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My Lady Ludlow Elizabeth Gaskell

Chapter XIV.

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"That's very true," said my lady, after a moment's pause for consideration. "But, although he was a baker, he might have been a Churchman. Even your eloquence, Miss Galindo, shan't convince me that that is not his own fault."

"I don't see even that, begging your pardon, my lady," said Miss Galindo, emboldened by the first success of her eloquence. "When a Baptist is a baby, if I understand their creed aright, he is not baptized; and, consequently, he can have no godfathers and godmothers to do anything for him in his baptism; you agree to that, my lady?"

My lady would rather have known what her acquiescence would lead to, before acknowledging that she could not dissent from this first proposition; still she gave her tacit agreement by bowing her head.

"And, you know, our godfathers and godmothers are expected to promise and vow three things in our name, when we are little babies, and can do nothing but squall for ourselves. It is a great privilege, but don't let us be hard upon those who have not had the chance of godfathers and godmothers. Some people, we know, are born with silver spoons,--that's to say, a godfather to give one things, and teach one's catechism, and see that we're confirmed into good churchgoing Christians,--and others with wooden ladles in their mouths. These poor last folks must just be content to be godfatherless orphans, and Dissenters, all their lives; and if they are tradespeople into the bargain, so much the worse for them; but let us be humble Christians, my dear lady, and not hold our heads too high because we were born orthodox quality."

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"You go on too fast, Miss Galindo! I can't follow you. Besides, I do believe dissent to be an invention of the Devil's. Why can't they believe as we do? It's very wrong. Besides, its schism and heresy, and, you know, the Bible says that's as bad as witchcraft."

My lady was not convinced, as I could see. After Miss Galindo had gone, she sent Mrs. Medlicott for certain books out of the great old library up stairs, and had them made up into a parcel under her own eye.

"If Captain James comes to-morrow, I will speak to him about these Brookes. I have not hitherto liked to speak to him, because I did not wish to hurt him, by supposing there could be any truth in the reports about his intimacy with them. But now I will try and do my duty by him and them. Surely this great body of divinity will bring them back to the true church."

"I could not tell, for though my lady read me over the titles, I was not any the wiser as to their contents. Besides, I was much more anxious to consult my lady as to my own change of place. I showed her the letter I had that day received from Harry; and we once more talked over the expediency of my going to live with him, and trying what entire change of air would do to re-establish my failing health. I could say anything to my lady, she was so sure to understand me rightly. For one thing, she never thought of herself, so I had no fear of hurting her by stating the truth. I told her how happy my years had been while passed under her roof; but that now I had begun to wonder whether I had not duties elsewhere, in making a home for Harry,--and whether the fulfilment of these duties, quiet ones they must needs be in the case of such a cripple as myself, would not prevent my sinking into the querulous habit of thinking and talking, into which I found myself occasionally falling. Add to which, there was the prospect of benefit from the more bracing air of the north.

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My Lady Ludlow
Elizabeth Gaskell

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