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Title: When It Was Dark - The Story of a Great Conspiracy
Author: Thorne, Guy
Language: English
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Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

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     +                                      +
     +           _By GUY THORNE_            +
     +                                      +
     +           When It Was Dark           +
     +   The Story of a Great Conspiracy    +
     +  12º. (By mail, $1.35) _Net_, $1.20  +
     +                                      +
     +             A Lost Cause             +
     +              12º $1.50               +
     +                                      +
     +          G. P. PUTNAM'S SONS         +
     +         _New York and London_        +
     +                                      +


    When It Was Dark

    The Story of a Great Conspiracy


    Guy Thorne

    G. P. Putnam's Sons
    New York and London
    The Knickerbocker Press

    COPYRIGHT, 1904

    Published, January, 1904
    Reprinted, May, 1904; September, 1904
    December, 1904; September, 1905
    October, 1905; November, 1905; January, 1906

    The Knickerbocker Press, New York



CHAPTER                                              PAGE

   I. An Incident by Way of Prologue                   1

  II. In the Vicar's Study                             6

 III. "I Think he is a Good Man"                      23

  IV. The Smoke Cloud at Dawn                         33

   V. A Lost Soul                                     45

  VI. The Whisper                                     56

 VII. Last Words at Walktown                          69

VIII. A Dinner at the Pannier d'Or                    77

  IX. Inauguration                                    95

   X. The Resurrection Sermon                        107

  XI. "Neither do I Condemn Thee"                    116

 XII. Powers of Good and Evil                        126


   I. While London was Sleeping                      141

  II. Avoiding the Flower Pattern on the Carpet      165

 III. "I, Joseph"                                    178

  IV. The Domestic Chaplain's Testimony              184

   V. Deus, Deus Meus, Quare Dereliquisti!           194

  VI. Harness the Horses; and Get up, ye Horsemen,
      and Stand forth with your Helmets, Furbish
      the Spears, and Put on the Brigandines--Jer.
      xlvi: 4                                        205

 VII. The Hour of Chaos                              212

VIII. The First Links                                225

  IX. Particular Instances, Contrasting the Old
      Lady and the Special Correspondent             233

   X. The Triumph of Sir Robert Llwellyn             245

  XI. Progress                                       256

 XII. A Soul alone on the Sea-Shore                  262


   I. What it Meant to the World's Women             271

  II. Cyril Hands Redux                              283

 III. All ye Inhabitants of the World, and
      Dwellers on the Earth, See ye, when He
      Lifteth up an Ensign on the Mountains--Is.
      xviii: 3                                       289

  IV. A Luncheon Party                               302

   V. By the Tower of Hippicus                       322

  VI. Under the Eastern Stars: towards Gerizim       342

 VII. The Last Meeting                               356

VIII. Death Coming with One Grace                    364

  IX. At Walktown Again                              376

      Epilogue                                       385


"The mystery of iniquity doth already work."




Mr. Hinchcliffe, the sexton, looked up as Mr. Philemon, the clerk,
unlocked the great gates of open ironwork which led into the street.
Hinchcliffe was cutting the lettering on a tombstone, supported by heavy
wooden trestles, under a little shed close to the vestry door of the

The clerk, a small, rotund man, clerical in aspect, and wearing a round
felt hat, pulled out a large, old-fashioned watch. "Time for the bell,
William," he said.

The parish church was a large building in sham perpendicular. It stood
in a very central position on the Manchester main road, rising amid a
bare triangle of flat gravestones, and separated from the street
pavement only by high iron railings.

It was about half-past four on a dull autumn afternoon. The trams swung
ringing down the black, muddy road, and the long procession of great
two-wheeled carts, painted vermilion, carried coal from the collieries
six miles away to the great mills and factories of Salford.

The two men went into the church, and soon the tolling of a deep-voiced
bell, high up in the pall of smoke which lay over the houses, beat out
in regular and melancholy sound.

Inside the building the noise of the traffic sank into a long, unceasing
note like the _bourdon_ note of a distant organ.

Hinchcliffe tolled the bell in the dim, ugly vestibule with his foot in
a loop in the rope, sitting on the chest which held the dozen loaves
which were given away every Sunday to the old women in the free seats.

The clerk opened the green baize swing-doors and strode up the aisle
towards the vestry, waking mournful echoes as the nails in his boots
struck the tiled floor.

Saint Thomas's Church, the mother church of Walktown, was probably the
ugliest church in Lancashire. The heavy galleries, the drab walls, the
terrible gloom of the vast structure, all spoke eloquently of a chilly,
dour Christianity, a grudging and suspicious Sunday religion which
animated its congregation.

In the long rows of cushioned seats, each labelled with the name of the
person who rented it, Sunday by Sunday the moderately prosperous and
wholly vulgar Lancashire people sat for two hours. During the prayers
they leaned forward in easy and comfortable concession to convention.
Few ever knelt. During the hymn times they stood up in their places
listening carefully to a fine choir of men and women--a choir which,
despite its vocal excellence, was only allowed to perform the most
stodgy and commonplace evangelical music.

When the incumbent preached he was heard with the jealous watchfulness
which often assails an educated man. The renters of the pews desired a
Low Church aspect of doctrine and were intelligent to detect any
divergence from it.

The colour of the building was sombre. The brick-red and styx-like grey
of the flooring, the lifeless chocolate front of the galleries, the
large and ugly windows filled with glass which was the colour of a
ginger-beer bottle, had all a definite quality of cheerless vulgarity.

Philemon came out of the vestry door with a lighted taper. He lit two or
three jets of the corona over the reading-desk. Then he sat down in a
front pew close to the chancel steps and waited.

The bell outside stopped suddenly, and a tall young man in a black
Inverness cape walked hurriedly up the side aisle under the gallery
towards the vestry.

In less than a minute he came out again in surplice, stole, and
hood,--the stole and hood were always worn at Walktown,--went to the
reading-desk, and began to say Evensong in a level, resonant voice.

At the end of each psalm Mr. Philemon recited the doxology with
thunderous assertion and capped each prayer with an echoing "Amen."

The curate, Basil Gortre, was a young fellow with a strong, impressive
face. His eyes had the clearness of youth and looked out steadily on the
world under his black hair. His face was of that type men call a
"thoroughly honest" face, but, unlike the generality of such faces, it
was neither stubborn nor stupid. The clean-shaven jaw was full of power,
the mouth was refined and artistic, without being either sensual or

During the Creed he turned towards the east, and the clerk's
uncompromising voice became louder and more acid as he noticed the
action; and when the clergyman, almost imperceptibly, made the sign of
the Cross at the words "The resurrection of the body," the old man gave
a loud snort of disapprobation.

In deference to the congregation on Sundays, and at the wish of his
vicar, Gortre omitted these simple signs of reverence. But alone, at
Matins or Evensong, he followed his usual habit.

During the last low prayers, as dusk crept into the great church, and
the clank and bells of the trams outside seemed to be more remote, a
part, indeed, of that visible but not symbolic ugliness which the gloom
was hiding, a note of fervour crept into the young man's praying which
had only been latent there before.

He was reading the third collect when the few gas jets above his head
began to whistle, burnt blue for a few seconds, and then faded out with
three or four faint pops.

Some air had got into the pipes. Old Mr. Philemon rose noisily from his
knees, and shuffled off to the vestry coughing and spluttering. Outside,
with startling suddenness, a piano organ burst into a gay, strident
melody. After a few bars the music stopped with a jerk. A police
constable had spoken to the organ-grinder and moved him on.

Gortre's voice went on in a deep, fervent monotone, unmoved by the
darkness or the dissonance--

     "_Lighten our darkness, we beseech Thee, O Lord; and by Thy great
     mercy defend us from all perils and dangers of this night; for the
     love of Thy only Son, our Saviour Jesus Christ._"

The faithful, quiet voice, enduring through the dark, was a
foreshadowing of the great cloud which was breaking over the world, big
with disaster, imminent with gloom. It foreshadowed the divinely aided
continuance of Truth through such a terror as men had never known

It meant many things, that firm and beautiful voice--hope in the darkest
hour for thousands of dying souls, a noble woman's happiness in time of
dire stress and evil temptations and a death worse than the death Judas
died--for Mr. Schuabe the millionaire and Robert Llwellyn the scholar,
taking tea together in the Athenæum Club three hundred miles away in

     "--_by Thy great mercy defend us from all perils and dangers of
     this night_."

Mr. Philemon returned with a taper, an old and wrinkled acolyte, in time
with his loud and sonorous AMEN.



The vicarage of Walktown was a new and commodious house with tall
chimneys, pointed windows, and a roof of red tiles.

It was more than a mile from the church, in the residential quarter of
the town. Here were no shops and little traffic. The solid houses of red
brick stood in their own rather dingy grounds, where, though the grass
was never really green, and spring came in a veil of smoky vapour when
the wind blew from the town, there was yet a rural suggestion.

The trees rose from neatly kept lawns, the gravel sweeps of the drives
were carefully tended, and there was distant colour in the elaborate
conservatories and palm-houses which were to be seen everywhere.

Mr. Pryde, the great Manchester solicitor, had his beautiful modern
house here. Sir John Neele, the wealthy manufacturer of disinfectants,
lived close by, and a large proportion of the well-to-do Manchester
merchants were settled round about.

Not all of them were parishioners of Mr. Byars, the vicar of Walktown.
Many attended the more fashionable church of Pendleborough, a mile away
in what answered to the "country"; others were leaders in the Dissenting
and especially the Unitarian worlds.

Walktown was a stronghold of the Unitarians. The wealthy Jews of two
generations back, men who made vast fortunes in the black valley of the
Irwell, had chosen Walktown to dwell in. Their grandsons had found it
more politic to abjure their ancient faith. A few had become
Christians,--at least in name, inasmuch as they rented pews at St.
Thomas's,--but others had compromised by embracing a faith, or rather a
dogma, which is simply Judaism without its ritual and ceremonial
obligations. The Baumanns, the Hildersheimers, the Steinhardts,
flourished in Walktown.

It was people of this class who supported the magnificent concerts in
the Free Trade Hall at Manchester, who bought the pictures and read the
books. They had brought an alien culture to the neighbourhood. The vicar
had two strong elements to contend with,--for his parochial life was all
contention,--on the one hand the Lancashire natives, on the other the
wealthy Jewish families.

The first were hard, uncultured people, hating everything that had not
its origin and end in commerce. They disliked Mr. Byars because he was a
gentleman, because he was educated, and because--so they considered--the
renting of the pews in his church gave them the right to imagine that he
was in some sense a paid servant of theirs.

The second class of parishioners were less Philistine, certainly, but
even more hopeless from the parish priest's point of view. In their
luxurious houses they lived an easy, selfish, and sensual life, beyond
his reach, surrounded by a wall of indifferentism, and contemptuous of
all that was not tangible and material. At times the rector and the
curate confessed to each other that these people seemed more utterly
lost than any others with whom the work of the Church brought them in

Mr. Byars was a widower with one son, now at Oxford, and one daughter,
Helena, who was engaged to Basil Gortre, the curate.

About six o'clock the vicar sat in his study with a pile of letters
before him. The room was a comfortable, bookish place, panelled in pitch
pine where the walls were not covered with shelves of theological and
philosophical works.

The arm-chairs were not new, but they invited repose; the large
engraving over the pipe-littered mantel was a fine autotype of Giacomo's
_St. Emilia_. The room was brightly lit with electric light.

Mr. Byars was a man of medium height, bald, his fine, domed forehead
adding to his apparent age, and wore a pointed grey beard and moustache.
He was an epitome of the room around him.

The volumes on his shelves were no ancient and musty tomes, but
represented the latest and newest additions to theological thought.

Lathom and Edersheim stood together with Renan's _Vie de Jésus_ and
Clermont-Ganneau's _Recueil d'Arch. Orient_, and Westcott guarded them

The ivory crucifix which stood on the writing-table completed the
impression of the man.

Ambrose Byars at forty-five was thoroughly acquainted with modern
thought and literature. His scholarship was tempered with the wisdom of
an active and clear-headed man of the world. His life and habits were
simple but unbigoted, and his broad-mindedness never obscured his
unalterable convictions. He lived, as he conceived it his duty to live
in his time and place, in thorough human and intellectual correspondence
with his environment, but one thought, one absolute certainty informed
his life.

As year by year his knowledge grew greater, and the scientific criticism
of the Scriptures undermined the faith of weaker and less richly
endowed minds, he only found in each discovery a more vivid proof of the
truth of the Incarnation and the Resurrection.

It was his habit in discussions to reconcile all apparently conflicting
antichristian statements and weave them into the fabric of his
convictions. He held that, even scientifically, historically, and
materially, the evidence for the Resurrection was too strong to be ever
overthrown. And beyond these intellectual evidences he knew that Christ
must have risen from the dead, because he himself had found Christ and
was found in Him.

His attitude was a careful one with all its conciseness. An anecdote
illustrates this.

One day, when walking home from a meeting of the School Board, of which
he was a member, he had met a parishioner named Baxter, the proprietor
of a small engineering work in the district. The man, who never came to
church, on what he called "principle," but spent his Sundays in bed with
a sporting paper, was one of those half-educated people who condemn
Christianity by ridiculing the Old Testament stories.

They walked together, Baxter quoting the _Origin of Species_, which he
knew from a cheap epitomised handbook.

"Do you really think, Mr. Byars," he had said, "do you really believe,
after Darwin's discovery, that we were made by a sort of conjuring trick
by a Supreme Power? Seven days of cooking, so to speak, and then a
world! Why, it's childish to expect thinking people to believe it. We
are simply evolved by scientific evolution out of the primæval

"Very possibly," said the vicar; "and who made the protoplasm, Mr.

The man was silent for a minute. "Then, Mr. Byars," he said at length,
"you do not believe the Old Testament--the Adam and Eve part, for
instance. You do not believe the Book on which your creed is founded."

"There are such things as allegories," he had answered. "The untutored
brain must be taught the truth in such a way as it can receive it."

The vicar lit his pipe and began to open his letters with a slight sigh.
Of all men, he sometimes felt, he was the least possible one for
Walktown. For twelve years he had worked there, and he seemed to make
little headway. He longed for an educated congregation. Here methods too
vulgar for his temperament seemed to be the only ones.

The letters were all from applicants for the curacy which Gortre's
impending departure would shortly leave vacant.

"It will be a terrible wrench to lose Basil," he said to himself; "but
it must be. He will have his chance and be far happier in London, in
more congenial environment. He would never be a great success in
Walktown. He has tried nobly, but the people won't understand him. They
would never like him; he's too much of a gentleman. How they all hate
breeding in Walktown! There is nothing for it, I can see. I must get an
inferior man this time. An inferior man will go down with them better
here. I only hope he will be a really good fellow. If he isn't, it will
be Jerrold over again--vulgar cabals against me, and all the women in
the place quarrelling and taking sides."

He read letter after letter, and saw, with a humorous shrug of disgust,
that he would have little difficulty in engaging the "inferior" man of
his thoughts.

The best men would not come to the North. Men of family with decent
degrees, Oxford men, Cambridge men, accustomed to decent society and
intellectual friends, knew far too much to accept a title in the
Manchester district.

The applications were numerous enough, but obviously from second-rate
men, or at any rate from men who appeared to be so at first glance.

A Durham graduate, 40, with five children, begged earnestly for the £120
a year which was all Mr. Byars could offer. A few young men from
theological colleges wanting titles, a Dublin B.A., announcing himself
as "thoroughly Protestant in views"--they were a weary lot. A
non-collegiate student from Oxford with a second class in Theology, a
Manchester Grammar-School boy, whose father lived at Higher Broughton,
seemed to promise the best. He would be able to get on with the people,
probably. "I suppose I must have him, accent and all," the vicar said
with a sigh, "though I suppose it's prejudice to dislike the lessons
read with the Lancashire broad 'a' and short 'o.' St. Paul probably
spoke with a terrible local twang! and yet, I don't know, he was too
great to be vulgar; one doesn't like to think that----"

Mr. Byars was certainly a difficult person for his congregation to

He picked up the letter and was re-reading it when the door opened and
his daughter came in.

Helena Byars was a tall girl, largely made and yet slender. Her hair was
luxuriant and of a traditional "heroine" gold. She was dressed with a
certain richness, though soberly enough, a style which, with its slight
hint of austerity, accentuated a quiet and delicate charm. So one felt
on meeting her for the first time. Sweet-faced she was and with an
underlying seriousness even in her times of laughter. Her mouth was
rather large, her nose straight and beautifully chiselled. The eyes were
placid, intelligent, but without keenness. There was an almost matronly
dignity about her quiet and yet decided manner.

The vicar looked up at her with a smile, thinking how like her mother
the girl was--that grave and gracious lady who looked out of the picture
by the door, St. Cecilia in form and face. "Eh, but Helena she favours
her mother," Hinchcliffe, the sexton, had said with the frank
familiarity of the Lancashire workman soon after Mrs. Byars's funeral
four years ago.

"I've brought _Punch_, father," she said, "it's just come. Leave your
work now and enjoy yourself for half an hour before dinner. Basil will
be here by the time you're finished."

She stirred the fire into a bright glow, and, singing softly to herself,
left the study and went into the dining-room to see that the table
looked inviting for the coming meal.

About seven o'clock Gortre arrived, and soon afterwards the three sat
down to dine. It was a simple meal, some fish, cold beef, and a pudding,
with a bottle of beer for the curate and a glass of claret for the
vicar. The housemaid did not wait upon them, for they found the meal
more intimate and enjoyable without her.

"I've got some news," said Gortre. "The great question of domicile is
settled. You know there is no room in the clergy-house at St. Mary's.
Moreover, Father Ripon thought it well that I should live outside. He
wanted one of the assistant clergy, at least, to be in constant touch
with lay influences, he said when I saw him."

"What have you arranged, dear?" said Helena.

"Something very satisfactory, I think," he answered. "My first thought
was to take ordinary rooms in Bloomsbury. It would be near St. Mary's
and the schools. Then I thought of chambers in one of the Inns of Court.
At any rate I wrote to Harold Spence to ask his advice. He was at
Merton with me, you know, lived on the same staircase in 'Stubbins,' and
is just one of the best fellows in the world. We haven't corresponded
much during the last three years, but I knew a letter to the New Oxford
and Cambridge would always find him. So I wrote up. He's been University
Extension lecturing for a time, you know, and writing too. Now he tells
me that he is writing leaders for the _Daily Wire_ and doing very well.
I'll read you what he says."

He took a letter from his pocket, glanced down it for the paragraph he
wanted, and began to read:

      ... "--and I am delighted to hear that you have at last made up
     your mind to leave the North country and have accepted this London
     curacy. I asked Marsh, our ecclesiastical editor, about St. Mary's
     last night. He tells me that it is a centre of very important
     Church work, and has some political and social influence. Of all
     the 'ritualistic' parishes--I use the word as a convenient
     label--it is thought to be the sanest. Here you will have a real
     chance. I know something of the North, and came in contact with all
     sorts and conditions of people when I was lecturing on the French
     Revolution round Liverpool and Manchester for the Extension. They
     are not the people for you to succeed with, either socially or from
     a clergyman's point of view--at least, that's my opinion, old man.
     You ask me about rooms. I have a proposal to make to you in this
     regard. I am now living in Lincoln's Inn with a man named
     Hands--Cyril Hands. You may know his name. He is a great
     archæologist, was a young Cambridge professor. For three years now
     he has been working for The Palestine Exploring Society. He is in
     charge of all the excavations now proceeding near Jerusalem, and
     constantly making new and valuable Biblical discoveries."

The vicar broke in upon the reading. "Hands!" he said; "a most
distinguished man! His work is daily adding to our knowledge in a
marvellous way. He has just recently discovered some important
inscriptions at El-Edhamîyeh--Jeremiah's grotto, you know, the place
which is thought may be Golgotha, you know. But go on, I'm sorry to

Gortre continued:

     "Hands is only at home for three months in the year, when he comes
     to the annual meeting of the Society and recuperates at the
     seaside. His rooms, however, are always kept for him. The chambers
     we have are old-fashioned but very large. There are three big
     bedrooms, a huge sitting-room, two smaller rooms and a sort of
     kitchen, all inside the one oak. I have a bedroom and one small
     room where I write. Hands has only one bedroom and uses the big
     general room. Now if you care to come and take up your abode in the
     Inn with us, I can only say you will be heartily welcome. Your
     share of the expenses would be less than if you lived alone in
     rooms as you propose, and you would be far more comfortable. You
     could have your study to work in. Our laundress is nearly always
     about, and there is altogether a pleasant suggestion of Oxford and
     the old days in the life we lead. Of course I need hardly tell you
     that we are very quiet and quite untroubled by any of the rowdy
     people, all of whom live away from our court altogether. You would
     be only five minutes' walk from St. Mary's. What do you think of
     the idea? Let me know and I will give you all further details. I
     hope you will decide on joining us. I should find it most
     pleasant.--Ever yours,


"An extremely genial letter," said the vicar. "I suppose you'll accept,
Basil? It will be pleasant to be with friends like that."

"Isn't it just a little, well, bachelor?" said Helena rather nervously.

Gortre smiled at the question.

"No, dear," he said. "I don't think you need be afraid. I know the sort
of visions you have. The sort of thing in _Pendennis_, isn't it? The boy
sent out for beer to the nearest public-house, and breakfast at twelve
in the morning, cooked in the sitting-room. You don't know Harold. He is
quite _bourgeois_ in his habits, despite his intellect, hates a muddle,
always dresses extremely well, and goes to church like any married man.
He was a great friend of the Pusey House people at Oxford."

"The days when you couldn't be a genius without being dirty are gone,"
said the vicar. "I am glad of it. I was staying at St. Ives last summer,
where there is quite an artistic settlement. All the painters carried
golf-clubs and looked like professional athletes. They drink Bohea in
Bohemia now."

Gortre talked a little about his plans for the future. He had a
sympathetic audience. During the four years of his curacy at Walktown he
had become very dear to Mr. Byars. He had arrived in the North from
Oxford, after a year at Litchfield Theological College, just about the
time that Mrs. Byars had died. His help and sympathy at such a time had
begun a friendship with his vicar that had been firmly cemented as the
time went on, and had finally culminated in his engagement to Helena. He
had been the vicar's sole intellectual companion all this time, and his
loss would be irreparable. But both men felt that his departure was
inevitable. The younger man's powers were stifled and confined in the
atmosphere of the place. He had private means of his own, and belonged
to an old West-country family, and, try as he would he failed to
identify himself socially with the Walktown people. His engagement to
Helena Byars had increased his unpopularity. He would be far happier at
St. Mary's in London, at the famous High Church, where he would find all
those exterior accompaniments of religion to which he had been
accustomed, and which, though he did not exalt the shadow into the
substance, always made him happier when he was surrounded by them.

He was to wait a year and then he would be married. There were no money
obstacles in the way and no reason for further delay. Only the vicar
looked forward with a sort of horror to his future loneliness, and tried
to put the thought from him whenever it came.

After dinner Helena left the two men to smoke alone in the study. There
was a concert in the Town Hall to which she was going with Mrs. Pryde,
the solicitor's wife, a neighbour. Her friend's carriage called for her
about eight, and Gortre settled down for a long talk with the vicar on
parochial affairs.

They sat on each side of the dancing fire, with coffee on a table
between them, quietly enjoying the after-dinner pipe, the best and
finest of the five cardinal pipes of the day. It was a comfortable
scene. The room was lighted only by a single electric reading-lamp with
a green shade, and the firelight flickered and played over the dull gold
and crimson of the books on the shelves, and threw red lights on the
shining ivory of the sculptured Christ.

"I daresay this North-country man will do all right," said the vicar.
"He will be more popular than you, Basil."

The young man sighed. "God knows I have tried hard enough to win their
confidence," he said sadly, "but it was not to be. I _can't_ get in
touch with them, vicar. They dislike my manners, my way of
speaking--everything about me. Even the landlady of my rooms distrusts
me because I decline to take tea with my evening chop, and charges me
three shillings a week extra because I have what she calls 'late

The vicar laughed. "At any rate," he said, "you have got hold of Leef,
your landlord; he comes to church regularly now."

"Oh, Leef illustrates more than any one else how impossible it is, for
me, at any rate, to do much good. Last week he said to me, 'It's a fine
thing, religion, when you've got it at last, Mr. Gortre. When I look
back at my unregenerate years I wonder at myself. Religion tells me to
give up certain things. It only 'armonises with the experience of any
sensible man of my age. I don't want to drink too much, for instance. My
health is capital, and I'm not such a fool as to spoil it. To think that
all those years I never knew that religion was as easy as winking, and
with a certainty of everlasting glory afterwards. I'll always back you
up, Mr. Gortre, in saying that religion's the finest thing out.'"

"Well, dear boy, you will be in another environment altogether soon.
It's no use being discouraged. _Tot homines, quot sententiæ_! We can't
alter these things. The Essenes used to speak disrespectfully enough of
'Ye men of Galilee,' no doubt. Sometimes I think I would rather have
these stubborn people than those of the South, men as easy and _commode_
as an old glove, and worth about as much. Have you seen the _Guardian_

"No, I haven't. I've been at the schools all the morning, visiting in
Timperley Street till Evensong, home for a wash, and then here."

"I see Schuabe is going to address a great meeting in the Free Trade
Hall on the Education Bill."

"Then he is at Mount Prospect?"

"He arrived from London yesterday."

The two men looked at each other in silence. Mr. Byars seemed ill at
ease. His foot tapped the brass rail of the fender. Then, a sure sign of
disturbance with him, he put down his pipe, which was nearly smoked
away, and took a cigarette from a box on the table and smoked in short,
quick puffs.

Gortre's face became dark and gloomy. The light died out of it, the
kindliness of expression, which was habitual, left his eyes.

"We have never really told each other what we think of Schuabe and how
we think of him, vicar," he said. "Let us have it out here and now while
we are thinking of him and while we have the opportunity."

"In a question of this sort," said Mr. Byars, "confidences are extremely
dangerous as a rule, but between you and me it is different. It will
clear our brains mutually. God forbid that you and I, in our profession
as Christ's priests and our socio-political position as clerks in Holy
Orders, should bear rancour against any one. But we are but human.
Possibly our mutual confidence may help us both."

There was a curious eagerness in his manner which was reflected by that
of the other. Both were conscious of feelings ill in accord with their
usual open and kindly attitude towards the world. Each was anxious to
know if the other coincided with himself.

Men are weak, and there is comfort in community.

"From envy, hatred, malice, and all uncharitableness--" said Gortre.

"Good Lord deliver us," replied the vicar gravely.

There was a tense silence for a time, only broken by the dropping of the
coals in the grate. The vicar was the first to break it.

"I'll sum up my personal impression of the man for and against," he

Gortre nodded.

"There can be no doubt whatever," said Mr. Byars, "that among all the
great North-country millionaires--men of power and influence, I
mean--Schuabe stands first and pre-eminent. His wealth is enormous to
begin with. Then he is young--can hardly be forty yet, I should say. He
belongs to the new generation. In Walktown he stands entirely alone.
Then his brilliancy, his tremendous intellectual powers, are equalled by
few men in England. His career at Oxford was marvellous, his political
life, only just beginning as it is, seems to promise the very highest
success. His private life, as far as we know--and everything about the
man seems to point to an ascetic temperament and a refined habit--is
without grossness or vice of any kind. In appearance he is one of the
ten most striking-looking men in England. His manners are fascinating."

Gortre laughed shortly, a mirthless, bitter laugh.

"So far," he said, "you have drawn a picture which approaches the ideal
of what a strong man should be. And I grant you every detail of it. But
let me complete it. You will agree with me that mine also is true."

His voice trembled a little. Half unconsciously his eyes wandered to the
crucifix on the writing-table. In the red glow of the fire, which had
now ceased to crackle and flame, the drooping figure on the cross showed
distinct and clear in all its tremendous appeal to the hearts of
mankind. Tears came into the young man's eyes, his face became drawn and
pained. When he spoke, his voice was full of purpose and earnestness.

"Yes," he said, with an unusual gesture of the hand, "Schuabe is all
that you say. In a hard, godless, and material age he is an epitome of
it. The curse of indifferentism is over the land. Men have forgotten
that this world is but an inn, a sojourning place for a few hours. O
fools and blind! The terror of death is always with them. But this man
is far more than this--far, far more. To him has been given the eye to
see, the heart to understand. _He, of all men living in England to-day,
is the mailed, armed enemy of Our Lord._ No loud-mouthed atheist,
sincere and blatant in his ignorance, no honest searcher after truth.
All his great wealth, all his attainments, are forged into one devilish
weapon. He is already, and will be in the future, the great enemy of
Christianity. Oh, I have read his book! 'Even now there are many
antichrists.' I have read his speeches in Parliament. I know his
enormous influence over those unhappy people who call themselves
'Secularists.' Like Diocletian, like Julian, _he hates Christ_. He is no
longer a Jew. Judaism is nothing to him--one can reverence a Montefiore,
admire an Adler. His attacks on the faith are something quite different
to those of other men. As his skill is greater, so his intention is more
evil. And yet how helpless are we who know! The mass of Christians--the
lax, tolerant Christians--think he is a kind of John Morley. They praise
his charities, his efforts for social amelioration. They quote, 'And God
fulfils Himself in many ways.' I say again, O fools and blind! They do
not know, they cannot see, this man as he is at heart, accursed and
antichrist!" His voice dropped, tired with its passion and vehemence. He
continued in a lower and more intimate vein:

"Do you think I am a fanatic, vicar? Am I touched with monomania when I
tell you that of late I have thought much upon the prophetic indications
of the coming of 'the Man of Sin,' the antichrist in Holy Writ? Can it
be, I have asked myself, as I watch the comet-like brilliance of this
man's career, can it be that in my own lifetime and the lifetime of
those I love, the veritable enemy of our Saviour is to appear? Is this
man, this Jew, he of whom it is said in Jacob's words, 'Dan shall be a
serpent by the way, an adder in the path'--the tribe of which _not one_
was sealed?"

"You are overwrought, Basil," said the elder man kindly. "You have let
yourself dwell too much on this man and his influences. But I do not
condemn you. I also have had my doubts and wonderings. The outside world
would laugh at us and people who might be moved as we are at these
things. But do we not live always with, and by help of, the Unseen? God
alone knows the outcome of the trend of these antichristian influences,
of which, I fear, Schuabe is the head. The Fathers are clear enough on
the subject, and the learned men of mediæval times also. Let me read to

He got up from his arm-chair, glad, it seemed, at opportunity of change
and movement, and went to the book-shelves which lined the wall. His
scholar's interest was aroused, his magnificent reading and knowledge of
Christian history and beliefs engaged and active.

He dipped into book after book, reading extracts from them here and

"Listen. Marchantius says the ship of the Church will sink and be lost
in the foam of infidelity, and be hidden in the blackness of that storm
of desolation which shall arise at the coming of Antichrist. 'The sun
shall be darkened and the stars shall fall from heaven.' He means, of
course, the sun of faith, and that the stars, the great ecclesiastical
dignitaries, shall fall into apostasy. But, he goes on to say, the
Church will remain unwrecked, she will weather the storm and come forth
'_beautiful as the moon, terrible as an army with banners_.'"

His voice was eager and excited, his face was all alight with the
scholar's eagerness, as he took down book after book with unerring
instinct to illustrate his remarks.

"Opinions as to the nature and personality of Antichrist have been very
varied," he continued. "Some of the very early Christian writers say he
will be a devil in a phantom body, others that he will be an incarnate
demon, true man and true devil, in fearful and diabolic parody of the
Incarnation of our Lord. There is a third view also. That is that he
will be merely a desperately wicked man, acting upon diabolic
inspirations, just as the saints act upon Divine inspirations.

"Listen to St. John Damascene upon the subject. He is very express. 'Not
as Christ assumed humanity, so will the Devil become human; but the Man
will receive all the inspiration of Satan, and will suffer the Devil to
take up his abode within him.'"

Gortre, who was listening with extreme attention, made a short, sharp
exclamation at this last quotation.

He had risen from his seat and stood by the mantel-shelf, leaning his
elbow upon it.

One of the ornaments of the mantel was a head of Christ, photographed on
china, from Murillo, and held in a large silver frame like a photograph

Just as the vicar had finished reading there came a sudden knock at the
door. It startled Gortre, and he moved suddenly. His elbow slid along
the marble of the shelf and dislodged the picture, which fell upon the
floor and was broken into a hundred pieces, crashing loudly upon the

The housemaid, who had knocked, stood for a moment looking with dismay
upon the breakage. Then she turned to the vicar.

"Mr. Schuabe from Mount Prospect to see you, sir," she said. "I've shown
him into the drawing-room."



The servant had turned on the lights in the drawing room, where a low
fire still glowed red upon the hearth, and left Constantine Schuabe
alone to await the vicar's arrival.

On either side of the fireplace were heavy hangings of emerald and
copper woven stuff, a present to Helena from an uncle, who had bought
them at Benares. Schuabe stood motionless before this background.

The man was tall, above the middle height, and the heavy coat of fur
which he was wearing increased the impression of proportioned size, of
massiveness, which was part of his personality. His hair was a very dark
red, smooth and abundant, of that peculiar colour which is the last to
show the greyness of advancing age. His features were Semitic, but
without a trace of that fulness, and sometimes coarseness, which often
marks the Jew who has come to the middle period of life. The eyes were
large and black, but without animation, in ordinary use and wont. They
did not light up as he spoke, but yet the expression was not veiled or
obscured. They were coldly, terribly _aware_, with something of the
sinister and untroubled regard one sees in a reptile's eyes.

The jaw, which dominated the face and completed its remarkable
_ensemble_, was very massive, reminding people of steel covered with
olive-coloured parchment. Handsome was hardly the word which fitted him.
He was a strikingly handsome man; but that, like "distinction," was
only one of the qualities which made up his personality. Force,
power--the relentless and conscious power suggested by some great marine
engine--surrounded him in an almost indescribable way. They were like
exhalations. Most people, with the casual view, called him merely
indomitable, but there were others who thought they read deeper and saw
something evil and monstrous about the man; powerless to give an exact
and definite reason for the impression, and dubious of voicing it.

Nevertheless, now and again, two or three people would speak of him to
each other without reserve, and on such occasions they generally agreed
to this feeling of the sinister and malign, in much the same manner as
the vicar and his curate had been agreeing but half an hour before his
arrival at the house.

The door opened with a quick click of the handle, and the vicar entered
with something of suddenness. One might almost have supposed that he had
lingered, hesitant, in the hall, and suddenly nerved himself for this

Mr. Byars advanced to take the hand of his visitor. Beside the big man
he seemed shrunken and a little ineffectual. He was slightly nervous in
his manner also, for Basil's impassioned and terror-ridden words still
rang in his ears and had their way with him.

The coincidence of the millionaire's arrival was altogether too sudden
and _bizarre_.

When they had made greetings, cordial enough on the surface, and were
seated on either side of the fire, Schuabe spoke at once upon the object
of his visit.

"I have come, Mr. Byars," he said, in a singularly clear, vibrant voice,
"to discuss certain educational proposals with you. As you probably
know, just at present I am taking a very prominent part in the House of
Commons in connection with the whole problem of primary education.
Within the last few weeks I have been in active correspondence with your
School Board, and you will know all about the scholarships I have

"But I am now coming to you to propose something of the same sort in
connection with your own Church schools. My opinions on religious
matters are, of course, not yours. But despite my position I have always
recognised that, with whatever means, both the clergy and my own party
are broadly working towards one end.

"Walktown provides me with very many thousands a year, and it is my duty
in some way or another to help Walktown. My proposal is roughly this: I
will found and endow two yearly scholarships for two boys in the
national schools. The money will be sufficient, in the first instance,
to send them to one of the great Northern Grammar Schools, and
afterwards, always providing that the early promise is maintained, to
either university.

"My only stipulation is this. The tests shall be purely and simply
intellectual, and have nothing whatever to do with the religious
teaching of the schools, with which I am not in sympathy. Nevertheless,
it is only fair that a clever boy in a Church school should have the
same opportunities as in a secular school. I should tell you that I have
made the same offer to the Roman Catholic school authorities and it has
been declined."

The vicar listened with great attention. The offer was extremely
generous, and showed a most open-minded determination to put the donor's
personal prejudices out of the question. There could be no doubt as to
his answer--none whatever.

"My dear sir," he said, "your generosity is very great. I see your point
about the examinations. Religion is to form no part of them exactly. But
by the time one of our boys submits himself for examination we should
naturally hope that he would already be so firmly fixed in Christian
principles that his after-career would have no influence upon his faith.
Holding the opinions that you do, your offer shows a great freedom from
any prejudice. I hope I am broad-minded enough to recognise that
philanthropy is a fine, lovely thing, despite the banner under which the
philanthropist may stand. I accept your generous offer in the spirit
that it is made. Of course, the scheme must be submitted to the managers
of the schools, of whom I am chief, but the matter practically lies with
me, and my lead will be followed."

"I am only too glad," said the big man, with a sudden and transforming
smile, "to help on the cause of knowledge. All the details of the scheme
I will send you in a few days, and now I will detain you no longer."

He rose to go.

During their brief conversation the vicar had been conscious of many
emotions. He blamed himself for his narrowness and the somewhat
fantastic lengths to which his recent talk with Gortre had gone. The man
was an infidel, no doubt. His intellectual attacks upon Christian faith
were terribly damaging and subversive. Still, his love for his
fellow-men was sincere, it seemed. He attacked the faith, but not the
preachers of it. And--a half thought crossed his brain--he might have
been sent to him for some good purpose. St. Paul had not always borne
the name of Paul!

These thoughts, but half formulated in his brain, had their immediate
effect in concrete action.

"Won't you take off your coat, Mr. Schuabe," he said, "and smoke a cigar
with me in my study?"

The other hesitated a moment, looked doubtful, and then assented. He
hung his coat up in the hall and went into the other room with the

During the conversation in the drawing-room Helena had come back from
the concert, and Basil, hearing her, had left the study and gone to her
own private sanctum for a last few minutes before saying good-night.

Helena sat in a low chair by the fire sipping a bowl of soup which the
maid had brought up to her. She was a little tired by the concert, where
a local pianist had been playing a nocturne of Chopin's as if he wanted
to make it into soup, and the quiet of her own sitting-room, the
intimate comfort of it all, and the sense of happiness that Basil's
presence opposite gave her were in delightful contrast.

"It was very stupid, dear," she said. "Mrs. Pryde was rather trying,
full of dull gossip about every one, and the music wasn't good. Mr.
Cuthbert played as if he was playing the organ in church. His touch is
utterly unfitted for anything except the War March from _Athalie_ with
the stops out. He knows nothing of the piano. I was in a front seat, and
I could see his knee feeling for the swell all the time. He played _the_
sonata as if he was throwing the moonlight at one in great solid chunks.
I'm glad to be back. How nice it is to sit here with you, dearest!--and
how good this Bovril is!" she concluded with a little laugh of content
and happiness at this moment of acute physical and mental ease.

He looked lovingly at her as she lay back in rest and the firelight
played over her white arms and pale gold hair.

"It's wonderful to think," he said, with a little catch in his voice,
"it's wonderful to me, an ever-recurring wonder, to think that some day
you and I will always be together for all our life, here and afterwards.
What supreme, unutterable happiness God gives to His children! Do you
know, dear, sometimes as I read prayers or stand by the altar, I am
filled with a sort of rapture of thankfulness which is voiceless in its
intensity. Tennyson got nearer to expressing it than any one in that
beautiful _St. Agnes' Eve_ of his--a little gem which, with its
simplicity and fervour, is worth far more than Keats's poem with all its
literary art."

"It is good to feel like that sometimes," she answered; "but it is well,
I think, not to get into the way of _inducing_ such feelings. The human
brain is such a sensitive thing that one can get into the way of
drugging it with emotion, as it were. I think I am tinged a little with
the North-country spirit. I always think of Newman's wonderful lines--

    "'The thoughts control that o'er thee swell and throng;
    They will condense within the soul and turn to purpose strong.
    But he who lets his feelings run in soft luxurious flow,
    Shrinks when hard service must be done, and faints at every blow.'

"I only quote from memory. But you look tired, dear boy; you are rather
white. Have you been overworking?"

He did not answer immediately.

"No," he said slowly, "but I've been having a long talk with the vicar.
We were talking about Mr. Schuabe and his influence. Helena, that man is
the most active of God's enemies in England. Almost when I was
mentioning his name, by some coincidence, or perhaps for some deeper,
more mysterious, psychical reason which men do not yet understand, the
maid announced him. He had come to see your father on business,
and--don't think I am unduly fanciful--the Murillo photograph, the head
of Christ, on the mantel-shelf, fell down and was broken. He is here
still, I think."

"Yes," said Helena; "Mr. Schuabe is in the study with father. But, Basil
dear, it's quite evident to me that you've been doing too much. Do you
know that I look upon Mr. Schuabe as a really _good_ man! I have often
thought about him, and even prayed that he may learn the truth; but God
has many instruments. Mr. Schuabe is sincere in his unbelief. His life
and all his actions are for the good of others. It is terrible--it is
deplorable--to know he attacks Christianity; but he is tolerant and
large-minded also. Yes, I should call him a good man. He will come to
God some day. God would not have given him such power over the minds and
bodies of men otherwise."

Gortre smiled a little sadly,--a rather wan smile, which sat strangely
upon his strong and hearty face--, but he said no more.

He knew that his attitude was illogical, perhaps it could be called
bigoted and intolerant--a harsh indictment in these easy, latitudinarian
days; but his conviction was an intuition. It came from within, from
something outside or beyond his reason, and would not be stifled.

"Well, dear," he said, "perhaps it is as you say. Nerves which are
overwrought, and a system which is run down, certainly have their say,
and a large say, too, in one's attitude towards any one. Now you must go
to bed. I will go down and say good-night to the rector and Mr.
Schuabe--just to show there's no ill-feeling; though, goodness knows, I
oughtn't to jest about the man. Good-night, sweet one; God bless you.
Remember me also in your prayers to-night."

She kissed him in her firm, brave way--a kiss so strong and loving, so
pure and sweet, that he went away from that little room of books and
_bric-à-brac_ as if he had been sojourning in some shrine.

As Basil came into the study he found Mr. Byars and Schuabe in eager,
animated talk. A spirit decanter had been brought in during his
absence, and the vicar was taking the single glass of whisky-and-water
he allowed himself before going to bed. Basil, who was in a singularly
alert and observant mood, noticed that a glass of plain seltzer water
stood before the millionaire.

Gortre's personal acquaintance with Schuabe was of the slightest. He had
met him once or twice on the platform of big meetings, and that was all.
A simple curate, unless socially,--and Schuabe did not enter into the
social life of Walktown, being almost always in London,--he would not be
very likely to come in the way of this mammoth.

But Schuabe greeted him with marked cordiality, and he sat down to
listen to the two men.

In two minutes he was fascinated, in five he realised, with a quick and
unpleasant sense of inferiority, how ignorant he was beside these two.
In Schuabe the vicar found a man whose knowledge was as wide and
scholarship as profound as his own.

From a purely intellectual standpoint, probably Gortre and Schuabe were
more nearly on a level, but in pure knowledge he was nowhere. He
wondered, as he listened, if the generation immediately preceding his
own had been blessed with more time for culture, if the foundation had
been surer and more comprehensive, when they were _alumni_ of the
"loving mother" in the South.

They were discussing archæological questions connected with the Holy

Schuabe possessed a profound and masterly knowledge of the whole Jewish
background to the Gospel picture, not merely of the archæology, which in
itself is a life study, but of the essential characteristics of Jewish
thought and feeling, which is far more.

Of course, every now and again the conversation turned towards a
direction that, pursued, would have led to controversy. But, with mutual
tact, the debatable ground was avoided. That Christ was a historic fact
Schuabe, of course, admitted and implied, and when the question of His
Divinity seemed likely to occur he was careful and adroit to avoid any

To the young man, burning with the zeal of youth, this seemed a pity.
Unconsciously, he blamed the vicar for not pressing certain points home.

What an opportunity was here! The rarity of such a visit, the obvious
interest the two men were beginning to take in each other--should not a
great blow for Christ be struck on such an auspicious night? Even if the
protest was unavailing, the argument overthrown, was it not a duty to
speak of the awful and eternal realities which lay beneath this vivid
and brilliant interchange of scholarship?

His brain was on fire with passionate longing to speak. But,
nevertheless, he controlled it. None knew better than he the depth and
worth of the vicar's character. And he felt himself a junior; he had no
right to question the decision of his superior.

"You have missed much, Mr. Byars," said Schuabe, as he arose to go at
last, "in never having visited Jerusalem. One can get the knowledge of
it, but never the colour. And, even to-day, the city must appear, in
many respects, exactly as it did under the rule of Pilate. The Fellah
women sell their vegetables, the camels come in loaded with roots for
fuel, the Bedouin, the Jews with their long gowns and slippers--I wish
you could see it all. I have eaten the meals of the Gospels, drunk the
red wine of Saron, the spiced wine mixed with honey and black pepper,
the 'wine of myrrh' mentioned in the Gospel of Mark. I have dined with
Jewish tradesmen and gone through the same formalities of hand-washing
as we read of two thousand years ago; I have seen the poor
ostentatiously gathered in out of the streets and the best part of the
meal given them for a self-righteous show. And yet, an hour afterwards,
I have sat in a _café_ by King David's Tower and played dice with
Turkish soldiers armed with Martini rifles!"

The vicar seemed loath to let his guest go, though the hour was late,
but he refused to stay longer. Mr. Byars, with a somewhat transparent
eagerness, mentioned that Gortre's road home lay for part of the way in
the same direction as the millionaire's. He seemed to wish the young man
to accompany him, almost, so Basil thought, that the charm of his
personality might rebuke him for his tirade in the early part of the

Accordingly, in agreement with the vicar's evident wish, but with an
inexplicable ice-cold feeling in his heart, he left the house with
Schuabe and began to walk with him through the silent, lamp-lit



The two men strode along without speaking for some way. Their feet
echoed in the empty streets.

Suddenly Schuabe turned to Basil. "Well, Mr. Gortre," he said, "I have
given you your opportunity. Are you not going to speak the word in
season after all?"

The young man started violently. Who was this man who had been reading
his inner thoughts? How could his companion have fathomed his sternly
repressed desire as he sat in the vicarage study? And why did he speak
now, when he knew that some chilling influence had him in its grip, that
his tongue was tied, his power weakened?

"It is late, Mr. Schuabe," he said at length, and very gravely. "My
brain is tired and my enthusiasm chilled. Nor are you anxious to hear
what I have to say. But your taunt is ungenerous. It almost seems as if
you are not always so tolerant as men think!"

The other laughed--a cold laugh, but not an unkindly one. "Forgive me,"
he said, "one should not jest with conviction. But I should like to talk
with you also. There are lusts of the brain just as there are lusts of
the flesh, and to-night I am in the mood and humour for conversation."

They were approaching a side road which led to Gortre's rooms.
Schuabe's great stone house was still a quarter of a mile away up the

"Do not go home yet," said Schuabe, "come to my house, see my books, and
let us talk. Make friends with the mammon of unrighteousness, Mr.
Gortre! You are disturbed and unstrung to-night. You will not sleep.
Come with me."

Gortre hesitated for a moment, and then continued with him. He was
hardly conscious why he did so, but even as he accepted the invitation
his nerves seemed recovered as by some powerful tonic. A strange
confidence possessed him, and he strode on with the air and manner of a
man who has some fixed purpose in his brain.

And as he talked casually with Schuabe, he felt towards him no longer
the cold fear, the inexplicable shrinking. He regarded him rather as a
vast and powerful enemy, an evil, sinister influence, indeed, but one
against which he was armed with an armour not his own, with weapons
forged by great and terrible hands.

So they entered the drive and walked up among the gaunt black trees
towards the house.

Mount Prospect was a large, castellated modern building of stone. In a
neighbourhood where architectural monstrosities abounded, perhaps it
outdid them all in its almost brutal ugliness and vulgarity. It had been
built by Constantine Schuabe's grandfather.

The present owner was little at Walktown. His Parliamentary and social
duties bound him to London, and when he had time for recreation the
newspapers announced that he had "gone abroad," and until he was
actually seen again in the midst of his friends his disappearances were
mysterious and complete.

In London he had a private set of rooms at one of the great hotels.

But despite his rare visits, the hideous stone palace in the smoky North
held all the treasures which he himself had collected and which had been
left to him by his father.

It was understood that at his death the pictures and library were to
become the property of the citizens of Manchester, held in trust for
them by the corporation.

Schuabe took a key from his pocket and opened the heavy door in the

"I always keep the house full of servants," he said, "even when I am
away, for a dismantled house and caretakers are horrible. But they will
be all gone to bed now, and we must look after ourselves."

Opening an inner door, they passed through some heavy padded curtains,
which fell behind them with a dull thud, and came out into the great

Ugly as the shell of the great building was, the interior was very

Here, set like a jewel in the midst of the harsh, forbidding country,
was a treasure-house of ordered beauty which had few equals in England.

Gortre drew a long, shuddering breath of pleasure as he looked round.
Every æsthetic influence within him responded to what he saw. And how
simple and severe it all was! Simply a great domed hall of white marble,
brilliantly lit by electric light hidden high above their heads. On
every side slender columns rose towards the dome, beyond them were tall
archways leading to the rooms of the house; dull, formless curtains,
striking no note of colour, hung from the archways.

In the centre of the vast space, exactly under the dome, was a large
pool of still green water, a square basin with abrupt edges, having no
fountain nor gaudy fish to break its smoothness.

And that was all, literally all. No rugs covered the tesselated floor,
not a single seat stood anywhere. There was not the slightest suggestion
of furniture or habitation. White, silent, and beautiful! As Gortre
stood there, he knew, as if some special message had been given him,
that he had come for some great hidden purpose, that it had been
foreordained. His whole soul seemed filled with a holy power, unseen
powers and principalities thronged round him like sweet but awful

He turned inquiringly towards his host. Schuabe's face was very pale;
the calm, cruel eyes seemed agitated; he was staring at the priest.
"Come," he said in a voice which seemed to be without its usual
confidence; "come, this place is cold--I have sometimes thought it a
little too bare and fantastic--come into the library; let us eat and

He turned and passed through the pillars on the right. Gortre followed
him through the dark, heavy curtains which led to the library.

They found themselves in an immense low-ceilinged room. The floor was
covered with a thick carpet of dull blue, and their feet made no sound
as they passed over it towards the blazing fire, which glowed in an old
oak framework of panelling and ingle-nook brought from an ancient
manor-house in Norfolk.

At one end of the room was a small organ, cased, modern as the mechanism
was, in priceless Renaissance painted panels from Florence and set in a
little octagonal alcove hung with white and yellow.

The enormous writing-table of dark wood stood in front of the fireplace
and was covered with books and papers. By it was a smaller circular
table laid with a white cloth and shining glass and silver for a meal.

"My valet is in bed," said Schuabe; "I hate any one about me at night,
and I prefer to wait on myself then. 'From the cool cisterns of the
midnight air my spirit drinks repose.' If you will wait here a few
moments I will go and get some food. I know where to find some. Pray
amuse yourself by looking at my books."

He left the room noiselessly, and Basil turned towards the walls. From
ceiling to floor the immense room was lined with shelves of enamelled
white wood, here and there carved with tiny florid bunches of fruit and
flowers--Jacobean work it seemed.

A few pictures here and there in spaces between the shelves--the hectic
flummery of a Whistler nocturne; a woman _avec cerises_, by Manet; a
green silk fan, painted with _fêtes gallantes_, by Conder--alone broke
the many-coloured monotony of the books.

Gortre had, from his earliest Oxford days, been a lover of books and a
collector in a moderate, discriminating way. As a rule he was roused to
a mild enthusiasm by a fine library. But as his practised eye ran over
the shelves, noting the beauty and variety of the contents, he was
unmoved by any special interest. His brain, still, so it seemed, under
some outside and compelling instinct or influence, was singularly
detached from ordinary interests and rejected the books' appeal.

Close to where he stood the shelves were covered with theological works.
Müller's _Lectures on the Vedanta Philosophy_, Romane's _Reply to Dr.
Lightfoot_, De la Saussaye's _Manual_, stood together. His hand had been
wandering unconsciously over the books when it was suddenly arrested,
and stopped on a familiar black binding with plain gold letters. It was
an ordinary reference edition of the Holy Bible, the "pearl" edition
from the Oxford University Press.

There was something familiar and homely in the little dark volume, which
showed signs of constant use. A few feet away was a long shelf of Bibles
of all kinds, rare editions, expensive copies bound up with famous
commentaries--all the luxuries and _éditions de luxe_ of Holy Writ. But
the book beneath his fingers was the same size and shape as the one
which stood near his own bedside in his rooms--the one which his father
had given him when he went to Harrow, with "Flee youthful lusts" written
on the fly-leaf in faded ink. It was homelike and familiar.

He drew it out with a half smile at himself for choosing the one book he
knew by heart from this new wealth of literature.

Then a swift impulse came to him.

Gortre could not be called a superstitious man. The really religious
temperament, which, while not rejecting the aids of surface and symbol,
has seen far below them, rarely is "superstitious" as the word has come
to be understood.

The familiar touch, the pleasant sensation of the limp, rough leather on
his finger-balls gave him a feeling of security. But that very fact
seemed to remind him that some danger, some subtle mental danger, was
near. Was this Bible sent to him? he wondered. Were his eyes and hands
_directed_ to it by the vibrating, invisible presences which he felt
were near him? Who could say?

But he took the book in his right hand, breathed a prayer for help and
guidance--if it might so be that God, who watched him, would speak a
message of help--and opened it at random.

He was about to make a trial of that old mediæval practice of
"searching"--that harmless trial of faith which a modern hard-headed
cleric has analysed so cleverly, so completely, and so entirely

He opened the book, with his eyes fixed in front of him, and then let
them drop towards it. For a moment the small type was all blurred and
indistinct, and then one text seemed to leap out at him.

It was this--


This, then, was his message! He was to _watch_, to pray, for the time
was at hand when--

The curtain slid aside, and Schuabe entered with a tray. He had changed
his morning coat for a long dressing-gown of camel's-hair, and wore
scarlet leather slippers.

Basil slipped the Bible back into its place and turned to face him.

"I live very simply," he said, "and can offer you nothing very
elaborate. But here is some cold chicken, a watercress salad, and a
bottle of claret."

They sat down on opposite sides of the round table and said little. Both
men were tired and hungry. After he had eaten, the clergyman bent his
head for a second or two in an inaudible grace, and made the sign of the
Cross before he rose from his chair.

"Symbol!" said Schuabe, with a cold smile, as he saw him.

The truce was over.

"What is that Cross to which all Christians bow?" he continued. "It was
the symbol of the water-god of the Gauls, a mere piece of their
iconography. The Phœnician ruin of Gigantica is built in the shape of a
cross; the Druids used it in their ceremonies; it was Thor's hammer long
before it became Christ's gibbet; it is used by the pagan Icelanders to
this day as a magic sign in connection with storms of wind. Why, the
symbol of Buddha on the reverse of a coin found at Ugain is the same
cross, the 'fylfot' of Thor. The cross was carved by Brahmins a thousand
years before Christ in the caves of Elephanta. I have seen it in India
with my own eyes in the hands of Siva Brahma and Vishnu! The worshipper
of Vishnu attributes as many virtues to it as the pious Roman Catholic
here in Salford to the Christian Cross. There is the very strongest
evidence that the origin of the cross is phallic! The _crux ansata_ was
the sign of Venus: it appears beside Baal and Astarte!"

"Very possibly, Mr. Schuabe," said Gortre, quietly. "Your knowledge on
such points is far wider than mine; but that does not affect
Christianity in the slightest."

"Of course not! Who ever said it did? But this reverence for the cross,
the instrument of execution on which an excellent teacher, and, as far
as we know, a really good man, suffered, angers me because it reminds me
of the absurd and unreasoning superstitions which cloud the minds of so
many educated men like yourself."

"Ah," said Gortre, quietly, "now we are 'gripped.' We have come to the

"If you choose, Mr. Gortre," Schuabe answered; "you are an intellectual
man, and one intellectual man has a certain right to challenge another.
I was staying with Lord Haileybury the other day, and I spent two whole
mornings walking over the country with the Bishop of London, talking on
these subjects. He very ably endeavoured to bring physical and
psychological science into a single whole. But all he seemed to me to
prove was this, crystallised into an axiom or at least a postulate.
_Conscious volition is the ultimate source of all force._ It is his
belief that behind the sensuous and phenomenal world which gives it
form, existence, and activity, lies the ultimate invisible, immeasurable
power of Mind, conscious Will, of Intelligence, analogous to our own;
and--mark this essential corollary--_that man is in communication with
it_, and that was positively all he could do for me! I met him there
easily enough, but when he tried to prove a _revelation_--Christianity
--he utterly broke down. We parted very good friends, and I gave him a
thousand pounds for the East London poor fund. But still, say what you
will to me. I am here to listen."

He looked calmly at the young man with his unsmiling eyes. He held a
Russian cigarette in his fingers, and he waved it with a gentle gesture
of invitation as if from an immeasurable superiority.

And as Gortre watched him he knew that here was a brain and intelligence
far keener and finer than his own. But with all that certainty he felt
entirely undismayed, strangely uplifted.

"I have a message for you, Mr. Schuabe," he began, and the other bowed
slightly, without irony, at his words. "I have a message for you, one
which I have been sent here--I firmly believe--to deliver, but it is not
the message or the argument that you expect to hear."

He stopped for a short time, marshalling his mental forces, and noticing
a slight but perceptible look of surprise in his host's eyes.

"I know you better than you imagine, sir," he said gravely, "and not as
many other good and devout Christians see you. I tell you here to-night
with absolute certainty that you are the active enemy of Christ--I say
_active_ enemy."

The face opposite became slightly less tranquil, but the voice was as
calm as ever.

"You speak according to your lights, Mr. Gortre," he said. "I am no
Christian, but there is much good in Christianity. My words and writings
may have helped to lift the veil of superstition and hereditary
influences from the eyes of many men, and in that sense I am an enemy of
the Christian faith, I suppose. My sincerity is my only apology--if one
were needed. You speak with more harshness and less tolerance than I
should have thought it your pleasure or your duty to use."

Gortre rose. "Man," he cried, with sudden sternness, "I _know! You hate
our Lord_, and would work Him evil. You are as Judas was, for to-night
it is given me to read far into your brain."

Schuabe rose quickly from his chair and stood facing him. His face was
pallid, something looked out of his eyes which almost frightened the

"What do you know?" he cried as if in a swift stroke of pain. "Who--?"
He stopped as if by a tremendous effort.

Some thought came to reassure him.

"Listen," he said. "I tell you, paid priest as you are, a blind man
leading the blind, that a day is coming when all your boasted fabric of
Christianity will disappear. It will go suddenly, and be swept utterly
away. And you, you shall see it. You shall be left naked of your faith,
stripped and bare, with all Christendom beside you. Your pale Nazarene
shall die amid the bitter laughter of the world, die as surely as He
died two thousand years ago, and no man or woman shall resurrect Him.
You know nothing, but you will remember my words of to-night, until you
also become as nothing and endure the inevitable fate of mankind."

He had spoken with extraordinary vehemence, hissing the words out with a
venom and malice, general rather than particular, from which the
Churchman shrunk, shuddering. There was such unutterable _conviction_ in
the thin, evil voice that for a moment the pain of it was like a spasm
of physical agony.

Schuabe had thrown down the mask; it was even as Gortre said, the soul
of Iscariot looked out from those eyes. The man saw the clergyman's
sudden shrinking.

The smile of a devil flashed over his face. Gortre had turned to him
once more and he saw it. And as he watched an awful certainty grew
within him, a thought so appalling that beside it all that had gone
before sank into utter insignificance.

He staggered for a moment and then rose to his full height, a fearful
loathing in his eyes, a scorn like a whip of fire in his voice.

Schuabe blanched before him, for he saw the truth in the priest's soul.

"As the Lord of Hosts is my witness," cried Gortre loudly, "I know you
now for what you are! YOU KNOW THAT CHRIST IS GOD!"

Schuabe shrank into his chair.

"ANTICHRIST!" pealed out the accusing voice. "You know the truth full
well, and, knowing, in an awful presumption you have dared to lift your
hand against God."

Then there was a dead silence in the room. Schuabe sat motionless by the
dying fire.

Very slowly the colour crept back into his cheeks. Slowly the strength
and light entered his eyes. He moved slightly.

At last he spoke.

"Go," he said. "Go, and never let me see your face again. You have
spoken. Yet I tell you still that such a blinding blow shall descend on
Christendom that----"

He rose quickly from his chair. His manner changed utterly with a
marvellous swiftness.

He went to the window and pulled aside the curtain. A chill and ghostly
dawn came creeping into the library.

"Let us make an end of this," he said quietly and naturally. "Of what
use for you and me, atoms that we are, to wrangle and thunder through
the night over an infinity in which we have neither part nor lot? Come,
get you homewards and rest, as I am about to do. The night has been an
unpleasant dream. Treat it as such. We differ on great matters. Let that
be so and we will forget it. You shall have a friend in me if you will."

Gortre, hardly conscious of any voluntary movements, his brain in a
stupor, the arteries all over his body beating like little drums, took
the hat and coat the other handed to him, and stumbled out of the house.

It was about five o'clock in the morning, raw, damp, and cold.

With a white face, drawn and haggard with emotion, he strode down the
hill. The keen air revived his physical powers, but his brain was
whirling, whirling, till connected thought was impossible.

What was it? What was the truth about that nightmare, that long, horrid
night in the warm, rich room? His powers were failing; he must see a
doctor after breakfast.

When he reached the foot of the hill, and was about to turn down the
road which led to his rooms, he stopped to rest for a moment.

From far behind the hill, over the dark, silhouetted houses of the
wealthy people who lived upon it, a huge, formless pall of purple smoke
was rising, and almost blotting out the dawn in a Titanic curtain of
gloom. The feeble new-born sun flickered redly through it, the colour of
blood. There was no wind that morning, and the fog and smoke from the
newly lit factory chimneys in the Irwell valley could not be dispersed.
It crept over the town like doom itself--menacing, vast, unconquerable.

He pulled out his latch-key with trembling hand, and turned to enter his
own door.

The cloud was spreading.

"Lighten our darkness," he whispered to himself, half consciously, and
then fell fainting on the door-step, where they found him soon, and
carried him in to the sick-bed, where he lay sick of a brain-fever a
month or more.

_Lighten our darkness!_



In his great room at the British Museum, great, that is, for the private
room of an official, Robert Llwellyn sat at his writing-desk finishing
the last few lines of his article on the Hebrew inscription in mosaic,
which had been discovered at Kefr Kenna.

It was about four in the afternoon, growing dark with the peculiarly
sordid and hopeless twilight of a winter's afternoon in central London.
A reading lamp upon the desk threw a bright circle of light on the sheet
of white unlined paper covered with minute writing, which lay before the
keeper of Biblical antiquities in the British Museum.

The view from the tall windows was hideous and almost sinister in its
ugliness. Nothing met the eye but the gloomy backs of some of the great
dingy lodging-houses which surround the Museum, bedroom windows, back
bedrooms with dingy curtains, vulgarly unlovely.

The room itself was official looking, but far from uncomfortable. There
were many book-shelves lining the walls. Over them hung large-framed
photographs and drawings of inscriptions. On a stand by itself, covered
with a glass shade, was a duplicate of Dr. Schick's model of the Haram
Area during the Christian occupation of Jerusalem.

A dull fire glowed in the large open fireplace.

Llwellyn wrote a final line with a sigh of relief and then leaned far
back in his swivel chair. His face was gloomy, and his eyes were dull
with some inward communing, apparently of a disturbing and unpleasant

The door opened noiselessly (all the dwellers in the mysterious private
parts of the Museum walk without noise, and seem to have caught in their
voices something of that almost religious reverence emanating from
surroundings out of the immemorial past), and Lambert, the assistant
keeper and secretary, entered.

He drew up a chair to the writing-desk.

"The firman has been granted!" he said.

A quick interest shone on Professor Llwellyn's face.

"Ah!" he said, "it has come at last, then, after all these months of
waiting. I began to despair of the Turkish Government. I never thought
it would be granted. Then the Society will really begin to excavate at
last in the prohibited spots! Really that is splendid news, Lambert. We
shall have some startling results. Results, mind you, which will be
historical, historical! I doubt but that the whole theory of the Gospel
narrative will have to be reconstructed during the next few years!"

"It is quite possible," said Lambert. "But, on the other hand, it may
happen that nothing whatever is found."

Llwellyn nodded. Then a sudden thought seemed to strike him. "But how do
you know of this, Lambert?" he said, "and how has it happened?"

Lambert was a pleasant, open-faced fellow, young, and with a certain air
of distinction. He laughed gaily, and returned his chief's look of
interest with an affectionate expression in his eyes.

"Ah!" he said, "I have heard a great deal, sir, and I have some thing to
tell you which I am very happy about. It is gratifying to bring you the
first news. Last night I was dining with my uncle, Sir Michael
Manichoe, you know. The Home Secretary was there, a great friend of my
uncle's. You know the great interest he takes in the work of the
Exploration Society, and his general interest in the Holy Land?"

"Oh, of course," said Llwellyn. "He's the leader of the uncompromising
Protestant party in the House; owes his position to it, in fact. He
breakfasts with the Septuagint, lunches off the Gospels, and sups with
Revelations. Well?"

"It is owing to his personal interest in the work," continued Lambert,
"that the Sultan has granted the firman. After dinner he took me aside,
and we had a longish talk. He was very gracious, and most eager to hear
of all our recent work here, and additions to the collections in our
department. I was extremely pleased, as you may imagine. He spoke of
you, sir, as the greatest living authority--wouldn't hear of Conrad
Schick or Clermont-Ganneau in the same breath with you. He went on to
say in confidence, and he hinted to me that I had his permission to tell
you, though he didn't say as much in so many words, that they are going
to offer you knighthood in a few days!"

A sudden flush suffused the face of the elder man. Then he laughed a

"Your news is certainly unexpected, my dear boy," he said, "and, for my
part, knighthood is no very welcome thing personally. But it would be
idle to deny that I'm pleased. It means recognition of my work, you see.
In that way only, it is good news that you have brought."

"That's just it, Professor," the young man answered enthusiastically.
"That's exactly it. Sir Robert Llwellyn, or Mr. Llwellyn, of course,
cannot matter to you personally. But it _is_ a fitting and graceful
recognition of the _work_. It is a proper thing that the greatest
living authority on the antiquities and history of Asia Minor should be
officially recognised. It encourages all of us, you see, Professor."

The young man's generous excitement pleased Llwellyn. He placed his hand
upon his shoulder with a kindly, affectionate gesture.

At that moment a messenger knocked and entered with a bundle of letters,
which had just arrived by the half-past-four post, and, with a
congratulatory shake of the hand, Lambert left his chief to his

The great specialist, when he had left the room, rose from his chair,
went towards the door with swift, cat-like steps, and locked it. Then he
returned to the desk, opened a deep drawer with a key which he drew from
his watch-pocket, and took a silver-mounted flask of brandy from the
receptacle. He poured a small dose of brandy into the metal cup and
drank it hurriedly.

Then he leaned back once more in his chair.

Professor Llwellyn's face was familiar to all readers of the illustrated
press. He was one of the few famous _savants_ whose name was a household
word not only to his colleagues and the learned generally, but also to
the great mass of the general public.

In every department of effort and work there are one or two men whose
personality seems to catch the popular eye.

His large, clean-shaven face might have belonged to a popular comedian;
his portly figure had still nothing of old age about it. He was
sprightly and youthful in manner despite his fat. The small, merry,
green eyes--eyes which had yet something furtive and "alarmed" in them
at times--stood for a concrete personification of good humour. His
somewhat sensual lips were always smiling and jolly on public occasions.
His enormous erudition and acknowledged place among the learned of
Europe went so strangely with his appearance that the world was pleased
and tickled by the paradox.

It was a fine thing to think that the spectacled Dry-as-dust was gone.
That era of animated mummy was over, and when The World read of
Professor Llwellyn at a first night of the Lyceum, or the guest of
honour at the Savage Club, it forgot to jeer at his abstruse erudition.

Scholars admitted his scholarship, and ordinary men and women welcomed
him as _homme du monde_.

The Professor replaced the flask in the drawer and locked it. His hand
trembled as he did so. The light which shone on the white face showed it
eloquent with dread and despair. Here, in the privacy of the huge,
comfortable room, was a soul in an anguish that no mortal eyes could

The Professor had locked the door.

The letters which the messenger had brought were many in number and
various in shape and style.

Five or six of them, which bore foreign stamps and indications that they
came from the Continental antiquarian societies, he put on one side to
be opened and replied to on the morrow.

Then he took up an envelope addressed to him in firm black writing and
turned it over. On the flap was the white, embossed oval and crown,
which showed that it came from the House of Commons. His florid face
became paler than before, the flesh of it turned grey, an unpleasant
sight in so large and ample a countenance, as he tore it open. The
letter ran as follows:


     "DEAR LLWELLYN,--I am writing to you now to say that I am quite
     determined that the present situation shall not continue. You must
     understand, finally, that my patience is exhausted, and that,
     unless the large sum you owe me is repaid within the next week, my
     solicitors have my instructions, which are quite unalterable, to
     proceed in bankruptcy against you without further delay.

     "The principal and interest now total to the sum of fourteen
     thousand pounds. Your promises to repay, and your innumerable
     requests for more time in which to do so, now extend over a period
     of three years. I have preserved all your letters on the subject at
     issue between us, and I find that, so far from decreasing your
     indebtedness when your promises became due, you have almost
     invariably asked me for further sums, which, in foolish confidence,
     as I feel now, I have advanced to you.

     "It would be superfluous to point out to you what bankruptcy would
     mean to you in your position. Ruin would be the only word. And it
     would be no ordinary bankruptcy. I have a by no means uncertain
     idea where these large sums have gone, and my knowledge can hardly
     fail to be shared by others in London society.

     "I have still a chance to offer you, however, and, perhaps, you
     will find me by no means the tyrant you think.

     "There are certain services which you can do me, and which, if you
     fall in with my views, will not only wipe off the few thousands of
     your indebtedness, but provide you with a capital sum which will
     place you above the necessity for any such financial manœuvres in
     the future as your--shall I say _infatuation_?--has led you to
     resort to in the past.

     "If you care to lunch with me at my rooms in the Hotel Cecil, at
     two o'clock, the day after to-morrow--Friday--we may discuss your
     affairs quietly. If not, then I must refer you to my solicitors

     "Yours sincerely,

The big man gave a horrid groan--half snarl, half groan--the sound
which comes from a strong animal desperate and at bay.

He crossed over to the fireplace and pushed the letter down into a
glowing cavern among the coals, holding it there with the poker until it
was utterly consumed and fluttered up the chimney from his sight in a
sheet of ash--the very colour of his relaxed and pendulous cheeks.

He opened another letter, a small, fragile thing written on mauve paper,
in a large, irregular hand--a woman's hand:--


     "DEAR BOB--I shall expect you at the flat to-night at eleven,
     _without fail_. You'd better come, or things which you won't like
     will happen.

     "You've just _got_ to come.--Yours,    GERTRUDE."

He put this letter into his pocket and began to walk the room in long,
silent strides.

A little after five he put on a heavy fur coat and left the now silent
and gloomy halls of the Museum.

The lamps of Holborn were lit and a blaze of light came from Oxford
Circus, where the winking electric advertisements had just begun their
work on the tops of the houses.

A policeman saluted the Professor as he passed, and was rewarded by a
genial smile and jolly word of greeting, which sent a glow of pleasure
through his six feet.

Llwellyn walked steadily on towards the Marble Arch and Edgeware Road.
The continual roar of the traffic helped his brain. It became active and
able to think, to plan once more. The steady exercise warmed his blood
and exhilarated him.

There began to be almost a horrid pleasure in the stress of his
position. The danger was so immediate and fell; the blow would be so
utterly irreparable, that he was near to enjoying his walk while he
could still consider the thing from a detached point of view.

Throughout life that had always been his power. A strange resilience had
animated him in all chances and changes of fortune.

He was that almost inhuman phenomenon, a sensualist with a soul.

For many years, while his name became great in Europe and the solid
brilliancy of his work grew in lustre as he in age, he had lived two
lives, finding an engrossing joy in each.

The lofty scientific world of which he was an ornament had no points of
contact with that other and unspeakable half-life. Rumours had been
bruited, things said in secret by envious and less distinguished men,
but they had never harmed him. His colleagues hardly understood them and
cared nothing. His work was all-sufficient; what did it matter if
smaller people with forked tongues hissed horrors of his private life?

The other circles--the lost slaves of pleasure--knew him well and were
content. He came into the night-world a welcome guest. They knew nothing
of his work or fame beyond dim hintings of things too uninteresting for
them to bother about.

He turned down the Edgeware Road and then into quiet Upper Berkeley
Street, a big, florid, prosperous-looking man, looking as though the
world used him well and he was content with all it had to offer.

His house was but a few doors down the street and he went up-stairs to
dress at once. He intended to dine at home that night.

His dressing-room, out of which a small bedroom opened, was large and
luxurious. A clear fire glowed upon the hearth; the carpet was soft and
thick. The great dressing-table with its three-sided mirror was covered
with brushes and ivory jars, gleaming brightly in the rays of the little
electric lights which framed the mirror. A huge wardrobe, full of
clothes neatly folded and put away, suggested a man about town, a dandy
with many sartorial interests. An arm-chair of soft green leather,
stamped with red-gold pomegranates, stood by a small black table
stencilled with orange-coloured bees. On the table stood a cigarette-box
of finely plaited cream-coloured straw, woven over silver and
cedar-wood, and with Llwellyn's initials in turquoise on one lid.

He threw off his coat and sank into the chair with a sigh of pleasure at
the embracing comfort of it. Then his fingers plunged into the tea which
filled the box on the table and drew out a tiny yellow cigarette.

He smoked in luxurious silence.

He had already half forgotten the menacing letter from Constantine
Schuabe, the imperative summons to the flat in Bloomsbury Court
Mansions. This was a moment of intense physical ease. The flavour of his
saffron Salonika cigarette, a tiny glass of garnet-coloured _cassis_
which he had poured out, were alike excellent. All day long he had been
at work on a brilliant monograph dealing with the new Hebrew mosaics.
Only two other living men could have written it. But his work also had
fallen out of his brain. At that moment he was no more than a great
animal, soulless, with the lusts of the flesh pouring round him,
whispering evil and stinging his blood.

A timid knock fell upon the door outside. It opened and Mrs. Llwellyn
came slowly in.

The Professor's wife was a tall, thin woman. Her untidy clothes hung
round her body in unlovely folds. Her complexion was muddy and
unwholesome; but the unsmiling, withered lips revealed a row of fair,
white, even teeth. It was in her eyes that one read the secret of this
lady. They were large and blue, once beautiful, so one might have
fancied. Now the light had faded from them and they were blurred and
full of pain.

She came slowly up to her husband's chair, placing one hand timidly upon

"Oh, is that you?" he said, not brutally, but with a complete and utter
indifference. "I shall want some dinner at home to-night. I shall be
going out about ten to a supper engagement. See about it now, something
light. And tell one of the maids to bring up some hot water."

"Yes, Robert," she said, and went out with no further word, but sighing
a little as she closed the door quietly.

They had been married fifteen years. For fourteen of them he had hardly
ever spoken to her except in anger at some household accident. On her
own private income of six hundred a year she had to do what she could to
keep the house going. Llwellyn never gave her anything of the thousand a
year which was his salary at the Museum, and the greater sums he earned
by his work outside it. She knew no one, the Professor went into none
but official society, and indeed but few of his colleagues knew that he
was a married man. He treated the house as a hotel, sleeping there
occasionally, breakfasting, and dressing. His private rooms were the
only habitable parts of the house. All the rest was old, faded, and
without comfort. Mrs. Llwellyn spent most of her life with the two
servants in the kitchen.

She always swept and tidied her husband's rooms herself. That afternoon
she had built and coaxed the fire with her own hands.

She slept in a small room at the top of the house, next to the maids,
for company.

This was her life.

Over the head of the little iron bedstead of her room hung a great

That was her hope.

When Llwellyn was rioting in nameless places she prayed for him during
the night. She prayed for him, for herself, and for the two servant
girls, very simply--that Heaven might receive them all some day.

The maid brought up some dinner for the Professor--a little soup, a
sole, and some _camembert_.

He ate slowly, and smoked a short light-brown cigar with his coffee.
Then he bathed, put on evening clothes, dressing himself with care and
circumspection, and left the house.

In the Edgeware Road he got into a hansom and told the man to drive him
to Bloomsbury Court Mansions.



Robert Llwellyn paid the cabman outside the main gateway which led into
the courtyard, and dismissed him.

The Court Mansions were but a few hundred yards from the British Museum
itself, though he never visited them in the day time. A huge building,
like a great hotel, rose skyward in a square. In the quadrangle in the
centre, which was paved with asphalt, was an ornamental fountain
surrounded by evergreen plants in tubs.

The Professor strode under the archway, his feet echoing in the
stillness, and passed over the open space, which was brilliantly lit
with the hectic radiance of arc lamps. He entered one of the doorways,
and turning to the right of the ground-floor, away from the lift which
was in waiting to convey passengers to the higher storeys, he stopped at
No. 15.

He took a latch-key from his pocket, opened the door, and entered. It
was very warm and close inside, and very silent also. The narrow hall
was lit by a crimson-globed electric lamp. It was heavily carpeted, and
thick curtains of plum-coloured plush, edged with round, fluffy balls of
the same colour, hung over the doors leading into it.

He hung his hat up on a peg, and stood perfectly silent for a moment in
the warm, scented air. He could hear no sound but the ticking of a
French clock. The flat was obviously empty; and pulling aside one of
the curtains, he went into the dining-room.

The place was full of light. Gertrude Hunt, or her maid, had, with
characteristic carelessness, forgotten to turn off the switches.
Llwellyn sat down and looked around him. How familiar the place was! The
casual visitor would have recognised at a glance that the occupant of
the room belonged to the dramatic profession.

Photographs abounded everywhere. The satinwood overmantel was crowded
with them in heavy frames of chased silver. Bold enlargements hung on
the crimson walls; they were upright, and stacked in disorderly heaps
upon the grand piano.

All were of one woman--a dark Jewish girl with eyes full of a fixed
fascination, a trained regard of allurement.

The eyes pursued him everywhere; bold and inviting, he was conscious of
their multitude, and moved uneasily.

The dining-table was in a curious litter. Half-empty cups of egg-shell
china stood upon a tray of Japanese lacquer inlaid with ivory and
silver; a cake basket held pink and honey-coloured bon-bons, among which
some cigarette ends had fallen. Two empty bottles, which had held
champagne, stood side by side, cheek by jowl, with a gilt tray, on which
was a miniature methyl lamp and some steel curling tongs.

The arm-chairs were upholstered in pink satin. On one of them was a long
fawn-coloured tailor-made coat, hanging collar downwards over the back.
A handful of silver and a tiny gun-metal cigarette case had dropped out
of a pocket on to the seat of the chair.

The whole place reeked with a well-known perfume--an evil, sickly smell
of ripe lilies and the acrid smoke of Egyptian tobacco. A frilled
dressing jacket covered with yellowish lace lay in a tumbled heap upon
the hearth-rug.

The room would have struck an ordinary visitor with a sense of nausea
almost like a physical blow. There was something sordidly shameless
about it. The vulgarest and most material of Circes held sway among all
this gaudy and lavish disorder. The most sober-living and
innocent-minded man, brought suddenly into such a place, would have
known it instantly for what it was, and turned to fly as from a

A week or two before, a picture of this den had appeared in one of the
illustrated papers. Underneath the photograph had been printed--



Below had been another picture--"Miss Hunt in her new motor-car." Robert
Llwellyn had paid four hundred pounds for the machine.

The big man seemed to fit into these surroundings as a hand into a
glove. In his room at the Museum, on a platform at the Royal Society,
his intellect always animated his face. In such places his personality
was eminent, as his work also.

Here he was changed. Silenus was twin to him; he sniffed the perfume
with pleasure; he stretched himself to the heat and warmth like a great
cat. He was an integral part of the _mise-en-scène_--lost, and arrogant
of his degradation.

A key clicked in the lock, there was a rustling of silk, and Gertrude
Hunt swept into the room.

"So you're come to time, then," she said in a deep, musical voice, but
spoilt by an unpleasing Cockney twang. "I'm dead tired. The theatre was
crammed; I had to sing the _Coon of Coons_ twice. Get me a
brandy-and-soda, Bob. There's a good boy--the decanter's in the

She threw off her long cloak and sank into a chair. The sticky
grease-paint of the theatre had hardly been removed. She looked, as she
said, worn out.

They chatted for a few moments on indifferent subjects, and she lit a
cigarette. When she took it from her lips, Llwellyn noticed that the end
was crimsoned by the paint upon them.

"Well," she said at length, "somehow or other you must pay those bills I
sent on to you. They _must_ be paid. I can't do it. I'm only getting
twenty-five pounds from the theatre now, and that's just about enough to
pay my drink bill!"

Llwellyn's face clouded. "I'm just about at my last gasp myself," he
said. "I'm threatened with bankruptcy as it is."

"Oh, cheer up!" she cried. "Here, have a B. and S. I do hate to hear any
one talk like that. It gives me the hump at once. Now look here, Bob.
You know that I like you better than any one else. We've been pals for
seven or eight years now, and I'd rather have you a thousand times than
the others. You understand that, don't you?"

He nodded back at her. His face was pleased at her expression of
affection, at the kindness of this dancing-girl to the great scholar!

"But," she continued, "you know me, and you know that I can't go on
unless I have what I want all the time. And I want a lot, too. If you
can't give it me, Bob, it must be some one else--that's all. Captain
Parker's ready to do anything, any time. He's almost a millionaire, you
know. Can't you raise any 'oof anyhow? If I'd a thousand at once, and
another in a week or two, I could manage for a bit. But I _must_ have a
river-house at Shepperton. That cat, Lulu Wallace, has one, and an
electric launch and all. What about your German friend--the M.P.? _He's_
got tons of stuff. Touch him for a bit more."

"Had a letter from him this afternoon," said Llwellyn, "with a demand
for about fourteen thousand that I owe him now. Threatens to sell me up.
But there was something which looked brighter at the end of the letter,
though I couldn't quite make out what he was driving at."

"What was that?"

"The tone of the letter changed; it had been nasty before. He said that
I could do him a service for which he would not only wipe out the old
debt, but for which I could get a lot more money."

"You'll go to him at once, Bob, won't you?"

"I suppose I must. There's no way out of it. I can't think, though, how
I can do him any service. He's a dabbler, an amateur in my own work, but
he's not going to pay a good many thousands for any help in _that_."

"Let it alone till you find out," she said, with the instinctive dislike
of her class to the prolonged discussion of anything unpleasant. She got
up and rang the bell for her maid and supper.

For some reason Llwellyn could eat nothing. A weight oppressed him--a
presage of danger and disaster. The unspeakable mental torments that the
vicious man who is highly educated undergoes--torments which assail him
in the very act and article of his pleasures--have never been adequately
described. "What a frail structure his honours and positions were," he
thought as the woman chatted of the _coulisses_ and the blackguard news
of the _demi-monde_. His indulgent life had acted on the Professor with
a dire physical effect. His nerves were unstrung and he became
childishly superstitious. The slightest hint of misfortune set his brain
throbbing with a horrid fear. The spectre of overwhelming disaster was
always waiting, and he could not exorcise it.

The two accidental and trivial facts that the knives at his place were
crossed, and that he spilt the salt as he was passing it to his
mistress, set him crossing himself with nervous rapidity.

The girl laughed at him, but she was interested nevertheless. For the
moment they were on an intellectual level. He explained that the sign of
the Cross was said to avert misfortune, and she imitated him clumsily.

Llwellyn thought nothing of it at the time, but the meaningless travesty
came back afterwards when he thought over that eventful night.

Surely the holy sign of God's pain was never so degraded as now.

Their conversation grew fitful and strained. The woman was physically
tired by her work at the theatre, and the dark cloud of menace crept
more rapidly into the man's brain. The hour grew late. At last Llwellyn
rose to go.

"You'll get the cash somehow, dear, won't you?" she said with tired

"Yes, yes, Gertie," he replied. "I suppose I can get it somehow. I'll
get home now. If it's a clear night I shall walk home. I'm
depressed--it's liver, I suppose--and I need exercise."

"Have a drink before you go?"

"No, I've had two, and I can't take spirits at this time."

He went out with a perfunctory and uninterested kiss. She came to the
archway with him.

London was now quite silent in its most mysterious and curious hour.
The streets were deserted, but brilliantly lit by the long row of lamps.

They stood talking for a moment or two in the quadrangle.

"Queer!" she said; "queer, isn't it, just now? I walked back from the
Covent Garden ball once at this time. Makes you feel lonesome. Well, so
long, Bob. I shall have a hot bath and go to bed."

The Professor's feet echoed loudly on the flags as he approached the
open space. Never had he seemed to hear the noises of his own progress
so clearly before. It was disconcerting, and emphasised the fact of his
sole movement in this lighted city of the dead.

On the island in the centre of the cross-roads he suddenly caught sight
of a tall policeman standing motionless under a lamp. The fellow seemed
a figure of metal hypnotised by the silence.

Llwellyn walked onwards, when, just as he was passing the Oxford Music
Hall, he became conscious of quick footsteps behind him. He turned
quickly, and a man came up. He was of middle size, with polite, watchful
eyes and clean shaven.

The stranger put his hand into the pocket of his neat, unobtrusive black
overcoat and drew out a letter.

"For you, sir," he said in calm, ordinary tones.

The Professor stared at him in uncontrollable surprise and took the
envelope, opening it under a lamp. This was the note. He recognised the
handwriting at once.


     "DEAR LLWELLYN,--Kindly excuse the suddenness of my request and
     come down to the Cecil with my valet. I have sent him to meet you.
     I want to settle our business to-night, and I am certain that we
     shall be able to make some satisfactory arrangement. I know you do
     not go to bed early.--Most sincerely yours,


"This is a very sudden request," he said to the servant rather
doubtfully, but somewhat reassured by the friendly signature of the
note. "Why, it's two o'clock in the morning!"

"Extremely sorry to trouble you, sir," replied the valet civilly, "but
my master's strict orders were that I should find you and deliver the
note. He told me that you would probably be visiting at Bloomsbury Court
Mansions, so I waited about, hoping to meet you. I brought the _coupé_,
sir, in case we should not be able to get you a cab."

Following the direction of his glance, Llwellyn saw that a small
rubber-tired brougham to seat two people was coming slowly down the
road. The coachman touched his hat as the Professor got in, and, turning
down Charing Cross Road, in a few minutes they drove rapidly into the
courtyard of the hotel.

Schuabe had not been established at the Cecil for any length of time.
Though he owned a house in Curzon Street, this was let for a long period
to Miss Mosenthal, his aunt, and he had hitherto lived in chambers at
the Albany.

But he found the life at the hotel more convenient and suited to his
temperament. His suite of rooms was one of the most costly even in that
great river palace of to-day, but such considerations need never enter
into his life.

The utter unquestioned freedom of such a life, its entire liberation
from any restraint or convention, suited him exactly.

Llwellyn had never visited Schuabe in his private apartments before at
any time. As he was driven easily to the meeting he nerved himself for
it, summoning up all his resolution. He swept aside the enervating
influences of the last few hours.

Schuabe was waiting in the large sitting-room with balconies upon which
he could look down upon the embankment and the river. It was his
favourite among all the rooms of the suite.

He looked gravely and also a little curiously at the Professor as he
entered the room. There was a question in his eyes; the guest had a
sensation of being measured and weighed with some definite purpose.

The greeting was cordial enough. "I am very sorry, Llwellyn, to catch
you suddenly like this," Schuabe said, "but I should like to settle the
business between us without delay. I have certain proposals to make you,
and if we agree upon them there will be much to consider, as the thing
is a big one. But before we talk of this let me offer you something to

The Professor had recovered his hunger. The chill of the night air, the
sudden excitement of the summons, and, though he did not realise it, the
absence of patchouli odours in his nostrils, had recalled an appetite.

The space and air of the huge room, with its high roof, was soothing
after Bloomsbury Court Mansions.

Supper was spread for two on a little round table by the windows.
Schuabe ate little, but watched the other with keen, detective eyes,
talking meanwhile of ordinary, trivial things. Nothing escaped him, the
little gleam of pleasure in Llwellyn's eyes at the freshness of the
caviare, the Spanish olives he took with his partridge--rejecting the
smaller French variety--the impassive watchful eyes saw it all.

It was too late for coffee, Llwellyn said, when the man brought it, in a
long-handled brass pan from Constantinople, but he took a _kümmel_

The two men faced each other on each side of the table. Both were
smoking. For a moment there was silence; the critical time was at hand.
Then Schuabe spoke. His voice was cold and steady and very businesslike.
As he talked the voice seemed to wrap round Llwellyn like steel bands.
There was something relentless and inevitable about it; bars seemed
rising as he spoke.

"I am going to be quite frank with you, Llwellyn," he said, "and you
will find it better to be quite frank with me."

He took a paper from the pocket of his smoking jacket and referred to it

"You owe me now about fourteen thousand pounds?"

"Yes, it is roughly that."

"Please correct me if I am wrong in any point. Your salary at the
British Museum is a thousand pounds a year, and you make about fifteen
hundred more."

"Yes, about that, but how do you----"

"I have made it my business to know everything, Professor. For example,
they are about to offer you knighthood."

Llwellyn stirred uneasily, and the hand which stretched out for another
cigarette shook a little.

"I need hardly point out to you," the cold words went on, and a certain
sternness began to enforce them, "I need hardly point out that if I were
to take certain steps, your position would be utterly ruined."

"Bankruptcy need not entirely ruin a man."

"It would ruin you. You see _I know where the money has gone_. Your
private tastes are nothing to me, and it is not my business if you
choose to spend a fortune on a cocotte. But in your position, as the
very mainspring and arm of the Higher Criticism of the Bible, the
revelations which would most certainly be made would ruin you
irreparably. Your official posts would all go at once, your name would
become a public scandal everywhere. In England one may do just what one
likes if only one does not in any way, by reason of position or
attainments, belong to the nation. You _do_ belong to the nation. You
can never defy public opinion. With the ethical point of view I have
nothing personally to do. But to speak plainly, in the eyes of the great
mass of English people you would be stamped as an irredeemably vicious
man, if everything came out. That is what they would call you. At one
blow everything--knighthood, honour, place--all would flash away.
Moreover, you would have to give up the other side of your life. There
would be no more suppers with Phryne or rides to Richmond in the new

He laughed, a low, contemptuous laugh which stung. Llwellyn's face had
grown pale. His large, white fingers picked uneasily at the table-cloth.

His position was very clearly shown to him, with greater horror and
vividness than ever it had come to him before, even in his moments of
acutest depression.

The overthrow would be indeed utter and complete. With the greedy
imagination of the sensualist he saw himself living in some cheap
foreign town, Bruges perhaps, or Brussels, upon his wife's small income,
bereft alike of work and pleasure.

"All you say is true," he murmured as the other made an end. "I am in
your power. It is best to be plain about these things. What is your

"My alternative, if you accept it, will mean certain changes to you.
First of all, it will be necessary for you to obtain a year's leave from
the British Museum. I had thought of asking you to resign your position,
but that will not be necessary, I think, now. This can be arranged with
a specialist easily enough. Even if your health does not really warrant
it, a word from me to Sir James Fyfe will manage that. You will have to
travel. In return for your services and your absolute secrecy--though
when you hear my proposals you will realise that perhaps in the whole
history of the world never was secrecy so important to any man's
safety--I will do as follows. I will wipe off your debt at once. I will
pay you ten thousand pounds in cash this week, and during the year, as
may be agreed upon between us, I will make over forty thousand pounds
more to you. In all fifty thousand pounds, exclusive of your debt."

His voice had not been raised, nor did it show any excitement during
this tremendous proposal. The effect on Llwellyn was very different. He
rose from his chair, trembling with excitement, staring with bloodshot
eyes at the beautiful chiselled face below.

"You--you _mean_ it?" he said huskily.

The millionaire made a single confirmatory gesture.

Then the whole magnitude and splendour of the offer became gradually
plain to him in all its significance.

"I suppose," he said, "that, as the payment is great, the risk is

"There will be none if you do what I shall ask properly. Only two other
men living would do it, and, first and foremost, you will have to guard
against _their_ vigilance."

"Then, in God's name, what do you ask?" Llwellyn almost shouted. The
tension was almost unbearable.

Schuabe rose from his seat. For the first time the Professor saw that he
was terribly agitated. His eyes glowed, the apple in his throat worked

"_You are to change the history of the world!_"

He drew Llwellyn into the very centre of the room, and held him firmly
by the elbows. Tall as the Professor was, Schuabe was taller, and he
bent and whispered into the other's ear for a full five minutes.

There was no sound in the room but the low hissing of his sibilants.

Llwellyn's face became white, and then ashen grey. His whole body seemed
to shrink from his clothes; he trembled terribly.

Then he broke away from his host and ran to the fireplace with an odd,
jerky movement, and sank cowering into an arm-chair, filled with an
unutterable dread.

       *       *       *       *       *

As morning stole into the room the Professor took a bundle of bills and
acknowledgements from Schuabe and thrust them into the fire with a great
sob of relief.

Then he turned into a bedroom and sank into the deep slumber of absolute

He did not go to the Museum that day.



The great building of the Walktown national schools blazed with light.
Every window was a patch of vivid orange in the darkness of the walls.
The whole place was pervaded by a loud, whirring hum of talk and
laughter and an incredible rattle of plates and saucers.

In one of the classrooms down-stairs Helena Byars, with a dozen other
ladies of the parish, presided over a scene of intense activity. Huge
urns of tea ready mixed with the milk and sugar, were being carried up
the stone stairs to the big schoolroom by willing hands. Piles of thick
sandwiches of ham, breakfast-cups of mustard, hundreds of slices of
moist wedge-shaped cake covered the tables, lessening rapidly as they
were carried away to the crowded rooms above.

A Lancashire church tea-party was in full swing, for this was the
occasion when Basil Gortre was to say an official farewell to the people
among whom he had worked in the North.

In the tea-room itself several hundred people were making an enormous
meal at long tables, under flaring, naked gas-lights, which sent
shimmering vapours of heat up to the pitch-pine beams of the room above.

On the walls of the schoolroom hung long, map-like pictures, heavily
glazed. Some of them were representations of foreign animals, or trees
and plants, with the names printed below each in thick black type.
Others represented scenes from the life of Christ, and though somewhat
stiff and wooden, showed clearly the immense strides that educational
art has taken during the past few years.

At one end of the room was a platform running along its length. Some
palms and tree-ferns in pots, chairs, a grand piano, and some music
stands, promised a concert when tea should be over.

All the ladies of the parish were acting as attendants, or presiding at
the urns on each table. There could be no doubt that the people were in
a state of high good humour and enjoyment. Every now and again a great
roar of laughter would break through the prevailing hum from one table
or another. Despite the almost stifling heat and a mixed odour of
humanity and ham, which a sensitive person might have shrunk from, the
rough, merry Lancashire folk were happy as may be.

Basil Gortre, in his long, black coat, his skin somewhat pale from his
long illness, walked from table to table, spending a few minutes at
each. His face was wreathed in perpetual smiles, and roars of laughter
followed each sally of his wit, a homely cut-and-thrust style of humour
adapted to his audience. The fat mothers of families, wives of
prosperous colliers and artisans, with their thick gold earrings and
magenta frocks, beamed motherhood and kindliness at him. The
Sunday-school teachers giggled and blushed with pleasure when he spoke.

The vicar, smiling paternally as was his wont, walked up and down the
gangways also, toying with the _pince-nez_ at his breast, and very
successfully concealing the fact from every one that he was by no means
in the seventh heaven of happiness. Tea-parties, so numerous and popular
in the North, were always somewhat of a trial to him.

Basil and Mr. Byars met in the middle of the room when the tea was
nearly over. Tears were gleaming in the eyes of the younger man.

"It is hard to leave them all," he said. "How good and kind they are,
how hearty! And these are the people I thought disliked me and
misunderstood me. I resented what I thought was a vulgar familiarity and
a coarse dislike. But how different they are beneath the surface!"

"They have warm, loyal hearts, Basil," said the vicar. "It is a pity
that such uncouth manners and exteriors should go with them. Surface
graces may not mean much, but there is no doubt they have a tremendous
influence over the human mind. During your illness the whole parish
thought of little else, I really believe. And to-night you will have
very practical evidence of their friendship. You know, of course, that
there is going to be a presentation?"

"Yes. I couldn't help knowing that much, though I wish they wouldn't."

"It is very good of them. Now I shall call for grace."

The vicar made his way on to the platform and loudly clapped his hands.
The tumult died suddenly away into silence, punctuated here and there by
a belated rattle of a teacup and the spasmodic choking of some one
endeavouring to bolt a large piece of cake in a hurry.

"We will now sing grace," Mr. Byars said in a clear and audible
voice,--"the _Old Hundred_, following our usual custom."

As he spoke a little, bearded man in a frock-coat clambered up beside
him. This was Mr. Cuthbert, the organist of the parish church. The
little man pulled a tuning-fork from his pocket and struck it on the
back of a chair.

Then he held it to his ear for a moment. The people had all risen, and
the room was now quite silent.

"La!" sang the little organist, giving the note in a long, melodious

He raised his hand, gave a couple of beats in the air, and the famous
old hymn burst out royally. The great volume of sound seemed too fierce
and urgent even for that spacious room. It pressed against the ear-drums
almost with pain, though sung with the perfect time and tune which are
the heritage of the sweet-voiced North-country folk:--

    "_All people that on earth do dwell,
      Sing to the Lord with cheerful voice!_"

How hearty it was! How strong and confident!

As Basil Gortre listened his heart expanded in love and fellowship
towards these brother Christians. The dark phantoms which had rioted in
his sick brain during the long weeks of his illness lay dead and
harmless now. The monstrous visions of a conventional and formal
Christianity, covering a world of secret and gibing atheism, seemed
incredibly far removed from the glorious truth, as these strong, homely
people sang a full-voiced _ave_ to the great brooding Trinity of Power
and Love unseen, but all around them.

Who was he to be refined and too dainty for his uses? There seemed
nothing incongruous in the picture before his eyes. The litter of broken
ham, the sloppy cups, the black-coated men with brilliant sky-blue satin
ties, the women with thick gnarled hands and clothes the colour of a
copper kettle, what were they now but his very own brethren, united in
this burst of praise?

And he joined in the doxology with all his heart and voice, his clear
tenor soaring joyously above the rest:

      The GOD Whom Heaven and earth adore,
    From men and from the Angel-host
      Be praise and glory evermore. Amen._"

It ceased with suddenness. There was the satisfied silence of a second,
and then the attendant helpers, assisted by the feasters, fell swiftly
upon the tables. Cloths and crockery vanished like snow melting in
sunlight, and as each table was laid bare it was turned up by a patent
arrangement, and became a long bench with a back, which was added to the
rows of seats facing the platform. As each iron-supported seat was
pushed noisily into its place it was filled up at once with a laughing
crowd, replete but active, smacking anticipatory chops over the
entertainment and speech-making to come.

Mr. Cuthbert, a painstaking pianist, whose repertoire was noisily
commonplace, opened the concert with a solo.

Songs and recitations followed. All were well received by an audience
which was determined to enjoy itself, but it was obvious that the real
event of the gathering was eagerly awaited.

At last the eventful moment arrived. A table covered with green baize
and bearing some objects concealed by a cloth was carried on the
platform, and a row of chairs placed on either side of it.

The vicar, Basil, a strange clergyman, and a little group of
black-coated churchwardens and sidesmen filed upon the platform amid
tumultuous cheering and clapping of hands.

Mr. Pryde, the solicitor, rose first, and pronounced a somewhat pompous
but sincere eulogy upon Basil's work and life at Walktown, which was
heard in an absolute and appreciative silence, only broken by the
scratching pencil of the reporter from a local paper.

Then he called upon the vicar to make the presentation.

Basil advanced to the table.

"My dear friends and fellow-workers," said Mr. Byars, "I am not going to
add much to what Mr. Pryde has said. As most of you know, Mr. Gortre
stands and is about to stand to me in even a nearer and more intimate
relation than that of assistant priest to his parish priest. But before
giving Mr. Gortre the beautiful presents which your unbounded generosity
has provided, and in order that you may have as little speech-making
from me as possible, I want to take this opportunity of introducing the
Reverend Henry Nuttall to you to-night."

He bowed towards the stranger clergyman, a pleasant, burly, clean-shaven

"I am going from among you for a couple of months, as I believe you have
been told, and Mr. Nuttall is to take my place as your temporary pastor
for that time. My doctor has ordered me rest for a time. So my daughter
and myself, together with Mr. Gortre, who sadly needs change after his
illness, and who is not to take up his duties in London for several
weeks, are going away together for a holiday. And now I will simply ask
Mr. Gortre to accept this tea-service and watch in the name of the
congregation of St. Thomas as a token of their esteem and good-will."

He pulled the cloth away and displayed some glittering silver vessels.
Then he handed the agitated young man a gold watch in a leather case.

Basil faced the shouting, enthusiastic crowd, staring through dimmed
eyes at the long rows of animated faces.

When there was a little silence he began to speak in a voice of great

Very simply and earnestly he thanked them for their good-will and

"This may be," he said, "the last time I shall ever have the privilege
and pleasure of speaking to you. I want to give you one last message. I
want to urge one and all here to-night to do one thing. Keep your faith
unspotted, unstained by doubts, uninfluenced by fears. Do that and all
will be well with you here and hereafter." His voice sank a full tone
and he spoke with marked emphasis. "I have sometimes thought and felt of
late that possibly the time may be at hand, we who are here to-night may
witness a time, when the Powers and Principalities of evil will make a
great and determined onslaught upon the Christian Faith. I may not read
the signs of the times aright, my premonitions--for they have sometimes
amounted even to that--may be unfounded or imaginary. But if such a time
shall come, if the 'horror of great darkness,' a spiritual horror, that
we read of in Genesis, descend upon the world and envelop it in its
gloom and terror, oh! let us have faith. Keep the light burning
steadily. 'Let nothing disturb thee; let nothing affright thee. All
passeth: God only remaineth.' And now, dear brothers and sisters in the
Holy Faith, thank you, God bless you, and farewell."

There was a tense silence as his voice dropped to a close.

Here and there a woman sobbed.

There was something peculiar about his warning. He spoke almost in
prophecy, as if he _knew_ of some terror coming, and saw its advance
from afar. His face, pale and thin from fever, his bright, earnest eyes,
not the glittering eyes of a fanatic, but the saner, wiser ones of the
earnest single-minded man, had an immense influence with them there.

And that night, as they trudged home to mean dwellings, or suburban
villas, or rolled away in carriages, each person heard the intense,
quiet voice warning them of the future, exhorting them to be steadfast
in the Faith.

Seed which bore most fragrant blossom in the time which, though they
knew it not, was close at hand was sown that night.



Helena stood with her hand raised to her eyes, close by the port
paddle-box, staring straight in front of her at a faint grey line upon
the horizon.

A stiff breeze was blowing in the Channel, though the sun was shining
brightly on the tossing waters, all yellow-green with pearl lights, like
a picture by Henry Moore.

By the tall, graceful figure of the girl, swaying with the motion of the
steamer and bending gracefully to the sudden onslaughts of the wind,
stood a thick-set man of middle height, dressed in a tweed suit. His
face was a strong one. Heavy reddish eyebrows hung over a pair of clear
grey eyes, intellectual and kindly. The nose was beak-like and the
large, rugged, red moustache hid the mouth.

This was Harold Spence, the journalist with whom Gortre was to live
after the holiday was over and he began his work in Bloomsbury. Spence
was snatching a few days from his work in Fleet Street, in order to
accompany Gortre and Mr. and Miss Byars to Dieppe. It had been his first
introduction to the vicar and his daughter.

"So that is really France, Mr. Spence!" said Helena; "the very first
view of a foreign country I've ever had. I don't suppose you've an idea
of what I'm feeling now? It seems so wonderful, something I've been
waiting for all my life."

Spence smiled kindly, irradiating his face with good humour as he did

"Well, _my_ sensations or emotions at present, Miss Byars, are entirely
confined to wondering whether I am going to be seasick or not."

"Don't speak of it!" said a thin voice, a voice from which all the blood
seemed to be drained, and, turning, they saw the vicar at their elbow.

His face was livid, his beard hung in lank dejection, a sincere misery
poured from his pathetic eyes.

"Basil," he said, "Basil is down in the saloon eating greasy cold
chicken and ham and drinking pale ale! I told him it was an outrage--"
His feelings overcame him and he staggered away towards the stern.

"Poor father," said the girl. "He never could stand the sea, you know.
But he very soon gets all right when he is on dry land again. Oh, look!
that must be a church tower! I can see it quite distinctly, and the sun
on the roofs of the houses!"

"That is St. Jacques," said Spence, "and that dome some way to the
right, is St. Remy. Farthest of all to the right, on the cliffs, you can
just see the château where the garrison is."

Helena gazed eagerly and became silent in her excitement. Basil, who
came up from the saloon and joined them, the healthy colour beginning to
glow out on his cheeks once more, watched her tenderly. There was
something childishly sweet in her delight as the broad, tub-like boat
kicked its way rapidly towards the quaint old foreign town.

In smoky Walktown he had not often seen her thus. Life was a more sober
thing there, and her nature was graver than that of many girls, attuned
to her environment. But, at the beginning of this holiday time, under a
brilliant spring sun, which she was already beginning to imagine had a
foreign charm about it, she too was happy and in a holiday mood.

Basil pulled out his new and glorious gold watch, which had replaced the
battered old gun-metal one he usually wore. Though not a poor man, he
was simple in all his tastes, and the new toy gave him a recurring and
childish pleasure whenever he looked at it.

"We ought to be in in about twenty minutes," he said. "Have you noticed
that the tossing of the ship has almost stopped? The land protects us.
How clear the town is growing! I wonder if you will remember any of your
French, Helena? I almost wish I was like you, seeing a foreign country
for the first time. Spence is the real _voyageur_ though. He's been all
over the world for his paper."

The vicar came up to them again, just as there was a general movement of
the passengers towards the deck. A hooting cry from the steam whistle
wailed over the water and the boat began to move slowly.

In a few more minutes they had passed the breakwater and were gliding
slowly past the wharves towards the landing-stage.

Suddenly Helena clutched hold of Basil's arm.

"O Basil," she whispered, "how beautiful--look! Guarding the harbour!"

He turned and followed the direction of her glance.

An enormous crucifix, more than life size, planted in the ground, rose
from the low cliffs on the right for all entering the harbour to see.

They watched the symbol in silence as the passengers chattered on every
side and gathered up their rugs and hand-bags.

Gortre slipped his arm through Helena's.

The reminder was so vivid and sudden it affected them powerfully. They
were both people of the world, living in it and enjoying the pleasures
of life that came in their way. Gortre was not one of those narrow, and
even ill-bred, young priests with a text for ever on his lips, a sort of
inopportune concordance, with an unpleasant flavour of omniscience. His
religion and Helena's was too deep and fibrous a thing for commonplaces
about it. It did not continually effervesce within and break forth in
minute and constant bubbles, losing all its sincerity and beauty by the
vulgar wear and tear of a verbal trick.

But it was always and for ever with him a transmuting force which
changed his life each hour in a way of which the nominal believer has no

A letter he had once written to Helena during a holiday compressed all
his belief, and his joy in his belief, into a few short lines. Thus had
run the sincere and simple statement, unadorned by any effort of
literary grace to give it point and force:--

     "Day by day as your letters come I go on saying my prayers for you,
     and with you, in fresh faith and confidence. You know that I
     absolutely trust the Lord Jesus Christ, who is, I believe, the God
     who made the worlds, and that I pray to Him continually, relying on
     His promises.

     "I keep on reading all sides of the question, as your father does
     also, and while admitting all that honest criticism and sincere
     intellectual doubt can teach me, and freely conceding that there is
     no infallible record in the New Testament, I grow more and more
     convinced that the Gospels and Paul's letters relate _facts_ and
     not imaginations or hallucinations. And the more strongly my
     intellect is convinced, so much more does my heart delight in the
     love of God, who has given Himself for me. How magnificent is that
     finale of St. John's Gospel! 'Thomas saith unto Him, My Lord and my
     God.' And, then, how exquisite is the supplement about the
     manifestation at the lake side! Imagine the skill of the literary
     man who INVENTED that! Fancy such a man existing in A.D. 150 or
     thereabouts! I see Mrs. Humphry Ward says 'it was a dream which the
     old man at Ephesus related, and his disciples thought it was fact.'
     And _she_ is a literary person!"

So, as the lovers glided slowly past the high symbol of God's pain, the
worship in their hearts found but little utterance on their lips, though
they were deeply touched.

It seemed a good omen to welcome them to France!

Spence remained to look after the luggage and to see it through the
Customs, and the three others resolved to walk to the rooms which they
had taken in the Faubourg de la Barre on the steep hill behind the

They passed over the railway line in the middle of the road, and past
the _cafés_ which cluster round the landing-stage, into the quaint
market-place, with the great Gothic Cathedral Church of St. Jacques upon
one side, and the colossal statue of Duquesne surrounded by baskets of
spring flowers in the centre.

To Helena Byars that simple progress was one of unalloyed excitement and
delight. The small and wiry soldiers in their unfamiliar uniforms; an
officer sipping vermouth in a _café_, with spurs, sword, and helmet
shining in the sun; two black priests, with huge furry hats--all the
moving colour of the scene gave her new and delightful sensations.

"It's all so different!" she said breathlessly. "So bright and gay. What
is that red thing over the tobacco shop, and that little brass dish over
the hair-dresser's? Think of Walktown or Salford, now!"

The house in the Faubourg de la Barre was kept by a Madame Varnier, who
spoke English well, and was in the habit of letting her rooms to
English people. A late _déjeuner_ was ready for them.

The omelette was a revelation to Helena, and the _rognons sautés_ filled
her with respect for such cooking, but she was impatient, nevertheless,
to be out and sight-seeing.

The vicar was tired, and proposed to stay indoors with the _Spectator_,
and Spence had some letters to write, so Basil and Helena went out

"The vicar and I will meet you at six," Spence said, "at the Café des
Tribuneaux, that big place with the gabled roof in the centre of the
town. At six the _l'heure verre_ begins, the time when everyone goes out
for an _apéritif_, the appetiser before dinner; afterwards I'll take you
to dine at the Pannier d'Or, a jolly little restaurant I know of, and in
the evening we'll go to the Casino."

Madame Varnier, the _patronne_, was in her kitchen sitting-room at the
bottom of the stairs, and they looked in through the hatchway as they
passed to tell her that they were not dining indoors.

On the floor a little girl, with pale yellow hair, an engaging button of
three, was playing with a live rabbit, plump and mouse-coloured.

"How sweet!" said Helena, who was in a mood which made her ready to
appreciate everything. "Look at the little darling with its pet. Has
baby had the rabbit long, Madame Varnier?"

The Frenchwoman smiled lavishly. "Est-elle gentille l'enfant! hein! I
bring the lapin chez moi from the magazin yesterday. There was very good
lapins yesterday. I buy when I can. Je trouverai ça plus prudent. He is
for the déjeuner of mademoiselle to-morrow. I take him so,"--she caught
up the animal and suited the action to the word,--"I press his throat
till his mouth open, and I pour a little cognac into him. Il se meurt,
and the flesh have a delicious flavour from the cognac!"

"How perfectly horrible!" said Helena as they came out into the street
and walked down the hill. "Fancy seeing one's lunch alive and playing
about like that, and then killing it with brandy, too! What pigs these
French people are!"

Soon after the cool gloom of St. Remy enveloped them. Under the big dome
they lingered for a time, walking from chapel to chapel, where nuns were
praying. But it dulled them rather, and they had more pleasure in the
grey and Gothic twilight of St. Jacques. Here the eye was uplifted by
more noble lines, there was a more mediæval and romantic feeling about
the place.

"We will come here to Mass on Sunday," said Basil. "I shall not go to
the English Church at all. I never do abroad, and the vicar agrees with
me. You see one belongs to the Catholic Church in England. In France one
belongs to it, too. The 'Protestant' Church, as they call it, with an
English clergyman, is, of course, a Dissenting church here."

"I see your point," said Helena, "though I don't know that I quite agree
with it. But I have never been to a Roman Catholic church in England,
and I want to see some of the services. 'Bowing down in the House of
Rimmon,' Mr. Philemon would call it at Walktown."

They turned down a narrow street of quiet houses, and came out on to the
Plage. There were a good many people walking up and down the great
promenade from the Casino to the harbour mouth. An air of fulness and
prosperity floated round the magnificent hotels which faced the sea.

It was a spring season, owing to the unusual mildness of the weather,
and Dieppe was full of people. The Casino was opened temporarily after
the long sleep of the winter, and a company was performing there,
having come on from the theatre at Rouen.

"What a curious change from the churches and market-place," said Helena.
"This is tremendously smart and fashionable. How well-dressed every one
is. Look at that red-haired woman with the furs. This is being quite in
the world again."

They began a steady walk towards the pier and lighthouse. The wind was
fresh, though not troublesome, and at five o'clock the sun, low in the
sky, was still bright, and could give his animation to the picture.

The two young people amused themselves by speculations about the varied
types of people who passed and repassed them. Gortre wore a suit of very
dark grey, with a short coat and an ordinary tweed cap--his holiday
suit, he called it--and, except for his clerical collar, there was
little to show his calling. He was pleased, with a humorous sense of
proprietorship, a kind of vicarious vanity, to notice the attention and
admiration excited by the beautiful English girl at his side.

Helena Byars held her own among the cosmopolitan crowd of women who
walked on the Plage. Her beauty was Saxon, very English, and not of a
type that is always appreciated to its full value on the Continent, but
it shone the more from Latin contrasts, and could not escape remark.

Every now and again they turned, at distances of a quarter of a mile or
so, and during the recurrence of their beat they began to notice a
person whom they met several times, coming and going.

He was an enormously big man, broad and tall, dressed expensively and
with care. His size alone was sufficient to mark him out of the usual,
but his personality seemed to them no less arresting and strange.

His large, smooth face was fat, the eyes small and brilliant, with
heavy pouches under them. His whole manner was a trifle florid and
Georgian. Basil said that he seemed to belong to the Prince Regent's
period in some subtle way. "I can imagine him on the lawns at Brighton
or dining in the Pavilion," he said. "What a sensual, evil face the man
has! Of course it may mean nothing, though. The Bishop of ----, one of
the saints of the time, whose work on the Gospels is the most wonderful
thing ever done in the way of Christian apologetics, has a face like one
of the grotesque devils carved on the roof of Notre Dame or Lincoln
Cathedral. But this man seems by his face to have no soul. One can't
feel it is there, as one does, thank God! with most people."

"But what an intellect such a man must have! Look at him now. Look at
the shape of his head. And besides, you can see it in his face, despite
its sensuality and materialism. He must be some distinguished person. I
seem to remember pictures of him, just lately, too, in the illustrated
papers, only I can't get a name to them. I'm certain he's English, and
some one of importance."

The big man passed them again with a quiet and swift glance of
appreciation for Helena. He seemed lonely. Basil and Helena realised
that he would have welcomed a chance word of greeting, some overture of
friendship, which is not so impossible between English people
abroad--even in adjacent Dieppe--as in our own country.

But neither of them responded to the unspoken wish they felt in the
stranger. They were quite happy with each other, and presently they saw
him light a cigar and turn into one of the great hotels.

They discussed the man for a few minutes--he had made an odd impression
on them by his personality--and then found that it was time for the
rendezvous at the Café des Tribuneaux.

By this time dusk was falling, and the sea moaned with a certain
melancholy. But the town began to be brilliant with electric lights, and
the florid Moorish building of the Casino was jewelled everywhere.

They turned away to the left, leaving the sea behind them, and, passing
through a narrow street by the Government tobacco factory, came into the
town again, and, after a short walk, to the _café_.

The place was bright and animated--lights, mirrors, and gilding, the
stir and movement of the pavement, combined to make a novel and
attractive picture for the English girl. The night was not cold, and
they sat under the awning at a little round table watching the merry
groups with interest. In a few minutes after their arrival they saw
Spence and the vicar, now quite restored and well, coming towards them.
They had forborne to order anything before the arrival of their

The journalist took them under his wing at once. It amused him to be a
cicerone to help them to a feeling of being at home. Gortre and Mr.
Byars had been in Switzerland, and the latter at Rome on one occasion,
but under the wing of a bishop's son who made his livelihood out of
personally conducting parties to Continental towns of interest for a
fixed fee. There was little freedom in these cut-and-dried tours, with
their lectures _en route_ and the very dinners in the hotel ordered for
the tourists, and everything so arranged that they need not speak a word
of any foreign language.

For the vicar, Spence prescribed a _vermouth sec_; Gortre, a courtesy
invalid, was given a minute glass of an amber-coloured liquid with
quinine in it--"_Dubonnet_" Spence called it; and Helena had a _sirop_
of _menthe_.

They were all very happy together in the simple-minded, almost childish,
way of quiet, intellectual people. Their enjoyment of the novel
liqueurs, in a small _café_ at tourist-haunted Dieppe, was as great as
that of any sybarite at the Hotel Ritz in Paris, or at a rare dinner at
Ciro's in Monte Carlo.

Spence ordered an absinthe for himself.

The vicar seemed slightly perturbed. "Isn't that stuff rather dangerous,
Spence?" he said, shrinking a little from the glass when the waiter
brought it. "I've heard terrible things of it."

"Oh, I know," said the journalist, laughing, "people call it the French
national vice and write tirades against it. Of course if it becomes a
regular habit it is dangerous, and excess in absinthe is worse than most
things. But one glass taken now and again is a wonderful stomachic and
positively beneficial. I take one, perhaps, five times in a year and
like it. But, like all good things, it is terribly abused both by the
people who use it and those who don't."

Suddenly Helena turned to Gortre.

"Oh, look, Basil!" she said. "There is our friend of the Plage--Quinbus
Flestrin, the mountain of flesh, you remember your Swift?"

The big stranger, now in evening dress and a heavy fur coat, had just
come into the _café_ and was sitting there with a cigarette and a Paris
paper. He seemed lost in some sort of anxious speculation--at least so
it seemed by the drooping of the journal in his massive fingers and the
set expression of abstraction which lingered in his eyes and spread a
veil over his countenance.

They had all turned at Helena's exclamation and looked towards the other
side of the _café_, where the man was sitting.

"Why, that's Sir Robert Llwellyn," said Spence.

The vicar looked up eagerly. "The great authority on the antiquities of
the Holy Land?" he said.

"Yes, that's the man. They knighted him the other day. He's supposed to
be the greatest living authority, you know."

"Do you know him, then?" asked the vicar.

"Oh, yes," said Spence, carelessly. "One knows every one in my trade. I
have to. I've often gone to him for information when anything very
special has been discovered. And I've met him in clubs and at lectures
or at first nights at the theatre. He is a great play-goer."

"A decent sort of man?" said Gortre in a tone which certainly implied a

Spence hesitated a moment. "Oh, well, I suppose so," he said carelessly.
"There are tales about his private life, but probably quite untrue. He's
a man of the world as well as a great scholar, and I suppose the rather
unusual combination makes people talk. But he is right up at the top of
the tree,--goes everywhere; and he's just been knighted for his work.
I'll go over and speak to him."

"If he'll come over," said the vicar, his eyes alight with anticipation
and the hope of a talk with this famous expert on the subjects nearest
his own heart, "bring him, _please_. There is nothing I should like
better than a chat with him. I know his _Modern Discoveries and Holy
Writ_ almost by heart."

They watched Spence go across to Sir Robert's table. The big man started
as he was spoken to, looked up in surprise, then smiled with pleasure,
and extended a welcoming hand. Spence sat down beside him and they were
soon in the middle of a brisk conversation.

"The poor man looked very bored until Mr. Spence spoke to him," said
Helena. "Father, I'm sure you'll have your wish. He seems glad to have
some one to talk to."

She was right. After a minute or two the journalist returned with
Llwellyn, and the five of them were soon in a full flood of talk.

"I was going to dine alone at my hotel," said the Professor, at length;
"but Spence says that he knows of a decent restaurant here. I wonder if
you would let me be one of your party? I'm quite alone in Dieppe for a
couple of days. I'm waiting for a friend with whom I am going to

"Oh, do come, Sir Robert," said the vicar, with manifest pleasure. "Are
you going to be away from England for long?"

"I have leave from the British Museum for a year," said the Professor.
"My doctor says that I require absolute rest. I am _en route_ for
Marseilles and from there to Alexandria."

The Pannier d'Or proved a pleasant little place, and the dinner was
excellent. The Professor surprised and then amused the others by his
criticism of the viands. He made the dinner his especial business, sent
for the cook and had a serious conversation with him, chose the wines
with extreme care.

His knowledge of the culinary art was enormous, and he treated it with a
kind of reverence, addressing himself more particularly to Helena.

"Yes, Miss Byars, you must be _most_ careful in the preparation of
really good crayfish soup. This is excellent. The great secret is to
flavour with a little lobster spawn and to mix the crumb of a French
roll with the stock--white stock of course--before you add the powdered
shells and anchovies."

Many times, despite his impatience to get to deeper and more congenial
subjects, the vicar smiled at the purring of this gourmet, who seemed to
prefer a sauce to an inscription and rissoles to research.

But with the special coffee--covered with fine yellow foam and
sweetened with crystals of amber sugar--the vicar's hour came. Sir
Robert realised that it was inevitable and with a half sigh gave the
required opening.

Once started, his manner changed utterly. The mask of materialism peeled
away from his face, which became younger, brighter, as thought animated
it, and new, finer lines cames out upon it as knowledge poured from him.

The conversation threatened to be a long one. Spence saw that and
proposed to go on to the Casino with Helena, leaving the two clergymen
with Llwellyn. It was when they had gone that the trio settled down

It resolved itself at first into a duologue between the two elder men.
Gortre's knowledge was too general and superficial on these purely
antiquarian matters to allow him to take much part in it. He sat sipping
his coffee and listening with keen attention and great enjoyment to this
talk of experts. He had not liked Llwellyn from the first and could not
do so even now, but he was forced to recognise the enormous intellectual
activity and power of the big, purring creature before him.

Step by step the two archæologists went over the new discoveries being
made in the ground between the City Wall of Jerusalem and the Hill of
"Jeremiah's Grotto." They talked of the blue and purple mosaics found on
the Mount of Olives, of all that had been done by the English and German
excavators during the past years.

Gradually the discussion became more intimate and began to touch on
great issues.

Mr. Byars was in a state of extraordinary interest. His knowledge was
wide, and Llwellyn early realised this, speaking to him as an equal,
but beside the Professor's all-embracing achievements it was as nothing.
The clergyman learnt something fresh, some sudden illuminating point of
view, some irradiating fact, at every moment.

"I suppose," Mr. Byars said at length, "that the true situation of the
Holy Sepulchre is still a matter of considerable doubt, Professor. Your
view would interest me extremely."

"My view," said Llwellyn, with remarkable earnestness and with an
emphasis which left no doubt about his convictions, "is that the
Sepulchre has not yet been located."

"And your view is authoritative of course," said Mr. Byars.

The Professor bowed.

"That is as it may be," he said, "but I have no doubt upon the subject.
The Church of the Holy Sepulchre is quite out of the question. There is
really no historical evidence for it beyond a foolish dream of the
Empress Helena, in A.D. 326. The people who _know_ dismiss the
traditional site at once. Of course it is _generally_ believed, but one
cannot expect the world at large to be cognisant of the doings of the
authorities. Canon MacColl has said that the traditional site is the
real one, and as his name has never been out of the public eye since
what were called 'The Bulgarian Atrocities,' they are content to follow
his lead. Then there is the question of the second site, in which a
great many people believe they have found the true Golgotha and
Sepulchre. 'The Gordon Tomb,' as it has been called, excited a great
deal of attention at the time of its discovery. You may remember that I
went to Jerusalem on behalf of the _Times_ to investigate the matter.
You may recollect that I proved beyond dispute that the tomb was not
Jewish at all, but indubitably Christian and long subsequent to the time
of Christ. As a matter of fact, when the tomb was excavated in 1873 it
was full of human bones and the mould of decomposed bodies, and there
were two red-painted crosses on the walls. The tomb was close to a large
Crusading hospice, and I have no doubt that it was used for the burial
of pilgrims. Besides, my excavations proved that the second "city wall"
must have _included_ the new site, so that the Gospel narrative at once
demolishes the new theory. I embodied twenty-seven other minor proofs in
my letters to the _Times_ also. No, Mr. Byars, my conviction is that we
are not yet able to locate in any way the position of Golgotha and the
Holy Tomb."

"You think that is to come?" asked Gortre.

"_I feel certain_," answered the Professor, with great deliberation and
meaning--"_I feel certain that we are on the eve of stupendous
discoveries in this direction_."

His tones were so impressive and so charged with import that the two
clergymen looked quickly at each other. It seemed obvious that Llwellyn
was aware of some impending discoveries. He must, they knew, be in
constant touch with all that was being done in Palestine. Curiously
enough, his words gave each of them a certain sense of chill, of
uneasiness. There seemed to be something behind them, something of
sinister suggestion, which they could not divine or formulate, but
merely felt as an action upon the nerves.

It was a rare experience to sit with the greatest living authority upon
a subject, and hear his views--views which it would be folly not to
accept. His knowledge was so sure and so profound, a sense of power
flowed from him.

But though both men felt a dim premonition of what his words might
possibly convey, neither could bring himself to a deliberate question.
Nor did Llwellyn appear to invite it. During the whole of their talk he
had sedulously avoided any religious questions. He had dealt solely with
historical aspects.

His position in the religious world was singular. His knowledge of
Biblical history was one of its assets, but he was not known definitely
as a believer.

His attitude had always been absolutely non-committal. He did the work
he had to do without taking sides.

It had become generally understood that no definite statement of his own
personal convictions was to be asked or expected from him.

The general consensus of opinion was that Sir Robert Llwellyn was _not_
a believer in the divinity of Christ; but it was merely an opinion, and
had never been confirmed by him.

There was rather a tense silence for a short time.

The Professor broke it.

"Let me show you," he said, taking a gold pencil-case from his pocket,
"a little map which I published at the time of the agitation about
Gordon's Tomb. I can trace the course of the city walls for you."

He felt in his pocket for some paper on which to make the drawing, and
took out a letter.

Gortre and the vicar drew their chairs closer.

Suddenly a curious pain shot through Basil's head and all his pulses
throbbed violently. He experienced a terribly familiar sensation--the
sick fear and repulsion of the night before his illness in the great
library. The aroma of some utterly evil and abominable personality
seemed to come into his brain.

For, as he had looked down at the paper on which the great white fingers
were now tracing thin lines, he had seen, before Llwellyn turned it
over, a firm, plain signature, thus:

          Constantine Schuabe

With some excuse about the heat of the room, he left it and went out
into the night.

His brain was busy with terrible intuitive forebodings, he seemed to be
caught up in the fringe of some great net, the phantoms of his illness
came round him once more, the dark air was thick with their
wings--vague, and because of that more hideous.

He passed the lighted _kiosk_ at the Casino entrance with a white, set

He was going home to pray.



It was at Victoria Station that Basil said good-bye to Helena. Spence
had been back again in London for a fortnight. Mr. Byars and his
daughter were to go straight back to Manchester the same day, and Gortre
was to take possession of his new quarters in Lincoln's Inn and enter on
his duties at St. Mary's without delay.

It had been a pleasant holiday, they all agreed, as the train brought
them up from Newhaven; how pleasant they had hardly realised till it was
all over. They had been all brought more intimately together than ever
before. Gortre had come to know Mr. Byars with far more completeness
than had been possible during their busy parochial life at Walktown. The
elder man's calm and steadfast belief, his wide knowledge and culture,
the Christian _sanity_ of his life, were never more manifest than in the
uninterrupted communion of this time of rest and pleasure.

He saw in his future father-in-law such a man as he himself humbly hoped
that he might become. The impulsiveness of an eager youth had toned down
into the mature judgment of middle age. The enthusiasms of life's
springtime had solidified into quiet strength and force, and faith and
intellect had combined into a deep and immovable conviction. And Mr.
Byars's was no simple, childlike nature to whom goodness and belief were
easy, a natural attribute of the man. He was subtle rather, complex,
and the victory over himself had cost him more than it costs most men.
So much Gortre realised, and his love and admiration for the vicar were
tempered with that joyous awe that one fine nature is privileged to feel
at the contact with another.

To Helena also this time of holiday had been very precious. To mark the
fervour of her chosen one, the energy he threw into Life, Love, and
Religion, to find him a _man_ and yet a priest, to follow him in thought
to the ivory gates of his Ideals--these were her uplifting occupations;
and to all these as they walked and talked, listened to the music at the
Casino, explored the ancient forest and castle at Arques, or knelt with
bowed heads as the sacring bell rang and the priests moved about the
altar--these had been the united bond of the great knowledge and hope
they shared together.

After the farewells had been said in the noisy station, and Basil's cab
drove him rapidly towards his new home, he felt wonderfully ready and
prepared for his new work.

The moving panorama of Victoria Street, the sudden stately vision of
Palace Yard, the grandeur of the Embankment--all spoke to the young man
of a vivid, many-coloured, and pulsating life which was waiting for him
and his activities. Here, indeed, was a fine battlefield and theatre for
the Holy War.

The cab moved slowly up Chancery Lane and then turned into the sudden
quiet of Lincoln's Inn. It was almost like going back to Oxford, he
thought, with a quick glow of pleasure to see himself surrounded by
mellow, ancient buildings once more.

All his heavy personal effects had been sent up from Walktown some days
before, and when he had carried up his two portmanteaus he knocked at
the "oak" or outside door of the chambers, which was shut, and waited
for a response. He saw that his name was freshly painted on the lintel
of the door under the two others:

          |                                       |
          |         MR. HAROLD M. SPENCE.         |
          |                                       |
          |           MR. CYRIL HANDS.            |
          |                                       |
          |          REV. BASIL GORTRE.           |
          |                                       |

In a minute he heard footsteps. The inner door was opened and he saw a
tall, thin man, bearded and brown, peering at him through spectacles.

"Ah! Gortre, I suppose," said the other. "We were expecting you. I'm
Hands, you know, home for another month yet. Give me these bags. Come
in, come in."

He followed the big, stooping fellow with a sense of well-being at the
cheery bohemianism of his greeting.

He found himself in a very large room indeed, panelled from floor to
ceiling, the woodwork painted a sage green. Three great windows, each
with a cushioned seat in its recess, looked down into the quadrangle
below. Curtained doors faced him on all sides of the room, which was
oddly shaped and full of nooks and angles. Books and newspapers covered
two or three writing-tables and were piled on shelves between the doors.
A bright fire burned in a large grate and the mantel above was covered
with Oxford photographs, pipes, and tobacco jars. There was a note of
comfort everywhere, of luxurious comfort though not of luxury. The
furniture was not new and it bore the signs of long use no less than
careful choice. Bohemia it was, but not a squalid Bohemia. If a room can
have a personality, this was a _gentlemanly_ room. One saw that
gentlemen lived here, men who, without daintiness or a tinge of the
sybarite, yet liked a certain order and fitness around them. At once
Basil felt in key with the place. There was no jarring note anywhere.

"I've got you a sort of meal, Gortre," said Hands, pleasantly, "though
we were rather in doubt as to what a man could want at four o'clock in
the afternoon! Spence suggested afternoon tea, as you'll be wanting to
dine later on. But Mrs. Buscall, our laundress, suggested cold beef and
Bass's beer--after a sea voyage which she regards as a sort of Columbus
adventure. So fall to--here you are. Harold is just getting up."

Indeed, as he spoke there came a noise of vigorous splashing from behind
one of the closed doors and Spence's voice bellowed out a greeting.

Basil looked puzzled for a moment and Hands laughed as he saw it.

"You must remember that Spence doesn't get back from the office till
three in the morning," he said. "He's writing four leaders a week now,
and on his late nights, when he comes back, his brain is too alert and
excited to sleep, so he has some Bovril and just works away at other
stuff till morning. He won't interfere with us, though. I never hear him
come in, nor will you. These chambers are a regular rabbit warren for
size and ramification."

Basil went into the bedroom he was to have, a spacious, clean, and
simply furnished place, and when he came out again for his meal found
Spence, in a loose suit of flannels, smoking a cigarette. The journalist
joined him at the table.

In a very short time Gortre felt thoroughly at home. He knew by a kind
of instinct that he should be happy in Lincoln's Inn. Hands had still a
month to spend in London before he went back to Palestine to continue
his work for the Exploring Society, and he looked forward to many
interesting talks with him, the actual agent and superintendent of the
work at Jerusalem, the trained eye and arm of the great and influential
English Society.

And as for Spence, he had known him intimately ever since his first
Oxford days, many years ago now. Harold Spence was like a brother to
him--had always been that.

The first hour's conversation, desultory as it was, in a sense, showed
him how full and varied his new life promised to be. After the noisy
seclusion of Walktown he felt that he was now in the centre of things.
Both Spence and Hands were thoroughly cultured men, and both were
distinguished above the crowd in their respective spheres.

Basil heard keen, critical, "inside" talk for almost the first time. His
two companions knew everybody, were at the hub of things. Two nights ago
Spence had been talking to the Prime Minister for ten minutes.--_The
Daily Wire_ was the unofficial Government organ. Hands had been at
Lambeth with the Archbishop, the president and patron of the Palestine
Society. They were absolute types of the keen, vigorous, and _young_
mental aristocracy which is always on the active service of English
life. They belonged to the executive branch.

"I'm sorry, Basil," Spence said suddenly, "I've got a note for you from
Father Ripon. I forgot to give it to you. He sent it down by a special
messenger this morning. Here it is."

Father Ripon was the vicar of St. Mary's, Gortre's new chief.

He took the note and opened it, reading as follows:


     "DEAR MR. GORTRE,--Friend Spence says that you will arrive in
     London this afternoon. I don't believe in wasting time and I want a
     good long talk with you before you begin your work with us.
     To-night I am due at Bethnal Green to give a lecture. I shall be
     driving home about ten and I'll call at Lincoln's Inn on my way. If
     this will not be too late for you, we can then talk matters
     over.--Sincerely yours in Christ,    ARTHUR RIPON."

Basil passed the note to Spence.

"That'll be all right," he said. "I shall be at work, and Hands will be
in his own room. What a man Ripon is! He's just the incarnation of
breezy energy. Brusque, unconventional as Dr. Parker himself, but one of
the sincerest Christians and best men I ever met or ever shall meet. He
signs his note like that because he means it. He hates cant, and what in
some men would appear cant, or at least a rather unnecessary form of
ending, is to him just an ordinary every-day fact. You will get on with
Father Ripon, Basil, I'm sure. You'll get to love the man as we all do.
I never knew any one so absolutely joyous as he is. He's about the
happiest man in town, I should say. His private income is nearly two
thousand a year, and his living's worth something too, and yet I don't
suppose his own expenses are fifty pounds. He lives more or less on
porridge--when he remembers to eat at all--and his only extravagance is
hansom cabs, so that he can cram more work into the day."

They all laughed, and Spence began to tell anecdotes of the famous
"ritualistic" parson who daily filled more stomachs, saved more souls,
and shocked more narrow-minded people than any two men in Crockford.

At seven o'clock they all went out together--Spence to his adjacent
office in Fleet Street, the other two to dine quietly at the University

"London depresses me," said Hands, when they were seated on the top of
an omnibus and rolling westward through the Strand. "I am afraid that I
shall never be in love with London any more. I always dislike my
vacations, or rather my business visits to town. It's necessary that I
attend the annual meeting of the Society and see people in authority,
and I have to give a few lectures too. But I hate it all the same. I
love the simple life of the East, the sun, the deep blue shadows, my
silent Arabs. I know of no more beautiful sight than the Holy City--why
do they call Rome the 'Holy City'? Jerusalem is the Holy City--when the
hills are covered with the January snows. It is a wonderful, immemorial
land, Gortre, a silent, beautiful country. Just before I came over here
I spent a fortnight working at some inscriptions in a very ancient Latin
monastery. I never knew such peace. The monks are all sad-faced,
courteous Syrians, and they move along the rock balconies like benignant
ghosts. And then one comes back and is plunged into this!"

He threw out his hand over the side of the omnibus with a note of
disgust in his rather dreamy voice. The Strand was all brilliantly lit
and waiting crowds stood by all the theatre doors. Men and women passed
in and out of the bright orange light of bars and restaurants, and small
filthy boys stabbed the deep roar of the traffic with their shrill
voices as they called out the evening papers.

They dined quietly and simply at the big warm club in Piccadilly. Hands
did most of the talking and Gortre was content to listen to the pleasant
monotony of the low, level voice and to fall under the man's peculiar
spell or charm--a charm that he always exercised upon another artistic

Hands was a poet by nature and sentiment. His strange, lonely life among
the evidences of the past under the Eastern sky had toned, mellowed,
and orientalised his vision.

As he listened Gortre also began to feel something of the mystery and
magic influence of that country of God's birth.

It was half-past nine when they got back to the chambers again. Hands
went at once to his own room to work and Basil sat down in front of a
red, glowing fire, gazing into the hot caverns, lost in reverie. It was
as though he had taken some opiate and there was nothing better in life
than to sit thus and dream in the warm silence of the firelit room.

A few minutes after ten he was suddenly called out of the clouds by a
furious knocking at the door of the chambers.

The sound cut into his dreams like a knife.

He went to open the door, and Father Ripon, his new vicar, came in like
a whirlwind. His voluminous black cloak brought cold air in its folds;
his breezy, genial personality was so actual a fact, struck such a
strident, material note, that dreams and reverie fled before it.

Gortre turned up the gas-jets and flooded the room with light.

Father Ripon was a tall, well-made man, too active to be portly, but
with hints of a tendency towards plumpness, which was never allowed to
ripen. His iron-grey hair was cropped close to his large, well-shaped
head. The shrewd, merry eyes, of a rare red-hazel colour, were shaded by
heavy grey brows, which gave them a singular directness and penetration.
The nose was aquiline, the lips thin, though the mouth was large, and
the chin massive and somewhat protruding. The mobile face, lined and
seamed by the strenuous life of its owner, was very seldom in repose. It
glowed and flashed continually with changing expression. On those
occasions when the play of feature sank to rest for a moment, at the
giving of a benediction or the saying of a solemn prayer in church, a
nobility and asceticism transformed the face into something saintly. But
in the ordinary business of life the large humanity of the man gave him
a readier title to the hearts of his people than their knowledge of the
underlying saintliness of his character.

"Whisky?" he said, as Gortre asked him to take some. "No, thanks.
Teetotaler for sake of example, always have been--and don't like the
stuff either, never did. But I'll have some coffee and some bread and
butter, if you've got it, and some of those oranges I see there. Forgot
to lunch and had no time to dine!"

He began ravenously upon the oranges and with little further preamble
plunged at once into the business of the parish. To emphasise a point,
he flung a piece of orange peel savagely into the fire now and again.

"Our congregation," he said, "is peculiar to the church. You'll realise
that when you get among them. I don't suppose in the whole of London
there is a more difficult class of people to reach than our own. In the
first place, it's a _young_ congregation, speaking generally. 'Good,'
you'll say; 'ductible material, plenty of enthusiasm to work on.' Not a
bit of it. Most of the men are engaged in the City as clerks upon a
small wage. They are mentally rather "small" men. Their lives are hard
and monotonous, their outlook upon life petty and vulgar. The lowest and
the highest classes are far easier to get at because they are
temperamentally more alike. The anarchists have some right on their side
when they condemn the _bourgeoisie_! It's difficult to show a small
brain a big thing. _Our_ difficulty is to explain the stupendous truths
of Christianity to flabby and inert, machine-like fellows. When we _do_
get hold of them, the very monotony of their lives makes religion a
more valuable thing to them. But the temptations of this class are
terribly strong, living alone in lodgings as they do. The cheap
music-hall and bar attract them; dissipation forms their society. Their
views of women are taken from their association with the girls of the
streets and the theatres. As they have no settled place in society, they
are horribly afraid of ridicule. They are a far more difficult lot than
their colleagues who live in the suburbs and have chances for healthier

"Then much of our work lies among women who seem irretrievably lost,
and, I fear, very often are so. The Bloomsbury district is honeycombed
with well-conducted dens of impurity. The women of a certain class have
fixed upon the parish as their home. I don't mean the starving
prostitute that one meets in the East End, I mean the fairly prosperous,
utterly vicious, lazy women. You will meet with horrors of vice, a
marvellous and stony indifference, in the course of your work. To reach
some of these well-dressed, well-fed, well-housed girls, to show them
the spiritual and even the economic and material end of their lives,
requires almost superhuman powers. If an angel came some of them would
not believe. And in the great and luxurious buildings of flats which
have sprung up in all the squares, the well-known London
_demi-mondaines_--people who dance upon the stage and whose pictures
glare upon one from every hoarding--have made their homes and constantly
parade before the eyes of others the wealth which is the reward of lust.

"This is a wicked part of London, Gortre. And yet, day by day, in our
beautiful church, where the Eucharist is celebrated and prayers go up
unceasingly, we have evidences that our work is acceptable and that the
Power is with us. Magdalen still comes with her jewels and her tears of
repentance. I ask and beg of you to remember certain things--keep them
always before your eyes--during your ministry among us. Whenever a man
or woman comes to you, either at confession or otherwise, and tells of
incredible sins, welcome the very slightest movement towards the light.
Cultivate an all-embracing sympathy. I firmly believe that more souls
have been lost by a repellent manner on the part of a priest, or an
apparent lack of understanding, than any one has any idea of. Remember
that when a thoroughly evil and warped nature has made a great effort
and laid its spiritual case before a priest, it expects in its inner
consciousness a pat on the back for its new efforts. It wants
commendation. One _must_ fight warily, with a thorough psychological
knowledge, with a broad humanity. To take even the slightest signs of
repentance as a matter of course, to throw any doubt upon its reality or
permanence, is to accept an awful responsibility. Err rather on the side
of sentiment. Who are we to judge?"

Gortre had listened with deep attention to Father Ripon's earnest words.
He began to realise more clearly the difficulties of his new life. And
yet the obstacles did not daunt him. They seemed rather a trumpet note
for battle. Ripon's enthusiasm was contagious; he felt the exhilaration
of the tried soldier at a coming contest.

"One more thing," said the vicar. "In all your teaching and preaching
hammer away at the great central fact of the Incarnation. No system of
morals will reach these people--however plausible, however pure--unless
you constantly bring the supernatural side of religion before them.
Preach the Incarnation day in, day out. Don't, like so many men, regard
it as an accepted fact merely, using it as a postulate on which to found
a scheme of conduct. Once get the central truth of all into the hearts
of a congregation, and then all else will follow. Now, good-night. I've
kept you late, but I wished to have a talk with you. A good deal will
devolve upon you. I have especially arranged that you should not live in
the Clergy House with Stokes, Carr, and myself. I would rather that your
environment should be more secular. Stokes and Carr are perhaps a little
too priestly, too "professional" in manner, if you understand what I am
driving at. Keep yourself from that. If you go among the young men, see
them at home, smoke with them, and take what they offer you in the way
of refreshment. Well, good-bye. You are to preach at Sunday Evensongs
you know. Sir Michael Manichoe, our patron, will be there, and there
will be a large congregation."

He turned, said good-night with sudden abruptness, as if he had been
lingering too long and was displeased with himself, and hurried away. It
was his usual manner of farewell.

A few minutes afterwards Gortre went to bed. He found it difficult to
believe that he had walked down the Faubourg de la Barre that morning.
It had been a crowded day.



Sir Michael Manichoe was the great help and standby of St. Mary's. His
father had been a wealthy banker in Rome, and a Jew. The son, who had
enormously increased his inherited wealth, was an early convert to
Christianity during his Oxford days in England. He was the Conservative
member for a division in Lincolnshire, where his great country house was
situated, and had become a pillar of the Church and State in England. In
the House of Commons he presented the somewhat curious spectacle of a
Jew by birth leading the moderate "Catholic" party. He was the great
antagonist of Constantine Schuabe, and with equal wealth and position,
though Schuabe was by far the more brilliant of the two men, he devoted
all his energies to the opposition of the secular and agnostic
influences of his political rival.

Every Sunday during the session, when he was in London, Sir Michael
drove to St. Mary's for both morning and evening service. He was church
warden, and intimately concerned in all the parochial business, while
his purse was always open at Father Ripon's request.

Gortre had been introduced to Sir Michael during the week, and he knew
the great man purposed attending to hear his first sermon at St. Mary's
on the Sunday evening.

He prepared his discourse with extreme care. A natural wish to make a
good first impression animated him; but, as he sat late on the Saturday
night, finally arranging his notes, he began to be conscious of new and
surprising thoughts about the coming event. Earlier in the evening he
had been talking to Hands, but the archæologist had gone to bed and left
him alone.

The day had been a gloomy one. A black pall of fog fell over London at
dawn, and had remained all day, almost choking him as he said evensong
in the almost empty church.

All day long he had felt strangely overweighted and depressed. A chance
paragraph in an evening paper, stating that Mr. Schuabe, M.P., had
returned from a short Continental trip, started an uneasy and gloomy
train of thought. The memory of the terrible night at Walktown recurred
to him with a horrible sense of unreality, the picture blurred somewhat,
as if the fingers of the disease which had struck him down had already
been pressing on his brain when he had been alone with the millionaire.
Much of what he remembered of that dread interview must have been
delusion. And yet in all other matters he was sane and unprejudiced
enough. Many times he had met and argued with unbelievers. They had
saddened him, but no more. Why was it that this man, notorious atheist
as he was, filled him with a shuddering fear, a horror for which he had
no name?

Then also, what had been the significance of the incident at Dieppe--its
true significance? Sir Robert Llwellyn had also inspired him with a
feeling of utter loathing and abhorrence, though perhaps in a less
degree. There was the sudden glimpse of Schuabe's signature on the
letter. What was the connection between the two men? How could the
Antichristian be in friendly communion with the greatest Higher Critic
of the time?

He recalled an even more sinister occurrence, or so it had seemed to
him. Two days after his first introduction to Llwellyn and the dinner
at the Pannier d'Or he had seen him enter the Paris train _with Schuabe_
himself, who had just arrived from England. He had said nothing of the
incident to Mr. Byars or Helena. They would have regarded it as ordinary
enough. They knew nothing of what had passed between him and Schuabe.
The deliberate words of Sir Robert at the restaurant recurred to him
again and again, taking possession of his brain and ousting all other
thoughts. What new discoveries was the Professor hinting at?

What did the whole obsession of his brain mean?

Curiously enough, he felt certain that these thoughts were in no way
heralds of a new attack of brain fever. He knew this for a certainty. It
seemed as if the persistent whisperings within him were rather the
results of some spiritual message, as if the unseen agency which
prompted them had some definite end and purpose in view.

The more he prayed the stronger his premonitions became; added force was
given to them, as if they were the direct causes of his supplications.

It almost seemed that God was speaking to him.

He had questioned Hands cautiously, trying to learn if any new and
important facts bearing upon Biblical history were indeed likely to be
discovered in the near future.

But the answer did not amount to very much. The new and extensive
excavations, under the permission of the lately granted firman from the
Turkish Government, were only just beginning. The real work was to
commence when Hands had finished his work in London and had returned to
take charge of the operations.

Of course, Hands had said there were possibilities of discovery of
first-class importance, but he doubted it. The locality of Golgotha and
the Holy Sepulchre was already established, in Hands's opinion. He had
but little doubt of the authenticity of the established sites.
Llwellyn's theories he scouted altogether, while agreeing with him in
his negation of the Gordon Tomb.

So there had been very little from Hands that was in any way
satisfactory to Basil.

But as he sat in the great silence of the night and read over the heads
of the sermon a great sense of comfort came to him. He felt a mysterious
sense of power, not merely because he knew the work was good, but
something beyond that. He was conscious that for some reason or other
that particular sermon which he was about to preach was one on which
much depended. He could not say how or why he knew the thing was fraught
with destiny to himself or others. He only knew it.

Many years afterwards he remembered that quiet night, and the help which
seemed to come to him suddenly, a renewed hope and confidence after the
mental misery of the day.

When he looked back on the terrible and stupendous events in which he
had played so prominent a part, he was able to see clearly the chain of
events, and to place his experience about what he always afterwards
called his "Resurrection sermon" in their proper sequence.

Looking back through the years, he saw that a more than mortal power was
guiding him towards the fulfilment of a Divine purpose.

But that night as he said his prayers before going to sleep he only felt
a sweet security as he glanced at the MS. on the chair by his bedside.

The future was not yet revealed to him. God spared him the torture of

       *       *       *       *       *

The pulpit was high above the heads of the people, much higher than is
usual, a box of stone set in the great arch of the chancel.

As Gortre stood for a moment, after the prayer, he kissed the stole and
placed it, as a yoke, upon his shoulders. He looked down the great
building and saw the hundreds of watchful, expectant faces, with an
uplifting sense of power. He felt as if he were a mouthpiece of strange,
unseen forces. The air seemed full of wings.

For a moment the preacher paused and sent a keen glance over the
congregation below. He saw Sir Michael Manichoe, dark, aquiline,
Semitic, sitting in his front pew. A few seats behind him, with a sudden
throb of surprise but nothing else, the calm and evil beauty of
Constantine Schuabe's face looked up at him.

The strangeness of the appearance and the shock of it had at that moment
no menace or intimidation for him. Standing there to deliver God's
message, in God's house, his enemy seemed to have no power to throw his
brain into its old fear and tumult.

Another face, unknown to him, arrested his attention.

The sexes were not separated for worship in St. Mary's. In the same seat
where Schuabe sat was a woman, dark, handsome, expensively dressed.

She also was Jewish in appearance, though it was obvious that there was
no connection between her and the millionaire. Her face, as the young
clergyman's eyes rested on it for a second, seemed to be curiously
familiar, as if he saw it every day of his life, but it nevertheless
struck no _personal_ note.

Gortre began to speak, taking for his text part of a verse from the
Epistle of St. Paul to the Romans--"_Declared to be the Son of God with
power, according to the spirit of holiness, by the resurrection of the

"In this world of to-day," he began calmly, and with a certain
deliberation and precision in his utterance, "what men in general are
hungering after is a positive assurance of actual spiritual agency in
the world. They crave for something to hold by which is outside
themselves, and which cannot have grown out of the inner persuasions of
men. They cannot understand people who tell them that, whether the
events of the Gospels actually passed upon earth or not, they may
fashion their own dispositions all the same, on the supposition that
these events occurred. If I can to-night show that any appearance of the
Risen Lord is attested in the same way as are certain facts commonly
accepted as history, I shall have accomplished as much as I can hope."

Then, very carefully, Gortre went through the scientific and historical
evidences for the truth of the Resurrection. Gradually, as he marshalled
his proofs and brought forth one after the other, he began, by a sort of
unconscious hypnotism of the eye, to make the seat where Schuabe and the
strange woman sat his objective.

Many speakers have this automatic habit of addressing one or two persons
as if they were the ear of the whole congregation. It is said that by
such means, even if unconsciously employed, the brain becomes more
concentrated and clearer for the work in hand.

Slowly the preacher's voice became more resonant and triumphant. To many
of the congregation the overwhelming and stupendous evidences for the
truth of the Gospel narratives which the study of late years has
collected was entirely new. The Higher Criticism, the fact that it is
not only in science that "discoveries" can be made, the excavations in
the East and the newly discovered MSS., with their variations of
reading, the possibility that the lost Aramaic original of St. Matthew's
Gospel may yet be discovered, were all things which came to them for
the first time in their lives. Gortre's words began to open up to them
an entirely new train of thought. Their interest was profoundly

Very few clergymen of middle age are cognisant of the latest theological
thought. Time, money, and lack of education alike prevent them. The
slight mental endowment and very ordinary education which are all that
is absolutely necessary for an ordination candidate, are not realised by
the ordinary member of a church congregation. The mass of the English
clergy to-day are content to leave such questions alone, to do their
duty simply, to impose upon their flock the necessity of "faith," and to
deny the right of individual judgment and speculation.

They do not realise that the world of their middle age is more educated,
and so more intelligent, than the world of their youth, and that, if the
public intellect is nurtured by the public, those whose duty it is to
keep it within the fold of Christianity must provide it with a food
suited to its development.

Gortre, in his sermon, had crystallised and boiled down into pregnant
paragraphs, without circumlocution or obscurity, all the brilliant work
of Latham, Westcott, Professor Ramsay, and Homersham Cox. He quoted
Renan's passage from _Les Apôtres_, dealing with the finding of the
empty tomb, and showed the flaws and fallacies in that brilliant piece
of antichristian suggestion.

As he began to bring his arguments to a close he was conscious that the
people were with him. He could feel the brains around him thinking in
unison; it was almost as if he _heard_ the thoughts of the congregation.
The dark, handsome woman stared straight up at him. Trouble was in her
eyes, an awakened consciousness, and Gortre knew that the truth was
dropping steadily into her mind, and that conviction was unwelcome and

And he felt also the bitter antagonism which was alive and working
behind the impassive face and half-closed eyes of the millionaire below.
It was a silent duel between them. He knew that his words were full of
meaning, _even of conviction_, to the man, and yet he was subjectively
conscious of some _reserve_ of force, some hidden sense of fearful
power, a desperate resolve which he could not overcome.

His soul wrestled in this dark, mysterious conflict as with a devil, but
could not prevail.

He finished all his argument, the last of his proofs. There was a hushed
silence in the church.

Then swiftly, with a voice which trembled with the power that was given
him, he called them to repentance and a new life. _If_, he said, his
words had carried conviction of the truth of Christ's resurrection, of
His divinity, then, believing that, there was but one course open to
them all. For to know the truth, and to believe it, and to continue in
indifference, was to kill the soul.

It was over. Father Ripon had pronounced the blessing, the great organ
was thundering out the requiem of another Sunday, and Sir Michael was
shaking hands warmly with Basil in the vestry.

Gortre was tired and shaken by the long, nervous strain, but the evident
pleasure of Father Ripon and Sir Michael, the knowledge that he had
acquitted himself well, was comforting and sustaining.

He walked home, down quiet Holborn, curiously dead without the traffic
of a week day and the lights of the shop fronts, and not reanimated by
the strolling pedestrians, young people of the lower classes from the
East End, who thronged it.

Lincoln's Inn was wonderfully soothing and quiet as his footsteps echoed
in the old quadrangle. After a lonely, tranquil supper--Hands was at a
dinner-party somewhere in Mayfair and Spence was at the office of _The
Daily Wire_ preparing for Monday's paper--he wheeled a small
writing-desk up to the fireside and began a long letter of news and
thankfulness to Helena.

He pictured the pleasant dining-room at Walktown, the Sunday night's
supper,--an institution at the Vicarage after the labours of the busiest
day in the week,--with a guest or two perhaps.

He knew they would be thinking of him, as he of them, and pictured the
love-light in his lady's sweet, calm eyes.



Autumn came to London, a warm, lingering season. There was a hint of the
South in the atmosphere of town. All business moved with languor; there
was more enjoyment in life as people went and came through the streets
under so ripe and genial a sun.

Gortre had settled down to steady, regular work. At no time before had a
routine been so pleasant to him. His days were full of work, which, hard
as it was, came to him with far more appeal than his duties at Walktown.
Nothing ever stagnated here, at the very hub and centre of things.

The splendid energy and force of Father Ripon, the magnificent
unconvention of his methods, animated his staff to constant and
unflagging exertions.

Gortre felt that he was suddenly "grown up," that his life before had
been spent in futile playtime compared to the present.

One central fact in St. Mary's parish held all the great organisation
together. This was the daily services in the great church. Priests,
deacons, sisters of mercy, school teachers, and lay helpers all drew
their strength and inspiration from this source. The daily Eucharist,
matins, evensong, were both a stimulus and stimulant of enormous power.

Church brought the mysteries in which they lived, moved, and had their
being into intimate relation with every circumstance of daily life.

The extraordinary thing, which many of Father Ripon's staff were almost
unable to understand, was that more people did not avail themselves of
what they regarded--viewing the thing from a standpoint of personal
experience--such helpful opportunities.

"They are always coming to me," Father Ripon had said on one occasion,
"and complaining that they find such a tremendous difficulty in leading
a holy life--say that the worldly surroundings and so forth kill their
good impulses--and yet they _won't_ come to church. People are such
fools! My young men imagine that they can become good Christians by a
sort of sudden magic--a low beast on Saturday night, the twentieth of
August, and, after a nerve storm in church and a few tears in the
vestry, a saint for evermore! And then when they get drunk or do
something beastly the next week, they rail against the Christian Faith
because it isn't a sort of spiritual hand cuffs! And yet if you told
them you could manage a bank after merely experience in a shipping
office, they would see the absurdity of that at once. Donkeys!"

This with a genial smile of tenderness and compassion, for this
Whirlwind in a Cassock loved his flock.

So from the very first Basil had found his life congenial. Privately he
blessed his good fortune in living in Lincoln's Inn with Spence. On the
nights when the journalist was free from the office, and not otherwise
engaged, the two men sat late with pipes and coffee, enjoying that
vigorous communion of two keen, young, and virile brains which is one of
the truly stimulating pleasures of life.

Gortre admired Spence greatly for some of his qualities. His intellect
was, of course, first class--his high position on the great daily paper
guaranteed that. His reading and sympathies were wide. Moreover, the
clergyman found a great refreshment in the fact that, in an age of
indifference, at a time when the best intellects of younger London life
were professedly agnostic, Harold Spence was an avowed Christian and
Churchman. As Gortre got to know him better, when the silence and
detachment of midnight in the old Inn broke down reticence, he realised
with a sense of thankfulness, and sometimes of fear also, how a thorough
belief in religion kept the writer straight and captain of his own soul.

For the man was a creature of strong passions and wayward desires. He
had not always been the clean gentleman of the present. As is so often
the case with a refined and cultured temperament, he had a dark and ugly
side to his nature. The coarse vices of the blood called to him long and
often with their hollow siren voices. Evil came to him with swift
invitation and cunning allurement. He had hinted to Basil of days of sin
and secret shame. And now, very soberly and without any emotion, he
clung to Christ for help.

And he had conquered.

This was ever a glorious fact to Basil, another miracle in those
thousands of daily miracles which were happening all around him. But his
fear for Harold came from his realisation of his friend's exact
spiritual grip. Spence's Christianity was rather too _utilitarian_ for
safety. Perhaps the deep inward conviction was weak. It seemed sometimes
as if it were a barren, thorny thing--too much fetish, too much a return
for benefits received, a sort of half-conscious bargain. He often prayed
long that nothing should ever occur to shake Spence's belief; for he
felt, if that should happen, the disaster would prove irreparable. A
dammed river is a dangerous thing.

But he kept all these thoughts locked in his heart, and never spoke of
them to Harold.

Since the evening of his first sermon he had never seen Schuabe again.
Now and then the thought of him passed through his brain, and his mental
sight seemed obscured for a moment, as though great wings hid the sun
from him. But since the silent duel in the church, the curious and
malign influence of the millionaire had waned. It was prominent no
longer, and when it troubled him it did so without power and force. Fine
health, the tonic of constant work, the armour of continual prayer, had
their way and were able to banish much of what he now looked back on as
morbidity, sinister though it had been.

Nevertheless, one thing often reminded him of that night. The dark,
Jewish-looking lady he had seen sitting in the same pew with Schuabe
often came to church on Sunday nights when he was preaching. The bold
and insolently beautiful face looked up at him with steady interest. The
fierce regard had something passionate and yet wistful in it.

Sometimes Basil found himself preaching almost directly to the face and
soul of the unknown woman. There was an understanding between them. He
knew it; he felt it most certainly.

Sometimes she would remain in her seat after the mass of the
congregation had shuffled away into the night. She did not pray, but sat
still, with her musing eyes fixed on the huge ten-foot crucifix that
swung down from the chancel arch.

Once, as he passed the pew on the way to baptise the child of a poor
woman of the streets--brought in furtively after the Sunday
evensong--she made a movement as if to speak to him. He had waited in
expectation for a moment, but she remained still, and he passed on to
the font, with its sad cluster of outcasts, its dim gas-jets, and the
tiny child of shame with its thin cry of distress.

He was asking the tremendous question--

     "_Dost thou, in the name of this child, renounce the devil and all
     his works, the vain pomp and glory of the world, with all covetous
     desires of the same, and the carnal desires of the flesh, so that
     thou wilt not follow nor be led by them?_"

when he saw that the unknown woman was standing by within the shadow of
a pillar. A gleam of yellow light fell through the dark on her rich
dress, her eye glittered behind her white veil. He thought there was a
tear in it. But when he was saying the exhortation he saw that the tall,
silent figure had departed.

He often wondered who the woman was,--if he should ever know her.

Something told him that she wanted help. Something assured him that he
should some day give it to her.

And beyond this there was an unexplained conviction within him that the
stranger was in some way concerned and bound up in the part he was to
play in life.

Long ago he had realised that it was idle to deny the interference of
supernatural personalities in human life. Accepting the Incarnation, he
accepted the Communion of Saints. And he was always conscious of hidden
powers moulding, directing him.

The episode of the cigarettes happened in this way.

Stokes, one of Gortre's fellow-curates, came to supper one night in
Lincoln's Inn.

Spence was there also, as it was one of his free nights.

About ten o'clock supper was over and they proposed to have a little
music. Stokes was a fine pianist, and he had brought some of the
nocturnes and ballads of Chopin with him, to try on the little
black-cased piano which stood at an obtuse angle with the end of the
large sitting-room.

"Will you smoke, Stokes?" Spence said.

"Thank you, I'll have a cigarette," the young man replied. "I can't
stand cigars, and I've left my pipe at the Clergy House."

They looked for cigarettes in the silver box lined with cedar which
stood on the mantel-shelf, but some one had smoked them all and the box
was empty.

"Never mind," Spence said; "I've been meaning to run out and get a late
_Westminster_ and I'll buy some cigarettes, too. There's a shop at the
Holborn end of the Lane, next to the shop where the oysters come from,
and it won't be shut yet."

In a few minutes he came back with several packets of cigarettes in his
hand. "I've brought Virginian," he said; "I know you can't stand
Egyptian, none of us can, and if these are cheap, they're good, too."

Till eleven o'clock Stokes played to them--Chopin's wild music of
melancholy and fire--and as the hour struck he went home.

Gortre and Spence sat and talked casually after he had gone, about the
music they had heard, the cartoon in the evening paper, anything that

Basil had not been smoking during the evening. He had been too intent
upon the nocturnes, and now he felt a want of tobacco. One of the
packets of cigarettes lay by him on the table. He pulled up the flaps
and took one. Without thinking what he was doing he drew a little
photograph, highly finished and very clear, from the tiny cardboard

He glanced at it casually.

The thing was one of those pictures of burlesque actresses which are
given away with this kind of tobacco. A tall girl with short skirts and
a large picture hat was shown in a coquettish attitude that was meant to
be full of invitation.

Basil looked at it steadily with a curious expression on his face. Then
he took a large reading-glass from the table and examined it again,
magnifying it to many times its original size.

He scrutinised it with great care. It was the portrait of the strange
girl who came to St. Mary's.

Basil had told Spence of this woman, and now he passed the photograph on
to him.

"Harold, that is the girl who comes to church and looks so unhappy. She
is an actress, of course. The name is underneath--Miss Gertrude Hunt.
Who is Miss Gertrude Hunt?"

Spence took the thing. "How very queer!" he said, "to find your unknown
like this. Gertrude Hunt? Why, she is a well-known musical comedy girl,
sings and dances at the Regent, you know. There are all the usual
stories about the lady, but possibly they are all lies. I'm sure I don't
know. I've chucked that sort of society long ago. Are you sure it's the
same person?"

"Oh, quite sure! Of course, this shows the girl in a different dress and
so on, but it's she without a doubt. I am glad she comes to church. It
is not what one expects from what one hears of that class of woman, and
it's not what one generally finds in the parish."

He sighed, thinking of the many chilling experiences of the last few
months in the vice-haunted streets and squares of Bloomsbury.

"Well," said Spence, "experiments with that type are generally failures,
and sometimes dangerous to the experimenter. You remember Anatole
France's _Thais_? But this damsel is no Thais certainly, and you aren't
a bit like Paphuntius. I hope you will be able to do some good.
Personally, anything of the sort would be quite impossible to me.
Good-night, old man. I'm going to turn in. I've a hard day's work
to-morrow. Sleep well."

He went out of the room with a yawn.

When he was left alone, with his little mystery solved in so commonplace
a fashion, Basil was conscious of a curious disappointment. It was an

He had no narrow objection to the theatre. Now and then he had been to
see famous actors in great plays. His occasional visits to the theatres
of Irving or Wyndham had given him pleasure, nevertheless he had always
felt a slight instinctive dislike to the trade of a mime. All voluntary
sacrifices of personal dignity affect the average English temperament in
this way more or less. However much the apologists of the stage may cry
"art" or "beneficial influence," your British thinker is not convinced
that there is anything very worthy in painting the face and making the
body a public show for a wage. And there is sometimes a kind of wonder
in the heart of a sincere Christian who attends a theatre as he
remembers that the body is the Temple of the Holy Spirit.

Still Basil was tolerant enough. But this case which had thrust itself
before him was quite different. He knew that the burlesque, the modern
music play, made, first and foremost, a frank appeal to the senses. Its
hopeless vulgarity and coarseness of sentiment, its entire lack of
appeal to anything that was not debased and materialistic, were ordinary
indisputable facts of every-day life. And so his lady of evensong was a
high-priestess of nothing better than this cult of froth and gaudy
sensuality. More than all others, his experiences of late had taught him
that women of this class seemed to be very nearly soulless. Their souls
had dissolved in champagne, their consciences were burnt up by the
feverish excitement and pleasure of their lives. They sold themselves
for luxury and the adulation of coarse men.

His very chagrin made him bitter and contemptuous more than his wont.

Then his eye lit upon a photogravure hung upon the opposite wall. It
was the reproduction of a quaint, decorative, stilted picture by an
artist of the early Umbrian school, and represented St. Mary Magdalene.

The coincidence checked his contemptuous thoughts.

He began to reconstruct the scene in his brain, a favourite and
profitable exercise of his, using his knowledge and study of the old dim
times to animate the picture and make it vivid.

They were all resting, or rather lying, around the table, the body
resting on the couch, the feet turned away from the table in the
direction of the wall, while the left elbow rested on the table.

And then, from the open courtyard, up the verandah step, perhaps through
an antechamber, and by the open door, passed the figure of a woman into
the festive reception-room and dining-hall. How had she gained access?
How incongruous her figure must have been there! In those days the
Jewish prejudice against any conversation with women--even those of the
most lofty character--was extreme.

The shadow of her form must have fallen on all who sat at meat. But no
one spoke, nor did she heed any but One only.

The woman had brought with her an _alabastron_ of perfume. It was a
flask of precious _foliatum_, probably, which women wore round the neck,
and which hung over the breast. The woman stood behind Him at His feet,
and as she bowed reverently a shower of tears, like sudden summer rain,
"bedewed" His feet.

Basil went through the whole scene until the final, "Go _into_ peace"
not go _in_ peace, as the logical dogmatics would have had it.

And so she, the first who had come to Him for spiritual healing, went
out into the better light, and into the eternal peace of the Kingdom of

Basil tore up the vulgar little photograph and forgot that aspect of the
dancer. He remembered rather the dim figure by the font.

There was a sudden furious knocking on the outer door of the chambers,
and he went to open it.



Gortre felt certain that his vicar stood without. His knocking was full
of militant Christianity. The tumultuous energy of the man without
communicated its own stir and disturbance to Basil's brain by the most
subtle of all forms of telepathy--that "telepathy" which, in a few more
years, will have its definite recipes and formulæ.

Father Ripon refused to live by any standard of measured time. He
refused--so he said--to believe that a wretched little clock really knew
what the great golden sun was doing. He had found it impossible to call
on Gortre before this late hour, and he came regardless of it now. He
wished to see Basil, and he came now with a supreme and simple
carelessness of conventional time.

As usual, the worthy man was hungry, and the _débris_ of supper on the
table reminded him of that. He sat down at once and began to eat
rapidly, telling his story between mouthfuls.

"I bring you news of a famous opportunity," he said. "If you go to work
in the right way you may win a soul. It's a poor _demi-mondaine_
creature, a dancer at the theatres. She came to me in her brougham, her
furs, and finery, and had a chat in my study. I gave her tea and a
cigarette--you know I always keep some cigarettes for the choir-men or
teachers when they call. All these women smoke. It's a great thing to
treat these people with understanding and knowledge, Gortre. Don't
'come the priest' over them, as a coster said to me last week. When they
realise that one is a man, _then_ they are fifty times more willing to
allow the other and more important thing.

"Well, this poor girl told me all about it, the same very sordid story
one is always hearing. She is a favourite burlesque actress, and she
lives very expensively in those gorgeous new flats--Bloomsbury Court.
Some wealthy scoundrel pays for it all. A man 'in a very high position,'
as she said with a pathetic little touch of pride which made me want to
weep. Oh, my dear fellow, if the world only knew what I know! Great and
honoured names in the senate, the forum, the Court, unsullied before the
eyes of men. And then these hideous establishments and secret ties! This
is a wicked city. The deadly lusts which war against the soul are great,
powerful, and militant all around us.

"This poor woman has been coming regularly to church on Sundays. The
first time was when you preached your capital sermon on the
Resurrection. Now, she is dying from a slow complaint. She will live a
year or two, the doctors think, and that is all. It does not prevent her
from living her ordinary life, but it will strike her down suddenly some

"She has expressed a wish to see you to talk things over with you. She
thinks you can help her. Go to her and save her. We _must_."

He handed Gortre a visiting-card, on which he saw the name of Gertrude
Hunt with a curious lack of surprise.

"Well, I must be off," said Father Ripon, rising from the table with a
large hunk of bread and cheese in one hand.

"Go and see this poor woman to-morrow evening. She tells me she isn't
acting for a week or two,--rehearsing some new play. Isn't it wonderful
to think of the things that are going on every day? Just think of the
Holy Spirit pouring into this sinning creature's heart, catching her in
the middle of her champagne and frivolity, and just turning her, almost
_compelling_ her towards Christ! And men like John Morley or Constantine
Schuabe say there is no truth in Christianity!--I'll take one of these
apples--poor fools! Now I must go and write my sermon."

He was gone in a clattering rush.

For a long time Basil sat thinking. The mysterious links of some great
chain were being revealed inch by inch. Wonderful as these circumstances
already seemed to him, he felt sure there was far more behind them than
he knew as yet. There was some unseen tie, some influence that drew his
thoughts ever more and more towards the library in the palace at

       *       *       *       *       *

The next evening a maid showed Gortre into the hall of the flat of
Bloomsbury Court Mansions, eyeing him curiously as she did so.

He passed down the richly carpeted passage with a quickening of all his
pulses, noticing the Moorish lamps of copper studded with turquoise
which threw a dim crimson light over everything, marking the
ostentatious luxury of the place with wonder.

Gertrude Hunt lay back in a low arm-chair. She was dressed in a long,
dull red teagown of cashmere, with a broad white band round the neck
opening of white Indian needlework, embroidered with dark green leaves.

Her face was pale and tired.

Despite the general warmth of the time, a fire burnt steadily on the

Gortre sat down at her invitation, and they fell into a desultory
conversation. He waited for her to open on the real subjects that had
brought him there.

He watched the tired, handsome face. Coarse it certainly was, in
expression rather than feature, but that very coarseness gave it power.
This woman, who lived the life of a doll, had character. One saw that.
Perhaps, he thought, as he looked at her, that the very eagerness and
greed for pleasure marked in her face, the passionate determination to
tear the heart and core out of life, might still be directed to purer
and nobler ends.

Then she began to talk to him quite frankly, and with no disguise or
slurring over the facts of her life.

"I'm sick and tired of it all, Mr. Gortre," she said bitterly. "You
can't know what it means a bit--lucky for you. Imagine spending all your
life in a room painted bright yellow, eating nothing but chocolate
creams, with a band playing comic songs for ever and ever. And even then
you won't get it."

Basil shuddered. There was something so poignant and forceful in her
words that they hurt, stung like a whip-lash. He was being brought into
terrible contact not only with sin and the satiety of sin, but with its
results. The hideous staleness and torture of it all appalled him as he
looked at this human personification of it in the crimson gown.

"That's how it was at first," she continued. "I knew there was something
more than this in life, though. I could read it in people's faces. So I
came to the service at your church one Sunday evening. I'd never made
fun of religion and all that at any time. I simply couldn't believe it,
that was all. Then I heard you preach on the Resurrection. I heard all
the proofs for the first time. Of course, I could see there wasn't any
doubt about the matter at all. Then, curiously, directly I began to
_believe_ in it I began to hate the way I was going on, so I went to
Father Ripon, who was very nice, and he said you'd call."

"I quite understand you, Miss Hunt," said Gortre. "That's the beauty of
faith. When once you believe, then you've _got_ to change. It's a great
pity, a very great pity, that clergymen don't attempt to explain things
more than they do. If one isn't built in a certain way, I can quite
understand and sympathise with any one who isn't able to take a parson's
mere statement on trust, so to speak. But that's beside the way. _You_
believe at any rate. And now what are you going to do? I'm here to help
you in every possible way. I want to hear your views, just as you have
thought them out."

"I like that," she said. "That's practical and sensible. I've never
cared very much for sentimental ways of looking at things. You know I
can't live very long. I've got enough to live quietly on for some years,
put away in a bank, money I've made acting. I haven't spent a penny of
my salary for years--I've made the men pay for everything. I shall go
quietly away to the country and be alone with my thoughts, close to a
little quiet church. You'll find a place for me, won't you? That's what
I want to do. But there's something in the way, and a big something,

"I'm here to help that," said Basil.

"It's Bob," she answered. "The man that keeps me. I'm afraid of him.
He's been away for months, out of England, but he's coming back at once.
To-morrow as likely as not, he couldn't say to a day. I had a letter
from Brindisi last week. He's been to Palestine, _via_ Alexandria."

A quick premonition took hold of the young man.

"Who is he?" he asked.

She took a photograph from the mantel-shelf and gave it to him. It was
one of the Stereoscopic Company's series of "celebrities." Under the
portrait was printed--"Sir Robert Llwellyn."

Gortre started violently.

"I know him," he said thickly. "I felt when I met him--What does it all

He dropped his head into his hands, filled with the old, nameless,
unreasoning fear.

She looked steadily at him, wondering at his manner.

There was a tense silence for a time.

In the silence suddenly they heard a sound, clear and distinct. A key
was being inserted into the door of the flat.

They waited breathlessly. Gertrude Hunt grew very white. Without any
words from her, Basil knew whose fingers were even now upon the handle
of the door.

Llwellyn entered. His huge form was dressed in a light grey suit and he
carried a straw hat in his hand. His face was burned a deep brown.

He stopped suddenly as he saw Gortre and an ugly look flashed out on the
sensual, intellectual face. Some swift intuition seemed to give him the
key of the situation or something near it.

"The curate of Dieppe!" he said in a cold, mirthless voice. "And what,
Mr. Gortre, may I ask, are you doing here?"

"Miss Hunt has asked me to come and see her," answered Basil.

"Consoling yourself with the Church, Gertie, while your proprietor is
away?" Llwellyn said with a sneer.

Then his manner changed suddenly.

He turned to Gortre. "Now then, my man," he snarled, "get out of this
place at once. You may not know that I pay the rent and other expenses
of this establishment. It is _mine_. I know all about you. Your
reputation has reached me from sources you have little idea of. And I
saw you at Dieppe. I don't propose to resume our acquaintance in London;
kindly go at once."

Basil looked at the woman. He saw pleading, a terrible entreaty in her
eyes. If he left her now, the power of this man, his strength of will,
might drag her back for ever into hell. He could see the girl regarded
him with terror. There was a great surprise in her face also. The man
seemed so strong and purposeful. Even Gortre remembered that he had worn
no such indefinable air of confidence and triumph six months ago in

"Miss Hunt wants me to stay, sir," he answered quietly, "and so I'm
going to stay. But perhaps you had better be given an explanation at
once. Miss Hunt is going to leave you to-morrow. She will never see you

"And may I ask," the big man answered, "why you have interfered in my
private affairs and why you _think_--for she is going to do nothing of
the sort--Miss Hunt is going from here?"

"Simply because the Holy Spirit wills it so," said the clergyman.

Llwellyn looked steadily at him and then at the woman.

Something he saw in their faces told him the truth.

He laughed shortly. "Let me tell you," he said in a voice which quivered
with ugly passion, "that in a short time all meddling priests will lose
their power over the minds of others for ever. Your Christ, your God,
the pale dreamer of the East, shall be revealed to you and all men at

His manner had changed once more. Fierce as it was, there was an intense
_meaning_ and power in it. He spoke as one having authority, with also a
concentrated hate in his words, so real and bitter that it gave them a
certain fineness.

"Yes!" he continued, lifting his arm with a sudden gesture:

    "'Far hence He lies
      In the lorn Syrian town,
    And on His grave, with shining eyes,
      The Syrian stars look down.'"

Gortre answered him:

"You lie and you know you lie! and by the powers given to me I'll tell
you so from God Himself. Christ is risen! And as the day follows the
night so the Spirit of God remains upon the earth God once visited, and
works upon the hearts of men."

"Are you going?" said Llwellyn, stepping towards Gortre.

"No," the young man answered in sharp, angry tones. "It's you that are
going, Sir Robert. You know as well as I do that I can do exactly as I
like with you if it comes to force. And really I am not at all
disinclined to do so, despite my parson's coat. Then you will have your
remedy, you know. The newly made knight fighting a clergyman under such
very curious circumstances! If this thing is to become open talk, then
let us have it so. You can do me no harm. I came here at my vicar's
request and Miss Hunt's. You know best if you can stand a scandal of
this kind in your position. Now I'm going to use my last argument. Are
you going at once or shall I knock you down and kick you out?"

He could not help a note of exultation in his voice, try as he would. He
was still a young man, full of power and virility. His life had brought
no trace of effeminacy with it. And as he saw this splendid lying
intellect, the slave of evil, and rejoicing in it, as he heard the
arrogant denial of Christ's Godhead coming sonorously from those
polluted lips, a wild longing flared up in him. Like a sudden flame,
the impulse to strike a clean, hard blow fired all his blood. The old
Oxford days of athletic triumphs on field, flood, and river came back to

He measured the man scientifically with his eyes, judging his distance,
alert to strike.

But Llwellyn made no further movement of aggression and uttered no word
of menace. He did not seem in the least afraid of Gortre or in any way
intimidated by him. Indeed, he laughed, a laugh which was very hollow,
mirthless, and cold.

"Ah, my boy," he said, "I have a worse harm to work you than you can
dream of yet. You will remember me some day. You can't frighten me now.
I will go. I want no scandal. Good-bye, Gertrude. You also will remember
and regret some day. Good-bye."

He went noiselessly out of the room, still with the strange flickering
smile of prescience and fate upon his evil face.

When he had gone, Gertrude fell into a passion of weeping. The strain
had been too great. Basil comforted her as well as he could, and before
he went promised to see Father Ripon that night and make arrangements
that she should quietly disappear the next day to some distant
undiscoverable haven.

Then he also went out into the night, through the silent squares of
sleeping houses towards the Clergy House of St. Mary's. Once more his
nerves were unstrung and the old fears and the sense of
waiting--Damocles-like for some blow to fall--poured over him.

       *       *       *       *       *

Sir Robert walked swiftly to Oxford Street, where he found a cab. He
ordered the man to drive him to the Sheridan Club. On the way he stopped
at Charing Cross Station and ordered his luggage to be sent home at
once to his house in Upper Berkeley Street. He had only been in London
two or three hours, having crossed from Calais that afternoon.

He washed when he had arrived at the famous club, and then went
up-stairs to the grill-room for some supper. It was the hour when the
Sheridan is full of the upper Bohemian world. Great actors and
musicians, a judge on his way through town from one watering-place to
another,--for it was now the long vacation,--a good many well-known
journalists, all sorts and conditions of men. All were eminent in their
work, for that was a condition of membership.

Llwellyn was welcomed on all sides, though men noticed that he seemed
preoccupied. His healthy appearance was commented on, his face browned,
as was supposed, by the sun of the Riviera, his general fitness of
manner and carriage.

He took supper by himself at a small table, choosing the menu with his
usual extreme care, and more than once summoning the head waiter to
conference. Although he kept glancing at his watch, as if expecting an
arrival, he made a good meal, mixing his own salad of crisp white
lettuce with deliberation.

He had sent a page early on his arrival to find out if Mr. Constantine
Schuabe was in the club.

He was standing at the desk in the middle of the room, paying his bill,
when the swing-doors were pushed open and Schuabe entered. He was in
evening dress and carried a light overcoat on his arm.

Llwellyn gathered up his change and went to meet him. Had there been an
attentive observer to mark the meeting of the two men he would have
perhaps been a little surprised at the fashion of it.

Although Llwellyn was a six-months' stranger to London, and the meeting
between the two men was obviously prearranged, _neither of the two men
smiled as they shook hands_. Both were expectant of each other, pale,
almost with some apprehension, it might have been fancied; and though
the meeting seemed a relief to each, there was little human kindliness
in it.

"Come down to the Hotel," said Schuabe; "we can't possibly say anything
here, every room is full."

They walked out of the club together, two figures of noticeable
distinction, very obviously belonging to the ruling classes of England.
The millionaire's pale and beautiful face was worn and lined.

"Schuabe seems a bit done up," one man in the hall said to another as
the two friends passed through.

"Heat, I suppose," answered his companion. "Handsome chap, though;
doesn't seem to care for anything worth having, only books and politics
and that. Wish I'd his money."

"So do I. But give me Bob Llwellyn of these two. Thoroughly decent sort
_he_ is. Invented two new omelettes and a white soup. Forgets all about
his thing-um-bobs--old Egyptian or something--they knighted him for
directly he leaves the Museum."

"That's the sort," answered a third man who had joined them. "I don't
object to a Johnny having a brain, and knowing a devil of a lot, if
he'll only jolly well keep it to himself. Bob does that. I'm going
up-stairs to have a turn at poker. You fellows coming?"

Schuabe and Llwellyn walked to the Cecil, no great distance, saying
little by the way, and presently they were in the millionaire's great
room, with its spacious view over the river.

The place was beautifully cool and full of flowers. A great block of ice
rose from a copper bowl placed on a pedestal. The carpet had been
covered with light matting of rice straw, brought from Rawal-pindi. All
the windows leading to the balcony were wide open, and the balcony was
covered with striped awning, underneath which the electric lights glowed
on the leaves of Japanese palms, seeming as if they had been cunningly
lacquered a metallic green colour, and on low chairs of white bleached

The two men sat down in the centre of the room on light chairs, with a
small Turkish table and cool drinks between them.

"You've had all my letters, my last from Jaffa?" asked Sir Robert.

"Yes, all of them," said Schuabe; "each one was carefully destroyed
after I had read it and memorialised the contents. Let me say now that
you have done your work with extraordinary brilliance. It has been an
intellectual pleasure of a high order to follow your proceedings and
know your plans. There is not another man in the world who could do what
you have done. Everything seems guarded against, all is secure."

"You are right, Schuabe," said Llwellyn, in a matter-of-fact voice. "You
bade me make a certain thing _possible_. You paid me proportionately to
the terrible risks and for my unrivalled knowledge. Well, you and I are
going to shake the whole world as no two other men have ever done, and
what will be the end?"

"The end!" cried Schuabe, in a high, strained, unnatural voice. "Who
shall say? What man can know? For ever more the gigantic fable of the
Cross and the Man God will be overthrown. The temples of the world will
fall into the abomination of desolation, and you and I, latter-day
bringers of light--Lucifers!--will kill the pale Nazarene more surely
than the Sanhedrists and soldiers of the past."

There was a thin madness in his voice. The great figure of the _savant_
shifted uneasily in its chair.

"That fellow Gortre, that abominable young priest, has been getting in
my way to-night," he said with a savage curse. "I found him with
Gertrude Hunt, the woman I've spent thousands on! The priests have got
her; she's going to 'lead a new life.' She has 'found Christ'!"

Schuabe smiled horribly, a cunning smile of unutterable malice.

"He has crossed my path also," he said; "in some way, by a series of
coincidences, he has become slightly involved in our lives. Leave the
matter to me. So small a thing as the fanaticism of one obscure youth is
nothing to trouble us. I will see to his future. But he shall live to
know what is coming to the world. Then--it is easy enough. He thwarted
_me_ one night also."

They were silent for a minute or two. Sir Robert lifted a long glass to
his lips. His hand shook with passion, and the ice in the liquid clinked
and tinkled.

"Everything is now ready," he said at last, glancing at Schuabe. "Every
detail. Ionides knows what he has to do when he receives the signal. He
is a mere tool, and knows and cares nothing of what will happen. He is
to direct the excavators in certain directions, that is all. It will be
three months, so I calculate, after we have set the machinery in motion,
before the blow will fall. It rests with you now to begin."

"The sign shall go at once," said Schuabe. His eyes glittered, his mouth
worked with emotion.

"It is a letter with a single sign on it."

"What is the sign?"

"A drawing of a broken cross."

"Before the day dawns we will send the broken cross to Jerusalem."



"A horror of great darkness."



In the winter, two or three weeks before Christmas, Gortre asked Father
Ripon for a ten days' holiday, and went to Walktown to spend the time
with Mr. Byars and Helena. Christmas itself could be no time of vacation
for him,--the duties of St. Mary's were very heavy,--so he snatched a
respite from work before the actual time of festival.

Harold Spence was left alone in the chambers at Lincoln's Inn. The
journalist found himself discontented, lonely, and bored. He had not
realised before how much Basil's society had contributed to his
happiness during the past few months. It had grown to be a necessity to
him gradually, and, as is the case with all gradual processes, the lack
of it surprised him with its sense of incompleteness and loss.

He had spent a hard summer and autumn over very uncongenial work. For
months there had been a curious lull and calm in the news-world. Yet day
by day the _Daily Wire_ had to be filled. Not that there was any lack of
material,--even in the dullest season the expert journalist will tell
one that his difficulty is what to _leave out_ of his paper, not what to
_put in_,--but that the material was uninteresting and dull.

He felt himself that his leaders were growing rather stale, lacking in
spontaneity. His style did not glitter and ring quite as usual. And
Basil had helped him through this time wonderfully.

One Wednesday--he remembered the day afterwards--Spence awoke about
mid-day. He had been late at the office the night before and afterwards
had gone to a club, not going to bed till after four.

He heard the laundress moving about the chambers preparing his
breakfast. He shouted to her, and in a minute or two she came in with
his letters and a cup of tea. She went to the window and pulled up the
blind, letting a dreary grey-yellow December light into the room.

"Nasty day, Mrs. Buscall," he said, sipping his tea.

"It is so, sir," the woman said, a lean, kindly-faced London drudge from
a court in Drury Lane. "Gives me a frog in my throat all the time, this
fog does. You'd better let me pour a drop of hot water in your bath,
sir. I've got the kettle on the gas stove."

The laundress had an objection to baths, deep-rooted and a matter of
principle. The daily cold tub she regarded as suicidal, and when Gortre
had arrived, her pained surprise at finding him also--a clergyman
too!--addicted to such adventurous and injudicious habits had been as
extreme as her disappointment.

Spence agreed to humour her, and she began to prepare the bath.

"Letter from Mr. Cyril, I see, sir," she remarked. Mrs. Buscall loved
the archæologist with more strenuousness than her other two charges. The
unusual and mysterious has a real fascination for a certain type of
uneducated Cockney brain. Hands's rare sojourns at the chambers, the
Eastern dresses and pictures in his room, his strange and perilous
life--as she considered it--in the veritable Bible land, where Satan
actually roamed the desert in the form of a lion seeking whom he might
devour, all these stimulated her crude imagination and brought colour
into the dreary purlieus of Drury Lane.

Most of the women around Mrs. Buscall drank gin. The doings of Cyril
Hands were sufficient tonic for her.

Spence glanced at the bulky packet with its Turkish stamps and peculiar
aroma--which the London fog had not yet killed--of ships and alien suns.
Hands was a good correspondent. Sometimes he sent general articles on
the work he was doing, not too technical, and Ommaney, the editor of
Spence's paper, used and paid well for them.

But on this morning Spence did not feel inclined to open the packet. It
could wait. He was not in the humour for it now. It would be too
tantalising to read of those deep skies like a hard, hollow turquoise,
of the flaming white sun, the white mosques and minarets throwing purple
shadows round the cypress and olive.

"_Neque enim ignari sumus_," he muttered to himself, recalling the swing
and freedom of his own travels, the vivid, picturesque life where, at
great moments, he had been one of the eyes of England, flashing electric
words to tell his countrymen of what lay before him.

And now, after the chill of his bath and the rasping torture of shaving
in winter, he must light all the gas-jets as he sat down to breakfast in
his sitting-room!

He opened the _Wire_ and glanced at his own work of the night before.
How lifeless it seemed to him!

     "Many years ago Bagehot wrote that 'Parliament expresses the
     nation's opinions in words well, when it happens that words, not
     laws, are wanted. On foreign matters, where we cannot legislate,
     whatever the English nation thinks, or thinks it thinks, as to the
     critical events of the world, whether in Denmark, in Italy or
     America, and no matter whether it thinks wisely or unwisely, that
     same something, wise or unwise, will be thoroughly well said in

     "We have never read a finer defence of such Parliamentary
     discussion as the recent events in certain Continental
     bureaucracies have given rise to, etc., etc."

Words! words! words! that seemed to him to mean little and matter
nothing. Yet as he chipped his egg he remembered that the writing of
this leader had meant considerable mental strain. Oh, for a big
happening abroad, when he would be sent and another would take up this
routine work! He knew he was a far better correspondent than leader
writer. His heart was in that work.

There were one or two invitations among his letters, two books were sent
by a young publisher, a friend of his, asking if he could get them
"noticed" in the _Wire_, and a syllabus of some winter lectures to be
given at Oxford House. His name was there. He was to lecture in January
on "The Sodality of the Knights of St. John".

After breakfast, the lunch time of most of the world, he found it
impossible to settle down to anything. He was not due at the office that
night, and the long hours, without the excitement of his work, stretched
rather hopelessly before him. He thought of paying calls in the various
parts of the West End, where he had friends whom he had rather neglected
of late. But he dismissed that idea when it came, for he did not feel as
if he could make himself very agreeable to any one.

He wanted a complete change of some sort. He half thought of running
down to Brighton, fighting the cold, bracing sea winds on the lawns at
Hove, and returning the next day.

He was certainly out of sorts, liverish no doubt, and the solution to
his difficulties presented itself to him in the project of a Turkish

He put his correspondence into the pocket of his overcoat, to be read
at leisure, and drove to a hammam in Jermyn Street.

The physical warmth, the silence, the dim lights, and Oriental
decorations induced a supreme sense of comfort and _bien-être_. It
brought Constantinople back to him in vague reverie.

Perhaps, he thought, the Turkish bath in London is the only easy way to
obtain a sudden and absolute change of environment. Nothing else brings
detachment so readily, is so instinct with change and the unusual.

In delightful langour he passed from one dim chamber to another, lying
prone in the great heat which surrounded him like a cloak. Then the
vigorous kneading and massage, the gradual toning and renovating of each
joint and muscle, till he stood drenched in aromatic foam, a new, fresh
physical personality. The swift dive under the india-rubber curtain left
behind the domed, dim places of heat and silence. He plunged through the
bottle-green water of the marble pool into the hall, where lounges stood
about by small inlaid octagonal tables, and a thin whip of a fountain
tinkled among green palms. Wrapped from head to foot in soft white
towels, he lay in a dream of contentment, watching the delicate spirals
from his Cairene cigarette, and sipping the brown froth of a tiny cup of
thick coffee.

At four a slippered attendant brought him a sole and a bottle of yellow
wine, and after the light meal he fell once more into a placid,
restorative sleep.

And all the while the letter from Jerusalem was in his overcoat pocket,
forgotten, hung in the entrance-hall. The thing which was to alter the
lives of thousands and ten thousands, that was to bring a cloud over
England more dark and menacing than it had ever known, lay there with
its stupendous message, its relentless influence, while outside the
church bells all over London were tolling for Evensong.

At length, as night was falling, Spence went out into the lighted
streets with their sudden roar of welcome. He was immensely refreshed in
brain and body. His thoughts moved quickly and well, depression had left
him, the activity of his brain was unceasing.

As a rule, especially for the last year or two, Spence was by no means a
man given to casual amusements. His work was too absorbing for him to
have time or inclination to follow pleasure. But to-night he felt in the
humour for relaxation.

He turned into St. James Street, where his club was, intending to find
some one who would go to a music-hall with him. There was no one he knew
intimately in the smoking-room, but soon after he arrived Lambert, one
of the deputy curators from the British Museum, came in. Spence and
Lambert had been at Marlborough together.

Spence asked Lambert, who was in evening dress, to be his companion.

"Sorry I can't, old man," he answered; "I've got to dine with my uncle,
Sir Michael. It's a bore, of course, but it's policy. The place will be
full of High Church bishops, minor Cabinet Ministers, and people of that
sort. I only hope old Ripon will be there--he's my uncle's tame vicar,
you know; uncle runs an expensive church, like some men run a
theatre--for he's always bright and amusing. You're not working
to-night, then?"

"No, not to-night. I've been and had a Turkish bath, and I thought I'd
wind up a day of mild dissipation by going to the Alhambra."

"Sorry I can't go too--awful bore. I've had a tiring day, too, and a
ballet would be refreshing. The governor's been in a state of filthy
irritation and nerves for the last fortnight."

"Sir Robert Llwellyn, isn't it?"

"Yes, he's my chief, and a very good fellow too, as a rule. He went away
for several months, you know--travelled abroad for his health. When he
first came back, three months ago, he looked as fit as a fiddle, and
seemed awfully pleased with himself all round. But lately he's been
decidedly off colour. He seems worried about something, does hardly any
work, and always seems waiting and looking out for a coming event. He
bothers me out of my life, always coming into my room and talking about
nothing, or speculating upon the possibility of all sorts of new
discoveries which will upset every one's theories."

"I met him in Dieppe in the spring. He seemed all right then, just at
the beginning of his leave."

"Well, he's certainly not that now, worse luck, and confound him. He
interferes with my work no end. Good-bye; sorry I must go."

He passed softly over the heavy carpet of the smoking-room, and Spence
was left alone once more.

It was after seven o'clock.

Spence wasn't hungry yet. The light meal in the hammam had satisfied
him. He resolved to go to the Empire alone, not because the idea of
going seemed very attractive, but because he had planned it and could
substitute no other way of spending the evening for the first

So, about nine o'clock, he strolled into the huge, garish music-hall.

He went into the Empire, and already his contentment was beginning to
die away again. The day seemed a day of trivialities, a sordid,
uneventful day of London gloom, which he had vainly tried to disperse
with little futile rockets of amusement.

He sat down in a stall and watched a clever juggler doing wonderful
things with billiard balls. After the juggler a coarsely handsome
Spanish girl came upon the stage--he remembered her at La Scala, in
Paris. She was said to be one of the beauties of Europe, and a king's

After the Spanish woman there were two men, "brothers" some one. One was
disguised as a donkey--a veritable _peau de chagrin_!--the other as a
tramp, and together they did laughable things.

With a sigh he went up-stairs and moved slowly through the thronged
promenade. The hard faces of the men and women repelled him. One elderly
Jewish-looking person reminded him of a great grey slug. He turned into
the American bar at one extremity of the horse-shoe. It was early yet,
and the big room, pleasantly cool, was quite empty. A man brought him a
long, parti-coloured drink.

He felt the pressure of a packet in his pocket. It was Cyril Hands's
letter, he found as he took it out. He thought of young Lambert at the
club, a friend of Hands and fellow-worker in the same field, and
languidly opened the letter.

Two women came in and sat at a table not far from him as he began to
read. He was the only man in the place, and they regarded him with a
tense, conscious interest.

They saw him open a bulky envelope with a careless manner. He would look
up soon, they expected.

But as they watched they saw a sudden, swift contraction of the brows, a
momentous convulsion of every feature. His head bent lower towards the
manuscript. They saw that he became very pale.

In a minute or two what had at first seemed a singular paleness became a
frightful ashen colour.

"That Johnny's going to be ill," one of the women said to the other.

As she spoke they saw the face change. A lurid excitement burst upon it
like a flame. The eyes glowed, the mouth settled into swift purpose.

Spence took up his hat and left the room with quick, decided steps. He
threaded his way through the crowd round the circle--like a bed of
orchids, surrounded by heavy, poisonous scents--and almost ran into the

A cab was waiting. He got into it, and, inspired by his words and
appearance, the man drove furiously down dark Garrick Street, and the
blazing Strand towards the offices of the _Daily Wire_.

The great building of dressed stone which stood in the middle of Fleet
Street was dark. The advertisement halls and business offices were

Spence paid his man and dived down a long, narrow passage, paved, and
with high walls on either side. At the end of the passage he pushed open
some battered swing-doors. A _commissionaire_ in a little hutch touched
his cap as Spence ran up a broad flight of stone stairs.

The journalist turned down a long corridor with doors on either side.
The glass fanlights over the doors showed that all the rooms were
brilliantly lit within. The place was very quiet, save for the distant
clicking of a typewriter and the thud of a "column-printer" tape machine
as the wheel carrier shot back for a new line.

He opened a door with his own name painted on it and went inside. At a
very large writing-table, on which stood two shaded electric lights, an
elderly man, heavily built and bearded, was writing on small slips of
paper. There was another table in the room, a great many books on
shelves upon the walls, and a thick carpet. The big man looked up as
Spence came in, lifted a cup of tea which was standing by him, and drank
a little. He nodded without speaking, and went on with his leading

Spence took off his hat and coat, drew the sheets of Hands's letter from
his pocket, and went out into the passage. At the extreme end he opened
a door, and passing round a red baize screen found himself in Ommaney's
room, the centre of the great web of brains and machinery which daily
gave the _Wire_ to the world.

Ommaney's room was very large, warm, and bright. It was also extremely
tidy. The writing-table had little on it save a great blotting-pad and
an inkstand. The books on chairs and shelves were neatly arranged.

The editor sat at a table in the centre of the room, facing several
doors which led into various departments of the staff. The chief
sub-editor, a short, alert person, spectacled and Jewish in aspect,
stood by Ommaney's side as Spence came in. He had proof of page three in
his hand--that portion of the paper which consisted of news which had
accumulated through the day. He was submitting it to the editor, so that
the whole sheet might be finally "passed for press" and "go to the
foundry," where the type would be pressed into _papier-mâché_ moulds,
from which the final curved plates for the roller machines would be

"Not at all a bad make-up, Levita," Ommaney said, as he initialled the
margin in blue pencil. The sub-editor hurried from the room.

Ommaney was slim and pale, carefully dressed, and of medium height. He
did not look very old. His moustache was golden and carefully tended,
his pale, honey-coloured hair waved over a high, white forehead.

"I shall want an hour," Spence said. "I've just got what may be the most
stupendous news any newspaper has ever published."

The editor looked up quickly. A flash of interest passed over his pale,
immobile face and was gone. He knew that if Spence spoke like this the
occasion was momentous.

He looked at his watch. "Is it news for to-night's paper?" he said.

"No," answered Spence. "I'm the only man in England, I think, who has it
yet. We shall gain nothing by printing to-night. But we must settle on a
course of action at once. That won't wait. You'll understand when I

Ommaney nodded. On the writing-table was a mahogany stand about a foot
square. A circle was described on it, and all round the circle, like the
figures on the face of a clock, were little ivory tablets an inch long,
with a name printed on each. In the centre of the circle a vulcanite
handle moved a steel bar working on a pivot. Ommaney turned the handle
till the end of the bar rested over the tablet marked

                 |   COMPOSING ROOM   |

He picked up the receiver and transmitter of a portable telephone and
asked one or two questions.

When he had communicated with several other rooms in this way Ommaney
turned to Spence.

"All right," he said, "I can give you an hour now. Things are fairly
easy to-night."

He got up from the writing-table and sat down by the fire. Spence took a
chair opposite.

He seemed dazed. He was trembling with excitement, his face was pale
with it, yet, above and beyond this agitation, there was almost fear in
his eyes.

"It's a discovery in Palestine--at Jerusalem," he said in a low,
vibrating voice, spreading out the thin, crackling sheets of foreign
note-paper on his knee and arranging them in order.

"You know Cyril Hands, the agent of the Palestine Exploring Fund?"

"Yes, quite well by reputation," said Ommaney, "and I've met him once or
twice. Very sound man."

"These papers are from him. They seem to be of tremendous importance, of
a significance that I can hardly grasp yet."

"What is the nature of them?" asked the editor, rising from his chair,
powerfully affected in his turn by Spence's manner.

Harold put his hand up to his throat, pulling at his collar; the apple
moved up and down convulsively.

"The Tomb!" Spence gasped. "The Holy Tomb!"

"What do you mean?" asked Ommaney. "Another supposed burial-place of
Christ--like the _Times_ business, when they found the Gordon Tomb, and
Canon MacColl wrote such a lot?"

His face fell a little. This, though interesting enough, and fine "news
copy," was less than he hoped.

"No, no," cried Spence, getting his voice back at last and speaking like
a man in acute physical pain. "_A new tomb has been found. There is an
inscription in Greek, written by Joseph of Arimathæa, and there are
other traces._"

His voice failed him.

"_Go on, man, go on!_" said the editor.

"_The inscription--tells that Joseph--took the body of Jesus--from his
own garden tomb--he hid it in this place--the disciples never knew--it
is a confession_----"

Ommaney was as white as Spence now.

"_There are other contributory proofs_," Spence continued. "_Hands says
it is certain. All the details are here, read_----"

Ommaney stared fixedly at his lieutenant.

"_Then, if this is true_," he whispered, "_it means?_----"


Spence slipped back in his chair a little and fainted.

With the assistance of two men from one of the other rooms they brought
him back to consciousness before very long. Then while Ommaney read the
papers Spence sat nervously in his chair, sipping some brandy-and-water
they had brought him and trying to smoke a cigarette with a palsied

The editor finished at last. "Pull yourself together, Spence," he said
sharply. "This is no time for sentiment. I know your beliefs, though I
do not share them, and I can sympathise with you. But keep yourself off
all private thoughts now. We must be extremely careful what we are
doing. Now listen carefully to me."

The keen voice roused Spence. He made a tremendous effort at

"It seems," Ommaney went on, "that we alone know of this discovery. The
secretary of the Palestine Exploring Society will not receive the news
for another week, Hands says. He seems stunned, and no wonder. In about
a fortnight his detailed papers will probably be published. I see he has
already telegraphed privately for Dr. Schmöulder, the German expert. Of
course you and I are hardly competent to judge of the value of this
communication. To me--speaking as a layman--it seems extremely clear.
But we must of course see a specialist before publishing anything. _If
this news is true_--and I would give all I am worth if it were not,
though I am no Christian--of course you realise that the future history
of the world is changed? I hold in my hand something that will come to
millions and millions of people as an utter extinction of hope and
light. It's impossible to say what will happen. Moral law will be
abrogated for a time. The whole moral fabric of Society will fall into
ruin at once until it can adjust itself to the new state of things.
There will be war all over the world; crime will cover England like a

His voice faltered as the terrible picture grew in his brain.

Both of them felt that mere words were utterly unable to express the
horrors which they saw dawning.

"We don't know the truth yet," said Spence, at length.

"No," answered Ommaney. "I am not going to speculate on it either. I am
beginning to realise what we are dealing with. One man's brain cannot
hold all this. So let me ask you to regard this matter _for the present_
simply from the standpoint of the paper, and through it, of course, from
the standpoint of public policy----"

He broke off suddenly, for there was a knock at the door. A
_commissionaire_ entered with a telegram. It was for Spence. He opened
the envelope, read the contents with a groan, and passed it to the

The telegram was from Hands:

     "Schmöulder entirely confirms discovery, is communicating first
     instance with Kaiser privately, fuller details in mail, confer
     Ommaney, make statement to Secretary Society, use Wire medium
     publicity, leave all to you, see Prime Minister, send out Llwellyn
     behalf Government immediately, meanwhile suggest attitude suspended
     decision, personally fear little doubt.--HANDS."

"We must act at once," said Ommaney. "We have a fearful responsibility
now. It's not too much to say that everything depends on us. Have you
got any of that brandy left? My head throbs like an engine."

A sub-editor who came in and was briefly dismissed told his colleagues
that something was going on in the editor's room of an extraordinary
nature. "The chief was actually drinking a peg, and his hand shook like
a leaf."

Ommaney drank the spirits--he was an absolute teetotaler as a rule,
though not pledged in any way to abstinence--and it revived him.

"Now let us try and think," he said, lighting a cigarette and walking up
and down the room.

Spence lit a cigarette also. As he did so he gave a sudden, sharp,
unnatural chuckle. He was smoking when the Light of the World--the whole
great world!--was flickering into darkness.

Ommaney saw him and interpreted the thought. He pulled him up at once
with a few sharp words, for he knew that Spence was close upon hysteria.

"From a news point of view," he continued, "we hold all the cards. No
one else knows what we know. I am certain that the German papers will
publish nothing for a day or two. The Emperor will tell them nothing,
and they can have no other source of information; so I gather from this
telegram. Dr. Schmöulder will not say anything until he has instructions
from Potsdam. That means I need not publish anything in to-morrow's
paper. It will relieve me of a great responsibility. We shall be first
in the field, but I shall still have a few hours to consult with

He pressed a bell on the table. "Tell Mr. Jones I wish to see him," he
told the boy who answered the summons.

A young man came in, the editor of the "personal" column.

"Is the Prime Minister in town, Mr. Jones?" he asked.

"Yes, sir; he's here for three more days."

"I shall send a message now," said Ommaney, "asking for an interview in
an hour's time. I know he will see me. He knows that I would not come at
this hour unless the matter were of national importance. As you know, we
are very much in the confidence of the Cabinet just now. I dare not wait
till to-morrow." He rapidly wrote a note and sent for Mr. Folliott

The big-bearded man from Spence's room entered, smoking a briar pipe.

"Mr. Farmer," said Ommaney, "I suppose you've done your leader?"

"Sent it up-stairs ten minutes ago," said the big man.

"Then I want you to do me a favour. The matter is so important that I do
not like to trust any one else. I want you to drive to Downing Street at
once as hard as you can go. Take this letter for Lord ----. It is making
an appointment for me in an hour's time. He _must_ see it himself at
once--take my card. One of the secretaries will try and put you off, of
course. This is irregular, but it is of international importance. When I
tell you this you will realise that Lord ---- _must_ see the note. Bring
me back the answer as rapidly as you can."

The elderly man--his name was a household word as a political writer all
over England and the Continent--nodded without speaking, took the
letter, and left the room. He knew Ommaney, and realised that if he made
a messenger boy of him, Folliott Farmer, the matter was of supreme

"That is the only thing to do," said Ommaney. "No one else would be
possible. The Archbishop would laugh. We must go to the real head. I
only want to put myself on the safe side before publishing. If they
meet me properly, then for the next few days we can control public
opinion. If not, then it is my duty to publish, and if I'm not
officially backed up there may be war in a week. Macedonia would be
flaming, Turkish fanatics would embroil Europe. But that will be seen at
once in Downing Street, unless I'm very much mistaken."

"It's an awful, horrible risk we are running," said Spence. He was
forgetting all personal impressions in the excitement of the work; the
journalist was alive in him. "Hands's letter and diagrams seem so
flawless; he has exhausted every means of disproving what he says; but
still supposing that it is all untrue!"

"I look at it this way," said Ommaney. "It's perfectly obvious, at any
rate, that the discovery is of the first importance, regarded as news.
Hands has the reputation of being a thoroughly safe man, and now he is
supported by Schmöulder. Schmöulder is, of course, a man of world-wide
reputation. As these two are certain, even if later opinion or discovery
proves the thing to be untrue, the paper can't suffer. Our attitude
will, of course, be non-committal, until certainty one way or the other
comes. At any rate, it seems to me that you have brought in the greatest
newspaper 'scoop' that has ever been known or thought of. For my part, I
have little doubt of the truth of this. Can't go into it now, but it
seems so very, very probable. It _explains_, and even _corroborates_,
and that's the wonderful thing, so much of the Gospel narrative. We
shall see what Llwellyn says. I've more to go into, but, meanwhile, I
must make arrangements for setting up Hands's papers. Then there are the
inscriptions, too. Of course they must be reproduced in facsimile. As we
can't print in half-tone, I must have the photograph turned into an
absolutely correct line drawing, and have line blocks made. I shall
have pulls of the whole thing prepared and sent by post to-morrow at
midnight to the editors of all the dailies in London and Paris, and to
the heads of the Churches. I shall also prepare a statement, showing
exactly how the documents have come into our possession and what steps
we are taking. I shall write the thing to-night, after I have seen the
Prime Minister."

He went to his writing-table once more, moved the telephone indicator,
and summoned the foreman printer.

In a few moments a lean Scotchman in his shirt sleeves--one of the most
autocratic and important people connected with the paper--came into the

"I want an absolutely reliable linotype operator, Burness," said
Ommaney. "He will have to set up some special copy for me after the
paper's gone to press. It'll take him till breakfast-time. I want a man
who will not talk. The thing is private and important. And it must be a
man who can set up from the Greek font by hand also. There are some
quotations in Greek included in the text."

"Well, sirr," said the man, with a strong Scotch accent, "I can find ye
a guid operrator to stay till morning, but aboot his silence--if it's of
great moment--I wouldn't say, and aboot his aptitude for setting up
Greek type I hae nae doot whatever. There's no a lino operrator in the
building wha can do it. Some of the men at the case might, but that'll
be keeping two men. Is it verra important, Mr. Ommaney?"

"More important than anything I have ever dealt with."

"Then ye'll please jist give the copy into my own hands, sirr. I'll do
the lino and the case warrk mysel' and pull a galley proof for ye too.
No one shall see the copy but me."

"Thank you, Burness," said the editor. "I'm very much obliged. I shall
be here till morning. I shall go out in an hour and be back by the time
the machines are running down-stairs. Then the composing-room will be
empty and you can get to work."

"I'll start directly the plates have gone down to the foundry and the
men are off, just keeping one hand to see to the gas-engine."

"And, Burness, lock up the galley safely when you come down with the

"I'll do it, sir," and the great man--indispensable, and earning his six
hundred a year--went away with the precious papers.

"That is perfectly safe with Burness," said Spence, as the foreman
compositor retired. "He will make no mistakes either. He is a capital
Greek scholar, corrects the proof-readers themselves often."

"Yes," answered Ommaney, "I know. I shall leave everything in his hands.
Then late to-morrow night, just before the forms go to the foundry, I
shall shove the whole thing in before any one knows anything about it,
and nothing can get round to any other office. Burness will know about
it beforehand, and he'll be ready to break up a whole page for this
stuff. Of course, as far as leaders go and comment, I shall be guided
very much by the result of my interview to-night and others to-morrow
morning. I shall send off several cables before dawn to Palestine and

Once more the editor began to pace up and down the room, thinking
rapidly, decisively, deeply. The slim, fragile body was informed with
power by the splendid brain which animated it.

The rather languid, silent man was utterly changed. Here one could see
the strength and force of the personality which directed and controlled
the second, perhaps the first, most powerful engine of public opinion in
the world. The millionaires who paid this frail-looking, youthful man
an enormous sum to direct their paper for them knew what they were
about. They had bought one of the finest living executive brains and
made it a potentate among its fellows. This man who, when he was not at
the office, or holding some hurried colloquy with one of the rulers of
the world, was asleep in a solitary flat at Kensington, knew that he had
an accepted right to send a message to Downing Street, such as he had
lately done. No one knew his face--no one of the great outside public;
his was hardly even a name to be recognised in passing, yet he, and
Spence, and Folliott Farmer could shake a continent with their words.
And though all knew it, or would at least have realised it had they ever
given it a thought, the absolute self-effacement of journalism made it a
matter of no moment to any of them.

While Englishmen read their dicta, and unconsciously incorporated them
into their own pronouncements, mouthing them in street, market, and
forum, these men slept till the busy day was over, and once more with
the setting of the sun stole out to their almost furtive and yet
tremendous task.

Every now and then Ommaney strode to the writing-table and made a rapid
note on a sheet of paper.

At last he turned to Spence.

"I am beginning to have our line of action well marked out in my brain,"
he said. "The thing is grouping itself very well. I am beginning to see
my way. Now about you, Spence. Of course this thing is yours. At any
rate you brought it here. Later on, of course, we shall show our
gratitude in some substantial way. That will depend upon the upshot of
the whole thing. Meanwhile, you will be quite wasted in London. I and
Farmer and Wilson can deal with anything and everything here. Of course
I would rather have you on the spot, but I can use you far better

"Then?" said Spence.

"You must go to Jerusalem at once. Start for Paris to-morrow morning at
nine; you'd better go round to your chambers and pack up now and then
come back here till it's time to start. You can sleep _en route_. I
shall be here till breakfast-time, and I can give you final

He used the telephone once more and his secretary came in.

"Mr. Spence starts for Palestine to-morrow morning, Marriott," he said.
"He is going straight through to Jerusalem as fast as may be. Oblige me
by getting out a route for him at once, marking all the times for
steamers and trains, etc., in a clear scheme for Mr. Spence to take with
him. Be very careful with the Continental timetables indeed. If you can
see any delay anywhere which will be likely to occur, go down to Cook's
early in the morning and make full inquiries. If it is necessary,
arrange for any special trains that may be necessary. Mr. Spence must
not be delayed a day. Also map out various points on the journey, with
the proper times, where we can telegraph instructions to Mr. Spence. Go
down to Mr. Woolford and ask him for a hundred pounds in notes and give
them to Mr. Spence. You will arrange about the usual letter of credit
during the day and wire Mr. Spence at Paris after lunch."

The young man went out to do his part in the great organisation which
Ommaney controlled.

"Then you'll be back between three and four?" Ommaney said.

"Yes, I'll go and pack at once," Spence answered. "My passport from the
Foreign Office is all right now."

He rose to go, vigorous, and with an inexpressible sense of relief at
the active prospect before him. There would be no time for haunting
thought, for personal fears yet. He was going, himself, to the very
heart of things, to see and to gain personal knowledge of these events
which were shadowing the world.

The door opened as he rose and Folliott Farmer strode in. With him was a
tall, distinguished man of about five-and-thirty; he was in evening
dress and rather bald.

It was Lord Trelyon, the Prime Minister's private secretary.

"I thought I would come myself with Mr. Farmer, Mr. Ommaney," he said,
shaking hands cordially. "Lord ---- will see you. He tells me to say
that if it is absolutely imperative he will see you. I suppose there is
no doubt of that?"

"None whatever, I'm sorry to say, Lord Trelyon," the editor answered.
"Farmer, will you take charge till I return?"

He slipped on his overcoat and a felt hat and left the room with the
secretary without looking back. Spence followed the two down the
stairs--the tall, athletic young fellow and the slim, nervous
journalist. These were just driving furiously towards the Law Courts as
Spence turned into Fleet Street on his way to Lincoln's Inn.

Fleet Street was brilliantly lit and almost silent. A few cabs hovered
about and that was all. Presently all the air would be filled with the
dull roar and hum of the great printing machines in their underground
halls, but the press hour was hardly yet.

The porter let him into the Inn, and in a few moments he was striking
matches and lighting the gas. Mrs. Buscall had cleared away the
breakfast things, but the fire had long since gone out. The big rooms
looked very bare and solitary, unfamiliar almost, as the gas-jets hissed
in the silence.

One or two letters were in the box. One envelope bore the Manchester
post-mark. It was from Basil Gortre. A curious pang, half wonder and
anticipation, half fear, passed through his mind as he saw the familiar
handwriting of his friend. But it was a pang for Gortre, not for
himself. He himself was wholly detached now that the time for action had
arrived. Personal consideration would come later. At present he was
starting out on the old trail--"The old trail, the long trail, the trail
that is always new."

He felt a _man_ again, with a fierce joy and exultation throbbing in all
his veins after the torpor of the last few weeks.

He sat down at the table, first getting some bread and cheese from a
cupboard, for he was hungry, and opening a bottle of beer. The beer
tasted wonderfully good. He laughed exultingly in the flow of his high

He wrote a note to Mrs. Buscall, long since inured to these sudden
midnight departures, and another to Gortre. To him he said that some
great and momentous discoveries were made at Jerusalem by Hands, and
that he himself was starting at once for the Holy City as special
correspondent for the _Wire_. He would write _en route_, he explained,
there was no time for any details now.

"Poor chap," he said to himself, "he'll know soon enough now. I hope he
won't take it very badly."

Then he went into his bedroom and hauled down the great pig-skin
kit-bag, covered with foreign labels, which had accompanied him half
over the world.

He packed quickly and completely, the result of long practice. The pads
of paper, the stylographic pens, with the special ink for hot countries
which would not dry up or corrode, his revolvers, riding-breeches, boots
and spurs, the kodak, with spare films and light-tight zinc cases, the
old sun helmet--he forgot nothing.

When he had finished, and the big bag, with a small Gladstone also, was
strapped and locked, he changed joyously from the black coat of cities
into his travelling tweeds of tough cloth. At length everything seemed
prepared. He sat on the bed and looked round him, willing to be gone.

His eye fell on the opposite wall. A crucifix hung there, carved in
ebony and ivory. During his short holiday at Dieppe, nearly nine months
ago now, he had gone into the famous little shop there where carved work
of all kinds is sold. Basil and Helena were with him and they had all
bought mementoes. Helena had given him that.

And as he looked at it now he wondered what his journey would bring
forth. Was he, indeed, chosen out of men to go to this far country to
tear Christ from that awful and holy eminence of the Cross? Was it to be
his mission to extinguish the _Lux Mundi_?

As he gazed at the sacred emblem he felt that this could not be.

No, no! a thousand times no. Jesus _had_ risen to save him and all other
sinners. It _was_ so, must be so, should be so.

The Holy Name was in itself enough. He whispered it to himself. No,
_that_ was eternally, gloriously true.

Humbly, faithfully, gladly he knelt among the litter of the room and
said the Lord's Prayer, said it in Latin as he had said it at school--

    _Pater noster!_



Sir Michael Manichoe, the stay and pillar of "Anglicanism" in the
English Church, was a man of great natural gifts. The owner of one of
those colossal Jewish fortunes which, few as they are, have such
far-reaching influence upon English life, he employed it in a way which,
for a man in his position, was unique.

He presented the curious spectacle, to sociologists and the world at
large, of a Jew by origin who had become a Christian by conviction and
one of the sincerest sons of the English Church as he understood it. In
political life Sir Michael was a steady, rather than a brilliant, force.
He had been Home Secretary under a former Conservative administration,
but had retired from office. At the present moment he was a private
member for the division in which his country house, Fencastle, stood,
and he enjoyed the confidence of the chiefs of his party.

His great talent was for organisation, and all his powers in that
direction were devoted towards the preservation and unification of the
Church to which he was a convert.

Sir Michael's convictions were perfectly clear and straightforward. He
believed, with all his heart, in the Catholicity of the Anglican
persuasion. Roman priests he spoke of as "members of the Italian
mission"; Nonconformists as "adherents to the lawless bands of Dissent."
He allowed the validity of Roman orders and spoke of the Pope as the
"Bishop of Rome," an Italian ecclesiastic with whom the English
communion had little or nothing to do.

In his intimate and private life Sir Michael lived according to rubric.
His splendid private chapel at Fencastle enjoyed the services of a
chaplain, reinforced by priests from a community of Anglican monks which
Sir Michael had established in an adjacent village. In London, St.
Mary's was, in some sense, his particular property. He spent fabulous
sums on the big Bloomsbury Parish and the needs of its great,
cathedral-like church. There was no vicar in London who enjoyed the
command of money that Father Ripon enjoyed. Certainly there was no other
priest in the ranks of the High Churchmen who was the confidential
friend and spiritual director of so powerful a political and social

Yet in his public life Sir Michael was diplomatic enough. He worked
steadily for one thing, it is true, but he was far too able to allow
people to call him narrow-minded. The Oriental strain of cunning in his
blood had sweetened to a wise diplomacy. While he always remembered he
was a Churchman, he did not forget that to be an effective and helpful
one he must keep his political and social eminence. And so, whatever
might take place behind the scenes in the library with Father Ripon, or
in the Bloomsbury clergy house, the baronet showed the world the face of
a man of the world, and neither obtruded his private views nor allowed
them to disturb his colleagues.

The day after the news arrived in Fleet Street from Palestine--while
nothing was yet known and Harold Spence was rushing through Amiens _en
route_ for Paris and the East--a house party began to collect at
Fencastle, the great place in Lincolnshire.

For a day or two a few rather important people were to meet under Sir
Michael's roof. Now and then the palace in the fen lands was the scene
of notable gatherings, much talked of in certain circles and commented
on by people who would truthfully have described themselves as being "in
the know."

These parties were, indeed, congresses of the eminent, the "big" people
who quietly control an England which the ignorant and the vulgar love to
imagine is in the hands of a corrupt society of well-born, "smart," and
pleasure-seeking people.

The folk who gathered at Fencastle were as remote from the gambling,
lecherous, rabbit-brained set which glitters so brightly before the eyes
of the uninformed as any staid, middle-class reader of the popular

In this stronghold of English Catholicism--"hot-bed of ritualists" as
the brawling "Protestant" journals called it, one met a diversity of
people, widely divided in views and only alike in one thing--the
dominant quality of their brains and position.

Sir Michael thought it well that even his professed opponents should
meet at his table, for it gave both him and his lieutenants new data and
fresh impressions for use in the campaign. Sir Michael's convictions
were perfectly unalterable, but to find out how others--and those
hostile--really regarded them only added to the weapons in his armoury.

And, as one London priest once remarked to another, the combination of a
Jewish brain and a Christian heart was one which had already
revolutionised Society nearly two thousand years ago in the persons of
eleven distinguished instances.

As Father Ripon drove to Liverpool Street Station after lunch, to catch
the afternoon train to the eastern counties, he was reading a letter as
his cab turned into Cheapside and crawled slowly through the heavy
afternoon traffic of the city.

     " ... It will be as well for you to see the man _à huisclos_ and
     form your own opinions. There can be no doubt that he is a force to
     be reckoned with, and he is, moreover, as I think you will agree
     after inspection, far more brilliant and able than any other
     _professed_ antichristian of the front rank. Then there will also
     be Mrs. Hubert Armstrong. She is a pseudo-intellectual force, but
     her writings have a certain heaviness and authoritative note which
     I believe to have real influence with the large class of
     semi-educated people who mistake an _atmosphere_ of knowledge for
     knowledge itself. A very charming woman, by the way, and I think
     sincere. Matthew Arnold and water!

     "The Duke of Suffolk will stop a night on his way home. He writes
     that he wishes to see you. As you know, he is just back from Rome,
     and now that they have definitely pronounced against the validity
     of Anglican orders he is most anxious to have a further chat with
     you in order to form a working opinion as to _our_ position. From
     his letter to me, and the extremely interesting account he gives of
     his interview at the Vatican, I gather that the Roman Church still
     utterly misunderstands our attitude, and that hopes there are high
     of the ultimate "conversion" of England. I hope that as a
     representative of English Churchmen you will be able to define what
     we think in an unmistakable way. This will have value. Among my
     other guests you will meet Canon Walke. He is preaching in Lincoln
     Cathedral on the Sunday, fresh from Windsor. "Render unto Cæsar"
     will, I allow myself to imagine, not be an unlikely text for his
     homily.--I am, Father, yours most sincerely,

          "M. M."

Still thinking carefully over Sir Michael's letter, Father Ripon bought
his ticket and made his way to the platform.

He got into a first-class carriage. While in London the priest lived a
life of asceticism and simplicity which was not so much a considered
thing as the outcome of an absolute and unconscious carelessness about
personal and material comfort; when he went thus to a great country
house, he complied with convention because it was politic.

He was the grandson of a peer, and, though he laughed at these small
points, he wished to meet his friend's opinions in any reasonable way,
rather than to flout them.

The carriage was empty, though a pile of newspapers and a travelling rug
in one corner showed Father Ripon that he was to have one companion at
any rate upon the journey.

He had bought the _Church Times_ at the bookstall and was soon deeply
immersed in the report of a Bampton Lecture delivered during the week at
the University Church in Oxford.

Some one entered the carriage, the door was shut, and the train began to
move out of the station, but he was too interested to look up to see who
his companion might be.

A voice broke in upon his thoughts as they were tearing through the
wide-spread slums of Bethnal Green.

"Do you mind if I smoke, sir? This isn't a smoking carriage, but we are

It was an ordinary query enough. "Oh, dear, no!" said the priest.
"Please do, to your heart's content. It doesn't inconvenience _me_."

Father Ripon's quick, breezy manner seemed to interest the stranger. He
looked up and saw a personality. Obviously this clergyman was some one
of note. The heavy brows, the hawk-like nose, the large, firm, and yet
kindly mouth, all these seemed familiar in some vague way.

For his part, Father Ripon experienced much the same sensation as he
glanced at the tall stranger. His hair, which could be seen beneath his
ordinary hard felt hat, was dark red and somewhat abundant. His features
were Semitic, but without a trace of that fulness, and often coarseness,
which sometimes marks the Jew who has come to the period of middle life.
The large black eyes were neither dull nor lifeless, but simply cold,
irresponsive, and alert. A massive jaw completed an impression which was
remarkable in its fineness and almost sinister beauty.

The priest found it remarkable but with no sense of strangeness. He had
seen the man before.

Recognition came to Schuabe first.

"Excuse me," he said, "but surely you are Father Ripon? I am Constantine

Ripon gave a merry chuckle. "I knew I knew you!" he said, "but I
couldn't think quite who you were for a moment. Sir Michael tells me
you're going to Fencastle; so am I."

Schuabe leaned back in his seat and regarded Father Ripon with a steady
and calm scrutiny, somewhat with the manner of a naturalist examining a
curious specimen, with a suggestion of aloofness in his eyes.

Suddenly Father Ripon smiled rather sternly, and the deep furrows which
sprang into his cheeks showed the latent strength and power of the face.

"Well, Mr. Schuabe," he said abruptly, "the train doesn't stop anywhere
for an hour, so willy-nilly you're locked up with a priest!"

"A welcome opportunity, Father Ripon, to convince one that perhaps the
devil isn't as black as he's painted."

"I've read your books," said Ripon, "and I believe you are sincere, Mr.
Schuabe. It's not a personal question at all. At the same time, if I had
the power, you know I should cheerfully execute you or imprison you for
life, not out of revenge for what you have done, but as a precautionary
measure. You should have no further opportunity of doing harm." He
smiled grimly as he spoke.

"Rather severe, Father," said Schuabe laughing. "Because I find that in
a rational view of history there is no place for a Resurrection and
Ascension you would give me your blessing and an _auto da fé_!"

"I rather believe in stern measures, sometimes," answered the clergyman,
with an underlying seriousness, though he spoke half in jest. "Not for
_all_ heretics, you know--only the dangerous ones."

"You are afraid of _intellect_ when it is brought to bear on these

"I thought that would be your rejoinder. Superficially it is a very
telling one, because there is nothing so insidious as a half-truth. In a
sense what you say is true. There are a great many Christians whose
faith is weak and whose natural inclinations, assisted by supernatural
temptations, are towards a life of sin. Christianity keeps them from it.
Now, your books come in the way of such people as these far more readily
and easily than works of Christian apologetics written with equal power.
An _attack_ upon our position has all the elements of popularity and
novelty. _It is more seen._ For example, ten thousand people have heard
of your _Christ Reconceived_ for every ten who know Lathom's _Risen
Master_. You have said the last word for agnosticism and made it widely
public, the Master of Trinity Hall has said the last word for
Christianity and only scholars know of it. It isn't the strength of your
case which makes you dangerous, it's the ignorance of the public and a
condition of affairs which makes it possible for you to shout loudest."

"Well, there is at least a half-truth in what you say also, Mr. Ripon,"
said Schuabe. "But you don't seem to have brought anything to eat. Will
you share my luncheon basket? There is quite enough for two people."

Father Ripon had been called away after the early Eucharist, and had
quite forgotten to have any breakfast.

"Thank you very much," he said; "I will. I suddenly seem to be hungry,
and after all there is scriptural precedent for spoiling the Egyptians!"

Both laughed again, sheathed their weapons, and began to eat.

Each of them was a man of the world, cultured, with a charming
personality. Each knew the other was impervious to attack.

Only once, as the short afternoon was darkening and they were
approaching their destination, did Schuabe refer to controversial
subjects. The carriage was shadowed and dusky as they rushed through the
desolate fenlands. The millionaire lit a match for a cigarette, and the
sudden flare showed the priest's face, set and stern. He seemed to be
thinking deeply.

"What would you say or do, Father Ripon," Schuabe asked, in a tone of
interested curiosity,--"What would you do if some stupendous thing were
to happen, something to occur which proved without doubt that Christ was
not divine? Supposing that it suddenly became an absolute fact, a
historical fact which every one must accept?"

"Some new discovery, you mean?"

"Well, if you like; never mind the actual means. Assume for a moment
that it became certain as an historical fact that the Resurrection did
not take place. I say that the ignorant love of Christ's followers
wreathed His life in legend, that the true story was from the beginning
obscured by error, hysteria, and mistake. Supposing something proved
what I say in such a way as to leave no loophole for denial. What would
you do? As a representative Churchman, what would you do? This interests

"Well, you are assuming an impossibility, and I can't argue on such a
postulate. But, if for a moment what you say _could_ happen, I might not
be able to deny these proofs, but I should never believe them."

"But surely----"

"Christ is _within_; I have found Him myself without possibility of
mistake; day and night I am in communion with Him."

"Ah!" said Schuabe, dryly, "there is no convincing a person who takes
_that_ attitude. But it is rare."

"Faith is weak in the world," said the priest, with a sigh, as the train
drew up in the little wayside station.

A footman took their luggage to a carriage which was waiting, and they
drove off rapidly through the twilight, over the bare brown fen with a
chill leaden sky meeting it on the horizon, towards Fencastle.

Sir Michael's house was an immemorial feature of those parts. Josiah
Manichoe, his father, had bought it from old Lord Lostorich. To this day
Sir Michael paid two pounds each year, as "Knight's fee," to the lord of
the manor at Denton, a fee first paid in 1236. As it stood now, the
house was Tudor in exterior, covering a vast area with its stately,
explicit, and yet homelike, rather than "homely," beauty.

The interior of the house was treated with great judgment and artistic
ability. A successful effort had been made to combine the greatest
measure of modern comfort without unduly disturbing the essential
character of the place. Thus Father Ripon found himself in an ancient
bedroom with a painted ceiling and panelled walls. The furniture was in
keeping with the design, but electric lamps had been fitted to the
massive pewter sconces on the wall, and the towel-rail by the
washing-stand was made of copper tubing through which hot water passed

The dinner-gong boomed at eight and Ripon went down into the great hall,
where a group of people were standing round an open fire of peat and

Mrs. Bardilly, a widowed sister of Sir Michael's, acted as hostess, a
quiet, matronly woman, very Jewish in aspect, shrewd and placid in
temper, an admirable _châtelaine_.

Talking to her was Mrs. Hubert Armstrong, the famous woman novelist.
Mrs. Armstrong was tall and grandly built. Her grey hair was drawn over
a massive, manlike brow in smooth folds, her face was finely chiselled.
The mouth was large, rather sweet in expression, but with a slight
hinting of "superiority" in repose and condescension in movement. When
she spoke, always in full, well-chosen periods, it was with an air of
somewhat final pronouncement. She was ever _ex cathedra_.

The lady's position was a great one. Every two or three years she
published a weighty novel, admirably written, full of real culture, and
without a trace of humour. In those productions, treatises rather than
novels, the theme was generally that of a high-bred philosophical
negation of the Incarnation. Mrs. Armstrong pitied Christians with
passionate certainty. Gently and lovingly she essayed to open blinded
eyes to the truth. With great condescension she still believed in God
and preached Christ as a mighty teacher.

One of her utterances suffices to show the colossal arrogance--almost
laughable were it not so _bizarre_--of her intellect:

     "_The world has expanded since Jesus preached in the dim ancient
     cities of the East. Men and women of to-day cannot learn the_
     complete _lesson of God from him now--indeed they could not in
     those old times. But all that is most necessary in forming
     character, all that makes for pureness and clarity of soul--this
     Jesus has still for us as he had for the people of his own time._"

After the enormous success of her book, _John Mulgrave_, Mrs. Armstrong
more than half believed she had struck a final blow at the errors of

Shrewd critics remarked that _John Mulgrave_ described the perversion of
the hero with great skill and literary power, while quite forgetting to
recapitulate the arguments which had brought it about.

The woman was really educated, but her success was with half-educated
readers. Her works excited to a sort of frenzy clergymen who realised
their insidious hollowness. Her success was real; her influence appeared
to be real also. It was a deplorable fact that she swayed fools.

By laying on the paint very thick and using bright colours, Mrs.
Armstrong caught the class immediately below that which read the works
of Constantine Schuabe. They were captain and lieutenant, formidable in

A short, carelessly dressed man--his evening tie was badly arranged and
his trousers were ill cut--was the Duke of Suffolk. His face was covered
with dust-coloured hair, his eyes bright and restless. The Duke was the
greatest Roman Catholic nobleman in England. His vast wealth and eager,
though not first-class, brain were devoted entirely to the conversion of
the country. He was beloved by men of all creeds.

Canon Walke, the great popular preacher, was a handsome man, portly,
large, and gracious in manner. He was destined for high preferment, a
_persona grata_ at Court, suave and redolent of the lofty circles in
which he moved.

Canon Walke was talking to Schuabe with great animation and a sort of
purring geniality.

Dinner was a very pleasant meal. Every one talked well. Great events in
Society and politics were discussed by the people who were themselves
responsible for them.

Here was the inner circle itself, serene, bland, and guarded from the
crowd outside. And perhaps, with the single exception of Father Ripon,
who never thought about it at all, every one was pleasantly conscious of
pulling the strings. They sat, Jove-like, kindly tolerant of lesser
mortals, discussing, over a dessert, what they should do for the world.

At eleven nearly every one had retired for the night. Father Ripon and
his host sat talking in the library for another hour discussing church
matters. At twelve these two also retired.

And now the great house was silent save for the bitter winter wind which
sobbed and moaned round the towers.

It was the eve of the twelfth of December. The world was as usual and
the night came to England with no hintings of the morrow.

Far away in Lancashire, Basil Gortre was sleeping calmly after a long,
quiet evening with Helena and her father.

Father Ripon had said his prayers and lay half dreaming in bed, watching
the firelight glows and shadows on the panelling and listening to the
fierce outside wind as if it were a lullaby.

Mrs. Hubert Armstrong was touching up an article for the _Nineteenth
Century_ in her bedroom. An open volume of Renan stood by her side; here
and there the lady deftly paraphrased a few lines. Occasionally she
sipped a cup of black-currant tea--an amiable weakness of this paragon
when engaged upon her stirring labours.

In the next room Schuabe, with haggard face and twitching lips, paced
rapidly up and down. From the door to the dressing-table--seven steps.
From there to the fireplace--ten steps--avoiding the flower pattern of
the carpet, stepping only on the blue squares. Seven! ten! and then back

Ten, seven, turn. A cold, soft dew came out upon his face, dried,
hardened, and burst forth again.

Seven, ten, stop for a glass of water, and then on again, rapidly,
hurriedly; the dawn is coming very near.

Ten! seven! turn!



At about nine o'clock the next morning there was a knock at Father
Ripon's door and Lindner, Sir Michael's confidential man, entered.

He seemed slightly agitated.

"I beg your pardon, Father," he said, "but Sir Michael instructed me to
come to you at once. Sir Michael begs that you will read the columns
marked in this paper and then join him at once in his own room."

The man bowed slightly and went noiselessly away.

Impressed with Lindner's manner, Father Ripon sat up in bed and opened
the paper. It was a copy of the _Daily Wire_ which had just arrived by
special messenger from the station.

The priest's eyes fell first upon the news summary. A paragraph was
heavily scored round with ink.

     "_Page 7._--A communication of the utmost gravity and importance
     reaches us from Palestine, dealing with certain discoveries at
     Jerusalem, made by Mr. Cyril Hands, the agent of the Palestine
     Exploring Fund, and Herr Schmöulder, the famous German historian."

Ripon turned hastily to the seventh page of the paper, where all the
foreign telegrams were. This is what he read:


     "_In reference to the following statements, the Editor wishes it to
     be distinctly understood that he prints them without comment or
     bias. Nothing can yet be definitely known as to the truth of what
     is stated here until the strictest investigations have been made.
     Our special Commissioner left London for the East twenty-four hours
     ago. The Editor of this paper is in communication with the Prime
     Minister and His Grace the Archbishop of Canterbury. A special
     edition of the 'Daily Wire' will be published at two o'clock this


     "For the last three months, under a new firman granted by the
     Turkish Government, the authorities of the Palestine Exploring
     Society have been engaged in extensive operations in the waste
     ground beyond the Damascus Gate at Jerusalem.

     "It is in this quarter, as archæologists and students will be
     aware, that some years ago the reputed site of Calvary and the Holy
     Sepulchre was placed. Considerable discussion was raised at the
     time and the evidence for and against the new and the traditional
     sites was hotly debated.

     "Ten days ago, Mr. Cyril Hands, M.A., the learned and trusted
     English explorer, made a further discovery which may prove to be
     far-reaching in its influence on Christian peoples.

     "During the excavations a system of tombs were discovered, dating
     from forty or fifty years before Christ, according to Mr. Hands's
     estimate. The tombs are indisputably Jewish and not Christian, a
     fact which is proved by the presence of _kôkîm_, characteristic of
     Jewish tombs in preference to the usual Christian _arcosolia_. They
     are Herodian in character.

     "These tombs consist of an irregularly cut group of two chambers.
     The door is coarsely moulded. Both chambers are crooked, and in
     their floors are four-sided depressions, 1 foot 2 inches deep in
     the outer, 2 feet in the inner chamber. The roof of the outer
     chamber is 6 feet above its floor, that of the inner 5 feet 2

     "The doorway leading to the inner tomb was built up into stone
     blocks. Fragments of that coating of broken brick and pounded
     pottery, which is still used in Palestine under the name _hamra_,
     which lay at the foot of the sealed entrance, showed that it had at
     one time been plastered over, and was in the nature of a secret

     "In the depression in the floor of the outer room was found a
     minute fragment of a glass receptacle containing a small quantity
     of blackish powder. This has been analysed by M. Constant Allard,
     the French chemist. The glass vessel he found to be an ordinary
     silicate which had become devitrified and coloured by oxide of
     iron. The contents were finely divided lead and traces of antimony,
     showing it to be one of the cosmetics prepared for purposes of

     "When the interior of the second tomb had been reached, a single
     _loculus_ or stone slab for the reception of a body was found.

     "Over the _loculus_ the following Greek inscription in uncial
     characters was found in a state of good preservation, with the
     exception of two letters:

     "[_See drawing of inscription on this page, made from photographs
     in our possession. We print the inscription below in cursive Greek
     text, afterwards dividing it into its component words and giving
     its translation.--Editor, Daily Wire._]



     **=lacunæ of two letters.


     Εγω Ιωσηφ ὁ ἀπο Αριμαθειας λαβων το σωμα του Ιησου
     του ἀπο Να[ζα]ρετ ἀπο του μνημειου ὁπου το πρωτον
     ἐκειτο ἐν τω τοπω τουτω ἐνεκρυψα

     [] = letters supplied.



     "The slight mould on the stone slab, which may or may not be that
     of a decomposed body, has been reverently gathered into a sealed
     vessel by Mr. Hands, who is waiting instructions.

     "Dr. Schmöulder, the famous _savant_ from Berlin, has arrived at
     Jerusalem, and is in communication with the German Emperor
     regarding the discovery.

     "At present it would be presumptuous and idle to comment upon these
     stupendous facts. It seems our duty, however, to quote a final
     passage from Mr. Hands's communication, and to state that we have a
     cablegram in our possession from Dr. Schmöulder, which states that
     he is in entire agreement with Mr. Hands's conclusions.

     "To sum up. There now seems no shadow of doubt that the
     disappearance of The Body of Christ from the first tomb is
     accounted for, and that the Resurrection as told in the Gospels did
     not take place. Joseph of Arimathæa here confesses that he stole
     away the body, probably in order to spare the Disciples and friends
     of the dead Teacher, with whom he was in sympathy, the shame and
     misery of the final end to their hopes.

     "The use of the first aorist 'ἐνεκρυψα,' 'I hid,' seems to
     indicate that Joseph was making a confession to satisfy his own
     mind, with a very vague idea of it ever being read. Were his
     confession written for future ages, we may surmise that the perfect
     'κεκρυφα,' 'I have hidden,' would have been used."

So the simple, bald narrative ended, without a single attempt at
sensationalism on the part of the newspaper.

Just as Father Ripon laid down the newspaper, with shaking hands and a
pallid face, Sir Michael Manichoe strode into the room.

Tears of anger and shame were in his eyes, he moved jerkily,
automatically, without volition. His right arm was sawing the air in
meaningless gesticulation.

He glanced furtively at Father Ripon and then sank into a chair by the

The clergyman rose and dressed hastily. "We will speak of this in the
library," he said, controlling himself by a tremendous effort.

He took some sal volatile from his dressing-case, gave some to his host,
and drank some also.

As they went down-stairs a brilliant sun streamed into the great hall.
The world outside was bright and frost-bound.

The bell of the private chapel was tolling for matins.

The sound struck on both their brains very strangely. Sir Michael
shuddered and grew ashen grey. Ripon recovered himself first.

He placed his arm in his host's and turned towards the passage which led
to the chapel.

"Come, my friend," he said in low, sweet tones, "come to the altar. Let
us pray together for Christendom. Peace waits us. Say the creed with me,
for God will not desert us."

They passed into the vaulted chapel with the seven dim lamps burning
before the altar, and knelt down in the chancel stalls. Some of the
servants came in and then the chaplain began the confession.

The stately monotone went on, echoing through the damp breath of the

Father Ripon and Sir Michael turned to the east. The sun was pouring
through the great window of stained glass, where Christ was painted
ascending to heaven.

The two elderly men said the creed after the priest in firm, almost
triumphant voices:

"I believe in God the Father ... and in Jesus Christ His only Son our
Lord.... The third day he arose again from the dead. He ascended into

       *       *       *       *       *

And those two, as they came gravely out of church and walked to the
library, _knew_ that a great and awful lie was resounding through the
world, for the Risen Christ had spoken with them, bidding them be of
good courage for what was to come.

The voice of Peter called down the ages:

     "This Jesus hath God raised up, whereof we are all witnesses."



When Mrs. Armstrong came down to breakfast her hostess told her, with
many apologies, that Sir Michael had left for London with Father Ripon.
They had gone by an early train. Matters of great moment were afoot.

As this was being explained Mr. Wilson, the private chaplain, Schuabe,
and Canon Walke entered the room. The Duke of Suffolk did not appear.

A long, low room panelled in white, over which a huge fire of logs cast
occasional cheery reflections, was used as a breakfast-room. Here and
there the quiet simplicity of the place was violently disturbed by great
gouts of colour, startling notes which, so cunningly had they been
arranged in alternate opulence and denial, were harmonised with their

A curtain of Tyrian purple, a sea picture full of gloom and glory, red
light and wind; a bronze head, with brilliant, lifelike enamel eyes, the
features swollen and brutal, from Sabacio--these were the means used by
the young artist employed by Sir Michael to decorate the room.

The long windows, hewn out of a six-foot wall, presented a sombre vista
of great leafless trees standing in the trackless snow, touched here and
there with the ruddiness of the winter sun.

The glowing fire, the luxurious domesticity of the round table, with
its shining silver and gleaming china, the great quiet of the park
outside, gave a singular peace and remoteness to the breakfast-room.
Here one seemed far away from strife and disturbance.

This was the usual aspect and atmosphere of all Fencastle, but as the
members of the house-party came together for the meal the air became
suddenly electrified. Invisible waves of excitement, of surmise, doubt,
and fear radiated from these humans. All had seen the paper, and though
at first not one of them referred to it, the currents of tumult and
alarm were knocking loudly at heart and brain, varied and widely diverse
as were the emotions of each one.

Mrs. Hubert Armstrong at length broke the silence. Her speech was
deliberate, her words were chosen with extreme care, her tone was hushed
and almost reverential.

"To-day," she said, "what I perceive we have all heard, may mean the
sudden dawning of a New Light in the world. If this stupendous statement
is true--and it bears every hall-mark of the truth even at this early
stage--a new image of Jesus of Nazareth will be for ever indelibly
graven on the hearts of mankind. That image which thought, study, and
research have already made so vivid to some of us will be common to the
world. The old, weary superstitions will vanish for all time. The real
significance of the anthropomorphic view will be clear at last. The
world will be able to realise the Real Figure as It went in and out
among Its brother men."

She spoke with extreme earnestness. No doubt she saw in this marvellous
historical confirmation of her attitude a triumph for the school of
which she had become the vocal chieftainess, that would ring and glitter
through the world of thought. The mental arrogance which had already led
this woman so far was already busy, opening a vista that had suddenly
become extremely dazzling, imminently near.

At her words there was a sudden movement of relief among the others. The
ice had been broken; formless and terrifying things assumed a shape that
could be handled, discussed. Her words acted as a precipitate, which
made analysis possible.

The lady's calm, intellectual face, with its clear eyes and smooth bands
of hair, waited with interest, but without impatience, for other views.

Canon Walke took up her challenge. His words were assured enough, but
Schuabe, listening with keen and sinister attention, detected a faint
tremble, an alarmed lack of conviction. The courtier-Churchman, with his
commanding presence, his grand manner, spoke without pedantry, but also
without real force. His language was beautifully chosen, but it had not
the ring of utter conviction, of passionate rejection of all that warred
with Faith.

A chaplain of the Court, the husband of an earl's daughter, a friend of
royal folk, a future bishop, there were those who called him
time-serving, exclusively ambitious. Schuabe realised that not here,
indeed, was the great champion of Christianity. For a brief moment the
Jew's mind flashed to a memory of the young curate at Manchester, then,
with a little shudder of dislike, he bent his attention to Canon Walke's

"No, Mrs. Armstrong," he was saying, "an article such as this in a
newspaper will be dangerous; it will unsettle weak brains for a time
until it is proved, as it will be proved, either a blasphemous
fabrication or an ignorant mistake. It cannot be. Whatever the upshot of
such rumours, they can only have a temporary effect. It may be that
those at the head of the Church will have to sit close, to lay firm hold
of principles, or anything that will steady the vessel as the storm
sweeps up. This may be an even greater tempest than that which broke
upon the Church in the days of the first George, when Christianity was
believed to be fictitious. What did Bishop Butler say to his chaplain?
He asked: 'What security is there against the insanity of individuals?
The doctors know of none. Why, therefore, may not whole communities be
seized with fits of insanity as well as individuals?' It is just that
which will account for so much history tells us of wild revolt against
Truth. It may be--God grant that it will not--that we are once more upon
the eve of one of these storms. But, despite your anticipations, Mrs.
Armstrong, you will see that the Church, as she has ever done, will
weather the storm. I myself shall leave for town at mid-day, and follow
the example of our host. My place is there. The Archbishop will,
doubtless, hold a conference, if this story from Palestine seems to
receive further confirmation. Such dangerous heresies must not be
allowed to spread."

Then Schuabe took up the discussion. "I fear for you, Canon Walke," he
said, "and for the Church you represent. This news, it seems to me, is
merely the evidence for the confirmation of what all thoughtful men
believe to-day, though the majority of them do not speak out. There is a
natural dislike to active propaganda, a timidity in combination to upset
a system which is accepted, and which provides society as an ethical
programme, though founded on initial error. But now--and I agree with
Mrs. Armstrong in the extreme probability of this news being absolute
fact, for Hands and Schmöulder are names of weight--everything must be
reconstructed and changed. The churches will go. Surely the times are
ripe, the signs unmistakable? We are face to face with what is called an
anti-clerical wave--a dislike to the clergy as the representatives of
the Church, a dislike to the Church as the embodiment of religion, a
dislike to religion as an unwelcome restraint upon liberty of thought.
The storm which will burst now has been muttering and gathering here in
England no less than on the Continent. You have heard its murmur in the
debates on the Education Act, in the proposed State legislation for your
Church. Your most venerable and essential forms are like trees creaking
and groaning in the blast; public opinion is rioting to destroy. But
perhaps until this morning it has never had a weapon strong enough to
attack such a stronghold as the Church with any hope of victory. There
has been much noise, but that is all. It has been a matter of _feeling_;
_conviction_ has been weak, because it could only be supported by
probabilities, not by certainties. The antichristian movement has been
guided by emotions, hardly by principles. At last the great discovery
which will rouse the world to sanity appears to have been made. Even as
I speak in this quiet room the whole world is thrilling with this news.
It is awakening from a long slumber."

Walke heard his ringing words with manifest uneasiness. The man was
unequal to the situation. He represented the earthly pomp and show of
Christianity, wore the ceremonial vestments. He feared the concrete
power, the vehement opposition of the mouthpiece of secularism. He saw
the crisis, but from one side only. The deep spiritual love was not

"You are exultant, Mr. Schuabe," he said coldly, "but you will hardly be
so long."

"You do not appreciate the situation, sir," Schuabe answered. "I can see
further than you. A great intellectual peace will descend over the
civilised world. Should one not exult at that, even though men must give
up their dearest fetishes, their secret shrines; even though sentiment
must be sacrificed to Truth? The religion of Nature, which is based
upon the determination not to believe anything which is unsupported by
indubitable evidence, will become the faith of the future, the
fulfilment of progress. It is as Huxley said, '_Religion ought to mean
simply reverence and love for the Ethical Ideal, and the desire to
realise that Ideal in life._' Miracles do not happen. There has been no
supernatural revelation, and nothing can be known of what Herbert
Spencer calls the Infinite and Eternal Energy save by the study of the
phenomena about us. And I repeat that the discovery we hear of to-day
makes a thorough intellectual sanity possible for each living man. Doubt
will disappear."

"Yes, Mr. Schuabe," said Mrs. Armstrong, "you are right, incalculably
right. It is to human intellect and that alone--the great Intellect of
The Nazarene among others--that we must look from henceforth. Already by
his unaided efforts man's achievements are everywhere breaking down
superstition. The arts, the laws of gravitation, force, light, heat,
sound, chemistry, electricity, and all that these imply--botany,
medicine, bacteria, the circulation of the blood, the functions of the
brain and nervous system (last-named abolishing all witchcraft and
diabolic possession, such as we read of in the 'inspired' writings)--all
these are but incidents in a progress never aided by the supernatural,
but always impeded by the professors of it. Christians tortured the man
who discovered the rotation of the earth, and in every church to-day
absolutely false accounts of the origin of the world are publicly read.
And as long as the world was content to believe that Jesus rose from the
dead so long error has hindered development."

"Yes," replied Schuabe, "all this will, I believe, inevitably follow the
discovery of the professors in Palestine. And what does Christianity, as
it is at present accepted, bring to the Christians? Localise it, and
look at the English Church--Canon Walke's Church. At one time every one
is a rigid Puritan and decries the bare accessories of worship, at
another a Ritualist who twists and turns everything into fantastic
shapes, as if he were furnishing an æsthetic bazaar. At another time
these people are swayed with the doctrines of 'Christian Science,' and
believe that pain is a pure trick of the diseased fancy, and matter the
morbid creation of an unhealthy mind. Then we hear priests who tell us
that the Old Testament (which in the same breath they announce to be
witnessed to by Christ and His Apostles and the unbroken continuity of
the Catholic Church) is an enlarged and plagiarised version of the days
of a fantastic god discovered on a burnt brick at Babylon. And others
sit anxiously waiting to know the precise value which this or that
Gospel may possess, as its worth fluctuates like shares in the money
market, with the last quotation from Germany! All this will cease."

The while these august ones had been speaking, Father Wilson, the
domestic chaplain at Fencastle, had remained silent but attentive.

He was a lean, dark man, monk-like in appearance, somewhat saturnine on
the surface. It was Sir Michael's wish, not the chaplain's, that he
should sit with the guests as one of them, and make experience of the
great ones of the world. For he had but little interest in worldly
things or people.

Schuabe's voice died away. Every one was a little exhausted, great
matters had been dealt with. There came a little clink and clatter as
they sought food.

Suddenly Wilson looked up and began to speak. His voice was somewhat
harsh and unsympathetic, his manner was uncompromising and without
charm. As he spoke every one realised, with a sense of unpleasant
shock, that he cared little or nothing for the society he was in.

"It's very interesting, sir," he said, turning to Schuabe, "to hear all
you have been saying. I have seen the paper and read of this so-called
discovery too. Of course such a thing harmonises exactly with the
opinions of those who want to believe it. But go and tell a devoted son
of the Church that he has been fed with sacraments which are no
sacraments, and all that he has done has been at best the honest mistake
of a deceived man, and he will laugh in your face, as I do! There are
memories, far back in his life, of confirmation, when his whole being
was quickened and braced, which refuse to be explained as the
hallucinations of a well-meaning but deceived man. There are memories
when Christ drew near to his soul and helped him. Struggles with
temptation are remembered when God's grace saved him. He also says,
'Whether He be a sorcerer or not I know not; one thing I know, that
whereas I was blind, now I see.' It is easy to part with one in whom we
have never really believed. We can easily surrender what we have never
held. But you haven't a notion of the real Christian's convictions, Mr.
Schuabe. Your estimate of the future is based upon utter ignorance of
the Christian's heart. You are incapable of understanding the heart to
which experience has made it clear that Jesus was indeed the very
Christ. There are many people who are _called_ Christians with whom your
sayings and writings, and those of this lady here, have great power. It
is because they have never found Christ. Unreal words, shallow emotions,
unbalanced sentiment, leave such as these without armour in a time of
tumult and conflicting cries. But if we _know_ Him, if we can look back
over a life richer and fuller because we _have_ known Him, if we know,
every man, the plague of his own heart, then your explorers may
discover anything and we shall not believe. It is easy to prophesy as
you have been doing all this meal-time--it is popular once more to shout
the malignant 'Crucify'--but events will show you how utterly wrong you
are in your estimate of the Christian character."

They all stared at the chaplain. His sudden vigorous outburst, the
harsh, unlovely voice, the contempt in it, was almost stupefying at

Indeed, though they had certainly no cue from Sir Michael, they had
regarded the silent, rather forbidding priest, in his cassock and robe,
a dress which typified his reserve and detachment from all their
interests, in the light of an upper servant, almost. Nor was it so much
his interference they resented as his manner of interfering. The supreme
confidence of the man galled them; it was patronising in its strength.

Mrs. Armstrong heard the outburst with a slight frown of displeasure,
which, as the priest continued, changed into a smile of kindly
tolerance, the attitude of a housemaid who spares a spider. She
remembered that, after all, her duty lay in being kind to those of less
power than herself.

The speech touched Schuabe more nearly. He seemed to hear a familiar
echo of a voice he hated and feared. There was something chilling in
these men who drew a confidence and certainty, sublime in its
immobility, from the Unseen. He felt, as he had felt before, the hated
barrier which he could in no wise pass, this calm fanaticism which would
not even listen to him, which was beyond his influence. The bitter hate
which welled up in his heart, the terrible scorn which he had to repress
at these insults to his evil and devilish egoism, gave him almost a
sense of physical nausea. His pale face became pallid, but he showed no
other sign of the insane tempest within. He smiled slightly. That was

As for Canon Walke, his feelings were varied. His face flickered with
them in rapid alternation. He was quite conscious of the lack of life,
fire, and conviction in what he himself had said. His own windy
commonplaces shrank to nothingness and failure before the witnessing of
the undistinguished priest. Before the two hostile intellects, the man
and the woman, he had left the burden of the fight to this nobody. He
was quick and jealous to mark the strength of Wilson's words, and his
own failure had put him in an entirely false position. And yet a shrewd
blow had been struck at Schuabe and Mrs. Armstrong; there was
consolation in the fact.

Father Wilson, when he had finished what he had to say, rose from his
seat without more ado. "I will say a grace," he said. He made the sign
of the Cross, muttered a short Latin thanksgiving, and strode from the

"A fanatic," said Mrs. Armstrong.

Neither Walke nor Schuabe replied.

It was getting late in the morning. The sun had risen higher and flooded
the level wastes of snow without. The little party finished their meal
in silence.

In the chapel Wilson knelt on the chancel step, praying that help and
light might come to men and the imminent darkness pass away.



The Prime Minister was a man deeply interested in all philosophic
thought, and especially in the Christian system of philosophy. He had
written two most important books, weighty, brilliant contributions to
the mass of thought by which his school laboured to make theism
increasingly credible to the modern mind.

He had proved that science, ethics, and theology are all open to the
same kind of metaphysical difficulties, and that, therefore, to reject
theology in the name of science was impossible. It was fortunate that,
at this juncture, such a one should be at the head of affairs.

The vast network of cables and telegraph wires, those tentacles which
may be called the nerves of the world's brain, throbbed unceasingly
after the tremendous announcement for which Ommaney had undertaken the

A battalion of special correspondents from every European and American
paper of importance followed hot upon Harold Spence's trail.

Nevertheless, for the first two or three days the world at large hardly
realised the importance of what was happening. Nothing was certain. The
whole statement depended upon two men. To the mass of people these two
names--Hands, Schmöulder--conveyed no meaning whatever. Nine tenths of
the population of England knew nothing of the work of archæologists in
Palestine, had never even heard of the Exploring Society.

Had Consols fallen a point or two the effect would have been far
greater, the fact would have made more stir.

The great dailies of equal standing with the _Wire_ were making every
private preparation for a supply of news and a consensus of opinion. But
all this activity went on behind the scenes, and nothing of it was yet
allowed to transpire generally. The article in the _Wire_ was quoted
from, but opinions upon it were printed with the greatest caution and
reserve. Indeed, the general apathy of England at large was a source of
extreme wonder to the unthinking, fearing minority.

The mass of the clergy, at any rate in public, affected to ignore, or
did really honestly dismiss as impossible, the whole question. A few
words of earnest exhortation and indignant denial were all they
permitted themselves.

But beneath the surface, and among the real influencers of public
opinion, great anxiety was felt.

The Patriarch of the Greek Church called a council of Bishops, and Dr.
Procopides, an ephor of antiquities from Athens, was sent immediately to

The following paragraph, in substance, appeared in the leader page of
all the English papers. It was disseminated by the Press Association:

     "We are in a position to state, that in order to allay the feeling
     of uneasiness produced among the churches by a recent article in
     the _Daily Wire_ making extraordinary statements as to a discovery
     in Jerusalem, a conference was held yesterday at Lambeth. Their
     Graces the Archbishops of Canterbury and York, the Bishops of
     Manchester, Gloucester, Durham, Lincoln, and London were present.
     Other well-known Churchmen consisted of Sir Michael Manichoe, Lord
     Robert Verulam, Canons Baragwaneth and Walke, the Dean of
     Christchurch and the Master of Trinity Hall. The Prime Minister was
     not present, but was represented by Mr. Alured King. Mr. Ommaney,
     the editor of the _Daily Wire_, was included in the conference.
     Although, from the names mentioned, it will be seen that the
     conference is considered to be of great importance, nothing has
     been allowed to transpire as to the result of its deliberations."

This paragraph appeared on the morning of the third day after the
initial article. It began to attract great attention throughout the
United Kingdom during the early part of the day.

The _Westminster Gazette_ in its third edition then published a further
statement. The public learned:

     "Professor Clermont-Ganneau, the Professor of Biblical Antiquities
     at the French University of La Sorbonne, arrived in London
     yesterday night. He drove straight to the house of Sir Robert
     Llwellyn, the famous archæologist. Early this morning both
     gentlemen drove to Downing Street, where they remained closeted
     with the Prime Minister for an hour. While there, they were joined
     by Dr. Grier, the learned Bishop of Leeds, and Dr. Carr, the Warden
     of Wyckham College, Oxford. The four gentlemen were later driven to
     Charing Cross Station in a brougham. On the platform from which the
     Paris train starts they were met by Major-General Adams, the
     Vice-President of the Palestine Exploring Society, and Sir Michael
     Manichoe. The distinguished party entered a reserved saloon and
     left, _en route_ for Paris, at mid-day. We are able to state on
     undeniable authority that the party, which represents all that is
     most authoritative in historical research and archæological
     knowledge, are a committee from a recent conference at Lambeth, and
     are proceeding to Jerusalem to investigate the alleged discovery in
     the Holy City."

This was the prominent announcement, made on the afternoon of the third
day, which began to quicken interest and excite the minds of people in

All that evening countless families discussed the information with
curious unrest and foreboding. In all the towns the churches were
exceptionally full at evensong. One fact was more discussed than any
other, more particularly in London.

Although the six men who had left England so suddenly, almost furtively,
were obviously on a mission of the highest importance, no reputable
paper published more than the bare fact of their departure. Comment upon
it, more detailed explanation of it, was sought in the columns of all
the journals in vain.

The next morning was big with shadow and gloom. A shudder passed over
the country. Certain telegrams appeared in all the papers which struck a
chill of fear to the very heart of all who read them, Christian and
indifferent alike.

It was as though a great and ominous bell had begun to toll over the

The faces of people in the streets were universally pale.

It was remarked that the noises of London, the traffic, the movement of
crowds engaged upon their daily business, lost half their noise.

The shops were full of Christmas gifts, but no one seemed to enter them.

In addition to the telegrams a single leading article appeared in the
_Daily Wire_, which burnt itself, as the extremest cold burns, into the
brains of Englishmen.


     "The French Consul-General and Staff, who were paying a ceremonial
     visit to the Latin Patriarch, have been attacked by fanatical
     Moslems, and only escaped from the fury of the crowd with great
     difficulty, aided by the Turkish Guards. A vast concourse of
     Armenian Christians, Russian pilgrims, and Aleppine Greeks
     afterwards gathered round the Church of the Holy Sepulchre. The
     strange discovery said to have been made by the English excavator,
     Mr. Hands, and the German Doctor Schmöulder, has aroused the mob to
     furious protest against it. For nearly an hour fervent cries of
     '_Hadda Kuber Saidna_,' 'This is the tomb of our Lord,' filled all
     the air. The Mohammedans and lower-class Jews made a wild attack
     upon the protesting Christians in the courtyard of the church. Many
     hundreds are dead and dying.


     "LATER.--Strong drafts of Turkish troops have marched into
     Jerusalem. By special order from the Sultan to the Governor of the
     city, the 'New Tomb,' discovered by Mr. Hands and Doctor
     Schmöulder, is guarded by a triple cordon of troops. The two
     gentlemen are guests of the Governor. The concentration of troops
     round the 'New Tomb' has left various portions of the city
     unguarded. Naked Mohammedan fanatics, armed with swords, are
     calling for a general massacre of Christians. The city is in a
     state of utter anarchy. By the Jaffa gate and round the Mosque of
     Omar the dervishes are preaching massacre."


     "MALTA.--Orders have been received here from the Admiralty that the
     gunboat _Velox_ is to proceed at once to Alexandria, there to
     await the coming of Sir Robert Llwellyn and the other members of
     the English Commission by the Indian mail steamer from Brindisi.
     The _Velox_ will then leave at once for Jaffa with the six
     gentlemen. At Jaffa an escort of mounted Turkish troops will
     accompany the party on the day's ride to Jerusalem."

     "(3) BERLIN.--The German Emperor has convened the principal clergy
     of the empire to meet him in conference at Potsdam. The conference
     will sit with closed doors."

     "(4) ROME.--A decree, or short letter, has just been issued from
     the Vatican to all the 'Patriarchs, Primates, Archbishops, Bishops
     and other local ordinaries having peace and communion with the Holy
     See.' The decree deals with the alleged discoveries in Jerusalem.
     In it Catholics are forbidden to read newspaper accounts of the
     proceedings in Palestine, nor may they discuss them with their
     friends. The decree has had the effect of drawing great attention
     to the affairs in the East, and has excited much adverse comment
     among the secularist party, and in the _Voce della Populo_."

Quite suddenly, as if a curtain were withdrawn, the world began to
realise the fact that something almost beyond imagination was taking
place in the far-off Syrian town.

These detached and sinister messages which flashed along the cables,
with their stories of princes and potentates alarmed and active, made
the general silence, the lack of detail, more oppressive. The unknown,
or dimly guessed at, rather, laid hold on men's minds like some mighty
convulsion of nature, imminent, and presaged by fearful signs. Thus the
_Daily Wire_:

     "The story of the recent gathering of great Churchmen at Lambeth
     has not yet been made public, but there can be little doubt in the
     minds of those who watch events that it must eventually take a
     place among the great historical occurrences of the world's
     history. While the men and women of England were going to and fro
     about their business, the ecclesiastical princes of this realm were
     met together in doubt, astonishment, and fear, confronted with a
     problem so tremendous that we find comment upon it presents almost
     insuperable difficulties.

     "We do not therefore propose to take the widest view of probable
     contingencies and events, for that would be impossible within the
     limits of a single article. It must be enough that with a sense of
     the profoundest responsibility, and with the deep emotions which
     must arise in the heart of every man who is confronted by a vast
     and sudden overthrow of one of the binding forces of life, we
     briefly recapitulate the events of the last few days, and attempt a
     forecast of what we fear must lie before us here in England.

     "Four days ago we published in these columns the first account of a
     discovery made by Mr. Cyril Hands, M.A., and confirmed by Dr.
     Herman Schmöulder, in the red earth _débris_ by the 'Tombs of the
     Kings,' beyond the Damascus gate of Jerusalem. The news arrived at
     this office through a private channel, in the form of a long and
     detailed account written by Mr. Hands, the archæologist and agent
     of the Palestine Exploring Society. Before publishing the statement
     the editor was enabled to discuss the advisability of doing so with
     the Prime Minister. A long series of telegrams passed between the
     office of this paper, the Foreign Office, and the gentlemen at
     Jerusalem during the day preceding our publication of the document.
     Hour by hour new details and a mass of contributory evidence came
     to hand. All these papers, together with photographs, drawings,
     and measurements, were placed by us in the hands of the Archbishop
     of Canterbury. A conference of the greatest living English scholars
     was summoned. The result of that meeting has been that a committee
     representing the finest intellect and the most unsullied integrity
     is now on its way to Jerusalem. Upon the verdict of Sir Robert
     Llwellyn and his fellow-members, together with the distinguished
     foreign _savants_ M. Clermont-Ganneau and Dr. Procopides, the
     Ephor-General of Antiquities in the Athens Museum, the Christian
     world must wait with terrible anxiety, but with a certainty that
     the highest human intelligence is concentrated on its deliberation.

     "What that verdict will be, seems, it must be boldly said and
     faced, almost a foregone conclusion. We feel that we should be
     lacking in our duty to our readers were we to withhold from them
     certain facts. Not unnaturally His Grace the Archbishop and many of
     his advisers have wished the press to preserve a complete silence
     as to the result of the conference, a silence which should continue
     until the report of the International Committee of Investigation is
     published. We have endeavoured to preserve a reticence for two
     days, but at this juncture it becomes our duty to inform the people
     of England what we know. And we do not take this step without
     careful consideration.

     "We have informed the Prime Minister of our intention, and may
     state that, despite the opposition of the Church Party, Lord ----
     is in sympathy with it.

     "Briefly, then, Sir Robert Llwellyn, the acknowledged leader of
     archæological research, has given it as his opinion that Mr.
     Hands's discovery must be genuine. Sir Robert alone has had the
     courage to speak out bravely, though he did so with manifest
     emotion and reluctance. The other members of the conference have
     refused to express an opinion, though of at least three from among
     their number there can be little doubt that they concur with Sir
     Robert's view.

     "Private telegrams, which we have hitherto refrained from
     publishing, show that the cultured people of Germany, from the
     Emperor downwards, are persuaded that the story of Jesus of
     Nazareth has at last been told. Many of the most eminent public men
     of France agree with this view. These are statements borne out by
     the evidence of our correspondents in foreign capitals who have
     secured a series of interviews with those who represent public
     opinion of the expert kind.

     "The Roman Church, on the other hand, with that supreme isolation
     and historic indifference to all that helps the cause of Progress
     and Truth, has not only loftily declined to recognise the fact that
     any discovery has been made at all, has not only absolutely
     declined to be represented at Jerusalem, but has issued a
     proclamation forbidding Roman Catholics to think of or discuss the
     events which are shaking the fabric of Christendom.

     "In saying as much as we have already said, in placing our
     melancholy conviction on record in this way, we lay ourselves open
     to the charge of prejudging the most important decision affecting
     the welfare of mankind that any body of men have ever been called
     upon to make. Not even the startling and overwhelming mass of
     support we have received would have led us to do this were it not
     our conviction that it is the wisest course to pursue in regard to
     what we feel almost certain will happen in the future. It seems far
     better to prepare the minds of Christian English men and women for
     the terrible shock that they will have to endure by a more gradual
     system of disclosure than would be possible were we to adopt the
     suggestion of the bishops and keep silent.

     "And now, in the concluding portion of this article, we must
     briefly consider what the news that it has been our responsible and
     painful duty to give first to the world will mean to England.

     "We fear that the mental anguish of countless thousands must for a
     time cloud the life of our country as it has never been clouded and
     darkened before. The proof that the Divinity of the Greatest and
     Wisest Teacher the world has ever known, or ever will know, is but
     a symbolic fable, will for a time overwhelm the world. A great
     upheaval of English society is beginning. Old and venerated
     institutions will be swept away, minds fed upon the Christian
     theory from youth, instinct with all its hereditary tradition, will
     be for a while as men groping in the dark. But the light will come
     after this great tempest, and it will be a broader, finer, more
     steadfast light than before, because founded on, and springing
     from, Eternal Truth. The mission of beneficent illusion is over.
     Error will yet linger for a generation or two. That much is
     certain. There will be more who will base their objections to the
     New Revelation upon 'the unassailable and ultimate reality of
     personal spiritual experience,' forgetting the psychological
     influences of hereditary training, which have alone produced those
     experiences. But, alas! the knell of the old and beautiful
     superstitions is ringing. The Doom is begun. The Judge is set, who
     shall stay it? Let us rather turn from the saddening spectacle of a
     fallen creed and rejoice that the 'Infinite and eternal energy' men
     have called God--Jah-weh, θεος--that mysterious law of Progress and
     evolution, is about to reveal man to himself more than ever
     completely in its destruction of an imagined revelation."

During the afternoon preceding the publication of the above article, the
three principal proprietors had met at the offices of the paper and had
held a long conference with Mr. Ommaney, the editor.

It had been decided, as a matter of policy and in order to maintain the
leading position already given to the paper by the first publication of
Hands's dispatch, that a strong and definite line should be taken at

The other great journals were already showing signs of a cautious
"trimming" policy, which would allow them to take up any necessary
attitude events might dictate. They feared to be explicit, to speak out.
So they would lose the greater glory.

Once more commercial and political influences were at work, as they had
been two thousand years before. The little group of Jewish millionaires
who sat in Ommaney's room had their prototypes in the times of Christ's
Passion. Men of the modern world were once more enacting the awful drama
of the Crucifixion.

Constantine Schuabe was among the group; his words had more weight than
any others. The largest holding in the paper was his. The tentacles of
this man were far-reaching and strong.

"For my part, gentlemen," Ommaney said, "I am entirely with Mr. Schuabe.
I agree with him that we should at once take the boldest possible
attitude. Sir Robert's opinion before he left was conclusive. We shall
therefore publish a leader to-morrow taking up our standpoint. We will
have it quite plain and simple. Strong and simple, but with no
subtleties to puzzle and obscure the ordinary reader. It's no use to
touch on history or metaphysics, or anything but pure simplicity."

"Then, Mr. Ommaney," Schuabe had said, "since we are exactly agreed on
the best thing to do, and since these other gentlemen are prepared to
leave the thing in our hands, if you will allow me I will write the
leading article myself."


     XLVI: 4

Father Ripon sat alone in his study at the Clergy House of St. Mary's.
The room was quite silent, save for the occasional dropping of a coal
upon the hearth, where a bright, clear fire glowed.

Three walls of the room were lined with books. There was no carpet on
the floor; the bare boards showed, except for a strip of worn matting in
front of the little cheap brass fender. Over the mantel a great crucifix
hung on the bare wall, painted, or rather washed with dark red colour.

The few chairs which stood about were all old-fashioned and rather
uncomfortable. A great writing-table was covered with papers and books.
Two candles stood upon it and gave light to the room. The only other
piece of furniture was a deal praying-stool, with a Bible and
prayer-book upon the ledge.

A rugged, ascetic place, four walls to work and pray in, with just the
necessary tools and no more. Yet there was no _affectation_ of
asceticism, the effect was not a considered one in any way. For example,
there was an oar, with college arms painted on one blade, leaning
against the wall, a memory of old days when Father Ripon had rowed four
and his boat at Oxford had got to the head of the river one Eight's
week. The oar looked as if it were waiting to be properly hung on the
wall as a decorative trophy, which indeed it was. But it had been
waiting for seven years. The priest never had time to nail it up. He did
not despise comfort or decoration, pretend to a pose of rigidness; he
simply hadn't the time for it himself. That was all. He was always
promising himself to put up--for example--a pair of crimson curtains a
sister had sent him months back. But whenever he really determined to
get them out and hang them, some sudden call came and he had to rush out
and save a soul.

Father Ripon looked ill and worn. A pamphlet, a long, thin book bound in
blue paper, with the Royal Arms on the top of the folio, lay upon the
table. It was the report of the Committee of Investigation, and the
whole world was ringing with it.

The report had now appeared for two days.

The priest took up _The Tower_, a weekly paper, the official organ, not
of the pious Evangelical party within the Church, but of the

His hand shook with anger and disgust as he read, for the third time,
the leading article printed in large type, with wider spaces than usual
between the lines:

     "We have hitherto refrained from any comment on the marvellous
     discovery in Jerusalem, being content simply to record the progress
     of the investigations, which have at last satisfied us that a
     genuine discovery has been made.

     "In the daily special issues of the organs of the sacerdotal party
     we find much more freedom of expression. They have run the whole
     gamut--Disbelief, Doubt, Desolation, Detraction, Demoralisation,
     and Dismay. Rome and Ritualism have received a shock which
     demolishes and destroys the very foundation of their sinful

     "Carnal in its conception it cannot survive.

     "'The worship of the corporeal presence of Christ's natural flesh
     and blood' (_vide_ the so-called _Black_ rubric at the end of the
     order of the administration of the Lord's Supper) was always
     prohibited in the Protestant Reformed Communion, but this
     idolatrous practice has been the glory and boast of Babylon, and
     the aim and object of the Traitors, within the Established Church
     of England, whom we have habitually denounced.'

     "'The times of this ignorance God winked at, but now commandeth all
     men everywhere to repent.'

     "Hidden by the Divine Providence till the fulness of time, a simple
     inscription has taught us the full meaning of Paul's mysterious
     words, 'Yea, though we have known Christ after the flesh, yet now
     henceforth know we Him no more.'--2 Cor. v. 16.

     "Paul and Protestantism are vindicated at last. 'There is a natural
     body and there is a spiritual body.' The spiritual body that
     manifested the resurrection of Jesus to His disciples has too long
     been identified with the natural body that was piously laid to rest
     by Joseph and Nicodemus. Much that has been obscure in the Gospel
     narratives is now explained.

     "Men have always wondered that the Apostles, in preaching their
     risen Lord, attempted no explanation of His manifestations of

     "We can understand now why it was that they were divinely protected
     from imagining that the spiritual Body is a dead body revived.

     "How often have perplexed believers been troubled by the questions
     of our modern scientists as to the physical possibilities of a
     future resurrection of the body! The material substance of humanity
     is resolved into its elements, and again and again through the
     centuries is employed in other organisms.

     "'How then,' men have asked, 'can you believe that the body you
     have deposited beneath the earth shall collect from the universe
     its dissipated particles and rise again?'

     "Hitherto we have been content to put the question aside with a
     simple faith that 'with God all things are possible.' But to-day we
     are enabled to have a further comprehension of the Lord's words,
     'It is the spirit that quickeneth, the flesh profiteth nothing.'

     "Doubtless those who, even among our own company of Evangelical
     Protestants, have attached too much importance to the teaching of
     the so-called 'Fathers of the Church' (who so early corrupted the
     sweet simplicity of the Gospel) will find themselves compelled to a
     more spiritual explanation of some passages of Holy Scripture; but
     Faith will find little difficulty in rightly dividing and
     interpreting the word of Truth.

     "The Protestant cause has little to fear from facts. We have been
     by God's Providence gradually prepared for a great elucidation of
     the truth about the Resurrection.

     "Those who studied with attention the treatise of the late
     Frederick W. H. Myers (the man who, of all moderns, has best
     appreciated the personality of Paul the apostle) had come to a
     conviction on the survival of Human Personality after death on
     scientific grounds.

     "The Resurrection of the Lord Jesus was no longer to them 'a thing
     incredible,' its unique character was recognised as consisting in
     its spiritual power.

     "'Some doubted,' as on the mountain in Galilee. Protestantism on
     the Continent, especially in Germany, the home of what is misnamed
     the 'Higher Criticism,' has been hampered in this way by the study
     of the 'letter,' and so in some degree has lost the assistance of
     'the spirit which giveth life.'

     "But the great heart of Protestant England is still sound, and
     whilst Rome and Ritualism are aghast as the foundation of their
     fabric of lies crumbles into dust, we stand sure and steadfast,
     rejoicing in hope.

     "Some readjustment of formularies may be conceded to weak brethren.

     "Our great Reformers drew up that marvellous manifesto of the
     Protestant faith--'Articles agreed upon by the archbishops and
     bishops of Both Provinces, and the whole clergy in the Convocation
     holden at London in the year 1562 for the avoiding of diversities
     of opinions, and for the establishing of consent touching True

     "England was at that time--alas, how often has it been
     so!--inclined to compromise.

     "There were timid men amongst the great divines who brought us out
     of Babylon, and the 4th article of the Thirty-nine was notoriously
     drawn up in antagonism to the teaching of the holy Silesian
     nobleman, Caspar Schwenckfeld, to satisfy the scruples of the
     sacerdotal party, which clung to the benefices of the Establishment
     then as now.

     "The omission of twelve words would remove all doubt as to its
     interpretation. We may be content to affirm that 'Christ did truly
     rise again from death' without stating further 'and took again his
     body with flesh, bones, and all things appertaining.'

     "It has always been the curse of Christendom that man desired to
     express in words the ineffable.

     "'Intruding into those things which he hath not seen, vainly puffed
     up by his fleshly mind.'

     "But it need not now be difficult with the aid of a Protestant
     Parliament, which has so recently and so gloriously determined on
     the expulsion of sacerdotalists, to modify, in deference to pious
     scruples, too rigid definitions. Time will suffice for these
     necessary modifications of sixteenth-century theology.

     "In the present, the gain is ours. We shall hear less of the cultus
     of the 'Sacred Heart' in future. The blasphemous mimicry of the
     Mass will perish from amongst us.

     "No man, in England at least, will dare to affirm that the flesh in
     which the Saviour bore our sins upon the Cross is exposed for
     adoration on the so-called 'altar.'

     "As Matthew Arnold put it, on the true grave of Jesus 'the Syrian
     stars look down,' but the risen Christ, glorious in His _Spiritual_
     Body, reigns over the hearts of his true followers, and we look
     forward in faith to our departure from the earthly tabernacle,
     which is dissolved day by day, knowing that we also have a
     spiritual house not made with hands eternal in the heavens."

As he read the clever trimming article and marked the bitterness of its
tone, the priest's face grew red with anger and contempt.

This facile acceptance of the Great Horror, this insolent conversion of
it to party ends, this flimsy pretence of reconciling statements, which,
if true, made Christianity a thing of nought, to a novel and trumped-up
system of adherence to it, filled him with bitter antagonism.

But, useful as the article was as showing the turn many men's minds were
taking, there was no time to trouble about it now.

To-morrow the great meeting of those who still believed Christ died and
rose again from the dead was to be held.

The terrible "Report" had been issued. During the forty hours of its
existence everything was already beginning to crumble away. To-morrow
the Church Militant must speak to the world.

It was said, moreover, that the great wave of infidelity and mockery
which was sweeping hourly over the country would culminate in a great
riot to-morrow....

Everything seemed dark, black, hopeless....

He picked up the Report once more to study it, as he had done fifty
times that day.

But before he opened it he knelt in prayer.

As he prayed, so sweet and certain an assurance came to him, he seemed
so very near to the Lord, that doubt and gloom fled before that

What were logic, proofs of stone-work, the reports of archæologists, to

Here in this lonely chamber Christ was, and spoke with His servant,
bidding him be of good comfort.

With bright eyes, full of the glow of one who walks with God, the priest
opened the pamphlet once more.



Although, during the first days of the Darkness, hundreds of thousands
of Christian men and women were chilled almost to spiritual death, and
although the lamp of Faith was flickering very low, it was not in London
that the far-reaching effects of the discovery at Jerusalem were most
immediately apparent.

In that great City there is an outward indifference, bred of a million
different interests, which has something akin to the supreme
indifference of Nature. The many voices never blend into one, so that
the ear may hear them in a single mighty shout.

But in the grimmer North public opinion is heard more readily, and is
more quickly visible. In the great centres of executive toil the vital
truths of religion seem to enter more insistently into the lives of men
and women whose environment presents them with fewer distractions than
elsewhere. Often, indeed, this interest is a political interest rather
than a deeply Christian one, a matter of controversy rather than
feeling. Certain it is that all questions affecting religious beliefs
loom large and have a real importance in the cities of the North.

It was Wednesday evening at Walktown.

Mr. Byars was reading the service. The huge, ugly church was lit with
rows of gas-jets, arranged in coronæ painted a drab green. But the
priest's voice, strained and worn, echoed sadly and with a melancholy
cadence through the great barn-like place. Two or three girls, a couple
of men, and half a dozen boys made up the choir, which had dwindled to
less than a fifth of its usual size. The organ was silent.

Right down the church, those in the chancel saw row upon row of
cushioned empty seats. Here and there a small group of people broke the
chilling monotony of line, but the worshippers were very few. In the
galleries an occasional couple, almost secure from observation,
whispered to each other. The church was warm, the seats not
uncomfortable; it was better to flirt here than in the cold, frost-bound

Never had Evensong been so cheerless and gloomy, even in that vast,
unlovely building. There was no sermon. The vicar was suffering under
such obvious strain, he looked so worn and ill, that even this lifeless
congregation seemed to feel it a relief when the Blessing was said and
it was free to shuffle out into the promenade of the streets.

The harsh trumpeting of Mr. Philemon, the vestry clerk's final "Amen,"
was almost jubilant.

As Mr. Byars walked home he saw that the three great Unitarian chapels
which he had to pass _en route_ were blazing with light. Policemen were
standing at the doors to prevent the entrance of any more people into
the overcrowded buildings. A tremendous life and energy pulsated within
these buildings. Glancing back, with a bitter sigh, the vicar saw that
the lights in St. Thomas were already extinguished, and the tower, in
which the illuminated clock glowed sullenly, rose stark and cold into
the dark winter sky.

The last chapel of all, the Pembroke Road Chapel, had a row of finely
appointed carriages waiting outside the doors. The horses were covered
with cloths, the grooms and coachmen wore furs, and the breaths of men
and beasts alike poured out in streams of blue vapour. These men stamped
up and down the gravel sweep in front of the chapel and swung their arms
in order to keep warm.

On each side of the great polished mahogany doors were large placards,
printed in black and red, vividly illuminated by electric arc lights.
These announced that on that night Mr. Constantine Schuabe, M.P., would
lecture on the recent discovery in Jerusalem. The title of the lecture,
in staring black type, seemed to Mr. Byars as if it possessed an almost
physical power. It struck him like a blow.


And then in smaller type,


He walked on more hurriedly through the dark.

All over the district the Church seemed tottering. The strong forces of
Unitarianism and Judaism, always active enemies of the Church, were
enjoying a moment of unexampled triumph. Led by nearly all the wealthy
families in Walktown, all the Dissenters and many lukewarm Church people
were crowding to these same synagogues. At the very height of these
perversions, when Christianity was forsworn and derided on all sides,
Schuabe had returned to Mount Prospect from London.

His long-sustained position as head of the antichristian party in
Parliament, in England indeed, his political connection with the place,
his wealth, the ties of family and relationship, all combined to make
him the greatest power of the moment in the North.

His speeches, of enormous power and force, were delivered daily and
reported _verbatim_ in all the newspapers. He became the Marlborough of
a campaign.

On every side the churches were almost deserted. Day by day ominous
political murmurs were heard in street and factory. The time had come,
men were saying, when an established priesthood and Church must be
forced to relinquish its emoluments and position. The Bishop of
Manchester, as he rolled through the streets in his carriage, leaning
back upon the cushions, lost in thought, with his pipe between his lips,
according to the wont and custom which had almost created a scandal in
the neighbourhood, was hissed and hooted as he went on his way.

With a sickness of heart, an utter weariness that was almost physical
nausea, the vicar let himself into his house with a latch-key.

There was a hushed, subdued air over the warm, comfortable house, felt
quite certainly, though not easy to define. It was as though one lay
dead in an upper chamber.

Mr. Byars turned into his study. Helena rose to meet him. The beautiful,
calm face was very pale and worn as if by long vigils. Minute lines of
care had crept round the eyes, though the eyes themselves were as calm
and steadfast as of old.

"Basil feels much stronger to-night, Father," she said. "He is dressing
now, and will come down to supper. He wishes to have a long talk with
you, he says."

For two weeks Gortre had lain prostrate in the house of his future

It was as though he had watched the waters gradually rising round him
until at last he was submerged in a merciful unconsciousness. The doctor
said that he was enduring a very slight attack of brain-fever, but one
which need cause no one any alarm, and which was, in fact, nothing at
all in comparison to his former illness.

His fine physical strength asserted itself and helped him to an easy
_bodily_ recovery.

To Basil himself, with returning health and a clearer brain came a
renewal of mental power. A great strain was removed, the strain of
waiting and watching, the tension of a sick anticipation.

"It was almost as if I was conscious of this terrible thing that has
happened," he said to Helena. "I am sure that I felt it coming
instinctively in some curious psychic way. But now that we know the
worst, I am my own man again. Soon, dear, I shall be up and about again,
ready to fight against this blackness, to take my place in the ranks
once more."

To her loving solicitude he seemed to have some definite plan or
purpose, but when she questioned him his reserve was impenetrable, even
to her.

During the days of darkness Helena's lot was hard, her heart heavy.
While Mr. Byars was at least active, militant, she must eat her heart
out in sorrow at home. The doctor had forbidden any talk on those
subjects which were agitating the world, between her and Basil. She was
denied that consolation. So while her father was attending the
conferences at the Bishop's palace, speaking at meetings, visiting the
sick with passionate, and, alas, how often useless! assurance that the
Truth would prevail and the Light of the World once more shine out
undimmed, she must live and pray alone.

Helena's faith had never weakened. All through the trying days and
nights it had burned steadily, clear, and pure. But all around her she
saw the enemies of Christ prevailing. Nor was it with the slow movement
of ordinary secularism, but with a great shout of triumph and exultation
which resounded through the world. Men were deserting their posts, the
Church she loved seemed tottering, a horrid confusion and anarchy was

And all that she could do was to pray. But as the girl moved about her
simple household duties, as she tended the sick man with an almost
wifely care, her prayers went on unceasingly and every action was
interwoven with supplication.

Pale, subdued, but with a quiet clearness and resolution in his eye,
Basil came down to the meal. There was but little conversation during
it. Afterwards, Helena went to her own room, knowing that her father and
Gortre wished to be left alone.

In the study the two men sat on either side of the fireplace. Basil wore
a long dressing-gown of camel's-hair. He would not smoke, the doctor had
forbidden it, but Mr. Byars lit his pipe with a sigh of satisfaction.

"To think, Basil," the older man said in a broken voice, "to think that
Christmas is upon us now! It's the vigil of Christmas, and never since
our Lord's Passion has the world been in such a state. And worse than
all is our utter impotence!" His voice grew almost angry. "We _know_,
know as surely as we know anything, that this terrible business is some
stupendous mistake or fraud. But there isn't the slightest possibility
of any one listening to us. On one side the weightiest expert proof, on
the other nothing but a conviction to oppose to what appear to be the
hardest facts. I cannot blame any non-Christian for acquiescing in this
discovery. Viewing the thing clearly and without prejudice, I can't
blame any one. It is only the smallest minority, even of professing
Christians, whose faith is strong enough to keep them from an utter
denial of our Lord's Divinity. It is simply a matter of long personal
experience that gives you and me and Helena our confidence in this
utter darkness. But in comparison to the rest of the world, how many
have that confidence?"

He put down his pipe on the table and rested his head in his
outstretched hands, a grey and venerable head. "It's awful, Basil," he
said in a broken voice, and with his eyes full of tears. "In my old age
I have seen this. I wish that I had gone with my dear wife. 'Help, Lord;
for the godly man ceaseth; for the faithful fail from among the children
of men.' But what is so bitter to me, my dear boy, is the sight of the
utter overthrow of Faith. It all shows how terribly weak the majority of
Christians are. Surface and symbol! symbol and surface!"

"It will not last long," said Gortre, gravely. "For my part, Father, I
think that this terrible trial is allowed and permitted by God to bring
about a great and future triumph for His Son, which will marshal,
organise, and consolidate Faith as nothing has ever done before. I am
convinced of it."

"Yes, it must be that," answered the vicar; "undoubtedly that is God's
purpose. But I would that the light might come in my time. And I fear I
shall not live to see it. I'm an old man now, Basil; this has aged me
very much, and I shall not live much longer. It is God's will, but it is
hard to know that one will die seeing Christ dethroned in the hearts of
men, the Cross broken."

"While I have been quietly up-stairs," said Gortre, "many strange
thoughts have come to me, of which I want to speak to you to-night. I
have things to tell you which I have mentioned to no one as yet. But
before I go into these matters--very dark and terrible ones, I fear--I
want you to give me a _résumé_ of the position of things as they are
now. The present state is not clear in my mind. I have not read many of
the papers, and I want a sort of bird's-eye view of what is going on."

"The position at present," said Mr. Byars, "from our point of view, is a
kind of anarchy. Within every denomination those who absolutely refuse
to credit the truth of the discovery are in the minority. Abroad, in
France especially, wild free-thought of the rabid Tom Paine order has
broken out everywhere in a kind of hysterical rage against Christianity.
The immediate social result has been an appalling increase in crimes of
lust and cruelty. Great alarm is felt by the authorities. All the papers
are taking a horribly cynical view. They say that the delusion of
Christianity has clouded men's brains for so long that they are now
incapable of bearing the truth, and that the best way to govern the
State is to go on making believe. On the other hand, the vast majority
of Roman Catholics, both abroad and in England, have remained utterly
uninfluenced. It is one of the most marvellous triumphs of discipline
and order that history has ever witnessed. The Pope forbade the
slightest notice of the discovery to be taken by priests or people in
the first instance. Then, when the Report of the Committee was issued,
with only one dissentient voice--Sir Michael Manichoe's--a Papal Bull
was issued. Here it is, translated in _The Tablet_, magnificent in its
brevity and serenity."

He took a paper from the table beside him and began to read:


     "It has seemed good to Us to address you on certain points dealing
     with the decay of faith in divine things, which is the effect of
     pride and moral corruption. And this is the natural result of
     pride; for when this vice has taken possession of the heart it is
     inevitable that the Christian Faith, which demands a most willing
     docility, should languish, and that a murky darkness in regard to
     divine truths should close upon the mind, so that in the case of
     many these words should be made good, 'whatever things they know
     not they blaspheme' (St. Jude). We, however, so far from being
     hereby turned aside from the design which We have taken in hand,
     are, on the contrary, determined all the more zealously and
     diligently to guide the well-disposed, so that they may be saved
     from the perils of secular unbelief.

     "And, with the help of the united prayers of the faithful, We
     earnestly implore forgiveness for those who speak evil of holy

     "And inasmuch as certain persons not being members of the Holy
     Catholic Church have in an extremity of criminal madness laid claim
     to discoveries which are pretended and put forth as affecting the
     eternal Truths of the Faith, We command you, Venerable Brethren,
     that it shall be stated in all the churches such pretences are void
     of truth and utterly abominable. The enemies of Christ cry out, 'We
     will not have this man to reign over us' (Luke xix. 14), and make
     themselves loudly heard with the utterance of that wicked purpose,
     'Let us make away with Him.'

     "We therefore charge all Christians having peace and communion with
     the Holy Church that they shall give no ear or countenance to these
     onslaughts upon the Faith. It is forbidden for them to speak of
     these things among themselves, or to listen to others concerning

     "With these injunctions, Venerable Brethren, We, as a presage of
     the divine liberality, and as a pledge of our own charity, most
     lovingly bestow on each of you, and on the clergy and flock
     committed to the care of each, our Apostolic Benediction."

"That is the gist of it," said Mr. Byars, "though I have missed out a
few paragraphs. The result has been that, with a few exceptions, the
whole army of Romanists, so to speak, have closed ranks and utterly
refused to listen to what is going on."

"It's very fine, very fine indeed, as a spectacle," Gortre answered. "I
wish we had something like that unity and discipline. But is that
submission, possibly without the fire of an inward conviction, worth
very much? I doubt it."

"It is not for us to judge," answered the vicar. "But the result has
been that the Catholic Church, both here and on the Continent, is
undergoing a storm of persecution and popular hatred. There have been
fearful fights in Liverpool, and riots between the Irish dock-labourers
and a mob of people who called themselves Protestants last year and
'Rationalists' to-day.

"The attitude of the Low Church party is varied. Many of them are openly
deserting to Unitarianism. Others have accepted the discovery as being a
true one, and evolved an entirely new theory from it, while using it as
a party weapon also. This attitude is reflected in _The Tower_ in an
article which says that, though the actual body of Christ is now proved
never to have risen from the dead, the _spiritual_ body was what the
Disciples saw. It is a clever piece of work, which has attracted an
immense number of people, and is directed entirely against the Holy
Eucharist.[1] The Moderate and High Church parties are in some ways in a
worse position than any other. They find themselves unable to
compromise. "At the great meeting in the Albert Hall the other day,
which ended up in something like a free fight, all the conclusion the
majority of the clergy could come to was that it was utterly impossible
to accept the discovery and remain Christian. The result everywhere is
chaos; men are resigning their livings, there have been several
suicides--isn't it horrible to think of?--congregations are dwindling
everywhere, and disestablishment seems a certainty in a very short time.
The papers are full of nothing else, of course. We are fighting tooth
and nail upon the standpoint of personal spiritual experience, which
nothing can alter, but in a material way how little that helps! The
Methodists and Wesleyans are more successful than any one. They are
holding revival meetings all over the country. Very few of these two
bodies have joined the infidel ranks. Dissent has always implied an act
of choice, which, at any rate, means a man is not indifferent to the
whole thing. I suppose that is why the Wesleyans seem to be making a
firmer and more spiritual stand than any of us. To my shame I say it,
but the Churchmen of England are not bearing witness as these others

"And the Bishops?"

"Most of them don't know what to do. Of course, the great leaders of
spiritual thought, W----, for instance, and G----, have written that
which has brought comfort and conviction to hundreds. But see the horror
of the position. The only way in which this awful thing can be combated
is by just the methods which only scholars and cultivated people can
understand. How are people who read the hard, material, logical speeches
of people like Schuabe, or that abominable woman, Mrs. Hubert Armstrong,
going to be convinced by the subtleties of the intellect or by the
reiteration of a personal conviction which they cannot share? Then the
Court party, the Archbishop, Walke, and all those, are leaning more and
more towards the 'spiritual' body theory, though they hesitate to commit
themselves as yet. It is all to be shelved until Convocation meets. They
want to see how things will go in Parliament. The Erastian spirit is
rampant. They are nearly all afraid of any ecclesiastical action. They
are following the lead of Germany under the Kaiser."

"It is all very terrible to see how much less Christianity means to
mankind than earnest Christians believed," said Gortre, sadly. "To see
the edifice tumbling round one like a house of paper when one thought it
so secure and strong. What a terrible lesson this will be in the future
to every one; what frightful shame and humiliation will come to those
who have denied their Lord when this is over!"

"When will that be, Basil?" said the vicar, wearily. "It seems as if the
real hour of test were at hand, and that now, finally and for ever, God
means to separate the true believers from the rest. I have thought that
all this may be but a prelude to the Last Day of all, and that Christ's
Second Coming is very near. But what I _cannot_ understand, what is
utterly beyond the power of any of us to appreciate, is what this all
_means_. How can this new tomb have been discovered after all these
years? Can all these great experts have been deceived? There have been
historical forgeries before, but surely this cannot be one. And yet, I
_know_, you _know_, that our Lord rose from the dead."

"I believe that to me, of all men in England, The Hand of God has given
the key to the mystery," said Gortre.

Mr. Byars started and looked uneasily at him.

"Basil," he said, "I have been thoughtless. We've talked too long. You
are not quite clear as to what you are saying. Let us read compline
together and go to bed."

He watched Basil as he spoke, but before he had finished his sentence he
saw something in the young man's face which sent the blood leaping and
tearing through his veins.

In a sudden, utterly unreasoning way, he saw a truth, a certain
knowledge, in Gortre's eyes which flooded his whole heart and soul with
exaltation and joy.

His good and almost saintly face looked as John's might have looked
when, after the octave of the Resurrection Day, the eight heavy-hearted
men were once more returning to the daily round and common task, and saw
the Lord upon the shore.



"I have been piecing things together gradually, as I lay silent
up-stairs," said Gortre, drawing his chair a little closer to the fire.

"Slowly, little by little, I have added link and link to a chain of
circumstantial evidence which has led me to an almost incredible
conclusion. When you have heard what I have to say you will realise two
things. One is that there are depths of human wickedness so abysmal and
awful that the mind can hardly conceive of them. The other is that, for
what reason it is not for us to try and divine, I have been led, by a
most extraordinary series of events and coincidences, to something very
near the truth about the discovery in Jerusalem. My story begins some
months ago, on the night before I was struck down with brain-fever. You
will remember that Constantine Schuabe"--he spoke the name with a
shudder of horror that instinctively communicated itself to Mr.
Byars--"that Schuabe called here on that night about the school
scholarships. When I went away, I left the house with him. He invited me
to go on to Mount Prospect and I did so. Earlier in the evening we had
been talking of the antichrist and I had said to you that I saw in
Schuabe a modern type of the old mediæval idea. My mind was peculiarly
sensitive on these points that night, awake, alert, and inquiring. When
Schuabe invited me to his house, something impelled me to go, something
outside of myself. I went, feeling that I was on the threshold of some

He paused for a moment, white and tired with the intensity of his

"When we got to Schuabe's house we began upon the controversial points
which we had carefully avoided here. At first our talk was quite quiet,
mere argument between two people having different points of view on
religion. He went out to get some supper--the servants were all in bed.
While he was gone, again I felt the strange assurance of something by me
directing my actions. I felt a sense of direct spiritual protection. I
went to the bookshelf and took down a Bible. I opened it, half ashamed
of myself for the tinge of superstition, and my eyes fell upon the text:


"I could not help taking it as a direct message. Schuabe came back.
Gradually, as I saw his bitter hatred and contempt for our Lord and the
Christian Church becoming revealed, I was uplifted to rebuke him. He had
dropped the veil of an _intellectual_ disagreement. Some power was given
to me to see far into the man's soul. He knew that also, and all
pretence between us was utterly swept away. Then I told him that his
hate was real and active, that I saw him as he was. And these were the
words in which he answered me, standing like Lucifer before me. For
months they have haunted me. They are burnt in upon my brain for all
time. '_I tell you, paid priest as you are, a blind man leading the
blind, that a day is coming when all your boasted fabric of
Christianity will disappear. It will go suddenly and be swept utterly
away. And you, you shall see it. You shall be left naked of your Faith,
stripped and bare, with all Christendom beside you. Your pale Nazarene
shall die among the bitter laughter of the world, die as surely as he
died two thousand years ago, and no man nor woman shall resurrect him.
You know nothing, but you will remember my words of to-night, until you
also become as nothing and endure the inevitable fate of mankind!_'"

Mr. Byars started. As yet he realised nothing of where Basil's story was
to lead. "A prophecy!" he cried. "It is as if he were gifted to know the
future. Something of what he said has already come to pass."

"My story is a long one, Father," said Gortre, "and as yet it is only
begun. You will see plainer soon. Well, as he said these words I knew
with certainty that this man was _afraid of God_. I saw his awful secret
in his eyes, this man, antichrist indeed, _believes in our Lord_, and in
terrible presumption dares to lift his hand against Him. Little more of
importance happened upon that night. The next day, as you know, I fell
ill and was so for some weeks. When I recovered and remembered perfectly
all that had happened--do you remember how the picture of Christ fell
and broke when Schuabe came?--I saw that I must keep all these things
locked within my own brain. What could I do or say more than that I, a
fanatical curate--that is what people would have said--had had a row
with the famous agnostic millionaire and politician? I could not hope to
explain to any one the reality of that evening, the certain knowledge I
had of its being only a prelude to some horror that I could not foresee
or name. So I kept my own counsel. Perhaps you may remember that on the
night of the tea-party when I said good-bye to the people I urged them
to keep fast hold on faith, made a special point of it?"

Again Mr. Byars showed his intense interest by a sudden movement of the
muscles of his face. But he did not speak, and Gortre continued:

"Now we come to Dieppe when we were all there together. You will, of
course, remember how Spence introduced us to Sir Robert Llwellyn, and
how we talked over dinner at the _Pannier d'Or_. Since then, we must
remember, Sir Robert's evidence in favour of the absolute authenticity
of Hands's discovery has had more weight with the world than that of any
one else. He is, of course, known to be the greatest living expert. And
that fact also has a very important bearing on my story. After dinner,
the conversation turned upon discoveries in exactly the direction that
the recent discovery _has_ been made. Llwellyn expressed himself as
believing that--I think I remember something like his actual words--'We
are on the eve of stupendous discoveries in this direction.' None of us
liked to pursue the discussion further. There was a little pause."

"Yes!" said the vicar, "I remember it perfectly now; it all comes back
to me quite vividly. But do you know that, beyond of course remembering
that we were introduced to Sir Robert at Dieppe, the subject of our
conversation had almost escaped my memory. Certainly I never thought of
it in detail. But go on, Basil."

"Well, then, Sir Robert drew a plan of the walls of Jerusalem on the
back of a letter which he took from his pocket. As he turned the letter
over I could not help seeing whom it was from. I read the signature
quite distinctly, 'Constantine Schuabe.' This brings us up to a curious
fact. Two eminent men, one antichristian, the other a famous
archæologist, both express an opinion in my hearing. The first says
openly that something is about to occur that will destroy faith in
Christ, the other hints only at some wonderful impending discovery in
the Holy Land. The connection between the two statements, startling
enough in any case, becomes still more so when it is discovered that
these two eminent people are in correspondence one with the other. And
there is more than this even. Two days after that dinner I was taking a
stroll down by the quays when I saw Sir Robert and Mr. Schuabe, who had
just landed from the Newhaven boat, get into the Paris train together."

A sudden short exclamation came from the chair on the opposite side of
the fire. Very dimly and vaguely the vicar was beginning to see where
Basil's story was tending. The fire had grown low, and Mr. Byars
replenished it. The noise of the falling coals accentuated the tension
which filled the quiet room like a gas.

Then Gortre's tired, but even and deliberate, voice continued:

"I will here ask you to consider one or two other points. Professor
Llwellyn told us that he had a year's leave from the British Museum
owing to ill health. So long a rest presupposes a real illness, does it
not? Now, of course, one can never be sure of anything of this sort, but
it is, at least, curious and worthy of remark that Sir Robert seemed
outwardly in perfect health and with a hearty appetite. He also said
that he was _en route_ for Alexandria. Well, Alexandria is the nearest
port to Jaffa, which is but one day's ride from Jerusalem. Now comes a
still more curious part of my story. As I have told you, our parish in
Bloomsbury is one in which a great class of undesirable people have made
their home. It cannot be denied that it is a centre of some peculiarly
shameless vice. Much of the work of the clergy lies among women of a
certain class, and great tact and resolution is needed to deal with such
problems as these people present. Some months ago a woman, whose face
seemed in some vague way familiar to me, began to come to church. Once
or twice she seemed to show an inclination to speak to me or my
colleagues after the service, but she never actually did so. Eventually
she called on Ripon, and confessed her way of life. Her repentance
seemed sincere, and she was anxious to turn over a new leaf. It appeared
that the girl was a rather well-known dancer at one of the burlesque
theatres, and I must have seen her portrait on the hoardings and
advertisements of these places. She had been touched by something in one
of my sermons, it seems, and Ripon requested me to go and see her. I did
so, in the flat where she lived, and we had a chat. The poor thing was
suffering from an internal disease, and had only a year or two to live.
She seemed a kindly, sensible creature enough, vulgar and
pleasure-loving, but without any very great wickedness about her,
despite her wretched life. She wanted to get right away, to bury herself
in the country, and live a pure and quiet life until she died. The great
difficulty in the way was the man whose mistress she was, and of whom
she seemed in considerable fear. I explained to her that, with the help
of Father Ripon and myself, no harm should come to her from him, and
that her quiet disappearance from the scenes of her past life could be
very easily managed. Then it came out that the man in whose power she
was was none other than Sir Robert Llwellyn. _She told me that he had
been for some time in Palestine._ She was expecting him back every day.
While we were talking Sir Robert actually entered the room, fresh from
his journey. We had a fearful row, of course, and he would not go until
I threatened to use force, and then only because he was afraid of the
scandal. But before he went he seemed filled with a sort of coarse
triumph even in a moment of what must have been great discomfiture for
him. I had to explain what had happened to him. I told him frankly that
Miss Hunt--that was the woman's name--was, by the grace of the Holy
Spirit, about to lead a new and different life. Then this sort of
triumph burst forth. He said that in a short time meddling priests would
lose all their power over the minds of others. He said that Christ, 'the
pale dreamer of the East,' should be revealed to all men at last. He
quoted the verse about the grave from Matthew Arnold. And it was all
done with a great confidence and certainty."

He stopped, worn out, and glanced inquiringly at Mr. Byars.

The vicar was evidently much moved and excited by the narrative. "The
most curious point of all," he said, "in what you tell me is the fact of
Sir Robert's _private_ and _secret_ visit to Palestine some months
before the discovery was made. Such a recent visit is entirely unknown
to the public, who have been so busy with his name of late. The
newspapers have said nothing of it. Otherwise, I see no reason why, in
some way or other, Mr. Schuabe and Sir Robert may not have known of this
tomb in some way before it was discovered by Hands, and their hintings
of a catastrophe to faith may have simply been because of this knowledge
which they were unwilling to publish."

Gortre shook his head. "No, it is not that," he said. "It is not that.
They would never have kept the knowledge secret. You have not been
through the scenes with these men that I have. There are a hundred
objections to that theory. _I am absolutely persuaded that this
'discovery' is a forgery, executed with the highest skill, by the one
man living capable of doing it at the instigation of the one man evil
enough to suggest it._ The hand of God is leading me towards the truth."

"But the proof!" said the vicar, "the proof! Think of the tremendous
forces arrayed against us. What can we do? No one would listen to what
you have told me."

"God will show a way," said Gortre. "I know it. I had a letter from
Harold Spence this morning. His work is done, and he has returned. At
the end of the week the doctor says I shall be able to get back to
Lincoln's Inn. I shall take counsel with Harold; he is brilliant, and a
man of the world. Together we will work to overthrow these devils."

"And meanwhile," answered Mr. Byars, with a despairing gesture,
"meanwhile hope and faith are dying out of millions of hearts, men are
turning to sinful pleasures unafraid, hopeless, desolate."

The strain had been too great, he was growing older; he bent his head on
his hands, while the darkness crept into his soul.



The long Manchester station was full of the sullen and almost unbearable
roar of escaping steam. Every now and again the noise ceased with a
suddenness that was pain, and the groups of people waiting to see the
London train start on its four hours' rush could hear each other's
voices strange and thin after the mighty vibration.

The feast of Christmas was over. Throughout the world the festival had
fallen chill and cold on the hearts of mankind. The _Adeste Fideles_ had
summoned few to worship, and the praise had sounded thin and hollow.
Even the faithful must keep their deep conviction as a hidden fire
within them amid the din and crash of faith and the rising tides of
negation and despair.

Gortre, Helena, and Mr. Byars stood together by the train side. They
spoke but little; the same thought was in their brains. The jarring
materialism of the scene, its steady, heedless industry, seemed an
outrage almost in its cold disregard of the sadness which they felt
themselves. The great engines glided in and out of the station, the
porters and travellers moved with busy cheerfulness as if the world were
not in the grip of a great darkness and horror, taking no account of
it. They stood by the door of the carriage Basil had chosen, a forlorn
group not quite able to realise the stir of life around them.

Gortre was pale and worn, but visibly better and stronger. His face was
fixed and resolute. The vicar seemed much older, shrunken somewhat, and
his manner was more tremulous than before. His arm was in Helena's.

"Basil," said the vicar, "you are going from us into what must be the
unknown--God grant a happy issue out of the perils and difficulties
before you. For my part, I seem to be in an unhappy and doubting state.
It may be that you have the key to this black mystery and can dispel the
clouds. I shall pray daily that it may be so. It is in the hands of

He sighed heavily as he gripped Basil's hand in farewell. In truth, he
had but little hope and had hardly been able to realise the young man's
story. It was almost inconceivable to him, the abnormal wickedness it
suggested, the possibility that this great cloud could come upon the
world at the action of two men, both of whom he had known, found
pleasant, cultured people, and rather liked. The thought was too big to
grasp, it confused and stunned him. It is a curious fact that this good
man, who could believe, despite all contrary evidence, in the eternal
truths of the Gospel, could not believe in the malignancy which Basil's
story had seemed to indicate.

Helena had not been told of Basil's suspicions, only of his hopes. She
knew that there was that in his mind which might lead once more to light
and disperse the clouds. No details were given to her, nor did she ask
for them. She was too serene and fine for commonplace curiosity. The
mutual trust between the lovers was absolute. Nothing could strain it,
nothing could disturb it; and in her love and admiration for Basil,
Helena saw nothing incongruous or incredible in the fact that the young
man hoped himself to bring peace back to the world.

To any one viewing the project with unbiassed eyes it might have seemed
beyond possibility, would have provoked a smile, this spectacle of an
obscure curate going up to London in a third-class carriage with hopes
of saving his country's faith, in the expectation of overthrowing the
gigantic edifice of learned opinion, of combating a Sanhedrin of the
great. Such people would have said with facile pedantry that this girl
possessed no sense of humour, imagining that they were reproaching her.
For by some strange mental perversion most people would rather be told
that they lack a sense of morals or duty than a sense of humour, and it
is quite certain that this was said of John the Baptist as he preached
in his unconventional raiment upon Jordan's banks.

Helena and Basil walked slowly up and down the platform, saying

Her words of love and hope, her serene and unquestioning confidence,
uplifted him as nothing else could do. At this moment, big with his own
passionate hopes and desires, yet dismayed at the immensity of the task
before him, the trust and encouragement of one he loved were especially
helpful and uplifting. It was the tonic he needed. And as the train
slowly moved out of the station the bright and noble face of his lady
was the last thing he saw.

He thought long of her as the train began to gather speed and rush
through the smoky Northern towns. As many other people, Gortre found a
stimulus to clear, ordered thought in the sensation of rapid motion. The
brain worked with more power, owing to the exhilaration produced in it
by speed.

As the ponderous machine which was carrying him back to the great
theatre of strife and effort gathered momentum and power, so his mind
became filled with high hopes, began to glow with eagerness to strike a
great blow against the enemies of Christ.

He looked at the carriage, noticing for the first time, at least
consciously, the people who sat there. He had two fellow-passengers, a
man and a woman. The man seemed to belong to the skilled artisan class,
decently dressed, of sober and quiet manner. His well-marked features,
the prominent nose, keen grey eyes, and thick reddish moustache, spoke
eloquently of "character" and somewhat of thought. The woman was old,
past sixty, a little withered creature, insignificant of face, her mouth
a button, her hair grey, scanty, and ill-nourished.

The man was sitting opposite to Gortre and they fell into talk after a
time on trivial subjects. The stranger was civil, but somewhat
assertive. He did not use the ordinary "sir."

Suddenly, with a slight smile of anticipation, he seemed to gather
himself up for discussion.

"Well," he said, "I don't wish individuals no particular harm, you'll
understand, but speaking general, I suppose you realise that your job's
over. The Church will be swept away for good 'n' all in a few months
now, and to my way of thinking it'll be the best thing as 'as ever come
to the country. The Church has always failed to reach the labourin'

"Because the labouring man has generally failed to reach the Church,"
said Gortre, smiling. "But you mean Disestablishment is near, I

"That's it, mister," said the man. "It must come now, and about time,
too, after all these centuries of humbug. I used to go to church years
back and sing 'The Church's one foundation.' Its foundation's been
proved a pack o' lies now, and down it comes. Disestablishment will
prove the salvation of England. When religion's swept away by act o'
Parliament, then men will have an opportunity of talking sense and
seeing things clearly."

He spoke without rudeness but with a certain arrogance and an obvious
satisfaction at the situation. Here was a parson cornered, literally,
forced to listen to him, with no way of escape. Gortre imagined that he
was congratulating himself that this was not a corridor train.

"I think Disestablishment is very likely to come indeed," said Gortre,
"and it will come the sooner for recent events. Of course I think that
it will be most barefaced robbery to take endowments from the Church
which are absolutely her own property, and use them for secular
purposes, but I'm not at all sure that it wouldn't be an excellent thing
for the Church after all. But you seem to think that Disestablishment
will destroy _religion_. That is an entire mistake, as you will find."

"It's destroyed already," said the man, "let alone what's _going_ to
happen. Since what they've found out in Jerusalem the whole thing's gone
puff! like blowin' out a match. You can't get fifty people together in
any town what believe in religion any more. The religion of common sense
has come now, and it's come to stay."

A voice with a curious singing inflection came from the corner of the
carriage, a voice utterly unlike the harsh North-country accent of the
workman. The old woman was beginning to speak.

Gortre recognised the curious Cornish tones at once, and looked up with
sudden interest.

"You'm wrong, my son," said the old woman, "bitter wrong you be, and
'tis carnal vanity that spakes within you. To Lostwithul, where I bide,
I could show 'ee different to what you do say."

The workman, a good-humoured fellow enough, smiled superior at the odd
old thing. The wrinkled face had become animated, two deep lines ran
from the nostrils to the corner of the lips, hard and uncompromising.
The eyes were bright.

"Well, Mother," he said, "let's hear what _you've_ got ter say. Fair
do's in argument is only just and proper."

"Ah!" she replied, "it's easy to go scat when you've not got love of the
Lard in your heart. I be gone sixty years of age, and many as I can mind
back-along as have trodden the path of sorrow. There be a brae lot o'
fools about."

The workman winked at Gortre with huge enjoyment, and settled himself
comfortably in his place.

"Then you don't hold with Disestablishing the Church, Mother?" he said.

"I do take no stock in Church," she replied, "begging the gentleman's
pardon"--this to Gortre. "I was born and bred a Wesleyan and such I'm
like to die. How should I know what they'll be doing up to London church
town? This here is my first visit to England to see my daughter, and
it'll be the last I've a mind to take. You should come to Cornwall, my
dear, and then you'll see if religion's over and done away with."

"But you've heard of all as they've just found out at Jerusalem, surely?
It's known now that Christ never was what He made out to be. He won't
save no more sinners,--it's all false what the Bible says, it's been
_proved_. I suppose you've heard about _that_ in Cornwall?"

"I was down to the shop," said the old lady, with the gentle contempt of
one speaking to a foolish child. "I was down to the shop December month,
and Mrs. Baragwaneth showed me the _Western Morning News_ with a picture
and a lot of talk saying the Bible was ontrue, and Captain Billy Peters,
of Treurthian mine, he was down-along too. How 'a did laugh at 'un! 'My
dear,' he says, ''tis like the coast guards going mackerel-seining.
Night after night have they been out, and shot the nets, too, for they
be alwass seein' something briming, thinking it a school o' fish, and
not knowing 'tis but moonshine. It's want of _experience_ that do make
folk talk so.'"

"That's all very well, Mother," answered the man, slightly nettled by
the placid assurance of her tone. "That's all pretty enough, and though
I don't understand your fishing terms I can guess at your meaning. But
here's the _proof_ on one side and nothing at all on t'other. Here's all
the learned men of all countries as says the Bible is not true, _and
proving_ it, and here's you with no learning at all just saying it _is_,
with no proof whatever."

"Do 'ee want proof, then?" she answered eagerly, the odd see-saw of her
voice becoming more and more accentuated in her excitement. "I tell 'ee
ther's as many proofs as pilchards in the say. Ever since the Lard
died--ah! 'twas a bitter nailing, a bitter nailing, my dear!"--she
paused, almost with tears in her voice, and the whole atmosphere of the
little compartment seemed to Basil to be irradiated, glorified by the
shining faith of the old dame--"ever since that time the proofs have
been going on. Now I'll tell 'ee as some as I've see'd, my son. Samson
Trevorrow to Carbis water married my sister, May Rosewarne, forty years
ago. He would drink something terrible bad, and swear like a foreigner.
He'd a half-share in a trawler, three cottages, and money in the bank.
First his money went, then his cottages, and he led a life of sin and
brawling. He were a bad man, my dear. Every one were at 'un for an
ongodly wastrel, but 'a kept on. An' the Lard gave him no children; May
could not make a child to him, for she were onfruitful, but he would not
change. All that folk with sense could do was done, but 't were no

"Well, I know the sort of man," said the workman, with conviction. His
interest was roused, that unfailing interest which the poorer classes
take in each other's family history.

"Then you do know that nothing won't turn them from their evil ways?"

"When a chap gets the drink in him like that," replied the artisan,
"there's no power that will take him from it. He'd go through sheet iron
for it."

"And so would Samson Trevorrow, my dear," she continued. "One night he
came home from Penzance market, market-peart, as the saying is, drunk if
you will. My sister said something to 'un, what 't was I couldn't say,
but he struck her, for the first time. Next morning was the Sunday, and
when she told him of what he'd done overnight, he was shamed of himself,
and she got him to come along with her to chapel. 'T was a minister from
Bodmin as prached, and 'ee did prache the Lard at Sam until the Word got
hold on 'un and the man shook with repentance at his naughty life. He
did kneel down before them all and prayed for forgiveness, and for the
Lard to help 'un to lead a new life. From that Sabbath till he died,
many years after, Sam never took anything of liquor, he stopped his
sweering and carrying on, and he lived as a good man should. And in a
year the Lard sent 'un a son, and if God wills I shall see the boy this
afternoon, for he's to meet the train. There now, my son, that be gospel
truth what I tell 'ee. After that can you expect any one with a grain of
sense to listen to such foolish truck as you do tell? The Lard did that
for Samson Trevorrow, changed 'un from black to white, 'a did. If the
Queen herself were to tell me that the Lard Jesus wasn't He, I wouldn't
believe her."

As Gortre drove from Euston through the thronged veins of London
towards the Inn, he thought much and with great thankfulness of the
little episode in the train. Such simple faith, such supreme conviction,
was, he knew, the precious possession of thousands still. What did it
matter to these sturdy Nonconformists in the lone West that _savants_
denied Christ? All over England the serene triumph of the Gospel, deep,
deep down in the hearts of quiet people, gave the eternal lie to Schuabe
and his followers. Never could they overcome the Risen Lord in the human
heart. He began to realise more and more the ineffable wonder of the

Before he had arrived at Chancery Lane the London streets began to take
hold of him once more with the old familiar grip. How utterly unchanged
they were! It seemed but a day since he had left them; it was impossible
at the moment of re-contact to realise all that had passed since he had
gone away.

He was to have an immediate and almost terrifying reminder of it. The
door of the chambers was not locked, and pushing it open, he entered.

Always most sensitive to the _atmosphere_ of a room, moral as well as
material, he was immediately struck by that of the chambers, most
unpleasantly so, indeed. Certain indications of what had been going on
there were easily seen. Others were not so assertive, but contributed
their part, nevertheless, to the subtle general impression of the place.

The air was stale with the pungent smell of Turkish tobacco and spirits.
It was obvious that the windows had not been as freely opened as their
wont. A litter of theatre programmes lay on one chair. On another was a
programme of a Covent Garden ball and a girl's shoe of white satin, into
which a fading bouquet of hothouse flowers had been wantonly crushed.
The table was covered with the _débris_ of a supper, a _pâté_, some
long-necked bottles which had held Niersteiner, a hideous box of pink
satin and light blue ribbons half full of _glacé_ plums and chocolates.

The little bust of the Hermes of Praxiteles, which stood on one of the
bookcases, had been maltreated with a coarseness and vulgarity which
hurt Basil like a blow. The delicate contour of the features, the pure
white of the plaster, were soiled and degraded. The cheeks had been
rouged up to the eyes, which were picked out in violet ink. The brows
were arched with an "eyebrow pencil" and the lips with a vivid cardinal

Basil put down his portmanteau and grew very pale as he looked round on
these and many other evidences of sordid and unlovely riot. His heart
sank within him. He began to fear for Harold Spence.

Even as he looked round, Spence came into the room from his bed-chamber.
He was dressed in a smoking jacket and flannel trousers. Basil saw at
once that he had been drinking heavily. The cheeks were swollen under
the pouch of the eye, he was unshaven, and his manner was full of noisy
and tremulous geniality.

There are men in whom a week or two of sudden relapse into old and evil
courses has an extraordinarily visible effect. Spence was one of them.
At the moment he looked as the clay model compares with the finished

Gortre was astounded at the change, but one thing the modern London
clergyman learns is tact. The situation was obvious, it explained itself
at once, and he nerved himself to deal with it warily and carefully.

Spence himself was ill at ease at they went through the commonplaces of
meeting. Then, when they were both seated by the fire and were smoking,
he began to speak frankly.

"I can see you are rather sick, old man," he said. "Better have it out
and done with, don't you think?"

"Tell me all about it, old fellow," said Gortre.

"Well, there isn't very much to tell, only when I came back from
Palestine after all that excitement I felt quite lost and miserable.
Something seemed taken away out of one's life. Then there didn't seem
much to do, and some of the old set looked me up and I have been
racketing about town a good bit."

"I thought you'd got over all that, Harold; because, putting it on no
other grounds, you know the game is _not_ worth the candle."

"So I had, Basil, before"--he swallowed something in his throat--"before
_this_ happened. I didn't believe in it at first, of course, or, at
least, not properly, when I got Hands's letter. But when I got out
East--and you don't know and won't be able to understand how the East
turns one's ideas upside down even at ordinary times--when I got out
there and _saw_ what Hands had found, then everything seemed slipping
away. Then the Commission came over and I was with them all and heard
what they had to say. I know the whole private history of the thing from
first to last. It made me quite hopeless--a terrible feeling--the sort
of utter dreariness that Poe talks of that the man felt when he was
riding up to the House of Usher. Of course, thousands of people must
have felt just the same during the past weeks. But to have the one thing
one leaned upon, the one hope that kept one straight in this life, the
hope of another and happier one, cut suddenly out of one's
consciousness! Is it any wonder that one has gone back to the old
temptations? I don't think so, Basil."

His voice dropped, an intense weariness showed in his face. His whole
body seemed permeated by it, he seemed to sink together in his chair.
All the mental pain he had endured, all the physical languor of fast
living, that terrible nausea of the soul which seizes so imperiously
upon the vicious man who is still conscious of sin; all these flooded
over him, possessed him, as he sat before his friend.

An enormous pity was in Basil's heart as he saw this concrete weakness
and misery. He realised what he had only guessed at before or seen but
dimly. He would not have believed this transformation possible; he had
thought Harold stronger. But even as he pitied him he marvelled at the
Power which had been able to keep the man pure and straight so long.
Even this horrid _débâcle_ was but another, if indirect, testimony to
the power of Faith.

And, secondly, as he listened to his friend's story, a deep anger, a
righteous wrath as fierce as flame burned within him as he thought of
the two men who, he was persuaded, had brought this ruin upon another.
In Spence he was able to see but a single case out of thousands which he
knew must be similar to it. The evil passions which lie in the hearts of
all men had been loosened and unchained; they had sprung into furious
activity, liberated by the appalling conspiracy of Schuabe and Llwellyn.

It is noticeable that there was by this time hardly any doubt in
Gortre's mind as to the truth of his suspicions.

"I understand it all, old man," he said, "and you needn't tell me any
more. I can sympathise with you. But I have much to tell you--news, or,
at least, theories, which you will be astounded to hear. Listen
carefully to me. I believe that just as you were the instrument of first
bringing this news to public notice, so you and I are going to prove its
falsity, to unearth the most wicked conspiracy in the world's history.
Pull yourself together and follow me with all your power. All hope is
not yet gone."

Basil saw, with some relief, the set and attentive face before him, a
face more like the old Spence. But, as he began to tell his story, there
flashed into his mind a sudden picture of the old Cornish woman in the
train, and he marvelled at that greater faith as his eye fell upon the
foul disorder of the room.



In the large, open fireplaces of the Sheridan Club dining-room, logs of
pine and cedar wood gave out a regular and well-diffused warmth.
Outside, the snow was still falling, and beyond the long windows,
covered with their crimson curtains, the yellow air was full of soft and
silent movement.

The extreme comfort of the lofty, panelled dining-room was accentuated a
hundred-fold, to those entering it, by the chilly experience of the

The electric lights burnt steadily in their silk shades, the gleams
falling upon the elaborate table furniture in a thousand points of
dancing light.

At one of the tables, laid for two people, Sir Robert Llwellyn was
sitting. He was in evening dress, and his massive face was closely
scrutinising a printed list propped up against a wine-glass before him.
His expression was interested and intent. By his side was a sheet of the
club note-paper, and from time to time he jotted down something upon it
with a slender gold pencil.

The great archæologist was ordering dinner for himself and a guest with
much thought and care.

     _Crême d'asperge à la Reine_

in his neat writing, the letters distinct from one another--almost like
an inscription in Uncial Greek character, one might have fancied.

_Turbot à l'Amiral_ promised well; the plump, powerful fingers wrote it

_Poulardes du Mans rôties_ with _petits pois à la Française_ with a
_salade Niçoise_ to follow; that would be excellent! Then just a little
_suprème de pêches, à la Montreuil_, which is quite the best kind of
_suprème_, then some _Parmesan_ before the coffee.

"Quite a simple dinner, Painter," he said to the steward of the
room,--the famous "small dining-room" with its alcoves and discreet
corners,--"simple but good. Of course you will tell Maurice that it is
for _me_. I want him to do quite his best. If you will send this list
off to the kitchens with a message, we will go into the wines together."

They went carefully into the wines.

"Remember that we shall want the large liqueur glasses," he said, "with
the Tuileries brandy. In fact, I think I'll take a little now, as an

The man bowed confidentially and went away. He returned with a long
bottle of curious shape with an imperial crown blown in the glass. It
was some of the famous brandy which had been lately found bricked up in
a cellar close to the _Place Carrousel_, and was worth its weight in

On the tray stood one of the curious liqueur glasses lately introduced
into the club by Sir Robert. It was the shape of a port-wine glass, but
enormously large, capable of holding a pint or more, and made of glass
as thin as tissue paper and fragile as straw. The steward poured a very
little of the brandy into the great glass and twirled it round rapidly
by the stem. This was the most epicurean device for bringing out the
bouquet of the liqueur.

Llwellyn sipped the precious liquid with an air of the most intense
enjoyment. His face glowed with enthusiasm.

"Wonderful, wonderful!" he said in a hushed voice. "There, take it away
and bring me an olive. Then I will go down-stairs and wait for my friend
in the smoking-room. You will serve the soup at five minutes past

He got up from the table and moved silently over the heavy carpet to the

It was about seven o'clock. At eight Constantine Schuabe was coming to
the Sheridan Club to dine.

Sir Robert sat in the smoking-room with a tiny cigarette of South
American tobacco, wrapped in maize leaf and tied round the centre with a
tiny cord of green silk. His face expressed nothing but the most
absolute repose. His correspondence with life was at that moment as
complete as the most perfect health and discriminating luxury could make

He stretched out his feet to the blaze and idly watched the reflection
in the points of his shining boots.

The room was quite silent now. A few men sat about reading the evening
papers, and there was a subdued hum of talk from a table where two men
were playing a casual game of chess, in which neither of them seemed
much interested. A large clock upon the oak mantel-shelf ticked with
muffled and soothing regularity.

Llwellyn picked up a sixpenny illustrated paper, devoted to amusements
and the lighter side of life, and lazily opened it.

His eye fell upon a double-page article interspersed with photographs of
actors and actresses. The article was a summing-up of the year's events
on the lighter stage by an accepted expert in such matters. He read as

     "The six Trocadero girls whom I remember in Paris recently billed
     as 'The Cocktails,' never forget that grace is more important in
     dancing than mere agility. They are youthful looking, pretty and
     supple, and their manœuvres are cunningly devised. The _diseuse_ of
     the troupe, Mdlle. Nepinasse, sings the Parisian success, _Viens
     Poupoule_, with considerable 'go' and swing. But in hearing her at
     the 'Gloucester' the other night I could not help regretting the
     disappearance of brilliant Gertrude Hunt from the boards where she
     was so great an attraction. _Poupoule_, or its English equivalent,
     is just the type of song, with its attendant descriptive dance, in
     which that gay little lady was seen at her best. In losing her, the
     musical-comedy stage has lost a player whose peculiar individuality
     will not easily be replaced. Gertrude Hunt stood quite alone among
     her sisters of the Profession. Who will readily forget the pert
     _insouciance_, the little trick of the gloved hands, the mellow
     calling voice? It has been announced that this popular favourite
     has disappeared for ever from the stage. But there is a distinct
     mystery about the sudden eclipse of this star, and one which
     conjecture and inquiry has utterly failed to solve. Well, I, in
     common with thousands of others, can only sigh and regret it. Yet I
     should like to think that these lines would meet her eye, and she
     may know that I am only voicing the wishes of the public when I
     call to her to come back and delight our eyes and ears as before."

By the side of the paragraph there was a photograph of Gertrude Hunt. He
stared at it, his mind busy with memories and evil longing. The bold,
handsome face, the great eyes, looked him full in the face. Never had
any woman been able to hold him as this one. She had become part of his
life. In his mad passion for the dancer he had risked everything, until
his whole career had depended upon the good-will of Constantine Schuabe.
There had been no greater pleasure than to satisfy her wishes, however
tasteless, however vulgar. And then, hastening back to her side with a
fortune for her (the second he had poured into the white grasping
hands), he had found her with the severe young priest. A power which he
was unable to understand had risen up as a bar to his enormous egoism.
She had gone, utterly disappeared, vanished as a shadow vanishes at the
moving of a light.

And all his resources, all those of the theatre people with whom she had
been so long associated, had utterly failed to trace her.

The Church had swallowed her up in its mystery and gloom. She was lost
to him for ever. And the fierce longing to be with her once more burnt
within him like the unhallowed flame upon the altar of an idol.

As he regarded the chaos into which the Church was plunged he would
laugh to himself in horrid glee. His indifference to all forms of
religious congregations had gone. He felt an active and bitter hatred
now hardly less than that of Schuabe himself. And all the concentrated
hatred and incalculable malice that his poisoned brain distilled was
focussed and directed upon the young curate who had been the means and
instrument of his discomfiture. He had begun to plan schemes of swift
revenge, laughing at himself sometimes for the crude melodrama of his

As a waiter with his powdered hair and white silk stockings showed
Schuabe into the smoking-room, the Jew saw with surprise the flushed and
agitated face of his host, so unlike its usual sensual serenity. He
wondered what had arisen to disturb Llwellyn, and he made up his mind
that he would know it before the evening was over.

Schuabe, on his part, seemed depressed and in poor spirits. There was a
restlessness, quite foreign to his usual composure, which appeared in
little nervous tricks of his fingers. He toyed with his wine-glass and
did poor justice to the careful dinner.

"Everything is going on very well," Llwellyn said. "My book is nearly
finished, and the American rights were sold yesterday. The Council of
the Free Churches have appointed Dr. Barker to write a counterblast. Who
could have foreseen the stir and tumult in the world? Everything is
toppling over in the religious world. I have read of your triumphal
progress in the North--this asparagus soup is excellent."

"I don't feel very much inclined to talk of these things to-night," said
Schuabe. "To tell the truth, my nerves are a little out of order, and I
have been doing too much. I've got in that ridiculous state in which one
is constantly apprehending some sinister event. Everything has gone
well, and yet I'm like this. It is foolish. How humiliating a thought it
is, Llwellyn, that even intellects like yours and mine are entirely
dependent upon the secretions of the liver!"

He smiled rather grimly, and the disturbance of the regular repose and
immobility of his face showed depths of weary unhappiness which betrayed
the tumult within.

He recovered himself quickly, anxious, it seemed, to betray his thoughts
no further.

"You seemed upset when I came into the club," he said. "You ought to be
happy enough. Debts all gone, fifty thousand in the bank, reputation
higher than ever, and all the world listening to everything you've got
to say." He smiled rather bitterly, as Llwellyn raised a glass of
champagne to his lips.

"Exactly," said Llwellyn. "I've got everything I wanted a few months
ago, and one of the principal inducements for wanting it has gone."

"Oh! you mean that girl?" answered Schuabe, contemptuously. "Well, buy
another. They are for sale in all the theatres, you know."

"It's all very well to sneer like that," replied Llwellyn. "It's nothing
to me that you're about as cold-blooded as a fish, but you needn't sneer
at a man who is not. Because you enjoy yourself by means of asceticism
you have no more virtue than I have. I am fond of this one girl; she has
become necessary to my life. I spent thousands on her, and then this
abominable young parson takes her away--" He ground his teeth savagely,
his face became purple, he was unable to finish his sentence.

Curiously enough Schuabe seemed to be in sympathy with his host's rage.
A deadly and vindictive expression crept into his eyes, which were
nevertheless more glittering and cold than before.

"Gortre has come back to London. He has been here nearly a week," said
Schuabe, quickly.

The other started. "You know his movements then? What has he to do with

"More than, perhaps, you think. Llwellyn, that young man is dangerous!"

"He's done me all the harm he can already. There is nothing else he can
do, unless he elopes with Lady Llwellyn, an event which I should view
with singular equanimity."

"At any rate, I take sufficient interest in that person's movements to
have them reported to me daily."

"Why on earth----?"

"Simply because he guesses, or will guess, at the truth about the
Damascus Gate sepulchre!"

Llwellyn grew utterly white. When he spoke it was with several
preliminary moistenings of the lips.

"But what proof can he have?"

"Don't be alarmed, Llwellyn. We are perfectly safe in every way. Only
the man is an enemy of mine, and even small enemies are obnoxious. He
won't disturb either of us for long."

The big man gave a sigh of relief. "Well, you manage as you think best,"
he said. "Confound him! He deserves all he gets--let's change the
subject. It's a little too Adelphi-like to be amusing."

"I am going to hear Pachmann in the St. James's Hall. Will you come?"

Llwellyn considered a moment. "No, I don't think I will. I'm going out
to a supper-party in St. John's Wood later--Charlie Fitzgerald's, the
lessee of the Piccadilly. I shall go home and read a novel quietly. To
tell the truth, I feel rather depressed, too. Everything seems going too
well, doesn't it?"

Schuabe's voice shook a little as he replied shortly.

For a brief moment the veil was raised. Each saw the other with eyes
full of the fear that was lurking within them.

For weeks they had been at cross purposes, simulating a courage and
indifference they did not feel.

Now each knew the truth.

They knew that the burden of their terrible secret was beginning to
press and enclose them with its awful weight. Each had imagined the
other free from his own terror, that terror that lifts up its head in
times of night and silence, the dread Incubus that murders sleep.

The two men went out of the club together without speaking. Their hearts
were beating like drums within them; it was the beginning of the agony.

       *       *       *       *       *

Llwellyn, his coat exchanged for a smoking jacket, lay back in a leather
chair in his library. Since his return from Palestine he had transferred
most of his belongings to a small flat in New Bond Street. He hardly
ever visited his wife now. The flat in Bloomsbury Court Mansions had
been given up when Gertrude Hunt had gone.

In New Bond Street Sir Robert lived alone. A housekeeper in the basement
of the buildings looked after his rooms and his valet slept above.

The new _pied à terre_ was furnished with great luxury. It was not the
garish luxury and vulgar splendour of Bloomsbury Court--that had been
the dancer's taste. Here Llwellyn had gathered round him all that could
make life pleasant, and his own taste had seen to everything.

As he sat alone, slightly recovered from the nervous shock of the
dinner, but in an utter depression of spirits, his thoughts once more
went back to his lost mistress.

It was in times like these that he needed her most. She would distract
him, amuse him, where a less vulgar, more intellectual woman would have
increased his boredom.

He sighed heavily, pitying himself, utterly unconscious of his
degradation. The books upon the shelves, learned and weighty monographs
in all languages, his own brilliant contributions to historical science
among them, had no power to help him. He sighed for his rowdy Circe.

The electric bell of the flat rang sharply outside in the passage. His
man was out, and he rose to answer it himself.

A friend probably had looked him up for a drink and smoke. He was glad;
he wanted companionship, easy, genial companionship, not that pale devil
Schuabe, with his dreary talk and everlasting reminder.

He went out into the passage and opened the front door. A woman stood

She moved, and the light from the hall shone on her face.

The eyes were brilliant, the lips were half parted.

It was Gertrude Hunt.

       *       *       *       *       *

They were sitting on each side of the fire.

Gertrude was pale, but her dark beauty blazed at him.

She was smoking a cigarette, just as in the old time.

A little table with a caraffe of brandy and bottles of seltzer in a
silver stand stood between them.

Llwellyn's face was one large circle of pleasure and content. His eyes
gleamed with an evil triumph as he looked at the girl.

"Good Heavens!" he cried, "why, Gertie, it's almost worth while losing
you to have you back again like this. It's just exactly as it used to
be, only better; yes, better! So you got tired of it all, and you've
come back. What a little fool you were ever to go away, dear!"

"Yes, I got tired of it," she repeated, but in a curiously strained

He was too exhilarated to notice the strange manner of her reply.

"Well, I've got any amount of ready cash now," he said joyously. "You
can have anything you like now that you've given up the confounded
parsons and become sensible again."

She seemed to make an effort to throw off something that oppressed her.

"Now, Bob," she said, "don't talk about it. I've been a little fool, but
that's over. What a lot you've got to tell me! What did you do all the
time you were away? Where did you raise the 'oof from? Tell me
_everything_. Let's be as we were before. No more secrets!"

He seemed to hesitate for a moment.

She saw that, and stood up. "Come and kiss me, Bob," she said. He went
to her with unsteady footsteps, as if he were intoxicated by the fury of
his passion.

"Tell me everything, Bob," she whispered into his ear.

The man surrendered himself to her, utterly, absolutely.

"Gertie," he said, "I'll tell you the queerest story you ever heard."

He laughed wildly.

"I've tricked the whole world by Jove! cleared fifty thousand pounds,
and made fools of the whole world."

She laughed, a shrill, high treble.

"Dear old Bob," she cried; "clever old Bob, you're the best of them all!
What have you done this time? Tell me all about it."

"By God, I will," he cried. "I'll tell you the whole story, little
girl." His voice was utterly changed.

"Yes, everything!" she repeated fiercely.

Her body shook violently as she spoke.

The man thought it was in response to his caresses.

And the face which looked out over the man's shoulder, and had lately
been as the face of Delilah, was become as the face of Jael, the wife of
Heber the Kenite.

       *       *       *       *       *

"No more secrets, Bob?"

"No more secrets, Gertie; but how pale you look! Take some brandy,
little girl. Now, I'm going to make you laugh! Listen!"



Sir Michael Manichoe, Father Ripon, and Harold Spence were sitting in
Sir Michael's own study in his London house in Berkeley Square. A small
circular table with the remains of a simple meal showed that they had
dined there, without formality, more of necessity than pleasure.

When a small company of men animated by one strenuous purpose meet
together, the same expression may often be seen on the face of each one
of them. The three men in the study were curiously alike at this moment.
A grim resolution, something of horror, a great expectation looked out
of their eyes.

Sir Michael looked at his watch. "Gortre ought to be here directly," he
said. "It won't take him very long to drive from Victoria. The train
must be in already."

Father Ripon nodded, without speaking.

There was another interval of silence.

Then Spence spoke. "Of course it is only a _chance_," he said. "Gertrude
Hunt may very likely be able to give us no information whatever. One can
hardly suppose that Llewellyn would confide in her."

"Not fully," said Father Ripon. "But there will be letters probably. I
feel sure that Gortre will come back with some contributory evidence, at
all events. We must go to work slowly, and with the greatest care."

"The greatest possible care," repeated Sir Michael. "On the shoulders of
us four people hangs an incredible burden. We must do nothing until we
are _sure_. But ever since Gortre's suspicions have been known to me,
ever since Schuabe asked you that curious question in the train, Ripon,
I have felt absolutely assured of their truth. Everything becomes clear
at once. The only difficulty is the difficulty of believing in such
colossal wickedness, coupled with such supreme daring."

"It is hard," said Father Ripon. "But probably one's mind is dazzled
with the consequences, the _size_, and immensity of the fraud. Apart
from this question of bigness, it may be that there is, given a certain
Napoleonic type of brain, no more danger or difficulty in doing such
gigantic evil than in doing evil on a smaller scale."

"Perhaps the size of the operation blinds people--" Spence was
continuing, when the door opened and the butler showed Gortre into the

He wore a heavy black cloak and carried a Paisley travelling rug upon
his arm.

The three waiting men started up at his approach, with an unspoken
question on the lips of each one of them.

Gortre began to speak at once. He was slightly flushed from his ride
through the keen, frosty air of the evening. His manner was brisk,

"The interview was excessively painful, as I had anticipated," he began.
"The result has been this: I have been able to get no direct absolute
confirmation of what we think. On the other hand, what I _have_ heard
establishes something and has made me morally certain that we are on the
right track. I think there can be no doubt about that. Again, there is a
strong possibility that we shall know much more very shortly."

"Have you had anything to eat?" asked Sir Michael.

"No, sir, and I'm hungry after my journey. I'll have some of this cold
beef, and tell you everything that has happened while I eat."

He sat down, began his meal, and told his story in detail.

"I found Miss Hunt," he said, "in her little cottage by the coast-guard
watch-house, looking over the sea. Of course, as you know, she is known
as Mrs. Hunt in the village. Only the rector knows her story--she has
made herself very beloved in Eastworld, even in the short time she has
been there. I asked her, first of all, about her life in general. Then,
without in any way indicating the object of my visit--at that point--I
led the conversation up to the subject of the Palestine 'discovery.' Of
course she had heard of it, and knew all the details. The rector had
preached upon it, and the whole village, so it seems, was in a ferment
for a week or so. Then, in both Church and the Dissenting chapels--there
are two--the whole thing died away in a marvellous manner. The history
of it was extremely interesting. Every one came to service just the same
as usual, life went on in unbroken placidity. The fishermen, who compose
the whole population of the village, absolutely _refused_ to believe or
discuss the thing. So utterly different from townspeople! They simply
felt and knew intuitively that the statements made in the papers _must_
be untrue. So without argument or worry they ignored it. Miss Hunt said
that the church has been fuller than ever before, the people coming as a
sort of stubborn protest against any attack upon the faith of their
fathers. For her own part, when she realised what the news meant or
would mean, Miss Hunt had a black time of terror and struggle. She is a
woman with a good brain, and saw at once what it would mean to her. Her
own words were infinitely pathetic. 'I went out on the sands,' she said,
'and walked for miles. Then when I was tired out I sat down and cried,
to think that there would never be any Jesus any more to save poor
girls. It seemed so empty and terrible, and I'd only been trying to be
good such a short time. I went to evensong when I got back; the bell was
tolling just as usual. And as I sat there I saw that it _couldn't_ be
true that Jesus was just a good man, and not God. I wondered at myself
for doubting, seeing what He'd done for me. If the paper was right, then
why was it I was so happy, happier than ever before in my life--although
I am going to die soon? Why was it that I could go away and leave Bob
and the old life? why was it that I could see Jesus in my walks, hear
the wind praying--feel that everything was speaking of Him?' That was
the gist of what she said, though there was much more. I wish I could
tell you adequately of the deep conviction in her voice and eyes. One
doesn't often see it, except in very old people. After this I began to
speak of our suspicions as delicately as possible. It was horribly
difficult. One was afraid of awakening old longings and recalling that
man's influence. I was relieved to find that she took it very well
indeed. Her feelings towards the man have undergone a complete change.
She fears him, not because he has yet an influence over her, but with a
hearty fear and horror of the life she was living with him. When I told
her what we thought, she began at once by saying that from what she knew
of Llwellyn he would not stop even at such wickedness as this. She said
that he only cared for two things, and kept them quite distinct. When he
is working he throws his whole heart into what he is doing, and he will
let no obstacle stand in his way. He wants to constantly assure himself
of his own pre-eminence in his work. He must be first at any cost. When
his work is over he dismisses it absolutely from his thoughts, and lives
entirely for gross, material pleasures. The man seems to pursue these
with a horrid, overwhelming eagerness. I gather that he must be one of
the coldest and most calculating sybarites that breathes. The actual
points I have gathered are these, and I think you will see that they are
extremely important. Llwellyn was indebted enormously to Schuabe.
Suddenly, Miss Hunt tells me, when Llwellyn's financial position began
to be very shaky, Schuabe forgave him the old debts and paid him a large
sum of money. Llwellyn paid off a lot of the girl's debts, and he told
her that the money had come from that source. It was not a loan this
time, he said to her, but a payment for some work he was about to do. He
also impressed the necessity of silence upon her. While away he wrote
several times to her--once from Alexandria, from one or two places on
the Continent, _and twice from the German hotel, the_ 'Sabîl,' _in

There was a sudden murmur from one or two men who were listening to
Gortre's narrative. He had long since forgotten to eat and was leaning
forward on the table. He paused for a moment, drank a glass of water,
and concluded:

"This then is all that I know at present, but it gives us a basis. We
know that Sir Robert Llwellyn was staying privately at Jerusalem. Miss
Hunt was instructed to write to him under the name of the Rev. Robert
Lake, and she did so, thinking that his incognito was assumed owing to
the kind of pleasures he was pursuing, and especially because of his
recent knighthood. But in a week's time Miss Hunt has asked me to go
down to Eastworld again, as she has hopes of getting other evidence for
me. She will not say what this is likely to consist of, or, in fact,
tell me anything about it. But she has hopes."

"This is of great importance, Gortre," said Sir Michael; "we have
something definite to go upon."

"I will start again for Jerusalem without loss of a day," said Spence,
his whole face lighting up and hardening at the thought of active

"I was going to suggest it, Mr. Spence," said Sir Michael. "You will do
what is necessary better than any of us; your departure will attract
less notice. You will of course draw upon me for any moneys that may be
necessary. If in the course of your investigations it may be--and it is
extremely probable--may be necessary to buy the truth, of course no
money considerations must stand in the way. We are working for the peace
and happiness of millions. We are in very deep waters."

Father Ripon gave a deep sigh. Then, in an instant, his face hardened
and flushed till it was almost unrecognisable. The others started back
from him in amazement. He began to tremble violently from the legs
upwards. Then he spoke:

"God forgive me," he said in a thick, husky voice. "God forgive me! But
when I think of those two men, devils that they are, devils! when I
regard the broken lives, the suicides, the fearful mass of crime, I----"

His voice failed him. The frightful wrath and anger took him and shook
him like a reed--this tall, black-robed figure--it twisted him with a
physical convulsion inexpressibly painful to witness.

For near a minute Father Ripon stood among them thus, and they were
rigid with sympathy, with alarm.

Then, with a heavy sob, he turned and fell upon his knees in silent



The little village of Eastworld is set on a low headland by the sea,
remote from towns and any haunt of men. The white cottages of the
fisherfolk, an inn, the church, and a low range of coast-guard
buildings, are the only buildings there. Below the headland there are
miles upon miles of utterly lonely sands which edge the sea in a great
yellow scimitar as far as the eye can carry, from east to west.

Hardly any human footsteps ever disturb the vast virgin smoothness of
the sands, for the fisherfolk sail up the mouth of a sluggish tidal
river to reach the village. All day long the melancholy sea-birds call
to each other over the wastes, and away on the sky-line, or so it seems
to any one walking upon the sands, the great white breakers roll and
boom for ever.

Over the flat expanses the tide, with no obstacle to slacken or impede
its progress, rushes with furious haste--as fast, so the fisherfolks
tell, as a good horse in full gallop.

It was the beginning of the winter afternoon on the day after Gortre had
visited Eastworld.

There was little wind, but the sky hung low in cold and menacing clouds,
ineffably cheerless and gloomy.

A single figure moved slowly through these forbidding solitudes. It was
Gertrude Hunt. She wore a simple coat and skirt of grey tweed, a
tam-o'-shanter cap of crimson wool, and carried a walking cane.

She had come out alone to think out a problem out there between the sea
and sky, with no human help or sympathy to aid her.

The strong, passionate face was paler than before and worn by suffering.
Yet as she strode along there was a wild beauty in her appearance which
seemed to harmonise with the very spirit and meaning of the place where
she was. And yet the face had lost the old jaunty hardihood. Qualities
in it which had before spoken of an impudent self-sufficiency now were
changed to quiet purpose. There was an appeal for pity in the eyes which
had once been bright with shamelessness and sin.

The woman was thinking deeply. Her head was bowed as she walked, the
lips set close together.

Gortre's visit had moved her deeply. When she had heard his story
something within her, an intuition beyond calm reason, had told her
instantly of its truth. She could not have said why she knew this, but
she was utterly certain.

Her long connection with Llwellyn had left no traces of affection now.
As she would kneel in the little windy church on the headland and listen
to the rector, an old friend of Father Ripon's, reading prayers, she
looked back on her past life as a man going about his business in
sunlight remembers some horrid nightmare of the evening past. She but
rarely allowed her thoughts to dwell upon the former partner of her sin,
but when she did so it was with a sense of shrinking and dislike. As the
new Light which filled her life taught, she endeavoured to think of the
man with Christian charity and sometimes to pray that his heart also
might be touched. But perhaps this was the most difficult of all the
duties she set herself, although she had no illusions about the past,
realised his kindness to her, and also that she had been at least as bad
as he. But now there seemed a great gulf between them which she never
cared to pass even in thought.

Her repentance was so sincere and deep, her mourning for her misspent
life so genuine, that it never allowed her the least iota of spiritual
pride--the snare of weaker penitents when they have turned from evil
courses. Yet, try as she would, she could never manage to really
identify her hopes and prayers with Llwellyn in any vivid way.

And now the young clergyman, the actual instrument of her own salvation
as she regarded him, had come to her with this story in which she had
recognised the truth.

In sad and eloquent words he had painted for her what the great fraud
had meant to thousands. He told of upright and godly men stricken down
because their faith was not strong enough to bear the blow. There was
the curate at Wigan, who had shot himself and left a heart-breaking
letter of mad mockery behind him; there were other cases of suicide.
There was the surging tide of crime, rising ever higher and higher as
the clergy lost all their influence in the slums of London and the great
towns. He told her of Harold Spence, mentioning him as "a journalist
friend of mine," explaining what a good fellow he was, and how he had
overcome his temptations with the aid of religion and faith. And he
described his own return to Lincoln's Inn, the disorder, and Harold's
miserable story. She could picture it all so well, that side of life.
She knew its every detail. And, moreover, Gortre had said "the evil was
growing and spreading each day, each hour." True as it was that the
myriad lamps of the Faithful only burned the brighter for the
surrounding gloom, yet that gloom was growing and rolling up, even as
the clouds on which her unseeing eyes were fixed as she walked along the
shore. Men were becoming reckless; the hosts of evil triumphed on every

The thought which came to her as Gortre had gradually unfolded the
object of his visit was startling. She herself might perhaps prove to be
the pivot upon which these great events were turning. It was possible
that by her words, that by means of her help, the dark conspiracy might
be unveiled and the world freed from its burden. She herself might be
able to do all this, a kind of thank-offering for the miraculous change
that had been wrought in her life.

Yet, when it was all summed up, how little she had to tell Gortre after
all! True, her information was of some value; it seemed to confirm what
he and his friends suspected. But still it was very little, and it meant
long delay, if she could provide no other key to open this dark door.
And meanwhile souls were dying and sinking....

She had asked Gortre to come to her again in a week.

In that time, she had said, she might have some further information for

And now she was out here, alone on the sands, to ask her soul and God
what she was to do.

The clouds fell lower, a cutting wind began to moan and cry over the
sand, which was swept up and swirled in her face. And still she went on
with a bitterness and chill as of death in her heart.

She knew her power over her former lover,--if that pure word could
describe such an unhallowed passion,--knew her power well. He would be
as wax in her hands, and it had always been so. From the very first she
had done what she liked with him, and there had always been an
undercurrent of contempt in her thoughts that a man could be led so
easily, could be made the doll and puppet of his own passion. Nor did
she doubt that her power still remained. She felt sure of that. Even in
her seclusion some news of his frantic attempts to find her had reached
her. Her beauty still remained, heightened indeed by the slow complaint
from which she was suffering. He knew nothing of that. And, as for the
rest--the rouge-pot, the belladonna--well, they were still available,
though she had thought to have done with them for ever.

The idea began to emerge from the mist, as it were, and to take form and
colour. She thought definitely of it, though with horror; looked it in
the face, though shuddering as she did so.

It resolved itself into a statement, a formula, which rang and dinned
itself repeatedly into her consciousness like the ominous strokes of a
bell heard through the turmoil of the gathering storm,--

"_If I go back to Bob and pretend I'm tired of being good, he will tell
me all he's done._"

Over and over again the girl repeated the sentence to herself. It glowed
in her brain, and burnt it like letters of heated wire. She looked up at
the leaden canopy which held the wind, and it flashed out at her in
letters of violet lightning. The wind carved it in the sand,--

"_If I go back to Bob and pretend I'm tired of being good, he will tell
me what he has done._"

Could she do this thing for the sake of Gortre, for the sake of the
world? What did it mean exactly? She would be sinning terribly once
more, going back to the old life. It was possible that she might never
be able to break away again after achieving her purpose; one did not
twice escape hell. It would mean that she sinned a deadly sin in order
to help others. Ought she to do that! Was that right?

The wind fifed round her, shrieking.

_Could she do this thing?_

She would only be sinning with her body, not with her heart, and Christ
would know why she did so. Would He cast her out for this?

The struggle went on in her brain. She was not a subtle person, unused
to any self-communing that was not perfectly straightforward and simple.
The efforts she was making now were terribly hard for her to endure. Yet
she forced her mind to the work by a great effort of will, summoned all
her flagging energies to high consideration.

If she went back it _might_ mean utter damnation, even though she found
out what she wanted to find out. She had been a Christian so short a
time, she knew very little of the truth about these matters.

In her misery and struggle she began more and more to think in this way.

Suddenly she saw the thing, as she fancied, and indeed said half aloud
to herself, "in a common-sense light." Her face worked horribly, though
she was quite unconscious of it.

"It's better that one person, especially one that's been as bad as I
have, should go to hell than hundreds and thousands of others."

And then her decision was taken.

The light died out of her face, the hope also. She became old in a
sudden moment.

And, with one despairing prayer for forgiveness, she began to walk
towards her cottage--there was a fast train to town.

She believed that there could hardly be forgiveness for her act, and yet
the thought of "the others" gave her strength to sin.

And so, out of her great love for Christ, this poor harlot set out to
sin a sin which she thought would take Him away from her for ever.



" ... Woman fearing and trembling"



In her house in the older, early-Victorian remnants of Kensington, Mrs.
Hubert Armstrong sat at breakfast. Her daughter, a pretty,
unintellectual girl, was pouring out tea with a suggestion of flippancy
in her manner. The room was grave and somewhat formal. Portraits of
Matthew Arnold, Professor Green, and Mark Pattison hung upon the sombre,
olive walls.

Over the mantel-shelf, painted in ornamental chocolate-coloured letters,
the famous authoress's pet motto was austerely blazoned,--

"_The decisive events of the world take place in the intellect._"

Indeed, save for the bright-haired girl at the urn, the room struck just
that note. It would be difficult to imagine an ordinary conversation
taking place there. It was a place in which solid chunks of thought were
gravely handed about.

Mrs. Armstrong wore a flowing morning wrap of dark red material. It was
clasped at the smooth white throat by a large cameo brooch, a dignified
bauble once the property of George Eliot. The clear, steady eyes, the
smooth bands of shining hair, the full, calm lips of the lady were all
eloquent of splendid unemotional health, assisted by a careful system
of hygiene.

She was opening her letters, cutting the envelopes carefully with a
silver knife.

"Shall I give you some more tea, Mother?" the daughter asked in a
somewhat impatient voice. The offer was declined, and the girl rose to
go. "I'm off now to skate with the Tremaines at Henglers," she said, and
hurriedly left the room.

Mrs. Armstrong sighed in a sort of placid wonder, as Minerva might have
sighed coming suddenly upon Psyche running races with Cupid in a wood,
and turned to another letter.

It was written in firm, strong writing on paper headed with some
official-looking print.


     100 REGENT STREET, S. W.


     "MY DEAR CHARLOTTE,--I should be extremely glad to see you here
     to-day about lunch time. I must have a long and important talk with
     you. The work is in a bad way. I know you are extremely busy, but
     trust to see you as the matters for conference are urgent.
     Your affectionate Sister,

          "CATHERINE PAULL."

Miss Paull was a well-known figure in what may be called "executive"
life. Both she and her elder sister, Mrs. Armstrong, had been daughters
of an Oxford tutor, and had become immersed in public affairs early in
life. While the elder became a famous novelist and leader of "cultured
doubt," the younger had remained unmarried and thrown herself with great
eagerness into the movement which had for its object the strengthening
of woman's position and the lightening of her burdens, no less in
England than over the whole world.

The "World's Woman's League" was a great unsectarian society with
tentacles all over the globe. The Indian lady missionaries and doctors,
who worked in the zenanas, were affiliated to it. The English and
American vigilance societies for the safe-guarding of girls, the women
of the furtive students' clubs in Russia, the Melbourne society for the
supply of domestic workers in the lonely up-country stations of
Australia, all, while having their own corporate and separate
existences, were affiliated to, and in communication with, the central
offices of the League in Regent Street.

The League was all-embracing. Christian, non-Christian, or heathen, it
mattered nothing. It aimed at the gigantic task of centralising all the
societies for the welfare of women throughout the globe.

On the board of directors one found the names and titles of all the
humanitarians of Europe.

The working head of this vast organisation was the thin, active woman of
middle age whose name figured in a hundred blue-books, whose speeches
and articles were sometimes of international importance, whose political
power was undoubtable--Miss Catherine Paull.

The most important function of the League, or one of its most important
functions, was the yearly publication of a huge report or statement of
more than a thousand pages. This annual was recognised universally as
the most trustworthy and valuable summary of the progress of women in
the world. It was quoted in Parliament a hundred times each session; its
figures were regarded as authoritative in every way.

This report was published every May, and as Mrs. Hubert Armstrong drove
to Regent Street in her brougham she realised that points in connection
with it were to be discussed, possibly with the various sectional
editors, possibly with Miss Paull alone.

As was natural, so distinguished an example of the "higher woman" as
Mrs. Armstrong was a great help to the League, and her near relationship
to the secretary made her help and advice in constant request.

The office occupied two extensive floors in the quadrant, housing an
army of women clerks, typewriters, and a literary staff almost
exclusively feminine. Here, from morning till night, was a hum of busy
activity quite foreign to the office controlled by the more drone-like
men. Miss Paull contrived to interest the most insignificant of her
girls in the work that was to be done, making each one feel that in the
performance of her task lay not only the means of earning a weekly wage,
but of doing something for women all over the world.

In short, the League was an admirable and powerful institution, presided
over by an admirable and earnest woman of wonderful organising ability
and the gift of tact, that _extreme_ tact necessary in dealing with
hundreds of societies officered and ruled by women whose official
activities did not always quell that feminine jealousy and bickering
which generally militate against success.

It was some weeks since Mrs. Armstrong had seen her sister or
communicated with her. The great events in Jerusalem, the chaos into
which the holders of the old creeds had been thrown, had meant a series
of platform and journalistic triumphs for the novelist. Her importance
had increased a thousand-fold, her presence was demanded everywhere, and
she had quite lost touch with the League for a time.

As she entered her sister's room she was beaming with satisfaction at
the memory of the past few weeks, and anticipating with pleasure the
congratulations that would be forthcoming. Miss Paull, in the main,
agreed with her sister's opinions, though her extraordinarily strenuous
life and busy activities in other directions prevented her public
adherence to them.

Moreover, her position as head of the League, which included so many
definitely Christian societies, made it inadvisable for her to take a
prominent controversial part as Mrs. Armstrong did.

The secretary's room was large and well lit by double windows, which
prevented the roar of the Regent Street traffic from becoming too

Except that there was some evidence of order and neatness on the three
great writing-tables, and that the books on the shelves were all in
their places, there was nothing to distinguish the place from the
private room of a busy solicitor or merchant.

Perhaps the only thing which gave the place any really individual note
was a large brass kettle, which droned on the fire, and a sort of
sideboard with a good many teacups and a glass jar full of what seemed
to be sponge cakes.

The two women greeted each other affectionately. Then Miss Paull sent
away her secretary, who had been writing with her, expressing her desire
to be quite alone for an hour or more.

"I want to discuss the report with you, Charlotte," said Miss Paull,
deftly pouring some hot water into a green stone-ware teapot.

She removed her _pince-nez_, which had become clouded with the steam,
and waited for Mrs. Armstrong to speak.

"I expected that was it when I got your note, dear," said the novelist.
"I am sorry I have been so much away of late. But, of course, you will
have seen how my time has been taken up. Since all Our contentions have
been so remarkably established, of course one is looked to a great
deal. I have to be everywhere just at present. _John Mulgrave_ has been
through three more editions during the last fortnight."

"Yes, Charlotte," answered the sister, "one hears of you on all sides.
It is a wonderful triumph from one point of view."

Mrs. Armstrong looked up quickly, with surprise in her eyes. There was a
strange lack of enthusiasm in the secretary's tone. Indeed, it was even
less than unenthusiastic; it hinted almost of dislike, nearly of dismay.

It could not be jealousy of the blaze of notoriety which had fallen upon
Mrs. Armstrong, the lady knew her sister too well for that. For one
brief moment she allowed herself the unworthy suspicion that Miss Paull
had been harbouring Christian leanings, or had, in the stress and worry
of overwork, permitted herself a sentimental adherence to the

But it was only for a single moment that such thoughts remained in her
brain. She dismissed them at once as disloyal to her sister and
undignified for herself.

"I don't quite understand, Catherine," she said. "Surely from _every_
point of view this glorious vindication of the truth is of
_incalculable_ benefit to mankind. How can it be otherwise? Now that we
know the great teacher Jesus----"

She was beginning somewhat on the lines of her public utterances, with a
slightly inspired look which, though habit had made mechanical, was
still sincere, when her sister checked her with some asperity.

"That is all well and good," she said, her rather sharp, animated
features becoming more harsh and eager as she spoke. "You, Charlotte,
are at the moment concerned with the future and with abstractions. I am
busied with the present and with _facts_. However I may share your
gladness at this vindication, in my official capacity, and more, in the
interests of my life work, I am bound to deplore what has happened. I
deplore it grievously."

Placid and equable as was her usual temper of mind, Mrs. Armstrong was
hardly proof against such a sweeping assertion as this.

Her face flushed slightly.

"Please explain," she said somewhat coldly.

"That is why I wanted you to come to-day," answered Miss Paull. "I very
much fear you will be more than startled at what I have to tell you and
show you. My facts are all ready--piteous, heart-breaking facts, too.
_We_ know, here, what is going on below the surface. _We_ are confronted
by statistics, and theories pale before them. Our system is perfect."

She made a movement of her arm and pointed to a small adjacent table, on
which were arranged various documents for inspection.

The novelist followed the glance, curiously disturbed by the sadness of
the other's voice and the bitterness of her manner. "Show me what you
mean, dear," she said.

Miss Paull got up and went to the table. "I will begin with points of
local interest," she said, "that is, with the English statistics. In
regard to these I will call your attention to a branch of the Social
Question. First of all, look at the monthly map for the current month
and the one for the month before the Palestine Discovery."

She handed two outline maps of Great Britain and Ireland to her sister.

The maps were shaded in crimson in different localities, the colour
being either light, medium, or dark. Innumerable figures were dotted
over them, referring to comprehensive marginal notes. Above each map was


And the month and year were written in below in violet ink.

Mrs. Armstrong held the two maps, which were mounted on stiff card, and
glanced from one to the other. Suddenly her face flushed, her eyes
became full of incredulous horror, and she stared at her sister. "What
is this, Catherine?" she said in a high, agitated voice. "Surely there
is some mistake? This is terrible!"

"Terrible, indeed," Miss Paull answered. "During the last month, in
Wales, criminal assaults have increased _two hundred per cent_. In
England scarcely less. In Ireland, with the exception of Ulster, the
increase has been only eight per cent. I am comparing the map before the
discovery with that of the present month. Crimes of ordinary violence,
wife-beating and such like, have increased fifty per cent., on an
average, all over the United Kingdom. We have, of course, all the
convictions, sentences, and so forth. The local agents supply them to
the British Protection Society, they tabulate them and send them here,
and then the maps are made in this office ready for the annual report."

"But," said Mrs. Armstrong with a shocked, pale face, "is it _certain_
that this is a case of cause and effect?"

"Absolutely certain, Charlotte. Here I have over a thousand letters from
men and women interested in the work in all the great towns. They are in
answer to direct queries on the subject. In order that there could be no
possibility of any sectarian bias, the form has been sent to leading
citizens, of all denominations and creeds, who are interested in the
work. I will show you two letters at random."

She picked out two of the printed forms which had been sent out and
returned filled in, and gave them to Mrs. Armstrong. One ran:

     "_Kindly state what, in your opinion, is the cause of the abnormal
     increase of crimes against women in Great Britain during the past
     month, as shown by the annexed map_.

     "NAME. Rev. William Carr,
     "Vicar of St. Saviour's,

     "The recent 'discovery' in Palestine, which appears to do away with
     the Resurrection of Christ, is in my opinion entirely responsible
     for the increase of crime mentioned above. Now that the Incarnation
     is on all hands said to be a myth, the greatest restraint upon
     human passion is removed. In my district I have found that the
     moment men give up Christ and believe in this 'discovery,' the
     moment that the Virgin birth and the manifestation to the Magdalen
     are dismissed as untrue, women's claim to consideration, and
     reverence for women's chastity, in the eyes of these men disappear.

          "WILLIAM CARR."

Mrs. Armstrong said nothing whatever, but turned to the other form. In
this case the name was that of a Manchester alderman, obviously a
Jew--Moses Goldstein, of Goldstein & Hildesheimer, chemical bleachers.

In a flowing business hand the following remarks were written:

     "Regrettable increase of crime due in my opinion to sudden wave of
     disbelief in Christian doctrines. Have questioned men in my own
     works on the subject. Record this as fact without pretending to
     understand it. Crimes of violence on increase among Jewish workmen
     also. Probably sympathetic reaction against morality, though as a
     strict Jew myself find this doubly distressing.

          "MOSES GOLDSTEIN."

"The famous philanthropist," murmured Mrs. Armstrong.

The lady seemed dazed. Her usual calm volubility seemed to have deserted

"This is a terrible blow," said Miss Paull, sadly, "and day by day
things are getting worse as figures come in. It seems as if all our work
has been in vain. Men seem to be relapsing into the state of the
barbaric heathen world. But there is much more yet. I will read you an
extract from Mrs. Mary P. Corbin's letter from Chicago. You will
remember that she is the organising secretary of the United States
branch of the League."

She took up a bundle of closely typewritten sheets.

     "'The Friend to Poor Girls' Society' in this city reports a most
     painful state of things. The work has suddenly fallen to pieces and
     become totally disorganised. Many of the girls have left the home
     and returned to lives of prostitution--there seems to be no
     restraining influence left. In a few cases girls have returned,
     after two or three weeks of sin, mere wrecks of their former
     selves. A---- S---- was a well-known girl on the streets when she
     was converted and brought to the home. Five weeks ago she went
     away, announcing her intention of resuming her former life. She has
     just returned in a dying condition from brutal ill-usage. She says
     that her former experience was nothing to what she has lately
     endured. Her words are terribly significant: '_I went back as I
     thought it was no use being good any more now that there isn't any
     Jesus. I thought I'd have a good old time. But it's not as it was.
     Hell's broke loose in the streets. The men are a million times
     worse than they were. It's hell now._'

     "Another awful blow has been struck at the purity work. The state
     of the lower parts of Chicago and New York City has become so bad
     that even the municipal authorities have become seriously alarmed.
     Unmentionable orgies take place in public. Accordingly a bill is to
     be rushed through Congress licensing so many houses of ill-fame in
     each city ward, according to the Continental system."

She laid down the letter. "There is no need to read more than extracts,"
she said. "The letter is full of horrors. I may mention that the law
against polygamy in the Mormon State of Utah is on the point of being
repealed, and there can be no doubt that things will soon be as bad as
ever there. Here is a letter from the Bishop of Toomarbin, who is at
present in Melbourne, Australia. A Bill is preparing in the House of
Legislature to make the divorce laws for men as easy and simple as
possible, while women's privileges are to be greatly curtailed in this
direction. In Rhodesia the mine-captains are beginning to flog native
women quite unchecked by the local magistrates. English magistrates----"

"Stop, dear," said Mrs. Armstrong, with a sudden gesture almost of fear.
There was a craven, hunted look in the eyes of this well-known woman.
Her face was blanched with pain. She sat huddled up in her chair. All
the stately confidence was gone. That proud bearing of equality, and
more than equality, with men, which was so noticeable a characteristic
of her port and manner, had vanished.

The white hand which lifted a cup of scalding tea to her lips trembled
like a leaf.

The sisters sat together in silence. They sat there, names famous in the
world for courage, ability, resource. To these two, perhaps more than to
any others in England, had been given the power of building up the great
edifice of women's enlightened position at the present day.

And now?

In a moment all was changed. The brute in man was awake, unchained, and
loose. The fires of cruelty and lust were lit, they heard the roaring of
the fires like the roaring of wolves that "devour apace and nothing

Mrs. Armstrong was terribly affected. Her keen intelligence told her at
once of coming horrors of which these were but the earliest signs.

The roaring of a great fire, louder and more menacing, nearer ...

Christ had gone from the world never to return--Christ Whom the proud,
wishful, worldly woman had not believed in.... They were flogging girls,
selling girls ... the fires grew greater and greater ... nearer!

          MARY, PITY WOMEN!



For the first two weeks after Hands's return he was utterly bewildered
by the rush of events in which he must take part and had little or no
time for thought.

His days were filled by official conferences with his chiefs at the
Exploring Society, from which important but by no means wealthy body he
had suddenly attained more than financial security.

Meeting succeeded meeting. Hands was in constant communication with the
heads of the Church, Government, and Society. Interviewers from all the
important papers shadowed him everywhere. Despite his protests, for he
was a quiet and retiring man, photographers fought for him, and his
long, somewhat melancholy face and pointed fair beard stared at him

He had to read papers at learned societies, and afterwards women came
and carried him off to evening parties without possibility of escape.

The Unitarians of England started a monster subscription for him, a
subscription which grew so fast that the less sober papers began to
estimate it day by day and to point out that the fortunate discoverer
would be a rich man for life.

Everywhere he was flattered, caressed, and made much of. In fact, he
underwent what to some natures is the grimmest torture of a humane
age--he became the MAN OF THE HOUR. Even by Churchmen and others most
interested in denying the truth of the discovery, Hands was treated with
consideration and deference. His own _bona fides_ in the matter was
indubitable, his long and notable record forbade suspicion.

Of Gortre Hands saw but little. Their greeting had been cordial, but
there was some natural restraint, one fearing the attitude of the other.
Gortre, no less than Hands, was much away from the chambers, and the
pair had few confidences. Hands felt, naturally enough under the
circumstances, that he would have been more comfortable with Spence. He
was surprised to find him absent, but all he was able to glean was that
the journalist had suddenly left for the Continent upon a special
mission. Hands supposed that Continental feeling was to be thoroughly
tested, and that the work had fallen to Spence.

Meanwhile the invitations flowed in. The old staircase of the inn was
besieged with callers. In order to escape them, Hands was forced to
spend much time in the chambers on the other side of the landing, which
belonged to a young barrister, Kennedy by name, who was able to put a
spare sitting-room at his disposal. This gentleman, briefless and happy,
was somewhat of the Dick Swiveller type, and it gave him intense
pleasure to reconnoitre the opposite "oak" through the slit of his
letter-box, and to report and speculate upon those who stood knocking
for admission.

How he loathed it all!

The shock and surprise of it was not one of the least distressing

Far away in the ancient Eastern city he had indeed realised the
momentous nature of the strange and awful things he had found. But of
the consequences to himself he had thought nothing, and of the effects
on the world he had not had time to think.

Hands had never wished to be celebrated. His temperament was poetic in
essence, retiring in action. He longed to be back under the eye of the
sun, to move among the memorials of the past with his Arab boys, to lie
upon the beach of the Dead Sea when no airs stirred, and, suddenly, to
hear a vast, mysterious breaker, coming from nowhere, with no visible
cause, like some great beast crashing through the jungle.

And he had exchanged all this for lunches at institutions, for hot rooms
full of flowers and fools of women who said, "Oh, _do_ tell me all about
your delightful discovery," smiling through their paint while the
world's heart was breaking. And there was worse to come. At no distant
date he would have to stand upon the platform at the Albert Hall, and
Mr. Constantine Schuabe, M.P., Mrs. Hubert Armstrong, the writing
woman--the whole crowd of uncongenial people--would hand him a cheque
for some preposterous sum of money which he did not in the least want.
There would be speeches----

He was not made for this life.

His own convictions of Christianity had never been thoroughly formulated
or marked out in his brain. All that was mystical in the great history
of Christ had always attracted him. He took an æsthetic pleasure in the
beautiful story. To him more than to most men it had become a vivid
_panoramic_ vision. The background and accessories had been part of his
daily life for years. It was as the figure of King Arthur and his old
knights might be to some loving student of Malory.

And although his life was pure, his actions gentle and blameless, it had
always been thus to him--a lovely and poetic picture and no more. He
had never made a personal application of it to himself. His heart had
never been touched, and he had never heard the Divine Voice calling to

At the end of a fortnight Hands found that he could stand the strain no
longer. His nerves were failing him; there was a constant babble of
meaningless voices in his ear which took all the zest and savour from
life. His doctor told him quite unmistakably that he was doing too much,
that he was not inured to this gaiety, and that he must go away to some
solitude by the sea and rest.

The advice not only coincided with his own wishes, but made them
possible. A good many engagements were cancelled, a paragraph appeared
in the newspapers to say that Mr. Hands's medical adviser had insisted
upon a thorough rest, and the man of the moment disappeared. Save only
Gortre and the secretary of the Exploring Society, no one knew of his

In a week he was forgotten. Greater things began to animate
Society--harsh, terrible, ugly things. There was no time to think of
Hands, the instrument which had brought them about.

The doctor had recommended the remotest parts of Cornwall. Standing in
his comfortable room at Harley Street, he expatiated, with an
enthusiastic movement of his hand, upon the peace to be found in that
lost country of frowning rocks and bottle-green seas, where, so far is
it from the great centres of action, men still talk of "going into
England" as if it were an enterprise, an adventure.

Two days found him at a lonely fishing cove, rather than village,
lodging in the house of a coast-guard, not far from Saint Ives.

A few whitewashed houses ran down to the beach of the little natural
harbour where the boats were sheltered.

On the shores of the little "Porth," as it was called, the fishermen sat
about with sleepy, vacant eyes, waiting for the signal of watchmen on
the moor above--the shrill Cornish cry of "Ubba!" "Ubba!" which would
tell them the mackerel were in sight.

Behind the cove, running inland, were the vast, lonely moors which run
between the Atlantic and the Channel. It is always grey and sad upon
these rolling solitudes, sad and silent. The glory of summer gorse had
not yet clothed them with a fleeting warmth and hospitality. As far as
the eye could reach they stretched away with a forlorn immensity that
struck cold to Hands's heart. Peace was here indeed, but how austere!
quiet, but what a brooding and cruel silence!

Every now and again the roving eye, in its search for incident and
colour, was caught and arrested by the bleak engine-house of some
ancient deserted mine and the gaunt chimney which pointed like a leaden
finger to the stormy skies above. Great humming winds swept over the
moor, driving flocks of Titanic clouds, an Olympian army in rout, before
their fierce breath.

Here, day by day, Hands took his solitary walk, or sometimes he would
sit sheltered in a hollow of the jagged volcanic rocks which set round
about the cove a barrier of jagged teeth. Down below him a hard, green
sea boiled and seethed in an agony of fierce unrest. The black
cormorants in the middle distance dived for their cold prey. The
sea-birds were tossed on the currents of the wild air, calling to each
other with forlorn, melancholy voices. This remote Western world
resounded with the powerful voices of the waves; night and day the gongs
of Neptune's anger were sounding.

In the afternoon a weary postman tramped over the moor. He brought the
London newspapers of the day before, and Hands read them with a strange
subjective sensation of spectatorship.

So far away was he from the world that by a paradox of psychology he
viewed its turmoil with a clearer eye. As poetry is emotion remembered
in tranquillity, as a painter often prefers to paint a great canvas from
studies and memory--quiet in his studio--rather than from the actual but
too kinetic scene, so Hands as he read the news-sheets felt and lived
the story they had to tell far more acutely than in London.

He had more time to think about what he read. It was in this lost corner
of the world that the chill began to creep over him.

The furious sounds of Nature clamoured in his ears, assaulting them like
strongholds; these were the objective sounds.

But as his subjective brain grew clear the words his eyes conveyed to it
filled it with a more awful reverberation.

The awful weight grew. He began to realise with terrible distinctness
_the consequences_ of his discovery. They stunned him. A carved
inscription, a crumbling tomb in half an acre of waste ground. He had
stumbled upon so much and little more. _He_, Cyril Hands, had found

His straining eyes day by day turned to the columns of the papers.



Hands awoke to terrible realisation.

The telegrams in the newspapers provided him with a bird's-eye view, an
epitomised summary of a world in tumult.

Out of a wealth of detail, culled from innumerable telegrams and
articles, certain facts stood out clearly.

In the Balkan States, always in unrest, a crisis, graver than ever
before, suddenly came about. The situation _flared_ up like a petrol

A great revival of Mohammedan enthusiasm had begun to spread from
Jerusalem as soon as Europe had more or less definitely accepted the
discovery made by Cyril Hands and confirmed by the international

It was no longer possible to hold the troops of the Sultan in check. It
was openly said by the correspondents that _instructions_ had been sent
from Yildiz Kiosk to the provincial Valis in both European and Asiatic
Turkey that Christians were to be exterminated, swept for ever from the

Telegrams of dire importance filled the columns of the papers.

Hands would read in one _Daily Wire_:

     "PARIS (_From our own Correspondent_).--The Prince of Bulgaria has
     indefinitely postponed his departure, and remains at the Hotel Ritz
     for the present. It is impossible for him to progress beyond
     Vienna. Dr. Daneff, the Bulgarian Premier, has arrived here. In the
     course of an interview with a representative of _Le Matin_ he has
     stated the only hope of saving the Christians remaining in the
     Balkan States lies in the intervention of Russia. 'The situation,'
     Dr. Daneff is reported to have said, 'has assumed the appearance of
     a religious war. The followers of Islam are drunk with triumph and
     hatred of the "Nazarenes." The recent discoveries in Jerusalem
     simply mean a licence to sweep Christians out of existence. The
     exulting cries of "Ashahadu, lá ílaha ill Allah" have already
     sounded the death-knell of our ancient faith in Bulgaria.' M.
     Daneff was extremely affected during the interview, and states that
     Prince Ferdinand is unable to leave his room."

Never before in the history of Eastern Europe had the future appeared so
gloomy or the present been so replete with horror.

The massacres of bygone years were as nothing to those which were daily
flashed over the wires to startle and appal a world which was still
Christian, at least in name.

An extract from a leading article in the _Daily Wire_ shows that the
underlying reason and cause was thoroughly appreciated and understood in
England no less than abroad.

     "In this labyrinth of myth and murder," the article said, "a
     sudden and spontaneous outburst of hatred, of Mussulman hatred for
     the Christian, has now--owing to the overthrow of the chief
     accepted doctrine of the Christian faith--become a deliberate
     measure of extermination adopted by a barbarous Government as the
     simplest solution of the problem in the Near East. The stupendous
     fact which has lately burst upon the world has had effects which,
     while they might have been anticipated in some degree, have already
     passed far beyond the bounds of the most confirmed political
     pessimist's dream.

     "From the _fact_ of the Jerusalem discovery, ambitious agitators
     have hurried to draw their profit. Politicians have not hesitated
     to provoke a series of massacres, and by playing upon the worst
     forms of Mussulman fanaticism to organise that ghastliest system of
     crime upon the largest and most comprehensive scale. The whole
     thing is, moreover, immensely complicated by the utter
     unscrupulousness of that association universally notorious as the
     Macedonian Committee. These people, who may be described as a
     company of aspirants to the crown of immortality earned by other
     people's martyrdom, have themselves assisted in the work of
     lighting the fires of Turkish passion, and they have helped to
     provoke atrocities which will enable them to pose before the eyes
     of the civilised world as the interesting victims of Moslem

Thus Hands read in his rock cave above the boiling winter sea. Thus and
much more, as the cloud grew darker and darker over Eastern Europe,
darker and darker day by day.

In a week it became plain to the world that Bulgarians, Servians, and
Armenians alike had collapsed utterly before the insolent exultation of
the Turks. The spirit of resistance and enthusiasm had gone. The
ignorant and tortured peoples had no answer for those who flung foul
insults at the Cross.

As reflected in the newspapers, the public mind in England was becoming
seriously alarmed at these horrible and daily bulletins, but neither
Parliament nor people were as yet ready with a suggested course of
action. The forces of disintegration had been at work; it seemed no
longer possible to secure a great _body_ of opinion as in the old times.
And Englishmen were troubled with grave domestic problems also. More
especially the great increase of the worst forms of crime attracted
universal attention and dismay.

Then news came which shook the whole country to its depths. Men began to
look into each other's eyes and ask what these things might mean.

Hands read:

     "Our special correspondent in Bombay telegraphs disquieting news
     from India. The native regiments in Bengal are becoming difficult
     to handle. The officers of the staff corps are making special
     reports to headquarters. Three native officers of the 100th Bengal
     Lancers have been placed under arrest, though no particulars as to
     the exact reason for this step have been allowed to transpire."

This first guarded intimation of serious disaffection in India was
followed, two days afterwards, by longer and far more serious reports.
The Indian mail arrived with copies of _The Madras Mail_ and _The Times
of India_, which disclosed much more than had hitherto come over the

Long extracts were printed from these journals in the English dailies.

Epitomised, Hands learned the following facts. From a mass of detail a
few lurid facts remained fixed in his brain.

The well-meant but frequently unsuccessful mission efforts in Southern
India were brought to a complete and utter stand-still.

By that thought-willed system of communication and the almost flame-like
mouth-to-mouth carnage of news which is so inexplicable to Western
minds, who can only understand the workings of the electric telegraph,
the whole of India seemed to be throbbing with the news of the downfall
of Christianity, and this within a fortnight of the publication of the
European report.

From Cashmere to Travancore the millions whispered the news to each
other with fierce if secret exultation.

The higher Hinduism, the key to the native character in India, the wall
of caste, rose up grim and forbidding. The passionate earnestness of the
missionaries was met by questions they could not answer. In a few days
the work of years seemed utterly undone.

Europeans began to be insulted in the Punjaub as they had never been
since the days before the Mutiny. English officers and civilians also
began to send their wives home. The great P. and O. boats were
inconveniently crowded.

In Afghanistan there was a great uneasiness. The Emir had received two
Russian officers. Russian troops were massing on the north-west
frontier. Fanatics began to appear in the Hill provinces, claiming
divine missions. People began to remember that every fourth man, woman,
and child in the whole human race is a Buddhist. Asia began to feel a
great thrill of excitement permeating it through and through. There were
rumours of a new incarnation of Buddha, who would lead his followers to
the conquest of the West.

Troops from all over India began to concentrate near the Sri Ulang Pass
in the Hindu-Kush.

Simultaneously with these ominous rumours of war came an extraordinary
outburst of Christian fanaticism in Russia. The peasantry burst into a
flame of anger against England. The priests of the Greek Church not only
refused to believe in the Palestine discovery, but they refused to
ignore it, as the Roman Catholics of the world were endeavouring to do.

They began to preach war against Great Britain for its infidelity, and
the political Powers seized the opportunity to use religious fanaticism
for their own ends.

All these events happened with appalling _swiftness_.

In the remote Cornish village Hands moved as in a dream. His eyes saw
nothing of his surroundings, his face was pallid under the brown of his
skin. Sometimes, as he sat alone on the moors or by the sea, he laughed
loudly. Once a passing coast-guard heard him. The man told of it among
the fishermen, and they regarded their silent visitor with something of
awe, with the Celtic compassion for those mentally afflicted.

On the first Sunday of his arrival Hands heard the deep singing of hymns
coming from the little white chapel on the cliff. He entered in time for
the sermon, which was preached by a minister who had walked over from

Here all the turmoil of the world beyond was ignored. It seemed as
though nothing had ever been heard of the thing that was shaking the
world. The pastor preached and prayed, the men and women answered with
deep, groaning "Amens." It all mattered nothing to them. They heeded it
no more than the wailing wind in the cove. The voice of Christ was not
stilled in the hearts of this little congregation of the Faithful.

This chilled the recluse. He could find no meaning or comfort in it.

That evening he heard the daughter of the coast-guard with whom he
lodged singing. It was a wild night, and Hands was sitting by the fire
in his little sitting-room. Outside the wind and rain and waves were
shouting furiously in the dark.

The girl was playing a few simple chords on the harmonium and singing to

"For ever with the Lord."

An untuneful voice, louder than need be, but with what conviction!

Hands tried to fix his attention on the newspaper which he held.

He read that in Rhodesia the mine capitalists were moving for slavery
pure and simple. It was proposed openly that slavery should be the
penalty for law-breaking for natives. This was the only way, it
asserted, by which the labour problem in South Africa could be solved.

    "Life from the dead is in that word,
      'Tis immortality."

It seemed that there was small opposition to this proposal. It would be
the best thing for the Kaffir, perhaps, this wise and kindly discipline.
So the proposal was wrapped up.

    "And nightly pitch my moving tent
      A day's march nearer home."

Hands saw that, quite suddenly, the _old horror of slavery had

This, too, was coming, then? This old horror which Christians had
banished from the world?

    "So when my latest breath
      Shall rend the veil in twain."

Hands started. His thoughts came back to the house in which he sat. The
girl's voice touched him immeasurably. He heard it clearly in a lull of
the storm. Then another tremendous gust of wind drowned it.

Two great tears rolled down his cheeks.

It was midnight, and all the people in the house were long since asleep,
when Hands picked up the last of his newspapers.

It was Saturday's edition of the _London Daily Mercury_, the powerful
rival of the _Wire_. A woman who had been to Penzance market had brought
it home for him, otherwise he would have had to wait for it until the
Monday morning.

He gazed wearily round the homely room.

Weariness, that was what lay heavy over mind and body--an utter

The firelight played upon the crude pictures, the simple ornaments, the
ship worked in worsted when the coast-guard was a boy in the Navy, the
shells from a Pacific island, a model gun under a glass shade. But his
thoughts were not prisoned by these humble walls and the humble room in
which he sat. He heard the groaning of the peoples of the world, the
tramp of armies, the bitter cry of souls from whom hope had been plucked
for ever.

He remembered the fair morning in Jerusalem when, with the earliest
light of dawn, he had gone to work with his Arab boys before the heat of
the day.

From the Mosque of Omar he had heard the sonorous chant of the muezzin.

        GOD BUT GOD!

He had heard the magnificent chant as he passed by, almost kneeling with
his Arabs. So short a time ago! Hardly three months--he had kept no
count of time lately, but it could hardly be four months.

How utterly unconscious he had been on that radiant morning outside the
Damascus Gate! He had seen the men at work, and was sitting under his
sun-tent writing on his pad; he was just lighting a cigarette, he
remembered, when Ionides, the foreman, had come running up to him, his
shrewd, brown face wrinkled with excitement.

And now, even as he sat there on that stormy midnight, far from the
world, even now the whole globe was echoing and reverberating with his
discovery. He had opened the little rock chambers, and it seemed that
the blows of the picks had set free a troop of ruinous spirits, who were
devastating mankind.

Pandora's box--that legend fitted what he had done, but with a deadly

He could not find that Hope remained. It would have been better a
thousand times if the hot Eastern sun had struck him down that distant
morning on his way through the city.

The awful weight, the initial responsibility rested with _him_.

_He_ alone had been the means by which the world was being shaken with
horrors--horrors growing daily, and that seemed as if the end would be
unutterable night.

How the wind shrieked and wailed!

    Εγω Ιωσηφ ὁ ἀπο Αριμαθειας.

The words were written in fire on his mind!

The wind was shrieking louder and louder.

The Atlantic boomed in one continuous burst of sound.

He looked once more at the leading article in the paper.

It was that article which was long afterwards remembered as the "Simple
Statement" article.

The writer had spoken the thought that was by this time trembling for
utterance on the lips and in the brains of all Englishmen--the thought
which had never been so squarely faced, so frankly stated before.

Here and there passages started out more vividly than the rest. The
words seemed to start out and stab him.

       *       *       *       *       *

     "--So much for INDIA, where, sprung from the same Cause, the
     indications are impossible to mistake.

     "Let us now turn to the ANGLO-SAXON sprung communities other than
     these Islands.

     "In AMERICA we find a wave of lawlessness and fierce riot passing
     over the country, such as it has never known before.

     "The IRISHMEN and ITALIANS, who throng the congested quarters of
     the great cities, are robbing and murdering PROTESTANTS and JEWS.
     The UNITED STATES Legislature is paralysed between the necessity of
     keeping order and the impossibility of resolution in the face of
     this tremendous _bouleversement_ of belief.

     "From AUSTRALIA the foremost prelate of the great country writes of
     the utter overthrow of a communal moral sense, and concludes his
     communication with the following pathetic words:

     "_'Everywhere,'_ he says, _'I see morals, no less than the religion
     which inculcates them, falling into neglect, set aside in a spirit
     of despair by fathers and mothers, treated with contempt by youths
     and maidens, spat upon and cursed by a degraded populace, assailed
     with eager sarcasm by the polite and cultured.'_

       *       *       *       *       *

    "The terrible seriousness of the situation need hardly be further
    insisted on here. Its reality cannot be more vividly indicated than
    by the statement of a single fact.


       *       *       *       *       *

    "--and therefore we demand, in the name of humanity, a far more
    comprehensive and representative searching into the facts of the
    alleged 'discovery' at JERUSALEM. Society is falling to pieces as we

    "Who will deny the reason?

    "Already, after a few short weeks, we are learning that the world
    cannot go on without Christianity. That is the Truth which the world
    is forced to realise. And no essay in sociology, no special pleading
    on the part of Scientists or Historians, can shake our conviction
    that a creed which, when sudden doubts are thrown upon it, can be
    the means of destroying the essential fabric of human society, is
    not the true and unassailable creed of mankind.

       *       *       *       *       *

    "We foresee an immediate reaction. The consequences of the wave of
    antichristian belief are now, and will be, so devastating, that sane
    men will find in Disbelief and its consequences a glorious
    recrudescence and assurance of Faith."

       *       *       *       *       *

Hands stared into the dying fire.

A solemn passage from John Bright's great speech on the Crimean War came
into his mind. The plangent power and deep earnestness of the words were
even more applicable now than then.

     _"The Angel of Death has been abroad throughout the land: you may
     almost hear the beating of his wings. There is no one, as when the
     first-born were slain of old, to sprinkle with blood the lintel and
     two side-posts of our doors, that he may spare and pass on."_

So they were asking for another commission! Well, they might try that as
a forlorn hope, but _he knew_ that his discovery was real. Could _he_ be
mistaken possibly? Could that congress of the learned be all mistaken
and imposed upon? It was not possible. It could not be. Would that it
_were_ possible.

There was no hope, despite the newspapers. For centuries the world had
been living in a fool's paradise. He had destroyed it. It would be a
hundred years before the echoes of his deed had died away.

But the terrible weight of the world's burden was too heavy for him to
bear. He knew that. Not for much longer could he endure it.

The life seemed oozing out of him, pressed out by a weight--the
sensation was physical.

He wished it was all over. He had no hope for the future, and no fear.

The weight was too heavy. The outside dark came through the walls, and
began to close in on him. His heart beat loudly. It seemed to rise up in
his throat and choke him.

The pressure grew each moment; mountains were being piled upon him,
heavier, more heavy.

The wind was but a distant murmur now, but the weight was crushing him.
Only a few more moments and his heart would burst. _At last!_

The dark thing huddled on the hearth-rug, which the girl found when she
came down in the morning, was the scholar's body.

The newspaper he had been reading lay upon his chest.



Constantine Schuabe's great room at the Hotel Cecil had been entirely
refurnished and arranged for the winter months.

The fur of great Arctic beasts lay upon the heavy Teheran carpets, which
had replaced the summer matting--furs of enormous value. The dark red
curtains which hung by windows and over doors were worked with threads
of dull gold.

All the chairs were more massive in material and upholstered warmly in
soft leather; the logs in the fireplace crackled with white flame,
amethyst in the glowing cavern beneath.

However the winter winds might sweep over the Thames below or the rain
splash and welter on the Embankment, no sound or sign of the turmoil
could reach or trouble the people who moved in the fragrant warmth and
comfort of this room.

For his own part Schuabe never gave any attention to the _mise-en-scène_
by which he was surrounded, here or elsewhere. The head of a famous
Oxford Street firm was told to call with his artists and undermen; he
was given to understand that the best that could be done was to be done,
and the matter was left entirely to him.

In this there was nothing of the _parvenu_ or of an ignorance of art, as
far as Schuabe was concerned. He was a man of catholic and cultured
taste. But experience had taught him that his furnishing firm were
trained to be catholic and cultured also, that an artist would see to it
that no jarring notes appeared. And since he knew this, Schuabe
infinitely preferred not to be bothered with details. In absolute
contrast to Llwellyn, his mind was always busy with abstractions, with
thought and forms of thought, things that cannot be handled or seen.
They were the real things for him always.

The millionaire sat alone by the glowing fire. He was wearing a long
gown of camel's hair, dyed crimson, confined round the waist by a
crimson cord. In this easy garment and a pair of morocco slippers
without heels, he looked singularly Eastern. The whole face and figure
suggested that--sinister, lonely, and splendid.

The morning papers were resting on a chair by his side. He was reading
one of them.

It announced the death from heart disease of Mr. Cyril Hands while
taking a few days' rest in a remote village of Cornwall. Not a shadow of
regret passed over the regular, impassive face. The eyes remained in
fixed thought. He was logically going over the bearings of this event in
his mind. How could it affect _him_? _Would_ it affect him one way or
the other?

He paced the long room slowly. On the whole the incident seemed without
meaning for him. If it meant anything at all it meant that his position
was stronger than ever. The voice of the discoverer was now for ever
silent. His testimony, his reluctant but convinced opinion, was upon
record. Nothing could alter that. Hands might perhaps have had doubts in
the future. He might have examined more keenly into the _way in which he
came to examine the ground_ where the new tomb was hidden. Yes, this was
better. That danger, remote as it had been, was over.

As his eyes wandered over the rest of the news columns they became more
alert, speculative, and anxious. The world was in a tumult, which grew
louder and louder every hour. Thrones were rocking, dynasties trembling.

He sank down in his chair with a sigh, passing his hand wearily over his
face. Who could have foreseen this? It was beyond belief. He gazed at
the havoc and ruin in terrified surprise, as a child might who had lit a
little fire of straw, which had grown and devoured a great city.

It was in this very room--just over there in the centre--that he had
bought the brain and soul of the archæologist.

The big man had stood exactly on that spot, blanched and trembling. His
miserable notes of hand and promises to pay had flamed up in this fire.

And now? India was slipping swiftly away; a bloody civil war was brewing
in America; Central Europe was a smouldering torch; the whips of Africa
were cracking in the ears of Englishmen; the fortunes of thousands were
melting away like ice in the sun. In London gentlemen were going from
their clubs to their houses at night carrying pistols and sword-sticks.
North of Holborn, south of the Thames, no woman was safe after dark had

He saw his face in an oval silver glass. It fascinated him as it had
never done before. He gripped the leather back of a chair and stared
fiercely, hungrily, at the image. It was _this_, this man he was
looking at, some stranger it seemed, who had done all this. He
laughed--a dreadful, mirthless, hollow laugh. This mass of phosphates,
carbon, and water, this moving, talking thing in a scarlet gown, was the
pivot on which the world was turning!

His brain became darkened for a time, lost in an awful wonder. He could
not realise or understand.

And no one knew save his partner and instrument. _No one knew!_

The secret seemed to be bursting and straining within him like some
live, terrible creature that longed to rush into light. For weeks the
haunting thought had grown and harassed him. It rang like bells in his
memory. If only he could share his own dark knowledge. He wanted to take
some calm, pale woman, to hold her tight and tell her all that he had
done, to whisper it into her ears and watch the mask of flesh change and
shrink, to see his words carve deep furrows in it, sear the eyes, burn
the colour from the lips. He saw his own face was working with the mad
violence of his imaginings.

He _wrenched_ his brain back into normal grooves, as an engineer pulls
over a lever. He was half-conscious of the simile as he did so.

Turning away from the mirror, he shuddered as a man who has escaped from
a sudden danger.

_That_ above all things was fatal. His luxuriant Eastern imagination had
been checked and kept in subjection all his life; the force of his
intellect had tamed and starved it. He knew, none better, the end, the
extinction of the brain that has got beyond control. No, come what may,
he must watch himself cunningly that he did not succumb. A tiny speck in
the brain, and then good-bye to thought and life for ever. He was a
visitor of the Lancashire Asylum--had been so once at least--and he had
seen the soulless lumps of flesh the doctors called "patients." ... "_I
am the master of my fate. I am the captain of my soul_," he repeated
to himself, and even as he did so, his other self sneered at the
weakness which must comfort itself with a poet's rhyme and cling to an
apothegm for readjustment.

He tried to shut out the world's alarm from his mental eyes and ears.

He went back to the scenes of his first triumph. They had been sweet

Yes! worth all the price he had paid and might be called upon to pay.

All over England his life's thought, his constant programme had been
gloriously vindicated. They had hailed him as the prophet of Truth at
first--a prophet who had cried in the wilderness for years, and who had
at last come into his own.

The voices of great men and vast multitudes had come to him as incense.
He was to be the leader of the new religion of common sense. Why had
they doubted him before, led away by the old superstitions?

Men who had hated and feared him in the old days, had spoken against him
and his doctrines as if both were abhorred and unclean, were his friends
and servants now. Christians had humbled themselves to the
representative of the new power. Bishops had consulted him as to the
saving of the Church, and its reconstruction upon "newer, broader, more
illuminated lines." They had come to him with fear--anxious, eager to
confess the errors of the past, swift to flatter and suggest that, with
his help, the fabric and political power of the Church might yet stand.

He was shown, with furtive eyes and hesitating lips, from which the
shame had not yet been cleansed, how desirable and necessary it was that
in the reconstruction of Christianity the Church should still have a
prominent and influential part.

He had been a colossus among them all. But--and he thought of it with
anger and the old amazement--all this had been _at first_, when the
discovery had flashed over a startled world. While the thing was new it
had been a great question, truly the greatest of all, but it had been
one which affected men's minds and not their bodies. That is speaking of
the world at large.

As has already been pointed out, only _religious_ people--a vast host,
but small beside the mass of Englishmen--were disturbed seriously by
what had happened. The price of bread remained the same; beef was no

During these first weeks Schuabe had been all-powerful. He and his
friends had lived in a constant and stupendous triumph.

But now--and in his frightful egoism he frowned at the thick black
head-lines in the newspapers--the whole attitude of every one was
changed. There was a reflex action, and in the noise it made Schuabe was

Men had more to think of now. There was no time to congratulate the man
who had been so splendidly right.

_Consols were at 65!_

Bread was rising each week. War was imminent. On all sides great
mercantile houses were crashing. Each fall meant a thousand minor
catastrophes all over the country.

The antichristians had no time to jeer at the Faithful; they must work
and strain to save their own fortunes from the wreck.

The mob, who were swiftly bereft of the luxuries which kept them in
good-humour, were turning on the antichristian party now. In their
blind, selfish unreason they cried them down, saying that they were
responsible for the misery and terror that lay over the world.

With an absolute lack of logic, the churches were crowded again. The
most irreligious cried for the good old times. Those who had most
coarsely exulted over the broken Cross now bewailed it as the most awful
of calamities.

Christianity was daily being terribly avenged through the pockets and
stomachs of the crowd!

It was bizarre beyond thinking, sordid in its immensity, vulgar in its
mighty soulless greed, but TRUE, REAL, a FEARFUL FACT.

A stupendous _confusion_.

Two great currents had met in a maelstrom. The din of the disturbance
beat upon the world's ear with sickening clamour.

Louder and louder, day by day.

And the man who had done all this, the brain which had called up these
legions from hell, which had loosed these fiery sorrows on mankind, was
in a rich room in a luxurious hotel, alone there. Again the shock and
marvel took hold of the man and shook him like a reed.

There was a round table, covered with a gleaming white cloth, by the
fire. The kidneys in the silver dish were cold, the grease had
congealed. The silent servants had brought up a breakfast to him. He had
watched their clever, automatic movements. Did they know _whom_ they
were attending on, what would happen--?

His thoughts flashed hither and thither, now surveying a world in
torture, now weaving a trivial and whimsical romance about a waiter. The
frightful activity of his brain, inflamed by thoughts beyond the power
of even that wonderful machine, began to have a consuming physical

He felt the grey matter bubbling. Agonising pains shot from temple to
temple, little knives seemed hacking at the back of his eyes. Once
again, in a wave of unutterable terror, the fear of madness submerged

On this second occasion he was unable to recall his composure by any
effort which came from within himself. He stumbled into his adjoining
dressing-room and selected a bottle from a shelf. It was bromide of
potassium, which he had been taking of late to deaden the clamour and
vibration of his nerves.

In half an hour the drug had calmed him. His face was very pale, but set
and rigid. The storm was over. He felt shattered by its violence, but in
an artificial peace.

He took a cigarette.

As he was lighting it his valet entered and announced that Mr. Dawlish,
his man of business, was waiting in an anteroom.

He ordered that he should be shown in.

Mr. Dawlish was the junior partner of the well-known firm of city
solicitors, Burrington & Tuite. That was his official description. In
effect he was Schuabe's principal man of business. All his time was
taken up by the millionaire's affairs all over England.

He came in quickly--a tall, well-dressed man, hair thin on the forehead,
moustache carefully trained.

"You look very unwell, Mr. Schuabe," he said, with a keen glance. "Don't
let these affairs overwhelm you. Nothing is so dangerous as to let the
nerves go in times like these."

Schuabe started.

"How are things, Dawlish?" he said.

"Very shaky, very shaky, indeed. The shares of the Budapest Railway are
to be bought for a shilling. I am afraid your investments in that
concern are utterly lost. When the Bourses closed last night dealings in
Foreign Government Stock were at a stand-still. Turkish C and O bonds
are worthless."

Again the millionaire started. "You bring me a record of disaster," he

"Baumann went yesterday," continued the level voice.

"My cousin," said Schuabe.

"The worst of it is that the situation is getting worse and worse. We
have, as you know, made enormous efforts. But all attempts you have made
to uphold your securities have only been throwing money away. The last
fortnight has been frightful. More than two hundred thousand pounds have
gone. In fact, an ordinary man would be ruined by the last month or two.
Your position is better because of the real property in the Manchester

"Trade has almost ceased."

"Close the mills down and wait. You cannot go on."

"If I do, ten thousand men will be let loose on the city with nothing
but the Union funds to fall back on."

"If you don't, you will be what Baumann is to-day--a bankrupt."

"I have eighty thousand cash on deposit at the Bank of England."

"And if you throw that away after the rest you will be done for. You
don't realise the situation. It _can't_ recover. War is inevitable.
India will go, I feel it. England is going to turn into a camp. Religion
is the pretext of war everywhere. Take your money from the Bank in cash
and lock it up in the Safe Deposit strong rooms. Keep that sum, earning
nothing, for emergencies, then wait for the other properties to recover.
It will be years perhaps, but you will win through in the end. The
freehold sites of the mills are alone worth almost anything. It is only
_paper_ millionaires that are easily ruined. You are a great property
owner. But you must walk very warily, even you. Who could have foreseen
all this? I see that fellow Hands is dead--couldn't stand the sight of
the mischief he'd done, I suppose. The fool! the eternal fool! why
couldn't he have kept his sham discovery to himself? Look at the
unutterable misery it has brought on the world."

"You yourself, Dawlish, are you suffering the common fate?"

"I? Certainly not! That is to say, I suffer of course, but not fatally.
All my investments are in buildings in safe quarters. I may have to
reduce rents for a year or two, but my houses will not be empty. And
they are my own."

"Fortunate man," said Schuabe; "but why _sham_ discovery?"

"Out of business hours," said the solicitor, with some stiffness and
hesitation, "I am a Roman Catholic, Mr. Schuabe. Good-morning. I will
send the transfer round for you to sign."

The cool, machine-like man went away. The millionaire knew that his
fortune was tottering, but it moved him little. He knew that his power
in the country was nearly over, had dwindled to nothing in the stir of
greater things around. Money was only useful as a means of power, and
with a sure prescience he saw that he would never regain his old

The hour was over.

Whatever would be the outcome of these great affairs, the hour was past
and over.

The one glowing thought which burned within him, and seemed to be eating
out his life, was the awful knowledge that he and no other man had set
in motion this terrible machinery which was grinding up the civilised

Day and night from that there was no relief.

His valet again entered and reminded his master that some people were
coming to lunch. He went away and began to dress with the man's help.

The guests were only two in number. One was Ommaney, the editor of the
_Daily Wire_, the other Mrs. Hubert Armstrong.

Both the lady and gentleman came in together at about two o'clock.

Mrs. Armstrong was much changed in appearance. Her face had lost its
serenity; her manner was quick and anxious; her voice strained.

The slim, quiet editor, on the other hand, seemed to be untouched by
worry. Quiet and inscrutable as ever, the only change in him, perhaps,
was a slight briskness, an aroma rather than an actual expression of
good humour and _bien-être_.

They sat down to the meal. Schuabe, in his dark grey frock-coat, the
careful _ensemble_ of his dress no less than the regular beauty of his
face--now smooth and calm--seemed to be beyond all mundane cares. Only
the lady was ill at ease.

The conversation at first was all of the actual news of the day, as it
had appeared in the morning's newspapers. Hands's death was discussed.
"Poor fellow!" said Mrs. Armstrong, with a sigh; "it is sad to think of
his sudden ending. The burden was too much for him to bear. I can
understand it when I look round upon all that is happening; it is

"Surely you do not regret the discovery of the truth?" said Schuabe,

"I am beginning to fear truth," said the lady. "The world, it seems, was
not ripe for it. In a hundred years, perhaps, our work would have paved
the way. But it is premature. Look at the chaos all around us. The
public has ceased to think or read. They are reading nothing. Three
publishers have put up the shutters during the week."

The journalist interrupted with a dry chuckle. "They are reading the
_Daily Wire_," he said; "the circulation is almost doubled." He sent a
congratulatory glance to Schuabe.

The millionaire's great holding in the paper was a secret known only to
a few. In the stress of greater affairs he had half forgotten it. A
swift feeling of relief crossed his brain as he realised what this meant
to his tottering fortunes.

"Poor Hands!" said the editor, "he was a nice fellow. Rather unpractical
and dreamy, but a nice fellow. Owing to him we had the greatest chance
that any paper has ever had in the history of journalism. We owe him a
great debt. The present popularity and influence of the paper has
dwarfed, positively dwarfed, all its rivals. I have given the poor
fellow three columns to-day; I wish I could do more."

"Do you not think, Mr. Ommaney," asked Mrs. Armstrong, "that in the
enormous publication of telegrams and political foreign news, the
glorious fact that the world has at last awakened to a knowledge of the
glorious truths of real religion is being swamped and forgotten? After
all, what will be the greatest thing in history a hundred years from
now? Will it not be the death of the old superstitions rather than a
mutiny in the East or a war with Russia? Will not the names of the
pioneers of truth remain more firmly fixed in the minds of mankind than
those of generals and chancellors?"

The editor made it quite plain that these were speculations with which
he had nothing whatever to do.

"It's dead, Mrs. Armstrong," he said brutally. "The religious aspect is
utterly dead, and wouldn't sell an extra copy of the paper. It would be
madness to touch it now. The public gaze is fixed on Kabul River and
St. Petersburg, Belgrade and Constantinople. They have almost forgotten
that Jerusalem exists. I sent out twelve special correspondents ten days

Mrs. Armstrong sighed deeply. It was true, bitterly true. She was no
longer of any importance in the public eye. No one asked her to lecture
now. The mass meetings were all over. Not a single copy of _John
Mulgrave_ had been sold for a month. How differently she had pictured it
all on that winter's morning at Sir Michael's; how brightly and
gloriously it had begun, and now how bitter the _dénouement_, how
utterly beyond foresight? What was this superstition, this Christianity
which in its death struggles could overthrow a world?

"_The decisive events of the world occur in the intellect._" Yes, but
how soon do they leave their parent and outstrip its poor control?

There was no need for women _now_. That was the bitterest thought of
all. The movement was over--done with. A private in the Guards was a
greater hero than the leader of an intellectual movement. What a
monstrous _bouleversement_ of everything!

Again the lady sighed deeply.

"No," she said again, "the world was not yet strong enough to bear the
truth. I have sold my Consols," she continued; "I have been advised to
do so. I was investing for my daughter when I am gone. Newspaper shares
are the things to buy now, I suppose! My brokers told me that I was
doing the wisest thing. They said that they could not recover for

"The money market is a thing in which I have very little concern except
inasmuch as it affects large public issues," said the editor. "I leave
it all to my city editor and his staff--men in whom I have the greatest
possible trust. But I heard a curious piece of news last night. I don't
know what it portends; perhaps Mr. Schuabe can tell me; he knows all
about these things. Sir Michael Manichoe, the head of the Church
political party, you know has been buying Consols enormously. Keith, my
city editor, told me. He has, so it appears, invested enormous sums.
Consols will go up in consequence. But even then I don't see how he can
repay himself. They cannot rise much."

"I wonder if I was well advised to sell?" said Mrs. Armstrong,
nervously. "They say Sir Michael never makes a mistake. He must have
some private information."

"I don't think that is possible, Mrs. Armstrong," Ommaney said. "Of
course Sir Michael may very likely know something about the situation
which is not yet public. He may be reckoning on it. But things are in
such hopeless confusion that no sane speculator would buy for a small
rise which endured for half a day. He would not be able to unload
quickly enough. It seems as if Sir Michael is buying for a permanent
recovery. And I assure you that nothing can bring _that_ about. Only one
thing at least."

"What is that?" asked both Mrs. Armstrong and Schuabe together.

The editor paused, while a faint smile flickered over his face. "Ah," he
said, "an impossibility, of course. If any one discovered that 'The
Discovery' was a fraud--a great forgery, for instance--_then_ we should
see a universal relief."

"_That_, of course, is asking for an impossibility," said Mrs.
Armstrong, rather shortly. She resented the somewhat flippant tone of
the great man.

These things were all her life. To Ommaney they but represented a
passing panorama in which he took absolutely no _personal_ interest. The
novelist disliked and feared this detachment. It warred with her strong
sense of mental duty. The highly trained journalist, to whom all life
was but news, news, news, was a strange modern product which warred with
her sense of what was fitting.

"You're not well!" said the editor, suddenly turning to Schuabe, who had
grown very pale. His voice reassured them.

It was without a trace of weakness.

The "Perfectly, thank you" was deliberate and calm as ever. Ommaney,
however, noticed that, with a very steady hand, the host poured out
nearly a tumbler of Burgundy and drank it in one draught.

Schuabe had been taking nothing stronger than water hitherto during the
progress of the meal.

The man who had been waiting had just left the room for coffee. After
Ommaney had spoken, there was a slight, almost embarrassed, silence. A
sudden interruption came from the door of the room.

It opened with a quick push and turn of the handle, quite unlike the
deliberate movements of any one of the attendants.

Sir Robert Llwellyn strode into the room. It was obvious that he was
labouring under some almost uncontrollable agitation. The great face,
usually so jolly and fresh-coloured, was ghastly pale. There was a fixed
stare of fright in the eyes. He had forgotten to remove his silk hat,
which was grotesquely tilted on his head, showing the hair matted with

Ommaney and Mrs. Armstrong sat perfectly still.

They were paralysed with wonder at the sudden apparition of this famous
person, obviously in such urgent hurry and distress.

Then, with the natural instinct of well-bred people, their heads turned
away, their eyes fell to their plates, and they began to converse in an
undertone upon trivial matters.

Schuabe had risen with a quick, snake-like movement, utterly unlike his
general deliberation. In a moment he had crossed the room and taken
Llwellyn's arm in a firm grip, looking him steadily in the face with an
ominous and warning frown.

That clear, sword-like glance seemed to nerve the big man into more
restraint. A wave of artificial composure passed over him. He removed
his hat and breathed deeply.

Then he spoke in a voice which trembled somewhat, but which nevertheless
attained something of control.

"I am really very sorry," he said, with a ghastly attempt at a smile,
"to have burst in upon you like this. I didn't know you had friends with
you. Please excuse me. But the truth is--the truth is, that I am in
rather a hurry to see you. I have an important message for you from--"
he hesitated a single moment before he found the ready lie--"from Lord
----. There are--there is something going on at the House of Commons
which--But I will tell you later on. How do you do, Mrs. Armstrong? How
are you, Ommaney? Fearfully rushed, of course! We archæologists are the
only people who have leisure nowadays. No, thanks, Schuabe, I lunched
before I came. Coffee? Oh, yes; excellent!"

His manner was noticeably forced and unnatural in its artificial
geniality. The man, who had now entered with coffee, brought the tray to
him, but instead of taking any he half filled an empty cup with Kümmel
and drank it off.

His hurried explanation hardly deceived the two shrewd people at the
table, but at least it made it obvious that he wished to be alone with
their host.

There was a little desultory conversation over the coffee, in which
Llwellyn took a too easy and hilarious part, and then Mrs. Armstrong got
up to go.

Ommaney followed her.

Schuabe walked with them a little way down the corridor. While he was
out of the room, Llwellyn walked unsteadily to a sideboard. With shaking
hand he mixed himself a large brandy-and-soda. His shaking hands, the
intense greed with which he swallowed the mixture, were horrible in
their sensual revelation. The mask of pleasantness had gone; the reserve
of good manners disappeared.

He stood there naked, as it were--a vast bulk of a man in deadly fear.

Schuabe came back and closed the door silently. He drew Llwellyn to the
old spot, right in the centre of the great room. There was a wild
question in his eyes which his lips seemed powerless to utter.

"Gertrude!" gasped the big man. "You know she came back to me. I told
you at the club that it was all right between us again?"

An immeasurable relief crossed the Jew's face. He pushed his friend away
with a snarl of concentrated disgust.

"You come here," he hissed venomously, "and burst into my rooms to tell
me of your petty _amours_. Have I not borne with the story of your lust
and degradation enough? You come here as if the--." He stopped suddenly.
The words died away on his lips.

Llwellyn was transformed.

Even in his terror and agitation an ugly sneer blazed out upon his face.
His nostrils curled with evil laughter. His voice became low and
threatening. Something subtly _vulgar_ and _common_ stole into it. It
was this last that arrested Schuabe. It was horrible.

"Not quite so fast, my good friend," said Llwellyn. "Wait and hear my
story; and, confound you! if you talk to me like that again, I'll kill
you! Things are equal now, my Jewish partner--equal between us. If I am
in danger, why, so are you; and either you speak civilly or you pay the

A curious thing happened. The enormous overbearing brutality of the man,
his _vitality_, seemed to cow and beat down the master mind.

Schuabe, for the moment, was weak in the hands of his inferior. As yet
he had heard nothing of what the other had come to tell; he was
conscious only of hands of cold fear knocking at his heart.

He seemed to shrink into himself. For the first and last time in his
life, the inherited slavishness in his blood asserted itself.

He had never known such degradation before. The beauty of his face went
out like an extinguished candle. His features grew markedly Semitic; he
cringed and fawned, as his ancestors had cringed and fawned before fools
in power hundreds of years back.

This inexpressibly disgusting change in the distinguished man had its
immediate effect upon his companion. It was new and utterly startling.
He had come to lean on Schuabe, to place the threads of a dreadful
dilemma in his hand, to rest upon his master mind.

So, for a second or two, in loathsome pantomime the men bowed and
salaamed to each other in the centre of the room, not knowing what they

It was Sir Robert who pulled himself together first. The fear which was
rushing over him in waves gave him back a semblance of control.

"We must not quarrel now," he said in a swift, eager voice. "Listen to
me. We are on the brink of terrible things. Gertrude Hunt came back to
me, as you know. She told me that she was sick to death of her friends
the priests, that the old life called her, that she could not live
apart from me. She mocked at her sudden conversion. I thought that it
was real. I laughed and mocked with her. I trusted her as I would trust

He paused for a moment, choking down the immense agitation which rose up
in his throat and half strangled speech.

Schuabe's eyes, attentive and fixed, were still uncomprehending. Still
the Jew did not see whither Llwellyn was leading--could not understand.

"She's gone!" said the big man, all colour fading absolutely from his
face. "And, Schuabe, in my mad folly and infatuation, in my incredible
foolishness ... _I told her everything_."

A sudden sharp animal moan burst from Schuabe's lips--clear, vibrant,
and bestial in the silence.

His rigidity changed into an extraordinary trembling. It was a temporary
palsy which set every separate limb trembling with an independent
motion. He waited thus, with an ashen face, to hear more.

Llwellyn, when the irremediable fact had passed his lips, when the
enormous difficulty of confession was surmounted, proceeded with slight

"This might, you will think, be just possibly without significance for
us. It might be a coincidence. _But it is not so, Schuabe._ I know now,
as certainly as I can know anything, that she came to me, was sent to
me, by the people who have got hold of her. _There has been suspicion
for some time_, there must have been. We have been ruined by this woman
I trusted."

"But why ... how?"

"Because, Schuabe, as I was walking down Chancery Lane not an hour since
I saw Gertrude come out of Lincoln's Inn with the clergyman Gortre. They
got into a cab together and drove away. And more: I learn from Lambert,
my assistant at the Museum, that Harold Spence, the journalist, who is a
member of his club and a friend of his, _left for Palestine several
days ago_."

"I have just heard," whispered Schuabe, "that Sir Michael Manichoe has
been buying large parcels of Consols."

"The thing is over. We must----"

"Hush!" said the Jew, menacingly. "All is not lost yet. Perhaps, the
strong probability is, that only this Gortre knows yet. Even if anything
is known to others, it is only vague, and cannot be substantiated until
the man in Palestine gets a letter. Without this woman and Gortre we are

The Professor looked at him and understood. Nor was there any terror in
his face, only a faint film of relief.

Five minutes afterwards the two distinguished men, talking easily
together, walked through the vestibule of the hotel, down the great
courtyard and into the roaring Strand.

A hotel clerk explained the celebrities to a voluble group of American
tourists as they went by.



Harold Spence was essentially a man of action. His mental and moral
health depended for its continuance upon the active prosecution of
affairs more than most men's.

A product of the day, "modern" in his culture, modern in his ideals, he
must live the vivid, eager, strenuous life of his times or the fibres of
his brain became slack and loosened.

In the absorbing interest of his first mission to the East Spence had
found work which exactly suited his temperament. It was work which keyed
him up to his best and most successful efforts.

But when that was over, when the news that he had given brilliantly to
the world became the world's and was no longer his, then the reaction
set in.

The whole man became relaxed and unstrung; he was drifting into a sloth
of the mind and body when Gortre had arrived from the North with his
message of Hope.

The renewed opportunity of action, the tonic to his weak and waning
faith--that faith which alone was able to keep him clean and
worthy--again strung up the chords of his manhood till they vibrated in

Once more Spence was in the Holy City.

But a short time ago he was at Jerusalem as the collective eye of
millions of Englishmen, the telegraph wires stretched out behind him to

Now he was, to all official intents, a private person, yet, as the
steamer cast anchor in the roadstead of Jaffa, he had realised that a
more tremendous responsibility than ever before rested with him.

The last words spoken to Spence in England had been those of Sir Michael
Manichoe. The great man was bidding him good-bye at Charing Cross.

"Remember," he had said, "that whatever proof or help we may get from
this woman, Gertrude Hunt, will be but the basis for you to work on in
the East. We shall cable every result of our investigations here.
Remember that, as we think, you have immense ability and resource
against you. Go very warily. As I have said before, _no_ sum is too
great to sacrifice, no sacrifice too great to make."

There had been a day's delay at Jaffa. It had been a day of strange,
bewildering thoughts to the journalist.

The "Gate of the Holy Land" is not, as many people suppose, a fine
harbour, a thronged port.

The navies of the ancient world which congregated there were smaller
than even the coasting steamers of to-day. They found shelter in a
narrow space of more or less untroubled water between the shelving rock
of the long, flat shore and a low reef rising out of the sea parallel to
the town. The vessels with timber for Solomon's Temple tossed almost
unsheltered before the terraces of ochre-coloured Oriental houses.

For several hours it had been too rough for the passengers on the French
boat to land. More than a mile of restless bottle-green sea separated
them from the rude ladders fastened to the wave-washed quay.

There had been one of the heavy rain-storms which at that season of the
year visit Palestine. Over the Moslem minarets of the town the purple
tops of the central mountains of Judah and Ephraim showed clear and far

The time of waiting gave Spence an opportunity for collecting and
ordering his thoughts, for summing up the situation and trying to get at
the very heart of its meaning.

The messagery steamer was the only one in the roads. Two coasting craft
with rags of light brown sails were beating over the swell into the

The sky was cloudy, the air still and warm. Only the sea was turbulent
and uneasy, the steamer rolled with a sickening, regular movement, and
the anchor chains beat and rattled with the precision of a pendulum.

Spence sat on the india-rubber treads of the steps leading up to the
bridge, with an arm crooked round a white-painted stanchion supporting
the hand-rail. A few yards away two lascars were working a chain and
pulley, drawing up zinc boxes of ashes from the stoke-hold and tipping
them into the sea. As the clinkers fell into the water a little cloud of
steam rose from them.

There were but few passengers on the ship, which wore a somewhat
neglected, "off-duty" aspect. No longer were the cabins filled with
drilled bands of tourists with their loud-voiced lecturing cleric in
charge. Not now was there the accustomed rush to the main deck, the
pious ejaculations at the first sight of Palestine, the electric
knocking at the hearts even of the least devout.

Nobody came to Jerusalem now from England. From Beyrout to Jaffa the
maritime plain was silent and deserted, and no tourists plucked the
roses of Sharon any more.

A German commercial traveller, with cases of cutlery, from Essen, was
arguing with the little Greek steward about his wine bill; a
professional photographer from Alexandria, travelling with his cameras
for a New York firm of art publishers; two Turkish officers smoking
cigarettes; a Russian gentleman with two young sons; a fat man in
flannels and with an unshaven chin, very much at home; an orange buyer
from a warehouse by the Tower Bridge--these were the undistinguished
companions of the journalist.

The steward clapped his hands; _déjeuner_ was ready. The passengers
tumbled down to the saloon. Spence declined the loud-voiced Cockney
invitation of the fruit merchant and remained where he was, gazing with
unseeing eyes at the low Eastern town, which rose and fell before him as
the ship rolled lazily from side to side.

There was something immensely, tremendously incongruous in his position.
It was without precedent. He had come, in the first place, as a sort of
private inquiry agent. He was a detective charged by a group of three or
four people, a clergyman or two, a wealthy Member of Parliament, to find
out the year-old movements--if, indeed, movements there had been!--of a
distinguished European professor. He was to pry, to question, to
deceive. This much in itself was utterly astonishing, strangely
difficult of realisation.

But how much more there was to stir and confuse his brain!

He was coming back alone to Jerusalem. But a short time ago he had seen
the great _savants_ of Europe--only thirty miles beyond this Eastern
town--reluctantly pronounce the words which meant the downfall of the
Christian Faith.

The gunboat which had brought them all was anchored in this very spot. A
Turkish guard had been waiting yonder on the quay, they had gone along
the new road to Jerusalem in open carriages,--through the orange
groves,--riding to make history.

And now he was here once more.

While he sat on this dingy steamer in this remote corner of the
Mediterranean, it was no exaggeration to say that the whole world was in
a state of cataclysm such as it had hardly, at least not often, known

It was his business to watch events, to forecast whither they would
lead. He was a Simon Magus of the modern world, with an electric wire
and stylographic pen to prophesy with. He of all men could see and
realise what was happening all over the globe. He was more alarmed than
even the man in the street. This much was certain.

And a day's easy ride away lay the little town which held the acre of
rocky ground from which all these horrors, this imminent upheaval, had

Again it seemed beyond the power of his brain to seize it all, to
contain the vastness of his thoughts.

These facts, which all the world knew, were almost too stupendous for
belief. But when he dwelt upon the _personal_ aspect of them he was as a
traveller whose way is irrevocably barred by sheer precipice.

At the very first _he_ had been one mouthpiece of the news. For some
hours the packet containing it had hung in the dressing-room of a London
Turkish bath.

His act had recoiled upon himself, for when Gortre found him in the
chambers he was spiritually dying.

Could this suspicion of Schuabe and Llwellyn possibly be true? It had
seemed both plausible and probable in Sir Michael's study in London. But
out here in the Jaffa roadstead, when he realised--or tried to
realise--that on him might depend the salvation of the world.... He
laughed aloud at that monstrous grandiloquent phrase. He was in the
nineteenth century, not the tenth.

He doubted more and more. Had it been any one else it might have been
possible to believe. But he could not see himself in this stupendous

The mental processes became insupportable; he dismissed thought with a
great effort of will and got up from his seat.

At least there was some _action_, something definite to do waiting for
him. Speculation only blurred everything. He would be true to the trust
his friends in England reposed in him and leave the rest to happen as it
was fated.

There was a relief in that attitude--the Arab attitude. _Kismet!_

Griggs, the fruit merchant, came up from the saloon wiping his lips.

"Bit orf," he said, "waiting like this. But the sea will go down soon.
Last spring I had to go on to Beyrout, the weather was that rough. Ever
tried that Vin de Rishon le Zion? It's a treat. Made from Bordeaux vines
transplanted to Palestine--you'll pass the fields on the way up--just
had a half bottle. Hallo!--look, there's the boat at last--old Francis
Karane's boat. Must go and look after my traps."

A long boat was creeping out from behind the reef. Spence went to his
cabin to see after his light kit. It was better to move and work than to

       *       *       *       *       *

It was early morning, the morning after Spence's arrival in Jerusalem.
He slept well and soundly in his hotel room, tired by the long ride--for
he had come on horseback over the moonlit slopes of Ajalon.

When at length he awoke it was with a sensation of mental and bodily
vigour, a quickening of all his pulses in hope and expectation, which
was in fine contrast to the doubts and hesitations of the Jaffa roads.

A bright sun poured into the room.

He got up and went to the window. There was a deep, unspoken prayer in
his heart.

The hotel was in Akra, the European and Christian quarter of Jerusalem,
close by the Jaffa Gate, with the Tower of Hippicus frowning down upon

The whole extent of the city lay beneath the windows in a glorious
panorama, washed as it was in the brilliant morning light. Far beyond, a
dark shadow yet, the Olivet range rose in background to the minarets and
cupolas below it.

His eye roved over the prospect, marking and recognising the buildings.

There was the purple dome of the great Mosque of Omar, very clear
against the amber-primrose lights of dawn.

Where now the muezzin called to Allah, the burnt-offerings had once
smoked in the courts of the Temple--it was in that spot the mysterious
veil had parted in symbol of God's pain and death. It was in the porches
bounding the court of the Gentiles that Christ had taught.

Closer, below the Antonia Tower, rose the dark, lead-covered cupola of
the Church of the Holy Sepulchre.

Great emotion came to him as he gazed at the shrine sacred above all
others for so many centuries.

He thought of that holy spot diminished in its ancient glory in the eyes
of half the Christian world.

Perhaps no more would the Holy Fire burst forth from the yellow, aged
marble of the Tomb at Easter time.

Who could say?

Was not he, Harold Spence, there to try that awful issue?

He wondered, as he gazed, if another Easter would still see the wild
messengers bursting away to Nazareth and Bethlehem bearing The Holy

The sun became suddenly more powerful. It threw a warmer light into the
grey dome, and, deep down, the cold, dark waters of Hezekiah's Pool
became bright and golden.

The sacred places focussed the light and sprang into a new life.

He made the sign of the Cross, wondering fancifully if this were an

Then with a shudder he looked to the left towards the ogre-grey Turkish
battlements of the Damascus Gate.

It was there, over by the Temple Quarries of Bezetha, the New Tomb of
Joseph lay.

Yes! straight away to the north lay the rock-hewn sepulchre where the
great doctors had sorrowfully pronounced the end of so many Christian

How difficult to believe that so short a distance away lay the centre of
the world's trouble! Surely he could actually distinguish the
guard-house in the wall which had been built round the spot.

Over the sad Oriental city--for Jerusalem is always sad, as if the
ancient stones were still conscious of Christ's passion--he gazed
towards the terrible place, wondering, hoping, fearing.

       *       *       *       *       *

It was very difficult to know how to begin upon this extraordinary

When he had made the first meal of the day and was confronted with the
business, with the actual fact of what he had to do, he was aghast at
what seemed his own powerlessness.

He had no plan of action, no method. For an hour he felt absolutely

Sir Robert Llwellyn, so his friends believed, had been in Jerusalem
prior to the discovery of the New Tomb.

The first duty of the investigator was to find out whether that was

How was he to do it?

In his irresolution he decided to go out into the city. He would call
upon various people he knew, friends of Cyril Hands, and trust to events
for guiding his further movements.

The rooms where Hands had always stayed were close to the schools of the
Church Missionary Society; he would go there. Down in the Mûristan area
he could also chat with the doctor at the English Ophthalmic Hospice; he
would call on his way to the New Tomb.

It was at The Tomb that he might learn something, perhaps, yet how
nebulous it all was, how unsatisfying!

He set out, down the roughly paved streets, through the arched and
shaded bazaars--places less full of colour and more sombre than the
markets of other Oriental cities--to the heart of the city, where the
streets were bounded by the vision of the distant hills of Olivet.

The religious riots and unrest were long since over. The pilgrims to the
Church of the Holy Sepulchre were less in number, but were mostly
Russians of the Greek Church, who still accepted the Church of the Holy
Sepulchre as the true goal of their desires.

The Greeks and Armenians hated each other no more than usual. The Turks
were held in good control by a strong governor of Jerusalem. Nor was
this a time of special festival. The city, never quite at rest, was
still in its normal condition.

The Bedouin women with their unveiled faces, tattooed in blue, strode to
the bazaars with the butter they had brought in from their desert herds.
They wore gaudy head-dresses and high red boots, and they jostled the
"pale townsmen" as they passed them; free, untamed creatures of the sun
and air.

As Spence passed by the courtyard of the Church of the Holy Sepulchre a
crowd of Fellah boys ran up to him with candles ornamented with scenes
from the Passion, pressing him to buy.

The sun grew hotter as he walked, though the purple shadows of the
narrow streets were cool enough. As he left the European heights of Akra
and dived deep into the eastern central city, the well-remembered scenes
and smells rose up like a wall before him and the rest of life.

He began to walk more slowly, in harmony with the slow-moving forms
around. He had been to Omdurman with the avenging army, knew
Constantinople during the Greek war--the East had meaning for him.

And as the veritable East closed round him his doubts and self-ridicule
vanished. His strange mission seemed possible here.

As he was passing one of the vast ruined structures once belonging to
the mediæval knights of St. John, thinking, indeed, that he himself was
a veritable Crusader, a thin, importunate voice came to him from an
angle of the stone-work.

He looked down and saw an old Nurié woman sitting there. She belonged to
the "Nowar," the unclean pariah class of Palestine, who are said to
practise magic arts. A gipsy of the Sussex Downs would be her sister in

The woman was tattooed from head to foot. She wore a blue turban, and
from squares and angles drawn in the dust before her, Spence knew her
for a professional geomancer or fortune-teller.

He threw her a coin in idle speculation and asked her "his lot" for the
immediate future.

The woman had a few shells of different shapes in a heap by her side,
and she threw them into the figures on the ground.

Then, picking them up, she said, in bastard Arabic interspersed with a
hard "K"-like sound, which marks the nomad in Palestine, "Effendi, you
have a sorrow and bewilderment just past you, and, like a black star, it
has fixed itself on your forehead. A letter is coming to you from over
the seas telling you of work to do. And then you will leave this country
and cross home in a steamer, with a story to tell many people."

Spence smiled at the glib prophecy. Certainly it might very well outline
his future course of action, but it was no more than a shrewd and
obvious guess.

He was turning to go away when the woman opened her clothes in front,
showing the upper part of her body literally covered with tattoo marks,
and drew out a small bag.

"Stay, my lord," she said. "I can tell you much more if you will hear. I
have here a very precious stone rubbed with oil, which I brought from
Mecca. Now, if you will hold this stone in your hand and give me the
price you shall hear what will come to you, O camel of the house!"

The curious sensation of "expectation" that had been coming over Spence,
the fatalistic waiting for chance to guide him which, in this wild and
dream-like business, had begun to take hold of him, made him give the
hag what she asked.

There was something in clairvoyance perhaps; at any rate he would hear
what the Nurié woman had to say.

She took a dark and greasy pebble from the bag and put it in his hand,
gazing at his fingers for a minute or two in a fixed stare without

When at last she broke the silence Spence noticed that something had
gone out of her voice. The medicant whine, the ingratiating invitation
had ceased.

Her tones were impersonal, thinner, a _recitative_.

"Ere sundown my lord will hear that a friend has died and his spirit is
in the well of souls."

"Tell me of this friend, O my aunt!" Spence said in colloquial Arabic.

"Thy friend is a Frank, but more than a Frank, for he is one knowing
much of this country, and has walked the stones of Jerusalem for many
years. Thou wilt hear of his death from the lips of one who will tell
thee of another thou seekest, and know not that it is he.... Give me
back the stone, lord, and go thy way," she broke off suddenly, with
seeming sincerity. "I will tell thee no more, for great business is in
thy hands and thou art no ordinary wayfarer. Why didst thou hide it from
me, Effendi?"

Drawing her blue head-dress over her face, the woman refused to speak
another word.

Spence passed on, wondering. He knew, as all travellers who are not
merely tourists know, that no one has ever been quite able to sift the
fraud and trickery from the strange power possessed by those Eastern
geomancers. It is an undecided question still, but only the shallow dare
to say that _all_ is imposture.[2]

And even the London journalist could not be purely materialistic in
Jerusalem, the City of Sorrows.

He went on towards his destination. Not far from the missionary
establishment was a building which was the headquarters of the Palestine
Exploring Society in Jerusalem.

Cyril Hands had always lived up in Akra among the Europeans, but much of
his time was necessarily spent in the Mûristan district.

The building was known as the "Research Museum."

Hands and his assistants had gathered a valuable collection of ancient

Here were hundreds of drawings and photographs of various excavations.
Accurate measurements of tombs, buried houses, ancient churches were
entered in great books.

In glass cases were fragments of ancient pottery, old Hebrew seals,
scarabs, antique fragments of jewellery--all the varied objects from
which high scholarship and expert training was gradually, year by year,
providing a luminous and entirely fresh commentary on Holy Writ.

Here, in short, were the tools of what is known as the "Higher

Attached to the museum was a library and drawing office, a photographic
dark room, apartments for the curator and his wife. A man who engaged
the native labour required for the excavations superintended the work of
the men and acted as general agent and intermediary between the European
officials and all Easterns with whom they came in contact.

This man was well known in the city--a character in his way. In the
reports of the Exploring Society he was often referred to as an
invaluable assistant. But a year ago his portrait had been published in
the annual statement of the fund, and the face of the Greek Ionides in
his turban lay upon the study tables of many a quiet English vicarage.

Spence entered the courtyard of the building. It was quiet and deserted;
some pigeons were feeding there.

He turned under a stone archway to the right, pushed open a door, and
entered the museum.

There was a babel of voices.

A small group of people stood by a wooden pedestal in the centre of the
room, which supported the famous cruciform font found at Bîâr Es-seb'a.

They turned at Spence's entrance. He saw some familiar faces of people
with whom he had been brought in contact during the time of the first

Two English missionaries, one in orders, the English Consul, and
Professor Theodore Adams, the American archæologist, who lived all the
year round in the new western suburb, stood speaking in grave tones and
with distressed faces--so it seemed to the intruder.

An Egyptian servant, dressed in white linen, carrying a bunch of keys,
was with them.

In his hand the Consul held a roll of yellow native wax.

An enormous surprise shone out on the faces of these people as Spence
walked up to him.

"Mr. Spence!" said the Consul, "we never expected you or heard of your
coming. This is most fortunate, however. You were his great friend. I
think you both shared chambers together in London?"

Spence looked at him in wonder, mechanically shaking the proffered hand.

"I don't think I quite understand," he said. "I came here quite by
chance, just to see if there was any one that I knew about."

"Then you have not heard--" said the clergyman.

"I have heard nothing."

"Your friend, our distinguished fellow-worker, Professor Hands, is no
more. We have just received a cable. Poor, dear Hands died of heart
disease while taking a seaside holiday."

Spence was genuinely affected.

Hands was an old and dear friend. His sweet, kindly nature, too dreamy
and retiring perhaps for the rush and hurry of Occidental life, had
always been wonderfully welcome for a month or two each year in
Lincoln's Inn. His quaint, learned letters, his enthusiasm for his work
had become part of the journalist's life. They were recurring pleasures.
And now he was gone!

Now it was all over. Never more would he hear the quiet voice, hear the
water-pipe bubble in the quiet old inn as night gave way to dawn....

His brain whirled with the sudden shock. He grew very pale, waiting to
hear more.

"We know little more," said the Consul, with a sigh. "A cable from the
central office of the Society has just stated the fact and asked me to
take official charge of everything here. We were just about to begin
sealing up the rooms when you came. There are many important documents
which must be seen to. Mr. Forbes, poor Hands's assistant, is away on
the shores of the Dead Sea, but we have sent for him by the camel
garrison post. But it will be some weeks before he can be here,

"This is terribly sad news for me," said Spence at length. "We were, of
course, the dearest friends. The months when Hands was in town were
always the pleasantest. Of course, lately we did not see so much of each
other; he had become a public character. He was becoming very depressed
and unwell, terrified, I almost think, at what was going on in the world
owing to the discovery he had made, and he was going away to
recuperate. But I knew nothing of this!"

"I am sorry," said the Consul, "to have to tell you of such a sad
business, but we naturally thought that somehow you knew--though, of
course, in point of time that would hardly be possible, or only just

"I am in the East," said Spence, giving an explanation that he had
previously prepared if it became necessary to account for his
presence--"I am here on a mission for my newspaper--to ascertain various
points about public opinion in view of all these imminent international

"Quite so, quite so," said the Consul. "I shall be glad to help you in
any way I can, of course. But when you came in we were wondering what we
should do exactly about poor Hands's private effects, papers, and so on.
When he went on leave all his things were packed in cases and sent down
here from his rooms in the upper city. I suppose they had better be
shipped to England. Perhaps you would take charge of them on your

"I expect you will hear from his brother, the Rev. John Hands, a
Leicestershire clergyman, when the mail comes in," said Spence. "This is
a great blow to me. I should like to pay my poor friend some public
tribute. I should like to write something for English people to read--a
sketch of his life and work here in Jerusalem--his daily work among you

His voice faltered. His eyes had fallen on a photograph which hung upon
the wall. A group of Arabs sat at the mouth of a rock tomb. In front of
them, wearing a sun helmet and holding a ten-foot surveyor's wand, stood
the dead professor. A kindly smile was on his face as he looked down
upon the white figures of his men.

"It would be a gracious tribute," said one of the missionaries. "Every
one loved him, whatever their race or creed. We can all tell you of him
as we saw him in our midst. It is a great pity that old Ionides has
gone. He was the confidential sharer of all the work here, and Hands
trusted him implicitly. He could have told you much."

"I remember Ionides well," said Spence. "At the time of the discovery,
of course, he was very much in evidence, and he was examined by the
committee. Is the old fellow dead, then?"

"No," answered the missionary. "Some time ago, just after the Commission
left, in fact, he came into a considerable sum of money. He was getting
on in years, and he resigned his position here. He has taken an olive
farm somewhere by Nabulûs, a Turkish city by Mount Gerizim. I fear we
shall never see him more. He would grieve at this news."

"I think," said Spence, "I will go back to my hotel. I should like to be
alone to-day. I will call on you this evening, if I may," he added,
turning to the Consul.

He left the melancholy group, once more beginning their sad business,
and went out again into the narrow street.

He wanted to be alone, in some quiet place, to pay his departed friend
the last rites of quiet thought and memory. He would say a prayer for
him in the cool darkness of the Church of the Holy Sepulchre.

How did it go?

     "_So when this corruptible shall have put on incorruption, and this
     mortal shall have put on immortality; Then shall be brought to pass
     the saying that is written, Death is swallowed up in victory. O
     death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory?_"

Always all his life long he had thought that these were perhaps the most
beautiful of written words.

He turned to the right, passed the Turkish guard at the entrance, and
went down the narrow steps to the "Calvary" chapel.

The gloom and glory of the great church, its rich and sombre light, the
cool yet heavy air, saddened his soul. He knelt in humble prayer.

When he came out once more into the brilliant sunlight and the noises of
the city he felt braver and more confident.

He began to turn his thoughts earnestly and resolutely to his mission.

Swiftly, with a quick shock of memory, he remembered his talk with the
old fortune-teller. It was with an unpleasant sense of chill and shock
that he remembered her predictions.

Some strange sense of divination had told her of this sad news that
waited for him. He could not explain or understand it. But there was
more than this. It might be wild and foolish, but he could not thrust
the woman's words from his brain.

She knew he was in quest of some one. She said he would be told....

He entered the yellow stone portico of the hotel with a sigh of relief.
The hall was large, flagged, and cool. A pool of clear water was in the
centre, glimmering green over its tiles. The eye rested on it with
pleasure. Spence sank into a deck-chair and clapped his hands. He was
exhausted, tired, and thirsty.

An Arab boy came in answer to his hand-clapping. He brought an envelope
on a tray.

It was a cable from England.

Spence went up-stairs to his bedroom. From his kit-bag he drew a small
volume, bound in thick leather, with a locked clasp.

It was Sir Michael Manichoe's private cable code--a precious volume
which great commercial houses all over the world would have paid great
sums to see, which the great man in his anxiety and trust had confided
to his emissary.

Slowly and laboriously he de-coded the message, a collection of letters
and figures to be momentous in the history of Christendom.

These were the words:

     "_The woman has discovered everything from Llwellyn. All suspicions
     confirmed. Conspiracy between Llwellyn and Schuabe. You will find
     full confirmation from the Greek foreman of Society explorations,
     Ionides. Get statement of truth by any means, coercion or money to
     any amount. All is legitimate. Having obtained, hasten home,
     special steamer if quicker. Can do nothing certain without your
     evidence. We trust in you. Hasten._


He trembled with excitement as he relocked the code.

It was a light in a dark place. Ionides! the trusted for many years! The
eager helper! The traitor bought by Llwellyn!

It was afternoon now. He must go out again. A caravan, camels, guides,
must be found for a start to-morrow.

It would not be a very difficult journey, but it must be made with
speed, and it was four days, five days away.

He passed out of the hotel and by the Tower of Hippicus.

A new drinking fountain had been erected there, a domed building, with
pillars of red stone and a glittering roof, surmounted by a golden

Some camel drivers were drinking there. He was passing by when a tall,
white-robed figure bowed low before him. A voice, speaking French, bade
him good-day.

The face of the man seemed familiar. He asked him his name and business.

It was Ibrahim, the Egyptian servant he had seen at the museum in the

The rooms had been sealed up, and the man had been to the Consul's
private house with the keys.

This man had temporarily succeeded the Greek Ionides.

Spence turned back to the hotel and bade Ibrahim follow him.



The night was cold and still, the starlight brilliant in the huge hollow
sapphire of the sky.

Wrapped in a heavy cloak, Spence sat at the door of one of the two
little tents which composed his caravan.

Ibrahim the Egyptian, a Roman Catholic, as it seemed, had volunteered to
act as dragoman. In a few hours this man had got together the necessary
animals and equipment for the expedition to Nabulûs.

Spence rode a little grey horse of the wiry Moabite breed, Ibrahim a
Damascus bay. The other men, a cook and two muleteers, all Syrians of
the Greek Church, rode mules.

The day's march had been long and tiring. Night, with its ineffable
peace and rest, was very welcome.

On the evening of the morrow they would be on the slopes of Ebal and
Gerizim, near to the homestead of the man they sought.

All the long day Spence had asked himself what would be the outcome of
this wild journey. He was full of a grim determination to wring the
truth from the renegade. In his hip pocket his revolver pressed against
his thigh. He was strung up for action. Whatever course presented
itself, that he would take, regardless of any law that there might be
even in these far-away districts.

His passport was specially endorsed by the Foreign Office; he bore a
letter, obtained by the Consul, from the Governor of Jerusalem to the
Turkish officer in command of Nabulûs.

He had little doubt of the ultimate result. Money or force should obtain
a full confession, and then, a swift rush for London with the charter of
salvation--for it would be little less than that--and the engine of
destruction for the two terrible criminals at home.

As they marched over the plains the red anemone and blue iris had peeped
from the herbage. The ibex, the roebuck, the wild boar, had fled from
the advancing caravan.

Eagles and vultures had moved heavily through the sky at vast heights.
Quails, partridges, and plovers started from beneath the horses' feet.

As the sun plunged away, the owls had begun to mourn in the olive
groves, the restless chirping of the grasshoppers began to die away, and
as the stars grew bright, the nightingale--the lonely song-bird of these
solitudes--poured out his melody to the night.

The camp had been formed under the shade of a clump of terebinth and
acacias close to a spring of clear water which made the grass around it
a vivid green, in pleasant contrast to the dry, withered herbage in the

The men had dug out tree roots for fuel, and a red fire glowed a few
yards away from Spence's tent.

A group of silent figures sat round the fire. Now and then a low murmur
of talk sounded for a minute and then died away again. A slight breeze,
cool and keen, rustled in the trees overhead. Save for that, and the
occasional movement of one of the hobbled horses, no sound broke the
stillness of the glorious night.

It was here, so Spence thought, that the Lord must have walked with His
disciples on the journey between Jerusalem and Nazareth.

On such a night as this the little group may have sat in the vale of El
Makhna in quiet talk at supper-time.

The same stars looked down on him as they did on those others two
thousand years ago. How real and true it all seemed here! How much
_easier_ it was to realise and believe than in Chancery Lane!

Why did men live in cities?

Was it not better far for the soul's health to be here alone with God?

Here, and in such places as these, God spoke clear and loud to the
hearts of men. He shuddered as the thought of his own lack of faith came
back to him.

In rapid review he saw the recent time of his hopelessness and shame.
How utterly he had fallen to pieces! It was difficult to understand the
pit into which he was falling so easily when Basil had come to him.

Now, the love of God ran in his veins like fire, every sight and sound
spoke to him of the Christus Consolator.

It was more than mere cold belief, a _love_ or personal devotion to
Christ welled up in him. The figure of the Man of Sorrows was very near
him--there was a great fiery cross of stars in the sky above him.

He entered the little tent to pray. He prayed humbly that it might be
even thus until the end. He prayed that this new and sweet communion
with his Master might never fade or lessen till the glorious daylight of
Death dawned and this sojourning far from home was over.

And, in the name of all the unknown millions whom he was come to this
far land to aid, he prayed for success, for the Truth to be made
manifest, and for a happy issue out of all these afflictions.

"And this we beg for Jesus Christ, _His_ sake."

Then much refreshed and comforted he emerged once more into the serene
beauty of the night.

He lit his pipe and sat there, quietly smoking. Presently Ibrahim the
Egyptian began to croon a low song, one of the Egyptian songs that
soldiers sing round the camp-fires.

The man had done his term of compulsory service in the past, and perhaps
this sudden transition from the comfortable quarters in Jerusalem to the
old life of camp-fire and _plein air_ had its way with him and opened
the springs of memory.

This is part of what he sang in a thin, sad voice:

    _Born in Galiub, since my birth, many times have I seen the
         Nile's waters overflow our fields.
    And I had a neighbour, Sheikh Abdehei, whose daughter's face was
         known only to me:
    Nothing could be compared to the beauty and tenderness of Fatmé.
    Her eyes were as big as coffee cups, and her body was firm with the
         vigour of youth.
    We had one heart, and were free from jealousies, ready to be
    But Allah curse the military inspector who bound my two hands,
    For, together with many more, we were marched off to the camp.
    I was poor and had to serve, nothing could soften the inspector's
    The drums and the trumpets daily soon made me forget my cottage and
         the well-wheel on the Nile._

The long-drawn-out notes vibrated mournfully in the night air.

Sadly the singer put his hand to one side of his head, bending as if he
were wailing.

The quaint, imaginative song-story throbbed through many phases and
incidents, and every now and again the motionless figures round the red
embers wailed in sympathy.

At last came the end, a happy climax, no less loved by these simple
children of the desert than by the European novel reader.

    _ ... So that I was in the hospital and had become most seriously
    But swifter than the gazelle, the light of my life came near the
    And called in at the window, "Ibrahim! my eye! my heart!"
    And full of joy I carried her about the camp, and presented her to
        all my superiors, leaving out none, from the colonel down to the
    I received my dismissal, to return to Galiub and to marry.
    Old Abdehei was awaiting us, to bless us. God be praised!_

So sang Ibrahim, the converted Christian, the Moslem songs of his youth;
for here, in El Makhna, the plain of Shechem, there were no missionaries
with their cold reproof and little hymns in simple couplets.

The fire died away, and they slept until dawn flooded the plain.

When, on the next day, the sun was waning, though still high in the
western heavens, the travellers came within view of the ancient city of

There was a great tumult of excitement in Spence's pulses as he saw the
city, radiant in the long afternoon lights, and far away.

Here, in the confines of this distant glittering town, lay the last link
in the terrible secret which he was to solve.

On either side the purple slopes of the mountains made a mighty frame to
the terraced houses below. Ebal and Gerizim kept solemn watch and ward
over the city.

The sun was just sinking as they rode into the suburbs. It was a lovely,
placid evening.

The abundant cascades of water, which flow from great fissures in the
mountain and make this Turkish town the jewel of the East, glittered in
the light.

Below them the broad, still reservoirs lay like plates of gold.

They rode through luxuriant groves of olives, figs, and vines,
wonderfully grateful and refreshing to the eye after the burnt brown
herbage of the plain, towards the regular camping-ground where all
travellers lay.

In the cool of the evening Spence and Ibrahim rode through the teeming
streets to the Governor's house.

It was a city of fanatics, so the Englishman had heard, and during the
great Moslem festivals the members of the various, and rather extensive,
missionary establishments were in constant danger. But as the two men
rode among the wild armed men who sat in the bazaars or pushed along the
narrow streets they were not in any way molested.

After a ceremonious introduction and the delivery of the letter from the
Governor of Jerusalem, Spence made known his business over the coffee
and cigarettes which were brought immediately on his arrival.

The Governor was a placid, pleasant-mannered man, very ready to give his
visitor any help he could.

It was represented to him that the man Ionides, who had but lately
settled in the suburbs, was in the possession of some important secrets
affecting the welfare of many wealthy residents in Jerusalem. These, it
was hinted, were of a private nature, but in all probability great
pressure would have to be put upon the Greek in order to receive any
satisfactory confession.

The conversation, which was carried on in French, ended in an eminently
satisfactory way.

"Monsieur will understand," said the Governor, "that I make no inquiry
into the nature of the information monsieur wishes to obtain. I may or
may not have my ideas upon that subject. The Greek was, I understand,
intimately connected with the recent discoveries in Jerusalem. Let that
pass. It is none of my business. Here I am a good Moslem, Allah be
praised! it is a necessity of my official position."

He laughed cynically, clapped his hands for a new brass vessel of
creaming coffee and continued:

"A political necessity, Monsieur, as a man of the world, will quite
understand me. I have been in London, at the Embassy, and I myself am
free from foolish prejudices. I am not Moslem in heart nor am I
Christian--some coffee, Monsieur?--yes! Monsieur also is a man of the

Spence, sitting cross-legged opposite his host, had smiled an answering
cynical smile at these words. He shrugged his shoulders and threw out
his hands. Everything depended upon making a good impression upon this
local autocrat.

"Eh bien, monsieur avait raison-même--that, I repeat, is not my affair.
But this letter from my brother of Jerusalem makes me of anxiety to
serve your interests. And, moreover, the man is a Greek, of no great
importance--we are not fond of the Greeks, we Turks! Now it is most
probable that the man will not speak without persuasion. Moreover, that
persuasion were better officially applied. To assist monsieur, I shall
send Tewfik Pasha, my nephew, and captain commandant of the northern
fort, with half a dozen men. If this dog will not talk they will know
how to make him. I suppose you have no scruples as to any means they may
employ? There are foolish prejudices among the Western people."

Spence took his decision very quickly. He was a man who had been on many
battle-fields, knew the grimness of life in many lands. If torture were
necessary, then it must be so. The man deserved it, the end was great if
the means were evil. It must be remembered that Spence was a man to
whom the very loftiest and highest Christian ideals had not yet been
made manifest. There are degrees in the struggle for saintliness; the
journalist was but a postulant.

He saw these questions of conduct roughly, crudely. His conscience
animated his deeds, but it was a conscience as yet ungrown. And indeed
there are many instruments in an orchestra, all tuneful perhaps to the
conductor's beat, which they obey and understand, yet not all of equal
eminence or beauty in the great scheme of the concert.

The violin soars into great mysteries of emotion, calling high "in the
deep-domed empyrean." The flutes whisper a chorus to the great story of
their comrade. Yet, though the plangent sounding of the kettle-drums,
the single beat of the barbaric cymbals are in one note and unfrequent,
yet these minor messages go to swell the great tone-symphony and make it
perfect in the serene beauty of something _directed and ordained_.

"Sir," said the journalist, "the man must be made to speak. The methods
are indifferent to me."

"Oh, that can be done; we have a way," said the Governor.

He shifted a little among his cushions. A certain dryness came into his
voice as he resumed:

"Monsieur, however, as a man of the world, will understand, no doubt,
that when a private individual finds it necessary to invoke the powers
of law it is a vast undertaking to move so ponderous a machine?... also
it is a privilege? It is not, of course, a personal matter--_ça m'est
égal_. But there are certain unavoidable and indeed quite necessary
expenses which must be satisfied."

Spence well understood the polite humbug of all this. He knew that in
the East one buys justice--or injustice--as one can afford it. As the
correspondent of that great paper over which Ommaney presided, he had
always been able to spend money like water when it had been necessary.
He had those powers now. There was nothing unusual to him in the
situation, nor did he hesitate.

"Your Excellency," he said, "speaks with great truth upon these points.
It is ever from a man of your Excellency's penetration that one hears
those dicta which govern affairs. I have a certain object in view, and I
realise that to obtain it there are certain necessary formalities to be
gone through. I have with me letters of credit upon the bank of Lelain
Delaunay et Cie., of Jaffa, Jerusalem, and Athens."

"A sound, estimable house," said the Governor, with a very pleased

"It but then remains," said Spence, "to confer with the secretary of
your Excellency as to the sum which is necessary to pay for the legal
expenses of the inquiry."

"You speak most sensibly," said the Turk. "In the morning I will send
the captain commandant and the soldiers to the encampment. My secretary
shall accompany them. Then, Monsieur, when the little preliminaries are
arranged, you will be free to start for the farm of this dog Ionides. It
is not more than four miles from your camp, and my nephew will guide you
there. May Allah prosper your undertaking."

"--And have you in His care," replied Spence. "I will now have the
honour to wish your Excellency undisturbed rest."

He rose and bowed. The Turkish gentleman rose also and shook hands in
genial European fashion.

"Monsieur," he said, with an expansive smile, "Monsieur is without doubt
a thorough man of the world."

That night, in the suburbs of the city, sweet and fragrant as the olive
groves and fig trees were, cool and fresh as the night wind was, Spence
slept but little.

He could hear the prowling dogs of the streets baying the Eastern moon,
the owls hooted in the trees, but it was not these distant sounds, all
mellowed by the distance, which drove rest and sleep away. It was the
imminent sense of the great issues of the morrow, a wild and fierce
excitement which forbade sleep or rest and filled his veins with fire.

He could not quite realise what awful things hung upon the event of the
coming day. He knew that his brain could not contain the whole terror
and vastness of the thought.

Indeed, he felt that _no_ brain could adequately realise the importance
of it all.

Yet even that partial realisation of which he was capable was enough to
drive all peace away, the live-long night, to leave him nothing but the
plangent, burning thought.

He was very glad when the cool, hopeful dawn came.

The nightmare of vigil was gone. Action was at hand. He prayed in the
morning air.

Presently, from the city gates, he saw a little cavalcade drawing near,
twelve soldiers on wiry Damascene horses, an officer, with the
Governor's secretary riding by his side.

Those preliminaries of a signed draft upon the bank, which cupidity and
the occasion demanded, were soon over.

These twelve soldiers and their commandant cost him two hundred pounds
"English"; but that was nothing.

If his own words were ineffective, then the cord and wedge must do the
rest. It had to be paid for.

The world was waiting.

On through the olive groves and the vines laden with purple. On, over
the little stone-bridged cascades and streams--sweet gifts of lordly
Ebal--round the eastern wall of the town, crumbling stone where the
mailed lizards were sleeping in the sun; on to the low roofs and vivid
trees where the Greek traitor had made his home!

At length the red road opened before them on to a burnt plain which was
the edge and brim of the farm.

It lay direct and patent to the view, the place of the great secret.

Ionides was waiting for them, under a light verandah which ran round the
house, before they reached the building.

He had seen them coming over the plain.

A little elderly olive-skinned man, with restless eyes the colour of
sherry, bowed and bent before them with terrified inquiry in every

His gaze flickered over the arms and shabby uniforms of the soldiers
with hate and fear in it mingled with a piteous cringing. It was the
look which the sad Greek boatmen on the shores of the Bosphorus wear all
their lives.

Then he saw Spence and recognised him as the Englishman who had been the
friend of Hands, and was at the meetings of the Conference.

The sight of the journalist seemed to affect him like a sudden blow. The
fear and uneasiness he had shown at the first sight of the Turkish
soldiers were intensified a thousand-fold.

The man seemed to shrink and collapse. His face became ashen grey, his
lips parched suddenly, for his tongue began to curl round them in order
to moisten their rigidity.

With a great effort he forced himself to speak in English first, fluent
enough but elementary, and then in a rush of French, the language of all
Europe, and one with which the cosmopolitan Greek is ever at home.

The captain gave an order. His men dismounted and tied up the horses.

Then, taking the conduct of the affair into his own hands at once, he
spoke to Ionides with a snarling contempt and brutality that he would
hardly have used to a strolling street dog.

"The English gentleman has come to ask you some questions, dog. See to
it that you give a true answer and speedy. For, if not, there are many
ways to make you. I have the warrant of his Excellency the Governor to
do as I please with you and yours."

The Greek made an inarticulate noise. He raised one long-fingered,
delicate hand to his throat.

Spence, as he watched, could not help a feeling of pity. The whole
attitude of the man was inexpressibly painful in its sheer terror.

His face had become a white wedge of fear.

The officer spoke again.

"You will take the English pasha into a private room," he said sternly,
"where he will ask you all he wishes. I shall post two of my men at the
door. Take heed that they do not have to summon me. And meanwhile bring
out food and entertainment for me and my soldiers."

He clapped his hands and the women of the house, who were peering round
the end of the verandah, ran to bring pilaff and tobacco.

Spence, with two soldiers, closely following the swaying, tottering
figure of Ionides, went into a cool chamber opening on to the little
central courtyard round which the house was built.

It was a bare room, with a low bench or ottoman here and there.

But, on the walls, oddly incongruous in such a setting, were some framed
photographs. Hands, in a white linen suit and a wide Panama hat, was
there; there was a photograph of the museum at Jerusalem, and a picture
cut from an English illustrated paper of the Society's great excavations
at Tell Sandahannah.

It was odd, Spence thought gravely, that the man cared to keep these
records of his life in Jerusalem, crowned as it was with such an act of

He sat down on the ottoman. The Greek stood before him, cowering against
the wall.

It was a little difficult to know how he should begin; what was the best
method to ensure a full confession.

He lit a cigarette to help his thoughts.

"What did Sir Robert Llwellyn give you?--how much?" he said suddenly.

Again the look of ashen fear came over the Greek's face. He struggled
with it before he spoke.

"I am sorry that your meaning is not plain to me, sir. I do not know of
whom you speak."

"I speak of him whom you served secretly. It was with your aid that the
'new' tomb was found. But before it was found you and Sir Robert
Llwellyn were at work there. I have come to obtain from you a detailed
confession of how the thing was done, who cut the inscription?--I must
know everything. If not, I tell you with perfect truth, your life is not
safe. The Governor has sent men with me and you will be made to speak."

He spoke with a deep menace in his tone, and at the same time drew his
revolver from the hip pocket of his riding-breeches and held it on his

He had begun to realise the awful nature of this man's deed more and
more poignantly in his presence. True, he was the tool of greater
intelligences, and his guilt was not so heavy as theirs. Nevertheless,
the Greek was no fool, he had something of an education, he had not done
this thing blindly.

The man crouched against the wall, desperate and hopeless.

One of the soldiers outside the door moved, and his sabre clanked.

The sound was decisive. With a broken, husky voice Ionides began his
miserable confession.

How simple it was! Wild astonishment at the ease with which the whole
thing had been done filled the journalist's brain.

The tomb, already known to the Greek, the slow carving of the
inscription at dead of night by Llwellyn, the new coating of _hamra_
sealing up the inner chamber.

And yet, so skilfully had the forgeries been committed, chance had so
aided the forgers, and their secret had been so well preserved that the
whole world of experts was deceived.

In the overpowering relief of the confession Spence was but little
interested in the details, but at length they were duly set down and
signed by the Greek in the presence of the officer.

By midnight the journalist was far away on the road to Jerusalem.



In Sir Robert Llwellyn's flat in Bond Street the electric bell suddenly
rang, a shrill tinkle in the silence.

Schuabe, who sat by the window, looked up with a strained, white face.

Avoiding his glance, Llwellyn rose and went out into the passage. The
latch of the door clicked, there was a murmur of voices, and Llwellyn
returned, following a third person.

Schuabe gave a scarcely perceptible shudder as this man entered.

The man was a thick-set person of medium height, clean shaven. He was
dressed in a frock-coat and carried a silk hat, neither new nor smart,
yet not seedy nor showing any evidences of poverty. The man's face was
one to inspire a sensitive or alert person with a sudden disgust and
terror for which a name can hardly be found. It was an utterly
abominable and black soul that looked out of the still rather bilious

The eyes were much older than the rest of the face. They were full of a
cold and deliberate cruelty and, worse even than this, such a hideous
_knowledge_ of unmentionable crime was there! The lips made one thin,
wicked curve which hardly varied in direction, for this man could not

He belonged to a certain horrible gang who infest the West End of
London, bringing terror and ruin to all they meet. These people haunt
the bars and music halls of the "pleasure" part of London.

It were better for a man that he had never been born--a thousand times
better--than that he should go among these men. Black shame and horrors
worse than death they bring with both hands to the bitter fools who
lightly meet them unknowing what they are.

Constantine Schuabe, in the moment when he saw this man--knowing well
who and what he was--knew the bitterest moment of his life.

Vast criminal that he was himself, mighty in his evil brain, ... he was
pure; certain infamies were not his.... He spat into his handkerchief
with an awful physical disgust.

"This is my friend, Nunc Wallace," said Llwellyn, pale and trembling.

The man looked keenly at his two hosts. Then he sat down in a chair.

"Well, gentlemen," he said in correct English, but with a curious lack
of _timbre_, of life and feeling in his voice--he spoke as one might
think a corpse would speak--"I'm sorry to say that it's all off. It
simply can't be done at any price. Even I myself, 'King of the boys' as
they call me, confess myself beaten."

Schuabe gave a sudden start, almost of relief it seemed.

Llwellyn cleared his throat once or twice before he could speak. When
the words came at length there was a nauseous eagerness in them.

"Why not, Wallace? Surely _you_ and your friends--it must be something
very hard that you can't manage."

The words jostled each other in their rapid utterance.

"Give me a drink, Sir Robert, and I'll tell you the reason," said the

Then, with an inexpressible assumption of confidence and an identity of
interests, which galled and stung the two wretched men till they could
hardly bear the torture of it, he began:

"You see, it's like this; we can generally calculate on 'putting a man
through it' if he's anything to do with racing on the Turf. I've seen a
man's face kicked liver colour, and no one knew who did it. But this
parson was a more difficult thing altogether. Then it has been very much
complicated by the fact of his friend coming back.

"The idea was to get into the chambers on the evening of this Spence's
arrival and put them both through it. In fact, we'd arranged everything
fairly well. But two nights ago, as I was in the American bar, at the
Horsecloth, a man touched me on the arm. It was Detective Inspector
Melton. He knows everything. 'Nunc,' he said, 'sit down at one of these
little tables and have a drink. I want to say a few words to you.' Well,
of course I had to. He knows every one of the boys.

"'Now, look here,' he said straight out. 'Some of your crowd have been
watching the Rev. Basil Gortre of Lincoln's Inn; also, you've had a man
at Charing Cross waiting for the continental express. Now, I've nothing
against you _yet_, but I'll just tell you this. The people behind you
aren't any guarantee for you. It's not as you think. This is a big
thing. I'll tell you something more. This Mr. Gortre and this Mr.
Spence you're waiting for are guarded night and day by order of the Home
Secretary. It's an international affair. You can no more touch them than
you can touch the Prince of Wales. Is that clear? If it's not, then
you'll come with me at once on suspicion. I can put my finger on Bunny
Watson'--he's my organising pal, gentlemen--'inside of an hour.'"

He stopped at last, taking another drink with a shaking hand, watching
the other two with horribly observing eyes.

His cleverness had at once shown him that he had stumbled into something
far more dangerous than any ordinary incident of his horrid trade. A
million pounds would not have made him touch the "business" now. He had
come to say this to his employers now.

The unhappy men became aware that the man was looking at them both with
a new expression. There was wonder in his cold eyes now, and a sort of
fear also. When Llwellyn had first sought him with black and infamous
proposals, there had been none of this. _That_ had seemed ordinary
enough to him, the reason he did not inquire or seek to know.

But now there was inquiry in his eyes.

Both Schuabe and Llwellyn saw it, knew the cause, and shuddered.

There was a tense silence, and then the creature spoke again. There was
a loathsome confidential note in his voice.

"Now, gentlemen," he said, "you've already paid me well for any little
kindness I may have been able to try to do for you. I suppose, now that
the little job is 'off,' I shall not get the rest of the sum agreed

Schuabe, without speaking, made a sign to Llwellyn. The big man got up,
went to a little nest of mahogany drawers which stood on his
writing-table, and opening one of them, took from it a bundle of notes.

He gave them to the assassin. "There, Nunc," he said; "no doubt you've
done all you could. You won't find us ungrateful. But I want to ask you
a few questions."

The man took the notes, counted them deliberately, and then looked up
with a gleam of satisfied greed passing over his face--the gleam of a
pale sunbeam in hell.

"Ask anything you like, sir," he said; "I'll give you any help I can."

Already there was a ring almost of patronage in his voice. The word
"help" was slightly emphasised.

"This inspector, who is he exactly? I mean, is he an important person?"

"He is the man who has charge of all the big things. He goes abroad when
one of the big city men bunk to South America. He generally works
straight from the Home Office; he's the Government man. To tell the
truth, I was surprised to meet _him_ in the Horsecloth. One of the
others generally goes there. When _he_ began to talk, I knew that there
was something important, more than usual."

"He definitely said that he knew your--backers?"

"Yes, he did; and what's more, gentlemen, he seemed to know too much
altogether about the business. I don't pretend to understand it. _I_
don't know why a young parson and a press reporter are being looked
after by Government as if they were continental sovereigns and the
Anarchists were trying to get at them--no more than I know why two such
gentlemen as you are wanting two smaller men put through it. But all's
well that ends well. _I'm_ satisfied enough, and I'm extremely glad that
I got this notice in time to stop it off. But whatever you do,
gentlemen, give up any idea of doing those two any harm. You couldn't do
it--couldn't get near them. Give it up, gentlemen. Somehow or other,
they know all about it. Be careful. Now I'm off. Good-day, gentlemen.
Look after yourselves. I fear there is trouble brewing somewhere, though
it won't come through _me_. They can't _prove_ anything on our side."

He went slowly out of the room, back into the darkness of the pit whence
he came, to the dark which mercifully hides such as he from the gaze of
dwellers under the heavens.

Only the police of London know all about these men, and their
imaginations are not, perhaps, strong enough to let the horror of
contact remain with them.

When he had gone, Llwellyn sank heavily into a chair. He covered his
face with his hands and moaned.

"Oh, fool that I was to try anything of the sort!" hissed Schuabe. "I
might have known!"

"What is the state of things, really, do you suppose?" said Llwellyn.

"Imminent with doom for us!" Schuabe answered in a deep and melancholy
voice. "It is all clear to me now. Your woman was set on to you by these
men from the first. They are clever men. Michael Manichoe is behind them
all. She got the story. Spence has been sent to verify it. He has got
everything from Ionides. The Government has been told. These things have
been going on during the last few hours. Spence has cabled something of
his news, perhaps not all. He will be back to-day, this afternoon. He
will have left Paris by now, and almost be nearing Amiens. In that
train, Llwellyn, lies our death-warrant. Nothing can stop it. They will
send the news all over the world to-night. It will be announced in
London by dinner-time, probably."

Llwellyn groaned again. In this supreme hour of torture the sensualist
was nearer collapse than the ascetic. His life told heavily. He looked
up. His face was green-grey save where, here and there, his fingers had
pressed into, and left red marks upon, the cheeks, which had lost their
firmness and begun to be pendulous and flabby.

"What do you think must be the end?" he said.

"The end is here," said Schuabe. "What matters the form or manner of it?
They may bring in a bill and hang us, they will certainly give us penal
servitude for life, but probably we shall be torn in pieces by the mob.
There is only one thing left."

He made an expressive gesture. Llwellyn shuddered.

"All is not necessarily at an end," he said. "I shall make a last effort
to get away. I have still got the clergyman's clothes I wore when I went
to Jerusalem. There will be time to get out of London before this

"All over the continent and America you would be known. There is no
getting away nowadays. As for me, I shall go down to my place in
Manchester by the mid-day train. There is just time to catch it. And
there I shall die before they can come to me."

He got up and strode away out of the flat with a set, stern face. Never
a passing look did he give to the man he had enriched and damned for
ever. Never a gesture of farewell.

Already he was as one in the grave. Llwellyn, left to himself in the
silent, richly furnished flat, fell into hysterical sobbing.

His big body shook with the vehemence of his unnatural terror. His moans
and cries were utterly without dignity or pathos. He was filled with the
immense self-pity of the sensualist.

It is the added torture which comes to the evil-liver.

In the hour of blackness, every moment of physical gratification or sin
adds its weight to the terrible burden which must be borne.

This man felt that he was lost. Perhaps all hope was not quite dead. He
called on all his courage to make a last attempt at escape.

He must leave this place at once. He would go first to his house in
Upper Berkeley Street, Lady Llwellyn's house! His wife.

Something strange and long forgotten moved within him at that word. What
might not his life have been by her side, a life lived in open honour!
What had he done with it all? His great name, his fame, were built up
slowly by his long and brilliant work. Yet all the time that fair
edifice was being undermined by secret workers. The lusts of the flesh
were deep below the structure, their hammers were always slowly
tapping--and now it was all over.

He drove up to his own door, unlocked it, and went up the stairs to his
own rooms.

Though he had not been near them for weeks, he saw--with how keen a pang
of regret--that they were swept and tidy, ready for his coming at any

He rang the bell.



The door opened softly. A long beam of late winter sunshine which had
been pouring in at the opposite window and striking the door with its
projection of golden powder suddenly framed, played over, and lighted up
the figure of Lady Llwellyn.

Sir Robert stood in the middle of the pleasant room and looked at her.

The sunlight showed up the grey pallor of her face, the lines of sorrow
and resignation, the faded hair, the thin and bony hands.

"Kate," he said in a weak voice.

It was the first time he had called her by her name for many years.

The tired face lit up with a swift and divine tenderness.

She made a step forward into the room.

He was swaying a little, giddy, it seemed.

She looked him full in the face and saw things there which she had
never seen before. A great horror was upon him, a frightful awakening
from the long, sensual sloth of his life.

Moving, working, in that great countenance, generally so impassive,
uninfluenced by any emotion--at least to her long watchings--except by a
moody irritation, she saw Doom, Fate, the Call of the Eumenides.

It came to the poor woman in a sudden wave of illuminating certainty.

She _knew_ the end had come.

And yet, strangely enough, she felt nothing but a quickening of the
pulses, a swift embracing pity which was almost a joy in its breaking
away of barriers.

If the end were here, it should be together--at last together.

For she loved this cruel, sinning man, this lover of light loves, this
man of purple, fine linen, and the sparkling deadly wines of life.


He said it once more.

Her manner changed. Shrinking, timidity, fear, fled for ever. In her
overpowering rush of protecting love all the diffidences of temperament,
all the bars which he had forced her to build around her instincts, were
swept utterly away.

She went quickly up to him, folded him in her arms.

"Robert!" she said, "poor boy, the end has come to it all. I knew it
must come some day. Well, we have not been happy. I wonder if _you_ have
been happy? No, I don't think so. But now, Robert, you have me to
comfort you with my love once more, my poor Robert, once more, as in the
old, simple days when we were young."

She led him to a couch.

He trembled violently. His decision of movement seemed to have gone.
His purpose of flight had for the moment become obscure.

And now, into this man's heart came a remorse and regret so awful, a
realisation so sudden and strong, so instinct with a pain for which
there is no name, that everything before his eyes turned to burning

The flames of his agony burnt up the veils which had for so long
obscured the truth. They shrivelled and vanished.

Too late, too late, he knew what he had lost.

The last agony wrenched his brain round again to another and more
terrible contemplation.

His thoughts were in other and outside hands, which pulled his brain
from one scene to another as a man moves the eye of the camera obscura
to different fields of view.

Incredible as it may seem, for the first time Llwellyn _realised what he
had done_--realised, that is, in its entirety, the whole horror and
consequences of that action of his which was to kill him now.

He had not _been able_ to see the magnitude and extent of his crime
before--either at the time when it was proposed to him, except at the
first moment of speech, or after its committal.

His brain and temperament had been wrapped round in the hideous fact of
sensuality, which deadens and destroys sensation.

And now, with his wife's thin arms round him, her withered cheek pressed
to his, her words of glad love, a martyr's swan song in his ears, he
_saw_, _knew_, and _understood_.

Through the terror of his thoughts her words began to penetrate.

"I know, Robert--husband, I know. The end is here. But what has
happened? Tell me everything, that I may comfort you the more. Tell me,
Robert, _for the dear Christ's sake_!"

At those words the man stiffened. "For the dear Christ's sake!"

Suddenly, in the disorder and tumult of his tortured brain, came, quite
foolishly and inconsequently, a quotation from an old French
romance--full of satire and the keen cynicism of a period--which he had
been reading:

     "_'Tres volontiers,' repartit le démon.
     'Vous aimez les tableaux changeans;
     Je veux vous contenter.'_"

Yes! the devil who was torturing him now had shown him many moving
aspects of life. _Les tableaux changeans!_

But now, at last, here was the worst moment of all.

"_For the dear Christ's sake, tell me, Robert!_"

How could he tell _this_?

This was his last moment of peace, his last chance of any help or hope.

He had begun to cling to her, to mingle foolish tears with hers--the
while his fired brain ranged all the halls of agony.

For if he told her--this gentle Christian lady, to whom he had been so
unkind--then she would never touch him more.

The last hours--there was but little time remaining--would be alone.

This new revelation that her love was still his, wonder of mysteries!
this came at the last moments to aid him.

A last grace before the running waters closed over him. Was he to give
this up?

The thought of flight lay like a wounded bird in his brain. It crept
about it like some paralysed thing. Not yet dead, but inactive. Though
he knew how terribly the moments called to him, yet he could not act.

The myriad agonies he was enduring now, agonies so various and great
that he knew Hell had none greater, these, even these were alleviated by
the wonder of his wife's love.

The terrible remorse that was knocking at his heart could not undo that.

He clung to her.

"Tell me all about it, Robert. I will forgive you, whatever you have
done. I have long ago forgiven everything in my heart. There are only
the words to say."

She rested her worn, tired head on his shoulder. The sunbeams gave it a

Again the man must suffer a terrible agony. She had asked him to tell
her all his trouble in a voice full of gentle pleading.

_Whose voice did her voice recall to him; what fatal hour?_ A coarser
voice, a richer voice, trembling, so he had thought, with love for him.

"_Tell me everything, Bob!_" It was Gertrude's voice.

The day of his undoing! The day when his horrid secret was wrested from
him by the levers of his own passions. The day which had brought him to
this. _Finis coronat opus!_

But the agony within him was the agony of _contrast_.

The great fires round his soul had burnt his lust away. There was no
more regret or longing for the evil past. All the joys of a sensual life
seemed as if they had never been. Now, the pain was the pain of a man,
not who knows the worst too soon, but who knows the best too late!

A vivid picture, a succession of thoughts following each other with such
kinetic swiftness that they became welded in one single picture, as one
may see a vast landscape of wood and torrent, champaign and forest, in
one flash of the storm sword, came to him now.

And, at the last, he saw himself seated at a great table in a noble
room. There were soft lights. Silver and flowers were there. Round the
board sat many men and women. On their faces was the calm triumph of
those who had succeeded in a fine battle, won an intellectual strife.
The faces were calm, powerful, serene. They were the salt of society. He
saw his own face in a little mirror set among the flowers. His face was
even as their faces. Self-reverence had dignified it, self-knowledge and
self-control had turned the lines to kindly marble, defiant of time.

At the other end of the table sat a calm and gracious lady, richly
dressed in some glowing sombre stuff. She was the grave and loving
matron who slept by his side.

Full of honour, full of the glorious satisfaction of a great work well
done, a life lived well; hand in hand, a noble and notable pair, they
were making their fine progress together.

"I am waiting, Robert, dear!"

Then he knew that he must speak. In rapid words, which seemed to come
from a vast distance, he confessed it all.

He told her how Schuabe had tempted him with a vast fortune, how he was
already in his power when the temptation had come. How his evil desires
had so gripped him, his life of sin had become like air itself to him.

He told of the secret visit to Palestine and the forgery which had
stirred the world.

As he spoke, he felt, in some subtle way, that the life and warmth were
dying out of the arms which were round him.

The electric current of devotion which had been flowing from this lady
seemed to flicker and die away.

The awful story was ended at last.

Then with a face in which the horror came out in waves, inexpressibly
terrible to see, with each beat of the pulses a wave of unutterable
horror, she slowly rose.

Her arms fell heavily to her sides, all her motions became automatic,

Slowly, slowly, she turned.

Her feet made no noise as she moved over the room. Her garments did not
rustle. But she walked, not as an elderly woman, but a very old woman.

The door clicked softly. He was left alone in the comfortable room.


He stood up, tottered a few steps in the direction she had gone, and
then, with a resounding crash which shook the furniture in a succession
of quick rattles, his great form fell prone upon the floor.

He lay there, head downwards, with the sunshine pouring on him, still
and without any reactionary movement.

       *       *       *       *       *

The afternoon was begun. London was as it had been for days. The
uneasiness and unrest which were now become the common incubus of its
inhabitants neither grew nor lessened.

The afternoon papers were merely repetitions of former days. Great
financial houses were tottering, rumours of wars were growing every
hour, no country was at rest, no colony secure. Over the world
lawlessness and rapine were holding horrid revel.

But, and long afterwards, this fact was noticed and commented on by the
historians: on this especial winter's afternoon there was no
ultra-alarming shock, speaking comparatively, to the general state of

In the pale winter sunshine men moved heavily about their business, the
common burden was shared by all, but there was no loud trumpet note
during those hours.

About four o'clock some carriages drove to Downing Street. In one sat
Sir Michael Manichoe, Father Ripon, Harold Spence, and Basil Gortre.

In another was the English Consul at Jerusalem, who had arrived with
Spence from the Holy City, Dr. Schmöulder from Berlin, and the Duke of

The carriages stopped at the house of the Prime Minister and the party

Nothing occurred, visibly, for an hour, though urgent messages were
passing over the telephone wires.

In an hour's time a cab came driving furiously down the Embankment,
round by the new Scotland Yard and St. Stephen's Club, into Parliament

The cab contained the Editor of the _Times_. Following his arrival, in a
few seconds, a number of other cabs drove up, all at a fast pace. Each
one contained a prominent journalist. Ommaney was among the first to
arrive, and Folliott Farmer was with him.

It was nearly an hour when these people left Downing Street, all with
very grave faces.

A few minutes after their departure Sir Michael and his party came out,
accompanied by several ministers, including the Home Secretary and the
Chief Commissioner of Police.

Though the distance to Scotland Yard is only a few hundred yards, the
latter gentleman jumped into a passing hansom and was driven rapidly to
his office.

This brings the time up to about six o'clock.

       *       *       *       *       *

It was quite dark in Sir Robert's room. A faint yellow flicker came
through the window, which was not curtained, from a gas lamp in the
street. A dull and distant murmur from the Edgeware Road could be dimly
heard, otherwise the room was quite silent.

Llwellyn did not lie where he had fallen. His swoon had lasted long and
no one had come to succour him. But the end was not just yet. The
merciful oblivion of passing from a swoon into death was denied him.

He had come to his senses late in the afternoon, about the time that the
large party of people had emerged on foot and in carriages from the
narrow _cul-de-sac_ of Downing Street.

He had felt very cold, an icy-cold. There had come a terrible moment.
The physical sensation was swamped and forgotten in one frightful flash
of realisation. He was alone, the end was at hand.


Instinctively he had tried to rise. He was lying face downwards at the
return of sensation. His legs would not answer the message of his brain
when he tried to move them so that he might rise. They lay like long
dead cylinders behind him. He was able to drag himself very slowly, for
a yard or two, until he reached an ottoman. He could not lift the vast
weight of his body into the seat. It was utterly beyond his strength. He
propped his trunk against the seat. It was all he was able to
accomplish. Icy-cold sweat ran down his cheeks at the exertion. After he
had finished moving he found that all strength had left him.

He was paralysed from the waist downwards. The rest of his body was too
weak to move him.

Only his brain was working with a terrible activity, there alone in the
chill dark.

There came into his molten brain the impulse to pray. Deep down in every
human heart that impulse lies.

It is a seed planted there by God that it may grow into the tree of

The effort was sub-conscious. Almost simultaneously with it came the
awful remembrance of what he had done.

A name danced in letters of flame in his brain--JUDAS.

He looked round for some means to end this unbearable torture. He could
see nothing, the room was very cold and dark, but he knew there was a
case of razors on a table by the window.

When he tried to move he found that he could not. The paralysis was
growing upwards.

Then this was to be the end?

A momentary flood of relief came over him. His blood seemed warm again.

But the sensation died rapidly away, the physical and mental glow alike.

He remembered those cases, frequent enough, when the whole body loses
the power of movement, but the brain survives, active, alive, helpless.

And all the sweat which the physical glow had induced turned to little
icicles all over his body, even as the thought froze in his brain.

An hour went by.

Alone in the dark.

His tongue was parched and dry. A sudden wonder came to him--could he
speak still?

Without realising what word he used as a test he spoke.


A gaunt whisper in the silence.

Silence! How silent it was! Yet no, he could hear the distant rumbling
of the traffic. He became suddenly conscious of it. Surely it was very

It must be this physical change which was creeping over him. His head
was swimming, disordered.

Yet it seemed strangely loud.

And louder, as he began to listen intently. He could not move his head
to catch the sound more clearly, but he was beginning to hear it well
enough now.

No traffic ever sounded quite like that. It was like an advancing tide,
thundering, as a horse gallops, over flat, level sands.

A great sea rushing towards--towards what?

Then he knew what that sound was.

At last he knew.

He could hear the individual shouts that made up the enormous mass of
menacing sound.

The nation was coming to take its revenge upon its betrayer.

Mob law!

They had found him out. It was as Schuabe had said--the great conspiracy
was at an end. The stunning truth was out, flying round the world with
its glad message.

Yet, though once more the dishonoured Cross gleamed as the one solace in
the hearts of men whose faith had been weak, though at that moment the
glad news was racing round the world, yet the evil was not over.

The Prince of the Powers of the air had reigned too long. Not lightly
was he to relinquish his sceptre and dominion.

They were in the erst-while quiet street below. The whole space was
packed with the roaring multitude. The cries and curses came up to him
in one roaring volume of sound, sounds that one looking over the brink
of the pit of hell might hear.

A heavy blow upon the stout door of the old well-built house shook the
walls where the palsied Judas lay impotent.

Another crash! The room was much lighter now, the crowd below had lights
with them.


The door opened silently. Lady Llwellyn came swiftly into the room.

She wore a long white robe. Her face was lighted as if a lamp shone
behind it.

In her hand was the great crucifix which was wont to hang above her bed.

When Christ died and bade the dying thief ascend with him to Paradise,
can we say that His silence condemned the other?

Her face was all aglow with love.

"Robert!" she said. Her voice was like the voice of an angel.

Her arms are round him, her kisses press upon him, the great crucifix is
lifted to his dying eyes.

A great thunder on the stairs, furious voices, the tide rising higher,




The news came to Walktown, the final confirmation of what had been so
long suspected, in a short telegram from Basil, dispatched immediately
he had left Downing Street.

Mr. Byars and Helena had been kept well acquainted with every step in
the progress of the investigation.

Ever since Gortre had left Walktown, after his holiday visit, his
suspicions had been ringing in the vicar's ears.

Then, when the matter had been communicated to Sir Michael and Father
Ripon, when Spence had started, and Mr. Byars knew that all the powers
of wealth and intellect were at work, his hopes revived.

The vicar's faith had never for a single moment wavered.

In the crash of the creeds his deep conviction never wavered.

The light burned steadily before the altar.

He had been one of the faithful thousands, learned, simple, Methodist,
ritualist, who _knew_ that this thing could not be.

Nevertheless his courage had been failing him. Life seemed to have lost
its sweetness, and often he humbly wondered when he should die, hoping
that the time was not too long--not without a tremulous belief that God
would recognise that he had fought the good fight and kept the faith.

In his own immediate neighbourhood the consequences of the "Discovery"
nearly broke his heart. He had no need to look beyond Walktown. Even the
great political events which were stirring the world had left him
unmoved. His own small corner of the vineyard, now, alas! so choked with
rank, luxuriant growth, was enough for this faithful pastor. Here he saw
nothing but vice suddenly rearing its head and threatening to overwhelm
all else. He heard the Holy Names blasphemed with all the inventions of
obscene imaginations, assailed with all the wit of full-blooded men
amazed and rejoiced that they could stifle their consciences at last.
And this after all his life-work among these folk! He had given them of
his best. His prayers, his intellect, much of his money had been theirs.

How insolently they had exulted over him, these coarse and vulgar

When Basil had first told Mr. Byars of his suspicions the vicar can
hardly have been blamed for regarding them sadly as the generous effects
of a young and ardent soul seeking to find an _immediate_ way out of the

The elder man knew that fraud had been at work, but he suspected no such
modern and insolent attempt as Basil indicated. It was too much to
believe. Gortre had left him most despondent.

But his interest had soon become quickened and alive, as the private
reports from London reached him.

When he knew that great people were moving quietly, that the weight of
Sir Michael was behind Gortre, he knew at once that in all probability
Basil's suspicions were right.

A curious change came over the vicar's public appearances and
utterances. His sermons were full of fire, almost Pauline in their
strength. People began to flow and flock into the great empty church at
Walktown. Mr. Byars's fame spread.

Then, swiftly, after the first week or two, had come the beginning of
the great financial depression.

It was felt acutely in Manchester.

All the wealthy, comfortable, easy-going folk who grudgingly paid a
small pew-rent out of their superfluity became alarmed, horribly
alarmed. The Christianity which had sat so lightly upon them that at
first opportunity they had rushed into the Unitarian meeting-houses
became suddenly a very desirable thing.

In the fall of Christianity they saw their own fortunes falling. And
these self-deceivers would be swept back upon the tide of this reaction
into the arms of the Anglican mother they had despised.

The vicar saw all this. He was a keen expert in, and student of, human
affairs, and withal a psychologist. He saw his opportunity.

His words lashed and stung these renegades. They were made to see
themselves as they were; the preacher cut away all the ground from under
them. They were left face to face with naked shame.

What puzzled and yet uplifted the congregation at St. Thomas's was their
vicar's extraordinary _certainty_ that the spiritual darkness over the
land was shortly to be removed.

It was commented on, keenly observed, greatly wondered at.

"Mr. Byars speaks," said Mr. Pryde, a wealthy solicitor, "as if he had
some private information about this Palestine discovery. He is so
confident that he magnetises one into his own state of mind, and Byars
is not a very emotional man either. His conviction is _real_. It's not

And, being a shrewd, silent man, the solicitor formed his own
conclusions, but said nothing of them.

The church continued full of worshippers.

       *       *       *       *       *

When the news from Basil came, the vicar was sitting before the fire in
his lighted study. He had been expecting the telegram all day.

His brain had been haunted by the picture of that distinguished figure
with the dark red hair he had so often met.

Again he saw the millionaire standing in his drawing-room proffering
money for scholarships. And in Dieppe also!

How well and clearly he saw the huge figure of the _savant_ in his coat
of astrachan, with his babble of soups and _entrée_!

Try as he would, the vicar could not hate these two men. The sin, the
awful sin, yes, a thousand times. Horror could not be stretched far
enough, no hatred could be too great for such immensity of crime.

But in his great heart, in his large, human nature there was a Divine
_pity_ for this wretched pair. He could not help it. It was part of him.
He wondered if he were not erring in feeling pity. Was not this, indeed,
that mysterious sin against the Holy Ghost for which there was no
forgiveness? Was it not said of Judas that for his deed he should lie
for ever in hell?

The telegram was brought in by a neat, unconcerned housemaid.

Then the vicar got up and locked the inner door of his study. He knelt
in prayer and thanksgiving.

It was a moment of intense spiritual communion with the Unseen.

This good man, who had given his vigorous life and active intellect to
God, knelt humbly at his study table while a joy and happiness not of
this earth filled all his soul.

At that supreme moment, when the sense of the glorious vindication of
Christ flooded the priest's whole being with ecstasy, he knew, perhaps,
a faint foreshadowing of the life the Blessed live in Heaven.

For a few brief moments that imperfect instrument, the human body, was
permitted a glimpse, a flash of the eternal joy prepared for the saints
of God.

The vicar drew very near the Veil.

Helena beat at the door; he opened to her, the tall, gracious lady.

She saw the news in her father's face.

They embraced with deep and silent emotion.

       *       *       *       *       *

Two hours later the vicarage was full of people.

The news had arrived.

Special editions of the evening papers were being shouted through the
streets. Downing Street had spoken, and in Manchester--as in almost
every great city in England--the Truth was pulsing and throbbing in the
air, spreading from house to house, from heart to heart.

Every one knew it in Walktown now.

There was a sudden unanimous rush of people to the vicarage.

Each big, luxurious house all round sent out its eager owners into the

They came to show the pastor, who had not failed them in the darkness,
their joy and gratitude now that light had come at last.

How warm and hearty these North-country people were! Mr. Byars had never
penetrated so deeply beneath the somewhat forbidding crust of manner and
surface-hardness before.

Mingled with the sense of shame and misery at their own lukewarmness,
there was a fine and genuine desire to show the vicar how they honoured
him for his steadfastness.

"You've been an example to all of us, vicar," said a hard-faced,
brassy-voiced cotton-spinner, a kindly light in his eyes, his lips
somewhat tremulous.

"We haven't done as we ought to by t' church," said another, "but you'll
see that altered, Mr. Byars. Eh! but our faith has been weak! There'll
be many a Christian's heart full of shame and sorrow for the past months
this night, I'm thinking."

They crowded round him, this knot of expensively dressed people,
hard-faced and harsh-spoken, with a warmth and contrition which moved
the old man inexpressibly.

Never before had he been so near to them. Dimly he began to think he saw
a wise and awful purpose of God, who had allowed this iniquity and
calamity that the faith of the world might be strengthened.

"We'll never forget what you've done for us, Mr. Byars."

"If we've been lukewarm before, vicar, 't will be all boiling now!"

"Praise God that He has spoken at last, and God forgive us for
forgetting Him."

The air was electric with love and praise.

"Will you say a prayer, vicar?" asked one of the churchwardens. "It
seems the time for prayer and a word or two like."

The company knelt down.

It was a curious scene. In the richly furnished drawing-room the group
of portly men and matrons knelt at chairs and sofas, stolid,
respectable, and middle-aged.

But here and there a shoulder shook with suppressed emotion, a faint sob
was heard. This, to many of them there, was the greatest spiritual
moment they had ever known. Confirmation, communion, all the episodic
mile-stones of the professing Christian's life had been experienced and
passed decorously enough. But the inward fire had not been there. The
deep certainty of God's mysterious commune with the brain, the deep love
for Christ which glows so purely and steadfastly among the saints still
on earth--these were coming to them now.

And, even as the fires of the Paraclete had descended upon the Apostles
many centuries before, so now the Holy Spirit began to stir and move
these Christians at Walktown.

The vicar offered up the joy and thanks of his people. He prayed that,
in His mercy, God would never again let such extreme darkness descend
upon the world. Even as He had said, "Neither will I again smite any
more every thing living, as I have done."

He prayed that all those who had been cast into spiritual darkness, or
who had left the fold of Christ, might now return to it with contrite
hearts and be in peace.

Finally, they said the Lord's Prayer with deep feeling, and the vicar
blessed them.

And for each one there that night became a precious, helpful memory
which remained with them for many years.

Afterwards, while servants brought coffee, always the accompaniment to
any sort of function in Walktown, the talk broke out into a hushed

The news which had been telegraphed everywhere consisted of a statement
signed by the Secretary of State and the archbishops that the discovery
in Palestine was a forgery executed by Sir Robert Llwellyn at the
instigation of Constantine Schuabe.

"Ample and completely satisfying evidence is in our possession," so the
wording ran. "We render heartfelt gratitude to Almighty God that He has
in His wisdom caused this black conspiracy to be discovered. The thanks
of the whole world, the gratitude of all Christians, must be for those
devoted and faithful men who have been the instruments of Providence in
discovering the Truth. Sir Michael Manichoe, the Rev. Basil Gortre, the
Rev. Arthur Ripon, and Mr. Harold Spence have alone dispelled the clouds
that have hung over the Christian world."

It was a frightful shock to these people to know how a great magnate
among them, a business _confrère_, the member for their own division, an
intimate, should have done this thing.

As long as the world lasted the Owner of Mount Prospect who had spoken
on their platforms would be accursed. It was too startling to realise at
once; the thought only became familiar gradually, in little jerks, as
one aspect after another presented itself to their minds.

It was incredible that this antichrist had been long housed among them
but a mile from where they stood.

"What will they do to him?"

"Who can say! There's never been a case like it before, you see."

"Well, the paper doesn't say, but I expect they've got them safe enough
in London--Mr. Schuabe and the other fellow."

"Just to think of our Mr. Gortre helping to find it out! Pity we ever
let him go away from the parish church."

"They can't do less than make him a bishop, I should think."

"Miss Byars, you ought to be proud of your young man. There's many folk
blessing him in England this night."

And so on, and so forth; simple, homely speeches, not indeed free from a
somewhat hard commercial view, but informed with kindliness and

At last, one by one, they went away. It was close upon midnight when the
last visitor had departed.

The vicar read a psalm to his daughter:

     "_Lord, now lettest thou thy servant depart in peace, according to
     thy word. For mine eyes have seen thy salvation, which thou hast
     prepared before the face of all people._"

Basil was to come to them on the morrow for a long stay.



     NOTE.--_The three pictures all synchronise. The episodes they
     portray take place five years after the day upon which Sir Robert
     Llwellyn died._--G. T.


Two figures walked over the cliffs.

The day was wild and stormy. Huge clouds, bursting with sombre light,
sailed over the pewter-coloured sea. The bleak magnificence of the moor
stretched away in endless billows, as sad and desolate as the sea on
which no sail was to be seen.

The wayfarers turned out of the struggle of the bitter wind into a
slight depression. A few scattered cottages began to come into the field
of their vision.

Soon they saw the whitewashed buildings of a coast-guard station and the
high, square tower of a church.

"So it's all settled, Spence," said one of the men, a tall, noble-faced
man, dressed as a clerk in Holy Orders.

"Yes, Father Ripon," Spence said. "They have offered me the paper. It
was one of poor Ommaney's last wishes. Of course, we were injured in our
circulation by the fact that we were the first to publish the news of
the great forgery. But in two years Ommaney had brought the paper to the
front again. He was wonderful, the first editor of his age.

"I was there with Folliott Farmer and the doctors when he died. Fancy,
it was the first time I had ever been in his flat, though we had worked
together all these years! The simplest place you ever saw. Just a couple
of rooms, where he slept all the daytime. No luxury, hardly even
comfort. Ommaney had no existence apart from his work. He'd saved nearly
all his very large salary for many years. I am an executor of his will.
He left a legacy to Farmer, and to me also, and the rest to the
Institute of Journalists. But I am persuaded that he did not care in the
least what happened to his money. He never did. He wasn't mean in any
way, but he worked all night and slept all day, and simply hadn't any
use for money. A good-hearted man, a very brilliant editor, but utterly
detached from any _personal_ contact with life."

Father Ripon's keen face, still as eager and powerful as before, set
into lines of thought.

He sighed a little. "A modern product," he said at length. "A modern
product, a sign of the times. Well, Spence, a power is entrusted to you
now such as no priest can enjoy. I pray that your editorship of this
great paper will be fine. Try to be fine always. I believe that the Holy
Spirit will be with you."

They rose up towards the moor again. "There's the church," said Spence,
"where she lies buried. Gortre sees that the grave is kept beautiful
with flowers. It was an odd impulse of yours, Father, to propose this

"I do odd things sometimes," said the priest, simply. "I thought that
the sight of this poor woman's resting-place might remind you and me of
what has passed, of what she did for the world--though no one knows it
but our group of friends. I hope that it will remind us, remind you very
solemnly, my friend, in your new responsibility, of what Christ means to
the world. The shadows of the time of darkness, 'When it Was Dark'
during the 'Horror of Great Darkness,' have gone from us. And this poor
sister did this for her Saviour's sake."

They stood by Gertrude Hunt's grave as they spoke.

A slender copper cross rose above it, some six feet high.

"I wonder how the poor girl managed it," said Spence at length; "her
letter was wonderfully complete. Sir Michael--Lord Fencastle, I
mean--showed it me some years ago. She was wonderfully adroit. I suppose
Llwellyn had left papers about or something. But I do wonder how she did

"That," said Father Ripon, "was what she would never tell anybody."

"_Requiescat in pace_," said Spence.

"In Paradise with Saint Mary of Magdala," the priest said softly.


_Quem Deus Vult Perdere._

The chaplain of the county asylum stood by the castellated red brick
lodge at the end of the asylum drive, talking to a group of young

The drive, which stretched away nearly a quarter of a mile to the
enormous buildings of the asylum, with their lofty towers and warm,
florid architecture, was edged with rhododendrons and other shrubs.

The gardens were beautifully kept. Everything was mathematically
straight and clean, almost luxurious, indeed.

The girls were three in number, young, fashionably dressed. They talked
without ceasing in an empty-headed stream of girlish chatter.

They were the daughters of a great ironfounder in the district, and
would each have a hundred thousand pounds.

The chaplain was showing them over the asylum.

"How sweet of you, Mr. Pritchard, to show us everything!" said one of
the girls. "It's awfully thrilling. I suppose we shall be quite safe
from the violent ones?"

"Oh, yes," said the chaplain, "you will only see those from a distance;
we keep them well locked up, I assure you."

The girls laughed with him.

The party went laughing through the long, spotless corridors, peeping
into the bright, airy living-rooms, where bodies without brains were
mumbling and singing to each other.

The imbecile who moved vacantly with slobbering lip, the dementia
patient, the log-like, general paralytic--"G. P."--_things_ which must
be fed, the barred and dangerous maniac, they saw them all with pleasant
thrills of horror, disgust, and sometimes with laughter.

"Oh, Grace, _do_ look at that funny little fat one in the corner--the
one with his tongue hanging out! Isn't he _weird_?"

"There's one actually _reading_! He _must_ be only pretending!"

A young doctor joined them--a handsome Scotchman with pleasant manners.

For a time the lunatics were forgotten.

"Well, now, have we seen _all_, Doctor Steward?" one of the girls said.
"All the worst cases? It's really quite a new sensation, you know, and I
always go in for new sensations."

"Did ye show the young leddies Schuabe?" said the doctor to the

"Bless my soul!" he replied, "I must be going mad myself. I'd quite
forgotten to show you Schuabe."

"Who is Schuabe?" said the youngest of the sisters, a girl just fresh
from school at Saint Leonards.

"Oh, _Maisie_!" said the eldest. "Surely you remember. Why, it's only
five years ago. He was the Manchester millionaire who went mad after
trying to blow up the tomb of Christ. I think that was it. It was in all
the papers. A young clergyman found out what he'd been trying to do, and
then he went mad--this Schuabe creature, I mean, not the clergyman."

"Every one likes to have a look at this patient," said the doctor. "He
has a little sleeping-room of his own and a special attendant. His money
was all confiscated by order of the Government, but they allow two
hundred a year for him. Otherwise he would be among the paupers."

The girls giggled with pleasurable anticipation.

The doctor unlocked a door. The party entered a fairly large room,
simply furnished. In an arm-chair a uniformed attendant was sitting,
reading a sporting paper.

The man sprang up and saluted as he heard the door open.

On a bed lay the idiot. He had grown very fat and looked healthy. The
features were all coarsened, but the hair retained its colour of dark

He was sleeping.

"Now, Miss Clegg, ye'd never think that was the fellow that made such a
stir in the world but five years since. But there he lies. He always
eats as much as he can, and goes to sleep after his meal. He's waking up
now, sir. Here, Mr. Schuabe, some ladies have come to see you."

_It_ got up with a foolish grin and began some ungainly capers.

"Thank you _so_ much, Mr. Pritchard," the girls said as they left the
building. "We've enjoyed ourselves so much."

"I liked the little man with his tongue hanging out the best," said one.

"Oh, Mabel, you've _no_ sense of humour! That Schuabe creature was the
funniest of _all_!"


A Sunday evensong. The grim old Lancashire church of Walktown is full of
people. The galleries are crowded, every seat in the aisles below is

This night, Easter night, the church looks less forbidding. The harsh
note is gone, something of the supreme joy of Holy Easter has driven it

Old Mr. Byars sits in his stall. He is tired by the long, happy day, and
as the choir sings the last verse of the hymn before the sermon he sits

The delicate, intellectual face is a little pinched and transparent. Age
has come, but it is to this faithful priest but as the rare bloom upon
the fruits of peace and quiet.

How the thunderous voices peal in exultation!


Christ is risen! The old man turned his head. His eyes were full of
happy tears. He saw his daughter, a young and noble matron now, standing
in a pew close to the chancel steps. He heard her pure voice, full of
triumph. Christ is risen!

From his oak chair behind the altar rails Dean Gortre came down towards
the pulpit.

Young still--strangely young for the dignity which they had pressed on
him for two years before he would accept it--Basil ascended the steps.

Christ is risen!

The organ crashed; there was silence.

All the lights in the church were suddenly lowered to half their height.

The two candles in the pulpit shone brightly on the preacher's face.

They all saw that it was filled with holy fire.

Christ is risen!


The church was absolutely still as the words of the text rang out into

The people were thinking humbly, with contrite hearts, of the shame five
years ago.

     "Would that our imagination, under the conduct of Christian faith,
     could even faintly realise the scene when the Human Soul of Our
     Lord came with myriads of attendant angels to the grave of Joseph,
     to claim the Body that had hung upon the cross.

     "To-night, with the promise and warrant of our own resurrection
     that His has given us, our thoughts involuntarily turn to those we
     call the dead. We feel that this Easter is for them also an
     occasion of rejoicing, and that the happiness of the earthly Church
     is shared by the loving and beloved choir behind the veil.

     "Christ is risen! Away with the illusions which may have kept us
     from Him. Let us also arise and live. For, as the spouse sings in
     the Canticles, 'The winter is past, ... the time of the singing of
     birds is come; ... arise, my love, my fair one, and come away!'"

Christ is risen!


[1] This article has already been seen in the preceding chapter.

[2] This particular instance of the Nurié woman is _not_ all fiction. An
incident much resembling it actually occurred to a well-known writer on
the intimate life of Eastern peoples. For the purposes of the narrative
the _locale_ has been changed from the Jaffa Road--where the event took
place--to Jerusalem itself.


       *       *       *       *       *

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     told, and stirring from start to finish."--_London Telegraph._

     The Scarlet Pimpernel

     By Baroness Orczy
     _Author of "The Emperor's Candlesticks," etc._

     A dramatic romance of the French Revolution and the Émigré Nobles.
     The "Scarlet Pimpernel" was the chief of a daring band of young
     Englishmen leagued together to rescue members of the French
     nobility from the Terrorists of France. The identity of the
     brilliant and resourceful leader is sacredly guarded by his
     followers and eagerly sought by the agents of the French
     Revolutionary Government. Scenes of intrigue, danger, and devotion,
     follow close one upon another. The heroine is a charming, fearless
     woman who in the end shares the honors with the "Scarlet
     Pimpernel." In a stage version prepared by the author _The Scarlet
     Pimpernel_ was one of the dramatic successes of the last London
     season, Mr. Fred Terry and Miss Julia Neilson acting the leading

     _Crown 8vo, with Illustrations from Photographs of the Play, $1.50_

     _New York_ ~ G. P. Putnam's Sons ~ _London_

     _A Fascinating Romance_

     Love Alone is Lord

     _By_ F. Frankfort Moore
     _Author of "The Jessamy Bride," etc._

     This latest story by the author of _The Jessamy Bride_ has for its
     theme the only really ideal love affair in the romantic life of
     Lord Byron. The story opens during the poet's boyhood and tells of
     his early devotion to his cousin, Mary Chaworth. Mr. Moore has
     followed history very closely, and his descriptions of London
     society when Byron was the rage are as accurate as they are
     dramatic. Lady Caroline Lamb figures prominently in the story, but
     the heroine continues to be Byron's early love, Mary Chaworth. His
     attachment for his cousin was the strongest and most enduring of
     his life, and it failed of realization only by the narrowest of

     _Crown 8vo, $1.50_

     G. P. Putnam's Sons

     _New York_     _London_

     "The cleverest work of the kind written in many years."--_Rochester


     A Novel Dealing with the Life of the Rich in New York

     Author of "The Congressman's Wife," "Mademoiselle Blanche," "A
     Daughter of Thespis," etc.

     Now in its Second Edition. Crown Octavo. Cloth, $1.50.

     It is one of the most interesting descriptions of modern society
     since "The Breadwinners," supposed to be written by John Hay. A
     witty and cleverly drawn picture, as sure in its touch and as
     effective in its results as a Gibson drawing.
         _Town and Country._

     The book will attract the "initiated" because the author has caught
     the real key-note.
         _The Independent._

     Exceedingly clever in many ways. Although it is a really brilliant
     satire, there is no bitterness. On the contrary, an air of almost
     blissful good-humor pervades every page.
         _St. Paul Pioneer-Press._


     New York     London

       *       *       *       *       *


Punctuation has been silently corrected where there are obvious errors.

Words with hyphens and accents have been standardised.

Italics are indicated by underscores _like this_.

The following corrections of typographical errors have been made:

    "refined and, artistic" to "refined and artistic" (p.3)

    "tolerent" to tolerant" (p. 29)

    "it forget to jeer" to "it forgot to jeer" (p. 49)

    "Salonika cigarrette" to "Salonika cigarette" (p. 53)

    "forty thousands pounds" to "forty thousand pounds" (p. 67)

    "volumn" to "volume" (p. 72)

    "lines cames out upon it" to "lines came out upon it" (p. 90)

    "weathly banker" to "wealthy banker" (p. 107)

    "Dieppe its true significance" to "Dieppe--its true significance"
    (p. 108)

    "become more resonant" to "became more resonant" (p. 112)

    "Schaube" to "Schuabe" (p. 193)

    "Sanhedrim of the great" to "Sanhedrin of the great" (p. 235)

    "Neirsteiner" to "Niersteiner" (p. 242)

    "in amazemen" to "in amazement" (p. 261)

    "Sir Ulang Pass" to "Sri Ulang Pass" (p. 293)

    "rising but of the sea" to "rising out of the sea" (p. 323)

    "Exellency" to "Excellency" (p. 350)

    "the lastest visitor" to "the last visitor" (p. 384)

*** End of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "When It Was Dark - The Story of a Great Conspiracy" ***

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