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The Vicar's People   By: (1831-1909)

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The Vicar's People By George Manville Fenn Published by G.P. Putnam's Sons, 27 and 29 West 23rd Street, New York. This edition dated 1881.

The Vicar's People, by George Manville Fenn.

THE VICAR'S PEOPLE, BY GEORGE MANVILLE FENN.

CHAPTER ONE.

PENWYNN, BANKER.

"H'm! ah! yes! of course! `Clever young engineer thoroughly scientific may be worth your while.' Geoffrey Trethick! Cornishman by descent, of course."

"It sounds like a Cornishman, papa."

"Yes, my dear, Rundell and Sharp say they have sent me a paragon. Only another adventurer."

"Poor fellow?" said Rhoda Penwynn, in a low whisper.

"What's that?" said the first speaker, looking up sharply from his letters to where his daughter sat at the head of his handsomely furnished breakfast table.

"I only said, `Poor fellow!' papa," and the girl flushed slightly as she met the quick, stern look directed at her.

"And why, pray?"

"Because it seems so sad for a young man to come down here from London, full of hopefulness and ambition, eager to succeed, and then to find his hopes wrecked in these wretched mining speculations just as our unhappy fishing boats, and the great ships, are dashed to pieces on our rocky shored."

Mr Lionel Penwynn, banker of Carnac, took the gold rimmed double eye glass off the bridge of his handsome aquiline nose, leaned back in his chair, drew himself up, and stared at his daughter.

She was worth it, for it would have been hard to find a brighter or more animated face in West Cornwall. Her father's handsome features, high forehead, dark eyes, and well cut mouth and chin were all there, but softened, so that where there was eagerness and vigour in the one, the other was all delicacy and grace, and as Rhoda gazed at the gathering cloud in her father's face the colour in her cheeks deepened.

"Wretched mining speculations unhappy boats! They find you this handsomely furnished house, carriages and servants, and horses," said Mr Penwynn, sharply.

"Oh, yes, papa," said the girl; "but sometimes when I know the troubles of the people here I feel as if I would rather "

"Live in a cottage, and be poor, and play the fool," exclaimed Mr Penwynn, angrily. "Yes, of course. Very sweet, and sentimental, and nice, to talk about, but it won't do in practice. There, don't look like that," he continued, forcing a smile to hide his annoyance. "Give me another cup of coffee, my dear."

Rhoda took and filled his cup, and then carried it to him herself, passing her hand over his forehead, and bending down to kiss it afterwards, when he caught her in his arms, and kissed her very affectionately.

"That's better," he said, as his child resumed her seat, "but you make me angry when you are so foolish, my dear. You don't know the value of money and position. Position is a great thing, Rhoda, though you don't appreciate it. You don't understand what it is for a man to have been twice mayor of the borough, even if it is small."

"Oh, yes, I do, papa; and it is very nice to be able to help others," said Rhoda, sadly.

"Yes, yes, of course, my dear; but you give away too much. I would rather see you fonder of dress and jewellery. People should help themselves."

"But some are so unfortunate, papa, and "

"They blame me for it, of course. Now, once for all, Rhoda, you must not listen to this idle chatter. They come to me and borrow money on their boats, or nets, or fish, or their expectations. I tell them, and Mr Tregenna, who draws up the agreements, fully explains to them, the terms upon which they have the money, which they need not take unless they like, and then when they fail to pay, the boat or fish, or whatever it may be, has to be sold. I never took advantage of any of them in my life. On the contrary," he continued, assuming an ill used, martyred air, "I have been a great benefactor to the place, and the good opinion of the people is really important to a man in my position... Continue reading book >>




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