Part 7 out of 18
request. 'If I have been too sudden,' he said, 'you must forgive me for
that. I have been sudden and abrupt, but as things are, no other way has
been open to me. Can you not bring yourself to give me some answer,
Grace?' His hand had now fallen again to his side, but he was still
standing before her.
She had said no word to him as yet, except that one in which she had
acknowledged her love for his child, and had expressed no surprise, even
in her countenance, at his proposal. And yet the idea that he should do
such a thing, since the idea that he certainly would do it had become
clear to her, had filled her with a world of surprise. No girl ever lived
with any beauty belonging to her who had a smaller knowledge of her own
possession than Grace Crawley. Nor had she the slightest pride in her
own acquirements. That she had been taught in many things more than had
been taught to other girls, had come of her poverty and of the
desolation of her home. She had learned to read Greek and Italian
because there had been nothing else for her to do in that sad house.
And, subsequently, accuracy of knowledge had been necessary for the
earning of her bread. I think that Grace had at times been weak enough
to envy the idleness and almost envy the ignorance of other girls. Her
figure was light, perfect in symmetry, full of grace at all points; but
she had thought nothing of her figure, remembering only the poverty of
her dress, but remembering also with a brave resolution that she would
never be ashamed of it. And as her acquaintance with Major Grantly had
begun and had grown, and as she had learned to feel unconsciously that
his company was pleasanter to her than that of any other person she
knew, she had still told herself that anything like love must be out of
the question. But then words had been spoken, and there had been glances
in his eye, and a tone in his voice, and a touch upon his fingers, of
which she could not altogether refuse to accept the meaning. And others
had spoken of it, the two Miss Prettymans and her friend Lily. Yet she
would not admit to herself that it could be so, and she would not allow
herself to confess to herself that she loved him. Then had come the last
killing misery to which her father had been subjected. He had been
accused of stealing money, and had been committed to be tried for the
theft. From that moment, at any rate, any hope, if there had been a
hope, must be crushed. But she swore to herself bravely that there had
been no such hope. And she assured herself also that nothing had passed
which had entitled her to expect anything beyond ordinary friendship
from the man of whom she certainly had thought much. Even if those
touches and those tones and those glances had meant anything, all such
meaning must be annihilated by this disgrace which had come upon her.
She might know that her father was innocent; but the world thought
differently, and she, her brothers and sister, and her mother and her
poor father, must bend to the world's opinion. If those dangerous joys
had meant anything, they must be taken as meaning nothing more.
Thus she had argued with herself, and, fortified by such self-
teachings, she had come down to Allington. Since she had been with her
friends there had come upon her from day to day a clear conviction that
her arguments had been undoubtedly true--a clear conviction which had
been very cold to her heart in spite of all her courage. She had
expected nothing, hoped for nothing, and yet when nothing came she was
sad. She thought of one special half-hour in which he had said almost
all that he might have said--more than he ought to have said;--of a
moment during which her hand had remained in his; of a certain pressure
with which he had put her shawl upon her shoulders. If he had only
written to her one word to tell her that he believed her father was
innocent! But no; she had no right to expect anything from him. And then
Lily had ceased to talk of him, and she did expect nothing. Now he was
there before her, asking her to come to him and be his wife. Yes; she
would kiss his shoebuckles, only that the kissing of his shoebuckles
would bring upon him that injury which he should never suffer from her
hands! He had been generous, and her self-pride was satisfied. But her
other pride was touched, and she also would be generous. 'Can you not
bring yourself to give me some answer?' he had said to her. Of course
she must give him an answer, but how would she give it?
'You are very kind,' she said.
'I would be more than kind.'
'So you are. Kind is a cold word when used to such a friend at such a
'I would be everything on earth to you that a man can be to a woman.'
'I know I ought to thank you if I knew how. My heart is full of thanks;
it is indeed.'
'And is there no room for love there?'
'There is no room for love in our house, Major Grantly. You have not
'No; but if you wish, I will do so at once.'
'It would to do no good;--none. I only asked you because you can hardly
know how sad is our state at home.'
'But I cannot see that that need deter you, if you can love me.'
'Can you not? If you saw him, and the house, and my mother, you would
not say so. In the Bible it is said of some season that it is not a time
for marrying, or giving in marriage. And so it is with us.'
'I am not pressing you as to a day. I only ask you to say that you will
be engaged to me--so that I may tell my own people, and let it be
'I understand all that. I know how good you are. But, Major Grantly,
you must understand me also when I assure you that it cannot be so.'
'Do you mean to refuse me altogether?'
'Must I answer that question? Ought I to be made to answer it? But I
will tell you fairly, without touching on anything else, that I feel
that we are all disgraced, and that I will not take that disgrace into
'Grace, do you love me?'
'I love no one now--that is, as you mean. I can love no one. I have no
room for any feeling except for my father and mother, and for us all. I
should not be here now but that I save my mother the bread that I should
eat at home.'
'Is it as bad as that?'
'Yes, it is as bad as that. It is much worse than that, if you knew it
all. You cannot conceive how low we have fallen. And now they tell me
that my father will be found guilty, and will be sent to prison. Putting
ourselves out of the question, what would you think of a girl who could
engage herself to any man under such circumstances? What would you think
of a girl who would allow herself to be in love in such a position? Had
I been ten times engaged to you, I would have broken it off.' And then
she got up to leave him.
But he stopped her, holding her by the arm. 'What you have said will
make me say what I certainly should have said without it. I declare that
we are engaged.'
'No, we are not,' said Grace.
'You have told me that you loved me.'
'I never told you so.'
'There are other ways of speaking than the voice; and I will boast to
you, though to no one else, that you have told me so. I believe you love
me. I shall hold myself engaged to you, and I shall think you false if I
hear that you listen to another man. Now, good-bye, Grace;--my own
'No, I am not your own,' she said, through her tears.
'You are my own, my very own. God bless you, dear, dear, dearest Grace.
You shall hear from me in a day or two, and shall see me as soon as this
horrid trial is over.' Then he took her in his arms before she could
escape from him, and kissed her forehead and her lips, while she
struggled in his arms. After that he left the room and the house as
quickly as he could, and was seen no more of the Dales upon that
SHOWING HOW MAJOR GRANTLY RETURNED TO GUESTWICK
Grace, when she was left alone, threw herself upon the sofa, and hid her
face in her hands. She was weeping almost hysterically, and had been
utterly dismayed and frightened by her lover's impetuosity. Things had
gone after a fashion which her imagination had not painted to her as
possible. Surely she had the power to refuse the man if she pleased. And
yet she felt as she lay there weeping that she did in truth belong to
him as part of his goods, and that her generosity had been foiled. She
had especially resolved that she would not confess any love to him. She
had made no such confession. She had guarded herself against doing so
with all the care which she knew how to use. But he assumed the fact,
and she had been unable to deny it. Could she have lied to him, and
sworn that she did not love him? Could she have so perjured herself,
even in support of her generosity? Yes, she would have done so--so she
told herself--if a moment had been given to her for thought. She ought
to have done so, and she blamed herself for being so little prepared for
the occasion. The lie would be useless now. Indeed, she would have no
opportunity for telling it; for of course she would not answer--would
not even read his letter. Though he might know that she loved him, yet
she would not be his wife. He had forced her secret from her, but he
could not force her to marry him. She did love him, but he should never
be disgraced by her love.
After a while she was able to think of his conduct, and she believed
that she ought to be very angry with him. He had taken her roughly in
his arms, and had insulted her. He had forced a kiss from her. She had
felt his arms warm and close and strong about her, and had not known
whether she was in paradise or in purgatory. She was very angry with
him. She would send back his letter to him without reading it--without
opening it, if that might be possible. He had done that to her which
nothing could justify. But yet--yet--yet how dearly she loved him! Was
he not the prince of men? He had behaved badly, of course; but had any
man ever behaved so badly before in so divine a way? Was it not a
thousand pities that she should be driven to deny anything to a lover
who so richly deserved everything that could be given to him? He had
kissed her hand as he let her go, and now, not knowing what she did, she
kissed the spot on which she had felt his lips. His arm had been round
her waist, and the old frock which she wore should be kept by her for
ever, because it had been so graced.
What was she now to say to Lily and Lily's mother? Of one thing there
was no doubt. She would never tell them of her lover's wicked audacity.
That was a secret never to be imparted to any ears. She would keep her
resentment to herself, and not ask the protection of any vicarious
wrath. He could never so sin again, that was certain; and she would keep
all her knowledge and memory of the sin for her own purposes. But how
could it be that such a man as that, one so good though so sinful, so
glorious though so great a trespasser, should have come to such a girl
as her and have asked for her love? Then she thought of her father's
poverty and the misery of her own condition, and declared to herself
that it was very wonderful.
Lily was the first to enter the room, and she, before she did so,
learned from the servant that Major Grantly had left the house. 'I heard
the door, miss, and then I saw the top of his hat out of the pantry
window.' Armed with this certain information, Lily entered the
drawing-room, and found Grace in the act of rising from the sofa.
'Am I disturbing you,' said Lily.
'No; not at all. I am glad you have come. Kiss me, and be good to me.'
And she twined her arms about Lily and embraced her.
'Am I not always good to you, you simpleton? Has he been good?'
'I don't know what you mean?'
'And have you been good to him?'
'As good as I knew how, Lily.'
'And where is he?'
'He has gone away. I shall never see him any more, Lily.'
Then she hid her face upon her friend's shoulder and broke forth again
into hysterical tears.
'But tell me, Grace, what he said;--that is, if you mean to tell me!'
'I will tell you everything;--that is, everything I can.' And Grace
blushed as she thought of the one secret which she certainly would not
'Has he--has he done what I said he would do? Come, speak out boldly.
Has he asked you to be his wife?'
'Yes,' said Grace, barely whispering the word.
'And you have accepted him?'
'No, Lily, I have not. Indeed, I have not. I did not know how to
speak, because I was surprised;--and he, of course, could say what he
liked. But I told him as well as I could, that I would not marry him.'
'And why;--did you tell him why?'
'Yes; because of papa!'
'Then, if he is the man I take him to be, that answer will go for
nothing. Of course he knew all that before he came here. He did not
think you were an heiress with forty thousand pounds. If he is in
earnest, that will go for nothing. And I think he is in earnest.'
'And so was I in earnest.'
'Well, Grace;--we shall see.'
'I suppose I may have a will of my own, Lily.'
'Do not be sure of that. Women are not allowed to have wills of their
own on all occasions. Some man comes in a girl's way, and she gets to be
fond of him, just because he does come in her way. Well; when that has
taken place, she has no alternative but to be taken if he chooses to
take her; or to be left, if he chooses to leave her.'
'Lily, don't say that.'
'But I do say it. A man may assure himself that he will find for
himself a wife who shall be learned, or beautiful, or six feet high, if
he wishes it, or who has red hair, or red eyes, or red cheeks--just what
he pleases; and he may go about till he finds it, as you can go about
and match your worsteds. You are a fool if you buy a colour you don't
want. But we can never match our worsteds for that other piece of work,
but are obliged to take any colour that comes--and, therefore, it is
that we make such a jumble of it! Here's mamma. We must not be
philosophical before her. Mamma, Major Grantly has--skedaddled.'
'Oh, Lily, what a word!'
'But, oh, mamma, what a thing! Fancy his going away and not saying a
word to anybody!'
'If he had anything to say to Grace, I suppose he said it.'
'He asked her to marry him, of course. We none of us had any doubt
about that. He swore to her that she and none but she should be his
wife--and all that kind of thing. But he seems to have done it in the
most prosaic way;--and now he has gone away without saying a word to any
of us. I shall never speak to him again--unless Grace asks me.'
'Grace, my dear, may I congratulate you?' said Mrs Dale.
Grace did not answer, as Lily was too quick for her. 'Oh, she has
refused him, of course. But, Major Grantly is a man of too much sense to
expect that he should succeed the first time. Let me see; this is the
fourteenth. These clocks run fourteen days, and therefore, you may
expect him again about the twenty-eighth. For myself, I think you are
giving him an immense deal of unnecessary trouble, and that if he left
you in the lurch it would only serve you right; but you have the world
with you, I'm told. A girl is supposed to tell a man two fibs before she
may tell him one truth.'
'I told him no fib, Lily. I told him that I would not marry him and I
'But why not, dear Grace?' said Mrs Dale.
'Because the people say that papa is a thief!' Having said this, Grace
walked slowly out of the room, and neither Mrs Dale nor Lily attempted
to follow her.
'She's as good as gold,' said Lily, when the door was closed.
'And he;--what of him?'
'I think he is good too; but she has told me nothing yet of what he has
said to her. He must be good, or he would not have come down here after
her. But I don't wonder at his coming, because she is so beautiful! Once
or twice as we were walking back today, I thought her face was the most
lovely that I had ever seen. And did you see her just now, as she spoke
of her father?'
'Oh, yes;--I saw her.'
'Think what she will be in two or three years' time, when she becomes
a woman. She talks French, and Italian, and Hebrew for anything that I
know; and she is perfectly beautiful. I never saw a more lovely
figure;--and she has spirit enough for a goddess. I don't think that
Major Grantly is such a fool after all.'
'I never took him for a fool.'
'I have no doubt all his own people do;--or they will, when they hear of
it. But, mamma, she will grow to be big enough to walk atop all the Lady
Hartletops in England. It will all come right at last.'
'You think it will?'
'Oh, yes. Why should it not? If he is worth having, it will;--and I
think he is worth having. He must wait till this horrid trial is over.
It is clear to me that Grace thinks her father will be convicted.'
'But he cannot have taken the money.'
'I think he took it, and I think it wasn't his. But I don't think he
stole it. I don't know whether you can understand the difference.'
'I am afraid a jury won't understand it.'
'A jury of men will not. I wish they could put you and me on it, mamma.
I would take my best boots and eat them down to the heels, for Grace's
sake, and for Major Grantly's. What a good-looking man he is!'
'Yes, he is.'
'And so like a gentleman! I'll tell you what, mamma; we won't say
anything to her about him for the present. Her heart will be so full she
will be driven to talk, and we can comfort her better in that way.' The
mother and daughter agreed to act upon these tactics and nothing more
was said to Grace about her lover on that evening.
Major Grantly walked from Mrs Dale's house to the inn and ordered his
gig, and drove himself out of Allington, almost without remembering
where he was or whither he was going. He was thinking solely of what had
just occurred, and of what, on his part, should follow as the result of
that meeting. Half at least of the noble deeds done in this world are
due to emulation, rather than to the native nobility of the actors. A
young man leads a forlorn hope because another young man has offered to
do so. Jones in the hunting-field rides at an impracticable fence
because he is told Smith took it three years ago. And Walker puts his
name down for ten guineas at a charitable dinner when he hears
Thompson's read out for five. And in this case the generosity and
self-denial shown by Grace warmed and cherished similar virtues within
her lover's breast. Some few weeks ago Major Grantly had been in doubt
as to what his duty required of him in reference to Grace Crawley; but
he had no doubt whatsoever now. In the fervour of his admiration he
would have gone straight to the archdeacon, had it been possible, and
have told him what he had done and what he intended to do. Nothing now
should stop him;--no consideration, that is, either as regarded money or
position. He had pledged himself solemnly, and he was very glad that he
had pledged himself. He would write to Grace and explain to her that he
trusted altogether in her father's honour and innocence, but that no
consideration as to that ought to influence either him or her in any
way. If, independently of her father, she could bring herself to come to
him and be his wife, she was bound to do so now, let the position of her
father be what it might. And thus, as he drove his gig back towards
Guestwick, he composed a very pretty letter to the lady of his love.
And as he went, at the corner of the lane which led from the main road
up to Guestwick cottage, he again came upon John Eames, who was also
returning to Guestwick. There had been a few words spoken between Lady
Julia and Johnny respecting Major Grantly after the girls had left the
cottage, and Johnny had been persuaded that the strange visitor to
Allington could have no connexion with his arch-enemy. 'And why has he
gone to Allington,' John demanded, somewhat sternly, of his hostess.
'Well; if you ask me, I think he has gone there to see your cousin,
'He told me that he knew Grace,' said John, looking as though he were
conscious of his own ingenuity in putting two and two together very
'Your cousin Grace is a very pretty girl,' said Lady Julia.
'It's a long time since I've seen her,' said Johnny.
'Why, you saw her just this last minute,' said Lady Julia.
'I didn't look at her,' said Johnny. Therefore, when he again met Major
Grantly, having continued to put two and two together with great
ingenuity, he felt quite sure that the man had nothing to do with the
arch-enemy, and he determined to be gracious. 'Did you find them at home
at Allington,' he said, raising his hat.
'How do you do again?' said the major. 'Yes, I found your friend Mrs
Dale at home.'
'But not her daughter, or my cousin? They were up there;--where I've
come from. But, perhaps, they had got back before you left.'
'I saw them both. They found me on the road with Mr Dale.'
'What--the squire? Then you have seen everybody.'
'Everybody I wished to see at Allington.'
'But you wouldn't stay at the "Red Lion"?'
'Well, no. I remembered that I wanted to get back to London; and as I
had seen my friends, I thought I might as well hurry away.'
'You knew Mrs Dale before, then?'
'No, I didn't. I never saw her in my life before. But I knew the old
squire when I was a boy. However, I should have said friend. I went to
see one friend, and I saw her.'
John Eames perceived that his companion put a strong emphasis on the
word 'her', as though he were determined to declare boldly that he had
gone to Allington solely to see Grace Crawley. He had not the slightest
objection to recognising in Major Grantly a suitor for his cousin's
hand. He could only reflect what an unusually fortunate girl Grace must
be if such a thing could be true. Of those poor Crawleys he had only
heard from time to time that their misfortunes were as numerous as the
sands on the sea-shore, and as unsusceptible of any fixed and permanent
arrangement. But, as regarded Grace, there would be a very permanent
arrangement. Tidings had reached him that Grace was a great scholar, but
he had never heard much of her beauty. It must probably be the case that
Major Grantly was fond of Greek. There was, he reminded himself, no
accounting for tastes; but as nothing could be more respectable than
such an alliance, he thought that it would become him to be civil to the
'I hope you found her quite well. I had barely time to speak to her
'Yes, she was very well. This is a sad thing about her father.'
'Very sad,' said Johnny. Perhaps the major had heard about the
accusation for the first time today, and was going to find an escape on
that plea. If such was the case, it would not be so well to be
'I believe Mr Crawley is a cousin of yours?' said the major.
'His wife is my mother's first-cousin. Their mothers were sisters.'
'She is an excellent woman.'
'I believe so. I don't know much about them myself--that is,
personally. Of course I have heard of this charge that has been made
against him. It seems to me to be a great shame.'
'Well, I can't exactly say that it is a shame. I do not know that there
has been anything done with a feeling of persecution or of cruelty. It
is a great mystery, and we must have it cleared up if we can.'
'I don't suppose he can have been guilty,' said John.
'Certainly not in the ordinary sense of the word. I heard all the
evidence against him.'
'Oh, you did?'
'Yes,' said the major. 'I live near them in Barsetshire, and I am one
of his bailsmen.'
'Then you are an old friend, I suppose?'
'Not exactly that; but circumstances made me very much interested about
them. I fancy that the cheque was left in his house by accident, and
that it got into his hands he didn't know how, and that when he used it
he thought it was his.'
'That's queer,' said Johnny.
'He is very odd, you know.'
'But it's a kind of oddity that they don't like at assizes.'
'The great cruelty is,' said the major, 'that whatever may be the
result, the punishment will fall so heavily upon his wife and daughters.
I think the whole county ought to come forward and take them by the
hand. Well, good-bye. I'll drive on, as I'm a little in a hurry.'
'Good-bye,' said Johnny. 'I'm very glad to have had the pleasure of
meeting you.' 'He's a good sort of fellow after all,' he said to himself
when the gig had passed on. 'He wouldn't have talked in that way if he
meant to hang back.'
Mr Crawley had declared to Mr Robarts, that he would summon no legal aid
to his assistance at the coming trial. The reader may, perhaps, remember
the impetuosity with which he rejected the advice on this subject which
was conveyed to him by Mr Robarts with all the authority of Archdeacon
Grantly's name. 'Tell the archdeacon,' he had said, 'that I will have
none of his advice.' And then Mr Robarts had left him, fully convinced
that any further interference on his part could be of no avail.
Nevertheless, the words which had then been spoken were not without
effect. This coming trial was ever present to Mr Crawley's mind, and
though, when driven to discuss the subject, he would speak of it with
high spirit, as he had done both to the bishop and to Mr Robarts, yet in
his long hours of privacy, or when alone with his wife, his spirit was
anything but high. 'It will kill me,' he would say to her. 'I shall get
salvation thus. Death will relieve me, and I shall never be called upon
to stand before those cruel eager eyes.' Then she would try to say words
of comfort, sometimes soothing him, as though he were a child, and at
others bidding him to be a man, and remember that as a man he should
have sufficient endurance to bear the eyes of any crowd that might be
there to look at him.
'I think I will go up to London,' he said to her one evening, very soon
after the day of Mr Robarts's visit.
'Go up to London, Josiah!' Mr Crawley had not been up to London once
since they had been settled at Hogglestock, and this sudden resolution
on his part frightened his wife. 'Go up to London, dearest! And why?'
'I will tell you why. They all say that I should speak to some man of
the law whom I may trust about this coming trial. I trust no one in
these parts. Not, mark you, that I say that they are untrustworthy. God
forbid that I should so speak or even so think of men whom I know not.
But the matter has become common in men's mouths at Barchester and at
Silverbridge, that I cannot endure to go among them and to talk of it. I
will go up to London, and I will see your cousin, Mr John Toogood, of
Gray's Inn.' Now in this scheme there was an amount of everyday prudence
which startled Mrs Crawley almost as much as did the prospect of the
difficulties to be overcome if the journey were to be made. Her husband
in the first place, had never once seen Mr John Toogood; and in days
very long back, when he and she were making their first gallant
struggle--for in those days it had been gallant--down in their Cornish
curacy, he had reprobated certain Toogood civilities--professional
civilities--which had been proffered, perhaps, with too plain an
intimation that on the score of relationship the professional work
should be done without payment. The Mr Toogood of those days, who had
been Mrs Crawley's uncle, and the father of Mrs Eames and grandfather or
our friend Johnny Eames, had been much angered by some correspondence
which had grown up between him and Mr Crawley, and from that day there
had been a cessation of all intercourse between the families. Since
those days that Toogood had been gathered to the ancient Toogoods of
old, and the son reigned on the family throne in Raymond Buildings. The
present Toogood was therefore first cousin to Mrs Crawley. But there had
been no intimacy between them. Mrs Crawley had not seen her cousin since
her marriage--as indeed she had seen none of her relations, having been
estranged from them by the singular bearing of her husband. She knew
that her cousin stood high in his profession, the firm of Toogood and
Crump--Crump and Toogood it should have been properly called in these
days--having always held its head up high above all dirty work; and she
felt that her husband could look for advice from no better source. But
how would such a one as he manage to tell his story to a stranger? Nay,
how would he find his way alone into the lawyer's room, to tell his
story at all--so strange was he to the world? And then the expense! 'If
you do not wish me to apply to your cousin, say so, and there shall be
an end of it,' said Mr Crawley in an angry tone.
'Of course I would wish it. I believe him to be an excellent man, and a
'Then why should I not go to his chambers? In forma pauperis I must go
to him, and must tell him so. I cannot pay him for the labour of his
counsel, nor for such minutes of his time as I shall use.'
'Oh, Josiah, you need not speak of that.'
'But I must speak of it. Can I go to a professional man; who keeps as
it were his shop open for those who may think fit to come, and purchase
of him, and take of his goods, and afterwards, when the goods have been
used, tell him that I have not the price in my hand? I will not do that,
Mary. You think that I am mad, that I know not what I do. Yes--I see it
in your eyes; and you are sometimes partly right. But I am not so mad
but that I know what is honest. I will tell your cousin that I am sore
straitened, and brought down into the very dust by misfortune. And I
will beseech him, for what of ancient feeling of family he may bear to
you, to listen to me for a while. And I will be very short, and, if need
be, will bide his time patiently, and perhaps he may say a word to me
that may be of use.'
There was certainly very much in this to provoke Mrs Crawley. It was
not only that she knew well that her cousin would give ample and
immediate attention, and lend himself thoroughly to the matter without
any idea of payment--but that she could not quite believe that her
husband's humility was true humility. She strove to believe it, but she
knew that she failed. After all it was only a feeling on her part. There
was no argument within herself about it. An unpleasant taste came across
the palate of her mind, as such a savour will sometimes, from some
unexpected source, come across the palate of the mouth. Well; she could
only gulp at it, and swallow it and excuse it. Among the salad that comes
from your garden a bitter leaf will now and then make its way into your
salad-bowl. Alas, there were so many bitter leaves ever making their way
into her bowl! 'What I mean is, Josiah, that no long explanation will be
needed. I think from what I remember of him, that he would do for us
anything that he could do.'
'Then I will go to the man, and will humble myself before him. Even
that, hard as it is to me, may be a duty that I owe.' Mr Crawley as he
said this was remembering the fact that he was a clergyman of the Church
of England, and that he had a rank of his own in the country, which, did
he ever do such a thing as go out for dinner in company, would establish
for him a certain right of precedence; whereas this attorney, of whom he
was speaking, was, so to say, nobody in the eyes of the world.
'There need be no humbling, Josiah, other than that which is due from a
man to man in all circumstances. But never mind; we will not talk about
that. If it seems good to you, go to Mr Toogood. I think that it is
good. May I write to him and say that you will go?'
'I will write to him myself.'
Then the wife paused before she asked the next question--paused for some
minute or two, and than asked it with anxious doubt--'And may I go with
'Why should two go when one can do the work?' he answered sharply. 'Have
we money so much to command?'
'You should go and do it all, for you are wiser in these things than I
am, were it not that I may not dare to show--that I submit myself to my
'Nay, my dear!'
'But it is ay, my dear. It is so. This is a thing such as men do; not
such as women do, unless they be forlorn and unaided of men. I know that
I am weak where you are strong; that I am crazed where you are
'I meant not that, Josiah. It was of your health that I thought.'
'Nevertheless it is as I say; but, for all that, it may not be that you
should do my work. There are those watching me who would say, "Lo! He
confesses himself incapable." And then someone would whisper something
of a madhouse. Mary, I fear that worse than a prison.'
'May God in His mercy forbid such cruelty!'
'But I must look to it, my dear. Do you think that that woman, who sits
at Barchester in high places, disgracing herself and that puny
ecclesiastical lord who is her husband--do you think that she would not
immure me if she could? She is a she-wolf--only less reasonable than
the dumb brute as she sharpens her teeth in malice coming from anger,
and not in malice coming from hunger as do the outer wolves of the
forest. I tell you, Mary, that if she had a colourable ground for her
action, she would swear tomorrow that I am mad.'
'You shall go alone to London.'
'Yes, I will go alone. They shall not say that I cannot yet do my own
work as a man should do. I stood up before him, the puny man who is
called a bishop, and before her who makes herself great by his
littleness, and I scorned them both to their faces. Though the shoes
which I had on were broken, as I myself could not but see when I stood,
yet I was greater than they were with all their purple and fine linen.'
'But, Josiah, my cousin will not be harsh to you.'
'Well--and if he be not?'
'Ill-usage you can bear; and violent ill-usage, such as that which Mrs
Proudie allowed herself to exhibit, you can repay with interest; but
kindness seems to be too heavy a burden for you.'
'I will struggle. I will endeavour. I will speak but little, and, if
possible, I will listen much. Now, my dear, I will write to this man,
and you shall give me the address that is proper for him.' Then he wrote
the letter, not accepting a word in the way of dictation from his wife,
but 'craving great kindness of a short interview, for which he ventured
to become a solicitor, urged thereto by his wife's assurance that one
with whom he was connected by family ties would do as much as this for
the possible preservation of the honour of the family.' In answer to
this Mr Toogood wrote back as follows:--'Dear Mr Crawley, I will be at
my office all Thursday morning next from ten to two, and will take care
that you shan't be kept waiting for me above ten minutes. You parsons
never like waiting. But hadn't you better come and breakfast with me and
Maria at nine? Then we'd have a talk as we walked to the office. Yours
always, THOMAS TOOGOOD.' And the letter was dated from the attorney's
private house in Tavistock Square.
'I am sure he means to be kind,' said Mrs Crawley.
'Doubtless he means to be kind. But kindness is rough;--I will not say
unmannerly, as the word would be harsh. I have never even seen the lady
whom he calls Maria.'
'She is his wife!'
'So I would venture to suppose; but she is unknown to me. I will write
again, and thank him, and say that I will be with him at ten to the
There were still many things to be settled before the journey could be
made. Mr Crawley, in his first plan, proposed that he should go up by
night mail train, travelling in the third class, having walked over to
Silverbridge to meet it; that he should then walk about London from 5am
to 10am, and afterwards come down by an afternoon train to which a third
class was also attached. But at last his wife persuaded him that such a
task as that, performed in the middle of winter, would be enough to kill
any man, and that, if attempted, it would certainly kill him; and he
consented at last to sleep the night in town--being specially moved
thereto by discovering that he could, in conformity with this scheme,
get in and out of the train at a station considerably nearer to him than
Silverbridge, and that he could get a return-ticket at a third-class
fare. The whole journey, he found, could be done for a pound, allowing
him seven shillings for his night's expenses in London; and out of the
resources of the family there were produced two sovereigns, so that in
the event of accident he would not utterly be a castaway from want of
So he started on his journey after an early dinner, almost hopeful
through the new excitement of a journey to London, and his wife walked
with him nearly as far as the station. 'Do not reject my cousin's
kindness,' were the last words she spoke.
'For his professional kindness, if he will extend it to me, I will be
most thankful,' he replied. She did not dare to say more; nor had she
dared to write privately to her cousin, asking for any special help,
lest by doing so she should seem to impugn the sufficiency and stability
of her husband's judgment. He got up to town late at night, and having
made inquiry of one of the porters, he hired a bed for himself in the
neighbourhood of the railway station. Here he had a cup of tea and a
morsel of bread-and-butter, and in the morning he breakfasted again on
the same fare. 'No I have no luggage,' he had said to the girl at the
public-house, who had asked him as to his travelling gear. 'If luggage
be needed as a certificate of respectability, I will pass on elsewhere,'
said he. The girl stared, and assured him that she did not doubt his
respectability. 'I am a clergyman of the Church of England,' he had
said, 'but my circumstances prevent me from seeking a more expensive
lodging.' They did their best to make him comfortable, and, I think,
almost disappointed him in not heaping further misfortunes on his head.
He was in Raymond's Buildings at half-past nine, and for half an hour
walked up and down the umbrageous pavement--it used to be umbrageous,
but perhaps the trees have gone now--before the doors of the various
chambers. He could hear the clock strike from Gray's Inn; and the moment
that it had struck he was turning in, but was encountered in the passage
by Mr Toogood, who was equally punctual with himself. Strange stories
about Mr Crawley had reached Mr Toogood's household, and that Maria, the
mention of whose Christian name had been so offensive to the clergyman,
had begged her husband not to be a moment late. Poor Mr Toogood, who on
ordinary days did perhaps take a few minutes' grace, was thus hurried
away almost with his breakfast in his throat, and, as we have seen, just
saved himself. 'Perhaps, sir, you are Mr Crawley?' he said, in a
good-humoured, cheery voice. He was a good-humoured, cheery-looking man,
about fifty years of age, with grizzled hair and sunburnt face, and
large whiskers. Nobody would have taken him to be a partner in any of
those great houses of which we have read in history--the Quirk, Gammon
and Snaps of the profession, or the Dodson and Foggs, who are immortal.
'That is my name, sir,' said Mr Crawley, taking off his hat and bowing
low, 'and I am here by appointment to meet Mr Toogood, the solicitor,
whose name I see affixed upon the door-post.'
'I am Mr Toogood, the solicitor, and I hope to see you quite well, Mr
Crawley.' Then the attorney shook hands with the clergyman and preceded
him upstairs to the front room on the first floor. 'Here we are, Mr
Crawley, and pray take a chair. I wish you could have made it convenient
to come and see us at home. We are rather long, as my wife says--long in
family, she means, and therefore are not very well off for spare beds--'
'I've twelve of 'em living, Mr Crawley--from eighteen years, the
eldest--a girl, down to eighteen months the youngest--a boy, and they go
in and out, boy and girl, boy and girl, like the cogs of a wheel. They
ain't such far away distant cousins from your own young ones--only
first, once, as we call it.'
'I am aware that there is a family tie, or I should not have ventured to
'Blood is thicker than water, isn't it? I often say that. I heard of
one of your girls only yesterday. She is staying somewhere down in the
country, not far from where my sister lives--Mrs Eames, the widow of
poor John Eames, who never did any good in this world. I daresay you've
heard of her?'
'The name is familiar to me, Mr Toogood.'
'Of course it is. I've a nephew down there just now, and he saw your
girl the other day;--very highly spoke of her too. Let me see;--how many
do you have?'
'Three living, Mr Toogood.'
'I've just four times three;--that's the difference. But I comfort
myself with the text about the quiver you know; and I tell them that
when they've eat up all the butter, they'll have to take their bread
'I trust the young people take your teaching in the proper spirit.'
'I don't know much about spirit. There's spirit enough. My second
girl, Lucy, told me that if I came here today without tickets for the
pantomime I shouldn't have any dinner allowed me. That's the way they
treat me. But we understand each other at home. We're all pretty good
friends there, thank God. And there isn't a sick chick among the
'You have many mercies for which you should indeed be thankful,' said Mr
'Yes, yes, yes; that's true. I think of that sometimes, though perhaps
not so much as I ought to do. But the best way to be thankful is to use
the goods the gods provide you. "The lovely Thais sits beside you. Take
the goods the gods provide you." I often say that to my wife, till the
children have got calling her Thais. The children have it pretty much
their own way with us, Mr Crawley.'
By this time Mr Crawley was almost beside himself, and was altogether at
a loss how to bring in the matter on which he wished to speak. He had
expected to find a man who in the hurry of London business might perhaps
just manage to spare him five minutes--who would grapple instantly with
the subject that was to be discussed between them, would speak to him
half-a-dozen hard words of wisdom, and would then dismiss him and turn
on the instant to other matters of important business;--but here was an
easy familiar fellow, who seemed to have nothing on earth to do, and who
at this first meeting had taken advantage of a distant family connexion
to tell him everything about the affairs of his own household. And then
how peculiar were the domestic affairs which he told! What was Mr
Crawley to say to a man who had taught his own children to call their
mother Thais? Of Thais Mr Crawley did know something, and he forgot to
remember that perhaps Mr Toogood knew less. He felt it, however, to be
very difficult to submit the details of his case to a gentleman who
talked in such a strain about his own wife and children.
But something must be done. Mr Crawley, in his present frame of mind,
could not sit and talk about Thais all day. 'Sir,' he said, 'the picture
of your home is very pleasant, and I presume that plenty abounds there.'
'Well, you know, pretty toll-loll for that. With twelve of 'em, Mr
Crawley, I needn't tell you they are not all going to have castles and
parks of their own, unless they can get 'em off their own bats. But I
pay upwards of a hundred a year each for my eldest three boys'
schooling, and I've been paying eighty for the girls. Put that together
and see what it comes to. Educate, educate, educate; that's my word.'
'No better word can be spoken, sir.'
'I don't think there's a girl in Tavistock Square that can beat
Polly--she's the eldest, called after her mother, you know--that can
beat her at the piano. And Lucy has read Lord Byron and Tom Moore all
through, every word of 'em. By Jove, I believe she knows most of Tom
Moore by heart. And the young uns a coming on just as well.'
'Perhaps, sir, as your time is, no doubt, precious--'
'We'll tackle to? Very well; so be it. Now, Mr Crawley, let me hear
what it is I can do for you.' Of a sudden, as Mr Toogood spoke these
last words, the whole tone of his voice seemed to change, and even the
position of his body became so much altered as to indicate a different
kind of man. 'You just tell your story in your own way, and I won't
interrupt you till you've done. That's always the best.'
'I must first crave your attention to an unfortunate preliminary,' said
'And what is that?'
'I come before you in forma pauperis.' Here Mr Crawley paused and stood
up before the attorney with his hands crossed one upon the other,
bending low, as though calling attention to the poorness of his raiment.
'I know that I have no justification for my conduct. I have nothing of
reason to offer why I should trespass upon your time. I am a poor man,
and cannot pay you for your services.'
'Oh, bother!' said Mr Toogood, jumping from his chair.
'I do not know whether your charity will grant me that which I ask--'
'Don't let us have any more of this,' said the attorney. 'We none of us
like that kind of thing at all. If I can be of any service to you,
you're as welcome as flowers in May; and as for billing my first-cousin,
which your wife is, I should as soon think of sending an account to my
'But, Mr Toogood--'
'Do you go on now with your story; I'll put the rest all right.'
'I was bound to be explicit, Mr Toogood.'
'Very well; now you have been explicit with a vengeance, and you may
heave ahead. Let's hear the story, and if I can help you I will. When
I've said that, you may be sure I mean it. I've heard something of it
before; but let me hear it all from you.'
Then Mr Crawley began and told his story. Mr Toogood was actually true
to his promise and let the narrator go on with his narrative without
interruption. When Mr Crawley came to his own statement that the cheque
had been paid to him by Mr Soames, and went on to say that that
statement had been false--'I told him that, but I told him so wrongly,'
and then paused, thinking that the lawyer would ask some question, Mr
Toogood simply said, 'Go on; go on. I'll come back to all that when
you've done.' And he merely nodded his head when Mr Crawley spoke of his
second statement, that the money had come from the dean. 'We had been
bound together by close ties of early familiarity,' said Mr Crawley,
'and in former years our estates in life were the same. But he has
prospered and I have failed. And when creditors were importunate, I
consented to accept relief in money which had previously been often
offered. And I must acknowledge, Mr Toogood, while saying this, that I
have known--have known with heartfelt agony--that at former times my
wife has taken that from my friend Mr Arabin, with hand half-hidden from
me, which I have refused. Whether it be better to eat--the bread of
charity--or not to eat bread at all, I, for myself, have no doubt,' he
said; 'but when the want strikes one's wife and children, and the
charity strikes only oneself, then there is a doubt.' When he spoke
thus, Mr Toogood got up, and thrusting his hands in his waistcoat
pockets walked about the room, exclaiming, 'By George, by George, by
George!' But he still let the man go on with his story, and heard him
out at last to the end.
'And they committed you for trial at the next Barchester assizes?' said
'And you employed no lawyer before the magistrates?'
'None;--I refused to employ anyone.'
'You were wrong there, Mr Crawley. I must be allowed to say that you
were wrong there.'
'I may possibly have been so from your point of view, Mr Toogood; but
permit me to explain. I--'
'It's no good explaining now. Of course you must employ a lawyer for
your defence--an attorney who will put the case into the hands of
'But that I cannot do, Mr Toogood.'
'You must do it. If you don't do it, your friends should do it for you.
If you don't do it, everybody will say you're mad. There isn't a single
solicitor you could find within a half a mile of you at this moment who
wouldn't give you the same advice--not a single man, either, who had
got a head on his shoulders worth a trump.'
When Mr Crawley was told that madness would be laid at his charge if he
did not do as he was bid, his face became very black, and assumed
something of that look of determined obstinacy which it had worn when he
was standing in the presence of the bishop and Mrs Proudie. 'It may be
so,' he said. 'It may be as you say, Mr Toogood. But these neighbours of
yours, as to whose collected wisdom you speak with so much certainty,
would hardly recommend me to indulge in a luxury for which I have no
means of paying.'
'Who thinks about paying under such circumstances as these?'
'I do, Mr Toogood.'
'The wretched costermonger that comes to grief has a barrister in a wig
and gown to give him his chance of escape.'
'But I am not a costermonger, Mr Toogood--though more wretched perhaps
than any costermonger now in existence. It is my lot to have to endure
the sufferings of poverty, and at the same time not be exempt from those
feelings of honour to which poverty is seldom subject. I cannot afford
to call in legal assistance for which I cannot pay--and I will not do
'I'll carry the case through for you. It certainly is not just my line
of business--but I'll see it carried through for you.'
'Out of your own pocket?'
'Never mind; when I say I'll do a thing, I'll do it.'
'No, Mr Toogood; this thing you can not do. But do not suppose I am the
'What is it that I can do then? Why do you come to me if you won't take
After this the conversation went on for a considerable time without
touching on any point which need be brought palpably before the reader's
eye. The attorney continued to beg the clergyman to have his case
managed in the usual way, and went so far as to tell him that he would
be ill-treating his wife and family if he continued to be obstinate. But
the clergyman was not shaken from his resolve, and was at last able to
ask Mr Toogood what he had better do--how he had better attempt to
defend himself--on the understanding that no legal aid was to be
employed. When this question was at last asked in such a way as to
demand an answer, Mr Toogood sat for a moment or two in silence. He felt
that an answer was not only demanded, but almost enforced; and yet there
might be much difficulty in giving it.
'Mr Toogood,' said Mr Crawley, seeing the attorney's hesitation, 'I
declare to you before God, that my only object will be to enable the
jury to know about this sad matter all that I know myself. If I could
open my breast to them I should be satisfied. But then a prisoner can
say nothing; and what he does so is ever accounted false.'
'That is why you should have legal assistance.'
'We had already come to a conclusion on that matter, as I thought,' said
Mr Toogood paused for a another moment or two, and then dashed at his
answer; or rather, dashed at a counter question. 'Mr Crawley, where did
you get the cheque? You must pardon me, you know; or, if you wish it, I
will not press the question. But so much hangs on that, you know.'
'Everything would hang on it--if I only knew.'
'You mean that you forget?'
'Absolutely; totally. I wish, Mr Toogood, I could explain to you the
toilsome perseverance with which I have cudgelled my poor brains,
endeavouring to extract from them some scintilla of memory that would
'Could you have picked it up at the house?'
'No;--no; that I did not do. Dull as I am, I know so much. It was mine
of right, from whatever source it came to me. I know myself as no one
else can know me, in spite of the wise man's motto. Had I picked up a
cheque in my house, or on the road, I should not have slept till I had
taken steps to restore it to the seeming owner. So much I can say. But,
otherwise, I am in such matter so shandy-pated, that I can trust myself
to be sure of nothing. I thought;--I certainly thought--'
'You thought what?'
'I thought that it had been given to me by my friend the dean. I
remember well that I was in his library at Barchester, and I was
somewhat provoked in spirit. There were lying on the floor hundreds of
volumes, all glittering with gold, and reeking with new leather from
binders. He asked me to look at his toys. Why should I look at them?
There was a time, but the other day it seemed, when he had been glad to
borrow from me such treasures as I had. And it seemed to me that he was
heartless in showing me these things. Well; I need not trouble you with
'Go on;--go on. Let me hear it all, and I shall learn something.'
'I know now how vain, how vile I was. I always know afterwards how low
the spirit has grovelled. I had gone to him then because I had resolved
to humble myself, and, for my wife's sake, to ask my friend--for money.
With words which were very awkward--which no doubt were ungracious--I
had asked him, and he had bid me follow him from his hall into his
library. There he left me awhile, and on returning told me with a smile
that he had sent for money--and, if I can remember, the sum he named was
'But it has turned out, as you say, that you have paid fifty pounds with
his money--besides the cheque.'
'That is true;--that is quite true. There is no doubt of that. But as I
was saying--then he fell to talking about the books, and I was angered.
I was very sore in my heart. From the moment in which the words of
beggary had passed from my lips, I had repented. And he had laughed and
had taken it gaily. I turned upon him and told him that I had changed my
mind. I was grateful, but I would not have his money. And so I prepared
to go. But he argued with me, and would not let me go--telling me of my
wife and of my children, and while he argued there came a knock on the
door, and something was handed in, and I knew that it was the hand of
'It was the money, I suppose?'
'Yes, Mr Toogood; it was the money. And I became the more uneasy,
because she herself is rich. I liked it the less because it seemed to
come from her hand. But I took it. What could I do when he reminded me
that I could not keep my parish unless certain sums were paid? He gave
me a little parcel in a cover, and I took it--and left him sorrowing. I
had never before come quite to that;--though, indeed, it had in fact
been often so before. What was the difference whether the alms were
given into my hands or into my wife's?'
'You are too touchy about it all, Mr Crawley.'
'Of course I am. Do you try it, and see whether you will be touchy. You
have worked hard at your profession, I daresay.'
'Well, yes; pretty well. To tell the truth, I have worked hard. By
George, yes! It's not so bad now as it used to be.'
'But you have always earned your bread; bread for yourself, and bread
for your wife and little ones. You can buy tickets for the play.'
'I couldn't always buy tickets, mind you.'
'I have worked as hard, and yet I cannot get bread. I am older than
you, and I cannot earn my bare bread. Look at my clothes. If you had to
go and beg from Mr Crump, would you not be touchy?'
'As it happens, Crump isn't so well off as I am.'
'Never mind. But I took it, and went home, and for two days I did not
look at it. And then there came an illness upon me, and I know not what
passed. But two men who had been hard on me came to the house when I was
out, and my wife was in a terrible state; and I gave her the money, and
she went into Silverbridge and paid them.'
'And this cheque was with what you gave her?'
'No; I gave her money in notes--just fifty pounds. When I gave it her,
I thought I gave it all; and yet afterwards I thought I remembered that
in my illness I had found the cheque with the dean's money. But it was
'You are sure of that?'
'He has said that he put fives notes of ten pounds each into the cover,
and such notes I certainly gave to my wife.'
'Where then did you get the cheque?' Mr Crawley again paused before he
answered. 'Surely, if you will exert your mind, you will remember,' said
the lawyer. 'Where did you get the cheque?'
'I do not know.'
Mr Toogood threw himself back in his chair, took his knee up into his
lap to nurse it, and began to think of it. He sat thinking of it for
some minutes without a word--perhaps for five minutes, though the time
seemed to be much longer to Mr Crawley, who was, however, determined
that he would not interrupt him. And Mr Toogood's thoughts were at
variance with Mr Toogood's former words. Perhaps, after all, this scheme
of Mr Crawley's--or rather the mode of defence on which he had resolved
without any scheme--might be the best of which the case admitted. It
might be well that he should go into court without a lawyer. 'He has
convinced me of his innocence,' Mr Toogood said to himself, 'and why
should he not convince a jury? He has convinced me, not because I am
specially soft, or because I love the man--for as to that I dislike him
rather than otherwise;--but because there is either real truth in his
words, or else so well-feigned a show a truth that no jury can tell the
difference. I think it is true. By George, I think he did get the twenty
pounds honestly, and that he does not this moment know where he got it.
He may have put his finger into my eye; but, if so, why not also into
the eyes of a jury?' Then he released his leg, and spoke something of
his thoughts aloud. 'It's a sad story,' he said; 'a very sad story.'
'Well, yes, it's sad enough. If you could see my house, you'd say so.'
'I haven't a doubt but what you're as innocent as I am.' Mr Toogood, as
he said this, felt a little tinge of conscience. He did believe Mr
Crawley to be innocent, but he was not so sure of it as his words would
seem to imply. Nevertheless he repeated the words again--'as innocent as
'I don't know,' said Mr Crawley. 'I don't know. I think I am; but I
'I believe you are. But you see the case is a very distressing one. A
jury has a right to say that the man in possession of a cheque for
twenty pounds should account for his possession of it. If I understand
the story aright, Mr Soames will be able to prove that he brought the
cheque into your house, and, as far as he knows, never took it out
'I suppose so; all the same, if he brought it in, then did he take it
'I am saying what he will prove--or, in other words, what he will state
upon oath. You can't contradict him. You can't get into the box to do
it--even if that would be of any avail; and I am glad that you cannot,
as it would be of no avail. And you can put no one else into the box who
can do so.'
'That is to say, we think you cannot do so. People can do so many
things that they don't think they can do; and can't do so many things
that they think that they can do! When will the dean be home?'
'I don't know.'
'Before the trial?'
'I don't know. I have no idea.'
'It's almost a toss-up whether he'd do more harm or good if he were
'I wish he might be there if he has anything to say, whether it might be
for harm or good.'
'And Mrs Arabin;--she is with him?'
'They tell me she is not. She is in Europe. He is in Palestine.'
'In Palestine, is he?'
'So they tell me. A dean can go where he likes. He has no cure of
souls to stand in the way of his pleasures.'
'He hasn't--hasn't he? I wish I were a dean; that is, if I were not a
lawyer. Might I write a line to the dean--and to Mrs Dean if it seemed
fit? You wouldn't mind that? As you have come to see your cousin at
last--and very glad I am that you have--you must leave him a little
discretion. I won't say anything I oughtn't to say.' Mr Crawley opposed
this scheme for some time, but at last consented to the proposition.
'And I'll tell you what, Mr Crawley; I am very fond of cathedrals, I am
indeed; and I have long wanted to see Barchester. There's a very fine
what-you-may-call-em; isn't there? Well; I'll just run down at the
assizes. We have nothing to do in London when the judges are in the
country--of course.' Mr Toogood looked into Mr Crawley's eyes as he said
this, to see if his iniquity were detected, but the perpetual curate was
altogether innocent in these matters. 'Yes; I'll just run down for a
mouthful of fresh air. Of course I shan't open my mouth in court. But I
might say one word to the dean, if he's there;--and one word to Mr
Soames. Who is conducting the prosecution?' Mr Crawley said that Mr
Walker was doing so. 'Walker, Walker, Walker? oh--yes; Walker and
Winthrop, isn't it? A decent sort of man, I suppose?'
'I have heard nothing to his discredit, Mr Toogood.'
'And that's saying a great deal for a lawyer. Well, Mr Crawley, if
nothing else comes out between this and that--nothing, that is, that
shall clear your memory about that unfortunate bit of paper, you must
simply tell your story to the jury as you've told it to me. I don't
think any twelve men in England would convict you;--I don't indeed.'
'You think they would not?'
'Of course I've only heard one side, Mr Crawley.'
'No--no--no, that is true.'
'But judging as well as I can judge from one side, I don't think a jury
can convict you. At any rate, I'll see you at Barchester, and I'll write
a line or two before the trial just to find out anything that can be
found out. And you're sure you won't come and take a bit of mutton with
us in the Square? The girls would be delighted to see you, and so would
Maria.' Mr Crawley said that he was quite sure he could not do that, and
then having tendered reiterated thanks to his new friend in words which
were touching in spite of their old-fashioned gravity, he took his
leave, and walked back again to the public-house at Paddington.
He returned home to Hogglestock on the same afternoon, reaching that
place at nine in the evening. During the whole of the day after leaving
Raymond's Buildings he was thinking of the lawyer, and of the words
which the lawyer had spoken. Although he had been disposed to quarrel
with Mr Toogood on many points, although he had been more than once
disgusted by the attorney's bad taste, shocked by his low morality, and
almost insulted by his easy familiarity, still, when the interview was
over, he liked the attorney. When first Mr Toogood had begun to talk, he
regretted very much that he had subjected himself to the necessity of
discussing his private affairs with such a windbag of a man; but when he
left the chamber he trusted Mr Toogood altogether, and was very glad
that he had sought his aid. He was tired and exhausted when he reached
home, as he had eaten nothing but a biscuit or two since his breakfast;
but his wife got him food and tea, and then asked him as to his success.
'Was my cousin kind to you?'
'Very kind--more than kind--perhaps somewhat too pressing in his
kindness. But I find no fault. God forbid that I should. He is, I think,
a good man, and certainly has been good to me.'
'And what is to be done?'
'He will write to the dean.'
'I am glad of that.'
'And he will be at Barchester.'
'Thank God for that.'
'But not as my lawyer.'
'Nevertheless, I thank God that someone will be there who will know how
to give you assistance and advice.'
THE PLUMSTEAD FOXES
The letters had been brought into the breakfast-parlour at Plumstead
Rectory one morning, and the archdeacon had inspected them all, and then
thrown over to his wife her share of the spoil--as was the custom of
the house. As to most of Mrs Grantly's letters, he never made any
further inquiry. To letters from her sister, the dean's wife, he was
profoundly indifferent, and rarely made any inquiry as to those which
were directed in writing with which he was not familiar. But there were
others as to which, as Mrs Grantly knew, he would be sure to ask her
questions if she did not show them. No note ever reached her from Lady
Harteltop as to which he was not curious, and yet Lady Hartletop's notes
very seldom contained much that was of interest. Now, on this morning,
there came a letter which, as a matter of course, Mrs Grantly read at
breakfast, and which, she knew, would not be allowed to disappear
without inquiry. Nor, indeed, did she wish to keep the letter from her
husband. It was too important to be so treated. But she would have been
glad to gain time to think in what spirit she would discuss the contents
of the letter--if only such time might be allowed to her. But the
archdeacon would allow her no time. 'What does Henry say, my dear?' he
asked, before the breakfast things had been taken away.
'What does he say? Well, he says--I'll give you his letter to read
'And why not now?'
'I thought I'd read it again myself, first.'
'But if you have read it, I suppose you know what's in it?'
'Not very clearly, as yet. However, there it is.' She knew very well
that when she had once been asked for it, no peace would be allowed her
till he had seen it. And, alas! there was not much probability of peace
in the house for some time after he had seen it.
The archdeacon read the three or first lines in silence--and then burst
out. 'He has, has he? Then, by heavens--'
'Stop, dearest; stop,' said his wife, rising from her chair and coming
over to him; 'do not say words which you will surely repent.'
'I will say words which shall make him repent. He shall never have from
me a son's portion.'
'Do not make threats in anger. Do not! You know that it is wrong. If
he has offended you, say nothing about it--even to yourself---as to
threatened punishments, till you can judge of the offence in cool
'I am cool,' said the archdeacon.
'No, my dear; no; you are angry. And you have not even read his letter
'I will read his letter.'
'You will see that the marriage is not imminent. It may be that even
yet it will never take place. The young lady has refused him.'
'You will see that she has done so. He tells us so himself. And she
has behaved very properly.'
'Why has she refused him?'
'There can be no doubt about the reason. She feels that, with this
charge hanging over her father, she is not in a position to become the
wife of any gentleman. You cannot but respect her for that.'
The archdeacon finished his son's letter, uttering sundry interjections
and ejaculations as he did so.
'Of course; I knew it. I understood it all,' he said at last. 'I've
nothing to do with the girl. I don't care whether she be good or bad.'
'Oh, my dear!'
'I care not at all--with reference to my own concerns. Of course I
would wish that the daughter of a neighbouring clergyman--that the
daughter of any neighbour--that the daughter of anyone
whatsoever--should be good rather than bad. But as regards Henry and me,
and our mutual relation, her goodness can make no difference. Let her be
another Grizel, and still such a marriage must estrange him from me, and
me from him.'
'But she has refused him.'
'Yes; and what does he say?--that he has told her that he will not
accept her refusal. Of course we know what it all means. The girl I am
not judging. The girl I will not judge. But my own son, to whom I have
ever done a father's duty with a father's affectionate indulgence--him I
will judge. I have warned him, and he declares himself to be careless of
my warning. I shall take no notice of this letter. I shall neither write
to him about it or speak to him about it. But I charge you to write to
him and tell him that if he does this thing he shall not have a child's
portion from me. It is not that I will shorten that which would have
been his; but he shall have--nothing!' Then, having spoken these words
with a solemnity which for the moment silenced his wife, he got up and
left the room. He left the room and closed the door, but, before he had
gone half the length of the hall towards his own study, he returned and
addressed his wife again. 'You understand my instructions, I hope?'
'That you write to Henry and tell him what I say.'
'I will speak again to you about it by-and-by.'
'I will speak no more about it--not a word more. Let there be not a
word more said, but oblige me by doing as I ask you.'
Then he was again about to leave the room, but she stopped him. 'Wait a
moment, my dear.'
'Why should I wait?'
'That you may listen to me. Surely you will do that, when I ask you. I
will write to Henry, of course, if you bid me; and I will give him your
message, whatever it may be; but not today, my dear.'
'Why not today?'
'Because the sun shall go down on your wrath before I become its
messenger. If you choose to write that yourself, I cannot help it. I
cannot hinder you. If I am to write to him on your behalf I will take my
instructions from you tomorrow morning. When tomorrow morning comes you
will not be angry with me because of the delay.'
The archdeacon was by no means satisfied; but he knew his wife too well,
and himself too well, and the world too well, to insist on the immediate
gratification of his passion. Over his bosom's mistress he did exercise
a certain marital control--which was, for instance, quite sufficiently
fixed to enable him to look down with thorough contempt on such a one a
Bishop Proudie; but he was not a despot who could exact a passive
obedience to every fantasy. His wife would not have written the letter
for him on that day, and he knew very well that she would not do so. He
knew also that she was right;--and yet he regretted his want of power.
His anger at the present moment was very hot--so hot that he wished to
wreak it. He knew that it would cool before the morrow;--and, no doubt,
knew also theoretically, that it would be most fitting that it should be
cool. But not the less was it a matter of regret to him that so much
good hot anger should be wasted, and that he could not have his will of
his disobedient son while it lasted. He might, no doubt, have written
himself, but to have done so would not have suited him. Even in his
anger he could not have written to his son without using the ordinary
terms of affection, and in his anger he could not bring himself to use
those terms. 'You will find that I shall be of the same mind
tomorrow--exactly,' he said to his wife. 'I have resolved about it long
since; and it is not likely that I shall change in a day.' Then he went
out, about his parish, intending to continue to think of his son's
iniquity, so that he might keep his anger hot--red hot. Then he
remembered that the evening would come, and that he would say his
prayers; and he shook his head in regret--in a regret of which he was
only half conscious, though it was very keen, and which he did not
attempt to analyse--as he reflected that his rage would hardly be able
to survive that ordeal. How common with us it is to repine that the
devil is not stronger over us than he is.
The archdeacon, who was a very wealthy man, had purchased a property at
Plumstead, contiguous to the glebe-land, and had thus come to exercise
in the parish the double duty of rector and squire. And of this estate
in Barsetshire, which extended beyond the confines of Plumstead into the
neighbouring parish of Stogpingum--Stoke Pinguium would have been the
proper name had not the barbarous Saxon tongues clipped it of its proper
proportions--he had always intended that his son Charles should enjoy
the inheritance. There was other property, both in land and in money,
for his elder son, and other again for the maintenance of his wife, for
the archdeacon's father had been for many years Bishop of Barchester,
and such a bishopric as that of Barchester had been in those days worth
money. Of his intention in this respect he had never spoken in plain
language to either of his sons; but the major had for the last year or
two enjoyed the shooting of the Barsetshire covers, giving what orders
he pleased about the game; and the father had encouraged him to take
something like the management of the property into his hands. There
might have been some fifteen hundred acres of it altogether, and the
archdeacon had rejoiced over it with his wife scores of times, saying
that there was many a squire in the county whose elder son would never
find himself so well placed as would his own younger son. Now there was
a string of narrow woods called Plumstead Coppices which ran from a
point near the church right across the parish, dividing the archdeacon's
land from the Ullathorne estate, and these coppices, or belts of
woodland, belonged to the archdeacon. On the morning of which we are
speaking, the archdeacon mounted on his cob, still thinking of his son's
iniquity and of his own fixed resolve to punish him as he had said that
he would punish him, opened with his whip a woodland gate, from which a
green muddy lane led through the trees up to the house of the
gamekeeper. The man's wife was ill, and in his ordinary way of business
the archdeacon was about to call and ask after her health. At the door
of the cottage he found the man, who was woodman as well as gamekeeper,
and was responsible for fences and faggots, as well as for the foxes and
'How's Martha, Flurry?' said the archdeacon.
'Thanking your reverence, she be a deal improved since the mistress was
here--last Tuesday it was, I think.'
'I'm glad of that. It was only rheumatism, I suppose?'
'Just a tich of fever with it, your reverence, the doctor said,'
'Tell her I was asking after it. I won't mind getting down today, as I
am rather busy. She has had what she wanted from the house?'
'The mistress has been very good in that way. She always is, God bless
'Good-day to you, Flurry. I'll ask Mr Sims to come and read to her a
bit this afternoon, or tomorrow morning.' The archdeacon kept two
curates, and Mr Sims was one of them.'
'She'll take it very kindly, your reverence. But while you are here,
sir, there's just a word I'd like to say. I didn't happen to catch Mr
Henry when he was here the other day.'
'Never mind Mr Henry--what is it you have to say?'
'I do think, I do indeed, sire, that Mr Thorne's man ain't dealing
fairly along of the foxes. I wouldn't say a word about it, only that Mr
Henry is so particular.'
'What about the foxes? What is he doing with the foxes?'
'Well, sire, he's a trapping on 'em. He is, indeed, your reverence. I
wouldn't speak if I warn't well nigh mortal sure.'
Now the archdeacon had never been a hunting man, though in his early
days many a clergyman had been in the habit of hunting without losing
his clerical character by doing so; but he had lived all his life among
gentlemen in a hunting county, and had his own very strong ideas about
the trapping of foxes. Foxes first, and pheasants afterwards, had always
been the rule with him as to any land of which he himself had the
management. And no man understood better than he did how to deal with
keepers as to this matter of fox-preserving, or knew better that keepers
will in truth obey not the words of their employers, but their
sympathies. 'Wish them to have foxes, and pay them, and they will have
them.' Mr Sowerby of Chaldicotes used to say, and he in his day was
reckoned to be the best preserver of foxes in Barsetshire. 'Tell them to
have them, and don't wish it, and pay them well, and you won't have a
fox to interfere with your game. I don't care what a man says to me, I
can read it all like a book when I see his covers drawn.' That was what
poor Mr Sowerby of Chaldicotes used to say, and the archdeacon had heard
him say it a score of time, and had learned the lesson. But now his
heart was not with the foxes--and especially not with the foxes on
behalf of his son Henry. 'I can't have any meddling with Mr Thorne,' he
said; 'I can't; and I won't.'
'But I don't suppose it can be Mr Thorne's order, your reverence; and Mr
Henry is so particular.'
'Of course it isn't Mr Thorne's order. Mr Thorne has been a hunting man
all his life.'
'But he have guv' up now, your reverence. He ain't hunted these two
'I'm sure he wouldn't have the foxes trapped.'
'Not if he knowed it, he wouldn't, your reverence. A gentleman of the
likes of him, who's been a hunting over fifty year, wouldn't do the
likes of that; but the foxes is trapped, and Mr Henry'll be a putting it
on me if I don't speak out. They is Plumstead foxes, too; and a vixen
was trapped just across the field yonder, in Goshall Springs, no later
than yesterday morning.' Flurry was now thoroughly in earnest; and,
indeed, the trapping of a vixen in February is a serious thing.
'Goshall Springs don't belong to me,' said the archdeacon.
'No, your reverence; they're on the Ullathorne property. But a word
from your reverence would do it. Mr Henry thinks more of the foxes than
anything. The last word he told me was that it would break his heart if
he saw the coppices drawn blank.'
'Then he must break his heart.' The words were pronounced, but the
archdeacon had so much command over himself as to speak them in such a
voice that the man should not hear them. But it was incumbent on him to
say something that the man should hear. 'I will have no meddling in the
matter, Flurry. Whether there are foxes or whether there are not, is a
matter of no great moment. I will not have a word said to annoy Mr
Thorne.' Then he rode away, back through the wood and out on to the
road, and the horse walked with him leisurely on, whither the archdeacon
hardly knew--for he was thinking, thinking, thinking. 'Well;--if that
ain't the darn'dest thing that ever was,' said Flurry; 'but I'll tell
the squire about Thorne's man--darned if I don't.' now, 'the squire' was
young Squire Gresham, the master of the East Barsetshire hounds.
But the archdeacon went on thinking, thinking, thinking. He could have
heard nothing of his son to stir him more in his favour than this strong
evidence of his partiality for foxes. I do not mean it to be understood
that the archdeacon regarded foxes as better than active charity, of a
contented mind, or a meek spirit, or than self-denying temperance. No
doubt all these virtues did hold in his mind their proper places,
altogether beyond contamination of foxes. But he had prided himself on
thinking that his son should be a country gentleman, and probably
nothing doubting as to the major's active charity and other virtues, was
delighted to receive evidence of those tastes which he had ever wished
to encourage in his son's character. Or rather, such evidence would have
delighted him at any other time than the present. Now it only added more
gall to his cup. 'Why should he teach himself to care for such things,
when he has not the spirit to enjoy them,' said the archdeacon to
himself. 'He is a fool--a fool. A man that has been married once, to go
crazy after a little girl, that has hardly a dress to her back, and who
never was in a drawing-room in her life! Charles is the eldest, and he
shall be the eldest. It will be better to keep it together. It is the way
in which the country has become what it is.' He was out nearly all day,
and did not see his wife till dinner-time. Her father, Mr Harding, was
still with them, but had breakfasted in his own room. Not a word,
therefore, was said about Henry Grantly between the father and mother on
Mrs Grantly was determined that, unless provoked, she would say nothing
to him till the following morning. He should sleep upon his wrath before
she spoke to him again. And he was equally unwilling to recur to the
subject. Had she permitted, the next morning would have passed away, and
no word would have been spoken. But this would not have suited her. She
had his orders to write, and she had undertaken to obey these
orders--with the delay of one day. Were she not to write at all--or in
writing to send no message from the father, there would be cause for
further anger. And yet this, I think, was what the archdeacon wished.
'Archdeacon,' she said, 'I shall write to Henry today.'
'And what am I to say from you?'
'I told you yesterday what are my intentions.'
'I am not asking about that now. We hope there will be years and years
to come, in which you may change them, and shape them as you will. What
shall I tell him now from you?'
'I have nothing to say to him--nothing; not a word. He knows what he
has to expect from me, for I have told him. He is acting with his eyes
open, and so am I. If he married Miss Crawley, he must live on his own
means. I told him that so plainly, that he can want no further
intimation.' Then Mrs Grantly knew that she was absolved from the burden
of yesterday's message, and she plumed herself on the prudence of her
conduct. On the same morning the archdeacon wrote the following note:--
'My man tells me that foxes have been trapped on
Darvell's farm, just outside the coppices. I know
nothing of it myself, but I am sure you'll look to it.
MRS PROUDIE SENDS FOR HER LAWYER
There was great dismay in Barchester Palace after the visit paid to the
bishop and Mrs Proudie by that terrible clerical offender, Mr Crawley.
It will be remembered, perhaps, how he had defied the bishop with spoken
words, and how he had defied the bishop's wife by speaking words to her.
For the moment, no doubt, Mr Crawley had the best of it. Mrs Proudie
acknowledged to herself that this was the case; but as she was a woman
who had never yet succumbed to an enemy, who had never--if on such an
occasion I may be allowed to use a schoolboy's slang--taken a licking
from anyone, it was not likely that Mr Crawley would be allowed to enjoy
his triumph in peace. It would be odd if all the weight of the palace
would not be able to silence a wretch of a perpetual curate who had
already been committed to take his trial for thieving;--and Mrs Proudie
was determined that all the weight of the palace should be used. As for
the bishop, though he was not as angry as his wife, he was quite
unhappy, and therefore quite as hostile to Mr Crawley; and was fully
conscious that there could be no peace for him now until Mr Crawley
should be crushed. If only the assizes would come at once, and get him
condemned out of the way, what a blessed thing it would be! But
unluckily it still wanted three months to the assizes, and during those
three months Mr Crawley would be at large and subject only to the
episcopal authority. During that time he could not be silenced by the
arm of the civil law. His wife was not long in expressing her opinion
after Mr Crawley had left the palace. 'You must proceed against him in
the Court of Arches--and that at once,' said Mrs Proudie. 'You can do
that, of course? I know that it will be expensive. Of course it will be
expensive. I suppose it may cost us some three hundred pounds; but duty
is duty, my lord, and in such a case as this your duty as a bishop is
The poor bishop knew that it was useless to explain to her the various
mistakes which she made--which she was ever making--as to the extent of
his powers and the modes of procedure which were open to him. When he
would do so she would only rail at him for being lukewarm in his office,
poor in spirit, and afraid of dealing roundly with those below him. On
the present occasion he did say a word, but she would not even hear him
to the end. 'Don't tell me about rural deans, as if I didn't know. The
rural dean has nothing to do with such a case. The man has been
committed for trial. Send for Mr Chadwick at once, and let steps be
taken before you are an hour older.'
'But, my dear, Mr Chadwick can do nothing.'
'Then I will see Mr Chadwick.' And in her anger she did sit down and
write a note to Mr Chadwick, begging him to come over to her at the
Mr Chadwick was a lawyer, living in Barchester, who earned his bread
from ecclesiastical business. His father, and his uncle, and his
grandfather and granduncles, had all been concerned in the affairs of
the diocese of Barchester. His uncle had been bailiff to the episcopal
estates, or steward as he had been called, in Bishop Grantly's time, and
still contrived to draw his income in some shape from the property of
the see. The nephew had also been the legal assistant of the bishop in
his latter days, and had been continued in that position by Bishop
Proudie, not from love, but from expediency. Mr John Chadwick was one of
those gentlemen, two or three of whom are to be seen in connexion with
every see--who seem to be hybrids--half-lay, half-cleric. They dress
like clergymen, and affect that mixture of clerical solemnity and
clerical waggishness which is generally to be found among minor canons
and vicars choral of a cathedral. They live, or at least have their
offices, half in the Close and half out of it--dwelling as it were just
on the borders of holy orders. They always wear white neck-handkerchiefs
and black gloves; and would be altogether clerical in their appearance,
were it not that as regards the outward man they impinge somewhat on the
characteristics of the undertaker. They savour of the church but the
savour is of the church's exterior. Any stranger thrown into chance
contact with one of them would, from instinct, begin to talk about
things ecclesiastical without any reference to things theological or
things religious. They are always most worthy men, much respected in the
society of the Close, and I never heard of one of them whose wife was
not comfortable or whose children were left without provision.
Such a one was Mr John Chadwick, and as it was a portion of his duties
to accompany the bishop to consecrations and ordinations, he knew Dr
Proudie very well. Having been brought up, as it were, under the very
wing of Bishop Grantly, it could not well be that he should love Bishop
Grantly's successor. The old bishop and the new bishop had been so
different that no man could like, or even esteem, them both. But Mr
Chadwick was a prudent man, who knew well the source from which he
earned his bread, and he had never quarrelled with Bishop Proudie. He
knew Mrs Proudie also--of necessity--and when I say of him that he had
hitherto avoided any open quarrel with her, it will I think be allowed
that he was a man of prudence and sagacity.
But he had sometimes been sorely tried, and he felt when he got her note
that he was now about to encounter a very sore trial. He muttered
something which might have been taken for an oath, were it not that the
outwards signs of the man gave warranty that no oath could proceed from
such a one. Then he wrote a short note presenting his compliments to Mrs
Proudie, and saying that he would call at the palace at eleven o'clock
on the following morning.
But, in the meantime, Mrs Proudie, who could not be silent on the
subject for a moment, did learn something of the truth from her husband.
The information did not come to her in the way of instruction, but was
teased out of the unfortunate man. 'I know that you can proceed against
him in the Court of Arches, under the "Church Discipline Act",' she
'No, my dear; no,' said the bishop, shaking his head in his misery.
'Or in the Consistorial Court. It's all the same thing.'
'There must be an inquiry first--by his brother clergy. There must
indeed. It's the only way of proceeding.'
'But there has been an inquiry, and he has been committed.'
'That doesn't signify, my dear. That's the Civil Law.'
'And if the Civil Law condemns him, and locks him up in prison--as it
most certainly will do?'
'But it hasn't done so yet, my dear. I really think that as it has gone
so far, it will be best to leave it as it is till he has taken his
'What! Leave him there after what has occurred this morning in this
palace?' The palace with Mrs Proudie was always a palace, and never a
house. 'No; no; ten thousand times no. Are you not aware that he
insulted you, and grossly, most grossly insulted me? Since I first came
to this palace;--never, never. And we know the man to be a thief;--we
absolutely know it. Think, my lord, of the souls of his people!'
'Oh, dear; oh, dear; oh, dear,' said the bishop.
'Why do you fret yourself in that way?'
'Because you will get me into trouble. I tell you the only thing to be
done is to issue a commission with the rural dean at the head of it.'
'Then issue a commission.'
'And they will take three months.'
'Why should they take three months? Why should they take more than
three days--or three hours? It is all plain sailing.'
'More shame for them who make it so.'
'But it is so. If I were to take legal proceedings against him, it
would cost--oh dear--more than a thousand pounds, I should say.'
'If it costs two, you must do it,' Mrs Proudie's anger was still very
hot, or she would not have spoken of an unremunerative outlay of money
in such language as that.
In this manner she did not come to understand, before the arrival of Mr
Chadwick, that her husband could take no legal steps towards silencing
Mr Crawley until a commission of clergymen had been appointed to inquire
into the matter, and that the commission should be headed by the rural
dean within the limits of whose rural deanery the parish of Hogglestock
was situated, or by some beneficed parochial clergyman of repute in the
neighbourhood. Now the rural dean was Dr Tempest of Silverbridge--who
had held that position before the coming of Dr Proudie to the diocese;
and there had grown up in the bosom of Mrs Proudie a strong feeling that
undue mercy had been shown to Mr Crawley by the magistrates of
Silverbridge, of whom Dr Tempest had been one. 'These magistrates had
taken bail for his appearance at the assizes, instead of committing him
to prison at once--as they were bound to do, when such an offence as
that had been committed by a clergyman. But, no;--even though there was
a clergymen among them, they had thought nothing of the souls of the
poor people!' In such language, Mrs Proudie had spoken of the affair at
Silverbridge, and having once committed herself to such an opinion, of
course she thought that Dr Tempest would go through fire and water and
would omit no stretch of what little judicial power might be committed
to his hands--with the view of opposing his bishop, and maintaining the
culprit in is position. 'In such a case as this, can not you name an
acting rural dean yourself? Dr Tempest, you know, is very old.' 'No, my
dear; no; I cannot.' 'You can ask Mr Chadwick, at any rate, and then you
could name Mr Thumble.' 'But Mr Thumble doesn't even hold a living in
the diocese. Oh, dear; oh, dear; oh, dear!' And so the matter rested
till Mr Chadwick came.
Mrs Proudie had no doubt intended to have Mr Chadwick all to herself--at
any rate so as to encounter him in the first instance. But having been
at length convinced that the inquiry by the rural dean was really
necessary as a preliminary, and having also slept upon the question of
expenditure, she gave direction that the lawyer should be shown into the
bishop's study, and she took care to be absent at the moment of his
arrival. Of course she did not intend that Mr Chadwick should leave the
palace without having heard what she had to say, but she thought that it
would be well that he should be made to conceive that though the summons
had been written by her, it had really been intended on the part of the
bishop. 'Mr Chadwick will be with you at eleven, bishop,' she said, as
she got up from the breakfast-table, at which she left his lordship with
two of his daughters and with a married son-in-law, a clergyman who was
staying in the house. 'Very well, my dear,' said the bishop, with a
smile--for he was anxious not to betray any vexation at his wife's
interference before his daughters or the Rev Mr Tickler. But he
understood it all. Mr Chadwick had been sent for with reference to Mr
Crawley, and he was driven--absolutely driven, to propose to his lawyer
that this commission of inquiry should be issued.
Punctually at eleven Mr Chadwick came, wearing a very long face as he
entered the palace door--for he felt that he would in all probability be
now compelled to quarrel with Mrs Proudie. Much he could bear, but there
was a limit to his endurance. She had never absolutely sent for him
before, though she had often interfered with him. 'I shall have to tell
her a bit of my mind,' he said, as he stepped across the Close, habited
in his best suit of black, with most exact white cravat, and yet looking
not quite like a clergyman--with some touch of the undertaker in his
gait. When he found that he was shown into the bishop's room, and that
the bishop was there--the bishop only--his mind was relieved. It would
have been better that the bishop should have written himself, or that
the chaplain should have written in his lordship's name; that, however,
was a trifle.
But the bishop did not know what to say to him. If he intended to
direct an inquiry to be made by the rural dean, it would be by no means
becoming that he should consult Mr Chadwick as to doing so. It might be
well, or if not well at any rate not improper, that he should make
application to Dr Tempest through Mr Chadwick; but in that case he must
give the order at once, and he still wished to avoid it if it were
possible. Since he had been in the diocese no case so grave as this had
been pushed upon him. The intervention of the rural dean in an ordinary
way he had used--had been made to use--more than once, by his wife. A
vicar had been absent a little too long from one parish, and there had
been rumours about brandy-and-water in another. Once he had been very
nearly in deep water because Mrs Proudie had taken it in dudgeon that a
certain young rector, who had been left a widower, had a pretty
governess for his children; and there had been that case, sadly
notorious in the diocese at the time, of our excellent friend Mr Robarts
of Framley, when the bailiffs were in the house because he couldn't pay
his debts--or rather, the debts of his friend for whom he had signed
bills. But in all these cases some good fortune had intervened, and he
had been saved from the terrible necessity of any ulterior process. But
now--now he was being driven beyond himself, and all to no purpose. If
Mrs Proudie would only wait three months the civil law would do it all
for him. But here was Mr Chadwick in the room, and he knew that it would
be useless for him to attempt to talk to Mr Chadwich about other
matters, and so dismiss him. The wife of his bosom would be down upon
them before Chadwick could be out of the room.
'H-m-ha. How d'ye do, Mr Chadwick--won't you sit down?' Mr Chadwick
thanked his lordship, and sat down. 'It's very cold, isn't it, Mr
'A hard frost, my lord, but a beautiful day.'
'Won't you come near the fire?' The bishop knew that Mrs Proudie was on
the road, and had an eye to the proper strategical position of his
forces. Mrs Proudie would certainly take up her position in a certain
chair from whence the light enabled her to rake her husband thoroughly.
What advantage she might have from this he could not prevent;--but he
could so place Mr Chadwick, that the lawyer should be more than within
reach of his eye than that of his wife. So the bishop pointed to an
arm-chair opposite to himself and near the fire, and Mr Chadwick seated
'This is a very sad affair about Mr Crawley,' said the bishop.
'Very said indeed,' said the lawyer. 'I never pitied a man so much in
my life, my lord.'
This was not exactly the line which the bishop was desirous of taking.
'Of course he is to be pitied;--of course he is. But from all I hear, Mr
Chadwick, I am afraid--I am afraid we must not acquit him.'
'As to that, my lord, he has to stand his trial, of course.'
'But, you see, Mr Chadwick, regarding him as a beneficed clergyman--with
a cure of souls--the question is whether I should be justified in
leaving him where he is till his trial shall come on.'
'Of course your lordship knows best about that, but--'
'I know there is a difficulty. I know that. But I am inclined to think
that in the interests of the parish I am bound to issue a commission of
'I believer your lordship has attempted to silence him, and that he has
refused to comply.'
'I thought it better for everybody's sake--especially for his own, that
he should for a while be relieved from his duties; but he is an
obstinate man, a very obstinate man. I made the attempt with all
consideration for his feelings.'
'He is hard put to it, my lord. I know the man and his pride. The dean
has spoken of him to me more than once, and nobody knows him so well as
the dean. If I might venture to offer an opinion--'
'Good morning, Mr Chadwick,' said Mrs Proudie, coming into the room and
taking her accustomed seat. 'No thank you, no; I will stay away from the
fire, if you please. His lordship has spoken to you no doubt about this
unfortunate wretched man.'
'We are speaking of him now, my dear.'
'Something must of course be done to put a stop to the crying disgrace
of having such a man preaching from a pulpit in this diocese. When I
think of the souls of the people in that poor village, my hair literally
stands on end. And then he is disobedient!'
'That is the worst of it,' said the bishop. 'It would have been so much
better for himself if he would have allowed me to provide quietly for
the services till the trial be over.'
'I could have told you that, my lord, that he would not do that, from
what I knew of him,' said Mr Chadwick.
'But he must do it,' said Mrs Proudie. 'He must be made to do it.'
'His lordship will find it difficult,' said Mr Chadwick.
'I can issue a commission, you know, to the rural dean,' said the bishop
'Yes, you can do that. And Dr Tempest in two months' time will have
named his assessors--'
'Dr Tempest must not name them; the bishop must name them,' said Mrs
'It is customary to leave that to the rural dean,' said Mr Chadwick.
'The bishop no doubt can object to anyone named.'
'And can specially select any clergyman he pleases from the
archdeaconry,' said the bishop. 'I have known it done.'
'The rural dean in such a case has probably been an old man, and not
active,' said the lawyer.
'And Dr Tempest is a very old man,' said Mrs Proudie, 'and in such a
matter not at all trustworthy. He was one of the magistrates who took
'His lordship could hardly set him aside,' said the lawyer. 'At any
rate I would not recommend him to try. I think you might suggest a
commission of five, and propose two of the number yourself. I do not
think that in such a case Dr Tempest would raise any question.'
At last it was settled in this way. Mr Chadwick was to prepare a letter