Phase the Third: The Rally
18. CHAPTER XVIII
Angel Clare rises out of the past not altogether as a
distinct figure, but as an appreciative voice, a long
regard of fixed, abstracted eyes, and a mobility of
mouth somewhat too small and delicately lined for a
man's, though with an unexpectedly firm close of the
lower lip now and then; enough to do away with any
inference of indecision. Nevertheless, something
nebulous, preoccupied, vague, in his bearing and
regard, marked him as one who probably had no very
definite aim or concern about his material future.
Yet as a lad people had said of him that he was one who
might do anything if he tried.
He was the youngest son of his father, a poor parson at
the other end of the county, and had arrived at
Talbothays Dairy as a six months' pupil, after going
the round of some other farms, his object being to
acquire a practical skill in the various processes of
farming, with a view either to the Colonies, or the
tenure of a home-farm, as circumstances might decide.
His entry into the ranks of the agriculturists and
breeders was a step in the young man's career which had
been anticipated neither by himself nor by others.
Mr Clare the elder, whose first wife had died and left
him a daughter, married a second late in life. This
lady had somewhat unexpectedly brought him three sons,
so that between Angel, the youngest, and his father the
Vicar there seemed to be almost a missing generation.
Of these boys the aforesaid Angel, the child of his old
age, was the only son who had not taken a University
degree, though he was the single one of them whose
early promise might have done full justice to an
Some two or three years before Angel's appearance at
the Marlott dance, on a day when he had left school and
was pursuing his studies at home, a parcel came to the
Vicarage from the local bookseller's, directed to the
Reverend James Clare. The Vicar having opened it and
found it to contain a book, read a few pages; whereupon
he jumped up from his seat and went straight to the
shop with the book under his arm.
"Why has this been sent to my house?" he asked
peremptorily, holding up the volume.