Thelma (Chapter 4, page 1 of 17)


Previous Page
Next Page

Chapter 4

"Thou art violently carried away from grace; there is a devil haunts thee in the likeness of a fat old man,--a tun of man is thy companion." SHAKESPEARE.

The Reverend Charles Dyceworthy sat alone in the small dining-room of his house at Bosekop, finishing a late tea, and disposing of round after round of hot buttered toast with that suave alacrity he always displayed in the consumption of succulent eatables. He was a largely made man, very much on the wrong side of fifty, with accumulations of unwholesome fat on every available portion of his body. His round face was cleanly shaven and shiny, as though its flabby surface were frequently polished with some sort of luminous grease instead of the customary soap. His mouth was absurdly small and pursy for so broad a countenance,--his nose seemed endeavoring to retreat behind his puffy cheeks as though painfully aware of its own insignificance,--and he had little, sharp, ferret-like eyes of a dull mahogany brown, which were utterly destitute of even the faintest attempt at any actual expression. They were more like glass beads than eyes, and glittered under their scanty fringe of pale-colored lashes with a sort of shallow cunning which might mean malice or good-humor,--no one looking at them could precisely determine which.

His hair was of an indefinite shade, neither light nor dark, somewhat of the tinge of a dusty potato before it is washed clean. It was neatly brushed and parted in the middle with mathematical precision, while from the back of his head it was brought forward in two projections, one on each side, like budding wings behind his ears. It was impossible for the most fastidious critic to find fault with the Reverend Mr. Dyceworthy's hands. He had beautiful hands, white, soft, plump and well-shaped,--his delicate filbert nails were trimmed with punctilious care, and shone with a pink lustre that was positively charming. He was evidently an amiable man, for he smiled to himself over his tea,--he had a trick of smiling,--ill-natured people said he did it on purpose, in order to widen his mouth and make it more in pro-portion to the size of his face. Such remarks, however, emanated only from the spiteful and envious who could not succeed in winning the social popularity that everywhere attended Mr. Dyceworthy's movements. For he was undoubtedly popular,--no one could deny that. In the small Yorkshire town where he usually had his abode, he came little short of being adored by the women of his own particular sect, who crowded to listen to his fervent discourses, and came away from them on the verge of hysteria, so profoundly moved were their sensitive souls by his damnatory doctrines. The men were more reluctant in their admiration, yet even they were always ready to admit "that he was an excellent fellow, with his heart in the right place."

Previous Page
Next Page


Rate This Book

Current Rating: 2.5/5 (220 votes cast)



Review This Book or Post a Comment