"I won't compromise any one of you: and my detective shan't cost y' a penny."
"Ah, my dear friend," said Mrs. Dodd, "the fact is, you do not know all the difficulties that beset us. Tell him, Edward. Well, then, let _me._ The poor boy is attached to this gentleman's daughter, whom you propose to treat like a felon: and he is too good a son and too good a friend for me to--what, what, shall I do?"
Edward coloured up to the eyes. "Who told you that, mother?" said he. "Well, yes, I do love her, and I'm not ashamed of it. Doctor," said the poor fellow after a while, "I see now I am not quite the person to advise my mother in this matter. I consent to leave it in your hands."
And in pursuance of this resolution, he retired to his study.
"There's a damnable combination," said Sampson drily. "Truth is sairtainly more wonderful than feckshin. Here's my fathom o' good sense in love with a wax doll, and her brother jilting his sister, and her father pillaging his mother. It _beats_ hotch-potch."
Mrs. Dodd denied the wax doll: but owned Miss Hardie was open to vast objections: "An inestimable young lady; but so odd; she is one of these uneasy-minded Christians that have sprung up: a religious egotist, and _malade imaginaire,_ eternally feeling her own spiritual pulse----"
"I know the disorrder," cried Sampson eagerly: "the pashints have a hot fit (and then they are saints): followed in due course by the cold fit (and then they are the worst of sinners): and so on in endless rotation: and, if they could only realise my great discovery, the perriodicity of all disease, and time their sintiments, they would find the hot fit and the cold return chronometrically, at intervals as rigular as the tide's ebb and flow; and the soul has nothing to do with either febrile symptom. Why Religion, apart from intermittent Fever of the Brain, is just the caumest, peaceablest, sedatest thing in all the world."
"Ah, you are too deep for me, my good friend. All I know is that she is one of this new school, whom I take the liberty to call 'THE FIDGETY CHRISTIANS.' They cannot let their poor souls alone a minute; and they pester one day and night with the millennium; as if we shall not all be dead long before that. But the worst is, they apply the language of earthly passion to the Saviour of mankind, and make one's flesh creep at their blasphemies; so coarse, so familiar: like that rude multitude which thronged and pressed Him when on earth. But, after all, she came to the church, and took my Julia's part; so that shows she has _principle;_ and do pray spare me her feelings in any step you take against that dishonourable person her father. I must go back to his victim, my poor, poor child--I dare not leave her long. Oh, Doctor, such a night! and, if she dozes for a minute, it is to wake with a scream and tell me she sees him dead: sometimes he is drowned; sometimes stained with blood, but always dead."