2021-04-14 01:06:52

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ENGLISH I have brought the block of your book-plate, sir, she said, with a couple of impressions of it.Unmarried? Work for her living? asked Keeling.I fancy Lord Inverbroom does, he replied, secretly praising himself for his remarkable ingenuity.

The song grew faint and louder again, then ceased, and she took her hand off his arm.

I have looked through your testimonials, Miss Propert, he said, and they seem satisfactory. Your work will be to take down my correspondence in the morning, in shorthand, and bring it back typewritten for signature after luncheon. The hours will be from nine till five, with an hours interval, Saturday half day. Your salary will be twenty-five shillings a week.Mrs Keelings powers of intuition could make nothing of this. Starting with the firm conviction that Mr Silverdale had proposed to her daughter, there seemed no place where it would fit in.

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Well, if that isnt a rude speech! But perhaps youre tired, Thomas, with all this grandeur. For me, I never felt fresher in my life: it comes quite natural to me.

Alice did not pursue the subject, and since there was now no chance of Mr Silverdales coming in again, she put on her spectacles, which enabled her to see the lines of the pomegranate foliage with far greater distinctness. Never before had she had so vivid an interest in life as during these last two months; indeed the greater part of the female section of the congregation at St Thomass had experienced a similar quickening of their emotions, and a livelier iris burnished up the doves of the villas in Alfred Road. The iris in question, of course, was the effect of the personality of Cuthbert Silverdale, and if he was not, as he averred, being spoiled, the blame did not lie with his parishioners. They had discovered, as he no doubt meant them to do, that a soldier-saint had come among them, a missioner, a crusader, and they vied with each other in adoring and decorative obedience, making banners and embroideries for his church (for he allowed neither slippers nor neckties for himself) and in flocking to his discourses, and working under his guidance in the parish. There had been frantic discussions and quarrels over rites and doctrines; households had{107} been divided among themselves, and, as at The Cedars, sections of families had left St Thomass altogether and attached themselves to places of simpler ceremonial. The Bishop had been appealed to on the subject of lights, with the effect that the halo of a martyr had encircled Mr Silverdales head, without any of the inconveniences that generally attach to martyrdom, since the Bishop had not felt himself called upon to take any steps in the matter. Even a protesting round-robin, rather sparsely attested, had been sent him, in counterblast to which Alice Keeling with other enthusiastic young ladies had forwarded within a couple of days a far more voluminously signed document, quoting the prayer-book of Edward VI. in support of their pastor, according to their pastors interpretation of it at his Wednesday lectures on the history of the English Church.Suddenly the babble that he had rather welcomed became intolerable. It had cut him off from the world, as if some thick swarm of flies had settled outside the window, utterly obscuring the outlook. Now, in a moment the window seemed to have been opened, and they swarmed in, buzzing about and settling on him.

Good-morning, Mr Keeling, he said, with great cordiality. I owe you a thousand apologies for intruding, but I have quite a decent excuse.

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He had already pulled a sheaf of papers towards him, and was turning them over.The effect of this light humour was not at all what she had anticipated. He turned swiftly round to her, with a face appallingly grim.{182}

But what surprised her even more than her hostesss politeness to a footman, or the handing of a cigarette to herself, was her husbands obvious unconcern with the magnificence of his surroundings. He seemed perfectly at his ease, and though there was nothing in his manner which suggested a sort of haughty polish which she felt was suitable in these exalted places, he behaved as simply as if he was at home. In fact his simplicity almost made his wife blush once, when, on the occasion of a large puff of smoke coming down the chimney he said to Lord Inverbroom, I can show you a new cowl which will quite stop that. But Lord Inverbroom did not seem the least uncomfortable at this sudden peeping out of the mercantile cloven hoof, and merely replied that a cowl that would prevent that chimney from smoking would be worth its weight in gold. That was very tactful, and Mrs Keeling was vexed that her husband would not leave the subject: instead he laughed and said that the cowl in question did not cost much more than its weight in iron. Then luckily the talk drifted away on to books, and though Mrs Keeling knew that by all the rules of polite behaviour her husband should have been engaging his hostess in light conversation while she talked{167} to her host, Keeling and Lord Inverbroom quite lost themselves in discussing some Italian book with pictures that had lately appeared. Lord Inverbroom said he could not afford it, which must be a joke....I dare say not, he said, still non-committally.

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Apr-14 01:06:52