Scenes of Clerical Life | George Eliot | General Fiction | Talking Book | English | 2/9

chapter 5 of the sad fortunes of the river and Amos Barton from scenes of clerical life by George Eliot this LibriVox recording is in the public domain recording by Bruce Perry chapter 5 the Reverend amos barton who's sad fortunes i have undertaken to relate was you perceive in no respect an ideal or exceptional character and perhaps i am doing a bold thing to be speak your sympathy on behalf of a man who was so very far from remarkable a man whose virtues were not heroic and who had no undetected crime within his breast who had not the slightest mystery hanging about him but was palpably and unmistakably commonplace who was not even in love but had had that complaint favorably many years ago an utterly uninteresting character i think i hear a lady reader exclaim mrs farthingale for example who prefers the ideal in fiction to whom tragedy means herman Tippit's adultery and murder and comedy The Adventures of some personage who is quite a character but my dear madam it is so very large a majority of your fellow countrymen that are of this insignificant stamp at least eighty out of a hundred of your adult male fellow Britons returned in the last census are neither extraordinarily silly nor extraordinarily wicked nor extraordinarily wise their eyes are neither deep and liquid with sentiment nor sparkling with suppressed witticisms they have probably had no hair breath escapes or thrilling adventures their brains are certainly not pregnant with genius and their passions have not manifested themselves at all after the fashion of a volcano they are simply men of complexions more or less muddy whose conversation is more or less bald and disjointed yet these commonplace people many of them bear a conscience and have felt the sublime prompting to do the painful right they have their unspoken sorrows and their sacred joys their hearts have perhaps gone out towards their firstborn and they have mourned over the ear acclaim Abell dead nay is there not a pathos in their very insignificance in our comparison of their dim and narrow existence with the glorious possibilities of that human nature which they share depend upon it you would gain unspeakably if you would learn with me to see some of the poetry and the pathos the tragedy and the comedy lying in the experience of a human soul that looks out through dull grey eyes and that speaks in a voice of quite ordinary tones in that case I should have no fear of your not caring to know what farther befell the Reverend amos barton or of your thinking the homely details I have to tell at all beneath your attention as it is you can if you please decline to pursue my story further and you will easily find reading more to your taste since I learned from the newspapers that many remarkable novels full of striking situations thrilling incidents and eloquent writing have appeared only within the last season meanwhile readers who have begun to feel an interest in the Reverend Amos Barton and his wife will be glad to learn that mr. Alden port lent the twenty pounds but 20 pounds are soon exhausted when twelve are due is back payment to the butcher and when the possession of eight extra sovereigns in February weather is an irresistible temptation to order a new great coat and though mr. Brittain means so far departed from the necessary economy entailed on him by the countess's elegant toilette and expensive made as to choose a handsome black silk stiff as his experienced eye discerned with the genuine strength of its own texture and not with the factitious strength of gum and presented to mrs. Barton in retrieval of the accident that had occurred at his table yet dear me as every husband has heard what is the present of a gown when you are deficiently furnished with the etceteras of apparel and when moreover there are six children whose wear and tear of clothes is something incredible to the non maternal mind indeed the equation of income and expenditure was offering new and constantly accumulating difficulties to mr. and mrs. Barton for shortly after the birth of Little Walter Millie's aunt who had lived with her ever since her marriage had withdrawn herself her furniture and her yearly income to the household of another niece prompted to that step very probably by a slight tiff with the river and Amos which occurred while Millie was upstairs and proved one-to-many for the elderly ladies patience and magnanimity mr. Barton's temper was a little warm but on the other hand elderly maiden ladies are known to be susceptible so we will not suppose that all the blame lay on his side the less so as he had every motive for humoring an inmate whose presence kept the wolf from the door it was now nearly a year since miss Jackson's departure and to a fine ear the howl of the wolf was audibly approaching it was a sad thing too that when the last snow had melted when the purple and yellow crocuses were coming up in the garden and the old church was already half pulled down Millie had an illness which made her lips look pale and rendered it absolutely necessary that she should not exert herself for some time mr. brand the Shepperton doctor so obnoxious to mr. pilgrim ordered her to drink port wine and it was quite necessary to have a charwoman very often to assist nanny in all the extra work that fell upon her mrs. Hacket who hardly ever paid a visit to anyone but her oldest and nearest neighbor mrs. Patton now tuck the unusual step of calling at the vicarage one morning and the tears came into her unsentimental eyes as she saw Millie seated pale and feeble in the parlour unable to persevere in sewing the pinafore that lay on the table beside her little Dicky a boisterous boy of five with large pink cheeks and sturdy legs was having his turn to sit with Mama and was squatting quiet as a mouse at her knee holding her soft white hand between his little red black nailed fists he was a boy whom mrs. Hackett in a severe mood had pronounced stocky a word that etymologically in all probability conveys some allusion to an instrument of punishment for the refractory but seeing him thus subdued into goodness she smiled at him with her kindest smile and stooping down suggested a kiss a favor which Dicky resolutely declined now do you take nourishing things enough was one of mrs. Hackett's first questions and Millie and Everage to make it appear that no woman was ever so much in danger of being overfed and led into self-indulgent habits as herself but mrs. Hacket gathered one fact from her replies namely that mr. brand had ordered two port wine while this conversation was going forward Dickey had been furtively stroking and kissing the soft white hand so that at last when a pause came his mother said smilingly why are you kissing my hand Dickie eat it till you've lea answered Dicky who you observe was decidedly backward in his pronunciation mrs. Hacket remembered this little scene in after days and thought with peculiar tenderness and pity of the stocky boy the next day there came a hamper with mrs. Hackett's respects and on being opened it was found to contain half a dozen of port wine and two couples of follows mrs. Farquhar too was very kind insisted on mrs. Barton's rejecting all our route but hers which was genuine Indian and carried away Sophie and Fred to stay with her a fortnight these and other good-natured attentions made the trouble of Millie's illness more bearable but they could not prevent it from swelling expenses and mr. Barton began to have serious thoughts of representing his case to a certain charity for the relief of needy curates altogether as matters stood in Shepparton the parishioners were more likely to have a strong sense that the clergyman needed their material aid than that they needed his spiritual aid not the best state of things in this age and country where faith in men solely on the ground of their spiritual gifts has considerably diminished and especially unfavorable to the influence of the Reverend Amos whose spiritual gifts would not have had a very commanding power even in an age of faith but you asked did not to the countess sure Laskey pay any attention to her friends all this time to be sure she did she was indefatigable in visiting her sweet Millie and sitting with her for hours together it may seem remarkable to you that she neither thought of taking away any of the children nor of providing for any of Millie's probable wants but ladies of rank and of luxurious habits you know cannot be expected to surmise the details of poverty she put a great deal of odie colonge on mrs. Barton's pocket handkerchief rearranged her pillow and footstool kissed her cheeks wrapped her in a soft warm shawl from her own shoulders and amused her with stories of the light she had seen abroad when mr. Barton joined them she talked of tract arianism of her determination not to reenter the vortex of fashionable life and of her anxiety to see him in a sphere large enough for his talents Millie he thought her sprightly Ness and affectionate warmth quite charming and was very fond of her while the Reverend Amos had a vague consciousness that he had risen into aristocratic life and only associated with his middle-class parishioners in a pastoral and parenthetic manner however has the day's brightened Millie's cheeks and lips brightened too and in a few weeks she was almost as active as ever though watchful eyes might have seen that activity was not easy to her mrs. Hacket eyes were of that kind and one day when mr. and mrs. Barton had been dining with her for the first time since Millie's illness she observed to her husband that poor things dreadful weak and delicate she won't stand having many more children mr. Barton meanwhile had been indefatigable in his vocation he had preached to extemporary sermons every Sunday at the workhouse where a room had been fitted up for a divine service pending the alterations in the church and had walked to the same evening to a cottage at one or other extremity of his parish to deliver another sermon still more extemporary in an atmosphere impregnated with spring flowers and perspiration after all these Labor's you will easily conceive that he was considerably exhausted by half-past nine o'clock in the evening and that a supper and a friendly parishioners with a glass or even two glasses of brandy and water after it was a welcome reinforcement mr. Barton was not at all an ascetic he thought the benefits of fasting were entirely confined to the Old Testament dispensation he was fond of relaxing himself with a little gossip indeed miss bond and other ladies of enthusiastic views sometimes they regretted that Miss to Barton did not more uninterruptedly exhibit a superiority to the things of the flesh thin ladies who take little exercise and whose livers are not strong enough to bear stimulants are so extremely critical about one's personal habits and after all the Reverend Amos never came near the borders of a vice his very faults were middling he was not very unromantic 'el it was not in his nature to be superlative in anything unless indeed he was superlatively middling the quintessential extract of mediocrity if there was any one point on which he showed an inclination to be excessive it was confidence in his own shrewdness and ability in practical matters so that he was very full of plans which were something like his moves in chess admirably well calculated supposing the state of the case were otherwise for example that notable plan of introducing anti dissenting books into his lending library did not in the least appear to have bruised the head of dissent though it had certainly made dissent strongly inclined to bite to the Reverend Amos as he'll again he vexed to the souls of his church wardens and influential parishioners by his fertile suggestiveness as to what it would be well for them to do in the matter of the church repairs and other ecclesiastical secularity 's i never saw the like to parsons mr. Hackett said one day in conversation with his brother church warden mr. bond they are always for meddling with business and they know no more about it than my black filly said Mr Bond they're too high learned to have much common sense well remarked mr. Hackett you know modest and dubious tone as if throwing out a hypothesis which might be considered bold I should say that's a bad sort of education as makes folks on reasonable so that he perceived mr. Barton's popularity was in that precarious condition in at toppling and contingent state in which a very slight push from a malignant destiny would utterly upset it that push was not long in being given as you shall hear one fine may morning when Amos was out on his parochial visits and the sunlight was streaming through the bow window of the sitting room where Millie was seated at her sewing occasionally looking up to glance at the children playing in the garden there came a loud rap at the door which she at once recognized as the countess's and that well-dressed lady presently entered the sitting room with her veil drawn over her face Millie was not at all surprised or sorry to see her but when the countess threw up her veil and showed that her eyes were red and swollen she was both surprised and sorry what can be the matter dear Caroline Caroline threw down Jett who gave a little Yelp then she threw her arms round Millie's neck and began to sob then she threw herself on the sofa and begged for a glass of water then she threw off her bonnet and shawl and by the time Millie's imagination had exhausted itself in conjuring up calamities she said dear how shall I tell you I am the most wretched woman to be deceived by a brother to whom I have been so devoted to see him degrading himself giving himself utterly to the dogs what can it be said Millie who began to picture to herself the sober mr. Britt main taking two brandy and betting he is going to be married to marry my own maid that deceitful Alice to whom I have been the most indulgent mistress did you ever hear of anything so disgraceful so mortifying so disreputable and has he only just told you of it said Millie who having really heard of worse conduct even in her innocent life avoided a direct answer told me of it he had not even the grace to do that I went into the dining room suddenly and found him kissing her disgusting at his time of life is it not and when I reproved her for allowing such liberties she turned round saucily and said she was engaged to be married to my brother as she saw no shame in allowing him to kiss her Edmond is a miserable coward you know and looked frightened but when she asked him to say whether it was not so he tried to summon up courage and say yes I left of the room in disgust and this morning I have been questioning Edmond and find that he is bent on marrying this woman and that he has been putting off telling me because he was ashamed of himself I suppose I couldn't possibly stay in the house after this with my own maid turned mistress and now Millie I am come to throw myself on your charity for a week or two will you take me in that we will send millie if you will only put up with our poor rooms and way of living it will be delightful to have you it will soothe me to be with you and mr. Bart in a little while I feel quite unable to go among my other friends just at present what those two wretched people will do I don't know leave the neighbourhood at once I hope I am treated my brother to do so before he disgraced himself when Amos came home he joined his cordial welcome and sympathy to Millie's by-and-by the countess's formidable boxes which she had carefully packed before her indignation drove her away from camp Fella arrived at the vicarage and were deposited in the spare bedroom and in two closets not spare which Millie emptied for their reception a week afterwards the excellent apartments at camp villa comprising dining and drawing rooms three bedrooms and a dressing room were again to let and mr. Britt mains sudden departure together with the countess chair Lasky's installation as a visitor at Shepperton vicarage became a topic of general conversation in the neighbourhood the Keen sighted virtue of Milby and Shepperton saw in all this a confirmation of its worst suspicions and pitied the Reverend Amos Barton's gullibility but when week after week and month after month slipped by without witnessing the countess's departure when summer and harvest had fled and still left her behind them occupying the spare bedroom and the closets and also a large portion of mrs. Barton's time and attention knew surmises of a very evil kind were added to the old rumors and began to take the form of settled convictions in the minds even of mr. Barton's most friendly parishioners and now here is an opportunity for an accomplished writer two apostrophes calumny to quote virgil and to show that he is acquainted with the most ingenious things which have been said on that subject in polite literature but what is opportunity to the man who can't use it an undefeated dated egg which the waves of time wash away into nonentity so as my memory is ill furnished and my notebook still worse i am unable to show myself either erudite or eloquent apropos of the calumny where of the reverend Amos Barton was the victim I can only ask my reader did you ever upset your ink bottle and watch in helpless agony the rapid spread of sticky and blackness over your fair manuscript or fairer table cover with a like inky swiftness did gossip now blacken the reputation of the Reverend Amos Barton causing the unfriendly to scorn and even the friendly to stand aloof at a time when difficulties of another kind were fast thickening around him end of chapter 5 of the sad fortunes of the Reverend Amos Barton Chapter six of the sad fortunes and Amos Barton from scenes of clerical life by George Eliot this LibriVox recording is in the public domain recording by bruce pirie chapter six one November morning at least six months after the countess sir Lasky had taken up her residence at the vicarage mrs. Hackett heard that her neighbor mrs. Patton had an attack of her old complaint vaguely called the spasms accordingly about eleven o'clock she put on her velvet bonnet and cloth cloak with a long boa and muff large enough to stow a prize baby in for mrs. Hackett regulated her costume by the calendar and brought out her furs on the first of November whatever might be the temperature she was not a woman weekly to accommodate herself to shilly-shally proceedings if the season didn't know what it ought to do mrs. Hackett did in her best days it was always sharp weather at Gunpowder Plot and she didn't like new fashions and this morning the weather was very rationally in accordance with her costume for as she made her way through the fields to cross farm the yellow leaves on the hedge Kurt Elms which showed bright and golden against the long hanging purple clouds were being scattered across the grassy path by the coldest of November winds ah mrs. Hacket thought to herself I dare say we shall have a sharp pinch this winter and if we do I shouldn't wonder if it takes the old lady off they say a green Yule makes a fat churchyard but so does a white you'll too for that matter when the stools rotten enough no matter who sits on it however on her arrival at cross farm the prospect of mrs. Patton's decease was a game thrown into the dim distance in her imagination for miss Janet Gibbs met her with the news that mrs. Patton was much better and led her without any preliminary announcement to the old lady's bedroom Janet had scarcely reached the end of her circumstantial narrative of how the attack came on and what were her aunt's sensations a narrative to which mrs. Patton in her neatly plaited nightcap seemed to listen with a contemptuous resignation to her nieces historical inaccuracy contenting herself with occasionally confounding janet by a shake of the head when the clatter of a horse's hoofs on the yard pavement announced the arrival of mr. pilgrim whose large top booted person presently made its appearance upstairs he found mrs. Patton going on so well that there was no need to look solemn he might glide from condolence into gossip without offence and the temptation of having mrs. Hacket seer was irresistible what a disgraceful business this is turning out of your Parsons was the remark with which he made this agreeable transition throwing himself back in the chair from which she had been leaning towards the patient hey dear me said mrs. Hackett disgraceful enough I stuck to mr. Barton as long as I could for his wife's sake but I can't countenance such goings on it's hateful to see that woman coming with them to service of a Sunday and if mr. Hackett wasn't churchwarden and I didn't think it wrong to forsake one's own parish I should go to nibbly Church there's a many parishioners as do I used to think Barton was only a fool observed mr. pilgrim in a tone which implied that he was conscious of having been weakly charitable I thought he was imposed upon and led away by those people and they first came but that's impossible now oh it's as plain as the nose in your face said mrs. Hackett unreflecting Lee not perceiving the echo of oak in her comparison come into mill be like a sparrow perching on a bow as I may say with her brother as she called him and then all on a sudden the brother goes off with himself and she throws herself on the Barton's though what could make her take up with a porn autumn eyes of a parson as hasn't got enough to keep wife and children there's one above knows I don't mr. Barton may have attractions we don't know of said mr. pilgrim who piqued himself on a talent for sarcasm the countess has no maid now and they say mr. Barton is handy in assisting at her toilette laces her boots so forth to let be fiddled said mrs. Hacket with indignant boldness of metaphor and there's that poor thing of sewing her fingers to the bone for them children and another coming on what she must have to go through it goes to my heart to turn my back on her but she's either wrong to let herself be put upon in that matter ah I was talking to mrs. Farquhar about that the other day she said I think mrs. Barton a very weak woman mr. pilgrim gave this quotation with slow emphasis as if he thought mrs. Farquhar had uttered a remarkable sentiment they find it impossible to invite her to their house while she has that equivocal person staying with her well remarked mrs. Gibbs if I was a wife nothing should induce me to bear what mrs. Barton does yes it's fine talking said mrs. Patton from her pillow old maids husband's are always well managed if he was a wife you'd be as foolish as your betters be like all my wonder is observed mrs. Hacket how the Barton's make both ends meet you may depend on it she's got nothing to give him for I understand as he's been having money from some clergy charity they said at first as she stuffed mr. Barton when notions about her writing to the Chancellor and her fine friends to give him a living however I don't know what's true and what's false mr. Barton keeps away from our house now for I gave him a bit to my mind one day maybe he's ashamed of himself he seems to me to look dreadful thin and harassed of a Sunday oh he must be aware he's getting into bad odour everywhere the clergy are quite disgusted with his folly they say carp would be glad to get Barton out of accuracy if he could but he can't do that without coming to Shepperton himself as Barton's a licensed curate and he wouldn't like that I suppose at this moment mrs. Patton showed signs of uneasiness which recalled mr. pilgrim to professional attentions and mrs. Hacket observing that it was Thursday and she must see after the butter said goodbye promising to look in again soon and bring her knitting this Thursday by-the-bye is the first in the month the day on which the clerical meeting is held at Mill B vicarage and as the Reverend Amos Barton has reasons for not attending he will very likely be a subject of conversation amongst his clerical brethren suppose we go there and hear whether mr. pilgrim has reported their opinion correctly there is not a numerous party today for it is a season of sore throats and guitars so that the exegetical and theological discussions which are the preliminary of dining have not been quite so spirited as usual and although a question relative to the Epistle of Jude has not been quite cleared up the striking of six by the church clock and the simultaneous announcement of dinner are sounds that no one feels to be importunate Pleasant when one is not in the least bilious to enter a comfortable dining room where the closely drawn red curtains glow with the double light of fire and candle where glass and silver are glittering on the pure damask and a soup tureen gives a hint of the fragrance that will presently rush out to inundate you're hungry senses and prepare them by the delicate visitation of atoms for the Keen gusto of ampler contact especially if you have confidence in the dinner giving capacity of your host if you know that he is not a man who entertains grovelling views of eating and drinking as a mere satisfaction of hunger and thirst and dead to all the finer influences of the palate expects his guests to be brilliant on ill flavored gravies and the cheapest marsala mr. Ely was particularly worthy of such confidence and his virtues as an amphitryon had probably contributed quite as much as the central situation of Mill B to the selection of his house as a clerical rendezvous he looks particularly graceful at the head of his table and indeed on all occasions where he acts as president or moderator he is a man who seems to listen well and is an excellent amalgam of dissimilar ingredients at the other end of the table as vice sits mr. fellows rector er and magistrate a man of imposing appearance with a mellifluous voice and the radiused of tongues mr. fellows once obtained a living by the persuasive charms of his conversation and the fluency with which she interpreted the opinions of an obese and stammering baronet so as to give that elderly gentleman a very pleasing perception of his own wisdom mr. fellows is a very successful man and has the highest character everywhere except in his own parish where doubtless because his parishioners happen to be quarrelsome people he is always at fierce feud with a farmer or to a colliery proprietor a grocer who was once church warden and a tailor who formerly officiated as clerk at mr. Ellie's right hand you see a very small man with a sallow and somewhat puffy face whose hair is brushed straight up evidently with the intention of giving him a height somewhat less disproportionate to his sense of his own importance than the measure of five feet three accorded him by an oversight of nature this is Reverend Archibald Duke a very dyspeptic and evangelical man who takes the gloomiest view of mankind and their prospects and thinks the immense sale of The Pickwick Papers recently completed one of the strongest proofs of original sin unfortunately though mr. Duke was not burdened with a family his yearly expenditure was apt considerably to exceed his income and the unpleasant circumstances resulting from this together with heavy meat breakfasts may probably have contributed to his desponding views of the world generally next to him is seated mr. Furness a tall young man with blond hair and whiskers who was plucked at Cambridge entirely owing to his Jeanie at least I know that he soon afterwards published a volume of poems which were considered remarkably beautiful by many young ladies of his acquaintance mr. Furness preached his own sermons as anyone of tolerable critical acumen might have certified by comparing them with his poems in both there was an exuberance of metaphor and simile entirely original and not in the least borrowed from any resemblance in the things compared on mr. furnaces left you see mr. Pugh another young curat of much less marked characteristics he had not published any poems he had not even been plucked he had neat black whiskers and a pale complexion red prayers and a sermon twice every Sunday and might be seen any day sallying forth on his parochial duties in a white tie a well brushed hat a perfect suit of black and well polished boots and equipment which he probably supposed hieroglyphic ly to represent the spirit of Christianity to the parishioners of whittle coma mr. pews Vasavi is the Reverend Martin Cleaves a man about 40 middle sized broad shouldered with the negligently tied cravat large irregular features and a large head thickly covered with lanky brown hair to a superficial glance mr. Cleves is the plainest and least clerical looking of the party yet strange to say there is the true parish priest the pastor beloved consulted relied upon by his flock a clergyman who is not associated with the Undertaker but thought of as the surest help her under a difficulty as a monitor who is encouraging rather than severe mr. Cleves has the wonderful art of preaching sermons which the wheelwright and the blacksmith can understand not because he talks condescending twaddle but because he can call a spade a spade and knows how to disencumber ideas of their wordy frippery look at him more attentively and you will see that his face is a very interesting one that there is a great deal of humor and feeling playing in his gray eyes and about the corners of his roughly cut mouth a man you observe who has most likely sprung from the harder-working section of the middle class and has hereditary sympathies with the chequered life of the people she gets together the working men in his parish on a Monday evening and gives them a sort of conversational lecture on useful practical matters telling them stories or reading some select passages from an agreeable book and commenting on them and if you were to ask the first laborer or artisan in triplicate what sort of man the parson was he would say uncommon no one sensible free spoke and gentleman very kind and good-natured to yet for all this he is perhaps the best grecian of the party if we accept mr. Baird the young man on his left mr. Baird has since gained considerable celebrity as an original writer and metropolitan lecturer but at that time he used to preach in a little church something like a barn to a congregation consisting of three rich farmers and their servants about 15 laborers and the do proportion of women and children the rich farmers understood him to be very high learnt but if you had interrogated them for a more precise description they would have said that he was a finish faced man with a sort of cast in his eye like seven altogether a delightful number for a dinner party supposing the units to be delightful but everything depends on that during dinner mr. fellows took the lead in the conversation which set strongly in the direction of mangled wurzel and the rotation of crops for mr. fellows and mr. Cleves cultivated their own leaves mr. Ely too had some agricultural notions and even the Reverend Archibald Duke was made alive to that class of mundane subjects by the possession of some potato ground the two young shirts talked a little aside during these discussions which had imperfect interest for their own benefits mines and the transcendental and nearsighted mr. Baird seemed to listen somewhat abstractedly knowing little more of potatoes and mangled wurzel than that they were some form of the conditioned what a hobby farming is with Lord Watling said mr. fellows when the cloth was being drawn I went over his farm at Ted Earley with him last summer it is really a model farm first-rate dairy grazing and wheat land and such splendid farm buildings an expensive hobby though he sinks a good deal of money there I fancy he has a great whim for black cattle and he sends that drunk and old scotch bailiff of his to Scotland every year with hundreds in his pocket to buy these beasts by-the-by said mr. Ely do you know who is the man to whom Lord Watling has given the bram Hill living a man named sergeant I knew him at Oxford his brother is a lawyer and was very useful to Lord Watling in that ugly brown sole affair that's why sergeant got the living sergeant said mr. Ely I know him isn't he as showy talkative fellow has written travels in Mesopotamia or something of that sort that's the man he was at Witherington one says beg Shaw's curat he got into rather bad odour there through some scandal about a flirtation I think talking of scandal returned mr. fellows have you heard the last story about Barton Nisbet was telling me the other day but he dines alone with the countess at 6 while mrs. Barton is in the kitchen acting as cook rather an apocryphal Authority Nisbet said mr. Ely ah said mr. Cleves with good-natured humour twinkling in his eyes depend upon it that is a corrupt version the original text is that they all dined together with six meaning six children and that mrs. Barton is an excellent cook I wish dining alone together maybe the worst of that sad business said the Reverend Archibald Duke in a tone implying that his wish was a strong figure of speech well said mr. fellows filling his glass and looking jocose Burton is certain either the greatest gull in existence or he has some cunning secret some filter or other to make himself charming in the eyes of a fair lady it isn't all of us that can make conquests when our ugliness is past its bloom the lady seems to have made a conquest of him at the very outset said Mr Ely I was immensely amused one night at Granny's when he was telling us her story about her husband's adventures he said when she told me the tale I felt I don't know how I felt it from the crown of my head to the sole of my feet mr. Ely gave these words dramatically imitating the Reverend a mrs. fervor and symbolic action and everyone laughed except mr. Duke whose after-dinner view of things was not apt to be jovial he said I think some of us ought to remonstrate with mr. Barton on the scandal he is causing he is not only imperiling his own soul but the souls of his flock depend upon it said mr. Cleves there is some simple explanation of the whole affair if we only happen to know it Barton has always impressed me as the right-minded man who has the knack of doing himself injustice by his manner now I never liked Barton said mr. fellows he's not a gentleman why he used to be on terms of intimacy with that canting prior who died a little while ago a fellow who soaked himself with spirits and talked of the gospel through an inflamed nose the countess has given him more refined tastes I dare say said mr. Ely well observed mr. Cleves the poor fellow must have a hard pull to get along with his small income and large family let us hope the countess does something towards making the pot boil not she said mr. Duke there are greater signs of poverty about them than ever welcome returned mr. Cleves who could be caustic sometimes and who was not at all fond of his Reverend brother mr. Duke that's something in Barton's favor at all events he might be poor without showing signs of poverty mr. Duke turned rather yellow which was his way of blushing and mr. Ely came to his relief by observing their making a very good piece of work of Shepperton church and they'll be the architect who has it in hand is a very clever soul oh it's he who has been doing coupled in church said mr. furnace they've got it an excellent order for the visitation this mention of the visitation suggested the bishop and thus opened a wide duct which entirely diverted the stream of animate version from that small pipe that capillary vessel the Reverend a miss Barton the talk of the clergy about their Bishop belongs to the esoteric part of their profession so we will at once quit the dining-room at Mill B vicarage lest we should happen to overhear remarks unsuited to the lay understanding and perhaps dangerous to our repose of mind end of chapter 6 of the sad fortunes of the Reverend Amos Barton Chapter seven of the sad fortunes of the Reverend Amos Barton from scenes of clerical life by George Eliot this LibriVox recording is in the public domain recording by bruce pirie chapter seven i daresay the long residence of the countess chair Lasky at Shepperton vicarage is very puzzling to you also dear reader as well as to mr. Barton's clerical brethren the more so as I hope you are not in the least inclined to put that very evil interpretation on it which evidently found acceptance with the sallow and dyspeptic mr. Duke and with the florid and highly peptic mr. fellows you have seen enough I trust of the Reverend Amos Barton to be convinced that he was more apt to fall into a blunder than into a sin more apt to be deceived than to incur a necessity for being deceitful and if you have a keen eye for physiognomy you will have detected that the countess chair Lasky loved herself far too well to get entangled in an unprofitable vice how then you will say could this fine lady choose to quarter herself on the establishment of a poor curate where the carpets were probably falling into holes where the attendance was limited to a maid of all work and where six children were running loose from 8 o'clock in the morning till 8 o'clock in the evening surely you must be misrepresenting the facts heaven forbid for not having a lofty imagination as you perceive and being unable to invent thrilling incidents for your amusement my only merit must lie in the truth with which I represent to you the humble experience of an ordinary fellow mortal I wish to stir your sympathy with commonplace troubles to win your tears for real sorrow sorrow such as may live next door to you such as walks neither in rags nor in velvet but in very ordinary decent apparel therefore that you may dismiss your suspicions of my veracity I will beg you to consider that at the time the countess chair Lasky left camp villa in dudgeon she had only 20 pounds in her pocket being about one third of the income she just independently of her brother you will then perceive that she was in the extremely inconvenient predicament of having quarreled not indeed with her bread and cheese but certainly with her chicken and tart a predicament all the more inconvenience to her because the habit of idleness had quite unfitted her for earning those necessary superfluities and because with all her fascinations she had not secured any enthusiastic friends whose houses were open to her and who were dying to see her thus she had completely checkmated herself unless she could resolve on one unpleasant move namely to humble herself to her brother and recognise his wife this seemed quite impossible to her as long as she entertained the hope that he would make the first advances and in this flattering hope she remained month after month at Shepperton vicarage gracefully overlooking the deficiencies of accommodation and feeling that she was really behaving charmingly who indeed she thought to herself could do otherwise with a lovely gentle creature like Milly I shall really be sorry to leave the poor thing so though she lay in bed till 10:00 and came down to a separate breakfast at 11:00 she kindly consented to dine as early as five when a hot joint was prepared which coldly furnished forth the children's table the next day she considerately prevented Millie from devoting herself too closely to the children by insisting on reading talking and walking with her and she even began to embroider a cap for the next baby which must certainly be a girl and be named Caroline after the first month or two of her residence at the vicarage the Reverend Amos Barton became aware as indeed it was unavoidable that he should of the strong disapprobation it drew upon him and the change of feeling towards him which it was producing in his kindest parishioners but in the first place he still believed in the countess as a charming and influential woman disposed to befriend him and in any case he could hardly hint departure to a lady guest who had been kind to him and his and who might any day spontaneously announced the termination of her visit in the second place he was conscious of his own innocence and felt some contemptuous indignation towards people who were ready to imagine evil of him and lastly he had as I have already intimated a strong will of his own so that a certain obstinacy and defiance mingled itself with his other feelings on the subject the one unpleasant consequence which was not to be evaded or counteracted by any mere mental state was the increasing drain on his slender purse for household expenses to meet which the remittance he had received from the clerical charity threatened to be quite inadequate slander may be defeated by equanimity but courageous thoughts will not pay your baker's bill and fortitude is nowhere considered legal tender for beef month after month the financial aspect of the Reverend Amos affairs became more and more serious to him and month after month to war away more and more of that armor of indignation and defiance with which she had at first defended himself from the harsh looks of faces that were once the friendliest but quite the heaviest pressure of the trouble fell on Millie on gentle uncomplaining Millie whose delicate body was becoming daily less fit for all the many things that had to be done between rising up and lying down at first she thought the countess's visit would not last long and she was quite glad to incur extra exertion for the sake of making her friend comfortable I can hardly bear to think of all the rough work she did with those lovely hands all by the sly with a letting her husband know anything about it and husbands are not clairvoyant how she salted bacon ironed shirts and cravats put patches on patches and read aren't darns then there was the task of mending and eking out baby linen in Prospect and the problem perpetually suggesting itself how she and nanny should manage when there was another baby as there would be before very many months were passed when time glided on and the countess's visit did not end Milly was not blind to any phase of their position she knew of the slander she was aware of the keeping aloof of old friends but these she felt almost entirely on her husband's account a loving woman's world lies within the four walls of her own home and it is only through her husband that she is in any electric communication with the world beyond mrs. Simpkins may have looked scornfully at her but baby crows and holds out his little arms nonetheless blithely mrs. Tompkins may have left off calling on her but her husband comes home nonetheless to receive her care than caresses it has been wet and gloomy out of doors today but she has looked well after the shirt buttons has cut out babies pinafores and half-finished Willie's blouse so it was with Milly she was only vexed that her husband should be vexed only wounded because he was miss conceived but the difficulty about ways and means she felt in quite a different manner her rectitude was alarmed lest they should have to make tradesmen wait for their money her motherly love dreaded the diminution of comforts for the children and the sense of her own feeling health gave exaggerated force to these fears Milly could no longer shut her eyes to the fact that the countess was inconsiderate if she did not allow herself to entertain severe or thoughts and she began to feel that it would soon be a duty to tell her frankly that they really could not afford to have her visit farther prolonged but a process was going forward in two other minds which ultimately saved Milly from having to perform this painful task in the first place the countess was getting weary of Shepperton weary of waiting for her brothers overtures which never came so one fine morning she reflected that forgiveness was a Christian duty that a sister should be placa bowl that mr. Brittain main must feel the need of her advice to which she had been accustomed for three years and that very likely that woman didn't make the poor man happy in this amiable frame of mind she wrote a very affectionate appeal and addressed it to mr. Britt main through his banker another mind that was being wrought up to a climax was nannies the maid of all work who had a warm heart and a still warmer temper nanny adored her mistress she had been heard to say that she was ready to kiss the ground as the missus trod on and Walter she considered was her baby of whom she was as jealous as the lover but she had from the first very slight admiration for the countess chalice key that lady from nanny's point of view was the personage always draught out a fine clothes the chief result of whose existence was to cause additional bed making carrying of hot water laying of table cloths and cooking of dinners it was a perpetually heightening aggravation to nanny that she and her mistress had to slave more than ever because there was this fine lady in the house and she pays nothing for it neither observed nanny to mr. Jacob Tom's a young gentleman in the tailoring line who occasionally simply Oh to the taste for dialogue looked into the vicarage kitchen of an evening I know the mast is shorter on money than ever and it makes no and a difference of the housekeepin her being here besides being obliged to have a charwoman constant there's fine stories of the village about her said mr. toms they say is mustard Barton's great with her her else should never stop here and then they say a passel of lies and you ought to be ashamed to go and tell him or again do you think as the master as has got a wife like the missus said go run an art her a stuck-up piece of goods like that countess as isn't fit to black the missus shoes I'm not so fond of the master but I know better on him nor that well I didn't believe it said mr. Tom's humbly believe it he'd have been a ninny if he did and she's a nasty stingy thing that countess she's never given me a sixpence nor an old rag neither stand here she's been a lie in a bed and I comin down to breakfast when other folks wants their dinner if such was the state of nanny's mind as early as the end of August when this dialogue with mr. Tom's occurred you may imagine what it must have been by the beginning of November and that at that time a very slight spark might any day cause the long smoldering anger to flame forth in open indignation that spark happened to fall the very morning that mrs. Hacket paid the visit to mrs. Patton recorded in the last chapter nanny's dislike of the countess extended to the innocent dog jet whom she couldn't a bear to see made a fuss way like a Christian and the little easel must be washed too every Saturday as if there wasn't children anew to wash you out wash and dogs now this particular morning it happened that Millie was quite too poorly to get up and mr. Barton observed to nanny on going out that he would call and tell mr. brand to come these circumstances were already enough to make nanny anxious and susceptible but the countess comfortably ignorant of them came down as usual about eleven o'clock to her separate breakfast which stood ready for her at that hour in the parlour the kettle singing on the hob that she might make her own tea there was a little jug of cream taken according to custom from last night's milk and specially saved for the countess's breakfast jet always awaited his mistress at her bedroom door and it was her habit to carry him downstairs now my little jet she said putting him down gently on the hearthrug you shall have a nice nice breakfast jet indicated that he thought that observation extremely pertinent and well-timed by immediately raising himself on his hind legs and the countess emptied the cream jug into the saucer now there was usually a small jug of milk standing on the tray by the side of the cream and destined for Jets breakfast but this morning nanny aim being moidered had forgotten that part of the arrangements so that when the countess had made her tea she perceived there was no second jug and rang the bell nanny appeared looking very red and heated the fact was she had been doing up the kitchen fire and that is the sort of work which by no means conduces to blindness of temper nanny you have forgotten Jets milk will you bring me some more cream please this was just a little too much for nanny's forbearance yes I dare say here am i with my hands full of the children and the dinner and mrs. Hill Abed and mr. brand a common and I must run or the village to get more cream cuz you've give it to that nasty little blackamoor is mrs. Barton ill ill yes I should think she is ill and much you care she's likely to be ill moy third as she is from morning tonight with focuses had better be elsewhere what do you mean by behaving in this way mean why I mean as the missus is a slave in her life out enough's sittin up nights for focuses are better able to wait of her is dead ally in a bid and doing nothing all the blessed day but MEK work leave the room and don't be insolent insolent I'd better be insolent than like what some folks is a livin on other folks and bring in a bad name on him into the bargain here nanny flung out of the room leaving the lady to digest this unexpected breakfast at her leisure the countess was stunned for a few minutes but when she began to recall nanny's words there was no possibility of avoiding very unpleasant conclusions from them or a feeling to see her position at the vicarage in an entirely new light the interpretation too of nanny's allusion to a bad name did not lie out of the reach of the countess's imagination and she saw the necessity of quitting Shepperton without delay still she would like to wait for her brothers let her know she would ask Millie to forward it to her still better she would go at once to London enquire her brother's address at his bankers and go to see him with their preliminary she went up to Millie's room and after kisses and inquiries said I find on consideration dear Millie from the letter I had yesterday that I must bid you goodbye and go up to London at once but you must not let me leave you ill in knotty thing oh no said Mellie who felt as if a load had been taken off her back I shall be very well in an hour or two indeed I'm much better now you will want me to help you pack but you won't go for two or three days yes I must go tomorrow but I shall not let you help me to pack so don't entertain any unreasonable projects but lie still mr. brand is coming nanny says the news was not an unpleasant surprise to mr. Barton when he came home though he was able to express more regret at the idea of partying than Millie could summon to her lips he retained more of his original feeling for the countess than Millie did for women never betray themselves to men as they do to each other and the Reverend Amos had not a keen instinct for character but he felt that he was being relieved from a difficulty and in the way that was easiest for him neither he nor Millie suspected that it was nanny who had cut to the knot for them for the countess took care to give no sign on that subject as for nanny she was perfectly aware of the relation between cause and effect in the affair and secretly chuckled over her outburst of sauce as the best morning's work she had ever done so on Friday morning a fly was seen standing at the vicarage gate with the countess's boxes packed upon it and presently that lady herself was seen getting into the vehicle after a last shake of the hand to mr. Barton and last kisses to Millie and the children the door was closed and as the fly rolled off the little party at the vicarage gate caught a last glimpse of the handsome countess and waving kisses from the carriage window Jets little black fizz was also seen and doubtless he had his thoughts and feelings on the occasion but he kept them strictly within his own bosom the school mistress opposite witnessed this departure and lost no time in telling it to the schoolmaster who again communicated the news to the landlord of the Jolly Colliers at the close of the morning school hours nanny poured the joyful tidings into the ear of mr. Farr's footman who happened to call with a letter and mr. brand carried them to all the patients he visited that morning after calling on mrs. Barton so lapped before Sunday it was very generally known in Shepparton parish that the countess chair Lasky had left the vicarage the countess had left but alas the bills she had contributed to swell still remained so did the executi of the children's clothing which also was partly an indirect consequence of her presence and so too did the coolness and alienation in the parishioners which could not at once vanish before the fact of her departure the Reverend Amos was not exculpated the past was not expunged but what was worse than all Millie's health gave frequent cause for alarm and the prospect of baby's birth was overshadowed by more than the usual fears the birth came prematurely about six weeks after the countess's departure but Mr Bryan gave favourable reports to all inquiries on the following day which was Saturday on Sunday after morning service mrs. Hacket called at the vicarage to inquire how mrs. Barton was and was invited upstairs to see her Millie lay Placid and lovely in her feebleness and held out her hand to mrs. Hacket with a beaming smile it was very pleasant to her to see her old friend unreserved and cordial once more the seven months baby was very tiny and very red but handsome is that handsome does he was pronounced to be doing well and to mrs. Hacket went home gladdened at heart to think that the peril our was over end of chapter 7 of the sad fortunes of the Reverend Amos Barton Chapter eight of the sad fortunes of the river and Amos Barton from scenes of clerical life by George Eliot this LibriVox recording is in the public domain recording by bruce pirie chapter eight the following wednesday when mr. and mrs. Hacket were seated comfortably by their bright hearth enjoying the long afternoon afforded by an early dinner Rachel the housemaid came in and said if you please him the Shepherd says have you heard as mrs. Barton's wasps and not expected to live mrs. Hacket turned pale and hurried out to question the Shepherd who she found had heard the sad news at an ale house in the village mr. Hackett followed her out and said the least better half the Pony sheds and go directly yes said mrs. Hackett to much overcome to utter any exclamations Rachel come and help me on with my things when her husband was wrapping her cloak round her feet in the pony shez she said if I don't come home tonight I shall send back the pony shez and you'll know I'm wanted there yes yes it was a bright frosty day and by the time mrs. Hacket arrived at the vicarage the Sun was near its setting there was a carriage and pair standing at the gate which she recognized as dr. maté Lee's the physician from rather be she entered at the kitchen door that she might avoid knocking and quietly questioned nanny no one was in the kitchen but passing on she saw the sitting-room door open and nanny with Walter in her arms removing the knives and forks which had been laid for dinner three hours ago master says he can't eat no dinner was nanny's first word he's never tasted nothing since yesterday mornin but a cup of tea when was your missus took worse a Monday night they sent for dr. medley of the middle of the day yesterday and he's here again now is the baby alive no it died last night the children's all at mrs. bonds she come and took him away last night but the master says they must be fetched soon he's upstairs now with dr. medley and mr. brand at this moment mrs. Hacket heard the sound of a heavy slow foot in the passage and presently a miss Barton entered with dry despairing eyes Haggard and unshaven he expected to find the sitting room as he left it with nothing to meet his eyes but Millie's work-basket in the corner of the sofa and the children's toys overturned in the bow window but when he saw mrs. Hacket come towards him with answering sorrow in her face the pent-up fountain of Tears was opened he threw himself on the sofa hid his face and sobbed aloud bare up mr. Barton mrs. Hacket ventured to say at last bear up for the sake of M dear children the children said Amos starting up they must be sent for some one must fetch them Millie will want to he couldn't finish the sentence but mrs. Hacket understood him and said I'll send the man with the pony carriage forum she went out to give the order and encountered dr. Mead Lee and mr. brand who were just going mr. brand said I am very glad to see you are here mrs. Hacket no time must be lost in sending for the children mrs. Barton wants to see them do you quite give her up then she can hardly live through the night she begged us to tell her how long she had to live and then asked for the children the pony carriage was sent and mrs. Hacket returning to mr. Barton said she would like to go upstairs now he went upstairs with her and opened the door the chamber fronted the West the Sun was just setting and the red light fell full upon the bed where Millie lay with the hand of death visibly upon her the featherbed had been removed and she lay low on a mattress with her head slightly raised by pillows her long fair neck seemed to be struggling with a painful effort her features were pallid and pinched and her eyes were closed there was no one in the room but the nurse and the mistress of the free school who had come to give her help from the beginning of the change Amos and mrs. Hackett stood beside the bed and Millie opened her eyes my darling mrs. Hackett has come to see you Millie smiled and looked at her with that strange far-off look which belongs to ebbing life are the children coming she said painfully yes they will be here directly she closed her eyes again presently the pony carriage was heard and Amos motioning to mrs. Hacket to follow him left the room on their way downstairs she suggested that the carriage should remain to take them away again afterwards and Amos assented there they stood in the melancholy sitting-room the five sweet children from patty – chubby all with their mothers eyes all except patty looking up with a vague fear at their father as he entered patty understood the great sorrow that was come upon them and tried to check her sobs as she heard her Papa's footsteps my children said Amos taking chubby in his arms God is going to take away your dear mama from us she wants to see you to say goodbye you must try to be very good and not cry he could say no more but turned round to see if nanny was there with Walter and then led the way upstairs leading the key with the other hand mrs. Hacket followed with Sophie and patty and then came nanny with Walter and Fred it seemed as if Millie had heard the little footsteps on the stairs for when Amos entered her eyes were wide open eagerly looking towards the door they all stood by the bedside Amos nearest to her holding chubby and Dicky but she motioned for patty to come first and clasping the poor pale child by the hand said Patti I'm going away from you love your papa comfort him and take care of your little brothers and sisters God will help you Patti stood perfectly quiet and said yes mama the mother motioned with her pallid lips for the dear child to lean towards her and kiss her and then Pat his great anguish overcame her and she burst into sobs Amos drew her towards him and pressed her head gently to him while Milly beckoned Fred and Sophie and said to them more faintly Patti will try to be your mama when I am gone my darlings you will be good and not vex her they leaned towards her and she stroked their fair heads and kissed their tear-stained cheeks they cried because mamma was ill and papa looked so unhappy but they thought perhaps next week things would be as they used to be again the little ones were lifted on the bed to kiss her little Walter said mama mama and stretched out his fat arms and smiled and chubby seemed gravely wondering but Dicky who had been looking fixedly at her with lip hanging down ever since he came into the room now seemed suddenly pierced with the idea that mama was going away somewhere his little heart swelled and he cried aloud then mrs. Hacket and nanny took them all away Patti at first begged to stay at home and not go to mrs. bonds again but when nanny reminded her that she had better go to take care of the younger ones she submitted at once and they were all packed in the pony carriage once more Mille kept her eyes shut for some time after the children were gone Amos had sunk on his knees and was holding her hand while he watched her face by-and-by she opened her eyes and drawing him close to her whispered slowly my dear dear husband you have been very good to me you have made me very happy she spoke no more for many hours they watched her breathing become more and more difficult until evening deepened in tonight and until midnight was passed about half-past twelve she seemed to be trying to speak and they leaned to catch her words music music didn't you hear it Amos knelt by the bed and held her hand in his he did not believe in his sorrow it was a bad dream he did not know when she was gone but mr. brand whom mrs. Hackett had sent for her before twelve o'clock thinking that mr. Barton might probably need his help now came up to him and said she feels no more pain now come my dear sir come with me she isn't dead shrieked the poor desolate man struggling to shake off mr. brand who had taken him by the arm but his weary weakened frame was not equal to resistance and he was dragged out of the room end of chapter 8 of the sad fortunes of the Reverend Amos Barton chapter 9 of the of the river and Amos Barton from scenes of clerical life by George Eliot this LibriVox recording is in the public domain recording by bruce pirie chapter 9 they laid her in the grave the sweet mother with her baby in her arms while the Christmas snow lay thick upon the graves it was mr. Cleves who buried her on the first news of mr. Barton's calamity he had written over from triple gate to beg that he might be made of some use and his silent grasp of a mice's hand had penetrated like the painful thrill of life recovering warmth to the poor benumbed heart of the stricken man the snow lay thick upon the graves and the day was cold and dreary but there was many a sad eye watching that black procession as it passed from the vicarage to the church and from the church to the open grave there were men and women standing in that churchyard who had bandied vulgar jests about their pastor and who had lately charged him with sin but now when they saw him following the coffin pale and Haggard he was consecrated and knew by his great sorrow and they looked at him with respectful pity all the children were there for Amos had willed it so thinking that some dim memory of that sacred moment might remain even with little Walter and linked itself with what he would hear of his sweet mother in after years he himself led Patti and Vicki then came Sophie and Fred mr. brand had begged to carry chubby and nanny followed with Walter they made a circle round the grave while the coffin was being lowered patty alone of all the children felt that mamma was in that coffin and that a new and sadder life had begun for Papa and herself she was pale and trembling but she clasped his hand more firmly as the coffin went down and gave no sob Fred and Sophie though they were only two and three years younger and though they had mama in her coffin seemed to themselves to be looking at some strange show they had not learned to decipher that terrible handwriting of human destiny illness and death Dicky had rebelled against his black clothes until he was told that it would be naughty to mama not to put them on when he had once submitted and now though he had heard nanny say that mama was in heaven he had a vague notion that she would come home again tomorrow and say he had been a good boy and let him empty her work box he stood close to his father with great rosy cheeks and wide open blue eyes looking first up at mr. Cleves and then down at the coffin and thinking he and chubby would play at that when they got home the burial was over and Amos turned with his children to re-enter the house the house where an hour ago Millie's dear body lay where the windows were half darkened and sorrow seemed to have a hallowed precinct for itself shut out from the world but now she was gone the broad snow reflected daylight was in all the rooms the vicarage again themed part of the common working day world and Amos for the first time felt that he was alone that day after day month after month year after year would have to be lived through without Millie's love spring would come and she would not be there summer and she would not be there and he would never have her again with him by the fireside in the long evenings the seasons all seemed Aksum to his thoughts and how dreary the sunshiny days that would be sure to come she was gone from him and he could never show her his love anymore never make up for emissions in the past by filling future days with tenderness oh the anguish of that thought that we can never atone to our dead for the stinted affection we gave them for the light answers we returned to their planes or their pleadings for the little reverence we showed to that sacred human soul that lived so close to us and was the divinest thing God had given us to know Amos Barton had been an affectionate husband and while Milly was with him he was never visited by the thought that perhaps his sympathy with her was not quick and watchful enough but now he relived all their life together with that terrible keenness of memory and imagination which bereavement gives and he felt as if his very love needed a pardon for its poverty and selfishness no outward solace could counteract the bitterness of this inward woe but outward solace came cold faces looked kind again and parishioners turned over in their minds what they could best do to help their pastor mr. Alden port wrote to express his sympathy and enclosed another 20 pound note begging that he might be permitted to contribute in this way to the relief of mr. Barton's mind from pecuniary anxieties under the pressure of a grief which all his parishioners must share and offering his interest towards placing the two eldest girls in the school expressly founded for clergyman's daughters mr. Cleves succeeded in collecting 30 pounds among his richer clerical brethren and adding 10 pounds himself sent the sum to Amos with the kindest and most delicate words of Christian Fellowship and manly friendship miss Jackson forgot old grievances and came to stay some months with Millie's children bringing such material aid as she could spare from her small income these were substantial helps which relieved Amos from the pressure of his money difficulties and the friendly attentions the kind pressure of the hand the cordial looks he met with everywhere in his parish made him feel that the fatal frost which had settled on his pastoral duties during the countess's residence at the vicarage was completely thawed and that the hearts of his parishioners were once more open to him no one breathed the countess's name now for Millie's memory hallowed her husband as of old the place was hallowed on which an angel from God had alighted when the spring came mrs. Hacket begged that she might have Dicky to stay with her and great was the enlargement of Dickies experience from that visit every morning he was allowed being well wrapped up as to his chest by mrs. Hacket own hands but very bare and read as to his legs to run loose in the cow and poultry yard to persecute the turkey by satirical imitations of his gobble gobble and to put difficult questions to the groom as to the reasons why horses had four legs and other transcendental matters then mr. Hackett would take Dicky up on horseback when he rode round his farm and mrs. Hackett had a large plum cake in cut ready to meet incidental attacks of hunger so that Dicky had considerably modified his views as to the desirability of mrs. Hackett's kisses the mrs. Farquhar made particular pets of Fred and Sophie to whom they undertook to give lessons twice a week in writing and geography and mrs. Farquhar devised many treats for the little ones Patty's Treat was to stay at home or walk about with her papa and when he sat by the fire in an evening after the other children were gone to bed she would bring a stool and placing it against his feet would sit down upon it and lean her head against his knee then his hand would rest on that fair head and he would feel that Millie's love was not quite gone out of his life the time wore on till it was me again and the church was quite finished and reopened in all its new splendor and mr. Barton was devoting himself with more vigor than ever to his parochial duties but one morning it was a very bright warning and evil tidings sometimes like to fly in the finest weather there came a letter for mr. Barton addressed in the vicars handwriting amos opened it with some anxiety somehow or other he had a presentiment of evil the letter contained the announcement that mr. Karpe had resolved on coming to reside at Shepperton and that consequently in six months from that time mr. Barton's duties as curity in that parish would be closed oh it was hard just when Shepperton had become the place where he most wished to stay where he had friends who knew his sorrows where he lived close to Millie's grave to part from that grave seemed like parting with Millie a second time for Amos was one who clung to all the material links between his mind and the past his imagination was not vivid and required the stimulus of actual perception it roused some bitter feeling too to think that mr. Karp's wished to reside at Shepperton was merely a pretext for removing mr. Barton in order that he might ultimately give the curacy of Shepperton to his own brother-in-law who was known to be wanting a new position still it must be borne and the painful business of seeking another curacy must be set about with a loss of time after the lapse of some months Amos was obliged to renounce the hope of getting one at all near Shepperton and he at length resigned himself to accepting one in a distant County the parish was in a large manufacturing town where his walks would lie among noisy streets and dingy alleys and where the children would have no garden to play in no Pleasant farmhouse is to visit it was another blow inflicted on the bruised man end of chapter 9 of the sad fortunes of the Reverend Amos Barton chapter 10 and conclusion of the sad fortunes of the Reverend Amos Barton from scenes of clerical life by George Eliot this LibriVox recording is in the public domain recording by Bruce Perry chapter 10 at length the dreaded week was come when Amos and his children must leave Shepperton there was general regret among the parishioners at his departure not that any one of them thought his spiritual gifts preeminent or was conscious of great edification from his ministry but his recent troubles had called out their better sympathies and that is always a source of love Amos failed to touch the spring of goodness by his sermons but he touched it effectually by his sorrows and there was now a real bond between him and his flock my heart aches for them poor motherless children said mrs. Hackett to her husband a going among strangers and into a nasty town where there's no good vittles to be had and you must pay dear to get bad-uns mrs. Hackett had a vague notion of a town life as a combination of dirty backyards measly pork and dingy linen the same sort of sympathy was strong among the poorer class of parishioners old stiff jointed mr. Tozer who was still able to earn a little by gardening jobs stopped mrs. cramp the charwoman on her way home from the vicarage where she had been helping nanny to pack up the day before the departure and inquired very particularly into mr. Barton's prospects ah poor Mon he was hurt to say I'm sorry foreign he hadn't much here but he'll be worse off dear half a loves better nor near on the sad goodbyes had all been said before that last evening and after all the packing was done and all the arrangements were made Amos the oppression of that blank interval in which one has nothing left to think of but the dreary future the separation from the loved and familiar and the chilling entrance on the new and strange in every parting there is an image of death soon after ten o'clock when he had sent nanny to bed that she might have a good night's rest before the fatigues of the morrow he stole softly out to pay a last visit to Millie's grave it was a moonless night but the sky was thick with stars and their light was enough to show that the grass had grown long on the grave and that there was a tombstone telling in bright letters on a dark ground that beneath were deposited the remains of Amelia the beloved wife of Amos Barton who died in the 35th year of her age leaving a husband and six children to lament her loss the final words of the inscription were thy will be done the husband was now advancing towards the Deer mound from which he was so soon to be parted perhaps forever he stood a few minutes reading over and over again the words on the tombstone as if to assure himself that all the happy and unhappy past was a reality for love is frightened at the intervals of insensibility and callousness that encroached by little and little on the dominion of grief and it makes efforts to recall the keenness of the first anguish gradually as his eyes dwelt on the words Emilia the beloved wife the waves of feelings swelled within his soul and he threw himself on the grave clasping it with his arms and kissing the cold turf milly milly dust thou hear me I didn't love the enough I wasn't tender enough to thee but I think of it all now the sobs came and choked his assurance and the warm tears fell conclusion only once again in his life has Amos barton visited Millie's grave it was in the calm and softened light of an autumnal afternoon and he was not alone he held on his arm a young woman with a sweet grave face which strongly recalled the expression of mrs. Barton's but was less lovely in form and Colour she was about thirty but there were some premature lines round her mouth and eyes which told of early anxiety Amos himself was much changed his thin circlet of hair was nearly white and his walk was no longer firm and upright but his glance was calm and even cheerful and his neat linen told of a woman's care Millie did not take all her love from the earth when she died she had left some of it in Patty's heart all the other children were now grown up and had gone there several ways Dicky you will be glad to hear had shown remarkable talents as an engineer his cheeks are still ruddy in spite of mixed mathematics and his eyes are still large and blue but in other respects his person would present no marks of identification for his friend mrs. Hackett if she were to see him especially now that her eyes must be grown very dim with the wear of more than twenty additional years he is nearly six feet high and has a proportionately broad chest he wears spectacles and rubs his large white hands through a mass of shaggy brown hair but I am sure you have no doubt that mr. Richard Barton is a thoroughly good fellow as well as a man of talent and you will be glad any day to shake hands with him for his own sake as well as his mother's Pat he alone remains by her father's side and makes the evening sunshine of his life end of chapter 10 and conclusion of the sad fortunes of the Reverend Amos Barton

1 thought on “Scenes of Clerical Life | George Eliot | General Fiction | Talking Book | English | 2/9

  1. Scenes of Clerical Life | George Eliot | General Fiction | Talking Book | English | 2/9

    5: [00:00:00] – Amos Barton – 05

    6: [00:21:36] – Amos Barton – 06

    7: [00:42:46] – Amos Barton – 07

    8: [01:02:44] – Amos Barton – 08

    9: [01:13:02] – Amos Barton – 09

    10: [01:24:12] – Amos Barton – 10 & Conclusion

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