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Chapter 36 (continued)
The secretary nodded, and rubbed the bridge of his nose with the feather of his pen.
'She is a zealous sister,' said Lord George. 'Her collection goes on prosperously, and is pursued with fervour. Has her husband joined?'
'A malignant,' returned the secretary, folding up his papers. 'Unworthy such a wife. He remains in outer darkness and steadily refuses.'
'The consequences be upon his own head!--Gashford!'
'You don't think,' he turned restlessly in his bed as he spoke, 'these people will desert me, when the hour arrives? I have spoken boldly for them, ventured much, suppressed nothing. They'll not fall off, will they?'
'No fear of that, my lord,' said Gashford, with a meaning look, which was rather the involuntary expression of his own thoughts than intended as any confirmation of his words, for the other's face was turned away. 'Be sure there is no fear of that.'
'Nor,' he said with a more restless motion than before, 'of their-- but they CAN sustain no harm from leaguing for this purpose. Right is on our side, though Might may be against us. You feel as sure of that as I--honestly, you do?'
The secretary was beginning with 'You do not doubt,' when the other interrupted him, and impatiently rejoined:
'Doubt. No. Who says I doubt? If I doubted, should I cast away relatives, friends, everything, for this unhappy country's sake; this unhappy country,' he cried, springing up in bed, after repeating the phrase 'unhappy country's sake' to himself, at least a dozen times, 'forsaken of God and man, delivered over to a dangerous confederacy of Popish powers; the prey of corruption, idolatry, and despotism! Who says I doubt? Am I called, and chosen, and faithful? Tell me. Am I, or am I not?'
'To God, the country, and yourself,' cried Gashford.
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