He was right; the bishop understood men so well as to be able to produce in a few words upon the man who had just visited the palace, the impression that he believed that that man had been impelled by a strong sense of duty without a touch of vanity. He understood man so well as to cause that same visitor of his to make a resolution never again to publish anything in the same strain as the /Zeit Geist/ article, without first consulting with the bishop. George Holland had pulled the bell at the palace gates with the hand of a Luther; but he had left the presence of the bishop with the step of a Francis of Assisi. He felt that anyone who would voluntarily give pain to so gentle a man as the bishop could only be a brute. He even felt that the bishop had shown himself to be his, George Holland's superior in judgment and in the methods which he employed. The bishop was not an overrated man.
For a full hour in the silence and solitude of the reading room of his club he reflected upon the excellence of the bishop, and it was with a sign of regret that he rose to keep his other appointment. He would have liked to continue for another hour or two doing justice to that good man out of whose presence he had come.
Mr. Linton's office was not quite in the City. Twenty minutes drive brought George Holland into the private room of Ella Linton's husband.
"It is very good of you to come to me, Mr. Holland," said Stephen. "There seems to be a general idea that a clergyman should be at the beck and call of everyone who has a whim to--what do they call it in Ireland--to make his soul? That has never been my opinion; I have never given any trouble to a clergyman since I was at school."
"It is the privilege of a minister to be a servant," said the Rev. George Holland.
"We were taught that at school--in connection with the Latin verb /ministro/," said Mr. Linton. "Well, Mr. Holland, I am glad that you take such a view of your calling, for I am anxious that you should do me a great service."
George Holland bent his head. He wondered if Mr. Linton wished to intrust him with the duty of observing his wife.
"The fact is, Mr. Holland," resumed Stephen Linton, "I have read your book and your paper in that review. The way you deal with a difficult question has filled me with admiration. You will, I need scarcely say, be outside the Church before long."