A Tale of a Lonely Parish eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 316 pages of information about A Tale of a Lonely Parish.
except the courtship of the young physician who had married her daughter, attributed John’s demeanour to no such disturbing cause.  He was overworked, she said; he was therefore irritable; he had of course never taken that excellent homoeopathic remedy, highly diluted aconite, since he had left the vicarage; the consequence was that he was subject to nervous headache—­she only hoped he would not be taken ill on the eve of the examination for honours.  She hoped, too, that he would prolong his holiday to the very last moment, for the country air and the rest he enjoyed were sure to do him so much good.  With regard, to the extension of John’s visit, the vicar thought differently, although he held his peace.  There were many reasons why John should not become attached to Mrs. Goddard both for her sake and his own, and if he staid long, the vicar felt quite sure that he would fall in love with her.  She was dangerously pretty, she was much older than John—­which in the case of very young men constitutes an additional probability—­she evidently took an innocent pleasure in his society, and altogether such a complication as was likely to ensue was highly undesirable.  Therefore, when Mrs. Ambrose pressed John to stay longer than he had intended, the vicar not only gave him no encouragement, but spoke gravely of the near approach of the contest for honours, of the necessity of concentrating every force for the coming struggle, and expressed at the same time the firm conviction that, if John did his best, he ought to be the senior classic in the year.

Even Mrs. Goddard urged him to go.  Of course he asked her advice.  He would not have lost that opportunity of making her speak of himself, nor of gauging the exact extent of the interest he hoped she felt in him.

It was two or three days after the long conversation he had enjoyed with her.  In that time they had met often and John’s admiration for her, strengthened by his own romantic desire to be really in love, had begun to assume proportions which startled Mrs. Goddard and annoyed Mr. Juxon.  The latter felt that the boy was in his way; whenever he wanted to see Mrs. Goddard, John was at her side, talking eagerly and contesting his position against the squire with a fierceness which in an older and wiser man would have been in the worst possible taste.  Even as it was, Mr. Juxon looked considerably annoyed as he stood by, smoothing his smooth hair from time to time with his large white hand and feeling that even at his age, and with his experience, a man might sometimes cut a poor figure.

On the particular occasion when the relations between John and the squire became an object of comment to Mrs. Ambrose, the whole party were assembled at Mrs. Goddard’s cottage.  She had invited everybody to tea, a meal which in her little household represented a compromise between her appetite and Nellie’s.  She had felt that in the small festivities of the Billingsfield Christmas season she was called upon

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A Tale of a Lonely Parish from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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