Page:Eliot - Middlemarch, vol. IV, 1872.djvu/182

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of their due inheritance in order to support religion and set myself up as a saintly Kill-joy. I affect no niceness of conscience—I have not found any nice standards necessary yet to measure your actions by, sir. And I again call upon you to enter into satisfactory explanations concerning the scandals against you, or else to withdraw from posts in which we at any rate decline you as a colleague. I say, sir, we decline to co-operate with a man whose character is not cleared from infamous lights cast upon it, not only by reports but by recent actions."

"Allow me, Mr Hawley," said the chairman; and Mr Hawley, still fuming, bowed half impatiently, and sat down with his hands thrust deep in his pockets.

"Mr Bulstrode, it is not desirable, I think, to prolong the present discussion," said Mr Thesiger, turning to the pallid trembling man; "I must so far concur with what has fallen from Mr Hawley in expression of a general feeling, as to think it due to your Christian profession that you should clear yourself, if possible, from unhappy aspersions. I for my part should be willing to give you full opportunity and hearing. But I must say that your present attitude is painfully inconsistent