Scenes of Clerical Life | George Eliot | General Fiction | Speaking Book | English | 8/9



chapter 13 of Janet's repentance from scenes of clerical life by George Eliot this LibriVox recording is in the public domain recording by Bruce Perry chapter 13 the loss of mr. Jerome as a client proved only the beginning of annoyances to dempster that old gentleman had in him the vigorous remnant of an energy and perseverance which had created his own fortune and being as I have hinted given to chewing the cud of a righteous indignation with considerable relish he was determined to carry on his retributive war against the persecuting attorney having some influence with mr. prime who was one of the most substantial ratepayers in the neighboring parish of Dingley and who had himself a complex and long-standing private account with dempster mr. Jerome stirred up this gentleman to an investigation of some suspicious points in the attorneys conduct of the parish affairs the natural consequence was a personal quarrel between dempster and mr. prime the clients demanded his account and then followed the old story of an exorbitant lawyers bill with the unpleasant anticlimax of taxing these disagreeable is extending over many months ran along side by side with the pressing business of mr. Armstrong's lawsuit which was threatening to take a turn rather depreciate Auri of Dempster's professional provision and it is not surprising that being thus kept in a constant state of irritated excitement about his own affairs he had little time for the further exhibition of his public spirit or for rallying the forlorn hope of sounds churchmen ship against Kent and hypocrisy not a few persons who had a grudge against him began to remark with satisfaction that Dempster's luck was forsaking him particularly mrs. Leonard who thought she saw distinctly the gradual ripening of a providential scheme whereby a just retribution would be wrought on the man who had deprived her of pies Croft on the other hand Dempster's well satisfied clients who were of opinion that the punishment of his wickedness might conveniently be deferred to another world noticed with some concern that he was drinking more than ever and that both his temper and his driving were becoming more furious unhappily those additional glasses of brandy that exasperation of loud tongued abuse had other effects than any that entered into the contemplation of anxious clients they were the little super added symbols that were perpetually raising the sum of home misery poor Janet how heavily the months rolled on for her laden with fresh sorrows as the summer passed into autumn the autumn into winter and the winter into spring again every feverish morning with its blank listlessness and despair seemed more hateful than the last every coming night more impossible to brave without arming herself in ledin stupor the morning light brought no gladness to her it seemed only to throw its glare on what had happened in the dim candle light on the cruel man seated immovable in drunken obstinacy by the dead fire and dying lights in the dining room rating her in harsh tones reiterating older approaches or on a hideous blank of something unremembered something that must have made that dark bruise on her shoulder which aches as she dressed herself do you wonder how it was that things had come to this pass what offense Janet had committed in the early years of marriage to rouse the brutal hatred of this man the seeds of things are very small the hours that lie between sunrise and the gloom of midnight are traveled through by tiniest markings of the clock and Janet looking back along the 15 years of her married life hardly knew how or where this total misery began hardly knew when the sweet wedded love and hope that had set forever had ceased to make a twilight of memory and relenting before the oncoming of the utter dark old mrs. Dempster thought she saw the true beginning of it all in Janet's want of Housekeeping skill and exactness Janet she said to herself was always running about doing things for other people and neglecting her own house that provokes a man but uses it for a woman to be loving and making a fuss with her husband if she doesn't take care and keep his home just as he likes it if she isn't at hand when he wants anything done if she doesn't attend to all his wishes that then be as small as they may that was what I did when I was a wife though I didn't make half so much fuss about loving my husband then Janet had no children ah there mammy Dempster had touched a true spring not perhaps of her son's cruelty but of half Janet's misery if she had had babe's to Rock to sleep little ones to kneel in their night dress and say their prayers at her knees sweet boys and girls to put their young arms round her neck and kiss away her tears her poor hungry heart might have been fed with strong and might never have needed that fiery poison to still its cravings my tea is the force of motherhood says the great tragic poet to us across the ages finding as usual the simplest words for the sublime astac dana and to takane Eston it transforms all things by its vital heat it turns timidity into fierce courage and dread 'less defiance into tremulous submission it turns thoughtlessness into foresight and yet stills all anxiety into calm content it makes selfishness become self-denial and gives even to hard vanity the glance of admiring love yes if Janet had been a mother she might have been saved from much sin and therefore from much of her sorrow but do not believe that it was anything either present or wanting in poor Janet that formed the motive of her husband's cruelty cruelty like every other vise requires no motive outside itself it only requires opportunity you do not suppose Dempster had any motive for drinking beyond the craving for drink the presence of brandy was the only necessary condition and an unloving tyrannous brutal man needs no motive to prompt his cruelty he needs only the perpetual presence of a woman he can call his own a whole park full of tame or timid eyed animals to torment at his will would not serve him so well to glut his lust of torture they could not feel as one woman does they could not throw out to the Keen retort which wets the edge of hatred Janet's bitterness would overflow in ready words she was not to be made meek by cruelty she would repent of nothing in the face of injustice though she was subdued in the moment by a word or a look that recalled the old days of fondness and in times of comparative calm would often recover her sweet woman's habit of caressing playful affection but such days were become rare and poor Janet Saul was kept like a vexed sea tossed by a new storm before the old waves have fallen proud angry resistance and sullen endurance were now almost the only alternations she knew she would bear it all proudly to the world but proudly towards him to her woman's weakness might shriek a cry for pity under a heavy blow but voluntarily she would do nothing to mollify him unless he first relented what had she ever done to him but loved him too well but believed in him too foolishly he had no pity on her tender flesh he could strike the soft neck he had once asked to kiss yet she would not admit her wretchedness she had married him blindly and she would bear it out to the terrible end whatever that might be better this misery than the blank that lay for her outside her married home but there was one person who heard all the planes and all the outbursts of bitterness and despair which janet was never tempted to pour into any other ear and alas in her worst moments janet would throw out wild reproaches against that patient listener for the wrong that rouses our angry passions finds only a medium in us it passes through us like a vibration and we inflict what we have suffered mrs. Raynor saw too clearly all through the winter that things were getting worse in Orchard Street she had evidence enough of it in Janet's visits to her and though her own visits to her daughter were so timed that she saw little of Dempster personally she noticed many indications not only that he was drinking to greater excess but that he was beginning to lose that physical power of supporting excess which had long been the admiration of such fine spirits as mr. Tomlinson it seemed as if Dempster had some consciousness of this some new distrust of himself for before winter was over it was observed that he had renounced his habit of driving out alone and was never seen in his gig without a servant by his side nemesis is lame but she is of colossal stature like the gods and sometimes while her sword is not yet unsheathed she stretches out her huge left arm and grasps her victim the mighty hand is invisible but the victim totters under the dire clutch the various symptoms that things were getting worse with the Dempster's afforded Milby gossip something new to say on an old subject mrs. Dempster everyone remarked looked more miserable than ever though she kept up the old pretense of being happy and satisfied she was scarcely ever seen as she used to be going about on her good natured errands and even old mrs. crew who had always been willfully blind to anything wrong in her favorite janet was obliged to admit that she had not seemed like herself lately the poor things out of health said the kind little old lady in answer to all gossip about Janet her headaches were always bad and I know what headaches are why they make one quite delirious sometimes mrs. Phipps for her part declared she would never accept an invitation to Dempster's again it was getting so very disagreeable to go there mrs. Dempster was often so strange to be sure there were dreadful stories about the way Dempster used his wife but in mrs. Fitz's opinion it was six of one and a half a dozen of the other mrs. Dempster had never been like other women she had always a flighty way about her carrying parcels of stuff to old mrs. took and going to drink tea with mrs. the carpenter's wife and then never taken care of her clothes always wearing the same things weekday or Sunday a man has a poor lookout with the wife of that sort mr. Phipps amiable and laconic wondered how it was women were so fond of running each other down mr. Pratt having been called in provisionally to a patient of mr. pilgrims in a case of compound fracture observed in a friendly colloquy with his brother surgeon the next day so Dempster has left off driving himself I see he won't end with a broken neck after all you'll have a case of meningitis and delirium tremens instead ah said mr. pilgrim he can hardly stand it much longer at the rate he's going on one would think he's been confoundedly cut up about that business of our strongest I fancy it may do him some harm perhaps but Dempster must have feathered his nest pretty well he can afford to lose a little business his business will outlast him that's pretty clear said Pratt he'll run down like a watch with a broken spring one of these days another prognostic of evil – Dempster came at the beginning of March for then little mamsi died died suddenly the housemaid found her seated motionless in her armchair her knitting fallen down and the tortoiseshell cat reposing on it unruhe proved the little white old woman had ended her wintry age of patience sir Oh believing to the last that Robert might have been a good husband as he had been a good son when the earth was thrown on ma'am Z's coffin and the Sun in creep scarf and hat band turned away homeward his good angel lingering with outstretched wing on the edge of the grave cast one despairing look after him and took flight forever end of chapter 13 of Janet's repentance chapter 14 of Janus repentance from scenes of clerical life by George Eliot this LibriVox recording is in the public domain recording by bruce pirie chapter 14 the last week in march 3 weeks after all mrs. Dempster died occurred the unpleasant winding up of affairs between dempster and mr. prime and under this additional source of irritation the attorneys diurnal drunkenness had taken on its most ill-tempered and brutal phase on the Friday morning before setting out for Arthur B he told his wife that he had invited four men to dinner at half past 6:00 that evening the previous night had been a terrible one for Janet and when her husband broke his grim morning silence to say these few words she was looking so blank and listless that he added in a loud sharp key do you hear what I say or must I tell the cook she started and said yes I hear then mind and have a dinner provided and don't go mooning about like crazy Jane half an hour afterwards mrs. Raynor quietly busy in her kitchen with her household Labor's for she had only little twelve-year-old girl as a servant heard with trembling the rattling of the garden gate and the opening of the outer door she knew the step and in one short moment she lived beforehand through the coming scene she hurried out of the kitchen and there in the passage as she had felt stood Janet her eyes worn as if by night long watching her dressed careless her step languid no cheerful morning greeting to her mother no kiss she turned into the parlour and seating herself on the sofa opposite her mother's chair looked vacantly at the walls and furniture until the corners of her mouth began to tremble and her dark eyes filled with tears that fell unwiped down her cheeks the mother sat silently opposite to her afraid to speak she felt sure there was nothing new the matter sure that the torrent of words would come sooner or later another why don't you speak to me Janet burst out at last you don't care about my suffering you were blaming me because I feel because I am miserable my child I am not blaming you my heart is bleeding for you your head is bad this morning you have had a bad night let me make you a cup of tea now perhaps you didn't like your breakfast yes that is what you always think mother it is the old story you think you don't ask me what it is that I have had to bear you were tired of hearing me you were cruel like the rest everyone is cruel in this world nothing but blame blame blame never any pity God is cruel to have sent me into the world to bear all this misery Janet Janet don't say so it is not for us to judge we must submit we must be thankful for the gift of life thankful for life why should I be thankful God has made me with a heart to feel and he has sent me nothing but misery how could I help it how could I know what would come why didn't you tell me mother why did you let me marry he knew what brutes men could be and there's no help for me no hope I can't kill myself I've tried but I can't leave this world and go to another there may be no pity for me there as there is none here Janet my child there is pity have I ever done anything but love you and there is pity in God hasn't he put pity into your heart for many a poor sufferer where did it come from if not from him Janet's nervous irritation now broke out into sobs instead of complainings and her mother was thankful for after that crisis there would very likely come relenting and tenderness and comparative calm she went out to make some tea and when she returned with the tray in her hands Janet had dried her eyes and now turned them towards her mother with a faint attempt to smile but the poor face in it's sad blurred beauty looked all the more piteous mother will insist upon her tea she said and I really think I can drink a cup but I must go home directly for there are people coming to dinner could you go with me and help me mother mrs. Raynor was always ready to do that she went to Orchard Street with Janet and remained with her through the day comforted as evening approached to see her become more cheerful and willing to attend to her toilette at half-past five everything was in order janet was dressed and when the mother had kissed her and said goodbye she could not help pausing a moment in sorrowful admiration at the tall rich figure looking all the grandeur for the plainness of the deep morning dress and the noble face with its massive folds of black hair made me trendy by a simple white cap Janet had that enduring beauty which belongs to pure majestic outline and depth of tints sorrow and neglect leave their traces on such beauty but it thrills us to the last like a glorious Greek temple which for all the loss it has suffered from time and barbarous hands has gained a solemn history and fills our imagination the more because it is incomplete to the sense it was six o'clock before dempster returned from Rother be he had evidently drunk a great deal and was in an angry humour but Janet who had gathered some little courage and forbearance from the consciousness that she had done her best today was determined to speak pleasantly to him Robert she said gently as she saw him seat himself in the dining room in his dusty Snuffy clothes and take some documents out of his pocket will you not wash and change your dress it will refresh you leave me alone will you said Dempster in his most brutal tone do change your coat and waistcoat they are so dusty I've laid all your things out ready or you have have you after if minutes heroes very deliberately and walked upstairs into his bedroom Janet had often been scolded before for not laying out his clothes as she thought now not without some wonder that this attention of hers had brought him to compliance presently he called out Janet and she went upstairs here take that he said as soon as she reached the door flinging at her the coat she had laid out another time leave me to do as I please will you the coat flung with great force only brushed her shoulder and fell some distance within the drawing room the door of which stood open just opposite she hastily retreated as she saw the waistcoat coming and one by one the clothes she had laid out were all flung into the drawing room Janet's face flushed with anger and for the first time in her life her resentment overcame the long cherished pride that made her hide her griefs from the world there are moments when by some strange impulse we contradict our past selves fateful moments when a fit of passion like a lava stream lays low the work of half our lives Janet thought I will not pick up the clothes they shall lie there until the visitors come and he shall be ashamed of himself there was a knock at the door and she made haste to seat herself in the drawing-room lest the servant should enter and remove the clothes which were lying half on the table and half on the ground Mr loom entered with a less familiar visitor a client of Dempster's and the next moment dempster himself came in his eye fell at once on the clothes and then turned for an instant with the devilish glance of concentrated hatred on Janet who still flushed and excited affected unconsciousness after shaking hands with his visitors he immediately rang the bell take those clothes away he said to the servant not looking at Janet again during dinner she kept up her assumed air of indifference and tried to seem in high spirits laughing and talking more than usual in reality she felt as if she had defied a wild beast within the four walls of his den and he was crouching backward in preparation for his deadly spring Dempster affected to take no notice of her talked obstreperous Lee and drank steadily about 11:00 the party dispersed with the exception of mr. bud who had joined them after dinner and appeared disposed to stay drinking a little longer Janet began to hope that he would stay long enough for dempster to become heavy and stupid and so to fall asleep downstairs which was a rare but occasional ending of his nights she told the servants to sit up no longer and she herself undressed and went to bed trying to cheat her imagination into the belief that the day was ended for her but when she lay down she became more intensely awake than ever everything she had taken this evening seemed only to stimulate her senses and her apprehensions to new vividness her heart beat violently and she heard every sound in the house at last when it was 12 she heard mr. bud go out she heard the door slam Dempster had not moved was he asleep would he forget the minute seemed long while with a quickening pulse she was on the stretch to catch every sound Janet the loud jarring voice seemed to strike her like a her old weapon Janet he called again moving out of the dining room to the foot of the stairs there was a pause of a minute if you don't come I'll kill you another pause and she heard him turned back into the dining room he was gone for a light perhaps for a weapon perhaps he would kill her let him life was as hideous as death for years she had been rushing on to some unknown but certain horror and now she was close upon it she was almost glad she was in a state of flushed feverish defiant that neutralized her woman's terrors she heard his heavy step on the stairs she saw the slowly advancing light then she saw the tall massive figure and the heavy face now fierce with drunken rage he had nothing but the candle in his hand he set it down on the table and advanced close to the bed so you think he'll defy me do you will see how long that will last get up madam out of bed this instant in the close presence of the dreadful man of this huge crushing force armed with savage will pour Janet's desperate defiance all forsook her and her terrors came back trembling she got up and stood helpless in her nightdress before her husband he seized her with his heavy grasp by the shoulder and pushed her before him I'll cool your hot spirit for you I'll teach you to brave me slowly he pushed her along before him downstairs and through the passage where a small oil lamp was still flickering what was he going to do to her she thought every moment he was going to dash her before him on the ground but she gave no scream she only trembled he pushed her on to the entrance and held her firmly in his grasp while he lifted the latch of the door then he opened the door a little way thrust her out and slammed it behind her for a short space it seemed like a deliverance to Janet the harsh northeast wind that blew through her thin night dress and sent her long heavy black hair streaming seemed like the breath of pity after the grasp of that threatening monster but soon the sense of release from an overpowering terror gave way before the sense of the fate that had really come upon her this then was what she had been travelling towards through her long years of misery not yet death how if she had been brave enough for it death would have been better the servants slept at the back of the house it was impossible to make them here so that they might let her in again quietly without her husband's knowledge and she would not have tried he had thrust her out and it should be forever there would have been dead silence in orchard street but for the whistling of the wind and the swirling of the March dust on the pavement thick clouds covered the sky every door was closed every window was dark no ray of light fell on the tall white figure that stood in lonely misery on the doorstep no I rested on Janet as she sank down on the cold stone and looked into the dismal night she seemed to be looking into her own blank future end of chapter 14 of Jenna's repentance chapter 15 of Jena three pendants from scenes of clerical life by George Eliot this LibriVox recording is in the public domain recording by bruce pirie chapter fifteen the stony street the bitter northeast wind and darkness and in the midst of them a tender woman thrust out from her husband's home in her thin night dress the harsh wind cutting her naked feet and driving her long hair away from her half clad bosom where the poor heart is crushed with anguish and despair the drowning man urged by the supreme agony lives in an instant through all his happy and unhappy past when the dark flood has fallen like a curtain memory in a single moment cease the drama acted over again and even in those earlier crises which are but types of death when we are cut off abruptly from the life we have known when we can no longer expect tomorrow to resemble yesterday and find ourselves by some sudden shock on the confines of the unknown there is often the same sort of lightning flash through the dark and unfrequented chambers of memory when Janet sat down shivering on the door stone with the door shut upon her past life and the future black and unshaken before her as the night the scenes of her childhood her youth and her painful womanhood rushed back upon her consciousness and made one picture with her present desolation the petted child taking her newest toy to bed with her the young girl proud and strength and beauty dreaming that life was an easy thing and that it was pitiful weakness to be unhappy the bride passing with trembling joy from the outer court to the inner sanctuary of woman's life the wife beginning her initiation into sorrow wounded resenting yet still hoping and forgiving the poor bruised woman seeking through weary years the one refuge of despair oblivion Janet seemed to herself all these in the same moment that she was conscious of being seated on the cold stone under the shock of a new misery all her early gladness all her bright hopes and illusions all her gifts of beauty and affection served only to darken the riddle of her life they were the betraying promises of a cruel destiny which had brought out those sweet blossoms only that the winds and storms might have a greater work of desolation which had nursed her like a pet fawn into tenderness and fond expectation only that she might feel a keener terror in the clutch of the panther her mother had sometimes said that troubles were sent to make us better and draw us nearer to God what mockery that seemed to Janet her troubles had been sinking her lower from year to year pressing upon her like heavy fever Laden vapors and perverting the very plenitude of her nature into a deeper source of disease her wretchedness had been a perpetually tightening instrument of torture which had gradually absorbed all the other sensibilities of her nature into the sense of pain and the maddened craving for relief oh if some ray of hope of pity of consolation would pierce through the horrible gloom she might believe then in a divine love in a heavenly father who cared for his children but now she had no faith no trust there was nothing she could lean on in the wide world for her mother was only a fellow sufferer in her own lot the poor patient woman could do little more than mourn with her daughter she had humble resignation enough to sustain her own soul but she could no more give comfort and fortitude to Janet than the withered Ivy covered trunk can bear up its strong full bowed offspring crashing down under an alpine storm Janet felt through us alone no human soul had measured her anguish had understood herself despair had entered into her sorrows and her sins with that deep sighted sympathy which is wiser than all blame more potent than all reproof such sympathy as had swelled her own heart for many a sufferer and if there was any divine pity she could not feel it it kept aloof from her it poured no bomb into her wounds it stretched out no hand to bear up her weak resolve to fortify her fainting courage now in her utmost loneliness she shed no tear she sat staring fixedly into the darkness while inwardly she gazed at her own past almost losing the sense that it was her own or that she was anything more than a spectator at a strange and dreadful play the loud sound of the church clock striking one startled her she had not been there more than half an hour then and it seemed to her as if she had been there half the night she was getting be numbed with cold with that strong instinctive dread of pain and death which had made her recoil from suicide she started up and the disagreeable sensation of resting on her benumbed feet helped to recall her completely to the sense of the present the wind was beginning to make rents in the clouds and there came every now and then a dim light of stars that frightened her more than the darkness it was like a cruel finger pointing her out in her wretchedness and humiliation it made her shudder at the thought of the morning Twilight what could she do not go to her mother not rouse her in the dead of night to tell her this her mother would think she was a Spectre it would be enough to kill her with horror and the way there was so long if should meet someone yet she must seek some shelter somewhere to hide herself five doors off there was mrs. petty furs that kind woman would take her in it was of no use now to be proud and mind but the world's knowing she had nothing to wish for nothing to care about only she could not help shuddering at the thought of braving the morning light there in the street she was frightened that the thought of spending long hours in the cold life might mean anguish might mean despair but oh she must clutch it though with bleeding fingers her feet must cling to the firm earth that the sunlight would revisit not slip into the untried abyss where she might long even for familiar pains janet trod slowly with her naked feet on the rough pavement trembling at the fitful gleams of starlight and supporting herself by the wall as the gusts of wind drove right against her the very wind was cruel it tried to push her back from the door where she wanted to go and knock and ask for pity mrs. petit furs house did not look into Orchard Street it stood a little way up a wide passage which opened into the street through an archway Janet turned up the archway and saw a faint light coming from mrs. petit firs bedroom window the glimmer of a rush light from a room where a friend was lying was like a ray of mercy to Janet after that long long time of darkness and loneliness it would not be so dreadful to awake mrs. Pettyfer as she had thought yet she lingered some minutes at the door before she gathered courage to knock she felt as if the sound must betray her to others besides mrs. Pettyfer though there was no other dwelling that opened into the passage only warehouses and outbuildings there was no gravel for her to throw up at the window nothing but heavy pavement there was no doorbell she must knock her first rap was very timid one feeble fall of the knocker and then she stood still again for many minutes but presently she rallied her courage and knocked several times together not loudly but rapidly so that mrs. Pettyfer if she only heard the sound could not mistake it and she had heard it for by-and-by the casement of her window was opened and Jana's perceived that she was bending out to try and discern who it was at the door it is the hi mrs. Pettyfer it is Janet Dempster take me in for pity's sake merciful God what has happened Robert has turned me out I have been in the cold a long while mrs. patty first said no more but hurried away from the window and was soon at the door with a light in her hand come in my poor dear come Ian said the good woman in a tremulous voice drawing Janet within the door come into my warm bed and may God in heaven save and comfort you the pitying eyes the tender voice the warm touch caused a rush of new feeling in Janet her heart swelled and she burst out suddenly like a child in two loud passionate sobs mrs. Pettyfer could not help crying with her but she said come upstairs my dear come don't linger in the cold she drew the poor sobbing fang gently upstairs and persuaded her to get into the warm bed but it was long before Janet could lie down she sat leaning her head on her knees convulsed by sobs while the motherly woman covered her with clothes and held her arms around her to comfort her with warmth at last the hysterical passion had exhausted itself and she fell back on the pillow but her throat was still agitated by piteous after sobs such as shake a little child even when it has found a refuge from its alarms on its mother's lap now Janet was getting quieter mrs. Pettyfer determined to go down and make a cup of tea the first thing a kind old woman thinks of as a solace and restorative under all calamities happily there was no danger of awaking her servant a heavy girl of sixteen who was snoring blissfully in the Attic and might be kept ignorant of the way in which mrs. Dempster had come in so mrs. Pettyfer busied herself with rousing the kitchen fire which was kept in under a huge raker a possibility by which the coal of the Midland counties atones for all its slowness and white ashes when she carried up the tea Janet was lying quite still the spasmodic agitation had ceased and she seemed lost in thought her eyes were fixed vacantly on the rushlight shade and all the lines of sorrow were deepened in her face now my dear said mrs. Pettyfer let me persuade you to drink a cup of tea you'll find it warm you and soothe you very much why dear heart your feet are like ice still now do drink this tea and I'll wrap him up in flannel and then they'll get armed Janet turned her dark eyes on her old friend and stretched out her arms she was too much oppressed to say anything her suffering lay like a heavy weight on her power of speech but she wanted to kiss the good kind woman mrs. Pettyfer setting down the cup bent towards the sad beautiful face and Janet kissed her with earnest sacramental kisses such kisses a seal a new and closer bond between the helper and the helped she drank the tea obediently it does warm me she said but now you will get into bed I shall lie still now mrs. Pettyfer felt it was the best thing she could do to lie down quietly and say no more she hoped Janet might go to sleep as for herself with that tendency to wakefulness common to advanced years she found it impossible to compose herself to sleep again after this agitating surprise she lay listening to the clock wondering what had led to this new outrage of Dempster's praying for the poor thing at her side and pitying the mother who would have to hear it all tomorrow end of chapter 15 of Janet's repentance chapter 16 of Janus repentance from scenes of clerical life by George Eliot this LibriVox recording is in the public domain recording by Bruce Perry chapter 16 Janet Leigh still as she had promised but to the tea which had warmed her and given her a sense of greater bodily ease had only heightened the previous excitement of her brain her ideas had a new vividness which made her feel as if she had only seen life through a dim haze before her thoughts instead of springing from the action of her own mind were external existences that thrust themselves imperiously upon her like haunting visions the future took shape after shape of misery before her always ending in her being dragged back again to her old life of terror and stupor and fevered to despair her husband had so long overshadowed her life that her imagination could not keep hold of a condition in which that great dread was absent and even his absence what was it only a dreary vacant flat where there was nothing to strive after nothing to long for her at last the light of morning quenched the rush light and Janet's thoughts became more and more fragmentary and confused she was every moment slipping off the level on which she lay thinking down down into some depth from which she tried to rise again with a start slumber was stealing over her weary brain that uneasy slumber which is only better than wretched waking because the life we seemed to live in it determines no wretched future because the things we do and suffer in it are but hateful shadows and leave no impressed that petrifies into an irrevocable past she had scarcely been asleep an hour when her movement became more violent her mutterings more frequent and agitated till at last she started out with a smothered cry and looked wildly round her shaking with terror don't be frightened dear mrs. Dempster said mrs. Pettyfer who was up and dressing you are with me your old friend mrs. Pettyfer nothing will harm you Janet sank back again on her pillow still trembling after lying silent a little while she said it was a horrible dream dear mrs. Pettyfer don't let anyone know I am here keep it a secret if he finds out he will come and drag me back again no my dear depend on me I just thought I shall send the servant home on a holiday I promised her a good while I'll send her away as soon as she's had her breakfast and she'll have no occasion to know you're here there's no holding servants tongues if you let him know anything what they don't know they won't tell you may trust him so far but shouldn't you like me to go and fetch your mother no not yet not yet I can't bear to see her yet well it shall be just as you like now try and get to sleep again I shall leave you for an hour or two and send off phoebe and then bring you some breakfast I'll lock the door behind me so that the girl mand come in by chance the daylight changes the aspect of misery to us as of everything else in the night it presses on our imagination the forms it takes are false fitful exaggerated in broad day his thickens our sense with the dreary persistence of definite measurable reality the man who looks with ghastly horror on all his property aflame in the dead of night has not half the sense of destitution he will have in the morning when he walks over the ruins lying blackened in the pitiless sunshine that moment of intensest depression was come to jannat when the daylight which showed her the walls and chairs and tables and all the commonplace reality that surrounded her seemed to lay bare the future – and bring out into a press of distinctness all the details of a weary life to be lived from day to day with no hope to strengthen her against that evil habit which she loved in retrospect and yet was powerless to resist her husband would never consent to her living away from him she was become necessary to his tyranny he would never willingly loosen his grasp on her she had a vague notion of some protection the law might give her if she could prove her life in danger from him but she shrank utterly as she had always done from any active public resistance or vengeance she felt too crushed to faulty to liable to reproach to have the courage even if she had had the wish to push herself openly in the position of a wronged woman seeking redress she had no strength to sustain her in a course of self-defense and independence there was a darker shadow over her life than the dread of her husband it was the shadow of self despair the easiest thing would be to go away and hide herself from him but then there was her mother Robert had all her little property in his hands and that little was scarcely enough to keep her in comfort without his aid if Janet went away alone he would be sure to persecute her mother and if she did go away what then she must work to maintain herself she must exert herself weary and hopeless as she was to begin life afresh how hard that seemed to her Janet's nature did not belie her grand face and form there was energy there was strength in it but it was the strength of the vine which must have its broad leaves and rich clusters borne up by affirmed stay and now she had nothing to rest on no faith no love if her mother had been very feeble age adore sickly janeth deep pity and tenderness might have made a daughter's duties an interest and a solace but mrs. Rayner had never needed attendance she had always been giving help to her daughter she had always been a sort of humble ministering spirit and it was one of Janet's pangs of memory that instead of being her mother's comfort she had been her mother's trial everywhere the same sadness her life was a Sun Dried barren tract where there was no shadow and where all the waters were bitter no she suddenly thought and the thought was like an electric shock there was one spot in her memory which seemed to promise her an untried spring where the waters might be sweet that short interview with mr. Tryon had come back upon her his voice his words his look which told her that he knew sorrow his words have implied that he thought his death was near yet he had a faith which enabled him to labor enabled him to give comfort to others that look of his came back on her with a vividness greater than it had had for her in reality surely he knew more of the secrets of sorrow than other men perhaps he had some message of comfort different from the feeble words she had been used to hear from others she was tired she was sick of that barren exhortation do write and keep a clear conscience and God will reward you and your troubles will be easier to bear she wanted strength to do right she wanted something to rely on besides her own resolutions for was not the path behind her all strewn with broken resolutions how could she trust in new ones she had often heard mr. Tryon laughed at for being fond of great sinners she began to see a new meaning in those words he would perhaps understand her helplessness her watts if she could pour out her heart to him if she could for the first time in her life unlock all the chambers of her soul the impulse to confession almost always requires the presence of a fresh ear and a fresh heart and in our moments of spiritual need the man to whom we have no tie but our common nature seems nearer to us than mother brother or friend our daily familiar life is but a hiding of ourselves from each other behind a screen of trivial words and deeds and those who sit with us at the same hearth are often the farthest off from the deep human soul within us full of unspoken evil and enacted good when mrs. Pettyfer came back to her turning the key and opening the door very gently Janet instead of being asleep as her good friend had hoped was intensely occupied with her new thought she longed to ask mrs. Pettyfer if she could see mr. Tryon but she was arrested by doubts and timidity he might not feel for her he might be shocked at her confession he might talk to her of doctrines she could not understand or believe she could not make up her mind yet but she was too Restless under this mental struggle to remain in bed mrs. plenty for she said I can't lie here any longer I must get up will you lend me some clothes wrapped in such drapery as mrs. Pettyfer could find for her tall figure Janet went down into the little parlour and tried to take some of the breakfast her friend had prepared for her but her effort was not a successful one her cup of tea and bit of toast were only half-finished the leaden weight of discouragement pressed upon her more and more heavily the wind had fallen and a drizzling rain had come on there was no prospect from mrs. petit first parlor but a blank wall and as Janet looked out at the window the rain in the smoke blackened bricks seemed to blend themselves in sickening identity with her desolation of spirit and the headachy weariness of her body mrs. petit forgot through her household work as soon as she could and sat down with his sewing hoping that Janet would perhaps be able to talk a little of what had passed and find some relief by unbosom in herself in that way but Janet could not speak to her she was importune with the longing to see mr. Tryon and yet hesitating to express it two hours past in this way the rain went on drizzling and Janet sat still leaning her aching head on her hand and looking alternately at the fire and out of the window she felt this could not last this motionless vacant misery she must determine on something she must take some step and yet everything was so difficult it was 1 o'clock and mrs. Pettyfer rose from her seat saying I must go and see about dinner the movement and the sound startled Janet from her reverie it seemed as if an opportunity were escaping her and she said hastily is mr. Tryon in the town today do you think no I should think not being Saturday you know said mrs. petit for her face lighting up with pleasure but he would come if he was sent for her I can send Jason's boy with a note to him any time should you like to see him yes I think I should then I'll send for him this instant end of chapter 16 of Janet's repentance chapter 17 of Janus repentance from scenes of clerical life by George Eliot this LibriVox recording is in the public domain recording by Bruce Perry chapter 17 when dempster awoke in the morning he was at no loss to account to himself for the fact that Janet was not by his side his hours of drunkenness were not cut off from his other hours by any blank wall of oblivion he remembered what Janet had done to offend him the evening before he remembered what he had done to her at midnight just as he would have remembered if he had been consulted about a right of road the remembrance gave him a definite ground for the extra ill-humor which had attended his waking every morning this week but he would not admit to himself that it cost him any anxiety Pooh he said inwardly she would go straight to her mother's she's as timid as a hare and she'll never let anybody know about it she'll be back again before night but it would be as well for the servants not to know anything of the affair so he collected the clothes she had taken off the night before and threw them into a fireproof closet of which he always kept the key in his pocket when he went downstairs he said to the housemaid mrs. Dempster has gone to her mother's bring him the breakfast the servants accustomed to hear domestic broils and to see their mistress put on her bonnet hastily and go to her mother's thought it'd only something a little worse than usual that she should have gone bitter in consequence of a violent quarrel either at midnight or in the early morning before they were up the housemaid told the cook what she supposed had happened the cook shook her head and said and dear dear but they both expected to see their mistress back again in an hour or two Dempster on his return home the evening before had ordered his man who lived away from the house to bring up his horse and a keg from the stables at 10:00 after breakfast he said to the housemaid no one needs set up for me tonight I shall not be at home till tomorrow evening and then he walked to the office to give some orders next acting as he returned to see the man waiting with his gig but though the church o'clock had struck 10 no gig was there in Dempster's mood this was more than enough to exasperate him he went in to take his accustomed glass of brandy before setting out promising himself the satisfaction of presently thundering at Dawes for being a few minutes behind his time an outbreak of temper towards his man was not common with him for Dempster like most tyrannous people had that dastardly kind of self-restraint which enabled him to control his temper where it suited his own convenience to do so and feeling the value of Dawes a steady punctual fellow he not only gave him high wages but usually treated him with exceptional civility this morning however ill-humor got the better of prudence and Dempster was determined to rate him soundly a resolution for which Dawes gave him much better ground than he expected 5 minutes 10 minutes a quarter of an hour had passed and Dempster was setting off to the stables in a back street to see what was the cause of the delay when Dawes appeared with the gig what the devil do you keep me here for thundered Dempster kicking my heels like a big early tailor waiting for a carrier's card I ordered you to be here at 10 we might have driven to Whitlow by this time why one of the traces was welly at two and I had to take it to Brady's to be mended and he didn't get it done in time then why didn't you take it to him last night because of your damned laziness I suppose do you think I give you wages for you to choose your own hours and come dawdling up a quarter of an hour after my time come give me good words will you said Dawes luckily I'm not lazy nor no man shall call me lazy I know well enough what you give me wages for is for doing what you won't find many men as well to watch your impudence scoundrel said Dempster getting into the gig you think you're necessary to me do you as if a beastly bucket carrying idiot like you wasn't to be got any day look out for a new master then who'll pay you for not doing as you're bid das blood was now fairly up look out for a master as has got a better character nah rely and leather and drunkard and I shouldn't have to go fer dempster furious snatched the whip from the socket and gave Dawes a cut which she meant to fall across his shoulders saying take that sir and go to hell with you Dawes was in the act of turning with the reins in his hand when the lash fell and the cut went across his face with white lips he said I'll have the law on your for that lawyer Azure and threw the reins on the horses back Dempster leaned forward seized the reins and drove off why there is your friend Dempster driving out without his managing said mr. Luke biles who was chatting with mr. bud on the bridge way what a fool he is to drive that two-wheeled thing he'll get pitched on his head one of these days not he said mr. bud nodding to Dempster as he passed he's got nine lives Dempster has him 17 of Janet's repentance chapter 18 of Janus repentance from scenes of clerical life by George Eliot this LibriVox recording is in the public domain recording by Bruce Perry chapter 18 it was dusk and the candles were lighted before miss to try and knocked at mrs. petty furs door her messenger had brought back word that he was not at home and all afternoon Janet had been agitated by the fear that he would not come but as soon as that anxiety was removed by the knock at the door she felt a sudden rush of doubt and timidity she trembled and turned cold mrs. Pettyfer went to open the door and told mr. Tryon in as few words as possible what had happened in the night as he laid down his hat and prepared to enter the parlor she said I won't go in with you for I think perhaps she would rather see you go in alone Janet wrapped up in a large white shawl which through her dark face into startling relief was seated with her eyes turned anxiously towards the door when mr. Tryon entered he had not seen her since their interview at sally martin's long months ago and he felt a strong movement of compassion at the sight of the pain stricken face which seemed to bear written on it the signs of all Janet's intervening misery her heart gave a great leap as her eyes met his once more no she had not deceived herself there was all the sincerity all the sadness all the deep pity in them her memory had told her of more than it had told her for in proportion as his face had become thinner and more worn his eyes appeared to have gathered intensity he came forward and putting out his hand said I am so glad you sent for me I'm so thankful you thought I could be of any comfort to you Janet took his hand in silence she was unable to utter any words of mere politeness or even of gratitude her heart was too full of other words that had welled up the moment she met his pitying glance and felt her doubts fall away they sat down opposite each other and she said in a low voice while slow difficult tears gathered in her aching eyes I want to tell you how unhappy I am how weak and wicked I feel no strength to live or die I thought you could tell me something that would help me she paused perhaps I can mr. Tryon said foreign speaking to me you are speaking to a fellow sinner who has needed just the comfort and help you are needing and did you find it yes and I trust you will find it oh I should like to be good and to do right Janet burst forth but indeed indeed my lot has been a very hard one I loved my husband very dearly when we were married and I meant to make him happy I wanted nothing else but he began to be angry with me for little things and I don't want to accuse him but he drank and got more and more unkind to me and then very cruel and he beat me and that cut me to the heart it made me almost mad sometimes to think all our love had come to that I couldn't bear up against it I had never been used to drink anything but water I hated wine and spirits because Robert drank them so but one day when I was very wretched and the wine was standing on the table I suddenly I can hardly remember how I came to do it I poured some wine into a large glass and drank it it blunted my feelings and made me more indifferent after that the temptation was always coming and it got stronger and stronger I was ashamed and I hated what I did but almost while the thought was passing through my mind that I would never do it again I did it it seemed as if there was a demon in me all he's making me rush to do what I longed not to do and they thought all the more that God was cruel for if he had not sent me that dreadful trial so much worse than other women have to bear I should not have done wrong in that way I suppose it is wicked to think so I feel as if there must be goodness and right above us but I can't see it I can't trust in it and I have gone on in that way for years and years at one time it used to be better now and then but everything has got worse lately I felt sure it must end somehow and last night he turned me out of doors I don't know what to do I will never go back to that life again if I can help it and yet everything else seems so miserable I feel sure that demon will always be urging me to satisfy the craving that comes upon me and the days will go on as they have done through all those miserable years I shall always be doing wrong and hating myself after thinking lower and lower and knowing that I am sinking how can you tell me any way of getting strength have you ever known anyone like me that got peace of mind and power to do right can you give me any comfort any hope while Janet was speaking she had forgotten everything but her misery and her yearning for comfort her voice had risen from the low tone of timid distress to an intense pitch of imploring anguish she clasped her hands tightly and looked at mr. Tryon with eager questioning eyes with parted trembling lips with the deep horizontal lines of overmastering pain on her brow in this artificial life of ours it is not often we see a human face with all our hearts agony in it uncontrolled by self-consciousness when we do see it it startles us as if we had suddenly waked into the real world of which this everyday one is but a puppet show copy for some moments mr. Tryon was too deeply moved to speak yes dear mrs. Dempster he said at last there is comfort there is hope for you believe me there is for I speak from my own deep and hard experience he paused as if he had not made up his mind to utter the words that were urging themselves to his lips presently he continued ten years ago I felt as wretched as you do I think my wretchedness was even worse than yours for I had a heavier sin on my conscience I had suffered no wrong from others as you have and I had injured another irreparably in body and soul the image of the wrong I had done pursued me everywhere and I seemed on the brink of madness I hated my life for I thought just as you do that I should go on falling into temptation and doing more harm in the world and I dreaded death for with that sense of guilt on my soul I felt that whatever state I entered on must be one of misery but a dear friend to whom I opened my mind showed me it was just such as I the helpless who feel themselves helpless that God specially invites to come to him and offers all the riches of his salvation not forgiveness only forgiveness would be worth little if it left us under the powers of our evil passions but strength that strength which enables us to conquer sin but said Janet I can feel no trust in God he seems always to have left me to myself I have sometimes prayed to him to help me and yet everything has been just the same as before if you felt like me how did you come to have hope and trust do not believe that God has left you to yourself how can you tell but that the hardest trials you have known have been only the road by which he was leading you to that complete sense of your own sin and helplessness without which you would never have renounced all other hopes and trusted in his love alone I know dear mrs. Dempster I know it is hard to bear I would not speak lightly of your sorrows I feel that the mystery of our life is great and at one time it seemed as dark to me as it does to you mr. Tryon hesitated again he saw that the first thing Janet needed was to be assured of sympathy she must be made to feel that her anguish was not strange to him that he entered into the only half expressed secrets of her spiritual weakness before any other message of consolation could find its way to her heart the tale of the divine pity was never yet believed from lips that were not felt to be moved by human pity and Janet's anguish was not strange to mr. Tryon he had never been in the presence of a sorrow and a soft despair that had sent so strong a thrill through all the recesses of his saddest experience and it is because sympathy is but a living again through our own past in a new form that confession often prompts a response of confession mr. Tryon felt this prompting and his judgment too told him that in obeying it he would be taking the best means of administering comfort to Janet yet he hesitated as we trembled to let him the daylight on a chamber of relics which we have never visited except in curtain silence but the first impulse triumphed and he went on I had lived all my life at a distance from God my youth was spent in thoughtless self-indulgence and all my hopes were of a vain worldly kind I had no thought of entering the church I looked forward to a political career for my father was private secretary to a man high in the Whig ministry and had been promised strong interest in my behalf at college I lived in intimacy with the gayest men even adopting follies and vices for which I had no taste out of mere pliancy and the love of standing well with my companions you see I was more guilty even then than you have been for I threw away all the rich blessings of untroubled youth and health I had no excuse in my outward lot but while I was at college that event in my life occurred which in the end brought on the State of Mind I have mentioned to you the state of self-reproach and despair which enables me to understand to the full what you are suffering and I tell you the facts because I want you to be assured that I am not uttering mere vague words when I say that I have been released from as low a depth of sin and sorrow as that in which you feel yourself to be at college I had an attachment to a lovely girl of seventeen she was very much below my own station in life and I never contemplated marrying her but I induced her to leave her father's house I did not mean to forsake her when I left college and I quieted all scruples of conscience by promising myself that I would always take care of poor Lucy but on my return from a vacation spent in traveling I found that Lucy was gone gone away with a gentleman her neighbors said I was a good deal distressed but I tried to persuade my Soph that no harm would come to her soon afterwards I had an illness which left my health delicate and made all dissipation distasteful to me life seemed very wearisome and empty and I looked with envy on everyone who had some great and absorbing object even on my cousin who was preparing to go out as a missionary and whom I had been used to think a dismal tedious person because he was constantly urging religious subjects upon me we were living in London men it was three years since I had lost sight of Lucy and one summer evening about 9 o'clock as I was walking along Gower Street I saw a knot of people on the causeway before me as I came up to them I heard one woman say I tell you she is dead this awakened my interest and I pushed my way within the circle the body of a woman dressed in fine clothes was lying against a doorstep her head was bent on one side and the long curls had fallen over her cheek a tremor seized me when I saw the hair it was light chestnut the colour of Lucy's I knelt down and turned aside the hair it was Lucy dead with paint on her cheeks I found out afterwards that she had taken poison that she was in the power of a wicked woman that the very clothes on her back were not her own it was then that my past life burst upon me in all its hideousness I wished I had never been born I couldn't look into the future Lucy's dead painted face would follow me there as it did when I looked back into the past as it did when I sat down to table with my friends when I lay down in my bed and when I rose up there was only one thing that could make life tolerable to me that was to spend all the rest of it in trying to save others from the ruin I had brought on one but how was that possible for me I had no comforts no strength no wisdom in my own soul how could I give them to others my mind was dark rebellious at war with itself and with God mr. Tryon had been looking away from Janet his face was towards the fire and he was absorbed in the images his memory was recalling but now he turned his eyes on her and they met hers fixed on him with the look of rapt expectation with which one clinging to a slippery summit of a rock while the waves are rising higher and higher watches the boat that has put out from shore to his rescue you see mrs. Dempster how deep my need was I went on in this way for months I was convinced that if I ever got health and comfort it must be from religion I went to here celebrated preachers and I read religious books but I found nothing that fitted my own need the faith which puts the sinner in possession of salvation seemed as I understood it to be quite out of my reach I had no faith I only felt utterly wretched under the power of habits and dispositions which had wrought hideous evil at last as I told you I found a friend to whom I opened all my feelings to whom I confessed everything he was a man who had gone through very deep experience and could understand the different wants of different minds he made it clear to me that the only preparation for coming to Christ and partaking of his salvation was that very sense of guilt and helplessness which was weighing me down he said you are weary and heavy-laden well it is you Christ invites to come to him and find rest he asks you to cling to him to lean on him he does not command you to walk alone with her stumbling he does not tell you as your fellow men do that you must first merit his love he neither condemns now reproaches you for the past he only bids you come to him that you may have life he bids you stretch out your hands and take of the fullness of his love you have only to rest on him as a child rests on his mother's arms and you will be up borne by his divine strength that is what is meant by faith your evil habits you feel are too strong for you you are unable to wrestle with them you know beforehand you shall fall but when once we feel our helplessness in that way and go to the Savior desiring to be freed from the power as well as the punishment of sin we are no longer left to our own strength as long as we live in rebellion against God desiring to have our own will seeking happiness and the things of this world it is as if we shut ourselves up in a crowded stifling room where we breathe only poisoned air but we have only to walk out under the infinite heavens and we breathe the pure free air that gives us health and strength and gladness it is just so with God's Spirit as soon as we submit ourselves to his will as soon as we desire to be united to him and made pure and holy it is as if the walls had fallen down that shut us out from God and we are fed with his spirit which gives us new strength that is what I want said Janet I have left off minding about pleasure I think I could be contented in the midst of hardship if I felt that God cared for me and would give me strength to lead a pure life but tell me did you soon find peace and strength not a perfect piece for a long while but hope and trust which is strength no sense of pardon for myself could do away with the pain I had in thinking what I had helped to bring on another my friend used to urge upon me that my sin against God was greater than my sin against her but it may be from a want of deeper spiritual feeling that has remained to this hour the sin which causes me the bitterest pang I could never rescue Lucy but by God's blessing I might rescue other weak and falling Souls and that was why I entered the church I asked for nothing through the rest of my life but that I might be devoted to God's work without swerving in search of pleasure either to the right hand or to the left it has been often a hard struggle but God has been with me and perhaps it may not last much longer mr. Tryon paused for a moment he had forgotten Janet and for a moment she had forgotten her own sorrows when she recurred to herself it was with a new feeling ah what a difference between our lives you have been choosing pain and working and denying yourself and I have been thinking only of myself I was only angry and discontented because I had pain to bear you never had that wicked feeling that I have had so often did you that God was cruel to send me trials and temptations worse than others have yes I had I had very blasphemous thoughts and I know that spirit of rebellion must have made the worst part of your look you did not feel how impossible it is for us to judge rightly of God's dealings and you opposed yourself to his will but what do we know we cannot foretell the working of the smallest event in our own lot how can we presume to judge of things that are so much too high for us there is nothing that becomes us but entire submission perfect resignation as long as we set up our own will and our own wisdom against God we make that wall between us and his love which I have spoken of just now but as soon as we lay ourselves entirely at his feet we have enough light given us to guide our own steps as the foot soldier who hears nothing of the counsels that determine the course of the great battle he is in hears plainly enough the word of command which he must himself obey I know dear mrs. Dempster I know it is hard the hardest thing of all perhaps to flesh and blood but carry that difficulty to the savior along with all your other sins and weaknesses and ask him to pour into you a spirit of submission he enters into your struggles he has drunk the cup of our suffering to the dregs he knows the hard wrestling it costs us to say not my will but thine be done pray with me said Janet pray now that I may have light and strength end of chapter 18 of Janis repentance chapter 19 of Janet's repent from scenes of clerical life by George Eliot this LibriVox recording is in the public domain recording by bruce pirie chapter 19 before leaving Janet mr. Tryon urged her strongly to send for her mother do not wound her he said by shutting her out any longer from your troubles it is right that you should be with her yes I will send for her said Janet but I would rather not go to my mother's yet because my husband is sure to think I am there and he might come and fetch me I can't go back to him at least not yet ought I to go back to him no certainly not at present something should be done to secure you from violence your mother I think should consult some confidential friend some man of character and experience who might mediate between you and your husband yes I will send for my mother directly but I will stay here with mrs. Pettyfer till something has been done I want no one to know where I am except you you will come again will you not you will not leave me to myself he will not be left to yourself God is with you if I have been able to give you any comfort it is because his power and love have been present with us but I am very thankful that he has chosen to work through me I shall see you again tomorrow not before evening for it will be Sunday you know but after the evening lecture I shall be at Liberty he will be in my prayers till then in the meantime dear mrs. Dempster open your heart as much as you can to your mother and mrs. Pettyfer cast away from you the pride that makes us shrink from acknowledging our weakness to our friends ask them to help in guarding yourself from the least approach of the sin you most dread deprived yourself as far as possible of the very means and opportunity of committing it every effort of that kind made in humility and dependence is a prayer promise me you will do this I promise you I know I have always been too proud I could never bear to speak to anyone about myself I have been proud towards my mother even it has always made me angry when she has seemed to take notice of my faults ah dear mrs. Dempster you will never say a game that life is blank and that there is nothing to live for will you see what work there is to be done in life both in our own souls and for others surely it matters little whether we have more or less of this world comfort in these short years when God is training us for the eternal enjoyment of his love keep that great end of life before you and your troubles here will seem only the small hardships of a journey now I must go mr. Tryon rose and held out his hand Janet took it and said God has been very good to me and sending you to me I will trust in him I will try to do everything you tell me blessed influence of one true loving human soul on another not calculable by algebra not deducible by logic but mysterious effectual mightiest the hidden process by which the tiny seed is quickened and bursts forth into tall stem and broadleaf and glowing tasseled flower ideas are often poor ghosts our Sun filled eyes cannot discern them they pass a Thor test in thin vapor and cannot make themselves felt but sometimes they are made flesh they breathe upon us with warm breath they touch us with soft responsive hands they look at us with sad sincere eyes and speak to us in appealing tones they are clothed in a living human soul with all its conflicts its faith and its love then their presence is a power then they shake us like a passion and we are drawn after them with gentle compulsion as flame is drawn to flame Janet's dark grand face still fatigued had become quite calm and looked up as she sat with a humble childlike expression at the thin blonde faith and slightly sunken gray eyes which now Shaun with hectic brightness she might have been taken for an image of passionate strength beaten and worn with conflict and he for an image of the self renouncing faith which has soothed that conflict into rest as he looked at the sweet submissive face he remembered its look of despairing anguish and his heart was very full as he turned away from her let me only live to see this work confirmed and then it was nearly ten o'clock when mr. Tryon left but Janet was bent on sending for her mother so mrs. Pettyfer has the radiused plan put on her bonnet and went herself to fetch mrs. Raynor the mother had been too long used to expect that every fresh week would be more painful than the last for mrs. petit fours news to come upon her with the shock of a surprise quietly without any show of distress she made up a bundle of clothes and telling her little maid that she should not return home that night accompanied mrs. Pettyfer back in silence when they entered the parlor Janet wearied out had sunk to sleep in the large chair which stood with its back to the door the noise of the opening door disturbed her and she was looking round wonderingly when mrs. Raynor came up to her chair and said it's your mother Janet mother dear mother Janet cried clasping her closely I have not been a good tender child to you but I will be I will not grieve you any more the calmness which had withstood a new sorrow was overcome by a new joy and the mother burst into tears end of chapter 19 of Janet's repentance chapter 20 of Janet's repentance scenes of clerical life by George Eliot this LibriVox recording is in the public domain recording by bruce pirie chapter 20 on Sunday morning the rain had ceased and Janet looking out of the bedroom window saw above the housetops a shining mass of white cloud rolling unto the Far Away blue sky it was going to be a lovely April day the fresh sky left clear and calm after the long vexation of wind and rain mingled its mild influence with Janet's new thoughts and prospects she felt a buoyant courage that surprised herself after the cold crushing weight of despondency which had oppressed her the day before she could think even of her husband's rage without the old overpowering dread for a delicious hope the hope of purification and inward peace had entered into Janet's soul and made it springtime there as well as in the outer world while her mother was brushing and coiling up her thick black hair a favorite task because it seemed to renew the days of her daughter's girlhood Janet told how she came to send for mr. Tryon how she had remembered their meeting at Sally Martin's in the autumn and had felt an irresistible desire to see him and tell him her sins and her troubles I see God's goodness now mother in ordering it so that we should meet in that way to overcome my prejudice against him and make me feel that he was good and then bringing it back to my mind in the depth of my trouble you know what foolish things I used to say about him knowing nothing of him all the while and yet he was the man who was to give me comfort and help when everything else failed me it is wonderful how I feel able to speak to him as I have never done to anyone before and how every word he says to me enters my heart and has a new meaning for me I think it must be because he has felt life more deeply than others and has a deeper faith I believe everything he says at once his words come to me like rain on the parched ground it has always seemed to me before us if I could see behind people's words as one sees behind a screen but in mr. Tryon it is his very soul that speaks well my dear child I love and bless him for your sake if he has given you any comfort I never believed to the harm people said of him though I had no desire to go and hear him for I am contented with old-fashioned ways I find or good teaching than I can practice in reading my Bible at home and hearing mr. Crewe at church but your wants are different my dear and we are not all dead by the same Road that was certainly good advice of mr. Trion's you told me of last night that we should consult someone that may interfere for you with your husband and I have been turning it over in my mind while I've been lying awake in the night I think nobody will do so well as mr. Benjamin Lander for we must have a man that knows the law and that Robert is rather afraid of and perhaps he could bring about an agreement for you to live apart your husband's bound to maintain you you know and if you liked we could move away from mill B and live somewhere else Oh mother we must do nothing yet I must think about it a little longer I have a different feeling this morning from what I had yesterday something seems to tell me that I must go back to Robert sometime after a little while I loved him once better than all the world and I have never had any children to love there were things in me that were wrong and I should like to make up for them if I can well my dear I won't persuade you think of it a little longer but something must be done soon how I wish I had my bonnet and shawl and black gown here said Janet after a few minutes silence I should like to go to Patti for church and here mr. Tryon there would be no fear of my meeting Robert for he never goes out on a Sunday morning I'm afraid it would not do for me to go to the house and fetch her clothes said mrs. Raynor oh no no I must stay quietly here while you two go to church I will be mrs. Pettyfer his maid and get the dinner ready for her by the time she comes back dear good woman she was so tender to me when she took me in in the night mother and all the next day when I couldn't speak a word to her to thank her end of chapter 20 of Janet's repentance chapter 21 of Janet's repentance from scenes of clerical life by George Eliot this LibriVox recording is in the public domain recording by bruce pirie chapter 21 the servants of Dempster's felt some surprise when the morning noon and evening of Saturday had passed and still their mistress did not reappear it's very odd said Kitty the housemaid as she trimmed her next week's cap while Betty the middle-aged cook looked on with folded arms do you think as mrs. Raynor was ill and sent for the mrs. a for we was up Oh said Betty if it had been that she'd have been backwards and forwards three or four times before now leastways she descent little my end to let us know they thumb it up mourner usual between her and the master that you may depend on said kitty I know those clothes says was lying of the drawing-room yesterday when the company was come meant summat I shouldn't wonder if that was what they've had a fresh route she's perhaps gone away has made up her mind not to come back again and her The Right Hon at 2:00 said Betty I to overrun him long afore now if it had been me I wouldn't stand being mauled as she is by no husband not if he was the biggest Lord of the land it's poor work being a wife at that price I'd sooner be a cook without purchases and have roast and boil and fry and bake all to mind at once she may well do as she does I know I'm glad enough of a drop a summit myself when I'm plagued I feel very low like tonight I think I shall put my beer of the saucepan and warm it what the one you are for warm in your beer Betty I couldn't abide it nasty bitter stuff it's fine talkin if you was a cook you'd know what belongs to being a cook it's none so nice to have a sinking at your stomach I can tell you you wouldn't think so much a fine ribbons your cat then well well Betty don't be grumpy lies the Thompson as is that fifth sirs said to me last Sunday I wonder you'll stay at Dempster's she says such goings-on as there is but I says there's things to put up we in every place and you may change and change and not better yourself when all said and done the Lewis y Liza told me herself as mrs. Phipps was as skinny as skinny in the kitchen for all they keep so much company and as for followers Jesus cross as a turkey if she finds him out there's nothing of that sort of the missus how pretty she come and spoke to Joe last Sunday there isn't a good-natured her woman in the world has my belief and handsome too I always think these nobody looks half so well as a missus when she's got her hair done nice loris I wish I got long hair like her my ears are coming off dreadful they'll be fine work tomorrow I expect said Betty when the master comes home and Dawes I swear honest he'll never do a stroke of work for him again it'll be good fun if he sets the justice on him for cutting him with a whip the master Oh perhaps get his gong cut for once in his life why he was in a temper like a fiend this morning said Kitty I dare say it was a long on what had happened with a missus we shall have a pretty house with him if she doesn't come back he'll want to be leather in us I shouldn't wonder he must have something to ill-use when he's in a passion I'd take care he didn't leather me no not if he was my husband ten times or I'd pour hot dripping on him sooner but the missus hasn't a spirit like me he'll make her come back you'll see he'll come round her somehow there's no likelihood of her coming back tonight though so I should think we might fasten the doors and go to bed when we like on Sunday morning however in Kitty's mind became disturbed by more definite and alarming conjectures about her mistress while Betty encouraged by the prospect of unwonted leisure was sitting down to continue a letter which had long lain unfinished between the leaves of her Bible kitty came running into the kitchen and said Laura Betty I'm all of a tremble you might not be down with a feather I've just looked into the mrs. ward and there's both her bonnets she must have gone without her bonnet and then I remember as her nightclothes wasn't on the bed yesterday mornin I thought she'd put him away to be washed but she hadn't for I've been lookin it's my belief he's murdered her and shut her after that closet as he keeps locked always he's capable on it Laura Sam Massey why you'd better run to mrs. rayner's and see if she's there at her all it has perhaps all a lie mrs. Raynor had returned home to give directions to her little maiden when kitty with the elaborate manifestation of alarm which servants delight in rushed in without knocking and holding her hands on her heart as if the consequences to that organ were likely to be very serious said if you please them is the missus here no kitty why are you come to ask because she's never been at home since yesterday mornin since the fore we was up and we thought something must have happened to her no don't be frightened kitty your mistress is quite safe I know where she is is your master at home gnome he went out yesterday mornin and said he shouldn't be back for tonight well kitty there's nothing the matter with your mistress you needn't say anything to anyone about her being away from home I shall call presently and fetch her gown and bonnet she wants them to put on kitti perceiving there was the mystery she was not to inquire into returned to Orchard Street really glad to know that her mistress was safe but disappointed nevertheless at being told that she was not to be frightened she was soon followed by mrs. Rayner in quest of the gown and bonnet the good mother on learning that dempster was not at home had at once thought that she could gratify Janet's wish to go to paddy furred church see My dear she said as she entered mrs. petit firs parlor I've brought you your black clothes Roberts not at home and is not coming till this evening I couldn't find your best black gown but this will do I wouldn't bring anything else you know but there can't be any objection to my fetching clothes to cover you you can go to paddy for church now if you like and I will go with you that's a dear mother then we'll all three go together come and help me to get ready good little mrs. crew it will vex her sadly that I should go to hear mr. Tryon but I must kiss her and make it up with her many eyes returned on jannat with the look of surprise as she walked up the aisle of pati ffred church she felt a little tremor at the notice she knew she was exciting but it was a strong satisfaction to her that she had been able at once to take a step that would let her neighbors know her change of feeling towards mr. Tryon she had left herself now no room for proud reluctance or weak hesitation the walk through the sweet spring air had stimulated all her fresh hopes all her yearning desires after purity strength and peace she thought she should find a new meaning in the prayers this morning her full heart like an overflowing River wanted those ready-made channels to pour itself into and then she should hear mr. Tryon again and his words would fall on her like precious Bom as they had done last night there was a liquid brightness in her eyes as they rested on the mere walls the pews the weavers and Colliers in their sunday clothes the communist things seemed to touch the spring of love within her just as when we are suddenly released from an acute absorbing bodily pain our heart and senses leap out in new freedom we think even the noise of streets harmonious and our ready to hug the tradesman who is wrapping up our change a door had been opened in Janet's cold dark prison of self despair and the golden light of morning was pouring in it's slanting beams through the Blessed opening there was sunlight in the world there was a divine love caring for her it had given her an earnest of good things it had been preparing comfort for her in the very moment when she had thought herself most Forsaken mr. Tryon might well rejoice when his eye rested on her as he entered his desk but he rejoiced with trembling he could not look at the sweet hopeful face without remembering it's yesterday's look of agony and there was the possible t-that that look might return Janet's appearance at church was greeted not only by wandering eyes but by Kind Hearts and after the service several of mr. trans hearers with whom she had been on cold terms of late contrived to come up to her and take her by the hand mother said miss Linnet do let us go and speak to mrs. Dempster I'm sure there's a great change in her mind towards mr. Tryon I noticed how eagerly she listened to the sermon and she's come with mrs. Pettyfer you see we ought to go and give her a welcome among us why my dear we've never spoke friendly these five years you know she's being as haughty as anything since I quarreled with her husband however let bygones be bygones I have no grudge again the poor thing more particularly as she must have flu in her husband's face to come in here mr. Tryon yes let us go and speak to her the friendly words and looks touched Janet a little too keenly and mrs. Pettyfer wisely hurried her home by the least frequented road when they reached home a violent fit of weeping followed by continuous lassitude showed that the emotions of the morning had over strained her nerves she was suffering too from the absence of the long accustomed stimulus which she had promised mr. tryin not to touch again the poor thing was conscious of this and dreaded her own weakness as the victim of intermittent insanity dreads the oncoming of the old illusion mother she whispered when mrs. Raynor urged her to lie down and rest all the afternoon that she might be the better prepared to see mr. Tryon in the evening mother don't let me have anything if I ask for it in the mother's mind there was the same anxiety and in her it was mingled with another fear the fear lest Janet in her present excited state of mind should take some premature step in relation to her husband which might lead back to all the former trouble the hint she had thrown out in the morning of her wish to return to him after a time showed a new eagerness for difficult duties that only made the long saddened sober mother tremble but as evening approached Janet's morning heroism all forsook her her imagination influenced by physical depression as well as by mental habits was haunted by the vision of her husband's return home and she began to shudder with the yesterday's dread she heard him calling her she saw him going to her mother's to look for her she felt sure he would find her out and burst in upon her pray pray don't leave me don't go to church she said to mrs. Pettyfer you and mother both stay with me till mr. Tryon comes at 20 minutes past 6:00 the church bells were ringing for the evening service and soon the congregation was streaming along Orchard Street in the mellow sunset the street opened toward the west the red half sunken Sun shed a solemn splendor on the everyday houses and crimsoned the windows of Dempster's projecting upper storey suddenly a loud murmur arose and spread along the stream of churchgoers and one group after another paused and looked backward at the far end of the street men accompanied by a miscellaneous group of onlookers were slowly carrying something a body stretched on a door slowly they passed along the middle of the street lined all the way with awestruck faces Tilly turned aside and paused in the red sunlight before Dempster's door it was Dempster's body no one knew whether he was alive or dead end of chapter 21 of Janet's repentance

1 thought on “Scenes of Clerical Life | George Eliot | General Fiction | Speaking Book | English | 8/9

  1. Scenes of Clerical Life | George Eliot | General Fiction | Speaking Book | English | 8/9

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