THE LORD OF THE SEA
By M. P. SHIEL
I. THE EXODUS
II. THE FEZ
III. THE HUNTING-CROP
IV. THE SWOON
VI. "PEARSON'S WEEKLY"
VII. THE ELM
VIII. THE METEOR
IX. HOGARTH'S GUNS
XI. WROXHAM BROAD
XII. THE ROSE
XIII. OUT OF THE WORLD
XIV. THE PRIEST
XVI. THE ROPE
XVII. OLD TOM'S LETTER
XIX. THE GREAT BELL
XX. THE INFIRMARY
XXI. IN THE DEEP
XXII. OLD TOM
XXIII. UNDER THE ELM
XXIV. FRANKL SEES THE METEORITE
XXV. CHURCH ARCHITECTURE
XXVI. FRANKL AND O'HARA
XXVII. THE BAG OF LIGHT
XXVIII. THE LETTER
XXIX. PRIORITY OF CLAIM
XXX. MR. BEECH
XXXI. THE HAMMERS
XXXIII. REEFS OF STEEL
XXXIV. THE "KAISER"
XXXV. THE CUP OF TREMBLING
XXXVI. THE "BOODAH" AND THE BATTLESHIPS
XXXVII. THE STRAITS
XXXVIII. THE MANIFESTO
XXXIX. THE "BOODAH'S" LOCK-UP
XL. THE WEDDING
XLI. THE VISIT
XLII. REBEKAH TELLS
XLIII. THE LAND BILL
XLIV. THE REGENCY
XLV. ESTRELLA, THE PROPHETESS
XLVI. THE ORDER IN COUNCIL
XLVII. THE EMIGRANTS
XLVIII. THE SEA-FORTS
XLIX. THE DEBACLE
L. THE DECISION
LI. THE MODEL
In the Calle Las Gabias—one of those by-streets of Lisbon below St. Catherine—there occurred one New Year a little event in the Synagogue there worth a mention in this history of Richard, Lord of the Sea.
It was Kol Nidre, eve of the Day of Atonement, and the little Beth- El, sweltering in a dingy air, was transacting the long-drawn liturgy, when, behind the curtain where the women sat, an old dame who had been gazing upward smote her palms together, and let slip a little scream: "The Day is coming...!"
She then fainted, and till near ten lay on her bed, lit by the Yom Kippur candle, with open eyes, but without speech, her sere face still beautiful, on each temple a little pyramid of plaits, with gold-and-coral ear-rings: a holy belle. About ten P.M. three women watching heard her murmur: "My child, Rebekah...!"
She was childless, and whom she meant was not known. However, soon afterwards there was a form at the amulet-guarded door, and Estrella sat up, saying: "Rebekah, my child..."
A young lady of twenty-two ran in and embraced her, saying: "I have been to Paris and Madrid with my father—just arrived, so flew to see you. We leave for London to-night".
"No: I shall keep you seven days. Tell Frankl I say so. What jewels! You have grown into a rose of glory, the eyes are profounder and blacker, and that brow was made for high purpose. Tell me—have you a lover?"
"No, mamma Estrella".
"Then, why the blush?"
"It is nothing at all," Miss Frankl answered: "five years ago when at school in Bristol I thrice saw through a grating a young man with whom I was frivolous enough to speak. Happily, I do not know what has become of him—a wild, divine kind of creature, of whom I am well rid, and never likely to see again".
The old lady mused. "What was he?"
"Not a common sailor?"
"I fancy so, mamma".
She laughed, as the old lady's eyes opened in sacred horror, and as she whispered: "Child!"
Within three months of that night, one midnight the people of Prague rose and massacred most of the Jewish residents; the next day the flame broke out in Buda-Pesth; and within a week had become a revolution.
On the twelfth morning one of two men in a City bank said to the other: "Come, Frankl, you cannot fail a man in this crisis—I only want 80,000 on all Westring—"
"No good to me, my lord," answered Frankl, who, though a man of only forty—short, with broad shoulders,—already had his skin divided up like a dry leaf; in spite of which, he was handsome, with a nose ruled straight and long, a black beard on his breast.
But the telephone rattled and Frankl heard these words at the receiver: "Wire to hand from Wertheimer: Austrian Abgeordneten-haus passed a Resolution at noon virtually expelling Jewish Race...."
When Frankl turned again he had already resolved to possess Westring Vale, and was saying to himself: "Within six months the value of English land should be—doubled".
The bargain was soon made now: and within one week the foresight of Frankl began to be justified.
Austria, during those days, was a nation of vengeful hearts: for the Jews had acquired half its land, and had mortgages on the other half: peasant, therefore, and nobleman flamed alike. And this fury was contagious: now Germany—now France had it—Anti-Semite laws— like the old May-Laws—but harsher still; and streaming they came, from the Leopoldstadt, from Bukowina, from the Sixteen Provinces, from all Galicia, from the Nicolas Colonies, from Lisbon, with wandering foot and weary breast—the Heines, Cohens, Oppenheimers— Sephardim, Aschkenasim. And Dover was the new Elim.
With alarm Britain saw them come! but before she could do anything, the wave had overflowed it; and by the time it was finished there was no desire to do anything: for within eight months such a tide of prosperity was floating England as has hardly been known in a country.
The reason of this was the increased number of hands—each making more things than its owner could consume himself, and so making every other richer.
There came, however, a change—almost suddenly—due to the new demand for land, the "owners" determining to await still further rises, before letting. This checked industry: for now people, debarred from the land, had only air.
In Westring Vale, as everywhere, times were hard. It was now the property of Baruch Frankl: for at the first failure of Lord Westring to meet terms, Frankl had struck.
Now, one of the yeomen of Westring was a certain Richard Hogarth.
Frankl took up residence at Westring in September, and by November every ale-house, market, and hiring in Westring had become a scene of discussion.
The cause was this: Frankl had sent out to his tenants a Circular containing the words:
"...tenants to use for wear in the Vale a fez with tassel as the Livery of the Manor...the will of the Lord of the Manor...no exception..."
But though intense, the excitement was not loud: for want was in many a home; though after three weeks there were still six farmers who resisted.
And it happened one day that five of these at the Martinmas "Mop," or hiring, were discussing the matter, when they spied the sixth boring his way, and one exclaimed: "Yonder goes Hogarth! Let's hear what he's got to say!" and set to calling.
Hogarth twisted, and came winning his way, taller than the crowd, with "What's up? Hullo, Clinton—not a moment to spare to-day—"
"We were a-talking about that Circular—!" cried one.
At that moment two other men joined the group: one a dark-skinned Jew of the Moghrabim; the other a young man—an English author—on tour. And these two heard what passed.
Hogarth stood suspended, finding no words, till one cried: "Do you mean to put the cap on?"
He laughed a little now. "I! The whip! The whip!"—he showed his hunting-crop, and was gone.
His manner of speech was rapid, and he had a hoarse sort of voice, almost as of sore-throat.
Of the two not farmers, one—the author—enquired as to his name, and farm; the other man—the Moghrabim Jew-that evening recounted to Frankl the words which he had heard.
* * * * * * *
One afternoon, two weeks later, Loveday, the author, was leaning upon a stile, talking to Margaret Hogarth; and he said: "I love you! If you could deign—"
"Truth is," she said, "you are in love with my brother, Dick, and you think it is me!"
She was a woman of twenty-five, large and buxom, though neat- waisted, her face beautifully fresh and wholesome, and he of middle- size, with a lazy ease of carriage, small eyes set far apart, a blue-velvet jacket, duck trousers very dirty, held up by a belt, a red shirt, an old cloth hat, a careless carle, greatly famed.
"But it isn't of your brother, but of you, that I am wanting to speak! Tell me—"
"No—I can't. I am a frivolous old woman to be talking to you about such things at all! But, since it is as you say, wait, perhaps I may be able—But I must be going now—"
There was embarrassment in her now: and suddenly she walked away, going to meet—another man.
She passed through stubble-wheat, disappeared in a pine-wood, and came out upon the Waveney towing-path. On the towing-path came Frankl to meet her.
He took her hand, holding his head sideward with a cajoling fondness, wearing the flowing caftan, and a velvet cap which widened out a-top, with puckers.
"Well, sweetheart..." he said.
"But, you know, I begged you not to use such words to me!"—from her.
"What, and I who am such a sweetheart of yours?"—his speech very foreign, yet slangily correct, being, in fact, all slang.
"No," she said, "you spoke different at first, and that is why—But this must be the last, unless you say out clearly now what it is you mean—"
"Now, you are too hard. You know I am wild in love with you. And so are you with me—"
"I?"—with shrinking modesty in her under-looking eyes. "Oh, no— don't have any delusions like that about me, please! You said that you liked me: and as I am in the habit of speaking the truth myself, I thought that—perhaps—But my meeting you, to be frank with you, was for the sake of my brother".
"Well, you are as candid as they make them," he said, eyeing her with his mild eye. "But what's the matter with your brother? Hard up?"
"He's worried about something". "He must have some harvest-money put away?"
"He has something in Reid's Bank at Yarmouth, I believe".
"Well, shall I tell you what's the matter with him? He's afraid, your brother. He has refused to wear the cap, and he thinks that I shall be down upon him like a thousand of bricks...But suppose I exempt him, and you and I be friends? That's fair".
"What do you mean?"
"Give us one—"
"Believe me, you talk—!"
"Don't let your angry passions rise. I am going to have a kiss off those handsome lips—"
Before she could stir he was in the act of the embrace; but it was never accomplished: for he saw her colour fade, heard crackling twigs, a step! as someone emerged from the wood ten yards away— Richard.
The thought in Margaret's mind was this: "Father in Heaven, whatever will he think of me here with this Jew?"
Hogarth stopped, staring at this couple; did not understand: Margaret should have been home from "class-meeting"...only, he observed her heaving bosom; then twisted about and went, his walk rapid, in his hand a hunting-crop, by which, with a very sure aim, he batted away pebbles from his path, stooping each time.
Along the towing-path to the farmhouse. He did not look behind: was like a man who has received a wound, and wonders whence.
A pallor lay under his brown skin, brown almost as an Oriental's, and he was called "the Black Hogarth"—the Hogarths being Saxon, on the mantel in the dining-room being a very simple coat—a Bull on Gules. But Richard was a startling exception. His hair grew away flat and sparse from his round brow; on his cheeks three moles, jet- black in their centre. Handsome one called his hairless face: the nose delicate, the lips negroid in their thick pout, the left eye red, streaked with bloodshot, the eyes' brown brightness very beautiful and strange, with a sideward stare wild as that sideward stare of the race-horse; and the lids had a way of lifting largely anon.
He passed through Lagden Dip orchard into the old homestead, into the dining-room, where cowered the old Hogarth, smoking, his hair a mist of wool-white.
He glanced up, but said nothing; and Richard said nothing, but walked about, his arms folded, frowning turbulently, while the twilight deepened, and Margaret did not come.
Now he planted a chair near the old man, sat, and shouted: "Listen, sir!"
Up went the old Hogarth's hand to push forward the inquiring ear, while Richard, who, till now, had guarded him from all knowledge of the Circular, snatched it from his breast-pocket, and loudly read.
As the sense entered his head, up the old man shot his palms, shaking from them astonishment and deprecation, with nods; then, with opening arms, and an under-look at Richard: "Well, there is nothing to be said: the land is his...."
Hogarth leapt up and walked out; he muttered: "The land is his, but he is mine...."
The question at the bottom of his mind had been this: "Does Margaret, too, go with the land?" But he did not utter it even to himself: went out, fingering the crop, stalking toward the spot where he had left the man and the woman. But Margaret was then coming through the wood; Frankl had gone up to the Hall; and Hogarth crossed the bridge and went climbing toward the mansion.
It was a Friday evening, and up at the Hall the Sabbath had commenced, two Sabbath-tapers shining now upon the Mezuzzah at the dining-room door, Frankl being of the Cohanim, the priestly class—a Jew of Jews. As he had passed in, two Moghrabim Jews had saluted him with: "Shabbath"; and mildly he had replied: "Shabbath".
But swift upon his steps strode Hogarth: Hogarth was at the lodge- gates—was on the drive—was in the hall.
But, since Frankl was just preparing to celebrate the kiddush, "He cannot be seen now", said a man in the hall.
"He must", said Hogarth.
As he brushed past, two men raised an outcry: but Hogarth continued his swift way, and had half traversed a salon hung with a chaos of cut-glass when from a side-door appeared the inquiring face of Frankl in pious skull-cap.
"What is it?" he cried—"I cannot be seen—"
He recognized the man of the towing-path, and on his face grew a look of scare, as he backed toward a study: but before he could slam the door, Hogarth, too, was within.
"Who are you? What is it?" whined Frankl, who was both hard master and cringing slave.
Hogarth produced the Circular: but of Margaret not a word.
"Caps-and-tassels, you?"—flicking Frankl on the cheek with a fillip of his middle finger.
"You dare assault me! Why, I swear, I meant no harm—"
Down came the whip upon the Jew's shoulders, Frankl, as the stings penetrated his caftan, giving out one roar, and the next instant, seeing the two Jews at the doorway, groaned the mean whisper: "Oh, don't make a man look small before the servants", crying out immediately: "Help!"
Soon five or six servants were at the door, and, of these, two Arab Jews rushed forward, one a tall fellow, the other an obese bulk with bright black eyes, the former holding a slender blade—the knife with which "shechita", or slaughtering, was done: and while the corpulent Jew threw himself upon Hogarth, the other drew this knife through the flesh of Hogarth's shoulder, at the same time happening to cut the heavy Arab across the wrist.
Now, there was some quarrel between the two Arabs, and the injured Arab, forgetting Hogarth, turned fiercely upon his fellow.
Hogarth, meanwhile, had not let go Frankl, nor delivered the intended number of cuts: so he was again standing with uplifted whip, when his eye happened to fall upon the doorway.
He saw there a sight which struck his arm paralysed: Rebekah Frankl.
Two months had she been here at Westring—and he had not known it!
There she stood peering, of a divine beauty in his eyes, like half- mythical queens of Egypt and Babylon, blinking in a rather barbarous superfluity of jewels: and, blinded and headlong, he was in flight.
As for Frankl, he locked that door upon himself, and remained there, forgetting the sanctification of the Sabbath.
The Hebrew's eyes blazed like a wild beast's. The words: "As the Lord liveth..." hissed in whispers from his lips.
He took up a pinch of old ashes, and cast it into the air.
As Shimei, the son of Gera, cursed David, so he cursed Richard Hogarth that night—again and again—with grave rites, with cancerous rancour.
"I will blight him, as the Lord liveth; as the Lord liveth, I will blight him..." he said repeatedly, his draperied arms spread in pompous imprecation.
As a beginning, he sat and wrote to Reid's Bank, requesting the payment in gold of L14,000—to produce a stoppage of payment at the little Bank in which were Richard's savings.
Afterwards, with mild eyes he repaired to the dining-hall, and sanctified the Sabbath, blessing a cup of wine, dividing up two napkined loaves, and giving to Rebekah his benediction.
Hogarth went moodily down the hillside to the Waveney, across the bridge, and home, his sleeve stained with blood.
In the dining-room, he threw himself into an easy-chair in a gloom lit only by the fireglow, in the room above mourning a little harmonium which Margaret was playing, mixed with the sound of Loveday's voice.
The old man said: "Richard, my boy..."
Hogarth did not answer.
"Richard, I have somewhat to say to you—are ye hearkening?"
Richard, losing blood, moaned a drowsy "Yes".
And the old Hogarth, all deaf and bedimmed, said: "I had to say it to you, and this night let it be: Richard, you are no son of mine".
At this point Hogarth's head dropped forward: but many a time, during long years, he remembered a dream in which he had heard those words: "Richard, you are no son of mine..."
The old Hogarth continued to ears that did not hear:
"I have kept it from you—for I'm under a bargain with a firm of solicitors in London; but, Dick, it doesn't strike me as I am long for this world: a queer feeling I've had in this left side the last hour or two; and there's that Circular—I never heard of such a thing in all my born days. But what can we do? You'll have to wear the cap—or be turned out. Always I've said to myself, from a young man: 'Get hold of a bit of land someways as your own God's own': but I never did; the days went by and by, and it all seems no longer than an after-dinner nap in a barn on a hot harvest-day. But a bit of land—the man who has that can make all the rest work to keep him. And if they turn me out, I couldn't live, lad: the old house has got into my bones, somehow. Anyhow, I think the time is come to tell you in my own way how the thing was. No son are you of mine, Richard. Your mother, Rachel, who was a Londoner, served me an ill turn while we were sweethearting, hankering after another man—a Jew millionaire he was, she being a governess in his house; but, Richard, I couldn't give her up: I married her three months before you were born; and not a living creature knows, except, perhaps, one—perhaps one: a priest he was, called O'Hara. But that's how it was. Your father was a Jew, and your mother was a Jew, and you are a Jew, and in the under-bottom of the old grey trunk you will find a roll of papers. Are you hearkening? And don't you be ashamed of being a Jew, boy—they are the people who've got the money; and money buys land, Richard. Nor your father did not do so badly by you, either: his name was Spinoza—Sir Solomon Spinoza—"
At that point Margaret, bearing a lamp, entered, followed by Loveday, and at the sight of Richard uttered a cry.
By noon Hogarth knew the news: his hundred and fifty at Reid's were gone; and he owed for the Michaelmas quarter—twenty-one pounds five, his only chattels of value being the thresher, not yet paid for, half a rick, seed, manure, and "the furniture". If he could realize enough for rent, he would lack capital for wages and cultivation, for Reid's had been his credit-bank.
After dinner he stood long at a window, then twisted away, and walked to Thring, where he captained in a football match, Loveday watching his rage, his twisting waist, and then accompanying him home: but in the dining-room they found the lord-of-the-manor's bailiff; and Loveday, divining something embarrassing, took himself away.
The same evening there were two appraisers in the house, and the bailiff, on their judgment, took possession of the chattels on the holding except some furniture, and some agricultural "fixtures". The sale was arranged for the sixth day.
From the old Hogarth the truth could no longer be hidden...
Two days he continued quiet in the old nook by the hearth, apparently in a kind of dotage doze; but on the third, he began to poke about, hobbled into the dairy, peered into the churn, touched the skimmer.
"You'll have to wear the cap", Margaret heard him mutter—"or be turned out".
As if taking farewell, he would get up, as at a sudden thought, to go to visit something. He kept murmuring: "I always said, Get a bit of land as your own, but I never did; the days went by and by...."
Margaret, meantime, was busy, binding beds with sheets, making bundles, preparing for the flitting, with a heaving breast; till, on the fifth day, a van stood loaded with their things at the hall- door, and she, with untidy hair, was helping heave the last trunk upon the backboard, when the carman said: "Mrs. Mackenzie says, mum, the things mustn't be took to the cottage, except you pay in advance".
Now Margaret stood at a loss; but in a minute went bustling, deciding to go to Loveday, not without twinges of reluctance: for Loveday, with instinctive delicacy, had lately kept from the farm; and to Margaret, whose point of view was different, the words "false friends" had occurred.
Passing through an alley of the forest, she was met by a man—a park-keeper of Frankl's—a German Jew, who had once handed her a note from Frankl. And he, on seeing her, said: "Here have I a letter for your brother".
"Who from?" she asked.
"That may I not say".
When he handed her an envelope rather stuffed with papers, she went on her flurried way; and soon Loveday was bowing before her in his sitting-room at Priddlestone.
"You will be surprised to see me, Mr. Loveday," said she, panting.
"A little surprised, but most awfully glad, too. Is all well?"
"Oh, far from that, I'm afraid. But I haven't got any time—and, oh my, I don't know how to say it,—but to be frank with you—could you lend Richard two pounds—?"
Loveday coloured to the roots of his hair.
He could not tell her: "Open that envelope in your hand", for that would have meant that it was he who had sent the L50 it contained; and he had now only one sixpence in Priddlestone.
"That is", she said—"if it is not an inconvenience to you—"
He could find no words. Some fifteen minutes before, having enclosed the notes, he had descended to the bar to get mine host to find him a messenger, and direct the envelope—for Hogarth knew his handwriting. Mine host was not there—his wife could not write: but she had pointed out the Jewish park-keeper sipping beer; so Loveday had had the man upstairs, had made him write the address, and had bribed him to deliver the envelope with a mum tongue.
"I'm afraid I've taken a great liberty—" she said, shrinking at his silence.
Then he spoke: "Oh, liberty!—but—really—I'm quite broke myself—!"
"Then, good-afternoon to you", said she: "I am very sorry—but you will excuse the liberty, won't you—?"
In the forest she began to cry, covering her eyes, moaning: "Why, how could he be so mean? And I who loved that young man with all my heart, God knows—!"
Her eyes searched the ground for two sovereigns. Then she happened to look at the envelope: and instantly was interested. "Why, it is the Jew's hand!" she thought, for the letters were angular in the German manner, making a general similarity with Frankl's writing.
Curiosity overcame her: she opened, and saw...
"Oh, well, this is generous though, after all!" she exclaimed.
And now she ran, coming out from mossy path upon wide forest-road: and there, taking promenade, was Frankl, quite near, with phylacteried left arm.
"Why, sweetheart..." said he.
She stopped before him. "Well, you can call me what you like for the time being", said she, laughing rather hysterically; "for I am most grateful to you for your generous present to my brother, Mr. Frankl!"
She had still no suspicion of Richard's visit of chastisement to the Hall!
"Now, what do you mean?" said Frankl.
"Why, you might guess that I know your handwriting by this time!" she said coquettishly, and held out the notes and the envelope.
His eyes twinkled; he meditated; he had, more than ever, need of her; and he said: "Well, you are as 'cute as they make them!"
"But instead of sending us this, which I am not at all sure that Richard will touch, why couldn't you pay it to yourself, and not turn us out—"
"I let business take its course: and afterwards I do my charity. But it wasn't for your brother, you know, that I sent it—but for you".
"I must be running—"
When she reached the farm, she gave the carman a secret glimpse of the notes, while Hogarth, who was now there, went to seek the old Hogarth, for whom a nest had been made among the furniture in the cart.
He was found above-stairs in an empty room, searching the floor for something.
"Come, sir", said Hogarth, and led him step by step.
But as the old man passed the threshold, he fell flat on the slabs of the porch, striking his forehead, printing a stain there.
And the next day, the day of the sale, he still lay in the old chamber, on the ancient bed, dead.
"Rose Cottage" was without roses: but had a good-sized "garden" at the back; and here Hogarth soon had a shed nailed together, with bellows, anvil, sledges, rasps, setts, drifts, and so on, making a little smithy.
He engaged a boy; and soon John Loveday would be leaning all a forenoon at the shed door, watching the lithe ply of Hogarth's hips, and the white-hot iron gushing flushes; while Margaret, peeping, could see Loveday's slovenly ease of pose, his numberless cigarettes, and hear the rhymes of the sledges chiming.
As to Loveday's L50, she had dared to say nothing to Richard, but kept them, intending to make up the amount already spent, and give them to Frankl. Loveday, meantime, she avoided with constant care.
So two weeks passed, till, one day, Loveday, leaning at the forge- door, happened to say: "Are you interested in current politics? The East Norfolk division is being contested, one of the candidates, Sir Bennett Beaumont, is a friend of mine, and I was thinking that I might go to the meeting to-night, if you could come—"
"I invite you to supper here instead".
"Not interested?" queried Loveday.
"Not at all. Stop—I'll show you something in which I am interested".
He ran to a corner, picked up a Pearson's Weekly, and pointed to a paragraph headed:
"FIVE HUNDRED-POUND NOTES!
"FIFTY TEN-POUND NOTES!!
"ONE HUNDRED FIVE-POUND NOTES!!!"
—a prize for "the most intelligent" article, explaining the cause, or causes, of "the present distress and commercial crisis".
Loveday read it smiling.
"Ah", said he, "but who is to be the judge of 'the most intelligent' article? Pearson must himself be of the highest intelligence to decide".
"True", said Hogarth. "But the man who offered that prize has indicated to the nation the thing which it should be doing. If I was able to form an Association to enter this competition—and why not? Stop—I will go with you—"
So that evening they walked to Beccles, and took train for Yarmouth.
The candidate to speak was a Mr. Moses Max, a Liberal Jew; the chair to be taken by Baruch Frankl; and in the midst of a row, the stately great men entered upon the platform and occupied it, hisses like the escape of steam mixing with "He's a jolly good fellow". Midway down the pit sat Loveday, and with him Hogarth, whose large stare ranged solemnly round and down from galleries to floor.
Frankl sipped water, and rose, amid shouts of: "Circular!" "Caps- and-tassels!"
He made a speech of which nothing was known, except the amiable bows, for a continual noising filled the hall; and up rose Mr. Moses Max, a stout fair Jew, whose fist struck with a regular, heavy emphasis. After ten minutes, when he began to be heard, he was saying:
"...Sir Bennett Beaumont! Is he the sort of man you'd send to represent you? (Cries of: "Yes!") What is he?—ask yourselves the question: a fossilized Tory, a man who's about as much idea of progress as a mummy—people actually say he's got a collection of mummies in his grand fashionable mansion at Aylesham, and it's only what we should expect of him. (Cheers, and cries of: "Oh, oh!") And what has he ever done for East Norfolk? Gentlemen, you may say as you like about Jews—Jews this, and Jews that—and every man has a right to his opinion in this land of glorious Saxon liberty—but no one can deny that it's Jews who know how to make the money. (Cheers and hisses.) They know how to make it for themselves (hisses)—and, yes, they know how to make it for the nation! (Loud triumph of cheers.) That's the point—that touches the spot! (Cries of: "Oh, oh!") Righteousness, it is said, exalteth a nation: well, so do Jews—"
"That is false", said a voice—Hogarth, who had stood up.
The words were the signal for a shower of cheers swept by gusts of hisses; and immediately one region of the pit was seen to be a scrimmage of fisticuffs, mixed with policemen, sticks, savage faces, and bent backs; while the two galleries, craning to see, bellowed like Bashan.
Moses Max was leaning wildly, gesticulating, with shouts; while Loveday, who had turned pale on Hogarth's rising, touched Hogarth's coat-tail, whereupon Hogarth, stooping to his ear, shouted: "We will have some fun..."
"The paid agents of Beaumont!" now shouted Moses Max; "sent to disturb our meeting! Englishmen! will you submit to this? The nation shall hear—"
At that point Moses Max, in his gesticulation, happening to touch a switch in the platform-rail, out glowered into darkness every light at that end of the hall: at which thing the audience was thrown into a state of boisterous lawlessness, a tumult reigning in the gloom like the constant voice of Niagara, until suddenly the platform was again lit up, and the uproar lulled.
And now again Moses Max was prone to speak, with lifted fist; but before ever he could utter one single word, a voice was ringing through the Assembly Rooms:
"Where was Moses when the light went out?"
This again was Hogarth; and it ended Moses Max for that night.
Hogarth had not sat since he had called out "That is false": his tall figure was recognized; and, with that electric spontaneity of crowds, he was straightway the leader of the meeting, men darting from their seats with waving hats, sticks, arms, and vociferous mouth, the chairman half standing, with a shivering finger directed upon Hogarth, shrieking to the police: but too late—Hogarth had brushed past Loveday's knees—was dashing for the crowded platform- steps—was picking his way, stumbling, darting up them.
Crumpled in his hand was a Pearson's Weekly.
Now he is to the front—near Frankl.
"Friends! I have ventured to take the place of our friend, Moses, here—no ill-will to him—for with respect to the question before us, whether we elect Beaumont or Max, I care, I confess, little. I'm rather an Anti-Jew myself (hissing and cheers), but it strikes me that the Jews are the least of our trouble. To a man who said to me that the cause of all our evil days is the inability of England to feed these few million Jews I'd answer: "I don't know how you can be so silly!" Why, the whole human race, friends, can find room on the Isle of Wight—the earth laughs at the insignificant drawings upon her made by the small infantry called Man. Then, why do we suffer, friends? We do suffer, I suppose? I was once at Paris, and at a place called 'the Morgue' I saw exposed young men with wounded temples, and girls with dead mouths twisted, and innocent old women drowned; and there must be a biggish cry, you know, rising each night from the universal earth, accusing some hoary fault in the way men live together! What is the fault? If you ask me, I answer that I am only a common smith: I don't know: but I know this about the fault, that it is something simple, commonplace, yet deep-seated, or we should all see it; but it is hidden from us by its very ordinariness, like the sun which men seldom look at. It must be so. And shall we never find the time to think of it? Or will never some grand man, mighty as a garrison, owning eyes that know the glances of Truth, arise to see for us? Friends! but, lacking him, what shall we do to be saved?—for truly this 'civilization' of ours is a blood-washed civilization, friends, a reddish Juggernaut, you know, whose wheels cease not: so we should be prying into it, provided we be not now too hide-bound: for that's the trouble—that our thoughts grow to revolve in stodgy grooves of use-and-wont, and shun to soar beyond. Look at our Parliament—a hurdy-gurdy turning out, age after age, a sing-song of pigmy regulations, accompanied for grum kettledrum by a musketry of suicides, and for pibroch by a European bleating of little children. We are still a million miles from civilization! For what is a civilized society? It can only be one in which the people are proud and happy! The people of Africa are happy, not proud; not civilized; the people of England have a certain pride, not a millionth part as superb as it might be, but are far from happy: far from civilized. The fact is, Man has never begun to live, but still sleeps a deep sleep. Well! let us do our best, we here! I have here a paper offering a prize to the man of us who will go to the root of our troubles, and my idea in usurping the place of our friend, Mr. Max, was to ask you to form an association with me to enter that competition. There is no reason why our association should not be large as the nation, nor why it should not spread to France and Turkey. For the thing presses, and to-morrow more of the slaughtered dead will be swarming in the mortuaries of London. Will you, then? The understanding will be this: that each man who writes his name in a note-book which will lie at Rose Cottage, Thring, or who sends his name, will devote sixty minutes each day to the problem. I happen to be in a position to use a chapel at Thring, and there I will hold a meeting—"
At this point Frankl rose: Thring was his, his own, own, own; and now his eyes had in them that catlike blaze which characterized his rages.
"Here, police! police!" he hissed low, "what's the use of police that don't act!" And now he raised his voice to a scream: "Jews! Shew yourselves! Don't let this man stay here...!"
About twenty Jews leapt at the challenge; at the same time Hogarth, seeing two policemen running forward from the back, folded his arms, and cried out: "Friends! I have not finished! Don't let me be removed..."
Whereupon practically every man in the pit was in motion, for or against him, the galleries two oblongs of battle.
As up the two curving stairs stormed the mob, by a sudden rush like an ocean-current he was borne off his feet toward the side, and was about to bring down his sharp-pointed little knuckles, when his eye fell upon the face of a lady who had fainted.
He had had no idea that she was there!—Rebekah Frankl.
She had quietly fainted, not at the rush—but before—during Hogarth's speech.
Hogarth managed to fight his way to a door at the platform back with her, entered a room where some chairs were, but, seeing a stair, could not let her go from his embrace, but descended, passed along a passage and out into a patch of green.
She, under the dark sky, whispered: "It is you", her forehead on his shoulder; and added: "My carriage, I think, is yonder".
Hogarth saw the carriage-lights at the field's edge, bore her thither, laid her with care on the cushions, kissed her hand: and this act Frankl saw—with incredulity of his own eyes. As he approached, Hogarth walked away.
Frankl mastered his voice to say blandly in Spanish: "Well, how did you get through, sweet child? Who was that man—? But stay: where are those two fools?"
This meant the two familiars—the Arabs, Isaac and Mephibosheth, one of whom had come as footman, the other as coachman—and, as he went raging about the carriage, with stamps, his boot struck against a body. There was enough light to reveal to his peering that it was Mephibosheth, whom Isaac had stabbed, and fled...
Frankl lowered his ear—doubted whether he could detect a breathing; and though scared, he being a Cohen, and the presence of death defilement, yet he stayed, bending over Mephi several minutes, thinking, not of him, but of Hogarth.
"It is that fool, Isaac, has done it", he thought; "and if the man be dead—" What then? "If he be dead, I've got you, Mr. Hogarth, in the hollow of this hand...."
His fingers passed over the body: there, sticking in the breast, was a cangiar which Isaac, in his panic, had left, and Frankl's hand rested on the handle; if he did not consciously press the knife home, very heavily his hand rested on it, eyes blazing, beard shaking....
Then he drew out the knife carefully, to hide it in the carriage, listened again close, felt sure now that death was there, and now scuttled, as if from plague, guiltily hissing: "Putrid dog...!"
Presently he led his carriage to the station, and made a deposition of the murder.
Asked if he had any suspicion as to the culprit, he said: "Not the least: I left the man alone with the carriage, and who could have had any motive for killing him beats me."
Hogarth, meantime, had made his way to the front of the room, then vomiting its throng, discovered Loveday, and, deciding to walk home, they were soon on the cliffs.
And suddenly Loveday: "To-morrow will conclude my fifth week in Westring. What, do you suppose, has made me stay?"
"I have wondered".
"I work better here...Hogarth, you inspirit me".
"Is that so?"
"It is, yes. Merely your presence is for me a freshness and an enthusiasm: I catch in the turn of your body hints of adventurous Columbuses, Drakes, nimble Achilles; and sibylline meanings in some glance of yours infect my fancy with images of Moses, blind old Homers—prophet, lawgiver, poet—"
They were passing along a stretch of sand, with some lights of Lowestoft in sight, arm in arm; and Hogarth said: "Well, you speak some big words. But my life, you understand, has been as simple and small as possible. I will tell you: my father sent me to an extraordinary school—where he got the coin I could never find out— Lancing College at Shoreham. There I did very well—only that I was continually getting it! What was the matter with me when a boy I can't understand: I was the devil. One summer vacation (I was fourteen) I stole three pounds from the old man, and ran away one Sunday night. Passed through London and soon was apprentice in a blacksmith's shop in a Kent village called Bigham. But in six months I had the forge at my fingers' ends, and was off: nothing could hold me long. One day I turned up before the Recruiting Office of Marines in Bristol—just of the right age for what they call 'second-class boys'—and decided upon the sea—that sea there—which, from the moment I saw it at the age of four, caused me a swelling of the breast with which, to this day, it afflicts me. Well, I got the birth-certificate of another boy, scraped through, was entered into a District Ship, and finally sailed in the St. Vincent to the Pacific Station.
"However, my trial of His Majesty's ships was not a success: twice I was in irons, once leapt into mid-ocean; nor could the battleship hold me when she had nothing to teach me; so I did to the King what I had done to the old man—cut and ran.
"It was at Valparaiso, and I made my way across the continent to Buenos Ayres.
"I forget now what took me to Bristol: but there I was one day when I happened to see—what do you think?—a girl—sixteen—I a stripling of nineteen, or so—but she most precocious, spoke like a woman—a grating in a wall between us. Ah, well, God is good, and His Mercy endureth for ever. But she said it could never be—she a Jewess: though that, by the way, is nonsense, for she is a Jewess, and a Parisienne, and a Hindoo, and a Negress, and a Japanese, and the man who marries her will have a harem. My friend, I have seen her this very night!"
He was silent. Suddenly he broke out: "I came home raving! The old man was scared out of his wits by my frenzy—I drank like ten men— in a month was the terror of Westring. One midnight, going home through the beech-wood—I don't know if you have noticed a hollow elm-tree which stands to the right of the path?"
"I think I have", said Loveday.
"We shall pass near it presently; and at the moment when we approach it, I shall feel a little thrill in my back: always it is so with me. But I was saying: that midnight, as I passed the tree, drunk as I was, I saw a naked black man with a long beard run out; I took to my heels; he was after me; till I reached the bridge, when I stopped, faced him, fired a blow into his eyes, and he vanished.
"During the week I continued to see apparitions. My groans were heard in the farm-yard: Lord have mercy upon me! Christ have mercy upon me! I was visited by the Methodist preacher at Thring; and finally I found solace: I became a class-member, a leader, a local preacher.
"For some time I have been conscious of dissatisfaction among the people with my preaching, who say that my God 'is not a personal God', and that my Christianity is 'rum stuff': I am therefore meaning to give it up. But I still preach every second Thursday night.
"It was about that time that, by accident, I found out the power of my hand to cure headache, and things like that, and the sensation among these villagers was enormous, I can tell you, six years ago; now they come to be touched without the slighest sense of the unusual. But what I have done well in was—the farming. I knew little of agriculture—"
At this point they turned into the lane to Westring: and Loveday went with him a little beyond Priddlestone to see the fatal elm.
The next morning, after breakfast, Hogarth went down old Thring Street, and spent a penny for a note-book to contain the signatures of his association.
But this was no day for interest in that scheme: for under the projecting first-floor of the paper-shop were newspaper placards bearing such words as:
THE EARTH IN DANGER
SHALL WE PERISH TO-NIGHT?
and Hogarth was soon bending in the street over a paragraph, short— but in pica.
M. Tissot, the astronomer, had, at half-past ten the previous night, observed through the 40-inch telescope of the Nice observatory a body which seemed a tiny planet or aerolite of abnormal size. It was sighted at a point two degrees W. of a Librae at an angle of 431/2 deg. with the horizon, and had been photographed, its elements calculated, its spectrum taken. The ascertained diameter was 3 deg. 17", or about 73 miles, and its substance seemed to consist of ironstone mixed with diamond.
By noon a fresh light was thrown upon the little world, the Yerkes observatory and Greenwich both uttering their voice, the Astronomer Royal announcing that the so-called planet was merely a meteor—not more than 400 yards in diameter, with a low velocity of two miles a second; and its distance was less than a tenth of that estimated by Tissot. The Yerkes observatory fixed the diameter at 230 yards. All, however, agreed in the opinion that it must strike the earth between ten and twelve that night.
These later announcements so much allayed the panic, that by one o'clock Hogarth, on peeping into the note-book on the box before the smithy, saw six signatures; and a young man who came about six P.M. to sign, cried out: "Hullo! the book is filled up!" on which Hogarth ran out, saying: "Don't run away on that account, I'll run and get— " darting into the house to ask Margaret where a certain account- book was.
"Didn't I throw it into the box of rubbish in the cellar at Lagden, when we were leaving?" she asked; on which he threw off his apron, and was off toward Lagden Dip to get it.
He had almost cleared the village when he was blocked by a crowd before a cottage, from out of which were coming screams—a woman's; and he ran in, found a man named Fred Bates beating his wife, planted a blow on his chest.
The next morning the wife of Bates was found dead, greatly disfigured about the face, whereupon Bates was arrested, and Hogarth, as we shall see, was subpoenaed to give evidence of the beating.
In ten minutes he was at the old farm-house of the Hogarths.
The new tenant was a Mr. Bond, a bankrupt metal-broker, who had two hobbies—farming and astronomy; and, as Hogarth approached the yard- gate, he saw Mr. Bond, his two daughters, his servants, grouped round an optic tube mounted on a tripod. He asked permission to get the account-book, got it, in a few minutes was again passing through, and, as he went by, bowing his thanks, Mr. Bond said: "But—have you seen the asteroid?"
"Not quite visible to the naked eye yet: but come—you shall see".
He himself looked through, fixing the sight, turning the adjuster; then with fussy suddenness: "Now, sir—"
Hogarth put an eager eye to the glass.
"You see her?" said Mr. Bond, rubbing his soft old palms; "straight for us she comes—in a considerable hurry by this time, I can tell you! and if she happens to break up in the air, then, pray, sir, that a splinter of her may fall into your back yard—not too big a one! but a nice little comfortable piece"—he rubbed his palms— "for you know, no doubt, of what her substance is composed? Diamond, sir, in extraordinary evidence! in conjunction with specular iron ore, commonly called the red haematite, and the ferrous carbonate, or spathic iron. You see her, sir? you see her?"
Hogarth whispered: "Yes".
There, fairest among ten thousand, sailing the high seas she came; and longer than was modest he stopped there, gazing, then ran, wondering at her daisy loveliness, not dreaming that between himself and her was—a relation.
She broke up with a European display soon after eleven that night over the North Sea.
At the moment when Hogarth was peering through the telescope, a man was loitering before his cottage—one of the Hall's park-keepers; and when Margaret put out her head to look for Richard's coming, the man whistled.
In a moment a note was in her hand.
"DEAR MISS HOGARTH,
"This is to ask you to be certain sure to meet me this evening at 9 P.M. on the towpath. It isn't to-day that you are well aware of the state of my feelings toward you: but it is not to talk sweethearting that I wish to see you now, but about your brother, and the matter is about as important as can be. If I were in your place, I should destroy this letter.
"Yours, with my respects,
Margaret tore it up, and "My goodness!" she thought, "what is anyone to do? If I only had the money to make up those fifty pounds! May the Holy Spirit guide me now...!"
Later in the evening she stole out, and met Frankl.
He assumed a very respectful tone.
"Miss Hogarth", said he at once, "have you heard?"
"You have not been told that your brother has been to the Hall?"
"What in patience for?"
"He came—you couldn't believe—to beat me!"
"Richard! I don't understand. When?"
"Yesterday". (In reality it was four weeks before.)
"But what about?"
"Revenge! Blind, murderous revenge for turning him neck and crop out of Lagden!"
"You are in a temper! But I can't understand a word of it!"
"Well, that is what I had to tell you. He came to my house—And how good have I been to this man! Didn't I send him the fifty pounds—?"
"Well, that was kind. But I must tell you, Mr. Frankl, that Richard knows nothing of the fifty pounds—"
"Well, then it is your fault! Oh, he did not know of the fifty pounds? Then it is your fault entirely, this rage of his against me—He threatened to shoot me dead—thrice he threatened—soon, he said—"
"Yes, Richard!—your nice Richard! But what did I want you for to- night? It was to let you see that I have it in my power to let your brother in for three months hard—not less. But you know, my dear, don't you, that I wouldn't do anything to give you pain? That is why, so far, I've taken no steps. But your brother must be unarmed. I can't have my life exposed, after his threats, and all".
"Yes. I have it on good authority that your brother has guns. I must have those guns put into my own hands by you..."
"But I couldn't! He would find out..."
"Then I must act, that's all. Or no—I give you another chance—tell him of the fifty pounds I sent—that may disarm him in another way—"
He was sure that this she would not now do, yet felt relieved when she cried out: "I couldn't! Not now! Can't you see?"
"Well, there is nothing to be done, then. I must act, that's all".
"But don't be hard! What can I do? Sooner or later he'd be sure to miss them!"
"Poh! he is not always shooting, I suppose? And after a few weeks I'd give them back. Anyway, think it over: and I'll be here on Tuesday night next at nine to receive them. Good night—"
She looked palely after him, her feet in a net, new to her, woven of concealments and deceit.
At eleven that night she was sitting in their diminutive parlour,— Hogarth at a table inscribing the association's names received by post that evening; and at last, bending low over her sewing, she said: "Richard, is it true you have been to the Hall?"
He started! "Yes. Who told you?"
"I heard it".
He looked at her piercingly. "Answer!"
"I heard it", she said with a stubborn nod, quite pallid.
He turned upon her a stare of displeasure; but in that second they heard a shouting down the village, ran to the front, and saw heaven all like cancer and cracked window-panes, for from a central plash of passion the shattered asteroid had shot long-lingering ribbons of lilac light over the bowl of the sky.
On the Tuesday was the inquest on the murdered Mephibosheth; ending in a verdict of wilful murder against some person unknown.
The same night at nine Frankl had Hogarth's two guns from Margaret on the towing-path, she now well inveigled into his net, and under his commands.
"I want you", he said, "to meet me-here again on Thursday night, at 7.30".
"But you will tell one why, I suppose!"
"When you come you will hear. And don't let anything keep you away— not anything, mind—if you take my hint".
She left him with her head hung, praying for deliverance, but consenting.
The next (Wednesday) morning Frankl was in a high room of the Hall, in a corner of which cowered the Arab, Isaac, and he said in his strong bass in Arabic: "Well, Isaac, well".
A groan broke from the obese heap of grief; down each side of his kefie streamed waves of trembling; on his square-cut beard of ritual flecks of foam.
"Isaac, why did you kill Mephibosheth?"
Vigorously sputtered Isaac, spitting out the ill-omened words. He said: "Your servant did not kill Mephibosheth".
"Well, there was an inquest to-day, the Court decided that you did, and has sentenced you to be hanged by the neck like a dog".
The Arab sprang up, his thick bluish under-lip shivering.
"An eye for an eye", said Frankl solemnly: "it is written in the Torah".
"Mercy My father served your father—"
"I have remembered that: that is why I have saved you from hanging like a dog at the hands of these Goyim vermin: but, Isaac, you must die—"
"You dare raise your voice! Blood for blood—"
"Mercy!—I did not mean to kill—!"
"Blood for blood, you dog! Raise it, and I fell you! Raise it, and the noose sinks into your fat swine's-throat! Can't you understand?—you have been tracked by the avengers of blood! and you may swing lingeringly, with a crowd of Christian boys and girls mocking round you, or you may shoot yourself in one painless flash. Which shall it be?"
Isaac, again dropping a-heap, covered his face, without answer.
"Well", said Frankl, walking away, "I can't wait all day. The detectives are at this moment downstairs—"
Now the Arab leapt up, and, in a movement of great dignity, with an out-rush of both arms, rent his caftan from the top to its muslin girdle.
"I will shoot myself", he said quietly.
Frankl took snuff.
The same night he took his secretary's typewriter, and spelled out the following note:
"Permit me to ask you as an old friend of your father's if you are aware that your sister Margaret is the lover of the lord of the manor? Everybody seems to see it, but yourself. I have reason to know that the very day you receive this she will be meeting him at about 7.30 P.M. under the old elm in the beech-wood near the Hall- park.
"ONE WHO SHALL BE NAMELESS".
Hogarth received it by post the next morning.
He had to think, as he worked, of something to say at the service that night on the text: "God's way is in the Sea", but the glare of forge and heated metal swam vaguely, a fog of red, about his consciousness. And mixed with those recurring words: "the old elm", "God's way", something with a voice shouted inside him—a name— Margaret! Anon his face flushed to a dusky turbulence, and he hurled the sledge high to shatter the earth, like Thor.
Suddenly he had the thought that he would clean his rifle, and, dropping a hot iron which vanished with a stifled cry into black water, he tossed his tongs clattering, and almost ran toward the cottage.
He had not, however, reached the back door when he heard his name called from behind.
And now happened to him the most momentous event of his life—though nothing could have seemed more commonplace.
It was an old fellow named Tom Bates who had called him—father to that Fred arrested for the murder of his wife—a Yarmouth fisher and herring-curer.
And when Hogarth twisted round, with that stare of his large and bloodshot eye, "Here", said the old man, "take them"—holding out a basket of herrings.
Hogarth seemed not to understand, but then said: "All those for me?"
"Every bloomin' one!" answered Bates, with the dropped jaw of pantomime, and a far-away look of blue astonishment which he had.
"It is extremely handsome of you. Can you spare all that—?"
"Spare, ya'as! They're easy enough come by, for that matter. Why, the day's work of a fisherman gives him enough fish to live on all the week, and he could lie around idling the other six days, if he chose, only anybody can't live on nothing but fish ".
These words, destined to produce a horror of great darkness, and a cup of trembling of which all the nations should drink, hardly affected Hogarth at the time. He did, indeed, shoot an interested glance at the old man, but the next moment his mind, numb that morning, was left dark.
"Here—take them—they are yours", said Bates. "But with regard to that God-forsaken son of mine: you'll be givin' evidence agen him, I'm told—"
When his sleeve wiped a tear, Hogarth promised to make his evidence mild, and was left alone.
Now his purpose of cleaning the rifle was turned: he went back to the forge, and worked till Margaret, at one o'clock, called: "The dinner is on the table".
At that table, for a long time, silence reigned, Margaret's eyes fixed on his face, his on his plate.
Toward the end he said: "Are you going to chapel to-night?"
Her bosom heaved; she cleared her throat: she had to meet Frankl by the towing-path.
"I don't think I shall..."
"I have something to do".
"Something"—with a stubborn nod, and pallor—"if I tell you something that should be enough".
"You will go to chapel to-night".
"That I shan't".
A little before seven they left the cottage together for the chapel, Hogarth taking his hunting-crop—from habit; he had also a little Bible; in his jacket, tight at the slight waist, unbuttoned at the breast, lay the anonymous letter, and a little poetry-book, neither moon nor star lighting the night, bleak winds swooping like the typhoon among the year's dead leaves.
The chapel was a paltry place, though in the wall to the right of the preacher was a slab bearing the inscription:
ON THIS STONE JOHN WESLEY PREACHED IN THE VILLAGE, ON THE 9TH JULY 1768
And they sang a hymn; Hogarth "prayed"; read a chapter; once more the harmonium mourned; Hogarth gave the text: "God's way is in the sea..."
Even as he uttered it, he happened to glance toward the "mission- pew"—a square pew rather behind the pulpit: Margaret no longer there.
A paleness as of very death—then a dreadful wrath reddened his dark face.
He seized his hunting-crop; and, without a word, sped bent and thievish down the steps—and was gone.
Upon which Loveday in a middle pew, perceiving here something sinister, like a still wind flew to a back door, before ever the amazement of the people had given place to a flutter like leafage; and running fast, he came up with Hogarth by a stile twenty yards behind the chapel, touched his shoulder.
"To the devil with you...!" shouted Hogarth, running still, and there Loveday stood.
Margaret, meantime, was hurrying toward the towing-path, while Richard, in a direction at right angles to hers, was pelting toward that spot terrible to him—the elm.
At the moment when he entered the deep darkness of the beeches, he heard what sounded like a pistol-shot, rain now falling drop by drop, and through the forest with an uplifting whoop, like batsmen, swooped the tomboy winds.
Now, approaching the elm, again he felt that thrill which the spot had for him, and came peering, at slower pace: no sound but the gibbering rout of the stiff-stark beech-leaves. Some steps more, and now he was at the mound which surrounds the tree: stood, listened: silence, sightlessness: Margaret not there.
One more forward step: and now his foot struck a body.
As he stooped, his hand touched a revolver—which was his own; another moment, and he saw running lanterns borne by two park- keepers, and by their light saw the body of Isaac, who but now had shot himself with the weapon that was in Hogarth's hand.
The park-keepers had just been urged by their master to the spot, he having, he told them, heard a pistol-shot; and before anyone could speak Frankl himself was there, defiled with the presence of the dead.
He looked from Hogarth to the corpse, and from the corpse to Hogarth, then, snatching the weapon from Hogarth's hand, exclaimed: "Why, bless my heart, you've murdered the man...."
In a cottage in Thring Street, marked "E. Norfolk, E. 58, Constabulary", Hogarth passed the night, having been arrested the moment he returned home from the elm.
A few minutes afterwards Margaret, who had found no Frankl at the towing-path, came home to the ghastliest amazement throughout Thring, so that sleep overcame the village only toward morning.
At 7.30 A.M. Hogarth was marched to Beccles, then after an inquest- verdict appeared before the magistrates' court, and was committed.
One of the witnesses in the summary-jurisdiction court had been Loveday, who had deposed that Hogarth, on leaving the chapel, was, beyond doubt, in a passion; and mixed with the crowd was Margaret, who, standing thickly veiled, heard that evidence. And thought she: "Is it possible that he can be giving evidence against Richard like that? And smiling, the mean, false thing—"
She had disappeared on the morning after the arrest: and Loveday was now racked by disquiet, wondering how she was living, though she and he were in the same train, unconscious of each other, when he followed Hogarth to Norwich; and, as Margaret stepped upon the Thorpe platform there, a Jew, who was watching the arrival of every train, spied and shadowed her to the old Maid's Head, this intricate city being now crowded, the Assizes all in the air, mixed with the Saturday cattle-market.
At ten the next morning Margaret learned at the Guildhall the address of her brother's defending solicitor, and set out to find him, the wretchedest woman on earth now.
But as she passed by the archway in the tower of St. Peter Mancroft, Loveday stood before her; and she started like a shying horse.
"Good morning"—she went on past him.
He took two steps after her. "Are you in a hurry? Can I come with you?"
"It is quite near. Thank you—I'd liefer go alone".
He, a delicate being, all nerves, was repelled; lifted the old cloth hat; but then again stepped after her, saying: "But are you angry with me for something?"
"Why should I be? I have no right to expect anything from you, Mr. Loveday".
"No right? You have, a little, I fancy!"
He said it at her ear with such a lowering of the eyelids, that it pierced to her fond heart, and she smiled with a "H'm!" uncertain, half turned to him; but said: "I must be getting on—"
"But it is most important that I should talk to you about everything. Where are you staying?"
"It is some distance from here", she answered, undecided whether or not to give her address.
"Ah—in that case—but still—will you meet me? Say here—this evening?"
"I will see if I can".
"I will see".
So they parted, she to tread that intricacy of streets round the Market, with stoppages for enquiries, till she found the office, where she presently sat in an inner room, veil at nose-tip, and before her at a grate stood Hogarth's solicitor.
What, till now, for shame, she had concealed, she revealed: showing how Richard could not possibly have taken the revolver with him to the elm, since she, two days previously, had secretly given it to— someone.
Mr. Carr, the solicitor, frowned, elaborating his nails.
"This is very extraordinary", he said. "Whyever did you keep us in the dark as to all this before? And to whom was it that you gave the revolver? and why?"
"Am I bound to tell that?"
"No, but you may be sure that the truth will be got from you. Stay— I must ask you to excuse me now. But tomorrow morning at this hour— will you? As for your brother, have no fears at all: he is now absolutely safe".
Margaret went rapidly away, not knowing whither, only returning toward late afternoon to her inn. As she entered, a letter was handed her from Frankl.
"Dear Miss Hogarth:
"It is only due to you that I should see you at once to explain the mystery of this affair, so as to clear your brother, and as it would not do for me to call upon you for obvious reasons, the only thing for us to do is to meet to-night on Mousehold Heath at 7 P.M. without fail..."
What now was she to do? At "7 P.M." she had half promised Loveday to meet him.
And what had her meetings with Baruch Frankl, innocent as they were, brought upon her and hers!
Yet Frankl must be kindly intentioned, she reasoned—since he had sent them the L50; and she thought of that agony of humiliation when she had asked Loveday for L2, and he had refused.
And he had given evidence against Richard with his down-turned smile.
But he had said a word at her ear—and her crushed heart had leapt. She did not know what to do, fell by her bedside and prayed to be taught which of the two was Richard's best friend.
As she passed over the inn-threshold, she decided in favour of Frankl: and a few minutes past seven was on Mousehold Heath.
Frankl hurried to meet her, and the hand which he held out was rather cold; but she did not take it.
"No, Mr. Frankl", said she, "before I give my hand, it is only what is due to me to hear how Richard's pistol, which I trusted to you, was found where it was—"
"Well, that is only fair", answered Frankl; "that is only fair. But I have a carriage there, let us get into it, and sit as we talk".
She could see no carriage in that dark, yet it stood only some yards away—Frankl's own.
"I think I prefer to stand..." said she.
"As you like. But with regard to the gun, I should have thought that you could have guessed how it was—but no, you always mistrust me instead—the Jew. Don't you know that the dead man was a servant in my house? Well, I left the two guns in my study, and he, wanting to shoot himself, stole one, that's all".
"It was he shot himself?"
"Why, who else? You don't suppose Richard shot him! You are as cool as they make them".
"Well, that was how it was! But couldn't you say that at the police- court—?"
"I am going to at the big trial, of course. But I was ill, am ill now, and here have I been running about all day on your brother's behalf, and dead tired—and ill, and all—and you won't let me have a rest in the carriage—"
"Well, as you put it in that way..." she said.
So they walked to a motor-brougham, sat within, and as they commenced to talk again, the brougham moved.
"Tell me", said Frankl, "have you mentioned to anyone that you had given the guns to me?"
"I told Richard's solicitor this morning—"
"That was horribly imprudent, without consulting me!"
"I think I have been silent long enough, don't you? I didn't mention your name, but—"
"Oh, you didn't mention my name! That's all right, then! Look here, do you know—?"
"I believe you love me in your heart. Can't help yourself".
"Oh, Mr. Frankl, do I look as if I was in the mood for that kind of fun to-night, a poor wretch like me, steeped in misery, my God knows".
"I love you!"
He suddenly grasped her wrist, his eyes blazing.
"Stop—let me get out of this—" she said.
"Wait!—I give you your chance!—Listen: I am not a man whose mind you can read right off like a book, I twist like an eel, I am deep, I am tricky, and I never yet met the man that I didn't hoodwink. Ninety-nine per cent of what I say is a lie; even when it is the truth, it is a lie just the same. But at this particular moment I am talking the God's truth: I want you! You shall be my little girl! Chuck Richard!—chuck the swine's-flesh!—I'll take you right away— to Paris—this very night—"
She had arisen, alarmed by his hissed fury. "But, you are stark, staring, raving mad", she said proudly, "that is what you are".
Frankl struck the side of the brougham, it flew, and Margaret tottered backward with an exclamation. The next moment she sent forth a scream, the grip of Frankl on her wrist agonizing her bones.
"Where are we going?" she cried out.
"I gave you your chance!" was Frankl's fierce answer.
"Let me get out!—you must be a wretch—to take advantage—"
He put his mouth to her ear till it touched. "Your nice Richard flogged me like a dog! I felt the cuts to the marrow of my damned soul! Now I've got him in the hollow of this hand! Why, you helped me! you helped me! That's good! And I've got you, too".
Blackness and swiftness bound her; a dizziness overcame her. Soon they were by a great pool of gloomy water—Wroxham Broad—where hern, wild duck, and the mast of the darkling boat brooded among bulrush; and now in three minutes more the brougham was sweeping over the lawn of a lonely building, surrounded by walls.
She, peering, saw with joy both lights and a well-dressed man and woman; and, as the carriage stopped, she sprang out with alacrity, Frankl with her, still grasping her wrist.
"Sir", she blurted out at once, "you will help me, I know. I am a poor unfortunate woman—my name is Margaret Hogarth—"
"We know!" said the gentleman, and, approaching Frankl's ear, asked in Yiddish: "How long has she had her delusion?"
"Only about a week, I think. She may be violent at first, but—"
"Come in, Miss—Hogarth", said the gentleman.
Margaret passed the threshold; the doors closed upon her...
On the third morning of his confinement in Norwich, Hogarth was hurried into the hall of justice and the witness-box—in the dock Fred Bates.
Bates had denied—with sufficient impudence, it seemed: for his wife had been found dead, battered and burned about the face, Bates' own hand also burned by the poker with which, red-hot, he was presumed to have beaten her.
The same afternoon Bates was sentenced to death: but, having had sunstroke in Egypt, was afterwards reprieved.
And two mornings later Hogarth heard the bar of the prisoner's dock clang behind himself.
The speech of leading counsel for the Crown was short: a letter, found on the prisoner, would be produced, in which some busybody had falsely informed the prisoner that Mr. Frankl would meet his sister under a certain elm-tree: and the prisoner, in a crisis of passion, had hurried from the pulpit to that tree, on observing that his sister had left the chapel (to keep a real appointment with Mr. Frankl elsewhere). Under that tree the prisoner had encountered the murdered man, whose Oriental dress on a dark night would give him a resemblance to Mr. Frankl, himself a Jew. The prisoner had then shot the deceased, mistaking him for Mr. Frankl, and had been found holding the smoking weapon, which he admitted to be his own. It was a painful case; but the chain of inference was not assailable.
"Not assailable" found an echo in the minds of solicitor and counsel for Hogarth, who with growing anxiety were awaiting the coming of Margaret with her story of the weapons. Margaret was where her name was changed to Rachel.
Now was the regime of examining counsel for the prosecution. The usher called: "Baruch Frankl!"
A voice in the gallery shouted: "Caps and tassels!" while Frankl, in the witness box, bowed largely to both bench and bar. He put his palms on the red-hot rail, caught them up, put them again, caught up, put them; and still he bowed, while a trembling of the chin gave to his beard a downward waving.
"Now explain to the court the reasons for the state of the prisoner's feelings toward you".
"For one thing I had turned him out, because he could not pay his rent; for another, his sister was inclined, my lord, to be a little bit weak on my account—"
"A little bit what?" asked his lordship.
"Just a little bit weak, my lord".
"A reciprocal weakness?"
"Well, my lord, you know the world—so do the gentlemen of the jury—"
"And of the Jewry!" screamed his lordship, amid laughter from the merry wigs.
As Frankl stepped down, a name was called at which Hogarth went cold as a ghost: "Rebekah Frankl".
And in she stepped splendent, to stand like a Nubian woman, with that retreat of the hips, her ears torn with their load of gold, her throat and breast ablaze, she bringing into that English court the gaudy heat of the Orient, Baal and Astarte, orgies of Hindoo women in temples of Parvati, the pallid passion of Bacchantes. Though not tall, she was lofty, and her ebon eyes had that very royalty of the stare of the bent form in the dock, whose heart throbbed quick like paddle-wheels that thrash the sea, she his wild divinity, wild wife of his wild youth....
At her shocking beauty the Court stood hushed.
She suggested the East: but in her speech was the energy of the West—sharp—a bass almost like her father's.
"You recognize the prisoner?"
"Yes". She smiled.
"You were present on the day of the 11th November when the prisoner entered your father's house, and attempted to strike him?"
"Did strike him".
"Did he seem in a passion?"
"Severe! But was he not highly excited?"
"He did not seem so. Frowned and flogged".
"By whom was he ejected?"
"Went of his own accord".
"But—try to remember. What made him go?"
"He suddenly saw me, and fled".
Laughter droned through the court, in which she naively joined, while Hogarth's eyes and hers met one instant, blazed outrageously, and dropped....
That was all. Counsel bowed.
The day grew toward evening, and still the stuffy Court sat.
But Margaret Hogarth did not come; a defending counsel finished examination, counsel on the other side again addressed the Court, and again defending counsel. The judge then held the scales, the jury trooped away, the crowd buzzed.
The light in the room seemed to brood to a denser yellow, and anon to grow dim; the stuffed court festered; voices spoke, but low. The King of Terrors was here.
When the jury came, the judge was called, Hogarth stood up, and the clerk of arraigns put a question to the foreman.
The foreman said: "We find the prisoner guilty: but beg to recommend him to the mercy of the Crown".
"On what grounds?" asked his lordship.
"On the grounds of past good conduct and strong provocation".
The judge then placed on his head a square of velvet and passed the sentence of the Court.
During the reign of stillness that followed, while the court clock's ticking was still loud, something which was thrown struck Hogarth on the arm, a red rose, black at heart, that had lain on the breast of Rebekah, who, when Hogarth looked round at her, was calmly drawing her mass of cloak about her throat.
OUT OF THE WORLD
A week later a governor and a chaplain together entered Hogarth's cell with news of his reprieve.
Eight months later he was being trundled in "Black Maria" to Paddington Station amid a Babel of escaped tongues, when, sitting in his pigeonhole, he heard the unknown voice before him cry: "Well, Jim, we're away to the mountain's brow!"
Jim, nothing but a voice, was heard: "Worse luck! I knows Colmoor, and I knows the Scrubs, and I knows Portland; and of the five I say—give me Jedwood. Who's the guy in front o' you?"
"Hi, you in front there, who are yer?" cried the first, pounding.
He was answered by a deep voice, which said:
"I AM WHO I AM".
"All right, keep yer 'air on, if you've any left! It's the Lawd Chief Justice, mate! 'E says 'e's 'oo 'e are!"
"'Old on! I knows who it is: it's that new-comer, 33. They say he was once a priest—"
But now speech was swallowed up in hubbub, as the van ran battering down a rough street near the station.
Then again Hogarth was whirled into night and space, and, toward morning, after the bumping climb of a van, was bidden to alight on moorland, where he spied, far off, set on a hill, a mighty palace of Romance, all grim, aloof, which was Colmoor.
The next morning while the outdoor gangs were being searched on parade before the exit, Hogarth saw a face which he knew; and "You, Bates", he said, "I thought you were in Eternity!"
But no: there stood Bates, all capped and arrowed, cropped and neat, not wearing the filthy old scarf of liberty any more.
The neighbor of Hogarth now was a stout man, with black hair, and grey eyes.
He it was who had been—a priest: and in "Black Maria" had given that answer: "I am who I am".
A year passed, during which John Loveday exhausted the resources of civilization, (1)in seeking Margaret, and (2)in investigating the innocence of Richard.
He had, however, a sprightly, adventurous nerve in the mind, and would pull his velvet sleeves busily up—such was his little way. He began to plot.
About the same time the ex-priest, in that far-off world of Colmoor, said one day to Hogarth: "You won't be here long!"
"You jest," Hogarth answered; "if I had the chance of escape, I should never take it. I am here by due legal process".
"Tut, if I say that you will escape, it is not because I am a prophet, but a man of the world, and know what happens in it".
Converse with this deep, world-wise, and fluent man had now become to Hogarth like manna, or rather a vice, like opium: for in those grey eyes of the cleric was hinted anon the baleful glint of the cobra's.
That day, a Saturday, outdoor gangs were recalled early, to "clean up" for Sunday, and out across the heath rang the great bell, Colmoor being famous for its bell, its tone and great size, larger than even the eight-ton "Mighty Tom" of Christ Church, for though its thickness was only six inches, it weighed, bell and clapper, ten tons, and was seven feet high and seven in diameter.
A busy Saturday afternoon ensued, and whatsoever Hogarth's hand found to do he did it with his might, though his face now seemed all eyes—brown, bloodshot, imperially large, morbidly staring.
He was giving the finishing touches of order to his wooden spoon and salt-cellar, his tin knife, plate, and pint cup for gruel, when a Warder Jennings peeped in with, "No. 76—you are to follow the assistant warder at once", and Hogarth descended to an ante-room where an official handed him a letter, which had been read and initialed by governor and chaplain.
An event!—a letter in Colmoor, like a shark's fin on the voyages of old sailing ships.
It was from Loveday, and concluded with a reference to Hogarth's "poor old grandmother".
So Hogarth, who had no "grandmother", propped his forehead to ponder that thing; and presently said: "Oh, it is a cypher".
And by noting little peculiarities in the shapes of the letters, a double cross to a t, a q like a g, etc., he soon had "flemecops- leftquary"—which he took to mean: "flee to me in the copse to the left of the quarry".
He smiled with tenderness at the dear heart planning and daring so very much for him. But in his smile was a touch of disdain also, he not intending to "flee".
Hogarth's first thought, as getting-up bell clattered reveille through the gallery, was of Loveday's cypher, and by the time the warder came to ask if he would see governor or doctor, a thought of Monsignor O'Hara had somehow mixed itself with the thought of the cypher; when an orderly handed in the day's brown loaf, he was thinking, "Strange that he never told me what he has done"; eating his pint of gruel, he thought: "If I will not escape myself, I might perhaps let another."
"What!" said O'Hara on the march out, "you still here?"
"Where should I be?" answered Hogarth, dull and sullen.
"Where palaces stand open for you, and bank-notes—have you ever realized something very charming in the Helen pallor of a bank-note, Hogarth? And gold-yellow, sparkling gold! Hogarth, I—love gold! It is a confession—"
"Is it that love which brought you here?" Hogarth asked with his sideward stare.
Whereupon the priest turned a cold gaze upon him—had regarded Hogarth as a well-bred man, or would hardly have conversed with him.
"I had a motive for asking", said Hogarth, eyeing the face of the prelate—a man of very coarse feature; a small head, made to receive the tonsure, with a low brow; a stern bottom lip, and long upper; a fat neck held majestically erect; and up stuck his double chin. In profile, the part between the sharp edge of the bottom lip and the chin-tip was divided, down near the chin tip, by an angle and crease; and the lower face seemed too massive for the size of the head.
Nothing could be more exquisite than the contrast between his air of force, authority and importance, and the knickerbockers, the coarse cap, the canvas slop-jacket, which he wore.
Outwardly calm, he was yet very excited by that "I had a motive"; he said to himself: "Suppose this man has some plan! He could invent ten, if he only knew it. And suppose he would tell me it, if I make him believe me innocent! It would be like him!"
When the eleven o'clock dinner-bell rang, and they two were again together, O'Hara said: "Hogarth, I have for some time been intending to give you my story. Have I in your eyes the air of a guilty man?"
"God knows," answered Hogarth, with a shrug; "you talk nicely, and you know much".
"So much for the hollowness of friendship!"
"Don't be sentimental", said Hogarth: "I never pretended to be any friend of yours; but I do respect your talents, do pity your misery: and if I knew the solid facts of, as you have said, your 'innocence', I might—"
"What?" whispered O'Hara with a thievish, fierce glance.
"In God's truth?"
O'Hara said: "I don't find it so cold as it was this morning. You must have observed a certain peculiarity of moorland climates—the same being true of the Roman Campagna, and of Irish peat-lands—that they are colder than elsewhere in the absence of the sun, and warmer in its presence. This afternoon—I will tell you—"
They had reached the great gates, and were marched to parade-ground for the second of the four daily searches; then, after three ounces of fat mutton and forty minutes' rest, the third search, the second march-out.
And immediately beyond the gates O'Hara began: "In order to paint you my life, Hogarth, I must give you at once to understand what has been its mainspring and secret: my passion for my Church—"
He paused, while his lips moved in prayer, and he crossed himself.
"From boyhood my dream was to see my Church supreme in the warfare of the world, I being a King's College and Maynooth man, at twenty- three was Senior Chancellor's Medallist, and seven years later, sent to Rome was quickly received into the Vatican household. It was recognized that I had a future: both gifts and graces; piety; a versatile tongue; a powerful voice; some learning; could dine, I could look august; above all, I knew my man and could talk him over. My great day came when, one morning, in St. Gregory the Great on Mount Coelius, I was consecrated Bishop Coadjutor to his Eminence the Archbishop of Westminster. Now I was on the heights. My life during the next ten years was a life of bustling action—and was led always with one unselfish object. No man ever spoke a greater number of words than I, Hogarth. I have breakfasted with the Prime Minister, lunched with a President of the Conference, and dined with the Bishop of London: between the three meals I have written a hundred letters and pitched into ten cabs. Such a life is very exhilarating, in comparison, for example, with quarrying. Oh, my God what am I fallen! Most of that time I was running over Europe: from Madrid to Vienna, from Rouen to Rome. It happened that the Archbishop of Paris was organizing a scheme of Church-workhouses in France, in the absence of municipal ones, such as we have here.... Well, it was a grand thing, but was falling through for lack of funds: so I, on my way to Rome, undertook the mission to plead the cause before his Holiness, and succeeded to this extent that, on my return, I had with me a casket from the good old man containing seven diamonds, which I might either dispose of personally, or hand over to the Paris fund. Now, it was during my stay at Rome that that series of events, culminating in the Jewish exodus from Europe, occurred; and on my journey home I was seized with the mighty thought that, since many of the Jews were perishing of want, that was the moment to reach their spirit through the body, and add their race to the trophies of the Church. Was it not a thought? You yourself, who are a Jew—"
Hogarth's eyes opened in surprise."I am not a Jew ".
"No? I should have said that there was a hint of expression somewhere—But to resume. I retained those seven diamonds, and disposed of them".
"Perfectly honest! I acquainted the Pope—he sanctioned it! And now, I, single-handed almost, threw myself into that task. I hired, I built, I begged, I borrowed, I formed committees, I haunted Religious Houses, I sweated, I ran, I wept, I visited dens, I smoked opium, I drank gin, I framed memorials, I learned Yiddish, I read the Mishna and Gemara, I interviewed Rabbonim, I wrote tracts: I was busy. In the midst of it, I had to visit Rome ceremoniously, to assist at an interview between the Duke of York and his Holiness— arrived on the Monday, and on the Wednesday, I remember, attended a Court Ball in the suite of his Royal Highness. That night, when I returned to the Vatican, I found all the Piazza di San Pietro crowded. I do not know if you were free at the time when my friend, M. Tissot, startled everybody by predicting the collision of an asteroid with the earth? Tut, the silly being—he should have known from the body's response to the spectroscope that its condition was too friable to resist our atmosphere. But I never yet knew an astronomer not imbued with sensationalism they acquire a certain megalomania from their intercourse with space. But, at all events, the people, dreading the destruction of everything, had crowded toward the Vatican. The Duke of Genoa, I, and some of the College of Cardinals, stood watching from a balcony; and very imposing, I remember, was the moment when a glare appeared—I must stop—"
They were at the face of the rock, and the "halt" and "set to work" parted them.
But again on the final march back at 5.15 when nightshades were falling fast like snow, and the arm now felt the pick a load, O'Hara began his muttering:
"I was telling you about the asteroid", he said. "Now this body, it was given out, contained diamonds in large evidence, and the mere thought of such a thing bursting in mid-air, and scattering itself about was, I—I confess, a little fascinating to my mind. A man might let his soul gloat upon such a hope till he went lunatic with lust! I—I confess, the thought was alluring to me. Diamond, my son: lucid—But when the body burst, and none of it came my way, I drove it from my mind: in fact, I never heard of a trace of it having been seen—hissed itself into gases in mid-air. Except in one instance— one instance.
"When I reached Calais on my homeward way, stopped there a day, awaiting the coming of Rouen, for whom I had nuncio communications, and in the evening went to visit a cottage where I had once been a great favourite with an old fellow called Sante-you know those Calais fishers, with painted sabots, and ochred trousers. And 'What!' said I to Sante, 'the nets already spread at this hour?' 'Nothing to be done to-day, my Father', he answered, and explained that he had attempted to pick up a stone before his door, and—it had burned him: he showed it me: it had the appearance of a piece of ferruginous rock, stuck with pieces of dirty glass; and it had burned Sante on the midnight of the asteroid's scattering.
"Imagine my excitement: 'The asteroid', I thought, 'may add fifty thousand Jews to the Church'. I asked Sante for the stone—Do you blame me?"
"Go on," said Hogarth.
"That day two months I had the diamonds lying polished in a casket in my house. My evil destiny, Hogarth, ordained that the casket was the one given me for Paris by the Pope, the number of the new diamonds the same—seven: and one day, about that time, the Vatican organ, the Osservatore Romano, published a dreadful article, hinting that I had applied to my own purposes seven diamonds entrusted me for Paris: the Pope, just dead, must have left some record of his gift. My friend, before I had heard a whisper of the attack upon me, the casket, whose lid was mosaicked with the Papal fanon, was secretly searched by a secretary in my house: the seven diamonds were seen.
"Imagine the horror of what followed: I was abandoned by all— superior and inferior; the story of the meteor was received with sneers. The scandal reached the public papers—the public prosecutor. And here now is the wretch, Patrick O'Hara."
The latter part of this narrative was fiction! The Pope's diamonds O'Hara had duly handed to the Archbishop! and though there was such a man as Sante, no asteroid had ever fallen at his door. In fact, O'Hara was "serving time" for an assault upon a lady in a railway compartment between Whitchurch and Salisbury.
But Hogarth spent that night in meditating the pros and cons as to O'Hara's escaping; and, in a moment of destiny, said at last: "If he is undeservedly doomed—" and swooned to sleep.
The very next day was foggy....
On the march out O'Hara said: "Here is something like a fog. On the Carinthian Alps, where you have dense woolly fogs, there is a race of goats, which—"
"Would you like to escape?" whispered Hogarth.
"Hogarth—! My God—!"
A trembling seized the priest's leathery left cheek, he at that instant seeing a vision of the world—Andalusian wines, hued ices, the opera-house, and great greyhounds of the sea, and a snuff which his gross nose loved at Gorey.
"Hogarth, you are not mocking me?" chattered the priest's jaws, hurrying like a jarred spring.
"I am quite serious. You will have to run for it though".
"Run! I am not such a young man! Have pity Hogarth".
"Bah! Be a man".
The priest approached his mouth to Hogarth's ear: "I should die of fright! My heart—"
"What would it matter? I thought you had more beans".
"But have you—a plan?"
"Yes. You must run to the copse—"
"I shall be shot!"
"I could not—"
"Then, do not".
"Tell me, boy! Tell me, Hogarth..."
"Within the copse to the left of the quarry there is almost certainly at this moment waiting a man who, as soon as you pronounce my name, will help you—"
"You say almost certainly".
"I can't see him, O'Hara. But I should say he is there on a morning like this".
"What a risk! What a risk!" went the priest with lifted eyelids each time.
"You cannot escape from prison without risk. But I, personally, would venture upon ten times as much, if I thought it becoming. There is, however, another risk: that you may not strike the part of the copse where he is. But near the 1 middle it is high—"
"Why, it is nothing but risks!" whined O'Hara with opening arms.
"You are not bound to try it. By the way—can you swim?"
"Yes—I suppose so—yes".
"Then lift yourself to it, and risk it. I should, if I were you. Think of liberty, activity. Prick your spirit, grip at it, and spring it".
"Do you think I shall be shot?"
"No! It does not matter! Crush your doubts, martyr yourself to your aim, and your aim will give you the crown of martyrdom".
"Well—God reward you—I will think of it—"
"In that case, don't trust to your own eyes—I will give you the signal with my handkerchief—so: you keep your eyes fixed on me. Then run, zigzagging. And tell Loveday for me to look after you, and not make any more plans for me. Good-bye, O'Hara! All this is very unselfish of me, for I lose my old talky-talky O'Hara—"
They parted at the rock, and set to work.
As minutes, half-hours passed, the condition of O'Hara became piteous, hideous. His knees knocked together. Like death he dreaded, like life awaited, that signal. He said to himself: "This Hogarth will be my ruin...God deal not with me after my sins...!"
Hogarth was waiting that the warders' morning watchfulness might yield to the influence of use and time; but near nine, when the morning fog showed signs of thinning, he approached the water-can to ask for a drink, O'Hara being then two yards from him, wheeling a barrow.
As he stooped to the water, his huge stare ranged the moor, took in the truth of it, and, after waiting ten, fifteen seconds, he upset the can. As two officers, at the outcry, ran toward the spot, Hogarth, his eyes fixed upon them, waited—and all at once, with a flourish, drew his handkerchief.
O'Hara, with a heavy but impassioned run, was away...
He had not run five yards when a chorus of whistles was shrilling.
And quick, that monotony reels into a very frenzy of sensation: it is no more the same world, the same men. Lo, in the Palace of Continuity is an Event.
33 was off.
Five hundred pairs of eyes lit up, and the flurried warders ran in random dismay to see to it! How if all the five hundred should do the like, simultaneously?—a possibility underlying, through all its breadth, the little social "system" which has produced Colmoor.
But the five hundred, exhorted, stamped at, shouted at, remained quiet, though restive, only the wild eye showing the wild thought, while two of the warders pursued O'Hara who had also to run the blockade of two pickets of the civil guard.
The escaping convict, however, has this advantage: that his mind is strung to a far higher pitch than his pursuers'; and, given a certain ecstasy, everything can be accomplished.
So O'Hara separately dodged the two pickets, and was making bolt for the copse before three rifles, aimed at a large vague ghost, rang out, and did not hit. He plunged madly into the brambly bush.