Page:Eliot - Middlemarch, vol. IV, 1872.djvu/177

From Wikisource
Jump to navigation Jump to search
This page needs to be proofread.
167
BOOK VII.—TWO TEMPTATIONS.

enough to be ultimately used as a general cemetery, Mr Bulstrode, whose rather high-pitched but subdued and fluent voice the town was used to at meetings of this sort, rose and asked leave to deliver his opinion. Lydgate could see again the peculiar interchange of glances before Mr Hawley started up, and said in his firm resonant voice, "Mr Chairman, I request that before any one delivers his opinion on this point I may be permitted to speak on a question of public feeling, which not only by myself, but by many gentlemen present, is regarded as preliminary."

Mr Hawley's mode of speech, even when public decorum repressed his "awful language," was formidable in its curtness and self-possession. Mr Thesiger sanctioned the request, Mr Bulstrode sat down, and Mr Hawley continued.

"In what I have to say, Mr Chairman, I am not speaking simply on my own behalf: I am speaking with the concurrence and at the express request of no fewer than eight of my fellow-townsmen, who are immediately around us. It is our united sentiment that Mr Bulstrode should be called upon—and I do now call upon him-to resign public positions which he holds not simply as a tax-payer, but as a gentleman among gentlemen. There are practices and there are acts which, owing