en-fr  THE BISHOP'S SECRET by FERGUS HUME - Chapter 23 Hard
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CHAPITRE XXIII - DANS LA BIBLIOTHÈQUE.
Certes, il y avait assez peu à admirer en la personne de M. Cargrim, mais il n'était pas tout à fait un mauvais homme. À l'instar de ses semblables, il avait aussi ses qualités, mais celles-ci étaient quelque peu oxydées par manque d'usage. Comme le fit observer Mme Rawdon Crawley, née Sharp, tout le monde peut être bienveillant avec cinq mille dollars par an ; et si Cargrim avait été haut placé et riche, il aurait sans doute développé ses meilleurs instincts, faute de raisons pour se servir de ses plus mauvais. Mais, n'étant qu'un pauvre curé, il avait une longue échelle à monter, qu'il pensait pouvoir monter plus rapidement en renversant tous ceux qui gênaient sa progression, et en s'accrochant à ceux qui étaient plus haut de quelques barreaux. Il n'était donc pas très bon dans sa distinction entre le bien et le mal, et ne se souciait pas des moyens par lesquels il réussissait, tant qu'il avait du succès. Il savait parfaitement qu'il n'était pas un préféré de l'évêque et que le Dr Pendle ne lui donnerait pas plus de pains et de poissons du Lévitique qu'il ne pourrait contribuer; mais comme le titulaire de Beorminster See était l'unique dispensateur de ces mets dont Cargrim avait connaissance, il lui incombait, quels que soient tous les risques, de forcer l'octroi des dons qui n'étaient pas susceptibles d'être accordés volontairement. C'est pourquoi Cargrim intrigua, planifia et complota pour connaître le secret de l'évêque et avoir la mainmise sur lui.
Mais avec toute la volonté du monde, cet intrigant ne fut pas assez astucieux pour gérer les preuves qu'il avait accumulées. L'évêque avait conclu un arrangement avec Jentham; il avait tenté de s'assurer de son silence, comme le prouvait la souche déchirée du carnet de chèques; il avait - comme Cargrim le suspectait - tué le maître chanteur pour ensevelir son secret dans la tombe et il avait été averti par Mère Jael qu'elle avait connaissance de son acte monstrueux. C'étaient les preuves, mais Cargrim ne savait pas comment les mettre en bon ordre, afin de prouver à l'évêque Pendle qu'il le tenait sous sa coupe. Il lui aurait fallu un esprit entraîné à se colleter avec ces faits confus, à suivre les indices, à mettre en ordre les détails et Cargrim comprenait qu'il lui fallait embaucher un assistant. Cette idée en tête, il résolut de se rendre à Londres et d'y engager les services d'un détective privé; et, comme il n'y avait pas un instant à perdre, il décida de demander à l'évêque un congé exceptionnel le soir même. Il n'y a rien de mieux que de porter une attention immédiate à une affaire, même si elle est du genre le plus immonde.
Néanmoins, pour permettre à sa meilleure nature quelque petite opportunité de s'exercer, Cargrim décida d'accorder à l'évêque une chance de s'en sortir. Le passage au Derby Winner lui avait donné immédiatement une arme et une information. Le recteur de Heathcroft était mourant, donc, dans la nature des choses, il était probable que le bénéfice écclésiastique serait bientôt vacant. Par diverses allusions, Cargrim fut averti que l'évêque destinait ce confortable poste à son plus jeune fils. Mais Gabriel Pendle s'était engagé à épouser Bell Mosk, et quand l'évêque fut informé de ce fait, Cargrim n'eut guère de doute qu'il refuserait de dédier le bénéfice à son fils. Alors, Gabriel étant défaillant, le chapelain espéra que le Dr Pendle le lui donnerait peut-être et, s'il le faisait, M. Cargrim était tout à fait prêt à oublier le passé. Il ne chercherait pas à découvrir le secret de l'évêque - en tout cas pour le moment - bien que, si Dean Alder mourait, il ferait peut-être usage ultérieurement de ce qu'il savait pour se faire élire au poste vacant. Toutefois, la tâche immédiate en cours était de s'assurer d'Heathcroft Rectory aux dépens de Gabriel; donc M. Cargrim marcha rapidement jusqu'au palais, avec l'intention d'informer l'évêque sans délai de la conduite scandaleuse du jeune homme. Ce ne serait qu'au terme de l'entrevue qu'il pourrait déterminer sa conduite future. Si, fâché contre Gabriel, l'évêque lui accordait le bénéfice, il laisserait l'évêque régler ses comptes avec sa conscience, mais si le Dr Pendle refusait, il monterait alors à Londres et engagerait le limier pour suivre la piste du crime de Pendle même jusqu'au seuil de sa propre porte. En donnant ainsi à son patron une alternative, Cargrim s'imaginait être un vrai virtuose. Pourtant, pour autant qu'il le savait, il faisait peut-être empirer les choses; mais cette idée ne le troubla pas le moins du monde.
Ce gentil petit plan en tête, le chapelain entra dans la bibliothèque où l'on trouvait d'habitude le Dr Pendle et, certain que l'évêque s'y trouvait, assis, solitaire, l'air aussi pitoyable qu'un homme puisse être. Son visage était gris et crispé - il avait si visiblement vieilli depuis la fête champêtre de Mme Pendle que M. Cargrim en fut tout à fait choqué - et il sursauta nerveusement quand son chapelain entra dans la pièce. Une violente migraine, suite à son entrevue avec la mère Jaël, avait épuisé l'énergie de l'évêque, et il semblait à peine capable de lever la tête. La complète prostration de l'homme aurait alerté quiconque excepté Cargrim ; mais le jeune pasteur rusé s'était donné un but à atteindre et aucune manifestation de désarroi mental n'allait l'en détourner. Il installa sa victime sur le banc et le tortura aussi délicatement et scientifiquement que l'Inquisition du bon vieux temps quand la mère Église, anticipant l'axiome de la Révolution française, disait aux renégats de son troupeau : « Sois mon frère, ou je te tue. » Ainsi Cargrim, tel un Torquemada moderne, creusa l'âme plutôt que le corps, et se consacra, avec la plus haute sincérité, à ce sympathique entretien.
— Pardon, Monseigneur, dit-il en feignant de se retirer, je ne savais pas que Votre Excellence était occupée.
— Je ne suis pas occupé, répondit l'évêque, apparemment content d'échapper aux tristes pensées qui lui occupaient l'esprit, venez, venez. Vous avez quitté relativement tôt la fête de Mme Pansey.
— Mais pas aussi tôt que vous, Votre Excellence, dit l’aumônier, s’asseyant sur une chaise qui lui autorisait une parfaite vision du visage de l'évêque. Je crains que vous ne vous sentiez pas bien, Votre Excellence.
— Non, je ne me sens pas bien, Cargrim. En dépit de mon désir de poursuivre mes obligations, j'ai peur de devoir être forcé de prendre un congé pour raison de santé.
— Votre Excellence ne pourrait trouver de meilleur choix que de rejoindre Mme Pendle à Nauheim.
— J'y pensais justement, dit l'évêque, jetant un regard sur une lettre à ses côtés, d'autant plus que Sir Harry Brace revient à Beorminster pour affaires. Je ne souhaite pas que ma femme soit seule dans son état actuel de santé précaire. Quant à la mienne, je crains qu'aucune source ne puisse la soigner ; ma maladie touche l'esprit et non le corps.
— Ah ! soupira Cargrim avec sagesse, la pire sorte de maladie. Puis-je vous demander ce qui préoccupe votre esprit ?
— Beaucoup de choses, Cargrim, beaucoup de choses. Parmi elles, la question de ce meurtre déplorable. Le fait que le criminel ne soit pas attrapé et puni est un discrédit qui rejaillit sur le diocèse.
— Votre Excellence souhaite-t-elle que l’assassin soit capturé ? demanda l’aumônier, de son ton le plus mielleux, et sans aucune arrière-pensée apparente.
Le Dr Pendle releva la tête et jeta un coup d'œil à son interlocuteur. Évidemment, répondit-il vivement, et je suis très contrarié que notre police locale n'ait pas été assez brillante pour le débusquer. Savez-vous si plus d'indices ont été trouvés ?
— Aucun susceptible d'identifier l’assassin, Monseigneur. Mais je crois que la police a recueilli des informations sur le passé de la victime.
La main de l’évêque se serra si fort que les jointures blanchirent. — Sur Jentham ! bégaya-t-il à voix basse, tournant le dos à l'aumônier ; à pro, à pro, à propos de lui ?
— Il semblerait, Monseigneur, dit Cargrim, scrutant le visage de son compagnon, il y a trente ans l'homme était violoniste à Londres et son nom de scène était Amaru.
— Un violoniste ! Amaru ! répéta le Dr Pendle, avec l'air tellement soulagé que Cargrim s'aperçut qu'il n'avait pas communiqué la réponse à laquelle il s'attendait. — Un nom de scène, vous dites ?
— Oui, Votre Excellence, répondit le chapelain, en s’efforçant de cacher sa déception. — Incontestablement le vrai nom de l'homme était Jentham.
— Incontestablement, opina l'évêque avec indifférence, quoique je pense qu'un vagabond aussi notoire doit avoir possédé au minimum une demi-douzaine de noms.
Cargrim était démangé par l'envie de demander à son supérieur sous quel nom il avait connu Jentham, mais se sachant dans l'incapacité de poser d'autres questions, il fut assez sage pour s'en abstenir. Comme de plus il souhaitait parvenir à un accord avec l'évêque au sujet de la charge de Heathcroft, il amena la conversation dans cette direction en faisant remarquer que M. Leigh était considéré comme mourant.
— Gabriel m'en a informé, dit le révérend Pendle, avec un hochement de tête. Je suis vraiment désolé de l'apprendre. M. Leigh a été le recteur de la paroisse de Heathcroft pendant de nombreuses années.
— Durant vingt-cinq ans, Monseigneur, mais dernièrement il était plutôt négligent dans sa gouvernance. Ce dont Heathcroft a besoin, c'est d'un homme jeune et sérieux, doté d'une capacité d'organisation, capable par ses paroles et ses actes, de toucher les âmes apathiques des paroissiens, capable de conduire, diriger et guider.
— Vous faites la description du recteur idéal, Cargrim, remarqua sèchement le révérend Pendle, une sorte d'évêque en herbe, mais où trouver un tel parangon ?
Le visage de l'aumônier s'empourpra et il eut l'air embarrassé. — Je ne me décris pas comme un parangon, dit-il à voix basse, cependant, si Monseigneur jugeait bon de me présenter comme le guérisseur des âmes de Heathcroft, je m'efforcerais d'approcher au mieux l'idéal que j'ai décrit.
L'évêque n'était pas étranger à l'ambition de Cargrim, car ce n'était pas la première fois que l'aumônier laissait entendre qu'il ferait un bon recteur pour Heathcroft, donc il ne fut pas surpris d'être abordé si grossièrement à ce sujet. D'un geste irrité, il repoussa sa chaise et regarda d'un air plutôt désapprobateur le prêtre présomptueux. Mais Cargrim était trop sûr de sa compétence à traiter avec l'évêque pour être intimidé par des regards, et avec son esprit brillant d'un côté et un sourire suave sur ses lèvres pâles de l'autre, il attendait les foudres du discours épiscopal. Cependant, l'évêque était tout aussi stratège que son aumônier, et trop sage pour céder à l'émotion qu'il éprouvait à la moindre supplique, aborda l'affaire d'un esprit léger en apparence.
— Heathcroft est une grande paroisse, fit remarquer sa seigneurie, d'un air pensif.
— Elle requiert donc un jeune recteur laborieux, rétorqua Cargrim. Je suis, bien sûr, conscient de mes propres déficiences, mais celles-ci peuvent être corrigées par la prière et par un esprit humble.
— Monsieur Cargrim, dit l'évêque en souriant, vous souvenez-vous de l'histoire plutôt hétérodoxe de la remarque du fermier sur la prière offerte à la pluie ? — À quoi bon prier pour la pluie, dit-il, quand le vent est dans le coin ? Je suis enclin, ajouta le révérend Pendle en observant Cargrim très attentivement, à être d'accord avec le fermier.
— Cela signifie-t-il que Monseigneur ne va pas me donner la charge ?
Nous reparlerons de cela plus tard, M. Cargrim. Dans l'immédiat, franchement aucune prière ne remédiera à nos lacunes à moins que le désir de le faire ne commence en nos propres seins.
— Votre seigneurie indiquera-t-elle les insuffisances particulières auxquelles je devrais remédier ? interrogea l'aumônier, calme en apparence, mais intérieurement furieux.
Je crois, monsieur Cargrim, dit doucement l'évêque, que votre ambition est susceptible de prendre le pas sur vos sentiments religieux, sans quoi vous n'oseriez pas adopter une attitude si extrême en me demandant de façon si farouche de vous donner cette charge. Si j'estimais judicieux de vous confier le rectorat de Heathcroft, je vous le donnerais sans que vous ayez besoin de me le demander, mais pour être franc avec vous, monsieur Cargrim, j'ai d'autres projets lorsque la charge sera vacante.
— Dans ce cas, on n'a pas besoin d'en dire plus, Votre Excellence.
— Pardonnez-moi, dit le révérend Pendle de sa manière la plus majestueuse, permettez-moi de vous dire que j'aimerais que vous continuiez dans votre position actuelle jusqu'à ce que vous ayez plus d'expérience dans le travail diocésain. Ce n'est pas à n'importe quel jeune homme, M. Cargrim, qu'est donné la merveilleuse opportunité de se familiariser avec la gestion interne de l'Église catholique. Votre père était l'un de mes chers amis, continua l'évêque très ému, et dans ma jeunesse je lui ai beaucoup été redevable. Pour lui, et pour votre bien, je souhaite vous venir en aide autant que je peux, mais vous devez me permettre d'être le seul juge du moment et de la manière de faire avancer vos intérêts. Ces ambitions, que j'ai observées à plusieurs reprises, nuisent à vos plus belles qualités. Un ecclésiastique dans notre Église est un homme et, en tant que prêtre, un peu plus qu'un homme. Par conséquent, il lui appartient d'être humble, pieux et attentif à son action envers son prochain pour la gloire de Dieu. S'il s'élève, ce doit être grâce à ses qualités qu'il atteint un poste supérieur dans l'Église, mais s'il reste toute sa vie dans une position humble, il pourra mourir satisfait, sachant qu'il n'aura pas pensé qu'à lui-même mais à son Dieu. Croyez-moi, mon cher jeune ami, je parle d'expérience, et il vaut mieux placer votre avenir entre mes mains.
Ces sentiments, à l'opposé de ceux de Cargrim, étaient bien sûr extrêmement déplaisants pour quelqu'un comme lui. Il savait qu'il était plus ambitieux que religieux ; mais il était agaçant de penser que le révérend Pendle avait été assez habile pour évaluer si justement sa nature. Son masque d'humilité et de déférence avait été arraché, et il était plus connu de l'évêque qu'il ne convenait à sa nature rusée. Il comprit qu'en ce qui concernait la fonction à Heathcroft, il ne l'obtiendrait jamais en cadeau du révérend Pendle, il ne restait donc qu'à adopter une trajectoire plus vile pour obliger le prélat à adhérer à sa requête. Ayant ainsi décidé, M. Cargrim, avec un grand sang-froid, adoucit son visage à un sourire docide, et afficha même un peu d'émotion pour montrer à l'évêque à quel point il était touché par le discours aimable qui avait brisé son ambition.
— Je suis fort satisfait de placer mon avenir entre vos mains, dit-il avec toute la courtoisie possible, et en effet, monseigneur, je reconnais que vous êtes mon meilleur, mon seul ami. Je dominerai le défaut auquel vous faites allusion me concernant autant que possible, et j'espère que bientôt je mériterai l'approbation sans réserve de monseigneur.
— Eh bien ! dit l'évêque en lui serrant chaleureusement la main, voilà un discours louable, Michael, et je vais le garder présent à l'esprit. Nous restons amis, je l'espère, malgré ce que je considère comme mon devoir de vous dire.
—Certainement, nous sommes amis, Monsieur, et je suis honoré de l'intérêt que vous me portez. Et maintenant, monseigneur, ajouta Cargrim, accompagnant sa demande d'un sourire charmant, puis-je émettre une petite requête qui hante mon esprit depuis ma dernière visite ?
— Bien sûr ! bien entendu, Michael ; quelle est cette requête ?
— J'ai quelques affaires à traiter à Londres, monseigneur ; j'aimerais, avec votre permission, surseoir à mes responsabilités pendant quelques jours.
— Avec plaisir, approuva l'évêque ; partez quand bon vous semble, Cargrim. Je ne suis que trop heureux que vous me demandiez un congé.
— Tous mes remerciements, Monseigneur, dit Cargrim, se levant. — Je quitterai, dès lors, le palais demain matin, et je reviendrai vers la fin de la semaine. Aucune importance particulière n'étant à prévoir, j'ose espérer que Monseigneur pourra se dispenser de mes services pendant mes quelques jours d'absence, sans en être importuné.
— Soyez serein, Cargrim, vous pouvez prendre vos vacances.
— Je vous remercie encore, Votre Excellence. Il ne me reste plus qu'à préciser, si comme je l'ai entendu, que Votre Excellence a l'intention de nommer M. Gabriel recteur de Heathcroft, je suis convaincu qu'il y sera aussi sincère et dévoué qu'il le fut à Beorminster.
— Je n'ai pas encore décidé comment pourvoir à cette vacance, dit froidement l'évêque, et permettez-moi de vous rappeler, monsieur Cargrim, que le recteur actuel de Heathcroft est encore en vie.
— Moi, mais je ne devance que l'inéluctable, monseigneur, dit Cargrim se préparant à enfoncer son dard dans l'évêque, en tout cas plus tôt M. Gabriel sera poussé aux charges, mieux ce sera pour ses perspectives matrimoniales.
Le révérend Pendle le fixa. — Je ne vous comprends pas ! dit-il froidement.
— Quoi ? M. Cargrim leva les bras de surprise. — M. Gabriel, n'a-t-il pas informé Votre Excellence de ses fiançailles ?
— Fiançailles ! répéta l'évêque, se levant à moité, voulez-vous me dire que Gabriel est fiancé, et sans ma connaissance !
— Oh ! Monseigneur, je pensais que vous le saviez... extrêmement indiscret de ma part, murmura Cargrim avec une gêne simulée.
— À qui mon fils est-il fiancé ? interrogea l'évêque brutalement.
— À... à... vraiment, je me sens très honteux, dit l'aumônier. Je n'aurais pas dû ...
— Répondez immédiatement, monsieur, cria le révérend Pendle énervé. Envers qui mon fils Gabriel est-il engagé ? J'insiste pour savoir.
— Dans ce cas, je dois annoncer à Monseigneur que M. Gabriel s'est engagé à épouser Mlle Bell Mosk !
L'évêque bondit hors de sa chaise. — Bell Mosk ! la fille du propriétaire du Derby Winner ?
— Oui, Monseigneur.
La... la... la.. serveuse ! Mon fils ! ... oh, c'est ! C'est impossible !
— Je le tiens de la bouche même de la jeune fille, dit Cargrim ravi du mécontentement de l'évêque. Surtout que Mlle Mosk n'est guère faite pour être la femme d'un futur recteur, pourtant elle est belle.
— Taisez-vous, monsieur ! cria autoritairement l'évêque, ne recommencez pas à associer le nom de mon fils avec celui d'une serveuse. Je ne peux pas — je ne veux pas — je n'ose le croire !
— Néanmoins, c'est la vérité !
— Impossible ! incroyable ! le garçon doit être fou !
— Il est amoureux, ce qui à peu près la même chose, dit Cargrim, avec plus de hardiesse que de coutume devant le révérend Pendle; mais, pour vous assurer de la vérité, permettez-moi de suggérer que Votre Excellence interroge M. Gabriel elle-même. Je crois qu'il est au palais.
— Merci, M. Cargrim, dit l'évêque, récupérant de sa surprise initiale. Je vous remercie de l'information, mais j'ai peur que vous n'ayez été induit en erreur. Mon fils ne choisirait jamais une épouse dans un bar.
— Il faut espérer qu'il verra la folie d'agir ainsi, Monseigneur, répondit l'aumônier en reculant vers la porte, et maintenant je vais partir, en assurant à Votre Excellence que je ne lui aurais jamais parlé de l'engagement de M. Gabriel si je n'avais pas cru qu'elle était informée de la chose.
L'évêque ne répliqua pas, mais il se laissa choir sur une chaise, illustration parfaite de la misère d'un homme. Après un dernier regard sur l'évêque, Cargrim quitta la pièce en se frottant les mains. — Je pense vous avoir servi un excellent Roland pour votre Olivier, Monseigneur ! murmura-t-il.
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For more info, please see discussion tab.
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CHAPTER XXIII - IN THE LIBRARY.
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The visit to The Derby Winner had given him at once a weapon and a piece of information.
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Only at the conclusion of the interview could he determine his future course.
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You have left Mrs Pansey's fête rather early.
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'I fear you are not well, my lord.
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'No, Cargrim, I am not well.
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'Your lordship cannot do better than join Mrs Pendle at Nauheim.
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I do not wish my wife to be alone in her present uncertain state of health.
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As to my own, I'm afraid no springs will cure it; my disease is of the mind, not of the body.
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'Ah!'
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sighed Cargrim, sagely, 'the very worst kind of disease.
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May I ask what you are troubled about in your mind?
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'About many things, Cargrim, many things.
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Amongst them the fact of this disgraceful murder.
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It is a reflection on the diocese that the criminal is not caught and punished.
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'Does your lordship wish the assassin to be captured?'
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asked the chaplain, in his softest tone, and with much apparent simplicity.
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Dr Pendle raised his head and darted a keen look at his questioner.
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Have you heard whether any more evidence has been found?
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'None likely to indicate the assassin, my lord.
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But I believe that the police have gathered some information about the victim's past.
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The bishop's hand clenched itself so tightly that the knuckles whitened.
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'About Jentham!'
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he muttered in a low voice, and not looking at the chaplain; 'ay, ay, what about him?
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'A violinist!
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Amaru!'
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'A professional name you say?
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'Yes, your lordship,' replied the chaplain, trying hard to conceal his disappointment.
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'No doubt the man's real name was Jentham.
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'So Gabriel informed me,' said Dr Pendle, with a nod.
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'I am truly sorry to hear it.
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Mr Leigh has been rector of Heathcroft parish for many years.
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'For twenty-five years, your lordship; but latterly he has been rather lax in his rule.
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The chaplain coloured and looked conscious.
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With a testy gesture he pushed back his chair and looked rather frowningly on the presumptuous parson.
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'Heathcroft is a large parish,' said his lordship, meditatively.
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'And therefore needs a hard-working young rector, replied Cargrim.
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"What is the use of praying for rain," said he, "when the wind is in this quarter?"
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I am inclined,' added Dr Pendle, looking very intently at Cargrim, 'to agree with the farmer.
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'Does that mean that your lordship will not give me the living?
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'We will come to that later, Mr Cargrim.
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'Will your lordship indicate the particular deficiencies I should remedy?'
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asked the chaplain, outwardly calm, but inwardly raging.
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'In that case, we need say no more, your lordship.
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We are still friends, I trust, in spite of what I consider it was my duty to say.
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'Certainly we are friends, sir; I am honoured by the interest you take in me.
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'Of course!
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of course, Michael; what is it?
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'With pleasure,' assented the bishop; 'go when you like, Cargrim.
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I am only too pleased that you should ask me for a holiday.
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'Many thanks, your lordship,' said Cargrim, rising.
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'Then I shall leave the palace to-morrow morning, and will return towards the end of the week.
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'Set your mind at rest, Cargrim; you can take your holiday.
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'I again thank your lordship.
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Dr Pendle stared.
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'I don't understand you!'
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he said stiffly.
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'What!'
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Mr Cargrim threw up his hands in astonishment.
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'Has not Mr Gabriel informed your lordship of his engagement?
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'Engagement!'
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'To whom is my son engaged?'
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asked the bishop, sharply.
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'To—to—really, I feel most embarrassed,' said the chaplain.
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'I should not have taken—.
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'Answer at once, sir,' cried Dr Pendle, irritably.
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'To whom is my son Gabriel engaged?
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I insist upon knowing.
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'In that case, I must tell your lordship that Mr Gabriel is engaged to marry Miss Bell Mosk!
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The bishop bounded out of his chair.
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'Bell Mosk!
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the daughter of the landlord of The Derby Winner?
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'Yes, your lordship.
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'The—the—the—barmaid!
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My son!—oh, it is—it is impossible!
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'I had it from the lips of the young lady herself,' said Cargrim, delighted at the bishop's annoyance.
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'Certainly Miss Mosk is hardly fitted to be the wife of a future rector—still, she is a handsome—.
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'Stop, sir!'
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cried the bishop, imperiously, 'don't dare to couple my son's name with that of—of—of a barmaid.
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I cannot—I will not—I dare not believe it!
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'Nevertheless, it is true!
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'Impossible!
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incredible!
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the boy must be mad!
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I believe he is in the palace.
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'Thank you, Mr Cargrim,' said the bishop, recovering from his first surprise.
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'I thank you for the information, but I am afraid you have been misled.
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My son would never choose a wife out of a bar.
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The bishop made no reply, but sank into a chair, looking the picture of misery.
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After a glance at him, Cargrim left the room, rubbing his hands.
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'I think I have given you a very good Roland for your Oliver, my lord!'
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he murmured.
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francevw • 14145  commented  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 12 months ago

For more info, please see discussion tab.
CHAPTER XXIII - IN THE LIBRARY.
Certainly there was little enough to admire in Mr Cargrim's character, still he was not altogether a bad man. In common with his fellow-creatures he also had his good qualities, but these were somewhat rusty for want of use. As Mrs Rawdon Crawley, née Sharp, remarked, most people can be good on five thousand a year; and if Cargrim had been high-placed and wealthy he would no doubt have developed his better instincts for lack of reasons to make use of his worser. But being only a poor curate, he had a long ladder to climb, which he thought could be ascended more rapidly by kicking down all those who impeded his progress, and by holding on to the skirts of those who were a few rungs higher. Therefore he was not very nice in his distinction between good and evil, and did not mind by what means he succeeded, so long as he was successful. He knew very well that he was not a favourite with the bishop, and that Dr Pendle would not give him more of the Levitical loaves and fishes than he could help; but as the holder of the Beorminster See was the sole dispenser of these viands with whom Cargrim was acquainted, it behoved him at all risks to compel the bestowal of gifts which were not likely to be given of free-will. Therefore, Cargrim plotted, and planned, and schemed to learn the bishop's secret and set him under his thumb.
But with all the will in the world this schemer was not clever enough to deal with the evidence he had accumulated. The bishop had had an understanding with Jentham; he had attempted to secure his silence, as was proved by the torn-out butt of the cheque-book; he had—as Cargrim suspected—killed the blackmailer to bury his secret in the grave, and he had been warned by Mother Jael that she knew of his wicked act. This was the evidence, but Cargrim did not know how to place it ship-shape, in order to prove to Bishop Pendle that he had him in his power. It needed a trained mind to grapple with these confused facts, to follow out clues, to arrange details, and Cargrim recognised that it was needful to hire a helper. With this idea he resolved to visit London and there engage the services of a private inquiry agent; and as there was no time to be lost, he decided to ask the bishop for leave of absence on that very night. There is nothing so excellent as prompt attention to business, even when it consists of the dirtiest kind.
Nevertheless, to allow his better nature some small opportunity of exercise, Cargrim determined to afford the bishop one chance of escape. The visit to The Derby Winner had given him at once a weapon and a piece of information. The rector of Heathcroft was dying, so in the nature of things it was probable that the living would soon be vacant. From various hints, Cargrim was aware that the bishop destined this snug post for his younger son. But Gabriel Pendle was engaged to marry Bell Mosk, and when the bishop was informed of that fact, Cargrim had little doubt but that he would refuse to consecrate his son to the living. Then, failing Gabriel, the chaplain hoped that Dr Pendle might give it to him, and if he did so, Mr Cargrim was quite willing to let bygones be bygones. He would not search out the bishop's secret—at all events for the present—although, if Dean Alder died, he might make a later use of his knowledge to get himself elected to the vacant post. However, the immediate business in hand was to secure Heathcroft Rectory at the expense of Gabriel; so Mr Cargrim walked rapidly to the palace, with the intention of informing the bishop without delay of the young man's disgraceful conduct. Only at the conclusion of the interview could he determine his future course. If, angered at Gabriel, the bishop gave him the living, he would let the bishop settle his account with his conscience, but if Dr Pendle refused, he would then go up to London and hire a bloodhound to follow the trail of Dr Pendle's crime even to his very doorstep. In thus giving his patron an alternative, Cargrim thought himself a very virtuous person indeed. Yet, so far as he knew, he might be compounding a felony; but that knowledge did not trouble him in the least.
With this pretty little scheme in his head, the chaplain entered the library in which Dr Pendle was usually to be found, and sure enough the bishop was there, sitting all alone and looking as wretched as a man could. His face was grey and drawn—he had aged so markedly since Mrs Pendle's garden-party that Mr Cargrim was quite shocked—and he started nervously when his chaplain glided into the room. A nerve-storm, consequent on his interview with Mother Jael, had exhausted the bishop's vitality, and he seemed hardly able to lift his head. The utter prostration of the man would have appealed to anyone save Cargrim, but that astute young parson had an end to gain and was not to be turned from it by any display of mental misery. He put his victim on the rack, and tortured him as delicately and scientifically as any Inquisition of the good old days when Mother Church, anticipating the saying of the French Revolution, said to the backsliders of her flock, 'Be my child, lest I kill thee.' So Cargrim, like a modern Torquemada, racked the soul instead of the body, and devoted himself very earnestly to this congenial talk.
'I beg your pardon, my lord,' said he, making a feint of retiring, 'I did not know that your lordship was engaged.
'I am not engaged,' replied the bishop, seemingly glad to escape from his own sad thoughts; 'come in, come in. You have left Mrs Pansey's fête rather early.
'But not so early as you, sir,' said the chaplain, taking a chair where he could command an uninterrupted view of the bishop's face. 'I fear you are not well, my lord.
'No, Cargrim, I am not well. In spite of my desire to continue my duties, I am afraid that I shall be forced to take a holiday for my health's sake.
'Your lordship cannot do better than join Mrs Pendle at Nauheim.
'I was thinking of doing so,' said the bishop, glancing at a letter at his elbow, 'especially as Sir Harry Brace is coming back on business to Beorminster. I do not wish my wife to be alone in her present uncertain state of health. As to my own, I'm afraid no springs will cure it; my disease is of the mind, not of the body.
'Ah!' sighed Cargrim, sagely, 'the very worst kind of disease. May I ask what you are troubled about in your mind?
'About many things, Cargrim, many things. Amongst them the fact of this disgraceful murder. It is a reflection on the diocese that the criminal is not caught and punished.
'Does your lordship wish the assassin to be captured?' asked the chaplain, in his softest tone, and with much apparent simplicity.
Dr Pendle raised his head and darted a keen look at his questioner. 'Of course I do,' he answered sharply, 'and I am much annoyed that our local police have not been clever enough to hunt him down. Have you heard whether any more evidence has been found?
'None likely to indicate the assassin, my lord. But I believe that the police have gathered some information about the victim's past.
The bishop's hand clenched itself so tightly that the knuckles whitened. 'About Jentham!' he muttered in a low voice, and not looking at the chaplain; 'ay, ay, what about him?
'It seems, my lord,' said Cargrim, watchful of his companion's face, 'that thirty years ago the man was a violinist in London and his professional name was Amaru.
'A violinist! Amaru!' repeated Dr Pendle, and looked so relieved that Cargrim saw he had not received the answer he expected. 'A professional name you say?
'Yes, your lordship,' replied the chaplain, trying hard to conceal his disappointment. 'No doubt the man's real name was Jentham.
'No doubt,' assented the bishop, indifferently, 'although I daresay so notorious a vagrant must have possessed at least half a dozen names.
It was on the tip of Cargrim's tongue to ask by what name Jentham had been known to his superior, but restrained by the knowledge of his incapacity to follow up the question, he was wise enough not to put it. Also, as he wished to come to an understanding with the bishop on the subject of the Heathcroft living, he turned the conversation in that direction by remarking that Mr Leigh was reported as dying.
'So Gabriel informed me,' said Dr Pendle, with a nod. 'I am truly sorry to hear it. Mr Leigh has been rector of Heathcroft parish for many years.
'For twenty-five years, your lordship; but latterly he has been rather lax in his rule. What is needed in Heathcroft is a young and earnest man with a capacity for organisation, one who by words and deeds may be able to move the sluggish souls of the parishioners, who can contrive and direct and guide.
'You describe an ideal rector, Cargrim,' remarked Dr Pendle, rather dryly, 'a kind of bishop in embryo; but where is such a paragon to be found?
The chaplain coloured and looked conscious. 'I do not describe myself as a paragon,' said he, in a low voice; 'nevertheless, should your lordship think fit to present me with the Heathcroft cure of souls, I should strive to approach in some degree the ideal I have described.
The bishop was no stranger to Cargrim's ambition, as it was not the first time that the chaplain had hinted that he would make a good rector of Heathcroft, therefore he did not feel surprised at being approached so crudely on the subject. With a testy gesture he pushed back his chair and looked rather frowningly on the presumptuous parson. But Cargrim was too sure of his ability to deal with the bishop to be daunted by looks, and with his sleek head on one side and a suave smile on his pale lips, he waited for the thunders from the episcopalian throne. However, the bishop was just as diplomatic as his chaplain, and too wise to give way to the temper he felt at so downright a request, approached the matter in an outwardly mild spirit.
'Heathcroft is a large parish,' said his lordship, meditatively.
'And therefore needs a hard-working young rector, replied Cargrim. 'I am, of course, aware of my own deficiencies, but these may be remedied by prayer and by a humble spirit.
'Mr Cargrim,' said the bishop, with a smile, 'do you remember the rather heterodox story of the farmer's comment on prayer being offered up for rain? "What is the use of praying for rain," said he, "when the wind is in this quarter?" I am inclined,' added Dr Pendle, looking very intently at Cargrim, 'to agree with the farmer.
'Does that mean that your lordship will not give me the living?
'We will come to that later, Mr Cargrim. At present I mean that no prayers will remedy our deficiencies unless the desire to do so begins in our own breasts.
'Will your lordship indicate the particular deficiencies I should remedy?' asked the chaplain, outwardly calm, but inwardly raging.
'I think, Mr Cargrim,' said the bishop, gently, 'that your ambition is apt to take precedence of your religious feelings, else you would hardly adopt so extreme a course as to ask me so bluntly for a living. If I deemed it advisable that you should be rector of Heathcroft, I should bestow it on you without the necessity of your asking me to give it to you; but to be plain with you, Mr Cargrim, I have other designs when the living becomes vacant.
'In that case, we need say no more, your lordship.
'Pardon me, you must permit me to say this much,' said Dr Pendle, in his most stately manner, 'that I desire you to continue in your present position until you have more experience in diocesan work. It is not every young man, Mr Cargrim, who has so excellent an opportunity of acquainting himself with the internal management of the Catholic Church. Your father was a dear friend of mine,' continued the bishop, with emotion, 'and in my younger days I owed him much. For his sake, and for your own, I wish to help you as much as I can, but you must permit me to be the best judge of when and how to advance your interests. These ambitions of yours, Michael, which I have observed on several occasions, are dangerous to your better qualities. A clergyman of our Church is a man, and—being a priest—something more than a man; therefore it behoves him to be humble and religious and intent upon his immediate work for the glory of God. Should he rise, it must be by such qualities that he attains a higher post in the Church; but should he remain all his days in a humble position, he can die content, knowing he has thought not of himself but of his God. Believe me, my dear young friend, I speak from experience, and it is better for you to leave your future in my hands.
These sentiments, being the antithesis to those of Cargrim, were of course extremely unpalatable to one of his nature. He knew that he was more ambitious than religious; but it was galling to think that Dr Pendle should have been clever enough to gauge his character so truly. His mask of humility and deference had been torn off, and he was better known to the bishop than was at all agreeable to his cunning nature. He saw that so far as the Heathcroft living was concerned he would never obtain it as a free gift from Dr Pendle, therefore it only remained to adopt the worser course, and force the prelate to accede to his request. Having thus decided, Mr Cargrim, with great self-control, smoothed his face to a meek smile, and even displayed a little emotion in order to show the bishop how touched he was by the kindly speech which had crushed his ambition.
'I am quite content to leave my future in your hands,' he said, with all possible suavity, 'and indeed, my lord, I know that you are my best—my only friend. The deficiency to which you allude shall be conquered by me if possible, and I trust that shortly I shall merit your lordship's more unreserved approbation.
'Why,' said the bishop, shaking him heartily by the hand, 'that is a very worthy speech, Michael, and I shall bear it in mind. We are still friends, I trust, in spite of what I consider it was my duty to say.
'Certainly we are friends, sir; I am honoured by the interest you take in me. And now, my lord,' added Cargrim, with a sweet smile, 'may I prefer a little request which was in my mind when I came to see you?
'Of course! of course, Michael; what is it?
'I have some business to transact in London, my lord; and I should like, with your permission, to be absent from my duties for a few days.
'With pleasure,' assented the bishop; 'go when you like, Cargrim. I am only too pleased that you should ask me for a holiday.
'Many thanks, your lordship,' said Cargrim, rising. 'Then I shall leave the palace to-morrow morning, and will return towards the end of the week. As there is nothing of particular importance to attend to, I trust your lordship will be able to dispense with my services during my few days' absence without trouble to yourself.
'Set your mind at rest, Cargrim; you can take your holiday.
'I again thank your lordship. It only remains for me to say that if—as I have heard—your lordship intends to make Mr Gabriel rector of Heathcroft, I trust he will be as earnest and devout there as he has been in Beorminster.
'I have not yet decided how to fill up the vacancy,' said the bishop, coldly, 'and let me remind you, Mr Cargrim, that as yet the present rector of Heathcroft still holds the living.
'I do but anticipate the inevitable, my lord,' said Cargrim, preparing to drive his sting into the bishop, 'and certainly, the sooner Mr Gabriel is advanced to the living the better it will be for his matrimonial prospects.
Dr Pendle stared. 'I don't understand you!' he said stiffly.
'What!' Mr Cargrim threw up his hands in astonishment. 'Has not Mr Gabriel informed your lordship of his engagement?
'Engagement!' echoed the bishop, half rising, 'do you mean to tell me that Gabriel is engaged, and without my knowledge!
'Oh, your lordship!—I thought you knew—most indiscreet of me,' murmured Cargrim, in pretended confusion.
'To whom is my son engaged?' asked the bishop, sharply.
'To—to—really, I feel most embarrassed,' said the chaplain. 'I should not have taken—.
'Answer at once, sir,' cried Dr Pendle, irritably. 'To whom is my son Gabriel engaged? I insist upon knowing.
'In that case, I must tell your lordship that Mr Gabriel is engaged to marry Miss Bell Mosk!
The bishop bounded out of his chair. 'Bell Mosk! the daughter of the landlord of The Derby Winner?
'Yes, your lordship.
'The—the—the—barmaid! My son!—oh, it is—it is impossible!
'I had it from the lips of the young lady herself,' said Cargrim, delighted at the bishop's annoyance. 'Certainly Miss Mosk is hardly fitted to be the wife of a future rector—still, she is a handsome—.
'Stop, sir!' cried the bishop, imperiously, 'don't dare to couple my son's name with that of—of—of a barmaid. I cannot—I will not—I dare not believe it!
'Nevertheless, it is true!
'Impossible! incredible! the boy must be mad!
'He is in love, which is much the same thing,' said Cargrim, with more boldness than he usually displayed before Dr Pendle; 'but to assure yourself of its truth, let me suggest that your lordship should question Mr Gabriel yourself. I believe he is in the palace.
'Thank you, Mr Cargrim,' said the bishop, recovering from his first surprise. 'I thank you for the information, but I am afraid you have been misled. My son would never choose a wife out of a bar.
'It is to be hoped he will see the folly of doing so, my lord,' replied the chaplain, backing towards the door, 'and now I shall take my leave, assuring your lordship that I should never have spoken of Mr Gabriel's engagement had I not believed that you were informed on the point.
The bishop made no reply, but sank into a chair, looking the picture of misery. After a glance at him, Cargrim left the room, rubbing his hands. 'I think I have given you a very good Roland for your Oliver, my lord!' he murmured.