Anthony Trollope: Barchester Towers


It was impossible for him to answer this. In order to be in any way dignified, he felt that he must be silent.

'Come,' said she--'don't boody with me: don't be angry because I speak out some home truths. Alas, the world, as I have found it, has taught me bitter truths. Come, tell me that I am forgiven. Are we not to be friends?' and she again put her hand to him.

He sat himself down on the chair beside her, and took her proffered hand and leant over her.

'There,' said she, with her sweetest, softest smile--a smile to withstand which a man should be cased in triple steel, 'there; seal your forgiveness on it,' and she raised it towards his face. He kissed it again and again, and stretched over her as though desirous of extending the charity of his pardon beyond the hand that was offered to him. She managed, however, to check his ardour. For one so easily allured as this poor chaplain, her hand was surely enough.

'Oh, Madeline!' said he, 'tell me that you love me--do you--do you love me?'

'Hush,' said she. 'There is mother's step. Our tete-a-tete has been of monstrous length. Now you had better go. But we shall see you soon again, shall we not?'

Mr Slope promised that he would call again on the following day.

'And Mr Slope,' she continued, 'pray answer my note. You have it in your hand, though, I declare during these two hours you have not been gracious enough to read it. It is about the Sabbath school and the children. You know how anxious I am to have them here. I have been learning the catechism myself, on purpose. You must manage it for me next week. I will teach them, at any rate, to submit themselves to their spiritual pastors and masters.'

Mr Slope said but little on the subject of Sabbath schools, but he made his adieu, and betook himself home with a sad heart, troubled mind, and uneasy conscience.

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