Part 3 out of 18
made to claim discount on every leg of mutton,' said the archdeacon.
Arguing from which fact--or from which assertion, he came to the
conclusion that no Barchester jury would find Mr Crawley guilty.
But it was agreed on all sides that it would not be well to trust to the
unassisted friendship of the Barchester tradesmen. Mr Crawley must be
provided with legal assistance, and this must be furnished to him
whether he should be willing or unwilling to receive it. That there
would be a difficulty was acknowledged. Mr Crawley was known to be a man
not easy of persuasion, with a will of his own, with a great energy of
obstinacy on points which he chose to take as being of importance to his
calling, or to his own professional status. He had pleaded his own cause
before the magistrates, and it might be that he would insist on doing
the same thing before the judge. At last Mr Robarts, the clergyman from
Framley, was deputed from the knot of Crawleian advocates assembled at
Lady Lufton's drawing-room, to undertake the duty of seeing Mr Crawley,
and of explaining to him that his proper defence was regarded as a
matter appertaining to the clergy and gentry generally of that part of
the country, and that for the sake of the clergy and gentry the defence
must of course be properly conducted. In such circumstances the expense
of the defence would of course be borne by the clergy and gentry
concerned. It was thought that Mr Robarts could put the matter to Mr
Crawley with such a mixture of the strength of manly friendship and the
softness of clerical persuasion, as to overcome the recognised
difficulties of the task.
THE BISHOP SENDS HIS INHIBITION
Tidings of Mr Crawley's fate reached the palace at Barchester on the
afternoon of the day on which the magistrates had committed him. All
such tidings travel very quickly, conveyed by imperceptible wires, and
distributed by indefatigable message boys whom Rumour seems to supply
for the purpose. Barchester is twenty miles from Silverbridge by road,
and more than forty by railway. I doubt whether anyone was commissioned
to send the news along the actual telegraph, and yet Mrs Proudie knew it
before four o'clock. But she did not know it quite accurately. 'Bishop,'
she said, standing at her husband's study door. 'They have committed
that man to gaol. There was no help for them unless they had foresworn
'Not foresworn themselves, my dear,' said the bishop, striving, as was
usual with him, by some meek and ineffectual word to teach his wife that
she was occasionally led by her energy into error. He never persisted in
the lessons when he found, as was usual, that they were taken amiss.
'I say foresworn themselves!' said Mrs Proudie; 'and now what do you
mean to do? This is Thursday, and of course the man must not be allowed
to desecrate the church of Hogglestock by performing the Sunday
'If he has been committed, my dear, and is in prison--'
'I said nothing about prison, bishop.'
'Gaol, my dear.'
'I said they committed him to gaol. So my informant tells me. But of
course all Plumstead and Framley set will move heaven and earth to get
him out, so that he may be there as a disgrace to the diocese. I wonder
how the dean will feel when he hears of it! I do indeed. For the dean,
though he is an idle, useless man, with no church principles, and no
real piety, still he has a conscience. I think he has a conscience.'
'I'm sure he has, my dear.'
'Well;--let us hope so. And if he has a conscience, what must be his
feelings when he hears that this creature whom he has brought into the
diocese has been committed to gaol along with common felons.'
'Not with felons, my dear; at least, I should think not.'
'I say with common felons! A downright robbery of twenty pounds, just
as though he had broken into the bank! And so he did, with sly artifice,
which is worse in such hands than a crowbar. And now what are we to do?
Here is Thursday, and something must be done before Sunday for the souls
of those poor benighted creatures at Hogglestock.' Mrs Proudie was ready
for the battle, and was even now sniffing the blood far off. 'I believe
it's a hundred and thirty pounds a year,' she said, before the bishop
had collected his thought sufficiently for a reply.
'I think we must find out, first of all, whether he is really to be shut
up in prison,' said the bishop.
'And suppose he is not to be shut up. Suppose they have been weak, or
untrue to their duty--and from what we know of the magistrates of
Barsetshire, there is too much reason to suppose they will have been so;
suppose they have let him out, is he to go about like a roaring
lion--among the souls of the people?'
The bishop shook in his shoes. When Mrs Proudie began to talk of the
souls of the people he always shook in his shoes. She had an eloquent
way of raising her voice over the word souls that was qualified to make
any ordinary man shake in his shoes. The bishop was a conscientious man,
and well knew that poor Mr Crawley, even, would not roar at Hogglestock
to the injury of any man's soul. He was aware that this poor clergyman
had done his duty laboriously and efficiently, and he was also aware
that though he might have been committed by the magistrates, and then
let out upon bail, he should not be regarded now, in these days before
trial, as a convicted thief. But to explain all this to Mrs Proudie was
beyond his power. He knew well that she would not hear a word in
mitigation of Mr Crawley's presumed offence. Mr Crawley belonged to the
other party, and Mrs Proudie was a thorough-going partisan. I know a
man--an excellent fellow, who, being himself a strong politician,
constantly expressed a belief that all politicians opposed to him are
thieves, child-murderers, parricides, lovers of incest, demons upon
earth. He is a strong partisan, but not, I think, so strong as Mrs
Proudie. He says that he believes all evil of his opponents; but she
really believed the evil. The archdeacon had called Mrs Proudie a she-
Beelzebub; but that was a simple ebullition of mortal hatred. He
believed her to be simply a vulgar, interfering, brazen-faced virago.
Mrs Proudie in truth believed that the archdeacon was an actual emanation
from Satan, sent to these parts to devour souls--as she would call
it--and that she herself was an emanation of another sort, sent from
another source expressly to Barchester, to prevent such devouring, as
far as it might be prevented by a mortal agency. The bishop knew it
all--understood it all. He regarded the archdeacon as a clergyman
belonging to a party opposed to his party, and he disliked the man. He
knew that from his first coming into the diocese he had been encountered
with enmity by the archdeacon and the archdeacon's friends. If left to
himself he could feel and to a certain extent could resent such enmity.
But he had no faith in his wife's doctrine of emanations. He had not
faith in many things which she believed religiously;--and yet what could
he do? If he attempted to explain, she would stop him before he had got
through the first half of his first sentence.
'If he is out on bail--' commenced the bishop.
'Of course he will be out on bail.'
'Then I think he should feel--'
'Feel! Such men never feel! What feeling can one expect from a
'Not convicted yet, my dear,' said the bishop.
'A convicted thief,' repeated Mrs Proudie; and she vociferated the words
in such a tone that the bishop resolved that he would for the future let
the word convicted pass without notice. After all she was only using the
phrase in a peculiar sense given to it by herself.
'It won't be proper, certainly, that he should do the services,'
suggested the bishop.
'Proper! It would be a scandal to the whole diocese. How could he
raise his head as he pronounced the eighth commandment? That must be at
The bishop, who was seated, fretted himself in his chair, moving about
with little movements. He knew that there was a misery coming upon him;
and, as far as he could see, it might become a great misery--a huge
blistering sore upon him. When miseries came to him, as they did not
unfrequently, he would unconsciously endeavour to fathom them and weigh
them, and then, with some gallantry, resolve to bear them, if he could
find that their depth and weight were not too great for his powers of
endurance. He would let the cold wind whistle by him, putting up the
collar of his coat, and would be patient under the winter weather
without complaint. And he would be patient under the sun, knowing well
that tranquillity is best for those who have to bear tropical heat. But
when the storm threatened to knock him off his legs, when the earth
beneath him became too hot for his poor tender feet--what could he do
then? There had been with him such periods of misery, during which he
had wailed inwardly and had confessed to himself that the wife of his
bosom was too much for him. Now the storm seemed to be coming very
roughly. It would be demanded of him that he should exercise certain
episcopal authority which he knew did not belong to him. Now, episcopal
authority admits of being stretched or contracted according to the
character of the bishop who uses it. It is not always easy for a bishop
himself to know what he may do, and what he may not do. He may certainly
give advice to any clergyman in his diocese, and he may give it in such
form that it will have in it something of authority. Such advice coming
from a dominant bishop to a clergyman with a submissive mind, has in it
very much of authority. But Bishop Proudie knew that Mr Crawley was not
a clergyman with a submissive mind, and he feared that he himself, as
regarded from Mr Crawley's point of view, was not a dominant bishop. And
yet he could only act by advice. 'I will write to him,' said the bishop
'and will explain to him that as he is circumstanced he should not
appear in the reading-desk.'
'Of course he must not appear in the reading-desk. That scandal must at
any rate be inhibited.' Now the bishop did not at all like the use of
the word inhibited, understanding well that Mrs Proudie intended it to
be understood as implying some episcopal command against which there
should be no appeal;--but he let it pass.
'I will write to him, dear, tonight.'
'And Mr Thumble can go over with the letter first thing in the morning.'
'Will not the post be better?'
'No, bishop; certainly not.'
'He would get it sooner, if I write tonight, dear.'
'In either case he will get it tomorrow morning. An hour or two will
not signify, and if Mr Thumble takes it himself we shall know how it is
received. It will be well that Thumble should be there in person as he
will want to look for lodgings in the parish.'
'But, my dear--'
'About lodgings? I hardly think Mr Thumble, if we decide that Mr
Thumble should undertake the duty--'
'We have decided that Mr Thumble should undertake the duty. That is
'But I do not think he should trouble himself to look for lodgings at
Hogglestock. He can go over on the Sundays.'
'And who is to do the parish work? Would you have that man, a convicted
thief, to look after the schools, and visit the sick, and perhaps attend
'There will be a great difficulty; there will indeed,' said the bishop,
becoming very unhappy, and feeling that he was driven by circumstances
either assert his own knowledge or teach his wife something of the law
with reference to his position as a bishop. 'Who is to pay Mr Thumble?'
'The income of the parish must be sequestrated, and he must be paid out
of that. Of course he must have the income while he does the work.'
'But, my dear, I cannot sequestrate the man's income.'
'I don't believe it, bishop. If the bishop cannot sequestrate, who can?
But you are always timid in exercising the authority put into your hands
for wise purposes. Not sequestrate the income of a man who has been
proved to be a thief! You leave that to us, and we will manage it.' The
'us' named comprised Mrs Proudie and the bishop's managing chaplain.
Then the bishop was left alone for an hour to write the letter which Mr
Thumble was to carry over to Mr Crawley--and after a while he did write
it. Before he commenced the task, however, he sat for some moments in
his arm-chair close by the fire-side, asking himself whether it might
not be possible for him to overcome his enemy in this matter. How would
it go with him suppose he were to leave the letter unwritten, and send
in a message by his chaplain to Mrs Proudie, saying that as Mr Crawley
was out on bail, the parish might be left for the present without
episcopal interference? She could not make him interfere. She could not
force him to write the letter. So, at least, he said to himself. But as
he said it, he almost thought that she could do these things. In the
last thirty years, or more, she had ever contrived by some power latent
in her to have her will effected. But what would happen if now, even
now, he were to rebel? That he would personally become very
uncomfortable, he was well aware, but he thought he could bear that. The
food would become bad--mere ashes, between his teeth, the daily modicum
of wine would lose its flavour, the chimneys would all smoke, the wind
would come from the east, and the servants would not answer the bell.
Little miseries of that kind would crowd upon him. He had arrived at a
time in life in which such miseries make such men very miserable; but
yet he thought that he could endure them. And what other wretchedness
would come to him? She would scold him--frightfully, loudly,
scornfully, and worse than all, continually. But of this he had so much
habitually, that anything added might be borne also;--if only he could
be sure that the scoldings should go on in private, that the world of
the palace should not be allowed to hear the revilings to which he would
be subjected. But to be scolded publicly was the great evil which he
dreaded beyond all evils. He was well aware that the palace would know
his misfortune, that it was known, and freely discussed by all, from the
examining chaplain down to the palace boot-boy;--nay, that it was known
to all the diocese; but yet he could smile upon those around him, and
look as though he held his own like other men--unless when open violence
was displayed. But when that voice was heard aloud along the corridors
of the palace, and when he was summoned imperiously by the woman,
calling for the bishop, so that all Barchester heard it, and when he was
compelled to creep forth from his study, at the sound of that summons,
with distressed face, and shaking hands, and short hurrying steps--a
being to be pitied even by a deacon--not venturing to assume an air of
masterdom should he chance to meet a housemaid on the stairs--then, at
such moments as that, he would feel that any submission was better than
the misery which he suffered. And he well knew that should he now rebel,
the whole house would be in a turmoil. He would be bishoped here,
bishoped there, before the eyes of all palatial men and women, till life
would be a burden to him. So he got up from his seat over the fire, and
went to his desk and wrote the letter. The letter was as follows:--
THE PALACE, BARCHESTER,--December, 186-'
(he left out the dear, because he knew that if he inserted it he
would be compelled to write the letter over again).
'I have heard today with the greatest trouble of
spirit, that you have been taken before a bench of
magistrates assembled at Silverbridge, having
previously been arrested by the police in your
parsonage house at Hogglestock, and that the
magistrates of Silverbridge have committed you to take
your trial at the next assizes at Barchester, on a
charge of theft.
'Far be it from me to prejudge the case. You
will understand, reverend sir, that I express no
opinion whatever as to your guilt or innocence in this
matter. If you have been guilty, may the Lord give you
grace to repent of your great sin and to make such
amends as may come from immediate acknowledgement and
confession, if you are innocent, may He protect you,
and make your innocence shine before all men. In
either case may the Lord be with you and keep your
feet from further stumbling.
'But I write to you now as your bishop, to
explain to you that, circumstanced as you are, you
cannot with decency perform the church services of
your parish. I have that confidence in you that I
doubt not that you will agree with me in this, and
will be grateful to me for relieving you from the
immediate perplexities of your position. I have,
therefore, appointed Rev Caleb Thumble to perform the
duties of incumbent of Hogglestock till such time as a
jury shall have decided upon your case at Barchester;
and in order that you may at once become acquainted
with Mr Thumble, as will be most convenient that you
should do, I will commission him to deliver this
letter into your hand personally tomorrow, trusting
that you will receive him with that brotherly spirit
in which he is sent on this painful mission.
'Touching the remuneration to which Mr Thumble
will become entitled for his temporary ministration in
the parish of Hogglestock, I do not at present lay
down any strict injunction. He must, at any rate, be
paid at a rate not less than that ordinarily afforded
for a curate.
'I will once again express my fervent hope that
the Lord may bring you to see the true state of your
own soul, and that He may fill you with the grace of
repentance, so that the bitter waves of the present
hour may not pass over your head and destroy you.
'I have the honour to be,
'Your faithful servant in Christ,
(Baronum Castrum having been the old Roman name from which the modern
Barchester is derived, the bishops of the diocese have always signed
The bishop had hardly finished his letter when Mrs Proudie returned to
the study, followed by the Rev Caleb Thumble. Mr Thumble was a little
man, about forty years of age, who had a wife and children living in
Barchester, and who existed on such chance clerical crumbs as might fall
from the table of the bishop's patronage. People in Barchester said that
Mrs Thumble was a cousin of Mrs Proudie's; but as Mrs Proudie stoutly
denied the connexion, it may be supposed that the people of Barchester
were wrong. And, had Mr Thumble's wife in truth been a cousin, Mrs
Proudie would surely have provided for him during the many years in
which the diocese had been in her hands. No such provision had been
made, and Mr Thumble, who had not been living in the diocese for three
years, had received nothing else from the bishop than such chance
employment as this which he was about to undertake at Hogglestock. He was
a humble, mild-voiced man, when within the palace precincts, and had so
far succeeded in making his way among his brethren in the cathedral city
as to be employed not unfrequently for absent minor canons in chanting
the week-day services, being remunerated for his work at the rate of
about two shillings and sixpence a service.
The bishop handed the letter to his wife, observing in an off-hand kind
of way that she might as well see what he said. 'Of course I shall read
it,' said Mrs Proudie. And the bishop winced, visibly, because Mr
Thumble was present. 'Quite right,' said Mrs Proudie, 'quite right to
let him know that you knew he had been arrested--actually arrested by
'I thought it proper to mention that, because of the scandal,' said the
'Oh, it has been terrible in the city,' said Mr Thumble.
'Never mind, Mr Thumble,' said Mrs Proudie. 'Never mind that at
present.' Then she continued to read the letter. 'What's this?
Confession! That must come out, bishop. It will never do that you should
recommend confession to anybody, under any circumstances.'
'But, my dea--'
'It must come out, bishop.'
'My lord has not meant auricular confession,' suggested Mr Thumble. Then
Mrs Proudie turned around and looked at Mr Thumble, and Mr Thumble
nearly sank amidst the tables and chairs. 'I beg your pardon, Mrs
Proudie,' he said, 'I didn't mean to intrude.'
'The word must come out, bishop,' repeated Mrs Proudie. 'There should
be no stumbling blocks prepared for feet that are only too ready to
fall.' And the word did come out.
'Now, Mr Thumble,' said the lady, as she gave the letter to her
satellite, 'the bishop and I wish you to be at Hogglestock early
tomorrow. You should be there not later than ten, certainly.' Then she
paused until Mr Thumble had given the required promise. 'And we request
that you will be very firm in the mission which is confided to you, a
mission which, as of course, you see, is of a very delicate and
important nature. You must be firm.'
'I will endeavour,' said Mr Thumble.
'The bishop and I both feel that this most unfortunate man must not
under any circumstances be allowed to perform the services of the Church
while this charge is hanging over him--a charge as to the truth of which
no sane man can entertain a doubt.'
'I'm afraid not, Mrs Proudie,' said Mr Thumble.
'The bishop and I therefore are most anxious that you should make Mr
Crawley understand at once--at once,' and the lady, as she spoke, lifted
up her hand with an eloquent violence which had its effect on Mr
Thumble, 'that he is inhibited,'--the bishop shook in his
shoes--'inhibited from the performance of any of his sacred duties.'
Thereupon, Mr Thumble promised obedience and went his way.
MR CRAWLEY SEEKS FOR SYMPATHY
Matters went very badly indeed in the parsonage at Hogglestock. On the
Friday morning, the morning of the day after his committal, Mr Crawley
got up very early, long before the daylight, and dressing himself in the
dark, groped his way downstairs. His wife having vainly striven to
persuade him to remain where he was, followed him into the cold room
below with a lighted candle. She found him standing with his hat on and
with his old cloak, as though he were prepared to go out. 'Why do you do
this?' she said. 'You will make yourself ill with the cold and the night
air; and then you, and I too, will be worse than we now are.'
'We cannot be worse. You cannot be worse, and for me it does not
signify. Let it pass.'
'I will not let you pass, Josiah. Be a man and bear it. Ask God for
strength, instead of seeking it in an over-indulgence of your own
'Yes, love;--indulgence. It is indulgence. You will allow your mind to
dwell on nothing for a moment but your own wrongs.'
'What else have I that I can think of? Is not all the world against
'Am I against you?'
'Sometimes I think you are. When you accuse me of self-indulgence you
are against me--me, who for myself have desired nothing but to be
allowed to do my duty, and to have bread enough to keep me alive, and
clothes to make me decent.'
'Is it not self-indulgence, this giving way to grief? Who would know so
well as you how to teach the lesson of endurance to others? Come, love.
Lay down your hat. It cannot be fitting that you should go out into the
wet and cold of the raw morning.'
For a moment he hesitated, but as she raised her hand to take his cloak
from him he drew back from her, and would not permit it. 'I shall find
those up whom I want to see,' he said. 'I must visit my flock, and I
dare not go through the parish by daylight lest they hoot after me as a
'Not one in Hogglestock would say a word to insult you.'
'Would they not? The very children in the school whisper at me. Let me
pass, I say. It has not yet come to that, that I should be stopped in my
egress and ingress. They have--bailed me; and while their bail lasts, I
may go where I will.'
'Oh, Josiah, what words to me! Have I ever stopped your liberty? Would
I not give my life to secure it?'
'Let me go, then, now. I tell you that I have business in hand.'
'But I will go with you. I well be ready in an instant.'
'You go! Why should you go? Are there not the children for you to
'There is only Jane.'
'Stay with her, then. Why should you go about the parish?' She still
held him by the cloak, and looked anxiously up into his face. 'Woman,'
he said, raising his voice, 'what is that you dread? I command you to
tell me what it is you fear?' He had now taken hold of her by the
shoulder, slightly thrusting her from him, so that he might see her
face, by the dim light of the single candle. 'Speak, I say. What is it
that you think I shall do?'
'Dearest, I know that you will be better at home, better with me, than
you can be on such a morning as this out in the cold damp air.'
'And is that all?' He looked hard at her, while she returned his gaze
with beseeching loving eyes. 'It there nothing behind, that you will not
She paused for a moment before she replied. She had never lied to him.
She could not lie to him. 'I wish you knew my heart towards you,' she
said, 'with all and everything in it.'
'I know your heart well, but I want to know your mind. Why would you
persuade me not to go out among my poor?'
'Because it will be bad for you to be out alone in the dark lanes, in
the mud and wet, thinking of your sorrow. You will brood over it till
you will lose your senses through the intensity of your grief. You will
stand out in the cold air, forgetful of everything around you, till your
limbs will be numbed, and your blood chilled--'
'Oh, Josiah, do not hold me like that, and look at me so angrily.'
'And even then I will bear my burden till the Lord in His mercy shall
see fit to relieve me. Even then I will endure, though a bare bodkin or
leaf of hemlock would put an end to it. Let me pass on; you need fear
She did let him pass without another word, and he went out of the house,
shutting the door after him noiselessly, and closing the wicket gate of
the garden. For a while she sat herself down on the nearest chair, and
tried to make up her mind how she might best treat him in his present
state of mind. As regarded the present morning her heart was at ease.
She new that he would do now nothing of that which she had apprehended.
She could trust him not to be false in his word to her, though she could
not before have trusted him not to commit so much heavier a sin. If he
would really employ himself from morning till night among the poor, he
would be better so--his trouble would be easier of endurance--than with
any other employment which he could adopt. What she most dreaded was
that he should sit idle over the fire and do nothing. When he was so
seated she could read his mind, as though it was open to her as a book.
She had been quite right when she had accused him of over-indulgence in
his grief. He did give way to it till it became a luxury to him--a
luxury which she would not have had the heart to deny him, had she not
felt it to be of all luxuries the most pernicious. During these long
hours, in which he would sit speechless, doing nothing, he was telling
himself from minute to minute that of all God's creatures, he was the
most heavily afflicted, and was revelling in the sense of the injustice
done to him. He was recalling all the facts of life, his education,
which had been costly, and, as regarded knowledge, successful; his
vocation to the Church, when in his youth he had determined to devote
himself to the service of his Saviour, disregarding promotion or the
favour of men; the short, sweet days of his early love, in which he had
devoted himself again--thinking nothing of self, but everything of her;
his diligent working, in which he had ever done his very utmost for the
parish in which he was placed, and always his best for the poorest; the
success of other men who had been his compeers, and, as he too often
told himself, intellectually his inferiors; then of his children, who
had been carried off from his love to the churchyard--over whose graves
he himself had stood, reading out the pathetic words of the funeral
service with unswerving voice and a bleeding heart; and then of his
children still living, who loved their mother so much better than they
loved him. And he would recall the circumstances of their poverty--how
he had been driven to accept alms, to fly from creditors, to hide
himself, to see his chairs and tables seized before the eyes of those
over whom he had been set as their spiritual pastor. And in it all, I
think, there was nothing so bitter to the man as the derogation from the
spiritual grandeur of his position as priest among men, which came as
one necessary result from his poverty. St Paul could go forth without
money in his purse or shoes on his feet or two suits to his back, and
his poverty never stood in the way of his preaching, or hindered the
veneration of the faithful. St Paul, indeed, was called upon to bear
stripes, was flung into prison, encountered terrible dangers. But Mr
Crawley--so he told himself--could have encountered all that without
flinching. The stripes and scorn of the unfaithful would have been
nothing to him, if only the faithful would have believed in him, poor as
he was, as they would have believed in him had he been rich! Even they
whom he had most loved and treated him almost with derision, because he
was now different from them. Dean Arabin had laughed at him because he
had persisted in walking ten miles through the mud instead of being
conveyed in the dean's carriage; and yet, after that, he had been driven
to accept the dean's charity! No one respected him. No one! His very
wife thought that he was a lunatic. And now he had been publicly branded
as a thief; and in all likelihood would end his days in a gaol! Such
were always his thoughts as he sat idle, silent, moody, over the fire;
and his wife knew well their currents. It would certainly be better that
he should drive himself to some employment, if any employment could be
found possible for him.
When she had been alone for a few minutes, Mrs Crawley got up from her
chair, and going into the kitchen, lighted the fire there, and put the
kettle over it, and began to prepare such breakfast for her husband as
the means in the house afforded. Then she called the sleeping
servant-girl, who was little more than a child, and went into her own
girl's room, and then she got into bed with her daughter.
'I have been up with your papa, dear, and I am cold.'
'Oh, mamma, poor mamma! Why is papa up so early?'
'He has gone out to visit some of the brickmakers, before they go to
their work. It is better for him to be employed.'
'But, mamma, it is pitch dark.'
'Yes, dear, it is still dark. Sleep again for a while, and I will sleep
too. I think Grace will be here tonight, and then there will be no room
for me here.'
Mr Crawley went forth and made his way with rapid steps to a portion of
this parish nearly two miles from his house, through which was carried a
canal, affording water communication in some intricate way both to
London and Bristol. And on the brink of this canal there had sprung up a
colony of brickmakers, the nature of the earth in those parts combining
with the canal to make brickmaking a suitable trade. The workmen there
assembled were not, for the most part, native-born Hogglestockians, or
folk descended from Hogglestockian parents. They had come thither from
unknown regions, as labourers of that class do come when they are
needed. Some young men from that and neighbouring parishes had joined
themselves to the colony, allured by wages, and disregarding the menaces
of the neighbouring farmers; but they were all in appearance and manners
nearer akin to the race of navvies than to ordinary rural labourers.
They had a bad name in the country; but it may be that their name was
worse than their deserts. The farmers hated them, and consequently they
hated the farmers. They had a beershop, and a grocer's shop, and a
huxter's shop for their own accommodation, and were consequently
vilified by the small old-established tradesmen around them. They got
drunk occasionally, but I doubt whether they drank more than did the
farmers themselves on market-day. They fought among themselves
sometimes, but they forgave each other freely, and seemed to have no
objection to black eyes. I fear that they were not always good to their
wives, nor were their wives always good to them; but it should be
remembered that among the poor, especially when they live in clusters,
such misfortunes cannot be hidden as they may amidst the decent
belongings of more wealthy people. That they worked very hard was
certain; and it was certain also that very few of their number ever came
upon the poor rates. What became of the old brickmakers no one knew. Who
ever sees a worn-out navvy?
Mr Crawley, ever since first coming into Hogglestock, had been very busy
among these brickmakers, and by no means without success. Indeed the
farmers had quarrelled with him because the brickmakers had so crowded
the parish church, as to leave but scant room for decent people. 'Doo
they folk pay tithes? That's what I want'un to tell me?' argued one
farmer--not altogether unnaturally, believing as he did that Mr Crawley
was paid by tithes out of his own pocket. But Mr Crawley had done his
best to make the brickmaker welcome at the church, scandalising the
farmers by causing them to sit or stand in any portion of the church
which was hitherto unappropriated. He had been constant in his personal
visits to them, and had felt himself to more a St Paul with them than
with any other of his neighbours around him.
It was a cold morning, but the rain of the preceding evening had given
way to frost, and the air, though sharp, was dry. The ground under the
feet was crisp, having felt the wind and frost, and was no longer
clogged with mud. In his present state of mind the walk was good for our
poor pastor, and exhilarated him; but still, as he went, he thought
always of his injuries. His own wife believed that he was about to
commit suicide, and for so believing he was very angry with her; and
yet, as he well knew, the idea of making away with himself had flitted
through his own mind a dozen times. Not from his own wife could he get
real sympathy. He would see what he could do with a certain brickmaker
of his acquaintance.
'Are you here, Dan?' he said, knocking at the door of a cottage which
stood alone, close to the towing path of the canal, and close also to a
forlorn corner of the muddy, watery, ugly, disordered brick-field. It
was now just past six o'clock, and the men would be rising, as in
midwinter they commenced their work at seven. The cottage was an
unalluring, straight brick-built tenement, seeming as though intended
to be one of a row which had never progressed beyond Number One. A voice
answered from the interior, inquiring who was the visitor, to which Mr
Crawley replied by giving his name. Then the key was turned in the lock,
and Dan Morris, the brickmaker, appeared with a candle in his hand. He
had been engaged in lighting the fire, with a view to his own breakfast.
'Where is your wife, Dan?' asked Mr Crawley. The man answered by
pointing with a short poker, which he held in his hand, to the bed,
which was half-screened from the room by a ragged curtain, which hung
from the ceiling half-way down to the floor. 'And are the Darvels here?'
asked Mr Crawley. Then Morris, again using the poker, pointed upwards,
showing that the Darvels were still in their allotted abode upstairs.
'You're early out, Muster Crawley,' said Morris, and then he went on
with his fire. 'Drat the sticks, if they bean't as wet as the old 'un
hisself. Get up, old woman, and do you do it, for I can't. They wun't
kindle for me, nohow.' But the old woman, having well noted the presence
of Mr Crawley, thought it better to remain where she was.
Mr Crawley sat himself down by the obstinate fire, and began to arrange
the sticks. 'Dan, Dan,' said a voice from the bed, 'sure you wouldn't
let his reverence trouble himself with the fire.'
'How be I to keep him from it, if he chooses? I didn't ax him.' Then
Morris stood by and watched, and after a while Mr Crawley succeeded in
'How could it burn when you had not given the small spark a current of
air to help it?' said Mr Crawley.
'In course not,' said the woman, 'but he be such stupid.'
The husband said no word in acknowledgement of this compliment, nor did
he thank Mr Crawley for what he had done, nor appear as though he
intended to take any notice of him. He was going on with his work when
Mr Crawley again interrupted him.
'How did you get back from Silverbridge yesterday, Dan?'
'Footed it--all the blessed way.'
'It's only eight miles.'
'And I footed it there, and that's sixteen. And I paid one-and-
sixpence for beer and grub;--s'help me I did.'
'Dan!' said a voice from the bed, rebuking him for the impropriety of
'Well; I beg pardon, but I did. And they guv'me two bob;--just two
plain shillings by--'
'And I'd 've arned three-and-six here at brickmaking easy; that's what I
wuld. How's a poor man to live that way? They'll not cotch me at
Barchester 'Sizes at that price; they may be sure of that. Look
there--that's what I've got for my day.' And he put his hand into his
breeches-pocket and fetched out a sixpence. 'How's a man to fill his
belly out of that. Damnation!'
'Well, what did I say? Hold your jaw, will you, and not be halloaing at
me that way? I know what I am saying of, and what I'm a doing of.'
'I wish they'd given you something more with all my heart,' said
'We knows that,' cried the woman from the bed. 'We is sure of that,
'Sixpence!' said the man, scornfully. 'If they'd have guv' me nothing
at all but the run of my teeth at the public-house, I'd 've taken it
better. But sixpence!'
Then there was a pause. 'And what have they given to me?' said Mr
Crawley, when the man's ill-humour about his sixpence had so far
subsided as to allow of his busying himself again about the premises.
'Yes, indeed;--yes, indeed,' said the woman. 'Yes, yes, we feel that;
we do indeed, Mr Crawley.'
'I tell you what, sir; for another sixpence I'd have sworn you'd never
guv' me the paper at all; and so I will now, if it bean't too
late;--sixpence or no sixpence. What do I care? D--- them.'
'And why shouldn't I? They hain't got brains enough among them to winny
the truth from the lies--not among the lot of 'em. I'll swear afore the
judge that you didn't give it me at all, if that'll do any good.'
'Man, do you think I would have you perjure yourself, even if that would
do me a service? And do you think any man was ever served by a lie?'
'Faix, among them chaps it don't do to tell them too much of the truth.
Look at that!' And he brought out the sixpence again from his
breeches-pocket. 'And look at your reverence. Only that they've let you
out for a while, they've been nigh as hard on you as though you were one
'If they think that I stole it, they have been right,' said Mr Crawley.
'It's been along of that chap Soames,' said the woman. 'The lord
would've paid the money out of his own pocket and never said not a
'If they think that I've been a thief, they've done right,' repeated Mr
Crawley. 'But how can they think so? How can they think so? Have I lived
like a thief among them?'
'For the matter o' that, if a man ain't paid for his work by them as his
employers, he must pay hisself. Them's my notions. Look at that!'
Whereupon he again pulled out the sixpence, and held it forth in the
palm of his hand.
'You believe, then,' said Mr Crawley, speaking very slowly, 'that I did
steal the money. Speak out, Dan; I shall not be angry. As you go you are
an honest men, and I want to know what such of you think about it.'
'He don't think nothing of the kind,' said the woman, almost getting out
of bed in her energy. 'If he' thought the like o' that in his head, I'd
read 'un such a lesson he'd never think again the longest day he had to
'Speak out, Dan,' said the clergyman, not attending to the woman. 'You
can understand that no good can come of lie.' Dan Morris scratched his
head. 'Speak out, man, when I tell you,' said Crawley.
'Drat it all,' said Dan, 'where's the use of so much jaw about it?'
'Say you know his reverence is as innocent as the babe as isn't born,'
said the woman.
'No; I won't--say anything of the kind,' said Dan.
'Speak out the truth,' said Crawley.
'They do say, among 'em,' said Dan, 'that you picked it up, and then got
woolgathering in your head till you didn't rightly know where it come
from.' Then he paused. 'And after a bit you guv' it me to get the money.
Didn't you, now?'
'And they do say if a poor man had done it, it'd be stealing, for
'And I'm a poor man--the poorest in all Hogglestock; and, therefore, of
course, it is stealing. Of course I am a thief. Yes; of course I am a
thief. When the world believe the worst of the poor?' Having so spoken,
Mr Crawley rose from his chair and hurried out of the cottage, waiting
for no further reply from Dan Morris or his wife. And as he made his way
slowly home, not going there by the direct road, but by a long circuit,
he told himself there could be no sympathy for him anywhere. Even Dan
Morris, the brickmaker, thought that he was a thief.
'And am I a thief?' he said to himself, standing in the middle of the
road, with his hands up to his forehead.
THE BISHOP'S ANGEL
It was nearly nine before Mr Crawley got back to his house, and found
his wife and daughter waiting breakfast for him. 'I should not wonder if
Grace were over here today,' said Mrs Crawley. 'She'd better remain
where she is,' said he. After this the meal passed almost without a
word. When it was over, Jane, at a sign from her mother, went up to her
father and asked him whether she should read with him. 'Not now,' he
said, 'not just now. I must rest my brain before it will be fit for any
work.' Then he got into the chair over the fire, and his wife began to
fear that he would remain there all day.
But the day was not far advanced, when there came a visitor who
disturbed him, and by disturbing him did him a real service. Just at ten
there arrived at the little gate before the house a man on a pony, whom
Jane espied, standing there by the pony's head and looking about for
someone to relieve him of the charge of the steed. This was Mr Thumble,
who had ridden over to Hogglestock on a poor spavined brute belonging to
the bishop's stable, and which had once been the bishop's cob. Now it
was the vehicle by which Mrs Proudie's episcopal messages were sent
backwards and forwards through a twelve-miles ride round Barchester; and
so many were the lady's requirements, that the poor animal by no means
ate the hay of idleness. Mr Thumble had suggested to Mrs Proudie, after
their interview with the bishop and the giving up of the letter to the
clerical messenger's charge, that before hiring a gig from the Dragon of
Wantley, he should be glad to know--looking as he always did to 'Mary
Anne and the children'--whence the price of the gig was to be returned
to him. Mrs Proudie had frowned at him--not with all the austerity of
frowning which she could use when really angered, but simply with a
frown which gave her some little time for thought, and would enable her
to continue to rebuke if, after thinking, she should find that rebuke
was needed. But mature consideration showed her that Mr Thumble's
caution was not without reason. Were the bishop energetic--or even the
bishop's managing chaplain as energetic as he should be, Mr Crawley
might, as Mrs Proudie felt assured, be made in some way to pay for a
conveyance for Mr Thumble. But the energy was lacking, and the price of
the gig, if the gig were ordered, would certainly fall ultimately on the
bishop's shoulders. This was very sad. Mrs Proudie had often grieved
over the necessary expenditure of episcopal surveillance, and had been
heard to declare her opinion that a liberal allowance for secret service
should be made in every diocese. What better could the Ecclesiastical
Commission do with all those rich revenues which they had stolen from
the bishops? But there was no such liberal allowance at present, and
therefore, Mrs Proudie, after having frowned at Mr Thumble for some
seconds, desired him to take the grey cob. Now, Mr Thumble had ridden
the grey cob before, and would have much preferred a gig. But even the
grey cob was better than a gig at his own cost.
'Mamma, there's a man at the gate waiting to come in,' said Jane. 'I
think he's a clergyman.'
Mr Crawley immediately raised his head, though he did not at once leave
his chair. Mrs Crawley went to the window, and recognised the reverend
visitor. 'My dear, it is that Mr Thumble, who is so much with the
'What does Mr Thumble want with me.'
'Nay, my dear; he will tell you that himself.' But Mrs Crawley, though
she answered him with a voice intended to be cheerful, greatly feared
the coming messenger from the palace. She perceived at once that the
bishop was about to interfere with her husband in consequence of that
which the magistrates had done yesterday.
'Mamma, he doesn't know what to do with his pony,' said Jane.
'Tell him to tie it to the rail,' said Mr Crawley. 'If he has expected
to find menials here, as he has them at the palace, he will be wrong. If
he wants to come in here, let him tie the beast to the rail.' So Jane
went out and sent a message to Mr Thumble by the girl, and Mr Thumble
did tie the pony to the rail, and followed the girl into the house. Jane
in the meantime had retired out by the back door to the school but Mrs
Crawley kept her ground. She kept her ground although she believed that
her husband would have preferred to have the field to himself. As Mr
Thumble did not at once enter the room, Mr Crawley stalked to the door,
and stood with it open in his hand. Though he knew Mr Thumble's person,
he was not acquainted with him, and therefore simply bowed to the
visitor, bowing more than once or twice with a cold courtesy, which did
not put Mr Thumble altogether at his ease. 'My name is Mr Thumble,' said
the visitor--'the Reverend Caleb Thumble,' and he held the bishop's
letter in his hand. Mr Crawley seemed to take no notice of the letter,
but motioned Mr Thumble with his hand into the room.
'I suppose you have come from Barchester this morning?' said Mrs
'Yes, madam--from the palace.' Mr Thumble, though a humble man in
positions in which he felt humility would become him--a humble man to
his betters, as he himself would have expressed it--had still about him
something of that pride which naturally belonged to those clergymen who
were closely attached to the palace at Barchester. Had he been sent on a
message to Plumstead--could any such message from Barchester palace
have been possible--he would have been properly humble in his demeanour
to the archdeacon, or to Mrs Grantly had he been admitted to the august
presence of that lady; but he was aware that humility would not become
him on this present mission; he had been expressly ordered to be firm by
Mrs Proudie, and firm he meant to be; and therefore, in communicating to
Mrs Crawley the fact that he had come from the palace, he did load the
tone of his voice with something of the dignity which Mr Crawley might
perhaps be excused for regarding as arrogance.
'And what does the "palace" want with me?' said Mr Crawley. Mrs Crawley
knew at once there was to be a battle. Nay, the battle had begun. Nor
was she altogether sorry; for though she could not trust her husband to
sit alone all day in his arm-chair over the fire, she could trust him to
carry on a disputation with any other clergyman on any subject whatever.
'What does the palace want with me?' And as Mr Crawley asked the
question he stood erect, and looked Mr Thumble full in the face. Mr
Thumble called to mind the fact, that Mr Crawley was a very poor man
indeed--so poor that he owed money all round the country to butchers and
bakers, and the other fact that he, Mr Thumble himself, did not owe any
money to anyone, his wife luckily having a little income of her own;
and, strengthened by these remembrances, he endeavoured to bear Mr
Crawley's attack with gallantry.
'Of course, Mr Crawley, you are aware that this unfortunate affair at
'I am not prepared to discuss the unfortunate affair at Silverbridge
with a stranger. If you are the bearer of any message to me from the
Bishop of Barchester, perhaps you will deliver it.'
'I have brought a letter,' said Mr Thumble. Then Mr Crawley stretched
out his hand without a word, and taking the letter with him to the
window, read it very slowly. When he had made himself master of its
contents, he refolded the letter, placed it again in the envelope, and
returned to the spot where Mr Thumble was standing. 'I will answer the
bishop's letter,' he said; 'I will answer it of course, as it is fitting
that I should do so. Shall I ask you to wait for my reply, or shall I
send it by course of post?'
'I think, Mr Crawley, as the bishop wishes me to undertake the duty--'
'You will not undertake the duty, Mr Thumble. You need not trouble
yourself, for I shall not surrender my pulpit to you.'
'But the bishop--'
'I care nothing for the bishop in this matter.' So much he spoke in
anger, and then he corrected himself. 'I crave the bishop's pardon, and
yours as his messenger, if in the heat occasioned by my strong feelings
I have said aught which may savour of irreverence towards his lordship's
office. I respect his lordship's high position as bishop of this
diocese, and I bow to his commands in all things lawful. But I must not
bow to him in things unlawful, nor must I abandon my duty before God at
his bidding, unless his bidding be given in accordance with the canons
of the Church and the laws of the land. It will be my duty, on the
coming Sunday, to lead the prayers of my people in the church of my
parish, and to preach to them from my pulpit; and that my duty, with
God's assistance, I will perform. Nor will I allow any clergyman to
interfere with me in the performance of those sacred offices--no, not
though the bishop himself should be present with the object of enforcing
his illegal command.' Mr Crawley spoke these words without hesitation,
even with eloquence, standing upright, and with something of a noble
anger gleaming over his poor wan face; and, I think, that while speaking
them, he was happier than he had been for many a long day.
Mr Thumble listened to him patiently, standing with one foot a little in
advance of the other, with one hand folded over the other, with his head
rather on one side, and with his eyes fixed on the corner where the wall
and ceiling joined each other. He had been told to be firm, and he was
considering how he might best display firmness. He thought that he
remembered some story of two parsons fighting for one pulpit, and he
thought also that he should not himself like to incur the scandal of
such a proceeding in the diocese. As to the law in the matter he knew
nothing himself; but he presumed that a bishop would probably know the
letter better than a perpetual curate. That Mrs Proudie was intemperate
and imperious, he was aware. Had the message come from her alone, he
might have felt that even for her sake he had better give way. But as
the despotic arrogance of the lady in this case had been backed by the
timid presence and hesitating words of her lord, Mr Thumble thought that
he must have the law on his side. 'I think you will find, Mr Crawley,'
said he, 'that the bishop's inhibition is strictly legal.' He had picked
up the powerful word from Mrs Proudie and flattered himself that it
might be of use to him in carrying his purpose.
'It is illegal,' said Mr Crawley, speaking somewhat louder than before,
'and will be absolutely futile. As you pleaded to me that you yourself
and your personal convenience were concerned in this matter, I have made
known my intentions to you, which otherwise I should have made known
only to the bishop. If you please, we will discuss the matter no
'Am I to understand, Mr Crawley, that you refuse to obey the bishop?'
'The bishop has written to me, sire, and I will make known my intention
to the bishop by a written answer. As you have been the bearer of the
bishop's letter to me, I am bound to ask whether I shall be indebted to
you for carrying back my reply, or whether I shall send it by course of
post?' Mr Thumble considered for a moment, and then made up his mind
that he had better wait, and carry back the epistle. This was Friday,
and the letter could not be delivered by post till the Saturday morning.
Mrs Proudie might be angry with him if he should be the cause of loss of
time. He did not, however, at all like waiting, having perceived that Mr
Crawley, though with language courteously worded, had spoken of him as a
'I think,' he said, 'that I may, perhaps, best further the object which
we must all have in view, that namely of providing properly for the
Sunday services in the church of Hogglestock, by taking your reply
personally to the bishop.'
'That provision is my care and need trouble no one else,' said Mr
Crawley, in a loud voice. Then, before seating himself at his old desk,
he stood awhile, pondering with his back turned to his visitor. 'I have
to ask your pardon, sir,' said he, looking round for a moment, 'because
by the reason of the extreme poverty of this house, my wife is unable to
offer you any hospitality which is especially due from one clergyman to
'Oh, don't mention it,' said Mr Thumble.
'If you will allow me, sir, I would prefer that it should be mentioned.'
Then he seated himself, and commenced his letter.
Mr Thumble felt himself to be awkwardly placed. Had there been no third
person in the room he could have sat down in Mr Crawley's arm-chair, and
waited patiently till the letter should be finished. But Mrs Crawley was
there, and of course he was bound to speak to her. In what strain should
he do so? Even he, as little as he was given to indulge in sentiment,
had been touched by the man's appeal to his own poverty, and he felt,
moreover, that Mrs Crawley must have been deeply moved by her husband's
position with reference to the bishop's order. It was quite out of the
question that he should speak of that, as Mr Crawley would, he was well
aware, would immediately turn upon him. At last he thought of a subject,
and spoke with a voice intended to be pleasant. 'That was the
school-house I passed, probably, as I came here?' Mrs Crawley told him
that it was the school-house. 'Ah, yes, I thought so. Have you a
certified teacher there?' Mrs Crawley explained that no Government aid
had ever reached Hogglestock. Besides themselves, they had only a young
woman whom they themselves had instructed.
'Ah, that is a pity,' said Mr Thumble.
'I--I am the certified teacher,' said Mr Crawley, turning round upon him
from his chair.
'Oh, ah, yes,' said Mr Thumble; and after that Mr Thumble asked no more
questions about the Hogglestock school. Soon afterwards Mrs Crawley left
the room, seeing the difficulty under which Mr Thumble was labouring,
and feeling sure that her presence would not now be necessary. Mr
Crawley's letter was written quickly, though every now and then he would
sit for a moment with his pen poised in the air, searching his memory
for a word. But the words came to him easily, and before an hour was
over he had handed his letter to Mr Thumble. The letter was as
'THE PARSONAGE, HOGGLESTOCK, December, 186-
'RIGHT REVEREND LORD,
'I have received the letter of yesterday's date
which your lordship has done me the honour of sending
by the hands of the Reverend Mr Thumble, and I avail
myself of that gentleman's kindness to return to you
an answer by the same means, moved this to use his
patience chiefly by the consideration that in this way
my reply to your lordship's injunctions may be in your
hands with less delay than would attend the course of
'It is with deep regret that I feel myself
constrained to inform your lordship that I cannot obey
the command which you have laid upon me with reference
to the services of my church in this parish. I cannot
permit Mr Thumble, or any other delegate from your
lordship, to usurp my place in the pulpit. I would
not have you think, if I can possibly dispel such
thoughts from your mind, that I disregard your high
office, or that I am deficient in that respectful
obedience to the bishop set over me, which is due to
the authority of the Crown as the head of the church
in these realms; but in this, as in all questions of
obedience, he who is required to obey must examine the
extent of the authority exercised by him who demands
obedience. Your lordship might possibly call upon me,
using your voice as bishop of the diocese, to abandon
altogether the freehold rights which are now mine in
this perpetual curacy. The judge of assize, before
whom I shall soon stand for my trial, might command me
to retire to prison without a verdict given by a jury.
The magistrates who committed me so lately as
yesterday, upon whose decision in that respect your
lordship has taken action against me so quickly, might
have equally strained their authority. But in no
case, in this land, is he that is subject bound to
obey, further than where the law gives authority and
exacts obedience. It is not in the power of the Crown
itself to inhibit me from the performance of my
ordinary duties in this parish by any such missive as
that sent to me by your lordship. If your lordship
think right to stop my mouth as a clergyman in your
diocese, you must proceed to do so in an
ecclesiastical court in accordance with the laws, and
will succeed in your object, or fail, in accordance
with the evidences as to the ministerial fitness or
unfitness, which may be produced respecting me before
the proper tribunal.
'I will allow that much attention is due from a
clergyman to pastoral advice given to him by his
bishop. On that head I must first express to your
lordship my full understanding that your letter has
not been intended to convey advice, but an order;--an
inhibition, as your messenger, the Reverend Mr
Thumble, has expressed it. There might be a case
certainly in which I should submit myself to counsel,
though I should resist command. No counsel, however,
has been given--except indeed that I should receive
your messenger in a proper spirit, which I hope I have
done. No other advice has been given me, and
therefore there is now no such case as that I have
imagined. But in this matter, my lord, I could not
have accepted advice from a living man, no, not though
the hands of the apostles themselves had made him
bishop who tendered it to me, and had set him over me
for my guidance. I am in a terrible strait. Trouble,
and sorrow, and danger are upon me and mine. It may
well be, as your lordship says, that the bitter waters
of the present hour may pass over my head and destroy
me. I thank your lordship for telling me whither I am
to look for assistance. Truly I know not whether
there is any to be found for me on earth. But the
deeper my troubles, the greater my sorrow, the more
pressing any danger, the stronger is my need that I
should carry myself in these days with that outward
respect of self which will teach those around me to
know that, let who will condemn me, I have not
condemned myself. Were I to abandon my pulpit, unless
forced to do so by legal means, I should in doing so
be putting a plea of guilty against myself upon the
record. This, my lord, I will not do.
'I have the honour to be, my lord,
'Your lordship's most obedient servant,
When he had finished writing his letter he read it over slowly, and then
handed it to Mr Thumble. The act of writing, and the current of the
thoughts through his brain, and the feeling that in every word written
he was getting the better of the bishop--all this joined to a certain
manly delight in warfare against authority, lighted up the man's face
and gave to his eyes an expression which had been long wanting to them.
His wife at that moment came into the room and he looked at her with an
air of triumph as he handed the letter to Mr Thumble. 'If you will give
that to his lordship with an assurance of my duty to his lordship in all
things proper, I will thank you kindly, craving your pardon for the
great delay to which you have been subjected.'
'As to the delay, it is nothing,' said Mr Thumble.
'It has been much; but you as a clergyman will feel that it has been
incumbent upon me to speak my mind fully.'
'Oh, yes; of course.' Mr Crawley was standing up, as also was Mrs
Crawley. It was evident to Mr Thumble that they both expected that he
should go. But he had been especially enjoined to be firm, and he
doubted whether hitherto he had been firm enough. As far as this
morning's work had as yet gone, it seemed to him that Mr Crawley had had
the play to himself, and that he, Mr Thumble, had not had his innings.
He, from the palace, had been, as it were, cowed by this man, who had
been forced to plead his own poverty. It was certainly incumbent upon
him, before he went, to speak up, not only for the bishop, but for
himself also. 'Mr Crawley,' he said, 'hitherto I have listened to you
'Nay,' said Mr Crawley, smiling, 'you have indeed been patient, and I
thank you; but my words have been written, not spoken.'
'You have told me that you intend to disobey the bishop's inhibition.'
'I have told the bishop so, certainly.'
'May I ask you now to listen to me for a few minutes?'
Mr Crawley, still smiling, still having in his eyes the unwonted triumph
which had lighted them up, paused a moment, and then answered him.
'Reverend sir, you must excuse me if I say no--not on this subject.'
'You will not let me speak?'
'No; not on this matter, which is very private to me. What should you
think if I went into your house and inquired of you as to those things
which were particularly near to you?'
'But the bishop sent me.'
'Though ten bishops sent me--a council of archbishops if you will!' Mr
Thumble started back, appalled by the energy of the words used to him.
'Shall a man have nothing of his own;--no sorrow in his heart, no care
in his family, no thought in his breast so private and special to him,
but that, if he happen to be a clergyman, the bishop may touch it with
'I am not the bishop's thumb,' said Mr Thumble, drawing himself up.
'I intended not to hint anything personally objectionable to yourself.
I will regard you as one of the angels of the church.' Mr Thumble, when
he heard this, began to be sure that Mr Crawley was mad; he knew of no
angels that could ride about the Barsetshire lanes on grey ponies. 'And
as much as I respect you; but I cannot discuss with you the matter of
the bishop's message.'
'Oh, very well. I will tell his lordship.'
'I will pray you to do so.'
'And his lordship, should he so decide, will arm me with such power on
my next coming as will enable me to carry out his lordship's wishes.'
'His lordship will abide by the law, as will you also.' In speaking
these last words he stood with the door in his hand, and Mr Thumble, not
knowing how to increase or even maintain his firmness, thought it best
to pass out, and mount his grey pony and ride away.
'The poor man thought that you were laughing at him when you called him
an angel of the church,' said Mrs Crawley, coming up to him and smiling
'Had I told him he was simply a messenger, he would have taken it
worse;--poor fool! When they have rid themselves of me they may put him
here, in my church; but not yet--not yet. Where is Jane? Tell her that I
am ready to commence the Seven against Thebes with her.' Then Jane was
immediately sent for out of the school, and the Seven against Thebes was
commenced with great energy. Often during the next hour and a half Mrs
Crawley from the kitchen would hear him reading out, or rather saying by
rote, with sonorous rolling voice, great passages from some chorus, and
she was very thankful to the bishop, who had sent over to them a message
and messenger which had been so salutary in their effect upon her
husband. 'In truth an angel of the church,' she said to herself as she
chopped up the onions for the mutton-broth; and ever afterwards she
regarded Mr Thumble as an 'angel'.
MAJOR GRANTLY CONSULTS A FRIEND
Grace Crawley passed through Silverbridge on her way to Allington on the
Monday, and on the Tuesday morning Major Grantly received a very short
note from Miss Prettyman, telling him that she had done so. 'Dear
Sir,--I think you will be very glad to learn that our friend Miss
Crawley went from us yesterday on a visit to her friend, Miss Dale, at
Allington.--Yours truly, Annabella Prettyman.' The note said no more
than that. Major Grantly was glad to get it, obtaining from it the
satisfaction which a man always feels when he is presumed to be
concerned in the affairs of the lady with whom he is in love. And he
regarded Miss Prettyman with favourable eyes as a discreet and friendly
woman. Nevertheless, he was not altogether happy. The very fact that
Miss Prettyman should write to him on such a subject made him feel that
he was bound to Grace Crawley. He knew enough of himself to be sure that
he could not give her up without making himself miserable. And yet, as
regarded her father, things were going from bad to worse. Everybody now
said that the evidence was so strong against Mr Crawley as to leave
hardly any doubt of his guilt. Even the ladies in Silverbridge were
beginning to give up his cause, acknowledging that the money could not
have come rightfully into his hands, and excusing him on the plea of
partial insanity. 'He has picked it up and put it by for months, and
then thought that it was his own . . .' The ladies at Silverbridge could
find nothing better to say for him than that; and when young Mr Walker
remarked that such little mistakes were the customary causes of men
being taken to prison, the ladies of Silverbridge did not know how to
answer him. It had come to be their opinion that Mr Crawley was affected
with a partial lunacy, which ought to be forgiven in one to whom the
world had been so cruel; and when young Mr Walker endeavoured to explain
to them that a man must be sane altogether or mad altogether, and that
Mr Crawley must, if sane, be locked up as a thief, and if mad, locked up
as a madman, they sighed, and were convinced that until the world should
have been improved by a new infusion of romance, and a stronger feeling
of justice, Mr John Walker was right.
And the result of this general opinion made its way to Major Grantly,
and made its way, also, to the archdeacon at Plumstead. As to the major,
in giving him his due, it must be explained that the more certain he
became of the father's guilt, the more certain also he became of the
daughter's merits. It was very hard. The whole thing was cruelly hard.
It was cruelly hard upon him that he should be brought into this
trouble, and be forced to take upon himself the armour of a
knight-errant for the redress of the wrong on the part of the young
lady. But when alone in his house, or with his child, he declared to
himself that he would do so. It might well be that he could not live in
Barsetshire after he had married Mr Crawley's daughter. He had inherited
from his father enough of that longing for ascendancy among those around
him to make him feel that in such circumstances he would be wretched.
But he would be made more wretched by the self-knowledge that he had
behaved badly to the girl he loved; and the world beyond Barsetshire was
open to him. He would take her with him to Canada, to New Zealand, or to
some other far-away country, and there begin his life again. Should his
father choose to punish him for so doing by disinheriting him, they
would be poor enough; but, in his present frame of mind, the major was
able to regard such poverty as honourable and not altogether
He had been out shooting all day at Chaldicotes, with Dr Thorne and a
party who were staying in the house there, and had been talking about Mr
Crawley, first with one man and then with another. Lord Lufton had been
there, and young Gresham from Greshambury, and Mr Robarts, the
clergyman, and news had come among them of the attempt made by the
bishop to stop Mr Crawley from preaching. Mr Robarts had been of the
opinion that Mr Crawley should have given way; and Lord Lufton, who
shared his mother's intense dislike of everything that came from the
palace, had sworn that he was right to resist. The sympathy of the whole
party had been with Mr Crawley; but they had all agreed that he had
stolen the money.
'I fear he'll have to give way to the bishop at last,' Lord Lufton had
'And what on earth will become of his children,' said the doctor. 'Think
of the fate of that pretty girl; for she is a very pretty girl. It will
be the ruin of her. No man will allow himself to fall in love with her
when her father shall have been found guilty of stealing a cheque for
'We must do something for the whole family,' said the lord. 'I say,
Thorne, you haven't half the game here that there used to be in poor
old Sowerby's time.'
'Haven't I?' said the doctor. 'You see, Sowerby had been at it all his
days, and never did anything else. I only began late in life.'
The major had intended to stay and dine at Chaldicotes, but when he
heard what was said about Grace, his heart became sad, and he made some
excuse as to the child, and returned home. Dr Thorne had declared that
no man could allow himself to fall in love with her. But what if a man
had fallen in love with her beforehand? What if a man had not only
fallen in love, but spoken of his love? Had he been alone with the
doctor, he would, I think, have told him the whole of his trouble; for
in all the county there was no man whom he would sooner have trusted
with his secret. This Dr Thorne was known far and wide for his soft
heart, his open hand, and his well-sustained indifference to the world's
opinions on most of those social matters with which the world meddles;
and therefore the words which he had spoken had more weight with Major
Grantly than they would have had from other lips. As he drove home he
almost made up his mind that he would consult Dr Thorne upon the matter.
There were many younger men with whom he was very intimate--Frank
Gresham, for instance, and Lord Lufton himself; but this was an affair
which he hardly knew who to discuss with a young man. To Dr Thorne he
thought that he could bring himself to tell the whole story.
In the evening there came to him a message from Plumstead, with a letter
from his father and some present for the child. He knew at once that the
present had been thus sent as an excuse for the letter. His father might
have written by the post, or course; but that would have given to his
letter a certain air and tone which he had not wished it to bear. After
some message from the major's mother, and some allusion to Edith, the
archdeacon struck off upon the matter that was near his heart.
'I fear it is all up with that unfortunate man at Hogglestock,' he said.
'From what I hear of the evidence which came out before the magistrates,
there can, I think, be no doubt as to his guilt. Have you heard that the
bishop sent over on the following day to stop him from preaching? He did
so, and sent again on the Sunday. But Crawley would not give way, and so
far I respect the man; for, as a matter of course, whatever the bishop
did, or attempted to do, he would do with an extreme bad taste, probably
with gross ignorance as to his own duty and as to the duty of the man
under him. I am told that on the first day Crawley turned out of his
house the messenger sent to him--some stray clergyman whom Mrs Proudie
keeps in the house; and that on Sunday the stairs to the reading-desk
and pulpit were occupied by a lot of brickmakers, among whom the parson
from Barchester did not venture to attempt to make his way, although he
was fortified by the presence of one of the cathedral vergers and by one
of the palace footmen. As for the rest, I have no doubt it is all true.
I pity Crawley from my heart. Poor, unfortunate man! The general opinion
seems to be that he is not in truth responsible for what he does. As for
his victory over the bishop, nothing on earth could be better.
'Your mother particularly wishes you to come over to us before the end
of the week, and to bring Edith. Your grandfather will be here, and he
is becoming so infirm that he will never come to us for another
Christmas. Of course you will stay for the new year.'
Though the letter was full of Mr Crawley and his affairs there was not a
word about Grace. This, however, was quite natural. Major Grantly
perfectly well understood his father's anxiety to carry his point
without seeming to allude to the disagreeable subject. 'My father is
very clever,' he said to himself, 'very clever. But he isn't so clever
but one can see how clever he is.'
On the next day he went into Silverbridge, intending to call on Miss
Prettyman; nor was he called upon to do so, as he never got as far as
that lady's house. While walking up the High Street he saw Mrs Thorne in
her carriage, and, as a matter of course, he stopped to speak to her. He
knew Mrs Thorne quite as intimately as he did her husband, and liked her
quite as well. 'Major Grantly,' she said, speaking out loud to him, half
across the street; 'I was very angry with you yesterday. Why did you not
come up to dinner? We had a room ready for you and everything.'
'I was not quite well, Mrs Thorne.'
'Fiddlestick. Don't tell me of not being well. There was Emily
breaking her heart about you.'
'I'm sure, Miss Dunstable--'
'To tell you the truth, I think she'll get over it. It won't be mortal
with her. But do tell me, Major Grantly, what are we to think about this
poor Mr Crawley? It was so good of you to be one of his bailsmen.'
'He would have found twenty in Silverbridge, if he had wanted them.'
'And do you hear that he has defied the bishop? I do so like him for
that. Not but what poor Mrs Proudie is the dearest friend I have in the
world, and I'm always fighting a battle with old Lady Lufton on her
behalf. But one likes to see one's friends worsted sometimes.'
'I don't quite understand what did happen at Hogglestock on the Sunday,'
said the major.
'Some say he had the bishop's chaplain put under the pump. I don't
believe that; but there is no doubt that when the poor fellow tried to
get into the pulpit, they took him and carried him neck and heels out of
the church. But, tell me, Major Grantly, what is to become of the
'Is it not sad? And that eldest girl is so nice! They tell me that she
is perfect--not only in beauty, but in manners and accomplishments.
Everybody says that she talks Greek just as well as she does English,
and that she understands philosophy from the top to the bottom.'
'At any rate, she is so good and so lovely that one cannot but pity
'You know her, Major Grantly? By-the-by, of course you do, as you were
staying with her at Framley.'
'Yes, I know her.'
'What is to become of her? I'm going your way. You might as well get
into the carriage, and I'll drive you home. If he is sent to prison--and
they say he must be sent to prison--what is to become of them?' Then
Major Grantly did get into the carriage, and, before he got out again,
he had told Mrs Thorne the whole story of his love.
She listened to him with the closest attention; only interrupting him
now and then with little words, intended to signify her approval. He, as
he told his tale, did not look her in the face, but sat with his eyes
fixed upon her muff. 'And now,' he said, glancing up at her almost for
the first time as he finished his speech, 'and now, Mrs Thorne, what am
I to do?'
'Marry her, of course,' said she, raising her hand aloft and bringing it
down heavily upon is knee as she gave her decisive reply.
'H--sh--h,' he exclaimed, looking back in dismay towards the servants.
'Oh, they never hear anything up there. They're thinking about the last
pot of porter they had, or the next they're to get. Deary me, I am so
glad! Of course you'll marry her.'
'You forget my father.'
'No, I don't. What has a father to do with it? You're old enough to
please yourself without asking your father. Besides, Lord bless me, the
archdeacon isn't the man to bear malice. He'll storm and threaten and
stop the supplies for a month or so. Then he'll double them, and take
your wife to his bosom, and kiss her, and bless her, and all that kind
of thing. We all know what parental wrath means in such cases as this.'
'But my sister--'
'As for your sister, don't talk to me about her. I don't care two
straws about your sister. You must excuse me, Major Grantly, but Lady
Hartletop is really too big for my powers of vision.'
'And Edith--of course, Mrs Thorne, I can't be blind to the fact that in
many ways such a marriage would be injurious to her. No man wishes to be
connected with a convicted thief.'
'No, Major Grantly; but a man does wish to marry the girl that he loves.
At least, I suppose so. And what man was ever able to give a more
touching proof of his affection than you can to now? If I were you, I'd
be at Allington before twelve o'clock tomorrow--I would indeed. What
does it matter about the trumpery cheque? Everybody knows it was a
mistake if he did take it. And surely you would not punish her for
'No--no; but I don't suppose she'd think it a punishment.'
'You go and ask her then. And I'll tell you what. If she hasn't a
house of her own to be married from, she shall be married from
Chaldicotes. We'll have such a breakfast! And I'll make as much of her
as if she were the daughter of my old friend, the bishop himself--I will
This was Mrs Thorne's advice. Before it was completed, Major Grantly
had been carried half way to Chaldicotes. When he left his impetuous
friend he was too prudent to make any promise, but he declared that what
she had said should have much weight with him.
'You won't mention it to anybody,' said the Major.
'Certainly not, without your leave,' said Mrs Thorne. 'Don't you know
I'm the soul of honour?'
UP IN LONDON
Some kind and attentive reader may perhaps remember that Miss Grace
Crawley, in a letter written by her to her friend Miss Lily Dale, said a
word or two of a certain John. 'If it can only be as John wishes it!'
And the same reader, if there be one so kind and attentive, may also
remember that Miss Lily Dale had declared, in reply, that 'about that
other subject she would rather say nothing,'--and then she added, 'When
one thinks of going beyond friendship--even if one tries to do so--there
are so many barriers!' From which words the kind and attentive reader,
if such a reader be in such matters intelligent as well as kind and
attentive, may have learned a great deal in reference to Miss Lily Dale.
We will now pay a visit to the John in question--a certain Mr John
Eames, living in London, a bachelor, as the intelligent reader will
certainly have discovered, and cousin to Miss Grace Crawley. Mr John
Eames at the time of our story was a young man, some seven or eight and
twenty years of age, living in London, where he was supposed by his
friends in the country to have made his mark, and to be something a
little out of the common way. But I do not know that he was very much
out of the common way, except in the fact that he had some few thousand
pounds left him by an old nobleman with great affection, and who had
died some two years since. Before this, John Eames had not been a very
poor man, as he filled the comfortable official position of the private
secretary to the Chief Commissioner of the Income-Tax Board, and drew a
salary of three hundred and fifty pounds a year from the resources of
the country; but when, in addition to this source of official wealth, he
became known as the undoubted possessor of a hundred and twenty-eight
shares in one of the most prosperous joint-stock banks in the
metropolis, which property had been left to him free of legacy duty by
the lamented nobleman above named, then Mr John Eames rose very high
indeed as a young man in the estimation of those who knew him, and was
supposed to be something a good deal out of the common way. His mother,
who lived in the country, was obedient to his slightest word, never
venturing to impose upon him any sign of parental authority; and to his
sister, Mary Eames, who lived with her mother, he was almost a god on
earth. To sisters who have nothing of their own--not even some special
god for their own individual worship--generous, affectionate, unmarried
brothers, with sufficient incomes, are gods upon earth.
And even up in London Mr John Eames was somebody. He was so especially
at his office; although, indeed, it was remembered by many a man how raw
a lad he had been when he first came there, not so very many years ago;
and how they had laughed at him and played him tricks; and how he had
customarily been known to be without a shilling for the last week before
pay-day, during which period he would borrow sixpence here and a
shilling there with energy, from men who now felt themselves to be
honoured when he smiled upon them. Little stories of his former days
would often be told of him behind his back; but they were not told with
ill-nature, because he was very constant in referring to the same
matters himself. And it was acknowledged by everyone at the office, that
neither the friendship of the nobleman, nor that fact of the private
secretaryship, nor the acquisition of his wealth, had made him proud to
his old companions or forgetful of old friendships. To the young men,
lads who had lately been appointed, he was perhaps a little cold; but
then it was only reasonable to conceive that such a one as Mr John Eames
was now could not be expected to make an intimate acquaintance with
every new clerk that might be brought into the office. Since competitive
examinations had come into vogue, there was no knowing who might be
introduced; and it was understood generally through the
establishment--and I may almost say by the civil service at large, so
wide was his fame--that Mr Eames was very averse to the whole theory of
competition. The 'Devil take the hindmost' scheme he called it; and
would then go on to explain that hindmost candidates were often the best
gentlemen, and that, in this way, the Devil got the pick of the flock.
And he was respected the more for this because it was known that on this
subject he had fought some hard battles with the commissioner. The chief
commissioner was a great believer in competition, wrote papers about it,
which he read aloud to various bodies of the civil service--not at all
to their delight--which he got to be printed here and there, and which
he sent by post all over the kingdom. More that once this chief
commissioner had told his private secretary that they must part company,
unless the private secretary could see fit to alter his view, or could,
at least, keep his views to himself. But the private secretary would do
neither; and, nevertheless, there he was, still private secretary. 'It's
because Johnny has got money,' said one of the young clerks, who was
discussing this singular state of things with his brethren at the
office. 'When a chap has got money, he may do what he likes. Johnny has
got lots of money, you know.' The young clerk in question was by no
means on intimate terms with Mr Eames, but there had grown up in the
office a way of calling him Johnny behind his back, which had probably
come down from the early days of his scrapes and poverty.
Now the entire life of Mr John Eames was pervaded by a great secret; and
although he never, in those days, alluded to the subject in conversation
with any man belonging to the office, yet the secret was known by them
all. It had been historical for the last four or five years, and was now
regarded as a thing of course. Mr John Eames was in love, and his love
was not happy. He was in love, and had long been in love, and the lady
of his love was not kind to him. The little history had grown to be very
touching and pathetic, having received, no doubt some embellishments
from the imaginations of the gentlemen of the Income-Tax Office. It was
said of him that he had been in love from his early boyhood, that at
sixteen he had been engaged, under the sanction of the nobleman now
deceased and of the young lady's parents, that contracts of betrothal
had been drawn up, and things done very unusual in private families in
these days, and that then there had come a stranger into the
neighbourhood just as the young lady was beginning to reflect whether
she had a heart of her own or not, and that she had thrown her parents,
and the noble lord, and the contract, and poor Johnny Eames to the
winds, and had--Here the story took different directions, as told by
different men. Some said the lady had gone off with the stranger and
that there had been a clandestine marriage, which afterwards turned out
to be no marriage at all; others, that the stranger suddenly took
himself off, and was no more seen by the young lady; others that he
owned at last to having another wife--and so on. The stranger was very
well known to be one Mr Crosbie, belonging to another public office; and
there were circumstances in his life, only half known, which gave rise
to these various rumours. But there was one thing certain, one point as
to which no clerk in the Income-Tax Office had a doubt, one fact which
had conduced much to the high position which Mr John Eames now held in
the estimation of his brother clerks--he had given this Mr Crosbie such
a thrashing that no man had ever received such treatment before and
lived through it. Wonderful stories were told about that thrashing, so
that it was believed, even by the least enthusiastic in such matters,
that the poor victim had only dragged on a crippled existence since the
encounter. 'For nine weeks he never said a word or ate a mouthful,' said
one young clerk to a younger clerk who was just entering the office;
'and even now he can't speak above a whisper, and has to take all his
food in pap.' It will be seen, therefore, that Mr John Eames had about
him much of the heroic.
That he was still in love, and in love with the same lady, was known to
everyone in the office. When it was declared of him that in the way of
amatory expressions he had never in his life opened his mouth to another
woman, there were those in the office who knew that to be an
exaggeration. Mr Cradell, for instance, who in his early years had been
very intimate with John Eames, and who still kept up the old
friendship--although, being a domestic man, with wife and six young
children, and living on a small income, he did not go out much among his
friends--could have told a very different story; for Mrs Cradell herself
had, in the days before Cradell had made good his claim upon her, been
not unadmired by Cradell's fellow-clerk. But the constancy of Mr Eames's
present love was doubted by none who knew him. It was not that he went
about with his stockings ungartered, or any of the old acknowledged
signs of unrequited affection. In his manner he was rather jovial than
otherwise, and seemed to live a happy, somewhat luxurious life, well
contented with himself and the world around him. But still he had this
passion within his bosom, and I am inclined to think that he was a
little proud of his own constancy.
It might be presumed that when Miss Dale wrote to her friend Grace
Crawley about going beyond friendship, pleading that there were so many
'barriers', she had probably seen her way over most of them. But this
was not so; nor did John Eames himself at all believe that he had given
the whole thing up as a bad job, because it was the law of his life that
the thing never should be abandoned as long as hope was possible. Unless
Miss Dale should become the wife of somebody else, he would always
regard himself as affianced to her. He had so declared to Miss Dale
herself and to Miss Dale's mother, and to all the Dale people who had
ever been interested in the matter. And there was an old lady living in
Miss Dale's neighbourhood, the sister of the lord who had left Johnny
Eames the bank shares, who always fought his battles for him, and kept a
close look-out, fully resolved that Johnny Eames should be rewarded at
last. This old lady was connected with the Dales by family ties, and
therefore had the means of close observation. She was in constant
correspondence with John Eames, and never failed to acquaint him when
any of the barriers were, in her judgment, giving way. The nature of
some of the barriers may possibly be made intelligible to my readers by
the following letter from Lady Julia De Guest to her young friend:-
'GUESTWICK COTTAGE, December, 186-
'MY DEAR JOHN,
'I am much obliged to you for going to Jones's.
I send stamps for two shillings and fourpence, which
is what I owe to you. It used only to be two
shillings and twopence, but they say everything has
got to be dearer now, and I suppose pills as well as
other things. Only think of Pritchard coming to me,
and saying she wanted her wages raised, after living
with me for twenty years! I was very angry, and
scolded her roundly; but as she acknowledged, she had
been wrong, and cried and begged my pardon, I did give
her two guineas a year more.
'I saw dear Lily just for a moment on Sunday,
and upon my word I think she grows prettier every
year. She had a young friend with her--a Miss
Crawley--who, I believe, is the cousin I have heard
you speak of. What is this sad story about her
father, the clergyman! Mind you tell me about it.
'It is quite true what I told you about the De
Courcys. Old Lady De Courcy is in London, and Mr
Crosbie is going to law with her about his wife's
money. He has been at it in one way or the other ever
since poor Lady Alexandrina died. I wish she had
lived, with all my heart. For though I feel sure that
our Lily will never willingly see him again, yet the
tidings of her death disturbed her, and set her
thinking of things that were fading from her mind. I
rated her soundly, not mentioning your name, however;
but she only kissed me, and told me in her quiet
drolling way that I didn't mean a word of what I said.
'You can come here whenever you please after the
tenth of January. But if you come early January you
must go to your mother first, and come to me for the
last week of your holiday. Go to Blackie's in Regent
Street, and bring me down all the colours in wool I
ordered. I said you would call. And tell them at
Dolland's the last spectacles don't suit at all, and I
won't keep them, they had better send me down, by you,
one or two more pairs to try. And you had better see
Smithers and Smith, in Lincoln's Inn Fields, No 57--
but you have been there before--and beg them to let
me know how my poor dear brother's matters are to be
settled at last. As far as I can see I shall be dead
before I shall know what income I have to spend. As
to my cousins at the manor, I never see them; and as
to talking to them about business, I should not dream
of it. She hasn't come to me since she first called,
and she may be quite sure I shan't go to her till she
does. Indeed I think we shall like each other apart
quite as much as we should together. So let me know
when you're coming, and pray don't forget to call at
Blackie's; nor yet at Dolland's, which is much more
important than the wool, because my eyes are getting
so weak. But what I want you specially to remember is
about Smithers and Smith. How is a woman to live if
she doesn't know how much she has got to spend?
'Believe me to be, my dear John,
'Your most sincere friend,
'JULIA DE GUEST.'
Lady Julia always directed her letters for her young friend to his
office, and there he received the one now given to the reader. When he
had read it he made a memorandum as to the commissions, and then threw
himself back in his arm-chair to think over the tidings communicated to
him. All the facts stated he had known before; that Lady De Courcy was
in London, and that her son-in-law Mr Crosbie, whose wife--Lady
Alexandrina--had died some twelve months since at Baden Baden, was at
variance with her respecting money which he supposed to be due to him.
But there was that Lady Julia's letter that was wormwood to him. Lily
Dale was again thinking of this man, whom she had loved in the old days,
and who had treated her with monstrous perfidy! It was all very well for
Lady Julia to be sure that Lily Dale would never desire to see Mr
Crosbie again; but John Eames was by no means equally certain that it
would be so. 'The tidings of her death disturbed her'! said Johnny,
repeating certain words out of the old lady's letter. 'I know they
disturbed me. I wish she could have lived for ever. If he ever ventures
to show himself within ten miles of Allington, I'll see if I cannot do
better than I did the last time I met him!' Then there came a knock at
the door, and the private secretary, finding himself to be somewhat
annoyed by the disturbance at such a moment, bade the intruder enter in
an angry voice. 'Oh, it's you, Cradell, is it? What can I do for you?'
Mr Cradell, who now entered, and who, as before said, was an old ally of
John Eames, was a clerk of longer standing in the department than his
friend. In age he looked much older, and he had left with him none of
that appearance of the gloss of youth which will stick for many years to
men who are fortunate in their world affairs. Indeed it may be said that
Mr Cradell was almost shabby in outward appearance, and his brow seemed
to be laden with care, and his eyes were dull and heavy.
'I thought I'd just come in and ask you how you are,' said Cradell.
'I'm pretty well, thank you; and how are you?'
'Oh, I'm pretty well--in health, that is. You see one has so many
things to think of when one has a large family. Upon my word, Johnny, I
think you've been lucky to keep out of it.'
'I have kept out of it, at any rate; haven't I?'
'Of course; living with you as much as I used to, I know the whole story
of what kept you single.'
'Don't mind about that, Cradell; what is it you want?'
'I mustn't let you suppose, Johnny, that I'm grumbling about my lot.
Nobody knows better than you do what a trump I got in my wife.'
'Of course you did;--an excellent woman.'
'And if I cut you out a little there, I'm sure you never felt malice
against me for that.'
'Never for a moment, old fellow.'
'We all have our luck, you know.'
'Your luck has been a wife and family. My luck has been to be a
'You may say a family,' said Cradell. 'I'm sure that Amelia does the
best she can; but we a desperately pushed sometimes--desperately
pushed. I never had it so bad, Johnny, as I am now.'
'So you said last time.'
'Did I? I don't remember it. I didn't think I was so bad then. But,
Johnny, if you can let me have one more fiver now I have made
arrangements with Amelia how I'm to pay you off by thirty shillings a
month--as I get my salary. Indeed I have. Ask her else.'
'I'll be shot if I do.'
'Don't say that, Johnny.'
'It's no good your Johnnying me, for I won't be Johnnyed out of another
shilling. It comes too often, and there's no reason why I should do it.
And what's more, I can't afford it. I've people of my own to help.'
'But oh, Johnny, we all know how comfortable you are. And I'm sure no
one rejoiced as I did when the money was left to you. If it had been
myself I could hardly have thought more of it. Upon my solemn word and
honour if you'll let me have it this time, it shall be the last.'
'Upon my word and honour then, I won't. There must be an end to
Although Mr Cradell would probably, if pressed, have admitted the truth
of this last assertion, he did not seem to think that the end had as yet
come to his friend's benevolence. It certainly had not come to his own
importunity. 'Don't say that, Johnny; pray don't.'
'But I do say it.'
'When I told Amelia yesterday evening that I didn't like to got to you
again, because of course a man has feelings, she told me to mention her
name. "I'm sure he'd do it for my sake,"' she said.
'I don't believe she said anything of the kind.'
'Upon my word she did. You ask her.'
'And if she did, she oughtn't to have said it.'
'Oh, Johnny, don't speak in that way of her. She's my wife, and you
know what your own feelings were once. But look here--we are in that
state at home at this moment, that I must get money somewhere before I
go home. I must, indeed. If you'll let me have three pounds this once,
I'll never ask you again. I'll give you a written promise if you like,
and I'll pledge myself to pay it back by thirty shillings a time out of
the next two months' salary. I will, indeed.' And then Mr Cradell began
to cry. But when Johnny at last took out his cheque-book and wrote a
cheque for three pounds, Mr Cradell's eyes glistened with joy. 'Upon my
word I am so much obliged to you! You are the best fellow that ever
lived. And Amelia will say the same when she hears of it.'
'I don't believe she'll say anything of the kind, Cradell. If I
remember anything of her, she has a stouter heart than that.' Cradell
admitted that his wife had a stouter heart than himself, and then made
his way back to his own part of the office.
This little interruption to the current of Mr Eames's thoughts was, I
think, good for the service, as immediately on his friend's departure he
went to his work; whereas, had not he been called away from his
reflections about Miss Dale, he would have sat thinking about her
affairs probably for the rest of the morning. As it was, he really did
write a dozen notes in answer to as many private letters addressed to
his chief, Sir Raffle Buffle, in all of which he made excellently-worded
false excuses for the non-performance of various requests made to Sir
Raffle by the writers. 'He's about the best hand at it that I know,'
said Sir Raffle, one day, to the secretary; 'otherwise you may be sure I
shouldn't keep him here.' 'I will allow that he's clever,' said the
secretary. 'It isn't cleverness, so much as tact. It's what I call tact.
I hadn't been long in the service before I mastered it myself; and now
that I've been at the trouble to teach him I don't want to have the
trouble to teach another. But upon my word he must mind his p's and q's;
upon my word, he must; and you had better tell him so.' 'The fact is, Mr
Kissing,' said the private secretary the next day to the secretary--Mr
Kissing was at that time secretary to the board of commissioners for the
receipt of income tax--'the fact is, Mr Kissing, Sir Raffle should never
attempt to write a letter himself. He doesn't know how to do it. He
always says twice too much, and yet not half enough. I wish you'd tell
him so. He won't believe me.' From which it will be seen Mr Eames was
proud of his special accomplishment, but did not feel any gratitude to
the master who assumed to himself the glory of having taught him. On the
present occasion John Eames wrote all his letters before he thought
again of Lily Dale, and was able to write them without interruption, as
the chairman was absent for the day at the Treasury--or perhaps at his
club. Then, when he had finished, he rang his bell, and ordered some
sherry and soda-water, and stretched himself before the fire--as though
his exertions in the public service had been very great--and seated
himself comfortably in his arm-chair, and lit a cigar, and again took
out Lady Julia's letter.
As regarded the cigar, it may be said that both Sir Raffle and Mr
Kissing had given orders that on no account should cigars be lit within
the precincts of the Income-Tax Office. Mr Eames had taken upon himself
to understand that such orders did not apply to a private secretary, and
was well aware that Sir Raffle knew his habit. To Mr Kissing, I regret
to say, he put himself in opposition whenever and wherever opposition
was possible; so that men in the office said that one of the two must go
at last. 'But Johnny can do anything, you know, because he has got
money.' That was too frequently the opinion finally expressed among the
So John Eames sat down, and drank his soda-water, and smoked his cigar,
and read his letter; or, rather, simply that paragraph of the letter
which referred to Miss Dale. 'The tidings of her death have disturbed
her, and set her thinking again of things that were fading from her
mind.' He understood it all. And yet how could it possibly be so? How
could it be that she should not despise a man--despise him if she did
not hate him--who had behaved as this man had behaved to her? It was now
four years since this Crosbie had been engaged to Miss Dale, and had
jilted her so heartlessly as to incur the disgust of every man in London
who had heard the story. He had married an earl's daughter, who had left
him within a few months of their marriage, and now Mr Crosbie's noble
wife was dead. The wife was dead, and simply because the man was free
again, he, John Eames, was to be told that Miss Dale's mind was
'disturbed', and that her thoughts were going back to things which had
faded from her memory, and which should have been long since banished
altogether from such holy ground.
If Lily Dale were now to marry Mr Crosbie, anything so perversely cruel
as the fate of John Eames would never have yet been told in romance.
That was his own idea on the matter as he sat smoking his cigar. I have
said that he was proud of his constancy, and yet, in some sort, he was
also ashamed of it. He acknowledged the fact of his love, and believed
himself to have out-Jacobed Jacob; but he felt that it was hard for a
man who had risen in the world as he had done to be made a plaything of
by a foolish passion. It was not four years ago--that affair of
Crosbie--and Miss Dale should have accepted him long since. Half-a-dozen
times he had made up his mind to be very stern with her; and he had
written somewhat sternly--but the first moment that he saw her he was
conquered again. 'And now that brute will reappear and everything will
be wrong again,' he said to himself. If the brute did reappear,
something should happen of which the world would hear the tidings. So he
lit another cigar, and began to think what that something should be.
As he did so he heard a loud noise, as of harsh, rattling winds in the
next room, and he knew that Sir Raffle had come back from the Treasury.
There was a creaking of boots, and a knocking of chairs, and a ringing
of bells, and then a loud angry voice--a voice that was very harsh, and
on this occasion very angry. Why had not his twelve o'clock letters been
sent up to him to the West End? Why not? Mr Eames knew all about it. Why
did Mr Eames know all about it? Why had not Mr Eames not sent them up?
Where was Mr Eames? Let Mr Eames be sent to him. All which Mr Eames
heard standing with the cigar in his mouth and his back to the fire.
'Somebody has been bullying old Buffle, I suppose. After all he as been
up at the Treasure today,' said Eames to himself. But he did not stir
till the messenger had been to him, nor even then at once. 'All right,
Rafferty,' he said; 'I'll go just now.' Then he took half-a-dozen more
whiffs from the cigar, threw the remainder into the fire, and opened the
door which communicated between his room and Sir Raffle's.
The great man was standing with two unopened epistles in his hand.
'Eames,' said he, 'here are letters--' Then he stopped himself, and
began upon another subject. 'Did I not give express orders that I would
have no smoking in the office?'
'I think Mr Kissing said something about it.'
'Mr Kissing! It was not Mr Kissing at all. It was I. I gave the order
'You'll find it began with Mr Kissing.'
'It did not begin with Mr Kissing; it began and ended with me. What are
you going to do, sir?' John Eames stepped towards the bell, and his hand
was already on the bell-pull.
'I was going to ring for the papers, sir.'
'And who told you to ring for the papers? I don't want the papers. The
papers won't show anything. I suppose my word may be taken without the
papers. Since you are so fond of Mr Kissing--'
'I'm not fond of Mr Kissing at all.'
'You'll have to go back to him, and let somebody come here who will not