Scenes of Clerical Life eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 425 pages of information about Scenes of Clerical Life.
felt.  But sometimes they are made flesh; they breathe upon us with warm breath, they touch us with soft responsive hands, they look at us with sad sincere eyes, and speak to us in appealing tones; they are clothed in a living human soul, with all its conflicts, its faith, and its love.  Then their presence is a power, then they shake us like a passion, and we are drawn after them with gentle compulsion, as flame is drawn to flame.

Janet’s dark grand face, still fatigued, had become quite calm, and looked up, as she sat, with a humble childlike expression at the thin blond face and slightly sunken grey eyes which now shone with hectic brightness.  She might have been taken for an image of passionate strength beaten and worn with conflict; and he for an image of the self-renouncing faith which has soothed that conflict into rest.  As he looked at the sweet submissive face, he remembered its look of despairing anguish, and his heart was very full as he turned away from her.  ’Let me only live to see this work confirmed, and then ...’

It was nearly ten o’clock when Mr. Tryan left, but Janet was bent on sending for her mother; so Mrs. Pettifer, as the readiest plan, put on her bonnet and went herself to fetch Mrs. Raynor.  The mother had been too long used to expect that every fresh week would be more painful than the last, for Mrs. Pettifer’s news to come upon her with the shock of a surprise.  Quietly, without any show of distress, she made up a bundle of clothes, and, telling her little maid that she should not return home that night, accompanied Mrs. Pettifer back in silence.

When they entered the parlour, Janet, wearied out, had sunk to sleep in the large chair, which stood with its back to the door.  The noise of the opening door disturbed her, and she was looking round wonderingly when Mrs. Raynor came up to her chair, and said, ‘It’s your mother, Janet.’

‘Mother, dear mother!’ Janet cried, clasping her closely.  ’I have not been a good tender child to you, but I will be—­I will not grieve you any more.’

The calmness which had withstood a new sorrow was overcome by a new joy, and the mother burst into tears.

Chapter 20

On Sunday morning the rain had ceased, and Janet, looking out of the bedroom window, saw, above the house-tops, a shining mass of white cloud rolling under the far-away blue sky.  It was going to be a lovely April day.  The fresh sky, left clear and calm after the long vexation of wind and rain, mingled its mild influence with Janet’s new thoughts and prospects.  She felt a buoyant courage that surprised herself, after the cold crushing weight of despondency which had oppressed her the day before:  she could think even of her husband’s rage without the old overpowering dread.  For a delicious hope—­the hope of purification and inward peace—­had entered into Janet’s soul, and made it spring-time there as well as in the outer world.

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Scenes of Clerical Life from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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