George MacDonald.

Mary Marston. A novel online

. (page 18 of 40)
Online LibraryGeorge MacDonaldMary Marston. A novel → online text (page 18 of 40)
Font size
QR-code for this ebook

of that which they deny ; and the Presence will be a very dif-
ferent thing to those who desire it and those who do not. In
the mean time, if we are not yet able to serve like God from
pure love, let us do it because it is his way ; so shall we come
to do it from pure love also.

The very next morning, as she called it — that is, at four
o'clock in the afternoon — Ilesper again entered the shop, and,
to the surprise and annoyance of the master of it, was taken
by ^lary througli the counter and into the house. ** Wliat a
false impression," thought the great man, *'will it give of the
way we live, to see the Marstons' shabby parlor in a ware-
jiouse !" 15ut he would liave been more astonished and more
annoyed still, had tlie deafening masses of soft goods that
tilled tlie house permitted him to liiar thnnigh tliem what
passed between the two. liefoiv they came down, Mary liad
ac('ej)ted a }>osilioii in Mrs. Ki'dmain's house, if that may l)e
called a ))osition which was so undelincd ; and Ilesper had
])romised that she would not mention tlie matter. For Mary
judged Mr. Turnbull would be too glad to get rid of her to
mind how brief the notice she gave him, and she would rather
not undergo the remarks that were sure to be made in con-
tempt of her scheme. She counted it only fair, however, to
let him know that she intended giving up her place behind
the counter, hinting that, as she meant to leave when it suited
her without further warning, it would be well to look out at
once for one to take her place.

As to her money in the business, she scarcely thought of it,
and said nothing about it, believing it as safe as in the bank.
It was in the ])ower of a dishonest man who prided himself on
his honesty — the worst kind of rogue in the creation ; but she
had not yet learned to think of him as a dishonest man — only
as a greedy one — and the money had been there ever since she
had heard of money.


Mr. Turnbull was so astonished by her communication
that, not seeing at once how the change was likely to affect
him, he held his peace — with the cunning pretense that his si-
lence arose from anger. His first feeling was of pleasure, but
the man of business must take care how he shows himself
pleased. On reflection, he continued pleased ; for, as they did
not seem likely to succeed in securing Mary in the way they had
wished, the next best thing certainly would be to get rid of
her. Perhaps, indeed, it was the very best thing ; for it would
be easy to get George a wife more suitable to the position of his
family than a little canting dissenter, and her money would be
in their hands all the same ; while, once clear of her haunting
cat-eyes, ready to pounce upon whatever her soft-headed father
had taught her was wicked, he could do twice the business.
But, while he continued pleased, he continued careful not to
show his satisfaction, for she would then go smelling about for
the cause ! During three whole days, therefore, he never spoke
to her. On the fourth, he sjioke as if nothing had ever been
amiss between them, and showed some interest in her further
intentions. But Mary, in the straightforward manner peculiar
to herself, told him she j^ref erred not speaking of them at
present ; whereupon the cunning man concluded that she
wanted a i3lace in another shop, and was on the outlook — pre-
pared to leave the moment one should turn up.

She asked him one day whether he had yet found a person
to take her place.

*^ Time enough for that,'' he answered. '' You're not gone

*^As you please, Mr. Turnbull," said Mary. *^It was
merely that I should be sorry to leave you without sufficient
help in the shop."

*^And / should be sorry," rejoined Turnbull, ^' that Miss
Marston should fancy herself indispensable to the business she
turned her back upon."

From that moment, the restraint he had for the last week
or two laid upon himself thus broken through, he never spoke
to her except with such rudeness that she no longer ventured
to address him even on shop-business ; and all the people in


the place, George included, following the example so plainly
set them, she felt, when, at last, in the month of Xovember, a
letter from Ilesper heralded the hour of her deliverance, that
to take any formal leave would be but to expose herself to in-
dignity. She therefore merely told Turnbull, one evening as
he left the shop, that she would not be there in the morning,
and was gone from Testbridge before it was opened the next



A FEW years ago, a Ix)nd

Online LibraryGeorge MacDonaldMary Marston. A novel → online text (page 18 of 40)