en-fr  THE BISHOP'S SECRET by FERGUS HUME - Chapter 27 Hard
Pour plus d'informations, veuillez consulter l'onglet "discussion".
CHAPITRE XXVII - LES SECRETS DE LA MÈRE JAEL.
Maintenant que Baltic, et sa tête grisonnante, s'était éclipsé, Sir Harry s'empressa de se rendre chez le Dr Graham pour y trouver du réconfort. Le docteur connaissait le jeune homme depuis qu'il était petit garçon et, à plus d'une occasion, il lui avait donné ce genre de conseil pratique, fruit de l'expérience ; donc, quand Harry était troublé par des sujets trop graves pour lui - comme il l'était maintenant - invariablement, il cherchait conseil auprès de son vieil ami. Dans le cas présent, — pour son propre bien, pour le bien de Lucy et du père de Lucy — il raconta à Graham toute l'histoire sur la culpabilité présumée du révérend Pendle, sur la mission de Baltic en vue de la démontrer, et sur les manœuvres sournoises de Cargrim. Graham écouta les détails en silence et se contenta d'afficher un ou deux sourires sinistres lorsque le sujet de la trahison de Cargrim fut abordé. Quand il eut pris connaissance de tous les faits, il commenta tout d'abord le comportement de l’aumônier.
— J'ai toujours pensé que ce gars était un bâtard ! dit-il, avec mépris, et maintenant j'en suis certain.
Les bâtards mordent, monsieur, répondit Brace d'un ton solennel, et nous devons museler celui-ci avant que les choses ne s'aggravent.
— Sans aucun doute, lorsqu'il recevra sa charge. Eh bien, mon garçon, que proposes-tu de faire ?
— Je suis venu pour vous demander conseil, docteur !
— Alors, le voici. Tiens ta langue et n'entreprends rien.
— Quoi ? et laisser ce chien comploter contre l'évêque ?
— Un esprit plus fin que le tien est en train de le contrer, Brace, prévint le docteur. — Tant que Cargrim, faisant confiance à Baltic, le laissera s'occuper de cette affaire de meurtre, le scandale n'éclatera pas au grand jour.
Harry avait le regard fixe et triturait songeusement sa moustache. — Je n'aurai jamais cru vous entendre suggérer que l'évêque est coupable, grommela-t-il.
Et moi, reprit Graham, je n'aurai jamais pensé entendre un homme de bon sens tenir un discours aussi absurde. L'évêque est innocent ; j'en mets ma tête à couper. Quoi qu'il en soit, il a un secret, et s'il y a un scandale à propos de ce meurtre, le secret... quel qu'il soit ... risque d'éclater au grand jour.
— Humph ! certes cela doit être évité. Mais ce secret pourrait ne pas être néfaste.
— Si tel n'était pas le cas, répondit sèchement Graham, Pendle ne prendrait pas tant de peine à le cacher. Personne ne paie deux cents livres pour rien, mon garçon.
— Penses-tu que l'argent a été versé ?
— Oui, à Southberry Heath, peu avant le meurtre. Et de surcroît, ajouta vivement Graham, je crois que l'assassin savait que Jentham avait obtenu l'argent et qu'il l'a abattu pour s'en emparer.
Si c'est le cas, soutint Harry, l'assassin voudra sans doute profiter de son crime et utiliser l'argent. S'il le faisait, les numéros des billets étant connus, ils seraient tracés, tandis que ...
— Tandis que Baltic, qui a obtenu les numéros de la banque, n'a pas encore eu le temps de remonter jusqu'à eux. Patience, Brace, patience ! Le temps, dans cette affaire, risque de faire des merveilles.
— Mais, docteur, avez-vous confiance en Baltic ?
— Oui mon ami, je fais toujours confiance aux fanatiques avec leur ligne de conduite mono-maniaque. En outre, en dehors tout son engouement religieux, Baltic semble être un homme perspicace ; il est aussi peu bavard, aussi si quelqu'un peut judicieusement mener cette affaire à bien, il est l'homme de la situation.
— Et pour Cargrim ?
— Laisse-le seul, mon garçon, s'il a assez de corde, il se pendra tout seul.
Ne devrait-on pas prévenir l'évêque, docteur ?
— Je ne pense pas. Si nous surveillons Cargrim et faisons confiance à Baltic, nous serons capable de protéger Pendle des conséquences de sa folie.
— Folie ! Quelle folie ?
— La sottise d'avoir un secret. Seuls les femmes devraient avoir des secrets, car elles seules savent les garder.
Tout le monde pense le contraire, dit Brace, en souriant.
— Et en général, tout le monde se trompe, rétorqua Graham. Crois-tu que j'ai été médecin pendant toutes ces années et ne rien savoir sur le sexe ? ... ce qui est bien loin de ce qu'un homme peut en savoir. Je te le dis, Brace, qu'une femme sait tenir sa langue. C'est une idée fausse de croire qu'elle ne le sait pas. Essaye de soutirer un secret à une femme qui pense qu'il vaut mieux le garder, et vois si tu y arrives. Elle rira, parlera, mentira, et te racontera n'importe quoi ... sauf ce que tu veux savoir. L'homme détient la force, la femme la ruse. Elles sont les potiers, nous sommes l'argile, et ... et ... et mon discours est aussi discursif que celui du vicaire de Praed, finit le docteur avec un petit rire.
— Voilà qui nous a bien éloigné de notre sujet principal ; reconnut Harry, qui se trouve être : quel est le secret de Monseigneur Pendle ?
Graham secoua la tête et haussa les épaules. — Tu m'en demandes plus que je ne peux en dire, dit-il, désolé. Quoi qu'il en soit, Pendle entend le garder pour lui-même. Il ne nous reste plus qu'à faire confiance à Baltic.
— Eh bien, docteur, dit Harry, prenant congé à regret car il désirait tirer cette affaire au clair, vous êtes meilleur juge, je vais donc suivre votre conseil.
— J'en suis heureux, répondit Graham. — Mon temps est trop précieux pour être gaspillé.
Pendant que cette conversation avait lieu, Baltic marchait à vive allure à travers la bruyère rousse, dans la lumière éclatante et purifiante de midi. Un soleil impitoyable jetait son feu comme une fournaise dans le ciel sans nuage ; et sur la vaste étendue de prairie brulée, s’étendait un voile de chaleur brumeuse et vibrante. Chaque flaque d'eau étincelait comme un miroir sous les rayons du soleil ; le bourdonnement de myriades d’insectes s’élevait du sol ; le chant clair de l’alouette s’écoulait du ciel ; et l’ancien marin, cheminant le long de la route blanche et poussiéreuse, se croyant presque revenu dans quelque contrée tropicale, moins belle, mais preque aussi étouffante que celle qu’il avait quitté. La lumière du jour s'installait et évoquait plus une mi-juin qu'un mi-septembre.
La seule concession de Baltic pour ce temps inhabituel fut de se couvrir la tête avec son mouchoir rouge et de placer son panama par-dessus mais il garda son épais costume de pilote étroitement boutonné et il avança vaillamment, comme s'il était une salamandre insensible à la chaleur. Les longs bras se balançant le long de son corps, les yeux gris observant calmement autour de lui, il mit vivement le cap sur le campement gitan, à la manière d'un marin. Celui-ci ne fut pas difficile à trouver car il se trouvait à environ un mile du croisement de Southberry, à quelque distance à peine de la grand-route. Le missionnaire vit un petit groupe de caravanes, quelques chevaux en liberté, une ribambelle d'enfants demi vêtus à la peau sombre chahuter dans la lumière du jour, et, sachant qu'il s'agissait là de son port de destination, il quitta la route pour marcher sur l'herbe et se dirigea directement vers le campement. Il avait un mandat d'amener pour la Mère Jael dans la poche mais, à par lui, personne d'autre n'était présent pour l'exécuter et il était possible qu'il s’avère difficile d'appréhender la vieille femme tandis qu'elle était, pour ainsi dire, à l'abri au cœur de son royaume. Cependant, Baltic considérait ce mandat comme un simple moyen de parvenir à ses fins et il n'avait pas l'intention de l'utiliser, sinon en tant que menace pour effrayer la Mère Jael et la pousser aux aveux. Il faisait confiance à sa religiosité et à ses capacités de persuasion plutôt qu'à la force de la loi. Cependant, ayant du sens pratique tout en étant sentimental, il se réjouissait d’avoir, si nécessaire,ce moyen de pression ; car il se pouvait qu’une païenne comme la Mère Jael ait plus la crainte de l’homme que de Dieu. En définitive, Baltic avait une certaine expérience dans l'art de donner des perles aux cochons mécréants et était donc assez discret dans son recours aux remèdes spirituels.
Lorsque Baltic pénétra le cercle formé par les roulottes et les tentes, les chiens se mirent à aboyer, les enfants à hurler, et plusieurs gitans nerveux et vigoureux jetèrent des regards menaçants vers cet intrus. Près d'une des roulottes, un feu brûlait, au-dessus duquel une casserole suspendue à un trépied en fer se balançait. Elle était remplie d'un savoureux ragoût qui exhalait des odeurs appétissantes. Une jolie jeune fille basanée, avec des boucles d'oreille en or et un foulard jaune élégamment noué dans sa chevelure noire, cuisinait et elle se tourna vers Baltic d'un air méfiant lorsqu'il demanda à rencontrer la Mère Jael. De toute évidence, les Gentils n'étaient pas les bienvenus dans ce camp de parias, les hommes qui rôdaient là se mirent à murmurer, les femmes à glousser et à ricaner et même les enfants crachèrent des blasphèmes en langue romani. Mais Baltic, habitué aux peaux sombres et aux regards noirs, ne fut pas impressionné par cet accueil inhospitalier et d'une voix grave répéta sa demande de rencontrer la sibylle.
— Qui es-tu, chien d'étranger ? demanda un hercule à l'air sinistre.
Je suis quelqu'un qui veut voir Mère Jaël, répondit Baltic de sa voix profonde.
— Vraiment ? [2 Voir la discussion] ricané comme le cuisinier de Cléopâtre. — Elle a mieux à faire que de recevoir tous les sales voleurs de Gadjos.
— Donnez-moi une pièce, mon bon monsieur, croassa un affreux estropié. Ma pauvre bourse est vide.
Oh, quel Gadgo généreux ! gémit une vieille harpie, entremêlant son discours de malédictions. (Le diable l'emporte.) Que ta générosité te porte bonheur, mon mignon. (Je crache sur ton cadavre, Gadjo !) Charité ! Charité !
Une fille assise sur les marches d'une roulotte fit craquer ses doigts et, crachant trois fois pour écarter le mauvais œil, elle se mit soudainement à chanter : — Avec mes baisers et mes caresses, je puis gagner l'or des Gadjos ; Mais pour ceux qui font le mal, mes bénédictions se transforment.
Tout ce bruit et ce tollé de voix bruyantes, exprimant le jargon des bohémiens déchaînés, n'avaient aucun effet sur la Baltique. Voyant qu'il ne pouvait rien tirer de la foule narquoise, il en repoussa un ou deux, qui semblaient disposés à être affectueux dans l'espoir de lui faire les poches, et cria haut et fort : — Mère Jaël ! Mère Jaël ! jusqu'à ce que l'endroit résonne de ses hurlements.
Avant que les gitans n'aient pu se remettre de leur étonnement à ce soudain revirement d'attitude, une tête aux cheveux gris ébouriffés émergea d'une des tentes noires, et une petite voix aiguë dit : — Mon mignon ! Mon chou ! La Mère Jael est ici !
— Je pensais bien que j'arriverais à te faire sortir de ton terrier, dit Baltic d'un air sinistre en se dirigeant vers elle. Je te retrouve, vieille sorcière d'Endor, laisse-moi entrer.
— Répugnante créature ! grondèrent un ou deux gitans, mais l'apparition de la Mère Jael et les quelques mots qu'elle lança, renvoyèrent chacun à son oisiveté ou à son travail, tandis que Baltic, parfaitement imperturbable, se mit à quatre pattes et se faufila dans la tente noire à la suite de la sorcière. Elle croassa un mot de bienvenue, et accroupie sur un matelas avachi, le dévisagea tel un répugnant vieux crapaud. Baltic s'assit près de l'ouverture de la tente, pour avoir le plus d'air frais possible, mais aussi pour scruter le visage de Mère Jael à la lueur de la lumière qui s'infiltrait faiblement. Il étala son joli mouchoir sur ses genoux, selon l'usage, posa son chapeau dessus, regarda fixement la vieille sorcière et parla lentement.
— Sais-tu pourquoi je suis ici, la vieille ? demanda-t-il.
— Oui, mon chéri, oui ! C'est y pas pour connaître vot' bonne fortune ? Oh, mon tout beau, tu d'mandes la vieille mère pour un avenir prospère ! J'sais ! J'sais !
— Tu sais mal alors ! riposta Baltic, froidement. — Je suis quelqu'un qui n'a rien à voir avec les sorcières et les esprits des morts. Je ne te demande pas de me dire mon destin — qui est dans la main du Tout-Puissant — mais le nom de l'homme qui a tué la créature Jentham.
Mère Jaël émit un sifflement bizarre, et son vieux visage rusé devint aussi inexpressif qu'un masque. En une seconde, à l'exception de ses yeux noirs et méchants, qui couvaient comme deux étincelles de feu sous ses paupières tombantes, elle était devenue le portrait de la stupidité et de la sénilité. — Sois béni, mon joli maître, je sais rien du tout ; Tout ce que je sais je l'ai raconté aux Gadjos là-bas ; et la vieille harpie pointa le doigt vers Beorminster.
— Mère des sorcières, tu mens ! hurla Baltic dans un très bon romani.
Les yeux de Mère Jael se mirent à lancer des flammes comme des torches au son de la langue familière, et elle observa le visage buriné de Baltic avec un étonnement trop sincère pour être feint. — Par le Diable ! dit-elle, d'un ton extrêmement étonné, quel est ce Gadjo qui bavarde dans la langue d'un gentil bohémien ?
— Je suis un frère de la tribu, ma sœur.
— Pas un gitan, pourtant, répondit la sorcière dans la langue des Roms. Tu n'as pas l'œil brillant d'un vrai Rom.
— Je ne suis pas Rom, ma sœur, si ce n'est par adoption. Enfant, j'ai quitté le toit des Gadjos pour la tente joyeuse de l'Égypte, et pendant de nombreuses années j'ai appelé Lovels et Stanleys mes frères de sang.
— Alors pourquoi arrives-tu sous un double visage, mon petit ? croassa la vieille, qui voyait que Baltic, par sa connaissance de la langue gitane,disait la vérité. A un Gadjo, je ne dirais pas un mot, mais tu es mon frère, et en tant que frère, tu dois savoir.
— Savoir qui a tué Jentham ! dit brusquement Baltic.
C'est la vérité, mon frère. Mais ne l'appelle pas Jentham, car il était du sang des Pharaons.
Un gitan, la mère, ou seulement un Rom ?
— Du sang ancien, du vrai sang, de notre véritable religion, mon frère. C'était un des Lovels, qui a quitté notre vie heureuse pour aller vivre chez les Gadjos et piquer l'argent dans leurs poches.
Il se faisait appeler Amaru, n'est-ce pas ? dit Baltic, qui le tenait de Cargrim, qui le tenait lui-même de Mlle Wichello par l'intermédiaire de Tinkler.
— C'est exact, frère. Il s'appelait lui-même Amaru, ou Jentham ou Creagth, ainsi qu'une douzaine d'autres noms quand il dupait et servait les Gadjos. Mais il est né Bosvile, et Bosvile il est mort.
— C'est tout ! dit en anglais Baltic, car il était lassé de parler la langue gitane, que, par manque d'habitude, il ne maitrisait pas bien. Comment est-il mort ?
— On lui a tiré dessus, mon chou, répondit mère Jael, en reprenant aussi la langue commune ; un coup de feu, chéri, sur cette fichue commune.
— Qui l'a tué ?
— Job ! mon noble lord, je ne peux le dire. Jentham, i v'nait parler le calo et boire avec nous. Il a dit qu'il devait voir des Gentils cette nuit-là ! La ! La ! La ! souffla-t-elle doucement, une mauvaise nuit pour lui !
Dimanche soir, la nuit où il a été tué ?
— Oui, mon joli. Le Gadjo devait lui donner de l'argent parce qu'il savait queq'chose.
— Qui était ce gadjo ?
J'sais pas, mon chou ! J'sais pas !
— Quel était le secret, alors ? demanda Baltic, à la recherche d'un indice.
Dieu le bénisse, mon petit ! Jentham m'l'a jamais dit. Et j'étais curieuse d'savoir, mon doux, alors quand il est parti, complètement éméché, j'lai suivi. Je l'ai suivi, mon trésor, je l'ai suivi, mais j'l'ai jamais r'joint car la pluie et la tempête sont d'venues te'ribles.
— Tu ne l'as donc pas revu cette nuit-là ?
— J'l'ai vu mort, de mes yeux vu. J'ai entendu un coup de feu et j'ai couru, couru, mon chéri, car je s'vais qu'i' n'avait pas d' pistolet, mais je m' suis perdue, cher monsieur, et ce n'est que quand l' tempête s'est calmée que j' l'ai trouvé. Il s' trouvait dan'le fossé. C'était ça son tombeau, continua la Mère Jael, parlant dans sa langue maternelle, de l'eau, de l'herbe, et des nuages d'orage au dessus, mon frère. J'avais peur de le toucher, peur de rester, car ces Gadjos auraient pu croire que je l'avais tué. Je suis revenue sur la route, oui, et là, j'ai pris ceci, que j'ai ramené au camp avec moi. Mais je ne l'ai jamais montré à la police, mon frère, car j'avais peur des geôles des Gadjos.
Ça s'avérait être un précieux petit pistolet d'argent que Mère Jael sortit de l'intérieur du matelas Baltic, le fit tourner dans sa main, et pensant, comme il était normal, que Jentham avait été tué avec cette arme, il l'examina avec attention.
" G. P. ", dit-il, en lisant les initiales gravées sur la plaque d'argent de la crosse.
— Ah ! gloussa Mère Jael, en se serrant les bras. George Pendle, c'est ça, mon chéri. Mais lequel des deux, mon doux, le père ou le fils ?
— Hmm ! Tous deux s'appellent George, remarqua Baltic, pensif.
— Mais on ne les appelle pas tous deux des meurtriers, mon frère. George Pendle a tiré sur ce Bosvile, c'est certain, et si on me l'demande, c'est le fils... le capitaine... le soldat. Ah, c'était bien ça !
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For more info, please see discussion tab.
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CHAPTER XXVII - WHAT MOTHER JAEL KNEW.
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When in possession of the facts, he commented firstly on the behaviour of the chaplain.
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'I always thought that the fellow was a cur!'
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said he, contemptuously, 'and now I am certain of it.
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'No doubt, when Cargrim receives his wages.
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Well, lad, and what do you propose doing?
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'I came to ask your advice, doctor!
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'Here it is, then.
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Hold your tongue and do nothing.
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'What!
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and leave that hound to plot against the bishop?
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'A cleverer head than yours is counter-plotting him, Brace,' warned the doctor.
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Harry stared, and moodily tugged at his moustache.
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'I never thought to hear you hint that the bishop was guilty,' he grumbled.
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'And I,' retorted Graham, 'never thought to hear a man of your sense make so silly a speech.
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The bishop is innocent; I'll stake my life on that.
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'Humph!
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that is to be avoided certainly.
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But the secret can be nothing harmful.
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'If it were not,' replied Graham, drily, 'Pendle would not take such pains to conceal it.
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People don't pay two hundred pounds for nothing harmful, my lad.
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'Do you believe that the money was paid?
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'Yes, on Southberry Heath, shortly before the murder.
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If he did, the numbers of the notes being known, they would be traced, whereas—.
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'Whereas Baltic, who got the numbers from the bank, has not yet had time to trace them.
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Wait, Brace, wait!
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Time, in this matter, may work wonders.
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'But, doctor, do you trust Baltic?
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'Yes, my friend, I always trust fanatics in their own particular line of monomania.
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'What about Cargrim?
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'Leave him alone, lad; with sufficient rope he'll surely hang himself.
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'Shouldn't the bishop be warned, doctor?
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'I think not.
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'Folly!
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What folly?
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'The folly of having a secret.
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Only women should have secrets, for they alone know how to keep them.
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'Everyone is of the opposite opinion,' said Brace, with a grin.
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'And, as usual, everyone is wrong,' retorted Graham.
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You take my word for it, Brace, that a woman knows how to hold her tongue.
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It is a popular fallacy to suppose that she doesn't.
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You try and get a secret out of a woman which she thinks is worth keeping, and see how you'll fare.
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She will laugh, and talk and lie, and tell you everything—except what you want to know.
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What strength is to a man, cunning is to a woman.
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Graham shook his head and shrugged his shoulders.
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'You ask more than I can tell you,' he said sadly.
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'Whatever it is, Pendle intends to keep it to himself.
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All we can do is to trust Baltic.
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'I am glad of that,' was Graham's reply.
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'My time is too valuable to be wasted.
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The day was fitter for mid June rather than late September.
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He trusted more to his religiosity and persuasive capabilities than to the power of the law.
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'Who are you, juggel-mush?'
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[1 see discussion] asked a sinister-looking Hercules.
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'I am one who wishes to see Mother Jael,' replied Baltic, in his deep voice.
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'Arromali!'
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[2 see discussion] sneered the Cleopatra-like cook.
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'She has more to do than to see every cheating, choring Gentile.
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'Give me money, my royal master,' croaked a frightful cripple.
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'My own little purse is empty.
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'Oh, what a handsome Gorgio!'
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whined a hag, interspersing her speech with curses.
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'(May evil befall him!)
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Good luck for gold, dearie.
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(I spit on your corpse, Gentile!)
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Charity!
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Charity!
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unit 103
Mother Jael!'
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till the place rang with his roaring.
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lovey!
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Mother Jael be here!
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unit 109
'Hindity-Mush!
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unit 114
'Do you know why I am here, old woman?'
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unit 115
he demanded.
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'Yes, dearie, yes!
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Ain't it yer forting as y' wan's tole?
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Oh, my pretty one, you asks ole mother for a fair future!
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I knows!
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I knows!
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'You know wrong then!'
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retorted Baltic, coolly.
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'I am one who has no dealings with witches and familiar spirits.
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unit 128
'Mother of the witches, you lie!'
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cried Baltic, in very good Romany.
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'Duvel!'
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'I am a brother of the tribe, my sister.
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'No gipsy, though,' said the hag, in the black language.
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'You have not the glossy eye of the true Roman.
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'No Roman am I, my sister, save by adoption.
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'Then why come you with a double face, little child?'
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'Know who killed Jentham!'
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said Baltic, hastily.
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'Of a truth, brother.
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But call him not Jentham, for he was of Pharaoh's blood.
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'A gipsy, mother, or only a Romany rye?
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'Of the old blood, of the true blood, of our religion verily, my brother.
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'He called himself Amaru then, did he not?'
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'It is so, brother.
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But a Bosvile he was born, and a Bosvile he died.
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'That is just it!'
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'How did he die?
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'Who shot him?
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'Job!
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my noble rye, I can't say.
2 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 10 months ago
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Jentham, he come 'ere to patter the calo jib and drink with us.
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He said as he had to see some Gentile on that night!
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La!
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la!
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la!'
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she piped thinly, 'an evil night for him!
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'On Sunday night—the night he was killed?
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'Yes, pretty one.
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The Gorgio was to give him money for somethin' he knowed.
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'Who was the Gorgio?
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'I don' know, lovey!
1 Translations, 3 Upvotes, Last Activity 10 months ago
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I don' know!
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'What was the secret, then?'
1 Translations, 3 Upvotes, Last Activity 10 months ago
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asked Baltic, casting round for information.
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'Bless 'ee, my tiny!
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Jentham nivir tole me.
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An' I was curis to know, my dove, so when he walks away half-seas over I goes too.
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'Did you not see him on that night, then?
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'Sight of my eyes, I sawr 'im dead.
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He was lyin' in a ditch.
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unit 185
But I never showed it to the police, brother, for I feared the Gentile jails.
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'G.
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P.,' said he, reading the initials graven on the silver shield of the butt.
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'Ah!'
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chuckled Mother Jael, hugging herself.
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'George Pendle that is, lovey.
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But which of 'em, my tender dove—the father or the son?
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'Humph!'
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remarked Baltic, meditatively, 'they are both called George.
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'But they ain't both called murderer, my brother.
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Ah, that it was!
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francevw • 14086  commented  10 months, 1 week ago

Chapter 27:
1. Juggel-mush: a dog-man
2. Arromali: truly
3. Hindity-Mush: a dirty creature.

by francevw 10 months, 1 week 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, 1 week ago

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