Read SANCTUARY - CHAPTER XIV. of The Christian A Story, free online book, by Hall Caine, on

Half an hour afterward there came to the door of the Orphanage the single loud thud that is the knock of the poor.  An upper window was opened, and a tremulous voice from the street below cried, “Glory!  Miss Gloria!”

It was Agatha Jones.  Glory hastened downstairs and found the girl in great agitation.  One glance at her face in the candlelight seemed to tell all.

“You’ve found him?”

“Yes; he’s hurt.  He’s ”

“Be calm, child; tell me everything,” said Glory, and Aggie delivered her message.

Since leaving Holloway, Father Storm had been followed and found by means of the dog.  The crowd had set on him and knocked him down and injured him.  He was now lying in Aggie’s room.  There had been nowhere else to take him to, for the men had disappeared the moment he was down, and the women were afraid to take him in.  The police had come at last and they were now gone for the parish doctor.  Mrs. Pincher was with the Father, and the poor dog was dead.

Glory held her hand over her heart while Aggie told her story.  “I follow you,” she said.  “Did you tell him I was here?  Did he send you to fetch me?”

“He didn’t speak,” said Aggie.

“Is he unconscious?”


“I’ll go with you at once.”

Hurrying across the streets by Glory’s side, Aggie apologized for her room again.  “I down’t live thet wy now, you know,” she said.  “It may seem strange to you, but while my little boy was alive I couldn’t go into the streets to save my lifeI couldn’t do it.  And when ’is pore father died lahst week ”

The stone stairs to the tenement house were thronged with women.  They stood huddled together in groups like sheep in a storm.  There was not a man anywhere visible, except a drunken sailor, who was coming down from an upper story whistling and singing.  The women silenced him.  Had he no feelings?

“The doctor’s came, Sister,” said a woman standing by Aggie’s door.  Then Glory entered the room.

The poor disordered place was lit by a cheap lamp, which threw splashes of light and left tracts of shadow.  John lay on the bed, muttering words that were inaudible.  His coat and waistcoat had been removed, and his shirt was open at the neck.  The high wall of his forehead was marble white, but his cheeks were red and feverish.  One of his arms lay over the side of the bed and Glory took it up and held it.  Her great eyes were moist, but she did not cry, neither did she speak or move.  The doctor was bathing a wound at the back of the head, and he looked up and nodded as Glory entered.  At the other side of the bed an elderly woman in a widow’s cap was wiping her eyes with her apron.

When the doctor was going away, Glory followed him to the door.

“Is he seriously injured, doctor?”

“Very.”  The doctor was a young manquick, brusque, and emphatic.

“Not dange ”

“Yes.  The brutes have done for him, nurse, though you needn’t tell his friends so.”

“Thenthere isno chancewhatever?”

“Not a ghost of a chance.  By the way, you might try to find out where his friends are, and send a line to them.  I’ll be here in the morning.  Good-night!”

Glory staggered back to the room, with her hand pressed hard over her heart, and the young doctor, going downstairs two steps at a stride, met a police sergeant and a reporter coming up.  “Cruel business, sir!” “Yes, but just one of those things that can’t easily be brought home to anybody.”  “Sad, though!” “Very sad!”

The short night seemed as if it would never end.  When daylight came the cheerless place was cleared of its refuseits withered roses, its cigarette ends and its heaps of left-off clothing.  Toward eight o’clock Glory hurried back to the Orphanage, leaving Aggie and Mrs. Pincher in charge.  John had been muttering the whole night, through, but he had never once moved and he was still unconscious.

“Good-morning, Sister!”

“Good-morning, children!”

The little faces, fresh and bright from sleep, were waiting for their breakfast.  When the meal was over Glory wrote by express to Mrs. Callender and to the Father Superior of the Brotherhood, then put on her bonnet and cloak and turned toward Downing Street.

The Prime Minister had held an early Cabinet Council that morning.  It was observed by his colleagues that he looked depressed and preoccupied.  When the business of the day was done he rose to his feet rather feebly and said: 

“My lords and gentlemen, I have long had it in mind to say somethingsomething of importanceand I feel the impulse to say it now.  We have been doing our best with legislation affecting the Church, to give due reality and true life to its relation with the State.  But the longer I live the more I feel that that relation is in itself a false one, injurious and even dangerous to both alike.  Never in history, so far as I know, and certainly never within my own experience, has it been possible to maintain the union of Church and State without frequent adultery and corruption.  The effort to do so has resulted in manifest impostures in sacred things, in ceremonies without spiritual significance, and in gross travesties of the solemn, worship of God.  Speaking of our own Church, I will not disguise my belief that, but for the good and true men who are always to be found within its pale, it could not survive the frequent disregard of principles which lie deep in the theory of Christianity.  Its epicureanism, its regard for the interests of the purse, its tendency to rank the administrator above the apostle, are weeds that spring up out of the soil of its marriage with the State.  And when I think of the anomalies and inequalities of its internal government, of its countless poor clergy, and of its lords and princes, above all when I remember its apostolic pretensions and the certainty that he who attempts to live within the Church the real life of the apostles will incur the risk of that martyrdom which it has always pronounced against innovators, I can not but believe that the consciences of many Churchmen would be glad to be relieved of a burden of State temptation which they feel to be hurtful and intolerableto render unto Cæsar the things which are Caesar’s and unto God the things that are God’s.  Be that as it may, I have now to tell you that feeling this question to be paramount, yet despairing of dealing with it in the few years that old age has left to me, I have concluded to resign my office.  It is for some younger statesman to fight this battle of the separation between the spiritual and the temporal in the interests of true religion and true civilization.  God grant he may be a Christian man, and God speed and bless him!”

The cabinet broke up with many unwonted expressions of affection for the old leader, and many requests that he should “think again” over the step he contemplated.  But every one knew that he had set his heart on an impossible enterprise, and every one felt that behind it lay the painful impulse of an incident reported at length in the newspapers that morning.

Left alone in the cabinet room, the Prime Minister drew up his chair before the empty grate and gave way to tender memories.  He thought of John Storm and the wreck his life had fallen to; of John’s mother and her brave renunciation of love; and finally of himself and his near retirement.  A spasm of the old lust of power came over him, and he saw himselfto-morrow, next day, next weekdelivering up his seals of office to the Queen, and thenthe next day after thatgetting up from this chair for the last time and going out of this room to return to it no morehis work done, his life ended.

It was at that moment the footman came to say that a young lady in the dress of a nurse was waiting in the hall.  “A messenger from John,” he thought.  And, as he rose to receive her, heavily, wearily, and with the burden of his years upon him, Glory came into the room with her quivering face and two great tear-drops standing in her eyes, but glowing with youth and health and courage.

“Sit down, sit down.  But ” looking at her again, “have you been here before?”

“Never, my lord.”

“I have seen you somewhere.”

“I was an actress once.  And I am a friend of John’s.”

“Of John’s?  Then you are ”

“I am Glory.”

“Glory!  And so we meet at last, dear lady!  But I have seen you before.  When he spoke of you, but did not bring you to see me, I took a stolen glance at the theatre myself ”

“I have left it, my lord.”

“Left it?”

And then she told him what she had done.  His old eyes glistened and his head sank into his breast.

“It wasn’t that I came to talk about, my lord, but another and more painful matter.”

“Can I relieve you of the burden of your message, my child?  It has reached me already.  It is in all the morning newspapers.”

“I didn’t think of that.  Still the doctor told me to ”

“What does the doctor say about him?”

“He says ”


“He says we are going to lose him.”

“I have sent for a great surgeonBut no doubt it is past help.  Poor boy!  It seems only yesterday he came up to London so full of hope and expectation.  I can see him now with his great eyes, sitting in that chair you occupy, talking of his plans and purposes.  Poor John!  To think he should come to this!  But these tumultuous souls whose hearts are battlefields, when the battle is over what can be left but a waste?”

Glory’s eyes had dried of themselves and she was looking at the old man with an expression of pain, but he went on without observing her: 

“It is one of the dark riddles of the inscrutable Power which rules over life that the good man can go under like that, while the evil one lives and prospers.”

He rose and walked to and fro before the fireplace.  “Ah, well!  The years bring me an ever-deepening sadness, an ever-increasing sense of our impotence to diminish, the infinite sorrow of the world.”

Then he looked down at Glory and said:  “But I can hardly forgive him that he has thrown away so much for so little.  And when I think of you, my child, and of all that might have been, and then of the bad end he has come to ”

“But I don’t call it coming to a bad end, sir,” said Glory in a quivering voice.

“No?  To be torn and buffeted and trampled down in the streets?”

“What of it?  He might have died of old age in his bed and yet come to a worse end than that.”

“True, but still ”

“If that is coming to a bad end I shall have to believe that my father, who was a missionary, came to a bad end too when he was killed by the fevers of Africa.  Every martyr comes to a bad end if that is a bad ending.  And so does everybody who is brave and true and does good to humanity and is willing to die for it.  But it isn’t bad.  It’s glorious!  I would rather be the daughter of a man who died like that than be the daughter of an earl, and if I could have been the wife of one who was torn and trampled down, in the streets by the very people ”

But her face, which had been aflame, broke into tears again and her voice failed her.  The old man could not speak, and there was silence for a moment.  Then she recovered herself and said quietly: 

“I came to ask you if you could do something for me.”

“What is it?”

“You may have heard that John wished me to marry him?”

“Would to God you had done so!”

“That was when everybody was praising him.”


“Everybody is abusing him now, and railing at him and insulting him.”


“I want to marry him at last if there is a wayif you think it is possible and can be managed.”

“But you say he is a dying man!”

“That’s why!  When he comes to himself he will be thinking as you think, that his life has been a failure, and I want somebody to be there and say:  ’It isn’t, it is only beginning, it is the grain of mustard seed that must die, but it will live in the heart of humanity for ages and ages to come; and I would rather take up your name, injured and insulted as it is, than win all the glory the world has in it.’”

The tears were coursing down the old man’s face, and for some minutes he did not attempt to speak.  Then he said: 

“What you propose is quite possible.  It will be a canonical marriage, but it will take some little time to arrange.  I must send across to Lambeth Palace.  Toward evening I can go down to where he lies and take the license with me.  Meantime speak to a clergyman and have everything in readiness.”

He walked with Glory down the long corridor to the door, and there he kissed her on the forehead and said: 

“I’ve long known that a woman can be brave, but meeting you this morning has taught me something else, my child.  Time and again I thought John’s love of you was near to madness.  He was ready to give up everything for iteverything!  And he was right!  Love like yours is the pearl of pearls, and he who wins it is a prince of princes!”

Later the same day, when the Prime Minister was sitting alone in his room, a member of his cabinet brought him an evening paper containing an article which was making a deep impression in London.  It was understood to be written by a journalist of Jewish extraction: 


“This prediction has been for eighteen hundred years the expression of an historical truth.  That the whole Jewish nation, and not Pilate or the rabble of Jerusalem, killed Jesus is a fact which every Jew has been made to feel down to the present day.  But let the Christian nation that is without sin toward the Founder of Christianity first cast a stone at the Jews.  If it is true, as Jesus himself said, that he who offers a cup of cold water to the least of his little ones offers it to him, then it is also true that he who inflicts torture and death on his followers crucifies him afresh.  The unhappy man who has been miserably murdered in the slums of Westminster was a follower of Jesus if ever there lived one, and whosoever the actual persons may be who are guilty of his death, the true culprit is the Christian nation which has inflicted mockeries and insults on everybody who has dared to stand alone under the ensign of Christ.

“Let us not be led away by sneers.  This man, whatever his errors, his weaknesses, his self-delusions, and his many human failings, was a Christian.  He was the prophet of woman in relation to humanity as hardly any one since Jesus has ever been.  And he is hounded out of life.  Thus, after nineteen centuries, Christianity presents the same characteristics of frightful tyranny which disfigured the old Jewish law.  ’We have a law, and by our law he ought to die.’  Such is the sentence still pronounced on reformers in a country where civil and religious laws are confounded.  God grant the other half of that doom may not also come true’His blood be on us and on our children!’”