Part 3 out of 12
then he knew that he must prepare himself to make good a portion at
least of that heavy payment. Why had he come to this horrid
place? Had he not everything at home at Framley at which the heart
of man could desire? No; the heart of man can desire deaneries--the
heart, that is, of the man vicar; and the heart of the man dean can
desire bishoprics; and before the eyes of the man bishop does there
not loom the transcendental glory of Lambeth? He had owned to himself
that he was ambitious; but he had to own to himself now that he had
hitherto taken but a sorry path towards the object of his ambition.
On the next morning at breakfast-time, before his horse and gig arrived
for him, no one was so bright as his friend Sowerby. 'So you are off,
are you?' said he.
'Yes, I shall go this morning.'
'Say everything that's kind from me to Lufton. I may possibly see
him hunting; otherwise we shan't meet till the spring. As to my
going to Framley, that's out of the question. Her ladyship would
look for my tail, and swear that she smelt brimstone. By-bye, old
The German student when he first made his bargain with the devil
felt an indescribable attraction to his new friend; and such was
the case now with Robarts. He shook Sowerby's hand very warmly,
said that he hoped he should meet him soon somewhere, and professed
himself specially anxious to hear how that affair with the lady
came off. As he had made his bargain--as he had undertaken to pay
nearly half a year's income for his dear friend--ought he not to
have as much value as possible for his money? If the dear
friendship of this flash member of Parliament did not represent
that value, what else did so? But then he felt, or fancied that he
felt, that Mr Sowerby did not care for him so much this morning as
he had done on the previous evening. 'By-bye,' said Mr Sowerby,
but he spoke no word as to such future meetings, nor did he even
promise to write. Mr Sowerby probably had many things on his mind;
and it might be that it behoved him, having finished one piece of
business, immediately to look for another.
The sum for which Robarts had made himself responsible--which he
so much feared that he would be called upon to pay--was very
nearly half a year's income; and as yet he had not put by one
shilling since he had been married. When he found himself settled
in his parsonage, he found also that all the world regarded him as
a rich man. He had taken the dictum of all the world as true, and
had set himself to work to live comfortably. He had no absolute
need of a curate; but he could afford the 70L--as Lady Lufton had
said rather injudiciously; and by keeping Jones in the parish he
would be acting charitably to a brother clergyman, and would also
place himself in a more independent position. Lady Lufton had
wished to see her pet clergyman well-to-do and comfortable; but
now, as matters had turned out, she much regretted this affair of
the curate. Mr Jones, she said to herself more than once, must be
made to depart from Framley. He had given his wife a
pony-carriage, and for himself he had a saddle-horse, and a second
horse for his gig. A man in his position, well-to-do, as he was,
required as much as that. He had a footman also, and a gardener and
a groom. The two latter were absolutely necessary, but about the
former there had been a question. His wife had been decidedly
hostile to the footman; but in all such matters as that, to doubt
is to be lost. When the footman had been discussed for a week it
became quite clear to the master he also was a necessity.
As he drove home that morning he pronounced to himself the doom of
that footman, and the doom also of that saddle-horse. They at any
rate should go. And then he would spend no more money in trips to
Scotland; and above all, he would keep out of the bedrooms of
impoverished members of Parliament at the witching hour of
midnight. Such resolves did he make to himself wearily how that
400L might be made to be forthcoming. As to any assistance in the
matter from Sowerby--of that he gave himself no promise. But he
almost felt himself happy again as his wife came out into the porch
to meet him with a silk shawl over her head, and pretending to
shiver as she watched him descending from his gig. 'My dear old
man,' she said, as she led him into the warm drawing-room with all
his wrappings still around him, 'you must be starved.' But Mark
during the whole drive had been thinking too much of that
transaction in Mr Sowerby's bedroom to remember that he was cold.
Now he had his arms round his own dear Fanny's waist; but was he to
tell her of that transaction? At any rate he would not do it now,
while his two boys were in his arms, rubbing the moisture from his
whiskers with his kisses. After all, what is there equal to coming
'And so Lufton is here. I say, Frank, gently, old boy,'--Frank
was his eldest son--'you'll have baby into the fender.'
'Let me take baby; it's impossible to hold the two of them, they
are so strong,' said the proud mother. 'Oh, yes, he came home
'Have you seen him?'
'He was here yesterday, with her ladyship; and I lunched there
to-day. The letter came, you know, in time to stop the Merediths.
They don't go till to-morrow, so you will meet them after all. Sir
George is wild about it, but Lady Lufton would have her way. You
never saw her in such a state as she is.'
'Good spirit, eh!'
'I should think so. All Lord Lufton's horses are coming, and he's
to be there till March.'
'So her ladyship whispered to me. She could not conceal her
triumph at his coming. He's going to give up Leicestershire this
year altogether. I wonder what has brought it all about?' Mark
knew very well what had brought it about; he had been made
acquainted, as the reader has also, with the price which Lady
Lufton had purchased her son's visit. But no one had told Mrs
Robarts that the mother had made her son a present of five thousand
'She's in a good humour about everything now,' continued Fanny; 'so
you need say nothing at all about Gatherum Castle.'
'But she was very angry when she first heard it; was she not?'
'Well, Mark, to tell the truth, she was; and we had quite a scene
there up in her own room upstairs--Justinia and I. She had heard
something else that she did not like at the same time; and
then--but you know her way. She blazed up quite a lot.'
'And said all manner of things about me.'
'About the duke she did. You know she never did like the duke; and
for the matter of that, neither do I. I tell you that fairly,
'The duke is not so bad as he's painted.'
'Ah, that's what you say about another great person. However, he
won't come here to trouble us, I suppose. And then I left her, not
in the best temper in the world; for I blazed up too, you must
'I am sure you did,' said Mark, pressing his arm round her waist.
'And then we were going to have a dreadful war, I thought; and I
came home and wrote such a doleful letter to you. But what should
happen when I had just closed it, but in came her ladyship--all
alone, and--But I can't tell you what she did or said, only she
behaved beautifully; just like herself too; so full of love and
truth and honesty. There's nobody like her, Mark; and she's better
than all the dukes that ever wore--whatever dukes do wear.'
'Horns and hoofs; that's their usual apparel, according to you and
Lady Lufton,' said he, remembering what Mr Sowerby had said of
'You may say what you like about me, Mark, but you shan't abuse
Lady Lufton. And if horns and hoofs mean wickedness and
dissipation, I believe it's not far wrong. But get off your big
coat and make yourself comfortable.' And that was all the scolding
that Mark Robarts got from his wife on the occasion of his great
'I will certainly tell her about this bill transaction,' he said to
himself; 'but not to-day; not till after I have seen Lufton.' That
evening they dined at Framley Court, and there they met the young
lord; they found also Lady Lufton still in high good-humour. Lord
Lufton himself was a fine, bright-looking young man; not as tall
as Mark Robarts, and with perhaps less intelligence marked on his
face; but his features were finer, and there was in his countenance
a thorough appearance of good-humour and sweet temper. It was
indeed a pleasant face to look upon, and dearly Lady Lufton loved
to gaze at it.
'Well, Mark, so you have been among the Philistines?' that was his
lordship's first remark. Robarts laughed as he took his friend's
hands, and bethought himself how truly that was the case; that he
was, in very truth, already 'himself in bonds under Philistian
yoke'. Alas, alas, it is very hard to break asunder the bonds of
the latter-day Philistines. When a Samson does now and then pull a
temple down about their ears, is he not sure to be engulfed in the
ruin with them? There is not horse-leech that sticks so fast as
your latter-day Philistine.
'So you have caught Sir George, after all,' said Lady Lufton; and
that was nearly all she said in allusion to his absence. There was
afterwards some conversation about the lecture, and from her
ladyship's remarks it certainly was apparent that she did not like
the people among whom the vicar had been lately staying; but she
said no word that was personal to him himself, or that could be taken
as a reproach. The little episode of Mrs Proudie's address in the
lecture-room had already reached Framley, and it was only to be
expected that Lady Lufton should enjoy the joke. She would affect
to believe that the body of the lecture had been given by the
bishop's wife; and afterwards, when Mark described her costume at
that Sunday morning breakfast table, Lady Lufton would assume that
such had been the dress in which she had addressed her faculties in
'I would have given a five-pound note to have heard it,' said Sir
'So would not I,' said Lady Lufton. 'When one hears of such things
described as graphically as Mr Robarts now tells it, one can hardly
help laughing. But it would me great pain to see the wife of one
of our bishops place herself in such a situation. For he is a
bishop after all.'
'Well, upon my word, my lady, I agree with Meredith,' said Lord
Lufton. 'It must have been good fun. As it did happen, you
know,--as the Church was doomed to disgrace,--I should like to have
'I know you would have been shocked, Ludovic.'
'I should have got over it in time, mother. It would have been
like a bull-fight, I suppose--horrible to see, no doubt, but
extremely interesting. And Harold Smith, Mark; what did he do all
'It didn't take so very long, you know,' said Robarts.
'And the poor bishop,' said Lady Meredith; 'how did he look? I
really do pity him.'
'Well, he was asleep, I think.'
'What, slept through it all?' said Sir George.
'It awakened him; and then he jumped up and said something.'
'What, out loud, too?'
'Only one word or so.'
'What a disgraceful scene,' said Lady Lufton. 'To those who
remember the good old man who was in the diocese before him, it is
perfectly shocking. He confirmed you, Ludovic, and you ought to
remember him. It was over at Barchester, and you went and lunched
with him afterwards.'
'I do remember; and especially this, that I never ate such tarts in
my life, before or since. The old man particularly called my
attention to them, and seemed remarkably pleased that I concurred
in his sentiments. There are no such tarts as those going to the
palace now, I'll be bound.'
'Mrs Proudie will be very happy to do her best for you if you will
go and try,' said Sir George.
'I beg that he will do no such thing,' said Lady Lufton; and that
was the only severe word she said about any of Mark's visitings. As
Sir George Meredith was there, Robarts could say nothing then to
Lord Lufton about Mr Sowerby and Mr Sowerby's money affairs; but he
did make an appointment for a tete-a-tete on the next morning.
'You must come down and see my nags, Mark; they came to-day. The
Merediths will be off at twelve, and then we can have an hour
together.' Mark said he would, and then went home with his wife
under his arm.
'Well now, is not she kind?' said Fanny, as soon as they were out
on the gravel together.
'She is kind; kinder than I can tell you at present. But did you
ever know anything so bitter as she is to the poor bishop? And
really the bishop is not so bad.'
'Yes; and I know something more bitter; and that is what she thinks
of the bishop's wife. And you know, Mark, it was so unladylike,
her getting up in that way. What must the people at Barchester
think of her?'
'As far as I could see, the people of Barchester liked it.'
'Nonsense, Mark; they could not. But never mind that now. I want
you to own that she is good.' And then Mrs Robarts went on with
another long eulogy on the dowager. Since that affair of the
pardon-begging at the parsonage, Mrs Robarts hardly knew how to
think well enough of her friend. And the evening had been so
pleasant after that dreadful storm and threatenings of hurricanes;
her husband had been so well received after his lapse of judgement;
the wounds that had looked so sore had been so thoroughly healed,
and everything was so pleasant. How all of this would have been
changed had she known of that little bill! At twelve the next
morning the lord and the vicar were walking through the Framley
stables together. Quite a commotion had been made there, for the
larger portion of those buildings had been of late years seldom
been used. But now all was crowding and activity. Seven or eight
precious animals had followed Lord Lufton from Leicestershire, and
all of them required dimensions that were thought to be rather
excessive by the Framley old-fashioned groom. My lord, however,
had a head man of his own who took the matter quite into his own
hands. Mark, priest as he was, was quite worldly enough to be fond
of a good horse; and for some little time allowed Lord Lufton to
decant on the merit of this four-year-old filly, and that
magnificent Rattlebones colt, out of a Mousetrap mare; but he had
other things that lay heavy on his mind, and after bestowing half
an hour on the stud, he contrived to get his friend away to the
'So you have settled with old Sowerby,' Robarts began by saying.
'Settled with him; yes, but do you know the price?'
'I believe that you have paid five thousand pounds.'
'Yes, and about three before; and that is a matter in which I did
not really owe one shilling. Whatever I do in future, I'll keep
out of Sowerby's grip.'
But you don't think he was unfair to you.'
'Mark, to tell you the truth, I have banished the affair from my
mind, and don't wish to take it up again. My mother has paid the
money to save the property, and of course I must pay her back. But
I think I may promise that I will not have any more money dealings
with Sowerby. I will not say that he is dishonest, but at any rate
he is sharp.'
'Well, Lufton; what will you say when I tell you that I have put my
name to a bill for him, for four hundred pounds?'
'Say; why I should say--; but you're joking; a man in your position
would never do such a thing.'
'But I have done it.' Lord Lufton gave a long low whistle.
'He asked me the last night that I was there, making a great favour
of it, and declaring that no bill of his had ever been
Lord Lufton whistled again. 'No bill of his dishonoured! Why, the
pocket-books of the Jews are stuffed full of his dishonoured
papers! And you have really given him your name for four hundred
'I have certainly.'
'At what date?'
'And have you thought where you are to get the money?'
'I know very well that I can't get it, not at least by that time.
The bankers must renew it for me, and I must pay it be degrees.
That is, if Sowerby really does not take it up.'
'It is just as likely he will take up the National Debt.' Robarts
then told him about the projected marriage with Miss Dunstable,
giving it as his opinion that the lady would probably accept the
'Not at all improbable,' said his lordship, 'for Sowerby is an
agreeable fellow; and if it be so, he will have all that he wants
for life. But his creditors will gain nothing. The duke, who has
his title-deeds, will doubtless get his money, and the estate will
in fact belong to the wife. But the small fry, such as you, will
not get a shilling.' Poor Mark! He had an inkling of this before;
but it had hardly presented itself to him in such certain terms. It
was then, a positive fact, that in punishment for his weakness in
having signed the bill he would have to pay, not only four hundred
pounds, but four hundred pounds with interest, and expenses of
renewal, and commission and bill stamps. Yes; he had certainly got
among the Philistines during his visit to the duke. It began to
appear to him pretty clearly that it would have been better for him
to have relinquished altogether the glories of Chaldicotes and
And now, how was he to tell his wife?
And now, how was he going to tell his wife? That was the
consideration heavy on Mark Robarts's mind when last we left him;
and he turned the matter over in his thoughts before he could bring
himself to a resolution. At last he did so, and one may say that
it was not altogether a bad one, if only he could carry it out. He
would ascertain in what bank that bill of his had been discounted.
He would ask Sowerby, and if he could not learn from him, he would
go to the three banks in Barchester. That it had been taken to one
of them he felt tolerably certain. He would explain to the manager
his conviction that he would have to make good the amount, his
inability to do so at the end of three months, and the whole state
of his income; and then the banker would explain to him how the
matter might be arranged. He thought that he could pay 50L every
three months with interest. As soon as this should have been
concerted with the banker, he would let is wife know all about it.
Were he to tell her at the present moment, while the matter was all
unsettled, the intelligence would frighten her into illness. But
on the next morning there came to him tidings by the hands of Robin
postman, which for a long while upset all his plans. The letter
was from Exeter. His father had been taken ill, and had very
quickly been pronounced to be in danger. That evening--the evening
on which his sister wrote--the old man was much worse, and it was
desirable that Mark should go off to Exeter as quickly as
possible. Of course he went to Exeter--again leaving the Framley
souls at the mercy of the Welsh Low Churchman. Framley is only
four miles from Silverbridge, and at Silverbridge he was on the
direct road to the West. He was, therefore, at Exeter before
nightfall on that day. But, nevertheless, he arrived there too
late to see his father again alive. The old man's illness had been
sudden and rapid, and he expired without again seeing his eldest
son. Mark arrived at the house of mourning just as they were
learning to realize the full change in their position.
The doctor's career had been on the whole successful, but
nevertheless, he did not leave behind him as much money as the
world had given him credit for possessing. Who ever does? Dr
Robarts had educated a large family, had always lived with every
comfort, and had never possessed a shilling but what he had earned
himself. A physician's fees come in, no doubt, with comfortable
rapidity as soon as rich old gentlemen and middle-aged ladies begin
to put their faith in him; but fees run out almost with equal
rapidity when a wife and seven children are treated to everything
that the world considers most desirable. Mark, as we have seen,
had been educated at Harrow and Oxford, and it may be said,
therefore, that he had received his patrimony early in life. For
Gerald Robarts, the second brother, a commission had been bought in
a crack regiment. He also had been lucky, having lived and become
a captain in the Crimea; and the purchase-money was lodged for his
majority. And John Robarts, the youngest was clerk in the Petty
Bag Office, and was already assistant private secretary to Lord
Petty Bag himself--a place of considerable trust, if not hitherto
of large emolument: and on his education money had been spent
freely, for in these days a young man cannot get into the Petty Bag
Office without knowing at least three modern languages; and he must
be well up in trigonometry too, in Bible theology, or in one dead
language--at his option. And the doctor had four daughters. The
two elder were married, including that Blanche with whom Lord
Lufton was to have fallen in love at the vicar's wedding. A
Devonshire squire had done this in the lord's place; but on
marrying her it was necessary that he should have a few thousand
pounds, two or three perhaps, and the old doctor had managed that
they should be forthcoming. The elder sister had not been sent
away from the paternal mansions quite empty handed. There were,
therefore, at the time of the doctor's death, two children left at
home, of whom one only, Lucy, the younger will come much across us
in the course of our story.
Mark stayed for ten days at Exeter, he and the Devonshire squire
having been named as executors in the will. In this document it
was explained that the doctor trusted that providence had been made
for most of his children. As for his dear son Mark, he said, he
was aware that he need be under no uneasiness. On hearing this
read Mark smiled sweetly, and looked very gracious; but,
nevertheless, his heart did sink somewhat within him, for there had
been a hope that a small windfall, coming now so opportunely, might
enable him to rid himself at once of that dreadful Sowerby
incubus. And then the will went on to declare that Mary, and
Gerald, and Blanche, had also, by God's providence, been placed
beyond want. And here, looking into the squire's face, one might
have thought that his heart fell a little also; for he had not so
full a command of his feelings as his brother-in-law, who had been
so much more before the world. To John, the assistant private
secretary, was left a legacy of a thousand pounds; and to Jane and
Lucy certain sums in certain four per cents., which were quite
sufficient to add an efficient value to the hands of those young
ladies in the eyes of the most prudent young would be Benedicts.
Over and beyond this there was nothing but the furniture, which he
desired might be sold, and the proceeds divided among them all. It
might come to sixty or seventy pounds a piece, and pay the expenses
incidental on is death. And then all men and women there and
thereabouts said that old Dr Robarts had done well. His life had
been good and prosperous, and his will was just. And Mark, among
others, so declared--and was so convinced in spite of his own
little disappointment. And on the third morning after the reading
of the will Squire Crowdy, of Creamclotted Hall, altogether got
over his grief, and said that it was all right. And then it was
decided that Jane should go home with him--for there was a brother
squire who, it was thought, might have an eye to Jane;--and Lucy,
the younger, should be taken to Framley Parsonage. In a fortnight
from the receipt of that letter, Mark arrived at his own house with
his sister Lucy under his wing.
All this interfered greatly with Mark's wise resolution as to the
Sowerby incubus. In the first place, he could not get to
Barchester as soon as he had intended, and then an idea came across
him that possibly it might be well that he should borrow the money
of his brother John, explaining the circumstances, of course, and
paying him due interest. But he had not liked to broach the
subject when they were there in Exeter, standing, as it were, over
their father's grave, and so the matter was postponed. There was
still ample time for arrangement before the bill would come due,
and he would not tell Fanny till he had made up his mind what that
arrangement would be. It would kill her, he said to himself over
and over again, were he to tell her of it without being able to
tell her also that the means of liquidating the debt were to be
And now I must say a word about Lucy Robarts. If one might only go
on without those descriptions how pleasant it would be! But Lucy
Robarts has to play a forward part in this little drama, and those
who care for such matters must be made to understand something of
her form and likeness. When last we mentioned her as appearing,
though not in any promising position, at her brother's wedding, she
was only sixteen; but now, at the time of her father's death,
somewhat over two years having since elapsed, she was nearly
nineteen. Laying aside for the sake of clearness that indefinite
term of girl--for girls are girls from the age of three up to
forty-three, if not previously married--dropping that generic word,
we may say that then, at that wedding of her brother, she was a
child; and now, at the death of her father, she was a woman.
Nothing, perhaps, adds so much to womanhood, turns the child so
quickly into a woman, as such death-bed scenes as these. Hitherto
but little has fallen to Lucy to do in the way of woman's duties.
Of money transactions she had known nothing, beyond a jocose
attempt to make her annual allowance of twenty-five pounds cover
all her personal wants--an attempt which was made jocose by the
loving bounty of her father. Her sister, who was three years her
elder--for John came in between them--had managed the house; that
is, she had made the tea and talked to the housekeeper about the
dinners. But Lucy had sat at her father's elbow, had read to him
of evenings when he went to sleep, had brought him his slippers and
looked after the comforts of his easy chair. All this she had done
as a child; but when she stood at the coffin head, and knelt at the
coffin side, then she was a woman.
She was smaller in stature than either of her three sisters, to all
of whom had been acceded the praise of being fine woman--a eulogy
which the people of Exeter, looking back at the elder sisters, and
the general remembrance of them which pervaded the city, were not
willing to extend to Lucy. 'Dear--dear!' had been said of her;
'poor Lucy is not like a Robarts at all; is she, now, Mrs
Pole?'--for as the daughters had become fine women, so had the sons
grown into stalwart men. And then Mrs Pole had answered: 'Not a
bit; is she, now? Only think what Blanche was at her age. But she
has fine eyes, for all that; and they do say she is the cleverest
of them all.' And that, too, is so true a description of her that
I do know that I can add much to it. She was not like Blanche; for
Blanche had bright complexion, and a fine neck, and a noble bust,
et vera incessu patuit Dea--a true goddess, that is, as far as the
eye went. She had a grand idea, moreover, of an apple-pie, and had
not reigned eighteen months at Creamclotted Hall before she knew
all the mysteries of pigs and milk, and most of those appertaining
to cider and green cheese.
Lucy had no neck at all worth speaking of,--no neck, I mean, that
ever produced eloquence; she was brown, too, and had addicted
herself in nowise, as she undoubtedly should have done, to larder
utility. In regard to the neck and colour, poor girl, she could
not help herself; but in that other respect she must be held as
having wasted her opportunities. But then what eyes she had! Mrs
Pole was right there. They flashed upon you, not always softly;
indeed not often softly if you were a stranger to her; but whether
softly or savagely, with a brilliancy that dazzled you as you
looked at them. And who shall say of what colour they were? Green,
probably, for most eyes are green--green or grey, if green be
thought uncomely for an eye-colour. But it was not their colour,
but their fire, which struck one with such surprise.
Lucy Robarts was thoroughly a brunette. Sometimes the dark tint of
her cheek was exquisitely rich and lovely, and the fringes of her
eyes were long and soft, and her small teeth, which one so seldom
saw, were white as pearls, and her hair, though short, was
beautifully soft--by no means black, but yet of so dark a shade of
brown. Blanche, too, was noted for fine teeth. They were white
and regular and lofty as a new row of houses in a French city. But
then when she laughed she was all teeth; as she was all neck when
she sat at the piano. But Lucy's teeth!---it was only now and
again, when in some sudden burst of wonder she would sit for a
moment with her lips apart, that the fine finished lines and dainty
pearl-white colour of that perfect set of ivory could be seen. Mrs
Pole would have said a word of her teeth also, but that to her they
had never been made visible. 'But they do say that she is the
cleverest of them all,' Mrs Pole had added, very properly. The
people of Exeter had expressed such an opinion, and had been quite
just in doing so. I do not know how it happens, but it always does
happen, that everybody in every small town knows which is the
brightest-witted in every family. In that respect Mrs Pole had
only expressed public opinion, and public opinion was right. Lucy
Robarts was blessed with an intelligence keener than that of her
brothers and sisters.
'To tell the truth, Mark, I admire Lucy more than I do Blanche.'
This had been said by Mrs Robarts within a few hours of her having
assumed that name. 'She's not a beauty, I know, but yet I do.'
'My dearest Fanny!' Mark had answered in a tone of surprise.
'I do then; of course people won't think so; but I never seem to
care about regular beauties. Perhaps I envy them too much.' What
Mark said next need not be repeated, but everybody may be sure that
it contained more gross flattery for his young bride. He
remembered this, however, and had always called Lucy his wife's
pet. Neither of the sisters had since been at Framley; and though
Fanny had spent a week at Exeter on the occasion of Blanche's
marriage, it could hardly be said that she was very intimate with
them. Nevertheless, when it became expedient that one of them should
go to Framley, the remembrance of what his wife had said
immediately induced Mark to make the offer to Lucy; and Jane, who
was of a kindred soul with Blanche, was delighted to go to
Creamclotted Hall. The acres of Heavybed House, down in that fat
Totnes country, adjoined those of Creamclotted Hall, and Heavybed
House still wanted a mistress.
Fanny was delighted when the news reached her. It would of course
be proper that one of his sisters should live with Mark under their
present circumstances, and she was happy to think that that quiet
little bright-eyed creature was to come and nestle with her under
the same roof. The children should so love her--only not quite so
much as they loved mamma; and the snug little room that looks out
over the porch, in which the chimney never smokes, should be made
ready for her; and she should be allowed her share of driving the
pony--which was a great sacrifice of self on the part of Mrs
Robarts--and Lady Lufton's best good-will should be bespoken. In
fact, Lucy was not unfortunate in the destination that was laid out
for her. Lady Lufton had of course heard of the doctor's death,
and had sent all manner of kind messages to Mark, advising him not
to hurry home by any means until everything was settled at Exeter.
And then she was told of the new-comer that was expected in the
parish. When she heard that it was Lucy, the younger, she was
satisfied; for Blanche's charms, though indisputable, had not been
altogether to her taste. If a second Blanche were to arrive there
what danger might there not be for young Lord Lufton! 'Quite
right,' said her ladyship, 'just what he ought to do. I think I
remember the young lady; rather small, is she not, and very
'Rather small and very retiring. What a description!'
'Never mind, Ludovic; some young ladies must be small, and some at
least ought to be retiring. We shall be delighted to make her
'I remember your other sister-in-law very well,' said Lord Lufton.
'She was a beautiful woman.'
'I don't think you will consider Lucy a beauty,' said Mrs Robarts.
'Small, retiring, and--'so far Lord Lufton had gone, when Mrs
Robarts finished by the work 'plain'. She had liked Lucy's face,
but she had thought that others probably did not think so.
'Upon my word,'said Lady Lufton, 'you don't deserve to have a
sister-in-law. I remember her very well, and can say that she is
not plain. I was very much taken with her manner at your wedding,
my dear, and thought more of her than I did of the beauty, I can
'I must confess I do not remember her at all,' said his lordship.
And so the conversation ended. And then at the end of the
fortnight Mark arrived with his sister. They did not reach Framley
till long after dark--somewhere between six and seven--and by this
time it was December. There was snow on the ground, and frost in
the air, and no moon, and cautious men when they went on the roads
had their horses' shoes socked. Such being the state of the
weather, Mark's gig had been nearly filled with cloaks and shawls
when it was sent over to Silverbridge. And a cart was sent for
Lucy's luggage, and all manner of preparations had been made. Three
times had Fanny gone herself to see that the fire burned brightly
in the little room over the porch, and at the moment that the sound
of the wheels was heard she was engaged in opening her son's mind
as to the nature of an aunt. Hitherto papa and mamma and Lady
Lufton were all that he had known, excepting, of course, the
satellites of the nursery. And then in three minutes Lucy was
standing by the fire. Those three minutes had been taken up by
embraces between the husband and wife. Let who would be brought as
a visitor to the house, after a fortnight's absence, she would kiss
him before she would welcome anyone else. But then she turned to
Lucy, and began to assist her with her cloaks.
'Oh, thank you,' said Lucy; 'I'm not cold,--not very at least.
Don't trouble yourself: I can do it.' But here she had made a
false boast, for her fingers had been so numbed that she could not
do or undo anything. They were all in black, of course; but the
sombreness of Lucy's clothes struck Fanny much more than her own.
They seemed to have swallowed her up in their blackness, and to
have made her almost an emblem of death. She did not look up, but
kept her face turned towards the fire, and seemed almost afraid of
'She may say what she likes, Fanny,' said Mark, 'but she is very
cold. And so am I,--cold enough. You had better go up with her to
her room. We won't do much in the dressing way to-night; eh,
Lucy?' In the bedroom Lucy thawed a little, and Fanny, as she
kissed her, said to herself that she had been wrong as to that work
'plain'. Lucy, at any rate, was not plain.
'You'll be used to us soon,' said Fanny, 'and then I hope we shall
make you comfortable.' And she took her sister-in-law's hand and
pressed it. Lucy looked up at her, and her eyes were then tender
enough. 'I am sure I shall be happy here,' she said, 'with you.
But--but--dear papa!' And then they got into each other's arms,
and had a great bout of kissing and crying. 'Plain,' said Fanny to
herself, as at last she got her guest's hair smoothed, and the
tears washed from her eyes--'plain! She has the loveliest
countenance that I ever looked at in my life!'
'Your sister is quite beautiful,' she said to Mark, as they talked
her over alone before they went to sleep that night.
'No, she's not beautiful; but she's a very good girl, and clever
enough, too, in her sort of way.'
'I think her perfectly lovely. I never such eyes in my life
'I'll leave her in your hands, then; you shall get her a husband.'
'That mayn't be so easy. I don't think she'd marry anybody.'
'Well, I hope not. But she seems to me to be exactly cut out for
an old maid;--to be Aunt Lucy for ever and ever to your bairns.'
'And so she shall, with all my heart. But I don't think she will,
very long. I have no doubt she will be hard to please; but if I
were a man I should fall in love with her at once. Did you ever
observe her teeth, Mark?'
'I don't think I ever did.'
'You wouldn't know whether any one had a tooth in their head, I
'No one except you, my dear; and I know all yours by heart.'
'You are a goose.'
'And a very sleepy one; so, if you please, I'll go to roost.' And
thus there was nothing more said about Lucy's beauty on that
For the first two days Mrs Robarts did not make much of her
sister-in-law. Lucy, indeed, was not demonstrative; and she was,
moreover, one of those few persons--for they are very few--who are
contented to go on with their existence without making themselves
the centre of any special outward circle. To the ordinary run of
minds it is impossible not to do this. A man's own dinner is to
himself so important that he cannot bring himself to believe that
it is a matter utterly indifferent to every one else. A lady's
collection of baby-clothes, in early years, and of house linen and
curtain-fringes in later life, is so very interesting to her own
eyes, that she cannot believe but what other people will rejoice to
behold it. I would not, however, be held to regarding this
tendency as evil. It leads to conversation of some sort among
people, and perhaps to a kind of sympathy. Mrs Jones will look at
Mrs White's linen chest, hoping that Mrs White may be induced to
look at hers. One can only pour out of a jug that which is in it.
For the most of us, if we do not talk of ourselves, or at any rate
of the individual circles of which we are the centre, we can talk
of nothing. I cannot hold with those who wish to put down the
insignificant chatter of the world. As for myself, I am always
happy to look at Mrs Jones's linen, and never omit an opportunity
of giving her the details of my own dinners. But Lucy Robarts had
not this gift. She had come there as a stranger into her
sister-in-law's house, and at first seemed as though she would be
contented in simply having her corner in the drawing-room and her
place at the parlour table. She did not seem to need the comforts
of condolences and open-hearted talking. I do not mean to say that
she was moody, that she did not answer when she was spoken to, or
that she took no notice of the children; but she did not at once
throw herself and all her hopes and sorrows into Fanny's heart,
as Fanny would have had her do.
Mrs Robarts herself was what we call demonstrative. When she was
angry with Lady Lufton she showed it. And as since that time her
love and admiration for Lady Lufton had increased, she showed that
also. When she was in any way displeased with her husband, she
could not hide it, even though she tried to do so, and fancied
herself successful;--no more than she could hide her warm,
constant, overflowing woman's love. She could not walk through a
room laughing on her husband's arm without seeming to proclaim to
every one there that she thought him the best man in it. She was
demonstrative, and therefore she was the more disappointed in that
Lucy did not rush at once with all her cares into her open heart.
'She is so quiet,' Fanny said to her husband.
'That's her nature,' said Mark. 'She always was quiet as a child.
While we were smashing everything, she would never crack a teacup.'
'I wish she would break something now,'said Fanny, 'and then
perhaps we should get to talk about it.' But she did not on this
account give over loving her sister-in-law. She probably valued
her the more, unconsciously, for not having those aptitudes with
which she herself was endowed. And then after two days, Lady
Lufton called; of course it may be supposed that Fanny had said a
good deal to her new inmate about Lady Lufton. A neighbour of that
kind in the country exercises so large an influence upon the whole
tenor of one's life, that to abstain from such talk is out of the
question. Mrs Robarts had been brought up almost under the
dowager's wing, and of course she regarded her as being worthy of
much talking. Do not let persons on this account suppose that Mrs
Robarts was a tuft-hunter, or a toad-eater. If they do not see the
difference, they have yet got to study the earliest principles of
Lady Lufton called, and Lucy was struck dumb. Fanny was
particularly anxious that her ladyship's first impression should be
favourable, and to effect this, she especially endeavoured to throw
the two together during that visit. But in this she was unwise.
Lady Lufton, however, had woman-craft enough not to be led into
any egregious error by Lucy's silence. 'And what day will you come
and dine with us?' said Lady Lufton, turning expressly to her old
'Oh, do you name the day. We never have many engagements, you
'Will Thursday, do Miss Robarts? You will meet nobody you know,
only my son; so you need not regard it as going out. Fanny here
will tell you that stepping over to Framley Court is no more going
out, than when you go from one room to another in the parsonage. Is
it, Fanny?' Fanny laughed, and said that stepping over to Framley
Court certainly was done so often that perhaps they did not think
so much about it as they ought to do.
'We consider ourselves as a sort of happy family here, Miss
Robarts, and are delighted to have the opportunity of including you
in the menage.' Lucy gave her ladyship one of her sweetest smiles,
but what she said at that moment was inaudible. It was plain,
however, that she could not bring herself even to go as far as
Framley Court for her dinner at present. 'It was very kind of lady
Lufton,'she said to Fanny; 'but it was so very soon, and--and if
they would only go without her, she would be so happy.' But as the
object was to go with her--expressly to take her there--the dinner
was adjourned for a short time--sine die.
It was nearly a month after this that Lucy was first introduced to
Lord Lufton, and then it was brought about only by accident. During
that time Lady Lufton had been often at the parsonage, and had in a
certain degree learned to know Lucy; but the stranger in the parish
had never yet plucked up courage to accept one of the numerous
invitations that had reached her. Mr Robarts and his wife had
frequently been at Framley Court, but the dreaded day of Lucy's
initiation had not yet arrived. She had seen Lord Lufton in
church, but hardly as to know him, and beyond that she had not seem
him at all. One day, however,--or rather, one evening, for it was
already dusk--he overtook her and Mrs Robarts on the road walking
towards the vicarage. He had his gun on his shoulder, three
pointers were at his heels, and a game-keeper followed a little in
'How are you Mrs Robarts?' he said, almost before he had overtaken
them. 'I have been chasing you along the road for the last
half-mile. I never knew ladies walk so fast.'
'We should be frozen if we were to dawdle about as you gentlemen
do,' and then she stopped and shook hands with him. She forgot at
the moment that Lucy and he had not met, and therefore she did not
'Won't you make me known to your sister-in-law!' said he taking off
his hat, and bowing to Lucy. 'I have never yet had the pleasure of
meeting her, though we have been neighbours for a month or more.'
Fanny made her excuses and introduced them, and then they went on
till they came to Framley Gate, Lord Lufton talking to them both,
and Fanny answering for the two, and there they stopped for a
'I am surprised to see you alone,' Mrs Robarts had just said; 'I
thought that Captain Culpepper was with you.'
'The captain has left me for this one day. If you'll whisper, I'll
tell you where he has gone. I dare not speak it out loud, even to
'To what terrible place can he have taken himself? I'll have no
whispering about such horrors.'
'He has gone to--to--but you'll promise not to tell my mother?'
'Do you promise then?'
'Oh, yes! I will promise, because I am sure Lady Lufton won't ask
me as to Captain Culpepper's whereabouts. We won't tell; will we
'He has gone to Gatherum Castle for a day's pheasant-shooting. Now,
mind you must not betray us. Her ladyship supposes that he is shut
up in his room with a toothache. We did not dare to mention the
name to her.' and then it appeared that Mrs Robarts had some
engagement which made it necessary that she should go up and see
Lady Lufton, whereas Lucy was intending to walk on to the parsonage
'And I have promised to go to your husband,' said Lord Lufton; 'or
rather to your husband's dog, Ponto. And I will do two other good
things--I will carry a brace of pheasants with me, and protect Miss
Robarts from the evil spirits of the Framley roads.' And so Mrs
Robarts turned at the gate, and Lucy and his lordship walked off
together. Lord Lufton, though he had never before spoken to Miss
Robarts, had already found out that she was by no means plain.
Though he had hardly seen her except at church, he had already made
himself certain that the owner of that face must be worth knowing,
and was not sorry to have the present opportunity of speaking to
her. 'So you have an unknown damsel shut up in your castle,' he
had once said to Mrs Robarts. 'If she be kept a prisoner much
longer, I shall find it my duty to come and release her by force of
arms.' He had been there twice with the object of seeing her, but
on both occasions Lucy had managed to escape. Now we may say she
was fairly caught, and Lord Lufton, taking a pair of pheasants from
the gamekeeper, and swinging them over his shoulder, walked off
with his prey. 'You have been here a long time,' he said, 'without
our having had the pleasure of seeing you.'
'Yes, my lord,' said Lucy. Lords had not been frequent among her
'I will tell Mrs Robarts that she has been confining you illegally,
and that we shall release you by force or stratagem.'
'I-I-I have had a great sorrow lately.'
'Yes, Miss Robarts; I know you have; and I am only joking, you
know. But I do hope that now you will be able to come among us. My
mother is so anxious that you should do so.'
'I am sure she is very kind, and you also--my lord.'
'I never knew my own father,' said Lord Lufton, speaking gravely.
'But I can well understands what a loss you have had.' And then,
after pausing a moment, he continued, 'I remember Dr Robarts well.'
'Do you, indeed?' said Lucy, turning sharply towards him, and
speaking now with some animation in her voice. Nobody had yet
spoken to her about her father since she had been at Framley. It
had been as though the subject was a forbidden one. And how
frequently is this the case? When those we love are dead, our
friends dread to mention them, though to us who are bereaved no
subject would be so pleasant as their names. But we rarely
understand how to treat our own sorrow or those of others.
There was once a people in some land--and they may be still there
for what I know--who thought it sacrilegious to stay the course of
a raging fire. If a house were being burned, burn it must, even
though there were facilities for saving it. For who would dare to
interfere with the course of the god? Our idea of sorrow is much
the same. We think it wicked, or at any rate heartless, to put it
out. If a man's wife be dead, he should go about lugubrious with
long face, for at least two years, or perhaps with full length for
eighteen months, decreasing gradually during the other six. If he
be a man who can quench his sorrow--put out his fire as it were--in
less time than that, let him at any rate not show his power!
'Yes, I remember him,' continued Lord Lufton. 'He came twice to
Framley, while I was still a boy, consulting with my mother about
Mark and myself--whether the Eton floggings were not more
efficacious than those of Harrow. He was very kind to me,
foreboding all manner of good things on my behalf.'
'He was very kind to every one,' said Lucy.
'I should think he would have been--a kind, good, genial man--just
the man to be adored by his own family.'
'Exactly; and so he was. I do not remember that I ever heard an
unkind word from him. There was not a hard tone in his voice. And
he was generous as the day.' Lucy, we have said, was not generally
demonstrative, but now, on this subject, and with this absolute
stranger, she became almost eloquent.
'I do not wonder that you should feel his loss, Miss Robarts.'
'Oh, I do feel it. Mark is the best of brothers, and, as for
Fanny, she is too kind and too good to me. But I had always been
specially my father's friend. For the last year or two we had
lived so much together!'
'He was an old man when he died, was he not?'
'Just seventy, my lord.'
'Ah, then he was old. My mother is only fifty, and we sometimes
call her an old woman. Do you think she looks older than that? We
all say that she makes herself out to be so much more ancient than
she need do.'
'Lady Lufton does not dress young.'
'That is it. She never has, in my memory. She always used to wear
black when I first recollect her. She has given that up now; but
she is still very sombre; is she not?'
'I do not like ladies to dress very young, that is, ladies of
'Ladies of fifty, shall we say?'
'Very well; ladies of fifty, if you like it.'
'Then I am sure you will like my mother.'
They had now turned up through the parsonage wicket, a little gate
that opened into the garden at a point on the road nearer than the
chief entrance. 'I suppose I shall find Mark up at the house?'
'I dare say you will, my lord.'
'Well, I'll go round this way, for my business is partly in the
stable. You see I am quite at home here, though you never have
seen me before. But Miss Robarts, now that the ice is broken, I
hope that we may be friends.' He then put out his hand, and when
she gave him hers he pressed it almost as an old friend might have
done. And, indeed, Lucy had talked to him almost as though he were
an old friend. For a minute or two she had forgotten that he was a
lord and a stranger--had forgotten also to be still and guarded as
was her wont. Lord Lufton had spoken to her as though he had
really cared to know her; and she, unconsciously, had been taken by
the compliment. Lord Lufton, indeed, had not thought much about
it--excepting as thus, that he liked the glance of a pair of bright
eyes, as most other men do like it. But, on this occasion, the
evening had been so dark, that he had hardly seen Lucy's eyes at
'Well, Lucy, I hope you liked your companion,' Mrs Robarts said, as
the three of them clustered round the drawing-room fire before
'Oh yes; pretty well,' said Lucy.
'That is not at all complimentary to his lordship.'
'I did not mean to be complimentary, Fanny.'
'Lucy is a great deal too matter-of-fact for compliments,' said
'What I meant was, that I had no great opportunity for judging,
seeing that I was only with Lord Lufton for about ten minutes.'
'Ah! but there are girls here who would give their eyes for ten
minutes of Lord Lufton to themselves. You do not know how he's
valued. He has the character of being always able to make himself
agreeable to ladies at half a minute's warning.'
'Perhaps he had not the half-minute's warning in this case,' said
Lucy,--hypocrite that she was.
'Poor Lucy,' said her brother; 'he was coming up to see Ponto's
shoulder, and I am afraid he was thinking more about the dog than
'Very likely,' said Lucy; and then they went in to dinner. Lucy had
been a hypocrite, for she had confessed to herself, while dressing,
that Lord Lufton had been very pleasant; but then it is allowed to
young ladies to be hypocrites when the subject under discussion is
the character of a young gentleman.
Soon after that Lucy did dine at Framley Court. Captain Culpepper,
in spite of his enormity with reference to Gatherum Castle, was
still staying there, as was also a clergyman from the neighbourhood
of Barchester with his wife and daughter. This was Archdeacon
Grantly, a gentleman whom we have mentioned before, and who was as
well known in the diocese as the bishop himself, and more thought
of by many clergymen than even that illustrious prelate. Miss
Grantly was a young lady not much older than Lucy Robarts, and she
also was quiet, and not given to much talking in open company. She
was decidedly a beauty; but somewhat statuesque in her loveliness.
Her forehead was high and white, but perhaps too like marble to
gratify the taste of those who are fond of flesh and blood. Her
eyes were large and exquisitely formed, but they seldom showed much
emotion. She, indeed, was impassible herself, and betrayed but
little of her feelings. Her nose was nearly Grecian, not coming
absolutely in a straight line from her forehead, but doing so
nearly enough to entitle it to be considered as classical. Her
mouth, too, was very fine--artists, at least, said so, and
connoisseurs in beauty; but to me she always seemed as though she
wanted fulness of lip. But the exquisite symmetry of her cheek and
chin and lower face no man could deny. Her hair was light, and
being always dressed with considerable care, did not detract from
her appearance; but it lacked that richness which gives such
luxuriance to feminine loveliness. She was tall and slight, and
very graceful in her movements; but there were those who thought
that she wanted the ease and abandon of youth. They said that she
was too composed and stiff for her age, and that she gave but
little to society beyond the beauty of her form and face. There
can be no doubt, however, that she was considered by most men and
women to be the beauty of Barsetshire, and that gentlemen from
neighbouring counties would come many miles through dirty roads on
the mere hope of being able to dance with her. Whatever attractions
she may have lacked, she had at any rate created for herself a
great reputation. She had spent two months of the last spring in
London, and even there she had made a sensation; and people had
said that Lord Dumbello, Lady Hartletop's eldest son, had been
peculiarly struck with her.
It may be imagined that the archdeacon was proud of her, and so,
indeed, was Mrs Grantly--more proud, perhaps, of her daughter's
beauty, than so excellent a woman should have allowed herself to be
of such an attribute. Griselda--that was her name--was now an only
daughter. One sister she had had, but that sister had died. There
were two brothers also left, one in the Church, and the other in
the Army. That was the extent of the archdeacon's family, and as
the archdeacon was a very rich man--he was the only child of his
father, who had been Bishop of Barchester for a great many years;
and in those years it had been worth a man's while to be Bishop of
Barchester--it was supposed that Miss Grantly would have a large
fortune. Mrs Grantly, however, had been heard to say, that she was
in no hurry to see her daughter established in the world;--ordinary
young ladies are merely married, but those of real importance are
established;--and this, if anything, added to the value of the
prize. Mothers sometimes depreciate their wares by an undue
solicitude to dispose of them. But to tell the truth openly and at
once--a virtue for which a novelist does not receive very much
commendation--Griselda Grantly was, to a certain extent, already
given away. Not that she, Griselda, knew anything about it, or
that the thrice happy gentleman had been made aware of his good
fortune; nor even had the archdeacon been told. But Mrs Grantly
and Lady Lufton had been closeted together more than once, and
terms had been signed and sealed between them. Not signed on
parchment, and sealed with wax, as is the case with treaties made
by kings and diplomats--to be broken by the same; but signed with
little words, and sealed with certain pressings of the hand--a
treaty which between two such contracting parties would be binding
enough. And by the terms of this treaty Griselda Grantly was to
become Lady Lufton. Lady Lufton had hitherto been fortuned in her
matrimonial speculations. She had selected Sir George for her
daughter, and Sir George, with the utmost good nature, had fallen
in with her views. She had selected Fanny Monsell for Mr Robarts,
and Fanny Monsell had not rebelled against her for a moment. There
was a prestige of success about her doings, and she felt almost
confident that her dear son Ludovic must fall in love with
Griselda. As to the lady herself, nothing, Lady Lufton thought,
could be much better than such a match for her son. Lady Lufton, I
have said, was a good Churchwoman, and the archdeacon was the very
type of that branch of the Church which she venerated. The
Grantlys, too, were of a good family--not noble, indeed; but in
such matters Lady Lufton did not want everything. She was one of
those persons who, in placing their hopes at a moderate pitch, may
fairly trust to see them realized. She would fain that her son's
wife should be handsome; this she wished for his sake, that he
might be proud of his wife, and because men love to look on
beauty. But she was afraid of vivacious beauty, of those soft,
sparkling feminine charms which spread out as lures for all the
world, soft dimples, laughing eyes, luscious lips, conscious
smiles, and easy whispers. What if her son should bring her home a
rattling, rapid-spoken, painted piece of Eve's flesh such as this?
Would not the glory and joy of her life be over, even though such
child of their first mother should have come forth to the present
day ennobled by the blood of two dozen successive British peers?
And then, too, Griselda's money would not be useless. Lady Lufton,
with all her high flown ideas, was not an imprudent woman. She
knew that her son had been extravagant, though she did not believe
that he had been reckless; and she was well content to think that
some balsam from the old bishop's coffers should be made to cure
the slight wounds which his early imprudence might have inflicted
on the carcass of the family property. And thus, in this way, and
for these reasons, Griselda Grantly had been chosen out from all
the world to be the future Lady Lufton. Lord Lufton had met
Griselda more than once already; had met her before these high
contracting parties had come to any terms whatsoever, and had
evidently admired her. Lord Dumbello had remained silent one whole
evening in London with effable disgust, because Lord Lufton had
been rather particular in his attentions; but then Lord Dumbello's
muteness was his most eloquent mode of expression. Both Lady
Hartletop and Mrs Grantly, when they saw him, knew very well what
he meant. But that match would not exactly have suited Mrs
Grantly's views. The Hartletop people were not in her line. They
belonged altogether to another set, being connected, as we have
heard before, with the Omnium interest--'those horrid Gatherum
people', as Lady Lufton would say to her, raising her hands and
eyebrows, and shaking her head. Lady Lufton probably thought that
they ate babies in pies during their midnight orgies at Gatherum
Castle; and that widows were kept in cells, and occasionally put on
racks for the amusement of the duke's guests.
When the Robarts's party entered the drawing-room the Grantlys were
already there, and the archdeacon's voice sounded loud and imposing
in Lucy's ears, as she heard him speaking while she was yet on the
threshold of the door. 'My dear Lady Lufton, I would believe
anything on earth about her--anything. There is nothing too
outrageous for her. Had she insisted on going there with the
bishop's apron on, I should not have been surprised.' And then
they all knew that the archdeacon was talking about Mrs Proudie,
for Mrs Proudie was his bugbear.
Lady Lufton after receiving her guests introduced Lucy to Griselda
Grantly. Miss Grantly smiled graciously, bowed slightly, and then
remarked in the lowest voice possible that it was exceedingly
cold. A low voice, we know, is an excellent thing in a woman.
Lucy, who thought that she was bound to speak, said that it was
cold, but that she did not mind it when she was walking. And then
Griselda smiled again, somewhat less graciously than before, and so
the conversation ended. Miss Grantly was the elder of the two, and
having seen most of the world, should have been the best able to
talk, but perhaps she was not very anxious for a conversation with
'So, Robarts, I hear that you have been preaching at Chaldicotes,'
said the archdeacon, still rather loudly. 'I saw Sowerby the other
day, and he told me that you gave them the fag end of Mrs Proudie's
'It was ill-natured of Sowerby to say the fag end,' said Robarts.
'We divided the matter into thirds. Harold Smith took the first
part, I the last--'
'And the lady the intervening portion. You have electrified the
county between you; but I am told that she had the best of it.'
'I was so sorry that Mr Robarts went there,' said Lady Lufton, as
she walked into the dining-room leaning on the archdeacon's arm.
'I am inclined to think he could not very well have helped
himself,' said the archdeacon, who was never willing to lean
heavily on a brother parson, unless on one who had utterly and
irrevocably gone away from his side of the Church.
'Do you think not, archdeacon?'
'Why, no; Sowerby is a friend of Lufton's--'
'Not particularly,' said poor Lady Lufton, in a deprecating tone.
'Well, they have been intimate;' and Robarts, when he was asked to
preach at Chaldicotes, could not well refuse.'
'But then he went afterwards to Gatherum Castle. Not that I am
vexed with him at all now, you understand. But it is auch a
dangerous house, you know.'
'So it is.--But the very fact of the duke's wishing to have a
clergyman there, should always be taken as a sign of grace, Lady
Lufton. The air was impure, no doubt; but it was less impure with
Robarts there than it would have been without him. But, gracious
heavens! what blasphemy have I been saying about impure air? Why,
the bishop was there!'
'Yes, the bishop was there,' said Lady Lufton, and they both
understood each other thoroughly.
Lord Lufton took out Mrs Grantly to dinner, and matters were so
arranged that Miss Grantly sat on is other side. There was no
management apparent in this to anybody; but there she was, while
Lucy was placed between her brother and Captain Culpepper. Captain
Culpepper was a man with an enormous moustache, and a great
aptitude for slaughtering game; but as he had no other strong
characteristics it was not probable that he would make himself very
agreeable to poor Lucy. She had seen Lord Lufton once, for two
minutes, since the day of that walk, and then he had addressed her
quite like an old friend. It had been in the parsonage
drawing-room, and Fanny had been there. Fanny was now so well
accustomed to his lordship, that she thought but little of this,
but to Lucy it had been very pleasant. He was not forward or
familiar, but kind and gentle, and pleasant; and Lucy did feel that
she liked him. Now, on this evening, he had hitherto hardly spoken
to her; but then she knew that there were other people in the
company to whom he was bound to speak. She was not exactly
humble-minded in the usual sense of the word; but she did recognise
the fact that her position was less important than that of other
people there, and that therefore it was probable that to a certain
extent she would be overlooked. But not the less would she have
liked to occupy the seat to which Miss Grantly had found her way.
She did not want to flirt with Lord Lufton; she was not such a fool
as that; but she would have liked to have heard the sound of his
voice close to her ear, instead of that of Captain Culpepper's
knife and fork. This was the first occasion on which she had
endeavoured to dress herself with care since her father had died;
and now, sombre though she was in her deep mourning, she did look
'There is an expression about her forehead that is full of poetry,'
said Fanny to her husband.
'Don't you turn her head, Fanny, and make her believe that she is a
beauty,' Mark had answered.
'I doubt it is not so easy to turn her head, Mark. There is more
in Lucy than you imagine, and so you will find out before long.' So
it was thus that Mrs Robarts prophesied about her sister-in-law.
Had she been asked she might perhaps have said that Lucy's presence
would be dangerous to the Grantly interest at Framley Court.
Lord Lufton's voice was audible enough as he went on talking to
Miss Grantly--his voice, but not his words. He talked in such a
way that there was no appearance of whispering, and yet the person
to whom he spoke, and she only, could hear what he said. Mrs
Grantly the while conversed constantly with Lucy's brother, who sat
at Lucy's left hand. She never lacked for subjects on which to
speak to a country clergyman of the right sort, and thus Griselda
was left quite uninterrupted. But Lucy could not but observe that
Griselda herself seemed to have very little to say--or at any rate
to say very little. Every now and then she did open her mouth, and
some word or brace of words would fall from it. But for the most
part she seemed to be content in the fact that Lord Lufton was
paying her attention. She showed no animation, but sat there still
and graceful, composed and classical, as she always was. Lucy, who
could not keep her ears from listening or her eyes from looking,
thought that had she been there she would have endeavoured to take
a more prominent part in the conversation. But then Griselda
Grantly probably know much better than Lucy did how to comport
herself in such a situation. Perhaps it might be that young men
such as Lord Lufton, liked to hear the sound of their own voices.
'Immense deal of game about here,' Captain Culpepper said to her
towards the end of dinner. It was the second attempt he had made;
on the former he had asked her whether she knew any fellows of the
'Is there?' said Lucy. 'Oh! I saw Lord Lufton the other day with
a great armful of pheasants.'
'An armful! Why we had seven cartloads the other day at Gatherum.'
'Seven cartloads of pheasants!' said Lucy, amazed.
'That's not so much. We had eight guns, you know. Eight guns will
do a deal of work when the game has been well got together. They
manage all that capitally at Gatherum. Been at the duke's, eh?'
Lucy had heard the Framley report as to Gatherum Castle, and said
with a sort of shudder that she had never been at that place. After
this, Captain Culpepper troubled her no further.
When the ladies had taken themselves to the drawing-room Lucy found
herself hardly better off than she had been at the dinner-table.
Lady Lufton and Mrs Grantly got themselves on to a sofa together,
and there chatted confidently into each other's ears. Her ladyship
had introduced Lucy to Miss Grantly, and then she naturally thought
that the young people might do very well together. Mrs Robarts did
attempt to bring about a joint conversation, which should include
the three, and for ten minutes or so she worked hard at it. But it
did not thrive. Miss Grantly was monosyllabic, smiling, however,
at every monosyllable; and Lucy found that nothing would occur to
her at that moment worthy of being spoken. There she sat, still and
motionless, afraid to take up a book, and thinking in her heart how
much happier she would have been at home at the parsonage. She was
not made for society; she felt sure of that; and another time she
would let Mark and Fanny come to Framley Court by themselves. And
then the gentlemen came in, and there was another stir in the
room. Lady Lufton got up and bustled about; she poked the fire and
shifted the candles, spoke a few words to Dr Grantly, whispered
something to her son, patted Lucy on the cheek, told Fanny, who was
a musician, that they would have a little music, and ended by
putting her two hands on Griselda's shoulders and telling her that
the fit of her frock was perfect. For Lady Lufton, though she did
dress old herself, as Lucy had said, delighted to see those around
her neat and pretty, jaunty and graceful. 'Dear Lady Lufton!' said
Griselda, putting up her hand so as to press the end of her
ladyship's fingers. It was the first piece of animation she had
shown, and Lucy Robarts watched it all. And then there was music,
Lucy neither played nor sang; Fanny did both, and for an amateur
she did both well. Griselda did not sing, but she played; and did
so in a manner that showed that neither her own labour nor her
father's money had been spared in her instruction. Lord Lufton
sang also, a little, and Captain Culpepper a very little; so that
they got up a concert among them. In the meantime the doctor and
Mark stood talking together on the rug before the fire; the two
mothers sat contented, watching the billings and the cooings of
their offspring--and Lucy sat alone, turning over the leaves of a
book of pictures. She made up her mind fully, then and there, that
she was quite unfitted by disposition for such work as this. She
cared for no one, and no one cared for her. Well, she must go
through with it now; but another time she would know better. With
her own book and a fireside she never felt herself to be miserable
as she was now. She had turned her back to the music for she was
sick of seeing Lord Lufton watch the artistic motion of Miss
Grantly's fingers, and was sitting at a small table as far away
from the piano as a long room would permit, when she was suddenly
roused from her reverie of self-reproach by a voice close behind
her: 'Miss Robarts,' said the voice, 'why have you cut us all?' And
Lucy felt that, though she heard the voice plainly, nobody else
did. Lord Lufton was now speaking to her as he had before spoken
to Miss Grantly.
'I don't play, my lord,' said Lucy, 'nor yet sing.'
'That would have made your company so much more valuable to us, for
we are terribly badly off for listeners. Perhaps you don't like
'I do like it,--sometimes very much.'
'And when are the sometimes? But we shall find it all out in
time. We shall have unravelled all you mysteries, and read all
your riddles by--when shall I say?---by the end of winter.'
'I do not know that I have got any mysteries.'
'Oh, but you have! It is very mysterious in you to come and sit
here--with you back to us all--'
'Oh, Lord Lufton; if I have done wrong--!' and poor Lucy almost
started from her chair, and a deep flush came across her dark neck.
'No--no; you have done no wrong. I was only joking. It is we who
have done you wrong in leaving you to yourself--you who are the
greatest stranger among us.'
'I have been very well, thank you. I don't care about being left
alone. I have always been used to it.'
'Ah! but we must break you of the habit. We won't allow you to
make a hermit of yourself. But the truth is, Miss Robarts, you
don't know us yet, and therefore you are not quite happy among us.'
'Oh! Yes I am; you are all very good to me.'
'You must let us be good to you. At any rate, you must let me do
so. You know, don't you, that Mark and I have been dear friends
since we were seven years old. His wife has been my sister's
dearest friend almost as long; and now that you are with them, you
must be a dear friend too. You won't refuse the offer, will you?'
'Oh, no' she said quite in a whisper; and, indeed, she could hardly
raise her voice above a whisper, fearing that tears would fall from
her tell-tale eyes.
'Dr and Mrs Grantly will have gone in a couple of days, and then we
must get you down here. Miss Grantly is to remain for Christmas,
and you two must become bosom friends.' Lucy smiled, and tried to
look pleased, but she felt that she and Griselda Grantly could
never be bosom friends--could never have anything in common between
them. She felt sure that Griselda despised her, little, brown,
plain, and unimportant as she was. She herself could not despise
Griselda in turn; indeed she could not but admire Miss Grantly's
great beauty and dignity of demeanour; but she knew that she could
never love her. It is hardly possible that the proud-hearted
should love those who despise them; and Lucy Robarts was very
'Don't you think she is very handsome?' said Lord Lufton.
'Oh, very,' said Lucy. 'Nobody can doubt that.'
'Ludovic,' said Lady Lufton--not quite approving of her son's
remaining so long at the back of Lucy's chair--'won't you give us
another song? Mrs Robarts and Miss Grantly are still at the
'I have sung away all that I know, mother. There's Culpepper has
not had a chance yet. He has got to give us his dreams--how he
"dreamt that he dwelt in marble halls"!'
'I sung that an hour ago,' said the captain, not over-pleased.
'But you certainly have not told us how "your little lovers
came"!' The captain, however, would not sing any more. And then
the party was broken up, and the Robartses went home to their
THE LITTLE BILL
Lucy, during those last fifteen minutes of her sojourn in the
Framley Court drawing-room, somewhat modified the very strong
opinion she had before formed as to her unfitness for such
society. It was very pleasant sitting there, in that easy chair,
while Lord Lufton stood at the back of it saying nice, soft,
good-natured words to her. She was sure that in a little time she
could feel a true friendship for him, and that she could do so
without any risk of falling in love with him. But then she had a
glimmering of an idea that such a friendship would be open to all
manner of remarks, and would hardly be compatible with the world's
ordinary ways. At any rate it would be pleasant to be at Framley
Court, if he would come and occasionally notice her. But she did
not admit to herself that such a visit would be intolerable if his
whole time was devoted to Griselda Grantly. She neither admitted
it, nor thought it; but nevertheless, in a strange unconscious way,
such a feeling did find entrance in her bosom. And then the
Christmas holidays passed away. How much of this enjoyment fell to
her share, and how much of this suffering she endured, we will not
attempt accurately to describe. Miss Grantly remained at Framley
Court up to Twelfth Night, and the Robartses also spent most of the
season at the house. Lady Lufton, no doubt, had hoped that
everything might have been arranged on this occasion in accordance
with her wishes, but such had not been the case. Lord Lufton had
evidently admired Miss Grantly very much: indeed, he had said so
to his mother half a dozen times; but it may almost be questioned
whether the pleasure Lady Lufton derived from this was not more
than neutralized by an opinion he once put forward that Griselda
Grantly wanted some of the fire of Lucy Robarts.
'Surely, Ludovic, you would never compare the two girls' said Lady
'Of course not. They are the very antipodes to each other. Miss
Grantly would probably be more to my taste; but then I am wise
enough to know that it is so because my taste is a bad taste.'
'I know no man with a more accurate or refined taste in such
matters,' said Lady Lufton. Beyond this she did not dare to go.
She knew very well that her strategy would be vain should her son
learn that she had a strategy. To tell the truth, Lady Lufton was
becoming somewhat indifferent to Lucy Robarts. She had been very
kind to the little girl; but the little girl seemed hardly to
appreciate the kindness as she should do--and then Lord Lufton
would talk to Lucy, 'which was so unnecessary, you know;' and Lucy,
had got into a way of talking quite freely with Lord Lufton, having
completely dropped that short, spasmodic, ugly exclamation of 'my
lord'. And so the Christmas festivities were at an end, and
January wore itself away. During the greater part of this month
Lord Lufton did not remain at Framley, but was nevertheless in the
county, hunting with the hounds of both divisions, and staying at
various houses. Two or three nights he spent at Chaldicotes; and
one--let it only be told in an under voice--at Gatherum Castle! Of
this he said nothing to Lady Lufton. 'Why make her unhappy?' as he
said to Mark. But Lady Lufton knew it, though she said not a word
to him--knew it, and was unhappy. 'If he would only marry
Griselda, there would be an end of that danger,' she said to
And now we must go back a while to the vicar and his little bill.
It will be remembered, that his first idea with reference to that
trouble, after the reading of his father's will, was to borrow the
money from his brother John. John was down at Exeter at the time,
and was to stay one night at the parsonage on his way to London.
Mark would broach the matter to him on the journey, painful though
it would be to him to tell the story of his own folly to a brother
much younger than himself, and who had always looked up to him,
clergyman and full-blown vicar as he was, with a deference greater
than that which such difference in age required. The story was
told, however; but was told in vain, as Mark found out before he
reached Framley. His brother John immediately declared that he
would lend him the money, of course--eight hundred, if his brother
wanted it. He, John, confessed that, as regarded the remaining
two, he should like to feel the pleasure of immediate possession.
As for interest, he would not take any--take interest from a
brother; of course not. Well, if Mark made such a fuss about it he
supposed he must take it; but would rather not. Mark should have
his own way, and do just what he liked.
This was all very well, and Mark had fully made up his mind that
his brother should not be kept long out of his agony. But then
arose the question how was that money to be reached? He, Mark, was
executor, or one of the executors under his father's will, and,
therefore, no doubt, could put his hand upon it; but his brother
wanted five months of being of age, and could not therefore as yet
be put legally in possession of his legacy. 'That is a bore,' said
the assistant private secretary to the Lord Petty Bag, thinking,
perhaps, as much of his own immediate wish for ready cash as he did
of his brother's necessities. Mark felt that it was a bore, but
there was nothing more to be done in that direction. He must now
find out how far the bankers would assist him.
Some week or two after his return to Framley he went over to
Barchester, and called there on a certain Mr Forrest, the manager
of one of the banks, with whom he as acquainted; and with many
injunctions as to secrecy told this manager the whole of his
story. At first he concealed the name of his friend Sowerby, but
it soon appeared that no such concealment was to any avail. 'That
Sowerby, of course,' said Mr Forrest. 'I know you are intimate
with him; and all his friends go through that, sooner or later.' It
seemed to Mark as though Mr Forrest made very light of the whole
'I cannot pay the bill when it is due,' said Mark.
'Oh, no, of course not,' said Mr Forrest. 'It's never very
convenient to hand out four hundred pounds at a blow. Nobody will
expect you to pay it.'
'But I suppose I shall have to do it sooner or later.'
'Well, that's as may be. It will depend partly on how you manage
with Sowerby, and partly on the hands it goes into. As the bill has
your name on it, they'll have patience as long as the interest is
paid, and the commissions on renewal.' Mr Forrest said that he was
sure that the bill was not in Barchester; Mr Sowerby would not, he
thought, have brought it to a Barchester bank. The bill was
probably in London, but doubtless would be sent to Barchester for
collection. 'If it comes in my way,' said Mr Forrest, 'I will give
you plenty of time, so that you may manage about the renewal with
Sowerby. I suppose he'll pay the expense of doing that.'
Mark's heart was somewhat lighter as he left the bank. Mr Forrest
had made so little of the whole transaction that he felt himself
justified in making little of it also. 'It may be as well,' said he
to himself, as he drove home, 'not to tell Fanny anything about it
till the three months have run round. I must make some arrangement
then.' And in this way his mind was easier during the last of
those three months than he had been during the two former. That
feeling of over-due bills, of bills coming due, of accounts
overdrawn, of tradesmen unpaid, of general money cares, is very
dreadful at first; but it is astonishing how soon men get used to
it. A load which would crash a man at first becomes, by habit, not
only endurable, but easy and comfortable to the bearer. The
habitual debtor goes along jaunty and with elastic step, almost
enjoying the excitement of his embarrassments. There was Mr
Sowerby himself; who ever saw a cloud on his brow? It made one
almost in love with ruin to be in his company. And even now,
already, Mark Robarts was thinking to himself quite comfortably
about this bill;--how very pleasantly those bankers managed these
things. Pay it! No; no one will be so unreasonable as to expect
you to do that! And then Mr Sowerby certainly was a pleasant
fellow, and gave a man something in return for his money. It was
still a question with Mark whether Lord Lufton had not been too
hard on Sowerby. Had that gentleman fallen across his clerical
friend at the present moment, he might no doubt gotten from him an
acceptance for another four hundred pounds.
One is almost inclined to believe that there is something
pleasurable in the excitement of such embarrassments, as there is
also in the excitement of drink. But then, at last, the time does
come when the excitement is over, and when nothing but the misery
is left. If there be an existence of wretchedness on earth it must
be that of the elderly, worn-out roue, who has run this race of
debt and bills of accommodation and acceptances--of what, if we
were not in these days somewhat afraid of good broad English, we
might call lying and swindling, falsehood and fraud--and who,
having ruined all whom he should have loved, having burnt up every
one who would trust him much, and scorched all who would trust him
a little, is at last left to finish his life with such bread and
water as these men get, without one honest thought to strengthen
his sinking heart, or one honest friend to hold his shivering
hand! If a man could only think of that, as he puts his name to
the first little bill, as to which he is so good-naturedly assured
that it can easily be renewed.
When the three months had nearly run out, it so happened that
Robarts met his friend Sowerby. Mark had once to twice ridden with
Lord Lufton as far as the meet of the hounds, and may, perhaps,
have gone a field or two farther on some occasions. The reader
must not think that he had taken to hunting, as some parsons do;
and it is singular enough that whatever they do so they always show
a special aptitude for the pursuit, as though hunting were an
employment peculiarly congenial with the care of souls in the
country. Such a thought would do our vicar justice. But when Lord
Lufton would ask him what on earth could be the harm of riding
along the roads to look at the hounds, he hardly knew what sensible
answer to give his lordship. It would be absurd to say that his
time would be better employed at home in clerical matters, for it
was notorious that he had not clerical pursuits for the employment
of half his time. In this way, therefore, he had got into the
habit of looking at the hounds, and keeping up his acquaintance in
the county, meeting Lord Dumbello, Mr Green Walker, Harold Smith,
and other such like sinners; and on one such occasion, as the three
months were nearly closing, he did meet Mr Sowerby. 'Look here,
Sowerby, I want to speak to you for half a moment. What are you
doing about that bill?'
'Bill--bill? what bill?---which bill? The whole bill, and nothing
but the bill. That seems to be the conversation nowadays of all
men, noon and night?'
'Don't you know the bill I signed for you for four hundred pounds?'
'Did you though? Was not that rather green of you?' This did seem
strange to Mark. Could it really be the fact that Mr Sowerby had
so many bills flying about that he had absolutely forgotten that
occurrence in the Gatherum Castle bedroom? And then to be called
green by by the very man whom he had obliged!
'Perhaps I was,' said Mark, in a tone that showed that he was
somewhat piqued. 'But all the same I should be glad to know how it
will be taken up?'
'Oh, Mark, what a ruffian you are to spoil my day's sport in this
way. Any man but a parson would be too good a Christian for such
intense cruelty. But let me see--four hundred pounds? Oh,
yes--Tozer has it.'
'And what will Tozer do with it?'
'Make money of it; whatever way he may go to work he will do that.'
'But will Tozer bring it to me on the 20th?'
'Oh, Lord, no! Upon my work, Mark, you are deliciously green. A
cat would as soon think of killing a mouse directly she got it into
her claws. But, joking apart, you need not trouble yourself. Maybe
you will hear no more about it; or, perhaps, which no doubt is more
probable, I may have to send it to you to be renewed. But you need
do nothing till you hear from me or somebody else.'
'Only do not let any one come down upon me for the money.'
'There is not the slightest fear of that. Tally-ho, old fellow!
He's away. Tally-ho, right over by Gossetts' barn. Come along,
and never mind Tozer--"Sufficient for the day is the evil
thereof."' And away they both went together, parson and member of
Parliament. And then again on that occasion Mark went home with a
sort of feeling that the bill did not matter. Tozer would manage
it somehow; and it was quite clear that it would not do to tell his
wife of it just at present.
On the 21st of that month of February, however, he did receive a
reminder that the bill and all concerning it had not merely been a
farce. This was a letter from Mr Sowerby, dated from Chaldicotes,
though not bearing the Barchester post-mark, in which that
gentleman suggested a renewal--not exactly of the old bill, but of
a new one. It seemed to Mark that the letter had been posted in
London. If I give it entire, I shall, perhaps, most quickly
explain its import:
'Chaldicotes,--20th February, 185-.
'MY DEAR MARK,
'"Lend not thy name to money dealers, for
the same is the destruction and a snare." If that
be not in the Proverbs, it ought to be. Tozer has
given me certain signs of his being alive and
strong this cold weather. As we can neither of us
take up that bill for 400L at the moment, we must
renew it, and pay him his commission and interest,
with all the rest of his perquisites, and
pickings, and stealings--from all which, I can
assure you, Tozer does not keep his hands as he
should do. To cover this and some other little
outstanding trifles, I have filled in the new bill
for 500L, making it due 23rd May next. Before
that time, a certain accident will, I trust, have
occurred to your improvident friend. By the by, I
never told you how she went off from Gatherum
Castle, the morning after you left us, with the
Greshams. Cart-ropes would not hold her, even
though the duke held them; which he did, with all
the strength of his ducal hands. She would go
meet some doctor of theirs, and so I was put off
for that time; but I think that the matter stands
in a good train.
'Do not lose a post in sending back the bill
accepted, as Tozer can annoy you--nay,
undoubtedly will, if the matter be not in his
hand, duly signed by both of us, the day after
to-morrow. He is an ungrateful brute; he has lived
on me for these eight years and would not let me
off a single squeeze now to save my life. But I
am specially anxious to save you from the
annoyance and cost of lawyers' letters; and if
delayed, it might get to the papers. Put it under
cover to me, at No 7, Duke Street, St James's. I
shall be in town by that time.
'Good-bye, old fellow. That was a decent
brush we had the other day from Cobbold's Ashes. I
wish I could get that brown horse from you. I
would not mind going to a hundred and thirty.
When Mark had read it through he looked down on his table to see
whether the old bill had fallen from the letter; but no, there was
no enclosure, and had been no enclosure but the new bill. And then
he read the letter through again, and found that there was no word
about the old bill--not a syllable, at least, as to its
whereabouts. Sowerby did not even say that it would remain in his
own hands. Mark did not in truth know much about such things. It
might be that the very fact of his signing this second document
would render that first document null and void; and from Sowerby's
silence on the subject, it might be argued that this was so well
known to be the case, that he had not thought of explaining it. But
yet Mark could not see how this could be so. But what was he to
do? That threat of cost and lawyers, and specially of the
newspapers, did have its effect on him--as no doubt it was intended
to do. And then he was utterly dumbfounded by Sowerby's impudence
ind drawing on him for 500L instead of 400L, 'covering,' as Sowerby
so good-humouredly said, 'sundry little outstanding trifles'.
But, at last, he did sign the bill, and sent it off, as Sowerby had
directed. What else was he to do? Fool that he was. A man always
can do right, even though he has done wrong before. But that
previous wrong adds so much difficulty to the path--a difficulty
which increases in tremendous ratio, till a man at last is choked
in his struggling, and is drowned beneath the waters. And then he
put away Sowerby's letter carefully, locking it up from his wife's
sight. It was a letter that no parish clergyman should have
received. So much he acknowledged to himself. But nevertheless it
was necessary that he should keep it. And now again for a few hours
this affair made him very miserable.
Lady Lufton had been greatly rejoiced at that good deed which her
son did in giving up his Leicestershire hunting, and coming to
reside for the winter at Framley. It was proper, and becoming, and
comfortable in the extreme. An English nobleman ought to hunt in
the county where he himself owns the fields over which he rides; he
ought to receive the respect and honour due to him from his own
tenants; he ought to sleep under a roof of his own, and he ought
also--so Lady Lufton thought--to fall in love with a young embryo
bride of his mother's choosing. And then it was so pleasant to
have him there in the house. Lady Lufton was not a woman who
allowed her life to be what people in common parlance call dull.
She had too many duties, and thought too much of them, to allow of
her suffering from tedium and ennui. But nevertheless the house
was more joyous to her when he was there. There was a reason for
some little gaiety, which would never have been attracted thither
by herself, but by which, nevertheless, she did enjoy when it was
brought about by his presence. She was younger and brighter when
he was there, thinking more of the future and less of the past. She
could look at him, and that alone was happiness to her. And then
he was pleasant-mannered with her; joking with her on her little
old-world prejudices in a tone that was musical to her ear as
coming from him; smiling on her, reminding her of those smiles
which she had loved so dearly when as yet he was still her own,
lying there in his little bed beside her chair. He was kind and
gracious to her, behaving like a good son, at any rate while he was
there in her presence. When we add to this, her fears that he
might not be so perfect in his conduct when absent, we may well
imagine that Lady Lufton was pleased to have him at Framley Court.
She had hardly said a word to him as that five thousand pounds.
Many a night, as she lay thinking on her pillow, she said to
herself that no money had ever been better expended, since it had
brought him back to his own home. He had thanked her for it in his
own open way, declaring that he would pay it back to her during the
coming year, and comforting her heart by his rejoicing that the
property had not been sold. 'I don't like the idea of parting with
an acre of it,' he had said.
'Of course not, Ludovic. Never let the estate decrease in your
hands. It is only by such resolutions as that that English
noblemen and English gentlemen can preserve their country. I
cannot bear to see property changing hands.'
'Well, I suppose it's a good thing to have land in the market
sometimes, so that the millionaires may know what to do with their
'God forbid that yours should be there!' And the widow made a
little mental prayer that her son's acres might be protected from
the millionaires and other Philistines.
'Why, yes; I don't exactly want to see a Jew tailor investing his
earnings at Lufton.' said the lord.
'Heaven forbid!' said the widow. All this, as I have said, was
very nice. It was manifest to her ladyship, from his lordship's
way of talking, that no vital injury had as yet been done: he had
no cares on his mind, and spoke freely about the property: but
nevertheless there were clouds even now, at this period of bliss,
which somewhat obscured the brilliancy of Lady Lufton's sky. Why
was Ludovic so slow in that affair of Griselda Grantly? Why so
often in these latter winter days did he saunter over to the
parsonage? And then that terrible visit to Gatherum Castle! What
actually did happen at Gatherum Castle, she never knew. We,
however, are more intrusive, less delicate in our enquiries, and we
can say. He had a very bad day's sport with the West Barsetshire.
The county is altogether short of foxes, and some one who
understands the matter must take that point up before they can do
any good. And after that he had had rather a dull dinner with the
duke. Sowerby had been there, and in the evening he and Sowerby
had played billiards. Sowerby had won a pound or two, and that had
been the extent of the damage done. But those saunterings over to
the parsonage might be more dangerous. Not that it ever occurred
to Lady Lufton as possible that her son should fall in love with
Lucy Robarts. Lucy's personal attraction were not of a nature to
give grounds for such a fear as that. But he might turn the girl's
head with his chatter; she might be fool enough to fancy any folly;
and, moreover, people would talk. Why should he go to the
parsonage now more frequently than he had ever done before Lucy
And then her ladyship, in reference to the same trouble, hardly
knew how to manage her invitations to the parsonage. These
hitherto had been very frequent, and she had been in the habit of
thinking that they could hardly be too much so; but now she was
almost afraid to continue the custom. She could not ask the parson
and his wife without Lucy; and when Lucy was there, her son would
pass the greater part of the evening in talking to her, or playing
chess with her. Now this did disturb Lady Lufton not a little. And
then Lucy took it all so quietly. On her first arrival at Framley
she had been so shy, so silent, and so much awestruck by the
grandeur of Framley Court, that Lady Lufton had sympathized with
her and encouraged her. She had endeavoured to moderate the blaze
of her own splendour, in order that Lucy's unaccustomed eyes might
not be dazzled. But all this was changed now. Lucy could listen
to the young lord's voice by the hour together--without being
dazzled in the least. Under these circumstances two things occurred
to her. She would speak either to her son or to Fanny Robarts, and
by a little diplomacy have this evil remedied. And then she had to
determine on which step she would take. 'Nothing could be more
reasonable than Ludovic.' So at least she said to herself over and
over again. But then Ludovic understood nothing about such
matters; and had, moreover, a habit, inherited from his father, of
taking the bit between his teeth whenever he suspected
interference. Drive him gently without pulling his mouth about,
and you might take him anywhere, almost at any pace; but a smart
touch, let it be ever so slight, would bring him on his haunches,
and then it might be a question whether you could get him another
mile that day. So that on the whole Lady Lufton thought that the
other plan would be the best. I have no doubt that Lady Lufton was
She got Fanny up into her own den one afternoon, and seated her
discreetly in an easy arm-chair, making her guest take off her
bonnet, and showing by various signs that her visit was regarded as
one of great moment. 'Fanny,' she said, 'I want to speak to you
about something that is important and necessary to mention, and yet
it is a very delicate affair to speak of.' Fanny opened her eyes
and said that she hoped that nothing was wrong. 'No, my dear, I
think nothing is wrong: I hope so, and I think I may say I'm sure
of it; but then it's always well to be on one's guard.'
'Yes, it is,' said Fanny, who knew that something unpleasant was
coming--something as to which she might be called upon to differ
from her ladyship. Mrs Robarts's own fears, however, were running
entirely in the direction of her husband;--and, indeed, Lady Lufton
had a word to two to say on that subject also, only not exactly
now. A hunting parson was not at all to her taste; but that matter
might be allowed to remain in abeyance for a few days.
'Now, Fanny, you know that we have all liked your sister-in-law,
Lucy, very much.' And then Mrs Robarts's mind was immediately
opened, and she knew the rest as well as though it had been all
spoken. 'I need hardly tell you that, for I an sure we have shown
'You have indeed, as you always do.'
'And you must not think that I am going to complain,' continued
'I hope there is nothing to complain of,' said Fanny, speaking by
no means in a defiant tone, but humbly as it were, and deprecating
her ladyship's wrath. Fanny had gained one signal victory over
Lady Lufton, and on that account, with a prudence equal to her
generosity, felt that she could afford to be submissive. It might,
perhaps, not be long before she would be equally anxious to conquer
'Well, no; I don't think there is,' said Lady Lufton. 'Nothing to
complain of; but a little chat between you and me may, perhaps, set
matters right, which, otherwise, might become troublesome.'
'Is it about Lucy?'
'Yes, my dear--about Lucy. She is a very nice, good girl, and a
credit to her father--'
'And a great comfort to us,' said Fanny.
'I am sure she is; she must be a very pleasant companion to you,
and so useful about the children; but--' And then Lady Lufton
paused for moment; for she, eloquent and discreet as she always
was, felt herself rather at a loss for words to express her exact
'I don't know what I should do without her,' said Fanny, speaking
with the object of assisting her ladyship in her embarrassment.
'But the truth is this: she and Lord Lufton are getting in the way
of being too much together--of talking to each other too
exclusively. I am sure you must have noticed it, Fanny. It is not
that I suspect any evil. I don't think that I am suspicious by
'Oh! no,' said Fanny.
'But they will each of them get wrong ideas about the other, and
about themselves. Lucy will, perhaps, think that Ludovic means
more than he does, and Ludovic will--' But it was not quite so easy
to say what Ludovic might do or think; but Lady Lufton went on:
'I am sure that you understand me, Fanny, with your excellent sense
and tact. Lucy is clever, and amusing, and all that; and Ludovic,
like all young men, is perhaps ignorant that his attentions may be
taken to mean more than he intends--'
'You don't think that Lucy is in love with him?'
'On, dear no--nothing of the kind. If I thought it had come to
that, I should recommend that she should be sent away altogether. I
am sure she is not so foolish as that.'
'I don't think there is anything in it at all, Lady Lufton.'
'I don't think there is, my dear, and therefore I would not for
worlds make any suggestion about it to Lord Lufton. I would not
let him suppose that I suspected Lucy of being so imprudent. But
still, it may be well that you should just say a word to her. A
little management now and then, in such matters is so useful.'
'But what shall I say to her?'
'Just explain to her that any young lady who talks so much to the
same young gentleman will certainly be observed--that people will
accuse her of setting her cap at Lord Lufton. Not that I suspect
her--I give her credit for too much proper breeding: I know her
education has been good, and her principles are upright. But
people will talk of her. You must understand that, Fanny, as well
as I do.' Fanny could not help meditating whether proper feeling,
education, and upright principles did forbid Lucy Robarts to fall
in love with Lord Lufton; but her doubts on this subject, if she
held any, were not communicated to her ladyship. It had never
entered into her mind that a match was possible between Lord Lufton
and Lucy Robarts, nor had she the slightest wish to encourage it
now that the idea was suggested to her. On such a matter she would
sympathize with Lady Lufton, though she did not completely agree
with her as to the expediency of any interference. Nevertheless,
she at once offered to speak to Lucy. 'I don't think that Lucy has
any idea in her head upon the subject,' said Mrs Robarts.
'I dare say not--I don't suppose she has. But young ladies
sometimes allow themselves to fall in love, and then to think
themselves very ill-used just because they have had no idea in
'I will put her on her guard if you wish it, Lady Lufton.'
'Exactly, my dear; that is just it. Put her on her guard--that is
all that is necessary. She is a dear, good, clever girl, and it
would be very sad if anything were to interrupt our comfortable way
of getting on with her.' Mrs Robarts knew to a nicety the exact
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