The Lord of the Sea
M. P. Shiel
Part 6 out of 6
"Oh, the yacht: in her I have sent the two hundred men to the
"_Which_ two hundred men, Admiral?"
"Your Lordship's Majesty has forgotten: I had instructions that you
desired some interchanges among the garrisons, and had ordered the
sending of two hundred of my men to the _Mahomet_, I to receive in
return two hundred from her".
"And you have sent your two hundred?" "Yes, my Lord King".
"Have you received the two hundred from the _Mahomet?_"
"They had not arrived when I left the _Boodah_".
"So that you left only one hundred men in the _Boodah_, with
instructions to receive two hundred others?"
"That is so, my Lord King".
There was silence.
"But suppose I tell you that I have given no such instructions: will
Hogarth clapped a sudden hand of horror upon Quilter-Beckett's
"My God--!" Quilter-Beckett started like a gun's recoil.
"Be calm, Admiral: it may be only some mistake....From whence had
you this order?"
"From--from the _Mahomet_, in the usual course--"
"Good night, Admiral; I would be alone".
At that very hour a world-tragedy was being enacted over the dark
and turbulent ocean, and the immensest of Empires was sinking into
Darkly, quietly, with no mighty and multitudinous tumult of man.
That midnight the night-glass of many a mystified merchantman
searched the murk for those coruscations with which the crescent of
forts had constellated the Atlantic, the mariner's sea-rent waiting
ready, with his ship's-papers, in his cash box: but no galaxy of
lights glanced that night.
To some, before this, they had appeared, but, as the ship
approached, had vanished, and it was as though the swarm of the
Pleiades had been caught from the skies before their eyes. Long
before dawn ships separated by three thousand miles had gained the
assurance that this or that sea-fort no longer rode the familiar
spot-had been rapt to the stars, had sunk, had somehow passed from
being. Before this monstrous marvel the mariner stood dumb, and it
was afterwards said that that wild night the terminals of heaven and
earth were lost, that the storm-winds were haunted, in all the air
lamentation, sobbings as for swallowed orbs, and the whisper: "It is
Two days previously a telegram from Admiral O'Hara had gone to all
the forts in European waters, commanding an interchange of 200 of
their men with men of his own fort; and each officer in command,
ignorant that the same instructions had gone to others, had
complied: so that by the next morning, the 29th April, 1600 men from
eight forts were converging in yachts upon the _Mahomet_. As the
fort garrisons, originally numbering 500, had recently been reduced
to 300, the others having been mostly drafted into the 2nd Division
of the British Royal Marines, compliance with Admiral O'Hara's order
left a garrison of 100 only at each of eight forts.
Toward five in the afternoon of that day, the 29th, 700 men, to the
bewilderment of her officers, were in the _Mahomet_ two of the
fort-yachts having arrived upon a troubled First Lieutenant who was
in command, all attempts to see the Admiral since the morning having
But near seven the Admiral summoned the Treasurer to his _bureau_
near the bottom, he being in dressing-gown and slippers, very
slovenly, seeming either drunk or sick, his mouth gaping to his
pantings, and anon his languishing eye shot dyingly to heaven.
"Well, you see how I am, Mr. Treasurer", he went, "seedy. Pain in
this temple, trouble with the respiration, and a foul breath. Poor
Admiral Donald, Mr. Treasurer, poor Admiral Donald. The fashion of
this world passeth away, sir, and the Will of God be done!
Sometimes, I pledge you my word, I almost wish that I was dead.
There are things, sir, in this world--Ah, well, God help me; I feel
very chippy. I wanted to ask you, sir, to let me see the books, and
hand me over at once all unaudited and unsettled funds in your
counting-house, though I'm not fit for affairs to-day, sir, God
"Sir!" cried the Treasurer, a hard-browed, bald-headed man with a
fan-beard, savouring of banks and ledgers.
"Just pass them over, sir".
"Well, this is the most singular order I ever heard of!"
"Obey me promptly, sir, or, by God, I cashier you!" roared O'Hara,
his raised lids laying nude the debauchery of those jaundiced juicy
"Be it so, Admiral Donald"--the Treasurer bowed: "but on the
understanding that I formally protest against the irregularity, and
report it to the High Chancellor".
He retired, and in half an hour returned with two clerks who bore
books, himself a carpet-bag containing in cash-boxes £ 850,000, paper
and gold, which he deposited on the Admiral's _bureau_, and, after
again protesting before the clerks, went away.
Not far off by now were some of the other six fort-yachts,
converging with their 200 upon the _Mahomet_, and as the Admiral had
no intention of being put into irons as a lunatic in his own fort,
at eight o'clock he stole from his apartments, dressed now, not in
uniform, but in priest's robes and a voluminous cloak, bearing in
one hand the bag, in the other a key.
Those lower depths of the _Mahomet_ were an utter solitude, lit with
rare rays; yet the Admiral journeyed through and up peering,
skulking, pausing, hurrying, and, if by chance a light caught his
face, it showed a horror of convulsive flesh, his body a mass of
trembling, like jelly.
Now, the forts had been built to fight; and (since nothing is
impossible), if they fought, they might fall into an enemy's hand:
to obviate which, there was in a little room on the third floor a
handle which opened by hydraulics a door in the fort's side on the
fifth floor below, the existence of this room being unknown save to
each Admiral and to four of his lieutenants, and its key kept in a
spot known to these. This key O'Hara now had in hand; and as he
pushed it into the lock, his jaw jabbered like a baboon's.
Night was now come; the sea rough; Spain lost to sight; the two
emptied yachts on the way back to their forts; yonder the lights of
the _Mahomet II_. lying-to; two officers in oilskins walking arm in
arm, to and fro, on the roof; and said one: "Look at those waves
there all of a sudden: they rather seem to be breaking on the wrong
side of us".
Then they resumed their talk; and to and fro they walked, arm in
Till now one with sudden hiss: "But-good Christ-just look-why, the
At that moment an outcry and runners from below, shouts, a trumpet-
call, were borne on the winds to them: for the Admiral had rushed up
to the manned parts of the fort, all hell alight in his eyeballs,
bawling out, "The boats! The _Mahomet_ is sinking!"
In spite of which many perished, the survivors afterwards declaring
that the tragedy mesmerized their nerves with a certain awe not to
be compared with the terrors felt on sinking ships, the _Mahomet_
affecting them like a being of life, like behemoth slowly dying, or
some doomed moon. She gave them, indeed, plenty of time, though when
the steel portals on two of her sides were opened, the sea washed up
the steps, making the launching very delicate feats, and near the
last the leaning was so marked, that there was difficulty in
standing; and still in patient distress she waited while the waves
like multitudinous wolves, trooped to prey upon her.
As the Admiral ran to the outer Collector's Office to embark, he was
faced by the Treasurer, revolver in hand, and "Hand me over that
bag, Admiral", he said pretty coolly, "or I blow out your brains".
O'Hara's mouth worked: he could not speak.
"Will you?" said the Treasurer: "no doubt you mean to hand it over
to the proper authorities, but I prefer to do that myself. Be quick,
you old dog!"
Whereat O'Hara, having no weapon, dropped the bag, and trotted wide-
eyed forward to the thronged scene of the launchings.
There were more than enough boats, and though on the lowest side of
the fort nothing could long be done, all had gone off, when the
fort, having settled very low, looking for some time like a brawling
cauldron and area of breaking waves coloured by her hundred lights,
went down, and was not.
Whereupon the yacht, over a hundred yards away, was caught in the
traction of her strong enthralment, and, like a planet, started into
running round a region of sea which wheeled; while seven of the
boats, rowing for life, were grasped, and dragged back, with a
hundred and nine, into the deep.
"Toll for the brave...."
As to the other boats, they arrived at Tarifa the following evening,
with 583; but the Admiral ordered the _Mahomet II_. to Cadiz, where
soon after midnight he landed, and, by negotiation with a "_Jefe_",
in an hour had a train for Madrid. As he was about to step in, the
Treasurer touched his shoulder.
"What, Admiral, off by land?"
"Yes, sir, as you know", said O'Hara, "for you have been spying my
movements for the last hour. How childish to imagine that I have
anything to fear, or want to escape! Why, I am bound for England--my
only object in the land journey being quickness. I even invite you
to come with me"
"All right, Admiral, I will....If you be tempted to murder me _en
route_, remember these"--a pair of pistols; and they set out at
about the hour when the whole crescent of tragedies was over.
At six that evening a yacht, a copy of the _Mahomet II_., had come
to the Cattegat sea-fort to land 200 men who wore the Empire's blue-
jacket, the name "Mahomet" on their caps--nothing to show that they
were not genuine Mahomet men, though some looked rather sea-sick;
but in reality they were young lords, stock-brokers, Territorial
Officers, men-about-town, park-keepers, undergraduates, secretly
armed with knife and revolver, and knowing, too, where the armoury
of the sea-fort lay.
Meantime, three other yachts, all named _Mahomet II_., were a-ply in
the Atlantic, two containing 400 men each, one 600, each of the
first two to land 200 at a fort at six, and her remaining 200 at the
next fort by eight-thirty, serving four forts, the last to land 200
at each of three forts: so that by 10.30 P.M. each of eight forts,
including the Cattegat, contained 200 enemies disguised as fort-men.
And punctually at eleven, in each, began perhaps the darkest
massacre of history--no quarter given--and when the alarm went
forth, whichever of the unarmed fort-men rushed to the dark armoury
found the door fastened against him. Of two men in bed, talking
together through an open door, one arose at the stroke of a clock
and killed the other; some perished in sleep--all very quietly
accomplished: a few shots, a few lost echoes in the vast castles, a
few daubs of blood. And in no case did a single one, either
massacred or assassin, escape alive: for, in every case, some one or
other of the fort-officers--Admiral, Lieutenant, Commander--to
prevent capture, opened the inlet to the flood in the very thick of
the doom, went down with his muteness and his bubbling, and the sea,
a secret in its bosom, rolled over the Sea.
All the next day, till near 9 P.M., not one syllable was definitely
known of this tremendous fact by anyone in Britain: for though,
early astir, the Regent telegraphed the _Mahomet_, all day he waited
At eleven the Prime Minister said to him: "Things, my Lord King,
wear at this moment an aspect so threatening, that I see no escape
from civil war, even if it be brief, except by the immediate forcing
through of the Bill, and I stand ready--now--to propose you as new
"Wait", answered the Regent: "pass to-night the Bill should, but I
think I shall effect that by myself going to the Lords, and
listening a little to the talk".
A dark day, with an under-thought always, whatever the business, of
one thing--the Sea....
About 5.30, as was his custom, he went up a stair to pass along two
corridors to the little cream suite in which lived Margaret, for
whom the doctors now promised sanity, her forehead daily seeming to
drink-in peace from the contact of his palm, after which she would
comb his hair, he lying on a sofa, or taking tea; and, "Well, dear",
he said, this last day of all, as her ladies retired to an inner
salon, "how is the head?"
"I have seen you before", she replied: "what is your name?"
"Dick Hogarth. Come to me, and let me lay my heavy head on you. The
heart of your friend bodes to-day, bodes, bodes; but is not afraid:
a tough heart, Madge. Do you like me to press my hand upon your head
Then, weary of his moaning heart that moaned that day like choruses
of haunted winds through desolate halls, he fell to sleep even as he
mumbled to her, she, seated near his sofa, playing with his hair,
his arm around her, faint zephyrs from the window fanning his head,
waving down the valenciennes.
But now she tossed the comb away, hummed, became restless,
disengaged her shoulders, rose, strayed listlessly, with sighs, and
on finding herself in the ante-chamber, opened the door, went out
into a corridor, leant her back, eyeing the floor; and next with a
great sigh set to gazing upward, droning two notes, one _doh_, one
_soh_. All was silent. But now a sound of voices that drew her, she
moving into another longer corridor, with balusters which overlooked
a hall below, and yonder at the stair-foot were two men in
altercation, one a guard, to whom the other was saying "But I tell
you the lydy herself arst me to go to her; it's an appointment, just
like any other appointment. Do let a fellow pass!" and with mouth at
ear he added: "_It's an affair of the 'eart! 'Ere's a sov--_"
"Couldn't, my friend, couldn't", the guardsman said.
But now Harris: "Why, there she is 'erself, so 'elp-! come out to
meet me, as the Lord liveth!"--ran then toward where she looked over
to send up the hoarse whisper: "I sye--didn't you tell me yourself
On which she nodded amiably, smiling, touching a rose in her bosom.
"There you are! What more do you want?" he said to the guard, who
now gave him passage: and like a dart he darted, like a freed lark,
or unleashed hound, fleet on the feet, with lifted brow.
"I sye!" he whispered her, all active, brisk as a cat, ecstatic--
"Who?"--she still at her rose, a memory straying in her that here
was a friend, whom the Terrible One had bid her obey.
"Mr.--the Regent", he whispered.
"I don't know him. What is your name? _My_ name is--"
"Oh, you muddle-headed cat! Don't you know the dark man with the
"_Sh-h-h_--he is sleeping".
"Gawd! is he though? Come, show me! I've got a old appointment--"
She led the way: the two corridors--the door--the room, he treading
on air, brow up, eyes on fire, knife bright and ready; and eight
feet from the couch she put out her forefinger, pointing, smiling,
Hogarth's face toward them, his mouth pouting in sleep, bosom
breathing, a breeze in his hair.
From the lips of Harris, in the faintest snake-hiss, proceeded,
"Sleep, my little one-sleep, my pretty one--_sleep_--" and with a
wrist as graceful as the spring of a tigress he had the knife buried
in Hogarth's left breast.
Some instinct must have pierced Hogarth's sleep an instant before
the actual blow, for while the knife was yet in him he had Harris's
wrist; and the assassin fled writhing, so brisk a trick had cracked
And blanched and short-breathed sprang Hogarth, but at once
tottered, Margaret, open-mouthed, regarding him, till he suddenly
cried out "Ladies!", and before they came had hurried out, drawing
his coat over the place of blood.
In the second corridor he had to stop and lean, but then descended,
striking all whom he passed with awe at his face, till he stumbled
into his own drawing-room, and, as he fell, was caught by Sir
Francis Yeames, the Private Secretary.
The wound had passed along the outer front surface of the second rib
toward the scapula, injuring two of the branches of the axillary
artery: so whispered the Resident Medical Attendant, while the
council of doctors pronounced the condition "very grave", but not
"dangerous"--a case for "judicious pressure"; and after a long swoon
he opened his eyes; in the deeply-recessed series of windows, narrow
and round-topped, now dying the twilight; the insignificant bed lost
in a chamber of frescoes and vast darksome oils of battles and
loves. And, suddenly starting, he asked: "What's the time?"
"Seven-thirty, my Lord King", answered Sir Martin Phipps.
"Ah, I remember: I was stabbed. Who did it?"
"It can only be assumed from the evidence of a guardsman that it was
a servant in the Palace, called Harris".
"Aye, I think I saw his face. Does anyone know of the matter?"
"Very few persons so far....The police are after Harris".
Now the Regent started, understanding that the condemnation of
Harris would mean a revelation of the Colmoor-horror secret; and he
said after a minute, "John, is that you? Will you go and have the
whole thing quashed?....And now, doctor, the wound".
"The wound is not what we call 'dangerous', my Lord King: ah, but
believe me, it was a narrow shave".
"I dare say, Sir Martin: the outcomes of this particular world do
arrive by narrow shaves; but they arrive, and life is an escape. At
any rate, doctor, I shall be able to go, as arranged, to the Lords--"
The doctor smiled. "No, never that".
"I shall go".
And at once he leapt from bed, staggering headlong in the effort, to
strike his head against a window corner, while all ran, crying out,
to catch him, the doctor thinking: "Those whom the gods destroy they
first drive mad".
So far not a whisper of the stab had reached even the Prime Minister
or the Prince; but since the news of moving troops, and the
reluctance of the Lords to pass the Bill, agitated all, London came
out to watch his descent upon the Lords.
He went in precisely the spirit of a professor who steps to the
chair, smiles, and takes the class; but as he drove down Whitehall,
this thought pierced him with a keener point than the steel of
Harris: "_The Sea...!_"
He did not know that at last a thousand transmitters, from Tarifa,
from Frederikshavn, from many a ship, were thrilling the ether with
messages as to the Sea.
Nor did he know that that day Frankl had whispered to some dozen
people, with proofs and old newspapers, that convict past of the
And from his very first entering, when the Lord Chancellor rose, and
the Regent made the bow, he was shocked by the scene of open
insolence spread before him.
Everywhere the boldest eyes regarded him; he saw smiles of scorn,
snarling visages, as, with reclining head and lowered lids, his eyes
rested on the House: a hard gaze. Unfortunately, his pallor was
perfectly obvious, and its significance, the stab being unknown, was
And up rose a young lord, who stammered unprofundities just below
the region of lawn-sleeves to the right; and another with slow step,
as if to music, came up the gangway, and spoke at the table; and
another after him: and it needed sustained effort to understand what
they said; the brain, as it were, would not close upon statement
after statement so insignificant. But Hogarth would have endured
till midnight, or longer, but for a growing doubt within him: "Am I
bleeding? Shall I not certainly faint?"
And there was this other question: "To what greater daring of
insolence will these impossible speeches rise?"
Suddenly, at five minutes to ten, in the very midst of a duke's
speech, the Regent, with dizzy brain, was on his feet: there was a
few moments' gasp and breathlessness; and then--all at once--it was
as though a wind from hell swept through that House, whirling in its
vehemence Regent, lords, Gallery, Black Rod, Clerk, Usher, and all;
and every face was marble, and every eye a blaze.
The Regent cried: "Your lordships' eloquence--"
And as he said "eloquence", a voice that was a scream, a forward-
straining form, a pointing finger: "Why, my lords, that man is only
a common convict!--reprieved for murder--escaped from Colmoor. And
all his forts are sunk!"
It happened that in the midst of this outcry, the Regent fell back
afaint, the moles black, the face white.
Now, here seemed simple panic: and like a pack of dogs which rush to
mangle a mongrel, they were at him pell-mell.
See now a shocking scrimmage, a rush and crush for precedence, surge
upon surge of men jostling each other in a struggle to get near him,
sticks reaching awkwardly over heads to inflict far forceless blows,
and on his face the fists; a hundred roaring "Order!", fighting
against the tide; three hundred shrieking, "Kill him!" "Have him
done with!" "Dash out his brains!", and pressing to that job.
Sergeant-at-Arms, meanwhile, Clerk-attending-the-Table, and the
physician, had run to give the alarm; but it was by one of those
miracles of wild minutes, when turbulent sprites appear to mix
themselves in the business of men, worse--embroiling the embroiled,
that through the throng in the street rushed the word that the
Regent was being killed: and quick, before any fatal blow had been
struck, the rabble were there in that chamber, having brushed away
They imagined themselves come to save: in reality they came to kill--were,
in fact, too many for the area of the room, so that men succumbed fast
as by plague-stroke under trampling feet, and even after twenty minutes
when sixty-seven lay mangled the scene of horror could not be said to
Early upon the irruption the physician, three policemen, a Reading
Clerk, and the Bishop of Durham, had managed to extricate and drag
the Regent out; and through the shouting of the outside crowd he was
driven home unconscious.
Somewhat before this hour Admiral O'Hara had arrived at Croydon, a
lust, a morbid curiosity, now working in this man--having committed
the ineffable sin, to enjoy its fruit by hearing what Richard
Hogarth now said, in what precise way he groaned, or raved, smiled,
or wept, or stormed; for he was cruelly in love with Hogarth.
All the way had come with him the _Mahomet's_ treasurer, with his
bag of wealth--and two pistols.
So at Dieppe O'Harra had wired to Harris:
"Meet me at Croydon to-night, the 9.45 from Newhaven, as you love
life. Most important. Shall expect wire from you at the London and
Paris Hotel, Newhaven, not later than six, saying yes".
But at Newhaven he had found no answer--Harris, in fact, not having
received the telegram, having already inflicted his stab, and fled
Whereupon O'Hara, in an agony of doubt, had telegraphed Frankl from
"For God's sake find Harris. Make him meet me at Croydon to-night in
the 9.45 from Newhaven. Do not fail".
Now, Frankl knew exactly where Harris was--hiding in the Market
Street house. And he said to himself: "All right: it's got something
to do with money, and a lot of it, too, with all this 'God's sake'.
Suppose we _both_ go to Croydon?"
Hence Frankl missed the joy of seeing the Regent mobbed: for at 9.30
he was waiting with Harris on the Croydon up-platform.
And as the train stopped, they two hurried into the compartment
where O'Hara sat alone.
"You, my friend?" said O'Hara to Frankl.
"Large as life", replied Frankl: "I and the boy have already made it
up between us for a third each: you a third, I a third, Alfie a
third: that's fair; I keep the police off the backs of the pair of
you, and you pay me a third. What's the figure?"
In one moment of silence O'Hara plotted; then his tongue yielded to
the temptation of the great words: "Eight-hundred-and-fifty
So after three minutes' talk Harris got out, and, as the train
started, sprang into a first-class compartment in which was one
Now, it was natural that the treasurer, carrying such a sum, should
scrutinize any stranger, but Harris disarmed suspicion: his right
arm, twisted by Hogarth, was in a sling, and he threw himself aside,
and seemed to sleep, between the peak of his cap and his muffler
hardly an inch of interval: so the treasurer, too, worn with travel,
settled into a half-drowse.
Harris, however, like many of his type, was perfectly ambidextrous,
often using the left hand by preference; and as the train passed
Bromley, he darted, plunged his knife, streaked with the Regent's
blood, into the treasurer's heart, and huddled the body under the
No stoppage till London Bridge, where, with the bag, Harris left the
train, Frankl and O'Hara trotting after his burdened haste; and,
after two changes of cabs, the three arrived at the Market Street
There Harris laid the bag on the floor of an empty back room, where
through a broken window came a little light, and the three stood
looking down upon the bag, solemnly as upon a body.
Then suddenly Harris: "Come, gentlemen of the jury, let's have my
share of the dead meat: and 'ere's off out of it for this child--
only this blooming arm of mine! it's going to get me nabbed as sure
as sticks. Never mind--trot it out, Captain! and don't cheat an
innocent orphan, lest the ravens of the valley pick out the yellow
galls of some o' you".
Neither of the other two, however, seemed anxious for the division;
and after a minute's silence Frankl said: "The third of 850, I
_believe_, is 2, 8, 3; how are we going to carry away 283 thousand
without something to put it in? I vote, Pat, that we leave the bag
here, and come and divide at midnight sharp. How would that do?"
"Yes", said Harris, "I think I see old Pat leaving the lot with me--
what O! You know 'ow I'd fondle it for you, and keep it out of the
cold, cold world, till you came back, don't you, you bald-headed
"Shut your mouth, boy. We can't take it away without something, as
Mr. Frankl very justly observes. Aren't there some safes, Frankl, in
"Right you are: and one, as I happen to know, empty. Who'll keep the
"You, if you like, my friend. I'll keep the keys of the room-doors.
And Harris will stand guard".
"The very thing", remarked Frankl.
So it was agreed. Harris took the bag; they descended to the cellar;
then, striking matches, down three marl steps to the subterranean
way made for Hogarth; and along it, forty feet, they stumbled bent,
Harris gripped by each sleeve.
Then in the Adair Street Board Room they lit a candle, and in the
room next it found the safes, the largest of which admitting the
bag, Frankl locked its door, took the key; O'Hara then locked the
room door, took the key; and at the stair-bottom locked another
door, took the key; so that Frankl could not now get at the bag
without him, nor he without Frankl, nor Harris without both.
Two then went away, while Harris, sprawling cynically on a solitary
chair down in the parlour with straight open legs, awaited the
_rendezvous_ at twelve.
He had not, however, sat very long, when the taper at his feet
glared on a face of terror at a sound of ghosts in the tomb that the
house was, and he started to his feet, prone, snatching his knife--
thinking, as always, of the Only Reality, the police. But he had not
prowled three ecstatic steps when O'Hara stood before him.
"Oh, damned fool!" he went with infinite contempt and reproach, "to
frighten anybody like that! What's it you are after now? Frighten
anybody like that...."
"_Alfie_!"--O'Hara whispered it breathfully as the hoarse sirocco,
stepping daintily like the peacock. Tell it not in Gath! If Alfie
rammed the knife into the marrow of Frankl's back at the moment when
the safe was opened, then Alfie would have, not a third, but a half;
and the thing was desirable for this reason: that a half is greater
than a third...
Harris saw that: but he seemed reluctant, meditating upon the
ground; then walking, hands in pockets.
"Why, boy, he is only an interloper", said O'Hara: "I meant the
money to be divided fairly between you and me. Why should this Jew
"All right", said Harris: "I don't mind".
"And I know a little castle in Granada, Alfie, which we'll buy--"
"All right: you go away. It's agreed".
And O'Hara hurried away, took a cab, drove for the Palace; while
Harris, left alone, sat serious, with sprawling straight legs, and
presently muttered: "Blind me, I must be going dotty or something!
p'raps it's this arm...."
He had not thought of killing Frankl, until it had been suggested!--
some class-habit, or instinct, of honour among thieves (which,
however, his reason despised)...But five minutes after O'Hara had
gone he started alert, staring, with tight fist, and, "All right,
you two", said he, "blood it is!"
He sat again: and again, after twenty minutes, the house gave a
sound--Frankl, who had let himself in by the front door, each member
possessing a key to that.
"Well, Alf", said he, "all alone? Then, we two can have a little
chat between us little two".
And he stood and talked, while Harris sprawled and listened,
Frankl's road to his end being more circuitous than O'Hara's, more
hedged, too, with reasons, scruples, sanctions: but he reached it,
pointing out that a half is greater than a third; also that O'Hara
would be a continual witness against Harris' past, whereas he,
Frankl, left England for Asia the next morning.
Alfie pretended aversion to bloodshed, but finally consented; upon
which Frankl went away, and took cab for Scotland Yard: his idea
being to have Harris arrested red-handed in the murder of O'Hara.
The streets through which he drove wore a singular aspect--of
commotion, hurry, unrest, two dragoon-orderlies galloping past him
at the Marble Arch, in Whitehall the tramp of some line-regiment
battalion, and he said to himself: "He is going to fight it out with
them, I suppose--Satan take the lot!"
At Scotland Yard he said to the Inspector in Charge, having given
his card, that if two officers were placed at his disposition, he
might be able to lead them to the arrest of a man long "wanted", who
now premeditated another murder.
Meantime, O'Hara was in conversation with Loveday in the Regent's
library, nearer the centre of which stood a group of four with their
heads together--Prime Minister, First Lord, War Office Secretary, a
Naval Lord; further still, a spurred General, cloaked over his out-
stuck sword, writing, with a wet white brow; and, "I suppose he will
want to see you", said Loveday, "if you have anything to say. But
the doctors have first to be reckoned with: I suppose you know that
he has been stabbed and beaten".
"Stabbed! by whom?"
"Ah! I did not know".
"It was by your recommendation, it appears, that Harris became
Captain Macnaghten's servant", said Loveday with his smile, looking
very gaunt and bent-down.
"Tut, sir!"--from O'Hara--"you are not my judge: I am here to see
the Lord of the Sea, my King".
"Ah!--you still give him the title".
And now O'Hara, drawing his chair nearer to ask: "_How did he take
it?_" stretching back the waiting mouth to hear that thing.
"The Lord Regent? Well, at eight-thirty he went to the House of
Lords, where they beat him nearly to death on the throne, the gentle
hearts, and the doctors forbade me to speak to him of the Sea; but
his eyes seemed to question me, so I leant over, and told him".
"Yes--and whatever did he say?"
He said: "'What, old Pat?'"
O'Hara rose to stand by a hearth, black-robed to the heels and
tonsured, and at the angle of his jaw some sinews ribbed and moved:
not a syllable now from him.
"I am going in now to him", said Loveday: "if you care to wait here,
I will see"--and passing through a palace pretty busy that night
with feet and a thousand working purposes, went to sit at the sick
bed, the doctors retiring.
"How is the pain?"
"The pain", said the Regent very weakly, "is nonsense: I am not
going to be bullied by doctors, but shall do exactly as I like".
"And what is that, Richard?"
"There is a Normandy village, John, called Valée-les-Noisettes--
white houses with an extraordinary sound of forest about, one of
Poussin's landscapes, with a smithy under a chestnut precisely as in
the poem; and the blacksmith is a charming man. I dare say someone
will find me money enough to purchase a share of his smithy: and
with him I shall work, starting for him before sunrise, with my
Loveday, wondering if he was delirious, said irrelevantly: "I have
to tell you that by five A.M. there will be 15,000 additional
infantry in London, with--"
"Ah, I wish they'd lend them me to send out to those poor Jews,
John. But, for myself--I was mad when I gave that order. It won't
do! the world is addicted to its orbit, and relapses. I don't say
that it will be always so, but it is now. As against the Empire of
the Sea arises--Pat O'Hara; as against the brushing aside of these
rebels arise--Germany, Russia, the hostile world. Consider the
rancour of the nations at Britain's late advantages in sea-rent, try
to conceive the scream of jubilation that rings to the sky to-night
against her, and against me. Do you think I could _now_ start a
civil war in England? for the satisfaction of my own pride? I call
God to witness that never for my own pride have I done aught, but
that the Kingdom of God might come. I know that bitter tears will
flow at the fall of the righteous man--many calling me 'traitor' for
abandoning those ready to die for me. Yet it shall be. I never
thought to fail, to fly, John Loveday, chased by such little
fellows: but God has done it. Well, then, the smithy. You and all,
therefore, will find enough to do to-night".
Loveday lifted a face streaming with tears to say: "The man, O'Hara,
waits to see you".
"Really? Well, come, we will see him...." and in some minutes O'Hara
was there by the bedside, the eyes of the two fixed together, over
Hogarth's face five oblongs of sticking-plaster, his head bandaged,
and at a corner of O'Hara's mouth a twitching.
"Pat, did you betray me?" asked Hogarth.
O'Hara nodded: "Yes".
"Well, you may sit and tell me, and ease your poor heart".
And a long time O'Hara sat, going into the mighty crime, torturing
details, revelling in the vastness of the horror, the sickness of
the self-inflicted filth, and pangs of the self-inflicted scalpel.
"And why did you do it, my friend?"
"Because I worship you...."
"Well, perhaps I understand you, crooked soul. But what will you do
"We shall see. What will you?"
"I am going to France to live as a private person".
"Tut, you remain as simple as a child: the earth's not large enough
to contain you, you couldn't now remain a private person for three
weeks. Come, I have discrowned you: I will give you another crown,
though I shall never see you wear it. Why not go to your own
"Don't talk that same madness".
"My time with you is short, Raphael Spinoza"--O'Hara glanced at his
watch--"in five minutes we part, never, I do assure you, to meet
again. Listen, then, to me: you are a Jew. I knew your mother--the
most intellectual woman, I suppose, who ever drew breath, the only
one whom I have loved; and I should have known you merely from your
resemblance to her at my first glance at you in Colmoor, though I
had more precise data: the three moles, the bloodshot eye, for
didn't I baptize you? haven't I rocked you in my arms? You know St.
Hilda on the hill over Westring, which you found me examining that
morning after our escape from the prison? I was priest there, three
years, and twice I have confessed her--ah! and remember it! for when
your foster-father wanted her to turn Methodist, she wouldn't stand
that, and since she must needs be a _meshumad_ (apostate), became a
Catholic. Well, now, I once saw at Thring, and once in the _Boodah_,
an old goat-hair trunk of yours: what is become of it?"
"I have it--" Hogarth was shivering, his eyes wide, and in his
memory a strange singsong crooning of _t'hillim_, heard ages before
in some other world over a cradle.
"Did you know that that trunk has a false bottom?" asked O'Hara.
"Oh, you knew...And have you never seen a bundle of papers under
"Yes--I assumed them to be old farm-accounts...."
"They are all the proofs you need concerning your birth; it is _my_
trunk by the way--Ah, I must go!"
At the door he fastened upon Hogarth a last reluctant gaze to say
good-bye, but Hogarth, staring wildly afar, did not turn his eyes,
and O'Hara, with a sigh, was gone.
He drove to Adair Street, and, as he passed by a mews, Frankl,
waiting there with two detectives, saw him by a street-light, but
made no remark.
When O'Hara entered the house, he looked about for Harris, but
Harris had gone to the lodging of a woman in James Street near, to
arrange a hiding-place for the bag, passing out through the Market
Street house; and O'Hara, opening the two locked doors, entered the
safe-room, where he stood waiting, his forehead low, resting on the
steel top; and now a sob throbbed through his frame, and his lips
let out "..._so lovely...so great_...."
Count a minute's stillness: and now the man's soul and being
foundered in a storm of sorrow, and half-words borne on shivering
puffs of breath, and choking groans, broke the stillness: "My Liege!
Richard! my King!"
This died to silence; and now he roamed the room with furious steps,
and lowering brow, and an out-pushed under-lip, until, deciding, he
drew from his pocket a penknife, opened it, leant now one elbow on
the safe-top, blade in hand, considered, considered, hesitating,
then with lifted chin and the thinnest whimpering like a puppy,
pretty pitiful, cut from under his left ear to the chin.
Certainly a hurt so shallow could never have killed, for the hand
had been cherishingly restrained, and the thing was no sooner done
than the priest, seeing that he did not die, ran horror-eyed,
streaming with blood, shouting a hoarse whisper: "Help! help! help!"
But at that cry he sighed, fell back, and effectually died, his
heart pierced by the knife of Harris.
And some moments later the face of Frankl, who bore a candle, looked
in at the door.
"Is that all right, Alfie?"--in the weakest whisper.
"Come on in, and don't ask any questions", said Harris.
Frankl entered, peered upon the dead visage of the priest; then, the
detectives being now behind the parlour-door below, with handcuffs,
rose to run to summon them: but, to his horror, Harris was now
before the door; he saw in the candlelight those eyes of Alfie fixed
upon him: and he knew: before the least threat or movement by
Harris, the Jew sent to Heaven a piercing shriek, his hour come....
"...dirty-livered Jew..." striking in the breast, and, as Frankl
fell, he gave him one other in the temple, with "Down, down to hell,
and sye _I_ sent thee thither"; and to dead O'Hara near he gave one
in the cheek, with "Go up, thou bald-head, it _is_": all in two
seconds' space; and he was now about to turn anew to hack at Frankl,
when his keen ear heard a creak; and he sprang up a spinning
motionlessness--the Reality before him.
And instantly on the realization of that fact, he was submissive,
reverent, as before the very Helmet of Pallas, goddess of Blue; and
said he with sullen dejection, reverent of the Helmet, but easy with
the man: "All right: you've beat me...I suppose it's that Regent-
stabbing affair brought you: it was I did it all right".
When they went down, almost from the door a crowd gathered, pressing
close, Harris' hands and front all red from O'Hara's throat; and
when one policeman, big with the fact, whispered a gentleman: "You
may have heard, sir, that the Regent was stabbed to-day--it's been
kept precious dark, but the fact's so: this is the beauty as done
it", like loosened effluvia that news flew--but distorted, largened--
the stains were Regent's blood!--and beyond measure had the crowd
spread ere it reached the Edgware Road.
There at the corner, as the officers looked about for a cab, and one
blew a whistle, a man reached out and fiercely struck Harris on the
face, while another shouted: "Lynch the beggar!"; and now arose a
hustling, huddled impulses, and now in full vogue that grave noising
of congregations when the voice of God jogs them; while Harris,
excessively pallid, handcuffed, began to whistle; a number of other
police now seeking the crowd's centre, but with difficulty; a cab,
too, slowly making a way which closed like water round it: and when
this had nearly reached him, Harris, in his eagerness to get in,
sprang far toward it--and slipped. He never rose again: the crowd
rolled over his last howl, and in the midst of a great row as of
hounds, trampled him to a paste.
About that very time that better man whom he had stabbed, in tying
up in bed a bundle of old papers, was saying: "Yes, I will go to my
And by six A.M. he was up, in his study, dressed, looking quite
owlish with his excess of eyes, which, however, danced at the first
news of the morning--the arrival at Portsmouth of the _Boodah II_.,
which had raced like a carrier-bird since 8.30 P.M. of the 29th,
full of the news of the vanished _Mahomet_: on her being 200
After that he spoke through the telephone with various Government-
offices, early astir that morning, till the Private Secretary looked
in with the announcement that his train would be ready in ten
His last act in the Palace was the sending to the Treasurer at
Jerusalem, for Miss Frankl, the telegram:
"Be surprised, but believe: I am a Jew."
Of the Household some fifty, catching wind of what was toward,
offered, even begged, to go with him; but in general he refused, and
set out with a suite of only seven.
They reached Hastings at twenty minutes to ten, where, to the
disgust of all, the region of Central Station was found crowded;
whereupon Sir Francis Yeames held a consultation with a local
rector, and a dash was made to a private hotel near the pier.
There, looking from behind window curtains at eleven, Hogarth saw
before a paper-shop:
FLIGHT OF THE REGENT
A minute afterwards he started backward from the splintered window.
Everything was known:
LIFE-HISTORY OF THE CONVICT HOGARTH MARVELLOUS DETAILS
The street, to its two vanishing-points, was one scene of hats,
mixed with upturned faces: and it was an aggressive crowd that gave
out a sound.
Not till noon did the _Boodah II._ arrive; and then there was no
setting out--all the front windows of the house now broken, and in
the town a row like the feeding-time of lions, which uttered
"coward", "murderer", "convict", "traitor". Hogarth had been put to
bed, the two ladies were in a state of scare, Margaret anon crying
on Loveday's shoulder, declaring that "_He_" (meaning Frankl) was in
the crowd, and coming, coming, boring his way: she had seen him.
At last, near four P.M., a portion of the yard-wall at the back was
broken down by the party, Hogarth was raised and dressed, and
through the breach the party passed into another back-yard, then
made beachward, Hogarth leaning on the arm of Sir Martin Phipps; but
they had no sooner come to the Esplanade than they were surrounded,
and when, on their attaining the pier, the pier-turnstile was closed
against the mob, it was impossible to conceive whence so many
missiles came. Once Hogarth stopped, faced round, looked at them,
but now a pebble bruised his left temple, and he dropped, fainting.
Caught up by Sir Martin, Loveday, Sir Francis Yeames, and Colonel
Lord Hallett of the body-guard, he was hurried, a hanging concave
with abandoned head, to the long-waiting boat, and it was in a
scurry of escape, out of stroke, that the oarsmen rowed away.
Yonder lay the yacht with her fires banked, and was soon under
She had started, when a harbour-master's motor-boat was observed
giving chase, in her an officer from Scotland Yard who bore a bag,
found by means of the key in Frankl's pocket in the Adair Street
safe; on its clasp the name "Mahomet", and it contained £850,000: so
that the yacht went wealthy on her way.
The voyage to Palestine was marked by two events: one the stoppage
at Tarifa, where the five hundred from the _Mahomet_ were, these,
when taken on board the _Boodah II._, making an armed force of 700;
and then, toward sunset of the fifth day, a steamer exchanged
signals with the _Boodah II._, enquired after the whereabouts of the
Lord of the Sea, received the reply "on board", and when she stopped
it turned out that she had on board a Jewish Petition urging upon
Spinoza to come and throw in his lot with them. And here again was
that name of Rebekah, spelled now Ribkah.
For the news of his fall--the fact that he was a Jew--had created a
mighty stirring in Israel, of wonder, of the pride of race.
By the seventh day the yacht was off the Palestine coast, and Joppa,
seated on her cliffs, appeared over a foaming roadstead. But when a
landing was effected, they were to hear that there had been a
collision on the Jerusalem-Joppa railway, the line blocked, travel
suspended; so, as the filthy town was congested, the Royal party
took refuge in a great restaurant-tent, set up by a Polish Jew in
gaberdine and fur cap, who vociferated invitation at the door. All
was mud, beggary, narrowness, chaos, picturesque woe. Yet work had
commenced: between the upper and the nether millstone a woman ground
corn at a doorway; the camel passed loaded; the dragoman went with
quicker step. In the afternoon Spinoza, wandering beyond the
outskirts of the town, saw in an orange-grove, sitting before a
roofless hut, six diligent two-handed Jews exhaustively drawing the
cord of the cobbler; further still, and saw what could only have
been a Petticoat-Lane Jew ploughing with a little cow and a camel:
and he smiled, thanking God, and taking courage--had always loved
The next morning he procured a number of clumsy waggons, with
horses, asses, camels, and provisions; and his caravan set out, to
travel all day over a plain, a "goodly land," the almond-tree in
blossom, orange and olive, everywhere lilies, the scarlet anemone,
he considering himself so familiar with the way, that he was their
only guide, though the morning was misty; and through the plain of
Sharon they wended over the worst roads in existence, until, passing
into a country of rocks, they made out afar the mountains of Judæa,
whose patches of white stone look like snow in sunshine, on the
roads streams of wayfarers, tending all eastward to Jerusalem, lines
of camels and waggons, pedestrians with wine-skins, mother and
sucking child on the solitary ass, and the Bedouin troop; but
Spinoza was all solitary among fastnesses on the third forenoon when
he muttered nervously: "I must certainly have lost the way".
Thereupon he called halt, and the caravan turned back to re-find the
road, Spinoza prying on camel-back foremost, clad now in the caftan
and white robes of the Orient.
But all day the caravan wandered out of the track in a white sea of
mist: no farmstead, nor cot, but the wild vine, and the wild fig,
and twice a telegraph-tree, still with its bark on, and the
abandoned hold of a bandit-sheik. Finally, near six P.M., Spinoza,
finding himself in a valley-bottom, sent out the order to pitch
camp: upon which the tents were fixed near a brook, waggons grouped
around, and animals picketed to grass. Spinoza, the two ladies, and
Loveday, then ate together at the door of one tent; after which he
rose and strolled away, thinking how best to handle this crab of
He noticed that the mist was lifting a little; and suddenly, as he
strolled, he stood still, listening: for remote tones of singing or
mourning seemed to meet his ear--from the west: and in some moments
more he saw the Mount of Olives--to the west, not, as he believed
that it must be, to the east, he having, in fact, in losing his way
from the coast, passed by Jerusalem to the north; and on the other
side of the Mount of Olives, from its foot to the Brook Kedron,
spread at that moment over the Valley of Jehosophat an innumerable
multitude, covered in praying-shawls, many prostrate, many with the
keen and stressful face of supplication lifted in appeal to God,
that He would visit His people, and turn again in this latter day to
His lost and helpless flock. Every child of Israel who could
contrive it, at whatever cost, was there, since it was the
prophesied day of--"the Coming".
But a bold woman, summoning her fainting strength, bracing her
trembling knee, stepped a little up the hillside to fling high her
hand as a sign--Rebecca Frankl, celebrated now through Israel as the
elect of the sibyl Estrella; and at that signal the congregation,
gazing keenly into heaven, lifted up their voice in meek song,
singing the sibyl's "Hymn to the Messiah":
"The oceans trudge and tire their soul, desiring Thee; and night-
winds homeless roam with dole, reproaching Thee; the clouds aspire,
and find no goal, and gush for Thee, reproaching Thee."
"Thou scrawled'st 'I mean' in rocks and men, in trends and streams;
the prophets raved, to sages' ken Thou shewed'st dreams; Thou
shrouded'st dark the How and When in starry schemes, and trends and
"The jungles blare, the glebe-lands low and bleat for Thee; the
generations rage and go, agaze for Thee; creation travaileth in woe,
with groans for Thee, agaze for Thee."
"Adonai, come! with crashing rote of chariots come; or moonlight-
mild, alone, afloat, Messussah, come; with floods of lutes, or
thundering throat, but come! O, come! Messussah come."
"The Arctics hawk-up their haunted heart, and raucous, spue; and
north-winds, wawling calls, outstart, to droop anew; the clouds like
scouts updart, depart, and truceless do, and droop anew."
"How long! They breeds have waited fain what sibyls ween; Thou
scribbled'st in their secret brain 'I scheme; I mean'; the
constellations stray and strain: Break out! be seen what sibyls
"The pampas stamp and, nomad, low, reposeless, lone; raging the
generations trow, and drudge, and drown; a anguished glance this
latter woe throws to Thy Throne, reposeless, lone"...
Before them, above them, as they sang stood--a man.
Hard by a wall of that Moslem mosque, once a chapel which marked the
supposed spot of "the Ascension", he stood, in an attitude of
suspense, astonishment, his body half-twisted--Spinoza.
An instant, and he was aware of Jerusalem lying "as a city that is
compact" before him--not to the east--to the west! Yet another
instant, and he realized that the whole tract of humanity--man,
woman, child--was on its face before him.
A faintness overcame him, shame, dismay; then, his blood now rushing
to his brow, his mouth sent out the passionate shout:
"Not to _me!_ Not to _me! I am the Lord of the Sea....!_"
But when the people heard this, saw him, knew him, they remained in
By a special ship they had sent him a petition to come; here he was
weeks sooner than ship or airship could have conveyed him: and they
took him as the answer to their supplication, the answer which
Heaven willed, in the sure and certain faith that he would cure
their ache, and the ache of the world.
An acclamation like the voice of many waters arose and rolled below
him, and on the bosom of that tumult he moved among them into the
Holy City, as darkness covered all.
* * * * * * *
He took the title of Shophet, or Judge, and for sixty years ruled
It has been said that the initial "pull" over other nations
possessed by Israel (in respect of the sea-forts remaining in the
Gulf of Aden, Yellow Sea, Western Pacific) was the cause of his rise
as of some thrice-ardent Star of the Morning and asterisk dancing in
the dawn's dark: for the other nations, timorous of one another,
made never an attempt to build; but, for our share, we insist that
anyway Judæa was bound to become what she became--indeed, sea-rent
after the Regency collapse was decreased at the three forts, and
suddenly in the twelfth year of his judgeship Spinoza ordered its
By which period the University of Jerusalem had become the chief
nerve-centre of the world's research and upward effort: for in
creating a "civilized State"--"proud and happy"--Spinoza did it with
that spinning rapidity of the modernization of Japan, so that in
whatever respects it was not a question of months, it was a question
of not many years.
For, as in the soul of the Jewish people abode as before that genius
for righteousness which wrote the Bible, and as the soul of
righteousness lies even in this; Thou shalt not steal, therefore
Israel with some little pain attained to this: whereupon with
startling emphasis was brought to pass that statement:
"Righteousness exalteth a nation".
For the promise says: "I will put a new spirit within them"; and
this--very rapidly--found fulfilment.
Whereupon others fast, faster, found fulfilment, so that a stale and
bitter word was in Pall Mall, saying: "The lot of them seem to have
formed themselves into a syndicate to run the prophecies".
Again the promise has it: "I shall be with them"; and again: "They
shall be a cleansed nation"; and again: "They shall fear Him".
The transformation was rapid for the reason that it was natural,
seeing that it had been Europe only that, like a Circe, had
bewitched them into beastial shapes, "sharks", and "bulls", and
"bears", mediæval Jews, for example, having been debarred from every
pursuit save commerce: so that Shylock was obliged to turn into a
Venetian; and, in ceasing to be a Hebrew, became more Venetian than
the Venetians, for the reason that he had more brains, ready to beat
them at any game they cared to mention; but the genuine self of
Shylock was a vine-dresser or sandal-maker, as Hillel was a wood-
chopper, David a shepherd, Amos a fig-gatherer, Saul an ass-driver,
Rabbi Ben Zakkai a sail-maker, Paul a tent-maker: so that the return
to simplicity and honesty was quickly accomplished.
And now, that done, behold a wonder: at the whirling of a wand the
swine of Circe converted back to biped man; whereupon without fail
whatsoever he does it shall astonishingly prosper: that succession
of wits, seers, savants, Heines, Einsteins, inspired mouths, pens of
iridium, brushes from the archangel's plumage, discoveries, new
Americas, elations, sensations--in therapeutics--in aero-nautics-
beyond-the-atmosphere--in the powers involved in sub-atoms--in the
powers, latent till now, involved in soul...for now each of
millions was free to think, free to manifest his own particular luck
and knack in discovery, having a country, foothold, not hovering
like Noah's dove, urging still the purposeless wing not to pitch
into nowhere: for the promise says: "Ye shall not sow and another
reap, ye shall not plant and another garner", but in a land of
gentlemen ye shall live, as it were to swellings of music, while a
noble height grows upon your smooth foreheads, and the sum-total of
the blending movements of your bodies and brains shall, as seen from
heaven, appear the minuet of a people.
Within forty years mighty works had been done: forts, irrigation of
deserts, reclamation of the Dead Sea, passionate temples clapped to
the lower clouds about the perpetual lamp, and that baroque Art of
the Orient which at the Judges progresses in Summer through the
country would draw multitudes of foreigners to gape at so great
pomp, at Corinthian cities full of grace and riches which had arisen
to crown with many crowns that plain of Mesopotamia, and where
desolate Tyre had mourned her purples, and old Tadmor in the
Wilderness (Palmyra) had sat in dirt; to gape, too, at a Jerusalem
which in twenty years had crossed the Valley of Jehosophat, and
might really then be called "the Golden", a purged Babylon, a London
burnt to ashes and rebuilt somewhere else: for the Shophet proved
true Duke and Leader, born mountaineer, climbing from pinnacle to
wild pinnacle, becking his people after him with many a meaningful
gesture skyward and suggesting smile; and Israel followed his
thrilling way, hearing always the Excelsior of his calling as it
were the voice direct of Heaven. What no merits of his could give,
the land which he had chosen gave, Mesopotamia pretty soon proving
herself a treasury of mineral riches: here is bdellium and the onyx-
stone; and where the streaming Pison, dawdling, draws his twine of
waters over that happy valley of Havilah, there is gold--hoard
stored from before the Eozoic, as misers bury for their heirs, in
mine and friable quarry, rollick rain: "and the gold of _that_ land
Here was not merely progress, but progress at increasing speed--
acceleration--finally resembling flight, as of eagle or phoenix, eye
fixed on the sun: Tyre by the fiftieth year having grown into the
biggest of ports, her quays unloading 6,700,000 tons a year, mart of
tangled masts, felucca, galiot, junk, cargoes of Tarshish and the
Isles, Levantine stuffs, spice from the Southern Sea; while
Jerusalem had grown into the recognized school of the wealthier
youth of Europe, Asia and America.
For it says: "The Kings of the earth shall bring their honour and
glory unto her"; and again: "She shall reign gloriously".
And not Israel alone reaped the fruits of his own fine weather, but
his dews fell wide. For it says: "They shall be as dew from the
Lord"; and again: "They shall fill the face of the earth with
fruit"; and again: "All nations shall call them blessed".
And so it was: for the example of Israel, his suasive charm, proved
compelling as sunshine to shoots, so that that heart of Spinoza
lived to see the spectacle of a whole world deserting the gory path
of Rome to go up into those uplands of mildness and gleefulness
whither invites the smile of that lily Galilean.
The mission of "unbelieving" Israel was to convert Christendom to
Christianity: and this he did.
We watch the Judge coming down the Mount of Olives in the midst of a
jubilant throng all involved in a noise of timbrels and instruments
of music: for his life was simple and one with the life of his
people. It is evening, all the west yonder a bewitched Kingdom
charm-embathed, wherein a barge of Venus bethronged with loves and
roses voyages on a sea of dalliance en route for the last Beatific--
the last, the seventh, Heaven--whitherward gads all a pilgrim-swarm
of enraptured spirits, all, all thitherward, Paul caught up with
clothes aflaunt, and soaring eagle, Enoch transfigured, green
hippogriff, hop of squatted frog; and thitherward trots with
blinkings, bleating, the Ram of the Golden Fleece, the flagrant
flamingos flap and go.
The Judge, hoary-headed now, in a robe of cloth-of-silver which
rippled, had but now got home from a Pilgrimage; and the time was
Simcath Torah, the Rejoicing of the Law, and the carrying of
Candles, in the month. Tishri: silver his robe and silver his hair
that hung round a brown and puckered skin, but silvery, too, his
every tooth still, and his vigour good; and, as down the Mount of
Olives he stepped, he saw Mount Sion and that Temple that he had
piled, across whose roughened frontispiece of gold glowed in a bow,
bold like the rainbow's, in characters of blazing sapphire and
chrysoprase, that inscription:
"Y'HOVAH B'KOKMAR YSAD ARETS, CONEN SHAMAIM B'THBUNAH"
and, as he saw it, lo, buoyancy caught the old man's feet: for the
cymballing and music had grown very fiercely hot, so that all the
congregation reeled in dance; and as the lasso drops round the
astonished prairie-horse and draws asprawl, so dancing caught and
drew his foot, and he danced.
And his wife Rebecca, mother of many sons, prying from a window-
lattice, writhed odd the eyebrows of the cynic, one beyond the
other: for not with foot alone he danced, but his wrung belly
laboured in that travail of Orient dancing; and she turned and
smiled to Margaret Loveday a turned-down smile, implying shrug,
implying girding, her eyelids lowered, yet indulgent of his nature's
And not with foot and abdomen alone he danced, but his two balancing
palms danced to the beat of the heat of the music's heart; and with
heel and toe he danced. And as he danced, he sang, all apant,
filling up with nonsense-sounds when the rhythm's imperative tramp
outran his improvisation; and singing he danced, and dancing sang:
with abdomen and arms he danced, and with toe and heel he danced.
And dancing he sang:
be dancing to God,
And peal my pipes,
and riot my feet,
and writhe to His Heat,
And Rum and Tum,
This freehold for seraphs free!
That flame! those skies!
and Blest is Her Name,
and blest are my eyes,
I'll dance like a ram,
I'll smack the sun,
I'll dance at the breeze
I'll dance till I breed
Thou bringest Thine ends
This hump so high,
this lump and her sigh,
Thou lead'st through the Nee-
the saurians sprawled,
'Tis well Thou art!
and well that Thou wast,
and well when at last
O well that Thou art
When seraph hearts
will laugh by this brook,
and break for the love
shall still by increase
And dance and dance,
so, singing, he danced, and, dancing, sang; and their sounds grew
faint; and they entered into the City of Glory, and their sounds
They took him for the Sent of Heaven, nor did the results of his
glorious reign gainsay such a notion: the good Loveday, indeed, had
the agreeable fancy that our greatest are really One, who eternally
runs the circle of incarnation after incarnation from hoary old ages
till now--the Ancient of Days, his hair white like wool, quietly
turning up anew when the time yearns, and men are near to yield to
the enemy: Proteus his name, and ever the shape he takes is strange,
unexpected, yet ever sharing the same three traits of vision, rage
and generousness--the Slayer of the Giant--Arthur come back--the
Messenger of the Covenant--the genius of our species--Jesus the Oft-
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