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This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 425 pages of information about Scenes of Clerical Life.
dread of his anger and cruelty, and it seems to me as if I should never be able to bear it without falling into the same sins, and doing just what I did before.  Yet, if it were settled that I should live apart from him, I know it would always be a load on my mind that I had shut myself out from going back to him.  It seems a dreadful thing in life, when any one has been so near to one as a husband for fifteen years, to part and be nothing to each other any more.  Surely that is a very strong tie, and I feel as if my duty can never lie quite away from it.  It is very difficult to know what to do:  what ought I to do?’

’I think it will be well not to take any decisive step yet.  Wait until your mind is calmer.  You might remain with your mother for a little while; I think you have no real ground for fearing any annoyance from your husband at present; he has put himself too much in the wrong; he will very likely leave you unmolested for some time.  Dismiss this difficult question from your mind just now, if you can.  Every new day may bring you new grounds for decision, and what is most needful for your health of mind is repose from that haunting anxiety about the future which has been preying on you.  Cast yourself on God, and trust that He will direct you; he will make your duty clear to you, if you wait submissively on Him.’

’Yes; I will wait a little, as you tell me.  I will go to my mother’s tomorrow, and pray to be guided rightly.  You will pray for me, too.’

Chapter 23

The next morning Janet was so much calmer, and at breakfast spoke so decidedly of going to her mother’s, that Mrs. Pettifer and Mrs. Raynor agreed it would be wise to let her know by degrees what had befallen her husband, since as soon as she went out there would be danger of her meeting some one who would betray the fact.  But Mrs. Raynor thought it would be well first to call at Dempster’s, and ascertain how he was:  so she said to Janet,—­’My dear, I’ll go home first, and see to things, and get your room ready.  You needn’t come yet, you know.  I shall be back again in an hour or so, and we can go together.’

‘O no,’ said Mrs. Pettifer.  ’Stay with me till evening.  I shall be lost without you.  You needn’t go till quite evening.’

Janet had dipped into the ‘Life of Henry Martyn,’ which Mrs. Pettifer had from the Paddiford Lending Library, and her interest was so arrested by that pathetic missionary story, that she readily acquiesced in both propositions, and Mrs. Raynor set out.

She had been gone more than an hour, and it was nearly twelve o’clock, when Janet put down her book; and after sitting meditatively for some minutes with her eyes unconsciously fixed on the opposite wall, she rose, went to her bedroom, and, hastily putting on her bonnet and shawl, came down to Mrs. Pettifer, who was busy in the kitchen.

‘Mrs. Pettifer,’ she said, ’tell mother, when she comes back, I’m gone to see what has become of those poor Lakins in Butchers Lane.  I know they’re half starving, and I’ve neglected them so, lately.  And then, I think, I’ll go on to Mrs. Crewe.  I want to see the dear little woman, and tell her myself about my going to hear Mr. Tryan.  She won’t feel it half so much if I tell her myself.’

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