God's Good Man (Chapter 4, page 1 of 10)


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Chapter 4

Two days later on, when Walden was at work in his own room seriously considering the points of his sermon for the coming Sunday, his 'head man about the place,' Bainton, made a sudden appearance on the lawn and abruptly halted there, looking intently up at the sky, as though taking observations of a comet at noon. This was a customary trick of his resorted to whenever he wished to intrude his presence during forbidden hours. John saw him plainly enough from where he sat busily writing, though for a few minutes he pretended not to see. But as Bainton remained immovable and apparently rooted to the ground, and as it was likely that there he would remain till positively told to go, his master made a virtue of necessity, and throwing down his pen, went to the window. Bainton thereupon advanced a little, but stopped again as though irresolute. Walden likewise paused a moment, then at last driven to bay by the old gardener's pertinacity, stepped out.

"Now what is it, Bainton?" he said, endeavouring to throw a shade of sternness into his voice; "You know very well I hate being disturbed while I'm writing."

Bainton touched his cap respectfully.

"Now don't go for to say as I'm disturbing on ye, Passon," he remonstrated, mildly; "I ain't said a mortal wurrd! I was onny jes' keepin' my eye on the clap gate yonder, in case the party in the churchyard might walk through, thinkin' it a right-o'-way. Them swagger folk ain't got no sort of idee as to respectin' private grounds."

Walden's eyes flashed.

"A party in the churchyard?" he repeated. "Who are they?"

"Who should they be?" And Bainton's rugged features expressed a sedate mingling of the shrewd and the contemptnous that was quite amazing. "Worn't you expectin' distinguished visitors some day this week, sir?"

"I know!" exclaimed Walden quickly; "Sir Morton Pippitt and his guests have come to 'inspect' the church!"

There was a pause, during which Walden, baring his head as he passed in, entered the sacred edifice. He became aware of Sir Morton Pippitt standing in the attitude of a University Extension lecturer near the sarcophagus in the middle of the chancel, with the Reverend Mr. Leveson and a couple of other men near him, while two more strangers were studying the groined roof with critical curiosity. As he approached, Sir Morton made a rapid sign to his companions and stepped down from the chancel.

"Glad to see you, Mr. Walden," he said in a loud whisper, and with an elaborate affectation of great heartiness; "I have brought His Grace the Duke of Lumpton to see the church."

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