Such men, happily, have lived in times when great abuses flourished, and have
sometimes even been the living representatives of the abuses. That is a thought
which might comfort us a little under the opposite fact--that it is better sometimes
NOT to follow great reformers of abuses beyond the threshold of their homes.
But whatever you may think of Mr. Irwine now, if you had met him that June
afternoon riding on his grey cob, with his dogs running beside him--portly,
upright, manly, with a good-natured smile on his finely turned lips as he talked to
his dashing young companion on the bay mare, you must have felt that, however
ill he harmonized with sound theories of the clerical office, he somehow
harmonized extremely well with that peaceful landscape.
See them in the bright sunlight, interrupted every now and then by rolling masses
of cloud, ascending the slope from the Broxton side, where the tall gables and
elms of the rectory predominate over the tiny whitewashed church. They will
soon be in the parish of Hayslope; the grey church-tower and village roofs lie
before them to the left, and farther on, to the right, they can just see the
chimneys of the Hall Farm.