Part 2 out of 18
should; and I think your answer to him should be that
you could not even consider any such proposition while
your father was in so great trouble. I am so much
older than you, and seem to have so much experience,
that I do not scruple, as you will see, to come down
upon you with all the weight of my wisdom.
'About that other subject I had rather say
nothing. I have known your cousin all my life almost;
and I regard no one more kindly than I do him. When I
think of my friends, he is always the one of the
dearest. But when one thinks of going beyond
friendship, even if one tries to do so, there are so
'Your affectionate friend,
'Mamma bids me say that she would be delighted
to have you here whenever it might suit you to come;
and I add to this message my entreaty that you will
come at once. You say that you think you ought to
leave Miss Prettyman's for a while. I can well
understand your feeling; but as your sister is with
your mother, surely you had better come to us--I mean
quite at once. I will not scruple to tell you what
mamma says, because I know your good sense. She says
that as the interest of the school may possibly be
concerned, and as you have no regular engagement, she
thinks you ought to leave Silverbridge; but she says
that it will be better that you come to us than that
you should go home. If you went home, people might
say that had left in some sort of disgrace. Come to
us, and when all this is put right, then you go back
to Silverbridge; and then, if a certain person speaks
again, you can make a different answer. Mamma quite
understands that you are to come; so you have only to
ask your own mamma, and come at once.'
This letter, the reader will understand, did not reach Grace Crawley
till after the all-important Thursday; but before that day had come
round, Grace had told Miss Prettyman--had told both the Miss
Prettymans--that she was resolved to leave them. She had done this
without consulting her mother, driven to it by various motives. She knew
her father's conduct was being discussed by the girls at school, and
that things were said of him which it could not but be for the
disadvantage of Miss Prettyman that anyone should say of a teacher in
the establishment. She felt, too, that she could not hold up her head in
Silverbridge in these days, as it would become her to do if she retained
her position. She did struggle gallantly, and succeeded much more nearly
than she was herself aware. She was all but able to carry herself as
though no terrible accusation was being made against her father. Of the
struggle, however, she was not herself the less conscious, and she told
herself that on that account also she must go. And then she must go
because of Major Grantly. Whether he was minded to come and speak to her
that one other needed word, or whether he was not so minded, it would be
better that she should be away from Silverbridge. If he spoke it she
could only answer him by the negative; she should leave herself the
power of thinking that his silence had been caused by her absence, and
not by his coldness or indifference.
She asked, therefore, for an interview with Miss Prettyman, and was
shown into the elder sister's room, at eleven o'clock on the Tuesday
morning. The elder Miss Prettyman never came into the school herself
till twelve, but was in the habit of having interviews with the young
ladies--which were sometimes very awful in their nature--for the two
previous hours. During these interviews an immense amount of business
was done, and the fortunes in life of some girls were said to have been
made or marred; as when, for instance, Miss Crimpton had been advised to
stay at home with her uncle in England, instead of going out with her
sisters to India, both of which sisters were married within three months
of their landing in Bombay. The way in which she gave her counsel on
such occasions was very efficacious. No one knew better than Miss
Prettyman that a cock can crow most effectively in his own farmyard, and
therefore all crowing intended to be effective was done by her within
the shrine of her own peculiar room.
'Well, my dear, what is it?' she said to Grace. 'Sit in the arm-chair,
my dear, and we can then talk comfortably.' The teachers, when they were
closeted with Miss Prettyman, were always asked to sit in the arm-chair,
whereas a small, straight-backed, uneasy chair was kept for the use of
the young ladies. And there was, too, a stool of repentance, out against
the wall, very uncomfortable indeed for young ladies who had not behaved
themselves so prettily as young ladies generally do.
Grace seated herself, and then began her speech very quickly. 'Miss
Prettyman,' she said, 'I have made up my mind that I will go home, if
'And why should you go home, Grace? Did I not tell you that you should
have a home here?' Miss Prettyman had weak eyes, and was very small, and
had never possessed any claim to be called good-looking. And she
assumed nothing of the majestical awe from any adornment or studied
amplification of the outward woman by means of impressive trappings. The
possessor of an unobservant eye might have called her a mean-looking,
little old woman. And certainly there would have been nothing awful in
her to anyone who came across her otherwise than as a lady having
authority in her own school. But within her own precincts, she did know
how to surround herself with a dignity which all felt who approached her
there. Grace Crawley, as she heard the simple question which Miss
Prettyman had asked, unconsciously acknowledged the strength of the
woman's manner. She already stood rebuked for having proposed a plan so
ungracious, so unnecessary, and so unwise.
'I think I ought to be with mamma at present,' said Grace.
'You mother has her sister with her.'
'Yes, Miss Prettyman, Jane is there.'
'If there is no other reason, I cannot think that that can be held to be
a reason now. Of course your mother would like to have you always;
unless you should be married--but then there are reasons why this should
not be so.'
'Of course there are.'
'I do not think--that is, if I know all that there is to be known--I do
not think, I say, that there can be any good ground for your leaving us
Then Grace sat silent for a moment, gathering her courage, and
collecting her words; and after that she spoke. 'It is because of papa,
and because of this charge--'
'I know what you are going to say, Miss Prettyman;--that is, I think I
'If you hear me, you may be sure that you know.'
'But I want you to hear me for one moment first. I beg your pardon,
Miss Prettyman; I do indeed, but I want to say this before you go on. I
must go home, and I know I ought. We are all disgraced, and I won't stop
here to disgrace the school. I know papa has done nothing wrong; but
nevertheless we are disgraced. The police are to bring him in here on
Thursday, and everybody in Silverbridge will know it. It cannot be right
that I should be here teaching in the school, while it is all going
on;--and I won't. And, Miss Prettyman, I couldn't do it, indeed I
couldn't. I can't bring myself to think of anything I am doing. Indeed I
can't; and then, Miss Prettyman, there are other reasons.' By the time
that she had proceeded thus far, Grace Crawley's words were nearly
choked by her tears.
'And what are the other reasons, Grace?'
'I don't know,' said Grace, struggling to speak through her tears.
'But I know,' said Miss Prettyman. 'I know them all. I know all your
reasons, and I tell you that in my opinion you ought to remain where you
are, and not go away. The very reasons which to you are reasons for your
going, to me are reasons for your remaining here.'
'I can't remain. I am determined to go. I don't mind you and Miss
Anne, but I can't bear to have the girls looking at me--and the
Then Miss Prettyman paused awhile, thinking of what words of wisdom
would be most appropriate in the present conjuncture. But words of
wisdom did not seem to come easily to her, having for the moment been
banished by a tenderness of heart. 'Come here, my love,' she said at
last. 'Come here, Grace.' Slowly Grace got up from her seat and came
round, and stood by Miss Prettyman's elbow. Miss Prettyman pushed her
chair a little back, and pushed herself a little forward, and stretching
out one hand, placed her arm round Grace's waist, and with the other
took hold of Grace's hand, and thus drew her down and kissed the girl's
forehead and lips. And then Grace found herself kneeling at her friend's
feet. 'Grace,' she said, 'do you not know that I love you? Do you not
know that I love you dearly?' In answer to this Grace kissed the
withered hand she held in hers, while the warm tears trickled upon Miss
Prettyman's knuckles. 'I love you as though you were my own,' exclaimed
the schoolmistress; 'and will you not trust me, that I know what is best
'I must go home,' said Grace.
'Of course you shall, if you think it right at last; but let us talk of
it. No one in the house, you know, has the slightest suspicion that your
father has done anything that is in the least dishonourable.'
'I know that you have not.'
'No, nor has Anne.' Miss Prettyman said this as though no one in that
house beyond herself and her sister had a right to have any opinion on
'I know that,' said Grace.
'Well, my dear. If we think so--'
'But the servant, Miss Prettyman?'
'If any servant in this house says a word to offend you, I'll--I'll--'
'They don't say anything, Miss Prettyman, but they look. Indeed, I'd
better go home. Indeed I had!'
'Do not you think your mother has cares enough upon her, and burden
enough, without another mouth to feed, and another head to shelter? You
haven't thought of that, Grace.'
'Yes, I have.'
'And for the work, whilst you are not quite well you shall not be
troubled with teaching. I have some old papers that want copying and
settlings, and you shall sit here and do that just for an employment.
Anne knows that I've long wanted to have it done, and I'll tell her that
you have kindly promised to do it for me.'
'No; no; no,' said Grace; 'I must go home.' She was still kneeling at
Miss Prettyman's knee, and still holding Miss Prettyman's hand. And
then, at that moment, there came a tap on the door, gentle but yet not
humble, a tap which acknowledged, on the part of the tapper, the
supremacy in that room of the lady who was sitting there, but which
still claimed admittance almost as a right. The tap was well known by
both of them to be the tap of Miss Anne. Grace immediately jumped up,
and Miss Prettyman settled herself in her chair with a motion which
almost seemed to indicate some feeling of shame as to her late position.
'I suppose I may come in?' said Miss Anne, opening the door and
inserting her head.
'Yes, you may come in--if you have anything to say,' said Miss
Prettyman, with an air which seemed to be intended to assert her
supremacy. But, in truth, she was simply collecting the wisdom and
dignity which had been somewhat dissipated by her tenderness.
'I did not know that Grace Crawley was here,' said Miss Anne.
'Grace Crawley is here,' said Miss Prettyman.
'What is the matter, Grace?' said Miss Anne, seeing her tears.
'Never mind now,' said Miss Prettyman.
'Poor dear, I'm sure I'm sorry as though she were my own sister,' said
Anne. 'But, Annabella, I want to speak to you especially.'
'To me, in private?'
'Yes, to you; in private, if Grace won't mind?'
Then Grace prepared to go. But as she was going, Miss Anne, upon whose
brow a heavy burden of thought was lying, stopped her suddenly. 'Grace,
my dear,' she said, 'go upstairs to your room, will you?--not across the
hall to the school.'
'And why shouldn't she go to the school?' said Miss Prettyman.
Miss Anne paused for a moment, and then answered--unwillingly, as though
driven to make a reply which she knew to be indiscreet. 'Because there
is somebody in the hall.'
'Go to your room, dear,' said Miss Prettyman. And Grace went to her
room, never turning an eye down towards the hall. 'Who is it?' said Miss
'Major Grantly is here, asking to see you,' said Miss Anne.
MISS PRETTYMAN'S PRIVATE ROOM
Major Grantly, when threatened by his father with pecuniary punishment,
should he demean himself by such a marriage as that he had proposed to
himself, had declared that he would offer his hand to Miss Crawley on
the next morning. This, however, he had not done. He had not done it,
partly because he did not quite believe his father's threat, and partly
because he felt that that threat was almost justified--for the present
moment--by the circumstances in which Grace Crawley's father had placed
Henry Grantly acknowledged, as he drove himself home on the morning
after his dinner at the rectory, that in this matter of his marriage he
did owe much to his family. Should he marry at all, he owed it to them
to marry a lady. And Grace Crawley--so he told himself--was a lady. And
he owed it to them to bring among them as his wife a woman who should
not disgrace him or them by her education, manners, or even by her
personal appearance. In all these respects Grace Crawley was, in his
judgment, quite as good as they had a right to expect her to be, and in
some respects a great deal superior to that type of womanhood with which
they had been most generally conversant. 'If everybody had her due, my
sister isn't fit to hold a candle to her,' he said to himself. It must
be acknowledged, therefore, that he was really in love with Grace
Crawley; and he declared to himself over and over again, that his family
had no right to demand that he should marry a woman with money. The
archdeacon's son by no means despised money. How could he, having come
forth as a bird fledged from such a nest as the rectory at Plumstead
Episcopi? Before he had been brought by his better nature and true
judgment to see that Grace Crawley was the greater woman of the two, he
had nearly submitted himself to the twenty thousand pounds of Miss Emily
Dunstable--to that, and her good-humour and rosy freshness combined. But
he regarded himself as the well-to-do son of a very rich father. His
only child was amply provided for; and he felt that, as regarded money,
he had a right to do as he pleased. He felt this with double strength
after his father's threat.
But he had no right to make a marriage by which his family would be
disgraced. Whether he was right or wrong in supposing that he would
disgrace his family were he to marry the daughter of a convicted thief,
it is hardly necessary to discuss here. He told himself that it would be
so--telling himself also that, by the stern laws of the world, the son
and the daughter must pay for the offence of the father and mother. Even
among the poor, who would willingly marry the child of a man who had
been hanged? But he carried the argument beyond this, thinking much of
the matter, and endeavouring to think of it not only justly but
generously. If the accusation against Crawley were false--if the man
were being injured by an unjust charge--even if he, Grantly, could make
himself think that the girl's father had not stolen the money, then he
would dare everything and go on. I do not know that his argument was
good, or that his mind was logical on the matter. He ought to have felt
that his own judgment as to the man's guilt was less likely to be
correct than that of those whose duty it was and would be to form and to
express a judgment on the matter; and as to Grace herself, she was
equally innocent whether her father were guilty or not guilty. If he
were to be debarred from asking for her hand by his feelings for her
father and mother, he should hardly have trusted to his own skill in
ascertaining the real truth as to the alleged theft. But he was not
logical, and thus, meaning to be generous, he became unjust.
He found that among those in Silverbridge whom he presumed to be best
informed on such matters, there was a growing opinion that Mr Crawley
had stolen the money. He was intimate with all the Walkers, and was able
to find out that Mrs Walker knew that her husband believed in the
clergyman's guilt. He was by no means alone in his willingness to accept
Mr Walker's opinion as the true opinion. Silverbridge, generally, was
endeavouring to dress itself in Mr Walker's glass, and to believe as Mr
Walker believed. The ladies of Silverbridge, including the Miss
Prettymans, were aware that Mr Walker had been very kind both to Mr and
Mrs Crawley, and argued from this that Mr Walker must think the man
innocent. But Henry Grantly, who did not dare to ask a direct question
of the solicitor, went cunningly to work, and closeted himself with Mrs
Walker--with Mrs Walker, who knew well of the good fortune that was
hovering over Grace's head and was so nearly settling itself on her
shoulders. She would have given a finger to be able to whitewash Mr
Crawley in the major's estimation. Nor must it be supposed that she told
the major in plain words that her husband had convinced himself of the
man's guilt. In plain words no question was asked between them, and in
plain words no opinion was expressed. But there was the look of sorrow
in the woman's eye, there was the absence of reference to her husband's
assurance that the man was innocent, there was the air of settled grief
which told of her own conviction; and the major left her, convinced that
Mrs Walker believed Mr Crawley to be guilty.
Then he went to Barchester; not open-mouthed with inquiry, but rather
with open ears, and it seemed to him that all men in Barchester were of
one mind. There was a county-club in Barchester, and at this county-club
nine men out of ten were talking about Mr Crawley. It was by no means
necessary that a man should ask questions on the subject. Opinion was
expressed so freely that no such asking was required; and opinion in
Barchester--at any rate in the county-club--seemed now to be all of one
mind. There had been every disposition at first to believe Mr Crawley to
be innocent. He had been believed to be innocent even after he had said
wrongly that the cheque had been paid to him by Mr Soames; but he had
since stated that he had received it from Dean Arabin, and that
statement was also shown to be false. A man who has a cheque changed on
his own behalf is bound at least to show where he got the cheque. Mr
Crawley had not only failed to do this, but had given two false excuses.
Henry Grantly, as he drove home to Silverbridge on the Sunday afternoon,
summed up all the evidence in his own mind, and brought in a verdict of
Guilty against the father of the girl whom he loved.
On the following morning he walked into Silverbridge and called at Miss
Prettyman's house. As he went along his heart was warmer towards Grace
than it had ever been before. He had told himself that he was now bound
to abstain, for his father's sake, from doing that which he had told his
father he certainly would do. But he knew also, that he had said that
which, though it did not bind him to Miss Crawley, gave her a right to
expect that he would so bind himself. And Miss Prettyman could not but
be aware of what his intention had been, and could not but expect that
he should not be explicit. Had he been a wise man altogether, he would
probably have abstained from saying anything at the present moment--a
wise man, that is, in the ways and feelings of the world in such
matters. But, as there are men who will allow themselves all imaginable
latitude in their treatment of women, believing that the world will
condone any amount of fault of that nature, so there are other men, and
a class of men which on the whole is the more numerous of the two, who
are tremblingly alive to the danger of censure on this head--and to the
danger of censure not only from others but from themselves also. Major
Grantly had done that which made him think it imperative upon him to do
something further, and do that something at once.
Therefore he started off on the Monday morning after breakfast and
walked into Silverbridge, and as he walked he built various castles in
the air. Why should he not marry Grace--if she would have him--and take
her away beyond the reach of her father's calamity? Why should he not
throw over his own people altogether, money, position, society, and all,
and give himself up to love? Were he to do so, men might say that he was
foolish, but no one could hint that he was dishonourable. His spirit was
high enough to teach him to think that such conduct on his part would
have in it something of magnificence; but, yet, such was not his
purpose. In going to Miss Prettyman it was his intention to apologise
for not doing this magnificent thing. His mind was quite made up.
Nevertheless he built castles in the air.
It so happened that he encountered the younger Miss Prettyman in the
hall. It would not at all have suited him to reveal to her the purport
of his visit, or ask her to assist his suit or receive his apologies.
Miss Anne Prettyman was too common a personage in the Silverbridge world
to be fit for such employment. Miss Anne Prettyman was, indeed, herself
submissive to him, and treated him with the courtesy which is due to a
superior being. He therefore simply asked her whether he could be
allowed to see her sister.
'Surely, Major Grantly;--that is, I think so. It is a little early, but
I think she can receive you.'
'It is early, I know; but as I want to say a word or two on business--'
'Oh, on business. I am sure she will see you on business; she will only
be too proud. If you will be kind enough to step in here for two
minutes.' Then Miss Anne, having deposited the major in the little
parlour, ran upstairs with her message to her sister. 'Of course it's
about Grace Crawley' she said to herself as she went. 'It can't be about
anything else. I wonder what he's going to say. If he's going to pop,
and the father in all this trouble, he's the finest fellow that ever
trod.' Such were her thoughts as she tapped at the door and announced in
the presence of Grace that there was somebody in the hall.
'It's Major Grantly,' whispered Anne, as soon as Grace had shut the door
'So I suppose by your telling her not to go into the hall. What has he
come to say?'
'How on earth can I tell you that, Annabella? But I suppose he can have
only one thing to say after all that has come and gone. He can only have
come with one object.'
'He wouldn't have come to me for that. He would have asked to see
'She never goes out now, and he can't see her.'
'Or he would have gone to them over at Hogglestock,' said Miss
Prettyman. 'But of course he must come up now he is here. Would you mind
telling him? Of shall I ring the bell?'
'I'll tell him. We need not make more fuss than necessary, with the
servants, you know. I suppose I'd better not come back with him?'
There was a tone of supplication in the younger sister's voice as she
made the last suggestion, which ought to have melted the heart of the
elder; but it was unavailing. 'As he has asked to see me, I think you
had better not,' said Annabella. Miss Anne Prettyman bore her cross
meekly, offered no argument on the subject, and returning to the little
parlour where she had left the major, brought him upstairs, and ushered
him into her sister's room without even entering it again, herself.
Major Grantly was as intimately acquainted with Miss Anne Prettyman as a
man under thirty may well be with a lady nearer fifty than forty, who is
not specially connected with him by any family tie; but of Miss
Prettyman he knew personally very much less. Miss Prettyman, as has
before been said, did not go out, and was therefore not common to the
eyes of the Silverbridgians. She did occasionally see her friends in her
own house, and Grace Crawley's lover, as the major had come to be
called, had been there on more than one occasion; but of real personal
intimacy between them there had hitherto existed none. He might have
spoken, perhaps a dozen words to her in his life. He had now more than a
dozen to speak to her, but he hardly knew how to commence them.
She had got up and curtseyed, and had then taken his hand and asked him
to sit down. 'My sister tells me that you want to see me,' she said in
her softest, mildest voice.
'I do, Miss Prettyman. I want to speak to you about a matter that
troubles me very much--very much indeed.'
'Anything that I can do, Major Grantly--'
'Thank you, yes. I know that you are very good, or I should not have
ventured to come and see you. Indeed I shouldn't trouble you now, of
course, if it was only about myself. I know very well what a great
friend you are to Miss Crawley.'
'Yes, I am. We love Grace dearly here.'
'So do I,' said the major bluntly; 'I love her dearly, too.' Then he
paused, as though he thought that Miss Prettyman ought to take up the
speech. But Miss Prettyman seemed to think quite differently, and he was
obliged to go on. 'I don't know whether you have ever heard about it or
noticed it, or--or--or--' He felt that he was very awkward, and he
blushed. Major as he was, he blushed as he sat before the woman, trying
to tell his story, but not knowing how to tell it. 'The truth is, Miss
Prettyman, I have done all but ask her to be my wife, and now has come
this terrible affair about her father.'
'It is a terrible affair, Major Grantly; very terrible.'
'By Jove, you may say that!'
'Of course, Mr Crawley is as innocent in the matter as you or I are.'
'You think so, Miss Prettyman?'
'Think so! I feel sure of it. What; a clergyman of the Church of
England, a pious, hard-working country gentleman, whom we have known
among us by his good works for years, suddenly turn thief, and pilfer a
few pounds! It is not possible, Major Grantly. And the father of such a
daughter, too! It is not possible. It may do for men of business to
think so, lawyers and such like, who are obliged to think in accordance
with the evidence, as they call it; but to my mind the idea is
monstrous. I don't know how he got it, and I don't care; but I'm quite
sure he did not steal it. Whoever heard of anybody becoming so base as
that all at once?'
The major was startled by her eloquence, and by the indignant tone of
voice in which it was expressed. It seemed to tell him that she would
give him no sympathy in that which he had come to say to her, and to
upbraid him already in that he was not prepared to do the magnificent
thing of which he had thought when he had been building his castles in
the air. Why should he not do the magnificent thing? Miss Prettyman's
eloquence was so strong that it half convinced him that the Barchester
Club and Mr Walker had come to a wrong conclusion after all.
'And how does Miss Crawley bear it?' he asked, desirous of postponing
for a while any declaration of his own purpose.
'She is very unhappy, of course. Not that she thinks evil of her
'Of course she does not think him guilty.'
'Nobody thinks him so in this house, Major Grantly,' said the little
woman, very imperiously. 'But Grace is, naturally enough, very
sad;--very sad indeed. I do not think I can ask you to see her today.'
'I was not thinking of it,' said the major.
'Poor, dear girl! It is a great trial for her. Do you wish me to give
her any message, Major Grantly?'
The moment had now come in which he must say that which he had come to
say. The little woman waited for an answer, and as he was there, within
her power as it were, he must speak. I fear that what he said will not
be approved by any strong-minded person. I fear that our lover will
henceforth be considered by such a one as being a weak, wishy-washy man,
who had hardly any mind of his own to speak of--that he was a man of no
account, as the poor people say. 'Miss Prettyman, what message ought I
to give her?'
'Nay, Major Grantly, how can I tell you that? How can I put words into
'It isn't the words,' he said; 'but the feelings.'
'And how can I tell the feelings in your heart?'
'Oh, as for that, I know what my feelings are. I do love her with all
my heart;--I do, indeed. A fortnight ago I was only thinking whether she
would accept me, and whether she would mind having Edith to take care
'She is very fond of Edith--very fond indeed.'
'Is she?' said the major, more distracted than ever. Why should he not
do the magnificent thing after all? 'But it is a great charge for a girl
when she marries.'
'It is a great charge--a very great charge. It is for you to think
whether you should entrust so great a charge to one so young.'
'I have no fear about that at all.'
'Nor should I have any--as you ask me. We have known Grace well,
thoroughly, and are quite sure that she will do her duty in that state
of life to which it may please God to call her.'
The major was aware when this was said to him that he had not come to
Miss Prettyman for a character of the girl he loved; and yet he was not
angry at receiving it. He was neither angry, nor even indifferent. He
accepted the character most gratefully, though he felt that he was being
led away from his purpose. He consoled himself for this however, by
remembering that the path which Miss Prettyman was now leading him, led
to the magnificent, and to those pleasant castles in the air which he
had been building as he walked into Silverbridge. 'I am quite sure that
she is all that you say,' he replied. 'Indeed I had made up my mind
about that long ago.'
'And what can I do for you, Major Grantly?'
'You think that I ought not to see her?'
'I will ask her, if you please. I have such trust in her judgment that
I should leave her altogether to her own discretion.'
The magnificent thing must be done, and the major made up his mind
accordingly. Something of regret came over his spirit as he thought of a
father-in-law disgraced and degraded, and of his own father
broken-hearted. But now there was hardly any alternative left to him.
And was it not the manly thing for him to do? He had loved the girl
before this trouble had come upon her, and was he not bound to accept
the burden which his love had brought with it? 'I will see her,' he
said, 'at once, if you will let me, and ask her to be my wife. But I
must see her alone.'
Then Miss Prettyman paused. Hitherto, she had undoubtedly been playing
her fish cautiously, or rather her young friend's fish--perhaps I may
say cunningly. She had descended to artifice on behalf of the girl whom
she loved, admired, and pitied. She had seen some way into the man's
mind, and had been partly aware of his purpose--of his infirmity of
purpose, of his double purpose. She had perceived that a word from her
might help Grace's chance, and had led the man on till he had committed
himself, at any rate to her. In doing this she had been actuated by
friendship rather than by abstract principle. But now, when the moment
had come in which she must decide upon some action, she paused. Was it
right, for the sake of either of them, that an offer of marriage should
be made at such a moment as this? It might be very well, in regard to
some future time, that the major should have so committed himself. She
saw something of the man's spirit, and believed that, having gone so
far--having so far told his love, he would return to his love hereafter,
let the result of the Crawley trial be what it might. But--but, this
could be no proper time for love-making. Though Grace loved the man, as
Miss Prettyman knew well, though Grace loved the child, having allowed
herself to long to call it her own, though such a marriage could be the
making of Grace's fortune as those who loved her could hardly have hoped
that it should ever have been made, she would certainly refuse the man,
if he were to propose to her now. She would refuse him, and then the man
would be free;--free to change his mind if he saw fit. Considering all
these things, craftily in the exercise of her friendship, too cunningly,
I fear, to satisfy the claims of a high morality, she resolved that the
major had better not see Miss Crawley at the present moment. Miss
Prettyman paused before she replied, and, when she did speak, Major
Grantly had risen from his chair and was standing with his back to the
fire. 'Major Grantly,' she said, 'you shall see if you please, and if
she pleases; but I doubt whether her answer at such a moment as this
would be that which you would wish to receive.'
'You think she would refuse me?'
'I do not think she would accept you now. She would feel--I am sure she
would feel, that these hours of her father's sorrow are not hours in
which love should be either offered or accepted. You shall, however, see
her if you please.'
The major allowed himself a moment for thought; and as he thought he
sighed. Grace Crawley had become more beautiful in his eyes than ever,
was endowed by these words from Miss Prettyman with new charms and
brighter virtues than he had seen before. Let come what might he would
ask her to be his wife on some future day; if he did not ask her now.
For the present, perhaps, he had better be guided by Miss Prettyman.
'Then I will not see her,' he said.
'I think that would be the wiser course.'
'Of course you knew before this that I--loved her?'
'I thought so, Major Grantly.'
'And that I intended to ask her to be my wife?'
'Well; since you put the question to me so plainly, I must confess that
as Grace's friend I should not quite have let things go on as they have
gone--though I am not at all disposed to interfere with any girl whom I
believe to be pure and good as I know her to be--but still I should
hardly have been justified in letting things go on as they have gone, if
I had not believed that such was your purpose.'
'I wanted to set myself right with you, Miss Prettyman.'
'You are right with me--quite right'; and she got up and gave him her
hand. 'You are a fine, noble-hearted gentleman, and I hope that our
Grace may live to be your happy wife, and the mother of your darling
child, and the mother of other children. I do not see how a woman could
have a happier lot in life.'
'And will you give Grace my love?'
'I will tell her at any rate that you have been here, and that you have
inquired after her with the greatest kindness. She will understand what
that means without any word of love.'
'Can I do anything for her--or her father; I mean in the way of money?
I don't mind mentioning it to you, Miss Prettyman.'
'I will tell her that you are ready to do it, if anything can be done.
For myself I feel no doubt that the mystery will be cleared up at last;
and then, if you will come here, we shall be so glad to see you.--I
shall at least.'
Then the major went, and Miss Prettyman herself actually descended with
him into the hall, and bade him farewell most affectionately before her
sister and two of the maids who came out to open the door. Miss Anne
Prettyman, when she saw the great friendship with which the major was
dismissed, could not contain herself, but asked most impudent questions,
in a whisper indeed, but in such a whisper that any sharp-eared
maid-servant could hear and understand them. 'Is it settled,' she asked
when her sister had ascended only the first flight of stairs;--'has he
popped?' The look with which her elder sister punished and dismayed the
younger, I would not have borne for twenty pounds. She simply looked,
and said nothing, but passed on. When she had regained her room she rang
the bell, and desired to ask the servant to ask Miss Crawley to be good
enough to step to her. Poor Miss Anne retired discomforted into the
solitude of one of the lower rooms, and sat for some minutes all alone,
recovering from the shock of her sister's anger. 'At any rate, he hasn't
popped,' she said to herself, as she made her way back to the school.
After that Miss Prettyman and Miss Crawley were closeted together for
about an hour. What passed between them need not be repeated here word
for word; but it may be understood that Miss Prettyman said no more than
she ought to have said, and that Grace understood all that she ought to
'No man ever behaved with more considerate friendship, or more like a
gentleman,' said Miss Prettyman.
'I am sure he is very good, and I am so glad he did not ask to see me,'
said Grace. Then Grace went away, and Miss Prettyman sat awhile in
thought, considering what she had done, not without some stings of
Major Grantly as he walked home was not altogether satisfied with
himself, though he gave himself credit for some diplomacy which I do not
think he deserved. He felt that Miss Prettyman and the world in general,
should the world in general ever hear anything about it, would give him
credit for having behaved well; and that he had obtained this credit
without committing himself to the necessity of marrying the daughter of
a thief, should things turn out badly in regard to the father. But--and
this but robbed him of all the pleasure which comes from real
success--but he had not treated Grace Crawley with the perfect
generosity which love owes, and he was in some degree ashamed of
himself. He felt, however, that he might probably have Grace, should he
choose to ask for her when this trouble should have passed by. 'And I
will,' he said to himself, as he entered the gate of his own paddock,
and saw his child in her perambulator before the nurse. 'And I will ask
her, sooner or later, let things go as they may.' Then he took the
perambulator under his own charge for half-an-hour, to the satisfaction
of the nurse, of the child, and of himself.
MR CRAWLEY IS TAKEN TO SILVERBRIDGE
It had become necessary on the Monday morning that Mrs Crawley should
obtain from her husband an undertaking that he should present himself
before the magistrates at Silverbridge on the Thursday. She had been
made to understand that the magistrates were sinning against the strict
rule of law in not issuing a warrant at once for Mr Crawley's
apprehension; and they were so sinning at the instance of Mr Walker--at
whose instance they would have committed almost any sin practicable by a
board of English magistrates, so great was their faith in him; and she
knew that she was bound to answer her engagement. She had also another
task to perform--that, namely, of persuading him to employ an attorney
for his defence; and she was prepared with the name of an attorney, one
Mr Mason, also of Silverbridge, who had been recommended to her by Mr
Walker. But when she came to the performance of these two tasks on the
Monday morning, she found that she was unable to accomplish either of
them. Mr Crawley first declared that he would have nothing to do with
any attorney. As to that he seemed to have made up his mind beforehand,
and she saw at once that she had no hope of shaking him. But when she
found that he was equally obstinate in the other matter, and that he
declared that he would not go before the magistrates unless he were made
to do so--unless the policeman came and fetched him, then she almost
sank beneath the burden of her troubles, and for a while was disposed to
let things go as they would. How could she strive to bear a load that
was so manifestly too heavy for her shoulders?
On the Sunday the poor man had exerted himself to get through his Sunday
duties, and he had succeeded. He had succeeded so well that his wife had
thought that things might yet come right with him, that he would
remember, before it was too late, the true history of that unhappy piece
of paper, and that he was rising above that half madness which for
months past had afflicted him.
On the Sunday evening, when he was tired with his work, she thought it
best to say nothing to him about the magistrates and the business of
Thursday. But on Monday morning she commenced her task, feeling that she
owed it to Mr Walker to lose no more time. He was very decided in his
manners and made her to understand that he would employ no lawyer on his
own behalf. 'Why should I want a lawyer? I have done nothing wrong,' he
said. Then she tried to make him understand that many who may have done
nothing wrong require a lawyer's aid. 'And who is to pay him?' he asked.
To this she replied, unfortunately, that there would be no need of
thinking of that at once. 'And I am to get further into debt!' he said.
'I am to put myself right before the world by incurring debts which I
know I can never pay? When it has been a question of food for the
children I have been weak, but I will not be weak in such a matter as
this. I will have no lawyer.' She did not regard this denial on his part
as very material, though she would fain have followed Mr Walker's advice
had she been able; but when, later in the day, he declared that the
police should fetch him, then her spirits gave way. Early in the morning
he had seemed to assent to the expedient of going into Silverbridge on
the Thursday, and it was not till after he had worked himself into a
rage about the proposed attorney, that he utterly refused to make the
journey. During the whole day, however, his state was such as almost to
break his wife' heart. He would do nothing. He would not go to the
school, nor even stir beyond the house-door. He would not open a book.
He would not eat, nor would he even sit at table or say the accustomed
grace when the scanty midday meal was placed upon the table. 'Nothing is
blessed to me,' he said, when his wife pressed him to say the word for
their child's sake. 'Shall I say that I thank God when my heart is
thankless? Shall I serve my child by a lie?' Then for hours he sat in
the same position, in the old arm-chair, hanging over the fire
speechless, sleepless, thinking ever, as she well knew, of the injustice
of the world. She hardly dared to speak to him, so great was the
bitterness of his words when she was goaded to reply. At last, late in
the evening, feeling that it would be her duty to send to Mr Walker
early on the following morning, she laid her hand gently on his shoulder
and asked him for his promise. 'I may tell Mr Walker that you will be
there on Thursday?'
'No,' he said, shouting at her. 'No. I will have no such message
sent.' She started back, trembling. Not that she was accustomed to
tremble at his ways, or to show that she feared him in his paroxysms,
but that his voice had been louder than she had before known it. 'I will
hold no intercourse with them at Silverbridge in this matter. Do you
hear me, Mary?'
'I hear you, Josiah; but I must keep my word to Mr Walker. I promised
that I would send to him.'
'Tell him, then, that I will not stir a foot out of this house on
Thursday of my own accord. On Thursday I shall be here; and here I will
remain all day--unless they take me by force.'
'Will you obey me, or shall I walk into Silverbridge myself and tell the
man that I will not come to him.' Then he arose from his chair and
stretched forth his hand to his hat as though he were going forth
immediately, on his way to Silverbridge. The night was now pitch dark,
and the rain was falling, and abroad he would encounter all the severity
of the pitiless winter. Still it might have been better that he should
have gone. The exercise and the fresh air, even the wet and the mud,
would have served to bring back his mind to reason. But his wife thought
of the misery of the journey, of his scanty clothing, of his worn boots,
of the need there was to preserve the raiment which he wore; and she
remembered that he was fasting--that he had eaten nothing since the
morning, and that he was not fit to be alone. She stopped him,
therefore, before he could reach the door.
'Your bidding shall be done,' she said--'of course.'
'Tell them, then, that they must seek me if they want me.'
'But, Josiah, think of the parish--of the people who respect you--for
their sakes let it not be said that you were taken away by policemen.'
'Was St Paul not bound in prison? Did he think of what the people might
'If it were necessary, I would encourage you to bear it without a
'It is necessary, whether you murmur, or do not murmur. Murmur indeed!
Why does not your voice ascend to heaven with one loud wail against the
cruelty of man?' Then he went forth from the room into an empty chamber
on the other side of the passage; and his wife, when she followed him
there after a few minutes, found him on his knees, with his forehead
against the floor, and with his hands clutching at the scanty hairs of
his head. Often before had she seen him so, on the same spot, half
grovelling, half prostrate in prayer, reviling in his agony all things
around him--nay, nearly all things above him--and yet striving to
reconcile himself to his Creator by the humiliation of his confession.
It might be better for him now, if only he could bring himself to some
softness of heart. Softly she closed the door, and placing the candle on
the mantle-shelf, softly she knelt beside him, and softly touched his
hand with hers. He did not stir nor utter a single word, but seemed to
clutch at his thin locks more violently than before. Then she kneeling
there, aloud, but with a low voice, with her thin hands clasped, uttered
a prayer in which she asked her God to remove from her husband the
bitterness of that hour. He listened till she had finished, and then
rose slowly to his feet. 'It is in vain,' said he, 'it is all in vain.
It is all in vain.' Then he returned back to the parlour, and seating
himself again in the arm-chair, remained there without speaking till
past midnight. At last, when she told him that she herself was very
cold, and reminded him that for the last hour there had been no fire,
still speechless, he went up with her to their bed.
Early on the following morning she contrived to let him know that she
was about to send a neighbour's son over with a note to Mr Walker,
fearing to urge him further to change his mind; but hoping that he might
express his purpose of doing so when he heard that the letter was to be
sent; but he took no notice whatever of her words. At this moment he was
reading Greek with his daughter, or rather rebuking her because she
could not be induced to read her Greek.
'Oh, papa,' the poor girl said, 'don't scold me now. I am so unhappy
because of all of this.'
'And am I not unhappy?' he said, as he closed the book. 'My God, what
have I done against thee, that my lines should be cast in such terrible
The letter was sent to Mr Walker. 'He knows himself to be innocent,'
said the poor wife, writing what best excuse she how to make, 'and
thinks that he should take no step himself in such a matter. He will not
employ a lawyer, and he says that he should prefer that he be sent for,
if the law requires his presence at Silverbridge on Thursday.' All this
she wrote, as though she felt that she ought to employ a high tone in
defending her husband's purpose; but she broke down altogether in a few
words of the postscript. 'Indeed, indeed I have done what I could!' Mr
Walker understood it all, both the high tone and the subsequent fall.
On the Thursday morning, at about ten o'clock, a fly stopped at the gate
at Hogglestock Parsonage, and out of it came two men. One was dressed in
ordinary black clothes, and seemed from his bearing to be a respectable
man of the middle class of life. He was, however, the superintendent of
police for the Silverbridge district. The other man was a policeman,
pure and simple, with the helmet-looking hat which has lately become
common, and all the ordinary half-military and wholly disagreeable
outward adjuncts of the profession. 'Wilkins,' said the superintendent,
'likely enough I shall want you, for they tell me the gent is uncommon
strange. But if I don't call you when I come out, just open the door
like a servant and mount up on the box when we're in. And don't speak
nor say nothing.' then the senior policeman entered the house.
He found Mrs Crawley sitting in the parlour with her bonnet and shawl
on, and Mr Crawley in the arm-chair, leaning over the fire. 'I suppose
we had better go with you,' said Mrs Crawley directly the door was
opened; for of course she had seen the arrival of the fly from the
'The gentleman had better come with us if he'll be so kind,' said
Thompson. 'I've brought a carriage for him.'
'But I may go with him?' said the wife, with frightened voice. 'I may
accompany my husband. He is not well, sir, and wants assistance.'
Thompson thought about it for a moment before he spoke. There was room
in the fly for only two, or if for three, still he knew his place better
than to thrust himself inside together with his prisoner and his
prisoner's wife. He had been specially asked by Mr Walker to be very
civil. Only one could sit on the box with the driver, and if the request
was conceded the poor policeman must walk back. The walk, however would
not kill the policeman. 'All right, ma'am,' said Thompson;--'that is, if
the gentleman will just pass his word not to get out till I ask him.'
'He will not! He will not!' said Mrs Crawley.
'I will pass my word for nothing,' said Mr Crawley.
Upon hearing this, Thompson assumed a very long face, and shook his head
as he turned his eyes first towards the husband and then towards the
wife, and shrugged his shoulders, and compressing his lips, blew out his
breath, as though in this way he might blow off some of the mingled
sorrow and indignation with which the gentleman's words afflicted him.
Mrs Crawley rose and came close to him. 'You may take my word for it he
will not stir. You may indeed. He thinks it incumbent on him not to give
any undertaking himself, because he feels himself so harshly used.'
'I don't know about harshness,' said Thompson, brindling up. 'A close
carriage brought and--'
'I will walk. If I am to go, I will walk,' shouted Mr Crawley.
'I did not allude to you--or to Mr Walker,' said the poor wife. 'I know
you have been most kind. I meant the harshness of the circumstances. Of
course he is innocent, and you must feel for him.'
'Yes, I feel for him, and for you too, ma'am.'
'That is all I meant. He knows his own innocence, and therefore he is
unwilling to give way in anything.'
'Of course he knows hisself, that's certain. But he'd better come in
the carriage, if only because of the dirt and slush.'
'He will go in the carriage; and I will go with him. There will be room
for you there, sir.'
Thompson looked up at the rain, and told himself that it was very cold.
Then he remembered Mr Walker's injunction, and bethought himself that
Mrs Crawley, in spite of her poverty, was a lady. He conceived even
unconsciously the idea that something was due to her because of her
poverty. 'I'll go with the driver,' said he, 'but he'll only give
hisself a deal of trouble if he tries to get out.'
'He won't; he won't,' said Mrs Crawley. 'And I thank you with all my
'Come along, then,' said Thompson.
She went up to her husband, hat in hand, and looking round to see that
she was not watched put the hat on his head, and then lifted him as it
were from the chair. He did not refuse to be led, and allowed her to
throw round his shoulders the old cloak which was hanging in the
passage, and then he passed out, and was the first to seat himself in
the Silverbridge fly. His wife followed him, and did not hear the
blandishments with which Thompson instructed his myrmidon to follow
through the mud on foot. Slowly they made their way through the lanes,
and it was nearly twelve when the fly was driven through the yard of the
"George and Vulture" at Silverbridge.
Silverbridge, though it was blessed with a mayor and corporation, and
was blessed also with a Member of Parliament all to itself, was not
blessed with a courthouse. The magistrates were therefore compelled to
sit in the big room at the "George and Vulture" in which the county
balls were celebrated, and the meeting of the West Barsetshire
freemasons was held. That part of the country was, no doubt, very much
ashamed of its backwardness in this respect, but as yet nothing had been
done to remedy the evil. Thompson and his fly were therefore driven into
the yard of the inn, and Mr and Mrs Crawley were ushered by him up into
a little bed-chamber close adjoining to the big room in which the
magistrates were already assembled. 'There's a bit of a fire here,' said
Thompson, 'and you can make yourselves a little warm.' He himself was
shivering with the cold. 'When the gents is ready in there, I'll just
come and fetch you.'
'I may go in with him?' said Mrs Crawley.
'I'll have a chair for you at the end of the table, just nigh to him,'
said Thompson. 'You can slip into it and say nothing to nobody.' Then he
left them and went away to the magistrates.
Mr Crawley had not spoken a word since he had entered the vehicle. Nor
had she said much to him, but had sat with him holding his hand in hers.
Now he spoke to her--'Where is it that we are?' he asked.
'At Silverbridge, dearest.'
'But what is this chamber? And why are we here?'
'We are to wait here till the magistrates are ready. They are in the
'But this is the Inn?'
'Yes dear, it is the Inn.'
'And I see crowds of people about.' There were crowds of people about.
There had been men in the yard, and others standing about on the stairs,
and the public room was full of men who were curious to see the
clergyman who had stolen twenty pounds, and to hear what would be the
result of the case before the magistrates. He must be committed; so, at
least said everybody; but then there would be the question of bail.
Would the magistrates let him out on bail, and who would be the
bailsmen? 'Why are the people here?' said Mr Crawley.
'I suppose it is a custom when the magistrates are sitting,' said his
'They have come to see the degradation of a clergyman,' said he;--'and
they will not be disappointed.'
'Nothing can degrade but guilt,' said his wife.
'Yes--misfortune can degrade, and poverty. A man is degraded when the
cares of the world press so heavily upon him that he cannot rouse
himself. They have come to look at me as though I were a hunted beast.'
'It is but their custom always on such days.'
'They have not always had a clergyman before them as a criminal.' Then
he was silent for a while, while she was chafing his cold hands. 'Would
that I were dead, before they brought me to this! Would that I were
'Is it not right, dear, that we should bear all that He sends us?'
'Would that I were dead!' he repeated. 'The load is too heavy for me to
bear, and I would that I were dead.'
The time seemed very long before Thompson returned and asked them to
accompany him into the big room. When he did so, Mr Crawley grasped hold
of the chair as though he had resolved that he would not go.
But his wife whispered a word to him, and he obeyed her. 'He will
follow me,' she said to the policeman. And in that way they went from
the smaller room into the large one. Thompson went first; Mrs Crawley
with her veil down came next; and the wretched man followed his wife,
with his eyes fixed upon the ground and his hands clasped together upon
his breast. He could at first have seen nothing, and could hardly have
known where he was when they placed him in a chair. She, with better
courage, contrived to look round through her veil, and saw that there
was a long board or table covered with green cloth, and that six or
seven gentlemen were sitting at one end of it, while there seemed to be
a crowd standing along the sides and about the room. Her husband was
seated at the other end of the table, near the corner, and round the
corner--so that she might be close to him--her chair had been placed. On
the other side of him there was another chair, now empty, intended for
any professional gentleman whom he might choose to employ.
There were five magistrates sitting there. Lord Lufton, from Framley,
was in the chair;--a handsome man, still young, who was very popular in
the county. The cheque which had been cashed had borne his signature,
and he had consequently expressed his intention of not sitting on the
board; but Mr Walker, desirous of having him there, had overruled him,
showing that the loss was not his loss. The cheque, if stolen, had not
been stolen from him. He was not the prosecutor. 'No, by Jove,' said
Lord Lufton, 'if I could quash the whole thing, I would do so at once!'
'You can't do that, my lord, but you may help us at the board,' said Mr
Then there was the Hon George De Courcy, Lord De Courcy's brother, from
Castle Courcy. Lord De Courcy did not live in the county, but his
brother did so, and endeavoured to maintain the glory of the family by
the discretion of his conduct. He was not, perhaps, among the wisest of
men, but he did very well as a county magistrate, holding his tongue,
keeping his eyes open, and, on such occasions as this, obeying Mr Walker
in all things. Dr Tempest was also there, the rector of the parish, he
being both magistrate and clergyman. There were many in Silverbridge who
declared that Dr Tempest would have done far better to stay away when a
brother clergyman was thus to be brought before the bench; but it had
been long since Dr Tempest had cared what was said about him in
Silverbridge. He had become accustomed to the life he led as to like to
be disliked, and to be enamoured of unpopularity. So when Mr Walker had
ventured to suggest to him that, perhaps, he might not choose to be
there, he had laughed Mr Walker to scorn. 'Of course I shall be there,'
he said. 'I am interested in the case--very much interested. Of course I
shall be there.' And had not Lord Lufton been present he would have made
himself more conspicuous by taking the chair. Mr Fothergill was the
fourth. Mr Fothergill was man of business to the Duke of Omnium, who was
the great owner of property in and around Silverbridge, and he was the
most active magistrate in that part of the county. He was a sharp man,
and not at all likely to have any predisposition in favour of a
clergyman. The fifth was Dr Thorne of Chaldicotes, a gentleman whose
name has been already mentioned in these pages. He had been for many
years a medical man practising in a little village in the further end of
the county; but it had come to be his fate, late in life, to marry a
great heiress, with whose money the ancient house and domain of
Chaldicotes had been purchased from the Sowerbys. Since then Dr Thorne
had done his duty well as a country gentleman--not, however, without
some little want of smoothness between him and the duke's people.
Chaldicotes lay next to the duke's territory, and the duke had wished to
buy Chaldicotes. When Chaldicotes slipped through the duke's fingers and
went into the hands of Dr Thorne--or of Dr Thorne's wife--the duke had
been very angry with Mr Fothergill. Hence it had come to pass that there
had not always been smoothness between the duke's people and the
Chaldicotes people. It was now rumoured that Dr Thorne intended to stand
for the county on the next vacancy, and that did not tend to make things
smoother. On the right hand of Lord Lufton sat Lord George and Mr
Fothergill, and beyond Mr Fothergill sat Mr Walker, and beyond Mr Walker
sat Mr Walker's clerk. On the left hand of the chairman were Dr Tempest
and Dr Thorne, and a little lower down was Mr Zachary Winthrop, who held
the situation of clerk to the magistrates. Many people in Silverbridge
said that this was all wrong, as Mr Winthrop was partner with Mr Walker,
who was always employed before the magistrates if there was any
employment going for an attorney. For this, however, Mr Walker cared
very little. He had so much of his own way in Silverbridge, that he was
supposed to care nothing for anybody.
There were many other gentlemen in the room, and some who knew Mr
Crawley with more or less intimacy. He, however, took notice of no one,
and when one friend, who had really known him well, came up behind and
spoke to him gently leaning over his chair the poor man barely
recognised his friend.
'I'm sure your husband won't forget me,' said Mr Robarts, the clergyman
at Framley, as he gave his hand to that lady across the back of Mr
'No, Mr Robarts, he does not forget you. But you must excuse him if at
this moment he is not quite himself. It is a trying situation for a
'I can understand all that; but I'll tell you why I have come. I
suppose this inquiry will finish the whole affair, and clear up whatever
may be the difficulty. But should it not be so, it may be just possible,
Mrs Crawley, that something may be said about bail. I don't understand
much about it, and I daresay you do not either; but if there should be
anything of that sort, let Mr Crawley name me. A brother clergyman will
be best, and I'll have some other gentleman with me.' Then he left
without waiting for an answer.
At the same time there was a conversation going on between Mr Walker and
another attorney standing behind him, Mr Mason. 'I'll go to him,' said
Walker, 'and try to arrange it.' So Mr Walker seated himself in the
empty chair beside Mr Crawley, and endeavoured to explain to the
wretched man, that he would do well to allow Mr Mason to assist him. Mr
Crawley seemed to listen to all that was said, and then turned to the
speaker sharply: 'I will have no one to assist me,' he said so loudly
that everyone in the room heard the words. 'I am innocent. Why should I
want assistance? Nor have I the money to pay for it.' Mr Mason made a
quick movement forward, intending to explain that that consideration
need offer no impediment, but was stopped by further speech by Mr
Crawley. 'I will have no one to help me,' said he, standing upright, and
for the first time removing his hat from his head. 'Go on, and do what
it is you have to do.' After than he did not sit down till the
proceedings were nearly over, though he was invited more than once by
Lord Lufton to do so.
We need not go through all the evidence that was brought to bear upon
the question. It was proved that money for the cheque was paid to Mr
Crawley's messenger, and that this money was given to Mr Crawley. When
there occurred some little delay in the chain of evidence necessary to
show that Mr Crawley had signed and sent the cheque and got the money,
he became impatient. 'Why do you trouble the man?' he said. 'I had the
cheque, and I sent him; I got the money. Has anyone denied it, that you
would strive to drive a poor man like that beyond his wits?' Then Mr
Soames and the manager of the bank showed what inquiry had been made as
soon as the cheque came back from the London bank; how at first they had
both thought that Mr Crawley could of course explain the matter and how
he explained it by a statement which was manifestly untrue. Then there
was evidence to prove that the cheque could not have been paid to him by
Mr Soames, and as this was given, Mr Crawley shook his head and again
became impatient. 'I erred in that,' he exclaimed. 'Of course I erred.
In my haste I thought it was so, and in my haste I said so. I am not
good at reckoning money and remembering sums; but I say that I had been
wrong when my error was shown to me, and I acknowledged at once that I
had been wrong.'
Up to this point he had behaved not only with so much spirit, but with
so much reason, that his wife began to hope that the importance of the
occasion had brought back the clearness of his mind, and that he would,
even now, be able to place himself right as the inquiry went on. Then it
was explained that Mr Crawley had stated that the cheque had been given
to him by Dean Arabin, as soon as it was shown that it could not have
been given to him by Mr Soames. In reference to this, Mr Walker was
obliged to explain that application had been made to the dean, who was
abroad, and that the dean had stated that he had given fifty pounds to
his friend. Mr Walker explained also that the very notes of which this
fifty pounds had consisted had been traced back to Mr Crawley, and that
they had no connexion with the cheque or with the money which had been
given for the cheque at the bank.
Mr Soames stated that he had lost the cheque with a pocket-book; that he
had certainly lost it on the day on which he had called on Mr Crawley at
Hogglestock; and that he missed his pocket-book on his journey back from
Hogglestock to Barchester. At the moment of missing it he remembered
that he had taken the book out from his pocket in Mr Crawley's room,
and, at that moment, he had not doubted that he had left it in Mr
Crawley's house. He had written and sent to Mr Crawley to inquire, but
had been assured that nothing had been found. There had been no other
property of value in the pocket-book--nothing but a few visiting-cards
and a memorandum, and he had therefore stopped the cheque at the London
bank, and thought no more about it.
Mr Crawley was then asked to explain in what way he came possessed of
the cheque. The question was first put by Lord Lufton; but it soon fell
into Mr Walker's hands, who certainly asked it with all the kindness
with which such an inquiry could be made. Could Mr Crawley at all
remember by what means that bit of paper had come into his possession,
or how long he had had it? He answered the last question first. 'It had
been with me for months.' And why had he kept it. He looked round the
room sternly, almost savagely, he answered, fixing his eyes for a moment
upon almost every face around him as he did so. Then he spoke. 'I was
driven by shame to keep it--and then by shame to use it.' That his
statement was true, no one in the room doubted it.
And then the other question was pressed upon him; and he lifted up his
hands, and raised his voice, and swore by the Saviour in whom he
trusted, and he knew not from whence the money had come to him. Why then
had he said that it had come from the dean? He had thought so. The dean
had given him money, covered up, in an enclosure, 'so that the touch of
the coin might not add to my disgrace in taking alms,' said the wretched
man, thus speaking openly and freely in his agony of the shame which he
had striven so persistently to hide. He had not seen the dean's monies
as they had been given, and he had thought that the cheque had been with
them. Beyond that he could tell them nothing.
Then there was a conference between the magistrates and Mr Walker, in
which Mr Walker submitted that the magistrates had no alternative but to
commit the gentleman. To this Lord Lufton demurred, and with him Dr
'I believe, as I am sitting here,' said Lord Lufton, 'that he has told
the truth, and that he does not know any more than I do from whence the
'I am quite sure he does not,' said Dr Thorne.
Lord George remarked that it was the 'queerest thing he had ever come
across.' Dr Tempest merely shook his head. Mr Fothergill pointed out
that even supposing the gentleman's statement to be true, it by no means
went towards establishing the gentleman's innocence. The cheque had been
traced to the gentleman's hands, and the gentleman was bound to show how
it had come into his possession. Even supposing that the gentleman had
found the cheque in his house, which was likely enough, he was not
thereby justified in changing it; and applying the proceeds to his own
purposes. Mr Walker told them that Mr Fothergill was right, and that the
only excuse to be made for Mr Crawley was that he was out of his senses.
'I don't see it,' said Lord Lufton. 'I might have a lot of paper money
on me, and not know from Adam where I got it.'
'But you would have to show where you got it, my lord, when inquiry was
made,' said Mr Fothergill.
Lord Lufton, who was not particularly fond of Mr Fothergill, and was
very unwilling to be instructed by him in any of the duties of a
magistrate, turned his back at once upon the duke's agent; but within
three minutes afterwards he had submitted to the same instructions from
Mr Crawley had again seated himself, and during this period of the
affair was leaning over the table with his face buried on his arms. Mrs
Crawley sat by his side, utterly impotent as to any assistance, just
touching him with her hand, and waiting behind her veil till she should
be made to understand what was the decision of the magistrates. This was
at last communicated to her--and to him--in a whisper by Mr Walker. Mr
Crawley must understand that he was committed to take his trial at
Barchester, at the next assizes, which would be held in April, but that
bail would be taken;--in his own bail in five hundred pounds, and that
of two others in two hundred and fifty pounds each. And Mr Walker
explained further that he and the bailsmen were ready, and that the
bail-bond was prepared. The bailsmen were to be the Rev Mr Robarts and
Major Grantly. In five minutes the bond was signed and Mr Crawley was at
liberty to go away a free man--till the Barchester Assizes should come
around in April.
Of all that was going on at this time Mr Crawley knew little or nothing,
and Mrs Crawley did not know much. She did say a word of thanks to Mr
Robarts, and begged that the same might be said to--the other gentleman.
If she had heard the Major's name she did not remember it. Then they
were led out back into the bedroom, where Mrs Walker was found, anxious
to do something, if she only knew what, to comfort the wretched husband
and the wretched wife. But what comfort or consolation could there be
within their reach? There was tea made for them, and sandwiches cut from
the Inn larder. And there was sherry in the Inn decanter. But no such
comfort as that was possible for either of them.
They were taken home again in the fly, returning without the escort of
Mr Thompson, and as they went home some few words were spoken by Mrs
Crawley. 'Josiah,' she said, 'there will be a way out of this, even yet,
if you will only hold up your head and trust.'
'There is a way out of it,' he said. 'There is a way. There is but one
way.' When he had spoken she said no more, but resolved that her eye
should never be off him, no--not for a moment. Then, when she had gotten
him once more into that front parlour, she threw her arms around him and
GRACE CRAWLEY GOES TO ALLINGTON
The tidings of what had been done by the magistrates at their petty
sessions was communicated the same night to Grace Crawley by Miss
Prettyman. Miss Anne Prettyman had heard the news within five minutes of
the execution of the bail-bond, and had rushed to her sister with
information as to the event. 'They have found him guilty; they have,
indeed. They have convicted him--or whatever it is, because he couldn't
say where he got it.' 'You do not mean that they have sent him to
prison?' 'No;--not to prison; not as yet, that is. I don't understand it
altogether; but he's to be tried again in the assizes. In the meantime
he's to be out on bail. Major Grantly is to be the bail--and Mr Robarts.
That, I think, was very nice of him.' It was undoubtedly the fact that
Miss Anne Prettyman had received an accession of pleasurable emotion
when she learned that Mr Crawley had not been sent away scatheless, but
had been condemned, as it were, to public trial at the assizes. And yet
she would have done anything in her power to save Grace Crawley, or even
to save her father. And it must be explained that Miss Anne Prettyman
was supposed to be specially efficient in teaching Roman history to her
pupils, although she was so manifestly ignorant of the course of the law
in the country in which she lived. 'Committed him,' said Miss Prettyman,
correcting her sister with scorn. 'They have not convicted him. Had they
convicted him there would be no question of bail.' 'I don't know how
that all is, Annabella, but at any rate Major Grantly is to be the
bailsman, and there is to be another trial at Barchester.' 'There cannot
be more than one trial in a criminal case,' said Miss Prettyman, 'unless
the jury should disagree, or something of that kind. I suppose he has
been committed and the trial will take place at the assizes.'
'Exactly--that's just it.' Had Lord Lufton appeared as lictor and had
Thompson carried the fasces, Miss Anne would have known more about it.
The sad tidings were not told to Grace till the evening. Mrs Crawley,
when the inquiry was over before the magistrates, would fain have had
herself driven to the Miss Prettyman's school, that she might see her
daughter; but she felt that to be impossible while her husband was in
her charge. The father would of course have gone to his child, had the
visit been suggested to him; but that would have caused another terrible
scene; and the mother, considering it all in her mind, thought it better
to abstain. Miss Prettyman did her best to make poor Grace think that
the affair had so far gone favourably--did her best, that is, without
saying anything which her conscience told her to be false. 'It is to be
settled at the assizes in April,' she said.
'In the meantime what will become of papa?'
'Your papa will be at home, just as usual. He must have someone to
advise him. I daresay it would have been all over now if he would have
employed an attorney.'
'But it seems so hard that an attorney should be wanted.'
'My dear Grace, things in this world are hard.'
'But they are always harder for poor papa and mamma than for anybody
else.' In answer to this Miss Prettyman made some remarks intended to be
wise and kind at the same time. Grace, whose eyes were laden with tears,
made no immediate reply to this, but reverted to her former statement
that she must go home. 'I cannot remain, Miss Prettyman, I am so
'Will you be more happy at home?'
'I can bear it better there.'
The poor girl soon learned from the intended consolations of those
around her, from the ill-considered kindness of the pupils, and from
words which fell from the servants, that her father had in fact been
judged to be guilty, as far as judgment had as yet gone. 'They do say,
miss, it's only because he hadn't a lawyer,' said the house-keeper. And
if men so kind as Lord Lufton and Mr Walker had made him out to be
guilty, what could be expected from a stern judge down from London, who
would know nothing about her poor father and his peculiarities, and from
twelve jurymen who would be shopkeepers out of Barchester. It would kill
her father, and then it would kill her mother; and after that it would
kill her also. And there was no money in the house at home. She knew it
well. She had been paid three pounds a month for her services at the
school, and the money for the last two months had been sent to her
mother. Yet, badly as she wanted anything that she might be able to
earn, she knew that she could not go on teaching. It had come to be
acknowledged by both the Miss Prettymans that any teaching on her part
at the present was impossible. She would go home and perish with the
rest of them. There was no room left for hope to her, or to any of her
family. They had accused her father of being a common thief--her father
whom she knew to be so nobly honest, her father whom she believed to be
among the most devoted of God's servants. He was accused of a paltry
theft, and the magistrates and lawyers and policemen among them had
decided that the accusation was true! How could she look the girls in
the face after that, or attempt to hold her own among the teachers!
On the next morning there came a letter from Miss Lily Dale, and with
that in her hand she again went to Miss Prettyman. She must go home, she
said. She must at any rate go to her mother. Could Miss Prettyman be
kind enough to send her home. 'I haven't sixpence to pay for anything,'
she said, bursting into tears; 'and I haven't a right to ask for it.'
Then the statements which Miss Prettyman made in her eagerness to cover
this latter misfortune were decidedly false. There was so much money
owing to Grace, she said; money for this, money for that, money for
anything or nothing! Ten pounds would hardly clear the account. 'Nobody
owes me anything; but if you'll lend me five shillings!' said Grace, in
her agony. Miss Prettyman, as she made her way through this difficulty,
thought of Major Grantly and his love. It would have been of no use, she
knew. Had she brought them together on that Monday, Grace would have
said nothing to him. Indeed such a meeting at such a time would have
been improper. But, regarding Major Grantly, as she did, in the light of
a millionaire--for the wealth of the Archdeacon was notorious--she
could not but think it a pity that poor Grace should be begging for five
shillings. 'You need not at any rate trouble yourself about money,
Grace,' said Miss Prettyman. 'What is a pound or two more or less
between you and me? It is almost unkind of you to think about it. Is
that letter in your hand anything for me to see, my dear?' Then Grace
explained that she did not wish to show Miss Dale's letter, but that
Miss Dale had asked her to go to Allington. 'And you will go,' said Miss
Prettyman. 'It will be the best thing for you, and the best thing for
It was at last decided that Grace should go to her friend at Allington,
and to Allington she went. She returned home for a day or two, and was
persuaded by her mother to accept the invitation that had been given
her. At Hogglestock, while she was there, new troubles came up, of which
something will shortly be told; but they were troubles in which Grace
could give no assistance to her mother, and which, indeed, though they
were in truth troubles, as will be seen, were so far beneficent that
they stirred her father up to a certain action which was in itself
salutary. 'I think it will be better that you should be away, dearest,'
said her mother, who now, for the first time, heard plainly what poor
Grace had to tell about Major Grantly;--Grace having, heretofore, barely
spoken, in most ambiguous words, of Major Grantly as a gentleman whom
she had met at Framley, and whom she had described as being 'very nice'.
In old days, long ago, Lucy Robarts, the present Lady Lufton, sister of
the Rev Mark Robarts, the parson of Framley, had sojourned for a while
under Mrs Crawley's roof at Hogglestock. Peculiar circumstances, which
need not, perhaps, be told here, had given occasion for the visit. She
had then resolved--for her future destiny been known to her before she
had left Mrs Crawley's house--that she would in coming days do much to
befriend the family of her friend; but the doing of much had been very
difficult. And the doing of anything had come to be very difficult
through a certain indiscretion on Lord Lufton's part. Lord Lufton had
offered assistance, pecuniary assistance to Mr Crawley, which Mr Crawley
had rejected with outspoken anger. What was Lord Lufton to him that his
lordship should dare to come to him with his paltry money in his hand?
But after a while, Lady Lufton, exercising some cunning in the operation
of her friendship, had persuaded her sister-in-law at the Framley
parsonage to have Grace Crawley over there as a visitor--and there she
had been during the summer holidays previous to the commencement of our
story. And there, at Framley, she had become acquainted with Major
Grantly, who was staying with Lord Lufton at Framley Court. She had then
said something to her mother about Major Grantly, something ambiguous,
something about his being 'very nice', and the mother had thought how
great was the pity that her daughter, who was 'nice' too in her
estimation, should have had so few of those adjuncts to assist her which
come from full pockets. She had thought no more about it then; but now
she felt herself constrained to think more. 'I don't quite understand
why he should have come to Miss Prettyman on Monday,' said Grace,
'because he hardly knows her at all.'
'I suppose it was on business,' said Mrs Crawley.
'No, mamma, it was not on business.'
'How can you tell, dear?'
'Because Miss Prettyman said it was--to ask after me. Oh, mamma, I must
tell you. I know he did like me.'
'Did he ever say so to you, dearest?'
'And what did you tell him?'
'I told him nothing, mamma.'
'And did he ask to see you on Monday?'
'No, mamma; I don't think he did. I think he understood it all too
well, for I could not have spoken to him then.'
Mrs Crawley pursued her cross-examination no further, but made up her
mind that it would be better that her girl should be away from her
wretched home during this period of her life. If it were written in the
book of fate that one of her children should be exempted from the series
of misfortunes which seemed to fall, on after another, almost as a
matter of course, upon her husband, upon her, and upon her family; if so
great a good fortune were in store for her Grace as such a marriage as
this which seemed to be so nearly offered to her, it might probably be
well that Grace should be as little at home as possible. Mrs Crawley had
heard nothing but good of Major Grantly; but she knew that the Grantlys
were proud rich people--who lived with their heads high up in the
county--and it could hardly be that a son of the archdeacon would like
to take his bride direct from Hogglestock parsonage.
It was settled that Grace should go to Allington as soon as a letter
could be received from Miss Dale in return to Grace's note, and on the
third morning after her arrival at home she started. None but they who
have themselves been poor gentry--gentry so poor as not to know how to
raise a shilling--can understand the peculiar bitterness of the trials
which such poverty produces. The poverty of the normal poor does not
approach it; or, rather, the pangs arising from such poverty are
altogether of a different sort. To be hungry and have no food, to be
cold and have no fuel, to be threatened with distraint for one's few
chairs and tables, and with the loss of the roof over one's head--all
these miseries, which, if they do not positively reach, are so
frequently near to reaching the normal poor, are, no doubt, the severest
of the trials to which humanity is subjected. They threaten life--or, if
not life, then liberty--reducing the abject one to a choice between
captivity or starvation. By hook or crook, the poor gentleman or poor
lady--let the one or the other be so poor--does not often come to the
last extremity of the workhouse. There are such cases, but they are
exceptional. Mrs Crawley, through all her sufferings, had never yet
found her cupboard to be absolutely bare, or the bread-pan to be
actually empty. But there are pangs to which, at the time, starvation
itself would seem to be preferable. The angry eyes of the unpaid
tradesman, savage with anger which one knows to be justifiable; the
taunt of the poor servant who wants her wages; the gradual
relinquishment of habits which the soft nurture of earlier, kinder years
had made second nature; the wan cheeks of the wife whose malady demands
wine; the rags of the husband whose outward occupations demand decency;
the neglected children, who are learning not be the children of
gentlefolk; and, worse than all, the alms and doles of half-generous
friends, the waning pride, the pride that will not wane, the growing
doubt whether it be not better to bow the head, and acknowledge to all
the world that nothing of the pride of station is left--that the hand is
open to receive and ready to touch the cap, that the fall from the upper
to the lower level has been accomplished--these are the pangs of poverty
which drive the Crawleys of the world to the frequent entertaining of
that idea of the bare bodkin. It was settled that Grace should go to
Allington;--but how about her clothes? And then, whence was to come the
money for the journey?
'I don't think they'll mind about my being shabby at Allington. They
live very quietly there.'
'But you say that Miss Dale is so very nice in all her ways.'
'Lily is very nice, mamma; but I shan't mind her so much as her mother,
because she knows it all. I have told her everything.'
'But you have given me all your money, dearest.'
'Miss Prettyman told me I was to come to her,' said Grace, who had
already taken some from the schoolmistress, which at once had gone into
mother's pocket, and into household purposes. 'She said I should be sure
to go to Allington, and that of course I should go to her, as I must
pass through Silverbridge.'
'I hope papa will not ask about it,' said Mrs Crawley. Luckily papa did
not ask about it, being at the moment occupied much with other thoughts
and other troubles, and Grace was allowed to return by Silverbridge, and
to take what was needed from Miss Prettyman. Who can tell of the mending
and patching, of the very wearing midnight hours of needlework which
were accomplished before the poor girl went, so that she might not reach
her friend's house in actual rags? And when the world was ended, what
was there to show for it? I do not think that the idea of the bare
bodkin, as regarded herself, ever flitted across Miss Crawley's
brain--she being one of those who are very strong to endure; but it must
have occurred to her very often that the repose of the grave is sweet,
and that there cometh after death a levelling and making even of things,
which would at last cure all her evils.
Grace no doubt looked forward to a levelling and making even of
things--or perhaps to something more prosperous than that, which should
come to her relief on this side of the grave. She could not but have
high hopes in regard to her future destiny. Although, as has been said,
she understood no more than she ought to have understood from Miss
Prettyman's account of the conversation with Major Grantly, still,
innocent as she was, she had understood much. She knew that the man
loved her, and she knew also that she loved the man. She thoroughly
comprehended that the present could be to her no time for listening to
speeches of love, or for giving kind answers; but still I think that she
did look for relief on this side of the grave.
'Tut, tut,' said Miss Prettyman, as Grace in vain tried to conceal her
tears up in the private sanctum. 'You ought to know me by this time, and
to have learned that I can understand things.' The tears had flown in
return not only for the five gold sovereigns which Miss Prettyman had
pressed into her hand, but on account of the prettiest, soft, grey
merino frock that ever charmed a girl's eye. 'I should like to know how
many girls I have given dresses to, when they have been going out
visiting. Law, my dear; they take them, many of them, from us old maids,
almost as if we were only paying our debts in giving them.' And then
Miss Anne gave her a cloth cloak, very warm, with pretty buttons and
gimp trimmings--just such a cloak as any girl might like to wear who
thought that she would be seen out walking with her Major Grantly on a
Christmas morning. Grace Crawley did not expect to be seen out walking
by her Major Grantly, but nevertheless she liked the cloak. By the power
of her practical will, and by her true sympathy, the elder Miss
Prettyman had for a while conquered the annoyance, which on Grace's
part, was attached to the receiving of gifts, by the consciousness of
her poverty; and when Miss Anne, with some pride in the tone of her
voice, expressed a hope that Grace would think the cloak pretty, Grace
put her arms pleasantly round her friend's neck, and declared that it
was very pretty--the prettiest cloak in all the world!
Grace was met at the Guestwick railway station by her friend Lily Dale,
and was driven over to Allington in a pony carriage belonging to Lily's
uncle, the squire of the parish. I think she will be excused in having
put on her new cloak, not so much because of the cold as with a view of
making the best of herself before Mrs Dale. And yet she knew Mrs Dale
would know all the circumstances of her poverty, and was very glad that
it should be so. 'I am so glad that you have come, my dear,' said Lily.
'It will be such a comfort.'
'I am sure you are very good,' said Grace.
'And mamma is so glad. From the moment that we both talked ourselves
into eagerness about it--while I was writing my letter, you know, we
resolved that it must be so.'
'I'm afraid I shall be a great trouble to Mrs Dale.'
'A trouble to mamma! Indeed you will not. You shall be a trouble to no
one but me. I will have all the trouble myself, and the labour I delight
in shall be physic to my pain.'
Grace Crawley could not during the journey be at home and at ease even
with her friend Lily. She was going to a strange house under strange
circumstances. Her father had not indeed been tried and found guilty of
theft, but the charge of theft had been made against him, and the
magistrates before whom it had been made had thought the charge was
true. Grace knew all the newspapers had told the story, and was of
course aware that Mrs Dale would have heard it. Her own mind was full of
it, and though she dreaded to speak of it, yet she could not be silent.
Miss Dale, who understood much of this, endeavoured to talk her friend
into easiness; but she feared to begin upon the one subject, and before
the drive was over they were, both of them, too cold for much
conversation. 'There's mamma,' said Miss Dale as they drove up, turning
out of the street of the village to the door of Mrs Dale's house. 'She
always knows by instinct, when I am coming. You must understand now that
you are among us, that mamma and I are not mother and daughter, but two
loving old ladies living together in peace and harmony. We do have our
quarrels--whether the chicken shall be roast or boiled, but never
anything beyond that. Mamma, here is Grace, starved to death; and she
says if you don't give her some tea she will go back at once.'
'I will give her some tea,' said Mrs Dale.
'And I am worse than she is, because I've been driving. It's all up
with Bertram and Mr Green for the next week at least. It is freezing as
hard as it can freeze, and they might as well try to hunt in Lapland as
'They'll console themselves with skating,' said Mrs Dale.
'Have you ever observed, Grace,' said Miss Dale,' how much amusement
gentlemen require, and how imperative it is that some other game should
be provided when one game fails?'
'Not particularly,' said Grace.
'Oh, but it is so. Now, with women, it is supposed that they can amuse
themselves or live without amusement. Once or twice in a year, perhaps
something is done for them. There is an arrow-shooting party, or a
ball, or a picnic. But the catering for men's sport is never ending, and
is always paramount to everything else. And yet the pet game of the day
never goes off properly. In partridge time, the partridges are wild, and
won't come to be killed. In hunting time the foxes won't run straight
--the wretches. They show no spirit, and will take to ground to save
their brushes. Then comes a nipping frost, and skating is proclaimed;
but the ice is always rough, and the woodcocks have deserted the
country. And as for salmon--when the summer comes round I do really
believe that they suffer a great deal about the salmon. I'm sure they
never catch any. So they go back to their clubs and their cards, and
their billiards, and abuse their cooks and blackball their friends.
That's about it, mamma; is it not?'
'You know more about it than I do, my dear.'
'Because I have to listen to Bertram, as you never will do. We've got
such a Mr Green down here, Grace. He's such a duck of a man--such
top-boots and all the rest of it. And yet they whisper to me that he
doesn't always ride to hounds. And to see him play billiards is
beautiful, only he can never make a stroke. I hope you play billiards,
Grace, because uncle Christopher has just had a new table put up.'
'I never saw a billiard-table yet,' said Grace.
'Then Mr Green shall teach you. He'll do anything that you ask him. If
you don't approve the colour of the ball, he'll go to London to get you
another one. Only you must be very careful about saying that you like
anything before him, as he'll be sure to have it for you the next day.
Mamma happened to say that she wanted a four-penny postage stamp, and he
walked off to Guestwick to get it for her instantly, although it was
'He did nothing of the kind, Lily,' said her mother. 'He was going to
Guestwick, and was very good-natured, and brought me back a
postage-stamp that I wanted.'
'Of course he's good-natured, I know that. And there's my cousin
Bertram. He's Captain Dale, you know. But he prefers to be called Mr
Dale, because he has left the army, and has set up as junior squire of
the parish. Uncle Christopher is the real squire; only Bertram does all
the work. And now you know all about us. I'm afraid you'll find us dull
enough--unless you can take a fancy to Mr Green.'
'Does Mr Green live here?'
'No; he does not live here. I never heard of his living anywhere. He
was something once, but I don't know what; and I don't think he's
anything now in particular. But he's Bertram's friend, and like most
men, as one sees them, he never has much to do. Does Major Grantly ever
go forth to fight his country's battles?' This last question she asked
in a low whisper, so that the words did not reach her mother. Grace
blushed up to her eyes, however, as she answered--'I think Major Grantly
has left the army.'
'We shall get round her in a day or two, mamma,' said Lily Dale to her
mother that night. 'I'm sure it will be the best thing to force her out
of her troubles.'
'I would not use too much force on her, dear.'
'Things are better when they are talked about. I'm sure they are. And
it will be good to make her accustomed to speak of Major Grantly. From
what Mary Walker tells me, he certainly means it. And if so, she should
be ready for it when it comes.'
'Do not make her ready for what may never come.'
'No, mamma; but she is at present such a child that she knows nothing of
her powers. She should be made to understand that it is possible that
even a Major Grantly may think himself fortunate in being allowed to
'I should leave that to Nature, if I were you,' said Mrs Dale.
DINNER AT FRAMLEY COURT
Lord Lufton, as he drove home to Framley after the meeting of the
magistrates at Silverbridge, discussed the matter with his
brother-in-law, Mark Robarts, the clergyman. Lord Lufton was driving a
dog-cart, and went along the road at the rate of twelve miles an hour.
'I'll tell you what it is, Mark,' he said, 'that man is innocent; but if
he won't employ lawyers at his trial, the jury will find him guilty.'
'I don't know what to think about it,' said the clergyman.
'Were you in the room when he protested so vehemently that he did not
know where he got the money?'
'I was in the room all the time.'
'And you did not believe him when he said that?'
'Yes, I think I did.'
'Anybody must have believed him--except old Tempest, who never believes
anybody, and Fothergill, who always suspects everybody. The truth is,
that he found the cheque and put it by, and did not remember anything
'But, Lufton, surely that would amount to stealing it?'
'Yes, if it wasn't that he is such a poor, cracked, crazy creature, with
his mind all abroad. I think Soames did drop his book in his house. I'm
sure Soames would not say so unless he was quite confident. Somebody has
picked it up, and in some way the cheque has got into Crawley's hand.
Then he has locked it up and forgotten all about it; and when that
butcher threatened him, he has put his hand upon it, and he thought, or
believed, that it had come from Soames or the dean or from heaven, if
you will. When a man is so crazy as that, you can't judge of him as you
do of others.'
'But a jury must judge him as it would of others.'
'And therefore there should be a lawyer to tell the jury what to do.
They should have somebody up out of the parish to show that he is beside
himself half the time. His wife would be the best person, only it would
be hard lines on her.'
'Very hard. And after all he would only escape by being shown to be
'And he is mad.'
'Mrs Proudie would come upon him in such a case as that, and sequester
'And what will Mrs Proudie do when he's a convicted thief? Simply
unfrock him, and take away his living altogether. Nothing on earth
should induce me to find him guilty if I were on a jury.'
'But you have committed him.'
'Yes--I've been one, at least, in doing so. I simply did that which
Walker told us we must do. A magistrate is not left to himself as a
juryman is. I'd eat the biggest pair of boots in Barchester before I
found him guilty. I say, Mark, you must talk it over with the women, and
see what can be done for them. Lucy tells me that they're so poor, that
if they have bread to eat, it's as much as they have.'
On this evening Archdeacon Grantly and his wife dined and slept at
Framley Court, there having been a very long family friendship between
old Lady Lufton and the Grantlys, and Dr Thorne with his wife, from
Chaldicotes, also dined at Framley. There was also there another
clergyman from Barchester, one Mr Champion, one of the prebends of the
cathedral. There were only three now who had houses in the city since
the retrenchments of the ecclesiastical commission had come into full
force. And this Mr Champion was dear to the Dowager Lady Lufton, because
he carried on worthily the clerical war against the bishop which had
raged in Barchester ever since Dr Proudie had come there--which war old
Lady Lufton, good and pious and charitable as she was, considered that
she was bound to keep up, even to the knife, till Dr Proudie and all his
satellites should have been banished into the outer darkness. As the
light of the Proudies still shone brightly, it was probable that poor
old Lady Lufton might die before her battle was accomplished. She often
said that it would be so, but when so saying, always expressed a wish
that is might be carried on after her death. 'I shall never, never rest
in my grave,' she had once said to the archdeacon, 'while that woman
sits in your father's palace.' For the archdeacon's father had been
Bishop of Barchester before Dr Proudie. What mode of getting rid of the
bishop or his wife Lady Lufton proposed to herself, I am unable to say;
but I think she lived in hopes that in some way it might be done. If
only the bishop could have been found to have stolen a cheque for twenty
pounds instead of poor Mr Crawley, Lady Lufton would, I think, have been
In the course of these battles Framley Court would sometimes assume a
clerical aspect--having a prevailing hue, as it were, of black coats,
which was not altogether to the taste of Lord Lufton, and as to which he
would make complaint to his wife, and to Mark Robarts, himself a
clergyman. 'There's more of this than I can stand,' he'd say to the
latter. 'There's deuced more of it than you like yourself, I know.'
'It's not for me to like or dislike. It's a great thing having your
mother in the parish.'
'That's all very well; and of course she'll do as she likes. She may
ask whom she pleases here, and I shan't interfere. It's the same as
though it was her own house. But I shall take Lucy to Lufton.' Now Lord
Lufton had been building his house at Lufton for the last seven years
and it was not yet finished--or nearly finished, if all that his wife
had said were true. And if they could have their way, it never would be
finished. And so, in order that Lord Lufton might not actually be driven
away by the turmoils of ecclesiastical contest, the younger Lady Lufton
would endeavour to moderate both the wrath and the zeal of the elder
one, and would struggle against the coming clergymen. On this day,
however, three sat at the board at Framley, and Lady Lufton, in her
justification to her son, swore that the invitation had been given by
her daughter-in-law. 'You know, my dear,' the dowager said to Lord
Lufton, 'something must be done for these poor Crawleys; and as the dean
is away, Lucy wants to speak to the archdeacon about them.'
'And the archdeacon could not subscribe his ten-pound note without
having Champion to back him?'
'My dear Ludovic, you do put it in such a way.'
'Never mind, mother. I've no special dislike for Champion, only as you
are not paid five thousand pound a year for your trouble, it is rather
hard that you should have to do all the work of opposition bishop in the
It was felt by them all--including Lord Lufton himself, who became so
interested in the matter as to forgive the black coats before the
evening was over--that this matter of Mr Crawley's committal was very
serious, and demanded the full energies of their party. It was known to
them all that the feeling at the palace was inimical to Mr Crawley.
'That she-Beelzebub hates him for his poverty, and because Arabin
brought him into the diocese,' said the archdeacon, permitting himself
to use very strong language in his allusion to the bishop's wife. It
must be recorded on his behalf that he used the phrase in the presence
only of the gentlemen of the party. I think he might have whispered the
word in the ear of his confidential friend old Lady Lufton, and perhaps
have given no offence; but he would not have ventured to use such words
aloud in the presence of ladies.
'You forget, archdeacon,' said Dr Thorne, laughing, 'that the
she-Beelzebub is my wife's particular friend.'
'Not a bit of it,' said the archdeacon. 'Your wife knows better than
that. You tell her what I call her, and if she complains of the name
I'll unsay it.' It may therefore be supposed that Dr Thorne, and Mrs
Thorne, and the archdeacon, knew each other intimately, and understood
each other's feelings on these matters.
It was quite true that the palace party was inimical to Mr Crawley. Mr
Crawley undoubtedly was poor, and had not been so submissive to
episcopal authority as it behoves any clergyman to be whose loaves and
fishes are scanty. He had raised his back more than once against orders
emanating from the palace in a manner that had made the hairs on the
head of the bishop's wife to stand almost on end, and had taken as much
upon himself as though his living had been worth twelve hundred a year.
Mrs Proudie, almost as energetic in her language as the archdeacon, had
called him a beggarly perpetual curate. 'We must have perpetual curates,
my dear,' the bishop had said. 'They should know their places then. But
what can you expect of a creature from the deanery? All that ought to be
altered. The dean should have no patronage in the diocese. No dean
should have any patronage. It is an abuse from the beginning to the end.
Dean Arabin, if he had any conscience, would be doing the duty at
Hogglestock himself.' How the bishop strove to teach his wife, with the
mildest words, what really ought to be a dean's duty, and how the wife
rejoined by teaching her husband, not in the mildest words, what ought
to be a bishop's duty, we will not further inquire here. The fact that
such dialogues took place at the palace is recorded simply to show that
the palatial feeling in Barchester ran counter to Mr Crawley.
And this was cause enough, if no other cause existed, for partiality to
Mr Crawley at Framley Court. But, as has been partly explained, there
existed, if possible, even stronger ground than this for adherence to
the Crawley cause. The younger Lady Lufton had known the Crawleys
intimately, and the elder Lady Lufton had reckoned them among the
neighbouring clerical families of her acquaintance. Both these ladies
were therefore staunch in their defence of Mr Crawley. The archdeacon
himself had his own reasons--reasons which at present he kept altogether
within his own bosom--for wishing that Mr Crawley had never entered the
diocese. Whether the perpetual curate should or should not be declared a
thief, it would terrible to him to have to call the child of that
perpetual curate his daughter-in-law. But not the less on this occasion
was he true to his order, true to his side of the diocese, true to his
hatred of the palace.
'I don't believe it for a moment,' he said, as he took his place on the
rug before the fire in the drawing-room when the gentlemen came in from
their wine. The ladies understood at once what it was that he couldn't
believe. Mr Crawley had for the moment so usurped the county that nobody
thought of talking of anything else.
'How is it then,' said Mrs Thorne, 'that Lord Lufton, and my husband,
and the other wiseacres at Silverbridge, have committed him for trial?'
'Because we are told to do so by the lawyer,' said Dr Thorne.
'Ladies will never understand that magistrates must act in accordance
with the law,' said Lord Lufton.
'But you all say he's not guilty,' said Mrs Robarts.
'The fact is, that the magistrate cannot try the question,' said the
archdeacon; 'they only hear primary evidence. In this case I don't
believe Crawley would ever have been committed if he had employed an
attorney, instead of speaking for himself.'
'Why didn't somebody make him have an attorney?' said Lady Lufton.
'I don't think any attorney in the world could have spoken for him
better than he spoke for himself,' said Dr Thorne.
'And yet you committed him,' said his wife. 'What can we do for him?
Can't we pay the bail and send him off to America?'
'A jury will never find him guilty,' said Lord Lufton.
'And what is the truth of it?' asked the younger Lady Lufton.
Then the whole matter was discussed again, and it was settled among them
all that Mr Crawley had undoubtedly appropriated the cheque through
temporary obliquity of judgment--obliquity of judgment and forgetfulness
as to the source from whence the cheque had come to him. 'He has picked
it up about the house, and then has thought that it was his own,' said
Lord Lufton. Had they come to the conclusion that such an appropriation
of money had been made by one of the clergy of the palace, by one of the
Proudieian party, they would doubtless have been very loud and very
bitter as to the iniquity of the offender. They would have said as much
as to the weakness of the bishop and the wickedness of the bishop's
wife, and would have declared the appropriator to have been as very a
thief as ever picked a pocket or opened a bill;--but they were unanimous
in their acquittal of Mr Crawley. It had not been his intention, they
said, to be a thief, and a man should be judged only by his intention.
It must now be their object to induce a Barchester jury to look at the
matter in the same light.
'When they come to understand how the land lies,' said the archdeacon,
'they will be all right. There's not a tradesman in the city who does
not hate that woman as though she were--'
'Archdeacon,' said his wife, cautioning him to repress his energy.
'Their bills are all paid by this new chaplain they've got, and he is