He whispered softly to himself sometimes; old forgotten names and scenes and fragments came back. It seemed to him as if in some other life he had once stood here—surely there in that transept—a stranger and an outcast—watching a liturgy which was strange to him, listening to music, lovely indeed to the ear, yet wholly foreign in this home of monks and prayer. Surely great statues had stood before them—statesmen in perukes who silently declaimed secular rhetoric in the house of God, swooning women, impossible pagan personifications of grief, medallions, heathen wreaths, and broken columns. Yet here as he looked there was nothing but the decent furniture of a monastic church—tall stalls, altars, images of the great ones of heaven, wide eloquent spaces that gave room to the soul to breathe. . . . He had dreamed the other perhaps; he had read histories; he had seen pictures. . . .
The organ broke off in full blast; and under the high roofs came pealing the cry of a trumpet. He awoke with a start; the Cardinals were already on their feet at a gesture from a master of ceremonies. Then he stepped into his place and went down with them to the choir-gates to meet the King. . . .
It was in the Jerusalem chamber when the King was gone, a couple of hours later, that the new abbot of Westminster came up to him. He was a small, rosy man with very clear, beautiful eyes.
“Can you speak to me for five minutes, Monsignor?” he said.
The other glanced across at the Cardinals.
“Certainly, father abbot.”
The two went out, down a little passage, and into a parlour. They sat down.
“It’s about Dom Adrian,” said the abbot abruptly.
Monsignor checked the sudden shock that ran through him. He knew he must show no emotion.
“It’s terribly on my conscience,” went on the other, with distress visibly growing as he spoke. “I feel I ought to have seen which way he was going. He was one of my novices, you know, before we were transferred. . . . He would have been here to-day if all had been well. He was to have been one of my monks. I suggested his name.”
Monsignor Masterman began to deprecate the self-accusation of the other.
“Yes, yes,” said the abbot sharply. “But the point is whether anything can be done. The trial begins on Monday, you see.”