‘They are to begin on Sunday next,’ said Mr. Dempster, in a significant tone; ’but I think it will not take a long-sighted prophet to foresee the end of them. It strikes me Mr. Tryan will be looking out for another curacy shortly.’
’He’ll not get many Milby people to go and hear his lectures after a while, I’ll bet a guinea,’ observed Mr. Budd. ’I know I’ll not keep a single workman on my ground who either goes to the lecture himself or lets anybody belonging to him go.’
‘Nor me nayther,’ said Mr. Tomlinson. ’No Tryanite shall touch a sack or drive a waggon o’ mine, that you may depend on. An’ I know more besides me as are o’ the same mind.’
’Tryan has a good many friends in the town, though, and friends that are likely to stand by him too,’ said Mr. Pilgrim. ’I should say it would be as well to let him and his lectures alone. If he goes on preaching as he does, with such a constitution as his, he’ll get a relaxed throat by-and-by, and you’ll be rid of him without any trouble.’
‘We’ll not allow him to do himself that injury,’ said Mr. Dempster. ’Since his health is not good, we’ll persuade him to try change of air. Depend upon it, he’ll find the climate of Milby too hot for him.’
Mr. Dempster did not stay long at the Red Lion that evening. He was summoned home to meet Mr. Armstrong, a wealthy client, and as he was kept in consultation till a late hour, it happened that this was one of the nights on which Mr. Dempster went to bed tolerably sober. Thus the day, which had been one of Janets happiest, because it had been spent by her in helping her dear old friend Mrs. Crewe, ended for her with unusual quietude; and as a bright sunset promises a fair morning, so a calm lying down is a good augury for a calm waking. Mr. Dempster, on the Thursday morning, was in one of his best humours, and though perhaps some of the good-humour might result from the prospect of a lucrative and exciting bit of business in Mr. Armstrong’s probable lawsuit, the greater part of it was doubtless due to those stirrings of the more kindly, healthy sap of human feeling, by which goodness tries to get the upper hand in us whenever it seems to have the slightest chance—on Sunday mornings, perhaps, when we are set free from the grinding hurry of the week, and take the little three-year old on our knee at breakfast to share our egg and muffin; in moments of trouble, when death visits our roof or illness makes us dependent on the tending hand of a slighted wife; in quiet talks with an aged mother, of the days when we stood at her knee with our first picture-book, or wrote her loving letters from school. In the man whose childhood has known caresses there is always a fibre of memory that can be touched to gentle issues, and Mr. Dempster, whom you have hitherto seen only as the orator of the Red Lion, and the drunken tyrant of a dreary midnight home, was the first-born darling son of a fair little mother. That mother was living still, and her own large black easy-chair, where she sat knitting through the livelong day, was now set ready for her at the breakfast-table, by her son’s side, a sleek tortoise-shell cat acting as provisional incumbent.