'It was ordered, sir.'
'Not by me, or any one belonging to me, I am happy to say.' The shopkeeper looked into his order-book.
'Oh, it has been misdirected, sir,' he said. 'It was ordered by Mr Angel Clare, and should have been sent to him.'
Mr Clare winced
as if he had been struck. He went home pale and dejected
, and called Angel into his study.
'Look into this book, my boy,' he said. 'What do you know about it?'
'I ordered it,' said Angel simply.
'How can you think of reading it?'
'How can I? Why - it is a system of philosophy. There is no more moral
, or even religious
, work published.'
'Yes - moral enough; I don't deny that. But religious! - and for you, who intend to be a minister
of the Gospel!'
'Since you have alluded
to the matter, father,' said the son, with anxious thought upon his face, 'I should like to say, once for all, that I should prefer not to take Orders. I fear I could not conscientiously
do so. I love the Church as one loves a parent. I shall always have the warmest affection
for her. There is no institution for whose history I have a deeper admiration; but I cannot honestly be ordained
her minister, as my brothers are, while she refuses to liberate her mind from an untenable redemptive theolatry