CHAPTER 3. LOYALISTS.
Arrival of Goldie-Scot
Goldie Scot exposed by Lord Johnson
Doctor explains Goldie Scot
Another lesson with Theophilus.
meet the priests
ARRIVAL OF GOLDIE SCOT
One day Duncan walked out of his classroom. He had a free lesson for preparation. He went into the staff room.
Mr Goss, the headmaster, was there. ”Ah Duncan. Good that you are here. We have a new teacher arriving – Matthew Goldie-Scot. Arriving any minute because of the train timetables. He has an excellent CV. So lucky to get him since Nicholas Fassnidge had that heart attack last month we have been a teacher short. So lucky to get a teacher in the middle of the school year. This man Goldie-Scot went to Oxford. Amazing that he would want to teach at a little poor boys’ school like ours. He has been out of teaching for a while – ill. Anyway will you greet him when he comes in a few minutes. I have to run to a class now. All right?”
”Certainly I will greet him – show him the ropes. ” said Duncan.
”I am off now.’‘ said Goss and hurried off to a class.
Duncan busied himself with marking essays on Religious Knowledge.
A few minutes later there was a knock on the staff room door. ”Enter” Duncan called out.
The short, bald and wiry janitor stepped in wearing his midnight blue overalls and carrying a suitcase. The janitor spoke in the soft yet hoarse monotone of an academically subnormal peon, ”Mr Self- there is a gentleman here.” And he put down the suitcase.
In strode a 6’4” young man in a three piece navy blue pin stripe suit with an academic grown trailing behind him. He had chestnut brown hair that was severely parted and laid down with a dense layer of hair gel. His narrow brown eyes blinked incessantly in his very fair skinned face.
”Ah headmaster” said the man extending his manicured hand ”I am Matthias Goldie-Scot” his voice boomed out conceitedly.
”Hello Mr Goldie Scot. I am not the headmaster. I am Duncan Self. The headmaster is otherwise engaged right now.” Duncan was taken aback by the bluster of his gigantic new acquaintance.
”Ah very good. Headmaster is busy. Well just got off the train from Belfast. Traveled first class of course. I am very pleased to be in this little school” said Goldie Scot ebulliently. Duncan only now noticed the man’s upper class accent.
”Well we are delighted you are here. We have been short staffed since our colleague had a heart attack” said Duncan
”Yes what a bit of rotten luck for him. Still you have me now” Goldie Scot. said with a great big belly laugh. Duncan did not perceive the mirth.
Duncan regained his composure to study Goldie Scot up and down. The man was perhaps 30 years of age and inclined to corpulence. He had dark brown hair and pale skin and blinked incessantly. He wore handmade Church’s leather lace ups. An expensive watch was on his wrist. Duncan noticed cufflinks on Goldie Scot’s shirt – they had the coat of arms of what Duncan took to be a Varsity college. The man also had his initial MGC monogrammed on his cuffs. Goldie-Scot wore a black tie with a thin Cambridge blue stripe pattern on it.
Goldie Scot took out an oversized pipe with a theatrical flourish. He then carefully stuffed some tobacco in and continued ”Care for some fine shag?” he profferred the bag of tobacco. Duncan wondered whether this man’s accent was a trifle contrived.
”No thank you I do not smoke a pipe” said Duncan.
”Well you should, my good man, you should.” said Goldie Scot ”When I was at the House everyone smoked. Where did you… school?”
”I went to this school. I became a pupil teacher and that was it.” said Duncan.
”Ah no good. I went to Harrow. I am afraid that I am incurably sentimental about the old place. What, what! ” Goldie Scot began puffing on his pipe. ” Won a scholarship but turned it down because I gave it to a boy needier than I. I was head boy. Then I went up to Oxford aged only 15. I won a major open scholarship. Christ Church is the college for the well got. I am out of the top drawer I shall have you know. Blue blood and broad acres. I have a title but I do not use it. I am far too modest for that! So I read Literae Humaniores. I took a double starred first. I was President of the Union. I got my blue for weightlifting and the seventy -five yard dash. When I went down I became tutor to His Exalted Highness the Gaekwar of Baroda. I don’t mind you knowing that he is the noblest prince in India. So I acquired absolute mastery of Hindustani and half a dozen India tongues. After a year I was fed up with India and came home. ” He expatiated, ” My family has been going out to India for a century. Come home and go to Edinburgh University and qualify as a surgeon. Then out to the subcontinent to save lives. I was born in Lesotho though but brought up by Aboriginals in Australia. But anyway once I came home to Blighty enlisted in the Territorial Force. I soon got His Majesty’s commission as a brevet major. Retired from the active list last year as a brigadier. Frightful bore really! Then I saw this job and I thought I have always wanted to come to Ireland for a spell. Well here I am. Hello Ireland! It does not quite compare to Winchester College. I taught there for a while. I had to thrash the whole school on one occasion. I got tennis elbow.”
Duncan went slack jawed at the scale of Goldie-Scot’s achievement. At first he found this man gripping. But doubt crept into his mind. Could this man have achieved all that at his age? And if he was so superbly educated what was he doing teaching at a humble school like this. But people do not lie about such big things. Or do they? As for that tie – was that an old school tie? Duncan resolved to look up what an Old Harrovian tie looked like.
”Well that is most impressive” said Duncan still scintillated.
”It is nothing really. I am planning to be called to the bar. A gentleman should be called to the bar without the least intention of ever practicing. It is all part of a liberal education my good fellow. I have thought of taking holy orders. I was a church warden at St Mary’s Westminster. but since Horne Tooke a man who has been episcopally ordained cannot enter Parliament. A man of my most exceptional talents should enter the forum of public life. But both parties are such rotters. A plague on both your houses. Almost enough to turn a man socialist. ” said Goldie Scot compellingly.
Duncan was bowled over by Goldie-Scot’s boundless self-assurance. Surely no one would have the impudence to tell such gargantuan lies. There must be some truth to all Goldie Scot was saying.
”Well you certainly have speaking ability” said Duncan.
”Yes, yes – I played the romantic lead in numerous operas. I excelled at acting. I had rave reviews in the Times for my Othello. I also played the title role in the Scottish play. The trouble is the West End is so louche and I am an ultra respectable married man. My good wife is the finest poetess since Sappho.” said Goldie Scot with verve. ”Our daughter Aphra is only two years old but she is already conversant in High German, Amharic and Mandarin. I shan’t be satisfied with her erudition until she can hold forth with perfect correctness in Akkadian, Sabatean and Chaldean with perfect correctness. It is the very least one can do as a father is to furnish one’s progeny with a bog standard education. ”
It was at this point it was all too much for Duncan. This man had to be a fantasist. He did not wish to indulge Goldie-Scot’s exhibitionism any longer.
”I see” Duncan said with a deliberately skeptical expression.
”Now Mr Self” Goldie Scot continued ”As I am in Ireland I wish to join the Orange Society. I shall have you know that my uncle Bertie was Grand Master of the Imperial Orange Council of the World. He was also a champion at equitation. So how do I go about enlisting in the Orange Society>?”
”I do not know” said Duncan firmly.
‘‘Ah more is the pity. Well I do not mind you knowing that Uncle Bertie was a major general with the Gurkhas. He has retired to Eastbourne now and he has taken his little Nepali batman with him. The little heathen is fiercely loyal and refuses to leave my uncle. The Nepali does not spake not a word of the Anglo Saxon tongue so they converse in Gorkhali. Uncle Bertie has the absolute command of that language. I thought of becoming Regius Professor of Old Norse at Oxford but I am not sure I could survive on the salary. How does one get by on a thousand sterling annum?” said Goldie Scot.
”Well sir it has been fascinating. I must do some marking now.” said Duncan tiring of these eye poppingly outrageous lies.
”I do not wish to detain you” said Goldie Scot bowing as if he were Japanese.
Duncan sat down at his desk and got on with his task. What was Goldie Scot’s non stop blinking all about? He seemed to be a lunatic.
Later Duncan walked down the corridor to a class. He humped into his colleague Ken Adams. ”Hey Ken I just met the new man” Duncan said in a half whisper.
”And is he nice?” asked Ken
”Barking mad. Absolute fantasist. Bore and show off – talking through his hat”, said Duncan
”What tall tales?” asked Ken
”Yep. Just the sort of thing Goss would swallow hook, line and sinker.” said Duncan sotto voce.
”Goss is such a social climber. He is gullible enough to fall for it I suppose.” said Ken Adams.
When Goldie Scot was ushered into a lesson the class was awestruck by his enormous presence both physical and psychological. He was the only teacher to wear a gown. Within minutes he had them eating out of his hand – as it were.
Duncan went to Sperrin Hall one morning to tutor Hon Theophilus Johnson. As he was shown in he was ushered into the drawing room again.
Lord Johnson sat with a tumbler of sherry and gestured to Stirling to pour Duncan a glass.
”No thank you” Duncan attempted to decline it with the palm of his right hand.
”Nonsense man. A schoolmaster cannot teach unless in a crapulous state!” said Lord Johnson. ”That is how Eton works. You are not one of those teetotalers are you?”
‘‘No I am not.” said Duncan shyly.
”Get it down you man” said the lord.
Duncan did as he was bade and took the drink.
”Now Self – good to see you here. Oh it has been a week. By Jove! My sister has got her coming out soon. You know debutante. It is the biggest headache since the little one was presented at court. Anyway a pity I have to hold the fort. Missed the Derby. Still it is no loss since those bally suffragettes keep stuffing it up. We have no such bother at the Irish Grand National. Makes me proud to be Irish. I want to go down to Leopardstown again and Fairyhouse” said the lord taking another drink. ”Are you a sportsman you race yourself?”
”Well I have been to the horse races not big ones. ” said Duncan.
” A man should lay a wager. I am as good a Prod as the next man but I am not a puritan. Have a flutter. You only die once! I am not as into the gee gees as Uncle Hubert. Uncle Hubert got himself into queer street. Had to self off his estate on the pampas in the Argentine. He disgraced us all with his bad debts. Pater bailed him out on condition that Uncle Hubert go off to South Africa and never return. So he is out there . Left his wife and bairns behind. He has taken up with some negress so I hear” said the lord ” now drink up you are drinking too slowly. Have you only got on testicle man!” said Lord Johnson.
”Sorry m lord” said Duncan.
”I forgive you old boy” said the lord. Duncan was surprised a man of twenty would call another man of twenty ‘old boy’.
Lord Johnson took another swig and continued, ”Now aunt Ariadne’s husband has been convicted for soliciting a whore. It really is infra dig. He has done what a Briton should do when in sexual disgrace. He has run off to France.”
”Goodness me” said Duncan thinking he had better not comment further.
”Oh Lord I should not be telling you this Self. You are plebeian but I have no one to talk to.” said the lord. He tried to pour more sherry and over topped the glass. As the liquid spilled onto the table the peer swore ”Blast! My cup overfloweth” he giggled.
”Oh goodness” Duncan felt obliged to comment.
The peer dealt with the mishap by downing the glass in one.
”Right go off now and teach the boy.” said the lord.
As Duncan was leaving his saw the lord signal to Stirling for more sherry.
As people filed out of the Anglican Church Rev Jones in his plain white surplice shook hands with his flock. Jones had treated them to another sermon of purgatorial tedium. The infinite boredom on the face of every child had given way to relief only as the last hymn rang out. They milled around outside.
Mr Goss hurried over to Lord Johnson. He doffed his homburg ‘‘My lord, if I may be so bold.”
”What is it Cross?’ said the lord impatiently. An hour without alcohol had not agreed with him and communion wine did not count.
”You hired Self as a tutor – perfectly competent as a tutor I am sure.” said Goss.
”Yes, Coss he is all right with my brother.” said the lord. He was nursing a hangover.
”But we have a new fellow. He is a Harrovian and an Oxonian. Much more your type m lord. Officer in the Territorial Force. He was tutor to His Majesty the Agha Khan’s sons.” said Goss excitedly.
”Was he now?” said Johnson raising an eyebrow.
”Yes my lord – a superb schoolmaster. His name is Goldie Scot” said Goss.
”I see. Seems fantastic. I cannot imagine what such a person would do teaching at a contemptible little school like yours. But send him over on Monday morning, will you?” said the lord.
”Yes, m lord. I shall!” said Goss.
One evening Duncan was invited to a gala singing evening at Rev Kirkwood’s house.
The slender Presbyterian minister greeted Duncan at his door. Rev Kirkwood wore a mid grey jacket and trousers with a pale blue shirt and dog collar. A thick thatch of silver hair sat on a bronzed face. Kindly emerald eyes twinkled from behind his little round glasses.
”Good evening Duncan. I may call you Duncan?” asked Kirkwood as they shook hands.
”Yes, Rev Kirkwood you may.” said Duncan instantly relaxing.
”Do come in” he said.
Duncan was brought into a sparsely furnished drawing room. A dozen people sat around the room. Water colour painting adorned the walls. Duncan admired them.
‘‘My humble work” Kirkwood simpered. ”The creation is what gives me faith. I want to bring people into the glory of God’s kingdom. ”
”They are very handsome. I thought ministers do not like art.” said Duncan.
”Some do not but I do. There are people who say we do no drink either but that is not true. I have a wee dram at Christmas and so on. Nothing against it in the Bible” said Rev Kirkwood. ”Everyone says we are dour but I like theatre as much as the next man.”
”Yes, I have heard you have been seen going to the theatre in Omagh.” said Duncan.
”I know. A few parishoners are against it. Nonsense! I wish I could go more but funds are right now I have adopted two more children” said Kirkwood.
”But you have four children of your own” said Duncan
”Yes that is why funds are tight’‘ Kirkwood made light of it. ”Fr Forrester even gives my children presents. Not that he gets much of a stipend. But do not tell people that Fr Forrester gives them presents. He says some of his parishoners would not like it.”
”As I walked by on Sunday I saw your son playing with toy soldiers” said Duncan.
”Yes. I let them play on Sunday. I get some grief for it from a few of my congregation. Organised sport on Sunday is wrong. But if a child wants to play with toys or adults want to play cards or chess so long as there is no wager riding on it then it is no sin. When I was a child we were allowed to play in the back garden but not in the front in case the neighbours might see. The hypocrisy of it was beyond belief.” said Kirkwood.
”Can’t they invoke scripture against you?” said Duncan..
”They can try but the Bible says not to work on the Sabbath. And it says common humanity must come before Sabbatarianism” said Kirkwood. ”I revere the Bible above all else. I know what it says.”
They then sang various parlour songs. They canticled some Percy French, several Gilbert and Sullivan numbers and operatic arias. There was a rendition of Soldiers of the Queen.
GOLIDE-SCOT EXPOSED BY LORD JOHNSON
Lord Johnson came to hear of Mr Goldie-Scot’s presence in Dunmore. Presently his lordship sent word for Goldie-Scot to take the morning off school and come to his lordship’s seat for an interview. Mr Goss readily agreed to Goldie-Scot being given a morning off work. The headmaster was ever eager to keep himself in the good graces of the local aristocracy.
The landau drew up on the gravel outside the ascendancy house. Stirling opened the door of the landau for Goldie-Scot. Goldie Scot was invited into the house and he handed his black silk top hate to Stirling. The butler then brought Goldie Scot to the study.
Lord Johnson sat at his desk wearing a silver silk dressing gown it being nine o clock in the morning. He had a tumbler of sherry in his hands. Goldie Scot blustered into the room wearing a charcoal grey chalk striped suit with brown brogues.
”Ah Goldie Scot – welcome” said Lord Johnson not bothering to rise. Goldie Scot bounded up to him. The lord did not stand but offered Goldie Scot the most perfunctory of handshakes.
”Good morning your lordship. It is good of you to see me.” said Goldie Scot effervescently.
‘‘Yes, it is rather” said the lord tartly.
”Now Goldie Scot – got a bit of a problem with my younger brother. That you can put right. Cross sings your praises.” said the lord languidly.
”Does he now?” said Goldie Scot. He was minded to correct the lord and tell him the headmaster’s name was Goss but thought the better of it.
”Oh God isn’t life insufferable” said the lord apropos of nothing. ”There was another perfectly horrid dinner last night. The local squires showing me their daughters wanting to marry them off to me. Mr Hunter showing me his three daughters. the youngest of them isn’t yet 14. Not that he wants me to marry her now but in a few years time. I can hardly stand it in our county. How does a man of breeding and education stand it here? What brings you to Ireland and to Tyrone of all places, Goldie Scot?”
”Well I want to see a bit of Ireland. I have got to know India and China. I have traveled all over France and conquered Mont Blanc. I have walked the Romantic Road in Germany. I have hunted buffalo with the redskins of British North America so it is high time I came to Hibernia.” said Goldie Scot.
”Is it now? I am staggered that a man of your prodigious talents should lower himself to teaching in such a school – trying to knock a bit of an education into those seldom fed plebeian lads.” said Lord Johnson.
The lord paused – he looked more closely at Goldie-Scot’s tie black with the turquoise blue stripes.
”Say, Goldie Scot you went to Harrow didn’t you?’‘ asked the lord with a dubious expression on his physiognomy.
”Yes, m’lord I did. I was head boy” said Goldie Scot uncertainly.
”What on earth are you doing wearing that? – that is an Old Etonian tie.” said Lord Johnson sceptically.
”No it is not. I am afraid you are mistaken m’lord.” said Goldie Scot blushing.
”It is an Old Etonian. I may be a sot but I am not blind. ” said Lord Johnson his tone turning nasty.
”It looks like one but it is not.” said Goldie Scot crimsoning.
”I never heard such balderdash. That is an OE tie. By the way which house were you in at Harrow?” said the lord angrily.
”West Acre” said Goldie Scot.
”Well that is a real Harrow house” said Lord Johnson. ”I know because cousin Diogenes went to Harrow.” He narrowed his gaze. ”Were you a wet bob at Harrow? You have the bulk for it.” he asked slowly and suspiciously.
”Yes, m ‘lord I was. I was in the 1st VIII.” said Goldie Scot.
”At least you know what a wet bob is. But funny that you claim to have done aquatics at Harrow. Harrow does not row.” said the lord firmly.
”No, m’lord Harrow does row.” said Goldie Scot almost stammering.
”Do not talk rot. There is no river within ten miles of Harrow.” said the lord decisively.
”No, Harrow rowed in my day but I left there some time ago” Goldie Scot laughed nervously.
”I smell a rat” said the lord with slow aggression. ”Goss says you were at the house.”
”Yes, I was” said Goldie Scot. He wondered what it signified that the lord had finally got the headmaster’s name right.
”So who was the head of house when you were there.” said the lord menacingly.
”I cannot remember I went down a long time ago.” said Goldie Scot reflectively.
”It cannot have been that long ago. You are not that old. A man never forgets the name of his head of house. Very well – what was his title?” said Lord Johnson disbelievingly.
”He was Master of Christ Church” said Goldie Scot. His bluster was long gone and he crossed his arms.
”Goldie Scot you have made a fool of yourself. It is Dean of Christ Church.” said the lord in an aggressive tone.
”But m lord the dean is in charge of discipline” said Goldie Scot – embarrassment engulfing him.
”No you silly fool. Dean is in charge of discipline at every other college. At the House the dean is head of house. ” said the lord triumphantly.
”No, m lord you are mistaken.” said Goldie Scot.
”I may have failed mods but I am not stupid. I am in statu pupillari at the moment. I remember these things.” said the lord. ”You were a brigadier in the Territorial Force? A likely story. Which regiment?” he said in a tone of interrogation.
”The Royal Greenjackets.” said Goldie Scot diffidently.
‘‘Royal Greenjackets – a fine body of men. So what was your year of commission?” said the lord with his arms folded.
”Nineteen hundred and one.” said Goldie Scot.
”You must have served with them out in the Transvaal then.” said the lord.
”Um… yes I did.” said Goldie Scot hesitantly.
”Funny that you never mentioned it before. You are not one to hide your light under a bushel. Who was the colonel in chief?” asked the lord. There was mounting dissatisfaction in his tone.
”Colonel in chief was … I do not recall” said Goldie Scot feebly.
”An officer would never forget his colonel in chief. I am in the OTC at Varsity. I know these things. Shall I look up your regiment in my military directory?” said the lord gesturing at his books behind him.
”Yes m lord please do’‘ said Goldie Scot meekly.
”Which regiment was it again?” said the lord getting up and ambling to the bookshelves.
”The Green Howards.” said Goldie Scot shyly.
”A moment ago you said Royal Greenjackets. Can’t get your story straight can you?” said the lord angrily. ”Is your name even Goldie Scot?” he fixed the man with a withering scowl.
Goldie Scot was left speechless. His 6’4” frame appeared to sink into the highly polished floorboards.
”How queer that you eloquence should suddenly desert you at this precise moment! You have been playing me for a fool. I am not carrying on with this charade. I knew you were a fraud the moment I spotted the tie. Oh what a web we weave when first we venture to deceive. I have half a mind to summon the game keeper and have him thrash you to within an inch of your life. You are like a poacher. How are you claim to be a Harrovian. How dare you claim to have been to Varsity and how dare you claim to have had the king’s commission. I would deal with you harshly if I had my way.” said the lord with quiet menace. ”Stirling” he hailed his servant.
There was a look of self-lacerating recrimination on Goldie-Scot’s face.
The butler came in. ”Yes, m lord”
”Show this man out. He is not a tutor he is a fraud. He is to walk off the estate and never come back.” said the lord.
”Yes your lordship” said Stirling.
”And Stirling – you are to go to the RIC barracks. I need to file a report with the sergeant” said the lord grinning at Goldie-Scot. He then took a determined swig of sherry.
APPREHENSION OF GOLDIE SCOT
Goldie Scot was in his lodgings that night. He sat at his desk in his bedroom writing a letter to his bank manager asking for a loan.
Just then there was a series of gentle but anxious knocks on his door.
”Mr Goldie Scot” an elderly male voice wobbled.
”Yes, Mr McGuinness?” Goldie Scot called to his landlord.
”Yerra will you please come out here. There is some gentlemen here to see you” said Mr McGuinness.
Goldie Scot came out of his bedroom wearing a camel coloured tweed three piece suite. He started back to see three officers of the law there staring hard at him.
”Mr Goldie Scot?” said Sgt O’Flaherty challengingly.
”Er… yes” said Goldie Scot wondering whether to deny that identity.
”Or should it be alias Goldie Scot?” said O’Flaherty. He then grabbed Goldie-Scot’s wrist and clamped a handcuff on. He expertly twirled Goldie Scot almost like a partner on the dance floor and in a trice hand both wrists handcuffed together. The sergeant had sensed that this man was not the type given to violence.
”Manacles must be no stranger to you!” said O’Flaherty. The other two policemen chortled.
Goldie-Scot composed himself. Despite what Lord Johnson had said he had somehow not expected to be arrested this time. He mentally kicked himself. He could have made tracks! Got a jarvey to drive him to the nearest railway station. Get a train – abandon his luggage in the lodgings. A new town, a new name – start afresh. He had not tried to con anyone in Dunmore.
”Might I know what the charge is sergeant” said Goldie Scot
”Attempting to obtain a pecuniary advantage by deception. And bad taste in clothes” said O’Flaherty. His underlings laughed raucously as they man handled the man downstairs and into the front hall where there was a portrait of the pope and of the Blessed Virgin.
”Unhand me sergeant. I shall have you know I am a close personal friend of the viceroy.” said Goldie Scot.
”Oh really” said the sergeant ”what is his name?”
”His name is … lord… somebody.” said Goldie Scot affording the police more mirth. ”His name escapes me as I am a little discomposed at the moment for reasons you might surmise.”
They were now out on the street.
”So what is your real name” said the sergeant as they walked him down the street.
”All right I shall tell you. One does not like to blow one’s own trumpet but I am Brigadier Professor Matthias Goldie-Scot of that Ilk Laird of Camster” said the suspect.
”Gets even better” said the sergeant laughing till tears ran down his cheeks.
Once in the station Goldie Scot was stripped and given prison clothes. O’Flaherty then questioned him gently.
”What is your real name?” asked the sergeant.
”I shall have you know I am the Laird of Camster”
”Don’t give me that” said the sergeant looking away for a moment in disgust. ”Your real name”
”I told you my good man. Sergeant O’Flaherty I am a laird.” said the man
”A real gentleman never calls a lowly police sergeant by his rank. Lord Johnson only ever calls me by my name. You gave yourself away again” O Flaherty taunted. ”Now where were you before you came here?”
”I was in the Holy Land. I had been there for a year dwelling among the Ishmaelites and riding camels. I accompanied them on many raids. I read the Al Koran because I can speak the Turkish tongue with perfect correctitude.” said Goldie Scot.
”Correctitude indeed” O Flaherty mocked.
”I shall have you know that I disguised myself as a Mohametan and was able to penetrate Mecca. I was the first uncircumcised there since Burton.” said Goldie Scot. ”I know all the deeds and sayings of Rasul Mohamet.”
”Very impressive” said the sergeant ”now come on. What is the truth. Help yourself.”
”Sergeant your life has been in a very small compass and I have roved this wild world o’er” he said unctuously.
O’Flaherty’s friendly face slipped. ”I have not got all night. Come on give me the truth. I could put the boxing gloves on and get the truth out of you!”
”Sergeant – the Al Koran is a most moving text its unexampled symphony moves the pious to tears.” said Goldie Scot.
”You shall get no food or water till you tell me your name. We can have you stripped stark naked and spend the night in the cold” said O Flaherty.
”I shall have you know my great aunt Mildred once played lacrosse against the suffragan Bishop of St Albans’ goddaughter” said Goldie Scot
”You are a loony. But even though you are doo lally you are still a low down thief.” said O Flaherty.
”Your vulgarity does not lend point to your invective.” said Goldie Scot. ”Even the slowest mind would perceive me to be a most exalted personage!”
Just then Constable Byrne came in ”Sarge we have his name – on his clothes.” showing him a jacket with a label sewn into it.
”Ah so Mark Scot” said O Flaherty in satisfaction.
”I don t know him” said Scot.
”So you fraudster – tell us the truth. It will be better for you. You want us to tell the prison to put you in a cell with the sodomites?” said O Flaherty.
”What spirit of enquiry is that? Soon I shall return to de Oranje Frei Staat where I wrestled wildebeest.” said Scot.
”Mark Scot. We have you now!”
”That is a fallacy. May I have some reading material? The poems of Dickens please.” said Scot.
Oddly there seemed to be no self doubt.
”Dickens wrote no poems. You idiot” said O Flaherty
Scot’s face changed colour faster than anyone O Flaherty had seen. Calling him an idiot had hit home.
”I don’t mind you knowing that I rode a black stallion across Wallachia. I must say their quince jam is capitol.” said Scot.
”Scot – don’t give me this nonsense. You have committed fraud. Trying to defraud the school and Lord Johnson of hundreds of pounds. Best way you can help yourself is by telling the truth.” said O Flaherty. He was beginning to wonder when Scot’s resistance would peter out. Faced with incontrovertible proof of their crime the malfeasant usually crumbles. Scot’s resistance to reality made O’Flaherty doubt the man’s sanity.
”My good man” said Scot in a phrase borrowed from Lord Johnson. ”I shall have you know when I was Governor of Rajputana Agency I once bullied off for a chukka with the Nawab of Pataudi.”
”Have you lost your reason?” said O’Flaherty in exasperation.
”My word you are bold sir! To say I have lost my wits! I should have you clapped in irons you guttersnipe. I am the Grand Panjandrum of Trivandrum. I shall have you know that when I was in Constantinople I was graciously pleased to grand an audience to the Grand Turk. When the descendent of the Prophet beseeched me to grant his humble submission I took pity on him and agreed that he may yet reside at the Sublime Porte. I availed myself of his harem and made free with his odalisques. I must have sired two score infants by his stable of negresses, Circassians, Ishmaelites and suchlike.”
”You are a kook!” said Flaherty.
”I shall have you fettered in a fetid dungeon you jackanapes!” said Goldie-Scot captiously.
”You are a hoot” said Flaherty unable to control his laughter.
”My good fellow – you are a papist are you?” Goldie Scot asked impetuously.
”Catholic yes, last time I practised” said Flaherty.
”I shall have you know I have received the red hat and you shall address me as Your Eminence. ” said Goldie Scot in an imperious tone.
”Your Eminence” Flaherty giggled but felt almost blasphemous about indulging such fantasy.
”When the Roman Pontiff is called to his reward he shall reach the Pearly Gates of St Peter. Then the conclave shall meet. When the white smoke issues forth you hall hear the cardinal secretary of state utter the immortal words annuncio vobis gaudeam magnum. Habemus papam – eminentissisum ac reverendissimum cardinalum sancatum romanum ecclesiam dominium marcuium cardinalum scotum qui sibi nominee imposui petrum secundus!” said Goldie Scot solemnly.
”Now that is sacrilegious!” said Flaherty in ire.
”I shall don the white robes and red shoes, I shall don the fisherman’s ring and ascend the throne of St Peter. I shall be borne aloft on sedia gestatoria.” said Scot in a serious tone.
This was too much for Flaherty who fell on Scot and gave him a good thrashing with his baton.
Scot soon went into a fugue. Only hours later did he snap out of it.
Goldie Scot was loquacious to the point of lunacy. His verbiage got the better of O’Flaherty who called for the doctor. He thought that the suspect may well have lost his reason.
Dr Mallon came along. Goldie Scot was in a cell on his own. He had taken off his red socks and carefully folded them and placed them on his head as though they were headgear.
O’Flaherty unlocked the cell and let Dr Mallon in. Goldie Scot sat bolt upright on his bed and stared intently at the wall. He did not react in the least to Mallon entering the cell.
”That is a nice hat you have got there” said Mallon in a chirpy tone – indicating Goldie Scot’s socks on his head.
”I shall have you know it is my cardinal’s hat. The pope gave it to me this morning.” said Goldie Scot.
Mallon drew up a chair and sat opposite him. ”A cardinal I see.” said Mallon urbanely. ”Well I never. I have met kings and queens in this line of work, a prophetess, Elijah, St Patrick, the King of the Belgians, Geronimo but no – never a cardinal.”
”I shall have you address me as your eminence.” said Goldie Scot. ”Are you not a faithful child of the church?”
”Which church would that be?” asked Mallon tranquilly.
”The Universal church – why of course. The true religion. The holy Roman Catholic and apostolic church” said Goldie Scot. peevishly.
”Yes, I am.” said Mallon guardedly.
”I shall have you know I went to Cambridge. Peterhouse College if you must know. When I was there I read all the poesy of Dickens. I passed the Mathematical Tripos in a year. It was May week. I was the wrangler that year. They carried me shoulder high. I was then one of the heaven born – a civil servant. I was a mandarin to the mandarins. I was in charge of Chinese customs. But it was a frightful bore. I did not care for the Analects of Confucius. So I took ship and returned to Blighty by way of Bombay. I can tell you those union castle steamships do serve a good tiffin. When in Egypt I rode a camel to the Great Pyramids. I was able to wrestle a recalcitrant bull camel to the ground. They are most refractory beasts. So I came home. I just sort of hung around on the family estate – Chatsworth if you must know. It it better than Bowood. His Majesty the King did not know what opulence was until he saw my pile. ”
”I have seen quite a few piles” the doctor chortled.
”Shut up man can’t you see I am talking? I am edifying you with my disquisition.” he said petulantly shooting Mallon a look of disapprobation.
Mallon pretended to be chastised.
Goldie Scot continued his tone still testy at first. ”I was university orator at Oxford. It is not a patch on Cambridge. Anyway, I was in the blue boat – captain of boats. I won the Newidgate. I composed a very free English translation of the Odyssey in didactic hexameter. But my Latin is not much good. ”
”That is fascinating” said Mallon. He noticed that Goldie Scot was no longer hypomanic. He got out a pack of cigarettes. Mallon lit one and offered it to Goldie Scot.
”Thank you my good man” said Goldie Scot. ”When I get out of this hotel I may offer you employ as my manservant”
Goldie Scot lit a cigarette and used it to ignite a tightly rolled piece of newspaper. He put it into his mouth and started smoking the tightly bound piece of newspaper about 6 inches long.
”What on earth are you doing?” asked Mallon in genuine consternation. ”Smoking paper?”
”Are you fucking stupid? Can’t you see it is a cigar. Cohiba supremos. So much better than a King Edward” said Goldie Scot cantankerously. He took a decadent puff . He started to look placid.
Mallon winced to imagine what newsprint tasted like when smoked.
”Anyway boy” Goldie Scot continued ”as I was saying. I may hire you as a manservant. The remuneration shall be most liberal – half a crown per leap year. It shall be payable only at the completion of the same. Should I dismiss you before
Later he lapsed into a trance.
DOCTOR EXPLAINS GOLDIE SCOT.
A few days later Dr Sean Mallon called up to the big house. Stirling showed him in to the study.
”Ah Mallon. Good of you to come” said Lord Johnson. ”Sit down.”
”Thank you m lord” said Mallon.
”Stirling – pour this man some sherry.” said the lord. Stirling obeyed.
Mallon took the glass and partook of the liquor. ”It was a nice ride over. I have a new gelding.” said Mallon.
”I see. Now Mallon – message from the police is you got to the bottom of this Goldie Scot character. He is a bounder!” said the lord.
”My your lordship” said the physician. ”After the man tried to trick you then Sergeant O’Flaherty arrested him at his lodgings. Goldie Scot was taken into custody at the station. Kept changing his story. He was Laird of Camster and a Rear Admiral in the Navy – Lacanian Professor at Cambridge. They wondered if this fella was a lunatic so they summoned me for a psychiatric evaluation. ” Mallon took out his woodbines and lit one up. He gestured towards the peer who declined a cigarette with a patrician wave of the hand. ”He over reached himself with his confabulations.”
”And?’‘ said Lord Johnson.
”The man has delusions of grandeur. These are prestige lies. Narcissism. Personality disorder certainly. Psychiatric disorder I am unsure. There is a certain method to his madness. He knows when he is lying and finds out about the things he is lying about. Sometimes he gets it wrong and trips up. Told me he wanted to join the Orangemen because he is as a good at Catholic as any!” Mallon laughed. So did the lord.
”How did you take that as a Catholic.?” said the lord.
”Quite well” said Mallon. ”While I was relaxing him getting him to blabber his mouth off they looked through his thing. He had a spectacle case with the name Malcolm Scot in it and a prescription for Malcom Scot. Some clothes with the name Macolm Scot sewn in. A variety of different names in other items. The police sent to HQ all his names and his fingerprints. Came back positive on a few of them” said Mallon.
”So who is this charlatan?” said the lord.
”That is his real name. Malcom Michael Scot. Born in Berwick upon Tweed 1892. Son of a publican. Joined the Grenadier Guards at 17. Queen’s Company.” said the doctor.
”Of course he has the height for it.” said the lord.
”Served five years. Then was a porter at an Oxford college.” said Mallon
”That is how he knows so much about Oxford.” said the lord
”Precisely. Then tried his hand at acting. He married had two children. Walked out on then. Married a Danish widow for her money. They say he really wanted her daughter. Gaoled for bigamy. Then he began impersonating colonial officials home on leave. Opening bank accounts. Writing bad cheques under an assumed name and disappearing. He served another spell in prison for that. So he has been charged with dishonestly attempting to obtain a pecuniary advantage.” said Mallon
”Well he is a decent actor!’‘ said the lord. ‘‘Some tales were almost a masterpiece of deceit.”
”Yes, my lord he is. If only he had stuck to the stage. He was released from Mountjoy a month back for his latest fraud and then came here.” said the physician.
”So where is he now?” asked the lord.
”Cooling his heels in Derry Gaol. He is on remand.” said Mallon.
”Londonderry Gaol” the peer corrected him. ”How is McAllister?” asked the lord.
”Dr McAllister is doing well. Just got back from Antrim today. His mother died you see. He is taking over the surgery tomorrow. It is my day off” said Mallon.
”I should have know that that Scot was a bounder the moment I saw his brown shoes. Gave himself away. ” said the peer.
”Sergeant O’Flaherty said he gave himself away with the wrong tie.” said the doctor.
”Yes, that was the first thing that aroused my suspicion. Then there were other things he could not answer. One mistake after another’‘ said the peer. ”He prided himself on being able to talk on any subject so it seemed to me. Rabbiting away. Till he suddenly clammed up. Then I knew I had the blackguard.” Then Lord Johnson changed the subject abruptly as though he had suddenly become bored of the Goldie Scot affair. ”Now, Mallon, marching season may be a bit different this year. What with the Home Rule nonsense and all that. The Catholics are all for Home Rule so I hear – 19 out of 20 of them anyway. The Catholic wants Home Rule. I accept that. The Protestant does not. You probably want Home Rule, Mallon. Nothing wrong with that. But I am a trifle worried that there may be some kerfuffle this marching season. Ruffians might try to start fights. So you and McAllister should be on hand to patch anyone up.”
”Yes, m lord. Unfortunately I was having the same thought. There are some hotheads who say they want to stop the Orange boys marching. The Orange are trying to stop Home Rule so we must stop them – that is what I have been hearing.” said Mallon.
”Yes, I can imagine. Well I shall use my good influence to make sure nothing untoward comes to pass. But the real hooligans on our side are not Orangemen. Orangemen are the respectable working class. The ruffians are the day labourers, tatie hokers and the like. Now between you and me they say that I am shoe in for the next Worshipful Master of our lodge. The Order likes to have peers high up in the hierarchy and quite right too. If I am made Worshipful Master I shall have a bit more influence over the Protestant lower class but I cannot be held answerable for all of them.” said the peer.
”Yes, I see m lord. People on my side are getting their hopes up. But I have counselled some hot heads not to get too excited. I am not sure we will get Home Rule even though this is the third time we are trying for it.” said Mallon. ”Will England ever stand for it? They are Protestants and you are Protestants so England may well say – we cannot abandon our Protestant cousins. Not in Ulster anyway. The rest of Ireland will probably get it.”
”Well Mallon – your average Englishman is a bit thick. He knows nothing of Irish history much less religion. Your Englishman will say – I am a Protestant. Yes, I am C of E. But it does not mean much to him. I am not so sanguine. I know I have to pretend to be in the Orange lodge. I must not let the other ranks down. They look to me for leadership don’t you know?” said the peer.
”M lord, the Liberals have a wafer thin majority in the House of Commons. Might be another election before long. Look at the House of Lords. Packed with Tory peers all on the Orange side.” said Mallon. ”they will help your lot out.’
”Mallon, we Ulster Prods have not forgotten the Siege of Derry. I had an ancestor there. Don’t go telling anyone but I am descended form one of the Apprentice boys. It won’t do for hoi pello to know that the local aristo has common blood in his veins. Anyway – my point is the English let us starve for months. The ship Mountjoy lay in the mouth of the Foyle for weeks. Too damn yellow to break the boom for ages. In that time half of us starved. If James has not been such a poltroon the Jacobites could have stormed the walls and put us all to the sword – then goodbye to Protestant Ulster. Lucky for us that James turned out to be an even bigger coward than the English.” said the peer.
”I see m lord. We all have to start somewhere. My father was a shopkeeper. Both my grandfathers were cottiers. ” said Mallon.
”Well Mallon, you are a medical man. A cut above a farrier – I grant you. How odd it is that the Roman Catholic doubts we will have Home Rule and the Orangeman doubts that we won’t. No more wishful thinking” he chortled.
”That is a fine joke” said Mallon smiling fa lsely.
”There is this absurd notion that all Orangemen hate you Roman Catholics. One of my best pals at Oxford is a Catholic. Graf Renatus von Seilern und Aspern. Austrian, you see. In Austria I would not count as an aristo at all. Got to have all sixteen great great grandparents of armorial ranks. Too many bloody quarters on the escutcheon” said the peer. He looked away wistfully. ”Oh Oxford. Full of Liberals and even socialists now. I might go back for the cricket season. Then that is it. I am too old for school. I can come here and play for Tyrone. ”
ANOTHER LESSON WITH THEOPHILUS
Duncan turned up at Lord Sperrin’s house. He was shown into the oak paneled study. It being nine bells Lord Johnson was sipping sweet sherry and dressed in a silk Japanese dressing gown.
”Morning there Self!’‘ said the lord as he folded away a copy of the Times.
”Good morning m lord.” said Duncan.
”News not too good I am afraid. Asquith is hell bent on this Home Rule nonsense. A rotter like that fraud Goldie whatever we had here last week. If Asquith came to Ireland we would show him! We are Irish and we shan’t stand for Home Rule!” said Lord Johnson.
”Quite” said Duncan trying to mock his interlocutor subtly.
”Tell me Self – you are a Prod aren’t you? Why aren’t you in the Orange Order?” asked the peer.
”It is not really my sort of thing” said Duncan.
”Not your sort of thing? You are intelligent man. You value what we stand for – religion, the monarchy, the Union, charity. Now between you me and the wall I am probably going to get Worshipful Master very soon.” said the peer.
”That is a high accolade m lord.” said Duncan
”Yes, indeed quite a feather in my cap. That charlatan last week claimed to have carried off all the glittering prizes at Oxford. Made me call to mind Nero awarding himself 300 prizes at the Olympics including poetry. But even Goldie Scot did not have the temerity to say he was a worshipful master. ” said the lord. ”Now come on why don’t you join?”
”Well my lord I like to watch the parades. Everyone likes them Catholics as much as ourselves. But I would not like all the practicing. And I am afraid to say that some bad men have joined your organisation’‘ said Duncan
”Well that is true we allow any Tom, Dick or Harry in. Some scum need to be booted out.” said the peer.
”My lord some of your members discriminate against Catholics.” said Duncan.
”Well I have heard some of them bad mouth our Roman Catholic friends. But that is not most of us. I am not anti Catholic. I have enough Catholics around here. Half my staff is Roman Catholic. The butler Stirling is a Prod and the Mulhearn is a Catholic. Of the cooks let me see Quinn is a Catholic and the other one Barns is a Prod. Who else is there? The gamekeeper Lang is a Protestant but Wilson is not. Then there are the footmen. Daventry is a Protestant and so is Woodrow. We have the coachmen. Pilkington is a Catholic – funny name for a Catholic that. Joyce is the other coachman – also a Catholic. As for the grooms let me see – O’Donnell is a Catholic and so is Crean. Trying to think of the maids – Mini is a Catholic. She is Crean’s sister. Mairead is also a Catholic. She is married to Wilson. Again such an English name for a Roman Catholic. There are scullery maids – Bridie is a Roman Catholics but Rhiannon is not. Among the underservants – Kirsty is a Protestant but Orla is a Catholic. That must be half and half. We employ the best people whatever their religion. In the lodge some have said I should only hire our own. I tell them to move on!’‘ said Lord Johnson.
”I am pleased to hear it m’lord.” said Duncan.
”Self – I can tell you I like some Roman Catholics very much. Very much! No do not go telling anyone. I had a little paramour here – Oonagh Mulqueen. I have a daughter with her – Concepta. Oonagh wanted the child baptized in the Catholic Church. Her family were not best pleased that she has a love child. But Oonagh and the baby still live in servants’ quarters. I was not having her sent to a Magdalen home – even though I am at Magdalen!” he quipped.
”I see my lord. I can assure you my lips are sealed.’‘ said Duncan.
”Do you know that silly girl Oonagh thought I might actually marry her? My cousin Themis married a Roman Catholic and the family was not best pleased. I do not mind people marrying Roman Catholics. Of course as an Orangeman it is unthinkable. Well maybe if she converted. But her family would not hold with that. For her to have a child outside wedlock was one thing but to then cross the Tiber – that would be the end. She would be dead to them. So I see my natural child almost daily” said the lord.
MEETING THE PRIESTS
Duncan went over to Blessed Oliver Plunkett School to meet Fr Forrester. He felt a certain trepidation as he knocked on the door. He had never set foot in a Catholic school or Catholic chair.
The school was made of rough grey stone. A white statue of a tonsured monk stood by the door with his right hand up in token of benediction.
Fr Forrester came to the door. ”Mr Self? Do come in. How good to see you again” said the diminutive man.
”Thank you father” said Duncan. It felt distinctly odd to call a man ‘father’ who was not his father or the father of any.
Duncan was brought into a small office. A pot of tea was ready on the tatty desk. The white washed walls there was a portrait of the pope and of Jesus holding open his tunic to show his sacred heart burning and surrounded by a crown of thorns.
”Mr Self I am so pleased that you are here. Your suggestion of football between the schools is a lovely idea. Boys together! The trouble is that some people in this town are very bitter in spirit. So I hope sport will bring them together. ” said the priest.
”Yes father it is a nice idea. father – you are not headmaster of this school, you are…?” asked Duncan gauchely.
”I am the manager. Sort of head of the board of governors. That is the way in every Catholic school in Ireland just about” said the priest.
”Ah that explains it.” said Duncan
Just then a swarthy priest in his late 20s standing 6’2” and well built came in. He had thick rimmed glasses and dark blond hair.
”Good morning Mr Self” said the lanky cleric.
Duncan was taken aback to see a macho priest. ”Good morning Father”
”I am Father Boyle’‘ he said softly. His voice was very placid for one so imposing.
”I see — well please to meet you Father Boyle.” said Duncan.
”This football idea is a good one. Our GAA club will not like it but that cannot be helped. I am chaplain of the local GAA and the Gaelic League. We are teaching the boys the Pater Noster in Irish” said Fr Boyle.
”I see” said Duncan rather surprised, ”I thought Roman Catholic worship was all in Latin.”
”The liturgy is in Latin. The hymns, the homily and so on can be in any language” said Fr Boyle.
”Oh I see” said Duncan adding ”You know I have never met a Roman Catholic priest before.”
”Please” said Boyle ”We call ourselves Catholics not Roman Catholics. We are not Italian.”
”Forgive me” said Duncan.
”Te absolvero – when you become a Catholic” said Fr Forrester cheekily.
”I have never had a conversation with a Protestant before” said Boyle. ”Can you believe it! But then I did grow up somewhere else where there were almost no Prods around” he said in a Southern accent.
”Is it true you all take a new name when you become priests?” said Duncan
”We have names in religion. My name is Evaristus” said Forrester ”but my birth name is Daithi.”
”Evaristus. Where did you find that one?” asked Duncan
”An early pope” said Forrester. ”Daithi is the equivalent of David.”
”My goodness I am learning so much.” said Duncan.
”You should come to the presbytery over in Knock for dinner some time we would teach you. You should join the Gaelic League” said Boyle mischievously.
”I would like that very much” said Duncan. ”Not so sure about joining the Gaelic League. I know only a bit of French and I want to concentrate on that. I dream of visiting France.”
”Now do you know what Knock means?” asked Boyle
”Knock on the door, of course” said Duncan ”Is that a trick question?”
”No, not a trick question. It means hill as a toponym – in Irish.” said Boyle.
”I never knew that” said Duncan
”It is amazing that an intelligent man can live in Ireland his whole life and not know that. You are so full of questions. I thought you would have wondered. These places names are not just sounds. They must have meaning” said Boyle.
”My word. It is amazing.” said Duncan
”By the way my name in religion is Mario since you were asking” said Boyle
”Mario? Like Mary? But that is a woman’s name” said Duncan his brow knit in perplexity.
”Well this is the masculine equivalent. Come on we can turn John to Joan so we can turn Mary to Mario. It is very popular in Italy” said Fr Boyle
”This ecumenical dialogue is fascinating” said Fr Forrester. ”But I wonder if we should get down to brass tacks. Football match against your lads on Saturday would be fine. But one thing – do you intend to sing God Save the King at the start?”
”Yes, it is the national anthem of course we always sing it.” said Duncan
”Mmmm” said Fr Forrester, ”It does not bother me one whit but some of our boys would not like it. Half of them would join in. Others would be silent. A few might be tempted to sing God Save Ireland instead.”
”Ah I see.” said Duncan
”Situation would have been all right last year but this year with this Home Rule thing in the newspapers – it has got people talking less say” said Forrester
”I see – a tricky situation” said Duncan.
”So if you could agree not to sing it then it would avoid some difficulty on our side.” said Forrester.
”To be quite frank I would prefer if you did not sing it” said Boyle.
”Why is that?” said Duncan
”I am Irish. I am not English. That is the national anthem of England and that is that. I know some people in Ireland consider themselves English or Scots or whatever and that is up to them but we are Irish. We do not feel respect or loyalty to George V. That is that” said Boyle firmly.
Duncan was taken aback. ”I have heard of people with this attitude. It is the national anthem of the United Kingdom.”
”Ireland is not part of the United Kingdom” said Boyle.
”I think you will find that it is. The Flag over Dublin Castle is red, white and blue. Have you heard of the Act of Union?” said Duncan. ”You might know it was the pope who told Henry II to bring Ireland into the Catholic fold.”
”How do you feel about that as a Prod?” asked Boyle.
”Does not bother me one iota. There was not Protestantism then. I am not against Catholicism. You are free to worship as you wish. All the kings and queens were Catholics until 1533. There is a lot admire about your church” said Duncan
Boyle was disarmed by the answer.
”Gentlemen please” said Forrester ”We are all Christians here. How does you hymn go ‘we must be united/ All one body we/One in faith and doctrine/ One in charity.’ ”
”Not all doctrines are true” said Boyle.
”I could say the same but I won’t” said Duncan
”Please Fr Boyle we must be polite to our guest. ” said Forrester ” We can agree on helping the needy. Fr Boyle did such good work bringing the Gospel to the benighted heathen in the Gold Coast.”
”Yes” said Boyle ”I was a missionary there for two years in the white man’s grave/”
”Very impressive” said Duncan genuinely.
”Thank you.” said Boyle.
”Now gentlemen – we are separated brethren. We can all agree on empire” said Forrester ”the flag follows the cross. We need empire it is the only way to spread the Christian faith. The Spanish did so much for the savages of America when the Spaniards brought the light of salvation. they freed those barbarians from their brutalism. They brought them to Jesus. In Africa and Asia we are saving souls for Christ. I dislike it when people call it the English Empire. It is the British Empire. Those colonies are Ireland’s too. We have fought to bring the faith to the black men. We are the soldiers, the sailors and the governors too. We have shed our blood in Africa and in India to free the poor heathen from ignorance, superstition and devilry.”
”Yes, we can agree on that” said Duncan.
”Yes, here I have to agree. The English have brought Christianity to the Africans and the Asiatics. Protestantism is not as good as our religion but it is still Christianity of a sort. I still believe nul salus ex ecclesia. I am not anti English. I pray on bended knee each night that the English will see the error of their ways and come back to Mother Church and the Protestants in Ireland too.” said Boyle.
”Well that is good of you” said Duncan nonplussed. ”I cannot say I pray for you to become Protestants. I would not mind if you did. I do not object to you being Catholics. Never really thought about it whether you should cross the Tiber/”
”Apostate? Never” said Boyle.
”Mr Self we know you are one of the reasonable ones. Not an Orangeman” said Boyle.
”Not all Orangemen are bad.” said Forrester. ”Our landlord was an Orangeman and a good fellow too. Let us off the rent when times were tough. My brother in law employs an Orangeman in his shop”
”Ah well but more than a few of them are hooligans” said Boyle
”I am afraid that is true.” said Duncan.
”Anyway as for empire the French , the Belgians and others have done so much to bring Jesus to the poor unlettered African” said Boyle.
”I am not to happy with France. Not since they removed Catholicism from the state. France is a Catholic nation. Everyone knows it. How dare those radicals say France has no faith. I think it is those Dreyfusard – conspirators” said Forrester.
”My goodness I had no idea about that” said Duncan.
”Now Mr Self. When you come to ours for dinner there will be no alcohol I am afraid” said Forrester.
”but I thought the Catholic Church was not against alcohol. You drink wine in church.” said Duncan
”No sir. We drink the blood of Christ in church. ” said Forrester most sincerely. ”Now we are both pioneers” pointing to badges on their lapels. ”There will be no meat either I am afraid.”
”No meat. You are vegetarians?’‘ said Duncan.
”No sir. We have the budget for it but we have told the housekeeper to give all our meat to the poor of this parish.” said Boyle.
”My God. Well – it is so good to meet clergy who really live as they should. Really follow the example of Jesus.” said Duncan.
ANOTHER LESSON WITH THEOPHILUS
Some days later Duncan was conveyed by horse and coach to the Earl of Sperrin’s seat. He was shown into the ballroom. Lord Johnson was in a suit and sitting at a table swigging sherry.
”Ah Self. How are you my good fellow?” said the peer.
”I am very well thank you my lord. How are you?” said Duncan.
”I am top hole. My good man – won’t you have a sherry?” asked Lord Johnson.
Duncan knew better than to decline. He accepted a glass and sipped it. ”Sit down” the peer commanded. Duncan obeyed.
”Been reading every Fleet Street newspaper” said the peer ”Cannot find good news on Home Rule. Asquith is going for Home Rule. Bit between his teeth. Alea iacta est, I am afraid.” said the peer.
”I am sorry to hear it m lord.” said Duncan.
”I wish Churchill was on our side. He would stiffen our spine. But the blackguard is a Liberal now. To think his father was on our side. Turncoat. Churchill does not believe what he is doing. But would not believe it if he were on our side either. Pity this bloody Home Rule thing. My grandfather was a Liberal. Was a great one for Gladstone. Then Gladstone declared for Home Rule. Grandfather died within a month. A broken heart they say” said the peer.
”Yes my Lord I knew the Liberals were strong in Ireland 30 years ago” said Duncan
”So they were. Then my family became Liberal Unionist. That is the same as Tory now” said the peer. ”Now my good chap. You will have noticed the marble floor – chquered black white.”
”Yes m lord I did.” said Duncan
”A clever chap you are. Now you will be aware what this is for?”
”People say the Freemasons meet here.” said Duncan
”Spot on. So how about joining us? You do not like the Orange Order. Maybe Masons is more to your taste. No ruffians. We do not let just anyone in and it is not political.” said the peer.
”Not really my thing m lord. But as you are the local worthy m lord it would be wrong to refuse. I defer to my superiors.” said Duncan
”Excellent choice” said the lord. ”We shall see about admitting you to the first degree. Pater shall be back from town soon. What a splendid city our capital is. Have you been to London?” said the peer.
”No m lord. I have only been to Dublin a couple of times. When you said our capital I thought you meant Dublin. ” said Duncan
”Well it is a common mistake. We are Irish. That makes us British” said the peer.
”yes my lord. You are quite right.” said Duncan
”So looking forward to the marching season. The music as the Orangemen march – makes the blood race. Nothing is more Irish than an Orange march” said the peer.