Part 2 out of 2
an' when she'd get took for makin'
a row she'd fight like a tiger cat.
About a year ago she tumbled downstairs
when she'd 'ad too much an'
she broke both 'er legs. You
Polly hid her face in her hands.
"Oh, when they took her away to
the hospital!" she shuddered. "Oh,
when they lifted her up to carry
"I thought Polly 'd 'ave a fit when
she 'eard 'er screamin' an' swearin'.
My! it was langwich! But it was
the 'orspitle did it."
"Dunno," with an uncertain, even
slightly awed laugh. "Dunno wot
it did--neither does nobody else,
but somethin' 'appened. It was
along of a lidy as come in one day
an' talked to 'er when she was lyin'
there. My eye," chuckling, "it was
queer talk! But I liked it. P'raps
it was lies, but it was cheerfle lies
that 'elps yer. What I ses is--if
THINGS ain't cheerfle, PEOPLE 'S got to be
--to fight it out. The women in
the 'ouse larft fit to kill theirselves
when she fust come 'ome limpin' an'
talked to 'em about what the lidy
told 'er. But arter a bit they liked
to 'ear 'er--just along o' the
cheerfleness. Said it was like a
pantermine. Drunken Bet says if she
could get 'old 'f it an' believe it sime
as Jinny Montaubyn does it'd be as
cheerin' as drink an' last longer."
"Is it a kind of religion?" Dart
asked, having a vague memory of
rumors of fantastic new theories and
half-born beliefs which had seemed
to him weird visions floating through
fagged brains wearied by old doubts
and arguments and failures. The
world was tired--the whole earth
was sad--centuries had wrought
only to the end of this twentieth
century's despair. Was the struggle
waking even here--in this back
water of the huge city's human tide?
he wondered with dull interest.
"Is it a kind of religion?" he said.
"It 's cheerfler." Glad thrust out
her sharp chin uncertainly again.
"There 's no 'ell fire in it. An'
there ain't no blime laid on
Godamighty." (The word as she uttered
it seemed to have no connection
whatever with her usual colloquial
invocation of the Deity.) "When
a dray run over little Billy an' crushed
'im inter a rag, an' 'is mother was
screamin' an' draggin' 'er 'air down,
the curick 'e ses, `It 's Gawd's will,'
'e ses--an' 'e ain't no bad sort
neither, an' 'is fice was white an' wet
with sweat--`Gawd done it,' 'e ses.
An' me, I'd nussed the child an' I
clawed me 'air sime as if I was 'is
mother an' I screamed out, `Then
damn 'im!' An' the curick 'e
dropped sittin' down on the curb-
stone an' 'id 'is fice in 'is 'ands."
Dart hid his own face after the
manner of the wretched curate.
"No wonder," he groaned. His
blood turned cold.
"But," said Glad, "Miss
Montaubyn's lidy she says Godamighty
never done it nor never intended it,
an' if we kep' sayin' an' believin' 'e 's
close to us an' not millyuns o' miles
away, we'd be took care of whilst
we was alive an' not 'ave to wait till
we was dead."
She got up on her feet and threw
up her arms with a sudden jerk and
"I 'm alive! I 'm alive!" she
cried out, "I've got ter be took care
of NOW! That 's why I like wot she
tells about it. So does the women.
We ain't no more reason ter be sure
of wot the curick says than ter be
sure o' this. Dunno as I've got ter
choose either way, but if I 'ad, I'd
choose the cheerflest."
Dart had sat staring at her--so
had Polly--so had the thief. Dart
rubbed his forehead.
"I do not understand," he said.
" 'T ain't understanding! It 's
believin'. Bless yer, SHE doesn't
understand. I say, let's go an' talk to 'er
a bit. She don't mind nothin', an'
she'll let us in. We can leave Polly
an' 'im 'ere. They can make some
more tea an' drink it."
It ended in their going out of the
room together again and stumbling
once more down the stairway's
crookedness. At the bottom of the
first short flight they stopped in the
darkness and Glad knocked at a door
with a summons manifestly expectant
of cheerful welcome. She used the
formula she had used before.
" 'S on'y me, Miss Montaubyn,"
she cried out. " 'S on'y Glad."
The door opened in wide welcome,
and confronting them as she
held its handle stood a small old
woman with an astonishing face. It
was astonishing because while it was
withered and wrinkled with marks of
past years which had once stamped
their reckless unsavoriness upon its
every line, some strange redeeming
thing had happened to it and its
expression was that of a creature to
whom the opening of a door could
only mean the entrance--the tumbling
in as it were--of hopes realized.
Its surface was swept clean of
even the vaguest anticipation of
anything not to be desired. Smiling as
it did through the black doorway
into the unrelieved shadow of the
passage, it struck Antony Dart at
once that it actually implied this--
and that in this place--and indeed
in any place--nothing could have
been more astonishing. What
"Well, well," she said, "come in,
Glad, bless yer."
"I've brought a gent to 'ear
yer talk a bit," Glad explained
The small old woman raised her
twinkling old face to look at him.
"Ah!" she said, as if summing up
what was before her. " 'E thinks
it 's worse than it is, doesn't 'e, now?
Come in, sir, do."
This time it struck Dart that her
look seemed actually to anticipate the
evolving of some wonderful and desirable
thing from himself. As if even
his gloom carried with it treasure as
yet undisplayed. As she knew nothing
of the ten sovereigns, he wondered
what, in God's name, she saw.
The poverty of the little square
room had an odd cheer in it. Much
scrubbing had removed from it the
objections manifest in Glad's room
above. There was a small red fire
in the grate, a strip of old, but gay
carpet before it, two chairs and a
table were covered with a harlequin
patchwork made of bright odds and
ends of all sizes and shapes. The
fog in all its murky volume could
not quite obscure the brightness of
the often rubbed window and its
harlequin curtain drawn across upon
"Bless yer," said Miss Montaubyn,
Dart sat and thanked her. Glad
dropped upon the floor and girdled
her knees comfortably while Miss
Montaubyn took the second chair,
which was close to the table, and
snuffed the candle which stood near
a basket of colored scraps such as,
without doubt, had made the harlequin
"Yer won't mind me goin' on
with me bit o' work?" she chirped.
"Tell 'im wot it is," Glad suggested.
"They come from a dressmaker as is
in a small way," designating the scraps
by a gesture. "I clean up for 'er an'
she lets me 'ave 'em. I make 'em up
into anythink I can--pin-cushions an'
bags an' curtings an' balls. Nobody'd
think wot they run to sometimes.
Now an' then I sell some of 'em.
Wot I can't sell I give away."
"Drunken Bet's biby plays with
'er ball all day," said Glad.
"Ah!" said Miss Montaubyn,
drawing out a long needleful of
thread, "Bet, SHE thinks it worse
than it is."
"Could it be worse?" asked Dart.
"Could anything be worse than
"Lots," suggested Glad; "might
'ave broke your back, might 'ave a
fever, might be in jail for knifin'
someone. 'E wants to 'ear you
talk, Miss Montaubyn; tell 'im all
"Me!" her expectant eyes on him.
" 'E wouldn't want to 'ear it. I
shouldn't want to 'ear it myself.
Bein' on the 'alls when yer a pretty
girl ain't an 'elpful life; an' bein'
took up an' dropped down till yer
dropped in the gutter an' don't know
'ow to get out--it 's wot yer mustn't
let yer mind go back to."
"That 's wot the lidy said," called
out Glad. "Tell 'im about the lidy.
She doesn't even know who she was."
The remark was tossed to Dart.
"Never even 'eard 'er name," with
unabated cheer said Miss Montaubyn.
"She come an' she went an' me too
low to do anything but lie an' look
at 'er and listen. An' `Which of us
two is mad?' I ses to myself. But I
lay thinkin' and thinkin'--an' it was
so cheerfle I couldn't get it out of
me 'ead--nor never 'ave since."
"What did she say?"
"I couldn't remember the words
--it was the way they took away
things a body 's afraid of. It was
about things never 'avin' really been
like wot we thought they was.
Godamighty now, there ain't a bit of
'arm in 'im."
"What?" he said with a start.
" 'E never done the accidents and
the trouble. It was us as went out
of the light into the dark. If we'd
kep' in the light all the time, an'
thought about it, an' talked about it,
we'd never 'ad nothin' else. 'Tain't
punishment neither. 'T ain't nothin'
but the dark--an' the dark ain't
nothin' but the light bein' away.
`Keep in the light,' she ses, `never
think of nothin' else, an' then you'll
begin an' see things. Everybody's
been afraid. There ain't no need.
You believe THAT.' "
"Believe?" said Dart heavily.
" `Yes,' ses I to 'er, `that 's where
the trouble comes in--believin'.'
And she answers as cool as could
be: `Yes, it is,' she ses, `we've all
been thinkin' we've been believin',
an' none of us 'as. If we 'ad what 'd
there be to be afraid of? If we
believed a king was givin' us our
livin' an' takin' care of us who'd
be afraid of not 'avin' enough to
"Who?" groaned Dart. He sat
hanging his head and staring at the
floor. This was another phase of
" `Where is 'E?' I ses. ` 'Im as
breaks old women's legs an' crushes
babies under wheels--so as they 'll
be resigned?' An' all of a sudden
she calls out quite loud: `Nowhere,'
she ses. `An' never was. But 'Im
as stretched forth the 'eavens an' laid
the foundations of the earth, 'Im as
is the Life an' Love of the world,
'E's 'ERE! Stretch out yer 'and,' she
ses, 'an' call out, "Speak, Lord, thy
servant 'eareth," an' ye'll 'ear an' SEE.
An' never you stop sayin' it--let yer
'eart beat it an' yer breath breathe it
--an' yer 'll find yer goin' about
laughin' soft to yerself an' lovin'
everythin' as if it was yer own child at
breast. An' no 'arm can come to
yer. Try it when yer go 'ome.' "
"Did you?" asked Dart.
Glad answered for her with a
tremulous--yes it was a TREMULOUS--
giggle, a weirdly moved little sound.
"When she wakes in the mornin'
she ses to 'erself, `Good things
is goin' to come to-day--cheerfle
things.' When there's a knock at
the door she ses, `Somethin' friendly 's
comin' in.' An' when Drunken Bet's
makin' a row an' ragin' an' tearin'
an' threatenin' to 'ave 'er eyes out of
'er fice, she ses, `Lor, Bet, yer don't
mean a word of it--yer a friend to
every woman in the 'ouse.' When
she don't know which way to turn,
she stands still an' ses, `Speak, Lord,
thy servant 'eareth,' an' then she does
wotever next comes into 'er mind--
an' she says it's allus the right answer.
Sometimes," sheepishly, "I've tried
it myself--p'raps it's true. I did it
this mornin' when I sat down an'
pulled me sack over me 'ead on the
bridge. Polly 'd been cryin' so loud
all night I'd got a bit low in me
stummick an'--" She stopped suddenly
and turned on Dart as if light
had flashed across her mind. "Dunno
nothin' about it," she stammered,
"but I SAID it--just like she does--
an' YOU come!"
Plainly she had uttered whatever
words she had used in the form of a
sort of incantation, and here was the
result in the living body of this man
sitting before her. She stared hard
at him, repeating her words: "YOU
come. Yes, you did."
"It was the answer," said Miss
Montaubyn, with entire simplicity as
she bit off her thread, "that 's wot it
Antony Dart lifted his heavy
"You believe it," he said.
"I 'm livin' on believin' it," she
said confidingly. "I ain't got
nothin' else. An' answers keeps
comin' and comin'."
"Bits o' work--an' things as
'elps. Glad there, she's one."
"Aw," said Glad, "I ain't nothin'.
I likes to 'ear yer tell about it. She
ses," to Dart again, a little slowly, as
she watched his face with curiously
questioning eyes--"she ses 'E'S in
the room--same as 'E's everywhere
--in this 'ere room. Sometimes she
talks out loud to 'Im."
"What!" cried Dart, startled
The strange Majestic Awful Idea
--the Deity of the Ages--to be
spoken of as a mere unfeared Reality!
And even as the vaguely formed
thought sprang in his brain he started
once more, suddenly confronted by
the meaning his sense of shock
implied. What had all the sermons of
all the centuries been preaching but
that it was Reality? What had all
the infidels of every age contended
but that it was Unreal, and the folly
of a dream? He had never thought
of himself as an infidel; perhaps it
would have shocked him to be called
one, though he was not quite sure.
But that a little superannuated dancer
at music-halls, battered and worn by
an unlawful life, should sit and smile
in absolute faith at such a--a superstition
as this, stirred something like
awe in him.
For she was smiling in entire
"It 's what the curick ses," she
enlarged radiantly. "Though 'e don t
believe it, pore young man; 'e on'y
thinks 'e does. `It's for 'igh an'
low,' 'e ses, `for you an' me as well
as for them as is royal fambleys.
The Almighty 'E 's EVERYWHERE!'
`Yes,' ses I, `I've felt 'Im 'ere--as
near as y' are yerself, sir, I 'ave--an'
I've spoke to 'Im."'
"What did the curate say?" Dart
"Seemed like it frightened 'im a
bit. `We mustn't be too bold, Miss
Montaubyn, my dear,' 'e ses, for 'e's
a kind young man as ever lived, an'
often ses `my dear' to them 'e 's
comfortin'. But yer see the lidy 'ad gave
me a Bible o' me own an' I'd set 'ere
an' read it, an' read it an' learned
verses to say to meself when I was in
bed--an' I'd got ter feel like it was
someone talkin' to me an' makin' me
understand. So I ses, ` 'T ain't boldness
we're warned against; it's not
lovin' an' trustin' enough, an' not
askin' an' believin' TRUE. Don't yer
remember wot it ses: "I, even I, am
'e that comforteth yer. Who art
thou that thou art afraid of man
that shall die an' the son of man that
shall be made as grass, an' forgetteth
Jehovah thy Creator, that stretched
forth the 'eavens an' laid the foundations
of the earth?" an' "I've covered
thee with the shadder of me
'and," it ses; an' "I will go before
thee an' make the rough places
smooth;" an' " 'Itherto ye 'ave asked
nothin' in my name; ask therefore
that ye may receive, an' yer joy may
be made full." ' An' 'e looked down
on the floor as if 'e was doin' some
'ard thinkin', pore young man, an' 'e
ses, quite sudden an' shaky, `Lord, I
believe, 'elp thou my unbelief,' an' 'e
ses it as if 'e was in trouble an' didn't
know 'e'd spoke out loud."
"Where--how did you come upon
your verses?" said Dart. "How did
you find them?"
"Ah," triumphantly, "they was
all answers--they was the first
answers I ever 'ad. When I first come
'ome an' it seemed as if I was goin'
to be swep' away in the dirt o' the
street--one day when I was near
drove wild with cold an' 'unger, I
set down on the floor an' I dragged
the Bible to me an' I ses: `There
ain't nothin' on earth or in 'ell as 'll
'elp me. I'm goin' to do wot the
lidy said--mad or not.' An' I 'eld
the book--an' I 'eld my breath, too,
'cos it was like waitin' for the end o'
the world--an' after a bit I 'ears
myself call out in a 'oller whisper,
`Speak, Lord, thy servant 'eareth.
Show me a 'ope.' An' I was tremblin'
all over when I opened the
book. An' there it was! `I will
go before thee an' make the rough
places smooth, I will break in pieces
the doors of brass and will cut in
sunder the bars of iron.' An' I
knowed it was a answer."
"Wot else was it?" with a shining
face. "I'd arst for it, an' there
it was. An' in about a hour Glad
come runnin' up 'ere, an' she'd 'ad
a bit o' luck--"
" 'T wasn't nothin' much," Glad
broke in deprecatingly, "on'y I'd got
somethin' to eat an' a bit o' fire."
"An' she made me go an' 'ave a
'earty meal, an' set an' warm meself.
An' she was that cheerfle an' full o'
pluck, she 'elped me to forget about
the things that was makin' me into a
madwoman. SHE was the answer--
same as the book 'ad promised. They
comes in different wyes the answers
does. Bless yer, they don't come in
claps of thunder an' streaks o' lightenin'--
they just comes easy an' natural--
so 's sometimes yer don't think
for a minit or two that they're
answers at all. But it comes to yer in
a bit an' yer 'eart stands still for joy.
An' ever since then I just go to me
book an' arst. P'raps," her smile an
illuminating thing, "me bein' the
low an' pore in spirit at the beginnin',
an' settin' 'ere all alone by me-
self day in an' day out, just thinkin'
it all over--an' arstin'--an' waitin'
--p'raps light was gave me 'cos I
was in such a little place an' in the
dark. But I ain't pore in spirit now.
Lor', no, yer can't be when yer've
on'y got to believe. `An' 'itherto
ye 'ave arst nothin' in my name;
arst therefore that ye may receive
an' yer joy be made full.' "
"Am I sitting here listening to an
old female reprobate's disquisition on
religion?" passed through Antony
Dart's mind. "Why am I listening?
I am doing it because here is
a creature who BELIEVES--knowing
no doctrine, knowing no church.
She BELIEVES--she thinks she KNOWS
her Deity is by her side. She is not
afraid. To her simpleness the awful
Unknown is the Known--and WITH
"Suppose it were true," he uttered
aloud, in response to a sense of inward
--TRUE?" And he was not speaking
either to the woman or the girl, and
his forehead was damp.
"Gawd!" said Glad, her chin
almost on her knees, her eyes staring
fearsomely. "S'pose it was--an' us
sittin' 'ere an' not knowin' it--an'
no one knowin' it--nor gettin' the
good of it. Sime as if--" pondering
hard in search of simile, "sime
as if no one 'ad never knowed about
'lectricity, an' there wasn't no 'lectric
lights nor no 'lectric nothin'. Onct
nobody knowed, an' all the sime it
was there--jest waitin'."
Her fantastic laugh ended for her
with a little choking, vaguely
"Blimme," she said. "Ain't it
queer, us not knowin'--IF IT'S TRUE."
Antony Dart bent forward in his
chair. He looked far into the eyes
of the ex-dancer as if some unseen
thing within them might answer
him. Miss Montaubyn herself for
the moment he did not see.
"What," he stammered hoarsely,
his voice broken with awe, "what
of the hideous wrongs--the woes
and horrors--and hideous wrongs?"
"There wouldn't be none if WE
was right--if we never thought nothin'
but `Good's comin'--good 's
'ere.' If we everyone of us thought
it--every minit of every day."
She did not know she was speaking
of a millennium--the end of
the world. She sat by her one
candle, threading her needle and
believing she was speaking of To-day.
He laughed a hollow laugh.
"If we were right!" he said. "It
would take long--long--long--to
make us all so."
"It would be slow p'raps. Well,
so it would--but good comes quick
for them as begins callin' it. It's
been quick for ME," drawing her
thread through the needle's eye
triumphantly. "Lor', yes, me legs is
better--me luck 's better--people 's
better. Bless yer, yes!"
"It 's true," said Glad; "she gets
on somehow. Things comes. She
never wants no drink. Me now,"
she applied to Miss Montaubyn, "if
I took it up same as you--wot'd
come to a gal like me?"
"Wot ud yer want ter come?"
Dart saw that in her mind was an
absolute lack of any premonition of
obstacle. "Wot'd yer arst fer in yer
Glad reflected profoundly.
"Polly," she said, "she wants to go
'ome to 'er mother an' to the country.
I ain't got no mother an' wot I
'ear of the country seems like I'd get
tired of it. Nothin' but quiet an'
lambs an' birds an' things growin.'
Me, I likes things goin' on. I likes
people an' 'and organs an' 'buses. I'd
stay 'ere--same as I told YOU," with
a jerk of her hand toward Dart.
"An' do things in the court--if
I 'ad a bit o' money. I don't want
to live no gay life when I 'm a woman.
It's too 'ard. Us pore uns ends too
bad. Wisht I knowed I could get
on some 'ow."
"Good 'll come," said Miss
Montaubyn. "Just you say the same as
me every mornin'--`Good's fillin'
the world, an' some of it's comin' to
me. It 's bein' sent--an' I 'm goin'
to meet it. It 's comin'--it 's
comin'.' " She bent forward and touched
the girl's shoulder with her astonishing
eyes alight. "Bless yer, wot's
in my room's in yours; Lor', yes."
Glad's eyes stared into hers, they
became mysteriously, almost awesomely,
"Is it?" she breathed in a hushed
"Yes, Lor', yes! When yer get
up in the mornin' you just stand still
an' ARST it. `Speak, Lord,' ses you;
`speak, Lord--' "
"Thy servant 'eareth," ended
Glad's hushed speech. "Blimme,
but I 'm goin' to try it!"
Perhaps the brain of her saw it
still as an incantation, perhaps the
soul of her, called up strangely out
of the dark and still new-born and
blind and vague, saw it vaguely and
half blindly as something else.
Dart was wondering which of
these things were true.
"We've never been expectin'
nothin' that's good," said Miss
Montaubyn. "We 're allus expectin'
the other. Who isn't? I was allus
expectin' rheumatiz an' 'unger an'
cold an' starvin' old age. Wot was
you lookin' for?" to Dart.
He looked down on the floor and
"Failing brain--failing life--
"None of 'em 's comin'--if yer
don't call 'em. Stand still an' listen
for the other. It's the other that's
She was without doubt amazing.
She chirped like a bird singing on a
bough, rejoicing in token of the
shining of the sun.
"It's wot yer can work on--
this," said Glad. "The curick--
'e's a good sort an' no' 'arm in 'im
--but 'e ses: `Trouble an' 'unger is
ter teach yer ter submit. Accidents
an' coughs as tears yer lungs is sent
you to prepare yer for 'eaven. If yer
loves 'Im as sends 'em, yer 'll go
there.' ` 'Ave yer ever bin?' ses I.
` 'Ave yer ever saw anyone that's
bin? 'Ave yer ever saw anyone
that's saw anyone that's bin?'
`No,' 'e ses. `Don't, me girl, don't!'
`Garn,' I ses; `tell me somethin'
as 'll do me some good afore I'm
dead! 'Eaven's too far off.' "
"The kingdom of 'eaven is at
'and," said Miss Montaubyn. "Bless
yer, yes, just 'ere."
Antony Dart glanced round the
room. It was a strange place. But
something WAS here. Magic, was
He heard from below a sudden
murmur and crying out in the
street. Miss Montaubyn heard it
and stopped in her sewing, holding
her needle and thread extended.
Glad heard it and sprang to her
"Somethin 's 'appened," she cried
out. "Someone 's 'urt."
She was out of the room in a
breath's space. She stood outside
listening a few seconds and darted
back to the open door, speaking
through it. They could hear below
commotion, exclamations, the wail
of a child.
"Somethin 's 'appened to Bet!"
she cried out again. "I can 'ear the
She was gone and flying down the
staircase; Antony Dart and Miss
Montaubyn rose together. The tumult
was increasing; people were
running about in the court, and it
was plain a crowd was forming by
the magic which calls up crowds as
from nowhere about the door. The
child's screams rose shrill above the
noise. It was no small thing which
"I must go," said Miss
Montaubyn, limping away from her
table. "P'raps I can 'elp. P'raps
you can 'elp, too," as he followed
They were met by Glad at the
threshold. She had shot back to
"She was blind drunk," she said,
"an' she went out to get more. She
tried to cross the street an' fell under
a car. She'll be dead in five minits.
I'm goin' for the biby."
Dart saw Miss Montaubyn step
back into her room. He turned
involuntarily to look at her.
She stood still a second--so still
that it seemed as if she was not drawing
mortal breath. Her astonishing,
expectant eyes closed themselves,
and yet in closing spoke expectancy
"Speak, Lord," she said softly, but
as if she spoke to Something whose
nearness to her was such that her
hand might have touched it. "Speak,
Lord, thy servant 'eareth."
Antony Dart almost felt his hair
rise. He quaked as she came near,
her poor clothes brushing against
him. He drew back to let her pass
first, and followed her leading.
The court was filled with men,
women, and children, who surged
about the doorway, talking, crying,
and protesting against each other's
crowding. Dart caught a glimpse
of a policeman fighting his way
through with a doctor. A dishevelled
woman with a child at her
dirty, bare breast had got in and was
"Just outside the court it was,"
she proclaimed, "an' I saw it. If
she'd bin 'erself it couldn't 'ave
'appened. `No time for 'osspitles,'
ses I. She's not twenty breaths to
dror; let 'er die in 'er own bed, pore
thing!" And both she and her baby
breaking into wails at one and the
same time, other women, some hysteric,
some maudlin with gin, joined
them in a terrified outburst.
"Get out, you women," commanded
the doctor, who had forced
his way across the threshold. "Send
them away, officer," to the policeman.
There were others to turn out of
the room itself, which was crowded
with morbid or terrified creatures,
all making for confusion. Glad had
seized the child and was forcing her
way out into such air as there was
The bed--a strange and loathly
thing--stood by the empty, rusty
fireplace. Drunken Bet lay on it, a
bundle of clothing over which the
doctor bent for but a few minutes
before he turned away.
Antony Dart, standing near the
door, heard Miss Montaubyn speak
to him in a whisper.
"May I go to 'er?" and the doctor
She limped lightly forward and
her small face was white, but expectant
still. What could she expect
now--O Lord, what?
An extraordinary thing happened.
An abnormal silence fell. The owners
of such faces as on stretched
necks caught sight of her seemed in
a flash to communicate with others
in the crowd.
"Jinny Montaubyn!" someone
whispered. And "Jinny Montaubyn"
was passed along, leaving an
awed stirring in its wake. Those
whom the pressure outside had
crushed against the wall near the
window in a passionate hurry, breathed
on and rubbed the panes that they
might lay their faces to them. One
tore out the rags stuffed in a broken
place and listened breathlessly.
Jinny Montaubyn was kneeling
down and laying her small old hand
on the muddied forehead. She held
it there a second or so and spoke in
a voice whose low clearness brought
back at once to Dart the voice in
which she had spoken to the Something
"Bet," she said, "Bet." And then
more soft still and yet more clear,
"Bet, my dear."
It seemed incredible, but it was a
fact. Slowly the lids of the woman's
eyes lifted and the pupils fixed
themselves on Jinny Montaubyn, who
leaned still closer and spoke again.
" 'T ain't true," she said. "Not
this. 'T ain't TRUE. There IS NO
DEATH," slow and soft, but passionately
The muscles of the woman's face
twisted it into a rueful smile. The
three words she dragged out were so
faint that perhaps none but Dart's
strained ears heard them.
The soul of her was loosening fast
and straining away, but Jinny Montaubyn
her low voice had the tone of a slender
silver trumpet. "In a minit yer 'll
know--in a minit. Lord," lifting
her expectant face, "show her the
Mysteriously the clouds were clearing
from the sodden face--mysteri-
ously. Miss Montaubyn watched
them as they were swept away! A
minute--two minutes--and they
were gone. Then she rose noiselessly
and stood looking down, speaking
quite simply as if to herself.
"Ah," she breathed, "she DOES
know now--fer sure an' certain."
Then Antony Dart, turning slightly,
realized that a man who had entered
the house and been standing near him,
breathing with light quickness, since
the moment Miss Montaubyn had
knelt, was plainly the person Glad
had called the "curick," and that
he had bowed his head and covered
his eyes with a hand which trembled.
He was a young man with an
eager soul, and his work in
Apple Blossom Court and places like
it had torn him many ways. Religious
conventions established through
centuries of custom had not prepared
him for life among the submerged.
He had struggled and been appalled,
he had wrestled in prayer and felt
himself unanswered, and in repentance
of the feeling had scourged himself
with thorns. Miss Montaubyn,
returning from the hospital, had filled
him at first with horror and protest.
"But who knows--who knows?"
he said to Dart, as they stood and
talked together afterward, "Faith as
a little child. That is literally hers.
And I was shocked by it--and tried
to destroy it, until I suddenly saw
what I was doing. I was--in my
cloddish egotism--trying to show
her that she was irreverent BECAUSE
she could believe what in my soul I
do not, though I dare not admit so
much even to myself. She took from
some strange passing visitor to her
tortured bedside what was to her a
revelation. She heard it first as a
child hears a story of magic. When
she came out of the hospital, she told
it as if it was one. I--I--" he
bit his lips and moistened them,
"argued with her and reproached
her. Christ the Merciful, forgive
me! She sat in her squalid little
room with her magic--sometimes
in the dark--sometimes without
fire, and she clung to it, and loved it
and asked it to help her, as a child
asks its father for bread. When she
was answered--and God forgive me
again for doubting that the simple
good that came to her WAS an answer
--when any small help came to her,
she was a radiant thing, and without
a shadow of doubt in her eyes told
me of it as proof--proof that she
had been heard. When things went
wrong for a day and the fire was out
again and the room dark, she said, `I
'aven't kept near enough--I 'aven't
trusted TRUE. It will be gave me
soon,' and when once at such a time
I said to her, `We must learn to say,
Thy will be done,' she smiled up at
me like a happy baby and answered:
`Thy will be done on earth AS IT IS IN
'EAVEN. Lor', there's no cold there,
nor no 'unger nor no cryin' nor pain.
That's the way the will is done in
'eaven. That's wot I arst for all
day long--for it to be done on
earth as it is in 'eaven.' What could
I say? Could I tell her that the will
of the Deity on the earth he created
was only the will to do evil--to
give pain--to crush the creature
made in His own image. What else
do we mean when we say under all
horror and agony that befalls, `It is
God's will--God's will be done.'
Base unbeliever though I am, I could
not speak the words. Oh, she has
something we have not. Her poor,
little misspent life has changed itself
into a shining thing, though it shines
and glows only in this hideous place.
She herself does not know of its
shining. But Drunken Bet would
stagger up to her room and ask to be
told what she called her `pantermine'
stories. I have seen her there sitting
listening--listening with strange
quiet on her and dull yearning in
her sodden eyes. So would other
and worse women go to her, and
I, who had struggled with them,
could see that she had reached some
remote longing in their beings which
I had never touched. In time the
seed would have stirred to life--it is
beginning to stir even now. During
the months since she came back to the
court--though they have laughed
at her--both men and women have
begun to see her as a creature weirdly
set apart. Most of them feel something
like awe of her; they half believe
her prayers to be bewitchments,
but they want them on their side.
They have never wanted mine. That
I have known--KNOWN. She believes
that her Deity is in Apple Blossom
Court--in the dire holes its people
live in, on the broken stairway, in
every nook and awful cranny of it--
a great Glory we will not see--only
waiting to be called and to answer.
Do _I_ believe it--do you--do any
of those anointed of us who preach
each day so glibly `God is EVERYWHERE'?
Who is the one who believes? If
there were such a man he would go
about as Moses did when `He wist
not that his face shone.' "
They had gone out together and
were standing in the fog in the
court. The curate removed his hat
and passed his handkerchief over his
damp forehead, his breath coming
and going almost sobbingly, his eyes
staring straight before him into the
yellowness of the haze.
"Who," he said after a moment
of singular silence, "who are you?"
Antony Dart hesitated a few
seconds, and at the end of his pause
he put his hand into his overcoat
"If you will come upstairs with
me to the room where the girl Glad
lives, I will tell you," he said, "but
before we go I want to hand something
over to you."
The curate turned an amazed gaze
"What is it?" he asked.
Dart withdrew his hand from his
pocket, and the pistol was in it.
"I came out this morning to buy
this," he said. "I intended--never
mind what I intended. A wrong
turn taken in the fog brought me
here. Take this thing from me and
The curate took the pistol and put
it into his own pocket without comment.
In the course of his labors
he had seen desperate men and
desperate things many times. He had
even been--at moments--a desperate
man thinking desperate things
himself, though no human being had
ever suspected the fact. This man
had faced some tragedy, he could see.
Had he been on the verge of a crime
--had he looked murder in the eyes?
What had made him pause? Was
it possible that the dream of Jinny
Montaubyn being in the air had
reached his brain--his being?
He looked almost appealingly at
him, but he only said aloud:
"Let us go upstairs, then."
So they went.
As they passed the door of the
room where the dead woman lay
Dart went in and spoke to Miss
Montaubyn, who was still there.
"If there are things wanted here,"
he said, "this will buy them." And
he put some money into her hand.
She did not seem surprised at the
incongruity of his shabbiness producing
"Well, now," she said, "I WAS
wonderin' an' askin'. I'd like 'er
clean an' nice, an' there's milk
wanted bad for the biby."
In the room they mounted to Glad
was trying to feed the child with
bread softened in tea. Polly sat near
her looking on with restless, eager
eyes. She had never seen anything
of her own baby but its limp newborn
and dead body being carried
away out of sight. She had not even
dared to ask what was done with such
poor little carrion. The tyranny of
the law of life made her want to paw
and touch this lately born thing, as her
agony had given her no fruit of her
own body to touch and paw and nuzzle
and caress as mother creatures will
whether they be women or tigresses
or doves or female cats.
"Let me hold her, Glad," she half
whimpered. "When she 's fed let
me get her to sleep."
"All right," Glad answered; "we
could look after 'er between us well
The thief was still sitting on the
hearth, but being full fed and
comfortable for the first time in many a
day, he had rested his head against
the wall and fallen into profound
"Wot 's up?" said Glad when the
two men came in. "Is anythin'
"I have come up here to tell you
something," Dart answered. "Let
us sit down again round the fire. It
will take a little time."
Glad with eager eyes on him
handed the child to Polly and sat
down without a moment's hesitance,
avid of what was to come. She
nudged the thief with friendly elbow
and he started up awake.
" 'E 's got somethin' to tell us,"
she explained. "The curick 's come
up to 'ear it, too. Sit 'ere, Polly,"
with elbow jerk toward the bundle
of sacks. "It 's got its stummick
full an' it 'll go to sleep fast enough."
So they sat again in the weird
circle. Neither the strangeness of
the group nor the squalor of the
hearth were of a nature to be new
things to the curate. His eyes fixed
themselves on Dart's face, as did the
eyes of the thief, the beggar, and the
young thing of the street. No one
glanced away from him.
His telling of his story was almost
monotonous in its semi-reflective
quietness of tone. The strangeness
to himself--though it was a strangeness
he accepted absolutely without
protest--lay in his telling it at all,
and in a sense of his knowledge that
each of these creatures would
understand and mysteriously know what
depths he had touched this day.
"Just before I left my lodgings
this morning," he said, "I found
myself standing in the middle of my
room and speaking to Something
aloud. I did not know I was going
to speak. I did not know what I
was speaking to. I heard my own
voice cry out in agony, `Lord, Lord,
what shall I do to be saved?' "
The curate made a sudden move-
ment in his place and his sallow
young face flushed. But he said
Glad's small and sharp countenance
" `Speak, Lord, thy servant
'eareth,' " she quoted tentatively.
"No," answered Dart; "it was
not like that. I had never thought
of such things. I believed nothing.
I was going out to buy a pistol and
when I returned intended to blow
my brains out."
"Why?" asked Glad, with
passionately intent eyes; "why?"
"Because I was worn out and done
for, and all the world seemed worn
out and done for. And among other
things I believed I was beginning
slowly to go mad."
From the thief there burst forth a
low groan and he turned his face to
"I've been there," he said; "I 'm
near there now."
Dart took up speech again.
"There was no answer--none.
As I stood waiting--God knows for
what--the dead stillness of the room
was like the dead stillness of the grave.
And I went out saying to my soul,
`This is what happens to the fool
who cries aloud in his pain.' "
"I've cried aloud," said the thief,
"and sometimes it seemed as if an
answer was coming--but I always
knew it never would!" in a tortured
" 'T ain't fair to arst that wye,"
Glad put in with shrewd logic.
"Miss Montaubyn she allers knows
it WILL come--an' it does."
my feet toward this place," said Dart.
"I was thrust from one thing to
another. I was forced to see and hear
things close at hand. It has been as
if I was under a spell. The woman
in the room below--the woman lying
dead!" He stopped a second, and
then went on: "There is too much
that is crying out aloud. A man such
as I am--it has FORCED itself upon me
--cannot leave such things and give
himself to the dust. I cannot explain
clearly because I am not thinking as
I am accustomed to think. A change
has come upon me. I shall not
use the pistol--as I meant to use
Glad made a friendly clutch at the
sleeve of his shabby coat.
"Right O!" she cried. "That 's
it! You buck up sime as I told yer.
Y' ain't stony broke an' there's 'allers
Antony Dart's expression was
"I did not think so this morning,"
"But there is," said the girl.
"Ain't there now, curick? There 's
a lot o' work in yer yet; yer could
do all sorts o' things if y' ain't
too proud. I 'll 'elp yer. So 'll
the curick. Y' ain't found out yet
what a little folks can live on till
luck turns. Me, I'm goin' to try
Miss Montaubyn's wye. Le's both
try. Le 's believe things is comin'.
Le 's get 'er to talk to us some
The curate was thinking the thing
"Yer see," Glad enlarged cheerfully,
"yer look almost like a gentleman.
P'raps yer can write a good
'and an' spell all right. Can yer?"
"I think, perhaps," the curate began
reflectively, "particularly if you
can write well, I might be able to
get you some work."
"I do not want work," Dart
answered slowly. "At least I do not
want the kind you would be likely
to offer me."
The curate felt a shock, as if cold
water had been dashed over him.
Somehow it had not once occurred
to him that the man could be one
of the educated degenerate vicious
for whom no power to help lay in
any hands--yet he was not the common
vagrant--and he was plainly
on the point of producing an excuse
for refusing work.
The other man, seeing his start
and his amazed, troubled flush, put
out a hand and touched his arm
"I beg your pardon," he said.
"One of the things I was going to
tell you--I had not finished--was
that I AM what is called a gentleman.
I am also what the world knows as a
rich man. I am Sir Oliver Holt."
Each member of the party gazed
at him aghast. It was an enormous
name to claim. Even the two female
creatures knew what it stood for. It
was the name which represented the
greatest wealth and power in the world
of finance and schemes of business.
It stood for financial influence which
could change the face of national
fortunes and bring about crises. It was
known throughout the world. Yesterday
the newspaper rumor that its
owner had mysteriously left England
had caused men on 'Change to discuss
possibilities together with lowered
Glad stared at the curate. For the
first time she looked disturbed and
"Blimme," she ejaculated, " 'e 's
gone off 'is nut, pore chap!--'e 's
gone off it!"
"No," the man answered, "you
shall come to me"--he hesitated a
second while a shade passed over his
eyes--"TO-MORROW. And you shall
He rose quietly to his feet and the
curate rose also. Abnormal as the
climax was, it was to be seen that
there was no mistake about the
revelation. The man was a creature of
authority and used to carrying
conviction by his unsupported word.
That made itself, by some clear,
unspoken method, plain.
"You are Sir Oliver Holt! And
a few hours ago you were on the
"Ending it all--in an obscure
lodging. Afterward the earth would
have been shovelled on to a work-
house coffin. It was an awful thing."
He shook off a passionate shudder.
"There was no wealth on earth that
could give me a moment's ease--
sleep--hope--life. The whole
world was full of things I loathed the
sight and thought of. The doctors
said my condition was physical. Perhaps
it was--perhaps to-day has
strangely given a healthful jolt to my
nerves--perhaps I have been dragged
away from the agony of morbidity
and plunged into new intense emotions
which have saved me from the
last thing and the worst--SAVED
He stopped suddenly and his face
flushed, and then quite slowly turned
"SAVED ME!" he repeated the words
as the curate saw the awed blood
creepingly recede. "Who knows,
who knows! How many explanations
one is ready to give before one
thinks of what we say we believe.
Perhaps it was--the Answer!"
The curate bowed his head
"Perhaps it was."
The girl Glad sat clinging to her
knees, her eyes wide and awed and
with a sudden gush of hysteric tears
rushing down her cheeks.
"That 's the wye! That 's the
wye!" she gulped out. "No one
won't never believe--they won't,
NEVER. That's what she sees, Miss
Montaubyn. You don't, 'E don't,"
with a jerk toward the curate. "I
ain't nothin' but ME, but blimme if I
Sir Oliver Holt grew paler still.
He felt as he had done when Jinny
Montaubyn's poor dress swept against
him. His voice shook when he
"So do I," he said with a sudden
deep catch of the breath; "it was
In a few moments more he went
to the girl Polly and laid a hand on
"I shall take you home to your
mother," he said. "I shall take you
myself and care for you both. She
shall know nothing you are afraid of
her hearing. I shall ask her to bring
up the child. You will help her."
Then he touched the thief, who
got up white and shaking and with
eyes moist with excitement.
"You shall never see another man
claim your thought because you have
not time or money to work it out.
You will go with me. There are
to-morrows enough for you!"
Glad still sat clinging to her knees
and with tears running, but the ugliness
of her sharp, small face was a
thing an angel might have paused to
"You don't want to go away from
here," Sir Oliver said to her, and she
shook her head.
"No, not me. I told yer wot I
wanted. Lemme do it."
"You shall," he answered, "and
I will help you."
The things which developed in
Apple Blossom Court later, the things
which came to each of those who
had sat in the weird circle round the
fire, the revelations of new existence
which came to herself, aroused no
amazement in Jinny Montaubyn's
mind. She had asked and believed
all things--and all this was but
another of the Answers.