And now there was still the oath of canonical obedience to take before lunch; but luckily that was short. Mark was hungry, since unlike most of the candidates he had not eaten an enormous breakfast that morning.
Snow was falling outside when the young priests and deacons in their new frock coats sat down to lunch; and when they put on their sleek silk hats and hurried away to catch the afternoon train back to Silchester, it was still falling.
“Even nature is putting on a surplice in our honour,” Mark laughed to one of his companions, who not feeling quite sure whether Mark was being poetical or profane, decided that he was being flippant, and looked suitably grieved.
It was dusk of that short winter day when Mark reached Silchester, and wandered back in a dream toward Vicar’s Walk. Usually on Sunday evenings the streets of the city pattered with numerous footsteps; but to-night the snow deadened every sound, and the peace of God had gone out from the Cathedral to shed itself upon the city.
“It will be Christmas Day in a week,” Mark thought, listening to the Sabbath bells muffled by the soft snow-laden air. For the first time it occurred to him that he should probably have to preach next Sunday evening.
And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us.
That should be his text, Mark decided; and, passing from the snowy streets, he sat thinking in the golden glooms of the Cathedral about his sermon.