en-fr  THE BISHOP'S SECRET by FERGUS HUME - Chapter 24 Hard
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CHAPITRE XXIV - L'ÉVÊQUE AFFIRME SON AUTORITÉ.
Resté seul, l'évêque demeura sans bouger dans son fauteuil pendant un temps considérable. L'information transmise par Cargrim blessait son orgueil, mais au fond de son cœur il savait bien qu'il avait aussi peu le droit de se monter orgueilleux que d'être irrité par cette nouvelle. En se remémorant le passé, il vit combien le docteur Graham avait eu raison en faisant référence à L’Anneau de Polycrate, car s'il était en apparence toujours quelqu'un de prospère et de haut placé, l'indignité avait fondu sur lui, et le malheur était sur le point de s'abattre. Depuis l'instant de la visite secrète de Jentham, la déchéance s'était abattue sur ses bonnes fortunes, la calamité planait sur son foyer, et il avait été tourmenté de mille façons détournées, sans toutefois en être personnellement la cause. Il y avait eu son secret auquel il n'osait même pas penser, l'absence forcée de sa femme et de sa fille qu'il avait été obligé d'éloigner, l'hostilité masquée de Cargrim qu'il ne savait comment museler, et maintenant la honte des fiançailles de Gabriel avec une serveuse de bar et de la décision de George d’épouser une femme qui, si on en croyait la rumeur, était la fille d'un scélérat. Avec toutes ces infortunes qui s’amoncelaient au-dessus de sa tête, l 'évêque ne voyait pas comment il pourrait jamais parvenir à la relever un jour.
Cependant, tous ces maux restaient enfermés dans sa poitrine, et pour le reste du monde il était toujours le populaire et prospère évêque de Beorminster. Il était résolu à maintenir cette apparence et cette position à n'importe quel prix, c'est pourquoi, pour mettre fin au dernier de ses problèmes, il décida de parler sérieusement à ses fils du sujet de leurs mariages disparates. Une pression du bouton électrique convoqua le domestique, qui fut chargé de prier le capitaine Pendle et M. Gabriel à rejoindre sans tarder leur père dans la bibliothèque. On aurait dit qu'ils attendaient presque le message car en quelques minutes, ils furent tous les deux dans la pièce ; George, comme d'habitude désinvolte et confiant, toutefois Gabriel montrait des signes d'anxiété. Pourtant, aucun des jeunes hommes ne se doutait pourquoi l'évêque les avait convoqués ; surtout pas George, qui n'imaginait pas un instant que son père s'opposerait à ses fiançailles avec Mab Arden.
— Asseyez-vous, tous les deux, dit le révérend Pendle, d'une voix grave, — j'ai à parler de choses sérieuses, dit l'évêque adoptant une position imposante sur le tapis de cheminée. Les deux fils s'échangèrent des regards.
— Il n'y a pas de mauvaises nouvelles de Nauheim, j'espère, Excellence ? dit George, ignorant tout à fait l'importance de cet exorde.
— Non. La dernière missive de Lucy à propos de ta mère était très enjouée d'ailleurs. Je souhaite avoir une conversation sérieuse avec vous deux. Comme tu es l'aîné, George, je vais commencer par toi ; Gabriel, je discuterai avec toi plus tard.
— Me faire entendre raison, interrogea le pasteur. Ai-je fait quelque chose qui requière de me raisonner ? et il esquissa un sourire, n'imaginant pas avec quelle rapidité sa plaisanterie tournerait à l'amertume.
— Je crois qu'une parole judicieuse ne te ferait pas de mal, répondit son père d'un ton austère, mais je vais d'abord m'adresser à George.
— Je suis tout ouïe, Monsieur, dit le Capitaine, lassé par cette solennité. Qu'ai-je fait ?
— Vous m'avez dissimulé vos fiançailles avec mademoiselle Arden.
— Oh ! s'écria George en souriant, ainsi Mlle Whichello a parlé !
Oui, elle m'a parlé aujourd'hui et m'a dit que vous vous étiez formellement engagé avec sa nièce sans que je l'aie su ni donné mon approbation. Puis-je vous demander la raison d'agissements aussi singuliers ?
— Sont-ils singuliers, Monsieur ? demanda George, d'un ton à demi-moqueur. J'ai toujours appris qu'il fallait d'abord obtenir le consentement de la dame avant de rendre l'affaire publique. J'ai demandé à Mab d'être ma femme lors de ma dernière visite à Beorminster, et j'avais l'intention de vous le dire maintenant, mais je constate que Mlle Whichello m'en a épargné la peine. Cependant, maintenant que vous connaissez la vérité, Monsieur, dit le capitaine Pendle avec son sourire radieux, puis-je vous demander votre approbation et votre bénédiction ?
— Vous pouvez, répondit froidement l'évêque, mais vous n'aurez ni l'un ni l'autre.
— Père ! La réponse était si inattendue que George sauta de sa chaise avec un cri de surprise, et même Gabriel, qui était dans le secret de l'amour de son frère pour Mab, fut étonné et peiné.
— Je n'approuve pas ces fiançailles, poursuivit l'évêque imperturbablement.
— Vous... n'approuvez... pas... Mab ! dit avec lenteur le capitaine Pendle, et son visage pâlit sous l'effet de la colère.
— Je n'ai rien dit de cette dame, corrigea l'évêque avec hauteur ; Monsieur, vous seriez aimable de considérer mes paroles comme je les prononce. Je n'approuve pas ces fiançailles.
— Pour quels motifs ? demanda George, assez calmement.
— Je ne connais rien des parents de Mlle Arden.
— C'est la fille de la sœur de Mlle Whichello.
— Je suis au courant de cela, mais son père ?
— Son père ! répéta George, assez perplexe. Je ne me suis jamais soucié de son père. Je ne sais rien de lui.
— Vraiment ! dit l'évêque, c'est aussi bien que vous ne le fassiez pas.
Le capitaine Pendle eut l'air troublé. — Y a-t-il quelque chose qui ne va pas avec lui ? demanda-t-il nerveusement. Je croyais qu'il était mort et enterré depuis des années.
— Je crois qu'il est mort, mais selon tous les avis, c'était un scélérat.
— De qui ces avis, Monseigneur ?
— Celui de madame Pansey, tout d'abord.
— Père ! s'écria Gabriel, vous n'ignorez certainement pas que les ragots de madame Pansey sont des moins fiables.
— Pas dans cette circonstance, répliqua promptement l'évêque. Madame Pansey m'a raconté qu'il y a vingt-six ans, quand mademoiselle Whichello a amené sa nièce dans cette ville, le père de l'enfant valait à peine plus qu'un gibier de potence.
— Le connaissait-elle ? demanda sèchement George.
— Je ne puis l'affirmer, mais elle m'a assuré qu'elle disait la vérité. Je n'ai pas prêté attention à sa conversation, et je n'ai pas non plus questionné mademoiselle Whichello à ce sujet. À cette époque, cela ne m'intéressait pas, mais maintenant que je trouve mon fils désireux d'épouser cette jeune femme, je dois refuser mon consentement jusqu'à ce que j'apprenne tout sur sa naissance et ses origines.
— Mademoiselle Whichello nous entretiendra de tout cela ! dit George avec optimisme.
— Faisons confiance à ce que mademoiselle Whichello nous dira sans doute.
— Osez cela, Monsieur ! s'écria le capitaine Pendle en mordant sa moustache.
— J'ai utilisé le mot à dessein, George. Si ce que Mme Pansey affirme est vrai, Mlle Whichello aura une réticence naturelle à avouer la vérité au sujet du père de Mlle Arden.
— En admettant cela, dit Gabriel en voyant que George gardait le silence, vous ne ferez sûrement pas rejaillir les péchés du père sur l'enfant innocent ?
— C'est la loi scripturaire, mon fils.
— Ce n'est pas la loi du Christ, répondit le pasteur.
— Loi ou non ! dit le capitaine Pendle déterminé, je n'abandonnerai pas Mab. Son père aurait pu être un Néron, je ne m'en soucie en rien. J'épouse sa fille quand même ; elle est pure, c'est une bonne et douce femme.
— J'avoue qu'elle est tout ça, dit l'évêque, et je ne veux pas que tu l'abandonnes sans une enquête sur la question dont je parle. Mais je souhaite que tu regagnes ton régiment jusqu'à ce que l'affaire soit passée au crible.
— Qui passerait cela au crible sinon moi ? s'enquit George, avec indignation.
Si tu me la confies, tout se passera bien, mon fils. J'irai voir Mlle Whichello et Mme Pansey pour connaître toute l'histoire.
— Et si la realité est aussi cruelle que vous le suspectez ?
— dans ce cas, dit doucement l'évêque, j'examinerai la question ; ne pense vraiment pas que je souhaite que tu rompes tes fiançailles , George, mais je te demande de les suspendre, en quelque sorte. Pour les raisons que j'ai exposées, je désapprouve ton mariage avec Mlle Arden, mais il se peut que, si je suis parfaitement informé au sujet de son père, je puisse changer d'avis. En attendant, je veux que tu rejoignes ton régiment et que tu y restes jusqu'à ce qu'on vienne te chercher.
— Et si je refuse ?
— Dans ce cas, dit solennellement l'évêque, je te refuserai définitivement mon assentiment. Si tu refuses de reconnaître mon autorité, je te traiterai comme un étranger. Mais j'ai été un bon père pour toi, George, et j'espère que tu jugeras bon de m'obéir.
— Je ne suis plus un enfant, dit sèchement le Capitaine Pendle.
Tu es un homme avisé, répondit adroitement son père, et en tant que tel tu peux constater que je parle pour ton propre bien. Je ne demande qu'un délai, afin que la vérité soit connue avant que tu ne t'engages irrévocablement auprès de cette jeune fille.
— Je considère déjà mon engagement comme irrévocable ! J'ai demandé à Mab d'être ma femme, je lui ai donné une bague, j'ai gagné son cœur ; je serais un fieffé goujat, s'écria George en se fâchant, si je l'abandonnais à cause des ragots mensongers d'une vieille diablesse comme Mme Pansey.
— Votre langage n'est pas décent, monsieur.
— Je... je vous demande pardon, mon père, mais ne soyez pas trop dur avec moi.
— Votre bon sens devrait vous faire admettre que je ne suis pas rigide avec vous.
— En effet, glissa Gabriel, je pense que Père n'a pas tort, George.
— Vous n'êtes pas amoureux, ronchonna le capitaine, sceptique.
Un pâle sourire se dessina sur les lèvres de Gabriel, remarqué aussitôt par l'évêque, alors qu'il proposait de s'entretenir avec lui plus tard, il n'émit, à cet instant, aucune remarque à ce sujet .
— Que voulez-vous que je fasse, Monsieur ? demanda George, un instant plus tard.
— Je vous l'ai dit, ajouta doucement l'évêque. — Je vous demande de rejoindre votre régiment et de ne pas revenir à Beorminster jusqu'à ce que je vous envoie chercher.
— M'interdisez-vous de voir Mab avant mon départ ?
— En aucun cas : voyez Mlle Arden et Mlle Whichello si vous le désirez, et informez-les toutes les deux que c'est à ma demande que vous vous en allez.
— Bien, monsieur, dit tranquillement le capitaine Pendle, je suis prêt à vous obéir et à retourner à mon travail, mais je refuse d'abandonner Mab. Craignant d'en dire davantage et de peur de perdre tout à fait son sang-froid, il quitta brusquement la pièce. L'évêque le vit se retirer en soupirant et il hocha la tête. Immédiatement après il s'adressa à Gabriel, qui, avec une certaine appréhension, l'attendait pour parler.
— Gabriel, dit le révérend Pendle en prenant une lettre, Harry m'a écrit de Nauheim, disant qu'il est obligé de rentrer chez lui pour ses affaires. Comme je ne souhaite pas que votre mère et Lucy restent seules, je désire que vous les rejoigniez — immédiatement !
Le vicaire fut plutôt étonné du ton péremptoire de ce discours, mais il se hâta d'assurer à son père qu'il était tout disposé à partir. La raison donnée pour le voyage lui paraissait suffisante, et il ne se doutait pas que le véritable motif de son père était de le séparer de Bell. L'évêque vit qu'il en était ainsi et il arriva aussitôt au point principal de l'entrevue.
— Savez-vous pourquoi je souhaite que vous partiez à l'étranger ? demanda-t-il avec brusquerie.
— Pour rejoindre ma mère et Lucy... c'est ce que vous m'avez dit.
— C'est une raison, Gabriel, mais il y en a une autre plus importante encore.
Au souvenir de ses fiançailles secrètes le visage du vicaire devint cramoisi, il balbutia qu'il ne comprenait pas ce que son père voulait dire.
— Je pense que tu as suffisamment bien compris, dit, avec sévérité, le révérend Pendle Je fais allusion à votre conduite honteuse avec cette femme du Derby Winner.
— Monsieur, si vous faites allusion à mes fiançailles avec Mlle Mosk, s'écria Gabriel avec fougue, il n'est pas nécessaire d'employer le mot honteux. Ma conduite envers cette jeune dame a toujours été honorable.
— Et que dire de votre conduite envers votre père ? demanda l'évêque.
Gabriel baissa la tête. — J'avais l'intention de vous dire, bredouilla-t-il, quand —
— Quand vous pourriez avoir l'audace de le faire, interrompit monseigneur Pendle, coupant court à toute discussion. — Malheureusement, votre franchise n'étant pas égale à votre capacité de duperie, j'ai donc été contraint de découvrir la vérité par un étranger.
— Cargrim ! s'écria Gabriel, son instinct lui révélant le nom de son traître.
— Oui, de M. Cargrim. La vérité est arrivée à ses oreilles des lèvres de cette fille, elle-même. Elle lui a annoncé qu'elle s'était engagée à vous épouser — vous, mon fils.
— C'est la vérité ! dit Gabriel, d'une voix grave. — Je souhaite faire d'elle mon épouse.
— Faire d'elle votre épouse ! vociféra monseigneur Pendle, en colère ; cette fille quelconque — cette — cette serveuse de bar — cette —
— Je refuse d'entendre que Bell soit insultée, même par vous, père, dit Gabriel avec orgueil. — C'est une chic fille, une honnête fille — une fille merveilleuse !
— Et une serveuse de bar, dit l'évêque, d'un ton sec. — Je vous félicite pour la belle-fille que vous avez choisie pour votre mère !
Gabriel grimaça. Bien qu'il aimât Bell, l'idée de sa présence dans les mondanités de sa délicate et raffinée mère ne lui était pas plaisante. Il ne pouvait pas être dupe, bien que la perle qu'il souhaitait sortir du caniveau puisse briller de mille feux, quand introduite en haut lieu et placée à côté de joyaux raffinés, elle pourrait ne pas étinceler autant. Par conséquent, il ne trouverait aucune réplique au discours de son père, et avec sagesse garda le silence.
— Certes, mes fils sont un réconfort pour moi ! continua l'évêque, sarcastiquement. Je les ai toujours éduqués dans ce que j'ai jugé être une manière sage et avisée, mais il semble que je me sois trompé, car la première chose qu'ils ont faite de leur éducation est de décevoir le père qui ne les a jamais déçus.
— J'admets m'être mal comporté, père.
Personne ne peut le nier, Monseigneur. — La question est, avez-vous l'intention de continuer à vous mal comporter?
J'aime vraiment Bell, je l'aime tellement !
L'évêque grommela et se laissa tomber sur sa chaise. — C'est incroyable, dit-il. Comment pouvez-vous, avec vos goûts raffinés et votre belle éducation aimer cette ... cette ... ? Enfin, je ne trouve pas de nom pour elle. Bien-sûr que Miss Mosk est assez bien pour son milieu, mais elle n'est pas une épouse convenable pour mon fils.
— Nous ne contrôlons pas toujours nos sentiments, père,
— Vous devriez, Gabriel. La tête devrait toujours guider le cœur; c'est simplement du bon-sens. D'ailleurs vous êtes trop jeune pour connaitre vos propres sentiments. Cette fille est belle et intrigante, et elle vous a rendu entiché d'elle dans votre innocence. Je serais un mauvais père si je ne vous sortais pas de ses manigances. Pour cela, j'ai l'intention de vous envoyer quelque temps à l'étranger.
— Je veux bien partir à l'étranger, père, mais jamais, jamais je n'oublierai Bell !
— Vous parlez avec toute l'assurance d'un jeune homme amoureux pour la première fois, Gabriel. Je suis heureux que vous soyez encore assez obéissant pour m'obéir. Bien-sûr,vous savez que je ne peux consentir à ce que vous fassiez de cette fille votre épouse.
Je comprends que vous puissiez être en colère, bafouilla Gabriel.
Je suis plus peiné qu'en colère, répondit l'évêque. Avez-vous fait à cette jeune femme une promesse de mariage ?
Oui père, je lui ai donné une bague de fiançailles.
Je vous congratule, monsieur, pour votre comportement méthodique. Cependant, il n'y a pas à discuter avec quelqu'un d'aussi épris que vous. Tout ce que je peux faire est de tester votre affection en vous séparant de miss Mosk. Quand vous reviendrez de Nauheim nous reparlerons à ce sujet.
— Quand désirez-vous que je parte, père ? Demanda humblement Gabriel.
— Demain, dit froidement l'évêque. Vous pouvez partir maintenant.
Je me désole ...
Désolé ! cria le Monseigneur Pendle, le sourcil froncé. A quoi servent des paroles sans des actes ? Vous et Georges m'avez tous deux brisé le cœur aujourd'hui. J'aurais cru pouvoir faire confiance à mes fils; je vois que non. Mais ... il est inutile d'en dire plus. Je dois voir ce que l'éloignement pourra faire dans les deux cas. Maintenant laissez moi, s'il vous plaît.
L'évêque se tourna vers son bureau et s'affaira à quelques papiers, pendant que Gabriel après un instant d'hésitation sortit de la pièce en soupirant. Monseigneur Pendle, se retrouvant seul, s'adossa à sa chaise et grommela à voix haute.
— J'ai éloigné le danger pour l'instant, dit-il tristement, mais pour le futur ... Pauvre de moi ! Quant au futur ?
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For more info, please see discussion tab.
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CHAPTER XXIV - THE BISHOP ASSERTS HIMSELF.
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On being left alone, the bishop sat motionless in his chair for some considerable time.
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With these ills heaped upon his head, the bishop did not know how he could ever raise it again.
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The two sons looked at one another.
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'There is no bad news from Nauheim, I hope, sir?'
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said George, quite ignorant of the meaning of this exordium.
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'No.
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Lucy's last letter about your mother was very cheerful indeed.
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I wish to speak seriously to both of you.
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'Reason with me,' wondered the curate.
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'Have I been doing anything which requires me to be reasoned with?'
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'I am all attention, sir,' said the captain, rather weary of this solemnity.
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'What have I done?
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'You have concealed from me the fact of your engagement to Miss Arden.
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'Oh!'
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cried George, smiling, 'so Miss Whichello has been speaking!
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May I inquire your reason for so singular a course?
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'Is it singular, sir?'
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asked George, in a half-joking tone.
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'You may ask,' said the bishop, coldly, 'but you shall have neither.
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'Father!'
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'I do not approve of the engagement,' went on the bishop, imperturbably.
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'You—do—not—approve—of—Mab!'
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said Captain Pendle, slowly, and his face became pale with anger.
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I do not approve of the engagement.
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'On what grounds?'
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asked George, quietly enough.
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'I know nothing about Miss Arden's parents.
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'She is the daughter of Miss Whichello's sister.
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'I am aware of that, but what about her father?
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'Her father!'
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repeated George, rather perplexed.
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'I never inquired about her father; I do not know anything about him.
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'Indeed!'
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said the bishop, 'it is just as well that you do not.
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Captain Pendle looked disturbed.
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'Is there anything wrong with him?'
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he asked nervously.
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'I thought he was dead and buried ages ago.
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'I believe he is dead; but from all accounts he was a scoundrel.
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'From whose account, bishop?
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'Mrs Pansey's for one.
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'Father!'
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cried Gabriel, 'surely you know that Mrs Pansey's gossip is most unreliable.
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'Not in this instance,' replied the bishop, promptly.
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'Did she know him?'
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asked George, sharply.
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'That I cannot say, but she assured me that she spoke the truth.
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I paid no attention to her talk, nor did I question Miss Whichello on the subject.
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'Miss Whichello will tell us about that!'
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said George, hopefully.
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'Let us trust that Miss Whichello dare tell us.
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'Dare, sir!'
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cried Captain Pendle, gnawing his moustache.
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'I used the word advisedly, George.
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'It is scriptural law, my son.
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'It is not the law of Christ,' replied the curate.
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'Law or no law!'
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said Captain Pendle, determinedly, 'I shall not give Mab up.
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Her father may have been a Nero for all I care.
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I marry his daughter all the same; she is a good, pure, sweet woman.
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'Who should sift it but I?'
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inquired George, hotly.
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'If you place it in my hands all will—I trust—be well, my son.
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I shall see Miss Whichello and Mrs Pansey and learn the truth.
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'And if the truth be as cruel as you suspect?
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In the meantime, I wish you to rejoin your regiment and remain with it until I send for you.
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'And if I refuse?
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'In that case,' said the bishop, sternly, 'I shall refuse my consent altogether.
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Should you refuse to acknowledge my authority I shall treat you as a stranger.
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But I have been a good father to you, George, and I trust that you will see fit to obey me.
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'I am not a child,' said Captain Pendle, sullenly.
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'I look upon my engagement as irrevocable!
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'Your language is not decorous, sir.
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'I—I beg your pardon, father, but don't be too hard on me.
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'Your own good sense should tell you that I am not hard on you.
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'Indeed,' put in Gabriel, 'I think that my father has reason on his side, George.
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'You are not in love,' growled the captain, unconvinced.
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'What do you wish me to do, sir?'
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asked George, after a pause.
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'I have told you,' rejoined the bishop, mildly.
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unit 115
'Do you object to my seeing Mab before I go?
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The bishop saw him retire with a sigh and shook his head.
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unit 125
'Do you know why I wish you to go abroad?'
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unit 126
he asked sharply.
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unit 127
'To join my mother and Lucy—you told me so.
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unit 128
'That is one reason, Gabriel; but there is another and more important one.
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unit 130
'I think you understand well enough,' said Dr Pendle, sternly.
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unit 133
My conduct towards that young lady has been honourable throughout.
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'And what about your conduct towards your father?'
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unit 135
asked the bishop.
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unit 136
Gabriel hung his head.
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unit 137
'I intended to tell you,' he stammered, 'when—.
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unit 138
'When you could summon up courage to do so,' interrupted Dr Pendle, in cutting tones.
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unit 140
'Cargrim!'
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unit 141
cried Gabriel, his instinct telling him the name of his betrayer.
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unit 142
'Yes, from Mr Cargrim.
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He heard the truth from the lips of this girl herself.
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unit 144
She informed him that she was engaged to marry you—you, my son.
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'It is true!'
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said Gabriel, in a low voice.
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unit 147
'I wish to make her my wife.
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unit 148
'Make her your wife!'
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unit 149
cried Dr Pendle, angrily; 'this common girl—this—this barmaid—this—.
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'I shall not listen to Bell being called names even by you, father,' said Gabriel, proudly.
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'She is a good girl, a respectable girl—a beautiful girl!
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'And a barmaid,' said the bishop, dryly.
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'I congratulate you on the daughter-in-law you have selected for your mother!
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Gabriel winced.
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Therefore, he could find no answer to his father's speech, and wisely kept silence.
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'Certainly, my sons are a comfort to me!'
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unit 159
continued the bishop, sarcastically.
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'I admit that I have behaved badly, father.
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'No one can deny that, sir.
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The question is, do you intend to continue behaving badly?
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'I love Bell dearly—very dearly!
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The bishop groaned and sat down helplessly in his chair.
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'It is incredible,' he said.
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'How can you, with your refined tastes and up-bringing, love this—this—?
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Well, I shall not call her names.
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No doubt Miss Mosk is well enough in her way, but she is not a proper wife for my son.
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'Our hearts are not always under control, father.
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'They should be, Gabriel.
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The head should always guide the heart; that is only common sense.
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Besides, you are too young to know your own mind.
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This girl is handsome and scheming, and has infatuated you in your innocence.
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I should be a bad father to you if I did not rescue you from her wiles.
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To do so, it is my intention that you shall go abroad for a time.
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'I am willing to go abroad, father, but I shall never, never forget Bell!
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'You speak with all the confidence of a young man in love for the first time, Gabriel.
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I am glad that you are still sufficiently obedient to obey me.
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Of course, you know that I cannot consent to your making this girl your wife.
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'I thought that you might be angry,' faltered Gabriel.
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'I am more hurt than angry,' replied the bishop.
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'Have you given this young woman a promise of marriage?
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'Yes, father; I gave her an engagement ring.
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'I congratulate you, sir, on your methodical behaviour.
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However, it is no use arguing with one so infatuated as you are.
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All I can do is to test your affection by parting you from Miss Mosk.
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When you return from Nauheim we shall speak further on the subject.
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'When do you wish me to go, father?'
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asked Gabriel, rising submissively.
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'To-morrow,' said the bishop, coldly.
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'You can leave me now.
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'I am sorry—.
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'Sorry!'
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cried Dr Pendle, with a frown.
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'What is the use of words without deeds?
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Both you and George have given me a sore heart this day.
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I thought that I could trust my sons; I find that I cannot.
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If— But it is useless to talk further.
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I shall see what absence can do in both cases.
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Now leave me, if you please.
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Dr Pendle, finding himself alone, leaned back in his chair and groaned aloud.
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'I have averted the danger for the time being,' he said sadly, 'but the future—ah, me!
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what of the future?
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francevw • 14086  commented  11 months, 2 weeks 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 11 months, 2 weeks ago

For more info, please see discussion tab.

CHAPTER XXIV - THE BISHOP ASSERTS HIMSELF.
On being left alone, the bishop sat motionless in his chair for some considerable time. The information conveyed by Cargrim struck at his pride, but in his heart he knew well that he had as little right to be proud as to resent the blow. Casting a look over the past, he saw that Dr Graham had been right in his reference to the Ring of Polycrates, for although he was outwardly still prosperous and high-placed, shame had come upon him, and evil was about to befall. From the moment of Jentham's secret visit a blight had fallen on his fortunes, a curse had come upon his house, and in a thousand hidden ways he had been tortured, although for no fault of his own. There was his secret which he did not dare even to think of; there was the enforced absence of his wife and daughter, whom he had been compelled to send away; there was the hidden enmity of Cargrim, which he did not know how to baffle; and now there was the shame of Gabriel's engagement to a barmaid; of George's choice of a wife, who, if rumour could be believed, was the daughter of a scoundrel. With these ills heaped upon his head, the bishop did not know how he could ever raise it again.
Still, all these woes were locked up in his own breast, and to the world he was yet the popular, prosperous Bishop of Beorminster. This impression and position he was resolved to maintain at all costs, therefore, to put an end to his last trouble, he concluded to speak seriously to his sons on the subject of unequal marriages. A pressure of the electric button summoned the servant, who was instructed to request Captain Pendle and Mr Gabriel to see their father at once in the library. It would seem as though they almost expected the message, for in a few minutes they were both in the room; George, with his usual jaunty, confident air, but Gabriel with an anxious look. Yet neither of the young men guessed why the bishop had sent for them; least of all George, who never dreamed for a moment that his father would oppose his engagement with Mab Arden.
'Sit down, both of you,' said Dr Pendle, in grave tones, 'I have something serious to say,' and the bishop took up an imposing position on the hearthrug. The two sons looked at one another.
'There is no bad news from Nauheim, I hope, sir?' said George, quite ignorant of the meaning of this exordium.
'No. Lucy's last letter about your mother was very cheerful indeed. I wish to speak seriously to both of you. As you are the elder, George, I shall begin with you; Gabriel, I shall reason with later.
'Reason with me,' wondered the curate. 'Have I been doing anything which requires me to be reasoned with?' and he gave a half smile, never thinking how soon his jest would be turned into bitter earnest.
'I think a word in season will do you no harm,' answered his father, austerely, 'but I shall address myself to George first.
'I am all attention, sir,' said the captain, rather weary of this solemnity. 'What have I done?
'You have concealed from me the fact of your engagement to Miss Arden.
'Oh!' cried George, smiling, 'so Miss Whichello has been speaking!
'Yes, she spoke to me to-day, and told me that you had formally engaged yourself to her niece without my knowledge or sanction. May I inquire your reason for so singular a course?
'Is it singular, sir?' asked George, in a half-joking tone. 'I always understood that it was first necessary to obtain the lady's consent before making the matter public. I asked Mab to be my wife when I last visited Beorminster, and I intended to tell you of it this time, but I find that Miss Whichello has saved me the trouble. However, now that you know the truth, sir,' said Captain Pendle, with his sunny smile, 'may I ask for your approval and blessing?
'You may ask,' said the bishop, coldly, 'but you shall have neither.
'Father!' The answer was so unexpected that George jumped up from his chair with a cry of surprise, and even Gabriel, who was in the secret of his brother's love for Mab, looked astonished and pained.
'I do not approve of the engagement,' went on the bishop, imperturbably.
'You—do—not—approve—of—Mab!' said Captain Pendle, slowly, and his face became pale with anger.
'I said nothing about the lady,' corrected the bishop, haughtily; 'you will be pleased, sir, to take my words as I speak them. I do not approve of the engagement.
'On what grounds?' asked George, quietly enough.
'I know nothing about Miss Arden's parents.
'She is the daughter of Miss Whichello's sister.
'I am aware of that, but what about her father?
'Her father!' repeated George, rather perplexed. 'I never inquired about her father; I do not know anything about him.
'Indeed!' said the bishop, 'it is just as well that you do not.
Captain Pendle looked disturbed. 'Is there anything wrong with him?' he asked nervously. 'I thought he was dead and buried ages ago.
'I believe he is dead; but from all accounts he was a scoundrel.
'From whose account, bishop?
'Mrs Pansey's for one.
'Father!' cried Gabriel, 'surely you know that Mrs Pansey's gossip is most unreliable.
'Not in this instance,' replied the bishop, promptly. 'Mrs Pansey told me some twenty-six years ago, when Miss Whichello brought her niece to this city, that the child's father was little better than a gaol-bird.
'Did she know him?' asked George, sharply.
'That I cannot say, but she assured me that she spoke the truth. I paid no attention to her talk, nor did I question Miss Whichello on the subject. In those days it had no interest for me, but now that I find my son desires to marry the girl, I must refuse my consent until I learn all about her birth and parentage.
'Miss Whichello will tell us about that!' said George, hopefully.
'Let us trust that Miss Whichello dare tell us.
'Dare, sir!' cried Captain Pendle, gnawing his moustache.
'I used the word advisedly, George. If what Mrs Pansey asserts is true, Miss Whichello will feel a natural reluctance to confess the truth about Miss Arden's father.
'Admitting as much,' urged Gabriel, seeing that George kept silent, 'surely you will not visit the sins of the father on the innocent child?
'It is scriptural law, my son.
'It is not the law of Christ,' replied the curate.
'Law or no law!' said Captain Pendle, determinedly, 'I shall not give Mab up. Her father may have been a Nero for all I care. I marry his daughter all the same; she is a good, pure, sweet woman.
'I admit that she is all that,' said the bishop, 'and I do not want you to give her up without due inquiry into the matter of which I speak. But it is my desire that you should return to your regiment until the affair can be sifted.
'Who should sift it but I?' inquired George, hotly.
'If you place it in my hands all will—I trust—be well, my son. I shall see Miss Whichello and Mrs Pansey and learn the truth.
'And if the truth be as cruel as you suspect?
'In that case,' said the bishop, slowly, 'I shall consider the matter; you must not think that I wish you to break off your engagement altogether, George, but I desire you to suspend it, so to speak. For the reasons I have stated, I disapprove of your marrying Miss Arden, but it may be that, should I be informed fully about her father, I may change my mind. In the meantime, I wish you to rejoin your regiment and remain with it until I send for you.
'And if I refuse?
'In that case,' said the bishop, sternly, 'I shall refuse my consent altogether. Should you refuse to acknowledge my authority I shall treat you as a stranger. But I have been a good father to you, George, and I trust that you will see fit to obey me.
'I am not a child,' said Captain Pendle, sullenly.
'You are a man of the world,' replied his father, skilfully, 'and as such must see that I am speaking for your own good. I ask merely for delay, so that the truth may be known before you engage yourself irrevocably to this young lady.
'I look upon my engagement as irrevocable! I have asked Mab to be my wife, I have given her a ring, I have won her heart; I should be a mean hound,' cried George, lashing himself into a rage, 'if I gave her up for the lying gossip of an old she-devil like Mrs Pansey.
'Your language is not decorous, sir.
'I—I beg your pardon, father, but don't be too hard on me.
'Your own good sense should tell you that I am not hard on you.
'Indeed,' put in Gabriel, 'I think that my father has reason on his side, George.
'You are not in love,' growled the captain, unconvinced.
A pale smile flitted over Gabriel's lips, not unnoticed by the bishop, but as he purposed speaking to him later, he made no remark on it at the moment.
'What do you wish me to do, sir?' asked George, after a pause.
'I have told you,' rejoined the bishop, mildly. 'I desire you to rejoin your regiment and not come back to Beorminster until I send for you.
'Do you object to my seeing Mab before I go?
'By no means; see both Miss Arden and Miss Whichello if you like, and tell them both that it is by my desire you go away.
'Well, sir,' said Captain Pendle, slowly, 'I am willing to obey you and return to my work, but I refuse to give up Mab,' and not trusting himself to speak further, lest he should lose his temper altogether, he abruptly left the room. The bishop saw him retire with a sigh and shook his head. Immediately afterwards he addressed himself to Gabriel, who, with some apprehension, was waiting for him to speak.
'Gabriel,' said Dr Pendle, picking up a letter, 'Harry has written to me from Nauheim, saying that he is compelled to return home on business. As I do not wish your mother and Lucy to be alone, it is my desire that you should join them—at once!
The curate was rather amazed at the peremptory tone of this speech, but hastened to assure his father that he was quite willing to go. The reason given for the journey seemed to him a sufficient one, and he had no suspicion that his father's real motive was to separate him from Bell. The bishop saw that this was the case, and forthwith came to the principal point of the interview.
'Do you know why I wish you to go abroad?' he asked sharply.
'To join my mother and Lucy—you told me so.
'That is one reason, Gabriel; but there is another and more important one.
A remembrance of his secret engagement turned the curate's face crimson; but he faltered out that he did not understand what his father meant.
'I think you understand well enough,' said Dr Pendle, sternly. 'I allude to your disgraceful conduct in connection with that woman at The Derby Winner.
'If you allude to my engagement to Miss Mosk, sir,' cried Gabriel, with spirit, 'there is no need to use the word disgraceful. My conduct towards that young lady has been honourable throughout.
'And what about your conduct towards your father?' asked the bishop.
Gabriel hung his head. 'I intended to tell you,' he stammered, 'when—.
'When you could summon up courage to do so,' interrupted Dr Pendle, in cutting tones. 'Unfortunately, your candour was not equal to your capability for deception, so I was obliged to learn the truth from a stranger.
'Cargrim!' cried Gabriel, his instinct telling him the name of his betrayer.
'Yes, from Mr Cargrim. He heard the truth from the lips of this girl herself. She informed him that she was engaged to marry you—you, my son.
'It is true!' said Gabriel, in a low voice. 'I wish to make her my wife.
'Make her your wife!' cried Dr Pendle, angrily; 'this common girl—this—this barmaid—this—.
'I shall not listen to Bell being called names even by you, father,' said Gabriel, proudly. 'She is a good girl, a respectable girl—a beautiful girl!
'And a barmaid,' said the bishop, dryly. 'I congratulate you on the daughter-in-law you have selected for your mother!
Gabriel winced. Much as he loved Bell, the idea of her being in the society of his delicate, refined mother was not a pleasant one. He could not conceal from himself that although the jewel he wished to pick out of the gutter might shine brilliantly there, it might not glitter so much when translated to a higher sphere and placed beside more polished gems. Therefore, he could find no answer to his father's speech, and wisely kept silence.
'Certainly, my sons are a comfort to me!' continued the bishop, sarcastically. 'I have brought them up in what I judged to be a wise and judicious manner, but it seems I am mistaken, since the first use they make of their training is to deceive the father who has never deceived them.
'I admit that I have behaved badly, father.
'No one can deny that, sir. The question is, do you intend to continue behaving badly?
'I love Bell dearly—very dearly!
The bishop groaned and sat down helplessly in his chair. 'It is incredible,' he said. 'How can you, with your refined tastes and up-bringing, love this—this—? Well, I shall not call her names. No doubt Miss Mosk is well enough in her way, but she is not a proper wife for my son.
'Our hearts are not always under control, father.
'They should be, Gabriel. The head should always guide the heart; that is only common sense. Besides, you are too young to know your own mind. This girl is handsome and scheming, and has infatuated you in your innocence. I should be a bad father to you if I did not rescue you from her wiles. To do so, it is my intention that you shall go abroad for a time.
'I am willing to go abroad, father, but I shall never, never forget Bell!
'You speak with all the confidence of a young man in love for the first time, Gabriel. I am glad that you are still sufficiently obedient to obey me. Of course, you know that I cannot consent to your making this girl your wife.
'I thought that you might be angry,' faltered Gabriel.
'I am more hurt than angry,' replied the bishop. 'Have you given this young woman a promise of marriage?
'Yes, father; I gave her an engagement ring.
'I congratulate you, sir, on your methodical behaviour. However, it is no use arguing with one so infatuated as you are. All I can do is to test your affection by parting you from Miss Mosk. When you return from Nauheim we shall speak further on the subject.
'When do you wish me to go, father?' asked Gabriel, rising submissively.
'To-morrow,' said the bishop, coldly. 'You can leave me now.
'I am sorry—.
'Sorry!' cried Dr Pendle, with a frown. 'What is the use of words without deeds? Both you and George have given me a sore heart this day. I thought that I could trust my sons; I find that I cannot. If— But it is useless to talk further. I shall see what absence can do in both cases. Now leave me, if you please.
The bishop turned to his desk and busied himself with some papers, while Gabriel, after a moment's hesitation, left the room with a deep sigh. Dr Pendle, finding himself alone, leaned back in his chair and groaned aloud.
'I have averted the danger for the time being,' he said sadly, 'but the future—ah, me! what of the future?