Thelma (Chapter 9, page 1 of 14)


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Chapter 9

"Our manners are infinitely corrupted, and wonderfully incline to the worse; of our customs there are many barbarous and monstrous." MONTAIGNE.

The next day was very warm and bright, and that pious Lutheran divine, the Reverend Charles Dyceworthy, was seriously encumbered by his own surplus flesh material as he wearily rowed himself across the Fjord towards Olaf Güldmar's private pier. As the perspiration bedewed his brow, he felt that Heaven had dealt with him somewhat too liberally in the way of fat--he was provided too amply with it ever to excel as an oarsman. The sun was burning hot, the water was smooth as oil, and very weighty--it seemed to resist every stroke of his clumsily wielded blades. Altogether it was hard, uncongenial work,--and, being rendered somewhat flabby and nerveless by his previous evening's carouse with Macfarlane's whisky, Mr. Dyceworthy was in a plaintive and injured frame of mind, he was bound on a mission--a holy and edifying errand, which would have elevated any minister of his particular sect. He had found a crucifix with the name of Thelma engraved thereon,--he was now about to return it to the evident rightful owner, and in returning it, he purposed denouncing it as an emblem of the "Scarlet Woman, that sitteth on the Seven Hills," and threatening all those who dared to hold it sacred, as doomed to eternal torture, "where the worm dieth not." He had thought over all he meant to say; he had planned several eloquent and rounded sentences, some of which he murmured placidly to himself as he propelled his slow boat along.

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