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   Chapter 83 No.83

Come Rack! Come Rope! By Robert Hugh Benson Characters: 4131

Updated: 2017-11-30 00:05


"Three more have glorified God to-day by a good confession-Mr. Garlick, Mr. Ludlam and Mr. Simpson. That is the summary. The tale in detail hath been brought to me to-day by an eye-witness.

"The trial went as all thought it would. There was never the least question of it; for not only were the two priests taken with signs of their calling upon them, but both of them had been in the hands of the magistrates before. There was no shrinking nor fear showed of any kind. But the chief marvel was that these two priests met with Mr. Simpson in the gaol; they put them together in one room, I think, hoping that Mr. Simpson would prevail upon them to do as he had promised to do; but, by the grace of God, it was all the other way, and it was they who prevailed upon Mr. Simpson to confess himself again openly as a Catholic. This greatly enraged my lord Shrewsbury and the rest; so that there was less hope than ever of any respite, and sentence was passed upon them all together, Mr. Simpson showing, at the reading of it, as much courage as any. This was all done two days ago at the Assizes; and it was to-day that the sentence was carried out.

"They were all three drawn on hurdles together to the open space by St. Mary's Bridge, where all was prepared, with gallows and cauldron and butchering block; and a great company went after them. I have not heard that they spoke much, on the way, except that a friend of Mr. Garlick's cried out to him to remember that they had often shot off together on the moors; to which Mr. Garlick made answer merrily that it was true; but that 'I am now to shoot off such a shot as I never shot in all my life.' He was merry at the trial, too, I hear; and said that 'he was not come to seduce men, but rather to induce them to the Catholic religion, that to this end he had come to the country, and for this that he would work so long as he lived.' And this he did on the scaffold, speaking to the crowd about him of the salvation of their souls, and casting papers, which he had written in prison, in proof of the Catholic

faith.

"Mr. Garlick went up the ladder first, kissing and embracing it as the instrument of his death, and to encourage Mr. Simpson, as it was thought, since some said he showed signs of timorousness again when he came to the place. But he showed none when his turn came, but rather exhibited the same courage as them both. Mr. Ludlam stood by smiling while all was done; and smiling still when his turn came. His last words were, 'Venite benedicti Dei'; and this he said, seeming to see a vision of angels come to bear his soul away.

"They were cut down, all three of them, before they were dead; and the butchery done on them according to sentence; yet none of them cried out or made the least sound; and their heads and quarters were set up immediately afterwards on poles in divers places of Derby; some of them above the house that stands on the bridge and others on the bridge itself. But these, I hear, will not be there long.

"So these three have kept the faith and finished their course with joy. Laus Deo. Mr. John is in ward, for harbouring of the priests; but nothing hath been done to him yet.

"As for your reverence, I am of opinion that you had best wait another week where you are. There has been a man or two seen hereabouts whom none knew, as well as at Padley. It hath been certified, too, that Mr. Thomas was at the root of it all, that he gave the information that Mr. John and at least a priest or two would be at Padley at that time, though no man knows how he knew it, unless through servants' talk; and since Mr. Thomas knows your reverence, it will be better to be hid for a little longer. So, if you will, in a week from now, I will send Dick once, again to tell you if all be well. I look for no letter back for this since you have nothing to write with in the hut, as I know; but Dick will tell me how you do; as well as anything you may choose to say to him.

"I ask your reverence's blessing again. I do not forget your reverence in my poor prayers."

* * * * *

And so it ended, without signature-for safety's sake.

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