Father Payne eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 341 pages of information about Father Payne.

Thus I drowsed and woke, a dozen times, till in the glimmer of the early light I rose and drew back my curtains.  The dawn was struggling up fitfully in the east, among cloudy bars, tipping and edging them with smouldering flashes of light, and there was a lustrous radiance in the air.  Then, to my surprise, looking down at the silent garden, pale with dew, I saw the great figure of Father Payne, bare-headed, wrapt in a cloak, pacing solidly and, I thought, happily among the shrubberies, stopping every now and then to watch the fiery light and to breathe the invigorating air—­and I felt then that, whatever he might be doing, he at all events was something, in a sense which applied to but few people I knew.  He was not hard, unimaginative, fenced in by stupidity and self-righteousness from unhappiness and doubt, as were some of the men accounted successful whom I knew.  No, it was something positive, some self-created light, some stirring of hidden force, that emanated from him, such as I had never encountered before.

VII

THE MEN

I can attempt no sort of chronicle of our days, which indeed were quiet and simple enough.  I have only preserved in my diary the record of a few scenes and talks and incidents.  I will, however, first indicate how our party, as I knew it, was constituted, so that the record may be intelligible.

First of us came Leonard Barthrop, who was, partly by his seniority and partly by his temperament, a sort of second-in-command in the house, much consulted and trusted by Father Payne.  He was a man of about thirty-five, grave, humorous, pleasant.  If one was in a minor difficulty, too trivial to take to Father Payne, it was natural to consult Barthrop; and he sometimes, too, would say a word of warning to a man, if a storm seemed to be brewing.  It must not be denied that men occasionally got on Father Payne’s nerves, quite unconsciously, through tactlessness or stupid mannerisms—­and Barthrop was able to smooth the situation out by a word in season.  He had a power of doing this without giving offence, from the obvious goodwill which permeated all he did.  Barthrop was not very sociable or talkative, and he was occupied, I think, in some sort of historical research—­I believe he has since made his name as a judicious and interesting historian; but I knew little of what he was doing, and indeed was hardly intimate with him, though always at ease in his company.  He was not a man with strong preferences or prejudices, nor was he in any sense a brilliant or suggestive writer, I think he had merged himself very much in the life of our little society, and kept things together more than I was at first aware.

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Father Payne from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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