Thursday, April 4, 2013

Recognising Spivvins

"Spivvins" she blurted out. She looked at one of the men - broad shouldered, about her own age (with a ring on the left hand) - who had sung the Dies irae. "What are you doing here?"

"Father died in the crash. I just learned about it and came along with our other relatives. Half the family is Catholic, half are Protestant."

"Protestant as Anglican, you mean?"

"Funny, in Canada every Anglican considers himself a Protestant, more or less. In England there are even people who call themselves Anglican Catholics."

"Well, it was an Anglican hymn these others were singing."

"Indeed, family's divided."

"I neither knew you were Catholic nor that you were from Canada."

"So Eustace kept it a secret even from you?"

"It was a secret then?"

"Father came as an Anglican missionary to the Esquimeaux. Then he was shocked at certain Anglican things in relation with the Esquimeaux and converted, with his wife and children, to the Catholic Church."

"So, he lost the work as an Anglican missionary then?"

"He worked as a cab driver."

"A cab driver with horses or a taxi driver?"

"Both. When horses were no longer used, he sold the remaining one to the countryside outside Birmingham."

"Must have been nicer for the horse than being in town with all the cars."

"What father thought too. Here he is:" - and Spivvins pointed to a man she recognised with a shock. It was the taxi driver who had protected her a last night after the party.

"Oh no! Not him!" She burst into tears again.

"How so? Did you know him?"

"Just a few hours ago he saved my life basically. There was this half mad guy who was so mean after we came to my house. And a taxi driver - exactly he here - steps in to save me. Even though he was older and less agile than the young soldier ..."

"But why did you come here?"

"Well, for one thing all three siblings are dead, and then my cousin and my archery pupil and two old friends of ours."

"What cousin? You don't mean Eustace?"

"I sure do! Here he is."

Spivvins just looked at Eustace - lifeless, but a little as if turning in his sleep, only he was absolutely still, as a corpse is. Instead of crying he bent down and said:

"Now you can tell, it's a secret no more. You tell it in Heaven, I tell it here, I am Catholic. But I owe you a prayer or two."

And he made the sign of the cross and prayed three Hail Mary's.