Part 9 out of 18
such a one. He would have greatly delighted in the services of someone
who would trust him implicitly--of some young man who would really
believe all that he said of himself and of the Chancellor of the
Exchequer; but he was wise enough to perceive that no such young man was
to be had; or that any such man--could such a one be found--would be
absolutely useless for any purposes of work. He knew himself to be a
liar whom nobody trusted. And he knew himself also to be a bully--though
he could not think so low of himself as to believe that he was a bully
whom nobody feared. A private secretary was at the least bound to
pretend to believe in him. There is a decency in such things, and that
decency John Eames did not observe. He thought that he must get rid of
John Eames, in spite of certain attractions which belonged to Johnny's
appearance and general manners, and social standing, and reputed wealth.
But it would not be wise to punish a man on the spot for breaking an
appointment which he himself had not kept, and therefore he would wait
for another opportunity. 'You had better go to your own room now,' he
said. 'I am engaged on a matter connected with the Treasury, in which I
will not ask for your assistance.' He knew that Eames would not believe
a word as to what he said about the Treasury--not even some very
trifling base of truth which did exist; but the boast gave him an
opportunity of putting an end to the interview after his own fashion.
Then John Eames went to his own room and answered the letters which he
had in his pocket.
To the club dinner he would not go. 'What's the use of paying two
guineas for a dinner with fellows you see every day of your life?' he
said. To Lady Glencora's he would go, and he wrote a line to his friend
Dalrymple proposing that they should go together. And he would dine with
his cousin Toogood in Tavistock Square. 'One meets the queerest people
in the world there,' he said; 'but Tommy Toogood is such a good fellow
himself!' After that he had his lunch. Then he read the paper, and
before he went away he wrote a dozen or two of private notes, presenting
Sir Raffle's compliments right and left, and giving in no one note a
single word of information that could be of any use to any person.
Having thus earned his salary by half-past four o'clock he got into a
hansom cab and had himself driven to Porchester Terrace. Miss Demolines
was at home, of course, and he soon found himself closeted with that
interesting young woman.
'I thought you never would have come.' These were the first words she
'My dear Miss Demolines, you must not forget that I have my bread to
'Fiddlesticks!--Bread! As if I didn't know that you can get away from
your office when you choose.'
'But, indeed, I cannot.'
'What is there to prevent you, Mr Eames?'
'I'm not tied up like a dog, certainly; but who do you suppose will do
my work if I do not do it myself? It is a fact, though the world does
not believe it, that men in public offices have something to do.'
'Now you are laughing at me, I know; but you are welcome, if you like
it. It's the way of the world just at present that ladies should submit
to that sort of thing from gentlemen.'
'What sort of thing, Miss Demolines?'
'Chaff, as you call it. Courtesy is out of fashion, and gallantry has
come to signify quite a different kind of thing from what it used to
'The Sir Charles Grandison business is done and gone. That's what you
mean, I suppose? Don't you think we should find it very heavy if we
tried to get it back again?'
'I'm not going to ask you to be a Sir Charles Grandison, Mr Eames. But
never mind all that now. Do you know that that girl has absolutely had
her first sitting for the picture?'
'Has she, indeed?'
'She has. You may take my word for it. I know it as a fact. What a
fool that young man is!'
'Which young man?'
'Which young man! Conway Dalrymple to be sure. Artists are always
weak. Of all men in the world they are the most subject to flattery from
women; and we all know that Conway Dalrymple is very vain.'
'Upon my word I didn't know it,' said Johnny.
'Yes, you do. You must know it. When a man goes about in a purple
velvet coat of course he is vain.'
'I certainly cannot defend a purple velvet coat.'
'That is what he wore when this girl sat to him this morning.'
'This morning was it?'
'Yes, this morning. They little think that they can do nothing without
my knowing it. He was there for nearly four hours, and she was dressed
up in a white robe as Jael, with a turban on her head. Jael indeed! I
call it very improper, and I am quite astonished that Maria Clutterbuck
should have lent herself to such a piece of work. That Maria was never
very wise, of course we all know; but I thought that she had principle
enough to have kept her from this kind of thing.'
'It's her fevered existence,' said Johnny.
'That's just it. She must have excitement. It is like dram-drinking.
And then, you know, they are always living in the crater of a volcano.'
'Who are living in the crater of a volcano?'
'The Dobbs Broughtons are. Of course they are. There is no saying what
day a smash may come. They City people get so used to it that they enjoy
it. The risk is everything to them.'
'They like to have a little certainty behind the risk, I fancy.'
'I'm afraid there is very little that's certain with Dobbs Broughton.
But about this picture, Mr Eames. I look to you to assist me there. It
must be put a stop to. As to that I am determined. It must be--put
a--stop to.' And as Miss Demolines repeated these last words with a
tremendous emphasis she leant with both her elbows on a little table
that stood between her and her visitor, and looked with all her eyes
into his face. 'I do hope that you agree with me in that,' said she.
'Upon my word I do not see the harm of the picture,' said he.
'You do not?'
'Indeed no. Why should not Dalrymple paint Miss Van Siever as well as
any other lady? It is his special business to paint ladies.'
'Look here, Mr Eames--' And now Miss Demolines, as she spoke drew her own
seat closer to that of her companion and pushed away the little table.
'Do you suppose that Conway Dalrymple, in the usual way of his business,
paints pictures of young ladies of which their mothers know nothing? Do
you suppose that he paints them in ladies' rooms without their husbands'
knowledge? And in the common way of his business does he not expect to
be paid for his pictures?'
'But what is all that to you and me, Miss Demolines?'
'Is the welfare of your friend nothing to you? Would you like to see
him become the victim of the artifice of such a girl as Clara Van
'Upon my word I think he is very well able to take care of himself.'
'And would you wish to see that poor creature's domestic hearth ruined
and broken up?'
'Which poor creature?'
'Dobbs Broughton, to be sure.'
'I can't pretend that I care very much for Dobbs Broughton,' said John
Eames; 'and you see I know so little about his domestic hearth.'
'Oh, Mr Eames!'
'Besides, her principles will pull her through. You told me yourself
that Mrs Dobbs Broughton had high principles.'
'God forbid that I should say a word against Maria Clutterbuck,' said
Miss Demolines fervently. 'Maria Clutterbuck was my early friend, and
though words have been spoken which never should have been spoken, and
though things have been done which never should have been dreamed of,
still I will not desert Maria Clutterbuck in her hour of need. No,
'I'm sure you're what one may call a trump to your friends, Miss
'I have endeavoured to be so, and always shall. You will find me
so;--that is if you and I ever become intimate enough to feel that sort
'There is nothing on earth I should like better,' said Johnny. As soon
as these words were out of his mouth, he felt ashamed of himself. He
knew that he did not in truth desire the friendship of Miss Demolines,
and that any friendship with such a one would mean something different
from friendship--something that would be an injury to Lily Dale. A week
had hardly passed since he had sworn a life's constancy to Lily
Dale--had sworn it, not to her only, but to himself; and now he was
giving way to a flirtation with this woman, not because he liked it
himself, but because he was too weak to keep out of it.'
'If that is true--' said Miss Demolines.
'Oh, yes; it is quite true,' said Johnny.
'Then you must earn my friendship by doing what I ask of you. That
picture must not be painted. You must tell Conway Dalrymple as his
friend that he must cease to carry on such an intrigue in another man's
'You would hardly call painting a picture an intrigue; would you?'
'Certainly I would when it's kept a secret from the husband by the
wife--and from the mother by the daughter. If it cannot be stopped in
any other way, I must tell Mrs Van Siever;--I must, indeed. I have such
an abhorrence of the old woman, that I could not bring myself to speak
to her--but I should write to her. That's what I should do.'
'But what's the reason? You might as tell me the real reason.' Had Miss
Demolines been christened Mary, or Fanny, or Jane, I think that John
Eames would now have called her by either of those names; but Madalina
was such a mouthful that he could not bring himself to use it at once.
He had heard that among her intimates she was called Maddy. He had an
idea that he had heard Dalrymple in old times talk of her as Maddy
Mullins, and just at this moment the idea was not pleasant to him; at
any rate he could not call her Maddy as yet. 'How am I to help you,' he
said, 'unless I know all about it?'
'I hate that girl like poison!' said Miss Demolines, confidentially,
drawing herself very near to Johnny as she spoke.
'But what has she done?'
'What has she done? I can't tell you what she has done. I could not
demean myself by repeating it. Of course we all know what she wants. She
wants to catch Conway Dalrymple. That's as plain as anything can be. Not
that I care about that.'
'Of course not,' said Johnny.
'Not in the least. It's nothing to me. I have known Conway Dalrymple,
no doubt, for a year or two, and I should be sorry to see a young man
who has his good points sacrificed in that sort of way. But it is mere
acquaintance between Mr Dalrymple and me, and of course I cannot
'She'll have a lot of money, you know.'
'He thinks so; does he? I suppose that is what Maria has told him. Oh,
Mr Eames, you don't know the meanness of women; you don't indeed. Men
are so much more noble.'
'Are they, do you think?'
'Than some women. I see women doing things that really disgust me; I do
indeed;--things that I wouldn't do myself, were it ever so;--striving to
catch men in every possible way, and for such purposes! I wouldn't have
believed it of Maria Clutterbuck. I wouldn't indeed. However I will
never say a word against her, because she has been my friend. Nothing
shall ever induce me.'
John Eames before he left Porchester Terrace, had at last succeeded in
calling his fair friend Madalina, and had promised that he would
endeavour to open the artist's eyes to the folly of painting his picture
in Broughton's house without Broughton's knowledge.
MR TOOGOOD'S IDEAS ABOUT SOCIETY
A day or two after the interview which was described in the last chapter
John Eames dined with his uncle Mr Thomas Toogood, in Tavistock Square.
He was in the habit of doing this about once a month, and was a great
favourite both with his cousins and with their mother. Mr Toogood did
not give dinner-parties; always begging those whom he asked to enjoy his
hospitality, to take pot luck, and telling young men whom he could treat
with familiarity--such as his nephew--that if they wanted to be regaled
a la Russe they must not come to Number 75 Tavistock Square. 'A leg of
mutton and trimmings; that will be about the outside of it,' he would
say; but he would add in a whisper--'and a glass of port such as you
don't get every day of your life.' Polly and Lucy Toogood were pretty
girls, and merry withal, and certain young men were well contented to
accept the attorney's invitation--whether attracted by the promised leg
of mutton, or the port wine, or the young ladies, I will not attempt to
say. But it had so happened that one young man, a clerk from John
Eames's office, had partaken so often of the put luck and port wine that
Polly Toogood had conquered him by her charms, and he was now a slave,
waiting an appropriate time for matrimonial sacrifice. William Summerkin
was the young man's name; and as it was known that Mr Summerkin was to
inherit a fortune amounting to three hundred pounds from his maiden
aunt, it was considered that Polly Toogood was not doing amiss. 'I'll
give you three hundred pounds, my boy, just to put a few sheets on the
beds,' said Toogood the father, 'and when the old birds are both dead
she'll have a thousand pounds out of the nest. That's the extent of
Polly's fortune;--so now you know.' Summerkin was, however, quite
contented to have his own money settled on his darling Polly, and the
whole thing was looked at with pleasant and propitious eyes by the
When John Eames entered the drawing-room Summerkin and Polly were
already there. Summerkin blushed up to his eyes, of course, but Polly
sat as demurely as though she had been accustomed to having lovers all
her life. 'Mamma will be down almost immediately, John,' said Polly as
soon as the first greetings were over, 'and papa has come in, I know.'
'Summerkin,' said Johnny, 'I'm afraid you left the office before four
'No, I did not,' said Summerkin. 'I deny it.'
'Polly,' said her cousin, 'you should keep him in better order. He will
certainly come to grief if he goes on like this. I suppose you could do
without him for half an hour.'
'I don't want him I assure you,' said Polly.
'I have only been here just five minutes,' said Summerkin, 'and I came
because Mrs Toogood asked me to do a commission.'
'That's civil to you, Polly,' said John.
'It's quite as civil as I wish him to be,' said Polly. 'And as for you,
John, everybody knows that you're a goose, and that you always were a
goose. Isn't he always doing foolish things at the office, William?' But
as John Eames was rather a great man at the Income-Tax Office, Summerkin
could not fall into his sweetheart's joke on this subject, finding it
easier and perhaps safer to twiddle the bodkins of Polly's work-basket.
Then Toogood and Mrs Toogood entered the room together, and the lovers
were able to be alone again during the general greetings with which
Johnny was welcomed.
'You don't know the Silverbridge people--do you?' asked Mr Toogood.
Eames said that he did not. He had been at Silverbridge more than once,
but did not know very much of the Silverbridgians. 'Because Walker is
coming here to dine here. Walker is the leading man in Silverbridge.'
'And what is Walker;--besides being the leading man in Silverbridge?'
'He's a lawyer. Walker and Winthrop. Everybody knows Walker in
Barsetshire. I've been down at Barchester since I saw you.'
'Have you indeed?' said Johnny.
'And I'll tell you what I've been about. You know Mr Crawley; don't
'The Hogglestock clergyman that has come to grief? I don't know him
personally. He's a sort of cousin by marriage, you know.'
'Of course he is,' said Toogood. 'His wife is my first-cousin, and your
mother's first cousin. He came here to me the other day;--or rather to
the shop. I had never seen the man before in my life, and a very queer
fellow he is too. He came to me about this trouble of his, and of course
I must do what I can for him. I got myself introduced to Walker, who has
the management of the prosecution, and I asked him to come and dine
'And what sort of fellow did you find Crawley, Uncle Tom?'
'Such a queer fish;--so unlike anybody else in the world.'
'But I suppose he did take the money,' said Johnny.
'I don't know what to say about it. I don't indeed. If he took it he
didn't mean to steal it. I'm as sure that man didn't mean to steal
twenty pounds as I ever could be of anything. Perhaps I shall get
something about it out of Walker after dinner.' Then Mr Walker entered
the room. 'This is very kind of you, Mr Walker; very indeed. I take it
quite as a compliment, your coming in in this sort of way. It's just pot
luck, you know, and nothing else.' Mr Walker of course assured his host
that he was delighted. 'Just a leg of mutton and a bottle of old port,
Mr Walker,' continued Toogood. 'We never get beyond that in the way of
dinner-giving; do, we, Maria?'
But Maria was at this moment descanting on the good luck of the family
to her nephew--and on one special piece of good luck which had just
occurred. Mr Summerkin's maiden aunt had declared her intention of
giving up the fortune to the young people at once. She had enough to
live upon, she said, and would therefore make two lovers happy. 'And
they're to be married on the first day of May,' said Lucy--that Lucy of
whom her father had boasted to Mr Crawley that she knew Byron by
heart--'and won't that be jolly? Mamma is going out to look for a house
for them tomorrow. Fancy Polly with a house of her own! Won't it be
stunning? I wish you were going to be married too, Johnny.'
'Don't be a fool, Lucy.'
'Of course I know that you are in love. I hope you are not going to
give over being in love, Johnny, because it is such fun.'
'Wait till you've caught yourself, my girl.'
'I don't mean to be caught till some great swell comes this way. And as
great swells never do come to Tavistock Square, I shan't have a chance.
I'll tell you what I would like; I'd like to have a Corsair--or else a
Giaour;--I think a Giaour would be nicest. Only a Giaour wouldn't be a
Giaour here, you know. Fancy a lover "who thundering comes on blackest
steed, With slackened bit and hoof of speed." Were not those days to
live in! But all that is over now, you know, and young people take
houses in Woburn Place, instead of being locked up, or drowned, or
married to a hideous monster behind a veil. I suppose it's better as it
is, for some reasons.'
'I think it must be more jolly, as you call it, Lucy.'
'I'm not quite sure. I know I'd go back and be Medora, if I could.
Mamma is always telling Polly that she must be careful about William's
dinner. But Conrad didn't care for his dinner. "Light toil! to cull and
dress my frugal fare! See, I have plucked the fruit that promised
'And how often do you think Conrad got drunk?'
'I don't think he got drunk at all. There is no reason why he should
any more than William. Come along, and take me down to dinner. After
all, papa's leg of mutton is better than Medora's apples, when one is as
hungry as I am.'
The leg of mutton on this occasion consisted of soup, fish, and a bit of
roast beef, and a couple of boiled fowls. 'If I had only two children
instead of twelve,' Mr Walker,' said the host, 'I'd give you a dinner a
'I don't begrudge Mrs Toogood a single arrow in her quiver on that
score,' said Mr Walker.
'People are getting to be so luxurious that one can't live up to them at
all,' said Mrs Toogood. 'We dined out here with some newcomers in the
square only last week. We had asked them before, and they came quite in
a quiet way--just like this; and when we got there we found they'd four
kinds of ices after dinner!'
'And not a morsel of food on the table fit to eat,' said Toogood. 'I
never was so poisoned in my life. As for soup--it was just the washings
of the pastrycook's kettle next door.'
'And how is one to live with such people, Mr Walker?' continued Mrs
Toogood. 'Of course we can't ask them back again. We can't give them
four kinds of ices.'
'But would that be necessary? Perhaps they haven't got twelve
'They haven't got any at all,' said Toogood, triumphing; 'not a chick
belonging to them. But you see one must do as other people do. I hate
anything grand. I wouldn't want more than this for myself, if bank-notes
were as plenty as curl-papers.'
'Nobody has any curl-papers now, papa,' said Lucy.
'But I can't bear to be outdone,' said Mr Toogood. 'I think it's very
unpleasant--people living in that sort of way. It's all very well
telling me that I needn't live so too;--and of course I don't. I can't
afford to have four men in from the confectioner's dressed a sight
better than myself, at ten shillings a head. I can't afford it, and I
don't do it. But the worst of it is that I suffer because other people
do it. It stands to reason that I must either be driven along with the
crowd, or else be left behind. Now, I don't like either. And what's the
end of it? Why I'm half carried away and half left behind.'
'Upon my word, papa, I don't think you're carried away at all, said
'Yes, I am; and I'm ashamed of myself. Mr Walker, I don't dare to ask
you to drink a glass of wine with me in my own house--that's what I
don't--because it's the proper thing for you to wait till somebody
brings it to you, and then drink it by yourself. There is no knowing
whether I mightn't offend you.' And Mr Toogood as he spoke grasped the
decanter at his elbow. Mr Walker grasped another at his elbow, and the
two attorneys took their glass of wine together.
'A very queer case this is of my cousin Crawley's,' said Toogood to
Walker, when the ladies had left the dining-room.
'A most distressing case. I never knew anything so much talked of in
our part of the country.'
'He can't have been a popular man, I should say.'
'No; not popular--not in the ordinary way;--anything but that. Nobody
knew him personally before this matter came up.'
'But a good clergyman, probably? I'm interested in the case, of course
as his wife is my first-cousin. You will understand, however, that I
know nothing of him. My father tried to be civil to him once, but
Crawley wouldn't have it at all. We all thought he was mad then. I
suppose he has done his duty in his parish?'
'He has quarrelled with the bishop, you know,--out and out.'
'Has he, indeed? But I'm not sure that I think very much about bishops,
'That depends very much on the particular bishop. Some people say ours
isn't all that a bishop ought to be, while others are very fond of him.'
'And Mr Crawley belongs to the former set, that's all?' said Mr Toogood.
'No, Mr Toogood; that isn't all. The worst of your cousin is that he
has an aptitude to quarrel with everybody. He is one of those men who
always think themselves to be ill-used. Now our dean, Dr Arabin, has
been his very old friend--and as far as I can learn, a very good friend;
but it seems that Mr Crawley has done his best to quarrel with him too.'
'He spoke of the dean in the highest terms to me.'
'He may do that--and yet quarrel with him. He'd quarrel with his own
right hand, if he nothing else to quarrel with. That makes the
difficulty, you see. He'll take nobody's advice. He thinks we're all
'I suppose the world has been heavy on him, Mr Walker?'
'The world has been very heavy on him,' said John Eames, who had now
been left free to join the conversation, Mr Summerkin having gone away
to his lady-love. 'You must not judge him as you do other men.'
'That is just it,' said Mr Walker. 'And to what result will that bring
'That we ought to stretch a point in his favour,' said Toogood.
'But why?' asked the attorney from Silverbridge. 'What do we mean when
we say that one man isn't to be trusted as another? We simply imply that
he is not what we call responsible.'
'And I don't think Mr Crawley is responsible,' said Johnny.
'Then how can he be fit to have charge of a parish?' said Mr Walker.
'You see where the difficulty is. How it embarrasses one all round. The
amount of evidence as to the cheque is, I think, sufficient to get a
verdict in an ordinary case, and the Crown has no alternative but so to
treat it. Then his friends come forward--and from sympathy with his
sufferings, I desire to be ranked among the number--and say, 'Ah, but
you should spare this man, because he is not responsible.' Were he one
who filled no position requiring special responsibility, that might be
very well. His friends might undertake to look after him, and the
prosecution might perhaps be smothered. But Mr Crawley holds a living,
and if he escape he will be triumphant--especially triumphant over the
bishop. Now, if he has really taken this money, and if his only excuse
be that he did not know when he took it whether he was stealing or
whether he was not--for the sake of justice that ought not to be
'You think he certainly did steal the money?' said Johnny.
'You have heard the evidence, no doubt?' said Mr Walker.
'I don't feel quite sure about it, yet,' said Mr Toogood.
'Quite sure of what?' said Mr Walker.
'That the cheque got dropped in his house.'
'It was at any rate traced to his hands.'
'I have no doubt about that,' said Toogood.
'And he can't account for it,' said Walker.
'A man isn't bound to show where he got his money,' said Johnny.
'Suppose that sovereign is marked,' and Johnny produced a coin from his
pocket, 'and I don't know but what it is; and suppose it is proved to
have belonged to someone who lost it, and then to be traced to my own
hands--how am I to say where I got it? If I were asked I should simply
decline to answer.'
'But a cheque is not a sovereign, Mr Eames,' said Walker. 'It is
presumed that a man can account for the possession of a cheque. It may
be that a man should have a cheque in his possession and not be able to
account for it, and should yet be open to no grave suspicion. In such a
case a jury has to judge. Here is the fact: that Mr Crawley has the
cheque, and brings it in to use some considerable time after it is
drawn; and the additional fact that the drawer of the cheque had lost
it, as he thought, in Mr Crawley's house, and had looked for it there,
soon after it was drawn, and long before it was paid. A jury must judge;
but, as a lawyer, I should say that the burden of disproof lies with Mr
'Did you find out anything, Mr Walker,' said Toogood, 'about the man who
drove Mr Soames that day?'
'The trap was from "The Dragon" at Barchester, I think?'
'Yes--from "The Dragon of Wantly".'
'A respectable sort of house?'
'Pretty well for that, I believe. I've heard that the people are poor,'
'Somebody told me that they'd had a queer lot about the house, and that
three or four of them left just then. I think I heard that two or three
men from the place went to New Zealand together. It just came out in
conversation while I was in the inn-yard.'
'I have never heard anything of it,' said Walker.
'I don't say that it can help us.'
'I don't see that it can,' said Walker.
After that there was a pause, and Mr Toogood pushed about the old port,
and made some very stinging remark as to the claret-drinking
propensities of the age. 'Gladstone claret the most of it is, I fancy,'
said Mr Toogood. 'I find that port wine which my father bought in the
wood five-and-twenty years ago is good enough for me.' Mr Walker said
that it was quite good enough for him, almost too good, and that he
thought that he had had enough of it. The host threatened another
bottle, and was up to draw the cork--rather to the satisfaction of John
Eames, who liked his uncle's port--but Mr Walker stopped him. 'Not a
drop more for me,' he said. 'You are quite sure?' 'Quite sure.' And Mr
Walker moved towards the door.
'It's a great pity, Mr Walker,' said Toogood, going back to that old
subject, 'that the dean and his wife should be away.'
'I understand that they both will be home before the trial,' said Mr
'Yes--but you know how very important it is to learn beforehand exactly
what your witnesses can prove and what they can't prove. And moreover,
though neither the dean nor his wife might perhaps be able to tell us
anything themselves, they might help to put us on the proper scent. I
think I'll send somebody after them. I think I will.'
'It would be a heavy expense, Mr Toogood.'
'Yes,' said Toogood mournfully, thinking of his twelve children; 'it
would be a heavy expense. But I never like to stick at a thing when it
ought to be done. I think I shall send a fellow after them.'
'I'll go,' said Johnny.
'How can you go?'
'I'll make old Snuffle give me leave.'
'But will that lessen the expense?' said Mr Walker.
'Well, yes, I think it will,' said John, modestly.
'My nephew is a rich man, Mr Walker,' said Mr Toogood.
'That alters the case,' said Mr Walker. And thus, before they left the
dining-room, it was settled that John Eames should be taught his lesson
and should seek both Mrs Arabin and Dr Arabin on their travels.
GRACE CRAWLEY AT HOME
On the morning after his return from London, Mr Crawley showed symptoms
of great fatigue, and his wife implored him to remain in bed. But this
he would not do. He would get up, and go out down to the brickfields. He
has specially bound himself, he said, to see that the duties of the
parish should not suffer by being left in his hands. The bishop had
endeavoured to place them in other hands, but he had persisted in
retaining them. As had done so he could allow no weariness of his own to
interfere--and especially no weariness induced by labours undertaken on
his own behalf. The day in the week had come round on which it was his
wont to visit the brickmakers, and he would visit them. So he dragged
himself out of his bed and went forth amidst the cold storm of a harsh
wet March morning. His wife well knew when she heard his first word on
that morning that one of those terrible moods had come upon him which
made her doubt whether she ought to allow him to go anywhere alone.
Latterly there had been some improvement in his mental health. Since the
day of his encounter with the bishop and Mrs Proudie, though he had been
as stubborn as ever, he had been less apparently unhappy, less depressed
in spirits. And the journey to London had done him good. His wife had
congratulated herself on finding him able to set about his work like
another man, and he himself had experienced a renewal, if not of hope,
at any rate, of courage, which had given him a comfort which he had
recognised. His common-sense had not been very striking in his interview
with Mr Toogood, but yet he had talked more rationally then and had
given a better account of the matter in hand than could have been
expected from him for some weeks previously. But now the labour was
over, a reaction had come upon him, and he went away from his house
having hardly spoken a word to his wife after the speech which he made
about his duty to his parish.
I think that at this time nobody saw clearly the working of his
mind--not even his wife, who studied it very closely, who gave him
credit for all his high qualities, and who had gradually learned to
acknowledge to herself that she must distrust his judgment in many
things. She knew that he was good, and yet weak, that he was afflicted
by false pride and supported by true pride, that his intellect was still
very bright, yet so dismally obscured on many sides as almost to justify
people in saying that he was mad. She knew that he was almost a saint,
and yet almost a castaway through vanity and hatred of those above him.
But she did not know that he knew all this of himself also. She did not
comprehend that he should be hourly telling himself that people were
calling him mad and were so calling him with truth. It did not occur to
her that he could see her insight into him. She doubted as to the way in
which he had got the cheque--never imagining, however, that he had
wilfully stolen it--thinking that his mind had been so much astray as to
admit of his finding it and using it without wilful guilt--thinking
also, alas, that a man who could so act was hardly fit for such duties
as those which were entrusted to him. But she did not dream that this
was precisely his own idea of his own state and of his own position;
--that he was always inquiring of himself whether he was not mad;
whether, if mad, he was not bound to lay down his office; that he was
ever taxing himself with improper hostility to the bishop--never
forgetting for a moment his wrath against the bishop and the bishop's
wife, still comforting himself to go to the palace and there humbly to
relinquish his clerical authority. Such a course of action he was
proposing to himself, but not with any realised idea that he would so
act. He was as a man who walks along a river's bank thinking of suicide,
calculating now best he might kill himself--whether the river does not
offer an opportunity too good to be neglected, telling himself that the
water is pleasant and cool, and that his ears would soon be deaf to the
harsh noises of the world--but yet knowing, or thinking that he knows,
that he never will kill himself. So it was with Mr Crawley. Though his
imagination pictured to himself the whole scene--how he would humble
himself to the ground as he acknowledged his unfitness, how he would
endure the small-voiced triumph of the little bishop, how, from the
abjectness of his own humility, even from the ground on which he would
be crouching, he would rebuke the loud-mouthed triumph of the bishop's
wife; though there was no touch wanting to the picture which he thus
drew--he did not really propose to himself to commit this professional
suicide. His wife, too, had considered whether it might be in truth
becoming that he should give up his clerical duties, at any rate for a
while; but she had never thought that the idea was present to his mind
Mr Toogood had told him that people would say that he was mad; and Mr
Toogood had looked at him, when he declared for the second time that he
had no knowledge whence the cheque had come to him, as though his words
were to be regarded as the words of some sick child; 'Mad!' he said to
himself, as he walked home from the station that night. 'Well; yes; and
what if I am mad? When I think of all that I have endured my wonder is
that I should not have been mad sooner.' And then he prayed--yes,
prayed, that in his madness the Devil might not be too strong for him,
and that he might be preserved from some terrible sin of murder or
violence. What, if the idea should come to him in his madness that it
would be well for him to slay his wife and his children? Only that was
wanting to make him of all men the most unfortunate.
He went down among the brickmakers on the following morning, leaving the
house almost without a morsel of food, and he remained at Hoggle End for
the greater part of the day. There were sick persons there with whom he
prayed, and then he sat talking with rough men while they ate their
dinners, and he read passages from the Bible to women while they washed
their husband's clothes. And for a while he sat with a little girl in
his lap teaching the child her alphabet. If it were possible for him he
would do his duty. He would spare himself in nothing, though he might
suffer even to fainting. And on this occasion he did suffer--almost to
fainting, for as he returned home in the afternoon he was forced to lean
from time to time against the banks on the road-side, while the cold
sweat of weakness trickled down his face, in order that he might recover
strength to go on a few yards. But he would persevere. If God would but
leave to him mind enough for his work, he would go on. No personal
suffering should deter him. He told himself that there had been men in
the world whose sufferings were sharper even than his own. Of what sort
had been the life of the man who had stood for years at the top of a
pillar? But then the man on the pillar had been honoured by all around
him. And thus, though he had thought of the man on the pillar to
encourage himself be remembering how lamentable had been that man's
sufferings, he came to reflect that after all his own sufferings were
perhaps keener than those of the man on the pillar.
When he reached home, he was very ill. There was no doubt about it
then. He staggered to his arm-chair, and stared at his wife first, and
then smiled at her with his ghastly smile. He trembled all over, and
when food was brought to him he could not eat it. Early on the next
morning the doctor was by his bedside, and before that evening came he
was delirious. He had been at intervals in this state for nearly two
days, when Mrs Crawley wrote to Grace, and though she had restrained
herself telling everything, she had written with sufficient strength to
bring Grace at once to her father's bedside.
He was not so ill when Grace arrived home but that he knew her, and he
seemed to received some comfort from her coming. Before she had been in
the house an hour she was reading Greek to him, and there was no
wandering in his mind as to the due emphasis to be given to the plaints
of the injured heroines, or as to the proper meaning of the choruses.
And as he lay with his head half buried in the pillows, he shouted out
long passages, lines from tragic plays by the score, and for a while
seemed to have all the enjoyment of a dear old pleasure placed newly
within his reach. But he tired of this after a while, and then, having
looked round to see that his wife was not in the room, he began to talk
'So you have been to Allington, my dear?'
'Is it a pretty place?'
'Yes, papa;--very pretty.'
'And they were good to you?'
'Yes, papa;--very good.'
'Had they heard anything there about--me; of this trial that is to come
'Yes, papa; they had heard of it.'
'And what did they say? You need not think that you will shock me by
telling me. They cannot say worse there than people have said here or
'They don't think at all badly of you at Allington, papa.'
'But they must think badly of me if the magistrates are right.'
'They suppose that there has been a mistake;--as we all think.'
'They do not try men at the assizes for mistakes.'
'That you have been mistaken, I mean;--and the magistrates mistaken.'
'But cannot have been mistaken, Grace.'
'I don't know how to explain myself, papa; but we all know that it is
very sad, and are quite sure that you have never meant for one moment to
do anything that is wrong.'
'But people when they are--you know what I mean, Grace; when they are
not themselves--do things that are wrong without meaning it.' Then he
paused, while she remained standing by him with her hand on the back of
his. She was looking at his face, which had been turned towards her
while they were reading together, but which now was so far moved that
she knew that his eyes could not be fixed upon hers. 'Of course if the
bishop orders it, it shall be so,' he said. 'It is quite enough for me
that he is a bishop.'
'What has the bishop ordered, papa?'
'Nothing at all. It is she who does it. He has given me no opinion
about it. Of course not. He has none to give. It is the woman. You go
and tell her from me that in such a matter I will not obey the word of
any woman living. Go at once, when I tell you.'
Then she knew that her father's mind was wandering, and she knelt down
by the bedside, still holding his hand.
'Grace,' he said.
'Yes, papa, I am here.'
'Why do you not do what I tell you?' And he sat upright in his bed. 'I
suppose you are afraid of the woman.'
'I should be afraid of her, dear papa.'
'I was not afraid of her. When she spoke to me, I would have nothing to
say to her;--not a word;--not a word.' As he said this, he waved his
hands about. 'But as for him--if it must be, it must. I know I am not
fit for it. Of course I am not. Who is? But what has he ever done that
he should be dean? I beat him at everything; almost at everything. He
got the Newdigate, and that was about all. Upon my word I think that was
'But Dr Arabin loves you truly, dear papa.'
'Love me! psha! Does he ever come here to tea, as he used to do? No!
I remember buttering toast for him down on my knees before the fire,
because he liked it--and keeping all the cream for him. He should have
my heart's blood if he wanted it. But now;--look at his books, Grace.
It's the outside of them he cares for. They are all gilt, but I doubt if
he ever reads. As for her--I will not allow any woman to tell me my
duty. No;--but my Maker; not even your mother, who is the best of
women. And as for her, with her little husband dangling at her apron-
strings, as a call-whistle to be blown into when she pleases--that she
should dare to teach me my duty! No! The men in the jury-box may decide
how they will. If they can believe a plain story, let them! If not--let
them do as they please. I am ready to bear it all.'
'Dear papa, you are tired. Will you not try to sleep?'
'Tell Mrs Proudie what I say; and as for Arabin's money, I took it. I
know I took it. What would you have me do? Shall I--see them--all
starve?' Then he fell back upon his bed and did sleep.
The next day he was better, and insisted upon getting out of bed, and on
sitting in his old arm-chair over the fire. And the Greek books were
again had out; and Grace, not at all unwillingly, was put through her
facings. 'If you don't take care, my dear,' he said, 'Jane will beat you
yet. She understands the force of the verbs better than you do.'
'I am very glad that she is doing so well, papa. I am sure I shall not
begrudge her her superiority.'
'Ah, but you should begrudge it her!' Jane was sitting by at the time,
and the two sisters were holding each other by the hand. 'Always to be
the best;--always to be in advance of others. That should be your
'But we can't both be best, papa,' said Jane.
'You can both strive to be best. But Grace has the better voice. I
remember when I knew the whole of the "Antigone" by heart. You girls
should see which can learn it first.'
'It would take such a long time,' said Jane.
'You are wrong, and what can you do better with your leisure hours? Fie,
Jane! I did not expect it from you. When I was learning it I had eight
or nine pupils, and read an hour a day with each of them. But I think
that nobody works now as they used to work then. Where is your mamma?
Tell her I think I could get out as far as Mrs Cox's, if she would help
me dress.' Soon after this he was in bed again, and his head was
wandering; but still they knew that he was better than he had been.
'You are more of a comfort to your papa than I can be,' said Mrs Crawley
to her eldest daughter that night as they sat together, when everybody
else was in bed.
'Do not say that, mamma. Papa does not think so.'
'I cannot read Greek plays to him as you can do. I can only nurse him
in his illness and endeavour to do my duty. Do you know, Grace, that it
I am beginning to fear that he half doubts me?'
'That he half doubts me, and is half afraid of me. He does not think as
he used to do, that I am altogether, heart and soul, on his side. I can
see it in his eyes as he watches me. He thinks that I am tired of
him--tired of his sufferings, tired of his poverty, tired of the evil
which men say of him. I am not sure but what he thinks that I suspect
'Of what, mamma?'
'Of general unfitness for the work he has to do. The feeling is not
strong as yet, but I fear that he will teach himself to think that he
has an enemy at his hearth--not a friend. It will be the saddest mistake
he ever made.'
'He told me today that you were the best of women. Those were his very
'Were they, my dear? I am glad at least that he should say so to you.
He has been better since you came;--a great deal better. For one day I
was frightened; but I am very sorry now that I sent for you.'
'I am so glad, mamma; so very glad.'
'You were happy there--and comfortable. And if they were glad to have
you, why should I have brought you away?'
'But I was not happy;--even though they were very good to me. How could
I be happy there when I was thinking of you and papa and Jane here at
home? Whatever there is here, I would sooner share it with you than be
anywhere else--while this trouble lasts.'
'My darling!--it is a great comfort to see you again.'
'Only that I knew that one less in the house would be a saving to you I
should not have gone. When there is unhappiness, people should stay
together;--shouldn't they, mamma?' They were sitting quite close to each
other, on an old sofa in a small upstairs room, from which a door opened
into the larger chamber in which Mr Crawley was lying. It had been
arranged between them that on this night Mrs Crawley should remain with
her husband, and that Grace should go to bed. It was now past one
o'clock, but she was still there, clinging to her mother's side, with
her mother's arm drawn round her. 'Mamma,' she said, when they had both
been silent for some ten minutes. 'I have got something to tell you.'
'Yes, mamma; tonight, if you will let me.'
'But you promised that you would go to bed. You were up all last
'I am not sleepy, mamma.'
'Of course you shall tell me what you please, dearest. Is it a secret?
Is it something I am not to repeat?'
'You must say how that ought to be, mamma. I shall not tell it to
'Sit comfortably, mamma;--there; like that, and let me have your hand.
It's a terrible story to have to tell.'
'A terrible story, Grace?'
'I mean that you must not draw away from me. I shall want to feel that
you are quite close to me. Mamma, while I was at Allington, Major
Grantly came there?'
'Did he, my dear?'
'Did he know them before?'
'No, mamma; not at the Small House. But he came there--to see me. He
asked me--to be his wife. Don't move, mamma.'
'My darling child! I won't move, dearest. Well; and what did you say
to him? God bless him, at any rate. May God bless him, because he has
seen with a true eye, and felt with a noble instinct. It is something,
Grace, to have been wooed by such a man at such a time.'
'Mamma, it did make me feel proud; it did.'
'You had known him well before--of course? I knew that you and he were
'Yes, we were friends. I always liked him. I used not to know what to
think about him. Miss Anne Prettyman told me that it would be so; and
once before I had thought so myself.'
'And had you made up your mind what to say to him?'
'Yes, I did then. But I did not say it.'
'Did not say what you had made up your mind to say?'
'That was before all this happened to papa.'
'I understand you, dearest.'
'When Miss Anne Prettyman told me that I should be ready with my answer,
and when I saw that Miss Prettyman herself used to let him come to the
house and seemed to wish that I should see him when he came, and when he
once was--so very gentle and kind, and when he said that he wanted me to
love Edith--Oh, mamma!'
'Yes, darling, I know. Of course you loved him.'
'Yes, mamma. And I do love him. How could one not love him?'
'I love him--for loving you.'
'But, mamma, one is bound not to do a harm to anyone that one loves. So
when he came to Allington I told him that I could not be his wife.'
'Did you, my dear?'
'Yes; I did. Was I not right? Ought I to go to him to bring a disgrace
upon all the family, just because he is so good that he asks me? Shall I
injure him because he wants to do me a service?'
'If he loves you, Grace, the service he will require will be your love
'That is all very well, mamma--in books; but I do not believe it in
reality. Being in love is very nice, and in poetry they make it out to
be everything. But I do not think I should make Major Grantly happy if
when I became his wife his own father and mother would not see him. I
know I should be so wretched, myself, that I could not live.'
'But would it be so?'
'Yes;--I think it would. And the archdeacon is very rich, and can leave
all his money away from Major Grantly if he pleases. Think what I should
feel if I were the cause of Edith losing her fortune!'
'But why do you suppose these terrible things?'
'I have a reason for supposing them. This must be a secret. Miss Anne
Prettyman wrote to me.'
'I wish Miss Anne Prettyman's hand had been in the fire.'
'No, mamma; no, she was right. Would not I have wished, do you think,
to have learned all the truth about the matter before I answered him?
Besides, it made no difference. I could have made no other answer while
papa is under such a terrible ban. It is no time for us to think of
being in love. We have got to love each other. Isn't it so, mamma?' The
mother did not answer in words, but slipping down on her knees before
her child threw her arms found her girl's body in a close embrace. 'Dear
mamma; dearest mamma; this is what I wanted;--that you should love me.'
'Love you, my angel!'
'And trust me;--and that we should understand each other, and stand
close by each other. We can do so much to comfort one another;--but we
cannot comfort other people.'
'He must know that best himself, Grace;--but what did he say more to
'I don't think he said anything more.'
'He just left you then?'
'He said one thing more.'
'And what was that?'
'He said--but he had no right to say it.'
'What was it, dear?'
'That he knew that I loved him, and that therefore--But, mamma, do not
think of that. I will never be his wife--never, in opposition to his
'But he did not take your answer?'
'He must take it, mamma. He shall take it. If he can be stubborn, so
can I. If he knows how to think of me more than himself, I can think of
him and Edith more than of myself. That is not quite all, mamma. Then he
wrote to me. There is his letter.'
Mrs Crawley read the letter. 'I suppose you answered it?'
'Yes, I answered it. It was very bad, my letter. I should think after
all that he will never want to have anything more to say to me. I tried
for two days, but I could not write a nice letter.'
'But what did you say?'
'I don't in the least remember. It does not in the least signify now,
but it was such a bad letter.'
'I daresay it was very nice.'
'It was terribly stiff, and all about a gentleman.'
'All about a gentleman! What do you mean, my dear?'
'Gentleman is such a frightful word to have to use to a gentleman; but I
did not know what else to say. Mamma, if you please, we won't talk about
it;--not about the letter, I mean. As for him, I'll talk about him for
ever if you like it. I don't mean to be a bit broken-hearted.'
'It seems to me that he is a gentleman.'
'Yes, mamma, that he is; and it is that which makes me so proud. When I
think of it, I can hardly hold myself. But now I've told you everything,
and I'll go away, and go to bed.'
MR TOOGOOD TRAVELS PROFESSIONALLY
Mr Toogood paid another visit to Barsetshire, in order that he might get
a little further information which he thought would be necessary before
despatching his nephew upon the traces of Dean Arabin and his wife. He
went down to Barchester after his work was over by an evening train, and
put himself up at 'The Dragon of Wantly', intending to have the whole of
the next day for his work. Mr Walker had asked him to come and take a
return potluck dinner with Mrs Walker at Silverbridge; and this he had
said that he would do. After having 'rummaged about for tidings' in
Barchester, as he called it, he would take the train for Silverbridge,
and would get back to town in time for business on the third day. 'One
day won't be much, you know,' he said to his partner, as he made half an
apology for absenting himself on business which was not to be in any
degree remunerative. 'That sort of thing is very well when one does it
without any expense' said Crump. 'So it is,' said Toogood; 'and the
expense won't make it any worse.' He had made up his mind, and it was
not probable that anything Mr Crump might say would deter him.
He saw John Eames before he started. 'You'll be ready this day week,
will you?' John Eames promised that he would. 'It will cost you some
forty pounds, I should say. By George--if you have to go on to
Jerusalem, it will cost you more.' In answer to this, Johnny pleaded
that it would be as good as any other tour to him. He would see the
world. 'I'll tell you what,' said Toogood; 'I'll pay half. Only you
mustn't tell Crump. And it will be quite as well not to tell Maria.' But
Johnny would hear nothing of this scheme. He would pay the entire cost
of his own journey. He had lots of money, he said, and would like
nothing better. 'Then I'll run down,' said Toogood, 'and rummage up what
tidings I can. As for writing to the dean, what's the good of writing to
a man when you don't know where he is? Business letters always lie at
hotels for two months, and then come back with double postage. From all
I can hear, you'll stumble on her before you find him. If we do nothing
else but bring him back, it will be a great thing to have the support of
such a friend in the court. A Barchester jury won't like to find a man
guilty who is hand-and-glove with the dean.'
Mr Toogood reached the 'Dragon' about eleven o'clock, and allowed the
boots to give him a pair of slippers and a candlestick. But he would not
go to bed just at that moment. He would go into the coffee-room first,
and have a glass of hot brandy-and-water. So the hot brandy-and-water
was brought to him, and a cigar, and as he smoked and drank he conversed
with the waiter. The man was a waiter of the ancient class, a
grey-haired waiter, with seedy clothes, and a dirty towel under his arm;
not a dapper waiter, with black shiny hair, and dressed like a guest for
a dinner-party. There are two distinct classes of waiters, and as far
as I have been able to perceive, the special status of the waiter in
question cannot be decided by observation of the class of waiter to
which he belongs. In such a town as Barchester you may find the old
waiter with the dirty towel in the head inn, or in the second-class inn,
and so you may the dapper waiter. Or you may find both in each and not
know which is senior waiter and which junior waiter. But for service I
always prefer the old waiter with the dirty towel, and I find it more
easy to satisfy him in the matter of sixpence when my relations with the
inn come to an end.
'Have you been here long, John,' said Mr Toogood.
'A goodish many years, sir.'
'So I thought, by the look of you. One can see that you belong in a way
to the place. You do a good deal of business here, I suppose, at this
time of the year?'
'Well, sir, pretty fair. The house ain't what it used to be sir.'
'Times are bad at Barchester--are they?'
'I don't know much about the times. It's the people is worse than the
times, I think. They used to like to have a little bit of dinner now and
again at a hotel;--and a drop of something to drink after it.'
'And don't they like it now?'
'I think they like it well enough, but they don't do it. I suppose it's
their wives as don't let 'em come out and enjoy themselves. There used
to be the Goose and Glee club;--that was once a month. They've gone and
clean done away with themselves--that club has. There's old Bumpter in
the High Street--he's the last of the old Geese. They died off, you see,
and when Mr Biddle died they wouldn't choose another president. A club
for having dinner, sir, ain't nothing without a president.'
'I suppose not.'
'And there's the Freemasons. They must meet, you know, sir, in course,
because of the dooties. But if you'll believe me, sir, they don't so
much as wet their whistles. They don't indeed. It always used to be a
supper, and that was once a month. Now they pays a rent for the use of
the room! Who is to get a living out of that, sir?--not in the way of a
waiter, that is.'
'If that's the way things are going on I suppose the servants leave
their places pretty often?'
'I don't know about that, sir. A man may do a deal worse than "The
Dragon of Wantly". Them as goes away to better themselves, often worses
themselves, as I call it. I've seen a good deal of that.'
'And you stick to the old shop?'
'Yes, sir; I've been here fifteen years, I think it is. There's a many
goes away, as doesn't go out of their heads, you know, sir.'
'They get the sack, you mean?'
'There's words between them and master--or more likely, missus. That's
where it is. Servants is so foolish. I often tell 'em how wrong folks
are to say that soft words butter no parsnips, and hard words break no
'I think you've lost some of the old hands here since this time last
'You knows the house then, sir?'
'Well;--I've been here before.'
'There was four of them sent, I think, it's just about twelve months
'There was a man in the yard I used to know, and last time I was down
here, I found that he was gone.'
'There was one of 'em out of the yard, and two out of the house. Master
and them had got to very high words. There was poor Scuttle, who had
been post-boy at "The Compass" before he came here.'
'He went away to New Zealand, didn't he?'
'B'leve he did, sir; or to some foreign parts. And Anne, as was
under-chambermaid here; she went with him, fool as she was. They got
themselves married and went off, and he was well nigh as old as me. But
seems he'd saved a little money, and that goes a long way with any
'Was he the man who drove Mr Soames that day the cheque was lost?' Mr
Toogood asked this question perhaps a little too abruptly. At any rate
he obtained no answer to it. The waiter said he knew nothing about Mr
Soames, or the cheque, and the lawyer, suspecting that the waiter was
suspecting him, finished his brandy-and-water and went to bed.
Early on the following morning he observed that he was specially
regarded by a shabby-looking man, dressed in black, but in a black suit
that was very old, with a red nose, whom he had seen in the hotel on the
preceding day; and he learned that this man was a cousin of the
landlord--one Dan Stringer--who acted as a clerk in the hotel bar. He
took an opportunity also of saying a word to Mr Stringer the
landlord--whom he found to be a somewhat forlorn and gouty individual,
seated on cushions in a little parlour behind the door. After breakfast
he went out, and having twice walked round the Cathedral close and
inspected the front of the palace and looked up at the windows of the
prebendaries' houses, he knocked at the door of the deanery. The dean
and Mrs Arabin were on the Continent he was told. Then he asked for Mr
Harding, having learned that Mr Harding was Mrs Arabin's father, and
that he lived at the deanery. Mr Harding was at home, but was not very
well, the servant said. Mr Toogood, however, persevered, sending up his
card, and saying that he wished to have a few minutes' conversation with
Mr Harding on very particular business. He wrote a word upon his card
before giving it to the servant--'about Mr Crawley'. In a few minutes he
was shown into the library, and had hardly time, while looking at the
shelves, to remember what Mr Crawley had said of his anger at the
beautiful buildings, before an old man, very thin and very pale,
shuffled into the room. He stooped a good deal, and his black clothes
were very loose about his shrunken limbs. He was not decrepit, nor did
he seem to be one who had advanced to extreme old age; but yet he
shuffled rather than walked, hardly raising his feet from the ground. Mr
Toogood, as he came forward to meet him, thought that he had never seen
a sweeter face. There was very much of melancholy in it, of that soft
sadness of age which seems to acknowledge, and in some sort to regret,
the waning oil of life; but the regret to be read in such faces has in
it nothing of the bitterness of grief; there is no repining that the end
has come, but simply a touch of sorrow that so much that is dear must be
left behind. Mr Harding shook hands with his visitor, and invited him to
sit down, and then seated himself, folding his hands together over his
knees, and he said a few words in a very low voice as to the absence of
his daughter and the dean.
'I hope you will excuse my troubling you,' said Mr Toogood.
'It is no trouble at all--if I could be of any use. I don't know
whether it is proper, but may I ask whether you call as--as--as a
friend of Mr Crawley's?'
'Altogether as a friend, Mr Harding.'
'I'm glad of that; though of course I am well aware that the gentlemen
engaged on the prosecution must do their duty. Still--I don't
know--somehow I would rather not hear of them speak of this poor
gentleman before the trial.'
'You know Mr Crawley then?'
'Very slightly--very slightly indeed. He is a gentleman not much given
to social habits, and has been but seldom here. But he is an old friend
whom my son-in-law loves dearly.'
'I'm glad to hear you say that, Mr Harding. Perhaps before I go any
further, I ought to tell you that Mrs Crawley and I are first-cousins.'
'Oh, indeed. Then you are a friend.'
'I never saw him in my life till a few days ago. He is very queer, you
know--very queer indeed. I'm a lawyer, Mr Harding, practising in
London;--an attorney, that is. At each separate announcement Mr Harding
bowed, and when Toogood named his special branch of his profession Mr
Harding bowed lower than before, as though desirous of showing that he
had great respect for attorneys. 'And of course I'm anxious if only out
of respect for the family, that my wife's cousin should pull through
this little difficulty, if possible.'
'And for the sake of the poor man himself too, and for his wife and
children;--and for the sake of the cloth.'
'Exactly; taking it all together it's such a pity, you know. I think,
Mr Harding, he can hardly have intended to steal the money.'
'I'm sure he did not.'
'It's very hard to be sure of anybody, Mr Harding--very hard.'
'I feel quite sure he did not. He has been a most pious, hardworking
clergyman. I cannot bring myself to think that he is guilty. What does
the Latin proverb say? "No one of a sudden becomes most base".'
'But the temptation, Mr Harding, was very strong. He was awfully
badgered about his debts. That butcher at Silverbridge was playing the
mischief with him.'
'All the butchers in Barsetshire could not make an honest man steal
money, and I think that Mr Crawley is an honest man. You'll excuse me
for being a little hot about one of my own order.'
'Why, he's my cousin--or rather, my wife's. But the fact is, Mr
Harding, we must get hold of the dean as soon as possible; and I'm going
to send an gentleman after him.'
'To send a gentleman after him?' said Mr Harding, almost in dismay.
'Yes, I think that will be best.'
'I'm afraid he'll have to go a long way, Mr Toogood.'
'The dean, I'm told, is in Jerusalem.'
'I'm afraid he is--or on his journey there. He's to be there for the
Easter week, and Sunday week will be Easter Sunday. But why should the
gentleman want to go to Jerusalem after the dean?'
Then Mr Toogood explained as well as he was able that the dean might
have something to say on the subject which would serve Mr Crawley's
defence. 'We shouldn't leave any stone unturned,' said Mr Toogood. 'As
far as I can judge, Crawley still thinks--or half thinks--that he got
the cheque from your son-in-law.' Mr Harding shook his head sorrowfully.
'I'm not saying he did, you know,' continued Mr Toogood. 'I can't see
myself how it is possible;--but still, we ought not to leave any stone
unturned. And Mrs Arabin--can you tell me at all where we shall find
'Has she anything to do with it, Mr Toogood?'
'I can't quite say that she has, but it's just possible. As I said
before, Mr Harding, we mustn't leave a stone unturned. They're not
expected here till the end of April?'
'About the twenty-fifth or twenty-sixth, I think.'
'And the assizes are the twenty-eighth. The judges come into the city
on that day. It will be too late too wait till then. We must have our
defence ready, you know. Can you say where my friend will find Mrs
Mr Harding began nursing his knee, patting and being very tender to it,
as he sat mediating with his head on one side--meditating not so much as
to the nature of his answer as to that of the question. Could it be
necessary that any emissary from a lawyer's office should be sent after
his daughter? He did not like the idea of his Eleanor being disturbed by
questions as to a theft. Though she had been twice married and had a son
who was now nearly a man, still she was his Eleanor. But if it was
necessary on Mr Crawley's behalf, of course it must be done. 'Her last
address was at Paris, sir; but I think she gone on to Florence. She has
friends there, and she purposes to meet the dean at Venice on his
return.' Then Mr Harding turned to the table and wrote on a card his
'I suppose Mrs Arabin must have heard of this affair?' Said Mr Toogood.
'She had not done so when she last wrote. I mentioned it to her the
other day, before I knew that she had left Paris. If my letters and her
sister's letters have been sent on to her, she must know by now.'
Then Mr Toogood got up to take his leave. 'You will excuse me for
troubling you, I hope, Mr Harding.'
'Oh, sir, pray do not mention that. It is no trouble, if one could be
of any service.'
'One can always try to be of service. In these affairs so much is to be
done by rummaging about, as I always call it. There have been many
theatrical managers, you know, Mr Harding, who have usually made up the
pieces according to the dresses they have happened to have in their
'Have there, indeed, now? I never should have thought of that.'
'And we lawyers have to do the same thing.'
'Not with your clothes, Mr Toogood?'
'Not exactly with our clothes;--but with our information.'
'I do not quite understand you, Mr Toogood.'
'In preparing a defence we have to rummage about and get up what we can.
If we can't find anything that suits us exactly, we are obliged to use
what we do find as well as we can. I remember, when I was a young man,
an ostler was to be tried for stealing some oats in the Borough; and he
did steal them too, and sold them at a rag-shop regularly. The evidence
against was as plain as a pikestaff. All I could find out was that on a
certain day a horse had trod on a fellow's foot. So we put it to the
jury whether the man could walk as far as the rag-shop with a bag of
oats when he was dead lame;--and we got him off.'
'Did you, though,' said Mr Harding.
'Yes, we did.'
'And he was guilty?'
'He had been regularly at it for months.'
'Dear, dear, dear! Wouldn't it have been better to have had him
punished for the fault--gently; so as to warn him of the consequences of
'Our business was to get him off--and we got him off. It's my business
to get my cousin's husband off, if I can, and we must do it by hook or
by crook. It's a very difficult piece of work, because he won't let us
employ a barrister. However, I shall have one in the court and say
nothing to him about it at all. Good-bye, Mr Harding. As you say, it
would be thousand pities that a clergyman should be convicted of a
theft;--and one so well connected too.'
Mr Harding, when he was left alone, began to turn the matter over in his
mind and to reflect whether the thousand pities of which Mr Toogood had
spoken appertained to the conviction of the criminal, or the doing of
the crime. 'If he did steal the money I suppose he ought to be punished,
let him be ever so much a clergyman,' said Mr Harding to himself. But
yet--how terrible it would be! Of clergymen convicted of fraud in London
he had often heard; but nothing of the kind had ever disgraced the
diocese to which he belonged since he had known it. He could not teach
himself to hope that Mr Crawley should be acquitted if Mr Crawley were
guilty;--but he could teach himself to believe that Mr Crawley was
innocent. Something of a doubt had crept across his mind as he talked to
the lawyer. Mr Toogood, though Mrs Crawley was his cousin, seemed to
believe that the money had been stolen; and Mr Toogood as a lawyer ought
to understand such matters better than an old secluded clergyman in
Barchester. But, nevertheless, Mr Toogood might be wrong; and Mr Harding
succeeded in satisfying himself at last that he could not be doing harm
in thinking Mr Toogood was wrong. When he had made up his mind on this
matter he sat down and wrote the following letter, which he addressed to
his daughter at the post-office in Florence:-
'DEANERY--, March, 186-
'When I wrote on Tuesday I told you about poor Mr Crawley,
that he was a clergyman in Barsetshire of whose misfortune
you read an account in Galignani's Messenger--and I think
Susan must have written about it also, because everybody
here is talking of nothing else, and because, of course, we
know how strong a regard the dean has for Mr Crawley. But
since that something has occurred which makes me write to
you again--at once. A gentleman has just been here, and has
indeed only this moment left me, who tells me that he is an
attorney in London, and that he is nearly related to Mrs
Crawley. He seems to be a very good-natured man, and I
daresay he understands his business as a lawyer. His name is
Toogood, and he has come down as he says to get evidence to
help the poor gentleman on his trial. I cannot understand
how this should be necessary, because it seems to me that
the evidence should all be wanted on the other side. I
cannot for a moment suppose that a clergyman and a gentleman
such as Mr Crawley should have stolen money, and if he is
innocent I cannot understand why all this trouble should be
necessary to prevent a jury from finding him guilty.
'Mr Toogood came here because he wanted to see the dean--and
you also. He did not explain, as far as I can remember, why
he wanted to see you; but he said it would be necessary, and
that he was going to send off a messenger to find you first,
and the dean afterwards. It has something to do with the
money which was given to Mr Crawley last year, and which, if
I remember right, was your present. But of course Mr Toogood
could not have known anything about that. However, I gave
him the address--poste restante, Florence--and I daresay
that somebody will make you out before long, if you are
still stopping in Florence. I did not like letting him go
without telling you about it, as I thought that a lawyer's
coming to you would startle you.
'The bairns are quite well, as I told you in my other
letter, and Miss Jones says that little Elly is as good as
gold. They are with me every morning and evening, and behave
little darling angels, as they are. Posy is my own little
jewel always. You may be quite sure I do nothing to spoil
them.--God bless you, dearest Nelly, Your most affectionate
After this he wrote another letter to his other daughter, Mrs Grantly,
telling her also of Mr Toogood's visit; and then he spent the remainder
of the day thinking over the gravity of the occurrence. How terrible it
would be if a beneficed clergyman in the diocese should really be found
guilty of theft by a jury from the city! And then he had always heard so
high a character of this man from his son-in-law. No--it was impossible
to believe that Mr Crawley had in truth stolen a cheque for twenty
Mr Toogood could get no further information in Barchester, and went on
to Silverbridge early in the afternoon. He was half disposed to go by
Hogglestock and look up his cousin, whom he had never seen, and his
cousin's husband, upon whose business he was now intent; but on
reflection he feared that he might do more harm than good. He had quite
appreciated the fact that Mr Crawley was not like other men. 'The man's
not above half-saved,' he had said to his wife--meaning thereby to
insinuate that the poor clergyman was not in full possession of his
wits. And, to tell the truth of Mr Toogood, he was a little afraid of
his relative. There was something in Mr Crawley's manner, in spite of
his declared poverty, and in spite also of his extreme humility, which
seemed to announce that he expected to be obeyed when he spoke on any
point with authority. Mr Toogood had not forgotten the tone in which Mr
Crawley had said to him, 'Sir, this is a thing you cannot do.' And he
thought that, upon the whole, he had better not go to Hogglestock on
When at Silverbridge, he began at once to 'rummage about'. His chief
rummaging was to be done at Mr Walker's table; but before dinner he had
time to call upon the magistrate's clerk, and ask a few questions as to
the proceedings at the sitting from which Mr Crawley was committed. He
found a very taciturn old man, who was nearly as difficult to deal with
in any rummaging process as a porcupine. But, nevertheless, at last he
reached a state of conversation which was not absolutely hostile. Mr
Toogood pleaded that he was the poor man's cousin--pleaded that, as the
family lawyer, he was naturally the poor man's protector at such a time
as the present--pleaded also that as the poor man was so very poor, no
one else could come forward on his behalf--and in this way somewhat
softened the hard sharpness of the old porcupine's quills. But after all
this, there was very little to be learned from the old porcupine. 'There
was not a magistrate on the bench,' he said, 'who had any doubt that the
evidence was sufficient to justify them in sending the case to the
assizes. They had all regretted,'--and the porcupine said in his softest
moment--'that the gentleman had come there without a legal adviser.'
'Ah, that's been the mischief of it all!' said Mr Toogood, dashing his
hand against the porcupine's mahogany table. 'But the facts are so
strong, Mr Toogood!' 'Nobody there to soften 'em down, you know,' said
Mr Toogood, shaking his head. Very little more than this was learned
from the porcupine; and then Mr Toogood went away, and prepared for Mr
Mr Walker had invited Dr Tempest and Miss Anne Prettyman and Major
Grantly to meet Mr Toogood, and had explained, in a manner intended to
be half earnest and half jocose, that though Mr Toogood was an attorney,
like himself, and was at this moment engaged in a noble way on behalf of
his cousin's husband, without any idea of receiving back even the money
which he would be out of pocket, still he wasn't quite--not quite, you
know--'not quite so much of a gentleman as I am'--Mr Walker would have
said, had he spoken out freely that which he insinuated. But he
contented himself with the emphasis he put upon the 'not quite', which
expressed his meaning fully. And Mr Walker was correct in his opinion of
Mr Toogood. As regards the two attorneys I will not venture to say that
either of them was not a 'perfect gentleman'. A perfect gentleman is a
thing which I cannot define. But undoubtedly Mr Walker was a bigger man
in his way than was Mr Toogood in his, and did habitually consort in the
county of Barsetshire with men of higher standing than those with whom
Mr Toogood associated in London.
It seemed to be understood that Mr Crawley was to be the general subject
of conversation, and no one attempted to talk about anything else.
Indeed, at this time, very little else was talked about in that part of
the county;--not only because of the interest naturally attaching to the
question of the suspected guilt of a parish clergyman, but because much
had become lately known of Mr Crawley's character, and because it was
known also that an internecine feud had arisen between him and the
bishop. It had undoubtedly become the general opinion that Mr Crawley
had picked up and had used a cheque which was not his own;--that he had,
in fact, stolen it; but there was, in spite of that belief, a general
wish that he might be acquitted and left in his living. And when the
tidings of Mr Crawley's victory over the bishop at the palace had become
bruited about, popular sympathy went with the victor. The theft was, as
it were, condoned, and people made excuses which were not always
rational, but which were founded on the instincts of true humanity. And
now the tidings of another stage in the battle, as fought against Mr
Crawley by the bishop, had gone forth through the county, and men had
heard that the rural dean was to be instructed to make inquiries which
should be preliminary to proceedings against Mr Crawley in an
ecclesiastical court. Dr Tempest, who was now about to meet Mr Toogood
at Mr Walker's, was the rural dean to whom Mr Crawley would have to
submit himself in any such inquiry; but Dr Tempest had not as yet
received from the bishop any official order on the subject.
'We are so delighted to think that you have taken up your cousin's
case,' said Mrs Walker to Mr Toogood in almost a whisper.
'He is not just my cousin, himself,' said Mr Toogood, 'but of course
it's all the same thing. And as to taking up his case, you see, my dear
madam, he won't let me take it up.'
'I thought you had. I thought you were down here about it.'
'Only on the sly, Mrs Walker. He has such queer ideas that he will not
allow a lawyer to be properly employed; and you can't conceive how hard
that makes it. Do you know him, Mrs Walker?'
'We know his daughter Grace.' And then Mrs Walker whispered something
further, which we may presume to have been in intimation that the
gentleman opposite--Major Grantly--was supposed by some people to be
very fond of Miss Grace Crawley.
'Quite a child, isn't she?' said Toogood, whose own daughter, now about
to be married, was three or four years older than Grace.
'She's beyond being a child, I think. Of course she is young.'
'But I suppose this affair will knock all that on the head,' said the
'I do not know how that may be; but they do say he is very much attached
to her. The major is a man of family, and of course it would be very
disagreeable if Mr Crawley were found guilty.'
'Very disagreeable indeed; but, upon my word, Mrs Walker, I don't know
what to say about it.'
'You think it will go against him, Mr Toogood?' Mr Toogood shook his
head, and seeing this, Mrs Walker sighed deeply.
'I can only say that I have nothing from the bishop as yet,' said Dr
Tempest, after the ladies had left the room. 'Of course, if he thinks
well to order it, the inquiry will be made.'
'But how long would it take?' asked Mr Walker.
'Three months, I should think--or perhaps more. Of course Crawley would
do all that he could to delay us, and I am not at all sure that we
should be in any great hurry ourselves.'
'Who are "we", doctor?' said Mr Walker.
'I cannot make such an inquiry by myself, you know. I suppose the
bishop would ask me to select two or three other clergymen to act with
me. That's the usual way of doing it. But you may be quite sure of this,
Walker; the assizes will be over, and the jury have found their verdict
long before we have settled our preliminaries.'
'And what will the be the good of your going on after that?'
'Only this good:--if the unfortunate man be convicted--'
'Which he won't' said Toogood, who thought it expedient to put on a
bolder front in talking of the matter to the rural dean, than he had
assumed in his whispered conversation with Mrs Walker.
'I hope not, with all my heart,' said the doctor. 'But, perhaps, for
the sake of the argument, the supposition may be allowed to pass.'
'Certainly, sir,' said Mr Toogood. 'For the sake of the argument, it
'If he be convicted, then, I suppose, there will be an end of the
question. He would be sentenced for not less, I should say, than twelve
months; and after that--'
'And would be as good a parson of Hogglestock when he came out of prison
as when he went in,' said Mr Walker. 'The conviction and judgment in a
civil court would not touch his temporality.'
'Certainly not,' said Mr Toogood.
'Of course not,' said the doctor. 'We all know that; and in the event
of Mr Crawley coming back to his parish it would be open to the bishop
to raise the question as to his fitness for the duties.'
'Why shouldn't he be as fit as anyone else?' said Mr Toogood.
'Simply because he would have been found guilty to be a thief,' said the
doctor. 'You must excuse me, Mr Toogood, but it's only for the sake of
'I don't see what that has to do with it,' said Mr Toogood. 'He would
have undergone his penalty.'
'It is preferable that a man who preaches from a pulpit should not have
undergone such a penalty,' said the doctor. 'But, in practice, under
such circumstances--which we none of us anticipate, Mr Toogood--the
living should no doubt be vacated. Mr Crawley would probably hardly wish
to come back. The jury will do their work before we can do ours--will do
it on much better base than any we can have; and, when they have done
it, the thing ought to be finished. If the jury acquit him, the bishop
cannot proceed any further. If he be found guilty, I think that the
resignation of the living must follow.'
'It is all spite, then, on the bishop's part?' said the major.
'Not at all,' said the doctor. 'The poor man is weak; that is all. He
is driven to persecute because he cannot escape persecution himself. But
it may really be a question whether his present proceeding is not right.
If I were a bishop I should wait till the trial was over; that is all.'
From this and from much more that was said during the evening on the
same subject, Mr Toogood gradually learned the position which Mr Crawley
and the question of Mr Crawley's guilt really held in the county, and he
returned to town resolved to go on with the case.
'I'll have a barrister down express, and I'll defend him in his own
teeth,' he said to his wife. 'There'll be a scene in court, I daresay,
and the man will call upon his own counsel to hold his tongue and shut
up his brief; and, as far as I can see, counsel in such a case would
have no alternative. But there would come an explanation--how Crawley
was too honourable to employ a man whom he could not pay, and there
would be a romance, and it would all go down with the jury. One wants
sympathy in such a case as that--not evidence.'
'And how much will it cost, Tom?' said Maria, dolefully.
'Only a trifle. We won't think of that yet. There's John Eames is
going all the way to Jerusalem, out of his pocket.'
'But Johnny hasn't got twelve children, Tom.'
'One doesn't have a cousin in trouble every day,' said Toogood. 'And
then you see there's something very pretty in this case. It's quite a
pleasure getting it up.'
MR CROSBIE GOES INTO THE CITY
'I've known the City now for more than ten years, Mr Crosbie, and I
never knew money to be so tight as it is at the moment. The best
commercial bills going can't be done under nine, and any other kind of
paper can't so much as get itself looked at.' Thus spoke Mr Musselboro.
He was seated in Dobbs Broughton's arm-chair in Dobbs Broughton's room
in Hook Court, on the hind legs of which he was balancing himself
comfortably; and he was communicating his experience in City matters to
our old friend Adolphus Crosbie--of whom we may surmise that he would
not have been there, at that moment, in Hook Court, if things had been
going well with him. It was now past eleven o'clock, and he should have
been at his office at the West End. His position in his office was no
doubt high enough to place him beyond the reach of any special inquiry
as to such absences; but it is generally felt that when the Crosbies of
the West End have calls into the City about noon, things in the world
are not going well with them. The man who goes into the City to look for
money is generally one who does not know where to get the money when he
wants it. Mr Musselboro on this occasion kept his hat on his head, and
there was something in the way in which he balanced his chair which was
in itself an offence to Mr Crosbie's personal dignity. It was hardly as
yet two months since Mr Dobbs Broughton had assured him in that very
room that there need not be the slightest anxiety about his bill. Of
course it could be renewed--the commission being duly paid. As Mr Dobbs
Broughton explained on that occasion, that was his business. There was
nothing he liked so much as renewing bills for such customers as Mr
Crosbie; and he was very candid at that meeting, explaining how he did
this branch of his business, raising money on his own credit at four or
five per cent., and lending it on his own judgment at eight or nine. Mr
Crosbie did not feel himself then called upon to exclaim that what he
was called upon to pay was about twelve, perfectly understanding the
comfort and grace of euphony; but he had turned it over in his mind,
considering whether twelve per cent. was not more than ought to be
mulcted for the accommodation he wanted. Now, at the moment, he would
have been glad to get it from Mr Musselboro, without further words, for
Things had much changed with Adolphus Crosbie when he was driven to make
morning visits to such a one as Mr Musselboro with the view of having a
bill renewed for two hundred and fifty pounds. In his early life he had
always had the merit of being a careful man as to money. In some other
respects he had gone astray very foolishly--as has been partly explained
in our earlier chapters; but up to the date of his marriage with Lady
Alexandrina De Courcy he had never had dealings in Hook Court or in any
such locality. Money troubles had then come upon him. Lady Alexandrina,
being the daughter of a countess, had high ideas; and when, very shortly
after his marriage, he had submitted to a separation from his noble
wife, he had found himself and his income to be tied up inextricably in
the hands of Mr Mortimer Gazebee, a lawyer who had married one of his
wife's sisters. It was not that Mr Gazebee was dishonest; nor did
Crosbie suspect him of dishonesty; but the lawyer was so wedded to the
interest of the noble family with which he was connected, that he worked
for them all as an inferior spider might be supposed to work, which,
from the infirmity of its nature, was compelled by instincts to be
catching flies for superior spiders. Mr Mortimer Gazebee had in this way
entangled Mr Crosbie in his web on behalf of those noble spiders, the De
Courcys, and our poor friend, in his endeavour to fight his way through
the web, had fallen into the hands of the Hook Court firm of Mrs Van
Siever, Dobbs Broughton, and Musselboro.
'Mr Broughton told me when I was last here,' said Crosbie, 'that there
would be no difficulty about it.'
'And it was renewed then; wasn't it?'
'Of course it was--for two months. But he was speaking of a
continuation of renewal.'
'I'm afraid we can't do it, Mr Crosbie. I'm afraid we can't, indeed.
Money is so awful tight.'
'Of course I must pay what you choose to charge me.'
'It isn't that, Mr Crosbie. The bill is out for collection, and must be
collected. In times like these we must draw ourselves in a little, you
know. Two hundred and fifty pounds isn't a great deal of money, you will
say; but every little helps, you know; and, besides, of course we go
upon a system. Business is business, and must not be made pleasure of. I
should have a great deal of pleasure in doing this for you, but it can't
be done in the way of business.'
'When will Broughton be here?'
'He may be in at any time--I can't say when. I suppose he's down at the
'I suppose I can see him there?' said Crosbie.
'If you catch him you can see him, of course. But what good will that
do you, Mr Crosbie? I tell you we can't do it for you. If Broughton was
here at this moment, it couldn't make the slightest difference.'
Now Mr Crosbie had an idea that Mr Musselboro, though he sat in Dobbs
Broughton's seat and kept on his hat, and balanced his chair on two
legs, was in truth nothing more than a clerk. He did not quite
understand the manner in which the affairs of the establishment were
worked, though he had been informed that Mrs Van Siever was one of the
partners. That Dobbs Broughton was the managing man, who really did the
business, he was convinced; and he did not therefore like to be answered
peremptorily by such a one as Musselboro. 'I should wish to see Mr
Broughton,' he said.
'You can call again--or you can go down to the court if you like it.
But you may take this as an answer from me that the bill can't be
renewed by us.' At this moment the door of the room was opened and Dobbs
Broughton himself came into it. His face was not at all pleasant, and
anyone might have seen with half an eye that the money-market was a
great deal tighter than he liked it to be. 'Here is Mr Crosbie
here--about his bill,' said Musselboro.
'Mr Crosbie must take up his bill; that's all,' said Dobbs Broughton.
'But it doesn't suit me to take it up,' said Crosbie.
'Then you must take it up without suiting you,' said Dobbs Broughton.
It might have been seen, I said, with half an eye, that Mr Broughton did
not like the state of the money-market; and it might also be seen with
the other half that he had been endeavouring to mitigate the bitterness
of his dislike by alcoholic aid. Musselboro at once perceived that his
patron and partner was half drunk, and Crosbie was aware that he had
been drinking. But, nevertheless, it was necessary that something more
should be said. The bill would be due tomorrow--was payable at Crosbie's
bankers; and, as Mr Crosbie too well knew, there were no funds there for
that purpose. And there were other purposes, very needful, for which Mr
Crosbie's funds were at the present moment unfortunately by no means
sufficient. He stood for a few moments thinking what he would
do;--whether he would leave the drunken man and his office and let the
bill take its chance or whether he would make one more effort for an
arrangement. He did not for a moment believe that Broughton himself was
subject to any pecuniary difficulty. Broughton lived in a big house, as
rich men live, and had a name for commercial success. It never occurred
to Crosbie that it was a matter of great moment to Dobbs Broughton
himself that the bill should be taken up. Crosbie still thought that
Musselboro was his special enemy, and that Broughton had joined
Musselboro in his hostility simply because he was too drunk to know
better. 'You might, at any rate, answer me civilly, Mr Broughton,' he
'I know nothing of civility with things as they are at present,' said
Broughton. 'Civil by----! There's nothing so civil as paying money when
you owe it. Musselboro, reach me down the decanter and some glasses.
Perhaps Mr Crosbie will wet his whistle.'
'He don't want any wine--nor you either,' said Musselboro.
'What's up now?' said Broughton, staggering across the room towards a
cupboard, in which it was his custom to keep a provision of that comfort
which he needed at the present moment. 'I suppose I may stand a glass of
wine to a fellow in my own room, if I like it.'
'I will take no wine, thank you,' said Crosbie.
'Then you can to do the other thing. When I ask a gentleman to take a
glass of wine, there is no compulsion. But about the bill there is
compulsion. Do you understand that? You may drink, or let it alone; but
pay you must. Why, Mussy, what d'ye think?--there's Carter, Ricketts
and Carter;--I'm blessed if Carter just now didn't beg for two months,
as though two months would be all the world to him, and that for a
trumpery five hundred pounds. I never saw money like it is now; never.'
To this appeal, Musselboro made no reply, not caring, perhaps, at the
present moment to sustain his partner. He still balanced himself in his
chair, and still kept his hat on his head. Even Mr Crosbie began to
perceive that Mr Musselboro's genius was in the ascendant in Hook Court.
'I can hardly believe,' said Crosbie, 'that things can be so bad that I
cannot have a bill for two hundred and fifty pounds renewed when I am
willing to pay for the accommodation. I have not done much in the way of
bills, but I never had one dishonoured yet.'
'Don't let this be the first,' said Dobbs Broughton.
'Not if I can prevent it,' said Crosbie. 'But to tell you the truth, Mr
Broughton, my bill will be dishonoured unless I can have it renewed. If
it does not suit you to do it, I suppose you can recommend me to someone
who can make it convenient.'
'Why don't you go to your bankers?' said Musselboro.
'I never did ask my bankers for anything of the kind.'
'Then you should try what your credit with them is worth,' said
Broughton. 'It isn't worth much here, as you can perceive, Mr Crosbie.'
Crosbie, when he heard this, became very angry; and Musselboro,
perceiving this, got out of his chair, so that he might be in readiness
to prevent any violence, if violence were attempted. 'It really is no
good your staying here,' he said. 'You see that Broughton has been
drinking. There is no knowing what he may say or do.'
'You be blowed,' said Broughton, who had taken the arm-chair as soon as
Musselboro had left it.
'But you may believe me in the way of business,' continued Musselboro,
'when I tell you that it really does not suit us to renew the bill.
We're pressed ourselves, and we must press others.'
'And who will do it for me?' said Crosbie, almost in despair.
'There are Burton and Bangles there, the wine-merchants down in the
yard; perhaps they may accommodate you. It's all in their line; but I'm
told they charge uncommon dear.'
'I don't know Messrs Burton and Bangles,' said Crosbie.
'That needn't stand in your way. You tell them where you come from, and
they'll make inquiry. If they think it's about right, they'll give you
the money; and if they don't, they won't.'
Mr Crosbie then left the office without exchanging another word with
Dobbs Broughton, and went down into Hook Court. As he descended the
stairs he turned over in his mind the propriety of going to Messrs
Burton and Bangles with the view of relieving himself from his present
difficulty. He knew that it was ruinous. Dealing even with such men as
Dobbs Broughton and Musselboro, whom he presumed to milder in their
greed than Burton and Bangles, were, all of them, steps on the road to
ruin. But what was he to do? If his bill were dishonoured, the fact
would certainly become known at his office, and he might even ultimately
be arrested. In the doorway at the bottom of the stairs he stood for
some moments, looking over at Burton and Bangles', and he did not at all
like the aspect of the establishment. Inside the office he could see a
man standing with a cigar in his mouth, very resplendent in his new
hat--with a hat remarkable for the bold upward curve of its rim, and
this man was copiously decorated with a chain and seals hanging about
widely over his waistcoat. He was leaning with his back against the
counter and was talking to someone on the other side of it. There was
something in the man's look and manner which was utterly repulsive to
Crosbie. He was more vulgar to the eye even than Musselboro, and his
voice, which Crosbie could hear as he stood in the other doorway, was
almost as detestable as that of Dobbs Broughton in his drunkenness.