Dr. Randall Davidson, the Archbishop of Canterbury, opened his diary on Wednesday April 29, 1903. A rub against perfectly rounded ear by rare fleck of white hair and he fingered for the college files stacked at the side. A minute later the Hungarian entered, vibrating Davidson’s arm eagerly. Like an excited puppy he looked around at the cases of books, trophies and artefacts.
“Oh very pleased, yes very pleased to be here,” said Trebitsch. “I read you grew up Presbyterian before transferring to the Anglican church, as did I.”
“Yes, that’s right,” said Davidson.
“My condolences on the loss, I read you and Queen Victoria were close. I also read your response to the Apostolicae curae papal bull –“
“Mister Trebitsch, I do not have a lot of time,” said Davidson.
“Yes, yes. Where does it go? Time? My wife is pregnant, due in July,” said Trebitsch.
“Congratulations,” said Davidson, and craned his badger head deep in the books.
“Appledore is most delightful, a fine parish for raising a child. Do you have children, Archbishop?”
“I have none. Mister Trebitsch, your performance in the candidate’s exams was very bad indeed. Of the eight deacons we looked at you came lowest.”
“I cannot see that,” said Ignacz.
“You scored well enough on Church History and General Bible.”
“Your command of Greek was much below expectation.”
“Yes I have practically forgotten it though I learned much. I could fit in re-learning it for a few months? Yes I could.”
Davidson lifted his head.
“You will have to. In light of the circumstances I’ll grant you a temporary license as curate at Appledore parish.” He emphasised, “However,” as Trebitsch’s ears pricked up, “this is conditional on a marked improvement. Reverend Hall will report to me on your studies. You must progress. You must re-take the ordination exam within six months.”
“Yes, yes. You will see how I take this very seriously. I realise our meeting must be short today, so I thank you for your faith in granting me this opportunity. I will not let you down. In my heart and my head I feel this is where I shall witness to God the Lord and I shall meet his work each day with the fullest essence of my being, my experience and attend to all my studies. You’ll not regret this!”
Ignacz The Watch Thief is serialised five days a week. To donate go to patreon.com/andyluke and access four advance chapters, commentaries or bonus art.