By Marion Fox
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The four men assembled in the hall, but Mr Morton still had no hat. He came out on to the doorstep with them; looking with an unseeing eye upon the clouds, and then shot back again into the house, saying: ‘I think I had better sit with your Aunt Ellen,’ during which time he gazed abstractedly at Armstrong. So the three set out together without him. The day was mild for December, but a dampness hung about the atmosphere and added a flat tone to the landscape that was at once depressing and distasteful.
Armstrong noticed that Arthur considered himself more Morton than Delane: an inherited trait. It amused him. They both turned from the mills to gaze across the meadows to the higher ground on which the old house stood. At this time of the year it was distinctly visible through the trees, spreading itself firmly along the slopes of the down. The green growth of the valley surged to its feet, but receded from the chalk ramparts that defended the approach. To any one looking up from the windows of the destroyed house in the valley to its fellow opposite, Armstrong could imagine the sensation that an envious and only half comprehending mind would evoke at the sight.
Hence is it not well my name should perish, and I become as though I had never been? ‘Walking the field path in my time I still felt my soul warm with charity; but it was wilful though I did not know. It loved to choose where it should go, and it turned from the low and common things. So I fell, and those I loved with me. Hear, daughter, how ! ‘I was a poor priest, who had been a poor scholar and a student; I had lived with poverty all my life, and all my life I had loved her; putting away from me the desires of living, the lust of the eyes, and even at last the mind’s desire of knowledge.