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The square shape around the seriffed letter F is formed out of interlacing ribbons with terminal foliation of acanthus leaves and pomegranate buds. The decoration is created in thin black lines, leaving the letters, vines, and leaves white. It appears to be a wood engraving.

FRIEND Léon,’ said the Cardinal,‘I dreamed a
dream last night. I found myself standing
alone, out there upon the plain, and looking
back at our cathedral: you know, how moun-
tainous it looks, from out there upon the
plain.’ The Cardinal and his old friend, the
Canon Laval, sitting tranquilly upon the high
terrace of the archiepiscopal garden, gazed
out in silence over the vast plain, which stretched away from the little
city beneath them: away, so it seemed,into infinity and for ever.

    ‘Yes! a strange dream!’ resumed His Eminence. ‘A kind of
golden mist, or radiant cloud, drew down over the cathedral: and then,
from the open great west gates, came a procession of three shining
persons, who descended slowly into the city, and passed out through
the poplar avenue, and across the bridge, on to the plain. As they came
near, there was a vague sense of music about them, of incense clouds
and palm branches: a vague sense, just that, for I neither heard, nor
saw, any such things. And, as they came closer to me, I fell on my
knees: Saint Genevieve, Saint Denys, Saint Clotilde! But when they
came quite close, I saw that I was wrong. She, whom I took for Saint
Clotilde, was in armour, and did not wear the crown of France: he,
whom I took for Saint Denys, was in armour, and wore the crown of
France. Ah, I knew well: Saint Louis and the Maid of Orleans,
blessed warriors! The king stood between Saint Genevieve and the
Maid : for though, as Saints reigning together in Heaven, the three were
equals, yet here, come down to French earth, the holy Ladies observed
their ancient reverence for the Royalty of France. Each of the three
carried a lily in each hand: in the right hand, a lily of white; in the
left, a lily of red: so they stood before me, as I knelt with clasped
hands and outstretched arms. It seemed an eternity, that unmoving
vision: when, at last, Saint Louis held out to me his lilies, saying,
“The Lilies of France!” So did and said the Sacred Maidens:
then the golden gloom covered all again for a while, till it slowly
lifted, and I found myself still kneeling there, but alone; and I was
ho ding, not three lilies of white, and three of red, but one lily, the
colour . . . ah, the colour of Heaven, not white, not red, not partly
both, but … ah, the colour of Heaven, that is enough! And


presently I awoke: the Lily of France seemed fragrant in the room,
though invisible,’

    ‘The interpretation?’ said Canon Laval. ‘We are old men, old
men,’ answered the Cardinal; ‘you will understand, and not laugh at
me. God forgive me the proud phrase, but I think that I shall give my
blood for France and for His Church! Ah, my poor, great France! If
I might dye my purple a deeper red for her! And in these times it
is possible. The Church is growing, succeeding, triumphing; the
people are coming back, yes! and the politicians. They know it, these
infidels to God and to France, with their Freemasonry, their Catéchisme
du Libre-Penseur! They see their bestial Utopia of free vice vanishing,
just when they had caught a glimpse of it: Qui habitat in coelis, irride-
bit eos! And they know it; they know it, and love us but little, we
u r ho have been His instruments.’ There was a flash of young fire in the
Cardinal’s eyes, a militant ring in his voice; but the Canon looked gently
sad, and said nothing; he seemed to dream. ‘You know it,’ cried the
Cardinal, you have seen it, how France is honeycombed with their
societies, their brotherhoods: what brotherhood, my God! a brother-
hood of swine! Even here, in our drowsy city, so quiet and contented
and old-fashioned, they have their agents: a cathedral is a magnet to
them, it attracts their especial malice, it is a “stronghold of supersti-
tion!” And a cathedral, where the throne is not an archbishop’s only,
but a cardinal’s; and he, loved, I may say it, loved by his people, and
upon good terms with the Government, with the officials! I have not
been cursed and threatened in the streets for nothing. You heard that
voice in the crowd on Corpus Christi, as I carried the Blessed Sacra-
ment, Down with your Christ and you!” It was one of our victories,
that procession: forbidden for nine years, and now … the city would
have stormed the prefecture, the town-hall, had it been prohibited.
“Down with your Christ!” But He is going forth to battle : He is win-
ning, and they hate Him the more. Peccator videbit et irascetur; dentibus
suis fremet et tabescet: desiderium peccatorum peribit!

    But if the Cardinal, in his righteous impetuosity, seemed a second
Eagle of Meaux, the Canon looked another Dove of Cambrai, calm
resigned, of a mild pensiveness. ‘You say nothing,’ said the Cardinal.
‘Your Eminence will forgive me: I was thinking . . . thinking. I
cannot tell you why, but you recalled to me a long time ago, fifty years
ago. I was in Paris, studying science: ah, the brave word, the fine
word, science! And then, she died: and I could not work, I was in
despair, I went wandering away by myself. And one evening, in


Brittany by the sea, I came to a crucifix, old and black and weathered,
upon the edge of the cliff. I threw myself down, with my arms round
it, and prayed for death. . . . But you know, I have told you . . .’
‘Never too often, Léon,’ said the Cardinal, touching his friend’s hand :
such thin and bloodless hands, both! ‘And presently I felt a hand
upon my shoulder: turning round, I saw an old, old, Breton woman,
her good face wrinkled and bronzed with long years in the sea-winds.
She spoke in her strange Breton French, something kind and gentle, all
the courtesy of the poor in her sympathy. I could only say, “She is dead!”
The woman stretched out her hand and touched the Feet, the wounded
Feet, with an infinitely gracious reverence: “Lui aussi: et II vit tou-

    Yes, said the Cardinal, after a silence, and with a sigh, ‘the eternal
lesson: so simple, we find it hard to learn, hard for our pride. And I
thank you, Léon: you do not know why you spoke of this now, but I
know. To labour for God’s France, yes, that is but our duty; but to
take pride in success, to be mortified by failure, to think of ourselves,
no! Which is the proudest nation upon earth? Spain: and she has
the humblest Saints, who endured the agony, and the darkness, and the
dereliction. I . . . but yes, it is true, yes . . . I am full of myself.
I do anything for France, it is because I am a Frenchman; if for the
Church, because I am a cardinal, bishop, priest; never anything for the
pure love of God our Life.’

    His lips quivered, and he ground his hands together in an iron clasp
of the nervous fingers. Early twilight began to fall over the great
melancholy plain, and the last flushes of the afterglow faded from the
gray-green roofs beneath the terrace; there was no silvery gleam upon
the poplars and the dim river. The peace of evening, the vesperal
peace and pause, lay delicately over all.

    ‘Come,’ he said, ‘it is growing late. And forgive me: that dream of
mine, forget it, I pray you.’ With a last gaze across the deep, the
immense tranquillity of that darkling world, the old men rose, and
passed through a low doorway into the sacristy of the palace chapel.
A crucifix hung there; and the Cardinal kissed the Wounded Feet:
Lui aussi, Leon: et II vit toujours!


EVENING wore on, and the last Angelas rang out, solemn and sweet
from the cathedral bell-tower. The familiar, daily sound fell unnoted
upon many ears in the ancient little town: but it fell plainly and fully
upon one pair of ears, always keen to take in ecclesiastical voices. ‘I


tell you,’ said Jean Dubois, ‘when I hear that accursed tinkling, I could
spit at them all, from Monseigneur in the purple down to the youngest
choir-boy.’ He spat, and scowled up at the cathedral.

    He and his companion were sitting outside a poor caft in the river-
side part of the town: Dubois with an absinthe, incessantly rolling and
smoking cigarettes; the other with a bock and a rank cigar. Dubois was
thin and waspish; he had very small, brilliant, black eyes, an olive
complexion, an irritable intensity in the muscles of his face, in his rat-
trap mouth. But a man, clearly, of a certain intellectual energy; that
was plain in the alertness of his bearing, an impressive vivacity of
presence and person. ‘Quousque Domine?, he chanted, with a mocking
nasal twang and drawl. ‘If I knew the Collect against Plague and
Pestilence, I would sing that; these pests of the soutane are gaining
ground every day; the country reeks of incense and wax candles. And
this is France of the Revolution, scientific France, the Holy Land of
Light! Voltaire, Diderot, Darwin, Haeckel, Renan, did they never live,
then? Tiens, I shall sell my library and buy a Paroissien or the Summa.
But we shall see, my friend, see in Gods good time/ His companion,
a man of less interesting make, laughed approvingly: ‘And our friend,
Dubois, our friend in this sleepy hole, His Eminence the Cardinal Arch-
bishop: is he still busy for the good God and the Pope?’ Dubois
drank off his absinthe and shook with passion. ‘Ah, the red Cardinal,
the boiled lobster of a Cardinal! His purple wants another dyeing.
When he is curious about the colour of his blood, let him come to me!
You can see for yourself: can you look into a bookshop, but you find
Pastorals in piles? Can you open a newspaper, but you read a letter
from the palace, with an infernal cross to its signature? Can you go
down the street, but an absurd cornette flaps you in the face, or a big swing-
ing rosary hits you on the legs? Is there a school, a hospital, that he
has not tried to poison with his Christianity? And, so please you, ever
a loyal citizen of the Republic, and who so obedient to the law! ‘His
voice rose shrill and cracked, and the little table rocked upon its rickety
iron legs, under the violence of his emphatic fist. Recovering himself
with an effort, he proceeded quietly: ‘The Church! No, it is not the
Church, the clergy at large, that we hate. For myself, I do not meddle
with your country curé, if he do not meddle with me. A good
enough fellow sometimes; ignorant, harmless, no ambition in him.
But your prelates, your very reverend professors, your Lenten preachers,
your clerical deputies, your go-betweens with Rome, your dabblers in
social questions, your cassocked economists, your Catholics of progress


and co-operation! Ah, all went well when they held aloof and mumbled
their masses to old women; what did the churches matter, when the
lecture rooms and the laboratories were all ours, the platform, and the
press? The faithful used to be aborigines, slowly and painlessly suffer-
ing extinction from the pressure of the civilised. But now, it is an
insurrection of the barbarians, that we have to face. And this Cardinal
is a generalissimo of barbarians, with the Tricolorin one hand, the
Fleur-de-lys in the other! “Pax vobiscum!” says he: my God, he shall
find a sword.’

    They left their seats, and strolled forth upon the rough paved way
by the riverside. There was little noise or stir of any sort; lights shone
out from the windows of the low houses, and ripples of reflection
quivered across the water. High above the steep slopes of housetops,
whence more lights gleamed from attic rooms, rose the huge cathedral,
a darkness and a vastness of stone, a mountainous petrifaction of lower-
ing cloud. Dubois preferred another image: ‘The great black vulture,’
he muttered, ‘brooding over its prey.’ Presently he broke out into
fragments of talk: ‘And this is France, our France! Had it been any
other country now … but France, is it possible? Lourdes, Mont-
martre, mountebank superstition everywhere! . . . and they die, our
men of science, our critics, our statesmen and journalists, they die fortified
by all the rites of the Church . . .!’ His friend ventured to interrupt him:
Yet we are not doing so badly, oh, not so badly! If they are gaining
strength, so are we.’ It was well intended, but infelicitous. ‘Bah! it
is natural for us to increase; we teach that two and two make four, and
that man makes God. They teach that two and two make five, because
God made man; and the number of believers in that nonsense is
increasing. Spare me your consolations! Tell me that orthodox
Comtists, or any other scientific sect, which nicknames philosophy
religion, are increasing, and I will thank you; they are sane men with
a weakness. But those canaille of the intellect! Here comes one.’ A
priest passed with an attendant: a sick call, evidently, and the Last
Sacraments. ‘That . . . Patagonian mummery on the increase! You
will be asking for it yourself, one of these days.’ But they had reached
their goal: a small house toward the outskirts of the town, with the
look of a merchant’s office, or of some municipal business place. Dubois
stopped upon the threshold, and sneered: ‘Are we increasing here?
Does the youth of this enlightened city flock to our classes? Are the
confessionals as empty as our benches? And we have truth to teach,
exact truth, verified truth, instead of Jewish fables. Well! magna


est veritas; and there’s no Latin so comforting as that, in their

    They entered, M. Jean Dubois and his colleague; students and pro-
fessors of physics, an excellent thing; students and professors of atheism
less . . . dignified and profitable a thing. Their labour of love, these
private evening classes for the instruction of youth in scientific know-
ledge—not, indeed, in anarchist chemistry—was yielding but meagre
blossom. Nevertheless, it was almost pathetic to note the ardour with
which Dubois threw himself into the task of inspiring an enthusiasm, an
emotional element, into his pupils’ pursuit of sensible truth; he was sacer-
dotal, a fanatic tremulous with zeal, as he expounded to his score of
youths the consolations of ‘experimental phenomena,’ and the delights
of his favourite ‘psycho-physiology.’ When he cried, in that shrill
voice, ‘Mind is a demonstrable function of matter,’ he might have been
a fervent missioner, crying to his stricken penitents and converts,
Ecce Agnus Dei!’ And as he discoursed, the thought of Christianity
spreading its revised plagues over France, the thought of the Cardinal
in his cathedral fortress, worked through his veins and pulses, a very
fever and fire. ‘Ah, the old days, when we thought all that done with,
and used contempt where extirpation was required: fools that we were!’
M. Dubois ground his teeth, and plunged vehemently into a disserta-
tion upon the brain.


HIS EMINENCE pontificated at the High Mass of the Sunday following,
and was announced to preach at Vespers and Benediction. He was
outwardly a prelate of a frequent French type: courtly, with a touch of
haughtiness in his elaborate manner, an air of treading the stage with
state; tall and strong, happily gracious of gesture and intonation.
Within, he was a man of very simple and fresh piety, with which his
secular ability could not quite agree; statesman and saint had little
wars with each other, and made truces or compromises, entirely legiti-
mate, yet satisfying neither. The Holy See, the Republic, modern
science and criticism and philosophy, social problems and theories: had
he indeed taken a straight course, played a direct part, in these tangles
and jungles of difficulty? Scruples tortured his sensitive conscience;
and sometimes he fell to wondering whether it were the fault of his
proper temperament, or a vice of these intricate latter times, that it was
so hard for him to see black or white, such a necessity always to see
gray. So far as might be, he put his perplexities and refinements from
him, finding oblivious comfort in those labours, which are prayer. Of


late, he had been haunted by a presentiment of some conclusive fortune
in store for him, by his own act or by another’s, something definite and
final in wait for him; and, as in his talk with the Canon, that old
seminarist friend, the companion of his long career, he was troubled at
the thought of a human pride mingled with his dependence upon the
Will of God, whatever that might bring about for him. But Léon Laval,
wise and winning soul, was always his refreshment; the old priest of
so crystalline an innocence, so serene a faith, bathed his harassed spirit
in spring water, and set all things in the sunlight of a pure simplicity.
The Cardinal felt very peaceful upon this Sunday evening; his heart
was light, and his faith joyous.

    The austere cathedral church, little spoiled by changes from its first
beautiful severity, was almost full when Jean Dubois entered it, with a
passing repugnance upon his face, as he tasted the memories of immemorial
incense on its cool and stilly air. The organ thundered, and sang, and
sighed, sending a tremor along his nerves: emotional jugglery! he
thought, and the mystcriousness of glooms, lights, colours, was nothing
else. Vespers had already begun, and he followed them in a prayer-
book, which he held with a kind of contemptuous hatred. Once only
his features relaxed their despiteful impatience, as the choir chaunted,
Coelum coeli Domino: terrain autem dedit filiis hominum. ‘Ah, that is
a Lucretian god worth having,’ he murmured, smiling. ‘Let him keep
to his heaven of heavens, and leave our earth to us.’ The next verse
pleased him yet more: Non mortui laudabunt te, Domine: neque omnes
qui descendant in infernum. ‘True enough: a scientific fact!’ But
then came: Sed nos qui vivimus, benedicimus Domino: ex hoc nunc et
usque in saeculum. ‘We shall see, we shall see, you and your Dominus
He sat in his dark corner, fixing his bright eyes upon the great altar
candles, and the enormous crucifix in the centre, presently shrouded in
a fragrant mist, at the incense of the Magnificat; that odour of intolerable
sanctity, to which he preferred the disinfectant and other savours of the
dissecting-room, or the sharp smell of chemicals. At length the Cardinal,
vested in that glorious apparel which makes a prince of Rome so com-
manding a figure, ascended into the spacious, grandiosely carven pulpit,
and stood erect in silence, the very embodiment or representative of an
hierarchy, which has upon it the strength and splendour of two thousand
years. Dubois leaned forward, concentrating his strained gaze upon
this superb tyrant, imperious in purple and fine linen, raised high above
the heads of a subservient people, and prepared, doubtless, to proclaim
dogmas that should long have been obsolete, and anathemas that


should long have been impotent. But His Eminence was disappointing.
It was, yes, positively! it was the simplest of discourses, caressing
and pleading; a praise of golden charity, of smiling patience, of valiant
faith and hope; spoken in tones strangely softened and sweetened, as
by some sense of solemn urgency and ultimate need. It renounced the
old French oratorical unction of the pulpit, with long, modulated
sentences and ornate periods, in favour of an exquisite simplicity He
spoke of essentials, fundamentals, life, death, love, sorrow; at first
almost as Marcus Aurelius might have spoken, with a plangent stern-
ness, just telling the ancient tale of all humanity. The awfulness and
majesty of the vast cathedral deepened, and a cold breath seemed to
sweep through its glooms and shadows, as the strong, melancholy voice
repeated the burden of the world; the sad wisdom, which is all that
itself can reach; the wisdom of So it is, and we must bear it. ‘Ah gray
world, dreary life, if that be all!’ thought his unlearned listeners; but
Dubois was nettled at finding his enemy able to appreciate with accu-
racy the facts of existence, and able even to rehearse them, sadly
indeed, yet without flinching or palliation. It was a brief chagrin.
After a pause, in which plaintive echoes of his grieving voice died
away in the ample darkness, the Cardinal, as though teaching little
children, and in tones tremulous for all their firmness, told the tale of
Christ, there were no sickly-sweet embellishments, no skilful raptures
and ravishments; it was the story of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John.
Dubois heard a neighbour sob suddenly, and saw tears upon another’s
face; they were both men, working men; the very class, that he longed
to win from the Galilean folly. Lost in his own exasperated thoughts,
he no longer listened to the clear and clarion voice, that flowed and
rang above him, until, as it fell into a slow and yet slower cadence, he
felt again its fascination, and heard the words, joyous and triumphant:
For He was dead once; and behold, He is alive for evermore!’
Benediction followed: and as the hushed multitude bowed themselves
to the earth before the Blessing of the Host, Dubois held himself
defiantly erect, his angry eyes full upon the crystal of the monstrance
and upon its Inhabitant. ‘The Christ-myth, as this man told it, is
enough folly, but that it should have developed into the worship of
That!’ It was within the octave of Corpus Christi, and a procession of
the Blessed Sacrament formed itself. The long line passed down into
the nave, chaunting the Pange Lingua; roses were strewn before the
Rose of Sharon, and Eastern spices poured clouds of fragrant glory
round Him. Dubois rose from his obscure place, and stood in the


gloom of the huge porches; through their open doors came the gleams
and rumours of the city. For once, his faith in scientific progress, in
mechanical democracy, in the Revolution principles, felt feeble and ill at
ease; an anarchist, now, with one gesture of ferocity and of revenge
. . . where were your fine procession, then? ‘Martyrs, is that what the
cause wants, for lack of which it flags? Well, courage! there are more
ways than one.’ The procession passed by the great doors, where he
stood hidden in a recess under the arches. Of a sudden, as if without
willing it, he cried shrilly and fiercely to the Cardinal and to the Host
in his hands, ‘Down with the Christ and you!’ Turning, and thrusting
his hasty way through the worshippers in the porches, he rushed down
the steps, vanishing into the darkness and the safety of the narrow


NIGHT-PRAYERS were over, and most of the Cardinal’s household had
retired. The Cardinal himself and Canon Laval talked long, as their
manner was, upon events of the day, duties of the morrow, and upon
things more intimate and reserved. The Cardinal’s private study
was a large, gaunt, airy room, with three tall windows looking over the
terrace, the garden, the city roofs and spires, and far away to the great
desolate plain. Prelatical pomps were wholly wanting to this pl easant,
but somewhat naked chamber of study and of business; books were
the best part of its furniture, with here and there a good engraving. The
Cardinal’s writing-table, half covered with papers, had upon it beside an
ivory crucifix, a breviary, a rosary, and a little silver bell. The room
bore rather the aspect of a monastic superior’s than of a secular digni-
tary’s, in its freedom from any approach to luxury, and in its evident
use for practical affairs. One window was open, and there streamed
through the soft balm-wind of early night in summer.

    ‘He is very good,’ said the Canon. He sat by the open window, and
the cool wind played with the white hair upon his temples. ‘God is
very good. That was true devotion to-night.’ The Cardinal stood by
his friend’s chair, looking up at a sky full of rich stars.

    ‘Yes,’ he replied, ‘yes. France is learning her lesson: rather, she is
beginning to remember it, thanks be to the Saints, her teachers, and to
our Lady of France! But these poor men in our own city here, with
their infidel propaganda: men like that poor wretch to-night, God
pardon him! How to reach them, dear Canon! Et alias oves habeoz; it
has been in my heart all day.’

    The Canon mused: ‘It will come right in the end; either that, or a


new chaos, for society is not possible upon their principles. Pagan man
was not happy, though he had not modern science to prove unhappi-
ness his proper state; but man without belief and with that knowledge
… it would be an universal misery, he could not live! Ah! the
illogical arrogance of modern science, claiming that name for itself
alone, and trampling upon philosophy, let alone theology! But have
no fear: disguise it as they may, not one man in fifty, in twenty, can
do without religion. For the few . . . their fanaticism is religion; they
are high priests and missionaries, and they alone are dangerous.’

    ‘Et alias oves habeo’ murmured the Cardinal; ‘et alias. Have we,
have I, been too harsh, too denunciatory? Would personal influence
be of any use? They hate us, I know it well; but may it not be in
part because they think we hate them? And not without some reason :
there’s the sting. I know but the names of a few here, though I
have met some of the leaders in Paris; were I to search them out,
would they . . .’ He broke off; there was a knocking at the door. A
servant entered, and told His Eminence that a man, one Gustave Vanier,
had asked to see him; the man knew, it was very late, but he begged
the Cardinal for a few minutes’ interview.

    ‘I will see him,’ said the Cardinal; then to the Canon, ‘Charity, I
imagine; they sometimes come to me, at all hours, when their own curés
cannot, or will not, do more for them.’ The servant entered, followed
by Jean Dubois. ‘You are not tired, Canon?’ asked the Cardinal.
‘No? then I will ring my bell for you, when I am free; I feel as if I
had much to say to-night.’ Canon Laval and the servant departed,
and the Cardinal turned to Dubois. He was, as always, decently, if
roughly dressed; in manner and face, he did not look like the common
applicant for alms. But one could not tell. The Cardinal seated
himself at the writing-table, motioned Dubois to a chair, and said, ‘Is
it upon a matter of charity, my son, that you wish to see me? If so,
I will call for my almoner, the Canon Laval,’ and he laid his hand upon
the little bell.

    ‘No, your Eminence,’ said Dubois, in a voice that he tried hard to
make respectful; ‘I have not come upon charity.’ He stopped abruptly;
and the Cardinal, thinking him embarrassed, said encouragingly, ‘Tell
me, then, my son, what it is that I can do for you.’ Dubois muttered
under his breath, ‘Your son! faith, it would be news to my father.’
After a slight hesitation and fumbling for words, he contrived to speak.
Against his will, in spite of everything, the Cardinal somewhat awed
him; unnerved him too, here, face to face with the purple tyrant in his


own room, and treated by him kindly. ‘I am not one of your people,’
he began. ‘Not a Catholic, do you mean,’ said the Cardinal, ‘or not a
Christian at all? Or, perhaps, I mistake you: you mean that you are
not of my diocese?’ Dubois kindled at the infamous word Christian.
‘I am not a Christian at all, and it is about that I am here.’ His pre-
pared story began to flow: ‘I am an artisan here, come from Paris
with my wife and children. I have no religious belief, and I will not
have my children brought up in any. The priests left us alone in
Paris, but here they are in and out of the house every day, when I am
away at work; taking the children on their knees, and giving them
medals, and teaching them Hail Maries. My wife doesn’t believe
anything either, but she thinks it’s pleasant for the children, and
they’ll forget it all in time. They’ve been baptized, taken to Sunday
school and to church. I could forbid it if I chose; but I’ve come here
first to ask, if your Eminence has any justice for a Freethinker.’ He
was growing excited and voluble; the Cardinal was not his superior
after all; not even his intellectual equal. And his little fiction was
surely to the point; here was a chance for the Cardinal to show toler-
ance and practise equity, to disprove himself a priestly pirate of souls.
‘And what is it, my friend, that you would have me do?’ the Cardinal
asked quietly. ‘Tell your priests to leave my children alone, and look
after their own, if they have any!’ ‘I will hear you with patience,’
said the Cardinal, ‘but I cannot listen to ribaldry. Hear me now. I
cannot, as an honest man and a priest of God, do what you wish. My
priests have broken no law: when they do that, I will reprimand them,
and you can obtain redress. Even now, you can exert your authority
and forbid them your door; you can keep your children from Sunday
school and church. Believe me, I am not reproaching you, I understand
you perfectly; yes, in a sense, I can sympathise with you. But I have
a duty to my Divine Master; if He is to be robbed of His little ones,
it is you that must do it, for I will not! You have your rights, as I
have said, your parental rights; we do not steal souls for God. . . .
But will you not let me talk with you a little upon these questions of
belief. . . . ’ ‘I was educated by priests,’ said Dubois with a jeering
smile, ‘and that is my answer.’ The Cardinal sighed, murmured a
prayer, and rose. Dubois rose also. ‘You will not care for my bless-
ing, my son; you will take my hand?’ ‘I will not!’ cried Dubois;
‘but you will take this!’ With his own rapidity, say rather, rapacity
of action, he snatched a knife from his pocket, and plunged it into the
Cardinal’s breast, beating down his proffered hand. Without more


than a long suspiration, the Cardinal fell back into his chair and lay
there, after a brief quivering of his whole frame, peaceful and still in

    Dubois bent over him; ‘Beati mortui! Here is an end of His
Eminence: Gustave Vanier is dead after an hour’s life, regretted by all
who knew him: and Jean Dubois . . . well, what of Jean Dubois?’
The little bell upon the table caught his glance. ‘Ah, that will fetch
the Canon, will it? Yes, that is the best way.’ He rang it; the silver
sound broke the silence delicately. The Canon entered, and saw Dubois
standing by the table; the Cardinal was . . . not sleeping, surely,
overcome by the labours of the day . . . not . . . he came closer.
Dubois flung up his knife into the air, caught it, pointed with it at the
Cardinal, and said gently: ‘You see, my Father?’


THEY are living still, both Léon Laval and Jean Dubois. The Canon
lives to say daily Mass for him, whom he calls ‘my martyr’; his
thoughts and memories are all of him, and of one other. Now, when
he murmurs to himself, looking out over the great plain, ‘Lui aussi:
et Il vit toujours’ it is of two that he thinks. Dubois lives, in virtue
of an impassioned advocate, an enlightened jury, and circonstances

                                                                                                 LIONEL JOHNSON.

MLA citation:

Johnson, Lionel. “The Lilies of France.” The Pageant, 1897, pp. 233-248. Pageant Digital Edition, edited by Frederick King and Lorraine Janzen Kooistra, 2019-2021. Yellow Nineties 2.0, Ryerson University Centre for Digital Humanities, 2021.