The Archdeacon wrote to her, suggesting that she might be glad of some counsel in filling the vacancy, and giving her the names of two men whom he thought suitable. Joanna was furious—she would brook no interference from Archdeacons, and wrote the gentleman a letter which must have been unique in his archidiaconal experience. All the same she began to feel worried—she was beginning to doubt if she had the same qualifications for choosing a clergyman as she had for choosing a looker or a dairy-girl. She knew the sort of man she liked as a man, and more vaguely the sort of man she liked as a parson, she also was patriotically anxious to find somebody adequate to the honours and obligations of the living. Nobody she saw or heard of seemed to come up to her double standard of man and minister, and she was beginning to wonder to what extent she could compromise her pride by writing—not to the Archdeacon, but over his head to the Bishop—when she saw in the local paper that Father Lawrence, of the Society of Sacred Pity, was preaching a course of sermons in Marlingate.
Immediately memories came back to her, so far and pale that they were more like the memories of dreams than of anything which had actually happened. She saw a small dark figure standing with its back to the awakening light and bidding godspeed to all that was vital and beautiful and more-than-herself in her life.... “Go, Christian soul”—while she in the depths of her broken heart had cried “Stay, stay!” But he had obeyed the priest rather than the lover, he had gone and not stayed ... and afterwards the priest had tried to hold him for her in futurity—“think of Martin, pray for Martin,” but the lover had let him slip, because she could not think and dared not pray, and he had fallen back from her into his silent home in the past.
The old wound could still hurt, for a moment it seemed as if her whole body was pain because of it. Successful, important, thriving Joanna Godden could still suffer because eight years ago she had not been allowed to make the sacrifice of all that she now held so triumphantly. This mere name of Martin’s brother had pricked her heart, and she suddenly wanted to get closer to the past than she could get with her memorial-card and photograph and tombstone. Even Sir Harry Trevor, ironic link with faithful love, was gone now—there was only Lawrence. She would like to see him—not to talk to him of Martin, she couldn’t bear that, and there would be something vaguely improper about it—but he was a clergyman, for all he disguised the fact by calling himself a priest, and she would offer him the living of Brodnyx with Pedlinge and let the neighbourhood sit up as much as it liked.