Charles Gould turned towards the town. Before him the jagged peaks of th_ierra came out all black in the clear dawn. Here and there a muffled leper_hisked round the corner of a grass-grown street before the ringing hoofs o_is horse. Dogs barked behind the walls of the gardens; and with th_olourless light the chill of the snows seemed to fall from the mountains upo_he disjointed pavements and the shuttered houses with broken cornices and th_laster peeling in patches between the flat pilasters of the fronts. Th_aybreak struggled with the gloom under the arcades on the Plaza, with n_igns of country people disposing their goods for the day's market, piles o_ruit, bundles of vegetables ornamented with flowers, on low benches unde_normous mat umbrellas; with no cheery early morning bustle of villagers, women, children, and loaded donkeys. Only a few scattered knots o_evolutionists stood in the vast space, all looking one way from under thei_louched hats for some sign of news from Rincon. The largest of those group_urned about like one man as Charles Gould passed, and shouted, "Viva l_ibertad!" after him in a menacing tone.
Charles Gould rode on, and turned into the archway of his house. In the pati_ittered with straw, a practicante, one of Dr. Monygham's native assistants, sat on the ground with his back against the rim of the fountain, fingering _uitar discreetly, while two girls of the lower class, standing up before him, shuffled their feet a little and waved their arms, humming a popular danc_une.
Most of the wounded during the two days of rioting had been taken away alread_y their friends and relations, but several figures could be seen sitting u_alancing their bandaged heads in time to the music. Charles Gould dismounted.
A sleepy mozo coming out of the bakery door took hold of the horse's bridle; the practicante endeavoured to conceal his guitar hastily; the girls, unabashed, stepped back smiling; and Charles Gould, on his way to th_taircase, glanced into a dark corner of the patio at another group, _ortally wounded Cargador with a woman kneeling by his side; she mumble_rayers rapidly, trying at the same time to force a piece of orange betwee_he stiffening lips of the dying man.
The cruel futility of things stood unveiled in the levity and sufferings o_hat incorrigible people; the cruel futility of lives and of deaths throw_way in the vain endeavour to attain an enduring solution of the problem.
Unlike Decoud, Charles Gould could not play lightly a part in a tragic farce.
It was tragic enough for him in all conscience, but he could see no farcica_lement. He suffered too much under a conviction of irremediable folly. He wa_oo severely practical and too idealistic to look upon its terrible humour_ith amusement, as Martin Decoud, the imaginative materialist, was able to d_n the dry light of his scepticism. To him, as to all of us, the compromise_ith his conscience appeared uglier than ever in the light of failure. Hi_aciturnity, assumed with a purpose, had prevented him from tampering openl_ith his thoughts; but the Gould Concession had insidiously corrupted hi_udgment. He might have known, he said to himself, leaning over the balustrad_f the corredor, that Ribierism could never come to anything. The mine ha_orrupted his judgment by making him sick of bribing and intriguing merely t_ave his work left alone from day to day. Like his father, he did not like t_e robbed. It exasperated him. He had persuaded himself that, apart fro_igher considerations, the backing up of Don Jose's hopes of reform was goo_usiness. He had gone forth into the senseless fray as his poor uncle, whos_word hung on the wall of his study, had gone forth—in the defence of th_ommonest decencies of organized society. Only his weapon was the wealth o_he mine, more far-reaching and subtle than an honest blade of steel fitte_nto a simple brass guard.
More dangerous to the wielder, too, this weapon of wealth, double-edged wit_he cupidity and misery of mankind, steeped in all the vices of self- indulgence as in a concoction of poisonous roots, tainting the very cause fo_hich it is drawn, always ready to turn awkwardly in the hand. There wa_othing for it now but to go on using it. But he promised himself to see i_hattered into small bits before he let it be wrenched from his grasp.
After all, with his English parentage and English upbringing, he perceive_hat he was an adventurer in Costaguana, the descendant of adventurer_nlisted in a foreign legion, of men who had sought fortune in a revolutionar_ar, who had planned revolutions, who had believed in revolutions. For all th_prightness of his character, he had something of an adventurer's eas_orality which takes count of personal risk in the ethical appraising of hi_ction. He was prepared, if need be, to blow up the whole San Tome mountai_ky high out of the territory of the Republic. This resolution expressed th_enacity of his character, the remorse of that subtle conjugal infidelit_hrough which his wife was no longer the sole mistress of his thoughts, something of his father's imaginative weakness, and something, too, of th_pirit of a buccaneer throwing a lighted match into the magazine rather tha_urrender his ship.
Down below in the patio the wounded Cargador had breathed his last. The woma_ried out once, and her cry, unexpected and shrill, made all the wounded si_p. The practicante scrambled to his feet, and, guitar in hand, gazed steadil_n her direction with elevated eyebrows. The two girls—sitting now one on eac_ide of their wounded relative, with their knees drawn up and long cigar_etween their lips—nodded at each other significantly.
Charles Gould, looking down over the balustrade, saw three men dresse_eremoniously in black frock-coats with white shirts, and wearing Europea_ound hats, enter the patio from the street. One of them, head and shoulder_aller than the two others, advanced with marked gravity, leading the way.
This was Don Juste Lopez, accompanied by two of his friends, members o_ssembly, coming to call upon the Administrador of the San Tome mine at thi_arly hour. They saw him, too, waved their hands to him urgently, walking u_he stairs as if in procession.
Don Juste, astonishingly changed by having shaved off altogether his damage_eard, had lost with it nine-tenths of his outward dignity. Even at that tim_f serious pre-occupation Charles Gould could not help noting the reveale_neptitude in the aspect of the man. His companions looked crestfallen an_leepy. One kept on passing the tip of his tongue over his parched lips; th_ther's eyes strayed dully over the tiled floor of the corredor, while Do_uste, standing a little in advance, harangued the Senor Administrador of th_an Tome mine. It was his firm opinion that forms had to be observed. A ne_overnor is always visited by deputations from the Cabildo, which is th_unicipal Council, from the Consulado, the commercial Board, and it was prope_hat the Provincial Assembly should send a deputation, too, if only to asser_he existence of parliamentary institutions. Don Juste proposed that Do_arlos Gould, as the most prominent citizen of the province, should join th_ssembly's deputation. His position was exceptional, his personality know_hrough the length and breadth of the whole Republic. Official courtesies mus_ot be neglected, if they are gone through with a bleeding heart. Th_cceptance of accomplished facts may save yet the precious vestiges o_arliamentary institutions. Don Juste's eyes glowed dully; he believed i_arliamentary institutions—and the convinced drone of his voice lost itself i_he stillness of the house like the deep buzzing of some ponderous insect.
Charles Gould had turned round to listen patiently, leaning his elbow on th_alustrade. He shook his head a little, refusing, almost touched by th_nxious gaze of the President of the Provincial Assembly. It was not Charle_ould's policy to make the San Tome mine a party to any formal proceedings.
"My advice, senores, is that you should wait for your fate in your houses.
There is no necessity for you to give yourselves up formally into Montero'_ands. Submission to the inevitable, as Don Juste calls it, is all very well, but when the inevitable is called Pedrito Montero there is no need to exhibi_ointedly the whole extent of your surrender. The fault of this country is th_ant of measure in political life. Flat acquiescence in illegality, followe_y sanguinary reaction—that, senores, is not the way to a stable an_rosperous future."
Charles Gould stopped before the sad bewilderment of the faces, the wondering, anxious glances of the eyes. The feeling of pity for those men, putting al_heir trust into words of some sort, while murder and rapine stalked over th_and, had betrayed him into what seemed empty loquacity. Don Juste murmured—
"You are abandoning us, Don Carlos… . And yet, parliamentary institutions—"
He could not finish from grief. For a moment he put his hand over his eyes.
Charles Gould, in his fear of empty loquacity, made no answer to the charge.
He returned in silence their ceremonious bows. His taciturnity was his refuge.
He understood that what they sought was to get the influence of the San Tom_ine on their side. They wanted to go on a conciliating errand to the victo_nder the wing of the Gould Concession. Other public bodies—the Cabildo, th_onsulado—would be coming, too, presently, seeking the support of the mos_table, the most effective force they had ever known to exist in thei_rovince.
The doctor, arriving with his sharp, jerky walk, found that the master ha_etired into his own room with orders not to be disturbed on any account. Bu_r. Monygham was not anxious to see Charles Gould at once. He spent some tim_n a rapid examination of his wounded. He gazed down upon each in turn, rubbing his chin between his thumb and forefinger; his steady stare me_ithout expression their silently inquisitive look. All these cases were doin_ell; but when he came to the dead Cargador he stopped a little longer, surveying not the man who had ceased to suffer, but the woman kneeling i_ilent contemplation of the rigid face, with its pinched nostrils and a whit_leam in the imperfectly closed eyes. She lifted her head slowly, and said i_ dull voice—
"It is not long since he had become a Cargador—only a few weeks. His worshi_he Capataz had accepted him after many entreaties."
"I am not responsible for the great Capataz," muttered the doctor, moving off.
Directing his course upstairs towards the door of Charles Gould's room, th_octor at the last moment hesitated; then, turning away from the handle with _hrug of his uneven shoulders, slunk off hastily along the corredor in searc_f Mrs. Gould's camerista.
Leonardo told him that the senora had not risen yet. The senora had given int_er charge the girls belonging to that Italian posadero. She, Leonarda, ha_ut them to bed in her own room. The fair girl had cried herself to sleep, bu_he dark one—the bigger—had not closed her eyes yet. She sat up in be_lutching the sheets right up under her chin and staring before her like _ittle witch. Leonarda did not approve of the Viola children being admitted t_he house. She made this feeling clear by the indifferent tone in which sh_nquired whether their mother was dead yet. As to the senora, she must b_sleep. Ever since she had gone into her room after seeing the departure o_ona Antonia with her dying father, there had been no sound behind her door.
The doctor, rousing himself out of profound reflection, told her abruptly t_all her mistress at once. He hobbled off to wait for Mrs. Gould in the sala.
He was very tired, but too excited to sit down. In this great drawing-room, now empty, in which his withered soul had been refreshed after many arid year_nd his outcast spirit had accepted silently the toleration of many side- glances, he wandered haphazard amongst the chairs and tables till Mrs. Gould, enveloped in a morning wrapper, came in rapidly.
"You know that I never approved of the silver being sent away," the docto_egan at once, as a preliminary to the narrative of his night's adventures i_ssociation with Captain Mitchell, the engineer-in-chief, and old Viola, a_otillo's headquarters. To the doctor, with his special conception of thi_olitical crisis, the removal of the silver had seemed an irrational and ill- omened measure. It was as if a general were sending the best part of hi_roops away on the eve of battle upon some recondite pretext. The whole lot o_ngots might have been concealed somewhere where they could have been got a_or the purpose of staving off the dangers which were menacing the security o_he Gould Concession. The Administrador had acted as if the immense an_owerful prosperity of the mine had been founded on methods of probity, on th_ense of usefulness. And it was nothing of the kind. The method followed ha_een the only one possible. The Gould Concession had ransomed its way throug_ll those years. It was a nauseous process. He quite understood that Charle_ould had got sick of it and had left the old path to back up that hopeles_ttempt at reform. The doctor did not believe in the reform of Costaguana. An_ow the mine was back again in its old path, with the disadvantage tha_enceforth it had to deal not only with the greed provoked by its wealth, bu_ith the resentment awakened by the attempt to free itself from its bondage t_oral corruption. That was the penalty of failure. What made him uneasy wa_hat Charles Gould seemed to him to have weakened at the decisive moment whe_ frank return to the old methods was the only chance. Listening to Decoud'_ild scheme had been a weakness.
The doctor flung up his arms, exclaiming, "Decoud! Decoud!" He hobbled abou_he room with slight, angry laughs. Many years ago both his ankles had bee_eriously damaged in the course of a certain investigation conducted in th_astle of Sta. Marta by a commission composed of military men. Thei_omination had been signified to them unexpectedly at the dead of night, wit_cowling brow, flashing eyes, and in a tempestuous voice, by Guzman Bento. Th_ld tyrant, maddened by one of his sudden accesses of suspicion, mingle_pluttering appeals to their fidelity with imprecations and horrible menaces.
The cells and casements of the castle on the hill had been already filled wit_risoners. The commission was charged now with the task of discovering th_niquitous conspiracy against the Citizen-Saviour of his country.
Their dread of the raving tyrant translated itself into a hasty ferocity o_rocedure. The Citizen-Saviour was not accustomed to wait. A conspiracy had t_e discovered. The courtyards of the castle resounded with the clanking o_eg-irons, sounds of blows, yells of pain; and the commission of high officer_aboured feverishly, concealing their distress and apprehensions from eac_ther, and especially from their secretary, Father Beron, an army chaplain, a_hat time very much in the confidence of the Citizen-Saviour. That priest wa_ big round-shouldered man, with an unclean-looking, overgrown tonsure on th_op of his flat head, of a dingy, yellow complexion, softly fat, with greas_tains all down the front of his lieutenant's uniform, and a small cros_mbroidered in white cotton on his left breast. He had a heavy nose and _endant lip. Dr. Monygham remembered him still. He remembered him against al_he force of his will striving its utmost to forget. Father Beron had bee_djoined to the commission by Guzman Bento expressly for the purpose that hi_nlightened zeal should assist them in their labours. Dr. Monygham could by n_anner of means forget the zeal of Father Beron, or his face, or the pitiless, monotonous voice in which he pronounced the words, "Will you confess now?"
This memory did not make him shudder, but it had made of him what he was i_he eyes of respectable people, a man careless of common decencies, somethin_etween a clever vagabond and a disreputable doctor. But not all respectabl_eople would have had the necessary delicacy of sentiment to understand wit_hat trouble of mind and accuracy of vision Dr. Monygham, medical officer o_he San Tome mine, remembered Father Beron, army chaplain, and once _ecretary of a military commission. After all these years Dr. Monygham, in hi_ooms at the end of the hospital building in the San Tome gorge, remembere_ather Beron as distinctly as ever. He remembered that priest at night, sometimes, in his sleep. On such nights the doctor waited for daylight with _andle lighted, and walking the whole length of his rooms to and fro, starin_own at his bare feet, his arms hugging his sides tightly. He would dream o_ather Beron sitting at the end of a long black table, behind which, in a row, appeared the heads, shoulders, and epaulettes of the military members, nibbling the feather of a quill pen, and listening with weary and impatien_corn to the protestations of some prisoner calling heaven to witness of hi_nnocence, till he burst out, "What's the use of wasting time over tha_iserable nonsense! Let me take him outside for a while." And Father Bero_ould go outside after the clanking prisoner, led away between two soldiers.
Such interludes happened on many days, many times, with many prisoners. Whe_he prisoner returned he was ready to make a full confession, Father Bero_ould declare, leaning forward with that dull, surfeited look which can b_een in the eyes of gluttonous persons after a heavy meal.
The priest's inquisitorial instincts suffered but little from the want o_lassical apparatus of the Inquisition At no time of the world's history hav_en been at a loss how to inflict mental and bodily anguish upon their fellow- creatures. This aptitude came to them in the growing complexity of thei_assions and the early refinement of their ingenuity. But it may safely b_aid that primeval man did not go to the trouble of inventing tortures. He wa_ndolent and pure of heart. He brained his neighbour ferociously with a ston_xe from necessity and without malice. The stupidest mind may invent _ankling phrase or brand the innocent with a cruel aspersion. A piece o_tring and a ramrod; a few muskets in combination with a length of hide rope; or even a simple mallet of heavy, hard wood applied with a swing to huma_ingers or to the joints of a human body is enough for the infliction of th_ost exquisite torture. The doctor had been a very stubborn prisoner, and, a_ natural consequence of that "bad disposition" (so Father Beron called it), his subjugation had been very crushing and very complete. That is why the lim_n his walk, the twist of his shoulders, the scars on his cheeks were s_ronounced. His confessions, when they came at last, were very complete, too.
Sometimes on the nights when he walked the floor, he wondered, grinding hi_eeth with shame and rage, at the fertility of his imagination when stimulate_y a sort of pain which makes truth, honour, selfrespect, and life itsel_atters of little moment.
And he could not forget Father Beron with his monotonous phrase, "Will yo_onfess now?" reaching him in an awful iteration and lucidity of meanin_hrough the delirious incoherence of unbearable pain. He could not forget. Bu_hat was not the worst. Had he met Father Beron in the street after all thes_ears Dr. Monygham was sure he would have quailed before him. This contingenc_as not to be feared now. Father Beron was dead; but the sickening certitud_revented Dr. Monygham from looking anybody in the face.
Dr. Monygham had become, in a manner, the slave of a ghost. It was obviousl_mpossible to take his knowledge of Father Beron home to Europe. When makin_is extorted confessions to the Military Board, Dr. Monygham was not seekin_o avoid death. He longed for it. Sitting half-naked for hours on the we_arth of his prison, and so motionless that the spiders, his companions, attached their webs to his matted hair, he consoled the misery of his sou_ith acute reasonings that he had confessed to crimes enough for a sentence o_eath—that they had gone too far with him to let him live to tell the tale.
But, as if by a refinement of cruelty, Dr. Monygham was left for months t_ecay slowly in the darkness of his grave-like prison. It was no doubt hope_hat it would finish him off without the trouble of an execution; but Dr.
Monygham had an iron constitution. It was Guzman Bento who died, not by th_nife thrust of a conspirator, but from a stroke of apoplexy, and Dr. Monygha_as liberated hastily. His fetters were struck off by the light of a candle, which, after months of gloom, hurt his eyes so much that he had to cover hi_ace with his hands. He was raised up. His heart was beating violently wit_he fear of this liberty. When he tried to walk the extraordinary lightness o_is feet made him giddy, and he fell down. Two sticks were thrust into hi_ands, and he was pushed out of the passage. It was dusk; candles glimmere_lready in the windows of the officers' quarters round the courtyard; but th_wilight sky dazed him by its enormous and overwhelming brilliance. A thi_oncho hung over his naked, bony shoulders; the rags of his trousers came dow_o lower than his knees; an eighteen months' growth of hair fell in dirty gre_ocks on each side of his sharp cheek-bones. As he dragged himself past th_uard-room door, one of the soldiers, lolling outside, moved by some obscur_mpulse, leaped forward with a strange laugh and rammed a broken old straw ha_n his head. And Dr. Monygham, after having tottered, continued on his way. H_dvanced one stick, then one maimed foot, then the other stick; the other foo_ollowed only a very short distance along the ground, toilfully, as though i_ere almost too heavy to be moved at all; and yet his legs under the hangin_ngles of the poncho appeared no thicker than the two sticks in his hands. _easeless trembling agitated his bent body, all his wasted limbs, his bon_ead, the conical, ragged crown of the sombrero, whose ample flat rim reste_n his shoulders.
In such conditions of manner and attire did Dr. Monygham go forth to tak_ossession of his liberty. And these conditions seemed to bind hi_ndissolubly to the land of Costaguana like an awful procedure o_aturalization, involving him deep in the national life, far deeper than an_mount of success and honour could have done. They did away with hi_uropeanism; for Dr. Monygham had made himself an ideal conception of hi_isgrace. It was a conception eminently fit and proper for an officer and _entleman. Dr. Monygham, before he went out to Costaguana, had been surgeon i_ne of Her Majesty's regiments of foot. It was a conception which took n_ccount of physiological facts or reasonable arguments; but it was not stupi_or all that. It was simple. A rule of conduct resting mainly on sever_ejections is necessarily simple. Dr. Monygham's view of what it behoved hi_o do was severe; it was an ideal view, in so much that it was the imaginativ_xaggeration of a correct feeling. It was also, in its force, influence, an_ersistency, the view of an eminently loyal nature.
There was a great fund of loyalty in Dr. Monygham's nature. He had settled i_ll on Mrs. Gould's head. He believed her worthy of every devotion. At th_ottom of his heart he felt an angry uneasiness before the prosperity of th_an Tome mine, because its growth was robbing her of all peace of mind.
Costaguana was no place for a woman of that kind. What could Charles Goul_ave been thinking of when he brought her out there! It was outrageous! An_he doctor had watched the course of events with a grim and distant reserv_hich, he imagined, his lamentable history imposed upon him.
Loyalty to Mrs. Gould could not, however, leave out of account the safety o_er husband. The doctor had contrived to be in town at the critical tim_ecause he mistrusted Charles Gould. He considered him hopelessly infecte_ith the madness of revolutions. That is why he hobbled in distress in th_rawing-room of the Casa Gould on that morning, exclaiming, "Decoud, Decoud!"
in a tone of mournful irritation.
Mrs. Gould, her colour heightened, and with glistening eyes, looked straigh_efore her at the sudden enormity of that disaster. The finger-tips on on_and rested lightly on a low little table by her side, and the arm tremble_ight up to the shoulder. The sun, which looks late upon Sulaco, issuing i_ll the fulness of its power high up on the sky from behind the dazzling snow- edge of Higuerota, had precipitated the delicate, smooth, pearly greyness o_ight, in which the town lies steeped during the early hours, into sharp-cu_asses of black shade and spaces of hot, blinding glare. Three long rectangle_f sunshine fell through the windows of the sala; while just across the stree_he front of the Avellanos's house appeared very sombre in its own shadow see_hrough the flood of light.
A voice said at the door, "What of Decoud?"
It was Charles Gould. They had not heard him coming along the corredor. Hi_lance just glided over his wife and struck full at the doctor.
"You have brought some news, doctor?"
Dr. Monygham blurted it all out at once, in the rough. For some time after h_ad done, the Administrador of the San Tome mine remained looking at hi_ithout a word. Mrs. Gould sank into a low chair with her hands lying on he_ap. A silence reigned between those three motionless persons. Then Charle_ould spoke—
"You must want some breakfast."
He stood aside to let his wife pass first. She caught up her husband's han_nd pressed it as she went out, raising her handkerchief to her eyes. Th_ight of her husband had brought Antonia's position to her mind, and she coul_ot contain her tears at the thought of the poor girl. When she rejoined th_wo men in the diningroom after having bathed her face, Charles Gould wa_aying to the doctor across the table—
"No, there does not seem any room for doubt."
And the doctor assented.
"No, I don't see myself how we could question that wretched Hirsch's tale.
It's only too true, I fear."
She sat down desolately at the head of the table and looked from one to th_ther. The two men, without absolutely turning their heads away, tried t_void her glance. The doctor even made a show of being hungry; he seized hi_nife and fork, and began to eat with emphasis, as if on the stage. Charle_ould made no pretence of the sort; with his elbows raised squarely, h_wisted both ends of his flaming moustaches—they were so long that his hand_ere quite away from his face.
"I am not surprised," he muttered, abandoning his moustaches and throwing on_rm over the back of his chair. His face was calm with that immobility o_xpression which betrays the intensity of a mental struggle. He felt that thi_ccident had brought to a point all the consequences involved in his line o_onduct, with its conscious and subconscious intentions. There must be an en_ow of this silent reserve, of that air of impenetrability behind which he ha_een safeguarding his dignity. It was the least ignoble form of dissemblin_orced upon him by that parody of civilized institutions which offended hi_ntelligence, his uprightness, and his sense of right. He was like his father.
He had no ironic eye. He was not amused at the absurdities that prevail i_his world. They hurt him in his innate gravity. He felt that the miserabl_eath of that poor Decoud took from him his inaccessible position of a forc_n the background. It committed him openly unless he wished to throw up th_ame—and that was impossible. The material interests required from him th_acrifice of his aloofness—perhaps his own safety too. And he reflected tha_ecoud's separationist plan had not gone to the bottom with the lost silver.
The only thing that was not changed was his position towards Mr. Holroyd. Th_ead of silver and steel interests had entered into Costaguana affairs with _ort of passion. Costaguana had become necessary to his existence; in the Sa_ome mine he had found the imaginative satisfaction which other minds woul_et from drama, from art, or from a risky and fascinating sport. It was _pecial form of the great man's extravagance, sanctioned by a moral intention, big enough to flatter his vanity. Even in this aberration of his genius h_erved the progress of the world. Charles Gould felt sure of being understoo_ith precision and judged with the indulgence of their common passion. Nothin_ow could surprise or startle this great man. And Charles Gould imagine_imself writing a letter to San Francisco in some such words: "… . The men a_he head of the movement are dead or have fled; the civil organization of th_rovince is at an end for the present; the Blanco party in Sulaco ha_ollapsed inexcusably, but in the characteristic manner of this country. Bu_arrios, untouched in Cayta, remains still available. I am forced to take u_penly the plan of a provincial revolution as the only way of placing th_normous material interests involved in the prosperity and peace of Sulaco i_ position of permanent safety… ." That was clear. He saw these words as i_ritten in letters of fire upon the wall at which he was gazing abstractedly.
Mrs Gould watched his abstraction with dread. It was a domestic and frightfu_henomenon that darkened and chilled the house for her like a thunderclou_assing over the sun. Charles Gould's fits of abstraction depicted th_nergetic concentration of a will haunted by a fixed idea. A man haunted by _ixed idea is insane. He is dangerous even if that idea is an idea of justice; for may he not bring the heaven down pitilessly upon a loved head? The eyes o_rs. Gould, watching her husband's profile, filled with tears again. And agai_he seemed to see the despair of the unfortunate Antonia.
"What would I have done if Charley had been drowned while we were engaged?"
she exclaimed, mentally, with horror. Her heart turned to ice, while he_heeks flamed up as if scorched by the blaze of a funeral pyre consuming al_er earthly affections. The tears burst out of her eyes.
"Antonia will kill herself!" she cried out.
This cry fell into the silence of the room with strangely little effect. Onl_he doctor, crumbling up a piece of bread, with his head inclined on one side, raised his face, and the few long hairs sticking out of his shaggy eyebrow_tirred in a slight frown. Dr. Monygham thought quite sincerely that Decou_as a singularly unworthy object for any woman's affection. Then he lowere_is head again, with a curl of his lip, and his heart full of tende_dmiration for Mrs. Gould.
"She thinks of that girl," he said to himself; "she thinks of the Viol_hildren; she thinks of me; of the wounded; of the miners; she always think_f everybody who is poor and miserable! But what will she do if Charles get_he worst of it in this infernal scrimmage those confounded Avellanos hav_rawn him into? No one seems to be thinking of her."
Charles Gould, staring at the wall, pursued his reflections subtly.
"I shall write to Holroyd that the San Tome mine is big enough to take in han_he making of a new State. It'll please him. It'll reconcile him to the risk."
But was Barrios really available? Perhaps. But he was inaccessible. To sen_ff a boat to Cayta was no longer possible, since Sotillo was master of th_arbour, and had a steamer at his disposal. And now, with all the democrats i_he province up, and every Campo township in a state of disturbance, wher_ould he find a man who would make his way successfully overland to Cayta wit_ message, a ten days' ride at least; a man of courage and resolution, wh_ould avoid arrest or murder, and if arrested would faithfully eat the paper?
The Capataz de Cargadores would have been just such a man. But the Capataz o_he Cargadores was no more.
And Charles Gould, withdrawing his eyes from the wall, said gently, "Tha_irsch! What an extraordinary thing! Saved himself by clinging to the anchor, did he? I had no idea that he was still in Sulaco. I thought he had gone bac_verland to Esmeralda more than a week ago. He came here once to talk to m_bout his hide business and some other things. I made it clear to him tha_othing could be done."
"He was afraid to start back on account of Hernandez being about," remarke_he doctor.
"And but for him we might not have known anything of what has happened,"
marvelled Charles Gould.
Mrs. Gould cried out—
"Antonia must not know! She must not be told. Not now."
"Nobody's likely to carry the news," remarked the doctor. "It's no one'_nterest. Moreover, the people here are afraid of Hernandez as if he were th_evil." He turned to Charles Gould. "It's even awkward, because if you wante_o communicate with the refugees you could find no messenger. When Hernande_as ranging hundreds of miles away from here the Sulaco populace used t_hudder at the tales of him roasting his prisoners alive."
"Yes," murmured Charles Gould; "Captain Mitchell's Capataz was the only man i_he town who had seen Hernandez eye to eye. Father Corbelan employed him. H_pened the communications first. It is a pity that—"
His voice was covered by the booming of the great bell of the cathedral. Thre_ingle strokes, one after another, burst out explosively, dying away in dee_nd mellow vibrations. And then all the bells in the tower of every church, convent, or chapel in town, even those that had remained shut up for years, pealed out together with a crash. In this furious flood of metallic uproa_here was a power of suggesting images of strife and violence which blanche_rs. Gould's cheek. Basilio, who had been waiting at table, shrinking withi_imself, clung to the sideboard with chattering teeth. It was impossible t_ear yourself speak.
"Shut these windows!" Charles Gould yelled at him, angrily. All the othe_ervants, terrified at what they took for the signal of a general massacre, had rushed upstairs, tumbling over each other, men and women, the obscure an_enerally invisible population of the ground floor on the four sides of th_atio. The women, screaming "Misericordia!" ran right into the room, and, falling on their knees against the walls, began to cross themselve_onvulsively. The staring heads of men blocked the doorway in an instant—mozo_rom the stable, gardeners, nondescript helpers living on the crumbs of th_unificent house—and Charles Gould beheld all the extent of his domesti_stablishment, even to the gatekeeper. This was a half-paralyzed old man, whose long white locks fell down to his shoulders: an heirloom taken up b_harles Gould's familial piety. He could remember Henry Gould, an Englishma_nd a Costaguanero of the second generation, chief of the Sulaco province; h_ad been his personal mozo years and years ago in peace and war; had bee_llowed to attend his master in prison; had, on the fatal morning, followe_he firing squad; and, peeping from behind one of the cypresses growing alon_he wall of the Franciscan Convent, had seen, with his eyes starting out o_is head, Don Enrique throw up his hands and fall with his face in the dust.
Charles Gould noted particularly the big patriarchal head of that witness i_he rear of the other servants. But he was surprised to see a shrivelled ol_ag or two, of whose existence within the walls of his house he had not bee_ware. They must have been the mothers, or even the grandmothers of some o_is people. There were a few children, too, more or less naked, crying an_linging to the legs of their elders. He had never before noticed any sign o_ child in his patio. Even Leonarda, the camerista, came in a fright, pushin_hrough, with her spoiled, pouting face of a favourite maid, leading the Viol_irls by the hand. The crockery rattled on table and sideboard, and the whol_ouse seemed to sway in the deafening wave of sound.