, and the rest."

"They shall be punished, John," said Glory in a quivering voice. "As sure
as heaven's above us and there's law in the land----"

"Aye, aye, laddie" (from somewhere by the door), "mak' yersel' sure o'
that. There'll be never a man o' them but he'll hang for it same as a
polecat on a barn gate."

But John shook his head. "Poor fellows! They didn't understand. When they
come to see what they've done---- 'Lord, Lord! lay not this sin to their

* * * * *

She had wiped away the tears that sprung to her eyes and was sitting by
his side and smiling. Her white teeth were showing, her red lips were
twitching, and her face was full of sunshine. He was holding her hand and
gazing at her constantly as if he could not allow himself to lose sight
of her for a moment.

"But I'm half sorry, for all that, Glory," he said.


"That we are not both in the other world, for there you were my bride, I
remember, and all our pains were over."

Then her sweet face coloured up to the forehead, and she leaned over the
bed and whispered, "Ask me to be your bride in this one, dearest."

"I can't! I daren't!"

"Are you thinking of the vows?"

"No!" emphatically. "But--I am a dying man--I know that quite well. And
what right have I----"

She gave a little gay toss of her golden head. "Pooh! Nobody was ever
married because he had a _right_ to be exactly."

"But there is your own profession--your great career."

She shook her head gravely. "That's all over now."

"Eh?" reaching up on his elbow.

"When you had gone and nearly everybody was deserting your work, I
thought I should like to take up a part of it."

"And did you?"

She nodded.

"Blessed be God! Oh, God is very good!" and he lay back and panted.

She laughed nervously. "Well, are you determined to make me ashamed? Am I
to throw myself at your head, sir? Or perhaps you are going to refuse me,
after all."

"But why should I burden all the years of your life with the name of a
fallen man? I am dying in disgrace, Glory."

"No, but in honour--great, great honour! These few bad days will be
forgotten soon, dearest--quite, quite forgotten. And in the future time
people will come to me and say--girls, dearest, brave, brave girls, who
are fighting the battle of life like men--they will come and say: 'And
did you know him? Did you really, really know him?' And I will smile
triumphantly and answer them 'Yes, for he loved me, and he is mine and I
am his forever and forever!'"

"It would be beautiful! We could not come together in this world; but to
be united for all eternity on the threshold of the next----"

"There! Say no more about it, for it's all arranged anyhow. The Father
has been persuaded to read the service, and the Prime Minister is to
bring the Archbishop's license, and it's to be to-day--this
evening--and--and I'm not the first woman who has settled everything

Then she began to laugh, and he laughed with her, and they laughed
together in spite of his weakness and pain. At the next moment she was
gone like a gleam of sunshine before a cloud, and Mrs. Callender had come
back to the bedside, tying up the strings of her old-fashioned bonnet.

"She's gold, laddie, that's what yon Glory is--just gold!"

"Aye, tried in the fire and tested," he replied, and then the back of his
head began to throb fiercely.

Glory had fled out of the room to cry, and Mrs. Callender joined her on
the landing. "I maun awa', lassie. I'd like fine to stop wi' ye, but I
can't. It minds me of the time my Alec left me, and that's forty lang
years the day, but he seems to have been with me ever syne."

* * * * *

"Where's Glory?"

"She's coming, Father," said Aggie, and at the sound of her name Glory
wiped her eyes and returned.

"And was it by my being lost that you came here to Westminster and found

"Yes, and myself as well."

"And I thought my life had been wasted! When one thinks of God's designs
one feels humble--humble as the grass at one's feet----But are you sure
you will never regret?"


"Nor look back?"

She tossed her head again. "Call me Mrs. Lot at once, and have done with

"It's wonderful! What a glorious work is before you, Glory! You'll take
it up where I have left it, and carry it on and on. You are nobler than I
am, and stronger, far stronger, and purer and braver. And haven't I said
all along that what the world wants now is a great woman? I had the pith
of it all, though I saw the true light--but I was not worthy. I had
sinned and fallen, and didn't know my own heart, and was not fit to enter
into the promised land. It is something, nevertheless, that I see it a
long way off. And if I have been taken up to Sinai and heard the thunders
of the everlasting law----"

"Hush, dear! Somebody is coming."

It was the great surgeon whom the Prime Minister had sent for. He
examined the injuries carefully and gave certain instructions. "Mind you
do this, Sister," and that, and the other. But Glory could see that he
had no hope. To relieve the pain in the head he wanted to administer
morphia, but John refused to have it.

"I am going into the presence of the King," he said. "Let me have all my
wits about me."

While the doctor was there the police sergeant returned with a magistrate
and the reporter. "Sorry to intrude, but hearing your patient was now
conscious----" and then he prepared to take John's deposition.

The reporter opened his notebook, the police magistrate stood at the foot
of the bed, the doctor at one side of it and Glory at the other side,
holding John's hand and quivering.

"Do you know who struck you, sir?"

There was silence for a moment, and then came "Yes."

"Who was it?"

There was another pause, and then, "Don't ask me."

"But your own evidence will be most valuable; and, indeed, down to the
present we have no other. Who is it, sir?"

"I can't tell you."

"But why?"

There was no answer.

"Why not give me the name of the scoundrel who took---- I mean attempted
to take your life?"

Then in a voice that was hardly audible, with his head thrown back and
his eyes on the ceiling, John said, "Father, forgive them, for they know
not what they do!"

It was useless to go further. Glory saw the four men to the door.

"You must keep him quiet," said the doctor. "Not that anything can save
him, but he is a man of stubborn will."

And the police magistrate said, "It may be all very fine to forgive your
enemies, but everybody has his duty to society, as well as to himself."

"Yes, yes," said Glory, "the world has no room for greater hearts than
its own."

The police magistrate looked at her in bewilderment. "Just so," he said,
and disappeared.

* * * * *

"Where is she now, my girl?"

"She's 'ere, Father."

"Hush!" said Glory, coming back to the room. "The doctor says you are not
to talk so much."

"Then let me look at you, Glory. Sit here--here--and if I should seem to
be suffering you must not mind that, because I am really very happy."

Just then an organ-man in the street began to play. Glory thought the
music might disturb John, and she was going to send Aggie to stop it. But
his face brightened and he said: "Sing for me, Glory. Let me hear your

The organ was playing a "coon song," and she sang the words of it. They
were simple words, childish words, almost babyish, but full of tenderness
and love. The little black boy could think of nothing but his Loo-loo. In
the night when he was sleeping he awoke and he was weeping, for he was
always, always dreaming of his Loo-loo, his Loo-loo!

When the song was finished they took hands and talked in whispers, though
they were alone in the room now, and nobody could hear them. His white
face was very bright, and her moist eyes were full of merriment. They
grew foolish in their tenderness and played with each other like little
children. There were recollections of their early life in the little
island home, memories of years concentrated into an hour--humorous
stories and touches of mimicry. "'O Lord, open thou our lips----Where are
you, Neilus?' 'Aw, here I am, your riverence, and my tongue shall shew
forth thy praise.'"

All at once John's face saddened and he said, "It's a pity, though!"

"A pity!"

"I suppose the man who carries the flag always gets 'potted,'as they say.
But somebody must carry it."

Glory felt her tears gathering.

"It's a pity that I have to go before you, Glory."

She shook her head to keep the tears from flowing, and then answered
gaily: "Oh, that's only as it should be. I want a little while to think
it all out, you know, and then--then I'll pass over to you, just as we
fall asleep at night and pass from day to day."

* * * * *

And then he lay back with a sigh and said, "Well, I have had a happy end,
at all events."


The day had been fine, with a rather fierce sun shining until late in the
afternoon, and long white clouds lying motionless in a deep blue sky,
like celestial sand-banks in a celestial sea. But the tender and tempered
splendour of the evening had come at length, with the sun gone over the
housetops to the northwest, and its solemn afterglow spreading round,
like the wings of angels sweeping down. London was unusually quiet after
the roar and turmoil of the day. The great city lay like a tired ocean.
And like an ocean it seemed to sleep, full of its living as well as its

In a little square which stands on the fringe of the slums of
Westminster, and has a well-worn church in the middle, and tenement
houses, institutions, and workshops around its sides, a strange crowd had
gathered. It consisted for the greater part of persons who are generally
thought to be beyond the sympathies of life--the "priestesses of
society," who are the lowest among women. But they stood there for hours
in silence, or walked about with dazed looks, glancing up at the window
of a room on the second story which glittered with the rays of the dying
day. Their friend and champion was near to his death in that room, and
they were waiting for the last news of him.

The Prime Minister had kept his promise. Walking across from Downing
Street his face had been clouded, as if he was thinking out the riddles
of the inscrutable Power which stood to him for God. But when he came to
the square, and looked round at the people, his eyes brightened and he
went on with resignation and even content. The women made way for him
with whispered explanations of who he was, and he walked through them to
the room upstairs.

The room was nearly full already, for the Father Superior had come,
bringing lay brother Andrew along with him, and Aggie was sitting in a
corner, and Mrs. Pincher was moving about, and there was also a stranger
present. And though the little place was so mean and poor, it was full of
soft radiance from the sky, and people walked about in it with a glow
upon their faces.

Glory was by the bedside, standing erect and saying nothing. Her eyes
were glistening with unshed tears, and sometimes her mouth was twitching.
John Storm was conscious and very quiet. Holding Glory's hand as if he
could not part with it, he was looking around with the expression of the
soldier who has done the fearful, perhaps the foolish and foolhardy thing
and scaled the walls of the enemy. He is lying with the enemy's shot in
his breast now, and with death in his eyes, but he is smiling proudly for
all that, because he knows that the army is coming on. The Superior had
brought from the Brotherhood the picture of the head of Christ in its
crown of thorns to hang on the wall at the end of the bed, and the light
from the window made flickering gleams on the glass, and they were
reflected on to his face.

Hardly anybody spoke. As soon as the Prime Minister arrived he took a
paper from his pocket and gave it to the stranger, who glanced at it and
bowed. Then they all gathered about the bed, and the Superior opened a
book which he had carried in his hands, and in solemn accents began to

"Dearly beloved, we are gathered together in the sight of God----"

Brother Andrew, who was kneeling at the foot of the bed, whined like a
dog, and some women on the landing, who were peering in at the open door,
whispered among themselves: "It's the Holy Communion! Hush!"

John's power did not fail him. He made his responses in a clear voice,
although his last strength was thrilling along the thread of life. And
Glory, when her turn came, was brave, too. There was just a touch of the
old hoarseness in her glorious voice, a slight quivering of the lids of
her glistening eyes, and then she went on to the end without faltering.

"_I, GLORY_--


"--_take thee, JOHN_--

"--take thee, JOHN--

"--_to my wedded husband, to have and to hold from this day forward_--

"....to have and to hold from this day forward--

"--_for better for worse, for richer for poorer, in sickness and in

"....in sickness and in health--

"--_to love, cherish, and obey, till death us do part_--

"....till death us do part----


* * * * *


_It will be seen that in writing this book I have sometimes used the
diaries, letters, memoirs, sermons, and speeches of recognisable persons,
living and dead. Also, it will be seen that I have frequently employed
fact for the purposes of fiction. In doing so, I think I am true to the
principles of art, and I know I am following the precedent of great
writers. But being conscious of the grievous: danger of giving personal
offence, I would wish to say that I have not intended to paint anybody's
portrait, or to describe the life of any known Society or to indicate the
management of any particular Institution. To do any of these things would
be to wrong the theory of fiction as I understand it, which is not to
offer mock history or a substitute for fact, but to present a thought in
the form of a story, with as much realism as the requirements of idealism
will permit. In presenting the thought which is the motive of "The
Christian" my desire has been to depict, however imperfectly, the types
of mind and character, of creed and culture, of social effort and
religious purpose which I think I see in the life of England and America
at the close of the nineteenth century. For such a task my own
observation and reflection could not be enough, and so I am conscious
that in many passages of this book I have often been merely as the mould
through which the metal has passed from the fires kept burning round


_Greeba Castle, Isle of Man, 1897_.

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