en-es  THE BISHOP'S SECRET by FERGUS HUME - Chapter 27
For more info, please see discussion tab.
CHAPTER XXVII - WHAT MOTHER JAEL KNEW.
Now, when Baltic and his grizzled head had vanished, Sir Harry must needs betake himself to Dr Graham for the easing of his mind. The doctor had known the young man since he was a little lad, and on more than one occasion had given him that practical kind of advice which results from experience; therefore, when Harry was perplexed over matters too deep for him—as he was now—he invariably sought counsel of his old friend. In the present instance—for his own sake, for the sake of Lucy and Lucy's father—he told Graham the whole story of Bishop Pendle's presumed guilt; of Baltic's mission to disprove it; and of Cargrim's underhanded doings. Graham listened to the details in silence, and contented himself with a grim smile or two when Cargrim's treachery was touched upon. When in possession of the facts, he commented firstly on the behaviour of the chaplain.
'I always thought that the fellow was a cur!' said he, contemptuously, 'and now I am certain of it.
'Curs bite, sir,' said Brace, sententiously, 'and we must muzzle this one else there will be the devil to pay.
'No doubt, when Cargrim receives his wages. Well, lad, and what do you propose doing?
'I came to ask your advice, doctor!
'Here it is, then. Hold your tongue and do nothing.
'What! and leave that hound to plot against the bishop?
'A cleverer head than yours is counter-plotting him, Brace,' warned the doctor. 'While Cargrim, having faith in Baltic, leaves the matter of the murder in his hands, there can be no open scandal.
Harry stared, and moodily tugged at his moustache. 'I never thought to hear you hint that the bishop was guilty,' he grumbled.
'And I,' retorted Graham, 'never thought to hear a man of your sense make so silly a speech. The bishop is innocent; I'll stake my life on that. Nevertheless, he has a secret, and if there is a scandal about this murder, the secret—whatever it is—may become public property.
'Humph! that is to be avoided certainly. But the secret can be nothing harmful.
'If it were not,' replied Graham, drily, 'Pendle would not take such pains to conceal it. People don't pay two hundred pounds for nothing harmful, my lad.
'Do you believe that the money was paid?
'Yes, on Southberry Heath, shortly before the murder. And what is more,' added Graham, warmly, 'I believe that the assassin knew that Jentham had received the money, and shot him to obtain it.
'If that is so,' argued Harry, 'the assassin would no doubt wish to take the benefit of his crime and use the money. If he did, the numbers of the notes being known, they would be traced, whereas—.
'Whereas Baltic, who got the numbers from the bank, has not yet had time to trace them. Wait, Brace, wait! Time, in this matter, may work wonders.
'But, doctor, do you trust Baltic?
'Yes, my friend, I always trust fanatics in their own particular line of monomania. Besides, for all his religious craze, Baltic appears to be a shrewd man; also he is a silent one, so if anyone can carry the matter through judiciously, he is the person.
'What about Cargrim?
'Leave him alone, lad; with sufficient rope he'll surely hang himself.
'Shouldn't the bishop be warned, doctor?
'I think not. If we watch Cargrim and trust Baltic we shall be able to protect Pendle from the consequences of his folly.
'Folly! What folly?
'The folly of having a secret. Only women should have secrets, for they alone know how to keep them.
'Everyone is of the opposite opinion,' said Brace, with a grin.
'And, as usual, everyone is wrong,' retorted Graham. 'Do you think I have been a doctor all these years and don't know the sex?—that is, so far as a man may know them. You take my word for it, Brace, that a woman knows how to hold her tongue. It is a popular fallacy to suppose that she doesn't. You try and get a secret out of a woman which she thinks is worth keeping, and see how you'll fare. She will laugh, and talk and lie, and tell you everything—except what you want to know. What strength is to a man, cunning is to a woman. They are the potters, we are the clay, and—and—and my discourse is as discursive as that of Praed's vicar,' finished the doctor, with a dry chuckle.
'It has led us a long way from the main point,' agreed Harry, 'and that is—what is Dr Pendle's secret?
Graham shook his head and shrugged his shoulders. 'You ask more than I can tell you,' he said sadly. 'Whatever it is, Pendle intends to keep it to himself. All we can do is to trust Baltic.
'Well, doctor,' said Harry, taking a reluctant leave, for he wished to thresh out the matter into absolute chaff, 'you know best, so I shall follow your advice.
'I am glad of that,' was Graham's reply. 'My time is too valuable to be wasted.
While this conversation was taking place, Baltic was walking briskly across the brown heath, in the full blaze of the noonday. A merciless sun flamed like a furnace in the cloudless sky; and over the vast expanse of dry burnt herbage lay a veil of misty, tremulous heat. Every pool of water flashed like a mirror in the sun-rays; the drone of myriad insects rose from the ground; the lark's clear music rained down from the sky; and the ex-sailor, trudging along the white and dusty highway, almost persuaded himself that he was back in some tropical land, less gorgeous, but quite as sultry, as the one he had left. The day was fitter for mid June rather than late September.
Baltic made so much concession to the unusual weather as to drape his red handkerchief over his head and place his Panama hat on top of it; but he still wore the thick pilot suit, buttoned up tightly, and stepped out smartly, as though he were a salamander impervious to heat. With his long arms swinging by his side, his steady, grey eyes observant of all around him, he rolled on, in true nautical style, towards the gipsy camp. This was not hard to discover, for it lay only a mile or so from Southberry Junction, some little distance off the main road. The missionary saw a huddle of caravans, a few straying horses, a cluster of tawny, half-clad children rioting in the sunshine; and knowing that this was his port of call, he stepped off the road on to the grass, and made directly for the encampment. He had a warrant for Mother Jael's arrest in his pocket, but save himself there was no one to execute it, and it might be difficult to take the old woman in charge when she was—so to speak—safe in the heart of her kingdom. However, Baltic regarded the warrant only as a means to an end, and did not intend to use it, other than as a bogey to terrify Mother Jael into confession. He trusted more to his religiosity and persuasive capabilities than to the power of the law. Nevertheless, being practical as well as sentimental, he was glad to have the warrant in case of need; for it was possible that a heathenish witch like Mother Jael might fear man more than God. Finally, Baltic had some experience of casting religious pearls before pagan swine, and therefore was discreet in his use of spiritual remedies.
Dogs barked and children screeched when Baltic stepped into the circle formed by caravans and tents; and several swart, sinewy, gipsy men darted threatening glances at him as an intrusive stranger. There burned a fire near one of the caravans, over which was slung a kettle, swinging from a tripod of iron, and this was filled with some savoury stew, which sent forth appetising odours. A dark, handsome girl, with golden earrings, and a yellow handkerchief twisted picturesquely round her black hair, was the cook, and she turned to face Baltic with a scowl when he inquired for Mother Jael. Evidently the Gentiles were no favourites in the camp of these outcasts, for the men lounging about murmured, the women tittered and sneered, and the very children spat out evil words in the Romany language. But Baltic, used to black skins and black looks, was not daunted by this inhospitable reception, and in grave tones repeated his inquiry for the sibyl.
'Who are you, juggel-mush?' [1 see discussion] asked a sinister-looking Hercules.
'I am one who wishes to see Mother Jael,' replied Baltic, in his deep voice.
'Arromali!' [2 see discussion] sneered the Cleopatra-like cook. 'She has more to do than to see every cheating, choring Gentile.
'Give me money, my royal master,' croaked a frightful cripple. 'My own little purse is empty.
'Oh, what a handsome Gorgio!' whined a hag, interspersing her speech with curses. '(May evil befall him!) Good luck for gold, dearie. (I spit on your corpse, Gentile!) Charity! Charity!
A girl seated on the steps of a caravan cracked her fingers, and spitting three times for the evil eye, burst into a song: 'With my kissings and caressings I can gain gold from the Gentiles; But to evil change my blessings'.
All this clatter and clamour of harsh voices, mouthing the wild gipsies' jargon, had no effect on Baltic. Seeing that he could gain nothing from the mocking crowd, he pushed back one or two, who seemed disposed to be affectionate with a view to robbing his pockets, and shouted loudly, 'Mother Jael! Mother Jael!' till the place rang with his roaring.
Before the gipsies could recover from their astonishment at this sudden change of front, a dishevelled grey head was poked out from one of the black tents, and a thin high voice piped, 'Dearie! lovey! Mother Jael be here!
'I thought I would bring you out of your burrow,' said Baltic, grimly, as he strode towards her; 'in with you again, old Witch of Endor, and let me follow.
'Hindity-Mush! '[3 see discussion] growled one or two, but the appearance of Mother Jael, and a few words from her, sent the whole gang back to their idling and working; while Baltic, quite undisturbed, dropped on all fours and crawled into the black tent, at the tail of the hag. She croaked out a welcome to her visitor, and squatting on a tumbled mattress, leered at him like a foul old toad. Baltic sat down near the opening of the tent, so as to get as much fresh air as possible, and also to watch Mother Jael's face by the glimmer of light which crept in. Spreading his handsome handkerchief on his knee, according to custom, and placing his hat thereon, he looked straightly at the old hag, and spoke slowly.
'Do you know why I am here, old woman?' he demanded.
'Yes, dearie, yes! Ain't it yer forting as y' wan's tole? Oh, my pretty one, you asks ole mother for a fair future! I knows! I knows!
'You know wrong then!' retorted Baltic, coolly. 'I am one who has no dealings with witches and familiar spirits. I ask you to tell me, not my fortune—which lies in the hand of the Almighty—but the name of the man who murdered the creature Jentham.
Mother Jael made an odd whistling sound, and her cunning old face became as expressionless as a mask. In a second, save for her wicked black eyes, which smouldered like two sparks of fire under her drooping lids, she became a picture of stupidity and senility. 'Bless 'ee, my pretty master, I knows nought; all I knows I told the Gentiles yonder,' and the hag pointed a crooked finger in the direction of Beorminster.
'Mother of the witches, you lie!' cried Baltic, in very good Romany.
The eyes of Mother Jael blazed up like torches at the sound of the familiar tongue, and she eyed the weather-beaten face of Baltic with an amazement too genuine to be feigned. 'Duvel!' said she, in a high key of astonishment, 'who is this Gorgio who patters with the gab of a gentle Romany?
'I am a brother of the tribe, my sister.
'No gipsy, though,' said the hag, in the black language. 'You have not the glossy eye of the true Roman.
'No Roman am I, my sister, save by adoption. As a lad I left the Gentiles' roof for the merry tent of Egypt, and for many years I called Lovels and Stanleys my blood-brothers.
'Then why come you with a double face, little child?' croaked the beldam, who knew that Baltic was speaking the truth from his knowledge of the gipsy tongue. 'As a Gentile I would speak no word, but my brother you are, and as my brother you shall know.
'Know who killed Jentham!' said Baltic, hastily.
'Of a truth, brother. But call him not Jentham, for he was of Pharaoh's blood.
'A gipsy, mother, or only a Romany rye?
'Of the old blood, of the true blood, of our religion verily, my brother. One of the Lovels he was, who left our merry life to eat with Gorgios and fiddle gold out of their pockets.
'He called himself Amaru then, did he not?' said Baltic, who had heard this much from Cargrim, to whom it had filtered from Miss Whichello through Tinkler.
'It is so, brother. Amaru he called himself, and Jentham and Creagth, and a dozen other names when cheating and choring the Gentiles. But a Bosvile he was born, and a Bosvile he died.
'That is just it!' said Baltic, in English, for he grew weary of using the gipsy language, in which, from disuse, he was no great proficient. 'How did he die?
'He was shot, lovey,' replied Mother Jael, relapsing also into the vulgar tongue; 'shot, dearie, on this blessed common.
'Who shot him?
'Job! my noble rye, I can't say. Jentham, he come 'ere to patter the calo jib and drink with us. He said as he had to see some Gentile on that night! La! la! la!' she piped thinly, 'an evil night for him!
'On Sunday night—the night he was killed?
'Yes, pretty one. The Gorgio was to give him money for somethin' he knowed.
'Who was the Gorgio?
'I don' know, lovey! I don' know!
'What was the secret, then?' asked Baltic, casting round for information.
'Bless 'ee, my tiny! Jentham nivir tole me. An' I was curis to know, my dove, so when he walks away half-seas over I goes too. I follows, lovey, I follow, but I nivir did cotch him up, fur rain and storm comed mos' dreful.
'Did you not see him on that night, then?
'Sight of my eyes, I sawr 'im dead. I 'eard a shot, and I run, and run, dearie, fur I know'd as 'e 'ad no pistol; but I los' m'way, my royal rye, and it was ony when th' storm rolled off as I foun' 'im. He was lyin' in a ditch. Such was his grave,' continued Mother Jael, speaking in her own tongue, 'water and grass and storm-clouds above, brother. I was afraid to touch him, afraid to wait, as these Gentiles might think I had slain the man. I got back into the road, I did, and there I picked up this, which I brought to the camp with me. But I never showed it to the police, brother, for I feared the Gentile jails.
This proved to be a neat little silver-mounted pistol which Mother Jael fished out from the interior of the mattress. Baltic balanced it in his hand, and believing, as was surely natural, that Jentham had been killed with this weapon, he examined it carefully.
'G. P.,' said he, reading the initials graven on the silver shield of the butt.
'Ah!' chuckled Mother Jael, hugging herself. 'George Pendle that is, lovey. But which of 'em, my tender dove—the father or the son?
'Humph!' remarked Baltic, meditatively, 'they are both called George.
'But they ain't both called murderer, my brother. George Pendle shot that Bosvile sure enough, an' ef y'arsk me, dearie, it was the son—the captain—the sodger. Ah, that it was!
unit 1
For more info, please see discussion tab.
0 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity None
unit 2
CHAPTER XXVII - WHAT MOTHER JAEL KNEW.
0 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity None
unit 8
'I always thought that the fellow was a cur!'
0 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity None
unit 9
said he, contemptuously, 'and now I am certain of it.
0 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity None
unit 11
'No doubt, when Cargrim receives his wages.
0 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity None
unit 12
Well, lad, and what do you propose doing?
0 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity None
unit 13
'I came to ask your advice, doctor!
0 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity None
unit 14
'Here it is, then.
0 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity None
unit 15
Hold your tongue and do nothing.
0 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity None
unit 16
'What!
0 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity None
unit 17
and leave that hound to plot against the bishop?
0 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity None
unit 20
Harry stared, and moodily tugged at his moustache.
0 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity None
unit 21
unit 23
The bishop is innocent; I'll stake my life on that.
0 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity None
unit 25
'Humph!
0 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity None
unit 26
that is to be avoided certainly.
0 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity None
unit 27
But the secret can be nothing harmful.
0 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity None
unit 29
People don't pay two hundred pounds for nothing harmful, my lad.
0 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity None
unit 30
'Do you believe that the money was paid?
0 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity None
unit 31
'Yes, on Southberry Heath, shortly before the murder.
0 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity None
unit 36
Wait, Brace, wait!
0 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity None
unit 37
Time, in this matter, may work wonders.
0 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity None
unit 38
'But, doctor, do you trust Baltic?
0 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity None
unit 41
'What about Cargrim?
0 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity None
unit 42
'Leave him alone, lad; with sufficient rope he'll surely hang himself.
0 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity None
unit 43
'Shouldn't the bishop be warned, doctor?
0 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity None
unit 44
'I think not.
0 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity None
unit 46
'Folly!
0 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity None
unit 47
What folly?
0 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity None
unit 48
'The folly of having a secret.
0 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity None
unit 49
Only women should have secrets, for they alone know how to keep them.
0 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity None
unit 50
'Everyone is of the opposite opinion,' said Brace, with a grin.
0 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity None
unit 51
'And, as usual, everyone is wrong,' retorted Graham.
0 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity None
unit 53
unit 54
It is a popular fallacy to suppose that she doesn't.
0 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity None
unit 57
What strength is to a man, cunning is to a woman.
0 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity None
unit 60
Graham shook his head and shrugged his shoulders.
0 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity None
unit 61
'You ask more than I can tell you,' he said sadly.
0 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity None
unit 62
'Whatever it is, Pendle intends to keep it to himself.
0 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity None
unit 63
All we can do is to trust Baltic.
0 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity None
unit 65
'I am glad of that,' was Graham's reply.
0 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity None
unit 66
'My time is too valuable to be wasted.
0 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity None
unit 70
The day was fitter for mid June rather than late September.
0 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity None
unit 85
'Who are you, juggel-mush?'
0 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity None
unit 86
[1 see discussion] asked a sinister-looking Hercules.
0 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity None
unit 87
unit 88
'Arromali!'
0 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity None
unit 89
[2 see discussion] sneered the Cleopatra-like cook.
0 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity None
unit 90
'She has more to do than to see every cheating, choring Gentile.
0 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity None
unit 91
'Give me money, my royal master,' croaked a frightful cripple.
0 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity None
unit 92
'My own little purse is empty.
0 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity None
unit 93
'Oh, what a handsome Gorgio!'
0 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity None
unit 94
whined a hag, interspersing her speech with curses.
0 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity None
unit 95
'(May evil befall him!)
0 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity None
unit 96
Good luck for gold, dearie.
0 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity None
unit 97
(I spit on your corpse, Gentile!)
0 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity None
unit 98
Charity!
0 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity None
unit 99
Charity!
0 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity None
unit 103
Mother Jael!'
0 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity None
unit 104
till the place rang with his roaring.
0 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity None
unit 106
lovey!
0 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity None
unit 107
Mother Jael be here!
0 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity None
unit 109
'Hindity-Mush!
0 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity None
unit 114
'Do you know why I am here, old woman?'
0 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity None
unit 115
he demanded.
0 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity None
unit 116
'Yes, dearie, yes!
0 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity None
unit 117
Ain't it yer forting as y' wan's tole?
0 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity None
unit 118
Oh, my pretty one, you asks ole mother for a fair future!
0 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity None
unit 119
I knows!
0 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity None
unit 120
I knows!
0 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity None
unit 121
'You know wrong then!'
0 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity None
unit 122
retorted Baltic, coolly.
0 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity None
unit 123
'I am one who has no dealings with witches and familiar spirits.
0 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity None
unit 128
'Mother of the witches, you lie!'
0 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity None
unit 129
cried Baltic, in very good Romany.
0 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity None
unit 131
'Duvel!'
0 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity None
unit 133
'I am a brother of the tribe, my sister.
0 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity None
unit 134
'No gipsy, though,' said the hag, in the black language.
0 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity None
unit 135
'You have not the glossy eye of the true Roman.
0 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity None
unit 136
'No Roman am I, my sister, save by adoption.
0 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity None
unit 138
'Then why come you with a double face, little child?'
0 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity None
unit 141
'Know who killed Jentham!'
0 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity None
unit 142
said Baltic, hastily.
0 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity None
unit 143
'Of a truth, brother.
0 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity None
unit 144
But call him not Jentham, for he was of Pharaoh's blood.
0 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity None
unit 145
'A gipsy, mother, or only a Romany rye?
0 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity None
unit 146
unit 148
'He called himself Amaru then, did he not?'
0 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity None
unit 150
'It is so, brother.
0 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity None
unit 152
But a Bosvile he was born, and a Bosvile he died.
0 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity None
unit 153
'That is just it!'
0 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity None
unit 155
'How did he die?
0 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity None
unit 157
'Who shot him?
0 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity None
unit 158
'Job!
0 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity None
unit 159
my noble rye, I can't say.
0 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity None
unit 160
Jentham, he come 'ere to patter the calo jib and drink with us.
0 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity None
unit 161
He said as he had to see some Gentile on that night!
0 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity None
unit 162
La!
0 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity None
unit 163
la!
0 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity None
unit 164
la!'
0 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity None
unit 165
she piped thinly, 'an evil night for him!
0 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity None
unit 166
'On Sunday night—the night he was killed?
0 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity None
unit 167
'Yes, pretty one.
0 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity None
unit 168
The Gorgio was to give him money for somethin' he knowed.
0 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity None
unit 169
'Who was the Gorgio?
0 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity None
unit 170
'I don' know, lovey!
0 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity None
unit 171
I don' know!
0 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity None
unit 172
'What was the secret, then?'
0 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity None
unit 173
asked Baltic, casting round for information.
0 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity None
unit 174
'Bless 'ee, my tiny!
0 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity None
unit 175
Jentham nivir tole me.
0 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity None
unit 178
'Did you not see him on that night, then?
0 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity None
unit 179
'Sight of my eyes, I sawr 'im dead.
0 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity None
unit 181
He was lyin' in a ditch.
0 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity None
unit 185
unit 188
'G.
0 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity None
unit 189
unit 190
'Ah!'
0 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity None
unit 191
chuckled Mother Jael, hugging herself.
0 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity None
unit 192
'George Pendle that is, lovey.
0 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity None
unit 193
But which of 'em, my tender dove—the father or the son?
0 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity None
unit 194
'Humph!'
0 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity None
unit 195
remarked Baltic, meditatively, 'they are both called George.
0 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity None
unit 196
'But they ain't both called murderer, my brother.
0 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity None
unit 198
Ah, that it was!
0 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity None

For more info, please see discussion tab.
CHAPTER XXVII - WHAT MOTHER JAEL KNEW.
Now, when Baltic and his grizzled head had vanished, Sir Harry must needs betake himself to Dr Graham for the easing of his mind. The doctor had known the young man since he was a little lad, and on more than one occasion had given him that practical kind of advice which results from experience; therefore, when Harry was perplexed over matters too deep for him—as he was now—he invariably sought counsel of his old friend. In the present instance—for his own sake, for the sake of Lucy and Lucy's father—he told Graham the whole story of Bishop Pendle's presumed guilt; of Baltic's mission to disprove it; and of Cargrim's underhanded doings. Graham listened to the details in silence, and contented himself with a grim smile or two when Cargrim's treachery was touched upon. When in possession of the facts, he commented firstly on the behaviour of the chaplain.
'I always thought that the fellow was a cur!' said he, contemptuously, 'and now I am certain of it.
'Curs bite, sir,' said Brace, sententiously, 'and we must muzzle this one else there will be the devil to pay.
'No doubt, when Cargrim receives his wages. Well, lad, and what do you propose doing?
'I came to ask your advice, doctor!
'Here it is, then. Hold your tongue and do nothing.
'What! and leave that hound to plot against the bishop?
'A cleverer head than yours is counter-plotting him, Brace,' warned the doctor. 'While Cargrim, having faith in Baltic, leaves the matter of the murder in his hands, there can be no open scandal.
Harry stared, and moodily tugged at his moustache. 'I never thought to hear you hint that the bishop was guilty,' he grumbled.
'And I,' retorted Graham, 'never thought to hear a man of your sense make so silly a speech. The bishop is innocent; I'll stake my life on that. Nevertheless, he has a secret, and if there is a scandal about this murder, the secret—whatever it is—may become public property.
'Humph! that is to be avoided certainly. But the secret can be nothing harmful.
'If it were not,' replied Graham, drily, 'Pendle would not take such pains to conceal it. People don't pay two hundred pounds for nothing harmful, my lad.
'Do you believe that the money was paid?
'Yes, on Southberry Heath, shortly before the murder. And what is more,' added Graham, warmly, 'I believe that the assassin knew that Jentham had received the money, and shot him to obtain it.
'If that is so,' argued Harry, 'the assassin would no doubt wish to take the benefit of his crime and use the money. If he did, the numbers of the notes being known, they would be traced, whereas—.
'Whereas Baltic, who got the numbers from the bank, has not yet had time to trace them. Wait, Brace, wait! Time, in this matter, may work wonders.
'But, doctor, do you trust Baltic?
'Yes, my friend, I always trust fanatics in their own particular line of monomania. Besides, for all his religious craze, Baltic appears to be a shrewd man; also he is a silent one, so if anyone can carry the matter through judiciously, he is the person.
'What about Cargrim?
'Leave him alone, lad; with sufficient rope he'll surely hang himself.
'Shouldn't the bishop be warned, doctor?
'I think not. If we watch Cargrim and trust Baltic we shall be able to protect Pendle from the consequences of his folly.
'Folly! What folly?
'The folly of having a secret. Only women should have secrets, for they alone know how to keep them.
'Everyone is of the opposite opinion,' said Brace, with a grin.
'And, as usual, everyone is wrong,' retorted Graham. 'Do you think I have been a doctor all these years and don't know the sex?—that is, so far as a man may know them. You take my word for it, Brace, that a woman knows how to hold her tongue. It is a popular fallacy to suppose that she doesn't. You try and get a secret out of a woman which she thinks is worth keeping, and see how you'll fare. She will laugh, and talk and lie, and tell you everything—except what you want to know. What strength is to a man, cunning is to a woman. They are the potters, we are the clay, and—and—and my discourse is as discursive as that of Praed's vicar,' finished the doctor, with a dry chuckle.
'It has led us a long way from the main point,' agreed Harry, 'and that is—what is Dr Pendle's secret?
Graham shook his head and shrugged his shoulders. 'You ask more than I can tell you,' he said sadly. 'Whatever it is, Pendle intends to keep it to himself. All we can do is to trust Baltic.
'Well, doctor,' said Harry, taking a reluctant leave, for he wished to thresh out the matter into absolute chaff, 'you know best, so I shall follow your advice.
'I am glad of that,' was Graham's reply. 'My time is too valuable to be wasted.
While this conversation was taking place, Baltic was walking briskly across the brown heath, in the full blaze of the noonday. A merciless sun flamed like a furnace in the cloudless sky; and over the vast expanse of dry burnt herbage lay a veil of misty, tremulous heat. Every pool of water flashed like a mirror in the sun-rays; the drone of myriad insects rose from the ground; the lark's clear music rained down from the sky; and the ex-sailor, trudging along the white and dusty highway, almost persuaded himself that he was back in some tropical land, less gorgeous, but quite as sultry, as the one he had left. The day was fitter for mid June rather than late September.
Baltic made so much concession to the unusual weather as to drape his red handkerchief over his head and place his Panama hat on top of it; but he still wore the thick pilot suit, buttoned up tightly, and stepped out smartly, as though he were a salamander impervious to heat. With his long arms swinging by his side, his steady, grey eyes observant of all around him, he rolled on, in true nautical style, towards the gipsy camp. This was not hard to discover, for it lay only a mile or so from Southberry Junction, some little distance off the main road. The missionary saw a huddle of caravans, a few straying horses, a cluster of tawny, half-clad children rioting in the sunshine; and knowing that this was his port of call, he stepped off the road on to the grass, and made directly for the encampment. He had a warrant for Mother Jael's arrest in his pocket, but save himself there was no one to execute it, and it might be difficult to take the old woman in charge when she was—so to speak—safe in the heart of her kingdom. However, Baltic regarded the warrant only as a means to an end, and did not intend to use it, other than as a bogey to terrify Mother Jael into confession. He trusted more to his religiosity and persuasive capabilities than to the power of the law. Nevertheless, being practical as well as sentimental, he was glad to have the warrant in case of need; for it was possible that a heathenish witch like Mother Jael might fear man more than God. Finally, Baltic had some experience of casting religious pearls before pagan swine, and therefore was discreet in his use of spiritual remedies.
Dogs barked and children screeched when Baltic stepped into the circle formed by caravans and tents; and several swart, sinewy, gipsy men darted threatening glances at him as an intrusive stranger. There burned a fire near one of the caravans, over which was slung a kettle, swinging from a tripod of iron, and this was filled with some savoury stew, which sent forth appetising odours. A dark, handsome girl, with golden earrings, and a yellow handkerchief twisted picturesquely round her black hair, was the cook, and she turned to face Baltic with a scowl when he inquired for Mother Jael. Evidently the Gentiles were no favourites in the camp of these outcasts, for the men lounging about murmured, the women tittered and sneered, and the very children spat out evil words in the Romany language. But Baltic, used to black skins and black looks, was not daunted by this inhospitable reception, and in grave tones repeated his inquiry for the sibyl.
'Who are you, juggel-mush?' [1 see discussion] asked a sinister-looking Hercules.
'I am one who wishes to see Mother Jael,' replied Baltic, in his deep voice.
'Arromali!' [2 see discussion] sneered the Cleopatra-like cook. 'She has more to do than to see every cheating, choring Gentile.
'Give me money, my royal master,' croaked a frightful cripple. 'My own little purse is empty.
'Oh, what a handsome Gorgio!' whined a hag, interspersing her speech with curses. '(May evil befall him!) Good luck for gold, dearie. (I spit on your corpse, Gentile!) Charity! Charity!
A girl seated on the steps of a caravan cracked her fingers, and spitting three times for the evil eye, burst into a song:
'With my kissings and caressings
I can gain gold from the Gentiles;
But to evil change my blessings'.
All this clatter and clamour of harsh voices, mouthing the wild gipsies' jargon, had no effect on Baltic. Seeing that he could gain nothing from the mocking crowd, he pushed back one or two, who seemed disposed to be affectionate with a view to robbing his pockets, and shouted loudly, 'Mother Jael! Mother Jael!' till the place rang with his roaring.
Before the gipsies could recover from their astonishment at this sudden change of front, a dishevelled grey head was poked out from one of the black tents, and a thin high voice piped, 'Dearie! lovey! Mother Jael be here!
'I thought I would bring you out of your burrow,' said Baltic, grimly, as he strode towards her; 'in with you again, old Witch of Endor, and let me follow.
'Hindity-Mush!'[3 see discussion] growled one or two, but the appearance of Mother Jael, and a few words from her, sent the whole gang back to their idling and working; while Baltic, quite undisturbed, dropped on all fours and crawled into the black tent, at the tail of the hag. She croaked out a welcome to her visitor, and squatting on a tumbled mattress, leered at him like a foul old toad. Baltic sat down near the opening of the tent, so as to get as much fresh air as possible, and also to watch Mother Jael's face by the glimmer of light which crept in. Spreading his handsome handkerchief on his knee, according to custom, and placing his hat thereon, he looked straightly at the old hag, and spoke slowly.
'Do you know why I am here, old woman?' he demanded.
'Yes, dearie, yes! Ain't it yer forting as y' wan's tole? Oh, my pretty one, you asks ole mother for a fair future! I knows! I knows!
'You know wrong then!' retorted Baltic, coolly. 'I am one who has no dealings with witches and familiar spirits. I ask you to tell me, not my fortune—which lies in the hand of the Almighty—but the name of the man who murdered the creature Jentham.
Mother Jael made an odd whistling sound, and her cunning old face became as expressionless as a mask. In a second, save for her wicked black eyes, which smouldered like two sparks of fire under her drooping lids, she became a picture of stupidity and senility. 'Bless 'ee, my pretty master, I knows nought; all I knows I told the Gentiles yonder,' and the hag pointed a crooked finger in the direction of Beorminster.
'Mother of the witches, you lie!' cried Baltic, in very good Romany.
The eyes of Mother Jael blazed up like torches at the sound of the familiar tongue, and she eyed the weather-beaten face of Baltic with an amazement too genuine to be feigned. 'Duvel!' said she, in a high key of astonishment, 'who is this Gorgio who patters with the gab of a gentle Romany?
'I am a brother of the tribe, my sister.
'No gipsy, though,' said the hag, in the black language. 'You have not the glossy eye of the true Roman.
'No Roman am I, my sister, save by adoption. As a lad I left the Gentiles' roof for the merry tent of Egypt, and for many years I called Lovels and Stanleys my blood-brothers.
'Then why come you with a double face, little child?' croaked the beldam, who knew that Baltic was speaking the truth from his knowledge of the gipsy tongue. 'As a Gentile I would speak no word, but my brother you are, and as my brother you shall know.
'Know who killed Jentham!' said Baltic, hastily.
'Of a truth, brother. But call him not Jentham, for he was of Pharaoh's blood.
'A gipsy, mother, or only a Romany rye?
'Of the old blood, of the true blood, of our religion verily, my brother. One of the Lovels he was, who left our merry life to eat with Gorgios and fiddle gold out of their pockets.
'He called himself Amaru then, did he not?' said Baltic, who had heard this much from Cargrim, to whom it had filtered from Miss Whichello through Tinkler.
'It is so, brother. Amaru he called himself, and Jentham and Creagth, and a dozen other names when cheating and choring the Gentiles. But a Bosvile he was born, and a Bosvile he died.
'That is just it!' said Baltic, in English, for he grew weary of using the gipsy language, in which, from disuse, he was no great proficient. 'How did he die?
'He was shot, lovey,' replied Mother Jael, relapsing also into the vulgar tongue; 'shot, dearie, on this blessed common.
'Who shot him?
'Job! my noble rye, I can't say. Jentham, he come 'ere to patter the calo jib and drink with us. He said as he had to see some Gentile on that night! La! la! la!' she piped thinly, 'an evil night for him!
'On Sunday night—the night he was killed?
'Yes, pretty one. The Gorgio was to give him money for somethin' he knowed.
'Who was the Gorgio?
'I don' know, lovey! I don' know!
'What was the secret, then?' asked Baltic, casting round for information.
'Bless 'ee, my tiny! Jentham nivir tole me. An' I was curis to know, my dove, so when he walks away half-seas over I goes too. I follows, lovey, I follow, but I nivir did cotch him up, fur rain and storm comed mos' dreful.
'Did you not see him on that night, then?
'Sight of my eyes, I sawr 'im dead. I 'eard a shot, and I run, and run, dearie, fur I know'd as 'e 'ad no pistol; but I los' m'way, my royal rye, and it was ony when th' storm rolled off as I foun' 'im. He was lyin' in a ditch. Such was his grave,' continued Mother Jael, speaking in her own tongue, 'water and grass and storm-clouds above, brother. I was afraid to touch him, afraid to wait, as these Gentiles might think I had slain the man. I got back into the road, I did, and there I picked up this, which I brought to the camp with me. But I never showed it to the police, brother, for I feared the Gentile jails.
This proved to be a neat little silver-mounted pistol which Mother Jael fished out from the interior of the mattress. Baltic balanced it in his hand, and believing, as was surely natural, that Jentham had been killed with this weapon, he examined it carefully.
'G. P.,' said he, reading the initials graven on the silver shield of the butt.
'Ah!' chuckled Mother Jael, hugging herself. 'George Pendle that is, lovey. But which of 'em, my tender dove—the father or the son?
'Humph!' remarked Baltic, meditatively, 'they are both called George.
'But they ain't both called murderer, my brother. George Pendle shot that Bosvile sure enough, an' ef y'arsk me, dearie, it was the son—the captain—the sodger. Ah, that it was!