Agnes Grey HTML version

The Substitution
NEXT Sunday was one of the gloomiest of April days - a day of thick, dark
clouds, and heavy showers. None of the Murrays were disposed to attend church
in the afternoon, excepting Rosalie: she was bent upon going as usual; so she
ordered the carriage, and I went with her: nothing loth, of course, for at church I
might look without fear of scorn or censure upon a form and face more pleasing
to me than the most beautiful of God's creations; I might listen without
disturbance to a voice more charming than the sweetest music to my ears; I
might seem to hold communion with that soul in which I felt so deeply interested,
and imbibe its purest thoughts and holiest aspirations, with no alloy to such
felicity except the secret reproaches of my conscience, which would too often
whisper that I was deceiving my own self, and mocking God with the service of a
heart more bent upon the creature than the Creator.
Sometimes, such thoughts would give me trouble enough; but sometimes I could
quiet them with thinking - it is not the man, it is his goodness that I love.
'Whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are
honest and of good report, think on these things.' We do well to worship God in
His works; and I know none of them in which so many of His attributes - so much
of His own spirit shines, as in this His faithful servant; whom to know and not to
appreciate, were obtuse insensibility in me, who have so little else to occupy my
Almost immediately after the conclusion of the service, Miss Murray left the
church. We had to stand in the porch, for it was raining, and the carriage was not
yet come. I wondered at her coming forth so hastily, for neither young Meltham
nor Squire Green was there; but I soon found it was to secure an interview with
Mr. Weston as he came out, which he presently did. Having saluted us both, he
would have passed on, but she detained him; first with observations upon the
disagreeable weather, and then with asking if he would be so kind as to come
some time to-morrow to see the granddaughter of the old woman who kept the
porter's lodge, for the girl was ill of a fever, and wished to see him. He promised
to do so.
'And at what time will you be most likely to come, Mr. Weston? The old woman
will like to know when to expect you - you know such people think more about
having their cottages in order when decent people come to see them than we are
apt to suppose.'
Here was a wonderful instance of consideration from the thoughtless Miss
Murray. Mr. Weston named an hour in the morning at which he would endeavour,
to be there. By this time the carriage was ready, and the footman was waiting,
with an open umbrella, to escort Miss Murray through the churchyard. I was