Summary (Masterplots, Definitive Revised Edition)
The Reverend Michael Feversham regretted that he must deal harshly with Rose, the daughter of his clerk, Andrew Gibbard. Because the girl had sinned, and Andrew had lied about Rose and her now dead child, Michael sternly insisted upon a public confession before the whole congregation of Cleveheddon Church. Only in that way, he believed, could Andrew and his daughter be absolved of their sin and deceit. Later Michael sent the girl away to an Anglican religious house where she could start life anew.
Andrew owed everything he had in life to Michael, but he could not forgive him for exposing Rose to the scorn of the smug, self-righteous parishioners. He recognized, however, the moral fervor which had prompted Michael’s attitude and convictions.
Michael, having dedicated his life to his church and his people, felt that he was watched over by his dead mother, whose picture hung in his study. She was his guardian angel, he thought, knowing everything he said or did. He knew he must try always to be worthy of her guardianship.
When Audrie Lesden came to his parish, he was afraid he would be unworthy of his guardian angel’s love and care. Audrie was a wealthy woman, reported a widow, who had been attracted to Michael because of a book he had written. Although she subscribed large sums for Michael’s project of restoring the minster of Saint Decuman, an ancient Gothic church at Cleveheddon, she was a worldly woman, one torn in half by...
(The entire section is 1055 words.)
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