en-fr  THE BISHOP'S SECRET by FERGUS HUME - Chapter 22
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CHAPITRE XXII - MONSIEUR MOSK EST BAVARD.
Pendant que l'évêque discutait avec mademoiselle Whichello des fiançailles de George et Mab, les jeunes gens, eux, débattaient du même sujet mais avec beaucoup plus d'ardeur. Le capitaine Pendle avait disposé deux chaises près d'une haie d'aubépine, à l'abri des oreilles indiscrètes des convives, et ils étaient assis aussi proche l'un de l'autre que possible sans attirer l'attention des curieux. Leur attitude et leurs gestes étaient prudents et raisonnables afin de tromper la foule des invités, mais leur conversation, peu susceptible d'être entendue, était suffisamment intime et passionnée. Nul témoin inopiné de la scène n'aurait pu deviner leur secret.
Vous devez, sans tarder, parler à votre père de notre engagement, enjoignit Mab avec décision. Il aurait dû en être averti avant que je ne consente à porter cette bague
— Je lui en parlerai demain, ma chérie, bien que je sois navré que Lucy et mère ne soient pas là pour me soutenir.
— Mais tu ne penses pas qu'il pourrait être hostile à mon égard, George ?
— Je... ne... le...pense... pas ! répondit le capitaine Pendle, souriant à cette seule idée, être hostile envers la plus jolie bru du comté. Tu ne sais pas quel bon goût à l'évêque.
— Si tu es si sûr de son approbation, je voudrais savoir pourquoi tu ne lui as pas tout dit avant, bouda Mab. Tatie était vraiment furieuse de garder nos fiançailles secrètes.
— Ma puce, tu sais qu'elles n'etaient pas un secrètes. Nous l'avons dit à Cargrim, et quand il sait, toute la ville est au courant. Je ne voulais pas l'anoncer à mon père avant d'être sûr que tu m'épouserais.
— Tu étais assuré de cela depuis longtemps.
— En quelque sorte, affirma le capitaine Pendle ; mais je n'étais pas absolument sûr avant de placer une bague sur cette jolie main. Maintenant, je vais l'annoncer à mon père, obtenir sa bénédiction épiscopale, et câbler les nouvelles à Lucy et mère. Nous nous marierons pour le printemps. Mlle Whichello serait notre demoiselle d'honneur, et tout sera parfait dans le meilleur des mondes.
— Quelles bêtises me racontez-vous, George !
— Je ferais plus que vous dire des bêtises si les yeux de l'Europe n'étaient fixés sur nous. La Mère Jaël dit la bonne aventure dans cette tente, ma reine des fées ; allons donc à l'intérieur et interrogeons-la sur l'avenir. De plus, dit George avec un sourire insidieux, je ne pense pas qu'elle m'en voudra si je vous donne un baiser.
Mab rit et secoua la tête. — Vous devrez vous priver à la fois du baiser et de la bonne fortune pour l'instant, dit-elle, car votre père vient juste de rentrer dans la tente.
— Comment ! Saül est-il aussi parmi les prophètes ? s'écria George en haussant les sourcils. — Il n'y aura pas de lumière dans les tentes de Sem quand il sera publié à l'étranger que Mgr Pendle a fréquenté la Sorcière d'Endor. Je me demande ce qu'il veut savoir. Sûrement ce que contient le parchemin de sa fortune.
— George, dit Mab gravement, votre père a été très inquiet ces derniers temps.
— À propos de quoi ? À cause de qui ?
— Je ne sais pas, mais il a l'air inquiet.
— Oh, il s'agite parce que ma mère est loin : il s'inquiète toujours de sa santé comme le ferait une poule pour son poussin.
— Soyez plus respectueux, mon chéri, corrigea Mab, calmement.
— Je serai tout ce qui vous plaira, douce amie, si vous vous enfuyez seulement avec moi loin de cette foule déchaînée. Flûte ! Voici quelqu'un qui vient nous déranger.
— C'est votre frère.
— En effet. — Salut Gabriel, pourquoi cet air solennel ?
— Je viens d'entendre de mauvaises nouvelles, dit Gabriel, s'arrêtant devant eux. — Le vieux M. Leigh est mourant.
— Que dis-tu ? le recteur d'Heathcroft ? Je n'appelle pas cela une mauvaise nouvelle, mon vieux, vu que sa mort rend ton pas plus léger.
— George ! s'écrièrent Mab et Gabriel d'une seule voix, comment pouvez-vous ?
— Eh bien, Leigh est assez vieux et décati pour mourir, non ? dit l'incorrigible George. Rappele-toi ce que le vieux sacristain écossais disait aux pleureuses du cortège funèbre : « Qu'est-ce que voulez ? Si vous ne les laissez pas partir à quatre-vingts ans, quand les enterrezez-vous ?» Mon accent écossais est déplorable, précisa le capitaine Pendle, mais l'anecdote en elle-même est de toute beauté.
Je veux anoncer la nouvelle à mon père, dit Gabriel, se détournant du clin d'œil de George d'un air indigné. — Où se trouve-t-il ?
— Avec Mèr — Oh, il est là, s'écria Mab, tandis que l'évêque sortait de la tente de Sibylle. Oh, George, comme il a l'air souffrant !
— Par Jove, oui ! Il est aussi blême qu'un fantôme. Allons voir ce qui ne va pas, Gabriel. Excuse-moi un instant, Mab.
Les deux frères s’avancèrent, mais avant qu'ils aient pu rejoindre leur père, celui-ci prenait déjà congé et serrait la main de Mme Pansey. Son visage était blanc, son regard tourmenté, et seule la force de sa volonté lui permit de s'excuser avec sa voix habituelle auprès son hôtesse.
— J'ai peur de ne pas avoir supporté le soleil, Mme Pansey, dit-il avec son habituel ton suave, et l'air renfermé de cette tente est plutôt fatigant. Je regrette d'être forcé de quitter un lieu aussi charmant, mais je suis certain que vous voudrez bien m'excuser.
— Certainement, Votre Excellence, dit Mme Pansey, très gracieusement, mais ne voulez vous pas un verre de sherry ou...
— Rien du tout, merci ; rien. Au revoir, Mme Pansey ; votre fête était des plus réussies. Ah ! Gabriel, apercevant son plus jeune fils, aurais-tu la bonté de m'accompagner ?
— Êtes-vous souffrant, monsieur ? interrogea George d'un air préoccupé.
— Non non ! Un peu troublé, probablement. Le soleil, simplement le soleil ; et agitant la main de façon expéditive, le révérend Pendle se retira aussi rapidement que sa respectabilité le permettait, s'appuyant sur le bras de Gabriel. Le visage du curé était aussi terne que celui de son père, et il semblait également inquiet. Le capitaine Pendle revint vers Mab dans un état confus, provoqué par une cause assurément suffisante.
— Je n'ai jamais vu auparavant le révérend si décontenancé, dit-il le regard préoccupé. La vieille Mère Jaël a dû prédire la ruine et le meurtre.
Le meurtre ! Le mot sinistre parvint aux oreilles de Cargrim qui passait à ce moment et il eut un sourire cruel lorsqu'il entendit le ton de demi-plaisanterie sur lequel il était prononcé. Le capitaine George Pendle n’envisagea même pas que l’aumônier prenait sa remarque humoristique au sérieux, et qu'il était plus convaincu que jamais que l'évêque avait tué Jentham, et que la Mère Jaël venait juste de l'avertir qu'elle connaissait la vérité. Tout ceci, ainsi songeait Cargrim, était la raison pour laquelle elle hantait les allées et venues de l'évêque.
Il semblait évidemment impossible que l'agitation de l'évêque ait pu échapper à l'attention de l'assemblée des invités et de nombreuses remarques furent faites sur sa cause probable. On se souvint de son indisposition soudaine lors sa propre réception, et, ceci mit en relation avec le présent malaise, il fut observé que le révérend Pendle travaillait trop, que sa condition physique se détériorait et qu'il avait tristement besoin de repos. L'opinion fut unanime sur ce dernier point.
— Car je dois dire, remarqua Mme Pansey qui était une adepte de la dépréciation par de tièdes louanges, que l'évêque travaille aussi dur que ses capacités mentales le lui permettent.
— Et ce qui représente beaucoup, dit le docteur Graham d'un ton acide. Le révérend Pendle est l'un des hommes les plus intelligents d'Angleterre.
— C'est bien, docteur, répondit Mme Pansey, nullement embarrassée. Il faut toujours parler en bien de vos patients.
D'ailleurs, la réputation de l’évêque, en tant qu'homme à l'honnêteté infaillible, était telle que personne ne soupçonnait le moindre manquement, sauf Graham et M. Cargrim. Le premier se souvenait du secret inavoué du révérend Pendle, et se demandait si la gitane le connaissait, tandis que le second était convaincu que l'évêque avait pris la poudre d'escampette par crainte des révélations de la Mère Jael, quelles qu'elles fussent. Mais l'opinion générale était que trop de travail et trop de soleil avaient provoqué le malaise de l'évêque, et ils en parlèrent à la légère comme d'une simple indisposition temporaire bientôt effacée par un total changement de rythme et un repos complet. La réputation passée du Dr Pendle lui collait bien à la peau et le protégeait parfaitement de sa personnalité à l'heure actuelle.
Maintenant, se dit Cargrim, je sais avec certitude que mère Jaël connait la vérité, et également que cette vérité implique l'évêque dans la mort de Jentham. Je vais simplement y aller et l'interroger en même temps. Elle ne peut pas s'échapper de cette tente aussi aisément qu'elle s'est volatilisée l'autre jour.
Mais Cargrim sous-estima vraiment le pouvoir de la mère Jaël de se faire rare, car quand il pénétra dans la tente, il ne l'a trouva occupé que par Daisy Norsham, qui regardait avec un certain désarroi une chaise vide. La vielle gitane rusée s'était une fois de plus volatilisée dans les airs.
— Où est-elle ? demanda Cargrim, regrettant que son habit clérical l'empêcha d'utiliser un langage plus opportun.
— Oh, sincèrement, cher M. Cargrim, je l'ignore. Après que le cher évêque fut sorti si dérangé par la forte chaleur, nous avons tous couru pour le soigner. Je suppose alors que la mère Jaël ayant ressenti également les effets de la chaleur, s'en est allée dès que nous eûmes le dos tourné. — C'est vraiment très contrariant, soupira Daisy, tant de jeunes filles meurent d'envie de se faire dire la bonne aventure. Et... oooh ! réalisant soudain, c'est absolument épouvantable !
— Quoi donc ? demanda l'aumônier, en regardant son visage bouleversé.
Cette méchante vieille femme a emporté toute la recette. Oh, le bénéfice de la vente de charité de cette pauvre Madame Pansey.
— Elle a sans aucun doute filé avec l'argent, dit Cargrim, d'un ton qui était, pour lui, ce qu'il pouvait de plus brutal. — Je dois interroger les domestiques au sujet de son départ. Mademoiselle Norsham, je crains que votre belle nature n'ait été abusée par cette misérable mystificatrice.
Qu'il en fût ainsi ou non, une chose était claire : la mère Jaël était partie avec une quantité considérable d'argent dans sa poche. Les domestiques ne savaient rien de son départ, il n'y avait donc aucun doute que la vieille dame, habituée à s'esquiver et à se cacher, s'était glissée hors du jardin, tandis que les invités s'étaient apitoyés sur la légère défaillance de l'évêque. Comme Cargrim voulait voir la bohémienne sans tarder, et qu'il espérait la forcer à avouer la vérité en menaçant de la faire arrêter avec l'argent volé dans sa poche, il se mit sur sa piste pendant qu'elle était encore fraîche. Certes, la mère Jaël n'avait laissé aucune piste particulière permettant de la retrouver, mais Cargrim, sachant quelque chose de ses habitudes, jugea qu'elle allait soit traverser Southberry Heath jusqu'aux roulottes de son clan, soit se réfugier, dans un premier temps, au Derby Winner. . Il était plus que probable qu'elle irait à l'hôtel plutôt que de courir le risque d'être arrêtée au sein du camp gitan. Cargrim, adoptant cet argument, se dirigea vers Eastgate. Il espérait dépister la mère Jaël au bar de l'hôtel.
En arrivant au Derby Winner, il se dirigea directement vers le bar où officiait un jeune serveur souriant. Un bruit de chants et de clameurs venait du petit salon dans le fond, et quand l'aumônier interrogea M. Mosk, il fut informé par ce souriant Ganymède qu'le patron prenait du bon temps et que ça allait durer encore environ une heure.
— Oh mon Dieu ! — Oh mon Dieu ! dit l’aumônier scandalisé, dois-je comprendre que votre patron a consommé plus que de raison ?
— Ouais, il est on ne peut plus soûl , monsieur.
— Et mademoiselle Mosk ?
— La jeune dame essaie de le mettre au lit et la vieille dame pleure à l'étage.
— Je ne manquerai pas d'en référer aux autorités, dit Cargrim, sur un ton fâché. — Vous êtes assez sobre pour répondre à mes questions, j'espère ?
— Ouais, monsieur ; ça va, marmonna le garçon de bar, tirant sur sa mèche.
— Alors, dites-moi si cette diseuse de bonne aventure, mère Jael, est ici ?
— Non, monsieur, elle n'l'est pas. — J'n'ai pas posé les yeux sur ell' d'puis un moment.
L'homme parlait assez sincèrement et manifestement disait la vérité. Très déçu de constater que la vieille femme n'était pas dans les parages, l'aumônier était sur le point de partir quand il entendit Mosk entonner une chanson d'une voix enrouée et prit aussi conscience que Bell, comme le laissait entendre le son de sa voix, grondait sérieusement son père. Son sens du devoir l'emporta sur son inquiétude à retrouver mère Jael, et sentant que sa présence était indispensable, il passa promptement à l'arrière de la maison, ouvrit la porte du salon avec une sensible indignation cléricale.
— Quel est tout ce bruit, Mosk ? cria-t-il vertement. Vous voulez perdre votre licence ?
Mosk, qui souriait et chantait, assis dans un fauteuil, le visage très empourpré, fut frappé de silence par l'entrée soudaine et la réprimande cinglante de l'aumônier. Bell, rougissante de colère, fut également étonnée de voir Mr Cargrim, mais salua son arrivée avec joie, voulant exercer une certaine influence sur son tapageur de père. Personnellement, elle détestait Cargrim, mais elle respectait son habit et elle était heureuse de le voir user des foudres que sa positon dans le clergé lui conférait.
— C'est vrai, monsieur Cargrim ! pleura-t-elle, en clignant des yeux. — Dites-lui qu'il devrait avoir honte de boire et de chanter avec ma mère si malade à l'étage.
— Je ne veux pas faire de mal, dit Mosk en se levant d'un air penaud, car le choc de l'apparition de Cargrim l'avait beaucoup dégrisé. — Je prenais juste un verre pour célébrer une journée joyeuse.
— Ne pouvez-vous pas prendre votre verre sans vous enivrer ? dit Cargrim avec dégoût. — Je peux vous dire, Mosk, que si.vous continuez ainsi, je vais me faire le devoir de vous signaler à Sir Harry Brace.
— J't'ai dit comment ce s'rait, père, dit Bell, d'une voix pleine de reproches.
— Toi, ma prop' fille, t'es cont' ton prop' père, grogna monsieur Mosk. Est-ce que j' buvais pas à ta santé, pa'ce qu' le vieux bonhomme de Heathcroft était de passage dans sa vieille maison. Dis-moi ?
— Qu'est-ce que ça signifie, Mosk ? demanda l'aumônier, en sursautant.
— Rien, m'sieur, s'interposa Bell précipitamment. Père ne sait pas c'qu'i dit.
— Si, j'le sais, dementit son père, d'un air boudeur. — Le vieux M. Leigh, pasteur d'Heathcroft, est en train de mourir, et quand il mourra, vous habiterez à Heathcroft avec...
père ! père ! tais-toi !
— Avec mon gendre Gabriel !
— Votre — gendre, haleta Cargrim en reculant. Est... est-ce que votre fille est la femme du jeune M. Pendle ?
— Non, je ne le suis pas M. Cargrim, cria Bell tendue. C'est des sornettes de père
— C'est la vérité biblique, sauf votre respect, dit Mosk, en frappant la table. Le jeune Pendle s'est engagé à vous épouser, non ? et i' va vivre à Heathcroft, s'pas ? et l'vieux Leigh est en train d'mourir, non ?
- Continuez, Père, maint'nant qu'vous avez commencé, dit Bell avec résignation, et elle s'assit.
Cargrim était presque trop surpris pour parler. Le pasteur de Heathcroft... mourant ! Gabriel qui se fiance pour épouser cette femme vulgaire ! Son regard allait de l'un à l'autre avec étonnement, de Mosk triomphant à la femme empourprée.
—Est-ce vrai, Mademoiselle Mosk ? demanda-t-il, incréduble.
— Oui ! Je suis fiancée à Gabriel Pendle, s'écria Bell, levant brusquement le menton avec défi. Vous pouvez le dire à toute la ville si cela vous chante. Ni lui, ni moi ne vous dirons le contraire.
— C'est la pure vérité ! grogna Mosk. Ma fille va devenir une grande dame.
— Je vous félicite tous deux, dit gravement Cargrim. Ce sera une surprise pour Son Excellence, et, se sentant pris au dépourvu face à la situation, il battit rapidement en retraite.
— Eh bien, père, dit Bell, nous voilà dans de beaux draps, ça oui !
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For more info, please see discussion tab.
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CHAPTER XXII - MR MOSK IS INDISCREET.
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No spectator from casual observation could have guessed their secret.
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'You must tell your father about our engagement at once,' said Mab, with decision.
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'He should have known of it before I consented to wear this ring.
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'But you don't think that he will object to me, George?
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'I—should—think—not!'
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You don't know what an eye for beauty the bishop has.
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'Aunty has been very angry at my keeping our engagement secret.
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'Darling, you know it isn't a secret.
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We told Cargrim, and when he is aware of it the whole town is.
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I didn't want to tell my father until I was sure you would marry me.
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'You have been sure of that for a long time.
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We shall be married in spring.
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Miss Whichello will be the bridesmaid, and all will be hay and sunshine.
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'What nonsense you talk, George!
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'I'd do more than talk nonsense if the eyes of Europe were not on us.
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Mab laughed and shook her head.
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'What!
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is Saul also among the prophets?'
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cried George, with uplifted eyebrows.
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I wonder what he wants to know.
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Surely the scroll of his fortune is made up.
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'George,' said Mab, gravely, 'your father has been much worried lately.
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'About what?
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By whom?
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'I don't know, but he looks worried.
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'Be more respectful, my dear,' corrected Mab, demurely.
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Hang it!
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here is someone coming to disturb us.
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'It is your brother.
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'So it is.
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Hullo, Gabriel, why that solemn brow?
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'I have just heard bad news,' said Gabriel, pausing before them.
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'Old Mr Leigh is dying.
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'What!
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the rector of Heathcroft?
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I don't call that bad news, old boy, seeing that his death gives you your step.
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'George!'
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cried Mab and Gabriel in a breath, 'how can you?
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'Well, Leigh is old and ripe enough to die, isn't he?'
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said the incorrigible George.
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If ye dinna bring them at eighty, when wull ye bring them?"
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'Where is he?
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'Oh, George, how ill he looks!
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'By Jove, yes!
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He is as pale as a ghost.
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Come and see what is wrong, Gabriel.
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Excuse me a moment, Mab.
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'Nothing, thank you; nothing.
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Good-bye, Mrs Pansey; your fête has been most successful.
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'Are you ill, sir?'
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asked George, with solicitude.
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'No, no!
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a little out of sorts, perhaps.
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'I never saw the bishop so put out before,' said he with a puzzled look.
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'Old Mother Jael must have prophesied blue ruin and murder.
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Murder!
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The opinion on this last point was unanimous.
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'And that is a great deal,' said Dr Graham, tartly.
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'Bishop Pendle is one of the cleverest men in England.
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'That is right, doctor,' replied the undaunted Mrs Pansey.
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'Always speak well of your patients.
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I shall just go in and question her at once.
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She can't escape from that tent so easily as she vanished the other day.
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The cunning old gipsy had once more melted into thin air.
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'Where is she?'
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'Oh, really, dear Mr Cargrim, I don't know.
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And, oh!'
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making a sudden discovery, 'how very, very dreadful!
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'What is it?'
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asked the chaplain, staring at her tragic face.
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'That wicked old woman has taken all the money.
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Oh, poor Mrs Pansey's home!
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'I must question the servants about her departure.
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He hoped to run Mother Jael to earth in the tap-room of the hotel.
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'Dear!
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dear!'
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'Yuss; he's jist drunk up to jollyness, sir.
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'And Miss Mosk?
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unit 134
unit 135
'You are sober enough to answer my questions, I hope?
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unit 136
'Yuss, sir; I'm strite,' growled the pot-boy, pulling his forelock.
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unit 137
'Then tell me if that gipsy woman, Mother Jael, is here?
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unit 138
'No, sir, sh' ain't.
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unit 139
I ain't set eyes on 'er for I do'no how long.
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The man spoke earnestly enough, and was evidently telling the truth.
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unit 143
'What is all this noise, Mosk?'
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unit 144
he cried sharply.
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unit 145
'Do you wish to lose your license?
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unit 149
'That is right, Mr Cargrim!'
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unit 150
she cried with flashing eyes.
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unit 151
'Tell him he ought to be ashamed of drinking and singing with mother so ill upstairs.
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unit 153
'I wos jus' havin' a glass to celebrate a joyful day.
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unit 154
'Cannot you take your glass without becoming intoxicated?'
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unit 155
said Cargrim, in disgust.
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unit 157
'I told you how t'would be, father,' put in Bell, reproachfully.
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unit 158
'You onnatural child, goin' agin your parent,' growled Mr Mosk.
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Tell me that!
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'What do you mean, Mosk?'
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asked the chaplain, starting.
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'Nothing, sir,' interposed Bell, hurriedly.
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'Father don't know what he is sayin'.
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'Yes, I do,' contradicted her father, sulkily.
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'Father!
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father!
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hold your tongue!
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'With my son-in-law Gabriel!
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'Your—son-in-law,' gasped Cargrim, recoiling.
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'Is—is your daughter the wife of young Mr Pendle?
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'No, I am not, Mr Cargrim,' cried Bell, nervously.
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'It's father's nonsense.
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'It's Bible truth, savin' your presence,' said Mosk, striking the table.
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'Young Mr Pendle is engaged to marry you, ain't he?
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and he's goin' to hev the livin' of Heathcroft, ain't he?
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and old Leigh's a-dyin' fast, ain't he?
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'Go on, father, you've done it now,' said Bell, resignedly, and sat down.
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Cargrim was almost too surprised to speak.
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The rector of Heathcroft—dying; Gabriel engaged to marry this common woman.
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unit 183
'Is this true, Miss Mosk?'
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he asked doubtfully.
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'Yes!
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I am engaged to marry Gabriel Pendle,' cried Bell, with a toss of her head.
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'You can tell the whole town so if you like.
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Neither he nor I will contradict you.
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'It's as true as true!'
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growled Mosk.
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'My daughter's going to be a lady.
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'I congratulate you both,' said Cargrim, gravely.
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'Well, father,' said Bell, 'this is a pretty kettle of fish, this is!
1 Translations, 4 Upvotes, Last Activity 12 months ago

For those who are interested in listening to the novel: https://librivox.org/the-bishops-secret-by-fergus-hume/

THE BISHOP'S SECRET by FERGUS HUME (1900)

This text will be uploaded on Translatihan, one chapter at a time, starting from chapter XVI, as the former chapters were translated on Duolingo before. Please follow each chapters’ link to the Translatihan text. Good translation.

List of the characters:
1. Miss Daisy Norsham, Belgravian spinster
2. Mrs. Pansey, an archdeacon's widow
3. Mr. George Pendle, Bishop, Dr. Pendle
4. Mrs. Amy Pendle, the bishop's wife, formerly Mrs. Creagth (widow)
5. Mr. George Pendle, bishop's son, officer, in love with Mab Arden
6. Mr. Gabriel Pendle, bishop's son, curate, allegedly chasing Miss Mosk
7. Miss Lucy Pendle, bishop's daughter
8. Sir Harry Brace, engaged to Lucy Pendle
9. Miss Mab Arden, most beautiful girl in Beorminster
10. Miss Whichello, Mab Arden's aunt
11. Mr. Michael Cargrim, bishop's chaplain, also likes Mab Arden
12. Dr. Graham, doctor, atheist, sceptic
13. Mr. William Mosk, the owner of the The Derby Winner pub
14. Mrs Mosk, his wife
15. Miss Bell Mosk, their daughter
16. Mr. Alder, dean, Dr. Alder
17. Miss Tancred, keeps telling the story about her lost purse
18. John, bishop's servant
19. Mr. Jentham, the man with the scar, the bearer of the bad news

Synopsis:
Bishop Pendle is the Church of England bishop in a small fictitious English cathedral town. Several years into his work, he receives a visit from a disreputable-looking visitor. The bishop is much upset. What transpired between them that has so upset the good churchman? And then there is the murder. Fergus Hume was one of the most prolific and most popular of 19th century novelists. "Mr. Hume won a reputation second to none for plot of the stirring, ingenious, misleading, and finally surprising kind, and for working out his plot in vigorous and picturesque English. In "The Bishop's Secret," while there is no falling off in plot and style, there is a welcome and marvelous broadening out as to the cast of characters, representing an unusually wide range of typical men and women. These are not laboriously described by the author, but are made to reveal themselves in action and speech in a way that has, for the reader, all the charm of personal intercourse with living people…."

TABLE OF CONTENTS https://en.wikisource.org/wiki/The_Bishop%27s_Secret
PREFACE.
CHAPTER I. 'Enter Mrs Pansey As Chorus'
CHAPTER II. The Bishop Is Wanted
CHAPTER III. The Unforeseen Happens
CHAPTER IV. The Curiosity Of Mr Cargrim
CHAPTER V. The Derby Winner
CHAPTER VI. The Man With The Scar
CHAPTER VII. An Interesting Conversation
CHAPTER VIII. On Saturday Night
CHAPTER IX. An Exciting Adventure
CHAPTER X. Morning Service In The Minster
CHAPTER XI. Miss Whichello's Luncheon-party
CHAPTER XII. Bell Mosk Pays A Visit
CHAPTER XIII. A Stormy Night
CHAPTER XIV. 'Rumour Full Of Tongues'
CHAPTER XV. The Gipsy Ring
CHAPTER XVI. The Zeal Of Inspector Tinkler
CHAPTER XVII. A Clerical Detective
CHAPTER XVIII. The Chaplain On The Warpath
CHAPTER XIX. The Bishop's Request
CHAPTER XX. Mother Jael
CHAPTER XXI. Mrs Pansey's Festival
CHAPTER XXII. Mr Mosk Is Indiscreet
CHAPTER XXIII. In The Library
CHAPTER XXIV. The Bishop Asserts Himself
CHAPTER XXV. Mr Baltic, Missionary
CHAPTER XXVI. The Amazement Of Sir Harry Brace
CHAPTER XXVII. What Mother Jael Knew
CHAPTER XXVIII. The Return Of Gabriel
CHAPTER XXIX. The Confession Of Bishop Pendle
CHAPTER XXX. Blackmail
CHAPTER XXXI. Mr Baltic On The Trail
CHAPTER XXXII. The Initials
CHAPTER XXXIII. Mr Baltic Explains Himself
CHAPTER XXXIV. The Wages Of Sin
CHAPTER XXXV. The Honour Of Gabriel
CHAPTER XXXVI. The Rebellion Of Mrs Pendle
CHAPTER XXXVII. Dea Ex Machinâ
CHAPTER XXXVIII. Exit Mr Cargrim
CHAPTER XXXIX. All's Well That Ends Well

by francevw 1 year ago

For more info, please see discussion tab.
CHAPTER XXII - MR MOSK IS INDISCREET.
While the bishop was conversing with Miss Whichello about the engagement of George and Mab, the young people themselves were discussing the self-same subject with much ardour. Captain Pendle had placed two chairs near a quick-set hedge, beyond the hearing of other guests, and on these he and Mab were seated as closely as was possible without attracting the eyes of onlookers. Their attitude and actions were guarded and indifferent for the misleading of the company, but their conversation, not being likely to be overheard, was confidential and lover-like enough. No spectator from casual observation could have guessed their secret.
'You must tell your father about our engagement at once,' said Mab, with decision. 'He should have known of it before I consented to wear this ring.
'I'll tell him to-morrow, dearest, although I am sorry that Lucy and the mater are not here to support me.
'But you don't think that he will object to me, George?
'I—should—think—not!' replied Captain Pendle, smiling at the very idea; 'object to have the prettiest daughter-in-law in the county. You don't know what an eye for beauty the bishop has.
'If you are so sure of his consent I wonder you did not tell him before,' pouted Mab. 'Aunty has been very angry at my keeping our engagement secret.
'Darling, you know it isn't a secret. We told Cargrim, and when he is aware of it the whole town is. I didn't want to tell my father until I was sure you would marry me.
'You have been sure of that for a long time.
'In a sort of way,' asserted Captain Pendle; 'but I was not absolutely certain until I placed a ring on that pretty hand. Now I'll tell my father, get his episcopalian benediction, and wire the news to Lucy and the mater. We shall be married in spring. Miss Whichello will be the bridesmaid, and all will be hay and sunshine.
'What nonsense you talk, George!
'I'd do more than talk nonsense if the eyes of Europe were not on us. Mother Jael is telling fortunes in that tent, my fairy queen, so let us go in and question her about the future. Besides,' added George, with an insinuating smile, 'I don't suppose she would mind if I gave you one kiss.
Mab laughed and shook her head. 'You will have to dispense with both kiss and fortune for the present,' said she, 'for your father has this moment gone into the tent.
'What! is Saul also among the prophets?' cried George, with uplifted eyebrows. 'Won't there be a shine in the tents of Shem when it is published abroad that Bishop Pendle has patronised the Witch of Endor. I wonder what he wants to know. Surely the scroll of his fortune is made up.
'George,' said Mab, gravely, 'your father has been much worried lately.
'About what? By whom?
'I don't know, but he looks worried.
'Oh, he is fidgeting because my mother is away; he always fusses about her health like a hen with one chick.
'Be more respectful, my dear,' corrected Mab, demurely.
'I'll be anything you like, sweet prude, if you'll only fly with me far from this madding crowd. Hang it! here is someone coming to disturb us.
'It is your brother.
'So it is. Hullo, Gabriel, why that solemn brow?
'I have just heard bad news,' said Gabriel, pausing before them. 'Old Mr Leigh is dying.
'What! the rector of Heathcroft? I don't call that bad news, old boy, seeing that his death gives you your step.
'George!' cried Mab and Gabriel in a breath, 'how can you?
'Well, Leigh is old and ripe enough to die, isn't he?' said the incorrigible George. 'Remember what the old Scotch sexton said to the weeping mourners, "What are ye greeting aboot? If ye dinna bring them at eighty, when wull ye bring them?" My Scotch accent is bad,' added Captain Pendle, 'but the story itself is a thing of beauty.
'I want to tell my father the news,' said Gabriel, indignantly turning away from George's wink. 'Where is he?
'With Moth—Oh, there he is,' cried Mab, as the bishop issued from the sibyl's tent. 'Oh, George, how ill he looks!
'By Jove, yes! He is as pale as a ghost. Come and see what is wrong, Gabriel. Excuse me a moment, Mab.
The two brothers walked forward, but before they could reach their father he was already taking his leave and shaking hands with Mrs Pansey. His face was white, his eyes were anxious, and it was only by sheer force of will that he could excuse himself to his hostess in his ordinary voice.
'I am afraid the sun has been too much for me, Mrs Pansey,' he said in his usual suave tones, 'and the close atmosphere of that tent is rather trying. I regret being obliged to leave so charming a scene, but I feel sure you will excuse me.
'Certainly, bishop,' said Mrs Pansey, graciously enough, 'but won't you have a glass of sherry or—.
'Nothing, thank you; nothing. Good-bye, Mrs Pansey; your fête has been most successful. Ah, Gabriel,' catching sight of his youngest son, 'will you be so good as to come with me?
'Are you ill, sir?' asked George, with solicitude.
'No, no! a little out of sorts, perhaps. The sun, merely the sun;' and waving his hand in a hurried manner, Dr Pendle withdrew as quickly as his dignity permitted, leaning on Gabriel's arm. The curate's face was as colourless as that of his father, and he seemed equally as nervous in manner. Captain Pendle returned to Mab in a state of bewilderment, for which there was surely sufficient cause.
'I never saw the bishop so put out before,' said he with a puzzled look. 'Old Mother Jael must have prophesied blue ruin and murder.
Murder! The ominous word struck on the ears of Cargrim, who was passing at the moment, and he smiled cruelly as he heard the half-joking tone in which it was spoken. Captain George Pendle little thought that the chaplain took his jesting speech in earnest, and was more convinced than ever that the bishop had killed Jentham, and had just been warned by Mother Jael that she knew the truth. This then, as Cargrim considered, was her reason for haunting the bishop in his incomings and outgoings.
Of course it was impossible that the bishop's agitation could have escaped the attention of the assembled guests, and many remarks were made as to its probable cause. His sudden illness at his own reception was recalled, and, taken in conjunction with this seizure, it was observed that Dr Pendle was working too hard, that his constitution was breaking up and that he sadly needed a rest. The opinion on this last point was unanimous.
'For I will say,' remarked Mrs Pansey, who was an adept at damning with faint praise, 'that the bishop works as hard as his capacity of brain will let him.
'And that is a great deal,' said Dr Graham, tartly. 'Bishop Pendle is one of the cleverest men in England.
'That is right, doctor,' replied the undaunted Mrs Pansey. 'Always speak well of your patients.
Altogether, so high stood the bishop's reputation as a transparently honest man that no one suspected anything was wrong save Graham and Mr Cargrim. The former remembered Dr Pendle's unacknowledged secret, and wondered if the gipsy was in possession of it, while the latter was satisfied that the bishop had been driven away by the fears roused by Mother Jael's communication, whatever that might be. But the general opinion was that too much work and too much sun had occasioned the bishop's illness, and it was spoken of very lightly as a mere temporary ailment soon to be set right by complete change and complete rest. Thus Dr Pendle's reputation of the past stood him in good stead, and saved his character thoroughly in the present.
'Now,' said Cargrim to himself, 'I know for certain that Mother Jael is aware of the truth, also that the truth implicates the bishop in Jentham's death. I shall just go in and question her at once. She can't escape from that tent so easily as she vanished the other day.
But Cargrim quite underrated Mother Jael's power of making herself scarce, for when he entered the tent he found it tenanted only by Daisy Norsham, who was looking in some bewilderment at an empty chair. The cunning old gipsy had once more melted into thin air.
'Where is she?' demanded Cargrim, regretting that his clerical garb prevented him from using appropriate language.
'Oh, really, dear Mr Cargrim, I don't know. After the dear bishop came out so upset with the heat, we all ran to look after him, so I suppose Mother Jael felt the heat also, and left while our backs were turned. It is really very vexing,' sighed Daisy, 'for lots of girls are simply dying to have their fortunes told. And, oh!' making a sudden discovery, 'how very, very dreadful!
'What is it?' asked the chaplain, staring at her tragic face.
'That wicked old woman has taken all the money. Oh, poor Mrs Pansey's home!
'She has no doubt run off with the money,' said Cargrim, in what was for him a savage tone. 'I must question the servants about her departure. Miss Norsham, I am afraid that your beautiful nature has been imposed upon by this deceitful vagrant.
Whether this was so or not, one thing was clear that Mother Jael had gone off with a considerable amount of loose silver in her pocket. The servants knew nothing of her departure, so there was no doubt that the old crone, used to dodging and hiding, had slipped out of the garden by some back way, while the guests had been commiserating the bishop's slight illness. As Cargrim wanted to see the gipsy at once, and hoped to force her into confessing the truth by threatening to have her arrested with the stolen money in her pocket, he followed on her trail while it was yet fresh. Certainly Mother Jael had left no particular track by which she could be traced, but Cargrim, knowing something of her habits, judged that she would either strike across Southberry Heath to the tents of her tribe or take refuge for the time being at The Derby Winner. It was more probable that she would go to the hotel than run the risk of being arrested in the gipsy camp, so Cargrim, adopting this argument, took his way down to Eastgate. He hoped to run Mother Jael to earth in the tap-room of the hotel.
On arriving at The Derby Winner, he walked straight into the bar, and found it presided over by a grinning pot-boy. A noise of singing and shouting came from the little parlour at the back, and when the chaplain asked for Mr Mosk, he was informed by the smiling Ganymede that 'th' guv'nor was injiyin' of hisself, and goin' on like one o'clock.
'Dear! dear!' said the scandalised chaplain, 'am I to understand that your master has taken more than is good for him?
'Yuss; he's jist drunk up to jollyness, sir.
'And Miss Mosk?
'She's a-tryin' to git 'im t' bed, is young missus, an' old missus is cryin' upstairs.
'I shall certainly speak about this to the authorities,' said Cargrim, in an angry tone. 'You are sober enough to answer my questions, I hope?
'Yuss, sir; I'm strite,' growled the pot-boy, pulling his forelock.
'Then tell me if that gipsy woman, Mother Jael, is here?
'No, sir, sh' ain't. I ain't set eyes on 'er for I do'no how long.
The man spoke earnestly enough, and was evidently telling the truth. Much disappointed to find that the old crone was not in the neighbourhood, the chaplain was about to depart when he heard Mosk begin to sing in a husky voice, and also became aware that Bell, as he judged from the raised tones of her voice, was scolding her father thoroughly. His sense of duty got the better of his anxiety to find Mother Jael, and feeling that his presence was required, he passed swiftly to the back of the house, and threw open the door of the parlour with fine clerical indignation.
'What is all this noise, Mosk?' he cried sharply. 'Do you wish to lose your license?
Mosk, who was seated in an arm-chair, smiling and singing, with a very red face, was struck dumb by the chaplain's sudden entrance and sharp rebuke. Bell, flushed and angered, was also astonished to see Mr Cargrim, but hailed his arrival with joy as likely to have some moral influence on her riotous father. Personally she detested Cargrim, but she respected his cloth, and was glad to see him wield the thunders of his clerical position.
'That is right, Mr Cargrim!' she cried with flashing eyes. 'Tell him he ought to be ashamed of drinking and singing with mother so ill upstairs.
'I don't mean t'do any 'arm,' said Mosk, rising sheepishly, for the shock of Cargrim's appearance sobered him a good deal. 'I wos jus' havin' a glass to celebrate a joyful day.
'Cannot you take your glass without becoming intoxicated?' said Cargrim, in disgust. 'I tell you what, Mosk, if you go on in this way, I shall make it my business to warn Sir Harry Brace against you.
'I told you how t'would be, father,' put in Bell, reproachfully.
'You onnatural child, goin' agin your parent,' growled Mr Mosk. 'Wasn't I drinking to your health, 'cause the old 'un at Heathcroft wos passin' to his long 'ome? Tell me that!
'What do you mean, Mosk?' asked the chaplain, starting.
'Nothing, sir,' interposed Bell, hurriedly. 'Father don't know what he is sayin'.
'Yes, I do,' contradicted her father, sulkily. 'Old Mr Leigh, th' pass'n of Heathcroft, is dying, and when he dies you'll live at Heathcroft with—.
'Father! father! hold your tongue!
'With my son-in-law Gabriel!
'Your—son-in-law,' gasped Cargrim, recoiling. 'Is—is your daughter the wife of young Mr Pendle?
'No, I am not, Mr Cargrim,' cried Bell, nervously. 'It's father's nonsense.
'It's Bible truth, savin' your presence,' said Mosk, striking the table. 'Young Mr Pendle is engaged to marry you, ain't he? and he's goin' to hev the livin' of Heathcroft, ain't he? and old Leigh's a-dyin' fast, ain't he?
'Go on, father, you've done it now,' said Bell, resignedly, and sat down.
Cargrim was almost too surprised to speak. The rector of Heathcroft—dying; Gabriel engaged to marry this common woman. He looked from one to the other in amazement; at the triumphant Mosk, and the blushing girl.
'Is this true, Miss Mosk?' he asked doubtfully.
'Yes! I am engaged to marry Gabriel Pendle,' cried Bell, with a toss of her head. 'You can tell the whole town so if you like. Neither he nor I will contradict you.
'It's as true as true!' growled Mosk. 'My daughter's going to be a lady.
'I congratulate you both,' said Cargrim, gravely. 'This will be a surprise to the bishop,' and feeling himself unequal to the situation, he made his escape.
'Well, father,' said Bell, 'this is a pretty kettle of fish, this is!