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He staggered for a moment and then rose to his full height, a fearful loathing in his eyes, a scorn like a whip of fire in his voice.
Schuabe blanched before him, for he saw the truth in the priest's soul.
"As the Lord of Hosts is my witness," cried Gortre loudly, “I know you now for what you are! You KNOW THAT CHRIST IS GOD!"
Schuabe shrank into his chair.
“ ANTICHRIST !” pealed out the accusing voice. “You know the truth full well, and, knowing, in an awful presumption you have dared to lift your hand against God.”
Then there was a dead silence in the room. Schuabe sat motionless by the dying fire.
Very slowly the colour crept back into his cheeks. Slowly the strength and light entered his eyes. He moved slightly. At last he spoke.
Go,” he said. 'Go, and never let me see your face again. You have spoken. Yet I tell you still that such a blinding blow shall descend on Christendom that
He rose quickly from his chair. His manner changed utterly with a marvellous swiftness.
He went to the window and pulled aside the curtain. A chill and ghostly dawn came creeping into the library.
Let us make an end of this," he said quietly and naturally. “Of what use for you and me, atoms that we are, to wrangle and thunder through the night over an infinity in which we have neither part nor lot ? Come, get you homewards and rest, as I am about to do. The night has been an unpleasant dream. Treat it as such. We differ on great matters. Let that be so and we will forget it. You shall have a friend in me if
Gortre, hardly conscious of any voluntary movements,
his brain in a stupor, the arteries all over his body beate ing like little drums, took the hat and coat the other handed to him, and stumbled out of the house.
It was about five o'clock in the morning, raw, damp, and cold.
With a white face, drawn and haggard with emotion, he strode down the hill. The keen air revived his physical powers, but his brain was whirling, whirling, till connected thought was impossible.
What was it? What was the truth about that nightmare, that long, horrid night in the warm, rich room? His powers were failing; he must see a doctor after breakfast.
When he reached the foot of the hill, and was about to turn down the road which led to his rooms, he stopped to rest for a moment.
From far behind the hill, over the dark, silhouetted houses of the wealthy people who lived upon it, a huge, formless pall of purple smoke was rising, and almost blotting out the dawn in a Titanic curtain of gloom. The feeble new-born sun flickered redly through it, the colour of blood. There was no wind that morning, and the fog and smoke from the newly lit factory chimneys in the Irwell valley could not be dispersed. It crept over the town like doom itself-menacing, vast, unconquerable.
He pulled out his latch-key with trembling hand, and turned to enter his own door.
The cloud was spreading.
"Lighten our darkness," he whispered to himself, half consciously, and then fell fainting on the door-step, where they found him soon, and carried him in to the sick-bed, where he lay sick of a brain-fever a month or
Lighten our darkness !
A LOST SOUL
N his great room at the British Museum, great, that
is, for the private room of an official, Robert Llwellyn sat at his writing-desk finishing the last few lines of his article on the Hebrew inscription in mosaic, which had been discovered at Kefr Kenna.
It was about four in the afternoon, growing dark with the peculiarly sordid and hopeless twilight of a winter's afternoon in central London. A reading lamp upon the desk threw a bright circle of light on the sheet of white unlined paper covered with minute writing, which lay before the keeper of Biblical antiquities in the British Museum.
The view from the tall windows was hideous and almost sinister in its ugliness. Nothing met the eye but the gloomy backs of some of the great dingy lodginghouses which surround the Museum, bedroom windows, back bedrooms with dingy curtains, vulgarly unlovely.
The room itself was official looking, but far from uncomfortable. There were many book-shelves lining the walls. Over them hung large-framed photographs and drawings of inscriptions. On a stand by itself, covered with a glass shade, was a duplicate of Dr. Schick's model of the Haram Area during the Christian occupation of Jerusalem.
A dull fire glowed in the large open fireplace.
Llwellyn wrote a final line with a sigh of relief and then leaned far back in his swivel chair. His face was gloomy, and his eyes were dull with some inward communing, apparently of a disturbing and unpleasant kind.
The door opened noiselessly (all the dwellers in the mysterious private parts of the Museum walk without noise, and seem to have caught in their voices something of that almost religious reverence emanating from surroundings out of the immemorial past), and Lambert, the assistant keeper and secretary, entered.
He drew up a chair to the writing-desk. “The firman has been granted !” he said. A quick interest shone on Professor Llwellyn's face.
“Ah!" he said, "it has come at last, then, after all these months of waiting. I began to despair of the Turkish Government. I never thought it would be granted. Then the Society will really begin to excavate at last in the prohibited spots! Really that is splendid news, Lambert. We shall have some startling results. Results, mind you, which will be historical, historical ! I doubt but that the whole theory of the Gospel narrative will have to be reconstructed during the next few years !”
“It is quite possible,” said Lambert. “But, on the other hand, it may happen that nothing whatever is found.”
Llwellyn nodded. Then a sudden thought seemed to strike him. But how do you know of this, Lambert ?" he said, “ and how has it happened ?"
Lambert was a pleasant, open-faced fellow, young, and with a certain air of distinction. He laughed gaily, and returned his chief's look of interest with an affectionate expression in his eyes.
“Ah!” he said, "I have heard a great deal, sir, and I have some thing to tell you which I am very happy about. It is gratifying to bring you the first news.
Last night 1 was dining with my uncle, Sir Michael Manichoe, you know. The Home Secretary was there, a great friend of my uncle's. You know the great interest he takes in the work of the Exploration Society, and his general interest in the Holy Land ?”
"Oh, of course," said Llwellyn. “He's the leader of the uncompromising Protestant party in the House; owes his position to it, in fact. He breakfasts with the Septuagint, lunches off the Gospels, and sups with Revelations. Well?"
“ It is owing to his personal interest in the work,” continued Lambert, " that the Sultan has granted the firman. After dinner he took me aside, and we had a longish talk. He was very gracious, and most eager to hear of all our recent work here, and additions to the collections in our department. I was extremely pleased, as you may imagine. He spoke of you, sir, as the greatest living authority—would n't hear of Conrad Schick or ClermontGanneau in the same breath with you. He went on to say in confidence, and he hinted to me that I had his permission to tell you, though he did n't say as much in so many words, that they are going to offer you knighthood in a few days !"
A sudden flush suffused the face of the elder man. Then he laughed a little.
“Your news is certainly unexpected, my dear boy," he said, “and, for my part, knighthood is no very welcome thing personally. But it would be idle to deny that I'm pleased. It means recognition of my work, you see. In that way only, it is good news that you have brought."
“That 's just it, Professor," the young man answered enthusiastically. “That's exactly it. Sir Robert Llwellyn, or Mr. Llwellyn, of course, cannot matter to you personally. But it is a fitting and graceful recognition of the work. It is a proper thing that the greatest living