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   Chapter 30 No.30

Come Rack! Come Rope! By Robert Hugh Benson Characters: 2278

Updated: 2017-11-30 00:05


Mr. Anthony Babington seemed silent and even a little displeased when, half an hour later, the visitors were all gone downstairs to supper. Three or four of them were to sleep in the house; the rest, of whom Robin was one, had Captain Fortescue's instructions as to where lodgings were prepared. But the whole company was tired out with the long ride from the coast, and would be seen no more that night.

* * * * *

Marjorie knew enough of the divisions of opinion among Catholics, and of Mr. Babington in particular, to have a general view as to why her companion was displeased; but more than that she did not know, nor what point in particular it was on which the argument had run. The one party-of Mr. Babington's kind-held that Catholics were, morally, in a state of war. War had been declared upon them, without justification, by the secular authorities, and physical instruments, including pursuivants and the rack, were employed against them. Then why should not they, too, employ the same kind of instruments, if they could, in return? The second party held that a religious persecution could not be held to constitute a stat

e of war; the Apostles Peter and Paul, for example, not only did not employ the arm of flesh against the Roman Empire, but actually repudiated it. And this party further held that even the Pope's bull, relieving Elizabeth's subjects from their allegiance, did so only in an interior sense-in such a manner that while they must still regard her personal and individual rights-such rights as any human being possessed-they were not bound to render interior loyalty to her as their Queen, and need not, for example (though they were not forbidden to do so), regard it as a duty to fight for her, in the event, let us say, of an armed invasion from Spain.

There, then, was the situation; and Mr. Anthony had, plainly, crossed swords this evening on the point.

"The Jesuit is too simple," he said suddenly, as he strode about. "I think-" He broke off.

His sister smiled upon him placidly.

"You are too hot, Anthony," she said.

The man turned sharply towards her.

"All the praying in the world," he said, "has not saved us so far. It seems to me time-"

"Perhaps our Lord would not have us saved," she said; "as you mean it."

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