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Agnes Grey

10.
The Church
'WELL, Miss Grey, what do you think of the new curate?' asked Miss Murray, on
our return from church the Sunday after the recommencement of our duties.
'I can scarcely tell,' was my reply: 'I have not even heard him preach.'
'Well, but you saw him, didn't you?'
'Yes, but I cannot pretend to judge of a man's character by a single cursory
glance at his face.'
'But isn't he ugly?'
'He did not strike me as being particularly so; I don't dislike that cast of
countenance: but the only thing I particularly noticed about him was his style of
reading; which appeared to me good - infinitely better, at least, than Mr.
Hatfield's. He read the Lessons as if he were bent on giving full effect to every
passage; it seemed as if the most careless person could not have helped
attending, nor the most ignorant have failed to understand; and the prayers he
read as if he were not reading at all, but praying earnestly and sincerely from his
own heart.'
'Oh, yes, that's all he is good for: he can plod through the service well enough;
but he has not a single idea beyond it.'
'How do you know?'
'Oh! I know perfectly well; I am an excellent judge in such matters. Did you see
how he went out of church? stumping along - as if there were nobody there but
himself - never looking to the right hand or the left, and evidently thinking of
nothing but just getting out of the church, and, perhaps, home to his dinner: his
great stupid head could contain no other idea.'
'I suppose you would have had him cast a glance into the squire's pew,' said I,
laughing at the vehemence of her hostility.
'Indeed! I should have been highly indignant if he had dared to do such a thing!'
replied she, haughtily tossing her head; then, after a moment's reflection, she
added - 'Well, well! I suppose he's good enough for his place: but I'm glad I'm not
dependent on HIM for amusement - that's all. Did you see how Mr. Hatfield
hurried out to get a bow from me, and be in time to put us into the carriage?'
 
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