Major Grantly Consults a Friend
Grace Crawley passed through Silverbridge on her way to Allington on the Monday, and on the Tuesday morning Major Grantly received a very short note from Miss Prettyman, telling him that she had done so. "Dear Sir,—I think you will be very glad to learn that our friend Miss Crawley went from us yesterday on a visit to her friend, Miss Dale, at Allington.—Yours truly, Annabella Prettyman." The note said no more than that. Major Grantly was glad to get it, obtaining from it the satisfaction which a man always feels when he is presumed to be concerned in the affairs of the lady with whom he is in love. And he regarded Miss Prettyman with favourable eyes,—as a discreet and friendly woman. Nevertheless, he was not altogether happy. The very fact that Miss Prettyman should write to him on such a subject made him feel that he was bound to Grace Crawley. He knew enough of himself to be sure that he could not give her up without making himself miserable. And yet, as regarded her father, things were going from bad to worse. Everybody now said that the evidence was so strong against Mr Crawley as to leave hardly a doubt of his guilt. Even the ladies in Silverbridge were beginning to give up his cause, acknowledging that the money could not have come rightfully into his hands, and excusing him on the plea of partial insanity. "He has picked it up and put it by for months, and then thought that it was his own." The ladies at Silverbridge could find nothing better to say for him than that; and when young Mr Walker remarked that such little mistakes were the customary causes of men being taken to prison, the ladies of Silverbridge did not know how to answer him. It had come to be their opinion that Mr Crawley was affected with a partial lunacy, which ought to be forgiven in one to whom the world had been so cruel; and when young Mr Walker endeavoured to explain to them that a man must be sane altogether or mad altogether, and that Mr Crawley must, if sane, be locked up as a thief, and if mad, locked up as a madman, they sighed, and were convinced that until the world should have been improved by a new infusion of romance, and a stronger feeling of poetic justice, that Mr John Walker was right.
And the result of this general opinion made its way out to Major Grantly, and made its way, also, to the archdeacon at Plumstead. As to the major, in giving him his due, it must be explained that the more certain he became of the father's guilt, the more certain also he became of the daughter's merits. It was very hard. The whole thing was cruelly hard. It was cruelly hard upon him that he should be brought into this trouble, and be forced to take upon himself the armour of a knight-errant for the redress of the wrong on the part of the young lady. But when alone in his house, or with his child, he declared to himself that he would do so. It might well be that he could not live in Barsetshire after he had married Mr Crawley's daughter. He had inherited from his father enough of that longing for ascendancy among those around him to make him feel that in such circumstances he would be wretched. But he would be made more wretched by the self-knowledge that he had behaved badly to the girl he loved; and the world beyond Barsetshire was open to him. He would take her with him to Canada, to New Zealand, or to some other faraway country, and there begin his life again. Should his father choose to punish him for so doing by disinheriting him, they would be poor enough; but, in his present frame of mind, the major was able to regard such poverty as honourable and not altogether disagreeable.
He had been out shooting all day at Chaldicotes, with Dr Thorne and a party who were staying in the house there, and had been talking about Mr Crawley, first with one man and then with another. Lord Lufton had been there, and young Gresham from Greshamsbury, and Mr Robarts, the clergyman, and news had come among them of the attempt made by the bishop to stop Mr Crawley from preaching. Mr Robarts had been of opinion that Mr Crawley should have given way; and Lord Lufton, who shared his mother's intense dislike of everything that came from the palace, had sworn that he was right to resist. The sympathy of the whole party had been with Mr Crawley; but they had all agreed that he had stolen the money.
"I fear he'll have to give way to the bishop at last," Lord Lufton had said.
"And what on earth will become of his children," said the doctor. "Think of the fate of that pretty girl; for she is a very pretty girl. It will be the ruin of her. No man will allow himself to fall in love with her when her father shall have been found guilty of stealing a cheque for twenty pounds."
"We must do something for the whole family," said the lord. "I say, Thorne, you haven't half the game here that there used to be in poor old Sowerby's time."
"Haven't I?" said the doctor. "You see, Sowerby had been at it all his days, and never did anything else. I only began late in life."
The major had intended to stay and dine at Chaldicotes, but when he heard what was said about Grace, his heart became sad, and he made some excuse as to his child, and returned home. Dr Thorne had declared that no man could allow himself to fall in love with her. But what if a man had fallen in love with her beforehand? What if a man had not only fallen in love, but spoken of his love? Had he been alone with the doctor, he would, I think, have told him the whole of his trouble; for in all the county there was no man whom he would sooner have trusted with his secret. This Dr Thorne was known far and wide for his soft heart, his open hand, and his well-sustained indifference to the world's opinions on most of those social matters with which the world meddles; and therefore the words which he had spoken had more weight with Major Grantly than they would have had from other lips. As he drove home he almost made up his mind that he would consult Dr Thorne upon the matter. There were many younger men with whom he was very intimate,—Frank Gresham, for instance, and Lord Lufton himself; but this was an affair which he hardly knew how to discuss with a young man. To Dr Thorne he thought that he could bring himself to tell the whole story.
In the evening there came to him a messenger from Plumstead, with a letter from his father and some present for the child. He knew at once that the present had been thus sent as an excuse for the letter. His father might have written by the post, of course; but that would have given to his letter a certain air and tone which he had not wished it to bear. After some message from the major's mother, and some allusion to Edith, the archdeacon struck off upon the matter that was near his heart.
"I fear it is all up with that unfortunate man at Hogglestock," he said. "From what I hear of the evidence which came out before the magistrates, there can, I think, be no doubt as to his guilt. Have you heard that the bishop sent over on the following day to stop him from preaching? He did so, and sent again on the Sunday. But Crawley would not give way, and so far I respect the man; for, as a matter of course, whatever the bishop did, or attempted to do, he would do with an extreme of bad taste, probably with gross ignorance as to his own duty and as to the duty of the man under him. I am told that on the first day Crawley turned out of his house the messenger sent to him,—some stray clergyman whom Mrs Proudie keeps about the house; and that on Sunday the stairs to the reading-desk and pulpit were occupied by a lot of brickmakers, among whom the parson from Barchester did not venture to attempt to make his way, although he was fortified by the presence of one of the cathedral vergers and by one of the palace footmen. I can hardly believe about the verger and the footman. As for the rest, I have no doubt it is all true. I pity Crawley from my heart. Poor, unfortunate man! The general opinion seems to be that he is not in truth responsible for what he does. As for his victory over the bishop, nothing on earth could be better.
"Your mother particularly wishes you to come over to us before the end of the week, and to bring Edith. Your grandfather will be here, and he is becoming so infirm that he will never come to us for another Christmas. Of course you will stay over the new year."
Though the letter was full of Mr Crawley and his affairs there was not a word in it about Grace. This, however, was quite natural. Major Grantly perfectly well understood his father's anxiety to carry his point without seeming to allude to the disagreeable subject. "My father is very clever," he said to himself, "very clever. But he isn't so clever but one can see how clever he is."
On the next day he went into Silverbridge, intending to call on Miss Prettyman. He had not quite made up his mind what he would say to Miss Prettyman; nor was he called upon to do so, as he never got as far as that lady's house. While walking up the High street he saw Mrs Thorne in her carriage, and, as a matter of course, he stopped to speak to her. He knew Mrs Thorne quite as intimately as he did her husband, and liked her quite as well. "Major Grantly," she said, speaking out loud to him, half across the street; "I was very angry with you yesterday. Why did you not come up to dinner? We had a room ready for you and everything."
"I was not quite well, Mrs Thorne."
"Fiddlestick. Don't tell me of not being well. There was Emily breaking her heart about you."
"I'm sure Miss Dunstable—"
"To tell you the truth, I think she'll get over it. It won't be mortal with her. But do tell me, Major Grantly, what are we to think about this poor Mr Crawley? It was so good of you to be one of his bailsmen."
"He would have found twenty in Silverbridge, if he had wanted them."
"And do you hear that he has defied the bishop? I do so like him for that. Not but what poor Mrs Proudie is the dearest friend I have in the world, and I'm always fighting a battle with old Lady Lufton on her behalf. But one likes to see one's friends worsted sometimes, you know."
"I don't quite understand what did happen at Hogglestock on the Sunday," said the major.
"Some say he had the bishop's chaplain put under the pump. I don't believe that; but there is no doubt that when the poor fellow tried to get into the pulpit, they took him and carried him neck and heels out of the church. But, tell me, Major Grantly, what is to become of the family?"
"Is it not sad? And that eldest girl is so nice! They tell me that she is perfect,—not only in beauty, but in manners and accomplishments. Everybody says that she talks Greek just as well as she does English, and that she understands philosophy from the top to the bottom."
"At any rate, she is so good and so lovely that one cannot but pity her now," said the major.
"You know her, then, Major Grantly? By-the-by, of course you do, as you were staying with her at Framley."
"Yes, I know her."
"What is to become of her? I'm going your way. You might as well get into the carriage, and I'll drive you home. If he is sent to prison,—and they say he must be sent to prison,—what is to become of them?" Then Major Grantly did get into the carriage, and, before he got out again, he had told Mrs Thorne the whole story of his love.
She listened to him with the closest attention; only interrupting him now and then with little words, intended to signify her approval. He, as he told his tale, did not look her in the face, but sat with his eyes fixed upon her muff. "And now," he said, glancing up at her almost for the first time as he finished his speech, "and now, Mrs Thorne, what am I to do?"
"Marry her, of course," said she, raising her hand aloft and bringing it down heavily upon his knee as she gave her decisive reply.
"H—sh—h," he exclaimed, looking back in dismay towards the servants.
"Oh, they never hear anything up there. They're thinking about the last pot of porter they had, or the next they're to get. Deary me, I am so glad! Of course you'll marry her."
"You forget my father."
"No, I don't. What has a father to do with it? You're old enough to please yourself without asking your father. Besides, Lord bless me, the archdeacon isn't the man to bear malice. He'll storm and threaten and stop the supplies for a month or so. Then he'll double them, and take your wife to his bosom, and kiss and bless her, and all that kind of thing. We all know what parental wrath means in such cases as that."
"But my sister—"
"As for your sister, don't talk to me about her. I don't care two straws about your sister. You must excuse me, Major Grantly, but Lady Hartletop is really too big for my powers of vision."
"And Edith,—of course, Mrs Thorne, I can't be blind to the fact that in many ways such a marriage would be injurious to her. No man wishes to be connected with a convicted thief."
"No, Major Grantly; but a man does wish to marry the girl that he loves. At least, I suppose so. And what man ever was able to give a more touching proof of his affection than you can do now? If I were you, I'd be at Allington before twelve o'clock to-morrow,—I would indeed. What does it matter about the trumpery cheque? Everybody knows it was a mistake, if he did take it. And surely you would not punish her for that?"
"No,—no; but I don't suppose she'd think it a punishment."
"You go and ask her then. And I'll tell you what. If she hasn't a house of her own to be married from, she shall be married from Chaldicotes. We'll have such a breakfast! And I'll make as much of her as if she were the daughter of my old friend, the bishop himself,—I will indeed."
This was Mrs Thorne's advice. Before it was completed, Major Grantly had been carried half-way to Chaldicotes. When he left his impetuous friend he was too prudent to make any promise, but he declared that what she had said should have much weight with him.
"You won't mention it to anybody," said the Major.
"Certainly not, without your leave," said Mrs Thorne. "Don't you know that I'm the soul of honour?"
Up in London
Some kind and attentive reader may perhaps remember that Miss Grace Crawley, in a letter written by her to her friend Miss Lily Dale, said a word or two of a certain John. "If it can only be as John wishes it!" And the same reader, if there be one so kind and attentive, may also remember that Miss Lily Dale had declared, in reply, that "about that other subject she would rather say nothing,"—and then she added, "When one thinks of going beyond friendship,—even if one tries to do so,—there are so many barriers!" From which words the kind and attentive reader, if such reader be in such matters intelligent as well as kind and attentive, may have learned a great deal in reference to Miss Lily Dale.
We will now pay a visit to the John in question,—a certain Mr John Eames, living in London, a bachelor, as the intelligent reader will certainly have discovered, and cousin to Miss Grace Crawley. Mr John Eames at the time of our story was a young man, some seven or eight and twenty years of age, living in London, where he was supposed by his friends in the country to have made his mark, and to be something a little out of the common way. But I do not know that he was very much out of the common way, except in the fact that he had some few thousand pounds left him by an old nobleman, who had been in no way related to him, but who had regarded him with great affection, and who had died some two years since. Before this, John Eames had not been a very poor man, as he filled the comfortable official position of private secretary to the Chief Commissioner of the Income-tax Board, and drew a salary of three hundred and fifty pounds a year from the resources of his country; but when, in addition to this source of official wealth, he became known as the undoubted possessor of a hundred and twenty-eight shares in one of the most prosperous joint-stock banks in the metropolis, which property had been left to him free of legacy duty by the lamented nobleman above named, then Mr John Eames rose very high indeed as a young man in the estimation of those who knew him, and was supposed to be something a good deal out of the common way. His mother, who lived in the country, was obedient to his slightest word, never venturing to impose upon him any sign of parental authority; and to his sister, Mary Eames, who lived with her mother, he was almost a god upon earth. To sisters who have nothing of their own,—not even some special god for their own individual worship,—generous, affectionate, unmarried brothers, with sufficient incomes, are gods upon earth.
And even up in London Mr John Eames was somebody. He was so especially at his office; although, indeed, it was remembered by many a man how raw a lad he had been when he first came there, not so very many years ago; and how they had laughed at him and played him tricks; and how he had customarily been known to be without a shilling for the last week before pay-day, during which period he would borrow sixpence here and a shilling there with energy, from men who now felt themselves to be honoured when he smiled upon them. Little stories of his former days would often be told of him behind his back; but they were not told with ill-nature, because he was very constant in referring to the same matters himself. And it was acknowledged by every one at the office, that neither the friendship of the nobleman, nor that fact of the private secretaryship, nor the acquisition of his wealth, had made him proud to his old companions or forgetful of old friendships. To the young men, lads who had lately been appointed, he was perhaps a little cold; but then it was only reasonable to conceive that such a one as Mr John Eames was now could not be expected to make an intimate acquaintance with every new clerk that might be brought into the office. Since competitive examinations had come into vogue, there was no knowing who might be introduced; and it was understood generally through the establishment,—and I may almost say by the civil service at large, so wide was his fame,—that Mr Eames was very averse to the whole theory of competition. The "Devil take the hindmost" scheme he called it; and would then go on to explain that hindmost candidates were often the best gentlemen, and that, in this way, the Devil got the pick of the flock. And he was respected the more for this because it was known that on this subject he had fought some hard battles with the chief commissioner. The chief commissioner was a great believer in competition, wrote papers about it, which he read aloud to various bodies of the civil service,—not at all to their delight,—which he got to be printed here and there, and which he sent by post all over the kingdom. More than once this chief commissioner had told his private secretary that they must part company, unless the private secretary could see fit to alter his view, or could, at least, keep his views to himself. But the private secretary would do neither; and, nevertheless, there he was, still private secretary. "It's because Johnny has got money," said one of the young clerks, who was discussing this singular state of things with his brethren at the office. "When a chap has got money, he may do what he likes. Johnny has got lots of money, you know." The young clerk in question was by no means on intimate terms with Mr Eames, but there had grown up in the office a way of calling him Johnny behind his back, which had probably come down from the early days of his scrapes and his poverty.
Now the entire life of Mr John Eames was pervaded by a great secret; and although he never, in those days, alluded to the subject in conversation with any man belonging to the office, yet the secret was known to them all. It had been historical for the last four or five years, and was now regarded as a thing of course. Mr John Eames was in love, and his love was not happy. He was in love, and had long been in love, and the lady of his love was not kind to him. The little history had grown to be very touching and pathetic, having received, no doubt, some embellishments from the imaginations of the gentlemen of the Income-tax Office. It was said of him that he had been in love from his early boyhood, that at sixteen he had been engaged, under the sanction of the nobleman now deceased and of the young lady's parents, that contracts of betrothal had been drawn up, and things done very unusual in private families in these days, and that then there had come a stranger into the neighbourhood just as the young lady was beginning to reflect whether she had a heart of her own or not, and that she had thrown her parents, and the noble lord, and the contract, and poor Johnny Eames to the winds, and had— Here the story took different directions, as told by different men. Some said the lady had gone off with the stranger and that there had been a clandestine marriage, which afterwards turned out to be no marriage at all; others, that the stranger suddenly took himself off, and was no more seen by the young lady; others that he owned at last to having another wife,—and so on. The stranger was very well known to be one Mr Crosbie, belonging to another public office; and there were circumstances in his life, only half known, which gave rise to these various rumours. But there was one thing certain, one point as to which no clerk in the Income-tax Office had a doubt, one fact which had conduced much to the high position which Mr John Eames now held in the estimation of his brother clerks,—he had given this Mr Crosbie such a thrashing that no man had ever received such treatment before and lived through it. Wonderful stories were told about that thrashing, so that it was believed, even by the least enthusiastic in such matters, that the poor victim had only dragged on a crippled existence since the encounter. "For nine weeks he never said a word or eat a mouthful," said one young clerk to a younger clerk who was just entering the office; "and even now he can't speak above a whisper, and has to take all his food in pap." It will be seen, therefore, that Mr John Eames had about him much of the heroic.
That he was still in love, and in love with the same lady, was known to every one in the office. When it was declared of him that in the way of amatory expressions he had never in his life opened his mouth to another woman, there were those in the office who knew this was an exaggeration. Mr Cradell, for instance, who in his early years had been very intimate with John Eames, and who still kept up the old friendship.—although, being a domestic man, with a wife and six young children, and living on a small income, he did not go out much among his friends,—could have told a very different story; for Mrs Cradell herself had, in days before Cradell had made good his claim upon her, been not unadmired by Cradell's fellow-clerk. But the constancy of Mr Eames's present love was doubted by none who knew him. It was not that he went about with his stockings ungartered, or any of the old acknowledged signs of unrequited affection. In his manner he was rather jovial than otherwise, and seemed to live a happy, somewhat luxurious life, well contented with himself and the world around him. But still he had this passion within his bosom, and I am inclined to think that he was a little proud of his own constancy.
It might be presumed that when Miss Dale wrote to her friend Grace Crawley about going beyond friendship, pleading that there were so many "barriers", she had probably seen her way over most of them. But this was not so; nor did John Eames himself at all believe that the barriers were in a way to be overcome. I will not say that he had given the whole thing up as a bad job, because it was the law of his life that the thing never should be abandoned as long as hope was possible. Unless Miss Dale should become the wife of somebody else, he would always regard himself as affianced to her. He had so declared to Miss Dale herself and to Miss Dale's mother, and to all the Dale people who had ever been interested in the matter. And there was an old lady living in Miss Dale's neighbourhood, the sister of the lord who had left Johnny Eames the bank shares, who always fought his battles for him, and kept a close lookout, fully resolved that John Eames should be rewarded at last. This old lady was connected with the Dales by family ties, and therefore had means of close observation. She was in constant correspondence with John Eames, and never failed to acquaint him when any of the barriers were, in her judgment, giving way. The nature of some of the barriers may possibly be made intelligible to my readers by the following letter from Lady Julia De Guest to her young friend.
GUESTWICK COTTAGE, — December, 186—
MY DEAR JOHN,
I am much obliged to you for going to Jones's. I send stamps for two shillings and fourpence, which is what I owe to you. It used only to be two shillings and twopence, but they say everything has got to be dearer now, and I suppose pills as well as other things. Only think of Pritchard coming to me, and saying she wanted her wages raised, after living with me for twenty years! I was very angry, and scolded her roundly; but as she acknowledged she had been wrong, and cried and begged my pardon, I did give her two guineas a year more.
I saw dear Lily just for a moment on Sunday, and upon my word I think she grows prettier every year. She had a young friend with her,—a Miss Crawley,—who, I believe, is the cousin I have heard you speak of. What is this sad story about her father, the clergyman? Mind you tell me all about it.
It is quite true what I told you about the De Courcys. Old Lady De Courcy is in London, and Mr Crosbie is going to law with her about his wife's money. He has been at it in one way or the other ever since poor Lady Alexandrina died. I wish she had lived, with all my heart. For though I feel sure that our Lily will never willingly see him again, yet the tidings of her death disturbed her, and set her thinking of things that were fading from her mind. I rated her soundly, not mentioning your name, however; but she only kissed me, and told me in her quiet drolling way that I didn't mean a word of what I said.
You can come here whenever you please after the tenth of January. But if you come early in January you must go to your mother first, and come to me for the last week of your holiday. Go to Blackie's in Regent Street, and bring me down all the colours in wool that I ordered. I said you would call. And tell them at Dolland's the last spectacles don't suit at all, and I won't keep them; they had better send me down, by you, one or two more pairs to try. And you had better see Smithers and Smith, in Lincoln's Inn Fields, No 57—but you have been there before,—and beg them to let me know how my poor dear brother's matters are to be settled at last. As far as I can see I shall be dead before I shall know what income I have got to spend. As to my cousins at the manor, I never see them; and as to talking to them about business, I should not dream of it. She hasn't come to me since she first called, and she may be quite sure I shan't go to her till she does. Indeed I think we shall like each other apart quite as much as we should together. So let me know when you're coming, and pray don't forget to call at Blackie's; nor yet at Dolland's, which is much more important than the wool, because of my eyes getting so weak. But what I want you specially to remember is about Smithers and Smith. How is a woman to live if she doesn't know how much she has got to spend?
Believe me to be, my dear John, Your most sincere friend,
JULIA DE GUEST.
Lady Julia always directed her letters for her young friend to his office, and there he received the one now given to the reader. When he had read it he made a memorandum as to the commissions, and then threw himself back in his arm-chair to think over the tidings communicated to him. All the facts stated he had known before; that Lady De Courcy was in London, and that her son-in-law, Mr Crosbie, whose wife,—Lady Alexandrina,—had died some twelve months since at Baden Baden, was at variance with her respecting money which he supposed to be due to him. But there was that in Lady Julia's letter that was wormwood to him. Lily Dale was again thinking of this man, whom she had loved in the old days, and who had treated her with monstrous perfidy! It was all very well for Lady Julia to be sure that Lily Dale would never desire to see Mr Crosbie again; but John Eames was by no means equally certain that it would be so. "The tidings of her death disturbed her!" said Johnny, repeating to himself certain words out of the old lady's letter. "I know they disturbed me. I wish she could have lived for ever. If he ever ventures to show himself within ten miles of Allington, I'll see if I cannot do better than I did the last time I met him!" Then there came a knock at the door, and the private secretary, finding himself to be somewhat annoyed by the disturbance at such a moment, bade the intruder enter in an angry voice. "Oh, it's you, Cradell, is it? What can I do for you?" Mr Cradell, who now entered, and who, as before said, was an old ally of John Eames, was a clerk of longer standing in the department than his friend. In age he looked to be much older, and he had left with him none of that appearance of the gloss of youth which will stick for many years to men who are fortunate in their worldly affairs. Indeed it may be said that Mr Cradell was almost shabby in his outward appearance, and his brow seemed to be laden with care, and his eyes were dull and heavy.
"I thought I'd just come in and ask you how you are," said Cradell.
"I'm pretty well, thank you; and how are you?"
"Oh, I'm pretty well,—in health, that is. You see one has so many things to think of when one has a large family. Upon my word, Johnny, I think you've been lucky to keep out of it."
"I have kept out of it, at any rate; haven't I?"
"Of course; living with you as much as I used to do, I know the whole story of what kept you single."
"Don't mind about that, Cradell; what is it you want?"
"I mustn't let you suppose, Johnny, that I'm grumbling about my lot. Nobody knows better than you what a trump I got in my wife."
"Of course you did;—an excellent woman."
"And if I cut you out a little there, I'm sure you never felt malice against me for that."
"Never for a moment, old fellow."
"We all have our luck, you know."
"Your luck has been a wife and family. My luck has been to be a bachelor."
"You may say a family," said Cradell. "I'm sure that Amelia does the best she can; but we are desperately pushed sometimes,—desperately pushed. I never was so bad, Johnny, as I am now."
"So you said last time."
"Did I? I don't remember it. I didn't think I was so bad then. But, Johnny, if you can let me have one more fiver now I have made arrangements with Amelia how I'm to pay you off by thirty shillings a month,—as I get my salary. Indeed I have. Ask her else."
"I'll be shot if I do."
"Don't say that, Johnny."
"It's no good your Johnnying me, for I won't be Johnnyed out of another shilling. It comes too often, and there's no reason why I should do it. And what's more, I can't afford it. I've people of my own to help."
"But oh, Johnny, we all know how comfortable you are. And I'm sure no one rejoiced as I did when the money was left to you. If it had been myself I could hardly have thought more of it. Upon my solemn word and honour if you'll let me have it this time, it shall be the last."
"Upon my word and honour then, I won't. There must be an end to everything."
Although Mr Cradell would probably, if pressed, have admitted the truth of this last assertion, he did not seem to think that the end had as yet come to his friend's benevolence. It certainly had not come to his own importunity. "Don't say that, Johnny; pray don't."
"But I do say it."
"When I told Amelia yesterday evening that I didn't like to go to you again, because of course a man has feelings, she told me to mention her name. 'I'm sure he'd do it for my sake,' she said."
"I don't believe she said anything of the kind."
"Upon my word she did. You ask her."
"And if she did, she oughtn't to have said it."
"Oh, Johnny, don't speak in that way of her. She's my wife, and you know what your own feelings were once. But look here,—we are in that state at home at this moment, that I must get money somewhere before I go home. I must, indeed. If you'll let me have three pounds this once, I'll never ask you again. I'll give you a written promise if you like, and I'll pledge myself to pay it back by thirty shillings a time out of the next two months' salary. I will, indeed." And then Mr Cradell began to cry. But when Johnny at last took out his cheque-book and wrote a cheque for three pounds, Mr Cradell's eyes glistened with joy. "Upon my word I am so much obliged to you! You are the best fellow that ever lived. And Amelia will say the same when she hears of it."
"I don't believe she'll say anything of the kind, Cradell. If I remember anything of her, she has a stouter heart than that." Cradell admitted that his wife had a stouter heart than himself, and then made his way back to his own part of the office.
This little interruption to the current of Mr Eames's thoughts was, I think, for the good for the service, as immediately on his friend's departure he went to his work; whereas, had not he been called away from his reflections about Miss Dale, he would have sat thinking about her affairs probably for the rest of the morning. As it was, he really did write a dozen notes in answer to as many private letters addressed to his chief, Sir Raffle Buffle, in all of which he made excellently-worded false excuses for the non-performance of various requests made to Sir Raffle by the writers. "He's about the best hand at it that I know," said Sir Raffle, one day, to the secretary; "otherwise you may be sure I shouldn't keep him there." "I will allow that he is clever," said the secretary. "It isn't cleverness, so much as tact. It's what I call tact. I hadn't been long in the service before I mastered it myself; and now that I've been at the trouble to teach him I don't want to have the trouble to teach another. But upon my word he must mind his p's and q's; upon my word, he must; and you had better tell him so." "The fact is, Mr Kissing," said the private secretary the next day to the secretary,—Mr Kissing was at that time secretary to the board of commissioners for the receipt of income tax—"The fact is, Mr Kissing, Sir Raffle should never attempt to write a letter himself. He doesn't know how to do it. He always says twice too much, and yet not half enough. I wish you'd tell him so. He won't believe me." From which it will be seen Mr Eames was proud of his special accomplishment, but did not feel any gratitude to the master who assumed to himself the glory of having taught him. On the present occasion John Eames wrote all his letters before he thought again of Lily Dale, and was able to write them without interruption, as the chairman was absent for the day at the Treasury,—or perhaps at his club. Then, when he had finished, he rang his bell, and ordered some sherry and soda-water, and stretched himself before the fire,—as though his exertions in the public service had been very great,—and seated himself comfortably in his arm-chair, and lit a cigar, and again took out Lady Julia's letter.
As regarded the cigar, it may be said that both Sir Raffle and Mr Kissing had given orders that on no account should cigars be lit within the precincts of the Income-tax Office. Mr Eames had taken upon himself to understand that such orders did not apply to a private secretary, and was well aware that Sir Raffle knew his habit. To Mr Kissing, I regret to say, he put himself in opposition whenever and wherever opposition was possible; so that men in the office said that one of the two must go at last. "But Johnny can do anything, you know, because he has got money." That was too frequently the opinion finally expressed among the men.
So John Eames sat down, and drank his soda-water, and smoked his cigar, and read his letter; or, rather, simply that paragraph of the letter which referred to Miss Dale. "The tidings of her death have disturbed her, and set her thinking again of things that were fading from her mind." He understood it all. And yet how could it possibly be so? How could it be that she should not despise a man,—despise him if she did not hate him,—who had behaved as this man had behaved to her? It was now four years since this Crosbie had been engaged to Miss Dale, and had jilted her so heartlessly as to incur the disgust of every man in London who had heard the story. He had married an earl's daughter, who had left him within a few months of their marriage, and now Mr Crosbie's noble wife was dead. The wife was dead, and simply because the man was free again, he, John Eames, was to be told that Miss Dale's mind was "disturbed", and that her thoughts were going back to things which had faded from her memory, and which should have been long since banished altogether from such holy ground.
If Lily Dale were now to marry Mr Crosbie, anything so perversely cruel as the fate of John Eames would never yet have been told in romance. That was his own idea on the matter as he sat smoking his cigar. I have said that he was proud of his constancy, and yet, in some sort, he was also ashamed of it. He acknowledged the fact of his love, and believed himself to have out-Jacobed Jacob; but he felt that it was hard for a man who had risen in the world as he had done to be made a plaything of by a foolish passion. It was now four years ago,—that affair of Crosbie,—and Miss Dale should have accepted him long since. Half-a-dozen times he had made up his mind to be very stern to her; and he had written somewhat sternly,—but the first moment that he saw her he was conquered again. "And now that brute will reappear, and everything will be wrong again," he said to himself. If the brute did reappear, something should happen of which the world should hear the tidings. So he lit another cigar, and began to think what that something should be.
As he did so he heard a loud noise, as of harsh, rattling winds in the next room, and he knew that Sir Raffle had come back from the Treasury. There was a creaking of boots, and a knocking of chairs, and a ringing of bells, and then a loud angry voice,—a voice that was very harsh, and on this occasion very angry. Why had not his twelve o'clock letters been sent up to him to the West End? Why not? Mr Eames knew all about it. Why did Mr Eames know all about it? Why had not Mr Eames sent them up? Where was Mr Eames? Let Mr Eames be sent to him. All which Mr Eames heard standing with the cigar in his mouth and his back to the fire. "Somebody has been bullying old Buffle, I suppose. After all he has been up at the Treasure to-day," said Eames to himself. But he did not stir till the messenger had been to him, nor even then at once. "All right, Rafferty," he said; "I'll go in just now." Then he took half-a-dozen more whiffs from the cigar, threw the remainder into the fire, and opened the door which communicated between his room and Sir Raffle's.
The great man was standing with two unopened epistles in his hand. "Eames," said he, "here are letters—" Then he stopped himself, and began upon another subject. "Did I not give express orders that I would have no smoking in the office?"
"I think Mr Kissing said something about it, sir."
"Mr Kissing! It was not Mr Kissing at all. It was I. I gave the order myself."
"You'll find it began with Mr Kissing."
"It did not begin with Mr Kissing; it began and ended with me. What are you going to do, sir?" John Eames stepped towards the bell, and his hand was already on the bell-pull.
"I was going to ring for the papers, sir."
"And who told you to ring for the papers? I don't want the papers. The papers won't show anything. I suppose my word may be taken without the papers. Since you're so fond of Mr Kissing—"
"I'm not fond of Mr Kissing at all."
"You'll have to go back to him, and let somebody come here who will not be too independent to obey my orders. Here are two most important letters have been lying here all day, instead of being sent up to me at the Treasury."
"Of course they have been lying there. I thought you were at the club."
"I told you I should go to the Treasury. I have been there all morning with the chancellor,"—when Sir Raffle spoke officially of the chancellor he was not supposed to mean the Lord Chancellor—"and here I find letters which I particularly wanted lying upon my desk now. I must put an end to this kind of thing. I must, indeed. If you like the outer office better say so at once, and you can go."
"I'll think about it, Sir Raffle."
"Think about it! What do you mean by thinking about it? But I can't talk about that now. I'm very busy, and shall be here till past seven. I suppose you can stay?"
"All night, if you wish it, sir."
"Very well. That will do for the present.—I wouldn't have had these letters delayed for twenty pounds."
"I don't suppose it would have mattered one straw if both of them remained unopened till next week." This last little speech, however, was not made aloud to Sir Raffle, but by Johnny to himself in the solitude of his own room.
Very soon after that he went away, Sir Raffle having discovered that one of the letters in question required his immediate return to the West End. "I've changed my mind about staying. I shan't stay now. I should have done if these letters had reached me as they ought."
"Then I suppose I can go?"
"You can do as you like about that," said Sir Raffle.
Eames did do as he liked, and went home, or to his club; and as he went he resolved that he would put an end, and at once, to the present trouble of his life. Lily Dale should accept him or reject him; and, taking either the one or the other alternative, she should hear a bit of his mind plainly spoken.
Down at Allington
It was Christmas-time down at Allington, and at three o'clock on Christmas Eve, just as the darkness of the early winter evening was coming on, Lily Dale and Grace Crawley were seated together, one above the other, on the steps leading up to the pulpit in Allington Church. They had been working all day at the decorations of the church, and they were now looking round them at the result of their handiwork. To an eye unused to the gloom the place would have been nearly dark; but they could see every corner turned by the ivy sprigs, and every line on which the holly-leaves were shining. And the greeneries of the winter had not been stuck up in the old-fashioned, idle way, a bough just fastened up here and a twig inserted there; but everything had been done with some meaning, with some thought towards the original architecture of the building. The Gothic lines had been followed, and all the lower arches which it had been possible to reach with an ordinary ladder had been turned as truly with the laurel cuttings as they had been turned originally with the stone.
"I wouldn't tie another twig," said the elder girl, "for all the Christmas pudding that was ever boiled."
"It's lucky then that there isn't another twig to tie."
"I don't know about that. I see a score of places where the work has been scamped. This is the sixth time I have done the church, and I don't think I'll ever do it again. When we first began it, Bell and I, you know,—before Bell was married,—Mrs Boyce, and the Boycian establishment generally, used to come and help. Or rather we used to help her. Now she hardly ever looks after it at all."
"She is older, I suppose."
"She's a little older, and a deal idler. How idle people do get! Look at him. Since he has had a curate he hardly ever stirs round the parish. And he is getting so fat that— H—sh! Here she is herself,—come to give her judgment upon us." Then a stout lady, the wife of the vicar, walked slowly up the aisle. "Well, girls," she said, "you have worked hard, and I am sure Mr Boyce will be very much obliged to you."
"Mr Boyce, indeed!" said Lily Dale. "We shall expect the whole parish to rise from their seats and thank us. Why didn't Jane and Bessy come and help us?"
"They were so tired when they came in from the coal club. Besides, they don't care for this kind of thing,—not as you do."
"Jane is utilitarian to the backbone, I know," said Lily, "and Bessy doesn't like getting up ladders."
"As for ladders," said Mrs Boyce, defending her daughter, "I am not quite sure that Bessy isn't right. You don't mean to say that you did all those capitals yourself?"
"Every twig, with Hopkins to hold the ladder and cut the sticks; and as Hopkins is just a hundred and one years old, we could have done it pretty nearly as well alone."
"I do not think that," said Grace.
"He has been grumbling all the time," said Lily, "and swears he never will have the laurels so robbed again. Five or six years ago he used to declare that death would certainly save him from the pain of such another desecration before the next Christmas; but he has given up that foolish notion now, and talks as though he meant to protect the Allington shrubs at any rate to the end of this century."
"I am sure we gave our share from the parsonage," said Mrs Boyce, who never understood a joke.
"All the best came from the parsonage, as of course they ought," said Lily. "But Hopkins had to make up the deficiency. And as my uncle told him to take the haycart for them instead of the hand-barrow, he is broken-hearted."
"I am sure he was very good-natured," said Grace.
"Nevertheless he is broken-hearted; and I am very good-natured too, and I am broken-backed. Who is going to preach to-morrow morning, Mrs Boyce?"
"Mr Swanton will preach in the morning."
"Tell him not to be too long, because of the children's pudding. Tell Mr Boyce if he is long, we won't any of us come next Sunday."
"My dear, how can you say such wicked things! I shall not tell him anything of the kind."
"That's not wicked, Mrs Boyce. If I were to say I had eaten so much lunch that I didn't want any dinner, you'd understand that. If Mr Swanton will preach for three-quarters of an hour—"
"He only preached for three-quarters of an hour once, Lily."
"He has been over the half-hour every Sunday since he has been here. His average is over forty minutes, and I say it's a shame."
"It is not a shame at all, Lily," said Mrs Boyce, becoming very serious.
"Look at my uncle; he doesn't like to go to sleep, and he has to suffer a purgatory in keeping himself awake."
"If your uncle is heavy, how can Mr Swanton help it? If Mr Dale's mind were on the subject he would not sleep."
"Come, Mrs Boyce; there's somebody else sleeps sometimes besides my uncle. When Mr Boyce puts up his finger and just touches his nose, I know as well as possible why he does it."
"Lily Dale, you have no business to say so. It is not true. I don't know how you can bring yourself to talk in that way of your own clergyman. If I were to tell your mamma, she would be shocked."
"You won't be so ill-natured, Mrs Boyce,—after all that I've done for the church."
"If you think more about the clergyman, Lily, and less about the church," said Mrs Boyce very sententiously, "more about the matter and less about the manner, more of the reality and less of the form, I think you'd find that your religion would go further with you. Miss Crawley is the daughter of a clergyman, and I'm sure she will agree with me."
"If she agrees with anybody in scolding me I'll quarrel with her."
"I didn't mean to scold you, Lily."
"I don't mind it from you, Mrs Boyce. Indeed, I rather like it. It is a sort of pastoral visitation; and as Mr Boyce never scolds me himself I take it from him by attorney." Then there was silence for a minute or two, during which Mrs Boyce was endeavouring to discover whether Miss Dale was laughing at her or not. As she was not quite certain, she thought at last that she would let the suspected fault pass unobserved. "Don't wait for us, Mrs Boyce," said Lily. "We must remain till Hopkins has sent Gregory to sweep the church out and take away the rubbish. We'll see that the key is left at Mrs Giles's."
"Thank you, my dear. Then I may as well go. I thought I'd come in and see that it was all right. I'm sure Mr Boyce will be very much obliged to you and Miss Crawley. Good-night, my dear."
"Good-night, Mrs Boyce; and be sure you don't let Mr Swanton be long to-morrow." To this parting shot Mrs Boyce made no rejoinder; but she hurried out of the church somewhat quicker for it, and closed the door after her with something of a slam.
Of all persons clergymen are the most irreverent in the handling of things supposed to be sacred, and next to them clergyman's wives, and after them those other ladies, old or young, who take upon themselves semi-clerical duties. And it is natural that it should be so; for is it not said that familiarity does breed contempt? When a parson takes his lay friend over his church on a week day, how much less of the spirit of genuflexion and head-uncovering the clergyman will display to the layman! The parson pulls about the woodwork and knocks about the stonework, as though it were mere wood and stone; and talks aloud in the aisle, and treats even the reading-desk as a common thing; whereas the visitor whispers gently, and carries himself as though even in looking at a church he was bound to regard himself as performing some service that was half divine. Now Lily Dale and Grace Crawley were both accustomed to churches, and had been so long at work in this church for the last two days, that the building had lost to them much of its sacredness, and they were almost as irreverent as though they were two curates.
"I am so glad she has gone," said Lily. "We shall have to stop here for the next hour, as Gregory won't know what to take away and what to leave. I was so afraid she was going to stop and see us off the premises."
"I don't know why you should dislike her."
"I don't dislike her. I like her very well," said Lily Dale. "But don't you feel that there are people whom one knows very intimately, who are really friends,—for whom if they were dying one would grieve, whom if they were in misfortune one would go far to help, but with whom for all that one can have no sympathy. And yet they are so near to one that they know all the events of one's life, and are justified by unquestioned friendship in talking about things which should never be mentioned except where sympathy exists."
"Yes; I understand that."
"Everybody understands it who has been unhappy. That woman sometimes says things to me that make me wish,—wish that they'd make him bishop of Patagonia. And yet she does it all in friendship, and mamma says that she is quite right."
"I liked her for standing up for her husband."
"But he does go to sleep,—and then he scratches his nose to show that he's awake. I shouldn't have said it, only she is always hinting at uncle Christopher. Uncle Christopher certainly does go to sleep when Mr Boyce preaches, and he hasn't studied any scientific little movements during his slumbers to make the people believe that he's all alive. I gave him a hint one day, and he got so angry with me!"
"I shouldn't have thought he could have been angry with you. It seems to me from what you say that you may do whatever you please with him."
"He is very good to me. If you knew it all,—if you could understand how good he has been! I'll try and tell you one day. It is not what he has done that makes me love him so,—but what he has thoroughly understood, and what, so understanding, he has not done, and what he has not said. It is a case of sympathy. If ever there was a gentleman uncle Christopher is one. And I used to dislike him so, at one time!"
"Chiefly because he would make me wear brown frocks when I wanted to have them pink or green. And he kept me for six months from having them long, and up to this day he scolds me if there is half an inch on the ground for him to tread upon."
"I shouldn't mind that if I were you."
"I don't,—not now. But it used to be serious when I was a young girl. And we thought, Bell and I, that he was cross to mamma. He and mamma didn't agree at first, you know, as they do now. It is quite true that he did dislike mamma when we first came here."
"I can't think how anybody could ever dislike Mrs Dale."
"But he did. And then he wanted to make up a marriage between Bell and my cousin Bernard. But neither of them cared a bit for the other, and then he used to scold them,—and then,—and then,—and then— Oh, he was so good to me! Here's Gregory at last. Gregory, we've been waiting this hour and a half."
"It ain't ten minutes since Hopkins let me come with the barrows, miss."
"Then Hopkins is a traitor. Never mind. You'd better begin now,—up there at the steps. It'll be quite dark in a few minutes. Here's Mrs Giles with her broom. Come, Mrs Giles; we shall have to pass the night here if you don't make haste. Are you cold, Grace?"
"No; I'm not cold. I'm thinking what they're doing now in the church at Hogglestock."
"The Hogglestock church is not pretty;—like this?"
"Oh, no. It is a very plain brick building, with something like a pigeon-house for a belfry. And the pulpit is over the reading-desk, and the reading-desk over the clerk, so that papa, when he preaches, is nearly up to the ceiling. And the whole place is divided into pews, in which the farmers hide themselves when they come to church."
"So that nobody can see whether they go to sleep or no. Oh, Mrs Giles, you mustn't pull that down. That's what we have been putting up all day."
"But it be in the way, miss; so that the minister can't budge in or out o' the door."
"Never mind. Then he must stay one side or the other. That would be too much after all our trouble!" And Miss Dale hurried across the chancel to save some pretty arching boughs, which, in the judgment of Mrs Giles, encroached too much on the vestry door. "As if it signified which side he was," she said in a whisper to Grace.
"I don't suppose they'll have anything in the church at home," said Grace.
"Somebody will stick up a wreath or two, I daresay."
"Nobody will. There never is anybody at Hogglestock to stick up wreaths, or do anything for the prettinesses of life. And now there will be less done than ever. How can mamma look after the holly-leaves in her present state? And yet she will miss them, too. Poor mamma sees very little that is pretty; but she has not forgotten how pleasant pretty things are."
"I wish I knew your mother, Grace."
"I think it would be impossible for any one to know mamma now,—for any one who had not known her before. She never makes even a new acquaintance. She seems to think that there is nothing left for her in the world but to try and keep papa out of his misery. And she does not succeed in that. Poor papa!"
"Is he very unhappy about this wicked accusation?"
"Yes; he is very unhappy. But, Lily, I don't know about its being wicked."
"But you know that it is untrue."
"Of course I know that papa did not mean to take anything that was not his own. But, you see, nobody knows where it came from; and nobody except mamma and Jane and I understand how very absent papa can be. I'm sure he doesn't know the least in the world how he came by it himself, or he would tell mamma. Do you know, Lily, I think I have been wrong to come away."
"Don't say that, dear. Remember how anxious Mrs Crawley was that you should come."
"But I cannot bear to be comfortable here while they are so wretched at home. It seems such a mockery. Every time I find myself smiling at what you say to me, I think I must be the most heartless creature in the world."
"Is it so very bad with them, Grace?"
"Indeed it is bad. I don't think you can imagine what mamma has to go through. She has to cook all that is eaten in the house, and then, very often, there is no money in the house to buy anything. If you were to see the clothes she wears, even that would make your heart bleed. I who have been used to being poor all my life,—even I, when I am at home, am dismayed by what she has to endure."
"What can we do for her, Grace?"
"You can do nothing, Lily. But when things are like that at home you can understand what I feel in being here."
Mrs Giles and Gregory had now completed their task, or had so nearly done so as to make Miss Dale think that she might safely leave the church. "We will go in now," she said; "for it is dark and cold, and what I call creepy. Do you ever fancy that perhaps you will see a ghost some day?"
"I don't think I shall ever see a ghost; but all the same I should be half afraid to be here alone in the dark."
"I am often here alone in the dark, but I am beginning to think I shall never see a ghost now. I am losing all my romance, and getting to be an old woman. Do you know, Grace, I do so hate myself for being such an old maid."
"But who says you're an old maid, Lily?"
"I see it in people's eyes, and hear it in their voices. And they all talk to me as if I were very steady, and altogether removed from anything like fun and frolic. It seems to be admitted that if a girl does not want to fall in love, she ought not to care for any other fun in the world. If anybody made out a list of the old ladies in these parts, they'd put down Lady Julia, and mamma, and Mrs Boyce, and me, and old Mrs Hearne. The very children have an awful respect for me, and give over playing directly they see me. Well, mamma, we've done at last, and I have had such a scolding from Mrs Boyce."
"I daresay you deserved it, my dear."
"No, I did not, mamma. Ask Grace if I did."
"Was she not saucy to Mrs Boyce, Miss Crawley?"
"She said that Mr Boyce scratches his nose in church," said Grace.
"So he does; and goes to sleep, too."
"If you told Mrs Boyce that, Lily, I think she was quite right to scold you."
Such was Miss Lily Dale, with whom Grace Crawley was staying;—Lily Dale with whom Mr John Eames, of the Income-tax Office, had been so long and so steadily in love, that he was regarded among his fellow-clerks as a miracle of constancy,—who had, herself, in former days been so unfortunate in love as to have been regarded among her friends in the country as the most ill-used of women. As John Eames had been able to be comfortable in life,—that is to say, not utterly a wretch,—in spite of his love, so had she managed to hold up her head, and live as other young women live, in spite of her misfortune. But as it may be said also that his constancy was true constancy, although he knew how to enjoy the good things of the world, so also had her misfortune been a true misfortune, although she had been able to bear it without much outer show of shipwreck. For a few days—for a week or two, when the blow first struck her, she had been knocked down, and the friends who were nearest to her had thought that she would never again stand erect upon her feet. But she had been very strong, stout at heart, of a fixed purpose, and capable of resistance against oppression. Even her own mother had been astonished, and sometimes almost dismayed, by the strength of her will. Her mother knew well how it was with her now; but they who saw her frequently, and who did not know her as her mother knew her,—the Mrs Boyces of her acquaintance,—whispered among themselves that Lily Dale was not so soft of heart as people used to think.
On the next day, Christmas Day, as the reader will remember, Grace Crawley was taken up to dine at the big house with the old squire. Mrs Dale's eldest daughter, with her husband, Dr Crofts, was to be there; and also Lily's old friend, who was also especially the old friend of Johnny Eames, Lady Julia De Guest. Grace had endeavoured to be excused from the party, pleading many pleas. But the upshot of all her pleas was this,—that while her father's position was so painful she ought not to go out anywhere. In answer to this, Lily Dale, corroborated by her mother, assured her that for her father's sake she ought not to exhibit any such feeling; that in doing so, she would seem to express a doubt as to her father's innocence. Then she allowed herself to be persuaded, telling her friend, however, that she knew the day would be very miserable to her. "It will be very humdrum, if you please," said Lily. "Nothing can be more humdrum than Christmas at the Great House. Nevertheless, you must go."
Coming out of church, Grace was introduced to the old squire. He was a thin, old man, with grey hair, and the smallest possible grey whiskers, with a dry, solemn face; not carrying in his outward gait much of the customary jollity for Christmas. He took his hat off to Grace, and said some word to her as to hoping to have the pleasure of seeing her at dinner. It sounded very cold to her, and she became at once afraid of him. "I wish I was not going," she said to Lily, again. "I know he thinks I ought not to go. I shall be so thankful if you will but let me stay."
"Don't be so foolish, Grace. It all comes from your not knowing him, or understanding him. And how should you understand him? I give you my word that I would tell you if I did not know that he wishes you to go."
She had to go. "Of course I haven't a dress fit. How should I?" she said to Lily. "How wrong it is of me to put myself up to such a thing as this."
"Your dress is beautiful, child. We are none of us going in evening dresses. Pray believe that I will not make you do wrong. If you won't trust me, can't you trust mamma?"
Of course she went. When the three ladies entered the drawing-room of the Great House, they found that Lady Julia had arrived just before them. Lady Julia immediately took hold of Lily, and led her apart, having a word or two to say about the clerk in the Income-tax Office. I am not sure but what the dear old woman sometimes said a few more words than were expedient, with a view to the object which she had so closely at heart. "John is to be with us the first week in February," she said. "I suppose you'll see him before that, as he'll probably be with his mother a few days before he comes to me."
"I daresay we shall see him quite in time, Lady Julia," said Lily.
"Now, Lily, don't be ill-natured."
"I'm the most good-natured young woman alive, Lady Julia; and as for Johnny, he is always as welcome at the Small House as violets in March. Mamma purrs about him when he comes, asking all manner of flattering questions as though he were a cabinet minister at least, and I always admire some little knickknack that he has got, a new ring, or a stud, or a button. There isn't another man in all the world whose buttons I'd look at."
"It isn't his buttons, Lily."
"Ah, that's just it. I can go as far as his buttons. But, come, Lady Julia, this is Christmas-time, and Christmas should be a holiday."
In the meantime Mrs Dale was occupied with her married daughter and her son-in-law, and the squire had attached himself to poor Grace. "You have never been in this part of the country before, Miss Crawley," he said.
"It is rather pretty just about here, and Guestwick Manor is a fine place in its way, but we have not so much natural beauty as you have in Barsetshire. Chaldicote Chase is, I think, as pretty as anything in England."
"I never saw Chaldicote Chase, sir. It isn't pretty at all at Hogglestock, where we live."
"Ah, I forgot. No; it is not very pretty at Hogglestock. That's where the bricks come from."
"Papa is clergyman at Hogglestock."
"Yes, yes; I remember. Your father is a great scholar. I have often heard of him. I am sorry he should be distressed by this charge they have made. But it will all come right at the assizes. They always get at the truth there. I used to be intimate with a clergyman in Barsetshire of the name of Grantly;"—Grace felt that her ears were tingling, and that her face was red;—"Archdeacon Grantly. His father was bishop of the diocese."
"Yes, sir. Archdeacon Grantly lives at Plumstead."
"I was staying once with an old friend of mine, Mr Thorne of Ullathorne, who lives close to Plumstead, and saw a good deal of them. I remember thinking Henry Grantly was a very nice lad. He married afterwards."
"Yes sir; but his wife is dead now, and he has got a little girl,—Edith Grantly."
"Is there no other child?"
"No sir; only Edith."
"You know him, then?"
"Yes sir; I know Major Grantly,—and Edith. I never saw Archdeacon Grantly."
"Then, my dear, you never saw a very famous pillar of the Church. I remember when people used to talk a great deal about Archdeacon Grantly; but when his time came to be made a bishop, he was not sufficiently new-fangled; and so he got passed by. He is much better off as he is, I should say. Bishops have to work very hard, my dear."
"Do they, sir?"
"So they tell me. And the archdeacon is a wealthy man. So Henry Grantly has got an only daughter? I hope she is a nice child, for I remember liking him well."
"She is a very nice child, indeed Mr Dale. She could not be nicer. And she is so lovely." Then Mr Dale looked into his young companion's face, struck by the sudden animation of her words, and perceived for the first time that she was very pretty.
After this Grace became accustomed to the strangeness of the faces round her, and managed to eat her dinner without much perturbation of spirit. When after dinner the squire proposed to her that they should drink the health of her papa and mamma, she was almost reduced to tears, and yet she liked him for doing it. It was terrible to her to have them mentioned, knowing as she did that every one who mentioned them must be aware of their misery,—for the misfortune of her father had become notorious in the country; but it was almost more terrible to her that no allusion should be made to them; for then she would be driven to think that her father was regarded as a man whom the world could not afford to mention. "Papa and mamma," she just murmured, raising her glass to her lips. "Grace, dear," said Lily from across the table, "here's papa and mamma, and the young man at Marlborough who is carrying everything before him." "Yes; we won't forget the young man at Marlborough," said the squire. Grace felt this to be good-natured, because her brother at Marlborough was the one bright spot in her family,—and she was comforted.
"And we will drink the health of my friend, John Eames," said Lady Julia.
"John Eames' health," said the squire, in a low voice.
"Johnny's health," said Mrs Dale; but Mrs Dale's voice was not very brisk.
"John's health," said Dr Crofts and Mrs Crofts, in a breath.
"Here's the health of Johnny Eames," said Lily; and her voice was the clearest and the boldest of them all. But she made up her mind that if Lady Julia could not be induced to spare her for the future, she and Lady Julia must quarrel. "No one can understand," she said to her mother that evening, "how dreadful it is,—this being constantly told before one's family and friends that one ought to marry a certain young man."
"She didn't say that, my dear."
"I should much prefer that she should, for then I could get up on my legs and answer her off the reel. Of course everybody there understood what she meant,—including old John Bates, who stood at the sideboard and coolly drank the toast himself."
"He always does that to all the family toasts on Christmas Day. Your uncle likes it."
"That wasn't a family toast, and John Bates had no right to drink it."
After dinner they all played cards,—a round game,—and the squire put in the stakes. "Now, Grace," said Lily, "you are the visitor and you must win, or else Uncle Christopher won't be happy. He always likes a young lady visitor to win."
"But I never played a game of cards in my life."
"Go and sit next to him and he'll teach you. Uncle Christopher, won't you teach Grace Crawley? She never saw a Pope Joan board in her life before."
"Come here, my dear, and sit next to me. Dear, dear, dear; fancy Henry Grantly having a little girl. What a handsome lad he was. And it seems only yesterday." If it was so that Lily had said a word to her uncle about Grace and the major, the old squire had become on a sudden very sly. Be that as it may, Grace Crawley thought that he was a pleasant old man; and though, while talking to him about Edith, she persisted in not learning to play Pope Joan, so that he could not contrive that she should win, nevertheless the squire took to her very kindly, and told her to come up with Lily and see him sometimes while she was staying at the Small House. The squire in speaking of his sister-in-law's cottage always called it the Small House.
"Only think of my winning," said Lady Julia, drawing together her wealth. "Well, I'm sure I want it bad enough, for I don't at all know whether I've got any income of my own. It's all John Eames's fault, my dear, for he won't go and make those people settle it in Lincoln's Inn Fields." Poor Lily, who was standing on the hearth-rug, touched her mother's arm. She knew Johnny's name was lugged in with reference to Lady Julia's money altogether for her benefit. "I wonder whether she ever had a Johnny of her own," she said to her mother, "and if so, whether she liked it when her friends sent the town-crier round to talk about him."
"She means to be good-natured," said Mrs Dale.
"Of course she does. But it is such a pity when people won't understand."
"My uncle didn't bite you after all, Grace," said Lily to her friend as they were going home at night, by the pathway which led from the garden of one house to the garden of the other.
"I like Mr Dale very much," said Grace. "He was very kind to me."
"There is some queer-looking animal of whom they say that he is better than he looks, and I always think of that saying when I think of my uncle."
"For shame, Lily," said her mother. "Your uncle, for his age, is as good a looking a man as I know. And he always looks like just what he is,—an English gentleman."
"I didn't mean to say a word against his dear old face and figure, mamma; but his heart, and mind, and general disposition, as they come out in experience and days of trial, are so much better than the samples of them which he puts out on the counter for men and women to judge by. He wears well, and he washes well,—if you know what I mean, Grace."
"Yes; I think I know what you mean."
"The Apollos of the world,—I don't mean in outward looks, mamma,—but the Apollos in heart, the men,—and the women too,—who are so full of feeling, so soft-natured, so kind, who never say a cross word, who never get out of bed on the wrong side in the morning,—it so often turns out that they won't wash."
Such was the expression of Miss Lily Dale's experience.
Mr Crawley Is Summoned to Barchester
The scene which occurred in Hogglestock church on the Sunday after Mr Thumble's first visit to that parish had not been described with absolute accuracy either by the archdeacon in his letter to his son, or by Mrs Thorne. There had been no footman from the palace in attendance on Mr Thumble, nor had there been a battle with the brickmakers; neither had Mr Thumble been put under the pump. But Mr Thumble had gone over, taking his gown and surplice with him, on the Sunday morning, and had intimated to Mr Crawley his intention of performing the service. Mr Crawley, in answer to this, had assured Mr Thumble that he would not be allowed to open his mouth in the church; and Mr Thumble, not seeing his way to any further successful action, had contented himself with attending the services in his surplice, making thereby a silent protest that he, and not Mr Crawley, ought to have been in the reading-desk and the pulpit.
When Mr Trumble reported himself and his failure at the palace, he strove hard to avoid seeing Mrs Proudie, but not successfully. He knew something of the palace habits, and did manage to reach the bishop alone on the Sunday evening, justifying himself to his lordship for such an interview by the remarkable circumstances of the case and the importance of his late mission. Mrs Proudie always went to church on Sunday evenings, making a point of hearing three services and three sermons every Sunday of her life. On week-days she seldom heard any, having an idea that week-day services were an invention of the High Church enemy, and that they should therefore be vehemently discouraged. Services on saints' days she regarded as rank papacy, and had been known to accuse a clergyman's wife to her face, of idolatry, because the poor lady had dated a letter, St John's Eve. Mr Thumble, on this Sunday evening, was successful in finding the bishop at home, and alone, but he was not lucky enough to get away before Mrs Proudie returned. The bishop, perhaps, thought that the story of the failure had better reach his wife's ears from Mr Thumble's lips than from his own.
"Well, Mr Thumble?" said Mrs Proudie, walking into the study, armed in her full Sunday-evening winter panoply, in which she had just descended from her carriage. The church which Mrs Proudie attended in the evening was nearly half a mile from the palace, and the coachman and groom never got a holiday on Sunday night. She was gorgeous in a dark brown silk dress of awful stiffness and terrible dimensions; and on her shoulders she wore a short cloak of velvet and fur, very handsome withal, but so swelling in its proportions on all sides as necessarily to create more of dismay than of admiration in the mind of any ordinary man. And her bonnet was a monstrous helmet with the beaver up, displaying the awful face of the warrior, always ready for combat, and careless to guard itself from attack. The large contorted bows which she bore were as a grisly crest upon her casque, beautiful, doubtless, but majestic and fear-compelling. In her hand she carried her armour all complete, a prayer-book, a Bible, and a book of hymns. These the footman had brought for her to the study door, but she had thought fit to enter her husband's room with them in her own custody.
"Well, Mr Thumble!" she said.
Mr Thumble did not answer at once, thinking, probably, that the bishop might choose to explain the circumstances. But, neither did the bishop say anything.
"Well, Mr Thumble?" she said again; and then she stood looking at the man who had failed so disastrously.
"I have explained to the bishop," said he. "Mr Crawley has been contumacious,—very contumacious indeed."
"But you preached at Hogglestock?"
"No, indeed, Mrs Proudie. Nor would it have been possible, unless I had had the police to assist me."
"Then you should have had the police. I never heard of anything so mismanaged in all my life,—never in all my life." And she put her books down on the study table, and turned herself round from Mr Thumble towards the bishop. "If things go on like this, my lord," she said, "your authority in the diocese will very soon be worth nothing at all." It was not often that Mrs Proudie called her husband my lord, but when she did do so, it was a sign that terrible times had come;—times so terrible that the bishop would know that he must either fight or fly. He would almost endure anything rather than descend into the arena for the purpose of doing battle with his wife, but occasions would come now and again when even the alternative of flight was hardly left to him.
"But, my dear—" began the bishop.
"Am I to understand that this man has professed himself to be altogether indifferent to the bishop's prohibition?" said Mrs Proudie, interrupting her husband and addressing Mr Thumble.
"Quite so. He seemed to think that the bishop had no lawful power in the matter at all," said Mr Thumble.
"Do you hear that, my lord?" said Mrs Proudie.
"Nor have I any," said the bishop, almost weeping as he spoke.
"No authority in your own diocese!"
"None to silence a man merely by my own judgment. I thought, and still think, that it was for this gentleman's own interest, as well as for the credit of the Church, that some provision should be made for his duties during his present,—present—difficulties."
"Difficulties indeed! Everybody knows that the man has been a thief."
"No, my dear; I do not know it."
"You never know anything, bishop."
"I mean to say that I do not know it officially. Of course I have heard the sad story; and though I hope it may not be the—"
"There is no doubt about its truth. All the world knows it. He has stolen twenty pounds, and yet he is to be allowed to desecrate the Church, and imperil the souls of the people!" The bishop got up from his chair and began to walk backwards and forwards through the room with short quick steps. "It only wants five days to Christmas Day," continued Mrs Proudie, "and something must be done at once. I say nothing as to the propriety or impropriety of his being out on bail, as it is no affair of ours. When I heard that he had been bailed by a beneficed clergyman of this diocese, of course I knew where to look for the man who would act with so much impropriety. Of course I was not surprised when I found that the person belonged to Framley. But, as I have said before, that is no business of ours. I hope, Mr Thumble, that the bishop will never be found interfering with the ordinary laws of the land. I am very sure that he will never do so by my advice. But when there comes a question of inhibiting a clergyman who has committed himself as that clergyman unfortunately has done, then I say that that clergyman ought to be inhibited." The bishop walked up and down the room throughout the whole of this speech, but gradually his steps became quicker, and his turns became shorter. "And now here is Christmas Day upon us, and what is to be done?" With these words Mrs Proudie finished her speech.
"Mr Thumble," said the bishop, "perhaps you had better now retire. I am very sorry that you should have had so thankless and so disagreeable a task."
"Why should Mr Thumble retire?" asked Mrs Proudie.
"I think it better," said the bishop. "Mr Thumble, good-night." Then Mr Thumble did retire, and Mrs Proudie stood forth in her full panoply of armour, silent and awful, with her helmet erect, and vouchsafed no recognition whatever of the parting salutation with which Mr Thumble greeted her. "My dear, the truth is, you do not understand the matter," said the bishop, as soon as the door was closed. "You do not know how limited is my power."
"Bishop, I understand it a great deal better than some people; and I understand also what is due to myself and the manner in which I ought to be treated by you in the presence of the subordinate clergy of the diocese. I shall not, however, remain here to be insulted in the presence or in the absence of any one." Then the conquered amazon collected together her weapons which she had laid upon the table, and took her departure with majestic step, and not without the clang of arms. The bishop, even when he was left alone, enjoyed for a few moments the triumph of his victory.
But then he was left so very much alone! When he looked round about him upon his solitude after the departure of his wife, and remembered that he should not see her again till he should encounter her on ground that was all her own, he regretted his own success, and was tempted to follow her and to apologise. He was unable to do anything alone. He would not even know how to get his tea, as the very servants would ask questions, if he were to do so unaccustomed a thing as to order it to be brought up to him in his solitude. They would tell him that Mrs Proudie was having her tea in her little sitting-room upstairs, or else that the things were laid in the drawing-room. He did wander forth to the latter apartment, hoping that he might find his wife there; but the drawing-room was dark and deserted, and so he wandered back again. It was a grand thing certainly to have triumphed over his wife, and there was a crumb of comfort in the thought that he had vindicated himself before Mr Thumble; but the general result was not comforting, and he knew from of old how short-lived his triumph would be.
But wretched as he was during that evening he did employ himself with some energy. After much thought he resolved that he would again write to Mr Crawley, and summon him to appear at the palace. In doing this he would at any rate be doing something. There would be action. And though Mr Crawley would, as he thought, decline to obey the order, something would be gained even by that disobedience. So he wrote his summons,—sitting very comfortless and all alone on that Sunday evening,—dating his letter, however, for the following day:—
PALACE, December 20, 186—
I have just heard from Mr Thumble that you have declined to accede to the advice which I thought it my duty to tender to you as the bishop who has been set over you by the Church, and that you yesterday insisted on what you believed to be your right, to administer the services in the parish church of Hogglestock. This has occasioned me the deepest regret. It is, I think, unavailing that I should further write to you my mind upon the subject, as I possess such strong evidence that my written word will not be respected by you. I have, therefore, no alternative now but to invite you to come to me here; and this I do, hoping that I may induce you to listen to that authority which I cannot but suppose you acknowledge to be vested in the office which I hold.
I shall be glad to see you on to-morrow, Tuesday, as near the hour of two as you can make it convenient to yourself to be here, and I will take care to order that refreshment will be provided for yourself and your horse.
I am, Reverend Sir, &c &c &c,
"My dear," he said, when he did again encounter his wife that night, "I have written to Mr Crawley, and I thought I might as well bring up the copy of my letter."
"I wash my hands of the whole affair," said Mrs Proudie—"of the whole affair!"
"But you will look at the letter?"
"Certainly not. Why should I look at the letter? My word goes for nothing. I have done what I could, but in vain. Now let us see how you will manage it yourself."
The bishop did not pass a comfortable night; but in the morning his wife did read his letter, and after that things went a little smoother with him. She was pleased to say that, considering all things; seeing, as she could not help seeing, that the matter had been dreadfully mismanaged, and that great weakness had been displayed;—seeing that these faults had already been committed, perhaps no better step could now be taken than that proposed in the letter.
"I suppose he will not come," said the bishop.
"I think he will," said Mrs Proudie, "and I trust that we may be able to convince him that obedience will be his best course. He will be more humble-minded here than at Hogglestock." In saying this the lady showed some knowledge of the general nature of clergymen and of the world at large. She understood how much louder a cock can crow in its own farmyard than elsewhere, and knew that episcopal authority, backed by all the solemn awe of palatial grandeur, goes much further than it will do when sent under the folds of an ordinary envelope. But though she understood ordinary human nature, it may be that she did not understand Mr Crawley's nature.
But she was at any rate right in her idea as to Mr Crawley's immediate reply. The palace groom who rode over to Hogglestock returned with an immediate answer.
MY LORD—[said Mr Crawley]
I will obey your lordship's summons, and, unless impediments should arise, I will wait upon your lordship at the hour you name to-morrow. I will not trespass on your hospitality. For myself, I rarely break bread in any house but my own; and as to the horse, I have none.
I have the honour to be, My lord, &c &c,
"Of course I shall go," he had said to his wife as soon as he had had time to read the letter, and make known to her the contents. "I shall go if it be possible for me to get there. I think that I am bound to comply with the bishop's wishes in so much as that."
"But how will you get there, Josiah?"
"I will walk,—with the Lord's aid."
Now Hogglestock was fifteen miles from Barchester, and Mr Crawley was, as his wife well knew, by no means fitted in his present state for great physical exertion. But from the tone in which he had replied to her, she well knew that it would not avail for her to remonstrate at the moment. He had walked more than thirty miles in a day since they had been living at Hogglestock, and she did not doubt but that it might be possible for him to do it again. Any scheme, which she might be able to devise for saving him from so terrible a journey in the middle of winter, must be pondered over silently, and brought to bear, if not slyly, at least deftly, and without discussion. She made no reply therefore when he declared that on the following day he would walk to Barchester and back,—with the Lord's aid; nor did she see, or ask to see the note which he sent to the bishop. When the messenger was gone, Mr Crawley was all alert, looking forward with evident glee to his encounter with the bishop,—snorting like a racehorse at the expected triumph of the coming struggle. And he read much Greek with Jane on that afternoon, pouring into her young ears, almost with joyous rapture, his appreciation of the glory and the pathos and the humanity, as also of the awful tragedy of the story of Oedipus. His very soul was on fire at the idea of clutching the weak bishop in his hand, and crushing him with his strong grasp.
In the afternoon Mrs Crawley slipped out to a neighbouring farmer's wife, and returned in an hour's time with a little story which she did not tell with any appearance of eager satisfaction. She had learned well what were the little tricks necessary to the carrying of such a matter as that which she had now in hand. Mr Mangle, the farmer, as it happened, was going to-morrow morning in his tax-cart as far as Framley Mill, and would be delighted if Mr Crawley would take a seat. He must remain at Framley the best part of the afternoon, and hoped that Mr Crawley would take a seat back again. Now Framley Mill was only half a mile off the direct road to Barchester, and was almost half-way from Hogglestock parsonage to the city. This would, at any rate, bring the walk within a practicable distance. Mr Crawley was instantly placed upon his guard, like an animal that sees the bait and suspects the trap. Had he been told that farmer Mangle was going all the way to Barchester, nothing would have induced him to get into the cart. He would have felt sure that farmer Mangle had been persuaded to pity him in his poverty and his strait, and he would sooner have started to walk to London than have put a foot upon the step of the cart. But this lift half way did look to him as though it were really fortuitous. His wife could hardly have been cunning enough to persuade the farmer to go to Framley, conscious that the trap would have been suspected had the bait been made more full. But I fear,—I fear the dear good woman had been thus cunning,—had understood how far the trap might be baited, and had thus succeeded in catching her prey.
On the following morning he consented to get into farmer Mangle's cart, and was driven as far as Framley Mill. "I wouldn't think nowt, your reverence, of running you over into Barchester,—that I wouldn't. The powny is so mortial good," said farmer Mangle in his foolish good-nature.
"And how about your business here?" said Mr Crawley. The farmer scratched his head, remembering all Mrs Crawley's injunctions, and awkwardly acknowledged that to be sure his own business with the miller was very pressing. Then Mr Crawley descended, terribly suspicious, and went on his journey.
"Anyways, your reverence will call for me coming back?" said farmer Mangle. But Mr Crawley would make no promise. He bade the farmer not wait for him. If they chanced to meet together on the road he might get up again. If the man really had business at Framley, how could he have offered to go on to Barchester? Were they deceiving him? The wife of his bosom had deceived him in such matters before now. But his trouble in this respect was soon dissipated by the pride of his anticipated triumph over the bishop. He took great glory from the thought that he would go before the bishop with dirty boots,—with boots necessarily dirty,—with rusty pantaloons, that he would be hot and mud-stained with his walk, hungry, and an object to be wondered at by all who should see him, because of the misfortunes which had been unworthily heaped upon his head; whereas the bishop would be sleek and clean and well-fed,—pretty with all the prettinesses that are becoming to a bishop's outward man. And he, Mr Crawley, would be humble, whereas the bishop would be very proud. And the bishop would be in his own arm-chair,—the cock in his own farmyard, while he, Mr Crawley, would be seated afar off, in the cold extremity of the room, with nothing of outward circumstances to assist him,—a man called thither to undergo censure. And yet he would take the bishop in his grasp and crush him,—crush him,—crush him! As he thought of this he walked quickly through the mud, and put out his long arm and his great hand, far before him out into the air, and, there and then, he crushed the bishop in his imagination. Yes, indeed! He thought it very doubtful whether the bishop would ever send for him a second time. As all this passed through his mind, he forgot his wife's cunning, and farmer Mangle's sin, and for the moment he was happy.
As he turned a corner round by Lord Lufton's park paling, who should he meet but his old friend Mr Robarts, the parson of Framley,—the parson who had committed the sin of being bail for him,—the sin, that is, according to Mrs Proudie's view of the matter. He was walking with his hand still stretched out,—still crushing the bishop, when Mr Robarts was close upon him.
"What, Crawley! upon my word I am very glad to see you; you are coming up to me, of course?"
"Thank you, Mr Robarts; no, not to-day. The bishop has summoned me to his presence, and I am on my road to Barchester."
"But how are you going?"
"I shall walk."
"Walk to Barchester. Impossible!"
"I hope not quite impossible, Mr Robarts. I trust I shall get as far before two o'clock; but to do so I must be on my road." Then he showed signs of a desire to go upon his way without further parley.
"But, Crawley, do let me send you over. There is the horse and gig doing nothing."
"Thank you, Mr Robarts; no. I should prefer to walk to-day."
"And you have walked from Hogglestock?"
"No;—not so. A neighbour coming hither, who happened to have business at your mill,—he brought me so far in his cart. The walk home will be nothing,—nothing. I shall enjoy it. Good morning, Mr Robarts."
But Mr Robarts thought of the dirty road, and of the bishop's presence, and of his own ideas of what would be becoming for a clergyman,—and persevered. "You will find the lanes so very muddy; and our bishop, you know, is apt to notice such things. Do be persuaded."
"Notice what things?" demanded Mr Crawley, in an indignant tone.
"He, or perhaps she rather, will say how dirty your shoes were when you came to the palace."
"If he, or she, can find nothing unclean about me but my shoes, let them say their worst. I shall be very indifferent. I have long ceased, Mr Robarts, to care much what any man or woman may say about my shoes. Good morning." Then he stalked on, clutching and crushing in his hand the bishop, and the bishop's wife, and the whole diocese,—and all the Church of England. Dirty shoes, indeed! Whose was the fault that there were in the church so many feet soiled by unmerited poverty, and so many hands soiled by undeserved wealth? If the bishop did not like his shoes, let the bishop dare to tell him so! So he walked on through the thick of the mud, by no means picking his way.
He walked fast, and he found himself in the close half an hour before the time named by the bishop. But on no account would he have rung the palace bell one minute before two o'clock. So he walked up and down under the towers of the cathedral, and cooled himself, and looked up at the pleasant plate-glass in the windows of the house of his friend the dean, and told himself how, in their college days, he and the dean had been quite equal,—quite equal, except that by the voices of all qualified judges in the university, he, Mr Crawley, had been acknowledged to be the riper scholar. And now the Mr Arabin of those days was Dean of Barchester,—travelling abroad luxuriously at this moment for his delight, while he, Crawley, was perpetual curate at Hogglestock, and had now walked into Barchester at the command of the bishop, because he was suspected of having stolen twenty pounds! When he had fully imbued his mind with the injustice of all this, his time was up, and he walked boldly to the bishop's gate, and boldly rang the bishop's bell.
The Bishop of Barchester Is Crushed
Who inquires why it is that a little greased flour rubbed in among the hair on a footman's head,—just one dab here and another there,—gives such a tone of high life to the family? And seeing that the thing is so easily done, why do not more people attempt it? The tax on hair-powder is but thirteen shillings a year. It may, indeed, be that the slightest dab in the world justifies the wearer in demanding hot meat three times a day, and wine at any rate on Sundays. I think, however, that a bishop's wife may enjoy the privilege without such heavy attendant expense; otherwise the man who opened the bishop's door to Mr Crawley would hardly have been so ornamented.
The man asked for a card. "My name is Mr Crawley," said our friend. "The bishop has desired me to come to him at this hour. Will you be pleased to tell him that I am here." The man again asked for a card. "I am not bound to carry with me my name printed on a ticket," said Mr Crawley. "If you cannot remember it, give me pen and paper, and I will write it." The servant, somewhat awed by the stranger's manner, brought the pen and paper, and Mr Crawley wrote his name:—