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chair until I was reminded of the encounter with the Brahmins at the gate. He looked as if he would like to pinch Ashgar Ali's nose, or knock his turban off, or upset his chair. I was ready for any kind of sally. In the end Heath whispered 'Time,' and we had to draw the Moslem off. ought to have done it before, but we were both fascinated. It was the oddest kind of duel we had seen, and our friend was the aggressor after all. "Père Caillard's anger, like his mirth, was volcanic. His resentment did not last long. Heath's charm and good-humour and my own efforts at propitiation and the wine we poured into his glass without hazarding a refusal soon mellowed and appeased him. After dinner we played bridge. Père Caillard had played whist, he said, in Dahomey, and he knew the face value of the cards. We agreed to play three rubbers and take him as a partner in turn, pay his losings, and hand over all winnings to the chapel. So the evening passed away without further discord. Ashgar Ali was muloted, as he deserved, to the benefit of the flock, and Père Caillard held all the cards, and laughed a good deal at his own vagaries and the eccentricities of the game.

"Look out for to-morrow,' Père Caillard had said, and soon after we woke the earth seemed to perspire. We had arranged to stay a day at Agni Hôtrodu. Rest was good for our bullocks and men, and human company for Père

Caillard. Ashgar Ali said he would stay on with us, as he had a good many marches in front of him. He was going through to Bini to see the Nawab about some property. Before the day was out we wished him at the bottom of the sea.

"We were all a bit irritable, and I don't wonder. There was something insidious in the slant rays of the morning sun which sank into one's vertebræ, and made one feel sick all over from the scalp to the pit of the stomach. Then we had to pay for our seven minutes' rain. The earth rejected its moisture angrily, and all the while you felt as if your head were being held over a steaming vat. I remember thinking that it might be cooler up a tree. We rigged up a crazy punkah of sorts which gave us faint relief.

"In the early morning I saw Père Caillard through the door of his chapel kneeling by the altar in prayer. When we met he told me of another sleepless night and more trouble in the hour of mystery before dawn, when the spirit is irresponsible and nerves and fibres belong as much to the astral body as to the one we own. I wondered what it was he saw and heard, what torments were brewing for him in Agni's firepit.

"Heath and I tried to persuade him to come on with us. I thought a long rest in my bungalow by the coast might set him up, also he ought to be within reach of a doctor; the local Yunnani Hakim was as likely to poison him as not. I

held out to him the prospect of finishing his New Testament, but he argued that he had no definite sickness, and therefore he was not ill. All we could do was to promise to send him drugs.

"The Moslem's society was not good for our friend. All through the morning fragments of controversy were borne in on us from the chapel, mingled with the jars and wheezy protests of the punkah. Heath and I tried to read in our cane chairs but it was no good, our vital tissues had become part of the general evaporation. We watched the verandah floor sweat and the steam come through the cracked door.

The monotone in the next room was Ashgar Ali expounding Islam or investigating the doctrinal pivots of the Christian faith. Every now and then the priest's pained voice was raised above the drone. • The exception pruv the r-rule,' I heard him roar, and I knew he was defending the sacred mystery on which the fabric of his faith was built. The even voice of Ashgar Ali continued. I doubt if Père Caillard understood one word in ten, but the Muhammadan was glad to find any one who would listen to him on whom he could produce an impression. And Père Caillard was clearly impressed. He was angry and scornful, but at the same time he was surprised and uneasy, and there was incense that.


"But he was a polygamist,' we heard him say; 'how can

you respect the teachings of a man who had six wives?'

"There was no corresponding acrimony in Ashgar Ali's voice. He bore with these interruptions contentedly if only he could gain a hearing. But Heath and I thought he had had hearing enough. We intervened and persuaded Père Caillard to lie down; he was hankering after his Uriya dictionary and New Testament. We watched him, hoping he would sleep. It was the most painful thing in the world to see his fixed open eyes straining on the wall, The afternoon wore through very slowly, but poisonous as the air outside was we could not stay in all day. In the evening we left Père Caillard under the punkah, and strolled out to the deserted manganese mines where one might pick up a few quail. Our gun-barrels were too hot for our comfort.

"It was dark when we returned. As we drew near the bungalow we could hear Ashgar Ali's dismal monotone. We missed the deep bell-note of the priest, and I hoped he was asleep.

"That confounded fellow is at it again,' Heath said; 'why can't he leave Père Caillard alone. I should like to rub his head at the bottom of the tank,' I reminded him that Ashgar Ali had been ducked once before. 'I don't think much of your Emmanuel fish-pond for a oure,' he said, and I agreed that soum is better for a swollen head. I had never known Heath so bitter.

"The voices ceased as our

footsteps drew nearer. While I was changing in my tent I heard Père Caillard say in a tired voice-'It is all History. Everything is supported by evidence. There is only one thing you must take on trust. And you know His Life. Was it likely He would lie? If He did He was a great r-rogue. But it is all true. If I did not believe every word of it I couldn't go on living.'

"We took Ashgar Ali aside before dinner and spoke to him roughly. There was no more controversy. But we could not recapture the geniality of the night before. Père Caillard was melancholy and abstracted, Ashgar Ali huffy; no one suggested bridge. I doubt if it would have been possible. At about nine o'clock the furnace wind got up, and we had to sleep inside and shut every door until after midnight. I lay awake and listened to Père Caillard's distressed mutterings. There was effort and relapse in them, an alternate rhythm as if he were clutching at shadows and falling back. Every breath was a stab to me. I had a sort of feeling that I ought to stay by his side and share his vigil it seemed almost unbrotherly to catch at the sleep which had eluded him, but there came a point when I could not bear it any longer. Early in the morning I dragged my bed outside and poured a chatti of water over the pillow.

"I was sinking into a kind of unstrung sleep when I was waked up by a ory of pain. In my own uneasy dreams Père

Caillard and I were yoked in torment; we gasped and panted together, and laboured to escape. We were pursued by the same spectres and apprehensions. A subtle film of peril lay between us and all security. We were maliciously encompassed. How far the ory awoke me I do not know, because when I found myself standing by my bed in the path along which Père Caillard rushed from the chapel, I felt as if I had been with him all the while. I heard him cry, 'Where am I falling? I am lost.'

Then he saw me and stood still. 'You have had a nightmare,' I said, 'so have I; what we both want is a sleeping-draught.'

"I walked by his side to the house, but he did not speak. An hour afterwards, as the sun was rising, I saw him steal out of the compound. I longed to join him and comfort him, to persuade him that to return with us was the only way to win sleep, and so to fulfil his work. But he looked so utterly dejected, and so absorbed in the single plan of escape, that I had not the heart. If only I had joined him-as my instinct told me. He had opened his heart to me. I need not have been afraid of intruding on his grief.

"At seven o'clock a Sowarah came running to the bungalow with a message that the people in the village were stoning Père Caillard. Another followed saying that he was dead. Heath and I and my orderly picked up our guns and followed them to the spot. We found Père

Caillard in a narrow lane, propped up against the mud wall of a house. His eyes were open; they greeted us; there was peace in them. Teendu supported his head. The spawn of Agni Hôtrodu pressed round him, looking on with the half-sullen, half- curious gaze of the beast that has rent a creature and stands over it, watching its dying movements with suspicion.

"He loved the Saint's book of 'Little Flowers.' He had it almost by heart, and he quoted from it often that morning. His thoughts seemed to be dwelling on some trial he had undergone; he seemed to think he had been tempted by Satan. I have his soiled copy now-the cover warped, and tunnelled by white ants; mosquitoes pressed between the leaves, and whole pages devoured by silver fish. It reeks of Agni Hôtrodu. Many of the passages he quoted are marked

"The original assailants had fled. We learnt that a child had died in the night on whom Père Caillard was reported to have cast the evil eye. He had been seen to take the infant in his arms the day before it sickened. There was another story of a human sacrifice. It was said that a male child had been offered to the goddess when the chapel was consecrated. Then also Père Caillard had been attacked with stones and lathies, but he had beaten them off with his great ash stick. This time he did not resist. In Teendu's words, he stood still and suffered everything. He had ceased to desire life.'

griefs will to take the

"Heath and I dispossessed the weeping Teendu and sent him for water and linen. Père Caillard lived through the morning. He was too weak to be carried to the house, so we laid a bed for him in the shade of a great banaan-tree, and did all we could to relieve his wounds. He looked at them almost lovingly, as if they had been the stigmata of St Francis, Perhaps it was that he had found release through them.

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"According to the multitude of my temptations and griefs will Thy consolation make glad my soul. . If we have not many a battle and many a temptation and many a hindrance, we should not be such as we ought to be in the spiritual life.... No man shall deem himself a true friend of GOD save in so far as he has passed through many tribulations. The worst

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devils are wont to run and tempt a man when he is in a sickness or in any bodily weakness or in any loss.'

"Here was the clue to his trouble. 'I was lost,' he told me. 'I cried out to Him and found a great emptiness.'

"Could it be possible, I wondered, that the Moslem's theology had created any such solitude. I do not think so. If Père Caillard had any doubts their source was physical. The reiterated blasphemies of the day had sunk into his brain and engendered a new kind of phantasm.

"I do not think for a moment that Ashgar Ali shook

Père Caillard's faith. But can you wonder that his nightmare took the form of doubt? You know what chronic insomnia is like, and what kind of shapes haunt you when you close your eyes. Père Caillard's vision came in the eerie hour before dawn. Think of his sleep-forsaken frame sinking through to some strange limbo, the worn spirit encumbered in it, masterless and disinherited of earth, groping among the dim shapes of the chaos that enveloped him grey and unappeasable-shrouding an abyss. Would he not call out to his Saviour? And if moments passed and he heard no voice would it not seem an aon? Waking or sleeping, no mote of doubt had dimmed his clear confidence before. But visions at such a time are more intense than realities. I do not think that Père Caillard was conscious of having crossed the borderland of sleep. He only knew that he had thought himself forsaken. The thought had come to him that there was no Saviour. Then he found himself walking about outside his chapel at Agni Hôtrodu. The sense of having doubted racked him. The tower of his strength had fallen. He went out seeking penance and humiliation. When they began to stone him he did not flinch. He was glad, he told me, thinking that GOD had allowed him to expiate his sin in this life. He died proclaiming Christ; he knew himself forgiven; he had fulfilled his trust; his blood was the seed of the Church.

"So his death was really a kind of euthanasia: it rounded off his dedication. And it was an escape. I should not like to think of him grilling in his firepit still.

"Before he died Père Caillard called Teendu and made him repeat after him an epitome of the Creed and the Lord's Prayer. He must tend the chapel, he told him, until some other priest came, and if none came he must keep the small flock together and worship Christ, if needs be under a roof of green leaves. He must keep the torch lighted among his own people. The little Sowarah promised with gulps and tears to do his master's will.

"Père Caillard died in my arms. At the last his thoughts ranged back to Meillerie, the cold blue lake and the appleblossom, and the hay and the fragrant flower-fed cows. If his spirit haunts any spot on earth it is his father's chalet."

That was a soothing thought of Malaher's, but I could not help wondering if the spirit ever quite disengages itself from austere ideals. Would not such impulses survive the earthier inclination? Might they not be driving him now through a cycle of Agni Hôtrodus towards emancipation.

"But the sect. You have forgotten the seot," Dalling interrupted.

"Why, yes, the seot, to be sure. That was the point. Heath and I made the same trip a few years afterwards,

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