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The Christian by Hall Caine

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Robert stretched his neck over his collar and made an amiable smile.

"A girl of eighteen came to me this morning at Soho, and she was in the
usual trouble. The father was a wicked rector. He died last year leaving
thirty-one thousand pounds; and the mother of his unfortunate child--that
is to say, his mistress--is now in the Union."

It was the first sincere word that had been spoken, where every tone had
been wrong, every gesture false, and it fell on the company like a
thunderclap. John Storm drew his breath hard, looked up at Lord Robert by
a strange impulse, and felt himself avenged.

"What a beautiful day it has been!" said somebody. Everybody looked up at
the maker of this surprising remark. It was a lady, and she blushed until
her cheeks burned again.

A painful silence followed, and then the hostess turned to Lord Robert
and said:

"You spoke of your friend Drake, didn't you? Everybody is talking of him,
and as for the girls, they seem to be crazy about the man. So handsome,
they say; so natural, and such a splendid talker. But then, girls are so
quick to take fancies to people. You really must take care of yourself,
my dear." (This to Felicity.) "Who is he? Lord Robert will tell you--an
official of some kind, and son of Sir something Drake, of one of the
northern counties. He knows the secret of getting on in the world, though
he doesn't go about too much. But I've determined not to live any longer
without making the acquaintance of this wonderful being, so Lord Robert
must just bring him along Tuesday evening, or else----"

John Storm escaped at last, without promising to come to the "At Home."
He went direct to the hospital and learned that Glory was out for the
day. Where she could have gone, and what she could be doing, puzzled him
grievously. That she had not put herself under his counsel and direction
on her first excursion abroad hurt his pride and wounded his sense of
responsibility. As the night fell his anxiety increased. Though he knew
she would not return until ten, he set out at nine to meet her.

At a venture he took the eastward course, and passed slowly down
Piccadilly. The facade of nearly every club facing the park was flaming
with electric light. Young men in evening dress were standing on the
steps, smoking and taking the air after dinner, and pretty girls in showy
costumes were promenading leisurely in front of them. Sometimes, as a
girl passed, she looked sharply up and the corner of her mouth would be
raised a little, and when she had gone by there would be a general burst
of laughter.

John's blood boiled, and then his heart sank; he felt so helpless, his
pity and indignation were so useless and unnecessary. All at once he saw
what he had been looking for. As he went by the corner of St. James's
Street he almost ran against Glory and another nurse in the costume of
their hospital. They did not observe him; they were talking to a man; it
was the man he had met in the afternoon--Lord Robert Ure.

John heard the man say, "Your Glory is such a glorious----" and then he
lowered his voice, and appeared to say something that was very amusing,
for the other girl laughed a great deal.

John's soul was now fairly in revolt, and he wanted to stop, to order the
man off and to take charge of the two nurses as his duty seemed to
require of him. But he passed them, then looked back and saw the group
separate, and as the man went by he watched the girls going westward.
There was a glimpse of them under the gas-lamp as they crossed the
street, and again a glimpse as they passed into the darkness under the
trees of the park.

He could not trust himself to return to the hospital that night, and his
indignation was no less in the morning. But there was a letter from Glory
saying that his poor old friend was dead, and had begged that he would
bury her. He dressed himself in his best ("We can't take liberties with
the poor," he thought) and walked across to the hospital at once. There
he asked for Glory, and they went downstairs together to that still
chamber underground which has always its cold and silent occupant. It is
only a short tenancy that anybody can have there, so the old woman had to
be buried the same morning. The parish was to bury her, and the van was
at the door.

He was standing with Glory in the hall, and his heart had softened to

"Glory," he said, "you shouldn't have gone out yesterday without telling
me, the dangers of London are so great."

"What dangers?" she asked.

"Well, to a young girl, a beautiful girl----"

Glory peered up under her long eyelashes.

"I mean the dangers from--I'm ashamed in my soul to say it--the dangers
from men."

She shot up a quick glance into his face and said in a moment, "You saw
us, didn't you?"

"Yes, I saw you, and I didn't like your choice of company."

She dropped her head demurely and said, "The man?"

John hesitated. "I was speaking of the girl. I don't like the freedom
with which she carries herself in this house. Among these good and
devoted women is there no one but this--this----?"

Glory's lower lip began to show its inner side. "She's bright and lively,
that's all I care."

"But it's not all _I_ care, Glory, and if such men as that are her
friends outside----"

Glory's head went up. "What is it to me who are her friends outside?"

"Everything, if you allow yourself to meet them again."

"Well," doggedly, "I am going to meet them again. I'm going to the
Nurses' Ball on Tuesday."

John answered with deliberation, "Not in that girl's company."

"Why not?"

"I say _not_ in that girl's company."

There was a short pause, and then Glory said with a quivering mouth: "You
are vexing me, and you will end by making me cry. Don't you see you are
degrading me too? I am not used to being degraded. You see me with a weak
silly creature who hasn't an idea in her head and can do nothing but
giggle and laugh and make eyes at men, and you think I'm going to be led
away by her. Do you suppose a girl can't take care of herself?"

"As you will, then," said John, with a fling of his hand, going off down
the steps.

"Mr. Storm--Mr. Storm--Jo--Joh----"

But he was out on the pavement and getting into the workhouse van.

"Ah!" said a mincing voice beside her. "How jolly it is when anybody is
suffering for your sake!" It was Polly Love, and again her eyelids were
half covering her eyes.

"I'm sure I don't know what you mean," said Glory. Her own eyes were
swimming in big tear-drops.

"Don't you? What a funny girl you are! But your education has been
neglected, my dear."

It was a combination van and hearse with the coffin under the driver's
box, and John Storm (as the only discoverable mourner) with the
undertaker on the seat inside.

"Will ye be willin' ter tyke the service at the cimitery, sir?" said the
undertaker, and John answered that he would.

The grave was on the paupers' side, and when the undertaker, with his
man, had lowered the coffin to its place, he said, "They've gimme abart
three more funerals this morning, so I'll leave ye now, sir, to finish
'er off."

At the next moment John Storm in his surplice was alone with the dead,
and had opened his book to read the burial service which no other human
ear was to hear.

He read "Dust to dust, ashes to ashes," and then the bitter loneliness of
the pauper's doom came down on his soul and silenced him.

But his imprisoned passion had to find a vent, and that night he wrote to
the Prime Minister: "I begin to understand what you meant when you said I
was in the wrong place. Oh, this London, with its society, its worldly
clergy, its art, its literature, its luxury, its idle life, all built on
the toil of the country and compounded of the sweat of the nameless poor!
Oh, this 'Circe of cities,' drawing good people to it, decoying them,
seducing them, and then turning them into swine! It seems impossible to
live in the world and to be spiritually-minded. When I try to do so I am
torn in two."


On the following Tuesday evening two young men were dining in their
chambers in St. James's Street. One of them was Lord Robert Ure; the
other was his friend and housemate, Horatio Drake. Drake was younger than
Lord Robert by some seven or eight years, and also beyond comparison more
attractive. His face was manly and handsome, its expression was open and
breezy; he was broad-shouldered and splendidly built, and he had the fair
hair and blue eyes of a boy.

Their room was a large one, and it was full of beautiful and valuable
things, but the furniture was huddled about in disorder. A large
chamber-organ, a grand piano, a mandolin, and two violins, pictures on
the floor as well as on the walls, many photographs scattered about
everywhere, and the mirror over the mantelpiece fringed with
invitation-cards, which were stuck between the glass and the frame.

Their man had brought in the coffee and cigarettes. Lord Robert was
speaking in his weary drawl, which had the worn-out tone of a man who had
made a long journey and was very sleepy.

"Come, dear boy, make up your mind, and let us be off."

"But I'm tired to death of these fashionable routs."

"So am I."

"They're so unnatural--so unnecessary."

"My dear fellow, of course they're unnatural--of course they're
unnecessary; but what would you have?"

"Anything human and natural," said Drake. "I don't care a ha'p'orth about
the morality of these things--not I--but I am dead sick of their

Lord Robert made languid puffs of his cigarette, and said, in a tearful
drawl: "My dear Drake, of course it is exactly as you say. Who doesn't
know it is so? It has always been so and always will be. But what refuge
is there for the poor leisured people but these diversions which you
despise? And as for the poor titled classes--well, they manage to make
their play their business sometimes, don't you know. Confess that they do
sometimes, now, eh?"

Lord Robert was laughing with an awkward constraint, but Drake looked
frankly into his face and said:

"How's that matter going on, Robert?"

"Fairly, I think, though the girl is not very hot on it. The thing came
off last week, and when it was over I felt as if I had proposed to the
girl and been accepted by the mother, don't you know. I believe this rout
to-night is expressly in honour of the event, so I mustn't run away from
my bargain."

He lay back, sent funnels of smoke to the ceiling, and then said, with a
laugh like a gurgle: "I'm not likely to, though. That eternal dun was
here again to-day. I had to tell him that the marriage would come off in
a year certain. That was the only understanding on which he would agree
to wait for his money. Bad? Of course it's bad; but what would you have,
dear boy?"

The men smoked in silence for a moment, and then Lord Robert said again:
"Come, old fellow, for friendship's sake, if nothing else. She's a decent
little woman, and dead bent on having you at her house to-night. And if
you're badly bored we'll not stay long. We'll come away early
and--listen--we'll slip across to the Nurses' Ball at Bartimaeus's
Hospital; there'll be fun enough there, at all events."

"I'll go," said Drake.

Half an hour later the two young men were driving up to the door of Mrs.
Macrae's house in Belgrave Square. There was a line of carriages in front
of it, and they had to wait their turn to approach the gate. Footmen in
gorgeous livery were ready to open the cab door, to help the guests
across the red baize that lay on the pavement, to usher them into the
hall, to lead them to the little marble chamber where they entered their
names in a list intended for the next day's _Morning Post_, and finally
to direct them to the great staircase where the general crush moved
slowly up to the saloon above.

In the well of the stairs, half hidden behind a little forest of palms
and ferns, a band in yellow and blue uniform sat playing the people in.
On the landing the hostess stood waiting to receive, and many of the
guests, by a rotary movement like the waters of a maelstrom, moved past
her in a rapid and babbling stream, twisted about her, and came down
again. She welcomed Lord Robert effusively, and motioned to him to stand
by her side. Then she introduced her daughter to Drake and sent them
adrift through the rooms.

The rooms were large ones with parquet flooring from which all furniture
had been removed, except the palms and ferns by the walls and the heavy
chandeliers overhead. It was not yet ten o'clock, but already the house
was crowded, and every moment there were floods of fresh arrivals. First
came statesmen and diplomatists, then people who had been to the
theatres, and toward the end of the evening some of the actors
themselves. The night was close and the atmosphere hot and oppressive. At
the farther end of the suite there was a refreshment-room with its
lantern lights pulled open; and there the crush was densest and the
commotion greatest. The click-clack of many voices cut the thick air as
with a thousand knives, and over the multitudinous clatter there was
always the unintelligible boom of the band downstairs.

Most of the guests looked tired. The men made some effort to be cheerful,
but the women were frankly jaded and fagged. Bedizened with diamonds,
coated with paint and powder, laden with rustling silks, they looked
weary and worn out. When spoken to they would struggle to smile, but the
smiles would break down after a moment into dismal looks of misery and

"Had enough?" whispered Lord Robert to Drake.

Drake was satisfied, and Lord Robert began to make their excuses.

"Going already!" said Mrs. Macrae. "An official engagement, you say?--Mr.
Drake, is it? Oh, don't tell me! I know--_I_ know! Well, you'll be
married and settled one of these days--and then!"

They were in a hansom cab driving across London in the direction of
Bartimaeus's Hospital. Drake was bare-headed and fanning himself with his
crush hat. Lord Robert was lighting a cigarette.

"Pshaw! What a stifling den! Did you ever hear such a clitter-clatter? A
perfect Tower of Babel building company! What in the name of common sense
do people suppose they're doing by penning themselves up like that on a
night like this? What are they thinking about?"

"Thinking about, dear boy? You're unreasonable! Nobody wants to think
about anything in such scenes of charming folly."

"But the women! Did you _ever_ see such faded, worn-out dummies for the
display of diamonds? Poor little women in their splendid misery! I was
sorry for your _fiancee_, Robert. She was the only woman in the house
without that hateful stamp of worldliness and affectation."

"My dear Drake, you've learned many things, but there's one thing you
have not yet learned--you haven't learned how to take serious things as
trifles, and trifles as serious things. Learn it, my boy, or you'll
embitter existence. You are not going to alter the conditions of
civilization by any change in your own particular life; so just look out
the prettiest, wittiest, wealthiest little woman who is a dummy for the
display of diamonds----"

"Me? Not if I know it, old fellow! Give me a little nature and
simplicity, if it hasn't got a second gown to its back."

"All right--as you like," said Lord Robert, flinging out the end of his
cigarette. "You've got the pull of some of us--you can please yourself.
And here we are at old Bartimaeus's, and this is a very different pair of

They were driving out of one of London's main thoroughfares, through a
groined archway, into one of London's ancient buildings with its quiet
quadrangle where trees grow and birds sing. Every window of the square
was lighted up, and there was a low murmur of music being played within."

"Listen!" said Lord Robert. "I am here ostensibly as the guest of the
visiting physician, don't you know, but really in the interests of the
little friend I told you of."

"The one I got the tickets for last week?"


At the next moment they were in the ballroom. It was the lecture theatre
for the students of the hospital school--a building detached from the
wards and of circular shape, with a gallery round its walls, which were
festooned with flags and roofed with a glass dome. Some two hundred girls
and as many men were gathered there; the pit was their dancing ring and
the gallery was their withdrawing room. The men were nearly all students
of the medical schools; the girls were nearly all nurses, and they wore
their uniform: There was not one jaded face among them, not one weary
look or tired expression. They were in the fulness of youth and the
height of vigour. The girls laughed with the ring of joy, their eyes
sparkled with the light of happiness, their cheeks glowed with the
freshness of health.

The two men stood a moment and looked on.

"Well, what do you think of it?" said Lord Robert.

Drake's wide eyes were ablaze, and his voice came in gusts.

"Think of it!" he said. "It's wonderful! It's glorious!"

Lord Robert's glass had dropped from his eye, and he was laughing in his
drawling way.

"What are you laughing at? Women like these are at least natural, and
Nature can not be put on."

The mazurka had just finished, and the dancers were breaking into groups.

"Robert, tell me who is that girl over there--the one looking this way?
Is it your friend?"

Lord Robert readjusted his glass.

"The pretty dark girl with the pink-and-white cheeks, like a doll?"

"Yes; and the taller one beside her--all hair, and eyes, and bosom. She's
looking across now. I've seen that girl before somewhere. Now, where have
I seen her? Look at her--what fire, and life, and movement! The dance is
over, but she can't keep her feet still."

"I see--I see. But let me introduce you to the matron and doctors first,
and then----"

"I know now--I know where I've seen her! Be quick, Robert, be quick!"

Lord Robert laughed again in his tired drawl. He was finding it very


When Glory learned that all nurses eligible to attend the ball were to
wear hospital uniform, being on day duty she decided to go to it. But
then came John Storm's protest against the company of Polly Love, and she
felt half inclined to give it up. As often as she remembered his
remonstrance she was disturbed, and once or twice when alone she shed
tears of anger and vexation.

Meantime Polly was full of arrangements, and Glory found herself day by
day carried along in the stream of preparation. When the night came the
girls dressed in the same cubicle. Polly was prattling like a parrot, but
Glory was silent and almost sad.

By help of the curling tongs and a candle Polly did up her dark hair into
little knowing curls that went in and out on her temples and played
hide-and-seek around the pretty shells of her pink-and-white ears. Glory
was slashing the comb through her golden-red hair by way of preliminary
ploughing, when Polly cried: "Stop! Don't touch it any more, for
goodness' sake! It's perfect! Look at yourself now."

Glory stood off from the looking glass and looked. "Am I really so nice?"
she thought; and then she remembered John Storm again, and had half a
mind to tear down her glorious curls and go straight away to bed.

She went to the ball instead, and, being there, she forgot all about her
misgivings. The light, the colour, the brilliance, the perfume
transported her to an enchanted world which she had never entered before.
She could not control her delight in it. Everything surprised her,
everything delighted her, everything amused her--she was the very soul of
girlish joy. The dark-brown spot on her eye shone out with a coquettish
light never seen in it until now, and the warble in her voice was like
the music of a happy bird. Her high spirits were infectious--her
lighthearted gaiety communicated itself to everybody. The men who might
not dance with her were smiling at the mere sight of the sunshine in her
face, and it was even whispered about that the President of the College
of Surgeons, who opened the ball, had said that her proper place was not
there--a girl like that young Irish nurse would do honour to a higher

In that enchanted world of music and light and bright and happy faces
Glory lost all sense of time; but two hours had passed when Polly Love,
whose eyes had turned again and again to the door, tugged at her sleeve
and whispered: "They've come at last! There they are--there--directly
opposite to us. Keep your next dance, dear. They'll come across

Glory looked where Polly had directed, and, seeing again the face she had
seen in the window of the Foreign Office, something remote and elusive
once more stirred in her memory. But it was gone in a moment, and she was
back in that world of wonders, when a voice which she knew and yet did
not know, like a voice that called to her as she was awakening out of a
sleep, said:

"Glory, don't you remember me? Have you forgotten me, Glory?"

It was her friend of the catechism class--her companion of the adventure
in the boat. Their hands met in a long hand-clasp with the gallop of
feeling that is too swift for thought.

"Ah, I thought you would recognise me! How delightful!" said Drake.

"And you knew me again?" said Glory.

"Instantly--at first sight almost."

"Really! It's strange, though. Such a long, long time--ten years at
least! I must have changed since then."

"You have," said Drake; "you've changed very much."

"Indeed now! Am I really so much changed for all? I've grown older, of

"Oh, terribly older," said Drake.

"How wrong of me! But you have changed a good deal, too. You were only a
boy in jackets then."

"And you were only a girl in short frocks."

They both laughed, and then Drake said, "I'm so glad we've changed

"Are you?" said Glory.

"Why, yes," said Drake; "for if you had changed and I hadn't----"

"But what nonsense we're talking!" said Glory; and they both laughed

Then they told each other what had happened in that infinite cycle of
time which had spun round since they parted. Glory had not much to
narrate; her life had been empty. She had been in the Isle of Man all
along, had come to London only recently, and was now a probationer-nurse
at Martha's Vineyard. Drake had gone to Harrow and thence to Oxford, and,
being a man of artistic leanings, had wished to take up music, but his
father had seen no career in it; so he had submitted--he had entered the
subterranean catacombs of public life, and was secretary to one of the
Ministers. All this he talked of lightly, as became a young man of the
world to whom great things were of small account.

"Glory," said Polly, at her elbow, "the waltz is going to begin."

The band was preluding. Drake claimed the dance, and Glory was astonished
to find that she had it free (she had kept it expressly).

When the waltz was over he gave her his arm and led her into the circular
corridor to talk and to cool. His manners were perfect, and his voice, so
soft and yet so manly, increased the charm. In passing out of the hot
dancing room she threw her handkerchief over her head, and, with the hand
that was at liberty, held its ends under her chin. She wished him to look
at her and see what change this had made; so she said, quite innocently:

"And now let me look at you again, sir!"

He recognised the dark-brown spot on her eye, and he could feel her arm
through her thin print dress.

"You've told me a good deal," he said, "but you haven't said a syllable
about the most important thing of all."

"And pray what is that?" said she.

"How many times have you fallen in love since I saw you last?"

"Good gracious, what a question!" said Glory.

His audacity was delightful. There was something so gracious and yet so
masterful about him.

"Do you remember the day you carried me off--eloped with me, you know?"
said Drake.

"I? How charming of me! But when was that, I wonder?" said Glory.

"Never mind; say, do you remember?"

"Well, if I do? What a pair of little geese we must have been in those

"I'm not so sure of that--_now_,'" said he.

"You didn't seem very keen about me _then_, as far as I can remember,"
said she.

"Didn't I?" said he. "What a silly young fool I must have been!"

They laughed again. She could not keep her arm still, and he could almost
feel its dimpled elbow.

"And do _you_ remember the gentleman who rescued us?" she said.

"You mean the tall, dark young man who kept hugging and kissing you in
the yacht?"

"Did he?"

"Do you forget that kind of thing, then?"

"It was very sweet of him. But he's in the Church now, and the chaplain
of our hospital."

"What a funny little romantic world it is, to be sure!"

"Yes; it's like poetry, isn't it?" she answered.

Lord Robert came up to introduce Drake to Polly (who was not looking her
sweetest), and he claimed Glory for the next dance.

"So you knew my friend Drake before?" said Lord Robert.

"I knew him when he was a boy," said Glory.

And then he began to sing his friend's praises--how he had taken a
brilliant degree at Oxford, and was now private secretary to the Home
Secretary, and would go into public life before long; how he could paint
and act, and might have made a reputation as a musician; how he went into
the best houses, and was a first-rate official; how, in short, he had the
promised land before him, and was just on the eve of entering it.

"Then I suppose you know he is rich--enormously rich?" said Lord Robert.

"Is he?" said Glory, and something great and grand seemed to shimmer a
long way off.

"Enormously," said Sir Robert; "and yet a man of the most democratic

"Really?" said Glory.

"Yes," said Lord Robert; "and all the way down in the hansom he has been
trying to show me how impossible it is for him to marry a lady."

"Now why did you tell me that I wonder?" said Glory, and Lord Robert
began to fidget with his eye-glass.

Drake returned with Polly. He proposed that they should take the air in
the quadrangle, and they went off for that purpose, the girls arm-in-arm
some paces ahead.

"There's a dash of Satan himself in that red-headed girl," said Lord
Robert. "She understands a man before he understands himself."

"She's as natural as Nature," said Drake. "And what lips--what a mouth!"

"Irish, isn't she? Oh, Manx! What's Manx, I wonder?"

The night was very warm and close, and there was hardly more air in the
courtyard. The sound of the band came to them there, and Glory, who had
danced with nearly everybody within, must needs dance by herself without,
because the music was more sweet and subdued out there, and dancing in
the darkness was like a dream.

"Come and sit down on the seat, Glory," said Polly fretfully; "you are
getting on my nerves, dear."

"Glory," said Drake, "how do the Londoners strike you?"

"Much like other mortals," said Glory; "no better, no worse--only

The men laughed at that description, and Glory proceeded to give
imitations of London manners--the high handshake, the "Ha-ha" of the
mumps, the mouthing of the canon, and the mincing of Mr. Golightly.

Drake bellowed with delight; Lord Robert drawled out a long owlish laugh;
Polly Love said spitefully, "You might give us your friend, the new
curate, next, dearest," and then Glory went down like a shot.

"Really," began Drake, "it's not hospital nursing, you know----"

But there were low murmurings of thunder and some large splashes of rain,
and they returned to the ballroom. The doctors and the matrons were gone
by this time; only the nurses and the students remained, and the fun was
becoming furious. One young student was pulling down a girl's hair, and
another was waltzing with his partner carried bodily in his arms.
Somebody lowered the lights, and they danced in a shadow-land; somebody
began to sing, and they all sang in chorus; then somebody began to fling
about paper bags full of tiny white wafers, and the bags burst in the air
like shells, and their contents fell like stars from a falling rocket,
and everybody was covered as with flakes of snow.

Meantime the storm had broken, and above the clash and clang of the
instruments of the band and the rhythmic shuffle of the feet of the
dancers and the clear, joyous notes of their happy singing, there was the
roar of the thunder that rolled over London, and the rattle of the rain
on the glass dome overhead.

Glory was in ecstasies; it was like a mist on Peel Bay at night with the
moon shining through it and the waves dancing to a northwest breeze. It
was like a black and stormy sea outside Contrary, with the gale coming
down from the mountains. And yet it was a world of wonder and enchantment
and beauty, and bright and happy faces.

It was morning when the ball broke up, and then the rain had abated,
though the thunder was still rumbling. The men were to see the girls back
to the hospital, and Glory and Drake sat in a hansom-cab together.

"So you always forget that kind of thing, do you?" he said.

"What kind of thing?" she asked.

"Never mind; _you_ know!"

She had put up the hood of her outdoor cape, but he could still see the
gleam of her golden hair.

"Give me that rose," he said; "the white one that you put in your hair."

"It's nothing," she answered.

"Then give it to me. I'll keep it forever and ever."

She put up her hand to her head.

"Ah! how sweet of you! And what a lovely little hand! But no; let me take
it for myself."

He reached one arm around her shoulder, put his hand under her chin,
tipped up her face, and kissed her on the lips.

"Darling!" he whispered.

Then in a moment she awoke from her world of wonder and enchantment, and
the intoxication of the evening left her. She did not speak; her head
dropped; she felt her cheeks burn red, and she hid her face in her hands.
There was a momentary sense of dishonour, almost of outrage. Drake
treated her lightly, and she was herself to blame.

"Forgive me, Glory!" he was saying, in a voice tremulous and intense. "It
shall never happen again--never--so help me God!"

The day was dawning, and the last raindrops were splashing on the wet and
empty pavement. The great city lay asleep, and the distant thunder was
rolling away from it.


The chaplain of Martha's Vineyard had not been to the hospital ball.
Before it came off he had thought of it a good deal, and as often as he
remembered that he had protested to Glory against the company of Polly
Love he felt hot and ashamed. Polly was shallow and frivolous, and had a
little crab-apple of a heart, but he knew no harm of her. It was hardly
manly to make a dead set at the little thing because she was foolish and
fond of dress, and because she knew a man who displeased him.

Then she was Glory's only companion, and to protest against Glory going
in her company was to protest against Glory going at all. That seemed a
selfish thing to do. Why should he deny her the delights of the ball? He
could not go to it himself--he would not if he could; but girls liked
such things--they loved to dance, and to be looked at and admired, and
have men about them paying court and talking nonsense.

There was a sting in that thought, too; but he struggled to be
magnanimous. He was above all mean and unmanly feelings--he would
withdraw his objection.

He did not withdraw it. Some evil spirit whispered in his heart that
Glory was drifting away from him. This was the time to see for certain
whether she had passed out of the range of his influence. If she
respected his authority she would not go. If she went, he had lost his
hold of her, and their old relations were at an end.

On the night of the ball he walked over to the hospital and asked for
her. She had gone, and it seemed as if the earth itself had given way
beneath his feet.

He could not help feeling bitterly about Polly Love, and that caused him
to remember a patient to whom her selfish little heart had shown no
kindness. It was her brother. He was some nine or ten years older, and
very different in character. His face was pale and thin--almost
ascetic--and he had the fiery and watery eyes of the devotee. He had
broken a blood-vessel and was threatened with consumption, but his case
was not considered dangerous. When Polly was about, his eyes would follow
her round the ward with something of the humble entreaty of a dog. It was
clear that he loved his sister, and was constantly thinking of her. But
she hardly ever looked in his direction, and when she spoke to him it was
in a cold or fretful voice.

John Storm had observed this. It had brought him close to the young man,
and the starved and silent heart had opened out to him. He was a
lay-brother in an Anglican Brotherhood that was settled in Bishopsgate
Street. His monastic name was Brother Paul. He had asked to be sent to
that hospital because his sister was a nurse there. She was his only
remaining relative. One other sister he had once had, but she was
gone--she was dead--she died---- But that was a sad and terrible story;
he did not like to talk of it.

To this broken and bankrupt creature John Storm found his footsteps
turning on that night when his own heart lay waste. But on entering the
ward he saw that Brother Paul had a visitor already. He was an elderly
man in a strange habit--a black cassock which buttoned close at the neck
and fell nearly to his feet, and was girded about the waist by a black
rope that had three great knots at its suspended ends. And the habit was
not more different from the habit of the world than the face of the
wearer was unlike the worldly face. It was a face full of spirituality, a
face that seemed to invest everything it looked upon with a holy peace--a
beautiful face, without guile or craft or passion, yet not without the
signs of internal strife at the temples and under the eyes; but the
battles with self had all been fought and won.

As John Storm stepped up, the old man rose from his chair by the
patient's bed.

"This is the Father Superior, sir," said Brother Paul.

"I've just been hearing of you," said the Father in a gentle voice. "You
have been good to my poor brother."

John Storm answered with some commonplace--it had been a pleasure, a
happiness; the brother would soon leave them; they would all miss
him--perhaps himself especially.

The Father resumed his chair and listened with an earnest smile. "I
understand you, dear friend," he said. "It is so much more blessed to
give than to receive! Ah, if the poor blind world only knew! How it
fights for its pleasures that perish, and its pride of life that passes
away! Yet to succour a weaker brother, or protect a fallen woman, or feed
a little child will bring a greater joy than to conquer all the kingdoms
of the earth."

John Storm sat down on the end of the bed. Something had gone out to him
in a moment, and he was held as by a spell. The Father talked of the love
of the world--how strange it was, how difficult to understand, how
tragic, how pitiful! The lusts of the flesh, the lusts of the eye--how
mean, how delusive, how treacherous! To think of the people of that
mighty city day by day and night by night making themselves miserable in
order that they might make themselves merry; to think of the children of
men scouring the globe for its paltry possessions, that could not add one
inch to the stature of the soul, while all the time the empire of peace
and joy and happiness lay here at hand, here within ourselves, here in
the little narrow compass of the human heart! To give, not to get, that
was the great blessedness, and to give of yourself, of your heart's love,
was the greatest blessedness of all.

John Storm was stirred. "The Church, sir," he said, "the Church itself
has to learn that lesson."

And then he spoke of the hopes with which he had come up to London, and
how they were being broken down and destroyed; of his dreams of the
Church and its mission, and how they were dying or dead already.

"What liars we are, sir! How we colour things to justify ourselves! Look
at our sacraments--are they a lie, or are they a sacrilege? Look at our
charities--are we Pharisees or are we hypocrites? And our clergy,
sir--our fashionable clergy! Surely some tremendous upheaval will shake
to its foundations the Church wherein such things are possible--a Church
that is more worldly than the world! And then the woman-life of the
Church, see how it is thrown away. That sweetest and tenderest and
holiest power, how it goes to waste under the eye and with the sanction
of the Church in the frivolities of fashion--in drawing-rooms, in
gardens, in bazars, in theatres, in balls----"

He stopped. His last word had arrested him. Had he been thinking only of
himself and of Glory? His head fell and he covered his face with his

"You are right, my son," said the Father quietly, "and yet you are wrong,
too. The Church of God will not be shaken to its foundations because of
the Pharisees who stand in its public places, or because of the publicans
who haunt its purlieus. Though the axe be laid to the rotten tree, yet
the little seed will save its kind alive."

Then with an earnest smile and in a gentle voice he spoke of their little
brotherhood in Bishopsgate Street; how ten years ago they had founded it
for detachment from earthly cares and earthly aims, and for hiddenness
with God; how they had established it in the midst of the world's,
busiest highway, in the heart of the world's greatest market, to show
that they despised gold and silver and all that the blind and cheated
world most prizes, just as St. Philip and St. Ignatius had established
the severest of modern rules in a profane and self-indulgent century, to
show that they could stamp out every suggestion of the flesh as a spark
from the fires of hell.

And then he lifted his cord and pointed to the knots at the end of it,
and told what they were--symbols of the three bonds by which he was
bound--the three vows he had taken: the vow of poverty, because Christ
chose it for himself and his friends; the vow of obedience, because he
had said, "He that heareth you heareth Me"; and the vow of chastity,
because it was our duty to guard the gates of the senses, and to keep our
eyes and ears and tongue from all inordinateness.

"But the lawful love of home and kindred," said John; "what of that?"

"We convert it into what is spiritual," said the Father. "All human love
must be based on the love of God if it is to be firm and true and
enduring, and the reason of so much failure of love in natural friendship
is that the love of the creature is not built upon the love of the

"But the love--say of mother and son--of brother and sister?"

"Ah, we have placed ourselves above the ordinary conditions of life that
none may claim our affections in the same way as Christ. Man has to
contend with two sets of enemies--those from within and those from
without; and no temptations are more subtle than those which come in the
name of our holiest affections. But the sword of the spirit must keep the
tempter away. There is the Judas in all of us, and he will betray us with
a kiss if he can."

John Storm's breast was heaving. He could scarcely conceal his agitation;
but the Father had risen to go.

"It is eight o'clock, and I must be back to Compline," he said. And then
he laughed and added: "We never ride in cabs; but I must needs walk
across the park to-night, for I have given away all my money."

At that the smile of an angel came into his old face, and lie said, with
a sweet simplicity:

"I love the park. Every morning the children play there, and then it is
the holy Catholic Church to me, and I like to walk in it and to lay my
hands on the heads of the little ones, and to ask a blessing for them,
and to empty my-self. This morning as I was coming here I met a little
boy carrying a bundle. 'And what is _your_ name, my little man?' I said,
and he told me what it was. 'And how old are you?' I asked. 'Twelve
years,' he answered. 'And what have you got in your bundle?' 'Father's
dinner, sir,' he said. 'And what is your father, my son?' 'A carpenter,'
said the boy. And I thought if I had been living in Palestine nineteen
hundred years ago I might have met another little Boy carrying the dinner
of his father, who was also a carpenter, in a little bundle which Mary
had made up for him. So I felt in my pocket, and all I had was my fare
home again, and I gave it to the little man as a thank-offering to God
that he had suffered me to meet a sweet boy of twelve whose father was a

John Storm's eyes were dim with tears.

"Good-bye, Brother Paul, and God send you back to us soon!--Good-bye to
you, dear friend; and when the world deals harshly with you come to us
for a few days in Retreat, that in the silence of your soul you may
forget its vanities and vexations and fix your thoughts above."

John Storm could not resist the impulse--he dropped to his knees at the
Father's feet.

"Bless me also, Father, as you blessed the carpenter's boy."

The Father raised two fingers of his right hand and said:

"God bless you, my son, and be with you and strengthen you, and when he
smiles on you may the frown of man affect you not!--Father in heaven,
look down on this fiery soul and succour him! Help him to cast off every
anchor that holds him to the world, and make him as a voice crying in the
wilderness, 'Come out of her, my people, saith our God.'"

When John rose from his knees the saintly face was gone, and all the air
seemed to be filled with a heavenly calm.

While he had been kneeling for the Father's blessing he had been aware of
a step on the floor behind him. It was his fellow-curate, the Reverend
Golightly, who was still waiting to deliver his message.

The canon had been disappointed in one of his preachers for Sunday, and
being himself engaged to preside over the annual dinner of a dramatic
benevolent fund to be held on the Saturday night, and therefore incapable
of extra preparation, he desired that Mr. Storm should take the sermon on
Sunday morning.

John promised to do so; and then his fellow-curate smiled, bowed,
coughed, and left him. A small room was kept for the chaplain on the
ground floor of the hospital, and he went down to it and wrote a letter.

It was to the parson at Peel.

"No doubt you hear from Glory frequently, and know all about her progress
as a probationer. She seems to be very well, and certainly I have never
seen her look so bright and so cheerful. At the moment of writing she is
out at a ball given by some of the hospital authorities. Well, it is a
perfectly harmless source of pleasure, and with all my heart I hope she
is enjoying herself. No doubt some form of amusement is necessary to a
young girl in the height of her youth and health and beauty, and he would
be only a poor sapless man who could not take delight in the thought that
a good girl was happy. Her fellow-nurses, too, are noble and devoted
women, doing true woman's work, and if there are some black sheep among
them, that is no more than might be expected of the purest profession in
the world.

"As for myself, I have tried to carry out-my undertaking to look after
Glory, but I can not say how long I may be able to continue the task. Do
not be surprised if I am compelled to give it up. You know I am
dissatisfied with my present surroundings, and I am only waiting for the
ruling and direction of the pillar of cloud and fire. God alone can tell
how it will move, but God will guide me. I don't go out more than I can
help, and when I do go I get humiliated and feel foolish. The life of
London has been a great and painful surprise. I had supposed that I knew
all about it, but I have really known nothing until now. Its cruelty, its
deceit, and its treachery are terrible. London is the Judas that is
forever betraying with a kiss the young, the hopeful, the innocent.
However, it helps one to know one's self, and that is better than lying
wrapped in cotton wool. Give my kindest greetings to everybody at
Glenfaba--my love to my father, too, if there are any means of conveying

The letter took him long to write, and when it was written he went out
into the hall to post it. There he saw that a thunderstorm was coming,
and he concluded to remain until it had passed over. He stepped into the
library and selected a book, and returned to his room to read it. The
book was St. John Chrysostom on the Priesthood, and the subject was
congenial, but he could not keep his mind on the printed page: He
thought of the Father Superior, of the little brotherhood in Bishopsgate,
and then of Glory at the hospital ball, and again of Glory, and yet again
and again of Glory. Do what he would, he could not help but think of her.

The storm pealed over his head, and when he returned to the hall two
hours later it was still far from spent. He stood at the open door and
watched it. Forks of lightning lit up the park, and floods of black rain
made the vacant pavements like the surface of the sea. A tinkling cab
slid past at intervals, with its driver sheeted in oilskins, and now and
then there was an omnibus, full within and empty without. Only one other
living thing was to be seen anywhere. An Italian organ-man had stationed
himself in front of a mansion to the left and was playing vigorously.

John Storm walked through the hospital. It was now late, and the house
was quiet. The house-doctor had made the last of his rounds and turned
into his chambers across the courtyard, and the night-nurses were boiling
little kettles in their rooms between the wards. The surgical wards were
darkened, and the patients were asleep already. In the medical wards
there were screens about certain of the beds, and weary moans came from
behind them.

It was after midnight when John Storm came round to the hall again, and
then the rain had ceased, but the thunder was still rumbling. He might
have gone home at length, but he did not go; he realized that he was
waiting for Glory. Other nurses returned from the ball, and bowed to him
and passed into the house. He stepped into the porter's lodge, and sat
down and watched the lightning. It began to be terrible to him, because
it seemed to be symbolical. What doom or what disaster did this storm
typify and predict? Never could he forget the night on which it befell.
It was the night of the Nurses' Ball.

He thought he must have slept, for he shook himself and thought: "What
nonsense! Surely the soul leaves the body while we are asleep, and only
the animal remains!"

It was now almost daylight, and two hansom-cabs had stopped before the
portico, and several persons who were coming up the steps were chattering
away like wakened linnets. One voice was saying:

"Mr. Drake proposes that we should all go to the theatre, and if we can
get a late pass I should like it above everything." It was Glory, and a
fretful voice answered her:

"Very well, if _you_ say so. It's all the same to _me_." It was Polly;
and then a man's voice said:

"What night shall it be, then, Robert?"

And a second man's voice answered, with a drawl, "Better let the girls
choose for themselves, don't you know."

John Storm felt his hands and feet grow cold, and he stepped out into the
porch. Glory saw him coming and made a faint cry of recognition.

"Ah, here is Mr. Storm! Mr. Storm, you should know Mr. Drake. He was in
the Isle of Man, you remember----"

"I do _not_ remember," said John Storm.

"But you saved his life, and you ought to know him----"

"I do _not_ know him," said John Storm.

She was beginning to say, "Let me introduce----" But she stopped and
stood silent for a moment, while the strange light came into her gleaming
eyes of something no word could express, and then she burst into noisy

A superintendent Sister going through the hall at the moment drew up and
said, "Nurse, I am surprised at you! Go to your rooms this instant!" and
the girls whispered their adieus and went off giggling.

"What a glorious night it has been!" said Glory, going upstairs.

"I'm glad you think so," said Polly. "To tell you the truth, I found it
dreadfully tiresome."

The two men lit their cigarettes and got back into one of the hansoms and
drove away.

"What a bear that man is!" said Lord Robert.

"Rude enough, certainly," said Drake; "but I liked his face for all that;
and if the Fates put it into his head to stand between me and
death--well, I'm not going to forget it."

"Give him a wide berth, dear boy. The fellow is an actor--an affected
fop. I met him at Mrs. Macrae's on Thursday. He is a religious actor and
a poseur. He'll do something one of these days, take my word for it."

And meanwhile John Storm had buttoned his long coat up to his throat and
was striding home through the echoing streets, with both hands clinched
and his teeth set hard.



"Oh, Lord-a-massy! Oh, Gough bless me sowl! Oh, my beloved grandfather!
John Storm has done for himself at last! That man was never an author of
peace and a lover of concord; but, my gracious, if you had heard his
sermon in church on Sunday morning! Being a holy and humble woman of
heart myself, I altered the Litany the smallest taste possible, and
muttered away from beginning to end, 'O Lord, close thou our lips'; but
the Lord didn't heed me in the least, with the result that everybody on
earth is now screaming and snarling at our poor Mr. Storm exactly as if
he had been picking the pockets of the universe.

"It was all about the morality of men. The text was as innocent as a
baby: 'Put ye on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the
flesh to fulfil the lusts thereof.' And when he began in the usual way,
the dear old goodies in glasses thought he had been wound up like the
musical box and had just turned on the crank, so they cuddled in
comfortably for forty winks before the anthem. There were two natures in
man, and man's body might be good or bad according as spiritual or
carnal affections swayed it, and all the rest of the good old
change-for-sixpence-and-a-ha'penny-out, you know. But the lesson had been
from Isaiah, where the unreasonable old prophet is indignant with the
ladies of Zion because they don't want to look like dowdies, you
remember: 'Tremble, ye women that are at ease, strip you and make you
bare and gird sackcloth upon your loins.' And off he went like a comet,
with the fashionable woman for his tail. If matrimony nowadays didn't
always mean monogamy, who was chiefly to blame? Men were generally as
pure as women required that they should be; and if the lives of men were
bad it was often because women did not demand that they should be good.
Tremble, ye women, that are at ease, and say why you allow your daughters
to marry men who in fact and effect are married already. Strip you, and
be ashamed for the poor women who were the first wives of your daughters'
husbands, and for the children whom such men abandon and forget! In
leading your innocent daughters to courts and receptions you are only
leading them to the auction-room; and in dressing and decorating them you
are preparing them for the market of base men. Last week some titled
philanthropist had hauled up a woman in the East End of London for
attempting to sell her daughter. How shocking! everybody said. What a
disgrace to the nineteenth century! But the wretched creature had only
been doing the best according to her light for the welfare of her
miserable child; while here--with their eyes open, with their cultured
consciences--the wives of these same philanthropists were doing the same
thing every day--the very same!

"Having gone for the mammies like this, he went for the dear girls
themselves one better. Let them gird sackcloth on their loins and hide
their faces. Why did they suffer themselves to be sold? The woman who
married a man for the sake of his title or his position or any worldly
advantage whatever was no better than an outcast of the streets. Her act
was the same, and in all reason and justice her name should be the same

"Hey, nonny, nonny! I told you how he broke down before; but on Sunday
morning, in spite of mine own amended Litany, I had just as much hope of
the breakdown of the Falls of Niagara, or a nineteen-feet spring tide.
You would have said his face was afire, and those great eyes of his were
lit up like the red lamps on Peel pier.

"Pulpit oratory! I don't know what it is, only I never heard the like of
it in all my born days. I begin to think the real difference between
preachers is the difference of the fire beneath the crust. In some it
burns so low that it doesn't even warm the surface, and you couldn't get
up enough puff to boil the kitchen kettle; but in others--look out! It's
a volcano, and the lava is coming down with a rush.

"Mercy me, how I cried! 'Oh, my daughter, oh, my child, what a ninny you
are!' I told myself; but it was no use talking. His voice was as hoarse
as a raven's, and sometimes you would have thought his very heart was

"But the congregation! You should have seen the transformation scene!
They had come in bowing and smiling and whispering softly until the
church was a perfect sheet of sunshine, an absolute aurora borealis; but
they went out like a northeast gale, with mutterings of thunder and one
man overboard.

"And John Storm having put his foot in it, of course Glory Quayle had to
get her toe in too. Coming down the aisle some of the dear ladies of
Zion, who looked as if they wanted to 'swear in their wrath,' were
mumbling all the lamentations of Jeremiah. Who was he, indeed, to talk to
people like that? Nobody had ever heard of him except his mother. And in
the porch they came upon a fat old dump in a velvet dollman who declared
it was perfectly scandalous, and she had come out in the middle.
Whereupon Glory, not being delivered that day from all evil and mischief,
said, 'Quite right, ma'am, and you were not the only one who had to leave
the church in the middle of that sermon.' 'Why, who else had to go?' said
this female Pharisee. 'The devil, ma'am!' said Glory, and then left her
with that bone to gnaw.

"It turns out that the old girlie in the dollman is a mighty patron of
this hospital, so everybody says I am in for nasty weather. But hoot! My
heart's in the Hielan's, my heart is not here; my heart's in the
Hielan's, sae what can I fear!

"John Storm is in for it too, and they say his vicar waited for him in
the vestry, but he looked like forked lightning coming out of the pulpit,
so the good man thought it better to keep his rod in pickle awhile. It
seems that the Lords of the Council and all the nobility were there, and
it is a point of religious etiquette in London that in the hangman's
house nobody speaks of the rope; but our poor John gave them the gibbet
as well. It was a fearful thing to do, but nobody will make me believe he
had not got his reasons. He hasn't been here since, but I am certain he
has his eye on some fine folks, and, whoever they are, I'll bet 'my
bottom dollar' they deserved all they got.

"But heigho! I haven't left myself breath to tell you about the ball. I
was there! You remember I was lamenting that I hadn't got the necessary
finery. In fact, I had put in a bit at the end of my prayers about it. 'O
God, be good to me this once and let me look nice.' And he _was_. He put
it into the heads of the nabobs of this vineyard that nurses should
'appear at the Nurses' Ball in regulation uniform only.' So my cloak and
my bonnet and my gray dress and my apron covered a multitude of sins.

"You should have seen Glory that night, grandfather. She was a redder
young lobster than ever somehow, but she put a white rose in her carroty
curls, and, Gough bless me, what a bogh [* Dear] she was, though! Of
course, she made the acquaintance of the 'higher ranks of society,' and
danced with all the earth. The great surgeon of something opened the ball
with the matron of Bartimaeus's, and she went round on his arm like a
dolly in a dolly-tub; but he soon saw what a marvellous and miraculous
being Glory was, and after I had waltzed so beautifully with the ancient
personage I had the hearts of all the young men flying round at the hem
of my white petticoat--it was a nice new one for the occasion.

"But the strangest thing was that somebody from the Isle of Man flopped
down on me there just as if he had descended from the blue. It was that
little English boy Drake, who used to come to the catechism class, only
now he is one of the smartest and handsomest young men in London. When he
came up and announced himself I am sure he expected me to expire on the
spot or else go crazy, and of course I was trembling all over, but I
behaved like a rational person and stood my ground. He looked at me as
much as to say, 'Do you know you've grown to be a very fine young woman,
and I admire you very much?' Whereupon I looked back as much as to reply,
'That's quite right, my dear young sir, and I should have a poor opinion
of you if you didn't.' So, being of the same opinion on the only subject
worth thinking about (that's me), I behaved charmingly to him, and even
forgave him when he carried off my white rose at the end.

"Mr. Drake has a friend who is always with him. He is a willowy person
who owns sixteen setters and three church livings, they say, and wears
(on week days) a thunder-and-lightning suit of clothes--_you_ know, a
pattern so large that one man can't carry the whole of it and somebody
else goes about with the rest. His name is Lord Robert Ure, and I intend
to call him Lord Bob, for, since he is such a frivolous person himself, I
must make a point of being severe. I danced with him, of course, and he
kept telling me what a wonderful future Mr. Drake had, and how the
Promised Land was before him, and even hinting that it wouldn't be a bad
thing to be Mrs. Joshua. Fancy Glory making a tremendous match with a
leader of society! And if I hadn't gone to that hospital ball no doubt
the history of the nineteenth century would have been different!

"They are going to take me next week to something far, far better than a
ball, only I must not tell you anything about it yet, except that I keep
awake all night sometimes to think of it. But thou sure and firmest
earth, hear not my steps which way they walk!

"It's late, and I'm just going to cuddle in. Good-night! My kisses for
the aunties, and my love to everybody! In fact, you can serve out my love
in ladles this time--being cheap at present, and plenty more where this
is coming from.

"Oh, I forgot to tell you what happened when we returned to the hospital!
It was shockingly late, and the gentlemen had brought us back, but there
was our John Storm with his sad and anxious face waiting up to see us
safely home. He was angry with me, and I didn't mind that in the least;
but when I saw that he liked me well enough to be rude to the gentlemen I
fell a victim to the crafts and assaults of the devil, and couldn't help
laughing out loud; and then Ward Sister Allworthy came along and lifted
her lip and showed me her tusk.

"It was a wonderful night altogether, and I was never so happy in my
life, but all the same I had a good cry to myself alone before going to
bed. Too much water hadst thou, poor Ophelia! Talk about two natures in
one; I've got two hundred and fifty, and they all want to do different
things! Ah me! the 'ould Book' says that woman was taken out of the rib
of a man, and I feel sometimes as if I want to get back to my old
quarters. Glory.

"P.S.--I'll write you a full and particular account of the great event of
next week after it is over. Be innocent of the knowledge, dearest chuck,
till thou applaud the deed. You see I don't want you to eat your meal in
fear--or your porridge either. But I am burning with impatience for the
night to come, and would like to run to it. Oh, if it were done, when
'tis done, then 'twere well it were done quickly! See? I am going in for
a course of Shakespeare!"


A week later Glory made her first visit to the theatre. Her companions
were Drake, who was charmed with her _naivete_; Lord Robert, who was
amused by it; and Polly Love, who was annoyed and ashamed, and uttered
little peevish exclamations.

As they entered the box which they were to occupy, the attendant drew
back the curtain, and at sight of the auditorium she cried, "Oh!" and
then checked herself and coloured deeply. With her eyes down she sat
where directed in one of the three seats in front, Polly being on her
right and Drake on her left, and Lord Robert at the back of the lace
curtain. For some minutes she did not smile or stir, and when she spoke
it was always in whispers. A great awe seemed to have fallen upon her,
and she was behaving as she behaved in church.

Drake began to explain the features of the theatre. Down there were the
stalls, and behind the stalls was the pit. The body? Well, yes--the body,
so to speak. And the three galleries were the dress circle, the family
circle, and the gallery proper. The organ loft? No, there was no organ,
but that empty place below was the well for the orchestra.

"And what is this little vestry?" she said.

"Oh, this is a private box where we can sit by ourselves and talk!" said

At every other explanation she had made little whispered cries of
astonishment and delight; but when she heard that conversation was not
forbidden she was entirely happy. She thought a theatre was even more
beautiful than a church, and supposed an actor must have a wonderful

The house was filling rapidly, and as the people entered she watched them

"What a beautiful congregation!" she whispered--"audience, I mean!"

"Do you think so?" said Polly; but Glory did not hear her.

It was delightful to see so many lovely faces and listen to the low hum
of their conversation. She felt happy among them already and quite kind
to everybody, because they had all come together to enjoy themselves.
Presently she bowed to some one in the stall with a face all smiles, and
then said to Polly:

"How nice of her! A lady moved, to me from the body. How friendly they
are in theatres!"

"But it was to Mr. Drake," said Polly; and then Glory could have buried
her face in her confusion.

"Never mind, Glory," said Drake; "that's a lady who will like you the
better for the little mistake.--Rosa," he added, with a look toward Lord
Robert, who smoothed his mustache and bent his head.

Polly glanced up quickly at the mention of the name; and Drake explained
that Rosa was a friend of his own--a lady journalist, Miss Rosa
Macquarrie, a good and clever woman. Then, turning back to Glory, he

"She has been standing up for your friend Mr. Storm this week. You know
there have been attacks upon him in the newspapers?"

"Has she?" said Glory, recovering herself and looking down again. "Which
pew--stall, I mean----"

But the people were clapping their hands and turning their faces to the
opposite side of the theatre. Some great personage was entering the royal

"My chief, the Home Secretary," said Drake; and, when the applause had
subsided and the party were seated, the great man recognised his
secretary and bowed to him; whereupon it seemed to Glory that every face
in the theatre turned about and looked at her.

She did not flinch, but bore herself bravely. There was a certain thrill
and a slight twitching of the head, such as a charger makes at the first
volley in battle--nothing more, not even the quiver of an eyelid. This
was the atmosphere in which Drake lived, and she felt a vague gratitude
to him for allowing her to move in it.

"Isn't it beautiful!" she whispered, turning toward Polly; but Polly's
face was hidden behind the curtain.

The orchestra was coming in, and Glory leaned forward and counted the
fiddles, while Drake talked with Lord Robert across her shoulder.

"I found him reading Rosa's article this morning, and it seems he was
present himself and heard the sermon," said Drake.

"And what's his opinion?" asked Lord Robert.

"Much the same as your own. Affectation--the man is suffering from the
desire to be original--more egotism than love of truth, and so forth."

"Right, too, dear boy. All this vapouring is as much as to say: 'Look at
me! I am the Hon. and Rev. Mr. Thingamy, nephew of the Prime Minister;
and yet----'"

"I don't at all agree with the chief," said Drake, "and I told him so.
The man has enthusiasm, and that's the very salt of the earth at present.
We are all such pessimists in these days! Thank God for anybody who will
warm us up with a little faith, say I!"

Glory's bosom heaved, and she was just about to speak, when, there was a
sudden clap as of thunder, and she leaped up in her seat. But it was only
the beginning of the overture, and she sat down laughing. There was a
tender passage in the music; and after it was over she was very quiet for
a while, and then whispered to Polly that she hoped little Johnnie wasn't
worse to-night, and it seemed wicked to enjoy one's self when any one was
so poorly.

"Who is that?" said Drake.

"My little boy whose leg was amputated," said Glory.

"This Glory is so funny!" said Polly. "Fancy talking of that here!"

"Hush!" said Lord Robert; "the curtain is going up." And at the next
moment Glory was laughing because they were all in the dark.

The play was Much Ado about Nothing, and Glory whispered to Drake that
she had never seen it before, but she had read Macbeth, and knew all
about Shakespeare and the drama. The first scene took her breath away,
being so large and so splendid. It represented the outside of a
gentleman's house, and she thought what a length of time it must have
taken to build it, considering it was to last only a single night. But
hush! The people were going indoors. No; they preferred to talk in the
street. Oh, we were in Italy? Yes, indeed, that was different.

Leonato delivered his first speeches forcibly, and was rewarded with
applause. Glory clapped her hands also, and said he was a very good actor
for such a very old gentleman.

Then Beatrice made her entrance, and was greeted with cheers, whereupon
Glory looked perplexed.

"It's Terry," whispered Polly; and Drake said, "Ellen Terry"; but Glory
still looked puzzled.

"They are calling her 'Beatrice,'" she said. Then, mastering the
situation, she looked wise and said: "Of course--the actress--I quite
understand; but why do they applaud her--she has done nothing yet?"

Drake explained that the lady playing Beatrice was a great favourite, and
that the applause of the audience had been of the nature of a welcome to
a welcome guest, as much as to say they had liked her before, and were
glad to see her again. Glory thought that was beautiful, and, looking at
the gleaming eyes that shone out of the darkness, she said:

"How lovely to be an actress!"

Then she turned back to the stage, where all was bright and brilliant,
and said, "What a lovely frock, too!"

"Only a stage costume, my dear," said Polly.

"And what beautiful diamonds!"

"Paste," said Lord Robert,

"Hush!" said Drake; and then Benedick entered, and the audience received
him with great cheering. "Irving," whispered Drake; and Glory looked more
perplexed than before and said:

"But you told me it was Mr. Irving's theatre, and I thought it would have
been his place to welcome----"

The vision of Benedick clapping his hands at his own entrance set Lord
Robert laughing in his cold way: but Drake said, "Be quiet, Robert!"

Glory, like a child, had ears for no conversation except her own, and she
was immersed in the play in a moment. The merry war of Beatrice and
Benedick had begun, and as she watched it her face grew grave.

"Now, that's very foolish of her," she said; "and if, as you say, she's a
great actress, she shouldn't do such things. To talk like that to a man
is to let everybody see that she likes him better than anybody else,
though she's trying her best to hide it. The silly girl--he'll find her

But the curtain had gone down on the first act, the lights had suddenly
gone up, and her companions were laughing at her. Then she laughed also.

"Of course, it's only a play," she said largely, "and I know all about
plays and about acting, and I can act myself, too."

"I'm sure you can," said Polly, lifting her lip. But Glory took no

Throughout the second act she put on the same airs of knowledge, watching
the masked ball intently, but never once uttering a laugh and hardly ever
smiling. The light, the colour, the dresses, the gay young faces
enchanted her; but she struggled to console herself. It was only her body
that was up there, leaning over the front of the box with lips twitching
and eyes gleaming; her soul was down on the stage, clad in a lovely gown,
and carrying a mask and laughing and joking with Benedick; but she held
herself in, and when the curtain fell she began to talk of the acting.

She was still of the opinion that Leonato was excellent for such an
elderly gentleman, and when Polly praised Claudio she agreed that he was
good too.

"But Benedick is my boy for all," she said. In some way she had
identified herself with Beatrice, and hardly ever spoke of her.

During the third act this air of wisdom and learning broke down badly. In
the middle of the ballad, "Sigh no more, ladies, sigh no more," she
remembered Johnnie, and whispered to Drake how ill he had been when they
left the hospital. And when it was over, and Benedick protested that the
song had been vilely sung, she sat back in her seat and said she didn't
know how Mr. Irving could say such a thing, for she was sure the boy had
sung it beautifully.

"But that's the author," whispered Drake; and then she said wisely:

"Oh, yes, I know--Shakespeare, of course."

Then came the liming of the two love-birds, and she declared that
everybody was in love in plays of that sort, and that was why she liked
them; but as for those people playing the trick, they were very simple if
they thought Beatrice didn't know she loved Benedick. Claudio fell
woefully in her esteem in other respects also, and when he agreed to spy
on Hero she said he ought to be ashamed of himself anyhow.

"How ridiculous you are!" said Polly. "It's the author, isn't it?"

"Then the author ought to be ashamed of himself, also, for it is unjust
and cruel and unnecessary," said Glory.

The curtain had come down again by this time, and the men were deep in an
argument about morality in art, Lord Robert protesting that art had no
morality, and Drake maintaining that what Glory said was right, and there
was no getting to the back of it.

But the fourth act witnessed Glory's final vanquishment. When she found
the scene was the inside of a church and they were to be present at a
wedding, she could not keep still on her seat for delight; but when the
marriage was stopped and Claudio uttered his denunciation of Hero, she
said it was just like him, and it would serve him right if nobody
believed him.

"Hush!" said somebody near them.

"But they are believing him," said Glory quite audibly.

"Hush! Hush!" came from many parts of the theatre.

"Well, that's shameful--her father, too----" began Glory.

"Hush, Glory!" whispered Drake; but she had risen to her feet, and when
Hero fainted and fell she uttered a cry.

"What a girl!" whispered Polly. "Sit down--everybody's looking!"

"It's only a play, you know," whispered Drake; and Glory sat down and

"Well, yes; of course, it's only a play. Did you suppose----"

But she was lost in a moment. Beatrice and Benedick were alone in the
church now; and when Beatrice said, "Kill Claudio," Glory leaped up again
and clapped her hands. But Benedick would not kill Claudio, and it was
the last straw of all. That wasn't what she called being a great actor,
and it was shameful to "sit and listen to such plays. Lots of disgraceful
scenes happened in life, but people didn't come to the theatre to see
such things, and she would go.

"How ridiculous you are!" said Polly; but Glory was out in the corridor,
and Drake was going after her.

She came back at the beginning of the fifth act with red eyes and
confused smiles, looking very much ashamed. From that moment onward she
cried a good deal, but gave no other sign until the green curtain came
down at the end, when she said:

"It's a wonderful thing! To make people forget it's not true is the most
wonderful thing in the world!"

Lord Robert, standing behind the curtain at the back of Polly's chair,
had been laughing at Glory with his long owlish drawl, and making cynical
interjections by way of punctuating her enthusiasm; and now he said,
"Would you like to have a nearer view of your wonderful world, Glory?"

Glory looked perplexed, and Drake muttered, "Hold your tongue, Robert!"
Then, turning to Glory, he said shortly: "He only asked if you would like
to go behind the scenes; but I don't think----"

Glory uttered a cry of delight. "Like it? Better than anything in the

"Then I must take you to a rehearsal somewhere," said Lord Robert; "and
you'll both come to tea at the chambers afterward."

Drake made some show of dissent; but Polly, with her most voluptuous look
upward, said it would be perfectly charming, and Glory was in raptures.

The girls, by their own choice, went home without escort by the
Hammersmith omnibus. They sat on opposite sides and hardly talked at all.
Polly was humming idly. "Sigh no more, ladies."

Glory was in a trance. A great, bright, beautiful world had that night
swum into her view, and all her heart was yearning for it with vague and
blind aspirations. It might be a world of dreams, but it seemed more real
than reality, and when the omnibus passed the corner of Piccadilly Circus
she forgot to look at the women who were crowding the pavement.

The omnibus drew up for them at the door of the hospital, and they took
long breaths as they went up the steps.

In the corridor to the surgical ward they came upon John Storm. His head
was down and his step was long and measured, and he seemed to be trying
to pass them in his grave silence; but Glory stopped and spoke, while
Polly went on to her cubicle.

"You here so late?" she said.

He looked steadily into her face and answered, "I was sent for--some one
was dying."

"Was it little Johnnie?"


There was not a tear now, not a quiver of an eyelid.

"I don't think I care for this life," she said fretfully. "Death is
always about you everywhere, and a girl can never go out to enjoy herself

"It is true woman's work," said John hotly, "the truest, noblest work a
woman can have in all the world!"

"Perhaps," said Glory, swinging on her heel. "All the same----"

"Good-night!" said John, and he turned on his heel also.

She looked after him and laughed. Then with a little hard lump at her
heart she took herself off to bed.

Polly Love, in the next cubicle, was humming as she undressed:

Sigh no more, ladies, sigh no more,
Men were deceivers ever.

That night Glory dreamed that she was back at Peel. She was sitting up on
the Peel hill, watching the big ships as they weighed anchor in the bay
beyond the old dead castle walls, and wishing she were going out with
them to the sea and the great cities so far away.


John Storm was sitting in his room next morning fumbling the leaves of a
book and trying to read, when a lady was announced. It was Miss Macrae,
and she came in with a flushed face, a quivering lip, and the marks of
tears in her eyes. She held his hand with the same long hand-clasp as
before, and said in a tremulous voice:

"I am ashamed of coming, and mother does not know that I am here; but I
am very unhappy, and if you can not help me----"

"Please sit down," said John Storm.

"I have come to tell you----" she said, and then her sad eyes moved about
the room and came back to his face. "It is about Lord Robert Ure, and I
am very wretched."

"Tell me everything, dear lady, and if there is anything I can do----"

She told him all. It was a miserable story. Her mother had engaged her to
Lord Robert Ure (there was no other way of putting it) for the sake of
his title, and he had engaged himself to her for the sake of her wealth.
She had never loved him, and had long known that he was a man of
scandalous reputation; but she had been taught that to attach weight to
such considerations would be girlish and sentimental, and she had fought
for a while and then yielded.

"You will reproach me for my feebleness," she said, and he answered

"No, I do not reproach you--I pity you!"

"Well," she said, "it is all over now, and if I am ruined, and if my

"You have told her you can not marry him!"


"Then who am I to reproach you?" he said; and rising to his feet, he
threw down his book.

Her dark eyes wandered about the room, and came back to his face again
and shone with a new lustre.

"I heard your sermon on Sunday, Mr. Storm, and I felt as if there were
nobody else in the church, and you were speaking to me alone. And last
night at the theatre----"


He had been tramping the room, but he stopped.

"I saw him in a box with his friend and two--two ladies."

"Were they nurses from the hospital?"

She made a cry of surprise and said, "Then you know all about it, and the
sermon _was_ meant for me?"

He did not speak for a moment, and then he said with a thick utterance:

"You wish me to help you to break off this marriage, and I will try. But
if I fail--no matter what has happened in the past, or what awaits you in
the future----"

"Oh," she said, "if I had your strength beside me I should be brave--I
should be afraid of nothing."

"Good-bye, dear lady," said John Storm; and before he could prevent her
she had stooped over his hand and kissed it.

John Storm had returned to his book and was clutching it with nervous
fingers, when his fellow-curate came with a message from the canon to
request his presence in the study.

"Tell him I was on the point of going down," said John. And the Reverend
Golightly coughed and bowed himself out.

The canon had also had a visitor that morning. It was Mrs. Macrae
herself. She sat on a chair covered with a tiger skin, sniffed at her
scented handkerchief, and poured out all her sorrows.

Mercy had rebelled against her authority, and it was entirely the fault
of the new curate, Mr. Storm. She had actually refused to carry out her
engagement with Lord Robert, and it all came of that dreadful sermon on
Sunday. It was dishonourable, it was unprincipled, and it was a pretty
thing to teach girls to indulge their whims without regard to the wishes
of parents!

"Here have I been two years in London, spending a fortune on the girl and
trying to do my best for her, and the moment I fix her in one of the
first English families, this young man--this curate--this---- Upon my
honour, it's real wicked, it's shameful!" And the handkerchief steeped in
perfume went up from the nose to the eyes.

The canon swung his _pince-nez_. "Don't put yourself about, my dear Mrs.
Macrae. Leave the matter to me. Miss Macrae will give up her objections,

"Oh, you mustn't judge her by her quietness, canon. You don't know her
character. She's real stubborn when her mind's made up. But I'll be as
stubborn as she is--I'll take her back to America--I'll never spend
another penny----"

"And as for Mr. Storm," continued the canon, "I'll make everything smooth
in that quarter. You mustn't think too much about the unhappy sermon--a
little youthful _esprit fort_--we all go through it, you know."

When Mrs. Macrae had gone, he rang twice for Mr. Golightly and said,
"Tell Mr. Storm to come down to me immediately."

"With pleasure, sir," said the little man; and then he hesitated.

"What is it?" said the canon, adjusting his glasses.

"I have never told you, sir, how I found him the night you sent me to the

"Well, how?"

"On his knees to a Catholic priest who was visiting a patient."

The canon's glasses fell from his eyes and his broad face broke into
strange smiles.

"I thought the Sorceress of Rome was at the bottom of it," he said. "His
uncle shall know of this, and unless I am sadly deceived--but fetch him

John Storm was wearing his flannel shirt that morning, and he came
downstairs with a heavy tread and swung himself, unasked, into the chair
that had just before been occupied by Mrs. Macrae.

The perpendicular wrinkles came between the canon's eyebrows and he said:
"My dear Mr. Storm, I have postponed as long as possible a most painful
interview. The fact is, your recent sermon has given the greatest offence
to the ladies of my congregation, and if such teaching were persisted in
we should lose our best people. Now, I don't want to be angry with you,
quite the contrary, but I wish to put it to you, as your spiritual head
and adviser, that your idea of religion is by no means agreeable to the
needs and necessities of the nineteenth century. There is no freedom in
such a faith, and St. Paul says, 'Where the Spirit of the Lord is, there
is liberty.' But the theory of your religion is not more unscriptural
than its application is unwholesome. Yours is a gloomy faith, my dear
Storm, and what did Luther say of a gloomy faith?--that the devil was
very apt to be lurking behind it. As for himself he married, you may
remember; he had children, he played chess, he loved to see young people

"I don't object to the dancing, sir," said John Storm. "I only object to
the tune."

"What do you mean?" said the canon, not without insolence, and the
perpendicular wrinkles became large and heavy.

"I mean, sir," said John Storm, "that half the young people nowadays--the
young women in the west of London especially--are asked to dance to the
Dead March."

And then he spoke of the infamous case of Mercy Macrae, how she was being
bought and sold, and how scandalous was the reputation of the man she was
required to marry.

"That was what I was coming down to speak about, sir--to ask you to save
this innocent girl from such a mockery of holy wedlock. She is not a
child, and the law can not help her, but you can do so, because the power
of the Church is at your back. You have only to set your face against
this infamy, and say----"

"My dear Mr. Storm," the canon was smiling condescendingly and swinging
his glasses, "the business of the Church is to solemnize marriages, not
to make them. But if the young lady comes to me I will say: 'My dear
young lady, the conditions you complain of are more common than you
suppose; put aside all foolish, romantic notions, make a nest for
yourself as comfortably as you can, and come back in a year to thank

John Storm was on his feet; the blood was mounting to his face and
tingling in his fingers.

"And so these men are to make their wives of the daughters of the poor
first, and then ask the Church to solemnize their polygamy----"

But the canon had lifted his hand to silence him.

"My dear young friend, a policy like yours would decimate the House of
Commons and abolish the House of Lords. Practical religion has a sweet
reasonableness. We are all human, even if we are all gentlemen; and while
silly young things----"

But John Storm was out in the hall and putting on his hat to see Glory.

Glory had not yet awakened from her trance. While others were living in
to-day she was still going about in yesterday. The emotion of the theatre
was upon her, and the world of reality took the tone and colour of drama.
This made her a tender woman, but a bad nurse.

She began the day in the Outpatient Department, and a poor woman came
with a child that had bitten its tongue. Its condition required that it
should remain in the house a day or two. "Let me put the pore thing to
bed; she's allus used to me," said the woman piteously. "Are you the
mother?" said the Sister. "No, the grandmother." "The mother is the only
person who can enter the wards except on visiting day." The poor woman
began to cry. Glory had to carry the child to bed, and she whispered to
the grandmother, "Come this way," and the woman followed her. When they
came to the surgical ward, she said to the nurse in charge, "This is the
child's mother, and she has come to put the poor little thing to bed."

Later in the morning she was sent up to help in the same ward. A patient
in great pain called to her and said, "Loosen this bandage for me, nurse;
it is killing me!" And she loosened it.

But the glamour of the theatre was upon her as well as its sentiment and
emotion, and in the space before the bed of one of the patients, at a
moment when the ward Sister was away, she began to make imitations of
Beatrice and Benedick and the singer of "Sigh no more, ladies." The
patient was Koenig, the choirmaster of "All Saints'," a little fat German
with long mustaches, which he waxed and curled as he lay in bed. Glory
had christened him "the hippopotamus," and at her mimicry he laughed so
much that he rolled and pitched and dived among the bedclothes.

"Ach, Gott!" he cried, "vot a girl! Never--I haf never heard any one so
goot on de stage. Vot a voice, too! A leetle vork under a goot teacher,
and den, mein Gott! Vot is it de musicians say?--the genius has a Cremona
inside of him on which he first composes his immortal vorks. You haf the
Cremona, my dear, and I will help you to bring it out. Vot you tink?"

It was the hour of the morning when the patients who can afford it have
their newspapers brought up to them, but the newspapers were thrown
aside; every eye was on Glory, and there was much noisy laughter and even
some clapping of hands.

Ward Sister Allworthy entered with the house doctor.

"What's the meaning of this?" she demanded. Glory told the truth, and was

"Who has loosened this bandage?" said the doctor. The patient tried to
prevaricate, but Glory told the truth again, and was reproved once more.

"And who permitted this woman to come into the ward?" said the nurse.

"I did," said Glory.

"You're not fit to be a nurse, miss, and I shall certainly report you as
unfit for duty."

Glory laughed in the Sister's face.

It was at this moment that John Storm arrived after his interview with
the canon. He drew Glory into the corridor and tried to pacify her.

"Oh, don't suppose I'm going to do hospital nursing all my life," she
said. "It may be good womanly work, but I want to be a human being with a
heart, and not a machine called Duty. How I hate and despise my
surroundings! I'll make an end of them one of these days. Sooner or later
it must come to that."

"Your life has been deranged, Glory, and that is why you disdain your
surroundings. You were at the theatre last night."

"Who told you that? Well, what of it? Are you one of those who think the

"I don't object to the theatre, Glory. It is the derangement of your life
I am thinking of; and if anybody is responsible for that he is your
enemy, not your friend."

"You will make me angry again, as you did before," and she began to bite
her quivering lip.

"I did not come to make you angry, Glory. I came to ask you--even to
entreat you--to break off this hateful connection."

"Because you know nothing of this--this connection, as you say--you call
it hateful."

"I know what I am talking about, my child. The life these men live is
worse than hateful; and it makes my heart bleed to see you falling a
victim to it."

"You are degrading me again; you are always degrading me. Other men try
to be agreeable to me, but you---- Besides, I can not hear my friends
abused. Yes, they _are_ my friends. I _was_ at the theatre with them last
night, and I am going to take tea at their chambers on my next holiday.
So please----"


With one plunge of his arm he had gripped her by the wrist.

"You are hurting me."

"You are never to set foot in the rooms of those men!"

"Let me go!"

"You are as inexperienced as a child, Glory, and it is my duty to protect
you against yourself."

"Let go, I say!"

"Don't destroy yourself. Think while there's time--think of your good
name, your character!"

"I shall do as I please."

"Listen! If I have chosen to be a clergyman, it's not because I've lived
all my life in cotton wool. Let me tell you what the lives of such men
really are--the best of them, the very best. He gets up at noon, walks in
the park, takes tea with some one, grunts and groans that he must go to
somebody's dinner party, escapes to the Gaiety Theatre, sups at a
so-called club----"

"You mean Lord Robert. But what right have you to say----"

"The right of one who knows him to be as bad as this, and worse--ten
times worse! Such a man thinks he has a right to play with a girl if she
is poor. She may stake her soul, her salvation, but he risks nothing.
To-day he trifles with her; to-morrow he marries another, and flings her
to the devil!"

"There's something else in this. What is it?"

But John Storm had swung about and left her.

As soon as she was at liberty she went in search of Polly Love, expecting
to find her in her cubicle, but the cubicle was empty. Coming out of the
little room she saw a piece of paper lying on the floor. It was a letter,
carefully folded. She picked it up, unfolded it, and read it, hardly
knowing what she was doing, for her head was dizzy and her eyes were
swimming in unshed tears. It ran:

"You ask, Do I mean to adopt entirely? Yes; to bring up just the same as
if it were born to me. I hope yours will be a strong and healthy boy; but
if it is a girl----"

Glory could not understand what she was reading. Whose letter could it
be? It was addressed "X. Y. Z., Office of _Morning Post_."

There was a hurried footstep approaching, and Polly came in, with her
eyes on the ground as if looking for something she had dropped. At the
next moment she had snatched the letter out of Glory's hand, and was

"What are you doing in my room? Has your friend the chaplain told you to
spy upon me?"

The expression on her face was appalling, and Glory, who had flushed up
with shame, turned away without a word.

When John Storm got back to his room he found the following letter from
the canon on his table:

"Since our interview of this morning (so strangely abridged) I have had
the honour to visit your dear uncle, the Prime Minister, and he agrees
with me that the strain of your recent examinations and the anxieties of
a new occupation have probably disturbed your health, and that it will be
prudent of you to take a short vacation. I have therefore the greatest
pleasure in assuring you that you are free from duty for a week, a
fortnight, or a month, as your convenience may determine; and during your
much-regretted absence I will do my best to sustain the great loss of
your invaluable help."

On reading the message, John Storm flung himself into a chair and burst
into a long peal of bitter laughter. But when the laughter was spent
there came a sense of great loneliness. Then he remembered Mrs.
Callender, and went across to her little house in Victoria Square, and
showed her the canon's letter and told her everything.

"Lies, lies, lies!" she said. "Ah, laddie, laddie! to lie, to know you
lie, to be known to lie, and yet to go on lying--that is the whole art of
life with these fashionable shepherds and their fashionable flock. As for
that woman--ugh! She was separated from her husband for two years before
his death; and he died in a hotel abroad without kith or kin to comfort
him: and now she wears his hair in a gold locket on her bosom--that's
what she is! But all's well that ends well, laddie. The _holly_ will do
ye good, for you were killing yerself with work. You'll no be spending it
in your little island, now, eh?"

John Storm was sitting with one leg across the other, and his head on his
hand and his elbow on his knee.

"I shall spend it," he said, "in Retreat at the Brotherhood in

"God bless me, man! is that the change of air ye'll be going to gie
yoursel'? It may be well enough for men with water in their veins; but
you have blood, laddie--blood! Tak' care, tak' care!"


"Still at Martha's.

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