Michael Mompellion Quotes in Year of Wonders
For Mr. Stanley had commenced to attend Mr. Mompellion’s services….and in the weeks since the Billings family and some others from among the nonconformists had begun to come as well. They did not join in all the hymns, nor did they follow the words of the Book of Common Prayer, but that they gathered with us at all was a wonder.
Why, I wondered, did we, all of us, both the rector in his pulpit and simple Lottie in her croft, seek to put the Plague in unseen hands? Why should this thing be either a test of faith sent by God, or the evil working of the Devil in the world? One of these beliefs we embraced, the other we scorned as superstition. But perhaps each was false, equally.
I was jealous of them both at once. Of him, because Elinor loved him, and I hungered for a greater share of her love than I could ever hope for. And yet I was jealous of her, too; jealous that she was loved by a man as a woman is meant to be loved.
To be sure, our stocks were nothing so fearful as the Bakewell pillory. In that market town, where people came and went without deep ties to another, to be pilloried was to be a target of rotten fruit or fish heads or any noisome thing the mob could lay a hand to. […] Even Reverend Stanley seldom called for sinners to be stocked, and Mr. Mompellion had actively discouraged it.
His wife had been hacked down in front of him. My olive shoots had been blighted. Why? His unasked question roared in my head. Just such a why had nagged at my unquiet mined through too many sleepless nights. But that he, too, should be asking it…Let her speak direct to God to ask forgiveness…but I fear she may find Him a poor listener, as many of us here have done. Could he really have come to believe that all our sacrifice, all our pain and misery, had been for nothing?
We live, we live, we live, said the hoofbeats, and the drumming of my pulse answered them. I was alive, and I was young, and I would go on until I found some reason for it. As I rode that morning, smelling the scent of the hoofcrushed heather, feeling the wind needle my face until it tingled, I understood that where Michael Mompellion had been broken by our shared ordeal, in equal measure I had been tempered and made strong.
“I thought I spoke for God. Fool. My whole life, all I have done, all I have said, all I have felt, has been based upon a lie. Untrue in everything. So now,” he said, “I have learned at last to do as I please!”
In lying with him, I had sought to bring her closer to me. I had tried to become her, in every way that I could. Instead, in taking my pleasure from his body, I had stolen from her – stolen what should have been hers, her wedding night.