And he smiled upon them, and held out his hands as if in blessing, and lifted up his face again to heaven, and cried, “This is the work of God, that ye believe on Him Whom He hath sent.”
As if under some spell, the few to whom he had spoken stood still, till the preacher slowly shifted himself and began to walk away by the road he had come.
Some of the children went after him as before. The poor woman disappeared behind the house she had been standing against. The policeman and his companion began to talk, looking the while at the object of their discussion.
Eliza, in the closet, leaned her head against the pile of linen on an upper shelf, and was quite still for some time.
Principal Trenholme had been gone from Chellaston a day or two on business. When he returned one evening, he got into his smart little sleigh which was in waiting at the railway station, and was driving himself home, when his attention was arrested and his way blocked by a crowd in front of the hotel. He did not force a way for his horse, but drew up, listening and looking. It was a curious picture. The wide street of snow and the houses were dusky with night, except where light chanced to glow in doorways and windows. The collection of people was motley. Above, all the sky seemed brought into insistent notice as a roof or covering, partly because pale pink streamers of flickering northern light were passing over it, partly because the leader of the crowd, an old man, by looking upwards, drew the gaze of all to follow whither his had gone.
Trenholme heard his loud voice calling: “Behold He shall come again, and every eye shall look on Him Whom they have pierced. Blessed are those servants whom their Lord when He cometh shall find watching.”
The scene was foreign to life in Chellaston. Trenholme, who had no mind to stand on the skirts of the crowd, thrust his reins into the hand of his rustic groom, and went up the broad steps of the hotel, knowing that he would there have his inquiries most quickly answered.
In the bar-room about thirty men were crowded about the windows, looking at the preacher, not listening, for the double glass, shut out the preacher’s voice. They were interested, debating loudly among themselves, and when they saw who was coming up the steps, they said to each other and the landlord, “Put it to the Principal.” There were men of all sorts in this group, most of them very respectable; but when Trenholme stood inside the door, his soft hat shading his shaven face, his fur-lined driving coat lying back from the finer cloth it covered, he was a very different sort of man from any of them. He did not know that it was merely by the influence of this difference (of which perhaps he was less conscious than any of them) that they were provoked to question him. Hutchins, the landlord, sat at the back of the room on his high office chair.