The Daisy Chain, or Aspirations
The city's golden spire it was,
When hope and health were strongest;
But now it is the churchyard grass,
We look upon the longest.--E. B. BROWNING.
A disinclination for exertion or going into public hung upon Dr. May, but he
was obliged to rouse himself to attend the Town Council meeting, which was
held a few days after the vicar's funeral, to decide on the next appointment.
If it had depended on himself alone, his choice would have been Mr. Edward
Wilmot, whom the death of his good old father had uprooted from
Settlesham; and the girls had much hope, but he was too much out of spirits
to be sanguine. He said that he should only hear a great deal of offensive
stuff from Tomkins the brewer; and that, in the desire to displease nobody,
the votes should settle down on some nonentity, was the best which was
likely to happen. Thus, grumbling, he set off, and his daughters watched
anxiously for his return. They saw him come through the garden with a quick,
light step, that made them augur well, and he entered the room with the
corners of his mouth turning up. "I see," said Ethel, "it is all right."
"They were going to have made a very absurd choice."
"But you prevented it? Who was it?"
"Ah! I told you Master Ritchie was turning out a popular preacher."
"You don't mean that they chose Richard!" cried Margaret breathlessly.
"As sure as my name is Dick May, they did, every man of them, except
Tomkins, and even he held his tongue; I did not think it of them," said the
doctor, almost overcome; "but there is much more goodness of heart in the
world than one gives it credit for."
And good Dr. May was not one to give the least credit for all that was like
"But it was Richard's own doing," he continued. "Those sermons made a great
impression, and they love the boy, because he has grown up among them.
The old mayor waddled up to me, as I came in, telling me that they had been
talking it over, and they were unanimously agreed that they could not have a
parson they should like better than Mr. Richard."
"Good old Mr. Doddesley! I can see him!" cried Ethel.
"I expected it so little, that I thought he meant some Richards; but no, he
said Mr. Richard May, if he had nothing better in view--they liked him, and