Part 4 out of 18
be too independent to obey my orders. Here are two most important
letters that have been lying here all day, instead of being sent up to
me at the Treasury.'
'Of course they have been lying there. I thought you went to the club.'
'I told you that I should go to the Treasury. I have been there all
morning with the chancellor'--when Sir Raffle spoke officially of the
chancellor he was not supposed to mean the Lord Chancellor--'and here I
find letters which I particularly wanted lying upon my desk now. I must
put an end to this kind of thing. I must, indeed. If you like the outer
office better say so at once, and you can go.'
'I'll think about it, Sir Raffle.'
'Think about it! What do you mean by thinking about it? But I can't
talk about that now. I'm very busy, and shall be here till past seven. I
suppose you can stay?'
'All night, if you wish it, sir.'
'Very well. That will do for the present--I wouldn't have had these
letters delayed for twenty pounds.'
'I don't suppose it would have mattered one straw if both of them
remained unopened till next week.' This last little speech, however, was
not made aloud to Sir Raffle, but by Johnny to himself in the solitude
of his own room.
Very soon after that he went away, Sir Raffle having discovered that one
of the letters in question required immediate return to the West End.
'I've changed my mind about staying. I shan't stay now. I should have
done if these letters had reached me as they ought.'
'Then I suppose I can go?'
'You can do as you like about that,' said Sir Raffle.
Eames did do as he liked, and went home, or to his club; and as he went
he resolved that he would put an end, and at once, to the present
trouble of his life. Lily Dale should accept him or reject him; and,
taking either the one or other alternative, she should hear a bit of his
mind plainly spoken.
DOWN AT ALLINGTON
It was Christmas-time down at Allington, and at three o'clock on
Christmas Eve, just as the darkness of the early winter evening was
coming on, Lily Dale and Grace Crawley were seated together, one above
the other, on the steps leading up to the pulpit at Allington Church.
They had been working all day at the decorations of the church, and they
were now looking round them at the result of their handiwork. To an eye
unused to the gloom the place would have been nearly dark; but they
could see every corner turned by the ivy sprigs, and every line on which
the holly-leaves were shining. And the greeneries of the winter had not
been stuck up in the old-fashioned, idle way, a bough just fastened up
here and a twig inserted there; but everything had been done with some
meaning, with some thought towards the original architecture of the
building. The Gothic lines had been followed, and all the lower arches
which it had been possible to reach with an ordinary ladder had been
turned as truly with the laurel cuttings as they had been turned
originally with the stone.
'I wouldn't tie another twig,' said the elder girl, 'for all the
Christmas puddings that was ever boiled.'
'It's lucky then that there isn't another twig to tie.'
'I don't know about that. I see a score of places where the work has
been scamped. This is the sixth time I have done the church, and I don't
think I'll ever do it again. When we first began it, Bell and I, you
know--before Bell was married--Mrs Boyce, and the Boycian establishment
generally, used to come and help. Or rather we used to help her. Now she
hardly ever looks after it at all.'
'She is older, I suppose.'
'She's a little older, and a deal idler. How idle people do get! Look
at him. Since he has had a curate he hardly ever stirs round the parish.
And he is getting so fat that--H--sh! Here she is herself--come to give
her judgment upon us.' Then a stout lady, the wife of the vicar, walked
slowly up the aisle. 'Well, girls,' she said, 'you have worked hard, and
I am sure Mr Boyce will be very much obliged to you.'
'Mr Boyce, indeed!' said Lily Dale. 'We shall expect the whole parish
to rise from their seats and thank us. Why didn't Jane and Betsy come
and help us?'
'They were so tired when they came in from the coal club. Besides, they
don't care for this kind of thing--not as you do.'
'Jane is utilitarian to the backbone, I know,' said Lily, 'and Betsy
doesn't like getting up ladders.'
'As for ladders,' said Mrs Boyce, defending her daughter, 'I am not
quite sure that Betsy isn't right. You don't mean to say that you did
all those capitals yourself?'
'Every twig, with Hopkins to hold the ladder and cut the sticks; and as
Hopkins is just a hundred and one years old, we could have done it
pretty nearly as well alone.'
'I do not think that,' said Grace.
'He has been grumbling all the time,' said Lily, 'and swears he never
will have the laurels robbed again. Five or six years ago he used to
declare that death would certainly save him from the pain of such
another desecration before next Christmas; but he has given up that
foolish notion now, and talks as though he meant to protect the
Allington shrubs at any rate to the end of this century.'
'I am sure we gave our share from the parsonage,' said Mrs Boyce, who
never understood a joke.
'All the best came from the parsonage, as of course they ought,' said
Lily. 'But Hopkins had to make up the deficiency. And as my uncle told
him to take the haycart for them instead of the hand-barrow, he is
'I am sure he was very good-natured,' said Grace.
'Nevertheless he is broken-hearted; and I am very good-natured too, and
I am broken-backed. Who is going to preach tomorrow morning, Mrs Boyce?'
'Mr Swanton will preach in the morning.'
'Tell him not to be too long because of the children's pudding. Tell Mr
Boyce if he is long, we won't any of us come next Sunday.'
'My dear, how can you say such wicked things! I shall not tell him
anything of the kind.'
'That's not wicked, Mrs Boyce. If I were to say I had eaten so much
lunch that I didn't want any dinner, you'd understand that. If Mr
Swanton will preach for three-quarters of an hour--'
'He only preached for three-quarters of an hour once, Lily.'
'He has been over the half-hour every Sunday since he has been here.
His average is over forty minutes, and I say it's a shame.'
'It is not a shame at all, Lily,' said Mrs Boyce, becoming very serious.
'Look at my uncle; he doesn't like to go to sleep, and he has to suffer
a purgatory in keeping himself awake.'
'If your uncle is heavy now, how can Mr Swanton help it? If Mr Dale's
mind were on the subject he would not sleep.'
'Come, Mrs Boyce; there's somebody else asleep sometimes besides my
uncle. When Mr Boyce puts up his finger and just touches his nose, I
know as well as possible why he does it.'
'Lily Dale, you have no business to say so. It is not true. I don't
know how you can bring yourself to talk in that way of your own
clergyman. If I were to tell your mamma, she would be shocked.'
'You won't be so ill-natured, Mrs Boyce--after all that I've done for
'If you think more about the clergymen, Lily, and less about the
church,' said Mrs Boyce very sententiously, 'more about the matter and
less about the manner, more of the reality and less of the form, I think
you would find that your religion would go further with you. Miss
Crawley is the daughter of a clergyman, and I am sure she will agree
'If she agrees with anybody in scolding me I'll quarrel with her.'
'I didn't mean to scold you, Lily.'
'I don't mind it from you, Mrs Boyce. Indeed, I rather like it. It is a
sort of pastoral visitation; and as Mr Boyce never scolds me himself I
take it from him by attorney.' Then there was silence for a minute or
two, during which Mrs Boyce was endeavouring to discover whether Miss
Dale was laughing at her or not. As she was not quite certain, she
thought at last she would let the suspected fault pass unobserved.
'Don't wait for us, Mrs Boyce,' said Lily. 'We must remain till Hopkins
has sent Gregory to sweep the church out and take away the rubbish.
We'll see that the key is left at Mrs Giles's.'
'Thank you, my dear. Then I may as well go. I thought I'd come in and
see that it was all right. I'm sure Mr Boyce will be very much obliged
to you and Miss Crawley. Good-night, my dear.'
'Good-night, Mrs Boyce; and be sure you don't let Mr Swanton be long
tomorrow.' To this parting shot Mrs Boyce made no rejoinder; but she
hurried out of the church somewhat the quicker for it, and closed the
door after her with something of a slam.
Of all persons clergymen are the most irreverent in the handling of
things supposed to be sacred, and next to them clergyman's wives, and
after them those other ladies, old or young, who take upon themselves
semi-clerical duties. And it is natural that it should be so; for is it
not said that familiarity does breed contempt? When a parson takes his
lay friend over his church on a week day, how much less of the spirit of
genuflexion and head-uncovering the clergyman will display to the
layman! The parson pulls about the woodwork and knocks about the
stonework, as though it were mere wood and stone; and talks aloud in the
aisle, and treats even the reading-desk as a common thing; whereas the
visitor whispers gently, and carries himself as though even in looking
at a church he was bound to regard himself as performing some service
that was half divine. Now Lily Dale and Grace Crawley were both
accustomed to churches, and had been so long at work in this church for
the last two days, that the building had lost to them much of its
sacredness, and they were almost as irreverent as though they were two
'I am so glad she has gone,' said Lily. 'We shall have to stop here for
the next hour, as Gregory won't know what to take away and what to
leave. I was so afraid she was going to stop and see us off the
'I don't know why you should dislike her.'
'I don't dislike her. I like her very well,' said Lily Dale. 'But don't
you feel that there are people whom one knows very intimately, who are
really friends--for whom if they were dying one would grieve, whom if
they were in misfortune one would go far to help, but with whom for all
that one can have no sympathy. And yet they are so near to one that they
know all the events of one's life, and are justified by unquestioned
friendship in talking about things which should never be mentioned
except where sympathy exists.'
'Yes; I understand that.'
'Everybody understands it who has been unhappy. That woman sometimes
says things to me that make me wish--wish that they'd make him bishop of
Patagonia. And yet does it all in friendship, and mamma says that she is
'I liked her for standing up for her husband.'
'But he does go to sleep--and then he scratches his nose to show that
he's awake. I shouldn't have said it, only she is always hinting at
uncle Christopher. Uncle Christopher certainly does go to sleep when Mr
Boyce preaches, and he hasn't studied any scientific little movement
during his slumbers to make the people believe that he's all alive. I
gave him a hint one day, and he got angry with me!'
'I shouldn't have thought he could have been angry with you. It seems
to me from what you say that you may do whatever you please with him.'
'He is very good to me. If you knew it all--if you could understand how
good he has been! I'll try and tell you one day. It is not what he has
done that makes me love him so--but what he has thoroughly understood,
and what, so understanding, he has not done, and what he has not said.
It is a case of sympathy. If ever there was a gentleman uncle
Christopher is one. And I used to dislike him so, at one time!'
'Chiefly because he would make me wear brown frocks when I wanted to
have them pink or green. And he kept me for six months from having them
long, and up to this day he scolds me if there is half an inch on the
ground for him to tread upon.'
'I shouldn't mind that if I were you.'
'I don't--not now. But it used to be serious when I was a young girl.
And we thought, Bell and I, that he was cross to mamma. He and mamma
didn't agree at first, you know, as they do now. It is quite true that
he did dislike mamma when we first came.'
'I can't think how anybody could ever dislike Mrs Dale.'
'But he did. And then he wanted to make up a marriage between Bell and
my cousin Bernard. But neither of them cared a bit for each other, and
then he used to scold them--and then--and then--and then--Oh, he was so
good to me! Here's Gregory at last. Gregory, we've been waiting this
hour and a half.'
'It ain't ten minutes since Hopkins let me come with the barrows, miss.'
'Then Hopkins is a traitor. Never mind. You'd better begin now--up
there at the steps. It'll be quite dark in a few minutes. Here's Mrs
Giles with her broom. Come, Mrs Giles; we shall have to pass the night
here if you don't make haste. Are you cold, Grace?'
'No; I'm not cold. I'm thinking what they are doing now in the church
'The Hogglestock church is not pretty, like this?'
'Oh, no. It is a very plain brick building, with something like a
pigeon-house for a belfry. And the pulpit is over the reading-desk, and
the reading-desk over the clerk, so that papa, when he preaches, is
nearly up to the ceiling. And the whole place is divided into pews, in
which the farmers hide themselves when they come to church.'
'So that nobody can see whether they go to sleep or not. Oh, Mrs Giles,
you mustn't pull that down. That's what we have been putting up all
'But it be in the way, miss; so that minister can't budge in or out o'
'Never mind. Then he must stay one side or the other. That would be
too much after all our trouble!' And Miss Dale hurried across the
chancel to save some pretty arching boughs, which, in the judgment of
Mrs Giles, encroached too much on the vestry door. 'As if it signified
which side he was,' she said in a whisper to Grace.
'I don't suppose they'll have anything in the church at home.'
'Somebody will stick up a wreath or two, I daresay.'
'Nobody will. There never is anybody at Hogglestock to stick up wreaths
or do anything for the prettiness of life. And now there will be less
than ever. How can mamma look after holly-leaves in her present state?
And yet she will miss them, too. Poor mamma sees very little that is
pretty; but she has not forgotten how pleasant pretty things are.'
'I wish I knew your mother, Grace.'
'I think it would be impossible for anyone to know mamma now--for
anyone who had not known her before. She never makes even a new
acquaintance. She seems to think that there's nothing left for her in
the world but to try to keep papa out of his misery. And she does not
succeed in that. Poor papa!'
'Is he unhappy about this wicked situation?'
'Yes; he is very unhappy. But, Lily, I don't know about its being
'But you know it's untrue.'
'Of course I know that papa did not mean to take anything that was not
his own. But, you see, nobody knows where it came from; and nobody
except mamma and Jane and I understand how very absent papa can be. I'm
sure he doesn't know the least in the world how he came by it himself,
or he would tell mamma. Do you know, Lily, I think I have been wrong to
'Don't say that, dear. Remember how anxious Mrs Crawley was that you
'But I cannot bear to be comfortable here while they are so wretched at
home. It seems such a mockery. Every time I find myself smiling at what
you say to me, I think I must be the most heartless creature in the
'Is it so very bad with them, Grace?'
'Indeed it is bad. I don't think you can imagine what mamma has to go
through. She has to cook all that is eaten in the house, and then, very
often, there is no money in the house to buy anything. If you were to
see the clothes she wears, even that would make your heart bleed. I who
have been used to being poor all my life--even I, when I am at home, am
dismayed by what she has to endure.'
'What can we do for her, Grace?'
'You can do nothing, Lily. But when things are like that at home, you
can understand what I feel in being here.'
Mrs Giles and Gregory had now completed their task, or had so nearly
done so as to make Miss Dale think that she might safely leave the
church. 'We will go in now,' she said; 'for it is dark and cold, and
what I call creepy. Do you ever fancy that perhaps you will see a ghost
'I don't think I shall ever see a ghost; but all the same I should be
half afraid to be here alone in the dark.'
'I am often here alone in the dark, but I am beginning to think I shall
never see a ghost now. I am losing all my romance, and getting to be an
old woman. Do you know, Grace, I do so hate myself for being such an old
'But who says you're an old maid, Lily?'
'I see it in people's eyes, and hear it in their voices. And they all
talk to me as if I were steady, and altogether removed from anything
like fun and frolic. It seems to be admitted that if a girl does not
want to fall in love, she ought not to care for any other fun in the
world. If anybody made out a list of the old ladies in these parts,
they'd put down Lady Julia, and mamma, and Mrs Boyce, and me, and old
Mrs Hearne. The very children have an awful respect for me, and give
over playing directly they see me. Well, mamma, we've done at last, and
I have had such a scolding from Mrs Boyce.'
'I daresay you deserved it, my dear.'
'No, I did not, mamma. Ask Grace if I did.'
'Was she not saucy to Mrs Boyce, Miss Crawley?'
'She said Mr Boyce scratches his nose in church,' said Grace.
'So he does; and goes to sleep, too.'
'If you told Mrs Boyce that, Lily, I think she was quite right to scold
Such was Miss Lily Dale, with whom Grace Crawley was staying;--Lily
Dale with whom Mr John Eames, of the Income-tax Office, had been so long
and so steadily in love, that he was regarded among his fellow-clerks as
a miracle of constancy--who had, herself, in former days been so
unfortunate in love as to have been regarded among her friends in the
country as the most ill-used of women. As John Eames had been able to be
comfortable in life--that is to say, not utterly a wretch--in spite of
his love, so had she managed to hold up her head, and live as other
young women live, in spite of her fortune. But as it may be said also
that his constancy was true constancy, although he knew how to enjoy the
good things of the world, so also had her misfortune been a true
misfortune, although she had been able to bear it without much outer
show of shipwreck. For a few days--for a week or two, when the blow
first struck her, she had been knocked down, and the friends who were
nearest to her had thought that she would never again stand erect upon
her feet. But she had been very strong, stout at heart, of a fixed
purpose, and capable of resistance against oppression. Even her own
mother had been astonished, and sometimes almost dismayed, by the
strength of her will. Her mother knew well how it was with her now; but
they who saw her frequently, and who did not know her as her mother knew
her--the Mrs Boyce's of her acquaintance--whispered among themselves
that Lily Dale was not so soft of heart as people used to think.
On the next day, Christmas Day, as the reader will remember, Grace
Crawley was taken up to dine at the big house with the old squire. Mrs
Dale's eldest daughter, with her husband, Dr Crofts, was to be there;
and also Lily's old friend, who was also especially the old friend of
Johnny Eames, Lady Julia De Guest. Grace had endeavoured to be excused
from the party, pleading many pleas. But the upshot of all her pleas was
this--that while her father's position was so painful she ought not to
go out anywhere. In answer to this, Lily Dale, corroborated by her
mother, assured her that for her father's sake she ought not to exhibit
any such feeling; that in doing so, she would seem to express a doubt as
to her father's innocence. Then she allowed herself to be persuaded,
telling her friend, however, that she knew the day would be very
miserable to her. 'It will be very humdrum, if you please,' said Lily.
'Nothing can be more humdrum than Christmas at the Great House.
Nevertheless, you must go.'
Coming out of the church, Grace was introduced to the old squire. He was
a thin, old man, with grey hair, and the smallest possible grey
whiskers, with a dry, solemn face; not carrying in his outward gait much
of the customary jollity for Christmas. He took his hat off to Grace,
and said some word to her as to hoping to have the pleasure of seeing
her at dinner. It sounded very cold to her, and she became at once
afraid of him. 'I wish I was not going,' she said to Lily, again. 'I
know he thinks I ought not to go. I shall be so thankful if you will but
let me stay.'
'Don't be foolish, Grace. It all comes from your not knowing him, or
understanding him. And how should you understand him? I give you my word
that I would tell you if I did not know that he wishes you to go.'
She had to go. 'Of course I haven't a dress fit. How should I?' she
said to Lily. 'How wrong it is of me to put myself up in such a thing as
'Your dress is beautiful, child. We are none of us going in evening
dresses. Pray believe me that I will not make you do wrong. If you won't
trust me, can't you trust mamma?'
Of course she went. When the three ladies entered the drawing-room of
the Great House, they found that Lady Julia had arrived just before
them. Lady Julia immediately took hold of Lily, and had her apart,
having a word or two to say about the clerk at the Income-tax Office. I
am not sure but what the dear old woman sometimes said a few more words
than were expedient, with a view to the object which she had so closely
at heart. 'John is to be with us the first week in February,' she said.
'I suppose you'll see him before that, as he'll probably be with his
mother a few days before he comes to me.''
'I daresay we shall see him quite in time, Lady Julia,' said Lily.
'Now, Lily, don't be ill-natured.'
'I'm the most good-natured young woman alive, Lady Julia; and as for
Johnny, he is always as welcome at the Small House as violets in March.
Mamma purrs about him when he comes, asking all manner of flattering
questions as though he were a cabinet minister at least, and I always
admire some little knickknack that he has got, a new ring, or a stud, or
a button. There isn't another man in all the world whose buttons I'd
'It isn't his buttons, Lily.'
'Ah, that's just it. I can go as far as his buttons. But, come, Lady
Julia, this is Christmas-time, and Christmas should be a holiday.'
In the meantime Mrs Dale was occupied with her married daughter and her
son-in-law, and the squire had attached himself to poor Grace. 'You have
never been in this part of the country before, Miss Crawley,' he said.
'It is rather pretty just about here, and Guestwick Manor is a fine
place in its way, but we have not so much natural beauty as you have in
Barsetshire. Chaldicote Chase is, I think, as pretty as anything in
'I never saw Chaldicote Chase, sir. It isn't pretty at all at
Hogglestock, where we live.'
'Ah, I forgot. No; it is not very pretty at Hogglestock. That's where
the bricks come from.'
'Papa is clergyman at Hogglestock.'
'Yes, yes; I remember. Your father is a great scholar. I have often
heard of him. I am sorry he should be distressed by this charge they
have made. But it will all come right in the assizes. They always get at
the truth there. I used to be intimate with a clergyman in Barsetshire
of the name of Grantly'--Grace felt that her ears were tingling, and
that her face was red--'Archdeacon Grantly. His father was bishop of the
'Yes, sir. Archdeacon Grantly lives at Plumstead.'
'I was staying once with an old friend of mine, Mr Thorne of Ullathorne,
who lives close to Plumstead, and saw a good deal of them. I remember
thinking Henry Grantly was a very nice lad. He married afterwards.'
'Yes sir; but his wife is dead now, and he has got a little girl--Edith
'Is there no other child?'
'No sir; only Edith.'
'You know him, then?'
'Yes sir; I know Major Grantly--and Edith. I never saw Archdeacon
'Then, my dear, you never saw a very famous pillar of the Church. I
remember when people used to talk a great deal about Archdeacon Grantly;
but when his time came to be made a bishop, he was not sufficiently
new-fangled; and so he got passed by. He is much better off as he is, I
should say. Bishops have to work very hard, my dear.'
'Do they, sir?'
'So they tell me. And the archdeacon is a wealthy man. So Henry
Grantly has got an only daughter? I hope she is a nice child, for I
remember liking him well.'
'She is a very nice child, indeed Mr Dale. She could not be nicer. And
she is so lovely.' Then Mr Dale looked into his young companion's face,
struck by the sudden animation of her words, and perceived for the first
time that she was very pretty.
After this Grace became accustomed to the strangeness of the faces round
her, and managed to eat her dinner without much perturbation of spirit.
When after dinner the squire proposed to her that they should drink the
health of her papa and mamma, she was almost reduced to tears, and yet
she liked him for doing it. It was terrible to her to have them
mentioned, knowing as she did that everyone who mentioned them must be
aware of their misery--for the misfortune of her father had become
notorious in the country; but it was almost terrible to her that no
allusion should be made to them; for then she would be driven to think
that her father was regarded as a man whom the world could not afford to
mention. 'Papa and mamma,' she just murmured, raising her glass to her
lips. 'Grace, dear,' said Lily from across the table, 'here's papa and
mamma, and the young man at Malborough who is carrying everything before
him.' 'Yes; and we won't forget the young man at Malborough,' said the
squire. Grace felt this to be good-natured, because her brother at
Malborough was the one bright spot in her family--and she was comforted.
'And we will drink the health of my friend, John Eames,' said Lady
'John Eames's health,' said the squire, in a low voice.
'Johnny's health,' said Mrs Dale; but Mrs Dale's voice was not very
'John's health,' said Dr Crofts and Mrs Crofts, in a breath.
'Here's the health of John Eames,' said Lily; and her voice was the
clearest and boldest of them all. But she made up her mind that if Lady
Julia could not be induced to spare her for the future, she and Lady
Julia must quarrel. 'No one can understand,' she said to her mother that
evening, 'how dreadful it is--this being constantly told before one's
family and friends that one ought to marry a certain young man.'
'She didn't say that, my dear.'
'I should much prefer that she should, then I could get up on my legs
and answer her off the reel.' Of course everybody there understood what
she meant--including old John Bates, who stood at the sideboard and
coolly drank the toast himself.
'He always does that to all the family toasts on Christmas Day. Your
uncle likes it.'
'That wasn't a family toast, and John Bates had no right to drink it.'
After dinner they all played cards--a round game--and the squire put in
the stakes. 'Now, Grace,' said Lily, 'you are the visitor and you must
win, or else Uncle Christopher won't be happy. He always likes a young
lady visitor to win.'
'But I never played a game of cards in my life.'
'Go and sit next to him, and he'll teach you. Uncle Christopher, won't
you teach Grace Crawley? She never saw a Pope Joan board in her life
'Come here, my dear, and sit next to me. Dear, dear, dear; fancy Henry
Grantly having a little girl. What a handsome lad he was. And it seems
only yesterday.' If it was so that Lily had said a word to her uncle
about Grace and the major, the old squire had become on a sudden very
sly. Be that as it may, Grace Crawley thought he was a pleasant old man;
and though, while talking to him about Edith, she persisted in not
learning to play Pope Joan, so that he could not contrive that she
should win, nevertheless the squire took to her very kindly, and told
her to come up with Lily and see him sometimes while she was staying at
the Small House. The squire in speaking of his sister-in-law's cottage
always called it the Small House.
'Only think of winning,' said Lady Julia, drawing together her wealth.
'Well, I'm sure I want it bad enough, for I don't at all know whether
I've got any income of my own. It's all John Eames's fault, my dear, for
he won't go and make those people settle it in Lincoln's Inn Fields.'
Poor Lily, who was standing on the hearth-rug, touched her mother's
arms. She knew Johnny's name was lugged in with reference to Lady
Julia's money altogether for her benefit. 'I wonder whether she had a
Johnny of her own,' she said to her mother, 'and if so, whether she
liked it when her friends sent the town-crier round to talk about him.'
'She means to be good-natured,' said Mrs Dale.
'Of course she does. But it is such a pity when people won't
'My uncle didn't bite you after all, Grace,' said Lily to her friend as
they were going home at night, by the pathway which led from the garden
of one house to the garden of the other.
'I like Mr Dale very much,' said Grace. 'He was very kind to me.'
'There is some queer-looking animal of whom they say that he is better
than he looks, and I always think of that saying when I think of my
'For shame, Lily,' said her mother. 'Your uncle, for his age, is as
good looking a man as I know. And he always looks like just what he
is--an English gentleman.'
'I didn't mean to say a word against his dear old face and figure,
mamma; but his heart and mind, and general disposition, as they come out
in experience and days of trial, are so much better than the samples of
them which he puts out on the counter for men and women to judge by. He
wears well, and he washes well--if you know what I mean, Grace.'
'Yes; I think I know what you mean.'
'The Apollos of the world--I don't mean in outward looks, mamma--but
the Apollos in heart, the men--and the women too--who are so full of
feeling, so soft-natured, so kind, who never say a cross word, who never
get out of bed on the wrong side in the morning--it so often turns out
that they won't wash.'
Such was the expression of Miss Dale's experience.
MR CRAWLEY IS SUMMONED TO BARCHESTER
The scene which occurred in Hogglestock church on the Sunday after Mr
Thumble's first visit to the parish had not been described with accuracy
either by the archdeacon in his letter to his son, or by Mrs Thorne.
There had been no footman from the palace in attendance on Mr Thumble,
nor had there been a battle with the brickmakers; neither had Mr Thumble
been put under the pump. But Mr Thumble had gone over, taking his gown
and surplice with him, on the Sunday morning, and had intimated to Mr
Crawley his intention of performing the service. Mr Crawley, in answer
to this, had assured Mr Thumble that he would not be allowed to open his
mouth in the church; and Mr Thumble, not seeing his way to any further
successful action, had contented himself with attending the services in
his surplice, making thereby a silent protest that he, and not Mr
Crawley, ought to have been in the reading-desk and the pulpit.
When Mr Trumble reported himself and his failure to the palace, he
strove hard to avoid seeing Mrs Proudie, but not successfully. He knew
something of the palace habits, and did manage to reach the bishop alone
on the Sunday evening, justifying himself to his lordship for such an
interview by the remarkable circumstances of the case and the importance
of his late mission. Mrs Proudie always went to church on Sunday
evenings, making a point of hearing three services and three sermons
every Sunday of her life. On week-days she seldom heard any, having an
idea that week-day services were an invention of the High Church enemy,
and that they should therefore be vehemently discouraged. Services on
saints' days she regarded as rank papacy, and had been known to accuse a
clergyman's wife to her face, of idolatry because the poor lady had
dated a letter, St John's Eve. Mr Thumble, on this Sunday evening, was
successful in finding the bishop at home, and alone, but he was not
lucky enough to get away before Mrs Proudie returned. The bishop,
perhaps, thought that the story of the failure had better reach his
wife's ears from Mr Thumble's lips than from his own.
'Well, Mr Thumble?' said Mrs Proudie, walking into the study, armed in
her full Sunday-evening winter panoply, in which she had just descended
from her carriage. The church which Mrs Proudie attended in the evening
was nearly half a mile from the palace, and the coachman and groom never
got a holiday on Sunday night. She was gorgeous in a dark brown silk
dress of awful stiffness and terrible dimensions; and on her shoulders
she wore a short cloak of velvet and fur, very handsome withal, but so
swelling in its proportions on all sides as necessarily to create more
of dismay than of admiration in the mind of any ordinary man. And her
bonnet was a monstrous helmet with the beaver up, displaying the awful
face of the warrior, always ready for combat, and careless to guard
itself from attack. The large contorted bows which she bore were as a
grisly crest upon her casque, beautiful doubtless, but majestic and
fear-compelling. In her hand she carried her armour all complete, a
prayer-book, a Bible, and a book of hymns. These the footman had brought
for her to the study door, but she had thought it fit to enter her
husband's room with them in her own custody.
'Well, Mr Thumble!' she said.
Mr Thumble did not answer at once, thinking, probably, that the bishop
might choose to explain the circumstances. But neither did the bishop
'Well, Mr Thumble?' she said again; and then she stood looking at the
man who had failed so disastrously.
'I have explained to the bishop,' said he. 'Mr Crawley has been
contumacious--very contumacious indeed.'
'But you preached at Hogglestock?'
'No, indeed, Mrs Proudie. Nor would it have been possible, unless I had
the police to assist me.'
'Then you should have had the police. I never heard of anything so
mismanaged in all my life--never in all my life.' And she put her books
down on the study table, and turned herself round from Mr Thumble
towards the bishop. 'If things go on like this, my lord,' she said,
'your authority in the diocese will very soon be worth nothing at all.'
It was not often that Mrs Proudie called her husband my lord, but when
she did so, it was a sign that terrible times had come;--times so
terrible that the bishop would know that he must either fight or fly. He
would almost endure anything rather than descend into the arena for the
purpose of doing battle with his wife, but occasions would come now and
again when even the alternatives of flight were hardly left to him.
'But, my dear--' began the bishop.
'Am I to understand that this man has professed himself to be altogether
indifferent to the bishop's prohibition?' said Mrs Proudie, interrupting
her husband and addressing Mr Thumble.
'Quite so. He seemed to think that the bishop had no lawful power in
the matter at all,' said Mr Thumble.
'Do you hear that, my lord?' said Mrs Proudie.
'Nor have I any,' said the bishop, almost weeping as he spoke.
'No authority in your own diocese!'
'None to silence a man merely by my own judgment. I thought, and still
think, that it was for this gentleman's own interest, as well as for the
credit of the Church, that some provision should be made for his duties
during the present--present--difficulties.'
'Difficulties indeed! Everybody knows that the man has been a thief.'
'No, my dear; I do not know it.'
'You never know anything, bishop.'
'I mean to say I do not know it officially. Of course, I have heard the
sad story; and though I hope it may not be--'
'There is no doubt about its truth. All the world knows it. He has
stolen twenty pounds, and yet he is to be allowed to desecrate the
Church, and imperil the souls of the people!' The bishop got up from his
chair and began to walk backwards and forwards through the room with
short quick steps. 'It only wants five days to Christmas Day,' continued
Mrs Proudie, 'and something must be done at once. I say nothing as to
the propriety or impropriety of his being out on bail, as it is no
affair of ours. When I heard that he had been bailed by a beneficed
clergyman of this diocese, of course I knew where to look for the man
who would act with so much impropriety. Of course I was not surprised,
when I found that that person belonged to Framley. But, as I have said
before, that is no business of ours. I hope, Mr Thumble, that the bishop
will never be found interfering with the ordinary laws of the land. I am
very sure that he will never do so by my advice. But when there comes a
question of inhibiting a clergyman who has committed himself as that
clergyman unfortunately has done, then I say that that clergyman ought
to be inhibited.' The bishop walked up and down the room throughout the
whole of this speech, but gradually his steps became quicker, and his
turns became shorter. 'And now here is Christmas Day upon us, and what
is to be done?' With these words Mrs Proudie finished her speech.
'Mr Thumble,' said the bishop, 'perhaps you had better now retire. I am
very sorry that you should have had so thankless and so disagreeable a
'Why should Mr Thumble retire?' asked Mrs Proudie.
'I think it better,' said the bishop. 'Mr Thumble, good-night.' Then Mr
Thumble did retire, and Mrs Proudie stood forth in her full panoply of
armour, silent and awful, with her helmet erect, and vouchsafed no
recognition whatever of the parting salutation which Mr Thumble greeted
her. 'My dear, the truth is, you do not understand the matter,' said the
bishop, as soon as the door was closed. 'You do not know how limited is
'Bishop, I understand it a great deal better than some people; and I
understand also what is due to myself and the manner in which I ought to
be treated by you in the presence of the subordinate clergy of the
diocese. I shall not, however, remain here to be insulted in the
presence or absence of anyone.' Then the conquered amazon collected
together her weapons which she had laid upon the table, and took her
departure with majestic step, and not without the clang of arms. The
bishop, when he was left alone, enjoyed for a few moments the triumph of
But then he was left so very much alone! When he looked round about him
upon his solitude after the departure of his wife, and remembered that
he should not see her again till he should encounter on ground that was
all her own, he regretted his own success, and was tempted to follow her
and to apologise. He was unable to do anything alone. He would not even
know how to get his tea, as the very servants would ask questions, if he
were to do so unaccustomed a thing as to order it to be brought up to
him in his solitude. They would tell him that Mrs Proudie was having tea
in her little sitting-room upstairs, or else that the things were laid
in the drawing-room. He did wander forth to the latter apartment, hoping
that he might find his wife there; but the drawing-room was dark and
deserted, and so he wandered back again. It was a grand thing certainly
to have triumphed over his wife, and there was a crumb of comfort in the
thought that he had vindicated himself before Mr Thumble; but the
general result was not comforting, and he knew from old how short-lived
his triumph would be.
But wretched as he was during that evening he did employ himself with
some energy. After much thought he resolved that he would again write to
Mr Crawley, and summon him to appear at the palace. In doing this he
would at any rate be doing something. There would be action. And though
Mr Crawley would, as he thought, decline to obey the order, something
would be gained even by that disobedience. So he wrote his
summons--sitting very fortless and all alone on that Sunday
evening--dating his letter, however, for the following day:--
'PALACE, December 20, 186-
'I have just heard from Mr Thumble that you have
declined to accede to the advice which I thought it my
duty to tender to you as the bishop who has been set
over you by the Church, and that you yesterday
insisted on what you believed to be your right, to
administer the services of the parish church of
Hogglestock. This has occasioned me the deepest
regret. It is, I think, unavailing that I should further
write to you my mind upon the subject, as I possess
such strong evidence that my written word will not be
respected by you. I have therefore no alternative now
but to invite you to come to me here; and this I do,
hoping that I may induce you to listen to the
authority which I cannot but suppose you acknowledge
to be vested in the office which I hold.
'I shall be glad to see you tomorrow, Tuesday,
as near the hour of two as you can make it convenient
to yourself to be here, and I will take care to order
that refreshment will be provided for yourself and
your horse.--I am, Reverend Sir, &c, &c, &c.
'My dear,' he said, when he did again encounter his wife that night, 'I
have written to Mr Crawley, and I thought I might as well bring up the
copy of my letter.'
'I wash my hands of the whole affair,' said Mrs Proudie--'of the whole
'But you will look at the letter?'
'Certainly not. Why should I look at the letter? My word goes for
nothing. I have done what I could, but in vain. Now let us see how you
manage it yourself.'
The bishop did not pass a comfortable night; but in the morning his wife
did read the letter, and after that things went a little smoother with
him. She was pleased to say that, considering all things; seeing, as she
could not help seeing, that the matter had been dreadfully mismanaged,
and that great weakness had been displayed;--seeing that these faults
had already been committed, perhaps no better step could now be taken
than that proposed in the letter.
'I suppose he will not come,' said the bishop.
'I think he will,' said Mrs Proudie, 'and I trust that we may be able to
convince him that obedience will be the best course. He will be more
humble-minded here than at Hogglestock.' In saying this the lady showed
some knowledge of the general nature of clergymen and of the world at
large. She understood how much louder a cock can crow in his own
farmyard than elsewhere, and knew that episcopal authority, backed by
all the solemn awe of palatial grandeur, goes much further than it will
do when sent under the folds of an ordinary envelope. But though she
understood ordinary human nature, it may be that she did not understand
Mr Crawley's nature.
But she was at any rate right in her idea as to Mr Crawley's immediate
reply. The palace groom who rode over to Hogglestock returned with an
'MY LORD'--said Mr Crawley,
'I will obey your lordship's summons, and,
unless impediments should arise, I will wait upon your
lordship at the hour you name tomorrow. I will not
trespass on your hospitality. For myself, I rarely
break bread in any house but my own; and as to the
horse, I have none--I have the honour to by, My lord,
'Of course I shall go,' he had said to his wife as soon as he had time
to read the letter, and make known to her the contents. 'I shall go if
it be possible for me to get there. I think that I am bound to comply
with the bishop's wishes in so much as that.'
'But how will you get there, Josiah?'
'I will walk--with the Lord's aid.'
Now Hogglestock was fifteen miles from Barchester, and Mr Crawley was,
as his wife well knew, by no means fitted in his present state for great
physical exertion. But from the tone in which he had replied to her, she
well knew that it would not avail for her to remonstrate at the moment.
He had walked more than thirty miles in a day since he had been living
at Hogglestock, and she did not doubt but that it might be possible for
him to do it again. Any scheme, which she might be able to devise for
saving him from so terrible a journey in the middle of winter, must be
pondered over silently, and brought to bear, if not slyly, at least
deftly, and without discussion. She made no reply therefore when he
declared on the following day he would walk to Barchester and back--with
the Lord's aid; nor did she see, or ask to see the note which he sent to
the bishop. When the messenger was gone, Mr Crawley was all alert,
looking forward with evident glee to his encounter with the
bishop--snorting like a racehorse at the expected triumph of the coming
struggle. And he read much Greek with Jane on that afternoon, pouring
into her young ears, almost with joyous rapture, his appreciation of the
glory and the pathos and the humanity also, of the awful tragedy of the
story of Oedipus. His very soul was on fire at the idea of clutching the
weak bishop in his hand, and crushing him with his strong grasp.
In the afternoon Mrs Crawley slipped out to a neighbouring farmer's
wife, and returned in an hour's time with a little story which she did
not tell with any appearance of satisfaction. She had learned well what
were the little tricks necessary to the carrying of such a matter as she
now had in hand. Mr Mangle, the farmer, as it happened, was going
tomorrow morning in his tax-cart as far as Framley Mill, and would be
delighted if Mr Crawley would take a seat. He must remain at Framley the
best part of the afternoon, and hoped that Mr Crawley would take a seat
back again. Now Framley Mill was only a half mile off the direct road to
Barchester, and was almost half way from Hogglestock parsonage to the
city. This would, at any rate, bring the walk within a practicable
distance. Mr Crawley was instantly placed upon his guard, like an animal
that sees the bait and suspects the trap. Had he been told that farmer
Mangle was going all the way to Barchester, nothing would have induced
him to get into the cart. He would have felt sure that farmer Mangle had
been persuaded to pity him in his poverty and his strait, and he would
sooner have started to walk to London than have put a foot upon the step
of the cart. But this lift half way did look to him as if it were really
fortuitous. His wife could hardly have been cunning enough to persuade
the farmer to go to Framley, conscious that the trap would have been
suspected had the bait been more full. But I fear--I fear the dear good
woman had been thus cunning--had understood how far the trap might be
baited, and had thus succeeded in catching her prey.
On the following morning he consented to get into farmer Mangle's cart,
and was driven as far as Framley Mill. 'I wouldn't think nowt, your
reverence, of running you over to Barchester--that I wouldn't. The powny
is so mortal good.,' said farmer Mangle in his foolish good-nature.
'And how about your business here?' said Mr Crawley. The farmer
scratched his head, remembering Mrs Crawley's injunctions, and awkwardly
acknowledged that to be sure his own business with the miller was very
pressing. Then Mr Crawley descended, terribly suspicious, and went on
'Anyways, your reverence will call for me coming back?' said the farmer
Mangle. But Mr Crawley would make no promise. He bade the farmer not
wait for him. If they chanced to meet together on the road he might get
up again. If the man really had business at Framley, how could he have
offered to go on to Barchester? Were they deceiving him? The wife of his
bosom had deceived him in such matters before now. But his trouble in
this respect was soon dissipated by the pride of his anticipated triumph
over the bishop. He took great glory from the thought that he would go
before the bishop with dirty boots--with boots necessarily dirty--with
rusty pantaloons, that he would be hot and mud-stained with his walk,
hungry, and an object to be wondered at by all who should see him,
because the misfortunes which had been unworthily heaped upon his head;
whereas the bishop would be sleek and clean and well-fed--pretty with
all the prettinesses that are becoming to a bishop's outward man. And
he, Mr Crawley, would be humble, whereas the bishop would be proud. And
the bishop would be in his own armchair--the cock in his own farmyard,
while he, Mr Crawley, would be seated afar off, in the cold extremity of
the room, with nothing of outward circumstances to assist him--a man
called thither to undergo censure. And yet he would take the bishop in
his grasp and crush him--crush him--crush him! As he thought of this he
walked quickly through the mud, and put out his long arm and his great
hand, far before him into the air, and there and then, he crushed the
bishop in his imagination. Yes, indeed! He thought it very doubtful
whether the bishop would ever send for him a second time. And as this
passed through his mind, he forgot his wife's cunning, and farmer
Mangle's sin, and for the moment he was happy.
As he turned a corner round by Lord Lufton's park paling, who should he
meet but his old friend Mr Robarts, the parson of Framley--the parson
who had committed the sin of being bail for him--the sin, that is,
according to Mrs Proudie's view of the matter. He was walking with his
hand still stretched out--still crushing the bishop, when Mr Robarts was
close upon him.
'What, Crawley! upon my word I am very glad to see you; you are coming
to me, of course?'
'Thank you, Mr Robarts; no, not today. The bishop has summoned me to
his presence, and I am on my road to Barchester.'
'But how are you going?'
'I shall walk.
'Walk to Barchester. Impossible!'
'I hope not quite impossible, Mr Robarts. I trust I shall get as far
before two o'clock; but to do so I must be on my road.' Then he showed
signs of a desire to go upon his way without further parley.
'But, Crawley, do let me send you over. There is the horse and gig
'Thank you, Mr Robarts; no. I should prefer to walk today.'
'And you have walked from Hogglestock?'
'No;--not so. A neighbour coming hither, who happened to have business
at your mill--he brought me so far in his cart. The walk home will be
nothing--nothing. I shall enjoy it. Good morning, Mr Robarts.'
But Mr Robarts thought of the dirty road and of the bishop's presence,
and of his own ideas of what would be becoming for a clergyman--and
persevered. 'You will find the lanes so very muddy; and our bishop, you
know, is apt to notice such things. Do be persuaded.'
'Notice what things?' demanded Mr Crawley, in an indignant tone.
'He, or perhaps she rather, will say how dirty your shoes were when you
came to the palace.'
'If he, or she, can find nothing unclean about me but my shoes, let them
say their worst. I shall be very indifferent. I have long ceased, Mr
Robarts, to care much what any man or woman may say about my shoes. Good
morning.' Then he stalked on, clutching and crushing in his hand the
bishop, and the bishop's wife, and the whole diocese--and all the Church
of England. Dirty shoes, indeed! Whose was the fault that there were in
the church so many feet soiled by unmerited poverty, and so many hands
soiled by undeserved wealth? If the bishop did not like his shoes, let
the bishop dare tell him so! So he walked on through the thick of the
mud, by no means picking his way.
He walked fast, and he found himself in the close half an hour before
the time named by the bishop. But on no account would he have rung the
palace bell one minute before two o'clock. So he walked up and down
under the towers of the cathedral, and cooled himself, and looked up at
the pleasant plate-glass in the windows of the house of his friend the
dean, and told himself how, in their college days, he and the dean had
been quite equal--quite equal, except by the voices of all qualified
judges in the university, he, Mr Crawley, had been acknowledged the
riper scholar. And now the Mr Arabin of those days was Dean of
Barchester--travelling abroad luxuriously at the moment for his delight,
while he, Crawley, was perpetual curate at Hogglestock, and had now
walked into Barchester at the command of the bishop, because he was
suspected of having stolen twenty pounds! When he had fully imbued his
mind with the injustice of all this, his time was up, and he walked
boldly to the bishop's gate, and boldly rang the bishop's bell.
THE BISHOP OF BARCHESTER IS CRUSHED
Who inquires why it is that a little greased flour rubbed in among the
hair on a footman's head--just one dab here and another there--gives
such a tone of high life to the family? And seeing that the thing is so
easily done, why do not more people attempt it? The tax on hair powder
is but thirteen shillings a year. It may, indeed, be that the slightest
dab in the world justifies the wearer in demanding hot meat three times
a day, and wine at any rate on Sundays. I think, however, that a
bishop's wife may enjoy the privilege without such heavy attendant
expense; otherwise the man who opened the bishop's door to Mr Crawley
would hardly have been so ornamental.
The man asked for a card. 'My name is Mr Crawley,' said our friend.
'The bishop desired me to come to him at this hour. Will you be pleased
to tell him that I am here.' The man again asked for a card. 'I am not
bound to carry with me my name printed on a ticket,' said Mr Crawley.
'If you cannot remember it, give me a pencil and paper, and I will write
it.' The servant, somewhat awed by the stranger's manner, brought pen
and paper, and Mr Crawley wrote his name:--
'THE REV JOSHUA CRAWLEY, M.A.,
Perpetual Curate of Hogglestock'
He was then ushered into a waiting-room, but, to his disappointment, was
not kept there waiting long. Within three minutes he was ushered into
the bishop's study, and into the presence of the two great luminaries of
the diocese. He was at first somewhat disconcerted by finding Mrs
Proudie in the room. In the imaginary conversation with the bishop which
he had been preparing on the road, he had conceived that the bishop
would be attended by a chaplain, and he had suited his words to the
joint discomfiture of the bishop and of the lower clergyman;--but now
the line of his battle must be altered. This was no doubt an injury, but
he trusted to his courage and readiness to enable him to surmount it. He
had left his hat behind him in the waiting room, but he kept his old
short cloak still upon his shoulders; and when he entered the bishop's
room his hands and arms were hid beneath it. There was something lowly
in this constrained gait. It showed at least that he had no idea of
being asked to shake hands with the august persons he might meet. And
his head was somewhat bowed, though his great, bald, broad forehead
showed itself so prominent, that neither the bishop nor Mrs Proudie
could drop it from their sight during the whole interview. He was a man
who when seen could hardly be forgotten. The deep angry remonstrant
eyes, the shaggy eyebrows, telling tales of frequent anger--of anger
frequent but generally silent--the repressed indignation of the habitual
frown, the long nose and large powerful mouth, the deep furrows on the
cheek, and the general look of thought and suffering, all combined to
make the appearance of the man remarkable, and to describe to the
beholders at once his true character. No one ever on seeing Mr Crawley
took him to be a happy man, or a weak man, or an ignorant man, or a wise
'You are very punctual, Mr Crawley,' said the bishop. Mr Crawley simply
bowed his head, still keeping his hands beneath his cloak. 'Will you not
take a chair nearer to the fire?' Mr Crawley had not seated himself, but
had placed himself in front of a chair at the extreme end of the
room--resolved that he would not use it unless he were duly asked.
'Thank you, my lord,' he said. 'I am warm with walking, and if you
please, will avoid the fire.'
'You have not walked, Mr Crawley?'
'Yes, my lord; I have been walking.'
'Not from Hogglestock!'
Now this was a matter which Mr Crawley certainly did not mean to discuss
with the bishop. It might be well for the bishop to demand his presence
in the palace, but it could be no part of the bishop's duty to inquire
how he got there. 'That, my lord, is a matter of no moment,' said he. 'I
am glad at any rate that I have been enable to obey your lordship's
order in coming hither on this morning.'
Hitherto Mrs Proudie had not said a word. She stood back in the room,
near the fire--more backward a good deal than she was accustomed to do
when clergymen made their ordinary visits. On such occasions she would
come forward and shake hands with them graciously--graciously, even if
proudly; but she had felt that she must do nothing of that kind now;
there must be no shaking hands with a man who had stolen a cheque for
twenty pounds! It might probably be necessary to keep Mr Crawley at a
distance, and therefore she had remained in the background. But Mr
Crawley seemed disposed to keep himself in the background, and therefore
she could speak. 'I hope your wife and children are well, Mr Crawley'
'Thank you, madam, my children are quite well, and Mrs Crawley suffers
no special ailment at present.'
'That is much to be thankful for, Mr Crawley.' Whether he were or were
not thankful for such mercies as these was no business of the bishop or
of the bishop's wife. That was between him and his God. So he would not
even bow to this civility, but sat with his head erect, and with a great
frown on his heavy brow.
Then the bishop rose from his chair to speak, intending to take up a
position on the rug. But as he did so Mr Crawley, who had also seated
himself on an intimation that he was expected to sit down, rose also,
and the bishop found that he would thus lose his expected vantage. 'Will
you not be seated, Mr Crawley?' said the bishop. Mr Crawley smiled, but
stood his ground. Then the bishop returned to his arm-chair, and Mr
Crawley also sat down again. 'Mr Crawley,' began the bishop, 'this
matter which the other day came before the magistrates at Silverbridge
has been a most unfortunate affair. It has given me, I can assure you,
the most sincere pain.'
Mr Crawley had made up his mind how far the bishop should be allowed to
go without a rebuke. He had told himself that it would only be natural,
and would not be unbecoming, that the bishop should allude to a meeting
of the magistrates and to the alleged theft, and that therefore such
allusions should be endured with patient humility. And, moreover, the
more rope he gave the bishop, the more likely the bishop would be to
entangle himself. It certainly was Mr Crawley's wish that the bishop
should entangle himself. He, therefore, replied, very meekly. 'It has
been most unfortunate, my lord.'
'I have felt for Mrs Crawley very deeply,' said Mrs Proudie. Mr Crawley
now made up his mind that as long as it was possible he would ignore the
presence of Mrs Proudie altogether; and, therefore, he made no sign that
he had heard the latter remark.
'It has been most unfortunate,' continued the bishop. 'I have never
before had a clergyman in my diocese placed in so distressing a
'That is a matter of opinion, my lord,' said Mr Crawley, who at that
moment thought of a crisis that had come in the life of another
clergyman in the diocese of Barchester, and the circumstances of which
he had by chance become acquainted.
'Exactly,' said the bishop. 'And I am expressing my opinion.' Mr
Crawley, who understood fighting, did not think the time had yet come
for striking a blow, so he simply bowed again. 'A most unfortunate
position, Mr Crawley,' continued the bishop. 'Far be it from me to
express an opinion on the matter, which will have to come before a jury
of your countrymen. It is enough for me to know that the magistrates
assembled at Silverbridge, gentlemen to whom no doubt you must be known,
as most of them live in your neighbourhood, have heard evidence upon the
'Most convincing evidence,' said Mrs Proudie, interrupting her husband.
Mr Crawley's black brow became a little blacker as he heard the word,
but he still ignored the woman. He not only did not speak, but did not
turn his eyes upon her.
'They have heard the evidence on the subject,' continued the bishop,
'and they have thought it proper to refer the decision as to your
innocence or your guilt to a jury of your countrymen.'
'And they were right,' said Mr Crawley.
'Very possibly. I don't deny it. Probably,' said the bishop, whose
eloquence was somewhat disturbed by Mr Crawley's ready acquiescence.
'Of course they were right,' said Mrs Proudie.
'At any rate it is so,' said the bishop. 'You are in a position of a
man amenable to the criminal laws of the land.'
'There are no criminal laws, my lord,' said Mr Crawley; 'but to such
laws as there are we are all amenable--your lordship and I alike.'
'But you are so in a very particular way. I do not wish to remind you
what might be your condition now, but for the interposition of private
'I should be in the condition of a man not guilty before the law;
--guiltless as far as the law goes--but kept in durance, nor for the
faults of his own, but because otherwise, by reason of laches in the
police, his presence at the assizes might not be ensured. In such a
position a man's reputation is made to hang for a while on the trust
which some friends or neighbours may have in it. I do not say the test
is a good one.'
'You would have been put in prison, Mr Crawley, because the magistrates
were of the opinion that you had taken Mr Soames's cheque,' said Mrs
Proudie. On this occasion he did look at her. He turned one glance upon
her from under his eyebrows, but he did not speak.
'With all that I have nothing to do,' said the bishop.
'Nothing whatever, my lord,' said Mr Crawley.
'But, bishop, I think you have,' said Mrs Proudie. 'The judgment formed
by the magistrates as to the conduct of one of your clergymen makes it
imperative upon you to act in the matter.'
'Yes, my dear, yes; I am coming to that. What Mrs Proudie says is
perfectly true. I have been constrained most unwillingly to take action
in the matter. It is undoubtedly the fact that you must at the next
assizes surrender yourself at the court-house yonder, to be tried for
this offence against the laws.'
'That is true. If I be alive, and have strength sufficient, I shall be
'You must be there,' said Mrs Proudie. 'The police will look to that,
Mr Crawley.' She was becoming very angry in that the man would not
answer her a word. On this occasion he did not even look at her.
'Yes; you will be there,' said the bishop. 'Now that is, to say the
least of it, an unseemly position for a beneficed clergyman.'
'You said before, my lord, that it was an unfortunate position, and the
word, methinks, was better chosen.'
'It is very unseemly, very unseemly indeed,' said Mrs Proudie; 'nothing
could possibly be more unseemly. The bishop might very properly have
used a much stronger word.'
'Under these circumstances,' continued the bishop, 'looking to the
welfare of your parish, to the welfare of the diocese, and allow me to
say, Mr Crawley, to the welfare of yourself also--'
'And especially the souls of the people,' said Mrs Proudie.
The bishop shook his head. It is hard to be impressively eloquent when
one is interrupted at every best turning period, even by a supporting
voice. 'Yes;--and looking of course to the religious interests of your
people, Mr Crawley, I came to the conclusion that it would be expedient
that you should cease your ministrations for a while.' The bishop
paused, and Mr Crawley bowed his head. 'I, therefore, sent over to you a
gentleman with whom I am well acquainted, Mr Thumble, with a letter from
myself, in which I endeavoured to impress upon you, without the use of
any severe language, what my convictions were.'
'Severe words are often the best mercy,' said Mrs Proudie. Mr Crawley
had raised his hand, with his finger out, preparatory to answering the
bishop. But as Mrs Proudie had spoken he dropped his finger and was
'Mr Thumble brought me back your written reply,' continued the bishop,
'by which I was grieved to find that you were not willing to submit
yourself to my counsel in the matter.'
'I was most unwilling, my lord. Submission to authority is at times
a duty;--and at times opposition to authority is a duty also.'
'Opposition to just authority cannot be a duty, Mr Crawley.'
'Opposition to usurped authority is an imperative duty,' said Mr
'And who is to be the judge?' demanded Mrs Proudie. Then there was
silence for a while; when, as Mr Crawley made no reply, the lady
repeated her question. 'Will you be pleased to answer my question, sir?
Who, in such case, is to be the judge?' But Mr Crawley did not please to
answer the question. 'The man is obstinate,' said Mrs Proudie.
'I had better proceed,' said the bishop. 'Mr Thumble brought me back
your reply, which grieved me greatly.'
'It was contumacious and indecent,' said Mrs Proudie.
The bishop again shook his head and looked so utterly miserable that a
smile came across Mr Crawley's face. After all, others beside himself
had their troubles and trials. Mrs Proudie saw and understood the smile,
and became more angry than ever. She drew her chair close to the table,
and began to fidget with her fingers among the papers. She had never
before encountered a clergyman so contumacious, so indecent, so
unreverend--so upsetting. She had had to deal with men difficult to
manage--the archdeacon for instance; but the archdeacon had never been
so impertinent to her as this man. She had quarrelled once openly with a
chaplain of her husband's, a clergyman whom she herself had introduced
to her husband, and who had treated her very badly;--but not so badly,
not with such unscrupulous violence, as she was now encountering from
this ill-clothed beggarly man, this perpetual curate, with his dirty
broken boots, this already half-convicted thief! Such was her idea of
Mr Crawley's conduct to her, while she was fingering the papers--simply
because Mr Crawley would not speak to her.
'I forget where I was,' said the bishop. 'Oh, Mr Thumble came back, and
I received your letter;--of course I received it. And I was surprised to
learn from that, that in spite of what had occurred at Silverbridge, you
were still anxious to continue the usual Sunday ministrations in your
'I was determined that I would do my duty at Hogglestock, as long as I
might be left there to do it,' said Mr Crawley.
'Duty!' said Mrs Proudie.
'Just a moment, my dear,' said the bishop. 'When Sunday came, I had no
alternative but to send Mr Thumble over again to Hogglestock. It
occurred to us--to me and to Mrs Proudie--'
'I will tell Mr Crawley just now what has occurred to me,' said Mrs
'Yes;--just so. And I am sure that he will take it in good part. It
occurred to me, Mr Crawley, that your first letter might have been
written in haste.'
'It was written in haste, my lord; your messenger was waiting.'
'Yes;--just so. Well; so I sent him again, hoping that he might be
accepted as a messenger of peace. It was a most disagreeable mission for
any gentleman, Mr Crawley.'
'Most disagreeable, my lord.'
'And you refused him permission to obey the instructions which I had
given him. You would not let him read from your desk, or preach from
'Had I been Mr Thumble,' said Mrs Proudie, 'I would have read from that
desk and I would have preached from that pulpit.'
Mr Crawley waited for a moment, thinking that the bishop might perhaps
speak again; but as he did not, but sat expectant as though he had
finished his discourse, and now expected a reply, Mr Crawley got up from
his seat and drew near the table. 'My lord,' he began, 'it has all been
just as you said. I did answer your first letter in haste.'
'The more shame for you,' said Mrs Proudie.
'And therefore, for aught I know, my letter to your lordship may be so
worded as to need some apology.'
'Of course it needs an apology,' said Mrs Proudie.
'But of the matter of it, my lord, no apology can be made, nor is any
needed. I did refuse your messenger permission to perform the services
of my church, and if you send twenty more, I shall refuse them all--till
the time may come when it will be your lordship's duty, in accordance
with the laws of the Church--as borne out and backed by the laws of the
land, to provide during my contstrained absence for the spiritual wants
of those poor people at Hogglestock.'
'Poor people, indeed,' said Mrs Proudie. 'Poor wretches!'
'And, my lord, it may well be, that it shall soon be your lordship's
duty to take due and legal steps for depriving me of my benefice at
Hogglestock;--nay, probably, for silencing me altogether as to the
exercise of my sacred profession!'
'Of course it will, sir. Your gown will be taken from you,' said Mrs
Proudie. The bishop was looking with all his eyes on the great forehead
and great eyebrows of the man, and was so fascinated by the power that
was exercised over him by the other man's strength that he hardly now
noticed his wife.
'It may well be so, continued Mr Crawley. 'The circumstances are strong
against me; and, though your lordship may have altogether misunderstood
the nature of the duty performed by the magistrates in sending my case
for trial--although, as it seems to me, you have come to conclusions
in this matter in ignorance of the very theory of our laws--'
'Sir!' said Mrs Proudie.
'Yet I can foresee the probability that a jury will may discover me to
have been guilty of theft.'
'Of course the jury will do,' said Mrs Proudie.
'Should such a verdict be given, then, my lord, your interference will
be legal, proper, and necessary. And you will find that, even if it be
within my power to oppose obstacles to your lordship's authority, I will
oppose no such obstacle. There is, I believe, no appeal in criminal
'None at all,' said Mrs Proudie. 'There is no appeal against your
bishop. You should have learned that before.'
'But till that time shall come, my lord, I shall hold my own at
Hogglestock as you hold your own here at Barchester. Nor have you any
more power to turn me out of my pulpit by your mere voice, than I have
to turn you out of your throne by mine. If you doubt me, my lord, your
lordship's ecclesiastical court is open to you. Try it there.'
'You defy us, then?' said Mrs Proudie.
'My lord, I grant your authority as bishop is great, but even a bishop
can only act as the laws allows him.'
'God forbid that I should do more,' said the bishop.
'Sir, you will find that your wicked threats will fall back upon your
own head,' said Mrs Proudie.
'Peace, woman,' Mr Crawley said, addressing her at last. The bishop
jumped out of his chair at hearing the wife of his bosom called a woman.
But he jumped rather in admiration than in anger. He had already begun
to perceive that Mr Crawley was a man who had better be left to take
care of the souls at Hogglestock, at any rate till the trial should come
'Woman!' said Mrs Proudie, rising to her feet as though she really
intended some personal encounter.
'Madam,' said Mr Crawley, 'you should not interfere in these matters.
You simply debase you husband's high office. The distaff is more fitted
for you. My lord, good morning.' And before either of them could speak
again, he was out of the room, and through the hall, and beyond the
gate, and standing beneath the towers of the cathedral. Yes, he had, he
thought, in truth crushed the bishop. He had succeeded in crumpling the
bishop up within the clutch of his fist.
He started in spirit of triumph to walk back on his road towards
Hogglestock. He did not think of the long distance before him for the
first hour of his journey. He had had his victory, and the remembrance
of that braced his nerves and gave elasticity to his sinews, and he went
stalking along to road with rapid strides, muttering to himself from
time to time as he went along some word about Mrs Proudie and her
distaff. Mr Thumble would not, he thought, come to him again--not, at
any rate, till the assizes were drawing near. And he had resolved what
he would do then. When the day of his trial was near, he would himself
write to the bishop, and beg that provision might be made for his
church, in the event of the verdict going against him. His friend, Dean
Arabin, was to be home before that time, and the idea had occurred to
him of asking the dean to see to this; but now the other would be the
more independent course, and the better. And there was a matter as to
which he was not altogether well pleased with the dean, although he was
so conscious of his own peculiarities as to know that he could hardly
trust himself for a judgment. But, at any rate, he would apply to the
bishop--to the bishop whom he had just left prostrate in his palace--
when the time of his trial should be close at hand.
Full of such thoughts as these he went along almost gaily, nor felt the
fatigue of the road till he had covered the first five miles out of
Barchester. It was nearly four o'clock, and the thick gloom of the
winter evening was making itself felt. And then he began to be fatigued.
He had not as yet eaten since he had left his home in the morning, and
he now pulled a crust out of his pocket and leaned against a gate as he
crunched it. There were still ten miles before him, and he knew that
such an addition to the work he had already done would task him very
severely. Farmer Mangle had told him that he would not leave Framley
Mill by that time. But he had said that he would not return to Framley
Mill, and he remembered his suspicion that his wife and the farmer
between them had cozened him. No; he would persevere and walk--walk
though he should drop upon the road. He was now nearer fifty then forty
years of age, and hardships as well as time had told upon him. He knew
that the last four miles in the dark would be very sad with him. But
still he persevered, endeavouring, as he went, to cherish himself with
the remembrance of his triumph.
He passed the turning going down to Framley with courage, but when he
came to the further turning, by which the cart would return from Framley
to the Hogglestock road, he looked wistfully down the road for farmer
Mangle. But farmer Mangle was still at the Mill, waiting in expectation
that Mr Crawley might come to him. But the poor traveller paused here
barely for a minute, and then went on, stumbling through the mud,
striking his ill-covered feet against the rough stones in the dark,
sweating in his weakness, almost tottering at times, and calculating
whether his remaining strength would serve to carry him home. He had
almost forgotten the bishop and his wife before at last he grasped the
wicket gate leading to his own door.
'Oh, mamma, here is papa!'
'But where is the cart? I did not hear the wheels,' said Mrs Crawley.
'Oh, mamma, I think papa is ill.' Then the wife took her drooping
husband by both arms and strove to look him in the face. 'He has walked
all the way, and he is ill,' said Jane.
'No, my dear, I am very tired, but not ill. Let me sit down, and give
me some bread and tea, and I shall recover myself.' Then Mrs Crawley,
from some secret hoard, got him a small modicum of spirits, and gave him
meat and tea, and he was docile; and, obeying her behests, allowed
himself to be taken to his bed.
'I do not think the bishop will send for me again,' he said, as she
tucked the clothes around him.
WHERE DID IT COME FROM?
When Christmas morning came no emissary from the bishop appeared at
Hogglestock to interfere with the ordinary performance of the day's
services. 'I think we need fear no further disturbance,' Mr Crawley said
to his wife--and there was no further disturbance.
On the day after his walk from Framley to Barchester, and from
Barchester back to Hogglestock, Mr Crawley had risen not much the worse
for his labour, and had gradually given to his wife a full account of
what had taken place. 'A poor weak man,' he said, speaking of the
bishop. 'A poor weak creature, and much to be pitied.'
'I have always heard that she is a violent woman.'
'Very violent, and very ignorant; and most intrusive withal.'
'And you did not answer her a word?'
'At last my forbearance with her broke down, and I bade her mind her
'What;--really? Did you say those words to her?'
'Nay; as for the exact words I cannot remember them. I was thinking
more of the word which it might be fitting that I should answer the
bishop. But I certainly told her that she had better mind her distaff.'
'And how did she behave then?'
'I did not wait to see. The bishop had spoken, and I had replied; and
why should I tarry to behold the woman's violence? I had told him that
he was wrong in law, and that I at least would not submit to usurped
authority. There was nothing to keep me longer, and so I went without
much ceremony of leave-taking. There had been little ceremony of
greeting on their part, and there was less in the making of adieux on
mine. They had told me that I was a thief--'
'No, Josiah--surely not so? They did not use that very word?'
'I say they did;--they did use that very word. But stop. I am wrong.
I wrong his lordship, and I crave pardon for having done so. If my
memory serve me, no expression so harsh escaped from the bishop's mouth.
He gave me, indeed, to understand more than once that the action taken
by the magistrates was tantamount to a conviction, and that I must be
guilty because they had decided that there was evidence sufficient to
justify a trial. But all that arose from my lord's ignorance of the
administration of the laws of his country. He was very
ignorant--puzzle-pated, as you may call it--led by the nose by his wife,
weak as water, timid and vacillating. But he did not wish, I think, to
be insolent. It was Mrs Proudie who told me to my face that I was
'May she be punished for the cruel word!' said Mrs Crawley. 'May the
remembrance that she has spoken it come, some day, heavily upon her
'"Vengeance is mine. I will repay," saith the Lord,' answered Mr
Crawley. 'We may safely leave all that alone, and rid our minds of such
wishes, if it be possible. It is well, I think, that violent offences,
when committed, should be met by instant rebuke. To turn the other cheek
instantly to the smiter can hardly be suitable in these days, when the
hands of so many are raised to strike. But the return blow should be
given only while the smart remains. She hurt me then; but what is to me
now, that she called me a thief to my face? Do I not know that, all the
country round, men and woman are calling me the same behind my back?'
'No, Josiah, you do not know that. They say the thing is very
strange--so strange that it requires a trial; but no one thinks you have
taken that which was not your own.'
'I think I did. I myself think I took that which was not my own. My
poor head suffers so;--so many grievous thoughts distract me, that I am
like a child, and know not what I do.' As he spoke thus he put both
hands up to his head, leaning forward as though in anxious thought--as
though he were striving to bring his mind to bear with accuracy on past
events. 'It could not have been mine, and yet--' Then he sat silent, and
made no effort to continue his speech.
'And yet?'--said his wife, encouraging him to proceed. If she could
only learn the real truth, she thought that she might perhaps yet save
him, with assistance from their friends.
'When I said that I had gotten it from that man I must have been mad.'
'From which man, love?'
'From the man Soames--he who accuses me. And yet, as the Lord hears me,
I thought so then. The truth is, that there are times when I am
not--sane. I am not a thief--not before God; but I am--mad at times.'
These last words were spoken very slowly, in a whisper--without any
excitement--indeed with a composure which was horrible to witness. And
what he said was the more terrible because she was so well convinced of
the truth of his words. Of course he was no thief. She wanted no one to
tell her that. As he himself had expressed it, he was no thief before
God, however the money might have come into his possession. That there
were times when his reason, once so fine and clear, could not act, could
not be trusted to guide him right, as she had gradually come to know
with fear and trembling. But he himself had never before hinted his own
consciousness of this calamity. Indeed he had been so unwilling to speak
of himself and his own state, that she had been unable even to ask him a
question about the money--lest he should suspect that she suspected him.
Now he was speaking--but speaking with such heartrending sadness that
she could hardly urge him to go on.
'You have sometimes been ill, Josiah, as any of us may be,' she said,
'and that has been the cause.'
'There are different kinds of sickness. There is sickness of the body,
and sickness of the heart, and sickness of the spirit;--and then there
is sickness of the mind, the worst of all.'
'With you, Josiah, it has chiefly been the first.'
'With me, Mary, it has been all of them--every one! My spirit is
broken, my mind has not been able to keep its even tenor amidst the
ruins. But I will strive. I will strive. I will strive still. And if God
helps me, I will prevail.' Then he took up his hat and cloak, and went
forth among the lanes; and on this occasion his wife was glad that he
should go alone.
This occurred a day or two before Christmas, and Mrs Crawley during
those days said nothing more to her husband on the subject which he had
so unexpectedly discussed. She asked him no questions about the money,
or as to the possibility of his exercising his memory, nor did she
counsel him to plead that the false excuses given by him for the
possession of the cheque had been occasioned by the sad slip to which
sorrow had in those days subjected his memory and his intellect. But the
matter had always been on her mind. Might it not be her paramount duty
to do something of this at the present moment? Might it not be that his
acquittal or conviction would depend on what she might now learn from
him? It was clear to her that he was brighter in spirit since his
encounter with the Proudies than he had ever been since the accusation
had been first made against him. And she knew well that his present mood
would not be of long continuance. He would fall again into his moody
silent ways, and then the chance of learning aught from him would be
past, and perhaps, for ever.
He performed the Christmas services with nothing of special despondency
in his tone or manner, and his wife thought that she had never heard him
give the sacrament with more impressive dignity. After the service he
stood awhile at the churchyard gate, and exchanged a word of courtesy as
to the season with such of the families of the farmers as had stayed for
the Lord's Supper.
'I waited at Framley for your reverence till arter six--so I did,' said
'I kept the road, and walked the whole way,' said Mr Crawley, 'I think I
told you that I should not return to the mill. But I am not the less
obliged by your great kindness.'
'Say nowt o' that,' said the farmer. 'No doubt I had business at the
mill--lots to do at the mill.' Nor did he think the fib he was telling
was at all incompatible with the Holy Sacrament in which he had just
The Christmas dinner at the parsonage was not a repast that did much
honour to the season, but it was a better dinner than the inhabitants of
that house usually had on the board before them. There was roast pork
and mince-pies, and a bottle of wine. As Mrs Crawley with her own hand
put the meat upon the table, and then, as was her custom in their house,
proceeded to cut it up, she looked at husband's face to see whether he
was scrutinising the food with painful eye. It was better that she
should tell the truth at once than that she should be made to tell it,
in answer to a question. Everything on the table, except the bread and
potatoes, had come in a basket from Framley Court. Pork had been sent
instead of beef, because people in the country, when they kill their
pigs, do sometimes give each other pork--but do not exchange joints of
beef, when they slay their oxen. All this was understood by Mrs Crawley,
but she almost wished that beef had been sent, because beef would have
attracted less attention. He said, however, nothing to the meat; but
when his wife proposed to him that he should eat a mince-pie he resented
it. 'The bare food,' said he, 'is bitter enough, coming as it does; but
that would choke me.' She did not press it, but ate one herself, as
otherwise her girl would have been forced also to refuse the dainty.
That evening, as soon as Jane was in bed, she resolved to ask him some
further questions. 'You will have a lawyer, Josiah--will you not?'
'Why should I have a lawyer?'
'Because he will know what questions to ask, and how questions on the
other side should be answered.'
'I have no questions to ask, and there is only one way in which
questions should be answered. I have no money to pay a lawyer.'
'But, Josiah, in such a case as this, where your honour, and our very
life depend upon it--'
'Depend on what?'
'On your acquittal.'
'I shall not be acquitted. It is as well to look it in the face at
once. Lawyer or no lawyer, they will say that I took the money. Were I
upon the jury, trying the case myself, knowing all that I know
now,'--and as he said this he struck forth with his hands into the
air--'I think that I should say so myself. A lawyer will do no good. It
is here. It is here.' And again he put his hands up to his head.
So far she had been successful. At this moment it had in truth been her
object to induce him to speak of his own memory, and not of the aid that
a lawyer might give. The proposition of the lawyer had been brought in
to introduce the subject.
It was very hard for her to speak. She could not bear to torment him by
any allusion to his own deficiencies. She could not endure to make him
think that she suspected him of any frailty either in intellect or
thought. Wifelike, she desired to worship him, and that he should know
that she worshipped him. But if a word might save him! 'Josiah, where
did it come from?'
'Yes,' said he; 'yes; that is the question. Where did it come
from?'--and he turned sharp upon her, looking at her with all the power
of his eyes. 'It is because I cannot tell you where it came from that I
ought to be--either in Bedlam, as a madman, or in the county gaol as a
thief.' The words were so dreadful to her that she could not utter at
the moment another syllable. 'How is a man--to think himself--fit--for a
man's work, when he cannot answer his wife such a plain question as
that?' Then he paused again. 'They should take me to Bedlam at once--at
once--at once. That would not disgrace the children as the gaol will
Mrs Crawley could ask no further questions on that evening.
WHAT MR WALKER THOUGHT ABOUT IT
It had been suggested to Mr Robarts, that parson at Framley, that he
should endeavour to induce his old acquaintance, Mr Crawley, to employ a
lawyer to defend him at his trial, and Mr Robarts had not forgotten the
commission which he had undertaken. But there were difficulties in the
matter of which he was well aware. In the first place Mr Crawley was a
man whom it had not at any time been easy to advise on matters private
to himself; and in the next place, this was a matter on which it was
very hard to speak to the man implicated, let him be who he would. Mr
Robarts had come round to the generally accepted idea that Mr Crawley
had obtained possession of the cheque illegally--acquitting his friend
in his own mind of theft, simply by supposing that he was wool-gathering
when the cheque came in his way. But in speaking to Mr Crawley, it would
be necessary--so he thought--to pretend a conviction that Mr Crawley was
as innocent in fact as in intention.
He had almost made up his mind to dash at the subject when he met Mr
Crawley walking through Framley to Barchester, but he had abstained
chiefly because Mr Crawley had been too quick for him, and had got away.
After that he resolved that it would be almost useless for him to go to
work unless he should be provided with a lawyer ready and willing to
undertake the task; and as he was not so provided at present, he made up
his mind that he would go into Silverbridge, and see Mr Walker, the
attorney there. Mr Walker always advised everybody in those parts about
everything, and would be sure to know what would be the proper thing to
be done in this case. So Mr Robarts got into his gig, and drove himself
into Silverbridge, passing very close to Mr Crawley's house on his road.
He drove at once to Mr Walker's office, and on arriving there found that
the attorney was not at that moment within. But Mr Winthrop was within.
Would Mr Robarts see Mr Winthrop? Now, seeing Mr Winthrop was a very
different thing from seeing Mr Walker, although the two gentlemen were
partners. But still Mr Robarts said that he would see Mr Winthrop.
Perhaps Mr Walker might return while he was there.
'Is there anything I can do for you, Mr Robarts?' asked Mr Winthrop. Mr
Robarts said that he had wished to see Mr Walker about that poor fellow
Crawley. 'Ah, yes; very said case! So much sadder being a clergyman, Mr
Robarts. We are really quite sorry for him;--we are indeed. We wouldn't
have touched the case ourselves if we could have helped ourselves. We
wouldn't indeed. But we are obliged to take all that business here. At
any rate he'll get nothing but fair usage from us.'
'I am sure of that. You don't know whether he has employed any lawyer
as yet to defend him?'
'I can't say. We don't know, you know. I should say he had--probably
some Barchester attorney. Borleys and Bonstock in Barchester are very
good people--very good people indeed;--for that sort of business I mean,
Mr Robarts. I don't suppose they have much county property in their
Mr Robarts knew that Mr Winthrop was a fool, and that he could get no
useful advice from him. So he suggested that he would take his gig down
to the inn, and call back again before long. 'You'll find that Mr Walker
knows no more than I do about it,' said Mr Winthrop, 'but of course
he'll be glad to see you if he happens to come in.' So Mr Robarts went
to the inn, put up his horse, and then, as he sauntered back up the
street, met Mr Walker coming out of the private door of his house.
'I've been at home all the morning,' he said; 'but I've had a stiff job
of work on hand, and told them to say in the office that I was not in.
Seen Winthrop, have you? I don't suppose he did know that I was here.
The clerks often know more than the partners. About Mr Crawley, is it?
Come into my dining-room, Mr Robarts, where we shall be alone. Yes;--it
is a bad case; a very bad case. The pity is that anybody should have
said anything about it. Lord bless me, if I'd been Soames I'd have let
him have the twenty pounds. Lord Lufton would never have allowed Soames
to lose it.'
'But Soames wanted to find out the truth.'
'Yes;--that was just it. Soames couldn't bear to think that he should
be left in the dark, and then, when the poor man said that Soames had
paid the cheque to him in the way of business--it was not odd that
Soames's back should have been up, was it? But, Mr Robarts, I should
have thought a deal about it before I should have brought such a man as
Mr Crawley before a bench of magistrates on that charge.'
'But between me and you, Mr Walker, did he steal the money?'
'Well, Mr Robarts, you know how I'm placed.'
'Mr Crawley is my friend, and of course I want to assist him. I was
under a great obligation to Mr Crawley once, and I wish to befriend him,
whether he took the money or not. But I could act so much better if I
felt sure one way or the other.'
'If you ask me, I think he did take it.'
'What!--he stole it?'
'I think he knew it was not his own when he took it. You see I don't
think he meant to use it when he took it. He perhaps had some queer idea
that Soames had been hard on him, or his lordship, and that the money
was fairly his due. Then he kept the cheque by him till he was
absolutely badgered out of his life by the butcher up the street there.
That was about the long and the short of it, Mr Robarts.'
'I suppose so. And now what had we better do?'
'Well; if you ask me--He is in very bad health, isn't he?'
'No; I should say not. He walked to Barchester and back the other day.'
'Did he? But he's very queer, isn't he?'
'Very odd-mannered indeed.'
'And does and says all manner of odd things?'
'I think you'd find the bishop would say so after that interview.'
'Well; if it would do any good, you might have the bishop examined.'
'Examined for what, Mr Walker?'
'If you could show, you know, that Crawley has got a bee in his bonnet;
that the mens sana is not there, in short;--I think you might manage to
have the trial postponed.'
'But then somebody must take charge of his living.'
'You parsons could manage that among you;--you and the dean and the
archdeacon. The archdeacon has always got half-a-dozen curates about
somewhere. And then--after the assizes, Mr Crawley might come to his
senses; and I think--mind you it's only an idea--but I think the
committal might be quashed. It would have been temporary insanity, and,
though mind I don't give my word for it, I think he might go on and keep
his living. I think so, Mr Robarts.'
'That has never occurred to me.'
'No;--I daresay not. You see the difficulty is this. He's so
stiff-necked--will do nothing himself. Well, that will do for one proof
of temporary insanity. The real truth is, Mr Robarts, he is as mad as a
'Upon my word I've often thought so.'
'And you wouldn't mind saying so in evidence--would you? Well, you see,
there is no helping such a man in any other way. He won't even employ a
lawyer to defend him.'
'That was what I had come to you about.'
'I'm told he won't. Now a man must be mad who won't employ a lawyer
when he wants one. You see, the point we should gain would be this--if
we tried to get him through as being a little touched in the upper
storey--whatever we could do for him, we could do against his own will.
The more he opposed us the stronger our case would be. He would swear he
was not mad at all, and we should say that that was the greatest sign of
his madness. But when I say we, of course I mean you. I must not appear
'I wish you could, Mr Walker.'
'Of course I can't; but that won't make any difference.'
'I suppose he must see a lawyer?'
'Yes, he must have a lawyer;--or rather, his friends must.'
'And who would employ him, ostensibly?'
'Ah;--there's the difficulty. His wife wouldn't do it, I suppose? She
couldn't do him a better turn.'
'He would never forgive her. And she would never consent against him.'
'Could you interfere?'
'If necessary, I will;--but I hardly know him well enough.'
'Has he no father or mother, or uncles or aunts? He must have somebody
belonging to him,' said Mr Walker.
Then it occurred to Mr Robarts that Dean Arabin would be the proper
person to interfere. Dean Arabin and Mr Crawley had been intimate
friends in early life, and Dean Arabin knew more of him than did any
man, at least in these parts. All this Mr Robarts explained to Mr
Walker, and Mr Walker agreed with him that the services of Dean Arabin
should if possible be obtained. Mr Robarts would at once write to Dean
Arabin and explain at length all the circumstances of the case. 'The
worst of it is, he will hardly be home in time,' said Mr Walker.
'Perhaps he would come a little sooner if you were to press it?'
'But we could act in his name in his absence, I suppose?--of course with
'I wish he could be here a month before the assizes, Mr Robarts. It
would be better.'
'And in the meantime shall I say anything to Mr Crawley, myself, about
employing a lawyer?'
'I think I would. If he turns upon you, as like he may, and abuses you,
that will help us in one way. If he should consent, and perhaps he may,
that would help us in the other way. I'm told he's been over and upset
the whole coach of the palace.'
'I shouldn't think the bishop got much of him,' said the parson.