Then he made a rush for the gap between hand and thumb, but the thumb closed. And all the while the angel went on reading—reading. The Wicked Man rushed to and fro across God's palm, and then suddenly turned about and fled up the sleeve of God.
I expected God would turn him out, but the mercy of God is infinite.
The Recording Angel paused.
"Eh?" said the Recording Angel.
"Next," said God, and before the Recording Angel could call the name a hairy creature in filthy rags stood upon God's palm.
"Has God got Hell up his sleeve then?" said the little man beside me.
"Is there a Hell?" I asked.
"If you notice," he said—he peered between the feet of the great angels— "there's no particular indication of a Celestial City."
"'Ssh!" said a little woman near us, scowling. "Hear this blessed Saint!"
"He was Lord of the Earth, but I was the prophet of the God of Heaven," cried the Saint, "and all the people marvelled at the sign. For I, O God, knew of the glories of thy Paradise. No pain, no hardship, gashing with knives, splinters thrust under my nails, strips of flesh flayed off, all for the glory and honour of God."
"And at last I went, I in my rags and sores, smelling of my holy discomforts——"
Gabriel laughed abruptly.