‘I will go at once,’ said Esther, refusing to let Felix go instead of her. But she had scarcely stepped off the tribune when Mr Debarry re-entered, and there was a commotion which made her wait. After a low-toned conversation with Mr Pendrell and Mr Wace, Philip Debarry stepped on to the tribune with his hat in his hand, and said, with an air of cheap air max shoes much concern and annoyance —
‘I am sorry to have to tell you, ladies and gentlemen, that — doubtless owing to some accidental cause which I trust will soon be explained as nothing serious — Mr Sherlock is absent from his residence, and is not to be found. He went out early, his landlady informs me, to refresh himself by a walk on this agreeable morning, as is his habit, she tells me, when he has been kept up late by study; and he has not returned. Do not let us be too anxious. I shall cause inquiry to be made in the direction of his walk. It is easy to imagine many accidents, not of a grave character, by which he might nevertheless be absolutely detained against his will. Under these circumstances, Mr Lyon,’ continued Philip, turning to the minister, ‘I presume that the debate must be adjourned.’
‘The debate, doubtless,’ began Mr Lyon; but his further speech was drowned by a general rising of the church people from their seats, many of cheap nike air max them feeling that even if the cause were lamentable, the adjournment was not altogether disagreeable.‘Good gracious me!’ said Mrs Tiliot, as she took her husband’s arm, ‘I hope the poor young man hasn’t fallen into the river or broken his leg.’
But some of the more acrid Dissenters, whose temper was not controlled by the habits of retail business, had begun to hiss, implying that in their interpretation the curate’s absence had not depended on any injury to life or limb.By this speech Felix raised a displeasure which fell on the minister as well as on himself; but he gained his immediate end. The talkers dropped off after a slight show of persistence, and Mr Lyon quitted the field of no combat with a small group of his less imperious friends, to whom he confided his intention of committing his argument fully to paper, and forwarding it to a discriminating editor.
‘He’s turned tail, nike air max 2013 sure enough,’ said Mr Muscat to the neighbour behind him, lifting his eyebrows and shoulders, and laughing in a way that showed that, deacon as he was, he looked at the affair in an entirely secular light.But Mrs Muscat thought it would be nothing but right to have all the waters dragged, agreeing in this with the majority of the church ladies.
‘I regret sincerely, Mr Lyon,’ said Philip Debarry, addressing the minister with politeness, ‘that I must say goodmorning to you, with the sense that I have not been able at present to contribute to your satisfaction as I had wished.’
‘Speak not of it in the way of apology, sir,’ said Mr Lyon, in a tone of depression. ‘I doubt not that you yourself have acted in good faith. Nor will I open any door of cheap air max egress to constructions such as anger often deems ingenious, but which the disclosure of the simple truth may expose as erroneous and uncharitable fabrications. I wish you goodmorning, sir.’