An Ambitious Man (Chapter 9, page 2 of 6)


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Chapter 9

The deacons departed, and the young rector sank back in his chair,
and gave himself up to the enjoyment of the sounds which flooded not
only the room, but his brain, heart and soul.

"Queer," he said to himself as the door closed behind the human
pillars of his church. "Queer, but I felt as if the presence of
those men was an intrusion upon something belonging personally to me.
I wonder why I am so peculiarly affected by this girl's music? It
arouses my brain to action, it awakens ambition and gives me courage
and hope, and yet--" He paused before allowing his feeling to shape
itself into thoughts. Then closing his eyes and clasping his hands
behind his head while the music surged about him, he lay back in his
easy-chair as a bather might lie back and float upon the water, and
his unfinished sentence took shape thus: "And yet stronger than all
other feelings which her music arouses in me, is the desire to
possess the musician for my very own for ever; ah, well! the Roman
Catholics are wise in not allowing their priests and their nuns to
listen to all even so-called sacred music."

It was perhaps ten minutes later that Joy Irving became conscious
that she was not alone in the organ loft. She had neither heard nor
seen his entrance, but she felt the presence of her rector, and
turned to find him silently watching her. She played her phrase to
the end, before she greeted him with other than a smile. Then she
apologised, saying: "Even one's rector must wait for a musical
phrase to reach its period. Angels may interrupt the rendition of a
great work, but not man. That were sacrilege. You see, I was really
praying, when you entered, though my heart spoke through my fingers
instead of my lips."

"You need not apologise," the young man answered. "One who receives
your smile would be ungrateful indeed if he asked for more. That
alone would render the darkest spot radiant with light and welcome to
me."

The girl's pink cheek flushed crimson, like a rose bathed in the
sunset colours of the sky.

"I did not think you were a man to coin pretty speeches," she said.

"Your estimate of me was a wise one. You read human nature
correctly. But come and walk in the park with me. You will overtax
yourself if you practise any longer. The sunlight and the air are
vying with each other to-day to see which can be the most
intoxicating. Come and enjoy their sparring match with me; I want to
talk to you about one of my unfortunate parishioners. It is a
peculiarly pathetic case. I think you can help and advise me in the
matter."

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