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Scenes of Clerical Life eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 425 pages of information about Scenes of Clerical Life.
and, after being numerously signed, was to be carried to Mr. Prendergast by three delegates representing the intellect, morality, and wealth of Milby.  The intellect, you perceive, was to be personified in Mr. Dempster, the morality in Mr. Budd, and the wealth in Mr. Tomlinson; and the distinguished triad was to set out on its great mission, as we have seen, on the third day from that warm Saturday evening when the conversation recorded in the previous chapter took place in the bar of the Red Lion.

Chapter 3

It was quite as warm on the following Thursday evening, when Mr. Dempster and his colleagues were to return from their mission to Elmstoke Rectory; but it was much pleasanter in Mrs. Linnet’s parlour than in the bar of the Red Lion.  Through the open window came the scent of mignonette and honeysuckle; the grass-plot in front of the house was shaded by a little plantation of Gueldres roses, syringas, and laburnums; the noise of looms and carts and unmelodious voices reached the ear simply as an agreeable murmur, for Mrs. Linnet’s house was situated quite on the outskirts of Paddiford Common; and the only sound likely to disturb the serenity of the feminine party assembled there, was the occasional buzz of intrusive wasps, apparently mistaking each lady’s head for a sugar-basin.  No sugar-basin was visible in Mrs. Linnet’s parlour, for the time of tea was not yet, and the round table was littered with books which the ladies were covering with black canvass as a reinforcement of the new Paddiford Lending Library.  Miss Linnet, whose manuscript was the neatest type of zigzag, was seated at a small table apart, writing on green paper tickets, which were to be pasted on the covers.  Miss Linnet had other accomplishments besides that of a neat manuscript, and an index to some of them might be found in the ornaments of the room.  She had always combined a love of serious and poetical reading with her skill in fancy-work, and the neatly-bound copies of Dryden’s ‘Virgil,’ Hannah More’s ‘Sacred Dramas,’ Falconer’s ‘Shipwreck,’ Mason ’On Self-Knowledge,’ ‘Rasselas,’ and Burke ‘On the Sublime and Beautiful,’ which were the chief ornaments of the bookcase, were all inscribed with her name, and had been bought with her pocket-money when she was in her teens.  It must have been at least fifteen years since the latest of those purchases, but Miss Linnet’s skill in fancy-work appeared to have gone through more numerous phases than her literary taste; for the japanned boxes, the alum and sealing-wax baskets, the fan-dolls, the ‘transferred’ landscapes on the fire-screens, and the recent bouquets of wax-flowers, showed a disparity in freshness which made them referable to widely different periods.  Wax-flowers presuppose delicate fingers and robust patience, but there are still many points of mind and person which they leave vague and problematic; so I must tell you that Miss Linnet had dark ringlets,

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