Thursday, February 16, 2012

Father Brown's Last Bow, part 2

Father Brown was just figuring out how the talk would go:

Susan received him with a glass of wine. He sighed for relief. She was not a Puritan or an Albigensian. He had wanted to start about the talking animals, but he let that wait.

"Do you think God wants you to tell everybody about this?"

"No, but neither to lie about it to hide it. That is the difficult part. I get into trouble for this."

"Can I ask a few more specific question?"

"Of course."

"Did you ever see one beast that was not talking turn into a talking one?"

"No, except Aslan said it was when the mice bit through the ropes they became talking mice."

"Did you see them start to talk back then?"

"No, I was told it a year later of our time, when we came back to Prince Caspian's rescue."

"Hmmm ... ok ..."

He went off to the window and asked if he could smoke a cigar.

"Oh, I do not mind at all."

"Some do."

"Some have asthma and some are Puritan. Neither is the case with me."

Father Brown enjoyed his cigar while thinking of the next question.

"Do you pray for people in Narnia?" he resumed while putting down the last embers of the cigar.

"I prayed for Rilian's delivery from enchantment, hypnosis, and captivity, and from being treated like a fool when he was not."

"And when Jack Lewis - as I suppose the friends call Clive Staples - wrote The Silver Chair from the papers your friends Scrubb and Pole had left with Professor Kirke, did he know this?"

"No, we were not that close. Nor are we now."

"Do you feel responsible for Narnia?"

"I am the only surviving Queen of the land, am I not?"

"And ruling as a Queen here?"

"Of course not! I was just trying to defend an innocent person!"

"Indeed, you are back after some trouble that took you abroad."

He fell silent. The he resumed again:

"If this was from God, and if he gave you no message to spread to others - at least not personally - what did it do to you?"

"Heard of St Lucia da Narni, Father?"

He nodded.

"Or of Sister Lucy in Fatima?"


"I admired them. They risked so much, they suffered so much. I could never do that, but if I had not seen my sister try to do something similar, I would not have known what it is to love God"

He waited.

"And it was Lucy's essays that led me to fight for righteousness, to save innocent persons from school tyranny and from abortion, and which led me to the Catholic Church."

When she opened the door, he knew this was not what was going to be said.

Her guilty, hopeless, probably often responsibility ridden face gave him all the information he needed:

"What have you done to your sister?"

"I betrayed her, because I tried to be her keeper."

And he heard her confession, and she could know that her heart was henceforth pure of that treason. And she could receive her Lord and her God in her mouth, as previously she had thrown her arms around him in Narnia.