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Chapter 11
 Mr. Tryan’s most unfriendly observers were obliged to admit that he gave himself no rest. Three sermons on Sunday, a night-school for young men on Tuesday, a cottage-lecture on Thursday, addresses to school-teachers, and catechizing of school-children, with pastoral visits, multiplying as his influence extended beyond his own district of Paddiford Common, would have been enough to tax severely2 the powers of a much stronger man. Mr. Pratt remonstrated3 with him on his imprudence, but could not prevail on him so far to economize4 time and strength as to keep a horse. On some ground or other, which his friends found difficult to explain to themselves, Mr. Tryan seemed bent5 on wearing himself out. His enemies were at no loss to account for such a course. The Evangelical curate’s selfishness was clearly of too bad a kind to exhibit itself after the ordinary manner of a sound, respectable selfishness. ‘He wants to get the reputation of a saint,’ said one; ‘He’s eaten up with spiritual pride,’ said another; ‘He’s got his eye on some fine living, and wants to creep up the Bishop6’s sleeve,’ said a third.  
Mr. Stickney, of Salem, who considered all voluntary discomfort7 as a remnant of the legal spirit, pronounced a severe condemnation8 on this self-neglect, and expressed his fear that Mr. Tryan was still far from having attained9 true Christian10 liberty. Good Mr. Jerome eagerly seized this doctrinal view of the subject as a means of enforcing the suggestions of his own benevolence11; and one cloudy afternoon, in the end of November, he mounted his roan mare12 with the determination of riding to Paddiford and ‘arguying’ the point with Mr. Tryan.
The old gentleman’s face looked very mournful as he rode along the dismal13 Paddiford lanes, between rows of grimy houses, darkened with hand-looms, while the black dust was whirled about him by the cold November wind. He was thinking of the object which had brought him on this afternoon ride, and his thoughts, according to his habit when alone, found vent14 every now and then in audible speech. It seemed to him, as his eyes rested on this scene of Mr. Tryan’s labours, that he could understand the clergyman’s self-privation without resorting to Mr. Stickney’s theory of defective15 spiritual enlightenment. Do not philosophic16 doctors tell us that we are unable to discern so much as a tree, except by an unconscious cunning which combines many past and separate sensations; that no one sense is independent of another, so that in the dark we can hardly taste a fricassee, or tell whether our pipe is alight or not, and the most intelligent boy, if accommodated with claws or hoofs17 instead of fingers, would be likely to remain on the lowest form? If so, it is easy to understand that our discernment of men’s motives18 must depend on the completeness of the elements we can bring from our own susceptibility and our own experience. See to it, friend, before you pronounce a too hasty judgement, that your own moral sensibilities are not of a hoofed19 or clawed character. The keenest eye will not serve, unless you have the delicate fingers, with their subtle nerve filaments20, which elude21 scientific lenses, and lose themselves in the invisible world of human sensations.
As for Mr. Jerome, he drew the elements of his moral vision from the depths of his veneration22 and pity. If he himself felt so much for these poor things to whom life was so dim and meagre, what must the clergyman feel who had undertaken before God to be their shepherd?
‘Ah!’ he whispered, interruptedly, ‘it’s too big a load for his conscience, poor man! He wants to mek himself their brother, like; can’t abide23 to preach to the fastin’ on a full stomach. Ah! he’s better nor we are, that’s it—he’s a deal better nor we are.’
Here Mr. Jerome shook his bridle24 violently, and looked up with an air of moral courage, as if Mr. Stickney had been present, and liable to take offence at this conclusion. A few minutes more brought him in front of Mrs. Wagstaff’s, where Mr. Tryan lodged25. He had often been here before, so that the contrast between this ugly square brick house, with its shabby bit of grass-plot, stared at all round by cottage windows, and his own pretty white home, set in a paradise of orchard26 and garden and pasture was not new to him; but he felt it with fresh force to-day, as he slowly fastened his roan by the bridle to the wooden paling, and knocked at the door. Mr. Tryan was at home, and sent to request that Mr. Jerome would walk up into his study, as the fire was out in the parlour below.
At the mention of a clergyman’s study, perhaps, your too active imagination conjures27 up a perfect snuggery, where the general air of comfort is rescued from a secular28 character by strong ecclesiastical suggestions in the shape of the furniture, the pattern of the carpet, and the prints on the wall; where, if a nap is taken, it is an easy-chair with a Gothic back, and the very feet rest on a warm and velvety29 simulation of church windows; where the pure art of rigorous English Protestantism smiles above the mantelpiece in the portrait of an eminent30 bishop, or a refined Anglican taste is indicated by a German print from Overbeck; where the walls are lined with choice divinity in sombre binding31, and the light is softened32 by a screen of boughs33 with a grey church in the background.
But I must beg you to dismiss all such scenic34 prettiness, suitable as they may be to a clergyman’s character and complexion35; for I have to confess that Mr. Tryan’s study was a very ugly little room indeed, with an ugly slapdash pattern on the walls, an ugly carpet on the floor, and an ugly view of cottage roofs and cabbage-gardens from the window. His own person, his writing table, and his bookcase, were the only objects in the room that had the slightest air of refinement36; and the sole provision for comfort was a clumsy straight-backed arm-chair covered with faded chintz. The man who could live in such a room, unconstrained by poverty, must either have his vision fed from within by an intense passion, or he must have chosen that least attractive form of self-mortification which wears no haircloth and has no meagre days, but accepts the vulgar, the commonplace, and the ugly, whenever the highest duty seems to lie among them.
‘Mr. Tryan, I hope you’ll excuse me disturbin’ on you,’ said Mr. Jerome. ‘But I’d summat partickler to say.’
‘You don’t disturb me at all, Mr. Jerome; I’m very glad to have a visit from you,’ said Mr. Tryan, shaking him heartily37 by the hand, and offering him the chintz-covered ‘easy’ chair; ‘it is some time since I’ve had an opportunity of seeing you, except on a Sunday.’
‘Ah, sir! your time’s so taken up, I’m well aware o’ that; it’s not only what you hev to do, but it’s goin’ about from place to place; an’ you don’t keep a hoss, Mr. Tryan. You don’t take care enough o’ yourself—you don’t indeed, an’ that’s what I come to talk to y’ about.’
‘That’s very good of you, Mr. Jerome; but I assure you I think walking does me no harm. It is rather a relief to me after speaking or writing. You know I have no great circuit to make. The farthest distance I have to walk is to Milby Church, and if ever I want a horse on a Sunday, I hire Radley’s, who lives not many hundred yards from me.’
‘Well, but now! the winter’s comin’ on, an’ you’ll get wet i’ your feet, an’ Pratt tells me as your constitution’s dillicate, as anyb............
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