en-fr  THE BISHOP'S SECRET by FERGUS HUME - Chapter 26
Bonne année à tous 2018, la nature ayant horreur du vide, je vous encourage à combler ces vilaines cases grises autant que possible. 😁
CHAPITRE XXVI - LA STUPÉFACTION DE SIR HARRY BRACE.
— Un détective privé ! Sir Harry bondit de sa chaise le regard furieux en poussant un cri aigu qui ne dérangea pas son visiteur. Son foulard rouge étalé sur les genoux et son chapeau de paille posé sur le mouchoir, Baltic regarda calmement et gravement son hôte écarlate sans bouger un muscle, ni même ciller. Brace ne savait pas s'il fallait considérer l'ancien marin comme un fou ou comme un impudent imposteur. La situation était presque embarrassante.
— Que voulez-vous dire, Monsieur, demanda-t-il avec colère, en venant à moi avec une histoire abracadabrantesque à propos de votre conversion puis en me disant que vous êtes un détective privé, ce qui est à peine moins qu'un espion ?
— N'est-il pas possible pour un tel homme d'être un chrétien, Sir Harry ?
— Je le crois. Celui qui gagne sa vie en fouinant peut rarement agir selon la morale des Évangiles.
— Je ne gagne pas ma vie en fouinant, répondit Baltic calmement. — Si c'était le cas, je ne vous aurais pas expliqué mes activités comme je l'ai fait... comme je le fais. Mon travail est parfaitement respectable, Sir, car je m'oppose aux malfaiteurs et il m'incombe de réduire leurs besognes à néant. Inutile de défendre ma profession face à quiconque d'autre que vous, Sir Harry, car personne, en dehors de vous et de peut-être deux autres individus, ne sait qui je suis vraiment.
— Ils vont l'apprendre, répondit vivement Sir Harry. Tout Beorminster va le savoir. Ici, nous nous moquons éperdument des loups déguisés en moutons.
Il vaut mieux vous assurer que je suis un loup avant de parler sans réfléchir, dit Baltic, aucunement troublé. Je suis venu ici pour vous parler franchement, car vous m'avez sauvé la vie et je veux régler ma dette. Et laissez-moi vous dire, Monsieur, que ce n'est ni chrétien ni même juste d'entendre une partie de la question mais pas l'autre.
Harry semblait perplexe. — Vous êtes un mystère pour moi, Baltic.
— Je suis ici pour m'expliquer, Monsieur. Comme votre main a détourné le couteau de ce Canaque vous avez droit à ma confiance. Vous serez à la fois triste et heureux d'entendre mon histoire, Monsieur.
Harry reprit sa place, haussa les épaules et jeta un regard tranquille à son visiteur maître de lui. — Triste et heureux sont des mots contradictoires, mon ami, dit-il négligemment. Je préférerais que vous expliquiez les devinettes plutôt que de les poser.
Sir Harry! Sir Harry! C'est l'énigme de la vie humaine sur terre que je tente d'expliquer.
— Vous vous êtes assigné une lourde tâche, Baltic, car, pour autant que je le sache, il n'y a aucune interprétation de cette énigme.
— Sauf à la lumière de l'Evangile, Monsieur, qui rend toute chose évidente.
— Baltic, dit Brace brutalement, il y a en vous quelque chose qui me ferait regretter de vous considérer comme un pharisien ou un hypocrite. Par conséquent, s'il vous plaît, nous allons arrêter la religion et l'allégorie, et nous en tenir à la réalité. Quand je vous ai connu à Samoa, vous étiez un marin sans bateau.
— Ajoutez un naufragé et un enfant du diable, Monsieur, et vous me décrirez comme j'étais alors, sortit Baltic de sa voix grave. Écoutez-moi, Sir Harry, et jaugez-moi comme je devrais l'être. J'étais, comme vous le savez, un chien d'ivrogne, abandonné de Dieu, je jurais à tout-va, sous l'emprise de Satan, voué à brûler en enfer; mais quand vous avez sauvé ma misérable existence, j'ai réalisé qu'il fallait, comme chacun doit faire, que je me repente. J'ai cherché un missionnaire, qui a écouté mon histoire et a guidé mes pas dans la bonne voie. J'ai suivi ses prêches, lu le Livre saint et ainsi appris comment j'obtiendrais mon salut. Le missionnaire a fait de moi son compagnon d'œuvre dans les îles ; je m'efforçais d'amener les pauvres païens au pied de la croix. J'ai travaillé là-bas pendant trois ans, jusqu'à ce qu'il m'apparût que j'avais été appelé par le Saint Esprit à œuvrer dans la plus grande vigne de Londres. Par conséquent, je suis venu en Angleterre et j'ai regardé autour de moi, pour voir quelle tâche conviendrait le plus à ma mesure. De tous les côtés, j'ai vu le mal prospérer. J'ai noté que les malfaisants avaient prospéré comme un laurier vert, aussi, pour les amener à la repentance et au châtiment, je suis devenu détective privé.
— Oh ! c'est un nouveau genre de mission évangélique, Baltic.
— C'en est un vertueux, Sir Harry. Je traque les iniquités ; je piège le méchant dans ses propres filets ; je vide son cœur des artifices du mal. Si je ne peux pas empêcher les crimes, je peux au moins les réprimer en mettant leurs auteurs entre les griffes de la justice. Puis, lorsqu'ils sont punis par l'homme, ils se repentent et se tournent vers Dieu, et par conséquent sont sauvés grâce à leurs propres turpitudes.
— Pas dans la plupart des affaires, malheureusement. Donc vous vous considérez comme un genre de pourfendeur du mal ?
— Oui ! Quand je dis que je suis missionnaire, je me sens comme quelqu'un qui travaille d'une autre façon.
— Concrètement, une sorte d'apôtre de la fin du siècle, dit sèchement Brace. — Mais le terme « missionnaire » n'est-il pas un peu inapproprié ?
— Non! répondit Baltic, solennellement. Je fais mon travail autrement, c'est tout. Je déroute les malfaisants, et en leur démontrant l'inutilité de la transgression, je les incite à mener une nouvelle vie. Je les fais tomber, pour mieux les aider à se relever, car quand tout est perdu, leurs cœurs s'adoucissent.
— Vous leur donnez une sorte de choix de Hobson, je vois, commenta Sir Harry, qui était intrigué par la conception qu'avait l'homme de son travail, mais comprenait qu'il parlait sérieusement. — Eh bien, Baltic, voilà une étrange manière de convier les pécheurs à la repentance, et moi-même je n'arrive pas à la comprendre.
— Ma méthode pour convertir peut certainement prêter à confusion, Sir. C'est pourquoi je me présente plutôt comme un missionnaire que comme un détective privé.
— Je vois, vous ne désirez pas effaroucher votre prometteur troupeau de délinquants. Est-ce que quelqu'un, ici, sait que vous êtes un enquêteur privé ?
— Monsieur Cargrim le sait, dit calmement l'ex-marin, et un autre.
Harry s'inclina d'un air incrédule. — Cargrim sait, dit-il sidéré. — J'aurais pensé qu'il serait le dernier homme à approuver vos idées, avec ses vues étroites et son respect des formalités cléricales. — Peut-être, monsieur ; mais dans ce cas, mon point de vue coïncide avec le sien. Je suis venu vous voir, Sir Harry, afin de me rassurer sur ce point.
— Afin d'apaiser votre esprit ! répéta Brace, avec un regard intense. Continuez.
— Sir Harry, je vous parle en toute confiance de Monsieur Cargrim. Je n'aime pas cet homme, monsieur.
— Vous faites partie de la majorité des gens, alors Baltic. Peu de gens aiment Cargrim, ou lui font confiance. Mais qu'est-il pour vous ?
— Mon employeur. Oui, monsieur, vous pouvez bien paraître étonné. Monsieur Cargrim m'a demandé de venir à Beorminster dans un but précis.
— Sans aucun doute en relation avec son ambition personnelle.
— Je l'ignore, Sir Harry, car M. Cargrim ne m'a pas fait part des motifs l'ayant poussé à faire appel à mes services. Tout ce que je sais, c'est qu'il souhaite que je découvre qui a tué un certain Jentham.
— Le diable ! Harry bondit avec agitation. — Pourquoi se donne-t-il cette peine ?
— Je ne puis dire, Sir, à moins qu'il n'apprécie pas l’évêque Pendle !
— Ne pas apprécier l'évêque Pendle, ça alors ! Et quel lien tout cela a-t-il avec le meurtre de Jentham ?
— Monsieur, répondit Baltic en jetant un coup d'œil prudent autour de lui et en baissant la voix jusqu'au murmure, M. Cargrim soupçonne le révérend Pendle d'avoir commis ce crime.
— Quoi !!! Sir Harry prit une teinte crayeuse et recula jusqu'à ce qu'il touche presque le mur. — Ordure ! dit-il, avec un calme surnaturel, comment avez-vous osé vous asseoir là et me dire que vous êtes venu pour surveiller l'évêque ?
— Oui, Sir Harry, répliqua impassiblement Baltic, et me traiter de tous les noms ne fera pas disparaître les faits.
— Cargrim croit-il que l'évêque ait tué cet homme ?
— Oui, Monsieur, il le croit, et il veut que j'éclaircisse l'affaire.
— Maudit sois-tu ! hurla Harry, puis il traversa la pièce à toute vitesse, et, dominant un Baltic impassible, menaça : — Je vais vous tordre le cou, Monsieur, si vous osez faire allusion à une telle chose.
— Je ne fais qu'énoncer des faits, Sir Harry, simplement des faits, ajouta-t-il avec insistance, que j'aimerais porter à votre connaissance.
— À quelles fins.
— Afin que vous puissiez m'aider
— Pour chasser l'évêque, j'imagine, dit Sir Harry tremblant de colère.
— Non, Sir, pour sauver l'évêque de M. Cargrim.
— Alors, vous ne croyez pas que l'évêque soit coupable.
— Sir, dit Baltic avec dignité, à Londres et à Beorminster, j'ai recueilli certaines preuves qui, à première vue, incriminent l'évêque. Mais depuis que j'ai fait connaissance avec le révérend Pendle, j'ai observé son apparence et son comportement, et après mûre réflexion, j'en suis venu à la conclusion qu'il était innocent de ce crime que M. Cargrim fait peser sur lui. C'est à cause de cette conviction que je vous livre mes pensées et que je sollicite votre aide. Nous devons œuvrer ensemble, Sir, et découvrir le vrai criminel afin de déjouer monsieur Cargrim.
— Cargrim, Cargrim, répéta Brace en colère, c'est un mauvais homme.
— C'est ce que je pense, Sir Harry. C'est lui qui ourdit un traquenard ; mais je souhaite qu'il soit pris à son propre piège.
— Pourtant Cargrim est votre patron, il vous paie, railla Sir Harry.
— Vous avez tort, répliqua calmement Baltic. Je ne touche rien pour ma peine.
— Comment vivez-vous alors ? Vous n'étiez pas autonome quand je vous ai connu.
— C'est exact, Sir Harry, mais quand je suis arrivé en Angleterre, j'ai découvert que mon père était décédé et qu'il m'avait laissé de quoi subvenir à mes besoins. C'est pourquoi je ne sollicite aucuns honoraires pour ma mission, je travaille pour punir les méchants, pour l'amour de la religion.
Brace murmura quelque chose à propos de la chaleur et s'essuya le front alors qu'il se rasseyait. Le point de vue particulier présenté par Baltic le rendait profondément perplexe, et il ne pouvait réconcilier l'homme chasseur de criminels avec sa foi religieuse, dont le discours était " Dieu est amour ". Baltic souhaitait évidemment faire changer les pécheurs en jouant sur leurs craintes plutôt qu'en faisant appel à leur sentiment religieux, quoiqu'il soit certainement exact que ces coquins auxquels il avait à faire n'avaient absolument aucune trace de foi dans leurs cœurs flétris.
Mais quoi qu'il en soit, la mission de Baltic était à la fois originale et étrange, et pouvait dans une certaine mesure se montrer efficace dans sa grande originalité Torquemada brulait les corps pour sauver les âmes, mais cet homme montrait les vices, pour que ceux qui les commettent, se trouvant bannis par la loi, et exclus de la civilisation, ne trouvent d'ami que dans Dieu. Harry n'était pas assez intelligent pour comprendre l'éthique de ce point de vue, il abandonna donc toute tentative de le faire, et il considéra Baltic simplement comme un enquêteur ordinaire, se consacrant à la tâche qu'il s'était fixée de faire inculper Monseigneur Pendle pour le meurtre de Jentham. L'ancien marin accepta un socle commun d'arguments, et abandonna à son tour la théologie pour le travail quotidien. Il fallait du bon sens pour abattre et renverser ces criminels dont le talent permettait de masquer leur vilenie, le prosélytisme devrait suivre en temps utile. Il y avait le germe d'une nouvelle secte dans la conception de Baltic du christianisme comme religion de la terreur.
— Laissez-moi entendre vos preuves contre l'évêque, dit Sir Harry, tranquille et pragmatique.
Baltic se conforma à cette demande et traça les contours de l'enquête dans les moindres details. — Sir, dit-il gravement, il y a quelques semaines, alors qu'il y avait une réception au palais, cet homme, Jentham, a demandé à voir l'évêque et évidemment a essayé de le faire chanter à cause de quelque secret. Ensuite Jentham, incapable de payer sa pension au Derby Winner, a promis à Mosk, le logeur, qu'il allait rapidement s'acquitter de sa dette, car il comptait sur une grosse rentrée d'argent la semaine prochaine. Il n'a pas dit de qui, mais alors qu'il était ivre, il s'est vanté du fait que Southberry Heath était la terre de Tom Tiddler, sur laquelle il pourrait ramasser de l'or et de l'argent. Pendant ce temps, Monseigneur Pendle se rendit à Londres et retira de la banque Ophir la somme de deux-cents livres, en vingt coupures de dix livres. Avec cet argent il est revenu à Beorminster et a pris rendez-vous, d'un commun accord avec Jentham, à son retour de Southberry le lundi soir. Qu'il l'ait payé pour le chantage, je ne peux le dire ; qu'il ait tué l'homme, personne ne peut honnêtement l'affirmer, mais il ne fait aucun doute que, le matin suivant, Jentham, en qui l'évêque voyait son ennemi, fut retrouvé mort. Voici, monsieur la stricte réalité de l'affaire, et, comme vous pouvez le voir, elle semble bien sûr accuser Monseigneur Pendle du crime.
Ce calme et cette déclaration impitoyable glacèrent le sang de Sir Harry. Bien qu'il ne puisse être amené à croire en la culpabilité de l'évêque, il se rendait parfaitement compte que les preuves amenaient, sans doute possible, à incriminer le prélat. Cependant, il pouvait exister des failles même dans une accusation aussi détaillée, et Harry, désirant les découvrir, commença à harceler Baltic de questions.
— Qui vous a dit tout ça ? demanda-t-il avec une certaine appréhension.
— M. Cargrim m'en a dit une partie, et j'ai trouvé le reste moi-même.
— Cardrim connaissait-il la nature du secret de Monseigneur Pendle ?
— Pas que je sache, Sir Harry.
— Est-on sûr qu'il y en ait un ?
— A peu près certain, répondit Baltic, énergiquement ; ne serait-ce que par le récit de Jentham qui se vantait de trouver de l'argent, et le fait que l'évêque Pendle s'était rendu à Londres pour se procurer la rançon.
— Comment le sait-il ... comment savoir que l'évêque l'a fait ?
— Parce que le talon du carnet de chèque de Monseigneur Pendle a été déchiré, dit Baltic, et je me suis renseigné à la banque Ophir, ce qui a permis la découverte qu'un chèque de deux-cents livres avait été tiré le jour où l'évêque se trouvait en ville.
— Voyons Baltic, il est peu probable qu'une banque délivre ce genre d'information sans mandat, et je suppose que vous n'avez pas osé en produire un contre Son Excellence.
Sir, dit Baltic, en triturant son mouchoir rouge, je ne détenais pas de preuves suffisantes pour obtenir un mandat, et bien que n'étant pas non plus au service de l'état, j'ai, cependant, mes propres ressources pour obtenir des informations, que je refuse d'exposer ici. Ils m'ont tellement bien aidé dans cette affaire que je sais que le révérend Pendle a tiré un chèque de deux cents livres et j'ai même les numéros des billets. Si l'argent a été remis à Jentham et a ensuite été dérobé au défunt par l'assassin, j'espère retrouver la trace de ces billets, et dans ce cas, je pourrai attraper le meurtrier.
— En tant que détective privé ?
— Non, Sir Harry, je ne peux avoir de telles initiatives personnelles. Je vous ai indiqué qu'une autre personne était au courant de mes activités, cette personne est l'inspecteur Thinkler.
— Bon sang ! s'écria Brace dans un sursaut, vous n'avez pas osé révéler vos accusations concernant l'évêque à Tinkler !
— Oh, non Sir ! répondit l'ex-marin, posément. Tout ce que j'ai fait c'est dire à Tinkler que je voulais pourchasser le meurtrier de Jentham, et l'inciter à me faire obtenir un mandat d'arrêt contre la Mère Jael.
— Mère jael, la sorcière gitane ! — Vous ne la suspectez pas, pour sûr !
— Pas pour le meurtre ; mais je la suspecte de connaître la vérité. Tinkler m'a donné un mandat en raison de son implication dans le crime ... pourrait-on dire, en tant que complice après les faits. Demain, Sir Harrys, je me rendrai au campement gitan, et là avec ce mandat, je compte faire peur à la Mère Jael pour lui faire avouer ce qu'elle sait.
Harry eut un sourire mécontent. — Si vous tirez d'elle la vérité, c'est que vous êtes un homme habile, Baltic. L'évêque sait-il que vous le suspectez?
— Je ne le suspecte pas, sir, répondit Baltic, en se levant, et l'évêque ignore tout, car il me croit missionnaire .
Eh bien, vous en êtes un, à votre façon.
— Merci, Sir Harry. Vous seul, M. Cargrim et Mr Tinkler connaissez la vérité, et je vous dit tout ceci, sir, car ni je n'approuve, ni je n'ai confiance, en Mr Cargrim Je suis certain que Monseigneur Pendle est innocent ; M. Cargrim est tout aussi certain qu'il est coupable ; aussi je travaille à amener la preuve de la vérité, et cela, conclut le digne Baltic, ne va pas dans le sens de ce que désire M. Cargrim.
— Mon Dieu ! cet homme doit haïr l'évêque.
Sans invoquer comme vous le nom de Dieu en vain, sir, je crois bien qu'il le hait.
Eh bien, Baltic, je vous remercie grandement de votre confiance, et je vous suis particulièrement reconnaissant d'être de notre côté. Vous pouvez demander mon aide autant que vous le voulez, mais tenez moi informé de tout ce que vous faites.
— Sir ! dit Baltic, gravement, serrant la main de son hôte, vous pouvez me considérer comme votre ami et votre obligé.
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For more info, please see discussion tab.
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CHAPTER XXVI - THE AMAZEMENT OF SIR HARRY BRACE.
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'A private inquiry agent!'
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Brace did not know whether to treat the ex-sailor as a madman or as an impudent impostor.
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The situation was almost embarrassing.
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'Is it impossible for such a one to be a Christian, Sir Harry?
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'I should think so.
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One who earns his living by sneaking can scarcely act up to the ethics of the Gospels.
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'I don't earn my living by sneaking,' replied Baltic, coolly.
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'If I did, I shouldn't explain my business to you as I have done—as I am doing.
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'They shall know it,' spoke Sir Harry, hastily.
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'All Beorminster shall know of it.
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We don't care for wolves in sheep's clothing here.
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'Better be sure that I am a wolf before you talk rashly,' said Baltic, in no wise disturbed.
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'I came here to speak to you openly, because you saved my life, and that debt I wish to square.
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Harry looked puzzled.
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'You are an enigma to me, Baltic.
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'I am here to explain myself, sir.
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As your hand dashed aside the knife of that Kanaka you have a claim on my confidence.
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You'll be a sad man and a glad man when you hear my story, sir.
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'Sad and glad are contradictory terms, my friend,' said he, carelessly.
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'I would rather you explained riddles than propounded them.
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'Sir Harry!
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Sir Harry!
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it is the riddle of man's life upon this earth that I am trying to explain.
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'Save by the light of the Gospel, sir, which makes all things plain.
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Therefore, if you please, we will stop religion and allegory, and come to plain matter-of-fact.
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When I knew you in Samoa, you were a sailor without a ship.
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'Hear me, Sir Harry, and gauge me as I should be gauged.
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I sought out a missionary, who heard my story and set my feet in the right path.
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I listened to his preaching, I read the Good Book, and so learned how I could be saved.
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Therefore, I came to England and looked round to see what task was fittest for my hand.
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On every side I saw evil prosper.
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'Humph!
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that is a novel kind of missionary enterprise, Baltic.
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'It is a righteous one, Sir Harry.
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Then when punished by man, they repent and turn to God, and thereby are saved through their own lusts.
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'Not in many cases, I am afraid.
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So you regard yourself as a kind of scourge for the wicked?
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'Yes!
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When I state that I am a missionary, I regard myself as one who works in a new way.
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'A kind of fin-de-siècle apostle, in fact,' said Brace, dryly.
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'But isn't the term "missionary" rather a misnomer?
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'No!'
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replied Baltic, earnestly.
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'I do my work in a different way, that is all.
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I baffle the wicked, and by showing them the futility of sin, induce them to lead a new life.
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I make them fall, only to aid them to rise; for when all is lost, their hearts soften.
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'Well, Baltic, it is a queer way of calling sinners to repentance, and I can't understand it myself.
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'My method of conversion is certainly open to misconstruction, sir.
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That is why I term myself rather a missionary than a private inquiry agent.
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'I see; you don't wish to scare your promising flock of criminals.
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Does anyone here know that you are a private inquiry agent?
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'Mr Cargrim does,' said the ex-sailor, calmly, 'and one other.
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Harry leaned forward with an incredulous look.
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'Cargrim knows,' he said in utter amazement.
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'Perhaps, so, sir; but in this case my views happen to fall in with his own.
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I came to see you, Sir Harry, in order to ease my mind on that point.
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'In order to ease your mind!'
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repeated Brace, with a keen look.
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'Go on.
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'Sir Harry, I speak to you in confidence about Mr Cargrim.
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I do not like that man, sir.
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'You belong to the majority, then, Baltic.
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Few people like Cargrim, or trust him.
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But what is he to you?
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'My employer.
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Yes, sir, you may well look astonished.
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Mr Cargrim asked me down to Beorminster for a certain purpose.
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'Connected with his self-aggrandisement, no doubt.
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All I know is that he wishes me to discover who killed a man called Jentham.
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'The deuce!'
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Harry jumped up with an excited look.
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'Why is he taking the trouble to do that?
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'I can't say, sir, unless it is that he dislikes Bishop Pendle!
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'Dislikes Bishop Pendle, man!
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And what has all this to do with the murder of Jentham?
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'What!!!'
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Sir Harry turned the colour of chalk, and sprang back until he almost touched the wall.
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'You hound!'
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'Yes, Sir Harry,' was Baltic's stolid rejoinder, 'and calling me names won't do away with the fact.
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'Does Cargrim believe that the bishop killed this man?
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'Yes, sir, he does, and wishes me to bring the crime home to him.
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'Curse you!'
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'I am merely stating facts, Sir Harry—facts,' he added pointedly, 'which I wish you to know.
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'For what purpose.
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'That you may assist me.
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'To hunt down the bishop, I suppose,' said Sir Harry, quivering with rage.
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'No, sir, to save the bishop from Mr Cargrim.
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'Then you do not believe that the bishop is guilty.
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It is because of this belief that I tell you my mind and seek your assistance.
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We must work together, sir, and discover the real criminal so as to baffle Mr Cargrim.
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'Cargrim, Cargrim,' repeated Brace, angrily, 'he is a bad lot.
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'That is what I say, Sir Harry.
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He is one who spreads a snare, and I wish him to be taken in it himself.
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'Yet Cargrim is your employer, and pays you,' sneered Sir Harry.
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'You are wrong,' replied Baltic, quietly.
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'I do not take payment for my work.
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'How do you live then?
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You were not independent when I knew you.
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Therefore I take no fee for my work, but labour to punish the wicked, for religion's sake.
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Brace muttered something about the heat, and wiped his forehead as he resumed his seat.
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There was the germ of a new sect in Baltic's conception of Christianity as a terrorising religion.
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'Let me hear your evidence against the bishop,' said Sir Harry, calm and business-like.
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Baltic complied with this request and gave the outlines of the case in barren detail.
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This calm and pitiless statement chilled Sir Harry's blood.
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'Who told you all this?'
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he demanded with some apprehension.
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'Mr Cargrim told me some parts, and I found out others for myself, sir.
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'Does Cargrim know the nature of Dr Pendle's secret?
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'Not that I know of, Sir Harry.
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'Is he certain that there is one?
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'How does he know—how does anyone know that the bishop did so?
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'In your character of a private inquiry agent?
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'No, Sir Harry, I cannot take that much upon myself.
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I mentioned that one other person knew of my profession; that person is Inspector Tinkler.
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'Man!'
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cried Brace, with a start, 'you have not dared to accuse the bishop to Tinkler!
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'Oh, no, sir!'
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rejoined the ex-sailor, composedly.
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'Mother Jael, the gipsy hag!
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You don't suspect her, surely!
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'Not of the murder; but I suspect her of knowing the truth.
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Harry smiled grimly.
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'If you get the truth out of her you will be a clever man, Baltic.
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Does the bishop know that you suspect him?
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'Well, you are, in your own peculiar way.
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'Thank you, Sir Harry.
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'Good God!
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the man must hate the bishop.
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'Bating your taking the name of God in vain, sir, I believe he does.
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You can command my services in any way you like, but keep me posted up in all you do.
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'Sir!'
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francevw • 14015  commented  10 months, 3 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 10 months, 3 weeks ago

For more info, please see discussion tab.
CHAPTER XXVI - THE AMAZEMENT OF SIR HARRY BRACE.
'A private inquiry agent!' Sir Harry jumped up from his chair with an angry look, and a sharp ejaculation, neither of which disturbed his visitor. With his red bandanna handkerchief spread on his knees, and his straw hat resting on the handkerchief, Baltic looked at his flushed host calmly and solemnly without moving a muscle, or even winking an eye. Brace did not know whether to treat the ex-sailor as a madman or as an impudent impostor. The situation was almost embarrassing.
'What do you mean, sir,' he asked angrily, 'by coming to me with a cock-and-bull story about your conversion, and then telling me that you are a private inquiry agent, which is little less than a spy?
'Is it impossible for such a one to be a Christian, Sir Harry?
'I should think so. One who earns his living by sneaking can scarcely act up to the ethics of the Gospels.
'I don't earn my living by sneaking,' replied Baltic, coolly. 'If I did, I shouldn't explain my business to you as I have done—as I am doing. My work is honourable enough, sir, for I am ranged against evil-doers, and it is my duty to bring their works to naught. There is no need for me to defend my profession to anyone but you, Sir Harry, as no one but yourself, and perhaps two other people, know what I really am.
'They shall know it,' spoke Sir Harry, hastily. 'All Beorminster shall know of it. We don't care for wolves in sheep's clothing here.
'Better be sure that I am a wolf before you talk rashly,' said Baltic, in no wise disturbed. 'I came here to speak to you openly, because you saved my life, and that debt I wish to square. And let me tell you, sir, that it isn't Christianity, or even justice, to hear one side of the question and not the other.
Harry looked puzzled. 'You are an enigma to me, Baltic.
'I am here to explain myself, sir. As your hand dashed aside the knife of that Kanaka you have a claim on my confidence. You'll be a sad man and a glad man when you hear my story, sir.
Harry resumed his seat, shrugged his shoulders, and took a leisurely look at his self-possessed visitor. 'Sad and glad are contradictory terms, my friend,' said he, carelessly. 'I would rather you explained riddles than propounded them.
'Sir Harry! Sir Harry! it is the riddle of man's life upon this earth that I am trying to explain.
'You have set yourself a hard task, Baltic, for so far as I can see, there is no reading of that riddle.
'Save by the light of the Gospel, sir, which makes all things plain.
'Baltic,' said Brace, bluntly, 'there is that about you which would make me sorry to find you a Pharisee or a hypocrite. Therefore, if you please, we will stop religion and allegory, and come to plain matter-of-fact. When I knew you in Samoa, you were a sailor without a ship.
'Add a castaway and a child of the devil, sir, and you will describe me as I was then,' burst out Baltic, in his deep voice. 'Hear me, Sir Harry, and gauge me as I should be gauged. I was, as you know, a drunken, godless, swearing dog, in the grip of Satan as fuel for hell; but when you saved my worthless life I saw that it behoved me, as it does all men, to repent. I sought out a missionary, who heard my story and set my feet in the right path. I listened to his preaching, I read the Good Book, and so learned how I could be saved. The missionary made me his fellow-labourer in the islands, and I strove to bring the poor heathen to the foot of the cross. For three years I laboured there, until it was borne in upon me that I was called upon by the Spirit to labour in the greater vineyard of London. Therefore, I came to England and looked round to see what task was fittest for my hand. On every side I saw evil prosper. The wicked, as I noted, flourished like a green bay tree; so, to bring them to repentance and punishment, I became a private inquiry agent.
'Humph! that is a novel kind of missionary enterprise, Baltic.
'It is a righteous one, Sir Harry. I search out iniquities; I snare the wicked man in his own nets; I make void the devices of his evil heart. If I cannot prevent crimes, I can at least punish them by bringing their doers within the grip of the law. Then when punished by man, they repent and turn to God, and thereby are saved through their own lusts.
'Not in many cases, I am afraid. So you regard yourself as a kind of scourge for the wicked?
'Yes! When I state that I am a missionary, I regard myself as one who works in a new way.
'A kind of fin-de-siècle apostle, in fact,' said Brace, dryly. 'But isn't the term "missionary" rather a misnomer?
'No!' replied Baltic, earnestly. 'I do my work in a different way, that is all. I baffle the wicked, and by showing them the futility of sin, induce them to lead a new life. I make them fall, only to aid them to rise; for when all is lost, their hearts soften.
'You give them a kind of Hobson's choice, I see,' commented Sir Harry, who was puzzled by the man's conception of his work, but saw that he spoke in all seriousness. 'Well, Baltic, it is a queer way of calling sinners to repentance, and I can't understand it myself.
'My method of conversion is certainly open to misconstruction, sir. That is why I term myself rather a missionary than a private inquiry agent.
'I see; you don't wish to scare your promising flock of criminals. Does anyone here know that you are a private inquiry agent?
'Mr Cargrim does,' said the ex-sailor, calmly, 'and one other.
Harry leaned forward with an incredulous look. 'Cargrim knows,' he said in utter amazement. 'I should think he would be the last man to approve of your ideas, with his narrow views and clerical red-tapism.' 'Perhaps, so, sir; but in this case my views happen to fall in with his own. I came to see you, Sir Harry, in order to ease my mind on that point.
'In order to ease your mind!' repeated Brace, with a keen look. 'Go on.
'Sir Harry, I speak to you in confidence about Mr Cargrim. I do not like that man, sir.
'You belong to the majority, then, Baltic. Few people like Cargrim, or trust him. But what is he to you?
'My employer. Yes, sir, you may well look astonished. Mr Cargrim asked me down to Beorminster for a certain purpose.
'Connected with his self-aggrandisement, no doubt.
'That I cannot tell you, Sir Harry, as Mr Cargrim has not told me his motive for engaging me in my business capacity. All I know is that he wishes me to discover who killed a man called Jentham.
'The deuce!' Harry jumped up with an excited look. 'Why is he taking the trouble to do that?
'I can't say, sir, unless it is that he dislikes Bishop Pendle!
'Dislikes Bishop Pendle, man! And what has all this to do with the murder of Jentham?
'Sir,' said Baltic, with a cautious glance around, and sinking his voice to a whisper, 'Mr Cargrim suspects Dr Pendle of the crime.
'What!!!' Sir Harry turned the colour of chalk, and sprang back until he almost touched the wall. 'You hound!' said he, speaking with unnatural calmness, 'do you dare to sit there and tell me that you have come here to watch the bishop?
'Yes, Sir Harry,' was Baltic's stolid rejoinder, 'and calling me names won't do away with the fact.
'Does Cargrim believe that the bishop killed this man?
'Yes, sir, he does, and wishes me to bring the crime home to him.
'Curse you!' roared Harry, striding across the room, and towering over the unmoved Baltic, 'I'll wring your neck, sir, if you dare to hint at such a thing.
'I am merely stating facts, Sir Harry—facts,' he added pointedly, 'which I wish you to know.
'For what purpose.
'That you may assist me.
'To hunt down the bishop, I suppose,' said Sir Harry, quivering with rage.
'No, sir, to save the bishop from Mr Cargrim.
'Then you do not believe that the bishop is guilty.
'Sir,' said Baltic, with dignity, 'in London and in Beorminster I have collected certain evidence which, on the face of it, incriminates the bishop. But since knowing Dr Pendle I have been observant of his looks and demeanour, and—after much thought—I have come to the conclusion that he is innocent of this crime which Mr Cargrim lays to his charge. It is because of this belief that I tell you my mind and seek your assistance. We must work together, sir, and discover the real criminal so as to baffle Mr Cargrim.
'Cargrim, Cargrim,' repeated Brace, angrily, 'he is a bad lot.
'That is what I say, Sir Harry. He is one who spreads a snare, and I wish him to be taken in it himself.
'Yet Cargrim is your employer, and pays you,' sneered Sir Harry.
'You are wrong,' replied Baltic, quietly. 'I do not take payment for my work.
'How do you live then? You were not independent when I knew you.
'That is true, Sir Harry, but when I arrived in England I found that my father was dead, and had left me sufficient to live upon. Therefore I take no fee for my work, but labour to punish the wicked, for religion's sake.
Brace muttered something about the heat, and wiped his forehead as he resumed his seat. The peculiar views held by Baltic perplexed him greatly, and he could not reconcile the man's desire to capture criminals with his belief in a religion, the keynote of which is, 'God is love.' Evidently Baltic wished to convert sinners by playing on their fears rather than by appealing to their religious feelings, although it was certainly true that those rascals with whom he had to deal probably had no elements of belief whatsoever in their seared minds.
But be this as it may, Baltic's mission was both novel and strange, and might in some degree prove successful from its very originality. Torquemada burned bodies to save souls, but this man exposed vices, so that those who committed them, being banned by the law, and made outcasts from civilisation, should find no friend but the Deity. Harry was not clever enough to understand the ethics of this conception, therefore he abandoned any attempt to do so, and treating Baltic purely as an ordinary detective, addressed himself to the task of arriving at the evidence which was said to inculpate Dr Pendle in the murder of Jentham. The ex-sailor accepted the common ground of argument, and in his turn abandoned theology for the business of everyday life. Common sense was needed to expose and abase and overturn those criminals whose talents enabled them to conceal their wickedness; proselytism could follow in due course. There was the germ of a new sect in Baltic's conception of Christianity as a terrorising religion.
'Let me hear your evidence against the bishop,' said Sir Harry, calm and business-like.
Baltic complied with this request and gave the outlines of the case in barren detail. 'Sir,' said he, gravely, 'some weeks ago, while there was a reception at the palace, this man Jentham called to see the bishop and evidently attempted to blackmail him on account of some secret. Afterwards Jentham, not being able to pay for his board and lodging at The Derby Winner, promised Mosk, the landlord, that he would discharge his bill shortly, as he expected the next week to receive much money. From whom he did not say, but while drunk he boasted that Southberry Heath was Tom Tiddler's ground, on which he could pick up gold and silver. In the meantime, Bishop Pendle went up to London and drew out of the Ophir Bank a sum of two hundred pounds, in twenty ten-pound notes. With this money he returned to Beorminster and kept an appointment, on the common, with Jentham, when returning on Sunday night from Southberry. Whether he paid him the blackmail I cannot say; whether he killed the man no one can declare honestly; but it is undoubtedly true that, the next morning, Jentham, whom the bishop regarded as his enemy, was found dead. These, sir, are the bare facts of the case, and, as you can see, they certainly appear to inculpate Dr Pendle in the crime.
This calm and pitiless statement chilled Sir Harry's blood. Although he could not bring himself to believe that the bishop was guilty, yet he saw plainly enough that the evidence tended, almost beyond all doubt, to incriminate the prelate. Yet there might be flaws even in so complete an indictment, and Harry, seeking for them, began eagerly to question Baltic.
'Who told you all this?' he demanded with some apprehension.
'Mr Cargrim told me some parts, and I found out others for myself, sir.
'Does Cargrim know the nature of Dr Pendle's secret?
'Not that I know of, Sir Harry.
'Is he certain that there is one?
'Quite certain,' replied Baltic, emphatically; 'if only on account of Jentham's boast about being able to get money, and the fact that Bishop Pendle went up to London to procure the blackmail.
'How does he know—how does anyone know that the bishop did so?
'Because a butt was torn out of Dr Pendle's London cheque-book,' said Baltic, 'and I made inquiries at the Ophir Bank, which resulted in my discovery that a cheque for two hundred had been drawn on the day the bishop was in town.
'Come now, Baltic, it is not likely that any bank would give you that information without a warrant; but I don't suppose you dared to procure one against his lordship.
'Sir,' said Baltic, rolling up his red handkerchief, 'I had not sufficient evidence to procure a warrant, also I am not in the service of the Government, nevertheless, I have my own ways of procuring information, which I decline to explain. These served me so well in this instance that I know Bishop Pendle drew a cheque for two hundred pounds, and moreover, I have the numbers of the notes. If the money was paid to Jentham, and afterwards was taken from his dead body by the assassin, I hope to trace these notes; in which case I may capture the murderer.
'In your character of a private inquiry agent?
'No, Sir Harry, I cannot take that much upon myself. I mentioned that one other person knew of my profession; that person is Inspector Tinkler.
'Man!' cried Brace, with a start, 'you have not dared to accuse the bishop to Tinkler!
'Oh, no, sir!' rejoined the ex-sailor, composedly. 'All I have done is to tell Tinkler that I wish to hunt down the murderer of Jentham, and to induce him to obtain for me a warrant of arrest against Mother Jael.
'Mother Jael, the gipsy hag! You don't suspect her, surely!
'Not of the murder; but I suspect her of knowing the truth. Tinkler got me a warrant on the ground of her being concerned in the crime—say, as an accessory after the fact. To-morrow, Sir Harry, I ride over to the gipsy camp, and then with this warrant I intend to frighten Mother Jael into confessing what she knows.
Harry smiled grimly. 'If you get the truth out of her you will be a clever man, Baltic. Does the bishop know that you suspect him?
'I don't suspect him, sir,' replied Baltic, rising, 'and the bishop knows nothing, as he believes that I am a missionary.
'Well, you are, in your own peculiar way.
'Thank you, Sir Harry. Only you and Mr Cargrim and Mr Tinkler are aware of the truth, and I tell you all this, sir, as I neither approve of, nor believe in, Mr Cargrim. I am certain that Dr Pendle is innocent; Mr Cargrim is equally certain that he is guilty; so I am working to prove the truth, and that,' concluded the solemn Baltic, 'will not be what Mr Cargrim desires.
'Good God! the man must hate the bishop.
'Bating your taking the name of God in vain, sir, I believe he does.
'Well, Baltic, I am greatly obliged to you for your confidence, and feel thankful that you are on our side. You can command my services in any way you like, but keep me posted up in all you do.
'Sir!' said Baltic, gravely, shaking hands with his host, 'you can look upon me as your friend and well-wisher.