Part 1 out of 18
This etext was prepared by KENNETH DAVID COOPER
The Last Chronicle of Barset by Anthony Trollope
I How Did He Get It?
II By Heavens, He Had Better Not!
III The Archdeacon's Threat
IV The Clergyman's House at Hogglestock
V What the World Thought about it
VI Grace Crawley
VII Miss Prettyman's Private Room
VIII Mr Crawley is Taken to Silverbridge
IX Grace Crawley Goes to Allington
X Dinner at Framley Court
XI The Bishop Sends his Inhibition
XII Mr Crawley Seeks for Sympathy
XIII The Bishop's Angel
XIV Major Grantly Consults a Friend
XV Up in London
XVI Down in Allington
XVII Mr Crawley is Summoned to Barchester
XVIII The Bishop of Barchester is Crushed
XIX Where Did it Come From?
XX What Mr Walker Thought about it
XXI Mr Robarts on his Embassy
XXII Major Grantly at Home
XXIII Miss Lily Dale's Resolution
XXIV Mrs Dobbs Broughton's Dinner-Party
XXV Miss Madalina Demolines
XXVI The Picture
XXVII A Hero at Home
XXVIII Showing How Major Grantly took a Walk
XXIX Miss Lily Dale's Logic
XXX Showing what Major Grantly did after his Walk
XXXI Showing how Major Grantly Returned to Guestwick
XXXII Mr Toogood
XXXIII The Plumstead Foxes
XXXIV Mrs Proudie Sends for her Lawyer
XXXV Lily Dale writes Two Words in her Book
XXXVI Grace Crawley Returns Home
XXXVII Hook Court
XXXIX A New Flirtation
XL Mr Toogood's Ideas about Society
XLI Grace Crawley at Home
XLII Mr Toogood Travels Professionally
XLIII Mr Crosbie Goes to the City
XLIV 'I Suppose I Must Let You Have It'
XLV Lily Dale Goes to London
XLVI The Bayswater Romance
XLVII Dr Tempest at the Palace
XLVIII The Softness of Sir Raffle Buffle
XLIX Near the Close
L Lady Lufton's Proposition
LI Mrs Dobbs Broughton Piles her Fagots
LII Why don't you have an 'It' for Yourself?
LIII Rotten Row
LIV The Clerical Commission
LV Framley Parsonage
LVI The Archdeacon Goes to Framley
LVII A Double Pledge
LVIII The Cross-grainedness of Men
LIX A Lady Presents her Compliments to Miss L.D.
LX The End of Jael and Sisera
LXI 'It's Dogged as Does It'
LXII Mr Crawley's Letter to the Dean
LXIII Two Vistors to Hogglestock
LXIV The Tragedy in Hook Court
LXV Miss Van Siever makes her Choice
LXVI Requiescat in Pace
LXVII In Memoriam
LXVIII The Obstinacy of Mr Crawley
LXIX Mr Crawley's Last Appearance in his own Pulpit
LXX Mrs Arabin is Caught
LXXI Mr Toogood at Silverbridge
LXXII There is Comfort at Plumstead
LXXIV The Crawleys are Informed
LXXV Madalina's Heart is Bleeding
LXXVI I Think he is Light of Heart
LXXVII The Shattered Tree
LXXVIII The Arabins Return to Barchester
LXXIX Mr Crawley Speaks of his Coat
LXXX Miss Demolines Desires to Become a Finger-post
LXXXI Barchester Cloisters
LXXXII The Last Scene at Hogglestock
LXXXIII Mr Crawley is Conquered
HOW DID HE GET IT?
'I can never bring myself to believe it, John,' said Mary Walker the
pretty daughter of Mr George Walker, attorney of Silverbridge. Walker
and Winthrop was the name of the firm, and they were respectable people,
who did all the solicitors' business that had to be done in that part of
Barsetshire on behalf of the Crown, were employed on the local business
of the Duke of Omnium, who is great in those parts, and altogether held
their heads up high, as provincial lawyers often do. They--the
Walkers--lived in a great brick house in the middle of the town, gave
dinners, to which the county gentlemen not unfrequently condescended to
come, and in a mild way led the fashion in Silverbridge. 'I can never
bring myself to believe it, John,' said Miss Walker.
'You'll have to bring yourself to believe it,' said John, without taking
his eyes from his book.
'A clergyman--and such a clergyman too!'
'I don't see that that has anything to do with it.' And as he now
spoke, John did take his eyes of his book. 'Why should not a clergyman
turn thief as well as anybody else? You girls always seem to forget that
clergymen are only men after all.'
'Their conduct is likely to be better than that of other men, I think.'
'I deny it utterly,' said John Walker. 'I'll undertake to say that at
this moment there are more clergymen in debt in Barsetshire than there
are either lawyers or doctors. This man has always been in debt. Since
he has been in the county I don't think he has ever been able to show
his face in the High Street of Silverbridge.'
'John, that is saying more than you have a right to say,' said Mrs
'Why, mother, this very cheque was given to a butcher who had threatened
a few days before to post bills all about the county, giving an account
of the debt that was due to him, if the money was not paid at once.'
'More shame for Mr Fletcher,' said Mary. 'He has made a fortune as
butcher in Silverbridge.'
'What has that to do with it? Of course a man likes to have his money.
He had written three times to the bishop, and he had sent a man over to
Hogglestock to get his little bill settled six days running. You see he
got it at last. Of course, a tradesman must look for his money.'
'Mamma, do you think that Mr Crawley stole the cheque?' Mary, as she
asked the question, came and stood over her mother, looking at her with
'I would rather give no opinion, dear.'
'But you must think something when everybody is talking about it,
'Of course my mother thinks he did,' said John, going back to his book.
'It is impossible that she should think otherwise.'
'That is not fair, John,' said Mrs Walker; 'and I won't have you
fabricate thoughts for me, or put the expression of them into my mouth.
The whole affair is very painful, and as your father is engaged in the
inquiry, I think that the less said about the matter in this house the
better. I am sure that that would be your father's feeling.'
'I do not see that at all,' said John. 'Mr Crawley is not more than any
other man just because he's a clergyman. I hate all that kind of
clap-trap. There are a lot of people here in Silverbridge who think the
matter shouldn't be followed up, just because the man is in a position
which makes the crime more criminal in him than it would be in another.'
'But I feel sure that Mr Crawley has committed no crime at all,' said
'My dear,' said Mrs Walker, 'I have just said that I would rather you
would not talk about it. Papa will be in directly.'
'I won't, mamma, only--'
'Only! yes; just only!' said John. 'She'd go on till dinner if anyone
would stay to hear her.'
'You've said twice as much as I have, John.' But John had left the room
before his sister's words could reach him.
'You know, mamma, it is quite impossible not to help thinking of it,'
'I daresay it is, my dear.'
'And when one knows the people it does make it so dreadful.'
'But do you know them? I never spoke to Mr Crawley in my life, and I do
not think I ever saw her.'
'I knew Grace very well--when she used to come first to Miss Prettyman's
'Poor girl. I pity her.'
'Pity her! Pity is no word for it, mamma. My heart bleeds for them.
And yet I do not believe for a moment that he stole the cheque. How can
it be possible? For though he may have been in debt because they have
been so very, very, poor, yet we all know that he has been an excellent
clergyman. When the Robartses were dining here last, I heard Mrs Robarts
say that for piety and devotion to his duties she had hardly ever seen
anyone equal to him. And the Robartses know more of them than anybody.'
'They say that the dean is his great friend.'
'What a pity it is that the Arabins should be away just now when he is
in such trouble.' And in this way the mother and daughter went on
discussing the question of the clergyman's guilt in spite of Mrs
Walker's expressed desire that nothing more might be said about it. But
Mrs Walker, like many other mothers, was apt to be more free in converse
with her daughter than she was with her son. While they were thus
talking the father came in from his office, and then the subject was
dropped. He was a man between fifty and sixty years of age, with grey
hair, rather short, and somewhat corpulent, but still gifted with that
amount of personal comeliness which comfortable position and the respect
of others will generally seem to give. A man rarely carries himself
meanly whom the world holds in high esteem.
'I am very tired, my dear,' said Mr Walker.
'You look tired. Come and sit down for a few minutes before you dress.
Mary, get your father's slippers.' Mary instantly ran to the door.
'Thanks, my darling,' said the father. And then he whispered to his
wife, as soon as Mary was out of hearing. 'I fear the unfortunate man is
guilty. I fear he is! I fear he is!'
'Oh, heavens! what will become of them?'
'What indeed? She has been with me today.'
'Has she? And what could you say to her?'
'I told her at first that I could not see her, and begged her not to
speak to me about it. I tried to make her understand that she should go
to someone else. But it was of no use.'
'And how did it end?'
'I asked her to go in to you, but she declined. She said you could do
nothing for her.'
'And does she think her husband guilty?'
'No, indeed. She think him guilty! Nothing on earth--or from heaven
either, as I take it, would make her suppose it to be possible. She came
simply to tell me how good he was.'
'I love her for that,' said Mrs Walker.
'So did I. But what is the good of loving her? Thank you, dearest.
I'll get your slippers for you some day, perhaps.'
The whole county was astir with this matter of this alleged guilt of the
Reverend Mr Crawley--the whole county almost as keenly as the family of
Mr Walker, of Silverbridge. The crime laid to his charge was the theft
of a cheque for twenty pounds, which he was said to have stolen out of a
pocket-book left or dropped in his house, and to have passed as money
into the hands of one Fletcher, a butcher of Silverbridge, to whom he
was indebted. Mr Crawley was in those days the perpetual curate of
Hogglestock, a pariah in the northern extremity of East Barsetshire; a
man known by all who knew anything of him to be very poor--an unhappy,
moody, disappointed man, upon whom the troubles of the world always
seemed to come with a double weight. But he had ever been respected as a
clergyman, since his old friend Mr Arabin, the dean of Barchester, had
given him the small incumbency which he now held. Though moody, unhappy,
and disappointed, he was a hard-working, conscientious pastor, among the
poor people with whom his lot was cast; for in the parish of Hogglestock
there resided only a few farmers higher in degree than field labourers,
brickmakers, and such like. Mr Crawley had now passed some ten years of
his life at Hogglestock; and during those years he had worked very hard
to do his duty, struggling to teach the people around him perhaps too
much of the mystery, but something of the comfort, of religion. That he
had became popular in his parish cannot be said of him. He was not a man
to make himself popular in any position. I have said that he was moody
and disappointed. He was even worse than this; he was morose, sometimes
almost to insanity. There had been days in which even his wife had found
it impossible to deal with him otherwise than as with an acknowledged
lunatic. And this was known among the farmers, who talked about their
clergyman among themselves as though he were a madman. But among the
very poor, among the brickmakers of Hoggle End--a lawless, drunken,
terribly rough lot of humanity--he was held in high respect; for they
knew that he lived hardly, as they lived; that he worked hard, as they
worked; and that the outside world was hard to him, as it was to them;
and there had been an apparent sincerity of godliness about the man, and
a manifest struggle to do his duty in spite of the world's ill-usage,
which had won its way even with the rough; so that Mr Crawley's name had
stood high with many in the parish, in spite of the unfortunate
peculiarity of his disposition. This was the man who was now accused of
stealing a cheque for twenty pounds.
But before the circumstances of the alleged theft are stated, a word or
two must be said as to Mr Crawley's family. It is declared that a good
wife is a crown to her husband, but Mrs Crawley has been much more than
a crown to him. As had regarded all the inner life of the man--all that
portion of his life which had not been passed in the pulpit or in
pastoral teaching--she had been crown, throne, and sceptre all in one.
That she had endured with him and on his behalf the miseries of poverty,
and the troubles of a life which had known no smiles, is perhaps not to
be alleged as much to her honour. She had joined herself to him for
better or worse, and it was her manifest duty to bear such things; wives
always have to bear them, knowing when they marry that they must take
their chance. Mr Crawley might have been a bishop, and Mrs Crawley, when
she married him, perhaps thought it probable that such would be his
fortune. Instead of that he was now, just as he was approaching his
fiftieth year, a perpetual curate, with an income of one hundred and
thirty pounds per annum--and a family. That had been Mrs Crawley's luck
in life, and of course she bore it. But she had also done much more than
this. She had striven hard to be contented, or, rather, to appear to be
contented, when he had been most wretched and most moody. She had
struggled to conceal from him her own conviction to his half-insanity,
treating him at the same time with the respect due to an honoured father
of a family, and with the careful measured indulgence fit for a sick and
wayward child. In all the terrible troubles of their life her courage
had been higher than his. The metal of which she was made had been
tempered to a steel which was very rare and fine, but the rareness and
fineness of which he had failed to appreciate. He had often told her
that she was without pride, because she was stooped to receive from
others on his behalf and on behalf of their children, things which were
needful, but which she could not buy. He had told her that she was a
beggar, and that it was better to starve than to beg. She had borne the
rebuke without a word in reply, and had then begged again for him, and
had endured the starvation herself. Nothing in their poverty had, for
years past, been a shame to her; but every accident of their poverty was
still, and ever had been, a living disgrace to him.
They had had many children, and three were still alive. Of the eldest,
Grace Crawley, we shall hear much in the coming story. She was at this
time nineteen years old, and there were those who said, that in spite of
her poverty, her shabby outward apparel, and a certain thin, unfledged,
unrounded form of person, a want of fulness in the lines of her figure,
she was the prettiest girl in that part of the world. She was living now
at a school in Silverbridge, where for the last year she had been a
teacher; and there were many in Silverbridge who declared that very
bright prospects were opening to her--that young Major Grantly of Crosby
Lodge, who, though a widower with a young child, was the cynosure of all
female eyes in and around Silverbridge, had found beauty in her thin
face, and that Grace Crawley's fortune was made in the teeth, as it
were, of the prevailing ill-fortune of the family. Bob Crawley, who was
two years younger, was now at Malbro' School, from whence it was
intended that he should proceed to Cambridge, and be educated there at
the expense of his godfather Dean Arabin. In this also the world saw a
stroke of good luck. But then nothing was lucky to Mr Crawley. Bob,
indeed, who had done well at school, might do well at Cambridge--might
achieve great things there. But Mr Crawley would almost have preferred
that the boy should work in the fields, than that he should be educated
in a manner so manifestly eleemosynary. And then his clothes! How was he
to be provided with clothes fit either for school or for college? But
the dean and Mrs Crawley between them managed this, leaving Mr Crawley
very much in the dark, as Mrs Crawley was in the habit of leaving him.
Then there was a younger daughter, Jane, still at home, who passed her
life between her mother's work-table and her father's Greek, mending
linen, and learning to scan iambics--for Mr Crawley in his early days
had been a ripe scholar.
And now there had come upon them all this terribly crushing disaster.
That poor Mr Crawley had gradually got himself into a mess of debt at
Silverbridge, from which he had been quite unable to extricate himself,
was generally known by all the world both of Silverbridge and
Hogglestock. To a great many it was known that Dean Arabin had paid
money for him, very much contrary to his own consent, and that he had
quarrelled, or attempted to quarrel, with the dean in consequence--had
so attempted, although the money had in part passed through his own
hands. There had been one creditor, Fletcher, the butcher at
Silverbridge, who had of late been specially hard upon poor Crawley.
This man, who had not been without good nature in his dealings, had
heard stories of the dean's good-will and such like, and had loudly
expressed his opinion that the perpetual curate of Hogglestock would
show a higher pride in allowing himself to be indebted to a rich brother
clergyman, than in remaining under the thrall of a butcher. And thus a
rumour had grown up. And then the butcher had written repeated letters to
the bishop--to bishop Proudie of Barchester, who had first caused his
chaplain to answer them, and had told Mr Crawley somewhat roundly what
was his opinion of a clergyman who ate meat and did not pay for it. But
nothing that bishop could say or do enabled Mr Crawley to pay the
butcher. It was very grievous to such a man as Mr Crawley to receive
these letters from such a man as Bishop Proudie; but the letters came,
and made festering wounds, but then there was an end of them. And at
last there had come forth from the butcher's shop a threat that if the
money were not paid by a certain date, printed bills would be posted
about the country. All who heard of this in Silverbridge were very angry
with Mr Fletcher, for no one there had ever known a tradesman to take
such a step before; but Fletcher swore that he would persevere, and
defended himself by showing that six or seven months since, in the
spring of the year, Mr Crawley had been paying money in Silverbridge,
but had paid none to him--to him who had been not only his earliest, but
his most enduring creditor. 'He got money from the dean in March,' said
Mr Fletcher to Mr Walker 'and he paid twelve pounds ten to Green, and
seventeen pounds to Grobury the baker.' It was that seventeen pounds to
Grobury, the baker, for flour, which made the butcher fixedly determined
to smite the poor clergyman hip and thigh. 'And he paid money to Hall
and to Mrs Holt, and to a deal more; but he never came near my shop. If
he had even shown himself, I would not have so much about it.' And then
a day before the day named, Mrs Crawley had come into Silverbridge, and
had paid the butcher twenty pounds in four five-pound notes. So far
Fletcher the butcher had been successful.
Some six weeks after this, inquiry began to be made as to a certain
cheque for twenty pounds drawn by Lord Lufton on his bankers in London,
which cheque had been lost in the early spring by Mr Soames, Lord
Lufton's man of business in Barsetshire, together with a pocket-book in
which it had been folded. This pocket-book Soames had believed himself
to have left it at Mr Crawley's house, and had gone so far, even at the
time of the loss, as to express his absolute conviction that he had so
left it. He was in the habit of paying a rentcharge to Mr Crawley on
behalf of Lord Lufton, amounting to twenty pounds four shillings, every
half-year. Lord Lufton held the large tithes of Hogglestock, and paid
annually a sum of forty pounds eight shillings to the incumbent. This
amount was, as a rule, remitted punctually by Mr Soames through the
post. On the occasion now spoken of, he had had some reason to visit
Hogglestock, and had paid the money personally to Mr Crawley. Of so much
there is no doubt. But he had paid it by a cheque drawn by himself on
his own bankers at Barchester, and that cheque had been cashed in the
ordinary way on the next morning. On returning to his own house in
Barchester he had missed his pocket-book, and had written to Mr Crawley
to make inquiry. There had been no money in it, beyond the cheque drawn
by Lord Lufton for twenty pounds. Mr Crawley had answered this letter by
another, saying that no pocket-book had been found in his house. All
this had happened in March.
In October, Mrs Crawley paid twenty pounds to Fletcher, the butcher, and
in November Lord Lufton's cheque was traced back through the Barchester
bank to Mr Crawley's hands. A brickmaker of Hoggle End, much favoured by
Mr Crawley, had asked for change over the counter of this Barchester
bank--not, as will be understood, the bank on which the cheque was
drawn--and had received it. The accommodation had been refused to the
man at first, but when he presented the cheque the second day, bearing
Mr Crawley' name on the back of it, together with a note from Mr Crawley
himself, the money had been given for it; and the identical notes so
paid had been given to Fletcher, the butcher on the next day by Mrs
Crawley. When inquiry was made, Mr Crawley stated that the cheque had
been paid to him by Mr Soames, on behalf of the rentcharge due to him by
Lord Lufton. But the error of this statement was at once made manifest.
There was the cheque, signed by Mr Soames himself, for the exact
amount--twenty pounds four shillings. As he himself declared, he had
never in his life paid money on behalf of Lord Lufton by a cheque drawn
on his lordship. The cheque given by Lord Lufton, and which had been
lost, had been a private matter between them. His lordship had simply
wanted change in his pocket, and his agent had given it to him. Mr
Crawley was speedily shown to be altogether wrong in the statement made
to account for the possession of the cheque.
Then he became very moody and would say nothing further. But his wife,
who had known nothing of his first statement when made, came forward and
declared that she believed the cheque for twenty pounds to be part of a
present given by Dean Arabin to her husband in April last. There had
been, she said, great heart-burnings about this gift, and she hardly
dared to speak to her husband on the subject. An execution had been
threatened in the house by Grobury, the baker, of which the dean had
heard. Then there had been some scenes at the deanery between her
husband and the dean and Mrs Arabin, as to which she had subsequently
heard much from Mrs Arabin. Mrs Arabin had told her that money had been
given--and at last taken. Indeed, so much had been very apparent, as
bills had been paid to the amount of at least fifty pounds. When the
threat made by the butcher had reached her husband's ears, the effect
upon him had been very grievous. All this was the story told by Mrs
Crawley to Mr Walker, the lawyer, when he was pushing his inquiries.
She, poor woman, at any rate told all she knew. Her husband had told her
one morning, when the butcher's threat was weighing heavily on his mind,
speaking to her in such a humour that she found it impossible to cross-
question him, that he had still money left, though it was money which he
had hoped that he would not be driven to use; and he had given her four
five pound notes and had told her to go to Silverbridge and satisfy the
man who was so eager for his money. She had done so, and had felt no
doubt that the money so forthcoming had been given by the dean. That was
the story told by Mrs Crawley.
But how could she explain her husband's statements as to the cheque,
which had been shown to be altogether false? All this passed between Mr
Walker and Mrs Crawley, and the lawyer was very gentle with her. In the
first stages of the inquiry he had simply desired to learn the truth,
and place the clergyman above suspicion. Latterly, being bound as he was
to follow up officially, he would not have seen Mrs Crawley, had he been
able to escape that lady's importunity. 'Mr Walker,' she had said, at
last, 'you do not know my husband. No one knows him but I. It is hard to
have to tell you all of our troubles.' 'If I can lessen them, trust me
that I will do so,' said the lawyer. 'No one, I think, can lessen them
in this world,' said the lady. 'The truth is, sir, that my husband often
knows not what he says. When he declared that the money had been paid to
him by Mr Soames, most certainly he thought so. There are times when in
his misery he knows not what he says--when he forgets everything.'
Up to this period Mr Walker had not suspected Mr Crawley of anything
dishonest, nor did he suspect him as yet. The poor man had probably
received the money from the dean, and had told the lie about it, not
choosing to own that he had taken the money from his rich friend, and
thinking that there would be no further inquiry. He had been very
foolish, and that would be the end of it. Mr Soames was by no means so
good-natured in his belief. 'How should my pocket-book have got into
Dean Arabin's hands?' said Mr Soames, almost triumphantly. 'And then I
felt sure at the time that I had left it at Crawley's house!'
Mr Walker wrote a letter to the dean, who at that moment was in
Florence, on his way to Rome, from whence he was going on to the Holy
Land. There came back a letter from Mr Arabin, saying that on the 17th
March he had given to Mr Crawley a sum of fifty pounds and that the
payment had been made in five Bank of England notes of ten pounds each,
which had been handed to his friend in the library at the deanery. The
letter was very short, and, may, perhaps, be described as having been
almost curt. Mr Walker, in his anxiety to do the best he could for Mr
Crawley, had simply asked a question as to the nature of the transaction
between the two gentlemen, saying that no doubt the dean's answer would
clear up a little mystery which existed at present respecting a cheque
for twenty pounds. The dean in answer simply stated the fact as it had
been given above; but he wrote to Mr Crawley begging to know what was in
truth this new difficulty, and offering any assistance in his power. He
explained all the circumstances of the money, as he remembered them. The
sum advanced had certainly consisted of fifty pounds, and there had
certainly been five Bank of England notes. He had put the notes into an
envelope, which he had not closed, but had addressed to Mr Crawley, and
had placed this envelope in his friend's hands. He went on to say that
Mrs Arabin would have written, but she was in Paris with her son. Mrs
Arabin was to remain in Paris during his absence in the Holy Land, and
meet him in Italy on his return. As she was so much nearer at hand, the
dean expressed a hope that Mrs Crawley would apply to her if there was
The letter to Mr Walker was conclusive as to the dean's money. Mr
Crawley had not received Lord Lufton's cheque from the dean. Then whence
had he received it? The poor wife was left by the lawyer to obtain
further information from her husband. Ah, who can tell how terrible were
the scenes between that poor pair of wretches, as the wife endeavoured
to learn the truth from her miserable, half-maddened husband! That her
husband had been honest throughout, she had not any shadow of doubt. She
did not doubt that to her at least he endeavoured to tell the truth, as
far as his poor racked imperfect memory would allow him to remember what
was true and what was not true. The upshot of it all was that the
husband declared that he still believed that the money had come to him
from the dean. He had kept it by him, not wishing to use it if he could
help it. He had forgotten it--so he said at times--having understood
from Arabin that he was to have fifty pounds, and having received more.
If it had not come to him from the dean, then it had been sent to him by
the Prince of Evil for his utter undoing; and there were times in which
he seemed to think that such had been the manner in which the fatal
cheque had reached him. In all that he said he was terribly confused,
contradictory, unintelligible--speaking almost as a madman might
speak--ending always in declaring that the cruelty of the world had been
too much for him, that the waters were meeting over his head, and
praying to God's mercy to remove him from this world. It need hardly be
said that his poor wife in these days had a burden on her shoulders that
was more than enough to crush any woman.
She at last acknowledged to Mr Walker that she could not account for the
twenty pounds. She herself would write again to the dean about it, but
she hardly hoped for any further assistance there. 'The dean's answer
was plain,' said Mr Walker. 'He says that he gave Mr Crawley five
ten-pound notes, and those five notes we have traced to Mr Crawley's
hands.' Then Mrs Crawley could say nothing further beyond making
protestations of her husband's innocence.
BY HEAVENS, HE HAD BETTER NOT!
I must ask the reader to make acquaintance with Major Grantly of Cosby
Lodge, before he is introduced to the family of Mr Crawley, at their
parsonage at Hogglestock. It has been said that Major Grantly had thrown
a favourable eye on Grace Crawley--by which report occasion was given to
all men and women in those parts to hint that the Crawleys, with all
their piety and humility, were very cunning, and that one of the
Grantlys was--to say the least of it--very soft, admitted as it was
throughout the county of Barsetshire, that there was no family therein
more widely awake to the affairs generally of this world and the next
combined, than the family of which Archdeacon Grantly was the respected
head and patriarch. Mrs Walker, the most good-natured woman in
Silverbridge, had acknowledged to her daughter that she could not
understand it--that she could not see anything at all in Grace Crawley.
Mr Walker had shrugged his shoulders and expressed a confident belief
that Major Grantly had not a shilling of his own beyond his half-pay and
his late wife's fortune, which was only six thousand pounds. Others, who
were ill-natured, had declared that Grace Crawley was little better than
a beggar, and that she could not possibly have acquired the manners of a
gentlewoman. Fletcher the butcher had wondered whether the major would
pay his future father-in-law's debts; and Dr Tempest, the old Rector of
Silverbridge, whose four daughters were all as yet unmarried, had turned
up his old nose, and had hinted that half-pay majors did not get caught
in marriage so easily as that.
Such and such like had been the expressions of the opinions of men and
women in Silverbridge. But the matter had been discussed further afield
than at Silverbridge, and had been allowed to intrude itself as a most
unwelcome subject into the family conclave of the archdeacon's rectory.
To those who have not as yet learned the fact from the public character
and well-appreciated reputation of the man, let it be known that
Archdeacon Grantly was at this time, as he had been for many years
previously, Archdeacon of Barchester and Rector of Plumstead Episcopi. A
rich and prosperous man he had even been--though he also had had his
sore troubles, as we all have--his having arisen chiefly from want of
that higher ecclesiastical promotion which his soul had coveted, and for
which the whole tenor of his life had especially fitted him. Now, in his
green old age, he had ceased to covet, but had not ceased to repine. He
had ceased to covet aught for himself, but still coveted much for his
children; and for him such a marriage as this which was now suggested
for his son, was encompassed almost with the bitterness of death. 'I
think it would kill me,' he said to his wife; 'by heavens, I think it
would be my death!'
A daughter of the archdeacon had made a splendid matrimonial
alliance--so splendid that its history was at the time known to all the
aristocracy of the county, and had not been altogether forgotten by any
of those who keep themselves well instructed in the details of the
peerage. Griselda Grantly had married Lord Dumbello, the eldest don of
the Marquis of Hartletop--than whom no English nobleman was more
puissant, if broad acres, many castles, high title, and stars and
ribbons are any sign of puissance--and she was now, herself, Marchioness
of Hartletop, with a little Lord Dumbello of her own. The daughter's
visits to the parsonage of her father were of necessity rare, such
necessity having come from her own altered sphere of life. A Marchioness
of Hartletop has special duties which will hardly permit her to devote
herself frequently to the humdrum society of a clerical mother and
father. That it would be so, father and mother had understood when they
sent the fortunate girl forth to a higher world. But, now and again,
since her august marriage, she had laid her coroneted head upon one of
the old rectory pillows for a night or so, and, on such occasions all
the Plumsteadians had been loud in praise of her condescension. Now it
happened that when this second and more aggravated blast of the evil
wind reached the rectory--the renewed waft as to Major Grantly's
infatuation regarding Miss Grace Crawley, which, on its renewal, seemed
to bring with it something of a confirmation--it chanced, I say, that at
that moment Griselda, Marchioness of Hartletop, was gracing the paternal
I am not quite sure that the mother would have been equally quick to ask
her daughter's advice, had she been left in the matter entirely to her
own propensities. Mrs Grantly had ever loved her daughter dearly, and
had been very proud of that great success in life which Griselda had
achieved; but in late years, the child had become, as a woman, separate
from the mother, and there had arisen not unnaturally, a break of that
close confidence which in early years had existed between them.
Griselda, Marchioness of Hartletop, was more than ever the daughter of
the archdeacon, even though he might never see her. Nothing could rob
him of the honour of such a progeny--nothing, even though there had been
an actual estrangement between them. But it was not so with Mrs Grantly.
Griselda had done very well, and Mrs Grantly had rejoiced; but she had
lost her child. Now the major, who had done well also, though in a much
lesser degree, was still her child, moving in the same sphere of life
with her, still dependent in a great degree upon his father's bounty, a
neighbour in the county, a frequent visitor at the parsonage, and a
visitor who could be received without any of that trouble that attended
the unfrequent comings of Griselda, the Marchioness, to the home of her
youth. And for this reason Mrs Grantly, terribly put out as she was at
the idea of a marriage between her son and one standing so poorly in the
world's esteem as Grace Crawley, would not have brought forward the
matter before her daughter, had she been left to her own desires. A
marchioness in one's family is a tower of strength, no doubt; but there
are counsellors so strong that we do not wish to trust them, lest in the
trusting we ourselves be overwhelmed by their strength. Now Mrs Grantly
was by no means willing to throw her influence into the hands of her
But the titled daughter was consulted and gave her advice. On the
occasion of the present visit to Plumstead she had consented to lay her
head for two nights on the parsonage pillows, and on the second evening
her brother the major was to come over from Cosby Lodge to meet her.
Before his coming the affair of Grace Crawley was discussed.
'It would break my heart, Griselda,'said the archdeacon, piteously--'and
'There is nothing against the girl's character,' said Mrs Grantly, 'and
the father and mother are gentlefolk by birth; but such a marriage for
Henry would be unseemly.'
'To make it worse, there is a terrible story about him,' said the
'I don't suppose there is much in that,' said Mrs Grantly.
'I can't say. There is no knowing. They told me today in Barchester
that Soames is pressing a case against him.'
'Who is Soames, papa?' asked the marchioness.
'He is Lord Lufton's man of business, my dear.'
'Oh, Lord Lufton's man of business!' There was something of a sneer in
the tone of the lady's voice as she mentioned Lord Lufton's name.
'I am told,' continued the archdeacon, 'that Soames declares the cheque
was taken from a pocket-book which he left by accident in Crawley's
'You don't mean to say, archdeacon, that you think that Mr Crawley--a
clergyman--stole it!' said Mrs Grantly.
'I don't say anything of the kind, my dear. But supposing Mr Crawley to
be as honest as the sun, you wouldn't wish Henry to marry his daughter.'
'Certainly not,' said the mother. 'It would be an unfitting marriage.
The poor girl has no advantages.'
'He is not able to pay the baker's bill. I always though Arabin was
very wrong to place such a man in such a parish as Hogglestock. Of
course the family could not live there.' The Arabin here spoken of was
Dr Arabin, dean of Barchester. The dean and archdeacon had married
sisters, and there was much intimacy between the families.
'After all it is only rumour, as yet,' said Mrs Grantly.
'Fothergill told me only yesterday, that he sees her almost every day,'
said the father. 'What are we to do, Griselda? You know how headstrong
Henry is.' The marchioness sat quite still; looking at the fire, and
made no immediate answer to this address.
'There is nothing for it but that you should tell him what you think,'
said the mother.
'If his sister were to speak to him, it might do much,' said the
archdeacon. To this Mrs Grantly said nothing; but Mrs Grantly's daughter
understood very well that her mother's confidence in her was not equal
to her father's. Lady Hartletop said nothing, but still sat, with
impassive face, and eyes fixed upon the fire. 'I think that if you were
to speak to him, Griselda, and tell him that he would disgrace his
family, he would be ashamed to go on with such a marriage,' said the
father. 'He would feel, connected as he is with Lord Hartletop--'
'I don't think he would feel anything about that,' said Mrs Grantly.
'I daresay not,' said Lady Hartletop.
'I am sure he ought to feel it,' said the father. They were all silent,
and sat looking at the fire.
'I suppose, papa, you allow Henry an income,' said Lady Hartletop, after
'Indeed I do--eight hundred a year.'
'Then I think I should tell him that that must depend upon his conduct.
Mamma, if you won't mind ringing the bell, I will send for Cecile, and
go upstairs and dress.' Then the marchioness went upstairs to dress, and
in about an hour the major arrived in his dogcart. He was also allowed
to go upstairs to dress before anything was said to him about his great
'Griselda is right,' said the archdeacon, speaking to his wife out of
his dressing-room. 'She is always right. I never knew a young woman with
more sense than Griselda.'
'But you do not mean to say that in any event you would stop Henry's
income?' Mrs Grantly was also dressing and made reply out of her
'Upon my word, I don't know. As a father I would do anything to prevent
such a marriage as that.'
'But if he did marry her in spite of the threat? And he would if he had
once said so.'
'Is a father's word, then, to go for nothing; and a father who allows
his son eight hundred a year? If he told the girl that he would be
ruined she couldn't hold him to it.'
'My dear, they'd know as well as I do, that you would give way after
'But why should I give way? Good heavens--'
'Of course you'd give way, and of course we should have the young woman
here, and of course we should make the best of it.'
The idea of having Grace Crawley as a daughter at the Plumstead Rectory
was too much for the archdeacon, and he resented it by additional
vehemence to the tone of his voice, and a nearer personal approach to
the wife of his bosom. All unaccoutred as he was, he stood in the
doorway between the two rooms, and thence fulminated at his wife his
assurances that he would never allow himself to be immersed in such a
depth of humility as that she had suggested. 'I can tell you this, then,
that if ever she comes here, I shall take care to be away. I will never
receive her here. You can do as you please.'
'That is just what I cannot do. If I could do as I pleased, I would put
a stop to it at once.'
'It seems to me that you want to encourage him. A child about sixteen
years of age!'
'I am told she is nineteen.'
'What does it matter if she's fifty-nine? Think of what her bringing up
has been. Think what it would be to have all the Crawleys in our house
for ever, and all their debts, and all their disgrace!'
'I do not know that they have ever been disgraced.'
'You'll see. The whole county has heard of the affair of this twenty
pounds. Look at that dear girl upstairs, who has been such a comfort to
us. Do you think it would be fit that she and her husband should meet
such a one as Grace Crawley at our table?'
'I don't think it would do them a bit of harm,' said Mrs Grantly. 'But
there would be no chance of that, seeing that Griselda's husband never
comes to us.'
'He was here the year before last.'
'And I never was so tired of a man in my life.'
'Then you prefer the Crawleys, I suppose. This is what you get from
Eleanor's teaching.' Eleanor was the dean's wife, and Mrs Grantly's
younger sister. 'It has always been a sorrow to me that I ever brought
Arabin into the diocese.'
'I never asked you to bring him, archdeacon. But nobody was so glad as
you when he proposed to Eleanor.'
'Well, the long and the short of it is this, I shall tell Henry tonight
that if he makes a fool of himself with this girl, he must not look to
me any longer for an income. He has about six thousand a year of his
own, and if he chooses to throw himself away, he had better go and live
in the south of France, or in Canada, or where he pleases. He shan't
'I hope he won't marry the girl, with all my heart,' said Mrs Grantly.
'He had better not. By heavens, he had better not!'
'But if he does, you'll be the first to forgive him.'
On hearing this the archdeacon slammed the door, and retired to his own
washing apparatus. At the present moment he was very angry with his
wife, but then he was so accustomed to such anger, and was so well aware
that it in truth meant nothing, that it did not make him unhappy. The
archdeacon and Mrs Grantly had now been man and wife for more than
quarter of a century and had never in truth quarrelled. He had the most
profound respect for her judgment, and the most implicit reliance on her
conduct. She had never yet offended him, or caused him to repent the
hour in which he had made her Mrs Grantly. But she had come to
understand that she might use a woman's privilege with her tongue; and
she used it--not altogether to his comfort. On the present occasion he
was the more annoyed because he felt that she might be right. 'It would
be a positive disgrace, and I never would see him again,' he said to
himself. And yet as he said it, he knew that he would not have the
strength of character to carry him through a prolonged quarrel with his
son. 'I never would see her--never, never!' he said to himself. 'And
then such an opening as he might have in his sister's house!'
Major Grantly had been a successful man in life--with the one exception
of having lost the mother of his child within a twelve-month of his
marriage and within a few hours of that child's birth. He had served in
India as a very young man, and had been decorated with the Victoria
Cross. Then he had married a lady with some money, and had left the
active service of the army, with the concurring advice of his own family
and that of his wife. He had taken a small place in his father's county,
but the wife for whose comfort he had taken it had died before she was
permitted to see it. Nevertheless he had gone to reside there, hunting a
good deal and farming a little, making himself popular in the district,
and keeping up the good name of Grantly in a successful way,
till--alas!,--it had seemed good to him to throw those favouring eyes on
poor Grace Crawley. His wife had now been dead just two years, and he
was still under thirty, no one could deny it would be right that he
should marry again. No one did deny it. His father had hinted that he
ought to do so, and had generously whispered that if some little
increase to the major's present income were needed, he might possibly be
able to do something. 'What is the good of keeping it?' the archdeacon
had said in a liberal after-dinner warmth; 'I only want it for your
brother and yourself.' The brother was a clergyman.
And the major's mother had strongly advised him to marry again without
loss of time. 'My dear Henry,' she had said, 'you'll never be younger,
and youth does go for something. As for dear little Edith, being a girl,
she is almost no impediment. Do you know those two girls at
'What, Mrs Thorne's nieces?'
'No; they are not her nieces but her cousins. Emily Dunstable is very
handsome;--and as for money--!'
'But what about birth, mother?'
'One can't have everything, my dear.'
'As far as I am concerned, I should like to have everything or nothing,'
the major said, laughing. Now for him to think of Grace Crawley after
that--of Grace Crawley who had no money, and no particular birth, and
not even beauty herself--so at least Mrs Grantly said--who had not even
enjoyed the ordinary education of a lady, was too bad. Nothing had been
wanting to Emily Dunstable's education, and it was calculated that she
would have at least twenty thousand pounds on the day of her marriage.
The disappointment of the mother would be the more sore because she had
gone to work upon her little scheme with reference to Miss Emily
Dunstable, and had at first, as she thought, seen her way to success--to
success in spite of the disparaging words her son had spoken to her. Mrs
Thorne's house at Chaldicotes--or Dr Thorne's house as it should,
perhaps, be more commonly called, for Dr Thorne was the husband of Mrs
Thorne--was in these days the pleasantest house in Barsetshire. No one
saw so much company as the Thornes, or spent so much money in so
pleasant a way. The great county families, the Pallisers and the De
Courcys, the Luftons and the Greshams, were no doubt grander, and some
of them were perhaps richer than the Chaldicote Thornes--as they were
called to distinguish them from the Thornes of Ullathorne; but none of
these people were so pleasant in their ways, so free in their
hospitality, or so easy in their modes of living, as the doctor and his
wife. When first Chaldicotes, a very old country seat, had by the
chances of war fallen into their hands and been newly furnished, and
newly decorated, and newly gardened, and newly greenhoused and
hot-watered by them, many of the county people had turned up their noses
at them. Dear old Lady Lufton had done so, and had been greatly
grieved--saying nothing, however, of her grief, when her son and
daughter-in-law had broken away from her, and submitted themselves to
the blandishments of the doctor's wife. And the Grantlys had stood
aloof, partly influenced, no doubt, by their dear and intimate old
friend Miss Monica Thorne of Ullathorne, a lady of the very old school,
who, though good as gold and kind as charity, could not endure that an
interloping Mrs Thorne, who never had a grandfather, should come to
honour and glory in the county, simply because of her riches. Miss
Monica Thorne stood out, but Mrs Grantly gave way, and having once found
that Dr Thorne, and Mrs Thorne, and Emily Dunstable, and Chaldicote
House together, were very charming. And the major had been once there
with her, and had made himself very pleasant, and there certainly had
been some little passage of incipient love between him and Miss
Dunstable, as to which Mrs Thorne, who managed everything, seemed to be
well pleased. This had been after the first mention made by Mrs Grantly
to her son of Emily Dunstable's name, but before she had heard any
faintest whispers of his fancy for Grace Crawley; and she had therefore
been justified in hoping--almost in expecting, that Emily Dunstable
would be her daughter-in-law, and was therefore the more aggrieved when
this terrible Crawley peril first opened itself before her eyes.
THE ARCHDEACON'S THREAT
The dinner-party at the rectory comprised none but the Grantly family.
The marchioness had written to say that she preferred to have it so. The
father had suggested that the Thornes of Ullathorne, very old friends,
might be asked, and the Greshams of Boxall Hill, and had even promised
to endeavour to get old Lady Lufton over to the rectory, Lady Lufton
having in former years been Griselda's warm friend. But Lady Hartletop
had preferred to see her dear mother and father in privacy. Her brother
Henry she would be glad to meet, and hoped to make some arrangement with
him for a short visit to Hartlebury, her husband's place in
Shropshire--as to which latter hint, it may, however, be at once said
that nothing further was spoken after the Crawley alliance had been
suggested. And there had been a very sore point mooted by the daughter
in a request made to her father that she might not be called upon to
meet her grandfather, her mother's father. Mr Harding, a clergyman of
Barchester, who was now stricken in years.--'Papa would not have come,'
said Mrs Grantly, 'but I think, I do think--' Then she stopped herself.
'Your father has odd ways sometimes, my dear. You know how fond I am of
having him here myself.'
'It does not signify,' said Mrs Grantly. 'Do not let us say anything
more about it. Of course we cannot have everything. I am told the child
does her duty in her sphere of life, and I suppose we ought to be
contented.' Then Mrs Grantly went up to her own room, and there she
cried. Nothing was said to the major on the unpleasant subject of the
Crawleys before dinner. He met his sister in the drawing-room, and was
allowed to kiss her noble cheek. 'I hope Edith is well, Henry,' said the
sister. 'Quite well; and little Dumbello is the same, I hope?' 'Thank
you, yes; quite well.' The major never made inquiries after the august
family, or would allow it to appear that he was conscious of being shone
upon by the wife of a marquis. Any adulation which Griselda received of
that kind came from her father, and therefore, unconsciously she had
learned to think that her father was more better bred than the other
members of her family, and more fitted by nature to move in that sacred
circle to which she herself had been exalted. We need not dwell upon the
dinner, which was but a dull affair. Mrs Grantly strove to carry on the
family party exactly as it would have been carried on had her daughter
married the son of some neighbouring squire; but she herself was
conscious of the struggle, and the fact of there being a struggle
produced failure. The rector's servants treated the daughter of the
house with special awe, and the marchioness herself moved, and spoke,
and ate, and drank with a cold magnificence, which I think had become a
second nature with her, but which was not on that account the less
oppressive. Even the archdeacon, who enjoyed something in that which was
so disagreeable to his wife, felt a relief when he was left alone after
dinner with his son. He felt relieved as his son got up to open the door
for his mother and sister, but was aware at the same time that he had
before him a most difficult and possibly a most disastrous task. His
dear son Henry was not a man to be talked smoothly out of, or into, any
propriety. He had a will of his own, and having hitherto been a
successful man, who in youth had fallen into few youthful troubles--who
had never justified his father in using stern parental authority--was
not now inclined to bend his neck. 'Henry,' said the archdeacon, 'what
are you drinking? That's '34 port, but it's not just what it should be.
Shall I send for another bottle?'
'It will do for me, sir. I shall only take a glass.'
'I shall drink two or three glasses of claret. But you young fellows
have become so desperately temperate.'
'We take our wine at dinner, sir.'
'By-the-by, how well Griselda is looking.'
'Yes, she is. It's always easy for women to look well when they're
rich.' How would Grace Crawley look, then, who was poor as poverty
itself, and who would remain poor, if his son was fool enough to marry
her? That was the train of thought which ran through the archdeacon's
mind. 'I do not think much of riches,' said he, 'but it is always well
that a gentleman's wife or a gentleman's daughter should have a
sufficiency to maintain her position in life.'
'You may say the same, sir, of everybody's wife and everybody's
'You know what I mean, Henry.'
'I am not quite sure that I do, sir.'
'Perhaps I had better speak out at once. A rumour has reached your
mother and me, which we don't believe for a moment, but which,
nevertheless, makes us unhappy even as a report. They say that there is
a young woman living in Silverbridge to whom you are becoming attached.'
'Is there any reason why I should not become attached to a young woman
in Silverbridge?--though I hope any young woman to whom I may become
attached will be worthy at any rate of being called a young lady.'
'I hope so, Henry; I hope so. I do hope so.'
The archdeacon looked across at his son's face, and his heart sank
within him. His son's voice and his son's eyes seemed to tell him two
things. They seemed to tell him, firstly, that the rumour about Grace
Crawley was true; and, secondly, that the major was resolved not to be
talked out of his folly. 'But you are not engaged to anyone, are you?'
said the archdeacon. The son did not at first make any answer, and then
the father repeated the question. 'Considering our mutual positions,
Henry, I think you ought to tell me if you are engaged.'
'I am not engaged. Had I become so, I should have taken the first
opportunity of telling you or my mother.'
'Thank God. Now, my dear boy, I can speak out more plainly. The young
woman whose name I have heard is daughter to that Mr Crawley who is
perpetual curate at Hogglestock. I knew that there could be nothing in
'But there is something in it, sir.'
'What is there in it? Do not keep me in suspense, Henry. What is it
'It is rather hard to be cross-questioned in this way on such a subject.
When you express yourself as thankful that there is nothing in the
rumour, I am forced to stop you, as otherwise it is possible that
hereafter you may say that I have deceived you.'
'But you don't mean to marry her?'
'I certainly do not pledge myself not to do so.'
'Do you mean to tell me, Henry, that you are in love with Miss Crawley?'
Then there was another pause, during which the archdeacon sat looking
for an answer; but the major never said a word. 'Am I to suppose that
you intend to lower yourself by marrying a young woman who cannot
possibly have enjoyed any of the advantages of a lady's education? I say
nothing of the imprudence of the thing; nothing of her own want of
fortune; nothing of your having to maintain a whole family steeped in
poverty; nothing of the debts and character of the father, upon whom, as
I understand, at this moment there rests a grave suspicion
of--of--of--what I'm afraid I must call downright theft.'
'Downright theft, certainly, if he were guilty.'
'I say nothing of that; but looking at the young woman herself--'
'She is simply the best educated girl whom it has ever been my lot to
'Henry, I have a right to expect that you will be honest with me.'
'I am honest with you.'
'Do you mean to ask this girl to marry you?'
'I do not think that you have any right to ask me that question, sir.'
'I have a right at any rate to tell you this, that if you so far
disgrace yourself and me, I shall consider myself bound to withdraw from
you all the sanction which would be conveyed by my--my--continued
'Do you intend me to understand that you will stop my income?'
'Certainly I should.'
'Then, sir, I think you would behave to me most cruelly. You advised me
to give up my profession.'
'Not in order that you might marry Grace Crawley.'
'I claim the privilege of a man of my age to do as I please in such a
matter as marriage. Miss Crawley is a lady. Her father is a clergyman,
as is mine. Her father's oldest friend is my uncle. There is nothing on
earth against her except her poverty. I do not think I ever heard of
such cruelty on a father's part.'
'Very well, Henry.'
'I have endeavoured to do my duty by you, sir, always; and by my mother.
You can treat me in this way, if you please, but it will not have any
effect on my conduct. You can stop my allowance tomorrow, if you like
it. I had not yet made up my mind to make an offer to Miss Crawley, but
I shall do so tomorrow morning.'
This was very bad indeed, and the archdeacon was extremely unhappy. He
was by no means at heart a cruel man. He loved his children dearly. If
this disagreeable marriage were to take place, he would doubtless do
exactly as his wife had predicted. He would not stop his son's income
for a single quarter; and, though he went on telling himself that he
would stop it, he knew in his own heart that any such severity was
beyond his power. He was a generous man in money matters--having a
dislike for poverty which was not generous--and for his own sake could
not have endured to see a son of his in want. But he was terribly
anxious to exercise the power which the use of the threat might give
him. 'Henry,' he said, 'you are treating me badly, very badly. My
anxiety has always been for the welfare of my children. Do you think
that Miss Crawley would be a fitting sister-in-law for that dear girl
'Certainly I do, or for any other dear girl in the world; excepting that
Griselda, who is not clever, would hardly be able to appreciate Miss
Crawley, who is clever.'
'Griselda not clever! Good heavens!' Then there was another pause, and
as the major said nothing, the father continued his entreaties. 'Pray,
pray think of what my wishes are, and your mother's. You are not
committed as yet. Pray think of us while there is time. I would rather
double your income, if I saw you marry anyone that we could name here.'
'I have enough as it is, if I may only be allowed to know that it will
not be capriciously withdrawn.' The archdeacon filled his glass
unconsciously, and sipped his wine, while he thought what further he
might say. Perhaps it might be better that he should say nothing further
at the moment. The major, however, was indiscreet, and pushed the
question. 'May I understand, sir, that you threat is withdrawn, and that
my income is secure?'
'What, if you marry this girl?'
'Yes sir; will my income be continued to me if I marry Miss Crawley?'
'No, it will not.' Then the father got up hastily, pushed the decanter
back angrily from his hand, and without saying another word walked away
into the drawing-room. That evening at the rectory was gloomy. The
archdeacon now and again said a word or two to his daughter, and his
daughter answered him in monosyllables. The major sat apart moodily, and
spoke to no one. Mrs Grantly, understanding well what had passed, knew
that nothing could be done at the present moment to restore family
comfort; so she sat by the fire and knitted. Exactly at ten they all
went to bed.
'Dear Henry,' said the mother to her son the next morning; 'think much
of yourself and of your child, and of us, before you take any great step
in your life.'
'I will, mother,' said he. Then he went out and put on his wrapper, and
got into his dog-cart, and drove himself to Silverbridge. He had not
spoken to his father since they were in the dining-room on the previous
evening. When he started, the marchioness had not yet come downstairs;
but at eleven she breakfasted, and at twelve she also was taken away.
Poor Mrs Grantly had not had much comfort from her children's visits.
THE CLERGYMAN'S HOUSE AT HOGGLESTOCK
Mrs Crawley had walked from Hogglestock to Silverbridge on the occasion
of her visit to Mr Walker, the attorney, and had been kindly sent back
by that gentleman in his wife's little open carriage. The tidings which
she brought home with her to her husband were very grievous. The
magistrates would sit on the next Thursday--it was then Friday--and Mr
Crawley had better appear before them to answer the charge made by Mr
Soames. He would be served with a summons, which he would obey of his
own accord. There had been many points very closely discussed between
Walker and Mrs Crawley, as to which there had been great difficulty in
the choice of words which should be tender enough to convey to her the
very facts as they stood. Would Mr Crawley come, or must a policeman be
sent to fetch him? The magistrate had already issued a warrant for his
apprehension. Such in truth was the fact, but they had agreed with Mr
Walker, that as there was no reasonable ground for anticipating any
attempt at escape on the part of the reverend gentleman, the lawyer
might use what gentle means he could for ensuring the clergyman's
attendance. Could Mrs Crawley undertake to say that he would appear? Mrs
Crawley did undertake either that her husband should appear on the
Thursday, or else that she would send over in the early part of the week
and declare her inability to ensure his appearance. In that case it was
understood the policeman must come. Then Mr Walker had suggested that Mr
Crawley had better employ a lawyer. Upon this Mrs Crawley had looked
beseechingly up into Mr Walker's face, and had asked him to undertake
the duty. He was of course obliged to explain that he was already
employed on the other side. Mr Soames had secured his services, and
though he was willing to do all in his power to mitigate the sufferings
of the family, he could not abandon the duty he had undertaken. He named
another attorney, however, and then sent the poor woman home in his
wife's carriage. 'I fear that unfortunate man is guilty. I fear he is,'
Mr Walker had said to his wife within ten minutes of the departure of
Mrs Crawley would not allow herself to be driven up to the garden gate
before her own house, but had left the carriage some three hundred yards
off down the road and from thence she walked home. It was now quite
dark. It was nearly six in the evening on a wet December night, and
although cloaks and shawls had been supplied to her, she was wet and
cold when she reached her home. But at such a moment, anxious as she was
to prevent the additional evil which would come to them from illness to
herself she could not pass through to her room till she had spoken to
her husband. He was sitting in the one sitting-room on the left side of
the passage as the house was entered, and with him was their daughter
Jane, a girl now nearly sixteen years of age. There was no light in the
room, and hardly more than a spark of fire showed in the grate. The
father was sitting on one side of the hearth, in an old arm-chair, and
there he had sat for the last hour without speaking. His daughter had
been in and out of the room, and had endeavoured to gain his attention
now and again by a word, but he had never answered her, and had not even
noticed her presence. At the moment when Mrs Crawley's step was heard
upon the gravel which led to the door, Jane was kneeling before the fire
with a hand upon her father's arm. She had tried to get her hand into
his, but he had either been unaware of the attempt, or rejected it.
'Here is mamma, at last,' said Jane, rising to her feet as her mother
entered the house.
'Are you all in the dark,' said Mrs Crawley, striving to speak in a
voice that should not sound sorrowful.
'Yes, mamma; we are in the dark. Papa is here. Oh, mamma, how wet you
'Yes, dear. It is raining. Get a light out of the kitchen, Jane, and I
will go upstairs in two minutes.' Then when Jane was gone, the wife made
her way in the dark over to her husband's side, and spoke a word to him.
'Josiah,' she said, 'will you not speak to me?'
'What should I speak about? Where have you been?'
'I have been to Silverbridge. I have been to Mr Walker. He, at any
rate, is very kind'
'I don't want his kindness. I want no man's kindness. Mr Walker is the
attorney, I believe. Kind indeed!'
'I mean considerate. Josiah, let us do the best we can in this trouble.
We have had others as heavy before.'
'But none to crush me as this will crush me. Well; what am I to do? Am
I to go to prison--tonight?' At this moment his daughter returned with a
candle, and the mother could not make her answer at once. It was a
wretched, poverty-stricken room. By degrees the carpet had disappeared,
which had been laid down some nine or ten years since, when they had
first come to Hogglestock, and which even then had not been new. Now
nothing but a poor fragment of it remained in front of the fire-place.
In the middle of the room there was a table which had once been large;
but one flap of it was gone altogether, and the other flap sloped
grievously towards the floor, the weakness of old age having fallen into
its legs. There were two or three smaller tables about, but they stood
propped against walls, thence obtaining a security which their own
strength would not give them. At the further end of the room there was
an ancient piece of furniture, which was always called 'papa's
secretary', at which Mr Crawley customarily sat and wrote his sermons,
and did all work that was done by him within the house. The man who had
made it, some time in the last century, had intended it to be a locked
guardian for domestic documents, and the receptacle for all that was
most private in the house of some paterfamilias. But beneath the hands
of Mr Crawley it always stood open; and with the exception of the small
space at which he wrote, was covered with dog's-eared books, from
nearly all of which the covers had disappeared.
There were there two odd volumes of Euripides, a Greek Testament, an
Odyssey, a duodecimo Pindar, and a miniature Anacreon. There was half a
Horace--the two first books of the Odes at the beginning and the De Arte
Poetica at the end having disappeared. There was a little bit of a
volume of Cicero, and there were Caesar's 'Commentaries' in two volumes,
so stoutly bound that they had defied the combined ill-usage of time and
the Crawley family. All these were piled upon the secretary, with many
others--odd volumes of sermons and the like; but the Greek and Latin lay
at the top, and showed signs of frequent use. There was one arm-chair in
the room--a Windsor chair, as such used to be called, made soft by an
old cushion in the back, in which Mr Crawley sat when both he and his
wife were in the room, and Mrs Crawley when he was absent. And there was
an old horsehair sofa--now almost denuded of its horsehair--but that,
like the tables required the assistance of a friendly wall. Then there
was a half a dozen of other chairs--all of different sorts--and they
completed the furniture of the room. It was not such a room as one would
wish to see inhabited by an beneficed clergyman of the Church of
England; but they who know what money will do and what it will not, will
understand how easily a man with a family, and with a hundred and thirty
pounds a year, may be brought to the need of inhabiting such a chamber.
When it is remembered that three pounds of meat a day, at ninepence a
pound, will cost over forty pounds a year, there need be no difficulty
in understanding that it may be so. Bread for such a family must cost at
least twenty-five pounds. Clothes for five persons of whom one must at
any rate wear the raiment of a gentleman, can hardly be found for less
than ten pounds a year a head. Then there remains fifteen pounds for
tea, sugar, beer, wages, education, amusements and the like. In such
circumstances a gentleman can hardly pay much for the renewal of
Mrs Crawley could not answer her husband's question before her daughter,
and was therefore obliged to make another excuse for again sending her
out of the room. 'Jane, dear,' she said, 'bring my things down to the
kitchen and I will change them by the fire. I will be there in two
minutes, when I have had a word with your papa.' The girl went
immediately and then Mrs Crawley answered her husband's question. 'No,
my dear; there is no question of you going to prison.'
'But there will be.'
'I have undertaken that you shall attend before the magistrates at
Silverbridge in Thursday next, at twelve o'clock. You will do that?'
'Do it! You mean, I suppose, to say that I must go there. Is anybody
to come and fetch me?'
'Nobody will come. Only you must promise that you will be there. I have
promised for you. You will go; will you not?' She stood leaning over
him, half embracing him, waiting for an answer; but for a while he gave
none. 'You will tell me that you will do what I have undertaken for you,
'I think I would rather that they fetched me. I think that I will not
'And have policemen come for you in the parish! Mr Walker has promised
that he will send over his phaeton. He sent me home in it today.'
'I want nobody's phaeton. If I go I will walk. If it were ten times
the distance, and though I had not a shoe left to my feet I would walk.
If I go there at all, of my own accord, I will walk there.'
'But you will go?'
'What do I care for the parish? What matters who sees me now? I cannot
be degraded as worse than I am. Everybody knows it.'
'There is no disgrace without guilt,' said his wife.
'Everybody thinks me guilty. I see it in their eyes. The children know
of it, and I hear whispers in the school. "Mr Crawley has taken some
money." I heard the girl say it myself.'
'What matters what the girl says?'
'And yet you would have me go in a fine carriage to Silverbridge, as
though to a wedding. If I am wanted let them take me as they would
another. I shall be here for them--unless I am dead.'
At this moment Jane appeared, pressing her mother to take off her wet
clothes, and Mrs Crawley went with her daughter to the kitchen. The one
red-armed young girl who was their only servant was sent away, and then
the mother and the child discussed how best they might prevail on the
head of the family. 'But, mamma, it must come right; must it not?'
'I trust it will; I think it will. But I cannot see my way as yet.'
'Papa cannot have done anything wrong.'
'No, my dear; he has done nothing wrong. He has made great mistakes, it
is hard to make people understand that he has not intentionally spoken
untruths. He is ever thinking of other things, about the school, and his
sermons, and he does not remember.'
'And about how poor we are, mamma.'
'He has much to occupy his mind, and he forgets things which dwell in
the memory of other people. He said that he had got this money from Mr
Soames, and of course he thought it was so.'
'And where did he get it, mamma?'
'Ah--I wish I knew. I should have said that I had seen every shilling
that came into the house; but I know nothing of this cheque--whence it
'But will not papa tell you?'
'He would tell me if he knew. He thinks it came from the dean.'
'And are you sure that it did not?'
'Yes; quite sure; as sure as I can be of anything. The dean told me he
would give him fifty pounds, and the fifty pounds came. I had them in my
own hands. And he was written to say that it was so.'
'But couldn't it be part of the fifty pounds?'
'No, dear, no.'
'Then where did papa get it? Perhaps he picked it up and has
To this Mrs Crawley made no reply. The idea that the cheque had been
found by her husband--had been picked up as Jane had said--had occurred
also to Jane's mother. Mr Soames was confident that he had dropped the
pocket-book at the parsonage. Mrs Crawley had always disliked Mr Soames,
thinking him to be hard, cruel and vulgar. She would not have hesitated
to believe him guilty of a falsehood, or even of direct dishonesty, if
by so believing she could in her own mind have found the means of
reconciling her husband's possession of the cheque with absolute truth
on his part. But she could not do so. Even though Soames had, with
devilish premeditated malice, slipped the cheque into her husband's
pocket, his having done so would not account for her husband's having
used the cheque when he found it there. She was driven to make excuses
for him which, valid as they might be with herself, could not be valid
with others. He had said that Soames had paid the cheque to him. That
was clearly a mistake. He had said that the cheque had been given to him
by the dean. That was clearly another mistake. She knew, or thought she
knew, that he, being such as he was, might make blunders such as these,
and yet be true. She believed that such statements might be blunders and
not falsehoods--so convinced was she that her husband's mind would not
act at all times as do the minds of other men. But having such a
conviction she was driven to believe also that almost anything might be
possible. Soames may have been right, or he might have dropped, not the
book, but the cheque. She had no difficulty in presuming Soames to be
wrong in any detail, if by so supposing she could make the exculpation
of her husband easier to herself. If villainy on the part of Soames was
needful to her theory, Soames would become to her a villain at once--of
the blackest die. Might it not be possible that the cheque having thus
fallen into her husband's hands, he had come, after a while, to think
that it had been sent to him by his friend, the dean? And if it were so,
would it be possible to make others so believe? That there was some
mistake which would be easily explained were her husband's mind lucid at
all points, but which she could not explain because of the darkness of
his mind, she was thoroughly convinced. But were she herself to put
forward such a defence on her husband's part, she would in doing so be
driven to say that he was a lunatic--that he was incapable of managing
the affairs of himself or his family. It seemed to her that she would be
compelled to have him proved to be either a thief or a madman. And yet
she knew that he was neither. That he was not a thief was as clear to
her as the sun at noonday. Could she have lain on this man's bosom for
twenty years, and not yet have learned the secrets of the heart beneath?
The whole mind of the man was, as she told herself, within her grasp. He
might have taken the twenty pounds; he might have taken it and spent it,
though it was not his own; but yet he was no thief. Nor was he a madman.
No man more sane in preaching the gospel of his Lord, in making
intelligible to the ignorant the promises of his Saviour, ever got into
a parish pulpit, or taught in a parish school. The intellect of the man
was as clear as running water in all things not appertaining to his
daily life, and its difficulties. He could be logical with a
vengeance--so logical as to cause infinite trouble to his wife, who,
with all her good sense, was not logical. And he had Greek at his
fingers' ends--as his daughter very well knew. And even to this day he
would sometimes recite to them English poetry, lines after lines,
stanzas upon stanzas, in a sweet low melancholy voice, on long winter
evenings when occasionally the burden of his troubles would be lighter
to him than was usual. Books in Latin and in French he read with as much
ease as in English, and took delight in such as came to him, when he
would condescend to accept such loans from the deanery. And there was at
times a lightness of heart about the man. In the course of the last
winter he had translated into Greek irregular verse the very noble
ballad of Lord Bateman, maintaining the rhythm and the rhyme, and had
repeated it with uncouth glee till his daughter knew it all by heart.
And when there had come to him a five-pound note from some admiring
magazine editor as the price of the same--still through the dean's
hands--he had brightened up his heart and had thought for an hour or two
that even yet the world would smile upon him. His wife knew well that he
was not mad; but yet she knew that there were dark moments with him, in
which his mind was so much astray that he could not justly be called to
account as to what he might remember and what he might forget. How would
it be possible to explain all this to a judge and jury, so that they
might neither say that he was dishonest, nor yet that he was mad?
'Perhaps he picked it up, and had forgotten,' her daughter said to her.
Perhaps it was so, but she might not as yet admit as much even to her
'It is a mystery, dear, as yet, which, with God's aid, will be
unravelled. Of one thing we at least may be sure; that your papa has not
wilfully done anything wrong.'
'Of course we are sure of that, mamma.'
Mrs Crawley had many troubles during the next four or five days, of
which the worst, perhaps, had reference to the services of the Sunday
which intervened between the day of her visit to Silverbridge and the
sitting of the magistrates. On the Saturday it was necessary that he
should prepare his sermons, of which he preached two every Sunday,
though his congregation consisted only of farmers, brickmakers, and
agricultural labourers, who would willingly have dispensed with the
second. Mrs Crawley proposed to send over to Mr Robarts, a neighbouring
clergyman, for the loan of a curate. Mr Robarts was a warm friend to the
Crawleys, and in such an emergency would probably have come himself; but
Mr Crawley would not hear of it. The discussion took place early on the
Saturday morning, before it was as yet daylight, for the poor woman was
thinking day and night of her husband's troubles, and it had this good
effect, that immediately after breakfast he seated himself at his desk,
and worked at his task as though he had forgotten all else in the world.
And on the Sunday morning he went into his school before the hour of the
church service, as had been his wont, and taught there as though
everything with him was as usual. Some of the children were absent,
having heard of their teacher's tribulation, and having been told
probably that he would remit his work; and for these absent ones he sent
in great anger. The poor bairns came creeping in, for he was a man who
by his manners had been able to secure their obedience in spite of his
poverty. And he preached to the people of his parish on that Sunday, as
he had always preached; eagerly, clearly, and with an eloquence fitted
for the hearts of such an audience. No one would have guessed from his
tones and gestures and appearance on that occasion, that there was aught
wrong with him--unless there had been some observer keen enough to
perceive that the greater care which he used, and the special eagerness
of his words, denoted a special frame of mind.
After that, after those church services were over, he sank again and
never roused himself till the dreaded day had come.
WHAT THE WORLD THOUGHT OF IT
Opinion at Silverbridge, at Barchester, and throughout the county, was
very much divided as to the guilt or innocence of Mr Crawley. Up to the
time of Mrs Crawley's visit to Silverbridge, the affair had not been
much discussed. To give Mr Soames his due he had be no means been
anxious to press the matter against the clergyman; but he had been
forced to go on with it. While the first cheque was missing, Lord Lufton
had sent him a second cheque for the money, and the loss had thus fallen
upon his lordship. The cheque had of course been traced, and inquiry had
of course been made as to Mr Crawley's possession of it. When that
gentleman declared that he had received it from Mr Soames, Mr Soames had
been forced to contradict and to resent such assertion. When Mr Crawley
had afterwards said that the money had come to him from the dean, and
when the dean had shown that this was also untrue, Mr Soames, confident
as he was that he had dropped the pocket-book at Mr Crawley's house,
could not but continue the investigation. He had done so with as much
silence as the nature of the work admitted. But by the day of the
magistrate's meeting at Silverbridge, the subject had become common
through the county, and men's minds were much divided.
All Hogglestock believed their parson to be innocent; but then all
Hogglestock believed him to be mad. At Silverbridge the tradesmen with
whom he had dealt, and to whom he had owed, and still owed, money, all
declared him to be innocent. They knew something of the man personally,
and could not believe him to be a thief. All the ladies at Silverbridge,
too, were sure of his innocence. It was to them impossible that such a
man should have stolen twenty pounds. 'My dear,' said the eldest Miss
Prettyman to poor Grace Crawley, 'in England, where the laws are good,
no gentleman is ever made out to be guilty when he is innocent; and your
papa, of course, is innocent. Therefore you should not trouble
yourself.' 'It will break papa's heart,' Grace had said, and she did
trouble herself. But the gentlemen in Silverbridge were made of sterner
stuff, and believed the man to be guilty, clergyman and gentleman though
he was. Mr Walker, who among the lights in Silverbridge was the leading
light, would not speak a word upon the subject to anybody; and then
everybody, who was anybody, knew that Mr Walker was convinced of the
man's guilt. Had Mr Walker believed him to be innocent, his tongue would
have been ready enough. John Walker, who was in the habit of laughing at
his father's good nature, had no doubt upon the subject. Mr Winthrop, Mr
Walker's partner, shook his head. People did not think much of Mr
Winthrop, excepting certain unmarried ladies; for Mr Winthrop was a
bachelor, and had plenty of money. People did not think much of Mr
Winthrop; but still on this subject he might know something, and when he
shook his head he manifestly intended to indicate guilt. And Dr Tempest,
the rector of Silverbridge, did not hesitate to declare his belief in
the guilt of the incumbent of Hogglestock. No man reverences a
clergyman, as a clergyman, so slightly as a brother clergyman. To Dr
Tempest it appeared to be neither very strange nor very terrible that Mr
Crawley should have stolen twenty pounds. 'What is a man to do,' he
said, 'when he sees his children starving? He should not have married on
such a preferment as that.' Mr Crawley had married, however, long before
he got the living at Hogglestock.
There were two Lady Luftons--mother-in-law and daughter-in-law--who at
this time were living together at Framley Hall, Lord Lufton's seat in
the county of Barset, and there were both thoroughly convinced of Mr
Crawley's innocence. The elder lady had lived much among clergymen, and
could hardly, I think, by any means have been brought to believe in the
guilt of any man who had taken upon himself the orders of the Church of
England. She had also known Mr Crawley personally for some years, and
was one of those who could not admit to herself that anyone was vile who
had been near to herself. She believed intensely in the wickedness of
the outside world, of the world which was far away from herself, and of
which she never saw anything; but they who were near to her, and who had
even become dear to her, or who even had been respected by her, were
made, as it were, saints in her imagination. They were brought into the
inner circle, and could hardly be expelled. She was an old woman who
thought all evil of those she did not know, and all good of those whom
she did know; and as she did know Mr Crawley, she was quite sure that he
had not stolen Mr Soames's twenty pounds. She did know Mr Soames also;
and thus there was a mystery for the unravelling of which she was very
anxious. And the young Lady Lufton was equally sure, and perhaps with
better reason for such certainty.
She had, in truth, known more of Mr Crawley personally, than anyone in
the county, unless it was the dean. The younger Lady Lufton, the present
Lord Lufton's wife, had sojourned at one time in Mr Crawley's house,
amidst the Crawley poverty, living as they lived, and nursing Mrs
Crawley through an illness which had wellnigh been fatal to her; and the
younger Lady Lufton believed in Mr Crawley--as Mr Crawley believed in
'It is quite impossible, my dear,' the old woman said to her
'Quite impossible, my lady.' The dowager was always called 'my lady',
both by her daughter and her son's wife, except when in the presence of
their children, when she was addressed as 'grandmamma'. 'Think how well
I knew him. It's no use talking of evidence. No evidence would make me
'Nor me; and I think it a great shame that such a report should be
'I suppose Mr Soames could not help himself?' said the younger lady, who
was not herself very fond of Mr Soames.
'Ludovic says that he has only done what he was obliged to do.' The
Ludovic spoken of was Lord Lufton.
This took place in the morning, but in the evening the affair was again
discussed at Framley Hall. Indeed, for some days, there was hardly any
other subject held to be worthy of discussion in the county. Mr Robarts,
the clergyman of the parish and the brother of the younger Lady Lufton,
was dining at the hall with his wife, and the three ladies had together
expressed their perfect conviction of the falseness of the accusation.
But when Lord Lufton and Mr Robarts were together after the ladies had
left them, there was much less certainty of this expressed. 'By Jove,'
said Lord Lufton,' 'I don't know what to think of it. I wish with all my
heart that Soames had said nothing about it, and that the cheque had
passed without remark.'
'That was impossible. When the banker sent to Soames, he was obliged to
take the matter up.'
'Of course he was. But I'm sorry that it was so. For the life of me, I
can't conceive how the cheque got into Crawley's hands.'
'I imagine it had been lying in the house, and that Crawley had come to
think that it was his own.'
'But, my dear Mark,' said Lord Lufton, 'excuse me if I say that that's
nonsense. What do we do when a poor man has come to think that another
man's property is his own? We send him to prison for making the
'I hope they won't sent Crawley to prison.'
'I hope so too; but what is a jury to do?'
'You think it will go to a jury, then?'
'I do,' said Lord Lufton. 'I don't see how the magistrates can save
themselves from committing him. It is one of those cases in which
everyone concerned would wish to drop it if it were only possible. But
it is not possible. On the evidence, as one sees it at present, one is
bound to say that it is a case for the jury.'
'I believe that he is mad,' said the brother parson.
'He always was, as far as I could learn,' said the lord. 'I never knew
him myself. You do, I think?'
'Oh yes, I know him.' and the vicar of Framley became silent and
thoughtful as the memory of a certain interview between himself and Mr
Crawley came back into his mind. At that time the waters had nearly
closed over his head and Mr Crawley had given him some assistance. When
the gentlemen had again found the ladies, they kept their own doubts to
themselves; for at Framley Hall, as at present tenanted, female voices
and female influences predominated over those which came from the other
At Barchester, the cathedral city of the county in which the Crawleys
lived, opinion was violently against Mr Crawley. In the city Mrs
Proudie, the wife of the bishop, was the leader of opinion in general,
and she was very strong in her belief of the man's guilt. She had known
much of clergymen all her life, as it behoved a bishop's wife to do, and
she had none of that mingled weakness and ignorance which taught so many
ladies in Barchester to suppose that an ordained clergyman could not
become a thief. She hated old Lady Lufton with all her heart, and old
Lady Lufton hated her as warmly. Mrs Proudie would say frequently that
Lady Lufton was a conceited old idiot, and Lady Lufton would declare as
frequently that Mrs Proudie was a vulgar virago. It was known at the
palace in Barchester that kindness had been shown to the Crawleys by the
family at Framley Hall, and this alone would have been sufficient to
make Mrs Proudie believe that Mr Crawley could be guilty of any crime.
And as Mrs Proudie believed, so did the bishop believe. 'It is a
terrible disgrace to the diocese,' said the bishop, shaking his head,
and patting his apron as he sat by his study fire.
'Fiddlestick!' said Mrs Proudie.
'But, my dear--a beneficed clergyman.'
'You must get rid of him; that's all. You must be firm whether he be
acquitted or convicted.'
'But if he's acquitted, I cannot get rid of him, my dear.'
'Yes, you can, if you are firm. And you must be firm. Is it not true
that he has been disgracefully involved in debt ever since he has been
there; that you have been pestered by letters from unfortunate tradesmen
who cannot get their money from him?'
'That is true, my dear, certainly.'
'And is that kind of thing to go on? He cannot come to the palace as
all clergymen should do, because he has got no clothes to come in. I saw
him once about the lanes, and I never set my eyes on such an object in
all my life! I would not believe that the man was a clergyman till John
told me. He is a disgrace to the diocese, and he must be got rid of. I
feel sure of his guilt, and I hope he will be convicted. One is bound to
hope that a guilty man should be convicted. But if he escapes
conviction, you must sequestrate the living because of the debts. The
income is enough to get an excellent curate. It would just do for
Thumble.' To all of which the bishop made no reply, but simply nodded
his head and patted his apron. He knew that he could not do exactly what
his wife required of him; but if it should so turn out that poor Crawley
was found to be guilty, then the matter would be comparatively easy.
'It should be an example to us, that we should look to our own steps, my
dear,' said the bishop.
'That's all very well,' said Mrs Proudie, 'but it has become your duty,
and mine too, to look upon the steps of other people; and that duty we
'Of course, my dear, of course.' That was the tone in which the
question of Mr Crawley's alleged guilt was discussed at the palace.
We have already heard what was said on the subject at the house of
Archdeacon Grantly. As the days passed by, and as other tidings came in,
confirmatory of those which had before reached him, the archdeacon felt
himself unable not to believe in the man's guilt. And the fear which he
entertained as to his son's intended marriage with Grace Crawley, tended
to increase the strength of that belief. Dr Grantly had been a very
successful man in the world, and on all ordinary occasions had been able
to show that bold front with which success endows a man. But he still
had his moments of weakness, and feared greatly lest anything of
misfortune should touch him and mar the comely roundness of his
prosperity. He was very wealthy. The wife of his bosom had been to him
all that a wife should be. His reputation in the clerical world stood
very high. His two sons had hitherto done well in the world, not only as
regarded their happiness, but as to marriage also, and as to social
standing. But how great would be the fall if his son should at last
marry the daughter of a convicted thief! How would the Proudies rejoice
over him--the Proudies who had been crushed to the ground by the success
of the Hartletop alliance; and how would the low-church curates, who
swarmed in Barsetshire, gather together and scream in delight over his
dismay! 'But why should we say that he is guilty?' said Mrs Grantly.
'It hardly matters as far as we are concerned, whether they find him
guilty or not,' said the archdeacon; 'if Henry marries that girl my
heart will be broken.'
But perhaps to no one except the Crawleys themselves had the matter
caused so much terrible anxiety as to the archdeacon's son. He had told
his father that he had made an offer of marriage to Grace Crawley, and
he had told the truth. But there are perhaps few men who make such
offers in direct terms without having already said and done that which
makes such offers simply necessary as the final closing of an accepted
bargain. It was so at any rate between Major Grantly and Miss Crawley,
and Major Grantly acknowledged to himself that it was so. He
acknowledged also to himself that as regarded Grace herself he had no
wish to go back from his implied intentions. Nothing that either his
father or mother might say would shake him in that. But could it be his
duty to bind himself to the family of a convicted thief? Could it be
right that he should disgrace his father and his mother and his sister
and his one child by such a connexion? He had a man's heart, and the
poverty of the Crawleys caused him no solicitude. But he shrank from the
contamination of a prison.
It has already been said that Grace Crawley was at this time living with
the two Miss Prettymans, who kept a girls' school at Silverbridge. Two
more benignant ladies than the Miss Prettymans never presided over such
an establishment. The younger was fat, and fresh, and fair, and seemed
to be always running over with the milk of human kindness. The other was
very thin and very small, and somewhat afflicted with bad health--was
weak, too, in the eyes, and subject to racking headaches, so that it was
considered generally that she was unable to take much active part in the
education of the pupils. But it was considered as generally that she did
all the thinking, that she knew more than any other woman in
Barsetshire, and that all the Prettyman schemes for education emanated
from her mind. It was said, too, by those who knew them best, that her
sister's good-nature was as nothing to hers; that she was the most
charitable, the most loving, and the most conscientious of
school-mistresses. This was Miss Annabella Prettyman, the elder; and
perhaps it may be inferred that some portion of her great character for
virtue may have been due to the fact that nobody ever saw her out of her
own house. She could not even go to church, because the open air brought
on neuralgia. She was therefore perhaps taken to be magnificent, partly
because she was unknown. Miss Anne Prettyman, the younger, went about
frequently to tea-parties--would go, indeed, to any party to which she
might be invited; and was known to have a pleasant taste for poundcake
and sweetmeats. Being seen so much in the outer world, she became
common, and her character did not stand so high as did that of her
sister. Some people were ill-natured enough to say that she wanted to
marry Mr Winthrop; but of what maiden lady that goes out in the world
are not such stories told? And all such stories in Silverbridge were
told with special reference to Mr Winthrop.
Miss Crawley, at present, lived with the Miss Prettymans, and assisted
them in the school. This arrangement had been going on for the last
twelve months, since the time in which Grace would have left the school
in the natural course of things. There had been no bargain made, and no
intention that Grace should stay. She had been invited to fill the place
of an absent superintendent, first, for one month, then for another, and
then for two more months; and when the assistant came back, the Miss
Prettymans thought there were reasons why Grace should be asked to
remain a little longer. But they took great care to let the fashionable
world of Silverbridge know that Grace Crawley was a visitor with them,
and not a teacher. 'We pay her no salary, or anything of that kind,'
said Miss Ann Prettyman; a statement, however, which was by no means
true, for during those last four months the regular stipend had been
paid to her; and twice since then, Miss Annabella Prettyman, who managed
all the money matters, had called Grace into her little room, and had
made a little speech, and had put a little bit of paper into her hand.
'I know I ought not to take it,' Grace had said to her friend Anne. 'If
I was not here, there would be no one in my place.' 'Nonsense, my dear,'
Anne Prettyman had said; 'it is the greatest comfort to us in the world.
And you should make yourself nice, you know, for his sake. All the
gentlemen like it.' Then Grace had been very angry, and had sworn that
she would give the money back again. Nevertheless, I think she did make
herself as nice as she knew how to do. And from all this it may be seen
that the Miss Prettymans had hitherto quite approved of Major Grantly's
But when this terrible affair came on about the cheque which had been
lost and found and traced to Mr Crawley's hands, Miss Anne Prettyman
said nothing further to Grace Crawley about Major Grantly. It was not
that she thought that Mr Crawley was guilty, but she knew enough of the
world to be aware that suspicion of such guilt might compel such a man
as Major Grantly to change his mind. 'If he had only popped,' Anne said
to her sister,' it would have been all right. He would never have gone
back from his word.' 'My dear,' said Annabella, 'I wish you would not
talk about popping. It is a terrible word.' 'I shouldn't, to anyone
except you,' said Anne.
There had come to Silverbridge some few months since, on a visit to Mrs
Walker, a young lady from Allington, in the neighbouring county, between
whom and Grace Crawley there had grown up from circumstances a warm
friendship. Grace had a cousin in London--a clerk high up and
well-to-do in a public office, a nephew of her mother's--and this cousin
was, and for years had been, violently smitten in love for this young
lady. But the young lady's tale had been sad, and though she
acknowledged feelings of the most affectionate friendship for the
cousin, she could not bring herself to acknowledge more. Grace Crawley
had met the young lady at Silverbridge, and words had been spoken about
the cousin; and though the young lady from Allington was some years
older than Grace, there had grown up to be a friendship, and, as is not
uncommon between young ladies, there had been an agreement that they
would correspond. The name of the lady was Miss Lily Dale, and the name
of the well-to-do cousin was Mr John Eames.
At the present moment Miss Dale was at home with her mother at
Allington, and Grace Crawley in her terrible sorrow wrote to her friend,
pouring out her whole heart. As Grace's letter and Miss Dale's answer
will assist us in our story, I will venture to give them both.
'I hardly know how to tell you what has
happened, it is so very terrible. But perhaps you
will have heard it already, as everybody is talking
about it here. It has got into the newspapers, and
therefore it cannot be kept secret. Not that I should
keep anything from you; only this is so very dreadful
that I hardly know how to write it. Somebody says--a
Mr Soames, I believe it is--that papa has taken some
money that does not belong to him, and he is to be
brought before the magistrates and tried. Of course
papa has done nothing wrong. I do think he would be
the last man in the world to take a penny that did not
belong to him. You know how poor he is; what a life
he has had! But I think he would almost sooner see
mamma starving;--I am sure he would rather be starved
himself, then even borrow a shilling which he could
not pay. To suppose that he would take money'
(she had tried to write the word 'steal' but she could not bring
her pen to form the letters)
'is monstrous. But, somehow, the circumstances have
been made to look bad against him, and they say that
he must come over here to the magistrates. I often
think that of all men in the world papa is the most
unfortunate. Everything seems to go against him, and
yet he is so good! Poor mamma has been over here, and
she is distracted. I never saw her so wretched
before. She has been to your friend Mr Walker, and
came to me afterwards for a minute. Mr Walker has got
something to do with it, though mamma says she thinks
he is quite friendly to papa. I wonder whether you
could find out, through Mr Walker, what he thinks
about it. Of course, mamma knows that papa has done
nothing wrong; but she says that the whole thing is so
mysterious, and that she does not know how to account
for the money. Papa, you know, is not like other
people. He forgets things; and is always thinking,
thinking, thinking of his great misfortunes. Poor
papa! My heart bleeds so when I remember all his
sorrows, that I hate myself for thinking about myself.
'When mamma left me--and it was then I first
knew that papa would really have to be tried--I
went to Miss Annabella, and told her that I would go
home. She asked me why, and I said I would not
disgrace her house by staying in it. She got up and
took me in her arms, and there came a tear out of both
her dear old eyes, and she said that if anything evil
came to papa--which she would not believe, as she
knew him to be a good man--there should be a home in
her house not only for me, but for mamma and Jane.
Isn't she a wonderful woman? When I think of her, I
sometimes think that she must be an angel already.
Then she became very serious--for just before,
through her tears she had tried to smile--and she
told me to remember that all people could not be like
her, who had nobody to look to but herself and her
sister; and that at present I must task myself not to
think of that which I had been thinking of before.
She did not mention anybody's name, but of course I
understood very well what she meant; and I suppose she
is right. I said nothing in answer to her, for I
could not speak. She was holding my hand, and I took
hers up and kissed it, to show her, if I could, that I
knew that she was right; but I could not have spoken
about it for all the world. It was not ten days since
that she herself, with all her prudence, told me that
she thought I ought to make up my mind what answer I
would give him. And then I did not say anything; but
of course she knew. And after that Miss Anne spoke
quite freely about it, so that I had to beg her to be
silent even before the girls. You know how imprudent
she is. But it is all over now. Of course Miss
Annabella is right. He has got a great many people to
think of; his father and mother, and his darling
little Edith, whom he brought here twice, and left her
with us once for two days, so that she got to know me
quite well; and I took such a love for her, that I
could not bear to part with her. But I think
sometimes that all our family are born to be
unfortunate, and then I tell myself that I will never
hope for anything again.
'Pray write to me soon. I feel as though
nothing on earth could comfort me, and yet I shall
like to have your letter. Dear, dear Lily, I am not
even yet so wretched but what I shall rejoice to be
told good news of you. If it only could be as John
wishes it! And why should it not? It seems to me
that nobody has a right or a reason to by unhappy
except us. Good-bye, dearest Lily.
'Your affectionate friend,
'P.S.--I think I have made up my mind that I will go
back to Hogglestock at once if the magistrates decide
against papa. I think I should be doing the school
harm if I were to stay here.'
The answer to this letter did not reach Miss Crawley till after the
magistrate's hearing on the Thursday, but it will be better for our
story that it should be given here than postponed until the result of
that meeting shall have been told. Miss Dale's answer was as follows:-
'Your letter has made me very unhappy. If it
can at all comfort you to know that mamma and I
sympathise with you altogether, in that you may at any
rate be sure. But in such troubles nothing will give
comfort. They must be borne, till the fire of
misfortune burns itself out.
'I had heard about the affair a day or two
before I got your note. Our clergyman, Mr Boyce, told
us of it. Of course we all know that the charge must
be altogether unfounded, and mamma says that the truth
will be sure to show itself at last. But that
conviction does not cure the evil, and I can well
understand that your father should suffer grievously;
and I pity your mother quite as much as I do him.
'As for Major Grantly, if he be such a man as I
took him to be from the little I saw of him, all this
would make no difference to him. I am sure that it
ought to make none. Whether it should not make a
difference in you is another question. I think it