Part 4 out of 12
'But Roger,' said her ladyship, half crying, or rather pretending to
cry in vexation, 'what shall I do with the man? How shall I get him out
of the house?'
'Put him under the pump,' said the baronet; and he laughed his peculiar
low guttural laugh, which told so plainly of the havoc which brandy had
made in his throat.
'That's nonsense, Roger; you know I can't put him under the pump. Now
you are ill, and you'd better see him just for five minutes. I'll make
it right with Dr Thorne.'
'I'll be d---- if I do, my lady.' All the people about Boxall Hill called
poor Lady Scatcherd 'my lady' as if there was some excellent joke in
it; and, so, indeed, there was.
'You know you needn't mind nothing he says, nor yet take nothing he
sends: and I'll tell him not to come no more. Now do 'ee see him,
But there was not coaxing Roger over now, indeed ever: he was a wilful,
headstrong, masterful man; a tyrant always though never a cruel one;
and accustomed to rule his wife and household as despotically as he did
his gangs of workmen. Such men it is not easy to coax over.
'You go down and tell him I don't want him, and won't see him, and
that's an end of it. If he chose to earn his money, why didn't he come
yesterday when he was sent for? I'm well now, and don't want him; and
what's more, I won't have him. Winterbones, lock the door.'
So Winterbones, who during this interview had been at work at his
little table, got up to lock the door, and Lady Scatcherd had no
alternative but to pass through it before the last edict was obeyed.
Lady Scatcherd, with slow step, went downstairs and again sought
counsel with Hannah, and the two, putting their heads together, agreed
that the only cure for the present evil was to found in a good fee. So
Lady Scatcherd, with a five-pound note in her hand, and trembling in
every limb, went forth to encounter the august presence of Dr
As the door opened, Dr Fillgrave dropped the bell-rope which was in his
hand, and bowed low to the lady. Those who knew the doctor well, would
have known from his bow that he was not well pleased; it was as much as
though he said, 'Lady Scatcherd, I am your most obedient servant; at
any rate it appears that it is your pleasure to treat me as such.'
Lady Scatcherd did not understand all this; but she perceived at once
that he was angry.
'I hope Sir Roger does not find himself worse,' said the doctor. 'The
morning is getting on; shall I step up and see him?'
'Hem! ha! oh! Why, you see, Dr Fillgrave, Sir Roger finds hisself
vastly better this morning, vastly so.'
'I'm very glad to hear it; but as the morning is getting on, shall I
step up to see Sir Roger?'
'Why, Dr Fillgrave, sir, you see, he finds hisself so much hisself this
morning, that he a'most thinks it would be a shame to trouble you.'
'A shame to trouble me!' This was the sort of shame which Dr Fillgrave
did not at all comprehend. 'A shame to trouble me! Why Lady
Lady Scatcherd saw that she had nothing for it but to make the whole
matter intelligible. Moreover, seeing that she appreciated more
thoroughly the smallness of Dr Fillgrave's person more thoroughly than
she did the peculiar greatness of his demeanour, she began to be a
shade less afraid of him than she had thought she should have been.
'Yes, Dr Fillgrave; you see, when a man like he gets well, he can't
abide the idea of doctors: now, yesterday, he was all for sending for
you; but to-day he comes to hisself, and don't seem to want no doctor
Then did Dr Fillgrave seem to grow out of his boots, so suddenly did he
take upon himself sundry modes of expansive attitude;--to grow out of
his boots and to swell upwards, till his angry eyes almost looked down
on Lady Scatcherd, and each erect hair bristled up towards the heavens.
'This is very singular, very singular, Lady Scatcherd; very singular
indeed; very singular; quite unusual. I have come here from Barchester,
at some considerable inconvenience, at some very considerable
inconvenience, I may say, to my regular patients; and--and--and--I don't
know that anything so very singular ever occurred to me before.' And
then Dr Fillgrave, with a compression of his lips which almost made the
poor woman sink into the ground, moved towards the door.
Then Lady Scatcherd bethought of her great panacea. 'It isn't about
the money, you know, doctor,' said she; 'of course Sir Roger don't
expect you to come here with post-horses for nothing.' In this, by
the by, Lady Scatcherd did not stick quite close to veracity, for Sir
Roger, had he known it, would by no means have assented to any payment;
and the note which her ladyship held in her hand was taken from her own
private purse. 'It ain't about the money, doctor;' and then she
tendered the bank-note, which she thought would immediately make all
Now Dr Fillgrave dearly loved a five-pound fee. What physician is so
unnatural as not to love it? He dearly loved a five-pound fee; but he
loved his dignity better. He was angry also; and like all angry men,
he loved his grievance. He felt that he had been badly treated; but if
he took the money he would throw away his right to indulge in any such
feeling. At that moment his outraged dignity and cherished anger were
worth more than a five-pound note. He looked at it with wishful but
still averted eyes, and then sternly refused the tender.
'No, madam,' said he; 'no, no;' and with his right hand raised with his
eye-glasses in it, he motioned away the tempting paper. 'No; I should
have been happy to have given Sir Roger the benefit of any medical
skill I may have, seeing that I was specially called in--'
'But, doctor; if the man's well, you know--'
'Oh, of course; if he's well, and does not choose to see me, there's an
end of it. Should he have any relapse, as my time is valuable, he will
perhaps oblige me by sending elsewhere. Madam, good morning. I will,
if you will allow me, ring for my carriage--that is, post-chaise.'
'But, doctor, you'll take the money; you must take the money; indeed
you'll take the money,' said Lady Scatcherd, who had now become really
unhappy at the idea of her husband's unpardonable whim had brought this
man with post-horses all the way from Barchester, and that he was to be
paid nothing for his time or costs.
'No, madam, no. I could not think of it. Sir Roger, I have no doubt,
will know better another time. It is not a question of money; not at
'But it is a question of money, doctor; and you really shall, you
must.' And poor Lady Scatcherd, in her anxiety to acquit herself at
any rate of any pecuniary debt to the doctor, came to personal close
quarters with him, with a view of forcing the note into his hands.
'Quite impossible, quite impossible,' said the doctor, still cherishing
his grievance, and valiantly rejecting the root of all evil. 'I shall
not do anything of the kind, Lady Scatcherd.'
'Now doctor, do 'ee; to oblige me.'
'Quite out of the question.' And so, with his hands and hat behind his
back, in token of his utter refusal to accept any pecuniary
accommodation of his injury, he made his way backwards to the door, her
ladyship perseveringly pressing him in front. So eager had been the
attack on him, that he had not waited to give his order about the
post-chaise, but made his way at once towards the hall.
'Now, do 'ee take it, do 'ee,' pressed Lady Scatcherd.
'Utterly out of the question,' said Dr Fillgrave, with great
deliberation, as he backed his way into the hall. As he did so, of
course he turned round,--and he found himself almost in the arms of Dr
As Burley might have glared at Bothwell when they rushed together in
the dread encounter on the mountain side; as Achilles may have glared
at Hector when at last they met, each resolved to test in fatal
conflict the prowess of the other, so did Dr Fillgrave glare at his foe
from Greshamsbury, when, on turning round on his exalted heel, he found
his nose on a level with the top button of Dr Thorne's waistcoat.
And here, if it be not too tedious, let us pause a while to
recapitulate and add up the undoubted grievances of the Barchester
practitioner. He had made no effort to ingratiate himself into the
sheepfold of that other shepherd-dog; it was not by his seeking that he
was not at Boxall Hill; much as he hated Dr Thorne, full sure as he
felt of that man's utter ignorance, of his incapacity to administer
properly even a black dose, of his murdering propensities and his low,
mean, unprofessional style of practice; nevertheless, he had done
nothing to undermine him with these Scatcherds. Dr Thorne might have
sent every mother's son at Boxall Hill to his long account, and Dr
Fillgrave would not have interfered;--would not have interfered unless
specially and duly called upon to do so.
But he had been and duly called on. Before such a step was taken some
words must undoubtedly have passed on the subject between Thorne and
Scatcherds. Thorne must have known what was to be done. Having been
so called, Dr Fillgrave had come--had come all the way in a
post-chaise--had been refused admittance to the sick man's room, on the
plea that the sick man was no longer sick; and just as he was about to
retire fee-less--for the want of the fee was not the less a grievance
from the fact of its having been tendered and refused--feeless,
dishonoured, and in dudgeon, he encountered this other doctor--this
very rival whom he had been sent to supplant; he encountered him in the
very act of going to the sick man's room.
What mad fanatic Burley, what god-succoured insolent Achilles, ever had
such cause to swell with wrath as at that moment had Dr Fillgrave? Had
I the pen of Moliere, I could fitly tell of such medical anger, but
with no other pen can it be fitly told. He did swell, and when the huge
bulk of his wrath was added to his natural proportions, he loomed
gigantic before the eyes of the surrounding followers of Sir Roger.
Dr Thorne stepped back three steps and took his hat from his head,
having, in the passage from the hall-door to the dining-room, hitherto
omitted to do so. It must be borne in mind that he had no conception
whatever that Sir Roger had declined to see the physician for whom he
had sent; none whatever that the physician was now about to return,
feeless, to Barchester.
Dr Thorne and Dr Fillgrave were doubtless well-known enemies. All the
world of Barchester, and all that portion of the world of London which
is concerned with the lancet and the scalping-knife, were well aware of
this: they were continually writing against each other; continually
speaking against each other; but yet they had never hitherto come to
that positive personal collision which is held to justify a cut
direct. They very rarely saw each other; and when they did meet, it
was in some casual way in the streets of Barchester or elsewhere, and
on such occasions their habit had been to bow with very cold propriety.
On the present occasion, Dr Thorne of course felt that Dr Fillgrave had
the whip-hand of him; and, with a sort of manly feeling on such a
point, he conceived it to be most compatible with his own dignity to
show, under such circumstances, more than his usual courtesy--something,
perhaps, amounting almost to cordiality. He had been supplanted, quoad
doctor, in the house of this rich, eccentric, railway baronet, and he
would show that he bore no malice on that account.
So he smiled blandly as he took off his hat, and in a civil speech he
expressed a hope that Dr Fillgrave had not found his patient to be in
any very unfavourable state.
Here was an aggravation to the already lacerated feelings of the
injured man. He had been brought thither to be scoffed at and scorned
at, that he might be a laughing-stock to his enemies, and food for
mirth to the vile-minded. He swelled with noble anger till he would
have burst, had it not been for the opportune padding of his
'Sir,' said he; 'sir:' and he could hardly get his lips open to give
vent to the tumult of his heart. Perhaps he was not wrong; for it may
be that his lips were more eloquent than would have been his words.
'What's the matter?' said Dr Thorne, opening his eyes wide, and
addressing Lady Scatcherd over his head and across the hairs of the
irritated man below him. 'What on earth is the matter? Is anything
wrong with Sir Roger?'
'Oh, laws, doctor!' said her ladyship. 'Oh, laws; I'm sure it ain't my
fault. Here's Dr Fillgrave, in a taking, and I'm quite ready to pay
him--quite. If a man gets paid, what more can he want?' And she again
held out the five-pound note over Dr Fillgrave's head.
What more, indeed, Lady Scatcherd, can any of us want, if only we could
keep our tempers and feelings a little in abeyance? Dr Fillgrave,
however, could not so keep his; and, therefore, he did want something
more, though at the present moment he could hardly have said what.
Lady Scatcherd's courage was somewhat resuscitated by the presence of
her ancient trusty ally; and, moreover, she began to conceive that the
little man before her was unreasonable beyond all conscience with his
anger, seeing that that for which he was ready to work had been offered
him without any work at all.
'Madam,' said he, again turning round at Lady Scatcherd, 'I was never
before treated in such a way in any house in Barchester--never--never.'
'Good heavens, Dr Fillgrave!' said he of Greshamsbury, 'what is the
'I'll let you know what is the matter, sir,' said he, turning round
again as quickly as before. 'I'll let you know what is the matter.
I'll publish this, sir, to the medical world;' and as he shrieked out
the words of the threat, he stood on tiptoes and brandished his
eye-glasses up almost into his enemy's face.
'Don't be angry with Dr Thorne,' said Lady Scatcherd. 'Any ways, you
needn't be angry with him. If you must be angry with anybody--'
'I shall be angry with him, madam,' ejaculated Dr Fillgrave, making
another sudden demi-pirouette. 'I am angry with him--or, rather, I
despise him;' and completing the circle, Dr Fillgrave again brought
himself round in full front of his foe.
Dr Thorne raised his eyebrows and looked inquiringly at Lady Scatcherd;
but there was a quiet sarcastic motion round his mouth which by no
means had the effect of throwing oil on the troubled waters.
'I'll publish the whole of this transaction to the medical world, Dr
Thorne--the whole of it; and if that has not the effect of rescuing the
people of Greshamsbury out of your hands, then--then--then, I don't know
what will. Is my carriage--that is, the post-chaise there?' and Dr
Fillgrave, speaking very loudly, turned majestically to one of the
'What have I done to you, Dr Fillgrave,' said Dr Thorne, now absolutely
laughing, 'that you should determined to take the bread out of my
mouth? I am not interfering with your patient. I have come here simply
with reference to money matters appertaining to Sir Roger.'
'Money matters! Very well--very well; money matters. That is your idea
of medical practice. Very well--very well. Is my post-chaise at the
door? I'll publish it all to the medical world--every word--every word
of it, every word of it.'
'Publish what, you unreasonable man?'
'Man! sir; whom do you call a man? I'll let you know whether I'm a
'Don't 'ee call him names now, doctor; don't 'ee pray don't 'ee,' said
By this time they had all got somewhere nearer the hall-door; but the
Scatcherd retainers were too fond of the row to absent themselves
willingly at Dr Fillgrave's bidding, and it did not appear that any one
went in search of the post-chaise.
'Man! sir; I'll let you know what it is to speak to me in that style. I
think, sir, you hardly know who I am.'
'All that I know of you at present is, that you are my friend Sir
Roger's physician, and I cannot conceive what has occurred to make you
so angry.' And as he spoke, Dr Thorne looked carefully at him to see
whether that pump-discipline had in truth been applied. There were no
signs whatever that cold water had been thrown upon Dr Fillgrave.
'My post-chaise--is my post-chaise there? The medical world shall know
all; you may be sure, sir, the medical world shall know it all;' and
thus, ordering his post-chaise and threatening Dr Thorne with the
medical world, Dr Fillgrave made his way to the door.
But the moment he put on his hat he returned. 'No, madam,' said he.
'No; quite out of the question: such an affair is not to be arranged by
such means. I'll publish it all to the medical world--post-chaise
there!' and then, using all his force, he flung as far as he could into
the hall a light bit of paper. It fell at Dr Thorne's feet, who,
raising it, found that it was a five-pound note.
'I put it into his hat just while he was in his tantrum,' said Lady
Scatcherd. 'And I thought that perhaps he would not find it till he
got to Barchester. Well I wish he'd been paid, certainly, although Sir
Roger wouldn't see him;' and in this manner Dr Thorne got some glimpse
of understanding into the cause of the great offence.
'I wonder whether Sir Roger will see me,' said he, laughing.
THE TWO UNCLES
'Ha! ha! ha! Ha! ha! ha!' laughed Sir Roger, lustily, as Dr Thorne
entered the room. 'Well, if that ain't rich, I don't know what is. Ha!
ha! ha! But why didn't they put him under the pump, doctor?'
The doctor, however, had too much tact, and too many things of
importance to say, to allow of his giving up much time to the
discussion of Dr Fillgrave's wrath. He had come determined to open the
baronet's eyes as to what would be the real effect of his will, and he
had also to negotiate a loan for Mr Gresham, if that might be
possible. Dr Thorne therefore began about the loan, that being the
easier subject, and found that Sir Roger was quite clear-headed as to
his many money concerns, in spite of his illness. Sir Roger was
willing enough to lend Mr Gresham more money--six, eight, ten, twenty
thousand; but then, in doing so, he should insist on possession of the
'What! the title-deeds of Greshamsbury for a few thousand pounds?' said
'I don't know whether you call ninety thousand pounds a few thousands;
but the debt will about amount to that.'
'Ah! that's the old debt.'
'Old and new together, of course; every shilling I lend more weakens my
security for what I have lent before.'
'But you have the first claim, Sir Roger.'
'It ought to be first and last to cover such a debt as that. If he
wants further accommodation, he must part with his deeds, doctor.'
The point was argued backwards and forwards for some time without
avail, and the doctor then thought it well to introduce the other
'Sir Roger, you're a hard man.'
'No I ain't,' said Sir Roger; 'not a bit hard; that is, not a bit too
hard. Money is always hard. I know I found it hard to come by; and
there is no reason why Squire Gresham should expect to find me so very
'Very well; there is an end of that. I thought you would have done as
much to oblige me, that is all.'
'What! take bad security too oblige you?'
'Well, there's an end of that.'
'I'll tell you what; I'll do as much to oblige a friend as any one.
I'll lend you five thousand pounds, you yourself, without security at
all, if you want it.'
'But you know I don't want it; or, at any rate, shan't take it.'
'But to ask me to go on lending money to a third party, and he over
head and ears in debt, by way of obliging you, why, it's a little too
'Well, there's and end of it. Now I've something to say to you about
that will of yours.'
'Oh! that's settled.'
'No, Scatcherd; it isn't settled. It must be a great deal more settled
before we have done with it, as you'll find when you hear what I have
to tell you.'
'What you have to tell me!' said Sir Roger, sitting up in bed; 'and
what have you to tell me?'
'Your will says you sister's eldest child.'
'Yes; but that's only in the event of Louis Philippe dying before he is
'Exactly; and now I know something about your sister's eldest child,
and, therefore, I have come to tell you.'
'You know something about Mary's eldest child?'
'I do, Scatcherd; it is a strange story, and maybe it will make you
angry. I cannot help it if it does so. I should not tell you this if
I could avoid it; but as I do tell you, for your sake, as you will see,
and not for my own, I must implore you not to tell my secret to
Sir Roger now looked at him with an altered countenance. There was
something in his voice of the authoritative tone of other days,
something in the doctor's look which had on the baronet the same effect
which in former days it had sometimes had on the stone-mason.
'Can you give me a promise, Scatcherd, that what I am about to tell you
shall not be repeated?'
'A promise! Well, I don't know what it's about, you know. I don't
like promises in the dark.'
'Then I must leave it to your honour; for what I have to say must be
said. You remember my brother, Scatcherd?'
Remember his brother! thought the rich man to himself. The name of the
doctor's brother had not been alluded to between them since the days of
that trial; but still it was impossible but that Scatcherd should well
'Yes, yes; certainly. I remember your brother,' said he. 'I remember
him well; there's no doubt about that.'
'Well, Scatcherd,' and, as he spoke, the doctor laid his hand with
kindness on the other's arm. 'Mary's eldest child was my brother's
child as well.
'But there is no such child living,' said Sir Roger; and, in his
violence, as he spoke he threw from off him the bedclothes, and tried
to stand up on the floor. He found, however, that he had no strength
for such an effort, and was obliged to remain leaning on the bed and
resting on the doctor's arm.
'There was no such child ever lived,' said he. 'What do you mean by
Dr Thorne would say nothing further till he had got the man into bed
again. This he at last affected, and then he went on with the story in
his own way.
'Yes, Scatcherd, that child is alive; and for fear that you should
unintentionally make her your heir, I have thought it right to tell you
'A girl, is it?'
'Yes, a girl.'
'And why should you want to spite her? If she is Mary's child, she is
your brother's child also. If she is my niece, she must be your niece
also. Why should you want to spite her? Why should you try to do her
such a terrible injury?'
'I do not want to spite her.'
'Where is she? Who is she? What is she called? Where does she live?'
The doctor did not at once answer all these questions. He had made up
his mind that he would tell Sir Roger that this child was living, but
he had not as yet resolved to make known all the circumstances of her
history. He was not even yet quite aware whether it would be necessary
to say that this foundling orphan was the cherished darling of his own
'Such a child, is, at any rate, living,' said he; 'of that I give you
my assurance; and under your will, as now worded, it might come to pass
that that child should be your heir. I do not want to spite her, but I
should be wrong to let you make your will without such knowledge,
seeing that I am in possession of it myself.'
'But where is the girl?'
'I do not know that that signifies.'
'Signifies! Yes; it does signify, a great deal. But, Thorne, Thorne,
now that I remember it, now that I can think of things, it was--was it
not you yourself who told me that the baby did not live?'
'And was it a lie that you told me?'
'If so, yes. But it is no lie that I tell you now.'
'I believed you then, Thorne; then, when I was a poor, broken-down
day-labourer, lying in jail, rotting there; but I tell you fairly, I do
not believe you now. You have some scheme in this.'
'Whatever scheme I may have, you can frustrate by making another will.
What can I gain by telling you this? I only do so to induce you to be
more explicit in naming your heir.'
They both remained silent for a while, during which the baronet poured
out from his hidden resource a glass of brandy and swallowed it.
'When a man is taken aback suddenly by such tidings as these, he must
take a drop of something, eh, doctor?'
Dr Thorne did not see the necessity; but the present, he felt, was no
time for arguing the point.
'Come, Thorne, where is the girl? You must tell me that. She is my
niece, and I have a right to know. She shall come here, and I will do
something for her. By the Lord! I would as soon she had the money as
anyone else, if she's anything of a good 'un;--some of it, that is. Is
she a good 'un?'
'Good!' said the doctor, turning away his face. 'Yes; she is good
'She must be grown up by now. None of your light skirts, eh?'
'She is a good girl,' said the doctor somewhat loudly and sternly. He
could hardly trust himself to say much on this point.
'Mary was a good girl, a very good girl, till'--and Sir Roger raised
himself up in his bed with his fist clenched, as though he were again
about to strike that fatal blow at the farm-yard gate. 'But come, it's
no good thinking of that; you behaved well and manly, always. And so
poor Mary's child is alive; at least, you say so.'
'I say so, and you may believe it. Why should I deceive you?'
'No, no; I don't see why. But then why did you deceive me before?'
To this the doctor chose to make no answer, and again there was silence
for a while.
'What do you call her, doctor?'
'Her name is Mary.'
'The prettiest women's name going; there's no name like it,' said the
contractor, with an unusual tenderness in his voice. 'Mary--yes; but
Mary what? What other name does she go by?'
Here the doctor hesitated.
'No. Not Mary Scatcherd.'
'Not Mary Scatcherd! Mary what, then? you, with your d---- pride,
wouldn't let her be called Mary Thorne, I know.'
This was too much for the doctor. He felt that there were tears in his
eyes, so he walked away to the window to dry them, unseen. He had
fifty names, each more sacred than the other, the most sacred of them
all would hardly have been good enough for her.
'Mary what, doctor? Come, if the girl is to belong to me, if I am to
provide for her, I must know what to call her, and where to look for
'Who talked of your providing for her?' said the doctor, turning round
at the rival uncle. 'Who said that she was to belong to you? She will
be no burden to you; you are only told of this that you may not leave
your money to her without knowing it. She is provided for--that is,
she wants nothing; she will do well enough; you need not trouble
yourself about her.'
'But is she's Mary's child, Mary's child in real truth, I will trouble
myself about her. Who else should do so? For the matter of that, I'd
soon say her as any of those others in America. What do I care about
blood? I shan't mind her being a bastard. That is to say, of course,
if she's decently good. Did she ever get any kind of teaching;
book-learning, or anything of that sort?'
Dr Thorne at this moment hated his friend the baronet with almost a
deadly hatred; that he, rough brute as he was--for he was a rough
brute--that he should speak in such language of the angel who gave to
that home in Greshamsbury so many of the joys of Paradise--that he
should speak of her as in some degree his own, that he should inquire
doubtingly as to her attributes and her virtues. And then the doctor
thought of her Italian and French readings, of her music, of her nice
books, and sweet lady ways, of her happy companionship with Patience
Oriel, and her dear, bosom friendship with Beatrice Gresham. He
thought of her grace, and winning manners, and soft, polished feminine
beauty; and, as he did so, he hated Sir Roger Scatcherd, and regarded
him with loathing, as he might have regarded a wallowing-hog.
At last a light seemed to break in upon Sir Roger's mind. Dr Thorne,
he perceived, did not answer his last question. He perceived, also,
that the doctor was affected with some more than ordinary emotion. Why
should it be that this subject of Mary Scatcherd's child moved him so
deeply? Sir Roger had never been at the doctor's house at
Greshamsbury, had never seen Mary Thorne, but he had heard that there
lived with the doctor some young female relative; and thus a glimmering
light seemed to come in upon Sir Roger's bed.
He had twitted the doctor with his pride; had said that it was
impossible that the girl should be called Mary Thorne. What if she
were so called? What if she were now warming herself at the doctor's
'Well, come, Thorne, what is it you call her? Tell it out, man. And,
look you, if it's your name she bears, I shall think more of you, a
deal more than ever I did yet. Come, Thorne, I'm her uncle too. I
have a right to know. She is Mary Thorne, isn't she?'
The doctor had not the hardihood nor the resolution to deny it. 'Yes,'
said he, 'that is her name; she lives with me.'
'Yes, and lives with all those grand folks at Greshamsbury too. I have
heard of that.'
'She lives with me, and belongs to me, and is as my daughter.'
'She shall come over here. Lady Scatcherd shall have her to stay with
her. She shall come to us. And as for my will, I'll make another.
'Yes, make another will--or else alter that one. But as to Miss Thorne
'Well, Mary. As to Mary Thorne coming here, that I fear will not be
possible. She cannot have two homes. She has cast her lot with one of
her uncles, and she must remain with him now.'
'Do you mean to say that she must have any relation but one?'
'But one such as I am. She would not be happy over here. She does not
like new faces. You have enough depending on you; I have but her.'
'Enough! why, I have only Louis Philippe. I could provide for a dozen
'Well, well, well, we will not talk about that.'
'Ah! but, Thorne, you have told me of this girl now, and I cannot but
talk of her. If you wished to keep the matter dark, you should have
said nothing about it. She is my niece as much as yours. And, Thorne,
I loved my sister Mary quite as well as you loved your brother; quite
Any one who might have heard and seen the contractor would have hardly
thought him to be the same man who, a few hours before, was urging that
the Barchester physician should be put under the pump.
'You have your son, Scatcherd. I have no one but that girl.'
'I don't want to take her from you. I don't want to take her; but
surely there can be no harm in her coming here to see us? I can provide
for her, Thorne, remember that. I can provide for her without
reference to Louis Philippe. What are ten or fifteen thousand pounds
to me? Remember that, Thorne.'
Dr Thorne did remember it. In that interview he remembered many
things, and much passed through his mind on which he felt himself
compelled to resolve somewhat too suddenly. Would he be justified in
rejecting, on behalf of Mary, the offer of pecuniary provision which
this rich relative would be so well inclined to make? Or, if he
accepted it, would he in truth be studying her interests? Scatcherd
was a self-willed, obstinate man--now indeed touched by unwonted
tenderness; but he was one to whose lasting tenderness Dr Thorne
would be very unwilling to trust his darling. He did resolve, that on
the whole he should best discharge his duty, even to her, by keeping
her to himself, and rejecting, on her behalf, any participation in the
baronet's wealth. As Mary herself had said, 'some people must be bound
together;' and their destiny, that of himself and his niece, seemed to
have so bound them. She had found her place at Greshamsbury, her place
in the world; and it would be better for her now to keep it, than to go
forth and seek another that would be richer, but at the same time less
suited to her.
'No, Scatcherd,' he said at last, 'she cannot come here; she would not
be happy here, and, to tell the truth I do not wish her to know that
she has other relatives.'
'Ah! she would be ashamed of her mother, you mean, and of her mother's
brother too, eh? She's too fine a lady, I suppose, to take me by the
hand and give me a kiss, and call me her uncle? I and Lady Scatcherd
would not be grand enough for her, eh?'
'You may say what you please, Scatcherd: I of course cannot stop you.'
'But I don't know how you'll reconcile what you are doing with your
conscience. What right can you have to throw away the girl's chance,
now that she has a chance? What fortune can you give her?'
'I have done what little I could,' said Thorne, proudly.
'Well, well, well, well, I never heard such a thing in my life; never.
Mary's child, my own Mary's child, and I'm not to see her! But,
Thorne, I tell you what; I will see her. I'll go over to her, I'll go
to Greshamsbury, and tell her who I am, and what I can do for her. I
tell you fairly I will. You shall not keep her away from those who
belong to her, and can do her a good turn. Mary's daughter; another
Mary Scatcherd! I almost wish she were called Mary Scatcherd. Is she
like her, Thorne? Come tell me that; is she like her mother.'
'I do not remember her mother; at least not in health.'
'Not remember her! ah, well. She was the handsomest girl in
Barchester, anyhow. That was given up to her. Well, I didn't think to
be talking of her again. Thorne, you cannot but expect that I shall go
over and see Mary's child?'
'Now, Scatcherd, look here,' and the doctor, coming away from the
window, where he had been standing, sat himself down by the bedside,
'you must not come over to Greshamsbury.'
'Oh! but I shall.'
'Listen to me, Scatcherd. I do not want to praise myself in any way;
but when that girl was an infant, six months old, she was like to be a
thorough obstacle to her mother's fortune in life. Tomlinson was
willing to marry your sister, but he would not marry the child too. Then
I took the baby, and I promised her mother that I would be to her as a
father. I have kept my word as fairly as I have been able. She has sat
at my hearth, and drunk of my cup, and been to me as my own child.
After that, I have the right to judge what is best for her. Her life
is not like your life, and her ways are not as your ways--'
'Ah, that is just it; we are too vulgar for her.'
'You may take it as you will,' said the doctor, who was too much in
earnest to be in the least afraid of offending his companion. 'I have
not said so; but I do say that you and she are unlike in the way of
'She wouldn't like an uncle with a brandy bottle under his head, eh?'
'You could not see her without letting her know what is the connexion
between you; of that I wish to keep her in ignorance.'
'I never knew any one yet who is ashamed of a rich connexion. How do
you mean to get a husband for her, eh?'
'I have told you of her existence,' continued the doctor, not appearing
to notice what the baronet had last said, 'because I found it necessary
that you should know the fact of your sister having left a child behind
her; you would otherwise have made a will different from that intended,
and there might have been a lawsuit, and mischief, and misery when we
are gone. You must perceive that I have done this in honesty to you;
and you yourself are too honest to repay me by taking advantage of this
knowledge to make me unhappy.'
'Oh, very well, doctor. At any rate, you are a brick, I will say
that. But I'll think of this, I'll think of it; but it does startle me
to find that poor Mary has a child living so near to me.'
'And now, Scatcherd, I will say good-bye. We part as friends, don't
'Oh, but doctor, you ain't going to leave me so. What am I to do? What
doses shall I take? How much brandy may I drink? May I have a grill
for dinner? D---- me, doctor, you have turned Fillgrave out of the
house. You mustn't go and desert me.'
Dr Thorne laughed, and then, sitting himself down to write medically,
gave such prescriptions and ordinances as he found to be necessary.
They announced but to this: that the man was to drink, if possible, no
brandy; and if that were not possible, then as little as might be.
This having been done, the doctor again proceeded to take his leave;
but when he got to the door he was called back. 'Thorne! Thorne!
About that money for Mr Gresham; do what you like, do just what you
like. Ten thousand is it? Well, he shall have it. I'll make
Winterbones write about it at once. Five per cent., isn't it? No, four
and a half. Well, he shall have ten thousand more.'
'Thank you, Scatcherd, thank you, I am really very much obliged to you,
I am indeed. I wouldn't ask it if I was not sure your money is safe.
Good-bye, old fellow, and get rid of that bedfellow of yours,' and
again he was at the door.
'Thorne,' said Sir Roger once more. 'Thorne, just come back for a
minute. You wouldn't let me send a present would you--fifty pounds or
so,--just to buy a few flounces?'
The doctor contrived to escape without giving a definite answer to this
question; and then, having paid his compliments to Lady Scatcherd,
remounted his cob and rode back to Greshamsbury.
SENTENCE OF EXILE
Dr Thorne did not at once go home to his own house. When he reached
the Greshamsbury gates, he sent his horse to its own stable by one of
the people at the lodge, and then walked on to the mansion. He had to
see the squire on the subject of the forthcoming loan, and he had also
to see the Lady Arabella.
The Lady Arabella, though she was not personally attached to the doctor
with quite so much warmth as some others of her family, still had
reasons of her own for not dispensing with his visits to the house. She
was one of his patients, and a patient fearful of the disease with
which she was threatened. Though she thought the doctor to be arrogant,
deficient as to properly submissive demeanour towards herself, an
instigator to marital parsimony in her lord, one altogether opposed to
herself and her interest in Greshamsbury politics, nevertheless she did
feel trust in him as a medical man. She had no wish to be rescued out
of his hands by any Dr Fillgrave, as regarded that complaint of hers,
much as she may have desired, and did desire, to sever him from all
Greshamsbury councils in all matters not touching the healing art.
Now the complaint of which the Lady Arabella was afraid, was cancer:
and her only present confidant in this matter was Dr Thorne.
The first of the Greshamsbury circle whom he saw was Beatrice, and he
met her in the garden.
'Oh, doctor,' said she, 'where has Mary been this age? She has not
been up here since Frank's birthday.'
'Well, that was only three days ago. Why don't you go down and ferret
her out in the village?'
'So I have done. I was there just now, and found her out. She was out
with Patience Oriel. Patience is all and all with her now. Patience
is all very well, but if they throw me over--'
'My dear Miss Gresham, Patience is and always was a virtue.'
'A poor, beggarly, sneaking virtue after all, doctor. They should have
come up, seeing how deserted I am here. There's absolutely nobody
'Has Lady de Courcy gone?'
'Oh, yes! All the De Courcys have gone. I think, between ourselves,
Mary stays away because she does not love them too well. They have all
gone, and taken Augusta and Frank with them.'
'Has Frank gone to Courcy Castle?'
'Oh, yes; did you not hear? There was rather a fight about it. Master
Frank wanted to get off, and was as hard to catch as an eel, and then
the countess was offended; and papa said he didn't see why Frank was to
go if he didn't like it. Papa is very anxious about his degree, you
The doctor understood it all as well as though it had been described to
him at full length. The countess had claimed her prey, in order that
she might carry him off to Miss Dunstable's golden embrace. The prey,
not yet old enough and wise enough to connect the worship of Plutus
with that of Venus, had made sundry futile feints and dodges in the
vain hope of escape. Then the anxious mother had enforced the De
Courcy behests with all a mother's authority. But the father, whose
ideas on the subject of Miss Dunstable's wealth had probably not been
consulted, had, as a matter of course, taken exactly the other side of
the question. The doctor did not require to be told all this in order
to know how the battle had raged. He had not yet heard of the great
Dunstable scheme; but he was sufficiently acquainted with Greshamsbury
tactics to understand that the war had been carried on somewhat after
As a rule, when the squire took a point warmly to heart, he was wont to
carry his way against the De Courcy interest. He could be obstinate
enough when it so pleased him, and had before now gone so far as to tell
his wife, that her thrice-noble sister-in-law might remain at home at
Courcy Castle--or, at any rate, not come to Greshamsbury--if she could
not do so without striving to rule him and every one else when she got
here. This had of course been repeated to the countess, who had merely
replied to it by a sisterly whisper, in which she sorrowfully intimated
that some men were born brutes, and always would remain so.
'I think they all are,' the Lady Arabella had replied; wishing,
perhaps, to remind her sister-in-law that the breed of brutes was as
rampant in West Barsetshire as in the eastern division of that county.
The squire, however, had not fought on this occasion with all his
vigour. There had, of course, been some passages between him and his
son, and it had been agreed that Frank should go for a fortnight to
'We mustn't quarrel with them, you know, if we can help it,' said the
father; 'and, therefore, you must go sooner or later.'
'Well, I suppose so; but you don't know how dull it is, governor.'
'Don't I!' said Gresham.
'There's a Miss Dunstable to be there; did you ever hear of her, sir?'
'She's a girl whose father used to make ointment, or something of that
'Oh, yes, to be sure; the ointment of Lebanon. He used to cover all
the walls of London. I haven't heard of him this year past.'
'No; that is because he's dead. Well, she carries on the ointment now,
I believe; at any rate, she has got all the money. I wonder what she's
'You'd better go and see,' said the father, who now began to have some
inkling of an idea why the two ladies were so anxious to carry his son
off to Courcy Castle at this exact time. And so Frank had packed up his
best clothes, given a last fond look at the new black horse, repeated
his last special injunctions to Peter, and had then made one of the
stately cortege which proceeded through the county from Greshamsbury to
'I am very glad of that, very,' said the squire, when he heard that the
money was to be forthcoming. 'I shall get it on easier terms from him
than elsewhere; and it kills me to have continual bother about such
things.' And Mr Gresham, feeling that that difficulty was tided over for
a time, and that the immediate pressure of little debts would be abated,
stretched himself on his easy chair as though he were quite
comfortable;--one may say almost elated.
How frequent it is that men on their road to ruin feel elation such as
this! A man signs away moiety of his substance; nay, that were
nothing; but a moiety of the substance of his children; he puts his pen
to the paper that ruins him and them; but in doing so he frees himself
from a source of immediate little pestering, stinging troubles: and,
therefore, feels as though fortune has been almost kind to him.
The doctor felt angry with himself for what he had done when he saw how
easily the squire adapted himself to this new loan. 'It will make
Scatcherd's claim upon you very heavy,' said he.
Mr Gresham at once read all that was passing through the doctor's
mind. 'Well, what else can I do?' said he. 'You wouldn't have me
allow my daughter to lose this match for the sake of a few thousand
pounds? It will be well at any rate to have one of them settled. Look
at that letter from Moffat.'
The doctor took the letter and read it. It was a long, wordy,
ill-written rigmarole, in which that amorous gentleman spoke with much
rapture of his love and devotion for Miss Gresham; but at the same time
declared, and most positively swore, that the adverse cruelty of his
circumstances was such, that it would not allow him to stand up like a
man at the hymeneal altar until six thousand pounds hard cash had been
paid down at his banker's.
'It may be all right,' said the squire; 'but in my time gentlemen were
not used to write such letters as that to each other.'
The doctor shrugged his shoulders. He did not know how far he would be
justified in saying much, even to his friend the squire, in dispraise
of his future son-in-law.
'I told him that he should have the money; and one would have thought
that that would have been enough for him. Well: I suppose Augusta
likes him. I suppose she wishes the match; otherwise, I would give him
such an answer to that letter as would startle him a little.'
'What settlement is he to make?' said Thorne.
'Oh, that's satisfactory enough; couldn't be more so; a thousand a year
and the house at Wimbledon for her; that's all very well. But such a
lie, you know, Thorne. He's rolling in money, and yet he talks of this
beggarly sum as though he couldn't possibly stir without it.'
'If I might venture to speak my mind,' said Thorne.
'Well?' said the squire, looking at him earnestly.
'I should be inclined to say that Mr Moffat wants to cry off, himself.'
'Oh, impossible; quite impossible. In the first place, he was so very
anxious for the match. In the next place, it is such a great thing for
him. And then, he would never dare; you see, he is dependent on the De
Courcys for his seat.'
'But suppose he loses his seat?'
'But there is not much fear of that, I think. Scatcherd may be a very
fine fellow, but I think they'll hardly return him at Barchester.'
'I don't understand much about it,' said Thorne; 'but such things do
'And you believe that this man absolutely wants to get off the match;
absolutely thinks of playing such a trick as that on my daughter;--on
'I don't say he intends to do it; but it looks to me as though he were
making a door for himself, or trying to make a door: if so, your having
the money will stop him there.'
'But, Thorne, don't you think he loves the girl? If I thought not--'
The doctor was silent for a moment, and then he said, 'I am not a
love-making man myself, but I think that if I were much in love with a
young lady, I should not write such a letter as that to her father.'
'By heavens! If I thought so,' said the squire--'but, Thorne, we can't
judge of those fellows as one does of gentlemen; they are so used to
making money, and seeing money made, that they have an eye to business
'Perhaps so, perhaps so,' muttered the doctor, showing evidently that
he still doubted the warmth of Mr Moffat's affection.
'The match was none of my making, and I cannot interfere now to break
it off: it will give her a good position in the world; for, after all,
money goes a great way, and it is something to be in Parliament. I can
only hope she likes him. I do truly hope she likes him;' and the
squire also showed by the tone of his voice that, though he might hope
that his daughter was in love with her intended husband, he hardly
conceived it to be possible that she should be so.
And what was the truth of the matter? Miss Gresham was no more in love
with Mr Moffat than you are--oh, sweet, young, blooming beauty! Not a
whit more; not, at least, in your sense of the word, nor in mine. She
had by no means resolved within her heart that of all the men whom she
had ever seen, or ever could see, he was far away the nicest and the
best. That is what you will do when you are in love, if you be good
for anything. She had no longing to sit near to him--the nearer the
better; she had no thought of his taste and his choice when she bought
her ribbons and bonnets; she had not indescribable desire that all her
female friends should be ever talking to her about him. When she wrote
to him, she did not copy her letters again and again, so that she might
be, as it were, ever speaking to him; she took no special pride in
herself because he had chosen her to be his life's partner. In point
of fact, she did not care one straw about him.
And yet she thought she loved him; was, indeed, quite confident that
she did so; told her mother that she was sure Gustavus would wish this,
she knew Gustavus would like that, and so on; but as for Gustavus
himself, she did not care one chip about him.
She was in love with her match just as farmers are in love with wheat
and eighty shillings a quarter; or shareholders--innocent gudgeons--with
seven and half per cent interest on their paid up capital. Eighty
shillings a quarter, and seven and half per cent interest, such were
the returns which she had been taught to look for in exchange for her
young heart; and, having obtained them, or being thus about to obtain
them, why should not her young heart be satisfied? Had she not sat
herself down obediently at the feet of her lady Gamaliel, and should
she not be rewarded? Yes, indeed, she shall be rewarded.
And then the doctor went to the lady. On their medical secrets we will
not intrude; but there were other matters bearing on the course of our
narrative, as to which Lady Arabella found it necessary to say a word
of so to the doctor; and it is essential that we should know what was
the tenor of those few words so spoken.
How the aspirations, and instincts, and feelings of a household become
changed as the young birds begin to flutter those feathered wings, and
have half-formed thoughts of leaving the parental nest! A few months
back, Frank had reigned almost autocratic over the lesser subjects of
the kingdom of Greshamsbury. The servants, for instance, always obeyed
him, and his sisters never dreamed of telling anything which he
directed should not be told. All his mischief, all his troubles, and
all his loves were confided to them, with the sure conviction that they
would never be made to stand in evidence against him.
Trusting to this well-ascertained state of things, he had not hesitated
to declare his love for Miss Thorne before his sister Augusta. But his
sister Augusta had now, as it were, been received into the upper house;
having duly profited by the lessons of her great instructress, she was
now admitted to sit in conclave with the higher powers: her sympathies,
of course, became changed, and her confidence was removed from the
young and giddy and given to the ancient and discreet. She was as a
schoolboy, who, having finished his schooling, and being fairly forced
by necessity into the stern bread-earning world, undertakes the new
duties of tutoring. Yesterday he was taught, and fought, of course,
against the schoolmaster; to-day he teaches, and fights as keenly for
him. So it was with Augusta Gresham, when, with careful brow, she
whispered to her mother that there was something wrong between Frank
and Mary Thorne.
'Stop it at once, Arabella: stop it at once,' the countess had said;
'that, indeed, will be the ruin. If he does not marry money, he is
lost. Good heavens! the doctor's niece! A girl that nobody knows
where she comes from!'
'He's going with you to-morrow, you know,' said the anxious mother.
'Yes; and that is so far well: if he will be led by me, the evil may be
remedied before he returns; but it is very, very hard to lead young
men. Arabella, you must forbid that girl to come to Greshamsbury again
on any pretext whatever. The evil must be stopped at once.'
'But she is here so much as a matter of course.'
'Then she must be here as a matter of course no more: there has been
folly, very great folly, in having her here. Of course she would turn
out to be a designing creature with such temptation before her; with
such a prize within her reach, how could she help it?'
'I must say, aunt, she answered him very properly,' said Augusta.
'Nonsense,' said the countess; 'before you of course she did. Arabella,
the matter must not be left to the girl's propriety. I never knew the
propriety of a girl of that sort to be fit to be depended on yet. If
you wish to save the whole family from ruin, you must take steps to
keep her away from Greshamsbury now at once. Now is the time; now that
Frank is going away. Where so much, so very much depends on a young
man's marrying money, not one day ought to be lost.'
Instigated in this manner, Lady Arabella resolved to open her mind to
the doctor, and to make it intelligible to him, that under present
circumstances, Mary's visits at Greshamsbury had better be
discontinued. She would have given much, however, to have escaped this
business. She had in her time tried one or two falls with the doctor,
and she was conscious that she had never yet got the better of him: and
then she was in a slight degree afraid of Mary herself. She had a
presentiment that it would not be so easy to banish Mary from
Greshamsbury: she was not sure that that young lady would not boldly
assert her right to her place in the school-room; appeal loudly to the
squire, and perhaps, declare her determination of marrying the heir,
out before them all. The squire would be sure to uphold her in that,
or in anything else.
And then, too, there would be the greatest difficulty in wording her
request to the doctor; and Lady Arabella was sufficiently conscious of
her own weakness to know that she was not always very good at words.
But the doctor, when hard pressed, was never at fault: he could say the
bitterest things in the quietest tone, and Lady Arabella had a great
dread of these bitter things. What, also, if he should desert her
himself; withdraw from her his skill and knowledge of her bodily wants
and ailments now that he was so necessary to her? She had once before
taken that measure of sending to Barchester for Dr Fillgrave, but it
had answered with her hardly better than with Sir Roger and Lady
When, therefore, Lady Arabella found herself alone with the doctor, and
called upon to say out in what best language she could select for the
occasion, she did not feel to very much at her ease. There was that
about the man before her which cowed her, in spite of her being the
wife of the squire, the sister of an earl, a person quite acknowledged
to be of the great world, and the mother of a very important young man
whose affections were now about to be called in question.
Nevertheless, there was the task to be done, and with a mother's
courage she essayed it.
'Dr Thorne,' said she, as soon as their medical conference was at an
end, 'I am very glad you came over to-day, for I have something special
which I wanted to say to you:' so far she got, and then stopped; but,
as the doctor did not seem inclined to give her any assistance, she was
forced to flounder on as best she could.
'Something very particular indeed. You know what a respect and esteem,
and I may say affection, we all have for you,'--here the doctor made a
low bow--'and I may say for Mary also;' here the doctor bowed himself
again. 'We have done what little we could to be pleasant neighbours,
and I think you'll believe me when I say that I am a true friend to you
and dear Mary--'
The doctor knew that something very unpleasant was coming, but he could
not at all guess what might be its nature. He felt, however, that he
must say something; so he expressed a hope that he was duly sensible of
all the acts of kindness he had ever received from the squire and the
family at large.
'I hope, therefore, my dear doctor, you won't take amiss what I am
going to say.'
'Well, Lady Arabella, I'll endeavour not to do so.'
'I am sure I would not give any pain if I could help it, much less to
you. But there are occasions, doctor, in which duty must be paramount;
paramount to all other considerations, you know, and, certainly, this
occasion is one of them.'
'But what is the occasion, Lady Arabella?'
'I'll tell you, doctor. You know what Frank's position is?'
'Why his position in life; an only son, you know.'
'Oh, yes; I know his position in that respect; an only son, and his
father's heir; and a very fine fellow, he is. You have but one son, Lady
Arabella, and you may well be proud of him.'
Lady Arabella sighed. She did not wish at the present moment to
express herself as being in any way proud of Frank. She was desirous
rather, on the other hand, of showing that she was a good deal ashamed
of him; only not quite so much ashamed of him as it behoved the doctor
to be of his niece.'
'Well, perhaps so; yes,' said Lady Arabella, 'he is, I believe, a very
good young man, with an excellent disposition; but, doctor, his
position is very precarious; and he is just at that time of life when
caution is necessary.'
To the doctor's ears, Lady Arabella was now talking of her son as a
mother might of her infant when whooping-cough was abroad our croup
imminent. 'There is nothing on earth the matter with him, I should
say,' said the doctor. 'He has every possible sign of perfect health.'
'Oh yes; his health! Yes, thank God, his health is good; that is a
great blessing.' And Lady Arabella thought of her four flowerets that
had already faded. 'I am sure I am most thankful to see him growing up
so strong. But it is not that I mean, doctor.'
'Then what is it, Lady Arabella?'
'Why, doctor, the squire's position with regard to money matters.'
Now the doctor undoubtedly did know the squire's position with regard
to money matters,--knew it much better than Lady Arabella; but he was by
no means inclined to talk on that subject to her ladyship. He remained
quite silent, therefore, although Lady Arabella's last speech had taken
the form of a question. Lady Arabella was a little offended at this
want of freedom on his part, and become somewhat sterner in her tone--a
thought less condescending in her manner.
'The squire has unfortunately embarrassed the property, and Frank must
look forward to inherit it with very heavy encumbrances; I fear very
heavy indeed, though of what exact nature I am kept in ignorance.'
Looking at the doctor's face, she perceived that there was no
probability whatever that her ignorance would be enlightened by him.
'And, therefore, it is highly necessary that Frank should be very
'As to his private expenditure, you mean?' said the doctor.
'No; not exactly that: though of course he must be careful as to that,
too; that's of course. But that is not what I mean, doctor; his only
hope of retrieving his circumstances is by marrying money.'
'With every other conjugal blessing that a man can have, I hope he may
have that also.' So the doctor replied with imperturbable face; but
not the less did he begin to have a shade of suspicion of what might be
the coming subject of the conference. It would be untrue to say that
he had ever thought it probable that the young heir should fall in love
with his niece; that he had ever looked forward to such a chance,
either with complacency or with fear; nevertheless, the idea had of
late passed through his mind. Some word had fallen from Mary, some
closely watched expression of her eye, or some quiver in her lip when
Frank's name was mentioned, had of late made him involuntarily think
that such a thing might not be impossible; and then, when the chance of
Mary becoming the heiress to so large a fortune had been forced upon
his consideration, he had been unable to prevent himself from building
happy castles in the air, as he rode slowly home from Boxall Hill. But
not a whit the more on that account was he prepared to be untrue to the
squire's interest or to encourage a feeling which must be distasteful
to all the squire's friends.
'Yes, doctor; he must marry money.'
'And worth, Lady Arabella; and a pure feminine heart; and youth and
beauty. I hope he will marry them all.'
Could it be possible, that in speaking of a pure feminine heart, and
youth and beauty, and such like gewgaws, the doctor was thinking of his
niece? Could it be that he had absolutely made up his mind to foster
and encourage this odious match?
The bare idea made Lady Arabella wrathful, and her wrath gave her
courage. 'He must marry money, or he will be a ruined man. Now,
doctor, I am informed that things--words that is--have passed between
him and Mary which never ought to have been allowed.'
And now the doctor was wrathful. 'What things? what words?' said he,
appearing to Lady Arabella as though he rose in his anger nearly a foot
in altitude before her eyes. 'What has passed between them? and who
'Doctor, there have been love-makings, you may take my word for it;
love-makings of a very, very advanced description.'
This, the doctor could not stand. No, not for Greshamsbury and its
heir; not for the squire and all his misfortunes; not for Lady Arabella
and the blood of the De Courcys could he stand quiet and hear Mary
accused. He sprang up another foot in height, and expanded equally in
width as he flung back the insinuation.
'Who says so? Whoever says so, whoever speaks of Miss Thorne in such
language, says what is not true. I will pledge my word--'
'My dear doctor, my dear doctor, what took place was quite clearly
heard; there was no mistake about it, indeed.'
'What took place? What was heard?'
'Well, then, I don't want, you know, to make more of it than can be
helped. The thing must be stopped, that is all.'
'What thing? Speak out, Lady Arabella. I will not have Mary's conduct
impugned by innuendoes. What is that eavesdroppers have heard?'
Dr Thorne, there have been no eavesdroppers.'
'And not talebearers either? Will you ladyship oblige me by letting me
know what is this accusation which you bring against my niece?'
'There has been most positively an offer made, Dr Thorne.'
'And who made it?'
'Oh, of course I am not going to say but what Frank must have been very
imprudent. Of course he has been to blame. There has been fault on
both sides, no doubt.'
'I utterly deny it. I positively deny it. I know nothing of the
circumstances; have heard nothing about it--'
'Then of course you can't say,' said Lady Arabella.
'I know nothing of the circumstance; have heard nothing about it,'
continued Dr Thorne; 'but I do know my niece, and am ready to assert
that there has not been fault on both sides. Whether there has been any
fault on any side, that I do not know.'
'I can assure you, Dr Thorne, that an offer was made by Frank; such an
offer cannot be without its allurements to a young lady circumstanced
like your niece.'
'Allurements!' almost shouted the doctor, and, as he did so, Lady
Arabella stepped back a pace or two, retreating from the fire which
shot out of his eyes. 'But the truth is, Lady Arabella, you do not
know my niece. If you will have the goodness to let me understand what
it is that you desire I will tell you whether I can comply with your
'Of course it will be very inexpedient that the young people should be
thrown together again;--for the present, I mean.'
'Frank has now gone to Courcy Castle; and he talks of going from thence
to Cambridge. But he will doubtless be here, backwards and forwards;
and perhaps it will be better for all parties--safer, that is, doctor--if
Miss Thorne were to discontinue her visits to Greshamsbury for a
'Very well!' thundered out the doctor. 'Her visits to Greshamsbury
shall be discontinued.'
'Of course, doctor, this won't change intercourse between us; between
you and the and the family.'
'Not change it!' said he. 'Do you think that I will break bread in a
house from whence she has been ignominiously banished? Do you think
that I can sit in friendship with those who have spoken of her as you
have now spoken? You have many daughters; what would you say if I
accused them one of them as you have accused her?'
'Accused, doctor! No, I don't accuse her. But prudence, you know,
does sometimes require us--'
'Very well; prudence requires you to look after those who belong to
you. And prudence requires me to look after my one lamb. Good
morning, Lady Arabella.'
'But, doctor, you are not going to quarrel with us? You will come when
we want you; eh! won't you?'
Quarrel! quarrel with Greshamsbury! Angry as he was, the doctor felt
that he could ill bear to quarrel with Greshamsbury. A man past fifty
cannot easily throw over the ties that have taken twenty years to form,
and wrench himself away from the various close ligatures with which, in
such a period, he has become bound. He could not quarrel with the
squire; he could ill bear to quarrel with Frank; though he now began to
conceive that Frank had used him badly, he could not do so; he could
not quarrel with the children, who had almost been born into his arms;
nor even with the very walls, and trees, and grassy knolls with which
he was so dearly intimate. He could not proclaim himself an enemy to
Greshamsbury; and yet he felt that fealty to Mary required of him that,
for the present, he should put on an enemy's guise.
'If you want me, Lady Arabella, and send for me, I will come to you;
otherwise, if you please, share the sentence which has been passed on
Mary. I will now wish you good morning.' And then bowing low to her,
he left the room and the house, and sauntered slowly away to his own
What was he to say to Mary? He walked very slowly, down the
Greshamsbury avenue with his hands clasped behind his back, thinking
over the whole matter; thinking of it, or rather trying to think of
it. When a man's heart is warmly concerned in any matter, it is almost
useless for him to endeavour to think of it. Instead of thinking, he
gives play to his feelings, and feeds his passion by indulging it.
'Allurements!' he said to himself, repeating Lady Arabella's words. 'A
girl circumstanced like my niece! How utterly incapable is such a
woman as that to understand the mind, and the heart, and soul of such a
one as Mary Thorne!' And then his thoughts recurred to Frank. 'It has
been ill done of him; ill done of him: young as he is, he should have
had feeling enough to spared me this. A thoughtless word has been
spoken which will now make her miserable!' And then, as he walked on,
he could not divest his mind of the remembrance of what had passed
between him and Sir Roger. What, if after all, Mary should become the
heiress to all that money? What, if she should become, in fact, the
owner of Greshamsbury? for, indeed it seemed too possible that Sir
Roger's heir would be the owner of Greshamsbury.
The idea was one which he disliked to entertain, but it would recur to
him again and again. It might be, that a marriage between his niece
and the nominal heir to the estate might be of all the matches the best
for young Gresham to make. How sweet would be the revenge, how
glorious the retaliation on Lady Arabella, if, after what had now been
said, it should come to pass that all the difficulties of Greshamsbury
should be made smooth by Mary's love, and Mary's hand! It was a
dangerous subject on which to ponder. And, as he sauntered down the
road, the doctor did his best to banish it from his mind--not altogether
But as he went he again encountered Beatrice. 'Tell Mary I went up to
her to-day,' said she, 'and that I expect her up here to-morrow. If
she does not come here, I shall be savage.'
'Do not be savage,' said he, putting out his hand, 'even though she
should not come.'
Beatrice immediately saw that his manner with her was not playful, and
that his face was serious. 'I was only in joke,' said she; 'of course
I was only joking. But is anything the matter? Is Mary ill?'
'Oh, no; not ill at all; but she will not be here to-morrow, nor
probably for some time. But, Miss Gresham, you must not be savage with
Beatrice tried to interrogate him, but he would not wait to answer her
questions. While she was speaking he bowed to her in his usual
old-fashioned courteous way, and passed on out of hearing. 'She will
not come up for some time,' said Beatrice to herself. 'Then mamma must
have quarrelled with her.' And at once in her heart she acquitted her
friend of all blame in the matter, whatever it might be, and condemned
her mother unheard.
The doctor, when he arrived in his own house, had in nowise made up his
mind as to the manner in which he would break the matter to Mary; but
by the time that he had reached the drawing-room, he had made up his
mind to this, that he would put off the evil hour till the morrow. He
would sleep on the matter--lie awake on it, more probably--and then at
breakfast, as best he could, tell her what had been said of her.
Mary that evening was more than usually inclined to be playful. She had
not been quite certain till the morning, whether Frank had absolutely
left Greshamsbury, and had, therefore, preferred the company of Miss
Oriel to going up to the house. There was a peculiar cheerfulness
about her friend Patience, a feeling of satisfaction with the world and
those in it, which Mary always shared with her; and now she had brought
home to the doctor's fireside, in spite of her young troubles, a
smiling face, if not a heart altogether happy.
'Uncle,' she said at last, 'what makes you so sombre? Shall I read to
'No; not to-night, dearest.'
'Why, uncle; what is the matter?'
'Ah, but it is something, and you shall tell me;' getting up, she came
over to his arm-chair, and leant over his shoulder.
He looked up at her for a minute in silence, and then, getting up from
his chair, passed his arm round her waist, and pressed her closely to
'My darling!' he said, almost convulsively. 'My best own, truest
darling!' and Mary looked up into his face, saw that big tears were
running down his cheeks.
But still he told her nothing that night.
When Frank Gresham expressed to his father an opinion that Courcy
Castle was dull, the squire, as may be remembered, did not pretend to
differ from him. To men such as the squire, and such as the squire's
son, Courcy Castle was dull. To what class of men it would not be dull
the author is not prepared to say; but it may be presumed that the De
Courcys found it to their liking, or they would have made it other than
The castle itself was a huge brick pile, built in the days of William
III, which, though they were grand for days of the construction of the
Constitution, were not very grand for architecture of a more material
description. It had, no doubt, a perfect right to be called a castle,
as it was entered by a castle-gate which led into a court the porter's
lodge for which was built as it were into the wall; there were attached
to it also two round, stumpy adjuncts, which were, perhaps properly,
called towers, though they did not do much in the way of towering; and,
moreover, along one side of the house, over what would otherwise have
been the cornice, there ran a castellated parapet, through the
assistance of which, the imagination no doubt was intended to supply
the muzzles of defiant artillery. But any artillery which would have so
presented its muzzle must have been very small, and it may be doubted
whether even a bowman could have obtained shelter there.
The grounds about the castle were not very inviting, nor, as grounds,
very extensive; though, no doubt, the entire domain was such as suited
the importance of so puissant a nobleman as Earl de Courcy. What,
indeed, should have been the park was divided out into various large
paddocks. The surface was flat and unbroken; and though there were
magnificent elm-trees standing in straight lines, like hedgerows, the
timber had not that beautiful, wild, scattered look which generally
gives the great charm to English scenery.
The town of Courcy--for the place claimed to rank as a town--was in many
particulars like the castle. It was built of dingy-red brick--almost
more brown than red--and was solid, dull-looking, ugly and comfortable.
It consisted of four streets, which were formed by two roads crossing
each other, making at the point of junction a centre for the town. Here
stood the Red Lion; had it been called the brown lion, the nomenclature
would have been more strictly correct; and here, in the old days of
coaching, some life had been wont to stir itself at those house in the
day and night when the Freetraders, Tallyhoes, and Royal Mails changed
their horses. But now there was a railway station a mile and a half
distant, and the moving life of the town of Courcy was confined to the
Red Lion omnibus, which seemed to pass its entire time in going up and
down between the town and the station, quite unembarrassed by any great
weight of passengers.
There were, so said the Courcyites when away from Courcy, excellent
shops in the place; but they were not the less accustomed, when at home
among themselves, to complain to each other of the vile extortion with
which they were treated by their neighbours. The ironmonger,
therefore, though he loudly asserted that he could beat Bristol in the
quality of his wares in one direction, and undersell Gloucester in
another, bought his tea and sugar on the sly in one of those larger
towns; and the grocer, on the other hand equally distrusted the pots
and pans of home production. Trade, therefore, at Courcy, had not
thriven since the railway opened: and, indeed, had any patient inquirer
stood at the cross through one entire day, counting customers who
entered the neighbouring shops, he might well have wondered that any
shops in Courcy could be kept open.
And how changed has been the bustle of that once noisy inn to the
present death-like silence of its green courtyard! There, a lame
ostler crawls about with the hands thrust into the capacious pockets of
his jacket, feeding on memory. That weary pair of omnibus jades, and
three sorry posters are all that now grace those stables where horses
used to be stalled in close contiguity by the dozen; where twenty
grains apiece, abstracted from every feed of oats consumed during the
day, would have afforded a daily quart to the lucky pilferer.
Come, my friend, and discourse with me. Let us know what are thy ideas
of the inestimable benefits which science has conferred on us in these,
our latter days. How dost thou, among others, appreciate railways and
the power of steam, telegraphs, telegrams, and our new expresses? But
indifferently, you say. 'Time was I've zeed vifteen pair o' 'osses go
out of this 'ere yard in vour-and-twenty hour; and now there be'ant
vifteen, no, not ten, in vour-and-twenty days! There was the duik--not
this 'un; he be'ant no gude; but this 'un's vather--why, when he'd come
down the road, the cattle did be a-going, vour days an eend. Here'd be
the tooter and the young gen'lmen, and the governess and the young
leddies, and then the servants--they'd be al'ays the grandest folk of
all--and then the duik and doochess--Lord love 'ee, zur; the money did
fly in them days! But now--' and the feeling of scorn and contempt
which the lame ostler was enabled by his native talent to throw into
the word 'now', was quite as eloquent against the power of steam as
anything that has been spoken at dinners, or written in pamphlets by
the keenest admirers of latter-day lights.
'Why, luke at this 'ere town,' continued he of the sieve, 'the grass be
a-growing in the very streets;--that can't be no gude. Why, luke 'ee
here, zur; I do be a-standing at this 'ere gateway, just this way, hour
arter hour, and my heyes is hopen mostly;--I zees who's a-coming and
who's a-going. Nobody's a-coming and nobody's a-going; that can't be
no gude. Luke at that there homnibus; why, darn me--' and now, in his
eloquence at this peculiar point, my friend became more loud and
powerful than ever--'why, darn me, if maister harns enough with that
there bus to put hiron on them osses' feet, I'll--be--blowed!' And as he
uttered this hypothetical denunciation on himself he spoke very slowly,
bringing out every word as it were separately, and lowering himself at
his knees at every sound, moving at the same time his right hand up and
down. When he had finished, he fixed his eyes upon the ground,
pointing downwards, as if there was to be the site of his doom if the
curse that he had called down upon himself should ever come to pass;
and then, waiting no further converse, he hobbled away, melancholy, to
his deserted stables.
Oh, my friend! my poor lame friend! it will avail nothing to tell thee
of Liverpool and Manchester; of the glories of Glasgow, with her
flourishing banks; of London, with its third millions of inhabitants;
of the great things which commerce is doing for this nation of thine!
What is commerce to thee, unless it be commerce in posting on that
worn-out, all but useless great western turnpike-road? There is
nothing left for thee but to be carted away as rubbish--for thee and for
many of us in these now prosperous days; oh, my melancholy, care-ridden
Courcy Castle was certainly a dull place to look at, and Frank, in his
former visits, had found that the appearance did not belie the
reality. He had been but little there when the earl had been at
Courcy; and as he had always felt from his childhood a peculiar taste
to the governance of his aunt the countess, this perhaps may have added
to his feeling of dislike. Now, however, the castle was to be fuller
than he had ever before known it; the earl was to be at home; there was
some talk of the Duke of Omnium coming for a day or two, though that
seemed doubtful; there was some faint doubt of Lord Porlock; Mr Moffat,
intent on the coming election--and also, let us hope, on his coming
bliss--was to be one of the guests; and there was also to be the great
Frank, however, found that those grandees were not expected quite
immediately. 'I might go back to Greshamsbury for three or four days
as she is not to be here,' he said naively to his aunt, expressing,
with tolerable perspicuity, his feeling, that he regarded his visit to
Courcy Castle quite as a matter of business. But the countess would
hear of no such arrangement. Now that she had got him, she was not
going to let him fall back into the perils of Miss Thorne's intrigues,
or even of Miss Thorne's propriety. 'It is quite essential,' she said,
'that you should be here a few days before her, so that she may see
that you are at home.' Frank did not understand the reasoning; but he
felt himself unable to rebel, and he therefore, remained there,
comforting himself, as best he might, with the eloquence of the
Honourable George, and the sporting humours of the Honourable John.
Mr Moffat was the earliest arrival of any importance. Frank had not
hitherto made the acquaintance of his future brother-in-law, and there
was, therefore, some little interest in the first interview. Mr Moffat
was shown into the drawing-room before the ladies had gone up to dress,
and it so happened that Frank was there also. As no one else was in
the room but his sister and two of his cousins, he had expected to see
the lovers rush into each other's arms. But Mr Moffat restrained his
ardour, and Miss Gresham seemed contented that he should do so.
He was a nice, dapper man, rather above the middle height, and
good-looking enough had he had a little more expression in his face. He
had dark hair, very nicely brushed, small black whiskers, and a small
black moustache. His boots were excellently well made, and his hands
were very white. He simpered gently as he took hold of Augusta's
fingers, and expressed a hope that she had been quite will since last
he had the pleasure of seeing her. Then he touched the hands of the
Lady Rosina and the Lady Margaretta.
'Mr Moffat, allow me to introduce you to my brother?'
'Most happy, I'm sure,' said Mr Moffat, again putting out his hand, and
allowing it to slip through Frank's grasp, as he spoke in a pretty,
mincing voice: 'Lady Arabella quite well?--and your father, and
sisters? Very warm isn't it?--quite hot in town, I do assure you.'
'I hope Augusta likes him,' said Frank to himself, arguing on the
subject exactly as his father had done; 'but for an engaged lover he
seems to me to have a very queer way with him.' Frank, poor fellow! who
was of a coarser mould, would, under such circumstances, have been all
for kissing--sometimes, indeed, even under other circumstances.
Mr Moffat did not do much towards improving the conviviality of the
castle. He was, of course, a good deal intent upon his coming
election, and spent much of his time with Mr Nearthewinde, the
celebrated parliamentary agent. It behoved him to be a good deal at
Barchester, canvassing the electors and undermining, by Mr
Nearthewinde's aid, the mines for blowing him out of his seat, which
were daily being contrived by Mr Closerstil, on behalf of Sir Roger.
The battle was to be fought on the internecine principle, no quarter
being given or taken on either side; and of course this gave Mr Moffat
as much as he knew how to do.
Mr Closerstil was well known to be the sharpest man at his business in
all England, unless the palm should be given to his great rival Mr
Nearthewinde; and in this instance he was to be assisted in the battle
by a very clever young barrister, Mr Romer, who was an admirer of Sir
Roger's career in life. Some people in Barchester, when they saw Sir
Roger, Closerstil and Mr Romer saunter down the High Street, arm in
arm, declared that it was all up with poor Moffat; but others, in whose
head the bump of veneration was strongly pronounced, whispered to each
other that great shibboleth--the name of the Duke of Omnium--and mildly
asserted it to be impossible that the duke's nominee should be thrown
Our poor friend the squire did not take much interest in the matter
except in so far that he liked his son-in-law to be in Parliament. Both
the candidates were in his eye equally wrong in their opinions. He had
long since recanted those errors of his early youth, which had cost him
his seat for the county, and had abjured the De Courcy politics. He
was staunch enough as a Tory now that his being so would no longer be
of the slightest use to him; but the Duke of Omnium, and Lord de
Courcy, and Mr Moffat were all Whigs; Whigs, however, differing
altogether in politics from Sir Roger, who belonged to the Manchester
school, and whose pretensions, through some of those inscrutable twists
in modern politics which are quite unintelligible to the minds of
ordinary men outside the circle, were on this occasion secretly
favoured by the high Conservative party.
How Mr Moffat, who had been brought into the political world by Lord de
Courcy, obtained the weight of the duke's interest I never could
exactly learn. For the duke and the earl did not generally act as
twin-brothers on such occasions.
There is a great difference in Whigs. Lord de Courcy was a Court Whig,
following the fortunes, and enjoying, when he could get it, the
sunshine of the throne. He was a sojourner at Windsor, and a visitor
at Balmoral. He delighted in gold sticks, and was never so happy as
when holding some cap of maintenance or spur of precedence with due
dignity and acknowledged grace in the presence of all the Court. His
means had been somewhat embarrassed by early extravagance; and,
therefore, as it was to his taste to shine, it suited him to shine at
the cost of the Court rather than at his own.
The Duke of Omnium was a Whig of a very different calibre. He rarely
went near the presence of majesty, and when he did so, he did it merely
as a disagreeable duty incident to his position. He was very willing
that the Queen should be queen so long as he was allowed to be Duke of
Omnium. Nor had he begrudged Prince Albert any of his honours till he
was called Prince Consort. Then, indeed, he had, to his own intimate
friends, made some remark in three words not flattering to the
discretion of the Prime Minister. The Queen might be queen so long as
he was Duke of Omnium. Their revenues were about the same, with the
exception, that the duke's were his own, and he could do what he liked
with them. This remembrance did not unfrequently present itself to the
duke's mind. In person, he was a plain, thin man, tall, but
undistinguished in appearance, except that there was a gleam of pride
in his eye which seemed every moment to be saying, 'I am the Duke of
Omnium'. He was unmarried, and, if report said true, a great
debauchee; but if so he had always kept his debaucheries decently away
from the eyes of the world, and was not, therefore, open to that loud
condemnation which should fall like a hailstorm round the ears of some
more open sinners.
Why these two mighty nobles put their heads together in order that the
tailor's son should represent Barchester in Parliament, I cannot
explain. Mr Moffat, was, as has been said, Lord de Courcy's friend;
and it may be that Lord de Courcy was able to repay the duke for his
kindness, as touching Barchester, with some little assistance in the
The next arrival was that of the Bishop of Barchester. A meek, good,
worthy man, much attached to his wife, and somewhat addicted to his
ease. She, apparently, was made in a different mould, and by her
energy and diligence atoned for any want of those qualities which might
be observed in the bishop himself. When asked his opinion, his lordship
would generally reply by saying--'Mrs Proudie and I think so and so.'
But before that opinion was given, Mrs Proudie would take up the tale,
and she, in her more concise manner, was not wont to quote the bishop
as having at all assisted in the consideration of the subject. It was
well known in Barsetshire that no married pair consorted more closely
or more tenderly together; and the example of such conjugal affection
among persons in the upper classes is worth mentioning, as it is
believed by those below them, and too often with truth, that the sweet
bliss of connubial reciprocity is not so common as it should be among
the magnates of the earth.
But the arrival even of the bishop and his wife did not make the place
cheerful to Frank Gresham, and he began to long for Miss Dunstable, in
order that he might have something to do. He could not get on at all
with Mr Moffat. He had expected that the man would at once have called
him Frank, and that he would have called the man Gustavus; but they did
not even get beyond Mr Moffat and Mr Gresham. 'Very hot in Barchester,
to-day, very,' was the nearest approach to conversation which Frank
could attain with him; and as far as he, Frank, could see, Augusta
never got much beyond it. There might be tete-a-tete meetings between
them, but, if so, Frank could not detect when they took place; and so,
opening his heart at last to the Honourable George, for the want of
a better confidant, he expressed his opinion that his future
brother-in-law was a muff.
'A muff--I believe you too. What do you think now? I have been with
him and Nearthewinde in Barchester these three days past, looking up
the electors' wives and daughters, and that kind of thing.'
'I say, if there is any fun in it you might as well take me with you.'
'Oh, there is not much fun; they are mostly so slobbered and dirty. A
sharp fellow in Nearthewinde, and knows what he is about well.'
'Does he look up the wives and daughters too?'
'Oh, he goes on every tack just as it's wanted. But there was Moffat,
yesterday, in a room behind the milliner's shop near Cuthbert's Gate; I
was with him. The woman's husband is one of the choristers and an
elector, you know, and Moffat went to look for his vote. Now, there
was no one there when we got there but the three young women, the wife,
that is, and her two girls--very pretty women they are too.'
'I say, George, I'll go and get the chorister's vote for Moffat; I
ought to do it as he's to be my brother-in-law.'
'But what do you think Moffat said to the women?'
'Can't guess--he didn't kiss them, did he?'
'Kiss any of them? No; but he begged to give them his positive
assurance as a gentleman that if he was returned to Parliament he would
vote for an extension of the franchise, and the admission of the Jews
into the Parliament.'
'Well, he is a muff,' said Frank.
At last the great Miss Dunstable came. Frank, when he heard that the
heiress had arrived, felt some slight palpitation at his heart. He had
not the remotest idea in the world of marrying her; indeed, during the
last week past, absence had so heightened his love for Mary Thorne that
he was more than ever resolved that he would never marry any one but
her. He knew that he had made her a formal offer for her hand, and
that it behoved him to keep to it, let the charms of Miss Dunstable be
what they might; but, nevertheless, he was prepared to go through a
certain amount of courtship, in obedience to his aunt's behests, and he
felt a little nervous at being brought up in that way, face to face, to
do battle with two hundred thousand pounds.
'Miss Dunstable has arrived,' said his aunt to him, with great
complacency, on his return from an electioneering visit to the beauties
of Barchester which he made with his cousin George on the day after the
conversation which was repeated at the end of the last chapter. 'She
has arrived, and is looking remarkably well; she has quite a distingue
air, and will grace any circle to which she may be introduced. I will
introduce you before dinner, and you can take her out.'
'I couldn't propose to her to-night, I suppose?' said Frank,
'Don't talk nonsense, Frank,' said the countess angrily. 'I am doing
what I can for you, and taking on an infinity of trouble to endeavour
to place you in an independent position; and now you talk nonsense to
Frank muttered some sort of apology, and then went to prepare himself
for the encounter.
Miss Dunstable, though she had come by train, had brought with her her
own carriage, her own horses, her own coachman and footman, and her own
maid, of course. She had also brought with her half a score of trunks,
full of wearing apparel; some of them nearly as rich as that wonderful
box which was stolen a short time since from the top of a cab. But she
brought these things, not in the least because she wanted them herself,
but because she had been instructed to do so.
Frank was a little more than ordinarily careful in dressing. He spoilt
a couple of white neckties before he was satisfied, and was rather
fastidious as the set of his hair. There was not much of the dandy
about him in the ordinary meaning of the word. But he felt that it was
incumbent on him to look his best, seeing what it was expected he
should now do. He certainly did not mean to marry Miss Dunstable; but
as he was to have a flirtation with her, it was well that he should do
so under the best possible auspices.
When he entered the drawing-room he perceived at once that the lady was
there. She was seated between the countess and Mrs Proudie; and
mammon, in her person, was receiving worship from the temporalities and
spiritualities of the land. He tried to look unconcerned, and remained
in the farther part of the room, talking with some of his cousins; but
he could not keep his eye off the future possible Mrs Frank Gresham;
and it seemed as though she was as much constrained to scrutinize him
as he felt to scrutinize her.
Lady de Courcy had declared that she was looking extremely well, and
had particularly alluded to her distingue appearance. Frank at once
felt that he could not altogether go along with his aunt in this
opinion. Miss Dunstable might be very well; but her style of beauty
was one which did not quite meet with his warmest admiration.
In age she was about thirty; but Frank, who was no great judge in these
matters, and who was accustomed to have very young girls round him, at
once put her down as being ten years older. She had a very high colour,
very red cheeks, a large mouth, big white teeth, a broad nose, and
bright, small, black eyes. Her hair also was black and bright, but
very crisp, and strong, and was combed close round her face in small
crisp black ringlets. Since she had been brought out into the
fashionable world some of her instructors in fashion had given her to
understand that curls were not the thing. 'They'll always pass
muster,' Miss Dunstable had replied, 'when they are done up with
bank-notes.' It may therefore be presumed that Miss Dunstable had a
will of her own.
'Frank,' said the countess, in the most natural and unpremeditated way,
as soon as she caught her nephew's eye, 'come here. I want to
introduce you to Miss Dunstable.' The introduction was then made. 'Mrs
Proudie, would you excuse me? I must positively go and say a few words
to Mrs Barlow, or the poor woman will feel herself huffed'; and so
saying, she moved off, leaving the coast clear for Master Frank.
He of course slipped into his aunt's place, and expressed a hope that
Miss Dunstable was not fatigued by her journey.
'Fatigued!' said she, in a voice rather loud, but very good-humoured,
and not altogether unpleasing; 'I am not to be fatigued by such a thing
as that. Why, in May we came through all the way from Rome to Paris
without sleeping--that is, without sleeping in a bed--and we were upset
three times out of the sledges coming over the Simplon. It was such
fun! Why, I wasn't to say tired even then.'
'All the way from Rome to Paris!' said Mrs Proudie--in a tone of
astonishment, meant to flatter the heiress--'and what made you in such a
'Something about money matters,' said Miss Dunstable, speaking rather
louder than usual. 'Something to do with the ointment. I was selling
the business just then.'
Mrs Proudie bowed, and immediately changed the conversation. 'Idolatry
is, I believe, more rampant than ever in Rome,' said she; 'and I fear
there is no such thing at all as Sabbath observance.'
'Oh, not in the least,' said Miss Dunstable, with rather a joyous air;
'Sundays and week-days are all the same there.'
'How very frightful!' said Mrs Proudie.
'But it's a delicious place. I do like Rome, I must say. And as for
the Pope, if he wasn't quite so fat he would be the nicest old fellow
in the world. Have you been in Rome, Mrs Proudie?'
Mrs Proudie sighed as she replied in the negative, and declared her
belief that danger was apprehended from such visits.
'Oh!--ah!--the malaria--of course--yes; if you go at the wrong time; but
nobody is such a fool as that now.'
'I was thinking of the soul, Miss Dunstable,' said the lady-bishop, in
her peculiar grave tone. 'A place where there are no Sabbath
'And have you been at Rome, Mr Gresham?' said the young lady, turning
almost abruptly round to Frank, and giving a somewhat uncivilly cold
shoulder to Mrs Proudie's exhortation. She, poor lady, was forced to
finish her speech to the Honourable George, who was standing near to
her. He having an idea that bishops and all their belongings, like
other things appertaining to religion, should, if possible, be avoided;
but if that were not possible, should be treated with much assumed
gravity, immediately put on a long face, and remarked that--'it was a
deuced shame: for his part he always liked to see people go quiet on
Sundays. The parsons had only one day out of seven, and he thought
they were fully entitled to that.' Satisfied with which, or not
satisfied, Mrs Proudie had to remain silent till dinner-time.
'No,' said Frank; 'I never was in Rome. I was in Paris once, that's
all.' And then, feeling not unnatural anxiety as to the present state
of Miss Dunstable's worldly concerns, he took an opportunity of falling
back on that part of her conversation which Mrs Proudie had exercised
so much tact in avoiding.
'And was it sold?' said he.
'Sold! what sold?'
'You were saying about the business--that you came back without going to
bed because of selling the business.'
'Oh!--the ointment. No; it was not sold. After all, the affair did not
come off, and I might have remained and had another roll in the snow.
Wasn't it a pity?'
'So,' said Frank to himself, 'if I should do it, I should be owner of
the ointment of Lebanon: how odd!' And then he gave her his arm and
handed her down to dinner.
He certainly found that his dinner was less dull than any other he had
sat down to at Courcy Castle. He did not fancy that he should ever
fall in love with Miss Dunstable; but she certainly was an agreeable
companion. She told him of her tour, and the fun she had in her
journeys; how she took a physician with her for the benefit of her
health, whom she generally was forced to nurse; of the trouble it was
to her to look after and wait upon her numerous servants; of the tricks
she played to bamboozle people who came to stare at her; and, lastly,
she told him of a lover who followed her from country to country, and
was now in hot pursuit of her, having arrived in London the evening
before she left.
'A lover?' said Frank, somewhat startled by the suddenness of the
'A lover--yes--Mr Gresham; why should I not have a lover?'
'Oh!--no--of course not. I dare say you have had a good many.'
'Only three or four, upon my word; that is, only three or four that I
favour. One is not bound to reckon the others, you know.'
'No, they'd be too numerous. And so you have three whom you favour,
Miss Dunstable;' and Frank sighed, as though he intended to say that
the number was too many for his peace of mind.