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The right of way volume 06


TheProjectGutenbergEBookofTheRightofWay,Volume6,byGilbertParker
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Title:TheRightofWay,Volume6(of6)
Author:GilbertParker
ReleaseDate:October18,2006[EBook#6248]LastUpdated:November1,
2018
Language:English
***STARTOFTHISPROJECTGUTENBERGEBOOKTHERIGHTOF
WAY,VOL6(of6)***

ProducedbyDavidWidger

THERIGHTOFWAY,Volume6(of6)
ByGilbertParker

CONTENTS:
L.THEPASSIONPLAYATCHAUDIERELI.FACETOFACELII.THECOMINGOFBILLY

LIII.THESEIGNEURANDTHECUREHAVEASUSPICIONLIV.M.ROSSIGNOLSLIPSTHE
LEASHLV.ROSALIEPLAYSAPARTLVI.MRS.FLYNNSPEAKSLVII.ABURNINGFIERY


FURNACELVIII.WITHHISBACKTOTHEWALLLIX.INWHICHCHARLEYMEETSA
STRANGERLX.THEHANDATTHEDOORLXI.THECURESPEAKS
EPILOGUE

CHAPTERL.THEPASSIONPLAYATCHAUDIERE
ForthefirsttimeinitshistoryChaudierewasbecomingnotableintheeyesof
theoutsideworld.
"We'llhavemoregirthafterthis,"saidFilionLacassethesaddlertothewifeof
theNotary,as,infrontofthepost-office,theystoodwatchingalittlecavalcade
ofhabitantsgoinguptheroadtowardsFourMountainstorehearsethePassion
Play.
"IfDauphin'sadvicehadbeentakenlongago,we'dhavehadahotelatFour
Mountains,andthecityfolkwouldbecominghereforthesummer,"said
MadameDauphin,withasuperiorair.
"Pish!"saidavoicebehindthem.ItwastheSeigneur'sgroom,withastrawin
hismouth.Hehadagloomymind.
"Thereisn'tahousebuthastwoorthreeboarders.I'vegotthree,"saidFilion
Lacasse."Theycometomorrow."
"We'llhavetenattheManor.Butnogoodwillcomeofit,"saidthegroom.
"Nogood!Lookattheinfideltailor!"saidMadameDauphin."Hetranslatedall
thewriting.Hedrewallthedresses,andmadeahundredpictures—therethey
areattheCure'shouse."
"HeshouldhaveplayedJudas,"saidthegroommalevolently."That'dberightfor
him."
"Perhapsyoudon'tlikethePassionPlay,"saidMadameDauphindisdainfully.
"Weain'tthroughwithityet,"saidthedeath's-headgroom.
"Itisapiousandholymission,"saidMadameDauphin."EventhatJoPortugais


workednightanddaytillhewentawaytoMontreal,andhealwaysgoestoMass
now.He'stotakePontiusPilatewhenhecomesback.ThenlookatVirginie
Morrissette,thatputherbrother'seyesoutquarrelling—she'stoplayMary
Magdalene."
"Icouldfitthepartsbetter,"saidthegroom.
"Ofcourse.You'dhaveplayedSt.John,"saidthesaddler—"or,maybe,
Christushimself!"


"I'dhavePauletteDuboisplayMarythesinner."
"Magdalenerepented,andkneltatthefootofthecross.Shewassorryand
sinnednomore,"saidtheNotary'swifeinquerulousreprimand.
"Well,Paulettedoesallthat,"saidthestolid,dark-visagedgroom.
FilionLacasse'searsprickedup."Howdoyouknow—shehasn'tcomeback?"
"Hasn'tshe,though!Andwithherchildtoo—lastnight."
"Herchild!"MadameDauphinwasscandalisedandamazed.
Thegroomnodded."Anddoesn'tcarewhoknowsit.Sevenyearsold,andasfine
achildaseverwas!"
"Narcisse—Narcisse!"calledMadameDauphintoherhusband,whowas
comingupthestreet.Shehastilyrepeatedthegroom'snewstohim.
TheNotarystuckhishandbetweenthebuttonsofhiswaistcoat."Well,well,my
dearMadame,"hesaidconsequentially,"itisquitetrue."
"Whatdoyouknowaboutit—whosechildisit?"sheasked,withcurdlingscorn.
"'Sh-'sh!"saidtheNotary.Then,withanoratoricalwaveofhisfreehand:"The
Churchopensherarmstoall—eventoherwhosinnedmuchbecausesheloved
much,who,throughwofulyears,searchedtheworldforherchildandfoundit
not—hiddenaway,asitwas,bytheduplicityofsinfulman"—andsoonthrough
tangledsentences,settingforthinbrokentermsPauletteDubois'slife.


"Howdoyouknowallaboutit?"askedthesaddler."I'veknownitforyears,"
saidtheNotarygrandly—stoutlytoo,forhewouldfreelyriskhiswife'sanger
thatthevain-gloryofthemomentmightbeenlarged.
"Andyoukeepitevenfrommadame!"saidthesaddler,withasmiletoobroadto
besarcastic."Tiens!ifIdidthat,mywife'dpickmyeyesoutwithabradawl."
"Itwasaprofessionalsecret,"saidtheNotary,withadesperateresolvetohold
hisposition.
"I'mgoinghome,Dauphin—areyoucoming?"questionedhiswife,withanair.
"Youwillremain,andhearwhatI'vegottosay.ThisPaulette
Dubois—sheshouldplayMaryMagdalene,for—"
"Look—look,what'sthat?"saidthesaddler.Hepointedtoawagoncoming
slowlyuptheroad.Infrontofitateamofdogsdrewacart.Itcarriedsomething
coveredwithblack."It'safuneral!There'sthecoffin.It'sonJoPortugais'little
cart,"addedFilionLacasse.
"Ah,Godbemerciful,it'sRosalieEvanturelandMrs.Flynn!AndM'sieu'
Evanturelinthecoffin!"saidMadameDauphin,runningtothedoorofthe
postofficetocalltheCure'ssister.
"There'llbeuseenoughforthebaker'sDeadMarchnow,"remarkedM.Dauphin
sadly,buttoninguphiscoat,takingoffhishat,andgoingforwardtogreet
Rosalie.Ashedidso,Charleyappearedinthedoorwayofhisshop.
"Look,Monsieur,"saidtheNotary."ThisisthewayRosalieEvanturelcomes
homewithherfather."
"IwillgofortheCure"Charleyanswered,turningwhite.Heleanedagainstthe
doorwayforamomenttosteadyhimself,thenhurriedupthestreet.Hedidnot
daremeetRosalie,orgonearheryet.Forhersakeitwasbetternot.
"Thattailorinfidelhasaheart.Hiseyeswereleaking,"saidthe
NotarytoFilionLacasse,andwentontomeetthemournfulcavalcade.


CHAPTERLI.FACETOFACE
"IfIcouldonlyunderstand!"—thiswasRosalie'sconstantcryintheseweeks
whereinshelayillandprostrateafterherfather'sburial.Onceandonceonlyhad
shemetCharleyalone,thoughsheknewthathewaskeepingwatchoverher.She
hadfirstseenhimthedayherfatherwasburied,standingapartfromthepeople,
hisfacesorrowful,hiseyesheavy,hisfigurebowed.
Theoccasionoftheirmeetingalonewasthefirstnightofherreturn,whenthe
NotaryandCharleyhadkeptwatchbesideherfather'sbody.
Shehadgoneintothelittlehallway,andhadlookedintotheroomofdeath.The
Notarywassoundasleepinhisarm-chair,butCharleysatsilentandmoveless,
hiseyesgazingstraightbeforehim.Shemurmuredhisname,andthoughitwas
onlytoherself,notevenawhisper,hegotupquicklyandcametothehall,where
shestoodgrief-stricken,yetwithasmileofwelcome,offorgiveness,of
confidence.Assheputoutherhandtohim,andhisswallowedit,shecouldnot
butsaytohim—socontraryistheheartofwoman,sodoesshedemandaYesby
assertingaNo,andhungerfortheeternalassurance—shecouldnotbutsay:
"Youdonotloveme—now."
Itwasbutawhisper,sofaintandbreathlessthatonlytheheartoflovecouldhear
it.Therewasnoanswerinwords,forsomeonewasstirringbeyondRosaliein
thedark,andagreatfigureheavedthroughthekitchendoorway,buthishand
crushedhersinhisown;hisheartsaidtoher,"Myloveisanundyinglight;it
willnotchangefortimeortears"—thewordstheyhadreadtogetherinalittle
snuff-colouredbookonthecounterintheshoponesummerdayayearago.The
wordsflashedintohismind,andtheywerecarriedtohers.Herfingerspressed
his,andthenCharleysaid,overhershoulder,totheapproachingMrs.Flynn:
"Donotlethercomeagain,Madame.Sheshouldgetsomesleep,"andheputher
handinMrs.Flynn's."Begoodtoher,asyouknowhow,Mrs.Flynn,"headded
gently.


HehadwontheheartofMrs.Flynnthatmoment,anditmaybeshehada
convictionoraninspiration,forshesaid,inasoftervoicethanshewaswontto
usetoanyonesaveRosalie:
"I'lldobyherasyou'ddobyyourown,sir,"andtenderlydrewRosalietoher
ownroom.
Suchhadbeentheirfirstmeetingafterherreturn.Afterwardsshewastakenill,
andthetortureofhisheartdrovehimoutintothenight,towalktheroadand
creeproundherhouselikeasentinel,Mrs.Flynn'swordsringinginhisearsto
reproachhim—"I'lldobyherasyouwoulddobyyourown,sir."Nightafter
nightitwasthesame,andRosalieheardhisfootstepsandlistenedandwasless
sorrowful,becausesheknewthatshewaseverinhisthoughts.ButonedayMrs.
Flynncametohiminhisshop.
"She'swantin'awordwithyeonbusiness,"shesaid,andgesturedtowardsthe
littlehouseacrosstheway."'Tisfewwordsyedobeshpakin'toannybody,butif
y'havekindwordstoshpakeandgoodthingstosay,y'naidn'tbebitin'yer
tongue,"sheaddedinresponsetohisnod,andlefthim.
Charleylookedafterherwithatroubledface.Ontheinstantitseemedtohim
thatMrs.Flynnknewall.Buthissecondthoughttoldhimthatitwasonlyan
instinctonherpartthattherewassomethingbetweenthem—thebeginningof
love,maybe.
Inanotherhalf-hourhewasbesideRosalie'schair."Perhapsyouareangry,"she
said,ashecametowardsherwhereshesatinthegreatarm-chair.Shedidnot
givehimtimetoanswer,buthurriedon."IwantedtotellyouthatIhaveheard
youeverynightoutside,andthatIhavebeenglad,andsorrytoo—sosorryforus
both."
"Rosalie!Rosalie"hesaidhoarsely,anddroppedonakneebesideherchair,and
tookherhandandkissedit.Hedidnotdaredomore.
"Iwantedtosaytoyou,"shesaid,droppingahandonhisshoulder,"thatIdonot
blameyouforanything—notforanything.YetIwantyoutobesorrytoo.Iwant
youtofeelassorryformeasIfeelsorryforyou."
"Iamtheworstmanandyouthebestwomanintheworld."


Sheleanedoverhimwithtearsinhereyes."Hush!"shesaid."Iwanttohelpyou
—Charles.Youarewise.YouknowtenthousandthingsmorethanI;butIknow
onethingyoudonotunderstand."
"Youknowanddowhateverisgood,"hesaidbrokenly.
"Oh,no,no,no!ButIknowonething,becauseIhavebeentaught,andbecause
itwasbornwithme.Perhapsmuchwashabitwithmeinthepast,butnowI
knowthatonethingistrue.ItisGod."
Shepaused."Ihavelearnedsomuchsince—sincethen."
Helookedupwithagroan,andputafingeronherlips."Youarefeelingbitterly
sorryforme,"shesaid."Butyoumustletmespeak—thatisallIask.Itisall
loveasks.Icannotbearthatyoushouldnotsharemythoughts.Thatisthething
thathashurt—hurtsoallthesemonths,theselonghardmonths,whenIcouldnot
seeyou,anddidnotknowwhyIcouldnot.Don'tshakeso,please!Hearmeto
theend,andweshallbothbethebetterafter.Ifeltitallsocruelly,becauseIdid
not—andIdonot—understand.Irebelled,butnotagainstyou.Irebelledagainst
myself,againstwhatyoucalledFate.Fateisone'sself,whatonebringsonone's
self.ButIhadfaithinyou—always—always,evenwhenIthoughtIhatedyou."
"Ah,hateme!Hateme!Itisyourlovingthatcutsmetothequick,"hesaid."You
havethemagnanimityofGod."
Hereyesleaptup."'OfGod'—youbelieveinGod!"shesaideagerly."Godis
Godtoyou?Heistheonethingthathascomeoutofallthistome."Shereached
outherhandandtookherBiblefromatable."Readthattoyourself,"shesaid,
and,openingtheBook,pointedtoapassage.Hereadit:
AndtheyheardthevoiceoftheLordGodwalkinginthegardeninthe
cooloftheday:andAdamandhiswifehidthemselvesfromthepresence
oftheLordGodamongstthetreesofthegarden.
AndtheLordGodcalleduntoAdam,andsaiduntohim,Whereart
thou?
Andhesaid,IheardThyvoiceinthegarden,andIwasafraid,
becauseIwasnaked;andIhidmyself.


AndHesaid,Whotoldtheethatthouwartnaked?Hastthoueatenof
thetreewhereofIcommandedtheethatthoushouldestnoteat?
ClosingtheBook,Charleysaid:"Iunderstand—Isee."
"Willyousayaprayerwithme?"sheurged."ItisallIask.Itistheonly—the
onlythingIwanttohurtyou,becauseitmaymakeyouhappierintheend.What
keepsusapart,Idonotknow.Butifyouwillsayoneprayerwithme,Iwillkeep
ontrusting,Iwillnevercomplain,andIwillwait—wait."
Hekissedbothherhands,butthelookinhiseyeswasthatofamanbeing
brokenonthewheel.Sheslippedtothefloor,herrosaryinherfingers."Letus
pray,"shesaidsimply,andinavoiceasclearasachild's,butwiththeanguishof
awoman'sstrugglingheartbehind.
Hedidnotmove.Shelookedathim,caughthishandsinbothofhers,andcried:
"Butyouwillnotdenymethis!Haven'tItherighttoaskit?Haven'tIarightto
askofyouathousandtimesasmuch?"
"Youhavetherighttoaskallthatisminetogivelife,honour,mybodyinpieces
inchbyinch,thelastthatIcancallmyown.But,Rosalie,thisisnotmineto
give!HowcanIpray,unlessIbelieve!"
"Youdo—oh,youdobelieveinGod,"shecriedpassionately.
"Rosalie—mylife,"heurged,hoarsemiseryinhisvoice,"theonlythingIhave
togiveyouisthebaresoulofatruthfulman—Iamthatnowatleast.Youhave
mademeso.IfIdeceivedthewholeworld,ifIwasasthethiefuponthecross,I
shouldstillbetruthfultoyou.Youopenyourhearttome—letmeopenmineto
you,toseeitasitis.Oncemysoulwaslikeawatch,casedandcarriedinthe
pocketoflife,uncertain,untrue,becauseitwasasoulmade,notborn.Imust
lookatthehandstoknowthetime,andbecauseitvaried,becausetheworking
didnotanswertotheabsolute,Isaid:'Thesoulisalie.'You—youhavechanged
allthat,Rosalie.Mysoulnowislikeadialtothesun.Butthecloudsarethere
above,andIdonotknowwhattimeitisinlife.Whenthecloudsbreak—ifthey
everbreak—andthesunshines,thedialwillspeakthetruth,thewholetruth,and
nothingbutthetruth—"
Hepaused,confused,forhehadrepeatedthewordsofawitnesstakingtheoath
incourt.


"'SohelpmeGod!"'shefinishedtheoathforhim.Then,withasuddenchangeof
manner,shecametoherfeetwithaspring.Shedidnotquiteunderstand.She
was,however,dimlyconsciousofthepowershehadoverhischivalrousmind:
thepoweroftheweakoverthestrong—thetyrannyofthedefendedoverthe
defender.Shewasawomantorturedbeyondbearing;andshewasfightingfor
herverylife,madwithanguishasshestruggled.
"Idonotunderstandyou,"shecried,withflashingeyes."Oneminuteyousay
youdonotbelieveinanything,andthenextyousay,'SohelpmeGod!'"
"Ah,no,yousaidthat,Rosalie,"heinterposedgently.
"YousaidIwasasmagnanimousasGod.Youwerelaughingatmethen,
mockingme,whoseonlyfaultisthatIlovedandtrustedyou.Inthewickedness
ofyourheartyourobbedmeofhappiness,you—"
"Don't—don't!Rosalie!Rosalie!"heexclaimedinshrinkingprotest.
Thatshehadspokentohimasherdeepestheartabhorredonlyincreasedher
agitateddenunciation."Yes,yes,inyourmadselfishness,youdidnotcarefor
thepoorgirlwhoforgotall,lostall,andnow—"Shestoppedshortatthesightof
hiswhite,awestrickenface.Hiseye-glassseemedlikeafrostofdeathoveran
eyethatlookeduponsomeshockingsceneofwoe.Yetheappearednottosee,
forhisfingersfumbledonhiswaistcoatforthemonocle—fumbled—vaguely,
helplessly.Itwastherealisationofasoulcastintotheouterdarkness.Herabrupt
silencecameuponhimlikethelastengulfingwavetoadrowningman—the
finalassuranceoftheend,inwhichthereisquietandthedeadlysmother.
"Now—Iknow-thetruth!"hesaid,inacuriouseventone,differentfromanyshe
hadeverheardfromhim.ItwastheoldCharleySteelewhospoke,theCharley
Steeleinwhomtheintellectwassupremeoncemore.Thejudicialspirit,the
inveterateintelligencewhichputjusticebeforeall,wasaliveinhim,almost
rejoicinginitsregainedgovernance.ThenewCharleywasasdeadastheold
hadbeenoflate,andthisclarifyingmomentleftthegrimimpressionbehindthat
theoldlawwasnotobsolete.Hefeltthatintheabandonmentofherindignation
shehadmercilesslytoldthetruth;andtheirreduciblequalityofmindinhim
whichintheolddaysmadeforjustice,approved.Therewasanewelementnow,
however—thatconsciencewhichneverpossessedhimfullyuntilthedayhesaw
Rosaliegotravellingoverthehillswithhercrippledfather.Thatpictureofthe


girlagainstthetwilight,herfiguresilhouettedintheclearair,hadcometohim
insleepingandwakingdreams,thetypeandsignofaneverlastingmelancholy.
Ashelookedatherblindlynow,hesaw,notherself,butthatmelancholyfigure.
Outofthedistancehisownvoicesaidagain:
"Now—Iknow-thetruth!"
Shehadstruckwithaviolenceshedidnotintend,which,sheknew,mustrend
herownheartinthefuture,whichputinthedice-boxthelasthopesshehad.But
shecouldnothavehelpedit—shecouldnothavestayedthewords,thougha
suspendedswordweretofallwiththesaying.Itwasthecryoftraditionand
religion,andeveryhome-bred,convent-nurturedhabit,theinstinctofheredity,
thewailofwoman,forwhomdestiny,orman,ornature,hasarrangedthe
disproportionateshareoflife'spenalties.Itwastheimpotentrebellionagainstthe
firstcurse,thatmaninhispunishmentshouldearnhisbreadbythesweatofhis
brow—whichhemightdowithjoy—whilethewomanmustworkouther
ordainedsentence"insorrowallthedaysofherlife."
Inherbitterwordswastheinherentrevoltoftheraceofwoman.Butnowshe
suddenlyfeltthatshehadflunghimaninfinitedistancefromher;thatshehad
struckatthethingshemostcherished—hisbeliefthatshelovedhim;thatevenif
shehadtoldthetruth—andshefeltshehadnot—itwasnotthetruthshewished
himmosttofeel.
Foraninstantshestoodlookingathim,shockedandconfounded,thenher
changelessloverushedbackonher,thematernalandprotectivespiritwelledup,
andwithapassionatecryshethrewherselfinthechairagaininveryweakness,
withoutstretchedhands,saying:
"Forgiveme—oh,forgiveme!Ididnotmeanit—oh,forgiveyour
Rosalie!"
Stoopingoverher,heanswered:
"Itisgoodformetoknowthewholetruth.Whathurtsyoumaygivemewill
pass—forlifemustend,andmylifecannotbelongenoughtopaythepriceof
thehurtsIhavegivenyou.Icouldbearathousand—oneforeveryhour—ifthey
couldbringbackthelighttoyoureye,thejoytoyourheart.Couldprayer,do
youthink,makemesorrierthanIam?IhavehurtwhatIwouldhavespared
fromhurtatthecostofmylife—andallthelivesinalltheworld!"headded


fiercely.
"Forgiveme—oh,forgiveyourRosalie!"shepleaded."IdidnotknowwhatI
wassaying—Iwasmad."
"Itwasallsosaneandtrue,"hesaid,likeonewho,onthebrinkofdeath,findsa
satisfactioninspeakingtheperfecttruth."Iamgladtohearthetruth—Ihave
beensuchaliar."
Shelookedupstartled,hertearsblindingher."Youhavenotdeceivedme?"she
askedbitterly."Oh,youhavenotdeceivedme—youhavelovedme,haveyou
not?"Itwasthatwhichmattered,thatonly.Movelessandeager,shelooked—
lookedathim,waiting,asitwere,forsentence.
"Ineverliedtoyou,Rosalie—never!"heanswered,andhetouchedherhand.
Shegaveamoanofreliefathiswords."Oh,then,oh,then…"shesaid,inalow
voice,andthetearsinhereyesdriedaway.
"ImeantthatuntilIknewyou,Ikeptdeceivingmyselfandothersallmylife—"
"Butwithoutknowingit?"shesaideagerly.
"Perhaps,withoutquiteknowingit."
"Untilyouknewme?"sheasked,inquick,quiveringtones.
"TillIknewyou,"heanswered.
"ThenIhavedoneyougood—notill?"sheasked,withpainfulbreathlessness.
"Theonlygoodtheremaybeinmeisyou,andyouonly,"hesaid,andhechoked
somethingrisinginhisthroat,seeingthegreatnessofherheart,herdeardesireto
haveenteredintohislifetohisowngood.Hewouldhavesaidthattherewasno
goodinhimatall,butthathewishedtocomforther.
Alittlecryofjoybrokefromherlips."Oh,that—that!"shecried,withhappy
tears."Won'tyoukissmenow?"sheaddedsoftly.
Heclaspedherinhisarms,andthoughhiseyesweredry,hisheartwepttearsof


blood.


CHAPTERLII.THECOMINGOFBILLY
Chaudierehadmade—andlost—areputation.ThePassionPlayinthevalleyhad
becomeknowntoawholecountry—totheCure'sandtheSeigneur'sunavailing
regret.Theyhadmeanttorevivethegreatstoryfortheirownpeopleandthe
Indians—ahomely,beautifulobject-lesson,inanEden—likeinnocenceand
quietandrepose;butbeholdtheworldhadinvadedthem!Thevanityofthe
Notaryhadundonethem.Hehadwrittentothegreatpapersoftheprovince,
tellingoftheadventoftheplay,andpilgrimageshadbeenorganised,and
excursionshadbeenmadetothespot,whereasimplepeoplehadachieveda
crudebutnoblepictureofthelifeanddeathoftheHeroofChristendom.The
Cureviewedwithconsternationtheinvasionoftheirquiet.Itwasnolongerhis
ownChaudiere;andwhen,onaSunday,hisdearpeoplewerejostledfromthe
churchtomakeroomforstrangers,hisgentleeloquenceseemedtoforsakehim,
hespokehaltingly,andhisintoningoftheMasslackedtheoldsoothing
simplicity.
"Ah,mydearSeigneur!"hesaid,ontheSundaybeforetheplayingwastoend,
"wehaveovershotthemark."
TheSeigneurnoddedandturnedhisheadaway."ThereisanEnglishplaywhich
says,'Ihaveshotminearrowo'erthehouseandhurtmybrother.'That'sit—that's
it!Webeganwithreligion,andweendwithgreed,andpride,andnotoriety."
"Whatdowewantoffame!Thepriceistoohigh,Maurice.Fameisnotgoodfor
theheartsandmindsofsimplefolk."
"Itwillsoonbeover."
"Idreadasordidreaction."
TheSeigneurstoodthinkingforamoment."Ihaveanidea,"hesaidatlast."Let
ushavetheselastdaystoourselves.ThemissionendsnextSaturdayatfive


o'clock.WewillannouncethatallstrangersmustleavethevalleybyWednesday
night.Then,duringthoselastthreedays,whileyettheinfluenceoftheplayison
them,youcanleadyourownpeoplebacktotheoldquietfeelings."
"MydearMaurice—itisworthyofyou!Itistheway.Wewillannounceittoday.Andseenow….Forthosethreedayswewillchangetheprincipals;lest
thosewhohavetakenthepartssolonghavelostthepiousawewhichshouldbe
uponthem.Wewillputnewpeopleintheirplaces.Iwillannounceitatvespers
presently.IhaveinmymindwhoshouldplaytheChrist,andSt.John,andSt.
Peter—themenarenothardtofind;butforMarytheMotherandMary
Magdalene—"
Theeyesofthetwomensuddenlymet,alookofunderstandingpassedbetween
them.
"Willshedoit?"saidtheSeigneur.
TheCurenodded."PauletteDuboishasheardtheword,'Goandsinnomore';
shewillobey."
Walkingthroughthevillageastheytalked,theCureshrankbackpainfully
severaltimes,forvoicesofstrangers,singingfestivesongs,rolledoutuponthe
road."Whocantheybe?"hesaiddistressfully.
WithoutawordtheSeigneurwenttothedooroftheinnwhencethesounds
proceeded,and,withoutknocking,entered.Amomentafterwardsthevoices
stopped,butbrokeoutagain,quieted,thenoncemorebrokeout,andpresently
theSeigneurissuedfromthedoor,whitewithanger,threestrangersbehindhim.
Allwereintoxicated.
Onewasviolent.ItwasBillyWantage,whomtheyearshadnotimproved.He
hadarrivedthatdaywithtwocompanions—anexcursionofcuriosityasan
excusefora"spree."
"What'sthematterwithyou,oldstick-in-the-mud?"heshouted."Massisover,
isn'tit?Can'twehavealittleguzzlebetweenprayers?"
Bythistimeacrowdhadgathered,amongthemFilionLacasse.Atamotion
fromtheSeigneur,andawhisperthatwentroundquickly,adozenhabitants
swiftlysprangonthethreemen,pinionedtheirarms,andcarryingthembodily


tothepumpbythetavern,heldthemunderit,onebyone,tilleachwassoaked
andsober.Thentheirhorsesandwagonwerebrought,andtheyweregivenfive
minutestoleavethevillage.
Withadevilishlookinhiseye,anddrenchedandfurious,Billywasdisposedto
resistthecommand,butthefacesaroundhimweredetermined,and,muttering
curses,thethreedroveawaytowardsthenextparish.


CHAPTERLIII.THESEIGNEURANDTHECURE
HAVEASUSPICION
PresentlytheSeigneurandtheCurestoodbeforethedoorofthetailor-shop.The
Curewasabouttoknock,whentheSeigneurlaidahanduponhisarm.
"Thereisnouse;hehasbeengoneseveraldays,"hesaid.
"Gone—gone!"saidtheCure.
"Icametoseehimyesterday,andnotfindinghim,Iaskedatthepost-office."M.
Rossignol'svoicelowered."HetoldMrs.Flynnhewasgoingintothehills,so
Rosaliesays."
TheCure'sfacefell."Hewentawayalsojustbeforetheplaybegan.Ialmostfear
that—thatwegetnonearer.Hismindpromptshimtodogoodandnotevil,and
yet—andyet….Ihavedreamedagooddream,Maurice,butIsometimesfearI
havedreamedinvain."
"Wait-wait!"
M.Loisellookedtowardsthepost-officemusingly."Ihavethoughtsometimes
thatwhatman'sprayersmaynotaccomplishawoman'slovemightdo.If—but,
alas,whatdoweknowofhispast!Nothing.Whatdoweknowofhisfuture?
Nothing.Whatdoweknowofthehumanheart?Nothing—nothing!"
TheSeigneurwasastounded.TheCure'smeaningwasplain."Whatdoyou
mean?"heasked,almostgruffly.
"She—Rosalie—haschanged—changed."Inhishearthedweltsorrowfullyupon
thefactthatshehadnotbeentoconfessiontohimformany,manymonths.
"Sinceherfather'sdeath—sinceherillness?"


"SinceshewenttoMontrealsevenmonthsago.Evenwhileshewassoillthese
pastweeks,sheneveraskedforme;andwhenIcame…Ah,ifitisthatherheart
hasgoneouttotheman,andhisdoesnotrespond!"
"Agoodthing,too!"saidtheothergloomily."Wedon'tknowwherehecame
from,andwedoknowthatheisapagan."
"Yetthereshesitsnow,hourafterhour,dayafterday—sochanged."
"Shehaslostherfather,"urgedM.Rossignolanxiously.
"Iknowthegriefofchildren—thisisnotsuchagrief.Thereissomethingmore.
ButIcannotask.Ifshewereasinner—butsheiswithoutfault.Havewenot
watchedhergrowuphere,mirthful,brave,pure-souled—"
"Fittedforanystation,"interposedtheSeigneurhuskily.Presentlyhelaidahand
upontheCure'sarm."ShallIaskheragain?"hesaid,breathinghard."Doyou
thinkshehasfoundouthermistake?"
TheCurewassotakenabackthatatfirsthecouldnotspeak.Whenherealised,
however,hecouldscarcesuppressasmileattheother'ssimplevanity.Buthe
masteredhimself,andsaid:"Itisnotthat,Maurice.Itisnotyou."
"HowdidyouknowIhadaskedher?"askedhisfriendquerulously.
"Youhavejusttoldme."
M.RossignolfeltakindofreprovalintheCure'stone.Itmadehimalittle
nervous."I'manoldfool,butsheneededsomeone,"heprotested."AtleastIam
agentleman,andshewouldnotbethrownaway."
"DearMaurice!"saidtheCure,andlinkedhisarmintheother's."Inallrespects
saveone,itwouldhavebeentoheradvantage.Butyouthistheonlycomradefor
youth.Allelseisevasionoflife'slaws."
TheSeigneurpressedhisarm."Ithoughtyoulessworldly-wisethanmyself;I
findyoumore,"hesaid.
"Notworldly-wise.Lifeisdeeperthantheworldorworldlywisdom.
Come,wewillbothgoandseeRosalie."


M.Rossignolsuddenlystoppedatthepost-officedoor,andhalfturnedtowards
thetailor-shop."Heisyoung.Supposethathedrewherlovehisway,butgave
hernothinginreturn,and—"
"Ifitwereso"—theCurepaused,andhisfacedarkened—"ifitwereso,he
shouldleaveherforever;andsomydreamwouldend."
"AndRosalie?"
"Rosaliewouldforget.Toremember,youthmustseeandtouchandbenear,else
itwearsitselfoutinexcessoffeeling.Youthfeelsmoredeeplythanage,butit
mustbeardailywitness."
"Uponmyhonour,Cure,youshallwriteyourlittlephilosophiesfortheworld,"
saidM.Rossignol,andthenknockedatthedoor.
"Iwillgoinalone,Maurice,"theCureurged."Good-youareright,"answered
theother."Iwillgowritetheproclamationdenyingstrangersthevalleyafter
Wednesday.Iwillenforceit,too,"headded,withvigour,and,turning,walked
upthestreet,asMrs.FlynnadmittedtheCuretothepost-office.
Ahalf-hourlaterM.Loiselagainappearedatthepost-officedoor,apale,
beautifulfaceathisshoulder.
Hehadnotbeenbraveenoughtosaywhatwasonhismind.Butashebadeher
good-bye,hepluckedupneedfulcourage.
"Forgiveme,Rosalie,"hesaid,"butIhavesometimesthoughtthatyouhave
moregriefsthanone.Ihavethought"—hepaused,thenwentonbravely—"that
theremightbe—theremightbeunwelcomedlove,orlovedeceived."
Amistcamebeforehereyes,butshequietlyandfirmlyanswered:"Ihavenever
beendeceivedinlove,MonsieurLoisel."
"There,there!"hehurriedlyandgentlyrejoined."Donotbehurt,mychild.I
onlywanttohelpyou."Amomentafterwardshewasgone.
Asthedoorclosedbehindhim,shedrewherselfproudlyup.
"Ihaveneverbeendeceived,"shesaidaloud."Ilovehim—lovehim—love


him."


CHAPTERLIV.M.ROSSIGNOLSLIPSTHE
LEASH
ItwasthelastdayofthePassionPlay,andthegreatdramaticmissionwas
drawingtoaclose.TheconfidenceoftheCureandtheSeigneurwasrestored.
Theprohibitionagainststrangershadhaditseffect,andforthreewholedaysthe
valleyhadbeenatrestagain.Apparentlytherewasnotastrangerwithinits
borders,savetheSeigneur'sbrother,theAbbeRossignol,whohadcometosee
themovingspectacle.
TheAbbe,onhisarrival,hadmadeinquiriesconcerningthetailorof
ChaudiereandJoPortugais,aspersistentlyabouttheoneastheother.
Theirsecretshadbeenkeptinviolatebyhim.
Itwasdisconcertingtohearthetalespeopletoldofthetailor'scharityand
wisdom.Itwasalldangerous,forwhatwas,accidentally,noevilinthis
particularinstance,mightbethegreatestdisasterinanothercase.Principlewas
atstake.HeheardinsternsilencetheCure'shappystatementthatJoPortugais
hadreturnedtothebosomoftheChurch,andattendedMassregularly.
"Soitmaybe,mydearAbbe,"saidM.Loisel,"thatthefriendshipbetweenhim
andour'infidel'hasbeenthemeansofhelpingPortugais.Ihopetheirfriendship
willgoonunbrokenforyearsandyears."
"Ihavenoideathatitwill,"saidtheAbbegrimly."Thatropeoffriendshipmay
snapuntimely."
"Uponmysoul,youcroaklikearaven!"testilybrokeinM.Rossignol,whowas
present."Ididn'tknowtherewassomuchincommonbetweenyouandmy
surly-jowledgroom.Hegetshispleasureoutofcroaking.'Wait,wait,you'llsee
—you'llsee!Death,death,death—everymanmustdie!Thedevilhasyoubythe
hair—death—death—death!'Bah!I'mheartilysickofcroakers.Isuppose,like


mygruntinggroom,you'llsayaboutthePassionPlay,'Nogoodwillcomeofit
—wait—wait—wait!'Bah!"
"Itmaynotbeanunmixedgood,"answeredtheascetic.
"Well,andisthereanysuchthingonearthasanunmixedgood?Theplay
yesterdaywasworthathousandsermons.ItwasmeanttoserveHolyChurch,
anditwillserveit.Wasthereeveranythingmorereal—andtouching—than
PauletteDuboisasMaryMagdaleneyesterday?"
"Idonotapproveofsuchreality.Forthatwomantoplaythepartistodestroy
theimpersonalityofthescene."
"YouwoulddemandthattheChristusshouldbeagoodman,andtheSt.
Johnblameless—whyshouldn'ttheMagdalenebearepentantwoman?"
"Itmightimpressthepeoplemore,ifthebestwomaninyourparishweretoplay
thepart.Thefallofvirtue,theruinofinnocence,wouldbevividlybrought
home.Itdoesgoodtomaketheinnocentfeeltheterrorandshameofsin.Thatis
thepricethegoodpayforthefallofman—sorrowandshameforthosewho
sin."TheSeigneur,risingquicklyfromthetable,andkickinghischairback,said
angrily:"Damnyourtheories!"Then,seeingthefrozenlookonhisbrother's
face,continued,moreexcitedly:"Yes,damn,damn,damnyourtheories!You
alwaystookthecrassview.Ibegyourpardon,Cure—Ibegyourpardon."
Hethenwenttothewindow,threwitopen,andcalledtohisgroom.
"Hi,there,coffin-face,"hesaid,"bringroundthehorses—thequietestoneinthe
stableformybrother—youhear?Hecan'tride,"headdedmaliciously.
Thiswashisfierceststroke,fortheAbbe'ssecretvanitywasthebeliefthathe
lookedwellonahorse,androdehandsomely.


CHAPTERLV.ROSALIEPLAYSAPART
Fromatreeuponalittlehillrangoutabell—adeep-tonedbell,boughtbythe
parishyearsbeforeforthemissionsheldatthisveryspot.Everydayitrangfor
aninstantatthebeginningofeachofthefiveacts.Italsotolledslowlywhenthe
curtainroseuponthesceneoftheCrucifixion.Inthisactnoonespokesavethe
abasedMagdalene,whokneltatthefootofthecross,andonwhosehairred
dropsfellwhentheRomansoldierpiercedthesideofthefigureonthecross.
ThishadbeentheCure'sidea.TheMagdaleneshouldspeakformankind,forthe
continuingworld.Sheshouldspeakforthebrokenandcontriteheartinallages,
shouldbethefirst-fruitsofthesacrifice,aflowerofthedesertearth,bedewedby
thebloodofthePrinceofPeace.
So,inthelongnightsofthelatewinterandearlyspring,theCurehadthought
andthoughtuponwhatthewomanshouldsayfromthefootofthecross.Atlast
heputintohermouththatwhichtoldthewholestoryofredemptionand
deliverance,sofarashisheartcouldconceiveit—theprayerforallsortsand
conditionsofmenandthegeneralthanksgivingofhumanity.
DuringthelastthreedaysPauletteDuboishadtakenthepartofMary
Magdalene.AsJoPortugaishadconfessedtotheAbbethatnotabledayinthe
woodsatVadromeMountain,soshehadconfessedtotheCureaftersomany
yearsofagony—andtheoneconfessionfittedintotheother:Johadonceloved
her,shehadtreatedhimvilely,thenamanhadwrongedher,andJohadavenged
her—thiswasthetaleinbrief.Sheitwaswholaughedinthegalleryofthe
court-roomthedaythatJosephNadeauwasacquitted.
IthadpainedandshockedtheCuremorethananyhehadeverheard,buthe
urgedforhernopenaltyasPortugaishadsetforhimselfwiththeaustere
approvaloftheAbbe.Paulette'spresenceastheMagdalenehadhadadeepeffect
uponthepeople,sothatshesharedwithMarytheMotherthepainfullyreal
interestofthevastaudience.


Fivetimeshadthebellrungoutintheperfectspringair,uponwhichthebalmof
theforestandtherefreshmentoftheardentsunwerepoured.Thequickangerof
M.RossignolhadpassedawaylongbeforetheCure,theAbbe,andhimselfhad
reachedthelakeandthegreatplateau.Betweentheactsthetwobrotherswalked
upanddowntogether,atpeaceoncemore,andtherewasasuspiciousmoisture
intheSeigneur'seyes.Thedemeanourofthepeoplehadbeensohumbleand
raptthattheplaceandtheplateauandthevalleyseemedaloneincreationwith
theloftydramaoftheages.
TheCure'seyesshonewhenhesawonalittleknollinthetrees,apartfromthe
worshippersandspectators,CharleyandJoPortugais.Hiscupofcontentwas
nowfull.Hehadfeltconvincedthatifthetailorhadbutbeenwithinthese
boundsduringthepastthreedays,aworkwerebegunwhichshouldendonlyat
thealtaroftheirparishchurch.To-daytheplaybecametohimtheengineofGod
forthesavingofaman'ssoul.Notlongbeforethelastgreattableauwasto
appearhewenttohisownlittletentnearthehutwheretheactorspreparedtogo
uponthestage.Asheentered,someonecamequicklyforwardfromtheshadow
ofthetreesandtouchedhimonthearm.
"Rosalie!"hecriedinamazement,forsheworethecostumeofMary
Magdalene.
"ItisI,notPaulette,whowillappear,"shesaid,adeeplightinhereyes.
"You,Rosalie?"heaskeddumfounded."Youaredistrait.Troubleandsorrow
haveputthisinyourmind.Youmustnotdoit."
"Yes,Iamgoingthere,"shesaid,pointingtowardsthegreatstage."Paulettehas
givenmethesetowear"—shetouchedtherobe—"andIonlyaskyourblessing
now.Oh,believe,believeme,Icanspeakforthosewhoareinnocentandthose
whoareguilty;forthosewhoprayandthosewhocannotpray;forthosewho
confessandthosewhodarenot!Icanspeakthewordsoutofmyheartwith
gladnessandagony,Monsieur,"sheurged,inavoicevibratingwithfeeling.
AluminouslookcameintotheCure'sface.Athoughtleaptupinhisheart.Who
couldtell!—thispuregirl,speakingforthewholesinful,unbelieving,and
believingworld,mightbetheonelastconqueringargumenttotheman.
HecouldnotreadtheagonyofspiritwhichhaddrivenRosalietothis—to
confessthroughthewordsofMaryMagdaleneherownwoe,tosayitouttoall


theworld,andtoreceive,asdidPauletteDubois,everydayafterthecurtain
camedown,absolutionandblessing.Shelongedfortheoldrememberedpeace.
TheCurecouldnotreadthestrugglebetweenherloveforamanandthe
ineradicablehabitofhersoul;butheraisedhishand,madethesacredgesture
overleer,andsaid:"Go,mychild,andGodbewithyou."
HecouldnotseeherfortearsasshehurriedawaytowherePauletteDubois
awaitedher—thetwoatpeacenow.Atthehandsofthelatelydespisedand
injuriouswomanRosaliewasmadereadytoplaythepartinthelastact,none
knowingsavethefewwhoappearedinthefinaltableau,andtheyatthelast
momentonly.
Thebellbegantotoll.
Athousandpeoplefellupontheirknees,andwithfascinatedyetabashedand
awe-struckeyessawthegreattableauofChristendom:thethreecrossesagainst
theeveningsky,theFigureinthecentre,theRomanpopulace,thetrembling
Jews,thepatheticgroupsofdisciples.Acloudpassedacrossthesky,theillusion
grew,andheartsquiveredinpiteoussympathy.Therewasnomusicnow—nota
soundsavethesobofsomeoverwroughtwoman.Thewoeofanoppressed
worldabsorbedthem.EventhestolidIndians,asRomansoldiers,shrankawestrickenfromthesacredtragedy.Nowtheeyesofallwereuponthecentral
Figure,thentheyshiftedforamomenttoJohntheBeloved,standingwiththe
Mother.
"PauvreMere!PauvreChrist!"saidaweepingwomanaloud.
ARomansoldierraisedaspearandpiercedthesideoftheHerooftheWorld.
Bloodflowed,andhundredsgasped.Thentherewassilence—astrangehushas
ofapreludetosomegreatevent.
"Itisfinished.Father,intoThyhandsIcommendmyspirit,"saidthe
Figure.
Thehushwasbrokenbysuchasoundasonehearsinaforestwhenawind
quiversovertheearth,flutterstheleaves,andthensinksaway—neitherhaving
comenorgone,butonlylivedanddied.
Againtherewassilence,andthenalleyeswerefixeduponthefigureatthefoot


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