Part 3 out of 12
'Indeed I will, doctor,' said Frank. 'I will excuse a longer lecture
than that from you.'
'At any rate it won't be to-night,' said the doctor, as he disappeared.
'And if you see Mary, tell her that I am obliged to go; and that I will
send Janet down to fetch her.'
Now Janet was the doctor's ancient maid-servant.
Mary could not move on, without being perceived; she therefore stood
still till she heard the click of the door, and then began walking
rapidly back to the house by the path which had brought her thither.
The moment, however, that she did so, she found that she was followed;
and in a very few moments Frank was alongside of her.
'Oh, Mary!' said he, calling to her, but not loudly, before he quite
overtook her, 'how odd that I should come across you just when I have a
message for you! and why are you all alone?'
Mary's first impulse was to reiterate her command to him to call her no
more by her Christian name; but her second impulse told her that such
an injunction at the present moment would not be prudent on her part.
The traces of her tears were still there; and she well knew that a very
little, the slightest show of tenderness on his part, the slightest
effort on her own to appear indifferent, would bring down more than one
other such intruder. It would, moreover, be better for her to drop all
outward sign that she remembered what had taken place. So long, then,
as he and she were at Greshamsbury together, he should call her Mary if
he pleased. He would soon be gone; and while he remained, she would
keep out of his way.
'Your uncle has been obliged to go away to see an old woman at
'At Silverbridge! why, he won't be back all night. Why could not the
old woman send for Dr Century?'
'I suppose she thought two old women could not get on well together.'
Mary could not help smiling. She did not like her uncle going off so
late on such a journey; but it was always felt a triumph when he was
invited into the strongholds of the enemies.
'And Janet is to come over for you. However, I told him it was quite
unnecessary to disturb another old woman, for that I should see you
'Oh, no, Mr Gresham; indeed you'll not do that.'
'Indeed, and indeed, I shall.'
'What! on this great day, when every lady is looking for you, and
talking of you. I suppose you want to set the countess against me for
ever. Think, too, how angry Lady Arabella will be if you are absent on
such and errand as this.'
'To hear you talk, Mary, one would think that you were going to
'Perhaps I am.'
'If I did not go with you, some of the other fellows would. John, or
'Good gracious, Frank! Fancy either of the Mr De Courcys walking home
She had forgotten herself, and the strict propriety on which she had
resolved, in the impossibility of forgoing her little joke against the
De Courcy grandeur; she had forgotten herself, and had called him Frank
in her old, former, eager, free tone of voice; and then, remembering
she had done so, she drew herself up, but her lips, and determined to
be doubly on her guard in the future.
'Well, it shall be either one of them, or I,' said Frank: 'perhaps you
would prefer my cousin George to me?'
'I should prefer Janet to either, seeing that with her I should not
suffer the extreme nuisance of knowing that I was a bore.'
'A bore! Mary, to me?'
'Yes, Mr Gresham, a bore to you. Having to walk home through the mud
with village young ladies is boring. All gentlemen feel it so.'
'There is no mud; if there were you would not be allowed to walk at
'Oh! village young ladies never care for such things, though
fashionable gentlemen do.'
'I would carry you home, Mary, if it would do you a service,' said
Frank, with considerable pathos in his voice.
'Oh, dear me! pray do not, Mr Gresham. I should not like it at all,'
said she: 'a wheelbarrow would be preferable to that.'
'Of course. Anything would be preferable to my arm, I know.'
'Certainly; anything in the way of a conveyance. If I were to act
baby; and you were to act nurse, it really would not be comfortable for
either of us.'
Frank Gresham felt disconcerted, though he hardly knew why. He was
striving to say something tender to his lady-love; but every word that
he spoke she turned into joke. Mary did not answer him coldly or
unkindly; but, nevertheless, he was displeased. One does not like to
have one's little offerings of sentimental service turned into
burlesque when one is in love in earnest. Mary's jokes had appeared so
easy too; they seemed to come from a heart so little troubled. This,
also, was cause of vexation to Frank. If he could but have known it
all, he would, perhaps, have been better pleased.
He determined not to be absolutely laughed out of his tenderness. When,
three days ago, he had been repulsed, he had gone away owning to
himself that he had been beaten; owning so much, but owning it with
great sorrow and much shame. Since that he had come of age; since that
he had made speeches, and speeches had been made to him; since that he
had gained courage by flirting with Patience Oriel. No faint heart
ever won a fair lady, as he was well aware; he resolved, therefore,
that his heart should not be faint, and that he would see whether the
fair lady might not be won by becoming audacity.
'Mary,' said he, stopping in the path--for they were now near the spot
where it broke out upon the lawn, and they could already hear the
voices of the guests--'Mary, you are unkind to me.'
'I am not aware of it, Mr Gresham; but if I am, do not you retaliate. I
am weaker than you, and in your power; do not you, therefore, be unkind
'You refused my hand just now,' continued he. 'Of all the people here
at Greshamsbury, you are the only one that has not wished me joy; the
'I do wish you joy; I will wish you joy: there is my hand,' and she
frankly put out her ungloved hand. 'You are quite man enough to
understand me: there is my hand; I trust you use it only as it is meant
to be used.'
He took it in his hand and pressed it cordially, as he might have done
that of any other friend in such a case; and then--did not drop it as
he should have done. He was not a St Anthony, and it was most
imprudent in Miss Thorne to subject him to such a temptation.
'Mary,' said he; 'dear Mary! dearest Mary! if you did but know how I
As he said this, holding Miss Thorne's hand he stood on the pathway
with his back towards the lawn and house, and, therefore, did not at
first see his sister Augusta, who had just at that moment come upon
them. Mary blushed up to her straw hat, and, with a quick jerk,
recovered her hand. Augusta saw the motion, and Mary saw that Augusta
had seen it.
From my tedious way of telling it, the reader will be led to imagine
that the hand-squeezing had been protracted to a duration quite
incompatible with any objection to such an arrangement on the part of
the lady; but the fault is mine: in no part hers. Were I possessed of
a quick spasmodic style of narrative, I should have been able to
include it all--Frank's misbehaviour, Mary's immediate anger, Augusta's
arrival, and keen, Argus-eyed inspection, and then Mary's subsequent
misery--in five words and half a dozen dashes and inverted commas. The
thing would have been so told; for, to do Mary justice, she did not
leave her hand in Frank's a moment longer than she could help herself.
Frank, feeling the hand withdrawn, and hearing, when it was too late,
the step on the gravel, turned sharply round. 'Oh, it's you, is it,
Augusta? Well, what do you want?'
Augusta was not naturally very ill-natured, seeing that in her veins
the high De Courcy blood was somewhat tempered by an admixture of the
Gresham attributes; nor was she predisposed to make her brother her
enemy by publishing to the world any of his little tender peccadilloes;
but she could not but bethink herself of what her aunt had been saying
as to the danger of any such encounters as that she just now had
beheld; she could not but start at seeing her brother thus, on the very
brink of the precipice of which the countess had specially forewarned
her mother. She, Augusta, was, as she well knew, doing her duty by her
family by marrying a tailor's son for whom she did not care a chip,
seeing that the tailor's son was possessed of untold wealth. Now when
one member of a household is making a struggle for a family, it is
painful to see the benefit of that struggle negatived by the folly of
another member. The future Mrs Moffat did feel aggrieved by the
fatuity of the young heir, and, consequently, took upon herself to look
as much like her Aunt De Courcy as she could do.
'Well, what is it?' said Frank, looking rather disgusted. 'What makes
you stick your chin up and look in that way?' Frank had hitherto been
rather a despot among his sisters, and forgot that the eldest of them
was now passing altogether from under his sway to that of the tailor's
'Frank,' said Augusta, in a tone of voice which did honour to the great
lessons she had lately received. 'Aunt De Courcy wants to see you
immediately in the small drawing-room;' and, as she said so, she
resolved to say a few words of advice to Miss Thorne as soon as her
brother should have left them.
'In the small drawing-room, does she? Well, Mary, we may as well go
together, for I suppose it is tea-time now.'
'You had better go at once, Frank,' said Augusta; 'the countess will be
angry if you keep her waiting. She has been expecting you these twenty
minutes. Mary Thorne and I can return together.'
There was something in the tone in which the word, 'Mary Thorne', were
uttered, which made Mary at once draw herself up. 'I hope,' said she,
'that Mary Thorne will never be a hindrance to either of you.'
Frank's ear had also perceived that there was something in the tone of
his sister's voice not boding comfort to Mary; he perceived that the De
Courcy blood in Augusta's veins was already rebelling against the
doctor's niece on his part, though it had condescended to submit itself
to the tailor's son on her own part.
'Well, I am going,' said he; 'but look here Augusta, if you say one
word of Mary--'
Oh, Frank! Frank! you boy, you very boy! you goose, you silly goose!
Is that the way you make love, desiring one girl not to tell another,
as though you were three children, tearing your frocks and trousers in
getting through the same hedge together? Oh, Frank! Frank! you, the
full-blown heir of Greshamsbury? You, a man already endowed with a
man's discretion? You, the forward rider, that did but now threaten
young Harry Baker and the Honourable John to eclipse them by prowess in
the field? You, of age? Why, thou canst not as yet have left thy
'If you say one word of Mary--'
So far had he got in his injunction to his sister, but further than
that, in such a case, was he never destined to proceed. Mary's
indignation flashed upon him, striking him dumb long before the sound
of her voice reached his ears; and yet she spoke as quick as the words
would come to her call, and somewhat loudly too.
'Say one word of Mary, Mr Gresham! And why should she not say as many
words of Mary as she may please? I must tell you all now, Augusta! and
I must also beg you not to be silent for my sake. As far as I am
concerned, tell it to whom you please. This was the second time your
'Mary, Mary,' said Frank, deprecating her loquacity.
'I beg your pardon, Mr Gresham; you have made it necessary that I
should tell your sister all. He has now twice thought it well to amuse
himself by saying to me words which it was ill-natured in him to speak,
'Ill-natured in him to speak,' continued Mary, 'and to which it would
be absurd for me to listen. He probably does the same to others,' she
added, being unable in heart to forget that sharpest of her wounds,
that flirtation of his with Patience Oriel; 'but to me it is almost
cruel. Another girl might laugh at him, or listen to him, as he would
choose; but I can do neither. I shall now keep away from Greshamsbury,
at any rate till he has left it; and, Augusta, I can only beg you to
understand, that, as far as I am concerned, there is nothing which may
not be told to all the world.'
And, so saying, she walked on a little in advance of them, as proud as
a queen. Had Lady de Courcy herself met her at this moment, she would
almost have felt herself forced to shrink out of the pathway. 'Not say
a word of me!' she repeated to herself, but still out loud. 'No word
need be left unsaid on my account; none, none.'
Augusta followed her, dumfounded at her indignation; and Frank also
followed, but not in silence. When his first surprise at Mary's great
anger was over, he felt himself called upon to say some word that might
exonerate his lady-love; and some word also of protestation as to his
'There is nothing to be told, at least of Mary,' he said, speaking to
his sister; 'but of me, you may tell this, if you choose to disoblige
your brother--that I love Mary Thorne with all my heart; and that I will
never love anyone else.'
By this time they had reached the lawn, and Mary was able to turn away
from the path which led up to the house. As she left them she said in
a voice, now low enough, 'I cannot prevent him from talking nonsense,
Augusta; but you will bear me witness, that I do not willingly hear
it.' And, so saying, she started off almost in a run towards the
distant part of the gardens, in which she saw Beatrice.
Frank, as he walked up to the house with his sister, endeavoured to
induce her to give him a promise that she would tell no tales as to
what she had heard and seen.
'Of course, Frank, it must be all nonsense,' she had said; 'and you
shouldn't amuse yourself in such a way.'
'Well, but, Guss, come, we have always been friends; don't let us
quarrel just when you are going to be married.' But Augusta would make
Frank, when he reached the house, found the countess waiting for him,
sitting in the little drawing-room by herself,--somewhat impatiently.
As he entered he became aware that there was some peculiar gravity
attached to the coming interview. Three persons, his mother, one of
his younger sisters, and the Lady Amelia, each stopped him to let him
know that the countess was waiting; and he perceived that a sort of
guard was kept upon the door to save her ladyship from any undesirable
The countess frowned at the moment of his entrance, but soon smoothed
her brow, and invited him to take a chair ready prepared for him
opposite to the elbow of the sofa on which she was leaning. She had a
small table before her, on which was her teacup, so that she was able
to preach at him nearly as well as though she had been ensconced in a
'My dear Frank,' said she, in a voice thoroughly suitable to the
importance of the communication, 'you have to-day come of age.'
Frank remarked that he understood that such was the case, and added
that 'that was the reason for all the fuss.'
'Yes; you have to-day come of age. Perhaps I should have been glad to
see such an occasion noticed at Greshamsbury with some more suitable
signs of rejoicing.'
'Oh, aunt! I think we did it all very well.'
'Greshamsbury, Frank, is, or at any rate ought to be, the seat of the
first commoner in Barsetshire.
'Well; so it is. I am quite sure there isn't a better fellow than
father anywhere in the county.'
The countess sighed. Her opinion of the poor squire was very different
from Frank's. 'It is no use now,' said she, 'looking back to that
which cannot be cured. The first commoner in Barsetshire should hold a
position--I will not of course say equal to that of a peer.'
'Oh dear no; of course not,' said Frank; and a bystander might have
thought that there was a touch of satire in his tone.
'No, not equal to that of a peer; but still of very paramount
importance. Of course my first ambition is bound up in Porlock.'
'Of course,' said Frank, thinking how very weak was the staff on which
his aunt's ambition rested; for Lord Porlock's youthful career had not
been such as to give unmitigated satisfaction to his parents.
'Is bound up in Porlock:' and then the countess plumed herself; but the
mother sighed. 'And next to Porlock, my anxiety is about you.'
'Upon my honour, aunt, I am very much obliged. I shall be all right,
'Greshamsbury, my dear boy, is not now what it used to be.'
'Isn't it?' asked Frank.
'No, Frank; by no means. I do not wish to say a word against your
father. It may, perhaps have been his misfortune, rather than his
'She is always down on the governor; always,' said Frank to himself;
resolving to stick bravely to the side of the house to which he had
elected to belong.
'But there is the fact, Frank, too plain to us all; Greshamsbury is not
what it was. It is your duty to restore it to its former importance.'
'My duty!' said Frank, rather puzzled.
'Yes, Frank, your duty. It all depends on you now. Of course you know
that your father owes a great deal of money.'
Frank muttered something. Tidings had in some shape reached his ear
that his father was not comfortably circumstances as regards money.
'And then, he has sold Boxall Hill. It cannot be expected that Boxall
Hill shall be purchased, as some horrid man, a railway-maker, I
'Yes; that's Scatcherd.'
'Well, he has built a house there, I'm told; so I presume that it
cannot be bought back: but it will be your duty, Frank, to pay all the
debts that there are on the property, and to purchase what, at any
rate, will be equal to Boxall Hill.'
Frank opened his eyes wide and stared at his aunt, as though doubting
much whether or no she were in her right mind. He pay off the family
debts! He buy up property of four thousand pounds a year! He
remained, however, quite quiet, waiting the elucidation of the mystery.
'Frank, of course you understand me.'
Frank was obliged to declare, that just at the present moment he did
not find his aunt so clear as usual.
'You have but one line of conduct left you, Frank: your position, as
heir to Greshamsbury, is a good one; but your father has unfortunately
so hampered you with regard to money, that unless you set the matter
right yourself, you can never enjoy that position. Of course you must
'Marry money!' said he, considering for the first time that in all
probability Mary Thorne's fortune would not be extensive. 'Marry
'Yes, Frank. I know no man whose position so imperatively demands it;
and luckily for you, no man can have more facility for doing so. In
the first place you are very handsome.'
Frank blushed like a girl of sixteen.
'And then, as the matter is made plain to you at so early an age, you
are not of course hampered by any indiscreet tie; by any absurd
Frank blushed again; and then saying to himself, 'How much the old girl
knows about it!' felt a little proud of his passion for Mary Thorne,
and of the declaration he had made to her.
'And your connexion with Courcy Castle,' continued the countess, now
carrying up the list of Frank's advantages to its greatest climax,
'will make the matter so easy for you, that really, you will hardly
have any difficulty.'
Frank could not but say how much obliged he felt to Courcy Castle and
'Of course I would not wish to interfere with you in any underhand way,
Frank; but I will tell you what has occurred to me. You have heard,
probably, of Miss Dunstable?'
'The daughter of the ointment of Lebanon man?'
'And of course you know that her fortune is immense,' continued the
countess, not deigning to notice her nephew's allusion to the
ointment. 'Quite immense when compared with the wants and any position
of any commoner. Now she is coming to Courcy Castle, and I wish you to
come and meet her.'
'But, aunt, just at this moment I have to read for my degree like
anything. I go up, you know, to Oxford.'
'Degree!' said the countess. 'Why, Frank, I am talking to you of your
prospects in life, of your future position, of that on which everything
hangs, and you tell me of your degree!'
Frank, however, obstinately persisted that he must take his degree, and
that he should commence reading hard at six a.m. to-morrow morning.
'You can read just as well at Courcy Castle. Miss Dunstable will not
interfere with that,' said his aunt, who knew the expediency of
yielding occasionally; 'but I must beg you will come over and meet
her. You will find her a most charming young woman, remarkably well
educated I am told, and--'
'How old is she?' asked Frank.
'I really cannot say exactly,' said the countess; 'but it is not, I
imagine, a matter of much moment.'
'Is she thirty?' asked Frank, who looked upon an unmarried woman of
that age as quite an old maid.
'I dare say she may be about that age,' said the countess, who regarded
the subject from a very different point of view.
'Thirty!' said Frank out loud, but speaking, nevertheless as though to
'It is a matter of no moment,' said his aunt, almost angrily. 'When a
subject itself is of such vital importance, objections of no real
weight should not be brought into view. If you wish to hold up your
head in the country; if you wish to represent your county in
Parliament, as has been done by your father, your grandfather, and your
great-grandfathers; if you wish to keep a house over your head, and to
leave Greshamsbury to your son after you, you must marry money. What
does it signify whether Miss Dunstable be twenty-eight or thirty? She
has got money; and if you marry her, you may then consider that your
position in life is made.'
Frank was astonished at his aunt's eloquence; but, in spite of that
eloquence, he made up his mind that he would not marry Miss Dunstable.
How could he, indeed, seeing that his troth was already plighted to
Mary Thorne in the presence of his sister? This circumstance, however,
he did not choose to plead to his aunt, so he recapitulated any other
objections that presented themselves to his mind.
In the first place, he was so anxious about his degree that he could
not think of marrying at present; then he suggested that it might be
better to postpone the question till the season's hunting should be
over; he declared that he could not visit Courcy Castle till he got a
new suit of clothes home from the tailor; and ultimately remembered
that he had a particular engagement to go fly-fishing with Mr Oriel on
that day week.
None, however, of these valid reasons were sufficiently potent to turn
the countess from her point.
'Nonsense, Frank,' said she, 'I wonder that you can talk of fly-fishing
when the property of Greshamsbury is at stake. You will go with
Augusta and myself to Courcy Castle to-morrow.'
'To-morrow, aunt!' he said, in the tone which a condemned criminal
might make his ejaculation on hearing that a very near day had been
named for his execution. 'To-morrow!'
'Yes, we return to-morrow, and shall be happy to have your company. My
friends, including Miss Dunstable, come on Thursday. I am quite sure
you will like Miss Dunstable. I have settled all that with your
mother, so we need say nothing further about it. And now, good-night,
Frank, finding that there was nothing more to be said, took his
departure, and went out to look for Mary. But Mary had gone home with
Janet half an hour since, so he betook himself to his sister Beatrice.
'Beatrice,' said he, 'I am to go to Courcy Castle to-morrow.'
'So I heard mamma say.'
'Well; I only came of age to-day, and I will not begin by running
counter to them. But I tell you what, I won't stay above a week at
Courcy Castle for all the De Courcys in Barsetshire. Tell me,
Beatrice, did you ever hear of a Miss Dunstable?'
SIR ROGER SCATCHERD
Enough has been said in this narrative to explain to the reader that
Roger Scatcherd, who was whilom a drunken stone-mason in Barchester,
and who had been so prompt to avenge the injury done to his sister, had
become a great man in the world. He had become a contractor, first for
little things, such as half a mile or so of a railway embankment, or
three or four canal bridges, and then a contractor for great things,
such as Government hospitals, locks, docks, and quays, and had latterly
had in his hands the making of whole lines of railway.
He had been occasionally in partnership with one man for one thing, and
then with another for another; but had, on the whole, kept his
interests to himself, and now at the time of our story, he was a very
And he had acquired more than wealth. There had been a time when the
Government wanted the immediate performance of some extraordinary piece
of work, and Roger Scatcherd had been the man to do it. There had been
some extremely necessary bit of a railway to be made in half the time
that such work would properly demand, some speculation to be incurred
requiring great means and courage as well, and Roger Scatcherd had been
found to be the man for the time. He was then elevated for the moment
to the dizzy pinnacle of a newspaper hero, and became one of those
'whom the king delighteth to honour'. He went up one day to kiss Her
Majesty's hand, and come down to his new grand house at Boxall Hill,
Sir Roger Scatcherd, Bart.
'And now, my lady,' said he, when he explained to his wife the high
state to which she had been called by his exertions and the Queen's
prerogative, 'let's have a bit of dinner, and a drop of som'at hot.'
Now the drop of som'at hot signified a dose of alcohol sufficient to
send three ordinary men very drunk to bed.
While conquering the world Roger Scatcherd had not conquered his old
bad habits. Indeed, he was the same man at all points that he had been
when formerly seen about the streets of Barchester with his
stone-mason's apron tucked up round his waist. The apron he had
abandoned, but not the heavy prominent thoughtful brow, with the wildly
flashing eye beneath it. He was still the same good companion, and
still also the same hard-working hero. In this only had he changed,
that now he would work, and some said equally well, whether he were
drunk or sober. Those who were mostly inclined to make a miracle of
him--and there was a school of worshippers ready to adore him as their
idea of a divine, superhuman, miracle-moving, inspired prophet--declared
that his wondrous work was best done, his calculations most quickly and
most truly made, that he saw with most accurate eye into the
far-distant balance of profit and loss, when he was under the influence
of the rosy god. To these worshippers his breakings-out, as his
periods of intemperance were called in his own set, were his moments of
peculiar inspiration--his divine frenzies, in which he communicated most
closely with those deities who preside over trade transactions; his
Eleusinian mysteries, to approach him in which was permitted only a few
of the most favoured.
'Scatcherd has been drunk this week past,' they would say one to
another, when the moment came at which it was to be decided whose offer
should be accepted for constructing a harbour to hold all the commerce
of Lancashire, or to make a railway from Bombay to Canton. 'Scatcherd
has been drunk this week past; I am told that he has taken over three
gallons of brandy.' And then they felt sure that none but Scatcherd
would be called upon to construct the dock or make the railway.
But be this as it may, be it true or false that Sir Roger was most
efficacious when in his cups, there can be no doubt that he could not
wallow for a week in brandy, six or seven times every year, without in
a great measure injuring, and permanently injuring, the outward man.
Whatever immediate effect such symposiums might have on the inner
mind--symposiums indeed they were not; posiums I will call them, if I
may be allowed; for in latter life, when he drank heavily, he drank
alone--however little for evil, or however much for good the working of
his brain might be affected, his body suffered greatly. It was not
that he became feeble or emaciated, old-looking or inactive, that his
hand shook, or that his eye was watery; but that in the moments of his
intemperance his life was often worth a day's purchase. The frame
which God had given to him was powerful beyond the power of ordinary
men; powerful to act in spite of these violent perturbations; powerful
to repress and conquer the qualms and headaches and inward sicknesses
to which the votaries of Bacchus are ordinarily subject; but this power
was not without its limit. If encroached on too far, it would break and
fall and come asunder, and then the strong man would at once become a
Scatcherd had but one friend in the world. And, indeed, this friend
was not friend in the ordinary acceptance of the word. He neither ate
with him nor drank with him, nor even frequently talked with him. Their
pursuits in life were wide asunder. Their tastes were all different.
The society in which they moved very seldom came together. Scatcherd
had nothing in unison with this solitary friend; but he trusted him,
and he trusted no other living creature in God's earth.
He trusted this man; but even him he did not trust thoroughly; not at
least as one friend should trust another. He believed that this man
would not rob him; would probably not lie to him; would not endeavour
to make money of him; would not count him up or speculate on him, and
make out a balance of profit and loss; and, therefore, he determined to
use him. But he put no trust whatever in his friend's counsel, in his
modes of thought; none in his theory, and none in his practice. He
disliked his friend's counsel, and, in fact, disliked his society, for
his friend was somewhat apt to speak to him in a manner approaching to
severity. Now Roger Scatcherd had done many things in the world, and
made much money; whereas his friend had done but few things, and made
no money. It was not to be endured that the practical, efficient man
should be taken to task by the man who proved himself to be neither
practical nor efficient; not to be endured, certainly, by Roger
Scatcherd, who looked on men of his own class as the men of the day,
and on himself as by no means the least among them.
The friend was our friend Dr Thorne.
The doctor's first acquaintance with Scatcherd has been already
explained. He was necessarily thrown into communication with the man
at the time of the trial, and Scatcherd then had not only sufficient
sense, but sufficient feeling also to know that the doctor behaved very
well. This communication had in different ways been kept up between
them. Soon after the trial Scatcherd had begun to rise, and his first
savings had been entrusted to the doctor's care. This had been the
beginning of a pecuniary connexion which had never wholly ceased, and
which had led to the purchase of Boxall Hill, and to the loan of large
sums of money to the squire.
In another way also there had been a close alliance between them, and
one not always of a very pleasant description. The doctor was, and
long had been, Sir Roger's medical attendant, and, in his unceasing
attempts to rescue the drunkard from the fate which was so much to be
dreaded, he not unfrequently was driven to quarrel with his patient.
One thing further must be told of Sir Roger. In politics he was as
violent a Radical as ever, and was very anxious to obtain a position in
which he could bring his violence to bear. With this view he was about
to contest his native borough of Barchester, in the hope of being
returned in opposition to the De Courcy candidate; and with this object
he had now come down to Boxall Hill.
Nor were his claims to sit for Barchester such as could be despised. If
money were to be of no avail, he had plenty of it, and was prepared to
spend it; whereas, rumour said that Mr Moffat was equally determined to
do nothing so foolish. Then again, Sir Roger had a sort of rough
eloquence, and was bold to address the men of Barchester in language
that would come home to their hearts, in words that would endear him to
one party while they made him offensively odious to the other; but Mr
Moffat could make neither friends nor enemies by his eloquence. The
Barchester roughs called him a dumb dog that could not bark, and
sometimes sarcastically added that neither could he bite. The De
Courcy interest, however, was at his back, and he had also the
advantage of possession. Sir Roger, therefore, knew that the battle
was not to be won without a struggle.
Dr Thorne got safely back from Silverbridge that evening, and found
Mary waiting to give him his tea. He had been called there to a
consultation with Dr Century, that amiable old gentleman having so far
fallen away from the high Fillgrave tenets as to consent to the
occasional endurance of such degradation.
The next morning he breakfasted early, and, having mounted his strong
iron-grey cob, started for Boxall Hill. Not only had he there to
negotiate the squire's further loan, but also to exercise his medical
skill. Sir Roger having been declared contractor for cutting a canal
from sea to sea, through the isthmus of Panama, had been making a week
of it; and the result was that Lady Scatcherd had written rather
peremptorily to her husband's medical friend.
The doctor consequently trotted off to Boxall Hill on his iron-grey
cob. Among his other merits was that of being a good horseman, and he
did much of his work on horseback. The fact that he occasionally took
a day with the East Barsetshires, and that when he did so he thoroughly
enjoyed it, had probably not failed to add something to the strength of
the squire's friendship.
'Well, my lady, how is he? Not much the matter, I hope?' said the
doctor, as he shook hands with the titled mistress of Boxall Hill in a
small breakfast-parlour in the rear of the house. The showrooms of
Boxall Hill were furnished most magnificently, but they were set apart
for company; and as the company never came--seeing that they were never
invited--the grand rooms and the grand furniture were not of much
material use to Lady Scatcherd.
'Indeed then, doctor, he's just bad enough,' said her ladyship, not in
a very happy tone of voice; 'just bad enough. There's been some'at the
back of his head, rapping, and rapping, and rapping; and if you don't
do something, I'm thinking it will rap him too hard yet.'
'Is he in bed?'
'Why, yes, he is in bed; for when he was first took he couldn't very
well help hisself, so we put him to bed. And then, he don't seem to be
quite right yet about the legs, so he hasn't got up; but he's got that
Winterbones with him to write for him, and when Winterbones is there,
Scatcherd might as well be up for any good that bed'll do him.'
Mr Winterbones was confidential clerk to Sir Roger. That is to say, he
was a writing-machine of which Sir Roger made use to do certain work
which could not well be adjusted without some contrivance. He was a
little, withered, dissipated, broken-down man, whom gin and poverty had
nearly burnt to a cinder, and dried to an ash. Mind he had none left,
nor care for earthly things, except the smallest modicum of substantial
food, and the largest allowance of liquid sustenance. All that he had
ever known he had forgotten, except how to count up figures and to
write: the results of his counting and his writing never stayed with
him from one hour to another; nay, not from one folio to another. Let
him, however, be adequately screwed up with gin, and adequately screwed
down by the presence of his master, and then no amount of counting and
writing would be too much for him. This was Mr Winterbones,
confidential clerk to the great Sir Roger Scatcherd.
'We must send Winterbones away, I take it,' said the doctor.
'Indeed, doctor, I wish you would. I wish you'd send him to Bath, or
anywhere else out of the way. There is Scatcherd, he takes brandy; and
there is Winterbones, he takes gin; and it'd puzzle a woman to say
which is worst, master or man.'
It will seem from this, that Lady Scatcherd and the doctor were on very
familiar terms as regarded her little domestic inconveniences.
'Tell Sir Roger I am here, will you?' said the doctor.
'You'll take a drop of sherry before you go up?' said the lady.
'Not a drop, thank you,' said the doctor.
'Or, perhaps a little cordial?'
'Not of drop of anything, thank you; I never do, you know.'
'Just a thimbleful of this?' said the lady, producing from some recess
under a sideboard a bottle of brandy; 'just a thimbleful? It's what he
When Lady Scatcherd found that even this argument failed, she led the
way to the great man's bedroom.
'Well, doctor! well, doctor!, well, doctor!' was the greeting with
which our son of Galen was saluted some time before he entered the
sick-room. His approaching step was heard, and thus the ci-devant
Barchester stone-mason saluted his coming friend. The voice was loud
and powerful, but not clear and sonorous. What voice that is nurtured
on brandy can ever be clear? It had about it a peculiar huskiness, a
dissipated guttural tone, which Thorne immediately recognized, and
recognized as being more marked, more guttural, and more husky than
'So you've smelt me out, have you, and come for your fee? Ha! ha! ha!
Well, I have had a sharpish bout of it, as her ladyship there no doubt
has told you. Let her alone to make the worst of it. But, you see,
you're too late, man. I've bilked the old gentleman again without
'Anyway, I'm glad you're something better, Scatcherd.'
'Something! I don't know what you call something. I never was better
in my life. Ask Winterbones here.'
'Indeed, now, Scatcherd, you ain't; you're bad enough if you only knew
it. And as for Winterbones, he has no business here up in your
bedroom, which stinks of gin so, it does. Don't you believe him,
doctor; he ain't well, nor yet nigh well.'
Winterbones, when the above ill-natured allusion was made to the aroma
coming from his libations, might be seen to deposit surreptitiously
beneath the little table at which he sat, the cup with which he had
The doctor, in the meantime, had taken Sir Roger's hand on the pretext
of feeling his pulse, but was drawing quite as much information from
the touch of the sick man's skin, and the look of the sick man's eye.
'I think Mr Winterbones had better go back to the London office,' said
he. 'Lady Scatcherd will be your best clerk for some time, Sir Roger.'
'Then I'll be d---- if Mr Winterbones does anything of the kind,' said
he; 'so there's an end of that.'
'Very well,' said the doctor. 'A man can die but once. It is my duty
to suggest measures for putting off the ceremony as long as possible.
Perhaps, however, you may wish to hasten it.'
'Well, I am not anxious about it, one way or the other,' said
Scatcherd. And as he spoke there came a fierce gleam from his eye,
which seemed to say--'If that's the bugbear with which you wish to
frighten me, you will be mistaken.'
'Now, doctor, don't let him talk that way, don't,' said Lady Scatcherd,
with her handkerchief to her eyes.
'Now, my lady, do you cut it; cut at once,' said Sir Roger, turning
hastily round to his better-half; and his better-half, knowing that
the province of a woman is to obey, did cut it. But as she went she
gave the doctor a pull by the coat's sleeve, so that thereby his
healing faculties might be sharpened to the very utmost.
'The best woman in the world, doctor; the very best,' said he, as the
door closed behind the wife of his bosom.
'I'm sure of it,' said the doctor.
'Yes, till you find a better one,' said Scatcherd. 'Ha! ha! ha! but
for good or bad, there are some things which a woman can't understand,
and some things which she ought not to be let to understand.'
'It's natural she should be anxious about your health, you know.'
'I don't know that,' said the contractor. 'She'll be very well off.
All that whining won't keep a man alive, at any rate.'
There was a pause, during which the doctor continued his medical
examination. To this the patient submitted with a bad grace; but still
he did submit.
'We must turn over a new leaf, Sir Roger; indeed we must.'
'Bother,' said Sir Roger.
'Well, Scatcherd; I must do my duty to you, whether you like it or
'That is to say, I am to pay you for trying to frighten me.'
'No human nature can stand such shocks as those much longer.'
'Winterbones,' said the contractor, turning to his clerk, 'go down,
go down, I say; but don't be out of the way. If you go to the
public-house, by G---- you may stay there for me. When I take a
drop,--that is if I ever do, it does not stand in the way of work.'
So Mr Winterbones, picking up his cup again, and concealing it in
some way beneath his coat flap, retreated out of the room, and the
two friends were alone.
'Scatcherd,' said the doctor, 'you have been as near your God, as any
man ever was who afterwards ate and drank in this world.'
'Have I, now?' said the railway here, apparently somewhat startled.
'Indeed you have; indeed you have.'
'And now I'm all right again?'
'All right! How can you be all right, when you know that your limbs
refuse to carry you? All right! why the blood is still beating round
you brain with a violence that would destroy any other brain but
'Ha! ha! ha!' laughed Scatcherd. He was very proud of thinking
himself to be differently organized from other men. 'Ha! ha! ha! Well
and what am I to do now?'
The whole of the doctor's prescription we will not give at length. To
some of his ordinances Sir Roger promised obedience; to others he
objected violently, and to one or two he flatly refused to listen. The
great stumbling-block was this, that total abstinence from business for
two weeks was enjoined; and that it was impossible, so Sir Roger said,
that he should abstain for two days.
'If you work,' said the doctor, 'in your present state, you will
certainly have recourse to the stimulus of drink; and if you drink,
most assuredly will die.'
'Stimulus! Why do you think I can't work without Dutch courage?'
'Scatcherd, I know that there is brandy in this room at the moment, and
that you have been taking it within these two hours.'
'You smell that fellow's gin,' said Scatcherd.
'I feel the alcohol working within your veins,' said the doctor, who
still had his hand on his patient's arm.
Sir Roger turned himself roughly in the bed so as to get away from his
Mentor, and then he began to threaten in his turn.
'I'll tell you what it is, doctor; I've made up my mind, and I'll do
it. I'll send for Fillgrave.'
'Very well,' said he of Greshamsbury, 'send for Fillgrave. Your case
is one in which even he can hardly go wrong.'
'You think you can hector me, and do as you like because you had me
under your thumb in other days. You're a very good fellow, Thorne, but
I ain't sure that you are the best doctor in all England.'
'You may be sure I am not; you may take me for the worst if you will.
But while I am here as your medical adviser, I can only tell you the
truth to the best of my thinking. Now the truth is, that another bout
of drinking will in all probability kill you; and any recourse to
stimulus in your present condition may do so.'
'I'll send for Fillgrave--'
'Well, send for Fillgrave, only do it at once. Believe me at any rate
in this, that whatever you do, you should do at once. Oblige me in
this; let Lady Scatcherd take away that brandy bottle till Dr Fillgrave
'I'm d---- if I do. Do you think I can't have a bottle of brandy in my
room without swigging?'
'I think you'll be less likely to swig if you can't get at it.'
Sir Roger made another angry turn in his bed as well as his
half-paralysed limbs would let him; and then, after a few moments'
peace, renewed his threats with increased violence.
'Yes; I'll have Fillgrave over here. If a man be ill, really ill, he
should have the best advice he can get. I'll have Fillgrave, and I'll
have that other fellow from Silverbridge to meet him. What's his
The doctor turned his head away; for though the occasion was serious,
he could not help smiling at the malicious vengeance with which his
friend proposed to gratify himself.
'I will; and Rerechild too. What's the expense? I suppose five or six
pounds apiece will do it; eh, Thorne?'
'Oh, yes; that will be liberal I should say. But, Sir Roger, will you
allow me to suggest what you ought to do? I don't know how far you may
'Joking!' shouted the baronet; 'you tell a man he's dying and joking in
the same breath. You'll find I'm not joking.'
'Well I dare say not. But if you have not full confidence in me--'
'I have no confidence in you at all.'
'Then why not send to London? Expense is no object to you.'
'It is an object; a great object.'
'Nonsense! Send to London for Sir Omicron Pie: send for some man whom
you will really trust when you see him.
'There's not one of the lot I'd trust as soon as Fillgrave. I've known
Fillgrave all my life and I trust him. I'll send for Fillgrave and put
my case in his hands. If any one can do anything for me, Fillgrave is
'Then in God's name send for Fillgrave,' said the doctor. 'And now,
good-bye, Scatcherd; and as you do send for him, give him a fair
chance. Do not destroy yourself by more brandy before he comes.'
'That's my affair, and his; not yours,' said the patient.
'So be it; give me your hand, at any rate, before I go. I wish you
well through it, and when you are well, I'll come and see you.'
'Good-bye--good-bye; and look here, Thorne, you'll be talking to Lady
Scatcherd downstairs I know; now, no nonsense. You understand me, eh?
SIR ROGER'S WILL
Dr Thorne left the room and went downstairs, being fully aware that he
could not leave the house without having some communication with Lady
Scatcherd. He was not sooner within the passage than he heard the sick
man's bell ring violently; and then the servant, passing him on the
staircase, received orders to send a mounted messenger immediately to
Barchester. Dr Fillgrave was to be summoned to come as quickly as
possible to the sick man's room, and Mr Winterbones was to be sent up
to write the note.
Sir Roger was quite right in supposing that there would be some words
between the doctor and her ladyship. How, indeed, was the doctor to
get out of the house without such, let him wish it ever so much? There
were words; and these were protracted, while the doctor's cob was being
ordered round, till very many were uttered which the contractor would
probably have regarded as nonsense.
Lady Scatcherd was no fit associate for the wives of English
baronets;--was no doubt by education and manners much better fitted to
sit in their servants' halls; but not on that account was she a bad
wife or a bad woman. She was painfully, fearfully, anxious for that
husband of hers, whom she honoured and worshipped, as it behoved her to
do, above all other men. She was fearfully anxious as to his life, and
faithfully believed, that if any man could prolong it, it was that old
and faithful friend whom she had known to be true to her lord since
their early married troubles.
When, therefore, she found that she had been dismissed, and that a
stranger was to be sent for in his place, her heart sank below within
'But, doctor,' she said, with her apron up to her eyes, 'you ain't
going to leave him, are you?'
Dr Thorne did not find it easy to explain to her ladyship that medical
etiquette would not permit him to remain in attendance on her husband
after he had been dismissed and another physician called in his place.
'Etiquette!' said she, crying. 'What's etiquette to do with it when a
man is a-killing hisself with brandy?'
'Fillgrave will forbid that quite as strongly as I can do.'
'Fillgrave!' said she. 'Fiddlesticks! Fillgrave, indeed!'
Dr Thorne could almost have embraced her for the strong feeling of
thorough confidence on the one side, and thorough distrust on the
other, which she contrived to throw into those few words.
'I'll tell you what, doctor; I won't let that messenger go. I'll bear
the brunt of it. He can't do much now he ain't up, you know. I'll
stop the boy; we won't have no Fillgrave here.'
This, however, was a step to which Dr Thorne would not assent. He
endeavoured to explain to the anxious wife, that after what had passed
he could not tender his medical services till they were again asked
'But you can slip in as a friend, you know; and then by degrees you can
come round him, eh? can't you now, doctor? And as to payment--'
All that Dr Thorne said on the subject may easily be imagined. And in
this way, and in partaking of the lunch which was forced upon him, an
hour had nearly passed between his leaving Sir Roger's bedroom and
putting his foot in the stirrup. But no sooner had the cob begun to
move on the gravel-sweep before the house than one of the upper windows
opened, and the doctor was summoned to another conference with the sick
'He says you are to come back, whether or no,' said Mr Winterbones,
screeching out of the window, and putting all his emphasis on the last
'Thorne! Thorne! Thorne!' shouted the sick man from his sick-bed, so
loudly that the doctor heard him, seated as he was on horseback out
before the house.
'You're to come back, whether or no,' repeated Winterbones, with more
emphasis, evidently conceiving that there was a strength of injunction
in that 'whether or no' which would be found quite invincible.
Whether actuated by these magic words, or by some internal process of
thought, we will not say; but the doctor did slowly, and as though
unwillingly, dismount again from his steed, and slowly retrace his
steps into the house.
'It is no use,' he said to himself, 'for that messenger has already
gone to Barchester.'
'I have sent for Dr Fillgrave,' were the first words which the
contractor said to him when he again found himself by the bedside.
'Did you call me back to tell me that?' said Thorne, who now felt
really angry at the impertinent petulance of the man before him: 'you
should consider, Scatcherd, that my time may be of value to others, if
not to you.'
'Now don't be angry, old fellow,' said Scatcherd, turning to him, and
looking at him with a countenance quite different from any that he had
shown that day; a countenance in which there was a show of
manhood,--some show also of affection. 'You ain't angry now because
I've sent for Fillgrave?'
'Not in the least,' said the doctor very complacently. 'Not in the
least. Fillgrave will do as much good as I can do.'
'And that's none at all, I suppose; eh, Thorne?'
'That depends on yourself. He will do you good if you will tell him
the truth, and will then be guided by him. Your wife, your servant,
any one can be as good a doctor to you as either he or I; as good, that
is, in the main point. But you have sent for Fillgrave now; and of
course you must see him. I have much to do, and you must let me go.'
Scatcherd, however, would not let him go, but held his hand fast.
'Thorne,' said he, 'if you like it, I'll make them put Fillgrave under
the pump directly he comes here. I will indeed, and pay all the damage
This was another proposition to which the doctor could not consent; but
he was utterly unable to refrain from laughing. There was an earnest
look of entreaty about Sir Roger's face as he made the suggestion; and,
joined to this, there was a gleam of comic satisfaction in his eye
which seemed to promise, that if he received the least encouragement he
would put his threat into execution. Now our doctor was not inclined
to taking any steps towards subjecting his learned brother to pump
discipline; but he could not but admit to himself that the idea was not
a bad one.
'I'll have it done, I will, by heavens! if you'll only say the word,'
protested Sir Roger.
But the doctor did not say the word, and so the idea was passed off.
'You shouldn't be so testy with a man when he is ill,' said Scatcherd,
still holding the doctor's hand, of which he had again got possession;
'specially not an old friend; and specially again when you're been
a-blowing him up.'
It was not worth the doctor's while to aver that the testiness had all
been on the other side, and that he had never lost his good-humour; so
he merely smiled, and asked Sir Roger if he could do anything further
'Indeed you can, doctor; and that's why I sent for you,--why I sent for
you yesterday. Get out of the room, Winterbones,' he then said
gruffly, as though he were dismissing from his chamber a dirty dog.
Winterbones, not a whit offended, again hid his cup under his coat-tail
'Sit down, Thorne, sit down,' said the contractor, speaking in quite a
different manner from any that he had yet assumed. 'I know you're in a
hurry, but you must give me half an hour. I may be dead before you can
give me another; who knows?'
The doctor of course declared that he hoped to have many a half-hour's
chat with him for many a year to come.
'Well, that's as may be. You must stop now, at any rate. You can make
the cob pay for it, you know.'
The doctor took a chair and sat down. Thus entreated to stop, he had
hardly any alternative but to do so.
'It wasn't because I'm ill that I sent for you, or rather let her
ladyship send for you. Lord bless you, Thorne; do you think I don't
know what it is that makes me like this? When I see that poor wretch
Winterbones, killing himself with gin, do you think I don't know what's
coming to myself as well as him?
'Why do you take it then? Why do you do it? Your life is not like
his. Oh, Scatcherd! Scatcherd!' and the doctor prepared to pour out
the flood of his eloquence in beseeching this singular man to abstain
from his well-known poison.
'Is that all you know of human nature, doctor? Abstain. Can you
abstain from breathing, and live like a fish does under water?'
'But Nature has not ordered you to drink, Scatcherd.'
'Habit is second nature, man; and a stronger nature than the first. And
why should I not drink? What else has the world given me for all that
I have done for it? What other resource have I? What other
'Oh, my God! Have you not unbounded wealth? Can you not do anything
you wish? be anything you choose?'
'No,' and the sick man shrieked with an energy that made him audible
all through the house. 'I can do nothing that I would choose to do; be
nothing that I would wish to be! What can I do? What can I be? What
gratification can I have except the brandy bottle? If I go among
gentlemen, can I talk to them? If they have anything to say about a
railway, they will ask me a question: if they speak to me beyond that,
I must be dumb. If I go among my workmen, can they talk to me? No; I
am their master, and a stern master. They bob their heads and shake in
their shoes when they see me. Where are my friends? Here!' said he,
and he dragged a bottle from under his very pillow. 'Where are my
amusements? Here!' and he brandished the bottle almost in the doctor's
face. 'Where is my one resource, my one gratification, my only comfort
after all my toils. Here, doctor; here, here, here!' and, so saying,
he replaced his treasure beneath his pillow.
There was something so horrifying in this, that Dr Thorne shrank back
amazed, and was for a moment unable to speak.
'But, Scatcherd,' he said at last; 'surely you would not die for such a
passion as that?' 'Die for it? Aye, would I. Live for it while I can
live; and die for it when I can live no longer. Die for it! What is
that for a man to do? What is a man the worse for dying? What can I be
the worse for dying? A man can die but once, you said just now. I'd
die ten times for this.'
'You are speaking now either in madness, or else in folly, to startle
'Folly enough, perhaps, and madness enough, also. Such a life as mine
makes a man a fool, and makes him mad too. What have about me that I
should be afraid to die? I'm worth three hundred thousand pounds; and
I'd give it all to be able to go to work to-morrow with a hod and
mortar, and have a fellow clap his hand upon my shoulder, and say:
"Well, Roger, shall us have that 'ere other half-pint this morning?"
I'll tell you what, Thorne, when a man has made three hundred thousand
pounds, there's nothing left for him but to die. It's all he's good
for then. When money's been made, the next thing is to spend it. Now
the man who makes it has not the heart to do that.'
The doctor, of course, in hearing all this, said something of a
tendency to comfort and console the mind of his patient. Not that
anything he could say would comfort or console the man; but that it was
impossible to sit there and hear such fearful truths--for as regarded
Scatcherd they were truths--without making some answer.'
'This is as good as a play, isn't, doctor?' said the baronet. 'You
didn't know how I could come out like one of those actor fellows. Well,
now, come; at last I'll tell you why I have sent for you. Before that
last burst of mine I made my will.'
'You had made a will before that.'
'Yes, I had. That will is destroyed. I burnt it with my own hand, so
that there should be no mistake about it. In that will I had named two
executors, you and Jackson. I was then partner with Jackson in the
York and Yeovil Grand Central. I thought a deal of Jackson then. He's
not worth a shilling now.'
'Well, I'm exactly in the same category.'
'No, you're not. Jackson is nothing without money; but money'll never
'No, nor I shan't make money,' said the doctor.
'No, you never will. Nevertheless, there's my other will, there, under
that desk there; and I've put you in as sole executor.'
'You must alter that, Scatcherd; you must indeed; with three hundred
thousand pounds to be disposed of, the trust is far too much for any
one man: besides you must name a younger man; you and I are of the same
age, and I may die first.'
'Now, doctor, no humbug; let's have no humbug from you. Remember this;
if you're not true, you're nothing.'
'Well, but, Scatcherd--'
'Well, but doctor, there's the will, it's already made. I don't want
to consult you about that. You are named as executor, and if you have
the heart to refuse to act when I'm dead, why, of course, you can do
The doctor was not lawyer, and hardly knew whether he had any means of
extricating himself from this position in which his friend was
determined to place him.
'You'll have to see that will carried out, Thorne. Now I'll tell you
what I have done.'
'You're not going to tell me how you have disposed of your property?'
'Not exactly; at least not all of it. One hundred thousand I've in
legacies, including, you know, what Lady Scatcherd will have.'
'Have you not left the house to Lady Scatcherd?'
'No; what the devil would she do with a house like this? She doesn't
know how to live in it now she has got it. I have provided for her; it
matters not how. The house and the estate, and the remainder of my
money I have left to Louis Philippe.'
'What! two hundred thousand pounds?' said the doctor.
'And why shouldn't I leave two hundred thousand pounds to my son, even
to my eldest son if I have more than one? Does not Mr Gresham leave
all his property to his heir? Why should not I make an eldest son as
well as Lord de Courcy or the Duke of Omnium? I suppose a railway
contractor ought not to be allowed an eldest son by Act of Parliament!
Won't my son have a title to keep up? And that's more than the
Greshams have among them.'
The doctor explained away what he said as well as he could. He could
not explain that what he had really meant was this, that Sir Roger
Scatcherd's son was not a man fit to be trusted with the entire control
of an enormous fortune.
Sir Roger Scatcherd had but one child; that child which had been born
in the days of his early troubles, and had been dismissed from his
mother's breast in order that the mother's milk might nourish the young
heir of Greshamsbury. The boy had grown up, but had become strong
neither in mind nor body. His father had determined to make a gentleman
of him, and had sent to Eton and Cambridge. But even this receipt,
generally as it is recognized, will not make a gentleman. It is hard,
indeed, to define what receipt will do so, though people do have in
their own minds some certain undefined, but yet tolerably correct ideas
on the subject. Be that as it may, two years at Eton, and three terms
at Cambridge, did not make a gentleman of Louis Philippe Scatcherd.
Yes; he was christened Louis Philippe, after the King of the French. If
one wishes to look out in the world for royal nomenclature, to find
children who have been christened after kings and queens, or the uncles
and aunts of kings and queens, the search should be made in the
families of democrats. None have so servile a deference for the very
nail-parings of royalty; none feel so wondering an awe at the
exaltation of a crowned head; none are so anxious to secure themselves
some shred or fragment that has been consecrated by the royal touch. It
is the distance which they feel to exist between themselves, and the
throne which makes them covet the crumbs of majesty, the odds and ends
and chance splinters of royalty.
There was nothing royal about Louis Philippe Scatcherd but his name. He
had now come to man's estate, and his father, finding the Cambridge
receipt to be inefficacious, had sent him abroad to travel with a
tutor. The doctor had from time to time heard tidings of this youth;
he knew that he had already shown symptoms of his father's vices, but
no symptoms of his father's talents; he knew that he had begun life by
being dissipated, without being generous; and that at the age of
twenty-one he had already suffered from delirium tremens.
It was on this account that he had expressed disapprobation, rather
than surprise, when he heard that his father intended to bequeath the
bulk of his large fortune to the uncontrolled will of this unfortunate
'I have toiled for my money hard, and I have a right to do as I like
with it. What other satisfaction can it give me?'
The doctor assured him that he did not at all mean to dispute this.
'Louis Philippe will do well enough, you'll find,' continued the
baronet, understanding what was passing within his companion's breast.
'Let a young fellow sow his wild oats while he is young, and he'll be
steady enough when he grows old.'
'But what if he never lives to get through the sowing?' thought the
doctor to himself. 'What if the wild-oats operation is carried on in
so violent a manner as to leave no strength in the soil for the product
of a more valuable crop?' It was of no use saying this, however, so he
allowed Scatcherd to continue.
'If I'd had a free fling when I was a youngster, I shouldn't have been
so fond of the brandy bottle now. But any way, my son shall be my
heir. I've had the gumption to make the money, but I haven't the
gumption to spend it. My son, however, shall be able to ruffle it with
the best of them. I'll go bail he shall hold his head higher than ever
young Gresham will be able to hold his. They are much of the same age,
as well I have cause to remember;--and so has her ladyship here.'
Now the fact was, that Sir Roger Scatcherd felt in his heart no special
love for young Gresham; but with her ladyship it might almost be a
question whether she did not love the youth whom she had nursed almost
as well as that other one who was her own proper offspring.
'And will you not put any check on thoughtless expenditure? If you live
ten or twenty years, as we hope you may, it will become unnecessary;
but in making a will, a man should always remember he may go off
'Especially if he goes to bed with a brandy bottle under his head; eh,
doctor? But, mind, that's a medical secret, you know; not a word of
that out of the bedroom.'
Dr Thorne could but sigh. What could he say on such a subject to such
a man as this?
'Yes, I have put a check on his expenditure. I will not let his daily
bread depend on any man; I have therefore let him five hundred a year
at his own disposal, from the day of my death. Let him make what ducks
and drakes of that he can.'
'Five hundred a year is certainly not much,'said the doctor.
'No; nor do I want to keep him to that. Let him have whatever he wants
if he sets about spending it properly. But the bulk of the
property--this estate of Boxall Hill, and the Greshamsbury mortgage, and
those other mortgages--I have tied up in this way: they shall be all his
at twenty-five; and up to that age it shall be in your power to give
him what he wants. If he shall die without children before he shall be
twenty-five years of age, they are all to go to Mary's eldest child.'
Now Mary was Sir Roger's sister, the mother, therefore, of Miss Thorne,
and, consequently, the wife of the respectable ironmonger who went to
America, and the mother of a family there.
'Mary's eldest child!' said the doctor, feeling that the perspiration
had nearly broken out on his forehead, and that he could hardly control
his feelings. 'Mary's eldest child! Scatcherd, you should be more
particular in your description, or you will leave your best legacy to
'I don't know, and never heard the name of one of them.'
'But do you mean a boy or a girl?'
'They may be all girls for what I know, or all boys; besides, I don't
care which it is. A girl would probably do best with it. Only you'd
have to see that she married some decent fellow; you'd be her
'Pooh, nonsense,' said the doctor. 'Louis will be five-and-twenty in
a year or two.'
'In about four years.'
'And for all that's come and gone yet, Scatcherd, you are not going to
leave us yourself quite so soon as all that.'
'Not if I can help it; but that's as may be.'
'The chances are ten to one that such a clause in your will will never
come to bear.'
'Quite so, quite so. If I die, Louis Philippe won't, but I thought it
right to put in something to prevent his squandering it all before he
comes to his senses.'
'Oh! quite right, quite right. I think I would have named a later age
'So would not I. Louis Philippe will be all right by that time. That's
my lookout. And now, doctor, you know my will; and if I die to-morrow,
you will know what I want you to do for me.'
'You have merely said the eldest child, Scatcherd?'
'That's all; give it here; and I'll read it to you.'
'No; no; never mind. The eldest child! You should be more particular,
Scatcherd; you should, indeed. Consider what an enormous interest may
have to depend on those words.'
'Why, what the devil could I say? I don't know their names; never even
heard them. But the eldest is the eldest, all the world over. Perhaps
I ought to say the youngest, seeing that I am only a railway
Scatcherd began to think that the doctor might now as well go away and
leave him to the society of Winterbones and the brandy; but, much as
our friend had before expressed himself in a hurry, he now seemed
inclined to move very leisurely. He sat there by the bedside, resting
his hands on his knees and gazing unconsciously at the counterpane. At
last he gave a deep sigh, and then he said, 'Scatcherd, you must be
more particular in this. If I am to have anything to do with it, you
must, indeed, be more explicit.'
'Why, how the deuce can I be more explicit? Isn't her eldest living
child plain enough, whether he be Jack, or she be Gill?'
'What did your lawyer say to this, Scatcherd?'
'Lawyer! You don't suppose I let my lawyer know what I was putting.
No; I got the form and the paper, and all that from him, and I did it
in another. It's all right enough. Though Winterbones wrote it, he
did it in such a way he did not know what he was writing.'
The doctor sat a while longer, still looking at the counter-pane, and
then got up to depart. 'I'll see you again soon,' said he; 'to-morrow,
'To-morrow!' said Sir Roger, not at all understanding why Dr Thorne
should talk of returning so soon. 'To-morrow! why I ain't so bad as
that, man, am I? If you come so often as that you will ruin me.'
'Oh, not as a medical man; not as that; but about this will,
Scatcherd. I must think if over; I must, indeed.'
'You need not give yourself the least trouble in the world about my
will till I'm dead; not the least. And who knows--may be, I may be
settling your affairs yet; eh, doctor? looking after your niece when
you're dead and gone, and getting a husband for her, eh? Ha! ha! ha!'
And then, without further speech, the doctor went his way.
THE DOCTOR DRINKS HIS TEA
The doctor got on his cob and went his way, returning duly to
Greshamsbury. But, in truth, as he went he hardly knew whither he was
going, or what he was doing. Sir Roger had hinted that the cob would
be compelled to make up for lost time by extra exertion on the road;
but the cob had never been permitted to have his own way as to pace
more satisfactorily than on the present occasion. The doctor, indeed,
hardly knew that he was on horseback, so completely was he enveloped in
the cloud of his own thoughts.
In the first place, that alternative which it had become him to put
before the baronet as one unlikely to occur--that of the speedy death of
both father and son--was one which he felt in his heart of hearts might
very probably come to pass.
'The chances are ten to one that such a clause will never be brought to
bear.' This he had said partly to himself, so as to ease the thoughts
which came crowding on his brain; partly, also, in pity for the patient
and the father. But now that he thought the matter over, he felt that
there were no such odds. Were not the odds the other way? Was it not
almost probable that both these men might be gathered to their long
account within the next four years? One, the elder, was a strong man,
indeed; one who might yet live for years to come if he could but give
himself fair play. But then, he himself protested, and protested with
a truth too surely grounded, that fair play to himself was beyond his
own power to give. The other, the younger, had everything against
him. Not only was he a poor, puny creature, without physical strength,
one of whose life a friend could never feel sure under any
circumstances, but he also was already addicted to his father's vices;
he also was already killing himself with alcohol.
And then, if these two men did die within the prescribed period, if
this clause of Sir Roger's will were brought to bear, it should become
his, Dr Thorne's, duty to see that clause carried out, how would he be
bound to act? That woman's eldest child was his own niece, his adopted
bairn, his darling, the pride of his heart, the cynosure of his eye,
his child also, his own Mary. Of all his duties on this earth, next to
that one great duty to his God and conscience, was his duty to her.
What, under these circumstances, did his duty to her require of him?
But then, that one great duty, that duty which she would be the first
to expect from him; what did that demand of him? Had Scatcherd made
his will without saying what its clauses were, it seemed to Thorne that
Mary must have been the heiress, should that clause become necessarily
operative. Whether she were so or not would at any rate be for lawyers
to decide. But now the case was very different. This rich man had
confided in him, and would it not be a breach of confidence, an act of
absolute dishonesty--an act of dishonesty both to Scatcherd and to that
far-distant American family, to that father, who, in former days, had
behaved so nobly, and to that eldest child of his, would it not be
gross dishonesty to them all if he allowed this man to leave a will by
which his property might go to a person never intended to be his heir?
Long before he had arrived at Greshamsbury his mind on this point had
been made up. Indeed, it had been made up while sitting there by
Scatcherd's bedside. It had not been difficult to make up his mind to
so much; but then, his way out of this dishonesty was not so easy for
him to find. How should he set this matter right to as to inflict no
injury on his niece, and no sorrow to himself--if that indeed could be
And then other thoughts crowded on his brain. He had always
professed--professed at any rate to himself and to her--that of all the
vile objects of a man's ambition, wealth, wealth merely for its own
sake, was the vilest. They, in their joint school of inherent
philosophy, had progressed to ideas which they might find it not easy
to carry out, should they be called on by events to do so. And if this
would have been difficult to either when acting on behalf of self
alone, how much more difficult when one might have to act for the
other! This difficulty had now come to the uncle. Should he, in this
emergency, take upon himself to fling away the golden chance which
might accrue to his niece if Scatcherd should be encouraged to make her
partly his heir?
'He'd want her to go and live there--to live with him and his wife.
All the money in the Bank of England would not pay her for such misery,'
said the doctor to himself, as he slowly rode into is own yard.
On one point, and one only, had he definitely made up his mind. On the
following day he would go over again to Boxall Hill, and would tell
Scatcherd the whole truth. Come what might, the truth must be best.
And so, with some gleam of comfort, he went into the house, and found
his niece in the drawing-room with Patience Oriel.
'Mary and I have been quarrelling,' said Patience. 'She says the
doctor is the greatest man in a village; and I say the parson is of
'I only say that the doctor is the most looked after,' said Mary.
'There's another horrid message for you to go to Silverbridge, uncle.
Why can't that Dr Century manage his own people?'
'She says,' continued Miss Oriel, 'that if a parson was away for a
month, no one would miss him; but that a doctor is so precious that his
very minutes are counted.'
'I am sure uncle's are. They begrudge him his meals. Mr Oriel never
gets called away to Silverbridge.'
'No; we in the Church manage our parish arrangements better than you
do. We don't let strange practitioners in among our flocks because the
sheep may chance to fancy them. Our sheep have to put up with our
spiritual doses whether they like them or not. In that respect we are
much the best off. I advise you, Mary, to marry a clergyman, by all
'I will when you marry a doctor,' said she.
'I am sure nothing on earth would give me greater pleasure,' said Miss
Oriel, getting up and curtseying very low to Dr Thorne; 'but I am not
quite prepared for the agitation of an offer this morning, so I'll run
And so she went; and the doctor, getting to his other horse, started
again for Silverbridge, wearily enough. 'She's happy now where she
is,' said he to himself, as he rode along. 'They all treat her there
as an equal at Greshamsbury. What though she be no cousin to the
Thornes of Ullathorne. She has found her place there among them all,
and keeps it on equal terms with the best of them. There is Miss
Oriel; her family is high; she is rich, fashionable, a beauty, courted
by every one; but yet she does not look down on Mary. They are equal
friends together. But how would it be if she were taken to Boxall
Hill, even as a recognized niece of the rich man there? Would Patience
Oriel and Beatrice Gresham go there after her? Could she be happy
there as she is in my house here, poor though it be? It would kill her
to pass a month with Lady Scatcherd and put up with that man's humours,
to see his mode of life, to be dependent on him, to belong to him.' And
then the doctor, hurrying on to Silverbridge, again met Dr Century at
the old lady's bedside, and having made his endeavours to stave off the
inexorable coming of the grim visitor, again returned to his own niece
and his own drawing-room.
'You must be dead, uncle,' said Mary, as she poured out his tea for
him, and prepared the comforts of that most comfortable meal-tea,
dinner, and supper, all in one. 'I wish Silverbridge was fifty miles
'That would only make the journey worse; but I am not dead yet, and,
what is more to the purpose, neither is my patient.' And as he spoke
he contrived to swallow a jorum of scalding tea, containing in measure
somewhat near a pint. Mary, not a whit amazed at this feat, merely
refilled the jorum without any observation; and the doctor went on
stirring the mixture with his spoon, evidently oblivious that any
ceremony had been performed by either of them since the first supply
had been administered to him.
When the clatter of knives and forks was over, the doctor turned
himself to the hearthrug, and putting one leg over the other, he began
to nurse it as he looked with complacency at his third cup of tea,
which stood untasted beside him. The fragments of the solid banquet
had been removed, but no sacrilegious hand had been laid on the teapot
and the cream-jug.
'Mary,' said he, 'suppose you were to find out to-morrow morning that,
by some accident, you had become a great heiress, would you be able to
suppress your exultation?'
'The first thing I'd do, would be to pronounce a positive edict that
you should never go to Silverbridge again; at least without a day's
'Well, and what next? what would you do next?'
'The next thing--the next thing would be to send to Paris for a French
bonnet exactly like the one Patience Oriel had on. Did you see it?'
'Well I can't say I did; bonnets are invisible now; besides I never
remark anybody's clothes, except yours.'
'Oh! do look at Miss Oriel's bonnet the next time you see her. I cannot
understand why it should be so, but I am sure of this--no English
fingers put together such a bonnet as that; and I am nearly sure that
no French fingers could do it in England.'
'But you don't care so much about bonnets, Mary!' This the doctor said
as an assertion; but there was, nevertheless, somewhat of a question
involved in it.
'Don't I though?' said she. 'I do care very much about bonnets;
especially since I saw Patience this morning. I asked how much it
'Oh! I don't know--a pound?'
'A pound, uncle!'
'What! a great deal more? Ten pounds?'
'What! more than ten pounds? Then I don't think even Patience Oriel
ought to give it.'
'No, of course she would not; but, uncle, it really cost a hundred
'Oh! a hundred francs; that's four pounds, isn't it? Well, and how
much did your last new bonnet cost?'
'Mine! oh, nothing--five and ninepence, perhaps; I trimmed it myself.
If I were left a great fortune, I'd send to Paris to-morrow; no, I'd
go myself to Paris to buy a bonnet, and I'd take you with me to choose
The doctor sat silent for a while meditating about this, during which
he unconsciously absorbed the tea beside him; and Mary again
replenished his cup.
'Come, Mary,' he said at last, 'I'm in a generous mood; and as I am
rather more rich than usual, we'll send to Paris for a French
bonnet. The going for it must wait a while longer I am afraid.'
'No, indeed. If you know the way to send--that I must confess would
puzzle me; but if you'll manage the sending, I'll manage the paying;
and you shall have a French bonnet.'
'Uncle!' said she, looking up at him.
'Oh, I'm not joking; I owe you a present, and I'll give you that.'
'And if you do, I'll tell you what I'll do with it. I'll cut it into
fragments, and burn them before your face. Why, uncle, what do you
take me for? You're not a bit nice to-night to make such an offer as
that to me; not a bit, not a bit.' And then she came over from her
seat at the tea-tray and sat down on a foot-stool close at his knee.
'Because I'd have a French bonnet if I had a large fortune, is that a
reason why I should like one now? if you were to pay four pounds for a
bonnet for me, it would scorch my head every time I put it on.'
'I don't see that: four pounds would not ruin me. However, I don't
think you'd look a bit better if you had it; and, certainly, I should
not like to scorch these locks,' and putting his hand upon her
shoulders, he played with her hair.
'Patience has a pony-phaeton, and I'd have one if I were rich; and I'd
have all my books bound as she does; and, perhaps, I'd give fifty
guineas for a dressing-case.'
'Patience did not tell me; but so Beatrice says. Patience showed it to
me once, and it is a darling. I think I'd have the dressing-case
before the bonnet. But, uncle--'
'You don't suppose I want such things?'
'Not improperly. I am sure you do not.'
'Not properly, or improperly; not much, or little. I covet many
things; but nothing of that sort. You know, or should know, that I do
not. Why do you talk of buying a French bonnet for me?'
Dr Thorne did not answer this question, but went on nursing his leg.
'After all,' said he, 'money is a fine thing.'
'Very fine, when it is well come by,' she answered; 'that is, without
detriment to the heart and soul.'
'I should be a happier man if you were provided for as Miss Oriel.
Suppose, now, I could give you up to a rich man who would be able to
insure you against all wants?'
'Insure me against all wants! Oh, that would be a man. That would be
selling me, wouldn't it, uncle? Yes, selling me; and the price you
would receive would be freedom from future apprehensions as regards
me. It would be a cowardly sale for you to make; and then, as to me--me
the victim. No, uncle; you must bear the misery of having to provide
for me--bonnets and all. We are in the same boat, and you shan't turn
'But if I were to die, what would you do then?'
'And if I were to die, what would you do? People must be bound
together. They must depend on each other. Of course, misfortunes may
come; but it is cowardly to be afraid of them beforehand. You and I
are bound together, uncle; and though you say these things to tease me,
I know you do not wish to get rid of me.'
'Well, well; we shall win through, doubtless; if not in one way, then
'Win through! Of course we shall; who doubts our winning? but, uncle--'
'You haven't got another cup of tea, have you?'
'Oh, uncle! you have had five.'
'No, my dear! not five; only four--only four. I assure you; I have
been very particular to count. I had one while I was--'
'Five uncle; indeed and indeed.'
'Well, then, as I hate the prejudice which attaches luck to an odd
number, I'll have the sixth to show that I am not superstitious.'
While Mary was preparing the sixth jorum, there came a knock at the
door. Those late summonses were hateful to Mary's ear, for they were
usually forerunners of a midnight ride through the dark lanes to some
farmer's house. The doctor had been in the saddle all day, and, as
Janet brought the note into the room, Mary stood up as though to defend
her uncle from any further invasion on his rest.
'A note from the house, miss,' said Janet: now 'the house', in
Greshamsbury parlance, always meant the squire's mansion.
'No one ill at the house, I hope,' said the doctor, taking the note
from Mary's hand. 'Oh--ah--yes; it's from the squire--there's nobody
ill: wait a minute, Janet, and I'll write a line. Mary, lend me your
The squire, anxious as usual for money, had written to ask what success
the doctor had had in negotiating the new loan with Sir Roger. That
fact, however, was, that in his visit to Boxall Hill, the doctor had
been altogether unable to bring on the carpet the matter of this loan.
Subjects had crowded themselves in too quickly during that
interview--those two interviews at Sir Roger's bedside; and he had been
obliged to leave without even alluding to the question.
'I must at any rate go back now,' he said to himself. So he wrote to
the squire, saying that he was to be at Boxall Hill again on the
following day, and that he would call at the house on his return.
'That's all settled, at any rate,' said he.
'What's settled?' said Mary.
'Why, I must go to Boxall Hill again to-morrow. I must go early, too,
so we'd better both be off to bed. Tell Janet I must breakfast at
'You couldn't take me, could you? I should so like to see that Sir
'To see Sir Roger! Why, he's ill in bed.'
'That's an objection, certainly; but some day, when he's well, could
you not take me over? I have the greatest desire to see a man like
that; a man who began with nothing and now has more than enough to buy
the whole parish of Greshamsbury.'
'I don't think you'd like him at all.'
'Why not? I am sure I should; I am sure I should like him, and Lady
Scatcherd too. I've heard you say that she is an excellent woman.'
'Yes, in her way; and he, too, is good in his way; but they are neither
of them in your way: they are extremely vulgar--'
'Oh! I don't mind that; that would make them more amusing; one doesn't
go to those sort of people for polished manners.'
'I don't think you'd find the Scatcherds pleasant acquaintances at
all,' said the doctor, taking his bed-candle, and kissing his niece's
forehead as he left the room.
WHEN GREEK MEETS GREEK, THEN COMES THE TUG OF WAR
The doctor, that is our doctor, had thought nothing more of the message
which had been sent to that other doctor, Dr Fillgrave; nor in truth
did the baronet. Lady Scatcherd had thought of it, but her husband
during the rest of the day was not in a humour which allowed her to
remind him that he would soon have a new physician on his hands; so she
left the difficulty to arrange itself, waiting in some little
trepidation till Dr Fillgrave should show himself.
It was well that Sir Roger was not dying for want of his assistance,
for when the message reached Barchester, Dr Fillgrave was some five or
six miles out of town, at Plumstead; and as he did not get back till
late in the evening, he felt himself necessitated to put off his visit
to Boxall Hill till next morning. Had he chanced to have been made
acquainted with that little conversation about the pump, he would
probably have postponed it even yet a while longer.
He was, however, by no means sorry to be summoned to the bedside of Sir
Roger Scatcherd. It was well known at Barchester, and very well known
to Dr Fillgrave, that Sir Roger and Dr Thorne were old friends. It was
very well known to him also, that Sir Roger, in all his bodily
ailments, had hitherto been contented to entrust his safety to the
skill of his old friend. Sir Roger was in his way a great man, and
much talked of in Barchester, and rumour had already reached the ears
of the Barchester Galen, that the great railway contractor was ill.
When, therefore, he received a peremptory summons to go over to Boxall
Hill, he could not but think that some pure light had broken in upon
Sir Roger's darkness, and taught him at last where to look for true
And then, also, Sir Roger was the richest man in the county, and to
county practitioners a new patient with large means is a godsend; how
much greater a godsend when not only acquired, but taken also from
some rival practitioner, need hardly be explained.
Dr Fillgrave, therefore, was somewhat elated when, after an early
breakfast, he stepped into the post-chaise which was to carry him to
Boxall Hill. Dr Fillgrave's professional advancement had been
sufficient to justify the establishment of a brougham, in which he paid
his ordinary visits round Barchester; but this was a special occasion,
requiring special speed, and about to produce no doubt a special
guerdon, and therefore a pair of post-horses were put into request.
It was hardly yet nine when the post-boy somewhat loudly rang the bell
at Sir Roger's door; and then Dr Fillgrave, for the first time, found
himself in the new grand hall of Boxall Hill house.
'I'll tell my lady,' said the servant, showing him into the grand
dining-room; and there for some fifteen minutes or twenty minutes Dr
Fillgrave walked up and down the length of the Turkey carpet all alone.
Dr Fillgrave was not a tall man, and was perhaps rather more inclined
to corpulence than became his height. In his stocking-feet, according
to the usually received style of measurement, he was five feet five;
and he had a little round abdominal protuberance, which an inch and a
half added to the heels of his boots hardly enabled him to carry off as
well as he himself would have wished. Of this he was apparently
conscious, and it gave to him an air of not being entirely at his
ease. There was, however, a personal dignity in his demeanour, a
propriety in his gait, and an air of authority in his gestures which
should prohibit one from stigmatizing those efforts at altitude as a
failure. No doubt he did achieve much; but, nevertheless, the effort
would occasionally betray itself, and the story of the frog and the ox
would irresistibly force itself into one's mind at those moments when
it most behoved Dr Fillgrave to be magnificent.
But if the bulgy roundness of his person and the shortness of his legs
in any way detracted from his personal importance, these trifling
defects were, he was well aware, more than atoned for by the peculiar
dignity of his countenance. If his legs were short, his face was not;
if there was any undue preponderance below the waistcoat, all was in
due symmetry above the necktie. His hair was grey, not grizzled, nor
white, but properly grey; and stood up straight from his temples on
each side, with an unbending determination of purpose. His whiskers,
which were of an admirable shape, coming down and turning gracefully at
the angle of his jaw, were grey also, but somewhat darker than his
hair. His enemies in Barchester declared that their perfect shade was
produced by a leaden comb. His eyes were not brilliant, but were very
effective, and well under command. He was rather short-sighted, and a
pair of eye-glasses was always on his nose, or in his hand. His nose
was long, and well pronounced, and his chin, also, was sufficiently
prominent; but the great feature of his face was his mouth. The amount
of secret medical knowledge of which he could give assurance by the
pressure of those lips was truly wonderful. By his lips, also, he
could be most exquisitely courteous, or most sternly forbidding. And
not only could he be either the one or the other; but he could at his
will assume any shade of difference between the two, and produce any
mixture of sentiment.
When Dr Fillgrave was first shown into Sir Roger's dining-room, he
walked up and down the room for a while with easy, jaunty step, with
his hands joined together behind his back, calculating the price of the
furniture, and counting the heads which might be adequately entertained
in a room of such noble proportions; but in seven or eight minutes an
air of impatience might have been seen to suffuse his face. Why could
he not be shown into the sick man's room? What necessity could there
be for keeping him there, as though he were some apothecary with a box
of leeches in his pocket? He then rang the bell, perhaps a little
violently. 'Does Sir Roger know that I am here?' he said to the
servant. 'I'll tell my lady,' said the man, again vanishing.
For five minutes more he walked up and down, calculating no longer the
value of the furniture, but rather that of his own importance. He was
not wont to be kept waiting in this way; and though Sir Roger Scatcherd
was at present a great and rich man, Dr Fillgrave had remembered him a
very small and a very poor man. He now began to think of Sir Roger as
the stone-mason, and to chafe somewhat more violently at being so kept
by such a man.
When one is impatient, five minutes is as the duration of all time, and
a quarter of an hour is eternity. At the end of twenty minutes the
step of Dr Fillgrave up and down the room had become very quick, and he
had just made up his mind that he would not stay there all day to the
serious detriment, perhaps fatal injury, of his other expectant
patients. His hand was again on the bell, and was about to be used with
vigour, when the door opened and Lady Scatcherd entered.
'Oh, laws!' Such had been her first exclamation on hearing that the
doctor was in the dining-room. She was standing at the time with her
housekeeper in a small room in which she kept her linen and jam, and in
which, in company with the same housekeeper, she spent the happiest
moments of her life.
'Oh laws! now, Hannah, what shall we do?'
'Send 'un up at once to master, my lady! let John take 'un up.'
'There'll be such a row in the house, Hannah; I know there will.'
'But surely didn't he send for 'un? Let the master have the row
himself, then; that's what I'd do, my lady,' added Hannah, seeing that
her ladyship still stood trembling in doubt, biting her thumb-nail.
'You couldn't go up to the master yourself, could now, Hannah?' said
Lady Scatcherd in her most persuasive tone.
'Why no,' said Hannah, after a little deliberation; 'no, I'm afeard I
'Then I must just face it myself.' And up went the wife to tell her
lord that the physician for whom he had sent had come to attend his
In the interview which then took place the baronet had not indeed been
violent, but he had been very determined. Nothing on earth, he said,
should induce him to see Dr Fillgrave and offend his dear old friend Dr