A Tale of a Lonely Parish eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 399 pages of information about A Tale of a Lonely Parish.
determined to go to sea again rather than to witness such misery.  He could not see, no one could see how things could possibly turn out in any other way.  It would have been some comfort to have gone to the vicar, and to have discussed with him the possibilities of Mrs. Goddard’s future.  The vicar was a man after his own heart, honest, reliable, charitable and brave; but Mr. Juxon thought that it would not be quite loyal towards Mrs. Goddard if he let any one else know that he was acquainted with her story.

For two days he stayed at home and then he went to see her.  To his surprise she received him very quietly, much as she usually did, without betraying any emotion; whereupon he wished that he had not allowed two days to pass without making his usual visit.  Mrs. Goddard almost wished so too.  She had been so much accustomed to regard the squire as a friend, and she had so long been used to the thought that Mr. and Mrs. Ambrose knew of her past trouble, that the fact of the squire becoming acquainted with her history seemed to her less important, now that it was accomplished, than it seemed to the squire himself.  She had long thought of telling him all; she had seriously contemplated doing so when he first came to Billingsfield, and now at last the thing was done.  She was glad of it.  She was no longer in a false position; he could never again think of marrying her; they could henceforth meet as friends, since he was so magnanimous as to allow their friendship to exist.  Her pride had suffered so terribly in the beginning that it was past suffering now.  She felt that she was in the position of a suppliant asking only for a quiet resting-place for herself and her daughter, and she was grateful to the people who gave her what she asked, feeling that she had fallen among good Samaritans, whereas in merry England it would have been easy for her to have fallen among priests and Pharisees.

So it came about that in a few days her relations with Mr. Juxon were re-established upon a new basis, but more firmly and satisfactorily than before, seeing that now there was no possibility of mistake.  And for a long time it seemed as though matters would go on as before.  Neither Mrs. Goddard nor the squire ever referred to the interview on that memorable stormy afternoon, and so far as the squire could judge his life and hers might go on with perfect tranquillity until it should please the powers that be and the governor of Portland to set Mr. Walter Goddard at liberty.  Heaven only knew what would happen then, but it was provided that there should be plenty of time to prepare for anything which might ensue.  The point upon which Mrs. Goddard had not spoken plainly was that which concerned her probable treatment of her husband after his liberation.  She had passed that question over in silence.  She had probably never dared to decide.  Most probably she would at the last minute seek some safer retreat than Billingsfield and make tip her mind to hide for the rest of her life.  But Mr. Juxon had heard of women who had carried charity as far as to receive back their husbands under even worse circumstances; women were soft-hearted creatures, reflected the squire, and capable of anything.

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