Phase the Seventh: Fulfilment
53. CHAPTER LIII
It was evening at Emminster Vicarage. The two
customary candles were burning under their green shades
in the Vicar's study, but he had not been sitting
there. Occasionally he came in, stirred the small fire
which sufficed for the increasing mildness of the
spring, and went out again; sometimes pausing at the
front door, going on to the drawing-room, then
returning again to the front door.
It faced westward, and though gloom prevailed inside,
there was still light enough without to see with
distinctness. Mrs Clare, who had been sitting in the
drawing-room, followed him hither.
"Plenty of time yet," said the Vicar. "He doesn't
reach Chalk-Newton till six, even if the train should
be punctual, and ten miles of country-road, five of
them in Crimmercrock Lane, are not jogged over in a
hurry by our old horse."
"But he has done it in an hour with us, my dear."
Thus they passed the minutes, each well knowing that
this was only waste of breath, the one essential being
simply to wait.
At length there was a slight noise in the lane, and the
old pony-chaise appeared indeed outside the railings.
They saw alight therefrom a form which they affected to
recognize, but would actually have passed by in the
street without identifying had he not got out of their
carriage at the particular moment when a particular
person was due.
Mrs Clare rushed through the dark passage to the door,
and her husband came more slowly after her.
The new arrival, who was just about to enter, saw their
anxious faces in the doorway and the gleam of the west
in their spectacles because they confronted the last
rays of day; but they could only see his shape against