Part 3 out of 12
"Quite right, dear Aunt Anna, the terms 'authority' and 'obedience' must
be known and honoured. Only, when it is a case of put a penny in the slot
and out comes the word of command, you can't exactly feel that way. The
board of directors put the penny into the slot of this institution, and
the word of command, so far as I am concerned, comes out of the mouth of
Ward Sister Allworthy. I call her the White Owl. She is five feet ten,
and has big round cheeks which sometimes I should dearly love to slap--as
mothers slap their 'childers' when they administer a humiliating
"So you think you notice 'a certain want of aptitude'? Well, I don't
think I am naturally a bad nurse, Aunt Anna. The patients like me, and
they don't die of the dumps when I am about. Only I can't practise
nursing by the rule of three, and as a consequence I get myself reported.
Sister Allworthy has reported me three times, bless her! Thrice the
brinded cat hath mewed, and now she threatens to have me up before the
matron. That dear soul has difficulties of locomotion, being buried under
the Pelion on Ossa of a mountain of fat. She inhabits a cave of Adullam
on the edge of the Inferno--i. e., the 'theatre'--below stairs, and has a
small dog with a bad heart and broken wind always nagging on her knee. I
call her the Chief Broker in Breakages and Head Dealer in Diseases, and
she is only seen once a day when she comes round to take stock. You have
to be nice with her Majesty,' for she can haul you up at the weekly
board, and put a score against you in the black book, and send you away
without a certificate. If that happens, a girl who expects to earn her
living as a nurse has never any particular need to pray, 'In all time of
our wealth, good Lord deliver us.'
"But, oh, my dear grandfather, what do you think of our John Storm now?
After uttering the lamentations of Jeremiah and predicting all the
plagues of Egypt, he has gone off to hold his peace--that is to say, he
has gone to make his 'Retreat,' which, being interpreted, means praying
without ceasing, and also without speaking, eighteen hours a day, six
days at a spell, and sometimes sixty. When he comes back reeking with all
that holiness I shall feel myself such a miserable sinner----
"Soberly, I could cry to think of it, though, and when I remember that
perhaps I was partly to blame----
"It was this way: In that 'ter'ble discoorse' I told you he had scotched
the snake, not killed it, and his vicar (I call him Mr. Worldly Wiseman),
finding that his ladies and nobility went out like the Pharisees, one by
one, told our poor John he was ill and stood in need of instant rest. It
looked like it certainly, and the trouble must have been a sort of human
rabies in which the poor victim bites at his best friends first. He came
here with his lower lip hanging like an old dog's, and I was so stupid as
not to see that he was being hunted like a dog too, and only told myself
how ugly and untidy he had grown of late. But the Sister had just before
been showing me her tusks again, and being possessed with a fury, I gave
it him world without end. He was very unreasonable though, and seemed to
say that I must have no friends and no amusements that were not of his
choosing, and that after spending my days walking through the inside of
this precious hospital I must spend my nights walking round the outside
of it. Being a woman of like passions with himself, I had a 'ter'ble
dust' with him on the subject, and the next I heard was that he was going
to make Retreat in a kind of English-church monastery somewhere in the
city, where he would 'try to disentangle' himself 'from the world' and
see what he 'ought to do next.' He sent me his blessing with this
message, and I sent him back mine--a less holy one, but he'll make it do.
"I thought you would remember Mr. Drake's mother, dear Auntie Rachel.
Yes, he is fair also, and wears his hair brushed across his forehead,
much as you see in the portraits of Napoleon. In fact, he is a sort of
fair-haired Napoleon in nature as well.
"He took me to the theatre the other evening, and that was the great
event I intended to tell you about. It was quite a proper sort of place,
and nobody behaved badly except Glory, who kept talking and preaching and
going silly with excitement all the evening through, with the result that
everybody was staring mewards and wanting to turn me out.
"Since then Mr. Drake's friend, Lord Bob, who knows all the actors on
earth seemingly, has taken us 'behind,' and we have seen a rehearsal.
Things don't look quite the same behind as before, but nothing in the
world does that, and I wasn't a bit disenchanted. In fact, I found
everything delightfully romantic and amusing, and really I do not think
it _can_ be so very wicked to be an actress. Do you?
"My friend Polly Love was with us. Polly is a probationer also, and
sleeps in the cubicle next to mine, and after the rehearsal we went to
the gentlemen's chambers to tea. I can hear what Aunt Anna is saying:
'Goodness gracious! you didn't do that, girl?' Well, yes, I did though.
In the interest of my sex I wanted to see how two boys could live in
rooms all by themselves, and it's perfectly shocking how well they get on
without a woman. Of course I wasn't such a silly as to let wit about
that, but after I had examined their sitting-room and cross-examined its
owners on its numerous photographs (chiefly feminine) and tried how it
feels to hold their big pipes between one's teeth, I whipped off my hat
at once and began to put things straight for them, and then I made the
"By this time the gentlemen had changed into their jackets, and I sent
them flying around for cups and saucers and sugar basins. It turned out
that they had only one teaspoon in the place, and when anybody wanted to
stir her tea she said, 'Will you oblige me with _spoon_ please?' What fun
it was! We laughed until we cried--at least one of us did--and eventually
we managed to break the teapot and a slop basin and to overturn a
standing lamp. It was perfectly delightful!
"But the best sport was after tea was over, and Glory was called on for
imitations of the people we had seen at the theatre. Of course she
couldn't imitate a man when she was in a woman's frock, so being as
bright as diamonds that night and twice 'as impudent as a white stone,'
[* A Manx proverb] she actually conceived the idea of dressing up in
man's clothes. Naturally the gentlemen were enchanted, so I hope Auntie
Rachel isn't terribly shocked. Mr. Drake lent me his knickerbockers and a
velvet jacket, and Polly and I went into the bedroom, where she helped me
to find the way to put them on. With my own blouse and my own hat (I am
wearing a felt one now with a broad brim and a feather), and _of course_
my own slippers and stockings, I made a bogh of a boy, I can tell you. I
thought Polly would have died of delight in the bedroom, but when we came
out she kept covering her face and crying, 'Glory, how _can_ you!'
"I'm afraid I sang and talked more than was good for the soul, but it was
all Mr. Drake's doing. He declared I was such a marvellous mimic that it
was simply a waste of time and the good gifts of God to go on hospital
nursing any longer. And I do believe that if anything happened, and the
need arose, he would----
"Only fancy Glory a public person, and all the world and his wife going
down on their knees to her! But then it's fearful to think of being an
actress, isn't it?
"After all such glorious 'outs' I have to go 'in' to the hospital, and
then comes my fit again. Do you remember my little boy who said he was
going to the angels, and he would get lots of gristly pork up there? He
has gone, and I don't think I like nursing children now. Oh, how I long
to go out into the world! I want to shine in it. I want to become great
and glorious. I could do it too, I know I could. I have got it in me, I
am sure I have. Yet here I am in a little dark corner crying for the
"How silly this is, isn't it? It sounds like madness. My dears, allow me
to introduce you to some one--
"Glory Quayle, 'March Hare and Madwoman.'"
The board room of the hospital of Martha's Vineyard was a large and
luxurious chamber, with an oval window at its farther end, and its two
side walls panelled with portraits of former chairmen and physicians. In
great oaken armchairs, behind ponderous oaken tables, covered with green
cloth and furnished with writing pads, the Board of Governors sat in
three sides of a square, leaving an open space in the middle. This open
space was reserved for patients seeking admission or receiving discharge,
and for officers of the hospital presenting their weekly reports.
On a morning in August the matron's report had closed with a startling
item. It recommended the immediate suspension of a nurse on the ground of
gross impropriety of conduct. The usual course in such a case was for the
board of the hospital to depute the matron to act for them in private,
but the chairman in this instance was a peppery person, with a stern
mouth and a solid under-jaw.
"This is a most serious matter," he said. "I think--this being a public
institution--I really think the board should investigate the case for
itself. We ought to assure ourselves that--that, in fact, no other
irregularity is going on in the hospital."
"May it please your lordship," said a rotund voice from, one of the side
tables, "I would suggest that a case like this of grievous moral
delinquency comes directly within the dispensation of the chaplain, and
if he has done his duty by the unhappy girl (as no doubt he has) he must
have a statement to make to the board with regard to her."
It was Canon Wealthy.
"I may mention," he added, "that Mr. Storm has now returned to his
duties, and is at present in the hospital."
"Send for him," said the chairman.
When John Storm entered the board room it was remarked that he looked no
better for his holiday. His cheeks were thinner, his eyes more hollow,
and there was a strange pallor under his swarthy skin.
The business was explained to him, and he was asked if he had any
statement to make with regard to the nurse whom the matron had reported
"No," he said, "I have no statement."
"Do you mean to tell the board," said the chairman, "that you know
nothing of this matter--that the case is too trivial for your
attention--or perhaps that you have never even spoken to the girl on the
"That is so--I never have," said John.
"Then you shall do so now," said the chairman, and he put his hand on the
bell beside him, and the messenger appeared.
"You can not intend, sir, to examine the girl here," said John.
"And why not?"
"Before so many--and all of us men save one. Surely the matron----"
The canon rose to his feet again. "My young brother is naturally
sensitive, my lord, but I assure him his delicate feelings are wasted on
a girl like this. He forgets that the shame lies in the girl's sin, not
in her just and necessary punishment."
"Bring her in," said the chairman. The matron whispered to the messenger,
and he left the room.
"Pardon me, sir," said John Storm; "if it is your expectation that I
should question the nurse on her sin, as the canon says, I can not do
"Well, I will not."
"And is that your idea of your duty as a chaplain?"
"It is the matron's duty, not the chaplain's, to----"
"The matron! The matron! This is your parish, sir--your parish. A great
public institution is in danger of a disgraceful scandal, and you who are
responsible for its spiritual welfare--really, gentlemen----"
Again the canon rose with a conciliatory smile.
"I think I understand my young friend," he said, "and your lordship and
the hoard will appreciate his feelings, however you may disapprove of his
judgment. What generous heart can not sympathize with the sensitive
spirit of the youthful clergyman who shrinks from the spectacle of guilt
and shame in a young and perhaps beautiful woman? But if it will relieve
your lordship from an embarrassing position, I am myself willing----"
"Thank you," said the chairman; and then the girl was brought into the
room in charge of Sister Allworthy.
She was holding her head down and trying to cover her face with her
"Your name, girl?" said the canon.
"Mary Elizabeth Love," she faltered.
"You are aware, Mary Elizabeth Love, that our excellent and indulgent
matron" (here he bowed to a stout lady who sat in the open space) "has
been put to the painful duty of reporting you for suspension, which is
equivalent to your immediate discharge. Now, I can not hold out a hope
that the board will not ratify her recommendation, but it may perhaps
qualify the terms of your 'character' if you can show these gentlemen
that the unhappy lapse from good conduct which brings you to this
position of shame and disgrace is due in any measure to irregularities
practised perhaps within this hospital, or to the temptations of any one
connected with it."
The girl began to cry.
"Speak, nurse; if you have anything to say, the gentlemen are willing to
The girl's crying deepened into sobs.
"Useless!" said the chairman.
"Impossible!" said the canon.
But some one suggested that perhaps the nurse had a girl friend in the
hospital who could throw light on the difficult situation. Then Sister
Allworthy whispered to the matron, who said, "Bring her in."
John Storm's face had assumed a fixed and absent expression, but he saw a
girl of larger size than Polly Love enter the room with a gleam, as it
were, of sunshine on her golden-red hair. It was Glory.
There was some preliminary whispering, and then the canon began again:
"You are a friend and companion of Mary Elizabeth Love?"
"Yes," said Glory.
Her voice was full and calm, and a look of quiet courage lit up her
"You have known her other friends, no doubt, and perhaps you have shared
"I think so."
"Then you can tell the board if the unhappy condition in which she finds
herself is due to any one connected with this hospital."
"I think not."
"Not to any officer, servant, or member of any school attached to it?"
"Thank you," said the chairman, "that is quite enough," and down the
tables of the governors there were nods and smiles of satisfaction.
"What have I done?" said Glory.
"You have done a great service to an ancient and honourable institution,"
said the canon, "and the best return the board can make for your candour
and intelligence is to advise you to avoid such companionship for the
future and to flee such perilous associations."
A certain desperate recklessness expressed itself in Glory's face, and
she stepped up to Polly, who was now weeping audibly, and put her arm
about the girl's waist.
"What are the girl's relatives?" said the chairman.
The matron replied out of her book. Polly was an orphan, both her parents
being dead. She had a brother who had lately been a patient in the
hospital, but he was only a lay-helper in the Anglican Monastery at
Bishopsgate Street, and therefore useless for present purposes.
There was some further whispering about the tables. Was this the girl who
had been recommended to the hospital by the coroner who had investigated
a certain notorious and tragic case? Yes.
"I think I have heard of some poor and low relations," said the canon,
"but their own condition is probably too needy to allow them to help her
at a time like the present."
Down to this moment Polly had done nothing but cry, but now she flamed up
in a passion of pride and resentment.
"It's false!" she cried. "I have no poor and low relations, and I want
nobody's help. My friend is a gentleman--as much a gentleman as anybody
here--and I can tell you his name, if you like. He lives in St. James's
Street, and he is Lord----"
"Stop, girl!" said the canon, in a loud voice. "We can not allow you to
compromise the honour of a gentleman by mentioning his name in his
John stepped to one of the tables of the governors and took up a pamphlet
which lay there. It was the last annual report of Martha's Vineyard, with
a list of its governors and subscribers.
"The girl is suspended," said the chairman, and reaching for the matron's
book, he signed it and returned it.
"This," said the canon, "appears to be a case for Mrs. Callender's
Maternity Home at Soho, and with the consent of the board I will request
the chaplain to communicate with that lady immediately."
John Storm had heard, but he made no answer; he was turning over the
leaves of the pamphlet.
The canon hemmed and cleared his throat. "Mary Elizabeth Love," he said,
"you have brought a stain upon this honourable and hitherto
irreproachable institution, but I trust and believe that ere long, and
before your misbegotten child is born, you may see cause to be grateful
for our forbearance and our charity. Speaking for myself, I confess it is
an occasion of grief to me, and might well, I think, be a cause of sorrow
to him who has had your spiritual welfare in his keeping" (here he gave a
look toward John), "that you do not seem to realize the position of
infamy in which you stand. We have always been taught to think of a woman
as sweet and true and pure; a being hallowed to our sympathy by the most
sacred associations, and endeared to our love by the tenderest ties, and
it is only right" (the canon's voice was breaking), "it is only right, I
say, that you should be told at once, and in this place--though tardily
and too late--that for the woman who wrongs that ideal, as you have
wronged it, there is but one name known among persons of good credit and
good report--a hard name, a terrible name, a name of contempt and
loathing--the name of _prostitute!_"
Crushing the pamphlet in his hand, John Storm had taken a step toward the
canon, but he was too late. Some one was there before him. It was Glory.
With her head erect and her eyes flashing, she stood between the weeping
girl and the black-coated judge, and everybody could see the swelling and
heaving of her bosom.
"How dare you!" she cried. "You say you have been taught to think of a
woman as sweet and pure. Well, _I_ have been taught to think of a _man_
as strong and brave, and tender and merciful to every living creature,
but most of all to a woman, if she is erring and fallen. But you are not
brave and tender; you are cruel and cowardly, and I despise you and hate
The men at the tables were rising from their seats.
"Oh, you have discharged my friend," she said, "and you may discharge me,
too, if you like--if you _dare_! But I will tell everybody that it was
because I would not let you insult a poor girl with a cruel and shameful
name, and trample upon her when she was down. And everybody will believe
me, because it is the truth; and anything else you may say will be a lie,
and all the world will know it!"
The matron was shambling up also.
"How dare you, miss! Go back to your ward this instant! Do you know whom
you are speaking to?"
"Oh, it's not the first time I've spoken to a clergyman, ma'am. I'm the
daughter of a clergyman, and the granddaughter of a clergyman, and I know
what a clergyman is when he is brave and good, and gentle and merciful to
all women, and when he is a man and a gentleman--not a Pharisee and a
"Please take that girl away," said the chairman.
But John Storm was by her side in a moment.
"No, sir," he said, "nobody shall do that."
But now Glory had broken down too, and the girls, like two lost children,
were crying on each other's breasts. John opened the door and led them up
"Take your friend to her room, nurse: I shall be with you presently."
Then he turned back to the chairman, still holding the crumpled pamphlet
in his hand, and said calmly and respectfully:
"And now that you have finished with the woman, sir, may I ask what you
intend to do with the man?"
"Though I did not feel myself qualified to sit in judgment on the broken
heart of a fallen girl, I happen to know the name which she was forbidden
to mention, and I find it here, sir--here in your list of subscribers and
"Well, what of it?"
"You have wiped the girl out of your books, sir. Now I ask you to wipe
the man out also."
"Gentlemen," said the chairman, rising, "the business of the board is at
John Storm wrote a letter to Mrs. Callender explaining Polly Love's
situation and asking her to call on the girl immediately, and then he
went out in search of Lord Robert Ure at the address he had discovered in
He found the man alone on his arrival, but Drake came in soon afterward.
Lord Robert received him with a chilly bow; Drake offered his hand
coldly; neither of them requested him to sit.
"You are surprised at my visit, gentlemen," said John, "but I have just
now been present at a painful scene, and I thought it necessary that you
should know something about it."
Then he described what had occurred in the board room, and in doing so
dwelt chiefly on the abjectness of the girl's humiliation. Lord Robert
stood by the window rapping a tune on the window pane, and Drake sat in a
low chair with his legs stretched out and his hands in his trousers
"But I am at a loss to understand why you have thought it necessary to
come here to tell that story," said Lord Robert.
"Lord Robert," said John, "you understand me perfectly."
"Excuse me, Mr. Storm, I do not understand you in the least."
"Then I will not ask you if you are responsible for the girl's position."
"But I will ask you a simpler and easier question."
"What is it?"
"When are you going to marry her?"
Lord Robert burst into ironical laughter and faced round to Drake.
"Well, these men--these curates--their assurance, don't you know... May I
ask your reverence what is _your_ position in this matter--your standing,
don't you know?"
"That of chaplain of the hospital."
"But you say she has been, turned out of it."
"Very well, Lord Robert, merely that of a man who intends to protect an
"Oh, I know," said Lord Robert dryly, "I understand these heroics. I've
heard of your sermons, Mr. Storm--your interviews with ladies, and so
"And I have heard of your doings with girls," said John. "What are you
going to do for this one?"
"Exactly what I please."
"Take care! You know what the girl is. It's precisely such girls---- At
this moment she is tottering on the brink of hell, Lord Robert. If
anything further should happen--if you should disappoint her--she is
looking to you and building up hopes--if she should fall still lower and
destroy herself body and soul----"
"My dear Mr. Storm, please understand that I shall do everything or
nothing for the girl exactly as I think well, don't you know, without the
counsel or coercion of any clergyman."
There was a short silence, and then John Storm said quietly: "It is no
worse than I expected. But I had to hear it from your own lips, and I
have heard it. Good-day."
He went back to the hospital and asked for Glory. She was banished with
Polly to the housekeeper's room. Polly was catching flies on the window
(which overlooked the park) and humming, "Sigh no more, ladies." Glory's
eyes were red with weeping. John drew Glory aside.
"I have written to Mrs. Callender, and she will be here presently," he
"It is useless," said Glory. "Polly will refuse to go. She expects Lord
Robert to come for her, and she wants me to call on Mr. Drake."
"But I have seen the man myself."
"Yes. He will do nothing."
"Nothing, or worse than nothing."
"Nothing of that kind is impossible to men like those."
"They are not so bad as that though, and even if Lord Robert is all you
say, Mr. Drake----"
"They are friends and housemates, Glory, and what the one is the other
must be also."
"Oh, no. Mr. Drake is quite a different person."
"Don't be misled, my child. If there were any real difference between
"But there is; and if a girl were in trouble or wanted help in
"He would drop her, Glory, like an old lottery ticket that has drawn a
blank and is done for."
She was biting her lip, and it was bleeding slightly.
"You dislike Mr. Drake," she said, "and that is why you can not be just
to him. But he is always praising and excusing you, and when any one----"
"His praises and excuses are nothing to me. I am not thinking of myself.
I am thinking----"
He had a look of intense excitement, and his speaking was abrupt and
"You were splendid this morning, Glory, and when I think of the girl who
defied that Pharisee, being perhaps herself the victim--The man asked me
what my standing was, as if that--But if I had really had a right, if the
girl had been anything to me, if she had been somebody else and not a
light, shallow, worthless creature, do you know what I should have said
to him? 'Since things have gone so far, sir, you must marry the girl
now, and keep to her and be faithful to her, and love her, or else I----"
"You are flushed and excited, and there is something I do not
"Promise me, Glory, that you will break off this bad connection."
"You are unreasonable. I can not promise."
"Promise that you will never see these men again."
"But I must see Mr. Drake at once and arrange about Polly."
"Don't mention the man's name again; it makes my blood boil to hear you
"But this is tyranny; and you are worse than the canon; and I can not
"Very well; as you will. It's of no use struggling--What is the time?"
"Six o'clock nearly."
"I must see the canon before he goes to dinner."
His manner had changed suddenly. He looked crushed and benumbed.
"I am going now." he said, turning aside.
"So soon? When shall I see you again?"
"God knows!--I mean--I don't know," he answered in a helpless way.
He was looking around, as if taking a mental farewell of everything.
"But we can not part like this," she said. "I think you like me a little
Her supplicating voice made him look up into her face for a moment. Then
he turned away, saying, "Good-bye, Glory." And with a look of utter
exhaustion he went out of the room.
Glory walked to a window at the end of the corridor that she might see
him when he crossed the street. There was just a glimpse of his back as
he turned the corner with a slow step and his head on his breast. She
went back crying.
"I could fancy a fresh herring for supper, dear," said Polly. "What do
you say, housekeeper?"
John Storm went back to the canon's house a crushed and humiliated man.
"I can do no more," he thought. "I will give it up." His old influence
with Glory must have been lost. Something had come between
them--something or some one. "Anyhow it is all over and I must go away
To go on seeing Glory would be useless. It would also be dangerous. As
often as he was face to face with her he wanted to lay hold of her and
say, "You must do this and this, because it is my wish and direction and
command, and it is _I_ that say so!" In the midst of God's work how
subtle were the temptations of the devil!
But with every step that he went plodding home there came other feelings.
He could see the girl quite plainly, her fresh young face, so strong and
so tender, so full of humour and heart's love, and all the sweet beauty
of her form and figure. Then the old pain in his breast came back again
and he began to be afraid.
"I will take refuge in the Church," he thought. In prayer and penance and
fasting he would find help and consolation. The Church was peace--peace
from the noise of life, and strength to fight and to vanquish. But the
Church must be the Church of God--not of the world, the flesh, and the
"Ask the canon if he can see me immediately," said John Storm to the
footman, and he stood in the hall for the answer.
The canon had taken tea that day in the study with his daughter Felicity.
He was reclining on the sofa, propped up with velvet cushions, and
holding the teacup and saucer like the wings of a butterfly in both
"We have been deceived, my dear" (sip, sip), "and we must pay the penalty
of the deception. Yet we have nothing to blame ourselves for--nothing
whatever. Here was a young man, from Heaven knows where, bent on entering
the diocese. True, he was merely the son of a poor lord who had lived the
life of a hermit, but he was also the nephew, and presumably the heir, of
the Prime Minister of England" (sip, sip, sip). "Well, I gave him his
title. I received him into my house. I made him free of my family--and
what is the result? He has disregarded my instructions, antagonized my
supporters, and borne himself toward me with an attitude of defiance, if
Felicity poured out a second cup of tea for her father, sympathized with
him, and set forth her own grievances. The young man had no conversation,
and his reticence was quite embarrassing. Sometimes when she had friends,
and asked him to come down, his silence--well, really----
"We might have borne with these little deficiencies, my dear, if the
Prime Minister had been deeply interested. But he is not. I doubt if he
has ever seen his nephew since that first occasion. And when I called at
Downing Street, about the time of the sermon, he seemed entirely
undisturbed. 'The young man is in the wrong place, my dear canon; send
him back to me.' That was all."
"Then why don't you do it?" said Felicity.
"It is coming to that, my child; but blood is thicker than water, you
know, and after all----"
It was at this moment the footman entered the room to ask if the canon
could see Mr. Storm.
"Ah, the man himself!" said the canon, rising. "Jenkyns, remove the
tray." Dropping his voice: "Felicity, I will ask you to leave us
together. After what occurred this morning at the hospital anything like
a scene----" Then aloud: "Bring him in, Jenkyns.--Say something, my dear.
Why don't you speak?--Come in, my dear Storm.--You'll see to that matter
for me, Felicity. Thanks, thanks! Sorry to send you off, but I'm sure Mr.
Storm will excuse you. Good-bye for the present."
Felicity went out as John Storm came in. He looked excited, and there was
an expression of pain in his face.
"I am sorry to disturb you, but I need not detain you long," he said.
"Sit down, Mr. Storm, sit down," said the canon, returning to the sofa.
But John did not sit. He stood by the chair vacated by Felicity, and kept
beating his hat on the back of it.
"I have come to tell you, sir, that I wish to resign my curacy."
The canon glanced up with a stealthy expression, and thought: "How clever
of him! To resign before he is told plainly that he has to go--that is
Then he said aloud: "I am sorry, very sorry. I'm always sorry to part
with my clergy. Still--you see I am entirely frank with you--I have
observed that you have not been comfortable of late, and I think you are
acting for the best. When do you wish to leave me?"
"As soon as convenient--as early as I can be spared."
The canon smiled condescendingly. "That need not trouble you at all. With
a staff like mine, you see---- Of course, you are aware that I am entitled
to three months' notice?"
"But I will waive it; I will not detain you. Have you seen your uncle on
"When you do so please say that I always try to remove impediments from a
young man's path if he is uncomfortable--in the wrong place, for
"Thank you," said John Storm, and then he hesitated a moment before
stepping to the door.
The canon rose and bowed affably. "Not an angry word," he thought. "Who
shall say that blood does not count for something?"
"Believe me, my dear Storm," he said aloud, "I shall always remember with
pride and pleasure our early connection. Perhaps I think you are acting
unwisely, even foolishly, but it will continue to be a source of
satisfaction to me that I was able to give you your first opportunity,
and if your next curacy should chance to be in London, I trust you will
allow us to maintain the acquaintance."
John Storm's face was twitching and his pulses were beating violently,
but he was trying to control himself.
"Thank you," he said; "but it is not very likely----"
"Don't say you are giving up Orders, dear Mr. Storm, or perhaps that you
are only leaving our church in order to unite yourself to another. Ah!
have I touched on a tender point? You must not be surprised that rumours
have been rife. We can not silence the tongues of busybodies and
mischief-makers, you know. And I confess, speaking as your spiritual head
and adviser, it would be a source of grief to me if a young clergyman,
who has eaten the bread of the Establishment, and my own as well, were
about to avow himself the subject and slave of an Italian bishop."
John Storm came back from the door.
"What you are saying, sir, requires that I should be plain spoken. In
giving up my curacy I am not leaving the Church of England; I am only
"I am so glad, so relieved!"
"I am leaving you because I can not live with you any longer, because the
atmosphere you breathe is impossible to me, because your religion is not
my religion, or your God my God!"
"You surprise me. What have I done?"
"A month ago I asked you to set your face as a clergyman against the
shameful and immoral marriage of a man of scandalous reputation, but you
refused; you excused the man and sided with him. This morning you thought
it necessary to investigate in public the case of one of that man's
victims, and you sided with the man again--you denied to the girl the
right even to mention the scoundrel's name!"
"How differently we see things! Do you know I thought my examination of
the poor young thing was merciful to the point of gentleness! And that, I
may tell you--notwithstanding the female volcano who came down on me--was
the view of the board and of his lordship the chairman."
"Then I am sorry to differ from them. I thought it unnecessary and
unmanly and brutal, and even blasphemous!"
"Mr. Storm! Do you know what you are saying?"
"Perfectly, and I came to say it."
His eyes were wild, his voice was hoarse; he was like a man breaking the
bonds of a tyrannical slavery.
"You called that poor child a prostitute because she had wasted the good
gifts which God had given her. But God has given good gifts to you
also--gifts of intellect and eloquence with which you might have raised
the fallen and supported the weak, and defended the downtrodden and
comforted the broken-hearted--and what have you done with them? You have
bartered them for benefices, and peddled them for popularity; you have
given them in exchange for money, for houses, for furniture, for things
like this--and this--and this! You have sold your birthright for a mess
of pottage, therefore _you_ are the prostitute!"
"You're not yourself, sir; leave me," and, crossing the room, the canon
touched the bell.
"Yes, ten thousand times more the prostitute than that poor fallen girl
with her taint of blood and will! There would be no such women as she is
to fall victims to evil companionship if there were no such men as you
are to excuse their betrayers and to side with them. Who is most the
prostitute--the woman who sells her body, or the man who sells his soul?"
"You're mad, sir! But I want no scene----"
"You are the worst prostitute on the streets of London, and yet you are
in the Church, in the pulpit, and you call yourself a follower of the One
who forgave the woman and shamed the hypocrites, and had not where to lay
But the canon had faced about and fled out of the room.
The footman came in answer to the bell, and, finding no one but John
Storm, he told him that a lady was waiting for him in a carriage at the
It was Mrs. Callender. She had come to say that she had called at the
hospital for Polly Love, and the girl had refused to go to the home at
"But whatever's amiss with ye, man?" she said. "You might have seen a
He had come out bareheaded, carrying his hat in his hand.
"It's all over," he said. "I've waited weeks and weeks for it, but it's
over at last. It was of no use mincing matters, so I spoke out."
His red eyes were ablaze, but a great load seemed to be lifted off his
mind, and his soul seemed to exult.
"I have told him I must leave him, and I am to go, immediately. The
disease was dire, and the remedy had to be dire also."
The old lady was holding her breath and watching his flushed face with
"And what may ye be going to do now?"
"To become a religious in something more than the name; to leave the
world altogether with its idleness and pomp and hypocrisy and unreality."
"Get yoursel' some flesh on your bones first, man. It's easy to see ye've
no been sleeping or eating these days and days together."
"That's nothing--nothing at all. God can not take half your soul. You
must give yourself entirely."
"Eh, laddie, laddie, I feared me this was what ye were coming til. But a
man can not bury himself before he is dead. He may bury the half of
himself, but is it the better half? What of his thoughts--his wandering
thoughts? Choose for yoursel', though, and if you must go--if you must
hide yoursel' forever, and this is the last I'm to see of ye--ye may kiss
me, laddie--I'm old enough, surely.--Go on, James, man, what for are ye
sitting up there staring?"
When John Storm returned to his room he found a letter from Parson
Quayle. It was a good-natured, cackling epistle, full of sweet nothings
about Glory and the hospital, about Peel and the discovery of ancient
ruins in the graveyards of the treen chapels, but it closed with this
"You will remember old Chalse, a sort of itinerant beggar and the
privileged pet of everybody. The silly old gawk has got hold of your
father and has actually made the old man believe that you are bewitched!
Some one has put the evil eye on you--some woman it would seem--and that
is the reason why you have broken away and behaved so strangely! It is
most extraordinary. That such a foolish superstition should have taken
hold of a man like your father is really quite astonishing, but if it
will only soften his rancour against you and help to restore peace we may
perhaps forgive the distrust of Providence and the outrage on common
sense. All's well that ends well, you know, and we shall all be happy."
"Lost, stolen, or strayed--a man, a clergyman, answers to the name of
John Storm. Or rather he does not answer, having allowed himself to be
written to twice without making so much as a yap or a yowl by way of
reply. Last seen six days ago, when he was suffering from the sulks,
after being in a de'il of a temper, with a helpless and innocent maiden
who 'doesn't know nothin',' that can have given him offence. Any one
giving information of his welfare and whereabouts to the said H. and I.
M. will be generously and appropriately rewarded.
"But, soberly, my dear John Storm, what has become of you? Where are you,
and whatever have you been doing since the day of the dreadful
inquisition? Frightful rumours are flying through the air like knives,
and they cut and wound a poor girl woefully. Therefore be good enough to
reply by return of post--and in person.
"Meantime please accept it as a proof of my eternal regard that after two
knock-down blows received in silence I am once more coming up smiling.
Know, then, that Mr. Drake has justified all expectations, having
compelled Lord Robert to provide for Polly, who is now safely ensconced
in her own country castle somewhere in St. John's Wood, furnished to hand
with servants and vassals complete. Thus you will be charmed to observe
in me the growth of the prophetic instinct, for you will remember my
positive prediction that if a girl were in trouble, and the necessity
arose, Mr. Drake would be the first to help her. Of course, he had a
great deal to say that was as sweet as syrup on the loyalty of my own
friendship also, and he expended much beautiful rhetoric on yourself as
well. It seems that you are one of those who follow the impulse of the
heart entirely, while the rest of us divide our allegiance with the head;
and if you display sometimes the severity of a tyrant of our sex, that is
only to be set down as another proof of your regard and of the elevation
of the pedestal whereon you desire us to be placed. Thus he reconciles me
to the harmony of the universe, and makes all things easy and agreeable.
"This being the case, I have now to inform you that Polly's baby has
come, having hastened his arrival (it is a man, bless it!) owing either
to the tears or the terrors of the crocodile. And being on night duty
now, and therefore at liberty from 6.30 to 8.30, I intend to pay him my
first call of ceremony this evening, when anybody else would be welcome
to accompany me who might be willing to come to his shrine of innocence
and love in the spirit of the wise men of the East. But, lest anybody
_should_ inquire for me at the hospital at the first of the hours
aforesaid, this is to give warning that the White Owl has expressly
forbidden all intercourse between the members of her staff and the
discharged and dishonoured mother. Set it down to my spirit of
contradiction that I intend to disregard the mandate, though I am only
too well aware that the poor discharged and dishonoured one has no other
idea of friendship than that of a loyalty in which she shares but is not
sharing. Of course, woman is born to such selfishness as the sparks fly
upward; but if I should ever meet with a man who isn't I will just give
myself up to him--body and soul and belongings--unless he has a wife or
other encumbrance already and is booked for this world, and in that event
I will enter into my own recognisances and be bound over to him for the
At six-thirty that evening Glory stood waiting in the portico of the
hospital, but John Storm did not come. At seven she was ringing at the
bell of a little house in St. John's Wood that stood behind a high wall
and had an iron grating in the garden door. The bell was answered by a
good-natured, slack-looking servant, who was friendly, and even familiar
in a moment.
"Are you the young lady from the hospital? The missis told me about you.
I'm Liza, and come upstairs--Yes, doing nicely, thank you, both of 'em
is--and mind your head, miss."
Polly was in a little bandbox of a bedroom, looking more pink and white
than ever against the linen of her frilled pillow slips. By the bedside a
woman of uncertain age in deep mourning, with little twinkling eyes and
fat cheeks, was rocking the baby on her knee and babbling over it in
words of maudlin endearment.
"Bless it, 'ow it do notice! Boo-loo-loo!"
Glory leaned over the little one and pronounced it the prettiest baby she
had ever seen.
"Syme 'ere miss. There ain't sech another in all London! It's jest the
sort of baby you can love. Pore little thing, it's quite took to me
already, as if it wanted to enkirridge you, my dear."
"This is Mrs. Jupe," said Polly, "and she's going to take baby to nurse."
"Boo-loo-loo-boo! And a nice new cradle's awaiting of it afront of the
fire in my little back parlour. Boo-loo!"
"But surely you're never going to part with your baby!" said Glory.
"Why, what do you suppose, dear? Do you think I'm going to be tied to a
child all my days, and never be able to go anywhere or do anything or
amuse myself at all?"
"Jest that. It'll be to our mootual benefit, as I said when I answered
Glory asked the woman if she was married and had any children of her own.
"Me, miss? I've been married eleven years, and I've allwiz prayed the
dear Lord to gimme childring. Got any? On'y one little girl; but I want
to adopt another from the birth, so as to have something to love when my
own's growed up."
Glory supposed that Polly could see her baby at any time, but the woman
"Can she see baby? Well, I would rather not, certingly. If I tyke it I
want to feel it is syme as my very own and do my dooty by it, pore thing!
And if the mother were coming and going I should allwiz feel as she 'ad
the first claim."
Polly showed no interest in the conversation until Mrs. Jupe asked for
the name of her "friend," in lieu of eighty pounds that were to be paid
down on delivery of the child.
"Come, myke up your mind, my dear, and let me tyke it away at onct. Give
me 'is nyme, that's good enough for me."
After some hesitation Glory gave Lord Robert's name and address, and the
woman prepared the child for its departure.
"Don't tyke on so, my dear. 'Tain't sech a great crime, and many a laidy
of serciety 'as done worse."
At the street door Glory asked Mrs. Jupe for her own address, and the
woman gave her a card, saying if she ever wanted to leave the hospital it
would be easy to help such a fine-looking young woman as she was to make
a bit of living for herself.
Polly recovered speedily from the trouble of the child's departure, and
presently assumed an easy and almost patronizing tone toward Glory,
pretending to be amused and even a little indignant when asked how soon
she expected to be fit for business again, and able to do without Lord
"To tell you the truth," she said, "I was as much to blame as he was. I
wanted to escape from the drudgery of the hospital, and I knew he would
take me when the time came."
Glory left early, vowing in her heart she would come no more. When she
changed her omnibus at Piccadilly the Circus was very full of women.
"Letter for you, nurse," said the porter as she entered the hospital. It
was from John Storm.
"Dear Glory: I have at length decided to enter the Brotherhood at
Bishopsgate Street, and I am to go into the monastery this evening. It is
not as a visitor that I am going this time, but as a postulant or novice
and in the hope of becoming worthy in due course to take the vows of
lifelong consecration. Therefore I am writing to you probably for the
last time, and parting from you perhaps forever.
"Since we came up to London together I have suffered many shocks and
disappointments, and I seem to have been torn in ribbons. My cherished
dreams have proved to be delusions; the palaces I had built up for myself
have turned out to be pasteboard, gilt, and rubbish; I have been robbed
of all my jewels, or they have shown themselves to be shingle stones. In
this condition of shame and disillusionment I am now resolved to escape
at the same time from the world and from myself, for I am tired of both
alike, and already I feel as if a great weight had been lifted off me.
"But I wish to speak of you. You must have thought me cantankerous, and
so I have been sometimes, but always by conviction and on principle. I
could not countenance the fashionable morality that is corrupting the
manhood of the laity, or endure the toleration that is making the clergy
thoroughly wicked; I could not without a pang see you cater to the
world's appetites or be drawn into its gaieties and frivolities; and it
was agony to me to fear that a girl of your pure if passionate nature
might perhaps fall a victim to a gamester in life's follies--an actor
indulging a pastime--a mere cheat.
"And what you tell me of your friend's altered circumstances does not
relieve me of such anxieties. The man who has deceived a girl once is
likely to deceive her again. Short of marriage itself, such connections
should be cut off entirely, whatever the price. When they are maintained
in relations of liberty the victim is sure to be further victimized, and
her last state is always worse than the first.
"However, I do not wish to blame anybody, least of all you, who have done
everything for the best, and especially now when I am parting from you
forever. You have never realized how much you have been to me, and I
doubt if I knew it myself until to-day. You know how I was brought
up--with a solitary old man--God be with him!--who tried to be good to me
for the sake of his ambitions, and to love me for the sake of his
revenge. I never knew my mother, I never had a sister, and I can never
have a wife. You were all three to me and yourself besides. There were no
women in our household, and you stood for woman in my life. I have never
told you this before, but now I tell it as a dying man whispers his
secret with his parting breath.
"I have written my letters of farewell--one to my father, asking his
forgiveness if I have done him any wrong; one to my uncle, with my love
and thanks; and one to your good old grandfather, giving up my solemn and
sacred trust of you. My conduct will of course be condemned as weak and
foolish from many points of view, but by my departure some difficulties
will be removed, and for the rest I have come to see that everything is
done by the spirit and nothing by the flesh, and that by prayer and
fasting I can help and protect you more than by counsel and advice. Thus
everything is for the best.
"The rule under which the Brothers live in community forbids them to
write and receive letters without special permission, or even to think
too constantly of the world outside; and now that I am on the eve of that
new life, memories of the old one keep crowding on me as on a drowning
man. But they are all of one period--the days when we were at Peel in
your sweet little island, before the vain and cruel world came in between
us, when you were a simple, merry girl, and I was little more than a
happy boy, and we went plunging and laughing through your bright blue sea
"But earth's joys grow very dim and its glories are fading. That also is
for the best. I have my Koh-i-noor--my desire to depart and surrender my
life to God. John Storm."
"Anything wrong, nurse? Feeling ill, ain't ye? Only dizzy a bit?
Unpleasant news from home, perhaps?"
"No, something else. Let me sit in your room, porter."
She read the letter again and again, until the words seemed blurred and
the lines irregular as a spider's web. Then she thought: "We can not part
forever like this. I must see him again whatever happens. Perhaps he has
not yet gone."
It was now half-past eight and time to go on duty, but she went upstairs
to Sister Allworthy and asked for an hour's further leave. The request
was promptly refused. She went downstairs to the matron and asked for
half an hour, only that she might see a friend away on a long journey,
and that was refused too. Then she tightened her quivering lips, returned
to the porter's room, fixed her bonnet on before the scratched
pier-glass, and boldly walked out of the hospital.
It was now quite dark and the fashionable dinner hour of Belgravia, and
as she hurried through the streets many crested and coroneted carriages
drew up at the great mansions and discharged their occupants in evening
dress. The canon's house was brilliantly lighted, and when the door was
opened in answer to her knock she could see the canon himself at the head
of his own detachment of diners coming downstairs with a lady in white
silk chatting affably on his arm.
"Is Mr. Storm at home?"
The footman, in powdered wig and white cotton gloves, answered haltingly.
"If it is--er--anything about the hospital, miss, Mr.--er--Golightly will
"No, it is Mr. Storm himself I wish to see."
"Gorn!" said the footman, and he shut the door in her face.
She had an impulse to hammer on the door with her hand, and command the
flunky to go down on his knees and beg her pardon. But what was the good?
She had no time to think of herself now.
As a last resource she would go to Bishopsgate. How dense the traffic
seemed to be at Victoria! She had never felt so helpless before.
It was better in the city, and as she walked eastward, in the direction
indicated by a policeman, every step brought her into quieter streets.
She was now in that part of London which is the world's busiest
market-place by day, but is shut up and deserted at night. Her light
footsteps echoed against the shutters of the shops. The moon had risen,
and she could see far down the empty street.
She found the place at last. It was one of London's weather-beaten old
churches, shouldered by shops on either hand, and almost pushed back by
the tide of traffic. There was an iron gate at the side, leading by an
arched passage to a little courtyard, which was bounded by two high blank
walls, by the back wall of the church, and by the front of a large house
with a small doorway and many small windows. In the middle of the
courtyard there was a tree with a wooden seat round its trunk.
And being there, she felt afraid and almost wished she had not come. The
church was dimly lighted, and she thought perhaps the cleaners were
within. But presently there was a sound of singing, in men's voices only,
and without any kind of musical accompaniment. Just then the clock in the
steeple struck nine, and chimes began to play:
Days and moments quickly flying.
The singing came to an end, and there was some low, inarticulate droning,
and then a general "Amen." The hammer of the bell continued to beat out
its hymn, and Glory stood under the shadow of the tree to collect her
Then the sacristy door opened and a line of men came out. They were in
long black cassocks, and they crossed the courtyard from the church to
the house with the measured and hasty step of monks, and with their hands
clasped at their breasts. Almost at the end of the line, walking with an
old man whose tread was heavy, there was a younger one who was
bareheaded, and who did not wear the cassock. The moon threw a light on
his face, which looked pale and worn. It was John Storm.
Glory gave a faint cry, a gasp, and he turned round as if startled.
"Only the creaking of the sycamore," said the Superior. And then the
mysterious shadows took them; they passed into the house, the door was
closed, and she was alone with the chimes:
Days and moments quickly flying,
Blend the living with the dead.
Glory's strength had deserted her, and she went away as she came. When
she got back to Victoria, she felt for the first time as if her own
little life had been swallowed up in the turmoil of London, and she had
gone down to the cold depths of an icy sea.
It was a quarter to ten when she returned to the ward, and the matron,
with her dog on her lap, was waiting to receive her.
"Didn't I tell you that you could not go out to-night?"
"Yes, ma'am," said Glory.
"Then how did you dare to go?"
Glory looked at her unwaveringly, with glittering eyes that seemed to
smile, whereupon the matron picked up her dog, gathered up her train, and
swept out of the ward, saying:
"Nurse, you can leave me at the end of your term; and you need never
cross the doors of this institution again."
Then Glory, who had all night wanted to cry, burst into laughter. The
ward Sister reproved her, but she laughed in the woman's fat face, and
would have given worlds to slap it.
There was not a nurse in the hospital who showed more bright and cheerful
spirits when the patients were being prepared for the night. But next
morning, in the gray dawn, when she had dragged herself to bed, and was
able at length to be alone, she beat the pillows with both hands and
sobbed in her loneliness and shame.
But youth is rich in hope, and at noon, when Glory awoke, the thought of
Drake flashed upon her like light in a dark place. He had compelled Lord
Robert to assist Polly in a worse extremity, and he would assist her in
her present predicament. How often he had hinted that the hospital was
not good enough for her, and that some day and somewhere Fate would find
other work for her and another sphere. The time had come; she would
appeal to him, and he would hasten to help her.
She began to revive the magnificent dreams that had floated in her mind
for months. No need to tell the people at home of her dismissal and
disgrace; no need to go back to the island. She would be somebody in her
own right yet. Of course, she would have to study, to struggle, to endure
disappointments, but she would triumph in the end. And when at length she
was great and famous she would be good to other poor girls; and as often
as she thought of John Storm in his solitude in his cell, though there
might be a pang, a red stream running somewhere within, she would comfort
herself with the thought that she, too, was doing her best; she, too, had
her place, and it was a useful and worthy one.
Before that time came, however, there would be managers to influence and
engagements to seek, and perhaps teachers to pay for. But Drake was rich
and generous and powerful; he had a great opinion of her talents, and he
would stop at nothing.
Leaping out of bed, she sat down at the table as she was and wrote to
"Dear Mr. Drake: Try to see me to-night. I want your advice immediately.
What do you think? I have got myself 'noticed' at last, and as a
consequence I am to leave at the end of my term. So things are urgent,
you see. I 'wave my lily hand' to you. Glory.
"P.S.--save time I suggest the hour and the place: eight o'clock, St.
James's Park, by the bridge going down from Marlborough House."
Drake received this note as he was sitting alone in his chambers smoking
a cigarette after drinking a cup of tea, in that hour of glamour that is
between the lights. It seemed to bring with it a secret breath of passion
out of the atmosphere in which it had been written. At the first impulse
it went up to his lips, but at the next moment he was smitten by the
memory of something, and he thought: "I will do what is right; I will
play the game fair."
He dined that night with a group of civil servants at his club in St.
James's Street, but at a quarter to eight, notwithstanding some playful
bantering, he put on his overcoat and turned toward the park. The autumn
night was soft and peaceful; the stars were out and the moon had risen; a
fragrant mist came up from the lake, and the smoke of his cigar was
hardly troubled by the breeze that pattered the withered tassels of the
laburnums. Big Ben was striking eight as he reached the end of the little
bridge, and almost immediately afterward he was aware of soft and
hurrying footsteps approaching him.
Glory had come down by the Mall. The whispering of the big white trees in
the moonlight was like company, and she sang to herself as she walked.
Her heart seemed to have gone into her heels since yesterday, for her
step was light and sometimes she ran a few paces. She arrived out of
breath as the great clock was striking, and seeing the figure of a
gentleman in evening dress by the end of the bridge, she stopped to
Her hand was hot and a little damp when Drake took it, and her face was
somewhat flushed. She had all at once become ashamed that she had come to
ask him for anything, and she took out her pocket-handkerchief and began
to roll it in her palms. He misunderstood her agitation, and trying to
cover it he offered her his arm and took her across the bridge, and they
turned westward down the path that runs along the margin of the lake.
"Mr. Storm has gone," she said, thinking to explain herself.
"I know," he answered.
"Is it generally known, then?"
"I had a letter from him yesterday."
"Was it about me?"
"You must not mind if he says things, you know."
"I don't, Glory. I set them down to the egotism of the religious man. The
religious man can not believe that anybody can live a moral life and act
on principle except from the religious impulse.... I suppose he has
warned you against me, hasn't he?"
"I'm at a loss to know what I've done to deserve it. But time must
justify me. I am not a religious man myself, you know, though I hate to
talk of it. To tell you the truth, I think the religious idea a monstrous
egotism altogether, and the love of God merely the love of self. Still,
you must judge for yourself, Glory."
"Are we not wasting our time a little?" she said. "I am here; isn't that
proof enough of my opinion?" And then in an agitated whisper she added:
"I have only half an hour, the gates will be closing, and I want to ask
your advice, you know. You remember what I told you in my letter?"
He patted the hand on his arm and said, "Tell me how it happened."
She told him everything, with many pauses, expecting every moment that he
would break in upon her and say, "Why didn't you box the woman's ears?"
or perhaps laugh and assure her that it did not matter in the least, and
she was making too much of a mere bagatelle. But he listened to every
syllable, and after she had finished there was silence for a moment. Then
he said: "I'm sorry--very sorry; in fact, I am much troubled about it."
Her nerves were throbbing hard and her hand on his arm was twitching.
"If you had left of your own accord after that scene in the board room,
it would have been so different--so easy for me to help you!"
"I should have spoken to my chief--he is a governor of many
hospitals--and said, 'A young friend of mine, a nurse, is uncomfortable
in her present place and would like to change her hospital.' It would
have been no sooner said than done. But now--now there is the black book
against you, and God knows if ... In fact, somebody has laid a trap for
you, Glory, intending to get rid of you at the first opportunity, and you
seem to have walked straight into it."
She felt stunned. "He has forgotten all he has said to me," she thought.
In a feeble, expressionless voice she asked:
"But what am I to do now?"
"Let me think."
They walked some steps in silence. "He is turning it over," she thought.
"He will tell me how to begin."
He stopped, as if seized by a new idea.
"Did you tell them where you had been?"
"No," she replied, in the same weak voice.
"But why not do so? There is hope in that. The chaplain was your
friend--your only friend in London, so far as they know. Surely that is
an extenuating circumstance so plausible----"
"But I cannot----"
"I know it is bitter to explain--to apologize--and if I can do it for
"I will not allow it!" she said. Her lips were set, and her breath was
coming through them in gusts.
"It is a pity to allow the hospitals to be closed against you. Nursing is
a good profession, Glory--even a fashionable one. It is true womanly
"That was what he said."
"Who? John Storm? He was right. Indeed, he was an entirely honourable and
upright man, and----"
"But _you_ always seemed to say there were other things more worthy of a
girl, and if she had a mind to---- But no matter. We needn't talk about
the hospitals any longer. I am not fit for them and shall never go back
to them, whatever happens."
He looked down at her. She was biting her lips, and the tears were
gathering in her eyes.
"Well, well, never mind, dear," he said, and he patted her hand again.
The moon had begun to wane, and out of the dark shadows they walked in
they could see the lines of houses lit up all around.
"Look," she said, with a feeble laugh, "in all this great busy London is
there nothing else I'm fit for?"
"You are fit for anything in the world, my dear," he answered.
Her nerves were throbbing harder than ever. "Perhaps he doesn't
remember," she thought. Should she tell him what he said so often about
her talents, and how much she might be able to make of them?
"Is there nothing a girl can do except go down on her knees to a woman?"
He laughed and talked some nonsense about the kneeling. "Poor little
woman, she doesn't know what she is doing," he thought.
"I shouldn't mind what people thought of me," she said, "not even my own
people, who have been brought up with such narrow ideas, you know. They
might think what they liked, if I felt I was in the right place at
last--the right place for me, I mean."
Her nervous fingers were involuntarily clutching at his coat sleeve.
"Now, any other man----" he thought.
She began to cry. "He _won't_ remember," she told herself. "It was only
his way of being agreeable when he praised me and predicted such
wonderful things. And now his good breeding will not allow him to tell me
there are hundreds, thousands, tens of thousands of girls in London as
"Come, you mustn't cry, Glory. It's not so bad as that."
She had never seemed to him so beautiful, and he wanted to take her in
his arms and comfort her.
"I had no one but you to come to," she murmured in her confusion. But she
was thinking: "Why didn't you stop me before? Why have you let me go on
all these months?"
"I must try to think of something, and I'll speak to my friend Rosa--Miss
Macquarrie, you know."
"You are a man," said Glory, "and I thought perhaps----" But she could
not speak of her fool's paradise now, she was so deeply ashamed and
"That's just the difficulty, my dear. If I were not a man, I might so
easily help you."
What did he mean? The frogs kept croaking at the margin of the lake,
disturbed by the sound of their footsteps.
"Whatever you were to tell me to do I should do it," she said, in the
same confused murmur. She was ruining herself with every word she
He drew up and stood before her, so close that she could feel his breath,
on her face. "My dear Glory," he said passionately, "don't think it isn't
terrible to me to renounce the happiness of helping you, but I must not,
I dare not, I will not take it."
She could scarcely breathe for the shame that took sudden hold of her.
"Heaven knows I would give anything to have the joy of looking after your
happiness, dear, but I should despise myself forever if I took advantage
of your circumstances."
Good God! What did he think she had been asking of him?
"I am thinking of yourself, Glory, because I want to esteem you and
honour you, and because your good name is above everything
else--everything else in the world."
Her shame was now abject. It stifled her, deafened her, blinded her. She
could not speak or hear or see.
He took her hand and pressed it.
"Let me go," she stammered.
"Stay--do not go yet!"
"Let me go, will you?"
But with a cry like the cry of a startled bird she disappeared in the
shadow of the trees.
He stood a moment where she had left him, tingling in every nerve,
wanting to follow her, and overtake her, and kiss her, and abandon
everything. But he buttoned up his overcoat and turned away, telling
himself that whatever another man might have done in the same case he at
least had done rightly, and that men like John Storm were wrong if they
thought it was impossible to act on principle without the impulse of
Meanwhile Glory was flying through the darkness and weeping in the
bitterness of her disappointment and shame. The big trees overhead were
all black now and very gaunt and grim, and the breeze was moaning in
"I had disgrace enough already," she thought; "I might have spared myself
a degradation like this!"
Drake had supposed that she came to plead for herself to-night as she had
pleaded for Polly a week ago. How natural that he should think so! How
natural and yet how hideous!
"I hate him! I hate him!" she thought.
John Storm had been right. In their heart of hearts these men of society
had only one idea about a girl, and she had stumbled on it unawares. They
never thought of her as a friend and an equal, but only as a dependent
and a plaything, to be taken or left as they liked.
"Oh, how shameful to be a woman--how shameful, how shameful!"
And Drake had renounced her! In the hideous tangle of his error he had
renounced her! For honour's sake, and her own sake, and for sake of his
character as a gentleman--renounced her! Oh, there was somebody who would
never have renounced her whatever had happened, and yet she had driven
him away, and he was gone forever!
"I hate myself! I hate myself!"
She remembered how often out of recklessness and daring and high spirits,
but without a thought of evil, she had broken through the barrier of
manners and given Drake occasion to think lightly of her--at the ball, at
the theatre, at tea in his chambers, and by dressing herself up as a man.
"I hate myself! I hate myself!"
John Storm was right, and Drake in his different way was right too, and
she alone had been to blame. But Fate was laughing at her, and the jest
was very, very cruel.
"No matter. It is all for the best," she thought. She would be the
stronger for this experience--the stronger and the purer too, to stand
alone and to face the future.
She got back to the hospital just as the great clock of Westminster was
chiming the half-hour, and she stood a moment on the steps to listen to
it. Only half an hour had passed, and yet all the world had changed!
It was the last day of Glory's probation, and, dressed in the long blue
ulster in which she came from the Isle of Man, she was standing in the
matron's room waiting for her wages and discharge. The matron was sitting
sideways at her table, with her dog snarling in her lap. She pointed to a
tiny heap of gold and silver and to a foolscap paper which lay beside it.
"That is your month's salary, nurse, and this is your 'character.' The
'character' has given me a deal of trouble. I have done all I could for
you. I have said you were bright and cheerful, and that the patients
liked you. I trust I have not committed myself too far."
Glory gathered up the money, but left the "character" untouched.
"You need not be anxious, ma'am; I shall not require it."
"Have you got a situation?"
"Then where are you going next?"
"I don't know--yet."
"How much money have you saved?"
"About three months' wages."
"Only three pounds altogether!"
"It will be quite sufficient."
"What friends have you got in London?"
"None--that is to say--no, none whatever."
"Then why don't you go back to your island?"
"Because I don't wish to be a burden upon my people, and because earning
my living in London doesn't depend on the will or the whim of any woman."
"That's just like you. I might have dismissed you instantly, but for the
sake of the chaplain I've borne with your rudeness and irregularities,
and even tried to be your friend, and yet---- I dare say you've not even
told your people why you are leaving the hospital?"
"I haven't--I haven't told them yet that I'm leaving at all."
"Then I've a great mind to do it for you. A venturesome, headstrong girl
who flings herself on London is in danger of ruin."
"You needn't trouble yourself, ma'am," said Glory, opening the door to
"Why so?" said the matron.
Glory stood at her full height and answered:
"Because if you said that of me there is nobody in the world would
Her box had been brought down to the hall, and the porter, who wished to
be friendly, was cording it.
"May I leave it in your care, porter, until I am able to call for it?"
"Certingly, nurse. Sorry you're goin'. I'll miss your face, too."
"Thank you. I'll call for my letters also."
"There's one just come."
It was from Aunt Anna, and was full of severe reproof and admonition.
Glory was not to think of leaving the hospital; she must try to be
content with the condition to which God had called her. But why had her
letters been so few of late? and how did it occur that she had never told
them about Mr. Storm? He had gone for good into that strange Brotherhood,
it seemed. Not Catholic, and yet a monastery. Most extraordinary! They
were all eagerly waiting to hear more about it. Besides, the grandfather
was anxious on Glory's account. If half they heard was true, the dangers
The house-surgeon came down to say good-bye. He had always been as free
and friendly as Sister Allworthy would allow. They stood a moment at the
"Where are you going to?" he asked.
"Anywhere--nowhere--everywhere; to 'all the airts the wind can blaw.'"
It was a clear, bright morning, with a light, keen frost. On looking out,
Glory saw that flags were flying on the public buildings.
"Why, what's going on?" she said.
"Don't you know? It's the ninth of November--Lord Mayor's Day."
She laughed merrily. "A good omen. I'm the female Dick Whittington! Here
goes for it! Good-bye, hospital nursing.--By-bye, doctor."
She dropped him a playful curtsy at the bottom of the steps, and then
tripped along the street.
"What a girl it is!" he thought. "And what is to become of her in this
merciless old London?"
She had taken less than a score of steps from the hospital when blinding
teardrops leaped from her eyes and ran down her cheeks; but she only
dropped her veil and walked on boldly.
_THE RELIGIOUS LIFE._
The Society of the Holy Gethsemane, popularly called the Bishopsgate
Fathers, was one of the many conventual institutions of the English
Church which came as a sequel to the great upheaval of religious feeling
known as the Tractarian or Oxford movement. Most of them gave way under
the pressure of external opposition, some of them broke down under the
strain of internal dissension, and a few lived on as secret brotherhoods,
in obedience to a rule which was never divulged by their members, who
were said to wear a hair shirt next the skin and to scourge themselves
with the lash of discipline.
Of these conventual institutions the Society of the Holy Gethsemane had
been one of the earliest, and it was now quite the oldest, although it
had challenged not only the traditions of the Reformed Church but the
spirit of the age itself by establishing its place of prayer at the very
doors of the Stock Exchange--that crater of volcanic emotions, that
generating house for the electric currents of the world.
Its founder and first Superior had been a man of iron will, who had
fought his way through ecclesiastical courts and popular anger, and even
family persecution, which had culminated in an effort of his own brother
to shut him up as a lunatic. His first disciple and most stanch supporter
had been the Rev. Charles Frederic Lamplugh, a fellow of Corpus, newly
called to orders after an earlier career which had been devoted to the
world, and, according to rumour, nearly wrecked in an affair of the
When the community had proved its legal right to exist within the
Establishment and public clamour had subsided, this disciple was
despatched to America, and there he established a branch brotherhood and
became great and famous. At the height of his usefulness and renown he
was recalled, and this exercise of authority provoked a universal outcry
among his admirers. But he obeyed; he left his fame and glory in America
and returned to his cell in London, and was no more heard of by the outer
world until the founder of the society died, when he was elected by the
brothers to the vacant place of Superior.
Father Lamplugh was now a man of seventy, so gentle in his manner, so
sweet in his temper, so pious in his life, that when he stepped out of
his room to greet John Storm on his arrival in Bishopsgate Street it
seemed as if he brought the air of heaven in the rustle of his habit, and
to have come from the holy of holies.
"Welcome! welcome!" he said. "I knew you would come to us; I have been
expecting you. The first time I saw you I said to myself: 'Here is one
who bears a burden; the world can not satisfy the cravings of a heart
like that; he will surrender it some day.'"
Having been there before, though in "Retreat" only, he entered at once
into the life of the Brotherhood. It was arranged that he was to spend
some two or three months as postulant, then to take the vow of a novice
for one year, and finally, if he proved his vocation, to seal and
establish his calling by taking the three life vows of poverty, chastity,
The home of the Brotherhood was one of those old London mansions in the
heart of the city, which were built perhaps for the palaces of
dignitaries of the Church, and were afterward occupied as the houses and
offices of London merchants and their apprentices, and have eventually
descended to the condition of warehouses and stores and tenement
dwellings for the poor. Its structure remained the same, but the brothers
made no effort to support its ancient grandeur. Nothing more simple can
be imagined than the appointments of their monastery. The carved-oak
staircase was there, but the stairs wore carpetless, and the panelled and
parqueted hall was bare of ornament, except for a picture, in a pale
oaken frame, of the head of Christ in its crown of thorns. A plain clock
in a deal case was nailed up under the floral cornice, and beneath it
there hung the text: "Lord, who shall dwell in thy tabernacle, or who
shall rest upon thy holy hill? Even he that leadeth an uncorrupt life."
The old dining-room was now the community room, the old kitchen was the
refectory, the spacious bedrooms were partitioned into cells, and the
corridors, which had once been covered with tapestry, were now coated
with whitewash, and bore the inscription, "Silence in the passages."
In this house of poverty and dignity, of past grandeur and present
simplicity, the brothers lived in community. They were forty in number,
consisting of ten lay brothers, ten novices, and twenty professed
Fathers. The lay brothers, who were under the special direction of their
own Superior, the Father Minister, and were rarely allowed to go into the
street, had to clean the house and bake the bread and cook and serve the
food which was delivered at the door, and thus, in that narrow circle of
duty, they proved their piety by their devotion to a lot which condemned
them to scour and scrub to the last day of life. The clerical brothers,
who were nearly all in full orders, enjoyed a more varied existence,
being confined to the precincts only during a part of their novitiate,
and then sent out at the will of the Superior to preach in the churches
of London or the country, and even despatched on expeditions to establish
The lay brothers had their separate retiring room, but John Storm met his
clerical housemates on the night of his arrival. It was the hour of
evening recreation, and they were gathered in the community room for
reading and conversation. The stately old dining-room was as destitute as
the corridors of adornments or even furniture. Straw armchairs stood on
the clean, white floor; a bookcase, containing many volumes of the
Fathers, lined one of the panelled walls; and over the majestic fireplace
there was a plain card with the inscription, "There be eunuchs which have
made themselves eunuchs for the kingdom of heaven's sake."
The brothers gathered about him and examined him with a curiosity which
was more than personal. To this group of men, detached from life, the
arrival of some one from the outer world was an event of interest. He
knew what wars had been waged, what epidemics were raging, what
Governments had risen and fallen. He might not speak of these things in
casual talk, for it was against rule to discuss, for its own sake, what
had been seen or heard outside, but they were in the air about him, and
they were happening on the other side of the wall.
And he on his part also examined his housemates, and; tried to guess what
manner of men they were and what had brought them to that place. They
were men of all ages, and nearly every school of the Church had sent its
representatives. Here was the pale face of the ascetic, and there the
guileless eyes of the saint. Some were keen and alert, others were timid
and slow. All wore the long black cassock of the community, and many wore
the rope with three knots. They spoke little of the world outside, but it
was clear that they could not dismiss it from their thoughts. Their talk
was cheerful, and the Father told stories of his preaching expeditions
which provoked some laughter. They had no newspapers (except one
well-known High-Church organ) and no games, and there was no smoking.
The bell rang for supper, and they went down to the refectory. It was a
large apartment in the basement, and it still bore the emblems of its
ancient service. Over the great kitchen ingle there was yet another card
with the inscription, "Neither said any of them that aught of the things
which he possessed was his own, but they had all things in common." A
table, scoured white, ran round three sides of the room, the seats were
forms without backs, and there was one chair--the Superior's chair--in
The supper consisted of porridge and milk and brown bread, and it was
eaten out of plates and cans of pewter. While it lasted one of the
brothers, seated at a raised desk, read first a few passages of
Scripture, and then some pages, of a secular book which the religious
were thus hearing at their meals. The supper was hardly over when the
bell rang again. It was time for Compline, the last service of the day,
and the brothers formed in procession and passed out of the house, across
the courtyard, into the little church.
The old place was dimly lighted, but the brothers occupied the chancel
only. They sat in two companies on opposite sides of the choir, in three
rows of stalls, the lay brothers in front, the novices next, and the
Fathers at the back. Each side had its leader in the recitation of the
prayers. The Miserere was said kneeling, the Psalms were sung with
frequent pauses, each of the duration of the words "Ave Maria," producing
the effect of a broken wail. The service was short, and it ended with
"May the Lord Almighty grant us a quiet night and a perfect end." There
was another stroke of the bell, and the brothers returned to the house in
John Storm walked with the Superior, and passing through the courtyard,
in the light of the moon that had risen while they were at prayers, he
was startled by the sound of something.
"Only the creaking of the sycamore," said the Father.
He had thought it was the voice of Glory, but he had been hearing her cry
throughout the service, so he dismissed the circumstance as a dream. Half
an hour later the household had retired for the night, the lights were
put out, and the Society of the Gethsemane was at rest.
John's cell was on the topmost floor, next to the quarters of the lay
brothers. There was nothing above it but a high lead flat, which was
sometimes used by the religious as watch-tower and breathing place. The
cell was a narrow room with bare floor, a small table, one chair, a
prayingstool, a crucifix, and a stump bed, having a straw pillow and a
crimson coverlet marked with a large white cross.
"Here," he thought, "my journey is at an end. This is my resting-place
for life." The mighty hand of the Church was on him and he felt a deep
peace. He was like a ship that had been tossed at sea and was lying quiet
in harbour at last.
Without was the world, the fantastic world, forever changing; within were
gentle if strict rules and customs securely fixed. Without was the
ceaseless ebb and flow of the financial tide; within were content and
sweet poverty and no disturbing fears. Without were struggle and strife
and the fever of gain; within were peace and happiness and the grand
mysteries which God reveals to the soul in solitude.
He began to pass his life in review and to think: "Well, it is all over,
at all events. I shall never leave this place. Friends who forgive me,
good-bye! And foes who are unforgiving, good-bye to you too!
"And the world--the great, vain, cruel, hypocritical world--farewell to
it also! Farewell to its pomp and its glory! Farewell to life, and
The wind was rustling the leaves of the tree in the courtyard, and he
could not help but hear again the voice he had heard when crossing from
the church. His eyes were closed, but Glory's face, with its curling and
twitching lip and its laughing and liquid eyes, was printed on the
"Ave Maria," he murmured; and saying this again and again, he fell
Next morning the daylight had not quite dawned when he was awakened by a
knock at his door and a low voice saying, "Benedicamus Domino!"
It was the Father Superior, who made it his rule to rouse the household
himself, on the principle of "whosoever will be chief among you, let him
be your servant."
"Deo Gratias," he answered, and the voice went on through the corridor.
Then the bell rang for Lauds and Prime, and John left his cell to begin
his life as Brother Storm.
Though it was against the rule of the Order to indulge in particular
friendships, yet in obedience to the rule of Nature he made friends among
the brothers. His feeling for the Superior became stronger than love and
approached to adoration, and there were certain of the Fathers to whom
his heart went out with a tender sympathy. The Father Minister was a man
of a hard, closed soul, very cantankerous and severe; but the rest were
gentle and timid men for the most part, with a wistful outlook on the
It was due in part to the proximity of his cell to the quarters assigned
to the lay brothers that his two closest friendships were made among
them. One was with a great creature, like an overgrown boy, who kept the
door to the monastery by day, and alternated that duty with another by
night. He was called Brother Andrew--for the lay brothers were known by
their Christian names--and he was one of those characterless beings who
are only happy when they have merged their individuality in another's and
joined their fate to his. He attached himself to John from the first, and
as often as he was at liberty he was hanging about him, ready to fetch
and carry in his shambling gait, which was like the roll of an old dog.
The expression of his beardless face was that of a boy, and he had no
conversation, for he always agreed with everything that was said to him.
The other of John's friendships was with the lay brother whom he had
known outside--the brother of Polly Love--but this was a friendship of
slower growth, impeded by a tragic obstacle. John had seen him first in
the refectory on the night of his arrival, and observed in his face the
marks of suffering and exhaustion. At various times afterward he had seen
him in the church and encountered him in the corridors, and had sometimes
bowed to him and smiled, but the brother had never once given sign of
recognition. At length he had begun to doubt his identity, and one
morning, going upstairs from breakfast side by side with the Superior, he
"Father, is the lay brother with the melancholy eyes and the pale face
the one whom I knew at the hospital?"
"Yes," said the Father; "but he is under the rule of silence."
"Ah! Does he know what has become of his sister?"
It was the morning hour of recreation, and the Father drew John into the
courtyard and talked of Brother Paul.
He was much tormented by thoughts of the world without, and being a young
man of a weak nervous system and a consumptive tendency, such struggles
with the evil one were hurtful to him. Therefore, though it was the rule
that a lay brother should not be consecrated until after long years of
service, it had been decided that he should take the vows immediately, in
order that Satan might yield up his hold of him and the world might drag
at him no more.
"Is that your experience?" said John; "when a religious has taken the
vows, are his thoughts of the world all conquered?"
"He is like the sailor making ready for his voyage. As long as he lies in
harbour his thoughts are of the home he has left behind him; but when he
has once crossed the bar and is out on the ocean he thinks only of the
haven where he would be."
"But are there no backward glances, Father? The sailor may write to the
friends he has parted from--surely the religious may pray for them."
"As brothers and sisters of the spirit, yes, always and at all times; as
brothers and sisters of the flesh, no, never, save in hours of especial
need. He is the spouse of Christ, my son, and all Christ's children are
his kindred equally."
As a last word the Father begged of John to abstain from reference to
anything that had happened at the hospital, lest Brother Paul might hear
of it and manifold evils be the result.
The warning seemed needless. From that day forward John tried to avoid
Brother Paul. In church and in the refectory he kept his eyes away from
him. He could not see that worn face, with its hungry look, and not think
of a captured eagle with a broken wing. It was with a shock that he
discovered that their cells were side by side. If they came near to each
other in the corridors he experienced a kind of terror, and was thankful
for the rule of silence which forbade them to speak. Under the
smouldering ashes there might be coals of fire which only wanted a puff
to fan them into flame.
They came face to face at last. It was on the lead flat of the tower
above their cells. John had grown accustomed to go there after Compline,
that he might look on London from that eminence and thank God that he had
escaped from its clutches. The stars were out, and the city lay like a
great monster around and beneath. Something demoniacal had entered into
his view of it. Down there was the river, winding like a serpent through
its sand, and here and there were the bridges, like the scales across it,
and farther west was the head of the great creature, just beginning to be
ablaze with lights.
"She is there," he thought, and then he was startled by a sound. Had he
uttered the words aloud? But it was some one else who had spoken. Brother
Paul was standing by the parapet with his eyes in the same direction.
When he became conscious that John was behind him he stammered something
in his confusion, and than hurried away as if he had been detected in a
"God pity him!" thought John. "If he only knew what has happened!"
Going back to his cell, he began to think of Glory. By the broken links
of memory he remembered for the first time, since coming into the
monastery, the condition of insecurity in which he had left her. How
uncertain her position at the hospital, how perilous her relations with
The last prayer of the day for the brothers of the Gethsemane was the
prayer before the crucifix by the side of the bed: "Thanks be to God for
giving me the trials of this day!" To this he added another petition:
"And bless and protect her wheresoever she may be!"
He ceased to frequent the tower after that, and did not go up to it again