en-de  THE BISHOP'S SECRET by FERGUS HUME - Chapter 35 Hard
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KAPITEL XXXV – DIE EHRE GABRIELS
Verglichen mit der allgemeinen Aufregung über Jenthams Tod, war es fast mild, was durch Beorminster fegte, als sein Mörder entdeckt und verhaftet wurde. Niemand hätte jemals daran gedacht, Mosk mit dem Verbrechen in Verbindung zu bringen; und sogar bei seiner Festnahme durch Haftbefehl lehnten es viele ab, an seine Schuld zu glauben. Als der Mann vor die Richter gebracht wurde, waren die von Baltic gegen ihn erbrachten Beweise dennoch so überzeugend und eindeutig und unbestreitbar, dass der Gefangene ohne widersprechende Einwände durch das Gericht verpflichtet wurde, seine Untersuchung bei der anschließenden Gerichtsverhandlung anzutreten. Mosk verteidigte sich nicht; er brachte noch nicht mal einen Kommentar vor, sondern akzeptierte sein Schicksal mit düsterer Dumpfheit, sackte in einen teilnahmslosen, unaufmerksamen Zustand, aus dem nichts und niemand ihn erwecken konnte. Sein Verstand schien von der Plötzlichkeit seines Verhängnisses betäubt worden zu sein.
Viele Leute äußerten Verwunderung darüber, dass Bischof Pendle anwesend gewesen sein sollte, als der Mann verhaftet wurde und manche tadelten ihn, überhaupt zum The Derby Winner gegangen zu sein. Eine verrufene Kneipe, flüsterten sie, war keine Nachbarschaft, in der ein Geistlicher angetroffen werden sollte. Aber Mrs. Pansey, ausnahmsweise auf der rechten Seite, gebot solchem Gerede bald Einhalt, indem sie alle miteinander darüber informierte, dass der Bischof den Gasthof auf ihre Bitte hin besucht habe, um sich selbst zu überzeugen, dass die Berichte und Skandale darüber wahr wären. Dass Mosk verhaftet worden sei, während Dr. Pendle seine Untersuchungen machte, sei reiner Zufall gewesen und es sei in hohem Maße dem Bischof zu verdanken gewesen, dass er geholfen hatte, den Mörder zu sichern. Tatsächlich war sich Mrs. Pansey nicht ganz sicher, ob er den Schuft auch mit seinen eigenen erlauchten Händen in Verwahrung genommen hatte.
Und der Bischof selbst? Er war froh, dass Mrs. Pansey, um ihre eigene Eitelkeit auszubauen, seinen Besuch dieses Gasthauses in diesem Licht erscheinen ließ, weil es ihn jeder Notwendigkeit einer wahren aber unangenehmen Erklärung enthob. Außerdem hatte er das auf den Tisch geworfene Päckchen mit nach Hause genommen, deshalb war, was den eigentlichen Beweis betraf, sein Geheimnis noch in seinem Besitz. Aber der Mörder kannte es, denn nicht nur die Urkunde und die Briefe waren im Paket, sondern es gab auch Aktennotizen, die Krant, alias Jentham, niederschrieben hatte, die eindeutig bewiesen, dass die sogenannte Mrs Pendle wirklich seine Ehefrau war.
„Wenn ich diese Papiere vernichte", dachte der Bischof, "werden alle unmittelbaren Beweise, die vermutlich die Wahrheit offenlegen, beseitigt. Aber Mosk weiß, dass Amy nicht meine Ehefrau ist; dass meine Ehe illegal ist, dass meine Kinder namenlos sind; aus Rache für meinen Anteil an seiner Verhaftung kann er jemandem die Geschichte erzählen und den Namen der Kirche preisgeben, in der Amy mit Krant vermählt wurde. Dann wird die Registrierung dort mein Geheimnis jedem offenlegen, der neugierig genug ist, die Bücher zu durchstöbern. Was soll ich tun? Was kann ich tun? Ich traue mich nicht, Mosk zu besuchen. Ich habe nicht den Mut, Graham zu bitten, ihn zu besuchen. Es gibt nichts zu tun, außer das Beste zu erhoffen. Wenn dieser armselige Mann sich äußert, bin ich ruiniert.
Dr. Pendle erwartete wirklich den Untergang, denn er hatte keine Hoffnung, dass ein grober und unmenschlicher Verbrecher ehrenhaft genug wäre, um seine Zunge im Zaum zu halten. Aber dieser Glaube, auch wenn er naheliegend war, zeigte, wie der Bischof den Mann falsch einschätzte. Von dem Moment seiner Verhaftung an sprach Mosk nicht schlecht über Dr. Pendle; er spielte auf kein Geheimnis an, und allem Anschein nach war er durchaus entschlossen, es mit sich zum Schafott zu nehmen. Am dritten Tag seiner Festnahme jedoch erwachte er aus seinem mürrischen Schweigen und bat darum, dass der junge Herr Pendle herbeigerufen werden möge. Der Gouverneur des Gefängnisses, der ein Geständnis erwartete, das in aller Form gegenüber einem Priester abgelegt werden sollte, schickte schleunigst nach Gabriel. Der junge Mann befolgte die Vorladung sofort, denn da sein Vater ihn von Mosks Kenntnis des Geheimnisses informiert hatte, war er sehr darauf bedacht, von dem Mann selbst zu erfahren, ob er reden oder schweigen wollte. Sein Herz klopfte, als Gabriel in die Gefängniszelle geführt wurde.
Durch eine spezielle Genehmigung wurde die Unterredung unter vier Augen erlaubt, da Mosk es entschieden ablehnte, in der Gegenwart einer dritten Person zu sprechen. Als der Pfarrer eintrat, saß er auf dem Bett, aber als er mit dem jungen Mann allein gelassen wurde, sah er mit einem Funken Freude in seinen blutunterlaufenen Augen hoch.
Das ist sehr freundlich von Ihnen zu kommen und einen armen Teufel zu besuchen, Mr. Pendle", sagte er mit dankbarer Stimme. "Sie werden kein Verlierer sein durch Ihre Freundlichkeit, das kann ich Ihnen sagen."
"Zu wem sollte ein Priester kommen, außer zu denen, die ihn brauchen?"
"Oh, hören Sie auf damit" knurrte Mosk in angewidertem Ton,"wenn ich Religion will, kann ich mehr als genug von diesem Kerl Baltic bekommen. Er hätte nicht mehr predigen und beten können, wenn ich ein verdammter Heide wäre. Nein, Mr. Pendle, ich habe sie nicht als Priester um einen Besuch gebeten, sondern als Mann - als einen Ehrenmann." Seine Stimme brach. "Es ist wegen meinem armen Mädchen", flüsterte er.
"Wegen Bell", stockte Gabriel und verschränkte nervös seine Hände.
"Ja! Ich nehme an, Sie gedenken sie nun nicht zu heiraten?"
"Mosk! Mosk! Wer bin ich, dass ich Ihre Sünden über ihr unschuldiges Haupt bringen sollte?"
"Moment, bitte!" rief Mosk und sein Gesicht erhellte sich,"soll dieser Bibelspruch heißen, dass Sie sich ehrenhaft betragen werden?"
"Welches Benehmen haben Sie sonst von mir erwartet? Mosk!" sagte Gabriel und legte eine schmale Hand auf das Knie des Mannes," nach Ihrer Verhaftung ging ich zum The Derby Winner. Es ist geschlossen und ich konnte nicht eintreten, weil Bell sich weigerte, mich zu empfangen. Der Schock über Ihre Untat hat Ihre Frau so krank gemacht, dass sie am Leben verzweifelt. Bell ist Tag und Nacht an ihrem Bett, also ist es nicht der richtige Zeitpunkt für mich, um über Heirat zu sprechen. Aber ich gebe Ihnen mein Ehrenwort, dass trotz der Schande, die Sie über sie gebracht haben, Bell meine Ehefrau sein wird.
Mosk heulte wie ein Kind los. "Gott segne Sie, Mr. Pendle!" schluchzte er und griff nach Gabriels Hand. "Sie haben mir eine Last vom Herzen genommen. Mir ist es jetzt egal, wenn ich aufgehängt werde; wahrscheinlich habe ich es verdient aufgehängt zu werden, aber nur solange mit ihr alles in Ordnung ist - mein armes Mädchen! Es ist für sie eine große Schande. Und für Susan auch. Susan liegt im Sterben, sagen Sie! Nun, ich bin daran schuld, aber wenn ich gesündigt habe, dann muss ich einen hohen Preis dafür bezahlen.
"Leider! leider! Tod ist der Lohn für Sünde.
"Ich brauche keine Religion, das sage ich Ihnen", sagte Mosk und trocknete seine Augen," Ich habe schlecht gelebt und ich werde schlecht sterben."
"Mosk! Mosk! selbst in der elften Stunde -."
"Lassen Sie es, Mr Pendle; ich weiß schon alles über die elfte Stunde, und Buße und den ganzen Blödsinn. Nun, Klappe halten und zuhören, Sir" Werden Sie meinem Mädchen treu bleiben?"
"Bei der Ehre eines Gentleman. Ich liebe sie; sie ist mir jetzt so lieb, wie sie es immer war.
"Das ist es, was ich von Ihnen hören wollte, Sir. Sie waren schon immer ein Gentleman. Nun hören Sie, Mr. Pendle; ich weiß alles über diese Hoch --."
"Sprechen Sie nicht davon!" unterbrach Gabriel mit einem Schauder.
"Werde ich nicht, Sir. Seine Lordschaft hat die Dokumente, die ich von ihm nahm, genauso wieder; also weiß keiner außer Ihnen und Ihrem Vater davon. Ich werde diese Ehe von Krant mit einer ledigen, einsamen Seele mit keiner Silbe erwähnen und wenn ich sterbe, stirbt das Geheimnis mit mir. Sie behandeln mein armes Mädchen anständig, Sir, daher werde ich Sie anständig behandeln. Das ist nichts für mich, den Namen mit Schande zu bedecken, den du meiner Bell geben wirst."
"Vielen Dank!" keuchte Gabriel, dessen Rührung bei diesem Versprechen so riesig war, dass er kaum sprechen konnte: "vielen Dank!"
"Ich brauche keinen Dank, Sir; Sie sind anständig und ich bin anständig. Da ich das nun aus dem Kopf habe, sollten Sie besser gehen. Ich bin kein passender Umgang für Ihresgleichen."
"Lassen Sie mich ein Gebet für Sie sprechen, Mosk?"
"Nein, Sir, es ist zu spät, um für mich zu beten."
Gabriel hob feierlich seine Hand. "So wahr Christus lebt, ist es nicht zu spät Deine Sünden sind zwar, wie --."
"Auf Wiedersehen", unterbrach ihn Mosk, warf sich auf sein Bett und drehte sein Gesicht zur Wand. Mit keinem weiteren Wort über Beichte oder Reue konnte Gabriel ihn zum Sprechen bringen. Dennoch kniete sich der Geistliche auf die kalten Steine und flehte um Gottes Vergebung für diesen sturen Sünder, dessen Herz gegen die göttliche Gnade verhärtet war Mosk gab kein Zeichen von sich, dass er das Flehen hörte, aber als Gabriel aus der Zelle hinausging, hastete er plötzlich vorwärts und küsste seine Hand. "Gott, in seiner Barmherzigkeit, erbarme dich deiner und vergebe dir Mosk", sagte Gabriel und verließ den bemitleidenswerten Mann mit seinem erstarrten Herzen, schlotternd unter dem schwarzen, schwarzen Schatten des Galgens.
Es war mit einem Gefühl der Erleichterung, als der Vikar sich wieder im Sonnenschein befand. Als er eilig in Richtung Palast schritt, um seinem Vater die gute Nachricht zu überbringen, dankte er Gott von ganzem Herzen, dass der Schatten drohenden Unheils vorübergezogen war. Die belastenden Dokumente waren in den richtigen Händen. Ihr Geheimnis war nur ihm, Graham und dem Bischof bekannt. Wenn die Wahrheit seiner Mutter mitgeteilt und ihre Position durch eine zweite Hochzeit bereinigt war, dann, das fühlte Gabriel, würde alles sicher sein. Cargrim kannte nichts von der Wahrheit und demzufolge konnte er nichts tun. Mit der Entdeckung des tatsächlichen Verbrechers waren all seine boshaften Pläne zunichte gemacht worden und es blieb dem Mann, an dem er so tiefes Unrecht begannen hatte, nichts übrig, als ihm seine Vertrauensstellung abzunehmen, die er so ehrlos missbraucht hatte. Und Gabriel selbst? Er hatte sich entschieden, Bell Mosk zu heiraten, wie er es ihrem erbärmlichen Vater versprochen hatte, und mit seiner Ehefrau zu den Missionen in der Südsee zu segeln. Dort könnten sie ein neues Leben beginnen und, glücklich in der Liebe zueinander, würden sie die Vergangenheit bei fleißiger Arbeit zwischen den Heiden vergessen. Baltic kannte die Südsee, Baltic könnte ihnen Rat geben und sie anleiten bei der Arbeit in diesem Weingarten Gottes und Baltic könnte ihnen bei einem Neubeginn für die Ehre Gottes und bei der Aussaat des guten Samens helfen. Mit Gedanken wie diesen ging Gabriel weiter, eingehüllt in fast apokalyptischen Visionen, und sah mit begeistertem Blick die vergangenen Sorgen von ihm und Bell abklingen und in einer von Gott geleiteten, Gott anvertrauten Zukunft entschwinden. Es war nicht die Karriere, die er für sich selbst verfolgt hatte, sondern er gab seine Ziele um Bells willen auf, und mit Hilfe der Liebe überwand er seine Vorliebe für zivilisierte Bequemlichkeit. Es siegt, wer sich besiegt.
Während Gabriel so mit sich kämpfte und so sich überwand, setzte sich Baltic neben Mosk und versuchte, ihn zu einem gebührenden Gefühl für seine Bosheit und Schwäche und das Bedürfnis nach Gottes Vergebung zu bringen. Er hatte gebetet und sowohl ermahnt als auch viele Male überredet und angefleht; war aber bislang vom Zynismus und der eigensinnigen Natur des Mannes verblüfft. Einer, der weniger enthusiastisch als Baltic war, wäre entmutigt worden, aber, gestützt durch Fanatismus, war der Mann entschlossen, diesen Gegner Christi zu erobern und eine irrende Seele aus den Reihen der bösen Heerscharen Satans zurückzugewinnen. Mit seiner abgenutzten Bibel auf dem Knie erläuterte er Text für Text, ging näher auf die Botschaft von Erlösung und Gnade ein und, mit aller Beredsamkeit, in der die Religion seine Sprache geschult hatte, drängte er Mosk, den Gott um Gnade anzuflehen, den er so heftig verstoßen habe. Aber alles vergebens.
"Was nützt es, all die Jahre böse zu leben und dann für fünf Minuten gut zu werden?" knurrte Mosk verächtlich. "Das hat keinen Sinn.
"Denken Sie an den reuigen Dieb, mein Bruder. Er war in der gleichen Lage wie Sie, doch wurde ihm von Gottes eigenem Sohn das Paradies versprochen!
Mosk zuckte mit den Schultern. "Es ist leicht, etwas zu versprechen, wage ich zu behaupten; aber weiß ich oder wissen Sie, ob das Versprechen eingehalten wird?"
" Glaube und du wirst gerettet."
" Ich kann nicht glauben, was Sie sagen."
" Nicht, was ich sage, armer Sünder, sondern was Christus sagt."
Es gab keine passende Antwort auf diese letzte Bemerkung, also begann Mosk mit einem anderen Thema. „Ich mag ihre Frechheit", knurrte er, "Sie haben mich in dieses Fiasko gebracht, und jetzt wollen Sie, dass ich Ihre Predigt aufgreife.“
„Ich will Ihre Seele retten, Mann!“
„Sie hätten mir besser das Leben retten sollen. Wenn Sie mich in Ruhe gelassen hätten, wäre ich nicht gefasst worden.“
„Dann hätten Sie weiterhin in einem Stand der Sünde gelebt. Solange Sie vor der Bestrafung Strafe des Menschen sicher waren, hätten Sie sich nicht an Gott gewandt. Jetzt müssen Sie es tun. Er ist Ihr einziger Freund.“
"Es ist mehr als Sie sind." Ich bezeichne es nicht als Freundschaft, einen Mann an den Galgen zu bringen!“
„Ich mache es, wenn er ein Verbrechen verübt hat", sagte Baltic ernsthaft. „Sie müssen büßen und bereuen oder Gott wird Ihnen nicht vergeben. Sie sind Kain, denn Sie haben Ihren Bruder umgebracht."
"Das müssen Sie beweisen", knurrte Mosk listig; "schauen Sie, Mr. Baltic, lassen Sie die Religion für eine Weile fallen und sagen Sie mir, woher Sie wissen, dass ich den Kerl getötet habe.
Baltic schloss seine Bibel und schaute sanft auf den Gefangenen. "Die Beweise gegen Sie sind vollkommen eindeutig, Mosk", sagte er bedächtig. "Ich verfolgte die von dem Toten gestohlenen Notizen zu Ihrem Vermögen. Sie bezahlten Ihre Miete an Sir Harry Brace mit den Früchten Ihrer Sünde."
"Ja, das tat ich!" sagte Mosk verdrießlich. "Ich weiß, is nicht gut, das zu sagen, wenn ich Jentham nicht tötete, aber Sie sind mir einer zu viel. Was ist ihm eingefallen, vor einem armen Kerl wie mir gegenüber, von Hunderten von Pfund zu reden, der nicht einmal eine Kupfermünze hat, um sie gegen eine andere zu reiben. Wenn er seine Klappe jehalten hätte, hätte ich nix davon jewusst und würde jetzt am Leben bleiben, um Sie und Ihren religiösen Weg auszuprobieren. Jentham war ein Schlechter, wenn man so will."
"Wir sind alle Sünder, Mosk."
"Manche aber mehr als andere. Außer dem Mord an Jentham und seinem Geld klauen habe ich nie niemandem ' was getan, so wie ich weiß. Sehen Sie, Mr. Baltic, ich habe heute ein bisschen mit dem Pfarrer gehandelt, und jetzt handele ich ein bisschen mit Ihnen. "Haben Sie Stift und Papier?"
"Ja!" Baltic holte seine Taschenbuch hervor und einen Füllfederhalter. " Wollen Sie beichten?"
"Ich nehme es auch an", sagte Moskow und machte ein böses Gesicht. "Die werd'n dem jungen Mr. Pendle oder dem Bischof die Schuld geben, wenn ich es nich' tue. Un' da es danach riecht, dass er meine Bell heiratet, will ich ke'n Ärger machen.
"Wollen Sie nicht, aus einer Einsicht heraus, Ihre Sünden beichten?"
"Nein, das will ich nicht. Es ist mein Mädchen und keine Reue, was mich die Wahrheit sagen lässt. Ich will ihr einen jungen Mr. Pendle geben, offen und ehrlich.
Nun," sagte Baltic und machte sich bereit, zu schreiben, "die Beichte ist ein Zeichen dafür, dass dein Herz sich erweichen lässt.
"Es ist nicht Ihre Religion, die das nun bewirkt", grinste Mosk höhnisch. "Also, schieß los, alter Kerl.
Der Mann fuhr fort darzulegen, dass er in auswegloser Not war, als Jentham kam, um in "The Derby Winner" zu logieren und falls er nicht in der Lage gewesen wäre, seine Miete zu zahlen, so hatte er befürchtet, dass Sir Harry, ihn, seine kranke Frau und seine viel geliebte Tochter auf die Straße setzen würde. Jentham, sternhagelvoll, prahlte etliche Male, dass er erwarte, eine große Geldsumme von einem unbekannten Freund in Southberry Heath zu bekommen und bei einer Gelegenheit ging er soweit, Mosk über die Zeit und den Ort zu informieren, wenn er es erhalten würde. Er war dementsprechend vertraulich, als er sehr betrunken war, wo Mosk ihm Vorwürfe machte, nicht für seine Unterkunft und Verpflegung gezahlt zu haben. Weil der Wirt in großer Geldnot war, wurde seine Geldgier durch die Höhe der Summe geweckt, die Jentham andeutete; und da er dachte, dass der Mann ein Herumtreiber sei, der nicht vermißt würde, beschloss er, ihn zu ermorden und auszurauben. Gabriel Pendle hatte Mosk eine Pistole gegeben - oder eher geliehen - um sich auf seinen häufigen nächtlichen Reisen über die einsame Heide zwischen Beorminster und Southberry vor Zigeunern, Vagabunden und Erntehelfern zu schützen. Am Sonntag, als das Geld an der Cross-Roads gezahlt werden sollte, ritt Mosk rüber zu Southberry, und spätabends, etwa zur Zeit der Verabredung, weiter zu Pferde zur Cross-Roads. Ein Sturm kam auf und hinderte ihn, daher kam er an, nachdem der Bischof Jentham das Geld gegeben hatte. Er sah den Bischof fortgehen und erkannte sein Gesicht in dem durchdringenden blendenden Licht der Blitze. Als Dr. Pendle verschwunden war, ritt Mosk auf Jentham zu, der mit dem Geld in der Hand im strömenden Regen unter dem Wegweiser stand. Er sah auf, als das Pferd näherkam, aber lief nicht weg, da er durch den Alkohol, den er früher am Abend getrunken hatte wagemutig war. Bevor der Mann ihn erkannte, war Mosk von seinem Pferd gesprungen und hatte Jentham aus nächster Nähe durch das Herz geschossen. "Er fiel in den Matsch wie ein 'nasser Sack' ", sagte Mosk, "dann habe ich den Gaul am Wegweiser festgemacht und habe seine Taschen durchsucht. Ich nahm das Bargeld - ein Notenbündel, so wie es war - und einige andere Papiere, die ich fand. Dann zerrte ich seine Leiche in einen Graben neben der Straße und galoppierte auf meinem Gaul so schnell ich konnte zurück nach Southberry. Dort blieb ich die ganze Nacht und sagte, dass ich vom Sturm gehindert wurde, nach Beorminster zu reiten. Nächsten Tag kam ich zurück zu mein' Hotel und 'ne Woche danach bezahlte ich Sir 'Arry mit den Scheinen, die ich gestohlen hatte. Ich gab 'nen Zehner von denen dem jungen Mr. Pendle und zwei Fünfer von meinen, weil er 'nen Zwanziger wechseln wollte. Wenn ich gewusst hätte, wie gefährlich es war, wär' ich nach London gegangen und hätte andere Scheine geholt, aber ich wär' nie auf die Idee gekommen, dass ich durch die Nummern gefunden würde." "Niemand dachte daran, es so zu tun wie ich, aber ich tat es." "Wie sind se auch mich gekommen, Chef?"
"Sie waren immer betrunken", antwortete Baltic, der all das niedergeschrieben hatte, "und ich hörte sie ab und zu mit sich selbst reden. Dann sagte Sir Harry, dass Sie Ihre Miete gezahlt hätten und er nicht wusste, woher Sie das Geld hatten. Später fand ich das über die Pistole raus und die Banknoten, mit denen Sie Sir Harry bezahlt hatten. Ich hatte keinen Beweis für Ihre Schuld, obwohl ich Sie lange Zeit verdächtigte, aber es war die Pistole, die Mutter Jael aufgehoben hatte, die mich auf die richtige Spur führte."
'Ah, wos it now?' said Mosk, with regret. 'Th' 'oss knocked that out of m' 'and when I wos tyin' him up, and I 'adn't no time to look for it in the mud an' dark. Y' wouldn't hev caught me, I s'pose, if it hadn't bin for that bloomin' pistol?
'Oh, yes, I would,' rejoined Baltic, coolly; 'the notes would have hanged you in any case, and I would have got at them somehow. I suspected you all along.
'Wish y' 'adn't come to m' house,' muttered Mosk, discontentedly.
'I was guided there by God to punish your sin.
'Yah! Stuff! Gimme that confession and I'll sign it.
But Baltic, wary old fellow as he was, would not permit this without due formality. He had the governor of the gaol brought to the cell, and Mosk with a laugh signed the confession which condemned him in the presence of two witnesses. The governor took it away with him, and again left Baltic and the murderer alone. Sie sahen einander an.
'Now that I know all—' began Baltic.
'Y' don't know all,' interrupted Mosk, with a taunting laugh; 'there's sumthin' I ain't told y', an' I ain't agoin' to tell.
"Sie haben Ihre Sünde gebeichtet, das reicht mir. God is softening your hard heart. Grace is coming to your soul. My brother! my brother! let us pray.
'Sha'n't! Lassen Sie mich allein, nich?
Baltic kniete sich. 'Oh, merciful God, have pity upon this most unhappy man sunk in the pit of sin. Let the Redeemer, Thy only begotten Son, stretch out His saving—.
Mosk began to sing a comic song in a harsh voice.
'His saving hand, oh God, to drag this poor soul from perdition. Let him call upon Thy most Holy Name out of the low dungeon. Cut him not off in the—.
'Stop! stop!' shrieked the unhappy man, with his fingers in his ears, 'oh, stop!
'His sins are as scarlet, but the precious blood of the Lamb will bleach them whiter than fine wool. Have mercy, Heavenly Father—.
Mosk, over-wrought and worn out, began to sob hysterically. At the sound of that grief Baltic sprang to his feet and laid a heavy hand on the shoulder of the sinner.
'On your knees! on your knees, my brother,' he cried in trumpet tones, with flashing eyes, 'implore mercy before the Great White Throne. Now is the time for repentance. God pity you! Christ save you! Satan loose you!' Und er zwang den Mann auf die Knie. 'Down in Christ's name.
A choking, strangled cry escaped from the murderer, and his body pitched forward heavily on the cold stones. Baltic continued to pray.
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For more info, please see "discussion tab" by clicking on the title of this chapter.
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CHAPTER XXXV - THE HONOUR OF GABRIEL.
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His brain appeared to have been stunned by the suddenness of his calamity.
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And the bishop himself?
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Then the register there will disclose my secret to anyone curious enough to search the books.
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What shall I do?
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What can I do?
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I dare not visit Mosk.
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I dare not ask Graham to see him.
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There is nothing to be done but to hope for the best.
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If this miserable man speaks out, I shall be ruined.
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But this belief, although natural enough, showed how the bishop misjudged the man.
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It was with a beating heart that Gabriel was ushered into the prison cell.
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''Tis good of you to come and see a poor devil, Mr Pendle,' he said in a grateful voice.
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'Y'll be no loser by yer kin'ness, I can tell y'.
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'To whom should a priest come, save to those who need him?
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'Oh, stow that!'
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He's never done preachin' and prayin' as if I were a bloomin' 'eathen.
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No, Mr Pendle, it ain't as a priest as I asked y' t' see me, but as a man—as a gentleman!'
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His voice broke.
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'It's about my poor gal,' he whispered.
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unit 44
'About Bell,' faltered Gabriel, nervously clasping his hands together.
1 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 6 months, 2 weeks ago
unit 45
'Yes!
1 Translations, 3 Upvotes, Last Activity 6 months, 2 weeks ago
unit 46
I s'pose, sir, you won't think of marryin' her now?
1 Translations, 3 Upvotes, Last Activity 6 months, 2 weeks ago
unit 47
'Mosk!
1 Translations, 3 Upvotes, Last Activity 6 months, 2 weeks ago
unit 48
Mosk!
1 Translations, 3 Upvotes, Last Activity 6 months, 2 weeks ago
unit 49
who am I that I should visit your sins on her innocent head?
2 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 6 months, 2 weeks ago
unit 50
'Hold 'ard!'
1 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 6 months, 2 weeks ago
unit 51
cried Mosk, his face lighting up; 'does that Bible speech mean as y' are goin' to behave honourable?
1 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 6 months, 2 weeks ago
unit 52
'How else did you expect me to behave?
1 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 6 months, 2 weeks ago
unit 53
Mosk!'
1 Translations, 3 Upvotes, Last Activity 6 months, 2 weeks ago
unit 54
said Gabriel, laying a slim hand on the man's knee, 'after your arrest I went to The Derby Winner.
1 Translations, 3 Upvotes, Last Activity 6 months, 2 weeks ago
unit 55
It is shut up, and I was unable to enter, as Bell refused to see me.
1 Translations, 3 Upvotes, Last Activity 6 months, 2 weeks ago
unit 56
The shock of your evil deed has made your wife so ill that her life is despaired of.
1 Translations, 3 Upvotes, Last Activity 6 months, 2 weeks ago
unit 57
Bell is by her bedside night and day, so this is no time for me to talk of marriage.
1 Translations, 3 Upvotes, Last Activity 6 months, 2 weeks ago
unit 59
Mosk burst out crying like a child.
1 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 6 months, 2 weeks ago
unit 60
'God bless you, Mr Pendle!'
1 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 6 months, 2 weeks ago
unit 61
he sobbed, catching at Gabriel's hand.
1 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 6 months, 2 weeks ago
unit 62
'You have lifted a weight off my heart.
1 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 6 months, 2 weeks ago
unit 64
It's a sore disgrace to her.
1 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 6 months, 4 weeks ago
unit 65
And Susan, too.
2 Translations, 3 Upvotes, Last Activity 6 months, 4 weeks ago
unit 66
Susan's dyin', y' say!
1 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 6 months, 4 weeks ago
unit 67
Well, it's my fault; but if I've sinned I've got to pay a long price for it.
2 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 6 months, 4 weeks ago
unit 68
'Alas!
1 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 6 months, 4 weeks ago
unit 69
alas!
1 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 6 months, 4 weeks ago
unit 70
the wages of sin is death.
1 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 6 months, 2 weeks ago
unit 71
'I don't want religion, I tell 'ee,' said Mosk, drying his eyes; 'I've lived bad and I'll die bad.
1 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 6 months, 2 weeks ago
unit 72
'Mosk!
1 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 6 months, 2 weeks ago
unit 73
Mosk!
1 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 6 months, 2 weeks ago
unit 74
even at the eleventh hour—.
2 Translations, 3 Upvotes, Last Activity 6 months, 2 weeks ago
unit 75
unit 76
Stow it, sir, and listen.
2 Translations, 3 Upvotes, Last Activity 6 months, 2 weeks ago
unit 77
You'll keep true to my gal?
1 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 6 months, 2 weeks ago
unit 78
'On the honour of a gentleman.
1 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 6 months, 2 weeks ago
unit 79
I love her; she is as dear to me now as she ever was.
2 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 6 months, 2 weeks ago
unit 80
'That's wot I expected y' to say, sir.
2 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 6 months, 2 weeks ago
unit 81
Y' allays wos a gentleman.
1 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 6 months, 3 weeks ago
unit 82
Now you 'ark, Mr Pendle; I knows all about that mar—.
1 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 6 months, 2 weeks ago
unit 83
'Don't speak of it!'
1 Translations, 3 Upvotes, Last Activity 6 months, 2 weeks ago
unit 84
interrupted Gabriel, with a shudder.
1 Translations, 3 Upvotes, Last Activity 6 months, 2 weeks ago
unit 85
'I ain't goin' to, sir.
1 Translations, 3 Upvotes, Last Activity 6 months, 2 weeks ago
unit 88
You're actin' square by my poor gal, sir, so I'm agoin' to act square by you.
2 Translations, 3 Upvotes, Last Activity 6 months, 2 weeks ago
unit 89
It ain't for me to cover with shame the name as you're goin' to give my Bell.
1 Translations, 3 Upvotes, Last Activity 6 months, 2 weeks ago
unit 90
'Thank you!'
1 Translations, 3 Upvotes, Last Activity 6 months, 2 weeks ago
unit 92
'I don' need no thanks, sir; you're square, an' I'm square.
1 Translations, 3 Upvotes, Last Activity 6 months, 2 weeks ago
unit 93
So now as I've got that orf m' mind you'd better go.
1 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 6 months, 2 weeks ago
unit 94
I ain't fit company for the likes of you.
1 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 6 months, 2 weeks ago
unit 95
'Let me say a prayer, Mosk?
1 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 6 months, 2 weeks ago
unit 96
'No, sir; it's too late to pray for me.
1 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 6 months, 2 weeks ago
unit 97
Gabriel raised his hand solemnly.
1 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 6 months, 2 weeks ago
unit 98
'As Christ liveth, it is not too late.
1 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 6 months, 2 weeks ago
unit 99
Though your sins be as—.
2 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 6 months, 2 weeks ago
unit 100
'Goo'bye,' interrupted Mosk, and throwing himself on his bed, he turned his face to the wall.
2 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 6 months, 2 weeks ago
unit 101
Not another word of confession or repentance could Gabriel get him to speak.
1 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 6 months, 2 weeks ago
unit 105
It was with a sense of relief that the curate found himself once more in the sunshine.
1 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 6 months, 2 weeks ago
unit 109
Cargrim knew nothing of the truth, and therefore could do nothing.
1 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 6 months, 2 weeks ago
unit 116
Vincit, qui se vincit.
1 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 6 months, 2 weeks ago
unit 121
But all in vain.
1 Translations, 3 Upvotes, Last Activity 6 months, 2 weeks ago
unit 122
'Wot's th' use of livin' bad all these years, and then turnin' good for five minutes?'
1 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 6 months, 2 weeks ago
unit 123
growled Mosk, contemptuously.
1 Translations, 3 Upvotes, Last Activity 6 months, 2 weeks ago
unit 124
'There ain't no sense in it.
1 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 6 months, 2 weeks ago
unit 125
'Think of the penitent thief, my brother.
2 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 6 months, 2 weeks ago
unit 126
He was in the same position as you now are, yet he was promised paradise by God's own Son!
1 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 6 months, 2 weeks ago
unit 127
Mosk shrugged his shoulders.
1 Translations, 3 Upvotes, Last Activity 6 months, 2 weeks ago
unit 128
unit 129
'Believe and you shall be saved.
1 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 6 months, 2 weeks ago
unit 130
'I can't believe what you say.
1 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 6 months, 2 weeks ago
unit 131
'Not what I say, poor sinner, but what Christ says.
1 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 6 months, 3 weeks ago
unit 132
There was no possible answer to this last remark, so Mosk launched out on another topic.
1 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 6 months, 2 weeks ago
unit 134
'I want to save your soul, man!
1 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 6 months, 2 weeks ago
unit 135
'You'd much better have saved my life.
1 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 6 months, 2 weeks ago
unit 136
If you'd left me alone I wouldn't have bin caught.
1 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 6 months, 2 weeks ago
unit 137
'Then you would have gone on living in a state of sin.
2 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 6 months, 2 weeks ago
unit 138
So long as you were safe from the punishment of man you would not have turned to God.
1 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 6 months, 2 weeks ago
unit 139
Now you must.
1 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 6 months, 2 weeks ago
unit 140
He is your only friend.
1 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 6 months, 2 weeks ago
unit 141
'It's more nor you are.
1 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 6 months, 2 weeks ago
unit 142
I don't call it friendship to bring a man to the gallows!
1 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 6 months, 2 weeks ago
unit 143
'I do—when he has committed a crime,' said Baltic, gravely.
1 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 6 months, 2 weeks ago
unit 144
'You must suffer and repent, or God will not forgive you.
1 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 6 months, 2 weeks ago
unit 145
You are Cain, for you have slain your brother.
2 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 6 months, 2 weeks ago
unit 147
Baltic closed his Bible, and looked mildly at the prisoner.
1 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 6 months, 2 weeks ago
unit 148
'The evidence against you is perfectly clear, Mosk,' said he, deliberately.
1 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 6 months, 2 weeks ago
unit 149
'I traced the notes stolen from the dead man to your possession.
1 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 6 months, 2 weeks ago
unit 150
You paid your rent to Sir Harry Brace with the fruits of your sin.
1 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 6 months, 2 weeks ago
unit 151
'Yes, I did!'
1 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 6 months, 2 weeks ago
unit 152
said Mosk, sullenly.
1 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 6 months, 2 weeks ago
unit 153
'I know it ain't no good sayin' as I didn't kill Jentham, for you're one too many for me.
1 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity 6 months, 1 week ago
unit 156
Jentham was a bad 'un, if you like.
1 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity 6 months, 2 weeks ago
unit 157
'We are all sinners, Mosk.
1 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity 6 months, 2 weeks ago
unit 158
'Some of us are wuss than others.
1 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity 6 months, 2 weeks ago
unit 161
'Ave you pen and paper?
1 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 6 months, 2 weeks ago
unit 162
'Yes!'
1 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 6 months, 2 weeks ago
unit 163
Baltic produced his pocket-book and a stylographic pen.
1 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity 6 months, 3 weeks ago
unit 164
'Are you going to confess?
1 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 6 months, 2 weeks ago
unit 165
'I'spose I may as well,' said Mosk, scowling.
1 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity 6 months, 3 weeks ago
unit 167
'Won't you confess from a sense of your sin?
1 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity 6 months, 3 weeks ago
unit 168
'No, I won't.
1 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 6 months, 2 weeks ago
unit 169
It's my gal and not repentance as makes me tell the truth.
1 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 6 months, 2 weeks ago
unit 170
I want to put her an' young Mr Pendle fair and square.
1 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity 6 months, 3 weeks ago
unit 171
'Well,' said Baltic, getting ready to write, 'confession is a sign that your heart is softening.
1 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity 6 months, 3 weeks ago
unit 172
'It ain't your religion as is doing it, then,' sneered Mosk.
1 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 6 months, 1 week ago
unit 173
'Now then, fire away, old cove.
1 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 6 months, 1 week ago
unit 181
unit 186
I got the cash—a bundle of notes, they wos—and some other papers as I found.
1 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity 6 months, 1 week ago
unit 190
I guv a ten of 'em to young Mr Pendle, and two fives of m' own, as he wanted to change a twenty.
1 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity 6 months, 1 week ago
unit 192
No one thought as I did it; but I did.
1 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 5 months ago
unit 193
'Ow did you think 'twas me, guv'nor?
1 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity 6 months, 1 week ago
unit 196
Afterwards I found out about the pistol and the notes you had paid Sir Harry.
1 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 5 months ago
unit 198
'Ah, wos it now?'
0 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity None
unit 199
said Mosk, with regret.
0 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity None
unit 203
I suspected you all along.
0 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity None
unit 204
'Wish y' 'adn't come to m' house,' muttered Mosk, discontentedly.
0 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity None
unit 205
'I was guided there by God to punish your sin.
0 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity None
unit 206
'Yah!
0 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity None
unit 207
Stuff!
0 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity None
unit 208
Gimme that confession and I'll sign it.
0 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity None
unit 212
They eyed one another.
1 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity 6 months, 1 week ago
unit 213
'Now that I know all—' began Baltic.
0 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity None
unit 215
'You have confessed your sin, that is enough for me.
1 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity 6 months, 1 week ago
unit 216
God is softening your hard heart.
0 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity None
unit 217
Grace is coming to your soul.
0 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity None
unit 218
My brother!
0 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity None
unit 219
my brother!
0 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity None
unit 220
let us pray.
0 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity None
unit 221
'Sha'n't!
0 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity None
unit 222
Leave me alone, can't y'?
1 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity 6 months, 1 week ago
unit 223
Baltic fell on his knees.
1 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity 6 months, 1 week ago
unit 225
Let the Redeemer, Thy only begotten Son, stretch out His saving—.
0 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity None
unit 226
Mosk began to sing a comic song in a harsh voice.
0 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity None
unit 227
'His saving hand, oh God, to drag this poor soul from perdition.
0 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity None
unit 228
Let him call upon Thy most Holy Name out of the low dungeon.
0 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity None
unit 229
Cut him not off in the—.
0 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity None
unit 230
'Stop!
0 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity None
unit 231
stop!'
0 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity None
unit 232
shrieked the unhappy man, with his fingers in his ears, 'oh, stop!
0 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity None
unit 234
Have mercy, Heavenly Father—.
0 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity None
unit 235
Mosk, over-wrought and worn out, began to sob hysterically.
0 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity None
unit 237
'On your knees!
0 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity None
unit 239
Now is the time for repentance.
0 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity None
unit 240
God pity you!
0 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity None
unit 241
Christ save you!
0 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity None
unit 242
Satan loose you!'
0 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity None
unit 243
And he forced the man on to his knees.
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unit 244
'Down in Christ's name.
0 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity None
unit 246
Baltic continued to pray.
0 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity None
Omega-I • 5933  commented on  unit 177  6 months, 1 week ago
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Omega-I • 5933  commented on  unit 115  6 months, 3 weeks ago
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Maria-Helene • 13548  translated  unit 162  6 months, 3 weeks ago
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lollo1a • 9505  commented on  unit 84  6 months, 3 weeks ago
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lollo1a • 9505  commented on  unit 32  6 months, 4 weeks ago
Omega-I • 5933  commented on  unit 65  6 months, 4 weeks ago
Omega-I • 5933  commented on  unit 67  6 months, 4 weeks ago
lollo1a • 9505  translated  unit 73  6 months, 4 weeks ago
lollo1a • 9505  translated  unit 72  6 months, 4 weeks ago
Omega-I • 5933  commented on  unit 64  6 months, 4 weeks ago
Omega-I • 5933  commented on  unit 63  6 months, 4 weeks ago
Merlin57 • 6233  translated  unit 69  6 months, 4 weeks ago
Merlin57 • 6233  translated  unit 68  6 months, 4 weeks ago
lollo1a • 9505  commented on  unit 54  6 months, 4 weeks ago
kardaMom • 11758  translated  unit 53  6 months, 4 weeks ago
kardaMom • 11758  translated  unit 48  6 months, 4 weeks ago
kardaMom • 11758  translated  unit 47  6 months, 4 weeks ago
kardaMom • 11758  translated  unit 45  6 months, 4 weeks ago
kardaMom • 11758  commented on  unit 28  6 months, 4 weeks ago

For more info, please see "discussion tab" by clicking on the title of this chapter.

CHAPTER XXXV - THE HONOUR OF GABRIEL.
Great as had been the popular excitement over Jentham's death, it was almost mild compared with that which swept through Beorminster when his murderer was discovered and arrested. No one had ever thought of connecting Mosk with the crime; and even on his seizure by warrant many declined to believe in his guilt. Nevertheless, when the man was brought before the magistrates, the evidence adduced against him by Baltic was so strong and clear and irrefutable that, without a dissenting word from the Bench, the prisoner was committed to stand his trial at the ensuing assizes. Mosk made no defence; he did not even offer a remark; but, accepting his fate with sullen apathy, sunk into a lethargic, unobservant state, out of which nothing and no person could arouse him. His brain appeared to have been stunned by the suddenness of his calamity.
Many people expressed surprise that Bishop Pendle should have been present when the man was arrested, and some blamed him for having even gone to The Derby Winner. A disreputable pot-house, they whispered, was not the neighbourhood in which a spiritual lord should be found. But Mrs Pansey, for once on the side of right, soon put a stop to such talk by informing one and all that the bishop had visited the hotel at her request in order to satisfy himself that the reports and scandals about it were true. That Mosk should have been arrested while Dr Pendle was making his inquiries was a pure coincidence, and it was greatly to the bishop's credit that he had helped to secure the murderer. In fact, Mrs Pansey was not very sure but what he had taken the wretch in charge with his own august hands.
And the bishop himself? He was glad that Mrs Pansey, to foster her own vanity, had put this complexion on his visit to the hotel, as it did away with any need of a true but uncomfortable explanation. Also he had carried home with him the packet tossed on the table by Mosk, therefore, so far as actual proof was concerned, his secret was still his own. But the murderer knew it, for not only were the certificate and letters in the bundle, but there was also a sheet of memoranda set down by Krant, alias Jentham, which proved clearly that the so-called Mrs Pendle was really his wife.
'If I destroy these papers,' thought the bishop, 'all immediate evidence likely to reveal the truth will be done away with. But Mosk knows that Amy is not my wife; that my marriage is illegal, that my children are nameless; out of revenge for my share in his arrest, he may tell someone the story and reveal the name of the church wherein Amy was married to Krant. Then the register there will disclose my secret to anyone curious enough to search the books. What shall I do? What can I do? I dare not visit Mosk. I dare not ask Graham to see him. There is nothing to be done but to hope for the best. If this miserable man speaks out, I shall be ruined.
Dr Pendle quite expected ruin, for he had no hope that a coarse and cruel criminal would be honourable enough to hold his tongue. But this belief, although natural enough, showed how the bishop misjudged the man. From the moment of his arrest, Mosk spoke no ill of Dr Pendle; he hinted at no secret, and to all appearances was quite determined to carry it with him to the scaffold. On the third day of his arrest, however, he roused himself from his sullen silence, and asked that young Mr Pendle might be sent for. The governor of the prison, anticipating a confession to be made in due form to a priest, hastily sent for Gabriel. The young man obeyed the summons at once, for, his father having informed him of Mosk's acquaintance with the secret, he was most anxious to learn from the man himself whether he intended to talk or keep silent. It was with a beating heart that Gabriel was ushered into the prison cell.
By special permission the interview was allowed to be private, for Mosk positively refused to speak in the presence of a third person. He was sitting on his bed when the parson entered, but looked up with a gleam of joy in his blood-shot eyes when he was left alone with the young man.
''Tis good of you to come and see a poor devil, Mr Pendle,' he said in a grateful voice. 'Y'll be no loser by yer kin'ness, I can tell y'.
'To whom should a priest come, save to those who need him?
'Oh, stow that!' growled Mosk, in a tone of disgust; 'if I want religion I can get more than enough from that Baltic cove. He's never done preachin' and prayin' as if I were a bloomin' 'eathen. No, Mr Pendle, it ain't as a priest as I asked y' t' see me, but as a man—as a gentleman!' His voice broke. 'It's about my poor gal,' he whispered.
'About Bell,' faltered Gabriel, nervously clasping his hands together.
'Yes! I s'pose, sir, you won't think of marryin' her now?
'Mosk! Mosk! who am I that I should visit your sins on her innocent head?
'Hold 'ard!' cried Mosk, his face lighting up; 'does that Bible speech mean as y' are goin' to behave honourable?
'How else did you expect me to behave? Mosk!' said Gabriel, laying a slim hand on the man's knee, 'after your arrest I went to The Derby Winner. It is shut up, and I was unable to enter, as Bell refused to see me. The shock of your evil deed has made your wife so ill that her life is despaired of. Bell is by her bedside night and day, so this is no time for me to talk of marriage. But I give you my word of honour, that in spite of the disgrace you have brought upon her, Bell shall be my wife.
Mosk burst out crying like a child. 'God bless you, Mr Pendle!' he sobbed, catching at Gabriel's hand. 'You have lifted a weight off my heart. I don't care if I do swing now; I daresay I deserve to swing, but as long as she's all right!—my poor gal! It's a sore disgrace to her. And Susan, too. Susan's dyin', y' say! Well, it's my fault; but if I've sinned I've got to pay a long price for it.
'Alas! alas! the wages of sin is death.
'I don't want religion, I tell 'ee,' said Mosk, drying his eyes; 'I've lived bad and I'll die bad.
'Mosk! Mosk! even at the eleventh hour—.
'That's all right, Mr Pendle; I know all about th' 'leventh hour, and repentance and the rest of th' rot. Stow it, sir, and listen. You'll keep true to my gal?
'On the honour of a gentleman. I love her; she is as dear to me now as she ever was.
'That's wot I expected y' to say, sir. Y' allays wos a gentleman. Now you 'ark, Mr Pendle; I knows all about that mar—.
'Don't speak of it!' interrupted Gabriel, with a shudder.
'I ain't goin' to, sir. His lor'ship 'ave the papers I took from him as I did for; so no one but yerself an' yer father knows about 'em. I sha'n't breathe a word about that Krant marriage to a single, solitary soul, and when I dies the secret will die with me. You're actin' square by my poor gal, sir, so I'm agoin' to act square by you. It ain't for me to cover with shame the name as you're goin' to give my Bell.
'Thank you!' gasped Gabriel, whose emotion at this promise was so great that he could hardly speak, 'thank you!
'I don' need no thanks, sir; you're square, an' I'm square. So now as I've got that orf m' mind you'd better go. I ain't fit company for the likes of you.
'Let me say a prayer, Mosk?
'No, sir; it's too late to pray for me.
Gabriel raised his hand solemnly. 'As Christ liveth, it is not too late. Though your sins be as—.
'Goo'bye,' interrupted Mosk, and throwing himself on his bed, he turned his face to the wall. Not another word of confession or repentance could Gabriel get him to speak. Nevertheless, the clergyman knelt down on the chill stones and implored God's pardon for this stubborn sinner, whose heart was hardened against the divine grace. Mosk gave no sign of hearing the supplication; but when Gabriel was passing out of the cell, he suddenly rushed forward and kissed his hand. 'God, in His mercy, pity and pardon you, Mosk,' said Gabriel, and left the wretched man with his frozen heart shivering under the black, black shadow of the gallows.
It was with a sense of relief that the curate found himself once more in the sunshine. As he walked swiftly along towards the palace, to carry the good news to his father, he thanked God in his heart that the shadow of impending disaster had passed away. The incriminating papers were in the right hands; their secret was known only to himself, to Graham, and to the bishop. When the truth was told to his mother, and her position had been rectified by a second marriage, Gabriel felt that all would be safe. Cargrim knew nothing of the truth, and therefore could do nothing. With the discovery of the actual criminal all his wicked plans had come to naught; and it only remained for the man he had wronged so deeply to take from him the position of trust which he had so dishonourably abused. As for Gabriel himself, he determined to marry Bell Mosk, as he had promised her miserable father, and to sail with his wife for the mission fields of the South Seas. There they could begin a new life, and, happy in one another's love, would forget the past in assiduous labours amongst the heathen. Baltic knew the South Seas; Baltic could advise and direct how they should begin to labour in that vineyard of the Lord; and Baltic could start them on a new career for the glory of God and the sowing of the good seed. With thoughts like these, Gabriel walked along, wrapped in almost apocalyptic visions, and saw with inspired gaze the past sorrows of himself and Bell fade and vanish in the glory of a God-guided, God-provided future. It was not the career he had shadowed forth for himself; but he resigned his ambitions for Bell's sake, and aided by love overcame his preference for civilised ease. Vincit, qui se vincit.
While Gabriel was thus battling, and thus overcoming, Baltic was seated beside Mosk, striving to bring him to a due sense of his wickedness and weakness, and need of God's forgiveness. He had prayed, and reproved, and persuaded, and besought, many times before; but had hitherto been baffled by the cynicism and stubborn nature of the man. One less enthusiastic than Baltic would have been discouraged, but, braced by fanaticism, the man was resolved to conquer this adversary of Christ and win back an erring soul from the ranks of Satan's evil host. With his well-worn Bible on his knee, he expounded text after text, amplified the message of redemption and pardon, and, with all the eloquence religion had taught his tongue, urged Mosk to plead for mercy from the God he had so deeply offended. But all in vain.
'Wot's th' use of livin' bad all these years, and then turnin' good for five minutes?' growled Mosk, contemptuously. 'There ain't no sense in it.
'Think of the penitent thief, my brother. He was in the same position as you now are, yet he was promised paradise by God's own Son!
Mosk shrugged his shoulders. 'It's easy enough promisin', I daresay; but 'ow do I know, or do you know as the promise 'ull be kept?
'Believe and you shall be saved.
'I can't believe what you say.
'Not what I say, poor sinner, but what Christ says.
There was no possible answer to this last remark, so Mosk launched out on another topic. 'I like yer cheek, I do,' he growled; 'it's you that have got me into this mess, and now you wants me to take up with your preaching.
'I want to save your soul, man!
'You'd much better have saved my life. If you'd left me alone I wouldn't have bin caught.
'Then you would have gone on living in a state of sin. So long as you were safe from the punishment of man you would not have turned to God. Now you must. He is your only friend.
'It's more nor you are. I don't call it friendship to bring a man to the gallows!
'I do—when he has committed a crime,' said Baltic, gravely. 'You must suffer and repent, or God will not forgive you. You are Cain, for you have slain your brother.
'You've got to prove that,' growled Mosk, cunningly; 'look, Mr Baltic, jus' drop religion for a bit, and tell me 'ow you know as I killed that cove.
Baltic closed his Bible, and looked mildly at the prisoner. 'The evidence against you is perfectly clear, Mosk,' said he, deliberately. 'I traced the notes stolen from the dead man to your possession. You paid your rent to Sir Harry Brace with the fruits of your sin.
'Yes, I did!' said Mosk, sullenly. 'I know it ain't no good sayin' as I didn't kill Jentham, for you're one too many for me. But wot business had he to go talkin' of hundreds of pounds to a poor chap like me as 'adn't one copper to rub agin the other? If he'd held his tongue I'd 'ave known nothin', and he'd 'ave bin alive now for you to try your 'and on in the religious way. Jentham was a bad 'un, if you like.
'We are all sinners, Mosk.
'Some of us are wuss than others. With the 'ception of murderin' Jentham and priggin' his cash, I ain't done nothin' to no one as I knows of. Look here, Mr Baltic, I've done one bit of business to-day with the parson, and now I'm goin' to do another bit with you. 'Ave you pen and paper?
'Yes!' Baltic produced his pocket-book and a stylographic pen. 'Are you going to confess?
'I'spose I may as well,' said Mosk, scowling. 'You'll be blaming young Mr Pendle, or the bishop, if I don't; an' as the fust of 'em's goin' to marry my Bell, I don't want trouble there.
'Won't you confess from a sense of your sin?
'No, I won't. It's my gal and not repentance as makes me tell the truth. I want to put her an' young Mr Pendle fair and square.
'Well,' said Baltic, getting ready to write, 'confession is a sign that your heart is softening.
'It ain't your religion as is doing it, then,' sneered Mosk. 'Now then, fire away, old cove.
The man then went on to state that he was desperately hard up when Jentham came to stay at The Derby Winner, and, as he was unable to pay his rent, he feared lest Sir Harry should turn him and his sick wife and much-loved daughter into the streets. Jentham, in his cups, several times boasted that he was about to receive a large sum of money from an unknown friend on Southberry Heath, and on one occasion went so far as to inform Mosk of the time and place when he would receive it. He was thus confidential when very drunk, on Mosk reproaching him with not paying for his board and lodging. As the landlord was in much need of money, his avarice was roused by the largeness of the sum hinted at by Jentham; and thinking that the man was a tramp, who would not be missed, he determined to murder and rob him. Gabriel Pendle had given—or rather, had lent—Mosk a pistol to protect himself from gipsies, and vagrants, and harvesters on his frequent night journeys across the lonely heath between Beorminster and Southberry. On the Sunday when the money was to be paid at the Cross-Roads, Mosk rode over to Southberry; and late at night, about the time of the appointment, he went on horseback to the Cross Roads. A storm came on and detained him, so it was after the bishop had given the money to Jentham that Mosk arrived. He saw the bishop departing, and recognised his face in the searching glare of the lightning flashes. When Dr Pendle had disappeared, Mosk rode up to Jentham, who, with the money in his hand, stood in the drenching rain under the sign-post. He looked up as the horse approached, but did not run away, being rendered pot-valiant by the liquor he had drunk earlier in the evening. Before the man could recognise him, Mosk had jumped off his horse; and, at close quarters, had shot Jentham through the heart. 'He fell in the mud like a 'eap of clothes,' said Mosk, 'so I jus' tied up the 'oss to the sign-post, an' went through his pockets. I got the cash—a bundle of notes, they wos—and some other papers as I found. Then I dragged his corp into a ditch by the road, and galloped orf on m' oss as quick as I cud go back to Southberry. There I stayed all night, sayin' as I'd bin turned back by the storm from riding over to Beorminster. Nex' day I come back to m' hotel, and a week arter I paid m' rent to Sir 'Arry with the notes I'd stole. I guv a ten of 'em to young Mr Pendle, and two fives of m' own, as he wanted to change a twenty. If I'd know'd as it was dangerous I'd hev gone up to London and got other notes; but I never thought I'd be found out by the numbers. No one thought as I did it; but I did. 'Ow did you think 'twas me, guv'nor?
'You were always drunk,' answered Baltic, who had written all this down, 'and I sometimes heard you talking to yourself. Then Sir Harry said that you had paid your rent, and he did not know where you got the money from. Afterwards I found out about the pistol and the notes you had paid Sir Harry. I had no proof of your guilt, although I suspected you for a long time; but it was the pistol which Mother Jael picked up that put me on the right track.
'Ah, wos it now?' said Mosk, with regret. 'Th' 'oss knocked that out of m' 'and when I wos tyin' him up, and I 'adn't no time to look for it in the mud an' dark. Y' wouldn't hev caught me, I s'pose, if it hadn't bin for that bloomin' pistol?
'Oh, yes, I would,' rejoined Baltic, coolly; 'the notes would have hanged you in any case, and I would have got at them somehow. I suspected you all along.
'Wish y' 'adn't come to m' house,' muttered Mosk, discontentedly.
'I was guided there by God to punish your sin.
'Yah! Stuff! Gimme that confession and I'll sign it.
But Baltic, wary old fellow as he was, would not permit this without due formality. He had the governor of the gaol brought to the cell, and Mosk with a laugh signed the confession which condemned him in the presence of two witnesses. The governor took it away with him, and again left Baltic and the murderer alone. They eyed one another.
'Now that I know all—' began Baltic.
'Y' don't know all,' interrupted Mosk, with a taunting laugh; 'there's sumthin' I ain't told y', an' I ain't agoin' to tell.
'You have confessed your sin, that is enough for me. God is softening your hard heart. Grace is coming to your soul. My brother! my brother! let us pray.
'Sha'n't! Leave me alone, can't y'?
Baltic fell on his knees. 'Oh, merciful God, have pity upon this most unhappy man sunk in the pit of sin. Let the Redeemer, Thy only begotten Son, stretch out His saving—.
Mosk began to sing a comic song in a harsh voice.
'His saving hand, oh God, to drag this poor soul from perdition. Let him call upon Thy most Holy Name out of the low dungeon. Cut him not off in the—.
'Stop! stop!' shrieked the unhappy man, with his fingers in his ears, 'oh, stop!
'His sins are as scarlet, but the precious blood of the Lamb will bleach them whiter than fine wool. Have mercy, Heavenly Father—.
Mosk, over-wrought and worn out, began to sob hysterically. At the sound of that grief Baltic sprang to his feet and laid a heavy hand on the shoulder of the sinner.
'On your knees! on your knees, my brother,' he cried in trumpet tones, with flashing eyes, 'implore mercy before the Great White Throne. Now is the time for repentance. God pity you! Christ save you! Satan loose you!' And he forced the man on to his knees. 'Down in Christ's name.
A choking, strangled cry escaped from the murderer, and his body pitched forward heavily on the cold stones. Baltic continued to pray.