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The Last Chronicle of Barset
by Anthony Trollope
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"I don't think they'll mind about my being shabby at Allington. They live very quietly there."

"But you say that Miss Dale is so very nice in all her ways."

"Lily is very nice, mamma; but I shan't mind her so much as her mother, because she knows it all. I have told her everything."

"But you have given me all your money, dearest."

"Miss Prettyman told me I was to come to her," said Grace, who had already taken some from the schoolmistress, which at once had gone into her mother's pocket, and into household purposes. "She said I should be sure to go to Allington, and that of course I should go to her, as I must pass through Silverbridge."

"I hope papa will not ask about it," said Mrs Crawley. Luckily papa did not ask about it, being at the moment occupied much with other thoughts and other troubles, and Grace was allowed to return by Silverbridge, and to take what was needed from Miss Prettyman. Who can tell of the mending and patching, of the weary wearing midnight hours of needlework which were accomplished before the poor girl went, so that she might not reach her friend's house in actual rags? And when the work was ended, what was there to show for it? I do not think that the idea of the bare bodkin, as regarded herself, ever flitted across Miss Crawley's brain,—she being one of those who are very strong to endure; but it must have occurred to her very often that the repose of the grave is sweet, and that there cometh after death a levelling and making even of things, which would at last cure all her evils.

Grace no doubt looked forward to a levelling and making even of things,—or perhaps even to something more prosperous than that, which should come to her relief on this side of the grave. She could not but have high hopes in regard to her future destiny. Although, as has been said, she understood no more than she ought to have understood from Miss Prettyman's account of the conversation with Major Grantly, still, innocent as she was, she had understood much. She knew that the man loved her, and she knew also that she loved the man. She thoroughly comprehended that the present could be to her no time for listening to speeches of love, or for giving kind answers; but still I think that she did look for relief on this side of the grave.

"Tut, tut," said Miss Prettyman, as Grace in vain tried to conceal her tears up in the private sanctum. "You ought to know me by this time, and to have learned that I can understand things." The tears had flown in return not only for the five gold sovereigns which Miss Prettyman had pressed into her hand, but on account of the prettiest, soft, grey merino frock that ever charmed a girl's eye. "I should like to know how many girls I have given dresses to, when they have been going out visiting. Law, my dear; they take them, many of them, from us old maids, almost as if we were only paying our debts in giving them." And then Miss Anne gave her a cloth cloak, very warm, with pretty buttons and gimp trimmings,—just such a cloak as any girl might like to wear who thought that she would be seen out walking by her Major Grantly on a Christmas morning. Grace Crawley did not expect to be seen out walking by her Major Grantly, but nevertheless she liked the cloak. By the power of her practical will, and by her true sympathy, the elder Miss Prettyman had for a while conquered the annoyance which, on Grace's part, was attached to the receiving of gifts, by the consciousness of her poverty; and when Miss Anne, with some pride in the tone of her voice, expressed a hope that Grace would think the cloak pretty, Grace put her arms pleasantly round her friend's neck, and declared that it was very pretty,—the prettiest cloak in all the world!

Grace was met at the Guestwick railway-station by her friend Lilian Dale, and was driven over to Allington in a pony carriage belonging to Lilian's uncle, the squire of the parish. I think she will be excused in having put on her new cloak, not so much because of the cold as with a view of making the best of herself before Mrs Dale. And yet she knew Mrs Dale would know all the circumstances of her poverty, and was very glad that it should be so. "I am so glad that you have come, dear," said Lily. "It will be such a comfort."

"I am sure you are very good," said Grace.

"And mamma is so glad. From the moment that we both talked ourselves into eagerness about it,—while I was writing my letter, you know, we resolved that it must be so."

"I'm afraid I shall be a great trouble to Mrs Dale."

"A trouble to mamma! Indeed you will not. You shall be a trouble to no one but me. I will have all the trouble myself, and the labour I delight in shall physic my pain."

Grace Crawley could not during the journey be at home and at ease even with her friend Lily. She was going to a strange house under strange circumstances. Her father had not indeed been tried and found guilty of theft, but the charge of theft had been made against him, and the magistrates before whom it had been made had thought that the charge was true. Grace knew that all the local newspapers had told the story, and was of course aware that Mrs Dale would have heard it. Her own mind was full of it, and though she dreaded to speak of it, yet she could not be silent. Miss Dale, who understood much of this, endeavoured to talk her friend into easiness; but she feared to begin upon the one subject, and before the drive was over they were, both of them, too cold for much conversation. "There's mamma," said Miss Dale as they drove up, turning out of the street of the village to the door of Mrs Dale's house. "She always knows, by instinct, when I am coming. You must understand now that you are among us, that mamma and I are not mother and daughter, but two loving old ladies living together in peace and harmony. We do have our quarrels,—whether the chicken shall be roast or boiled, but never anything beyond that. Mamma, here is Grace, starved to death; and she says if you don't give her some tea she will go back at once."

"I will give her some tea," said Mrs Dale.

"And I am worse than she is, because I've been driving. It's all up with Bernard and Mr Green for the next week at least. It is freezing as hard as it can freeze, and they might as well try to hunt in Lapland as here."

"They'll console themselves with skating," said Mrs Dale.

"Have you ever observed, Grace," said Miss Dale, "how much amusement gentlemen require, and how imperative it is that some other game should be provided when one game fails?"

"Not particularly," said Grace.

"Oh, but it is so. Now, with women, it is supposed that they can amuse themselves or live without amusement. Once or twice in a year, perhaps something is done for them. There is an arrow-shooting party, or a ball, or a picnic. But the catering for men's sport is never ending, and is always paramount to everything else. And yet the pet game of the day never goes off properly. In partridge time, the partridges are wild, and won't come to be killed. In hunting time the foxes won't run straight,—the wretches. They show no spirit, and will take to ground to save their brushes. Then comes a nipping frost, and skating is proclaimed; but the ice is always rough, and the woodcocks have deserted the country. And as for salmon,—when the summer comes round I do really believe that they suffer a great deal about the salmon. I'm sure they never catch any. So they go back to their clubs and their cards, and their billiards, and abuse their cooks and blackball their friends. That's about it, mamma; is it not?"

"You know more about it than I do, my dear."

"Because I have to listen to Bernard, as you never will do. We've got such a Mr Green down here, Grace. He's such a duck of a man,—such top-boots and all the rest of it. And yet they whisper to me that he doesn't ride always to hounds. And to see him play billiards is beautiful, only he can never make a stroke. I hope you play billiards, Grace, because uncle Christopher has just had a new table put up."

"I never saw a billiard-table yet," said Grace.

"Then Mr Green shall teach you. He'll do anything that you ask him. If you don't approve the colour of the ball, he'll go to London to get you another one. Only you must be very careful about saying that you like anything before him, as he'll be sure to have it for you the next day. Mamma happened to say that she wanted a fourpenny postage stamp, and he walked off to Guestwick to get it for her instantly, although it was lunchtime."

"He did nothing of the kind, Lily," said her mother. "He was going to Guestwick, and was very good-natured, and brought me back a postage-stamp that I wanted."

"Of course he's good-natured, I know that. And there's my cousin Bernard. He's Captain Dale, you know. But he prefers to be called Mr Dale, because he has left the army, and has set up as junior squire of the parish. Uncle Christopher is the real squire; only Bernard does all the work. And now you know all about us. I'm afraid you'll find us dull enough,—unless you can take a fancy to Mr Green."

"Does Mr Green live here?"

"No; he does not live here. I never heard of his living anywhere. He was something once, but I don't know what; and I don't think he's anything now in particular. But he's Bernard's friend, and like most men, as one sees them, he never has much to do. Does Major Grantly ever go forth to fight his country's battles?" This last question she asked in a low whisper, so that the words did not reach her mother. Grace blushed up to her eyes, however, as she answered,—

"I think that Major Grantly has left the army."

"We shall get her round in a day or two, mamma," said Lily Dale to her mother that night. "I'm sure it will be the best thing to force her to talk of her troubles."

"I would not use too much force, my dear."

"Things are better when they're talked about. I'm sure they are. And it will be good to make her accustomed to speak of Major Grantly. From what Mary Walker tells me, he certainly means it. And if so, she should be ready for it when it comes."

"Do not make her ready for what may never come."

"No, mamma; but she is at present such a child that she knows nothing of her own powers. She should be made to understand that it is possible that even a Major Grantly may think himself fortunate in being allowed to love her."

"I should leave all that to Nature, if I were you," said Mrs Dale.



CHAPTER X

Dinner at Framley Court

Lord Lufton, as he drove home to Framley after the meeting of the magistrates at Silverbridge, discussed the matter with his brother-in-law, Mark Robarts, the clergyman. Lord Lufton was driving a dog-cart, and went along the road at the rate of twelve miles an hour. "I'll tell you what it is, Mark," he said, "that man is innocent; but if he won't employ lawyers at his trial, the jury will find him guilty."

"I don't know what to think about it," said the clergyman.

"Were you in the room when he protested so vehemently that he did not know where he got the money?"

"I was in the room all the time."

"And did you not believe him when he said that?"

"Yes, I think I did."

"Anybody must have believed him,—except old Tempest, who never believes anybody, and Fothergill, who always suspects everybody. The truth is, that he found the cheque and put it by, and did not remember anything about it."

"But, Lufton, surely that would amount to stealing it."

"Yes, if it wasn't that he is such a poor, cracked, crazy creature, with his mind all abroad. I think Soames did drop his book in his house. I'm sure Soames would not say so unless he was quite confident. Somebody has picked it up, and in some way the cheque has got into Crawley's hand. Then he has locked it up and forgotten all about it; and when that butcher threatened him, he has put his hand upon it, and he thought, or believed, that it had come from Soames or the dean or from heaven, if you will. When a man is so crazy as that, you can't judge of him as you do of others."

"But a jury must judge of him as it would of others."

"And therefore there should be a lawyer to tell the jury what to do. They should have somebody up out of the parish to show that he is beside himself half his time. His wife would be the best person, only it would be hard lines on her."

"Very hard. And after all he would only escape by being shown to be mad."

"And he is mad."

"Mrs Proudie would come upon him in such a case as that, and sequester his living."

"And what will Mrs Proudie do when he's a convicted thief? Simply unfrock him, and take away his living altogether. Nothing on earth should induce me to find him guilty if I were on a jury."

"But you have committed him."

"Yes,—I've been one, at least, in doing so. I simply did that which Walker told us we must do. A magistrate is not left to himself as a juryman is. I'd eat the biggest pair of boots in Barchester before I found him guilty. I say, Mark, you must talk it over with the women, and see what can be done for them. Lucy tells me that they're so poor, that if they have bread to eat, it's as much as they have."

On this evening Archdeacon Grantly and his wife dined and slept at Framley Court, there having been a very long family friendship between old Lady Lufton and the Grantlys, and Dr Thorne with his wife, from Chaldicotes, also dined at Framley. There was also there another clergyman from Barchester, Mr Champion, one of the prebends of the cathedral. There were only three now who had houses in the city since the retrenchments of the ecclesiastical commission had come into full force. And this Mr Champion was dear to the Dowager Lady Lufton, because he carried on worthily the clerical war against the bishop which had raged in Barchester ever since Dr Proudie had come there,—which war old Lady Lufton, good and pious and charitable as she was, considered that she was bound to keep up, even to the knife, till Dr Proudie and all his satellites should have been banished into outer darkness. As the light of the Proudies still shone brightly, it was probable that poor old Lady Lufton might die before her battle was accomplished. She often said that it would be so, but when so saying, always expressed a wish that the fight might be carried on after her death. "I shall never, never rest in my grave," she had once said to the archdeacon, "while that woman sits in your father's palace." For the archdeacon's father had been Bishop of Barchester before Dr Proudie. What mode of getting rid of the bishop or his wife Lady Lufton proposed to herself, I am unable to say; but I think she lived in hopes that in some way it might be done. If only the bishop could have been found to have stolen a cheque for twenty pounds instead of poor Mr Crawley, Lady Lufton would, I think, have been satisfied.

In the course of these battles Framley Court would sometimes assume a clerical aspect,—having a prevailing hue, as it were, of black coats, which was not altogether to the taste of Lord Lufton, and as to which he would make complaint to his wife, and to Mark Robarts, himself a clergyman. "There's more of this than I can stand," he'd say to the latter. "There's a deuced deal more of it than you like yourself, I know."

"It's not for me to like or dislike. It's a great thing having your mother in the parish."

"That's all very well; and of course she'll do as she likes. She may ask whom she pleases here, and I shan't interfere. It's the same as though it was her own house. But I shall take Lucy to Lufton." Now Lord Lufton had been building his house at Lufton for the last seven years and it was not yet finished,—or nearly finished, if all that his wife had said were true. And if they could have their way, it never would be finished. And so, in order that Lord Lufton might not actually be driven away by the turmoils of ecclesiastical contest, the younger Lady Lufton would endeavour to moderate both the wrath and the zeal of the elder one, and would struggle against the coming clergymen. On this day, however, three sat at the board at Framley, and Lady Lufton, in her justification to her son, swore that the invitation had been given by her daughter-in-law. "You know, my dear," the dowager said to Lord Lufton, "something must be done for these poor Crawleys; and as the dean is away, Lucy wants to speak to the archdeacon about them."

"And the archdeacon could not subscribe his ten-pound note without having Mr Champion to back him?"

"My dear Ludovic, you do put it in such a way."

"Never mind, mother. I've no special dislike to Champion, only as you are not paid five thousand pound a year for your trouble, it is rather hard that you should have to do all the work of opposition bishop in the diocese."

It was felt by them all,—including Lord Lufton himself, who became so interested in the matter as to forgive the black coats before the evening was over,—that this matter of Mr Crawley's committal was very serious, and demanded the full energies of their party. It was known to them all that the feeling at the palace was inimical to Mr Crawley. "That she-Beelzebub hates him for his poverty, and because Arabin brought him into the diocese," said the archdeacon, permitting himself to use very strong language in his allusion to the bishop's wife. It must be recorded on his behalf that he used the phrase in the presence only of the gentlemen of the party. I think he might have whispered the word in the ear of his confidential friend old Lady Lufton, and perhaps have given no offence; but he would not have ventured to use such words aloud in the presence of ladies.

"You forget, archdeacon," said Dr Thorne, laughing, "that the she-Beelzebub is my wife's particular friend."

"Not a bit of it," said the archdeacon. "Your wife knows better than that. You tell her what I call her, and if she complains of the name I'll unsay it." It may therefore be supposed that Dr Thorne, and Mrs Thorne, and the archdeacon, knew each other intimately, and understood each other's feelings on these matters.

It was quite true that the palace party was inimical to Mr Crawley. Mr Crawley undoubtedly was poor, and had not been so submissive to episcopal authority as it behoves any clergyman to be whose loaves and fishes are scanty. He had raised his back more than once against orders emanating from the palace in a manner that had made the hairs on the head of the bishop's wife to stand almost on end, and had taken as much upon himself as though his living had been worth twelve hundred a year. Mrs Proudie, almost as energetic in her language as the archdeacon, had called him a beggarly perpetual curate. "We must have perpetual curates, my dear," the bishop had said. "They should know their places then. But what can you expect of a creature from the deanery? All that ought to be altered. The dean should have no patronage in the diocese. No dean should have any patronage. It is an abuse from the beginning to the end. Dean Arabin, if he had any conscience, would be doing the duty at Hogglestock himself." How the bishop strove to teach his wife, with mildest words, what really ought to be a dean's duty, and how the wife rejoined by teaching her husband, not in the mildest words, what ought to be a bishop's duty, we will not further inquire here. The fact that such dialogues took place at the palace is recorded simply to show that the palatial feeling in Barchester ran counter to Mr Crawley.

And this was cause enough, if no other cause existed, for partiality to Mr Crawley at Framley Court. But, as has been partly explained, there existed, if possible, even stronger ground than this for adherence to the Crawley cause. The younger Lady Lufton had known the Crawleys intimately, and the elder Lady Lufton had reckoned them among the neighbouring clerical families of her acquaintance. Both these ladies were therefore staunch in their defence of Mr Crawley. The archdeacon himself had his own reasons,—reasons which for the present he kept altogether within his own bosom,—for wishing that Mr Crawley had never entered the diocese. Whether the perpetual curate should or should not be declared to be a thief, it would terrible to him to have to call the child of that perpetual curate his daughter-in-law. But not the less on this occasion was he true to his order, true to his side in the diocese, true to his hatred of the palace.

"I don't believe it for a moment," he said, as he took his place on the rug before the fire in the drawing-room when the gentlemen came in from their wine. The ladies understood at once what it was that he couldn't believe. Mr Crawley had for the moment so usurped the county that nobody thought of talking of anything else.

"How is it then," said Mrs Thorne, "that Lord Lufton, and my husband, and the other wiseacres at Silverbridge, have committed him for trial?"

"Because we were told to do so by the lawyer," said Dr Thorne.

"Ladies will never understand that magistrates must act in accordance with the law," said Lord Lufton.

"But you all say he's not guilty," said Mrs Robarts.

"The fact is, that the magistrate cannot try the question," said the archdeacon; "they only hear primary evidence. In this case I don't believe Crawley would ever have been committed if he had employed an attorney, instead of speaking for himself."

"Why didn't somebody make him have an attorney?" said Lady Lufton.

"I don't think any attorney in the world could have spoken for him better than he spoke for himself," said Dr Thorne.

"And yet you committed him," said his wife. "What can we do for him? Can't we pay the bail, and send him off to America?"

"A jury will never find him guilty," said Lord Lufton.

"And what is the truth of it?" asked the younger Lady Lufton.

Then the whole matter was discussed again, and it was settled among them all that Mr Crawley had undoubtedly appropriated the cheque through temporary obliquity of judgment,—obliquity of judgment and forgetfulness as to the source from whence the cheque had come to him. "He has picked it up about the house, and then has thought that it was his own," said Lord Lufton. Had they come to the conclusion that such an appropriation of money had been made by one of the clergy of the palace, by one of the Proudieian party, they would doubtless have been very loud and very bitter as to the iniquity of the offender. They would have said much as to the weakness of the bishop and the wickedness of the bishop's wife, and would have declared the appropriator to have been as very a thief as ever picked a pocket or opened a till;—but they were unanimous in their acquittal of Mr Crawley. It had not been his intention, they said, to be a thief, and a man should be judged only by his intention. It must now be their object to induce a Barchester jury to look at the matter in the same light.

"When they come to understand how the land lies," said the archdeacon, "they will be all right. There's not a tradesman in the city who does not hate that woman as though she were—"

"Archdeacon," said his wife, cautioning him to repress his energy.

"Their bills are all paid by this new chaplain they've got, and he is made to claim discount on every leg of mutton," said the archdeacon. Arguing from which fact,—or from which assertion, he came to the conclusion that no Barchester jury would find Mr Crawley guilty.

But it was agreed on all sides that it would not be well to trust to the unassisted friendship of the Barchester tradesmen. Mr Crawley must be provided with legal assistance, and this must be furnished to him whether he should be willing or unwilling to receive it. That there would be a difficulty was acknowledged. Mr Crawley was known to be a man not easy of persuasion, with a will of his own, with a great energy of obstinacy on points which he chose to take up as being of importance to his calling, or to his own professional status. He had pleaded his own cause before the magistrates, and it might be that he would insist on doing the same thing before the judge. At last Mr Robarts, the clergyman of Framley, was deputed from the knot of Crawleian advocates assembled in Lady Lufton's drawing-room, to undertake the duty of seeing Mr Crawley, and of explaining to him that his proper defence was regarded as a matter appertaining to the clergy and gentry generally of that part of the country, and that for the sake of the clergy and gentry the defence must of course be properly conducted. In such circumstances the expense of the defence would of course be borne by the clergy and gentry concerned. It was thought that Mr Robarts could put the matter to Mr Crawley with such a mixture of the strength of manly friendship and the softness of clerical persuasion, as to overcome the recognised difficulties of the task.



CHAPTER XI

The Bishop Sends His Inhibition

Tidings of Mr Crawley's fate reached the palace at Barchester on the afternoon of the day on which the magistrates had committed him. All such tidings travel very quickly, conveyed by imperceptible wires, and distributed by indefatigable message boys whom Rumour seems to supply for the purpose. Barchester is twenty miles from Silverbridge by road, and more than forty by railway. I doubt whether any one was commissioned to send the news along the actual telegraph, and yet Mrs Proudie knew it before four o'clock. But she did not know it quite accurately. "Bishop," she said, standing at her husband's study door. "They have committed that man to gaol. There was no help for them unless they had forsworn themselves."

"Not forsworn themselves, my dear," said the bishop, striving, as was usual with him, by some meek and ineffectual word to teach his wife that she was occasionally led by her energy into error. He never persisted in the lessons when he found, as was usual, that they were taken amiss.

"I say forsworn themselves!" said Mrs Proudie; "and now what do you mean to do? This is Thursday, and of course the man must not be allowed to desecrate the church of Hogglestock by performing the Sunday services."

"If he has been committed, my dear, and is in prison—"

"I said nothing about prison, bishop."

"Gaol, my dear."

"I say they have committed him to gaol. So my informant tells me. But of course all the Plumstead and Framley set will move heaven and earth to get him out, so that he may be there as a disgrace to the diocese. I wonder how the dean will feel when he hears of it! I do indeed. For the dean, though he is an idle, useless man, with no church principles, and no real piety, still he has a conscience. I think he has a conscience."

"I'm sure he has, my dear."

"Well;—let us hope so. And if he has a conscience, what must be his feelings when he hears that this creature whom he has brought into the diocese has been committed to gaol along with common felons."

"Not with felons, my dear; at least, I should think not."

"I say with common felons! A downright robbery of twenty pounds, just as though he had broken into the bank! And so he did, with sly artifice, which is worse in such hands than a crowbar. And now what are we to do? Here is Thursday, and something must be done before Sunday for the souls of those poor benighted creatures at Hogglestock." Mrs Proudie was ready for the battle, and was even now sniffing the blood afar-off. "I believe it's a hundred and thirty pounds a year," she said, before the bishop had collected his thoughts sufficiently for a reply.

"I think we must find out, first of all, whether he is really to be shut up in prison," said the bishop.

"And suppose he is not to be shut up. Suppose they have been weak, or untrue to their duty—and from what we know of the magistrates of Barsetshire, there is too much reason to suppose that they will have been so; suppose they have let him out, is he to go about like a roaring lion—among the souls of the people?"

The bishop shook in his shoes. When Mrs Proudie began to talk of the souls of the people he always shook in his shoes. She had an eloquent way of raising her voice over the word souls that was qualified to make any ordinary man shake in his shoes. The bishop was a conscientious man, and well knew that poor Mr Crawley, even though he might have become a thief under terrible temptation, would not roar at Hogglestock to the injury of any man's soul. He was aware that this poor clergyman had done his duty laboriously and efficiently, and he was also aware that though he might have been committed by the magistrates, and then let out upon bail, he should not be regarded now, in these days before his trial, as a convicted thief. But to explain all this to Mrs Proudie was beyond his power. He knew well that she would not hear a word in mitigation of Mr Crawley's presumed offence. Mr Crawley belonged to the other party, and Mrs Proudie was a thorough-going partisan. I know a man,—an excellent fellow, who, being himself a strong politician, constantly expresses a belief that all politicians opposed to him are thieves, child-murderers, parricides, lovers of incest, demons upon earth. He is a strong partisan, but not, I think, so strong as Mrs Proudie. He says that he believes all evil of his opponents; but she really believed the evil. The archdeacon had called Mrs Proudie a she-Beelzebub; but that was a simple ebullition of mortal hatred. He believed her to be simply a vulgar, interfering, brazen-faced virago. Mrs Proudie in truth believed that the archdeacon was an actual emanation from Satan, sent to these parts to devour souls,—as she would call it,—and that she herself was an emanation of another sort, sent from another source expressly to Barchester, to prevent such devouring, as far as it might possibly be prevented by a mortal agency. The bishop knew it all,—understood it all. He regarded the archdeacon as a clergyman belonging to a party opposed to his party, and he disliked the man. He knew that from his first coming into the diocese he had been encountered with enmity by the archdeacon and the archdeacon's friends. If left to himself he could feel and to a certain extent could resent such enmity. But he had no faith in his wife's doctrine of emanations. He had no faith in many things which she believed religiously;—and yet what could he do? If he attempted to explain, she would stop him before he had got through the first half of his first sentence.

"If he is out on bail—," commenced the bishop.

"Of course he will be out on bail."

"Then I think he should feel—"

"Feel! such men never feel! What feeling can one expect from a convicted thief?"

"Not convicted yet, my dear," said the bishop.

"A convicted thief," repeated Mrs Proudie; and she vociferated the words in such a tone that the bishop resolved that he would for the future let the word convicted pass without notice. After all she was only using the phrase in a peculiar sense given to it by herself.

"It won't be proper, certainly, that he should do the services," suggested the bishop.

"Proper! It would be a scandal to the whole diocese. How could he raise his head as he pronounced the eighth commandment? That must be at least prevented."

The bishop, who was seated, fretted himself in his chair, moving about with little movements. He knew that there was a misery coming upon him; and, as far as he could see, it might become a great misery,—a huge blistering sore upon him. When miseries came to him, as they did not unfrequently, he would unconsciously endeavour to fathom them and weigh them, and then, with some gallantry, resolve to bear them, if he could find that their depth and weight were not too great for his powers of endurance. He would let the cold wind whistle by him, putting up the collar of his coat, and would encounter the winter weather without complaint. And he would be patient under the sun, knowing well that tranquillity is best for those who have to bear tropical heat. But when the storm threatened to knock him off his legs, when the earth beneath him became too hot for his poor tender feet,—what could he do then? There had been with him such periods of misery, during which he had wailed inwardly and had confessed to himself that the wife of his bosom was too much for him. Now the storm seemed to be coming very roughly. It would be demanded of him that he should exercise certain episcopal authority which he knew did not belong to him. Now, episcopal authority admits of being stretched or contracted according to the character of the bishop who uses it. It is not always easy for a bishop himself to know what he may do, and what he may not do. He may certainly give advice to any clergyman in his diocese, and he may give it in such form that it will have in it something of authority. Such advice coming from a dominant bishop to a clergyman with a submissive mind, has in it very much of authority. But Bishop Proudie knew that Mr Crawley was not a clergyman with a submissive mind, and he feared that he himself, as regarded from Mr Crawley's point of view, was not a dominant bishop. And yet he could only act by advice. "I will write to him," said the bishop, "and will explain to him that as he is circumstanced he should not appear in the reading-desk."

"Of course he must not appear in the reading-desk. That scandal must at any rate be inhibited." Now the bishop did not at all like the use of the word inhibited, understanding well that Mrs Proudie intended it to be understood as implying some episcopal command against which there should be no appeal;—but he let it pass.

"I will write to him, my dear, to-night."

"And Mr Thumble can go over with the letter the first thing in the morning."

"Will not the post be better?"

"No, bishop; certainly not."

"He would get it sooner, if I write to-night, my dear."

"In either case he will get it to-morrow morning. An hour or two will not signify, and if Mr Thumble takes it himself we shall know how it is received. It will be well that Thumble should be there in person as he will want to look for lodgings in the parish."

"But, my dear—"

"Well, bishop?"

"About lodgings? I hardly think that Mr Thumble, if we decide that Mr Thumble shall undertake the duty—"

"We have decided that Mr Thumble should undertake the duty. That is decided."

"But I do not think he should trouble himself to look for lodgings at Hogglestock. He can go over on the Sundays."

"And who is to do the parish work? Would you have that man, a convicted thief, to look after the schools, and visit the sick, and perhaps attend the dying?"

"There will be a great difficulty; there will indeed," said the bishop, becoming very unhappy, and feeling that he was driven by circumstances either to assert his own knowledge or teach his wife something of the law with reference to his position as a bishop. "Who is to pay Mr Thumble?"

"The income of the parish must be sequestrated, and he must be paid out of that. Of course he must have the income while he does the work."

"But, my dear, I cannot sequestrate the man's income."

"I don't believe it, bishop. If the bishop cannot sequestrate, who can? But you are always timid in exercising the authority put into your hands for wise purposes. Not sequestrate the income of a man who has been proved to be a thief! You leave that to us, and we will manage it." The "us" here named comprised Mrs Proudie and the bishop's managing chaplain.

Then the bishop was left alone for an hour to write the letter which Mr Thumble was to carry over to Mr Crawley,—and after a while he did write it. Before he commenced the task, however, he sat for some moments in his arm-chair close by the fire-side, asking himself whether it might not be possible for him to overcome his enemy in this matter. How would it go with him suppose he were to leave the letter unwritten, and send in a message by his chaplain to Mrs Proudie, saying that as Mr Crawley was out on bail, the parish might be left for the present without episcopal interference? She could not make him interfere. She could not force him to write the letter. So, at least, he said to himself. But as he said it, he almost thought that she could do these things. In the last thirty years, or more, she had ever contrived by some power latent in her to have her will effected. But what would happen if now, even now, he were to rebel? That he would personally become very uncomfortable, he was well aware, but he thought that he could bear that. The food would become bad,—mere ashes between his teeth, the daily modicum of wine would lose its flavour, the chimneys would all smoke, the wind would come from the east, and the servants would not answer the bell. Little miseries of that kind would crowd upon him. He had arrived at a time in life in which such miseries make such men very miserable; but yet he thought that he could endure them. And what other wretchedness would come to him? She would scold him,—frightfully, loudly, scornfully, and worse than all, continually. But of this he had so much habitually, that anything added might be borne also;—if only he could be sure that the scoldings should go on in private, that the world of the palace should not be allowed to hear the revilings to which he would be subjected. But to be scolded publicly was the great evil which he dreaded beyond all evils. He was well aware that the palace would know his misfortune, that it was known, and freely discussed by all, from the examining chaplain down to the palace boot-boy;—nay, that it was known to all the diocese; but yet he could smile upon those around him, and look as though he held his own like other men,—unless when open violence was displayed. But when that voice was heard aloud along the corridors of the palace, and when he was summoned imperiously by the woman, calling for the bishop, so that all Barchester heard it, and when he was compelled to creep forth from his study, at the sound of that summons, with distressed face, and shaking hands, and short hurrying steps,—a being to be pitied even by a deacon,—not venturing to assume an air of masterdom should he chance to meet a housemaid on the stairs,—then, at such moments as that, he would feel that any submission was better than the misery which he suffered. And he well knew that should he now rebel, the whole house would be in a turmoil. He would be bishoped here, and bishoped there, before the eyes of all palatial men and women, till life would be a burden to him. So he got up from his seat over the fire, and went to his desk and wrote the letter. The letter was as follows:—

THE PALACE, BARCHESTER, — December, 186—

REVEREND SIR,—[he left out the dear, because he knew that if he inserted it he would be compelled to write the letter over again]

I have heard to-day with the greatest trouble of spirit, that you have been taken before a bench of magistrates assembled at Silverbridge, having been previously arrested by the police in your parsonage house at Hogglestock, and that the magistrates of Silverbridge have committed you to take your trial at the next assizes at Barchester, on a charge of theft.

Far be it from me to prejudge the case. You will understand, reverend sir, that I express no opinion whatever as to your guilt or innocence in this matter. If you have been guilty, may the Lord give you grace to repent of your great sin and to make such amends as may come from immediate acknowledgement and confession. If you are innocent, may He protect you, and make your innocence shine before all men. In either case may the Lord be with you and keep your feet from further stumbling.

But I write to you now as your bishop, to explain to you that, circumstanced as you are, you cannot with decency perform the church services of your parish. I have that confidence in you that I doubt not you will agree with me in this, and will be grateful to me for relieving you from the immediate perplexities of your position. I have, therefore, appointed the Rev Caleb Thumble to perform the duties of incumbent of Hogglestock till such time as a jury shall have decided upon your case at Barchester; and in order that you may at once become acquainted with Mr Thumble, as will be most convenient that you should do, I will commission him to deliver this letter into your hand personally to-morrow, trusting that you will receive him with that brotherly spirit in which he is sent on this painful mission.

Touching the remuneration to which Mr Thumble will become entitled for his temporary ministrations in the parish of Hogglestock, I do not at present lay down any strict injunction. He must, at any rate, be paid at a rate not less than that ordinarily afforded for a curate.

I will once again express my fervent hope that the Lord may bring you to see the true state of your own soul, and that He may fill you with the grace of repentance, so that the bitter waters of the present hour may not pass over your head and destroy you.

I have the honour to be, Reverend Sir, Your faithful servant in Christ,

T. BARNUM. [1]

[Footnote 1. Baronum Castrum having been the old Roman name from which the modern Barchester is derived, the bishops of the diocese always signed themselves Barnum.]

The bishop had hardly finished his letter when Mrs Proudie returned to the study, followed by the Rev Caleb Thumble. Mr Thumble was a little man, about forty years of age, who had a wife and children living in Barchester, and who existed on such chance clerical crumbs as might fall from the table of the bishop's patronage. People in Barchester said that Mrs Thumble was a cousin of Mrs Proudie's; but as Mrs Proudie stoutly denied the connexion, it may be supposed that the people of Barchester were wrong. And, had Mr Thumble's wife in truth been a cousin, Mrs Proudie would surely have provided for him during the many years in which the diocese had been in her hands. No such provision had been made, and Mr Thumble, who had now been living in the diocese for three years, had received nothing else from the bishop than such chance employment as this which he was about to undertake at Hogglestock. He was a humble, mild-voiced man, when within the palace precincts, and had so far succeeded in making his way among his brethren in the cathedral city as to be employed not unfrequently for absent minor canons in chanting the week-day services, being remunerated for his work at the rate of about two shillings and sixpence a service.

The bishop handed the letter to his wife, observing in an off-hand kind of way that she might as well see what he said. "Of course I shall read it," said Mrs Proudie. And the bishop winced visibly, because Mr Thumble was present. "Quite right," said Mrs Proudie, "quite right to let him know that you knew that he had been arrested,—actually arrested by the police."

"I thought it proper to mention that, because of the scandal," said the bishop.

"Oh, it has been terrible in the city," said Mr Thumble.

"Never mind, Mr Thumble," said Mrs Proudie. "Never mind that at present." Then she continued to read the letter. "What's this? Confession! That must come out, bishop. It will never do that you should recommend confession to anybody, under any circumstances."

"But, my dea—"

"It must come out, bishop."

"My lord has not meant auricular confession," suggested Mr Thumble. Then Mrs Proudie turned round and looked at Mr Thumble, and Mr Thumble nearly sank amidst the tables and chairs. "I beg your pardon, Mrs Proudie," he said, "I didn't mean to intrude."

"The word must come out, bishop," repeated Mrs Proudie. "There should be no stumbling-blocks prepared for feet that are only too ready to fall." And the word did come out.

"Now, Mr Thumble," said the lady, as she gave the letter to her satellite, "the bishop and I wish you to be at Hogglestock early to-morrow. You should be there not later than ten, certainly." Then she paused until Mr Thumble had given the required promise. "And we request that you will be very firm in the mission which is confided to you, a mission which, as of course, you see, is of a very delicate and important nature. You must be firm."

"I will endeavour," said Mr Thumble.

"The bishop and I both feel that this most unfortunate man must not under any circumstances be allowed to perform the services of the Church while this charge is hanging over him,—a charge as to the truth of which no sane man can entertain a doubt."

"I'm afraid not, Mrs Proudie," said Mr Thumble.

"The bishop and I therefore are most anxious that you should make Mr Crawley understand at once,—at once," and the lady, as she spoke, lifted up her left hand with an eloquent violence which had its effect upon Mr Thumble, "that he is inhibited,"—the bishop shook in his shoes,—"inhibited from the performance of any of his sacred duties." Thereupon, Mr Thumble promised obedience and went his way.



CHAPTER XII

Mr Crawley Seeks for Sympathy

Matters went very badly indeed in the parsonage house at Hogglestock. On the Friday morning, the morning of the day after his committal, Mr Crawley got up very early, long before the daylight, and dressing himself in the dark, groped his way downstairs. His wife having vainly striven to persuade him to remain where he was, followed him into the cold room below with a lighted candle. She found him standing with his hat on and with his old cloak, as though he were prepared to go out. "Why do you do this?" she said. "You will make yourself ill with the cold and the night air; and then you, and I too, will be worse than we now are."

"We cannot be worse. You cannot be worse, and for me it does not signify. Let it pass."

"I will not let you pass, Josiah. Be a man and bear it. Ask God for strength, instead of seeking it in an over-indulgence of your own sorrow."

"Indulgence!"

"Yes, love;—indulgence. It is indulgence. You will allow your mind to dwell on nothing for a moment but your own wrongs."

"What else have I that I can think of? Is not all the world against me?"

"Am I against you?"

"Sometimes I think you are. When you accuse me of self-indulgence you are against me,—me, who for myself have desired nothing but to be allowed to do my duty, and to have bread enough to keep me alive, and clothes enough to make me decent."

"Is it not self-indulgence, this giving way to grief? Who would know so well as you how to teach the lesson of endurance to others? Come, love. Lay down your hat. It cannot be fitting that you should go out into the wet and cold of the raw morning."

For a moment he hesitated, but as she raised her hand to take his cloak from him he drew back from her, and would not permit it. "I shall find those up whom I want to see," he said. "I must visit my flock, and I dare not go through the parish by daylight lest they hoot after me as a thief."

"Not one in Hogglestock would say a word to insult you."

"Would they not? The very children in the school whisper at me. Let me pass, I say. It has not yet come to that, that I should be stopped in my egress and ingress. They have—bailed me; and while their bail lasts, I may go where I will."

"Oh, Josiah, what words to me! Have I ever stopped your liberty? Would I not give my life to secure it?"

"Let me go, then, now. I tell you that I have business in hand."

"But I will go with you. I will be ready in an instant."

"You go! Why should you go? Are there not the children for you to mind?"

"There is only Jane."

"Stay with her, then. Why should you go about the parish?" She still held him by the cloak, and looked anxiously up into his face. "Woman," he said, raising his voice, "what is it that you dread? I command you to tell me what it is you fear?" He had now taken hold of her by the shoulder, slightly thrusting her from him, so that he might see her face by the dim light of the single candle. "Speak, I say. What is it that you think that I shall do?"

"Dearest, I know that you will be better at home, better with me, than you can be on such a morning as this out in the cold damp air."

"And is that all?" He looked hard at her, while she returned his gaze with beseeching loving eyes. "It there nothing behind, that you will not tell me?"

She paused for a moment before she replied. She had never lied to him. She could not lie to him. "I wish you knew my heart towards you," she said, "with all and everything in it."

"I know your heart well, but I want to know your mind. Why would you persuade me not to go out among my poor?"

"Because it will be bad for you to be out alone in the dark lanes, in the mud and wet, thinking of your sorrow. You will brood over it till you will lose your senses through the intensity of your grief. You will stand out in the cold air, forgetful of everything around you, till your limbs will be numbed, and your blood chilled,—"

"And then—?"

"Oh, Josiah, do not hold me like that, and look at me so angrily."

"And even then I will bear my burden till the Lord in His mercy shall see fit to relieve me. Even then I will endure, though a bare bodkin or a leaf of hemlock would put an end to it. Let me pass on; you need fear nothing."

She did let him pass without another word, and he went out of the house, shutting the door after him noiselessly, and closing the wicket-gate of the garden. For a while she sat herself down on the nearest chair, and tried to make up her mind how she might best treat him in his present state of mind. As regarded the present morning her heart was at ease. She knew that he would do now nothing of that which she had apprehended. She could trust him not to be false in his word to her, though she could not before have trusted him not to commit so much heavier a sin. If he would really employ himself from morning till night among the poor, he would be better so,—his trouble would be easier of endurance,—than with any other employment which he could adopt. What she most dreaded was that he should sit idle over the fire and do nothing. When he was so seated she could read his mind, as though it was open to her as a book. She had been quite right when she had accused him of over-indulgence in his grief. He did give way to it till it became a luxury to him,—a luxury which she would not have had the heart to deny him, had she not felt it to be of all luxuries the most pernicious. During these long hours, in which he would sit speechless, doing nothing, he was telling himself from minute to minute that of all God's creatures he was the most heavily afflicted, and was revelling in the sense of the injustice done to him. He was recalling all the facts of his life, his education, which had been costly, and, as regarded knowledge, successful; his vocation to the Church, when in his youth he had determined to devote himself to the service of his Saviour, disregarding promotion or the favour of men; the short, sweet days of his early love, in which he had devoted himself again,—thinking nothing of self, but everything of her; his diligent working, in which he had ever done his very utmost for the parish in which he was placed, and always his best for the poorest; the success of other men who had been his compeers, and, as he too often told himself, intellectually his inferiors; then of his children, who had been carried off from his love to the churchyard,—over whose graves he himself had stood, reading out the pathetic words of the funeral service with unswerving voice and a bleeding heart; and then of his children still living, who loved their mother so much better than they loved him. And he would recall the circumstances of his poverty,—how he had been driven to accept alms, to fly from creditors, to hide himself, to see his chairs and tables seized before the eyes of those over whom he had been set as their spiritual pastor. And in it all, I think, there was nothing so bitter to the man as the derogation from the spiritual grandeur of his position as priest among men, which came as one necessary result from his poverty. St Paul could go forth without money in his purse or shoes to his feet or two suits to his back, and his poverty never stood in the way of his preaching, or hindered the veneration of the faithful. St Paul, indeed, was called upon to bear stripes, was flung into prison, encountered terrible dangers. But Mr Crawley,—so he told himself,—could have encountered all that without flinching. The stripes and scorn of the unfaithful would have been nothing to him, if only the faithful would have believed in him, poor as he was, as they would have believed in him had he been rich! Even they whom he had most loved treated him almost with derision, because he was now different from them. Dean Arabin had laughed at him because he had persisted in walking ten miles through the mud instead of being conveyed in the dean's carriage; and yet, after that, he had been driven to accept the dean's charity! No one respected him. No one! His very wife thought that he was a lunatic. And now he had been publicly branded as a thief; and in all likelihood would end his days in a gaol! Such were always his thoughts as he sat idle, silent, moody, over the fire; and his wife knew well their currents. It would certainly be better that he should drive himself to some employment, if any employment could be found possible to him.

When she had been alone for a few minutes, Mrs Crawley got up from her chair, and going into the kitchen, lighted the fire there, and put the kettle over it, and began to prepare such breakfast for her husband as the means in the house afforded. Then she called the sleeping servant-girl, who was little more than a child, and went into her own girl's room, and then she got into bed with her daughter.

"I have been up with your papa, dear, and I am cold."

"Oh, mamma, poor mamma! Why is papa up so early?"

"He has gone out to visit some of the brickmakers, before they go to their work. It is better for him to be employed."

"But, mamma, it is pitch dark."

"Yes, dear, it is still dark. Sleep again for a while, and I will sleep too. I think Grace will be here to-night, and then there will be no room for me here."

Mr Crawley went forth and made his way with rapid steps to a portion of his parish nearly two miles distant from his house, through which was carried a canal, affording water communication in some intricate way both to London and Bristol. And on the brink of this canal there had sprung up a colony of brickmakers, the nature of the earth in those parts combining with the canal to make brickmaking a suitable trade. The workmen there assembled were not, for the most part, native-born Hogglestockians, or folk descended from Hogglestockian parents. They had come thither from unknown regions, as labourers of that class do come when they are needed. Some young men from that and neighbouring parishes had joined themselves to the colony, allured by wages, and disregarding the menaces of the neighbouring farmers; but they were all in appearance and manners nearer akin to the race of navvies than to ordinary rural labourers. They had a bad name in the country; but it may be that their name was worse than their deserts. The farmers hated them, and consequently they hated the farmers. They had a beershop, and a grocer's shop, and a huxter's shop for their own accommodation, and were consequently vilified by the small old-established tradesmen around them. They got drunk occasionally, but I doubt whether they drank more than did the farmers themselves on market-day. They fought among themselves sometimes, but they forgave each other freely, and seemed to have no objection to black eyes. I fear that they were not always good to their wives, nor were their wives always good to them; but it should be remembered that among the poor, especially when they live in clusters, such misfortunes cannot be hidden as they may amidst the decent belongings of more wealthy people. That they worked very hard was certain; and it was certain also that very few of their number ever came upon the poor rates. What became of the old brickmakers no one knew. Who ever sees a worn-out aged navvy?

Mr Crawley, ever since first coming into Hogglestock, had been very busy among these brickmakers, and by no means without success. Indeed the farmers had quarrelled with him because the brickmakers had so crowded the parish church, as to leave but scant room for decent people. "Doo they folk pay tithes? That's what I want 'un to tell me?" argued one farmer,—not altogether unnaturally, believing as he did that Mr Crawley was paid by tithes out of his own pocket. But Mr Crawley had done his best to make the brickmakers welcome at the church, scandalising the farmers by causing them to sit or stand in any portion of the church which was hitherto unappropriated. He had been constant in his personal visits to them, and had felt himself to be more a St Paul with them than with any other of his neighbours around him.

It was a cold morning, but the rain of the preceding evening had given way to frost, and the air, though sharp, was dry. The ground under the feet was crisp, having felt the wind and frost, and was no longer clogged with mud. In his present state of mind the walk was good for our poor pastor, and exhilarated him; but still, as he went, he thought always of his injuries. His own wife believed that he was about to commit suicide, and for so believing he was very angry with her; and yet, as he well knew, the idea of making away with himself had flitted through his own mind a dozen times. Not from his own wife could he get real sympathy. He would see what he could do with a certain brickmaker of his acquaintance.

"Are you here, Dan?" he said, knocking at the door of a cottage which stood alone, close to the towing-path of the canal, and close also to a forlorn corner of the muddy, watery, ugly, disordered brick-field. It was now just past six o'clock, and the men would be rising, as in midwinter they commenced their work at seven. The cottage was an unalluring, straight brick-built tenement, seeming as though intended to be one of a row which had never progressed beyond Number One. A voice answered from the interior, inquiring who was the visitor, to which Mr Crawley replied by giving his name. Then the key was turned in the lock, and Dan Morris, the brickmaker, appeared with a candle in his hand. He had been engaged in lighting the fire, with a view to his own breakfast. "Where is your wife, Dan?" asked Mr Crawley. The man answered by pointing with a short poker, which he held in his hand, to the bed, which was half screened from the room by a ragged curtain, which hung from the ceiling half-way down to the floor. "And are the Darvels here?" asked Mr Crawley. Then Morris, again using the poker, pointed upwards, showing that the Darvels were still in their allotted abode upstairs.

"You're early out, Muster Crawley," said Morris, and then he went on with his fire. "Drat the sticks, if they bean't as wet as the old 'un hisself. Get up, old woman, and do you do it, for I can't. They wun't kindle for me, nohow." But the old woman, having well noted the presence of Mr Crawley, thought it better to remain where she was.

Mr Crawley sat himself down by the obstinate fire, and began to arrange the sticks. "Dan, Dan," said a voice from the bed, "sure you wouldn't let his reverence trouble himself with the fire."

"How be I to keep him from it, if he chooses? I didn't ax him." Then Morris stood by and watched, and after a while Mr Crawley succeeded in his attempt.

"How could it burn when you had not given the small spark a current of air to help it?" said Mr Crawley.

"In course not," said the woman, "but he be such a stupid."

The husband said no word in acknowledgement of this compliment, nor did he thank Mr Crawley for what he had done, nor appear as though he intended to take any notice of him. He was going on with his work when Mr Crawley again interrupted him.

"How did you get back from Silverbridge yesterday, Dan?"

"Footed it,—all the blessed way."

"It's only eight miles."

"And I footed it there, and that's sixteen. And I paid one-and-sixpence for beer and grub;—s'help me I did."

"Dan!" said a voice from the bed, rebuking him for the impropriety of his language.

"Well; I beg pardon, but I did. And they guv' me two bob;—just two plain shillings, by ——"

"Dan!"

"And I'd 've arned three-and-six here at brickmaking easy; that's what I wuld. How's a poor man to live that way? They'll not cotch me at Barchester 'Sizes at that price; they may be sure of that. Look there,—that's what I've got for my day." And he put his hand into his breeches-pocket and fetched out a sixpence. "How's a man to fill his belly out of that. Damnation!"

"Dan!"

"Well, what did I say? Hold your jaw, will you, and not be halloaing at me that way? I know what I'm a saying of, and what I'm a doing of."

"I wish they'd given you something more with all my heart," said Crawley.

"We knows that," cried the woman from the bed. "We is sure of that, your reverence."

"Sixpence!" said the man, scornfully. "If they'd have guv' me nothing at all but the run of my teeth at the public-house, I'd 've taken it better. But sixpence!"

Then there was a pause. "And what have they given to me?" said Mr Crawley, when the man's ill-humour about his sixpence had so far subsided as to allow of his busying himself again about the premises.

"Yes, indeed;—yes, indeed," said the woman. "Yes, yes, we feel that; we do indeed, Mr Crawley."

"I tell you what, sir; for another sixpence I'd 've sworn you'd never guv' me the paper at all; and so I will now, if it bean't too late;—sixpence or no sixpence. What do I care? d—— them."

"Dan!"

"And why shouldn't I? They hain't got brains enough among them to winny the truth from the lies,—not among the lot of 'em. I'll swear afore the judge that you didn't give it me at all, if that'll do any good."

"Man, do you think I would have you perjure yourself, even if that would do me a service? And do you think that any man was ever served by a lie?"

"Faix, among them chaps it don't do to tell them too much of the truth. Look at that!" And he brought out the sixpence again from his breeches-pocket. "And look at your reverence. Only that they've let you out for a while, they've been nigh as hard on you as though you were one of us."

"If they think that I stole it, they have been right," said Mr Crawley.

"It's been along of that chap, Soames," said the woman. "The lord would 've paid the money out of his own pocket and never said not a word."

"If they think that I've been a thief, they've done right," repeated Mr Crawley. "But how can they think so? How can they think so? Have I lived like a thief among them?"

"For the matter o' that, if a man ain't paid for his work by them as is his employers, he must pay hisself. Them's my notions. Look at that!" Whereupon he again pulled out the sixpence, and held it forth in the palm of his hand.

"You believe, then," said Mr Crawley, speaking very slowly, "that I did steal the money. Speak out, Dan; I shall not be angry. As you go you are honest men, and I want to know what such as you think about it."

"He don't think nothing of the kind," said the woman, almost getting out of bed in her energy. "If he'd athought the like o' that in his head, I'd read 'un such a lesson he'd never think again the longest day he had to live."

"Speak out, Dan," said the clergyman, not attending to the woman. "You can understand that no good can come of a lie." Dan Morris scratched his head. "Speak out, man, when I tell you," said Crawley.

"Drat it all," said Dan, "where's the use of so much jaw about it?"

"Say you know his reverence is as innocent as the babe as isn't born," said the woman.

"No; I won't—say anything of the kind," said Dan.

"Speak out the truth," said Crawley.

"They do say, among 'em," said Dan, "that you picked it up, and then got woolgathering in your head till you didn't rightly know where it come from." Then he paused. "And after a bit you guv' it me to get the money. Didn't you, now?"

"I did."

"And they do say if a poor man had done it, it'd been stealing, for sartin."

"And I'm a poor man,—the poorest in all Hogglestock; and, therefore, of course, it is stealing. Of course I am a thief. Yes; of course I am a thief. When did not the world believe the worst of the poor?" Having so spoken, Mr Crawley rose from his chair and hurried out of the cottage, waiting no further reply from Dan Morris or his wife. And as he made his way slowly home, not going there by the direct road, but by a long circuit, he told himself there could be no sympathy for him anywhere. Even Dan Morris, the brickmaker, thought that he was a thief.

"And am I a thief?" he said to himself, standing in the middle of the road, with his hands up to his forehead.



CHAPTER XIII

The Bishop's Angel

It was nearly nine before Mr Crawley got back to his house, and found his wife and daughter waiting breakfast for him. "I should not wonder if Grace were over here to-day," said Mrs Crawley. "She'd better remain where she is," said he. After this the meal passed almost without a word. When it was over, Jane, at a sign from her mother, went up to her father and asked him whether she should read with him. "Not now," he said, "not just now. I must rest my brain before it will be fit for any work." Then he got into the chair over the fire, and his wife began to fear that he would remain there all the day.

But the morning was not far advanced, when there came a visitor who disturbed him, and by disturbing him did him real service. Just at ten there arrived at the little gate before the house a man on a pony, whom Jane espied, standing there by the pony's head and looking about for some one to relieve him from the charge of his steed. This was Mr Thumble, who had ridden over to Hogglestock on a poor spavined brute belonging to the bishop's stable, and which had once been the bishop's cob. Now it was the vehicle by which Mrs Proudie's episcopal messages were sent backwards and forwards through a twelve-miles ride round Barchester; and so many were the lady's requirements, that the poor animal by no means eat the hay of idleness. Mr Thumble had suggested to Mrs Proudie, after their interview with the bishop and the giving up of the letter to the clerical messenger's charge, that before hiring a gig from the Dragon of Wantly, he should be glad to know,—looking as he always did to "Mary Anne and the children",—whence the price of the gig was to be returned to him. Mrs Proudie had frowned at him,—not with all the austerity of frowning which she could use when really angered, but simply with a frown which gave her some little time for thought, and would enable her to continue to rebuke if, after thinking, she should find that rebuke was needed. But mature consideration showed her that Mr Thumble's caution was not without reason. Were the bishop energetic,—or even the bishop's managing chaplain as energetic as he should be, Mr Crawley might, as Mrs Proudie felt assured, be made in some way to pay for a conveyance for Mr Thumble. But the energy was lacking, and the price of the gig, if the gig were ordered, would certainly fall ultimately on the bishop's shoulders. This was very sad. Mrs Proudie had often grieved over the necessary expenditure of episcopal surveillance, and had been heard to declare her opinion that a liberal allowance for secret service should be made in every diocese. What better could the Ecclesiastical Commissioners do with all those rich revenues which they had stolen from the bishops? But there was no such liberal allowance at present, and, therefore, Mrs Proudie, after having frowned at Mr Thumble for some seconds, desired him to take the grey cob. Now, Mr Thumble had ridden the grey cob before, and would much have preferred a gig. But even the grey cob was better than a gig at his own cost.

"Mamma, there's a man at the gate wanting to come in," said Jane. "I think he's a clergyman."

Mr Crawley immediately raised his head, though he did not at once leave his chair. Mrs Crawley went to the window, and recognised the reverend visitor. "My dear, it is that Mr Thumble, who is so much with the bishop."

"What does Mr Thumble want with me."

"Nay, my dear; he will tell you that himself." But Mrs Crawley, though she answered him with a voice intended to be cheerful, greatly feared the coming of this messenger from the palace. She perceived at once that the bishop was about to interfere with her husband in consequence of that which the magistrates had done yesterday.

"Mamma, he doesn't know what to do with his pony," said Jane.

"Tell him to tie it to the rail," said Mr Crawley. "If he has expected to find menials here, as he has them at the palace, he will be wrong. If he wants to come in here, let him tie the beast to the rail." So Jane went out and sent a message to Mr Thumble by the girl, and Mr Thumble did tie the pony to the rail, and followed the girl into the house. Jane in the meantime had retired out by the back door to the school, but Mrs Crawley kept her ground. She kept her ground although she believed almost that her husband would prefer to have the field to himself. As Mr Thumble did not at once enter the room, Mr Crawley stalked to the door, and stood with it open in his hand. Though he knew Mr Thumble's person, he was not acquainted with him, and therefore he simply bowed to the visitor, bowing more than once or twice with a cold courtesy, which did not put Mr Thumble altogether at his ease. "My name is Mr Thumble," said the visitor,—"the Reverend Caleb Thumble," and he held the bishop's letter in his hand. Mr Crawley seemed to take no notice of the letter, but motioned Mr Thumble with his hand into the room.

"I suppose you have come from Barchester this morning?" said Mrs Crawley.

"Yes, madam,—from the palace." Mr Thumble, though a humble man in positions in which he felt that humility would become him,—a humble man to his betters, as he himself would have expressed it,—had still about him something of that pride which naturally belonged to those clergymen who were closely attached to the palace at Barchester. Had he been sent on a message to Plumstead,—could any such message from Barchester palace have been possible,—he would have been properly humble in his demeanour to the archdeacon, or to Mrs Grantly had he been admitted to the august presence of that lady; but he was aware that humility would not become him on his present mission; he had been expressly ordered to be firm by Mrs Proudie, and firm he meant to be; and therefore, in communicating to Mrs Crawley the fact that he had come from the palace, he did load the tone of his voice with something of the dignity which Mr Crawley might perhaps be excused for regarding as arrogance.

"And what does the 'palace' want with me?" said Mr Crawley. Mrs Crawley knew at once that there was to be a battle. Nay, the battle had begun. Nor was she altogether sorry; for though she could not trust her husband to sit alone all day in his arm-chair over the fire, she could trust him to carry on a disputation with any other clergyman on any subject whatever. "What does the palace want with me?" And as Mr Crawley asked the question he stood erect, and looked Mr Thumble full in the face. Mr Thumble called to mind the fact, that Mr Crawley was a very poor man indeed,—so poor that he owed money all round the country to butchers and bakers, and the other fact, that he, Mr Thumble himself, did not owe any money to any one, his wife luckily having a little income of her own; and, strengthened by these remembrances, he endeavoured to bear Mr Crawley's attack with gallantry.

"Of course, Mr Crawley, you are aware that this unfortunate affair at Silverbridge—"

"I am not prepared, sir, to discuss the unfortunate affair at Silverbridge with a stranger. If you are the bearer of any message to me from the Bishop of Barchester, perhaps you will deliver it."

"I have brought a letter," said Mr Thumble. Then Mr Crawley stretched out his hand without a word, and taking the letter with him to the window, read it very slowly. When he had made himself master of its contents, he refolded the letter, placed it again in the envelope, and returned to the spot where Mr Thumble was standing. "I will answer the bishop's letter," he said; "I will answer it of course, as it is fitting that I should do so. Shall I ask you to wait for my reply, or shall I send it by course of post?"

"I think, Mr Crawley, as the bishop wishes me to undertake the duty—"

"You will not undertake the duty, Mr Thumble. You need not trouble yourself, for I shall not surrender my pulpit to you."

"But the bishop—"

"I care nothing for the bishop in this matter." So much he spoke in anger, and then he corrected himself. "I crave the bishop's pardon, and yours as his messenger, if in the heat occasioned by my strong feelings I have said aught which may savour of irreverence towards his lordship's office. I respect his lordship's high position as bishop of this diocese, and I bow to his commands in all things lawful. But I must not bow to him in things unlawful, nor must I abandon my duty before God at his bidding, unless his bidding be given in accordance with the canons of the Church and the laws of the land. It will be my duty, on the Sunday, to lead the prayers of my people in the church of my parish, and to preach to them from my pulpit; and that duty, with God's assistance, I will perform. Nor will I allow any clergyman to interfere with me in the performance of those sacred offices,—no, not though the bishop himself should be present with the object of enforcing his illegal command." Mr Crawley spoke these words without hesitation, even with eloquence, standing upright, and with something of a noble anger gleaming over his poor wan face; and, I think, that while speaking them, he was happier than he had been for many a long day.

Mr Thumble listened to him patiently, standing with one foot a little in advance of the other, with one hand folded over the other, with his head rather on one side, and with his eyes fixed on the corner where the wall and ceiling joined each other. He had been told to be firm, and he was considering how he might best display firmness. He thought that he remembered some story of two parsons fighting for one pulpit, and he thought also that he should not himself like to incur the scandal of such a proceeding in the diocese. As to the law in the matter he knew nothing himself; but he presumed that a bishop would probably know the law better than a perpetual curate. That Mrs Proudie was intemperate and imperious, he was aware. Had the message come from her alone, he might have felt that even for her sake he had better give way. But as the despotic arrogance of the lady had been in this case backed by the timid presence and hesitating words of her lord, Mr Thumble thought that he must have the law on his side. "I think you will find, Mr Crawley," said he, "that the bishop's inhibition is strictly legal." He had picked up the powerful word from Mrs Proudie and flattered himself that it might be of use to him in carrying his purpose.

"It is illegal," said Mr Crawley, speaking somewhat louder than before, "and will be absolutely futile. As you pleaded to me that you yourself and your own personal convenience were concerned in this matter, I have made known my intentions to you, which otherwise I should have made known only to the bishop. If you please, we will discuss the subject no further."

"Am I to understand, Mr Crawley, that you refuse to obey the bishop?"

"The bishop has written to me, sir; and I will make known my intention to the bishop by written answer. As you have been the bearer of the bishop's letter to me, I am bound to ask you whether I shall be indebted to you for carrying back my reply, or whether I shall send it by course of post?" Mr Thumble considered for a moment, and then made up his mind that he had better wait, and carry back the epistle. This was Friday, and the letter could not be delivered by post till the Saturday morning. Mrs Proudie might be angry with him if he should be the cause of loss of time. He did not, however, at all like waiting, having perceived that Mr Crawley, though with language courteously worded, had spoken of him as a mere messenger.

"I think," he said, "that I may, perhaps, best further the object which we must all have in view, that namely of providing properly for the Sunday services of the church of Hogglestock, by taking your reply personally to the bishop."

"That provision is my care and need trouble no one else," said Mr Crawley, in a loud voice. Then, before seating himself at his old desk, he stood awhile, pondering, with his back turned to his visitor. "I have to ask your pardon, sir," said he, looking round for a moment, "because, by reason of the extreme poverty of this house, my wife is unable to offer to you that hospitality which is especially due from one clergyman to another."

"Oh, don't mention it," said Mr Thumble.

"If you will allow me, sir, I would prefer that it should be mentioned." Then he seated himself, and commenced his letter.

Mr Thumble felt himself to be awkwardly placed. Had there been no third person in the room he could have sat down in Mr Crawley's arm-chair, and waited patiently till the letter should be finished. But Mrs Crawley was there, and of course he was bound to speak to her. In what strain should he do so? Even he, little as he was given to indulge in sentiment, had been touched by the man's appeal to his own poverty, and he felt, moreover, that Mrs Crawley must have been deeply moved by her husband's position with reference to the bishop's order. It was quite out of the question that he should speak of that, as Mr Crawley would, he was well aware, immediately turn upon him. At last he thought of a subject, and spoke with a voice intended to be pleasant. "That was the school-house I passed, probably, just as I came here?" Mrs Crawley told him that it was the school-house. "Ah, yes, I thought so. Have you a certified teacher here?" Mrs Crawley explained that no Government aid had ever reached Hogglestock. Besides themselves, they had only a young woman whom they themselves had instructed. "Ah, that is a pity," said Mr Thumble.

"I,—I am the certified teacher," said Mr Crawley, turning round upon him from his chair.

"Oh, ah, yes," said Mr Thumble; and after that Mr Thumble asked no more questions about the Hogglestock school. Soon afterwards Mrs Crawley left the room, seeing the difficulty under which Mr Thumble was labouring, and feeling sure that her presence would not now be necessary. Mr Crawley's letter was written quickly, though every now and then he would sit for a moment with his pen poised in the air, searching his memory for a word. But the words came to him easily, and before an hour was over he had handed his letter to Mr Thumble. The letter was as follows:—

THE PARSONAGE, HOGGLESTOCK, — December, 186—

RIGHT REVEREND LORD,

I have received the letter of yesterday's date which your lordship has done me the honour of sending to me by the hands of the Reverend Mr Thumble, and I avail myself of that gentleman's kindness to return to you an answer by the same means, moved thus to use his patience chiefly by the consideration that in this way my reply to your lordship's injunctions may be in your hands with less delay than would attend the regular course of the mail-post.

It is with deep regret that I feel myself constrained to inform your lordship that I cannot obey the command which you have laid upon me with reference to the services of my church in this parish. I cannot permit Mr Thumble, or any other delegate from your lordship, to usurp my place in my pulpit. I would not have you think, if I can possibly dispel such thoughts from your mind, that I disregard your high office, or that I am deficient in that respectful obedience to the bishop set over me, which is due to the authority of the Crown as the head of the church in these realms; but in this, as in all questions of obedience, he who is required to obey must examine the extent of the authority exercised by him who demands obedience. Your lordship might possibly call upon me, using your voice as bishop of the diocese, to abandon altogether the freehold rights which are now mine in this perpetual curacy. The judge of assize, before whom I shall soon stand for my trial, might command me to retire to prison without a verdict given by a jury. The magistrates who committed me so lately as yesterday, upon whose decision in that respect your lordship has taken action against me so quickly, might have equally strained their authority. But in no case, in this land, is he that is subject bound to obey, further than where the law gives authority and exacts obedience. It is not in the power of the Crown itself to inhibit me from the performance of my ordinary duties in this parish by any such missive as that sent to me by your lordship. If your lordship think right to stop my mouth as a clergyman in your diocese, you must proceed to do so in an ecclesiastical court in accordance with the laws, and will succeed in your object, or fail, in accordance with the evidences as to the ministerial fitness or unfitness which may be produced respecting me before the proper tribunal.

I will allow that much attention is due from a clergyman to pastoral advice given to him by his bishop. On that head I must first express to your lordship my full understanding that your letter has not been intended to convey advice, but an order;—an inhibition, as your messenger, the Reverend Mr Thumble, has expressed it. There might be a case certainly in which I should submit myself to counsel, though I should resist command. No counsel, however, has been given,—except indeed that I should receive your messenger in a proper spirit, which I hope I have done. No other advice has been given me, and therefore there is now no such case as that I have imagined. But in this matter, my lord, I could not have accepted advice from living man, no, not though the hands of the apostles themselves had made him bishop who tendered it to me, and had set him over me for my guidance. I am in a terrible strait. Trouble, and sorrow, and danger are upon me and mine. It may well be, as your lordship says, that the bitter waters of the present hour may pass over my head and destroy me. I thank your lordship for telling me whither I am to look for assistance. Truly I know not whether there is any to be found for me on earth. But the deeper my troubles, the greater my sorrow, the more pressing any danger, the stronger is my need that I should carry myself in these days with that outward respect of self which will teach those around me to know that, let who will condemn me, I have not condemned myself. Were I to abandon my pulpit, unless forced to do so by legal means, I should in doing so be putting a plea of guilty against myself upon the record. This, my lord, I will not do.

I have the honour to be, my lord, Your lordship's most obedient servant,

JOSIAH CRAWLEY.

When he had finished writing his letter he read it over slowly, and then handed it to Mr Thumble. The act of writing, and the current of the thoughts through his brain, and the feeling that in every word written he was getting the better of the bishop,—all this joined to a certain manly delight in warfare against authority, lighted up the man's face and gave to his eyes an expression which had been long wanting to them. His wife at that moment came into the room and he looked at her with an air of triumph as he handed the letter to Mr Thumble. "If you will give that to his lordship with an assurance of my duty to his lordship in all things proper, I will thank you kindly, craving your pardon for the great delay to which you have been subjected."

"As to the delay, that is nothing," said Mr Thumble.

"It has been much; but you as a clergyman will feel that it has been incumbent upon me to speak my mind fully."

"Oh, yes; of course." Mr Crawley was standing up, as also was Mrs Crawley. It was evident to Mr Thumble that they both expected that he should go. But he had been specially enjoined to be firm, and he doubted whether hitherto he had been firm enough. As far as this morning's work had as yet gone, it seemed to him that Mr Crawley had had the play to himself, and that he, Mr Thumble, had not had his innings. He, from the palace, had been, as it were, cowed by this man, who had been forced to plead his own poverty. It was certainly incumbent upon him, before he went, to speak up, not only for the bishop, but for himself also. "Mr Crawley," he said, "hitherto I have listened to you patiently."

"Nay," said Mr Crawley, smiling, "you have indeed been patient, and I thank you; but my words have been written, not spoken."

"You have told me that you intend to disobey the bishop's inhibition."

"I have told the bishop so, certainly."

"May I ask you now to listen to me for a few minutes?"

Mr Crawley, still smiling, still having in his eyes the unwonted triumph which had lighted them up, paused a moment, and then answered him. "Reverend sir, you must excuse me if I say no,—not on this subject."

"You will not let me speak?"

"No; not on this matter, which is very private to me. What should you think if I went into your house and inquired of you as to those things which were particularly near to you?"

"But the bishop sent me."

"Though ten bishops had sent me,—a council of archbishops if you will!" Mr Thumble started back, appalled at the energy of the words used to him. "Shall a man have nothing of his own;—no sorrow in his heart, no care in his family, no thought in his breast so private and special to him, but that, if he happen to be a clergyman, the bishop may touch it with his thumb?"

"I am not the bishop's thumb," said Mr Thumble, drawing himself up.

"I intended not to hint anything personally objectionable to yourself. I will regard you as one of the angels of the church." Mr Thumble, when he heard this, began to be sure that Mr Crawley was mad; he knew of no angels that could ride about the Barsetshire lanes on grey ponies. "And as such I will respect you; but I cannot discuss with you the matter of the bishop's message."

"Oh, very well. I will tell his lordship."

"I will pray you to do so."

"And his lordship, should he so decide, will arm me with such power on my next coming as will enable me to carry out his lordship's wishes."

"His lordship will abide by the law, as will you also." In speaking these last words he stood with the door in his hand, and Mr Thumble, not knowing how to increase or even to maintain his firmness, thought it best to pass out, and mount his pony and ride away.

"The poor man thought that you were laughing at him when you called him an angel of the church," said Mrs Crawley, coming up to him and smiling on him.

"Had I told him he was simply a messenger, he would have taken it worse;—poor fool! When they have rid themselves of me they may put him here, in my church; but not yet,—not yet. Where is Jane? Tell her that I am ready to commence the Seven against Thebes with her." Then Jane was immediately sent for out of the school, and the Seven against Thebes was commenced with great energy. Often during the next hour and a half Mrs Crawley from the kitchen would hear him reading out, or rather saying by rote, with sonorous, rolling voice, great passages from some chorus, and she was very thankful to the bishop who had sent over to them a message and a messenger which had been so salutary in their effect upon her husband. "In truth an angel of the church," she said to herself as she chopped up the onions for the mutton-broth; and ever afterwards she regarded Mr Thumble as an "angel".

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