Part 13 out of 18
there is much anxiety to spare me in that matter. He is desirous rather
of making me understand that I have no power of saving him from his own
folly. Of course I have no power of saving him.'
'But is he engaged to her?'
'He says that she has refused him. But of course that means nothing.'
Again the archdeacon's position was very like Lady Lufton's position, as
it had existed before her son's marriage. In that case also the young
lady, who was now Lady Lufton's own daughter and dearest friend, had
refused the lover who proposed to her, although the marriage was so much
to her advantage--loving him too, the while, with her whole heart, as it
was natural to suppose that Grace Crawley might so love her lover. The
more she thought of the similarity of the stories, the stronger were her
sympathies on the side of poor Grace. Nevertheless, she would comfort
her old friend if she knew how; and of course she could not but admit to
herself that the match was one which must be a cause of real sorrow to
him. 'I don't know why her refusal should mean nothing,' said Lady
'Of course a girl refuses at first--a girl, I mean, in such
circumstances as hers. She can't but feel that more is offered to her
than she ought to take, and that she is bound to go through the ceremony
of declining. But my anger is not with her, Lady Lufton.'
'I do not see how it can be.'
'No; it is not with her. If she becomes his wife I trust that I may
never see her.'
'Oh, Dr Grantly!'
'I do; I do. How can it be otherwise with me? But I shall have no
quarrel with her. With him I must quarrel.'
'I do not see why,' said Lady Lufton.
'You do not? Does he not set me at defiance?'
'At his age surely a son has a right to marry as he pleases.'
'If he took her out of the streets, then it would be the same?' said the
archdeacon with bitter anger.
'No;--for such a one would herself be bad.'
'Or if she were the daughter of a huckster out of the city?'
'No again;--or in that case her want of education would probably unfit
her for your society.'
'Her father's disgrace, then, should be a matter of indifference to me,
'I did not say so. In the first place, her father is not disgraced--not
as yet; and we do not know whether he may ever be disgraced. You will
hardly be disposed to say that persecution from the palace disgraces a
clergyman in Barsetshire.'
'All the same, I believe that the man was guilty,' said the archdeacon.
'Wait and see, my friend, before you condemn him altogether. But, be
that as it may, I acknowledge that the marriage is one which must
naturally be distasteful to you.'
'Oh, Lady Lufton! If you only knew! If you only knew!'
'I do know; and I feel for you. But I think that your son has a right
to expect that you should not show the same repugnance to such a
marriage as this as you would have had a right to show had he suggested
to himself a wife as those at which you had just now hinted. Of course
you can advise him, and make him understand your feelings; but I cannot
think you will be justified in quarrelling with him, or in changing your
views towards him with regards money, seeing that Miss Crawley is an
educated lady, who has done nothing to forfeit your respect.' A heavy
cloud came upon the archdeacons's brow as he heard these words, but he
did not make any immediate answer. 'Of course, my friend,' continued
Lady Lufton, 'I should not have ventured to say so much to you, had you
not come to me, as it were, for my opinion.'
'I came here because I thought Henry was here,' said the archdeacon.
'If I have said too much, I beg your pardon.'
'No; you have not said too much. It is not that. You and I are such
old friends that either may say almost anything to the other.'
'Yes;--just so. And therefore I have ventured to speak my mind,' said
'Of course;--and I am obliged to you. But, Lady Lufton, you do not
understand yet how this hits me. Everything in life that I have done, I
have done for my children. I am wealthy, but I have not used my wealth
for myself, because I have desired that they should be able to hold
their heads high in the world. All my ambition has been for them, and
all the pleasure which I have anticipated for myself in my old age is
that which I have hoped to receive from their credit. As for Henry, he
might have had anything he wanted from me in the way of money. He
expressed a wish, a few months since, to go into Parliament, and I
promised to help him as far as ever I could go. I have kept up the game
altogether for him. He, the younger son of a working parish parson, has
had everything that could be given to the eldest son of a country
gentleman--more than is given to the eldest son of many a peer. I have
hoped that he would marry again, but I have never cared that he should
marry for money. I have been willing to do anything for him myself. But,
Lady Lufton, a father does feel that he should have some return for all
this. No one can imagine that Henry ever supposed that a bride from that
wretched place at Hogglestock could be welcomed among us. He knew that
he would break our hearts, and he did not care for it. That is what I
feel. Of course he has the power to do as he likes;--and of course I
have the power to do as I like also with what is my own.'
Lady Lufton was a very good woman, devoted to her duties, affectionate
and just to those about her, truly religious, and charitable from her
nature; but I doubt whether the thorough worldliness of the archdeacon's
appeal struck her as it will strike the reader. People are so much more
worldly in practice than they are in theory, so much keener after their
own gratification in detail than they are in the abstract, that the
narrative of many an adventure would shock us, though the same adventure
would not shock us in the action. One girl tells another how she has
changed her mind in love; and the friend sympathises with the friend,
and perhaps applauds. Had the story been told in print, the friend who
had listened with equanimity would have read of such vacillation with
indignation. She who vacillated herself would have hated her own
performance when brought before her judgment as a matter in which she
had no personal interest. Very fine things are written every day about
honesty and truth, and men read them with a sort of external conviction
that a man, if he be anything of a man at all, is of course honest and
true. But when the internal convictions are brought out between two or
three who are personally interested together--between two or three who
feel that their little gathering is, so to say, 'tiled'--those internal
convictions differ very much from the external convictions. This man, in
his confidences, asserts broadly that he does not mean to be thrown
over, and that man has a project for throwing over somebody else; and
the intention of each is that scruples are not to stand in the way of
his success. The 'Ruat coelum, fiat justitia' was said, no doubt, from
an outside balcony to a crowd, and the speaker knew that he was talking
buncombe. The 'Rem, si possis recte, si non quocunque modo' was
whispered into the ear in a club smoking-room, and the whisperer
intended that his words should prevail.
Lady Lufton had often heard her friend the archdeacon preach, and she
knew well the high tone which he could take as the necessity of trusting
our hopes for the future for all our true happiness; and yet she
sympathised with him when he told her that he was broken-hearted because
his son would take a step which might possibly interfere with his
worldly prosperity. Had the archdeacon been preaching about matrimony,
he would have recommended young men, in taking wives to themselves,
especially to look for young women who feared the Lord. But in talking
about his own son's wife, no word as to her eligibility or non-
eligibility in this respect escaped his lips. Had he talked on the
subject till nightfall no such word would have been spoken. Had any
friend of his own, man or woman, in discussing such a matter with him
and asking his advice upon it, alluded to the fear of the Lord, the
allusion would have been distasteful to him and would have smacked to
his palate of hypocrisy. Lady Lufton, who understood as well as any
woman what it is to be 'tiled' with a friend, took all this in good
part. The archdeacon had spoken out of his heart what was in his heart.
One of his children had married a marquis. Another might probably become
a bishop--perhaps an archbishop. The third might be a county
squire--high among the county squires. But he could only so become by
walking warily;--and now he was bent on marrying the penniless daughter
of an impoverished half-mad country curate, who was about to be tried
for stealing twenty pounds! Lady Lufton, in spite of all her arguments,
could not refuse her sympathy to her old friend.
'After all, from what you say, I suppose they are not engaged.'
'I do not know,' said the archdeacon. 'I cannot tell!'
'And what do you wish me to do?'
'Oh--nothing. I came over, as I said before, because I thought he was
here. I think it right, before he has absolutely committed himself, to
take every means in my power to make him understand that I shall
withdraw from him all pecuniary assistance--now and for the future.'
'My friend, that threat seems to me to be so terrible.'
'It is the only power I have left to me.'
'But you, who are so affectionate by nature, would never adhere to it.'
'I will try. I will try my best to be firm. I will at once put
everything beyond my control after my death.' The archdeacon, as he
uttered these terrible words--words which were awful to Lady Lufton's
ears--resolved that he would endeavour to nurse his own wrath; but, at
the same time, almost hated himself for his own pusillanimity, because
he feared that his wrath would die away before he should have availed
himself of its heat.
'I would do nothing rash of that kind,' said Lady Lufton. 'Your object
is to prevent the marriage--not to punish him for it when once he has
'He is not to have his own way in everything, Lady Lufton.'
'But you should first try to prevent it.'
'What can I do to prevent it?'
Lady Lufton paused a couple of minutes before she replied. She had a
scheme in her head, but it seemed to her to savour of cruelty. And yet
at present it was her chief duty to assist her old friend, if any
assistance could be given. There could hardly be a doubt that such a
marriage as this, of which they were speaking, was in itself an evil. In
her case, the case of her son, there had been no question of a trial, of
money stolen, of aught that was in truth disgraceful. 'I think if I were
you, Dr Grantly,' she said, 'that I would see the young lady while I was
'See her myself?' said the archdeacon. The idea of seeing Grace Crawley
himself had, up to this moment, never entered his head.
'I think I would do so.'
'I think I will,' said the archdeacon, after a pause. Then he got up
from his chair. 'If I am to do it, I had better do it at once.'
'Be gentle with her, my friend.' The archdeacon paused again. He
certainly had entertained the idea of encountering Miss Crawley with
severity rather than gentleness. Lady Lufton rose from her seat, and
coming up to him, took one of his hands between her own two. 'Be gentle
to her,' she said. 'You have owned that she has done nothing wrong.' The
archdeacon bowed his head in token of assent and left the room.
Poor Grace Crawley.
A DOUBLE PLEDGE
The archdeacon, as he walked across from the Court to the parsonage, was
very thoughtful and his steps were very slow. The idea of seeing Miss
Crawley herself had been suggested to him suddenly, and he had to
determine how he could bear himself towards her, and what he would say
to her. Lady Lufton had beseeched him to be gentle with her. Was the
mission one in which gentleness would be possible? Must it not be his
object to make this young lady understand that she could not be right in
desiring to come into his family and share in all his good things when
she had no good things of her own--nothing but evil things to bring with
her? And how could this be properly explained to the young lady in
gentle terms? Must he not be round with her, and give her to understand
in plain words--the plainest which he could use--that she would not get
his good things, though she would most certainly impose the burden of
all her evil things on the man whom she was proposing to herself as a
husband. He remembered very well as he went, that he had been told that
Miss Crawley had herself refused the offer, feeling herself to be unfit
for the honour tendered to her; but he suspected the sincerity of such a
refusal. Calculating in his own mind the unreasonably great advantages
which would be conferred on such a young lady as Miss Crawley by a
marriage with his son, he declared to himself that any girl must be very
wicked indeed who should expect, or even accept, so much more than was
her due;--but nevertheless he could not bring himself to believe that
any girl, when so tempted, would, in sincerity, decline to commit this
great wickedness. If he was to do any good by seeing Miss Crawley, must
it not consist in a proper explanation to her of the selfishness,
abomination, and altogether damnable blackness of such wickedness as
this on the part of a young woman in her circumstances? 'Heaven and
earth!' he must say, 'here are you, without a penny in your pocket, with
hardly decent raiment on your back, with a thief for your father, and
you think that you are to come and share all the wealth that the
Grantlys have amassed, that you are to have a husband with broad acres,
a big house, and game preserves, and become one of a family whose name
has never been touched by a single accusation--no, not a suspicion?
No;--injustice such as that shall never be done betwixt you and me. You
may wring my heart, and you may ruin my son; but the broad acres and the
big house, and the game preserves, and the rest of it, shall never be
your reward for doing do.' How was all that to be told effectively to a
young woman in gentle words? And then how was a man in the archdeacon's
position to be desirous of gentle words--gentle words which would not be
efficient--when he knew well in his heart of hearts that he had nothing
but threats on which to depend. He had no more power of disinheriting
his own son for such an offence as that contemplated than he had of
blowing out his own brains, and he knew that it was so. He was a man
incapable of such persistency of wrath against one whom he loved. He was
neither cruel enough nor strong enough to do such a thing. He could only
threaten to do it, and make what best use he might have of threats,
whilst threats might be of avail. In spite of all that he had said to
his wife, to Lady Lufton, and to himself, he knew very well that if his
son did sin in this way he, the father, would forgive the sin of the
In going across from the front gate of the Court to the parsonage there
was a place where three roads met, and on this spot there stood a
finger-post. Round this finger-post there was now pasted a placard,
which at once arrested the archdeacon's eye:--'Cosby Lodge--Sale of
furniture--Growing crops to be sold on the grounds. Three hunters. A
brown gelding warranted for saddle or harness!'--The archdeacon himself
had given the brown gelding to his son, as a great treasure.--'Three
Alderney cows, two cow-calves, a low phaeton, a gig, two ricks of hay.'
In this fashion were proclaimed in odious details all those comfortable
additions to a gentleman's house in the country, with which the
archdeacon was so well acquainted. Only last November he had recommended
his son to buy a certain clod-crusher, and the clod-crusher had of
course been bought. The bright blue paint upon it had as yet not given
way to the stains of ordinary farmyard muck and mire;--and here was the
clod-crusher advertised for sale! The archdeacon did not want his son to
leave Cosby Lodge. He knew well enough that his son need not leave Cosby
Lodge. Why had the foolish fellow been in such a hurry with his hideous
ill-conditioned advertisements? Gentle! How was he in such
circumstances to be gentle? He raised his umbrella and poked angrily at
the disgusting notice. The iron ferrule caught the paper at a chink in
the post, and tore it from the top to the bottom. But what was the use?
A horrid ugly bill lying torn in such a spot would attract only more
attention than one fixed to a post. He could not condescend, however, to
give it further attention, but passed on to the parsonage. Gentle
Nevertheless Archdeacon Grantly was a gentleman, and never yet had dealt
more harshly with any woman than we have sometimes seen him to do with
his wife--when he would say to her an angry word or two with a good deal
of marital authority. His wife, who knew well what his angry words were
worth, never even suggested to herself that she had the cause for
complaint on that head. Had she known that the archdeacon was about to
undertake such a mission as this which he had now in hand, she would not
have warned him to be gentle. She, indeed, would have strongly advised
him not to undertake the mission, cautioning him that the young lady
would probably get the better of him.
'Grace, my dear,' said Mrs Robarts, coming up into the nursery in which
Miss Crawley was sitting with the children, 'come out here a moment,
will you?' Then Grace left the children and went out into the passage.
'My dear, there is a gentleman in the drawing-room who asks to see
'A gentleman, Mrs Robarts! What gentleman?' But Grace, though she
asked the questions, conceived that the gentleman must be Henry Grantly.
Her mind did not suggest to her the possibility of any other gentleman
coming to see her.
'You must not be surprised, or allow yourself to be frightened.'
'Oh, Mrs Robarts, who is it?'
'It is Major Grantly's father.'
'Yes, dear; Archdeacon Grantly. He is in the drawing-room.'
'Must I see him, Mrs Robarts?'
'Well, Grace--I think you must. I hardly know how you can refuse. He is
an intimate friend of everybody here at Framley.'
'What will he say to me?'
'Nay; that I cannot tell. I suppose you know--'
'He has come, no doubt, to bid me having nothing to say to his son. He
need not have troubled himself. But he may say what he likes. I am no
coward, and I will go to him.'
'Stop a moment, Grace. Come into my room for an instant. The children
have pulled your hair about.' But Grace, though she followed Mrs Robarts
into the bedroom, would have nothing done to her hair. She was too proud
for that--and we may say, also, too little confident in any good which
such resources might effect on her behalf. 'Never mind about that,' she
said. 'What am I to say to him?' Mrs Robarts paused before she replied,
feeling that the matter was one which required some deliberation. 'Tell
me what I must say to him?' said Grace, repeating her question.
'I hardly know what your own feelings are, my dear.'
'Yes, you do. You do know. If I had all the world to give, I would
give it all to Major Grantly.'
'Tell him that, then.'
'No, I will not tell him that. Never mind about my frock, Mrs Robarts.
I do not care for that. I will tell him that I love his son and his
granddaughter too well to injure them. I will tell him nothing else. I
might as well go now.' Mrs Robarts, as she looked at Grace, was
astonished at the serenity of her face. And yet when her hand was in the
drawing-room door Grace hesitated, looked back, and trembled. Mrs
Robarts blew a kiss to her from the stairs; and then the door was
opened, and the girl found herself in the presence of the archdeacon. He
was standing on the rug, with his back to the fire, and his heavy
ecclesiastical hat was placed on the middle of the round table. The hat
caught Grace's eyes at the moment of her entrance, and she felt that all
the thunders of the Church were contained within it. And then the
archdeacon himself was so big and so clerical, and so imposing. Her
father's aspect was severe, but the severity of her father's face was
essentially different from that expressed by the archdeacon. Whatever
impression came from her father came from the man himself. There was no
outward adornment there; there was, so to say, no wig about Mr Crawley.
Now the archdeacon was not exactly adorned; but he was so thoroughly
imbued with high clerical belongings and sacerdotal fitnesses as to
appear always as a walking, sitting, or standing impersonation of
parsondom. To poor Grace, as she entered the room, he appeared to be a
personation of parsondom in its severest aspect.
'Miss Crawley, I believe?' said he.
'Yes, sir,' said she, curtseying ever so slightly, as she stood before
him at some considerable distance.
His first idea was that his son must be indeed a fool if he was going to
give up Cosby Lodge and all Barsetshire, and retire to Pau, for so
slight and unattractive a creature as he now saw before him. But this
idea stayed with him only for a moment. As he continued to gaze at her
during the interview he came to perceive that there was very much more
than he had perceived at the first glance, and that his son, after all,
had had eyes to see, though perhaps not a heart to understand.
'Will you take a chair?' he said. Then Grace sat down, still at a
distance from the archdeacon, and he kept his place upon the rug. He
felt that there would be a difficulty in making her feel the full force
of his eloquence all across the room; and yet he did not know how to
bring himself nearer to her. She became suddenly very important in his
eyes, and he was to some extent afraid of her. She was so slight, so
meek, so young; and yet there was about her something so beautifully
feminine--and, withal, so like a lady--that he felt instinctively that
he could not attack her with harsh words. Had her lips been full, and
her colour high, and had her eyes rolled, had she put forth against him
any of that ordinary artillery with which youthful feminine batteries
are charged, he would have been ready to rush to combat. But this girl,
about whom his son had gone mad, sat there as passively as though she
were conscious of the possession of no artillery. There was not a single
gun fired from beneath her eyelids. He knew not why, but he respected
his son now more than he had respected him for the last two
months;--more, perhaps, than he had ever respected him before. He was an
eager as ever against the marriage;--but in thinking of his son in what
he said and did after these few moments of the interview, he ceased to
think of him with contempt. The creature before him was a woman who grew
in his opinion till he began to feel that she was in truth fit to be the
wife of his son--if only she were not a pauper, and the daughter of a
mad curate, and alas! too probably, of a thief. Though his feeling
towards the girl had changed, his duty to himself, his family, and his
son, was the same as ever, and therefore he began his task.
'Perhaps you had not expected to see me?' he said.
'No, indeed, sir.'
'Nor had I intended when I came over her to call on my old friend, Lady
Lufton, to come up to this house. But as I knew that you were here, Miss
Crawley, I thought that upon the whole it would be better that I should
see you.' Then he paused as though he expected that Grace would say
something; but Grace had nothing to say. 'Of course you must understand,
Miss Crawley, that I should not venture to speak to you on this subject
unless I myself were very closely interested in it.' He had not yet said
what was the subject, and it was not probable that Grace should give him
any assistance by affecting to understand this without direct
explanation from him. She sat quite motionless, and did not even aid him
by showing by her altered colour that she understood his purpose. 'My
son has told me,' said he, 'that he has professed an attachment for you,
Then there was another pause, and Grace felt that she was compelled to
say something. 'Major Grantly has been very good to me,' she said, and
then she hated herself for having uttered words which were so tame and
unwomanly in their spirit. Of course her lover's father would despise
her for having so spoken. After all it did not much signify. If he would
only despise her and go away, it would perhaps be for the best.
'I do not know about being good,' said the archdeacon. 'I think he is
good. I think he means to be good.'
'I am sure he is good,' said Grace warmly.
'You know he has a daughter, Miss Crawley?'
'Oh, yes; I know Edith well.'
'Of course his first duty is to her. Is it not? and he owes much to
his family. Do you not feel that?'
'Of course I feel it, sir.' The poor girl had always heard Dr Grantly
spoken of as the archdeacon, but she did not in the least know what she
ought to call him.
'Now, Miss Crawley, pray listen to me; I will speak to you very openly.
I must speak to you openly, because it is my duty on my son's
behalf--but I will endeavour to speak to you kindly also. Of yourself I
have heard nothing but what is favourable, and there is no reason as yet
why I should not respect and esteem you.' Grace told herself that she
would do nothing which ought to forfeit his respect and esteem, but that
she did not care two straws whether his respect and esteem were bestowed
on her or not. She was striving after something very different from
that. 'If my son were to marry you, he would greatly injure himself, and
would very greatly injure his child.' Again he paused. He had told her
to listen, and she was resolved that she would listen--unless he would
say something which might make a word from her necessary at the moment.
'I do not know whether there does at present exist any engagement
'There is no engagement, sir.'
'I am glad of that--very glad of it. I do not know whether you are
aware that my son is dependent upon me for the greater part of his
income. It is so, and as I am so circumstanced with my son, of course, I
feel the closest possible concern in his future prospects.' The
archdeacon did not know how to explain clearly why the fact of his
making his son an annual allowance should give him a warmer interest in
his son's affairs than he might have had had the major been altogether
independent of him; but he trusted that Grace would understand this by
her own natural lights. 'Now, Miss Crawley, of course I cannot wish to
say a word that will hurt your feelings. But there are reasons--'
'I know,' said she, interrupting him. 'Papa is accused of stealing
money. He did not steal it, but people think he did. And then we are so
'You do understand me then--and I feel grateful; I do indeed.'
'I don't think our being poor ought to signify a bit,' said Grace. 'Papa
is a gentleman, and a clergyman, and mamma is a lady.'
'But, my dear--'
'I know I ought not to be your son's wife as long as people think that
papa stole the money. If he had stolen it, I ought never to be Major
Grantly's wife--or anybody else's. I know that very well. And as for
Edith--I would sooner die than do anything that would be bad to her.'
The archdeacon had now left the rug, and advanced till he was almost
close to the chair on which Grace was sitting. 'My dear,' he said,' what
you say does you very much honour--very much honour indeed.' Now that he
was close to her, he could look into her eyes, and he could see the
exact form of her features, and could understand--could not help
understanding--the character of her countenance. It was a noble face,
having in it nothing that was poor, nothing that was mean, nothing that
was shapeless. It was a face that promised infinite beauty, with a
promise that was on the very verge of fulfilment. There was a play about
her mouth as she spoke and a curl in her nostrils as the eager words
came from her, which almost made the selfish father give way. Why had
they not told him that she was such a one as this? Why had not Henry
himself spoken of the speciality of her beauty? No man in England knew
better than the archdeacon the difference between beauty of one kind and
beauty of another kind in a woman's face--the one beauty, which comes
from health and youth and animal spirits, and which belongs to the
miller's daughter, and the other beauty, which shows itself in fine
lines and a noble spirit--the beauty which comes from breeding. 'What
you say does you very much honour indeed,' said the archdeacon.
'I should not mind at all about being poor,' said Grace.
'No; no; no,' said the archdeacon.
'Poor as we are--and no clergyman, I think, was ever so poor--I should
have done as your son asked me at once, if it had been only
that--because I love him.'
'If you love him you will not wish to injure him.'
'I will not injure him. Sir, there is my promise.' And now as she
spoke she rose from her chair, and standing close to the archdeacon,
laid her hand very lightly on the sleeve of his coat. 'There is my
promise. As long as people say that papa stole the money, I will never
marry your son. There.'
The archdeacon was still looking down at her, and feeling the slight
touch of her fingers, raised his arm a little as though to welcome the
pressure. He looked into her eyes, which were turned eagerly towards
his, and when doing so was quite sure that the promise would be kept. It
would have been a sacrilege--he felt that it would have been a
sacrilege--to doubt such a promise. He almost relented. His soft heart,
which was never very well under his own control, gave way so far that he
was nearly moved to tell her that, on his son's behalf, he acquitted her
of the promise. What could any man's son do better than have such a
woman for his wife? It would have been of no avail had he made her such
offer. The pledge she had given had not been wrung from her by his
influence, nor could his influence have availed aught with her towards
the alteration of her purpose. It was not the archdeacon who had taught
her that it would not be her duty to take disgrace into the house of the
man she loved. As he looked down upon her face two tears formed
themselves in his eyes, and gradually trickled down his old nose. 'My
dear,' he said, 'if this cloud passes away from you, you shall come to
us and be our daughter.' And thus he also pledged himself. There was a
dash of generosity about the man, in spite of his selfishness, which
always made him desirous of giving largely to those who gave largely to
him. He would fain that his gifts should be bigger, if it were possible.
He longed at this moment to tell her that the dirty cheque should go for
nothing. He would have done it, I think, but that it was impossible for
him to speak in her presence of that which moved her so greatly.
He had contrived that her hand should fall from his arm into his grasp,
and now for a moment he held it. 'You are a good girl,' he said--'a
dear, dear, good girl. When this cloud has passed away, you shall come
to us and be our daughter.'
'But it will never pass away,' said Grace.
'Let us hope that it may. Let us hope that it may.' Then he stooped
over and kissed her, and leaving the room, got out into the hall and
thence into the garden, and so away, without saying a word of adieu to
As he walked across to the Court, whither he was obliged to go, because
of his chaise, he was lost in surprise at what had occurred. He had gone
to the parsonage hating the girl, and despising his son. Now, as he
retraced his steps, his feelings were altogether changed. He admired the
girl--and as for his son, even his anger was for the moment altogether
gone. He would write to his son at once and implore him to stop the
sale. He would tell his son all that had occurred, or rather would make
Mrs Grantly do so. In respect to his son he was quite safe. He thought
at that moment that he was safe. There would be no use in hurling
further threats at him. If Crawley was found guilty of stealing the
money, there was the girl's promise. If he were acquitted there was his
own pledge. He remembered perfectly well that the girl had said more
than this--that she had not confined her assurance to the verdict of the
jury, that she had protested that she would not accept Major Grantly's
hand as long as people thought that her father had stolen the cheque;
but the archdeacon felt that it would be ignoble to hold her closely to
her words. The event, according to his ideas of the compact, was to
depend on the verdict of the jury. If the jury should find Mr Crawley
not guilty, all objection on his part to the marriage was to be
withdrawn. And he would keep his word! In such case it should be
When he came to the rags of the auctioneer's bill, which he had before
torn down with his umbrella, he stopped a moment to consider he would
act at once. In the first place he would tell his son that his threats
were withdrawn, and would ask him to remain at Cosby Lodge. He would
write the letter as he passed through Barchester, on his way home, so
that his son might receive it on the following morning; and he would
refer the major to his mother for a full explanation of the
circumstances. Those odious bills must be removed from every barn-door
and wall in the county. At the present moment his anger against his son
was chiefly directed against his ill-judged haste in having put up those
ill-omened bills. Then he paused to consider what must be his wish as to
the verdict of the jury. He had pledged himself to abide by the verdict,
and he could not but have a wish on the subject. Could he desire in his
heart that Mr Crawley should be found guilty? He stood still for a
moment thinking of this, and then he walked on, shaking his head. If it
might be possible he would have no wish on the subject whatsoever.
'Well!' said Lady Lufton, stopping him in the passage--'have you seen
'Yes; I have seen her.'
'She is a good girl--a very good girl. I am in a great hurry, and
hardly know how to tell you more now.'
'You say that she is a good girl.'
'I say that she is a very good girl. An angel could not have behaved
better. I will tell you some day, Lady Lufton, but I can hardly tell you
When the archdeacon was gone old Lady Lufton confided to young Lady
Lufton her very strong opinion that many months would not be gone before
Grace Crawley would be the mistress of Cosby Lodge. 'It will be a great
promotion,' said the old lady, with a little toss of her head. When
Grace was interrogated afterwards by Mrs Robarts as to what had passed
between her and the archdeacon she had very little to say as to the
interview. 'No he did not scold me,' she replied to an inquiry from her
friend. 'There is no engagement,' said Grace. 'But I suppose you
acknowledged, my dear, that a future engagement is quite possible?' 'I
told him, Mrs Robarts,' Grace answered, after hesitating for a moment,
'that I would never marry his son as long as papa was suspected by any
one in the world of being a thief. And I will keep my word.' but she
said nothing to Mrs Robarts of the pledge which the archdeacon had made
THE CROSS-GRAINEDNESS OF MEN
By the time that the archdeacon reached Plumstead his enthusiasm in
favour of Grace Crawley had somewhat cooled itself; and the language
which from time to time he prepared for conveying his impressions to his
wife, became less fervid as he approached his home. There was his
pledge, and by that he would abide;--and so much he would make both his
wife and son understand. But any idea which he might have entertained
for a moment of extending the promise he had given and relaxing that
given to him was gone before he saw his own chimneys. Indeed, I fear he
had by that time begun to feel that the only salvation now open to him
must come from the jury's verdict. If the jury should declare Mr Crawley
to be guilty, then--; he would not say even to himself that in such case
all would be right, but he did feel that much as he might regret the
fate of the poor Crawleys, and of the girl whom in his warmth he had
declared to be almost an angel, nevertheless to him personally such a
verdict would bring consolatory comfort.
'I have seen Miss Crawley,' he said to his wife, as soon as he had
closed the door of his study, before he had been two minutes out of the
chaise. He had determined that he would dash at the subject at once, and
he thus carried his resolution into effect.
'You have seen Grace Crawley?'
'Yes; I went up to the parsonage and called upon her. Lady Lufton
advised me to do so.'
'Oh, Henry has gone. He was only there one night. I suppose he saw
her, but I am not sure.'
'Would not Miss Crawley tell you?'
'I forgot to ask her.' Mrs Grantly, at hearing this, expressed her
surprise by opening wide her eyes. He had gone all the way over to
Framley on purpose to look after his son, and learn what were his
doings, and when there he had forgotten to ask the person who could have
given him better information than anyone else! 'But it does not
signify,' continued the archdeacon; 'she said enough to me to make that
of no importance.'
'And what did she say?'
'She said that she would never consent to marry Henry as long as there
was any suspicion abroad as to her father's guilt.'
'And you believe her promise?'
'Certainly I do; I do not doubt that in the least. I put implicit
confidence in her. And I have promised her that if her father is
acquitted--I will withdraw my opposition.'
'But I have. And you would have done the same had you been there.'
'I doubt that, my dear. I am not so impulsive as you are.'
'You could not have helped yourself. You would have felt yourself
obliged to be equally generous with her. She came up to me and she put
her hand upon me--' 'Psha!' said Mrs Grantly. 'But she did, my dear, and
then she said, "I promise you that I will not become your son's wife
while people think papa stole this money." What else could I do?'
'And is she pretty?'
'Very pretty; very beautiful.'
'And like a lady?'
'Quite like a lady. There is no mistake about that.'
'And she behaved well?'
'Admirably,' said the archdeacon, who was in measure compelled to
justify the generosity into which he had been betrayed by his feelings.
'Then she is a paragon,' said Mrs Grantly.
'I don't know what you may call a paragon, my dear. I say that she is a
lady, and that she is extremely good-looking, and that she behaved very
well. I cannot say less in her favour. I am sure you would not say less
yourself, if you had been present.'
'She must be a wonderful young woman.'
'I don't know anything about her being wonderful.'
'She must be wonderful when she has succeeded both with the son and with
'I wish you had been there instead of me,' said the archdeacon angrily.
Mrs Grantly very probably wished so also, feeling that in that case a
more serene mode of business would have been adopted. How keenly
susceptible the archdeacon still was to the influences of feminine
charms, no one knew better than Mrs Grantly, and whenever she became
aware that he had been in this way seduced from the wisdom of his cooler
judgment she always felt something akin to indignation against the
seducer. As for her husband, she probably told herself at such moments
that he was an old goose. 'If you had been there, and Henry with you,
you would have made a great deal worse job of it than I have done,' said
'I don't say you have made a bad job of it, my dear,' said Mrs Grantly.
'But it's past eight, and you must be terribly in want of your dinner.
Had you not better go and dress?'
In the evening the plan of future campaign was arranged between them.
The archdeacon would not write to his son at all. In passing through
Barchester he had abandoned his idea of despatching a note from the
hotel, feeling that such a note as would be required was not easily
written in a hurry. Mrs Grantly would now write to her son, telling him
that circumstances had changed, that it would be altogether unnecessary
for him to sell his furniture, and begging him to come over and see his
father without a day's delay. She wrote her letter that night, and read
to the archdeacon all that she had written--with the exception of the
postscript:--'You may be quite sure that there will be no unpleasantness
with your father.' That was the postscript which was not communicated to
On the third day after that Henry Grantly did come over to Plumstead.
His mother in her letter to him had not explained how it had come to
pass that the sale of the furniture would be unnecessary. His father had
given him to understand distinctly that his income would be withdrawn
from him unless he would express his intention of giving up Miss
Crawley; and it had been admitted among them all that Cosby Lodge must
be abandoned if this were done. He certainly would not give up Grace
Crawley. Sooner than that, he would give up every stick in his
possession, and go an live in New Zealand if it were necessary. Not only
had Grace's conduct to him made him thus firm, but the natural bent of
his own disposition had tended that way also. His father had attempted
to dictate to him, and sooner than submit to that he would sell the coat
off his back. Had his father confined his opposition to advice, and had
Miss Crawley been less firm in her view of her duty, the major might
have been less firm also. But things had so gone that he was determined
to be fixed as granite. If others would not be moved from their
resolves, neither would he. Such being the state of his mind, he could
not understand why he was thus summoned to Plumstead. He had already
written over to Pau about his house, and it was well that he should, at
any rate, see his mother before he started. He was willing, therefore,
to go to Plumstead, but he took no steps as to the withdrawal of those
auctioneer's bills to which the archdeacon so strongly objected. When he
drove into the rectory yard, his father was standing there before him.
'Henry,' he said, 'I am very glad to see you. I am very much obliged to
you for coming.' Then Henry got out of his cart and shook hands with his
father, and the archdeacon began to talk about the weather. 'Your mother
has gone into Barchester to see your grandfather,' said the archdeacon.
'If you are not tired, we might as well take a walk. I want to go up as
far as Flurry's cottage.' The major of course declared that he was not
at all tired, and that he should be delighted of all things to go up and
see old Flurry, and thus they started. Young Grantly had not even been
into the house before he left the yard with his father. Of course, he
was thinking of the coming sale at Cosby Lodge, and of his future life
at Pau, and of his injured position in the world. There would be no
longer any occasion for him to be solicitous as to the Plumstead foxes.
Of course these things were in his mind; but he could not begin to speak
of them till his father did so. 'I'm afraid your grandfather is not very
strong,' said the archdeacon, shaking his head. 'I fear he won't be with
us very long.'
'Is it so bad as that?'
'Well, you know, he is an old man, Henry; and he was always somewhat old
for his age. He will be eighty, if he lives two years longer, I think.
But he'll never reach eighty;--never. You must go and see him before you
go back home; you must indeed.' The major, of course, promised that he
would see his grandfather, and the archdeacon told his son how nearly
the old man had fallen in the passage between the cathedral and the
deanery. In this way they had nearly made their way up to the
gamekeeper's cottage without a word of reference to any subject that
touched upon the matter of which each of them was of course thinking.
Whether the major intended to remain at home or to live at Pau, the
subject of Mr Harding's health was a natural topic for conversation
between him and his father; but when his father stopped suddenly, and
began to tell him how a fox had been trapped on Darvell's farm--'and of
course it was a Plumstead fox--there can be no doubt that Flurry is
right about that';--when the archdeacon spoke of this iniquity with much
warmth, and told his son how he had at once written off to Mr Thorne of
Ullathorne, and how Mr Thorne had declared that he didn't believe a word
of it, and how Flurry had produced the pad of the fox, with the marks of
the trap on the skin--then the son began to feel that the ground was
becoming very warm, and that he could not go on much longer without
rushing into details about Grace Crawley. 'I've no more doubt that it
was one of our foxes than that I stand here,' said the archdeacon.
'It doesn't matter where the fox was bred. It shouldn't have been
trapped,' said the major.
'Of course not,' said the archdeacon, indignantly. I wonder whether he
would have been so keen had a Romanist priest come into his parish and
turned one of his Protestants into a Papist?
Then Flurry came up, and produced the identical pad out of his pocket.
'I don't suppose it was intended,' said the major, looking at the
interesting relic with scrutinising eyes. 'I suppose it was caught in a
rabbit-trap, eh, Flurry?'
'I don't see what right a man has with traps at all, when gentlemen is
particular about their foxes,' said Flurry. 'Of course they'd call it
'I never liked that man on Darvell's farm,' said the archdeacon.
'Nor I either,' said Flurry. 'No farmer ought to be on that land who
don't have a horse of his own. And if I war Squire Thorne, I wouldn't
have no farmer there who didn't keep no horse. When a farmer has a horse
of his own, and follies the hounds, there ain't no rabbit-traps;--never.
How does that come about, Mr Henry? Rabbits! I know very well what
Mr Henry shook his head, and turned away, and the archdeacon followed
him. There was an hypocrisy about this pretended care for the foxes
which displeased the major. He could not, of course, tell his father
that the foxes were no longer anything to him; but yet he must make it
understood that such was his conviction. His mother had written to him,
saying that the sale of the furniture need not take place. It might be
all very well for his mother to say that, or for his father; but after
what had taken place, he could consent to remain in England on no other
understanding than that his income should be made permanent to him. Such
permanence must not be any longer dependent on his father's caprice. In
these days he had come to be somewhat in love with poverty and Pau, and
had been feeding on the luxury of his grievance. There, perhaps, nothing
so pleasant as the preparation for self-sacrifice. To give up Cosby
Lodge and the foxes, to marry a penniless wife, and to go and live at
Pau on six or seven hundred a year, seemed just now to Major Grantly to
be a fine thing, and he did not intend to abandon this fine thing
without receiving a very clear reason for doing so. 'I can't quite
understand Thorne,' said the archdeacon. 'He used to be so particular
about these foxes, and I don't suppose that a country gentleman will
change his ideas because he has given up hunting himself.'
'Mr Thorne never thought very much of Flurry,' said Henry Grantly, with
his mind intent upon Pau and his grievance.
'He might take my word, at any rate,' said the archdeacon.
It was a known fact that the archdeacon's solicitude about the Plumstead
covers was wholly on behalf of his son the major. The major himself knew
this thoroughly, and felt that his father's present special anxiety was
intended as a corroboration of the tidings conveyed in his mother's
letter. Every word so uttered was meant to have reference to his son's
future residence in the country. 'Father,' he said, turning round
shortly, and standing before the archdeacon in the pathway, 'I think you
are quite right about the covers. I feel sure that every gentleman who
preserves a fox does good to the country. I am sorry that I shall not
have a closer interest in the matter myself.'
'Why shouldn't you have a closer interest in it?' said the archdeacon.
'Because I shall be living abroad.'
'You got your mother's letter?'
'Yes, I got my mother's letter.'
'Did she not tell you that you can stay where you are?'
'Yes, she said so. But, to tell you the truth, sir, I do not like the
risk of living beyond my assured income.'
'But if I justify it?'
'I do not wish to complain, sir, but you have made me understand that
you can, and that in certain circumstances, you will, at a moment,
withdraw what you give me. Since this was said to me, I have felt myself
to be unsafe in such a house as Cosby Lodge.'
The archdeacon did not know how to explain. He had intended that the
real explanation should be given by Mrs Grantly, and had been anxious to
return to his old relations with his son without any exact terms on his
own part. But his son was, as he thought, awkward, and would drive him
to some speech that was unnecessary. 'You need not be unsafe there at
all,' he said, half angrily.
'I must be unsafe if I am not sure of my income.'
'Your income is not in any danger. But you had better speak to your
mother about it. For myself, I think I may say that I have never yet
behaved to any of you with any harshness. A son should, at any rate, not
be offended because a father thinks that he is entitled to some
consideration for what he does.'
'There are some points on which a son cannot give way even to his
'You had better speak to your mother, Henry. She will explain to you
what has taken place. Look at that plantation. You don't remember it,
but every tree there was planted since you were born. I bought that farm
from old Mr Thorne, when he was purchasing St Ewold's Downs, and it was
the first bit of land I ever had of my own.'
'That is not in Plumstead, I think?'
'No: this is Plumstead, where we stand, but that's in Eiderdown. The
parishes run in and out here. I never bought any other land as cheap as
I bought that.'
'And did old Thorne make a good purchase at St Ewold's?'
'Yes, I fancy he did. It gave him the whole of the parish, which was a
great thing. It is astonishing how land has risen in value since that,
and yet rents are not so very much higher. They who buy land now can't
have above two-and-a-half for their money.'
'I wonder people are so fond of land,' said the major.
'It is a comfortable feeling to know that you stand on your own ground.
Land is about the only thing that can't fly away. And then, you see,
land gives so much more than the rent. It gives position and influence
and political power, to say nothing about the game. We'll go back now. I
daresay your mother will be at home by this time.'
The archdeacon was striving to teach a great lesson to his son when he
thus spoke of the pleasure which a man feels when he stands upon his own
ground. He was bidding his son to understand how great was the position
of an heir to a landed property, and how small the position of a man
depending on what Dr Grantly himself would have called a scratch
income--an income made up of a few odds and ends, a share or two in this
company and a share or two in that, a slight venture in foreign stocks,
a small mortgage and such-like convenient but uninfluential driblets. A
man, no doubt, may live at Pau and enjoy life after a fashion while
reading Galignani and looking at the mountains. But--as it seemed to the
archdeacon--when there was a choice between this kind of thing, and
fox-covers at Plumstead, and a seat among the magistrates of
Barsetshire, and an establishment full of horses, beeves, swine,
carriages, and hayricks, a man brought up as his son had been brought up
ought not to be very long in choosing. It never entered into the
archdeacon's mind that he was tempting his son; but Henry Grantly felt
that he was having the good things of the world shown to him, and that
he was being told that they should be his--for a consideration.
The major, in his present mood, looked at the matter from his own point
of view, and determined that the consideration was too high. He was
pledged not to give up Grace Crawley, and he would not yield on that
point, though he might be tempted by all the fox-covers in Barsetshire.
At this moment he did not know how far his father was prepared to yield,
or how far it was expected that he should yield himself. He was told
that he had to speak to his mother. He would speak to his mother, but,
in the meantime, he could not bring himself to make a comfortable answer
to his father's eloquent praise of landed property. He could not allow
himself to be enthusiastic on the matter till he knew what was expected
of him if he chose to submit to be made a British squire. At present
Galignani and the mountains had their charms for him. There was,
therefore, but little conversation between the father and the son as the
walked back to the rectory.
Late that night the major heard the whole story from his mother.
Gradually, and as though unintentionally, Mrs Grantly told him all she
knew of the archdeacon's visit to Framley. Mrs Grantly was quite as
anxious as was her husband to keep her son at home, and therefore she
omitted in her story those little sneers against Grace which she herself
had been tempted to make by the archdeacon's fervour in the girl's
favour. The major said as little as was possible while he was being told
of his father's adventure, and expressed neither anger nor satisfaction
till he had been made thoroughly to understand that Grace had pledged
herself not to marry him as long as any suspicion should rest upon her
'Your father is quite satisfied with her,' said Mrs Grantly. 'He thinks
that she is behaving very well.'
'My father had no right to exact such a pledge.'
'But she made it of her own accord. She was the first to speak about Mr
Crawley's supposed guilt. Your father never mentioned it.'
'He must have led to it; and I think that he had no right to do so. He
had no right to go to her at all.'
'Now don't be foolish, Henry.'
'I don't see that I am foolish.'
'Yes, you are. A man is foolish if he won't take what he wants without
asking exactly how he is to come by it. That your father should be
anxious is the most natural thing in the world. You know how high he has
always held his own head, and how much he thinks about the characters
and the position of clergymen. It is not surprising that he should
dislike the idea of such a marriage.'
'Grace Crawley would disgrace no family,' said the lover.
'That's all very well for you to say, and I'll take your word that it is
so;--that is as far as the young lady goes herself. And there's your
father almost as much in love with her as you are. I don't know what you
'I would be left alone.'
'But what harm has been done you? From what you yourself have told me,
I know that Miss Crawley has said the same thing to you that she has
said to your father. You can't but admire her for the feeling.'
'I admire her for everything.'
'Very well. We don't say anything against that.'
'And I don't mean to give her up.'
'Very well again. Let us hope that Mr Crawley will be acquitted, and
then all will be right. Your father never goes back on his promise. He
is always better than his word. You'll find that if Mr Crawley is
acquitted, or if he escapes in any way, your father will only be happy
for an excuse to make much of the young lady. You should not be hard on
him, Henry. Don't you see that it is his one great desire to keep you
near him. The sight of those odious bills nearly broke his heart.'
'Then why did he threaten me?'
'Henry, you are obstinate.'
'I am not obstinate, mother.'
'Yes, you are. You remember nothing, and you forget nothing. You expect
everything to be made smooth for you, and will do nothing towards making
things smooth for anybody else. You ought to promise to give up the
sale. If the worst came to the worst, your father would not let you
suffer in pocket for yielding to him so much.'
'If the worst comes to the worst, I wish to take nothing from my
'You won't put off the sale, then?'
The son paused a moment before he answered his mother, thinking over all
the circumstances of his position. 'I cannot do so as long as I am
subject to my father's threat,' he said at last. 'What took place
between my father and Miss Crawley can go for nothing with me. He has
told me that his allowance to me is to be withdrawn. Let him tell me
that he has reconsidered the matter.'
'But he has not withdrawn it. The last quarter was paid to your account
only the other day. He does not mean to withdraw it.'
'Let him tell me so; let him tell me that my power of living at Cosby
Lodge does not depend on my marriage--that my income will be continued
to me whether I marry or no, and I'll arrange matters with the
auctioneer tomorrow. You can't suppose that I should prefer to live in
'Henry, you are too hard on your father.'
'I think, mother, he has been too hard on me.'
'It is you who are to blame now. I tell you plainly that that is my
opinion. If evil comes of it, it will be your own fault.'
'If evil comes of it, I must bear it.'
'A son ought to give up something to his father;--especially to a father
as indulgent as yours.'
But it was of no use. And Mrs Grantly when she went to bed could only
lament in her own mind over what, in discussing the matter afterwards
with her sister, she called the cross-grainedness of men. 'They are as
alike each other as two peas,' she said, 'and though each of them wished
to be generous, neither of them would condescend to be just.' Early on
the following morning there was, no doubt, much said on the subject
between the archdeacon and his wife before they met their son at
breakfast; but neither at breakfast nor afterwards was there a word said
between the father and the son that had the slightest reference to the
subject in dispute between them. The archdeacon made no more speeches in
favour of land, nor did he revert to the foxes. He was very civil to his
son;--too civil by half, as Mrs Grantly continued to say to herself. And
then the major drove himself away in his cart, going through Barchester,
so that he might see his grandfather. When he wished his father
good-bye, the archdeacon shook hands with him, and said something about
the chance of rain. Had he not better take the big umbrella? The major
thanked him courteously, and said that he did not think it would rain.
Then he was gone. 'Upon his own head be it,' said the archdeacon when
his son's step was heard in the passage to the backyard. Then Mrs
Grantly got up quietly and followed her son. She found him settling
himself in his dog-cart, while the servant who was to accompany him was
still at the horse's head. She went up close to him, and, standing by
the wheel of the gig, whispered a word or two into his ear. 'If you love
me, Henry, you will postpone the sale. Do it for my sake.' There came
across his face a look of great pain, but he answered her not a word.
The archdeacon was walking about the room striking one hand open with
the other closed, clearly in a tumult of anger, when his wife returned
to him. 'I have done all that I can,' he said--'all that I can; more,
indeed, than was becoming of me. Upon his own head be it. Upon his own
head be it.'
'What is it you fear?' she asked.
'I fear nothing. But if he chooses to sell his things at Cosby Lodge he
must abide the consequences. They shall not be replaced with my money.'
'What will it matter if he does sell them?'
'Matter! Do you think there is a single person in the county who will
not know that his doing is a sign that he has quarrelled with me?'
'But he has not quarrelled with you.'
'I can tell you, then, that in that case, I shall have quarrelled with
him! I have not been a hard father, but there are some things which a
man cannot bear. Of course you take his part.'
'I am taking no part. I only want peace between you.'
'Peace!--yes; peace indeed. I am to yield in everything. I am to be
nobody. Look here;--as sure as ever an auctioneer's hammer is raised at
Cosby Lodge, I will alter the settlement of the property. Every acre
shall go to Charles. There is my word for it.' The poor woman had
nothing more to say at that moment. She thought that at the present
conjuncture her husband was less in the wrong than her son, but she
could not tell him so lest she should strengthen him in his wrath.
Henry Grantly found his grandfather in bed, with Posy seated on the bed
beside him. 'My father told me that you were not quite well, and I
thought I had better look in,' said the major.
'Thank you, my dear;--it is very good of you. There is not much the
matter with me, but I am not quite so strong as I was once.' And the old
man smiled as he held his grandson's hand.
'And how is cousin Posy?' said the major.
'Posy is quite well;--isn't she, my darling?' said the old man.
'Grandpa doesn't go to the cathedral now,' said Posy; 'so I come in to
talk to him. Don't I, grandpa?'
'And to play cat's-cradle;--only we have not had any cat's-cradle this
morning, because it is cold for grandpa to sit up in bed,' said Posy.
When the major had been there about twenty minutes he was preparing to
take his leave--but Mr Harding, bidding Posy go out of the room, told
his grandson that he had a word to say to him. 'I don't like to
interfere, Henry,' he said, 'but I am afraid things are not quite smooth
'There is nothing wrong between me and my mother,' said the major.
'God forbid that there should be; but, my dear boy, don't let there be
anything wrong between you and your father. He is a good man, and the
time will come when you will be proud of his memory.'
'I am proud of him now.'
'Then be gentle with him--and submit yourself. I am an old man
now--very fast going away from all those I love here. But I am happy in
leaving my children because they have ever been gentle with me and kind.
If I am permitted to remember them whither I am going, my thoughts of
them all will be pleasant. Should it not be much to them that they have
made by death-bed happy?'
The major could not but tell himself that Mr Harding had been a man easy
to please, easy to satisfy, and, in that respect, very different from
his father. But of course he said nothing of this. 'I will do my best,'
'Do, my boy. Honour thy father--that thy days may be long in the land.'
It seemed to the major as he drove away from Barchester that everybody
was against him; and yet he was sure that he himself was right. He could
not give up Grace Crawley; and unless he were to do so he could not live
at Cosby Lodge.
A LADY PRESENTS HER COMPLIMENTS TO MISS L.D.
One morning while Lily Dale was staying with Mrs Thorne in London, there
was brought up to her room, as she was dressing for dinner, a letter
which the postman had just left for her. The address was written in a
feminine hand, and Lily was at once aware that she did not know the
writing. The angles were very acute, and the lines were very straight,
and the vowels looked to be cruel and false, with their sharp points and
their open eyes. Lily at once knew that it was the performance of a
woman who had been taught to write at school, and not at home, and she
became prejudiced against the writer before she opened the letter. When
she had opened the letter and read it, her feelings towards the writer
were not of a kindly nature. It was as follows:-
'A lady presents her compliments to Miss L D and earnestly implores Miss
L D to give her answer to the following question: Is Miss L D engaged to
marry Mr J E? The lady in question pledges herself not to interfere with
Miss L D in any way, should the answer be in the affirmative. The lady
earnestly requests that a reply to this question may be sent to M D
Post-office 455 Edgware Road. In order that L D may not doubt that M D
had an interest in J E, M D encloses the last note she received from him
before he started for the Continent.' Then there was a scrap, which Lily
well knew to be in the handwriting of John Eames, and the scrap was as
follows:--'Dearest M--punctually at 8.30. Ever and always your
unalterable J E. Lily, as she read this, did not comprehend that John's
note to M D had been in itself a joke.
Lily Dale had heard of anonymous letters before, but had never received
one, or even received one. Now that she had one in her hand, it seemed
to her that there could be nothing more abominable than the writing of
such a letter. She let it drop from her as though the receiving, and
opening, and reading it had been a stain to her. As it lay on the ground
at her feet, she trod upon it. Of what sort could a woman be who wrote
such a letter as that? Answer it! Of course she would not answer it. It
never occurred to her for a moment that it could become her to answer
it. Had she been at home with her mother, she would have called her
mother to her, and Mrs Dale would have taken it from the ground, and
have read it, and then destroyed it. As it was, she must pick it up
herself. She did so, and declared to herself that there should be an end
to it. It might be right that somebody should see it, and therefore she
would show it to Emily Dunstable; after that it should be destroyed.
Of course the letter could have no effect upon her. So she told
herself. But it did have a very strong effect, and probably the exact
effect which the writer had intended that it should have. J E was, of
course, John Eames. There was no doubt about that. What a fool the
writer must have been to talk of L D in the letter, when the outside
cover was plainly addressed to Lily Dale! But there are some people for
whom the pretended mystery of initial letters has a charm, and who love
the darkness of anonymous letters. As Lily thought of this, she stamped
on the letter again. Who was the M D to whom she was required to send an
answer--with whom John Eames corresponded in the most affectionate
terms? She had resolved not even to ask a question about M D, and yet
she could not divert her mind from the inquiry. It was, at any rate, a
fact that there must be some woman designated by the letters--some woman
who had, at any rate, chosen to call herself M D. and John Eames had
called her M. There must, at any rate, be such a woman. This female, be
she who she might, had thought it worth her while to make this inquiry
about John Eames, and had manifestly learned something of Lily's own
history. And the woman had pledged herself not to interfere with John
Eames, if L D would only condescend to say that she was engaged to him!
As Lily thought of the proposition, she trod upon the letter for the
third time. Then she picked it up, and having no place of custody under
lock and key ready to her hand she put it in her pocket.
At night, before she went to bed, she showed the letter to Emily
Dunstable. 'Is it not surprising that any woman could bring herself to
write such a letter?' said Lily.
But Miss Dunstable hardly saw it in the same light. 'If anybody were to
write me such a letter about Bernard,' said she, 'I should show to him
as a good joke.'
'That would be very different. You and Bernard, of course, understand
'And so will you and Mr Eames--some day, I hope.'
'Never more than we do now, dear. The thing that annoys me is that such
a woman as that should have even heard my name at all.'
'As long as people have got ears and tongues, people will hear other
Lily paused a moment, and then spoke again, asking another question. 'I
suppose this woman does know him? She must know him, because he has
written to her.'
'She knows something about him, no doubt, and has some reasons for
wishing that you will quarrel with him. If I were you, I should take
care not to gratify her. As for Mr Eames's note, it is a joke.'
'It is nothing to me,' said Lily.
'I suppose,' continued Emily, 'that most gentlemen become acquainted
with some people that they would not wish all their friends to know that
they knew. They go about so much more than we do, and meet people of all
'No gentleman should become intimately acquainted with a woman who could
write such a letter as that,' said Lily. And as she spoke she remembered
a certain episode in John Eames's early life, which had reached her from
a source which she had not doubted, and which had given her pain and
offended her. She had believed that John Eames had in that case behaved
very cruelly to a young woman, and had thought that her offence had come
simply from that feeling. 'But of course it is nothing to me,' she said.
'Mr Eames can choose his friends as he likes. I only wish that my name
might not be mentioned to them.'
'It is not from him that she has heard it.'
'Perhaps not. As I said before, of course, it does not signify; only
there is something very disagreeable about the whole thing. The idea is
so hateful! Of course this woman means me to understand that she
considers herself to have a claim upon Mr Eames, and that I stand in her
'And why should you not stand in her way?'
'I will stand in nobody's way. Mr Eames has a right to give his hand to
anyone that he pleases. I, at any rate, can have no cause of offence
against him. The only thing is that I do wish that my name could be left
alone.' Lily, when she was in her own room again, did destroy the
letter; but before she did so she read it again, and it became so
indelibly impressed on her memory that she could not forget even the
words of it. The lady who wrote had pledged herself, under certain
conditions, 'not to interfere with Miss L D.' 'Interfere with me!' Lily
said to herself; 'nobody has power to do so.' As she turned it over in
her mind, her heart became hard against John Eames. No woman would have
troubled herself to write such a letter without some cause for the
writing. That the writer was vulgar, false, unfeminine, Lily thought
that she could perceive from the letter itself; but no doubt the woman
knew John Eames had some interest in the question of his marriage, and
was entitled to some answer to her question--only was not entitled to
such answer from Lily Dale.
For some weeks past now, up to the hour at which the anonymous letter
had reached her hands, Lily's heart had been growing soft and still
softer towards John Eames; and now again it had become hardened. I think
that the appearance of Adolphus Crosbie in the Park, that momentary
vision of the real man by which the divinity of the imaginary Apollo had
been dashed to the ground, had done a service to the cause of her other
lover; of the lover who had never been a god, but who of late years had
at any rate grown into the full dimension of a man. Unfortunately for
the latter, he had commenced his love-making when he was but little more
than a boy. Lily, as she had thought of the two together, in the days of
her solitude, after she had been deserted by Crosbie, had ever pictured
to herself the lover whom she had preferred as having something godlike
in his favour, as being far the superior in wit, in manner, in
acquirement, and in personal advantage. There had been good-nature and
true hearty love on the side of the other man; but circumstances had
seemed to show that his good-nature was equal to all, and that he was
able to share even his hearty love among two or three. A man of such a
character, known by a girl from his boyhood as John Eames had been known
by Lily Dale, was likely to find more favour as a friend than as a
lover. So it had been between John Eames and Lily. While the untrue
memory of what Crosbie was, or ever had been, was present to her, she
could hardly bring herself to accept in her mind the idea of a lover who
was less noble in his manhood than the false picture which that untrue
memory was ever painting for her. Then had come before her eyes the
actual man; and though he had been seen but for a moment, the false
image had been broken into shivers. Lily had discovered that she had
been deceived, and that her forgiveness had been asked, not by a god,
but by an ordinary human being. As regarded the ungodlike man himself,
this could make no difference. Having thought upon the matter deeply,
she had resolved that she would not marry Mr Crosbie, and had pledged
herself to that effect to friends who never could have brought
themselves to feel affection for him, even had she married him. But the
shattering of the false image might have done John Eames a good turn.
Lily knew that she had at any rate full permission from all her friends
to throw in her lot with his--if she could persuade herself to do so.
Mother, uncle, sister, brother-in-law, cousin--and now this new
cousin's bride that was to be--together with Lady Julia and a whole
crowd of Allington and Guestwick friends, were in favour of such a
marriage. There had been nothing against it but the fact that the other
man had been dearer to her; and that other fact that poor Johnny lacked
something--something of earnestness, something of manliness, something
of that Phoebus divinity with which Crosbie had contrived to invest his
own image. But, as I have said above, John had gradually grown, if not
into divinity, at least into manliness; and the shattering of the false
image had done him yeoman's service. Now had come this accursed letter,
and Lily, despite herself, despite her better judgment, could not sweep
it away from her mind and make the letter as nothing to her. M D had
promised not to interfere with her! There was no room for such
interference, no possibility that such interference should take place.
She hoped earnestly--so she told herself--that her old friend John Eames
might have nothing to do with a woman so impudent and vulgar as must be
this M D; but except as regarded old friendship, M D and John Eames,
apart or together, could be as nothing to her. Therefore, I say that the
letter had had the effect which the writer of it had desired.
All London was new to Lily Dale, and Mrs Thorne was very anxious to show
her everything that could be seen. She was to return to Allington before
the flowers of May would have come, and the crowd and the glare and the
fashion and the art of the Academy's great exhibition must therefore
remain unknown to her; but she was taken to see many pictures, and among
others she was taken to see the pictures belonging to a certain nobleman
who, with that munificence which is so amply enjoyed and so little
recognised in England, keeps open house for the world to see the
treasures which the wealth of his family had collected. The necessary
order was procured, and on a certain brilliant April afternoon, Mrs
Thorne and her party found themselves in this nobleman's drawing-room.
Lily was with her, of course, and Emily Dunstable was there, and Bernard
Dale, and Mrs Thorne's dear friend Mrs Harold Smith, and Mrs Thorne's
constant and useful attendant, Siph Dunn. They had nearly completed
their delightful but wearying task of gazing at pictures, and Mrs Harold
Smith had declared that she would not look at another painting till the
exhibition was open; three of the ladies were seated in the
drawing-room, and Siph Dunn was standing before them, lecturing about
art as though he had been brought up on the ancient masters; Emily and
Bernard were lingering behind, and the others were simply delaying their
departure till the truant lovers should have caught them. At this moment
two gentlemen entered the room from the gallery, and the two gentlemen
were Fowler Pratt and Adolphus Crosbie.
All the party except Mrs Thorne knew Crosbie personally, and all of them
except Mrs Harold Smith knew something of the story of what had occurred
between Crosbie and Lily. Siph Dunn had learned it all since the meeting
in the park, having nearly learned it all from what he had seen with
there with his eyes. But Mrs Thorne, who knew Lily's story, did not know
Crosbie's appearance. But there was his friend Fowler Pratt, who, as
will be remembered, had dined with her but the other day; and she, with
that outspoken and somewhat loud impulse which was natural to her,
addressed him at once across the room, calling him by name. Had she not
done so, the two men might probably have escaped through the room, in
which case they would have met Bernard Dale and Emily Dunstable in the
doorway. Fowler Pratt would have endeavoured so to escape, and to carry
Crosbie with him, as he was quite alive to the experience of saving Lily
from such a meeting. But, as things turned out, escape from Mrs Thorne
'There's Fowler Pratt,' she had said when they first entered, quite loud
enough for Fowler Pratt to hear her. 'Mr Pratt, come here. How d'ye do?
You dined with me last Tuesday, and you've never been to call.'
'I never recognise that obligation till after the middle of May,' said
Mr Pratt, shaking hands with Mrs Thorne and Mrs Smith, and bowing to
'I don't see the justice of that at all,' said Mrs Thorne. 'It seems to
me that a good dinner is much entitled to a morsel of pasteboard in
April as at any other time. You won't have another till you have
called--unless you're specially wanted.'
Crosbie would have gone on, but that in his attempt to do so he passed
close by the chair on which Mrs Harold Smith was sitting, and that he
was accosted by her. 'Mr Crosbie,' she said, 'I haven't seen you for an
age. Has it come to pass that you have buried yourself entirely?' He did
not know how to extricate himself so as to move on at once. He paused,
and hesitated, and then stopped, and made an attempt to talk to Mrs
Smith as though he were at his ease. The attempt was anything but
successful; but having once stopped, he did not know how to put himself
in motion again, so that he might escape. At this moment Bernard Dale
and Emily Dunstable came up and joined the group; but neither of them
had discovered who Crosbie was till they were close upon him.
Lily was seated between Mrs Thorne and Mrs Smith, and Siph Dunn had been
standing immediately opposite to them. Fowler Pratt, who had been drawn
into the circle against his will, was now standing close to Dunn, almost
between him and Lily--and Crosbie was standing within two yards of Lily,
on the other side of Dunn. Emily and Bernard had gone behind Pratt and
Crosbie to Mrs Thorne's side before they had recognised the two
men;--and in this way Lily was completely surrounded. Mrs Thorne, who in
spite of her eager, impetuous ways, was as thoughtful of others as any
woman could be, as soon as she heard Crosbie's name understood it all,
and knew that it would be well that she should withdraw Lily from her
plight. Crosbie, in his attempt to talk to Mrs Smith, had smiled and
simpered, and had then felt that to smile and simper before Lily Dale,
with a pretended indifference to her presence, was false on his part,
and would seem to be mean. He would have avoided Lily for both their
sakes, had it been possible; but it was no longer possible, and he could
not keep his eyes from her face. Hardly knowing what he did, he bowed to
her, lifted his hat, and uttered some word of greeting.
Lily, from the moment that she had perceived his presence, had looked
straight before her, with something of fierceness in her eyes. Both
Pratt and Siph Dunn had observed her narrowly. It had seemed as though
Crosbie had been altogether outside the ken of her eyes, or the notice
of her ears, and yet she had seen every motion of his body, and had
heard every word which had fallen from his lips. Now, when he saluted
her, she turned her face full upon him, and bowed to him. Then she rose
from her seat, and made her way, between Siph Dunn and Pratt, out of the
circle. The blood had mounted to her face and suffused it all, and her
whole manner was such that it could escape the observation of none who
stood there. Even Mrs Harold Smith had seen it, and had read the story.
As soon as she was on her feet, Bernard had dropped Emily's hand, and
offered his arm to his cousin. 'Lily,' he had said out loud, 'you had
better let me take you away. It is a misfortune that you have been
subjected to the insult of such a greeting.' Bernard and Crosbie had
been early friends, and Bernard had been the unfortunate means of
bringing Crosbie and Lily together. Up to this day, Bernard had never
had his revenge for the ill-treatment which his cousin had received.
Some morsel of that revenge came to him now. Lily almost hated her
cousin for what he said; but she took his arm, and walked with him from
the room. It must be acknowledged in excuse for Bernard Dale, and as an
apology for the apparent indiscretion of his words, that all the
circumstances of the meeting had become apparent to everyone there. The
misfortune of the encounter had become too plain to admit of its being
hidden under any of the ordinary veils of society. Crosbie's salutation
had been made before the eyes of them all, and in the midst of absolute
silence, and Lily had risen with so queen-like a demeanour, and had
moved with so stately a step, that it was impossible that anyone
concerned should pretend to ignore the facts of the scene that had
occurred. Crosbie was still standing close to Mrs Harold Smith, Mrs
Thorne had risen from her seat, and the words which Bernard Dale had
uttered were still sounding in the ears of them all. 'Shall I see after
the carriage?' said Siph Dunn. 'Do,' said Mrs Thorne; 'or, stay a
moment; the carriage will of course be there, and we will go together.
Good-morning, Mr Pratt. I expect that, at any rate, you will send me
your card by post.' Then they all passed on, and Crosbie and Fowler
Pratt were left among the pictures.
'I think you will agree with me now that you had better give her up,'
said Fowler Pratt.
'I will never give her up,' said Crosbie, 'till I hear that she has
married someone else.'
'You may take my word for it, that she will never marry you after what
has just occurred.'
'Very likely not; but still the attempt, even the idea of the attempt
will be a comfort to me. I shall be endeavouring to do that which I
ought to have done.'
'What you have got to think of, I should suppose, is her comfort--not
Crosbie stood for a while silent, looking at a portrait which was hung
just within the doorway of a smaller room into which they had passed, as
though his attention were entirely rivetted by the picture. But he was
thinking of the picture not at all, and did not even know what kind of
painting was on the canvas before him.
'Pratt,' he said at last, 'you are always hard to me.'
'I will say nothing more to you on the subject, if you wish me to be
'I do wish you to be silent about that.'
'That shall be enough,' said Pratt.
'You do not quite understand me. You do not know how thoroughly I have
repented of the evil that I have done, or how far I would go to make
retribution, if retribution were possible.'
Fowler Pratt having been told to hold his tongue as regarded that
subject, made no reply to this, and began to talk about the pictures.
Lily, leaning on her cousin's arm, was out in the courtyard in front of
the house before Mrs Thorne and Siph Dunn. It was but for a minute, but
still there was a minute in which Bernard felt that he ought to say a
word to her.
'I hope you are not angry with me, Lily, for having spoken.'
'I wish, of course, that you had not spoken; but I am not angry. I have
no right to be angry. I made the misfortune for myself. Do not say
anything more about it, dear Bernard;--that is all.'
They had walked to the picture-gallery; but, by agreement, two carriages
had come to take them away--Mrs Thorne's and Mrs Harold Smith's. Mrs
Thorne easily managed to send Emily Dunstable and Bernard away with her
friend, and to tell Siph Dunn that he must manage for himself. In this
way it was contrived that no one but Mrs Thorne should be with Lily
'My dear,' said Mrs Thorne, 'it seemed to me that you were a little put
out, and so I thought it best to send them all away.'
'It was very kind.'
'He ought to have passed on and not to have stood an instant when he saw
you,' said Mrs Thorne, with indignation. 'There are moments when it is a
man's duty simply to vanish, to melt into the air, or to sink into the
ground--in which he is bound to overcome the difficulties of such sudden
self-removal, or must ever after be accounted poor and mean.'
'I did not want him to vanish;--if only he had not spoken to me.'
'He should have vanished. A man is sometimes bound in honour to do so,
even when he himself has done nothing wrong;--when the sin has been all
with the woman. Her femininity has still a right to expect that so much
shall be done in its behalf. But when the sin has been all his own, as
it was in this case--and such damning sin too--'
'Pray do not go on, Mrs Thorne.'
'He ought to go out and hang himself simply for having allowed himself
to be seen. I thought Bernard behaved very well, and I shall tell him
'I wish you could manage to forget it all, and say no word more about
'I won't trouble you with it, my dear; I will promise you that. But,
Lily, I can hardly understand you. This man who must have been and must
ever be a brute--'
'Mrs Thorne, you promised me this instant that you would not talk of
'After this I will not; but you must let me have my way now for one
moment. I have so often longed to speak to you, but have not done so
from fear of offending you. Now the matter has come up by chance, and it
was impossible that what has occurred should pass by without a word. I
cannot conceive why the memory of that bad man should be allowed to
destroy your whole life.'
'My life is not destroyed. My life is anything but destroyed. It is a
very happy life.'
'But, my dear, if all that I hear is true, there is a most estimable
young man whom everybody likes, and particularly all your own family,
and whom you like very much yourself; and you will have nothing to say
to him, though his constancy is like the constancy of an old
Paladin--and all because of this wretch who just now came in your way.'
'Mrs Thorne, it is impossible to explain it all.'
'I do not want you to explain it all. Of course I would not ask any
young woman to marry any man whom she did not love. Such marriages are
abominable to me. But I think that a young woman ought to get married if
the thing fairly comes in her way, and if her friends approve, and if
she is fond of the man who is fond of her. It may be that some memory of
what has gone before is allowed to stand in your way, and that it should
not be so allowed. It sometimes happens that a horrid morbid sentiment
will destroy a life. Excuse me, then, Lily, if I say too much to you in
my hope that you may not suffer after this fashion.'
'I know how kind you are, Mrs Thorne.'
'Here we are at home, and perhaps you would like to go in. I have some
calls which I must make.' Then the conversation was ended, and Lily was
As if she had not thought of it all before! As if here was anything new
in this counsel which Mrs Thorne had given her! She had received the
same advice from her mother, from her sister, from her uncle, and from
Lady Julia, till she was sick of it. How had it come to pass that
matters which with others are so private, should with her have become
the public property of so large a circle? Any other girl would receive
advice on such a subject from her mother alone, and there the secret
would rest. But her secret had been published, as it were, by the
town-crier in the High Street! Everybody knew that she had been jilted
by Adolphus Crosbie, and that it was intended that she should be
consoled by John Eames. And people seemed to think that they had a right
to rebuke her if she expressed an unwillingness to carry out this
intention which the public had so kindly arranged for her.
Morbid sentiment! Why should she be accused of morbid sentiment because
she was unable to transfer her affections to a man who had been fixed on
as her future husband by the large circle of acquaintances who had
interested themselves in her affairs? There was nothing morbid in either
her desires or her regrets. So she assured herself, with something very
like anger at the accusation made against her. She had been contented,
and was contented, to live at home as her mother had lived, asking for
no excitement beyond that given by the daily routine of her duties.
There could be nothing morbid in that. She would go back to Allington as
soon as might be, and have done with this London life, which only made
her wretched. This seeing of Crosbie had been terrible to her. She did
not tell herself that his image had been shattered. Her idea was that
all her misery had come from the untowardness of the meeting. But there
was the fact that she had seen the man and heard his voice, and that the
seeing him and hearing him had made her miserable. She certainly desired
that it might never be her lot either to see him or to hear him again.
And as for John Eames--in those bitter moments of her reflection she
almost wished the same in regard to him. If he would only cease to be
her lover, he might be very well; but he was not very well to her as
long as his pretensions were dinned into her ear by everybody who knew
her. And then she told herself that John would have a better chance if
he had been content to plead for himself. In this, I think, she was hard
upon her lover. He had pleaded for himself as well as he knew how, and
as often as the occasion had been given to him. It had hardly been his
fault that his case had been taken in hand by other advocates. He had
given no commission to Mrs Thorne to plead for him.
Poor Johnny. He had stood in much better favour before that lady had
presented her compliments to Miss L D. It was that odious letter, and
the thoughts which it had forced upon Lily's mind, which were now most
inimical to his interests. Whether Lily loved him or not, she did not
love him well enough to be jealous of him. Had nay such letter reached
her respecting Crosbie in the happy days of her young love, she would
have simply have laughed at it. It would have been nothing to her. But
now she was sore and unhappy, and any trifle was powerful enough to
irritate her. 'Is Miss L D engaged to marry Mr J E?' 'No,' said Lily,
out loud. 'Lily Dale is not engaged to marry John Eames, and never will
be so engaged.' She was almost tempted to sit down and write the
required answer to Miss M D. Though the letter had been destroyed, she
well remembered the number of the post-office in the Edgware Road. Poor
That evening she told Emily Dunstable that she thought she would like to
return to Allington before the day that had been appointed for her. 'But
why,' said Emily, 'should you be worse than your word?'
'I daresay it will seem silly, but the fact is I am homesick. I'm not
accustomed to be away from mama for so long.'
'I hope it is not what occurred today at the picture-gallery.'
'I won't deny that it is that in part.'
'That was a strange accident, you know, that might never occur again.'
'It has occurred twice already, Emily.'
'I don't call the affair in the park anything. Anybody may see anybody
else in the Park, of course. He was not brought near you that he could
annoy you there. You ought certainly to wait till Mr Eames has come back
Then Lily decided that she must and would go back to Allington on the
next Monday, and she actually did write a letter to her mother that
night to say that such was her intention. But on the morrow her heart
was less sore, and the letter was not sent.
THE END OF JAEL AND SISERA
There was to be one more sitting for the picture, as the reader will
remember, and the day for that sitting had arrived. Conway Dalrymple had
in the meantime called at Mrs Van Siever's house, hoping that he might
be able to see Clara, and make his offer there. But he had failed in his
attempt to reach her. He had found it impossible to say all that he had
to say in the painting-room during the very short intervals which Mrs
Broughton left to him. A man should be allowed to be alone more than
fifteen minutes with a young lady on the occasion in which he offers her
his hand and his heart; but hitherto he had never had more than fifteen
minutes at his command; and then there had been the turban! He had also
in the meantime called in Mrs Broughton with the intention of explaining
to her that if she really intended to favour his views in respect to
Miss Van Siever, she ought to give him a little more liberty for
expressing himself. Mrs Broughton found it necessary during this meeting
to talk almost exclusively about herself and her own affairs. 'Conway,'
she had said, directly she saw him, 'I am so glad you have come. I think
I should have gone mad if I had not seen someone who cares for me.' This
was early in the morning, not much after eleven, and Mrs Broughton,
hearing first his knock at the door, and then his voice, had met him in
the hall and taken him into the dining-room.
'Is anything the matter?' he asked.
'What is it? Has anything gone wrong with Dobbs?'
'Everything has gone wrong with him. He is ruined.'
'Heaven and earth! What do you mean?'
'Simply what I say. But you must not speak a word of it. I do not know
it from himself.'
'How do you know it?'
'Wait a moment. Sit down there, will you?--and I will sit by you. No,
Conway; do not take my hand. It is not right. There;--so. Yesterday Mrs
Van Siever was here. I need not tell you all that she said to me, even
if I could. She was very harsh and cruel, saying all manner of things
about Dobbs. How can I help it, if he drinks? I have not encouraged him.
And as for expensive living, I have been as ignorant as a child. I have
never asked for anything. When we were married somebody told me how much
we should have to spend. It was either two thousand, or three thousand,
or four thousand, or something like that. You know, Conway, how ignorant
I am about money;--that I am like a child. Is it not true?' She waited
for an answer and Dalrymple was obliged to acknowledge that it was true.
And yet he had known the times in which his dear friend had been very
sharp in her memory with reference to a few pounds. 'And now she says
that Dobbs owes her money which he cannot pay her, and that everything
must be sold. She says that Musselboro must have the business, and Dobbs
must shift for himself elsewhere.'
'Do you believe that she has the power to decide that things shall go
this way or that--as she pleases?'
'How am I to know? She says so, and she says it is because he drinks.
He does drink. That at least is true; but how can I help it? Oh, Conway,
what am I to do? Dobbs did not come home at all last night, but sent for
his things--saying that he must stay in the City. What am I to do if
they come and take the house, and sell the furniture, and turn me out
into the street?' Then the poor creature began to cry in earnest, and
Dalrymple had to console her as best he might. 'How I wish I had known
you first,' she said. To this Dalrymple was able to make no direct
answer. He was wise enough to know that a direct answer might possible
lead him into terrible trouble. He was by no means anxious to find
himself 'protecting' Mrs Dobbs Broughton from the ruin which her husband
had brought upon her.
Before he left her she had told him a long story, partly of matters of
which he had known something before, and partly made up of that which
she had heard from the old woman. It was settled, Mrs Broughton said,
that Mr Musselboro was to marry Clara Van Siever. But it appeared, as
far as Dalrymple could learn, that this was a settlement made simply
between Mrs Van Siever and Musselboro. Clara, as he thought, was not a
girl likely to fall into such a settlement without having an opinion of
her own. Musselboro was to have the business, and Dobbs Broughton was to
be 'sold up' and then look for employment in the City. From her husband
the wife had not heard a word on the matter, and the above story was
simply what had been told to Mrs Broughton by Mrs Van Siever. 'For
myself it seems that there can be but one fate,' said Mrs Broughton.
Dalrymple, in his tenderest voice, asked what that one fate must be.
'Never mind,' said Mrs Broughton. 'There are some things which one
cannot tell even to such a friend as you.' He was sitting near her and
had all but got his arm behind her waist. He was, however, able to be
prudent. 'Maria,' he said, getting up on his feet, 'if it should really
come about that you should want anything, you will send to me. You will
promise me that, at any rate?' She rubbed a tear from her eye and said
that she did not know. 'There are moments in which a man must speak
plainly,' said Conway Dalrymple;--'in which it would be unmanly not to
do so, however prosaic it may seem. I need hardly tell you that my purse
shall be yours if you want it.' But just at that moment she did not want
his purse, nor must it be supposed that she wanted to run away with him
and to leave her husband to fight the battle with Mrs Van Siever. The
truth was that she did not know what she wanted, over and beyond an
assurance from Conway Dalrymple that she was the most ill-used, the most
interesting, and the most beautiful woman ever heard of, either in
history or romance. Had he proposed to her to pack up a bundle and go
off with him in a cab to the London Chatham, and Dover railway station,
I do not for a moment think that she would have packed up her bundle.
She would have received intense gratification from the offer--so much so
that she would have been almost consoled for her husband's ruin; but she
would have scolded her lover, and would have explained to him the great
iniquity of which he was guilty. It was clear to him that at this
present time he could not make any special terms with her as to Clara
Van Siever. At such a moment as this he could hardly ask her to keep out
of the way, in order that he might have his opportunity. But when he
suggested that probably it might be better, in the present emergency, to
give up the idea of any further sitting in her room, and proposed to
send for his canvas, colour-box, and easel, she told him that, as far as
she was concerned, he was welcome to have that one other sitting for
which they had all bargained. 'You had better come tomorrow, as we had
agreed,' she said; 'and unless I shall have been turned out into the
street by the creditors, you may have the room as you did before. And
you must remember, Conway, that though Mrs Van Siever says that
Musselboro is to have Clara, it doesn't follow that Clara should give
way.' When we consider everything, we must acknowledge that this was, at
any rate, good-natured. Then there was a tender parting, with many
tears, and Conway Dalrymple escaped from the house.
He did not for a moment doubt the truth of the story which Mrs Broughton
had told, as far, at least, as it referred to the ruin of Dobbs
Broughton. He had heard something of this before, and for some weeks had
expected that a crash was coming. Broughton's rise had been very sudden,
and Dalrymple had never regarded his friend as firmly placed in the
commercial world. Dobbs was one of those men who seem born to surprise
the world by a spurt of prosperity, and might, perhaps, have a second
spurt, or even a third, could he have kept himself from drinking in the
morning. But Dalrymple, though he was hardly astonished by the story, as
it regarded Broughton, was put out by that part of it which had
reference to Musselboro. He had known that Musselboro had been
introduced to Broughton by Mrs Van Siever, but, nevertheless, he had
regarded the man as being nor more than Broughton's clerk. And now he
was told that Musselboro was to marry Clara Van Siever, and have all Mrs
Van Siever's money. He resolved, at last, that he would run his risk
about the money, and take Clara either with or without it, if she would
have him. And as for that difficulty in asking her, if Mrs Broughton
would give him no opportunity of putting the question behind her back,
he would put it before her face. He had not much leisure for
consideration on these points, as the next day was the day for the last
On the following morning he found Miss Van Siever already seated in Mrs
Broughton's room when he reached it. And at the moment Mrs Broughton was
not there. As he took Clara's hand he could not prevent himself from
asking her whether she had heard anything? 'Heard what?' asked Clara.
'Then you have not,' said he. 'Never mind now, as Mrs Broughton is
here.' Then Mrs Broughton had entered the room. She seemed to be quite
cheerful, but Dalrymple perfectly understood, from a special glance
which she gave to him, that he was to perceive that her cheerfulness was
assumed for Clara's benefit. Mrs Broughton was showing how great a
heroine she could be on behalf of her friends. 'Now, my dear,' she said,
'do remember that this is the last day. It may be very well, Conway,
and, of course, you know best; but as far as I can see, you have not
made half as much progress as you ought to have done.' 'We shall do
excellently well,' said Dalrymple. 'So much the better,' said Mrs
Broughton; 'and now, Clara, I'll place you.' And so Clara was placed on
her knees, with the turban on her head.
Dalrymple began his work assiduously, knowing that Mrs Broughton would
not leave the room for some minutes. It was certain that she would
remain for a quarter of an hour, and it might be as well that he should
really use that time on the picture. The peculiar position in which he
was placed probably made his word difficult to him. There was something
perplexing in the necessity which bound him to look upon the young lady
before him both as Jael and as the future Mrs Conway Dalrymple, knowing
as he did that she was at present simply Clara Van Siever. A double
personification was not difficult to him. He had encountered it with
every model that had sat to him, and with every young lady he had
attempted to win--if he had ever made such an attempt with one before.
But the triple character joined to the necessity of the double work, was
distressing to him. 'The hand a little further back, if you don't mind,'
he said, 'and the wrist more turned towards me. That is just it. Lean a
little more over him. There--that will do exactly.' If Mrs Broughton did
not go very quickly, he must begin to address his model on a totally
different subject, even while she was in the act of slaying Sisera.
'Have you made up your mind who is to be Sisera?' asked Mrs Broughton.
'Not in the least,' said Clara, speaking without moving her face
--almost without moving her lips.
'That will be excellent,' said Mrs Broughton. She was still quite
cheerful, and really laughed as she spoke. 'Shall you like the idea,
Clara, of striking the nail right through his head?'
'Oh, yes; as well as his head's as another's. I shall seem to be having
my revenge for all the trouble he has given me.'
There was a slight pause, and then Dalrymple spoke. 'You have had that
already, in striking me right through the heart.'
'What a very pretty speech! Was it not, my dear?' said Mrs Broughton.
And then Mrs Broughton laughed. There was something slightly hysterical
in her laugh which grated on Dalrymple's ears--something which seemed
to tell him that at the present moment his dear friend was not going to
assist him honestly in his effort.
'Only that I should put him out, I would get up and make a curtsey,'
said Clara. No young lady could ever talk of making a curtsey for such a
speech if she supposed it to have been made in earnestness. And Clara,
no doubt, understood that a man might make a hundred such speeches in
the presence of a third person without any danger that they would be
taken as meaning anything. All this Dalrymple knew, and began to think
that he had better put down his palette and brush, and do the work which
he had before him in the most prosaic language that he could use. He
could, at any rate, succeed in making Clara acknowledge his intention in
this way. He waited still for a minute or two, and it seemed to him that
Mrs Broughton had no intention of piling her fagots on the present
occasion. It might be that the remembrance of her husband's ruin
prevented her from sacrificing herself in the other direction also.
'I am not very good at pretty speeches, but I am good at telling the
truth,' said Dalrymple.
'Ha, ha, ha!' laughed Mrs Broughton, still with a touch of hysterical
action in her throat. 'Upon my word, Conway, you know how to praise
'He dispraises himself most unnecessarily in denying the prettiness of
his language,' said Clara. As she spoke she hardly moved her lips, and
Dalrymple went on painting from the model. It was clear that Miss Van
Siever understood that the painting, and not the pretty speeches, was
the important business on hand.
Mrs Broughton had now tucked her feet up on the sofa, and was gazing at
the artist as he stood at his work. Dalrymple, remembering how he had
offered her his purse--an offer which, in the existing crisis of her
affairs, might mean a great deal--felt that she was ill-natured. Had
she intended to do him a good turn, she would have gone now; but there
she lay, with her feet tucked up, clearly proposing to be present
through the whole of the morning's sitting. His anger against her added
something to his spirit, and made him determine that he would carry out
his purpose. Suddenly, therefore, he prepared himself for action.
He was in the habit of working with a Turkish cap on his head, and with
a short apron tied round him. There was something picturesque about the
cap, which might not have been incongruous with love-making. It is easy
to suppose that Juan wore a Turkish cap when he sat with Haidee in
Lambro's island. But we may be quite sure that he did not wear an apron.
Now Dalrymple had thought of all this, and had made up his mind to work