The prior, Father Guthlac, entered at this moment, and Dunstan talked
apart with him for some moments with extreme earnestness, but only the
last words which passed between them were audible.
"Yes, my brother, you have the words of Scripture," said Dunstan, "to
support your proposal: 'When they persecute you in one city, flee ye
"Yet it is hard to leave a spot one has reared with such tender care."
"There was One Who left more for us; and I do not think they will
destroy the place, or even attempt to destroy it: they will fill it with
those 'slow bellies, those evil beasts,' the secular clergy, with their
"Fitter it should be a stye for hogs." [xxi]
"Nay, they are men after all; yet there is some reason to fear that,
like hogs, they wallow in the mire of sensuality; but their day will be
but a short one."
"But a short one; it hath been foreshown me in visions of the night that
the Evil One will triumph indeed, but that his triumph will be very
short; and, alas a green tree which standeth in the pride of its youth
and might must, ere the close of that triumph, be hewn down."
"By our hands, father?"
"God forbid! by the Hand of God, I speak but as it has been revealed to me."
It was a well-known fact that Dunstan either was subject to marvellous
hallucinations, and was a monomaniac on that one point, while so wise in
all other matters, or that he was the object of special revelations, and
was favoured with spiritual visions, as well as temptations, which do
not ordinarily fall within the observation or experience of men.