Samuel Butler: The Way of All Flesh

58. CHAPTER LVIII (continued)

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 freethinker; 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.

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