by discovering that he did not know what he was to convert them from. He knew the Church of England, or thought he did, but he knew nothing of Methodism beyond its name. When he found that, according to Mr Baxter, the Wesleyans had a vigorous system of Church discipline (which worked admirably in practice) it appeared to him that John Wesley had anticipated the spiritual engine which he and Pryer were preparing, and when he left the room he was aware that he had caught more of a spiritual Tartar than he had expected. But he must certainly explain to Pryer that the Wesleyans had a system of Church discipline. This was very important.

Mr Baxter advised Ernest on no account to meddle with Mr Holt, and Ernest was much relieved at the advice. If an opportunity arose of touching the man's heart, he would take it; he would pat the children on the head when he saw them on the stairs, and ingratiate himself with them as far as he dared; they were sturdy youngsters, and Ernest was afraid even of them, for they were ready with their tongues, and knew much for their ages. Ernest felt that it would indeed be almost better for him that a millstone should be hanged about his neck, and he cast into the sea, than that he should offend one of the little Holts. However, he would try not to offend them; perhaps an occasional penny or two might square them. This was as much as he could do, for he saw that the attempt to be instant out of season, as well as in season, would, St Paul's injunction notwithstanding, end in failure.

Mrs Baxter gave a very bad account of Miss Emily Snow, who lodged in the second floor back next to Mr Holt. Her story was quite different from that of Mrs. Jupp the landlady. She would doubtless be only too glad to receive Ernest's ministrations or those of any other gentleman, but she was no governess, she was in the ballet at Drury Lane, and besides this, she was a very bad young woman, and if Mrs Baxter was landlady would not be allowed to stay in the house a single hour, not she indeed.

Miss Maitland in the next room to Mrs Baxter's own was a quiet and respectable young woman to all appearance; Mrs Baxter had never known of any goings on in that quarter, but, bless you, still waters run deep, and these girls were all alike, one as bad as the other. She was out at all kinds of hours, and when you knew that you knew all.

Ernest did not pay much heed to these aspersions of Mrs Baxter's. Mrs Jupp had got round the greater number of his many blind sides, and had warned him not to believe Mrs Baxter, whose lip she said was something awful.

Ernest had heard that women were always jealous of one another, and certainly these young women were more attractive than Mrs Baxter was, so jealousy was probably at the bottom of it. If they were maligned there could be no objection to his making their acquaintance; if not maligned they had all the more need of his ministrations. He would reclaim them at once.

He told Mrs Jupp of his intention. Mrs Jupp at first tried to dissuade him, but seeing him resolute, suggested that she should herself see Miss Snow first, so as to prepare her and prevent her from being alarmed by his visit. She was not at home now, but in the course of the next day it should be arranged. In the meantime he had better try Mr Shaw, the tinker, in the front kitchen. Mrs Baxter had told Ernest that Mr Shaw was from the North Country, and an avowed free-thinker; he would probably, she said, rather like a visit, but she did not think Ernest would stand much chance of making a convert of him.

  By PanEris using Melati.

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