Agnes Grey HTML version

The Walk
'OH, dear! I wish Hatfield had not been so precipitate!' said Rosalie next day at
four P.M., as, with a portentous yawn, she laid down her worsted-work and
looked listlessly towards the window. 'There's no inducement to go out now; and
nothing to look forward to. The days will be so long and dull when there are no
parties to enliven them; and there are none this week, or next either, that I know
'Pity you were so cross to him,' observed Matilda, to whom this lamentation was
addressed. 'He'll never come again: and I suspect you liked him after all. I hoped
you would have taken him for your beau, and left dear Harry to me.'
'Humph! my beau must be an Adonis indeed, Matilda, the admired of all
beholders, if I am to be contented with him alone. I'm sorry to lose Hatfield, I
confess; but the first decent man, or number of men, that come to supply his
place, will be more than welcome. It's Sunday to-morrow - I do wonder how he'll
look, and whether he'll be able to go through the service. Most likely he'll pretend
he's got a cold, and make Mr. Weston do it all.'
'Not he!' exclaimed Matilda, somewhat contemptuously. 'Fool as he is, he's not
so soft as that comes to.'
Her sister was slightly offended; but the event proved Matilda was right: the
disappointed lover performed his pastoral duties as usual. Rosalie, indeed,
affirmed he looked very pale and dejected: he might be a little paler; but the
difference, if any, was scarcely perceptible. As for his dejection, I certainly did not
hear his laugh ringing from the vestry as usual, nor his voice loud in hilarious
discourse; though I did hear it uplifted in rating the sexton in a manner that made
the congregation stare; and, in his transits to and from the pulpit and the
communion-table, there was more of solemn pomp, and less of that irreverent,
self-confident, or rather self-delighted imperiousness with which he usually swept
along - that air that seemed to say, 'You all reverence and adore me, I know; but
if anyone does not, I defy him to the teeth!' But the most remarkable change was,
that he never once suffered his eyes to wander in the direction of Mr. Murray's
pew, and did not leave the church till we were gone.
Mr. Hatfield had doubtless received a very severe blow; but his pride impelled
him to use every effort to conceal the effects of it. He had been disappointed in
his certain hope of obtaining not only a beautiful, and, to him, highly attractive
wife, but one whose rank and fortune might give brilliance to far inferior charms:
he was likewise, no doubt, intensely mortified by his repulse, and deeply
offended at the conduct of Miss Murray throughout. It would have given him no
little consolation to have known how disappointed she was to find him apparently
so little moved, and to see that he was able to refrain from casting a single