Part 18 out of 18
'Mother!' said Madalina, turning her eyes from her recent lover to her
tender parent; trembling all over, but still keeping her hand extended.
'My darling! But leave him to me, dearest. Compose yourself.'
''Twas the word that he said--this moment; before he pressed me to his
'I thought you were fainting,' said Johnny.
'Sir!' said Lady Demolines, as she spoke, shook her crest, and glared at
him, and almost flew at him in her armour.
'It may be that nature has given way with me, and that I have been in a
dream,' said Madalina.
'That which mine eyes saw was no dream,' said Lady Demolines. 'Mr
Eames, I have given you the sweetest name that can fall from an old
woman's lips. I have called you my son.'
'Yes, you did, I know. But, as I said before, there is some mistake. I
know how proud I ought to be, and how happy, and all that kind of thing.
But--' Then there came a screech from Madalina, which would have
awakened the dead, had there been any dead in that house. The page and
cook, however, took no notice of it, whether they were awakened or not.
And having screeched, Madalina stood erect upon the floor, and she also
glared at her recreant lover. The dragon and the tiger were there before
him now, and he knew that it behoved him to look to himself. As he had a
battle to fight, might it not be best to put a bold face upon it? 'The
truth is,' said he, 'that I don't understand this kind of thing.'
'Not understand it, sir?' said the dragon.
'Leave him to me, mother,' said the tigress, shaking her head again, but
with a kind of shake differing from that which she had used before.
'This is my business, and I'll have it out for myself. If he thinks I am
going to put up with this kind of nonsense he's mistaken. I've been
straightforward and above board with you, Mr Eames, and I expect to be
treated in the same way in return. Do you mean to tell my mother that
you deny that we are engaged?'
'Well; yes; I do. I'm very sorry, you know, if I seem to be uncivil--'
'It's because I've no brother,' said the tigress. 'He thinks that I
have no man near me to protect me. But he shall find that I can protect
myself. John Eames, why are you treating me like this?'
'I shall consult my cousin the serjeant tomorrow,' said the dragon. 'In
the meantime he must remain in this house. I shall not allow the front
door to be unlocked for him.'
This, I think, was the bitterest moment of all for Johnny. To be
confined all night in Lady Demolines's drawing-room would, of itself, be
an intolerable nuisance. And then the absurdity of the thing, and the
story that would go abroad! And what would he say to the dragon's cousin
the serjeant, if the serjeant should be brought upon the field before he
was able to escape from it? He did not know what a serjeant might not do
to him in such circumstances. There was one thing no serjeant should do,
and no dragon! Between them all they should never force him to marry the
tigress. At this moment Johnny heard a tramp along the pavement, and he
rushed to the window. Before the dragon or even the tigress could arrest
him, he had thrown open the sash, and had appealed in his difficulty to
the guardian of the night. 'I say, old fellow,' said Johnny, 'don't you
stir from that till I tell you.' The policeman turned his bull's-eye
upon the window, and stood perfectly motionless. 'Now, if you please,
I'll say good-night,' said Johnny. But, as he spoke he still held the
open window in his hand.
'What means this violence in my house?' said the dragon.
'Mamma, you had better let him go,' said the tigress. 'We shall know
where to find him.'
'You will certainly be able to find me,' said Johnny.
'Go,' said the dragon, shaking her crest--shaking all her armour at
'Policeman,' shouted Johnny, while he still held the open window in his
hand, 'mind you don't stir till I come out.' The bull's-eye was shifted
a little, but the policeman never said a word.
'I wish you a good-night, Lady Demolines,' said Johnny. 'Good-night,
Miss Demolines.' Then he left the window and made a run for the door.
But the dragon was there before him.
'Let him go, mamma,' said the tigress as she closed the window. 'We
shall only have a rumpus.'
'That will be all,' said Johnny. 'There isn't the slightest use in your
trying to keep me here.'
'And are we never to see you again?' said the tigress, almost
languishing again with one eye.
'Well; no. What would be the use? No man likes to be shut in, you
'Go, then,' said the tigress; 'but if you think that this is to be the
end of it you'll find yourself wonderfully mistaken. You poor false,
drivelling creature! Lily Dale won't touch you with a pair of tongs.
It's no use your going to her.'
'Go away, sir, this moment, and don't contaminate my room an instant
longer by your presence,' said the dragon, who had observed through the
window the bull's-eye was still in full force before the house. Then
John Eames withdrew, and descending into the hall made his way in the
dark to the front door. For aught he knew there might still be treachery
in regard to the lock; but his heart was comforted as he heard the
footfall of the policeman on the door-step. With much fumbling he
succeeded at last in turning the key and drawing the bolt, and then he
found himself at liberty in the street. Before he even spoke a word to
the policeman he went out into the road and looked up at the window. He
could just see the figure of the dragon's helmet as she was closing the
shutters. It was the last he ever saw of Lady Demolines or her daughter.
'What was it all about?' said the policeman.
'I don't know that I can just tell you,' said Johnny, searching in his
pocket-book for half a sovereign which he tendered to the man. 'There
was a little difficulty, and I'm obliged to you for waiting.'
'There ain't nothing wrong?' said the man suspiciously, hesitating for a
moment before he accepted the coin.
'Nothing on earth. I'll wait with you, while you have the house opened
and inquire, if you wish it. The truth is somebody inside refused to
have the door opened, and I didn't want to stay there all night.'
'They're a rummy couple, if what I hear is true.'
'They are a rummy couple,' said Johnny.
'I suppose it's all right,' said the policeman, taking the money. And
then John walked off home by himself, turning his mind all the
circumstances of his connection with Miss Demolines. Taking his own
conduct as a whole, he was rather proud of it; but he acknowledged to
himself that it would be well that he should keep himself free from the
society of Madalinas for the future.
On the morning of the Sunday after the dean's return, Mr Harding was
lying in his bed, and Posy was sitting on the bed beside him. It was
manifest to all now that he became feebler and feebler from day to day,
and that he would never leave his bed again. Even the archdeacon had
shaken his head, and had acknowledged to his wife that the last day for
her father was near at hand. It would very soon be necessary that he
should elect another vicar for St Ewold's.
'Grandpa won't play cat's-cradle,' said Posy, as Mrs Arabin entered the
'No, darling--not this morning,' said the old man. He himself well knew
that he would never play cat's-cradle again. Even that was over for him
'She teases you, papa,' said Mrs Arabin.
'No, indeed,' said he. 'Posy never teases me;' and he slowly moved his
withered hand down outside the bed, so as to hold the child by her
frock. 'Let her stay with me, my dear.'
'Dr Filgrave is downstairs, papa. You will see him, if he comes up?'
Now Dr Filgrave was the leading physician of Barchester, and nobody of
note in the city--or for that matter of that in the eastern division of
the county--was allowed to start upon the last great journey without
some assistance from him as the hour of going drew nigh. I do not know
that he had much reputation for prolonging life, but he was supposed to
add a grace to the hour of departure. Mr Harding expressed no wish to
see the doctor--had rather declared his conviction that Dr Filgrave
could be of no possible service to him. But he was not a man to
persevere in his objection in opposition to the wishes of his friends
around him; and as soon as the archdeacon had spoken a word on the
subject he assented.
'Of course, my dear, I will see him.'
'And Posy shall come back when he has gone,' said Mrs Arabin.
'Posy will do me more good than Dr Filgrave, I'm quite sure;--but Posy
shall go now.' So Posy scrambled off the bed, and the doctor was ushered
into the room.
'A day or two will see the end of it, archdeacon; I should say a day or
two,' said the doctor, as he met Dr Grantly in the hall. 'I should say
that a day or two will see the end of it. Indeed I will not undertake
that twenty-four hours may not see the close of his earthly troubles. He
has no suffering, no pain, no disturbing cause. Nature simply retires to
rest.' Dr Filgrave, as he said this, made a slow falling motion with his
hands, which alone on various occasions had been thought to be worth all
the money paid for his attendance. 'Perhaps you would wish that I should
step in this evening, Mr Dean? As it happens, I shall be at liberty.'
The dean of course said that he would take it as an additional favour.
Neither the dean nor the archdeacon had the slightest belief in Dr
Filgrave, and yet they would hardly have been contented that their
father-in-law should have departed without him.
'Look at that man, now,' said the archdeacon, when the doctor had gone,
'who talks so glibly about nature going to rest. I've known him all my
life. He's an older man by some months than our dear old friend
upstairs. And he looks as if he were going to attend death-beds in
Barchester for ever.'
'I suppose he is right in what he tells us now?' said the dean.
'No doubt he is; but my belief doesn't come from his saying it.' Then
there was a pause as the two church dignitaries sat together, doing
nothing, feeling that the solemnity of the moment was such that it would
be hardly becoming that they should even attempt to read. 'His going
will make an old man of me,' said the archdeacon. 'It will be different
'It will make an old woman of Eleanor, I fear.'
'I seem to have known him all my life,' said the archdeacon. 'I have
known him ever since I left college; and I have known him as one man
seldom does know another. There is nothing that he has done--as I
believe nothing that he has thought--with which I have not been
cognisant. I feel sure that he never had an impure fancy in his mind, or
a faulty wish in his heart. His tenderness has surpassed the tenderness
of a woman; and yet, when occasion came for showing it, he had all the
spirit of a hero. I shall never forget his resignation of the hospital,
and all that I did and said to make him keep it.'
'But he was right?'
'As Septimus Harding he was, I think, right; but it would have been
wrong in any other man. And he was right, too, about the deanery.' For
promotion had come in Mr Harding's way, and he, too, might have been
Dean of Barchester. 'The fact is, he never was wrong. He couldn't go
wrong. He lacked guile, and he feared God--and a man who does both will
never go far astray. I don't think he ever coveted aught in his
life--except a new case for his violoncello and somebody to listen to
him when he played it.' Then the archdeacon got up, and walked about the
room in his enthusiasm; and, perhaps, as he walked some thoughts as to
the sterner ambition of his own life passed through his mind. What
things had he coveted? Had he lacked guile? He told himself that had
feared God--but he was not sure that he was telling himself true even in
During the whole of the morning Mrs Arabin and Mrs Grantly were with
their father, and during the greater part of the day there was absolute
silence in the room. He seemed to sleep; and they, though they knew in
truth that he was not sleeping, feared to disturb him by a word. About
two Mrs Baxter brought him his dinner, and he did rouse himself and
swallowed a spoonful of soup, and half a glass of wine. At this time
Posy came to him, and stood at the bedside, looking at him with her
great wide eyes. She seemed to be aware that life had gone so far with
her dear old friend that she must not be allowed on his bed again. But
he put his hand out to her, and she held it, standing quite still and
silent. When Mrs Baxter came to take away the tray, Posy's mother got
up, and whispered a word to the child. Then Posy went away, and her eyes
never beheld the old man again. That was a day which Posy never
forgot--not though she should live to be much older than her grandfather
was when she thus left him.
'It is so sweet to have you both here,' he said, when he had been lying
silent for nearly an hour after the child had gone. Then they got up,
and came and stood close to him. 'There is nothing left for me to wish,
my dears;--nothing.' Not long afterwards he expressed a desire that the
two husbands--his two sons-in-law--should come to him; and Mrs Arabin
went to them, and brought them into the room. As he took their hands he
merely repeated the same words again. 'There is nothing left for me to
wish, my dears;--nothing.' He never spoke again above his breath; but
ever and anon his daughters, who watched him, could see that he was
praying. The two men did not stay with him long, but returned to the
gloom of the library. The gloom had almost become the darkness of the
night, and they were still sitting there without any light, when Mrs
Baxter entered the room. 'The dear gentleman is no more,' said Mrs
Baxter; and it seemed to the archdeacon that the very moment of his
father's death had repeated itself. When Dr Filgrave called he was told
that his services would be of no further use. 'Dear, dear!' said the
doctor. 'We are all dust, Mrs Baxter; are we not?' There were people in
Barchester who pretended to know how often the doctor had repeated this
little formula during the last thirty years.
There was no violence of sorrow in the house that night; but there were
aching hearts, and one heart so sore that it seemed that no cure for its
anguish could ever reach it. 'He has always been with me,' Mrs Arabin
said to her husband, as he strove to console her. 'It was not that I
loved him better than Susan, but I have felt so much more of his loving
tenderness. The sweetness of his voice has been in my ears almost daily
since I was born.'
They buried him in the cathedral which he had loved so well, and in
which nearly all the work of his life had been done; and all Barchester
was there to see him laid in his grave within the cloisters. There was
no procession of coaches, no hearse, nor was there any attempt at
funereal pomp. From the dean's side door, across the vaulted passage,
and into the transept--over the little step upon which he had so nearly
fallen when last he made his way out of the building--the coffin was
carried on men's shoulders. It was but a short journey from his bedroom
to his grave. But the bell had been tolling sadly all morning, and the
nave and the aisles and the transepts, close up to the door leading from
the transept into the cloister, were crowded with those who had known
the name and the figure and the voice of Mr Harding as long as they had
known anything. Up to this day no one would have said specially that Mr
Harding was a favourite of the town. He had never been forward enough in
anything to become the acknowledged possessor of popularity. But, now
that he was gone, men and women told each other how good he had been.
They remembered the sweetness of his smile, and talked of loving little
words which he had spoken to them--either years ago or the other day,
for his words had always been loving. The dean and the archdeacon came
first, shoulder to shoulder, and after them came their wives. I do not
know that it was the proper order for mourning, but it was a touching
sight to be seen, and was long remembered in Barchester. Painful as it
was for them, the two women would be there, and the two sisters would
walk together;--nor would they go before their husbands. Then there were
the archdeacon's two sons--for the Rev Charles Grantly had come to
Plumstead for the occasion. And in the vaulted passage which runs
between the deanery and the end of the transept all the chapter, with
the choir, the prebendaries, with the fat old chancellor, the precentor,
and the minor canons down to the little choristers--they were all there,
and followed in at the transept door, two by two. And in the transept
they were joined by another clergyman who no one had expected to see
that day. The bishop was there, looking old and worn--almost as though
he were unconscious of what he was doing. Since his wife's death no one
had seen him out of the palace or the palace grounds till that day. But
there he was--and they made way for him into the procession behind the
two ladies--and the archdeacon, when he saw it, resolved that there
should be peace in his heart, if peace were possible.
They made their way into the cloisters where the grave had been dug--as
many as might be allowed to follow. The place indeed was open to all who
chose to come; but they who had only slightly known the man refrained
from pressing upon those who had a right to stand around his coffin. But
there was one other there whom the faithful chronicler of Barchester
should mention. Before any other one had reached the spot, the sexton
and the verger between them had led in between them, among the graves
beneath the cloisters, a blind old man, very old, with a wondrous stoop,
but who must have owned a grand stature before extreme old age had bent
him, and they placed him sitting on a stone in the corner of the
archway. But as soon as the shuffling of steps reached his ears, he
raised himself with the aid of his stick, and stood during the service
leaning against the pillar. The blind man was so old that he might
almost have been Mr Harding's father. This was John Bunce, bedesman from
Hiram's Hospital--and none perhaps there had known Mr Harding better
than he had known him. When the earth had been thrown on to the coffin,
and the service was over, and they were about to disperse, Mrs Arabin
went up to the old man, and taking his hand between hers whispered a
word into his ear. 'Oh, Miss Eleanor!', he said. 'Oh, Miss Eleanor!'
Within a fortnight he also was lying within the cathedral precincts.
And so they buried Mr Septimus Harding, formerly Warden of Hiram's
Hospital in the city of Barchester, of whom the chronicler may say that
that city never knew a sweeter gentleman or a better Christian.
THE LAST SCENE AT HOGGLESTOCK
The fortnight following Mr Harding's death was passed very quietly at
Hogglestock, for during that time no visitor made an appearance in the
parish except Mr Snapper on the Sundays. Mr Snapper, when he had
completed the service on the first of these Sundays, intimated to Mr
Crawley his opinion that probably that gentleman might himself wish to
resume his duties on the following Sabbath. Mr Crawley, however,
courteously declined to do anything of the kind. He said that it was
quite out of the question that he should do so without a direct
communication made to him from the bishop, or by the bishop's order. The
assizes had, of course, gone by, and all question of the trial was over.
Nevertheless--as Mr Snapper said--the bishop had not, as yet, given any
order. Mr Snapper was of the opinion that the bishop in these days was
not quite himself. He had spoken to the bishop about it, and the bishop
had told him peevishly--'I must say quite peevishly,' Mr Snapper had
said--that nothing was to be done at present. Mr Snapper was not the
less clearly of the opinion that Mr Crawley might resume his duties. To
this, however, Mr Crawley would not assent.
But even during this fortnight Mr Crawley had not remained altogether
neglected. Two days after Mr Harding's death he had received a note from
the dean in which he was advised not to resume the duties at Hogglestock
for the present. 'Of course you can understand that we have a sad house
here for the present,' the dean had said. 'But as soon as ever we are
able to move in the matter we will arrange things for you as comfortably
as we can. I will see the bishop myself.' Mr Crawley had no ambitious
idea of any comfort which might accrue to him beyond that of an
honourable return to his humble preferment at Hogglestock; but,
nevertheless, he was in this case minded to do as the dean counselled
him. He had submitted himself to the bishop, and he would wait till the
bishop absolved him from his submission.
On the day after the funeral, the bishop had sent his compliments to the
dean with an expression of a wish that the dean would call upon him on
any early day that might be convenient with reference to the position of
Mr Crawley of Hogglestock. The note was in the bishop's own handwriting
and was as mild and civil as a bishop's note could be. Of course the
dean named an early day for the interview; but it was necessary before
he went to the bishop that he should discuss the matter with the
archdeacon. If St Ewold's might be given to Mr Crawley, the Hogglestock
difficulties would all be brought to an end. The archdeacon, after the
funeral, had returned to Plumstead, and thither the dean went to him
before he was the bishop. He did succeed--he and Mrs Grantly between
them--but with very great difficulty, in obtaining a conditional
promise. They had both thought that when the archdeacon became fully
aware that Grace was to be his daughter-in-law, he would at once have
been delighted to have an opportunity of extricating from his poverty a
clergyman with whom it was his fate to be closely connected. But he
fought the matter on twenty different points. He declared at first that
as it was his primary duty to give the people of St Ewold's the best
clergyman he could select for them he could not give the preference to
Mr Crawley, because Mr Crawley, in spite of all his zeal and piety, was
a man so quaint in his manners and so eccentric in his mode of speech as
not to be the best clergyman whom he could select. 'What is my old
friend Thorne to do with a man in the parish who won't drink a glass of
wine with him?'. For Ullathorne, the seat of that Mr Wilfred Thorne who
had been so guilty in the matter of the foxes, was situated in the
parish of St Ewold's. When Mrs Grantly proposed that Mr Thorne's consent
should be asked, the archdeacon became very angry. It was his special
duty to the best he could for Mr Thorne, but it was specially his duty
to do so without consulting Mr Thorne about it. As the archdeacon's
objection had been argued simply on the point of a glass of wine, both
the dean and Mrs Grantly thought that he was unreasonable. But they had
their point to gain, and therefore only flattered him. They were quite
sure that Mr Thorne would like to have a clergyman in the parish who
would himself be closely connected with the archdeacon. Then Dr Grantly
alleged that he might find himself in a trap. What if he conferred the
living of St Ewold's on Mr Crawley and after all there should be no
marriage between his son and Grace? 'Of course they'll be married,' said
Mrs Grantly. 'It's all very well for you to say that, my dear; but the
whole family are so queer that there is no knowing what the girl may do.
She may take up some other fad now, and refuse him point blank.' 'She
has never taken up any fad,' said Mrs Grantly, who now mounted almost to
wrath in defence of her future daughter-in-law, 'and you are wrong to
say that she has. She has behaved beautifully:--as nobody knows better
than you do.' Then the archdeacon gave way so far as to promise that St
Ewold's should be offered to Mr Crawley as soon as Grace Crawley was in
truth engaged to Henry Grantly.
After that, the dean went to the palace. There had never been any
quarrelling between the bishop and the dean, either direct or
indirect;--nor, indeed, had the dean every quarrelled even with Mrs
Proudie. But he had belonged the anti-Proudie faction. He had been
brought into the diocese by the Grantly interest; and therefore, during
Mrs Proudie's lifetime, he had always been accounted among the enemies.
There had never been any real intimacy between the houses. Each house
had always been asked to dine with the other house once a year; but it
had been understood that such dinings were ecclesiastico-official, and
not friendly. There had been the same outside diocesan civility between
even the palace and Plumstead. But now, when the great chieftain of the
palace was no more, and the strength of the palace faction was gone,
peace, or perhaps something more than peace--amity, perhaps, might be
more easily arranged with the dean than with the archdeacon. In
preparation for such arrangements the bishop had gone to Mr Harding's
And now the dean went to the palace at the bishop's behest. He found
his lordship alone, and was received with almost reverential courtesy.
He thought that the bishop was looking wonderfully aged since he last
saw him, but did not perhaps take into account the absence of clerical
sleekness which was incidental to the bishop's private life in his
private room, and perhaps in a certain measure to his recent affliction.
The dean had been in the habit of regarding Dr Proudie as a man almost
young for his age--having been in the habit of seeing him at his best,
clothed in authority, redolent of the throne, conspicuous as regarded
his apron and outward signs of episcopality. Much of this was now
absent. The bishop, as he rose to greet the dean, shuffled with his old
slippers, and his hair was not brushed so becomingly as used to be the
case when Mrs Proudie was always near him.
It was necessary that a word should be said by each as to the loss which
the other had suffered. 'Mr Dean,' said his lordship, 'allow me to offer
you my condolements in regard to the death of that very excellent
clergyman and most worthy gentleman, your father-in-law.'
'Thank you, my lord. He was excellent and worthy. I do not suppose
that I shall live to see any man who was more so. You also have a
great--a terrible loss.'
'Oh, Mr Dean, yes; yes, indeed, Mr Dean. That was a loss.'
'And hardly past the prime of life!'
'Ah, yes;--just fifty-six--and so strong! Was she not? At least
everybody thought so. And yet she was gone in a minute;--gone in a
minute. I haven't held my head up since, Mr Dean.'
'It was a great loss, my lord; but you must struggle to bear it.'
'I do struggle. I am struggling. But it makes one feel so lonely in
this great house. Ah me! I often wish, Mr Dean, that it had pleased
Providence to have left me in some humble parsonage, where duty would
have been easier than it is here. But I will not trouble you with all
that. What are we to do, Mr Dean, about this poor Mr Crawley.'
'Mr Crawley is a very old friend of mine, and a very dear friend.'
'Is he? Ah! A very worthy man, I am sure, and one who has been much
tried by undeserved adversities.'
'Most severely, my lord.'
'Sitting among the potsherds, like Job; has he not, Mr Dean? Well; let
us hope that is all over. When this accusation about the robbery was
brought against him, I found myself bound to interfere.'
'He has no complaint on that score.'
'I hope not. I have not wished to be harsh, but what could I do, Mr
Dean? They told me that the civil authorities found the evidence so
strong against him that it could not be withstood.'
'It was very strong.'
'And we thought that he should at least be relieved, and we sent for Dr
Tempest, who is his rural dean.' Then the bishop remembering all the
circumstances of that interview with the Dr Tempest--as to which he had
ever felt assured that one of the results was the death of his wife,
whereby there was no longer any 'we' left in the palace of
Barchester--sighed piteously, looking at the dean with a hopeless face.
'Nobody doubts, my lord, that you acted for the best.'
'I hope we did. I think we did. And now what will we do? He has
resigned his living, both to you and to me, as I hear--you being the
patron. It will simply be necessary, I think, that he should ask to have
the letters cancelled. Then, as I take it, there need be no restitution.
You cannot think, Mr Dean, how much I have thought about it all.'
Then the dean unfolded his budget, and explained to the bishop how he
hoped that the living of St Ewold's, which was, after some
ecclesiastical fashion, attached to the rectory of Plumstead, and which
was now vacant by the demise of Mr Harding, might be conferred by the
archdeacon upon Mr Crawley. It was necessary to explain also that this
could not be done quite immediately, and in doing this the dean
encountered some little difficulty. The archdeacon, he said, wished to
be allowed another week to think about it; and therefore perhaps
provision for the duties of Hogglestock might yet be made for a few
Sundays. The bishop, the dean said, might easily understand that, after
what has occurred, Mr Crawley would hardly wish to go again into that
pulpit, unless he did so as resuming duties, which would necessarily be
permanent with him. To all this the bishop assented, but he was
apparently struck with much wonder at the choice made by the archdeacon.
'I should have thought, Mr Dean,' he said, 'that Mr Crawley was the last
man to have suited the archdeacon's choice.'
'The archdeacon and I married sisters, my lord.'
'Oh, ah! yes. And he puts the nomination of St Ewold's at your
disposition. I am sure I shall be delighted to institute so worthy a
gentleman as Mr Crawley.' Then the dean took his leave of the bishop--as
we will also. Poor dear bishop! I am inclined to think that he was right
in his regrets as to the little parsonage. Not that his failure at
Barchester, and his present consciousness of lonely incompetence, were
mainly due to any positive inefficiency on his own part. He might have
been a sufficiently good bishop, had it not been that Mrs Proudie was so
much more a sufficiently good bishop's wife. We will now say farewell to
him, with a hope that the lopped tree may yet become green again, and to
some extent fruitful, although all its beautiful head and richness of
waving foliage have been taken from it.
About a week after this Henry Grantly rode over from Cosby Lodge to
Hogglestock. It has just been said that though the assizes had passed by
and though all question of Mr Crawley's guilt was now set aside, no
visitor had of late made his way over to Hogglestock. I fancy that Grace
Crawley forgot, in the fullness of her memory as to other things, that
Mr Harding, of whose death she heard, had been her lover's
grandfather--and that therefore there might possibly be some delay. Had
there been much said between the mother and the daughter about the
lover, no doubt all this would have been explained; but Grace was very
reticent, and there were other matters in the Hogglestock household
which in those days occupied Mrs Crawley's mind. How were they again to
begin life? for, in very truth, life as it had existed with them before,
had been brought to an end. But Grace remembered well the sort of
compact which existed between her and her lover;--the compact which had
been made in very words between herself and her lover's father. Complete
in her estimation as had been the heaven opened to her by Henry
Grantly's offer, she had refused it all--lest she should bring disgrace
upon him. But the disgrace was not certain; and if her father should be
made free from it, then--then--then Henry Grantly ought to come to her
and be at her feet with all the expedition possible to him. That was her
reading of the compact. She had once declared, when speaking of the
possible disgrace which might attach itself to her family and to her
name, that her poverty did not 'signify a bit'. She was not ashamed of
her father--only of the accusation against her father. Therefore she had
hurried home when that accusation was withdrawn, desirous that her lover
should tell her of his love--if he chose to repeat such telling--amidst
all the poor things of Hogglestock, and not among the chairs, and tables
and good dinners of luxurious Framley. Mrs Robarts had given a true
interpretation to Lady Lufton of the haste which Grace had displayed.
But she need not have been in so great a hurry. She had been at home
already above a fortnight, and as yet he had made no sign. At last she
said a word to her mother. 'Might I not ask to go back to Miss
Prettyman's now, mamma?' 'I think, dear, you had better wait till things
are a little settled. Papa is to hear again from the dean very soon. You
see they are all in great sorrow at Barchester about poor Mr Harding's
death.' 'Grace!' said Jane, rushing into the house almost speechless, at
that moment, 'here he is!--on horseback.' I do not know why Jane should
have talked about Major Grantly as simply 'he'. There had been no
conversation among the sisters to justify her in such a mode of speech.
Grace had not a moment to put two and two together, so that she might
realise the meaning of what her mother had said; but, nevertheless, she
felt at the moment that the man, coming as he had done now, had come
with all commendable speed. How foolish she had been with her wretched
There he was certainly, tying his horse to the railing. 'Mamma, what am
I to say to him?'
'Nay, dear; he is your own friend--of your own making. You must say
what you think fit.'
'You are not going?'
'I think we had better, dear. Then she went, and Jane with her, and
Jane opened the door for Major Grantly. Mr Crawley himself was away, at
Hoggle End, and did not return till after Major Grantly had left the
parsonage. Jane, as she greeted the grand gentleman, whom she had seen
and no more than seen, hardly knew what to say to him. When, after a
minute's hesitation, she told him that Grace was in there--pointing to
the sitting-room door, she felt that she had been very awkward. Henry
Grantly, however, did not, I think, feel her awkwardness, being
conscious of some small difficulties of his own. When, however, he found
that Grace was alone, the task before him at once lost half its
difficulties. 'Grace,' he said, 'am I right to come to you now?'
'I do not know,' she said. 'I cannot tell.'
'Dearest Grace, there is no reason on earth now why you should not be my
'Is there not?'
'I know of none--if you can love me. You saw my father?'
'Yes, I saw him.'
'And you heard what he said?'
'I hardly remember what he said;--but he kissed me, and I thought he was
What little attempt Henry Grantly then made, thinking that he could do
no better than follow closely the example of so excellent a father, need
not be explained with minuteness. But I think that his first effort was
not successful. Grace was embarrassed and retreated, and it was not till
she had been compelled to give a direct answer to a direct question that
she submitted to allow his arm round her waist. But when she had
answered that question she was almost more humble than becomes a maiden
who has just been wooed and won. A maiden who has been wooed and won,
generally thinks that it is she who has conquered, and chooses to be
triumphant accordingly. But Grace was even mean enough to thank her
lover. 'I do not know why you should be so good to me,' she said.
'Because I love you,' said he, 'better than all the world.'
'By why should you be so good to me as that? Why should you love me? I
am such a poor thing for a man like you to love.'
'I have had the wit to see that you are not a poor thing, Grace; and it
is thus that I have earned my treasure. Some girls are poor things, and
some are rich treasures.'
'If love can make me a treasure, I will be your treasure. And if love
can make me rich, I will be rich for you.' After that I think he had no
difficulty in following in his father's footsteps.
After a while Mrs Crawley came in, and there was much pleasant talking
among them, while Henry Grantly sat happily with his love, as though
waiting for Mr Crawley's return. But though he was there nearly all
morning Mr Crawley did not return. 'I think he likes the brickmakers
better than anybody in the world, except ourselves,' said Grace. 'I
don't know how he will manage to get on without his friends.' Before
Grace has said this, Major Grantly had told all his story, and had
produced a letter from his father, addressed to Mr Crawley, of which the
reader shall have a copy, although at this time the letter had not been
opened. The letter was as follows:-
'PLUMSTEAD RECTORY, May, 186-
'MY DEAR SIR,
'You will no doubt have heard that Mr Harding, the vicar of
St Ewold's, who was the father of my wife and of Mrs Arabin,
has been taken from us. The loss to us of so excellent and
so dear a man has been very great. I have conferred with my
friend the Dean of Barchester as to a new nomination, and I
venture to request your acceptance of the preferment; if it
should suit you to move from Hogglestock to St Ewold's. It
may be as well that I should state plainly my reasons for
making this offer to a gentleman with whom I am not
personally acquainted. Mr Harding, on his death-bed, himself
suggested it, moved thereto by what he had heard of the
cruel and undeserved persecution to which you had been
subjected; as also--on which point he was very urgent in
what he said--by the character which you bear in the diocese
for zeal and piety. I may also add, that the close
connection which, as I understand, is likely to take place
between your family and mine has been an additional reason
for my taking this step, and the long friendship which has
existed between you and my wife's brother-in-law, the Dean
of Barchester, is a third.
'St Ewold's is worth 350 pounds per annum, besides the
house, which is sufficiently commodious for a moderate
family. The population is about twelve hundred, of which
more than a half consists of persons dwelling in an outskirt
of the city--for the parish runs almost into Barchester.
'I shall be glad to hear your reply with as little delay as
may suit your convenience, and in the event of your
accepting the offer--which I sincerely trust that you may be
enable to do--I shall hope to have an early opportunity of
seeing you, with reference to your institution to the
'Allow me also to say to you and Mrs Crawley that, if we
have been correctly informed as to that other event to which
I have alluded, we both hope that we may have an early
opportunity of making ourselves personally acquainted with
the parents of a young lady who is to be so dear to us. As I
have met your daughter, I may perhaps be allowed to send her
my kindest love. If, as my daughter-in-law, she comes up to
the impression which she gave me at our first meeting, I, at
any rate, shall be satisfied.--I have the honour to be, my
dear sir, you most faithful servant,
This letter the archdeacon had shown to his wife, by whom it had not
been very warmly approved. Nothing, Mrs Grantly had said, could be
prettier than what the archdeacon had said about Grace. Mrs Crawley, no
doubt, would be satisfied with that. But Mr Crawley was such a strange
man! 'He will be stranger than I take him to be if he does not accept St
Ewold's,' said the archdeacon. 'But in offering it,' said Mrs Grantly,
'you have not a said a word of your own high opinion of his merits.' 'I
have not a very high opinion of them,' said the archdeacon. 'Your father
had, and I have said so. And as I have the most profound respect for
your father's opinion in such a matter, I have permitted that to
overcome my own hesitation.' This was pretty from the husband to the
wife as it regarded her father, who had now gone from them; and,
therefore, Mrs Grantly accepted it without further argument. The reader
may probably feel assured that the archdeacon had never, during their
joint lives, acted in any church matter upon the advice given to him by
Mr Harding; and it was probably the case also that the living would have
been offered to Mr Crawley, if nothing had been said by Mr Harding on
the subject; but it did not become Mrs Grantly even to think of all
this. The archdeacon, having made his gracious speech about her father,
was not again asked to alter his letter. 'I suppose he will accept it,'
said Mrs Grantly. 'I should think that he probably may,' said the
So Grace, knowing what was the purport of the letter, sat with it
between her fingers, while her lover sat beside her, full of various
plans for the future. This was his first lover's present to her;--and
what a present it was! Comfort, and happiness, and a pleasant home for
all her family. 'St Ewold's isn't the best house in the world,' said the
major, 'because it is old, and what I call piecemeal; but it is very
pretty, and certainly nice.' 'That is just the sort of parsonage that I
dream about,' said Jane. 'And the garden is pleasant with old trees,'
said the major. 'I always dream about old trees,' said Jane, 'only I'm
afraid I'm too old myself to be let to climb up them now.' Mrs Crawley
said very little, but sat with her eyes full of tears. Was it possible
that, at last, before the world had closed upon her, she was to enjoy
something again of the comforts which she had known in her early years,
and to again surrounded by those decencies of life which of late had
been almost banished from her home of poverty!
Their various plans for the future--for the immediate future--were very
startling. Grace was to go over at once to Plumstead, whither Edith had
been already transferred from Cosby Lodge. That was all very well; there
was nothing very startling or impracticable in that. The Framley ladies,
having none of those doubts as to what was coming which had for a while
perplexed Grace herself, had taken little liberties with her wardrobe,
which enabled such a visit to be made without overwhelming difficulties.
But the major was equally eager--or at any rate imperious--in his
requisition for a visit from Mr and Mrs Crawley themselves to Plumstead
rectory. Mrs Crawley did not dare to put forward the plain unadorned
reasons against it, as Mr Crawley had done when discussing the subject
of a visit to the deanery. Nor could she quite venture to explain that
she feared the archdeacon and her husband would hardly mix well together
in society. With whom, indeed, was it possible that her husband should
mix well, after his long and hardly-tried seclusion? She could only
plead that both her husband and herself were so little used to going out
that she feared--she feared--she feared she knew not what. 'We'll get
over all that,' said the major, almost contemptuously. 'It is only the
first plunge that is disagreeable.' Perhaps the major did not know how
very disagreeable a first plunge may be!
At two o'clock Henry Grantly got up to go. 'I should very much like to
have seen him, but I fear I cannot wait any longer. As it is, the
patience of my horse has been surprising.' Then Grace walked out with
him to the gate and put her hand upon his bridle as he mounted, and
though how wonderful was the power of Fortune, that the goddess should
have sent so gallant a gentleman to be her lord and her lover. 'I
declare I don't quite believe it even yet,' she said, in the letter
which she wrote to Lily Dale that night.
It was four before Mr Crawley returned to his house, and then he was
very weary. There were many sick in these days at Hoggle End, and he had
gone from cottage to cottage through the day. Giles Hoggett was almost
unable to work from rheumatism, but still was of the opinion that
doggedness might carry him on. 'It's been a deal o' service to you,
Muster Crawley,' he said. 'We hears about it all. If you hadn't a been
dogged, where'd you a been now?' With Giles Hoggett and others he had
remained all the day, and now he came home weary and beaten. 'You'll
tell him first,' Grace had said, 'and then I'll give him the letter.'
The wife was the first to tell him of the good fortune that was coming.
He flung himself into the old chair as soon as he entered, and asked for
some bread and tea. 'Jane has already gone for it, dear,' said his wife.
'We have had a visitor here, Josiah.'
'A visitor--what visitor?'
'Grace's own friend--Henry Grantly.'
'Grace, come here, that I may kiss you and bless you,' he said very
solemnly. 'It would seem that the world is going to be very good to
'Papa, you must read this letter first.'
'Before I kiss my own darling?' Then she knelt at his feet. 'I see,'
he said, taking the letter; 'it is from your lover's father.
Peradventure he signifies his consent, which would surely be needful
before such a marriage would be seemly.'
'It isn't about me, papa, at all.'
'Not about you? If so, that would be most unpromising. But, in any
case, you are my best darling.' Then he kissed her and blessed her, and
slowly opened the letter. His wife had now come close to him, and was
standing over him, touching him, so that she also could read the
archdeacon's letter. Grace, who was still in front of him, could see the
working of his face as he read it; but even she could not tell whether
he was gratified, or offended, or dismayed. When he had got as far as
the first offer of the presentation, he ceased reading it for a while,
and looked round about the room as though lost in thought. 'Let me see
what further he writes to me,' he then said; and after that he continued
the letter slowly to the end. 'Nay, my child, you were in error in
saying that he wrote not about you. 'Tis the writing of you that he has
put some real heart into his words. He writes as though his home would
be welcome to you.'
'And does he not make St Ewold's welcome to you, papa?'
'He makes me welcome to accept it--if I may use the word after the
ordinary and somewhat faulty parlance of mankind.'
'And you will accept it--of course?'
'I know not that, my dear. The acceptance of a cure of souls is a thing
not to be decided on in a moment--as is the colour of a garment or the
shape of a toy. Nor would I condescend to take this thing from the
archdeacon's hands, if I thought that he bestowed it simply that the
father of his daughter-in-law might no longer be accounted poor.'
'Does he say that, papa?'
'He gives it as a collateral reason, basing his offer first on the
kindly expressed judgment of one who is no more. Then he refers to the
friendship of the dean. If he believed that the judgment of his late
father-in-law in so weighty a matter were the best to be relied upon of
all that were at his command, then he would have done well to trust to
it. But in such a case he should have bolstered up a good ground for
action with no collateral supports which are weak--and worse than weak.
However, it shall have my best consideration, whereunto I hope that
wisdom will be given to me where only such wisdom can be had.'
'Josiah,' said his wife to him, when they were alone, 'you will not
'Not willingly--not if it may be accepted. Alas! you need not urge me,
when the temptation is so strong!'
MR CRAWLEY IS CONQUERED
It was more than a week before the archdeacon received a reply from Mr
Crawley, during which time the dean had been over to Hogglestock more
than once, as had also Mrs Arabin and Lady Lufton the younger--and there
had been letters written without end, and the archdeacon had been nearly
beside himself. 'A man who pretends to conscientious scruples of that
kind is not fit to have a parish,' he had said to his wife. His wife
understood what he meant, and I trust that the reader may also
understand it. In the ordinary cutting of blocks a very fine razor is
not an appropriate instrument. The archdeacon, moreover, loved the
temporalities of the Church as temporalities. The Church was beautiful
to him because one man by interest might have a thousand a year, while
another man equally good, but without interest, could only have a
hundred. And he liked the men who had the interest a great deal better
than the men who had it not. He had been willing to admit the poor
perpetual curate, who had so long been kept out in the cold, within the
pleasant circle which was warm with ecclesiastical good things, and the
man hesitated--because of scruples, as the dean told him! 'I always
button up my pocket when I hear of scruples,' the archdeacon said.
But at last Mr Crawley condescended to accept St Ewold's.
'Reverend and dear sir,' he said in his letter: 'For the
personal benevolence of the offer made to me in your letter
of the -- instant, I beg to tender you my most grateful
thanks; as also for you generous kindness to me, in telling
me of the high praise bestowed upon me by a gentleman who is
now no more--whose character I have esteemed and whose good
opinion I value. There is, methinks, something inexpressibly
dear to me in the recorded praise of the dead. For the
further instance of the friendship of the Dean of
Barchester, I am also thankful.
'Since the receipt of your letter I have doubted much as to
my fitness for the work you have proposed to entrust to
me--not from any feeling that the parish of St Ewold's may
be beyond my intellectual power, but because the latter
circumstances of my life have been of a nature so strange
and perplexing that they have left me somewhat in doubt as
to my own aptitude for going about among men without giving
offence and becoming a stumbling block.
'Nevertheless, reverend and dear sir, if after this
confession on my part of a certain faulty demeanour with
which I know well that I am afflicted, you are still willing
to put the parish into my hands, I will accept the
charge--instigated to do so by the advice of all whom I have
consulted on the subject; and, in thus accepting it, I
hereby pledge myself to vacate it at a month's warning,
should I be called upon by you to do so at any period within
the next two years. Should I be so far successful during
those twenty-four months as to have satisfied both yourself
and myself, I may then perhaps venture to regard the
preferment as my own in perpetuity for life;--I have the
honour to be, reverend and dear sir, you most humble and
'Psha!' said the archdeacon, who professed that he did not at all like
the letter. 'I wonder what he would say if I sent him a month's notice
at next Michaelmas?'
'I'm sure he would go,' said Mrs Grantly.
'The more fool he,' said the archdeacon.
At this time Grace was at the parsonage in a seventh heaven of
happiness. The archdeacon was never rough to her, nor did he make any of
his harsh remarks about her father in her presence. Before her St
Ewold's was spoken of as the home that was to belong to the Crawleys for
the next twenty years. Mrs Grantly was very loving with her, lavishing
upon her pretty presents, and words that were prettier than presents.
Grace's life had hitherto been so destitute of those prettinesses and
softnesses which can hardly be had without money though money alone will
not purchase them, that it seemed to her now that the heavens rained
graciousness upon her. It was not that the archdeacon's watch or her
lover's chain, or Mrs Grantly's locket, or the little toy from Italy
which Mrs Arabin brought to her from the treasures of the deanery,
filled her heart with undue exaltation. It was not that she revelled in
her new delights of silver and gold and shining gems; but that the
silver and gold and shining gems were constant indications to her that
things had changed, not only for her, but for her father and mother, and
brother and sister. She felt now more sure than ever that she could not
have enjoyed her love had she accepted her lover while the disgrace of
the accusation against her father remained. But now--having waited till
that had passed away, everything was a new happiness to her.
At last it was settled that Mr and Mrs Crawley were to come to
Plumstead--and they came. it would be too long to tell now how gradually
had come about that changed state of things which made such a visit
possible. Mr Crawley had at first declared that such a thing was out of
the question. If St Ewold's was to depend upon it St Ewold's must be
given up. And I think that it would have been impossible for him to go
direct from Hogglestock to Plumstead. But it fell out after this wise.
Mr Harding's curate at St Ewold's was nominated to Hogglestock, and the
dean urged upon his friend Crawley the expediency of giving up the house
as quickly as he could do so. Gradually at this time Mr Crawley had been
forced into a certain amount of intimacy with the haunts of men. He had
been twice or thrice at Barchester, and had lunched with the dean. He
had been at Framley for an hour or two, and had been forced into some
communication with old Mr Thorne, the squire of his new parish. The end
of this had been that he had at last consented to transfer himself and
wife and daughter to the deanery for a fortnight. He had preached one
farewell sermon at Hogglestock--not, as he told his audience, as their
pastor, which he had ceased to be now for some two or three months--but
as their old and loving friend, to whom the use of his former pulpit had
been lent, that he might express himself thus among them for the last
time. His sermon was very short, and was preached without book or
notes--but he never once paused for a word or halted in the string or
rhythm of his discourse. The dean was there and declared afterwards that
he had not given him credit for such powers of utterance. 'Any man can
utter out of a full heart,' Crawley had answered. 'In this trumpery
affair about myself, my heart is full! If we could only have our hearts
full in other matters, our utterances thereanent would receive more
attention.' To all of this the dean made no reply.
On the day after this the Crawleys took their final departure from
Hogglestock, all the brickmakers from Hoggle End having assembled on the
occasion, with a purse containing seventeen pounds seven shillings and
sixpence, which they insisted on presenting to Mr Crawley, and as to
which there was a little difficulty. And at the deanery they remained
for a fortnight. How Mrs Crawley, under the guidance of Mrs Arabin, had
there so far trenched upon the revenues of St Ewold's as to provide for
her husband and herself raiment fitting for the worldly splendour of
Plumstead, need not here be told in detail. Suffice to say, the raiment
was forthcoming, and Mr Crawley found himself to be the perplexed
possessor of a black dress coat, in addition to the long frock, coming
nearly to his feet, which was provided for his daily wear. Touching this
garment, there had been some discussion between the dean and the new
vicar. The dean had desired that it should be curtailed in length. The
vicar had remonstrated--but still with something of the weakness of
compliance in his eye. Then the dean had persisted. 'Surely the price of
the cloth wanted to perfect the comeliness of the garment cannot be
much,' said the vicar, almost woefully. After that, the dean relented,
and the comeliness of the coat was made perfect. The new black long
frock, I think, Mr Crawley liked; but the dress coat, with the suit
complete, perplexed him sorely.
With his new coat, and something also, of new manners, he and his wife
went over to Plumstead, leaving Jane at the deanery with Mrs Arabin. The
dean also went to Plumstead. They arrived there not much before dinner,
and as Grace was there before them the first moments were not so bad.
Before Mr Crawley had had time to feel himself lost in the drawing-room,
he was summoned away to prepare himself for dinner--for dinner, and for
the coat, which at the deanery he had been allowed to leave unworn. 'I
would with all my heart that I might retire to rest,' he said to his
wife, when the ceremony had been perfected.
'Do not say so. Go down and take your place with them, and speak your
mind with them--as you so well know how. Who among them can do it so
'I have been told,' said Mr Crawley, 'that you shall take a cock which
is lord of the farmyard--the cock of all that walk--and when you have
daubed his feathers with mud, he shall be thrashed by every dunghill
coward. I say not that I was ever the cock of the walk, but I know that
they have daubed my feathers.' Then he went down among the other poultry
in the farmyard.
At dinner he was very silent, answering, however, with a sort of
graceful stateliness any word that Mrs Grantly addressed to him. Mr
Thorne, of Ullathorne, was there also to meet his new vicar, as was also
Mr Thorne's very old sister, Miss Monica Thorne. And Lady Anne Grantly
was there--she having come with the expressed intention that the wives
of the two brothers should know each other--but with a warmer desire, I
think, of seeing Mr Crawley, of whom the clerical world had been talking
since some notice of the accusations against him had become general.
There were, therefore, ten or twelve at the dinner-table, and Mr Crawley
had not made one at such a board certainly since his marriage. All went
fairly smooth with him till the ladies left the room; for though Lady
Anne, who sat at his left hand, had perplexed him somewhat with clerical
questions, he had found that he was not called upon for much more than
monosyllabic responses. But in his heart he feared the archdeacon and he
felt that when the ladies were gone the archdeacon would not leave him
alone in his silence.
As soon as the door was closed, the first subject mooted was that of the
Plumstead fox, which had been so basely murdered on Mr Thorne's ground.
Mr Thorne had confessed the iniquity, had dismissed the murderous
gamekeeper, and all was serene. But the greater on that account was the
feasibility of discussing the question, and the archdeacon had a good
deal to say about it. Then Mr Thorne turned to the new vicar, and asked
him whether foxes abounded in Hogglestock. Had he been asked as to the
rats or moles, he would have known more about it.
'Indeed, sir, I know not whether or no there be any foxes in the parish
of Hogglestock. I do not remember me that I ever saw one. It is an
animal whose habits I have not watched.'
'There is an earth at Hoggle Bushes,' said the major; 'and I never knew
it without a litter.'
'I think I know the domestic whereabouts of every fox in Plumstead,'
said the archdeacon, with an ill-natured intention of astonishing Mr
'Of foxes with two legs our friend is speaking, without doubt,' said the
vicar of St Ewold's, with an attempt at grim pleasantry.
'Of them we have none at Plumstead. No--I was speaking of the dear old
fellow with the brush. Pass the bottle, Mr Crawley. Won't you fill your
glass?' Mr Crawley passed the bottle, but would not fill the glass. Then
the dean, looking up slyly, saw the vexation written in the archdeacon's
face. The parson whom the archdeacon feared most of all was the parson
who wouldn't fill his glass.
Then the subject was changed. 'I'm told that the bishop has at last
made his reappearance on his throne,' said the archdeacon.
'He was in the cathedral last Sunday,' said the dean.
'Does he ever mean to preach again?' 'He never did preach very often,'
said the dean.
'A great deal too often, from all people say,' said the archdeacon. 'I
never heard him myself, and never shall, I daresay. You have heard him,
'I have never had that good fortune, Mr Archdeacon. But living as I
shall now do, so near to the city, I may perhaps be enabled to attend
the cathedral service on some holy-day of the Church, which may not
require prayers in my own rural parish. I think that the clergy of the
diocese should be acquainted with the opinions, and with the voice, and
with the very manner and words of their bishop. As things are now done,
this is not possible. I could wish that there were occasions on which a
bishop might assemble his clergy, and preach to them sermons adapted to
'What do you call a bishop's charge, then?'
'It is usually in the printed form that I have received it,' said Mr
'I think we have had quite enough of that kind of thing,' said the
'He is a man whose conversation is not pleasing to me,' Mr Crawley said
to his wife that night.
'Do not judge him too quickly, Josiah,' his wife said. 'There is so
much of good in him! He is kind, and generous, and I think
'But he is of the earth, earthy. When you and the other ladies had
retired, the conversation at first fell on the habits and value
of--foxes. I have been informed that in these parts the fox is greatly
prized, as without a fox to run before the dogs, that scampering over
the country which is called hunting, and which delights by the quickness
and perhaps the peril of the exercise, is not relished by the riders. Of
the wisdom or taste herein displayed by the hunters of the day I say
nothing. But it seemed to me that in talking of foxes Dr Grantly was
master of his subject. Thence the topic glided to the duties of a bishop
and to questions of preaching, as to which Dr Grantly was not slow in
offering his opinion. But I thought that I would rather have heard him
talk about the foxes for a week together.' She said nothing more to him,
knowing well how useless it was to attempt to turn him by any argument.
To her thinking the kindness of the archdeacon to them personally
demanded some indulgence in the expression, and even in the formation,
of an opinion, respecting his clerical peculiarities.
On the next day, however, Mr Crawley, having been summoned by the
archdeacon into the library for a little private conversation, found
that he got on better with him. How the archdeacon conquered him may
perhaps be best described by a further narration of what Mr Crawley told
his wife. 'I told him that in regard to money matters, as he called
them, I had nothing to say. I only trusted that his son was aware that
my daughter had no money, and never would have any. "My dear Crawley,"
the archdeacon said--for of late there seems to have grown up in the
world a habit of greater familiarity than that which I think did prevail
when last I moved much among men--"my dear Crawley, I have enough for
both." "I would we stood on more equal ground," I said. Then as he
answered me, he rose from his chair. "We stand," said he, "on the
perfect level on which men can meet each other. We are both gentlemen."
"Sir," I said, rising also, "from the bottom of the heart I agree with
you. I could not have spoken such words; but coming from you who are
rich to me am poor, they are honourable to the one and comfortable to
'And after that?'
'He took down from the shelves a volume of some sermons which his father
published many years ago, and presented to me. I have it now under my
arm. It hath the old bishop's manuscript notes, which I will study
carefully.' And thus the archdeacon had hit his bird on both wings.
It now only remains for me to gather together a few loose strings, and
tie them together in a knot, so that my work may not become untwisted.
Early in July, Henry Grantly and Grace Crawley were married in the
parish church of Plumstead--a great impropriety, as to which neither
Archdeacon Grantly nor Mr Crawley could be got to assent for a long
time, but which was at last carried, not simply by a union of Mrs
Grantly and Mrs Crawley, nor even by the assistance of Mrs Arabin, but
by the strong intervention of Lady Lufton herself. 'Of course Miss
Crawley ought to be married from St Ewold's vicarage; but when the
furniture has only been half got in, how is it possible?' When Lady
Lufton thus spoke, the archdeacon gave way, and Mr Crawley hadn't a leg
to stand on. Henry Grantly had not an opinion on the matter. He told his
father that he expected that they would marry him among them, and that
that had been enough for him. As for Grace, nobody even thought of
asking her; and I doubt whether she would have heard anything about the
contest, had not some tidings of it reached her from her lover. Married
they were at Plumstead--and the breakfast was given with all that
luxuriance of plenty which was so dear to the archdeacon's mind. Mr
Crawley was the officiating priest. With his hands dropping before him,
folded humbly, he told the archdeacon--when that Plumstead question had
been finally settled in opposition to his wishes--that he would fain
himself perform the ceremony by which his dearest daughter would be
bound to her marriage duties. 'And who else should?' said the
archdeacon. Mr Crawley muttered that he had not known how far his
reverend brother might have been willing to waive his rights. But the
archdeacon, who was in high good-humour--having just bestowed a little
pony carriage on his new daughter-in-law--only laughed at him; and, if
the rumour which was handed about the families be true, the archdeacon,
before the interview was over, had poked Mr Crawley in the ribs. Mr
Crawley married them; but the archdeacon assisted--and the dean gave the
bride away. The Rev Charles Grantly was there also; and as there was, as
a matter of course, a cloud of curates floating in the distance, Henry
Grantly was perhaps to be excused for declaring to his wife, when the
pair had escaped, that surely no couple had ever been so tightly buckled
since marriage had first become a Church ceremony.
Soon after that, Mr and Mrs Crawley became quiet at St Ewold's, and, as
I think, contented. Her happiness began very quickly. Though she had
been greatly broken by her troubles, the first sight she had of her
husband in his new long frock-coat went far to restore her, and while he
was declaring himself to be a cock so daubed with mud as to be incapable
of crowing, she was congratulating herself on seeing her husband once
more clothed as became his position. And they were lucky, too, as
regarded the squire's house; for Mr Thorne was old, and quiet, and old-
fashioned; and Miss Thorne was older, and though she was not exactly
quiet, she was very old-fashioned indeed. So that there grew to be a
pleasant friendship between Miss Thorne and Mrs Crawley.
Johnny Eames, when last I heard of him, was still a bachelor, and, as I
think, likely to remain so. At last he had utterly thrown over Sir
Raffle Buffle, declaring to his friends that the special duties of
private secretaryship were not exactly to his taste. 'You get so sick at
the thirteenth private note,' he said, 'that you find yourself unable to
carry on the humbug any farther.' But he did not leave his office. 'I'm
the head of a room, you know,' he told Lady Julia De Guest; 'and there's
nothing to trouble me--and a fellow, you know, ought to have something
to do.' Lady Julia told him, with a great deal of energy, that she would
never forgive him if he gave up his office. After that eventful night
when he escaped ignominiously from the house of Lady Demolines under the
protection of the policeman's lantern, he did hear more than once from
Porchester Terrace, and from allies employed by the enemy who was there
resident. 'My cousin the serjeant' proved to be a myth. Johnny found out
all about that Serjeant Runter, who was distantly connected, indeed,
with the late husband of Lady Demolines, but had always persistently
declined to have any intercourse whatever with her ladyship. For the
serjeant was a rising man, and Lady Demolines was not exactly
progressing in the world. Johnny heard nothing from the serjeant; but
from Madalina he got letter after letter. In the first she asked him not
to think too much of the little joke that had occurred. In her second,
she described the vehemence of her love. In her third the bitterness of
her wrath. Her fourth simply invited him to come and dine in Porchester
Terrace. Her fifth was the outpouring of injured innocence. And then
came letters from an attorney. Johnny answered not a word to any of
them, and gradually the letters were discontinued. Within six months of
the receipt of the last, he was delighted by reading among the marriages
in the newspapers, a notice that Peter Bangles, Esq., of the firm Burton
and Bangles, wine merchants, of Hook Court, had been united to Madalina,
daughter of the late Sir Confucius Demolines, at the church of Peter the
Martyr. 'Most appropriate,' said Johnny, as he read the notice to Conway
Dalrymple, who was then back from his wedding tour; 'for most assuredly
there will now be another Peter the Martyr.'
'I'm not so sure of that,' said Conway, who had heard something of Mr
Peter Bangles. 'There are men who have strong wills of their own and
strong hands of their own.'
'Poor Madalina!' said Johnny. 'If he does beat her, I hope he will do
it tenderly. It may be that a little of it will suit her fevered
Before the summer was over Conway Dalrymple had been married to Clara
Van Siever, and by a singular arrangement of circumstances had married
her with the full approval of old Mrs Van. Mr Musselboro--whose name I
hope has not been altogether forgotten, though the part played by him
has been subordinate--had opposed Dalrymple in the efforts made by the
artist to get something out of Broughton's estate for the benefit of the
widow. From circumstances of which Dalrymple learned the particulars
with the aid of an attorney, it seemed to him that certain facts were
wilfully kept in the dark by Musselboro, and he went with his complaint
to Mrs Van Siever, declaring that he would bring the whole affair into
court, unless all the workings of the firm were made clear to him. Mrs
Van was very insolent to him--and even turned him out of the house. But,
nevertheless, she did not allow Mr Musselboro to escape. Whoever was to
be left in the dark she did not wish it to be herself;--and it began to
dawn upon her that her dear Mr Musselboro was deceiving her. Then she
sent for Dalrymple, and without a word of apology for her former
conduct, put him upon the right track. As he was pushing his inquiries
and working heaven and earth for the unfortunate widow--as to whom he
swore daily that when this matter was settled he would never see her
again, so terrible was she to him with her mock affection and pretended
hysterics, and false moralities--he was told one day that she had gone
off with Mr Musselboro! Mr Musselboro, finding that this was the surest
plain of obtaining for himself the little business in Hook Court,
married the widow of his late partner, and is at this moment probably
carrying a law-suit with Mrs Van. For the law-suit Conway Dalrymple
cared nothing. When the quarrel had become hot between Mrs Van and her
late myrmidon, Clara fell into Conway's hands without opposition; and,
let the law-suit go as it may, there will be enough left of Mrs Van's
money to make the house of Mr and Mrs Conway Dalrymple very comfortable.
The picture of Jael and Sisera was stitched up without any difficulty,
and I daresay most of my readers will remember it hanging on the walls
of the exhibition.
Before I take my leave of the diocese of Barchester for ever, which I
purpose to do in the succeeding paragraph, I desire to be allowed to say
one word of apology for myself, in answer to those who have accused
me--always without bitterness, and generally with tenderness--of having
forgotten, in writing of clergymen, the first and most prominent
characteristic of the ordinary English clergyman's life. I have
described many clergymen, they say, but have spoken of them all as
though their professional duties, their high calling, their daily
workings for the good of those around them, were matters of no moment,
either to me, or in my opinion, to themselves. I would plead, in answer
to this, that my object has been to paint the social and not the
professional lives of clergymen; and that I have been led to do so,
firstly, by a feeling that as no men affect more strongly, by their own
character, the society of those around than do country clergymen, so,
therefore, their social habits have been worth the labour necessary for
painting them; and secondly, by a feeling that though I, as a novelist,
may feel myself entitled to write of clergymen out of their pulpits, as
I may also write of lawyers and doctors, I have no such liberty to write
of them in their pulpits. When I have done so, if I have done so, I have
so far transgressed. There are those who have told me that I have made
all my clergymen bad, and none good. I must venture to hint to such
judges that they have taught their eyes to love a colouring higher than
nature justifies. We are, most of us, apt to love Raphael's madonnas
better than Rembrandt's matrons. But, though we do so, we know that
Rembrandt's matrons existed; but we have a strong belief that no such
woman as Raphael painted ever did exist. In that he painted, as he may
be surmised to have done, for pious purposes--at least for Church
purposes--Raphael was justified; but had he painted so for family
portraiture he would have been false. Had I written an epic about
clergymen, I would have taken St Paul for my model; but describing, as I
have endeavoured to do, such clergymen as I see around me, I could not
venture to be transcendental. For myself I can only say that I shall
always be happy to sit, when allowed to do so, at the table of
Archdeacon Grantly, to walk through the High Street of Barchester arm in
arm with Mr Robarts of Framley, and to stand alone and shed a tear
beneath the modest black stone in the north transept of the cathedral on
which is inscribed the name of Septimus Harding.
And now, if the reader will allow me to seize him affectionately by the
arm, we will together take our last farewell of Barset and of the towers
of Barchester. I may not venture to say to him that, in this country, he
and I together have wandered often through the country lanes, and have
ridden together over the too well-wooded fields, or have stood together
in the cathedral nave listening to the peals of the organ, or have
together sat at good men's tables, or have confronted together the angry
pride of men who were not good. I may not boast that any beside myself
have so realised the place, and the people, and the facts, as to make
such reminiscences possible as those which I should attempt to evoke by
an appeal to perfect fellowship. But to me Barset has been a real
county, and its city a real city, and the spires and towers have been
before my eyes, and the voices of the people are known to my ears, and
the pavement of the city ways are familiar to my footsteps. To them all
I now say farewell. That I have been induced to wander among them too
long by my love for old friendships, and by the sweetness of old faces,
is a fault for which I may perhaps be more readily forgiven, when I
repeat, with solemnity of assurance, that promise made in my title, that
this shall be the last chronicle of Barset.