The signal in the Rector’s eyes was blazing now. His wife rested her hand on a chair-back to gain strength against she knew not what. Mr. Wright smiled, vaguely apologetic; and the smile made him look exceedingly foolish; but she saw that the man was in earnest.
“I think,” pursued Mr. Wesley, aware of her terror, aware of the pain he took from his own words, but now for the moment fiercely enjoying both—“I think,” he pursued slowly, “there can be no question of our answer. I must, of course, make inquiry into your circumstances, and assure myself that I am not bestowing Mehetabel on an evil-liver. Worthless as she is, I owe her this precaution, which you must pardon. I will be prompt, sir. In two days, if you return, you shall have my decision; and if my inquiries have satisfied me—as I make no doubt they will—my wife and I can only accept your offer and express our high sense of your condescension.”
Mr. Wright gazed, open-mouthed, from husband to wife. He saw that Mrs. Wesley was trembling, but her eyes held no answer for him. He was trembling too.
“You mean that I’m to come along?” he managed to stammer.
“I do, sir. On the day after to-morrow you may come for my answer. Meanwhile—”
Mr. Wright never knew what words the Rector choked down. They would have surprised him considerably. As it was, reading his dismissal in a slight motion of Mrs. Wesley’s hand, he made his escape; but had to pull himself up on the front doorstep to take his bearings and assure himself that he stood on his feet.
“She graced my humble roof and blest my life,
Blest me by a far greater name than wife;
Yet still I bore an undisputed sway,
Nor was’t her task, but pleasure, to obey;
Scarce thought, much less could act, what I denied.
In our low house there was no room for pride:” etc.
The Rev. Samuel Wesley’s Verses of his Wife.
“It is an unhappiness almost
peculiar to our family that your
father and I seldom think alike. . . .”
“I am, I believe, got on the right side of fifty, infirm and
weak; yet, old as I am, since I have taken my husband ’for
better, for worse,’ I’ll take my residence with him: where he
lives, I will live: and where he dies, will I die: and there
will I be buried. God do so unto me and more also, if aught
but death part him and me.”
Mrs. Wesley’s Letters.
Mrs. Wesley guessed well enough what manner of words her husband had choked down. She stood and watched his face, waiting for him to lift his eyes. But he refused obstinately to lift them, and went on rearranging with aimless fingers the pens and papers on his writing-table. At length she plucked up her courage. “Husband,” she said, “let us take counsel together. We are in a plight that wrath will not cure: but, be angry as you will, we cannot give Hetty to this man.”