And so the interior conflict went on within this man, who found within him a Christianity with which the Christian world in which he lived had no share or part. He still stared out in the soft autumn night at the huge quiet city, his chin on his hands and his elbows on the parapet, half perceiving the parable at which he looked. Once it was this river beneath him that had made the city; now the city set the river within bars and ordered its goings. Once it was Christianity—the meek and gentle spirit of Christ—that had made civilization; now civilization had fettered Christianity in unbreakable chains. . . . Yet even as he resented and rebelled, he felt he dared not speak. There were great forces about him, forces he had experienced for himself—Science tamed at last, self-control, organization, and a Peace which he could not understand. Every man with whom he had to do seemed kind and tender; there was the patient old priest who taught him and bore with him as with a child, the fatherly cardinal, the quiet, serene ecclesiastics of the house in which he lived, the controlled crowds, the deferential great men with whom he talked. But it was their very strength, he saw, that made them tender; the appalling power of the machine, which even now he felt that he but half understood, was the very thing that made it run so smoothly. It had the horror of a perfectly controlled steel piston that moves as delicately as a feather fan.
For he saw how inexorable was that strength which controlled the world; how ruthless, in spite of smooth and compassionate words, towards those who resisted it. The Socialists were to be “repressed”; the heretic was to be tried for his life; and in all that wide world in which he lived it seemed that there was not one Christian who recoiled, not one breath of public opinion that could express itself.
And he—he who hated it—must take his part. A Fate utterly beyond his understanding had set him there as a wheel in that mighty machine; and he must revolve in his place motionlessly and unresistingly in whatever task was set before him. . . .
Once only, as he stared out at the great prosperous view, did his heart sicken and fail him. He dropped his face upon his hands, and cried to the only Christ whom he knew in silence. . . .
It was not until the afternoon of the third day, as the trial of Dom Adrian Bennett drew to its close, that the man who had lost his memory could no longer resist the horrible fascination of the affair, and presented himself at the door of the court-room. He had learned that morning that the end of the trial was in sight.
It was outside a block of buildings somewhere to the north of St. Paul’s Cathedral that the car set him down. He learned at the porter’s lodge the number of the court, and then passed in, following his directions, through a quadrangle that was all alight with scarlet creepers, where three or four ecclesiastics saluted him, up a staircase or two, and found himself at last at a tall door bearing the number he wanted. As he hesitated to knock, the door opened, and a janitor came out.