Poor Lady Anne Percy, daughter of the Earl of Northumberland, and niece of the faithless Lady Carlisle of whom we read in these letters, was already married at this date to Lord Stanhope, Lord Chesterfield's heir. She died probably in childbed in November of next year , and was buried at Petworth with her infant son.
He did not suffer much upon this occasion; for he retained the living of Petworth, to which he, thenceforward, confined his labours, and where he was very assiduous, and, as Calamy affirms, very successful in the exercise of his ministry, it being his peculiar character to be warm and zealous in all his undertakings.
That for this purpose they will acquire some ideal Grange or Priory, or ample farmstead near Petworth and the Armstrongs' home, over against the South Downs, and near the river Rother; that it shall be in no mere suburb of Petworth but in a stately little village with its own character and history going back to Roman times and a church with a Saxon body and a Norman chancel.
Midhurst takes its name from standing in the middle, for it is half-way between the open downs and the thick woods on the borders of Surrey. Petworth has a steeple that slopes to one side; not so much as Chesterfield, but somewhat more than most steeples.
It was a pleasant girl and a perfect summer, and a big country-house near Petworth where there are acres and acres of purple heather and high-grassed water-meadows to wander through. Georgie Porgie felt that he had at last found something worth the living for, and naturally assumed that the next thing to do was to ask the girl to share his life in India. She, in her ignorance, was willing to go.
He found himself in a tortuous tangle of roads, and as the dusk was coming on, emerged, not at Petworth but at Easebourne, a mile from Midhurst. "I'm getting hungry," said Mr. Hoopdriver, inquiring of a gamekeeper in Easebourne village. "Midhurst a mile, and Petworth five! Thenks, I'll take Midhurst."
Edward Elliot, a boy of about seventeen years of age, whose father was a tailor at a village between Petworth and Guildford, was the next who received sentence of death with Parvin. The account he gave of his coming into this society has something very odd in it, and which gives a fuller idea of the strange whims which possessed these people.
His outlook upon the world was changed the great parties at Petworth, at Euston, at Woburn struck him differently; the huge irreligion of the world filled him as for the first time with amazement and horror: 'How few years are passed since I should have pushed on eagerly to Woburn!
Nothing that this world can give in the opening twentieth century ... not even a very good pianola or a motor. Shall not General Sir Petworth Armstrong die in the great débacle of the world-wide War? I shall see, later.
There was no reason why he shouldn't go. And you'd have thought there was no reason why we shouldn't go together. He was all right till we got to Petworth. But after that he lost his head and made such an ass of himself that I had to get out here and make him go on by himself. Silly idiot!"