Then he was so full of charity and affection for all that were frail and erring among our kind, that he never, or seldom, breathed a harsh word against the offender. Or if, in the fulness of his benevolence, he found it necessary to enumerate their faults, and place them, as it were, in a catalogue, it was done in a spirit of such love, mingled with sorrow, that those to whom he addressed himself, often thought it a pity that he himself did not honor religion, by becoming the offender, simply for the sake of afterwards becoming the patient.
In the religious world he was a very active and prominent man—punctual in his devotional exercises, and always on the lookout for some of those unfortunate brands with which society abounds, that he might, as he termed it, have the pleasure of plucking them out of the burning. He never went without a Bible and a variety of tracts in his pocket, and seldom was missed from the platform of a religious meeting. He received subscriptions for all public and private charities, and has repeatedly been known to offer and afford consolation to the widow and orphan, at a time when the pressure of business rendered the act truly one of Christian interest and affection.
The hour was not more than ten o’clock, a.m. when Darby entered his office, in which, by the way, lay three or four Bibles, in different places. In a recess on one side of the chimney-piece, stood a glass-covered bookcase, filled with the usual works on his profession, whilst hung upon the walls, and consequently nearer observation, were two or three pensile shelves, on which were to be found a small collection of religious volumes, tracts, and other productions, all bearing on the same subject. On the desk was a well-thumbed Bible to the right, which was that used at family prayer; and on the opposite side, a religious almanack and a copy of congregation hymns.
Darby, on reaching the hall door, knocked with considerable more decision than he had done at M’Clutchy’s, but without appearing to have made himself heard; after waiting patiently for some time, however, he knocked again, and at length the door was opened by a very pretty servant girl, about seventeen, who, upon his inquiring if her master was at home, replied in a sighing voice, and with a demure face, “Oh, yes—at family prayer.”
“When he’s done,” said Darby, “maybe you’d be kind enough to say that Darby O’Drive has a message for him.”