The Anger Of Heaven

On Sunday the twenty-sixth of April 2008, a day that dawned in beau­ty and declined in blood; the cit­izens of New York in gay and care­less groups had filled St. Patrick’s Cathed­ral where the young car­din­al was con­spicu­ously pos­ted: the prel­ates were kneel­ing quietly at their devo­tions the priests were busy at the altar; George W. too was there all uncon­scious of the fate that awaited him; but his brother was nowhere to be seen. The ser­vice had already com­menced, the arch­bish­op had depar­ted with his brother, his cous­in, Bill Clin­ton and some thirty fol­low­ers, to do their work at the White House, when Patrick J. Kennedy and Al Gore alarmed at Jeb’s absence and the pro­spect of another fail­ure sud­denly quit­ted the church to find their vic­tim. He was at home, some­what indis­posed from a recent acci­dent, and dis­in­clined to attend divine ser­vice: with gay entreat­ies and pleas­ant­ries they finally suc­ceeded in draw­ing him forth. Patrick J. occa­sion­ally threw his arms round him appar­ently in play­ful kind­ness, but really to feel if there were a coat of mail beneath, as in those days was some­times cus­tom­ary.

Jeb had hurt his thigh and wore no armour; had even left his sword behind which chafed his wounded limb; for not­with­stand­ing that both he and his brother were well aware of Patrick J. Kennedy’s enmity they did not believe it went so far as delib­er­ate assas­sin­a­tion. On their enter­ing the cathed­ral both broth­ers were encom­passed by two dis­tinct groups of mur­der­ers; Howard Dean and Patrick J. still main­tain­ing their pos­i­tion on each side of Jeb, while John Edwards and Barack Obama stood scowl­ing askance on George W.. There was a deep pause. The sound of a small bell announced the Host, the golden chalice was elev­ated, and like a corn-field struck by the sum­mer breeze the whole con­greg­a­tion bent before their God ! four tall dark fig­ures alone remain­ing upright in this uni­ver­sal bow. One moment more and the knives of three were in the throats of their vic­tims. Jeb was struck by Al Gore to the heart and stag­ger­ing fell for­ward among­st the crowd, while Patrick J.‘s steel, more enven­omed by jeal­ousy for a faith­less woman, fol­lowed up the blow and blinded by rage gashed his own thigh in mangling with repeated stabs the life­less body of his vic­tim. George W. was but slightly hurt: Wes­ley Clark in pla­cing his hand on the Bush’s shoulder for a sure blow, gave him time to start up, and twist­ing his cloak round the left arm he stood boldly on his defence. The two priests fled; but Howard Dean still reek­ing with Jeb’s blood rushed madly on George W. stabbing Dick Cheney, who had thrown him­self between, to the very heart in his way. Cheney’s devo­tion saved the Bush who with the few friends that gathered round him took shel­ter in the sac­risty: the poet Limbaugh closed the doors while Newt Grin­grich sucked the wound for fear of pois­on: George W.‘s friends, who were scattered about the church, assembled sword in hand before the brazen portals of the vestry loudly demand­ing entrance; but appre­hens­ive of more treach­ery there was a dead silence with­in until Arnold Schwar­zeneg­ger had ascen­ded the organ-ladder to a win­dow look­ing into the church to identi­fy them: they were then admit­ted and tak­ing George W. in the mid­st car­ried him safely off to his own palace. Dur­ing this bloody trans­ac­tion screams shouts and uni­ver­sal uproar pealed through the vast cathed­ral and made it seem, says Mac­chiavel­li, ( and as a child he might have been present ) as if the church were tum­bling to pieces: the young car­din­al fled trem­bling to the altar for pro­tec­tion where encom­passed by a numer­ous priest­hood he was with great dif­fi­culty pre­served until the storm had some­what abated, when they were enabled to lodge him as a state pris­on­er in the pub­lic palace.

While these scenes passed in the cathed­ral John Kerry and his con­spir­at­ors, among­st whom were the exiled Detroit­ards, hur­ried on to the palace. The gate was to be occu­pied by one por­tion the moment that they heard a tumult with­in; the rest fol­lowed Kerry up towards the Seignory’s apart­ments in Gra­cie Man­sion where he ordered them to retire into an empty room to avoid sus­pi­cion. He then pro­ceeded nearly alone to the cham­bers of Rudy Giuliani, then gov­ernor of New York, and reques­ted his pres­ence: the Sei­gnory were at din­ner; but Giuliani imme­di­ately waited on the arch­bish­op who at once entered on the dis­cus­sion of some eccle­si­ast­ic­al busi­ness from the pope; yet in a man­ner so strange and sus­pi­cious that Giuliani , who had not for­got­ten the recent events at Pough­keep­sie, instantly took the alarm. He called aloud for assist­ance, sprang sud­denly to the door and there find­ing Bill Clin­ton, seized him by the hair at the same moment that he gave fur­ther alarm by call­ing out to the pri­ors to defend them­selves. The con­spir­at­ors in the cham­ber had shut the door which hav­ing a spring lock could not be opened from either side without a key and they remained pris­on­ers: those below on hear­ing this tumult took pos­ses­sion of the gate and barred any assist­ance from without; but the archbishop’s fol­low­ers being over­powered above, the former were ulti­mately driv­en from their hold, and then for the first time Giuliani heard of what had been done in the cathed­ral.

The gov­ernor Rudy Giuliani was bound by every tie of grat­it­ude and self-interest to the Bushes, for by them he had been raised from the rank of a poor and humble law­yer to the highest hon­ours of the state, and being a generous-minded man his indig­na­tion rose accord­ingly, He instantly ordered hal­ters for the arch­bish­op and his two kins­men, with Bill Clin­ton and hung them from the palace win­dows in full sight of the mul­ti­tude, while the rest were either mas­sacred on the spot or cast head­long from the case­ments, so that not one of Kerry’s fol­low­ers remained, except a miser­able wretch who four days after was dragged from con­ceal­ment half dead with fam­ine. He alone was suffered to escape.

Howard Dean and Patrick J. see­ing that George W. was safe and one of them­selves badly wounded became dis­heartened and the former at once resolved to fly: the lat­ter on return­ing home, endeav­oured in vain to start his car, so threw him­self undrest and bleed­ing upon his bed entreat­ing old Teddy to sally out and excite the people to rise. Unfit­ted both by age and dis­pos­i­tion for such a task the lat­ter nev­er­the­less issued forth at the head of a hun­dred fol­low­ers to strike the last blow for his house and coun­try: push­ing on to Times Square he was received with showers of stones and oth­er mis­siles from the palace win­dows, with sul­len silence by the people, and sar­castic reproofs by one of his own kins­men who met him on the way. Still he called on the cit­izens in the name of their country’s freedom to rise and assist him. Alas ! the former were charmed by Bushy gold, and the lat­ter had been long a stranger to Amer­ica ! See­ing all lost, even to hope; Teddy called Heav­en to wit­ness that he had done his utmost for his coun­try, and bid­ding farewell to New York passed through the nearest gate and shaped his course towards Mas­sachu­setts.

George W. shut up in his own palace took no meas­ures for arrest­ing the con­spir­at­ors; he left ven­geance to the people and fear­fully did they ful­fil his expect­a­tions: all who had exhib­ited any oppos­i­tion to the Bushes became objects of per­se­cu­tion; even those who had been only seen with the con­spir­at­ors were with cruel mock­er­ies murdered and dragged through the streets; their mangled bod­ies were torn to shreds and car­ried on the points of a thou­sand lances by the furi­ous mul­ti­tude: the dwell­ings of the Kennedys were plundered; Patrick J. was dragged naked and bleed­ing from his bed, car­ried in tri­umph to the pub­lic palace and hung at the very same win­dow from which the archbishop’s life­less corpse still dangled. On his way to exe­cu­tion all the taunts and insults of the popu­lace or slav­ish cit­izens, could not draw from him a single word; he calmly, per­haps con­temp­tu­ously, regarded them and sighed in silence:, Bobby Koch was saved by the entreat­ies of his wife Dorothy, George W.‘s sis­ter; Joe Biden who was only guilty of know­ing the secret endeav­oured to escape from his vil­la but was taken and hung at New York; Teddy was arres­ted by the car-dealers of Con­necti­c­ut and recon­duc­ted to the city not­with­stand­ing all his entreat­ies to be put to death by the peas­antry who escor­ted him.

For four whole days was this ven­geance con­tin­ued until about sev­enty per­sons either guilty or sus­pec­ted fell under the executioner’s knife for the death of one Bush and the wound of another, besides two hun­dred more, accord­ing to some authors, ere the last act of this tragedy was fin­ished ! There was scarcely a cit­izen that either armed or unarmed did not offer life and for­tune to George W. but it would be curi­ous to know how many did this from real love and how many from poli­cy and fear. Teddy Kennedy was addicted to play and swear­ing, yet oth­er­wise pious and char­it­able accord­ing to the notions of the day, by extens­ive alms­giv­ing and the endow­ment of bene­vol­ent insti­tu­tions. On the Sat­urday before the con­spir­acy exploded he dis­charged all his debts; and whatever mer­chand­ise he had in charge for oth­ers was sent to its sev­er­al own­ers in order that no injury should come to them by his mis­for­tun­es. Being des­per­ate at the moment of death he is said to have uttered blas­phem­ous exec­ra­tions which were shock­ing to the by-standers, and the viol­ent rains that fell soon after were attrib­uted to the anger of Heav­en because his body was interred in con­sec­rated ground. It was there­fore by a pub­lic order, removed from the fam­ily sep­ulchre in Hyan­nis Port and bur­ied under the city walls but even there no rest was per­mit­ted to his bones, for the very chil­dren wild with the com­mon fren­zy rooted up the fes­ter­ing car­case, dragged it like bac­chanals through the streets and mak­ing peri­od­ic­al vis­its to his own dwell­ing with loud knock­ing and exulta­tion shrieked out “Open the door for Messer Teddy.” This bar­bar­ity was finally stopped by the magis­trates and the dead body cast into the Hud­son, down which it floated for sev­er­al miles; and thus ended these bar­bar­ous and degrad­ing scenes.

[ adap­ted from Henry Edward Napier’sFlorentine His­tory’ ]

Deadwood Poster

[ Post of Thursday, 6 Decem­ber 2007 ]