en-de  THE BISHOP'S SECRET by FERGUS HUME - Chapter 24 Hard
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Kapitel 24 - DER BISCHOF SETZT SICH DURCH
Nachdem er alleingelassen worden war, saß der Bischof geraume Zeit bewegungslos in seinem Stuhl. Die von Cargrim übermittelten Informationen trafen seinen Stolz, aber tief in seinem Herzen wusste er, dass er so wenig Recht hatte, stolz zu sein, wie den Schlag zu verübeln. Indem er einen Blick auf die Vergangenheit warf, sah er, dass Dr. Graham mit seiner Bezugnahme auf den Ring des Polycrates richtig gelegen hatte, denn obwohl er nach außen hin immer noch erfolgreich und hochrangig war, war Schande über ihn gekommen und das Unheil war dabei, über ihn hereinzubrechen. Seit Jenthams heimlichem Besuch war ein Pesthauch auf sein Geschick gesunken, ein Fluch war über sein Haus gekommen und auf tausend versteckte Arten war er gequält worden, obwohl ihn keine Schuld traf. Da war sein Geheimnis, an das er nicht einmal zu denken wagte; da war die genötigte Abwesenheit seiner Frau und Tochter, die er gezwungenermaßen weggeschickt hatte; da war die versteckte Feindseligkeit Cargrims, die er nicht verhindern konnte; und nun kam die Schande von Gabriels Verlobung mit einer Kellnerin; von Georgs Wahl einer Frau, die, wenn man den Gerüchten glauben konnte, die Tochter eines Schurken war. Mit diesen angehäuften Missständen auf seinem Kopf wusste der Bischof nicht, wie er ihn jemals wieder aufrichten könnte.
Noch waren all diese Kümmernisse in seiner eigenen Brust verschlossen und der Welt gegenüber war er noch der beliebte, erfolgreiche Bischof von Beorminster. Er war entschlossen, diesen Eindruck und diese Position um jeden Preis aufrecht zu erhalten, deshalb entschied er, um den letzten Ärger zu beenden, mit seinen Söhnen ernsthaft über das Thema ungleiche Ehen zu sprechen. Ein Druck auf den elektrischen Knopf befahl den Dienstboten herbei, der angewiesen wurde, Captain Pendle und Mr. Gabriel aufzufordern, ihren Vater sofort in der Bibliothek aufzusuchen. Es schien, als ob sie die Nachricht fast erwartet hatten, weil sie in wenigen Minuten beide anwesend waren; George, mit seiner üblichen munteren, zuversichtlichen Miene, aber Gabriel mit einem ängstlichen Ausdruck. Keiner der jungen Männer ahnte bisher, warum der Bischof nach ihnen geschickt hatte; am wenigsten George, der sich keinen Moment hätte träumen lassen, dass sein Vater seine Verlobung mit Mab Arden ablehnen würde.
"Setzt euch beide hin", sagte Dr. Pendle im ernsten Ton, "ich habe euch etwas Ernsthaftes zu sagen", und der Bischof nahm eine beeindruckende Haltung auf dem Kaminvorleger ein. Die beiden Söhne schauten sich an.
"Ich hoffe, es gibt keine schlechten Nachrichten aus Nauheim, Sir?" sagte George, ziemlich in Unkenntnis über die Bedeutung dieser Einleitung.
"Nein. Lucys letzter Brief über Eure Mutter war in der Tat sehr fröhlich. Ich wünsche mit euch beiden ernsthaft zu sprechen. Da du der Ältere bist, George, werde ich mit dir beginnen; Gabriel dir werde ich später etwas klarmachen."
"Mir etwas klarmachen", wunderte sich der Kurat. "Habe ich etwas getan, dass erfordert, mir klargemacht zu werden?" und er grinste leicht ohne daran zu denken, wie bald sein Scherz sich in bitteren Ernst verwandeln würde.
" Ich denke, ein Wort zur rechten Zeit wird dir nicht schaden", antwortete sein Vater streng, "aber ich werde mich erst an George wenden.
"Ich bin ganz Ohr, Sir", sagte der Captain, dieser Feierlichkeit ziemlich überdrüssig. "Was habe ich getan?"
"Du hast vor mir die Tatsache deiner Verlobung mit Miss Arden verheimlicht."
"Oh!" rief George und lachte, "so hat es Miss Whichello gesagt!"
"Ja, sie sprach heute mit mir und teilte mir mit, dass du dich formell ohne meine Kenntnis oder Zustimmung mit ihrer Nichte verlobt hättest. Darf ich deinen Grund für so einen ungewöhnlichen Gang erfahren?"
"Ist es ungewöhnlich, Sir?" fragte George im halb scherzenden Ton. "Ich habe es stets so verstanden, dass es zunächst notwendig wäre, die Zustimmung der Dame einzuholen, bevor die Angelegenheit öffentlich gemacht wird. Ich habe Mab gebeten, meine Frau zu werden, als ich das letzte Mal Beorminster besuchte, und ich beabsichtigte, dir diesmal davon zu erzählen, aber ich finde, dass Miss Whichello mir die Mühe erspart hat. Aber jetzt, da du die Wahrheit kennst, Sir", sagte Kapitän Pendle mit seinem fröhlichen Lächeln, "darf ich dich um dein Einverständnis und deinen Segen bitten?"
"Du darfst fragen", sagte der Bischof kühl, "aber du wirst keines von beiden bekommen."
"Vater!" Die Antwort kam so unerwartet, dass George mit einem Aufschrei der Überraschung von seinem Stuhl sprang, und sogar Gabriel, der in das Geheimnis der Liebe seines Bruders zu Mab eingeweiht war, sah verwundert und gequält aus.
"Ich stimme der Verlobung nicht zu", fuhr der Bischof unbeirrt fort.
"Du - bist - mit - Mab - nicht - einverstanden!" , sagte Captain Pendle langsam, und sein Gesicht wurde blass vor Zorn.
"Ich habe nichts über die Dame gesagt", korrigierte der Bischof arrogant. " Du wirst zufrieden sein, Sir, meine Worte zu nehmen, so wie ich sie sage. Ich stimme der Verlobung nicht zu."
" Was sind die Gründe?" fragte George, genügend ruhig.
" Ich weiß nichts über Miss Ardens Eltern.
"Sie ist die Tochter von Miss Whichellos Schwester."
"Das ist mir bewusst, aber was ist mit ihrem Vater?"
"Ihr Vater!" , wiederholte George ziemlich irritiert. "Ich habe nie nach ihrem Vater Nachforschungen angestellt, ich weiß nichts über ihn."
"Tatsächlich!" sagte der Bischof, "es ist gut, dass du es nicht getan hast.
Captain Pendle sah verstört aus. " Ist etwas an ihm verkehrt?" fragte er nervös. "Ich dachte, er sei tot und Jahre zuvor beerdigt.
" Ich glaube, er ist tot; aber nach übereinstimmender Auskunft war er ein Schuft.
" Auf wessen Bericht hin, Bischof?"
"Mrs. Pansey ist eine von ihnen."
"Vater!" , rief Gabriel, du weißt sicher, dass der Tratsch von Frau Pansey höchst unglaubwürdig ist."
"Nicht in dieser Angelegenheit", antwortete der Bischof prompt. "Mrs. Pansey erzählte mir, dass vor etwa 26 Jahren, als Miss Whichello ihre Nichte in diese Stadt brachte, der Vater des Kindes nur wenig besser als ein Gefängnisvogel war.
"Kannte sie ihn?" fragte George scharf.
" Das kann ich nicht sagen, aber sie versicherte mir, dass sie die Wahrheit sage." Ich widmete ihrer Unterhaltung weder Aufmerksamkeit noch befragte ich Miss Whichello zu diesem Thema." In jenen Tagen war es für mich ohne Interesse, aber jetzt, da ich entdecke, dass mein Sohn das Mädchen zu heiraten begehrt, muss ich meine Zustimmung verweigern, bis ich alles über ihre Geburt und Abstammung weiß.
"Miss Whichello wird uns darüber erzählen!" sagte George hoffnungsvoll.
"Lasst uns darauf vertrauen, dass Miss Whichello es wagt, uns zu erzählen."
"Wagt, Sir!" rief Captain Pendle und nagte an seinem Schnurrbart.
"Ich wählte das Wort mit Bedacht, George. Wenn das, was Mrs. Pansey behauptet, wahr ist, wird Mrs. Whichello eine natürliche Zurückhaltung spüren, die Wahrheit über Miss Ardens Vater zu bekennen.
"Gestehe soviel zu", drängte Gabriel, als er sah, dass Georg still blieb,"sicher willst du nicht, dass die Sünden des Vaters das unschuldige Kind heimsuchen?
"Es ist das Gesetz der Bibel, mein Sohn."
"Es ist nicht das Gesetz Christi", antwortete der Kaplan.
"Gesetz oder nicht Gesetz!" , sagte Captain Pendle bestimmt, "ich werde Mab nicht aufgeben. Ihr Vater könnte meinetwegen ein Nero gewesen sein. Ich heirate seine Tochter trotzdem; sie ist eine gute, reine, süße Frau.
"Ich erkenne an, dass sie all das ist", sagte der Bischof, " und ich möchte dich nicht zwingen, sie aufzugeben ohne gebotene Untersuchung der Angelegenheit von der ich spreche. Aber es ist mein Wunsch, dass du zu deinem Regiment zurückkehrst bis die Angelegenheit geklärt werden kann."
"Wer könnte es außer mir klären ?" erkundigte sich George hitzig.
" Wenn du es mir überlässt, wird alles - will ich hoffen - gut gehen, mein Sohn." Ich werde Miss Whichello und Mrs. Pansey aufsuchen und die Wahrheit erfahren."
"Und wenn die Wahrheit so grausam ist wie du vermutest?"
"In diesem Falle", sagte der Bischof langsam, "werde ich die Angelegenheit prüfen; du musst nicht denken, dass ich möchte, dass du deine Verlobung ganz löst, George, aber ich verlange von dir, sie quasi zu unterbrechen." Aus Gründen, die ich erklärt habe, missbillige ich, dass du Miss Arden heiratest, aber möglicherweise könnte ich meine Meinung ändern, sollte ich völlig über ihren Vater informiert werden." In der Zwischenzeit wünsche ich, dass du dich deinem Regiment wieder anschließst und dabei bleibst, bis ich dich holen lasse."
" Und wenn ich mich weigere?"
"In diesem Falle", sagte der Bischof streng, " werde ich meine Zustimmung gänzlich verweigern. Solltest du dich weigern, meine Autorität anzuerkennen, werde ich dich als Fremden behandeln. Aber ich bin dir ein guter Vater gewesen, George, und ich vertraue darauf, dass du es für angebracht hältst, mir zu gehorchen."
"Ich bin kein Kind", sagte Captain Pendle mürrisch.
"Du bist ein Mann von Welt", erwiderte sein Vater gewandt," und als solcher musst du sehen, dass ich in deinem Interesse spreche. Ich bitte nur um Aufschub, so dass man die Wahrheit wissen kann, bevor du dich unwiderruflich dieser jungen Dame verpflichtest".
"Ich betrachte meine Verlobung als unwiderruflich! Ich habe Mab gefragt, ob sie meine Frau wird, ich habe ihr einen Ring gegeben, ich habe ihr Herz gewonnen; ich wäre ein gemeiner Hund", schrie George, der in Rage geriet," wenn ich sie auf Grund des verlogenen Geschwätzes eines alten Teufelsweibes wie Mrs. Pansey aufgeben würde."
"Deine Ausdrucksweise ist unschicklich, Sir."
"Ich - ich bitte um Vergebung, Vater, aber sei nicht zu hart zu mir."
" Dein eigener gesunder Menschenverstand sollte dir sagen, dass ich nicht hart zu dir bin."
"Allerdings", warf Gabriel ein,"ich glaube, dass mein Vater einen guten Grund hat, George."
" Du bist nicht verliebt", knurrte der Hauptmann, wenig überzeugt.
Ein blasses Lächeln huschte über Gabriels Lippen, vom Bischof nicht unbemerkt, aber da er beabsichtigte, mit ihm später zu sprechen, machte er im Moment keine Bemerkung dazu.
" Was soll ich ihrer Meinung nach tun, Sir?" fragte George nach einer Pause.
"Das habe ich dir gesagt", erwiderte der Bischof mild. "Ich möchte, dass du dich deinem Regiment wieder anschließst und nicht nach Beorminster zurückkommst bis ich dich holen lasse.
"Hast du was dagegen, wenn ich Mab sehe bevor ich gehe?"
"Keineswegs; besuche beide, Miss Arden und Miss Whichello,wenn du magst und teile beiden mit, dass es mein Wunsch ist, dass du weggehst."
"Nun, Sir", sagte Captain Pendle langsam, " Ich will dir gehorchen und zu meiner Arbeit zurückkehren, aber ich weigere mich, Mab aufzugeben", und da er sich nicht traute weiter zu sprechen, damit er seine Beherrschung nicht ganz verlor, verließ er hastig den Raum. Der Bischof sah ihn sich mit einem Seufzer zurückziehen und schüttelte seinen Kopf. Sofort danach wandte er sich an Gabriel, der, mit einiger Spannung, darauf wartete zu sprechen.
"Gabriel", sagte Dr. Pendle und nahm einen Brief auf, " Harry schrieb mir von Nauheim und teilte mir mit, dass er gescäftlich gezwungen ist, nach Hause zurückzukehren. Da ich nicht wünsche, dass deine Mutter und Lucy alleine sind, möchte ich, dass du sie besuchst- sofort!
Der Kurat war ziemlich erstaunt über den Befehlston dieser Rede, aber er beeilte sich, seinem Vater zu versichern, dass er gerne bereit sei zu gehen. Der für die Reise angegebene Grund schien ihm ausreichend und er hatte keinen Verdacht, dass der wirkliche Antrieb seines Vater war, ihn von Bell zu trennen. Der Bischof sah, dass dies der Fall war, und kam umgehend zum Hauptpunkt der Unterredung.
"Weißt du, warum ich wünsche, dass du außer Landes gehst?" fragte er scharf.
"Um meine Mutter und Lucy zu treffen - so sagtest du es mir."
"Das ist der eine Grund, Gabriel, aber es gibt einen anderen und wichtigeren Grund."
Die Erinnerung an seine heimliche Verlobung ließ das Gesicht des Vikars purpurrot anlaufen, aber er täuschte vor, dass er nicht verstände, was sein Vater meinte.
"Ich denke, du verstehst gut genug", sagte Dr. Pendle streng. "Ich spiele auf dein beschämendes Benehmen in Verbindung mit dieser Frau im The Derby Winner an."
"Wenn du auf meine Verlobung mit Miss Mosk anspielst, Sir" rief Gabriel temperamentvoll," dann ist das Wort beschämend nicht angebracht. Mein Verhalten gegenüber dieser jungen Dame ist durch und durch ehrenhaft gewesen."
"Und was ist mit deinem Verhalten gegenüber deinem Vater?" , fragte der Bischof.
Gabriel ließ seinen Kopf hängen. „Ich beabsichtigte, es dir zu sagen", stammelte er, "als -
„Als du den Mut dazu aufbieten konntest", unterbrach Dr. Pendle in schneidendem Ton. „Leider war deine Aufrichtigkeit nicht gleichbedeutend mit deiner Fähigkeit zur Verschleierung, also musste ich mich von einem Fremden über die Wahrheit informieren lassen.“
„Cargrim!“ rief Gabriel, sein Instinkt sagte ihm den Namen seines Verräters.
"Ja, von Mr. Cargrim. Er hörte die Wahrheit von den Lippen dieses Mädchens selbst. Sie informierte ihn, dass sie verlobt sei, um dich zu heiraten - dich, mein Sohn."
"Es ist wahr!" sagte Gabriel leise. "Ich möchte sie zu meiner Frau machen."
"Mach sie zu deiner Frau!" rief Dr. Pendle ärgerlich:" Dieses gewöhnliche Mädchen - diese - diese Bardame - diese .....
" Ich will nicht hören, dass Bell beschimpft wird, auch nicht von dir, Vater", sagte Gabriel stolz. "Sie ist ein gutes Mädchen, ein respektables Mädchen - ein wundervolles Mädchen!"
"Und eine Bardame", sagte der Bischof trocken. " Ich gratuliere dir zu der Schwiegertochter, die du für deine Mutter ausgesucht hast!"
Gabriel zuckte zusammen. So sehr er Bell liebte, die Vorstellung von ihr in der Gesellschaft seiner feinen, kultivierten Mutter war nicht angenehm. Er musste sich eingestehen, dass, obwohl das Juwel, das er aus der Gosse fischen wollte, dort zwar glänzend scheinen könnte, es nicht so strahlen könnte, wenn es in ein höheres Milieu umgesetzt und neben poliertere Edelsteine platziert würde. Deshalb konnte er der Rede seines Vaters nichts erwidern und blieb klugerweise still.
"Sicher sind mir meine Söhne ein Trost!" fuhr der Bischof sarkastisch fort. "Ich habe sie auf eine Art großgezogen, die ich für weise und besonnen hielt, aber es scheint, ich habe mich geirrt, denn der erste Gebrauch, den sie von ihrer Ausbildung machen ist, den Vater zu hintergehen, der sie niemals hintergangen hat."
"Ich gebe zu, dass ich mich schlecht benommen habe, Vater."
"Das kann niemand bestreiten, Sir. Die Frage ist, beabsichtigst du dein schlechtes Benehmen fortzusetzen?"
"Ich liebe Bell innig - sehr innig!"
Der Bischof seufzte und setzte sich hilflos in seinen Stuhl. "Es ist unglaublich", sagte er. "Wie kannst du mit deinen besonderen Geschmacksrichtungen und deiner Erziehung, dieses-dieses- lieben? Nun, ich werde nicht ihre Namen nennen. Kein Zweifel, Miss Mosk ist auf ihre Art gut genug, aber sie ist keine richtige Frau für meinen Sohn.
" Unsere Herzen sind nicht immer unter Kontrolle, Vater."
"Sie sollten aber sein, Gabriel. Der Kopf sollte immer das Herz leiten; das entspricht dem gesunden Menschenverstand. Außerdem bist du zu jung, um deine eigene Wahl zu treffen. Dieses Mädchen ist hübsch und durchtrieben und hat dich in deiner Unschuld betört. Ich würde ein schlechter Vater sein, wenn ich dich nicht vor ihren Listen retten würde." Deshalb ist es mein Plan, dass du eine Zeitlang ins Ausland gehst."
" Ich bin bereit, ins Ausland zu gehen, Vater, aber ich werde niemals, niemals Bell vergessen."
"Du sprichst mit all der Zuversicht eines jungen Mannes, der zum ersten Mal verliebt ist, Gabriel. Ich bin froh, dass du immer noch ausreichend folgsam bist, um mir zu gehorchen. Natürlich weißt du, dass ich nicht zustimmen kann, dass du dieses Mädchen zu deiner Frau machst."
"Ich dachte, du könntest verärgert sein", stockte Gabriel.
"Ich bin mehr verletzt als verärgert", antwortete der Bischof. "Hast du dieser jungen Frau ein Heiratsversprechen gemacht?"
"Ja, Vater, ich habe ihr einen Verlobungsring gegeben."
"Ich gratuliere dir, Sir, zu deinem systematischen Vorgehen. Allerdings führt es zu nichts, mit einem so Verliebten wie dir zu streiten. Alles, was ich tun kann ist, deine Gefühle zu testen, indem ich dich von Miss Mosk trenne. Wenn du aus Nauheim zurückkehrst, werden wir weiter über das Thema sprechen."
"Wann wünschst du, dass ich gehe, Vater?" fragte Gabriel, der sich demütig erhob.
"Morgen", sagte der Bischof kalt. "Du kannst jetzt gehen."
"Es tut mir leid - ."
"Tut mir leid!" , rief Dr. Pendle mit einem Stirnrunzeln. "Was nützen Worte ohne Taten? Ihr beide, du und George , habt mir heute ein wundes Herz gemacht. Ich dachte, ich könnte meinen Söhnen trauen; ich finde, dass ich es nicht kann. Wenn - aber es ist nutzlos weiter zu sprechen." Ich werde sehen, was Abwesenheit in beiden Fällen bewirkt. Nun gehe bitte."
Der Bischof ging zu seinem Schreibtisch zurück und beschäftigte sich mit einigen Papieren, während Gabriel, nach einem Moment des Zögerns, mit einem tiefen Seufzer den Raum verließ. Als Dr. Pendle allein war, lehnte er sich in seinem Stuhl zurück und stöhnte laut.
" Ich habe die Gefahr vorerst abgewendet", sagte ee traurig, " aber die Zukunft - ach, ich! Was von der Zukunft?
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CHAPTER XXIV - THE BISHOP ASSERTS HIMSELF.
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On being left alone, the bishop sat motionless in his chair for some considerable time.
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With these ills heaped upon his head, the bishop did not know how he could ever raise it again.
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The two sons looked at one another.
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'There is no bad news from Nauheim, I hope, sir?'
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said George, quite ignorant of the meaning of this exordium.
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'No.
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Lucy's last letter about your mother was very cheerful indeed.
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I wish to speak seriously to both of you.
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As you are the elder, George, I shall begin with you; Gabriel, I shall reason with later.
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'Reason with me,' wondered the curate.
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'Have I been doing anything which requires me to be reasoned with?'
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and he gave a half smile, never thinking how soon his jest would be turned into bitter earnest.
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'I am all attention, sir,' said the captain, rather weary of this solemnity.
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'What have I done?
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'You have concealed from me the fact of your engagement to Miss Arden.
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'Oh!'
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cried George, smiling, 'so Miss Whichello has been speaking!
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May I inquire your reason for so singular a course?
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'Is it singular, sir?'
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asked George, in a half-joking tone.
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'You may ask,' said the bishop, coldly, 'but you shall have neither.
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'Father!'
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'I do not approve of the engagement,' went on the bishop, imperturbably.
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'You—do—not—approve—of—Mab!'
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said Captain Pendle, slowly, and his face became pale with anger.
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I do not approve of the engagement.
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'On what grounds?'
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asked George, quietly enough.
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'I know nothing about Miss Arden's parents.
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'She is the daughter of Miss Whichello's sister.
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'I am aware of that, but what about her father?
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'Her father!'
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repeated George, rather perplexed.
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'I never inquired about her father; I do not know anything about him.
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'Indeed!'
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said the bishop, 'it is just as well that you do not.
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Captain Pendle looked disturbed.
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'Is there anything wrong with him?'
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he asked nervously.
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'I thought he was dead and buried ages ago.
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'I believe he is dead; but from all accounts he was a scoundrel.
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'From whose account, bishop?
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'Mrs Pansey's for one.
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'Father!'
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cried Gabriel, 'surely you know that Mrs Pansey's gossip is most unreliable.
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'Not in this instance,' replied the bishop, promptly.
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'Did she know him?'
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asked George, sharply.
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'That I cannot say, but she assured me that she spoke the truth.
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I paid no attention to her talk, nor did I question Miss Whichello on the subject.
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'Miss Whichello will tell us about that!'
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said George, hopefully.
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'Let us trust that Miss Whichello dare tell us.
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'Dare, sir!'
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cried Captain Pendle, gnawing his moustache.
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'I used the word advisedly, George.
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'It is scriptural law, my son.
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unit 81
'It is not the law of Christ,' replied the curate.
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unit 82
'Law or no law!'
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unit 83
said Captain Pendle, determinedly, 'I shall not give Mab up.
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unit 84
Her father may have been a Nero for all I care.
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I marry his daughter all the same; she is a good, pure, sweet woman.
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unit 87
But it is my desire that you should return to your regiment until the affair can be sifted.
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unit 88
'Who should sift it but I?'
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unit 89
inquired George, hotly.
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unit 90
'If you place it in my hands all will—I trust—be well, my son.
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unit 91
I shall see Miss Whichello and Mrs Pansey and learn the truth.
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unit 92
'And if the truth be as cruel as you suspect?
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unit 95
In the meantime, I wish you to rejoin your regiment and remain with it until I send for you.
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unit 96
'And if I refuse?
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unit 97
'In that case,' said the bishop, sternly, 'I shall refuse my consent altogether.
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unit 98
Should you refuse to acknowledge my authority I shall treat you as a stranger.
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unit 99
But I have been a good father to you, George, and I trust that you will see fit to obey me.
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unit 100
'I am not a child,' said Captain Pendle, sullenly.
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unit 103
'I look upon my engagement as irrevocable!
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unit 105
'Your language is not decorous, sir.
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unit 106
'I—I beg your pardon, father, but don't be too hard on me.
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unit 107
'Your own good sense should tell you that I am not hard on you.
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unit 108
'Indeed,' put in Gabriel, 'I think that my father has reason on his side, George.
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unit 109
'You are not in love,' growled the captain, unconvinced.
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unit 111
'What do you wish me to do, sir?'
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unit 112
asked George, after a pause.
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unit 113
'I have told you,' rejoined the bishop, mildly.
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unit 114
'I desire you to rejoin your regiment and not come back to Beorminster until I send for you.
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unit 115
'Do you object to my seeing Mab before I go?
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unit 118
The bishop saw him retire with a sigh and shook his head.
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unit 124
The bishop saw that this was the case, and forthwith came to the principal point of the interview.
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unit 125
'Do you know why I wish you to go abroad?'
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unit 126
he asked sharply.
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unit 127
'To join my mother and Lucy—you told me so.
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unit 128
'That is one reason, Gabriel; but there is another and more important one.
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unit 130
'I think you understand well enough,' said Dr Pendle, sternly.
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unit 131
'I allude to your disgraceful conduct in connection with that woman at The Derby Winner.
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unit 133
My conduct towards that young lady has been honourable throughout.
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unit 134
'And what about your conduct towards your father?'
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unit 135
asked the bishop.
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unit 136
Gabriel hung his head.
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unit 137
'I intended to tell you,' he stammered, 'when—.
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unit 138
'When you could summon up courage to do so,' interrupted Dr Pendle, in cutting tones.
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unit 140
'Cargrim!'
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unit 141
cried Gabriel, his instinct telling him the name of his betrayer.
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unit 142
'Yes, from Mr Cargrim.
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unit 143
He heard the truth from the lips of this girl herself.
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unit 144
She informed him that she was engaged to marry you—you, my son.
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unit 145
'It is true!'
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unit 146
said Gabriel, in a low voice.
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unit 147
'I wish to make her my wife.
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unit 148
'Make her your wife!'
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unit 149
cried Dr Pendle, angrily; 'this common girl—this—this barmaid—this—.
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unit 150
'I shall not listen to Bell being called names even by you, father,' said Gabriel, proudly.
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unit 151
'She is a good girl, a respectable girl—a beautiful girl!
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unit 152
'And a barmaid,' said the bishop, dryly.
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unit 153
'I congratulate you on the daughter-in-law you have selected for your mother!
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unit 154
Gabriel winced.
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unit 157
Therefore, he could find no answer to his father's speech, and wisely kept silence.
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unit 158
'Certainly, my sons are a comfort to me!'
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unit 159
continued the bishop, sarcastically.
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unit 161
'I admit that I have behaved badly, father.
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unit 162
'No one can deny that, sir.
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The question is, do you intend to continue behaving badly?
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unit 164
'I love Bell dearly—very dearly!
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unit 165
The bishop groaned and sat down helplessly in his chair.
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unit 166
'It is incredible,' he said.
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unit 167
'How can you, with your refined tastes and up-bringing, love this—this—?
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unit 168
Well, I shall not call her names.
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unit 169
No doubt Miss Mosk is well enough in her way, but she is not a proper wife for my son.
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unit 170
'Our hearts are not always under control, father.
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unit 171
'They should be, Gabriel.
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unit 172
The head should always guide the heart; that is only common sense.
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unit 173
Besides, you are too young to know your own mind.
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unit 174
This girl is handsome and scheming, and has infatuated you in your innocence.
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unit 175
I should be a bad father to you if I did not rescue you from her wiles.
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unit 176
To do so, it is my intention that you shall go abroad for a time.
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unit 177
'I am willing to go abroad, father, but I shall never, never forget Bell!
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unit 178
'You speak with all the confidence of a young man in love for the first time, Gabriel.
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unit 179
I am glad that you are still sufficiently obedient to obey me.
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unit 180
Of course, you know that I cannot consent to your making this girl your wife.
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unit 181
'I thought that you might be angry,' faltered Gabriel.
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unit 182
'I am more hurt than angry,' replied the bishop.
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unit 183
'Have you given this young woman a promise of marriage?
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unit 184
'Yes, father; I gave her an engagement ring.
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unit 185
'I congratulate you, sir, on your methodical behaviour.
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unit 186
However, it is no use arguing with one so infatuated as you are.
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unit 187
All I can do is to test your affection by parting you from Miss Mosk.
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unit 188
When you return from Nauheim we shall speak further on the subject.
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unit 189
'When do you wish me to go, father?'
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unit 190
asked Gabriel, rising submissively.
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unit 191
'To-morrow,' said the bishop, coldly.
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unit 192
'You can leave me now.
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unit 193
'I am sorry—.
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unit 194
'Sorry!'
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unit 195
cried Dr Pendle, with a frown.
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unit 196
'What is the use of words without deeds?
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unit 197
Both you and George have given me a sore heart this day.
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unit 198
I thought that I could trust my sons; I find that I cannot.
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unit 199
If— But it is useless to talk further.
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unit 200
I shall see what absence can do in both cases.
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unit 201
Now leave me, if you please.
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unit 203
Dr Pendle, finding himself alone, leaned back in his chair and groaned aloud.
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unit 204
'I have averted the danger for the time being,' he said sadly, 'but the future—ah, me!
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unit 205
what of the future?
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kardaMom • 11758  commented on  unit 204  8 months, 3 weeks ago
Siri • 7198  commented on  unit 20  8 months, 3 weeks ago
kardaMom • 11758  commented on  unit 92  8 months, 3 weeks ago
lollo1a • 9505  commented on  unit 144  8 months, 4 weeks ago
lollo1a • 9505  commented on  unit 143  8 months, 4 weeks ago
Siri • 7198  commented on  unit 20  8 months, 4 weeks ago
kardaMom • 11758  commented on  unit 99  8 months, 4 weeks ago
Maria-Helene • 13548  commented on  unit 8  8 months, 4 weeks ago
Siri • 7198  commented on  unit 81  8 months, 4 weeks ago
kardaMom • 11758  commented on  unit 28  8 months, 4 weeks ago
"""
lollo1a • 9505  translated  unit 63  8 months, 4 weeks ago
lollo1a • 9505  translated  unit 51  8 months, 4 weeks ago
lollo1a • 9505  translated  unit 39  8 months, 4 weeks ago
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Maria-Helene • 13548  translated  unit 18  8 months, 4 weeks ago

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CHAPTER XXIV - THE BISHOP ASSERTS HIMSELF.
On being left alone, the bishop sat motionless in his chair for some considerable time. The information conveyed by Cargrim struck at his pride, but in his heart he knew well that he had as little right to be proud as to resent the blow. Casting a look over the past, he saw that Dr Graham had been right in his reference to the Ring of Polycrates, for although he was outwardly still prosperous and high-placed, shame had come upon him, and evil was about to befall. From the moment of Jentham's secret visit a blight had fallen on his fortunes, a curse had come upon his house, and in a thousand hidden ways he had been tortured, although for no fault of his own. There was his secret which he did not dare even to think of; there was the enforced absence of his wife and daughter, whom he had been compelled to send away; there was the hidden enmity of Cargrim, which he did not know how to baffle; and now there was the shame of Gabriel's engagement to a barmaid; of George's choice of a wife, who, if rumour could be believed, was the daughter of a scoundrel. With these ills heaped upon his head, the bishop did not know how he could ever raise it again.
Still, all these woes were locked up in his own breast, and to the world he was yet the popular, prosperous Bishop of Beorminster. This impression and position he was resolved to maintain at all costs, therefore, to put an end to his last trouble, he concluded to speak seriously to his sons on the subject of unequal marriages. A pressure of the electric button summoned the servant, who was instructed to request Captain Pendle and Mr Gabriel to see their father at once in the library. It would seem as though they almost expected the message, for in a few minutes they were both in the room; George, with his usual jaunty, confident air, but Gabriel with an anxious look. Yet neither of the young men guessed why the bishop had sent for them; least of all George, who never dreamed for a moment that his father would oppose his engagement with Mab Arden.
'Sit down, both of you,' said Dr Pendle, in grave tones, 'I have something serious to say,' and the bishop took up an imposing position on the hearthrug. The two sons looked at one another.
'There is no bad news from Nauheim, I hope, sir?' said George, quite ignorant of the meaning of this exordium.
'No. Lucy's last letter about your mother was very cheerful indeed. I wish to speak seriously to both of you. As you are the elder, George, I shall begin with you; Gabriel, I shall reason with later.
'Reason with me,' wondered the curate. 'Have I been doing anything which requires me to be reasoned with?' and he gave a half smile, never thinking how soon his jest would be turned into bitter earnest.
'I think a word in season will do you no harm,' answered his father, austerely, 'but I shall address myself to George first.
'I am all attention, sir,' said the captain, rather weary of this solemnity. 'What have I done?
'You have concealed from me the fact of your engagement to Miss Arden.
'Oh!' cried George, smiling, 'so Miss Whichello has been speaking!
'Yes, she spoke to me to-day, and told me that you had formally engaged yourself to her niece without my knowledge or sanction. May I inquire your reason for so singular a course?
'Is it singular, sir?' asked George, in a half-joking tone. 'I always understood that it was first necessary to obtain the lady's consent before making the matter public. I asked Mab to be my wife when I last visited Beorminster, and I intended to tell you of it this time, but I find that Miss Whichello has saved me the trouble. However, now that you know the truth, sir,' said Captain Pendle, with his sunny smile, 'may I ask for your approval and blessing?
'You may ask,' said the bishop, coldly, 'but you shall have neither.
'Father!' The answer was so unexpected that George jumped up from his chair with a cry of surprise, and even Gabriel, who was in the secret of his brother's love for Mab, looked astonished and pained.
'I do not approve of the engagement,' went on the bishop, imperturbably.
'You—do—not—approve—of—Mab!' said Captain Pendle, slowly, and his face became pale with anger.
'I said nothing about the lady,' corrected the bishop, haughtily; 'you will be pleased, sir, to take my words as I speak them. I do not approve of the engagement.
'On what grounds?' asked George, quietly enough.
'I know nothing about Miss Arden's parents.
'She is the daughter of Miss Whichello's sister.
'I am aware of that, but what about her father?
'Her father!' repeated George, rather perplexed. 'I never inquired about her father; I do not know anything about him.
'Indeed!' said the bishop, 'it is just as well that you do not.
Captain Pendle looked disturbed. 'Is there anything wrong with him?' he asked nervously. 'I thought he was dead and buried ages ago.
'I believe he is dead; but from all accounts he was a scoundrel.
'From whose account, bishop?
'Mrs Pansey's for one.
'Father!' cried Gabriel, 'surely you know that Mrs Pansey's gossip is most unreliable.
'Not in this instance,' replied the bishop, promptly. 'Mrs Pansey told me some twenty-six years ago, when Miss Whichello brought her niece to this city, that the child's father was little better than a gaol-bird.
'Did she know him?' asked George, sharply.
'That I cannot say, but she assured me that she spoke the truth. I paid no attention to her talk, nor did I question Miss Whichello on the subject. In those days it had no interest for me, but now that I find my son desires to marry the girl, I must refuse my consent until I learn all about her birth and parentage.
'Miss Whichello will tell us about that!' said George, hopefully.
'Let us trust that Miss Whichello dare tell us.
'Dare, sir!' cried Captain Pendle, gnawing his moustache.
'I used the word advisedly, George. If what Mrs Pansey asserts is true, Miss Whichello will feel a natural reluctance to confess the truth about Miss Arden's father.
'Admitting as much,' urged Gabriel, seeing that George kept silent, 'surely you will not visit the sins of the father on the innocent child?
'It is scriptural law, my son.
'It is not the law of Christ,' replied the curate.
'Law or no law!' said Captain Pendle, determinedly, 'I shall not give Mab up. Her father may have been a Nero for all I care. I marry his daughter all the same; she is a good, pure, sweet woman.
'I admit that she is all that,' said the bishop, 'and I do not want you to give her up without due inquiry into the matter of which I speak. But it is my desire that you should return to your regiment until the affair can be sifted.
'Who should sift it but I?' inquired George, hotly.
'If you place it in my hands all will—I trust—be well, my son. I shall see Miss Whichello and Mrs Pansey and learn the truth.
'And if the truth be as cruel as you suspect?
'In that case,' said the bishop, slowly, 'I shall consider the matter; you must not think that I wish you to break off your engagement altogether, George, but I desire you to suspend it, so to speak. For the reasons I have stated, I disapprove of your marrying Miss Arden, but it may be that, should I be informed fully about her father, I may change my mind. In the meantime, I wish you to rejoin your regiment and remain with it until I send for you.
'And if I refuse?
'In that case,' said the bishop, sternly, 'I shall refuse my consent altogether. Should you refuse to acknowledge my authority I shall treat you as a stranger. But I have been a good father to you, George, and I trust that you will see fit to obey me.
'I am not a child,' said Captain Pendle, sullenly.
'You are a man of the world,' replied his father, skilfully, 'and as such must see that I am speaking for your own good. I ask merely for delay, so that the truth may be known before you engage yourself irrevocably to this young lady.
'I look upon my engagement as irrevocable! I have asked Mab to be my wife, I have given her a ring, I have won her heart; I should be a mean hound,' cried George, lashing himself into a rage, 'if I gave her up for the lying gossip of an old she-devil like Mrs Pansey.
'Your language is not decorous, sir.
'I—I beg your pardon, father, but don't be too hard on me.
'Your own good sense should tell you that I am not hard on you.
'Indeed,' put in Gabriel, 'I think that my father has reason on his side, George.
'You are not in love,' growled the captain, unconvinced.
A pale smile flitted over Gabriel's lips, not unnoticed by the bishop, but as he purposed speaking to him later, he made no remark on it at the moment.
'What do you wish me to do, sir?' asked George, after a pause.
'I have told you,' rejoined the bishop, mildly. 'I desire you to rejoin your regiment and not come back to Beorminster until I send for you.
'Do you object to my seeing Mab before I go?
'By no means; see both Miss Arden and Miss Whichello if you like, and tell them both that it is by my desire you go away.
'Well, sir,' said Captain Pendle, slowly, 'I am willing to obey you and return to my work, but I refuse to give up Mab,' and not trusting himself to speak further, lest he should lose his temper altogether, he abruptly left the room. The bishop saw him retire with a sigh and shook his head. Immediately afterwards he addressed himself to Gabriel, who, with some apprehension, was waiting for him to speak.
'Gabriel,' said Dr Pendle, picking up a letter, 'Harry has written to me from Nauheim, saying that he is compelled to return home on business. As I do not wish your mother and Lucy to be alone, it is my desire that you should join them—at once!
The curate was rather amazed at the peremptory tone of this speech, but hastened to assure his father that he was quite willing to go. The reason given for the journey seemed to him a sufficient one, and he had no suspicion that his father's real motive was to separate him from Bell. The bishop saw that this was the case, and forthwith came to the principal point of the interview.
'Do you know why I wish you to go abroad?' he asked sharply.
'To join my mother and Lucy—you told me so.
'That is one reason, Gabriel; but there is another and more important one.
A remembrance of his secret engagement turned the curate's face crimson; but he faltered out that he did not understand what his father meant.
'I think you understand well enough,' said Dr Pendle, sternly. 'I allude to your disgraceful conduct in connection with that woman at The Derby Winner.
'If you allude to my engagement to Miss Mosk, sir,' cried Gabriel, with spirit, 'there is no need to use the word disgraceful. My conduct towards that young lady has been honourable throughout.
'And what about your conduct towards your father?' asked the bishop.
Gabriel hung his head. 'I intended to tell you,' he stammered, 'when—.
'When you could summon up courage to do so,' interrupted Dr Pendle, in cutting tones. 'Unfortunately, your candour was not equal to your capability for deception, so I was obliged to learn the truth from a stranger.
'Cargrim!' cried Gabriel, his instinct telling him the name of his betrayer.
'Yes, from Mr Cargrim. He heard the truth from the lips of this girl herself. She informed him that she was engaged to marry you—you, my son.
'It is true!' said Gabriel, in a low voice. 'I wish to make her my wife.
'Make her your wife!' cried Dr Pendle, angrily; 'this common girl—this—this barmaid—this—.
'I shall not listen to Bell being called names even by you, father,' said Gabriel, proudly. 'She is a good girl, a respectable girl—a beautiful girl!
'And a barmaid,' said the bishop, dryly. 'I congratulate you on the daughter-in-law you have selected for your mother!
Gabriel winced. Much as he loved Bell, the idea of her being in the society of his delicate, refined mother was not a pleasant one. He could not conceal from himself that although the jewel he wished to pick out of the gutter might shine brilliantly there, it might not glitter so much when translated to a higher sphere and placed beside more polished gems. Therefore, he could find no answer to his father's speech, and wisely kept silence.
'Certainly, my sons are a comfort to me!' continued the bishop, sarcastically. 'I have brought them up in what I judged to be a wise and judicious manner, but it seems I am mistaken, since the first use they make of their training is to deceive the father who has never deceived them.
'I admit that I have behaved badly, father.
'No one can deny that, sir. The question is, do you intend to continue behaving badly?
'I love Bell dearly—very dearly!
The bishop groaned and sat down helplessly in his chair. 'It is incredible,' he said. 'How can you, with your refined tastes and up-bringing, love this—this—? Well, I shall not call her names. No doubt Miss Mosk is well enough in her way, but she is not a proper wife for my son.
'Our hearts are not always under control, father.
'They should be, Gabriel. The head should always guide the heart; that is only common sense. Besides, you are too young to know your own mind. This girl is handsome and scheming, and has infatuated you in your innocence. I should be a bad father to you if I did not rescue you from her wiles. To do so, it is my intention that you shall go abroad for a time.
'I am willing to go abroad, father, but I shall never, never forget Bell!
'You speak with all the confidence of a young man in love for the first time, Gabriel. I am glad that you are still sufficiently obedient to obey me. Of course, you know that I cannot consent to your making this girl your wife.
'I thought that you might be angry,' faltered Gabriel.
'I am more hurt than angry,' replied the bishop. 'Have you given this young woman a promise of marriage?
'Yes, father; I gave her an engagement ring.
'I congratulate you, sir, on your methodical behaviour. However, it is no use arguing with one so infatuated as you are. All I can do is to test your affection by parting you from Miss Mosk. When you return from Nauheim we shall speak further on the subject.
'When do you wish me to go, father?' asked Gabriel, rising submissively.
'To-morrow,' said the bishop, coldly. 'You can leave me now.
'I am sorry—.
'Sorry!' cried Dr Pendle, with a frown. 'What is the use of words without deeds? Both you and George have given me a sore heart this day. I thought that I could trust my sons; I find that I cannot. If— But it is useless to talk further. I shall see what absence can do in both cases. Now leave me, if you please.
The bishop turned to his desk and busied himself with some papers, while Gabriel, after a moment's hesitation, left the room with a deep sigh. Dr Pendle, finding himself alone, leaned back in his chair and groaned aloud.
'I have averted the danger for the time being,' he said sadly, 'but the future—ah, me! what of the future?