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Oddsfish! by Robert Hugh Benson

And that the guilt of the Papists was made plain


looked at me with an agitated face, and said nothing: his lips worked, and he was very pale, yet it seemed to me with anger: so I asked him again; and this time he answered.

"Sir, I do not know who you are," he said. "But it is Sir Edmund Berry Godfrey who has been foully murdered by the Papists. He hath been found on Primrose Hill, and we are taking him to his house. I do not know, sir--"

But I was gone; and up the lane as fast as I could run. All that I had heard, all that I had feared, all even that I had dreamed, was being fulfilled. The links were forging swiftly. I do not know, even now as I write, how it was that Sir Edmund met his end, whether he had killed himself, as I think--for he was of a melancholiac disposition, as was his father and his grandfather before him--or whether, as indeed I think possible, he was murdered by the very man who swore so many Catholic lives away, by way of giving colour to his own designs--for if a man will swear away twenty lives, what should hinder him from taking one? One thing only I know, that no Catholic, whether old or young, Jesuit or not, saint or sinner, had any act or part in it; and on that I would lay down my own life.

By the time that I arrived at the rising mound--for a force mightier than prudence drove me to see the end--the head of the great concourse was beginning to arrive. Across the street from side to side stretched

the company, all tramping together and murmuring like the sound of the sea. It was as if all London town was gone mad: for I do not believe there were above twenty men in that great mob, who were not persuaded that here was the corroboration of all that had been said upon the matter of the plot; and that the guilt of the Papists was made plain. Some roared, as they came, threats and curses upon the Pope, the Jesuits, and every Catholic that drew breath; but the most part marched silently, and more terribly, as it appeared to me. The street was becoming as light as day, for torches were being kindled as they came; and, at the last, came the great coach, swaying upon its swings, in which the body was borne.

I craned my head this way and that to see; and, as the coach passed beneath me, I saw into its interior, and how there lay there, supported by two men, the figure of another man whose face was covered with a white cloth.


It would occupy too much space, were I to set down in detail all that passed between the finding of Sir Edmund Berry Godfrey's body, and the being brought to trial of the Jesuit Fathers. But a brief summary must be given.

The funeral of Sir Edmund was held three or four days later in St. Martin's, and the sermon was preached by Dr. Lloyd, his friend, who spoke from a pulpit guarded by two other thumping divines, lest he should be murdered by the Papists as he did it. There was a concourse of people that cannot be imagined; and seventy-two ministers walked in canonicals at the head of the procession. Dr. Lloyd spoke of the dead man as a martyr to the Protestant religion.

By the strangest stroke of ill-fortune Parliament met ten days before the funeral, which happened on the thirty-first of October; so that the excitement of the people--greatly increased by the exhibition of the dead body of Sir Godfrey--was ratified by their rulers--I say their

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