As the girl had said, it really was a very satisfactory match. William West was a man whom every one honored, and many loved. For fifteen years he had been settled in Mercer; first as an assistant to old Mr. Brown, and then as rector of the church. But he had taken his place in the community as a man of strong judgment and high character; perhaps as a citizen, rather than as a minister. Men felt that he was a man before he was a clergyman; not knowing that his calling had given him his highest manhood.
Knowledge of human nature
He was singularly devoid of clerical affectation; consequently the influence of his own reverence was not vitiated by a suspicion of his common sense. In fact, his sanity in matters religious, joined to his knowledge of human nature, made him a man of importance in affairs municipal and social. That he had lived to be forty-two, and had not married, was from no asceticism; he was a very human person, and fully intended to have a wife; only, she must be just what he wanted.
And so far, that not impossible She who was to possess his heart had never appeared. When she did, he recognized her immediately, and would have proposed to her the next day, had not a feeling of diffidence as to her sentiments deterred him for nearly two weeks. At the end of that time, he told her ah, well, never mind what he told her! She, at least, will never forget the passion of that claiming.
Amy Townsend had come to spend the winter in Mercer, with a cousin. Of course, the first Sunday she went to St. James s, as everybody who was anybody did. When she came home, her eyes were keen with interest. Do tell me about him, Cousin Kate, she said. I never heard that sort of preaching; what does it mean? Is he a real person, or is he just clever? Mrs. Paul laughed.
Wait till you meet him! you ll see. But she also added to herself, Wait till he meets you! For Mrs. Paul was one of those courageous women who rush in where angels fear to tread; she was a match-maker.