That summer the gambling houses were closed , despite the threats of Pierre Ameaux , a gaming-card manufacturer .
Dancing was no longer permitted in the streets .
The Bordel and other places of prostitution were emptied .
The slit breeches had to go .
Drunkenness was no longer tolerated .
In defiance , a chinless reprobate , Jake Camaret , marched down the aisle in St. Peter's one Sunday morning , followed by one of the women from the Bordel , whose dress and walk plainly showed the lack of any shame .
Plunking themselves down on the front bench , they turned to smirk at those around them .
John's first impulse was to denounce their blasphemy .
But the thought occurred that God would want this opportunity used to tell them about Him .
Calmly he opened the Bible and read of the woman at the well .
He finished the worship service as if there had been no brazen attempt to dishonor God and man .
The next morning , as the clock struck nine , he appeared at the Council meeting in the Town Hall and insisted that the couple would have to be punished if the Church was to be respected .
`` I have told you before , and I tell you again '' , Monsieur Favre said rudely .
`` Stick to the preaching of the Gospel '' ! !
John stiffened in anger .
`` That is the answer the ungodly will always make when the Church points its fingers at their sins .
I say to you that the Church will ever decry evil '' ! !
John's reply was like a declaration of war .
Monsieur Favre sat down in his high-backed stall , lips compressed , eyes glinting .
Ablard Corne , a short man with a rotunda of stomach , rose .
Every eye was on him as he began to speak .
`` What Master Calvin says is true .
How can we have a good city unless we respect morality '' ? ?
Abel Poupin , a tall man with sunken cheeks and deep-set eyes , got to his feet .
`` We all know that Jake Camaret and the woman are brazenly living together .
It would be well to show the populace how we deal with adulterers '' .
Philibert Berthelier , the son of the famous patriot , disagreed .
`` Do not listen to that Frenchman .
He is throttling the liberty my father gave his life to win '' ! !
John was quietly insistent .
`` There can be no compromise when souls are in jeopardy '' .
A week later the sentence of the Council was carried out : Jake Camaret and the woman were marched naked through the streets past a mocking populace .
Before them stalked the beadle , proclaiming as he went , `` Thus the Council deals with those who break its laws -- adulterers , thieves , murderers , and lewd persons .
Let evildoers contemplate their ways , and let every man beware '' ! !
John's thoughts raced painfully into the past as he read the letter he had just received from his sister Mary .
Charles had died two weeks before , in early November , without being reconciled to the Church .
The canons , in a body , had tried to force him on his deathbed to let them give him the last rites of the Church , but he had died still proclaiming salvation by faith .
Burial had taken place at night in the ground at the public crossroads under the gibbet , so that his enemies could not find his body and have it dug up and burned .
The Abbot of St. Eloi , Claude De Mommor , had been a good friend , but not even he thought Charles deserved burial in hallowed ground .
John closed his eyes and saw once again the little niche in his mother's bedroom , where she had knelt to tell the good Virgin of her needs .
The blue-draped Virgin was still there , but no one knelt before her now .
Not even Varnessa ; ;
she , too , prayed only to God .
For an instant John longed for the sound of the bells of Noyon-la-Sainte , the touch of his mother's hand , the lilt of Charles's voice in the square raftered rooms , his father's bass tones rumbling to the canons , and the sight of the beloved bishop .
But he had to follow the light .
Unless God expected a man to believe the Holy Scriptures , why had He given them to him ? ?
The white-clad trees stood like specters in the February night .
Snow buried the streets and covered the slanting rooftops , as John trudged toward St. Peter's .
A carriage crunched by , its dim lights filtering through the gloom .
The sharp wind slapped at him and his feet felt like ice as the snow penetrated the holes of his shoes , his only ones , now patched with folded parchment .
The city had recently given him a small salary , but it was not enough to supply even necessities .
As he neared the square , a round figure muffled in a long , black cape whisked by .
John recognized Ablard Corne and called out a greeting .
How grateful he was to such men ! !
There were several on the Council who tried to live like Christians .
Despite their efforts , the problems seemed to grow graver all the time .
Quickening his steps , John entered the vast church and climbed the tower steps to the bells .
Underneath the big one , in the silent moonlight , lay a dead pigeon , and on the smaller bell , the Clemence , two gray and white birds slept huddled together in the cold winter air .
John leaned upon the stone balustrade .
He brushed back his black hair , shoving it under his pastor's cap to keep it from blowing in his eyes .
Below the moon-splashed world rolled away to insurmountable white peaks ; ;
above him the deep blue sky glittered with stars .
He stood very still , his arms at his sides , staring up at the heavens , then down at the blinking lights below .
`` How long , my Lord ? ?
How long ? ?
I have never asked for an easy task , but I am weary of the strife '' .
Sleep was difficult these days .
Indigestion plagued him .
Severe headaches were frequent .
Loneliness tore through him like a physical pain whenever he thought of Peter Robert , Nerien , Nicholas Cop , Martin Bucer , and even the compromising Louis Du Tillet .
An occasional traveler from Italy brought news of Peter Robert , who was now distributing his Bible among the Waldensian peasants .
Letters came regularly from Nerien , Nicholas , and Martin .
He had Anthony and William to confide in and consult .
But William continued to find a bitter joy in smashing images and tearing down symbols sacred to the Old Church .
John found it difficult , but he held him in check .
And Anthony was busy most of the time courting this girl and that .
His easy good looks made him a favorite with the ladies .
Geneva , instead of becoming the City of God , as John had dreamed , had in the two years since he had been there , continued to be a godless place where all manner of vice flourished .
Refugees poured in , signing the Confession and rules in order to remain , and then disregarding them .
Dice rolled , prostitutes plied their trade , thieves stole , murderers stabbed , and the ungodly blasphemed .
Catholics who were truly Christians longed for the simple penance of days gone by .
Libertines recalled the heroism of the past and demanded : `` Are we going to allow the Protestant Pope , Master Calvin , to curtail our liberty ? ?
Why , oh why , doesn't he stick to preaching the Gospel , instead of meddling in civic affairs , politics , economics , and social issues that are no concern of the Church '' ? ?
And John's reply was always the same : `` Anything that affects souls is the concern of the Church ! !
We will have righteousness '' ! !
Tears burned behind his eyes as he prayed and meditated tonight .
Unless the confusion cleared , he would not be coming here much longer .
Monsieur Favre's threat would become a reality , for he continued to proclaim loudly that the city must rid itself of `` that Frenchman '' .
The slow tapping of a cane on the stone steps coming up to the tower interrupted his reverie .
Faint at first , the tapping grew until it sounded loud against the wind .
Eli Corault ! !
John thought .
What is he doing here at this hour ? ?
He started down the steps to meet the near-blind preacher , who had been one of the early Gospelers in Paris .
`` John ? ?
Is that you ? ?
I came to warn you of a plot '' ! !
John stood above him , his face ashen .
What now ? ?
Slowly , like a man grown old , he took Eli's hand and led him below to the tower study , guiding him to a chair beside the little hearth where a fire still burned .
`` Plot '' ? ?
John asked tiredly .
`` Monsieur Favre just paid me a visit .
I went to your rooms , and Anthony told me you were here .
Two Anabaptists , Caroli and Benoit , are to challenge you and William to a debate before the Council .
It is to be a trap .
You know the law : if you lose the debate after accepting a challenge , you will be banished '' ! !
`` What will be the subject '' ? ?
`` You are to be accused of Arianism to confuse the religious who remain loyal '' .
Anger and fear fused in John .
Ever since the fourth century a controversy had raged over the person of Christ .
Those who refused to believe that He was the eternal Son of God were termed Arianists .
Peter Caroli had come to Geneva , saying that he had been a bishop of the Church of Rome and had been persecuted in Paris for his Reformed faith .
He asked to be appointed a preacher .
But Michael Sept had unmasked him , revealing he had never been a bishop , but was an Anabaptist , afraid to state his faith , because he knew John Calvin had written a book against their belief that the soul slept after death .
So John had refused to agree to his appointment as a preacher , and now Caroli sought revenge .
John sighed .
`` If William agrees , we should insist on a public debate '' , he said at length .
`` There is more to the conspiracy .
Bern demands that the Lord's Supper be administered here as it used to be , with unleavened bread .
Furthermore , Bern decrees that we must do as we are ordered by the Council , preach only the word of God and stop meddling in politics '' ! !
`` It was always the spirit with Christ ; ;
matters such as leavened or unleavened bread are inconsequential .
Geneva must remain a sovereign state .
We will not yield to the demands of Bern '' ! !
The firelight played over Eli's flowing white locks and rugged features .
`` Monsieur Favre indicated that if I would co-operate , after you and William are banished , following the debate , I will be given a place of influence '' .
`` What was your reply to that '' ? ?
`` That I would rather be banished with two such Christians than be made the Chief Syndic '' ! !
The following morning , as John entered the Place Molard on his way to visit a sick refugee , he had a premonition of danger .
Then suddenly a group of men and dogs circled him .
He wanted to run , but he knew that if he did , he would be lost .
He stood very still , his heart thumping wildly .
On the outskirts of the rabble the Camaret brothers and Gaspard Favre shook their fists .
`` Are you going to comply with the demands of Bern '' ? ?
The chinless Jake called .
`` Arianist '' ! !
A rowdy with a big blob of a nose roared .
`` Heretic '' ! !
John lifted his hand for silence .
`` Know this : the ministers will not yield to the demands of Bern '' .
His voice shook a little .
Somebody heaved a stone .
For an instant John was stunned .
When he felt the side of his head , his fingers came away covered with blood .
Before he could duck , another stone struck him .
And another .
`` Let him be now '' ! !
Pierre Ameaux , the gaming-card manufacturer said , his little pig eyes glaring .
`` We have taught him a lesson '' .
The crowd moved back and John started dizzily down the hill .
Fists pummeled him as he staggered forward .
Then he slipped and went down on his hands and knees in the melting snow .
At once a bevy of dogs was snapping and snarling around him .
One , more horrible than the rest , lunged , growling deep in his throat , his hair bristling .
With great difficulty John clambered to his feet and started to run , sweat pouring down his face .