There, then, the man who had lost his memory sat motionless, and watched it all—this astounding display of inner grace transformed into glory at last, that Royalty which since first the Fisherman took his seat in Holy Rome, had little by little, through reverse and success, forced its way outwards on the world—the leaven hid in the meal till all was leavened. . . . And it seemed to him as he looked, as if, through the splendour of the midday sun, the glitter of that sea of air-craft—through the pealing of the bells beneath and the shock of the guns and the shrill crying that filled the air—there moved other Presences, too, in yet a third medium than those of air and earth; as if diffused throughout this material plane was a world of more than matter and mind, more than of sense and perception—a world where all was reconciled and made at one—this clash of flesh and spirit—and that at last each answered to each, and spirit inspired flesh, and flesh expressed spirit. It seemed to him, for one blinding instant, as if at last he saw how distance was contained in a single point, colour in whiteness, and sound in silence, as at the very Word of Him who now at last had taken His power and reigned, whose Kingdom at last had come indeed, to whom in very truth All Power was given in heaven and earth. . . .
The white-skirted, clean-looking doctor came briskly and noiselessly into the little room that opened off Ward No. IV in the Westminster Hospital as the clock pointed to nine o’clock in the morning, and the nursing-sister stood up to receive him.
“Good morning, sister,” he said. “Any change?”
“He seemed a little disturbed about an hour ago by the bells,” she said. “But he hasn’t spoken at all.”
Together they stood and looked down on the unconscious man. He lay there motionless with closed eyes, his unshaven cheek resting on his hand, his face fallen into folds and hollows, colourless and sallow. The red coverlet drawn up over his shoulder helped to emphasize his deadly pallor.
“It’s a curious case,” said the doctor. “I’ve never seen coma in such a case last so long.”
He still stared at him a moment or two; then he laid the back of his hand gently against the dying man’s cheek, then again he consulted through his glasses the chart that hung over the head of the bed.
“Will he recover consciousness before the end, doctor?”
“It’s very likely; it’s impossible to say. Send for me if there’s any change.”
“I mayn’t send for a priest, doctor?” she said hesitatingly. “You know—–”
He shook his head sharply.
“No, no. He distinctly refused, you remember. It’s impossible, sister. . . . I’m very sorry.”
When he had gone, she sat down again, and drew out her beads furtively upon her lap.