To my readers: It is during the Christmas season that a European Christian feels the most estranged from modern, post-Christian Europe. He feels a deep longing for a bygone age when the ties of kinship and blood, which bind us to our Lord, were honored and revered. What follows then is a tale of European honor and kinship. Merry Christmas.
“The Last Lamp, Thames Embankment” — Rose Barton
A kind Providence has placed in our breasts a hatred of the unjust and cruel, in order that we may preserve ourselves from cruelty and injustice. They who bear cruelty, are accomplices in it. The pretended gentleness which excludes that charitable rancor, produces an indifference which is half an approbation. They never will love where they ought to love, who do not hate where they ought to hate.
There is another piece of policy, not more laudable than this, in reading these moral lectures, which lessens our hatred to Criminals and our pity to sufferers, by insinuating that it has been owing to their fault or folly, that the latter have become the prey of the former. By flattering us, that we are not subject to the same vices and follies, it induces a confidence, that we shall not suffer the same evils by a contact with the infamous gang of robbers who have thus robbed and butchered our neighbours before our faces. We must not be flattered to our ruin. – Letters on a Regicide Peace by Edmund Burke
It was in April of 1934 that Peter Delaine first came to see me. There was nothing about his dress that suggested he was a Roman Catholic priest — he did not wear a Roman collar or any other kind of priestly garb — but I had a certain intuition about this tall, gaunt man who appeared as if he had just come from the stake where he had been tortured for days. He appeared to be in his mid-fifties, but it was difficult to gauge his age because intense suffering often makes a man appear older than he actually is.
“Are you a Roman Catholic priest?”
“Yes, I am, but I’ve been… How can I say it? I’ve been on a kind of leave of absence from my duties for the past five years.”
“I don’t mind talking to you, Father; in fact, I’d be happy to talk with you, but don’t you think you should seek out a priest of your own church and your own nationality?”
“What makes you think I haven’t tried to talk to priests of my own church, as you put it? As for my nationality, my father was French, and I was brought up in France, but my mother was English, so I am not such a goose out of water as you might suppose.”
“It’s ‘duck out of water.’”
“What did I say?”
“You said you were not such a goose out of water as I supposed.”
He laughed. “I shall have to be careful with you.”
“No, you won’t. I just couldn’t resist that one. You can you put any animal you want out of the water, and I won’t bother you about it. But may I ask you why you want to talk to me?”
“It is quite simple, Reverend. To the extent that I trust anyone, I trust you. You’re probably not aware of it – men like you never are – but that little book of your sermons was translated into French and made its way across the Channel. I didn’t need a translator of course, but my first copy of your sermons was in French. I found them so moving that I subsequently acquired the original English edition. Does it surprise you that you are known to some of us in France?”
“Yes, it does. I was aware that a volume of my sermons had been published here in England, but I had no idea that they had been published in France as well. Nor do I understand why a Roman Catholic priest was so interested in them that he has come across the Channel to speak to me.”
“It was the title of your book that first intrigued me. Was that your idea?”
“When the publisher asked for a better title than Sermons, I suggested the title, The Sword of Charity.”
“Well that is what caught my attention, because that is exactly the way I look on the divine charity of our Lord; it is a sword that pierces the heart but doesn’t kill; it heals. But of course, I’m quoting almost your very words. You must think of me as a terrible babbler.”
“On the contrary, Father…”
“I’d prefer you call me Peter.”
“As you wish. If we are going to dispense with titles, my given name is Christopher. And I don’t regard you a as a babbler. Quite the contrary, how could I not be moved by a man whose heart is moved by the heartfelt expression of my faith? But I don’t think you came all the way over from France to tell me you liked my published sermons. Is there something I can do for you? Perhaps I should have prefaced that question with the same warning I give every person who seeks me out for guidance. I am not a modern day prophet, a saint, or seer. I’ll try…”
“I’m not seeking a prophet, a saint, or a seer. I’m looking for a Christian European, a man who will look me in the face and tell the truth. I’ve decided that you are the one man in a million who won’t lie to me. Am I wrong?”
There was only one way to answer Peter’s question. I asked him to kneel with me in the study while I said a prayer: “Lord, guide my heart and my mind to answer this, your servant Peter, in the way you would have me answer him, in Christ’s name, Amen.”
“I won’t bore you with the minutiae of my life, Christopher, but I must of necessity, sketch out some of the details of my life so that you can understand my spiritual state and the reason I’ve come to see you.
“Five years ago I obtained a leave of absence from my duties as a parish priest. The leave of absence was to have been for one year, but one year elapsed quickly, and then a second, and then a third, and so on. During the last three years, I’ve made no attempt to contact my superiors. So for all practical purposes I am no longer a Catholic priest, but of course I am still a priest. I haven’t been ‘defrocked.’”
“May I ask why you left the priesthood?”
“Certainly you may ask, Christopher. That’s why I’ve come to you, to talk about this thing called faith.
“It’s not that I don’t believe in Christ anymore. In fact, it’s because I’ve come to believe more fully in the singularness of Christ as God and Redeemer that I felt compelled to leave my church, or at least to leave the organization that has come to be called the Roman Catholic Church.
“I’m not being terribly clear, am I?”
“Not yet, but go on.”
“Well, I know what the Roman churchmen are saying about me. They say I’ve lost my faith. They call me a heretic, a homosexual, or both. But I am neither of those two abominations. I believe in our Lord Jesus Christ. And I believe he is really and truly present in the Holy Communion, but I don’t believe in an infallible Pope, nor do I believe in an infallible fat friar. Forgive my crudeness; I am very bitter, but I admit that I have no right to be bitter. No one made me become a Roman Catholic priest. “
“Why did you become a Roman Catholic priest?”
“Why? I’ve asked myself that question many times in the last five years. I suppose if you asked me that question at the time I entered the seminary, I would have told you that I wanted to serve Christ and my brethren in Christ.”
“Those are certainly commendable motives.”
“But as I got older in years and older in my years of service to the Church, I realized I had become estranged from God because of my profession. I know that might sound strange to most people, because most people equate the church and God as one, but I think you of all people must understand what I am saying, because in your sermons you never refer to the church; you only refer to Christ and to His people. And I must ask you: Do you believe that your church is the true church? Please answer me truthfully, without fear of offending me or shocking me.”
“I could give you the party line, which I believed when I became an Anglican minister, which says that our church is truly Catholic and Apostolic, because our faith is based on the Bible, tradition, the early creeds, and the Church fathers, in contrast to the Roman Catholic Church, which is based on tradition and the Bible as interpreted by an infallible Pope, who has only recently been found to be infallible. But I can’t give you the party line because I don’t believe it. I have a great love for the Book of Common Prayer and the Biblical Catholicism of Anglicanism. We have avoided the excessive formalism of Rome and steered clear of the enthusiasm of the protestant groups, but still, I don’t see how my church with our four squared system of infallibility is any more infallible than your church.”
“Then to whom or what was Christ referring when He said that He would build His church on ‘this rock’?”
“If you’ve read The Sword of Charity you know my answer to that question.”
“Faith in Christ is the rock?”
“And the true Church consists of those who believe in Him?”
“Yes, but there is a hierarchy in the Church. Without the Christ-bearing people, the Church does not have a local habitation and a name.”
“But what if the European people forsake Christ?”
“They are in the process of doing just that, but that doesn’t change their history. They were and still are the Christ-bearers just as the Hebrew people were. I am not propounding a theory; I am merely stating what I see before me. In the Book of Common Prayer, we say ‘in Him and through Him,’ but how do we come to Him except through His people?”
“Aren’t you open to a charge of extreme subjectivity and personal bias when you claim that we, the Europeans, are the Christ bearers?”
“Yes, I am, but God’s ways are not our ways, and it seems to me that God reveals Himself through His people. And who are the Christ-bearing people if they are not the European people? Every Christian church that professes to know with mathematical certainty it is the rock upon which Christ has built His church has turned out to be a very common, ordinary-type rock, incapable of sustaining faith in Christ. The various churchmen in their zeal to present God to the people in a concise, precise package of facts have made little mini-deities of their church organizations.”
“I don’t disagree with anything you say. It’s… words fail me… to hear one’s own heartfelt faith shared by another is… it’s a miracle of God’s grace.”
“Where do you go from here, Peter? Will you return to your priestly duties?”
“No, you see my church has gone further down that slippery Greek slope, which ends in the classroom of Voltaire and Rousseau. I can only be a Catholic priest so long as I don’t bend my knee to the Christian dilettantes and philosophers who have made Christ into an intellectual construct. I want to fight for my people, and my people, the Christ-bearing people, are in danger of extinction. Oh, I know it all sounds farfetched, as we sit here in the comfort of your study in the middle of this very European city of London. But Satan has vowed to kill Christ by destroying His image in man. The incomparable Burke knew this. Did you know that my great grandfather knew Burke? Of course, you couldn’t know. Now I must really appear to be raving. But the people are on the brink. We all must gird up our loins and… “
“Gird up our loins for what, Peter?”
“For the battle with the Jacobin-inspired black rebellion. What happened in Haiti when the Jacobins turned the country over to the blacks is happening all over Europe and in the nations such as the United States, which were settled by Europeans.”
“I can’t speak for Europe a as whole, but it does seem that the idea of the noble savage, which men like Samuel Johnson and Charles Dickens ridiculed, is gaining more and more credence with the British people. And there seems to be a connection between the increase of Jacobin thinking and a belief in the noble savage.”
“Of course there is, Christopher. They are coordinate heresies. If there is no God and no original sin, then sin must only exist in the people who are furthest away from nature, which is white people. And the most natural people are…”
“Yes, that is precisely the way the Jacobins, whether they be French or non-French, think.”
“We are certainly a great many years away from a brave new world of negro-worshipping whites, but I do agree with you, Peter, that eventually, as the whites fall away from the Christian faith, they will revert to heathen gods or even make gods of the heathens themselves.”
“I want to stand athwart the current of white apostasy and stop it. I know that sounds grandiose, but with God are not all things possible? You see, Christopher, I feel it is my destiny. My family history reaches out to me. I dare not disgrace my ancestors. I must strike a blow for my people and against the coalition of Jacobins and blacks. If you could indulge me for another hour or so, I could explain myself, through this manuscript, in a way that I’m sure you would understand.”
“Who wrote the manuscript, Peter?”
“My great-grandfather on my father’s side. He was born in Saint-Domingue, which they now call Haiti. But you’ll find that explained in the manuscript. I’ll take a walk through your London and watch the lamplighters. If you can take the time, I’d like you to read the manuscript.”
“I’ll read it, Peter. How did you find out about the London lamplighters?”
“On a visit with my mother many years ago.”
“Robert Louis Stevenson is the only poet that I know of who captured the romance (at least to a small boy) of the lamplighters. I have a copy of his A Child’s Garden of Verses right here:
For we are very lucky with a lamp before the door,
And Leerie stops to light it as he lights so many more;
And O! before you hurry by with ladder and with light,
O Leerie, see a little child and nod to him tonight.
“You love London, don’t you, Christopher?”
“With all my heart.”
“You’ll understand my great-grandfather’s manuscript then. And when you’ve read it and understood, you’ll stand with me against the world. That is how it will be.”
“Go watch the lamplighters, Peter, and let me read your great-grandfather’s manuscript.”
I opened Peter Delaine’s great-grandfather’s manuscript with much more than idle curiosity. What was so compelling about the manuscript? Why had it had — and why did it continue to have — such an impact on a man like Peter Delaine?
I’ll present the manuscript, translated of course, in the form that I received it, making a note whenever I make an editorial interruption. There are times when the author of the manuscript shifts from straight prose to the dramatic mode of expression. It seemed to me that he does this when the scenes depicted are so indelibly impressed on his memory that he remembers every single word that was said.
The Manuscript of Peter Delaine
What follows are my memories of the events of October 5th, 1791, when a Roman Catholic priest and his black henchmen killed my father and destroyed my home in Saint-Domingue. Of necessity I must also tell of some of the events that occurred before that night of sorrow and of some of the events that came after that terrible night. I write this document in the year of our Lord 1870.
I was born of French parents in the French colony of Saint-Domingue. My father met and married my mother in France, but being a second son he felt his destiny was not in France proper although he always considered himself a Frenchman. He was loyal to the monarchy and to everything it stood for: our Holy religion and our sacred traditions. “We belong to France,” my father used to say, “Here in Saint-Domingue we are an extension of France.”
My father prospered in Saint-Domingue. Within the first ten years after his arrival he owned one of the largest and finest plantations in Saint-Domingue. My education on our plantation was that of a French nobleman. With parents such as mine I would have been happy anywhere, but the plantation in Saint-Domingue was the home of my childhood, and I have nothing but pleasant memories of my childhood. It was only when I started my 16th year of life that my pleasant existence turned into hell on earth.
I was 14 years old in 1789 when the barbarous French Revolution broke out. My father was horrified; being removed from France he was more intensely devoted to France than Frenchmen living in France. His loyalty to the monarchy was absolute. Right up to the time of Louis XVI’s murder my father always entertained the hope that somehow the French people would come to their senses and restore the king to the throne. It was not to be.
There was much discussion at our dinner table and throughout Saint-Domingue, among the white landowners, as to the effect the Revolution in France would have on the French living in Saint-Domingue. Some thought there would be no effect: “After all, they can’t expect liberty, fraternity, and equality to apply to Negroes!”
And some, like my uncle, saw the truth: “The niggers will try to kill every last white man in Saint-Domingue, and they will do so with the blessing of the damn Jacobins.”
Here I must introduce some other of the principle characters in my family tragedy. Before introducing the hero, my uncle, let me speak of the villains.
There was Father Genevesse, a Jesuit priest. He was a short, plump, kindly-looking man in his mid-fifties, a frequent house guest and a friend of the family. I know it is unfair of me to hate all Jesuits because of Father Genevesse, but I am a man, not a block of wood. The very word ‘Jesuit’ sickens me and fills me with a desire to kill.
Another principle character was our house servant, a Negro of about forty-five years of age, who had been with my parents ever since their arrival in Saint-Domingue in 1770. He was tall, slender, and quite the gentleman, educated and treated almost as one of the family. He was in charge of all the house servants, and he enjoyed great prestige on the island because he was the head servant in the house of Michael Delaine, my father. The fiend’s name was Jacques Bauché. My father trusted him implicitly, and I must say I had no suspicions of him whatsoever. He always addressed me as the “young master.” Toward my mother and sister he was always the perfect gentleman. None of us suspected that the outward manners of our trusted servant concealed – there are no other words to describe it – a satanic heart.
That is not quite true; there was one among us who did not trust Jacques Bauché. That man was my uncle, Brian Delaine. I deeply loved my father and shall always love him above all other men, but he was the victim in our terrible family tragedy. The hero’s part was to be played by my uncle. He alone saw the evil in Jacques Bauché and Father Genevesse.
My uncle was three years younger than my father and came to Saint-Domingue one year after my father did. Like my father he was completely loyal to France and did not see himself as any less of a Frenchman because he chose to seek his fortune in French Saint-Domingue instead of in France. But in every other way, my uncle was different from my father. Father was a man of slender build, very handsome and calm in temperament. I never once heard my father raise his voice in anger. In contrast, my uncle had a much more volatile nature. He often raised his voice in anger and quite often, when angry, seemed on the verge of physical violence, especially during some of his heated arguments with Father Genevesse.
My uncle was several inches shorter than my father, but he actually appeared taller because of his large, almost herculean physique. It was amazing that two brothers with the same bloodlines could look so different. My father looked every inch the French Aristocrat, while my uncle looked more like a French peasant than a French aristocrat.
Despite their differences in personality, or maybe because of those differences, my father and my uncle were very close. It was a great disappointment to my father when my uncle decided not to settle down on an estate next to him. Instead my uncle invested his part of the family fortune in a merchant ship and became a seafaring man. Because of the life he chose, he was frequently away from Saint-Domingue on long voyages of a mercantile nature. I don’t think my father quite approved of the seafaring life, but he never reproached my uncle for it, although he would occasionally make a joke about finding a good wife for Uncle Brian who would make him stay on land for more than just one week every other month.
I, of course, was very interested in my uncle’s voyages. I always looked forward to his visits to our estate, when he would tell me stories of his travels and the seafaring men who accompanied him on his voyages.
My uncle knew that my father didn’t approve of the life he had chosen, so he always prefaced his stories with, “If your father permits, I’ll tell you of…” My father always permitted it, because he loved his brother and he loved me. And despite my love for my uncle’s sea stories, I never considered any life for myself other than the one my father wanted me to have, that of a French aristocrat tending to his plantation in Saint-Domingue.
It was a good life. Much has been written, since that way of life has disappeared, about lazy, good-for-nothing French aristocrats who lived off the sweat of black slaves. That is a lie, just as the Jacobin story of fat, indolent aristocrats who deserved to be guillotined in the name of liberty, equality, and fraternity is a lie. The truth is that the black man lived off the sweat, ingenuity and vision of the white ruling class. Now that Saint-Domingue is Haiti, what is the lot of the black man? Rape, murder, poverty, and mayhem are normal in the Haiti of the black man. They were vile aberrations in the Saint-Domingue of the French aristocrats.
The climactic events of my life happened when I was 16, two years after the French Revolution. That is how long it took before liberty, equality, and fraternity brought rivers of blood to Saint-Domingue.
I am 95 years old, but I have carried the memory of the events of 79 years ago with me through all these years. Nothing will ever erase the memory of that terrible night and its aftermath.
Why, after so many years, have I decided to write about what happened on June 7th, 1791? The reason is because I have a great grandson, Peter Delaine, who needs a chance to be a Delaine. I have outlived my son, and my grandson has no interest in his family history, so it falls to Peter, when he comes of age, to do what he will with this family history. I trust him to do what is right.
I am no Racine, no Shakespeare, but I intend to describe certain events in the dramatic mode for reasons that I think will become clear. I see the events as a tragic drama. For truly my family history is a tragic drama. But it is also, I believe, the tragic drama, not just of France alone, but of all of Europe and her people:
Place – The dining room of the Delaine house. Seated at dinner are Father Genevesse, my sister, my mother, my father, and myself. Jacques and two other house servants are also present at dinner.
Peter Delaine – (myself) sixteen years old
Evelyn Delaine – my sister, 18 years old
Catherine Delaine – my mother, 40 years old
Brian Delaine – my uncle, 39 years old
Michael Delaine – my father, 42 years old
Jacques Bauché – house servant and overseer of all the other house servants of the Delaine family
Father Genevesse – 55 years old, Jesuit priest
Genevesse: I’m truly sorry your brother couldn’t come, Michael. I was looking forward to talking with him.
Mother: A man in your profession shouldn’t lie, Father; you know you don’t like Brian.
Genevesse: Why do you say that? It’s true that we often disagree, but I like a good argument and I like Brian.
Evelyn: I’m afraid Uncle Brian doesn’t like you, Father.
Father: That’s enough, Evelyn. I don’t think Father appreciates your jesting on that subject.
Peter: She’s not jesting, father, Uncle Brian does hate him.
Father: That’s enough from both of you. Father, please accept my apologies, and be assured that no member of my family has anything but the highest regard for you.
Genevesse: For me or what I represent?
Genevesse: I’m not offended. Your brother is a passionate man, and I’m afraid I’ve annoyed him with my defense of our black brothers here in Saint-Domingue.
Mother: I can’t really speak for Brian, Father, but I think I understand how he feels. You often give the impression, which I’m sure you don’t mean to, that you think we should turn Saint-Domingue over to the negroes.
Genevesse: And what would be so wrong about that?
Father: Really, Father, you might as well ask what is wrong with making a three year old child the head of your household. Negro equality is insane.
Genevesse: Equality is coming to Saint-Domingue just as it came to France.
Mother: But they don’t have equality in France, they have anarchy and chaos. Nor has the French Revolution been good for the clergy.
Genevesse: It’s been good for some of them.
Father: Yes, for the traitor priests, the priests who are willing to betray their king and their God.
Genevesse: I hardly call spreading Christ’s Gospel to other people besides Europeans treacherous.
Father: It is not a question of spreading the Gospel, it is a question of the French Saint-Domingueans and their survival as a people. How do we spread the Gospel in Saint-Domingue by liquidating the French? The negroes are not embracing Christ, they are killing white people. And the Jacobins are all atheists. How is that good for France?
Genevesse: I don’t think you understand politics, Michael, but I must say that you do understand wine. This Bordeaux is excellent.
Mother: Jacques, I think we will have our dessert in the drawing room. Will you set out Evelyn’s music so she can play for us?
Jacques: Yes, Madame.
Mother: Will you play, Evelyn?
Evelyn: Yes, but don’t expect a virtuoso performance.
Genevesse: Oh, but I do expect a virtuoso performance. Your father simply raves about your musical gifts.
Evelyn: Father is prejudiced.
Father: No, I’m not. You be the judge, Father.
In the Drawing Room of the Delaine Mansion –
Peter, Father Genevesse, my father, my mother, and my sister are present. Jacques and two other servants are going back and forth with the dessert. Evelyn has just finished on the piano.
Genevesse: Your father didn’t exaggerate, Evelyn. That was beautiful.
Evelyn: Thank you, Father.
Genevesse: (turning to me) Do you play, Peter?
Peter: No, Father, the piano is for women.
Genevesse: That’s a horribly narrow viewpoint, my boy. Most of the best concert pianists are men. There is nothing effeminate about the mastery of a musical instrument.
Peter: Well, I don’t play.
Genevesse: You should play a musical instrument. It can be quite …
This was the moment. Seventy-nine years ago, and I see it all before me as if it were yesterday. Black fiends, dozens of them, carrying machetes, burst into the drawing room. My father, who was completely unarmed, rose to grapple with the foremost negro, while ordering the rest of us to run to the kitchen were Jacques was. But Jacques was not in the kitchen. He was right behind my father. As father wrestled with the foremost negro, Jacques stabbed my father in the back. It was a sickening, heart-rending sight. One trust of the dagger through the middle of his back and into his heart, and my beloved father was dead.
When I first saw Jacques advancing toward my father, dagger in hand, I thought he was coming to help my father. Oh, that I had known! I could have stopped him. But I didn’t know.
I screamed when my father fell, and I lunged at Jacques, planning to wrest the dagger from him and cut his throat. But I was knocked to the ground by two large negroes and pinned there. My sister and my mother were also restrained and imprisoned in the arms of the filthy negro savages. Father Genevesse was nowhere to be seen. I wondered where he had gone, but I didn’t suspect that he had anything to do with the attack. It was still beyond my comprehension that a priest, a man of God, would participate in anything so vile.
Of course, I was frightened, but that was not my primary emotion. I had seen my beloved father murdered before my eyes. I wanted the blood of the man who killed him. And there he was standing in the drawing room, a mocking, satanic sneer on his face.
“Well,” he addressed me first. I was now on my feet, restrained by three of the black savages. “My fine young master, how does it feel to be slapped by your devoted servant?”
The slap was nothing to me — I was too enraged to feel it. I spit in his face.
His face went livid with anger, and he pulled back his arm with the dagger in his hand and prepared to run me through. But an imperial command stopped him. It was Father Genevesse.
“Jacques! Remember, we agreed, only Michael, not the children or Catherine.”
“This is no child, Genevesse, and don’t tell me what to do.”
“Have you forgotten who helped you to plan this and who is going to help you to do the same with the other plantations?”
“I don’t need you anymore, Genevesse. I’m going to cut this white dog’s heart out and then let my friends have the women.”
My mother and my sister had both screamed in terror, as was only natural, when the attack first came. But there was no screaming or pleading after my father was murdered. The blood of their ancestors took hold.
Mother: I don’t care what they do with me, Father, but if you have any influence with these fiends, ask them to spare my children.
Genevesse: I’m afraid I don’t have any influence with them. I’m sorry.
Mother: You’re sorry! What kind of man are you? We trusted you. You’re supposed to be a priest.
Genevesse: It’s because I am a priest that I had to help the Revolution. Do you think I enjoy this?
Evelyn: You helped them kill my father!
Genevesse: Yes, I did. Someday you’ll understand. Now, in the heat of the moment I don’t expect you to understand.
Jacques: Enough of this. He dies now (motioning toward me) and the white bitches die when my men are through with them.
Genevesse: I really must protest…
Jacques motioned to one of his savage cohorts and he cut off Father Genevesse’s head with one blow of the machete. It was a horrific sight, but I felt no pity for Genevesse.
Then Jacques turned back to me and raised his dagger again. I waited for the fatal thrust, but it never came. Jacques Bauché fell to the floor with a bullet in his head. My uncle Brian was upon them! Never, in all my long years have I seen such magnificence as I saw that night when my uncle attacked the black devils who murdered my father.
My uncle had gotten wind of an attack on the whites’ plantations while he was in port getting ready to sail. He headed for our house right away. Too late to save father, he did save us. Four pistol shots and four dead savages. The rest of the work he did with his sword, our family sword that my uncle usually kept in his cabin. It was unsheathed that night. He killed them all, and he killed because he loved us and his brother with a passion that no negro could ever fathom.
There is a poem about the great Montrose of Scotland in which he bids his executioners scatter his body throughout Scotland and the God who made him will, he believed, put his body and soul together again whole and entire. Such is the belief of Christians. And I am a Christian. But why do we pray at the graves of loved ones? And why do we shrink from the idea of cremation? I don’t know. Perhaps it is because the body of our beloved dead held, while alive, the light of the soul within it. We can’t bear to part with that light. It often takes months and sometimes years for the bereaved to feel, with certainty, that the body and the soul of their dear departed are united in Christ. But there was no time for a proper burial that night. My uncle wept to part with his brother without a proper burial, but he knew what had to be done. He did what his brother would have wanted; he took care of his family. He knelt and kissed his brother on the forehead, and then he rose up and spoke to us.
Brian: We must leave him now or we’ll all be dead. There are black savages everywhere killing every white they see. I’m going to try to take you to my ship as ‘prisoners.’ Come while I tie you together.
My uncle smeared black mud over his face so that he might look like a negro from a distance. Up close there was no way my uncle’s features could be mistaken for a negro’s.
Brian: We might get by. Remember you’re my prisoners – try to act the part.
Evelyn: What if they challenge us? You really don’t look much like a negro even covered with mud.
Brian: If anyone challenges us, I’ll kill them. Don’t worry, Evelyn, we’ll make it.
Uncle Brian set the house ablaze, and with only the clothes on our backs — for prisoners couldn’t be seen carrying their belongings — we left our home and my father. After all these years, the tears still come when I recount that terrible departure.
From a distance I’m sure it did appear that my uncle was a negro with two white female captives and a young male captive. But anyone who came close would be a danger, because they would see that a white man was trying to save three whites from death and torture. And that was the only law left in Haiti. All whites must be tortured and killed.
We made it to within fifty yards of my uncle’s ship when two drunken negroes saw what my uncle was up to. They shouted an alarm to other negroes and charged straight at my uncle with their machetes.
My uncle still had his sword and a brace of pistols. He ran one of them through and shot the other in the head. A group of negroes, about nine in number, having been alerted by the two other negroes, were now running toward us. My uncle bid us drop the ropes from our limbs, for we had only been loosely tied, and run for the ship. As we ran for the ship my uncle turned to face the black barbarians. No army regiment ever had a better rearguard than Brian Delaine. The blacks wanted to kill my uncle quickly in order to get at us. It was not to be. Brian Delaine killed all but one, who ran back into the darkness of Haiti. My uncle arrived on board unscathed a few minutes after us.
At Sea that Night
Brian Delaine: (speaking to the First Mate) I gave the women my cabin. Can the lad bunk with you?
First Mate: Yes, Captain, but where will you sleep?
Brian: I’ll sleep sitting up outside the ladies’ cabin.
First Mate: I understand.
Brian: And, Malcolm?
FM: Yes, captain?
FM: For what?
Brian: For keeping the ship in the harbor until I got the boy and women on board. The men must have wanted to pull out, what with all the niggers swarming the docks looking for white blood.
FM: There were a few that talked about it, but I put them straight. And there’s no need to thank me. You took me on as your first mate five years ago when I had only the clothes on my back and a proud Highland name. I wasn’t about to leave you to the tender mercies of those black savages. I’m only sorry your brother didn’t make it.
Brian: So am I.
FM (seeing his tears): Enough said, captain. (exit)
(Enter – Peter Delaine)
Brian: You’re still up?
Peter: I still can’t believe he’s dead.
Brian: I’m not a church-going man. You know that, Peter. But on the important things I believe what your father and every white man that is a white man believes. A ship’s captain should never be without this book. I’ve read this passage so many times for burials at sea, but never with the heart and the faith that I’m going to read it tonight.
“Jesus said unto her, I am the resurrection, and the life; he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live; And whosoever liveth and believeth in me shall never die.”
I’m not suggesting you should ever forget what happened this night, Peter, but when you think of your father, think of him at the same time as … dare I say His name? I must. Think of him at the same time as you think of Christ. Then you’ll see your father and Christ as you should see them, as all loving hearts do see them.
You needn’t be ashamed of those tears. Go back to your cabin. And remember your sister and your mother need you to be strong.
So much more I could say to you, Peter, my namesake, but let that end the tale of the terrible night. A few more pages about the years after that terrible night, and I’ll be finished with the manuscript.
France was no place for us at that time, with every aristocrat in constant danger from the Jacobins who kept feeding Madame Guillotine. And even if we had wanted to return to France, France had no place for us. My grandparents on both my mother’s and my father’s side of the family had gone to their deaths on the guillotine. Even the Jacobins admitted that they died bravely.
My uncle took the three of us to England. Mother recovered all the family fortune that was not tied up in the estate, portable property as Mr. Dickens’ great character Wemick called it, after we arrived, from the Swiss banks where my father had transferred their funds during the time of the Jacobin revolution. So we had enough money to take up residence in a modest English cottage in the town of Rockridge, off the southern coast of England. Life there was not unpleasant, but my mother never really recovered from my father’s death. She died after four years in England. I was twenty years of age, and my sister was twenty-two years. The empiricists tell us that there is no such thing as a broken heart; therefore, it is impossible to die from a broken heart. But the empiricists don’t know anything. My mother died of a broken heart. And I would have died with her, except for the fact that I had some business to attend to. But more about that later.
The main reason my mother took the house on the coast of England was because of my uncle. He always anchored his ship in port and came to see us often. It was on one such visit, six months after the death of my mother, when my uncle told me of some unfinished business of his own.
Brian: How has Evelyn been since your mother’s death?
Peter: At first I didn’t think she would live through it, but she seems to be returning to some kind of normal life now. It helps that we have made some friends here in Rockridge and have also been in contact with some other French exiles.
Brian: And how are you, Peter?
Peter: I won’t die from sorrow. I won’t die from anything until I’ve had their hearts’ blood.
Brian: What do you mean, Peter? The men directly responsible for your father’s death and for your mother’s death from grief are all dead. You saw Father Genevesse and Jacques Bauché die the same night your father was murdered.
Peter: There were others. Since I’ve been in England I’ve been reading about this thing they call the French Revolution. Have you ever heard of a man named Edmund Burke?
Brian: Yes, of course, I’ve met him and consider him my friend.
Peter: You know Burke! What is he like? I must tell you that I love him; he seems so noble. And he hates the French Jacobins. He calls them regicides.
Brian: And so they are. As for Burke the man, he is everything he seems to be in his writings. He is the soul of honour.
Peter: He talks of war with the regicide French. I want to join him, Uncle.
Brian: Now wait, Peter. Mr. Burke writes like Shakespeare – his words cut right to a man’s heart because he writes from the heart. But I fear not even Burke’s eloquence can inspire a nation to restore another nation’s monarchy and to punish another nation’s criminals. I’ve read Mr. Burke’s letters against the regicide French – he is right in everything he says – but I’m afraid the English will not fight the regicides.
Peter: Then I will fight them, Uncle. There is something burning inside of me that I must give way to. My passion for their blood is not something that can be denied.
Brian: But whose blood, Peter? You can’t kill all the Jacobins.
Peter: Before I answer that, uncle, I want you to tell me what your business in France is. You know if you’re identified as an aristocrat you’ll be killed, and yet you tell me you have business in France. So I ask you — what is your business there?
Brian: I go on family business. I’m going to France to kill the men responsible for sending my brother Robert, my parents, and your mother’s parents, to the guillotine.
Peter: Then, with all due respect, uncle, how can you deny me the right to go to France and fight the Jacobins?
Brian: First, because you are my brother’s son. And since his death you have become my son. Second, you haven’t any idea of who you are going to kill. You just want to kill Jacobins. My trip to France is an affair of honour. I don’t expect to wipe out Jacobinism in France by what I do. But if each Frenchman would take care of his family honour, Jacobinism would soon be destroyed. I can’t make other Frenchmen be Frenchmen instead of weasels. I can only do what I must do. And what I must do does not include risking the life of my brother’s only son.
Peter: But as my father’s only son, don’t I have the same right as you to avenge the murder of my grandparents and my uncle?
Brian: We won’t discuss this anymore. You are not coming to France, it’s that simple. I want no more talk of such nonsense.
There was more talk, not that day, but in the weeks that followed. I was respectful but persistent with my uncle, and in the end I won out. Not because my uncle was weak-willed, but because blood spoke to blood. In his heart, he knew that I had a blood right to go with him.
Certain conditions were imposed upon me though. I was to obey my Uncle’s orders implicitly, and the scope of our killings was not to extend beyond those who were involved in the executions of the Delaines. This wasn’t because my uncle was indifferent to the fate of the rest of his countrymen – far from it – it was because my uncle knew that he could not single-handedly wipe out Jacobinism in France.
A few days before our departure for France, my uncle obtained for me an interview with Edmund Burke. The interview remains, to this day, the greatest honour of my life. I remember every word the incomparable Burke spoke to me as if it were yesterday. He was in retirement at the time of our meeting yet still not retired. A man like Burke never retires. His letters against the regicide French were still a source of hope for all of Christian Europe and a thorn in the side of the enemies of Christian Europe.
Burke’s estate was rather humble, like the man himself. He welcomed me to his home as if I was doing him the honour.
Edmund Burke: You’ve had more than your share of sorrow for a man so young.
Peter: No more than many others who had the misfortune to live in the age of the Jacobins.
Burke: Yes, these are terrible times. It seems that we are spending the unbought grace of life like profligate sailors on a drunken shore leave.
Peter: “The unbought grace of life, the cheap defence of nations, the nurse of manly sentiment and heroic enterprise, is gone! It is gone, that sensibility of principle, that charity of honour, which felt a stain like a wound, which inspired courage whilst it mitigated ferocity, which ennobled whatever it touched, and under which vice itself lost half its evil, by losing all its grossness.”
Burke: You’ve quoted Burke better than Burke could. And with such feeling. Truly we are kindred spirits, young man.
Peter: Yes, that is the way I feel. We are kindred spirits.
Burke: Kindred spirits despite our difference in age and nationality. But there are two things the aged Burke must tell the young Peter Delaine. First, this enterprise you plan to share with your uncle is noble, but I think it might have a better chance of success if your uncle would make a few changes in his plans. We’ll talk about that later when your uncle joins us.
There remains one thing more I want to say to you alone, Peter. No man ever formed a loving attachment to a system of religion or to a system of government. All of our affections begin with our families and extend to our local neighborhoods and then to our country. Man is a provincial creature. So long as he stays provincial in his affections a man will not go too far astray from what is right. Do you understand what I am saying?
Peter: Yes, I think I do. You bid me stay faithful to my family and my people.
Burke: Yes, and by that fidelity to your people you’ll stay faithful to the God of your people, not to a system of theology but to a living God, Jesus Christ.
Peter: I won’t forget what you have told me.
Burke: It strikes me that you and your uncle have seen the ultimate future of Jacobinism. Such ignoble, inhuman ideologies as Jacobinism always come to a country violently, preceded by high-sounding words like liberty, equality, and fraternity, and always end in a bloodbath. A perfect equality is never possible. Some are always more equal. A select group of people become “the people,” and everyone else must either serve the people or be exterminated by the people. In the end, if Jacobinism is not stopped, the only truly authentic people will be the negroes. The Jacobins will bid us fall down and worship the negro.
Brian: (entering the room) When that day comes, the world will still see the Delaines standing upright and in defiance.
Burke: I’m sorry, I didn’t hear you come in.
Brian: No, I’m sorry for barging in. But we must be off. We have some final preparations to make.
Peter: Uncle, Mr. Burke had a suggestion before we embark.
Burke: Yes, I do. I was thinking it might be better if you traveled through France as Englishmen rather than as Frenchmen. As Frenchmen you would fall under suspicion almost immediately. Try as you might to conceal it, your aristocratic breeding would come out, and you would then face the guillotine. But traveling as Englishmen — and I could send two English friends with you to make your Englishness all the more authentic — you will be more likely to accomplish your mission and come safely back to England.
Brian: What you say makes sense. But could you find such men? We need to leave almost immediately.
Burke: Two such men can be ready within the hour; I’ve already broached the subject to them.
Brian: Let me meet them. If they are willing, we’ll follow your advice.
Burke: Good. Now my two kindred spirits, let us embrace, hopefully not for the last time.
How can I describe those four months in France? It was part idyll, part nightmare, and finally a triumph of honour.
There is nothing, except possibly that first love, which can compare with a young man’s first foray onto the battlefield of honour. My two English friends were closer to my age than to my uncle’s age. They were twenty-two-year-old Edmund Drake, a direct descendant of Sir Francis, and the twenty-four-year-old Jonathan Stone. Both men came from noble families and were accompanying us because they believed in that charity of honour that Mr. Burke wrote about. Just as my uncle and I felt a stain upon our honour because of the unavenged murders of our kinsmen, so did our two English brothers feel compelled to aid us so that no stain could be attached to their honour for a failure to aid their fellow aristocrats in their time of need.
The first two months of our time in France was spent largely in the provinces, planning and gathering information. I never completely forgot the bloody, serious venture I had committed myself to, but there were many moments, whole weeks in fact, when I really felt like an Englishman traveling with my boon companions through picturesque France. Away from Paris and the other major cities, life seemed the same in France as it must have been before the Revolution. But of course this was all an illusion. As you got closer to the towns, you could see, feel, and smell the presence of a malignant power, the power of the Jacobins. At such moments we were so grateful to Mr. Burke. We never could have survived, disguised as French peasants. As it was, Edmund and Jonathan did all the talking to the French, because their French was with an English accent. They gave out that we, my uncle and I, spoke only English, thus sparing us the necessity of speaking perfect French and revealing ourselves as Frenchmen. Upon prior arrangement, before we even entered France we had all agreed to speak English even when we were alone together, in case some busybody might overhear my uncle and me speaking French.
Very soon, my uncle discovered who it was that had to be held to account, but it would not be so easy to confront the murderer because he was very high up in the Jacobin hierarchy. His name was Andre Pavolin, and before the Revolution he had been a wine merchant. As such he frequently came in contact with many of the aristocratic families. He was quite the hail fellow, well met, in those days. But after the Revolution he got a position in the Jacobin government and delighted in sending whole families of aristocrats, whom he had fawned over when a wine merchant, to the guillotine. Among those he sent to the guillotine were my grandparents and my uncle Robert, the oldest son who had stayed in France.
My grandparents on my father’s side were not unknown to me. They had visited us many times in our plantation in Saint-Domingue. My uncle Robert and I had never met. His wife went to the guillotine with him, and his children were murdered the night the Jacobins came for their parents. As I saw up close the evil wrought by the Jacobins, I thought of Burke’s words: “The revolution harpies of France, sprung from night and hell, or from that chaotic anarchy, which generates equivocally ‘all monstrous all prodigious things,’ cuckoo-like, adulterously lay their eggs, and brood over, and hatch them in the nest of every neighbouring state.”
Truly the Jacobins sprang from hell. And the worst of it is that the female Jacobins, the harpies, were the worst of all. Pavolin’s wife, for instance, always dipped a handkerchief in the blood of the aristocrats denounced by her husband, and when she “entertained” she would put the bloody handkerchiefs on display. “This is the blood of Mademoiselle ________ and this is the blood of Monsieur _________.” Surely Tennyson was right when he said, “the difference between a man and a man is the difference between heaven and earth, but the difference between a woman and a woman is the difference between heaven and hell.”
And where did Citizeness Pavolin display her handkerchiefs? In her landed estate, the same estate that once belonged to my grandparents. What’s that you say? You thought all was equal in the new regime of the Jacobins? Far from it! Some, the upper echelon of Jacobins, were decidedly more equal than others. Those who attempt to level all mankind to a state of perfect equality are in reality tyrants who want to rule mankind in the name of an abstract, mythical equality. This I learned from Burke and my own observations of the French Jacobins in action.
The rather pleasant idyll in the French countryside came to an end as we neared Paris. As the day of reckoning approached, we all became more serious and tight-lipped. Even Edmund, who was always ready with a jest, said very little. And then came the confrontation for which we had so carefully planned.
My uncle knew the house; he had grown up in it, and he knew where Monsieur and Madame Pavolin slept. What concerned my uncle were the servants. He didn’t want to kill any servants that were not Jacobins, but as it turned out, when my uncle investigated the backgrounds of Pavolin’s people he discovered that they all were Jacobins. The servants that had stayed loyal to my grandparents had been either killed or cast out into the streets to fend for themselves. So it was understood by all of us that whomever tried to come between us and the Pavolins would die. As it turned out, the paid lackeys had very little stomach for a fight. Edmund killed one servant who tried to run him through with a sword, and I killed another who tried to defend his master, but after those two met their deaths, the rest of the household staff allowed themselves to be herded into the dining room under the guard of Edmund and Jonathan.
How did it feel to kill a man? You must remember that sudden violent death was something that I had seen before on that fateful night in Saint-Domingue. Did it make a difference to me that now I was the one who had issued the death sentence? Not morally. I knew that I had come to France to kill Jacobins so I had no pangs of conscience about the man I killed. It did sicken me though. Just because I knew the killing was a necessity did not mean I received any pleasure from it.
With the potential resistance captured and confined, my uncle and I proceeded to the bedroom of the Pavolins. What were their dreams that night? Did they have a foreboding that something was afoot? Or did they sleep content and happy in their new found wealth and their positions within the Jacobin government? I do not know. How can anyone know such things?
We tied Madame Pavolin to the bedpost, and Brian told her husband to get his sword.
Brian: You will have much more of a chance to live than my parents had. If you kill me your wife and you will remain alive.
Pavolin: How do I know your nephew will honour your promise?
Brian: My nephew is a Delaine; he is an aristocrat and his honour is without stain.
Pavolin: (with a sneer) Then die, Brian Delaine.
The fight did not last long. My uncle ran him through within three minutes. I think Pavolin thought he would win, because he began the fight with a supremely confident look on his face that soon gave way to panic and despair. He never spoke again after his final sneering boast.
As for Madame Pavolin? We did not abuse or molest her as so many of the aristocratic women had been molested and abused before their executions, but we did execute her. We used the wine cellar as an execution chamber, and hung her from the rafters. The servants and staff were bound and locked in the wine cellar with the corpse of Madame Pavolin. My uncle thought that one and all, after they extricated themselves from their bonds, would get good and drunk and give us at least 24 hours to escape from France. He was right. We arrived in England twenty-four hours later, undetected by the Jacobin forces.
One week after our return, my uncle and I went to see Mr. Burke. I waited in the outer room while my uncle talked with him. After an hour or so my uncle came out from his conference with Burke.
Brian: He’s quite ill, Peter, and I’m afraid death is not far away, but he wants so much to speak to you. Don’t be embarrassed to speak to him. Sick or well, he is still the unconquerable Burke. His concern is for his countrymen and his kind, the Europeans. Go speak with him; I’ll wait here for you. And remember, quite probably you’ll be speaking for the last time to one of the greatest men Europe has ever known.
(I went into the sickroom. Burke was seated in a chair. The illness was quite evident on Burke’s thin, pale face and in his wasted frame, but my uncle was right: he was still the unconquerable Burke.)
Edmund Burke: Take a seat, my young friend, and forgive me if I do not get up to greet you. My illness dictates that I sit rather than stand.
Peter: I’m sorry to find you so ill, Mr. Burke.
Burke: It’s nothing, Peter. Simply the normal ills of old age. I’d prefer to die standing up, in actual battle with the Jacobins, but I’ll have to content myself with the metaphysical battle. You are one of my greatest consolations, Peter. My death will be easier knowing that at least one faithful heart – and your uncle is another – truly understands what the Jacobins are and vows to spend his life fighting them.
Peter: I hope that my life will prove worthy of your confidence.
Burke: I know it will, Peter. Once a man, a real man, has seen the true beauty – and all true beauty is moral beauty – of a Europe consecrated to Christ, he will never accept the new Jacobin Europe.
Peter: It seems that the Jacobin influence is spreading throughout Europe. Everything you warned us about is coming true. We, the white Europeans, have spent the unbought grace of life and have replaced that grace with liberalism.
Burke: Yes, that’s all too true, Peter. Even Britain has succumbed. I believe that Britain, since our glorious revolution, has been the foremost Christian nation of Europe. If not for Britain, the exiles of your own nation would have had no place to go. But ideological Jacobinism, which I call liberalism, has engulfed Britain as well as France. We’re moving slower than the French; the innate conservatism of the British people will not be easily defeated, but we are definitely moving toward a liberal state that is opposed to Christianity. When that finally happens with the appearance of a liberal theocracy in France, Britain, and the rest of Europe, only a remnant of Europeans will remain faithful to my Britain and my Europe, both of which were consecrated to our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. Every European is bound by ties of blood and faith to oppose the liberals’ Europe and support His Europe.
You will face many temptations in your life, Peter. There will be the usual pagan temptations, which I need not delineate; we are all quite aware of them. But your greatest temptation will be the temptation to minimize the evil of liberalism because you want to go peacefully through the world. ‘It’s not that bad and a man must live,’ you will say to yourself at some point in your life. That is the time when you must go deep into your heart and feel what your ancestors felt. The devil is a liberal, and you can have nothing to do with the devil or his minions. Lest you be tempted to soften toward your own nation, for instance, always remember that those who are governing now, even though they finally deposed Robespierre, are still the same men who voted to kill your king.
Peter: With God as my witness and as I hope for my salvation, I shall never make peace in my heart with the liberals.
Burke: God bless you, Peter. It will not be easy, but I know you shall prevail. You have a great capacity for love and a great capacity for hate, a hate for those who hurt or threaten those you love. Never believe pious hypocrites, whose faith is paper thin, when they tell you not to hate. A man who does not hate where he should hate will be unable to love where he should love.
Peter: I understand.
Burke: I believe you do understand, Peter. Now let me tell you one last thing. Never trust institutions; trust the spirit behind the institutions. All churches, all governments, at least the European governments and the European churches, were created to serve our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, who can be known by every man who has a heart to listen to His words of salvation. Never abandon that Christ, the simple Christ of the Gospels, and you will never be ultimately overcome even if the whole world caves in to liberalism. Now, before you go, let me pray with you.
(The unconquerable Burke rose from his chair and stood up so that he could kneel.)
Burke: Holy Father, in all things bless this young man and help him to withstand the devilish forces arrayed against him. As he grows in years, help him to come to know, in his heart, the love of Him whose love passeth the understanding of the intellect. And may that love sustain him in this world and the world to come. In Christ’s name, Amen.
That was the last time I saw and spoke to Edmund Burke in this world, but he has always been with me throughout what has turned out to be a very long life. How well have I kept my pledge to Burke? Well, there have been stains on my honour, but a man must be truthful even if the truth tends to show him in a good light. Though I stumbled often I never ultimately succumbed to the liberal demons of the new Europe. And it is my hope that at some time the Delaine blood will renew itself in the person of my namesake, my great grandson, Peter Delaine, to whom I have willed this document. My son died faithful and true to Christ and Christ’s Europe. My grandson went over to the liberals. One can only bear witness with one’s life. If no one, not even those of the same blood, care to listen to my witness or follow in my footsteps, well, — there is free will. I hope Peter Delaine becomes a Delaine, but I at least will follow my Father, Mother, Sister, Son, Uncle, and Edmund Burke to the grave, having fought the good fight, despite my many imperfections, until the end.
-END OF THE MANUSCRIPT-
Footnote: My great-grandfather died six years after writing that family memoir. He was 101 years of age, and I was seven, when he died. I didn’t read the manuscript until I was eighteen.
After I finished reading Peter’s great-grandfather’s account of his family’s suffering at the hands of the Jesuit priest and the black Jacobins, I got a call to a sick bed, so I left a note for Peter saying that I would meet him in my study on the following night, providing something unexpected did not come up.
Peter was waiting for me the next evening; I had given instructions to admit him to the study whether I was there or not. After a few polite niceties, Peter came to the point.
“Did you read the manuscript?”
“Yes, I did. It was profoundly moving and very interesting. If I may be so bold, what was the rest of your great-grandfather’s life like? Was it as eventful as his early life, or did he manage to settle down somewhere?”
“He married a French émigrée when he was twenty-six. He never returned to Haiti, but he did fight the Jacobins, spiritually and actually the rest of his life.”
“In what way?”
“Well, he never was able to raise an army of French émigrés and restore the monarchy, but he did fight many duels, always with the Jacobins who fashioned themselves the new royalty. He did what he could, but he never thought it was enough.”
“And his children?”
“He had four daughters and one son. His son and his daughters remained true to eternal France and absolutely opposed to Jacobin France. They never flew the tricolour flag.”
“What about his grandson, your father?”
“Ah, that was another matter. My father, despite his heritage, grew up neutral. He took the line of, ‘I don’t approve of the excesses of the French revolution, but after all it was necessary.’ Naturally that did not set well with my grandfather or my great-grandfather, and because of his views, my father was estranged from them. They seldom had contact. I, having had virtually no contact with the anti-Jacobin faction of my family, grew up a thorough-going French liberal. Which is why I entered the priesthood; I wanted to serve Christ by spreading liberalism, which I thought was the gospel for modern man. It was when I saw liberalism close up from within the church that I started to listen to my great-grandfather, through his manuscript. At his death my great grandfather willed me the manuscript you have just read, because his son was dead and he knew that his grandson was against him. I don’t hate my father, but I now know he was wrong. Liberalism is from the devil, and we can never compromise with it.”
“You’ll get no argument from me on that point; Burke has always been a writer dear to my heart. Your ancestors certainly seem to have been at the forefront of the battle against the Jacobins. What happened to your great great- uncle, the man your great grandfather called the hero of the family tragedy?”
“He married an Englishwoman and settled in Sussex. I don’t think Baroness Orczy knew of my uncle, but her book The Scarlet Pimpernel certainly captured the spirit and adventurous life of Brain Delaine. While the terror was still going on, he made many forays back into France to rescue aristocrats. Like the Scarlet Pimpernel he kept his identity secret. Unlike the Scarlet Pimpernel he had no songs written about him, but amongst the French émigré population in England he was called the scourge of Jacobinism. He never reconciled with the French government, not under Napoleon nor the Republic. My uncle, a descendant of Brain Delaine, told me that whenever the topic of reconciliation came up Brain Delaine simply stated, ‘They are all regicides; I will never make peace with them.’ And he never did.“
“He lived the rest of his life in England?”
“Yes, except for his rescue missions to France and two or three trips to Haiti.”
“Why Haiti? What was there left for him to do?”
“My uncle never gave me any details about those trips. All he said was that his great grandfather’s excursions to Haiti were for rescue and punitive purposes. So I can only assume that the family sword was unsheathed again on those missions.”
“Children, did he have children?”
“Yes, he did, and he was blessed with many years. There seems to be a longevity gene in the Delaine family.”
“Where does this family history figure in your life, Peter?”
“It’s hard to put into words… I suppose it all comes down to what Edmund Burke called that ‘charity of honour.’ I feel I violated the charity of honour by being loyal to a universalist idea rather than to my family and my blood. I’d like, in some small way, to atone, if not completely then at least partially for my sin against that charity of honour.”
“Atonement is primarily something that takes place within a man’s heart, Peter. You seem to have made a heartfelt atonement for your Jacobin sympathies. What else do you think it necessary to do? We must be prepared to forgive ourselves when forgiveness is warranted.”
“What you say is all quite true. But in my case, there is a point of family honour that must be taken care of. My great grandfather and Burke have made me see that if family honour is not placed first, then honour has to be abandoned. A man who betrays his family will betray his clan and his nation.”
“Then you have something in mind that you must do? Something involving your family honour?”
So Peter finally came to his main purpose for seeking me out. He needed my help to remove what he felt was a stain on his honour. What I am about to relate will seem quite incredible to 20th century readers, but the march of progress is a mirage; we are still the same morally, struggling for salvation against the wickedness and snares of the devil. The pity of the modern man is that he no longer believes in the wickedness and snares of the devil or in the devil’s Divine Antagonist, Jesus Christ. Peter Delaine believed in both, and he wanted my help against the devil and his minions, fighting them in the name of Christ.
Everything went back to that fateful night of almost two-hundred years ago when Peter’s great, great grandfather was murdered by Jacques Bauché. If you recall, Bauché was killed on that same night by Brain Delaine. And you’ll also recall that Brian Delaine made several trips back to Saint-Domingue after that fateful night for punitive and charitable purposes. It seems incredible, but it is quite true, that Brain Delaine did whatever he could to rescue the few remaining whites in Saint-Domingue and to punish as many leaders of the negro rebellions as he could lay his hands on. Several prominent, newly crowned negro tyrants of blood were found strangled in their beds or lying dead in their mansions with a bullet between their eyes. And many a white captive found themselves released from the sacrificial altars at the last minute by Brain Delaine. He was feared as the great avenger of his people. And long after his death the name of Brian Delaine survived in the voodoo cults of Haiti as the great white devil who could still reach out his arm and destroy black men. Voodoo priests invoked his name to put curses on other blacks. If a man suddenly took sick who was an enemy of one of the witch doctors it was supposed to be because the witch doctor removed his protective shield of black magic from the victim and allowed the spirit of Brain Delaine to claim another victim. It was steadfastly believed throughout the black community in Haiti that the witch doctors were the only men standing between the blacks and the vengeance of Brian Delaine.
A black Roman Catholic priest, a Haitian who blended voodoo and Catholicism, decided to put an end to what he felt was a morbid fear among his people of the ghost of Brain Delaine. He was opposed by many of the witch doctors because they needed Brian Delaine. They wanted to be looked on as the only ones powerful enough to keep the ghost of Brian Delaine from harming the blacks of Haiti. And the witch doctors were the most powerful group of men in Haiti. But the black Catholic voodoo priest had two things in his favor. First, he could get help from other European priests, and second, he was a direct descendant of Jacques Bauché, whose martyred name was also a power in Haiti.
So Father Jacque Bauché – he was named for his famous ancestor – went to France to obtain support for his scheme. And he got it from two French Jesuits. In the name of whatever pig god they worshipped — it was most certainly not Christ – they agreed to help Jacques Bauché accomplish his bloody mission.
Peter learned of Bauché’s trip to France and his visit with two Roman Catholic priests from a friend of his who was familiar with Peter’s family history. When Peter investigated, he discovered a truly hideous plot aimed at a direct descendant of Brian Delaine.
I’ve never felt the slightest inclination to go over to Rome. The inhumanity of Roman universalism has always filled me with horror. Nevertheless I still regarded the Protestant minister and the Roman Catholic priest as serving in the same corps as myself. So it was particularly sad for me to see two of my co-religionists go over, so blatantly, to Satan. When all is laid bare on that final day of judgment, I suspect we will see that the fateful separation was the heart from the head. Once a man makes an intellectual system of the Christian faith and makes his own mind the final arbiter of all things Christian, he is fit for the foulest and blackest treasons and stratagems imaginable. Father Ormand and Father Lejune were willing to betray their race because they had already abstracted the living God into a mind-forged system of their own invention. In their minds everything that had the stink of humanity, from Christ, to their own people, was hateful and deserving of death.
The two apostate priests had helped Father Bauché identify an English girl who was a direct descendant of Brain Delaine. You’ll remember that Brain Delaine married an Englishwoman. Well, Father Ormand and Father Lejune traced the line of Brain Delaine all the way to Susan Bradley. Susan was 18 years old, living with her parents in London. All three were members of my parish. Why didn’t Jacques Bauché and the two Jesuits want the mother? After all, she too was a direct descendant of Brain Delaine. The answer turned out to be quite simple. The twisted priests and their cohorts wanted a virgin for the blood ritual of vengeance.
I don’t think any of the three priests, not even Jacques Bauché, believed in the efficacy of virgin sacrifice, but Jacques Bauché’s Haitian followers believed in it. And that is why he brought six followers along with him. He needed them to witness the sacrifice and tell other Haitians what they had witnessed. Without their witness, Bauché could not prove that he had removed the curse of Brain Delaine.
Jacques Bauché would become the most feared witch doctor in Haiti after he murdered Susan Bradley, but what did Father Lejune and Father Ormand stand to gain by their participation in such a heinous crime? It’s hard to say why a man turns to Satan, but there is something that I’ve observed in the modern Europeans, particularly in apostate clergymen, that might go a long way toward explaining the actions of Father Lejune and Father Ormand.
When a man has only an intellectual knowledge of the Christian faith and no affection for the person of Christ he tends to resent God. He looks on God as the law giver only, and a rather harsh law giver at that. He then creates another God, an abstract God, who will do his will. Neither Ormand or Lejune ever really knew Christ; hence, they were open, I believe, to any deviation from Christianity that promised them some relief from the spiritual ennui that always engulfs the post-Christian European. And what is the antidote for the spiritual ennui of the post-Christian European? Some things never change; it is sex and blood. Ormand and Lejune fantasized about killing Susan Bradley and then having sex with Bauché’s henchmen.
Bauché’s beliefs were somewhat different than the two European priests. He didn’t believe that the slaughter of Susan Bradley would remove the curse of Brian Delaine, because he didn’t believe in the curse of Brian Delaine. But he did believe in the major tenets of the Christian faith, and he hated those tenets. His hero was Satan in whom he believed with absolute certainty.
So these three priests and the six negro devotees of the voodoo gods of Haiti landed on English shores to slaughter Susan Bradley. Peter had done his homework well. He knew everything about the plans of the three priests. They were to arrive on June 3rd, a Wednesday, and two days after that they planned to kidnap Susan Bradley on the way home from the dress shop where she worked. The kidnapping had to be done by Fathers Lejune and Ormand because the section of London were Susan lived had no negroes in its precincts. Their presence would arouse suspicion, whereas Fathers Lejune and Ormand, dressed as working class Englishmen, would not arouse any suspicion. After they made Susan a prisoner, the two priests planned to drive her to the outskirts of a small town, Taven, on the southern coast of England. There, on the desolate cliffs overlooking the sea, they planned to kill Susan in a ritual that combined the elements of a black mass and the voodoo rites of the Haitian witch doctors.
Peter wanted me to help him contact Susan and her parents in order to warn them of the danger Susan was in. He thought they would only believe such an incredible story if their own pastor could attest to its truth. And frankly I wasn’t sure I could convince the Bradleys of the truth of Peter Delaine’s story. From the perspective of a lower middle class English family of the 1930’s the whole affair seemed much too fantastical. But the parents and Susan did believe in the fantastical tale of Christ’s death on the cross and resurrection from the dead, so why, believing that, would they doubt that the battle against principalities and powers, that Christ’s servant Paul warned us of, could come upon us in any form and at any time?
Since Peter’s great grandfather and namesake set the stage for this story with his narrative that went from narrative to theater, why should I not avail myself of the same means to an end? Let me set the stage. Picture a lower middle class English living room, at 10:30 pm. Susan’s father, a tall lean man with kind eyes and an athletic bearing no doubt maintained by keeping his appointed rounds as a postman, sat in his chair near the family hearth. Susan’s ten-year-old brother Donald was already in bed asleep. Susan’s mother, Mrs. Bradley, attractive for her age, but slightly overweight, sat next to her husband. She knew of her famous ancestor, Brian Delaine, but she did not have the intimate knowledge of that branch of her family that Peter had. Once Peter informed the Bradleys of the complete details of the Delaine family history, and I vouched for Peter, the Bradleys readily believed the truth. And of course Susan Bradley was present, sitting with her parents, in the full bloom of womanhood, more than attractive, quite beautiful. The curtain rises on the stage at 11 pm after all three learned the truth from us and believed it.
Mr. Bradley: I’m certainly not going to stand by and see my daughter killed by those Satanists, and that’s what they are. I’ll kill them all myself if I have to.
Mrs. Bradley: But will that be necessary, Edward? Can’t we turn them all over to Scotland Yard? What do you think, Reverend Grey?
Reverend: We could tell Scotland Yard about this, but I would be very worried about relying on Scotland Yard. The police are essentially reactive. They prevent crime by catching murderers after they have murdered. Their speedy apprehension of murderers is a deterrent to other murders, but I want Susan to live to a ripe old age, and I don’t want her to be a case for Scotland Yard to solve.
Mr. Bradley: Nor do I, but what do you suggest, Reverend? And may I be quite blunt? You are not a man of action. I mean no disrespect, but if these men intend what you say they intend, I don’t know that either an Anglican minister or a Roman Catholic priest is the man to stop them.
Peter: I have no intention of allowing the Reverent Grey to become involved. It is my honour that has been stained, and it is my kinswoman who is in jeopardy. As God is my witness, these men shall not touch Susan.
Mrs. Bradley: I’m sure you have honourable intentions, Father, but the fact remains that we only trust you because Reverend Grey trusts you. How can we entrust the life of our daughter to you?
Mr. Bradley: Or to you, Reverend Grey?
Susan: May I say something? After all I’m not a disinterested party in this affair.
Mr. Bradley: Of course you may.
Susan: Well then, I have this to say: Reverend Grey baptized me, he confirmed me, and I received my first communion from him. He has come to our house as a guest more times than I can count, and he has also visited this house when little Donald, myself, or you, Papa, and you, Mother, were sick. I’ll never forget when I had the fever four years ago. He sat with me all through the day and into the night. I went to sleep with the words of the Gospel resonating through my room. The way the Reverend Grey read the Gospel to me that night was… Well, it was as if I had heard the words of our Lord for the first time. I can’t describe the comfort I got from those words read by a…
Rev: No, Susan…
Susan: Yes, Reverend, I mean it – a saint. Whatever he advises, I will do. Don’t you see, Mother? Don’t you see, Father? We can trust this man in everything.
Mrs. Bradley: But Susan, you’re young! Just because a man is good does not mean he is competent in every aspect of life. Your father and I are not questioning Reverend Grey’s goodness, we are questioning his competence…
Mr. Bradley: Your mother is right, Susan. This matter is not something that should be left to the Reverend.
Susan: But I’m content to leave it to him.
Rev: Perhaps I didn’t express myself clearly. If you leave this matter to me and Father Delaine, you are not putting Susan into our hands alone. I have many friends, in all walks of life. What I am asking you to do, for Susan’s sake, is to trust me to get the help necessary to free Susan from those fiends, not just for one night, but forever.
There was much more said that night, but ultimately Susan’s trust in me prevailed.
Everything was left to Father Delaine and me. Peter contacted Bauché, Lejune, and Ormand and convinced them that no kidnapping was necessary; he would deliver Susan into their hands. It wasn’t difficult for him to convince the three priests that he would betray his kinswoman, since they were the type of men that would betray their own. The fateful meeting took place on the cliffs of Taven. It seemed as if we were all upon the heath where Macbeth met with the weird sisters. Father Ormand and Father Lejune were present in their priestly garb. Bauché was in the garb of a voodoo priest, and his six followers were also dressed in the ceremonial attire of voodoo devotees. Father Delaine appeared to be alone, leading Susan Bradley, who was clothed in a white bridal gown. I, for reasons which will become clear later, was not visibly present.
Jacques Bauché: Have you brought the victim?
Peter Delaine: Yes, she is drugged and barely conscious.
Father Ormand: Why have you brought her? Why didn’t you have us take her?
Peter Delaine: Because I don’t believe the guilt of the white man, particularly the guilt of my ancestors, can ever be remitted except by blood. I offer up my kinswoman in atonement for the sins of white men against the black.
Father Lejune: Yes, this sacrifice is only the beginning. What we do here tonight is holy, but the work must not stop here, it must go on until the world is purged of the white race.
Peter Delaine: What you speak is God’s truth. The work must continue after tonight.
Jacques Bauché: Bind her to the altar, and we shall begin the ceremony.
I’ll not describe the blasphemy that Lejune, Ormand, and Bauché called a ceremony. Suffice it to say that the ceremony came to a halt moments before the sacrifice.
Ghost: (rising from behind the altar) Stop, this shall not go on!
Father Ormand: Who are you? (turning to the six negroes) Kill him! (they stand transfixed)
Ghost: I am Brian Delaine. You shall not defile my Faith or touch one hair of my kinswoman! (in one motion, he cuts the victim loose freeing her and heaves the heavy stone altar onto Jacques Bauché, killing him instantly)
Father Lejune: What have you done?
Father Ormand: (addressing the frightened blacks) If you won’t kill him, I will! (He raises a revolver from under his cassock, but as suddenly as he raises the revolver he falls face down. He is dead. Father Lejune runs to his fallen comrade, but he also suddenly pitches forward. He too is dead.)
Ghost: (turning to the six blacks and pointing to their boat) Go, that boat will take you to the ship Jacques Bauché hired. Return to Haiti and never seek the blood of my people, or I’ll have your blood! Take their bodies with you and bury them at sea. This is my command. (the six negroes do as they are commanded)
Jonathan Talbot: (emerging from the rocks above) They’re gone, Chris. That was a pretty impressive display of strength.
Rev. Christopher Grey: (emerging from the ghost’s shroud) My childhood heroes were strongmen. Lifting heavy weights has always been a hobby of mine. Brain Delaine was supposed to have been quite strong, so I thought I could lend authenticity to my performance by lifting that stone altar. And I must thank you for shooting straight.
Jonathan Talbot: My task was easy. How do you feel, Miss Bradley?
Susan: I just want to go home. This is not something you forget.
Peter Delaine: Don’t forget it, Susan. Remember it your entire life, but remember it as the night your God delivered you from evil.
Susan: I will, Father.
Peter Delaine: No, Susan, I’m your kinsman. To you, I’m Peter. (they embrace)
Rev. Grey: It’s a pity we’re not in France.
Peter Delaine: Why, Christopher?
Rev. Grey: Because then I could say the lines.
Peter Delaine: I still don’t follow you.
Jonathan: I do. Say them anyway. We’re close enough to France, and the lines fit.
Rev. Grey: “And then to Calais; and to England then, Where ne’er from France arriv’d more happy men.”
Susan: May one happy woman say, ‘amen’?
Rev. Grey: Yes.
At the time I’m writing this remembrance, Peter is still alive. He stayed in England after his encounter with the descendant of the hated Jacques Bauché. For 12 years he taught in a small college in Sussex by the sea, claiming the sea was in his blood.
Peter taught history and taught it as no one else could. History in Peter’s hand was a living, breathing entity. Through his passion for the truth behind historical events, Peter made his students see that the abstract principles of liberty, equality, and fraternity, abstracted from the minds of evil men bent on destroying what Burke called the unbought grace of life, were evil. Nor did Peter shrink from pointing out the logical consequences, as his great grandfather saw in Haiti, of the implementation of the godless principles of the Jacobins. Negro savagery unleashed was the logical consequence, the higher culture subjected to the lowest of all cultures and everything good in Old Europe torn down and spit upon.
Peter did not spare Britain when he warned of the spreading influence of Jacobinism. “The old French aristocrats had a country to flee to. Where will Europeans go when Britain becomes a refuge for colored heathens?” Because of his honesty and his ability to influence his students for the good, Peter was dismissed after 12 years of teaching. He still lives in Sussex by the sea and teaches almost as many students on an informal basis at his home as he once did on a formal basis at the college.
Peter always visits me at the Christmas season, which seems particularly appropriate because it is during the Christmas season that we all feel, the most acutely, those ties of blood and kinship that bind us to each other and to our Lord. Peter returned to his God through those ties of blood and kinship, and I love and honour him for his spiritual journey. His is a great heart. In a few days, I’ll be seeing him again, and together we will celebrate the birthday of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, who shall always be the King of provincial, kith-and-kin Europe. As my kinsman wrote, “Where meek souls will receive Him still, The dear Christ enters in.”