Part 6 out of 12
"The Priory, St. John's Wood, London.
"Behold, all men and women at Glenfaba, I have made one further change in
my role of female Wandering Jew! You have to think of Glory now, dear
people, in a nice house in St. John's Wood, though there is no wood
anywhere visible except the park, where they keep all the wild beasts in
London--all that go on four legs, you know. The master of the mansion is
Mr. Carl Koenig, a dear old hippopotamus who is five-feet-nothing in his
boots, and has piercing black eyes and an electroplated mustache. He is a
sort of an English-German-Dutch-Polish musician. When he talks of himself
as an organist he is always a little John Bull, being F. R. C. O. and
lots of things besides; when he speaks of 'Vaterland' he is a German;
when he mentions the sea he is a Dutchman; and when he is in good spirits
(or they are in him) he sings 'Poland is not lost forever!' all over the
house until you sometimes wish it were.
"His wife is an Englishwoman, about forty or more, with big, moist, doggy
eyes that give you an idea of slave-humility, and an unappreciated and
undeveloped soul. There never were two married folk less alike, she being
one of those silent creatures who come into a room and sit and listen and
never speak, except to give instructions to the maids, while he is always
cackling like an old hen who can never lay an egg without letting the
whole world know all about it. They have two female servants--both
beautiful Cockneys--besides a boy in the garden, and a parrot that holds
forth all over the place; and their house is the rendezvous of all kinds
and conditions of great people, for Mr. Koenig himself is a sort of
Gideon's lamp among 'pros' of nearly every order.
"And now you want to know how I come to be here. You are to learn then
that Mr. Koenig happened to be one of my patients in the hospital, he
having gone there for a slight operation, and I having helped to nurse
him through what he calls his 'operatic cure.' In the course of that
ordeal he had music of a less excruciating kind sometimes, it seems, and
after his return home he searched for me all over London on account of my
voice, and finding me unexpectedly at last he sent his wife to Mrs.
Jupe's to fetch me, and--and here I am in a dainty little dimity room,
whose walls are covered with portraits of well-known singers, violinists,
pianists, and composers, with their affectionate inscriptions underneath.
"But you want to learn why I am here. Well, you must know that Mr. Koenig
(although a foreign musician) is organist of All Saints', Belgravia,
where they sing a solo anthem at nearly every Sunday morning service; and
having had various disappointments at the hands of vocal soloists from
the Opera, whose 'professional engagements suddenly intervened,' he
conceived the audacious idea of 'intervening' a woman to do their duty
permanently. So this is my position in the church at which John Storm
used to be curate, and once a week I pipe that his old enemy the canon
may play. But as that good man is of St. Paul's opinion about women
holding their tongues in the synagogue, and is blest with just enough ear
to know a contralto from a corn-crake, I have to be hidden away behind a
screen in order that his reverence may have all the fun to himself of
believing me to be a boy.
"So you see, my dearies, you needn't be anxious about me, 'at all at
all', seeing that I am living in this atmosphere of art and the odour of
sanctity, and that I have kept only one tiny little thing back, and I am
going to tell you that now. You were afraid that I might go too often to
the theatre, Aunt Anna. Never mind, auntie, I shall not be going so very
often now, and in proof thereof permit me to introduce myself in my
future style and character--Miss Glory Quayle, the eminent social
entertainer! You don't know what that is, dear people? It is quite simple
and innocent, nevertheless. I am to go to the houses of smart people when
they give their grand parties and sing and recite, and so forth. Nothing
wrong, you see--only what I used to do at Glenfaba.
"You must know that, just as in the country the men go to the smithy when
they have nothing more pressing on hand than to settle the affairs of the
universe, and the women to the mangle-house when they have to mangle
other things besides clothes, so in the towns the poor rich people have
their own particular diversion, which they call their 'At Homes.' Mr.
Drake used to tell me they were terrible Tower-of-Babel concerns, at
which everybody talked at once, and all the tongues in the place went
'click-clack, world without end.' But they must be perfectly charming for
all that; and when I think of the dresses and the diamonds and the titles
as long as your breath--oh, dear! oh, dear!
"I shall see it all soon, I suppose, for to supply the place of the
hammer and the anvil the smart folks always add musical accompaniment to
the confusion of tongues, and Mr. Koenig, who has a choral company, goes
to the cream of the cream of such gatherings, and sings and plays from
Grieg and Schumann, and Liszt and Wagner, and Chopin and Paderewski, and
the place intended for me in this grand organization would appear to be
that of jester to my lords and ladies. '_Ach Gott!_' says Mr. Koenig, who
'speaks ver' bad de Englisch,' 'your great people vant de last new ting.
One lady she say to me, "Dear Mr. Koenig, I tink I shall not ask you dis
season. I hear you everyvheres I go to, and I get so tired of peoples."
But vhen I takes anoder wis me I am a new beesness. You shall sing and
recite your leetle funny tings. Your great people tink dey loof music,
but dey loof better to laugh. "For mercy's sake make dem laugh, Mr.
Koenig"--dat's vhat a great man say to me. But, my gootness, how can I? I
am a musician, I am a composer, I am an arteeste!'
"For this high and noble office I have been going through a purgatory of
preparation in which I have sometimes hardly known whether I was a
hurdy-gurdy or an explosion of cats, and the future female jester has
even been known to lie down on the floor and cry in her dumps of despair
or some such devilry. However, Mr. Koenig begins to believe that I am
passable, and my first appearance is to be made immediately after Lent,
at the house of the Home Secretary, where it is not improbable, dear Aunt
Rachel, that I may meet Mr. Drake, although that is no part of my
"Of course, I shall have to look charming in any case, and I am already
busy with my dress. It is a black silk gown with a tight-fitting bodice.
The bodice has windbag sleeves, formed of shawl pieces of guipure lace,
and some lilies of the valley on the breast, finished with a waistband of
heliotrope velvet, and I am going to wear long black gloves all the way
up my arms, which are growing round and plump, and lovely enough for
anything. The skirt is my old one, and I got the lace for three-and-six,
so I am not ruining myself, you see; and though my hair is getting redder
than ever, red is the fashionable colour in London now, therefore I
sha'n't waste much money on dyes.
"But for all this brave exterior, when the time comes I know that down in
my heart I shall be terrified. It will be like the first dive of the
year. 'One plunge, Glory, my child,' and then over I'll go! I partly
realize already what it will be like by my experiences on Sunday evenings
when the celebrities come here after church, and Mr. Koenig exhibits me
to admiring friends and tells them how I brought him 'goot look,' and I
overhear them say, 'That girl will show them all something yet.' Oh, this
London is adorable, my dears, with its wit and fashion, and gaiety and
luxury! and I have concluded that to live in the world is the best thing
one can do, after all. Some people say hard things about it, and want to
reform it, or even to leave it altogether; but I love it! I love it! and
think it just charming!
"And now spring is here, and the world is lovely in its yellow and green.
It must be _urromassy_ nice over yandher in the 'oilan' too, with the
primroses and the violets and the gorse in the glen. Oh, dear! oh, dear!
I can smell it all three hundred miles away! The lilacs will be out at
Glenfaba now, and Aunt Anna will be collecting her Easter eggs.
Well--wait a whilley, and I'll come to thee, my dears!
"Not a word from John Storm, of course. No doubt he is fighting with
shadows while other people are struggling with realities. They tell me
these Brotherhoods are common in the Church now, though most of them are
secret societies; but the more I think of that kind of religion the more
it looks like setting tasks to try faith, as if God were a coquettish
woman. That reminds me that Mr. Worldly-Wealthy-Wiseman is no longer a
canon, having got himself made archdeacon, and as such he looks more than
ever like a black Spanish cock, being clad, of course, in those funny
clothes, like the bishops, which always make one think their lordships
must be in doubt on getting up in the morning whether they ought to wear
a schoolboy's knickerbockers or a ballet-girl's skirt, so they settle the
difficulty by putting on both. For this reason I try to avoid him when on
duty at the church, lest I should be suddenly possessed of a devil and
behave badly to his face. But this being Lent, and there being special
preachers every day, it chanced on Sunday morning that I came upon three
of him all in a row, and oh, my gracious, Solomon in all his glory was
not arrayed like one of these!
"It is too bad, though, to think that men like John Storm can't find room
in the Church for the sole of their foot, while this archdemon is
flourishing in it like a green bay tree. Forgive me, grandfather; I can't
help it. But then the Church in the country doesn't seem the same as in
town. _There_ you are somehow made to feel that man does a little and God
does all the rest, while _here_ we reverse that order of things, with the
result that this seed of the Amalekite--but never mind!
"I went to the Zoo this morning. There was a lion shut up in a cage all
by himself. Such a solemn, splendid, silent fellow; I could have cried.
"But it is the witching hour of night, my daughter, and you must put
yourself to bed. 'Goot look!'
In the middle of the night of Good Friday, John Storm was wakened by
noises in the adjoining cell. There seemed to be the voices of two men in
angry and violent altercation, the one threatening and denouncing, the
other protesting and supplicating.
"The girl is dead--isn't that proof enough?" said one voice. "It's a lie!
It's a false accusation!" said the other voice. "Paul, what are you going
to do?" "Put this bullet in your brain." "But I'm innocent--I take the
Almighty to witness that I'm innocent. Put the pistol down. Help! help!"
"No use calling--there's nobody in the house." "Mercy! mercy! I
haven't much money about me, but you shall have it all. Take
everything--everything--and if there's anything I can do to start you in
life--I'm rich, Paul--I have influence--only spare me!" "Scoundrel, do
you think you can buy me as you bought my sister?" "And if I did I was
not the only one." "Liar! Tell that to herself when you meet her at the
judgment!" "As-sassin!" "Too late--you've met her!"
John Storm listened and understood. The two voices were one voice, which
was the voice of Brother Paul. The lay brother was delirious. His poor
broken brain was rambling in the ways of the past. He was re-enacting the
scene of his crime.
John hesitated. His impulse was to fly into Paul's room and lay hold of
him, that he might prevent him from doing himself any injury. But he
remembered the law of the community, that no member of it should go into
the cell of another under pain of grievous penance. And then there was
the rule of silence and solitude which had not yet been lifted away.
But monks are great sophists, and at the next moment John Storm had told
himself that it was not Brother Paul who was in the adjoining room, but
only his poor perishing body, labouring through the last sloughs of the
twilight land of death. Paul himself, his soul, his spirit, was far away.
Hence it could be no sin to go into the cell of one whose senses were not
His own door was locked, but he scraped back the key and lit his candle,
and stepped into the passage. The voices were still loud in Paul's room,
but no one seemed to hear them. Not another sound broke the silence of
the sleeping house. The cell beyond Paul's was empty. It was Brother
Andrew's cell, and Andrew was at the door downstairs.
When John Storm entered the dark room, candle in hand, Brother Paul was
standing in the middle of the floor with one hand outstretched and a
ghastly and appalling smile upon his face. He was pale as death, his eyes
were ablaze, his forehead was streaming with perspiration, and he was
breathing from the depths of his chest. He wiped the dews from his brow
and said in a choking voice, "He has died as he lived--a liar and a
John took him by the hand and drew him to the bed, and, putting him to
sit there, he tried to soothe and comfort him. He was terrified at first
by the sound of his own voice, but the sophism that had served to bring
him, served to support him also, and he told himself it could be no
breach of the rule of silence to speak to one who was not there. The
delirium of the lay brother spent itself at length, and he fell into a
Next day, when Brother Andrew came to John's cell with the food, he began
to sing as if to himself while he bustled about the room.
"Brother Paul is sinking--he is sinking rapidly--Father Jerrold has
confessed him--he has taken the sacrament--and is very patient."
This, as if it had been a Gregorian chant, the great fellow had hit upon
as a means of communicating with John without breaking the rule and
John did not lock his door on the following night. On going to bed he
listened for the noises he had heard before, half fearing and yet half
wishing that he might hear them again. But he heard nothing, and toward
midnight he fell asleep. Something made him shudder, and he awoke with
the sensation of moonlight on his face. The moon was indeed shining, and
its sepulchral light was on a figure that stood by the foot of the bed.
It was Paul, with a livid face, murmuring his name in a voice almost as
faint as a breath.
John leaped up and put his arms about him.
"You are ill, brother--very ill."
"I am dying."
"Help! help!" cried John, and he made for the door.
"Hush, brother, hush!"
"Oh, I don't care for rule. Rule is nothing in a case like this. And,
besides, it is an understood thing---- Help!"
"I implore you, I conjure you!" said Paul in a voice strangled by
weakness. "Let them leave us together a little longer. It was by my own
wish that I was left alone. I have something to say to you--something to
confess. I have to ask your pardon."
In two strides John had reached the door, but he came back without
"Why, my poor lad, what have you done to me?"
"When you let me out of the house to go in search of my sister----"
"That was long ago; we'll not talk of it now, brother."
"But I can not die in peace without telling you. You remember that I had
something to say to her?"
"It was a threat. I was going to tell her that unless she gave up her way
of life I should find the man who had been the cause of it and follow him
up and kill him."
"It was only a temptation of the devil, brother, and it is past; and
"Don't you see what I was going to do? I was going to bring trouble and
disgrace upon you also as my comrade and accomplice. That's what a man
comes to when Satan----"
"But God willed it otherwise, brother; let us say no more about it."
"You forgive me, then?"
"Forgive? It is I who ought to ask for your forgiveness, and perhaps if I
told you everything----"
"There is something else. Listen! The Almighty is calling me; I have no
time to lose."
"But you are so cold, brother! Lie on the bed, and I'll cover you with
the bedclothes. Oh, never fear; they sha'n't separate us again. If the
Father were at home--he is so good and tender-hearted--but no matter.
"You will despise and hate me--you who are so holy and brave, and have
given up everything and conquered the world, and even triumphed over love
"Don't say that, brother."
"It's true, isn't it? Everybody knows what a holy life you live."
"But I have never lived the religious life at all, and I only came to it
as a refuge from the law and the gallows; and if the Father hadn't----"
"Another time, brother."
"Yes, the story I told the police was true, and I had really----"
"Hush, brother, hush! I won't hear you. What you are saying is for God's
ear only, and, whatever you have done, God will judge your soul in mercy.
We have only to ask him----"
"Quick, then; the last sands are running out!" and he strove to rise and
"Lie still, brother: God will accept the humiliation of your soul."
"No, no, let me up; let me kneel beside you. The prayer for the
dying--say it with me, Brother Storm; let us say it together. 'O Lord,
_"'O Lord, save thy servant,
"'Which putteth his trust in thee.
"'Send him help from thy holy place.
"'And ... evermore ... mightily defend him.
"'Let the enemy have no advantage over him.
"'Nor the ... wicked----
"'Be unto him, O Lord, a strong tower.
"'O Lord, hear our prayers.
"Paul! Paul! Speak to me! Speak! Don't leave me! We shall console and
support each other. You shall come to me, I will go to you. No matter
about the religious life. One word! My lad, my lad!"
But Brother Paul had gone. The captured eagle with the broken wing had
slipped its chain at last.
In the terrible peace which followed the air of the room seemed to become
empty. John Storm felt chill and dizzy, and a great awe fell upon him.
The courage which he had built up in sight of Brother Paul's sufferings
ebbed rapidly away, and his old fear of rule flowed back. He must carry
the lay brother to his cell; he must be ignorant of his death; he must
conceal and cover up everything. The moon had gone by this time, for it
was near to morning, and the shadows of night were contending with the
leaden hues of dawn.
He opened the door and listened. The house was still quite silent. He
walked on tip-toe to the end of the corridor, pausing at every cell.
There was no sound anywhere, except the sonorous breathing of some heavy
sleeper and the ticking of the clock in the hall.
Then he returned to the chamber of death, and, lifting the dead man in
his arms, he carried him back to the room which he had left as a living
man. The body was light, and he scarcely felt its weight, for the limbs
under the cassock had dried up like withered twigs. He stretched them out
on the bed that they might be fit for death's composing hand, and then
closed the eyes and laid the hands together on the breast, and took the
heavy cross that hung about the neck and put it as well as he could into
the nerveless fingers. By this time the daylight had overcome the shadows
of the fore-dawn, and the ruddy glow of morning was gliding into the
room. Traffic was beginning to stir in the sleeping city, and a cart was
rattling down the street.
One glance more he gave at the dead brother's face, and going down on his
knees beside it he said a prayer and crossed himself. Then he rose and
stole back to his room and shut the door without a sound.
There was a boundless relief when this was done, and partly from relief
and partly from exhaustion he fell asleep. He slept for a few minutes
only, but sleep knows no time, and a moment in its garden of
forgetfulness will wipe out the bitterness of a life. When he awoke he
stretched out his hand as he was accustomed to do and rapped three times
on the wall. But the tide of consciousness returned to him even as he did
so, and in the dead silence that followed his very heart grew cold.
Then the Father Minister began to awaken the household. His deep call and
the muffled answer which followed it rose higher and higher and came
nearer and nearer, and every step as he approached seemed to beat upon
John Storm's brain. He had reached the topmost story--he was coming down
the corridor--he was standing before the door of the dead man's cell.
"Benedicamus Domino!" he called, but no answer came back to him. He
called again, and there was a short and terrible silence.
John Storm held his breath and listened. By the faint click of the lock
he knew that the door had been opened, and that the Father Minister had
entered the room. There was a muttered exclamation and then another short
silence, and after that there came the click of the lock again. The door
had been closed, and the Father Minister had resumed his rounds. When he
called at the door of John Storm's cell not a tone of his voice would
have told that anything unusual had taken place.
The bell rang, and the brothers trooped down the stairs. Presently the
low, droning sound of their voices came up from the chapel where they
were saying Lauds. But the service had scarcely ended when the Father
Minister's step was on the stair again. This time another was with him.
It was the doctor. They entered the brother's room and closed the door
behind them. From the other side of the wall John Storm followed every
movement and every word.
"So he has gone at last, poor soul!"
"Is he long dead, doctor?"
"Some hours, certainly. Was there nobody with him then?"
"He didn't wish for anybody. And then you told us that nothing could he
done, and that he might live a month."
"Still, a dying man, you know---- But how strangely composed he looks!
And then the cross on his breast as well!"
"He was very devout and penitent. He made his last devotion yesterday
with an intensity of joy such as I have rarely witnessed."
"His eyes closed, too! You are sure there was nobody with him?"
There was a moment's silence and then the doctor said, "Well, he has
slipped his anchor at last, poor soul!"
"Yes, he has launched on the ocean of the love of God. May we all be as
ready when our call comes!"
They came back to the corridor, and John heard their footsteps going
downstairs. Then for some minutes there were unusual noises below. Rapid
steps were coming and going, the hall bell was ringing, and the front
door was opening and shutting.
An hour later Brother Andrew came with the breakfast. He was obviously
excited, and putting down the tray he began to busy himself in the room
and to sing, as before, in, his pretence of a Gregorian chant:
"Brother Paul is dead--he died in the night--there was nobody with
him--we are sorry he has left us, but glad he is at peace-God rest the
soul of our poor Brother Paul!"
It was Easter Day. At midday service in the church the brothers sang the
Easter hymn, and a mighty longing took hold of John Storm for his own
resurrection from his living grave.
Next day there was much coming and going between the world outside and
the adjoining cell, and late at night there were heavy and shambling
footsteps, and even some coarse and ribald talk.
"Bear a 'and, myte."
"Well, they won't have their backs broke as carry this one downstairs. He
ain't a Danny Lambert, anyway."
"No, they don't feed ye on Bovril in plyces syme as this. I'll lay ye
odds yer own looking-glass wouldn't know ye arter three months 'ard on
religion and dry tommy."
"It pawses me 'ow people tyke to it. Gimme my pint of four-half, and my
own childring to follow me."
Early on the following morning a stroke rang out on the bell, then
another stroke, and again another.
"It is the knell," thought John.
A group of the lay brothers came up and passed into the room. "Now!" said
one, as if giving a signal, and then they passed out again with the
measured steps of men who bear a burden. "They are taking him away," he
He listened to their retreating footsteps. "He has gone," he murmured.
The passing bell continued to ring out minute by minute, and presently
there was the sound of singing. "It is the service for the dead," he told
After a while both the bell and the singing ceased, and then there was no
sound anywhere except the dull rumble of the traffic in the city
outside--the deep murmur of the mighty sea that flows on forever.
"What am I doing?" he asked himself. "What bolts and bars are keeping me?
I am guilty of a folly. I am degrading myself."
At midday Brother Andrew came with his food. "Brother Paul is buried," he
sang, "the coffin was beautiful--it was covered with flowers--we buried
him in his cassock, with his beads and psalter--we left the cross on his
breast--he loved it and died with it in his hands--the Father has come
home--he said mass this morning."
John Storm could bear no more. He pushed the lay brother aside and made
straight for the Superior's room.
The Father was sitting before the fire, looking sad and low and weary. He
rose to his feet with a painful smile, as John broke into his cell with
blazing eyes, and cried in a choking voice:
"Father, I can not live the religious life any longer! I have tried
to--with all my soul and strength I've tried to, but I can not, I can
not! This life of prayer and penance and meditation is stifling me, and
corrupting me, and crushing the man out of me, and I can not bear it."
"What are you saying, my son?"
"I have been deceiving you and myself and everybody."
"It was for my own ends and not Brother Paul's that I helped him to break
obedience, and so injure his health and hasten his death."
"I, too, had a sister in the world, and my heart was hungry for news of
"Some one nearer than a sister--and all my spiritual life has been a
"My son, my son!"
"Forgive me, Father. I shall love you and honour you and revere you
always; but I must break my obedience and leave you, or I shall be a
hypocrite and a liar and a cheat."
The dinner party at the Home Secretary's took place on Wednesday, in the
week after Easter. It had rained during the day, but cleared up toward
night. Glory and Koenig had taken an omnibus to Waterloo Place, and then
walked up the wide street that ends with the wide steps going down to the
park. Two lines of lofty stone houses go off to right and left, and the
house they were going to was in one of them.
A footman received them with sombre but easy familiarity. The artistes?
Yes. They were shown into the library, and light refreshments were
brought in to them on a tray. Three other members of the choral company
were there already. Glory was seeing it all for the first time, and
Koenig was describing and explaining everything in broken whispers.
A band was playing in the well of the circular staircase, and a second
footman stood in an alcove behind an outwork of hats and overcoats. The
first footman reappeared. Were the artistes ready to go to the
They followed him upstairs. The band had stopped, and there was the
distant hum of voices and the crackle of plates. Waiters were coming and
going from the dining-room, and the butler stood at the door giving
instructions. At one moment there was a glimpse within of ladies in
gorgeous dresses, and a table laden with silver and bright with
fairy-lamps. When the door opened the voices grew louder, when it closed
the sounds were deadened.
The upper landing opened on to a _salon_ which had three windows down to
the ground, and half of each stood open. Outside there was a wide terrace
lit up by Chinese and Moorish lanterns. Beyond was the dark patch of the
park, and farther still the towers of the Abbey and the clock of
Westminster, but the great light was not burning to-night.
"De House naivare sits on Vednesday night," said Koenig.
They passed into the drawing-room, which was empty. The standing lamps
were subdued by coverings of yellow-silk lace. There was a piano and an
"Ve'll stay here," said Koenig, opening the organ, and Glory stood by his
Presently there were ripples of laughter, sounds of quick,
indistinguishable voices, waves of heliotrope, and the rustle of silk
dresses on the stairs. Then the ladies entered. Two or three of them who
were elderly leaned their right hands on the arms of younger women, and
walked with ebony sticks in their left. An old lady wearing black satin
and a large brooch came last. Koenig rose and bowed to her. Glory
prepared to bow also, but the lady gave her a side inclination of the
head as she sat in a well-cushioned chair under a lamp, and Glory's bow
The ladies sat and talked, and Glory tried to listen. There were little
nothings, punctuated by trills of feminine laughter. She thought the
conversation rather silly. More than once the ladies lifted their
lorgnettes and looked at her. She set her lips hard and looked back
A footman brought tea on a tray, and then there was the tinkle of cup and
saucer, and more laughter. The lady in satin looked round at Koenig, and
he began to play the organ. He played superbly, but nobody seemed to
listen. When he finished there was a pause, and everybody said: "Oh,
thank you; we're all--er----" and then the talk began again. The vocal
soloist sang some ballad of Schumann, and as long as it lasted an old
lady with an ear-trumpet sat at the foot of the piano, and a young girl
spoke into it. When it was over, everybody said, "Ah, that dear old
thing!" Then there was an outbreak of deeper voices from the stairs, with
lustier laughter and heavier steps.
The gentlemen appeared, talking loudly as they entered. Koenig was back
at the organ and playing as if he wished it were the 'cello and the drum
and the whole brass band. Glory was watching everything; it was beginning
to be very funny. Suddenly it ceased to be so. One of the gentlemen was
saying, in a tired drawl: "Old Koenig again! How the old boy lasts! Seem
to have been hearing--him since the Flood, don't you know."
It was Lord Robert Ure. Glory caught one glimpse of him, then looked down
at her slipper and pawed at the carpet. He put his glass in his eye,
screwed up the left side of his face, and looked at her.
An elderly man with a leonine head came up to the organ and said: "Got
anything comic, Mr. Koenig? All had the influenza last winter, you know,
and lost our taste for the classical."
"With pleasure, sir," said Koenig, and then turning to Glory he touched
her wrist. "How's de pulse? Ach Gott! beating same like a child's! Now is
Glory made a step forward, and the talk grew louder as she was observed.
She heard fragments of it. "Who is she?" "Is she a professional?"
"Oh, no--a lady." "Sing, does she, or is it whistling?" "No, she's a
professional; we had her last year; she does conjuring." And then the
voice she had heard before said, "By Jove, old fellow, your young friend
looks like a red standard rose!" She did not flinch. There was a nervous
tremor of the lip, a scarcely perceptible curl of it, and then she began.
It was Mylecharaine, a Manx ballad in the Anglo-Manx, about a farmer who
was a miser. His daughter was ashamed of him because he dressed shabbily
and wore yellow stockings; but he answered that if he didn't the stocking
wouldn't be yellow that would be forthcoming for her dowry.
She sang, recited, talked, acted, lived the old man, and there was not a
sound until she finished, except laughter and the clapping of hands. Then
there was a general taking of breath and a renewed outbreak of gossip.
"Really, really! How--er--natural!" "Natural--that's it, natural. I
never--er----" "Rather good, certainly; in fact, quite amusing." "What
dialect is it?" "Irish, of course." "Of course, of course," with many
nods and looks of knowledge, and a buzz and a flutter of understanding.
"Hope she'll do something else." "Hush! she's beginning."
It was Ny Kiree fo Niaghtey, a rugged old wail of how the sheep were lost
on the mountains in a great snowstorm; but it was full of ineffable
melancholy. The ladies dropped their lorgnettes, the men's glasses fell
from their eyes and their faces straightened, the noisy old soul with the
ear-trumpet sitting under Glory's arm was snuffling audibly, and at the
next moment there was a chorus of admiring remarks. "'Pon my word, this
is something new, don't you know!" "Fine girl too!" "Fine! Irish girls
often run to it." "That old miser--you could see him!"
"What's her next piece?--something funny, I hope."
Koenig's pride was measureless, and Glory did not get off lightly. He
cleared the floor for her, and announced that with the indulgence, etc.,
the young artiste would give an imitation of common girls singing in the
The company laughed until they screamed, and when the song was finished
Glory was being overwhelmed with congratulations and inquiries,
"Charming! All your pieces are charming! But really, my dear young lady,
you must be more careful about our feelings. Those sheep now--it was
really quite too sad." The old lady with the ear-trumpet asked Glory
whether she could go on for the whole of an afternoon, and if she felt
much fatigued sometimes, and didn't often catch cold.
But the lady in satin came to her relief at last. "You will need some
refreshment," she said. "Let me see now if I can not----" and she lifted
her glass and looked round the room. At the next moment a voice that made
a shudder pass over her said:
"Perhaps _I_ may have the pleasure of taking Miss Quayle down."
It was Drake. His eyes were as blue and boyish as before, but Glory
observed at once that he had grown a mustache, and that his face and
figure were firmer and more manlike. A few minutes afterward they had
passed through one of the windows on to the terrace and were walking to
It was cool and quiet out there after the heat and hubbub of the
drawing-room. The night was soft and still. Hardly a breath of wind
stirred the leaves of the trees in the park below. The rain had left a
dewy moistness in the air, and a fragrant mist was lying over the grass.
The stars were out, and the moon had just risen behind the towers of
Glory was flushed with her success. Her eyes sparkled and her step was
light and free. Drake touched her hand as it lay on his arm and said:
"And now that I've got you to myself I must begin by scolding you."
They looked at one another and smiled. "Have I displeased you so much
to-night?" she said.
"It's not that. Where have you been all this time?"
"Ah, if you only knew!" She had stopped and was looking into the
"I _want_ to know. Why didn't you answer my letter?"
"Your letter?" She was clutching at the lilies of the valley in her
He tapped her hand lightly and said, "Well, we'll not quarrel this time,
only don't do it again, you know, or else----"
She recovered herself and laughed. Her voice had a silvery ring, and he
thought it was an enchanting smile that played upon her face. They
resumed their walk.
"And now about to-night. You have had a success, of course."
"Why of course?"
"Because I always knew you must have."
She was proud and happy. He began to be grave and severe.
"But the drawing-room after dinner is no proper scene for your talents.
The audience is not in the right place or the right mood. Guests and
auditors--their duties clash. Besides, to tell you the truth, art is a
dark continent to people like these."
"They were kind to me, at all events," said Glory.
"To-night, yes. The last new man--the last new monkey----"
She was laughing again and swinging along on his arm as if her feet
hardly touched the ground.
"What is the matter with you?"
"Nothing; I am only thinking how polite you are," and then they looked at
each other again and laughed together.
The mild radiance of the stars was dying into the brighter light of the
moon. A bird somewhere in the dark trees below had mistaken the moonlight
for the dawn, and was making its early call. The clock at Westminster was
striking eleven, and there was the deep rumble of traffic from the unseen
streets round about.
"How beautiful!" said Glory. "It's hard to believe that this can be the
same London that is so full of casinos and clubs and-monasteries."
"Why, what does a girl like you know about such places?"
She had dropped his arm and was looking over the balcony. The sound of
voices came from the red windows behind them. Then the soloist began to
sing again. His second ballad was the Erl King:
Du liebes Kind, komm' geh' mit mir!
Gar schoene Spiele spiel' ich mit dir.
"Any news of John Storm?" said Drake.
"Not that I know of."
"I wonder if you would like him to come out again--now?"
At that moment there was a step behind them, and a soft voice said, "I
want you to introduce me, Mr. Drake."
It was a lady of eight or nine and twenty, wearing short hair brushed
upward and backward in the manner of a man.
"Ah, Rosa--Miss Rosa Macquarrie," said Drake. "Rosa is a journalist, and
a great friend of mine, Glory. If you want fame, she keeps some of the
keys of it, and if you want friendship---- But I'll leave you together."
"My dear," said the lady, "I want you to let me know you."
"But I've seen you before--and spoken to you," said Glory.
Glory was laughing awkwardly. "Never mind now! Some other time perhaps."
"The people inside are raving about your voice. 'Where does it come
from?' they are saying--'from a palace or Ratcliffe Highway?' But I think
_I_ know. It comes from your heart, my dear. You have lived and and loved
and suffered--and so have I. Here we are in our smart frocks, dear, but
we belong to another world altogether and are the only working women in
the company. Perhaps I can help you a little, and you have helped me
already. I may know you, may I not?"
There was a deep light in Glory's eyes and a momentary quiver of her
eyelids. Then without a word she put her arms about Rosa's neck and
"I was sure of you," said Rosa. Her voice was low and husky. "Your name
is Glory, isn't it? It wasn't for nothing you were given that name. God
gave it you!"
The party was breaking up and Koenig came for "his star." "I vill give
you an engagement for one, two, tree year, upon my vord I vill," he said
as they went downstairs. While the butler took him back to the library to
sign his receipt and receive his cheque, Glory stood waiting by the
billiard table in the hall and Drake and Lord Robert stepped up to her.
"Until when?" said Drake with a smile, but Glory pretended not to
understand him. "I dare say you thought me cynical to-night, Glory. I
only meant that if you are to follow this profession I want you to make
the best of it. Why not look for a wider scene? Why not go directly to
"But de lady is engaged to me for tree year," said Koenig, coming up.
Drake looked at Glory, who shook her head, and then Koenig made an effort
at explanation. It was an understood thing. He had taught her, taken her
into his house, found her in a Sunday----
But Drake interrupted him. If they could help Miss Quayle to a better
market for her genius Mr. Koenig need be no loser by the change. Then
Koenig was pacified, and Drake handed Glory to a cab.
"We're good friends again, aren't we?" he said, touching her hand
"Yes," she answered.
There was a letter from Aunt Rachel waiting for her at the Priory. Aunt
Anna didn't like these frequent changes, and she had no faith in music or
musicians either, but the Parson thought Anna too censorious, and as for
Mr. Koenig's Sunday evening companies, he had no doubt they were of
Germans chiefly, and that they came to talk of Martin Luther and to sing
his hymn. Sorry to say his infirmities were increasing; the burden of his
years was upon him, and he was looking feeble and old.
Glory slept little that night. On going to her room she threw up the
window and sat in front of it, that the soft night breeze might play on
her hot lips and cheeks. The moon was high and the garden was slumbering
under its gentle light. Everything around was hushed, and there was no
sound anywhere except the far-off rumble of the great city, as of the
wind in distant trees. She was thinking of a question which Drake had put
"I wonder if I should?" she murmured.
And through the silence there was the unheard melody of the German song:
Du liebes Kind, komm' geh' mit mir!
Gar schoene Spiele spiel' ich mit dir.
"The Priory--May Day.
"Dear Aunt Rachel: The great evening is over! Such dresses, such
diamonds--you never saw the like! The smart folks are just like other
human beings, and I was not the tiniest bit afraid of them. My own part
of the programme went off pretty well, I think. Mr. Koenig had arranged
the harmonies and accompaniments of some of our old Manx songs, so I sang
Mylecharaine, and they listened and clapped, and then Ny Kiree fo
Niaghtey, and they cried (and so did I), and then I imitated some
work-girls singing in the streets, and they laughed and laughed until I
laughed too, and then they laughed because I was laughing, and we all
laughed together. It was over and done before I knew where I was, and
everybody was covering me with--well, no, not kisses, as grandfather
used to do, but the society equivalent--ices and jellies--which the
gentlemen were rushing about wildly to get for me.
"But all this is as nothing compared to what is to happen next. I mustn't
whisper a word about it yet, so false face must hide what the false heart
doth know. You'll _have_ to forgive me if I succeed, for nothing is
wicked in this world except failure, you know, and a little sin must be a
great virtue if it has grown to be big enough, you see. There! How
sagacious of me! You didn't know what a philosopher you had in the
family, did you, my dears?
"It is to be on the 24th of May. That will be the Queen's birthday over
again; and when I think of all that has happened since the last one I
feel as romantic as a schoolgirl and as sentimental as a nursery maid.
Naturally I am in a fearful flurry over the whole affair, and, to tell
the truth, I have hied me to the weird sisters on the subject--that is to
say, I have been to a fortune-teller, and spent a 'goolden'
half-sovereign on the creature at one fell swoop. But she predicts
wonderful things for me, so I am satisfied. The newspapers are to blaze
with my name; I am to have a dazzling success and become the idol of the
hour--all of which is delightful and entrancing, and quite reasonable at
the money. Grandfather will reprove me for tempting Providence, and, of
course, John Storm, if he knew it, would say that I shouldn't do such
things under any circumstances; yet to tell me I oughtn't to do this and
I oughtn't to do that is like saying I oughtn't to have red hair and I
oughtn't to catch the measles. I can't help it! I can't help it! so
what's the good of breaking one's heart about it?
"But I hadn't got to wait for _Hecate et cie_ for what related to the
newspapers. You must know, dear Aunt Rachel, that I _did_ meet Mr. Drake
at the house of the Home Secretary, and he introduced me to a Miss Rosa
Macquarrie, who is no longer very young or beautiful, but a dear for all
that! and she, being a journalist, has bruited my praises abroad, with
the result that all the world is ringing with my virtues. Listen, all men
and women, while I sound mine own glory out of a column as long as the
Duke of York's:
"'She is young and tall, and has auburn hair' (always thought it was red
myself) 'and large gray eyes, one of which seems at a distance to be
brown' (it squints), 'giving an effect of humour and coquetry and power
rarely, if ever, seen in any other face.... Her voice has startling
varieties of tone, being at one moment soft, cooing, and liquid, and at
another wild, weird, and plaintive; and her face, which is not strictly
beautiful' (oh!), 'but striking and unforgetable, has an extraordinary
range of expression.... She sings, recites, speaks, laughs, and cries
(literally), and some of her selections are given in a sort of Irish
_patois_' (oh, my beloved Manx!) 'that comes from her girlish lips with
charming vivacity and drollness.' All of which, though it is quite right,
and no more than my due, _of course_, made me sob so long and loud that
my good little hippopotamus came upstairs to comfort me, but, finding me
lying on the floor, he threw up his hands and cried, '_Ach_ Gott! I
t'ought it vas a young lady, but vhatever is it?'
"Yet wae's me! Sometimes I think how many poor girls there must be who
have never had a chance, while I have had so many and such glorious ones;
who can not get anybody to listen to them, while I am so pampered and
praised; who live in narrow alleys and serve in little dark shops, where
men and men-things talk to them as they can't talk to their sisters and
wives, while I am held aloft in an atmosphere of admiration and respect:
who earn their bread in clubs and casinos, where they breathe the air of
the hotbeds of hell, while I am surrounded by everything that ennobles
and refines! O God, forgive me if I am a vain, presumptuous creature,
laughing at everything and everybody, and sometimes forgetting that many
a poor girl who is being tossed about in London is just as good as me,
and as clever and as brave.
"But hoot! 'I likes to be jolly and I allus is.' So Aunt Anna doesn't
like this Wandering Jew existence! Well, do you know I always thought I
should love a gipsy life. It has a sense of movement that must be
delightful, and then I love going fast. Do you remember the days when
'Caesar' used to take the bit in his teeth and bolt with me! Lo, there
was little me, cross-legged on his bare back, with nothing to trust to
but Providence and a pair of rope reins; but, oh my! I couldn't breathe
for excitement and delight! Dear old maddest of created 'Caesars,' I feel
as if I were whacking at him yet! What do you think of me? But we 'that
be females are the same craythurs alwis', as old Chalse used to say, and
what a woman is in the cradle she continues to be to the end. There
again! I wonder who told you that, young lady!
"But to tell you the truth at last, dear Aunt Rachel, there is something
I have kept back until now, because I couldn't bear the thought of any of
you being anxious on my account, especially grandfather, who thinks of
Glory so much too often as things are. Can't you guess what it is? I
couldn't help taking up my life of Wandering Jew, because I was dismissed
from the hospital! Didn't you understand that, my dears? I thought I was
telling you over and over again. Yes, dismissed as unfit to be a nurse,
and so I was, according to the order of the institution first, and human
love and pity last. But all's well that ends well, you know, and now that
my wanderings seem to be over and I am in my right place at length, I
feel like one who is coming out of a long imprisonment, a great peril, a
darkness deeper even than John Storm's cell. And if I ever become a
famous woman, and good men will listen to me, I will tell them to be
tender and merciful to poor girls who are trying to live in London and be
good and strong, and that the true chivalry is to band themselves
together against the other men who are selfish and cruel and impure. Oh,
this great, glorious, devilish, divine London! It must stand to the human
world as the seething, boiling, bubbling waters of Niagara do to the
world of Nature. Either a girl floats over its rapids like a boat, and in
that case she draws her breath and thanks God, or she is tossed into its
whirlpool like a dead body and goes round and round until she finds the
vortex and is swallowed up!
"There! I have blown off my steam, and now to business. Mr. Drake is to
give a luncheon party in his rooms on the twenty-fourth, in honour of my
experiment, but the great event itself will not come off until nearly
half-past nine that night. By that time the sun will have set over the
back of the sea at Peel, the blackbird will have given you his last
'guy-smook,' and all the world will be dropping asleep. Now, if you'll
only remember to say just then,'God bless Glory!' I'll feel strong and
big and brave.
"Your poor, silly, sentimental girlie, Glory."
Some weeks had passed, and it was the morning of the last day of John
Storm's residence at Bishopsgate Street. After calling the Brotherhood,
the Father had entered John's room and was resting on the end of the bed.
"You are quite determined to leave us?"
"Quite determined, Father."
The Father sighed deeply, and said in broken sentences: 'Our house is
passing through terrible trials, my son. Perhaps we did wrong to come
here. There is no cross in our foundations, and we have built on a
worldly footing. 'Unless the Lord build the house--' It was good of you
to delay the execution of your purpose, but now that the time has come--I
had set my heart on you, my son. I am an old man now, and something of
the affection of the natural father----"
"Father, if you only knew----"
"Yes, yes; I know, I know. You have suffered, and it is not for me to
reproach you. The novitiate has its great joys, but it has its great
trials also. Self has to be got rid of, faith has to be exerted,
obedience has to be learned, and, above all, the heart has to be detached
from its idols in the world--a devoted mother, it may be; a dear sister;
perhaps a dearer one still."
There was silence for a moment. John's head was down; he could not speak.
"That you wish to return to the world only shows that you came before you
heard the call of God. Some other voice seemed to speak to you, and you
listened and thought it was God's voice. But God's voice will come to you
yet, and you will hear it and answer it and not another---- Have you
anywhere to go to when you leave this house?"
"Yes, the home of a good woman. I have written to her--I think she will
"All that you brought with you will be returned, and if you want
"No, I came to you as a beggar--let me leave you as a beggar too."
"There is one thing more, my son."
"What is it, Father?"
The old man's voice was scarcely audible. "You are breaking obedience by
leaving us before the end of your novitiate, and the community must
separate itself from you, though you are only a novice, as from one who
has violated his vow and cast himself off from grace. This will have to
be done before you cross our threshold. It is our duty to the
Brotherhood--it is also our duty to God. You understand that?"
"It will be in the church, a few minutes before midday service."
The Father rose to go. "Then that is all?"
"That is all."
The Father's voice was breaking. "Good-bye, my son."
"Good-bye, Father, and God forgive me!"
A leather trunk which John had brought with him on the day he came to the
Brotherhood was returned to his room, containing the clothes he had worn
in the outer world, as well as his purse and watch and other belongings.
He dressed himself in his habit as a clergyman, and put the cassock of
the society over it, for he knew that to remove that must be part of the
ordeal of his expulsion. Then the bell rang for breakfast, and he went
down to the refectory.
The brothers received him in silence, hardly looking up as he entered,
though by their furtive glances he could plainly see that he was the only
subject that occupied their thoughts. When the meal was over he tried to
mingle among them, that he might say farewell to as many as were willing
that he should do so. Some gave him their hands with prompt good will,
some avoided him, some turned their backs upon him altogether.
But if his reception in the refectory was chilling, his welcome in the
courtyard was warm enough. At the first sound of his footsteps on the
paved way the dog came from his quarters under the sycamore. One moment
the creature stood and looked at him with its sad and bloodshot eyes;
then, with a bound, it threw its fore paws on his breast, and then
plunged around him and uttered deep bays that were like the roar of
He sat on the seat and caressed the dog, and his heart grew full and
happy. The morning was bright with sunshine, the air was fragrant with
the leafage of spring, and birds were singing and rejoicing in the tree.
Presently Brother Andrew came and sat beside him. The lay brother, like a
human dog, had been following him about all the morning, and now in his
feeble way he began to talk of his mother, and to wonder if John would
ever see her. Her name was Pincher, and she was a good woman. She lived
in Crook Lane, Crown Street, Soho, and kept house for his brother, who
was a pawnbroker. But his brother, poor fellow! was much given to drink,
and perhaps that had been a reason why he himself had left home. John
promised to call on her, and then Brother Andrew began to cry. The
sprawling features of the great fellow were almost laughable to look
The bell rang for Terce. While the brothers were at prayers, John took
his last look over the house. With the dog at his heels--the old thing
seemed determined to lose sight of him no more--he passed slowly through
the hall and into the community room and up the stairs and down the top
corridor. He looked again at every inscription on the walls, though he
knew them all by heart and had read them a hundred times. When he came to
his own cell he was touched by a strange tenderness. Place where he had
thought so much, prayed so much, suffered so much--it was dear to him,
after all! He went up on to the tower. How often he had been drawn there
as by a devilish fascination! The great city looked innocent enough now
under its mantle of sunlight, dotted over with green, but how dense, how
difficult! Then the bell rang for midday service, though it was not yet
noon, and he went down to the hall. The brothers were there preparing to
go into the church. The order of the procession was the same as on the
day of his dedication, except that Brother Paul was no longer with
them--Brother Andrew going first with the cross, then the lay brothers,
then the religious, then the Father, and John Storm last of all.
Though the courtyard was full of sunshine, the church looked dark and
gloomy. Curtains were drawn across the windows, and the altar was draped
as for a funeral. As soon as the brothers had taken their places in the
choir the Father stood on the altar steps and said:
"If any member of this community has one unfaithful thought of going back
to the outer world, I charge him to come to this altar now. But woe to
him through whom the offence cometh! Woe to him who turns back after
taking up the golden plough!"
John was kneeling in his place in the second row of the choir. The eyes
of the community were upon him. He hesitated a moment, then rose and
stepped up to the altar.
"My son," said the Father, "it is not yet too late. I see your fate as
plainly as I see you now. Shall I tell you what it is? Can you bear to
hear it? I see you going out into a world which has nothing to satisfy
the cravings of your soul. I see you foredoomed to failure and suffering
and despair. I see you coming back to us within a year with a broken and
bleeding heart. I see you taking the vows of lifelong consecration. Can
you face that future?"
The Father drew a long breath. "It is inevitable," he said; and, taking a
book from the altar, he read the awful service of the degradation:
_"By the authority of God Almighty, Father [Symbol: Patee], Son, and Holy
Ghost, and by our own authority, we, the members of the Society of the
Holy Gethsemane, do take away from thee the habit of our Order, and
depose and degrade and deprive thee of all rights and privileges in the
spiritual goods and prayers which, by the grace of God, are done among
"Amen! Amen!" said the brothers.
During the reading of the service John had been kneeling. The Father
motioned to him to rise, and proceeded to remove the cord with which he
had bound him at his consecration. When this was done, he signalled to
Brother Andrew to take off the cassock.
The bell was tolled. The Father dropped on his knees. The brothers,
hoarse and husky, began to sing _In exitu Israel de Aegypto_. Their heads
were down, their voices seemed to come up out of the earth.
It was all over now. John Storm turned about, hardly able to see his way.
Brother Andrew went before him to open the door of the sacristy. The lay
brother was crying audibly.
The sun was still shining in the courtyard, and the birds were still
singing and rejoicing. The first thing of which John was conscious was
that the dog was licking his rigid fingers.
A moment later he was in the little covered passage to the street, and
Brother Andrew was opening the iron gate.
"Good-bye, my lad!"
He stretched out his hand, then remembered that he was an excommunicated
man, and tried to draw it back; but the lay brother had snatched at it
and lifted it to his lips.
The dog was following him into the street.
"Go back, old friend."
He patted the old creature on the head, and Brother Andrew laid hold of
it by the loose skin at its neck. A hansom was waiting for him with his
trunk on the top.
"Victoria Square, Westminster," he called. The cab was moving off, when
there was a growl and a lurch--the dog had broken away and was running
How crowded the streets were! How deafening was the traffic! The church
bell was ringing for midday service. What a thin tinkle it made out
there, yet how deep was its boom within! Stock Exchange men with their
leisurely activity were going in by their seven doorways to their great
market place in Capel Court.
He began to feel a boundless relief. How his heart was beating! With what
a strange and deep emotion he found himself once more in the world!
Driving in the dense and devious thoroughfares was like sailing on a
cross sea outside a difficult headland. He could smell the brine and feel
the flick of the foam on his lips and cheeks. It was liberty, it was
Feeling anxious about the dog, he drew up the cab for a moment. The
faithful creature was running under the driver's seat. Before the cab
could start again a line of sandwich men had passed in front of it. Their
boards contained a single word. The word was "GLORIA."
He saw it, yet it barely arrested his consciousness. Somehow it seemed
like an echo from the existence he had left behind.
The noises of life were as wine in his veins now. He was burning with
impatience to overtake his arrears of knowledge, to see what the world
had gone through in his absence. Leaning over the door of the hansom, he
read the names of the streets and the signs over the shops, and tried to
identify the houses which had been rebuilt and the thoroughfares which
had been altered. But the past was the past, and the clock would turn
back for no man. These men and women in the streets knew all that had
happened. The poorest beggar on the pavement knew more than he did.
Nearly a year of his life was gone--in prayer, in penance, in fasting, in
visions, in dreams--dropped out, left behind, and lost forever.
Going by the Bank, the cab drew up again to allow a line of omnibuses to
pass into Cheapside. Every omnibus had its board for advertisements, and
nearly every board contained the word he had seen before--"GLORIA."
"Only the name of some music-hall singer," he told himself. But the name
had begun to trouble him. It had stirred the fibres of memory, and made
him think of the past--of his yacht, of Peel, of his father, and finally
of Glory--and again of Glory--and yet again of Glory.
He saw that flags were flying on the Mansion House and on the Bank, and,
pushing up the trap of the hansom, he asked if anything unusual was going
"Lawd, down't ye know what day it is terday, sir? It's the dear ole
laidy's birthday. That's why all the wimming's going abart in their penny
carridges. Been through a hillness, sir?"
"Yes, something of that sort."
"Thort so, sir."
When the cab started afresh he began to tell himself what he was going to
do in the future. He was going to work among the poor and the outcast,
the oppressed and the fallen. He was going to search for them and find
them in their haunts of sin and misery. Nothing was to be too mean for
him. Nothing was to be common or unclean. No matter about his own good
name! No matter if he was only one man in a million! The kingdom of
heaven was like a grain of mustard seed.
When he came within sight of St. Paul's the golden cross on the dome was
flashing like a fiery finger in the blaze of the midday sun. That was the
true ensign! It was a monstrous and wicked fallacy, a gloomy and narrow
formula, that religion had to do with the affairs of the other world
only. Work was religion! Work was prayer! Work was praise! Work was the
love of man and the glory of God!
Glorious gospel! Great and deathless symbol!
_THE DEVIL'S ACRE_.
Behind Buckingham Palace there is a little square of modest houses
standing back from the tide of traffic and nearly always as quiet as a
cloister. At one angle of the square there is a house somewhat larger
than the rest but just as simple and unassuming. In the dining-room of
this house an elderly lady was sitting down to lunch alone, with the
covers laid for another at the opposite end of the table.
"Hae ye the spare room ready, Emma?"
"Yes, ma'am," said the maid.
"And the sheets done airing? And baith the pillows? And the
pillow-slips--and everything finished?"
The maid was answering "Yes" to each of these questions when a hansom cab
came rattling up to the front of the house, and the old lady leaped out
of her seat.
"It's himself!" she cried, and she ran like a girl to the hall.
The door had been opened before she got there, and a deep voice was
saying, "Is Mrs. Callender----"
"It's John! My gracious! It's John Storm!" the old woman cried, and she
lifted both hands as if to fling herself into his arms.
"My guidness, laddie, but you gave poor auld Jane sic a start! Expected
ye? To be sure we expected you, and terribly thrang we've been all
morning making ready. Only my daft auld brain must have been a wee ajee.
But," smiling through her tears, "has a body never a cheek, that you must
be kissing at her hand? And is this your dog?" looking down at the
bloodhound. "Welcome? Why, of course it's welcome. What was I saying the
day, Emma? 'I'd like fine to have a dog,' didn't I? and here it is to our
hand.--Away with ye, James, man, and show Mr. Storm to his room, and then
find a bed for the creature somewhere. Letters for ye, laddie? Letters
enough, and you'll find them on the table upstairs. Only, mind ye, the
lunch is ready, and your fish is getting cold."
John Storm opened his letters in his room. One of them was from his
uncle, the Prime Minister: "I rejoice to hear of your most sensible
resolution. Come and dine with me at Downing Street this day week at
seven o'clock. I have much to say and much to ask, and I expect to be
Another was from his father: "I am not surprised at your intelligence,
but if anything could exceed the folly of going into a monastery it is
the imbecility of coming out of it. The former appears to be a subject of
common talk in this island already, and no doubt the latter will soon be
John flinched as at a cut across the face and then smiled a smile of
relief. Apparently Glory was writing home wherever she was, and there was
good news in that, at all events. He went downstairs.
"Come your way in, laddie, and let me look at ye again. Man, but your
face is pale and your bonnie eyes are that sunken. But sit ye down and
eat. They've been starving ye, I'm thinking, and miscalling it religion.
It's enough to drive a reasonable body to drink. Carnal I am, laddie, and
I just want to put some flesh on your bones. Monks indeed! And in this
age of the world too! Little Jack Horners sitting in corners and saying,
'Oh, what a good boy am I!'"
John defended his late brethren. They were holy men; they lived a holy
life; he had not been good enough for their company. "But I feel like a
sailor home from sea," he said; "tell me what has happened."
"Births, marriages, and deaths? I suppose ye're like the lave of the men,
and think nothing else matters to a woman. But come now, more chicken?
No? A wee bitty? Aye, but ye're sair altered, laddie! Weel, where can a
"The canon--how is he?"
"Fine as fi'pence. Guid as ever in the pulpit? Aye, but it's a pity he
doesna' bide there, for he's naething to be windy of when he comes out of
it. Deacon now, bless ye, or archdeacon, and some sic botherment, and his
daughter is to be married to yon slip of a curate with the rabbit mouth
and the heather legs. Weel, she wasna for all markets, ye ken."
"And Mrs. Macrae?"
"Gone over to the angels. Dead? Nae, ye're too expecting altogether.
She's got religion though, and holds missionary meetings in her
drawing-room of a Monday, and gives lunches to actor folk of a Sunday,
and now a poor woman that's been working for charity and Christianity all
her days has no chance with her anyway."
"And Miss Macrae?"
"Poor young leddy, they're for marrying her at last! Aye, to that Ure
man, that lord thing with the eyeglass. I much misdoubt but her heart's
been somewhere else, and there's ane auld woman would a hantle rather
have heard tell of her getting the richt man than seeing the laddie bury
hisel' in a monastery. She's given in at last though, and it's to be a
grand wedding they're telling me. Your Americans are kittle cattle--just
the Jews of the West seemingly, and they must do everything
splendiferously. There are to be jewels as big as walnuts, and bouquets
five feet in diameter, and a rope of pearls for a necklace, and a
rehearsal of the hale thing in the church. Aye, indeed, a rehearsal, and
the 'deacon, honest man, in the middle of the magnificence."
John Storm's pale face was twitching. "And the hospital," he said, "has
anything happened there--?"
"No other case such as the one----"
"Not since yon poor bit lassie."
"It was the first ill thing I had heard tell of her for years, and the
nurses are good women for all that. High-spirited? Aye; but dear, bright,
happy things, to think what they have to know and to be present at!
Lawyers, doctors, and nurses see the worst of human nature, and she'd be
a heartless woman who'd no make allowances for them, poor creatures!"
John Storm had risen from the table with a flushed face, making many
excuses. He would step round to the hospital; he had questions to ask
there, and it would be a walk after luncheon.
"Do," said Mrs. Callender, "but remember dinner at six. And hark ye,
hinny, this house is to be your hame until you light on a better one, so
just sleep saft in it and wake merrily. And Jane Callender is to be your
auld auntie until some ither body tak's ye frae her, and then it'll no be
her hand ye'll be kissing for fear of her wrinkles, I'm thinking."
The day was bright, the sun was shining, and the streets were full of
well-groomed horses in gorgeous carriages with coachmen in splendid
liveries going to the drawing-room in honour of the royal birthday. As
John went by the palace the approaches to it were thronged, the band of
the Household Cavalry was playing within the rails, and officers in
full-dress uniform, members of the diplomatic service with swords and
cocked hats, and ladies in gorgeous brocades carrying bouquets of orchids
and wearing tiaras of diamonds and large white plumes were filing through
the gate toward the throne-room.
The hospital looked strangely unfamiliar after so short an absence, and
there were new faces among the nurses who passed to and fro in the
corridors. John asked for the matron, and was received with constrained
and distant courtesy. Was he well? Quite well. They had a resident
chaplain now, and being in priest's orders he had many opportunities
where death was so frequent. Was he sure he had not been ill? John
understood--it was almost as if he had come out of some supernatural
existence, and people looked at him as if they were afraid.
"I came to ask if you could tell me anything of Nurse Quayle?"
The matron could tell him nothing. The girl had gone; they had been
compelled to part with her. Nothing serious? No, but totally unfit to be
a nurse. She had some good qualities certainly--cheerfulness, brightness,
tenderness--and for the sake of these, and his own interest in the girl,
they had put up with inconceivable rudeness and irregularities. What had
become of her? She really could not say. Nurse Allworthy might know--and
the matron took up her pen.
John found the ward Sister with the house doctor at the bed of a patient.
She was short, even curt, said over her shoulder she knew nothing about
the girl, and then turned back to her work. As John passed out of the
ward the doctor followed him and hinted that perhaps the porter might be
able to tell him something.
The porter was difficult at first, but seeing his way clearer after a
while he admitted to receiving letters for the nurse and delivering them
to her when she called. That was long ago, and she had not been there
since New Year's Eve. Then she had given him a shilling and said she
would trouble him no more.
John gave him five shillings and asked if anybody ever called for her.
Yes, once. Who was it? A gentleman. Had he left his name? No, but he had
said he would write. When was that? A day or two before she was there the
Drake! There could not be a shadow of a doubt of it. John Storm looked at
the clock. It was 3:45. Then he buttoned his coat and crossed the street
to the park with his face in the direction of St. James's Street.
Horatio Drake had given a luncheon in his rooms that day in honour of
Glory's first public appearance. The performance was to come off at
night, but in the course of the morning there had been a dress rehearsal
in the _salon_ of the music hall. Twenty men and women, chiefly
journalists and artists, had assembled there to get a first glimpse of
the _debutante_, and cameras had lurked behind _portieres_ and in alcoves
to catch her poses, her expressions, her fleeting smiles, and humorous
grimaces. Then the company had adjourned to Drake's chambers. The
luncheon was now over, the last guest had gone, and the host was in his
Drake was standing by the chimney-piece holding at arm's length a pencil
sketch of a woman's beautiful face and lithe figure. "Like herself--alive
to the fingertips," he thought, and then he propped it against the
There was a sound of the opening and closing of the outer door
downstairs, and Lord Robert entered the room. He looked heated, harassed,
and exhausted. Shaking out his perfumed pocket handkerchief, he mopped
his forehead, drew a long breath, and dropped into a chair.
"I've done it," he said; "it's all over."
Polly Love had lunched with the company that day, and Lord Robert had
returned home with her in order to break the news of his approaching
marriage. While the girl had been removing her hat and jacket he had sat
at the piano and thumbed it, hardly knowing how to begin. All at once he
had said, "Do you know, my dear, I'm to be married on Saturday?" She had
said nothing at first, and he had played the piano furiously. Heavens,
what a frame of mind to be in! Why didn't the girl speak? At last he had
looked round at her, and there she stood grinning, gasping, and white as
a ghost. Suddenly she had begun to cry. Good God, such crying! Yes, it
was all over. Everything had been settled somehow.
"But I'll be in harder condition before I tackle such a job again."
There was silence for a moment. Drake was leaning on the mantelpiece, his
legs crossed, and one foot beating on the hearth-rug. The men were
ashamed, and they began to talk of indifferent things. Smoke? Didn't
mind. Those Indian cigars were good. Not bad, certainly.
At length Drake said in a different voice, "Cruel but necessary,
Robert--necessary to the woman who is going to be your wife, cruel to the
poor girl who has been."
Lord Robert rose to his feet impatiently, stretched his arm, and shot out
his striped cuff and walked to and fro across the room.
"Pon my soul, I believe I should have stuck to the little thing but for
the old girl, don't you know. She's. made such a good social running
lately--and then she's started this evangelical craze too. No, Polly
wouldn't have suited her book anyhow."
Silence again, and then further talk on indifferent things.
"Wish Benson wouldn't sweep the soda water off the table." "Ring for it."
"The little thing really cares for me, don't you know. And it isn't my
fault, is it? I had to hedge. Frank, dear boy, you're always taunting me
with the treadmill we have to turn for the sake of society, and so forth,
but with debts about a man's neck like a millstone, what could one
"I don't mean that you're worse than others, old fellow, or that
sacrificing this one poor child is going to mend matters much----"
"No, it isn't likely to improve my style of going, is it?"
"But that man John Storm was not so far wrong, after all, and for this
polygamy of our 'lavender-glove tribe' the nation itself will be
overtaken by the judgment of God one of these days."
Lord Robert broke into a peal of derisive laughter. "Go on," he cried.
"Go on, dear boy! It's funny to hear you, though--after to-day's
proceedings too"; and he glanced significantly around the table.
Drake brought down his fist with a thump on to the mantelpiece. "Hold
your tongue, Robert! How often am I to tell you this is a different thing
entirely? Because I discover a creature of genius and try to help her to
the position she deserves----"
"You hypocrite, if it had been a man instead of a charming little woman
with big eyes, don't you know----"
But there had been a ring at the outer door, and Benson came in to say
that a clergyman was waiting downstairs.
"Little Golightly again!" said Lord Robert wearily. "Are these
everlasting arrangements never----"
The man stopped him. It was not Mr. Golightly; it was a stranger; would
not give his name; looked like a Catholic priest; had been there before,
"Can it be---Talk of the devil----"
"Ask him up," said Drake. And while Drake bit his lip and clinched his
hands, and Lord Robert took up a scent bottle and sprayed himself with
eau de cologne, they saw a man clad in the long coat of a priest come
into the room--calm, grave, self-possessed, very pale, with hollow and
shaven cheeks and dark and sunken eyes, which burned with a sombre fire,
and head so closely cropped as to seem to be almost bald.
John Storm's anger had cooled. As he crossed the park the heat of his
soul had turned to fear, and while he stood in the hall below, with an
atmosphere of perfume about him, and even a delicate sense of a feminine
presence, his fear had turned to terror. On that account he had refused
to send up his name, and on going up the staircase, lined with prints, he
had been tempted to turn about and fly lest he should come upon Glory
face to face. But finding only the two men in the room above, his courage
came back and he hated himself for his treacherous thought of her.
"You will forgive me for this unceremonious visit, sir," he said,
addressing himself to Drake.
Drake motioned to him to be seated. He bowed, but continued to stand.
"Your friend will remember that I have been here before."
Lord Robert bent his head, and went on trifling with the spray.
"It was a painful errand relating to a girl who had been nurse at the
hospital. The girl was nothing to me, but she had a companion who was
Drake nodded and his lips stiffened, but he did not speak.
"You are aware that since then I have been away from the hospital. I
wrote to you on the subject; you will remember that."
"Well?" said Drake.
"I have only just returned, and have come direct from the hospital now."
"I see you know what I mean, sir. My young friend has gone. Can you tell
me where to find her?"
"Sorry I can not," said Drake coldly, and it stung him to see a look of
boundless relief cross the grave face in front of him.
"Then you don't know----"
"I didn't say that," said Drake, and then the lines of pain came back.
"At the request of her people I brought her up to London. Naturally they
will look to me for news of her, and I feel responsible for her welfare."
"If that is so, you must pardon me for saying you've taken your duty
lightly," said Drake.
John Storm gripped the rail of the chair in front of him, and there was
silence for a moment.
"Whatever I may have to blame myself with in the past, it would relieve
me to find her well and happy and safe from all harm."
"She _is_ well and happy, and safe too--I can tell you that much."
There was another moment of silence, and then John Storm said in broken
sentences and in a voice that was struggling to control itself: "I have
known her since she was a child, sir---You can not think how many tender
memories---It is nearly a year since I saw her, and one likes to see old
friends after an absence."
Drake did not speak, but he dropped his head, for John's eyes had begun
"We were good friends too. Boy and girl comrades almost. Brother and
sister, I should say, for that was how I liked to think of myself--her
elder brother bound to take care of her."
There was a little trill of derisive laughter from the other side of the
room, where Lord Robert had put the spray down noisily and turned to look
out into the street. Then John Storm drew himself up and said in a firm
"Gentlemen, why should I mince matters? I will not do so. The girl we
speak of is more to me than anybody else in the world besides. Perhaps
she was one of the reasons why I went into that monastery. Certainly she
is the reason I have come out of it. I have come to find her. I _shall_
find her. If she is in difficulty or danger I intend to save her. Will
you tell me where she is?"
"Mr. Storm," said Drake, "I am sorry, very sorry, but what you say
compels me to speak plainly. The lady is well and safe and happy. If her
friends are anxious about her she can reassure them for herself, and no
doubt she has already done so. But in the position she occupies at
present you are a dangerous man. It might not be her wish, and it would
not be to her advantage, to meet with you, and I can, not allow her to
run the risk."
"Has it come to that? Have you a right to speak for her, sir?"
"Perhaps I have----" Drake hesitated, and then said with a rush, "the
right to protect her against a fanatic."
John Storm curbed himself; he had been through a long schooling. "Man, be
honest," he said. "Either your interest is good or bad, selfish or
unselfish. Which is it?"
Drake made no answer.
"But it would be useless to bandy words. I didn't come here to do that.
Will you tell me where she is?"
"Then it is to be a duel between us--is that so? You for the girl's body
and I for her soul? Very well, I take your challenge."
There was silence once more, and John Storm's eyes wandered about the
room. They fixed themselves at length on the sketch by the pier-glass.
"On my former visit I met with the same reception. The girl could take
care of herself. It was no business of mine. How that relation has ended
I do not ask. But this one----"
"This one is an entirely different matter," said Drake, "and I will thank
you not to----"
But John Storm was making the sign of the cross on his breast, and
saying, as one who was uttering a prayer, "God grant it is and always may
At the next moment he was gone from the room. The two men stood where he
had left them until his footsteps had ceased on the stairs and the door
had closed behind him. Then Drake cried, "Benson--a telegraph form! I
must telegraph to Koenig at once."
"Yes, he'll follow her up on the double quick," said Lord Robert. "But
what matter? His face will be enough to frighten the girl. Ugh! It was
the face of a death's head!"
At dinner that night John Storm was more than usually silent. To break in
upon his gravity, Mrs. Callender asked him what he intended to do next.
"To take priest's orders without delay," he said.
"And what then?"
"Then," he said, lifting a twitching and suffering face "to make an
attack on the one mighty stronghold of the devil's kingdom whereof woman
is the direct and immediate victim; to tell Society over again it is an
organized hypocrisy for the pursuit and demoralization of woman, and the
Church that bachelorhood is not celibacy, and polygamy is against the
laws of God; to look and search for the beaten and broken who lie
scattered and astray in our bewildered cities, and to protect them and
shelter them whatever they are, however low they have fallen, because
they are my sisters and I love them."
"God bless ye, laddie! That's spoken like a man," said the old woman,
rising from her seat.
But John Storm's pale face had already flushed up to the eyes, and he
dropped his head as one who was ashamed.
At eight o'clock that night John Storm was walking through the streets of
Soho. The bell of a jam factory had just been rung, and a stream of young
girls in big hats with gorgeous flowers and sweeping feathers were
pouring out of an archway and going arm-in-arm down the pavement. Men
standing in groups at street ends shouted to them as they passed, and
they shouted back in shrill voices and laughed with wild joy. In an alley
round one corner an organ man was playing "Ta-ra-ra-boom-de-ay," and some
of the girls began to dance and sing around him. Coming to the main
artery of traffic, they were almost run down by a splendid equipage which
was cutting across two thoroughfares into a square, and they screamed
with mock terror as the fat coachman in tippet and cockade bellowed to
them to get out of the way.
The square was a centre of gaiety. Theatres and music halls lined two of
its sides, and the gas on their facades and the beacons on their roofs
were beginning to burn brightly in the fading daylight. With skips and
leaps the girls passed over to the doors of these palaces, and peered
with greedy eyes through lines of policemen and doorkeepers in livery at
gentlemen, in shields of shirt-front and ladies in light cloaks and long
white gloves stepping out of gorgeous carriages into gorgeous halls.
John Storm was looking on at this masquerade when suddenly he became
aware that the flare of coarse lights on the front of the building before
him formed the letters of a word. The word was "GLORIA." Seeing it again
as he had seen it in the morning, but now identified and explained, he
grew hot and cold by turns, and his brain, which refused to think, felt
like a sail that is flapping idly on the edge of the wind.
There was a garden in the middle of the square, and he walked round and
round it. He gazed vacantly at a statue in the middle of the garden, and
then walked round the rails again. The darkness was gathering fast, the
gas was beginning to blaze, and he was like a creature in the coil of a
horrible fascination. That word, that name over the music hall, fizzing
and crackling in its hundred lights, seemed to hold him as by an eye of
fire. And remembering what had happened since he left the monastery--the
sandwich men, the boards on the omnibuses, the hoardings on the walls--it
seemed like a fiery finger which had led him to that spot. Only one thing
was clear--that a supernatural power had brought him there, and that it
was intended he should come. Fearfully, shamefully, miserably, rebuking
himself for his doubts, yet conquered and compelled by them, he crossed
the street and entered the music hall.
He was in the pit and it was crowded; not a seat vacant anywhere, and
many persons standing packed in the crush-room at the back. His first
sensation was of being stared at. First the man at the pay-box and then
the check-taker had looked at him, and now he was being looked at by the
people about him. They were both men and girls. Some of the men wore
light frock-coats and talked in the slang of the race-course, some of the
girls wore noticeable hats and showy flowers in their bosoms and were
laughing in loud voices. They made a way for him of themselves, and he
passed through to a wooden barrier that ran round the last of the pit
The music hall was large, and to John Storm's eyes, straight from the
poverty of his cell, it seemed garish in the red and gold of its Eastern
decorations. Men in the pit seats were smoking pipes and cigarettes, and
waiters with trays were hurrying up and down the aisles serving ale and
porter, which they set down on ledges like the book-rests in church. In
the stalls in front, which were not so full, gentlemen in evening dress
were smoking cigars, and there was an arc of the tier above, in which
people in fashionable costumes were talking audibly. Higher yet, and
unseen from that position, there was a larger audience still, whose
voices rumbled like a distant sea. A cloud of smoke filled the
atmosphere, and from time to time there was the sound of popping corks
and breaking glasses and rolling bottles.
The curtain was down, but the orchestra was beginning to play. Two men in
livery came from the sides of the curtain and fixed up large figures in
picture frames that were attached to the wings of the proscenium. Then
the curtain rose and the entertainment was resumed. It was in sections,
and after each performance the curtain was dropped and the waiters went
round with their trays again.
John Storm had seen it all before in the days when, under his father's
guidance, he had seen everything--the juggler, the acrobat, the
step-dancer, the comic singer, the tableaus, and the living picture. He
felt tired and ashamed, yet, he could not bring himself to go away. As
the evening advanced he thought: "How foolish! What madness it was to
think of such a thing!" He was easier after that, and began to listen to
the talk of the people about him. It was free, but not offensive. In the
frequent intervals some of the men played with the girls, pushing and
nudging and joking with them, and the girls laughed and answered back.
Occasionally one of them would turn her head aside and look into John's
face with a saucy smile. "God forbid that I should grudge them their
pleasure!" he thought. "It's all they have, poor creatures!"
But the audience grew noisier as the evening went on. They called to the
singers, made inarticulate squeals, and then laughed at their own humour.
A lady sang a comic song. It described her attempt to climb to the top of
an omnibus on a windy day. John turned to look at the faces behind him,
and every face was red and hot, and grinning and grimacing. He was still
half buried in the monastery he had left that morning, and he thought:
"Such are the nightly pleasures of our people. To-night, to-morrow night,
the night after! O my country, my country!"
He was awakened from these thoughts by an outburst of applause. The
curtain was down and nothing was going on except the putting up of a new
figure in the frames. The figure was 8. Some one behind him said, "That's
her number!" "The new artiste?" said another voice. "Gloria," said the
John Storm's head began to swim. He looked back--he was in a solid block
of people. "After all, what reasons have I?" he thought, and he
determined to stand his ground.
More applause. Another leader of the orchestra had appeared. _Baton_ in
hand, he was bowing from his place before the footlights. It was Koenig,
the organist, and John Storm shuddered in the darkest corner of his soul.
The stalls had filled up unawares to him, and a party was now coming into
a private box which had hitherto been empty. The late-comers were Drake
and Lord Robert Ure, and a lady with short hair brushed back from her
John Storm felt the place going round him, yet he steadied and braced
himself. "But this is the natural atmosphere of such people," he thought.
He tried to find satisfaction in the thought that Glory was not with
them. Perhaps they had exaggerated their intimacy with her.
The band began to play. It was music for the entrance of a new performer.
The audience became quiet; there was a keen, eager, expectant air; and
then the curtain went up. John Storm felt dizzy. If he could have escaped
he would have turned and fled. He gripped with both hands the rail in
front of him.
Then a woman came gliding on to the stage. She was a tall girl in a dark
dress and long black gloves, with red hair, and a head like a rose. It
was Glory! A cloud came over John Storm's eyes, and for a few moments he
saw no more.
There was some applause from the pit and the regions overhead. The people
in the stalls were waving their handkerchiefs, and the lady in the box
was kissing her hand. Glory was smiling, quite at her ease, apparently
not at all nervous, only a little shy and with her hands interlaced in
front of her. Then there was silence again and she began to sing.
It is the moment when prayers go up from the heart not used to pray.
Strange contradiction! John Storm found himself praying that Glory might
do well, that she might succeed and eclipse everything! But he had turned
his eyes away, and the sound of her voice was even more afflicting than
the sight of her face. It was nearly a year since he had heard it last,
and now he was hearing it under these conditions, in a place like this!
He must have been making noises by his breathing. "Hush! hush!" said the
people about him, and somebody tapped him on the shoulder.
After a moment he regained control of himself, and he lifted his head and
listened. Glory's voice, which had been quavering at first, gathered
strength. She was singing Mylecharaine, and the wild, plaintive harmony
of the old Manx ballad was floating in the air like the sound of the sea.
After her first lines a murmur of approval went round, the people sat up
and leaned forward, and then there was silence again--dead silence--and
then loud applause.
But it was only with the second verse that the humour of her song began,
and John Storm waited for it with a trembling heart. He had heard her
sing it a hundred times in the old days, and she was singing it now as
she had sung it before. There were the same tricks of voice, the same
tricks of gesture, the same expressions, the same grimaces. Everything
was the same, and yet everything was changed. He knew it. He was sure it
must be so. So artless and innocent then, now so subtle and significant!
Where was the difference? The difference was in the place, in the people.
John Storm could have found it in his heart to turn on the audience and
insult them. Foul-minded creatures, laughing, screaming, squealing,
punctuating their own base interpretations and making evil of what was
harmless! How he hated the grinning faces round about him!
When the song was finished Glory swept a gay courtesy, lifted her skirts,
and tripped off the stage. Then there were shouting, whistling, stamping,
and deafening applause. The whole house was unanimous for an encore, and
she came back smiling and bowing with a certain look of elation and
pride. John Storm was becoming terrified by his own anger. "Be quiet
there!" said some one behind him. "Who's the josser?" said somebody else,
and then he heard Glory's voice again.
It was another Manx ditty. A crew of young fishermen are going ashore on
Saturday night after their week on the sea after the herring. They go up
to the inn; their sweethearts meet them there; they drink and sing. At
length they are so overcome by liquor and love that they have to be put
to bed in their big sea boots. Then the girls kiss them and leave them.
The singer imitated the kissing, and the delighted audience repeated the
sound. Sounds of kissing came from all parts of the hall, mingled with
loud acclamations of laughter. The singer smiled and kissed back. Somehow
she conveyed the sense of a confidential feeling as if she were doing it
for each separate person in the audience, and each person had an impulse
to respond. It was irresistible, it was maddening, it swept over the
John Storm felt sick in his very soul. Glory knew well what she was
doing. She knew what these people wanted. His Glory! Glory of the old,
innocent happy days! O God! O God! If he could only get out! But that was
impossible. Behind him the dense mass was denser than ever, and he was
tightly wedged in by a wall of faces--hot, eager, with open mouths, teeth
showing, and glittering and dancing eyes. He tried not to listen to what
the people about were saying, yet he could not help but hear.
"Tasty, ain't she?" "Cerulean, eh?" "Bit 'ot, certinly!" "Well, if I was
a Johnny, and had got the oof, she'd have a brougham and a sealskin
to-morrow." "To-night, you mean," and then there were significant squeaks
and trills of laughter.
They called her back again, and yet again, and she returned with
unaffected cheerfulness and a certain look of triumph. At one moment she
was doing the gaiety of youth, and at the next the crabbedness of age;
now the undeveloped femininity of the young girl, then the volubility of
the old woman. But John Storm was trying to hear none of it. With his
head in his breast and his eyes down he was struggling to think of the
monastery, and to imagine that he was still buried in his cell. It was
only this morning that he left it, yet it seemed to be a hundred years
ago. Last night the Brotherhood, the singing of Evensong, Compline, the
pure air, silence, solitude, and the atmosphere of prayer; and to-night
the crowds, the clouds of smoke, the odour of drink, the meaning
laughter, and Glory as the centre of it all!
For a moment everything was blotted out, and then there was loud
hand-clapping and cries of "Bravo!" He lifted his head. Glory had
finished and was bowing herself off. The lady in the private box flung
her a bouquet of damask roses. She picked it up and kissed it, and bowed
to the box, and then the acclamations of applause were renewed.
The crush behind relaxed a little, and he began to elbow his way out.
People were rising or stirring everywhere, and the house was emptying
fast. As the audience surged down the corridors to the doors they talked
and laughed and made inarticulate sounds. "A tricky bit o' muslin, eh?"
"Yus, she's thick." "She's my dart, anyhow." Then the whistling of a
tune. It was the chorus of Mylecharaine. John Storm felt the cool air of
the street on his hot face at last. The policemen were keeping a way for
the people coming from the stalls, the doorkeepers were whistling or
shouting for cabs, and their cries were being caught up by the match
boys, who were running in and out like dogs among the carriage wheels and
the horses' feet. "En-sim!" "Four-wheel-er!"
In a narrow court at the back, dimly lit and not much frequented, there
was a small open door under a lamp suspended from a high blank wall. This
was the stage-door of the music hall, and a group of young men, looking
like hairdressers' assistants, blocked the pavement at either side of it.
"Wonder what she's like off?" "Like a laidy, you bet." "Yus, but none o'
yer bloomin' hamatoors." "Gawd, here's the josser again!"
John Storm pushed his way through to where a commissionaire sat behind a
glass partition in a little room walled with pigeon holes.
"Can I see Miss Quayle?" he asked.
The porter looked blank.
"Gloria, then," said John Storm, with an effort.
The porter looked at him suspiciously. Had he an appointment? No; but
could he send in his name? The porter looked doubtful. Would she come out
soon? The porter did not know. Would she come this way? The porter could
not tell. Could he have her address?
"If ye want to write to the laidy, write here," said the porter, with a
motion of his hands to the pigeon-holes.
John Storm felt humiliated and ashamed. The hairdressers' assistants were
grinning at him. He went out, feeling that Glory was farther than ever
from him now, and if he met her they might not speak. But he could not
drag himself away. In the darkness under a lamp at the other side of the
street he stood and waited. Shoddy broughams drove up, with drivers in
shabby livery, bringing "turns" in wonderful hats and overcoats, over
impossible wigs, whiskers, and noses--niggers, acrobats, clowns, and
comic singers, who stepped out, shook the straw of their carriage carpets
off their legs, and passed in at the stage entrance.
At length the commissionaire appeared at the door and whistled, and a
hansom cab rattled up to the end of the court. Then a lady muffled in a
cape, with the hood drawn over her head, and carrying a bouquet of roses,
came out leaning on the arm of a gentleman. She stood a moment by his
side and spoke to him and laughed. John heard her laughter. At the next
moment she had stepped into the hansom, the door had fallen to, the
driver had turned, the gentleman had raised his hat, the light had fallen
on the lady's face, and she was leaning forward and smiling. John saw her
At the next moment the hansom had passed into the illuminated