He spoke earnestly and at length to his sister. He waved aside her timid excuse that she had overslept herself after a sleepless night, and had finished dressing but the moment before he found her in the garden. He entreated her to put aside such insincerity as unworthy of her. He reminded her of the long months she had spent at Warpington with its peculiar spiritual opportunities; that he should be to blame if he did not press upon her the first importance of the religious life, the ever-present love of God, and the means of approaching Him through the sacraments. He entreated her to join her prayers with his that she might be saved from the worship of her own talent, which had shut out the worship of God, from this dreadful indifference to holy things, and the impatience of all religious teaching which he grieved to see in her.
He spoke well, the earnest, blind, would-be leader endeavoring to guide her to the ditch from which he knew not how she had emerged, passionately distressed at the opposition he met with as he would have drawn her lovingly towards it.
The tears were in Hester’s eyes, but the eyes themselves were as flint seen through water. She stifled many fierce and cruel impulses to speak as plainly as he did, to tell him that it was not religion that was abhorent to her, but the form in which he presented it to her, and that the sin against the Holy Ghost was disbelief, like his, in the religion of others. But when have such words availed anything? When have they been believed? Hester had a sharp tongue, and she was slowly learning to beware of it as her worst enemy. She laid down many weapons before she trusted herself to speak.
“It is good of you to care what becomes of me,” she said, gently, but her voice was cold. “I am sorry you regard me as you do. But from your point of view you were right to speak—as—as you have done. I value the affection that prompted it.”
“She can’t meet me fairly,” said Mr. Gresley to himself, with sudden anger at the meanness of such tactics. “They say she is so clever, and she can’t refute a word I say. She appears to yield and then defies me. She always puts me off like that.”
The sun had vanquished the mist, and in the brilliant light the two figures moved silently, side by side, back to the house, one with something very like rage in his heart, the rage that in bygone days found expression in stake and fagot.
Perhaps the heaviest trouble which Hester was ever called upon to bear had its mysterious beginnings on that morning of opal and gossamer when the magnolia opened.
Il le fit avec des arguments inconsistants et irrefutables, de ces arguments qui fondent devant la raison comme la neige an feu, et qu’on ne peut saisir, des arguments absurdes et triomphants, de cure de campagne qul demontre Dieu.—Guy DE MAUPASSANT.
Sybell’s party broke up on Saturday, with the exception of Rachel and Mr. Tristram, who had been unable to finish by that date a sketch he was making of Sybell. When Doll discovered that his wife had asked that gentleman to stay over Sunday he entreated Hugh, in moving terms, to do the same.