Still Sunday said nothing, but only sat with his mighty chin upon his hand, and gazed at the distance. Then at last he said—
“I have heard your complaints in order. And here, I think, comes another to complain, and we will hear him also.”
The falling fire in the great cresset threw a last long gleam, like a bar of burning gold, across the dim grass. Against this fiery band was outlined in utter black the advancing legs of a black-clad figure. He seemed to have a fine close suit with knee-breeches such as that which was worn by the servants of the house, only that it was not blue, but of this absolute sable. He had, like the servants, a kind of sword by his side. It was only when he had come quite close to the crescent of the seven and flung up his face to look at them, that Syme saw, with thunder-struck clearness, that the face was the broad, almost ape-like face of his old friend Gregory, with its rank red hair and its insulting smile.
“Gregory!” gasped Syme, half-rising from his seat. “Why, this is the real anarchist!”
“Yes,” said Gregory, with a great and dangerous restraint, “I am the real anarchist.”
“‘Now there was a day,'” murmured Bull, who seemed really to have fallen asleep, “‘when the sons of God came to present themselves before the Lord, and Satan came also among them.'”
“You are right,” said Gregory, and gazed all round. “I am a destroyer. I would destroy the world if I could.”
A sense of a pathos far under the earth stirred up in Syme, and he spoke brokenly and without sequence.
“Oh, most unhappy man,” he cried, “try to be happy! You have red hair like your sister.”
“My red hair, like red flames, shall burn up the world,” said Gregory. “I thought I hated everything more than common men can hate anything; but I find that I do not hate everything so much as I hate you!”
“I never hated you,” said Syme very sadly.
Then out of this unintelligible creature the last thunders broke.
“You!” he cried. “You never hated because you never lived. I know what you are all of you, from first to last—you are the people in power! You are the police—the great fat, smiling men in blue and buttons! You are the Law, and you have never been broken. But is there a free soul alive that does not long to break you, only because you have never been broken? We in revolt talk all kind of nonsense doubtless about this crime or that crime of the Government. It is all folly! The only crime of the Government is that it governs. The unpardonable sin of the supreme power is that it is supreme. I do not curse you for being cruel. I do not curse you (though I might) for being kind. I curse you for being safe! You sit in your chairs of stone, and have never come down from them. You are the seven angels of heaven, and you have had no troubles. Oh, I could forgive you everything, you that rule all mankind, if I could feel for once that you had suffered for one hour a real agony such as I—”
Syme sprang to his feet, shaking from head to foot.
“I see everything,” he cried, “everything that there is. Why does each thing on the earth war against each other thing? Why does each small thing in the world have to fight against the world itself? Why does a fly have to fight the whole universe? Why does a dandelion have to fight the whole universe? For the same reason that I had to be alone in the dreadful Council of the Days. So that each thing that obeys law may have the glory and isolation of the anarchist. So that each man fighting for order may be as brave and good a man as the dynamiter. So that the real lie of Satan may be flung back in the face of this blasphemer, so that by tears and torture we may earn the right to say to this man, ‘You lie!’ No agonies can be too great to buy the right to say to this accuser, ‘We also have suffered.’
“It is not true that we have never been broken. We have been broken upon the wheel. It is not true that we have never descended from these thrones. We have descended into hell. We were complaining of unforgettable miseries even at the very moment when this man entered insolently to accuse us of happiness. I repel the slander; we have not been happy. I can answer for every one of the great guards of Law whom he has accused. At least—”
He had turned his eyes so as to see suddenly the great face of Sunday, which wore a strange smile.
“Have you,” he cried in a dreadful voice, “have you ever suffered?”
As he gazed, the great face grew to an awful size, grew larger than the colossal mask of Memnon, which had made him scream as a child. It grew larger and larger, filling the whole sky; then everything went black. Only in the blackness before it entirely destroyed his brain he seemed to hear a distant voice saying a commonplace text that he had heard somewhere, “Can ye drink of the cup that I drink of?”