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Oddsfish! by Robert Hugh Benson

We are fortunate not to be Jesuits


him came a terrible set of three. In the midst, led by a groom, was a great white horse, with bells on his bridle sounding as he came; and on his back an effigy, dressed in riding costume, with boots, and with white riding gloves and cravat all spattered over with blood. His head lolled on his shoulders, as if the neck were broken, turning a pale bloody face from side to side, with fallen jaw and great rolling melancholy eyes; for this was of Justice Godfrey. Beside him walked a man in black, that held him fast with one hand, and had a dripping dagger in the other--to represent a Jesuit. This was perhaps the worst of all; but there was plenty more to come.

There followed, after Justice Godfrey, a pardoner, dressed as a priest, in a black cope sown all over with death's heads, waving papers in his hands, and proclaiming indulgences to all Protestant-killers, so loud that he might be heard at Charing Cross; and next behind him a fellow carrying a silver cross, that shone very fine in the red light of the bonfire and the flambeaux, and drew attention to what came after. For behind him came eight Religious, Carmelites and Franciscans, in the habits of their Orders, going two by two with clasped hands and bowed heads as if they prayed; and after them that which was, in intention, the centre of all--for this was a set of six Jesuits in black, with lean painted faces, each bearing a dagger which he waved, gnashing his teeth and grinning on the folks.

style="text-align: justify;">There had been enough roaring and cheering before; but at this sight the people went near mad; and I had thought for an instant that the very actors would be torn in pieces for the sake of the parts they played.

Mr. Martin and his wife were close beside me in the window; and I turned to them.

"We are fortunate not to be Jesuits," I said, "and known to be such. Our lives would not be worth a pin."

He nodded at me very gravely: and I saw how white was his wife's face.

When I looked again a very brilliant group was come into view--four bishops in rochets and violet, with large pectoral crosses. These walked very proud and prelatical, looking disdainfully at the people who roared at the burlesque; and behind them, again, four more in gilded mitres. (I do not know what this generation knew of Catholic bishops; for not one in a thousand of them had ever set eyes on one.)

After a little space followed six cardinals in scarlet, very gorgeous, with caps and trains of the same colour. These swept along, looking to neither right nor left, followed by a lean man in a black silk suit and gown, skulking and bending, bearing a glass retort in one hand, and a phial, with a label flying from it, in the other. On this was written, I heard afterwards, the words "Jesuit-Powder"; but I could not read it from where I was.

Then at last the tail of the procession began to come into view.

Two priests,

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