Part 14 out of 18
today without his apron; but when arranging his easel and his brushes,
he had put it on from the force of habit, and was now disgusted with
himself as he remembered it. He put down his brush, divested his thumb
of his palette, then took off his cap, and after that untied the apron.
'Conway, what are you going to do?' said Mrs Broughton.
'I am going to ask Clara Van Siever to be my wife,' said Dalrymple. At
that moment the door was opened, and Mrs Van Siever entered the room.
Clara had not risen from her kneeling posture when Dalrymple began to
put off his trappings. She had not seen what he was doing as plainly as
Mrs Broughton had done, having her attention naturally drawn towards he
Sisera; and, besides this, she understood that she was to remain as she
was placed till orders to move were given to her. Dalrymple would
occasionally step aside from his easel to look at her in some altered
light, and such occasions she would simply hold her hammer somewhat more
tightly than before. When, therefore, Mrs Van Siever entered the room
Clara was still slaying Sisera, in spite of the artist's speech. the
speech, indeed, and her mother both seemed to come to her at the same
time. The old woman stood for a moment holding the open door in her
hand. 'You fool!' she said, 'what are you doing there, dressed up in
that way like a guy?' Then Clara got up from her feet and stood before
her mother in Jael's dress and Jael's turban. Dalrymple thought that the
dress and turban did not become her badly. Mrs Van Siever apparently
thought otherwise. 'Will you have the goodness to tell me, miss, why you
are dressed up after that Mad Bess of Bedlam fashion?'
The reader will no doubt bear in mind that Clara had other words of
which to think besides those which were addressed to her by her mother.
Dalrymple had asked her to be his wife in the plainest language, and she
thought that the very plainness of the language became him well. The
very taking off of his apron, almost as he said the words, though to
himself the action had been so distressing as almost to overcome his
purpose, had in it something to her of direct simple determination which
pleased her. When he had spoken of having a nail driven by her right
through his heart, she had not been in the least gratified; by the
taking off of the apron, and the putting down of the palette, and the
downright way in which he had called her Clara Van Siever--attempting
to be neither sentimental with Clara, nor polite with Miss Van
Siever--did please her. She had often said to herself that she would
never give a plain answer to a man who did not ask her a plain
question;--to a man who, in asking this question, did not say plainly to
her, 'Clara Van Siever, will you become Mrs Jones?'--or Mrs Smith, or
Mrs Tomkins, as the case might be. Now Conway Dalrymple had asked her to
become Mrs Dalrymple very much after this fashion. In spite of the
apparition of her mother, all this had passed through her mind. Not the
less, however, was she obliged to answer her mother, before she could
give any reply to the other questioner. In the meantime Mrs Dobbs
Broughton had untucked her feet.
'Mamma,' said Clara, 'who ever expected to see you here?'
'I daresay nobody did,' said Mrs Van Siever; 'but here I am,
'Madam,' said Mrs Dobbs Broughton, 'you might at any rate have gone
through the ceremony of having yourself announced by the servant.'
'Madam,' said the old woman attempting to mimic the tone of the other,
'I thought that on such a very particular occasion as this I might be
allowed to announce myself. You tomfool, you why don't you take that
turban off?' Then Clara, with slow and graceful motion, unwound the
turban. If Dalrymple really meant what he had said and would stick to
it, she need not mind being called a tomfool by her mother.
'Conway, I am afraid that our last sitting is disturbed,' said Mrs
Broughton, with her little laugh.
'Conway's last sitting is certainly disturbed,' said Mrs Van Siever, and
then she mimicked the laugh. 'And you'll all be disturbed--I can tell
you that. What an ass you must be to go on with this kind of thing,
after what I said to you yesterday! Do you know that he got beastly
drunk in the City last night, and that he is drunk now, while you are
going on with your tomfooleries?' Upon hearing this Mrs Dobbs Broughton
fainted in Dalrymple's arms.
Hitherto the artist had not said a word, and had hardly known what part
in it would best become him to play. If he intended to marry Clara--and
he certainly did intend to marry her if she would have him--it might be
as well not to quarrel with Mrs Van Siever. At any rate there was
nothing in Mrs Van Siever's intrusion, disagreeable that it was, which
need make him take up his sword to do battle with her. But now, as he
held Mrs Broughton in his arms, and as the horrid words which the old
woman had spoken rung in his ears, he could not refrain himself form
uttering reproach. 'You ought not to have told her in this way, before
other people, even if it be true,' said Conway.
'Leave me to be my own judge of what I ought to do, if you please, sir.
If she had any feeling at all, what I told her yesterday would have kept
her from all this. But some people have no feeling, and will go on being
tomfools though the house is on fire.' As these words were spoken, Mrs
Broughton fainted more persistently than ever--so that Dalrymple was
convinced that whether she felt or not, at any rate she heard. He had
now dragged her across the room, and laid her upon the sofa, and Clara
had come to her assistance. 'I daresay you think me very hard because I
speak plainly, but there are things much harder than plain speaking. How
much do you expect to be paid, sir, for this picture of my girl?'
'I do not expect to be paid for it at all,' said Dalrymple.
'And who is it to belong to?'
'It belongs to me at present.'
'Then, sir, it mustn't belong to you any longer. It won't do for you to
have a picture of my girl to hang up in your painting-room for all your
friends to come and make their jokes about, nor yet to make a show of it
in any of your exhibitions. My daughter has been a fool, and I can't
help it. If you'll tell me what's the cost, I'll pay you; then I'll have
the picture home, and I'll treat it as it deserves.'
Dalrymple thought for a moment about his picture and about Mrs Van
Siever. What had he better do? He wanted to behave well, and he felt
that the old woman had something of justice on her side. 'Madam,' he
said, 'I will not sell this picture; but it shall be destroyed, if you
'I certainly do wish it, but I won't trust you. If it's not sent to my
house at once you'll hear from me through my lawyers.'
Then Dalrymple deliberately opened his penknife and slit the canvas
across, through the middle of the picture each way. Clara, as she saw
him do it, felt that in truth that she loved him. 'There, Mrs Van
Siever,' he said; 'now you can take the bits home with you in your
basket if you wish it.' At this moment, as the rent canvas fell and
fluttered upon the stretcher, there came a loud voice of lamentation
from the sofa, a groan of despair and a shriek of wrath. 'Very fine
indeed,' said Mrs Van Siever. 'When ladies faint they always ought to
have their eyes about them. I see that Mrs Broughton understands that.'
'Take her away, Conway--for God's sake take her away,' said Mrs
'I shall take myself away very shortly,' said Mrs Van Siever, 'so you
needn't trouble Mr Conway about that. Not but that I thought the
gentleman's name was something else.'
'My name is Conway Dalrymple,' said the artist.
'Then I suppose you must be her brother, or her cousin, or something.'
'Take her away,' screamed Mrs Dobbs Broughton.
'Wait a moment, madam. As you've chopped up your handiwork there, Mr
Conway Dalrymple, and as I suppose my daughter has been more to blame
than anybody else--'
'She has not been to blame at all,' said Dalrymple.
'That's my affair and not yours,' said Mrs Van Siever, very sharply.
'But as you've been at all this trouble, and have now chopped it up, I
don't mind paying you for your time and paints; only I shall be glad to
know how much it will come to?'
'There will be nothing to pay, Mrs Van Siever.'
'How long has he been at it, Clara?'
'Mamma, indeed you had better not say anything about paying him.'
'I shall say whatever I please, miss. Will ten pounds do it, sir?'
'If you choose to buy the picture, the price will be seven hundred and
fifty,' said Dalrymple with a smile, pointing to the fragments.
'Seven hundred and fifty pounds?' said the old woman.
'But I strongly advise you not to make the purchase,' said Dalrymple.
'Seven hundred and fifty pounds! I certainly shall not give you seven
hundred and fifty pounds.'
'I certainly think you could invest your money better, Mrs Van Siever.
But if the thing is to be sold at all, that is my price. I've thought
that there was some justice in your demand that it should be
destroyed--and therefore I have destroyed it.'
Mrs Van Siever had been standing on the same spot ever since she had
entered the room, and now she turned round to leave the room.
'If you have any demand to make, I beg that you will send it in your
account for work done to Mr Musselboro. He is my man of business. Clara,
are you ready to come home? The cab is waiting at the door--at sixpence
the quarter of an hour, if you will be pleased to remember.'
'Mrs Broughton,' said Clara, thoughtful of her raiment, and remembering
that it might not be well that she should return home, even in a cab,
dressed as Jael, 'if you will allow me, I will go into your room for a
minute or two.'
'Certainly, Clara,' said Mrs Broughton, preparing to accompany her.
'But before you go, Mrs Broughton,' said Mrs Van Siever, 'it may be as
well that I should tell you that my daughter is going to become the wife
of Mr Musselboro. It may simplify matters that you should know this.'
And Mrs Van Siever, as she spoke, looked hard at Conway Dalrymple.
'Mamma!' exclaimed Clara.
'My dear,' said Mrs Van Siever, 'you had better change your dress and
come away with me.'
'Not till I have protested against what you have said, mamma.'
'You had better leave your protesting alone, I can tell you.'
'Mrs Broughton,' said Clara, 'I must beg you to understand that mamma
has not the slightest right in the world to tell you what she just now
said about me. Nothing on earth would induce me to become the wife of Mr
There was something which made Clara unwilling even to name the man whom
her mother had publicly proposed as her future husband.
'He isn't Mr Broughton's partner,' said Mrs Van Siever. 'Mr Broughton
has not got a partner. Mr Musselboro is the head of the firm. And as to
your marrying him, of course, I can't make you.'
'No, mamma, you cannot.'
'Mrs Broughton understands that, no doubt;--and so, probably, does Mr
Dalrymple. I can only tell them what are my ideas. If you choose to
marry the sweep at the crossing, I can't help it. Only I don't see what
good you would do the sweep, when he would have to sweep for himself and
you too. At any rate, I suppose you mean to go home with me now?' Then
Mrs Broughton and Clara left the room, and Mrs Van Siever was left with
Conway Dalrymple. 'Mr Dalrymple,' said Mrs Van Siever, 'do not deceive
yourself. What I told you just now will certainly come to pass.'
'It seems to me that that must depend on the young lady,' said
'I'll tell you what certainly will not depend on the young lady,' said
Mrs Van Siever, 'and that is whether the man who marries her will have
more with her than the clothes she stands up in. You will understand
that argument, I suppose?'
'I'm not quite sure that I do,' said Dalrymple.
'Then you'd better try to understand it. Good-morning, sir. I'm sorry
you've had to slit your picture.' Then she curtseyed low, and walked out
on to the landing-place. 'Clara,' she cried, 'I'm waiting for
you--sixpence a quarter of an hour--remember that.' In a minute or two
Clara came out to her, and then Mrs Van Siever and Miss Van Siever took
'Oh, Conway, what am I to do? What am I to do?' said Mrs Dobbs
Broughton. Dalrymple stood perplexed for a few minutes, and could not
tell her what she was to do. She was in such a position that it was very
hard to tell her what she was to do. 'Do you believe, Conway, that he is
'What am I to say? How am I to know?'
'I see that you believe it,' said the wretched woman.
'I cannot but believe that there is something of truth in what this
woman says. Why else should she come here with such a story?' Then there
was a pause, during which Mrs Broughton was burying her face on the arm
of the sofa. 'I'll tell you what I'll do,' continued he. 'I'll go into
the City and make inquiry. It can hardly be but what I shall learn the
Then there was another pause, at the end of which Mrs Broughton got up
from the sofa.
'Tell me,' said she:--'what do you mean about that girl?'
'You heard me ask her to be my wife?'
'I did! I did!'
'Is it not what you intended?'
'Do not ask me. My mind is bewildered. My brain is on fire! Oh,
'Shall I go into the City as I proposed?' said Dalrymple, who felt that
he might at any rate improve the position of circumstances by leaving
'Yes;--yes; go into the City! Go anywhere. Go. But stay! Oh,
Conway!' There was a sudden change in her voice as she spoke.
'Hark--there he is, as sure as life.' Then Conway listened, and heard a
footstep on the stairs, as to which he had then but little doubt that it
was the footstep of Dobbs Broughton. 'O heavens! He is tipsy!' exclaimed
Mrs Broughton; 'and what shall we do?' Then Dalrymple took her hand and
pressed it; and left the room, so that he might meet the husband on the
stairs. In the one moment that he had for reflection he thought it was
better that there should be no concealment.
'IT'S DOGGED AS DOES IT'
In accordance with the resolution to which the clerical commission had
come on the first day of their sitting, Dr Tempest wrote the following
letter to Mr Crawley:-
'RECTORY, SILVERBRIDGE, April, 9, 186-
'I have been given to understand that you have been informed
that the Bishop of Barchester has appointed a commission of
clergymen of the diocese to make inquiry respecting certain
accusations which, to the great regret of us all, have been
made against you, in respect of a cheque for twenty pounds
which was passed by you to a tradesman of the town. The
clergymen appointed to form this commission are Mr Oriel,
the rector of Greshamsbury, Mr Robarts, the vicar of
Framley, Mr Quiverful, the warden of Hiram's Hospital at
Barchester, and Mr Thumble, a clergyman established in that
city, and myself. We held our first meeting on last Monday,
and I now write to you in compliance with a resolution to
which we came. Before taking any other steps we thought it
best to ask you to attend us here on next Monday, at two
o'clock, and I beg that you will accept this letter as an
invitation to that effect.
'We are, of course, aware that you are about to stand your
trial at the next assizes for the offence in question. I beg
you to understand that I do not express any opinion as to
your guilt. But I think it right to point out to you that in
the event of a jury finding an adverse verdict, the bishop
will be placed in great difficulty unless he were fortified
with the opinion of a commission formed from your fellow
clerical labourers in the diocese. Should such adverse
verdict unfortunately be given, the bishop would hardly be
justified in allowing a clergyman placed as you then would
be placed, to return to his cure after the expiration of
such punishment as the judge might award, without a further
decision from an ecclesiastical court. This decision he
could only obtain by proceeding against you under the Act in
reference to clerical offences, which empowers him as bishop
of the diocese to bring you before the Court of
Arches--unless you would think well to submit yourself
entirely to his judgment. You will, I think, understand what
I mean. The judge at assizes might find it his duty to
imprison a clergyman for a month--regarding tat clergyman
simply as he would regard any other person found guilty by a
jury and thus made subject to his judgment--and might do
this for an offence which the ecclesiastical judge would
find himself obliged to visit with the severer sentence of
prolonged suspension, or even with deprivation.
'We are, however, clearly of the opinion that should the
jury find themselves able to acquit you, no further action
whatsoever should be taken. In such case we think that the
bishop may regard your innocence to be fully established,
and in such case we shall recommend his lordship to look
upon the matter as altogether at an end. I can assure you
that in such case I shall so regard it myself.
'You will perceive that, as a consequence of this
resolution, to which we have already come, we are not minded
to take any inquiries ourselves into the circumstances of
your alleged guilt, till the verdict of the jury shall be
given. But should you be convicted, we must in that case
advise the bishop to take the proceedings to which I have
alluded, or to abstain from taking them. We wish to ask you
whether, now that our opinion has been conveyed to you, you
will be willing to submit the bishop's decision, in the
event of an adverse verdict being given by the jury; and we
think that it will be better for us all that you should meet
us here at the hour I have named on Monday next, the
fifteenth instant. It is not our intention to make any
report to the bishop until the trial shall be over.--I have
the honour to be, my dear sir, your obedient servant,
'The Rev. Josiah Crawley,
In the same envelope Dr Tempest sent a short private note, in which he
said that he should be very happy to see Mr Crawley at half-past one on
the Monday named, that luncheon would be ready at that hour, and that,
as Mr Crawley's attendance was required on public grounds, he would take
care that a carriage was provided for the day.
Mr Crawley received this letter in his wife's presence, and read it in
silence. Mrs Crawley saw that he paid close attention to it, and was
sure--she felt that she was sure--that it referred in some way to the
terrible subject of the cheque for twenty pounds. Indeed, everything
that came into the house, almost every word spoken there, and every
thought that came into the breast of any of the family, had more or less
reference to the coming trial. How could it be otherwise? There was ruin
coming on them all--ruin and complete disgrace coming on father, mother,
and children! To have been accused itself was very bad; but now it
seemed to be the opinion of everyone that the verdict must be against
the man. Mrs Crawley herself, who was perfectly sure of her husband's
innocence before God, believed that the jury would find him guilty--and
believed also that he had become possessed of the money in some manner
that would have been dishonest, had he not been so different from other
people as to be entitled to be considered innocent where another man
would have been plainly guilty. She was full of the cheque for twenty
pounds, and of its results. When, therefore, he had read the letter
through a second time, and even then had spoken no word about it, of
course she could not refrain from questioning him. 'My love,' she said,
'what is the letter?'
'It is on business,' he answered.
She was silent for a moment before she spoke again. 'May I not know the
'No,' said he; 'not at present.'
'Is it from the bishop?'
'Have I not answered you? Have I not given you to understand that, for
a while at least, I would prefer to keep the contents of this epistle to
myself?' Then he looked at her very sternly, and afterwards turned his
eyes upon the fireplace and gazed at the fire, as though he were
striving to read there something of his future fate. She did not much
regard the severity of his speech. That, too, like the taking of the
cheque itself, was to be forgiven him, because he was different from
other men. His black mood had come upon him, cutting his teeth. Let the
poor wayward sufferer be ever so petulant, the mother simply pities and
loves him, and is never angry. 'I beg your pardon, Josiah,' she said,
'but I thought it would comfort you to speak to me about it.'
'It will not comfort me,' he said. 'Nothing comforts me. Nothing can
comfort me. Jane, give me my hat and my stick.' His daughter brought to
him his hat and stick, and without another word he went out and left
As a matter of course he turned his steps towards Hoggle End. When he
desired to be long absent from the house, he always went among the
brickmakers. His wife, as she stood at the window and watched the
direction in which he went, knew that he might be away for hours. The
only friends out of his own family with whom he ever spoke freely were
some of those rough parishioners. But he was not thinking of the
brickmakers when he started. He was simply desirous of reading again Dr
Tempest's letter, and of considering it, in some spot where no eye could
see him. He walked away with long steps, regarding nothing--neither the
ruts in the dirty lane, nor the young primroses which were fast showing
themselves on the banks, nor the gathering clouds which might have told
him of the coming rain. He went on for a couple of miles, till he had
nearly reached the outskirts of the colony of Hoggle End, and then he
sat himself down upon a gate. He had not been there a minute before a
few slow drops began to fall, but he was altogether too much wrapped up
in his thoughts to regard the rain. What answer should he make to this
letter from the man from Silverbridge?
The position of his own mind in reference to his own guilt or his own
innocence was very singular. It was simply the truth that he did not
know how the cheque had come to him. He did know that he had blundered
about it most egregiously, especially when he had averred that this
cheque for twenty pounds had been identical with a cheque for another
sum which had been given to him by Mr Soames. He had blundered since, in
saying that the dean had given it to him. There could be no doubt as to
this, for the dean had denied that he had done so. And he had come to
think it very possible that he had indeed picked the cheque up, and had
afterwards used it, having deposited it by some strange accident--not
knowing then what he was doing, or what was the nature of the bit of
paper in his hand--with the notes which he had accepted from the dean
with so much reluctance, and with such an agony of spirit. In all these
thoughts of his own doings, and his own position, he almost admitted to
himself his own insanity, his inability to manage his own affairs with
that degree of rational sequence which is taken for granted as belonging
to a man when he is made subject to criminal laws. As he puzzled his
brain in his efforts to create a memory as to the cheque, and succeeded
in bringing to his mind a recollection that he had once known something
about the cheque--that the cheque had at one time been the subject of a
thought and a resolution--he admitted to himself that in accordance with
all law and all reason he must be regarded as a thief. He had taken and
used and spent that which he ought to have known was not his own--which
he would have known not to be his own but for some terrible incapacity
with which God had inflicted him. What then must be the result? His mind
was clear enough about this. If the jury should see everything and know
everything--as he would wish that they should do; and if the bishop's
commission, and the bishop himself, and the Court of Arches with its
judge, could see and know everything; and if so seeing and so knowing
they could act with clear honesty and perfect wisdom--what would they
do? They would declare of him that he was not a thief, only because he
was so muddy-minded, so addle-pated as not to know the difference
between meum and tuum! There could be no other end to it, let all the
lawyers and all the clergymen in England put their wits to it. Thought
he knew himself to be muddy-minded and addle-pated, he could see that.
And could anyone say of such a man that he was fit to be the
acting-clergyman of a parish--to have freehold possession in a parish as
curer of men's souls! The bishop was in the right of it, let him be ten
times as mean a fellow as he was.
And yet as he sat there on the gate, while the rain came down heavily
upon him, even when admitting the justice of the bishop, and the truth
of the verdict which the jury would no doubt give, and the propriety of
the action which that cold, reasonable, prosperous man at Silverbridge
would take, he pitied himself with a tenderness of commiseration which
knew no bounds. As for those belonging to him, his wife and children,
his pity for them was of a different kind. He would have suffered any
increase of suffering, could he by such agony have released them. Dearly
as he loved them, he would have severed himself from them, had it been
possible. Terrible thoughts as to their fate had come into his mind in
the worst moments of his moodiness--thoughts which he had sufficient
strength and manliness to put away from him with a strong hand, lest
they should drive him to crime indeed; and these had come from the great
pity he had felt for them. But the commiseration which he had felt for
himself had been different from this, and had mostly visited him at
times when that other pity was for the moment in abeyance. What though
he had taken the cheque, and spent the money though it was not his? He
might be guilty before the law, but he was not guilty before God. There
had never been a thought of theft in his mind, or a desire to steal in
his heart. He knew that well enough. No jury could make him guilty of
theft before God. And what though this mixture of guilt and innocence
had come from madness--from madness which these courts must recognise if
they chose to find him innocent of the crime? In spite of his
aberrations of intellect, if there were any such, his ministrations in
his parish were good. Had he not preached fervently and well--preaching
the true gospel? Had he not been very diligent among his people,
striving with all his might to lessen the ignorance of the ignorant, and
to gild with godliness the learning of the instructed? Had he not been
patient, enduring, instant, and in all things amenable to the laws and
regulations laid down by the Church for his guidance in his duties as a
parish clergyman? Who could point out in what he had been astray, or
where he had gone amiss? But for the work which he had done with so much
zeal the Church which he served had paid him so miserable a pittance
that, though life and soul had been kept together, the reason, or a
fragment of the reason, had at moments escaped from his keeping in the
scramble. Hence it was that this terrible calamity had fallen upon him!
Who had been tried as he had been tried, and had gone through such fire
with less loss of intellectual power than he had done? He was still a
scholar, though no brother scholar ever came near him, and would make
Greek iambics as he walked through the lanes. His memory was stored with
poetry, though no book ever came into his hands, except those shorn and
tattered volumes which lay upon his table. Old problems in trigonometry
were the pleasing relaxations of his mind, and complications of figures
were a delight to him. There was not one of those prosperous clergymen
around him, and who scorned him, whom he could not have instructed in
Hebrew. It was always a gratification to him to remember that his old
friend the dean was weak in his Hebrew. He, with these acquirements,
with these fitnesses, had been thrust down to the ground--to the very
granite--and because in that harsh heartless thrusting his intellect had
for moments wavered as to common things, cleaving still to all its
grander, nobler possessions, he was now to be rent in pieces and
scattered to the winds, as being altogether vile, worthless, and worse
than worthless. It was thus that he thought of himself, pitying himself,
as he sat upon the gate, while the rain fell ruthlessly on his
He pitied himself with a commiseration that was sickly in spite of its
truth. It was the fault of the man that he was imbued too strongly with
self-consciousness. He could do a great thing or two. He could keep up
his courage in positions which would wash all the courage out of most
men. He could tell the truth though truth should ruin him. He could
sacrifice all that he had to duty. He could do justice though the heaven
should fall. But he could not forget to pay tribute to himself for the
greatness of his own actions; nor, when accepting with an effort of
meekness the small payment made by the world to him, in return for his
great works, could he forget the great payments made to others for small
work. It was not sufficient for him to remember that he knew Hebrew, but
he must remember also that the dean did not.
Nevertheless, as he sat there under the rain, he made up his mind with a
clearness that certainly had in it nothing of that muddiness of mind of
which he had often accused himself. Indeed, the intellect of this man
was essentially clear. It was simply that his memory that would play him
tricks--his memory as to things which at the moment were not important
to him. The fact that the dean had given him money was very important,
and he remembered it well. But the amount of the money, and its form, at
a moment in which he had flattered himself that he might have strength
to leave it unused, had not been important to him. Now, he resolved that
he would go to Dr Tempest, and that he would tell Dr Tempest that there
was not occasion for any further inquiry. He would submit to the bishop,
let the bishop's decision be what it might. Things were different since
the day on which he had refused Mr Thumble admission to his pulpit. At
that time people believed him to be innocent, and he so believed of
himself. Now, people believed him to be guilty, and it could not be
right that a man held in such slight esteem could exercise the functions
of a parish priest, let his own opinion of himself be what it might. He
would submit himself, and go anywhere--to the galleys or the workhouse,
if they wished it. As for his wife and children, they would, he said to
himself, be better without him than with him. The world would never be
so hard to a woman or to children as it had been to him.
He was sitting saturated with rain--saturated also with thinking--and
quite unobservant of anything around him, when he was accosted by an old
man from Hoggle End, with whom he was well acquainted. 'Thee be wat,
Master Crawley,' said the old man.
'Wet!' said Crawley, recalled suddenly back to the realities of life.
'Well--yes. I am wet. That's because it's raining.'
'Thee be teeming o'wat. Hadn't thee better go home?'
'And are you not wet also,' said Mr Crawley, looking at the old man, who
had been at work in the brickfield, and who was soaked with mire, and
from whom there seemed to come a steam of muddy mist.
'Is it me, yer reverence? I'm wat of course. The loikes of us is
always wat--that is barring the insides of us. It comes to us natural to
have the rheumatics. How is one of us to help hisself against having on
'em? But there ain't no call for the loikes of you to have the
'My friend,' said Crawley, who was now standing on the road--and as he
spoke he put out his arm and took the brickmaker by the hand, 'there is
a worse complaint than rheumatism--there is, indeed.'
'There's what they calls the collerer,' said Giles Hoggett, looking up
into Crawley's face. 'That ain't a-got hold of yer?'
'Ay, and worse than the cholera. A man is killed all over when he is
struck with pride--and yet he lives.'
'Maybe that's bad enough too,' said Giles, with his hand still held by
'It is bad enough,' said Crawley, striking his breast with his left
hand. 'It is bad enough.'
'Tell 'ee what, Master Crawley;--and yer reverence mustn't think as I
means to be preaching; there ain't nowt a man can't bear if he'll only
be dogged. You to whome, Master Crawley, and think o' that, and maybe
it'll do ye a good yet. It's dogged as does it. It ain't thinking about
it.' Then Giles Hoggett withdrew his hand from the clergyman's, and
walked away towards his home at Hoggle End. Mr Crawley also turned away
homewards, and as he made his way through the lanes, he repeated to
himself Giles Hoggett's words. 'It's dogged as does it. It's not
thinking about it.'
He did not say a word to his wife on that afternoon about Dr Tempest;
and she was so much taken up with his outward condition when he
returned, as almost to have forgotten the letter. He allowed himself,
but barely allowed himself, to be made dry, and then for the remainder
of the day applied himself to learn the lesson which Hoggett had
endeavoured to teach him. But the learning of it was not easy, and
hardly became more easy when he had worked the problem out in his own
mind, and discovered that the brickmaker's doggedness simply meant
self-abnegation--that a man should force himself to endure anything that
might be sent upon him, not only without outward grumbling, but also
without grumbling inwardly.
Early on the next morning, he told his wife that he was going into
Silverbridge. 'It is that letter--the letter which I got yesterday that
calls me,' he said. And then he handed her the letter as to which he had
refused to speak to her on the preceding day.
'But this speaks of your going next Monday, Josiah,' said Mrs Crawley.
'I find it more suitable that I should go today,' said he. 'Some duty I
do owe in this matter, both to the bishop, and to Dr Tempest, who, after
a fashion is, as regards my present business, the bishop's
representative. But I do not perceive that I owe it as a duty to either
to obey implicitly their injunctions, and I will not submit myself to
the cross-questioning of the man Thumble. As I am purposed at present I
shall express my willingness to give up the parish.'
'Give up the parish altogether?'
'Yes, altogether.' As he spoke he clasped both his hands together, and
having held them for a moment on high, allowed them to fall thus clasped
before him. 'I cannot give it up in part; I cannot abandon the duties
and reserve the honorarium. Nor would I if I could.'
'I did not mean that, Josiah. But pray think of it before you speak.'
'I have thought of it, and I will think of it. Farewell, my dear.'
Then he came up to her and kissed her, and started on his journey on
foot to Silverbridge.
It was about noon when he reached Silverbridge, and he was told that
Doctor Tempest was at home. The servant asked him for a card. 'I have no
card,' said Mr Crawley, 'but I will write my name for your behoof if
your master's hospitality will allow me paper and pencil.' The name was
written, and as Crawley waited in the drawing-room he spent his time in
hating Dr Tempest because the door had been opened by a man-servant
dressed in black. Had the man been in livery he would have hated Dr
Tempest all the same. And he would have hated him a little had the door
been opened by a smart maid.
'Your letter came to hand yesterday morning, Dr Tempest,' said Mr
Crawley, still standing, though the doctor had pointed to a chair for
him after shaking hands with him; 'and having given yesterday to the
consideration of it, with what judgment I have been able to exercise, I
have felt it to be incumbent upon me to wait upon you without further
delay, as by doing so I may perhaps assist your views and save labour to
those gentlemen who are joined with you in this commission of which you
have spoken. To some of them it may possibly be troublesome that they
should be brought here on next Monday.
Dr Tempest had been looking at him during this speech, and could see by
his shoes and trousers that he had walked from Hogglestock to
Silverbridge. 'Mr Crawley, will you not sit down?' said he, and then he
rang his bell. Mr Crawley sat down, not on the chair indicated, but on
the further removed and at the other side of the table. When the servant
came--the objectionable butler in black clothes that were so much
smarter than Mr Crawley's own--his master's orders were communicated
without any audible word, and the man returned with a decanter and
'After your walk, Mr Crawley,' said Dr Tempest, getting up from his seat
to pour out wine.
'None, I thank you.'
'Pray let me persuade you. I know the length of the miles so well.'
'I will take none if you please, sir,' said Mr Crawley.
'Now, Mr Crawley,' said Dr Tempest, 'do let me speak to you as a friend.
You have walked eight miles, and are going to talk to me on a subject
which is of vital importance to yourself. I won't discuss it unless
you'll take a glass of wine and a biscuit.'
'I'm quite in earnest. I won't. If you do as I ask, you shall talk to
me till dinner-time, if you like. There. Now you may begin.'
Mr Crawley did eat the biscuit and did drink the wine, and as he did so,
he acknowledged to himself that Dr Tempest was right. He felt that the
wine had made him stronger to speak. 'I hardly know why you have
preferred today to next Monday,' said Dr Tempest; 'but if anything can
be done by your presence here today, your time shall not be thrown
'I have preferred today to Monday,' said Crawley, 'partly because I
would sooner talk to one man than to five.'
'There is something in that, certainly,' said Dr Tempest.
'And as I have made up my mind as to the course of action which it is my
duty to take in the matter to which your letter of the ninth of this
month refers, there can be no reason why I should postpone the
declaration of my purpose. Dr Tempest, I have determined to resign my
preferment at Hogglestock, and shall today write to the Dean of
Barchester, who is the patron, acquainting him of my purpose.'
'You mean in the event--in the event--'
'I mean, sir, to do this without reference to any event that is future.
The bishop, Dr Tempest, when I shall have been proved to be a thief,
shall have no trouble either in causing my suspension or my deprivation.
The name and fame of a parish clergyman should be unstained. Mine have
become foul with infamy. I will not wait to be deprived by any court, by
any bishop, or by any commission. I will bow my head to that public
opinion which has reached me, and I will deprive myself.'
He had got up from his chair, and was standing as he pronounced the
final sentence against himself. Dr Tempest still remained seated in his
chair, looking at him, and for a few moments there was silence. 'You
must not do that, Mr Crawley,' said Dr Tempest, at last.
'But I shall do it.'
'Then the dean must not take your resignation. Speaking to you frankly,
I tell you that there is no prevailing opinion as to the verdict which
the jury may give.'
'My decision has nothing to do with the jury's verdict. My decision--'
'Stop a moment, Mr Crawley. It is possible that you might say that
which should not be said.'
'There is nothing to be said--nothing which I could say, which I would
not say at the Town Cross if it were possible. As to this money, I do
not know whether I stole it or whether I did not.'
'That is just what I have thought.'
'It is so.'
'Then you did not steal it. There can be no doubt about that.'
'Thank you, Dr Tempest. I thank you heartily for saying so much. But,
sir, you are not the jury. Nor, if you were, could you whitewash me from
the infamy which has been cast upon me. Against the opinion expressed at
the beginning of these proceedings by the bishop of this diocese--or
rather against that expressed by his wife--I did venture to make a
stand. Neither the opinion which came from the palace, nor the vehicle
by which it was expressed, commanded my respect. Since that, others have
spoken to whom I feel myself bound to yield--yourself not the least
among them, Dr Tempest--and to them I shall yield. You may tell the
Bishop of Barchester, that I shall at once resign the perpetual curacy
of Hogglestock into the hands of the Dean of Barchester, by whom I was
'No, Mr Crawley; I shall not do that. I cannot control you, but
thinking you to be wrong, I shall not make that communication to the
'Then I shall do it myself.'
'And your wife, Mr Crawley, and your children?'
At that moment Mr Crawley called to mind the advice of his friend Giles
Hoggett. 'It'd dogged as does it.' He certainly wanted something very
strong to sustain him in this difficulty. He found that this reference
to his wife and children required him to be dogged in a very marked
manner. 'I can only trust that the wind may be tempered to them,' he
said. 'They will, indeed, be shorn lambs.'
Dr Tempest got up from his chair, and took a couple of turns about the
room before he spoke again. 'Man,' he said, addressing Mr Crawley with
all his energy, 'if you do this thing, you will then at least be very
wicked. If the jury find a verdict in your favour you are safe, and the
chances are that the verdict will be in your favour.'
'I care nothing now for the verdict,' said Mr Crawley.
'And you will turn your wife into the poorhouse for an idea!'
'It's dogged as does it,' said Mr Crawley to himself. 'I have thought
of that,' he said aloud. 'That my wife is dear to me, and that my
children are dear, I will not deny. She was softly nurtured, Dr Tempest,
and came from a house in which want was never known. Since she has
shared my board she has had some experience of that nature. That I
should have brought her to all this is very terrible to me--so terrible,
that I often wonder how it is that I live. But, sir, you will agree with
me, that my duty as a clergyman is above everything. I do not dare, even
for their sake, to remain in the parish. Good morning, Dr Tempest.' Dr
Tempest, finding that he could not prevail with him, bade him adieu,
feeling that any service to the Crawleys within in his power might be
best done by intercession with the bishop and with the dean.
Then Mr Crawley walked back to Hogglestock, repeating to himself Giles
Hoggett's words, 'It's dogged as does it.'
MR CRAWLEY'S LETTER TO THE DEAN
Mr Crawley, when he got home after his walk to Silverbridge, denied that
he was at all tired. 'The man at Silverbridge, whom I went to see
administered refreshment to me;--nay, he administered it with salutary
violence,' he said, affecting even to laugh. 'And I am bound to speak
well of him on behalf of mercies over and beyond that exhibited by the
persistent tender of some wine. That I should find him judicious I had
expected. What little I have known of him taught me so to think of him.
But I found with him also a softness of heart for which I had not
'And you will not give up the living, Josiah?'
'Most certainly I will. A duty, when it is clear before a man, should
never be made less so by any tenderness in others.' He was still
thinking of Giles Hoggett. 'It's dogged as does it.' The poor woman
could not answer him. She knew well that it was vain to argue with him.
She could only hope that in the event of his being acquitted at the
trial, the dean, whose friendship she did not doubt, might re-endow him
with the small benefice which was their only source of bread.
On the following morning there came by post a short note from Dr
Tempest. 'My dear Mr Crawley,' the note ran, 'I implore you,
if there be yet time, to do nothing rashly. And even though
you should have written to the bishop or to the dean, your
letters need have no effect, if you will allow me to make
them inoperative. Permit me to say that I am a man much
older than you, and one who has mixed much both with
clergymen and with the world at large. I tell you with
absolute confidence, that it is not your duty in your
present position to give up your living. Should your conduct
ever be called in question on this matter you will be at
perfect liberty to say that you were guided by my advice.
You should take no step till after the trial. Then, if the
verdict be against you, you should submit to the bishop's
judgment. If the verdict be in your favour, the bishop's
interference will be over.'
'And you must remember that if it is not your duty as a
clergyman to give up your living, you can have no right,
seeing that you have a wife and family, to throw it away as
an indulgence to your pride. Consult any other friend you
please--Mr Robarts, or the dean himself. I am quite sure
that any friend who knows many of the circumstances as I
know will advise you to hold the living, at any rate till
after the trial. You can refer any such friend to
me.--Believe me, to be yours very truly,
Mr Crawley walked about again with this letter in his pocket, but on
this occasion he did not go in the direction of Hoggle End. From Hoggle
End he could hardly hope to pick up further lessons of wisdom. What
could any Giles Hoggett say to him beyond what he had said to him
already? If he were to read the doctor's letter to Hoggett, and to
succeed in making Hoggett understand it, Hoggett could only caution him
to be dogged. But it seemed to him that Hoggett and his new friend at
Silverbridge did not agree in their doctrines, and it might be well that
he should endeavour to find out which of them had most of justice on his
side. He was quite sure that Hoggett would advise him to adhere to his
project of giving up the living--if only Hoggett could me made to
understand the circumstances.
'He had written, but had not as yet sent away his letter to the dean.
His letter to the bishop would be but a note, and he had postponed the
writing of that till the other should be copied and made complete.
He had sat up late into the night composing and altering his letter to
his old friend, and now that the composition was finished he was loth to
throw it away. Early in this morning, before the postman had brought to
him Dr Tempest's urgent remonstrance, he had shown to his wife the draft
of his letter to the dean. 'I cannot say that it is not true,' she had
'It is certainly true.'
'But I wish, my dear, you would not send it. Why should you take any
step till the trial be over?'
'I shall assuredly send it,' he had replied. 'If you will peruse it
again, you will see that the epistle would be futile were it kept till I
shall have been proved to be a thief.'
'Oh, Josiah, such words kill me.'
'They are not pleasant, but it will be well that you should become used
to them. As for the letter, I have taken some trouble to express myself
with perspicuity, and I trust that I may have succeeded.' At that time
Hoggett was altogether in the ascendant; but now, as he started on his
walk, his mind was somewhat perturbed by the contrary advice of one, who
after all, might be as wise as Hoggett. There would be nothing dogged in
the conduct recommended to him by Dr Tempest. Were he to follow the
doctor's advice, he would be trimming his sails, so as to catch any
slant of a breeze that might be favourable to him. There could be no
doggedness in a character that would submit to such trimming.
The postman came to Hogglestock but once a day, so that he could not
despatch his letter till the next morning--unless, indeed, he chose to
send it a distance of four miles to the nearest post-office. As there
was nothing to justify this, there was another night for the copying of
his letter--should he at last determine to send it. He had sworn to his
wife that it should go. He had taken much trouble with it. He believed
in Hoggett. But, nevertheless, this incumbency of Hogglestock was his
all in the world. It might be that he could still hold it, and have
bread at least for his wife to eat. Dr Tempest had told him that he
would be probably acquitted. Dr Tempest knew as much of all the
circumstances as he did himself, and had told him that he was not
guilty. After all, Dr Tempest knew more about it that Hoggett knew.
If he resigned the living, what would become of him--of him--of him and
his wife? Whither would they first go when they turned their back upon
the door inside which there had at any rate been shelter for them for so
many years? He calculated everything that he had, and found that at the
end of April, even when he should have received his rent-charge, there
would not be five pounds in hand among them. As for his furniture, he
still owed enough to make it impossible that he should get anything out
of that. And these thoughts all had reference to his position if he
should be acquitted. What would become of his wife if he should be
convicted? And as for himself, whither would he go when he came out of
He had completely realised the idea that Hoggett's counsel was opposed
to that given to him by Dr Tempest; but then it might certainly be the
case that Hoggett had not known all the facts. A man should, no doubt,
be dogged when the evils of life are insuperable; but need he be so when
the evils can be overcome? Would not Hoggett himself undergo any
treatment which he believed to be specific for rheumatism? Yes; Hoggett
would undergo any treatment that was not in itself opposed to his duty.
The best treatment for rheumatism might be to stay away from the brick-
field on a rainy day; but if so, there would be no money to keep the pot
boiling, and Hoggett would certainly go to the brick-field, rheumatism
and all, as long as his limbs would carry him there. Yes; he would send
his letter. It was his duty, and he would do it. Men looked askance at
him, and pointed at him as a thief. He would send the letter, in spite
of Dr Tempest. Let justice be done, though the heaven may fall.
He had heard of Lady Lufton's to his wife. The offers of the Lady
Luftons of the world had been sorely distressing to his spirit, since it
had first come to pass that such offers had reached him in consequence
of his poverty. But now there was something almost of relief to him in
the thought that the Lady Luftons would, after some fashion, save his
wife and children from starvation--would save his wife from the
poorhouse, and enable his children to have a start in the world. For one
of his children a brilliant marriage might be provided--if only he
himself were out of the way. How could he take himself out of the way?
It had been whispered to him that he might be imprisoned for two
months--or for two years. Would it not be a grand thing if the judge
would condemn him to be imprisoned for life? Was thee ever a man whose
existence was so purposeless, so useless, so deleterious, as his own?
And yet he knew Hebrew well, whereas the dean knew but very little
Hebrew. He could make Greek iambics, and doubted whether the bishop knew
the difference between an iambus and a trochee. He could disport himself
with trigonometry, feeling confident that Dr Tempest had forgotten his
way over the asses' bridge. He knew 'Lycidas' by heart; and as for
Thumble, he felt quite sure that Thumble was incompetent of
understanding a single allusion in that divine poem. Nevertheless,
though all his wealth of acquirement was his, it would be better for
himself, better for those who belonged to him, better for the world at
large, that he should be put an end to. A sentence of penal servitude
for life, without any trial, would be of all things the most desirable.
Then there would be ample room for the practice of the virtue that
Hoggett had taught him.
When he returned home the Hoggethan doctrine prevailed, and he prepared
to copy his letter. But before he commenced his task, he sat down with
his youngest daughter, and read--or made her read to him--a passage of a
Greek poem, in which are described the troubles and agonies of a blind
giant. No giant would have been more powerful--only that he was blind,
and could not see to avenge himself on those who had injured him. 'The
same story is always coming up,' he said, stopping the girl in her
reading. 'We have it in various versions, because it is true to life.
"Ask for this great deliverer now, and find him
Eyeless in Gaza, at the mill with slaves."
It is the same story. Great power reduced to impotence, great glory to
misery, by the hand of Fate--Necessity, as the Greeks called her; to
goddess that will not be shunned. At the mill with slaves! People, when
they read it, do not appreciate the horror of the picture. Go on my
dear. It may be a question whether Polyphemus had mind enough to suffer;
but, from the description of his power, I should think he had. "At the
mill with slaves!" Can any picture be more dreadful than that? Go on, my
dear. Of course you remember Milton's Samson Agonistes. Agonistes
indeed!' His wife was sitting stitching at the other side of the room;
but she heard his words--heard and understood them; and before Jane
could again get herself into the swing of the Greek verse, she was over
at her husband's side, with her arms round his neck. 'My love!' she
said. 'My love!'
He turned to her, and smiled as he spoke to her. 'These are old
thoughts with me. Polyphemus and Belisarius, and Samson and Milton, have
always been pets of mine. The mind of the strong blind creature must be
sensible of the injury that he has been done to him! The impotency,
combined with the strength, or rather the impotency with the misery of
former strength and former aspirations, is so essentially tragic!'
She looked into his eyes as he spoke, and there was something of the
flash of old days, when the world was young to them, and when he would
tell her of his hopes, and repeat to her long passages of poetry, and
would criticise for her advantage the works of the old writers. 'Thank
God,' she said, 'that you are not blind. It may yet be all right with
'Yes--it may be,' he said.
'And you shall not be at the mill with slaves.'
'Or, at any rate, not eyeless in Gaza, if the Lord is good to me. Come,
Jane, we will go on.' Then he took up the passage himself, and read it
on with clear, sonorous voice, every now and then explaining some
passage or expressing his own ideas upon it, as though he were really
happy with his poetry.
It was late in the evening before he got out his small stock of best
letter-paper, and sat down to work at his letter. He first addressed
himself to the bishop; and what he wrote down to the bishop was as
'HOGGLESTOCK PARSONAGE, April 11, 186-
'MY LORD BISHOP,
'I have been in communication with Dr Tempest, of
Silverbridge, from whom I have learned that your lordship
has been pleased to appoint a commission of inquiry--of
which commission he is the chairman--with reference to the
proceedings which it may be necessary that you should take,
as bishop of the diocese, after my forthcoming trial at the
approaching Barchester assizes. My lord, I think it right to
inform you, partly with a view to the comfort of the
gentlemen named on that commission, and partly with the
purport of giving you the information which I think that a
bishop should possess in regard to the clerical affairs of
his own diocese, that I have by this post resigned my
preferment at Hogglestock into the hands of the Dean of
Barchester, by whom it was given to me. In these
circumstances, it will, I suppose, be unnecessary for you to
continue the commission which you have set in force; but as
to that, your lordship will, of course, be the only
judge.--I have the honour to be, my Lord Bishop, your most
obedient and very humble servant,
Perpetual Curate of Hogglestock
'The Right Reverend
'The Bishop of Barchester,
'&c, &c, &c
The Palace, Barchester'
But the letter which was of real importance--which was intended to say
something--was that to the dean, and that also shall be given to the
reader. Mr Crawley had been for a while in doubt how he should address
his old friend in commencing this letter, understanding that its tone
throughout must be, in a great degree, be mad conformable with its first
words. He would fain, in his pride, have begun 'Sir'. The question was
between that and 'My dear Arabin'. It had once between them always been
'Dear Frank,' and Dear Joe'' but the occasions for 'Dear Frank' and
'Dear Joe' between them had long been past. Crawley would have been very
angry had he now been called Joe by the dean, and would have bitten his
tongue out before he would have called the dean Frank. His better
nature, however, now prevailed, and he began his letter, and completed
it as follows:-
'MY DEAR ARABIN,
'Circumstances, of which you have probably heard something,
compel me to write to you, as I fear, at some length. I am
sorry that the trouble of such a letter should be forced
upon you during your holidays';--Mr Crawley, as he wrote
this, did not forget to remind himself that he never had any
holidays;--'but I think you will admit, if you will bear
with me to the end, that I have no alternative.
'I have been accused of stealing a cheque for twenty pounds,
which cheque was drawn by Lord Lufton on his London bankers,
and was lost out of his pocket by Mr Soames, his lordship's
agent, and was so lost, as Mr Soames states--but with an
absolute assertion--during a visit which he made to my
parsonage here at Hogglestock. Of the fact that I paid the
cheque to a tradesman in Silverbridge there is no doubt.
When questioned about it, I first gave an answer which was
so manifestly incorrect that it has seemed odd to me that I
should not have had credit for a mistake from those who must
have seen that detection was so evident. The blunder was
undoubtedly stupid, and it now bears heavily on me. I then,
as I have learned, made another error--of which I am aware
that you have been informed. I said that the cheque had come
from you, and in saying so, I thought that it had formed a
portion of that alms which your open-handed benevolence
bestowed upon me when I attended on you, not long before
your departure, in your library. I have striven to remember
the facts. It may be--nay, it probably is the case--that
such struggles to catch some accurate glimpse of bygone
things do not trouble you. You mind is, no doubt, clearer
and stronger than mine, having been kept to its proper tune
by greater and fitter work. With me, memory is all but gone,
and the power of thinking is on the wane! I struggled to
remember, and I thought that the cheque had been in an
envelope which you handed to me--and I said so. I have since
learned, from tidings received, as I am told, direct from
yourself, that I was wrong in the second statement as I had
been in the first. The double blunder has, of course, been
very heavy on me.
'I was taken before the magistrates at Silverbridge, and was
by them committed to stand my trial at the assizes to be
holden in Barchester on the twenty-eighth of this month.
Without doubt, the magistrates had not alternative but to
commit me, and I am indebted to them that they have allowed
me my present liberty upon bail. That my sufferings in all
this should have been grievous, you will understand. But on
that head I shall not touch, were it not that I am bound to
explain to you that my troubles with reference to this
parish of Hogglestock, to which I was appointed by you, have
not been the slightest of those sufferings. I felt at first,
believing then that the world around me would think it
unlikely that such a one as I had wilfully stolen a sum of
money, that it was my duty to maintain myself in my church.
I did so maintain myself against an attack made upon me by
the bishop, who sent over to Hogglestock one Mr Thumble, a
gentleman doubtless in holy orders, though I know nothing
and can learn nothing of the place of his cure, to
dispossess me of my pulpit and to remove me from my
ministrations among my people. To Mr Thumble I turned a deaf
ear, and would not let him so much as open his mouth inside
the porch of my church. Up to this time I myself have read
the services, and have preached to the people, and have
continued, as best I could, my visits to the poor and my
labours in the school, though I know--no one knows as
well--how unfitted I am for such work by the grief which has
fallen upon me.
'Then the bishop sent for me, and I thought it becoming on
my part to go to him. I presented myself to his lordship at
his palace, and was minded to be much governed in my conduct
by what he might say to me, remembering that I am bound to
respect the office, even though I may not approve of the
man; and I humbled myself before his lordship, waiting
patiently for any directions which he in his discretion
might think it proper to bestow on me. But there arose up
between us that very pestilent woman, his wife--to his
dismay, seemingly, as much as to mine--and she would let
there place for no speech but her own. If there be aught
clear to me in ecclesiastical matters, it is this--that no
authority can be delegated to a female. The special laws of
this and of some other countries do allow that women shall
sit upon the temporal thrones of the earth, but on the
lowest step of the throne of the Church no woman has been
allowed to sit as bearing authority, the romantic tale of
the woman Pope notwithstanding. Thereupon, I left the palace
in wrath, feeling myself aggrieved that a woman should have
attempted to dictate to me, and finding it hopeless to get a
clear instruction from his lordship--the woman taking up the
word whenever I put a question to my lord the bishop.
Nothing, therefore, came of that interview but fruitless
labour to myself, and anger, of which I have since been
'Since that time I have continued in my parish--working, not
without zeal, though, in truth, almost without hope--and
learning even from day to day that the opinion of men around
me have declared me to be guilty of the crime imputed to me.
And now the bishop has issued a commission as preparatory to
proceedings against me under the Act for the punishment for
clerical offences. In doing this, I cannot say that the
bishop has been ill-advised, even though the advice may have
come from that evil-tongued lady, his wife. And I hold that
a woman may be called upon for advice, with most salutary
effect, in affairs as to which any show of female authority
should be equally false and pernicious. With me it has ever
been so, and I have had a counsellor by me as wise as she
has been devoted.' It must be noticed that in the draft copy
of his letter which Mr Crawley gave to his wife to read this
last sentence was not inserted. Intending that she should
read his letter, he omitted it till he made the fair copy.
'Over this commission his lordship has appointed Dr Tempest
of Silverbridge to preside, and with him I have been in
communication. I trust that the labours of the gentlemen of
whom it is composed may be brought to a speedy close; and,
having regard to their trouble, I have informed Dr Tempest
that I should write this letter to you with the intent and
assured purpose of resigning the perpetual curacy of
Hogglestock in your hands.
'You will be good enough, therefore, to understand that I do
so resign the living, and that I shall continue to
administer the services of the Church only till some
clergyman, certified to me as coming from you or from the
bishop, may present himself in the parish, and shall declare
himself prepared to undertake the cure. Should it be so that
Mr Thumble be sent hither again, I will sit under him,
endeavouring to catch improvement from his teaching, and
striving to overcome the contempt which I felt for him when
he before visited this parish. I annex beneath my signature
a copy of the letter which I have written to the bishop on
'And now it behoves me, as the guardianship of the souls of
those was placed in my hands by you, to explain to you as
shortly as may be possible the reasons which had induced me
to abandon my work. One or two whose judgment I do not
discredit--and I am allowed to name Dr Tempest of
Silverbridge as one--have suggested to me that I should take
no step till after my trial. They think that I should have
regard to the chance of the verdict, so that the preferment
may still be mine should I be acquitted; and they say, that
should I be acquitted, the bishop's action against me must
of necessity cease. That they are right in these facts I do
not doubt; but in giving such advice they look only to the
facts, having no regard to the conscience. I do not blame
them. I should give such advice myself, knowing that a
friend may give counsel as to outer things, but that a man
must satisfy his inner conscience by his own perceptions of
what is right and what is wrong.
'I find myself to be ill-spoken of, to be regarded with hard
eyes by those around me, my people thinking that I have
stolen this money. Two farmers in this parish, have, as I am
aware, expressed opinions that no jury could acquit me
honestly, and neither of these men have appeared in my
church since the expression of that opinion. I doubt whether
they have gone to other churches; and if not they have been
deterred from all public worship by my presence. If this be
so, how can I with a clear conscience remain among these
men? Shall I take from their hands wages for those
administrations, which their deliberately formed opinions
will not allow them to accept from my hands?' And yet,
though he thus pleaded against himself, he knew that the two
men of whom he was speaking were thick-headed dolts who were
always tipsy in Saturday nights, and who came to church
perhaps once in three weeks.
'Your kind heart will doubtless prompt you to tell me that
no clergyman could be safe in his parish if he were to allow
the opinion of chance parishioners to prevail against him;
and you would probably lay down for my guidance the grand
old doctrine "Nil conscire sibi; nulla pallescere culpa."
Presuming that you may do so, I will acknowledge such
guidance to be good. If my mind were clear in this matter, I
would not budge an inch for any farmer--no, nor for any
bishop, further than he might by law compel me! But my mind
is not clear. I do grow pale, and my hairs stands on end
with horror, as I confess to myself that I do not know
whether I stole this money or no! Such is the fact. In all
sincerity I tell you that I know not whether I be guilty or
innocent. It may be that I picked up the cheque from the
floor of my room, and afterwards took it out and used it,
not knowing whence it had come to me. If it be so, I stole
it, and am guilty before the laws of my country. If it be
so, I am not fit to administer the Lord's sacraments to
these people. When the cup was last in my hand and I was
blessing them, I felt that I was not fit, and I almost
dropped the chalice. That God will know my weakness and
pardon me the perplexity of my mind--that is between Him and
'As I read my letter over to myself I feel how weak are my
words, and how inefficient to explain to you the exact
position in which I stand; but they will suffice to convince
you that I am assuredly purposed to resign this parish of
Hogglestock, and that it is therefore incumbent on you, as
patron of the living, to nominate my successor to the
benefice. I have only further to ask your pardon for this
long letter, and to thank you again for the many and great
marks of friendship which you have conferred on me. Alas,
could you have foreseen in those old days how barren of all
good would have been the life of him you then esteemed, you
might perhaps have escaped the disgrace of being called the
friend of one whom no one now regards with esteem.--
Nevertheless, I may still say that I am, with all affection,
The last paragraph of the letter was also added, since his wife had read
it. When he had first composed the letter, he had been somewhat proud of
his words, thinking that he had clearly told his story. But, when
sitting alone at his desk, he read it again, filling his mind as he went
on with ideas which he would fain have expressed to his old friend, were
it not that he feared to indulge himself with too many words, he began
to tell himself that his story was anything but well told. There was no
expression there of the Hoggethan doctrine. In answer to such a letter
as that the dean might well say, 'Think again of it. Try yet to save
yourself. Never mind the two farmers, or Mr Thumble, or the bishop.
Stick to the ship while there is a plank above the water.' Whereas it
had been his desire to use words that should make the dean clearly
understand that the thing was decided. He had failed--as he had failed
in everything throughout his life; but nevertheless the letter must go.
Were he to begin again he would not do it better. So he added to what he
had written a copy of his note to the bishop, and the letter was
fastened and sent.
Mrs Crawley might probably have been more instant in her efforts to stop
the letter, had she not felt that it would not decide everything. In the
first place it was improbable that the letter might not reach the dean
till after his return home--and Mrs Crawley had long since made up her
mind that she would see the dean as soon as possible after his return.
She had heard from Lady Lufton that it was not doubted in Barchester
that he would be back at any rate before the judges came into the city.
And then, in the next place, was it probable that the dean would act
upon such a letter by filling up the vacancy, even if he did get it? She
trusted in the dean, and knew that he would help them, if any help were
possible. Should the verdict go against her husband, then indeed it
might be that no help would be possible. In such case she thought that
the bishop with his commission might prevail. But she still believed
that the verdict would be favourable, if not with an assured belief,
still with a hope that was sufficient to stand in lieu of a belief. No
single man, let alone no twelve men, could think that her husband had
intended to appropriate the money dishonestly. That he had taken it
improperly--without real possession--she herself believed; but he had
not taken it as a thief, and could not merit a thief's punishment. After
two days he got a reply from the bishop's chaplain, in which the
chaplain expressed the bishop's commendation of Mr Crawley's present
conduct. 'Mr Thumble shall proceed from hence to Hogglestock on next
Sunday,' said the chaplain, 'and shall relieve you for the present from
the burden of your duties. As to the future status of the parish, it
will perhaps be best that nothing shall be done till the dean returns
--or perhaps till the assizes shall be over. This is the bishop's
opinion.' It need hardly be explained that the promised visit of Mr
Thumble to Hogglestock was gall and wormwood to Mr Crawley. He had told
the dean that should Mr Thumble come, he would endeavour to learn
something even from him. But it may be doubted whether Mr Crawley in his
present mood could learn anything useful from Mr Thumble. Giles Hoggett
was a much more effective teacher.
'I will endure even that,' he said to his wife, as she handed to him
back the letter from the bishop's chaplain.
TWO VISITORS TO HOGGLESTOCK
The cross-grainedness of men is so great that things will often be
forced to go wrong, even when they have the strongest possible natural
tendency of their own to go right. It was now in these affairs between
the archdeacon and his son. The original difficulty was solved by the
good feeling of the young lady--by that and by the real kindness of the
archdeacon's nature. They had come to terms which were satisfactory to
both of them, and those terms admitted of perfect reconciliation between
the father and his son. Whether the major did marry the lady or whether
he did not, his allowance was to be continued to him, the archdeacon
being perfectly willing to trust himself in the matter to the pledge
which had received from Miss Crawley. All that he had required from his
son was simply this--that he should pull down the bills advertising the
sale of his effects. Was any desire more rational? The sale had been
advertised for a day just one week in advance of the assizes, and the
time must have been selected--so thought the archdeacon--with a
malicious intention. Why, at any rate, should the things be sold before
anyone knew whether the father of the young lady was or was not to be
regarded as a thief? And why should the things be sold at all, when the
archdeacon had tacitly withdrawn his threats--when he had given his son
to understand that the allowance would still be paid quarterly with the
customary archidiaconal regularity, and that no alteration was intended
in those settlements under which the Plumstead foxes would, in the
ripeness of time, become the property of the major himself. It was thus
that the archdeacon looked at it, and as he did so, he thought that his
son was the most cross-grained of men.
But the major had his own way of looking at the matter. He had, he
flattered himself, dealt very fairly with his father. When he had first
made up his mind to make Miss Crawley his wife, he had told his father
of his intention. The archdeacon declared that, if he did so, such and
such results would follow--results which, as was apparent to everyone,
would make it indispensable that the major should leave Cosby Lodge. The
major had never complained. So he told himself. He had simply said to
his father--'I shall do as I have said. You can do as you have said.
Therefore, I shall prepare to leave Cosby Lodge.' He had so prepared;
and as a part of that preparation, the auctioneer's bills had been stuck
up on the posts and walls. Then the archdeacon had gone to work
surreptitiously with the lady--the reader will understand that we are
still following the workings of the major's mind--and having succeeded
in obtaining a pledge which he had been wrong to demand, came forward
very graciously to withdraw his threats. He withdrew his threats because
he had succeeded in his object by other means. The major knew nothing of
the kiss that had been given, of the two tears that had trickled down
his father's nose, of the generous epithets which the archdeacon had
applied to Grace. He did not guess how nearly his father had yielded
altogether beneath the pressure of Grace's charms--how willing he was to
yield altogether at the first decent opportunity. His father had
obtained a pledge from Grace that she would not marry in certain
circumstances--as to which circumstances the major was strongly resolved
that they should form no bar to his marriage--and then came forward with
his eager demand that the sale should be stopped! The major could not
submit to so much indignity. He had resolved that his father should have
nothing to do with his marriage one way or the other. He would not
accept anything from his father on the understanding that his father had
any such right. His father had asserted such right with threats, and he,
the major, taking such threats as meaning something, had seen that he
must leave Cosby Lodge. Let his father come forward, and say that they
meant nothing that he abandoned all right to any interference as to his
son's marriage, and that the son--would dutifully consent to accept his
father's bounty! They were both cross-grained, as Mrs Grantly declared;
but I think that the major was the most cross-grained of the two.
Something of the truth made its way to Henry Grantly's mind as he drove
home from Barchester after seeing his grandfather. It was not that he
began to think that his father was right, but that he almost perceived
that it might be becoming to him to forgive some fault in his father. He
had been implored to honour his father, and he was willing to do so,
understanding that such honour must, to a certain degree, imply
obedience--if it could be done at no more than a moderate expense of his
feelings. The threatened auctioneer was the cause of offence to his
father, and he might see whether it would not be possible to have the
sale postponed. There would, of course, be a pecuniary loss, and that in
his diminished circumstances--might be inconvenient. But so much he
thought himself bound to endure on his father's behalf. At any rate, he
would consult the auctioneer at Silverbridge.
But he would not make any pause in the measures which he had proposed to
himself as likely to be conducive to his marriage. As for Grace's
pledge, such pledges from young ladies never went for anything. It was
out of the question that she should be sacrificed, even though his
father had taken the money. And, moreover, the very gist of the major's
generosity was to consist in his marrying her whether her father were
guilty or innocent. He understood that perfectly, and understood also
that it was his duty to make his purpose in this respect known to
Grace's family. He determined, therefore, that he would go over to
Hogglestock, and see Mr Crawley before he saw the auctioneer.
Hitherto Major Grantly had never spoken to Mr Crawley. It may be
remembered that the major was at the present moment one of the bailsmen
for the due appearance of Mr Crawley before the judge, and that he had
been present when the magistrates sat at the inn in Silverbridge. He
therefore knew the man's presence, but except on that occasion he had
never even seen his intended future father-in-law. From that moment when
he had first allowed himself to think of Grace, he had desired, yet
almost feared, to make acquaintance with the father; but had been
debarred from doing so by the peculiar position in which Mr Crawley was
placed. He had felt that it would be impossible to speak to the father
of his affection for the daughter without any allusion to the coming
trial; and he did not know how such allusion could be made. Thinking of
this, he had at different times almost resolved not to call at
Hogglestock till the trial might be over. Then he would go there, let
the result of the trial have been what it might. But it had now become
necessary for him to go on at once. His father had precipitated matters
by his appeal to Grace. He would appeal to Grace's father, and reach
Grace through his influence.
He drove over to Hogglestock, feeling himself to be anything but
comfortable as he came near to the house. And when he did reach the spot
he was somewhat disconcerted to find that another visitor was in the
house before him. He presumed this to be the case, because there stood a
little pony horse--an animal which did not recommend itself to his
instructed eye--attached by its rein to the palings. It was a poor
humble-looking beast, whose knees had very lately become acquainted with
the hard and sharp stones of a newly-mended highway. The blood was even
now red upon the wounds.
'He'll never be much good again,' said the major to his servant.
'That he won't, sir,' said the man. 'But I don't think he's been very
much good for some time back.'
'I shouldn't like to have to ride him into Silverbridge,' said the
major, descending from the gig, and instructing his servant to move the
horse and gig about as long as he might remain within the house. Then he
walked across the little garden and knocked at the door. The door was
immediately opened, and in the passage he found Mr Crawley and another
clergyman whom the reader will recognise as Mr Thumble. Mr Thumble had
come over to make arrangements as to the Sunday services and the
parochial work, and had been very urgent in impressing on Mr Crawley
that the duties were to be left entirely to himself. Hence had come some
bitter words, in which Mr Crawley, though no doubt he said the sharper
things of the two, had not been able to vanquish his enemy so completely
as he had done of former occasions.
'There must be no interference, my dear sir--not whatever, if you
please,' Mr Thumble had said.
'There shall be none of which the bishop shall have reason to complain,'
Mr Crawley had replied.
'There must be none at all, Mr Crawley, if you please. It is only on
that understanding that I have consented to take the parish temporarily
into my hands. Mrs Crawley, I hope that there may be no mistake about
the schools. It must be exactly as though I were residing on the spot.'
'Sir,' said Mr Crawley, very irate at this appeal to his wife, and
speaking in a loud voice, 'do you misdoubt my word; or do you think that
if I were minded to be false to you, that I should be corrected in my
falsehood by the firmer faith of my wife?'
'I meant nothing about falsehood, Mr Crawley.'
'Having resigned the benefice for certain reasons of my own, with which
I shall not trouble you, and acknowledging as I do--and have done in
writing under my hand to the bishop--the propriety of his lordship's
interference in providing for the services of the parish till any
successor shall have been instituted, I shall, with what feelings of
regret, I need not say, leave you to the performance of your temporary
'That is all that I require, Mr Crawley.'
'But it is wholly unnecessary that you should instruct me in mine.'
'The bishop especially desires--' began Mr Thumble. But Mr Crawley
interrupted him instantly.
'If the bishop has directed you to give me such instructions, the bishop
is much in error. I will submit to receive none from him through you,
sir. If you please, sir, let there be an end of it'; and Mr Crawley
waved his hand. I hope the reader will conceive the tone of Mr Crawley's
voice, and will appreciate the aspect of his face, and will see the
motion of his hand, as he spoke these latter words. Mr Thumble felt the
power of the man so sensibly that he was unable to carry on the contest.
Thought Mr Crawley was now but a broken reed, and was beneath his feet,
yet Mr Thumble acknowledged to himself that he could not hold his own in
debate with this broken reed. But the words had been spoken, and the
tone of the voice had died away, and the fire in the eyes had burned
itself out before the moment of the major's arrival. Mr Thumble was now
returning to his horse, and having enjoyed--if he did enjoy--his little
triumph about the parish, was becoming unhappy at the future dangers
that awaited him. Perhaps he was the more unhappy because it had been
proposed to him by the authorities at the palace that he should
repeatedly ride on the same animal from Barchester to Hogglestock and
back. Mr Crawley was in the act of replying to his lamentations on this
subject with his hand on the latch, when the major arrived--'I regret to
say, sir that I cannot assist you by supplying any other steed.' Then
the major had knocked, and Mr Crawley had at once opened the door.
'You probably do not remember me, Mr Crawley?' said the major. 'I am
Major Grantly.' Mrs Crawley, who heard these words inside the room,
sprang up from her chair, and could hardly resist the temptation to rush
into the passage. She too had barely seen Major Grantly; and now the
only bright gleam which appeared on her horizon depended on his
constancy under circumstances which would have justified his
inconstancy. But had he meant to be inconstant, surely he would never
have come to Hogglestock!'
'I remember you well, sir,' said Mr Crawley. 'I am under no common
obligation to you. You are at present one of my bailsmen.'
'There's nothing in that,' said the major.
Mr Thumble had caught the name of Grantly, took off his hat, which he
had put on his head. He had not been particular in keeping off his hat
before Mr Crawley. But he knew well that Archdeacon Grantly was a big
man in the diocese; and though the Grantlys and the Proudies were
opposed to each other, still it might be well to take off his hat before
anyone who had to do with the big ones of the diocese. 'I hope your
respected father is well, sir?' said Mr Thumble.
'Pretty well, I thank you.' The major stood close up against the wall
of the passage, so as to allow room for Mr Thumble to pass out. His
business was one on which he could hardly begin to speak until the
visitor had gone. Mr Crawley was standing with the door wide open in his
hand. He also was anxious to be rid of Mr Thumble--and was perhaps not
so solicitous as a brother clergyman should have touching the future
fate of Mr Thumble in the matter of the bishop's old cob.
'Really, I don't know what to do as to getting upon him again,' said Mr
'If you will allow him to progress slowly,' said Mr Crawley, 'he will
probably travel with greater safety.'
'I don't know what you call slow, Mr Crawley. I was ever so much over
two hours coming here from Barchester. He stumbled almost at every
'Did he fall while you were on him?' asked the major.
'Indeed he did, sir. You never saw such a thing, Major Grantly. Look
here.' Then Mr Thumble, turning round, showed that the rear portion of
his clothes had not escaped without injury.
'It was well that he was not going fast, or you would have come on to
your head,' said Grantly.
'It was a mercy,' said Thumble. 'But, sir, as it was, I came to the
ground with much violence. It was on Spigglewick Hill, where the road is
covered with loose stones. I see, sir, you have a gig and horse here,
with a servant. Perhaps, as the circumstances are so very peculiar--'
Then Mr Thumble stopped, and looked up into the major's face with
imploring eyes. But the major had no tenderness for such sufferings.
'I'm sorry to say that I am going quite the other way,' he said. 'I am
returning to Silverbridge.'
Mr Thumble hesitated, and then made a renewed request. 'If you would
not mind taking me to Silverbridge, I could get home from thence by
railway; and perhaps you would allow your servant to take the horse to
Major Grantly was for a moment dumbfounded. 'The request is most
unreasonable, sir.' said Mr Crawley.
'That is as Major Grantly pleases to look at it,' said Mr Thumble.
'I am sorry to say that it is quite out of my power,' said the major.
'You can surely walk, leading the beast, if you fear to mount him,' said
'I shall do as I please about that,' said Mr Thumble. 'And, Mr Crawley,
if you will have the kindness to leave things in the parish just as they
are--just as they are, I will be obliged to you. It is the bishop's wish
that you should touch nothing.' Mr Thumble was by this time on the step,
and Mr Crawley instantly slammed the door. 'The gentleman is a clergyman
from Barchester,' said Mr Crawley, modestly folding his hands upon his
breast, 'whom the bishop has sent over here to take upon himself
temporarily the services of the church, and it appears, the duties also
of the parish. I refrain from animadverting upon his lordship's choice.'
'And you are leaving Hogglestock?'
'When I have found a shelter for my wife and children I shall do so;
nay, peradventure, I must do so before any such shelter can be found. I
shall proceed in that matter as I am bid. I am one who can regard myself
as no longer possessing the privilege of free action in anything. But
while I have a room at your service, permit me to ask you to enter it.'
Then Mr Crawley motioned him in with his hand, and Major Grantly found
himself in the presence of Mrs Crawley and her younger daughter.
He looked at them both for a moment, and could trace much of the lines
of that face which he loved so well. But the troubles of life had almost
robbed the elder lady of her beauty; and with the younger, the awkward
thinness of the last years of feminine childhood had not yet given place
to the fulfilment of feminine grace. But the likeness in each was quite
enough to make him feel that he ought to be at home in that room. He
thought that he could love the woman as his mother, and the girl as his
sister. He found it very difficult to begin any conversation in their
presence, and yet it seemed to be his duty to begin. Mr Crawley had
marshalled him into the room, and having done so, stood aside near the
door. Mrs Crawley had received him very graciously, and having done so,
seemed to be ashamed of her own hospitality. Poor Jane had shrunk back
into a distant corner, near the open standing desk at which she was
accustomed to read Greek to her father, and, of course, could not be
expected to speak. If Major Grantly could have found himself alone with
any one of the three--nay, if he could have been there with any two, he
could have opened his budget at once; but, before all the family, he
felt the difficulty of his situation. 'Mrs Crawley,' said he, 'I have
been most anxious to make your acquaintance, and I trust you will excuse
the liberty I have taken in calling.'
'I feel grateful to you, as I am sure does also my husband.' So much
she said, and then felt angry with herself for saying so much. Was she
not expressing the strong hope that he might stand fast by her child,
whereby the whole Crawley family would gain so much--and the Grantly
family lose much, in the same proportion?
'Sir,' said Mr Crawley, 'I owe you thanks, still unexpressed, in that
you came forward together with Mr Robarts of Framley, to satisfy the not
unnatural requisition of the magistrates before whom I was called upon
to appear in the early winter. I know not why anyone should have
ventured into such jeopardy on my account.'
'There was no jeopardy, Mr Crawley. Anyone in the county would have
'I know not that; nor can I see that there was no jeopardy. I trust
that I may assure you that there is no danger;--none, I mean, to you.
The danger to myself and those belonging to me, is, alas, very urgent.
The facts of my position are pressing close upon me. Methinks I suffer
more from the visit of the gentleman who has just departed from me than
anything that has yet happened to me. And yet he is right;--he is
'No, papa; he is not,' said Jane, from her standing ground near the
'My dear,' said her father, 'you should be silent on such a subject. It
is a matter hard to be understood in all its bearings--even by those
who are most conversant with them. But as this we need not trouble Major
After that there was silence among them, and for a while it seemed as
though there could be no approach to the subject on which Grantly had
come hither to express himself. Mrs Crawley, in her despair, said
something about the weather; and the major, trying to draw near the
special subject, became bold enough to remark 'that he had the pleasure
of seeing Miss Crawley at Framley.' 'Mrs Robarts has been very kind,'
said Mrs Crawley, 'very kind indeed. You can understand, Major Grantly,
that this must be a very sad house for a young person.' 'I don't think
it is at all sad,' said Jane, still standing in the corner by the
Then Major Grantly rose from his seat and walked across to the girl and
shook her hand. 'You are so like your sister,' said he. 'Your sister is
a great friend of mine. She has often spoken to me of you. I hope we
shall be friends some day.' But Jane could make no answer to this,
though she had been able to vindicate the general character of the house
while she was left in the corner by herself. 'I wonder whether you would
be angry with me,' continued the major, 'if I told you I wanted to speak
a word to your father and mother alone?' To this Jane made no reply, but
was out of the room almost before the words had reached the ears of her
father and mother. Though she was only sixteen, and had as yet read
nothing but Latin and Greek--unless we are to count the twelve books of
Euclid and Wood's Algebra, and sundry smaller exercises of the same
description--she understood, as well as anyone present, the reason why
her absence was required.
As she closed the door the major paused for a moment, expecting, or
perhaps hoping, that the father or the mother would say a word. But
neither of them had a word to say. They sat silent, and as though
conscience-stricken. Here was a rich man, of whom they had heard that he
might probably wish to wed their daughter. It was manifest enough to
both of them that no man could marry into their family without
subjecting himself to a heavy portion of that reproach and disgrace
which was attached to them. But how was it possible that they should not
care more for their daughter--for their own flesh and blood, than for
the incidental welfare of this rich man? As regarded the man himself
they had heard everything that was good. Such a marriage was like the
opening of a paradise to their child. 'Nil conscire sibi,' said the
father to himself, as he buckled on his armour for the fight.
When he had waited for a moment or two, he began. 'Mrs Crawley,' he
said, addressing himself to the mother, 'I do not quite know how far you
may be aware that I--that I have for some time been--been acquainted
with your eldest daughter.'
'I have heard from her that she is acquainted with you,' said Mrs
Crawley, almost panting with anxiety.
'I may as well make a clean breast of it at once,' said the major,
smiling, 'and say outright that I have come here to request your
permission and her father's to ask her to be my wife.' Then he was
silent, and for a few moments neither Mr nor Mrs Crawley replied to him.
She looked at her husband, and he gazed at the fire, and the smile died
away from the major's face, as he watched the solemnity of them both.
There was something almost forbidding in the peculiar gravity of Mr
Crawley's countenance when, as at present, something operated within him
to cause him to express dissent from any proposition that was made to
him. 'I do not know how far this may be altogether new to you, Mrs
Crawley,' said the major, waiting for a reply.
'It is not new to me,' said Mrs Crawley.
'May I hope, then, that you will not disapprove?'
'Sir,' said Mr Crawley, 'I am so placed by the untoward circumstances of
my life that I can hardly claim to exercise over my own daughter that
authority which should belong to a parent.'
'My dear, do not say that,' said Mrs Crawley.
'But I do say it. Within three weeks of this time I may be a prisoner,
subject to the criminal laws of my country. At this moment I am without
power of earning bread for myself, or for my wife, or for my children.
Major Grantly, you have even now seen the departure of the gentleman who
has been sent here to take my place in this parish. I am, as it were, an
outlaw here, and entitled neither to obedience nor respect from those
who under other circumstances would be bound to give both.'
'Major Grantly,' said the poor woman, 'no husband or father in the
county is more closely obeyed or more thoroughly respected and loved.'
'I am sure of it,' said the major.
'All this, however, matters nothing,' said Mr Crawley, 'and all speech
on such homely matters would amount to an impertinence before you, sir,
were it not that you have hinted at the purpose of connecting yourself
at some future time with this unfortunate family.'
'I meant to be plain-spoken, Mr Crawley.'
'I did not mean to insinuate, sir, that there was aught of reticence in
your words, so contrived that you might fall back on the vagueness of
your expression for protection, should you hereafter see fit to change
your purpose. I should have wronged you much by such a suggestion. I
rather was minded to make known to you that I--or, I should rather say,
we,' and Mr Crawley pointed to his wife--'shall not accept your
plainness of speech as betokening aught beyond a conceived idea in
furtherance of which you have thought it expedient to make certain
'I don't quite follow you,' said the major. 'But what I want you to do
is to give me your consent to visit your daughter; and I want Mrs
Crawley to write to Grace and tell her that it's all right.' Mrs Crawley
was quite sure that it was all right, and was ready to sit down and
write the letter that moment, if her husband would permit her to do so.
'I am sorry that I have not been explicit,' said Mr Crawley, 'but I will
endeavour to make myself more plainly intelligible. My daughter, sir, is
so circumstanced in reference to her father, that I, as her father and a
gentleman, cannot encourage any man to make a tender to her of his
'But I have made up my mind about all that.'
'And I, sir, have made up mine. I dare not tell my girl that I think
she will do well to place her hand in yours. A lady, when she does that,
should feel at least that her hand is clean.'
'It is the cleanest and the sweetest and fairest hand in Barsetshire,'
said the major. Mrs Crawley could not restrain herself, but running up
to him, took his hand in hers and kissed it.
'There is unfortunately a stain, which is vicarial,' began Mr Crawley,
sustaining up to that point his voice with Roman fortitude--with a
fortitude which would have been Roman had it not at that moment broken
down under the pressure of human feeling. He could keep it up no longer,
but continued his speech with broken sobs, and with a voice altogether
changed in its tone--rapid now, whereas it had before been
slow--natural, whereas it had hitherto been affected--human, whereas it
had hitherto been Roman. 'Major Grantly,' he said. 'I am sore beset; but
what can I say to you? My darling is as pure as the light of day--only
that she is soiled with my impurity. She is fit to grace the house of
the best gentleman in England, had I not made her unfit.'
'She shall grace mine,' said the major. 'By God she shall!--tomorrow,
if she'll have me.' Mrs Crawley, who was standing beside him, again
raised his hand and kissed it.
'It may not be so. As I began by saying--or rather strove to say, for I
have been overtaken by weakness, and cannot speak my mind--I cannot
claim authority over my child as would another man. How can I exercise
authority from between a prison's bars?'
'She would obey your slightest wish,' said Mrs Crawley.
'I could express no wish,' said he. 'But I know my girl, and I am sure
that she will not consent to take infamy with her into the house of the
man who loves her.'
'There will be no infamy,' said the major. 'Infamy! I tell you that I
shall be proud of the connexion.'
'You, sir, are generous in your prosperity. We will strive to be at
least just in our adversity. My wife and children are to be
pitied--because of the husband and father.'
'No!' said Mrs Crawley. 'I will not hear that said, without denying
'But they must take their lot as it has been given to them,' continued
he. 'Such a position in life as that which you have proposed to bestow
upon my child would be to her, as regards human affairs, great
elevation. And from what I have heard--I may be permitted to add also
from what I now know from personal experience--such a marriage would be
laden with fair promise and future happiness. But if you ask my mind, I
think that my child is not free to make it. You, sir, have many
relatives, who are not in love, as you are, all of whom would be
affected by the stain of my disgrace. No one should go to your house as
your second wife who cannot feel that she will serve your child. My
daughter would feel that she was bringing injury upon the babe. I cannot
bid her do this--and I will not. Nor do I believe that she would do so
if I bid her.' Then he turned his chair round, and sat with his face to
the wall, wiping away the tears with a tattered handkerchief.
Mrs Crawley led the major to the further window, and there stood looking
up into his face. It need hardly be said that they also were crying.
Whose eyes could have been dry after such a scene--upon hearing such
words? 'You had better go,' said Mrs Crawley. 'I know him so well. You
had better go.'
'Mrs Crawley,' he said whispering to her, 'if I ever desert her, may all
that I love desert me! But will you help me?'
'You would want no help, were it not for this trouble.'
'But you will help me?'
Then she paused for a moment, 'I can do nothing,' she said, 'but what he
'You will trust me, at any rate,' said the major.
'I do trust you,' she replied. Then he went without saying a word
further to Mr Crawley. As soon as he was gone, the wife went over to her
husband, and put her arm gently round his neck as he was sitting. For a
while the husband took no notice of his wife's caress, but sat
motionless, with his face turned to the wall. Then she spoke to him a
word or two, telling him that their visitor was gone. 'My child!' he
said. 'My poor child!, my darling! She has found grace in this man's
sight; but even of that has her father robbed her! The Lord has visited
upon the children the sins of the father, and will do so to the third
and fourth generation.'
TRAGEDY AT HOOK COURT
Conway Dalrymple had hurried out of the room in Mrs Broughton's house in
which he had been painting Jael and Sisera, thinking that it would be
better to meet an angry and perhaps tipsy husband on the stairs, than it
would be either to wait for him till he should make his way into his
wife's room, or to hide away from him with the view of escaping
altogether from so disagreeable an encounter. He had no fear of the man.
He did not think that there would be any violence--nor, as regarded
himself, did he much care if there was to be violence. But he felt that
he was bound, as far as it might be possible, to screen the poor woman
from the ill effects of her husband's temper and condition. He was,
therefore, prepared to stop Broughton on the stairs, and to use some
force in arresting him on his way, should he find the man to be really
intoxicated. But he had not descended above a stair or two before he was
aware that the man below him, whose step had been heard, was not
intoxicated, and that he was not Dobbs Broughton. It was Mr Musselboro.
'It is you, is it?' said Conway. 'I thought it was Broughton.' then he
looked into the man's face and saw that he was ashy pale. All that
appearance of low-bred jauntiness which used to belong to him seemed to
have been washed out of him. His hair had forgotten to curl, his gloves
had been thrown aside, and even his trinkets were out of sight. 'What
has happened,' said Conway. 'What is the matter? Something is wrong.'
Then it occurred to him that Musselboro had been sent to the house to
tell the wife of the husband's ruin.
'The servant told me that I should find you upstairs,' said Musselboro.
'Yes; I have a painting here. For some time past I have been doing a
picture of Miss Van Siever. Mrs Van Siever has been here today.' Conway
thought that this information would produce some strong effect on
Clara's proposed husband; but he did not seem to regard the matter of
the picture nor the mention of Miss Van Siever's name.
'She knows nothing of it?' said he. 'She doesn't know yet?'
'Know what?' said Conway. 'She knows that her husband has lost money.'
'Dobbs has--destroyed himself.'
'Blew his brains out this morning just inside the entrance at Hook
Court. The horror of drink was on him, and he stood just in the pathway
and shot himself. Bangles was standing at the top of their vaults and
saw him do it. I don't think Bangles will ever be a man again. Oh lord!
I shall never get over it myself. The body was there when I went in.'
Then Musselboro sank back against the wall of the staircase, and stared
at Dalrymple as though he still saw before him the terrible sight of
which he had just spoken.
Dalrymple seated himself on the stairs and strove to bring his mind to
bear on the tale which he had just heard. What was he to do, and how was
that poor woman upstairs to be informed? 'You came here intending to
tell her,' he said in a whisper. He feared every moment that Mrs
Broughton would appear on the stairs, and learn from a word or two what
had happened without any hint to prepare her for the catastrophe.
'I thought you would be here. I knew you were doing the picture. He
knew it. He'd a letter to say so--one of those anonymous ones.'
'But that didn't influence him?'
'I don't think it was that,' said Musselboro. 'He meant to have had it
out with her; but it wasn't that as brought this about. Perhaps you
didn't know that he was clean ruined?'
'She had told me.'
'Then she knew it?'
'Oh, yes; she knew that. Mrs Van Siever had told her. Poor creature!
How are we to break this to her?'
'You and she are very thick,' said Musselboro. 'I suppose you'll do it
best.' By this time they were in the drawing-room, and the door was
closed. Dalrymple had put his hand on the other man's arm, and had led
him downstairs, out of reach of hearing from the room above. 'You'll
tell her--won't you?' said Musselboro. Then Dalrymple tried to think
what loving female friend there was who would break the news to the
unfortunate woman. He knew of the Van Sievers, and he knew of the
Demolines, and he almost knew that there was no other woman within reach
whom he was entitled to regard as closely connected with Mrs Broughton.
He was well aware that the anonymous letter of which Musselboro had just
spoken had come from Miss Demolines, and he could not go there for
sympathy and assistance. Nor could he apply to Mrs Van Siever after with
had passed this morning. To Clara Van Siever he would have applied, but
that it was impossible he should reach Clara except through her mother.
'I suppose I had better go to her,' he said, after a while. And then he
went, leaving Musselboro in the drawing-room. 'I'm so bad with it,' said
Musselboro, 'that I really don't know how I shall ever go up that court
Conway Dalrymple made his way up the stairs with very slow steps, and as
he did so he could not but think seriously of the nature of his
friendship with this woman, and could not but condemn himself heartily
for the folly and iniquity of his own conduct. Scores of times he had
professed his love to her with half-expressed words, intended to mean