The look Mr. Paramor gave him at those words, was like that of a doctor diagnosing a disease. Yet there was nothing in the expression of the Squire’s face with its thin grey whiskers and moustache, its twist to the left, its swan-like eyes, decided jaw, and sloping brow, different from what this idea might bring on the face of any country gentleman.
Mrs. Pendyce said eagerly
“Oh, Mr. Paramor, if I could only see George!”
She longed so for a sight of her son that her thoughts carried her no further.
“See him!” cried the Squire. “You’ll go on spoiling him till he’s disgraced us all!”
Mrs. Pendyce turned from her husband to his solicitor. Excitement had fixed an unwonted colour in her cheeks; her lips twitched as if she wished to speak.
Mr. Paramor answered for her:
“No, Pendyce; if George is spoilt, the system is to blame.”
“System!” said the Squire. “I’ve never had a system for him. I’m no believer in systems! I don’t know what you’re talking of. I have another son, thank God!”
Mrs. Pendyce took a step forward.
“Horace,” she said, “you would never——”
Mr. Pendyce turned from his wife, and said sharply:
“Paramor, are you sure I can’t cut the entail?”
“As sure,” said Mr. Paramor, “as I sit here!”
Definition of “Pendycitis”
Gregory walked long in the Scotch garden with his eyes on the stars. One, larger than all the rest, over the larches, shone on him ironically, for it was the star of love. And on his beat between the yew-trees that, living before Pendyces came to Worsted Skeynes, would live when they were gone, he cooled his heart in the silver light of that big star. The irises restrained their perfume lest it should whip his senses; only the young larch-trees and the far fields sent him their fugitive sweetness through the dark. And the same brown owl that had hooted when Helen Bellew kissed George Pendyce in the conservatory hooted again now that Gregory walked grieving over the fruits of that kiss.
His thoughts were of Mr. Barter, and with the injustice natural to a man who took a warm and personal view of things, he painted the Rector in colours darker than his cloth.
‘Indelicate, meddlesome,’ he thought. ’How dare he speak of her like that!’
Mr. Paramor’s voice broke in on his meditations.
“Still cooling your heels? Why did you play the deuce with us in there?”
“I hate a sham,” said Gregory. “This marriage of my ward’s is a sham. She had better live honestly with the man she really loves!”
“So you said just now,” returned Mr. Paramor. “Would you apply that to everyone?”
“Well,” said Mr. Paramor with a laugh, “there is nothing like an idealist for-making hay! You once told me, if I remember, that marriage was sacred to you!”