en-es  THE BISHOP’S SECRET by Fergus Hume, CHAPTER 9
AN EXCITING ADVENTURE.

Mr Cargrim found a considerable number of people in the coffee-room, and these, with tankards and glasses before them, were listening to the conversation of Jentham. Tobacco smoke filled the apartment with a thick atmosphere of fog, through which the gas-lights flared in a nebulous fashion, and rendered the air so hot that it was difficult to breathe in spite of the windows being open. At the head of the long table sat Jentham, drinking brandy-and-soda, and speaking in his cracked, refined voice with considerable spirit, his rat-like, quick eyes glittering the while with alcoholic lustre. He seemed to be considerably under the influence of drink, and his voice ran up and down from bass to treble as he became excited in narrating his adventures.

Whether these were true or false Cargrim could not determine; for although the man trenched again and again on the marvellous, he certainly seemed to be fully acquainted with what he was talking about, and related the most wonderful stories in a thoroughly dramatic fashion. Like Ulysses, he knew men and cities, and appeared to have travelled as much as that famous globe-trotter. In his narration he passed from China to Chili, sailed north to the Pole, steamed south to the Horn, described the paradise of the South Seas, and discoursed about the wild wastes of snowy Siberia. The capitals of Europe appeared to be as familiar to him as the chair he was seated in; and the steppes of Russia, the deserts of Africa, the sheep runs of Australia were all mentioned in turn, as adventure after adventure fell from his lips. And mixed up with these geographical accounts were thrilling tales of treasure-hunting, of escapes from savages, of perilous deeds in the secret places of great cities; and details of blood, and war, and lust, and hate, all told in a fiercely dramatic fashion. The man was a tramp, a gipsy, a ragged, penniless rolling-stone; but in his own way he was a genius. Cargrim wondered, with all his bravery, and endurance, and resource, that he had not made his fortune. The eloquent scamp seemed to wonder also.

“For,” said he, striking the table with his fist, “I have never been able to hold what I won. I’ve been a millionaire twice over, but the gold wouldn’t stay; it drifted away, it was swept away, it vanished, like Macbeth’s witches, into thin air. Look at me, you country cabbages! I’ve reigned a king amongst savages. A poor sort of king, say you; but a king’s a king, say I; and king I have been. Yet here I am, sitting in a Beorminster gutter, but I don’t stay in it. By ——,” he confirmed his purpose with an oath, “not I. I’ve got my plans laid, and they’ll lift me up to the stars yet.” “Hev you the money, mister?” inquired a sceptical listener.

“What’s that to you?” cried Jentham, and finished his drink. “Yes, I have money!” He set down his empty glass with a bang. “At least I know where to get it. Bah! you fools, one can get blood out of a stone if one knows how to go about it. I know! I know! My Tom Tiddler’s ground isn’t far from your holy township,” and he began to sing,— “Southberry Heath’s Tom Tiddler’s ground, Gold and silver are there to be found.

It’s dropped by the priest, picked up by the knave, For the one is a coward, the other is brave.
More brandy, waiter; make it stiff, sonny! stiff! stiff! stiff!” The man’s wild speech and rude song were unintelligible to his stupid, drink-bemused audience; but the keen brain of the schemer lurking near the door picked up their sense at once. Dr Pendle was the priest who was to drop the money on Southberry Heath, and Jentham the knave who was to pick it up. As certainly as though the man had given chapter and verse, Cargrim understood his enigmatic stave. His mind flashed back to the memory that Dr Pendle intended to ride over to Southberry in the morning, across the heath. Without doubt he had agreed to meet there this man who boasted that he could get blood out of a stone, and the object of the meeting was to bribe him to silence. But however loosely Jentham alluded to his intention of picking up gold, he was cunning enough, with all his excitement, to hold his tongue as to how he could work such a miracle. Undoubtedly there was a secret between Dr Pendle and this scamp; but what it might be, Cargrim could by no means guess. Was Jentham a disreputable relation of the bishop’s? Had Dr Pendle committed a crime in his youth for which he was now being blackmailed? What could be the nature of the secret which gave this unscrupulous blackguard a hold on a dignitary of the Church? Cargrim’s brain was quite bewildered by his conjectures.

Hitherto Jentham had been in the blabbing stage of intoxication, but after another glass of drink he relapsed into a sullen, silent condition, and with his eyes on the table pulled fiercely at his pipe, so that his wicked face looked out like that of a devil from amid the rolling clouds of smoke. His audience waited open-mouthed for more stories, but as their entertainer seemed too moody to tell them any more, they began to talk amongst themselves, principally about horses and dogs. It was now growing late, and the most respectable of the crowd were moving homeward. Cargrim felt that to keep up the dignity of his cloth he should depart also; for several looks of surprise were cast in his direction. But Jentham and his wild speeches fascinated him, and he lurked in his corner, watching the sullen face of the man until the two were left the sole occupants of the room. Then Jentham looked up to call the waiter to bring him a final drink, and his eyes met those of Mr Cargrim. After a keen glance he suddenly broke into a peal of discordant laughter, which died away into a savage and menacing growl.

“Hallo!” he grumbled, “here is the busybody of Beorminster. And what may you want, Mr Paul Pry?” “A little civility in the first place, my worthy friend,” said Cargrim, in silky tones, for he did not relish the insolent tone of the satirical scamp.

“I am no friend to spies!” “How dare you speak to me like that, fellow?” “You call me a fellow and I’ll knock your head off,” cried Jentham, rising with a savage look in his eyes. “If you aren’t a spy why do you come sneaking round here?” “I came to see Mrs Mosk,” explained the chaplain, in a mighty dignified manner, “but she is asleep, so I could not see her. In passing the door of this room I heard you relating your adventures, and I naturally stopped to listen.” “To hear if I had anything to say about my visit to your bishop, I suppose?” growled Jentham, unpleasantly. “I have a great mind to tell him how you watch me, you infernal devil-dodger!” “Respect my cloth, sir.” “Begin by respecting it yourself, d—— you. What would his lordship of Beorminster say if he knew you were here?” “His lordship does know.” Jentham started. “Perhaps he sent you?” he said, looking doubtful.

“No, he did not,” contradicted Cargrim, who saw that nothing was to be learned while the man was thus bemused with drink. “I have told you the reason of my presence here. And as I am here, I warn you, as a clergyman, not to drink any more. You have already had more than enough.” Jentham was staggered by the boldness of the chaplain, and stared at him open-mouthed; then recovering his speech, he poured forth such a volley of vile words at Cargrim that the chaplain stepped to the door and called the landlord. He felt that it was time for him to assert himself.

“This man is drunk, Mosk,” said he, sharply, “and if you keep such a creature on your premises you will get into trouble.” “Creature yourself!” cried Jentham, advancing towards Cargrim. “I’ll wring your neck if you use such language to me. I’ve killed fifty better men than you in my time. Mosk!” he turned with a snarl on the landlord, “get me a drink of brandy.” “I think you’ve had enough, Mr Jentham,” said the landlord, with a glance at Cargrim, “and you know you owe me money.” “Curse you, what of that?” raved Jentham, stamping. “Do you think I’ll not pay you?” “I’ve not seen the colour of your money lately.” “You’ll see it when I choose. I’ll have hundreds of pounds next week—hundreds;” and he broke out fiercely, “get me more brandy; don’t mind that devil-dodger.” “Go to bed,” said Mosk, retiring, “go to bed.” Jentham ran after him with an angry cry, so Cargrim, feeling himself somewhat out of place in this pot-house row, nodded to Mosk and left the hotel with as much dignity as he could muster. As he went, the burden of Jentham’s last speech—”hundreds of pounds! hundreds of pounds!”—rang in his ears; and more than ever he desired to examine the bishop’s cheque-book, in order to ascertain the exact sum. The secret, he thought, must indeed be a precious one when the cost of its preservation ran into three figures.

When Cargrim emerged into the street it was still filled with people, as ten o’clock was just chiming from the cathedral tower. The gossipers had retired within, and lights were gleaming in the upper windows of the houses; but knots of neighbours still stood about here and there, talking and laughing loudly. Cargrim strolled slowly down the street towards the Eastgate, musing over his late experience, and enjoying the coolness of the night air after the sultry atmosphere of the coffee-room. The sky was now brilliant with stars, and a silver moon rolled aloft in the blue arch, shedding down floods of light on the town, and investing its commonplace aspect with something of romance. The streets were radiant with the cold, clear lustre; the shadows cast by the houses lay black as Indian ink on the ground; and the laughter and noise of the passers-by seemed woefully out of place in this magical white world.

Cargrim was alive to the beauty of the night, but was too much taken up with his thoughts to pay much attention to its mingled mystery of shadow and light. As he took his musing way through the wide streets of the modern town, he was suddenly brought to a standstill by hearing the voice of Jentham some distance away. Evidently the man had quarrelled with the landlord, and had been turned out of the hotel, for he came rolling along in a lurching, drunken manner, roaring out a wild and savage ditty, picked up, no doubt, in some land at the back of beyond.

“Oh, I have treked the eight world climes, And sailed the seven seas: I’ve made my pile a hundred times, And chucked the lot on sprees.

But when my ship comes home, my lads, Why, curse me, don’t I know The spot that’s worth, the blooming earth, The spot where I shall go.

They call it Callao! for oh, it’s Callao.

For on no condition Is extradition Allowed in Callao.” Jentham roared and ranted the fierce old chanty with as much gusto and noise as though he were camping in the waste lands to which the song applied, instead of disturbing the peace of a quiet English town. As his thin form came swinging along in the silver light, men and women drew back with looks of alarm to let him pass, and Cargrim, not wishing to have trouble with the drunken bully, slipped into the shadow of a house until he passed. As usual, there was no policeman visible, and Jentham went bellowing and storming through the quiet summer night like the dissolute ruffian he was. He was making for the country in the direction of the palace, and wondering if he intended to force his way into the house to threaten Dr Pendle, the chaplain followed immediately behind. But he was careful to keep out of sight, as Jentham was in just the excited frame of mind to draw a knife: and Cargrim, knowing his lawless nature, had little doubt but that he had one concealed in his boot or trouser belt. The delicate coward shivered at the idea of a rough-and-tumble encounter with an armed buccaneer.

On went Jentham, swinging his arms with mad gestures, and followed by the black shadow of the chaplain, until the two were clear of the town. Then the gipsy turned down a shadowy lane, cut through a footpath, and when he emerged again into the broad roadway, found himself opposite the iron gates of the episcopalian park. Here he stopped singing and shook his fist at them.

“Come out, you devil-dodger!” he bellowed savagely. “Come out and give me money, or I’ll shame you before the whole town, you clerical hypocrite.” Then he took a pull at a pocket-flask.

Cargrim listened eagerly in the hope of hearing something definite, and Jentham gathered himself together for further denunciation of the bishop, when round the corner tripped two women, towards whom his drunken attention was at once attracted. With a hoarse chuckle he reeled towards them.

“Come along m’ beauty,” he hiccuped, stretching out his arms, “here’s your haven. Wine and women! I love them both.” The women both shrieked, and rushed along the road, pursued by the ruffian. Just as he laid rude hands on the last one, a young man came racing along the footpath and swung into the middle of the road. The next moment Jentham lay sprawling on his back, and the lady assaulted was clinging to the arm of her preserver.

“Why, it’s Mab!” said the young man, in surprise.

“George!” cried Miss Arden, and burst into tears. “Oh, George!” “Curse you both!” growled Jentham, rising slowly. “I’ll be even with you for that blow, my lad.” “I’ll kick you into the next field if you don’t clear out,” retorted George Pendle. “Did he hurt you, Mab?” “No! no! but I was afraid. I was at Mrs Tears, and was coming home with Ellen, when that man jumped on to us. Oh! oh! oh!” “The villain!” cried Captain Pendle; “who is he?” It was at this moment that, all danger being over, Cargrim judged it judicious to emerge from his retreat. He came forward hurriedly, as though he had just arrived on the scene.

“What is the matter?” he exclaimed. “I heard a scream. What, Captain Pendle! Miss Arden! This is indeed a surprise.” “Captain Pendle!” cried Jentham. “The son of the bishop. Curse him!” George whirled his stick and made a dash at the creature, but was restrained by Mab, who implored him not to provoke further quarrels.

George took her arm within his own, gave a curt nod to the chaplain, whom he suspected had seen more of the affray than he chose to admit, and flung a word to Jentham.

“Clear out, you dog!” he said, “or I’ll hand you over to the police. Come, Mab, yonder is Ellen waiting for you. We’ll join her, and I shall see you both home.” Jentham stood looking after the three figures with a scowl. “You’ll hand me over to the police, George Pendle, will you?” he muttered, loud enough for Cargrim to overhear. “Take care I don’t do the same thing to your father,” and like a noisome and dangerous animal he crept back in the shadow of the hedge and disappeared.

“Aha!” chuckled Cargrim, as he walked towards the park gates, “it has to do with the police, then, my lord bishop. So much the better for me, so much the worse for you.”
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AN EXCITING ADVENTURE.
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The eloquent scamp seemed to wonder also.
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Look at me, you country cabbages!
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I’ve reigned a king amongst savages.
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“What’s that to you?” cried Jentham, and finished his drink.
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“Yes, I have money!” He set down his empty glass with a bang.
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“At least I know where to get it.
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Bah!
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I know!
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I know!
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More brandy, waiter; make it stiff, sonny!
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stiff!
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stiff!
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Was Jentham a disreputable relation of the bishop’s?
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Cargrim’s brain was quite bewildered by his conjectures.
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“Hallo!” he grumbled, “here is the busybody of Beorminster.
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“Perhaps he sent you?” he said, looking doubtful.
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“I have told you the reason of my presence here.
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And as I am here, I warn you, as a clergyman, not to drink any more.
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He felt that it was time for him to assert himself.
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“I’ll wring your neck if you use such language to me.
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I’ve killed fifty better men than you in my time.
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They call it Callao!
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for oh, it’s Callao.
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Here he stopped singing and shook his fist at them.
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“Come out, you devil-dodger!” he bellowed savagely.
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With a hoarse chuckle he reeled towards them.
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Wine and women!
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“Why, it’s Mab!” said the young man, in surprise.
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“George!” cried Miss Arden, and burst into tears.
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“Oh, George!” “Curse you both!” growled Jentham, rising slowly.
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“Did he hurt you, Mab?” “No!
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no!
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but I was afraid.
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Oh!
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oh!
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He came forward hurriedly, as though he had just arrived on the scene.
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“What is the matter?” he exclaimed.
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“I heard a scream.
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What, Captain Pendle!
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Miss Arden!
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This is indeed a surprise.” “Captain Pendle!” cried Jentham.
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“The son of the bishop.
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Come, Mab, yonder is Ellen waiting for you.
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So much the better for me, so much the worse for you.”
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AN EXCITING ADVENTURE.

Mr Cargrim found a considerable number of people in the coffee-room, and these, with tankards and glasses before them, were listening to the conversation of Jentham. Tobacco smoke filled the apartment with a thick atmosphere of fog, through which the gas-lights flared in a nebulous fashion, and rendered the air so hot that it was difficult to breathe in spite of the windows being open. At the head of the long table sat Jentham, drinking brandy-and-soda, and speaking in his cracked, refined voice with considerable spirit, his rat-like, quick eyes glittering the while with alcoholic lustre. He seemed to be considerably under the influence of drink, and his voice ran up and down from bass to treble as he became excited in narrating his adventures.

Whether these were true or false Cargrim could not determine; for although the man trenched again and again on the marvellous, he certainly seemed to be fully acquainted with what he was talking about, and related the most wonderful stories in a thoroughly dramatic fashion. Like Ulysses, he knew men and cities, and appeared to have travelled as much as that famous globe-trotter. In his narration he passed from China to Chili, sailed north to the Pole, steamed south to the Horn, described the paradise of the South Seas, and discoursed about the wild wastes of snowy Siberia. The capitals of Europe appeared to be as familiar to him as the chair he was seated in; and the steppes of Russia, the deserts of Africa, the sheep runs of Australia were all mentioned in turn, as adventure after adventure fell from his lips. And mixed up with these geographical accounts were thrilling tales of treasure-hunting, of escapes from savages, of perilous deeds in the secret places of great cities; and details of blood, and war, and lust, and hate, all told in a fiercely dramatic fashion. The man was a tramp, a gipsy, a ragged, penniless rolling-stone; but in his own way he was a genius. Cargrim wondered, with all his bravery, and endurance, and resource, that he had not made his fortune. The eloquent scamp seemed to wonder also.

“For,” said he, striking the table with his fist, “I have never been able to hold what I won. I’ve been a millionaire twice over, but the gold wouldn’t stay; it drifted away, it was swept away, it vanished, like Macbeth’s witches, into thin air. Look at me, you country cabbages! I’ve reigned a king amongst savages. A poor sort of king, say you; but a king’s a king, say I; and king I have been. Yet here I am, sitting in a Beorminster gutter, but I don’t stay in it. By ——,” he confirmed his purpose with an oath, “not I. I’ve got my plans laid, and they’ll lift me up to the stars yet.”

“Hev you the money, mister?” inquired a sceptical listener.

“What’s that to you?” cried Jentham, and finished his drink. “Yes, I have money!” He set down his empty glass with a bang. “At least I know where to get it. Bah! you fools, one can get blood out of a stone if one knows how to go about it. I know! I know! My Tom Tiddler’s ground isn’t far from your holy township,” and he began to sing,—

“Southberry Heath’s Tom Tiddler’s ground,

Gold and silver are there to be found.

It’s dropped by the priest, picked up by the knave,

For the one is a coward, the other is brave.
More brandy, waiter; make it stiff, sonny! stiff! stiff! stiff!”

The man’s wild speech and rude song were unintelligible to his stupid, drink-bemused audience; but the keen brain of the schemer lurking near the door picked up their sense at once. Dr Pendle was the priest who was to drop the money on Southberry Heath, and Jentham the knave who was to pick it up. As certainly as though the man had given chapter and verse, Cargrim understood his enigmatic stave. His mind flashed back to the memory that Dr Pendle intended to ride over to Southberry in the morning, across the heath. Without doubt he had agreed to meet there this man who boasted that he could get blood out of a stone, and the object of the meeting was to bribe him to silence. But however loosely Jentham alluded to his intention of picking up gold, he was cunning enough, with all his excitement, to hold his tongue as to how he could work such a miracle. Undoubtedly there was a secret between Dr Pendle and this scamp; but what it might be, Cargrim could by no means guess. Was Jentham a disreputable relation of the bishop’s? Had Dr Pendle committed a crime in his youth for which he was now being blackmailed? What could be the nature of the secret which gave this unscrupulous blackguard a hold on a dignitary of the Church? Cargrim’s brain was quite bewildered by his conjectures.

Hitherto Jentham had been in the blabbing stage of intoxication, but after another glass of drink he relapsed into a sullen, silent condition, and with his eyes on the table pulled fiercely at his pipe, so that his wicked face looked out like that of a devil from amid the rolling clouds of smoke. His audience waited open-mouthed for more stories, but as their entertainer seemed too moody to tell them any more, they began to talk amongst themselves, principally about horses and dogs. It was now growing late, and the most respectable of the crowd were moving homeward. Cargrim felt that to keep up the dignity of his cloth he should depart also; for several looks of surprise were cast in his direction. But Jentham and his wild speeches fascinated him, and he lurked in his corner, watching the sullen face of the man until the two were left the sole occupants of the room. Then Jentham looked up to call the waiter to bring him a final drink, and his eyes met those of Mr Cargrim. After a keen glance he suddenly broke into a peal of discordant laughter, which died away into a savage and menacing growl.

“Hallo!” he grumbled, “here is the busybody of Beorminster. And what may you want, Mr Paul Pry?”

“A little civility in the first place, my worthy friend,” said Cargrim, in silky tones, for he did not relish the insolent tone of the satirical scamp.

“I am no friend to spies!”

“How dare you speak to me like that, fellow?”

“You call me a fellow and I’ll knock your head off,” cried Jentham, rising with a savage look in his eyes. “If you aren’t a spy why do you come sneaking round here?”

“I came to see Mrs Mosk,” explained the chaplain, in a mighty dignified manner, “but she is asleep, so I could not see her. In passing the door of this room I heard you relating your adventures, and I naturally stopped to listen.”

“To hear if I had anything to say about my visit to your bishop, I suppose?” growled Jentham, unpleasantly. “I have a great mind to tell him how you watch me, you infernal devil-dodger!”

“Respect my cloth, sir.”

“Begin by respecting it yourself, d—— you. What would his lordship of Beorminster say if he knew you were here?”

“His lordship does know.”

Jentham started. “Perhaps he sent you?” he said, looking doubtful.

“No, he did not,” contradicted Cargrim, who saw that nothing was to be learned while the man was thus bemused with drink. “I have told you the reason of my presence here. And as I am here, I warn you, as a clergyman, not to drink any more. You have already had more than enough.”

Jentham was staggered by the boldness of the chaplain, and stared at him open-mouthed; then recovering his speech, he poured forth such a volley of vile words at Cargrim that the chaplain stepped to the door and called the landlord. He felt that it was time for him to assert himself.

“This man is drunk, Mosk,” said he, sharply, “and if you keep such a creature on your premises you will get into trouble.”

“Creature yourself!” cried Jentham, advancing towards Cargrim. “I’ll wring your neck if you use such language to me. I’ve killed fifty better men than you in my time. Mosk!” he turned with a snarl on the landlord, “get me a drink of brandy.”

“I think you’ve had enough, Mr Jentham,” said the landlord, with a glance at Cargrim, “and you know you owe me money.”

“Curse you, what of that?” raved Jentham, stamping. “Do you think I’ll not pay you?”

“I’ve not seen the colour of your money lately.”

“You’ll see it when I choose. I’ll have hundreds of pounds next week—hundreds;” and he broke out fiercely, “get me more brandy; don’t mind that devil-dodger.”

“Go to bed,” said Mosk, retiring, “go to bed.”

Jentham ran after him with an angry cry, so Cargrim, feeling himself somewhat out of place in this pot-house row, nodded to Mosk and left the hotel with as much dignity as he could muster. As he went, the burden of Jentham’s last speech—”hundreds of pounds! hundreds of pounds!”—rang in his ears; and more than ever he desired to examine the bishop’s cheque-book, in order to ascertain the exact sum. The secret, he thought, must indeed be a precious one when the cost of its preservation ran into three figures.

When Cargrim emerged into the street it was still filled with people, as ten o’clock was just chiming from the cathedral tower. The gossipers had retired within, and lights were gleaming in the upper windows of the houses; but knots of neighbours still stood about here and there, talking and laughing loudly. Cargrim strolled slowly down the street towards the Eastgate, musing over his late experience, and enjoying the coolness of the night air after the sultry atmosphere of the coffee-room. The sky was now brilliant with stars, and a silver moon rolled aloft in the blue arch, shedding down floods of light on the town, and investing its commonplace aspect with something of romance. The streets were radiant with the cold, clear lustre; the shadows cast by the houses lay black as Indian ink on the ground; and the laughter and noise of the passers-by seemed woefully out of place in this magical white world.

Cargrim was alive to the beauty of the night, but was too much taken up with his thoughts to pay much attention to its mingled mystery of shadow and light. As he took his musing way through the wide streets of the modern town, he was suddenly brought to a standstill by hearing the voice of Jentham some distance away. Evidently the man had quarrelled with the landlord, and had been turned out of the hotel, for he came rolling along in a lurching, drunken manner, roaring out a wild and savage ditty, picked up, no doubt, in some land at the back of beyond.

“Oh, I have treked the eight world climes,

And sailed the seven seas:

I’ve made my pile a hundred times,

And chucked the lot on sprees.

But when my ship comes home, my lads,

Why, curse me, don’t I know

The spot that’s worth, the blooming earth,

The spot where I shall go.

They call it Callao! for oh, it’s Callao.

For on no condition

Is extradition

Allowed in Callao.”

Jentham roared and ranted the fierce old chanty with as much gusto and noise as though he were camping in the waste lands to which the song applied, instead of disturbing the peace of a quiet English town. As his thin form came swinging along in the silver light, men and women drew back with looks of alarm to let him pass, and Cargrim, not wishing to have trouble with the drunken bully, slipped into the shadow of a house until he passed. As usual, there was no policeman visible, and Jentham went bellowing and storming through the quiet summer night like the dissolute ruffian he was. He was making for the country in the direction of the palace, and wondering if he intended to force his way into the house to threaten Dr Pendle, the chaplain followed immediately behind. But he was careful to keep out of sight, as Jentham was in just the excited frame of mind to draw a knife: and Cargrim, knowing his lawless nature, had little doubt but that he had one concealed in his boot or trouser belt. The delicate coward shivered at the idea of a rough-and-tumble encounter with an armed buccaneer.

On went Jentham, swinging his arms with mad gestures, and followed by the black shadow of the chaplain, until the two were clear of the town. Then the gipsy turned down a shadowy lane, cut through a footpath, and when he emerged again into the broad roadway, found himself opposite the iron gates of the episcopalian park. Here he stopped singing and shook his fist at them.

“Come out, you devil-dodger!” he bellowed savagely. “Come out and give me money, or I’ll shame you before the whole town, you clerical hypocrite.” Then he took a pull at a pocket-flask.

Cargrim listened eagerly in the hope of hearing something definite, and Jentham gathered himself together for further denunciation of the bishop, when round the corner tripped two women, towards whom his drunken attention was at once attracted. With a hoarse chuckle he reeled towards them.

“Come along m’ beauty,” he hiccuped, stretching out his arms, “here’s your haven. Wine and women! I love them both.”

The women both shrieked, and rushed along the road, pursued by the ruffian. Just as he laid rude hands on the last one, a young man came racing along the footpath and swung into the middle of the road. The next moment Jentham lay sprawling on his back, and the lady assaulted was clinging to the arm of her preserver.

“Why, it’s Mab!” said the young man, in surprise.

“George!” cried Miss Arden, and burst into tears. “Oh, George!”

“Curse you both!” growled Jentham, rising slowly. “I’ll be even with you for that blow, my lad.”

“I’ll kick you into the next field if you don’t clear out,” retorted George Pendle. “Did he hurt you, Mab?”

“No! no! but I was afraid. I was at Mrs Tears, and was coming home with Ellen, when that man jumped on to us. Oh! oh! oh!”

“The villain!” cried Captain Pendle; “who is he?”

It was at this moment that, all danger being over, Cargrim judged it judicious to emerge from his retreat. He came forward hurriedly, as though he had just arrived on the scene.

“What is the matter?” he exclaimed. “I heard a scream. What, Captain Pendle! Miss Arden! This is indeed a surprise.”

“Captain Pendle!” cried Jentham. “The son of the bishop. Curse him!”

George whirled his stick and made a dash at the creature, but was restrained by Mab, who implored him not to provoke further quarrels.

George took her arm within his own, gave a curt nod to the chaplain, whom he suspected had seen more of the affray than he chose to admit, and flung a word to Jentham.

“Clear out, you dog!” he said, “or I’ll hand you over to the police. Come, Mab, yonder is Ellen waiting for you. We’ll join her, and I shall see you both home.”

Jentham stood looking after the three figures with a scowl. “You’ll hand me over to the police, George Pendle, will you?” he muttered, loud enough for Cargrim to overhear. “Take care I don’t do the same thing to your father,” and like a noisome and dangerous animal he crept back in the shadow of the hedge and disappeared.

“Aha!” chuckled Cargrim, as he walked towards the park gates, “it has to do with the police, then, my lord bishop. So much the better for me, so much the worse for you.”