‘I’ve nothing to say again’ her piety, my dear; but I know very well I shouldn’t like her to cook my victual. When a man comes in hungry an’ tired, piety won’t feed him, I reckon. Hard carrots ’ull lie heavy on his stomach, piety or no piety. I called in one day when she was dishin’ up Mr. Tryan’s dinner, an’ I could see the potatoes was as watery as watery. It’s right enough to be speritial—I’m no enemy to that; but I like my potatoes mealy. I don’t see as anybody ’ull go to heaven the sooner for not digestin’ their dinner—providin’ they don’t die sooner, as mayhap Mr. Tryan will, poor dear man!’
‘It will be a heavy day for us all when that comes to pass,’ said Mrs. Pettifer. ’We shall never get anybody to fill up that gap. There’s the new clergyman that’s just come to Shepperton—Mr. Parry; I saw him the other day at Mrs. Bond’s. He may be a very good man, and a fine preacher; they say he is; but I thought to myself, What a difference between him and Mr. Tryan! He’s a sharp-sort-of-looking man, and hasn’t that feeling way with him that Mr. Tryan has. What is so wonderful to me in Mr. Tryan is the way he puts himself on a level with one, and talks to one like a brother. I’m never afraid of telling him anything. He never seems to look down on anybody. He knows how to lift up those that are cast down, if ever man did.’
‘Yes,’ said Mary. ’And when I see all the faces turned up to him in Paddiford Church. I often think how hard it would be for any clergyman who had to come after him; he has made the people love him so.’
In her occasional visits to her near neighbour Mrs. Pettifer, too old a friend to be shunned because she was a Tryanite, Janet was obliged sometimes to hear allusions to Mr. Tryan, and even to listen to his praises, which she usually met with playful incredulity.
‘Ah, well,’ she answered one day, ’I like dear old Mr. Crewe and his pipes a great deal better than your Mr. Tryan and his Gospel. When I was a little toddle, Mr. and Mrs. Crewe used to let me play about in their garden, and have a swing between the great elm-trees, because mother had no garden. I like people who are kind; kindness is my religion; and that’s the reason I like you, dear Mrs. Pettifer, though you are a Tryanite.’
’But that’s Mr. Tryan’s religion too—at least partly. There’s nobody can give himself up more to doing good amongst the poor; and he thinks of their bodies too, as well as their souls.’
’O yes, yes; but then he talks about faith, and grace, and all that, making people believe they are better than others, and that God loves them more than He does the rest of the world. I know he has put a great deal of that into Sally Martin’s head, and it has done her no good at all. She was as nice, honest, patient a girl as need be before; and now she fancies she has new light and new wisdom. I don’t like those notions.’